Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for July, 2008

Yet Another Federal Judge to Bush: You Are Not Above The Law

Posted by MEC on July 31, 2008

Poor Dubya can’t catch a break. Another federal judge has ruled, unequivocally and with a severe scolding, that he and his minions have to obey laws and respect the Constitution. To add insult to injury, Judge John D. Bates is a Bush appointee.

Judge Bates’ opinion of Bush’s pretext for evading Congressional oversight couldn’t be clearer:

[E]xecutive privilege is not absolute even when Congress — rather than a grand jury — is the party requesting the information. And a claim of absolute immunity from compulsory process cannot be erected by the Executive as a surrogate for the claim of absolute executive privilege already firmly rejected by the courts. Presidential autonomy, such as it is, cannot mean that the Executive’s actions are totally insulated from scrutiny by Congress. That would eviscerate Congress’s historical oversight function.


That simple yet critical fact bears repeating: The asserted absolute immunity claim here is entirely unsupported by existing case law.

Of course this doesn’t mean that Harriet Miers and Karl Rove will now agree to testify in a Congressional hearing, or that Joshua Bolten will provide the documents Congress has requested. It means Bush will file an appeal, and when the appeals court smacks him down because there is still no basis for his claims of absolute immunity, he’ll go to the Supreme Court. We can only hope the Supreme Court will rule according to the Constitution and legal precedent, not partisan loyalties.

Posted in dope slaps for Dubya, judicial rulings | Comments Off on Yet Another Federal Judge to Bush: You Are Not Above The Law

Why Are Gas Prices So High?

Posted by MEC on July 31, 2008

Exxon has record profit again on soaring oil prices

Call me cynical, but I suspect that Exxon is doing a bit more than just passing increased costs along to consumers.

Posted in capitalism as cancer, Oil | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

Happy 28th Birthday, Harry Potter!

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 31, 2008

And happy 43rd birthday, Jo Rowling!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

I Can Haz Planet?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 31, 2008

Some lolcatz are meowing out on behalf of a livable Earth:

Global Climate Change: Do Not Want!

Posted in cats, climate change, environment, global warming, Good Things, saving the earth | 1 Comment »

Mexico, July 30 2008 (revised, with excerpts)

Posted by Charles II on July 31, 2008

Democracy Now had an excellent show today, with a focus on the militarization of the countryside through Plan Mexico. Weapons are pouring across the border south, as drugs flow north. It is fascinating, in a ghastly sense, to examine abstractly as a kind of soft, slow-motion genocide directed against the Mexican people… and eventually, one may infer, toward the American population.

Excerpts, with emphases added:

LAURA CARLSEN: Well, in March of 2005, NAFTA was extended … the idea was to push the borders out of the United States and create a North American security perimeter that would include Canada and Mexico. In this way, the Bush government, what it sought to do was to apply the radical national security doctrine to Mexican territory as well. …

In the case of Plan Mexico, it’s a perfect example of the result of those policies. Essentially, [it]… gets a greater military presence for the United States within Mexico….

LAURA CARLSEN: … By having a militarized society, you are assuring a certain amount of social control. We know in Mexico that there will be mass opposition to the privatization of oil. … So, by having the army in the streets, you’re in a position to quell social uprisings that may be coming up that have to do with control over natural resources, as well.

LAURA CARLSEN: Yes, Well, already with the Mexican army in the streets…what we’re seeing is attacks, basically, on social movements. Within Chiapas… the army has gone in, often with the pretense of looking for drug production, which they’ve not found, but they’ve used it to harass those communities, in which major battles over natural resources and the right to autonomy have been taking place. …

Another—and this is cases that we’ve seen in the northern state of Chihuahua—has to do with opposition leaders, in general. When Operation Chihuahua started, which is one of the major operations of the drug war, the army came in, and they immediately rounded up several social leaders that had been—had warrants out for their arrest since 2003 for blocking an international bridge in a protest over NAFTA. They were just routinely rounded up as part of these drug war operations. ….

JOHN GIBLER: …I think it’s essential to understand the link between the so-called free trade regime embodied in NAFTA and migration. NAFTA’s economically structuring of Mexico’s economy has forced millions of small farmers from their countryside, and in so doing, shattered local food production and shattered local economies. That’s forcing people to move across the border, looking for work.

Analysts that I interviewed at the University of Zacatecas said to me, Mexico, under this new economic regime, is exporting the factory of migrants. Also, they said Mexico is mortgaging its future with remittances, the money that migrants send back. And what, they argue, is taking place is that the United States, through NAFTA, is holding Mexico at bay as a kind of reserve army of workers for its own industrial restructuring, thus all the benefits and the luxuries absent in Mexico’s own countryside are being built and constructed and elaborated inside the United States by migrant labor, largely Mexican.

Posted in Mexico | Comments Off on Mexico, July 30 2008 (revised, with excerpts)

McCain “Paris & Britney” Ad: Epic FAIL

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 31, 2008

The reviews are in on John Sidney McCain III’s latest attempt to beat up Obama.

Former McCain strategist John Weaver:

The ad’s premise, [Weaver] said, is “childish.”

“John’s been a celebrity ever since he was shot down,” Weaver said. “Whatever that means. And I recall Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush going overseas and all those waving American flags.”

Two unnamed GOP operatives quoted in the Washington Post (h/t Truthdig):

“Sigh,” emailed one senior party strategist who later added: “Every Obama ad since his announcement has fit nicely into a theme, an argument. McCain ads are just catch as catch can, one wild swing at Obama after another. Their increasing bitterness reflects a campaign that is more about some sort of therapeutic frustration venting for the staff than any coherent strategy to elect McCain. It’s unprofessional to the core.”

Another high-level party operative grumbled: “It seems like they are talking to the press pack, not voters.”

The Obama campaign, between bouts of guffawing:

On a day when major news organizations across the country are taking Senator McCain to task for a steady stream of false, negative attacks, his campaign has launched yet another. Or, as some might say, ‘Oops! He did it again.’

With every passing day, it’s looking more and more as if McCain’s trying to tank his own campaign. Luckily for him, he has very good friends like Ron Fournier running the American media.

Posted in 2008, Barack Obama, John McCain, WTF? | 1 Comment »

Seeding incompetence, reaping catastrophe

Posted by Charles II on July 30, 2008

Begonia Buzzkill over at Avedon’s establishment flags an article by Bill Morlin and Jim Camdin of the Seattle Spokane Spokesman-Review on the purchase of educational degrees from a diploma mill by people in the military, government, and education. DoJ– headed by Charles Schumer’s buddy, Michael Mukasey– is refusing to publicize the full list:

A preliminary analysis of the list by The Spokesman-Review shows 135 individuals with ties to the military, 39 with links to educational institutions and 17 employed by government agencies….

However, the exact number of individuals with ties to the military, government and education is believed to be far greater …

The list includes NASA employee Timothy Francis Gorman, who bought an electrical engineering degree…

National Security Agency employees David W. Barden and Barry A. Hester both bought degrees. Hester, who was a computer Web trainer and designer for the NSA with top-secret clearance, paid $1,187 for an information systems and technology degree, the list shows.

Eric Gregory Cole, who was a contract employee for the Central Intelligence Agency, paid $3,801 for a degree in information systems management….

Only one buyer – former deputy U.S. marshal David F. Brodhagen, who was forced into early retirement – has been charged criminally as an outgrowth of the case.

At least one other deputy U.S. marshal, Michael Cameron, is on the list showing he bought a criminal justice degree from the Spokane diploma mill.

Also on the list are William R. Church, a senior military adviser working in the White House, and George Michael Navadel, a U.S. State Department computer systems negotiator, who paid $5,400 for a doctorate in network engineering.

Duwayne Huss, an employee of Nuclear Management Co., operator of two nuclear plants in Minnesota, bought degrees in nuclear engineering and accounting….

Michael J. Hoilien, who worked for the Air Force in Fayetteville, N.C., bought a medical degree. …

Why would Mukasey bar the release of a list of people who are very likely incompent at doing their jobs, yet may be practicing medicine or operating nuclear plants? Unless he knows that a number of Busheviks would be exposed…?

A 14-karat gold-colored rising Mercury Star to whoever can remind me where I have heard the name Timothy Francis Gorman before.

[Thanks for the correction, Helen.]

Posted in BushCo malfeasance, Busheviks, corruption | 6 Comments »

Did Your GOP Legislator Take Pete Sessions’ Stripper Money?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 30, 2008

From the Forty Deuce website via AmericaBlog

From the Forty Deuce website via AmericaBlog

My, my, my. Even as Norm Coleman runs ads attacking Al Franken over his ties to Playboy (ties that Betty McCollum, a Ciresi loyalist, joined Coleman in attacking even though she herself has taken money from the Hefner-funded EMILY’s List), it seems that at least two of Norm’s fellow Minnesota Republican officeholders, Michele Bachmann and Erik Paulsen, were among the beneficiaries of Texas Republican Pete Sessions’ Forty Deuce strip-club fundraiser for the PAC that gave them money. (Seems that Sessions is in tight with casino and strip-club operators.)

Sessions’ fundraising PAC is called the “People for Enterprise/Trade/Econ Growth“, and here’s the FEC data for Bachmann ($2500) and Paulsen ($5000). Wonder how many other “family values” types got Pete Sessions’ stripper money?

Posted in 2008, Al Franken, hypocrites, Michele Bachmann, Norm Coleman, Republicans acting badly | Comments Off on Did Your GOP Legislator Take Pete Sessions’ Stripper Money?

Dolly Did Us A Favor

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 30, 2008

It looks like Dolly may have bought some extra time for the Gulf of Mexico’s marine life:

NEW ORLEANS – The oxygen-starved “dead zone” that forms every summer in the Gulf of Mexico is a bit smaller than predicted this year because Hurricane Dolly stirred up the water, a scientist reported Monday.

There is too little oxygen to support sea life for about 8,000 square miles — just under the record of 8,006 square miles recorded in 2001, said Nancy Rabalais, head of the head of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium.

“If it were not for Hurricane Dolly, the size of the Dead Zone would have been substantially larger,” she said in a news release sent from the consortium’s research vessel, the Pelican, as she returned from her annual mapping cruise. Rabalais measures the area during the same period each year.

This might not last long, however: Researchers fear that there may be extra farm runoff in the spring floodwaters coming down from the Mississippi. Time will tell.

Posted in climate change, environment, farming | 1 Comment »

War is ever so

Posted by Charles II on July 29, 2008

Robert Fisk, London Independent:

What happens when myths turn out to be true? I’m talking about the “myth” of the German army’s atrocities in little Belgium in 1914, the raped nuns and the babies spitted on Prussian bayonets. “Hun barbarism” was the powerful propaganda tool… But now, thanks to the analytical, brilliant, horrifying work of Alan Kramer, a history professor at my own alma mater of Trinity College, Dublin, it all turns out to be – well, let’s speak frankly – true.

He’s not the first to catalogue Germany’s war crimes in the 1914-18 conflict – Germany’s own academics got their hands on the military and political archives proving that the massacre of civilians in Belgium really happened at the start of the war – but Kramer has gone a stage further; he has traced an undeniable pattern of atrocities not only in Belgium but in First World War Italy and Russia too. The Nazis, it seems, were marching in the footsteps of earlier German war criminals….

After the massive Italian defeat at Caporetto… mass deportation of Italian civilians began, along with executions and deliberate starvation. The number of Italian deportee and PoW deaths – largely from maltreatment, but also massacre – reached 24,597. Some were dispatched to camps whose names – draw in your collective breath, O reader – were Mauthausen and Theresienstadt….

On the eastern front, 92,451 Russian prisoners died in German captivity. “They are not to be given water at first,” a 1914 German 8th Army order read. “While they are in the vicinity of the battlefield it is good for them to be in a broken physical condition.”

The lesson Fisk draws is that evil begets evil. But there’s another lesson: that war is always the same and, at best, a necessary evil. There are no good wars.

Posted in history | 3 Comments »

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