Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for July 29th, 2008

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 »

Go, fish! Or, catch as cats can

Posted by Charles II on July 29, 2008

This one’s for MEC:

Cat Playing Cards

Cat Playing Cards

Posted in guest cats | 2 Comments »

That Flopping Sound You Hear

Posted by MEC on July 29, 2008

…is John McCain doing a 180 again. And probably doing his campaign a world of hurt in the process.

McCain backs off his no-new-tax pledge

McCain has “signalled” that he may be willing to raise the payroll tax for Social Security, after repeatedly stating that he won’t raise taxes — indeed, after contrasting himself with Barack Obama by accusing Obama of planning to raise taxes.

We’ve seen this movie before. It ended badly for the Republican candidate, as I recall.

Posted in John McCain, taxes | 5 Comments »

The relativity of “mental disorder”

Posted by Charles II on July 29, 2008

Avedon Carol brings to attention this article from The Knoxville News Sentinel on the fellow who went into a church and murdered Unitarians:

Police found right-wing political books, brass knuckles, empty shotgun shell boxes and a handgun in the Powell home of a man who said he attacked a church in order to kill liberals “who are ruining the country,” court records show….

Inside the house, officers found “Liberalism is a Mental Health Disorder” by radio talk show host Michael Savage, “Let Freedom Ring” by talk show host Sean Hannity, and “The O’Reilly Factor,” by television talk show host Bill O’Reilly.

Posted in Republicans as cancer | 1 Comment »

A Portrait of Ted Stevens in Orange

Posted by Charles II on July 29, 2008

Dow Jones

The Department of Justice will announce charges against Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens in a news conference Tuesday scheduled at 1:20 p.m. EDT, Fox News reported. Stevens, a Republican who has been under investigation in a bribery and corruption scandal, has been indicted on seven charges, according to sources.

Posted in corruption, Republicans acting badly | 1 Comment »

Thaw In Iran?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 29, 2008

Could be. This was on DKos yesterday morning:

Brian Williams is scooping himself this morning on Morning Joe, summarizing his interview with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. What he’s saying isn’t very detailed, but if you listen carefully, there may be a real victory for Obama (believe it or not) in what happened yesterday.

Here’s the link to the preview.

Posted in 2008, Barack Obama, BushCo malfeasance, Iran, John McCain, nukes | Comments Off on Thaw In Iran?

But But But The Profit Motive Is The Only Reason To Do ANYTHING!

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 29, 2008

Even after years of Republican efforts to sabotage the public school system in Minnesota, it still outperforms the heavily-protected charter school experiment, as even one of its boosters is forced to admit (h/t Spotty):

The Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) made news when it released a new report on charter schools in Minnesota. (The June 2008 report, simply titled “Charter Schools,” is available at

The finding that got pundits and journalists talking is the conclusion that students in charter schools “generally did not perform as well on standardized academic measures as students in Minnesota district schools.”

As Spotty says:

Let’s be direct, boys and girls, people like John, Sticks and Davey Strom, perhaps the Snap, Crackle, and Pop over at the box of puffed cereal known as the Minnesota Free Market Institute, won’t be happy until they have entirely wrecked the institution of public education.

Minnesota’s not the only place where charter schools have been falling flat, financially as well as academically. Arizona’s charter schools have at best a checkered history, as most recently shown by three schools in Gilbert and Mesa nearly losing accreditation. (Of course, the main proponent for charter schools in Arizona, Lisa Graham Keegan, is also John McCain’s chief education advisor.)

The biggest disaster of all was the much-ballyhooed Edison School project of Chris Whittle, adopted and then dropped in places like New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco. It would have gone belly-up in 2002, had it actually not been given serious political protection of the sort that a free-market enterprise is not supposed to need; it finally breathed its last just last week, having been on life support for several years before that:
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 'starving the beast', (Rich) Taxpayers League, abuse of power, capitalism as cancer, children, education, eedjits, Republicans acting badly, rightwing moral cripples | 5 Comments »

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