Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for September, 2010

Find out if your member of Congress wants to give tax cuts to the rich

Posted by Charles II on September 30, 2010

Also via Avedon. In a letter from Democrats to Nancy Pelosi, they advocate cutting taxes on dividends and capital gains, which disproportionately benefit the very wealthiest people.

These people are not intelligent enough to be in Congress.

Posted in Democrats, eedjits, taxes | 1 Comment »

The cup that makes men stagger

Posted by Charles II on September 30, 2010

This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, said to me: “Take from my hand this cup filled with the wine of my wrath and make all the nations to whom I send you drink it.When they drink it, they will stagger and go mad because of the sword I will send among them.” (–Jeremiah 25)

Truly the United States has imbibed the cup that causes madness.

Avedon finds so many good links, and I can only post a few. Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone, “Tea and Crackers”:

“Let me get this straight,” I say to David. “You’ve been picking up a check from the government for decades, as a tax assessor, and your wife is on Medicare. How can you complain about the welfare state?”

“Well,” he says, “there’s a lot of people on welfare who don’t deserve it. Too many people are living off the government.”

“But,” I protest, “you live off the government. And have been your whole life!”

“Yeah,” he says, “but I don’t make very much.”…

Early in his campaign, Dr. [Rand] Paul, the son of the uncompromising libertarian hero Ron Paul, denounced Medicare as “socialized medicine.” But this spring, when confronted with the idea of reducing Medicare payments to doctors like himself — half of his patients are on Medicare — he balked. This candidate, a man ostensibly so against government power in all its forms that he wants to gut the Americans With Disabilities Act and abolish the departments of Education and Energy, was unwilling to reduce his own government compensation, for a very logical reason. “Physicians,” he said, “should be allowed to make a comfortable living.”…

This second-generation Tea Party came into being a month after Barack Obama moved into the Oval Office, when CNBC windbag Rick Santelli went on the air to denounce one of Obama’s bailout programs and called for “tea parties” to protest. The impetus for Santelli’s rant wasn’t the billions in taxpayer money being spent to prop up the bad mortgage debts and unsecured derivatives losses of irresponsible investors like Goldman Sachs and AIG — massive government bailouts supported, incidentally, by Sarah Palin and many other prominent Republicans. No, what had Santelli all worked up was Obama’s “Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan,” a $75 billion program less than a hundredth the size of all the bank bailouts. This was one of the few bailout programs designed to directly benefit individual victims of the financial crisis; the money went to homeowners, many of whom were minorities, who were close to foreclosure….

It would be inaccurate to say the Tea Partiers are racists. What they are, in truth, are narcissists. They’re completely blind to how offensive the very nature of their rhetoric is to the rest of the country. I’m an ordinary middle-aged guy who pays taxes and lives in the suburbs with his wife and dog — and I’m a radical communist? I don’t love my country? I’m a redcoat? [****] you!

Ironically, Taibbi missed one of the most important stories, namely the candidacy of Tom Metzger for Congress. He’s part of noted by the Tea Party though not in a way that suggests they want him elected. [ed:thanks to Tom Metzger for the correction]. From WANE:

He’s led the Ku Klux Klan, and founded his own white supremacist group. Now, Tom Metzger wants to add “congressman” to his controversial resume. The Warsaw, Indiana native is campaigning for the Third District Congressional seat held by Mark Souder .

“You got to have radical, independent people, going for power, that’s what you need,” said Tom Metzger. “I’m not running saying I got to win, I’m running saying I want change.”

The 71-year-old former KKK Grand Dragon and founder of the White Aryan Resistance has launched a campaign as a write-in candidate. He advertised his candidacy with a small ad in the Warsaw-Times Union Newspaper. It urged people frustrated with “the Republicrats” to “send them a real message.” The seven-line ad concluded with “Write in Thomas L. Metzger for Souder’s job, 3rd District.”

Posted in Flying Monkey Right, hypocrites, Tea Party | 10 Comments »

So When’s Andrew Breitbart Going To Sue The Anchoress?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on September 30, 2010

As most of you know by now, James O’Keefe — the guy who is currently on three years’ probation for wiretapping the office of a cute female Senator, Mary Landrieu, and whose creatively and deceptively-edited anti-ACORN hit jobs were heavily promoted throughout the conservative blogworld by Andrew Breitbart — is in trouble again:

A conservative activist known for making undercover videos plotted to embarrass a CNN correspondent by recording a meeting on hidden cameras aboard a floating “palace of pleasure” and making sexually suggestive comments, e-mails and a planning document show.

James O’Keefe, best known for hitting the community organizing group ACORN with an undercover video sting, hoped to get CNN Investigative Correspondent Abbie Boudreau onto a boat filled with sexually explicit props and then record the session, those documents show.

[…]

O’Keefe called Boudreau on August 10. During the conversation, he said he preferred that Boudreau meet him in person in Maryland and asked that she come alone.

“I just want to talk,” O’Keefe told Boudreau on the phone. “I just want to have a, you know, meeting with you, and talk to you face to face about this. Because, I don’t, I feel sort of, let’s just say reserved about, about letting people into my sort of inner sanctum, about letting, letting people sort of take a glimpse into, into, behind the scenes, so that’s why you know, I just feel more comfortable if it was just me and you and we just had a face-to-face meeting before I agree to, to let you guys come out and shoot the video shoot out there.”

[…]

“Getting Closer,” the e-mail states. “Audio attached conversation with Abbie. What do you think of her reaction guys. She said she could do it Monday, Tuesday. Ben, you think I could get her on the boat?”

Most of the right-wing part of the blogosphere and media is avoiding this like vampires avoid sunlight. The two big exceptions: Brent Bozell, who immediately stepped forward to condemn O’Keefe’s scuzzy behavior, and Andrew Breitbart, who immediately tried to change the subject. When Oliver Willis mentioned O’Keefe and Breitbart being on the same “crew”, Breitbart had a Twitter meltdown and threatened a libel lawsuit — though, as Instaputz notes, conservative blogger The Anchoress has also described Breitbart and O’Keefe as being on the same “crew”, as this screen shot of part of an Anchoress post from September 15, 2009 shows:

So when will Andrew Breitbart threaten to sue The Anchoress?

Posted in media, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer, rightwing moral cripples | Tagged: , , , | 8 Comments »

Honduran dictatorship, day 263

Posted by Charles II on September 29, 2010

I have simply been too busy to aggregate Honduran news. However, this is such a serious development that it demands comment. Some of the people who have been targeted were (among many other causes) involved in opposing the Honduran dictatorship.

It was inevitable that if we Americans did nothing to confront the repression in Honduras and elsewhere, the repression would visit our shores. The recent FBI raid on anti-war/social justice activists does not appear to be substantiated by any genuine threat to the security and safety of American citizens. It is laughable to imagine that these people could be supplying to terrorists actual material support—guns, ammunition, explosives—though they may have talked to or even advised people from FARC or Hamas. If that’s what this raid is based on, it’s an abuse of the term “material support.” A suspicious mind might guess that a more likely motive for the raid is that a number of these people protested at the 2008 RNC.

Former FBI agent Coleen Rowley:

Well, I can’t really detail all of the legal factors that have changed since 9/11, but there simply has been a sea change. For instance, when I taught constitutional rights in the FBI, one of the main top priorities was First Amendment rights. And while this is not the first time that you’ve seen this Orwellian turn of the war on terror onto domestic peace groups and social justice groups—actually, we had that begin very quickly after 9/11, and there were legal opinions, Office of Legal Counsel opinions, that said the First Amendment no longer controls the war on terror—but even so, this is shocking and alarming that at this point we have the, you know, humanitarian advocacy now being treated as somehow material support to terrorists.

We’ve also just seen, ironically, four days before this national raid, we saw the Department of Justice Inspector General issue a report that soundly criticized the FBI for four years of targeting domestic groups such as Greenpeace, the Thomas Merton Center in Pittsburgh, different antiwar rallies, even involving a finding that the FBI director had given them a falsehood to Congress as to the justification for the FBI to monitor a peace group.

Listen to Coleen Rowley. No question that FARC and HAMAS earned their place on the State Department list. If anyone sends them weapons or gives them money in amounts that allows them to buy weapons, that deserves punishment. But just as clearly, Americans cannot both be afraid to speak to foreigners and have a democracy. In the old Soviet Union, the excuse for keeping people from talking to foreigners was that they might be spies. Maybe some of them were. But the consequences of instilling fear for speaking are far more serious than any consequence of the speech itself.

Meanwhile in Honduras, the abuses pile up. Via Adrienne, according to reporting by Jesse Freeston, the police attacked a peaceful demonstration in San Pedro Sula. One of their main targets was the instruments of the musicians playing at the rally.

This is the sort of “freedom” we are defending by propping up the dictatorship: the freedom of the police to shut people up.

Posted in abuse of power, FBI, Honduras, terrorism, wrong way to go about it | 1 Comment »

Here’s Another One For Mr. Hanes

Posted by Phoenix Woman on September 28, 2010

This is Lake Alice, in William O’Brien State Park, just north of Marine on St. Croix.

Eat your heart out, dear.

Posted in Minnesota | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

God Bless Stephen Colbert

Posted by Phoenix Woman on September 27, 2010

It took a professional entertainer, appearing in character, to get our press to wrench itself away from Lindsay Lohan for a brief moment and produce this article:

VISALIA, Calif. — As the economy tanked during the past two years, a debate has raged over whether immigrants are taking jobs that Americans want. Here, amid the sweltering vineyards of the largest farm state, the answer is no.

Most Americans simply don’t apply for jobs harvesting fruits and vegetables in California, where one of every eight people is out of work, according to government data for a federal seasonal farmworker program analyzed by The Associated Press.

And the few unemployed Americans who apply through official channels usually don’t stay on in the fields, a point comedian Stephen Colbert — dressed as a field hand — has alluded to in recent broadcasts on Comedy Central.

“It’s just not something that most Americans are going to pack up their bags and move here to do,” said farmer Steve Fortin, who pays $10.25 an hour to foreign workers to trim strawberry plants for six weeks each summer at his nursery near the Nevada border. He has spent $3,000 this year ensuring domestic workers have first dibs on his jobs in the sparsely populated stretch of the state, advertising in newspapers and on an electronic job registry.

But he hasn’t had any takers, and only one farmer in the state hired anyone using a little-known, little-used program to hire foreign farmworkers the legal way — by applying for guest worker visas.

Funny how Steny Hoyer didn’t mention any of this when he went on FOX News the other day to blast Colbert.

Posted in immigration | 10 Comments »

Things Found En Route To Looking Up Other Things

Posted by Phoenix Woman on September 27, 2010

— The Marine Corps, the point of the Pentagon’s spear, are deploying solar-powered generators for field use and switching over to LED lighting where they can. This is both to help achieve the Pentagon’s overall goal of a 10% reduction in greenhouse gases, and to reduce the amount of fuel needed to run a forward operation; it currently costs between $300 and $400 per gallon to get fuel to the front lines, and each troop uses the equivalent of 22 gallons a day. Cutting those costs and making the front lines less dependent on long and delicate jugular veins is a top priority.

People under 30 aren’t following the news as much as are their elders. That’s my big takeaway from this Pew report.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Voting For Dayton And Sanity

Posted by Phoenix Woman on September 27, 2010

The latest StarTribune Minnesota Poll is good news for Mark Dayton, the State of Minnesota, and sane, moral people everywhere:

Five weeks before Minnesotans elect a new governor, DFL candidate Mark Dayton leads GOP rival Tom Emmer among likely voters, with Independence Party candidate Tom Horner gaining ground, a Star Tribune Minnesota Poll has found.

In the three-way race, Dayton leads Emmer 39 to 30 percent, nearly unchanged from a July Minnesota Poll. Horner is at 18 percent, up from 13 percent in July.

[…]

Horner’s improved showing appears to be the result of winning over some voters who recently made up their minds. But his support is significantly softer than that of his opponents, with only 2 percent of likely voters saying their support for Horner is strong.

Tom Horner is a former (?) Republican who advocates dealing with the state deficit by raising taxes using regressive methods — taxing clothing, for example — that hit the poor and middle-class harder than they do the rich. Mark Dayton, on the other hand, advocates raising taxes on the rich, that class that has made out like bandits even as the rest of us have been lucky to tread water.

Since Horner’s tax stance won’t win him any friends among Republican voters, the assumption is that he’s not going to be peeling voters from Emmer, but from Dayton. This is borne out by poll results showing that in a two-way race without Horner, Dayton holds a 49-38 edge over Emmer.

The Republicans have been attacking Dayton with his past history of alcohol problems, which they are generally careful to mention obliquely. The reasons they can’t come right out and scream “Dayton’s an alkie!” are twofold:

1) The Emmer campaign’s own problems with alcohol, and not just Emmer’s two DUIs, his subsequent efforts to change Minnesota’s DUI laws, or his son’s acting out whilst drinking — the first two Emmer campaign managers have both been busted for DUIs in recent months, the second one (Mark Buesgens) caught with an open bottle of vodka in the front seat after running his vehicle off the road and nearly into a corn field; and

2) the fact that Dayton has admitted to having a problem and has sought treatment for it, whereas there’s no indication that the Emmers or their friends are all that willing even to admit they have problems with booze, much less do anything constructive about it.

However, don’t expect the Republicans or their allies like 3M (which recently donated $100,000 to MN Forward, a de facto media shop for Tom Emmer) to let up one little bit. Mark Dayton’s going to need lots of help to fight off the forces of greed and evil. We have five weeks to go.

Posted in 2010, Minnesota | Tagged: | Comments Off on Voting For Dayton And Sanity

Unemployment is not structural

Posted by Charles II on September 26, 2010

Via Atrios, Krugman links a very important report refuting the claims by people who should know better that the reason that unemployment is high is because people don’t have the right skills. This is nonsense.

In the parlance, if the reason that unemployment was high was lack of skills, it would be structural, i.e., nothing we can do about it in the short term, just part of the structure of the economy. The actual problem is that there are no jobs. Perhaps the strongest piece of evidence (which EPI unfortunately buries): “There have been between five and six unemployed for every job opening (the job seeker ratio) since mid-2009, suggesting a shortage of jobs.”

“Suggesting?” C’mon, guys.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Clean up the Senate

Posted by Charles II on September 26, 2010

Michael Tomasky:

The second route [to reform of the Senate; as opposed to getting 67 votes] is championed by New Mexico Senator Tom Udall, who calls it “the Constitutional option.” Normally every odd-year January when Congress reconvenes, the House of Representatives declares itself a new body and must vote to readopt its rules; the Senate, however, declares itself a “continuing body,” simply rolling its rules over to the current term (not without justification, since two thirds of senators in any new Congress are not new). Udall wants the Senate to declare itself a new body next January. As such a body, it could change its rules by simple majority vote. Senate scholars appear to believe this is within the rules.

This is all the Senate needs to do to become functional again. Yes, it means that when Republicans gain control, they will be able to tamper with the rules. But as a nation we need to get through the next two years, and it’s not entirely clear we will if the abuse of the filibuster is allowed to continue.

The alternative may well be that the People put an end to this nonsense by declaring the Second Republic. This is, like the People, messy. But this country is heading toward insolvency. In that day, a lot of things that look ridiculous now will suddenly seem very practical. Let’s hope that the Democrats understand just how close to the brink to which they have let the Republicans push this nation.

Posted in abuse of power, Democrats, Republicans acting badly, Senate | Comments Off on Clean up the Senate

 
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