Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for December 4th, 2010

Potemkin nation

Posted by Charles II on December 4, 2010

Our country is rapidly turning into a fantasy factory. Retired CIA analyst Ray McGovern has the details on how the US government, using the NYT(*), tried to convince us that North Korea had sold a dangerous new missile to Iran. A few problems with the story:
– The missiles in question may be mockups rather than actual missiles. They have never been tested.
– There’s no evidence that the mockups/missiles have actually gone from North Korea to Iran.
– The Times emphasized that other Middle Eastern nations are alarmed by Iran, without noting that (a) this is a long-standing rivalry that splits down generally Sunni/Shia lines, and (b) the Middle Eastern nations are dictatorships whose citizens feel very differently about things (for which, see DemocracyNow)
– Lieberman has been pushing this alarmism for four years, following a briefing by Israel. So far, Europe is intact.
– The Americans mentioned in one Wikileaks cable cited a German Tabloid, Bild Zeitung, as their evidence for the existence of the missile. Bild Zeitung is probably not as unreliable as Weekly World News.
– In fact, Bild Zeitung only mentioned the sale of missile kits, not missiles.
– The Iranians, being a wildly inefficient authoritarian state under blockade, has yet to produce a missile capable of traveling 2000 km. Western Europe is more like 3000 km. It’s doubtful anyone except the Bulgarians would care if they launched a missile against Bulgaria.

If we are relying on tabloids for our intelligence, and panicking about mockups, what is left of the extraordinary nation established by the Founders? It’s quickly becoming a sham–a Potemkin nation– which relies on manipulating what Americans can see and hear in order to command their obedience.
(*) It’s my read that the USG is behind this propaganda effort. McGovern does not say this explicitly, but if one assumes that the narrative arises from a single source, the logical source is the USG. I also added the comment that the populations of Middle Eastern nations are not concerned by Iran.


Posted in Iran, israel, liars, nukes | Comments Off on Potemkin nation

Want To See The Challenged Ballots In MN-GOV For Yourself?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 4, 2010

Here they are:

Thanks, Mark Ritchie, for allowing us to see what a jerk Tom Emmer is being.

Posted in 2010, Minnesota | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

The Fiscal Blockade: Wikileaks’ Ultimate Target

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 4, 2010

Julian Assange did a live Q&A session at the Guardian yesterday.  The transcript is right here.

Here’s a key sample therefrom:

Q. tburgi:

Western governments lay claim to moral authority in part from having legal guarantees for a free press.  Threats of legal sanction against Wikileaks and yourself seem to weaken this claim.

(What press needs to be protected except that which is unpopular to the State? If being state-sanctioned is the test for being a media organization, and therefore able to claim rights to press freedom, the situation appears to be the same in authoritarian regimes and the west.)

Do you agree that western governments risk losing moral authority by attacking Wikileaks?  Do you believe western goverments have any moral authority to begin with?

A. Julian Assange:

The west has fiscalised its basic power relationships through a web of contracts, loans, shareholdings, bank holdings and so on. In such an environment it is easy for speech to be “free” because a change in political will rarely leads to any change in these basic instruments. Western speech, as something that rarely has any effect on power, is, like badgers and birds, free.

In states like China, there is pervasive censorship, because speech still has power and power is scared of it. We should always look at censorship as an economic signal that reveals the potential power of speech in that jurisdiction. The attacks against us by the US point to a great hope, speech powerful enough to break the fiscal blockade.

Posted in abuse of power, big money, corruption, crimes | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »