Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for March, 2011

Try talking to me

Posted by Charles II on March 31, 2011

Amy Klobuchar’s recent fundraising letter:

And though our nation has experienced turbulent times, no matter where I go, no matter who I talk to, Minnesotans overwhelmingly ask for one thing from their elected officials:

Put partisan politics aside, unite rather than divide, and JUST GET THINGS DONE.

My response to her:

I don’t want you to put partisan politics aside. I want you to be a Democrat. The only one-party states in this world are dictatorships.

Doesn’t anyone get this very basic point? This is what James Madison said in Federalist 10:

There are two methods of curing the mischiefs of faction: the one, by removing its causes; the other, by controlling its effects.

There are again two methods of removing the causes of faction: the one, by destroying the liberty which is essential to its existence; the other, by giving to every citizen the same opinions, the same passions, and the same interests.

It could never be more truly said than of the first remedy, that it was worse than the disease. Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires. But it could not be less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency.

The second expedient is as impracticable as the first would be unwise. As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed. As long as the connection subsists between his reason and his self-love, his opinions and his passions will have a reciprocal influence on each other; and the former will be objects to which the latter will attach themselves. The diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests. The protection of these faculties is the first object of government. From the protection of different and unequal faculties of acquiring property, the possession of different degrees and kinds of property immediately results; and from the influence of these on the sentiments and views of the respective proprietors, ensues a division of the society into different interests and parties….

We’re supposed to fight! If we don’t, we are not free!

Posted in Democrats | 2 Comments »

NBC Nightly News Won’t Mention Parent GE’s $0 Tax Dodge

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 31, 2011

File this under “Things That Do Not Surprise Me”:

In spite of robust profits of $14.2 billion worldwide, GE has calculated a corporate tax bill for 2010 that adds up to zero, via a creative series of tax referrals and revenue shifts.


The curious thing about this year’s tax story is that it turned up in many major news outlets, with one key exception: NBC News. As the Washington Post’s Paul Farhi notes, the network’s “Nightly News” broadcast, hosted by Brian Williams, has not mentioned anything about its corporate parent’s resourceful accounting, even though the story has been in wide circulation in the business and general-interest press for nearly a week.

Not surprising at all that GE/NBC would ignore this story. What is surprising is that other corporate news outlets are covering it; they usually try not to do overt digs at one another — a sort of “honor among thieves”, if you will.

Posted in 'starving the beast', (Rich) Taxpayers League, GOP/Media Complex, taxes | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »


Posted by MEC on March 30, 2011

The Independent reports that BP executives may face involuntary manslaughter charges for the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig.

Prosecutors may also be looking at perjury charges for testimony during the Congressional hearings.

This news doesn’t seem to have reached the so-called mainstream media in the U.S.

Posted in Oil | 3 Comments »

Scott Walker Does 180, Suddenly Backs Federal Money for High-Speed Rail

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 30, 2011

I think the English translation of this article is “Scott Walker fears getting his ass recalled next January”:

Less than four months after losing nearly all of an $810 million grant, Wisconsin is again seeking federal high-speed rail money – this time to upgrade the existing Milwaukee-to-Chicago passenger line.

Gov. Scott Walker’s administration will announce Tuesday that the state will seek at least $150 million to add equipment and facilities for Amtrak’s Hiawatha line.

The upgrades apparently would not increase the speed of the 79-mph line but could provide the capacity to increase the Hiawatha’s frequency from the current seven round trips daily.

In a bizarre twist, some of the money that Walker is now seeking originally was allocated for the Milwaukee-to-Madison route he previously turned down. That money is available because a fellow Republican governor rejected it, as well.

Too little too late, Dropout.

Posted in Republicans, rightwing moral cripples, transportation | Tagged: , , | 11 Comments »

For your edification

Posted by Charles II on March 29, 2011

As Eschaton demonstrates, many of the key debates in our country come down to economics and finance. Most Americans need to understand these better, and MercRising does its best to make sometimes complicated topics accessible.

In that spirit, we bring to you Richard D. Wolff, Professor of Economics Emeritus, U. Mass. Amherst (now at New School, NYC). This website includes a rich array of resources on left– actual left– economics. [Boilerplate disclaimer: linking a site does not mean I endorse everything the speaker says. It means I think that you can’t fully understand what is going on without including the speaker among your sources].

Almost no one in economics is asking the larger question of why Americans feel poorer, even though the statistics seem to say that the American family has held its own. Almost no one challenges the assumptions built in to our economic system. But we are coming up on (or are in) an economic crisis of proportions greater than we have ever faced, and we are going to have to resolve it. I think it’s at root a political crisis, brought about by an imbalance of power. Wolff proposes that the imbalance is inherently an economic and that our nation’s success was based on a shortage of labor, which forced employers to raise wages over many decades and therefore created a stable political system of fairly happy workers. The implications for how to fix the problem are very different if you believe that the problem is fundamentally economic than if you believe it is fundamentally political.

Wolff is one of the best and the brightest, well worth listening.

Posted in economy | Comments Off on For your edification

If you can help JP, please do so

Posted by Charles II on March 28, 2011

America should not be this way.

Posted in Good Causes | 2 Comments »

So How Did Gaddafi Become Bush’s Favorite Muslim?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 28, 2011

By promising to aid in the fight against Al Qaeda, that’s how. Which of course meant accepting Gaddafi’s definitions of “Al Qaeda”:

Ironically, the common thread running through Libya, bin Laden and the U.S. is the 1979-1988 Afghan war. Among the Arab volunteers were several thousand Libyans and in the early 1990s Libyan “Afghan vets” formed the shadowy Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG,) whose purpose was to overthrow Qadhafi and establish an Islamic state based on sharia law. The following year, they attempted to assassinate Qadhafi when an LIFG group led by Wadi al-Shateh threw a bomb beneath his motorcade. Qadhafi cracked down and many LIFG members fled to Europe and the Middle East. Another LIFG assassination attempt occurred in 1998 when Qadhafi’s motorcade was attacked. The West’s “master terrorist” was himself under terrorist attack.

However, 9/11 provided Qadhafi an opportunity to redeem himself by signing on to the war on terror. Indeed, Qadhafi was among the first to benefit; on September 25, 2001, President Bush signed an executive order freezing LIFG assets in the U.S., asserting that the group was planning attacks on America. The following month, senior administration officials went to Tripoli to meet with the head of Libya’s External Security Organization Musa Kusa, who handed over information on Libyans who had trained in al-Qaeda facilities, as well as the names of several Libyan militants living in the U.K. The gesture was reciprocated in December when the Bush administration added LIFG to its terrorism exclusion list.

In other words, LIFG’s primary mission is and always has been removing Gaddafi; they made their alliance with Al Qaeda in order to further that goal.

But really, why are so many people, especially those implacably opposed to aiding the rebels, focusing so tightly on the LIFG? Are the only dissident group in or out of Libya? Not by a long shot — there are over twenty that are known to exist.

In fact, the LIFG is not even the longtime recognized leader of the organized opposition to Gaddafi: That role belongs to, and has since 1981, the National Front for Salvation in Libya (NFSL), which is a decidedly secularist group. They also once were by far the best armed of the groups facing Gaddafi, and one of their members, former Libyan army colonel Khalifa Hifter, is now the head of military operations for the Libyan National Council, the rebels’ leadership group. And no, they’re not affilated with Al Qaeda.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Joe Bageant joins the communion of redneck saints

Posted by Charles II on March 28, 2011

Joe Bageant, who you undoubtedly read if you subscribed to the liberal news aggregators like ICH and Truthout, has died (via Par4 in comments at The Sideshow). He had the the peace and aplomb of the Christian thrown to the wild beasts, a situation that every Southern liberal instinctively understands, since it’s pretty much like dinner with the extended family. For example:

How can the region of America that gave us lynching, Jim Crow, Harry Byrd, George Wallace, Taliban Christianity, David Duke, the KKK, Bible hair, Tammy Fay Bakker, congregational snake handling, the poll tax, inbreeding, and chitterlings possibly take another step back down the stairs of human evolution? Beats the hell out of me. But somehow here in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia we have managed it.

Or this:

I escaped the Christian life over 40 years ago to eat LSD, consider Buddhism and let a couple of marriages go to hell. Eventually, to my family’s amazement and relief, I managed to come to rest with a far better woman than I deserve, two dogs and high enough blood pressure to keep me scared back a respectable distance from the scotch bottle.

Joe, a veteran, chose a life of poverty. He told the truth about class in America.

I don’t know what redneck saints have for communion, but I bet it doesn’t have a government tax stamp. For Joe Bageant, a life well lived: Hallelujah!

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Monday Morning Libya Update

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 28, 2011

— As I type this, word (as yet unconfirmed) is that Gaddafi’s hometown of Sirte has fallen to the rebels. If true, it’s looking like he doesn’t have much time left — or he’s running out of gold bars with which to pay his mercenaries.

Eman El-Obeidi’s mother and cousin speak about her, who they believe is still in Gaddafi’s custody even though she’s allegedly been released. Their story: She’s in her late twenties, an unmarried (and therefore still virgin) law student in Tripoli, and is originally from Tobruk. The government’s story: She’s a crazy drunk.

— The rebels, now that the air and much of the ground threat has been vanquished, are rolling along at breakneck speed, taking several key oil towns on their way to Sirte.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Gallup Poll: Bachmann Beating Pawlenty for 2012 GOP Nomination

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 27, 2011

The Republican field for 2012 is currently quite crowded, so much so that it’s difficult for any one candidate to break into double digits in Gallup’s polling of Republican primary voters. Huckabee is the current front-runner, but he only has 19%.

Meanwhile, that grinding sound you’re all hearing? Tim Pawlenty’s molars, turning themselves to a fine powder.

Here he is, having spent the better part of a decade systematically sucking up to GOP primary voters by affecting a Southern accent while he destroyed the State of Minnesota just to please them, and in the space of two months Bachmann blows right past him without even breaking a sweat. And she doesn’t even want the job — she’s doing this mainly to build up her connections to the religio-racist right and their wallets so she can be Tom DeLay without the looming prison term, but if she can kick sand in Gutshot Tim’s face and show him what a weakling he is, well, that’s just gravy as far as she’s concerned.

(Crossposted to Renaissance Post.)

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Gallup Poll: Bachmann Beating Pawlenty for 2012 GOP Nomination

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