Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for March 11th, 2011

So, when are the hearings on radicalization of Christians?

Posted by Charles II on March 11, 2011

Van Hipp, Fox News opinion:

The crux of the case made by opponents of Thursday’s [Muslim witchhunt] hearing is that it singles out one particular group and that terrorism in our country has many faces and origins. In fact, the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Mark Potok asserted just this week in a television interview that the U.S. faces a greater domestic terror threat from the radical right than radical Islam. Really?

Yeah, really! As in planning to cause as many as 30,000 deaths! That case occurred in Texas.

Congressman Peter King, who initiated these hearings was more emphatically wrong. He stated for a fact that the FBI had claimed that there was not one case in the last two years involving neo-Nazis, and that there was no equivalency between al Qaeda and right wing terrorists.

First, here’s some inconvenient reality for Mr. King and the hate spreaders:

Next, here’s just the latest refutation of King’s false claim that there isn’t any right wing terrorism.

Sam Friedman Fairbanks News-Miner:

Five people, including militia activist Schaeffer Cox, were arrested Thursday in the Fairbanks area for allegedly conspiring to kill multiple Alaska State Troopers and a federal judge.

The group had stockpiled weapons and conducted surveillance on the homes of two troopers, according to Alaska State Troopers. Some of the weapons known to be in the cache are prohibited by state or federal law, according to troopers.

In addition to Cox, those taken into custody are Lonnie and Karen Vernon of Salcha, Coleman Barney of North Pole and Michael Anderson, whose hometown was unclear. All were taken into custody without incident.

U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Beistline was the judge targeted, U.S. Attorney Karen Loeffler said.

Fairbanks Police Chief Laren Zager said earlier Thursday that the actions involved the Sovereign Citizen Movement…

The FBI describes the Sovereign Citizen Movement as a domestic terrorism group.

Members of the movement do not believe U.S. laws apply to them and sometimes make their own license plates or create their own legal trials, according to the FBI. A group of Fairbanks residents recently conducted their own trial of Cox at Denny’s Restaurant.

Cox has previously appeared as a public figure as gun rights activist and a legislative candidate. He unsuccessfully challenged Republican Rep. Mike Kelly in 2008.

He is a leader of the Alaska Peacemakers Militia and the Second Amendment Task Force. He has helped organize multiple gun-rights and personal freedoms rallies, including the 2009 “Freedom Fest” at the Carlson Center. Cox is a member of a “Liberty Bell network,” which sends out mass notifications to assemble a crowd of witnesses when a member believes his or her rights are being violated.

Posted in Islam, neo-Nazis, Republicans as cancer, rightwing moral cripples, terrorism | 6 Comments »

Remembering David Broder

Posted by Charles II on March 11, 2011

When people die, whether I agreed with them or not, I usually feel sadness and a moment of respect. In David Broder’s case, I am left with the feeling of waiting for the other shoe to drop. There was something occult–hidden–about this man, some secret that history is waiting to uncover. I suspect, without any hard evidence whatsoever, that he was an operative of the paranoid right. As this FAIR review of his life makes clear, he loved war, defended extremists like Robert Bork, said Clinton was worse than Nixon for having had an affair, applauded Palin and Gingrich, rooted for austerity in the midst of this recession, and otherwise said exactly what one would have expected from a centrist like David Koch. And yet, at least until the rise of the radical right to power in the mid-1990s, he masked this all in a colorless, good-government cloak. The unsigned FAIR review closes:

Looking back on Broder’s work, it’s clear that he did indeed have ideologically based opinions on many issues, generally inclined toward pushing our political culture to the right. That Broder succeeded in getting people to think of this ideology as a non-ideology is perhaps his most impressive accomplishment as a writer.

As apt as that description is, it’s more simply summed up in this way: Broder served as a propagandist for reaction.

Some day, when I find out who this man really was, I may feel a moment of sadness and respect for him. But not till that second shoe drops.

Posted in Media machine, mediawhores | 1 Comment »

Pro-democracy Politicians

Posted by MEC on March 11, 2011

Kudos to the Mahoning County commissioners for listening to their constituents.

The commission fired the law firm that had been representing the county in labor negotiations, because the firm supports the anti-union bill the Republicans are pushing through the Ohio legislature.

Posted in doing the right thing, unions | 1 Comment »

History: the most dangerous profession

Posted by Charles II on March 11, 2011

Berkeley’s Bancroft Library has an ambitious new project to tell the story of the American budget, how people of different ideologies have tried to rein in deficits, and how poorly those policies have performed. They have interviews with Republicans like Jim Miller, Michael Boskin, and David Walker and with Democrats like Tom Daschle and Alice Rivlin of CBO/OMB. This image summarizes it in a way that nothing else does. From the end of World War II until Ronald Reagan, debt as a fraction of GDP fell steadily. And then….

Berkeley's timeline of our national debt

Now, this is a more complicated story than Republicans good/Democrats bad. The more worrisome thing is that growth in the US has been declining steadily, and more and more of that growth is in areas that do not produce wealth such as the military and prisons. If American incomes were rising, cuts to entitlements might be endurable. Instead, because incomes of most people are stagnant (and because the wealthy are, to put it kindly, tightwads when it comes to charity), we are headed toward a state of either insurrection or social collapse.

Republicans like Jack “hope, growth, and opportunity” Kemp did present an alternative vision (however lacking in specifics), namely to improve growth. Indeed, Republican tax policy is based in the completely unwarranted idea that if you just give the rich and corporations more money, the economy will magically grow. In reality, growth has been subpar in most Republican Administrations. Under Reagan, growth was average, but at the cost of running up an enormous national debt. It’s not clear to me that Democrats with ideas like “educate people for jobs that don’t exist” or “reinventing (largely meaning privatizing) government” are much more capable of guiding this country… but, as the chart suggests, they are a lot less expensive to maintain.

Anyway, I recommend this site. Berkeley is clearly trying to let everyone tell their story. You can decide who to believe. I just wish they’d overlay the GDP, tax rate, and median family income on their chart, because those together tell a story of how a nation self-destructed.

And this is what makes history so dangerous. It allows you to think for yourself.

Posted in deficit, economy, taxes | 3 Comments »

Democracy? We don’t need no stinkin’ democracy!

Posted by MEC on March 11, 2011

The Michigan bill shifting the tax burden from businesses to poor and elderly people includes a $100 appropriation specifically because legislation that includes an expenditure cannot be repealed through a ballot referendum.

The Republicans are doing everything they can to prevent the voters from holding them accountable for their abuses.

Posted in Republicans as cancer | 3 Comments »

Public prayer

Posted by Charles II on March 11, 2011

For the safety of dear friends in Japan.

Japan, so many tragedies

Living in the valley of the shadow of death

One of the best features of James Clavell’s writing in Shogun is how it captured the sense of how impermanent life is, and how close death hovers to us in every moment, how people cope with this sense of dread by creating beauty and by striving for excellence.

Every day people wake up knowing that an earthquake of this magnitude can come any moment. And, since the main island is the size of the Eastern Seaboard, with most of the population within an area the size of southern Minnesota, that quake could wipe the entire country. As happened in 1923. One must be brave to live there.

Posted in Japan | 1 Comment »

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted by MEC on March 11, 2011

Posted in Alexander the Great, Friday Cat Blogging, Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

For once, Washington may do the right thing

Posted by Charles II on March 11, 2011

Libya presents American policy makers with a conundrum. In an ideal world, we wouldn’t care all that much who won the nascent civil war, because we wouldn’t be dependent on Middle Eastern oil. But in the world as it is, we can either overtly intervene, in which case we risk becoming as popular in Libya as we are in Iraq, or we can fail to intervene, in which case, Gaddafi (who has the money and the guns) will eventually crush the resistance.

But there’s a third way, which is to arm the rebels and let them fight on an equal footing with the dictator. That’s what the French did for us in the American revolution. The fact that we had to fight for our freedom, rather than have a benevolent outside nation give it to us, had the effect of forming the ties of trust and commitment among Americans that were necessary to get us through the factional and fractious early days of the nation. This approach can work, whenever we support a popular uprising against an unpopular dictator. It does not work when we arm unpopular Contras against an elected government, even if that government has tendencies toward caudillo-style governance.

Robert Fisk tells us that Washington is trying to arm the Libyan rebels, and failing because it doesn’t want to do so openly and because Saudi Arabia doesn’t want to serve as the intermediary this time. The downside is that if Saudi Arabia helps in arming the rebels, we couldn’t criticize the Saudis for their own repression. Since we won’t do anything serious to criticize them, no matter what, I don’t see that as much of a downside. While it’s sometimes hard to see an upside to civil war, the prospect of forming a government-in-training in the same manner as happened to us in our Revolution is an upside.

Let’s hope that the Administration succeeds in doing the right thing. Whenever I think of Obama, the phrase that comes to mind is I’d like to compliment you on your work. When will you begin?

Posted in Conflict in the Middle East | 7 Comments »

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