Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for April 27th, 2011

The laaaaand of the free..

Posted by Charles II on April 27, 2011

In Alan West’s district, radio talk show personality Nicole Sandler was arrested and subjected to some pretty hard treatment for “trespassing” on her congressman’s town hall meeting. You can listen to her description here.

If we ever have a chance to reform America, it would be nice to create a justice system where people are genuinely treated as innocent until proven guilty. Sandler’s experience in jail was not at all atypical, and it is very, very wrong.

Posted in media, Republicans as cancer | Comments Off on The laaaaand of the free..

Those who make peaceful reimbursement impossible

Posted by Charles II on April 27, 2011

Via ql at Atrios’s dive, KTUU-TV (MSNBC) reports that:

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court gave corporations a major win Wednesday, ruling in a 5-4 decision that companies can block their disgruntled customers from joining together in a class-action lawsuit. The ruling arose from a California lawsuit involving cellphones, but it will have a nationwide impact.

In the past, consumers who bought a product or a service had been free to join a class-action lawsuit if they were dissatisfied or felt they had been cheated. By combining these small claims, they could bring a major lawsuit against a corporation.

But in Wednesday’s decision, the high court said that under the Federal Arbitration Act companies can force these disgruntled customers to arbitrate their complaints individually, not as part of a group. Consumer-rights advocates said this rule would spell the end for small claims involving products or services.

Breyer [dissenting] added that a ban on class actions would prevent lawyers from representing clients for small claims. “What rational lawyer would have signed on to represent the Concepcions in litigation for the possibility of fees stemming from a $30.22 claim?” he wrote. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined his dissent.

So, if companies cheat their customers for less than about $50,000 each (the approximate sum at issue that it takes to get a lawyer to represent you), no law applies and they’re home free. What do consumers have left to defend themselves? The five Justices who delivered this monstrosity are nothing better than criminals in black robes.

Posted in abuse of power, activist judges, Supreme Court, You're On Your Own-ership Society | 1 Comment »

We have seen the future, and it is Chinese

Posted by Charles II on April 27, 2011

Personally, I don’t like this design (my first thought is “dwarven lowrider”), but when there are hundreds of millions of potential consumers at stake, their tastes tend to influence what happens.

Buick Envision SUV
(from Future Transportation)

Via Patty Waldmeir, FT, in which we learn that China is the world’s largest car market. The really depressing part is that design is increasingly being done in China, meaning more good paying jobs are going overseas. And China is pressuring auto companies to launch indigenous brands, i.e. force them to accept half-ownership with local joint venture partners to keep the profits in China.

Waldmeir notes that the front of the car forms a smile. A predatory one, I would say.

Added: Michael Pettis has a good article, in which he notes that Chinese consumption is incredibly low. This keeps interest rates worldwide low, as well as keeps commodity prices from exploding, but of course means misery for the average Chinese. Situations liike this remind me of the end of Animal Farm.

Posted in China, industry, transportation | Comments Off on We have seen the future, and it is Chinese

The usual suspects

Posted by Charles II on April 27, 2011

You can watch Michael Moore, Glenn Greenwald, Amy Goodman, and Noam Chomsky online at 7PM Eastern on Friday. For now you can watch Jeremy Scahill.

All this assuming that your Internet Service Provider lets you. It’s not like what these people have to say are as important as Donald Trump.

ADDED: Bernie Sanders on Jon Stewart Wednesday, April 27th. That would be today.

Posted in media | Comments Off on The usual suspects

Obama to Birthers: “Reality is real. Get over it.”

Posted by MEC on April 27, 2011

President Obama has requested his official birth certificate from the Hawaii Department of Health, which has agreed to make an exception and provide a copy to him. Because, you know, the Birthers are not convinced by assurances from the Hawaii Department of Health that he really does have a birth certificate showing he was born in the United States, and he’s getting tired of the nonsense.

Or maybe Obama’s doing this because he knows that the Birthers won’t believe it. What he’s releasing is just a copy of the original birth certificate from the bound copy of birth records. So it’s not really the real birth certificate, and that means it’s a fake and Obama is a Kenyan.

Come to think of it, I won’t be the least surprised if the Birthers respond that Obama never sent those letters he claimed to fax to the Hawaii Department of Health requesting the certificate, and he made up the certificate himself. Or maybe he had Bill Ayers or Jeremiah Wright or George Soros or Karl Marx forge the certificate for him.

However they explain away the evidence, Birtherism will continue, because it’s not based in reality but in what the Birthers want to be real. And this nonsense will continue dragging down the Republican Party.

Gosh, what a shame.

The Birther nonsense has spread to the Michigan House of Representatives, where Republican Mike Callton has introduced a bill requiring presidential candidates to produce a birth certificate to get on the ballot. Calton claims he did not introduce this bill to continue the birther debate. Um, yeah. Whatever he says.

[Charles rudely butts in: And now Donald Trump has taken credit, saying, “I am really honored to play such a big role in hopefully, hopefully getting rid of this issue…Today I’m very proud of myself…” He still says it might be a forgery.

By 2016, on this trajectory, American elections will have degenerated to wet T-shirt contests and mud wrestling.]

[MEC replies: Unless Robert Heinlein was right about the 2012 election. Any of the Republican candidates could all too easily fill the role of Nehemiah Scudder.]

Posted in Uncategorized | 13 Comments »

GOP Under Attack for Attacking Medicare, Seniors

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 27, 2011

Just as Scott Walker and his fellow Wisconsin Republicans triggered a backlash when they attacked Wisconsin public and private-sector workers, unionized or not, the Republicans in Congress just tripped over a hornet’s nest when they let the masks slip a bit too soon on their anti-people agenda:

Representative Paul D. Ryan [R-WI], the architect of the Republican budget proposal, faced a packed town meeting, occasional boos and a skeptical audience as he tried to lay out his party’s rationale for overhauling the health insurance program for retirees.

In a church theater [in Fort Lauderdale, Florida] on Tuesday evening, a meeting between Representative Allen B. West and some of his constituents began on a chaotic note, with audience members quickly on their feet, some heckling him and others loudly defending him. “You’re not going to intimidate me,” Mr. West said. 

After 10 days of trying to sell constituents on their plan to overhaul Medicare, House Republicans in multiple districts appear to be increasingly on the defensive, facing worried and angry questions from voters and a barrage of new attacks from Democrats and their allies.

The proposed new approach to Medicare — a centerpiece of a budget that Republican leaders have hailed as a courageous effort to address the nation’s long-term fiscal problems — has been a constant topic at town-hall-style sessions and other public gatherings during a two-week Congressional recess that provided the first chance for lawmakers to gauge reaction to the plan.

An example of the response came Tuesday as Representative Daniel Webster, a freshman Republican from Florida, faced an unruly crowd at a packed town meeting in Orlando, where some people, apparently organized or encouraged by liberal groups, brandished signs saying “Hands Off Medicare” and demanded that he instead “tax the rich.”

Republicans are trying to hit back with a series of ads and robocalls — but curiously enough, the ads and robocalls don’t mention Paul Ryan’s granny-kicking, Medicare-killing budget. They’re also desperately trying to screen their town halls to keep out anyone who might give them anywhere near as hard a time as the orchestrated conservatives and Republicans who disrupted town halls last year and in 2009 gave Democratic congresscritters.

Posted in (Rich) Taxpayers League, 111th Congress | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on GOP Under Attack for Attacking Medicare, Seniors

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