Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for June, 2011

Wonder what Morton Halperin is saying now

Posted by Charles II on June 30, 2011

Probably everyone except me has forgotten this post, even PhoenixWoman, and she wrote it. Look in the comments.

Now that Mark Halperin has outed himself as a juvenile and, I think, a partisan masquerading as a journalist, I wonder whether his father, Morton Halperin, still thinks that Mark is elevating the family name. I admired Morton. I will never think of Mark as more than a blot on his father’s good name.

Can anyone provide an alternative explanation to the facts other than that Halperin wanted to call the president a name and have it bleeped out so that no one could tell exactly how bad the word was?

Posted in Media machine | 1 Comment »

Moral Incoherence, Cognitive Dissonance

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 30, 2011

“Evil deeds do not make an evil person. Otherwise we would all be evil. If evil people cannot be defined by the illegality of their deeds or the magnitude of their sins, then how are we to define them? The answer is by the consistency of their sins. While usually subtle, their destructiveness is remarkably consistent. This is because those who have “crossed over the line” are characterized by their absolute refusal to tolerate the sense of their own sinfulness.”

— M. Scott Peck, “People of the Lie”

Today I had the experience of seeing someone who up until two weeks ago I’d thought of as incorruptible tell an ignoble, pathetic lie even as the evidence exposing the lie was there for all to see. The lie involved pretending that this person did not commit certain reprehensible actions which were recorded, in black and white, at the start of the discussion.

The sadder thing is that even without the evidence in black and white, I had other evidence to hand showing that the lie was a lie — evidence the person who made the lie and the initial actions denied by the lie doesn’t know I possess.

The person in question knows that the lie and the actions it denied were wrong, and that the position this person is promoting is morally indefensible. Which would explain why this person ran away from the discussion, and in fact the list holding it, rather than continue to defend what this person knows to be wrong. In a way, that’s a good sign: If the person were truly evil, there would have been an attempt to brazen it out.

Posted in evil, heroes, hissy kabuki, hypocrites, liars | 1 Comment »

Robert Samuelson Wants You to Starve, Unless You’re In His Tax Bracket

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 30, 2011

Hard to draw any other conclusion when he absolutely refuses to consider raising taxes on the rich as a way to deal with the deficit and blatantly sides with the Republicans:

>> The truth is that most liberals have no stomach for cutting spending, especially on the Social Security and Medicare programs that dominate the nation’s long-term budget problems. There’s a legitimate argument over the size and timing of spending cuts. It may well be, as the letter [signed by 235 economists urging that the budget not be balanced by slashing social spending] contends, that too many cuts too soon would imperil a “fragile” economic recovery. But the letter doesn’t say one word about *ever* cutting spending; it doesn’t mention that huge long-term budget deficits might pose an economic threat (a position held by many economists); it doesn’t suggest that Social Security and Medicare benefits might have to be curbed.

Samuelson correctly mentions out that the 235 economists did not say certain things. What he doesn’t mention is that these things are are not true, even though he assumes they are true — or rather, wants these things to be true. Therefore, he concludes, the fact the 235 economists didn’t mention those untrue thngs is a sign of how irresponsible Democrats are on spending.

In other news, scientists are irresponsibly covering up the existence of a vast subterranean world full of barbaric mole men plotting to take over the surface world. I know this because none of them ever mention it — or so Samuelson would say.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

P–s off the conservatives: Norman Solomon runs for Congress

Posted by Charles II on June 29, 2011

People often complain about the Democrats, that they are all in the pocket of corporate America. Well, Norman Solomon is running to replace the retiring Lynn Woolsey. He’s served on the California Democratic Central Committee, so he knows how to talk to the regulars without being one himself. The district will favor a candidate of his opinions.

So, if you can’t help Obama, fine. Help Solomon. If nothing else, it will p–s off the conservatives.

Posted in Democrats with spines | 3 Comments »

Honduran dictatorship, day 539

Posted by Charles II on June 29, 2011

I have felt discouraged about continuing to cover Honduras and, since there’s no shortage of other things to do, have let it lapse for almost a month. But Adrienne’s vivid reporting and unflagging spirits are a bit of an inspiration and I had to laugh when I read her description of the protests at the airbase that is nominally Honduran (i.e., Palmerola), but dominated by the US (which designates it Soto Cano):

Luckily, the police surprised even themselves with their violence. They weren’t wearing masks when they set off the teargas canisters, so everyone ended up scattering in all directions, and the various youths who had gotten beaten trying to help the first victim all escaped back into the crowd, where they were protected. Despite their wounds, they seemed energized by the escape, and jumped up and down making ape noises (mocking the brute force of the police and army, who are frequently caricatured as gorillas). When we arrived at the base entrance itself, we were met by over a hundred police and soldiers, all Honduran. It was a PR decision to maintain the fiction of Palmerola being Honduran sovereign territory, belied by all the traffic signs in English (and the fact that hundreds, if not thousands, of U.S. troops are stationed there, and U.S. taxpayers are funding new permanent barracks to be built for the DoD to the tune of 20 million dollars). When the AFGJ delegation asked to enter the base, they were informed by the Honduran military man in charge that no such base existed. He just didn’t know what they were talking about. (¿Donde está la base? [Where’s the base?] asked Félix Molina. Pues no sé [Gee, I dunno], the commander responded) It was the height of absurdity.

She links this film. The organizers talk about how they have solidarity from all over Latin America and even a few gringos. In the end, you can see a Honduran commander dissemble about where the base is:

Posted in Honduras, Latin America | Comments Off on Honduran dictatorship, day 539

We are all hibakusha (被爆者) now, American version, part 2/updated

Posted by Charles II on June 28, 2011

DemocracyNow covered the situation in Los Alamos, New Mexico, where a fire is burning within three miles of the laboratory, and within a half a mile of large amounts of low-level waste that is being stored preparatory to transportation to the Waste Isolation Pilot facility (WIPP), where it sits below the Rustler Aquifer (specifically, the Culebra Aquifer; see here and here for full details) and West Texas’ water supply. Los Alamos is the center of plutonium processing for nuclear triggers (PITS). Fire has “spotted” (leaped) into the lab area, but without spreading. If the lab were to burn, large amounts of plutonium would be spread over the West, and probably the world. One microgram of plutonium, if inhaled, is enough to cause cancer.

Nothing to see here, folks. Nuclear technology is safe. Move along.

(also posted to FDL)
Update: At FDL, commenter Liz linked two posts (one, two) regarding Pantex, which was handling PITS, that are worth reading. Some excerpts from their sources. Here’s POGO:

For example, in 2004, while a W56 warhead – which, at 1200 kilotons (or 100 times the yield of a Hiroshima bomb), is one of the largest missile-launched warheads in our stockpile – was being disassembled, a crack was discovered in the high explosive (HE). Technicians used the equivalent of duct tape to hold the cracked high explosive together.

Then, from Liz:

One such group is an evangelical Christian hate group called Repent Amarillo. They are in the business of threatening and intimating the citizens of Amarillo, Texas who disagree with their narrow restricted viewpoint of God. As you can see from their moniker above, they model themselves after a militia. Their targets include liberal Christians, Muslims, environmentalists, and even breast cancer events such as “The Race for the Cure”.

The group is associated with Raven Ministries and its leader is David Grisham, a security guard at Pantex, a nuclear-bomb facility in Amarillo….

Liz says, at FDL that “David attempted to burn a Koran last year in Amarillo, but a local skateboarder breezed by and grabbed it out of his hands.”

Posted in nukes | 5 Comments »

The crazy just masks the corrupt: the full story of Michele Bachmann

Posted by Charles II on June 28, 2011

DemocracyNow! carried an extremely good segment on Michele Bachmann. It featured blogger Karl Bremer of Ripple in Stillwater, and Michelle Goldberg (ex-Salon, now with The Daily Beast) who praised the MinnBloggers.

While Matt Taibbi emphasized the crazy, and sometimes got it wrong, this segment emphasized the corruption, the hypocrisy, and the ties to totalitarian (theocratic) groups. Bachmann’s major funders include many members of an organization called Alliance for the Separation of School and State, a fact pieced together by Bremer. Bremer has also proven that Bachmann is lying when she claims that she has not profited from federal subsidies to her father-in-law’s farm. As Bremer said, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune has utterly failed as a journalistic enterprise, meekly accepting Bachmann’s lying denials rather than doing shoe leather journalism.

Congratulations, MinnBloggers! Arise and shine, for your good work has become known!

Posted in corruption, liars, media, Media machine, Michele Bachmann, Minnesota | 1 Comment »

More Proof GOP Wants US to Fail: Eric Cantor Shorts T-Bills

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 27, 2011

Led by their Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Congressional Republicans staged a temper tantrum last week — rather like the one Minnesota Congressional Republicans staged today by bailing on state budget talks — when they walked out of budget negotiations in order to please their corporate/Bircher tax-hating Southern Strategist base. This has renewed the decades-long debate, which was most famously fueled in recent times by Rush Limbaugh’s comments in April of 2009, concerning whether Republicans want America to fail so they could profit from its failure, either in votes or in cold hard cash.

And now we have more evidence that the Republicans who have the most influence over whether America lives or dies are in fact betting on its failure:

The Wall Street Journal reported the other day (here it is, but it’s behind a paywall) that as of his last disclosure form, House Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor owned shares in a mutual fund that is short long-dated U.S. Treasury bonds. He is, in other words, betting that interest rates will rise, and hoping to make money off the fall in prices that would cause. (For my ancient primer on why bond prices fall when interest rates rise, see here .)

Per the WSJ, Cantor had up to $15,000 worth of shares in this fund.

That’s right: Eric Cantor, a man who has more control than all but a handful of other similarly-powerful men over whether the U.S. defaults on its debts by blocking an increase in the debt ceiling, would profit from this personally as interest rates would spike and prices would drop drastically. Even feeding the fear that this might occur could cause milder panics — and in fact has contributed to the recent huge losses the stock market has sustained.

How can this be legal? At all? Or is it, once again, perfectly okay so long as you’re a Republican?

(Crossposted to Renaissance Post.)

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

We are all hibakusha (被爆者) now, American version

Posted by Charles II on June 27, 2011

“Hibakusha” means “explosion-affected people” and refers to the survivors of the atomic blasts at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Recently, I used it to characterize the effects of the Fukushima nuclear power plant meltdowns, which I accurately predicted (not online) were much more serious than we were being led to believe.

Now the tragedy is coming home to America, where everything downstream of Omaha is at risk.

AThe Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station turned to diesel-powered generators Sunday after disconnecting from the main grid because of rising floodwaters.

That move came after water surrounded several buildings when a water-filled floodwall collapsed.

The plant, about 19 miles north of Omaha, remains safe, Omaha Public Power District officials said Sunday afternoon.

Sunday’s event offers even more evidence that the relentlessly rising Missouri River is testing the flood worthiness of an American nuclear power plant like never before. The now-idle plant has become an island. And unlike other plants in the past, Fort Calhoun faces months of flooding.

Floodwater surrounded the nuclear plant’s main electrical transformers after the Aqua Dam, a water-filled tubular levee, collapsed, and power was transferred to emergency diesel generators.

OPPD officials said the transfer was precautionary because of water leaking around the concrete berm surrounding the main transformers.

Plant operators later reconnected to off-site power once all safety checks had been completed.

Water now surrounds the auxiliary and containment buildings, which are designed to handle flooding up to 1,014 feet above sea level. The river is at 1,006.3 feet and isn’t forecast to exceed 1,008 feet.

The 2,000-foot berm collapsed about 1:25 a.m. Sunday due to “onsite activities,” OPPD officials said.

Seventy five miles downstream, the Cooper nuclear plant is also embattled.

And, according to David Hendee:

As bad as it’s been, the hardest parts [of the flood] are still ahead, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the river system’s managers.

“It’s going to be a devastating season in terms of how the levees do,” said Brig. Gen. John McMahon, commander of the corps’ Northwestern Division. “There’s going to be a lot of pain and suffering.”

Posted in global food crisis, global warming, nukes | Comments Off on We are all hibakusha (被爆者) now, American version

Humana CEO says voucherizing Medicare “impossible to implement”

Posted by Charles II on June 26, 2011

Alan Rappeport, FT.

Who cares if its workable? As long as it p–ses off the liberals, it must be a good thing.

Posted in health care | 1 Comment »

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