Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for July 27th, 2011

Posted by Charles II on July 27, 2011

Slain author Syed Salaam Shahzad's recently-published book

He published it just before he was murdered, perhaps by Pakistani security forces who feared he was too close to the ISI-Al Qaeda links.

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Coming soon to your community: corporate (or criminal) rule

Posted by Charles II on July 27, 2011

Adrienne (via Brother John) links this on Honduras’ “Charter Cities,” in which Hondurans cede control over their own territory to… whoever! It’s not out of the question to have a “Charter City” for each of the narcotics cartels.

But in many ways, Honduras’ “Charter Cities” is done under better controls than Michigan’s takeovers of localities by “Emergency Managers.” The Michigan law is (in my layman’s opinion) written very vaguely, such that towns could be signed over to…whoever…with even less oversight. A preliminary review can be triggered by an alphabet soup of conditions, including this gem:

The existence of other facts or circumstances that in the state treasurer’s sole discretion for a municipal government are indicative of municipal financial stress, or, that in the superintendent of public instruction’s sole discretion for a school district are indicative of school district financial stress.

Then a fundamentally political process proceeds:

the governor shall appoint a review team for that municipal government consisting of the state treasurer or his or her designee, the director of the department of technology, management, and budget or his or her designee, a nominee of the senate majority leader, and a nominee of the speaker of the house of representatives. The governor may appoint other state officials or other persons with relevant professional experience to serve on a review team to undertake a municipal financial management review.[and a similar process for schools]

And then? An Emergency Manager is appointed and basically, the law ceases to exist in that jurisdiction. Elected representatives no longer have any power, since they serve at the pleasure of the Emergency Manager. Unions? Forget about them! Have a contract with the city? Too bad! All of the civil mechanisms that serve as brakes on bad governance are stripped away, with the sole power to the will of the Governor residing in the courts… which are notoriously conservative and unwilling to engage the other branches of government. Your “Emergency Manager” could even, in theory, be Corporation Corrections of America(*). The law is just that vague!

It’s true that the way the law is written, it can only turn truly foul if all branches of government are in the hands of one party. But that’s where Michigan is, God help ’em. At least Honduras thinks it has to give some measure of deference to international norms, even if it’s only window dressing.

Only comedians can get the situation correct:

The law stipulates that:

(a) The emergency manager shall have a minimum of 5 years’ experience and demonstrable expertise in business, financial, or local or state budgetary matters.

(b) The emergency manager may but need not be a resident of the local government.

(c) The emergency manager shall be an individual.

(d) Except as otherwise provided in this subdivision, the emergency manager shall serve at the pleasure of the governor. An emergency manager is subject to impeachment and conviction by the legislature as if he or she were a civil officer under section 7 of article XI of the state constitution of 1963. A vacancy in the office of emergency manager shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment.

(e) The emergency manager’s compensation and reimbursement for actual and necessary expenses shall be paid by the local government and shall be set forth in a contract approved by the state treasurer. The contract shall be posted on the department of treasury’s website within 7 days after the contract is approved by the state treasurer.

The provision that the emergency manager shall be “an individual” might seem to exclude corporations. However, (a) a contractor or employee of a corporation would certainly qualify, and (b) US law increasingly recognizes corporations as individuals, possessing for example free speech rights.

Posted in corporatists, corruption, Honduras, Michigan | Comments Off on Coming soon to your community: corporate (or criminal) rule

Important information on understanding the links between conservatives and far right

Posted by Charles II on July 27, 2011

Amy Goodman did a stunning show on the links between the Breivik mass assassination and the mainstream conservative movement. The links to anti-feminism are particularly interesting. Updated with excerpts.

Jeff Sharlet (famous for C-Street House):

sometimes—he says he’s lifting from a lot of sources, many of them American. Sometimes he identifies them, as with Robert Spencer, a popular anti-Islamic blogger. Sometimes he doesn’t, as with William Lind, a prominent conservative critic whose attack on what he sees as political correctness as a sign of Western decadence he lifts kind of whole cloth without attribution. So, you really have to kind of read the text and then really double-check and see where it’s coming from. I mean, even some of the most extreme things, you’re then stunned to see—for instance, his Bible battle verses that he uses as he’s preparing for combat. You know, you think this is really fringe, and in fact it comes from Joseph Farah and WorldNetDaily, a very popular conservative website in the United States.

Eva Gabrielsson (the life partner of Girl With the Dragon Tattoo novelist Stieg Larsen, who wrote about the right):

EVA GABRIELSSON: Well, he—when you talk about violence against women, or discrimination, Stieg used to say that they are just two sides of the same coin. They are directed towards different groups of the people in a society, but it’s the same mechanism, it’s the same ideology, it’s the same terror or discrimination that they want to impose, to subject somebody to something to be able to get more power of their own….And I’m horrified to see that his long-term aim, by using terror to destabilize whole nations and the whole of Europe, is supposed to end up in a coup, first civil war and then a coup, where which they will reestablish the patriarchy again—obviously with him in some kind of lead then at some point in time.

The Guardian on the Berlusconi right’s defense of Breivik:

Interviewed on a popular radio show, Francesco Speroni, a leading member of the Northern League, the junior partner in Berlusconi’s conservative coalition, said: “Breivik’s ideas are in defence of western civilisation.”

The Italian politician was endorsing the comments of another high-profile member of the league who had drawn fierce criticism for arguing that the killings might have been part of a plot to discredit hardline conservative thinkers. Like many in his party, Mario Borghezio, who sits in the European parliament, is an admirer of the writings of the late Italian journalist and author Oriana Fallaci, who popularised the term Eurabia to describe a future, supposedly Islamised Europe.

Pat Buchanan’s defense of Breivik:

And that massacre in Oslo, where a terrorist detonated a fertilizer bomb to decapitate the government and proceeded to a youth camp to kill 68 children of Norway’s ruling elite, is a fire bell in the night for Europe.

His writings are now being mined for references to U.S. conservative critics of multiculturalism and open borders. Purpose: Demonize the American right, just as the berserker’s attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson was used to smear Sarah Palin and Timothy McVeigh’s Oklahoma City bombing was used to savage Rush Limbaugh and conservative critics of Big Government.

native-born and homegrown terrorism is not the macro-threat to the continent.

That threat comes from a burgeoning Muslim presence in a Europe that has never known mass immigration, its failure to assimilate, its growing alienation, and its sometime sympathy for Islamic militants and terrorists.

Europe faces today an authentic and historic crisis.

As for a climactic conflict between a once-Christian West and an Islamic world that is growing in numbers and advancing inexorably into Europe for the third time in 14 centuries, on this one, Breivik may be right.

Let’s be clear on this. There are elements in the conservative movement who are exposing themselves as violent extremists. Buchanan and some of the Berlusconians, by justifying Breivik’s philosphy while condemning his actions are in actuality endorsing his actions. One cannot honestly separate the philosophy of a mass murderer from his murders: the same brain thought the thoughts as pulled the trigger.

Posted in conservativism, crimes, fascism, terrorism | Comments Off on Important information on understanding the links between conservatives and far right

Putting “Balance” Over Truth: The Right-Wing Media Scam That Is Destroying America

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 27, 2011

The other day, Paul Krugman said this:

We have a crisis in which the right is making insane demands, while the president and Democrats in Congress are bending over backward to be accommodating — offering plans that are all spending cuts and no taxes, plans that are far to the right of public opinion.

So what do most news reports say? They portray it as a situation in which both sides are equally partisan, equally intransigent — because news reports always do that. And we have influential pundits calling out for a new centrist party, a new centrist president, to get us away from the evils of partisanship.


…The “both sides are at fault” people have to know better; if they refuse to say it, it’s out of some combination of fear and ego, of being unwilling to sacrifice their treasured pose of being above the fray.

Oh, it’s not that at all. It’s that the media members are millionaires working for billionaires — billionaires who love the tax breaks they got from Bush, as well as the gutting of anti-trust and environmental oversight under Bush — and to pretend both sides are equally at fault is to penalize the more virtuous side and go easier on the less virtuous (but far richer) side — and this rewards the less-virtuous side, in a vicious circle/feedback loop.

To make a long story short, it shoves the Overton Window farther to the right, eventually into fascism.

Posted in 'starving the beast' | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

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