Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for May, 2012

Clinton to campaign for Barrett starting June 1

Posted by Charles II on May 31, 2012

I’m glad that the last American president of the First Republic has seen fit to try to defend fundamental rights against the depredations of the vulture class.

Posted in Bill Clinton | 3 Comments »

Andy Coulson indicted as Murdoch machine continues to lose wheels

Posted by Charles II on May 30, 2012

Severin Carrell and Patrick Wintour, The Guardian:

Andy Coulson, David Cameron’s former director of communications, has been arrested and charged over allegations of lying on oath when he gave evidence in court about phone hacking at the News of the World.

Coulson was questioned over perjury by Scottish police after he was detained early on Wednesday morning at his home in London and then driven to a high security police station in Glasgow.

The former News of the World editor is alleged to have lied to the high court in Glasgow when he gave evidence at the perjury trial of the socialist politician Tommy Sheridan in December 2010, while he was Cameron’s chief media adviser and the government’s head of communications.

After the longest perjury trial in Scottish criminal history, Sheridan was jailed for three years and sent first to Barlinnie prison.

Coulson repeatedly denied Sheridan’s allegations [of phone hacking], and told the court he had never met or heard of Mulcaire before Goodman’s trial, and had had no knowledge whatsoever that hacking had been used by the paper’s staff.

Gosh, so sorry, Mr. Sheridan. Three years out of your life. Maybe you can get them back from Andy Coulson.

Posted in corruption, crimes, Media machine, Rupert Murdoch | 4 Comments »

US Taxpayers, Not UK Grannies, Paid For BP Cleanup

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 30, 2012

Remember how British Petroleum and their Tory, Republican and other corporatist allies whined and whined and whined that Poor Widdle British Petroleum just couldn’t pay to clean up its own big-ass Gulf of Mexico oil spill because they’d have to starve all the grannies in the UK to do it?

Guess what? It was a big fat lie.

Not only do British pension plans have but minimal exposure to BP stock (1.5% at most), but guess what? BP stuck US taxpayers with the bulk of the cleanup bill:

It has become apparent that BP deducted essentially all of the costs of cleaning up the Deepwater Horizon spill from their taxes in 2010. According to an article in The Guardian, BP had paid $14 billion total in cleanup costs associated with the spill as of January 2012 (http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/jan/03/bp-seeks-spill-costs-halliburton), yet, according to a recent Fox Article in 2010 ALONE they deducted $13 billion from their federal income tax as ‘business costs’ (http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/04/22/bp-cut-tax-13b-losses-spill/)

As the author notes, the numbers come from different sources and thus vary somewhat, but it’s still got the stench of “massive con” all over it:

They came in and tried to exploit hard-to-reach resources, and their own ineptitude caused the failure of their project and directly resulted in negative externalities for the American people that are truly incomprehensible in scale. And then WE PAID FOR THE CLEANUP.

Seriously, people. You should be pissed.

I am, buddy. I am.

(Crossposted at MyFDL.)

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

But Hindrocket Said Conservatives Are Good At Twitter!

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 29, 2012

Remember this?

We are in the early stages of the 2012 campaign season, with a lot of battlespace preparation going on. In the skirmishing so far, one perhaps surprising media advantage has become clear: the right is clobbering the left on Twitter.

Here’s more proof that it’s not exactly so:

For several weeks on Twitter, the wingnut army has been staging a massive freak-out about a strange persecution fantasy; they imagine that they’re being sent to a “Twitter Gulag” by a conspiracy of left wing activists, who somehow control Twitter with their diabolical liberal super-powers.

What’s really happening is that sites like Michelle Malkin’s Twitchy.com are organizing and openly calling for right wingers to spam liberals on Twitter, with abusive tweets and lame-brained insults. They even call it “hijacking,” in a rare outbreak of honesty. For example: Hijack Alert: Describe Obama in Three Words Takes Off | Twitchy.

Obviously, their stupid and/or nasty comments are offending people, who then presumably use Twitter’s “Block and Report” feature to complain to Twitter support — and as a result, abusive right wingers’ accounts get suspended. This is what they’re whining about with their absurd self-pitying “Twitter Gulag” nonsense. The same people ordering wingnuts to harass and spam liberals on Twitter then turn around and scream like colicky babies when accounts are suspended because of harassment and spam.

It’s a self-perpetuating fake outrage of huge proportions.

Hmmmm. Wonder if it was Twitchy.com that egged on George Tierney, Jr. of Greenville, South Carolina to go after Sandra Fluke the way he did?

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

Truthleak: Japanese ex-PM says nuclear industry is corrupt, dictatorial. A case history on the functioning of propaganda

Posted by Charles II on May 29, 2012

The former Prime Minister of Japan, Naoto Kan, has given striking testimony to Parliament, in which he accepted blame for his own poor response during the Fukushima meltdown, but also attempted to obtain some degree of absolution because of the degree of corruption of the nuclear industry. He also urged Parliament to abandon nuclear power. To my surprise, Voice of America had some of the best coverage, reporting that Kan said:

“TEPCO and the Electric Power Companies of Japan have dominated the nuclear power industry for the last 40 years. Through this nuclear clique and the rules they created, they expelled and isolated industry experts, politicians and bureaucrats who were critical, while the rest just looked on because of self-protection and an attitude of peace-at-any-cost. I’m saying this because I feel partly responsible.”

“This nuclear clique, which has been created by the vested interest, is similar to the former Imperial Japanese military. We have to totally destroy and eradicate the organizational structure of the vested interests and (the) influence it has on the public. I think this should be the first step in reforming the nuclear industry.”

Comparing the nuclear industry to the Imperial Japanese military is to call that industry a fascist state.

Contrast this with Martin Fackler of The New York Times. This version excludes any reference to the Japanese Empire, substituting a milder reference to “the sickness of the system” with a comparison to Chernobyl and Soviet Communism. There are jabs and digs at Kan in the article that look like an attempt to discredit him. Mainichi Shimbun goes further and excises any reference to the corruption of the industry. The Washington Post (i.e., AP) is possibly even less useful. The Straits Times has a short but pointed piece that makes the connection between the nuclear industry and the fascists. The Guardian’s coverage is strangely muted. The Independent is missing in action. Ditto, FT. Reuters, useless. The Age, ditto. Yomiuri, ditto. Cordula Meyer of Der Spiegel has excellent background, but hasn’t commented on Kan’s testimony:

In Japan, the term “The Atomic Village” refers to an isolated elite that has formed around the country’s nuclear complex. …It’s as if Austrian writer Robert Jungk’s horrific vision of the “nuclear state” had become reality….Even many media organizations, as recipients of generous payments for the electricity industry, are part of the cartel….”Our country was literally brainwashed,” says Taro Kono, a member of the lower house of the Japanese Diet for the conservative LDP. “Atomic energy is a cult in Japan.” …Many scientists, especially at the University of Tokyo, are partial to TEPCO. The company contributes millions to the university and supports many associations, think tanks and commissions….Meanwhile, the Japanese government has begun asking Internet providers to remove “false reports” about Fukushima from the web…In Japan, the insiders who talked about the abuses at TEPCO were intimidated, as were journalists who reported on these abuses….

Of course, Germany is on a path to become nuclear free, so the nuclear industry doesn’t have much sway there. Think that the “Atomic Village” might actually be an international metropolis?

This is a major story. Japanese, at least Japanese in positions of leadership, simply do not use such direct language except in extremis. It would be as big as if George W. Bush got up in front of Congress and said that the petroleum industry, from academia to the engineering firms that build the plants to their boosters in Congress were secret Stalinists, destroying America from within.

And the biggest story is who is not covering it.

This is an excellent case history in propaganda. A propaganda system does not completely squelch stories. It is careful to tell only lies that are too big or unverifiable to be detected. Propaganda systems tell a portion of the truth, in such a way as to distort the meaning. And if one can find a portion of the information system where what they are covering up differs from what the rest of the system is covering up–like Der Spiegel’s reporting on an industry that has no political power in Germany–then occasionally the truth leaks out.

(Crossposted at Daily Kos)

Posted in Japan, Media machine, nukes, propaganda | 2 Comments »

In Case You Weren’t Totally Sure That ALEC, FOX, And The GOP Aren’t Best Buds…

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 28, 2012

Sally Jo Sorensen once again does the establishment press one better in a story that will be found nowhere else — especially now, as I’ve made a point of making sure that her name is indelibly linked to it — by deeply tracing the ALEC connections of a prominent MNGOP officer and NewsCorp bigwig:

In Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. Is an ALEC Member, PR Watch’s Rebekah Wilce reports that News Corps’ Senior Vice President, Bill Guidera,  “attended ALEC’s April 2010 Spring Task Force Summit in St. Louis, Missouri, as a member of what was then called the Telecommunications and Information Technology Task Force.”

The presence of Guidera at the 2010 meeting creates a “discrepancy” between ALEC statements that News Corp., which owns Fox News Network, joined the corporate front group in 2012, Wilce reports.

As long time ALEC watchers, Bluestem can walk the Guidera-ALEC association back to 2007. In ALEC’s Regional Field Teams: Connecting with Members Face-to-Face, on page 2 of the December 2007 “Inside ALEC” newsletter, there’s this:

“At times a bill is seen as the easy solution to a tough problem, yet that bill may create even more problems. Todd (Kruse) and his team cut through the puffery to reach the core issues with clear, conservative policy solutions,” said Bill Guidera of News Corp, an ALEC member based in Minnesota.

Go read the whole thing. It’s definitely worth your time.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on In Case You Weren’t Totally Sure That ALEC, FOX, And The GOP Aren’t Best Buds…

Violence Higher In Unequal Rich Countries (Like The USA)

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 28, 2012

This chart kinda says it all:

See here for more information.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Just read Eric Rauchway/updated with actual link

Posted by Charles II on May 28, 2012

It’s been too long since I visited The Edge of the American West. Fortunately Paul Krugman steered me there. I learned the phrase, “at a level that could get you fired as a blogger.”

Yes. A lot of things that pass as serious articles could get you fired as a blogger. David Brooks. Tom Friedman. Half the guests on Charlie Rose. Charles Murray. And now the California Association of Scholars. They have produced a document whose errors can only be ascribed to overwhelming political bias and the desperate unwillingness to check the facts to which overwhelming political bias leads.

The report is signed by John M. Ellis (Professor Emeritus of German Literature, University of California, Santa Cruz.), Charles L. Geshekter (Professor of African History, California State University, Chico), Peter W. Wood (Anthropology Department at Boston University), and Stephen H. Balch (ex-Department of Government and Public Administration of John Jay College of Criminal Justice).

And in short order, political connections pop up. Balch is easy: In 2009 he was the recipient of the Jeane Jordan Kirkpatrick Academic Freedom Award from the American Conservative Union Foundation and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. Same for Peter W. Wood (linkibid): Dr. Wood has published several hundred articles in print and online journals, such as Partisan Review and National Review Online”. Geshekter has published one article for NRO. Ellis likes to complain about “political correctness”

The funding for NAS? Here:

Sarah Scaife Foundation
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Inc
Castle Rock Foundation
John M. Olin Foundation

This report was bought and paid for.

Posted in anti-truth, historians, history, Republicans as cancer | 2 Comments »

Dan Riehl And Restraining-Order Target George Tierney, Jr.: Kindred Misogynists With An Oral Sex Obsession

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 27, 2012

It seems that Dan Riehl and George Tierney Jr. of Greenville, South Carolina are kindred spirits:

Actually, this comparison is may be unfair to George Tierney, Jr. as unlike Dan Riehl, alleged member of the allegedly respectable wing of conservatism and Republicanism, he’s actually apologized for his Tweet somebody claiming but not proven to be him apologized for his Tweet, something Riehl refuses to do. Indeed, he just keeps digging his hole deeper.

Oh, and lookiee here: The devotees of Andrew “Stop Raping People!!!!!” Breitbart are enabling Riehl’s idiocy.

Posted in Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer | 3 Comments »

Good men/women served. Good men/women stayed at home.

Posted by Charles II on May 27, 2012

Please honor those who have served… and those who tried to prevent wars.

On Monday, May 28th, Memorial Day, IAVA asks for a moment of silence at 12:01 PM to honor those who have died in the service of this country.

A minute is not enough. Veterans need to be honored with jobs, healthcare, and the opportunity to make their lives whole again. I recommend IAVA as an organization that is trying to make that happen.

Posted in veterans | 1 Comment »