Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for July, 2012

Reset the Bachmann clock

Posted by Charles II on July 31, 2012

Thomas Beaumont, AP, reports that campaign aide Barb Heki is suing Bachmann and senior aide Kent Sorenson for stealing an e-mail list of home schoolers from her computer, resulting in Heki being removed from the board of the Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators and its national counterpart. Heki also names four aides who she says covered up the theft.

The Strib, apparently comatose, has not followed up on the AP report, which has conveniently dropped off its front page.

Posted in Michele Bachmann | 5 Comments »

No comment necessary

Posted by Charles II on July 30, 2012

via Bartcop.

Posted in Michele Bachmann | 2 Comments »

Sorry, Chick-fil-A Wingnuts: Most US Gas Comes From Canada And Mexico

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 30, 2012

Oh, joy. I think I just tumbled onto the new thing that’s gone viral among the right-wing email smear crowd.

The glibertarian wing of the pro-Chick-fil-A and anti-gay-rights crowd is apparently pushing the old “if you pick on one group you must pick on them all no matter what” line, their updated versions being variations on “if you boycott Chick-fil-A then you must boycott all gasoline too because it all comes from Saudi Arabia where they execute gays”. (See here for a typical variation.)

What the smear propagators won’t mention is that most gas used in the US doesn’t come from Saudi Arabia or any other Mideast nation, but Canada and Mexico. But hey, what’s a little fact-forsaking when the goal among right-wingers is to protect Chick-fil-A at all costs?

Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments »

Telegraph V. Guardian, Olympic And NHS Cherry-Picking Edition

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 30, 2012

So this is how the Torygraph trolls for page views:

The London Olympics are the most Right-wing major event in Britain’s modern history. Billions of pounds are taken from poor and middle-income taxpayers and service users to build temples to a corporate and sporting elite. Democratic, grassroots sport is stripped of money to fund the most rarefied sport imaginable. The police and the state are turned into the enforcement arm of Coca-Cola. How did this event suddenly become the toast of the Left?

The author of this passage, Hugh Gilligan, then proceeds to quote precisely one (1) person in support of his thesis, and that person just happened to be Guardian columnist Richard Williams who — in a piece that Gilligan chose to eschew linking — stated the following, in reference to a portion of the opening ceremony dedicated to honoring the National Health Service that featured NHS and Old Labourite supporter JK Rowling herself reading the opening lines of J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan: “Cameron and his gang will surely not dare to continue the dismemberment of the NHS after this.

That’s not a gush, Mr. Gilligan — that’s a statement of fact, and you know it. This part of the Olympic ceremony just made it a lot harder for your boy Cammies to push through more austerity against the NHS. Already, the anti-austerity group UK Uncut’s taken a still shot from the NHS tribute and put it into their literature, as seen in the graphic reproduced above.

What Gilligan’s piece really is, is just another episode in the Torygraph’s war on the Guardian. Notice that the only person the author could be arsed to quote in support of his article’s thesis is a Grauniad writer? And notice that he ignores sardonic non-cheerleading pieces like this one: done nearly two weeks ago.

Here’s one that was filed shortly after Gilligan’s Torygraph piece. It discusses the problems posed for London’s Islamic community by the Games, problems that go far beyond traffic snarls.

But of course even if the Muslim article had appeared earlier enough for Gilligan to read it, chances are good he would have ignored it anyway. Can’t let facts stand in the way of a good storyline, eh, Gillie?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Telegraph V. Guardian, Olympic And NHS Cherry-Picking Edition

Nouriel says

Posted by Charles II on July 29, 2012

Via Ritholtz, an article by Roubini:

Third, the fiscal cliff would amount to a 4.5%-of-GDP drag on growth in 2013 if all tax cuts and transfer payments were allowed to expire and draconian spending cuts were triggered. Of course, the drag will be much smaller, as tax increases and spending cuts will be much milder. But, even if the fiscal cliff turns out to be a mild growth bump – a mere 0.5% of GDP – and annual growth at the end of the year is just 1.5%, as seems likely, the fiscal drag will suffice to slow the economy to stall speed: a growth rate of barely 1%.

Roubini has been extraordinarily accurate about the economy, but not a good predictor of the stock market, which seems to be driven mostly by speculators, lunatics in Congress, and the Fed. At any rate, he’s not sanguine on 2013.

Posted in economy | 4 Comments »

Breaking! Romney picks VP

Posted by Charles II on July 29, 2012

Reliably reported:

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Willard ‘Mitt’ Romney stunned the political establishment and left pundits scrambling for their notes this morning when he announced his choice of freshman Florida Congressman Allen West to round out the GOP ticket. If Romney is elected, West would become the first African American and only the third paranoid schizophrenic to hold the office of Vice President of the United States.

More news here

Posted in Just for fun | 2 Comments »


Posted by Charles II on July 29, 2012

Bill Keller, editor of the NYT, was forced to deny that he had written an Op-Ed defending Wikileaks:

The fake in question was a cod Keller op-ed entitled ‘WikiLeaks, a Post Postscript’. Visually, it was immaculate – replicating perfectly the typographic style of his column down to the author’s photograph, tool kit and Times adverts. [Charles says: only the Grauniad would have missed the obvious comma sitting where a semi-colon is indicated and call it perfect. The Times is far more willing to be dead wrong about an important issue than to miss a punctuation mark.]

The fake in question said things like:

I find myself in the awkward position of having to defend WikiLeaks. During the House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on July 11th, several Republicans made it clear they also want New York Times journalists charged under the Espionage Act….

You don’t have to embrace Assange as a kindred spirit to believe that what he did in publishing those cables falls under the protection of the First Amendment.

I’ve said repeatedly, in print and in a variety of public forums, that I would regard an attempt to criminalize WikiLeaks’ publication of these documents as an attack on all of us, and I believe the mainstream media should come to his defense. Obama has clearly not lived up to his 2008 campaign promises to protect whistleblowers, rather his policy is more like China’s treatment of dissidents.

I wish these were my final words on the existential drama that is WikiLeaks, but don’t get your hopes up. With an ongoing grand jury, extradition ruling, and Bradley Manning’s court martial, the WikiLeaks Postscript has only just begun. I fear I am condemned to a life in Sartre’s No Exit (or is it Kafka’s The Trial?).

Personally, I think that the Keller who works at The New York Times is the fake, and the fellow writing at Opinion-NYTimes is for real.

Apparently “cod” is British for “fake”

For those still searching for the comma in question, it occurs in the phrase, “promises to protect whistleblowers, rather his policy”

Posted in Just for fun, Media machine, mediawhores | 3 Comments »

The Triangular Trade: Vote buying in the Mexican election

Posted by Charles II on July 28, 2012

Proceso has been following up on an interesting story of exactly where the money to buy PRI candidate Enrique P-Nieto’s election came from. There’s a lawsuit in US courts alleging a default on payments and tying P-Nieto to organized crime.

It’s a complicated tale, and Jesusa Cervantes doesn’t tell it in a coherent linear fashion. The cast of characters includes businesses like GAP, HIGO, Jiramos, GM Global, and the Monex and Mifel banks and reaches into Spain, Israel, Italy, and the US. According to Congressman Jaime Cardenas, it’s similar to the “Friends of Fox” network in 2000, which helped elect the first rightist president, Vicente Fox.

The complainant is José Luis Ponce de Aquino, owner of Frontera Televisión Network LLP. He alleges that P-Nieto operatives offered him a 56 million dollar contract to promote PRI in the United States. He says that the money was transferred overnight to Monex and Mifel accounts, arriving from Italy, Israel, and either a Portuguese or Brazilian source into an account held by Alejandro Carrillo Garza Sada’s company Jiramos…but they didn’t pay him as agreed. Ponce de Aquino alleges that he received death threats from C. José Carrillo Chontkowsky, Alfredo Carrillo Chontkowsky, and Hugo Vigues, who told him that this was narcotics money. Alejandro Carrillo Garza Sada threatened Ponce de Aquino that he wouldn’t be able to enter Mexico and that he would seize Garza Sada’s business. The contract he was offered, it would seem, was just a cover for laundering money into Mexico.

Ponce de Aquino is being attacked in Milenio, which claims he has business ties to Julio Di Bella, who has been an adviser to the PAN party, as well as being the defendant in 100 lawsuits and using 5 aliases (see also Proceso, which has confirmed the latter).

Ponce de Aquino may well be a sideshow. But there’s no question that money from unknown sources was used to buy votes. If it turns out to have come from abroad or from the narcotics trade, well, it will be bad for P-Nieto. But he may rest assured that no one north of the border will hear of it. I searched through the LATimes to see if they were carrying any coverage of the Mexican election. The only article they had was from a Univision hack telling us that, just like Al Gore, Lopez Obrador should just shut up and swallow: “Gore knew that democracy probably hadn’t been served, yet he accepted the verdict with grace.” If democracy has not been served in deciding the victor of a presidential election, then what has been served, if not tyranny?

Posted in Mexico | Comments Off on The Triangular Trade: Vote buying in the Mexican election

US Media’s Submission To Republicans: Romney And Krauthammer Edition

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 28, 2012

The US press has by and large been trying to defend presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney from the attacks of the British press, trying to obscure that it’s not just the allegedly-oh-so-much-more-vicious British press, but UK politicians and people of all parties and creeds attacking Mittens for his combined arrogance and ignorance.

What makes this dutiful, servantlike rush to defend the man really interesting is that Romney has been treating the US press corps a bit like he treated Seamus the dog:

*** Romney’s press-corps faux pas: During his meeting with Miliband, according to the pool report, Romney answered questions from British reporters but did not take any questions from the American reporters, which isn’t protocol. In fact, it’s considered a bit of an insult to the U.S reporters who are following the presumptive GOP presidential nominee overseas. Even bringing this up will lead some to say, “There goes the media, whining again.” But folks, those of us that have traveled overseas and been involved in these VERY limited press avails have rarely seen heads of democracies TOTALLY ignore their own press corps but answer ANOTHER press corps’ questions. Sure, it would have looked REALLY bad had Romney ignored the U.K. questions. But is the campaign so intent on limiting media access that the candidate won’t call an audible when standing next to a leader from another country who DOES want to take questions?

Meanwhile, let’s count up the number of establishment mass-media outlets (like ABC News and the WaPo, where known serial liar Charles Krauthammer gleefully got to repeat it) that have unquestioningly passed along the right-wing lie that Obama dissed the Brits by sending the Churchill bust to the British Embassy. What Krauthammer won’t tell you is that there were two Churchill busts in the White House, and that the British Embassy one was a loan, not a permanent gift:

The one in the White House residence was a gift to the White House from the British Embassy during the Johnson administration.

The other one was loaned to President George W. Bush by British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Says James Barbour, press secretary and head of communications for the British Embassy, “The bust of Sir Winston Churchill, by Sir Jacob Epstein, was lent to the George W. Bush administration from the U.K.’s government art collection, for the duration of the presidency. When that administration came to an end so did the loan; the bust now resides in the British Ambassador’s Residence in Washington D.C. The White House collection has its own Epstein bust of Churchill, which President Obama showed to Prime Minister Cameron when he visited the White House in March.”

And yet the US establishment media, so submissive to the concerns of the Big-Business-backed right-wing frothers, won’t be giving Tapper’s debunking of this lie very much coverage — so the lie will be yet another Republican Zombie Lie, kept artificially alive by right-wing bloggers and lazy (or submissive) press scribes.

Posted in GOP/Media Complex | Tagged: | Comments Off on US Media’s Submission To Republicans: Romney And Krauthammer Edition

Newspeak at State

Posted by Charles II on July 28, 2012

State Dept:

U.S. officials congratulated Secretary [Arturo] Corrales on the steps President Lobo’s administration has taken in these areas [poverty reduction, protection of human rights, government transparency, strengthening of democratic institutions and the judicial sector, countering organized crime, and other issues of regional interest] and, in particular, on the important results it has achieved in the fight against drug trafficking.

Human Rights Watch:

Law enforcement officials committed widespread human rights violations under the de facto government that took power after the 2009 military coup. Impunity for post-coup abuses remains a serious problem, despite the government’s establishment of a truth commission in May 2010 to examine events surrounding the coup, and efforts by prosecutors at the human rights unit in the attorney general’s office to investigate abuses.

Journalists, human rights defenders, political activists, and transgender people face violence and threats. Those responsible for these abuses are rarely held to account.

InSight Crime:

In recent years, Honduras has become an important transshipment point for US-bound cocaine. The Central American country has also seen an increase in cocaine processing, which is believed to be operated by Mexican cartels. It struggles with several violent gangs, including Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Barrio 18, and currently has the highest murder rate in the world.

In 2011, President Porfirio Lobo deployed troops in the cities of Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula in an effort to crack down on rising violence.

In a region with a history of military coups, giving more powers to the military has a potential to destabilize the power balance between civilian and military authorities.

Sounds like progress!

Posted in Honduras, State Department | Comments Off on Newspeak at State

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