Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for the ‘speaking truth to power’ Category

In memory of Gary Webb

Posted by Charles II on December 9, 2008

…and all brave people who speak truth to power. Bob Parry:

There is a deeply troubling attitude within the American progressive movement that it bears next to no responsibility for people who speak truth to power and suffer horrible consequences, as [San Jose Mercury News reporter Gary] Webb did. While sometimes progressives cheer the heroism, they rarely back it up with anything sustainable.

More often than not, after the celebrity fades, the person is left to fend for him or herself as an outcast from a profession that pays a salary and lets a person support a family. Indeed, what happened to Gary Webb – and to other mainstream journalists who took chances in the name of truth – is a powerful object lesson to those left behind, to play it safe.

Progressives often denounce mainstream journalists as sell-outs who are too timid to challenge the powerful or to take on the tough stories. But – by refusing to invest significantly in a media infrastructure – the progressives are partly responsible for the problem.

Webb documented the connection between US military aid flowing south into Central America and drugs flowing back into the United States. It’s an old story, dating back at least 65 years, one that Sterling Seagrave tells in The Soong Dynasty in regard to Chiang Kai Shek and exactly how he financed the resistance to Mao in the latter days. Then there was Vietnam and Air America. And then the Contra wars.

We need to do more than celebrate brave men like Gary Webb. We need to protect them, so that they are able to tell truth.

Posted in blowback, CIA, Good Causes, speaking truth to power | 3 Comments »

New Addition To The Blogroll

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 3, 2008

Here’s the link to Al Jazeera’s English site:

Contrary to what the GOP/Media Complex in America would have you believe, Al Jazeera is a fiercely independent network, irritating everyone. Because of its independence, it is also the most trusted name in Mideast news, and actually does a better job of covering American news than most American TV networks, if only because it doesn’t cover garbage stories about flag pins and such. It’s worth watching.

Posted in international, Iraq war, media, speaking truth to power | Comments Off on New Addition To The Blogroll

And It Was Forty-One Years Ago Today

Posted by MEC on April 4, 2008

As Phoenix Woman reminds us, today is the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination.It is also the anniversary of a speech he gave in New York City’s Riverside Church:

Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence“.

Dr. King was harshly criticized for publicly opposing the war. Some people thought he shouldn’t “distract” from the civil rights movement by involving himself in another controversial movement. But Dr. King rightly saw the Vietnam War and racial discrimination as two aspects of the same underlying problem.

We can only imagine what he would say about the Iraq War and the Bush Administration’s assault on our rights.

Posted in heroes, history, Martin Luther King, speaking truth to power | 3 Comments »

It Was Forty Years Ago Today…

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 4, 2008


…that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated in Memphis. He had come there to support the city’s striking sanitation workers.

Ave atque vale, Dr. King.

Posted in civil rights, heroes, Sad things, speaking truth to power | Comments Off on It Was Forty Years Ago Today…

Move Along, Nothin’ Ta See Here

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 20, 2008


Funny how the Bush NTSB doesn’t want public hearings because they’d be ‘politicized’, yet their entire ‘investigation’ of the 35W bridge collapse has been politicized out the wazoo:

Inside Minnesota Politics and The UpTake have obtained the written dissenting opinions from NTSB Commissioners Deborah Hersman and Katheryn O’Leary Higgins. The dissent reveals not only displeasure with the other commissioners’ decision not to hold a public hearing on one of the worst bridge collapse disasters in U.S. history, but the document also gives us a glimpse into likely factors of the collapse.

The dissent mentions the design flaw that NTSB Chairman Mark Rosenker touted as the “critical factor” at a January press conference, and then quietly backed away from after Congressman Oberstar took him to task. But it also details other factors that should be aired in the public hearing. The two dissenting commissioners wrote:

“The public hearing can then focus on other relevant issues, such as the design approval process at the time the bridge was built and its evolution into the process that exists today; national bridge collapse or failure history; inspection criteria and procedures; corrosion standards; records retention requirements; national, state and local oversight; and other areas that could help us learn how to prevent a similar collapse.”

There’s that word “corrosion” again. Rust is an unavoidable reality for bridges unless you paint and maintain them regularly. The frequency of that maintenance (not just inspection) is where politics comes in. Democrats in Minnesota have been pointing fingers at Republican Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty’s administration, which has been strangling the budget so the dollars to do maintenance properly have not been there.

More political factors: NTSB Chairman Rosenker has spent a career in Republican politics starting with CREEP, the Nixon Re-Election group, where he was deputy director for radio and TV. He has worked in nearly every Republican campaign from the 1970s to the present. If funding for bridge maintenance turns out to be a factor in the collapse, Republican Governor Pawlenty could end up taking the political fall for it.

Posted in 'starving the beast', (Rich) Taxpayers League, infrastructure, Minnesota, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer, secrecy, Silly Republicans, speaking truth to power, Tim Pawlenty | Comments Off on Move Along, Nothin’ Ta See Here

The Speech

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 19, 2008

I really can’t say anything about Obama’s speech that hasn’t been said three zillion times already by other people.

I just wanted to point out two Evil Kossack diaries that say a lot, in my opinion, about the speech, its creator, and the reaction to it by people who weren’t activists or talking heads.

First off, Obama wrote the speech himself. As LarsThorwald says, the last time a major presidential candidate wrote his own speech was when Richard Nixon wrote and delivered the “Silent Majority” speech in October of 1969.

Second off, here’s how a Kossack who heard the speech with a bunch of largely white and likely Republican strangers at a car dealership in Atlanta described the experience: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 2008, Barack Obama, civil rights, Good Things, speaking truth to power | 1 Comment »

There Once Were Some Union Maids…

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 17, 2008

Strippers in San Francisco, taking charge of their jobs and lives. Here’s how it came about:

Long about 1976 two business associates from Seattle decided San Francisco was just the licentious sort of town to which to expand their particular trade, that trade being 16mm porno films one could partake of in one?s very own private booth. This was quite novel at the time and became very popular, since privacy made real the possibility of masturbation during said films (or even the possibility of more than masturbation, since couples were and still are welcome). It wasn?t until 1983 that the partners decided live entertainment might also be of interest to customers, who might want to enjoy themselves while watching and interacting with live nude girls.

Things went reasonably smoothly for some time until the summer of 1996 when the company?s penchant for hiring intelligent and worldly women began to backfire in the form of a unionization drive. It?s a notoriously exploitative game in the adult entertainment world, and it began to be a bit stereotypical, what with the random firings and pay cuts, ambiguous shift policies and other unsavory business. There were even several one-way windows where performers could not see the customer they were dancing for. Subsequently, these windows concealed all sorts of camera and video activity, done without the dancer?s consent. This would never do! A group of employees approached Service Employees International Union Local 790 and after some negotiations among union officials and the near-unanimous signing of union cards, an election was planned. Not surprisingly, this made management very angry. There were many harsh words and scheming lawyers and propaganda campaigns – even picket lines and a lockout! But in April of 1997 the Lusty Lady employees voted to unionize, 57 to 15. This process formed the Exotic Dancers Union, the only sexworkers organization of its kind, which is still active at the theater today.

Eventually with the success of internet porn and the decline of profits in general, the owners started to feel the end was near. In February of 2003 they regretfully announced that they planned to close the Lusty Lady. We were inconsolable. Surely this could not be the end of all we had accomplished together? The idea arose: Why not purchase the business and run it as a cooperative?


We have many different hopes and dreams, depending on who you talk to. Most people hope for wages to return to their former glory. Many hope for capital improvements, or even health insurance. Some of us hope to last another 30 years and some hope we last at least until the end of this one. Some of us even dream of helping other businesses to do what we have done, only maybe a little more smoothly. All of us hope to make the Lusty Lady Theater the most triumphant peep show on Earth. And we hope to see you here soon.

They’re stickin’ with the union!

Posted in Good Causes, Good Things, speaking truth to power, unions | Comments Off on There Once Were Some Union Maids…

The Haitian Leap

Posted by Charles II on March 10, 2008

The Haiti Information Project reports that 10,000 people marched in Port au Prince on February 29th, the anniversary of Aristide’s ouster four years ago.  The UN troops continue to flaunt flaunt their contempt for basic civil rights:

Brazilian troops detained former political prisoner and grassroots activist Yvon Antoine. Known as by his nickname ‘Zap Zap’, Antoine had been previously arrested on March 2, 2004 without a warrant and held for two and a half years. When he finally got his day in court, there was not a single witness or a single piece of evidence against him, and he was acquitted of all charges. According to witnesses, UN forces detained him again on Feb. 21, 2008 in Bel Air because he flashed a photo of Aristide as their troops passed by on a routine patrol. He was held for questioning for seven hours without charge and eventually released.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Haiti, our tax dollars at work, speaking truth to power | 2 Comments »

Rove’s Alabama Gulag: Censoring The Truth

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 25, 2008

Attaturk alerted us to this last night:

Off the Air in Alabama

I am now hearing from readers all across Northern Alabama—from Decatur to Huntsville and considerably on down—that a mysterious “service interruption” blocked the broadcast of only the Siegelman segment of 60 Minutes this evening.
The broadcaster is Channel 19 WHNT, which serves Northern Alabama and Southern Tennessee. This station was noteworthy for its hostility to Siegelman and support for his Republican adversary. The station ran a trailer stating “We apologize that you missed the first segment of 60 Minutes tonight featuring ‘The Prosecution of Don Siegelman.’ It was a techincal problem with CBS out of New York.” I contacted CBS News in New York and was told that “there is no delicate way to put this: the WHNT claim is not true. There were no transmission difficulties. The problems were peculiar to Channel 19, which had the signal and had functioning transmitters.” I was told that the decision to blacken screens across Northern Alabama “could only have been an editorial call.” Channel 19 is owned by Oak Hill Capital Partners, who can be contacted through Rhonda Barnat, 212-371-5999 or Oak Hill Partners represents interests of the Bass family, which contribute heavily to the Republican Party.

The link to the 60 Minutes Siegelman segment is here, for those who missed it — or were kept from seeing it.

Posted in abuse of power, anti-truth, Bush, Bush Family Evil Empire, BushCo malfeasance, Busheviks, corruption, cronies, GOP bullying, GOP/Media Complex, Justice Department, Karl Rove, political prisoners, renewable energy, Republicans acting badly, rightwing moral cripples, speaking truth to power, totalitarianism, treason, WTF? | 1 Comment »

Oh, Wad Some Pow’r The Giftee Gie Us, To See Oursels As Others See Us!

Posted by Phoenix Woman on January 14, 2008

And, for Americans, here it is:

Letter to America

Looks fun and informative.

Speaking of Bobby Burns and providing a reality check for American exceptionalism as the cloak and justification for all sorts of nasty things:  This is an oldie but goodie.

Posted in blogs and blogging, speaking truth to power, world news | Comments Off on Oh, Wad Some Pow’r The Giftee Gie Us, To See Oursels As Others See Us!

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