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Archive for March 21st, 2011

Late, Late Night FDL: War (What Is It Good For?)

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 21st, 2011 4:41 am by HL

Late, Late Night FDL: War (What Is It Good For?)
Edwin Starr – War (What Is It Good For?)

Edwin Starr – War (What Is It Good For?)

Absolutely nothing…!

What’s on your mind tonite…?

A bit of good news
Cautious optimism, finally, from the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

It appears (*fingers crossed*) that just as the news from the Fukushima plant reached its nadir with reports of tainted food and water nearly 20 miles from the plant, that the situation may be improving.

Electricity has been restored to three reactors at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant – this should allow the use of on-site water pumps soon…

“There have been some positive developments in the last 24 hours but overall the situation remains very serious,” said Graham Andrew, a senior IAEA official.

“We consider that now we have come to a situation where we are very close to getting the situation under control,” Deputy Cabinet Secretary Tetsuro Fukuyama said.

And just a few moments ago, came this

So good news…

Sigh…or not:

A plant spokesman says workers have been evacuated from Japan’s tsunami-stricken nuclear complex after gray smoke was seen rising from one of its reactors.


Inconsistent Principles

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 21st, 2011 4:40 am by HL

Inconsistent Principles
There’s a problem when world leaders announce fervid support for universal principles: There is no way to avoid having those highflying words flung back at them at another time, during some other crisis, when they will have no choice but to lie or duck and scamper for cover. Case in point: President Nicolas Sarkozy’s declaration at the Elysees Palace in Paris after France, the U.S. and several European and Arab states met to work out the mechanics of the no-fly zone over Libya. France and its partners are acting, Sarkozy explained, to support the legitimate democratic aspirations of the Libyan people—unarmed civilians who have risen up to overthrow a detested dictatorship. There is no way the international community could stand by and watch innocent civilians be slaughtered. This was the same justification cited by President Barack Obama the day before after the U.N. Security Council vote. Sarkozy took no questions after his statement. Nor did Obama—for good reason. Questions such as “Mr. President, how do you justify intervening in Libya to prevent the bloody repression of a popular uprising when we watch as your good allies, the Saudis, move their forces into Bahrain to quash a popular uprising in that country (where U.S. warships are permanently based)?” Or, “Mr. President, do you have anything concrete to say about plans for U.N. intervention in Yemen, where more than 50 demonstrators were shot down in cold blood by snipers dressed as civilians apparently carrying military ID?” Or, “President Sarkozy, does your declaration mean that France is now going to move militarily in your former colony, the Cote D’Ivoire, where your foreign minister has just condemned ‘a deliberate massacre of civilians’ by the forces of President Laurent Gbagbo after another bombardment killed almost 30 in Abidjan? Gbagbo’s refusal to cede power after losing an election has resulted in the deaths of thousands. So, Mr. President?” And, while we’re at it, “Mr. President, what should the U.N. or your allies do if the people of Zimbabwe rise up? Or the folks in Shanghai?” Our leaders’ dilemma is made much worse by technology. There was a time, before the Internet and mobile phones, before satellites and 24/7 television, when events took time—sometimes weeks or months—to unfold, when negotiations—say, between rebels in America and the British crown—transpired with the stately speed of a sailing ship, when word of massacres and revolts could be written off as rumor, repressed for months or buried forever. No longer. Now events move at the speed of the Internet. Once-isolated villages in Tunisia and Yemen and on the northeastern coast of Japan are all part of the global village. Billions across the planet can both report and witness. Ambassadors become figures of ceremony, looking on with the rest of us as world leaders, who once had days or weeks to ponder their communications, now address each other directly, responding almost instantly—blustering, menacing—with no time for thought or reflection, bouncing off each other like billiard balls. The result also is that the duplicity that underlies what we call “affairs of state”—the hypocrisy and cynicism that used to be veiled by vague declarations, by time and distance—that deception becomes ever more blatant. Like an Orwellian exchange recently on Al-Jazeera English in which a representative of the Iranian government excoriated a Saudi official for the Saudi army’s repression of the popular democratic uprising in Bahrain. The Iranian did it with a straight face, mind you. On the other hand, the leaders of the United Arab Emirates have managed a bow to all sides: They are participating in both the Saudi-led repression of the uprising in Bahrain and the French/U.S.-led attempt to rescue the uprising in Libya. I imagine that the UAE leaders, being accomplished statesmen, somehow manage that moral straddle with a straight face, as well. Barry M. Lando spent 25 years as an award-winning investigative producer with “60 Minutes.” He has produced numerous articles, a documentary and a book, “Web of Deceit,” about Iraq. Lando is finishing a novel, “The Watchman’s File.”

There’s a problem when world leaders announce fervid support for universal principles: There is no way to avoid having those highflying words flung back at them at another time, during some other crisis, when they will have no choice but to lie or duck and scamper for cover.

Case in point: President Nicolas Sarkozy’s declaration at the Elysees Palace in Paris after France, the U.S. and several European and Arab states met to work out the mechanics of the no-fly zone over Libya.

France and its partners are acting, Sarkozy explained, to support the legitimate democratic aspirations of the Libyan people—unarmed civilians who have risen up to overthrow a detested dictatorship. There is no way the international community could stand by and watch innocent civilians be slaughtered. This was the same justification cited by President Barack Obama the day before after the U.N. Security Council vote.

Sarkozy took no questions after his statement. Nor did Obama—for good reason.

Questions such as “Mr. President, how do you justify intervening in Libya to prevent the bloody repression of a popular uprising when we watch as your good allies, the Saudis, move their forces into Bahrain to quash a popular uprising in that country (where U.S. warships are permanently based)?”

Or, “Mr. President, do you have anything concrete to say about plans for U.N. intervention in Yemen, where more than 50 demonstrators were shot down in cold blood by snipers dressed as civilians apparently carrying military ID?”

Or, “President Sarkozy, does your declaration mean that France is now going to move militarily in your former colony, the Cote D’Ivoire, where your foreign minister has just condemned ‘a deliberate massacre of civilians’ by the forces of President Laurent Gbagbo after another bombardment killed almost 30 in Abidjan? Gbagbo’s refusal to cede power after losing an election has resulted in the deaths of thousands. So, Mr. President?”

And, while we’re at it, “Mr. President, what should the U.N. or your allies do if the people of Zimbabwe rise up? Or the folks in Shanghai?”

Our leaders’ dilemma is made much worse by technology.

There was a time, before the Internet and mobile phones, before satellites and 24/7 television, when events took time—sometimes weeks or months—to unfold, when negotiations—say, between rebels in America and the British crown—transpired with the stately speed of a sailing ship, when word of massacres and revolts could be written off as rumor, repressed for months or buried forever.

No longer.

Now events move at the speed of the Internet. Once-isolated villages in Tunisia and Yemen and on the northeastern coast of Japan are all part of the global village. Billions across the planet can both report and witness. Ambassadors become figures of ceremony, looking on with the rest of us as world leaders, who once had days or weeks to ponder their communications, now address each other directly, responding almost instantly—blustering, menacing—with no time for thought or reflection, bouncing off each other like billiard balls.

The result also is that the duplicity that underlies what we call “affairs of state”—the hypocrisy and cynicism that used to be veiled by vague declarations, by time and distance—that deception becomes ever more blatant.

Like an Orwellian exchange recently on Al-Jazeera English in which a representative of the Iranian government excoriated a Saudi official for the Saudi army’s repression of the popular democratic uprising in Bahrain. The Iranian did it with a straight face, mind you.

On the other hand, the leaders of the United Arab Emirates have managed a bow to all sides: They are participating in both the Saudi-led repression of the uprising in Bahrain and the French/U.S.-led attempt to rescue the uprising in Libya.

I imagine that the UAE leaders, being accomplished statesmen, somehow manage that moral straddle with a straight face, as well.

Barry M. Lando spent 25 years as an award-winning investigative producer with “60 Minutes.” He has produced numerous articles, a documentary and a book, “Web of Deceit,” about Iraq. Lando is finishing a novel, “The Watchman’s File.”

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As Libya Air Strikes Intensify, What Next?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 21st, 2011 4:39 am by HL

As Libya Air Strikes Intensify, What Next?
WASHINGTON — U.S.-led air attacks on Libya are intensifying even as Libya’s erratic leader, Muammar Gaddafi, vows a bloody “long war.” Now what? Having failed…

Jeff Danziger: Not a U.S. Led Operation

Aladdin Elaasar: What Will Become of Libya?
It is a different story this time. Libya is not Iraq. The U.S. and West are getting it right this time. The Obama administration is…


Federal Review Finds Systematic Problems In New Orleans Police Dept.

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 21st, 2011 4:38 am by HL

Federal Review Finds Systematic Problems In New Orleans Police Dept.
A federal review of the New Orleans Police Department has found the department used excessive force; made unconstitutional stops, searches and arrests; engaged in biased policing based on race, ethnicity and sexual orientation; failed to provide effective policing services to…

Utah Becomes First State To Designate Official Gun
This week, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) signed legislation making the Browning M1911 semiautomatic pistol Utah’s official state gun — and making his state the first to designate a state firearm….


Justice Prosser’s outburst may influence Wisc. Supreme Court election

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 21st, 2011 4:35 am by HL

Justice Prosser’s outburst may influence Wisc. Supreme Court election
Author’s note: The state Supreme Court election on April 5 in Wisconsin may be a key turning point in the state’s (hopefully) short experiment with being a red state. Now that a key Republican Supreme Court Justice has been called out for his misogyny, you may think he’d apologize for his outburst. Rather, like a typical […]


Flashback Quote of the Day

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 21st, 2011 4:34 am by HL

Flashback Quote of the Day
“I believe that force can be justified on humanitarian grounds, as it was in the Balkans, or in other places that have been scarred by war. Inaction tears at our conscience and can lead to more costly intervention later. That is why all responsible nations must embrace the role that militaries with a clear mandate can play to keep the peace.”

— President Obama, in a speech accepting his Nobel Peace Prize.


Rohrabacher Supporting Kucinich Afghanistan Exit Resolution

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 21st, 2011 4:33 am by HL

Rohrabacher Supporting Kucinich Afghanistan Exit Resolution
I just hosted a media conference call for the Afghanistan Study Group with Republican California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA-46) on his views about America’s course in Afghanistan. I will be posting soon the audio clip from the short and fascinating…

No-Fly Zone Over Libya Could Backfire & Undermine Protests in Middle East
I recorded a few minutes of comments outlining my concerns over the Libya No-Fly Zone debate. In short, a no-fly zone is a high cost, low return strategy that doesn’t necessarily create a military tipping point in favor of the…

Bradley Manning Abuse
Kudos to the New York Times for an excellent editorial today calling out the Administration for the abuse of Bradley Manning, the alleged Wikileaks whistleblower. For those of you who have not been following the events, Manning has been held…


VIDEO: As U.S. Launches Military Action In Libya, Fox Pundits Rip Obama For Going ?On Vacation?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 21st, 2011 4:32 am by HL

VIDEO: As U.S. Launches Military Action In Libya, Fox Pundits Rip Obama For Going ?On Vacation?

Over the last 48 hours, as President Obama contemplated and then authorized U.S.-led military strikes in Libya “in support of an international effort to protect Libyan civilians,” Fox News talking heads have attempted to foment domestic political opposition to the president by questioning his priorities and leadership. Seizing on Obama’s current five-day trip to Brazil and other Latin American countries, Fox pundits have repeatedly said he is distracted in Rio de Janeiro and not adequately focused on the military action in Libya.

“He’s going on vacation; he’s going to Rio!” an incredulous Steve Doocy commented. “He’s on vacation in Rio,” Fox contributor Ralph Peters said, echoing the network’s attack. Referencing Rio, Washington Times columnist Charles Hurt opined, “President Obama has absolutely abdicated his role as leader of the free world.” Watch a compilation:

Obama’s pre-scheduled Latin American trip is intended to strengthen the U.S.’s trading role with some of the world’s fastest growing markets. But the agenda of the trip has been overshadowed, as Obama has turned his focus to Libya.

Perhaps Fox News pundits should read Fox News’ website. Here’s how Fox’s White House reporter Eve Zibel, who is traveling with Obama on the trip, reported on the president’s priorities on his first day:

Libya Dominates President Obama’s First Day in South America

On the first day of President Obama’s first trip to South America, it was not relations with Brazil or its president that was front and center, but instead, attention was directly focused on Libya and the start of military action.

On a Fox website, a Reuters report states, “Obama’s only planned sightseeing in Rio will be to the city’s iconic Christ the Redeemer hilltop statue, and even that had to be postponed from morning until evening to give him time for early briefings on the Libyan situation.”

Despite the evidence from news reports on Fox’s own websites that Obama is focused on Libya, network pundits continue to seize on any shallow criticism of the Commander-in-Chief.


Report criticizes defense agency’s auditing

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 21st, 2011 4:32 am by HL

Report criticizes defense agency’s auditing
Internal oversight of Defense Logistics Agency activity falls short.

The Fast Fix- Is Romney Winning the Base?


Observers call Haitian runoff a success
Haiti struggled once more to pull off an orderly election Sunday, as confusion broke out at polls and turnout appeared low, but when the day ended quietly without major violence, election officials and foreign observers declared it a success.


We Don’t Know What We’re Doing in Libya

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 21st, 2011 4:30 am by HL

We Don’t Know What We’re Doing in Libya
David Warren, Ottawa Citizen

1 Year Later, Backers Seek to Defend Health Law
Julian Pecquet, The Hill
President Obama's healthcare reform law remains as controversial as ever one year after its enactment as Democrats and reform proponents prepare to celebrate the anniversary with almost 200 events across the country next week.The stakes couldn't be higher as public opinion remains split on the president's signature domestic achievement and judicial threats loom. One federal court has already stricken down the law's individual mandate – a cornerstone of the law's insurance market reforms – and another has tossed out the whole law.On the political front, House…

New Health Care Law Helping Middle-Class
Donna Shalala, Milwaukee JS
Since President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law a year ago this month, we've heard endless partisan bickering about repeal efforts, legal challenges and fairness.But we've heard little about how the law is already helping secure the future of all Americans. To understand how, one need only reflect on another seminal day in health care history, July 30, 1965, when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Medicare and Medicaid into law in Independence, Mo.As Johnson left the library, where he presented former President Harry S. Truman and his wife, Bess, the first…

Humanitarian Intervention, Not Imperialism
Dan Serwer, The Atlantic
Daniel Serwer – Daniel Serwer is a lecturer at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He was previously a vice president at the U.S. Institute of Peace and a foreign service officer at the State Department. He blogs at peacefare.net and @DanielSerwer. Mar 19 2011, 7:00 PM ET By Daniel Serwer Comment The destroyer USS Barry fires Tomahawk missile at Libya from the Mediterranean Sea. By…

Will Scaremongers Cost Our Nuke Future?
Christopher Booker, Telegraph
We no longer check to see whether Telegraph.co.uk displays properly in Internet Explorer version 6 or earlier.To see our content at its best we recommend upgrading if you wish to continue using IE or using another browser such as Firefox, Safari or Google Chrome.Accessibility links Sunday 20 March…