Western and Arab officials say the example set by young Arabs seeking peaceful political change is a counterweight to al-Qaeda's push for violent militancy and weakens its argument that democracy and Islam are incompatible.
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Overlooked in the welter of fast-moving events throughout the Arab world was a Saudi Arabian call for transforming the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) into "an entity identical to the (27-nation) European Union" — plus nuclear weapons.
Saudi Arabia has grown impatient. "Waiting for Godot," Samuel Beckett's famous play, depicts the "meaninglessness of life," with its repetitive plot, where nothing much happens. In Saudi eyes, that's Iran and its secret nuclear weapons program. And eye-drop Western sanctions have done zip to deter Iran's aging theocrats.
Iran began nuclear research with French assistance in the 1960s. In 1972, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi told this reporter that Iran would one day be a nuclear power. Britain had relinquished all its geopolitical responsibilities east of Suez in 1968.
Under the Nixon Doctrine that followed the British withdrawal from the Persian Gulf, the Shahanshah ("King of Kings") became the "Guardian" (and gendarme) from the Strait of Hormuz to Kuwait.
Update: Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), who asked Clinton about the War Powers Act during a classified briefing, said Clinton and the administration are sidestepping the measure's provisions giving Congress the ability to put a 60-day time limit on any military action.
"They are not committed to following the important part of the War Powers Act," he told TPM in a phone interview. "She said they are certainly willing to send reports [to us] and if they issue a press release, they'll send that to us too."
The White House would forge ahead with military action in Libya even if Congress passed a resolution constraining the mission, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said during a classified briefing to House members Wednesday afternoon.
Clinton was responding to a question from Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) about the administration's response to any effort by Congress to exercise its war powers, according to a senior Republican lawmaker who attended the briefing.
The answer surprised many in the room because Clinton plainly admitted the administration would ignore any and all attempts by Congress to shackle President Obama's power as commander in chief to make military and wartime decisions. In doing so, he would follow a long line of Presidents who have ignored the act since its passage, deeming it an unconstitutional encroachment on executive power.
Other than that, the lawmaker said he learned nothing new during the classified briefing by Clinton, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
NATO's idea of humanitarian aid is 40 dead civilians
ROME (Reuters) - At least 40 civilians have been killed in air strikes by Western forces on Tripoli, the top Vatican official in the Libyan capital told a Catholic news agency on Thursday, quoting witnesses.
"The so-called humanitarian raids have killed dozens of civilian victims in some neighborhoods of Tripoli," said Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, the Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli.
"I have collected several witness accounts from reliable people. In particular, in the Buslim neighborhood, due to the bombardments, a civilian building collapsed, causing the death of 40 people," he told Fides, the news agency of the Vatican missionary arm.
Libyan officials have taken foreign reporters to the sites of what they say were the aftermath of Western air strikes on Tripoli but evidence of civilian casualties has been inconclusive.
A morbidly obese man is dead after he was found fused to a chair that he had been stuck on for two years.
The 43-year-old man from Bellaire, Ohio, was discovered unconscious on Sunday by his girlfriend.
Emergency crews had to pry him free, as his skin was stuck to the recliner with urine, feces and maggots.
Local reports say one officer threw away his uniform because the conditions were so putrid.
"The living room where the man lived in his chair was very filthy, very deplorable. It's unbelievable that somebody lives in conditions like that," Jim Chase, a code enforcer, told local news station WTRF.
A hole was cut in the wall of the home to remove the heavy man.
Officials said his girlfriend, who lived with him along with another roommate, told investigators she fed the man in his chair, as he complained of leg pain.
The unidentified man was transported to hospital in critical condition, where he later died.
While businesses are generally wary of the risks of using unpaid labor, companies that have used free workers say it can pay off when done right.
By Katherine Reynolds Lewis, contributor
FORTUNE -- With nearly 14 million unemployed workers in America, many have gotten sodesperate that they're willing to work for free. While some businesses are wary of the legal risks and supervision such an arrangement might require, companies that have used free workers say it can pay off when done right.
"People who work for free are far hungrier than anybody who has a salary, so they're going to outperform, they're going to try to please, they're going to be creative," says Kelly Fallis, chief executive of Remote Stylist, a Toronto and New York-based startup that provides Web-based interior design services. "From a cost savings perspective, to get something off the ground, it's huge. Especially if you're a small business."
March 31, 2011
It’s been nearly two weeks since the US entered Libya and there is still no clear indication on who the rebels really are. Webster Tarpley, an investigative journalist says the US is supporting al-Qaeda, and racists on the ground. The world should ask America, “What are you doing arming and promoting al-Qaeda fighters in Libya?” he said.
TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi will stay in the country "until the end" to lead it to victory against its enemies, a government spokesman said on Thursday.
Speaking after former Foreign Secretary Moussa Koussa defected and flew to Britain on Wednesday, the spokesman said Western air strikes against Libya had only united its top leadership against "a clear enemy."
"If this aggression did anything, it only rallied people around the leader and the unity of the nation," Mussa Ibrahim said in Tripoli. "Especially now. They see a clear enemy."
Asked if Gaddafi and his sons were still in the country, he said: "Rest assured, we are all here. We will remain here until the end. This is our country. We are strong on every front."
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Rolling Stone published horrific photos reportedly taken by members of the U.S. Military who allegedly were part of what is being called the "Kill Team." These individuals have been described by the Army, according to Rolling Stone, as a "rogue unit" operating completely on its own, "without the knowledge of its superiors.”
Anwar al-Awlaki, al-Qaeda's most influential English-language preacher, said revolts sweeping the Arab world would help rather than harm its cause by giving Islamists freed from tyranny greater scope to speak out.
28 March 2011
The Libyan National Council, the Benghazi-based group that speaks for the rebel forces fighting the Gaddafi regime, has appointed a long-time CIA collaborator to head its military operations. The selection of Khalifa Hifter, a former colonel in the Libyan army, was reported by McClatchy Newspapers Thursday and the new military chief was interviewed by a correspondent for ABC News on Sunday night.
Hifter’s arrival in Benghazi was first reported by Al Jazeera on March 14, followed by a flattering portrait in the virulently pro-war British tabloid the Daily Mail on March 19. The Daily Mail described Hifter as one of the “two military stars of the revolution” who “had recently returned from exile in America to lend the rebel ground forces some tactical coherence.” The newspaper did not refer to his CIA connections.
McClatchy Newspapers published a profile of Hifter on Sunday. Headlined “New Rebel Leader Spent Much of Past 20 years in Suburban Virginia,” the article notes that he was once a top commander for the Gaddafi regime, until “a disastrous military adventure in Chad in the late 1980s.”
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Broke And Getting Broker: 22 Jaw Dropping Statistics About The Financial Condition Of American Families
#1 In 2010, one out of every eight American families had at least one family member that was unemployed. In fact, the figure for 2010 was the highest it has been since the U.S. Labor Department began keeping track of this statistic back in 1994.
#2 According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 8 million Americansare working part-time jobs because they can't get full-time jobs.
#3 There are now more than 6 million Americans that the government sayshave given up looking for work completely.
#4 After accounting for inflation, the average income for an American family has fallen 5 percent since the year 2000.
#5 According to the New York Times, as of 2009 the wealthiest 5 percent of all Americans had 63.5 percent of all the wealth in America. Meanwhile, the bottom 80 percent had just 12.8 percent of all the wealth.
#6 During this most recent economic downturn, employee compensation in the United States has been the lowest that it has been relative to gross domestic product in over 50 years.
#7 According to the Federal Reserve, between 2007 and 2009 median household net worth in the United States fell by 23 percent.
#8 The Federal Reserve also says that median household debt in the United States has risen to $75,600.
#9 Total U.S. credit card debt is more than 8 times larger than it was just 30 years ago.
#10 Today, 46% of all Americans carry a credit card balance from month to month.
#11 Of U.S. households that have credit card debt, the average amount owed on credit cards is $15,788.
#12 Americans now owe more than $887 billion on student loans, which is even more than they owe on credit cards.
#13 A staggering 25 percent of all American adults now have a credit score below 599.
#14 When you adjust wages for inflation, middle class workers in the United States make less money today than they did back in 1971.
#15 American workers that are unemployed are nearly twice as likely to have been told by a doctor or a nurse that they suffer from depression.
#16 In 2010, for the first time ever more than a million U.S. families lost their homes to foreclosure, and that number is expected to go even higher in 2011.
#17 According to RealtyTrac, one out of every 45 U.S. households was hit with a foreclosure filing in 2010.
#18 U.S. home values have fallen an astounding 6.3 trillion dollars since the peak of the real estate market. Most of that pain has been felt by ordinary American families.
#19 Approximately half of all American workers make $25,000 a year or less.
#20 According to a survey released very close to the end of 2010, 55 percentof all Americans are now living paycheck to paycheck.
#21 1.5 million Americans filed for bankruptcy in 2010. That represented the fourth yearly increase in bankruptcy filings in a row.
#22 As 2007 began, only about 26 million Americans were on food stamps, but today over 44 million Americans are on food stamps which is an all-time record high.
High residential vacancies are killing many housing markets, as foreclosed homes sit on the market and depress sale prices and property values.
And it's only getting worse: The national vacancy rate crept up to just over 13% according to last week's decennial census report. That's up from 12.1% in 2007.
"More vacant homes equal more downward pressure on home prices," said Brad Hunter, chief economist for Metrostudy, a real estate information provider.
Maine had the highest proportion of empty housing stock, at 22.8%. Other states with gluts of empty houses included Vermont (20.5%), Florida (17.5%), Arizona (16.3%) and Alaska (15.9%).
President Obama said Tuesday American leadership is helping an international coalition to save innocent lives in Libya.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and British Foreign Secretary William Hague led the crisis talks in London between 40 countries and institutions, all seeking an endgame aimed at halting the Libyan leader's bloody onslaught against Libya's people.
Although the NATO-led airstrikes on Gadhafi's forces aren't aimed at toppling him, dozens of nations agreed in the talks that Libya's future does not include the dictator at the helm.
Ventura filed the suit in federal court earlier this year. He says he was sexually assaulted by the TSA during a pat down at Minneapolis- St. Paul International Airport in November.
The U.S. government filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit Monday arguing all challenges to aviation and security-related TSA orders must be filed in the courts of appeal.
Another wonderful example of corporate royalty and their immunity to natural common law Travinyle1Despite extremely questionable design engineering that saved Tokyo Power and Electric many millions of dollars, but ignored the threat of a major tsunami, the company may not be liable for any damages resulting from its Fukuskima Daiichii nuclear power plant disaster.
According to Paul J. Scalise, a former financial analyst, who is writing a book on Japan’s electric power system, under Japanese law governing compensation for nuclear damage, companies are liable for the cost of all nuclear accidents resulting from reactor operations except when the accidents are provoked by a “grave natural disaster of an exceptional nature or by an insurrection.” The company might plausibly seek to avoid liability altogether within that definition, he said, according to NYT.
So the question becomes one of whether the tsunami provoked the accident or whether design shortcuts resulted in the accident, because the tsunami should have been anticipated.
Beyond that, it appears that the Japanese government may step into the picture, in any case, in a manner similar to the way the United States government stepped in to bailout elite banks during the height of the financial crisis.