Sunday Morning Link Dump
Good morning. I am cross-posting my Sunday morning news round-up from Taylor Marsh, just because.
Remember, Secretary Clinton is on three morning talk shows today- Face the Nation, ABC’s ‘This Week’ and Meet the Press.
I’ll be doing a photo bomb later this afternoon- I know I didn’t do one last weekend- my bad. I’l also post the video of her interviews when they become available later.
On this day in history, March 27, 1513, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon set his eyes upon what is today called Florida.
I’ve rounded up some links so you don’t have to:
~Coalition airstrikes against Gaddafi on Saturday provide enough cover for the rebels to retake the city of Ajdabiya in the East.
~A quarter of a million people take to the streets in London to protest the government’s draconian “austerity” measures. Just as in the U.S., the British banking system received billions in bailouts and now the people made to suffer are the usual suspects- the middle and lower classes.
~Protests in Syria turned violent after government forces gunned down dozens of unarmed protesters.
~You would think that the cable news media could walk and chew gum at the same time given it’s a 24 hour news cycle which gives them more than enough time to cover more than one or two stories non-stop. For example, one would think they could cover the military action in Libya and the ongoing crisis in Japan. If you thought that, you would be wrong. Since the initiation of military action in Libya, coverage of the continued problems with the Fukushima nuclear complex in Japan has slipped off noticeably. Luckily print/web media is still covering the crisis.
~This seems to becoming more and more of a frequent occurrence- NATO air strikes kill more civilians, including children.
~On a similar note if you haven’t seen the documentary, The Pat Tillman Story by Amir Bar-Lev, go run out and rent it. There have been several documentaries about his death, but this one is the best by far- I know it’s been available on DVD for some time now but I just watched it last night and it was incredible- and enraging. It’s all the more relevant given what has gone on in Afghanistan since Tillman died- it’s incredible to see just how many of the top brass involved in the cover-up failed upwards and not only were not held accountable, but got promotions. Of course, the people doing the promoting (in the Bush administration) seemed to also be involved in the cover-up.
~Hamas announced that Gaza militants had agreed to stop launching rockets into Israel if Israel would stop launching strikes against targets in Gaza in return. That seems unlikely. Tensions are rising daily and I can’t help but have the feeling that we are about to see the Second Act of Operation Cast Lead. I hope I am wrong.
~In today’s NYT Thomas Friedman tries to put a positive spin on the outcome of the Iraq War which he supported and argued for in 2002 and 2003 and argues, unconvincingly in my view, that the wonderful democracy that flourished there bodes well for the Arab Spring.
~While polls show that more and more Americans are supporting equality for gays and lesbians on a variety of fronts, it looks like the all of the likely GOP hopefuls are decidedly anti-gay. So, who is outside the mainstream now?
~What is it about some small government conservatives loving big government in our bedrooms?
~European countries seem to be getting fed up with the United States’ primary role in the Mideast Peace process (or lack thereof). They want the United Nations to take over the peace negotiations and I can’t help but wonder if this is related to a) Angela Merkel’s extraordinary phone call with Bibi Netanyahu where her aides described her as being “furious” with him, b) the revelations in the Palestine Papers, which received much, much more coverage in Europe and other parts of the world than they did in the U.S. and c) the U.S. being the only country to veto the Security Council resolution condemning settlement expansion? Here’s the thing, the U.S. won’t hand over its leading role in “mediating” negotiations and coming up with a solution because Israel wants us in that position- in fact, Bibi doesn’t want anything to do with the Quartet. I’ve believed for a long time that the international community needs to play a larger role in all of this because it’s clear that due to domestic political considerations, the U.S. is incapable of being an objective, honest broker, which is what is necessary if the conflict is ever to end.
~Is this NJ nuclear reactor an accident waiting to happen?
~Glenn Beck has a new documentary (*yawn*) which I guess came out some time in February 2011 and guess what it’s about? **spoiler alert** Basically, the world is ending and those evil Muslims, socialists and atheists are responsible. It seems to focus a lot on Iran getting a nuclear weapon in the next 10 minutes and it contains a lot of commentary from people who have made a career out of fear-mongering and being a little bit crazy. Media Matters has some good information on Beck’s chosen “experts.” Sorry if I ruined it for you. Here’s a little taste:
~War-monger John Bolton has a swell idea– war with Iran. And soon. This is nothing new of course because I don’t think Bolton could name a single country in the Mideast region (other than Israel) that he doesn’t want to bomb. I’ve noticed something about neoconservatives- they seem to treat U.S. troops like expendable chess pieces on board which they control. If we end up in another war I think it will be time for a draft. Or how about a war tax since all this sh*t costs money? I think we’ve become an entitled, lazy nation that expects only about 2% of the population to sacrifice anything when it comes to war and thus it’s much easier to support something when most of us have no skin in the game. Remember back in the old days when our leaders demanded sacrifice from ALL Americans, not just service members and their families? Women worked in the factories and joined WAVES, certain food items and products were prohibited because they were needed for the war effort, people bought war bonds and people signed up for service in droves. These days what do our leaders ask us to do in a time of national crisis and war? They ask us to go shopping. Who doesn’t like shopping?
~Hey, it’s almost tax time, how much do you owe in federal income tax? If it’s more than $1 you owe more than Bank of America does. It’s called failing upwards. Where is the MSM (television, preferably) on this? The hypocrisy of the small government, budget-cutting, anti-tax crowd is unbelievable- Middle America is being the only one asked to sacrifice economically while the nations largest corporations (not just in banking) not only pay ZERO federal income tax, but receive BILLIONS- yes, billions- in tax relief while they use offshore accounts to dodge tax federal tax laws. Now there’s a loophole the size of the Grand Canyon that needs fixing. But nowhere in this budget debate is any of this being discussed. Now, not all corporations pay no taxes of course, but the idea that we actually have a truly free market system with all these corporate subsidies is a myth- and that’s without even bringing up the issue of bailouts.
~Yemen’s long-time President is possibly stepping down sooner rather than later.
~Over at Foreign Policy there is an interesting and somewhat critical commentary about Angela Merkel’s economic and foreign policy leadership.
~Whether one agrees or disagrees with military intervention in Libya there is no denying that very real and very important questions are being raised about its foreign policy implications. For example, this commentary asks why, if the intervention in Libya is based primarily on humanitarian grounds, the world and UN have largely ignored the growing violence and murder of large numbers of civilians in Côte d’Ivoire by the ruthless Laurent Gbagbo.
~Speaking of questions being raised about the foreign policy implications of military intervention in Libya, here Mark Sheetz arguing that Europe (and in particular France) alone should have handled this one. Agree or disagree, he raises some interesting questions.
~Careful what you wish for Floridians, you just might get it. Howie Klein of Down with Tyranny has a great post up about how Florida Governor Rick Scott has a plan to make Florida one of the states most hostile to public workers/unions, the poor and pretty much every living thing except large corporations. And given what’s been happening in Wisconsin, that’s quite an achievement!
~Speaking of Wisconsin and union-hating political leaders, Governor Walker has decided that following court orders is for lesser humans and the GOP is going to go ahead and ram the anti-union bill into effect. So much for being a law and order Republican. I keep wondering when middle America, including conservatives, are going to wake up and smell the hypocrisy. When ever you hear the Tea Party crowd talk about a) transparency, b) small government, c) cutting spending and d) the importance of the Constitution and the Rule of Law, be sure you read the fine print because there is a long list of self-serving exceptions to all of the above.
~Does the treatment of Pfc. Bradley Manning raise the possibility that despite Barack Obama’s executive order prohibiting torture, it is still being used at the discretion of the DoD/CIA? Why has the MSM not asked hard questions about this, particularly given the fact that Obama’s executive order has exceptions that have been interpreted to mean that torture is permissible in certain circumstances. Also, given the
firing resignation of State Dept. spokesman PJ Crowley several weeks ago, you would think the MSM would connect some of the dots. I guess that’s just to much to ask of David Gregory, John King and others.
~On Monday Der Spiegel published shocking photos of US troops posing by dead Afghan civilians whom they had killed. The photos are graphic and horrible. The US soldiers involved are on trial for murder (one of them just sentenced to 24 years) but I am wondering, did I miss something or has the US media largely ignored this story (there were a few reports including the AP) and if so, are they doing so at the request of the US government?
~Thank goodness for Nicholas Kristof, who in today’s NYT is bringing more attention to the horrific story of the Egyptian women who were subjected to torture and a “virginity test” by the very same Egyptian military that the U.S. has been lauding for being so restrained and professional.
~It’s looking more and more likely like there will be a government shutdown.
~Kathleen Parker has an interesting piece in the WaPo about Nikki Haley and internal South Carolina politics.
~Dana Milbank mocks a Haley Barbour presidential run.
~Defense Secretary Gates said in a pre-taped interview (to air today on Face the Nation) that Gadhafi may be moving dead bodies in an attempt to claim that coalition air strikes have killed lots of civilians.