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Sunday Link Dump

April 10, 2011

Here’s my post from Taylor Marsh. It’s a round-up of links, news, some commentary, that sort of thing. I’ll be doing a photo bomb later this afternoon. I’m running a tad behind today.

On this day in history, April 10, 1912, the ill-fated Titanic set out on it’s maiden voyage.

~The GOP continues to put its thumb on the scales in favor of big business. Because, you know, if they don’t look out for those poor, beleaguered CEOs who will? On Friday House Republicans voted to overturn net neutrality rules. While they will have a harder time in the Senate and a Presidential veto would be likely, it raises the stakes in 2012. It’s become obvious that the GOP assault on “Big Government” is really a red herring to allow them to erode consumer protections while boosting corporate profits by getting rid of those meddlesome regulations which reign in corporate abuse.

~The situation in Gaza continues to worsen with dozens of rockets entering Israel and war planes over Gaza. Some are worried that this could be the start of Cast Lead II. UPDATE: As of this morning, Israel has offered a cease-fire.

~An interesting opinion piece by the NYT’ Richard Cohen about Judge Goldstone’s Washington Post editorial from two weeks ago. While many are claiming that Judge Goldstone has done a total reversal, that view doesn’t really stand up to scrutiny and Goldstone himself has said he won’t seek to nullify the report. Cohen points out that Goldstone seems to misrepresent the findings of the independent report issued by Judge Mary McGowan Davis. To add to the confusion, Ynet published an article quoting the head of the South African Zionist Federation stating that intense pressure from South African Jewish groups played a role in Goldstone’s change of tone regarding his report. Regardless of one’s view of the report, the debate it provoked isn’t going away, nor should it.

~Ok, so we have a nice, new, warm, fuzzy budget “compromise.” Or not. Here is one of the definitions of the word compromise: “a settlement of differences by mutual concessions; an agreement reached by adjustment of conflicting or opposing claims, principles, etc., by reciprocal modification of demands. ” Is that what this budget deal was? Because other than pap smears and family planning, I’m not sure what the GOP compromised.

~Nick Kristof takes aim at the cowardice of the democrats during the budget debate and Paul Ryan’s refusal to take on the obvious need to end the Bush tax cuts.

~If this is the best Obama’s political advisers can do in the wake of the budget deal then they all need to be replaced.

~Saturday marked the 8th anniversary of the fall of Saddam Hussein. Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr and about ten thousand of his followers sent a message to the U.S. by warning that if the administration doesn’t stand by it’s December 2011 pull-out date then he will reactivate his army and target not only U.S. military, but civilians (ie. contractors and diplomats) who stay in the country. Well, we sure made things better there, didn’t we? But, as is always the case, timing is everything — Secretary Gates took a quiet trip to Iraq this week and essentially offered Iraq the option of requesting some U.S. troops stay beyond the December deadline. WTF?!?

By the way, the new U.S. embassy in Iraq is roughly the size of Vatican City, cost the U.S. taxpayers roughly $600 million, has gyms, a cinema, polls, it’s own electricity grids and water systems (when most Iraqis only have electricity for part of the day) and is a provocative symbol of American hubris and it has rubbed Iraqis the wrong way. Operating costs for the Embassy are expected to be around $1.2 billion a year. How big is the home for the U.S. Ambassador in Iraq? 16,000 square feet. Cozy. It will have a private security force (aka private contractor Army) of about 5,500. And did the construction of this monolith create American jobs? No, a Kuwaiti contracting firm oversaw the project.

~Even if you don’t click on a single link in this round-up, click on this. It’s a 24/7 live-stream of the Decorah Eagles taking care of their 3 brand new hatchlings in Iowa. I just checked in on them. Mom is watching them sleep, dad is off flying around (getting breakfast?)- she’s sitting on top of them to keep them warm. Every once in a while she stands up to check on them. When they are all awake they are too funny.

~We simply cannot forget about Egypt. There has been escalating violence between protesters and the military in Tahrir Square and the Egyptian people seem to be turning against the military. This poses a problem for the U.S. government, which has been a bit too complimentary of the Egyptian military’s “restraint” and we have been awfully quiet about the allegations of torture, sexual abuse and other forms of violence perpetrated by the military and security forces.

~In case you missed it, Steve Clemons over at the Washington Note recently pointed out the total lack of discussion over the incredible cost of the Afghanistan War, particularly in light of the fact that Hamid Karzai and his buddies are funneling huge amounts of U.S. taxpayer dollars into offshore accounts almost as fast as the U.S. hands it over, while at the same time the U.S. builds Afghan infrastructure, schools etc. while neglecting those things here at home. How in the world can any politician have a serious debate about reigning in spending without a honest discussion about Afghanistan? To make matters worse, as we speak, the usual suspects [Gen. Petraeus, Gates, etc.] are lining up to blow sunshine up our backside by telling us something along the lines of “the surge is working, it’s a tough slog, but if we leave now we’ll lose whatever ground we’ve gained.” You know the deal-you’ve heard it before. Get used to it, we could be hearing it 20 years from now.

~It is becoming very clear that the situation in Cote d’Ivoire is long past a humanitarian crisis– bloodbath is more like it. In fact, it’s starting to look like a Rwanda-type situation. Human Rights Watch has reported mass killings and rape by President-elect Alassane Ouattara’s loyalists. The Obama administration has released several strongly-worded statements about the violence in Cote d’Ivoire over the past few weeks but given the growing number of atrocities taking place, I can’t help but have a hard time finding any consistency in President Obama’s foreign policy when it comes to humanitarian intervention, particularly in light of our actions in Libya.

~Big banks win again. Change you can believe in.

~Will the real Barack Obama please stand up?

~The blazing headline on Politico today “The GOP’s Winning Streak.” Maybe someone should pass the link on to Obama.

~In Libya, Gadhafi’s forces gain more ground.

~According to the Joint Chiefs, the repeal of DADT isn’t causing the slightest bit of concern in the military. Sorry John McCain.

~Almost half of the U.S. Senate signed a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder urging him to focus more on anti-pornography/obscenity cases. Uh, ok.

The End.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Steve permalink
    April 10, 2011 2:02 pm

    Good, I was wondering why you hadn’t cross posted this here!

    I’m wondering what people think about the so-called budget compromise. Reading the round-up I think I know what Stacy thinks😉

    Are there any psychologists/pscychiatrists/mental health experts reading this who can give us some insight into why Obama feels the need to be seen as the compromiser in chief even if it means screwing the middle class and totally going against every single principle he talked about during his campaign at the beginning if his term. As someone who was NOT an Obama supporter but IS a progressive/liberal, I just don’t get it. Does it have to do with his dream of being the first post-partisan President? Or did he not really stand for all those things he said he stood for? Or does he, like most Democrats, totally take the liberal base for granted, believing (or knowing) that we’ll come crawling back under the lesser of two evil theories?

  2. April 10, 2011 4:41 pm

    Very nice roundup! Regarding the budget deal, I’d say Boehner is a pretty good negotiator. I honestly wonder whether the Title 10 (Planned Parenthood) rider was kind of a smoke screen. Any good negotiator is going to ask for more than they’d be satisfied with settling for, and I think the GOP did that. The Dems were on the defensive during the entire budget debate, giving things up left and right. It was as if they were on their heels and just trying to avoid toppling over.

  3. April 10, 2011 6:00 pm

    This is really an incredible story. It’s almost like predator operators are playing a video game- but they are not. Talk about being detached from the battle zone (and it’s consequences):

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-afghanistan-drone-20110410,0,200182.story?page=1

    Can you imagine being a family member of those killed? How would you trust the US or NATO? I understand that accidents happen and things aren’t black and white, but Afghanistan has become the dictionary definition of “mission creep.”

    • April 10, 2011 7:57 pm

      When Obama gave orders for the surge, to either double or triple the number of troops Bush had in Afghanistan, the mission was counter-insurgency (COIN). It was to “win hearts and minds”. We have not been able to seize control and then hold significant territory since then, despite our obvious technological advantages.

      So McChrystal, who was leading the COIN effort, is gone. Now we are back to counter-terrorism: using special forces and air power to try to hit the enemy (especially in night raids). More civilians are dying and being maimed. And considering that all the “experts” say that there are less than 100 members of AQ left in Afghanistan, one has to wonder what we are doing…

  4. HillaryFan permalink
    April 11, 2011 10:15 am

    Wow, comprehensive round-up.

    It’s a bit strange how the media is ignoring Ivory Coast but also the increased violence in Sudan. I am hearing troubling accounts about how we are prepared to normalize relations with that President (I forget his name) who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes/genocide. They are saying we are willing to do this simply because he didn’t disrupt elections. So that’s all it takes to get off the hook for genocide? If this were a European nation engaging in genocide would we let him off the hook?

  5. Truro permalink
    April 12, 2011 9:57 am

    You are a good writer. You should be writing over at HuffPo or Salon or something.

    I have been lurking here for months and am impressed with how you cover a broad range of foreign policy topics and let us all know what the Secretary is doing daily. Of course the cat photos are wonderful too🙂 I also appreciate your willingness to allow opposing viewpoints. Most blogs devoted to politicians or policy makers censor their comment section- I know pro-Hillary and pro-Obama blogs that do that and they lose credibility because they can’t seem to make the arguments to rebut the criticism.

  6. January 26, 2013 11:19 am

    I really do wonder what’s going to happen to the middle class man 100 years from now.

  7. June 18, 2013 4:59 pm

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    c. to force the message house a bit, however other than that, that is fantastic
    blog. A great read. I’ll definitely be back.

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