Sunday Link Dump
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.