Friday, April 15, 2011
April 15 2011 Travus T. Hipp Morning News & Commentary: How Society Works 101 - When The Rich Get All The Breaks The Poor Turn To Crime
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April 15 2011 Travus T. Hipp Morning News & Commentary: How Society Works 101 - When The Rich Get All The Breaks The Poor Turn To Crime
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In The News:
Thanks this morning to ChrisM, my MP3Angel, for supplying the news and commentary audio files.
The New York Times article mentioned in the commentary is Here. Also see: "As Economy Dips, Arrests for Shoplifting Soar"(2008)
» There's nothing that moves as fast as US legislators passing bills before a two week vacation. Yesterday the continuing resolution to fund the US government passed the House 267-167 and was sent to the senate which immediately passed it. The bill will be signed by the president today. Right now the Democratic Progressive Caucus is presenting a "People's Budget" to counter the draconian "Ryan Budget". It won't pass, but the Ryan budget will. Yesterday the house tried to de-fund ObamaCare and Planned Parenthood. It passed the House and was killed by the Senate within minutes of it's entry on the floor.
» Qatar is apparently shipping French anti-tank weapons such as light rockets mounted on pickup trucks and other more sophisticated weapons systems to the Libyan rebels even as it hosts peace negotiations. NATO has declared a 12 mile "No Man's Land" between al-Gadaffi's bases and the OIL CITY/CROSSROADS of Ajdabiya. The diplomatic front in the war is stalled with the West obviously uninterested in a ceasefire and fully intending to unseat Muammar al-Gadaffi's government despite no known resolution by the U.N. that allows them to do so legally. MUCH MORE on the Libyan War below the fold.
» Japan's government has ordered the Tokyo power company to pay the Japanese equivalent of $12,000 to every household dislocated from their homes near the Fukushima EX-Nuclear reactor, which is rapidly becoming just so much nuclear slag as any and all hopes of containing what's left of the plant's radiating output fade against a background of disaster control technology that doesn't work and millions of gallons of stored radioactive water with no place to go.
» In Jordan supporters of the King have been engaged in street fights with protesters with sticks and clubs in use by both sides.
In OTHER News:
» Libya And Pakistan in the News:
» So... Where's the declaration of war President Obama? This statement reaches WAY BEYOND the UN resolution on the protection of Libyan citizens. Foreign Policy Morning Brief:
Western leaders demand Qaddafi leave while assault on Misrata continuesMore from Foreign Policy Magazine...
Top news: In a joint op-ed published in the New York Times, U.S. President Barack Obama, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and British Prime Minister David Cameron defend the progress of the international intervention in Libya and state that " it is impossible to imagine a future for Libya with [Muammar al-] Qaddafi in power." The three leaders promise that NATO operations will continue as long as Qaddafi remains. [More]
Pro-Qaddafi forces continued their assault on Misrata, the only rebel-held city in Western Libya, amid a flurry of international diplomacy on how best to assist the rebel movement. Rebels say 23 people were killed when government troops fired up to 80 rockets into a residential area. The city has been under siege for weeks and is on the verge of a humanitarian crisis.An alternate take on the rush to attack Libya, whose Human Rights record is perhaps not the best, but by far not the worst, considering the standard of living enjoyed by Libyans is one of the highest in the Middle East or North Africa. Could the West's arrogance in flaunting the UN resolution on Libya be an overt play to prevent the oil countries of the region from switching their oil trading benchmark, the dollar, to some other currency?:
NATO foreign ministers met in Berlin amid stark differences on how to enforce the internationally-mandated no-fly zone. Britain and France are urging more countries to take part in airstrikes against Qaddafi forces. Spain and Italy, while participating in the no-fly zone, have not yet carried out combat missions. Germany and Turkey remain opposed to the Libyan mission.
At a meeting in China, the so-called BRICs group reiterated their dedication to "the principle that the use of force should be avoided".
At a "contact group" meeting in Doha, representatives from western powers and their Middle Eastern allies met with leaders of the rebel movement and promised to continue to provide "material support."
At yet another meeting in Cairo, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, and Arab League head Amr Moussa met with officials from the African Union and Organization of the Islamic Conference. The AU's "road map" to peace in Libya, which likely involved Muammar al-Qaddafi remaining in power, was swiftly rejected by the rebels this week. [In Full]
During a 2007 "Democracy Now" interview of US General Wesley Clark (Ret) he says that about 10 days after September 11, 2001, he was told by a general that the decision had been made to go to war with Iraq. Clark was surprised and asked why. "I don't know!" was the response. "I guess they don't know what else to do!"
Later, the same general said they planned to take out seven countries in five years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran.
What do these seven countries have in common? In the context of banking, one that sticks out is that none of them is listed among the 56 member banks of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS).
Libya All About Oil, Or Central Banking?
By Ellen Brown
April 13, 2011 "Asia Times" - Several writers have noted the odd fact that the Libyan rebels took time out from their rebellion in March to create their own central bank - this before they even had a government. Robert Wenzel wrote in the Economic Policy Journal:I have never before heard of a central bank being created in just a matter of weeks out of a popular uprising. This suggests we have a bit more than a rag tag bunch of rebels running around and that there are some pretty sophisticated influences.Alex Newman wrote in the New American:In a statement released last week, the rebels reported on the results of a meeting held on March 19. Among other things, the supposed rag-tag revolutionaries announced the "[d]esignation of the Central Bank of Benghazi as a monetary authority competent in monetary policies in Libya and appointment of a Governor to the Central Bank of Libya, with a temporary headquarters in Benghazi."Newman quoted CNBC senior editor John Carney, who asked, "Is this the first time a revolutionary group has created a central bank while it is still in the midst of fighting the entrenched political power? It certainly seems to indicate how extraordinarily powerful central bankers have become in our era."
Another anomaly involves the official justification for taking up arms against Libya.
Supposedly it's about human rights violations, but the evidence is contradictory. According to an article on the Fox News website on February 28:As the United Nations works feverishly to condemn Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi for cracking down on protesters, the body's Human Rights Council is poised to adopt a report chock-full of praise for Libya's human rights record.Whatever might be said of Gaddafi's personal crimes, the Libyan people seem to be thriving. A delegation of medical professionals from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus wrote in an appeal to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin that after becoming acquainted with Libyan life, it was their view that in few nations did people live in such comfort:
The review commends Libya for improving educational opportunities, for making human rights a "priority" and for bettering its "constitutional" framework. Several countries, including Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia but also Canada, give Libya positive marks for the legal protections afforded to its citizens - who are now revolting against the regime and facing bloody reprisal.
[Libyans] are entitled to free treatment, and their hospitals provide the best in the world of medical equipment. Education in Libya is free, capable young people have the opportunity to study abroad at government expense. When marrying, young couples receive 60,000 Libyan dinars (about 50,000 US dollars) of financial assistance. Non-interest state loans, and as practice shows, undated. Due to government subsidies the price of cars is much lower than in Europe, and they are affordable for every family. Gasoline and bread cost a penny, no taxes for those who are engaged in agriculture. The Libyan people are quiet and peaceful, are not inclined to drink, and are very religious.
They maintained that the international community had been misinformed about the struggle against the regime. "Tell us," they said, "who would not like such a regime?"
Even if that is just propaganda, there is no denying at least one very popular achievement of the Libyan government: it brought water to the desert by building the largest and most expensive irrigation project in history, the US$33 billion GMMR (Great Man-Made River) project. Even more than oil, water is crucial to life in Libya.
The GMMR provides 70% of the population with water for drinking and irrigation, pumping it from Libya's vast underground Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System in the south to populated coastal areas 4,000 kilometers to the north. The Libyan government has done at least some things right.
Another explanation for the assault on Libya is that it is "all about oil", but that theory too is problematic. As noted in the National Journal, the country produces only about 2% of the world's oil. Saudi Arabia alone has enough spare capacity to make up for any lost production if Libyan oil were to disappear from the market. And if it's all about oil, why the rush to set up a new central bank? [Find Out @ The Asia Times]
Meanwhile, in the wake of a meeting between the CIA and their Pakistani counterpart, the ISI:
US Ignores Pakistan Warning, Continues Drone StrikesIn a dissenting, and mildly threatening opinion, William Saletan (A self described "liberal Republican") @ Slate says: "If Pakistan wants fewer U.S. agents on the ground, it should tolerate American drones"
Pakistani Officials Slam Latest Attack Against South Waziristan
April 14, 2011
Though Pakistani officials were quite clear on Monday in their demand that the US put its entire drone strike program "on hold" for the foreseeable future, drones were active again today in South Waziristan, attacking a village and killing at least six people.
The Zardari government had long been a tacit supporter of such strikes. The ugly number of recent incidents, as well as anger over the Raymond Davis affair and its subsequent revelation that a number of US spies were operating in Pakistan beyond the ones cooperating officially with the government, however, have sparked a backlash. Now it is not just cabinet ministers but Pakistan’s powerful military establishment making the demands that the strikes stop.
The latest strike spawned another quick rebuke from officials, who insisted the attacks are "counterproductive" and are indeed being used as a recruitment tool by militant factions. The US has launched scores of such strikes since President Obama took office, killing massive numbers of people, many of them civilians. [In Full]
War Without Footprints
If Pakistan wants fewer U.S. agents on the ground, it should tolerate American drones.
By William Saletan
April 13, 2011
Pakistan says the drones kill too many civilians. It points to last month's drone strike, in which some tribal leaders were reportedly killed alongside the targeted militants. But the drones, thanks to their precise weapons and their ability to verify targets without risking pilots' lives, are killing civilians at a lower rate than any other form of warfare. Even critics of the drone program acknowledge that its rate of civilian casualties has plummeted.
Two months ago, at a forum convened by the New America Foundation, Peter Bergen, the director of NAF's National Security Studies Program, conceded that the drones' civilian casualty rate had declined from 25 to 5 percent. That beats the NATO air campaign in Libya, in which pilots have to make quick decisions, sometimes with tragic consequences.
Bergen cited poll data indicating that the drones are unpopular in Pakistan. But that's nothing compared to the outrage that followed the Davis incident.
One American driver firing a pistol created a political uproar worse than any missile from a drone. That's what happens when we put our feet on the ground... [Read On]
(...and try not to let your government kill too many 'dusky natives' in the process OK?)
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