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Monthly Archives: August 2011

Bounty placed on Ghaddafi’s head.

British Special Forces are on the ground in Libya, and have been for weeks – disguised in Arab dress – to lead the “hunt” for Ghaddafi. A 2 million dollar (1 M pound) reward has been put on Ghaddafi’s head and the NTC (rebel group) has stated that this means “dead or alive”.

Humanitarian action, my fat ass. The goal has always clearly been regime change. But a bounty on his head? What is this? This thing is deteriorating daily, with the NATO countries completely degrading into some kind of freaky Wild West show. There is no explanation offered as to why the British are so blatantly violating the “no boots on the ground” UN resolution, nor does there seem to be any interest in asking for any such explanation on the part of the media. The rebels, along with NATO, are causing such loss of civilian life in Tripoli that there can no longer be any question of NATO war crimes being committed by both groups.

From the Telegraph (which, in this article, keeps referring to Ghaddafi as “the despot” in what is sheer propaganda):

As a £1 million bounty was placed on Gaddafi’s head, soldiers from 22 SAS Regiment began guiding rebel soldiers after being ordered in by David Cameron.

For the first time, defence sources have confirmed that the SAS has been in Libya for several weeks, and played a key role in coordinating the fall of Tripoli.

With the majority of the capital now in rebel hands, the SAS soldiers, who have been dressed in Arab civilian clothing and carrying the same weapons as the rebels, have been ordered to switch their focus to the search for Gaddafi, who has been on the run since his fortified headquarters was captured on Tuesday.

Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) said Gaddafi was wanted “dead or alive” and promised an amnesty to any of his inner circle prepared to betray his whereabouts…

Aid agencies warned of a humanitarian “catastrophe” on the horizon as food, water and medical supplies started to run out in the capital…

Meanwhile SAS soldiers who had been sent to Libya several weeks ago to coordinate air strikes on key military targets have been ordered to stay on and help the rebels on the ground who are hunting him down….

With snipers trying to pick off anyone using the ports and airports, aid agencies have been unable to deliver fresh supplies of medicines, food or water, and hospitals in Tripoli have been overwhelmed with casualties, who include children.

Rosa Crestani, of the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres, said: “The situation is very tough…it’s almost a catastrophe. There are clearly shortages of life-saving medication and equipment. There are no antibiotics and instruments for life-saving surgery.”…

http://tinyurl.com/3cccfjq

And this, from WSWS:

…Kim Sengupta of the Independent reported Thursday from the Tripoli neighborhood of Abu Salim, which the “rebels” stormed under the cover of NATO air strikes. Known as a pro-Gaddafi area, its residents have been subjected to a reign of terror…

“‘The rebels are saying they are fighting government troops here, but all those getting hurt are ordinary people, the only buildings being damaged are those of local people. There has also been looting by the rebels, they have gone into houses to search for people and taken away things. Why are they doing this?’”…

Both the Associated Press and Reuters news agencies documented a massacre perpetrated against Gaddafi supporters in a square adjacent to the presidential compound that was stormed and looted on Tuesday…

AP said that the grisly discovery raised “the disturbing specter of mass killings of noncombatants, detainees and the wounded.”

Among the bodies of the executed the report added were several that “had been shot in the head, with their hands tied behind their backs. A body in a doctor’s green hospital gown was found in the canal. The bodies were bloated.”

Reporting from the same killing field, Reuters counted 30 bodies “riddled with bullets”. It noted that “Five of the dead were at a field hospital nearby, with one in an ambulance strapped to a gurney with an intravenous drip still in his arm.” Two of the bodies, it said, “were charred beyond recognition.”

Amnesty International has raised urgent concerns about the killing, torture and brutalization of people being rounded up by the “rebels,” particularly African migrant workers who have been singled out for retribution because of the color of their skin….

Amnesty said that “rebel” leaders estimated that one-third of the detainees were “foreign mercenaries,” meaning sub-Saharan Africans. “When Amnesty International spoke to several of the detainees, however, they said they were migrant workers…

News reports and statements from international aid agencies warn of a humanitarian catastrophe in the city as a result of the NATO siege…

The Telegraph reported that Tripoli’s two other major hospitals were similarly overflowing with casualties and desperately understaffed, as were all of the city’s private hospitals.

The aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) warned that the city is facing a medical “catastrophe”….

The lack of fuel means that hospitals that have kept their power by running generators can now no longer do so.

Health officials in Tripoli report that blood supplies have run out at the hospitals and that food and drinking water is unavailable over whole areas of Tripoli…

http://tinyurl.com/3e9xq4b

 

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Posted by on August 26, 2011 in Libya, MIC, State Dept/diplomacy

 

Finally, someone speaks the truth about the Libyan war.

Only Dennis Kucinich is willing to tell the truth about what is happening in Libya and what the US involvement means.  He released a statement yesterday, which appeared on warisacrime.org; I am sure it won’t be found anywhere else in the media, as the entire news world and all the politicians and talking heads are busy fawning over our latest scrimmage line in the game of Take Over The World, or Making the World Unsafe for Human Life Everywhere, as it might also be called.   Gone is any question of the legality of the president taking us into another war without congressional approval.  No-one examines the gross misrepresentations made about Ghaddafi, or wonders at the blatant attempt to assassinate a foreign leader.  The war crimes perpetrated by the US and NATO will never be brought forward to any international court, and the Libyans will be left to deal with the decades-long repercussions of the depleted uranium we dropped all over their country by themselves.  Their country has been changed – we bombed the hell out of it and tore apart one of their most amazing achievements: the great man-made river, the ruin of which will cause the deaths of many Libyans for years to come.  Their lives will be different, certainly, but not changed for the better, since NATO intentions are to colonize the country and have the UAE “help govern”.

Imagine: Libya has the highest literacy rate in Africa (higher than the US, as a matter of fact), the best living standards, infant mortality rates, longest life-spans, and nationalized banking and oil revenues systems which allow each Libyan to share directly in the profits of the country.  Their government, under Ghaddafi, offers life-long health care, education through college, a first home for each young couple – all free to the citizens, paid for through the profits from international oil sales.  This is what we think they need to lose, this is what we are taking from them.  We are replacing that with privatized oil and banking systems, so that any profit will go to only a select few corporations.  This is what we think would be better than what they have.

Disgusting.  Sickening.  Shameful.  We should be not only horrified at what our country is doing, but also impeaching Obama for this.  Another country ruined by the United States of America.  We surely deserve what is eventually coming our way for the havoc we have spread around the globe.  I am not a traitor for simply stating the obvious.  The “leaders” of this country who authorize such wanton destruction at the behest of the banking and corporate cartels are the traitors: we, the people, will pay the price for what they have done.

Here is the statement Kucinich released yesterday, in full:

Libyan rebels have entered Tripoli. As gun battles break out across the city, it is timely to enter into a discussion as to how the rebels arrived there. It is time to review the curious role of NATO and the future of U.S. interventionism.

A negotiated settlement in Libya was deliberately avoided for months while NATO, in violation of UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolutions 1970 and 1973, illegally pursued regime change. NATO chose sides, intervened in a civil war and morphed into the air force for the rebels, who could not have succeeded but for NATO’s attacks.

NATO acted with impunity. The NATO command recklessly bombed civilians in the name of saving civilians. Usurping the United Nation’s traditional role, NATO looked the other way as the arms embargo was openly violated by U.N. member nations.

NATO’s top commanders may have acted under color of international law but they are not exempt from international law. If members of the Gaddafi Regime are to be held accountable, NATO’s top commanders must also be held accountable through the International Criminal Court for all civilian deaths resulting from bombing. Otherwise we will have witnessed the triumph of a new international gangsterism.

The reasons for the U.S./NATO intervention in Libya keep changing. First it was about the potential for a massacre in Benghazi. When the massacre did not materialize and once the war against Libya was underway, the reasons for intervention changed.

We were reminded Libya had spent ‘forty years under a tyrant.’ We were urged to remember the destruction of Pan Am Flight 103 over Scotland, which occurred 23 years ago this December 21st. Yet almost 20 years later, on November 18, 2008 the Associated Press reported that President George Bush called Colonel Gaddafi personally “to voice his satisfaction that Libya has settled a long-standing dispute over terrorist attacks, including the bombing of a Pan Am jet over Scotland.”

On December 19, 2003 Libya voluntarily gave up its nuclear weapon-making capability and on January 6, 2004 ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Its relationship with the U.S. on the mend, Libya then opened up to international investment and began the wholesale privatization of its industries, leading to massive unemployment and dissatisfaction with the state of things, particularly among younger Libyans.

I mention this not to sympathize with Colonel Gaddafi’s brutality or to minimize the great tragedy of Flight 103. But if the U.S. had come to terms with Gaddafi’s past violence, why does the Obama Administration invoke it as justification for an attack on Libya? One conclusion could be that the reasons for the March 2011 attack were bogus.

Once into the war, the Administration promptly passed off nominal responsibility for the war to NATO, after beginning the war without congressional authorization. NATO became the beneficiary of U.S. funds, U.S. war planes, U.S. drones, U.S. bombs, and U.S. intelligence assets.

NATO violated UNSC resolutions. The Obama Administration violated the U.S. Constitution by bypassing Congress on the war. These are not mere academic matters. They have moved the world community from the rule of law to the rule of force and have set a precedent for NATO to become the new global-cop. Far from bringing a new level of security to the world scene, NATO has brought a new level of insecurity and unaccountability.

The question of the reason for United States’ involvement in Libya remains.

Was the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency involved in planning for regime change prior to events in February and March in Benghazi? Did the CIA and its assets have a role in fomenting a civil war?

Was the United States, through participation in the overthrow of the regime, furthering the aims of international oil corporations in pursuit of control over one of the world’s largest oil resources?

Did the United States at the inception of the war against Libya align itself with elements of Al Qaeda, while elsewhere continuing to use the threat of Al Qaeda as a reason for U.S. military intervention, presence and occupation?

The foreign policy objectives of the Obama Administration are cloudy. Pledges to end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are in doubt. The Iraq War is supposed to be over at the end of this year, yet that promise appears to be fading. The U.S. presence in Afghanistan appears to be open-ended. The latest reports describe a U.S. commitment in Afghanistan through 2024. This raises the question as to whether the Administration has full control over the military and intelligence apparatus.

In the case of Libya, now that NATO, with the help of the U.S., has brought the rebels into the streets of Tripoli to fight, what follows? What’s the plan? Who governs and for whose sake? Will Libya become NATO’s protectorate?

It is not only the Gaddafi compound in Tripoli that will be left in ruins by NATO’s actions; it will also be the Obama Administration’s relationship with the African Union (AU). The AU and its member nations have been repeatedly rebuffed by the U.S. in its efforts to bring about a peaceful, negotiated settlement for the regime’s transition out of power. While the U.S., through NATO, has been bombing Libya, China has spent time building commercial opportunities across the African continent.

As the Administration indulges itself with wars in Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan – spending hundreds of billions of dollars on military adventurism – the United States has massive economic problems at home. Resources which should be spent creating jobs in America are going to perpetuate war abroad. Resources which should be used to build bridges in America continue to be used to bomb bridges elsewhere.

Millions of Americans are begging for a chance to earn their daily bread while the government spends its money on daily bombing. While the government has yet to produce a viable jobs program to put millions of unemployed back to work, the waste of resources on war is guaranteed to continue: The Iraq and Afghanistan wars are NOT to subject to spending caps in the budget. The American people get myths, rhetoric and unemployment while war profiteers get the gold. Can you imagine what the people of Libya will get?”

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2011 in Congress, Libya, MIC

 

Where are the jobs?

They might be coming back to America if big businesses have their way.  Their way is not what one might hope for, however.  The big corporations are not willing to give up high corporate CEO and management pay, or the bonuses.  Nor are they willing to cut into profits, at now unprecedented levels, by diverting some of that into labor wages.  No, the plan is to lower wages in the US to the point where they compete with China’s wages.

The big question is: just how little are Americans willing to work for?  How desperate are we?  Already, wages are at a stagnant level and have been for the past 30 years.  Currently we see report after report of increased “worker productivity”; that means simply that Americans are working more hours for fewer benefits and less pay.  In some cases, it also reflects technological advances that result in replacing humans with machines.

One might wonder at the long-term effectiveness of this “plan” – after all, what is the point of paying workers so little that they cannot buy the products they are making?  That is the wrong question.  We are dealing with people who don’t have the capacity for long term planning, first of all.  If the long term were of interest, they simply would not operate this way; it is obviously antithetical to any sort of “long term plan”. The only plan, such as it is, in operation today is the earning of money for the top tier of management at any cost to the population.  If Americans can’t buy the stuff, the company will sell to some other country.  When some of those other countries can’t afford the stuff, they will move on to others and so on.  Naturally, they will eventually run out of countries to sell to.  Then what?  There is no then what, no end plan.  “Then what” is that the company folds and the CEOs walk away with an unfathomable amount of money.  That is the whole purpose.  Unbelievable greed at the top.  That’s it.  And here you are, looking for a “long term plan”.  This is the second thing; you cannot imagine the the scope of as-yet-unsatisfied avarice at the top of these companies.  We don’t just have millionaires any more, we have billionaires.  And what will they do with it all?  Even they don’t know and they don’t think about it.  They just want it.  They do not think about the average American, they don’t even know what such a thing is.  They don’t wonder how society will hold up with most of the population unable to afford food, housing, or electricity, such thoughts do not even enter their heads.  In the world these guys inhabit, there are no “people”, no “society” – there are brute worker animals and there are the owners.  They are the owners.

As Jane Slaughter points out in this article:

…They’re predicting that within five years certain Southern U.S. states will be among the cheapest manufacturing locations in the developed world — and competitive with China.

For years advisers like the Boston Consulting Group got paid big bucks to tell their clients to produce in China. Now, they say, rising wages there, fueled by worker unrest, and low wages in Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina mean that soon it won’t be worth the hassle of locating overseas.

Wages for China’s factory workers certainly aren’t going to rise to U.S. levels soon. BCG estimates they will be 17 percent of the projected U.S. manufacturing average — $26 an hour for wages and benefits — by 2015.

But because American workers have higher productivity, and since rising fuel prices are making it even more expensive to ship goods half way around the world, costs in the two countries are converging fast.

Dan Luria, research director of the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, says many of the big-name consultancies, which until a year ago were advising their clients to “Asiafy their footprints,” are now telling companies to think twice.

BCG bluntly praises Mississippi’s “flexible unions/workers, minimal wage growth, and high worker productivity,” estimating that in four years, workers in China’s fast-growing Yangtze River Delta will cost only 31 percent less than Mississippi workers.

That’s before you figure in shipping, duties, and possible quality issues. Add it all up, says BCG, and “China will no longer be the default low-cost manufacturing location.”

Actually, employers deciding where to produce the next generation of widgets may not need to look to the South. Plenty of factory jobs in Northern states — even in the former high-wage stronghold of auto — are already “competitive.”

Ford’s flagship Dearborn Truck plant outside Detroit, for example, contracts non-union workers to do inspection and repairs — long the coveted jobs, that workers could get only with many years’ seniority — at $10 an hour with no benefits….

At a GM plant in Lake Orion, Michigan, north of Detroit, contractors hire young third-tier workers at $10 an hour or less to gather parts for assemblers, work done very recently by GM employees…

Many of the union assemblers are themselves second-tier workers paid less than the U.S. manufacturing average, with wages of $14.60 and no pensions.

“It makes it hard to do anything for the second tier when the third tier is so bad,” said Theisen, a dissident who’s spoken against lowering GM wages…

After experiencing lengthy transit times from Asia, CEO and North Canton native Ben Suarez painstakingly put together a chain of suppliers from within the U.S. In a former IBEW Hoover vacuum factory, abandoned in 2007 in favor of Mexico, he’s now contracted with two companies to supply the plant with labor.

Wages will run from $7.50 an hour (general labor) to $10 (assemblers) to $16 (programmers). Federal minimum wage is $7.25.

The plant will soon employ 100-150 workers in full-time jobs. As production ramps up, others will be guaranteed seasonal work, October through March. The plant received 3,000 applications, according to the company’s Lauren Capo…

…various consultants are now telling their clients to consider the U.S. They’re the same consulting class that “popped up around the time of NAFTA with ‘yes you can in Yucatan,'” he said…

But, Paul notes, if companies choose to build in the lowest-cost states — as Japanese automakers have done for nearly 30 years — “it quickly becomes a state vs. state competition, a race to the bottom. If South Carolina can offer lower wages, so can Mexico.”Will factory jobs flood into Michigan and Mississippi at just above minimum wage? Or is that still not cheap enough? The fact remains that the decisions are all made by corporations seeking the greatest profit in a dog-eat-dog world.

As Michael Zinser, one of the co-authors of the BCG report, told Labor Notes, “Location is agnostic. It’s a question of what the market will bear.”…

Mostly, of course, the Obama administration has taken a hands-off approach to what business should do, instead providing cash on request in the bank and auto bailouts.

UAW dissidents said the auto bailout was a giant missed opportunity to steer their industry toward clean products built in the U.S. at decent wages. Unions and consumer groups protested because the banks were saved but stiff regulations were not attached to their checks.

Paul notes that government policies to promote industry are the norm elsewhere, in old capitalist countries as well as in new ones like China. He fears the absence of such government help leaves U.S. workers with only one bargaining chip — and that’s not a happy one.

“Low wages won’t be the factor that compels companies to locate in the U.S.,” he said.

“But absent a national economic development strategy where there is a focus on manufacturing, that’s what we’re left with.”

Next low wage haven: USA
by Jane Slaughter
http://tinyurl.com/4xpauqe

And how about the benefits packages?  Here is an interesting article about public pension funds from last week.  Amazingly, after the crash in ’08, the guardians of the pension plans are still trusting public pensions to Wall Street.  This is remarkably stupid and has produced the inevitable: a massive loss of value for the pension trusts.  Who could have foreseen such a thing?  No-one likes the “hide it in the mattress” plan, but at least that has the benefits of incurring no loss of principle and protecting the cash from the criminals.

From article, HuffPo:

Wall Street’s volatility has hit state pension funds just as they were beginning to recover from the recession, turning what was merely a troubled forecast into a potentially stormy future for taxpayers who are on the hook for billions in unfunded liabilities for government retirees.

As for the millions of government clerks, engineers, janitors, teachers and firefighters in the retirement systems, they are protected by law or, as in New York, by the state constitution, to be backed up by tax dollars if necessary. Their benefits remain safe for life in guaranteed “defined benefit” pension plans that are disappearing in the private sector, where most employees are left to fend for themselves with 401(k) plans that they mostly or entirely fund themselves.

California’s main public-employee pension fund, the nation’s largest, has lost at least $18 billion off its stock portfolio since July 1, about 7.5 percent of its $237.5 billion total asset value on June 30.

Florida’s pension fund has lost about $9 billion since June 30, a decline of 7 percent for a fund valued at $119.4 billion on Thursday, while the Virginia Retirement System shrank from $54.5 billion on June 30 to about $51 billion by week’s end, a decline of 6.4 percent, said its director, Robert P. Schultze.

New York’s state comptroller will not say how much the state pension fund has lost during the latest Wall Street roller coaster, but the fund was 5 percent below its pre-recession value before the recent losses and remained nearly $8 billion below its pre-recession value.

And Kentucky, which has more than $20 billion in unfunded pension liabilities, has seen the value of its public pension fund decline $1.7 billion – or 15 percent – since July 1, falling to a total value of $9.7 billion.

Nationwide, states have a combined $689.5 billion in unfunded pension liabilities and $418 billion in government retiree health care obligations, according to data collected earlier this year by The Associated Press. Those benefits are protected by state law or, as in New York, by the constitution.

Pension fund managers say there is no risk current government retirees will miss a monthly check and that they are remaining calm and taking the long view in their investments. Some say the market plunge is even providing a great opportunity to buy stocks at fire-sale prices.

Kentucky Retirement Systems Chief Investor T.J. Carlson said his fund has not made significant changes to its investments in response to the market turmoil.

“We haven’t changed our long-term strategy in any way,” he said. [In perhaps one of the more idiotic responses to Wall St. theft ever uttered.]…

E.J. McMahon, a senior fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, said the asset levels of virtually all public pension funds are below 2007 levels despite the recovery of the market in 2009 and 2010…

After a strong showing last year in a rebounding market, many state pension fund managers are confident they will ride out the latest gut-churning gyrations on Wall Street. [No explanation given for this belief.  It is like believing the lion doesn’t really want to eat that little baby gazelle; he just wants to watch it frolic for awhile.]…

Even with the steady-as-she-goes response from pension fund managers, critics of the system say taxpayers should be nervous about their future liabilities to government retirees, said Jim Waters, vice president of the Bluegrass Institute, a nonpartisan group that has pressed for a defined contribution system for government employees in Kentucky… [The idea is clearly to get the public to turn on each other – those with little being hated by those with even less, while the power brokers, ignored by the stupefied masses, continue to grow sleek and fat.]

http://tinyurl.com/3cnqthf

Now begins the culling of the herd in earnest.

 
 

Timmeh

There may come a day when we remember the Timmeh with some wistfulness. Gosh, we’ll say, remember the good old days when the treasury was run by a former IMF goonie, tax cheat who didn’t see the financial meltdown/housing bubble of ’08 coming, and who thought the DOW was the economy despite the note written by his secretary in lipstick on his restroom mirror which read, “The DOW is not the economy, Tim. Jobs are the economy, Tim.”?

From article on whether Timmeh will stay or go (Oblahblah is apparently begging Timmeh to stay):

…The prospects of being drawn into an election-year confirmation brawl could deter some who might be considered as Mr. Geithner’s successor. Among those named by people familiar with administration thinking are Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase; Jeffrey R. Immelt, the chairman of General Electric and of Mr. Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness; Roger Altman, a deputy Treasury secretary in the Clinton administration; and Erskine Bowles, a former White House chief of staff to President Bill Clinton and co-chairman of Mr. Obama’s fiscal commission in 2010.

Some Democrats say Mr. Bowles might be one of the few people who could surmount the opposition of Senate Republicans, given his good relations with some of them after his work on the bipartisan fiscal commission….

http://tinyurl.com/3ooegx4

Erskine Bowles?  The catfood commission guy?  Jeffrey Immelt?  The guy who sent most of the GE jobs overseas?  Jamie Dimon?  Jamie too-big-to-fail Dimon?  What, what, what?

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2011 in austerity, economy

 

Update on Libya

NATO war crimes.

From Scott Creighton, 22 July, 2011:

 Last week Pravda reported that NATO attacked the Great Manmade River pipeline in Libya which literally brings water across the desert to millions of Libyans and farms in western and southern Libya as well as to the capital Tripoli and Benghazi. The Manmade River project is not only a life-sustaining source of water for millions of Libyan people and a core part of Libya’s agriculture, it also stands as a source of national pride and identity. It is the largest irrigation system in the world and you can find a map of it on the Libyan dinar note. Gadhafi himself called it “the eighth wonder of the world”.  They started the project in 1983 with an extraordinary session of the People’s Congresses and 25 billion dollars later, it was completed. Funding came from profits from the very oil industry that NATO countries hope to privatize.

NATO’s strikes seem to have been extremely deliberate in their planning. First, they targeted a key section of the water supply line itself, then the next day or so, they targeted the only facility which makes the replacement sections of the pipes.

“July 22 2011. A date for humanity to remember. NATO hit the Libyan water supply pipeline. It will take months to repair. Then on Saturday they hit the pipeline factory producing pipes to repair it.” Pravda

There is absolutely no justification for this action. It is indefensible on every single level. No one can say they “accidentally” hit the pipeline then they “accidentally” hit the only facility which makes replacement pipe section for it. Their intentions are crystal clear; they intend to kill perhaps a million Libyan by depriving them of life’s basic necessity, water. This cowardly action is beyond the definition of a war-crime and has moved into a different realm altogether for which I don’t know if there is word that describes it….

It is also important to note as the two strategies seem like they would be connected, NATO attacked the state run TV’s broadcast towers across Libya this past Friday, further cutting off and isolating the people of Libya from their leadership and each other. Clearly these actions and many others during the NATO bombardment of Libya are designed to target the people of Libya in what appears to be yet another application of the Bush era “Shock and Awe” style warfare.Though the reports of this horrific crime are scarce, one can find them if one looks closely enough. In one article from USA Today which touted that Gadhafi must face war-crimes charges, you find this set of passages which confirms the accuracy of the Pravda story…

NATO planes struck a factory near the embattled oil city of Brega on Friday killing six guards, Libyan officials said.

The plant, located six miles (10 kilometers) south of the strategic oil installation, builds the huge pipes that carry water from underground aquifers deep in the south to the coast as part of the Great Man Made River irrigation project.

Major parts of the plant have been damaged,” said Abdel-Hakim el-Shwehdy, head of the company running the project. “There could be major setback for the future projects.” USA Today

When one thinks about the broader implications of this act, one can’t help but be amazed at the level of pure evil this act constitutes.

Under Gadhafi’s rule, they were able to bring water to the desert, literally. It was a feat of near biblical proportions accomplished not just by Gadhafi and the People’s Congresses, but by all the Libyan people all across the country. Some contributed by building parts, others by installing the line itself, and still others worked in the nationalized oil industry to create the national wealth that permitted it to happen. And NATO, under the guise of the lie of the “humanitarian intervention”, is actively seeking to destroy it.

http://tinyurl.com/3npyvg2

From  Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya at globalresearch.ca, reporting directly from Libya, 1 August, 2011:

NATO has intensified its bombardment of Tripoli and other major cities. Tens of thousands of fliers have been dropped by NATO from the skies asking the Libyan military to surrender.

The social momentum in Libya against NATO and its illegitimate Transitional Council has been picking up speed.  Mass opposition to the rebels is building up in rebels’ stronghold Benghazi.

Following the assassination of General Abdel Fattah Al-Younes, the commander of the Transitional Council’s armed forces, further divisions within the rebellion have unfolded; the tide has changed dramatically in Benghazi.

The Obeide tribe, which is the tribe of General Younes, has taken arms against the Transitional Council. Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the chairman of the Transitional Council, faced gunfire in his hotel where he held a press conference announcing the death of General Al-Younes. Jalil claimed that the body was lost and made many contradictory statements. He stated that Al-Younes had been arrested for questioning and then was attacked and shot. In reality he was murdered by Transitional Council members tied directly to Washington. His son Ashraf Al-Younes has demanded that the legitimate government in Tripoli bring stability to Benghazi.

There are unconfirmed reports that the prime minister of the Transitional Council, Mahmoud Jibril, has fled to Egypt to seek the protection of Field Marshal Tantawi and the Egyptian military junta.

At this point, revolts have broken out against the Transitional Council in cities until their control. Benghazi, Darnah, and Tobruk have all witnessed a social uprising of the local population against NATO and the armed gangs of the Transitional Council.

On July 31 clansmen from Warfallah joined the revolt against the Transitional Council in Benghazi. Some of them took up arms and others demonstrated demanding an end to the illegitimate rule of the Transitional Council.  NATO helicopters intervened, directly targeting the demonstrators. According to reports, about 160 Warfallah clansmen were killed at a peaceful indoor gathering focusing on political actions and group efforts to oust the Transitional Council. The exact figures of those killed by NATO inside Benghazi are unconfirmed. Their bodies were not returned. They are believed to have been buried in unmarked mass graves.

http://tinyurl.com/3mykzg5

 

Emphasis mine.

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2011 in Libya

 

The “Super Congress”

Why aren’t more people having a problem with this? I see calls on a few websites to contact your Congress person to request that the Super Congress be transparent, or vow to put tax increases on the wealthy on the table, or other such stuff – but where is the general outrage about the whole damn concept?

A group of 4 (Pelosi, Reid, McConnell, and Boehner) gets to APPOINT a group of 12 to write legislation. Reid is adamant that the Super C. can write legislation on any issue whatsoever, not just deficit reduction, and Congress only gets an up or down vote – no amendments, no floor debates, no filibusters. This is a Gang of 4 creating a politburo. How is this Constitutional? They are dismantling the provisions which outline the functions of the two houses of Congress.

I have read several articles now which state that the President has veto power over any legislation the Super C. comes up with PRIOR to its being presented to the regular Congress. This gives him an ipso facto 13th vote on the Super C. – yet the President is not supposed to be able to vote on legislation in Congress, merely approve or veto after Congress presents it to him.

The Super C. gets to vote on its own level of transparency – only its first meeting has to be conducted openly via webcast; if they vote themselves the right to have closed meetings, we won’t have the right or ability to see what they are discussing from then on.

I thought that any legislation regarding spending had to originate in the House. Yet the Super C. will have members of both House and Senate in it. Furthermore, this Super C. has been authorized to create legislation regarding taxation – if only 12 people are making laws about tax increases, instead of the full House elected by and representing the people, isn’t this taxation without representation?

[Well, okay, we really aren’t “represented” by anyone in Washington any more, but for the sake of the argument, let’s at least pretend we still have a Constitution in place.]

The entire idea of Super Congress, making laws behind closed doors, with no input from the other members of Congress, much less from the people of the US – who will not even know any details of proposed legislation in advance and will therefore be barred from expressing their opinions to their members of Congress – makes meaningless any language in the Constitution regarding the powers of the legislative branch and representation of the people.

Cenk Uyger  (The Young Turks) points out that the House and Senate, having been elected by the people, are currently dominated by Republicans in the House and Democrats in the Senate; by creating a Super Congress which is evenly split Rep./Dem., they have erased the unequal distribution of the parties which the people of the US elected to office.

You may listen to Cenk’s comments on the Super Congress and the debt ceiling here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJys1OH-_os

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2011 in austerity, Congress, economy