Archive for March 23rd, 2011

23
Mar
11

‘obama’s cautious approach is perfectly sensible’

UK Independent: …Think what would have happened if Washington had taken the lead in declaring a no-fly-zone over Libya without UN agreement or Arab backing. The people now criticising President Obama for dilatoriness would be accusing him of being another Bush. And if he’d refused to have anything to do with the no-fly-zone, commentators in Europe and the Middle East would be saying that it was because, at the end of the day, America doesn’t want democracy in the Arab world, that it prefers the rulers of Bahrain and Yemen to suppress revolt than bow before it….

…Obama’s cautious approach is perfectly sensible. Libya is not America’s dogfight. Thanks in large part to Lockerbie, Washington has never favoured Gaddafi. It is, in US eyes, and rightly, a European problem. It was France and Britain – Sarkozy and Blair – who spent their time sucking up so obscenely to the Libyan dictator, just as Silvio Berlusconi embraced him in a Faustian pact to stop illegal migration from Africa. Washington under President George W Bush certainly welcomed Gaddafi’s dramatic (and largely meaningless) gesture of giving up nuclear ambitions – but they didn’t sell their souls to him in the way we (the British), and the French, did.

Nor can Washington be blamed for being forced into military command of the first phase of the Libyan operation by the simple fact that it is only the US that has the hardware and control systems to do it. French objections to this becoming a Nato exercise are just so much hot air. They can’t do it, nor can the British in alliance with them.

Obama is also right to spell out, as he did this week, a clear separation between the objectives of the UN resolution, which is to protect Libyan civilians, and the objectives of American policy, which is to see the back of the Colonel.

…Once Gaddafi had turned the military tide and was openly threatening, by word as well as deed, to wreak his wrath on the rebels in Benghazi, the world couldn’t stand by and watch a massacre. Memories of Srebrenica and Rwanda are too raw for western politicians to allow it to happen again….

Full article here

23
Mar
11

the know nothing party

CNN and Politico: The Know-Nothings were an American political organization of the 19th century known for their opposition to Catholics and recent immigrants – they got their name because they were, at least in theory, sworn to profess total ignorance about their activities. Their heyday was the 1850s, but after some electoral victories, the Civil War pretty much knocked them out of the spotlight.

Vice President Biden, speaking Wednesday in Tampa, Fla., referenced the Know-Nothings in complaining about the strategy of congressional Republicans who want to, he said, “cut our way out of a recession.”

“It’s never happened before, these guys remind me of the Know-Nothing Party of the 19th century. Then it was about religion, now it’s about the economy.”

Biden, who appeared with Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, took some specific swipes at Gov. Rick Scott, a first-term Republican who has rejected $2.4 billion in federal funds for a high-speed rail line from Tampa to Orlando. Scott said he doubted enough people would use the train.

“Your governor, God bless him, I don’t know him, but I don’t get it. Even if you were doubtful, I don’t understand how in this economy in Florida you could walk away from 24,000 high paying jobs.”

****

Love ya Joe 😉

23
Mar
11

‘how the u.s. pulled off a major freeze of libyan assets’

Washington Post: The Treasury Department team had been working nonstop on a plan to freeze Libyan assets in U.S. banks, hoping they might snare $100 million or more and prevent Moammar Gaddafi from tapping it as he unleashed deadly attacks against protesters who wanted him gone.

Now, at 2:22 Friday afternoon, Feb. 25, an e-mail arrived from a Treasury official with startling news. Their $100 million estimate was off — orders of magnitude off. The e-mail said there was in “excess of $29.7 Billion — yes, that’s a B.” And most of the money was at one bank.

It was a piece of extraordinary good fortune for the Obama administration at a crucial moment in the efforts to address the bizarre and deadly events unfolding in Libya.

Never before had U.S. officials so quickly launched economic sanctions affecting so many assets of a targeted country.

The frenetic 72 hours leading up to the Executive Order 13566 illustrate how a process of identifying and freezing assets — something that customarily has taken weeks or months — has become one of the first tactical tools to employ in the midst of fast-breaking crises.

It also shows that government officials have learned from other recent economic sanction efforts, including against Iran and North Korea. Instead of being a secondary measure, as in the past, economic sanctions have become a centerpiece of national security policy.

Full article here

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Thank you so much for this link, Majii – the article is absolutely fascinating, and shows just how damn smart the Obama administration is.

23
Mar
11

ipad madness!

Thank you Marcia for alerting me to the new WordPress iPad … eh …. look.

Okay, what do you iPad users think?

As far as I know I can switch off the new layout and make it go back to the way it was.

Let me know which you prefer – I’m still playing with it!

****

Just to clarify, I didn’t make this change, it’s the work of WordPress!

****

Update: Okay, it sounds like the iPad change isn’t popular, so I’ve taken up the WordPress option of switching it back to the old view. Let me know if you have second thoughts!

23
Mar
11

more white house videos from south & latin america

23
Mar
11

tweet of the day

Greg Sargent (Washington Post): Tweet of the day, from David Axelrod, on Mitt Romney’s vow that his first act as president will be to sign an executive order waiving all states from having to comply with the health reform law:

😉

More here from Steve Benen

23
Mar
11

home

President Barack Obama walks across the South Lawn of the White House with his daughter, Sasha followed by first lady Michelle Obama with daughter Malia, March 23, as they return form Latin America

President Obama points to the shoes of his daughter Sasha

President Barack Obama gives a thumbs up for the shoes worn by his daughter Sasha

23
Mar
11

a good sign

People wait to see the motorcade of the US President Barack Obama as he arrives to the US Embassy in San Salvador at the end of his visit to El Salvador on March 23

23
Mar
11

the dregs

March 7:

VAN SUSTEREN: What would you do about Libya?

GINGRICH: Exercise a no-fly zone this evening …. We don’t need to have the United Nations. All we have to say is that we think that slaughtering your own citizens is unacceptable and that we’re intervening.

During appearances that same day, Gingrich also said that he would provide help to the Libyan rebels on top of the no-fly zone: “This is a moment to get rid of him. Do it. Get it over with.”

After the President initiated a no-fly zone over Libya:

March 23:

LAUER: Do you think Moammar Qaddafi has to go as a result of this intervention?

GINGRICH: Let me draw the distinction. I would not have intervened. I think there were a lot of other ways to affect Qaddafi. I think there are a lot of other allies in the region we could have worked with. I would not have used American and European forces.

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Steve Benen: This received no pushback whatsoever from host Matt Lauer, who may not have realized that Gingrich has been saying the exact opposite for weeks…. I don’t doubt Gingrich will remain a media darling, invited onto national television on a daily basis to present arguments unchallenged, but that doesn’t change the fact that no one should take this pseudo-intellectual clown seriously.

See Slate and ThinkProgress for more (including videos)

23
Mar
11

race-baiter supreme

Link here

Thank you everyone for the heads up 😉




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