Saturday, March 19, 2011

Last Call

And so, exactly eight years after the assault on Iraq began, the US has begun know I'm not exactly sure how many wars we're up to now, anyway. 

Explosions and anti-aircraft fire thundered in the skies above Tripoli early Sunday, but it was not clear whether they resulted from another round of cruise missile attacks by allies determined to stop Moammar Gadhafi's offensive against Libyan opposition forces.

CNN's Nic Robertson witnessed the development a few hours after nearly 1,000 people gathered at Gadhafi's palace in the capital. The crowd chanted, waved flags and shot off fireworks in support of the government.

A defiant Gadhafi said Libya will fight back against undeserved "naked aggression." His military claimed nearly 50 women, children and clerics were killed in Saturday evening's attacks.

American, French and British military forces, convinced that Gadhafi was not adhering to a United Nations-mandated cease-fire, hammered Libyan military positions with missiles and fighter jets in the first phase of an operation that will include enforcement of a no-fly zone.

God, it's exactly the same stuff as eight years ago, almost word for word.   Saddam Qaddafi is using human shields, Saddam Qaddafi is going to unleash terrorist attacks on us with mustard gas, Saddam Qaddafi claims coalition airstrikes killed dozens...

So eight years from now, when we still have peacekeeping troops in Libya, and STILL have troops in Iraq, who will we be hitting with cruise missiles on March 19, 2019?


Land Of The Rising Core Temperature, Part 12

The real problem with Japan right now is again, lack of food, water, and power/heat to hundreds of thousands.  The radiation from Fukushima Daiichi is now making things much, much worse.

As workers scrambled to curb a nuclear crisis Sunday, the Japanese government considered halting the sale of food from farms near the Fukushima plant after abnormally high levels of radiation were found in milk and spinach.

Very small amounts -- far below the level of concern -- of radioactive iodine were also detected in tap water in Tokyo and most prefectures near the Fukushima Daiichi plant damaged by last week's monster earthquake and tsunami.

Six members of the emergency crew at the plant have been exposed to more than 100 millisieverts of radiation per hour, the equivalent of getting 10 chest X-rays per hour, plant owner Tokyo Electric Power Company said.

The utility said the workers were exposed when trying to restore electricity to the stricken reactors in hopes of using the cooling systems again.

Tokyo Electric had raised the exposure level for emergency workers from its previous standard of 100 millisieverts per hour to 250 millisieverts.

Yeah see, irradiated food + limited food supply + no power to preserve food + wiped out transportation infrastructure to move in new food + winter temps = pretty much nightmare time.   From a large-scale logistics point of view, this is about as bad as it gets.  It would almost be darkly humorous if it wasn't so absolutely catastrophic.

To The Shores Of Tripoli, Part 5

Insert "French Military Victory" jokes here.

French fighter jets deployed over Libya fired at a military vehicle on Saturday, the country's first strike against Moammar Gadhafi's military forces who earlier attacked the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

The French Defense Ministry, which confirmed the strike, said its attack aircraft being used to take out tanks and artillery have deemed Benghazi and the surrounding area an "exclusion zone."

The French are using surveillance aircraft and two frigates in the operation to protect the civilian population. The aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle is soon going to be en route from Toulon.

"Our air force will oppose any aggression by Colonel Gadhafi against the population of Benghazi," said French President Nicolas Sarkozy, speaking after an international, top-level meeting in Paris over the Libyan crisis.

"As of now, our aircraft are preventing planes from attacking the town," he said, calling the intervention a "grave decision."

"As of now, our aircraft are prepared to intervene against tanks, armored vehicles threatening unarmed civilians."

The international show of force is much-welcomed by besieged rebel forces who have called for backup to help them stave off a government offensive against their positions in Benghazi and other rebel-held enclaves. An opposition spokesman in Benghazi said Gadhafi forces that assaulted the city earlier Saturday are now positioned outside the town. However the forces are preparing for more attacks.

Sarkozy said Gadhafi still has time to stop its activities and as of Friday, France, Britain, the United States and Arab League nations passed along a warning for Gadhafi to stop his operations immediately.

But "Gadhafi has totally ignored the warning" and "in the last few hours his forces have stepped up their deadly offenses," Sarkozy said.

Well, it was the French who wanted this no-fly zone the most, and they're pretty much right across the Mediterranean from Libya.  Kinda of nice for the US not to be leading with our faces here, too.  We'll see how this turns out as the bombs start falling in Benghazi.

Needless to say, it's going to take a bit longer for Canada, Sweden, Britain, and other countries to bring their forces to bear, so the French are leading the way.

I fear however it will be a long and bloody road, just like Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Midwest Has Gone Mad

Power-drunk Republicans at the state level have gone insane in the Midwest, from Ohio's "heartbeat" abortion bill that would effectively ban all abortions in the state to Wisconsin's union-busting, to the virtual dictatorship of Michigan's governor, we add Minnesota Republicans wanting to make it illegal for anyone on state assistance to have more than $20 in cash.

No, really.

Minnesota Republicans are pushing legislation that would make it a crime for people on public assistance to have more $20 in cash in their pockets any given month. This represents a change from their initial proposal, which banned them from having any money at all.

On March 15, Angel Buechner of the Welfare Rights Committee testified in front of the House Health and Human Services Reform Committee on House File 171. Buechner told committee members, “We would like to address the provision that makes it illegal for MFIP [one of Minnesota’s welfare programs] families to withdraw cash from the cash portion of the MFIP grant – and in fact, appears to make it illegal for MFIP families to have any type of money at all in their pockets. How do you expect people to take care of business like paying bills such as lights, gas, water, trash and phone?”

Well of course the answer to that is "They shouldn't be poor."  If you can afford to have more than $20 in cash on you, then you certainly don't need state assistance.  You're not really poor, you're a Welfare Queen driving the Caddy or a drug pusher or a pimp or a criminal.  Besides, if we make it a crime to have cash while poor, maybe you'll simply stop being poor and get a job and a bank account and a debit card like the rest of us, right?

Of course, the real reason is that Minnesota Republicans are so terrified of an America with a black President and their kids speaking Spanish, dating that Hmong kid down the street, or watching two boys kiss on Glee that they will do anything to permanently disenfranchise traditional Democratic voters:  minorities, union workers, state and local government employees, and the LGBT community.

They have to annihilate their political power, making anyone not like them so miserable that they beg for mercy, and that's when they turn the blade 90 degrees clockwise and push harder.  And while most of America fights over the scraps from the table of our corporate lords, they eat all they can and then some.  And when there's nothing left, they'll eat us.

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition!

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