July 3, 2013 archive

Egypt: Military Deadline Has Passed: Up Date: Morsi Removed

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Up Date: 15:15 EDT: Al Jazeera is reporting that Pres. Morsi has been removed from office by the military. An interim government with the head of constitutional court to be interim leader until new elections and constitution written.  

The deadline issued by the Egyptian military for a resolution to the current uprising has passed and President Mohammed Morsi refused to step down offering a consensus coalition government to oversee next election as a way out of crisis. The General command of the is meeting with leaders of a number of religious, national, political and youth groups. The military has also issued a travel ban on Pres. Morsi and leading members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Pres. Morsi’s national security adviser Essam El-Haddad said in a statement that a military coup was underway and to expect considerable bloodshed.

Military chiefs, vowing to restore order in a country racked by protests over Mursi’s Islamist policies, earlier issued a call to battle in a statement headlined “The Final Hours”. They said they were willing to shed blood against “terrorists and fools” after Mursi refused to give up his elected office. [..]

There was no immediate sign of military action to remove the president. However, security sources told Reuters that the authorities had imposed an international travel ban on Mursi and at least 40 leading members of the Brotherhood in a list sent to airport police.

In a somewhat ironic statement, the Syrian government called for Morsi to recognize that the Egyptian people do no want him and he should step down:

Relishing the possible downfall of one of Assad’s most vocal critics, Syrian television carried live coverage of the huge street demonstrations in Egypt demanding Mursi’s departure.

“(Egypt’s) crisis can be overcome if Mohamed Mursi realizes that the overwhelming majority of the Egyptian people reject him and are calling on him to go,” Information Minister Omran Zoabi was quoted as saying by the state news agency SANA.

He also called on Egyptians to stand against the “terrorism and threats” of Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood supporters.

The Syrian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood is one of the most powerful factions behind the mostly Sunni Muslim uprising against Assad, who belongs to the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi’ite Islam, and is being helped by Lebanon’s Shi’ite Hezbollah militia.

Democracy Now! correspondent, Sharif Abdel Kouddous reported from Cairo on the showdown:

“The more important struggle is the one that is coming from the ground up – and that is a rejection of authoritarianism and a paternalistic form of government,” Kouddous says. “We saw a rejection of Hosni Mubarak that threw him out of office, a rejection of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces ruling Egypt, and now a rejection and a revolution against the Muslim Brotherhood. [The people] are revolting against these authoritarian elements that deny them political and economic agency.”



Transcript can be read here

Also, Egyptian writer and activist Ahdaf Soueif spoke from Tahrir Square telling Amy Goodman that the refusal by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood to run an inclusive government has sparked the massive uprising now seen in the streets.



Transcript can be read here

 

Cartnoon

Lawrence O’Donnell Makes An Impassioned Plea For Waste of Resources

For any fans of an excellent fellow on the wrong track:

http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/07/02…

You will get no argument from me that restraint of commerce in favor of General Motors and Ford is a bad thing.

You will get an argument that electric cars are the wave of the future.

If you haven’t had battery problems, you just couldn’t live in cold country.  Until Mr. O’Donnell and his wrong way thinkers warm the planet so that winters are banished forever, the idea of an all battery car is a nightmare.  Hybrids offer a little more – like intermittent energy sources – with continued reliance on fossil fuels.

We can do better.

Much better.

Reliance on waste energy is the ticket.

Generation of power from waste heat is already a big business.  But not nearly as big as it should be.

Strangely Mark Twain’s report of mummy power [“bought by the ton or the graveyard”] to fuel the locomotives of the Trans-Egypt Railroad are still disputed though there is contemporary evidence.

Apparently some think Twain was just trying to be funny.  He did that a lot.

But today even crematoriums are generating power from fresh corpses of loved ones. This is an aging report from TreeHugger on a very new definition of people power:

http://www.treehugger.com/rene…

The future is now but not widely advertised for obvious reasons.

There are much better sources than people power and no shortage whatever.

Best,  Terry

On This Day In History July 3

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

Click on images to enlarge.

July 3 is the 184th day of the year (185th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 181 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1863, Battle of Gettysburg ends

On the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg, Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s last attempt at breaking the Union line ends in disastrous failure, bringing the most decisive battle of the American Civil War to an end.

Third day of battle

General Lee wished to renew the attack on Friday, July 3, using the same basic plan as the previous day: Longstreet would attack the Federal left, while Ewell attacked Culp’s Hill. However, before Longstreet was ready, Union XII Corps troops started a dawn artillery bombardment against the Confederates on Culp’s Hill in an effort to regain a portion of their lost works. The Confederates attacked, and the second fight for Culp’s Hill ended around 11 a.m., after some seven hours of bitter combat.

Lee was forced to change his plans. Longstreet would command Pickett’s Virginia division of his own First Corps, plus six brigades from Hill’s Corps, in an attack on the Federal II Corps position at the right center of the Union line on Cemetery Ridge. Prior to the attack, all the artillery the Confederacy could bring to bear on the Federal positions would bombard and weaken the enemy’s line.

Around 1 p.m., from 150 to 170 Confederate guns began an artillery bombardment that was probably the largest of the war. In order to save valuable ammunition for the infantry attack that they knew would follow, the Army of the Potomac’s artillery, under the command of Brig. Gen. Henry Jackson Hunt, at first did not return the enemy’s fire. After waiting about 15 minutes, about 80 Federal cannons added to the din. The Army of Northern Virginia was critically low on artillery ammunition, and the cannonade did not significantly affect the Union position. Around 3 p.m., the cannon fire subsided, and 12,500 Southern soldiers stepped from the ridgeline and advanced the three-quarters of a mile (1,200 m) to Cemetery Ridge in what is known to history as “Pickett’s Charge”. As the Confederates approached, there was fierce flanking artillery fire from Union positions on Cemetery Hill and north of Little Round Top, and musket and canister fire from Hancock’s II Corps. In the Union center, the commander of artillery had held fire during the Confederate bombardment, leading Southern commanders to believe the Northern cannon batteries had been knocked out. However, they opened fire on the Confederate infantry during their approach with devastating results. Nearly one half of the attackers did not return to their own lines. Although the Federal line wavered and broke temporarily at a jog called the “Angle” in a low stone fence, just north of a patch of vegetation called the Copse of Trees, reinforcements rushed into the breach, and the Confederate attack was repulsed. The farthest advance of Brig. Gen. Lewis A. Armistead’s brigade of Maj. Gen. George Pickett’s division at the Angle is referred to as the “High-water mark of the Confederacy”, arguably representing the closest the South ever came to its goal of achieving independence from the Union via military victory.

There were two significant cavalry engagements on July 3. Stuart was sent to guard the Confederate left flank and was to be prepared to exploit any success the infantry might achieve on Cemetery Hill by flanking the Federal right and hitting their trains and lines of communications. Three miles (5 km) east of Gettysburg, in what is now called “East Cavalry Field” (not shown on the accompanying map, but between the York and Hanover Roads), Stuart’s forces collided with Federal cavalry: Brig. Gen. David McMurtrie Gregg’s division and Brig. Gen. Custer’s brigade. A lengthy mounted battle, including hand-to-hand sabre combat, ensued. Custer’s charge, leading the 1st Michigan Cavalry, blunted the attack by Wade Hampton’s brigade, blocking Stuart from achieving his objectives in the Federal rear. Meanwhile, after hearing news of the day’s victory, Brig. Gen. Judson Kilpatrick launched a cavalry attack against the infantry positions of Longstreet’s Corps southwest of Big Round Top. Brig. Gen. Elon J. Farnsworth protested against the futility of such a move but obeyed orders. Farnsworth was killed in the attack, and his brigade suffered significant losses.

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Late Night Karaoke

The Fall Out from NSA Spying Here and Abroad

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

As the United States scrambles to cover up the contradictory web if lies it has woven over the NSA spying, the Europeans have expressed their displeasure and threatened to scuttle talks on the trade agreement with the US. This left President Barack Obama, who has been touring Africa, trying to mend fences:

After the Guardian’s disclosure that US agencies were secretly bugging the French embassy in Washington and France’s office at the UN in New York, (French president, Fran├žois) Hollande called for an immediate halt to the alleged spying.

“We cannot accept this kind of behaviour between partners and allies,” he said. “We ask that this stop immediately … There can be no negotiations or transactions in all areas until we have obtained these guarantees, for France but also for all of the European Union … We know well that there are systems that have to be checked, especially to fight terrorism, but I don’t think that it is in our embassies or in the European Union that this threat exists.”

(German chancellor, Angela) Merkel delivered her severest warning yet on the NSA debacle. “We are no longer in the cold war,” her spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said. “If it is confirmed that diplomatic representations of the European Union and individual European countries have been spied upon, we will clearly say that bugging friends is unacceptable.”

Seibert said Berlin was keen on the trade talks with Washington, but qualified that support: “Mutual trust is necessary in order to come to an agreement.” [..]

Martin Schulz, the president of the European parliament, likened the NSA to the Soviet-era KGB and indirectly suggested a delay in the talks. Greens in the European parliament, as well as in France and Germany, called for the conference to be postponed pending an investigation of the allegations. They also called for the freezing of other data-sharing deals between the EU and the US, on air transport passengers and banking transactions, for example, and called for the NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden, to be granted political asylum in Europe. French Greens asked Hollande to grant Snowden asylum in France.

Back in the US, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper is still in hot water despite for his halfhearted letter of apology to Congress for “erroneous” responses to questions he was given days before.

But Clapper did not say in the letter why he had taken him until June to correct the mistake. Senator Wyden’s spokesman made it clear on Monday that the senator had made attempts to get Clapper to correct the record before the revelations in the Guardian, but was rebuffed. “Senator Wyden had a staff member contact the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on a secure phone line soon after the March hearing to address the inaccurate statement regarding bulk collection on Americans.

“The ODNI acknowledged that the statement was inaccurate but refused to correct the public record when given the opportunity. Senator Wyden’s staff informed the ODNI that this was a serious concern.

“Senator Wyden continued to raise concerns about the government’s reliance on secret law in the weeks following the hearing, prior to the Guardian publishing its first story several weeks later.”

A bipartisan group of senators expressed their displeasure  and accused Clapper of intentionally misleading congress to prevent a public discussion of secret interpretations of the Patriot Act thus undermining public trust in government.

A week ago, Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) wrote Gen. Keith Alexander, head of the NSA, that documents on its web site intended to clarify the two surveillance programs, Section 215 of the Patriot Act and Section 702 of FISA, were ” misleading and inaccurate.” The “fact sheet” were scrubbed from the web site shortly after the senators complaint.

Following a complaint from two senators, the National Security Agency has removed from its website two fact sheets designed to shed light on and defend a pair of surveillance programs. Users now trying to access the documents detailing surveillance under legal authorities known as Section 215 and Section 702 receive an error message when they try to load the fact sheets. [..]

The documents, still available here, were published in the wake of revelations about the extent of the NSA’s surveillance programs. They sought to highlight the safeguards the NSA uses to make sure American communications aren’t caught up in its surveillance – or if they are, what the NSA does to remove identifying information about U.S. citizens. Wyden and Udall, both of whom sit on the Senate Intelligence Committee, have long called for more transparency on how the NSA protects Americans’ privacy — but said the NSA’s fact sheets gave the wrong impression.

Meanwhile in Russia Edward Snowden remains at the Moscow airport without a valid passport. With his asylum options shrinking, he has withdarwn his request for  asylum with Russia after President Vladimir Putin required he stop leaking information about the US spy programs.

Icelandic investigative journalist and spokesperson for WikiLeaks, Kristinn Hrafnsson appeared with Amy Goodman and Aaron Mate on today’s Democracy Now blasting the United States for leaving Snowden “stateless.”



Transcript can be read here

Anti NSA Action

Reddit, Mozilla to stage Fourth of July protest against NSA spying

By Jennifer Martinez, The Hill

07/02/13 01:53 PM ET

Reddit, Mozilla and a host of other websites are planning to launch an online protest this Fourth of July against the National Security Agency’s (NSA) sweeping surveillance of telephone records and Internet traffic.

The participating sites, including 4chan and WordPress, will display anti-NSA spying messages on their home pages. They will also direct people to the site CallForFreedom.org, where supporters can donate money to help fund TV ads against the intelligence programs and press for action from lawmakers.



“The NSA programs that have been exposed are blatantly unconstitutional, and have a detrimental effect on free speech and freedom of press worldwide. This is going to be our biggest protest since SOPA, and it should be no surprise,” said Tiffiniy Cheng, a spokeswoman for the Internet Defense League, in a statement.



Mozilla, the maker of the popular Firefox Web browser, and advocacy groups Free Press, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, ColorofChange.org and Restore the Fourth also announced Tuesday that rallies will be held in major cities across the United States, including Washington and San Francisco, on July 4th to protest the surveillance programs and call for more government accountability.



Lending his star power to the cause, actor John Cusack also participated on the call. Cusack, who serves as a Freedom of Press Foundation board member, lambasted the media and government for focusing too much attention on Snowden and his whereabouts rather than looking at the information in the documents he leaked.

“We’ve shifted the conversation to almost anything but the revelations that are there,” Cusack said.

Chronic Tonic- Green Pool Blues

Originally published at VOTS

Every Summer here at chez triv we put up a cheap above ground pool for me and my boys. The first year we did it, it was only 30 inches high and 12 foot in diameter. I would sit down and be in it up to my neck. Low rent paradise. As the boys grew, so did the pools, until we maxed out at 4 x 15 and I went from sitting on the bottom of the pool to a swimways lounge. And some years we’ve had problems with the pool taking on a green tinge, we’ve had to shock and clarify the pool, this usually happens late in the season.This year we put the pool up and it was beautiful. The biggest pool our yard could handle and sparkling crystal clear water? You bet. I waddled my keister up that ladder and frolicked with my kids.

Two weeks later and I notice the water is looking more aqua than it should and I mention this to Cleetus. He shocks the pool, but by the next day it is decidedly green. I begin to freak out. I immediately run to the internet and order some magic green-out elixir. He continues the routine we’ve used in the past while we await the elixir’s arrival. The pool continues it’s transformation and is now a brilliant shade of kelly green. When the elixir arrives, Cleetus follows the directions to the letter:  Balance, chlorinate, shock, dispense, wait overnight and sweep. I am confident this stuff will do the job, its customer reviews are awesome.

The next morning I go to look at the internet while I have my morning coffee and I see my loving husband’s facebook status:

“SNAKE OIL”; I have been spending my days (and money) trying to get my outdoor pool to the liking of my wife. No matter what I do, I end up with a hole in my yard that is slightly (or not so slightly) green. I have bought into every bit of smack that says”If I do this,I can get that. It ain’t happening. If any out there are suffering the same fate;please contact the Better Business Bureau, to let them know that there is a chemical fraud goin’ on. C.

Oh, no. I run out back. There it is. The green lagoon. I come back inside and start moaning online to my friends. Help! Help! My pool is green! It is hideous! Naturally, my friends being the great people that they are, they are right there to console and advise me. Now, to be helpful and apprise them of the exact nature of the greenness, I decided to nip back outside and snap a quick picture. As I am doing this, I notice Cleetus is by the pool, brushing away. I snap the picture and turn and head back towards the house only to hear Cleetus yelling at the back of my head, “Why? Why? To use against me?”

Yes.

So, poli advised me what she uses and I ask my Dad to stop at the hardware store on his way home from work and get us some of that, please! By this time we are oh, so green and murky.  If this doesn’t work, he’s going to have to take a sample to the dude at the pool place and ask him for a magic elixir. Once again, we follow the routine, only this time we’re going with the stuff poli uses. The next morning I could swear it looks much lighter. Fingers crossed, I think it’s working. Cleetus will not say a word–doesn’t want to put the malloik on it. Another dose I think will do it. By Sunday we are blue but cloudy, oh please keep clearing up!

Today I am happy to announce that my pool is again clear and clean. The forecast is rain for the entire week~