Tag: TMC Politics

Under the Radar: Besides an Imminent Nuclear Disaster

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

With the evolving nuclear disaster in Japan taking much of the front page attention, there are still some other news events that are noteworthy.

The Human-Hydrid Turtle is holding the government hostage

  • Republicans Escalate Debt Ceiling Fight

    Senate Republican leaders in recent days have escalated a showdown that has been lurking in the background of the more immediate fight over funding the federal government through September. While the funding issue remains unresolved, Congress will soon have to turn its attention to the need to raise the national debt limit, or the country will default in just a few weeks.

    “There are 53 Democrats and 47 Republicans. My prediction is not a single one of the 47 Republicans will vote to raise the debt ceiling unless it includes with it some credible effort to do something about our debt,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Fox News Sunday. “I think to get any of the 47 Republicans, you’ve got to do something credible, that the markets believe is credible, that the American people believe is credible, that foreign countries believe is credible . . .  in addition to raising the debt ceiling.”

  • GOP Senators Blocking New Commerce Secretary Until Trade Deals Go Through

    Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) took a break from budget negotiations this week to get back to one of the Senate GOP’s most popular pastimes: blocking presidential nominees. McConnell, along with Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), pledged in a letter on Monday to hold up any White House nominee to replace departing Commerce Secretary Gary Locke as well as nominees for any other trade-related posts until trade agreements with Colombia and Panama clear the Senate.

    “My fear is in trying to appease their union allies the administration is willing to let these two agreements wither on the vine,” Hatch said at a press conference Monday announcing the move. “We are here today to make clear that we will not allow that to happen.”

You cannot make this up, ever. ROTFLMAO

  • WI Repub lives outside district with mistress, says wife

    Protesters who marched at the home of Wisconsin state senator Randy Hopper (R-Fond du Lac) were met with something of a surprise on Saturday. Mrs. Hopper appeared at the door and informed them that Sen. Hopper was no longer in residence at this address, but now lives in Madison, WI with his 25-year-old mistress.

    snip

    Blogging Blue also reports that Mrs. Hopper intends to sign the recall petition against her husband. The petition has already been signed by the family’s maid.

    Just how constitutional is this?

    • Wis. GOPer Scott Fitzgerald: Dems In Contempt, Not Allowed To Vote In Committees

      The saga of the “Wisconsin 14” — the state Senate Democrats who fled the state in an attempt to block the three-fifths budget quorum on Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-public employee union proposals — isn’t over just because Republicans used a parliamentary end run to pass the bill with a simple majority quorum last week, and the Dems have since come home.

      As WisPolitics reports, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) sent a letter to his fellow Republicans, reminding them that they had previously found the Democrats to be in contempt of the chamber — and as such, they are not to be allowed to vote on committees.

Obama Adopts Nixon’s Tactic

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Barack now not only owns two wars, a failing economic policy but torture policy as well. After saying that the treatment of Pfc. Bradley Manning was “ridiculous, counterproductive and stupid”, State Department Spokesperson, P.J. Crowley, was forced to resign early this morning. Some may not remember Richard M. Nixon’s firing of Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox and the resignations of Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus on October 20, 1973 during the Watergate scandal but it precipitated a firestorm in Congress and the eventual resignation of Nixon from office. I doubt that either the Republicans or the Democrats are that principled these days, this does, however speak volumes about Barack and his loyal supporters who have the audacity to call themselves progressive and liberals.

Glen Greenwald also reminds of the Bush administration “firings” and what Barack had asked us to do:

Remember when the Bush administration punished Gen. Eric Shinseki for his public (and prescient) dissent on the Rumsfeld/Wolfowitz plan for Iraq, and all good Democrats thought that was so awful, such a terrible sign of the administration’s refusal to tolerate any open debate? And then there was that time when Bush fired his White House economic adviser, Lawrence Lindsey, for publicly suggesting that the Iraq War might cost $100 billion, prompting similar cries of outrage from Democrats about how the GOP crushes internal debate and dissent. Obama’s conduct seems quite far from the time during the campaign when Obama-fawning journalists like Time‘s Joe Klein were hailing him for wanting a “team of rivals”, and Obama was saying things like this: “I don’t want to have people who just agree with me. I want people who are continually pushing me out of my comfort zone.”

He further makes the point that Barack has now embraced the policies of of those who instituted world wide torture and illegal eavesdropping. He has refused to prosecute them and given them cover of full presidential immunity and given cover to Manning’s abusers. Yet from the apologists, we get lockstep support of the very same policies that they said they would not tolerate and tell those of us who dare call out Barack, to STFU because he’s a Democrat.

Besides embracing Reagan and his economic, anti-worker policies, he’s now taken a page from Nixon’s playbook. Where is Barack’s sense of justice? His sense of morality? His support of the law and the Constitution? Nixon would be proud.

Barack Obama: Torture is OK Up Date: Crowley Resigns

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Up Date below.

Barack says it’s OK to torture an American soldier who is being held in isolation on an American military base on American soil just miles from the White House. Why? Because the Pentagon said it is. Sound familiar? It should because, just a very short 26 months ago, the other guy who said torture was OK left the White House. It appears he was replaced with his ideological clone, and now, fellow war criminal, Barack who has taken torture, detention and rendition even further than Dick even could have imagined.

State Department spokesperson, P. J. Crowley, who was speaking to a small group at MIT discussing “the new media and the foreign policy”, he let was queried by a young man about Wikileaks:

Charlie deTar: There’s an elephant in the room during this discussion: Wikileaks. The US government is torturing a whistleblower in prison right now. How do we resolve a conversation about the future of new media in diplomacy with the government’s actions regarding Wikileaks?

PJC: “I spent 26 years in the air force. What is happening to Manning is ridiculous, counterproductive and stupid, and I don’t know why the DoD is doing it.

Then today at a press conference on the disaster in Japan, ABC News White House correspondent pulled his cajones out of the lock box in his boss’s office, asking Barack about P.J.’s condemnation of Bradley’s treatment. Barack’s response:

With respect to Private Manning, I have actually asked the Pentagon whether or not the procedures that have been taken in terms of his confinement are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards. They assure me that they are. I can’t go into details about some of their concerns, but some of this has to do with Private Manning’s safety as well. [my emphasis]

So, let me get this straight, the basic standard of treatment of an innocent man who has yet to be formerly charges for eight months is to apply the standards that were condemned at Abu Grab and Guantanamo in 2002?  

Under The Radar: WTF

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Some of this is just really depressing. Where is this country headed?

  • From Michael Moore: The Forbes 400 vs. Everybody Else

    According to the most recent information, the Forbes 400 now have a greater net worth than the bottom 50% of U.S. households combined.

    In 2009, the total net worth of the Forbes 400 was $1.27 trillion.

    The best information now available shows that in 2009 the bottom 60% (yes, now it’s 60%, not 50%) of U.S. households owned only 2.3% of total U.S. wealth.

    Total U.S. household net worth — rich, middle class and poor combined — at the time the Forbes list came out was $53.15 trillion. So the bottom 60% of households possessed just $1.22 trillion of that $53.15 trillion, less than the Forbes 400.

    Thus the Forbes 400 unquestionably have more wealth than the bottom 50%.

    By contrast, in 2007 the bottom 50% of U.S. households owned slightly more wealth than the Forbes 400; the economic meltdown has hurt the bottom more than the top. (And in fact, in 2010 the net worth of the Forbes 400 jumped to $1.37 trillion.)

  • From TPM: Republicans Move To Strip Detainee Authority From Holder And Future Attorneys General

    Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) are teaming up with Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee to write legislation that would take decisions about trying detainees out of the attorney general’s hands and hand that power to the secretary of defense.

    In the wake of the White House’s new executive order allowing Guantanamo detainees to be held indefinitely, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA) unveiled legislation that would, among other things, affirm the military’s right to detain, hold and interrogate detainees at its discretion without Department of Justice or Attorney General Eric Holder involvement.

    What digby said about the above:

    Are these guys under the misapprehension that the Secretary of Defense doesn’t serve at the pleasure of the president, exactly as the Attorney General does? What’s the point of this?

  • From the New York Times: AARP Sues U.S. Over Effects of Reverse Mortgages

    Reverse mortgages, which pay older homeowners a regular sum against the equity in their house, are supposed to shield borrowers from economic upheaval. But the popular loans have become tangled up in the real estate collapse.

    AARP, the seniors’ organization, filed suit Tuesday against the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which regulates reverse mortgages. The suit asserts that policy changes by HUD are pushing older homeowners into foreclosure.

    The case was filed in Federal District Court for the District of Columbia by the AARP Foundation, the organization’s charitable arm, and the law firm of Mehri & Skalet on behalf of the surviving spouses of three homeowners who had bought reverse mortgages. All three are facing eviction, the suit says.

    “HUD has illegally and without notice changed the rules in the middle of the game at the expense of vulnerable older people,” said Jean Constantine-Davis, a senior lawyer at the AARP Foundation.

    This is happening with a Democrat in the White House?

  • The Law of War Criminals, Up Date

    Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

    Two years and two months ago the American people hailed a new President and an end to our national nightmare of the Bush reign of eight years of trampling the Constitution, the laws that govern  and the economy. Since then the reality that nothing has changed comes down with crashing reality. This President, Barack Hussein Obama, is as complicit as the last President in the war on the US Constitution, International laws and treaties and human rights. Today it became evidently clear that Obama is not Bush, he’s Cheney.

    Today Obama issued an Executive Order (pdf) that not only will restart the Military Commissions at Guantanamo but also orders indefinite detention for forty seven detainees without any of them ever being charged with a crime. Why? Because Obama is covering up the war crimes of the previous administration which, according to the Nuremberg Principles, is a war crime. Claims that the evidence against these men would harm national security just rings hollow.

    Marcy Wheeler at FDL explains that “the new and improved Military Detention Regime has two parts”. The first part relates to the indefinite detention polices without anything other than a claim of “because I say it’s justified”:

    “Continued law of war detention is warranted for a detainee subject to the periodic review in section 3 of this order if it is necessary to protect against a significant threat to the security of the United States.

    . . . .this doesn’t appear to tie to any wrong-doing on the detainee’s part. “It” here appears to refer to “continued law of war detention,” suggesting that “it” may be necessary regardless of any threat posed by the detainee himself.

    Also note that the standard “significant threat to the security of the United States” doesn’t invoke the war (ostensibly, the war against Afghanistan) itself. This seems very very wrong. It also seems designed to authorized the continued detention of the Yemeni detainees who we admit aren’t themselves a threat, but must be detained, our government says, because they come from a dangerous country.

    (all emphasis mine)

    The EO also restarts the Military Commissions where evidence that has been attained through torture is admissible.

    Dana Milbank, in his Op-Ed, remarked that the conference call with reporters and “some top-notch lawyers from across the executive branch” with “ground rules required that the officials not be identified”, sounded very much like what the Bush lawyers used to say:

    It was another important moment in the education of Barack Obama.

    He began his presidency with a pledge to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay within a year. Within months, he realized that was impossible. And now he has essentially formalized George W. Bush’s detention policy.

    Even the Tea Baggers, like newly minted Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Mike Lee(R-UT), are saying indefinite detention is wrong and calling for trials in civilian courts:

    Fox News contributor Andrew Napolitano, subbing for Glenn Beck on his television show, hosted Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Mike Lee (R-UT) to talk about a variety of issues. At one point, Napolitano mentioned Obama’s announcement and queried the two senators about their positions on indefinite detention. Lee and Paul both broke with the standard positions of their party, slamming the policy and endorsing trials for terrorism suspects instead. Paul said that he had met with a mother of a 9/11 victim who said that what she really wanted to see was justice, and that the best way to do that was to “have trials.” Lee said that detaining someone who “has been tried and found not guilty” is “particularly problematic”

    Human Rights Watch points out that 47 of these men will never be tried. Those detainees will be able to “submit documentary evidence every six months, but will only go before the full panel once every three years”. However, as the press release states, “the use by the US of indefinite detention without trial still fails to meet the most basic elements of due process under international law”.

    While Obama’s EO confirms the administration’s commitment to prosecuting  some cases in civilian courts

    “Is added review an improvement? Yes. Does it make US detention policies lawful? No,”

    said Andrea Prasow, senior counterterrorism counsel at Human Rights Watch. “Signing an executive order does not suddenly make it legal to lock people up and hold them forever without proving they have committed a crime.”

    HRW further notes:

    . . .compared to federal courts, military commissions have moved very slowly. During the nine years since the military commissions were first announced, military prosecutors have brought only six cases to completion, four of them by plea bargain. Federal courts, in contrast, have prosecuted hundreds of terrorism-related offenses during the same period, convicting, among others, 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and “shoe bomber” Richard Reid.

    “Any trial in the military commission system carries the stigma of Guantanamo and will be tainted by a lack of due process,” Prasow said. “A verdict in the federal court system, in contrast, would be recognized internationally as legitimate.”

    As I read through the executive order and news articles, all that I could think of was that surely, Dick Cheney will approve.

    Tax Revenues Are Falling

    Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

    David Cay Johnson, professor at Syracuse University, author of “Free Lunch” and columnist for Tax.com, spoke with Rachel Maddow about the Republican plans to cut funding to the IRS and the direct impact that will have on the governments ability to collect taxes and reduce the deficit.

    Taking the Revenue Out of the IRS

    Johnson also reported in an article at Tax.com, that tax revenues in 2010 were smaller than in 2000 before the Bush tax cuts.

    We take you now to the official data for important news. Federal tax revenues in 2010 were much smaller than in 2000. Total individual income tax receipts fell 30 percent in real terms. Because the population kept growing, income taxes per capita plummeted.

    Individual income taxes came to just $2,900 per capita in 2010, down 36 percent from more than $4,500 in 2000. Total income taxes and income taxes per capita declined even though the economy grew 16 percent overall and 6 percent per capita from 2000 through 2010.

    Corporate income tax receipts fell 27 percent and declined 34 percent per capita, even though profits boomed, rising 60 percent.

    Payroll taxes increased slightly overall, but slipped per capita because the nation’s population grew five times faster than the number of people with any work. The average wage also declined slightly.

    You read it here first. Lowered tax rates did not result in increased tax revenues as promised by politician after pundit after professional economist. And even though this harsh truth has been obvious from the official data for some time, the same politicians and pundits keep prevaricating. Some of them even say it is irrelevant that as a share of GDP, income tax revenues are at their lowest level since 1951, when Harry S. Truman was president.

    No matter how many times advocates of lower tax rates said it, tax rate cuts did not pay for themselves, did not spur economic growth, did not increase jobs, and did not make America better off.

    (emphasis mine)

    The full transcript for the video can be read a Rachel’s blog.

    Obama Still Protecting US War Criminals

    Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

    The Obama administration is still protecting US war criminals from prosecution in the International Criminal Court. A little noticed clause in the UN Security Council resolution that brought sanctions against Libyan dictator Moammar Gadafi and his regime forbids the prosecution of the mercenaries from nations which are not signatories to the International Criminal Court (ICC), which protects many of the mercenaries Gadaffi has hired to kill Libyan protesters.

    “6. Decides that nationals, current or former officials or personnel from a State outside the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya which is not a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of that State for all alleged acts or omissions arising out of or related to operations in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya established or authorized by the Council, unless such exclusive jurisdiction has been expressly waived by the State;

    That clause was inserted at the insistence of the US and was a deal breaker if it was not included. Why would the US do that? After all. hadn’t US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said that all those “who slaughter civilians” would “be held personally accountable”? Well, my dears, it is once again an attempt to prevent a precedent that would permit the prosecutions of Americans  by the ICC for alleged crimes in other conflicts.

    So now while protecting US war criminals from justice. Obama is protecting the foreign mercenaries from countries who are not signatories to the ICC from accountability. Good going there, Mr. Rule of Law.

    h/t Glenn Greenwald at Salon.com

    Anonymous Strikes Again

    Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

    While we were all watching the Academy Awards, making predictions and ogling over fashion, the hacker group, Anonymous struck again, hacking into the Koch brother funded web site, Americans for Prosperity (sorry, no link, I won’t give them the honor of a page hit). The Koch brothers own the Georgia-Pacific paper manufacturing plant in Green Bay, Wisconsin and, obviously, have a vested interest in seeing the union right of collective bargaining ended.

    The AFP site is back up. This is the entire message that was left by Anonymous:

    Dear Citizens of the United States of America,

    It has come to our attention that the brothers, David and Charles Koch–the billionaire owners of Koch Industries–have long attempted to usurp American Democracy. Their actions to undermine the legitimate political process in Wisconsin are the final straw. Starting today we fight back.

    Koch Industries, and oligarchs like them, have most recently started to manipulate the political agenda in Wisconsin. Governor Walker’s union-busting budget plan contains a clause that went nearly un-noticed. This clause would allow the sale of publicly owned utility plants in Wisconsin to private parties (specifically, Koch Industries) at any price, no matter how low, without a public bidding process. The Koch’s have helped to fuel the unrest in Wisconsin and the drive behind the bill to eliminate the collective bargaining power of unions in a bid to gain a monopoly over the state’s power supplies.

    The Koch brothers have made a science of fabricating ‘grassroots’ organizations and advertising campaigns to support them in an attempt to sway voters based on their falsehoods. Americans for Prosperity, Club for Growth and Citizens United are just a few of these organizations. In a world where corporate money has become the lifeblood of political influence, the labor unions are one of the few ways citizens have to fight against corporate greed. Anonymous cannot ignore the plight of the citizen-workers of Wisconsin, or the opportunity to fight for the people in America’s broken political system. For these reasons, we feel that the Koch brothers threaten the United States democratic system and, by extension, all freedom-loving individuals everywhere. As such, we have no choice but to spread the word of the Koch brothers’ political manipulation, their single-minded intent and the insidious truth of their actions in Wisconsin, for all to witness.

    Anonymous hears the voice of the downtrodden American people, whose rights and liberties are being systematically removed one by one, even when their own government refuses to listen or worse – is complicit in these attacks. We are actively seeking vulnerabilities, but in the mean time we are calling for all supporters of true Democracy, and Freedom of The People, to boycott all Koch Industries’ paper products. We welcome unions across the globe to join us in this boycott to show that you will not allow big business to dictate your freedom.

    In case you want to boycott Georgia Pacific products here is a list: Quilted Northern, Angel Soft, Brawny, Soft N’ Gentle, Brawny Industrial, Vanity Fair, Sparkle, Dixie and Mardi Gras.

    To identify these brands, please look for the following logo anywhere on the packaging:

    Photobucket
     

    Reporting the Revolution: 28.02.2011

    Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

    class=”BrightcoveExperience”>This is The Guardian Live Blog from Libya.

    Al Jazeera English also has a Live Blog stream that is up dated regularly.

    Last Saturday, the UN Security Council voted unanimously to to impose sanctions and called for an investigation of war crimes by Libya’s leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, and his inner circle of advisers. The vote, only the second time the Security Council has referred a member state to the International Criminal Court, comes after a week of bloody crackdowns in Libya in which Colonel Qaddafi’s security forces have fired on protesters, killing hundreds. In the capitol of Tripoli there are bread lines, barricades and doctors telling foreign journalists that the bodies of the dead  and wounded were being carried away from the hospitals by “Gaddafi cars”.

    Christiane Amanpour interviewed Gaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, and this morning, reported an interview with Gaddafi, himself, who is more delusional than Charlie Sheen.

    I interviewed Col. Moammar Gadhafi this morning, when he told me he cannot step down because he is not a president or king, and claimed there have been no demonstrations in the streets of Libya’s capital.

    “My people love me. They would die for me,” he said.

    “I’m surprised that we have an alliance with the west to fight al Qaeda, and now that we are fighting terrorists they have abandoned us,” he said. “Perhaps they want to occupy Libya.”

    US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, speaking at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, delivered a strong message from the White House calling for Gaddafi to step down and for his government to be held accountable. In Behghazi, the new National Libyan Council was announced. Led by  former justice minister Mustafa Mohamed Abdel Jalil to put a political face on the revolution and to lead the country while it prepares for elections.

    Libya, Iraq, Egypt – The Uprisings Continue

    Refugee Agency Speaks of ‘Emergency’ on Libya’s Borders

    PARIS – The United Nations refugee agency says almost 100,000 people have fled Libya’s fighting to neighboring Tunisia and Egypt in what it called a humanitarian emergency.

    The numbers seem to have increased over the weekend as armed rebel forces moved closer to a showdown with Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi and his loyalists who were standing their ground in Tripoli, the capital, and a handful of other places.

    The executive director of the World Food Program was traveling to Tunisia on Monday to meet with government officials on refugees’ needs and the impact on the region. In Geneva, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced that the United States Agency for International Development was dispatching two teams to Libya’s borders in Tunisia and Egypt to assess the need for emergency assistance. USAID, she said, had set aside $10 million funds for humanitarian assistance and begun an inventory of American emergency food supplies.

    U.S dispatches aircraft carrier to waters near Libya

    By NANCY A. YOUSSEF, JONATHAN S. LANDAY AND WARREN P. STROBEL

    McClatchy Newspapers

    BENGHAZI, Libya — The United States is moving naval and air forces, including an aircraft carrier, into the Mediterranean Sea near Libya, U.S. officials said Monday, as the Obama administration and its allies consider how to respond to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s brutal efforts to suppress a widespread rebellion among civilians and army troops.

    The U.S. decision comes as Gadhafi appeared to be making a concerted effort to retake control of Zawiya, a town about 30 miles west of Tripoli that has been in rebel hands since last week. Two people reached separately by phone said heavy fighting had broken out in the early evening Monday as militias loyal to Gadhafi attacked from both the east and the west.

    World’s message to Libyan leader Gaddafi: time to end your regime

    Russia and China join west in UN war crimes ruling as Britain revokes immunity for leader and family

    Aramco Ready to Make Up Any Shortfall as Libya Exports Cut

    Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest state oil company, is ready to compensate for any shortfall in crude supply, Chief Executive Officer Khalid Al-Falih said, as oil prices rally on potential shortages from Libya.

    Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said on Feb. 22 that his country and other OPEC members would make up for any production losses. The International Energy Agency said in a Feb. 25 statement that Saudi Arabia has been offering extra crude supplies to offset lost Libyan barrels.

    Zawiyah: 30 miles from Tripoli, the city on the frontline of Libya’s revolt

    The city of Zawiyah, controlled by rebels but surrounded by Gaddafi loyalists, is a metaphor for the current stalemate

    Libya crisis: Britain mulling no-fly zone and arms for rebels, says Cameron

    Prime minister tells MPs he has asked defence ministry to work on plans for military no-fly zone over Gaddafi’s riven country

    Italy suspends friendship treaty with Libya

    (CNN) — Italy has suspended a treaty it signed three years ago with Libya that includes a nonaggression clause, a spokesman for the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Monday.

    “The friendship treaty is null and void,” said Aldo Amati, deputy press secretary for the ministry, in a telephone interview. Under the 2008 treaty between Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, Italy paid Libya $5 billion to compensate Libya for the colonial rule.

    “We no longer consider the Gadhafi government as our interlocutor, so we don’t think it’s applicable right now.”

    Egypt unveils political reform

    As constitutional amendments are rolled out , restrictions on religious political parties remain.

    A panel of experts set up by Egypt’s ruling military council to amend the constitution has unveiled the first set of political reform since the revolution.

    Sobhi Saleh, a member of the judicial committee appointed by the military council, told Reuters news agency, that the army is set to cancel a law which gave ousted president Hosni Mubarak’s administration the power to decide who

    was allowed to form a party, .

    The panel is also expected to call a referendum in March on historic changes to the constitution unveiled on Saturday, including reforms that will open up competition for the post of president which Mubarak held for 30 years.

    Hosni Mubarak barred from leaving Egypt

    Attorney general announces travel ban and freeze on Hosni Mubarak’s domestic assets in possible prelude to prosecution

    The measures extend to Mubarak’s wife and children – including his youngest son, Gamal, a former banker and close associate of many of Egypt’s leading businessmen – and may be the prelude to a formal prosecution.

    A number of former ministers from the deposed regime have already been made subject to travel bans and asset freezes since Mubarak was forced out of office on 11 February, and many are now facing possible trial on charges ranging from corruption to the unlawful killing of protesters.

    Until now Mubarak had seemed to be shielded from investigation by the ruling military council, a source of much anger among pro-change demonstrators who accuse army generals of cutting a deal with the former leader.

    Oman protests spread, road to port blocked

    SOHAR, Oman (Reuters) – Demonstrators blocked roads to a main port in northern Oman and looted a nearby supermarket on Monday, part of protests to demand more jobs and political reform that have spread to the sultanate’s capital.

    A doctor said six people had been killed in clashes between stone-throwing protesters and police on Sunday in the northern industrial town of Sohar. Oman’s health minister said one person had been killed and 20 wounded.

    Hundreds of protesters blocked access to an industrial area that includes the port, a refinery and aluminum factory. A port spokeswoman said exports of refined oil products of about 160,000 barrels per day (bpd) from the port were unaffected.

    US ‘committed to defence relations’

    US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Admiral Mike Mullen, during his talks with Bahrain’s leadership, reaffirmed his country’s strong commitment to the military relationship with Bahraini defence forces, said Captain John Kirby, the admiral’s spokesman.

    Admiral Mullen thanked Bahraini leaders “for the very measured way they have been handling the popular crisis here”, during his meeting with His Majesty King Hamad and His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander, said the spokesman.

    US supports ‘national dialogue’ in Bahrain: Obama

    WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama extended US support for a “national dialogue” in Bahrain, and said it should be “inclusive, non-sectarian and responsive” to the people of the Gulf kingdom.

    Obama’s statement came a day after King Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa reshuffled his cabinet and allowed the return to the country of an exiled opposition leader after 13 days of protests.

    As protests continued Sunday in Bahrain, Obama welcomed the king’s changes and reaffirmation of his commitment to reform.

    Exposing the Dirty Tricks

    Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

    “Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive” Sir Walter Scott

    The plot to undermine the Wikileaks attack on banks is certainly one of those tangled webs. The recent revelations the not only were Bank of America  and the Chamber of Commerce involved but the United States Air Force. They all had either hired or consulted a little known cyber-security firm HBgary to learn about and discredit their detractors. The plot was exposed by one of their targets, Anonymous, who hacked not just HBgary’s computers but hacked the private e-mail from its CEO,s i-phone and his Twitter account.

    Another of HBgary’s targets, Salon‘s Glenn Greenwald, has been making rounds talking about the plans to discredit journalists. He has made appearances on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report and Democracy Now! discussing the implications of this plot. Mr. Greenwald also talked with Cenk Uygur specifically about this plan, the latest revelations of the use of psy-ops against American citizens, specifically, US Congress members to get them to support the Afghan war and the Obama administration’s vigorous crack down on whistle blowers.

    Reporting the Revolution: 26.02.2011

    Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

    class=”BrightcoveExperience”>This is The Guardian Live Blog from Libya.

    Al Jazeera English also has a Live Blog stream that is up dated regularly.

    Protests and violence continued across the region on Friday. The International community is considering its options and in a rare move the UN Human Rights Commission took sanctions against one of its own members, Libya. Meeting in Geneva, the commission voted unanimously recommending suspension of Libya from the Geneva-based body and decided to conduct an independent probe into violations by the Qadhafi regime, which has launched a bloody crackdown on anti-government protesters.  

    The United States closed down the embassy in Tripoli as the last of its diplomatic personnel were airlifted to safety. President Barack Obama signed an executive order freezing the assets of Gaddafi, his family and top officials, as well as the Libyan government, the country’s central bank and sovereign wealth funds.

    Thousands demanded reform in Jordan and in Bahrain more changes. Virtually isolated in Tripoli, the military still loyal to Gaddafi opened fire on unarmed protesters.

    As Libya uprising reaches Tripoli Gaddafi vows to ‘open up the arsenals’

    Gaddafi gives a defiant speech to cheering supporters, as witnesses report indiscriminate firing on demonstrators

    Libya’s uprising reached the heart of Tripoli on Friday as anti-regime demonstrators defied a security clampdown to demand Muammar Gaddafi’s overthrow amid hopes that key military units in the west of the country would defect.

    Gunmen in cars reportedly opened fire on protesters as they streamed out of mosques after Friday prayers. Witnesses described shooting in streets near Green Square in the heart of the city.

    Information remained patchy, confused and sometimes contradictory, but up to seven people were reported shot dead in Janzour, Fashlum, Bin Ashour, Zawiyat al-Dahmani and other urban areas. “Security forces fired indiscriminately on the demonstrators,” said one resident.

    Later, Gaddafi appeared in Green Square to give another angry and defiant speech to crowds of supporters waving banners and cheering him – a message that he is alive and in control – as he pledged to “open up the arsenals”.

    Gaddafi vows to crush protesters

    Libyan leader speaks to supporters in the capital’s Green Square, saying he will arm people against protesters.

    Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, has appeared in Tripoli’s Green Square, to address a crowd of his supporters in the capital.

    The speech, which also referred to Libya’s war of independence with Italy, appeared to be aimed at rallying what remains of his support base, with specific reference to the country’s youth.

    “We can defeat any aggression if necessary and arm the people,” Gaddafi said, in footage that was aired on Libyan state television on Friday.

    “I am in the middle of the people.. we will fight … we will defeat them if they want … we will defeat any foreign aggression.

    “Dance … sing and get ready … this is the spirit … this is much better than the lies of the Arab propaganda,” he said.

    Libya: International response gathers pace after Gaddafi counterattacks

    No-fly zone or sanctions among options being considered as world bids to force Libyan leader to end the violence

    International efforts to respond to the Libyan crisis are gathering pace under US leadership after a still defiant Muammar Gaddafi launched counterattacks to defend Tripoli against the popular uprising now consolidating its hold on the liberated east of the country.

    The White House said Barack Obama planned to call David Cameron and France’s president, Nicolas Sarkozy, to discuss possible actions, including a no-fly zone or sanctions to force the Libyan leader to end the violence. Switzerland said it had frozen Gaddafi’s assets.

    Gaddafi, in power for 42 years, has used aircraft, tanks and foreign mercenaries in eight days of violence that has killed hundreds in the bloodiest of the uprisings to shake the Arab world. Up to 2,000 people may have died, it was claimed by a senior French human rights official.

    Friday protests grip Middle East

    Opposing political camps rally in Yemen while protesters vent anger after prayers in Jordan, Iraq and Bahrain.

    Tens of thousands of supporters and opponents of Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen’s president, have held rival rallies in the capital, Sanaa.

    Protesters outside Sanaa University repeated slogans demanding that the country’s longtime president step down immediately, chanting: “The people demand the downfall of the regime.”

    About 4km away, loyalists shouted support for the president, who they described as holding the fractured and impoverished tribal country together. “The creator of unity is in our hearts. We will not abandon him,” they chanted.

    Al Jazeera’s Hashem Ahelbarra, reporting from Sanaa, said that while the situation is calm in the capital, due to the huge presence of police and military, there have been reports of protesters being killed in the south of the country.

    “The situation in Aden [in the south] is very tense, two people have been killed and at least 24 pro-democracy protesters were injured in clashes with security forces [today],” he said.

    “Security forces have been asked by the ministry of the interior to block the main square to put an end to the escalations there, as it is the stronghold of the secessionist movement who want to break away from the north.

    “There have been huge rallies in the province of Sadah, the stronghold of the Houthi fighters. They have said they are joining the protesters and that their fight will be similar to the fight of thousands of protesters who are asking for an end to the political regime.”

    Yemen has been swept up in protests inspired by the recent successful uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia. The demonstrators are demanding that Saleh, in power for 32 years, step down.

    Deaths in Iraq pro-reform rallies

    At least 12 protesters killed by security forces, amid nationwide “day of rage” against corruption and poor services.

    Thousands of Iraqis have taken to the streets across the country to protest against corruption and a lack of basic services in an organised nationwide “day of rage”, inspired by uprisings around the Arab world.

    In two northern Iraqi cities, security forces trying to push back crowds opened fire on Friday, killing at least 12 demonstrators.

    In Baghdad, the capital, demonstrators knocked down blast walls, threw rocks and scuffled with club-wielding troops.

    Hundreds of people carrying Iraqi flags and banners streamed into Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, which was under heavy security.

    Military vehicles and security forces lined the streets around the square and nearby Jumhuriya bridge was blocked off.

    Al Jazeera’s Jane Arraf, reporting from Baghdad, said there was a violent standoff between the protesters and the riot police on the bridge that leads to the heavily fortified Green Zone.

    Ahmed Rushdi, head of the House of Iraq Expertise Foundation, tried to join the protests in Baghdad but was prevented from doing so by the army.

    “This is not a political protest, but a protest by the people of Iraq. We want social reform, jobs for young people and direct supervision because there is lots of corruption,” Rushdi told Al Jazeera.

    “If [prime minister Nouri] al-Maliki does not listen, we will continue this protest. He told everyone that we are Saddamists, but that is not right. We are normal Iraqi people.”

    Eight years after the US-led invasion which ousted Saddam Hussein, the former Iraqi leader, development in the country remains slow and there are shortages of food, water, electricity and jobs.

    Protesters confirmed that they were protesting for a better life and better basic services.

    “We are free young men and we are not belonging to a certain ideological movement but we ask for our simple legitimate demands that include the right of education and the right of decent life,” Malik Abdon, a protester, said.

    Reporting the Revolution: 24.02.2011

    Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

    class=”BrightcoveExperience”>This is The Guardian Live Blog from Libya.

    Al Jazeera English also has a Live Blog stream that is up dated regularly.

    Libyan “madman” Muammar Gaddafi again took to the public airways via a telephone statement that the rebellion is being run by Al-Qaeda and that the young protesters were being drugged by Osama bin Laden. Tripoli is paralyzed and, according to foreign reports, food and fuel are in short supply contradicting  Libyan official reports that everything is “normal”. Phone and internet service is intermittent.

    Mustafa Abdel Galil, who resigned three days ago as justice minister, speaking to Al Jazeera, said that Gaddafi had chemical weapons and would not hesitate to use them. The United Nation’s Human Rights Council will meet in Geneva to decide to send a team to investigate violations of international human rights law in Libya.

    In the east, the cities of Benghazi and Tobruk are now under the control of a civilian council of lawyers and doctors with the aid of military officers who turned on Gaddafi. Ferries have docked in Benghazi to aid in the evacuation of foreign residents and tourists. The eastern border with Egypt has been opened and tent hospitals and aid stations have been set up to care for the wounded and sick. Doctor Without Borders is sending a team from France to help the Egyptians.

    Even as Gaddafi digs in, much of the country is out of his control and the military is deserting him. His assets in foreign banks have been frozen. Ahmed Gadhaf al-Dam, one of Gaddafi’s top security official and a cousin, defected and left the country on Wednesday evening, stating differences over “grave violations to human rights and human and international laws”. It would seem that it just a matter of time before Gaddafi is gone. The cost to be rid if him will be high.

    Oil prices soar to 30-month high amid uprisings

    Oil prices climbed to their highest level in 30 months in London today as Libya’s uprising reduced shipments and sparked fears of unrest spreading across the Middle East.

    Brent crude hit 119 US dollars a barrel for the first time since August 2008, while benchmark crude for April delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange was up nearly four dollars at 101.67 US dollars.

    Foreigners flee Libyan chaos

    Countries around the world step up efforts to evacuate citizens, but some warn an exodus of refugees could spark crisis.

    Nations around the world are evacuating thousands of people from the violent unrest in Libya, amid fears in some countries that the situation will lead to an exodus of illegal immigrants.

    On Thursday, European nationals and thousands of Chinese people landed on the Greek island of Crete, after boarding chartered ferries from Libya, while scores of Britons were evacuated via military plane to the Mediterranean island of Malta.

    Gaddafi daughter denies fleeing

    Aisha Gaddafi, the daughter of the Libyan leader, appears on state TV to deny reports that she tried to flee to Malta.

    Aisha Gaddafi, the daughter of Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, has appeared on state television, denying a report she tried to flee to Malta.

    There had been reports on Wednesday that a Libyan plane carrying Gaddafi’s daughter had been turned back from Malta after it was denied permission to land.

    Algeria repeals emergency law

    Scrapping the draconian law to placate growing discontent had been a major demand made by the opposition parties.

    Algeria’s cabinet has adopted an order to lift a 19-year-old state of emergency in a concession designed to avoid the tide of uprisings sweeping the Arab world, but protesters said the measure did not go far enough.

    A draft law approved by the cabinet would repeal the emergency law as soon as it is published in the government’s official journal, the official Algerie Presse Service reported on Wednesday.

    Hosni Mubarak’s cronies face corruption charges in Cairo court

    Three stalwarts of the deposed Egyptian president are greeted by angry crowd at courthouse

    Three former stalwarts of Hosni Mubarak’s regime have appeared in a Cairo court to face charges ranging from abuse of state power to squandering public wealth.

    The trio – former housing minister Ahmed Maghrapi, former tourism minister Zuheir Garana and Ahmed Ezz, steel tycoon and one-time secretary general of Hosni Mubarak’s NDP party – arrived in police cars clanging with the sound of pelted stones and got out at the courthouse to a chorus of deafening insults.

    Yemen to ‘protect protesters’

    President Saleh instructs security forces to protect demonstrators after at least 15 protesters have been killed.

    Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen’s president, has issued a directive ordering his security forces to protect demonstrators trying to end his 32-year rule, after at least 15 people have been killed in the country’s recent unrest.

    The statement, relayed by the Yemeni press attaché in Washington on Thursday, said Saleh had “demanded security services to offer full protection for the demonstrators”.

    “Late this evening [Wednesday] … Saleh instructed all security services to thwart all clashes and prevent direct confrontation between pro- and anti-government protesters,” it said.

    “Furthermore, the government calls on protesters to remain vigilant and take all precautionary steps to prevent the infiltrations of individuals seeking to carry out violent actions.

    “The government … will continue to protect the rights of its citizens to assemble peacefully and their right to freedom of expression,” the statement said.

    Thousands of protesters were camping out for a fifth day in an impromptu tent city outside Sanaa University. Members of the university’s professors’ union also turned out to support  the demonstrators, who have one demand: that Saleh step down.

    Students killed at Yemen rally

    Protests turn deadly as the president’s supporters open fire on anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Sanaa.

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