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    • CommentAuthorFan
    • CommentTimeMar 19th 2011
    Today's news has gone beyond a "no fly zone" in Libya, to Mr. Sarkozy saying, "Right now our planes are blocking airstrikes on the city. French planes are ready to act against armoured vehicles that would be threatening unarmed civilians."

    I thought, "Well; good: let's have a chance for Libyans to come to a political, non-violent, non-military way forward."

    Then I read another post, titled Libya, Hypocrisy and Betrayal by the United Nations (and e.g. the comment posted by Obedient Servent in reply), which characterise this as another Western invasion à la Iraq, and suddenly I don't know any more. Maybe foreign military intervention isn't something to be pleased about.

    There's one intervention in the past that I've felt good about, very small scale: that was when the Van Doos arrived at Oka, replacing the provincial police and then the RCMP who had been unable to contain the mobs. There had been gun-fire, a policeman killed, people injured, but then when the Van Doos arrived, took over barricades and stood guard, "no shots were exchanged".

    Actually another military intervention, into a country's internal politics, which apparently went well is narrated in this video commemorating Operation Arkansas which includes phrases like "... Supreme Court ...", "... perimeter cordon around the school using barricades and a soldier placed every 3 feet...", "... escort...", a picture of 'trouble-makers' being walked off the school grounds at bayonet-point, and ending, "... as it turned out, with the deployment of the Screaming Eagles to Little Rock, the situation stabilised very quickly." I imagine it did.

    Now contrast Libya with, maybe, Poland's liberation.

    I don't know; so maybe, a country's military should be used, if at all, only within its own borders.

    Anyway: that's something to try to remember, if or when I find myself again approving a 'humanitarian' military intervention in a foreign country.
      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeMar 19th 2011 edited
    It ultimately depends on whether any foreign troops land on Libya's soil - at that point, I can see this being called an invasion. At present, the French forces aren't doing anything that the Libyan opposition hasn't already called for.

    Now, that said, we'll see what happens when the U.S. and U.K. military get involved. Not that France is a perfect, peaceful, law-abiding nation state, but at least in the past decade (let's forget about Indochina for a moment) they have a better track record than the British and us. Of course, if there's information I'm missing about France's recent foreign intervention history, by all means, correct me.

    Something interesting is happening in the conservosphere: Internet conservatives protesting training of Saudi pilots in Idaho. While I think the idea of any Saudi pilot stealing an F-15 while still on a U.S. military base and flying it ANYWHERE before they are promptly shot down by EVERYTHING is pretty laughable, it is interesting to see the reaction it's gotten. I don't really agree with either side - I don't think we need to be giving the Saudis any kind of military training or equipment, mostly because of their government's nasty human rights record, but I also don't think [Arab + Plane = Imminent Disaster] as a kneejerk reaction.
    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeMar 19th 2011
    Currently, in the states, things are rapidly going pear-shaped for anything resembling women's rights or workers' rights. We've got Republican led state governments in states all across the south making it so that a woman has to leap through rings of fire practically to potentially get an abortion, having to suffer indignities as being required to undergo a sonogram (which they must pay for themselves), be told about the fetus, have it described to them, and essentially undergo a guilt trip about the entire thing. Such states are also making it so that publicly-contributed to health plans are not allowed to pay for abortions and now a new bill in the House of Reps would make it so that the IRS must audit any submission for government coverage of an abortion and determine whether or not it was for some woman who just wanted one or because it was due to rape or incest, essentially turning them into the Abortion Police.

    Beyond that you have the fuckery in Michigan with the governor wanting to declare "financial martial law" and do everything from instantly break unions, ignore contracts, dis-incorporate towns and townships, and essentially remove elected officials from their role by placing "financial managers" above them. Did I mention that there's no over-sight of said managers, no way of recalling them, no way of reviewing them; they're essentially governor appointed lackeys who can do whatever they want.

    Wisconsin is battling Walker's bill with a judge filing an injunction to halt it's implementation to investigate whether or not it violated the open-meeting laws of the state. Of course a DA has challenged the injunction. Recall efforts in Wisconsin are stepping up.

    The GOP contenders for 2012 are, in a word, weak with no clear "that's the guy/gal" candidate stepping up. Barbour continues to have issues with his memory regarding race and race relations, Bachmann continually shows her ass regarding the history of the country, Newt is trying to spin his past infidelities as being "due to his vast patriotic love of his country", Romney is fighting against the rabid Tea Partiers because of Romney Care, Santorum has clearly gone off the deep end, and Pawlenty is apparently attempting to make himself sound more southern (because it worked for Bush? IDK).
    • CommentAuthorFan
    • CommentTimeMar 19th 2011
    At present, the French forces aren't doing anything that the Libyan opposition hasn't already called for

    Well yes but I'm not certain that something's being "called for by the Libyan opposition" is enough to justify it. The USSR went into Afghanistan, for example, because it was "called" there by an Afghani political party (actually by the Afghani government of the time, or at least the puppet government).

    I've been barely skimming the news' headlines but one reported a fighter plane being shot down a week or two ago, in Libya, allegedly by a RPG. I thought that sounded more like, you know, an anti-aircraft weapon. It's not the kind of thing that happens when the only opposition is civilians leaving their shops and offices and going to protest in the public square, as they were reported to have done in Tunisia and Egypt. I suspect there's other, professional, opposition at work; and presumably not all Libyan.

    Then again, the opposition keep reporting that that they're being attacked by foreign mercenaries, so who knows.
      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeMar 19th 2011
    Well, the opposition does have more than a few defected military personnel, and it's not too hard to imagine that some of them might also be ex-military or police. They've been raiding army caches as well - a video I just saw showed them with a set of shiny (well, at least not rusty) new tanks. The conflict isn't as lopsided now as when it started out, that's for sure.
  1.  (9666.6)
    It's not a case of wanting to declare martial law in MI; it's already been done.
    Government here's very fucked up at the moment, and it's rather scary if you stop and think about it. Protests have occurred at the capital in Lansing, ending with 5 students being arested for staying beyond the capital's closing time and refusing to leave ; I don't know what's happened to them beyond that.
    Various unions have been gearing up and holding rallies and talks.
      CommentAuthorJon Wake
    • CommentTimeMar 19th 2011
    I've always been interested in how functional nations deal with dictatorial nations. For the past fifty years, NATO diplomacy has been built upon the presumption of existential threat by the Soviets. Now that the USSR is no more, policy doesn't have a clear way to handle the proliferation of failed states that followed. The entire justification behind Real Politick reads as false and flat, but the only competing philosophy, that of Neo Conservatism was an unmitigated disaster. In that vacuum of narrative, we default to empty fears of destabilization out of habit.

    How the world reacts to Libya and what happens with Egypt will determine Western foreign policy for the next thirty years. If the West opts for force in support of Libyans, which it looks like we have, we're now locked into making sure the results of the civil war are viewed as honorable.

    In the US, the Republican death spiral has hit terminal velocity. The gains they made in 2010 will likely vanish in 2012, but damage to worker's and women's rights may never fully recover.
  2.  (9666.8)
    Throw this into the mix when looking at the current state of the US - Minnesota Republicans want to ban the poor from having more than $20 cash money in their pockets... and that in the midst of all this internal strife, and launching airstrikes on Libya, Obama fucks off to South America on a trade-boosting tour.
  3.  (9666.9)
    While not as flashy or as immediate a disaster as Japan or Libya, higher ed in PA is facing a 50% funding cut essentially requiring many state schools close, and state-related schools (semi-private) privatize as well as close campuses. (Nevada has already announced university closures, and several TX campuses are fighting closure currently.)

    This budget cut will be felt in k-12 schools across the state as well; in the Philadelphia Public Schools, they are planning on terminating 10 teaching contracts per school. TEN.

    While this budget could easily be another round of brinkmanship, the steadily worsening support for ed in PA suggests that even if the budget doesn't pass as-is it will require amputation-level responses from education institutions from kindergarten through university level.
  4.  (9666.10)
    I feel like I should add 'have a nice day' or something to that post.

  5.  (9666.11)
    Incidentally, in PA the Republicans control both houses of the state congress, and as we have a Republican governor currently it seems fairly likely that they can pass whatever they want, up to and including the 50% funding cut.

    At least a few colleges have started rallying, with students protesting the proposed cuts, but the general climate at least where I am is one of obliviousness and apathy. I don't have much hope of WI-level protests starting up in this state. There doesn't seem to be a strong feeling here that education is particularly important. Perhaps most of the voting public still assumes that eventually we can bring back the industrial work that kept the state running for so many years.
    • CommentAuthorFan
    • CommentTimeMar 20th 2011
    Because news is already reported/relayed on other sites, I prefer posts where you add something of yourself: your own opinion, understanding, or belief; how it changed your mind, why it surprised you, what your plan is, even any question you might have.
  6.  (9666.13)
    Locally things are getting polarized, with union members & people who aren't supporters of the governor or people who are seen as such starting to receive accusations and threats. I'm starting to get worried for my family, here, in Teaparty Landia, Michigan.
    • CommentAuthorFan
    • CommentTimeMar 21st 2011
    > I'm starting to get worried for my family, here, in Teaparty Landia, Michigan

    I'm not in your situation, obviously.

    Back in the day, during The Troubles, I heard a 'joke' that there were ... two, conversational topics to avoid in Ireland: being politics, and religion.

    In fact even within a family, people sometimes temporarily get a reputation for pushing their political viewpoint: for proselytising.

    Miss Manners: Don’t talk politics or religion

    Dear Miss Manners: What is wrong with people? What happened to the politics and religion rule?

    Answer: ... a real exchange of ideas and opinions is possible only under the rule of etiquette. ...

    I'm a long way from feeling threatened, perhaps because I'm not 'politically active'. I vote; but it's a secret ballot. I'm not aware that 'politics' comes between me and any stranger that I meet.
      CommentAuthorJon Wake
    • CommentTimeMar 21st 2011
    When you look at the propaganda that has been coming from the right for the past few years, a terrifying pattern begins to emerge. There is a dehumanization occurring, an idea that non-Tea Partiers are less American. Additionally, the nationalist fervor is based around blind panic, the idea that you, as a good American, are under constant attack by monstrous forces. This language has always, without fail, preceded violence. People like Glen Beck are not just clowns, they are profoundly dangerous individuals.

    Now, I don't think we're close to 'blood in the streets'. American's have a strong central government that has a tradition of upholding civil rights (at least in-country). But if the democratic system becomes too strained, things could very easily turn ugly. Already the FBI and local police are working double time dealing with anti-government and right wing violence.

    Currently, the best tool available to keep things from getting too nasty is still the vote.

    Thinking about Libya (and Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia, and Yemen) makes me wonder if the international community shouldn't become more interventionist. We can't do it using the current system, but when the international community backs away from despots and genocides, it just ensures that they'll keep doing it.
    • CommentAuthoricelandbob
    • CommentTimeMar 23rd 2011

    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeMar 25th 2011
    I still contend that the 2012 GOP Primary is going to be a fucking brawl between all of the candidates coming out but, honestly, I don't see any serious contenders.

    In 2008 you had a few candidates on both sides who seemed pretty strong, even at the beginning with Clinton, Obama, and Edwards (although Edwards fell to third and stayed there pretty hard), and McCain, Huckabee, and Romney (though, looking back, it really was McCain's campaign to lose). 2012 doesn't really offer up anyone that seems particularly strong:

    -Newt Gingrich is currently in a tailspin as he tries to justify his criticisms for Obama for his lack of military action in Libya and then criticizing him for said military actions, trying to spin it that Newt didn't mean military action regardless or not that he called for a no-fly zone to be instituted. Plus no one has forgotten his marital history and that certainly seems to be a factor in people's opinions of him.

    -Hayley Barbour can't seem to get out of his own way by trying to prove just how not-a-racist he is and yet managing to piss people off with his misremembered youth.

    -Tim Pawlenty from MN, who isn't particularly well-liked by his home state for the job he did there, seems to be trying to redefine himself as a Southerner after reports that he seems to be attempting to speak with some kind of a Southern accent.

    -Mike Huckabee is getting crazy with the uber-Religious Right-leaning speeches he's been giving lately.

    -Michelle Bachmann can't remember her history and no one is forgiving her; she, of course, is saying she's the victim of a vast liberal conspiracy to keep her down.

    -Donald Trump has implied that he may run but all he has is name power. Sure he's got a lot of money, but so did Forbes and that didn't help him any.

    -Sarah Palin is, well, Sarah Palin. Sure she's got a very passionate, and very loyal, group of followers but they're a fraction of what they used to be and polls are continuously showing her to be a weaker and weaker candidate when compared against anyone else who has even mentioned the possibility that they might be exploring yadda yadda yadda running for prez.

    -Mitt Romney who seems to be the moderates' only hope but who, I'd assume, would be anathema to the Tea Party crowd for instituting Romneycare and the impact that had on HCR (although I did review a write-up that some Tea Partiers are embracing him so who knows).

    -Ron Paul who, let's face it, has the unfortunate flaw of being Ron Paul.

    -Rand Paul who, let's face it, has the unfortunate flaw of not being Ron Paul.

    -Rick Santorum. Come on, it's Santorum. He's about as relevant as John Bolton saying he's going to run for president. He could run but he's got not a chance in hell.

    The GOP landscape seems to fractured by the number of people exploring the option and making motions. We'll probably see this list thin out a bit as the year goes on but I think the GOP primaries are going to be great political sports watching (I'm particularly hopeful of a Huckabee vs. Romney rematch after the vicious suckbeating Huckabee and McCain gave Romney back in 2008).

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