Can French Helicopters Save Libya?

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FRN Tiger Sun.jpg
It may come as a relief to President Obama that France has decided to increase the pace of operations in Libya by deploying attack helicopters. Britain, on the other hand, seems to still be on the fence.
The role of airpower in this conflict has been a critical one. While the aerial restrictions imposed on the Libyan Air Force have hampered, but in no way neutralized, Gaddafi’s military capabilities, western airpower has proved to be the key variable in aiding the rebels. This is partly because NATO has refused to put boots on the ground and air strike operations are, in essence, the only option NATO has. It is also because the capabilities that western nations have brought to bear in Libya have primarily been fixed wing aircraft up to this point. France’s decision to deploy an unspecified number of Tiger attack helicopters, and the potential for British Apaches to join them, changes the mixture of military assets the rebels have in their corner.
The Washington Institute on Near East Policy released an analytical piece that does a good job of highlighting the role of airpower in the ‘conflict’:

NATO strike operations have proven to be the great equalizer in the conflict. They saved Misratah from being retaken by the regime and are assisting the rebels in their efforts in the Nafusa Mountains.
NATO strike operations consist primarily of battlefield interdiction, strikes approximating close air support, counterlogistics missions, and counter-command-and-control sorties. According to NATO data, most of the strike effort is focused on western Libya, primarily around Tripoli, Misratah, Sirte, and Zintan. NATO officials assert that the strikes are reducing the regime’s ability to employ, command, and sustain its combat forces. As of April 29, NATO claimed to have hit some 600 targets, damaging or destroying approximately 220 armored vehicles and 200 ammunition facilities. The effort, however, is dispersed, with NATO averaging only about sixty strike sorties a day, distributed across command and control, logistics, and forces targets, and in both the western and eastern theaters. While the present level of effort (at least) should ultimately break the regime forces, that process could be protracted, lasting weeks if not months.

Even with the deployment of attack helicopters, Obama is in a tight spot. He now needs congressional approval to continue to use military force in Libya. He also needs to decide whether he will continue to use the relatively few American assets deployed thus far–a decision which may be prolonging the fighting. Whatever Obama decides, the next few weeks will be critical in determining whether and how the United States will proceed in the Libyan ‘conflict’.
— Jordan D’Amato

Comments

62 comments on “Can French Helicopters Save Libya?

  1. questions says:

    Amazing:
    “PALM COAST, FL – JUNE 2 : The Conservatory Golf Course development was supposed to be a very high end facility with large homes on the “Tom Watson designed” course. Housing lots there that once sold for $300,000 now go for $15,000. Of the 340 planned homes, only one has been built.”
    Now, THAT’S some deflation.
    WaPo, front page.

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  2. questions says:

    Thoma and DeLong are both writing in dismay at Goolsbee’s a.m. appearance on one or another talking head show….
    Seems that the admin plans to let the private sector, umm, pick up the slack. Which, umm, doesn’t work economically, but which works with an election around the corner in which the natural human tendency to insist on balanced budgets and the suffering of others seem to be winning out.
    There is no Plan B, but we will have a nice dose of austerity.
    And those L-shaped and double-dippy graph formations we keep seeing everywhere will continue to charm us all, I guess.
    Do we all see the mess our political system has created simply by being competitive? It’s really amazing what some policy entrepreneurs can do with false analogies, and a little panic, and a tv network, and some misinformation, and the smarts to pick up on issues that resonate with people who deserve a little more truth in their lives.
    Here’s hoping that some policy entrepreneurs on the other side can read the national psyche and find ways to counter some of the pain caucus’s worst plans.
    We’ve been given such a small-minded, nasty, selfish, frightened, downscaling, and shrunken self-image to work with. And this self-image inscribed into our national mirrors by some libertarian and ignorant public figures has made us fear much that we shouldn’t, and has us willing to brave 12% unemployment or whatever just so we balance out national budget, cut taxes, and immiserate our neighbors.
    That’s Plan B, apparently!

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  3. questions says:

    Political cynicism explained?!
    http://themonkeycage.org/blog/2011/04/14/the_partisan_trust_gap/
    And this guest poster now has his own blog:
    http://mwsances.scripts.mit.edu/blog/
    I think he poses good questions regarding correlations we love and causal factors we ignore, but there is actually a lot more information available on, say education and the financial meltdown, than what the blogger, M. W. Sances, has pointed out.
    Still and all, good starting place for thinking like a social scientist occasionally, and it’s not a bad idea to try that once in a while.
    *****
    Reading a book on post-9/11 security apparatus by an anthropologist. Sometimes it’s good to think like an anthropologist, too. Under Construction, by Kerry Fosher. Nice book, thus far.
    **
    Indeed, it’s good to think like all sorts of people, which is why I try to stay, ahem, humble, ahem, by reading through comments on WaPo politics stories. Oh my. People have some strong views out there regarding just how great the Ryan plan is, how it will save us; how Obama is responsible for things that happened in 2008 and earlier; and how terrible it is that he ever would suggest that Bush had anything to do with anything.
    We need to track our national fantasies. They are on display at the WaPo. Big time on display. I think this means thinking like a psychoanalyst sometimes. And like a sociologist.

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  4. questions says:

    Food fight!
    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/06/on-fauxgressive-rationalizations-of-selling-out-to-powerful-moneyed-backers.html
    Yves Smith on the progressive left, vs. Konczal on the institutional left.
    Really interesting tension in which the players don’t see themselves or each other very well.
    Purity of motive, saving one’s own soul, seems to be the motive on the progressive left.
    Institutional compromise to get something done, even if it’s not the purest and bestest of things would seem to be the motive of the institutional left.
    Both moments are necessary. Without the moral left, we don’t see as well.
    Without the institutional left, we get nothing done, save being shrill and saving our own souls.
    In the end, system preservation matters, and proposing policies that fit in with our national fantasies of ourselves, and that lead to the replication of the public sphere via elections will win out.
    So the trick for the progressive left is to push the society over to the left just enough that the institutional left has some maneuvering room.
    The progressive AND institutional left groups did this kind of work in tandem over the Ryan budget. Replicating this unified voice, this wonderful work of pointing out how flawed, unfair, punishing, and cruel the Ryan budget is, how out of step it is with what we actually want – might be difficult, but in this instance the cooperation worked!
    There are certain structures in place in Medicare that might not be there for other issues, and without those structures, the progressive left has a harder time working with the institutional left to push things along. Sometimes we kind of have to wait for the moment, and sometimes if we’re impatient, we don’t get the moment, and sometimes, we make things significantly worse before they improve.
    The two camps of the left need to stop the name calling (which they probably can’t do) and look issue by issue at what kinds of structures work within our national fantasies, what kinds of national fantasies we can push along, and then figure out how to set the rhetorical dial to the right position.
    Sometimes getting the rhetorical dial set right might actually mean listening to the panic on the right over budget issues, borrow some rhetoric, and then set programs that might bring in some support from the center-right so that policy makes it through.
    A lot of people buy in to the balancing the family budget is the same as balancing the national budget rhetoric. Because this fantasy runs deep and seems to make sense, policy has to take into account this zombie idea. We do live in a popular sovereignty system and so popular preferences have a role. We also have a system with expertise in it, and we have Greenspan’s call for ending the Bush tax cuts.
    We should make use of these, instead of name-calling and charging “sell out” or “emotional”……
    There’s work to do on this economy, people are stressed, and we need the right rhetoric to present the right programs to start to extricate ourselves.
    There are all sorts of underlying fantasy structures to deal with — race and class and gender and national origin issues, considerations of moral worth and moral hazard, the notion of “budgeting” and the proper kinds of spending and the whole psychic structure of “money” and “wealth” and “desert” — all of this must be worked out in policy.
    The failure to get policy to match fantasy will lead to the failure of re-election — which of course means that any policy that doesn’t meet with our fantasies simply won’t happen.
    We do want to care for each other and help each other, but only when we think of one another as “deserving” and “hard working”. That’s a big problem for the left, because the left doesn’t make this distinction quite the way the right does.
    Policy needs to deal with this fantasy.

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  5. questions says:

    It’s. Not. Uncertainty.

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  6. questions says:

    Bikes! On the NYT front page!
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/04/nyregion/new-yorks-bike-share-program-is-plagued-by-questions.html?_r=1&hp
    Could they not use vacant store front space to house the bikes in racks? Rain and snow protection, no sidewalk encroachment, and my guess is, ummmm, there’s bound to be some vacant real estate somewhere…..
    And let’s face it, cars get a lot of help, a lot of gov’t subsidies, a lot of transfer payments from non-drivers to drivers. We could do a bike thing, for sure! Just include strollers, wheel chairs, skateboards and scooters and dollies — DEALS ON WHEELS — and then you’ll have a coalition of the well-wheeled supporting the program.
    Broaden, broaden, broaden the bennies! You’ll go far.

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  7. questions says:

    Pareene!
    Takes on Jonathan Alter’s love letter to Bloomberg in…Bloomberg! Regarding education. Classic line:
    “When Alter says Ravitch “uses phony empiricism to rationalize almost every tired argument offered by teachers unions,” we’re meant to hiss at the invocation of the bad guy in this story. “Phony empiricism” means “data that contradict data used by pro-reform sources.””
    From WarRoom.
    Ravitch has a checkered history of being reformy,and she is still looking for a kind of magic bullet fix, this time from curricular reforms, but she’s on the money with the not-so-phony empiricism.
    ******
    The “love letter” to Richard Cohen is fabulous, too!
    *****
    The Palin/Paul Revere thing is a nice diversion from the economy for a few minutes. Wow. Bells, and taking away guns. What goes through her head when she’s feeling threatened…. The cute voice, repeated meaningless phrases, the droppin’ of the final g in gerunds…. When most people talk and they’re feeling confused, frightened or are unable to think, they use “ummm” or “ahhh” or “uhhhh”. But not Palin! She blabbers. I get the feeling that in one of her journalism or speech classes she was instructed not to umm and ahh very much, and so she learned to blabber to cover those cognitively challenged moments when you’re trying to remember who the hell Paul Revere is, or which document is which when it comes to the Declaration and the Constitution. In blabber veritas, so we see that Palin worries about guns and bells. Wonder what it all means!
    *****
    h/t Jonathan Bernstein:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/times-have-changed/2011/06/02/AGLm0EHH_blog.html
    On why LBJ’s bullying doesn’t work anymore, in response to a Califano op ed piece. Bernstein also comments at plainblog.
    ****
    The OTHER Bernstein, Jared, has a bunch of stuff up, including a note on the importance of infrastructure and the awful condition of American infrastructure.
    We won’t invest in ourselves publicly because: we resent any other geographic or racial or ethnic good that isn’t also our own. It’s not just that the private sector will underinvest in public goods (though that’s clearly a problem), it’s also that the costs of public sector investment are diffuse but the benefits are concentrated. There’s such deep resentment of anyone else at this point that no one wants to pay for someone else’s roads and bridges, runways and water systems.
    We’ve perhaps overbinged on pork barrel projects and so spoiled the system that we’ve done a 180 on what should be a great system for improving local services.
    There’s been so much inappropriate binging in so many sectors of the economy and society, and so much resentment has built up, and so many politicians have positioned over these issues, and so many oligarchs have popped up that I really do worry about us. There will be more suffering before people put adequate pressure on the Republicans to get with a positive program. And it helps to remember, I guess, that many Republicans actually think that disinvestment in the public sector IS a positive program…..
    I take heart in the fight over Medicare. Basic and proper self-interest has perhaps won over Republican ideology. But we need the same kind of energy for schools, transit, and utilities that we have mustered for Medicare.
    Ummm, Schools! They’re for everyone! — Of course, they’re not really. The rich pay 35 grand for private schools, the middle class pays property taxes for ‘burban schools, and the poor get what the poor always get. There’s no sense of our all being in it together. We’re actually pretty certain we don’t need the cultivated talents of others and we don’t need to help create citizens and we don’t owe education to all kids, only to our own.
    Transit! It’ll fix what (r)ails you! — ‘Cept, it won’t. The roads are elsewhere, the light rail is “urban”, and airports are generally not used daily by most people. So the benefits aren’t felt directly and universally.
    Water! You want it clean and clear! But again, water projects are local, so you don’t get the overwhelming force of practically every VOTING senior citizen’s demand for the service, a sense of having paid in already, a sense of deserving the service simply by having survived to 65 or 67 or at least to early retirement.
    There isn’t the kind of segmentation in Medicare (or SoSec) that hits all the other goods and services we should be working on collectively.
    So the admin really needs to craft a message of shared deservingness, shared need, and shared well-being if we
    BUILD AMERICA.
    And while they’re at it, they should
    BIKE AMERICA STRONG
    as bike paths and bike lanes and shelters and rest stops and little repair stations along the way would make us healthier, happier, and less fossil-fuelish. Ties into the anti-obesity thing, the fun thing, the health/cardio thing, the infrastructure and transit thing, the grand kids…. Most people have ridden a bike at some point, and those who can’t ride might still enjoy some kind of motorized scooter paths or wheel chair safe paths. Maybe we could even manufacture some nice bikes in this country?!
    Connect scenery, shopping, housing, dining all together with bike paths!

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  8. questions says:

    Light Bulbs! Democracy! Choice! Freedom! High Day! High Day! Freedom!
    “Then he switched to a compact fluorescent, and an ugly pattern of spikes appeared.

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  9. questions says:

    In which we learn why everything is a mess:
    http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/11_24/b4232015268403.htm?chan=magazine+channel_news+-+global+economics
    The headline is:
    “The U.S. Economy’s ‘You First’ Problem”
    And indeed, the “You First” problem is the central problem for getting anything done in a competitive, non-communicative, non-coercive market situation — like the one that holds within Congress as the two parties wrangle for control, and like the one the article points out regarding demand and hiring, like the one in security issues — including I/P….
    No one will be the one to go first unless there is some kind of coercion.
    And who’s going to coerce Congress to act? Who’s going to coerce pretty much anyone to take the risk, make the leap, keep the faith?
    The electorate is stuck in the sad, and sadly wrong, metaphor that the national debt is worse than default, so no pressure there.
    Until the Republicans burn out completely, so that the dems feel no competitive stresses, we’re not going to recover.
    There’s something of a tragedy in this mess. It’s pretty clear what needs to happen, but only to those outside the competitive system. Those inside are like characters in a play, scripted, and tragically heading for doom. We can’t scream out to Othello, NOOOOO, she’s innocent and you’re an idiot anymore than we can yell at Lear that Cordelia is a trueheart, anymore than we can scream at Lady Macbeth that she will really want to wash her hands one day soon and no royal title is worth it.
    So, scream as we might want to, the Republican Party will play what seems to it locally as a winning strategy, but over the long haul will be a disaster for everyone.
    Historians will note the central tragedy.
    Game theorists will write a lot of papers.
    And Republican paranoia will continue, from Ailes (who maybe really does feel the fear) through Ryan and the one-l Michele who really think they’re doing Lord/Rand’s work, to the various opportunistic types like Huntsman and Romney (who don’t believe 3/4 of what they say, but will play the game anyway.)
    Tragic. Comic. Dumb.
    ****
    In other news, the Weiner saga continues with some bizarre release of fake or genuine e-mails from one “Dan Wolfe”. Who knows…. Whenever Breitbart is involved in anything, we should know better than to believe. Really. By now?!
    Thoma, quoting someone…. “Over the past decade, real private-sector wage growth has scraped bottom at 4%, just below the 5% increase from 1929 to 1939, government data show. ”
    Thoma, quoting someone: “20 Facts About U.S. Inequality that Everyone Should Know, The Stanford Center for the Study of Poverty and Inequality:”
    DeLong’s Green Room saga continues. What a great service to the blogosphere to have fact checking with links for the entire Republican worldview. Facts don’t do a bit of good, really, because ideology and anxiety are what is at stake. Some panic about “freedom” and about helping the “undeserving” and most fundamentally about “loss” of “status” or “stuff” is what underlies all the errors of thinking DeLong finds. No fact clears away this kind of panic. But still, his series is great.
    And for all DeLong’s wishes that the Republican Party’s vanishing would do us all good, the sad fact is that the Republican Party really speaks to the fantasies of somewhere around 1/3 of us all the time, and another chunk of us pretty frequently. Until those fantasies change, the party of “OMG, INFLATION IS AROUND THE CORNER and it will TAKE AWAY MY SAVINGS” and “OMG, the undeserving” and “OMG I played by the rules” and “OMG White people are discriminated against all the time” and “OMG the GOVERNMENT is taking away my freedoms and only CORPORATIONS really care about me”……
    And the Christie flying fiasco is just hilarious. Tone deaf, ignorant, privileged, why should he miss a son’s game just because he has to work, why should he walk a hundred yards instead of being driven in a big Town Car or whatever…. Clearly the man doesn’t think in ordinary-life terms. And clearly, he can’t actually manage to walk those hundred yards. But he has health insurance! And all kinds of high speed transit. No need for rail if you got helicopter! And I’d guess that might make a nice ad campaign — “Got Helicopter?” – with a frothy milkshake mustache under his nose.
    Why does anyone who makes less than 200 grand a year ever vote for a Republican?
    Jack Kevorkian is dead.
    Jobs added: 54,000. That’s higher than they said the number would be the other day (38k), so will the market rally? Unemployment went up to 9.1%.
    The Republicans will respond by: A)banning federal funding for abortion B)cutting taxes on capital gains C)targeting another liberal MC with some semi-nude crotch shots. D)ending Medicare, Medicaid, and SoSec. These are all very sound strategies for dealing with jobs issues. And maybe, if we’re lucky, they’ll help the US Gov default on our debts! That will help!
    (Note that as the ratings agencies push at the debt ceiling, they are trying to be the coercive force that overcomes the “you first” problem.)
    And finally, Schoolfinance101 has a great piece up on charter schools, the stupid rhetoric and fake stats around charter schools and the fact that to the extent that we see “success” in charters, we are comparing different populations of students.
    “There now exists a fair amount of evidence that Charter schools in many locations, especially high performing charter schools in New Jersey and New York tend to serve much smaller shares of low income, special education and limited English proficient students (see various links that follow). And in some cases, high performing charter schools, especially charter middle schools, experience dramatic attrition between 6th and 8th grade, often the same grades over which student achievement climbs, suggesting that a

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  10. questions says:

    Well, we know that schools are underfunded all over the country! So the obvious thing to do, clearly, is to corporatize them so that much needed money-for-student-services can be skimmed off the top to feed the Very Hungry Citipillar!
    The amazingly talented Andre Agassi, a 9th grade dropout himself, is gonna fix what ails us by putting together leveraged finance packages for charter schools in parts of the country where there’s some money in the schools.
    “The fund “does need to be in areas that have higher revenues per student than California does for the most part,” said Anita Landecker, executive director of ExED, a Los Angeles nonprofit that manages charter schools and isn’t involved with the Canyon-Agassi fund. “In some markets it’s going to work really well.”

    This from the LAT.
    And from kos,there’s a piece up on breakfasts in the classroom in Chicago — seems that the feds provide something like 1.70 per meal and the city feeds them on a buck a meal and pockets the difference. Seems that the food they hand out is, ummm, not very healthy food.
    See, if you can get costs down by doing less good, you can make money!
    And let’s face it, our children are not completely commodified yet! Get with the program, people! Start selling advertising on their clothing (wait, we do that already). Ummm, we could turn them into high priced entertainment in sports! (oh, wait.) We could brain wash them into intensities of consumption and brand names so that each tweener is a profit center…. (hmmm). What’s left? I don’t even want to speculate.
    *****
    Michael Lind has a great piece up at Salon/Warroom about the possibilities with alternative energy. As in, it isn’t going to happen. He does a nice job showing what going solar really means, though I was under the impression that there were still some pretty fundamental problems with concentrating diffuse sources of energy, storing that energy, and then transmitting it. He seems to focus just on the acreage for collection of solar, and not so much on the storage and grid issues.
    The best insight in the piece is that energy shortages will be felt the way that our current money shortages are being felt — oligarchic distribution, militarized governments, and a lot of suffering for the bottom 90% or whatever.
    Worth the read.
    ****
    The economy sucks, from pretty much every angle. “Double dip” is coming back into vocab vogue.
    What is economically a good idea is politically infeasible. That this can happen shows some serious problems with political incentives in our system. I don’t know that there is a way out, as this all strikes me as part of our structure.
    And where the not-so-structural stuff comes in, in the academic writings of a generation of economists who were convinced that they knew what “freedom” meant, well, I don’t know what to say about that. It may simply be that history is something we’re stuck with, and those who fear gov’t power certainly had experiential cause to feel it.
    But at this point, we need Congress to care for and feed the economy, not the rhetoric machine.
    It’s a thought anyway.
    Bonddad has a graph of copper prices up. Copper is a good indicator of manufacturing. Somewhere out there someone did a copper use by country chart. The US uses less copper by far than it used to.
    DeLong’s Green Room series is fantastic. Commit it to memory, and then talk to people!
    Someone suggests that Obama use the recess appt power to appoint people during recess. Only works if there is a recess, and it becomes one of those escalation dominance games that seems good for now, but becomes a future liability. I’m not so sure there’s much to do til the Republicans overreach and burn out.
    They blew it on the Ryan plan, they’ll blow it in some other areas a little at a time. Kos had a piece up by a woman who needed a d&e after a partial miscarriage. She needed an experienced doctor. Congress is trying to deny any kind of funds to med schools that train docs for abortion. This is a small example of the problem, but it’s real. If no one is trained to do d&e’s, then there will be additional suffering. Some people will figure this out.
    Parts of the Republican program will burn out quickly, and parts will take time. It’s not a worldview that can function for long. Too many of us deviate from the standards. We lose faith, we don’t fit in. Anomalies pop up. The rules don’t work. We’ll start to see that. And we’ll chafe. And the 1960s will return (the part that wanted free love, at any rate.)
    The Anthony Weiner saga continues. (Why he doesn’t pronounce it correctly is beyond me — Winer or Viner….But I suppose it’s just one of those things…. SNL did a whole skit on a guy named “Bob Bagina” — kind of funny, years ago.)

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  11. questions says:

    Jobs numbers very bad. Chez DeLong, Robert Lucas seems to be unpopular as reality is grasped with both hands. I think we need more than two hands. More than one octopus. I think we need a million man grab of reality.
    And there is Jared Bernstein with the coulda/shoulda/woulda stuff.
    You know, it’s really the Republican Party, the Tea Party faction, the rhetorical pressure they are putting on the world.
    You know, it’s really the press that is doing a terrible job covering the economy.
    You know, it’s really our metaphors and our loathing or fear of debt.
    You know, it’s really underlying racism.
    You know, it’s really fear. People are terribly afraid of loss, and any gain they might get from a different tax system would be less enjoyed than any loss they might feel from a different tax system.
    You know, it’s the schools. We don’t teach well. We panic over our kids’ education which makes housing become something of an escalation dominance game, or some kind of shortage/allocation panic game or some horrible conflation of the two — scarcity mandates ever more flashy shows of overprivilege as some talismanic effect.
    You know, it’s policy entrepreneurs putting their own careers ahead of what all economists already know about macro.
    You know, it’s the economists — that Lucas can even show his face….
    You know, it’s overdetermined.

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  12. questions says:

    Thoma asks for more multi-family units to be built, suggests that rising rents will encourage this building, and thinks it’s all to the good.
    Zoning laws, anyone?
    Tony suburbs with good schools zone density. Ain’t no multi-family dwellings gonna go up til the local governments change their zoning requirements. And no local gov’ts are going to do this until their whole self-image changes.
    Besides, multi-family units bring with them KIDS. Kids need services like schools. Schools raise taxes. Kids whose parents can only afford attached housing are possibly a little more likely to need expensive services from the schools. And it doesn’t even matter if this is true or not, it only matters that the denizens of tony suburbs will think this way.
    Another possibility is for banks, that are sitting on vast numbers of foreclosed and empty houses, to be encouraged to turn those very houses into rental properties. I would guess that some kind of tax law could be set up to make this a viable plan, and then we just need some property manager companies to spring up to deal with all the landlord issues.
    Contracts can be structured to help renters become purchasers one day, empty housing could be filled, and money could once again flow.
    I don’t know that very many places want large numbers of renters in previously owner-occupied housing, and I don’t know if there are local ordinances that bar the conversion to rental properties, and I don’t know what scale of operations for property management might be necessary given the spread out nature of single family homes that have been vacated. But it seems that non-performing property could be converted, and someone might make some money.
    As for building new multi-family structures — probably only in cities and first ring, old suburbs where there likely isn’t even any land left to build on. So probably only in cities where the schools suck and only the most desperate really want to go.
    Schools. Big issues.

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  13. Richard says:

    Although the War Powers Act has forced US Presidents to consult with, and report to, Congress when U. S. armed forces are used in combat situations it has never significantly limited the President’s practical power to commit the United States to use military force. Furthermore, Congress likes the loose language in the Act because it allows them to punt. They do not need to declare war

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  14. questions says:

    Fascinating — the payoffs to people in towns for accepting nuke plants….
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/31/world/asia/31japan.html?hp
    What a sad, sorry, and typical story. The pay offs to rural townspeople to accept the plants, the building of massive public works/toys (gyms, pools, tracks), the infusion of money…all so that aging, depopulating towns will accept nuclear power plants — truly sad. Individually good, collectively awful, and let’s face it, would you sell off a chunk of land to a nuke plant so you could have a gym nearby, a local economy, and some extra money?
    Wait, don’t we all sell all sorts of things just to have a gym nearby, a local economy and some pocket money? Isn’t that what an economy is, in the end?

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  15. questions says:

    To the best of my limited knowledge, renewables simply can’t provide sufficient energy for our needs.
    If you toss climate change in with the fossil fuels, the costs are enormous.
    How do you price the change in climate zones that will affect growing seasons, add to desertification, cause massive dislocations of low lying people, increase the severity of storms and storm damage….
    How do you price coal mining damage?
    There are some spent fuel storage possibilities that, to the best of my limited knowledge, are possible within the world of physics and impossible within the world of politics.
    Nevada, salt, Harry Reid. Reid wins, as he must. We live in a political world rife with individualized game theoretic situations that make us do what is individually to local advantage and globally a disaster of epic proportions.
    This is not going to change. We won’t have the kind of economic support we need (read the collective tones in the last day or so from Krugman, DeLong, and even Jared Bernstein who was an admin insider (Biden’s chief economic adviser) — Bernstein totally gets the political side of things, but he’s not really happy about how it’s played out. He lays the Tea Party ascendance to the small amount of help offered to underwater homeowners. He’s probably 3/4 right or so. (There’s more going on with the Tea Partiers than simply mortgage assistance, but that was certainly a focusing event.)
    Our energy needs are massive, our energy use is the source of our wealth, and our energy use will be the end of us all.
    It’s not enough to say nukes are bad. They are, especially with the kinds of political and profit-making issues humans seem to have, the future discount issues, the problems with risk analysis and every game theory situation ever contrived. Fact is, fossil fuels are bad, cutting back on energy use is bad, it’s all bad. There isn’t a good answer, actually.
    We’ll end up with some mix of some nukes, some fossil fuel, some conservation, some alternatives, and some climate change, some cancer, and some lung problems. Not so far from where we are right now, come to think of it.
    The interesting thing about Fukushima is that it really shows how, once you’re no longer really externalizing the costs of energy, energy is really nasty stuff. In the US we externalize to the future, to West Virginia, to the Gulf of Mexico, to asthma patients, and we don’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about how every refrigerator, every 100 watt incandescent light bulb, every SUV or truck or unnecessary car trip, every manufactured item, is replete with externalized energy costs paid by “someone else”.
    Fukushima brings those “someone elses” into focus.

    Reply

  16. JohnH says:

    Reportedly heard in Tahrir Square. An Israeli tourist arrives at the border of a “moderate” Arab country.
    The border agent checks his passport and asks: “Name?”
    The man : “David Levi.”
    Le agent : “Age ?”
    David : “38.”
    The agent : “Occupation?”
    David quickly responds: “No, no. Vacation.”

    Reply

  17. erichwwk says:

    Why wait for the French to “save” Libya(‘s oil)?
    Pepe Escobar’s take:
    “…when the goin’ gets tough, who you’re gonna call? Definitely Xe Services’ “innovative solutions”, brought to you by Sheikh Zayed. No wonder the GCC club is the talk of the (counter-revolutionary) town. ”
    “all those Libyan “oil facilities” must be in the safe hands of US and EU multinationals (and not Russian, Indian and Chinese). Still, Gaddafi’s inner circle must be “neutralized”. And still Libya must be kept subdued, according to the age-old imperial tenets of divide and rule. ”
    http://atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/ME28Ak01.html

    Reply

  18. questions says:

    So nice you were thinking of me!
    Germany, according to FT.Com, is phasing out nuclear power over the next decade. 1/4 of its generation fuel.
    I would guess there will be many more similar decisions, and who knows if it’ll work, make greenhouse issues worse, push people to conserve in pretty amazing ways, or create light bulb rebellions all around the world as Michele Bachmann storms the universe, not in a Palin bus, but in some kind of Hummer thing just to prove she can do it.
    *****
    The Weiner saga continues with charges and counter charges and a huge debate about the legitimacy of the image, the hacking into accounts, and the general foolishness of many in the electronic era…..
    ****
    And TPM has Romney defending the honor of his MA health care choice. Moderation will play, he’s betting. Or some notion of states’ rights? Or the fact that the bulk of the planet would like simply to be able to go to a doctor, get treatments as needed, and still have money for food.
    Will rationality trump fantasy/anxiety?
    *****
    NYT — Detroit and small cars, Saudi women and driving.
    And DeLong should assign Manias, Panics, and Crashes, John Cassidy, Broke USA, something that covers congressional policymaking,and maybe for good measure Portfolios of the Poor: How the World’s Poor Live on $2 a day, Collins et al, along with Treasure Islands.
    There’s much that is interconnected in the lives of the poor in the US, on the planet, as compared to the real estate market (something on incentives in real estate and securitization would be good. Cassidy covers a bunch of this), and the lives of the fabulously wealthy who move money the way the rest of us move dust bunnies.
    The comfort at the top, the excesses of helicopter travel and cocaine-fueled trading coupled with 2 bucks a day on average — not a bad contrast.
    And add in something that deals with municipal fund managers and the losses at the Hahvahd Corporation….
    There’s probably fun stuff in all of this that will make 10-14 weeks go by quickly even for frosh. And best of all, NO MATH!
    ***
    And no, policymakers can’t pay attention to the slowdown in the economy until the Republican Party cooperates. Game theory. No one can be the first to make a move unless voters are already there. Voters aren’t there on “big government” so, no, policymakers are as stuck as the clappers at the abovementioned confab.

    Reply

  19. questions says:

    Andrew Breitbart, NYT, Twitter, meet your match:
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/05/30/980495/-In-Which-Breitbart-Breitbarts-Breitbart?via=siderec
    I can’t say as I understand entirely the techno aspects of this whole thing, but the basic narrative is that a Breitbart-inspired scam-dle against Anthony Weiner seems to have failed, and the NYT as usual seems to have bought into the whole thing.
    And one day, I expect DeLong will call our for a better press corps again.
    But we have the better press corps in the form of kos diarists who hit the mark often enough that one ought always to run through some number of diaries in the day. There will be dross, but there will be enough gold to make it worth the dig.
    The people at kos have such a wide range of expertise, energy for the dogged pursuit of the truth, concern for humans and community and one another and struggle, and they support each other even if they also throw pies pretty frequently.
    So they know how to chop up photoshops, they can find metadata, they can smell a Breitbart a mile away.
    Unlike the NYT. Which seems professionally to be devoted to accepting narratives from the Breitbart himself.

    Reply

  20. rc says:

    The question is: Can US Helicopters Stop Killing Women and Children in Afghanistan?”
    14 more dead it seems.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/afghanistan/8544969/Nato-air-strike-kills-14-Afghan-women-and-children.html
    Let’s cut the crap — it is not “Nato lead” … it is the US! And they weren’t even out collecting fire wood!
    Well Obama has the blood of enough innocents on his hands now to be well and truly in the criminal league.
    I heard that they have taken the dead mutilated bodies of the children to the house of the local governor and Hamid Karzai to issue “a final warning” to the US/Nato.
    Perhaps it is about time the whole UN stood up and placed sanctions on the US for this barbaric behavior.

    Reply

  21. questions says:

    Just googled up some data on costs of various kinds of electricity generation, and all I can say from what I’ve glanced at is that it is simply not that easy a question to answer.
    Some of the factors to be dealt with are:
    Existing grid structure for alternatives
    Cost of fuel
    Cost of pollution controls
    Access to fuel
    Life span of plant
    Efficiency of energy extraction
    I’m sure there’s a lot more going on that I haven’t picked up.
    Nuclear seems to be cheaper than cleaner fossil fuel plants. But dirty fossil fuel plants in regions where there’s a plentiful supply of fossil fuels are pretty cheap in comparison.
    All energy generation seems to be dependent on externalizing a whole bunch of costs onto the population at large.
    Energy is a problem. And the externalization of costs makes it very hard for us to see what we’re really doing.
    If you google “relative energy prices” or “costs of electricity generation” you’ll find all sorts of links to articles with charts comparing prices and with some explanations of the factors that go in to assessing relative costs.

    Reply

  22. questions says:

    Think of the standing OVATIONS as each one a mini game theory/positioning game. It’s kind of funny and a little sad at that level.
    No one will be the first to stay seated, everyone is nervously looking at everyone else to see. And since you can’t ever “risk” being the last one to stand, you’re always the first. Multiply that by everyone in attendance. Oh my. And so unnecessary as, if you’re a popular enough MC in your district, you’re not goin’ anywhere over the relative muscle in your claps or the speed with which you stand and hoot and holler and whistle. It’s a funny thing.
    Game it out. It’s not POWER. It’s a version of escalation dominance or the prisoner’s dilemma or somesuch. I get the feeling that at some level, all these games are the same.
    ******
    “Meltdown” isn’t the issue. Breech of containment, which looks to have happened from the earthquake, not the tsunami, is. It looks very much like overly rigid connections may well have come unconnected in the earthquake, and fuel may well be either in or headed in to the environment. It doesn’t look very good, but we still don’t really know how close to the very worst case scenario we will get. The worst case scenario isn’t the end of humanity, but it is a very large no-go zone, more cases of cancer and thyroid problems, and huge economic problems that could plague Japan for a long time. The loss is massive no matter what happens at this point. But if Japan had never had cheap energy, well, what then. The policy solutions here are not at all simple. Wealth is complicated stuff.
    And without cheap energy, there isn’t a whole lot of wealth.
    That may be our biggest human problem.

    Reply

  23. DonS says:

    Re the 26, was it, standing ovations for Bibi before the USA (of Israel?) Congress; each one of those was simultaneously a slap in the face of Obama, or at least of the media-characterized “radical” supposed Obama position; and a big wet kiss for the Likud, and the AIPAC-generated dollars.
    Something is seriously wrong when the lines are so blurred that the head of a foreign nation get’s more encouragement than the president.
    How much of that is because Obama is just a black interloper, and how much because Bibi pushes all the right wing buttons in this right wing genuflecting nation? I don’t care very much for Barry. But I care a lot for the submission of the US Congress to a foreign power.

    Reply

  24. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Speaking about radiation, anyone still following the catastrophe unfolding in Japan?
    Ends up that we have been lied to from the onset of this thing. Despite KNOWING that meldowns were occurring, hours after the quake, our government agencies here, and the Japanese, actively lied to us, denying knowledge of meltdowns.
    Just yesterday, the cooling system on reactor #5 failed, requiring emergency measures to maintain the colling on the reactor. Three reactors are currently in a state of meltdown, and reactor number four is leaning precariously, threatening to dump its spent fuel pool should the looming tropical storm further erode its structural integrity.
    Greenpeace, conducting tests and experiments on the seafloor, seaweed beds, aquatic life around Fukushima prefecture are finding levels of contamination far higher than claimed by the Japanese government and TEPCO. Greenpeace has had to send samples to France and elsewhere, because Japanese labs refuse to do the testing.
    And now TEPCO is saying that it may be impossible to stabilize the reactors by the end of the year. No suprise there, eh?
    Like believing the KNOWN LIARS AND SCUMBAGS in DC, when they heap lie upon lie upon the deception known as “the global war on terrorism”, Israel’s “ally” status, and this bullshit about “spreading democracy”,m believing any component of the “official story” about what is unfolding in Japan is sheer idiocy.
    Apparently, our media is taking the same route in regards to Fukushima that Clemons is taking in regards to Isr/Pal. Speak no evil, and perhaps the lowly peons out in Realville will be too distracted by the failing economy, (and fluffy little say nothing essays about French helicopters and “saving” Libya), to pay attention to epic events, both in Japan and Israel, that REALLY DO have serious ramifications for our future.
    Well, at least “questions” is no longer regaling us with tales of AIPAC impotency and irrelevence, eh? And even he cannot seem to confuse and obsfucate the seriousness of what is occuring in Japan. Seems “questions” is about to “get it”. And Steve, unfortunatley, seems to be headed in the opposite direction.
    What do you think? Is ignoring Japan’s unfolding disaster going to make it disappear???
    What about the death of the two state solution? If we simply refuse to acknowledge it, will we be able to ignore the fact that Steve’s Washington DC heroes and compatriots are the ones that drove a stake through it?
    Sssssshhhhhhh. Don’t tell anyone. Lets all pretend we’re saving Libya.

    Reply

  25. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “No damn wonder after billions of $$$ they cant prevent the underwear bomber from getting on a plane even after his dad turns him in”
    Oh, its worse than that. Look into the EPA’s radiation monitoring system, exposed as useless by the Fukushima global disaster.
    After ten years of them using the spectre of a “dirty bomb” as one of their excuses for this massive con-job known as the GWOT, we find the maggots haven’t actually done anything to prepare for the effects of such a weapon, even something as simple as having an effective system in place to measure and track the contamination.
    I’m at a loss to imagine what the last ten years of military adventure has produced for us “regular folks” out here in Realville. Certainly, “security” has not made the list of gains or rewards. “Prosperity” obviously doesn’t get a checkmark. “Freedom”??? Well, only if you consider the evolution of a police state a harbinger of future freedoms.
    How nice that we have a holiday devoted to the celebration of our armed service members, whose lives have been FLUSHED by a bunch of elitist scumbags who posture before us as leaders, when there’s not a damned one of them I’d want as a neighbor, much less as someone making the decision to sent our sons and daughters to war.
    How does one remain “civil” when discussing such criminal scum, and the profoundly negative effect they have on our daily lives, and the future of our homeland? There is no verbal “vulgarity” that approaches the level of obscenity that their very governance has become. How does one find the room for the disgust that prompts one to complain to Steve about trivial verbiage and delivery, when any reasonably sane and moral person should be filled to the brim, overflowing, with disgust for what our leaders do, and what they’ve become.

    Reply

  26. Tank Man says:

    Money and time well spent? No damn wonder after billions
    of $$$ they cant prevent the underwear bomber from getting
    on a plane even after his dad turns him in. Too busy spying
    on Americans exercising their First Amendment rights. Wake
    Up Sheeple!
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/29/us/29surveillance.html?
    _r=1&hp

    Reply

  27. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said……blahblahblah……..”
    Comical. How many times did the story about this “raid” change???
    “Its official”, nowadays, is an announcement that aids us in recognizing that there’s an incoming bullshit missile.
    What is really remarkable, is that these dirtbags in DC get caught lying, and they don’t even break stride in their jog to feed us the next official incredible dingleberry of misinformation.
    What kind of idiot observes an “official story” become exposed as a complete and utter fabrication, then turns around and swallows the next “official” version?
    Well, it seems a huge segment of our population seems to do just that.
    Too bad Trump and Huckabee dropped out. We deserve ’em.
    Egads.

    Reply

  28. rc says:

    It’s official — no evidence!
    “US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said there is no evidence senior people in Pakistan knew that Osama Bin Laden lived so close to Islamabad. . . .
    Mrs Clinton said that the US had “absolutely no evidence that anyone at the highest level of the Pakistani government” knew where Bin Laden was and said she would return to Washington “ever more committed” to the relationship.”
    Does not say anything about “knowing” — just about “evidence”.
    All a bit like the 9/11 & Osama bin Laden connection before the event it seems.
    So who were the ‘non-senior’ people who knew and what are the consequences?
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-13570803

    Reply

  29. DakotabornKansan says:

    There is no war in Libya; but there is a war on whistleblowers – Tom Tomorrow on Obama and Frogs in Pots
    http://www.credoaction.com/comics/2011/05/the-slow-boil/
    Still a useful metaphor for the very real threat to our democracy.
    Glenn Greenwald writes about Sen. Benjamin Cardin of Maryland, who is on a

    Reply

  30. DakotabornKansan says:
  31. erichwwk says:

    Apropos “law” in America these days:
    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”
    “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
    “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master — that’s all.”

    Reply

  32. Don Bacon says:

    The capacity of the president to put the nation at war is illustrated by the actions of President James K. Polk in 1846, when he ordered Gen. Zachary Taylor to occupy disputed territory on the Texas-Mexico border. The order provoked a clash between American and Mexican soldiers, prompting Polk to tell Congress a few weeks later that war exists.”
    The year was 1848. The United States was emerging victorious in the Mexican-American War. And a lot of people were angry with President Polk as they believed he fabricated the pretext for war in the first place.
    By moving Zachary Taylor and an army into the disputed territory, Polk openly provoked a war with Mexico. As a result, in 1848 the House of Representatives voted to censure the President for his actions. Most notably, Abraham Lincoln (who himself used force without Congressional approval during his Presidency) was one of the leaders in the House to get the censure passed.
    The words from the House of Representatives were harsh. They stated, that the war was “unnecessarily and unconstitutionally begun by the President of the United States.” And with that, the vote was to officially censure President Polk.
    Abraham Lincoln later wrote in a letter:
    “Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose, and you allow him to make war at pleasure. . . The provision of the Constitution giving the war making power to Congress was dictated, as I understand it, by the following reasons: kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object. This our convention understood to be the most oppressive of all kingly oppressions, and they resolved to so frame the Constitution that no one man should hold the power of bringing this oppression upon us.” — Rep. Abraham Lincoln, 1848
    http://www.american-presidents.org/2006/05/censuring-james-polk.html

    Reply

  33. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Yaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwnnnnnnnnnn. Libya??? Just another clusterfuck, that you and I get to pay for.
    “Days not weeks”. (Do these maggots ever tell the truth?)
    How ’bout that Sadr in Iraq, eh???
    Success of the surge? Horseshit.
    They’re biding their time until we leave. And why not? We keep writing checks. Odds are, when we leave they’ll get back to business, hating us, killing us, killing each other, and selling us their oil.
    Pfffft. There goes a trillion or two. Straight down the crapper. Look around. What did YOU get out of it? After all, you paid for it.

    Reply

  34. rc says:

    The whole world must be laughing their heads off at this Israeli foreign policy coup!
    “Wilkerson on Congressional Reaction to Netanyahu”
    http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=6830
    26 standing ovations? … What a joke!

    Reply

  35. DakotabornKansan says:

    Politicians ignored what military and intelligence analysts foresaw. The bombing strategy of NATO was flawed from the start. NATO is now flying by the seat of its pants with the introduction of French and British attack helicopters, which raises the risk of them being shot down. NATO is running out of options with these escalations. Barring an unexpected success in removing Gaddafi and his forces, this may well be a prelude to a NATO ground war. Short-term kinetic

    Reply

  36. brigid says:

    correction: The UK has NOW authorized…… my apologies.

    Reply

  37. brigid says:

    update: The UK has no authorized use of Apache helicopters against Qaddafi.

    Reply

  38. brigid says:

    Obama is not in a tight spot. He is not asking for Congressional authorization and it’s not going to be demanded of him. And how many in Congress want to step up to rescue Qaddafi?? As of today Russia has said Qaddafi must leave,and have sent an envoy to tell him so, and recognized the NTC. Russia and Turkey have now flipped. The center of gravity in Libya is no in Benghazi. Qaddafi is toast and will be gone shortly, either by death or exile with another admiring dictator, like Chavez or Ortega, or Mugabe. And given the chance he will be in the dock with his son, Saif, in The Hague, along with the other dictators and mass murderers who have plagued our world recently.

    Reply

  39. Don Bacon says:

    The U.S. spends money and is the world’s largest debtor while China makes money and has the world’s largest account balance.
    U.S. Africa Command, America’s newest combatant command, has 13 major joint exercises planned for 2011. A long-term goal of U.S. Africa Command is to leverage existing bilateral and regional exercises in support of regional and continental security goals shared by the United States, the African Union, African nations and regional organizations.
    Meanwhile China is making massive financial and commercial investments in Africa. Trade surpassed $120 billion last year. In the past two years China has given more loans to poor countries, mainly in Africa, than the World Bank. Chinese companies are signing infrastructure deals worth more than $50 billion a year. For investment in African farming, China has earmarked $5 billion. Sanou Mbaye, a former senior official at the African Development Bank, says more Chinese have come to Africa in the past ten years than Europeans in the past 400.
    The western aggression against Libya has forced China out of that country, that’s one ‘benefit.’

    Reply

  40. JohnH says:

    “What

    Reply

  41. DakotabornKansan says:

    Britain, on the other hand, seems to still be on the fence.
    Libya conflict could cost UK taxpayers one billion pounds (roughly two billion dollars) over six months as Gaddafi clings on and cost of involvement soars.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/22/libya-britain-billion-pound-war
    Also, David Cameron spent 680,000 pounds (roughly one million dollars) renovating Downing Street – including 30,000 pounds (roughly 50,000 dollars) for a revamp of his kitchen.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/may/27/david-cameron-taxpayers-home-improvements
    All the above in the year that Cameron

    Reply

  42. Don Bacon says:

    The Transitional National Council released a statement announcing the decision made at a March 19 meeting to establish the

    Reply

  43. JohnH says:

    Don Bacon–The human rights of Libyans became important only after Libya became a key investor in the African Monetary Fund which would have supplanted the IMF.
    “The US$30 billion frozen by Mr Obama belong to the Libyan Central Bank and had been earmarked as the Libyan contribution to three key projects which would add the finishing touches to the African federation

    Reply

  44. DakotabornKansan says:

    Contrast of “Looking Forward, not Backward

    Reply

  45. DakotabornKansan says:
  46. ... says:

    johnh- 10:32am – the sad thing about that is those signing the bills authorizing war won’t suffer the same fate…politicians will definitely be walking away with a golden retirement unlike those they represent…

    Reply

  47. Don Bacon says:

    Here’s Obama this week:

    Reply

  48. DakotabornKansan says:

    What’s the goal? What is meant by “save Libya?” Do we save Libya by bombing the hell out of it?
    Just like that village in Vietnam, when our troops burned and destroyed it in order to save it.

    Reply

  49. JohnH says:

    As Bacon says, “the basic problem with Libya is: What’s the goal?” Ditto for Iraq and Afghanistan.
    The answer, of course, is controls of Libyan resources. But the political elite will only tout implausible, humanitarian reasons, because it doesn’t want the American people to think that its all about selfish interests. And most of the American people are more than happy to believe them, not realizing that eventually these wars will be paid for by money that was supposed to go to Social Security beneficiaries.

    Reply

  50. JohnH says:

    This week Rep. Jan Schakowsky offered an amendment that would have frozen Pentagon spending at current levels until the Pentagon could successfully pass an audit. Failed by voice vote.
    Rep. Lynn Woolsey tried to cut $2.6 billion for buying V-22 Osprey aircraft, an aircraft Timemagazine called “a flying shame” and noted was so bad that even Dick Cheney wanted to cancel it.Failed, 83-334.
    Congress could care less about how the “defense” department spends the money it “borrows” from the Social Security Trust Fund.
    But why should Congressmen vote in the interest of sound fiscal policy or in the well being of the American people? Their financial well being is assured by corporate America once they are voted out of office. Lucrative “jobs” wait for all each and everyone who plays the game.

    Reply

  51. Don Bacon says:

    The basic problem with Libya is: What’s the goal?
    First it was a responsibility to protect Libyans by imposing a no-fly zone for Libyan aircraft. Other Arab countries endorsed that objective, but made it clear that they didn’t favor additional warfare.
    Now two months later NATO has launched more than 8000 sorties and is now bombing Libya’s capital Tripoli on a daily basis. The U.S. is deeply involved — for what purpose?
    The No Fly Zone attacks failed. People don’t generally live in the air, they prefer the ground.

    Reply

  52. JohnH says:

    What Obama should really ask for: budget authority to bomb Libya. Then we could all see what happened to the $30 Billion “savings” that Boehner Obama took out of domestic spending a couple months ago.
    Republicans’ anti-deficit campaign is nothing more than a charade designed to cut funding for those suffering at home in order to inflict suffering by bombing abroad.
    Mark Twain once described members of Congress as having “the smallest minds and the selfishest souls and the cowardliest hearts that God makes.” (heads up to Stephen Walt for the quote.}

    Reply

  53. Don Bacon says:

    Ricard Shepard, you need to do some learning before you make baseless charges. The War Powers Act doesn’t cover Libya, and Americans can’t constitutionally go to war simply because France and the UK (and the U.S.) say so.
    The War Powers Act is found as 50 USC S.1541-1548, passed in 1973 over the veto of President Nixon.
    The particularly relevant portion is S.1541(c), which reads:
    (c) Presidential Executive Power as Commander-in-Chief; Limitation The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to (1) a declaration of war, (2) specific statutory authorization, or (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.

    Reply

  54. Richard Shepard says:

    Why should Obama be characterized as being in a “tight spot”. First, I think he should seek Congressional approval whether Congress wants to vote on it or not. The entire process of a declaration of war went out the window beginning with Korea and culminating with Vietnam. Since World War II the US has declared war precisely zero times. One advantage to a declaration by Congress through a vote is that it puts everyone on the line – something they all hate – so that they cannot parse their words later. Each constituent would know where their representative stands and can’t whine later. It is a step back democracy and a small retreat from the plutocracy that the US has fallen into.
    Second, airpower does not win wars. Boots win wars. Always. The Libyan freedom fighters (a term, I believe first used by al Jazeera) need to take and hold ground.
    Finally, Mr Bacon should refrain from commenting on areas which he demonstrably knows nothing about. That includes the War Powers Act, why and how the US can go to war and, most importantly, the provisions of the UNSC resolution authorizing the no-fly zone. He should also know that the amount of oil imported by the US from Libya is microscopic. The vast majority goes to Europe.

    Reply

  55. Don Bacon says:

    The War Powers Act does not cover elective war.
    Does_Not_Cover_Elective_War.
    The U.S. is supposed to go to war only when it is attacked.
    Did Libya attack the U.S.?
    Libya was an ally of the U.S. and did not attack us.
    The U.S. is now giving bombs to NATO to drop on Tripoli.
    This is a No Fly Zone?
    Hosepucky.
    Libya has the largest oil reserves in Africa.
    ‘Nuff said. It’s our oil under their sand.
    So it’s time “to increase the pace of operations in Libya.”
    Translation: Let’s bomb Tripoli back to the Stone Age.
    Meanwhile we’ll all feel sorry for the tight spot Obama is in.
    Poor Barry.

    Reply

  56. Tank Man says:

    Sad, sad day when I have to praise the likes of Rand Paul
    because my elected officials, party leaders and the fraud I
    helped put in the WH continue to shred the Constitution with
    Patriot Act and illegal wars. Take a look at this exchange
    between Harry and Rand and tell me who the “junior”
    member is.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?
    v=q4imruU6Zas&feature=channel_video_title

    Reply

  57. PissedOffAmerican says:

    The wording utilized by D’Amato in this essay bugs the hell out of me.
    “Even with the deployment of attack helicopters, Obama is in a tight spot. He now needs congressional approval to continue to use military force in Libya”
    Oh damn, a “tight spot” is the need to seek congressional approval to put our military in harms way???
    Once upon a time, seeking “congressional approval” was a way of seeking the people’s will. But now, of course, the sham of “representative” government has long since been dead and buried.
    Now, we have the think tank genuises telling us that the need to seek such approval amounts to a presidential discomfort, an inconvenience. This “tight spot”, if too inconvenient, will simply be sidestepped, with some sort of procedural mumbo jumbo bullshit used as an excuse.
    As if our President is held accountable to the law. Is there anyone still buying that load of crap????

    Reply

  58. DonS says:

    Looking ‘forward not backwards’ in Lybia misses the point, as usual, with regard to the insanity called American foreign policy. The incredibly stupid decision to intervene in Lybia (days, not weeks or months, remember), for which Obama may or may not pay a political price, is too easily erased in the mists of time. The larger questions of when this nation will conceive of a different trajectory than militarism disguised as spreading the gospel of democracy to the heathens, rushing in with ‘humanitarian’ intent, are not even raised.
    Words of sanity about the out of control ways of our government are valued lower than a warm bucket of spit.
    Massaging ideas about the way forward distracts from the really moral concerns, IMO, of why and how we got here. This runaway militaristic government deserves no respect. Sadly, that doesn’t seem to matter in the government game,or the political game. It seems like we’ve stopped asking the hard questions, and simply adjust to the runaway corporatist-militarist state’s self-justifying output.

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  59. paul lukasiak says:

    regardless of the wisdom of using US military force in Libya, I can’t help thinking that this “limited use of force” is the worst of all worlds. It seems to me that it merely extends the killing, rather than helping to put an (eventual) end to it.

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  60. Tank Man says:

    “NATO officials assert that the strikes are reducing the
    regime’s ability to employ, command, and sustain its combat

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  61. JohnH says:

    “Obama is in a tight spot. He now needs congressional approval…” Don’t bet on it!
    Congress is intensely supportive of military action, and they don’t seem to be particularly picky about what kind it is. Pretty much any military action will do.
    Democrats are unlikely to defy their President. Republicans are more concerned about gutting Seniors’ health care than with assuming their Constitutional responsibilities.
    And so, we end up with the worst of both worlds — an out-of-control President and his outrageously expensive military enabled by an irresponsible Congress intent on eliminating Americans’ basic Constitutional rights and shredding their social safety net.

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