MSNBC’s Hardball: Talking Through Libya with Chuck Todd & Bob Baer

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The CIA is assessing the composition and capabilities of the Libyan opposition. This could be smart in terms of giving us benchmarks that we don’t have about potential partners — but it also could significantly deepen American involvement in Libya’s civil war and a potential new quagmire.
I thought that this discussion with former CIA field operative Bob Baer and MSNBC’s Chuck Todd was useful.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

64 comments on “MSNBC’s Hardball: Talking Through Libya with Chuck Todd & Bob Baer

  1. Beri Ultimate says:

    But he is gonna give a tough fight to the NATO forces.

    Reply

  2. Nitro Muscle Mass says:

    Sooner or later, he will have to quit Libya. So it is better for him to step down.

    Reply

  3. Cee says:

    Don and rc,
    I was glad to be able to purchase this book recently. It was shipped from the UK.
    Re: the downing of the plane, think of a Turkish saying ” I’ll burn a blanket to kill a flea.”
    McKee and Gannon were the fleas. Reminds me of all of the people who died on the plane carrying the wife of E. Howard Hunt in Chicago.

    Reply

  4. rc says:

    The FireDogLake link was interesting.
    Lindauer claims this book is correct and was also ‘banned’ in the U.S.
    http://www.amazon.com/Trail-Octopus-Donald-Goddard/dp/074751562X
    This amazon.com search link should take you there for some browsing.
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1439237808/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=1278548962&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=074751562X&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=10BDTDTYA0QVXQ5G3JV2#reader_1439237808
    Is this correct?

    Reply

  5. Don Bacon says:

    on the Lockerbie bombing
    By Susan Lindauer, former U.S. Asset who covered Libya at the United Nations from 1995 to 2003
    About July [2010], I started hearing that Gadhaffi was exerting heavy pressure on U.S. and British oil companies to cough up special fees and kick backs to cover the costs of Libya

    Reply

  6. Don Bacon says:

    Exposed: The US-Saudi Libya deal
    By Pepe Escobar
    Apr 1, 2011
    You invade Bahrain. We take out Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. This, in short, is the essence of a deal struck between the Barack Obama administration and the House of Saud. Two diplomatic sources at the United Nations independently confirmed that Washington, via Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, gave the go-ahead for Saudi Arabia to invade Bahrain and crush the pro-democracy movement in their neighbor in exchange for a “yes” vote by the Arab League for a no-fly zone over Libya – the main rationale that led to United Nations Security Council resolution 1973.
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MD02Ak01.html

    Reply

  7. Paul Norheim says:

    Correction: Tunisian vegetable vendor.

    Reply

  8. Paul Norheim says:

    “Ten people have been killed in the Afghan city of Kandahar during a demonstration against the
    burning of a Koran in the US, officials say.
    Hundreds of people took part in the protest. Gunfire was heard and cars were set on fire.
    On Friday, seven UN workers were killed after a protest over the same issue in in the northern city
    of Mazar-e Sharif.” (BBC)
    So — what if the burning of the Koran in Florida on Mars 20th will have the same impact on
    Afghanistan and Pakistan as the Tunisian vegetable who set himself on fire had on the Middle East?
    We certainly live in interesting times.

    Reply

  9. JohnH says:

    “The story of overflowing Western benevolence can be tracked back further than the war on Afghanistan. King Leopold, in the words of Mark Twain, went

    Reply

  10. questions says:

    Ok, first the good news:
    “Among the latest ideas, officials said, are pumping nitrogen into reactors Nos. 1 and 3 to try to avoid explosions of hydrogen gas that is building up and using an artificial floating island to store contaminated water that has pooled inside the facility.”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/japanese-prime-minister-attention-now-shifts-to-post-earthquake-reconstruction/2011/04/01/AFor0UGC_story.html?hpid=z1
    LOVE that island idea! Cuz what could possibly happen to an artificial island with a large pond of radioactive water on it in a sea where large tsunamis are 100 or 1000 year events, and one just happened which means definitionally, it’s at least 99 years and 345 days to the next tsunami?!!!
    I cannot believe I read that one.
    And the nitrogen I think takes the place of oxygen and doesn’t react with hydrogen and so there won’t be explosions. But that would mean that they don’t have the venting issue under control. But I could be wrong about this stuff.
    Apparently, I was wrong about cesium and bioaccumulation — it does bioaccumulate….. Every time I read something, 2 days later there’s a correction…..
    And the really bad news is that they have found an 8 cm. long crack in a concrete liner of some ditch or trench or basement somewhere around #2 and it’s a-leakin’ highly radioactive water to the sea, to the sea. It’s leakin’ radioactive water to the sea. (We need a musical mode for the tragedy of Fukushima.)
    So, the proverbial finger in the dike will be some concrete patching material.
    Water is pretty wily stuff, though. I’m sure it shall be released.
    ******
    And this is just interesting on its own:
    “Vetter

    Reply

  11. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Damn, it was all a big “April fools” thing????
    Hell, I was gonna divvy up, its worth 60 bucks a month to be able to tell a bunch of people to fuck off without worrying about getting smacked in the mouth.

    Reply

  12. JohnH says:

    In the new Three Musketeers spirit–all for one and one for all–Sarkozy had to be rewarded for being the US’latest European lap dog. After France participated in Gulf War I, they got screwed out of deals in Kuwait. So France refused to go along with Gulf War II. In Libya, France was also shut out of oil deals. But by leading the charge against Qadhafi, France can now expect to play a major role in Libyan oil (and water) production. It was the least the US could do for its latest lap dog.
    While there are plenty of spoils to go around, it gets a bit tricky for the US to keep all its junior partners happy. As a result, US oil companies can no longer expect guaranteed access to the spoils, since they must no be spread around to Britain, France, China and Russia–all in the interests of imperial harmony.
    Nonetheless the US military must be allowed to provide its “protection services” unimpeded, which isn’t too bad a deal for junior partners like France. After all, they don’t pay anything for “protection,” except slightly wounded national pride.
    For a while, the US borrowed to provide these “protection services.” Now it looks as if Social Security and Medicare recipients will have to forgo the insurance they already paid for so that the US can continue to keep its junior partners happy in the game of empire.

    Reply

  13. rc says:

    “Oil, I don’t think, plays much of a role here. The US will never “own” Libyan fields. US companies are not going to get the oil, either. It will be on the open market, as it has been except during the bombing campaigns.”(questions, Apr 01 2011, 7:04PM)
    Sorry, but disagree. It is about control of oil and BP is heavily involved — they were before the war started and will be after the war finishes.
    The US, with its paper money machine, only cares that it flows and is paid for in $USD.
    The rest is just media manipulation and idiot romantic ‘wild west’ myth making.
    To think that a rag-tag bunch of kids in designer jeans and light bodied pickups could constitute a “rebel force” is laughable.
    But there are some echos of the Afghan Northern Alliance before their resurrection into a mercenary force for the local drug lords.

    Reply

  14. JohnH says:

    Hayden is right when he says, “the foreign policy caste worries about the intrusion of democracy on their domain (Harvard

    Reply

  15. Kathleen says:

    “It’s not merely a humanitarian gesture.”
    The Leveretts are thinking that they continue to pave the way for a pre-emptive military action on Iran. That the Obama administration is clearly headed down that road.
    http://www.raceforiran.com/

    Reply

  16. Kathleen says:

    Samantha Power Goes to War (sunsteins wife)
    Tom Hayden
    http://www.thenation.com/article/159570/samantha-power-goes-war
    LIBYA, IRAN, AND THE OBAMA DOCTRINE OF (SELECTIVE) PREVENTIVE

    Reply

  17. questions says:

    Don Bacon,
    I think there’s a much broader context to take into account here with the Arab Spring issue, the Cold War, terrorism, the broader MENA issues.
    It’s not merely a humanitarian gesture.
    It’s not NOT a humanitarian issue, either. We wouldn’t have invaded w/o the threat, and we wouldn’t have invaded Iran with a threat, or Russia, or China, or Canada.
    But none of this really is hypocrisy. It’s a blend of the practical, US interests, humanitarian concern, broader strategizing about the shape of the world.
    Oil, I don’t think, plays much of a role here. The US will never “own” Libyan fields. US companies are not going to get the oil, either. It will be on the open market, as it has been except during the bombing campaigns.
    There are all sorts of factors at play here, and it’s better to bring them up instead of doing a reductio ad absurdum.
    The absurdity of trying to manage whole regions of the world, both during the Cold War and after, are absurd enough in their fullness. They don’t require any reduction at all!

    Reply

  18. Don Bacon says:

    Russia has killed tens of thousands Chechnyan insurgents, but it’s considered an internal matter. We haven’t had any U.S. politicians shouting out about an actual slaughter there.
    Yet they get all exercised about a presumed slaughter in Libya, somehow acquiring a great fondness for sustaining Libyan lives compared to, say, Chechnyan or Iraqi or Afghan or Pakistani ones. It “would be a stain on the world’s conscience” sayeth the Predator Man.
    All those crocodile tears, somewhat a yearning for Libyan oil and gas, and somewhat not having a clue about how to deal with perennial warmongers.

    Reply

  19. questions says:

    The Secretary Speaks, Part II:

    Reply

  20. JohnH says:

    For those who advocated for yet more war on humanitarian grounds:

    Reply

  21. Kathleen says:

    How many military did Israel kill when they bombed the USS Liberty. This was not a mistake
    The USS Liberty incident was an attack on a United States Navy technical research ship, USS Liberty, by Israeli Air Force jet fighter aircraft and Israeli Navy torpedo boats, on June 8, 1967, during the Six-Day War.[2] The combined air and sea attack killed 34 crew members (naval officers, seamen, two Marines, and one civilian), wounded 170 crew members, and severely damaged the ship.[3] At the time, the ship was in international waters north of the Sinai Peninsula, about 25.5 nmi (29.3 mi; 47.2 km) northwest from the Egyptian city of Arish.[1][4]
    Both the Israeli and U.S. governments conducted inquiries and issued reports that concluded the attack was a mistake due to Israeli confusion about the identity of the USS Liberty.[5] Some survivors, in addition to some U.S. diplomats and intelligence officials involved in the incident continue to dispute these official findings, saying the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty was not a mistake,[6] and it remains “the only maritime incident in U.S. history where [U.S.] military forces were killed that was never investigated by the [U.S.] Congress.”[7]
    In May 1968, the Israeli government paid US$3,323,500 as full payment to the families of the 34 men killed in the attack. In March 1969, Israel paid a further $3,566,457 in compensation to the men who had been wounded. On 18 December 1980, it agreed to pay $6 million as settlement for the U.S. claim of $7,644,146 for material damage to the Liberty itself.[8]

    Reply

  22. questions says:

    The Secretary Speaks:
    “Mr. Chu, a Nobel laureate in physics, suggested that the worst moments of the crisis now appear to be receding, saying that the best information the United States has received from Japanese authorities indicated that water is once again covering the cores of the stricken reactors and that pools of spent fuel atop the reactor buildings are

    Reply

  23. DakotabornKansan says:

    Wishful Thinking about Libya
    Robert Haddick, Managing Editor of Small Wars Journal, writes:
    http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2011/04/this-week-at-war-dont-arm-the/

    Reply

  24. kathleen says:

    US and UN coalition forces announcing NO fly zone over the Gaza and West Bank to protect Palestinians from another massacre by Israeli forces. Starting to expel illegal settlers from the West Bank.
    You tube helping Netanyahu rebrand Israel. Netanyahu mentions Iran six times in the first five minutes and throughout the pro Israel interview with Dana Weiss
    http://mondoweiss.net/2011/03/benjamin-netanyahus-heart-of-darkness.html

    Reply

  25. questions says:

    After the great TWN Cost Wars of 1 April 2011, 12:49pm – 1:54 pm EDT, I will never again apologize for being off topic!
    THAT was as off topic as anything could ever get! It was trollish, diversionary, and pretty funny!
    Thanks for the smile!
    And happy beginning of baseball season to everyone!

    Reply

  26. DakotabornKansan says:

    Not April Fools

    Reply

  27. erichwwk says:

    “I thought that this discussion with former CIA field operative Bob Baer and MSNBC’s Chuck Todd was useful.”
    Me too. Nice job, Steve! I hope Lindsay Graham watches the clip.
    And Paul. Great sense of humor!

    Reply

  28. Don Bacon says:

    SecDef Gates appeared before a Senate Committee recently, and Senator Graham asked if Gates was going to take out Gaddafi (my words). Gates responded that that would break the coalition, and then added smirkingly that Reagan had tried it and failed by bombing Gaddafi. Graham suggested it might work the second time.
    Libya, with Gaddafi, has been a whipping boy for years. There was a respite for the last couple of years as Geoirge W. and then Barry hearted Gaddafi, but otherwise it’s been bad.
    The whole media campaign on Libya terrorism started with a series of CIA disinformation releases about Libya.In 1981 the CIA leaked a story to the press about U.S. efforts to assassinate Gaddafi, in the hope that this would lead him to some kind of erratic reaction, which the U.S. could then use an excuse to bomb him. That operation was exposed, and Newsweek magazine stated in its August 1981 issue that it had been subjected to a disinformation campaign.
    Subsequently there were other stories — it’s important to U.S. foreign policy that there be devils in the world.
    On April 5, 1986, a discotheque in West Berlin was bombed , two people were killed. One of them was Turkish woman and the second was a black American soldier. It was a black Thirld World bar. The Reagan White House immediately announced that it had evidence , intercepts etc,that this was a terrprist act perpetrated by Libya, though this evidence was never presented.
    Nine days later, April 14, 1986 the U.S. bombed Libya. The bombing started at precisely 7pm Eastern Time, making it the first bombing in history timed for prime-time coverage. It was no easy task because the bombers flew from the UK. There just happened to be an ABC news team in Tripoli at the time.
    This was the bombing that Gates referred to. So who was the terrorist?
    Incidentally, a subsequent German investigation showed no Libya connection to the disco bombing.

    Reply

  29. JohnH says:

    Digital subscriptions–TWN has always been a blog by an insider for insiders. As such, it presented a opinions that were often a shade different from others in Washington.
    TWN’s real strength was that its comment section allowed outsiders to present REAL differences in opinion, something not particularly welcome among Washington’s group thinking elites.
    And so, TWN will join the legions of inside conversations that don’t care to listen to public opinion, another sign of the demise of American democracy.

    Reply

  30. Cee says:

    Re: comments about Waco
    I was thinking of that when I mentioned “killing his own citizens” when it came to Hussein and now Gahdafi ( Clemon’s spelling)

    Reply

  31. Don Bacon says:

    The UNSC has referred Libya to the ICC, which has opened a probe of Gaddafi and his family.
    This will be in addition to five ongoing investigations in Sudan, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic and Kenya.
    Does anyone see a pattern here?

    Reply

  32. Kathleen says:

    If the international coalition demands that Gaddafi go before the International Criminal Court for war crimes he would have to get in line with Cheney, Wolfowitz, Bush, Feith, Rumsfeld and the rest of the Iraq war thugs for the hundreds of thousands dead, injured and displaced in Iraq. Get in line Gaddafi.

    Reply

  33. Kathleen says:

    You know they want Gaddafi dead. He has too much on the countries and leaders who have done dirty business with him.
    Bob Baer said the coalition forces do not know who these rebels are
    The other night Cenk Uygar made fun of folks on the right and the left who have questioned who the rebels are. Hell I have heard Secretary of State Clinton say that Al Queda members have been in the neighborhood
    Alert: The UN and US coalition forces have just announced a no fly zone over the Gaza and the West Bank to protect Palestinia

    Reply

  34. DonS says:

    Norwegian ‘humor’ ?!!?!?!?!?!?!

    Reply

  35. Don Bacon says:

    That’s Norwegian justice for you.
    He not only flings it at us but then rubs it in deep with a follow-up comment.
    I say take ’em out.

    Reply

  36. DonS says:

    We think it’s the 1st.

    Reply

  37. Paul Norheim says:

    Which date is it in the southern part of France, DonS?

    Reply

  38. Don Bacon says:

    Okay, Paul — April Fool to you.
    You got us.

    Reply

  39. DonS says:

    Paul, your link lead to “The file you are looking for has not been found.”
    Dan, not sure where you’re going with your question. I’ve ponied up a number of times for Steve’s blog, but understanding the genesis of this whole blog thing, loyalty, etc. is a pretty new thing. If you’re asking whether I think you have something worth saying — a perspective, a fund of knowledge, and an ability to express your POV, yes.
    I did my own blog, pretty unadvertised for about 4 years or so, and can attest that it raises questions, presents opportunities and challenges.
    As to the business of it, I have no idea except it seems like the blog world is becoming more sophisticated and perhaps inbred.
    I think of Billmon (Whiskey Bar), a blogger who seemed to have it all going but, again IMO, just burned himself out with intensity. He garnered support and affection — I don’t know about the contributions. Perhaps you could say that about any community that grows over time around a blog that generates ‘energy’.
    . . . and, of course, Steve Gilliard . . . who died too young.

    Reply

  40. Don Bacon says:

    I agree, JohnH.
    And some of these people call themselves Christians!!
    But that can’t be the reason.
    It’s because they call themselves Patriotic Americans Of The First Order, I guess.
    Special.

    Reply

  41. Don Bacon says:

    Paul, that link is 404. Do you have a good one?

    Reply

  42. Paul Norheim says:

    What really pisses me off with this TWN subscription fee, is that most of the commenters at TWN are
    ordinary, outside-the-beltway taxpayers and honest workers, with high health insurance fees and
    outrageous taxes spent on wars of choice. And now they’ll have to pay to criticize the way their tax
    money is spent? That’s rich.

    Reply

  43. Dan Kervick says:

    DonS, will you buy a comment from me?

    Reply

  44. Paul Norheim says:

    Sorry, forgot to provide the link:
    http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2011/04/Clemons_twn_subscription.php?ref=fpblg
    This is really really outrageous…

    Reply

  45. DonS says:

    No Paul, I cannot find any such thing (linky?), and I cannot imagine Steve going that route except perhaps as an adjunct feed.
    It would, IMO, be his loss to lose the feedback from the real world, and, if I might brag on the great commenters at TWN, the saavy viewpoints. (need we say missing, or ignored, by those DC insiders)
    Some folks have been here, through thick and troll, better part of a decade.

    Reply

  46. Dan Kervick says:

    Yeah, I’m going to start charging for blog comment section comments as well. I’m sick of givin’ it away.

    Reply

  47. Paul Norheim says:

    Hey fellow commenters,
    did you see the outrageous interview Josh Marshall at TPM did with Steve Clemons today,
    where Steve said that he’s planning a digital subscription for The Washington Note next
    month? He explained that his target audience are all DC insiders who easily can afford the
    monthly fee of 60 US$
    Well, in that case, I’m certainly out of here, and I suspect I’m not the only one.

    Reply

  48. questions says:

    POA,
    OT,
    What I really do is make a judgment about how far down threads are sliding, and when they seem to be far enough down that no one will ever scroll there again, I post higher up.
    My judgment about distance may not match yours, but that’s actually the method behind the madness.
    And speaking of Fukushima, kos’s kbman has a nice clear current summary of the status:
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/04/01/962183/-Fukushima-Status-Update-4-1-AM-%28full-update%29
    And by the way, I think that systems analysis really does tie a lot of very different kinds of issues together. The particulars may differ dramatically, but the basic thought processes and techniques of analysis are similar enough that there really are likenesses between Fukushima and MENA.

    Reply

  49. DakotabornKansan says:

    Meanwhile back in Egypt

    Reply

  50. JohnH says:

    The Waco siege does beg the question of the new threshold for American interventions overseas. If Sarkozy IMAGINED that Obama’s forces might slaughter a hundred civilians in Waco, would that justify an attack on the United States? If it were IMAGINED that Ahmadinejad could kill a hundred opponents in a single siege, would that justify all all-out attack?
    The bar is now so low that any President can now start a war against anybody using the slightest “humanitarian” pretext. And that’s in addition to being able to assassinate or indefinitely detain anyone he personally deems a terrorist (nuclear activists, war opponents, legislators who walk out?).
    The President has now assumed a role like a Roman emperor, a traditional European monarch, like a Qadhafi. The President is now according to behave as the spirit moves him, as long as he frames his intentions properly, citing the correct IMAGINED offenses of his enemy.
    Dangerous times…

    Reply

  51. Don Bacon says:

    Eighteen years ago the Waco siege was going on against people who had done nothing to the government, but almost a hundred people would die.
    Couldn’t someone have just killed Clinton and then got out of there fast?
    What do you think, Dan K.?

    Reply

  52. jonst says:

    Steve,
    Question for you……what if we found out that the CIA went into Libya BEFORE, right before, the ‘uprising’ began. Would that change anything about your perspective on this entire situation? Just curious…

    Reply

  53. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Questions, I needn’t lecture you on “off topic”, because I may well be the “Off Topic King” of TWN.
    But I gotta say, its really strange that you seem to be interested in the Fukushima thing, and post about it alot, yet you ignore the threads where Fukushima comments would actually be ON topic.
    Odd, man. Very odd.

    Reply

  54. DakotabornKansan says:

    CIA in Libya

    Reply

  55. Cee says:

    oops…using strange PC. Please excuse errors
    The news just reported that a member of a Libyan “rebel” group has proposed a cease fire. I hope that happens.

    Reply

  56. Cee says:

    Great interview and suprisinglyGREAT comments in questions from Todd.
    Now if only someone would ask Baer on air about what he knows on the downing of Pan Am 103.
    I do hope that the CIA aren’t using the fundamentalists again. We know how that works out.

    Reply

  57. questions says:

    ZOMG, I’m doing it again!!! No, stop me please, from being off/on topic instead of on/off topic!
    “According to the report, a single worker needs an income of $30,012 a year

    Reply

  58. questions says:

    Quick Japan thing:
    “Groundwater at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is highly likely to be contaminated with radioactive materials, even though its operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. is reviewing its analysis released late Thursday due to erroneous calculations, the government’s nuclear safety agency said Friday.
    The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said some of the analysis data on the groundwater presented by the utility known as TEPCO cannot be trusted due to the errors, casting doubts on the finding that the concentration of radioactive iodine in the water was 10,000 times the legal limit.
    Hidehiko Nishiyama, a spokesman for the governmental nuclear regulatory body, said it was ”extremely regrettable” that TEPCO had given incorrect radiation data at the plant for the second time. The agency has strongly warned the operator over the matter and urged it to take steps not to do so again, he added.”
    http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2011/04/82524.html
    And they are going to start that resin spraying, fresh water is being shipped in, and it may take months to cool the reactors completely. Hmmm.
    The water dilemma at Fukushima is really fascinating from a systems point of view. They have to spray the water to keep the fuel from melting and releasing more radioactive particles. But the sprayed water leaks radiation, floods the basement, and makes it impossible to get the cooling system working again. Without the cooling system, they need to keep spraying water.
    When you get into a vicious circle like this, you’re in trouble.
    We should watch for vicious circle equilibria in Libya, too.
    When interventions cause the problem you are working to solve, and yet a lack of intervention ALSO causes the problem you are trying to solve, well, you’re fucked.

    Reply

  59. questions says:

    Going forward, Jeffrey Sachs argues for moral hazard!!
    http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/sachs176/English
    The countries that have done well recently have managed their youth bulges by educating, providing on the job training, and basically taking account of the people under 25.
    Half of Egypt’s population is under 25, the population doubled from 1980-now under Mubarak, and he did nothing to help the crowding, the infrastructure lacks, and the unemployment problems.
    The rich in the US do ok, but youth unemployment is horrifically high. We should be thinking…..
    The thing to do, apparently, is to set aside oil profits, Qaddafi’s billions, and whatever else is around to help the young in each country involved in the Arab Spring.
    Of course, if you set aside gov’t money for gov’t programs to help people, then people get used to the support and start to think they, I dunno, deserve or have a right to some support. Before you know it, they are popping out babies to collect those scholarships and they are crossing borders to have anchor babies, and they are hating our freedoms, and they are raising taxes to help the undeserving by taking from the morally superior, and they are acting as if we live in a society. Fuck that shit.
    ******
    We should pay attention to Jeffrey Sachs’s piece, and we should never vote for Republicans — at least not until they get over their fucking need to destroy every single pillar of the democratic party.
    Destroying unions, destroying AARP, destroying SoSec, destroying women, cities, non-whites everywhere…. (All the while, collecting farm subsidies, sometimes in the millions of dollars, and all the while worrying about how hard it is to live on 174 grand a year (gosh, I wish I suffered from that problem!), and all the while taking their own and worrying about giving anything at all to help another.)
    Somewhere recently (Bernstein??) I read an interesting idea — Dems use their majorities to get policy through. Repubs use their majorities to seal their majorities. They don’t really try for policy so much as they try to destroy dems. Now, I’m not sure that conceptually this holds up any better than the structural/cyclical unemployment distinction (this two sides of the same coin issue has also gotten some play here and there) — but it’s pretty clear for now that the Repubs are set on destroying as much of the dem coalition as possible.
    And what happens when you dismantle social services, don’t take account of youth bulges, deny people social support, destroy schooling, shorten the number of years of schooling, create a large class of dispossessed, disinherited, disinterested youth?
    Are we creating the ground under the feet of an American Spring?
    Couldn’t hurt to follow through on the analogy and think long and hard about it.
    *****
    And on Japan, who knows. Haven’t yet read the day’s reports. The pro-nuke people seem to think the WORST won’t happen and plutonium ain’t what we think it is….. Who knows…..
    *****
    And Libya — who knows. Headline that Qaddafi is routing the rebels. Headline that there are defections….. Perhaps there’s an equilibrium here — for every n rebels routed, there will be n-a really big number defections.

    Reply

  60. rc says:

    At least there is some wit in it.
    Tripoli, the new Troy
    By Pepe Escobar
    Apr 1, 2011
    . . . .
    Priam was a wise prince – while Gaddafi is wily. Priam strengthened the state by good governance (Machiavelli would have approved) and alliances with his neighbors, while Gaddafi governed by playing the tribes against each other. There’s not a shade of Hector – a noble character – in sight.
    One may wonder which gods and goddesses – apart from Athena – are as interested in this war as the parties themselves. One of Troy’s crucial allies was Penthesilea, the queen of the Amazons with her band of female warriors. In the Pentagon remix Penthesilea shifted to the opposition, played by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her combat warriors United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice and National Security Council aide Samantha Power.
    Arab liberator French President Nicolas Sarkozy is no Menelaus; his Helen – Carla Bruni, who used to cavort with Bacchic Mick Jagger – would rather mingle with the Vogue crowd than sulk in a tent in the desert. British Prime Minister David Cameron is not exactly Agamemnon. As for Silvio “Bunga Bunga” Berlusconi, the Italian president is just a satyr who escaped from an Aristophanes comedy.
    Odyssey Dawn boasts a cast of characters of infiltrated special forces – from the United States, Britain, France, plus the inevitable, Barack Obama-sanctioned Central Intelligence Agency covert ops. They may be teaching the “rebels” a thing or two about warfare – but certainly not the Mao Zedong guerrilla tactics Priam/Gaddafi is now using against a drive-in, wild bunch guerrilla.
    These special forces anyway will be key. Troy was besieged for 10 years by a regular army – but only fell after two very special special forces intervened in an intelligence recon mission: Ulysses and Diomede. Troy hosted a celebrated statue of Athena called the Palladium. In disguise; protected by Athena (the Greek version of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization); and helped by Helen – the stunning beauty who provoked the war in the first place – Ulysses and Diomede sneaked into Troy and stole the Palladium.
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MD01Ak02.html

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