International news and events

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Libya: That Was Quick

    The Libyan revolution is coming to a rapid end, although there is fighting left to do. Twenty-seven weeks ago, Muammar Qadhafi's armed forces fired on peaceful protestors across Libya. Today, he's in hiding, and a rebel army that didn't exist six months ago, combined with NATO's air power, has managed to take control of most of the country.

    Let me point out a basic truth: that was really fast.

    Donal's picture

    Double-Dip or Great Contraction?


     

    While I was away from the internet last week, some suit on CBS said that once an entity was downgraded, they stayed downgraded. I bought a Washington Post to read more about the crappy debt ceiling agreement. I read the whole damn thing, then put some recycled wood trim on top of it for scraping, cleaning and restaining. Our old trim is hard, or heart, pine, and is much harder than the soft pine they sell now. You can dent soft pine with a fingernail.

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    Donal's picture

    Lifeline to a drowning state

    I found the TED video above on McClatchy's Mexico unmasked blog: 

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    William K. Wolfrum's picture

    Brazilians boiling, blaming Big Pharma for new FDA office in Brazil

    MINAS GERAIS — Brazilian officials are in Washington, D.C., today to speak with the Food and Drug and Administration to attempt to get them to change their minds about building an FDA office in Brasilia.

    In what Brazilian magazine Epoca is calling the first speed bump in President Dilma Rousseff’s dealings with the United States, the U.S. announced on April 26 it’s plans to build an FDA office in Brasilia – a move Brazilian officials are saying was never discussed with them.

    Donal's picture

    Third Strategic Oil Release, Theory Update

    We are in US summer driving season, but Tom Whipple observes that both oil and gasoline stocks are unusually low :

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    Donal's picture

    DeGrowth

    I found this rather long vimeo, Redefining Progress (25:10), on Adbusters.

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    Donal's picture

    Stall Alarm



    As Air France pilots fought for control, the doomed A330 dropped 38,000 feet, rolling left to right, its engines flat out but its wings unable to grab enough air to keep flying.

    Aviation industry sources told Reuters that this action went against the normal procedures which call for the nose to be lowered in response to an alert that the plane was about to lose lift or, in technical parlance, 'stall'.

    "A stall is the moment at which a plane stops flying and starts falling," ... "why did the pilot flying (the aircraft) appear to continue to pull the nose up[?]"

    It isn't too hard to see that the world economy is stalling. Belarus has devalued their currency, Greece is near default, Spain has massive unemployment, Pakistan can barely keep the lights on, third world countries can't even afford food and water. In the US jobs aren't really coming back, housing isn't really coming backcar sales aren't really coming back, and the Wall Street Journal lets an oped writer call it stagflation instead of whatever new sort of -flation it is. But we continue to try to pull the nose up. We continue tax cuts to the rich, the financial sector creates more commodity bubbles, even with food, the Fed issues ever more debt, we're mired in expensive resource wars but the media assures us that business will continue as usual if we keep believing.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    What Pakistan Knows

    Since Pakistan's recent double embarrassment in the Osama bin Laden affair, in which they proved unable to detect either bin Ladin living half a mile from their chief military academy or an American helicopter raid deep in the Pakistani interior (i.e. half a mile from their military academy), angry American legislators have been asking What Pakistan Knew about OBL's presence in their country.

    Let me try to reframe that question with another one:

    Does the President of Pakistan know who had his wife killed?

    William K. Wolfrum's picture

    Brazil Supreme Court Give Same-Sex Civil Unions Same Rights As Marriage

    Update: Currently, the STF is requesting that the Brazilian Congress pass a bill to make this the Law of the land as rights to Gay & Lesbian couples can be denied without legal ramifications. With this decision, however, Gay & Lesbian couples can sue to receive any rights denied, and would win as precedent has been set.

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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    In Israel, the Roadmap to Peace is Not Paved with Goldstone

    Israel supporters rejoiced on Friday after international jurist Richard Goldstone recanted some conclusions from his investigation into Israel's military actions during the Gaza war two years ago.

    "If I had known then what I know now," Goldstone wrote in a Washington Post op-ed, "The Goldstone Report would have been a different document."

    ...

    The Israeli government and its supporters have long denounced the Goldstone Report as deeply flawed and complain that it has tarnished Israel's reputation. On Sunday, in fact, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced plans "to reverse and minimize the great damage that has been done by this campaign of denigration against the state of Israel."

    But while Israel's supporters and detractors alike often take the importance of the Goldstone Report for granted, it's worth considering the extent of the "great damage" done to the state of Israel since the report was released and questioning what such investigations, accusations and condemnations actually accomplish.

    Read the full article at CNN.com

    William K. Wolfrum's picture

    My Expectations for Libya

    While I have more or less been clear about my feelings toward war, I am nonetheless a realist. I understand that the War in Libya is happening and won’t end until all objectives are met.

    Thus, when President Barack Obama gave his speech this week explaining the humanitarian reasons for the U.S.-led UN-Approved No-Fly Zone War on Libya, I, like many liberals, stood behind my President 100 percent. And while Obama did not lay out any type of exit strategy, I have my own modest expectations on how this humanitarian war effort will proceed:

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Nothing's Ever Simple In War

    Juan Cole's strongly worded "Open Letter To The Left" about Libya seemed designed to take down a very dangerous bit of information that's come out recently but hasn't gotten nearly enough attention in my opinion -- the Libyan rebels we're defending have real and substantial ties to Al-Qaeda.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    "Only 1,000 Soldiers"

    One of the frequent talking points about the Libyan rebels is that they only have about a thousand trained soldiers in their ranks. As the meme went around, it sometimes turned into only 1000 soldiers, period, which is clearly not true. And the "1000 men" meme has been used to shore up certain anti-intervention talking points, even though it undermines others.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Libya, Obama, and the Just War Theory

    Barack Obama's decision to join the attack on Libya is very much of a piece with his Nobel Prize acceptance speech. There are various grounds on which a reasonable person could object to the Libya strikes (diplomatic reasons, military reasons, pragmatic reasons, reasons of consistency, even Constitutional reasons). But the decision absolutely fits within a coherent and very traditional moral philosophy. Obama walked through most of the key points of that position in his Nobel Prize speech, with one important omission.

    William K. Wolfrum's picture

    America still disconnected

    WKW Note: This was originally posted in Feb. 2010, but with current events in Libya and around the globe, maintains it’s timeliness.
    —-

    The disconnect never fails to amaze me. Death on a personal level is a heart-wrenching, life-altering affair. The recovery is a long process, filled with grief. Losing a loved one stays with you until you finally join them. But being part of the machine that gives others the same grief on a spectacular level has little to no effect.

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Why We Shouldn't Intervene In Libya

    While my wife and I were gallivanting in Barcelona, which is a heck of a town, some pundits here at home and even some world powers, began beating the war drum once again.  To be fair, nobody is calling for an outright invasion of Libya (right?) but they do want the U.S. to impose a no fly zone, to bomb Gadhafi's air defenses and to basically use its might to tip the balance of power in favor of Libya's rebels.

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    Donal's picture

    The Sky is Falling

    In this half hour interview, Dmitry Orlov once again compares the collapse of the Soviet Empire with what he sees happening to the American Empire. His proposal that we are near collapse may seem outrageous, but the reasons he gives are not easy to dismiss.

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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Israel vs the United Nations: The More Things Change, the More They Don't

    The U.N. Security Council is poised to vote on a resolution that would condemn Israeli settlement activities in occupied Palestinian territory, calling the construction "illegal" and "a major obstacle to the achievement of peace."

    The White House is trying to block the resolution, but Obama has not indicated whether the U.S. would veto it. Predictably, American politicians and pundits from across the political spectrum are furious that Obama would "sell out" Israel.

    Donal's picture

    The High-Priced Spread



    I thought oil was supposed to be fungible, so I was curious as to why a barrel of Brent could be selling in the low $100s while WTI was around $85/barrel. That sixteen dollar spread is some sort of record.

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