International news and events

    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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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Will Iran Be Next?

    "The conspirators are nothing but corpses."

    -- Hossein Hamadani, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran

    As Egypt glows bright and the media buzzes sunnily about the benevolent power of online social networks, anything seems possible.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    About the Muslim Brotherhood

    The protest movement in Egypt has suddenly alerted many Westerners to the existence of the Muslim Brotherhood, a newish group who did not emerge in Egypt until almost the end of the Coolidge Administration. Furthermore, this fast-breaking development has alerted Western pundits, bloggers, and politicians to the urgent need to say something about the Muslim Brotherhood.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Staying Allied with Democracies

    There's an old chestnut that says that two democracies have never gone to war. It's not quite true, or only true if you aggressively redefine "democracy" until you've fallen into the "no-true-Scotsman" fallacy. ("No true democracy ever goes to war with another ...." ) But it is an instructive half-truth: functional democracies very rarely go to war with one another.

    William K. Wolfrum's picture

    I support the Egyptian people – provided it doesn’t affect me

    Having watched events unfold in Egypt this past week, I must say I am impressed by the bravery and strength of will shown by the Egyptian people. They are standing tall against a dictatorial regime, and that is to be applauded.

    William K. Wolfrum's picture

    Vital Egypt information for Americans

    Egypt on map

    There. Now you can find it on a map.

    You can find out more about the protests in Egypt and the U.S. response here, or follow the breaking news on Twitter with the #Jan25 hashtag. Or just be happy that you now know where it is.

    –WKW

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    William K. Wolfrum's picture

    The Love of a Dog in Brazil

    caramelo- a dog's love

    A story of a dog’s dedication to its family, following their deaths last week in Brazil. Translated from Fohla.com:

    The former street-dog Caramelo helped rescue the bodies of its owners, whose were killed during last week’s rains, then did not want to leave the makeshift grave of his owner.

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    Donal's picture

    Foodflation, Food Insecurity and Civil Unrest



    My wife and I noticed several months ago that the food we chose to buy was getting much more expensive. I was probably more inspired by Michael Pollan and she by Mehmet Oz, but years ago we agreed that we would cut out the hydrogenated stuff and the high fructose stuff and the high sodium stuff.

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    Donal's picture

    Monsters from the Id


    "Anne Francis stars in ... Forbidden Planet" RIP

    Doomer James Kunstler is telling us, Gird Your Loins for Lower Living Standards. He says something like that every year right about now, so it must be time to put the Xmas tree back in the box. Still, he is entertaining.

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