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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Anne Boleyn & Henry VIII ~ Douce Dame Jolie ~

Libyan Rebel Commander Admits his Fighters Have Al-Qaeda Links

Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, the Libyan rebel leader, has said jihadists who fought against allied troops in Iraq are on the front lines of the battle against Muammar Gaddafi's regime.

In an interview with the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, Mr al-Hasidi admitted that he had recruited "around 25" men from the Derna area in eastern Libya to fight against coalition troops in Iraq. Some of them, he said, are "today are on the front lines in Adjabiya".

Mr al-Hasidi insisted his fighters "are patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists," but added that the "members of al-Qaeda are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader".

His revelations came even as Idriss Deby Itno, Chad's president, said al-Qaeda had managed to pillage military arsenals in the Libyan rebel zone and acquired arms, "including surface-to-air missiles, which were then smuggled into their sanctuaries".

Mr al-Hasidi admitted he had earlier fought against "the foreign invasion" in Afghanistan, before being "captured in 2002 in Peshwar, in Pakistan". He was later handed over to the US, and then held in Libya before being released in 2008.

US and British government sources said Mr al-Hasidi was a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, or LIFG, which killed dozens of Libyan troops in guerrilla attacks around Derna and Benghazi in 1995 and 1996

Even though the LIFG is not part of the al-Qaeda organisation, the United States military's West Point academy has said the two share an "increasingly co-operative relationship". In 2007, documents captured by allied forces from the town of Sinjar, showed LIFG emmbers made up the second-largest cohort of foreign fighters in Iraq, after Saudi Arabia.

Earlier this month, al-Qaeda issued a call for supporters to back the Libyan rebellion, which it said would lead to the imposition of "the stage of Islam" in the country.

British Islamists have also backed the rebellion, with the former head of the banned al-Muhajiroun proclaiming that the call for "Islam, the Shariah and jihad from Libya" had "shaken the enemies of Islam and the Muslims more than the tsunami that Allah sent against their friends, the Japanese".

By Praveen Swami, Nick Squires and Duncan Gardham


Lucia Micarelli Aurora-Kashmir

Barack Obama, Oscar Romero and Structural Sin

In El Salvador, on the last leg of his Latin American tour, President Barack Obama paid a highly symbolic visit to the tomb of Archbishop Oscar Romero, shot through the heart as he raised the Eucharist chalice during a mass, in March 1980. His assassination was ordered by Salvadoran military officer Roberto D’Aubuisson, a School of the America’s graduate.

As El Faro—an important online source of independent Central American news—put it, Obama’s homage to Romero is a “truly extraordinary” gesture, since D’Aubuisson not only ran private-sector financed death squads but was a founder of ARENA, an ultraconservative political party that until 2009 had governed the country for two decades and enjoyed excellent relations with Washington.

Today, El Salvador is led by President Mauricio Funes, head of a center-left coalition government that includes the FMLN, the insurgent group turned political party Ronald Reagan wasted billions of dollars and over 70,000 lives trying to defeat in the 1980s. By lighting a candle for Romero, Obama, it might be said, was tacitly doing in El Salvador what he wouldn’t—or couldn’t—do in Chile: apologize for US actions that resulted in horrific human tragedy.

Obama in San Salvador focused on trade and immigration and celebrated Central America’s transition away from the civil wars of the 1980s and early 1990s. But hope, in reality, is in short supply; it would be difficult to exaggerate the crisis that today engulfs Central America, one that might very well turn out to be as bad as the 1980s.

Squeezed by Plan Colombia to the south and Mexico’s disastrous War on Drugs to the north, Central American violence has skyrocketed. Whole regions in Honduras and Guatemala are either overrun by narcos, or militarized by security forces, themselves deeply involved in criminal activity, including drugs, illegal logging, car theft and kidnapping. The explosion of biofuels production and the intensification of mining (particularly gold mining) has created an ecological disaster and generated widespread social dislocation. Protesting peasants, especially in Honduras and Guatemala, have been checked by a revived planter-death squad alliance, though now “death squads” generally go under the euphemism “private security.” An increasing number activists are turning up dead. In February, the bullet-ridden bodies of four Q’eqchi’ Mayan community leaders—Catalina Muca Maas, Alberto Coc Cal, Amilcar Choc and Sebastian Xuc Coc—were found in a river.

Just last week, as the Canadian human rights group Rights Action reported, over the course of three days—March 15–17—hundreds of police officers, soldiers and private security forces entered fourteen Mayan communities in the municipality of Panzós shooting live ammo and firing tear gas in an effort to displace peasants to make way for African palm and sugar plantations. Peasants futilely begged soldiers to allow them to harvest some of their crops. At least one person was killed, many wounded, others arrested, and thousands are now living in makeshift shelters on the side of the road. The plantations are capitalized by the Central American Bank for Economic Integration, as part of the larger multilateral lending that supports the production of biofuels, to be sold in the United States. This social catastrophe is just one of the more recent expressions of the counter-insurgent neoliberal “security corridor,” running from Colombia through Central America to Mexico, I’ve written about here.

In his memoir, Obama says he came to political awareness in the 1980s, opposing what he called Ronald Reagan’s “minions.” If so, he no doubt had some exposure to the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador, or CISPES, perhaps the most prominent of the organizations that worked to fight Reagan’s Central American policies. CISPES still exists, and it is still doing great work.

Most recently, timed to coincide with Obama’s trip to El Salvador, CISPES has launched a campaign opposing the Canadian-based gold mining corporation, Pacific Rim, which under the terms of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) is suing El Salvador for $77 million. That figure corresponds to the profits Pacific Rim expected to earn had the Salvadoran government not revoked its operating permit (in response to an impressive, cross-class protest movement made up of environmentalists, progressive religious folk and peasants concerned with the high level of heavy metal contamination of water and soil and rocketing infant morality rates that resulted from similar mining operations).

That’s right, under CAFTA’s Chapter 10, private companies can sue countries for projected future profits lost as a result of national laws or regulations. But you might ask how a Canadian corporation can sue under the terms of CAFTA, since Canada isn’t a party to the treaty. Simple: Pacific Rim purchased in 2007 a Reno, Nevada, shell company to act as front. Forget that bugaboo of the jingoist right, so-called “anchor babies.” What we have here are “anchor corporations,” foreign businesses that get a toehold in the United States to secure their right to plunder. The suit will be arbitrated by the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes, a shadowy appendage of the World Bank (more than half of the suits launched by corporations in the ICSID are against Latin American countries, and to give a sense how CAFTA has locked Central America into the neoliberal “security corridor,” Brazil has never joined the ICSID, Bolivia and Ecuador have withdrawn from its jurisdiction, and Venezuelan has announced its intention to pull out. Nicaragua, too, has threatened to withdraw, but it is unclear it can do so under the terms of CAFTA). As CISPES puts it, “As a candidate Obama promised to remove the rights of corporations to sue governments from trade agreements—it’s time he takes action.”

We can only hope that Obama finds inspiration in Oscar Romero’s life: Romero, after all, started his public career as a cautious moderate who believed he could quietly work with El Salvador’s ruling class to coax needed reform. The reality of Salvadoran society forced his conversion into an outspoken, confrontational leader who directly attacked those who perpetuated what he called “structural sin:” “When the church hears the cry of the oppressed,” Romero wrote before his murder, “it cannot but denounce the social structures that give rise to and perpetuate the misery from which the cry arises.” If Romero was alive today, he would recognize CAFTA’s Chapter 10, along with the broader, disastrous policies Washington is pursuing in the Mexico-Central America-Colombia security corridor, as prime examples of “structural sin.”

By Greg Grandin


Haiti Abstains

Despite a massive UN mobilization, Haitians stayed away from controversial presidential elections in large numbers on March 20, raising serious questions about the legitimacy of the government poised to take power.

“The majority of the Haitian people did not vote in this election because the majority of people stand behind Lavalas,” said Wilnor Moise, a 29-year-old former bus conductor from Cité Soleil, referring to Fanmi Lavalas (FL), the democratic movement of former Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, which was barred from participating in the elections.

Haiti’s disputed parliamentary and presidential poll, culminating in the final round of voting this past Sunday, is key to the future of billions of dollars in pledged earthquake aid and to that of the 14,000-strong UN force that has occupied Haiti since the 2004 coup d’etat that overthrew Aristide and his party.

The banning of progressive parties and the FL from this year’s polls, allegedly because of procedural and technical issues, opened the electoral landscape to two neo-Duvalierist presidential candidates: Mirlande Manigat, 70, the wife (and some say surrogate) of a former right-wing president, and Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly, 50, a popular konpa musician.

Martelly appeared to emerge as the victor, although preliminary results won’t be announced until March 31 and final ones on April 16.

Both candidates supported the 1991 and the 2004 coups against Aristide and both call for reinstating the repressive US-created Haitian army, which Aristide disbanded in 1995.

Patrick Elie, a former adviser to both outgoing President Rene Preval and President Aristide, argued that the United States has played an influential, behind-the-scenes role in the election, helping to put the extreme right in power in order to perpetuate the occupation of Haiti and keep its neoliberal policies in place.

“For twenty-five years, the US and the international community have sought to remove the people and the population from the political scene, and the plan has succeeded for the time being,” said Elie, referring to what British academic Peter Hallward called one of the most prolonged and intense periods of counterrevolution anywhere in the world.

“But the victor of these elections will have very little popular legitimacy,” Elie said, arguing that the electoral process has been a farce. “And because of that the victor will be the puppet of the international community and will have no card to play and no real popular support.”

In Cité Soleil, a vast and extremely poor neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, heavily armed UN soldiers patrol the streets. Graffiti proclaims “UN = misery” and “NGOs = misery,” references to the dominant role the international UN system plays in Haiti. (The UN military mission is the third largest in the world after Darfur and Congo.)

“This is an election of social exclusion; this is a selection,” said Wilson St. Val, 35, sitting in the shadow of a Brazilian-manned armored personnel carrier outside a Cité Soleil polling booth.

A former Presidential Service guard under Aristide, St. Val—like hundreds of Lavalas supporters—was beaten and imprisoned without charge after the 2004 coup. He walked free after five years in jail when the earthquake damaged Haiti’s notorious National Penitentiary.

“Our roots are numerous under the ground, truly numerous. We will not allow those people to exclude us from society at all. They call us bandits, they call us gangs, they call us kidnappers. But we won’t give up,” he said.

Despite the high stakes for the international community, Sunday’s balloting suffered from widespread administrative flaws and massive abstention by Haiti’s 4.7 million voters. And UN forces shot and killed at least one person on election day.

A review of balloting at four large polling stations in three Port-au-Prince districts revealed a voter participation rate of less than 18 percent among a sample of more than 12,600 registered voters.

UN officials put the turnout slightly higher. The UN’s Haiti chief, Guatemalan Edmond Mulet, claimed that more people voted than in the first round of presidential polling in November, when the turnout rate was 23 percent.

Even if that is true, it would represent the lowest electoral participation rate in the hemisphere going back to 1947, according to the Washington-based Center for Economic and Policy Research.

And it is far from a popular mandate for Martelly, who has used his entertainment roots to define himself as a political outsider. In robocalls, he promised change and all Haitians free education.

“He’s a musician and not a politician,” noted Ulysse Louisler, a 23-year-old resident of one of Port-au-Prince’s 1,000 earthquake camps, saying he would vote for Martelly. “With him, we have no experience. That’s why we want to test him.”

Less well known than Martelly’s music has been a history of crack abuse, threats of violence and close ties to Haitian military and political coup leaders with a string of human rights violations.

And Martelly has been an open and aggressive antagonist of Haiti’s popular and democratic movement.

In a recent YouTube video, the candidate threatens a patron in a bar where he has performed. “All those shits were Aristide’s faggots,” he says. “I would kill Aristide to stick a dick up your ass.”

The Spanish firm Ostos & Sola, which ran Mexico President Felipe Calderón’s controversial elections, has handled Martelly’s campaign. Under its tutelage, Tet Kale—or bald head, as he is known—has dropped much but not all of the thuggery and trash talk.

Patrick Elie warned that the new government, given its lack of popular legitimacy, may resort to repression to maintain control, with crackdowns on freedom of speech and assembly likely.

“There will be a clash between what the international community and neo-Duvalierists want and what the population still wants,” said Elie.

“And it might start earlier rather than later because the extreme right has no popular base and because these candidates are totally anti-popular.”


'Severe Threat': Deficit May Spark New Meltdown

The gaping deficits are threatening the economy to the point they can no longer be ignored by anyone in government and may lead “to a crisis that could dwarf 2008," 10 former members of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers write in an open letter published by Politico.

The letter, written by former chairmen and chairwomen of the council serving both Republican and Democratic administrations, say recommendations by budget watchdogs Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson arguing that the long-run federal budget deficit will pose a serious threat to the economy need much more attention from both political parties. Bowles and Simpson co-chaired the White House’s deficit-reduction commission in 2010.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office in January raised its estimate for the annual deficit from $1.1 trillion to $1.5 trillion. It said the tax cuts would add $400 billion to this year's gap. The budget year ends Sept. 30.

The full-year deficit would exceed 2009's record deficit of $1.41 trillion. And it would mark the third straight year of $1 trillion-plus deficits.

"There are many issues on which we don’t agree. Yet we find ourselves in remarkable unanimity about the long-run federal budget deficit: It is a severe threat that calls for serious and prompt attention," the authors write in the letter addressing Congress and President Barack Obama.

"While the actual deficit is likely to shrink over the next few years as the economy continues to recover, the aging of the baby-boom generation and rapidly rising healthcare costs are likely to create a large and growing gap between spending and revenues. These deficits will take a toll on private investment and economic growth."

Lenders, the authors point out, will run out of patience with Washington's spending spree.

"At some point, bond markets are likely to turn on the United States — leading to a crisis that could dwarf 2008."

To get the country out of its fiscal mess, the government must slash discretionary spending substantially, according to the Bowles-Simpson report.

"Everything is on the table, including security spending, which has grown rapidly in the past decade," the authors point out.

Tax reform is also needed, which was called for in the report issued by Bowles and Simpson.

Yet not everyone will fully agree on how to steer the economy away from overspending, and the Bowles-Simpson report will not receive a warm embrace from all of the nation's economic leaders.

"The commission’s recommendations for slowing the growth of government healthcare expenditures — the central cause of our long-run deficits — are incomplete. It proposes setting spending targets and calls for a process to suggest further reforms if the targets aren’t met. But it also lays out a number of concrete steps, like increasing the scope of the new Independent Payment Advisory Board and limiting the tax deductibility of health insurance."

But it is a start, and a good start at that.

"To be sure, we don’t all support every proposal here. Each one of us could probably come up with a deficit reduction plan we like better. Some of us already have. Many of us might prefer one of the comprehensive alternative proposals offered in recent months," the letter reads.

"Yet we all strongly support prompt consideration of the commission’s proposals. The unsustainable long-run budget outlook is a growing threat to our well-being. Further stalemate and inaction would be irresponsible."

Bowles and Simpson have said the U.S. will battle a destabilizing fiscal crisis in two years or even sooner if spending isn't brought under control.

"This problem is going to happen long before my grandchildren grow up," Bowles, who was White House chief of staff during the Clinton administration, said recently, according to the Wall Street Journal.

"This is a problem we are going to have to face up to it maybe two years, maybe a little less, maybe a little more."

Simpson, a former Republican senator from Wyoming, agrees, adding "I think it will come before two years."

By Forrest Jones

© Moneynews.http://www.moneynews.com/Headline/Economists-Obama-Deficit-Severe/2011/03/24/id/390581?s=al&promo_code=BEED-1

Harry Reid admits abortion will not be cut whatsoever!

“I’ll shut down the government before I’ll cut one penny of abortion funding!”

Dear Rocco,

The gauntlet has been thrown.

The infamous Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid recently declared to the American people that he would rather shut down the U.S. government than allow ANY cuts in funding to Planned Parenthood -- the number one abortion provider in the world.

This epic fight is being carried out in the “budget battle” that is now going through the United States Congress. There was a vote in the House of Representatives already to defund Planned Parenthood -- but the pro-abortion members of both parties in Congress are adamantly opposed to ANY cuts in Planned Parenthood’s funding, and even many “pro-life” members are not ready to go all the way against them.

Right now, you and I need to bring enormous pressure upon Congress in order to make sure that we defund Planned Parenthood for the remainder of the fiscal year, which goes through the end of September.

We’re talking about $170 million -- reluctantly provided to Planned Parenthood by the U.S. taxpayer. That means you!

Your representatives in Washington are under enormous pressure to cave in to Harry Reid’s “ransom” demands, or else he’ll “hijack” and “kidnap” the federal government!

This is what we are up against when it comes to fanatically pro-abortion zealots.

However, there is hope that we can win this fight! All we need is your immediate action so that the House of Representatives keeps the Pence Amendment (which defunds Planned Parenthood) in the “Continuing Resolution” bill that is being so hotly debated in Congress right now.

The four key players involved in this fight are: Rep. John Boehner (House Majority Leader)… Rep. Eric Cantor (Majority Whip)… Rep. Paul Ryan (Chairman of the House Budget Committee)... and Rep. Mike Pence (author of the Pence Amendment to defund Planned Parenthood).

For your convenience in contacting these four brave men who are on our side, we have prepared a message that you can sign just by clicking here. We will deliver it to them in person from our Washington DC office.

And while you are still on your computer, please forward this Alert to everyone on your email list.

I thank you in advance for your prompt action on this matter. The vote could happen at any time, so we must act now!

In a recent statement on the issue of defunding Planned Parenthood through the Pence Amendment, Harry Reid said -- in no uncertain terms -- “Not only no, but HELL NO!”

So we are turning this around on Harry Reid. When it comes to taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood’s abortion business, we say, “Not only no, but HELL NO!”

Please take action now
. The babies you help save will thank you some day.


Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life

PS: I thought you’d like to know that these email campaigns have proven to be tremendously successful in helping us achieve our goals. For instance, the fight to save Baby Joseph was won because you and tens of thousands of your fellow pro-lifers sent the automatic emails and forwarded my Alerts to your friends and family members.

Again, all you need to do is click here
. It’s the easiest way to have the greatest impact in the shortest amount of time.

And don’t forget to forward this email to everyone on your list. Thank you for caring, and may God continue to bless you and your family during this holy season of Lent.

Priests For Life
PO Box 141172
Staten Island, NY 10314
Phone: 888-PFL-3448
Fax: 718-980-6515
Email: mail@priestsforlife.org

Hebrews 13:20-21 (King James Version)

"Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,

Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever.


Dimitri Shostakovich - String Quartet No.8 in C minor op.110 (1960) 1º & 2 MOVIMENT

CHRIS BOTTI IN BOSTON | "Emmanuel" w/ Lucia Micarelli | PBS

"From the Halls of Montezuma..."

The Obama administration's strategic air strikes on Libya's defense systems, according to director of foreign policy studies Christopher A. Preble, confirm the death of the Weinberger/Powell doctrine:

The doctrine that sought to prevent the United States from engaging in risky and counterproductive missions that had nothing to do with protecting U.S. vital interests (e.g. Lebanon 1983; Somalia, 1991; and Kosovo, 1999) is dead. Shovel dirt on it.... It goes too far to claim that the Libyan intervention killed the Weinberger/Powell doctrine. It was already dead, or at least very sick. But I see President Obama's latest decision as a clear indication that the relative wisdom and prudence of the Reagan/Bush I years is but a distant memory.

Not only was the president's decision unwise and imprudent—it was unconstitutional, says John Samples, director of Cato's Center for Representative Government:

President Obama told Congress that the use of force in Libya was intended "to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe and address the threat posed to international peace and security by the crisis in Libya." But the framers did not empower the president to initiate war to prevent humanitarian catastrophes, deal with threats to international peace and security, or protect the lives of foreign nationals. The framers stated that the Constitution was instituted to provide for the common defense of We, the People, not the defense of people everywhere.

Vice president for defense and foreign policy studies Ted Galen Carpenter notes that there are other practical problems with the administration's decision to engage:

Even well-intentioned interference on behalf of the rebels is likely to raise suspicions in that country and throughout much of the Muslim world that Washington is trying to hijack the Libyan uprising for its own purposes. Given America's woeful reputation among Muslim populations, such accusations are inevitable and are likely to be believed.

Preble is the author of The Power Problem: How American Military Dominance Makes Us Less Safe, Less Prosperous, and Less Free, and Carpenter is the author of Smart Power: Toward a Prudent Foreign Policy for America. Don't miss Samples's podcast, "Tea Partiers, Wars and Fiscal Restraint."

They said it wasn't like Cernobyl and they were wrong

According to an international scientific group monitoring radiation around the world, the Fukushima reactors are emitting nuclear toxins at levels approaching those seen in the "aftermath" of Chernobyl. The Chernobyl disaster began with an explosion, Fukushima is a smoldering cauldron of toxins. Chernobyl had 180 tonnes of nuclear fuel on site. Fukushima has 1700 tonnes of nuclear fuel on site. (Image)

This isn't the beginning of the end as hoped, it's looking like the end of the beginning.

CounterPunch ran an interview wit Japanese nuclear industry author Hiroshe Takashi just yesterday in which the author lamented the poor reporting of the tragedy in the Japanese press:

"Really, they talk this nonsense, trying to reassure everyone, trying to avoid panic. What we need now is a proper panic. Because the situation has come to the point where the danger is real." Hiroshe Takashi, CounterPunch March 22

Just two days later, the "proper panic" is on its way.

The Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics of Vienna, Austria has a world wide monitoring system set up to monitor the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. They are well positioned to monitor the effects of the Fukishima disaster.

The group told New Scientist that:

Japan's damaged nuclear plant in Fukushima has been emitting radioactive iodine and caesium at levels approaching those seen in the aftermath of the Chernobyl accident in 1986. Austrian researchers have used a worldwide network of radiation detectors – designed to spot clandestine nuclear bomb tests – to show that iodine-131 is being released at daily levels 73 per cent of those seen after the 1986 disaster. The daily amount of caesium-137 released from Fukushima Daiichi is around 60 per cent of the amount released from Chernobyl. New Scientist, March 24

The concerns about spent fuel rods and cooling polls in the reactor have materialized. The Chernobyl event was more discrete and identifiable with a major explosion but damaged reactors at Fukushima are toxic nonetheless. The Austrian scientists point out that Chernobyl had 180 tons of nuclear on hand while Fukushima has nearly ten times that amount at 1700 tons.

"When the fuel is damaged there is no reason for the volatile elements not to escape," and the measured caesium and iodine are in the right ratios for the fuel used by the Fukushima Daiichi reactors. Also, the Fukushima plant has around 1760 tonnes of fresh and used nuclear fuel on site, and an unknown amount has been damaged. The Chernobyl reactor had only 180 tonnes. New Scientist, March 24

In his interview on the 22nd, Takashi was blunt about the health risks. He distinguished between radiation in the atomsphere and radioactive particles carried in the atmosphere, then ingested into the body.

Yoh: So making comparisons with X-rays and CT scans has no meaning. Because you can breathe in radioactive material.

Hirose: That’s right. When it enters your body, there’s no telling where it will go. The biggest danger is women, especially pregnant women, and little children. Now they’re talking about iodine and cesium, but that’s only part of it, they’re not using the proper detection instruments. What they call monitoring means only measuring the amount of radiation in the air. Their instruments don’t eat. What they measure has no connection with the amount of radioactive material. . . .

Yoh: So damage from radioactive rays and damage from radioactive material are not the same.

Hirose: If you ask, are any radioactive rays from the Fukushima Nuclear Station here in this studio, the answer will be no. But radioactive particles are carried here by the air. When the core begins to melt down, elements inside like iodine turn to gas. It rises to the top, so if there is any crevice it escapes outside. Hiroshe Takashi, CounterPunch, March 22

The Austrian Institute scientists also pointed out that the spread of radioactive isotopes from Chernobyl are still causing thyroid cancer today:

While in the body the isotopes' radioactive emissions can do significant damage, mainly to DNA. Children who ingest iodine-131 can develop thyroid cancer 10 or more years later; adults seem relatively resistant. A study published in the US last week found that iodine-131 from Chernobyl is still causing new cases of thyroid cancer to appear at an undiminished rate in the most heavily affected regions of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia. New Scientist, March 24

National Public Radio (NPR) did an interview with Green anti nuclear activist Aileen Mioko Smith yesterday that brought out the immediate concerns of the Japanese public

Smith pointed out that the Japanese government's evacuation zone was far from optimal and exposed women and children, in particular, to serious dangers:

Yesterday, the Japanese government admitted that 30 kilometers outside—this is not an evacuated zone—a person could have been exposed to as much as 100 millisieverts of radiation. That would be twice the amount of the evacuation threshold established by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the World Health Organization. And yet, the Japanese government refuses to evacuate people from beyond a 20-kilometer—that’s a 12-mile—area. And just an hour ago, up to 23 Diet members of the Japanese national parliament have issued a statement saying that immediate evacuation, drastically increasing the area outside of that 30-kilometer zone right now, should happen. And immediately, at the very beginning, pregnant women and preschool-aged children should be evacuated from this area that still hasn’t been evacuated. It’s about a 20-mile area right now. Aileen Mioko Smith, March 24

The radioactive contamination has been found in 11 foods in the fertile prefectures surrounding Fukushima. The more immediate area is showing alarming levels of soil contamination.

And the soil contamination is really high. Soil found 40 kilometers away—now, remember, it’s still 30 kilometers indoors, stay indoors; 20 kilometers, evacuation. So, beyond that area, for example, north-northwest in Imatate, the levels on the soil were very high—in fact, a thousand times iodine, 4,000 times the cesium standard. And we just got a report from the Kyoto Research Reactor Institute, Dr. Tetsuji Imanaka, that said that—he had to look a little bit more into the sampling of the Japanese government, but depending on how the sampling was done, this level of contamination in the soil could be twice the amount that was compulsory evacuation for Chernobyl. Aileen Mioko Smith, March 24

After discussing what she called the "travesty" of Japanese earthquake standards for nuclear facilities, Smith provided a clue to what people in nation's across the world will face from the nuclear industry PR machine:

I think that, you know, the Japanese public is very concerned about radiation, of course, because they know what happened—you know, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the latent effects—and so, there was a concern. But the PR, the ability of the utilities, like Tokyo Electric, putting on full-page ads in the papers and on TV all the time, all the time, about how nuclear was safe and how it was necessary, that I think the Japanese public, a lot of them, felt that—well, one is, it was a necessary evil in a country that didn’t have energy, its own energy source, or that Japanese nuclear power must be safe. But that really wasn’t the case. Aileen Mioko Smith, March 24

There will be much more information available as events unfold and a wider public begins to ask the hard questions about their safety and that of their children and the causes of this emerging tragedy.

By Michael Collins

This article may be reproduced entirely or in part with attribution of authorship and a link to this article.

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Military officer’s 9/11 case against Bush officials to be heard April 5

A Top Secret Military Specialist, who was injured in the Pentagon explosion on September 11, 2001 and who sued Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Air Force General Richard Myers for conspiracy, terrorism, constitutional violations, and for personal injuries, will have her case heard by the United States Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit (Connecticut) on April 5.

April Gallop saw disturbing things up close that have not been reported in the media, advises her attorney, William Veale. An independent judicial hearing of that and other evidence will allow review of the official explanation of the events on 9/11, which numerous experts claim to be impossible according to the laws of physics.

On March 15th, 2010, the lower court dismissed with prejudice the case of Gallop v. Cheney, et. al., ruling that the Complaint was frivolous and based on “cynical delusion and fantasy.” Judge Denny Chin refused to consider any other claims, including those backed by testimony of Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta to the 9/11 Commission about former vice president Dick Cheney’s stand down order. Gallop appealed the decision.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, she was ordered by her supervisor to go directly to work at the Pentagon, before dropping off her ten-week-old son Elisha at day care. Amazingly, the infant was given immediate security clearance upon arrival.

The instant Gallop turned on her computer an enormous explosion blew her out of her chair, knocking her momentarily unconscious.

Escaping through the hole reportedly made by Flight 77, she saw no signs of an aircraft – no seats, luggage, metal, or human remains. Her watch (and other clocks nearby) had stopped at 9:30-9:31 a.m., seven minutes before the Pentagon was allegedly struck (at 9:38 a.m.).

The 9/11 Commission reported that "by no later than 9:18 a.m., FAA centers in Indianapolis, Cleveland, and Washington were aware that Flight 77 was missing and that two aircraft had struck the World Trade Center."

Why then were there no anti-aircraft defenses, Gallop asks, or alarm warnings inside the Pentagon?

Gallop was briefed by officials not to tell her story in public; she also received an email from a Fox News reporter who had been told by the Pentagon not to interview her.

Gallop now believes that officials within the Bush Administration conspired to destroy the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and WTC 7 – the third building brought down at 5:20 p.m. that day – with pre-placed explosives detonated after the planes hit.

Gallop's case relies on virtually all forms of evidence admissible in court, but significantly, on published scientific evidence that residues of these explosives were found in the rubble after the attacks. In its totality the proffered case establishes that the government hypothesis – that the buildings collapsed due to fire in combination with the airplane impacts – is scientifically untenable.

In addition, Ms. Gallop will, through photographic and other physical evidence, as well as the testimony of a multitude of military and civilian survivors, demonstrate the impossibility of her having lived through the attack on the Pentagon if it had taken place as the government and the defendants claim.

A December 2010 poll conducted by the prestigious Emnid Institute, and reported in the German magazine "Welt der Wunder," revealed that 89.5% of German respondents do not believe the official story of 9/11. German Federal Judge, Deiter Dieseroth, stated in December 2009 that:

"No independent court has applied legal procedures to review the available evidence on who was responsible for the attacks."

The stakes in this case are epic, including the possibility of an overwhelming transformation of the world's understanding of history, not to mention American citizens' relationship with their government.

The case of Gallop v. Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Myers will be heard on Tuesday, April 5 at 11 a.m. at the Federal Courthouse at 141 Church Street in New Haven, Connecticut.

Documents related to the case can be found here.

Click here if you wish to support the legal efforts of this lawsuit.

Edited by Rady Ananda
From info provided by Center for 9/11 Justice


Bromine Toxic to Nerve Cells

Question: Can you tell me more about bromine? What is it and how can I avoid coming in contact with it?

Dr. Brownstein's Answer:

We are awash in a sea of toxins, many of which have never, until recent years, come in contact with the human body. One such toxin, bromine, is found in a variety of everyday items, including foods. It is also widely used as a flame retardant in the United States.

In the April 2010 issue of Environmental Health Perspectives, researchers reported on the effect of a common flame retardant, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), focusing on toxicity to neural tissue. The scientists studied the most common PBDEs found among humans today, BDE-47 and BDE-99, in a culture with human nerve cells. They found that PBDEs inhibited the normal migration and reduced the normal differentiation of the cells.

Bromine is a toxic element with no known therapeutic value, and this study demonstrated that bromine was toxic to human nerve cells. Elevated bromine levels cause the body to release iodine. In iodine-deficient states, the toxicity of bromine is elevated.

Unfortunately, “acceptable” PBDE levels have been increasing (in adults as well as infants and toddlers) substantially during the last two decades. I have found the vast majority of my patients (over 95 percent) are iodine deficient, and nearly 100 percent have elevated bromine levels.

So what can you do to counteract this toxic substance? As much as you can, avoid food and drink with bromine, and ensure that you ingest enough iodine. More information can be found in my book, "Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It."

© 2011 Newsmax.

Read more: Bromine Toxic to Nerve Cells

"The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock" by T S Eliot (poetry reading)

Norah Jones - Sinkin' Soon

From Gaza to Jerusalem: JVP Statement on the Escalation of Violence

Dear Rocco,

Please feel free to share this statement with your friends, loved ones, and colleagues. We hope it will inspire heartfelt conversations, debates, and questioning. And most of all action- no matter how big or small- for a better and more just world that values all lives equally.

Cecilie Surasky
Jewish Voice for Peace

From Gaza to Jerusalem: JVP Statement on the Escalation of Violence, March 25, 2011

Any act of violence, especially one against civilians, marks a profound failure of human imagination and causes a deep and abiding trauma for all involved. In mourning the nine lives lost in Gaza and the one life lost in Jerusalem this week, we reject the pattern of condemning the deaths of Israelis while ignoring the deaths of Palestinians. We do not discriminate.
One life lost is one life too many--whether Palestinian or Israeli.

Within the context of 44 years of the Israeli occupation of Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem, in the past two years (January 31, 2009 to January 31, 2011, starting just after Operation Cast Lead), over a thousand Palestinians have been made homeless by home demolitions, hundreds have been unlawfully detained, and over 150 men, women and children have been killed by the IDF and settlers, according to the Israeli human rights group B’tselem.(1) Many acres of Palestinian land have been taken and orchards uprooted by armed settlers. Countless hours have been lost at checkpoints, often fruitlessly, while Palestinians attempted to get medical care, jobs, and access to education. One and a half million Gazans have been living with a limited food supply, lack of electricity and dangerously toxic sewage.

This is occupation: daily, persistent acts of structural violence. All in the service of a government that constantly expands illegal Israeli settlements on land that rightfully belongs to Palestinians.

These acts don't reach our headlines because they are so habitual, so we learn not to see them. But Palestinians live them and their profound consequences everyday, and we must keep that in mind, even as we ponder the terrible events of the past few weeks:(2)

  • A person or persons, (we don't know who), bombed a bus stop in Jerusalem, injuring 30 and killing 1 Israeli civilian;
  • An Israeli bombing killed 3 children and an older man in Gaza;
  • A person or persons, (we don't know who), murdered 5 members of a family, including three children, in Itamar, an Israeli settlement in the West Bank;
  • The Israeli government suddenly tightened the siege of Gaza and escalated military attacks, killing a total of 11 Palestinians and injuring more than 40 since mid-March;(3)
  • Palestinians fired over 50 shells and rockets from Gaza into civilian areas in southern Israel.
These terrible acts of violence remind us that to end the Israeli occupation our best hope is supporting the inspiring nonviolent Palestinian movement for change, in the form of unarmed protests every Friday in places like Bil’in, Ni'lin, Sheikh Jarrah, and the Global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. This is a movement that respects life, that is part and parcel of the nonviolent democratic people's movements we have been inspired by throughout the Arab world, that welcomes the solidarity and support of Israeli and international believers in equality and universal human rights.

This is a movement that fundamentally subverts the logic of armies, revenge-fueled “price tags”, and armed struggle.
And it is a movement that may well do what no other government to date has done-- pressure Israel to be accountable to international law and therefore help create conditions for truly meaningful negotiations.

Because it is so powerful, it is no surprise that the right to engage in nonviolent resistance, a foundational component of any functioning democracy, is under attack in Israel.
Human rights activists are being detained or imprisoned. Bills to criminalize the BDS movement, or harass human rights organizations, are working their way through the Knesset.

Just this week:

  • The very act of publicly commemorating the Nakba, a crucial nonviolent act of Palestinian remembrance, was essentially criminalized in Israel by the Knesset.(4)The Knesset also passed a law allowing small communities in the Galilee and Negev to discriminate against anyone wanting to reside there who does not fit in with the community’s “socio-cultural” character.(5)
  • The Knesset also held hearings to assess whether the “pro-Israel, pro-peace” group J Street was sufficiently pro-Israel.(6)
  • The IDF announced a new military intelligence-gathering unit solely dedicated to monitoring international left-wing peace and human rights groups that the army sees as a threat to Israel. The department will work closely with government ministries.(7)
  • Dozens of Israeli soldiers raided the home of Bassem Tamimi, Head of the nonviolent Nabi Saleh Popular Committee , and beat his wife and daughter while arresting him presumably on charges of "incitement" and "organizing illegal demonstrations."(8)

As the Israeli government increasingly deploys anti-democratic measures and military repression, we at Jewish Voice for Peace are redoubling our efforts to support the best hope- a nonviolent Palestinian-led resistance movement in which we all work together to nurture life, justice and equality. We invite you to join the movement.

(1) B'tselem: Fatalities after operation "Cast Lead"
(2) The Guardian, March 23:
Israeli-Palestinian tensions: a timeline
(3) Alternative Information Center, March 23:
Israel's Military Escalation in Gaza
(4) Jerusalem Post, March 23:
Nakba Bill passes Knesset in third reading
(5) +972 Magazine, March 22:
Knesset passes segregation bill
(6) New York Times, March 24:
U.S. Group Stirs Debate On Being "Pro-Israel"
(7) Ha'aretz, March 21:
Military Intelligence monitoring foreign left-wing organizations

and +972 Magazine, March 22: Military Intelligence monitors "de-legitimization"
(8) Popular Struggle, March 24, 2011:
Israeli Soldiers arrest Bassem Tamimi, Coordinator of Nabi Saleh Popular Committee

Apple and the gay-rights lobby have struck again, and we must act.

Last fall, Apple banned the Manhattan Declaration from iTunes store after protests by gay-rights groups. Now, similar protests have claimed another victim: the app created by Exodus International, a great Christian ministry that helps people who want to leave the homosexual lifestyle to do so.

Gay-rights groups will target every Christian app that dares to dissent from their views on issues of sexuality and marriage.

Obviously our ability to get our message out is being damaged. But much more important, so are the concepts of religious liberty and free speech, which are so vital to the functioning of a free society.

Make no mistake about it; the gay lobby is not just trying to win their argument in the public square. They are trying to marginalize, intimidate, and ultimately silence anyone who dares to oppose their viewpoint.

This is not the way free societies are supposed to work. And Apple, which is an important conveyor of information in this information age, is behaving shamefully.

Please, call the Apple switchboard at (408-996-1010) and respectfully request that they reinstate both the Manhattan Declaration app and the Exodus International app. Or, call or visit your local Apple store and do the same.

If we don't raise our voices now, we may well lose our most precious liberties.

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The Manhattan Declaration is a non-partisan statement of conscience in defense of human life, traditional marriage and religious freedom. Visit us at ManhattanDeclaration.org

Milwaukee protest slams Governor Walker’s attempt to destroy unions

March 24 protest in Milwaukee
March 24 protest in Milwaukee. (Fight Back! News/Staff)
Picketing Governor Walker in Milwaukee
Picketing Governor Walker in Milwaukee

Milwaukee, WI - Anger over Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's attempts to destroy public workers’ unions continues, as was seen in Milwaukee, March 24, when 300 people protested the arrival of Gov. Walker at an elite Milwaukee club.

Gov. Walker was in town to help raise funds for Milwaukee County Executive candidate Jeff Stone, who working people strongly reject because of his support for anti-union legislation.

Walker and Stone's moneyed supporters, arriving in their Lexus cars and BMWs, had the option of inching through the crowd of protesters or parking blocks away and sneaking via side entrances to the club.

"Shame!" yelled the protesters as they passed by. Chants of "How do you solve the deficit? Tax, tax, tax, the rich!" rang out.

Dawn Tefft, co-president of the Milwaukee Graduate Assistants Association, the union for teacher assistants at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, was one of the protesters in the crowd. "I'm here to protest Scott Walker and put pressure on his financial backers. We need to rescind this anti-union legislation," she asserted.

Walker's legislation, which attempts to severely limit collective bargaining rights of public employee unions in Wisconsin, was passed by the majority-Republican legislature on March 10, but has since been put on hold after Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi issued a temporary restraining order barring the law from going into effect. Judge Sumi issued the restraining order because the Republican legislature likely violated open meeting laws while attempting to pass the bill.

When the Republican legislators rammed through the legislation, tens of thousands of protesters were locked outside the state Capitol, while dozens more were inside and eventually dragged out by heavily-armed police.


Nuke Fears Compound, Japan Says Situation 'Grave and Serious'

"We are not in a position where we can be optimistic."

The situation at Japan's crippled nuclear complex in Fukushima 240km north of Tokyo remains “grave and serious,” prime minister Naota Kan said today.

'QUALITY OF LIFE': The government's chief spokesman, Yukio Edano, said 130,000 residents in the area had been encouraged to leave to improve their quality of life, not because their health was at risk. Japan Self Defense Force members in protective clothing prepare to transfer to another hospital workers who were exposed to radiation at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, at a hospital in Fukushima Prefecture, March 25, 2011. (Kyodo) In a televised address Mr Kan warned that “we are not in a position where we can be optimistic. We must treat every development with the utmost care”.

He apologized to farmers and business owners around the plant for damage caused.

Two Japanese travelers arriving in China today were found to have high radiation levels in the latest consequence of contamination from a crippled nuclear plant two weeks after the Asian nation's devastating earthquake and tsunami.

China's customs body said the pair had medical treatment for radiation levels "seriously" over the limit, but they did not present a risk to others after flying to Wuxi in the east.

Until now no one in Japan except workers at the stricken plant has been found with seriously elevated radiation levels, and Japan's foreign ministry noted that as of March 18 the International Civil Aviation Association had declared that screening of airline passengers from Japan was not necessary.

The first case of contaminated Japanese traveling abroad came after injuries to workers slowed the battle to control the nuclear complex.

Some 700 engineers have been working around the clock to stabilize the six-reactor plant since the multiple disaster on March 11 that also left more than 27,000 people dead or missing.

But they had to pull out of some parts of the complex when three workers replacing a cable at one reactor were exposed to high contamination by standing in radioactive water yesterday, officials said.

Two were taken to hospital with possible radiation burns after the water seeped over their boots.

"We should try to avoid delays as much as possible, but we also need to ensure that the people working there are safe," said Japanese nuclear agency official Hidehiko Nishiyama.

Safety fears at the plant and beyond - radiation particles have been found as far away as Iceland - are compounding Japan's worst crisis since the second World War.

As well as causing the most serious nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986, the magnitude 9.0 quake and ensuing wall of water that tore in from the Pacific killed 9,811 people and left 17,541 more missing, according to latest police figures.

Kyodo news agency said the death toll had topped 10,000.


Forget Those Expensive Nanny State Gyms...Buy A Hoola Hoop, Instead

Getting hounded and ads bombarded by 'Michelle Obama's Obesity' Police State...don't let the gymnasiums steal your' hard-earned money...get a hoola hoop.

P.S. Do your' exercises in front of your' husband every morning. There's the distinct possibility you'll both get to work late, or, never get to work at all! But what a way to lose money...better than giving it to some gym...plus, hubby will be losing some pounds, also: )

Miranda is Obama's Latest Victim

One of the central pledges of Barack Obama's campaign was that -- as he put it early in his presidency -- the Bush administration had gone wildly wrong because it "established an ad hoc legal approach for fighting terrorism that was neither effective nor sustainable -- a framework that failed to rely on our legal traditions and time-tested institutions; that failed to use our values as a compass." Instead, he implored, we must fight Terrorism only "with an abiding confidence in the rule of law and due process, in checks and balances and accountability." Thus, he thunderously vowed, "We must never -- ever -- turn our back on its enduring principles for expedience sake."

The number of instances in which Obama has violently breached his own alleged principles when it comes to the War on Terror and the rule of law are too numerous to chronicle in one place. Suffice to say, it is no longer provocative or controversial when someone like Yale Law Professor Jack Balkin writes, as he did the other day, that Obama "has more or less systematically adopted policies consistent with the second term of the George W. Bush Administration." No rational person can argue that or even tries to any longer. It's just a banal expression of indisputable fact.

Today, the Obama DOJ unveiled the latest -- and one of the most significant -- examples of its eagerness to assault the very legal values Obama vowed to protect. The Wall Street Journal reports that "new rules allow investigators to hold domestic-terror suspects longer than others without giving them a Miranda warning, significantly expanding exceptions to the instructions that have governed the handling of criminal suspects for more than four decades." The only previous exception to the 45-year-old Miranda requirement that someone in custody be apprised of their rights occurred in 1984, when the Rehnquist-led right-wing faction of the Supreme Court allowed delay "only in cases of an imminent safety threat," but these new rules promulgated by the Obama DOJ "give interrogators more latitude and flexibility to define what counts as an appropriate circumstance to waive Miranda rights."

For that reason, the WSJ is surely correct when it calls these new guidelines "one of the Obama administration's most significant revisions to rules governing the investigation of terror suspects in the U.S." Note that, in 7 years of prosecuting the War on Terror after 9/11, the Bush administration never tried to dilute Miranda guidelines (though doing so for them was irrelevant because they simply imprisoned even American citizens (such as Jose Padilla) without any charges or due process of any kind).

Ironically, it was the administration -- and its followers -- that defended the sanctity of Miranda back in late 2009, when the Cheney/Kristol/Limbaugh/Palin Right attacked Obama for Mirandizing the "underwear bomber" as soon as he was taken into custody. Back then, the White House and its loyalists stridently argued that Miranda does not interfere with effective interrogations and that, in any event, it is a pillar of our justice system that should not be eroded. We'll undoubtedly be hearing from the same precincts now -- from the very same people -- that diluting Miranda is necessary to Keep Us Safe; that it's fully within a President's right to change Miranda guidelines without Congress (just like he can start wars on his own); and that it's merely a tiny little change that pales in comparison to the Important Issues of the Day. For anyone who defends Obama's new decision here, shouldn't you also admit that Rush Limbaugh and Bill Kristol were right in criticizing Obama back then and demanding dilution of Miranda for Terrorism suspects?

By Glenn Greenwald

Read the full article at Salon.com

Millions Against Monsanto Campaign 2011

Our Theaters of the Absurd

It's been a long time since I sat in a college literature class and learned about the theater of the absurd, the work of great writers like Beckett, Ionesco, Genet and Camus. Their writing was their way of reacting to a world that seemed out of control and out of its mind.

Wikipedia tells us: The Theater of the Absurd, "expressed the belief that, in a Godless universe, human existence has no meaning or purpose and therefore all communication breaks down. Logical construction and argument gives way to irrational and illogical speech and to its ultimate conclusion, silence.”

Significantly, the word theater is used for places where plays are produced and the lands upon which we conduct our wars. The battlefield is considered as much a "theater" as a venue on Broadway.

Without waxing philosophically and commenting on the many unknowns that so obsessed Donald Rumsfeld, our modern day philosopher king of the Pentagonian School, one has to abandon logic and rationality to try to make sense out of what is happening in front of our eyes.

The great leader who led the disastrous invasion of Iraq, and who expected that war to be a “cakewalk,” now calls the latest US attack "worrisome.” Rummy may be right this time.

Worrisome perhaps, that the media that has been having a ball making fun of Gaddafi’s fears about Al Qaeda and hasn’t looked at intelligence reports that suggest he may be right. Benghazi has been one of Bin Laden’s favorite recruiting zones.

Then there was this inconvenient fact in the Washington Post: “Six days into the allied bombardment of Libyan military targets, it is clear that Moammar Gaddafi can count on the fierce loyalties of at least a significant portion of the population."(Don't the Pentagon planners know that when you bomb a country, the people unite against the aggressor. For more on this, see the history books.)

As Alexander Cockburn puts it, “The war on Libya now being waged by the US, Britain and France must surely rank as one of the stupidest martial enterprises, smaller in scale to be sure, since Napoleon took it into his head to invade Russia in 1812.”

It's one thing to oppose a policy that seems to have a rational logic behind it, however disguised, deceptive, and misguided. It’s another to find policies built around a politician’s desire to deflect criticism, look good or act for the sake of acting. That’s the essence of absurd.

We would like to think that our “leaders” know what they are doing and behave within some calculus of civilized norms. More often they act in a rushed manner on bad intelligence, or no intelligence at all, defending what they do with folksy aphorisms and unverified or unverifiable claims.

George W. Bush was a master of nonsensical faith-based explanations that he no doubt believed even when they made no sense. He viewed facts with disdain.

Western nations, wracked it seems by guilt and hidden motives about oil booty, start bombing Libya, ostensibly to protect civilians who perish in the bombings. Their action was uncoordinated, their mission imprecise, and its impact uncertain. They are aligned with a phantom group called “The Rebels”. (Sounds like a football team, one of whose members told NBC News that he is fighting Gadaffi because he is Jewish.)

The cost of this exercise is now over a billion dollars and rising -- and rising; so much for the money we are saving to retire the deficit. So much for the hopes of economic recovery.

As Tom Engelhardt at TomDispatch noted, “it could be the first intervention that actually escalated before it even began. It went from no-fly-zone to no-fly-no-drive-zone before a U.S. cruise missile was launched or a French jet took off. Within two days, it seemed to be escalating even further into a half-baked, regime-change(ish)-style operation. (162 Tomahawk cruise missiles had already been sent Libya-wards, most of them from American vessels, at more than $1 million a pop.)”

It might have been cheaper to just organize a giant fireworks extravaganza if the idea is to light up the sky. Since when was Libya considered a military power? We have lived with Gaddafi for decades in the knowledge that he was an abusive and corrupt autocrat. We made deals with him and benefited in the relationship. He hustled us and we bribed him --- business as usual!

Supposedly this intervention was motivated by a desire to protect civilians. Who are the civilians --- are they and the “rebels” one and the same? As Mark Benjamin writes in Time, the issue has become muddied, “as the protests against Gaddafi have morphed into a civil war; it's hard to determine exactly who the 'civilians' are in Libya, since many of them have taken up arms."

The human rights groups that condemned Libya’s abuses also blasted similar practices in regimes in Yemen, Bahrain and Syria. Notes Time, “The White House says that military action in Libya, under broad international support, has already averted 100,000 deaths. But if one only considers the lives already claimed in autocratic crackdowns across the region, it's hard to see a significant gap between Gaddafi's actions and those of governments like Yemen and Bahrain that have historically been friendlier to U.S. interests.”

We fired no Tomahawk missiles to help protesters in other countries.. (One wonders if firing all the missiles we did was just a way of cleaning out the old inventory to make way for the new models, i.e., the iPad 2s of these killing machines. ) That is what happened when Israel dumped old US supplied cluster bombs on Lebanon years back.

Is this a practice opportunity for NATO and Gulf country Air Forces? Wars often provide opportunities to test out new weapons and weapon systems.

At first, we were told the US was just joining their allies, that we were just there to “enable," until it became clear the Pentagon was actually running the operation, flying 78% of the combat missions.

Now NATO, over which Washington has disproportionate influence but appears separate, is officially taking over. Still unclear is what it will do. The headline in the New York Times today reflects the confusion: "Allies Are Split on Goal and Exit Strategy of Libya Mission"

Additionally, the UN which exists to prevent war supports this one. Clearly, you can’t trust what you are told.

On the other side of the world, nuclear power plants are literally exploding with workers in hospitals for radiation, and water is unsafe to drink. A nation seems to be unraveling while trying not to alarm its people, and in the process alarming them, more than decades of Godzilla-like monster movies that perhaps anticipated this apocalypse. (The grim stats: Death toll from Japan's earthquake and tsunami reaches 10,035 people, with 17,443 still missing, national police say (CNN)).

Of all nations, Japan had two good historical reasons to fear nuclear disasters, but they justified their power plants as a high tech ticket to the modern world.

And, as in our plants, safety rules were scoffed at, and warnings were ignored. Science gave way to commerce. Instead of confronting the dangers, they looked away.

The commissars in China have been following Japan’s travails in detail, but that hasn’t stopped them from ordering a batch of pricey new nuclear plants, convinced that their new technologies will protect them, despite so much advice to the contrary.

That’s just the tip of that country’s absurd policies.

Adrian Brown reports:

“vast new cities of apartments and shops are being built across China at a rate of ten a year, but they remain almost completely uninhabited ghost towns.

It’s all part of the government’s efforts to keep the economy booming, and there are many people who would love to move in, but it’s simply too expensive for most. 64 million apartments are said to be empty across the country and one of the few shop owners says he once didn’t sell anything for four or five days.”

We are not much better off in this country. We stood by while Wall Street looted our country. Today, 20% of all homes in Florida stand empty. The debt grows, and all of us suffer. They can’t seem to stop it. Republicans promise jobs, but then pass laws that hike unemployment.

Ideology has become a substitute for clear thinking, while posturing and polarization define the issues of our times, leading to a stalemate and paralysis.

The theater of the absurd has gone from being a literary subculture to a mainstream political strategy. Its one thing to take an action to confuse your enemies, but today, government is routinely confusing all of us.

By Danny Schechter