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11.16 Scotland was first Industrialized Country to Run wholly on Wind in October

11.16 How pesticide bans can prevent tens of thousands of suicides a year [how many thousands more die early from eating pesticide-laced food?]

11.15  The long read:  The plastic backlash: what's behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? [the world wants to throw-up...]

11.15 Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change [workers are waking-up...]

11.15 Trump administration to cut air pollution from heavy-duty trucks

11.14 Backed by Ocasio-Cortez, Youth Climate Activists Arrested in Pelosi's Office Demanding Democrats Embrace 'Green New Deal'

11.13 What would a smog-free city look like?

11.13 Global report highlights Australia’s renewables potential amid mixed signals for coal

11.13 Interior department whistleblower: Ryan Zinke hollowed out the agency

11.12  This Land is Your Land:  The Zinke effect: how the US interior department became a tool of industry [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.12 Planned Parenthood's new president warns of 'state of emergency' for women's health

11.11 Trump responds to worst fires in California’s history by threatening to withhold federal aid [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.11 Interior department sued for ‘secretive process’ in at-risk species assessment [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.11 Keystone XL pipeline: judge rules government 'jumped the gun' and orders halt [behaving ignorantly again...]

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11.16 As 'Green New Deal' Demand Grows, Democrats Have Choice: Confront and Defeat Fossil Fuel Industry or Take Credit for 'Doomed' Planet [Two choices: Save life-on-Earth or help Republicans let it die?]

11.16 Trump’s latest interview shows a president who’s in way over his head

11.16 Why the political fight in Georgia is far from over

11.16 Florida judge sides with Democrats, giving thousands a second chance to fix their ballots

11.15 Democrats Won Big. Can They Go Bold, Too? [it's about suppressing the influence and leadership by Republican-like Democrats who counsel 'íncremental' (no) change, such as Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Shumer and Joe Biden]

11.15 Pentagon Officials Forced to Make Fewer Public Appearances to Avoid Provoking Trump [...by revealing Trump's huuuge ignorance]

11.15 REPUBLICANS USED A BILL ABOUT WOLVES TO AVOID A VOTE ON YEMEN WAR [if there are 'defense industry' profits to be made—including congress-critter insider-trading—and political 'donations' to be had, we mustn't stop killing innocent civilians!]

11.15 Big Oil v the planet is the fight of our lives. Democrats must choose a side

11.14 The Real Florida Recount Fraud

11.14 Telling NRA #ThisIsOurLane, Doctors' Photos Show Blood-Soaked Reality of America's Gun Madness

11.14 At Freshman Orientation, Young and Growing Progressive Caucus Makes Clear It Will 'Fight Like Hell' for Bold Democratic Agenda

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High Crimes?

11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]

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11.16 Amazon’s HQ2 Will Get a Tax Break Designed to Help the Poor [a Republican program that directly helps participating wealthy companies—but only helps workers if and when 'trickle-down' occurs.]

11.16 Trump doesn’t want to punish Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi. His new sanctions prove it. [George W. Bush made a similar immoral decision for the same oily reasons after 9-11, protecting Saudi defense contracts while facilitating the slaughter of poorer Arab "terrorists" in the region.]

11.15 The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us [fossil fuel burning, un-recyclable plastic production/use and methane gas release must cease ASAP.]

11.14 Brexit: May tells her cabinet, this is the deal – now back me

International & Futurism

11.15 Cuba to pull doctors out of Brazil after President-elect Bolsonaro comments [terms must be negotiated for fairness to Cuba's health professionals without disruption of healthcare for Brazil's poor]

11.14 'Appalling' Khashoggi audio shocked Saudi intelligence – Erdogan [Exposing a psychopath?]

11.14 Israel and Hamas launch hundreds of attacks in Gaza clash

11.14 Mueller seeking more details on Nigel Farage, key Russia inquiry target says

11.13 Austin's Fix for Homelessness: Tiny Houses, and Lots of Neighbors

11.13 Portugal Dared to Cast Aside Austerity. It’s Having a Major Revival.

11.13 Caravan marks one month on the road: ‘We keep on going, laughing or crying’

11.13 Letter Shows Einstein’s Prescient Concerns About ‘Dark Times’ in Germany

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  Print view: Muammar al-Qaddafi in extremis
COMMENTARY:

Muammar al-Qaddafi in extremis

by Chris Knipp
Libya is the worst-case scenario for the Arab revolts.

Ten days later the world isn't focused on Cairo any more. On February 26 military police brutally attacked protesters in Tahrir Square and in front of the Parliament, a sign the old order and means of repression are not gone. Not that all hope is lost: slowly, steps are being taken to move toward a new democratic government. And as for the wave of revolutionary fervor, that continues throughout the Arab world. On Friday Iraqis staged their own "Day of Rage" and the biggest oil refinery was shut down. Additional tribal leaders joined the opposition in Yemen and it's looking more and more as if Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen will have to step down, not wait till 2013, his Mubarak-like initial offer. Revolt is strong in Bahrain too. A Shiite leader returned from exile to Manama and thousands marched to call for the PM's removal. Demonstrations were weaker in Algeria and Tunisia, but they happened.

All the attention of course is on Libya. This is the worst-case scenario for the Arab revolts. A mad dog leader (Reagan's words), isolated, eccentric, and deranged, has made the country an empty shell. The small population is scattered into disconnected tribes. Qaddafi and his No. 1 son Saif al-Din are pledged to fight to the end. Only Libya's oil riches may protect the country from future chaos. If oil income is distributed among the population, that may foster domestic tranquility (which happens in the princedoms and makes them more secure against revolt). But Libya's revolution can't have been as planned and coordinated as those of Tunisia and Egypt. It's more a spontaneous impulse, inspired by news of the Arab world. One can only hope that the revolutionary spirit and the Arab connectedness symbolized by Al Jazeera will somehow also inspire Libya to rebuild itself and avoid the truly worst-case scenario of descending into another Afghanistan.

Qaddafi
There is no semblance of decency in Qaddafi. He ordered his own air force to strafe demonstrators, and is hiring outsiders to kill his own people.

There is no semblance of decency in Qaddafi. He ordered his own air force to strafe demonstrators.  Some defected in protest and piloted their planes to Malta. Here is a leader who is accusing the demonstrators of being not only foreign-inspired, but run by al-Qa'ida, while he is hiring outsiders to kill his own people, and openly threatening to attack them in their houses, burn the land, turn the country into a living hell, distribute arms to all his remaining supporters.

Citizen rebels hold Benghazi, which represents a bastion of freedom, a city-wide Tahrir Square, and other towns have followed. But Quaddafi fores still control other strongholds, including the capital, Tripoli—which was done over in a day to present a tidy, peaceful front for foreign journalists. The dictators' favorite western media contact lady, Christiane Amanpour of ABC, got to interview Saif al-Din. But he has already raged on state television, and this man does not wear well.

Libyans used broken TVs as barricades. Al Jazeera broadcast an extraordinary film last week. It showed the video stream of Quaddafi's khaki-swathed rant, also on TV, being projected huge on a wall, and as the mad dog waved his Green Book and threatened to make his people's lives hell, protesters threw large objects at the flickering image and shouted.

While Egypt has the danger that its old regime is too solidly entrenched, Libya has the danger of having no structure to hold it together at all.

The revolution in Libya has the dubious but, for the revolutionaries, very real advantage that the government hasn't (like Egypt's republic) a thread of legitimacy. The fabric of Egypt's regime would have shredded more completely if its cadre of ministers, military officers, and ambassadors had publicly resigned and declared their allegiance to the revolt as has happened in Libya. But while Egypt has the danger that its old regime is too solidly entrenched, Libya has the danger of having no structure to hold it together at all.

Now, Obama still presents a pale image of American "democracy," because Sarkozy and Cameron spoke up directly while he dithered again. Two good reasons this time, though: oil and Americans working in Libya. If Obama had called for Quaddafi's removal early and oil prices had gone up, as they are anyway, that would hurt Obama's reelection chances. He did not want to drive the crazy leader to take Americans hostage, and bad weather was delaying their escape to Malta.

American and indeed all policy of the western powers is based on expediency rather than morality, and their official reprisals may be feeble or harmful, anything but helpful, just diplomatic gestures to make them look good later. Sanctions against Libya threaten to harm the people more than help their cause. The United States isn't written "US" for nothing. It's all about us, not them.

Libya, though just next door, is not providing a picture of the beautiful, mainly peaceful revolution that we witnessed in Egypt. It's an ugly process with no end in sight and not easy to watch. But it is an even stronger picture of the courage, determination, and democratic drive of the Arab people. And this too is being called by Libyans a "revolution of youth."


©2011 Chris Knipp. Visit his blog here.



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This story was published in the Baltimore Chronicle on February 28, 2011.

 

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