Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sanctions not enough; Obama must get Navy to accompany Free Libya flotilla

Here are the bloody, menacing headlines again,
Armed pro-Gadhafi gangs roll in Libyan capital

We read in the New York Times today that armed men are shooting from ambulances. This echoes news that we have been reading in recent days. (It has been tough getting news from Muammar Gaddifi (Qaddifi)-controlled-western Libya. Wikileaks won't get us the key news. We rely on tweets. See the tweet side-bar on the Al-Jazeera English website.)

President Barack Obama needs to stop seeking the favor of despotic Russian or Chinese regime leaders. He needs to think about doing what is right. He and the U.S. would get much mileage of support from the Arab Street if aids the opposition in Free Libya (the former Gaddafi officers and other ad hoc freedom fighters), the greater Benghazi region.

Obama needs to dispatch a warship. along with aerial cover from one of the U.S. stations in the Mediterranean to Benghazi, to accompany the rebel freedom fighter forces, and support them in a sea journey to Libyan capital Tripoli.
From a small amount of effort, the U.S. would gain great Arab support, in the support of democratic-republican freedom in the Arab world, rather than trying not to offend a handful of Moscow or Beijing despots and accompanying acolytes.

On a silly aside, has anyone noticed that in the last decade, Qaddafi looks like pioneering Latin-rock guitarist Carlos Santana? Both wear kufi caps. Both have an uneven goatee moustache and beard. You never see both in the same place... I'm just saying.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Union busting bill passes Wisconsin assembly; multiplier effect forgotten

The famous legislation to strip public employee unions of collective bargaining rights has passed the Wisconsin state assembly, the lower legislative house.

Now, the question is how long the Democratic Senators can hold out, staying aout of state, with state trooers braying down their necks.

The recent local headlines say, "Will lower wages aid Wisconsin’s economy?," for example the area HeraldNet.

With the excited push, by Republican politicians (and growing numbers of Democrats) and some media allies, to eliminate jobs or drive down wages, people have forgotten their basic economics courses and the multiplier effect that they learned about.

Since the 1980s we have watched the evisceration of industrial jobs. Now we are seeing a trend in a similar trend with the downsizing of public sector work. But the policy shapers are forgetting the bad effects of reducing money circulation. in the idea of money circulation, When money is introduced to the economy, the circulating effect is a mushrooming of money everywhere as money is spent and the money will circulated broadly.
(For more detailed explanation of the idea, see this wikipedia summary or this summary.

In short, watch America slip in the direction of Russia, a large land, a large population, a declining standard of living.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Speaking of Koch, Walker: CMD report shows money chain from wealthy interests to Republican Governors

According to Common Dreams and the Center for Media and Democracy report that they cite,
The key beginnings of the article, February 23, 2011, at
A new investigation by the Center for Media and Democracy documents the big money funneled by one of the richest men in America and one of the richest corporations in the world to put controversial Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in office.

The Republican Governors Association and the Kochs' Investment in Scott Walker
Walker was elected just over three months ago on the heels of an exceptionally expensive gubernatorial race in the Badger State, fueled by groups funded by the Koch brothers, David and Charles. David Koch, the son of a radical founding member of the John Birch Society, which has long been obsessed with claims about socialism and advocated the repeal of civil rights laws, personally donated $1 million to the Republican Governors Association (RGA) in June of last year. This was the most he had ever personally given to that group. (Fellow billionaire Rupert Murdoch matched Koch's donation to the RGA with a $1 million donation from his company News Corporation, parent company of FOX "News" Channel.)


International community must blockade Libya, to prevent massive massacres in seceded Banghazi province

Libya's demographic spread across the country is an odd pattern. On the west there is a concentration of population, in the center of the nation's Mediterranean Sea coastline there is a dipping down of the land, as the the coastline pushes further south, and here the population's presence is much sparser. In the east, the concentration picks up. In the Benghazi province, there are concentrations of cities, Al Bayda, Benghazi (Libya's second-largest city), and Tobruq (or Tobruk). This eastern province has broken away, as the national government has lost control of the land. The foreign minister of Italy's Berlusconi government has tried to assert that there is a nascent Benghazi Emirate developing in the eastern province. But as a simple Google search will indicate, there is no rationale for that claim.

As a representative with Human Rights Watch said Tuesday night on PBS' News Hour, the Muammar Gaddafi regime has shown, the government is showing tremendous brutality upon its civilian population. The army is firing on peaceful protesters; then, it is firing on the funeral mourners. The desperate government, realizing that the commitment of the army to aggressively its nation's own people, is resorting to importing mercenaries from sub-Saharan Africa.

Some of the latest: "Tripoli a ghost town as Libyan mercenaries roam" --Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the evening of February 23, 2011; Libyan mercenaries using ambulances to murder ...‎", February 23, 2011.

This is truly barbaric. As the people of the area say, it is a travesty for the government to kill its own people. The HRW representative argued that it is a strong likelihood that the government will slaughter people by the thousands, lining people along walls and shooting them, when it tries to retake control of the east.

For the protection of innocent civilians, international armed forces should take action to halt the actions by the government against the populace. No oil or any other products should be allowed to leave western Libyan ports. No incoming boats of mercenaries should be allowed to enter Libya. International forces should prevent, even at the risk of attack, the entry of planes into the interior of the country, so as to block the entry of any more sub-Saharan mercenaries. The Swiss government should freeze Libyan assets in Swiss banks.

Gadhafi Says He Won't Resign Unless Rebels Figure Out Correct Spelling of His Name
Huffington Post (blog) (satire)
- ‎10 hours ago‎
Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi tightened his grip on power today, saying he would step down only if protesters guessed the correct spelling of his name. "Oh man, we're doomed," one rebel said. "Is it Moammar or Muamar? Kadafi or Qaddafi? ...

Gaddafi's second son, Seif al-Islam Gaddafi, completed a PhD from the London School of Economics. It calls for international authority over nations. I'd have to read more, but it might advocate positions for international authority over regimes in the way that I have in this blog. Pertinent aspects from the "Financial Times" article:

The thesis makes a case for “a more democratic, morally justified system of global governance”. He seeks “to realise a practical system of international governance”.

He calls for a global “collective management” system, involving successive tiers of elected officials. This is, in large part, to restrain the damage caused by the “New Leviathan” US, which “perpetuates many of the problems as it asserts its power, such as the oppression of the small and weak nations by the stronger”.
See the Financial Times article for the full article. At the very least, I would say that the authority that Gaddafi the younger advocates would thwart the military adventures in Chad that his father took in the 1980s.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Revelations from Fake Koch Call: Gov. Walker Plans Extra-Legal Moves Against Wisc. Democrats

On several points, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has harbored secretive ambitions, far beyond what he had initially divulged to the public, in the course of the showdown with public employee unions in Wisconsin.

A blogger a ''The Buffalo Beast" made a prank call in late February to Gov. Walker. When he made the call he successfully convinced the governor that he was David Koch, one of the Koch Brothers, billionaire oil tycoons from Texas.

Click to this Huffington Post report on the call for further details from this call:

The call made by a Buffalo blogger pretending to be billionaire right-wing activist David Koch to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is quickly making an impact on the news cycle. (You can listen to the call on YouTube: Part 1 | Part 2.)

Walker is extremely frank with the man he believes to be an important financial supporter, both of his own campaign and right-wing causes. Below are the six most important revelations we learn from listening to the Governor speak his mind.

A summary of the revelations from the call [Click to the Huffington Post link above and below these excerpts for details of these six points:

1. Walker and the Senate Republicans are conspiring to withhold Democratic lawmakers' paychecks.

2. Walker sees billionaire David Koch as "one of us."

3. Walker is planning to threaten state workers with layoffs.

4. Walker has a plan to lie to Senate Democrats and pass the bill while they are not aware of the vote.

5. Walker considered planting fake protesters to cause trouble among the real protesters.

6. Walker is corrupt.

Click to this Huffington Post report on the call for further details from this call:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Surviving gunshots in Tucson; medical cost woes call attention to problems in private health care

The Tucson shooter victims are now facing tough medical bills.

New York Times informs us, in key excerpts:
Still, some of those who are following Ms. Giffords’s treatment, including her speedy transfer from Tucson to a top rehabilitation facility in Houston, can only wish their health plans were as responsive.

Monique Pomerleau, a mother of three from Northern California, suffered a traumatic brain injury in a traffic accident last February but has not yet undergone rehabilitation because her insurer, Health Net of California, said it lacked such services within the network. Her family has hired a lawyer to press the matter and recently received word that a 30-day rehabilitation program had been approved.

“We watched the congresswoman’s care and we thought, How marvelous, but there are real people out there like Monique who don’t get the same possibilities,” said Lisa Kantor, a lawyer who specializes in challenging insurance companies and was hired by Ms. Pomerleau’s father, Tom.

A spokesman for the insurer said federal privacy laws prevented it from commenting on individual patients’ cases.

After a tragedy like the Tucson shooting, billing is a topic that appears almost unseemly to raise. But with health costs spiraling, it is one that was on the minds of some victims, not to mention their care providers.

“We have to recover our costs so that we can provide the service to others,” said Craig Yale, vice president of corporate development for the Colorado-based Air Methods Corporation, which operates LifeNet helicopter service in Tucson, one of three private helicopter operators that were called to the shooting scene.

At University Medical Center, where the most seriously injured victims were treated, Misty Hansen, the hospital’s chief financial officer, said she did not anticipate any problems recovering costs. “It is my expectation that the bills will be paid and the hospital will be appropriately compensated,” she said.

Declining to discuss the case of individual patients, Ms. Hansen said 5 percent of patients were “self pay,” which means they lack insurance and are billed personally.
. . . .
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s victim assistance fund cannot be used directly for medical care. But the money was used after the Tucson shooting to replace the eyeglasses of two injured victims and to fly relatives of victims to Tucson and the remains of one victim to her home state, said Kathryn Turman, director of the F.B.I.’s office for victim assistance.
. . . .
“My fund is too small to cover their medical bills,” said Carol Gaxiola, who is director of the survivors’ group. “But we’ll be able to pitch in to cover other costs.”

Besides the ambulance bill ($991.80 and $16.96 a mile for ground transport) and the hospital expenses, victims could face travel costs if they wish to follow the federal court proceedings against Mr. Loughner, especially if the trial is moved out of state.

There are also the costs of funeral expenses for the six people who died, as well as trauma counselors and loss of wages for the injured.