Hi all,

One thing I try to do every morning is keep up on the previous day’s news–so I figured I’d share with you all.  Exhaustive? No, but I’ll try not to waste your time.  Opinionated? Most of the time, but never in the Fox News fake-news way.  Here we go.

First, here’s today’s News Soundtrack:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBfjU3_XOaA

New Vietnam(s)

Libya:

After a third day of Western air strikes in Libya, Gaddafi’s forces have continued to press their siege against the rebels, shelling Misurata, an important Western rebel holdout, and bringing in snipers and tanks.   An American F-15 crashed, but reportedly from technical failure, not Gaddafi’s forces.  I’m not sure if one fighter plane crashing is news, except that it reportedly costs $27.9 to 29.9 million.  The stated U.S. plan is to achieve some quick objectives in Libya towards a no-fly zone, and hand off leadership of the intervention to European nations.  I suppose we’ll see, won’t we?  (Remember Shock and Awe? Wasn’t Iraq supposed to be quick in-and-out?)

Speaking of which, Iraq:

March 19th marked the eighth anniversary of the Iraq War (to whom do I send the birthday card I bought?).  The Department of Defense has identified 4,430 American service members who have died since the start of the Iraq war (with 32,000 wounded) and 1,493 who have died as part of the Afghan war and related operations.  In 2010, more soldiers died from suicide than from combat.  But the real tragedy is what has happened to the Iraqi people.  The British polling firm Opinion Research Business estimated “that over 1,000,000 Iraqi citizens have died as a result of the conflict which started in 2003” in a 2008 analysis, and their infrastructure is still destroyed, many living without electricity, clean water, or medical care [This links to an excellent Al Jazeera article, I’d recommend you read the whole piece].   Otherwise, we’re still there.   Yaa-a-a-a-ay *blows party favor* Happy Birth. . . day?

Afghanistan:

Army Spc. Jeremy Morlock is on trial as one of 12 soldiers who were effectively mass murdering serial killers who kept trophies from and pictures of their victims.  (Side note: he’s from Wasilla, Alaska.  Not to say there is any connection between that and his actions, or him or his actions and Sarah Palin, but it’s strange.)  Apparently we’re now at a stage in Afghanistan where we’re supposed to be beginning to transfer power to the Afghan government by 2014 (we have about 100,000 troops there now, and we’ve been there for more than nine years), but  it’s not a “sure thing” and could be, in theory, indefinitely longer.

 

Other news from the region:

Police are breaking up protests in Morocco, fighting in Sudan.

Syria:

Protests, crackdowns.

Yemen:

Protests.  Yemeni leader says he’ll leave office earlier, but protesters want him out now.  3 top Yemeni generals defected to support the protesters.

Bahrain: After major crackdowns on protesters last week, with the aid of Saudi Arabia, protesters are softening their demands. Bahrain is a major U.S. government ally. . . I wonder which freedom package they will get?

 

Labor News

Wisconsin:

On Friday, a judge delayed Walker’s anti-union bill from going into effect.  So, that’s stalled for now.

Indiana:

Union agitation and protests have effectively stopped Indiana ‘right-to-work’ (that term is such ideological b.s.) laws.

Japan:

Power has been restored to three reactors, and Japanese authorities report the death toll from the earthquake and tsunami as exceeding 18,000.  There is concern about contamination of food and water in the region, and they are still trying to prevent a full meltdown at the Fukushima plant.

Oh, and one more thing. . .

Obama Kicks Off Latin American Tour

Straight from Democracy Now:

“President Obama is in Brazil to kick off a three-nation tour of Latin America that will also include stops in Chile and El Salvador. In Chile, protesters gathered on Sunday calling on United States to apologize for its support of the dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet. Meanwhile, in El Salvador, Obama is expected to visit the grave of Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was assassinated in 1980.”

That’s got to be an awkward conversation.  “Yeah, so. . . um, sorry Chile about the supporting-a-coup, killing-your-democratically-elected-president, and installing-a-Neoliberalism-friendly-dictator thing.  Our bad.  Oh, and can you tell El Salvador we’re sorry about the Romero assassination that we had a role in, too.”

Anyway, y’all have a damned good day!


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