TRIPOLI (AFP) – Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi on Tuesday ordered his forces to crush an uprising that has rocked his 41-year rule, warning armed protesters they will be executed and vowing to fight to his last.
In a defiant, sometimes rambling speech on television, Kadhafi vowed to remain in Libya as head of its revolution, saying he would die as a martyr in the land of his ancestors and fight to the “last drop” of his blood.
Proclaiming the support of the people, Kadhafi ordered the army and police to crush the popular uprising against his iron-fisted four-decade rule that has already left hundreds dead in the past eight days.
“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.
Wisconsin is in a showdown. Washington is headed for a government shutdown.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker won’t budge. He insists on delivering a knockout blow to public unions in his state (except for those, like the police, who supported his election).
In DC, House Republicans won’t budge on the $61 billion cut they pushed through last week, saying they’ll okay a temporary resolution to keep things running in Washington beyond March 4 only if it includes many of their steep cuts – among which are several that the middle class and poor depend on.
Republicans say “we’ve” been spending too much, and they’re determined to end the spending with a scorched-earth policies in the states (Republican governors in Ohio, Indiana, and New Jersey are reading similar plans to decimate public unions) and shutdowns in Washington.
There’s no doubt that government budgets are in trouble. The big lie is that the reason is excessive spending.
President Obama has decided that the failure of last year’s comprehensive climate bill does not have to mean the death of climate policy. Instead of imposing a mandatory cap and stiff price on carbon emissions, as the bill would have done, the president is offering a more modest approach involving sharply targeted and well-financed research into breakthrough technologies, cleaner fuels and more efficient cars and trucks.
This is all part of a broader investment-for-the-future strategy that he outlined in his State of the Union address, and it all makes sense as a way of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, creating more green jobs and reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil.
Buried deep beneath the stories about executive bonuses, the stock market surge and the economy’s agonizingly slow road to recovery is the all-but-silent suffering of the many millions of Americans who, economically, are going down for the count.
A 46-year-old teacher in Charlotte, Vt., who has been unable to find a full-time job and is weighed down with debt, wrote to his U.S. senator, Bernie Sanders:
“I am financially ruined. I find myself depressed and demoralized and my confidence is shattered. Worst of all, as I hear more and more talk about deficit reduction and further layoffs, I have the agonizing feeling that the worst may not be behind us.”
In one of the most dramatic upsets in Olympic history, the underdog U.S. hockey team, made up of college players, defeats the four-time defending gold-medal winning Soviet team at the XIII Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid, New York. The Soviet squad, previously regarded as the finest in the world, fell to the youthful American team 4-3 before a frenzied crowd of 10,000 spectators.
The United States did not win the gold medal upon defeating the USSR. In 1980 the medal round was a round-robin, not a single elimination format as it is today. Under Olympic rules at the time, the group game with Sweden was counted along with the medal round games versus the Soviet Union and Finland so it was mathematically possible for the United States to finish anywhere from first to fourth.
Needing to win to secure the gold medal, Team USA came back from a 2-1 third period deficit to defeat Finland 4-2. According to Mike Eruzione, coming into the dressing room in the second intermission, Brooks turned to his players, looked at them and said, “If you lose this game, you’ll take it to your graves.” He then paused, took a few steps, turned again, said, “Your fucking graves,” and walked out.
At the time, the players ascended a podium to receive their medals and then lined up on the ice for the playing of the national anthem, as the podium was only meant to accommodate one person. Only the team captains remained on the podium for the duration. After the completion of the anthem, Eruzione motioned for his teammates to join him on the podium. Today, the podiums are large enough to accommodate all of the players.
The victory bolstered many American citizens’ feelings of national pride, which had been severely strained during the turbulent 1970s. The match against the Soviets popularized the “U-S-A! U-S-A!” chant, which has been used by American supporters at many international sports competitions since 1980.
”The death toll I have at the moment is 65 and that may rise. So it’s an absolute tragedy for this city, for New Zealand, for the people that we care so much about,” Mr Key told TVNZ. ”It’s a terrifying time for the people of Canterbury.”
He said: “We may be witnessing New Zealand’s darkest day.”
As thousands of shocked people wandered the rubble-strewn streets of Christchurch after today’s devastating and deadly earthquake, emergency workers were searching for survivors.
It is early morning in North Africa and the Middle East, the main news focus is on Libya and much has happened since yesterday. During the day Libyan dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, made a 15 minute appearance on state TV denying he had not fled the country to Venezuela and called exiles and expatriates attacking him as al-kelab eddalla, “lost dogs.” Charming.
Let me say here the difference between Egypt and Libya is where Mubarak went fairly quietly into the night, Gaddafi is a psychopathic madman who will spill the blood of every Libyan man, woman and child to the last bullet. I believe him.
One last point, we should not forget what started this, Wikileaks and Anonymous. When it was revealed through leaked diplomatic cables just how corrupt the Tunisian regime under Ben Ali was, the Tunisian youth took to the streets. It was a revolution that sprang from the cyber-age of texting, Twitter and Facebook. The youth were joined by the unemployed and under paid that took down a government and it spread to Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain and more. Now the repressive dictatorship of Libya is on the brink of extinction. These are not Islamic radicals that so many in the West fear to the point of irrationality. No, they are not religious. They want what the same thing that the youth of Europe and America want, education, jobs and most of all a say in the way they are governed. Yes, Democracy.
Up Date 1430 hrs EST:Gaddafi again took to TV giving an hour long, defiant speech stating that he would not step down and would die in Libya. Pounding his fists and shouting the US was to blame and drugged had caused the violence. He called for called on supporters to take to the streets to attack protesters.
“You men and women who love Gaddafi …get out of your homes and fill the streets,” he said. “Leave your homes and attack them in their lairs … Starting tomorrow the cordons will be lifted, go out and fight them.”
Gaddafi said “peaceful protests is one thing, but armed rebellion is another”.
“From tonight to tomorrow, all the young men should form local committees for popular security,” he said, telling them to wear a green armband to identify themselves. “The Libyan people and the popular revolution will control Libya.”
The UN Security Council met behind closed doors this morning at the request of Libyan Deputy Ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi, who along with most of the UN mission had denounced Gaddafi and called for his resignation. Dabbahi requested a “no-fly” zone over Libya but that would require a formal resolution. There was some confusion when the Ambassador Abdurrahman Shalgham arrived at the end of the meeting stating he stood with Gaddafi and would appeal for the end of the violence against the demonstrators. Shalgham was not in NYC on Monday and did not sign onto the anti-Gaddafi statement issued by Dabbashi and others.
A popular Egyptian Imam, the Muslim version of a televangelist, Sheik Yusuf Qaradawi, has called for a Fatwah against Gaddafi. Along with a group of Islamic scholars, he called for the Libyan army to kill Gaddafi.
Libyan security forces fired on crowds of protesters in Tripoli as Muammar Gaddafi struggled desperately to hold on to power in what has become the bloodiest crackdown yet on pro-democracy protesters in the Arab world.
With diplomats resigning en masse and two senior fighter pilots defecting to Malta after refusing to attack demonstrators, the Libyan leader looked beleaguered at home and unwelcome anywhere abroad.
“What’s going on in Libya is a real genocide,” said the country’s deputy UN ambassador, Ibrahim al-Dabashi.
One Tripoli resident told al-Jazeera TV: “Death is everywhere,” as he described air attacks on the terrified city. “Why is the world silent?”
Gaddafi appeared briefly on Libyan state TV to deny reports that he had fled the country. “I want to show that I’m in Tripoli and not in Venezuela. Do not believe the channels belonging to stray dogs,” he said, reported by the station as speaking outside his house. He was holding an umbrella in the rain and leaning out of a vehicle.
“I wanted to say something to the youths at the Green Square [in Tripoli] and stay up late with them but it started raining. Thank God, it’s a good thing,” Gaddafi said in a 22-second appearance.
Libyan state TV earlier said military operations were under way against “terrorist nests” and there were predictions of a bloodbath by a desperate regime which feels the end approaching.
[http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2011/02/2011221222542234651.html Libyan pilots and diplomats defect
Group of army officers have also issued a statement urging fellow soldiers to “join the people” and help remove Gaddafi]
Diplomats resign and air force officers defect as Gaddafi government resorts to shooting and bombing to crush uprising.
Two Libyan air force jets landed in Malta on Monday and their pilots have asked for political asylum.
The pilots claimed to have defected after refusing to follow orders to attack civilians protesting in Benghazi in Libya.
The pilots, who said they were colonels in the Libyan air force, were being questioned by authorities in an attempt to verify their identities.
Meanwhile, a group of Libyan army officers have issued a statement urging fellow soldiers to “join the people” and help remove Muammar Gaddafi.
The officers urged the rest of the Libyan army to march to Tripoli.
Diplomats side with protesters
Libya’s ambassadors at several stations, including the US and the UN, have said that they are siding with protesters and have called for Gaddafi to quit.
Ali Aujali, the Libyan ambassador to the United States, became the latest diplomat to call for the Libyan leader’s resignation, telling the Associated Press news agency on Monday night that Gaddafi must step down and give Libyans a chance “to make their future”.
He said he was not resigning, as he worked for the Libyan people.
Also late on Monday, A.H. Elimam, Libya’s ambassador to Bangladesh, resigned to protest against the killing of his family members by government soldiers.
Earlier on Monday, diplomats at Libya’s mission to the United Nations sided with the revolt against their country’s leader and called on the Libyan army to help overthrow “the tyrant Muammar Gaddafi.”
In a statement issued as protests erupted across Libya, the mission’s deputy chief and other staff said they were serving the Libyan people, demanded “the removal of the regime immediately” and urged other Libyan embassies to follow suit.
An extraordinary meeting of the Arab League will also take place on Tuesday as leaders express alarm over crackdown.
The UN Security Council will hold a closed-door meeting on Tuesday to discuss the crisis in Libya, diplomats said.
They said the meeting, known as consultations, had been requested by Libyan deputy ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi and would start at 1400 GMT.
Dabbashi and other diplomats at Libya’s mission to the UN announced on Monday that they had sided with protesters in Libya and were calling for the overthrow of long-time Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr Al-Thani, Qatar’s prime minister and foreign minister, called for an extraordinary meeting of the Arab League to take place on Tuesday.
The aim is to discuss the current crisis in Libya and to put additional “pressure” on the government, Al-Thani told Al Jazeera.
With reports of a large-scale crackdown on protesters under way in Tripoli, a spokesperson for Ban Ki-moon said the UN chief held extensive discussions with Muammar Gaddafi on Monday.
Ban condemned the escalating violence in Libya and told Gaddafi that it “must stop immediately”.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on her part said it was “time to stop this unnacceptable bloodshed” in Libya.
Army sets up field hospitals on Libyan border to receive returning Egyptians.
Egypt’s army has set up two field hospitals on the border with Libya near the Salloum border-crossing town to receive returning Egyptians.
Libyan guards have withdrawn from their side of the boundary following anti-government protests, the army said on its Facebook page on Monday.
Hossam Zaki, Egypt’s foreign ministry spokesman, said at least one million Egyptians reside in Libya where increasingly bloody battles between Libyan security forces and protesters have been taking place.
At least 100 buses carrying Egyptians are making their way to the Libya-Egyptian border, Zaki said.
CAIRO – The military and civilian leadership controlling Egypt in the wake of a popular revolution took several high-profile steps on Monday to reassure Egyptians that it shared their fervor for change and to signal to foreign leaders that the move to full civilian rule would be rapid.
The prime minister of Britain, David Cameron, held talks here with the leaders, becoming the highest-ranking foreign official to visit Egypt since the longtime president, Hosni Mubarak, was ousted after 18 days of widespread protests.
At the same time, the country’s top prosecutor, Abdel Meguid Mahmoud, said he would request that the Foreign Ministry ask governments to freeze any assets of Mr. Mubarak, his family and a handful of top associates. The Associated Press, citing unnamed security officials, said Mr. Mubarak’s local assets were frozen as soon as his government fell.
This is an installment of an extremely irregular series that I write when I begin to remember people from my childhood. I grew up, for the most part, in Hackett, Arkansas, just about nine miles south of Fort Smith, Arkansas, almost on the border with Oklahoma. This was quite the “redneck” part of the nation.
Hackett, when I was little, still had a sunset law on the books. Those of you not from the South may not be familiar with such a law, but they were real (and likely still are on many books, but obviously not enforceable any more). Essentially, a sunset law dictated that any black person (NOT the term used at the time) could not remain in the town after sunset, to prevent black families from moving into the town.
The penalty was, at least in my town, that being black and there after sunset was not just an offense, but a shooting cause, both by citizens and law enforcement. I report this not to titillate, but just to illustrate how many southern jurisdictions were run until recently, and some still are.
I just ordered 2 pizzas to be delivered to demonstrators in Madison, Wisconsin. Rachel Maddow has the story:
You’re probably already familiar with ordering take-out food online. Some restaurants let you do it directly and others use a middle man service, but the idea is that you log on, place your order, plug in your credit card info and tell it where to deliver the food. But there’s nothing that says you have to have the food delivered to yourself. In fact, there’s nothing that says you have to even be in the same country as the food you’ve just ordered.
And so we arrive at Ian’s Pizza by the Slice where donations literally from around the world are coming into their State Street store in the form of online pizza orders to feed Wisconsin protesters. As Politico reports, “On Saturday alone, Ian’s gave away 1,057 free slices in their store and delivered more than 300 pizzas to the Capitol itself.”
You get it. I got it. I sent 2 20″ 3 topping pizzas to the assembled democracy demonstrators. Join me. It’s easy. You go to badgerbites.com and order a pie for the demonstrators. You know how to order for yourself. It’s just as easy to order for others. Go for it. It will make you smile.
And by the way. This does not mean that my allegiance to Pizza Bob’s in Ann Arbor has been violated in any regard. The way I see it, when in Madison, you do like the Badgers.
Gozer the Gozerian… good evening. As a duly designated representative of the City, County and State of New York, I order you to cease any and all supernatural activity and return forthwith to your place of origin or to the nearest convenient parallel dimension.
Personally, I liked the university. They gave us money and facilities, we didn’t have to produce anything! You’ve never been out of college! You don’t know what it’s like out there! I’ve *worked* in the private sector. They expect *results*.
Hey. Does this pole still work? Wow. This place is great. When can we move in? You gotta try this pole. I’m gonna get my stuff. Hey. We should stay here. Tonight. Sleep here. You know, to try it out.