Selling Stability

Winning hearts & minds.
Engagement in Libya is not about humanitarian concerns. If it was, why would we have been selling them and other abusive regimes weapons with the intent of securing these regimes?

While much has been made of the uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa, and the brutal force used against these protesters and rebels, there has been only the passing reference to our role in propping up these regimes which we now find ourselves in the sticky situation of having to condemn. The "Made in U.S.A." label on tear gas canisters used against Egyptian protesters made headlines but little else in this regard has.

(click on image to enlarge)

The Bush administration approved the sale of $3 million of materials to Libya in 2006 and $5.3 million in 2007. In 2008, Libya was allowed to import $46 million in armaments from the U.S. The approved goods included nearly 400 shipments of explosive and incendiary materials, 25,000 aircraft parts, 56,000 military electronics components and nearly 1,000 items of optical targeting and other guidance equipment.

In the months before Libyans revolted the U.S. government was moving to do business with his regime on an increasing scale by quietly approving a $77 million dollar deal to deliver at least 50 refurbished armored troop carriers to the dictator's military. Congress balked, concerned the deal would improve Libyan army mobility and questioning the Obama administration's support for the agreement, which would have benefited British defense company BAE.

Saudi Arabia:
Obama administration intends to make biggest ever US arms deal with Saudis.

State department official Andrew Shapiro said "It will send a strong message to countries in the region that we are committed to support the security of our key partners and allies in the Arabian Gulf and broader Middle East."

The Bush administration [made] an arms-sale package to Saudi Arabia and five other Persian Gulf countries [United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman] that may total more than $20 billion. Included in the package are advanced satellite-guided bombs, fighter-aircraft upgrades and new naval vessels.

As for why we have gone into Libya while ignoring numerous other atrocities around the globe:
ExxonMobil signed a heads of agreement to execute an Exploration and Production Sharing Agreement (EPSA) with Libya's National Oil Corporation to initiate exploration activity offshore Libya in the Sirte Basin.

BP in February suspended its preparations for onshore drilling after violence broke out across the North African country. Since then, troops loyal to Col. Moammar Ghadhafi's regime have steadily rolled back the rebel advance and re-taken control of most of the country.

Why France and the UK led the way into Libya:
Libya possesses 1,800 kilometers of Mediterranean coastline. The country produces 2 percent of the world's oil, with 85 percent of exports going to Europe. Libyan nationals have been prominent jihadists in Iraq. Since the beginning of the Great Recession and the slump in global demand in 2008, Libya has allocated $200 billion toward new infrastructure spending.

None of this is about the protection of human life no matter how warm and fuzzy it may feel to think it is. One final note: Who is it we claim to be protecting anyway?
Saudi Arabia and Libya, both considered US allies in the fight against terrorism, were the source of about 60% of the foreign fighters who came to Iraq in the past year to become suicide bombers or take part in other attacks, senior American military officials say.

Oh great. This won't come back to bite us in the ass.


Left is Right

Yes, I Photoshopped this. The sign originally said: "Free Tibet".

64% of Americans say Afghan war isn’t worth fighting.

Yet, back in 2001 things were different. Those of us who were against this war were told we hate America. We were only 6% of Americans who thought this war was not worth it.
This is not Photoshopped.
This is what Freedom™ looks like.
This is one among many important issues that we on the so-called liberal fringe have been vindicated on - even if this vindication comes in the form of great tragedy while we endure continued derision and/or invisibility in the media, political discourse and nation at large.

Protests have been spreading around the country as citizens fight back against union busting efforts, privatization of essential industries and the erasure of democracy by their elected leadership. More Americans are realizing that millions of jobs have been lost to developing and third world countries and economic disparity is at the highest it's been in nearly a century and only getting worse with the top 10% of Americans owning 70% of the wealth, 6 banks controlling 64% of our GDP (up from 17% in 15 years), and corporate profits setting new records while actual joblessness remains around 20%. Yet, a small percentage of us who protest WTO gatherings, NAFTA, deregulation of essential industries and financial markets have been called "commies" and other derogatory names. Even the guy who wrote the book "The Supply Side Revolution" and Reagan cabinet member Paul Craig Roberts admits what a failure these "trickle-down" policies have been.

The environment is another issue that us "tree-huggers" have been on the losing side of opinion for a long time. Our current crop of government leadership is doing all it can to defund and eradicate environmental regulations and investment in clean energy. They even mandated the use of Styro-Foarm and plastic in what can only be seen as a childish act of frivolity. In fact, concern about climate change is declining in America. Yet our impact on the environment has never been more obvious. We're causing earthquakes in Arkansas, we're ruining our fresh water supplies and destroying mountains, causing disease and illness from air pollution and so much more.

With more than 60% of bankruptcies due to medical bills in the US, essential industries becoming more and more privatized and profit driven (life and liberty should not be commodities), more subsidizing of the rich while taking from the poor and countless other issues us "radical liberals" yammer on about endlessly starting to affect larger percentages of Americans I wonder when and if we will ever be welcomed back into the public dialogue. Earlier generations of liberals struggled and fought to bring our fellow countrymen the civil rights movement, labor movement, child labor laws, clean air and water, Social Security and Medicaid, labor unions, desegregation, public education and a few other things that helped make our country strong, fair and looked up to. If we start wearing teabags on our head and carrying automatic weapons to protests can we be invited back to the discussion table?