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War Whore

Admiral Mullen says Libya stalemate possible

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© Reuters / Joel Silva/Folhapress
A rebel holds his ears as a bomb launched by a Libyan air force jet loyal to Libya's leader Muammar Gaddafi explodes in the desert near Brega, March 2, 2011
The top U.S. military officer acknowledged on Sunday that a no-fly zone over Libya could create a stalemate with Muammar Gaddafi's forces even as Western warplanes halted the Libyan leader's anti-rebel offensive at Benghazi.

Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the CBS program Face the Nation that the air mission in the North African country has a clear, limited scope.

But Mullen said the end-game of military action in Libya is "very uncertain." Asked if it could end in a stalemate with Gaddafi, Mullen replied: "I don't think that's for me to answer. Certainly, I recognize that's a possibility."

"It's very uncertain on how this ends," he added.

The aerial assault by U.S., French and British planes stopped an advance by Gaddafi's troops on the rebel-held city of Benghazi and killed at least 14 government soldiers.

The United States says the U.N.-endorsed intervention is aimed at forcing Gaddafi's troops into a ceasefire and end attacks on civilians who launched an uprising last month.

Libya's armed forces have issued a command to all units to observe an immediate ceasefire, a Libyan army spokesman said.

Comment: As major earth changes threaten the entire planet, the only thing our psychopathic leaders can think of is more war.


Question

European governments "completely puzzled" about U.S. position on Libya

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© Getty Images
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's meetings in Paris with the G8 foreign ministers on Monday left her European interlocutors with more questions than answers about the Obama administration's stance on intervention in Libya.

Inside the foreign ministers' meeting, a loud and contentious debate erupted about whether to move forward with stronger action to halt Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi's campaign against the Libyan rebels and the violence being perpetrated against civilians. Britain and France argued for immediate action while Germany and Russia opposed such a move, according to two European diplomats who were briefed on the meeting.

Clinton stayed out of the fray, repeating the administration's position that all options are on the table but not specifically endorsing any particular step. She also did not voice support for stronger action in the near term, such as a no-fly zone or military aid to the rebels, both diplomats said.

"The way the U.S. acted was to let the Germans and the Russians block everything, which announced for us an alignment with the Germans as far as we are concerned," one of the diplomats told The Cable.

Clinton's unwillingness to commit the United States to a specific position led many in the room to wonder exactly where the administration stood on the situation in Libya.

"Frankly we are just completely puzzled," the diplomat said. "We are wondering if this is a priority for the United States."

Bad Guys

France and UK spearhead 'no-fly zone' in Libya

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© unknown
France is to host talks on Saturday with senior politicians to discuss what course of action to follow in Libya. The UK's Prime Minister David Cameron says Britain will send fighter jets "in the coming hours" to enforce the no-fly zone.

Prime Minister David Cameron says Britain will send Typhoon and Tornado fighter jets "in the coming hours" to help enforce a no-fly zone over Libya.

Cameron told lawmakers Friday that Britain will join a U.N.-authorized operation to stop Moammar Gadhafi from launching "a brutal attack using air, land and sea forces" on the rebel-held city of Benghazi.Prime Minister David Cameron says Britain will send Typhoon and Tornado fighter jets "in the coming hours" to help enforce a no-fly zone over Libya.

Cameron told lawmakers Friday that Britain will join a U.N.-authorized operation to stop Moammar Gadhafi from launching "a brutal attack using air, land and sea forces" on the rebel-held city of Benghazi.

Info

Obama's Brazil Presser Scrubbed

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© The Associated Press
After making statements, Prsident Obama does not plan to entertain inquiries from the press.
A planned press conference Saturday featuring President Barack Obama and new Brazilian President Dilma Vana Rousseff has been scratched, even before Obama departed Washington for his five-day Latin America trip.

The two leaders were scheduled to take questions Saturday morning at the Palacio do Planalto in Brasilia after a bilateral meeting there, but the White House issued a schedule Friday evening noting that the two leaders will make statements but do not plan to entertain inquiries from the press

A White House official said the change was at the request of the Brazilians. "The Brazilians said they would prefer this format," said the U.S. aide, who asked not to be named.

Brazilian press reports say Rousseff may be less than eager to be questioned about why the U.S. has yet to endorse a permanent U.N. Security Council seat for Brazil.

Stop

Obama cancels public speech in Rio square: embassy

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© Agence France-Presse
A Brazilian army armoured personnel carrier takes position at one corner of Marechal Floriano Square, in the heart of Cinelandia, in front of the Municipal Theatre (background), in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. President Barack Obama has cancelled a public speech he was scheduled to deliver Sunday in the Rio square during his upcoming visit to Brazil, the US embassy in Brasilia said.
President Barack Obama has cancelled a public speech he was scheduled to deliver Sunday in a Rio square during his upcoming visit to Brazil, the US embassy in Brasilia said.

The speech in the historic plaza known as Cinelandia, in the heart of Rio de Janeiro, "is cancelled," an embassy spokeswoman told AFP.

Obama instead will deliver remarks at Rio's Municipal Theatre, the official said, without specifying whether it would be open to the public or exclusively for invited guests.

No explanation for the change of venue was given by the embassy. Brazilian authorities have laid out a heavy security presence for Obama's two-day visit to South America's largest nation, and police in Rio had closed numerous streets from midnight Thursday in preparation.

On Thursday, members of an advance US security team were seen inspecting the surroundings of Cinelandia, where anti-US banners could be seen hanging from a road-side fence.

Dollar

US Cost of Living Hits Record, Passing Pre-Crisis High

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One would think that after the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, Americans could at least catch a break for a while with deflationary forces keeping the cost of living relatively low. That's not the case.

A special index created by the Labor Department to measure the actual cost of living for Americans hit a record high in February, according to data released Thursday, surpassing the old high in July 2008. The Chained Consumer Price Index, released along with the more widely-watched CPI, increased 0.5 percent to 127.4, from 126.8 in January. In July 2008, just as the housing crisis was tightening its grip, the Chained Consumer Price Index hit its previous record of 126.9.

"The Federal Reserve continues to focus on the rate of change in inflation," said Peter Bookvar, equity strategist at Miller Tabak. "Sure, it's moving at a slower pace, but the absolute cost of living is now back at a record high in a country that has seven million less jobs."

The regular CPI, which has already been at a record for a while, increased 0.5 percent, the fastest pace in 1-1/2 years. However, the Fed's preferred measure, CPI excluding food and energy, increased by just 0.2 percent.

"This speaks to the need for the Fed to include food and energy when they look at inflation rather than regard them as transient costs," said Stephen Weiss of Short Hills Capital. "Perhaps the best way to look at this is to calculate a moving average over a certain period of time in order to smooth out the peaks and valleys."

Bad Guys

Israel says holding missing Palestinian

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© Associated Press
Dirar Abu Sisi
State says 42-year old Palestinian engineer abducted in Ukraine being interrogated in prison.

Israel admitted for the first time Sunday that it is holding a 42-year old Palestinian engineer who went missing in Ukraine over a month ago. The state said it had detained Dirar Abu Sisi in order to interrogate him.

The admission came after the Petah Tikva Magistrates' Court decided to partially lift a gag order imposed on the case since it was made public by foreign news agencies.

On March 10 the UN accused Israel of having kidnapped Abu Sisi. A spokeswoman for Ukraine's Interior Ministry, Viktoria Kushnir, said he went missing "under unknown circumstances" in the early hours of Feb. 19 after boarding a train in the eastern city of Kharkiv bound for the capital Kiev.

Abu Sisi's Ukrainian wife, Veronika, 32, claimed that the Israeli secret service Mossad carried out the abduction in order to sabotage a key electric power plant in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip where he worked as a senior manager.

Wolf

Palin warns: 'China is preparing to launch a military offensive' as she continues her own charm offensive in India

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The former Governor of Alaska and reality TV star Sarah Palin has suggested China is preparing itself to launch a military offensive.

She questioned why the Far East country was stockpiling ballistic missiles, submarines and 'new-age, ultramodern aircraft' seemed unjustified when it did not face an outside threat.

'What's with the military buildup?' She said. 'China's military growth can't just be for defensive purposes.'

Speaking to an audience of business leaders and socialites on a rare foreign trip to India, she added she has not ruled out a Presidential run in 2012 and stressed the importance of shared free-market values.

In her New Delhi appearance she warned: 'We're going to need each other, especially as these other regions rise' in an apparent reference to China.

Comment: Reading between the lines: My brief will be to start a war with China.


Heart - Black

The New Robber Barons: All Politicians "In the Hands of the Super Wealthy," Sachs Says

The cataclysm in Japan pushed it off the front page, but last Friday was a landmark day in America as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed into law a controversial bill restricting the collective bargaining rights of public sector unions.

There's been a lot of talk, here and elsewhere, about whether the standoff in Wisconsin was about pure economics or partisan politics. (See: Wisconsin Lt. Gov: This Is About Balancing the Budget, Not Political Payback)


"It's pretty clear there's an agenda nationwide: Republican governors backed by the Koch Brothers [and] extreme right wing money want to crush the unions," says Columbia Professor Jeffrey Sachs. "The public is against it, but public opinion doesn't count much in this country these days."

Chess

Keiser Report: Mad Mob vs Midwest Mubaraks

This week Max Keiser and co-host, Stacy Herbert, report on the rathole to the Walker palace and a secret silver investor. In the second half of the show, Max talks to media historian and critical theorist, Michael Betancourt, about agnotologic capitalism and the aura of the digital.


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