Visual source: Newseum
The Observer's Foreign Affairs Editor Peter Beaumont:
There is an expression for what is happening in Libya today – it is "mission creep" – in a mission that is dangerously ill defined and ambiguous, that with each move appears to throw its hand in ever more closely with a fractured opposition whose ability to govern meaningfully, even in Benghazi, remains open to question.
It is right that we protect those who cannot protect themselves.
What has not been debated is whether, as is increasingly becoming obvious, we should be taking sides in a civil war, and clumsily at that.
Barbara Ransby writes that real movements for social change need many grassroots leaders—not one charismatic politician:
There are a number of obstacles that stand in the way of movement building at this particular juncture. We must reappraise how we have read, or misread, the history of the last 50 years. First, we need to develop a more nuanced understanding of what is derisively termed “identity politics.” Second, we need to comprehend the mechanics of how social justice movements are built. And third, we need to reconsider who we look to for answers, and inspiration. …
Ella Baker taught us how we ought to do our movement work: take time to be inclusive, be active listeners, walk the thorny and sometimes circuitous path of participatory democracy, mutual respect and genuine solidarity; and build campaigns from the bottom up not the top down.
In maybe the ugliest part of the report — it's on page 25 — [Rep. Paul] Ryan warns that Medicaid reform is needed, alongside what he calls welfare reform, "to ensure that America's safety net does not become a hammock that lulls able-bodied citizens into lives of complacency and dependency."
Of course, the problem for many on Medicaid is that they can't even climb into a hammock.
Matt Taibbi says that Paul Ryan has balls to push tax cuts for the rich on the backs of the middle class:
Ryan is proposing a budget he knows would have no chance of passing in the Senate. He is simply playing out a part, a non-candidate for the presidency pushing a rhetorical flank for an out-of-power party leading into a presidential campaign year. If the budget is a hit with the public, the 2012 Republican candidate can run on it. If it isn’t, the Republican candidate can triangulate Ryan’s ass back into the obscurity from whence it came, and be done with him.
With all due respect for the First Amendment, Patricia Williams writes, we need to be careful about incendiary public speech.
I always say that reporters should be neutral and unbiased on the side of those who suffer. If you were covering the 18th-century slave trade, you would not give equal space to the slave-ship captain. At the liberation of an extermination camp, you do not give equal time to the SS. When the Palestinian Islamic Jihad blew up a pizzeria full of Israeli children in Jerusalem in 2001, I did not give equal space to the Islamic Jihad spokesman. At the Sabra and Chatila massacre in Beirut in 1982, I did not give equal time to the Israeli army who watched the killings and whose Lebanese allies committed the atrocity.
But television has different priorities. "Al Jazeera English" – as opposed to the Arabic version – manages to get it about right. Yes, I occasionally make an appearance on Al Jazeera and its reporters are good friends of mine. But it does say who the bad guys are; it does speak out, and it puts the usually pusillanimous BBC to shame. What I am most struck by, however, is the quality of the reporting. Not the actual words. But the pictures.
People should be free to publish cartoons of Mohammad. They should be free to wear the burka. … We may not like their choice. We may find it disturbing and offensive. But it is, in its way, as much a form of free expression as cartoons of Mohammad, which these women, in turn, will find disturbing and offensive. And that's the deal in a free society: The burka wearer has to put up with the cartoons; the cartoonist has to put up with the burkas.
David Brooks shows he's over the top of his hip waders in fantasy again since he believes Rep. Paul Ryan "has moved us off Unreality Island."
Mitt Romney should be flattered that the Democratic National Committee wants to move the Massachusetts primary until later in the 2012 calendar. But Secretary of State Bill Galvin and Senate President Therese Murray should continue to resist. The interests of Massachusetts voters are more important than the offensive DNC scheme.
[T]hat anyone could seriously imagine Trump as president of the United States — the actual president, living in the real White House, making fateful decisions about war and peace — must reflect something deeper and more significant than the weakness of the Republican field. I mean, really. Trump doesn’t even qualify as a wing nut on the political fringe, although that’s what he’s pretending to be, with all his “birther” blather. He’s a caricature, a cartoon, a “candidate” only in the wink-and-nod sense.
Alexander Cockburn says he will miss Glenn Beck "partly because of his deep roots in the mulch of American nutdom:
To Americans in the late '90s and current decade, maxed out on their credit cards, with negative equity in their homes amid a political culture swerving relentlessly to the right, Beck endlessly promoted the conspiracies and looming threat of a left in this country, which in reality has effectively ceased to exist.
"Progressives," today's milquetoast substitute for old-line radicals, have trembled at his ravings about the left's conspiracies against freedom.