Keeping In Touch with politics and other issues in Central Virginia .....The Virginia 22nd Senate District and The 6th Congressional District......Vote Democratic for a Better Future....Protect Your Benefits

Democratic Committee Meeting

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What A Week It Was

Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Nuclear System Failures, No Fly Zones, Radiation Clouds over California, Charlie Sheen Disappears from our TV's and Kunt Dies.    What a week.
Muammar Qaddafi

Lots of exciting things are happening and none of them point us in the direction of solving our problems.     Its mostly new problems stacked on the shoulders of our old unsolved problems.    As if high unemployeement, no jobs and 2 wars wasn't enough to keep President Obama occupied with out warning Japan suffered a Earthquake followed an hour later by a Tsunami and somewhere in that time frame or shortly after system failures at several nuclear power plants.     A few days later elevated levels of radiation had arived in California.    
Russia's Vladimir Putin shown here with Muammar Qaddafi.    Putin is the keynote speaker at the next GOP Convention but more about that later.

Don't blink because a short time later we are lobbing tomahawk missles into Libya and engaging in a third conflict in the middle east.    Republicans don't know whether to line dance or go blind.      Their rule number one is to oppose anything Obama does even if they are on record supporting it a couple of years back.

He didn't respond quickly enough,  he shouldn't have gotten involved at all,  his response isn't strong enough,   America should take more of the lead,  he was born in Kenya.    That last one about Kenya comes from out worthless Congressman Bob Goodlatte
I Hate Obama and Democrats

Not one Republican is satisfied and few Democrats can keep from show boating about not being involved in a convrsation with the President and a photo of course before he took action.     Each one would not have done it differently and almost all have found a microphone to communicate their differences.    

If you want to second guess and talk down  President Obama Fox News will pre-empt the Super Bowl to accomodate your partisan rant.     The Senators and Congressman can't agree on a budget and are waiting for the President to bring the sides together.     They are mad because they weren't consulted and allowed to debate our countries involvement in Libya for a couple of years before the President would have had to step in and make the decision anyway.
Scam Artist

Lets face it.    Senators and Congressmen are a waste of tax money and time.      They don't have jobs and they don't accept responsibility for anything.     They spend all their time spewing hot air and serving the special interest that fund their campaigns.     They are little children who put their interest ahead of the countries. They haven't finished working on last years budget so forget next years.     For years they have spent more money than we bring in and now are playing a game trying to solve a long term problem in a short span of time.     The last time a solution was found to a problem and the minimal level of agreement arrived at Bill Clinton was living in the white house.     Making an end runs around the Senate and the House is about the only way to get anything done in Washington and thats not the President's fault.

If Senators and Congressmen want some respect they need to correct the problem they have with being a non functional body that only breathes to serve special interest, big business and get reelected.     Along the way it wouldn't hurt for the voter to use a little discretion in who they choose to represent them in Washington either.     The system didn't fall apart or get bought out overnight and the fix will be a long time coming.
Tiger Blood

Now that I've kicked dust on everybodies shoes lets look at some of the things that knocked Charlie Sheen off of every show on TV in the last week.     Can tiger blood and Winning really be gone?     There are about 37 ways to spell Muammar Qaddafi's name but anything else that looks out of sorts to you is most likely a mis-spelling.      Don't worry too much about it as communication is not an exact science.     Its sad for Muammar, 50 years at the same rank and he never made General.     Talk about a over achiever.

Perhaps saddest of all the worlds most famous polar bear, Kunt, died suddenly over the weekend.     Veterinary experts performed a necropsy Monday on Knut to try to determine why he died. The four-year-old polar bear died Saturday afternoon in front of visitors, turning around several times and then dropping to the ground, and falling into the water in his enclosure.        Polar bears usually live 15 to 20 years in the wild, and even longer in captivity, and the zoo is hoping the investigation may help clarify what happened.

The American role in the three-day old air assault to degrade Libya's military capability has already begun to decline, with the overwhelming share of Monday's missions flown by pilots from other countries in the coalition, said Gen. Carter Ham,  U.S. commander in the region .     Whereas about 50 percent of the approximately 60 air missions flown on Sunday were by U.S. pilots, the  "overwhelming"  share were by non-U.S. pilots on Monday, Ham said.

The assault has already shown signs of success too, according to several reports.     Republicans are heart broken that the news media is using the word success in a manner that could reflect favorably on President Obama and are hard at work with their attack team to pick apart anything that makes it look like a win for the home team.      Look at how republicans behave when our military are facing enemies in other countries and you will understand why I call them scum.     Sarah Palin is in another country running down our President with her completely ignorant drivel.

Ham said Muammar Qaddafi's forces could already be seen retreating from the opposition stronghold in Benghazi.     There have also been no reports of Qaddafi's planes even taking to the air since airstrikes began.

Overall, the coalition operation has succeeded in scattering and isolating Qaddafi's forces after just a weekend of punishing air attacks, Pentagon officials say, and a no-fly zone implemented over the eastern part of the country will be extended to the capital, Tripoli.

Libyan TV reported that Tripoli had come under a new attack by international airstrikes.     Anti-aircraft fire erupted in the city several hours after nightfall Monday as television made the announcement.    It was not immediately known what the strikes were targeting.

Ham said it was possible that Qaddafi might manage to retain power.     "I don't think anyone would say that is ideal,"  the
general said, foreseeing a possible outcome that stands in contrast to President Barack Obama's declaration that Qaddafi must go.
Qaddafi must go

U.S. officials have said repeatedly they do not intend to target Qaddafi directly.     The Libyan leader has ruled the North African nation for 42 years and was a target of American air attacks in 1986.

The full dimensions of the Libya crisis still are coming into view, with questions remaining about how far the Obama administration is willing to go to stop Qaddafi, whether the international military coalition will hold together and whether dissent in his own ranks will soon doom Qaddafi.

Traveling in Chile, Obama said a combination of measures including United Nations sanctions designed to isolate the Libyan leader are the correct approach to hastening his fall.     Obama added that the U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing military action did not sanction regime change.    "We are going to stick to that mandate,"   Obama said.

He has little choice if he wants to hold Arab and other backing and hand off front-line responsibility for a no-fly zone to European or other allied warplanes in the coming days.

Discord was evident Monday in Europe over whether the military operation in Libya should be controlled by NATO.     Turkey
blocked the alliance's participation, while Italy issued a veiled threat to withdraw the use of its bases unless the alliance was put in charge.     
GOP Keynote Speaker Vladimir Putin

Germany, like the Republican Party questioned the wisdom of the operation, and Russia's Vladimir Putin railed against the U.N.-backed airstrikes as outside meddling  "reminiscent of a medieval call for a crusade."          I am starting the rumor that  Vladimir Putin will give the keynote address at the next GOP Convention.    Please feel free to pass it on.     George W Bush looked into Puty's soul and said he was OK.    
No More Tears

Vladimir can drip onion juice into his eyes and not shed a tear so he will work with John  "a little bitty tear let me downBoehner in an attempt to toughen up the emotionally crippled speaker.

In Russia for an awkwardly timed visit on other topics, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said it is a mistake to set Qaddafi's ouster as a military goal.     "I think it's pretty clear to everybody that Libya would be better off without Qaddafi,"   he said in an interview with Interfax news agency.     "That is a matter for the Libyans themselves to decide,"    and given the opportunity they may take it, Gates said.

The direction of the international military campaign is now shifting from crippling Libya's air defenses and halting a Libyan attack on the rebel stronghold in Benghazi to expanding the no-fly zone and setting the stage for a flow of humanitarian supplies to displaced Libyans.      The air campaign began Saturday with a barrage of Tomahawk cruise missile attacks by U.S. and British vessels in the Mediterranean.

Attacks were continuing, but on a far smaller scale, Ham and others said.     The general made clear that his intention was to stick closely to the limitations of the U.N. Security Council mandate, which set the primary goal of protecting civilians from attacks by the Libyan military.     Thus, if Qaddafi's forces should back away from rebel-held areas and fail to demonstrate hostile intent or movement, they would be spared.

"There is no intent to completely destroy the Libyan military forces,"   Ham said.

A senior defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss classified data, said the attacks thus far had reduced Qaddafi's air defense capabilities by more than 50 percent.    That has enabled the coalition to focus more on extending the no-fly zone, which is now mainly over the coastal waters off Libya and around the city of Benghazi in the east, across the country to the Tripoli area this week.

Ham said there is reason to worry that al Qaeda could use the instability in Libya as an opportunity to establish a foothold there for training and organizing terrorist attacks on American interests.     Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon via satellite from his headquarters in Germany, Ham also said the prospect of Qaddafi using surrogates to launch a retaliatory terrorist strike was a  "very, very legitimate concern."
Sen. Richard Lugar

One of the more vocal congressional skeptics of the Libya action, Sen. Richard Lugar, called Monday for full debate on the
objectives and costs of the conflict and a need for a declaration of war.    "There needs to be a plan about what happens after Qaddafi: who is in charge then, and who pays for this all,"   said Lugar, a Republican.     "With the Arab League having second thoughts and Turkey nixing NATO taking over, there are even more questions.     We also have to debate how all this effects the Saudis, Bahrain and Yemen."

Gates, speaking in Saint Petersburg, Russia, said the U.S. military's will at no point include ground forces.    Qaddafi fires back with promise of "a long war".      Ham foresaw potential new complications for the United States and its coalition partners:   how to respond in the event that rebel forces seeking Qaddafi's overthrow launch their own offensive in areas where civilians are threatened.     Would the U.N. mandate for protection of civilians require coalition attacks on the rebels in that case?

Ham noted that while some of the rebels are ordinary civilians trying to protect their homes, families and businesses from
Qaddafi's forces, others have taken up heavy arms and are mobilized in armored vehicles.

"So this will become a particular challenge for us should that eventuality (a rebel offensive) occur,"   Ham said.     He
repeatedly stressed that the U.S. military has not intervened and will not intervene on the side of the rebels;  he said there has been no military communication or coordination with rebel leaders.

Beyond Fukushima

Support for nuclear power in the UK has dropped by twelve percent following the near-meltdown at Fukushima nuclear power plant, according to a national opinion poll conducted since the earthquake near Japan that triggered a devastating tsunami.

Support has dropped in he USA also but the high costs of construction, lack of investor interest and the length of time to complete the sites and constantly changing regulation were always bigger problems than public support.

The nuclear emergency, which the Japanese authorities are still battling to contain, looks set to make it more difficult for the UK government to push through its planned programme of new nuclear power stations.      Of those polled, 37 percent said they were now more likely to oppose the building of new nuclear power stations in the UK and 44 percent said they were worried about the safety of nuclear power plants here.

Anti-nuclear campaigners have been quick to seize on the disastrous events at Fukushima as proof that nuclear power can never be 100% safe.     Craig Bennett, a spokesperson for Friends of the Earth who commissioned the poll said:    "This poll shows that the government's plans for a major expansion of nuclear power in the UK are out of step with public opinion.     People want clean and safe energy – the government needs to urgently refocus its energy policy, starting by improving the weak energy saving measures within its new energy bill."

The poll, which was conducted by GFK NOP shows a drop of 12% in support for nuclear power to 35% compared with a similar poll conducted by IPSOS MORI in 2008, 2009 and 2010.     Opposition to the technology rose 9% to 28%.

But supporters for nuclear power continue to hope that in the long run the Japanese events will not spell the end for a form of energy which is, they point out, carbon-neutral.     Environmentalist Mark Lynas has gone as far as offering on his blog to eat the milk, spinach and fava beans which have shown above average levels of radioactive iodine.      "The political fallout,"   he writes,  "will be more dangerous than anything physically radioactive."

Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant

The most dangerous of Japan’s stricken nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear power plant appeared to stabilize Saturday, as firemen sprayed more water on spent fuel rods to prevent them from overheating and spreading potentially deadly radiation.

The situation at reactor No. 3 “is stabilizing somewhat,” cabinet spokesman Yukio Edano told a press conference, signaling a rare success in the efforts to prevent a meltdown.

Meanwhile, engineers managed to hook up an external power cable to the crippled plant’s central transmission point, according to the plant’s operator.     They hope to test supply lines inside the plant on Sunday and then to restore power to water pumps in reactors 1, 2, 3, and 4.

The top priority has been to ensure that spent fuel rods in reactor No. 3’s cooling pond are under as much water as possible.     That reactor was using a mixture of uranium and much more toxic plutonium fuel when an earthquake and tsunami hit it last Friday.

Mr. Edano sought to allay fears over the first reported discovery that foodstuffs from the area around the plant had been contaminated with radioactivity.

Milk and spinach from farms in Fukushima and a neighboring prefecture had been found to contain radiation at levels above the legal norm, Edano said, but this “would not affect consumers’ health.”

Officials later announced that they were forbidding the sale of all food products from Fukushima prefecture pending the collection of further data, according to a statement on the International Atomic Energy Agency's website.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s bid to form a government of national unity to deal with the crisis appear to have come to naught in the face of opposition reluctance.

The leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, the largest opposition group, Sadakazu Tanigaki, telephoned Mr. Kan Saturday to reject the idea, according to the Jiji news agency.

Before the earthquake and tsunami, Kan’s popularity had slumped to around 20 percent and his government was widely considered on the brink of collapse.

The crisis has given him a window of opportunity to redeem himself, although many voters have been frustrated by how slowly the authorities initially responded to the disaster, and by how parsimonious officials were with information.

Poor communications, bad weather, and insufficient organization slowed the flow of food and other relief supplies to many isolated towns and villages.     Even in larger cities shops only began to open toward the end of the week.     Some 400,000 people are living in shelters or with host families and experiencing shortages of electricity, food, and gasoline in the affected area.

Evacuees who managed to get to parts of the country unscathed by the disaster, however, are now being made as comfortable as they can be sleeping on blankets laid out on the floors of gymnasiums, schoolrooms, and community halls.

In the western prefecture of Niigata, for example, where 15,000 people have fled their homes either because of the tsunami or the threat of radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi plant, private companies have donated food and city governments have drawn on the emergency stocks of blankets and relief supplies that they keep in case of situations like this.

At one city gym in Niigata city, where 495 people are sheltering, volunteers handed out soap and other toiletries Friday afternoon while municipal officials prepared hot rice and miso soup.    “We are more or less alright for food,”  says the official running the shelter who identified himself only as Mr. Kato, who normally works in the public relations department at Niigata city hall.    “The quality is not great, but we have enough.”

The shelter is offering other services too.     In a corner of the foyer stood several large cardboard boxes housing the pet dogs that some evacuees had brought with them.     On a table lay piles of the local newspaper available for free.

Also available were photocopied maps of the city, with directions to the nearest coin-operated laundry and to the radiation testing station where evacuees can have their radioactivity levels checked.     And with the sort of attention to detail that displaced people in the quake zone can still only dream of, the shelter management had installed an electronic parking ticket machine to distribute free tickets to the gymnasium parking lot for its temporary residents.

ACVDN Bottom Line    This describes things that happened last week and had to be dealt with.     Congress has not completed work on LAST YEARS BUDGET and they are mumbling that they were  not consulted on these matters.     Start doing your job.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive