Feb 25 2011

Weekly Digest – 02/25/11

Weekly Digest | Published 25 Feb 2011, 2:28 pm | Comments Off on Weekly Digest – 02/25/11 -

Print this Page Print this Page |

Our weekly edition is a nationally syndicated one-hour digest of the best of our daily coverage.

Audio Stream | Podcast | Mp3 Download

This week on Uprising:

* Gaddafi Cracks Down Violently on Protesters, Faces Biggest Challenge of 40 Years
* Republicans Roll Out Nationwide Assault on Working and Middle Class
* Oscar’s Stamp of Approval on Progressive Causes

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Gaddafi Cracks Down Violently on Protesters, Faces Biggest Challenge of 40 Years

LibyaEmbattled Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi made an appearance in the capital Tripoli late this week, calling on his supporters to crack down on anti-government protesters. The speech followed another lengthy, rambling speech on State television earlier in the week that has become a hallmark of his rule. The increasingly isolated leader of more than 40 years has reportedly paid thousands of mercenaries from outside countries to unleash violence on his people. More than a week into major demonstrations, Libya remains locked to outside journalists. There are hundreds of people reported killed with hospitals running out of blood for transfusions to the injured. There have been reports of helicopters and military planes firing on protesters in Tripoli. Al Jazeera reported that two Libyan air force fighter pilots defected to Malta after refusing carry out orders to bomb protesters. There have been ongoing reports of soldiers and members of government resigning in protest of the government’s violent actions. Libyan ambassadors in various countries including the U.S. have resigned. After Libya’s ambassador to the United Nations, Ibrahim Dabbashi, defected, the UN Security Council issued a strongly worded condemnation of government violence against protesters. But Dabbashi criticized the statement for not being strong enough and claimed that Gaddafi was calling on his collaborators to begin a genocide against Libyans. But while Gaddafi and his forces are holding on to Tripoli, they are losing control of city after city, including Benghazi, the Western city of Tobruk and the Eastern city of Misurata. International support for Gaddafi is also waning. The U.S.’s relationship with Libya had historically been hostile after the U.S. severed diplomatic ties to the country in 1980, calling Gaddafi a sponsor of terrorism. President Ronald Regan ordered a bombing of Tripoli in 1986, killing hundreds of civilians. However relations warmed throughout the 1990s, and in 2002 the two nations began to improve ties with the U.S. resuming full diplomatic relations with the regime under President Bush. President Obama has called Gaddafi’s use of violence unacceptable and is considering closing down the U.S. embassy in Libya.

GUESTS: Asma’a Aghliw is an elementary school teacher currently living in Ottawa. She immigrated to Canada in 1987 from Libya. She began the website freelibya together.com as a place for people to share news during the uprising. Her parents, siblings, in laws and extended family are all currently living in Libya, Khaled M, Activist and artist living in Chicago, part of the Enough Gaddafi group in the US. His father was improsoned and tortured in Libya in the late 70’s for protesting the Qaddafi regime.

Find out more at www.freelibyatogether.com, www.feb17.info, http://twitter.com/feb17voices, and on Facebook.com, keywords “Libya’s Revolution Feb 17 2011”

Republicans Roll Out Nationwide Assault on Working and Middle Class

OhioEarly Friday morning, Republicans in the Wisconsin State Assembly abruptly cut off 60 hours of discussion over their controversial budget proposal to undermine unions by taking a vote. The 1 a.m. vote of 51 to 17 in the GOP-dominated lower house was, according to the LA Times, “taken so quickly that most Democrats didn’t have a chance to vote.” Democratic lawmakers were so enraged that they screamed at GOP members as they filed out with police protection. Democratic State Senators had fled the state to avoid a Senate vote on the bill after giving up on negotiations. They promise to remain outside Wisconsin until Governor Scott Walker is open to compromise. In addition to revoking collective bargaining rights, Walker’s proposal is meant to remedy a $3.6 billion shortfall by increasing both salary deductions for union members’ pensions and healthcare premiums. But public safety officers unions were exempted from the union-busting language of the proposal. Public Safety officers, of course, tend to vote Republican, and yet have joined in with protesters against the bill. And, as the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein reported, not only was the budget crisis not caused by the unions, but stripping the unions of collective bargaining will not in fact close the budget short fall. These inconsistencies and the fact that unions remain a major voter base for the Democratic party, have exposed Walker’s motives to be more political than fiscal. For more than a week, union workers of all stripes and their supporters have been camping out at the State Capital, launching what many hope is a new progressive movement to take back rights from corporate-controlled lawmakers. Their movement has been fueled by the recent prank call made by a journalist posing as billionaire Tea Party financier David Koch to Governor Walker who has led the union-busting measure. Walker’s penchant for the top 1% wealthiest of America was on full display in the 20-minute phone conversation that has gone viral online. The prank elicited damning remarks, including Walker expressing an interest in taking “Koch” up on his offer to fly Walker out to California for a good time after the protesters were silenced.

GUEST: Mary Bottari, Director of the Center for Media and Democracy’s Real Economy Project and the editor of BanksterUSA.org, Bill Fletcher, co-founder of the Center for Labor Renewal and author of the book “Solidarity Divided: The Crisis in Organized Labor and a New Path toward Social Justice,” an editorial board member of BlackCommentator.com, and Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies

Oscar’s Stamp of Approval on Progressive Causes

OscarWhile Oscar night is generally an evening for Hollywood celebs to flaunt their wealth, fame, and fashion, it is also considered the highest mark of excellence for those in the film industry. This Sunday well known artists and lesser known hopefuls will gather in all their finery at the Kodak theater for the 83rd Academy Awards ceremony. The ballooning Best Feature category includes 10 films, ranging from blockbusters like Toy Story 3 to the mind-bending Inception. The Social Network is Oscar’s nod to our revolutionary communications’ cultural moment, while the tiny indie-pic Winter’s Bone provides a stark glimpse into the world of white poverty. The list of actors receiving nominations for being the best in their craft include Annette Bening, Javier Bardem, Colin Firth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, and Melissa Leo. Even more importantly for KPFK listeners, the increasingly important category of Best Documentary confers a mark of importance on issues near and dear to progressives. This year’s nominations include the street-art-glorifying Exit Through the Gift Shop, the Wall-street-scum-exposing Inside Job, and the surprise hit of the year, Gasland, about the dangers of mining natural gas.

GUEST: Jonathan Kim, Uprising contributor, ReThink Reviews

Read Jonathan’s reviews at www.rethinkreviews.net.

Sonali’s Subversive Thought for the Day:

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Comments Off on Weekly Digest – 02/25/11

Comments are closed at this time.