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Author Topic: World Unrest Thread
Phanto
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Protests are present in many countries including Iran, Libya, Bahrain, possibly China, and even, to a minor degree, the United States (Wisconsin, 40,000 protesters).

Any thoughts/comments?

[ February 20, 2011, 07:34 PM: Message edited by: Phanto ]

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Samprimary
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Oh, they shut off Wisconsin's internet already?
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Paul Goldner
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Just threatening the freedom of association.
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Bella Bee
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Erm... I sort of doubt that Wisconsin's army will kill and injure hundreds of unarmed protesters the way they're doing in Libya?

That's about where the similarities end.

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Mucus
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quote:
@Henry_Kissinger
Dr Henry Kissinger
Given Facebook's role in undermining US allies, should we charge Mark Zuckerberg with treason? Something to think about.

[Wink]
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Phanto
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Fair 'nuf. There seems to be a general spirit of unrest; edited to say "to a minor degree" [Razz] [Smile]
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Nighthawk
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
Oh, they shut off Wisconsin's internet already?

Gosh, I hope not... That would impact the development of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 in a most unacceptable manner!!!
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capaxinfiniti
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quote:
Originally posted by Paul Goldner:
Just threatening the freedom of association.

collective bargaining != freedom of association.
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TomDavidson
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What distinction would you make between them, capax? Would you not accept that you have the right to ask that some other individual represent both you and your friend in conversation and negotiation?
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Bokonon
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quote:
Originally posted by capaxinfiniti:
quote:
Originally posted by Paul Goldner:
Just threatening the freedom of association.

collective bargaining != freedom of association.
I think, if we're being consistent, that it's just as crucial an aspect of freedom of association as money is to the freedom of speech, see Citizen's United, and prior rulings.

Neither is explicitly spelled out, and developed subsequent to the Bill of Rights, of course.

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pooka
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I was thinking it wasn't going to go well for other middle eastern countries who don't have as much to worry about their image with the West as Egypt did.
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AchillesHeel
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I am more surprised that 40,000 people in Wisconson assembled at all, thats almost all of them!
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The Rabbit
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Bad Economic times are a breeding ground for civil unrest, so it shouldn't be surprising that we are seeing uprisings from Wisconsin to Libya. Economics are the key factor that links all these uprisings.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
I am more surprised that 40,000 people in Wisconson assembled at all, thats almost all of them!
Actually, 80,000 people assembled. [Smile] Of course, some had to come from out of state.
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AchillesHeel
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Were any of them cattle diguised as people?

Last census in Arizona there were some cacti listed as citizens to pad the population count, being mammalian one might expect the cows to bear closer resemblance.

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Nighthawk
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quote:
Originally posted by AchillesHeel:
I am more surprised that 40,000 people in Wisconson assembled at all, thats almost all of them!

Football season's over. It's not like they have anything else to do anymore. [Razz]
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kmbboots
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Wisconsin doesn't have cattle so much as its has cows.
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Samprimary
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So anyway. Hi. Gaddafi bombed protesters with warplanes. Lost control of some cities due to defections. May have fled capital. His son provided a rambling and bizarre statement on tv blaming this probable civil war on 'drug addicts' or something.

If Gaddafi hasn't already fled, he stands a severe likelihood of ending in a body bag before this is all over.

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Paul Goldner
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"collective bargaining != freedom of association. "

No, collective bargaining is not equal to freedom of association. However, if we have freedom to associate, it logically follows that we have a right to collectively bargain.

So, school has 70 teachers, each under a one year contract. Teachers get together during the course of the year and decide to pool resources to hire a legally trained negotiator to meet with the school administration and gives the negotiator a list of what they expect in their contract for the following year with instructions that the contract should be the same for all 70 teachers.

Trying to figure out how that is not collective bargaining, and not an exercise of the right to freedom of association.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
collective bargaining != freedom of association.
No, but prohibiting collective bargaining is a restriction on freedom of association. I think its reasonable to say that collective bargaining is a necessary element of freedom of association.
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kmbboots
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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/21/paul-krugman-the-wisconsi_n_826026.html
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Lyrhawn
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Anyone reading the news out of Liibya?

Reports are that not only have protesters been bombed and mowed down with gunfire, but soldiers refusing to fire on protesters have been shot as well. Unconfirmed reports also have two Libya pilots defecting to Malta with their planes. Reports from opposition forces say that Ghaddafi has lost control of several cities around the country, especially in the East, and people are fleeing Tripoli.

I can't believe how fast that fell apart.

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Mucus
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Yeah, its been pretty fascinating.
Looks like the British are pretty worried about the optics of their involvement in Libya, having provided weapons to Libya (ala US tear gas in Egypt), and with BP heavily involved in oil.

Bahrain seems to still be boiling slowly too.

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BlackBlade
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I wonder if everytime a country reaches critical mass even if a protest recently fizzled elsewhere somewhat (like in Iran) if that is just enough of a bump to push the other country back into combustion.

I still can't believe this is all happening in so short a time.

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Mucus
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Yeah, you can really see governments scrambling to reorient their statements, trying to hedge their bets in the morning and then being forced to pick the side of the protesters in the afternoon.

It's pretty heartening in a way. After spending ten years blowing people up and spending who knows how much money trying to promote Western ideas of regime change, all these people are just up and doing it themselves in a few weeks with no help, or even against help provided by the West.

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Lyrhawn
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What will be interesting is the verbal fencing Obama will have to do if Bahrain really teeters. The base for the Fifth Fleet there is probably our single most vital strategic resource in the region. If Bahrain falls, I've read several expert opinions that think it'll become a satellite protectorate of Iran, which leaves the US out in the cold, or trying to partner with someone like Qatar or the UAE.

Obama, I think, has done an okay job of doing the "right thing" when confronted with doing the traditional "safe" thing for US security. Egypt was hard enough, but Bahrain is nigh impossible.

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Mucus
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Yemen is having some fun too
quote:
A defiant President Ali Abdullah Saleh said the street demonstrations and calls for his removal were “like a flu,” which had spread from Tunisia to Egypt and was contaminating the Arab world.

“Why do you turn to violence? Why do you turn to the destruction of things? This is an infection, it’s not in our culture, it’s not in our tradition,” he told journalists invited to the presidential compound for a rare news conference Monday morning.

Saleh refused to step down, warning that the country would descend into anarchy as the government collapsed. He has vowed to not run again in the 2013 elections, but since he has twice before made the same promise few believe him.

http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/942417--demonstrations-like-a-flu-yemeni-president-says?bn=1
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Mucus
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Wow, thats a pretty good percentage.
quote:
More than a hundred thousand protesters poured into the central Pearl Square here on Tuesday in an unbroken stream stretching back for miles along a central highway in the biggest antigovernment demonstration yet seen in this tiny Persian Gulf kingdom. ... In a nation of only a half a million citizens, the sheer size of the gathering was astonishing. The protest, organized by the Shiite opposition parties, began in the central Bahrain Mall, two miles from the central square and seemed to fill the entire length of the highway between the two points.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/23/world/middleeast/23bahrain.html
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Carrie
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
If Gaddafi hasn't already fled, he stands a severe likelihood of ending in a body bag before this is all over.

As the awkward-sounding translator informed me during Gaddafi's press conference this morning, he will die a martyr rather than hand the country over. His body bag may well happen.
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Mucus
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This is one crazy-ass long speech.

Also, this was interesting, prediction market chances of each dictator leaving by the end of the year.
quote:
Libya — Gadaffi: 83%
Bahrain — Al Khalifa: 62%
Yemen — Ali Abdullah Saleh: 48%
Iran — Ahmadinejad: 16%
Iran — Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: 15%

http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/22/middle-east-despot-watch/
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Aros
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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/bahrain/8334771/Bahrain-royal-family-orders-army-to-turn-on-the-people.html

Wow! The royal family in Bahrain is actively promoting military violence against protesters. At least we could find our moral high ground against Tianamen Square. Bahrain has been one of our biggest allies.

quote:

But many refused to run, initially at least, determined to defy the violence being visited upon them. Some held their hands in the air and shouted "Peaceful! Peaceful!".

The shooting resumed. One man crumpled to the ground, blood pouring from his leg; nearby a second was also felled. A scream went up: "live ammunition!"

As security forces then began to fire anti-air craft guns over their heads and the air filled with tear gas, the protesters' will finally broke.

But even as they fled in headlong panic, a helicopter sprayed gunfire at them and more fell. Paramedics from ambulances that had rushed to the scene darted forward to help the wounded, but they too were shot at. Several were detained and at least one ambulance was impounded.


Obama certainly has some tough decisions to make. . . .
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Mucus
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In fairness, that was on the 18th and before the NYT article about protests.
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Phanto
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The 'bet' odds are down to 75% for leader change last I checked in Libya based off the speech given by Gaddafi.

It seems like the unrest is becoming bloody and torn, with parts of the military defecting and a significant amount of cities in rebel control. Pray it does not become a civil war.

The extent, speed, and intensity of this world unrest is truly startling.

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BlackBlade
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A civil war would truly be an awful affair. One need only look at Sri Lanka to realize just how terrible those can be.
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BlackBlade
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From the Washington Post. I wonder just what responsibilities it could be argued America has regarding other countries attempting to democratically select their own government. Obviously committing ourselves diplomatically is a relatively speaking easy way to support protestors. Should/can we sell arms, give loans, or in otherwise provide materials to groups we support? Can we use force of arms to defend innocent civilians from governments that are attempting to kill them?

I find this question somewhat intriguing. We have certainly financed revolutions in the past, often covertly and openly, but when Pres. Bush said that we stand with anybody that wishes to rise up and institute democracy, what exactly should that mean?

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kmbboots
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It might mean that we should stop propping up the dictators in the first place. Problem is that dictators are good for business.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
It might mean that we should stop propping up the dictators in the first place. Problem is that dictators are good for business.

Well I would take that as a given. This is more for, "regardless of whether we have or have not supported a dictatorship in the past, what do we have a responsibilty to do so as to help other people from other countries establish their own democracies."
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kmbboots
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I don't think that you can take that as a given.

I think it is more complicated than that. Often the oppressive governments are our allies. Do we want to go to war with them? Can we? Because if we use force of arms to protect protesters from their own government (whatever that is - we have recognized it) that is going to war. Do the protesters really represent a majority? Do they want our help? (Most of them probably don't like us much.)

Two big questions are what is in the interest of the people in the country and what is in the best interests of the US. I think that the first question should be most important, but it isn't simple and has big consequences for the second.

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Lyrhawn
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Bush said that about Palestinian democracy, then refused to treat with Hamas when they won the election. The problem with supporting self-determination is that if the people who get voted into power aren't good for us, then we've just shot ourselves in the foot.

Do we support democracy unconditionally? I honestly don't know. I'd like to think so, in principle, but I'm not sure if that's practical.

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Phanto
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Article on the desert fighting

Reading this gave me a better sense of how organized/strong the protesters in Libya are.

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SoaPiNuReYe
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
A civil war would truly be an awful affair. One need only look at Sri Lanka to realize just how terrible those can be.

It almost never comes down to Civil War, and even when it does, countries like Sri Lanka or Sudan are actually the exception rather than the norm.
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Glenn Arnold
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"We gotta make democracy safe for the world."

-Walt Kelly

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Glenn Arnold
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quote:
Oh, they shut off Wisconsin's internet already?
And you thought that was a joke.
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Lyrhawn
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Wow. I just saw the video of the Bahrain security forces opening fire on a group of protesters. I had flashbacks to that girl being shot in Iran last year. Seeing the street blood-spattered and littered with bodies in real time like that was disturbing.

It's almost good to know that I haven't been desensitized to something like that. I figured after all the movies I'd seen that show something just like it, I might not be able to have a genuine emotional reaction to the same thing only real.

That was tragic, and brutal.

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BlackBlade
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Iraq is getting in on the action. It's nice to see the difference in reaction. I really hope it remains peaceful and that nobody is attacked.
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Samprimary
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From Time:

quote:
There's been virtually no reliable information coming out of Tripoli, but a source close to the Gaddafi regime I did manage to get hold of told me the already terrible situation in Libya will get much worse. Among other things, Gaddafi has ordered security services to start sabotaging oil facilities. They will start by blowing up several oil pipelines, cutting off flow to Mediterranean ports. The sabotage, according to the insider, is meant to serve as a message to Libya's rebellious tribes: It's either me or chaos.
Two weeks ago this same man had told me the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt would never touch Libya. Gaddafi, he said, had a tight lock on all of the major tribes, the same ones that have kept him in power for the past 41 years. The man of course turned out to be wrong, and everything he now has to say about Gaddafi's intentions needs to be taken in that context.


Read more: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2052961,00.html#ixzz1ElW3Yj1d


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Strider
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Libya:

http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/meast/02/23/libya.plane.crash/

Apparently a military aircraft was ordered to bomb a city, the pilots refused, and parachuted out, letting the plane crash instead.

http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/africa/02/23/libya.interior.minister/index.html?hpt=T1

Seems the interior minister who resigned yesterday has been kidnapped. But information coming out Libya is so sketchy that it's difficult to glean whether this is true or not, and if so, who actually kidnapped him.

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Rakeesh
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As for the interior minister, I'm looking forward to learning more about him as stories develop-initially I was skeptical at his moral resignation because hey, interior minister for Gaddafi. I rather interpreted it as a face-saving gesture when the ship was sinking. I can't have been alone in thinking that.
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Phanto
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In other news, Greek protest turns violent
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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Glenn Arnold:
quote:
Oh, they shut off Wisconsin's internet already?
And you thought that was a joke.
Come on now. The linked article is certainly a very, very far cry from "shutting off the internet."

For those that didn't follow it, the linked article is about a single website being blocked from access within the Capital building, for about a half hour, after which time it was reported and access was granted. There is significant disagreement on both sides as to the cause of this (one side says it's standard policy to block sites till they've been approved, the other side says it's an attack of the first amendment) and nothing has been proven either way thus far.

You're certainly welcome to interpret the facts the way that makes sense to you, but comparing it to what happened in Egypt is pretty disingenuous.

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