TPM News

by Dafna Linzer ProPublica, March 18, 2011, 3:36 p.m.

President Obama's counterterrorism adviser, John O. Brennan, delivered the administration's most forceful public call to date for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center and the use of federal courts to try some detainees held there.

Pointing the finger at Congress, he called legislative efforts to block prisoner transfers to the United States for trial or detention an "unprecedented encroachment" on Obama's authorities to prosecute suspects.

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The political battlefield in Wisconsin has expanded beyond the recall efforts targeting legislators and, potentially, Gov. Scott Walker (R). A progressive issue advocacy group, the Greater Wisconsin Committee, is running a new ad about the nominally non-partisan state Supreme Court race this April, tying incumbent Justice David Prosser to Walker's conservative brand.

"Can we trust David Prosser to be impartial?" the announcer says. "In the legislature, Prosser and Walker voted the same way 95 percent of the time -- both voting against the middle class."

"As a judge, Prosser has sided with corporations, and against workers. Now, Prosser has promised to act as a 'complement' to Walker -- because his views 'closely mirror' Walker's. Tell David Prosser, judges should be independent -- not a rubber stamp for Scott Walker."

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1||Following uprisings elsewhere in the Middle East, Libyans took to the streets in February calling for leader Muammar Qaddafi to step down and end his 40-year reign. What began as peaceful protests escalated into a violent uprising, with rebel forces battling Qaddafi loyalists for control of the country. ||I94/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

2||In late February, protesters poured into the stress in cities including Benghazi, demanding that Qaddafi relinquish power. ||d77/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

3||The government quickly cracked down on the protests, opening fire and killing civilians to quell the uprising. ||x99/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

4||Qaddafi's son, Saif, said on state television that the government had overreacted by using deadly force, but rebuffed calls for his father to step down, and called for an end to the protests.||Libyan State Television&&

5||Protesters ignored that demand and continued to demonstrate in major cities. ||Cai Yang/Xinhua/Newscom&&

6||In a public rebuke to Qaddafi, Libya's Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Ibrahim Dabbash resigned, and called for Qaddafi to leave. ||J.B Nicholas/Splash News/Newscom&&

7||Other high-ranking officials also defected, including Qaddafi's former interior minister, General Abdel Fatah Yunis. ||De Malglaive Etienne/ABACA/Newscom&&

8||As protests spread, Qaddafi condemned the uprising, saying it was being led by foreign forces who had drugged Libyans with hallucination pills. ||CNN&&

9||Still, protests continued to spread. In Benghazi, Libyans burned a poster of Qaddafi. ||Mohamaad Hosam/UPI/Newscom&&

10||By late February, rebel forces had captured the eastern city of Benghazi and seized weapons from Qaddafi's forces. ||ALFRED/SIPA/Newscom&&

11||Rebel forces consolidated their standing in the eastern part of Libya, while Qaddafi retained control of areas in the west. ||ALFRED/SIPA/Newscom&&

12||In the days that followed, rebel forces began advancing west toward the capitol city of Tripoli and areas held by forces loyal to Qaddafi.||ALFRED/SIPA/Newscom&&


14||Qaddafi's forces struck back, repelling the rebels' advance. ||FOHLEN CORENTIN/SIPA/Newscom&&



17||Rebel forces have adopted the red, black, and green flag of the Kingdom of Libya, the country's former flag before Qaddafi came to power. ||FOHLEN CORENTIN/SIPA/Newscom&&


19||After two weeks of fighting, Qaddafi remained in power, repeating his vow that he would not bend to the will of the rebels. ||imago stock&people/Newscom&&

20||On March 10, Qaddafi's son, Saif, spoke at a pro-government rally in Tripoli, saying that the government would win out over the rebels. ||CHINE NOUVELLE/SIPA/Newscom&&

21||One day later, President Obama spoke at the White House, cautioning against a direct intervention in Libya. ||Zhang Jun/Xinhua/Photoshot/Newscom&&

22||On March 12, the Arab League called an emergency meeting to discuss the unfolding crisis in Libya, and asked the United Nations to impose a no-fly zone. ||Sinan Gul/ABACAUSA.COM/Newscom&&

23||The seat reserved for the Libyan representative was conspicuously vacant at that meeting. ||x99/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

24||Qaddafi's forces, with their superior training and firepower, continued to push the rebels back with rocket attacks and airstrikes. ||ALFRED/SIPA/Newscom&&


26||On March 14, forces loyal to Qaddafi recaptured the strategic town of Zawiya. ||ALFRED/SIPA/Newscom&&


28||Amidst the fighting, thousands of Libyans have fled the country, some crossing the Tunisian border and settling in refugee camps there. ||TRAPPE/CARO FOTOS/SIPA/Newscom&&



31||After capturing Zawiya, Qaddafi's forces began marching toward the rebel stronghold, Benghazi ||ALFRED/SIPA/Newscom&&

32||As more and more Libyans died, western nations -- led by France and the U.K. -- began calling for some level of intervention. ||FOHLEN CORENTIN/SIPA/Newscom&&





37||As Qaddafi's forces apprached Benghazi, the Libyan leader proclaimed that his troops were "coming tonight," and that there would "be no mercy." ||FOHLEN CORENTIN/SIPA/Newscom&&



40||On March 17, The U.n Security Council authorized a resolution calling for a no-fly zone over Libya and an immediate cease-fire. ||SIPA USA/SIPA/Newscom&&

41||The resolution passed with 10 votes in favor -- including those by US Ambassador Susan Rice, and British Ambassador Mark Lyall -- no votes against, and five abstentions. ||imago stock&people/Newscom&&

42||France, which was one of the first countries to call for a no-fly zone, also voted in favor of the resolution. ||mago stock&people/Newscom&&

43||In Tripoli, Libya's Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim said the nation would adhere to the terms of the cease fire. ||Yang Guang/Xinhua/Photoshot/Newscom&&

44||Yet the following day, on March 18, there were reports of renewed fighting in Libya. ||FOHLEN CORENTIN/SIPA/Newscom&&

45||Also on March 18, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said the U.S. was weighing how it would proceed, and that the U.N. resolution was just one important step to resolving the crisis. ||ALFRED/SIPA/Newscom&&

According to conservative columnist Ann Coulter, this whole Japanese nuclear crisis is overblown and "radiation is actually good for you" and the media isn't reporting its benefits enough.

On The O'Reilly Factor last night, Coulter spoke about her recent column that cites a number of articles in the New York Times and "a stunning number of physicists" showing radiation has a positive effect on cancer patients.

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Republican Congressman Dan Burton finished his prepared remarks on the floor of the House of Representatives and was ready to yield to the next speaker, but there was only one problem: Congressman Louie Gohmert was scheduled next and was nowhere to be found.  Burton was then forced to engage in a ten minute monologue as he was advised to "keep talking."

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Six Ways Fukushima is Not Chernobyl

by Lois Beckett, Special to ProPublica

The crisis at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi has already been dubbed the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl, and the situation there continues to worsen.

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The Libyan Ambassador to the United States, who has broken with the ruling regime, is urging the U.S., Britain and France to employ the full extent of a U.N. resolution passed Thursday and use military airstrikes to contain Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi as soon as possible.

A cease-fire in Libya does not go far enough to quell the humanitarian crisis in the country and the brutal policies of the Muammar Qaddafi's regime, Ambassador Ali Aujali, who joined the opposition in the early days of the crisis, told reporters Friday morning at the National Press Club.

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A state judge in Wisconsin has just issued a temporary restraining order blocking Gov. Scott Walker's (R-WI) newly-passed law curtailing public employee unions, on the grounds that the GOP-controlled legislature appeared to have violated state public notice requirements when quickly passing the bill last week.

"It seems to me the public policy behind effective enforcement of the open meeting law is so strong that it does outweigh the interest, at least at this time, which may exist in favor of sustaining the validity of the (law)," wrote Judge Maryann Sumi, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

A key thing to note here is that this is a procedural objection, and not a constitutional finding based on the content of the law itself. As such, even if the bill's opponents secure a permanent injunction in further litigation -- and then prevail in any appeals to higher courts -- the Republican-controlled legislature could still theoretically get together and pass the bill again.

But of course, that would involve having the legislature convene again, protesters swarming the Capitol again, and a very tough vote occurring in a rerun. Even if the Republicans were willing to do that, it would only give further political fuel to the Dems.

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