Morning Must Reads: Alarm

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A woman holds up a Libyan flag during a protest outside the United Nations building in New York on February 21. (REUTERS/Andrew Burton)

–Secretary of State Clinton is watching Libya “with alarm”:

We join the international community in strongly condemning the violence in Libya. Our thoughts and prayers are with those whose lives have been lost, and with their loved ones. The government of Libya has a responsibility to respect the universal rights of the people, including the right to free expression and assembly. Now is the time to stop this unacceptable bloodshed. We are working urgently with friends and partners around the world to convey this message to the Libyan government.

–Defections are rampant, both in the military and diplomatic corps.

–CNN’s Ben Wedeman enters the country from Egypt:

“Your passports please,” said the young man in civilian clothing toting an AK-47 at the Libyan border.

“For what?” responded our driver, Saleh, a burly, bearded man who had picked us up just moments before. “There is no government. What is the point?” He pulled away with a dismissive laugh.

On the Libyan side, there were no officials, no passport control, no customs.

–Gaddafi releases a short video to prove he’s still in the country. (Specifically in his driveway, by the looks of it.)

–The deadlock continues in Wisconsin. Governor Walker will make a televised address tonight.

–Union membership and budget shortfalls graphed.

–Bruce Bartlett gives the Obama budget a close read.

–The White House is preparing for a shutdown. The conditions may be different than in 1995, but the players are largely the same.

–Esteemed Swamp alum Karen Tumulty talks to Mike Huckabee, who sounds downright ambivalent about another presidential run.

–Chicago’s mayoral primary, which in effect decides who will capture City Hall, is today. The only real suspense is whether Rahm Emanuel can avoid a runoff.

–Moderate Indiana Sen. Dick Lugar’s primary challenger will launch his Senate campaign today with most of the state Republican party’s support behind him.

–For some reason, Republicans have a really hard time maintaining unity during special elections in western New York.

–And Charlie Rangel offers tax advice.

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