Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for December 16th, 2007

Battlefield Malaysia?

Posted by Charles II on December 16, 2007

Tom Wilson, Asia Times:

Protests for greater democratization have spurred a strategic Muslim ally of the United States to clamp down and prioritize security concerns over civil liberties. Opposition parties have promised more protests, while the government states it will not tolerate any more public demonstrations that it deems a threat to national security. All of this takes place with critical democratic elections on the horizon.

Although this scenario could apply to Pakistan, a key ally in the US-led "war on terror", it applies equally to Malaysia, a country that in recent years has been on the periphery of US foreign policy and now suddenly is at risk of becoming another regional political hot spot. Malaysia is important both strategically and economically as the world's 34th largest economy and currently the US's 10th-largest trade partner.

Geographically, Malaysia straddles the Strait of Malacca through which approximately 50% of the world's oil supply flows, including over 70% of China's imports....

endemic corruption, ethnic tension and uneven economic development now threaten to overwhelm Abdullah's once popular administration.

Posted in international, Malaysia | Comments Off on Battlefield Malaysia?

Michigan to Bush: You Suck

Posted by MEC on December 16, 2007

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It makes me proud to live in Michigan.

According to a recent poll:

More than six in 10 Michiganders say George W. Bush’s presidency will go down as either below average or among the worst ever, according to The Detroit Free Press/Local 4 Michigan Poll.

And among the 62% who say Bush won’t be remembered favorably, 37% say his two terms will go down as among the worst, according to the poll conducted Monday through Wednesday of 800 Michigan adults.


The poll also showed just 23% of people surveyed approve of the job Bush is doing, while 73% disapprove.

That 23% is the magic number: it ties Richard Nixon’s all-time low rating.

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments »

Some Jokes Just Write Themselves

Posted by MEC on December 16, 2007

“Independent Democrat” Joe Lieberman endorses “maverick Republican” John McCain for the Presidency.

Maybe Joe hopes to have the distinction of running for Vice President under two different parties.

 Or maybe he’s just a petty, spiteful, small-minded little man who can never resist an opportunity to stick it to the party that didn’t give him the power he thinks he should have.

Posted in Joe Lieberman, John McCain, WTF? | 5 Comments »

This Shouldn’t Surprise You If You’ve Been Paying Attention

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 16, 2007

Rich get massively richer under Bush.  The rest of us?  Not so much — in fact, we wound up giving our money to them:

Earlier this week, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) updated its authoritative data series on household incomes (1979-2005).  The new data—highly regarded as a particularly complete source of information on this important topic—reveal a sharp increase in income inequality over the past few years.  In fact, the increase in income inequality (both pre- and post-tax) as measured by the change in the shares of income going to different income classes, was greater from 2003 to 2005 than over any other two-year period covered by the CBO data.  Over these years, an amazing $400 billion in pre-tax dollars was shifted from the bottom 95% of households to those in the top 5% (all income data in this report are inflation adjusted and in 2005 dollars).  In other words, had income shares not shifted as they did, the income of each of the 109 million households in the bottom 95% would have been $3,660 higher in 2005.

But of course if anybody talks about taxing the upper five percent, all hell breaks loose.

Posted in income inequality, infrastructure, taxes | 3 Comments »

The Shock Wears Off: USA Edition

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 16, 2007

The whole fear-based “circle the wagons” mentality used to justify torture and murder is wearing off in the US as well as in other places where the neocons have run roughshod in the past few decades:

For six years, Central Intelligence Agency officers have worried that someday the tide of post-Sept. 11 opinion would turn, and their harsh treatment of prisoners from Al Qaeda would be subjected to hostile scrutiny and possible criminal prosecution.Now that day may have arrived, after years of shifting legal advice, searing criticism from rights groups — and no new terrorist attacks on American soil.

The Justice Department, which in 2002 gave the C.I.A. legal approval for waterboarding and other tough interrogation methods, is reviewing whether agency officials broke the law by destroying videotapes of those very methods.

The Congressional intelligence committees, whose leaders in 2002 gave at least tacit approval for the tough tactics, have voted in conference to ban all coercive techniques, and they have announced investigations of the destruction of the videotapes and the methods they documented.

“Exactly what they feared is what’s happening,” Jack Goldsmith, the former head of the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department, said of the C.I.A. officials he advised in that job. “The winds change, and the recriminations begin.”

The legal siege against the Bush administration’s counterterrorism programs goes far beyond the C.I.A., including lawsuits brought on behalf of hundreds of detainees held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and more than 40 challenges in court to the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance program.

As Naomi Klein says, shock — in individuals and in cultures — does eventually wear off. And that’s a good thing.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

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