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Blog: News and commentary
Description: Significant or interesting news items with editorial commentary.
Created by admin on Fri 28 of Sep, 2007 [07:13 UTC]
Last modified Mon 21 of Jul, 2008 [17:20 UTC]
(324 posts | 31673 visits | Activity=2.00)
Old news but worth discussing...
Ex-prosecutor nabbed by terror watch list.
The real question isn't why the system doesn't have a better way of distinguishing between people with the same names; the real question is why someone with the name of "Jim Robinson" is on the list, vrs, say "Abdul bin Arabi" or something like that.
The ACLU predicted the watch list would include 1 million names as early as Monday. The civil liberties group reached that number by citing the 700,000 records on the watch list as of last September and adding 20,000 names each month, as forecast by the Justice Department's inspector general.
Are there really that many terrorists in the USA?
Or is this really a cover for harassing dissidents and the very wealthy but not politically-connected, who might be thinking of moving funds offshore?
Beating at airport
WA governor claims taxes to rise only "as last resort"
This almost certainly means higher taxes imminent.
OLYMPIA — Gov. Christine Gregoire says higher taxes are "absolutely" a last resort in her plans for balancing the state budget. But if any new taxes are needed, she says they should go to voters for approval.
Nonpartisan state budget experts say the state is facing a possible deficit of more than $2.5 billion.
Pentagon complicity in Korean War horror
Associated press has been reporting this for a while now, but I have only now seen the story that someone else forewarded to me; the US media apparently does not feel that it is important. Here it is on AOL News.
It seems that the South Korean government carried out summary MASS executions (on the order of HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS) of known and SUSPECTED leftists, without charges or trial, because they MIGHT join the North Koreans who were invading.
The US military was complicit in both implicit and explicit consent, and by helping to cover up the atrocities.
No idea. Never heard of it before.
Beware of making strong opinions according to the history you learn in school. Amazing what enormous incidents can be covered up so thoroughly.
Gordon Brown feasts after telling Brits to cut back
Kudos to UK Telegraph for catching this and reporting.
The Prime Minister was served 24 different dishes during his first day at the summit – just hours after urging the world to reduce the "unnecessary demand" for food and calling on British families to cut back on their wasteful use of food.
Mr Brown and his wife Sarah were among 15 guests at the "blessings of the earth and the sea social dinner".
The dinner consisted of 18 dishes in eight courses including caviar, smoked salmon, Kyoto beef and a "G8 fantasy dessert".
The banquet was accompanied by five different wines from around the world including champagne, a French Bourgogne and sake.
African leaders including the heads of Ethiopia, Tanzania and Senegal who had taken part in talks during the day were not invited to the function.
The dinner came just hours after a "working lunch" consisting of six courses including white asparagus and truffle soup, crab and a supreme of chicken.
Forget the propaganda: Mugabe not so unpopular
While doing some research on the Zimbabwe situation (which is interesting as a current case of hyperinflation), I was mildly surprised to discover that contrary to propaganda, the vast majority of webpages I found belonging to ex-pat Africans in the western countries strongly support Mugabe.
When a foreign "leader"--good or bad--gets in trouble with the elites, the news starts flooding with accounts of how horrible he is (Mugabe really DOES seem to be a thug, by the way--but a popular one) and how the freedom-loving people under him yearn to breath free (by being invaded, or economic sanctions, or whatever).
Mugabe is widely perceived among Africans as being an African who stood up to "the colonial powers". Whether there is any merit in this view or not (I honestly doubt it), that's the way it is.
This somewhat candid article admits that it is the western countries who are putting pressure on African countries to put pressure on him, and the African leaders are not complying.
If they were really serious about getting rid of him, why did the UK give him 23 million pounds for "land reform" (ie, seizing it, which is what caused the economic chaos)? I don't think this is any more than putting some pressure on him for failure to deliver the cheap agricultural goods that were promised when the farms were turned over to African management that was supposed to be cheaper and more efficient.
Seattle PI editorial regarding USA's crumbling infrastructure
Not a bad editorial, but I perceive "untouchable" issues.
I live in a state that is rich in late 19th, early 20th century marvels of engineering. Enormous dams, water conduits, high-tension powerlines, bridges (some of these are really amazing), etc.
I look at these marvels and shake my head. None of them can be built anymore. The industrial base and more importantly perhaps the engineering brain trust no longer exist.
I suppose that government building projects were always riddled with corruption, but it seems to be significantly worse now. There are just too many layers of incompetent, corrupt bureaucracy.
South Africa Miners' Union sets Aug 6th strike date
With a lot of their mines already either shut down or operating far below optimal capacity, I wonder what leverage they think they have?
Gold platinum etc at near-record prices, but so what? I have lost confidence in South Africa's ability to deliver. Strikes or no strikes they can't even keep delivering power to the mines. Not to mention failure to deliver healthy working miners to the mines (a huge fraction of them have AIDS).
Taxes still soaring
No link to articles--there are too many and what we need here is an executive summary.
Exactly as expected, LOCAL taxes are soaring. Eventually I think federal taxes will too.
I think it is a combination of politician psychology and bad economic theory. Politicians don't get the idea of "peak taxes"--the point at which if they tax any more, the economy goes into free-fall as all available capital is spent by the government. Being inherently inefficient, as the cost of everything goes up, the cost of government goes up even FASTER. And municipalities can't just print more money like the federal government does.
The economic theory is that taxes are anti-inflationary. One of my investment textbooks actually breathlessly states this "fact". The idea is that with less money to spend, we're not bidding up the prices of bought goods (and yet they simply expand credit so that people continue bidding up the prices of goods and services on BORROWED money).
In Seattle, the mayor has a $75 million budget increase proposal on the table. This is ON TOP OF 22.41% property tax increases ALREADY IN THE WORKS just this year alone. The county, on the other hand, has a $68 million budget gap. I wonder if the admitted $100,000 spent on "global warming issues" (sic) helped create that deficit.
The Cook County, Illinois, council has just doubled its take of the combined state and local sales tax, pushing Chicago to the 10.25% level. Memphis Tennissee is at 9.25%. Chicago's high rates have been noticed in other big cities, where there are discussions about following Chicago's lead.
Wow, did Obama really kiss Bill's backside?
Bill Clinton, Obama have "terrific" conversation.
Just a day or two earlier:
" The Telegraph has learned that the former president's rage is still so great that even loyal allies are shocked by his patronising attitude to Mr Obama, and believe that he risks damaging his own reputation by his intransigence.
A senior Democrat who worked for Mr Clinton has revealed that he recently told friends Mr Obama could "kiss my ass" in return for his support."
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