this are a partial reposts of various sites below:
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Maverick News: Small Expectations
Maverick Media - 24 January, 2009 -on Pacificana.org
In describing the current economic crisis, for example, he said, "Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age." But the people suffering the most didn't "fail" to make "hard choices" about the greed and speculation on Wall Street. They didn’t get to choose at all. And they didn’t share in the gains that preceded the crash. Yet now they're being asked to take responsibility and sacrifice he also claimed that "our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred." This and other lines could have come from Bush's speechwriters.
Other troubling signs from Team Obama: calling for more US troops in Afghanistan without a clear explanation of what they’ll do there… giving a misleading impression about how soon and how many soldiers will be removed from Iraq by using the term "combat troops" – 100,000 mercenaries and up to 60,000 troops may remain… approving unspecified bailout amounts for unspecified purposes with unspecified oversight… picking a budget director who favors cutting Social Security for those under 60… picking an attorney general who supports continued immunity for illegal wiretapping and secret searches of library and bookstore data files… Plus, support for the war on drugs, the Patriot Act, and the death penalty.
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THE STATE OF FREEDOM. Freedom House, an advocacy group founded in 1941 by Eleanor Roosevelt that fights tyranny around the world, says that freedom was in retreat in 2008. According to the group’s just released annual survey of political rights and civil liberties, this is the third year of decline in a row. Sub-Saharan Africa and the former Soviet Union led the way down, while South Asia showed some improvement.
The report, "Freedom in the World 2009" examines the state of freedom in all 193 countries and 16 territories. It analyzes developments that occurred in 2008 and assigns each country a freedom status – "free", "partly free" or "not free." Overall, 34 countries registered declines in freedom and 14 registered improvements.
The number of countries judged as "free" in 2008 was 89 – 46 percent of the world’s population. Sixty-two countries were listed as "partly free,” 20 percent of humanity. And 42 countries were classified as "not free; that’s the remaining 34 percent. Eight countries received the survey's lowest possible ranking for both political rights and civil liberties: North Korea, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Burma, Libya, Sudan, Equatorial Guinea and Somalia. Two territories are in the same category: Tibet and Chechnya.
Eleven other countries and territories received scores that were only slightly better: Belarus, China, South Ossetia, Laos – all in Asia, Saudi Arabia and Syria in the Middle East, Cuba, and, in Africa – Zimbabwe, Chad, Eritrea, and Western Sahara.
The most significant progress occurred in South Asia, where several countries saw improvements linked to elections. In addition to improvements in Pakistan, Maldives and Bhutan, progress was also seen in Nepal, Kashmir, Malaysia and Thailand. Declines were registered in Afghanistan, Burma, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Singapore and Tibet. China increased repression instead of delivering the human rights reforms promised in connection with hosting the Summer Olympics.
In the Former Soviet Union/Central and Eastern Europe, non-Baltic countries continued their decade-long decline in freedom, now ranking below Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East on several survey indicators. Russia and Georgia, which went to war over South Ossetia, were among the notable declines, as well as Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan and Moldova. Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe remains strong, despite setbacks in Bulgaria and Macedonia.
After several years of modest gains, the Middle East and North Africa are experiencing trouble. Iraq was the only country to show improvement, mainly because of reductions in violence, political terror and government-sponsored Shia militias – although it’s still considered “Not Free.” Jordan, Bahrain, Iran, the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli-Occupied Territories also declined, freedom-wise.
Latin America managed to maintain its democratic character despite economic problems, an increase in violent crime in some countries and the rise of populist demagogues. Paraguay and Cuba saw improvements, although the Castro government continues to be pretty repressive. Colombia, Nicaragua, Mexico and Venezuela were among the countries where freedom took a hit.
Western Europe and North America continued to get the highest scores. The election of Obama could lead to reforms of counterterrorism policies. But freedom did decline in two European countries: Italy and Greece. The survey also expressed concern about potential threats to freedom of expression in Canada and England.
And now, the 10 Worst Corporations of 2008, courtesy of Multinational Monitor. Actually, it would have been easy to restrict the awards this year to Wall Street firms. But the rest of the corporate world wasn’t on good behavior, so this Top Ten list includes only one financial company. And since it’s pretty hard to say who’s really the worst, it’s alphabetical.. Here goes: AIG, Cargill, Chevron, Constellation Energy, Chinese National Petroleum Corporation, Dole, GE, Imperial Sugar, Philip Morris, and Roche. Highlights on some of the top offenders
For the full story, visit Multinational Monitor.
(C) maryjanie 2009