- How many awful, corrupt U.S. client states in the Middle East will collapse under the weight of immense daily protests? The anti-government movement in Egypt makes its biggest show today, with massive numbers of people filling the streets of nearly every big town. Hosni Mubarak’s government has responded in a slow, plodding way but is finally turning to large-scale violence and the usual authoritarian stunts that seem to just make people angrier — today, Egypt’s leadership has turned off every Internet access point and cell phone tower it can figure out how to shut down. Meanwhile, in Washington, Vice President Joe Biden praised Cairo’s 82-year-old dictator like this: “Mubarak has been an ally of ours in a number of things. And he’s been very responsible on, relative to geopolitical interest in the region, the Middle East peace efforts; the actions Egypt has taken relative to normalizing relationship with, with Israel …. I would not refer to him as a dictator.” Of course Hosni’s not a dictator! He listens to his masters in Washington! Meanwhile, the protests are heating up in Yemen, a desperately poor country that has been one of America’s punching bags for years whenever it needs to act “tough on terrorism” by having a billion-dollar robot death plane drop a few “smart bombs” on a goat farmer. [NYT/Guardian/ABC News/CSM]
- The U.S. economy grew a little tiny woody in the last quarter of last year, to 3.2% annual growth. This was less than expected but still a little more than America has seen in four years. [Reuters/New York Times]
- Meanwhile, in our dull little land of charmless charade, Rep. Mike Pence has decided not to run for the Republican presidential nomination or whatever. [Indy Star]
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