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Comment: good report at democracy now (Score 1) 966

by cesc (#33036704) Attached to: WikiLeaks Publishes Afghan War Secrets

I recommend this report


http://www.democracynow.org/2010/7/26/the_new_pentagon_papers_wikileaks_releases

They have also covered the war extensively on the past, so to the Democracy Now audience already knew many reasons why the USA is loosing the war. For example allegedly +10% of the military budget is spent bribing the insurgence for "security protection" paid by USA contractors. An the USA pays many time the prices of basic items (like fuel) that acquires through the same contractors. Yo don't need conspiracy theories or leaks: just follow the money and you'll see that is on the interest of capital that wars last as long as possible, the same way it's in the capital's interest to make medications that make your diseases chronic, rather than curing you.

Comment: but is it really worth it? (Score 1) 406

by cesc (#31174188) Attached to: Owners Smash iPhones To Get Upgrades, Says Insurance Company

Well, of course they do, but the real question is, is it really worth it to buy insurance and smash the phone? or is more profitable, easier faster and less risky to just sell the phone and buy a new one?

P.S. I recommend the book Freakonomics which talks about economic incentives of corruption, crime, cheating, .... Maybe in the next book they'll write about cheating to insurance companies and I'll know the answer to my question :)

Comment: Re:Try to give them help and this is what they get (Score 1) 265

by cesc (#30872654) Attached to: Radio Hams Fired Upon In Haiti

I've been following the situation in Haiti via Democracy now and they have covered this topic extensively on their daily newscast. They even flew some reporters there for a few days. I highly recommend to subscribe to their tv/radio podcast (is free). I also recommend to read Naomi Klein's "The Shock Doctrine" for a good background on disaster relief operations.

My conclusion is that the whole violence situation has been fabricated. For example, the prison escape that you mention, they had an interview with a local civil rights activist who said that about 80% of the prisoners where in prison without charges. Political prisoners of the coup regime are being held for years without trial. According to him the case could be made that the mass escape had actually been a good thing.

Everybody interviewed during the first days were saying that there was no insecurity problem. There was no need for massive deployment of soldiers. The guy in charge of the main hospital n Port-au-Prince was even complaining that the arrival of troops had interfered with the functioning of the hospital.

Tons of help has been shipped there but almost none has arrived to the people. Lots of volunteer nurses and doctors have arrived but they don't have access to any electricity or medical supplies. They are doing tabletotop amputations with tools acquired at the local hardware store and without anesthesia. Most of which unnecessary as they would have been avoided if they had had antibiotics on the first place.

The USA controls the airport and are preventing some of the planes with aid to land. Tons of aid has arrived but is just staying at the airport, or being delivered to ... the USA embassy. The little aid that is being delivered is being handed out by armed personnel who have been told the people out there are dangerous and they throw them food from a distance. People are getting really pissed of at being treated like dogs and/or very frustrated of not receiving any help.

It's the perfect recipe for violence and has been perfectly executed according to a plan. And it is starting to work: there are the first reports of insecurity at night, women being raped. Communities are just asking for proper lightening at night in their camps site to prevent this from happening. Nobody wants guns.

Local communities had all the experience required to get organized, and all the means except petrol. If they had just been handed some gas they would have used their own trucks to get water for the victims and relocate the people to less hit areas.

As usual when there is a natural disaster the disaster capitalists have stepped in to size the opportunity to steal as much as possible from the local people (they call it privatization). It is crucial that local communities are prevented from self organizing. There is also the issue of preventing any good PR from "hostile" regimes: cuba had already 400 doctors in the ground when the earthquake struck, and they sent more help immediately, Venezuela also sent aid, so did China while the USA was still "planning". In their military effort to prevent good PR for other governments they missed a golden opportunity to create good PR for the USA: the Guantanamo base is just around the corner and they could have sent emergency aid from there during the first hours. They didn't.

There is also the issue of racism. With Haiti being the first and only independent state created by a slave revolution, it is even more pressing to keep them poor, otherwise they would set a bad precedent. God forbid people from realizing that a bunch of negroes are capable of running a country. The USA has recently done two cups against a democratically elected government in Haiti (both times led by Jean-Bertrand Aristide) and it has had very good reasons to do so.

Here is a sample of democracy now reporting:

Security “Red Zones” in Haiti Preventing Large Aid Groups from Effectively Distributing Aid

As thousands of well-equipped US soldiers pour into Haiti, there is an increasing concern about the militarization of the country, supporting the soldiers and not the people. Or, as one doctor put it, “people need gauze, not guns.” We take a look at aid distribution in Haiti and the effect on Haitians fighting to survive in the aftermath of the earthquake. [includes rush transcript]

Transportation

Could a Meteor Have Brought Down Air France 447? 884

Posted by kdawson
from the flinging-thunderbolts dept.
niktemadur writes "In light of an Air Comet pilot's report to Air France, Airbus, and the Spanish civil aviation authority that, during a Monday flight from Lima to Lisbon, 'Suddenly, we saw in the distance a strong and intense flash of white light, which followed a descending and vertical trajectory and which broke up in six seconds,' the Cosmic Variance blog team on the Discover Magazine website muses on the question 'What is the probability that, for all flights in history, one or more could have been downed by a meteor?' Taking into account total flight hours and the rate of meteoric activity with the requisite mass to impact on Earth (approximately 3,000 a day), some quick math suggests there may be one in twenty odds of a plane being brought down in the period from 1989 to 2009. Intriguingly, in the aftermath of TWA flight 800's crash in 1996, the New York Times published a letter by Columbia professors Charles Hailey (physics) and David Helfand (astronomy), in which they stated the odds of a meteor-airplane collision for aviation history up to that point: one in ten."

Comment: The embargo in Iran is a joke (Score 5, Informative) 194

by cesc (#28068001) Attached to: Microsoft Blocks Messenger In Five Embargoed Countries

I don't know about the other four countries but last summer I was in Iran and USA brands were ubiquitous. For example all the restaurants had either Coca Cola or Pepsi which seem to be the locals' favorite drink. "Bottled in Iran with license from Coca Cola" read the cans, in plain English. And they were less than 50c!

I was clearly on the minority when drinking the local traditional soda, dugh, made with yogurt and mint.

Some locals take offense if asked about the embargo. It hurts their national feelings. "we've been under embargo for generations and we know how to get around it".

Friends who hadn't been to Iran for several years missed the old traditional Persian cola brands. Apparently Persicola and Zam Zam tasted much better than the USA brands. But locals didn't remember when the change had happened.

Similarly local olive and olive oil brands had been replaced with European counterparts. Last news I hear from Iran is that some clerics are getting around the import tariffs and illegally importing cheap Malaysian fruits which are driving local farmers to bankruptcy.

A few years ago the supreme leader abolished an article in the constitution which prevented the government from privatizing core state services. Now Ahmadinejad is eliminating the subsidies for bread, electricity, and gas.

Recently the Iranian government sounds more like the Bush neocon administration than a revolutionary socialist one.

I know that the embargo of Internet services are different to get around from the embargo of physical goods, but many people in Iran already use a VPN and browse with a foreign IP, to get pass the Iranian censorship.

A bug in the code is worth two in the documentation.

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