Monday, December 29, 2008
Relationship of the crisis to the 1994 Rwandan genocide
Scale and effects of violence against civilians
Mass sexual violence against women
Continued fighting in the East
Role of ethnicity in the perpetration of violenceThe Democratic Republic of the Congo (known as Zaire until 1997) has suffered two wars since 1996. The first war (1996), began as a direct result of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The second began in 1998 and involved the armed forces of at least seven countries and multiple militias. According to the International Rescue Committee, since 1998, an estimated 5.4 million people have died, most from preventable diseases as a result of the collapse of infrastructure, lack of food security, displacement, and destroyed health-care systems.In 2006, DRC held the first multi-party elections in over 40 years, and over 25 million citizens participated. The elections signified the end of a three-year transition period during which time the country moved from intense war to a system of power sharing between the former government, former armed forces, opposition parties, and civil society. However, national and provincial structures remain incapable of ensuring basic security for communities, providing transparent management of resources and wealth, and addressing entrenched problems of corruption, poverty, lack of development and heightened ethnic and regional tensions.In the East, the war never conclusively ended. A range of armed forces continue to perpetrate violence against the civilian population, including forced displacement, abductions, looting, forceful recruitment and use of child soldiers, and massive sexual violence. According to the United Nations, 27,000 sexual assaults were reported in 2006 in South Kivu Province alone, a figure that represents only those assaults that were officially reported. Ethnic hostility, fed by inter-group violence in Congo over the past ten years in addition to the impact of genocide and violence in Rwanda and Burundi, has produced an environment where groups fear their entire existence is under threat and engage in pre-emptive attacks. Multiple armed forces, including the national armed forces and various militias engage in armed conflict and prey on the civilian population. Among the most brutal of the armed forces are the FDLR, a group whose leadership is associated with the perpetrators of the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Islamic Jihad terrorists place rockets before firing them towards Israel on the outskirts of Gaza City, Saturday.Photo: AP
Slideshow: Pictures of the week
Hamas also mocked what it described as the "state of confusion" in Israel over how to react to the latest spree of rocket and mortar attacks.
The movement also claimed that the Egyptians had given Israel a "green light" to launch a limited military operation in the Gaza Strip to overthrow the Hamas government.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Every year, five million cats and dogs are gassed to death or lethally injected with sodium pentobarbital in American animal shelters. The word 'euthanasia' is a grotesque euphemism. There is no mercy in these deaths. Most of the animals are healthy, rambunctious, and young. They die terrified, and they die pointlessly: very few are vicious; most are capable of forming deep affectionate bonds with humans.
Some are sick or injured, but could be saved with little effort. Some are feral cats who before their detention were enjoying or enduring lives no better, perhaps, but certainly no worse than that of any other wild animal.
Until recently, the public was generally unaware of the extent of the slaughter; those who knew were told by shelter authorities that there was no choice: America was suffering from a "pet overpopulation" crisis, the consequence of the public's irresponsibility in permitting their animals to reproduce without restraint and their propensity to abandon puppies and kittens that had outgrown their initial fey charm.
Shelters in America have begun to use the No Kill model, with dramatic results
Enter Nathan Winograd, attorney for the condemned. In 1994, Winograd, a graduate of Stanford law school and former criminal prosecutor, abandoned his lucrative career as a corporate attorney to begin a campaign against the killing, and in doing so, started a revolution in American animal shelter practices.
There were more than enough Americans who would be willing to adopt these animals if they knew about them, Winograd argued, and there was always an alternative to killing them. The problem was not the irresponsibility of the American public; it was the shocking unwillingness of shelter workers to exercise the slightest bit of imagination, practical or moral, to find alternatives to killing. Case in point: shelters that campaigned to discourage people from adopting puppies and kittens at Christmas time.
In 2001, Winograd was appointed executive director of the Tompkins County SPCA in upstate New York. Upon his arrival, he told his employees that there would be no more killing - period. If they could not figure out a way to find homes for the animals in their care, they would be fired. "Staff," he told them, "are paid to save lives. If they throw up their hands and say 'There is nothing we can do,' I may as well eliminate their position and use the money more constructively to either hire someone who will find a solution or for something else like temporary boarding space at a local kennel."
It is ludicrous that the lives of feral cats are so bad that it is kind to kill them
Within a year, half the staff were fired and 93 per cent of the animals were saved. The shelter's budget deficit was transformed into a surplus.
In 2005, Winograd founded the No Kill Advocacy Center, a national organisation aimed at ending the killing of pets in animal shelters. Thanks largely to Winograd, shelters throughout America have begun to implement the No Kill model, with dramatic results. Cities such as Philadelphia and Charlottesville have ceased to be animal-extermination machines.
The No Kill model involves trapping, vaccinating, neutering and releasing feral cats - not least because killing the animals simply doesn't control their numbers. Cats will keep breeding until their population reaches the limits of what the local rat and garbage population will support. Unless they are exterminated to the very last kitten, they will keep replenishing themselves.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Every day my friend left her Mumbai mansion to attend college. Sometimes, her driver had to stop at the front gate to remove the bodies of those who had come there to die. She was upset she might not get to school on time.
About 200 millions Indians have joined the modern economy. They live well by any standard. The other 1.2 billions are in dire straits.
America without safety nets would become a much crueler nation similar to India.
Ferrari values succumb to recession
Buyers cautious as prestigious Italian cars struggle to sell at auction.
By Paul Hudson, Telegraph.co.uk
This immaculate 1955 Ferrari 121LM Spyder Corsa failed to sell.
Desirable Ferraris have usually been considered less immune to the vicissitudes of the world’s financial markets than most other marques, but car collectors kept their hands firmly in their pockets at last weekend’s Bonhams sale of Ferraris and associated memorabilia in Gstaad.
Many of the star lots failed to reach their estimates and were consequently not sold, although most of the more affordable lots found buyers. Even then, they struggled to achieve the lower end of their estimated prices.
The annual ‘Ferrari et les Prestigieuses Italiennes’ auction at Gstaad featured a host of not only desirable but seminal Ferraris for sale, most notably a 1955 121LM Spyder Corsa that competed in the 1955 Le Mans 24 Hours and that year’s Mille Miglia road race in the hands of Phil Hill, Eugenio Castellotti, Umberto Maglioli and Carroll Shelby. It was estimated at £2,808,450 to £3,945,000 but the price for one of the most collectible competition Ferraris to emerge on the open market for many years was apparently too steep as buyers responded to current financial woes with extreme caution.
An immaculate, 192 F40 also failed to sell, as did the 1951 212 Export Spider that came third overall in the 1951 Mille Miglia.
A 1967 275GTB/4, estimated at £717,000 to £836,000, had reached only £595,000 before the hammer fell.
The Ferrari ‘Daytona’ (proper name the 365GTB/4) coupe has been fetching high prices but one of the examples at Gstaad, one of only 530 Series 1 cars and estimated at £232,800 to £268,600, failed to sell.
Even the most desirable of all modern Ferraris, the limited edition Enzo that was a showcase for the company’s Formula One technology, failed to meet its 805,000 to £990,000.
However, a Dino 246GT coupe formerly owned by renowned Porsche racer Hans Herrman did find a buyer, although it only realised £92,350 against an estimate of £105,000 to £136,000.
A notable exception to the trend was Lot 234, a 1990 Maserati Quattroporte Royale saloon that has covered only 7,500km from new, which fetched 24,000 Swiss Francs (£14,755) against an estimate of 12,000-16,000ChF (£7,377-£9,842).
Monday, December 22, 2008
Although I am an Israeli, I would never pretend to speak for Israel. On the ground, however, I would offer a few corrections for the record. The 2006 war was the Palestinian reaction to our pulling out of Gaza and building a wall to keep them out of Israel. They were missing the medical services, the jobs and the welfare we had provided for them in Israel.
When the cease fire began, we were sending 500 or 600 trucks of supplies to them. The Hamas responded with rockets killing a number of our citizens. The Hamas told Gaza. "Look at all those trucks WE BROUGHT YOU from our rocket fire."
Since then, the rockets continue daily and the number of trucks has diminished to 50 or 60. With the avowed purpose of Hamas to throw us into the sea, some Israelis want to dethrone Hamas and make a peace deal with Fatah. Others [mostly American settlers] have embarked on a more violent course. They reflect the American culture that has no place in Asia. Most Israelis are of oriental extraction a more docile and pacific branch of Judaism.
Killing 7.4 millions of Asians the Americans are not the champions of human rights or the Princes of Peace. If the writer sets various Jewish villainous straw men to 'prove' a point, I am sure American Jewish pundits will wipe up the floor with him.
One item must be clear. The Last Battle will pit God and the Jews against the rest of the world. We won't start it because all those who conduct a preemptive war receive a million years in hell.
Twenty millions dollars can buy a suitcase nuclear bomb. Hard to detect, it is difficult to determine the owner.Against whom does the offended nation retaliate?Somebody in law enforcement should have tracked down the FBI and the State Department employees who sold our nuclear secrets in the Middle East.
We can confirm the existence of only 4% of the matter/energy in our universe. The other 96% is a mystery to us. Our scientists can only infer the Dark Space through observations of magnetic fields and gravitational forces.
This is similar to watching the parts of a football game that occur between the forty-eight yard lines.
This phenomenon has taught me humility. I hope this characteristic spreads.
How can a CEO earn a salary that is 3,777 times larger than his employee? After a bank CEO writes down 64% of his firm's assets, he collects his eight-figure salary from the bail out money.
He ignores the original purpose of the bail out was to encourage consumer and small business lending. Instead, he fires his employees in their tens of thousands.
The financial wizards developed toxic mortgage instruments with enticingly low interest rates and payment terms. They sold over-priced homes to unqualified customers. When the mortgage reset at a higher interest rate, the monthly payment doubled and the property entered foreclosure. The bank is trying to resell it at a greatly reduced price. What did the bank do to earn ownership?
Ownership of the foreclosed properties should revert to the renters and buyers who occupied them.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Thomas Tamm had spent a lifetime in law enforcement. A lawyer, his family had a long tradition of government service. After he learned of the Bush/NSA warrantless wiretapping criminal scheme, he knew it was a gross violation of the rule of law. He also was aware the penalty for whistle blowing was often a long prison sentence and sometimes death.
As Tamm is the subject of good reporting in the New York Times, Newsweek and the Huffington Post, I will comment on only one aspect. Several government Agencies did criminal work for Administration. They ignored the lawbreakers who were violating the human rights of the citizens. This neglect contributed greatly to the current Depression.
The new Administration should enter vigorous investigation and prosecution of the culprits.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Mr Barack Obama could best show his good will by pulling his troops out of the war zones. He could best show his commitment to human rights by enforcing the 1948 UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights in his country.
His new UN Ambassador Dr Susan Rice has called on the UN to end Sudan's genocide in Darfur militarily. As 430,000 innocent civilians have died there, this would be a significant step forward.
In the past 40 years the Americans have killed 7.4 millions innocent civilians in Asia. Your government plans to contest the Chinese for oil concessions in Africa. The US is hardly in a posture to lecture anybody on crimes against humanity.
The careful reader may note the one-sidedness of Middle East peace negotiations. Israelis are the only ones listening. What we heard prompts us to build high walls and to keep our nuclear forces on alert.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
In 1999 my third plea before the Israeli Supreme Court ended in Disaster. Held illegally since 1992, I knew I would never leave the Holy Land alive. On my way from Court an attorney handed me a copy of the 1948 UDHR. Each Article hit me like a bullet. They had codified every evil act the state had done me. I was no longer alone.
Since then I have contacted thousands of victims in every nation. All of us know that having human rights is most vital.
They must constitute the rule of law throughout the world.
With all my heart I wish you eternal life Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
The one jewel among Obama's appointees is the future UN Ambassador Dr Susan E Rice. She is one of the few Americans who speaks against genocide and actually does something about it.
The world suffers from the distinct lack of human rights and their enforcement. There is no government [aside from Costa Rica and Sweden] that empowers the people over the establishment.
The US and Israel stand out from other nations primarily because they are occupiers. Both pretend to be democracies while treating their citizens as dirt. At least, some of their citizens recognize their plight and seek redress.
The rest of the world sleeps enslaved.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
The FBI can't wire tap his bedroom phone to determine his sexual preferences.
The local bank can't seize his house when he is hospitalized.
The dogcatcher can't break into his garden to haul off his pets.
The Health Department can't sell his kids to foster parents.
He can incarcerate his Representative, his Senators and his President.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
If George Bush had wanted to aid the Iraqi people, he would have persuaded the UN to partner with him in Iraq.
Saddam had murdered 300,000 of his own citizens. He had built his Palace Guards to a force of 75,000 ruthless cutthroats.
Instead, the Americans waged a preemptive war that killed 1.4 millions innocent civilians and that failed to secure oil concessions for US firms.
Senator Barack Obama had opposed the Iraq War and he continued this during the Presidential campaign. This stance cost him votes throughout the primaries. Since the November election, he has staffed his national security team with tired old hawks from previous Administrations.
The one exception has been his designated UN Ambassador Susan E Rice. His foreign policy throughout the campaign, Dr Rice has opposed genocide. Since genocide is a taboo subject in America, Obama did not make a big issue about it.
I suspect he will prompt the UN to assign a large number of African Union and UN troops to stop the genocide in Darfur. This would be a complete turnaround from previous Administration foreign policy.
The Americans would kill everybody in Asia so long as we didn't pay for it. Borrowing from the Chinese and printing 'Monopoly' currency we thought was painless.
Sadly, the wars have had trickle down effects such as moral and financial bankruptcy. This decay shows the results of preemptive land wars in Asia. Not many Americans are willing to surrender their homes and jobs to continue a bogus war on terror.
So, we haven't learned anything except that wickedness has a big price tag.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
An illegal hold order has detained me in a Middle Eastern country for 16 years. I have committed no crime. Indeed, it was the 'host' nation that deprived me of human rights. All I received from 35 appearances in civil courts were several beatings that made me blind for four years and crippled me for life. They are guilty of violating 26 of my human rights as described by the 1948 UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
After I appealed to my native country's Embassy, the employees there notified my host's Interior Ministry. The Ministry issued an interrogation order on me and the Police chased me. Although I eluded them, they made a behind the back decision to make me a citizen. Then, the host Parliament enacted a new law that dual citizens had to pass a Police check to leave the country.
Suffice to say I will leave this place only in a coffin.
I have met scores of victims in similar situations. Most of them are dead.
Many human beings resist slavery and abuse in every way they can. Sadly, most of these efforts end in death. We are no match for the apparatus of the modern state.
The consumers were not at fault. The banking industry issued toxic mortgages. The $700 billions lent them went for everything else but curing the credit crunch. Consequently, consumers and small business lack the credit to go forward. Thus, the threat of being homeless and jobless causes most Americans to see a bleak future. Of course, increased spending by them is not in the cards.
The average citizen needs a good job with the assurance it will continue. Job creation results when small businesses see a ready market and a chance for prosperity.
We need solid products that fulfill a real need not just paper shuffling. Over 40 years of artificial bubbles, get rich schemes and criminal enterprises have robbed the nation of common sense, innovation and resourcefulness.
Republicans cooked the books in the election run-up.
The government bureaucrats plug data into models that simulate economic activities.
The published statistics are estimates based on estimates.
Any competent statistician or economist can massage the output to match his boss's expectations.
Twenty millions dollars can buy a suitcase nuclear bomb. Hard to detect, it is difficult to determine the owner.Against whom does the offended nation retaliate?Somebody in law enforcement should have tracked down the FBI and the State Department employees who sold our nuclear secrets in the Middle East.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Since I haven't heard from Lyndon LaRouche after 1983, I thought he was dead. I watched the coverage of the siege on NDTV 18/3. It was realistic and utterly chaotic. Totally unlike the World Trade Center tragedy, they lacked a string of 'witnesses' who mouthed the Administration line.
I can't imagine the Brits being involved in this. They are too class conscious to murder tourists in posh hotels. The Mossad would have notified the Jews in the Chabad House to steer clear that day. The Americans are too much in love with their high tech toys to limit themselves to 300 dead. If a nuclear war begins, it will point directly at the USA. Nobody else hates Pakistan AND India enough to set up a nuclear war between them.
After the attack on Iran failed to materialize, the Republicans rushed to bail out the financial interests before the GOP scuttled the ship of state. As they did not want to get lynched before they left town, they lowered the gas prices. I thought they kept control of the MSM simply to keep from sinking below the radar. However, the estimate of Pakistani A-bombs has risen from 4 to 150 in the past few months.
Bush could attack India with a number of suitcase bombs, blame it on Pakistan and retaliate with the US Navy. He could declare Martial Law. Backed by the US Military patrolling our streets, he could remain POTUS for some time.
The 20,000 troops may be effective versus peaceful demonstrators, strikers, angry welfare moms, partying teenagers and unruly toddlers. The losers of three wars can not defend ordinary citizens against a determined foe.
If the government wanted to protect us, they could have stopped the flow of US nuclear secrets to potential foes.
Since 2002 everybody knows about the FBI and State Department theft but nobody does anything about it. Anyone with $20 millions can plant a suitcase bomb in any world city.
How many actual terrorists have the massive Federal bureaucracies caught? Filling the prisons with whistle blowers, left wingers and potheads doesn't complete the law enforcement task.
Finally, the USA has fully prepared to fight WWII. They have begun a Depression so we will have plenty resentment to adopt a wartime posture.
Dr Susan Rice UN Ambassador
"Susan knows that the global challenges we face demand global institutions that work. She shares my belief that the UN is an indispensable - and imperfect - forum. She will carry the message that our commitment to multilateral action must be coupled with a commitment to reform. We need the UN to be more effective as a venue for collective action - against terror and proliferation; climate change and genocide; poverty and disease."
Rice Activist Against Mass Killings
Peter Baker, NYTimes
The choice of Ms. Rice to represent the United States before the United Nations will make her one of the most visible faces of the Obama administration to the outside world aside from Mrs. Clinton. It will also send to the world organization a prominent and forceful advocate of stronger action, including military force if necessary, to stop mass killings like those in the Darfur region of Sudan in recent years.
To reinforce his intention to work more closely with the United Nations after the tensions of President Bush’s tenure, Mr. Obama plans to restore the ambassador’s post to cabinet rank, as it was under President Bill Clinton, according to Democrats close to the transition.
While the cabinet consists of 15 department heads, a president can give other positions the same rank for the duration of his administration.
“She’s obviously one of Obama’s closest advisers, so it underscores how much of a priority he’s making the position,” said Nancy Soderberg, a senior United States diplomat at the United Nations under Mr. Clinton. “If you look at the last eight years, we obviously need to be more engaged at the U.N. and realistic about what the U.N. can do.”
Although I doubt the Congress or the incoming President will do anything about torture, crimes against humanity and murder, the mechanisms to prosecute remain in place.
These may deter evil-minded rogues in the future.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
In 2004 almost 60 millions of Americans voted for war, famine, pestilence and disease. In 2008 this platform received 55% of the white vote. Apparently, many people have a death wish.
If the GOP exists in 2048, its notions may again become fashionable.
Author: Wameeth (Iraq), Mideast Youth
This is a report by Anna Badkhen, a correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor, who highlights the sort of news that has too often gone unreported. I felt it was important to also share here for the sake of awareness:
Many rape victims have escaped to Jordan but still don’t have access to treatment and counseling.
AMMAN, JORDAN - As though recoiling from her own memories, Khalida shrank deeper into her faded armchair with each sentence she told: of how gunmen apparently working for Iraq’s Interior Ministry kidnapped her, beat and raped her; of how they discarded her on a Baghdad sidewalk.
But her suffering did not end when she fled Iraq and became a refugee in Jordan’s capital, Amman. When Khalida’s husband learned that she had been raped, he abandoned her and their two young sons.
Rumors spread fast in Amman; soon, everyone on her block knew that she was without a man in the house. Last month, her Jordanian neighbor barged into her apartment and attempted to rape her.
Khalida never reported the incident. Like tens of thousands of Iraqi refugees in Jordan, she does not have a permit to live or work here, and she is afraid that if she turns to authorities for help she will get deported. So instead of seeking punishment for her assailant, she latched the flimsy metal door of her apartment and stopped going outside.
Her story sheds light on a problem that is little researched, poorly understood, and largely ignored: Iraqi rape victims who now live in Jordan illegally and without protection. Sexual assault is heavily stigmatized in the Middle East, and victims are often afraid to talk about it to anyone, fearing that their families will abandon them. And their shaky status in Jordan leaves them afraid to seek help and vulnerable to new assaults and abuse. They fear persecution by Jordanian immigration authorities almost as much as they fear returning to Iraq.
“The lack of legal status does lead to these sorts of protection issues [and] puts them in very exploitative situations,” says Imran Riza, who heads the mission in Jordan of the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the main international agency that assists Iraqis in Jordan. Women like Khalida, he says, “are certainly vulnerable, and much more vulnerable than others.”
Rape is a common weapon of any war; no one knows how many Iraqi women have been raped since the war began in 2003. Most crimes against women “are not reported because of stigma, fear of retaliation, or lack of confidence in the police,” MADRE, an international women’s rights group, wrote in its 2007 report about violence against women in Iraq. Some women, like Khalida, are raped by Iraqi security forces. A 2005 report published by the Iraqi National Association for Human Rights found that women held in Interior Ministry detention centers endure “systematic rape by the investigators.”
A handful of organizations are working to help rape victims in Iraq. MADRE, together with the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, operates several shelters and safe houses in Baghdad for Iraqi rape victims, where the women have access to healthcare and counseling.
But militias often target women’s rights advocates in Iraq, so these facilities are “a clandestine network,” operated by “mostly somebody who at a great risk to themselves has opened a room for these victims,” says Yifat Susskind, MADRE’s communications director. The shelters have helped several thousand Iraqi women since 2003. Most rape victims learn about the shelters from other women.
Documenting sexual assault in Iraq by international researchers remains complicated because of widespread violence. “There’s been a security issue, so we haven’t been able to get people on the ground to look at the issue for a long time,” says Marianne Mollmann, who leads women’s rights advocacy at the New York-based Human Rights Watch, which published its last report about rape in Iraq in 2003.
Similarly, no one has tried to estimate how many Iraqi refugees have been raped while in Iraq or in Jordan, says Mohamad Habashneh, a Jordanian psychiatrist who works with Iraqi rape victims.
Mr. Habashneh has treated approximately 40 Iraqi rape victims for clinical depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. But he estimates that they are just a fraction of Iraqi refugees who had been raped.
Psychiatrists like Habashneh charge between $25 and $40 per visit, too expensive for most Iraqi refugees, who, like Khalida, live hand-to-mouth on monthly handouts of about $100 from international agencies.
Many victims are afraid to go outside or travel to a clinic out of fear of being detained by Jordanian authorities.
To help these women, women’s rights organizations in Jordan must coordinate with larger agencies, such as UNHCR, to provide care and programs that would help the victims earn money “because rape survivors are alienated from their family and therefore have no way to sustain themselves,” Ms. Susskind says.
But so far, these resources are not available for most Iraqi rape victims in Jordan. There are no support groups, no counselors, no hot lines, an no one to soothe Khalida when she has flashbacks that make her relive the day when assailants dressed in police uniforms arrived at the Oil Ministry where she worked and said they were taking her in for questioning.
She did not tell her husband that she had been raped but he figured it out. Now, Khalida does not blame him for going away, or for leaving her so vulnerable to men who wish to prey on her.
“I have his phone number,” she says, sobbing quietly. “I dial it sometimes for the kids to talk to their father. Sometimes, because I love him, I like to hear his voice. But when I say ‘hello’ he hangs up.”
Saturday, November 29, 2008
A revolutionary device that can harness energy from slow-moving rivers and ocean currents could provide enough power for the entire world, scientists claim.
By Jasper Copping, telegraph.co.uk
Existing technologies require an average current of five or six knots to operate efficiently, while most of the earth's currents are slower than three knots Photo: AP
Existing technologies which use water power, relying on the action of waves, tides or faster currents created by dams, are far more limited in where they can be used, and also cause greater obstructions when they are built in rivers or the sea. Turbines and water mills need an average current of five or six knots to operate efficiently, while most of the earth's currents are slower than three knots.
The new device, which has been inspired by the way fish swim, consists of a system of cylinders positioned horizontal to the water flow and attached to springs.
As water flows past, the cylinder creates vortices, which push and pull the cylinder up and down. The mechanical energy in the vibrations is then converted into electricity.
Cylinders arranged over a cubic metre of the sea or river bed in a flow of three knots can produce 51 watts. This is more efficient than similar-sized turbines or wave generators, and the amount of power produced can increase sharply if the flow is faster or if more cylinders are added.
A "field" of cylinders built on the sea bed over a 1km by 1.5km area, and the height of a two-storey house, with a flow of just three knots, could generate enough power for around 100,000 homes. Just a few of the cylinders, stacked in a short ladder, could power an anchored ship or a lighthouse.
Systems could be sited on river beds or suspended in the ocean. The scientists behind the technology, which has been developed in research funded by the US government, say that generating power in this way would potentially cost only around 3.5p per kilowatt hour, compared to about 4.5p for wind energy and between 10p and 31p for solar power. They say the technology would require up to 50 times less ocean acreage than wave power generation.
The system, conceived by scientists at the University of Michigan, is called Vivace, or "vortex-induced vibrations for aquatic clean energy".
Michael Bernitsas, a professor of naval architecture at the university, said it was based on the changes in water speed that are caused when a current flows past an obstruction. Eddies or vortices, formed in the water flow, can move objects up and down or left and right.
"This is a totally new method of extracting energy from water flow," said Mr Bernitsas. "Fish curve their bodies to glide between the vortices shed by the bodies of the fish in front of them. Their muscle power alone could not propel them through the water at the speed they go, so they ride in each other's wake."
Such vibrations, which were first observed 500 years ago by Leonardo DaVinci in the form of "Aeolian Tones", can cause damage to structures built in water, like docks and oil rigs. But Mr Bernitsas added: "We enhance the vibrations and harness this powerful and destructive force in nature.
"If we could harness 0.1 per cent of the energy in the ocean, we could support the energy needs of 15 billion people. In the English Channel, for example, there is a very strong current, so you produce a lot of power."
Because the parts only oscillate slowly, the technology is likely to be less harmful to aquatic wildlife than dams or water turbines. And as the installations can be positioned far below the surface of the sea, there would be less interference with shipping, recreational boat users, fishing and tourism.
The engineers are now deploying a prototype device in the Detroit River, which has a flow of less than two knots. Their work, funded by the US Department of Energy and the US Office of Naval Research, is published in the current issue of the quarterly Journal of Offshore Mechanics and Arctic Engineering.
Each one of us has two Senators and one representative. Is bringing down three evil-doers too much to ask? Funding preemptive war and torture constitutes crimes against humanity and murder. If we can't catch them taking bribes, they will fall to a morals charge. To facilitate arrests, the FBI should open its investigative files for public perusal.
So long as sexual deviants don't open themselves to Federal blackmail, I have no quarrel with them.
These measures would work almost everywhere not just the USA.
Although the Chavez party won 55% of the vote, the US reports Venezuela is a one-party dictatorial system.
The Real News Network
Friday, November 28, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Every perpetrator regrets his evil deeds after he has been caught. The only Christians I ever heard of who were truly penitent were Bobby Seales and Chuck Colson.
I am sure God sees through the others. I could discuss the Jewish evil-doers as well, but that would be off the subject.
Vermin and junkies quickly trash the deserted homes. The banks eager to unload the properties will offer them for $1000 or $2000 in bulk, say 100 for $150,000 cash.The new owner can rent them at a most affordable rate of $200 to $300 monthly. The main object is to keep the houses habitable. If the tenant still can't afford it, he can do fix-up labor on his dwelling.Adventurous souls can buy an assault rifle and squat on an abandoned property.The main idea is never again to allow the government to get its greedy hands on you.The $400k/year mugs who surround Obama can't cope with a Depression.
Israel ratified the 1948 UN Declaration of Human Rights, but implementation of it is rare for Jew or Gentile. Over 60 years of warfare Israel became a Police State, and the authorities work with judges to discourage dissent. After three devastating attacks on our homeless shelter, a sweet young Judge advised me to go to European Courts to press for human rights. She lost her job for saying that.
We may agree that Palestinians have a right to eat and to heat their homes. The Israeli authorities maintain the Palestinian loses these rights when he lobs mortar rounds over the wall. Indeed, most Jews do not wish any contact with Arabs and the wall is emblematic of that.
Both peoples could stay at home and tend to their own business.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights is law in all UN member states. They had to ratify it before they became members.
We don't need a new standard. Read the Declaration's 30 Articles. Rigid enforcement of these principles already on the books would end many of our afflictions.
If you enter this title on your browser, you can download a copy of the Declaration in your language of choice.
The latest trick is to print 'Monopoly' money at $800 billions a clip. The Bushco is digging a big hole for the country. So far, the citizens have jumped into the hole and have pulled the dirt in after them.
Will the newly elected officials address the perceived needs of the ordinary people? Will the Progressives monitor and review policies in terms of relevance to these needs? Will they lapse into useless ideological ranting? Time will tell.
Tim Geithner has ruined millions of widows and orphans. Importantly, he knows how the Federal Reserve did it. How many liberals with untainted credentials could make a dent in the Fed?
There are too many bad actors in the automotive drama. Corrupt managers control the Big3. In the late 1990's they sank $1 billion into the development and testing of the EV. They delivered prototypes in California to upscale consumers and trend setters. The EV cars proved superior in every way to gasoline models.
The new autos were pricey primarily because GM included the anticipated fuel savings into the price of the car. It was very unpopular with big oil, as it would have cut the demand for petroleum products. When an alternative comes along, the cost at the pump 'magically' drops. When the Administration suffered from high gas prices, big oil answered the challenge with price reductions. If the Obama Administration seriously pursues alternative power sources, gas and heating oil costs will plummet.
The $700 billions bail out did not encourage the banks to extend credit to consumers and to small businesses. Thus, consumer durable goods markets declined. The drop in demand coupled with a dry up in working capital has led to big lay-offs, a higher unemployment rate and a marked increase in pessimism among consumers and producers.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
If the opposition makes waves, the incumbent runs a smear campaign documented by co-operative media lackeys. If the opponent gets too close to the truth, a call to the FBI will release damaging evidence on him videotapes of his sexual adventures, the slaves he keeps in his attic, the nuclear secrets he sold to the Pakistanis etc.
The recent lootings by venal officials have been so flagrant as to give every voter a swift kick in the teeth. The outgoing administration doesn't bother to make the usual excuses. They stuff their trunks and suitcases with newly printed greenbacks as they retreat to friendly tax havens.
Mr Obama can deliver all the flowery speeches he wants, but they are meaningless if the vast majority of his colleagues are not incarcerated.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
On the evening of Tuesday 18 November Khalid al-Habeel sat surrounded by his wife, family, and other concerned fishermen. Until the early hours of the following day, they had no idea what charges were being laid against 15 fishermen, including two of al-Habeel's sons, Adham (21) and Mohammed (20), after they were nabbed from Gaza's territorial waters earlier that morning and taken to an Israeli interrogation center at Ashdod port. Nor did they know when or if their boats -- their livelihoods -- would be returned.Khaled Al-Habeel, or Abu Adham (father of Adham) explained the events leading up to the fishermen's arrest. "Shortly after 10am, I got a panicked call from Adham, who was captain today, saying their boat was surrounded by Israeli naval boats.""There are many ships around us; there's no way to leave," said Adham to his father. Their boat was approximately seven miles out from Deir al-Balah, in the center of the Gaza Strip.Although Palestinian fishermen have the right to fish up to 20 nautical miles from Gaza's coast, as laid-out in the 1994 Interim Agreement signed by Israel, since 1996 Israel has downsized this distance in stages, documented by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR). Imposing a sea blockade on Gaza in 1996, Israel illegally reduced the allowable fishing zone to 12 nautical miles. From 2002 to 2003 this was further reduced to six miles from Gaza's shore.While Adham and the more than 3,500 professional fishermen that scour Gaza's waters for needed sustenance and sources of income are accustomed to Israeli navy harassment, Tuesday's encounter was different, heightened."We're used to facing Israeli attacks in the sea, but we've never seen anything like what happened today. Usually, the Israeli soldiers surround us with a large ship and a smaller gunboat. They shoot at and around our boat with automatic rifles, and they water cannon the boat. When they arrest us, they make us strip down to our underwear, jump into the water, and swim to their ship where we are then hauled up, handcuffed, and taken away to an Israeli interrogation center and even arrest. Today was very different. It's the first time they've actually boarded our boats," al-Habeel explained.Khaled's brother, Abed al-Habeel, and the father of another of the arrested fishermen, Rami (30), corroborated the testimony, adding that their greatest worry was the boats right now: "In the past, I've had my boat confiscated. It was three years ago, and the Israeli soldiers arrested Rami, who was fishing four miles off the coast. They held him for four months, and kept our boat for 70 days. This was a huge loss to us, and when it was finally returned to us it had been seriously damaged by the soldiers' shooting. The nets, the motor, everything was destroyed or stolen," he said, adding that the total losses and damages amounted to US $40,000."We've done nothing wrong. We are innocent, just trying to earn our living. Our boats are our only source of income," said Abu Adham. "But what can we do?" he asked.A crisis createdThe two al-Habeel fishing trawlers and equipment together amount to approximately US $280,000. With the entire family being either fishermen or dependent on the livelihood and food source fishing provides, the confiscation of their boats is a severe blow to the family. In an area which has already been devastated a siege on the economy, exports, health sector, education, and basic existence of Gaza's 1.5 million Palestinians, the fishing sector is one of the few reliable sources of income and food.According to Abu Adham, it is not only his immediate family which is punished by the boats' confiscation. "Our boats are like a company," he said. Around 300 people in total are affected by the loss of their two trawlers: other workers employed on the boats, at the docks, in the fish market, transporting fish goods, as well as the buyers themselves who have come to rely heavily on the sea's offerings as a source of protein and nutrition at a time when red meat is scarce and very expensive.Since September 2008, after the arrival of the Free Gaza boats, human rights observers with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) have been traveling with Gaza's fishermen, into waters further out than the arbitrarily-imposed six-mile limit. The observers have documented numerous instances of attack at the hands of the Israeli army, from as little as three miles from shore, including being shot at with live ammunition and shelling, being water cannoned -- during which soldiers specifically target the boats structural components, particularly breakables like glass, glass panels and machinery -- and more recently being doused with a foul, sewage-smelling water shot from the water cannon. The Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem has documented testimonies of fishermen who suffered harassment and arrest, had their nets cut, and boats and equipment confiscated, often returned with broken and missing equipment, and costly damages to key boat structures.Behind the kidnappingIn the early hours of Wednesday, 19 November, all 15 arrested fishermen were released to the Erez crossing into Gaza. Their boats, along with the three internationals, are still being held by Israeli authorities. Nidal, a 23 year old father of one child, was among the arrested fishermen."We were just over seven miles out off the shore from Deir al-Balah and we saw two Israeli gunboats approach our fishing vessel. Five smaller boats surrounded Abed Almoati al-Habeel's boat," the boat that Scottish volunteer Andrew Muncie (34) was on, Nidal explained. "We began quickly pulling our nets in," he continued. "When they had arrested people on that boat, one of the gunboats came and ordered us to turn our motor off. They ordered us to come to the front of our boat, threatening to shoot to kill."Italian volunteer Vittorio Arrigoni ("Vik") (33) on the 2nd boat to be surrounded, continued filming as Israeli soldiers boarded the boat. Colleague Darlene Wallach (57) was on the third boat and related via phone what happened next. "They used a taser on Vik while he was still on the boat, then tried to push him backwards onto a sharp piece of wood. He jumped into the sea to avoid being hurt more than he already was, and was in the water for quite a while," Nidal said."Almost 20 soldiers had boarded the boat, pointing their guns in our faces and ordering us not to move. They left the captain, Mohammed, on the boat and forced us off and onto the smaller boat, which transferred us to the larger gunship."Mohammed confirmed this account, adding, "This was the first time we weren't forced to strip and jump into the water." Three soldiers remained on Mohammed's boat and, after the operation was repeated on the third boat, ordered Mohammed to head towards Ashdod, the first Israeli port, along with the other two fishing vessels.Wallach by phone said this of her arrest: "I was told 'You are in Israeli territory.' even though it was obvious that all three boats were in Palestinian territory," she said. "They kidnapped me and Andrew and Vik, and all of the Palestinian fishermen."Later, at the Ashdod port, during their interrogation, the fishermen were questioned specifically on the international observers. "Why did you have internationals on your boat?" they were asked. "Who is responsible for sending the internationals? Who pays them? Where do they live? Do you get a good catch when the internationals are on board?" the questioning continued, with a very specific and evident interest, including a non-veiled threat: "You think that you have protection because you have internationals on your boat? Let's see what these international can do for you now," one fisherman said soldiers threatened.After their half-day detention, the fishermen were released without any charges, although their boats remain confiscated.Abu Rami feels the kidnapping of the 15 fishermen and three international observers was a clear message: "It's a message to internationals in Gaza to not accompany fishermen. It's also a message to fishermen not to go far out in our own waters, although we need to because that is where the fish are."Steadfast against the siegePrison time has not broken the spirits of the three human rights activists, who are all being held in Israel's Maasiyahu prison, near Lydd. Rather, they are determined to protest what they say is the "stealing" of Palestinian fishing boats, as well as their kidnapping from Gaza's waters. Wallach maintains that "at no point, before we were transported by the Israeli navy into Israel, did we enter internationally-recognized Israeli waters."Arrigoni commented via phone on Thursday: "A few days ago I was in a big prison with no electricity and little running water. Now I'm in a smaller prison with electricity and clean, running water."On 21 November, the three began a hunger strike, calling foremost for the return of the fishing boats, and further calling for their own return to Gaza.The incident comes just a week after a delegation of 11 European Members of Parliament, all denied entry through Egypt's Rafah crossing, visited the Gaza Strip, arriving via the third Free Gaza voyage. Amongst the delegation were: former UK Secretary of State for International Development Clare Short, Lord Ahmed Nazir, and Baroness Jenny Tonge. Tonge condemned the arrests."The time has come for the international community, and especially the European Union to take action against Israel's consistent breaking of international law. The EU-Israel Association Agreement should be suspended until Israel complies with this law. It was only last week that I personally met with the fishermen whose boats are illegally water-cannoned and fired upon by Israeli gunboats as they peacefully fish in Gaza waters."Clare Short's comments addressed not only the recent arrests, but the devastating siege which has been imposed on Gaza for 18 months now. "I am pleased that the fishermen have been released because they should never have been arrested. But their boats must immediately be returned to them, otherwise their livelihoods are lost and the wrong has not been righted. The siege of Gaza must be lifted and the UK must insist that these illegal attacks by the Israeli navy on Gazans, fishing peacefully within their own water must cease," Short remarked.Indeed, while the arrest of the 15 fishermen and three internationals highlights the continual and systematic injustice fishermen face, over 11,000 Palestinian political prisoners remain incarcerated in Israeli prisons and the siege on Gaza's 1.5 million civilians worsens ever still.While Israel is seemingly trying to conceal the alarming deterioration of humanitarian conditions in Gaza by preventing journalists from entering Gaza for over 13 days now, pressure is growing, from European parliamentarians to UN officials, for Israel to end its siege."By function of this blockade, 1.5 million Palestinian men, women and children have been forcibly deprived of their most basic human rights for months," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in a statement. Pillay continued, stating: "Only a full lifting of the blockade followed by a strong humanitarian response will be adequate to relieve the massive humanitarian suffering evident in Gaza today."Eva Bartlett is a Canadian human rights advocate and freelancer who spent eight months in 2007 living in West Bank communities and four months in Cairo and at the Rafah crossing. She is currently based in Gaza, after the third successful voyage of the Free Gaza movement to break the siege on Gaza.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Romance without finance is no chance. The Dow Jones industrial average is what economists call a leading indicator. It reflects investor confidence in future economic activity.
The reigning emotions are greed on the upside and fear on the downside.
Words are important. I used the courteous term "lays egg" to title this article. The creator of the graph calls what happened to the market this year a slump. In baseball terms, the market's batting average dropped from .280  to .160 . This is not a slump, but a one way ticket to the minor leagues.
The savvy investor at the end of 2007 could have purchased a put option, which would have allowed him to sell his stock at the high 2007 price to a loser in 2008. The investor was betting the price of the stock would fall in 2008, so he could buy it at the low 2008 price and sell it at the much higher 2008 price. In the Wall Street parlance, he was taking a short position.
After the 1999 deregulation, investment bankers pushed subprime mortgages to home owners who did not qualify for normal lending. The bankers anticipated a time when housing prices would fall, the owners unable to resist foreclosure. In effect, the lenders were shorting the housing market the borrowers losing their home equity and the roof over their heads.
After the government loaned the banking industry $trillion to ease the credit situation, the banks have effectively stopped making loans to individuals and to small businesses. Foreclosures and unemployment have increased. Consumer spending has decreased accordingly. These ailments have spread to the world economy.
The 'slump' is the worst decline since the Great Depression and there is little likelihood it will abate. After three generations of trickle down economics and supply side thinking, we have little ability to define the situation and even less acumen to solve it.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Article 4 of the 1948 UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights forbids torture in all its forms. To gain admission to the UN, the US Congress had to ratify the Declaration. This made the Articles a part of the US body of law.
There is no need for an investigation of the atrocities committed. The new President has the authority under NSPD51 to incarcerate anyone for taking part in the torture as an enemy combatant. This should include judges, bureaucrats, Administration officials and Congressmen who served during the torture era. They should co-operate with the prosecution of their cohorts in torture.
These same culprits developed no fly lists that included over one million Americans also slated for imprisonment and torture.After WWII the Allies freed 153,000 thugs who had operated the Nazi death camps. The murderers went home their vile ideology intact. This is one of the reasons Germany leads Europe in human rights violations.
The recent public vote indicated we are unhappy with governmental ineptitude and criminality. We realize few, if any, evil-doers will ever sit in prison. Newcomers to politics will learn crime pays handsomely with little chance at prosecution.
Why can't we imprison suspects as enemy combatants? They could earn a pardon by informing on their cohorts. Our nuclear secrets passed through the FBI and the State Department. The Turks sold them to Pakistan. Somewhere, somebody knows something.
Hiding worthless subprime mortgages in piles of collateralized debt obligations is a crime. Bribing the rating firms to upgrade these instruments from BBB to AAA is also criminal. The bankers who bought them knew better. Any legislator who voted to bail out the banks should also sit in prison.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Let's talk about Collateralized Debt Obligations. A criminalized financial tool to collect subprime mortgages, the gangster bankers took the worthless papers to the corrupt bond raters who marked them triple AAA. This forgery enabled the brokers to sell them to investment banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions.The effort is similar to a Ponzi scheme, which lasts until the suckers stop investing at the bottom of the pyramid. The subprime scam continued until housing prices started to fall. This ate into the homeowner's equity and raised his mortgage payments. Soon, the sale price was lower than the debt on the house.Although the corrupt government bailed out some financial institutions, they refused loans to small business and to potential home buyers. This has led to increased bankruptcies and unemployment.. After consumer spending hit a downward spiral, massive lay-offs have occurred persuading job holders to tighten their belts.The coming depression is likely to be greater than the 1930's version. FDR assembled a new crew that improvised attacks on the real problems of the people. Obama is staffing with many of the crooks who put the financial scheme together or those who ignored it.They detest the ordinary citizens who suffer. The Homeland Security will punish anyone who objects to the rape of our country.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Many commentators forget Mr. McCain received 55% of the white vote. The tactic to trash and to defame people of color was a great success. The winning Republican strategy would have been simply to get more white people out to vote.Instead, they relied on fear-mongering great stuff for paranoids and racists, but poor coin for a person who has lost his job and his home.The final blow came from the fall of Lehman Brothers. This catastrophe for the rich inspired McCain to suspend his campaign. He did not understand the 98% of us who lack a substantial stake in the system.