31 May 2010

Would you become a "terrorist" if this happened to your child?

Children behind Israeli Bars
by Nour Odeh, in the Middle East



With a timid smile, 16 year-old N twiddles his thumbs as he tells me his frightening story. Israeli soldiers came to his house a year ago at dawn. He was blindfolded, handcuffed, and taken away without any explanation.

When the military jeep finally stopped, the soldiers took him to a room with chairs. They began cursing at him and using derogatory terms against his mother and female siblings. The soldiers then put sunglasses on N's eyes and a female headband on his head.

"They took pictures of me; they were laughing," he told me.

"Aren’t you going to confess?" the soldiers kept asking him… "To what?" he would reply. "To throwing stones," they would say.

Afraid of ending up in jail, N refused to confess to the alleged offence.

"I kept telling them: I didn't do it. I didn't do anything," he recalled.

Until this point, N's story sounded familiar to someone like me, who's been covering the conflict in Palestine for years. Beatings, humiliation, and mistreatment of Palestinian detainees, including minors, are regularly documented by human rights organisations.

But N's story was just beginning...

"There was a dog barking outside the room… The soldier told me he would bring it in to f**k me if I didn't confess… I was so scared… The guy then took out a stick; he whipped it forward and it got longer. He told his friends, who were looking on and laughing at me: "This boy doesn't want to talk. Let's pull down his pants so I can shove this stick up his a**."

"I tried to hold on to the chair; he kept poking me, groping my privates with the stick, trying to get me off the chair," N said while avoiding eye contact with me.

The Palestine Chapter of Defence for Children International (DCI) has collected 100 sworn affidavits this year of Palestinian children, under the age of 18, who said they were mistreated by their Israeli interrogators. Fourteen of them say they were either sexually abused or threatened with sexual assault, including rape, if they didn't confess to what their interrogators accused them of.

N is one of these children… His confession landed him a three month sentence in an Israeli jail.

Because of the stigma attached, there are fears that many more children may have suffered similar abuse but have been afraid to come forward.

N kept telling me he felt awkward talking about his experience. "It feels bad to talk about this. I mean, what a thing to talk about… It's shameful," he told me.

So I asked this shy teenager why he mustered the courage to speak out. "I want justice," he said. "I wish these people could be tried in a court so that they don't do this to other guys."

N told me that at prison, he met many boys who had suffered similar abuse.

Israeli forces arrest approximately 700 Palestinian minors every year. During interrogation, these minors are not allowed to have contact with their lawyers or families. Human rights organisations say the alleged abuses happen during this period of isolation.
 

"These practices are meant to break the children. In a way, when you break the spirit of these children, you're breaking the spirit of the nation," Rifaat Kassis, the director general of DCI, told me.

And it's because of the powerful impact sexual abuse has on these children that DCI has sounded the alarm at the highest possible international levels. The organisation has communicated affidavits to the Special UN Rapporteur on Torture, hoping to galvanise enough international pressure to bring these abuses to an end.


This step is a reflection of the stonewalling human rights organisations usually face from Israeli authorities.
 
"Most of the time, the Israelis, they just dismiss our allegations and say this is not correct, this is not true; so if this is the case, we challenge them to record these interrogations and let the interrogations happen with the lawyer," Kassis told me.

This time was no different. We tried to request a response from the Israeli army but all our requests were turned down. The army told us they would only comment if they had more specific details about these cases, which is a demand the children's lawyers say could jeopardise their clients.

But after the report aired on Al Jazeera, the Israeli military issued a statement rejecting the allegations and the DCI report. The army also said its practices were consistent with international law; a claim hotly contested by all human rights organisations working in Israel and the Occupied West Bank.

The Israeli army's response to these allegations also proves what DCI admits: this is a long-term battle.

So is recovery - N still struggles with his experience

"I'll never forget his eyes; the way he looked at me," he said, referring to his interrogator.

N still has nightmares and struggles to curb the fear he feels when the army is on patrol nearby.

But he's relatively lucky, having a supportive family that has encouraged him to talk about his experience. And N has received counselling from the torture victims' centre of the YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association).

Still, this is a frustrating battle, requiring endless patience.

The director general of DCI told me his organisation's petitions and campaigns within the Israeli military system have generally yielded very limited results, if at all. That's why these child rights advocates are hoping that outside pressure will eventually help prevent further instances of abuse and afford children like N the basic rights and protection they should be entitled to.

The tormenting part of this battle, however, is knowing that until success is achieved, there is nothing these activists can do for the children now detained by Israeli soldiers on a regular basis.

They can only hope that counselling, after the fact, can help them recover.

Remember Palestine

Join Us Live as a Witness in Gaza

Freedom Flotilla under attack in International waters

Reaction to Gaza aid ship deaths

Angry demonstrations quickly flared at the Israeli consulate in Istanbul


30 May 2010

Israel rejects Middle East nuclear talks plan

Israel says it will not take part in a conference aimed at achieving a nuclear-arms free Middle East, proposed at a UN meeting in New York.


Nearly 200 nations, signatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), backed plans for the meeting in 2012.

Research to find effects on brain of bilingualism

A project at Bangor University aims to explore the benefit of being bilingual.

There is evidence bilingualism can sharpen the brain

Researchers will be recruiting 700 people aged between two and 80 to take part in the £750,000 programme.

Prof Virginia Gathercole said the obvious benefits included being able to converse and to participate in two cultures.

But she said there was also evidence of non-language benefits, such as the ability to protect the brain from ageing.

"The very act of being able to speak, listen, and think in two languages and of using two languages on a daily basis appears to sharpen people's abilities to pay close attention to a aspects of tasks relevant to good performance," she added.


"Running two parallel language systems throughout life has had positive benefits in a number of ways"
Prof Virginia Gathercole, Bangor University


Research carried out already had also shown having two languages helped protect against the decline in the brain's abilities when ageing," she added.
 
"We already know that language processing is one of the most complex activities that our brains carry out.

"Running two parallel language systems throughout life has had positive benefits in a number of ways," she added.

One multilingualist, Phillip Hughes, 62, travelled widely with his work as a teacher before his retirement. He said he found having two languages handy, especially when he had to learn another one, German while living in Swizerland.


Case study - Phillip Hughes, 62

I think being able to speak two languages has been of benefit, especially when I had to learn German when I worked in Switzerland.

I learned it quickly and they said my pronunciation was good.

At home I spoke English as my mother spoke English, but outside I would speak Welsh (and I also spoke Welsh in my sleep apparently).

I want my children to grow up speaking more than one language, and to understand that it is important to speak more than English - especially if you go off the beaten track.

 
He grew up in an English-speaking household, but spoke Welsh to his friends and in the wider community, and was adamant that his children should also have language skills.
 
Dr Enlli Thomas, who is collaborating on the project, said there was evidence from Canada that being bilingual "may provide some protection against age-related memory loss".

The Bangor research team are looking for people who are bilingual in Welsh and English and monolinguals - or those who speak only one language - aged over 60 to take part in the research.

Participants take part in a set of simple language tests and then carry out on-screen puzzles and tasks, similar to "brain games" played on hand-held games consoles.

The researchers are looking for people who grew up in homes where only Welsh was spoken, where both Welsh and English were spoken, and where only English was spoken.

The research can be carried out either at the university or a researcher can visit the participant.

Gaza aid flotilla 'leaves Cyprus'

The flotilla has been beset by delays and difficulties


A flotilla of ships sailing towards Gaza with aid and activists on board has left Cyprus and will reach its destination on Monday, organisers say.

But Israel says it will stop the boats, calling the campaign a "provocation intended to delegitimise Israel".

The Palestinian territory has been under an Israeli and Egyptian economic blockade for almost three years, with only limited humanitarian aid allowed.

The activists, from the Free Gaza Movement, want to break the blockade.

Israel imposed the measures after the Islamist movement Hamas took power in Gaza.

Hamas has fired thousands of rockets into Israel over the past decade.


'Medieval siege'

For days, human rights activists aboard the flotilla of ships have been saying they are due in Gaza soon, but they are now running days late.

Organisers confirmed that they had left Cyprus on Sunday afternoon, after confusion over their exact plans.

Greta Berlin, of the Free Gaza Movement, told the BBC that the campaign was "extremely well organised".

She told the BBC: "A lot of that confusion is done on purpose because why should we telegraph to the Israeli navy... exactly when it is that we are going to come?"

She said the activists would try to negotiate their entry into Gaza's waters, amid reports that the Israeli navy intends to tow the ships to the nearby city of Ashdod and deport all of those on board.

Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said the activists were "masquerading as human rights activists" while trying to make a political point.

He said both Israel and Egypt [who had even built a supposedly impregnable underground defence to stop goods entering Gaza!] had offered to take the aid into Gaza, but that the activists had shown no interest.

"It appears they're putting their radical politics above the well-being of the people of Gaza," he said.

The BBC's Jon Donnison in Gaza City says there is much political spin being put on the story by both sides.

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya says any Israeli action to stop the ships will be an act of "piracy".

Israeli government press officers have been briefing journalists that the aid flotilla is not necessary. Israel says it allows 15,000 tons of aid into Gaza every week.

But the United Nations, which calls the blockade a "Medieval siege", says this is only a fraction of what is needed and less than a quarter of what was coming into Gaza before the blockade was enforced.

29 May 2010

The Syncopes of Genius

Having learned that "fickle" electronic chips have a tremendous amount of extra-power (see my 25th of May posting), it has now been revealed that the Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) may actually be... creativity's spark-plug, which sets geniuses apart from easily pigeon-hole-able mortals!...

Could this be the reason why such "outcasts" find it hard to fit in the overwhelmingly conservative societal patterns? Though commercial "free-marketing" overkill has meant that social mores... are a changing (Oh, Dylan!) and everyone is looking for a "personal style" to make them look less of a social sheep, worthy of the shit they get from advertisers (a car that looks your style, a laptop that oozes personality, designer animal clothing for your loved pet etc.), it seems that no matter how much parvenu potential is contained in your sexy bones and boring genes, it is most improbable it will actually include that wonder-full (sic!) stroke of genius!

For more on this rather controversial matter, check out Michelle Roberts' "Creative minds 'mimic schizophrenia'" http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/10154775.stm

28 May 2010

Obama modifies Bush doctrine of pre-emption

by Paul Reynolds
World affairs correspondent, BBC News website

One of the main conclusions arising from the new US national security strategy under President Obama is that he has modified the Bush doctrine of pre-emption.

Pre-emption was the defining aspect of President Bush's approach to foreign policy, one prompted by the attacks of 9/11 and one which culminated in the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

President Obama has stepped back:
"You can see this in the difference in wording between the document just issued and the one from President Bush in 2006. US presidents are required by Congress to produce these documents of doctrine every four years."


There is no surprise here. The character of the president will determine American foreign policy. President Obama is different from President Bush. We knew that, from words and deeds. This national security strategy simply confirms it

In 2006, George Bush's doctrine said: " We do not rule out the use of force before attacks occur... We cannot afford to stand idly by... This is the principle and logic of pre-emption."

In 2010, President Obama, in a specific paragraph called "Use of Force" says: "While the use of force is sometimes necessary, we will exhaust other options before war whenever we can... when force is necessary we will continue to do so in a way that reflects our values and strengthens our legitimacy..."


Unilateralism

This last, rather tortuous phrase, means that the US will seek international legitimacy (through the UN or Nato, it says) before acting. However, as any American president would, Mr Obama maintains an option to go it alone: "The US must reserve the right to act unilaterally if necessary."

His refusal to rule out unilateral action has led some to doubt that there is a new doctrine at work here. Foreign Policy magazine says: "The reality is that the new strategy is best characterised as 'Bush Lite', a slightly watered down but basically plausible remake..."

However, the thrust and spirit of the two documents is quite different. George Bush refers to the "War on Terror" and Barack Obama does not. While neither blames Islam for al-Qaeda, one comes close by referring to the "perversion of a proud religion", the other simply has "a far-reaching network of violence and hatred".


Iran differences

Iran is another example. The Bush version made an implicit threat of force if Iran defied the UN, saying: "This diplomatic effort must succeed if confrontation is to be avoided."

The Obama version is that the US will "work to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon" (even though Iran says it is not doing this and note that the commitment is only to working to prevent, not actually preventing) and that "multiple means" will be employed to this end. "Multiple means" does not rule out force but is some way from threatening it.
 
Both say that America will "lead" but their leadership is of a different order. The Bush document talks ambitiously about the "ultimate goal of ending tyranny" in the world through the spread of democracy. The Obama one is more modest: "The burden of a young century cannot fall on America's shoulders alone."

And in two key comments the Obama document states: "In the past we have had the foresight to... avoid acting alone".

And: "America has not succeeded by stepping outside the currents of international co-operation."


Home front

There has therefore been a toning down of US ambitions and the means by which they should be achieved. President Obama also lays much more stress on getting things right at home.

There is no surprise here. The character of the president will determine American foreign policy. President Obama is different from President Bush. We knew that, from words and deeds. This national security strategy simply confirms it.

This does not mean that President Obama will not fight wars. He is already fighting in Afghanistan. Many American presidents who dislike armed conflict have it thrust upon them - Jimmy Carter felt he had to try to rescue the hostages in Tehran by force, Bill Clinton bombed al-Qaeda camps.

What this document does is to try to lay out the framework under which such actions will be taken.

27 May 2010

Will Europeans accept a generation of 'austerity'?


by Paul Mason
BBC News
Europe has become the weak link in the world economy

The years of steady enrichment in Europe seem to be at an end. Gone is the confident talk of prosperity through unity, instead the focus is on the great financial crisis welling up on the union's southern fringe, as a rising sea of debt threatens to drown the dreams of millions across the continent.


When it gets dark the drug dealers come out in Exarchia Square. The students walk past them in little groups, deep in argument and abstract thought.

Posters shout at you in vivid colours: against capitalism - against police brutality. The riot cops rest, exhausted, against the street corners.

This is a typical scene from a place called Europe.

If you had to re-enact it, 1,000 years from now, you could reconstruct the whole thing from the costumes - the square sunglasses bourgeois women use to hold their hair back - the jeans and stubble of the manual working men who flood the streets of central Athens when there's a general strike.

Layered, tribal, intensely urban, sporadically violent, intellectual, tolerant and until now resilient - this is the civilisation the European Union was set up in after 1945.

The euro currency was supposed to harmonise it all, but it now faces its biggest challenge for decades because Europe has become the weak link in the world economy.

While China and America have recovered, Europe has been pushed through a door marked austerity.



American disease?

The eurozone has a currency and a central bank but no central government. In place of that, the 1992 Maastricht Treaty imposed common rules: low budget deficits, national debts below 60% of GDP, no bailouts and no central bank intervention in the market for government debt.

At the time, all this seemed like a good idea. It was the prevailing economic doctrine. But if you live long enough, you do tend to see today's economic doctrine become wrapping paper for tomorrow's souvlaki.

Fast forward to 2010. Europe has survived the credit crunch. The banks infected by that horrible American disease have been saved by medicine dispensed by the European Central Bank.

So mild is Europe's recession that President Sarkozy and Chancellor Merkel have the moral high ground at G20 summits.

The problem is that, just as with Wall Street, the rules were a fiction.

The Greek government, with the help of Goldman Sachs, had moved some of its debts "off balance sheet", just like Enron and Lehman Brothers.

The industrial giants of northern Europe want rigid rules on tax, spending and borrowing enforced... northern Europe has seized control of southern Europe

As the truth emerged with the election of a new government, Greece's deficit doubled.

Twice, Greece drew up plans to slash that deficit. Twice they were approved by Europe and twice the expected bailout failed to emerge.

Then, those who lend money to southern Europe realised they might not get it all back.

The markets had assumed the Greek people would bear all the pain of deficit reduction and now they realised they, the investors, would lose money.

They looked at Ireland with its deserted villages of new-built homes, at Spain with its deflation and mass unemployment and made this calculation - if Greece is allowed to renege on part of its debts, then the rest will follow.

So a crisis that could have cost 30bn euros to stop will now cost 750bn - a third of it from the IMF.

The no bailout rule is dead. The "no IMF involvement rule" is dead and the European Central Bank, which once insisted on the highest quality collateral, is now swapping good, clean euro notes for, effectively, junk IOUs.



Risk transfer

Why did the EU turn a blind eye for so long to what was happening in Greece?

Because all those Prada outlets in central Athens and all those shiny new tractors now lined up at roadblocks along all those brand new motorways in Greece were signs of "harmonisation".

This was a phenomenon across south Europe. You could say the whole liberalisation process in politics - from Galway to Lisbon to Barcelona to Athens - was based on a middle class getting quietly rich on property speculation and tax evasion.

Greece's austerity cuts bought thousands to the streets in protest

The whole social truce constructed between the labour movements and employers was based on rapid growth in wages and pension rights, above all in the public sector.

As the price of the bailout, the industrial giants of northern Europe want rigid rules on tax, spending and borrowing enforced.

Northern Europe has seized control of southern Europe - and for me, this completes a process of risk-transfer that's been under way since Lehman collapsed.

In the autumn of 2008 all the risk was in the banking system.

Then, states all over the world took on that risk and for a year they contained it.

Now the risk is passing from small states to big states. And it's passing to somewhere else - to the streets.

Those narrow streets around Exarchia Square are world-notorious for radicalism and bohemianism. But you will find the same social mix in the 1,000-year-old streets of Oviedo to Perugia to Bratislava.

A generation of adult workers who will now see their wages and pensions slashed. A young generation of college leavers who can see no future.

For them austerity, even if it saves the euro, may never bring back the lifestyle they were promised. And the risk is they might reject austerity.

Amnesty's report condemns 'politicisation of justice'

by Caroline Hawley
BBC News http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/south_asia/10166788.stm

Amnesty International has criticised the "politicisation of international justice" in its annual report, which documents torture in 111 countries.


The human rights group accuses powerful governments of subordinating justice to political self-interest and of shielding allies from scrutiny.

It expresses particular concern over possible war crimes committed during fighting in Sri Lanka last year.

The report also criticises the UN for its failure to intervene.

Thousands of people were killed during the war, and a UN spokesman described the situation in northern Sri Lanka at the time as a "bloodbath".

But Amnesty says that "power plays" at the UN Human Rights Council led to member states approving a resolution drafted by the Sri Lankan government, complimenting itself on its success against the Tamil Tigers.

"By the end of the year, despite further evidence of war crimes and other abuses, no-one had been brought to justice," Amnesty's Secretary General Claudio Cordone says. "One would be hard pressed to imagine a more complete failure to hold to account those who abuse human rights."

'Landmark event'

In its report, Amnesty also cites the United States and European Union for using their position with the UN Security Council "to continue to shield Israel from strong measures of accountability for its actions in Gaza".

Amnesty said the way houses had fallen suggested they had been blown up from under walls and pillars


[for more on that, see Gaza homes destruction 'wanton' http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7926413.stm: 14,000 homes, 219 factories and 240 schools were destroyed according to UNDP estimates]


But it says that there have been positive developments over the past year as well.

In Latin America, it notes the conviction of former President Alberto Fujimori of Peru for crimes against humanity, and Argentina's last military President Reynaldo Bignone for kidnapping and torture.

And it hails the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir, on war crimes charges as a "landmark event".

However, it is disappointed by the African Union's failure to co-operate with the ICC, despite a "nightmare of violence" in Darfur affecting hundreds of thousands of people. This, it says, is a "stark example of government failure to put justice before politics".

And it calls on all G20 countries - including the US, China and Russia - to sign up to sign up fully to the ICC.

Pressure on Britain

Amnesty is also highly critical of the previous British government for "stonewalling" on repeated calls for an independent investigation into allegations that UK intelligence officials were complicit in torture, "rendition" and secret detention.

The organisation is also concerned about the UK relying on "diplomatic assurances" when carrying out deportations to countries such as Algeria and Jordan.

Last week, new Foreign Secretary William Hague promised that an inquiry would be held into allegations of complicity in torture. But few details were released, and the Foreign Office says the issue is still being discussed by ministers in the National Security Council.

Amnesty has welcomed Mr Hague's pledge.

"We look forward to an inquiry that is truly independent and looks not only at potential criminal responsibility but also at Britain's co-operation agreements with the United States and other countries," says Mr Cordone. "It should leave no stone unturned."

Capitalism isn't Evil, it's Stupid.

$
An open letter to America:

by Brian Taylor
Saturday, April 10, 2010


I recently read Ayn Rand's "Capitalism: The unknown ideal." In my defense, it was my first Rand. I didn't know she was an educated Ann Coulter. I also don't know how she dares call herself a Philosopher. Admittedly, I am a little naive when it comes to Rand, Economics or the morals of economics, however, I am well versed in the logical determination of morality and I still fail to see how Rand could be considered objective. (Is that ironic or is she misrepresenting herself?) Furthermore, this collection of essays was begun in 1946 and published throughout the early 60's in Rands' "Objectivist Newsletter," so I feel it fair to assess them as dated, Cold-War era, quasi-propaganda. So, why is it then, that we find similar objections to altruism expressed today? Why is it that so many are beating drums to the tune of "Selfishness is good?" (Harold Bloom) and others are calling Capitalism evil, (Michael Moore.) Let's take a look at Capitalism with the type of eyes it seems Rand wishes she had and without being a boorish idiot.

For the individual, capitalism is politically liberating. If someone in a capitalistic system wishes to start a business selling square wheels, this person is free and able to do so. This might seem like a silly analogy but I see it as being no different than clothes for dogs, electronic goldfish or decorative spatulas, at least in terms of necessity, but probably also, in utility. This freedom is a grand and great gift for the enterprising individual but it, in no way, signifies any value other than that which has a dollar sign in front of it. In such a system there are going to be boons and bombs, but the deciding factor isn't going to be measured in necessity or utility, but rather in desire. For example, "Mr. Square Wheels" isn't going to do very well, yet if a famous young pop singer decides it would be cool to appear in a video with one of his pant legs missing and for some reason it catches on, you aren't going to have to wait very long before one legged pants are available at your local clothing shops. Is this a good thing? Bad thing? Is it stupid? Does it matter?

Capitalism doesn't care what is true, right, good or ideal. Capitalism doesn't ask, "What does the world need?" It asks, "What can I capitalize on?" Although providing opportunity for individuals in a free market, this does, or at least can do, nothing for the people as a whole. This is what Rand refers to as "the concrete bound considerations of the immediate moment." It is what keeps us selfish and this is what keeps the gears of business greasy. Who really cares to make a "green car" when there's so much easy money to be made selling dirty cars? Who wants to cure a disease when there is so much easy money to be made selling treatments for it? Who wants to develop clean, natural energy sources when there can be no ongoing supply issues? Once you sell a solar panel, your transaction is done and you have lost the monthly fees you used to collect? How are we going to keep the coal industry alive this way? These institutions are in place, steadfastly.

This illustrates the problem with Capitalism, it belongs to the whims of Capitalists and Humans are stupid, greedy creatures with little foresight. (Unless you consider selfish foresight, which asks, "How am I going to cash in for the long run?") However, even with accepting this philosophy as reality, it is not the reason that we find ourselves, (in the western world,) in our current predicament. It is no mistake that Rand named her book "Capitalism: the unknown ideal." It is, in fact, unknown because it is missing controls to ensure that the initial goals it had for itself, could be met. Capitalism was supposed to be the promise of the middle class, a vehicle by which we might "make it." As it is an American experiment, one only needs to look at the history of the government to see the history of business. Somehow, these roles have reversed. Thus, Capitalism, as it should be, doesn't really exist. The following, as usual, is going to be considered crass by some, even flippant. I think, however, that if Ann Rand can be considered a Philosopher and Ann Coulter has people willing to pay to listen to her speak, you can afford to keep reading. It might piss you off, but that doesn't make it any less true and at least I won't charge you...

Once upon a time there was a teenage country called America. It had a nice constitution, reasonable laws and seemingly endless possibilities. After World War Two it also had a lock on GDP. (There was no reasonable competition left, it had been destroyed because, at the time, Germany and Japan had made enemies of themselves.) This worked very much in the favor of Americans. People had jobs, the products they made were selling. Large profits were being made. Taxes were paid by those who could afford them and the poorer folks got the breaks they needed. There were Unions to protect workers. Workers could afford cars, homes, vacations, education for their kids. It was a beautiful, innocent, squeaky clean time, but Americans were about to cross over, into the dark side.

Datsun (which became Nissan,) Honda, Toyota, Volkswagen, are four American swear words. (Not that these companies are an inception of something, but rather, examples of it.) The 50s had ended. The innocence was over. Competition had returned. China could produce all the useless trinkets Americans were producing for far less. This was because, at the simplest level, they paid their workers less. The result was, Capitalism had to either increase profit margins, (price) or reduce costs, (quality.) Young Americans were looking around wondering, "Where is mine?" There began to be a new philosophy in Washington that proposed "Invention and ingenuity are on the way out, productiveness and profit are on the way in. Competition is what matters. Competition drives an economy." (Here, I will skip over Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, although these too were business decisions.) Until finally, Americans found themselves in line ups for gas, underemployed and facing bankruptcy. The cheques t! The country had written since WW2 had been cashed. Larger cities like Detroit and New York became havens for crime and corruptibility on the street level, because the "have nots" were unwilling to lie down and die. Something needed to give, but not anything as brazen as the changes Kennedy was suggesting. After all, let's not forget that it was not the ordinary American who stood to lose anything from the promotive changes suggested to contrast the norm. It is not the ordinary American who knowingly pulls the trigger on their own hopes and dreams. So while people like Johnson and Nixon kept the military industrial complex chasing the "new Camelot created by war" paradigm, dissent was building. The business of murder was beginning to lose its grandeur. Hippies were born and the dream was over. Warnings were either denied or brushed aside. Politicians who dared to suggest something needed to be done about the influence of business on policy are branded conspiracy nuts and are! either ignored or removed for reasons that have nothing to do! with performance. (Beliefs, drugs, business deals, sex, etc. Yet somehow the largest crime ever committed goes unexamined?) The 1970s created a desire to re-examine Capitalism, it no longer seemed to be working.

So business moved into Politics. Ronald Reagan became the first bought and paid for puppet president of the United States and they since haven't had one that wasn't. (Including Obama.) It is interesting to note that many of the same "behind the scenes" players that were found under Nixon were still found under George Bush Jr. and everyone in between. (If you would like to examine the forces behind the White House, or the Senate for that matter, look at the staff of the offices, look at the lobbyists, look at the corporations that sponsor the running of the politician, look at the men standing to the right of the President, leaning in to whisper instructions into wrinkled, dumb ears, look at that Presidents' appointments to key financial positions.) It isn't hard to see how Reagan is the beginning of the end of the middle class. Hippies become Yuppies who cry, "Me, me, me!" (Which is absurd in and of itself.)

Tax breaks for the rich are dumped onto the workers, stagnant wages stall under crushing cost of living increases, Unions begin being dismantled, a near insistence that workers use credit to stay afloat becomes the norm, these are the hallmarks of American Capitalism since the '80s. We have gone from, "How can I make a buck?" to "How can I take your buck?" Competition determines everything and price determines competition. It doesn't matter if Americans make XYZ trinket better or worse than Chinese factories do if they can't afford to work at the wages they're given. America's GDP, as I write these words, is less than the personal debt of its inhabitants. What are you going to do if your lenders want to collect? Lose your businesses, homes, opportunities, lives? Yes, you are.

What has changed in the last thirty years? We bail out industries that have no basis in reality, no need for existence, only to find out that they have had record profits since then. (I might add, with no rules governing what they are to do with this bailout, nor expectations of recompense.) What is a Bank if it is not able to loan? What is insurance if it doesn't respond to crisis? These institutions, like all capitalist endeavors, are designed for one purpose, to make as much money as possible. They don't care about anything else, including their customers. In reality, they are unable to do what they were designed to. Why are we helping them?

These actions wouldn't be possible if it weren't for two undeniable facts: 1.) Business is in charge. 2.) People are stupid. Take the re-mortgage craze as the perfect example. "Wouldn't it be nice if you could pay off your debt? Help your kids buy there first home? Maybe even take that dream vacation?" Yes, actually, that would be nice. Middle class boomers with nest eggs had this opportunity. Many of them took advantage of it only to end up losing everything because of climbing interest, hidden clauses and cut throat bureaucracies. Even people who had no business going into a mortgage were being allowed to. People, who couldn't afford the loans they were being given, were still being given them. Again, these institutions only have Capitalistic concerns. America has refinanced itself into foreclosure in the best interests of the corporations doing the financing. America has been redesigned to make the rich richer on the backs of the poor, there is only a dwi! ndling middle class left. Some people may blame the financiers for doing the tricking, or the legislators for allowing a conducive atmosphere, but I put at least fifty percent of the blame on those being tricked. America has an unhealthy trust in authority and an expectation for personal success, but when you boil it all down, greed is greed is greed. For the have-nots, I can only ask, "What we're you thinking?" For the haves, I ask, after your income passes your expenses what are you accomplishing with your excess? I'm turning 38 this year and although I may be a little paranoid and jaded, I expect nothing from anyone. I pay into a pension that I may never see, I live paycheck to paycheck, I don't own my home. I haven't had a vacation and I have no savings. (And I live in Canada, a country, according to Republicans, that is nearly Communist, but in actuality, quietly strives to be as crooked as its neighbor.) Again, I have no expectations beyond getting screwed, therefore I have n! ever been disappointed. Do I want to be a millionaire? Probabl! y. Do I wish I was doing more than scraping by? Definitely. I, like a lot of people, make less than I need, thirty two thousand a year to support myself, my wife, my son. I figure I could do it comfortably for only eighteen more. My boss makes $50,000, his boss makes $80,000, his boss makes $340,000 etc. Why? What job is worth $340,000 a year?

There are people in America who know what is really happening. They come from the rich, the poor and everywhere that is left in between. You might even have seen them in the Senate, hopping up and down, red-faced, weeping, pointing fingers at empty chambers, warning us. Ask yourself, "Why is there no one showing up to work here? (And what do their income tax returns look like?) Why are the people who make sense, such a minority?" The answer, of course, is that those of us who have it, want to keep it. It is the "Golden Rule." There is no change necessary for those of us whom have it good, or have it all. Change is uncomfortable, it's hard work, just ask anyone who doesn't believe in it. The people who seek change in this instance are in the right and the change they desire is inevitable. One way or another, America will end dismally if things continue along this track, it is only a question of time. All the juice has been squeezed out of this lemon.

Capitalism isn't evil, it's stupid. It can only be what you make it. Therefore, what is evil is how you have either used it, (if you are a have,) or allowed it to be used, (if you are a have-not.) I feel sorry for those of you stuck in the middle because to make the necessary changes is going to be difficult. However, one can only help those who are willing to help themselves. If you won't exercise the power you have to create the change you need, then you deserve what you're going to get, more of the same.
What are you waiting for?





(For this essay in it's entirety please click the link below.)
http://stores.lulu.com/store.php?fAcctID=31033850

Posted by Brian at 10:20 PM 1 comments Labels: America, Ayn Rand, capitalism, capitalism is evil, capitalism is stupid, economy, Moore, Open letter to, US

26 May 2010

Alesii vostri... si bugetul pe luna martie! Enjoy!


Nr.Crt./ Nume şi prenume deputat/ Indemnizaţie brută/ Indemnizaţie netă/ Diurnă deplasare în Bucureşti/ Diurnă deplasare în teritoriu/ Diurnă deplasare în străinătate/ Cazare în Bucureşti/ Cazare în teritoriu/ Cazare în străinătate/ Transport în ţară/ Transport în străinătate/ Cheltuieli telefonie mobilă/ TOTAL/ Total Euro:


1/ Adomniţei Cristian Mihai/ 7080/ 4967/ 1818/ 1120/ 8333/ 6597/ 58/ 29,973 lei/ 7,178 € ş.a.m.d.

2 Albu Gheorghe 7643 5361 1120 392 336 14,852 lei 3,557 €

3 Alecu Valeriu 6994 4906 2378 1120 3038 344 58 18,838 lei 4,511 €

4 Almăjanu Marin 7080 4967 2308 1120 3038 306 58 18,877 lei 4,521 €

5 Amet Aledin 7168 5027 2098 1120 3038 392 880 58 19,781 lei 4,737 €

6 Ana Gheorghe 7080 4996 2378 1120 8333 315 58 24,280 lei 5,815 €

7 Anastase Roberta Alma 8817 6184 2518 274 818 1251 409 20,271 lei 4,855 €

8 Andon Sergiu 7080 4967 690 2157 1047 58 15,999 lei 3,832 €

9 Andronache Gabriel 7080 4967 2238 8333 594 58 23,270 lei 5,573 €

10 Anghel Florin Serghei 6994 4906 2238 1260 297 58 15,753 lei 3,773 €

11 Antal István 6994 4906 1818 1120 8333 161 58 23,390 lei 5,602 €

12 Antochi Gheorghe 6994 4935 1888 1260 575 952 1008 2772 58 20,442 lei 4,896 €

13 Apostolache Cristian 7080 4967 2378 1260 3038 216 58 18,997 lei 4,550 €

14 Ardeleanu Sanda-Maria 6994 4906 2238 1260 3038 1445 58 19,939 lei 4,775 €

15 Arion Viorel 6994 4906 2378 1260 8333 3506 58 27,435 lei 6,570 €

16 Atanasiu Teodor 6994 4906 2378 1260 3038 1100 58 19,734 lei 4,726 €

17 Avram Marian 7080 4967 2378 1260 8159 1100 58 25,002 lei 5,988 €

18 Axenie Carmen 6994 4906 1818 840 3038 602 58 18,256 lei 4,372 €

19 Balan Ioan 6994 4906 2378 1260 8333 1557 58 25,486 lei 6,104 €

20 Balcan Viorel 6994 4906 2378 8333 581 58 23,250 lei 5,568 €

21 Banu Mihai 6994 4906 2308 1120 8159 1008 58 24,553 lei 5,880 €

22 Barbu Sulfina 7643 5361 133 13,137 lei 3,146 €

23 Barna Maria Eugenia 6994 4906 2168 1260 3038 1456 58 19,880 lei 4,761 €

24 Bădălan Eugen 7080 4967 2378 1260 747 58 16,490 lei 3,949 €

25 Bădulescu Adrian 6994 4906 2378 1120 3038 306 58 18,800 lei 4,502 €

26 Bănicioiu Nicolae 7643 5361 2518 840 3038 294 427 20,121 lei 4,819 €

27 Bărbulescu Daniel-Ionuţ 6994 4906 1958 1260 3038 648 58 18,862 lei 4,517 €

28 Bejinariu Eugen 6994 4906 1120 392 2180 58 15,650 lei 3,748 €

29 Berci Vasile 6994 4935 2378 1120 3038 4136 58 22,659 lei 5,427 €

30 Béres Ştefan Vasile 6994 4906 1958 1120 575 8159 952 4508 2772 58 32,002 lei 7,664 €

31 Blaga Iosif Veniamin 6994 5875 1958 980 8333 4535 58 28,733 lei 6,881 €

32 Bleotu Vasile 6994 4906 2168 1120 3038 73 58 18,357 lei 4,396 €

33 Boabeş Dumitru 6994 4906 2378 1120 3038 240 58 18,734 lei 4,487 €

34 Bobeş Marin 6994 4906 2378 1260 8333 648 58 24,577 lei 5,886 €

35 Bode Lucian Nicolae 6994 4906 2378 1120 8333 4824 58 28,613 lei 6,852 €

36 Boghicevici Claudia 6994 4906 2028 1260 8333 2449 58 26,028 lei 6,233 €

37 Boiangiu Victor 6994 4906 2378 980 8333 260 58 23,909 lei 5,726 €

38 Boldea Mihail 7168 5027 2028 1260 3038 960 19,481 lei 4,665 €

39 Borbély László 560 8333 4153 58 13,104 lei 3,138 €

40 Bordeianu Dan 6994 4906 2378 1120 8159 1179 58 24,794 lei 5,938 €

41 Bostan Emil 7080 4967 2378 1260 8333 1215 58 25,291 lei 6,057 €

42 Bot Octavian 6994 4906 1749 1120 8170 3052 58 26,049 lei 6,238 €

43 Botiş Ioan-Nelu 7168 5027 1958 1260 803 8333 2638 4822 1979 58 34,046 lei 8,154 €

44 Boureanu Cristian 7168 5027 840 58 13,093 lei 3,136 €

45 Brătianu Matei Radu 7080 4967 2308 1120 7969 392 704 58 24,598 lei 5,891 €

46 Brînză William Gabriel 7080 4967 2378 3038 333 58 17,854 lei 4,276 €

47 Buciuta Ştefan 7080 4996 2378 1120 8333 3609 58 27,574 lei 6,604 €

48 Bud Nicolae 6994 4906 2378 1120 4060 58 19,516 lei 4,674 €

49 Buda Daniel 7643 5361 2098 1260 3038 5275 383 25,058 lei 6,001 €

50 Buda Viorel-Vasile 6994 4906 2238 1260 8333 3650 58 27,439 lei 6,571 €

51 Budurescu Daniel 7080 4967 58 12,105 lei 2,899 €

52 Buhăianu- Ovidiu 6994 4906 2238 1260 3038 1512 58 20,006 lei 4,791 €

53 Buican Cristian 6994 4906 2378 1260 3038 840 58 19,474 lei 4,664 €

54 Burcău Doina 7080 4967 58 12,105 lei 2,899 €

55 Burlacu Cristian-Ion 6994 4906 2378 1120 8333 58 23,789 lei 5,697 €

56 Burnei Ion 7080 4967 2378 1260 3038 405 58 19,186 lei 4,595 €

57 Buta Sorin Gheorghe 6994 4906 2028 1260 585 58 15,831 lei 3,791 €

58 Calimente Mihăiţă 7080 4967 1958 840 8333 3824 58 27,060 lei 6,481 €

59 Canacheu Costică 7643 5361 1000 14,004 lei 3,354 €

60 Cantaragiu Bogdan 6994 4906 560 196 124 58 12,838 lei 3,075 €

61 Cazan Mircea Vasile 6994 4906 2238 1120 972 58 16,288 lei 3,901 €

62 Călian Petru 7643 5361 1818 1120 688 8333 2315 4821 3120 58 35,277 lei 8,448 €

63 Călin Ion 7123 4997 2378 1260 3038 828 58 19,682 lei 4,714 €

64 Cărare Viorel 6994 4906 2378 1120 8159 1008 58 24,623 lei 5,897 €

65 Cherecheş Cătălin 6998 4908 2238 8333 4201 58 26,736 lei 6,403 €

66 Chircu Doiniţa-Mariana 6994 4906 1958 1120 8159 1080 58 24,275 lei 5,814 €

67 Chirilă Constantin 7080 4967 2378 1120 8333 528 58 24,464 lei 5,859 €

68 Chiriţă Dumitru 6994 4906 58 11,958 lei 2,864 €

69 Chisăliţă Ioan Narcis 6994 4906 2308 1120 8333 1970 58 25,689 lei 6,152 €

70 Chiţoiu Daniel 7168 5027 58 12,253 lei 2,934 €

71 Chiuariu Tudor-Alexandru 6778 4755 1609 446 8333 457 1571 58 24,007 lei 5,749 €

72 Cindrea Ioan 7168 5027 2308 1120 8159 864 58 24,704 lei 5,916 €

73 Ciobanu Gheorghe 6994 4906 2308 1260 8333 4786 58 28,645 lei 6,860 €

74 Ciocan Gheorghe 6994 4906 2378 1120 8333 4128 58 27,917 lei 6,686 €

75 Cionca-Arghir Iustin 7643 5361 1818 1260 8333 4785 320 29,520 lei 7,070 €

76 Ciucă Liviu-Bogdan 7168 5027 2378 980 3038 960 58 19,609 lei 4,696 €

77 Ciuhodaru Tudor 6994 4906 2378 8333 2804 58 25,473 lei 6,100 €

78 Coclici Radu Eugeniu 7080 4967 2378 1120 8333 1215 58 25,151 lei 6,023 €

79 Coroamă Gheorghe 6994 4906 2098 1120 8159 1791 58 25,126 lei 6,017 €

80 Covaci Dorel 6994 4906 2238 840 8159 2607 58 25,802 lei 6,179 €

81 Cristea Victor 6994 4906 2308 1120 8159 882 58 24,427 lei 5,850 €

82 Cristian Horia 7080 4967 2238 1260 3038 5237 58 23,878 lei 5,718 €

83 Croitoru Cătălin 7168 5027 737 1499 58 14,489 lei 3,470 €

84 Damian Ioan 6994 4906 2378 1260 3038 460 58 19,094 lei 4,573 €

85 Dascălu Constantin 6994 4906 2378 1120 809 8159 1673 828 1235 58 28,160 lei 6,744 €

86 Derzsi Ákos 6994 4906 2378 1260 8159 4720 58 28,475 lei 6,819 €

87 Dobre Ciprian Minodor 7080 4967 1958 980 8159 3307 58 26,509 lei 6,349 €

88 Dobre Cristina Elena 6994 4906 1888 8333 3736 58 25,915 lei 6,206 €

89 Dobre Victor Paul 7643 5361 2378 1120 971 8333 2232 2002 123 30,163 lei 7,224 €

90 Dolineaschi Andrei 6994 4906 2378 1120 2436 58 17,892 lei 4,285 €

91 Donţu Mihai-Aurel 6994 4906 2308 1260 8159 660 58 24,345 lei 5,830 €

92 Dragomir Gheorghe 6994 4906 2238 1260 3038 792 58 19,286 lei 4,619 €

93 Drăghici Mircea-Gheorghe 6994 4906 2238 1120 8333 1321 58 24,970 lei 5,980 €

94 Drăghici Sonia-Maria 6994 4906 1399 8333 3484 58 25,174 lei 6,029 €

95 Drăgulescu Iosif Ştefan 6994 4906 2238 1120 4227 58 19,543 lei 4,680 €

96 Dugulescu Marius 7168 5027 2308 1260 8333 4783 58 28,937 lei 6,930 €

97 Dumitrache Ileana 7168 5027 2238 1120 7812 792 58 24,215 lei 5,799 €

98 Dumitrescu Cristian-Sorin 7643 5361 2238 700 685 1010 1453 535 19,625 lei 4,700 €

99 Dumitrescu Liana 6994 4906 2378 1120 8159 98 59 58 23,772 lei 5,693 €

100 Dumitrică George Ionuţ 6994 4906 2378 1260 58 15,596 lei 3,735 €

101 Dumitru Georgică 6994 4906 2308 1120 4575 248 58 20,209 lei 4,840 €

102 Dumitru Ion 6994 4906 2378 1260 3038 279 58 18,913 lei 4,529 €

103 Duşa Mircea 8122 5696 2518 1120 973 4861 1367 4975 139 29,771 lei 7,130 €

104 Edler András György 7097 4979 1958 1120 8159 1602 58 24,973 lei 5,981 €

105 Erdei Dolóczki István 6994 4906 2378 1120 3038 4505 58 22,999 lei 5,508 €

106 Farago Petru 6994 4906 2378 1260 8243 3477 58 27,316 lei 6,542 €

107 Farkas Anna-Lili 6994 4906 2238 1260 737 8159 594 1499 58 26,445 lei 6,333 €

108 Fenechiu Relu 7643 5361 1958 420 8333 3744 1142 28,601 lei 6,850 €

109 Firczak Gheorghe 7168 5027 1748 1120 764 8159 392 1869 1997 8230 58 36,532 lei 8,749 €

110 Florea Damian 6994 4906 58 11,958 lei 2,864 €

111 Florescu Adrian 6994 4906 2238 1260 3038 340 58 18,834 lei 4,510 €

112 Frunzulică Doru-Claudian 6994 4906 1120 392 576 58 14,046 lei 3,364 €

113 Fuia Stelian 6994 4906 2238 1260 58 15,456 lei 3,702 €

114 Gabor Gheorghe 6994 4935 2378 1260 8333 783 58 24,741 lei 5,925 €

115 Ganţ Ovidiu Victor 6994 4906 1888 1120 3038 1694 58 19,698 lei 4,717 €

116 Gavrilescu Graţiela 6994 4906 2378 1260 3038 240 58 18,874 lei 4,520 €

117 Geantă Florian Daniel 6994 4906 58 11,958 lei 2,864 €

118 Georgescu Filip 6994 4906 2238 1120 3038 405 58 18,759 lei 4,493 €

119 Gerea Andrei Dominic 6994 4906 2378 3038 58 17,374 lei 4,161 €

120 Gheorghe Tinel 6994 4906 1260 392 376 58 13,986 lei 3,349 €

121 Gherasim Vasile 6994 4906 1120 392 896 58 14,366 lei 3,440 €

122 Ghiţă Cornel 6994 4906 2308 1120 926 8159 2232 1215 2002 58 29,920 lei 7,165 €

123 Ghiţă-Eftemie Stelian 6994 4906 2378 1260 8159 1215 58 24,970 lei 5,980 €

124 Ghiveciu Marian 6994 4906 2238 1260 7504 747 58 23,707 lei 5,678 €

125 Giurgiu Mircia 6994 4906 1958 1120 630 8333 5003 1330 58 30,332 lei 7,264 €

126 Gliga Vasile Ghiorghe 6994 4906 2378 840 8333 3757 58 27,266 lei 6,530 €

127 Göndör Marius-Sorin 6994 4906 2168 1120 8333 3270 58 26,849 lei 6,430 €

128 Gorghiu Alina-Ştefania 7168 5027 58 12,253 lei 2,934 €

129 Gospodaru Gabriel-Dan 6994 4906 2238 1120 8333 2155 58 25,804 lei 6,180 €

130 Grama Horia 7076 4963 2378 1260 8333 711 58 24,779 lei 5,934 €

131 Grosaru Mircea 6994 4906 2308 980 8333 392 2638 58 26,609 lei 6,372 €

132 Gurzău Adrian 7168 5027 2378 1120 8333 4366 58 28,450 lei 6,813 €

133 Gust Băloşin Florentin 6994 4906 2378 1120 7812 644 58 23,912 lei 5,727 €

134 Hogea Gheorghe 6994 4906 2378 1120 8333 3146 58 26,935 lei 6,451 €

135 Holban Titi 6994 4906 2238 980 504 58 15,680 lei 3,755 €

136 Holdiş Ioan 6994 4906 2238 1260 8333 4286 58 28,075 lei 6,724 €

137 Horj Pavel 6994 4914 2378 1260 8159 131 58 23,894 lei 5,722 €

138 Hrebenciuc Viorel 7643 5361 360 13,364 lei 3,200 €

139 Iacob Ridzi Monica Maria 6994 4906 3038 58 14,996 lei 3,591 €

140 Iacob Strugaru Stelică 6994 4906 2378 1120 8333 2126 58 25,915 lei 6,206 €

141 Ialomiţianu Gheorghe 7168 5027 2378 1260 8159 594 58 24,644 lei 5,902 €

142 Iancu Iulian 7643 5361 840 294 709 14,847 lei 3,556 €

143 Ibram Iusein 7168 5027 2378 1120 3038 392 792 58 19,973 lei 4,783 €

144 Iftime Dragoş-Adrian 6994 4906 2028 1120 8333 2040 58 25,479 lei 6,102 €

145 Ignat Miron 6994 4935 2308 1120 8333 588 990 58 25,326 lei 6,065 €

146 Ionescu George 6994 4906 2378 1260 3038 240 58 18,874 lei 4,520 €

147 Iordache Florin 5970 4187 2378 1260 3038 612 58 17,503 lei 4,192 €

148 Iordache Luminiţa 7080 4967 2378 1260 8333 3419 58 27,495 lei 6,585 €

149 Iorguş Zanfir 6994 4906 2238 1120 832 58 16,148 lei 3,867 €

150 Irimescu Mircea 6994 4906 2098 1120 8159 4708 58 28,043 lei 6,716 €

151 Itu Cornel 6994 4906 2378 1260 8333 4828 58 28,757 lei 6,887 €

152 Jipa Florina Ruxandra 7168 5058 58 12,284 lei 2,942 €

153 Jolţa Nicolae 6994 4906 2098 1400 8333 4719 58 28,508 lei 6,827 €

154 Kelemen Atilla-Béla 7168 5027 2168 1120 3038 1905 58 20,484 lei 4,906 €

155 Kelemen Hunor 1120 8333 911 58 10,422 lei 2,496 €

156 Kerekes Károly 7080 4967 2308 8333 2837 58 25,583 lei 6,127 €

157 Korodi Attila 7643 5361 2378 1260 695 8159 1039 837 1470 684 29,526 lei 7,071 €

158 Kötő Iosif 7168 5058 2168 8159 5842 58 28,453 lei 6,814 €

159 Lakatos Petru 6994 4906 2378 1400 8333 4720 58 28,789 lei 6,895 €

160 Leşe Doru Braşoan 6994 4906 2378 1120 8333 196 3618 58 27,603 lei 6,611 €

161 Liga Dănuţ 6994 4906 58 11,958 lei 2,864 €

162 Longher Ghervazen 6994 4906 1888 1120 8333 294 2386 58 25,979 lei 6,222 €

163 Lubanovici Mircea 6994 4906 979 280 690 8333 350 2157 1313 1047 58 27,107 lei 6,492 €

164 Luca Ciprian-Florin 6994 4906 2238 1120 8333 3469 58 27,118 lei 6,494 €

165 Lup Silvestru Mircea 6994 4906 2378 1120 8333 864 58 24,653 lei 5,904 €

166 Lupu Mihai 6994 4906 2378 1120 8333 792 58 24,581 lei 5,887 €

167 Macaleţi Costică 6994 4906 2238 980 8333 1593 58 25,102 lei 6,012 €

168 Manda Iulian Claudiu 6994 4906 1818 560 803 7812 2638 460 1783 58 27,832 lei 6,665 €

169 Manolescu Oana 6994 4935 2238 1120 8333 588 297 58 24,563 lei 5,883 €

170 Marian Dan Mihai 6994 4906 1539 1120 8159 1048 58 23,824 lei 5,706 €

171 Marin Mircea 7080 4967 2378 1120 58 15,603 lei 3,737 €

172 Marinescu Antonella 6994 4906 2378 1120 8159 792 58 24,407 lei 5,845 €

173 Martin Eduard-Stelian 6994 4906 2238 8333 58 22,529 lei 5,395 €

174 Márton Árpád-Francisc 6994 4906 2098 840 811 8333 711 1796 122 26,611 lei 6,373 €

175 Máté András-Levente 6994 4906 2028 1120 8333 2967 58 26,406 lei 6,324 €

176 Mazilu Constantin 6994 4906 2378 58 14,336 lei 3,433 €

177 Merka Adrian-Miroslav 6994 4906 2378 840 8333 294 4721 58 28,524 lei 6,831 €

178 Militaru Constantin 6994 4906 2378 1120 3038 1134 58 19,628 lei 4,701 €

179 Mircovici Niculae 6994 4935 2028 1120 3038 392 4781 58 23,346 lei 5,591 €

180 Mitrea Manuela 7168 5027 840 294 528 58 13,915 lei 3,332 €

181 Mocanu Adrian 6994 4906 1609 1120 3038 344 58 18,069 lei 4,327 €

182 Mocanu Vasile 7080 4996 1818 980 8333 1085 58 24,350 lei 5,831 €

183 Mocioalcă Ion 6994 4906 2378 1120 8333 457 58 24,246 lei 5,807 €

184 Moldovan Carmen Ileana 6994 4906 840 392 344 58 13,534 lei 3,241 €

185 Moldovan Emil Radu 6994 4906 2378 1120 8333 4334 58 28,123 lei 6,735 €

186 Morega Dan Ilie 6994 4906 2308 1120 8333 1026 58 24,745 lei 5,926 €

187 Motreanu Dan-Ştefan 7643 5361 2518 387 15,909 lei 3,810 €

188 Movilă Petru 6994 4906 2378 1260 8333 4191 58 28,120 lei 6,734 €

189 Munteanu Ioan 6994 4906 2378 1120 8333 1277 58 25,066 lei 6,003 €

190 Mustea-Şerban Răzvan 6994 4906 2308 1260 639 58 16,165 lei 3,871 €

191 Nassar Rodica 7643 5361 263 13,267 lei 3,177 €

192 Năstase Adrian 8122 5696 1522 2315 7372 670 25,697 lei 6,154 €

193 Neacşu Marian 6994 4906 2378 8333 58 22,669 lei 5,429 €

194 Nechifor Cătălin-Ioan 6994 4906 2238 1260 8159 1421 58 25,036 lei 5,996 €

195 Neculai Marius 6994 4906 2378 8159 493 58 22,988 lei 5,505 €

196 Negoiţă Robert Sorin 7168 5027 58 12,253 lei 2,934 €

197 Negruţ Clement 6994 4906 2378 1120 8333 1350 58 25,139 lei 6,020 €

198 Nica Dan 6994 4906 2378 700 768 58 15,804 lei 3,785 €

199 Nica Nicolae-Ciprian 6994 4906 2378 1120 8333 664 58 24,453 lei 5,856 €

200 Nicolăescu -Eugen 6994 4906 2308 3038 414 58 17,718 lei 4,243 €

201 Nicolicea Eugen 6994 4906 2238 118 58 14,314 lei 3,428 €

202 Niculescu Duvăz Bogdan 7168 5027 700 392 360 58 13,705 lei 3,282 €

203 Niculescu-Mizil Ştefănescu Tohme Oana 6994 4906 58 11,958 lei 2,864 €

204 Nistor Laurenţiu 6994 4906 2378 1120 8333 2893 58 26,682 lei 6,390 €

205 Niţă Constantin 6994 4906 979 8333 58 21,270 lei 5,094 €

206 Niţu Adrian Henorel 7080 4967 2378 1260 691 8333 1448 4411 1915 58 32,541 lei 7,793 €

207 Nosa Iuliu 7080 4967 2238 1260 7504 4822 58 27,929 lei 6,689 €

208 Novac Cornelia Brînduşa 7080 4967 58 12,105 lei 2,899 €

209 Oajdea Daniel Vasile 6994 4906 2098 1120 8333 2970 58 26,479 lei 6,341 €

210 Olar Corneliu 6994 4906 2238 1260 3038 1440 58 19,934 lei 4,774 €

211 Olosz Gergely 7643 5361 2378 1120 8159 532 25,193 lei 6,033 €

212 Oltean Ioan 8122 5696 2518 2899 716 19,951 lei 4,778 €

213 Olteanu Bogdan 0 lei 0 €

214 Oprea Gabriel 0 lei 0 €

215 Oprişcan Mihai Doru 6994 4906 2378 1260 8159 3615 58 27,370 lei 6,555 €

216 Orban Ludovic 8122 5696 348 14,166 lei 3,393 €

217 Pál Árpád 6994 4906 2238 1120 3038 1041 58 19,395 lei 4,645 €

218 Palaşcă Viorel 6994 4906 2168 840 3038 945 58 18,949 lei 4,538 €

219 Palăr Ionel 7168 5027 1818 840 8333 784 58 24,028 lei 5,754 €

220 Paleologu Theodor 6994 4906 58 11,958 lei 2,864 €

221 Pálfi Mózes Zoltán 6994 4906 2238 1120 8159 4822 58 28,297 lei 6,777 €

222 Pambuccian Varujan 7643 5361 968 13,972 lei 3,346 €

223 Pandele Sorin Andi 6994 4906 1469 1120 8159 405 58 23,111 lei 5,535 €

224 Panţîru Tudor 6994 4906 1116 3176 4023 58 20,273 lei 4,855 €

225 Pardău Dumitru 7643 5361 2378 1260 3038 1988 250 21,918 lei 5,249 €

226 Păduraru Nicuşor 6994 4906 1958 980 624 8333 4191 1162 58 29,206 lei 6,994 €

227 Păsat Dan 6994 4906 1958 58 13,916 lei 3,333 €

228 Păun Nicolae 7643 5361 461 13,465 lei 3,225 €

229 Pâslaru Florin-Costin 7080 4967 1469 1120 8159 864 58 23,717 lei 5,680 €

230 Petö Csilla-Mária 7080 4967 2028 1120 8159 3774 58 27,186 lei 6,511 €

231 Petrescu Cristian 6994 4906 58 11,958 lei 2,864 €

232 Petrescu Petre 6994 4906 2378 1120 7812 920 58 24,188 lei 5,793 €

233 Pieptea Cornel 6994 4906 58 11,958 lei 2,864 €

234 Pirpiliu Ştefan Daniel 6994 4906 58 11,958 lei 2,864 €

235 Plăiaşu Gabriel 6994 4906 2378 1120 3038 248 58 18,742 lei 4,488 €

236 Pocora Cristina-Ancuţa 7643 5361 2378 1260 513 243 17,398 lei 4,167 €

237 Ponta Victor-Viorel 6994 4906 1678 1916 58 15,552 lei 3,724 €

238 Pop Georgian 6994 4906 58 11,958 lei 2,864 €

239 Pop Virgil 6994 4906 2308 1260 8333 4369 58 28,228 lei 6,760 €

240 Popa Daniela 0 lei 0 €

241 Popa Florian 6994 4906 968 58 12,926 lei 3,096 €

242 Popa Octavian-Marius 6994 4906 2378 1120 8159 956 58 24,571 lei 5,884 €

243 Popeangă Vasile 6994 4906 2378 1260 3038 1026 58 19,660 lei 4,708 €

244 Popescu Adrian 6994 4906 2378 8159 896 58 23,391 lei 5,602 €

245 Popescu Cosmin Mihai 6994 4906 2378 1120 3038 912 58 19,406 lei 4,647 €

246 Popescu Dan-Mircea 6994 4906 1120 926 784 2232 376 2002 58 19,398 lei 4,646 €

247 Popescu-Tăriceanu Călin Constantin Anton 7643 5361 389 13,393 lei 3,207 €

248 Popov Duşan 6994 4906 2028 1120 8159 392 4779 58 28,436 lei 6,810 €

249 Popoviciu Alin Augustin 7080 4967 2378 1260 8333 5744 58 29,820 lei 7,141 €

250 Postolachi Florin 7080 4967 2378 1120 8333 1618 58 25,554 lei 6,120 €

251 Potor Călin 7168 5027 2378 1120 8333 1215 58 25,299 lei 6,059 €

252 Preda Cezar-Florin 7643 5361 1679 980 962 3479 344 2394 121 22,963 lei 5,499 €

253 Prigoană Vasile-Silviu 6994 4906 58 11,958 lei 2,864 €

254 Radan Mihai 7080 4996 2308 840 737 3038 196 1773 1499 58 22,525 lei 5,394 €

255 Răţoi Neculai 6994 4906 2378 1120 8333 2609 58 26,398 lei 6,322 €

256 Rebenciuc Neculai 6994 4906 2378 1260 8333 1162 58 25,091 lei 6,009 €

257 Resmeriţă Cornel-Cristian 6994 4906 2378 1120 8333 2302 58 26,091 lei 6,248 €

258 Riviş-Tipei Lucian 6994 4906 2098 1120 8333 3821 58 27,330 lei 6,545 €

259 Rizea Cristian 6994 4906 840 1878 498 58 15,174 lei 3,634 €

260 Rogin Marius 7168 5027 1958 1120 813 8333 1215 1110 58 26,802 lei 6,419 €

261 Roman Gheorghe 6994 4906 2378 1260 3038 1161 58 19,795 lei 4,741 €

262 Roman Ioan Sorin 6994 4906 2378 1120 8333 4005 58 27,794 lei 6,656 €

263 Roşca Lucreţia 6994 4906 2238 1260 3038 930 58 19,424 lei 4,652 €

264 Rusu Valentin 6994 4906 2238 1120 8333 3215 58 26,864 lei 6,434 €

265 Sava Andrei-Valentin 7168 5027 1399 1260 3038 216 58 18,166 lei 4,351 €

266 Săftoiu Ana Adriana 6994 4906 980 571 1010 598 1453 58 16,570 lei 3,968 €

267 Săniuţă Marian-Florian 7168 5027 2378 1120 216 58 15,967 lei 3,824 €

268 Săpunaru Nini 6994 4906 1749 1120 926 2232 568 2002 58 20,555 lei 4,923 €

269 Sârbu Marian 6994 4906 2238 58 14,196 lei 3,400 €

270 Scutaru Adrian George 7168 5027 1260 392 344 58 14,249 lei 3,412 €

271 Seremi Ştefan 6994 4906 2378 1120 8333 4231 58 28,020 lei 6,710 €

272 Seres Dénes 7643 5361 2518 1120 3038 5127 160 24,967 lei 5,979 €

273 Socaciu Victor 7168 5027 840 296 1181 58 14,570 lei 3,489 €

274 Solomon Adrian 7080 4967 2378 1260 8333 1050 58 25,126 lei 6,017 €

275 Soporan Vasile Filip 6994 4906 2378 1120 8333 4488 58 28,277 lei 6,772 €

276 Spînu Teodor-Marius 6994 4906 2028 1260 8159 4673 58 28,078 lei 6,724 €

277 Stan Ioan 7643 6382 2378 1120 8333 1485 201 27,542 lei 6,596 €

278 Stan Ion 7168 5027 2378 1120 3038 58 18,789 lei 4,500 €

279 Stan Nicolae 6994 4906 2378 1120 8159 522 58 24,137 lei 5,780 €

280 Stanciu Anghel 7168 5027 2378 1260 737 3038 3261 1499 58 24,426 lei 5,850 €

281 Stavrositu Maria 7080 4967 1818 700 1259 5780 1708 5317 58 28,687 lei 6,870 €

282 Steriu Valeriu-Andrei 7002 4911 1120 546 576 58 14,213 lei 3,404 €

283 Stoica Mihaela 7168 5027 2098 1120 8333 1350 58 25,154 lei 6,024 €

284 Stragea Sorin Constantin 6994 4906 2098 1120 8333 1386 58 24,895 lei 5,962 €

285 Stroe Ionuţ-Marian 6994 4906 2378 3038 828 58 18,202 lei 4,359 €

286 Stroe Mihai 6994 4906 1818 1120 690 3038 2157 880 1047 58 22,708 lei 5,438 €

287 Stroe Radu 6994 4906 106 12,006 lei 2,875 €

288 Stroian Toader 6994 4906 2378 1120 3038 990 58 19,484 lei 4,666 €

289 Surdu-Soreanu Victor 7160 5022 1120 392 1080 58 14,832 lei 3,552 €

290 Surpăţeanu Mihai 6994 4906 2308 1260 8159 828 58 24,513 lei 5,871 €

291 Surupăceanu Mugurel 6994 4906 2238 1260 3038 912 58 19,406 lei 4,647 €

292 Şandru Mihaela Ioana 6994 4906 1818 560 3038 17,316 lei 4,147 €

293 Ştefan Viorel 7643 5361 2168 1120 3038 768 174 20,272 lei 4,855 €

294 Ştirbeţ Cornel 6994 4906 1958 980 809 3038 1673 864 1235 58 22,515 lei 5,392 €

295 Ştirbu Gigel-Sorinel 7168 5027 2168 1260 8159 648 58 24,488 lei 5,865 €

296 Tabără Valeriu 7643 5361 1679 1120 690 8333 952 4276 2772 426 33,252 lei 7,963 €

297 Tabugan Ion 6994 4906 2378 1260 8159 1510 58 25,265 lei 6,051 €

298 Taloş Gheorghe-Mirel 6994 4906 1399 1120 8159 3721 58 26,357 lei 6,312 €

299 Tărâţă Culiţă 6994 4906 2378 1260 8333 1260 58 25,189 lei 6,032 €

300 Teodorescu Horia 6994 4906 2378 1120 8333 992 58 24,781 lei 5,935 €

301 Timiş Ioan 7080 4967 2238 1120 8333 1208 58 25,004 lei 5,988 €

302 Tiţa-Nicolescu Gabriel 6994 4906 2098 1260 8333 594 58 24,243 lei 5,806 €

303 Tîlvăr Angel 6994 4906 1888 560 917 3038 1553 426 2435 58 22,775 lei 5,454 €

304 Toader Mircea-Nicu 7643 5361 2378 1120 3038 864 169 20,573 lei 4,927 €

305 Trăşculescu Alin Silviu 6994 4906 2238 1120 3038 639 58 18,993 lei 4,549 €

306 Tudose Mihai 7643 5361 2378 1120 8333 747 482 26,064 lei 6,242 €

307 Turcan Raluca 7643 5361 1120 784 864 232 16,004 lei 3,833 €

308 Tuşa Adriana Diana 6994 4906 1120 392 664 58 14,134 lei 3,385 €

309 Ţaga Claudiu 6994 4935 2238 1120 8333 1760 58 25,438 lei 6,092 €

310 Ţintean Ioan 6994 4906 1888 1120 8333 2662 58 25,961 lei 6,217 €

311 Ţîmpău Radu Bogdan 6994 4906 1958 8333 1085 58 23,334 lei 5,588 €

312 Ţurcanu Florin 6994 4906 2378 1120 8333 1503 58 25,292 lei 6,057 €

313 Ţurea Răzvan 6994 4906 2378 1260 3038 216 58 18,850 lei 4,514 €

314 Udrea Elena Gabriela 58 58 lei 14 €

315 Uioreanu Horea-Dorin 7643 5361 2098 8333 4368 126 27,929 lei 6,689 €

316 Uricec Eugen Constantin 6994 4906 2238 1260 8159 818 58 24,433 lei 5,851 €

317 Vainer Aurel 7168 5058 58 12,284 lei 2,942 €

318 Varga Attila 7080 4967 1329 1120 690 8333 2157 4773 1047 58 31,554 lei 7,557 €

319 Varga Lucia-Ana 6994 4906 2378 1120 8333 3773 58 27,562 lei 6,601 €

320 Vasile Aurelia 7168 5027 58 12,253 lei 2,934 €

321 Vasilică Radu Costin 6994 4906 2378 1260 3038 450 58 19,084 lei 4,570 €

322 Vişan Gelu 6994 4906 2378 1120 8333 736 58 24,525 lei 5,873 €

323 Vîlcu Samoil 6994 4906 2378 1120 3038 684 58 19,178 lei 4,593 €

324 Vladu Iulian 6994 4906 2378 1120 8333 180 58 23,969 lei 5,740 €

325 Vlase Petru Gabriel 7643 5361 1749 1120 8333 1008 123 25,337 lei 6,068 €

326 Vlădoiu Aurel 6994 4906 2378 1120 3038 552 58 19,046 lei 4,561 €

327 Voicu Mădălin-Ştefan 7080 4967 58 12,105 lei 2,899 €

328 Voicu Mihai Alexandru 7643 5361 280 216 184 121 13,805 lei 3,306 €

329 Voinescu-Cotoi Sever 7643 5361 125 13,129 lei 3,144 €

330 Vreme Valerian 7168 5027 2378 1260 8159 837 58 24,887 lei 5,960 €

331 Zamfirescu Sorin Ştefan 6994 4906 2378 1120 8159 621 58 24,236 lei 5,804 €

332 Zătreanu Dan-Radu 6994 4906 58 11,958 lei 2,864 €

333 Zgonea Valeriu Ştefan 7643 5361 1958 840 1446 3038 772 3814 1047 25,919 lei 6,207 €

334 Zisopol Dragoş Gabriel 6994 4906 2378 1120 3038 392 192 58 19,078 lei 4,569 €

335 Zoicaş Gheorghe 6994 4906 2098 1120 8333 4699 58 28,208 lei 6,755 €

11,05,2010 lei 2,337,951 lei 1,642,358 lei 595,876 lei 295,400 lei 30,408 lei 1,637,540 lei 15,242 lei 55,618 lei 498,079 lei 88,931 lei 32,482 lei 7,229,885 lei

4.1756 Euro 559,908 € 393,323 € 142,704 € 70,744 € 7,282 € 392,169 € 3,650 € 13,320 € 119,283 € 21,298 € 7,779 € 1,731,460 € 1,731,460 €

25 May 2010

Hezbollah entrenched in Lebanon years after Israel left


By Natalia Antelava
BBC News, south Lebanon


Every day 70-year-old About Ali Shami looks at Israel from his olive grove. The barbed wire, which is only a meter away, reminds him of what life was like when Israeli soldiers were stationed on the Lebanese side of the barbed wire fence.

"We were powerless," About Ali Shami says. "There was so much injustice, if felt like we lived in a big prison."

Like all residents of Kfar Kila, a village on the Lebanese-Israeli border, Abu Ali Shami still remembers restrictions on travel and the climate of fear, enforced not only by the Israeli military but also their Lebanese collaborators.

"We were so happy when they left," remembers Abu Ali, another villager in Kfar Kila. "They withdrew in the middle of the night and it felt as if we finally had our country back."

Ten years on since the withdrawal, the UN together with the Lebanese army patrol the border area. But flapping in the breeze along the fence are yellow and green flags of Hezbollah. Waving next to them is the flag of the group's biggest foreign backer - Iran.

It is Hezbollah that has real control over what happens in southern Lebanon and many villagers say they like the arrangement.

"It's the resistance, its weapons and [Hezbollah leader] Hassan Nasrallah who make us feel safe here," says Fawwaz Mohammed. "Without the resistance we could never be free."


'Victories'

Hezbollah is staging a series of events marking the 10th anniversary of the Israeli withdrawal, and what it sees as its victories since then - particularly the most recent war with Israel in 2006. Among them is the opening of a new war museum just a short drive away from the border.


The museum showcases hundreds of pieces of weaponry and equipment. The museum cost more than $3m to build. This was raised, according to Hezbollah, entirely from private donations.

"It's a commemoration of our fighters, of our martyrdom and also this museum is the way of reminding the new generation about sacrifices that they made," says the group's spokesman, Dr Ibrahim Moussawi.

As a guide leads visitors around the museum through an elaborate network of underground tunnels, he describes the battles and the living conditions of the Hezbollah fighters.

Almost all of South Lebanon is riddled with similar bunkers, it is believed that Hezbollah uses them to keep its weapons and train its guerrillas.

But the guide brushes off all questions about the real tunnels: "It's a secret," he laughs.

While Hezbollah remains extremely secretive about its military, the museum is in many ways, a sign of just how much the group has evolved over the last 10 years.


Politics and military

Today, it is arguably the most powerful militia in the Middle East and inside Lebanon it also functions as a sophisticated political organisation which has won elections, which has a track record of doing serious social work, and which is clever at marketing itself.

A Hezbollah underground installation now open to the public

Hezbollah's growing military might, fuelled by funding from Iran, is a serious concern for Israel and its allies.

Israel and Washington have recently accused Syria of transferring long range scud rockets to Hezbollah. The allegations sparked off a new cycle of mutual accusations, and speculation about another war.

The Lebanese Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, was among those to deny the allegations that there were scud rockets in Lebanon, but Hezbollah never issued a denial.

In fact many in Lebanon believe that the group does have some sort of long-range missile, if only because in some of his recent speeches the group's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, has threatened to hit targets deep inside Israel.

"I don't know what kind of rockets Hezbollah has, but what I do know is that Hassan Nasrallah does not make empty threats. Israel knows that, which is why they are worried," says Beirut-based analyst Rami Khoury.

And yet, despite all the talk of war, tensions and mutual accusations - or partly because of it all - the situation, Rami Khoury believes, is currently under control.

"What we have now is a situation of quite good mutual deterrence. Nobody is going to give up or surrender to the other side. At the same time, both sides know that if they start a war, it will be ferocious and it will kill many civilians," says Rami Khoury.

Mistakes in silicon chips to help boost computer power


by Mark Ward
Technology correspondent, BBC News

Making sure chips do not make mistakes has a financial and power cost


Silicon chips that are allowed to make mistakes could help ensure computers continue to get more powerful, say US researchers.


As components shrink, chip makers struggle to get more performance out of them while meeting power needs.

Research suggests relaxing the rules governing how they work and when they work correctly could mean they use less power but get a performance boost.

Special software is also needed to cope with the error-laden chips.

The silicon industry is defined by Moore's Law, which predicts that the number of transistors that can fit on a given area of silicon, for a given price will double every 18-24 months.

This is usually accomplished by shrinking transistors and typically means that processing steadily gets more powerful.


Chips that make mistakes demand less power

Transistors are tiny switches that are used as the fundamental building blocks of silicon chips. However, many experts point out that the relentless march of Moore's Law could stumble when components get so small they become unreliable.

The unreliability - or "statistical variability" - of chips is a problem that many researchers were trying to deal with, said Professor Asen Asenov from the Department of Electronics and Electrical Engineering at the University of Glasgow.

Variability increases as components shrink, said Professor Asenov, who has been using large scale simulations on grid computers to study how the behaviour of transistors changes as they get smaller.

For Professor Rakesh Kumar at University of Illinois the demise of Moore's Law is being hastened by an insistence on making silicon chips operate flawlessly.

Professor Kumar said variations in manufacturing, environment, and workload can conspire to make a chip suffer errors. Manufacturers try to ensure that whatever happens, he said, the chip works correctly.

"It's a case of 'if the software asks the chip to do something it does it at any cost,'" he said.

Professor Kumar's research suggests that the pursuit of perfection forces manufacturers to make some poor choices.

"To ensure correct operation you are purposefully running the chips at higher power than you need to," he said.



Error condition


That insistence on perfection also pushes up manufacturing costs because many chips have to be discarded if they fall short.

Professor Kumar said that it would become harder and harder for chip makers to ensure instructions are executed flawlessly as components shrink.

The tiny components in chips are already starting to give rise to errors. Instead of trying to eliminate this, he said, it should be embraced to produce so-called "stochastic processors" that are subject to random errors.

"The hardware is already stochastic so why continue pretending its flawless?" he asked. "Why put in more and more money to make it look flawless?"

Through research part-funded by Intel, Professor Kumar and his colleagues are designing processors that forgo flawlessness. Instead they attempt to manage the number and type of errors so they can be coped with efficiently.

The clocks in chips keep processing co-ordinated.

An example error, said Professor Kumar, is when a chip fails to complete a cycle of instructions within a given time. The workings of most chips are governed by a clock and the data processing they do advances with each tick of that time-keeper.

The upside of using chips that can make mistakes is much reduced power consumption.

Depending on how many errors a designer is prepared to tolerate, power consumption can be cut by up to 30%, he said. With only 1% error rates, power can be cut by 23%.

In many cases the errors will not have a significant impact on the workings of a computer. In other cases, he said, they could cause a system to crash.

To cope with this, Professor Kumar and colleagues are researching ways to make applications more tolerant of mistakes.

The "robustification" of software, as he calls it, involves re-writing it so an error simply causes the execution of instructions to take longer.

In another approach, the more robust software logs a user's actions. As the software is used, this log can be consulted to spot when something unexpected occurs.

The work on applications and programs may be more immediately useful, said Professor Kumar, as it can be applied to existing applications. This should make them cope with bugs that are showing up now and prepare them for use with future processors.

24 May 2010

God Bless America, And No One Else

Revealed: how Israel offered to sell South Africa nuclear weapons


Exclusive: Secret apartheid-era papers give first official evidence of Israeli nuclear weapons
by Chris McGreal in Washington, The Guardian, Monday 24 May 2010

The secret military agreement signed by Shimon Peres, now president of Israel, and P W Botha of South Africa. Photograph: Guardian


Secret South African documents reveal that Israel offered to sell nuclear warheads to the apartheid regime, providing the first official documentary evidence of the state's possession of nuclear weapons.

The "top secret" minutes of meetings between senior officials from the two countries in 1975 show that South Africa's defence minister, PW Botha, asked for the warheads and Shimon Peres, then Israel's defence minister and now its president, responded by offering them "in three sizes". The two men also signed a broad-ranging agreement governing military ties between the two countries that included a clause declaring that "the very existence of this agreement" was to remain secret.

The documents, uncovered by an American academic, Sasha Polakow-Suransky, in research for a book on the close relationship between the two countries, provide evidence that Israel has nuclear weapons despite its policy of "ambiguity" in neither confirming nor denying their existence.

The Israeli authorities tried to stop South Africa's post-apartheid government declassifying the documents at Polakow-Suransky's request and the revelations will be an embarrassment, particularly as this week's nuclear non-proliferation talks in New York focus on the Middle East.


They will also undermine Israel's attempts to suggest that, if it has nuclear weapons, it is a "responsible" power that would not misuse them, whereas countries such as Iran cannot be trusted.

A spokeswoman for Peres today said the report was baseless and there were "never any negotiations" between the two countries. She did not comment on the authenticity of the documents.

South African documents show that the apartheid-era military wanted the missiles as a deterrent and for potential strikes against neighbouring states.

The documents show both sides met on 31 March 1975. Polakow-Suransky writes in his book published in the US this week, The Unspoken Alliance: Israel's secret alliance with apartheid South Africa. At the talks Israeli officials "formally offered to sell South Africa some of the nuclear-capable Jericho missiles in its arsenal".

Among those attending the meeting was the South African military chief of staff, Lieutenant General RF Armstrong. He immediately drew up a memo in which he laid out the benefits of South Africa obtaining the Jericho missiles but only if they were fitted with nuclear weapons.

The memo, marked "top secret" and dated the same day as the meeting with the Israelis, has previously been revealed but its context was not fully understood because it was not known to be directly linked to the Israeli offer on the same day and that it was the basis for a direct request to Israel. In it, Armstrong writes: "In considering the merits of a weapon system such as the one being offered, certain assumptions have been made: a) That the missiles will be armed with nuclear warheads manufactured in RSA (Republic of South Africa) or acquired elsewhere."

But South Africa was years from being able to build atomic weapons. A little more than two months later, on 4 June, Peres and Botha met in Zurich. By then the Jericho project had the codename Chalet.

The top secret minutes of the meeting record that: "Minister Botha expressed interest in a limited number of units of Chalet subject to the correct payload being available." The document then records: "Minister Peres said the correct payload was available in three sizes. Minister Botha expressed his appreciation and said that he would ask for advice." The "three sizes" are believed to refer to the conventional, chemical and nuclear weapons.

The use of a euphemism, the "correct payload", reflects Israeli sensitivity over the nuclear issue and would not have been used had it been referring to conventional weapons. It can also only have meant nuclear warheads as Armstrong's memorandum makes clear South Africa was interested in the Jericho missiles solely as a means of delivering nuclear weapons.

In addition, the only payload the South Africans would have needed to obtain from Israel was nuclear. The South Africans were capable of putting together other warheads.

Botha did not go ahead with the deal in part because of the cost. In addition, any deal would have to have had final approval by Israel's prime minister and it is uncertain it would have been forthcoming.

South Africa eventually built its own nuclear bombs, albeit possibly with Israeli assistance. But the collaboration on military technology only grew over the following years. South Africa also provided much of the yellowcake uranium that Israel required to develop its weapons.

The documents confirm accounts by a former South African naval commander, Dieter Gerhardt – jailed in 1983 for spying for the Soviet Union. After his release with the collapse of apartheid, Gerhardt said there was an agreement between Israel and South Africa called Chalet which involved an offer by the Jewish state to arm eight Jericho missiles with "special warheads". Gerhardt said these were atomic bombs. But until now there has been no documentary evidence of the offer.

Some weeks before Peres made his offer of nuclear warheads to Botha, the two defence ministers signed a covert agreement governing the military alliance known as Secment. It was so secret that it included a denial of its own existence: "It is hereby expressly agreed that the very existence of this agreement... shall be secret and shall not be disclosed by either party".

The agreement also said that neither party could unilaterally renounce it.

The existence of Israel's nuclear weapons programme was revealed by Mordechai Vanunu to the Sunday Times in 1986. He provided photographs taken inside the Dimona nuclear site and gave detailed descriptions of the processes involved in producing part of the nuclear material but provided no written documentation.

Documents seized by Iranian students from the US embassy in Tehran after the 1979 revolution revealed the Shah expressed an interest to Israel in developing nuclear arms. But the South African documents offer confirmation Israel was in a position to arm Jericho missiles with nuclear warheads.

Israel pressured the present South African government not to declassify documents obtained by Polakow-Suransky. "The Israeli defence ministry tried to block my access to the Secment agreement on the grounds it was sensitive material, especially the signature and the date," he said. "The South Africans didn't seem to care; they blacked out a few lines and handed it over to me. The ANC government is not so worried about protecting the dirty laundry of the apartheid regime's old allies."

20 May 2010

De la Andrei Plesu citire:

"Nici in strainatate nu e totul perfect. Nici vorba. In Franta disciplina rutiera e sleampata, infinit mai rea decit in Germania; portofelul iti poate fi furat oriunde pe glob; smecheri si obraznici se gasesc pretutindeni; surpriza restaurantului scump si prost e mereu posibila; unele locuri sunt murdare; blocuri dizgratioase s-au construit, mai ales in anii '60, peste tot; companiile aeriene occidentale ofera servicii mediocre, provoaca intirzieri, nu te scutesc, la o adica, de pierderea bagajelor.

Pe scurt, oriunde te-ai afla, poti intilni numeroase prilejuri de indispozitie.

La noi e altfel. Neregulile,inconfortul, arbitrarul, lipsa de educatie, nesimtirea, ilegalitatea, aproximatia, ma rog, toata ornamentica " milenara" a tarisoarei ilustreaza o traditie durabila. Nu e vorba de accidente, de "din cind in cind"-uri tolerabile, inerente, compensate de un fundal general agreabil. Fundalul a ocupat avanscena. Si e esentialmente neplacut. E muschiulos, vital, indestructibil. Turcii vin si pleaca, fanariotii vin si pleaca, rusii vin si pleaca, comunistii vin si pleaca. Noi rezistam falos, fudul, chefliu si dirz. Dam vina pe ei, pe toti, si ne vedem de treaba.

NATO incearca sa ne organizeze, UE incearca sa ne domesticeasca. Degeaba. Apa trece, pietrele ramin, avem sapte vieti in pieptul de arama, romanul nu piere. Nu moare si nu se transforma. Se adapteaza. Se descurca. Tine cu dintii de specificul lui national. Si tocmai de aceea, sunt pesimist. Cred ca nu ne vom schimba niciodata. Vom continua sa stam in calea tuturor binefacerilor si noroacelor, fara sa luam decit caimacul de prima instanta. In rest, vom dospi, somnolenti, in dulcele bors autohton, cu mici accese de enervare tandra... Strazile vor ramine mereu betege, pline de gropi si asfaltate cu gumilastic, autostrazile, daca vor exista, vor fi niste santiere perpetue, soferii "profesionisti sau amatori" vor conduce bezmetic, isteric, mitocaneste.

Isi vor parca masinile in poarta ta, in curtea ta, in sufletul tau si, daca protestezi, te vor injura exterminator sau vor zimbi suveran, de la inaltimea limuzinei proprii. Justitia va fi mereu o loterie, ziarele vor evita orice urma de decenta si de noblete. Limba se va strica zi de zi, televiziunile vor atinge culmi de manipulare si trivialitate. Laura Andresan e doar inceputul. Oricine va putea striga in piata publica orice despre oricine. "Relatiile", pilele, bacsisul vor fi la fel de greu de inlaturat ca si ciinii vagabonzi, politicienii vor perora obscen despre patrie si se vor gindi strict la gastile de partid si la conturile personale.

Toate scursurile vor ajunge vedete, toti derbedeii vor deveni campioni ai dreptatii. Vom fi sufocati de proasta crestere, de incultura, de muzica proasta si de fast-food. Prostia va avea bani, iar nepriceperea va avea putere. Aerul se va umple de invidie, ura si bascalie. Comunismul va reinvia, roz si cochet, cu sprijinul unor baietei de bani (si idei) gata, semidocti si trendy, netraiti, iresponsabili, grabiti sa gaseasca inainte de a cauta. In schimb, icoanele vor fi evacuate din viata publica, in numele unei libertati de constiinta care nu stie inca nici ce e libertatea, nici ce e constiinta.

Manelele se vor multiplica, urbanistica va intra in colaps, vom avansa trudnic printre ragete si scuipaturi. Si vom vota, o data la patru ani, in functie de clubul sportiv care ne place.

Cum vedeti, sint pesimist. Ba pot pentru ca sa spun ca sunt apocaliptic.

Totul a inceput cind, intors la Bucuresti dupa o vacanta agitata pe alte meleaguri, am constatat doua lucruri: mai intai ca e mai cald decit in restul Europei, mai cald decit la Mediterana si apoi ca singura scara rulanta care urca de la autobuze la ghiseele de control-pasapoarte nu functioneaza. Am urcat gifiind, cu mireasma patriei in nari. Sint prea pesimist? Sa deaDumnezeu.

De-abia astept sa fiu contrazis."