Tuesday, January 19, 2010

China Strikes Back at Google, Afghan Humanitarian Aid Scam, FBI Loves John

Eugene Robinson
Ban Ki-Moon
Charlie Gasparino

"President Obama begins his second year in the White House with such anemic approval ratings, you'd think he was another Ronald Reagan: Among recent presidents, only the Gipper had fallen so low in the esteem of voters at this stage of his presidency." - Eugene Robinson
"Wall Street sees no end to the massive public anger directed its way. (It’s why the president’s new banking tax seems to have little opposition, even among Republicans, who generally oppose higher taxes on anyone.) No matter how many times they say they’re sorry for taking all that risk and leading the country into the Great Recession, which destroyed the banking system and led to 10 percent unemployment, Americans can’t seem to forgive them." - Charlie Gasparino

Google laid down the glove to challenge China and its biased filtering of search engine results, after finding that attacks on some of its Gmail clients led back to mainland China. China's foreign ministry has responded that if Google wishes to remain in China it must abide by the original agreement: "Foreign enterprises in China need to adhere to China's laws and regulations, respect the interests of the general public and cultural traditions and shoulder corresponding responsibilities. Google is no exception,"

Google will now meet with the Chinese government to see what can be worked out. Businesses that have wanted to have access to the Chinese markets have always salivated over the potential one billion people that could buy their wares. But the Chinese government has always stacked the deck in their favor, severely limiting the access to their markets, and often happy to outright steal your company's technology and know-how to make a brand of their own that will be in competition with you. They use their population as bait, rip you off, and expect that you like it as the cost of doing business with them. So if Google is content with their 17% of the search engine market, and being branded as sell-outs by the rest of the free world, time to kneel down and pay their respects to the Emperor. Google has decided to postpone releasing their Chinese version of their iphone, take that... ouch!

Because the only thing worse is to go through the Chinese justice system.  It resembles so much the Iranian justice system, probably because the iranian revolutionaries copied the Communist revolutionaries as an admirable system for totalitarian regimes. The accused get no rights, often they don't find out the charges against them until the trial has started, the trial is before a few judges, no jury, and if you are allowed a lawyer in your defense, they may not be allowed to speak before the judge. About the only way to get out of the predetermined sentence is to bribe a judge, and now China is cracking down on that, too. There is little sense of justice, and it feels like you are a participant in Alice in Wonderland Goes To Hell...

let's pave afghanistan...

To date, we have spent over $39 billion in humanitarian and infrastructure projects in Afghanistan, with another $25 billion coming from the international community. What are the results? And who is keeping all of that money for themselves? It is turning out to be the biggest scam of all, and is a dire warning for what may also happen in Haiti. Just like in Iraq: "... there have been a number of problems with limited oversight, and many international watchdog agencies speculate that billions of dollars allocated to Afghanistan’s reconstruction is probably unaccounted for.

Additionally, despite this significant investment, at most, a little more than half of Afghans have heard of or know about any reconstruction project or program in their area funded by foreign aid, according to a recent survey by The Asia Foundation."
“The locals always say that 'you ask us all these questions about what we need and yet we never see anything done.' It’s pretty true for the most part”   -  US Army Lt. Erik Hall,
One of the problems is that many of the smaller programs go through the military, and soldiers have to build irrigation channels along with providing defense, If they do one project for one local tribe, they then have to do the same for another local tribe, so that nobody can claim favoritism: “The local populace will say, if you build us this, we’ll be able to take care of it and run it ,and 9 times out of 10, they can’t,” says US Army Capt. John Meyers, civil military operations director for the 3-509 Infantry Battalion. “They may want a clinic with X-ray machines and surgical equipment, but do they have surgeons, do they get supplies on a regular basis, do they have consistent power? If they don’t, then there’s no point in building that for them.”

So the military is doing finally doing a credible job as part of counterinsurgency strategy, but what about the other so called humanitarian groups doing larger projects? We've spend so much money their so far that we could have flattened the place and paved it over to be one big parking lot for Pakistan... There is just too much profiteering from an ever increasing amount of money being thrown down the rabbit hole and not being accounted...

I've long contended that officers take part and profit in the black markets in the countries where they serve, but this in your face ripping off ever since we rolled into Iraq and Mr Bremer tossed out pallets of money in bribes, over a billion dollars that he has said he has no recollection of doing, needs to be stopped by the Pentagon or even the Justice Department. Enjoy your profits from terrorism, war criminals...

bad boys, bad boys...

I'm not even sure if this is a news story or not, but just the letters FBI attached to a Senator's name brings thrills up and down my spine. In this old case, the Senator is John Ensign., he who had an affair with his best friend's wife, got the friend hired by a lobbying firm and threw business his way, then had his mom and dad pay them off: "Federal agents have started interviewing people connected to Sen. John Ensign’s sex scandal, a potential sign that the Nevada Republican could face a criminal probe over the matter, according to several sources familiar with the matter.

The FBI has contacted former aides to Ensign — in both Las Vegas and in Washington, the sources said. The sources said it appears that the FBI has begun a preliminary review of the case, and there’s no evidence yet that it will become a full-fledged criminal investigation into the senator’s conduct."
“Yes, the FBI has contacted witnesses —We’ll see where it leads.”
I always like seeing arrogant hypocrites get a comeuppance, and John Ensign has been one of the worst, saying that he has done nothing wrong. Even his parents have now given a donation to the Nevada Democratic Party, probably just to piss their prissy little boy off... He'll be issuing a statement later on today, taking a wide stance in front of the microphone...

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