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Posts posted by cinzia


    Now THAT is a pretty fair point. Poor buggers not even had elections for a new leader and Hutcho is predicting things will be worse.


    No, he isn't. He's predicting things MIGHT be worse. Fair enough.


    Can't blame the Libyans for celebrating, but the rest of the world would be justified if they looked on with a more skeptical eye to events to come. I don't see Hutcho saying he wishes ill on the Libyans.


  2. Since you need to have the SERIES of vaccines for protection, and not just one shot, AnswertoLife42's suggestion will not work for you. No doubt the vaccine offered to tourists on Bali will not just be ineffective as a dose against rabies, but they'll also charge you an arm and a leg for it.


    In case you're that gullible. Which it doesn't seem you are.


  3. I thought the reason NATO had to go in to Libya was because the rebels would have no chance against Qadaffi? I thought the consensus was that they would have been crushed right away without international help and firepower? How does that work alongside the specter of drawn-out civil war?


    I suspect that the whole thing lasted a lot longer than it would have after NATO decided to intervene. We'll have to wait awhile to decide whether that's a good thing in the end (because the right people won) or whether lives were saved because of NATO intervention in terms of numbers of dead people.


    "History What-Ifs" can be a fun game to play, but there are other possibilities for what might have happened in Libya without NATO involvement besides long, drawn-out civil war.


    Glenn Greenwald has some thoughts on what it means psychically to live in a country where the only cause for celebration these days involves killing "bad guys," including this about the reactions to Qadaffi's death:



    Or consider the ecstacy (and playfulness) over Gadaffi’s death. This was someone who ruled a tiny country for 4 decades. He was a repellent tyrant, but certainly no worse than dozens of others — not on the level of Saddam, or the Assads in Syria. Other than Ronald Reagan’s attempt 25 years ago to kill him, nobody cared about Gadaffi one way or the other, as Jamie Omar Yassin pointed out. To the contrary, the West had all sorts of cooperative agreements with him over oil and weapons. There was no clamoring for action against him. But the minute the U.S. Government targeted him for death and his corpse was produced, many Americans reacted as though he were the living, breathing incarnation of Adolf Hitler, that basic morality was simply inconsistent with allowing him to live any longer — the same person the U.S. worked with in all sorts of ways for years and years.




    I think it's the best news this year - even better than Osama being killed.


    It is the best news, especially since it means we will actually be withdrawing as agreed, instead of forcibly staying. But there remains the problem of providing security and services to the large number of State Department personnel who will remain in Iraq, which is still a war zone:



    The list of responsibilities the State Department will pick up from the military is daunting. It will have to provide security for the roughly 1,750 traditional embassy personnel — diplomats, aid workers, Treasury employees and so on — in a country rocked by daily bombings and assassinations.


    To do so, the department is contracting about 5,000 security personnel. They will protect the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad plus two consulates, a pair of support sites at Iraqi airports and three police-training facilities.


    The department will also operate its own air service — the 46-aircraft Embassy Air Iraq — and its own hospitals, functions the U.S. military has been performing. About 4,600 contractors, mostly non-American, will provide cooking, cleaning, medical care and other services. Rounding out the civilian presence will be about 4,600 people scattered over 10 or 11 sites, where Iraqis will be instructed on how to use U.S. military equipment their country has purchased.. . .


    Although the Iraq operation will be huge by State Department standards, it will be significantly smaller than the military-led mission, which currently involves 50,000 defense contractors. And State Department officials say their use of contractors is expected to drop sharply over the next three years, as security improves.

    Even though I'm glad that our military personnel will be able to return home, I'm worried that some kind of nasty incident will arise involving attacks on the embassy or on American SD personnel elsewhere in Iraq, sending in contractors or a drone to perform military operations, and the whole thing will end with total American withdrawal and a failure of the total mission.


    It seems that the security/training situation should have been stabilized by now, and the fact that there are still concerns about that points to a failure from that direction already. Is it just me who thinks the situation looks pretty desperate for State Department employees and civilian contractors in Iraq?


  5. The rabies vaccine is administered via three injections: the second 7 days after the first, and the third three or four weeks after the first dose. I would be surprised if the normal process in Germany was to buy the vaccine at the pharmacy and self-administer it.



    Only a limited number of rabies vaccines and particularly of RIG [post-exposure vaccine] are licensed for use in Europe. Their availability is also limited, a situation that may become worse in the future.

  6. In case anyone even cares anymore if the US assassinates its own citizens via drone overseas:



    Two weeks after the U.S. killed American citizen Anwar Awlaki with a drone strike in Yemen — far from any battlefield and with no due process — it did the same to his 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, ending the teenager’s life on Friday along with his 17-year-old cousin and seven other people. News reports, based on government sources, originally claimed that Awlaki’s son was 21 years old and an Al Qaeda fighter (needless to say, as Terrorist often means: “anyone killed by the U.S.”), but a birth certificate published by The Washington Post proved that he was born only 16 years ago in Denver.

  7. I wish the Republicans would hurry up and narrow the field already. These weekly debates amongst people who for the most part are desperately trying to garner the support of the most red-meat corners of the right-wing constituency are starting to get on my nerves.


  8. For those of you who think that the situation is still within the control of the political parties, and therefore, that working through those channels could possibly have any effect on the banks' behavior, I offer this, excerpted and sent to me by my husband this morning under the subject Quiet Bailout Watch:


    BAC and JPM are moving $154 TRILLION of risky derivatives into bank holding companies from investment banks so the counter-parties will need to be bailed-out by the treasury in case of bankruptcy. The banks are taking even bigger risks than before the banking crisis, the banks keep all of the profits on the way up, and the public eats the devastating losses on the way down. Rinse, lather, & repeat. Privatized gains, socialized losses, very sick system.



    The short form via Bloomberg (via zerohedge):


    Bank of America Corp. (BAC), hit by a credit downgrade last month, has moved derivatives from its Merrill Lynch unit to a subsidiary flush with insured deposits, according to people with direct knowledge of the situation…





    The ones camping of the streets of London that I have seen interviewed on TV looked like they don’t even know what a tooth brush is let alone know what it is like to hold down a regular job.


    Well, they can't really win with the likes of you regarding appearances, can they?


    If they looked well-dressed and well-groomed, you'd complain about that, too, no doubt. "Bunch of liberal elites with useless BA degrees in the humanities who can't get a job!"


  10. Perhaps you have not noticed, BattalionBoy, that many members of our ruling classes are trying to make it possible for Americans to live like the Chinese without having to actually leave home. Isn't that thoughtful of them?


    Lemony Snicket has shared some observations (13, of course) "while watching Occupy Wall Street from a discreet distance."


    Here are my favorites:



    1. If you work hard, and become successful, it does not necessarily mean you are successful because you worked hard, just as if you are tall with long hair it doesn’t mean you would be a midget if you were bald.



    5. There may not be a reason to share your cake. It is, after all, yours. You probably baked it yourself, in an oven of your own construction with ingredients you harvested yourself. It may be possible to keep your entire cake while explaining to any nearby hungry people just how reasonable you are.



    7. Someone feeling wronged is like someone feeling thirsty. Don’t tell them they aren’t. Sit with them and have a drink.



    10. It is not always the job of people shouting outside impressive buildings to solve problems. It is often the job of the people inside, who have paper, pens, desks, and an impressive view.



  11. . . . and that it's more important for Americans who live in high-income, low-tax countries to file.


    The question is not whether it's more or less important (or "of much bigger concern.") The reality is that all Americans are required to file.


    As Conquistador notes, if you fail to file and are caught, you will pay fines, whether or not you ever owed any taxes in the first place.


  12. Glenn Greenwald appends a timely argument to his column from yesterday:



    In Slate, Anne Applebaum actually argues that the Wall Street protests are anti-democratic because of their “refusal to engage with existing democratic institutions.” In other words, it’s undemocratic to protest oligarchic rule; if these protesters truly believed in democracy, they would raise a few million dollars, hire lobbying firms filled with ex-political officials, purchase access to and influence over political leaders, and then use their financial clout to extract the outcomes they want.* Instead, they’re attempting to persuade their fellow citizens that we live under oligarchy, that our democratic institutions are corrupted and broken, and that fundamental change is urgent — an activity which, according to Applebaum, will “simply weaken the [political system] further.”


    Could someone please explain to her that this is precisely the point? Protesting a political system and attempting to achieve change outside of it is “anti-democratic” only when the political system is a healthy and functioning democracy. Oligarchies and plutocracies don’t qualify.

    *Or, Glenn, they could just go cast their meager little vote. Don't forget about the Power Of The Ballot Box!


  13. Not only are you not an expert, gmtl, you're dead wrong. US citizens must file a tax return every year, no matter where in the world they live, no matter whether they end up owing money to the US government or not.


    Close to 50% of Americans living in the United States end up not owing federal income tax every year because of low incomes and legal deductions. Would you advise them not to file, either?



    As much as it was some villians in the government and the private sector that caused the economic meltdown (and hence the beginning of the OWS movement) ... wasn´t (or isn´t it) excess spending on entitlements that also adds fuel to the fire?


    No, it isn't "excess spending on entitlements" that's the problem. It's insufficient paying for entitlements. Huge difference.



    but the majority of childhood immunisations (if taken the correct amounts) offer lifelong immunity.


    Nope. Following several outbreaks of measles on university campuses several years ago, most (if not all) American universities now require an MMR booster before you begin your studies.