Washington Post har detaljer om CIAs Gulag

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Washington Post har en viktig artikel om de hemliga lagar som gör det möjligt för amerikanska myndigheter att transportera fångar från land till land för att hålla dom borta från bl.a. Röda Korset.

At the request of the CIA, the Justice Department drafted a confidential memo that authorizes the agency to transfer detainees out of Iraq for interrogation — a practice that international legal specialists say contravenes the Geneva Conventions.

One intelligence official familiar with the operation said the CIA has used the March draft memo as legal support for secretly transporting as many as a dozen detainees out of Iraq in the last six months. The agency has concealed the detainees from the International Committee of the Red Cross and other authorities, the official said.

The draft opinion, written by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel and dated March 19, 2004, refers to both Iraqi citizens and foreigners in Iraq, who the memo says are protected by the treaty. It permits the CIA to take Iraqis out of the country to be interrogated for a “brief but not indefinite period.” It also says the CIA can permanently remove persons deemed to be “illegal aliens” under “local immigration law.”

Silicon Valley startup: Infinera

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infinera är ett mycket intressant Silicon Valley-startup-företag inom den digitala optiska nätverksbranschen som har fått en gigantisk summa riskkapital den sista tiden.

Infinera is trying to revolutionize how telecom carriers transport data for voice and Internet use through high-speed networks. Until now, carriers have relied on big network builders like Nortel, Lucent and Alcatel. These networks switch data from photons, or units of light, into electrons, and back again — an expensive process involving scores of components and hefty amounts of space.

Half the cost

Enter Infinera. In May, it unveiled technology that can do the entire light-to-light conversion on two chips — replacing the 50 or so parts currently used by most carriers, for less than half the cost. And Infinera has built its own network system around the chips, sold in a box that takes up about one-tenth the space of a conventional system.

Chief Executive Jagdeep Singh is modest, saying the Infinera chips are the equivalent of the shift to jet engines from turbo propeller engines. Infinera’s targeted market is worth $2.5 billion, he says. Infinera still hasn’t had any sales yet, but Singh says he expects to “close multiple contracts by the end of the year.”

Turistmål: Sao Francisco do Sul

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Med en vecka kvar till USAs och världens ödesval är det dags att leta efter bra platser att fly till om republikanerna vinner. Den lilla bunker vi har byggt i trädgården är visserligen mysig men de blir litet långtråkigt att tillbringa fyra år, och kanske mer, där.
Så vart kan vi resa?

Ett fint utflytsmål är San Francisco. Nej inte det San Francisco, det finns faktiskt ett annat. Det ligger i Santa Catarina-provinsen i Brasilien och heter Sao Francisco do Sul, alltså Södra San Francisco. Jag har varit där och det är en charmerande liten stad vid atlantkusten. Litet nedgången men charmerande trots det.

Jag minns speciellt de brasilianska indianerna som satt i klungor på trottoarerna. De brasilianska indianspråken är mycket melodiska och lever vidare i namn som Sao Paulos största park, Ibirapuera och Pirabeiraba, en flod i Santa Catarina-provinsen.

DN om den svenska produktiviteten

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Peter Wolodarski i DN har en bra artikel om den svenska produktiviteten. Det enda misstag han gör i sin annars ypperliga artikel är att inte påpeka att detta är ett generellt västerländskt fenomen. Dvs USA har precis samma problem som Sverige på det här området. Miljoner högutbildate amerikaner går idag arbetslösa och blir tvingade att ta manuella jobb på MacDonalds och liknande eftersom deras jobb antingen har flyttats till Indien och Kina eller också idag utförs av maskiner.

Jag läser ofta mycket fina analyser av sveriges problem som samtidigt som de är teknsikt och faktiskt oantastilga aldrig verkar inse att problemen inte bara beror på socialdemokraternas dumheter, de är generella strukturella problem som hela västvärlden dras med.

Zennström, Nokia och presidentvalet

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Veckans BusinessWeek har en tvåsidesartikel (sida 60-61) om Niklas Zennström och Skype. Zennströms 70 pers företag håller på att slå ut hela den gigantiska traditionella analoga amerikanska telekombranschen. Skype får 70.000 nya abonnenter varje dag, utan att betala ett öre i reklam. Det kostar Skype omkring 7 öre för varje ny kund mot de flera tusen kronor som traditionella telekomföretagen betalar.

Så vad har Zennström och Nokia med det amerikanska presidentvalet att göra?
Amerikanska opinionsundersökare har fortfarande inte ställt om till den moderna mobil- och VOIP -åldern. Trots att antalet Skype-användare i USA fortfarande är litet så har USA efter flera år hunnit ifatt Sverige på mobiltelefonområdet och hundratusentals amerikaner har idag mobil men inte en fast landbaserad telefon.

Men de amerikanska opinionsundersökarna når inte mobiltelefonanvändarna, så vi kan räkna med att deras siffror inte är specfiellt exakta. En annan faktor är att miljoner amerikaner redan har poströstat, en annan nyhet i årets val.

ARLINGTON, Va. –(Business Wire)– Oct. 22, 2004 — Survey Finds Republicans More Likely To Respond To Phone Polls; Democrats More Likely To Screen Calls and Answer Most Calls At Home Using Cell Phone

As many as eight million U.S. households could be left out of the political polling process as a growing number of consumers move to cellular phones as their sole means of taking and making telephone calls, according to a ew survey conducted by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).

“Number portability, advanced text messaging and voicemail features, and most importantly, falling prices for service plans are all allowing more and more consumers to cut the cord to their traditional landline services,” said CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro. “This trend is without question making it harder for political pollsters to get an accurate read on local, state and national races.”

The research, conducted online October 2 through October 5 among 568 likely voters, reveals cellular-only consumers receive far less polling solicitations than those with traditional landline service. In fact, only 10 percent of cell phone-only likely voters reported receiving at least one polling solicitation for a local, state or national election in the last 60 days. This compares to nearly 30 percent of consumers who also have, or rely exclusively on, traditional landline service.

The survey found a large portion of the cellular-only group (37 percent compared to 28 of all likely voters), don’t consider themselves Republicans or Democrats. Instead they’re more likely to be Independents or have no political affiliation at all. The cellular-only group is also much younger by nearly half compared to all other consumers, more likely to be single, employed part-time or not at all (mostly students) and have lower average incomes.

Another factor thwarting the effectiveness of political pollsters is the practice of call-screening. Consumers screen their incoming calls by listening to the voice of the person leaving a message on an answering machine or looking for a familiar number using caller ID services.

The survey found while likely voters, both Republican and Democrat, reported receiving an equal number of polling calls, Republicans are 25 percent more likely than Democrats to have responded to at least one poll. The difference was just as pronounced for polls related to the national election where Republicans were more than 23 percent more likely to have responded to a poll call.

Some of the difference may be attributed to the survey findings showing that Democrats are much more likely than Republicans to indicate they screen their calls (44 percent and 27 percent respectively).

Gud och Mammon i USA

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The Observer har en ypperlig artikel om en av USAs allra mest kända mänBilly Graham . Graham som nu är 85, har varit en religiös pelare i det amerikanska politiska etablissemanget i flera generationer. Han är den spirituelle fadern till dagens alla penga-predikanter – och till ett flertal presidenter – inom den religiösa tokhögern.

Det handlar om politisk makt och om pengar:

He has provided guidance for almost every American President since Truman. He was Nixon’s close confidant, Reagan’s devout ally. He stood at George Bush senior’s side, Bible in hand, when the President launched Operation Desert Storm. He helped George W Bush through his drinking problems. He has more appearances on Time magazine’s annual list of the 10 most admired people in the world – 46 – than anyone else.

Though these facts come thick and fast, it is another of the evening’s big numbers that gives me particular pause. Each night in Kansas City, the Crusade proceedings are opened with a brisk bit of business. This four-day event will cost, we are told, $4.8 million. This is to be raised by donations. ‘Pull the envelope out of your programme, pay by credit card, write a cheque or simply put cash in it,’ says one of Billy’s sharp-suited warm-up men. ‘Better still, just give us your wallet,’ he suggests, before adding, ‘I’m kidding about that last one.’

Israelisk riskkapitalfirma i Silicon Valley

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Israel har en mycket avancerad mjukvaruindustri och ett nära samarbete med Silicon Valley-företag som Sverige kan lära sig mycket av. En av de många Israeliska riskkapitalfirmorna i Silicon Valley är
Pitango Venture Capital i San Mateo. Här är mer om
Pitango . Trots att Silicon Valley har förlorat tiotusentals jobb till Indien, Kina, Ryssland och andra länder så finns två av de tre hörnpelarna i Silicon Valley kvar, nämligen riskkapitalet och universitetsforskningen.

Konservativ kolumnist: George Will

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Efter Bill Buckley är George Will USAs mest kände traditionellt konservative kolumnist. Jag gör en skillnad här mellan konservativ och tokhöger eller ren fascist. Det finns idag hur många som helst av de senare kategorin men relativt få av den förstnämnda.

Will har en bra utbildning – Princeton-universitetet – och han har skrivit ett antal konservativa böcker och hundratals kolumner. Jag delar inte alls hans åsikter men det är viktigt att känna till honom. Min kontrahent Alicio skulle säkert tycka om George Will 🙂

Will har litet grann av Stig Strömholm över sig, om det är någon som minns honom.

Och här kommer en typisk kolumn av George Will.

This rise of the Sun Belt is both a cause and a consequence of conservatism’s rise, which began in 1964 with, paradoxically, the landslide loss of the second post-Civil War major-party presidential nominee from that region — Arizona’s Barry Goldwater, four years after the first, Richard Nixon. His campaign was the first stirring of a mass movement: Nixon’s 1960 campaign attracted 50,000 individual contributors; Goldwater’s attracted 650,000.

Conservatism’s 40-year climb to dominance receives an examination worthy of its complexity in “The Right Nation,” the best political book in years. Its British authors, John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge of the Economist, demonstrate that conservative power derives from two sources — its congruence with American values, especially the nation’s anomalous religiosity, and the elaborate infrastructure of think tanks and other institutions that stresses that congruence.

Liberals, now tardily trying to replicate that infrastructure, thought they did not need it because they had academia and the major media. But the former marginalized itself with its silliness, and the latter have been marginalized by their insularity and by competitors born of new technologies.

Liberals complacently believed that the phrase “conservative thinker” was an oxymoron. For years — generations, really — the prestige of the liberal label was such that Herbert Hoover called himself a “true liberal” and Dwight Eisenhower said that cutting federal spending on education would offend “every liberal — including me.”

Liberalism’s apogee came with Lyndon Johnson, who while campaigning against Goldwater proclaimed, “We’re in favor of a lot of things, and we’re against mighty few.” Johnson’s landslide win produced a ruinous opportunity — a large liberal majority in Congress and incontinent legislating. Forty years later, only one-third of Democrats call themselves liberal, whereas two-thirds of Republicans call themselves conservative. Which explains this Micklethwait and Wooldridge observation on the Clinton presidency:

“Left-wing America was given the answer to all its prayers — the most talented politician in a generation, a long period of peace and prosperity, and a series of Republican blunders — and the agenda was still set by the right. Clinton’s big achievements — welfare reform, a balanced budget, a booming stock market and cutting 350,000 people from the federal payroll — would have delighted Ronald Reagan. Whenever Clinton veered to the left — over gays in the military, over health care — he was slapped down.”

Micklethwait and Wooldridge endorse Sir Lewis Namier’s doctrine: “What matters most about political ideas is the underlying emotions, the music to which ideas are a mere libretto, often of very inferior quality.” The emotions underlying conservatism’s long rise include a visceral individualism with religious roots and anti-statist consequences.

Europe, post-religious and statist, is puzzled — and alarmed — by a nation where grace is said at half the family dinner tables. But religiosity, say Micklethwait and Wooldridge, “predisposes Americans to see the world in terms of individual virtue rather than in terms of the vast social forces that so preoccupy Europeans.” And: “The percentage of Americans who believe that success is determined by forces outside their control has fallen from 41 percent in 1988 to 32 percent today; by contrast, the percentage of Germans who believe it has risen from 59 percent in 1991 to 68 percent today.” In America, conservatives much more than liberals reject the presumption of individual vulnerability and incompetence that gives rise to liberal statism.

Conservatism rose in the aftermath of Johnson’s Great Society, but skepticism about government is in the nation’s genetic code. Micklethwait and Wooldridge note that in September 1935, during the Depression, Gallup polling found that twice as many Americans said FDR’s administration was spending too much as said it was spending the right amount, and barely one person in 10 said it was spending too little.

After FDR’s 1936 reelection, half of all Democrats polled said they wanted FDR’s second term to be more conservative. Only 19 percent wanted it to be more liberal. In 1980, when Ronald Reagan won while excoriating “big government,” America had lower taxes, a smaller deficit as a percentage of GDP and a less-enveloping welfare state than any other industrialized Western nation.

America, say Micklethwait and Wooldridge, is among the oldest countries in the sense that it has one of the oldest constitutional regimes. Yet it is “the only developed country in the world never to have had a left-wing government.” And given the country’s broad and deep conservatism, it will not soon.