Sunday, October 24, 2010

Wikileaks releases Iraq War Logs, over Pentagon objections

Okay, here we go: Wikileaks releases the largest classified leak and expose in history, it says. The Iraq War logs comprise 391,832 reports, from 2004-2009. The basic link now is working now The site is up, but very busy, with some timeout errors.

The site is claiming over 100000 deaths in Iraq, including over 66000 civilians, apparently from allied fire.

I’ve been told that the site may be putting more civilians, who gave information to Americans, in jeopardy. I’m told even that bloggers who link to the documents are compromising lives, but I’m also told that the “damage is done.”

Personally, Assange is hard to judge. I won’t try to do that myself. But the motto of the site is “searching for truth” and I am a psychological feminine, I’m told.

The War Logs have a number of categories, starting with “criminal events”, and later “friendly action”.

Here’s a random news account, from the Lubbock, TX paper, Oct. 24 (website url) link.

Update: Oct. 26

The Washington Post has an editorial "Wikileaks's leaks mostly confirm earlier Iraq reporting", link here. The Post believes the leaks could undermine forming and keeping a stable Iraqi government that can stand alone.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Jeopardy host: China's "Little Emperors" (only kids) are "little brats"; Britain makes draconian cuts

Tonight, Jeopardy asked, in the final round, what country had used the word “Little Emperors” for its young people. Two out of three (not bad) got it right: China, based on the one-child per family policy of 1979. Host Alex Trebek characterized China’s “only child”’s as “little brats”. Rather strong. Are all only children spoiled and self-centered? I’m an only child.

Also, today, Britain announced stunning and draconian cutbacks in welfare programs and the military budget because of debts stemming from the 2008 financial crisis. In Britain, the Prime Minister can “just do it”; he or she doesn’t have to go through Parliament. Even the Queen had her budget cut (no Christmas party). But the boys have their own lives anyway.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Developing nations take advantage of our "demographic winter"

Ted Fishman has a sobering article in the New York Times Magazine for Oct. 17, “As Populations Age, a Chance for Younger Nations”, link (website url) here.

Fishman goes into a long discussion on how China can compete by cheating its older citizens, and relying on a “natural family” safety net that the West has socialized. For example, grandparents raise kids on the countryside whereas working age adults go to the cities to work. That’s kind of an inverse of Mao’s “Cultural Revolution” of the 1960s.

Fishman is author of “Shock of Gray: The Aging of the World’s Population and How It Pits Young Against Old, Child Against Parent, Worker Against Boss, Company Against Rival and Nation Against Nation”, which seems similar to “The Aging of the Great Powers” by Jackson and Howe et al, which I reviewed on my books blog Jan. 22, 2009.

The New York Times has also recently discussed the long period of deflation in Japan, which has certainly contributed to low fertility and the aging of its population.

People from immigrant groups into Europe tend to send money to relatives at home, even parents and sideway relatives, not just their own children.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hillary Clinton says Chile mine rescue shows that government is necessary even in a more "conservative" or "limited government" environment

On Thursday, Oct. 14, Hillary Clinton, while hinting at her hope for grandchildren from one daughter (sounds like pressures), discussed the role of government in the Copiapo mine rescue in Chile  This is a country that has preached small government and privatized social security.  But, Hillary said, it took over the rescue from a private mining company and spent about $1 million per each of the 33 miners to effect a successful rescue. The last miner was up by about 7 AM EDT Thursday.  He was the crew foreman.

She also said she had never imagined being Secretary of State.

Wikipedia attribution link for Chile map.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Britain to means test "pro natal" welfare benefit

Britain will start means-testing child benefits paid to better-off families in 2013, according to a story by Landon Thomas, Jr. in the New York Times, today, October 4, 2010, link here

In Europe, many countries had begun increasing per-child benefits in order to reverse the birth dearth among “native” populations. In Europe, paid parental leave benefits are common, which they are not in the United States.

The measure occurred while some conservative politicians in the United States have started talking about means-testing social security, which is different in concept in that it is largely funded by worker "contributions" (mandatory wage taxes).

The story reports that about 42% of the welfare benefit goes to families “not in need”.