Eye For Eye

February 28, 2008

The EU’s fining of Microsoft is state robbery and follows similar US looting of EU companies. This “cycle of violence” is much more damaging to the global economy than the MidEast cycle, and State should address it quickly before the US dollar is further damaged.

The robbery:

Four months ago, Microsoft surrendered to Brussels. Yesterday came the bill for not capitulating sooner: €899 million, or $1.36 billion, another record fine for the American software giant.

The latest penalty covers a 488-day period when the European Commission says Microsoft wasn’t complying with a 2004 order to share certain software code with rivals on “reasonable” terms. The code allows other firms’ programs to work with Microsoft’s ubiquitous Windows software, which Brussels deems crucial to competition in the industry.

Microsoft has already racked up some $1 billion in fines in the case…

When the case started, Microsoft’s terms for sharing its code included a 2.98% royalty from the revenues of products that used it. In May, it lowered that price to 0.5% within Europe. But Ms. Kroes wasn’t satisfied until Microsoft dropped its price globally to a flat €10,000 charge, which it did in October.

By comparison, even anticorporate activists say a pharmaceutical company should get around 4% of revenues when a government forces it to hand over a drug patent to a generic maker.

So the EU has assumed the right to set Microsoft’s prices and in the process fined it $2.36 billion.

This is just as egregious as the US treatment of the highly respected Dutch company Royal Ahold, which in 2000 acquired a US company and left its management in place – an expensive mistake, because 3 years later (my ellipsis):

“Ahold was forced to restate more than $800 million in earnings after it came to light that U.S. Foodservice executives had inflated promotional rebates from suppliers to meet earnings targets. The scandal caused the parent company’s shares to plunge.”

“Ahold settled with the Securities and Exchange Commission (in 2005) and agreed to pay $1.1 billion to resolve shareholder lawsuits.”

Ahold then sold Foodservice at a profit, de-listed from the NYSE, and runs its US store chains from the Netherlands.

Now only the bravest European companies buy US enterprises, and that’s cut demand for US assets, weakening the dollar (although there are other reasons for the weakness). Plus the EU is getting even.

Crimping of trade between the world’s two largest trading areas is clearly bad for both, and if it continues will lead to an outright trade war.

And that will be vastly more damaging than the Mideast conflict.


America’s Shame

February 27, 2008

Ms. Rice wants more US cultural exchanges with, and visits from, North Korea. That makes her breathtakingly naive or a cynical appeaser – either way she’s betraying the 23 million poor devils suffering under that Fear State.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the United States should consider future cultural exchanges with North Korea, even if last year’s deal to end the North’s nuclear programs falls through.

Speaking in Beijing minutes after the New York Philharmonic played “The Star-Spangled Banner” for the Communist Party elite in Pyongyang, North Korea, Miss Rice said cultural programs would help promote the North’s “opening to the rest of the world.”

“I’d like to see North Koreans come to the United States,” she told reporters during an East Asian tour aimed at breaking the latest nuclear impasse.

Reporters asked Miss Rice whether future cultural exchanges should be arranged even if an October agreement in six-nation talks collapses.

Miss Rice replied: “I believe that cultural exchange is something that we ought to be looking at in any case.”

Natan Sharansky’s definitive book analyzes how Fear States work, based on his life in the Soviet Union. In such states a small group of thugs use their monopoly of force exclusively to enrich themselves and their supporters.

The controlling group is small (about 200,000 in Iran) and it runs all the businesses, takes all luxury goods, uses all foreign exchange, and gets the bulk of educational and medical services (Saddam spent the UN’s oil for food money for breast implants for his supporters’ women, not antibiotics for kids).

The left believes in the benevolent dictator – for example Castro – but it’s a myth:

…a Cuban-American anti-Castro activist, claims, partially based on the testimonials of defectors who were close to Castro, that Castro and his loyalists control several billions of dollars in real estate, bank accounts, private estates, yachts and other assets — called “the Comandante’s Reserves” — in Europe, Latin America and Asia – and a luxurious lifestyle for the top Cuban leadership.

Here’s how it works in North Korea:

Multiple international human rights organizations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, accuse North Korea of having one of the worst human rights records of any nation.

North Koreans have been referred to as “some of the world’s most brutalized people”, regarding their severe restrictions on political and economic freedoms.

North Korean defectors have testified to the existence of prison and detention camps with an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 inmates, and have reported torture, starvation, rape, murder, medical experimentation, forced labour, and forced abortions.

Fear State thugs use every perk available to cement the loyalty of their supporters – the audience for the New York Philharmonic’s shameful performance in Pyongyang will have been all-thug.

And the North Korean dictatorship will ensure that all of its citizens Rice allows into the US will also be thugs, bent on self enrichment, espionage, and criminality.

By providing the dictator with the means to reward his supporters, Rice perpetuates the enslavement of a suffering people.

In our lifetimes, the US has five times overthrown dictatorships by the only means that works: steadfast opposition and, where necessary, force.

Ms Rice shames her nation, and the sooner she goes, the better.


Germany Goes Nuts (Again)

February 24, 2008

The German government just bribed an employee of a foreign bank to steal details of German account holders. That’s an example of the end (catching tax evaders) justifying the means (theft). The last time Germans used that principle they went on to kill about 40 million people.

Liechtenstein accused Germany yesterday of attacking its sovereignty after Berlin admitted using spies to investigate tax fraud in the principality.

Crown Prince Alois launched his withering tirade after it emerged that German undercover investigators paid up to £3.75 million for bank details of Germans suspected of tax-fraud in the nearby state.

Evading (as opposed to avoiding) tax is a crime, but state sanctioned theft makes state employees and elected officials crooks too.

The level of tax evasion in a nation is a funtion of a) the level of taxes and b) the value taxpayers assign to that taxation. Danes we know happily pay high taxes in return for good social services, whereas no Brits we know think they get value for their taxes.

Germans seem to have the Brit attitude, leading to a poisonous combination – taxpayers who crookedly hide their incomes, governed by crooked pols and officials.

Here’s the last bunch of crooks that ran Germany:

…Hitler’s efforts to persuade Oskar von Hindenburg (the President’s son) included threats to bring criminal charges over estate taxation irregularities at the President’s Neudeck estate (although 5000 extra acres were soon allotted to Hindenburg’s property)…

Hindenburg, despite his misgivings about the Nazis’ goals and about Hitler as a person, reluctantly agreed.. that, with Nazi popular support on the wane, Hitler could now be controlled as chancellor. The date dubbed Machtergreifung (seizure of power) by the Nazi propaganda is commonly seen as the beginning of Nazi Germany.

Fortunately, they don’t have nukes.


The EU Will Rescue Brits

February 22, 2008

The secret English courts that take newborns for forced adoption have moved from victimizing young and defenseless mothers to attacking the middle class, while blocking access to elected representatives. That confirms the decay of Brit democracy, and it’s fortunate the EU is taking over.

The new victims:

A father has been jailed for helping his pregnant wife flee abroad because she was terrified that social services would take her baby.

The 56-year-old businessman drove his wife and her eight-year-old son from a previous marriage to Dover, and then on to Paris.

He was arrested on his return to Britain and lost a High Court appeal earlier this week to have a 16-month sentence reduced.

The mother, who is a professional woman in her 40s but cannot be identified for legal reasons, has since given birth prematurely to a girl and remains in hiding…

Dismissing the appeal, Mr Justice Bennett acknowledged the “powerful emotions” involved, but said: “Such proceedings taken by a local authority must be respected by parents.

I doubt anybody in England respects their local authority – they’ve increased taxes way over inflation for decades, and now that well is running dry have devised a variety of entrapments to make money by contrived fines for parking and speeding.

This latest oppression shows one at its most autocratic – here’s the London Times (my ellipsis):

Last autumn a small English congregation was rocked by the news that two of its parishioners had fled abroad. A 56-year-old man had helped his pregnant wife to flee from social workers, who had already taken her son into care and were threatening to seize their baby.

Most people had no idea why. For the process that led this couple to such a desperate act was entirely secret. The local authority had warned the mother not to talk to her friends or even her MP (Member of Parliament).

The judge who heard the arguments from social services sat in secret. The open-minded social workers who had initially been assigned to sort out a custody battle between the woman and her previous husband were replaced by others who seemed determined to build a guilty case against her.

That is how the secret State operates. A monumental injustice has been perpetrated in this quiet corner of England; our laws are being used to try to cover it up.

In stopping the couple appealing to their MP, this local authority places itself above Parliament, confirming the latter is now irrelevant.

So it’s good the Brits will soon be governed by the EU, since the other nations of the EU don’t countenance baby snatching, and the European Commission, the European Court of Justice, and the European Court of Human Rights will singly or collectively outlaw this odious practice.


The US Gets a Satellite Shield

February 21, 2008

The US shootdown of satellite USA 193 is a tremendous technical achievement, with profound and very positive strategic consequences.

A U.S. Navy cruiser blasted a disabled spy satellite with a pinpoint missile strike that achieved the main mission of exploding a tank of toxic fuel 130 miles above the Pacific Ocean, defense officials said. Destroying the satellite’s onboard tank of about 1,000 pounds of hydrazine fuel was the primary goal, and a senior defense official close to the mission said Thursday that it appears the tank was destroyed, and the strike with a specially designed missile was a complete success.

I think the only changes to the SM-3 missile were software – the kinetic kill vehicle is too complex for quick hacks. It looks like this:

And does this (my ellipsis and link):

…the kinetic warheadhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Projectile#Kinetic_projectiles (KW) begins to search for the target using pointing data from the launching ship. The ATK (supplied) solid divert and attitude control system (SDACS) allows the kinetic warhead to maneuver in the final phase of the engagement. The KW’s sensors identify the target and attempt to identify the most lethal part of the target and aim the KW at that point.

The SDACS is a pulsable solid fuel rocket – you can switch it on and off. There are many other technical marvels to this weapon – it’s carried in and hot-launched from 24-cell vertical silos, its three stage guidance system uses GPS, the passive electronically scanned radar in its Aegis battle management system tracks hundreds of targets simultaneously hundreds of miles out.

And all this works on a ship, in all weathers, anywhere in the world.

So now the dictators running Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran know they’ll lose most missiles they fire at US targets, and that the US can remove their low-orbit GPS and observation satellites without fuss with just a few missile cruisers.

And precisely because they’re dictatorships, none of these nations has the intellectual, technical, or economic muscle to come close to the US in this area.

The best they can do is shoot anonymously and preemptively, use volleys in the hope of saturating defenses, fire multiple decoys, and maybe detonate EMP weapons in low orbit in the hope of taking out US satellites.

But each of these tactics can be countered – the US will see rockets fired at its satellites well before they arrive, and know their launch points exactly. Volleys are expensive and easy to detect, so the aggressor can be immediately counterattacked. The US BMD and ASAT assets are smart enough to filter out decoys. And EMP weapons need to detonate in the atmosphere so won’t reach the high orbit US satellites.

All of which makes the free world a safer place.

Provided, that is, Americans don’t elect the America-hating Obama.


Avoid Google

February 20, 2008

Google has ceased to censor news about UN corruption. That good, but it’s a reminder that it’s not just the MSM that censors, and the distortion is not just to airbrush terrorists and harm the US.

Google, up to it’s evil tricks:

Google News quietly reinstated Tuesday the articles of a news service that routinely exposes U.N. corruption, a day after FOXNews.com ran a story about the Internet giant’s decision to remove Inner City Press from its search engine…

Someone complained to Google early this month that Inner City Press was a one-man operation, violating the Google News ground rule that news organizations listed must have two or more employees, according to Gabriel Stricker, a Google spokesman.

Lee, who insists his organization has appropriate staff, believes someone within the U.N. pressured Google to drop him. U.N. spokesman David Morrison called the allegations preposterous.

Google said the “de-listing” was due to a misunderstanding and agreed to restore Inner City Press stories to the Google News service.

The reaction to the de-listing, however temporary, had been furious. The non-profit Government Accountability Project lambasted the company, calling Inner City Press “the most effective and important media organization for U.N. whistleblowers”.

In fact the UN fights tooth and nail to hide its corruption from the (mostly US) people that pay for it. It perpetrated the biggest fraud in history and took no responsibility for it, and needs to hide that to maintain the fat-cat lifestyles of its corrupt secretariat

Anyway, thanks to Fox News, this censorship was stopped, but there’ll be plenty more they’ll be blocking, including:

1. Science refuting man-made global warming.

2. Negative stories about rich and/or powerful dictatorships – China, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Russia.

3. Science undermining Darwinism.

4. Science showing differences between sexes, nations, and religions.

5. Plus of course anything confirming that the US has won in Iraq, or that the current president is an honest and competent man.

The solution is to use other search engines – I use Ask, but there are plenty of others.

And I’ve added The Inner City Press to the DU blogroll.


Fly El Al!

February 19, 2008

The food’s not bad, and they keep you safe from terrorists and their Brit cop agents.

Lawyers for the victims of an alleged Israeli war criminal criticised British police today for allowing him to slip through the net.

Major-General Doron Almog avoided arrest in September 2005 after he was tipped off that officers planned to detain him on landing at Heathrow airport.

He refused to leave his El Al flight, and remained on board for two hours before returning to Israel…

Detective Superintendent John MacBrayne, in charge of the operation, was unable to confirm whether his team had a right to board after El Al refused them entry.

He wrote: “Another consideration (was) that El Al flights carried armed air marshals, which raised issues around public safety.

“There was also no intelligence as to whether Mr Almog would have been travelling with personal security as befitted his status, armed or otherwise.”

This confirms my experience that the only way to get treated decently at Heathrow is to have a heavily armed guard.

Actually, I’ve only proved the negative, but, heh, it’s junk science month!

Speaking of which, Jerusalem just got clobbered with another snowfall.