Shortwave Listening: Radio Havanna

Posted on March 3rd, 2009 by bosco
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Well, I bought myself a hand crank shortwave radio (TECSUN Green-168) and I can now listen to shortwave broadcasts from around the world.  What is shortwave radio you ask?  Well it’s radio broadcast at a frequency of 3-30Mhz typically AM.  What makes it special is the fact that it can bounce of the ionosphere and travel around the world.  This makes it a favorite of countries wishing to broadcast propaganda into other countries, guerilla movements and radio enthusiasts.

So last night while turning the dial through the frequencies to see what stations I could find broadcasting in english, I found Radio Taiwan International.  They were talking about raising children and it was kind of boring.  I continued to scroll through the stations and came across some damn good, old salsa music.  I stayed on it and it turned out to be Radio Havanna broadcasting in english.  Now why would a Spanish speaking country located 90 miles away from the US broadcast loud and clear in english?  Gee I wonder.

Anyway they had an interview with an Irish guy who is married to a Cuban woman.  In a typical year, he spends six months in Ireland and six months in Cuba.  He spoke about how difficult things are in Cuba yet how there was a great feeling of solidarity.  He mentioned issues like how hard it is to do simple things like buy a loaf of bread and how Cuba’s economic troubles stem primarily from the blockade.  He also talked about how the Cuban people have suffered a long time under various regimes and as such they’ve learned to work together and cooperate.  Finally, he conversed with the interviewer about the changes that are occuring under Raul.  He mentioned that a lot of people seem to want to know when Cuba is going to become more “Americanized” and he thinks that will never happen.  He said that Raul is pushing reforms and that he hopes that amist all the change, the good points of the Cuban people will remain.

My battery died out during a PSA about political prisoners.  It was too fuzzy to hear.

Concerning Cuba, I believe the blockade is a bad thing.  I’d like to see the US freely trading with Cuba.  For those of you concerned about human rights abuses in Cuba I believe a reciprocal economic relationship would lead to more immigration freedom and consequently make it easier for the world to see human rights abuses and help alleviate them.  Here’s the part that will get me yelled at, I believe at a community level Cuba is doing a lot of things right.  I’m not gullible enough to believe everything this guy says, or even necessarily that he exists, but what little information does come out of Cuba does stress the importance of community.  Maybe it comes from the Cuban people being beaten up so much, or maybe I’m just drinking the Kool-Aid, but there’s probably something there.

Just shy of a majority of spending in Britain done by government

Posted on January 26th, 2009 by bile
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PARTS of the United Kingdom have become so heavily dependent on government spending that the private sector is generating less than a third of the regional economy, a new analysis has found.

The study of “Soviet Britain” has found the government’s share of output and expenditure has now surged to more than 60% in some areas of England and over 70% elsewhere.

Experts believe the recession will tighten the state’s grip still further as benefit handouts soar and Labour directs public sector organisations to create jobs to soak up unemployment.

In the northeast of England the state is expected to be responsible for 66.4% of the economy this year, up from 58.7% when a similar study was carried out four years ago. When Labour came to power, the figure was 53.8%.

Across the whole of the UK, 49% of the economy will consist of state spending, while in Wales, the figure will be 71.6% – up from 59% in 2004-5. Nowhere in mainland Britain, however, comes close to Northern Ireland, where the state is responsible for 77.6% of spending, despite the supposed resurgence of the economy after the end of the Troubles.

Even in southern England, the government’s share of spending is growing relentlessly. In the southeast, it has gone up from 33% to 36% of the economy in four years.

“It’s not that the public sector in the northeast is too big, it is that the private sector is too small,” said Malcolm Page, deputy chief executive of One North East. “The decline of traditional industries in the past means we need to establish more big private-sector companies in the region.”

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that since Labour came into power in 1997 jobs in the public sector have swelled by more than 500,000. In 1997, more than 5.1m people were employed in the public sector. The figure for 2008 is 5.7m.

EU doesn’t like Irish private media

Posted on September 2nd, 2008 by bile
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The bureaucrats at the European Commission are still upset that Irish voters had the gall to reject the statist EU Constitution (even though it was repackaged as the Lisbon Treaty in an attempt to deceive voters). A private European Commission memo circulating in Brussels was obtained by the Irish Times, which notes that the bureaucrats are particularly upset with private media outlets, which refused to act as lapdogs for the Commission’s propoganda campaign:

In a private briefing document circulated by the [European] commission in Brussels, it warned that Ireland’s “changing media landscape” between 2002 and 2008 has implications for public opinion about the European Union. …”There is a shift away from the State news radio and TV stations. This means that the quality of debate has suffered. Commercial radio and local radio are increasingly important to reach – and their style is different from the old State broadcasters,” it said. …The development of a conservative religious press since the second Nice Treaty is particularly noted by the commission… Though the circulation of ALIVE!, which targets conservative, older readers, is unknown, the paper claims that 365,000 copies a month are handed out, the commission briefing went on.

Not surprising. We know they wish to subvert the people.

Confectionery tyranny in the EU

Posted on August 27th, 2008 by bile
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TRADITIONAL bakery exhibitions are at risk of being consigned to history thanks to a new European directive.

New EU regulations have banned the consumption of cakes and confectionary entered at country fairs and agricultural shows immediately after baking competitions.

The chairman of Mayo County Council, Cllr Joe Mellett, said the new rules were the “death knell” for the Irish agricultural show.

“When you see things like this it’s no wonder the people voted No to the Lisbon Treaty. This will be the end of the traditional baking competition at local shows across the country, therefore impacting on local revenue. It’s just ridiculous.”

Under the rules adjudicators of bakery sections in local shows are only permitted to taste the traditional favourites such as apple tarts or cheese cakes. Once the judging is over, the produce must be immediately destroyed. As a result, only bite-sized versions of the cakes will be entered in shows.

The directive has already been made law in Scotland.

Mr Mellett, one of the founding members of his own local agricultural show in Swinford, said he “could not believe” the latest EU directive.

“Honestly, when I saw this first I thought it was something to do with April Fools’ Day. I just couldn’t imagine someone sitting down and coming up with this rule.

“It is a real deterrent to those entering shows. If you thought your prize produce was going to be destroyed immediately after a tiny taste was taken from it, then you would not want to enter a competition.”

He added: “Local people are doing their best to continue on traditions, particularly in places like the west of Ireland, and this is what they are met with.”

Someone justify this. Please.

Political elite not happy with EU rejection

Posted on July 5th, 2008 by bile
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Europe’s political elitists are not very happy with the unwashed masses. First, French and Dutch voters had the unmitigated gall a couple of years ago to reject the European Union’s proposed constitution. In an effort to sidestep the democratic process, the political elite then made a few cosmetic changes to the document and called it a treaty, hoping this would enable national governments to bypass their voters. Much to their chagrin, however, Irish politicians could not figure out how to sidestep their nation’s referendum requirement, and the people of the Emerald Isle proceeded to reject the statist EU constitution (now officially referred to as the Lisbon Treaty). This led to a frenzy of anti-democratic utterances from the political class, but the prize for the most Orwellian response goes (what a surprise) to a French politician, who just stated that allowing voters to decide is “a tool for dictators.” He also wins a secondary prize for his assertion that the EU constitution, which would have granted even more power to undemocratic bureaucratic institutions in Brussels, is needed “to grant our citizens more power.” The Irish Times reports:

Alain Lamassoure MEP tells Jamie Smyth , European Correspondent, Ireland was wrong to hold a referendum, which is ‘a tool for dictators’. …”We are paralysed by the unanimity rule and we pass legislation through undemocratic procedures . . . we have a duty to grant our citizens more power,” he said.

Get ready for the same type of response from the US, Mexican and Canadian subjects when the North American Union get publicly underway. War is peace; oligarchy is democratic republic; slavery is freedom.

Irish Voters Reject Treaty on Europe

Posted on June 13th, 2008 by beetlbumjl
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From the NYTimes:

In a significant setback for efforts to reform Europe’s unwieldy institutions, a senior Irish official said Friday that voters had rejected a revised European Union treaty designed to change the way the bloc governs itself and presents itself to the world.

The BBC reports that “Voters in Ireland have rejected the European Union’s Lisbon reform treaty in a referendum by 53.4% to 46.6%.” The Beeb also has a Q&A on the referendum at their site. The most interesting question:

Why is Ireland the only EU member to be holding a referendum?

Under Irish law, any amendment to EU treaties requires an amendment to the Irish constitution – and all constitutional amendments require approval by referendum. That has been the case since a Supreme Court ruling in 1987.

Governments in other EU member states have argued that the Lisbon Treaty is an amending treaty which, like other EU amending treaties, only requires parliamentary approval. So they are all going down the parliamentary ratification route.

Yet there are calls in several member states for referendums. In the UK, the opposition Conservatives and some Labour MPs have demanded a referendum. They say the Lisbon Treaty is very much like the EU constitution – and that the Labour Party promised to hold a referendum on the constitution.

Funny that they mention the EU constitution. Since that effort failed to make it past the vote of the people (see France and the Netherlands), it’s reworded as a treaty and adopted by parliamentary approval in most European states. If I were Irish, I’d probably vote NO on those grounds alone.