Concrete Question

Concrete failures: I have three examples:

  • After a large earthquake in China
  • After a large earthquake in Haiti
  • After a large earthquake on the Iraq-Iran border.

I am writing from memory, so feel free to google and fact-check me. Posts with relevant input/corrections are always approved here. (I’m providing no hotlinks as my internet connection sucks today.)

The China response was instructive. In less than 90 minutes military aircraft were parachuting water, food, and medical supplies.

The Haiti non-response is equally instructive. Some seven years later almost no non-IGO facilities have been reconstructed.

The earthquake in Iran is, ‘interesting’.

In China, BBC News among others showed clips of how an entire row of homes collapsed, while a nearby row was all still standing. There was some murmuring about ‘sea sand’ having been used in the failed cement.
I think the unlucky developers of the collapsed homes are in jail, if they’re still so fortunate as to be alive.

In Iran, apparently low-income housing built under the previous ayatollah collapsed, while nearby structures did not. Iran’s leadership is strongly looking at who’s responsible for collapse, injury, and death. I fear for the builders here too.

However in Haiti, the inconvenient fact that water towers are concrete, and none collapsed, has been conveniently overlooked. Buildings for people and government collapsed. IGO headquarters did not.

You’re scanning for the dumb questions, right? Well, here are a few:

  • How come bad sand was used in construction in China?
  • Should builders who construct unsafe housing be punished? Manslaughter?
  • How come bad cement was used in construction in Iran?
  • Should builders who construct unsafe housing be punished? Manslaughter?
  • How come bad cement was used in construction in Haiti?
  • Should builders who construct unsafe housing be punished? Or should we send more and more money for reconstruction that does not happen?

Feel free to comment. Provide a real eMail, which will not be divulged on this site.

Siege – against Iran?

Who profits here?

Saudi Arabia recently led a blockade against Qatar. Now they are doing something even more serious (war crimes?) against citizens of Yemen.

Here you will find (of many, one) page on the latter. I will content myself with a quote. Emphasis mine, as always:

The UN and the Red Cross said a “catastrophic” situation threatened millions who rely on life-saving aid.

Saudi Arabia justified the move saying Houthi rebels were being supplied with weapons from Iran, and has accused Tehran of “direct military aggression”.
Iran denies arming the rebels, who have fought the coalition since 2015.
On Saturday, a ballistic missile was intercepted near the Saudi capital.

and this:

In response to the attack, the coalition announced the “temporary” closure of all Yemeni land, sea and air ports, tightening an existing blockade, but said humanitarian aid could continue to enter Yemen under strict vetting procedures.
However, the BBC’s Imogen Foulkes in Geneva says aid agencies have reacted with dismay and anger to the border closures.
The Red Cross said its shipment of chlorine tablets, vital to combating a cholera epidemic which has affected more than 900,000 people, had been blocked.

So, Saudi Arabia first blockaded Qatar, and now Yemen. Qatar is seen as being pro-Iran. One of the factions fighting in Yemen is seen as being backed by Iran.

Siege means, denying key resources. In mediaeval times, that meant food or possibly water. In Yemen it means anti-cholera chlorine tablets. Oh, and no food imports either, except those supplied by Iran and I think Egypt. Through ports that are now closed.

America recently sold a lot of armament to Saudi Arabia. So did Canada.

Why? Who profits here? That’s not the dumb question. Here is that one:

Are we (USA and Canada) in effect terrorist countries due to selling weapons to this regime?

Apparently Iran is, though their sourcing of a single missile is a lot more poorly documented than Canada and the USA’s supply of armament.

Not Needed: US Government ‘posts’

Here you will find an interesting analysis of appointments by POTUS that require Senate confirmation. I will summarize:

Some 268 posts have not even started the confirmation process. 261 have no nominee.

POTUS, a.k.a. Donald Trump, has an explanation which you can find here.

I will content myself with a single quote, emphasis mine:

President Trump says: “I’m the only one that matters” in setting U.S. foreign policy, thus downplaying the importance of high-level jobs such as the assistant secretary of state, which is currently vacant.

“Let me tell you, the one that matters is me,” Trump said in an interview that aired on Fox News on Thursday night. “I’m the only one that matters, because when it comes to it, that’s what the policy is going to be. You’ve seen that, you’ve seen it strongly.”

The president was responding to a question from Fox’s Laura Ingraham, who asked him, “Are you worried that the State Department doesn’t have enough Donald Trump nominees in there to push your vision through?”

Apparently, when you’re Donald Trump, you don’t worry, especially about facts.