Two dominant news stories:
1) Barack Obama is drawing heavy criticism for suggesting that during difficult times, some Americans may become frightened, disillusioned or even "bitter"and that they may "cling to religion" as a way of coping with these feelings.
2) The Pope is here! The Pope is here!
Why I Hate The United Arab Emirates, #29,648
What is that building, above? It's Ski Dubai, an enormous indoor winter recreational park containing five ski slopes, a tobaggon course, a snowboard trail and a cross-country trail simulator.
It, of course, is located in Dubai, one of the seven theocorporate CityStates that comprise the United Arab Emirates.
The interior ( below) is kept at a constant 28 degrees Fahrenheit. Dubai is a desert nation and it's outdoor temperatures reach as high as 135 degrees F, so I don't think it's a real stretch to say that it takes an enormous amount of energy to operate this facility.
This winter playground opened in 2005. Something important happened in 2004 that made it much easier to build this enormous, frigid abomination.
From the CIA World Factbook:
Foreign investors such as Dick Cheney's good friends at Halliburton. Halliburton execs vehemently deny that they opened a new corporate HQ in Dubai in order to avoid U.S. sanctions that prevent U.S. companies from trading with Iran.
In April 2004, the UAE signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with Washington and in November 2004 agreed to undertake negotiations toward a Free Trade Agreement with the US. The country's Free Trade Zones - offering 100% foreign ownership and zero taxes - are helping to attract foreign investors.
The Dubai move sparked controversy among US politicians last March. Senator Frank Lautenberg at the time accused Halliburton of going "to extraordinary lengths in the past to do business with the terrorist government in Iran".Not only does Halliburton get to use Dubai as a middleman to establish and maintain a profitable trade relationship with our alleged enemies in Iran, they get to do so without paying any taxes!
With this in mind, it's very easy to see why the Neo-Cons and other BushCo thralls are so dead-set against opening any sort of diplomatic dialogue with Iran- an end to or modification of the current US sanctions against Iran could make the carefully constructed and hugely profitable loophole in the 2004 TIFA irrelevant.
Mind you, I'm not getting this information from a left-wing conspiracy site...I'm simply connecting information provided by our own Central Intelligence Agency.
Interesting facts from the CIA:
-The per capita GDP, U.A.E. : $55,200 (2007)
-The per capita GDP in the U.S.A. : $46,000. (2007)
- 81% of the the U.A.E. population is comprised of foreign workers
-78% of jobs in the UAE are in the service sector...this, presumably, includes the Pakistanis who operate the lifts at Ski Dubai.
What does the average UAE national do for a living?
They don't need jobs. The UAE 'government' gives the native-born citizens welfare checks drawn from the national oil revenue and the citizens, in turn, use the money to employ foreign-born dishwashers, valets, busboys, prostitutes and lift-operators.
An unemployed native of the UAE can afford to go skiing.
This is what an unemployed native of the USA can afford:
Did I mention prostitutes when I listed the job opportunities open to foreign labor in the UAE? I'm sorry.
I meant to say sex slaves.
From the CIA World Factbook:
current situation: the United Arab Emirates is a destination country for men, women, and children trafficked from South and East Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa, and the Middle East for involuntary servitude and for sexual exploitation; an estimated 10,000 women from sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe, South and East Asia, Iraq, Iran, and Morocco may be victims of sex trafficking in the UAE; women also migrate from Africa, and South and Southeast Asia to work as domestic servants, but may have their passports confiscated, be denied permission to leave the place of employment in the home, or face sexual or physical abuse by their employers...victims of child camel jockey trafficking may still remain in the UAE, despite a July 2005 law banning the practice...That's just a snippet of the egregious human rights violations committed in the UAE ...certainly there must be some repercussions to such flagrant abuse.
The total number of trade sanctions imposed on the UAE by the USA?
Instead of sanctions, Dubai was rewarded with the 2004 TIFA and now they have ski resorts in the middle of the desert... during the hotter portions of the coming summer there is a good chance that you will be forced with a tough decision- can you afford to turn on the air-conditioning?
While you sweat, think of our good friends in the UAE and the gigantic indoor freezers that we bought for them. Think about how the money to pay for these indoor snowparks got from here to there. It drove.
Hot enough for you?