Tag Archives deptoffoolingallthepeopleallthetime

Fishy logic

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Bahrain Bay development 1
Bahrain Bay development 2
The huge Bahrain Bay development on the coast of Manama, virtually next to the Bahrain Financial Harbour development and opposite those energy efficient Bahrain World Trade Twin Towers, is experiencing a little problem with the little reef they are built upon so as a responsible company, they applied for permission to eradicate those pesky reefs and continue on with their development.

The municipality did not hesitate much to grant that permission, with the following assertion from the committee’s chairman, an elected official:

The council’s technical committee studied the request and found its removal would ensure a better water flow in the area, already crowded by major development projects.

Committee chairman Abdulmajeed Al Sebea’a said the removal would not harm the marine environment and “on the contrary it would benefit from it.”

“We took the decision because it is blocking water flow,” he said.

“The council has been backing the bay project and other development schemes, and we don’t believe that removing the coral reefs will cause any harm to the environment.

“This is not one of the huge fashts like Fasht Al Adhm or Fasht Al Jarem, this is a small one, which is not that important and removing it would ensure better progress of work.”

Mr Al Sebea’a said the council took its decision after studying all aspects of the proposal.

Oh how I am relieved!

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Effecting Change from the Inside

Marionette - puppet on strings - the story of our Bahraini parliament

They said – as I have – that it is best to effect change from the inside rather than shout directions from the outside.

This plan doesn’t seem to be working somehow:

نكثت الكتل النيابية بوعدها بتمرير اقتراح تعديل 3 مواد من الدستور الذي دفعت به كتلة الوفاق، ففي الوقت الذي وقع نواب يمثلون مختلف الأطياف النيابية على طلب اقتراح تعديل الدستور، عمد الكثير منهم إلى التغيب عن جلسة أمس التي كان مقررا أن تناقش هذه التعديلات، الأمر الذي حمل كتلة الوفاق إلى التقدم بطلب رسمي إلى رئيس المجلس خليفة الظهراني بسحب اقتراح التعديلات الدستورية.

وجاءت خطوة كتلة الوفاق بسحب التعديلات الدستورية في رد فعل سريع من الكتلة لمنع إجهاض الاقتراح في الجلسة التي لم يتجاوز حضورها 23 نائباً في حين أن النصاب اللازم لتمرير التعديلات الدستورية هو ثلثا أعضاء المجلس الأربعين (27 نائباً)، إذ تقضي اللائحة الداخلية لمجلس النواب في المادة (90) بأن «يعرض رئيس المجلس الطلب المقدم باقتراح تعديل الدستور خلال 7 أيام من تقديمه على لجنة الشئون التشريعية والقانونية لإعداد تقرير بشأن مبدأ التعديل وموضوعاته، ويعرض التقرير على المجلس، ويؤخذ الرأي عليه نداء بالاسم، فإذا وافق المجلس على مبدأ التعديل وموضوعاته بغالبية ثلثي عدد أعضائه، أحال الاقتراح إلى الحكومة لتضع صيغة مشروع تعديل الدستور».
الوسط – ٣١ مايو ٢٠٠٧

So they succeed in getting a member of parliament away from his mother’s deathbed – literally – to vote, but suddenly when constitutional changes are in the offing, seventeen members disappear into thin air?

We deserve whomever we vote for.

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Huh? It’s not OUR fault!

Such power and water cuts hamper the process of development, keep the leadership awake and bother the citizens, giving rise to a number of undesirable happenings that the government prefers to avert, the Premier said.

Say again? This just doesn’t make any sense and is probably just the standard copy-paste Google translation by the illustrious BNA of what was said by His Highness.

So let’s reference something related in Arabic just to attempt to find out what’s going on:

حمل وزير الكهرباء والماء الشيخ عبدالله بن سلمان آل خليفة، المواطنين ‘’مسؤولية انقطاع الكهرباء، وذلك بسبب الحمل الزائد على شبكة التوزيع’’، لافتاً إلى أن ‘’90% من أسباب انقطاع الكهرباء، تعود إلى عدم إخطار الوزارة بإضافات كهربائية جديدة يقوم بها الأهالي في منازلهم’’.
وأوضح الوزير في مؤتمر صحافي أمس (الأربعاء) أنه ‘’حسب القانون، يجب أن يأخذ المواطنون إذنا من الوزارة عند أي إضافات كهربائية حتى تأخذ الوزارة إجراءاتها’’، معتبرا أن’’العام الجاري، هو أكثر الأعوام تجاوزا في الإضافات الكهربائية ولو تمت محاسبة المتجاوزين لأصبحت هناك آلاف القضايا بالمحاكم’’.
وأضاف أن ‘’شبكات التوزيع، تتحمل جهدا معينا، حسب الخطة التي وضعها مهندسو التخطيط حيث يتم إنشاء شبكة توزيع لكل 20 بيتا، ولها طاقة استيعابية معينة مع ترك 20% كجانب احتياطي’’.
ولفت الوزير إلى أن’’ الانقطاعات لم تكن موجودة في فترة الشتاء، لأن استخدام الكهرباء يقل عن الصيف’’، مشيرا إلى أن ‘’شهري مايو ويونيو من كل عام، هما الأكثر في حدوث الانقطاعات، حيث يبدأ المواطنون استهلاك الكهرباء، وتكتشف الوزارة أن هناك أحمالا زائدة على شبكات التوزيع’’.
ونفى الوزير، وجود مشكلات في إنتاج الكهرباء وكذلك في شبكات النقل، منوها إلى ‘’وجود مشكلات في التوزيع’’ نفى وزير الكهرباء والماء، تشكيل لجنة تحقيق في انقطاع المياه بالشمالية، منوها إلى ‘’وجود تحقيق حول ما إذا كانت المياه مقطوعة بالكامل أو ضعيفة، وبالفعل وجد أنه ليست هناك مياه مقطوعة في أي منطقة بل كان هناك ضعف في المياه’’.
إلى ذلك، لفت الوزير إلى أن ‘’استهلاك الفرد في البحرين من المياه 4 أضعاف الاستهلاك العالمي، حيث وصل إلى 126 جالونا في اليوم، بينما دول الخليج 100 جالون، والاستهلاك العالمي 40 جالونا فقط’’.
وأضاف ‘’لا توجد مشكلة في انقطاعات المياه، كما صورتها الصحف المحلية حيث كانت محطة الدور والتي تنتج 5مليون جالون في صيانة لمدة أسبوعين، وهذا لا يؤثر على وضع المياه’’، منوها إلى أن ‘’الوزارة تتسلم 7 ملايين جالون من محطة ألبا، فيما يبلغ إنتاج وزارة الكهرباء والماء 110 ملايين يومياً’’.
وأشار إلى أن ‘’محطة الحد تنتج 30 مليون جالون ، قبل أن تتحول إلى شركة خاصة، وتم الاتفاق مع الشركة بتزويدنا 12 مليون جالون من المياه منذ أول إبريل، لكنها لم تلتزم ‘’.
وتابع ‘’تم خفض كميات المياه التي تتسلمها الوزارة من محطة ألبا إلى 3 ملايين جالون أي أن الوزارة فقدت 9 مليون جالون من المياه بسبب صيانة محطة الدور وانخفاض كميات المياه بمعدل كبير من محطة ألبا وتزامن ذلك مع صيانة محطة الدور’’.
وشدد الوزير على أن ‘’الوزارة عالجت الوضع بتشغيل محطة الدور أمس الأول، ووصل إنتاجها إلى 5 ملايين جالون، كما سنحصل على 12 مليونا من محطة الحد خلال أسبوعين وستصل إلى 60 مليونا في نوفمبر المقبل’’.
وأوضح الوزير أن’’ الوزارة ستعمل مع نهاية العام الجاري على ربط شبكات المياه في جميع المحافظات، على أن يتم التعامل مع النقص في أي منطقة بكل سهولة’’، معتبرا أن ذلك ‘’سيساهم في تنظيم نقل المياه ومراعاة النقص في بعض المناطق مع مناطق أخرى’’.

Oh boy. We’re really, but I mean really in for it this summer!

Shall we attempt to analyse what’s actually going on here? But before doing so, let me put in my application to the right honourable minister to seek his approval to add one, just one 60W bulb to my study at home and as a concerned citizen who does not want to overload the perfectly designed electricity generation and distribution grids I promise to only make use of it in non-peak times, ie, from 9pm to 10pm. I don’t want to be that straw that breaks the camel’s back of course, so I’ll just use it on even days in the month too. That should stay within the perfectly designed 20% margin the engineers design into every distribution scheme.

Okay, I’m making a big deal out of nothing. It’s only that in a modern country with multi-billion dollar developments (Bahrain Financial Harbour, Bahrain Bay, Durrat Al-Bahrain, Amwaj, Riffa Views, etc) you would think that power availability would have been the very first consideration on the minds of governments. And it is this that should have kept them awake. Alas, that insomnia doesn’t seem to have produced anything but frayed nerves and shoveling the blame onto others.

Let’s take a page out of Dubai’s book in this regard and see how they are handling this issue, considering that as far as I remember they only had one major brown-out (not black-outs as we have experienced and will continue to experience until the mode of thinking changes.):

Electricity-hungry Dubai is planning to build one of the world’s largest power and desalination complexes, a multibillion dollar plant that would produce nearly as much power as New York City’s total generating capacity.

The new plant would be capable of producing 9,000 megawatts of electricity and 600 million gallons a day of desalinated water, Dow Jones Newswires reported Thursday, citing people familiar with the project.

Dubai’s planned mega-complex will sit next to Dubai World Central, intended to be the world’s largest airport, and the giant Jebel Ali port and free zone _where most of the emirate’s power generation capacity of about 5,000 megawatts is presently located.

homework by candlelight by Michele

Back to the present, we find the Minister of Electricity is somewhat abashed in the last few months with no real plan to come out of the magic (kerosene-powered) lantern; someone asserts that there is rampant corruption in his ministry and instead of looking at the fire and puts it out, he blows away the smoke by taking the accuser, an elected member of a municipal board, to court for defamation. Now we find that rather than admitting to shortages in his ministry and its main products, he is putting the full blame on power black-outs squarely on the shoulders of citizens for “not notifying the ministry of additional electrical services installed in their homes” which is the major cause – quoting the figure 90% – of electricity black-outs. He declared further that these transgressions on the law are at their maximum this year.

The minister also made a very important observation which we should stand at and consider, as within it the truth most definitely lies; he said, and I translate:

The minister noted that “black-outs did not occur during the Winter period because electricity usage is lower than in the Summer period,” further explaining that “most black-outs occur during the months of May and June of every year as citizens start using (more) electricity, and the ministry discovers that there is an increased load on the distribution network.”

No kidding! Really? I would never have guessed really. But I am to blame of course as I am from the privileged few who up sticks and leaves this furnace every summer to climes more amenable to my constitution. The summers I know are those of Cannes and St Tropez and Monaco and Marbella and if I really really want to go local there is always Gloucester road in London!

Okay, fair warning your excellency. You have absolved your ministry from responsibility, we won’t hold your ministry from any forthcoming black- brown- or any colour-power-cuts happening this summer, or during any time of the year. It’s not your nor is it your ministry’s fault.

Water! Water! Yes, water. Some of those people have been complaining that they didn’t have water in their homes for days, whole districts, neighbourhoods, towns and villages have complained of the same, but the stupid sods don’t know the difference of the water being cut and not having any pressure. Pfah! Those beoble. They should have at least bothered to call the emergency response line (no S) at the ministry to be educated on the difference, so once again, I would like to thank the right honourable minister for taking the time to explain things as they are to us, and once again you will forgive me for translating his missive:

The minister refuted the formation of an investigative committee by the Northern Municipal Council into water cuts (in the Northern District) stating that “the investigation around whether water was completely cut or was delivered with low pressure. In fact, it was found that there were no water cuts at all in any location, but the pressure was low.”

We’d better go dig up all the “supposed” dead and check their pulse again. The stupid-ass doctors didn’t understand that in fact their patients actually were not dead at all, their hearts did not actually stop working, but just had low pressure!

God have mercy.

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Hold the presses, Attiyatallah wants to be questioned!

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عطية الله: لاتبوق ولا تخاف

Here you go, he said it himself: “don’t steal, don’t be afraid” (of questioning).

The honourable minister of cabinet affairs Ahmed Attiyatallah is not afraid of being questioned because he doesn’t have anything to hide. Well, give the man a biscuit, put him on stand and ask him the questions that the whole of Bahrain is waiting for answers for, don’t limit it to just perceived financial irregularities allegedly performed by the respected gentleman, he said that he is not guilty and is ready to take the stand, so why stand in his way?

It is the duty of the parliament to allow the right honourable gentleman to clear his name which has undoubtedly been sullied since September last year and has got our country into various states of vertigo.

Let the man clear his name; all those who opposed the motion to send him to the parliamentary investigation committee should now shut up, vote in favour of the investigation motion and let the man speak.

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Math skills are good to have

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For instance, when someone tells you that Bahrain will receive a “flood of 100,000 fans” for the forthcoming F1 (people, not those devices which circulate the air), and you know that the maximum capacity of that venue is 45,000 that means that either someone seriously miscalculated the popularity of that sport and undervalued the capacity of the BIC, or a GDN reporter added a zero inadvertently to that figure quoted in that article, or it could also be that someone is trying to pull our legs and enthuse us, marketing wise, about the event. They might as well pull the other one, it’s got bells on.

No matter, I hope that the F1 will be an unmitigated success.

And hope that brainfarts like these won’t affect the attendance. Oh hang on a minute! Maybe without that brainfart the flood would have increased to 176,000?!

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Red Herrings

Red Herring

In either case the ultimate victor seems to be the monarchy, which continues to portray itself as an indispensable mediator over a fractious body politic. “Without the monarchy,” a ministry official asserted, “Bahrain would go the way of Iraq and Lebanon.” Echoing this assertion, a member of the king’s appointed consultative council, which has effective veto authority over the Parliament, described his institution as a “buffer” to prevent the country from being “hijacked by religious extremists.”
The Daily Star :: Fred Wehry

If they were truly looking for a “buffer” they would have not meddled in the elections to ensure the liberals’ defeat.

I think this red herring is so putrefied that it’s stink has become legendary. If people still believe in this, then maybe they also believe in flying pigs and pink elephants…

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One more site blocked in Bahrain

It used to be just 9 that were blocked:

and now, it appears that someone who is really shaking in his boots and deems it very necessary to protect us from ourselves and protect the country from those nefarious people hell bent on toppling the government has done the right thing™ and blocked…

Well done! I am sure the blocking of these sites will contribute greatly to the country’s standing in the Freedom of the Press index, the Human Rights index (which Bahrain actually is on that council in the UN!!) and will also assist Shaikha Haya bint Rashed Al-Khalifa in her role as the PRESIDENT of the United Nations and gain her and Bahrain even more respect and credibility to continue to be in that role.

Of course, that brainfartist probably doesn’t know that it is becoming easier every day to unblock sites, no matter what their contents are.

Welllll done!

But then one must ask the question… who’s next?

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It’s sooooo quiet

Traditionally, if something happens in Bahrain that even touches on perceived loyalties to the ruling family, or lack thereof, we get full- or at least half-page adverts crying foul and heavily beating chests in demonstration of the advertiser’s eternal love and loyalty to the royal family, or person, or both, at the cost of “those others” whose loyalty is forever in question.

Strange, as Sawsan Al-Shaer noted[1], that none of these “traditional” paid adverts and chest beatings didn’t appear in any of our newspapers! Not once. But I know why, it’s because the well is firmly shut at the moment and the guy is very hesitant to sign any cheques. For now at least. In the absence of a clear denunciation of those tactics employed which Bandargate brought to light, especially by so called religious men, and as there is apparently no intention whatsoever to do the right thing and announce the formation of a fact finding committee, those funds might soon find their ways to the begging hands of bought and paid for men and women.

What we do have however, is this (arabic), from the bought and paid-for “news”paper; an article that (allegedly) bought and paid-for people mentioned in Dr. Bandar’s report queuing up in support of Shaikh Ahmed Attiyatallah rather than doing the right thing and at least asking him to step aside until an investigation clears his name. Can you smell it yet?

Rock on baby…

Just for those who couldn’t be bothered to read the link above, let me save you the trouble and display the pictures of those (allegedly) bought and paid-for gentlemen, either directly implicated in the report, or they think they’ve done themselves a favour and are running to support Shaikh Ahmed maybe in the hope that he will include them in his largess too at some point in the future?:

Bahraini Politicians for Sale! Going cheap!

[1] hat tip: Hussain Marhoon

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Elections coming up!

Finally, we have some movement. Of course there is no guarantee that the anticipated movement will be good, as there are no guarantees for it being the opposite, but as the local idiom goes: “الحركة بركة” – loosely translated: “in movement there is a blessing

So the king invited the heads of the political societies to an audience (arabic) with his majesty tomorrow. No one knows what the agenda is as none has been announced, but I can feel tingles in the air…

It is expected that he will announce the election date tomorrow.

That would be the good thing™ of course, as that decrepit parliament has been dissolved now for 55 days, and no announcement has been forthcoming since then.

What has, however, and plenty of it, has been:

    1. The EX-members of parliament still believe that they are part of the democratic institution!
    2. Most have been actually more active in these 55 days than they have for the 4 years they’ve used in parliament to perfect their brainfarts.
    3. Bahrain has become much more sectarian under their watch.
    4. The parliament giving the right of dividing municipal districts to the government (can you smell it?) the government reduced the number of municipal areas by re-designation and amalgamation.
    5. oh, and another small thing which might have prompted this movement…

    6. A high-up consultant was deported in haste (arabic) charged with “an attempt to overthrow the government”!

That last point seems to be the bombshell. The guy apparently was quite liberal with the photocopy machines or with his printer as he printed several copies of his 220 page report and liberally distributed it to every paper as well as choice embassies and most political societies.

Don’t expect any (news)paper to publish it though, they’d rather publish something about “immoral acts” or entice the public to attack foreign workers because they are bachelors and hail from Asia and that sort of thing… but when it comes to something as substantial as “bandargate”, forget it, they’ll toe the line thank you very much! Who needs the press law when you get self censorship of this scale?

Other countries would have stopped the presses and ran with it… not here though, uh uh. They’re good boys!

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Very quickly

Over the last few days three things were brought to the fore in the local press after people continued to point fingers and talk about the situations in their majlises etc: one thing that has been talked about for years in Bahrain is the issue of naturalization, which is a very emotive subject with the opposition (read the majority of Bahrain) believing that the process is adopted purely to strengthen the hand of government by bringing in new naturalized citizens and use them to skew the electoral outcome and change the country’s demographic; the government on the other hand say that there are no such motives and they are granting citizenship only to those who qualify.

My say: we’re tired of this shit. It’s high time to establish an independent commission of enquiry with free access to all records and persons and then publish a report. If the government is found at fault, then amend/change the laws to ensure that it does not transgress it in the future. If on the other hand it finds that the public’s fears are unfounded, then the public should just shut up and let us get on with our lives.

the prime minister visiting needy families in MuharraqSecond thing: Muharraq, that island which defines Bahraini culture, politics and opposition throughout its ages, has once again rocked the boat.

It’s various “majlises” – community halls presided over by luminaries of neighbourhoods and used as simple devices to while away the time, plan political movements, and strengthen the community spirit and good neighbourliness – have decided that they have had enough with sectarian-motivated political movements and told all political societies in Muharraq that they couldn’t give a shit about them, especially the Asalah (Wahabi) and Minbar (Muslim Brotherhood) that they will not support them any more as their programs in the 2002 elections were far too sectarian and government-allied. The majlises will front and support their own candidates in opposition to these Islamist movements.

Then a tonne of bricks came tumbling on them, by way of our prime minister who defines their roles as:

Addressing the majlis owners, he stressed their role in diagnosing the citizens’ needs and referring them to government officials.

Mainly relegating their ancient role to that of triage rooms in hospitals; just conduits to the “real thing.” He also had this nugget of wisdom to dispense:

he warned against misusing the parliament to raise controversial issues which could only smear the legislative luster.

Sorry sir, I wholeheartedly disagree with your premises. I would rather our parliament raise these contentious issues and solve them, rather than leave them to fester and ultimately explode in our communities.

As to the majlises, they are regarded by the community as localised mini-parliaments to inculcate the spirit of democracy and solve local issues locally, rather than be a conduit to the government, which they certainly can do should they so wish. Majlises are excellent at fostering and enhancing the community spirit, as such, their activities should not be curtailed. And if you believe that you can, then allow me to tell you sir, that you are ill informed. Some of these majlises have been going since 1957, some might even have been established before that, so leave them alone, they’re doing a good job throughout the kingdom.

Third and final thing (I’ve got to get work done, after a wonderful 2-day weekend!): The dogs are out once again attacking “Haq’s” right to petition the UN to get involved in Bahrain’s political scene by sponsoring or aiding in correcting the 2002 constitution. They have collected 82,000 signatures in a petition calling for the restoration of the 1973 constitution, or proper amendment of the 2002 constitution. Faisal Foulath, famous Shura Council specialist in brainfarts, is calling the Haq movement liars and basically is being used to start another smear campaign against them.

The prime minister also obliquely mentioned them and lambasted them for their efforts in his visit to Muharraq (he was rather busy wasn’t he? Attacking 3 subjects in one, THIS is what I call efficient damage control!) in which he stated:

The Premier yesterday warned against raising controversial issues which may drive wedges in the community and serve narrow personal interests. “Democracy, openness and freedom of opinion should not be used as a pretext to violate the law, sow sectarian sedition, or falsify truths in international arenas, claiming internal liberties are curbed,”

Alrighty then… so he too found it distasteful that Haq went whining to the UN. But then, if the Royal Court would accept receiving popular petitions, they might not have resorted to such a measure.

Things are hotting up my friends! Elections must be really really close now. And my fellow Bahrainis would recognise this flurry of activities of promising more reforms, building more houses, visiting the poor and making them promises, and cleaning the roads and painting the curb-stones and the outpouring of wisdom by the tanker-load by senior officials in and out of government are just signs that we have gotten used to.

These cleanups remind me of the preparation for the GCC conference before they hit the island for a day or two, the whole island gets a face lift. Maybe having the elections every four years will now be regarded as a good thing if they’re going to clean up the place more often than the GCC shindigs.

Have an excellent Sunday my friends, the very first first day of the week in the history of Bahrain!

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