Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20120624

Financial Crisis
»$9 Billion in ‘Stimulus’ For Solar, Wind Projects Made 910 Final Jobs
»Can India Save Europe From Its Debt Crisis?
»The Scam Wall Street Learned From the Mafia
»Analysts Say Microsoft is ‘Learning From Apple’
»Evidence Mounting Against Holder
»Obama’s Need for “Executive Privilege”
»Obama: Selling Off America to China
North Africa
»Mohamed Morsi of Muslim Brotherhood Declared Winner of Egyptian Presidency
»Muslim Brotherhood Candidate Morsi Wins Egyptian Presidential Election
Israel and the Palestinians
»Israeli Police Arrest Social Reform Protesters
Middle East
»Turkey Calls in NATO Over Syrian Downing of Jet
Far East
»China Achieves First Manual Space Docking
»China’s Forgotten Famine
Latin America
»Christ Turns ‘Green’ At U.N. Earth Summit — Literally
»Athens is the End of the Line for Many Afghan Refugees
»A Lawless Society
»Environmental Floundering at Failed Rio+20 Summit

Financial Crisis

$9 Billion in ‘Stimulus’ For Solar, Wind Projects Made 910 Final Jobs

The Obama administration distributed $9 billion in economic “stimulus” funds to solar and wind projects in 2009-11 that created, as the end result, 910 “direct” jobs — annual operation and maintenance positions — meaning that it cost about $9.8 million to establish each of those long-term jobs.

At the same time, those green energy projects also created, in the end, about 4,600 “indirect” jobs — positions indirectly supported by the annual operation and maintenance jobs — which means they cost about $1.9 million each ($9 billion divided by 4,600).

Combined (910 + 4,600 = 5,510), the direct and indirect jobs cost, on average, about $1.63 million each to produce.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Can India Save Europe From Its Debt Crisis?

At the G20 summit in Mexico, India has pledged $10 billion (8 billion euros) to the International Monetary Fund’s European rescue effort. But the emerging South Asian powerhouse itself is shaky.

A lot of people inside and outside of India, said an Indian TV presenter, are rubbing their eyes and wondering: Does India really have $10 billion to give away? Economic growth in India has slowed and the country has many troubles of its own to deal with, not the least of which are urgently needed reforms to combat poverty, improve healthcare and open the job market.

India is hoping that Europe recovers quickly from its debt crisis because it needs the continent’s markets to keep its own economy chugging along. Some 300 million people in India live on less than one dollar a day and any dip in economic growth sets back efforts to cope with the country’s problems, said the head of an employment referral agency in Mumbai.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

The Scam Wall Street Learned From the Mafia

How America’s biggest banks took part in a nationwide bid-rigging conspiracy — until they were caught on tape

The defendants in the case — Dominick Carollo, Steven Goldberg and Peter Grimm — worked for GE Capital, the finance arm of General Electric. Along with virtually every major bank and finance company on Wall Street — not just GE, but J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, UBS, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Wachovia and more — these three Wall Street wiseguys spent the past decade taking part in a breathtakingly broad scheme to skim billions of dollars from the coffers of cities and small towns across America. The banks achieved this gigantic rip-off by secretly colluding to rig the public bids on municipal bonds, a business worth $3.7 trillion.

By conspiring to lower the interest rates that towns earn on these investments, the banks systematically stole from schools, hospitals, libraries and nursing homes — from “virtually every state, district and territory in the United States,” according to one settlement. And they did it so cleverly that the victims never even knew they were being cheated. No thumbs were broken, and nobody ended up in a landfill in New Jersey, but money disappeared, lots and lots of it, and its manner of disappearance had a familiar name: organized crime.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Analysts Say Microsoft is ‘Learning From Apple’

Microsoft, one of the world’s leading makers of operating systems, has hinted at a strategic shift with the unveiling of its tablet computer, Surface. Analysts suggest it could be a make-or-break moment.

The Windows operating system designer, Microsoft, heralded a major shift in its product strategy by unveiling its line in tablet computers, incorporating both the software and the hardware.

Surface — as the tablet is called — is expected to hit the market later this year.

There will be two versions. The first aims to compete directly with Apple’s iPad and the second will be a lightweight laptop, or ultrabook. Both will feature an overhauled Windows operating system (Windows 8) and a touch-friendly interface called Metro.

Analysts have described the product as promising, with Rob Enderle of Silicon Valley saying Surface was a chance for Microsoft to show it has learned a lesson from its failed Zune mp3 player.

“OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) are saying the PC doesn’t matter any more and the tablet really is the future,” Enderle said, “which is what (Microsoft co-founder) Bill Gates said in the early 2000s — it’s just been unfortunate that Apple has been proving him right on their platform.”

Apple’s strategy has always been to develop both the hardware and software for its products, whereas Microsoft had originally relied on computer makers to create the hardware for its software.

“(The Surface tablet) is a bold move by Microsoft,” said Michael Gartenberg of Gartner analysts, “and it shows just how concerned they are about Apple and the threat Apple is to their ecosystem right now.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Evidence Mounting Against Holder

The day before Holder was scheduled to appear before the House Judiciary Committee, U.S. White House logs show that Attorney General Eric Holder and DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano met with Barack Obama in the East Room of the White House on May 2, 2011. Omitted from the log is the nature and purpose of the visit.

The timing of the meeting is quite suspect based on Holder’s planned testimony the following day, the mounting pressure from Congressman Issa’s committee, and Holder’s stonewalling Issa’s request for documents related to Fast & Furious.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Obama’s Need for “Executive Privilege”

Under the Obama administration, “Operation Fast and Furious” was launched in early 2009. By extension of Project Gunrunner, the BATFE commissioned gun shops along the southern U.S. border to sell weapons to known criminal suspects. Ostensibly, this operation was for interdiction purposes, but the agents involved were directly ordered not to interdict the weapons. What resulted was a mass amount of weapons that actually and genuinely originated in the U.S., with the knowledge and approval of the BATFE, being permitted to “walk” unmolested across the southern border (hence the satirical name “gunwalker”).

From early 2009 through December 2010, this process was repeated over and over in the southern U.S. despite the objections of numerous BATFE agents and gun shop owners. During this time, several agents began to notify congress and became “whistleblowers” about the stand-down orders.

Late on the night of December 14, 2010, the inevitable happened. U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was gunned down in Rio Rico, Arizona, by an AK-47 that was “walked” across the U.S. Mexican border with the knowledge and allowance of the BATFE. Two weapons that were allowed to “walk” across the border were found at the murder scene.


The real objective behind Fast & Furious?

After taking office, Barack Hussein Obama began a coordinated effort with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to control the purchases and ownership of guns in the United States. To justify the implementation of tougher gun control laws and in a direct assault on the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, this administration cited a statement made to Congress by William Hoover, Assistant Director for Field Operations for the BATFE on February 7, 2008. According to that report, 90 percent of the weapons used by the Mexican drug cartels were purchased from or originated in the U.S.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Obama: Selling Off America to China

Since President Obama’s tyrannical tendencies are evidenced nearly every day and his unconstitutional actions probably number in the dozens, keeping up with them becomes a dizzying effort. Obviously, his recent actions on the behalf of illegal immigrants from Mexico have raised concern among detractors, not only as blatant pandering to Latinos, but as a device by which he will secure millions of illegitimate votes in November.


There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by the sword. The other is by debt.

— John Adams

On June 12, Reuters reported that investment giant Goldman Sachs’ new Asia Pacific office would be based in Beijing, the first global investment bank to place its regional headquarters in China’s capital. A year ago, General Electric, the world’s manufacturer of medical-imaging machines, moved the headquarters of its 115-year-old X-ray business to Beijing.


Obama has taken other, more overtly compromising steps, most notably in May of 2011, when he allowed a Chinese general and more than two dozen military aides to visit various U.S. military installations in violation of the 2000 Defense Authorization Act (which prohibits foreign military from visiting military bases containing advanced military technology). Some observers likened this to a real estate agent showing a home.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Mohamed Morsi of Muslim Brotherhood Declared Winner of Egyptian Presidency

Election regulators named Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood the winner of Egypt’s first competitive presidential elections, handing the Islamist group a symbolic triumph and a new weapon in its struggle for power with the ruling military council.

His victory is an ambiguous milestone in Egypt’s promised transition to democracy after the ouster 16 months ago of President Hosni Mubarak. After an election that international monitors called credible, the military-led government has recognized an electoral victory by an opponent of military rule over a former air force general, Ahmed Shafik, who promised harmony with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. A public ballot count after the polls closed last weekend had already shown Mr. Morsi the winner, pending certification by a commission of Mubarak-appointed judges.

[Return to headlines]

Muslim Brotherhood Candidate Morsi Wins Egyptian Presidential Election

Mohammed Morsi was declared Egypt’s first Islamist president on Sunday, chosen in the freest elections in history that left the nation deeply polarized between supporters of an old regime figure and those eager for democratic change.

It was the culmination of the tumultuous first phase of a transition launched 16 months ago with the uprising that ousted autocratic leader Hosni Mubarak, who was replaced by a ruling military council headed by Mubarak’s defense minister of 20 years. It is the start of a new struggle with the military to restore the powers that the ruling generals stripped from the presidency even before the victor was declared.

And it was not the outcome desired by most of the liberal and secular youth groups that drove the uprising.

“The revolution passed an important test,” said Yasser Ali, a spokesman for Morsi’s campaign. “But the road is still long.”

Morsi now has to calm public fears that he will push to remake Egypt as an Islamist state and show that he will represent a broader swath of the public beyond his own fundamentalist group, the Muslim Brotherhood. He will also have to try to urgently address the major problems facing Egypt, a sharp deterioration in security and a flailing economy.

Morsi narrowly defeated Mubarak’s last Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq with 51.7 percent of the vote versus 48.3, the election commission said. Turnout was 51 percent.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Israeli Police Arrest Social Reform Protesters

Israeli police say they have arrested 85 people after violent demonstrations in Tel Aviv. The protests are the latest sign of a nationwide movement calling for social reform.

The arrests took place after scores of demonstrators clashed with police, vandalized banks and blocked main roads overnight in Israel’s commercial capital, Tel Aviv.

Hundreds of people gathered in the city late on Saturday to protest the arrest of 12 social activists a day earlier.

Some said they were angered after a protest leader said she had experienced police brutality when she was detained during another demonstration in Tel Aviv on Friday.

“Over 1,500 people demonstrated at various places in Tel Aviv until a point where the protests turned violent and there were disturbances. They blocked roads and smashed windows at five banks and until 3 a.m. (00:00 UCT), 85 people were arrested,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

He said the arrests were made to prevent looting.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Turkey Calls in NATO Over Syrian Downing of Jet

NATO says Turkey has called for alliance talks on Tuesday over Syria’s shooting down of a Turkish F4 Phantom jet over the Mediterranean. Turkish media say the wreckage has been located.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Sunday dismissed Syria’s initial claim that it had not known the plane belonged to Turkey, saying the F4 was shot down inside international airspace while on an unarmed training flight to check radar systems.

“The Syrians knew full well that it was a Turkish military plane and the nature of its mission. Nobody should dare put Turkey’s capabilities to the test,” Davutoglu said.

He said the jet had briefly crossed into Syrian airspace 15 minutes before it was shot down, but that Syria had not warned the Turks.

Syria on Friday had said its air defenses downed an unidentified object, which had flown just one kilometer (0.6 miles) off Syria’s coastline near Latakia. The Syrian foreign ministry said the shooting was “no hostile act against Turkey.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Far East

China Achieves First Manual Space Docking

A Chinese spacecraft has successfully completed the country’s first manual docking in orbit. The operation is a further step towards a planned space station.

The Shenzhou 9 capsule completed the maneuver with the Tiangong 1 orbiting lab module shortly before 0500 GMT on Sunday. The docking was shown live on national television.

The spacecraft had already conducted an automated docking, carried out by remote control from a ground base in China, with theTiangong 1 on June 18, a day after leaving earth.

The three Chinese astronauts on board have been living and working in the module for the past week. They returned to the capsule early on Sunday and disconnected in preparation for the manual re-docking.

The crew includes 33-year-old Liu Yang, China’s first female space traveler. Its mission, China’s fourth manned one, is expected to last at least 10 days

Risky procedure

The operation was an important test of the docking technique needed for building a space station, which China plans to do by 2020. Only the United States and Russia have so far sent independently maintained space stations into orbit.

Manual docking is a risky procedure, as the two vessels involved must come together very gently to avoid damage.

China’s planned space station is to be about one-sixth the size of the 16-nation International Space Station.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

China’s Forgotten Famine

The Chinese government does not like to talk about certain parts of its past — like the worst-ever famine caused by man. Yang Jisheng’s book, ‘Tombstone,’ which deals with the issue, has been published in German.

Between the years 1959 and 1961, 30 to 40 million people died as a result of Mao Zedong’s failed attempt at industrialization.

Yang Jisheng researched the catastrophe for years and documented his findings. His book, “Tombstone: the Great Chinese Famine” is blacklisted on the Chinese market. On June 21, it was published in German under the title “Grabstein.”

Yang Jisheng himself can remember the hunger. And the death. As a youth and an adamant supporter of founder of the People’s Republic of China, Mao Zedong, he experienced his father dying from hunger in 1959. Yang’s father was one of the early victims of the “Great Leap Forward” movement that began at the end of the 1950s. The campaign was an attempt by the Communist Party to rapidly industrialize the country.

“I was in school at the time and I remember writing on the chalkboard about the “Great Leap Forward.” Then children from the village came and told me my father was dying,” Yang recalls.

Yang was not able to save his father. He will never forget what he lived through during that time — how the people had to eat anything they could get their hands on. In some cases, they ate meat from dead bodies.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Latin America

Christ Turns ‘Green’ At U.N. Earth Summit — Literally

Green guru James Lovelock was right. He warned last week that “the green religion is now taking over from the Christian religion.”

Now at the U.N. Earth Summit, even the image of Christ has been made a forcible convert to the eco-faith, as the city of Rio is bathing the iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer (Christo Redentor) in green light:

This comes on the heels of a Rio+20 side summit in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, where Naomi Tsur, Jerusalem’s deputy mayor for planning and environment, led a discussion about how holy sites around the world can be used to indoctrinate pilgrims visiting venerated places like Bethlehem, Calvary, and the burial site of King David.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Athens is the End of the Line for Many Afghan Refugees

Every year, thousands of Afghans try their luck getting to the EU. Many of those who make it get stuck in Greece, where there are few jobs and little state provision.

It was about midnight somewhere in the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece. Five young Afghans were sitting in a dinghy, paddling for their lives. The people smugglers had told them it would take about six hours and they would arrive in paradise — Greece, and the European Union.

However, when they reached the coast, the welcome was not what they had hoped for. “The border police arrested us and put us on a ship,” says Ahmad Karim (not his real name). “A bit later they threw us back in the water near a small uninhabited Turkish island.”

Karim, who was 23 years old at the time, said he and his companions were rescued by a Turkish fisherman. They were able to get to Istanbul and a few weeks later they tried to make their way to the West again.

Every year, thousands of Afghans such as Karim try to escape their war-torn country with its violence, insecurity and lack of prospects. They depend on people smugglers, who promise them a stable life in a European country.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


A Lawless Society

Take for example the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, which includes dozens of new rights, such as the right of asylum, the right to environmental protection and consumer protection, and the right to social security, in addition to the more basic rights familiar to Americans, but it comes with a simple addendum.

“Any limitation on the exercise of the rights and freedoms recognised by this Charter must be provided for by law and respect the essence of those rights and freedoms. Subject to the principle of proportionality, limitations may be made only if they are necessary and genuinely meet objectives of general interest recognised by the Union or the need to protect the rights and freedoms of others.”

Which is to say there is freedom of speech, only until a compelling argument can be made why banning someone’s freedom of speech will help protect the general interests of the European Union or the rights of others to have environmental protection and social security.

That is the essence of a lawless society, which is to say that there are oodles and oodles of law, but it’s merely a complicated way for those in power to enforce their will on others. If you want to force people to do something, all you need to do is study enough clauses, lay out your reasoning and it’s done.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Environmental Floundering at Failed Rio+20 Summit

Rothbard and Driessen said that environmentalists make dire predictions based on “extrapolations from the island extinction rates fed into virtual-reality computer models that assume rising carbon dioxide levels will raise planetary temperatures so high that plants and animals will be exterminated. That is nonsense.”

Dr. Klaus L. E. Kaiser clearly explained that modelers ignore water vapor impact on climate because it is too difficult to include in computer models that are “preordained to show CO2 as the determinant factor.” Even massive releases of CO2 during numerous volcanic eruptions throughout history are used up by the “insatiable appetite of the oceans for CO2,” measuring a “steady state” of 250 ppm. (Convenient Myths, 2010, p. 97 and p. 101)

Why are environmentalists going after CO2 and not water vapor? CO2 can be sequestered and taxed. California is auctioning off carbon credits on November 14 this year in spite of citizen protests.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Anonymous said...

Why would any self-repecting Afgan Mahometan want to go from Turkey to Greece? Why go from the land of Islam to a land of filthy pigs and monkeys?