Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Paradigms and Demographics: Evening Edition!

Posted By Rich Kozlovich

I apologize for the size of this evening’s edition, but there is so much out there today that I found interesting.  Also, I’m inclined to think this means I have something for everyone.

Try and think of this evening’s edition as the Sunday edition of your local newspaper - you know – the one that’s so large you can’t properly digest it.  I may or may not agree with what’s presented here, but as always, Paradigms and Demographics is Profound and Provocative.  One more thing!  I posted Alan Caruba’s article, “Ferguson'sOld Grievances”, as a complete article to separate it from what's becoming a crowded category.   Please make sure to read it.   

Asia

The US-India strategic partnership is either the most under-performing bilateral relationship in the world or its most overrated. more »

Vietnam's Ticking Debt Bomb - Elisabeth Rosen, The Diplomat
Vietnam may find it hard to reach its goal of 5.8 percent growth this year if bad debt continues to hold back the economy. more »

Executive Branch


Economics (and reality)

The explosion of patent litigation is stifling technological innovation according to Independent Institute Research Fellow William J. Watkins, Jr., who examines an outmoded patent system that is ill-suited for the modern economy in his new book, Patent Trolls: Predatory Litigation and the Smothering of Innovation.
Detroit's Chapter 9 bankruptcy case is scheduled for trial beginning this Thursday, August 21, when U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Steven Rhodes will decide if the city's restructuring plan is fair, legal and feasible.  Regardless of the outcome, precedents already have been set in the case that should have public employees elsewhere questioning the wisdom – and soundness – of their traditional "defined-benefit" pension plans. Judge Rhodes already ruled, last December, that Detroit's pension promises are not sacred in a bankruptcy proceeding: "The state constitutional provisions prohibiting the impairment of contracts and pensions impose no constraint on the bankruptcy process."
The revised budget unveiled in May by California Gov. Jerry Brown seeks to increase the amount of money that public school districts and their teachers would pay into the teacher pension fund going forward. The legislature must approve a budget by June 15 or legislators forfeit their pay until a budget is passed. The amount that school districts would pay into the California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS) would jump from 8.25 percent of teachers’ salaries to 19.1 percent, based on the governor’s budget plan. Rates would ramp up to the full 19.1 percent over a seven-year period.

Education

You know your presidential popularity must be tanking when a state legislature has to pass a mandate requiring students to study about you in school.  Recently the California State Legislature passed a new law (AB 1912) requiring the Instructional Quality Commission, which helps oversee the state’s Common Core standards, to consider revising the social studies framework to include a section on the significance of President Obama’s election in the context of voter discrimination. Co-sponsor Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) explained that it’s important for students to learn about “overcoming our nation’s past to elect our first black president.

Energy

Solar plants scorch thousands of birds from sky...By Ellen Knickmeyer and John Locker Workers at a state-of-the-art solar plant in the Mojave Desert have a name for birds that fly through the plant's concentrated sun rays — "streamers," for the smoke plume that comes from birds that ignite in midair. Federal wildlife investigators who visited the BrightSource Energy plant last year and watched as birds burned and fell, reporting an average of one "streamer" every two minutes, are urging California officials to halt the operator's application to build a still-bigger version.The investigators want the halt until the full extent of the deaths can be assessed. Estimates per year now range from a low of about a thousand by BrightSource to 28,000 by an expert for the Center for Biological Diversity environmental group. The deaths are "alarming. It's hard to say whether that's the location or the technology," said Garry George, renewable-energy director for the California chapter of the Audubon Society. "There needs to be some caution."

Europe

Nothing unites different nations quite like mutual enemies. But the "Auld Alliance" between Scotland and France - both historic rivals of England - doesn't mean that the French government favours Scottish independence. Far from it. more »

Environment

100K Elephants Killed by Poachers in 3 Years - Brad Scriber, NatGeo
Ivory-seeking poachers have killed 100,000 African elephants in just three years, according to a new study that provides the first reliable continent-wide estimates of illegal kills. During 2011 alone, roughly one of every twelve African elephants was killed by a poacher.

ARPN followers well understand that a host of metals and minerals are key to the green-tech transition – rare earths like neodymium and mainstay metals like copper for wind turbines, Copper-Indium-Gallium-Selenium for the CIGS solar panel technology. The list is long. Yet all too often, Green advocates take a reflexively oppositional stance towards all-things-mining. ARPN [...] The post “Measuring Greenness:” A New Metric Takes the Measure of the Metals that Drive the Green Transition appeared first on American Resources Policy Network.

Not that weepy Bill McKibben would care anyway, he doesn’t do reality. Oregon denies permit for new coal port–huge victory for folks who have done great organizing oregonlive.com/environment/in…— Bill McKibben (@billmckibben) August 18, 2014 From Duke University Superior energy efficiency … more »

Globalism

.....back over a 100 years, the United States laid claim to much of the Arctic region. The Arctic region is known to hold large amounts of untapped oil and gas reserves. The United Nations previously canceled all land claims in the Arctic region. This is in response to these territories being at the center of several disputes between the United States, Russia, Canada, to a large degree, and it also includes Norway and Denmark, to a smaller degree. Under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which was finalized in 1982, countries can lay claim to the ocean floor well beyond their borders…….

Global Warming

Cap and Raid - K. Lloyd Billingsley
The ruling class likes to portray its predations as targeting the rich, the one percent, and those at the top. In reality, the Pillage People target everybody, particularly working people. For example, in January, government regulations will cause California’s already high gasoline prices to jump 13 to 20 cents a gallon. This is the result of AB 32, the

Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, authored by state senator Fran Pavley, an Agoura Hills Democrat, and signed by Republican governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The legislation seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. On January 1, 2015, motor vehicle fuels will be included in the scheme, operated by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). As that date looms, legislators and business owners alike have been pushing for relief……(Editor’s Note:  Does the word schadenfreude come to mind?)

·         Forecasters warn of 'coldest August in century'... Snow set to blast Scotland...

Global Warmingmore »

This quote from ETH Zurich is actually from another just published post, but it is so grating, so anti-science, that it deserves its very own thread to highlight it. Here it is: If the model data is corrected downwards, as …more »

Australian politics is pure side-show cabaret. For Clive Palmer, it’s a smashing winner all the way ’round. It’s more photo opportunities, more Palmer-Party headlines, and a chance for him to hobnob with any international names who feel like turning up for a few days of taxpayer funded R&R to his Coolum Resort. Thus Clive disarms his opponents, networks with the odd VIP, and unnerves the government all at the same time. He can wave the Green flag in future negotiations with Abbott and co, to try to haggle extra bits and pieces in his favour. Plus he distracts people from a messy... more »

From ETH Zurich -Why global warming is taking a break The average temperature on Earth has barely risen over the past 16 years. ETH researchers have now found out why. And they believe that global warming is likely to continue … Continue reading

Health Care

What Is to Be Done with Health-Insurance Exchanges, Post-Obamacare? - John R. Graham Any time a Republican politician suggests that there is anything positive in Obamacare, the media are eager to declare that this means the Republican establishment is backing away from repealing the Affordable Care Act and wants to “fix” it instead. This, of course, is what most businesses and their lobbyists would prefer take place. They would agree with what the Kaiser Family Foundation insists in its consistent drumbeat of monthly polls, including its latest finding that “over half the public has an unfavorable view of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in July, up eight percentage points since last month,” but that a “majority continues to prefer Congress improve ACA rather than repeal and replace.”
The single most expensive item for which the Medicare welfare program will pay claims is a power wheelchair. In 2008, Medicare “paid” for 158,185 power wheelchairs at a cost of over $490.4 million, or an average cost of $3,100.37 per power wheelchair. By contrast, the second most expensive medical line item that Medicare will pay toward is for a total knee arthroplasty, which costs $1,207 per procedure.

Healthcare Gouging Culprits - JR at Dissecting Leftism
It's no wonder why routine healthcare costs in the United States are so ridiculously high, and why health insurance premiums are skyrocketing. Today's healthcare providers are gouging patients like highway robbers. They do it because they can. Hospitals are charging patients a small fortune for the most minor of services; treatments like applying a Band-Aid to a small cut. A New Jersey man found this out the hard way when he was gouged almost $9,000 after an ER aide treated a small cut on his middle finger. The man cut his finger with a hammer and... more »

Immigration

Justice Department officials say Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson illegally targeted Latino drivers and detained people without probable cause. Johnson's attorneys say the charges are baseless.


Islam

Hamas Invested $90 Million in Tunnels to Attack Israel While Their People Live in Squalor - Ileana Johnson Rational and objective human beings ask themselves many questions, research non-revisionist history, interview survivors of wars, or search authentic and official documents before they form an opinion or take sides. Liberal progressives seem to view the world, knowledge, and revisionist history through the tinted glasses of government doctrine promoted by the mainstream media. Denis MacEoin calls the western pro-Hamas supporters the new Romantics. They chanted by the thousands in London recently in support of this terrorist organization, in support of the "myth of Islam as the path to peace."

Images of Yazidis fleeing parts of Iraq and Syria have shocked the world and the battle against the jihadists with the Islamic State has united Americans, Europeans, Kurds and Iranians. Can the Islamists be stopped?more »

'Syria' No Longer Exists  - C. Choksy & J. Choksy, World Affairs Journal
It’s time to accept that the Syrian Arab Republic established in 1946 is no more. In its place totter small regions with constantly fluctuating communal and geographical boundaries. Within those temporary enclaves, some leaders attempt to maintain or expand influence by force and ideology; others try to do so by bringing safety, food, shelter, and fuel to people caught up in havoc. Rebels of disparate religious, political, and ethnic shades—some backed by Saudi and Gulf Arab money, others inspired by nationalistic ideologies—shuffle the co... more »

Iran and Hamas were once tightly allied, but the Syrian war drove them apart. Now, after the Gaza conflict, the two sides are making up. more »

Latin America Can Help Save the Yazidis - Carlos Montaner, Miami Herald
The Yazidis know what awaits them and are trying to emigrate to the United States, Canada and Europe. Nobody talks about Latin America. Why not? If the Latin Americans were really supportive and tolerant they should grant residence visas to many Yazidi families. more »


Latin America

U.S. Living in the Past over Cuba - Global Public Square Global Public Square Remember last December when President Barack Obama shook hands with Cuban President Ral Castro at Nelson Mandela's memorial service, and got a lot of criticism for it? In truth it didn't signal any sort of a real rapprochement between the United States and Cuba. The Cuban rapprochement of note is a different one – with Vladimir Putin, who recently made the long trip to Havana. more »

Media

President Obama complained last week in an interview with the New York Times’ Thomas Friedman that American politics is increasingly dysfunctional for a number of reasons including the “Balkanization of the media.” The Balkanization of the country as a whole is just fine, as evidenced by his lawless illegal immigration policy, but the media have to be united. It’s clear that he does not value a diversity of viewpoints. According to the president, “people just watch what reinforces their deepest biases” and that’s a real problem….

Military

8,000 Navy chiefs face ax... Mark D. Faram, Navy Times
Almost 8,000 senior enlisted personnel must go before a continuation board later this year to determine whether they can continue to serve or must retire.  The board — the first since early 2013 — will convene Oct. 27, according to a Navy document released Aug. 14.  At risk are between 7,500 and 8,000 retirement-eligible active and reserve E-7s, E-8s and E-9s with at least at least three years' time in rate…..

Race

On Friday night, the city of Ferguson, Missouri was absolutely packed with militarized police. But when the looting started, they did nothing about it. In fact, news reports indicate that the police were lined up just blocks from where the looting was happening but did not make any attempt to stop it. When I first read the news reports that I am about to share with you, I could hardly believe them. I had to read them more than once just to be sure that I understood what I was reading. According to eyewitnesses, police vehicles were seen driving by some of the stores while they were being looted, and they did not respond. If the police are not even going to lift a finger to stop rampant theft, then what in the world are they there for?

When there are more people receiving government welfare than those working to support those benefits, the civilization is destined for failure. We are at that point in the “United States of Welfare. When there seems to be more people (young people) available to demonstrate the trivial actions of authorities to regulate, enforce and maintain civilization, than to be held accountable on jobs, the end is in sight. In fact, it’s already upon us, full force. Grievances are inevitable; handling them is another matter. In the Black community of today, the immediate reaction to anything that disturbs their daily lives is the knee-jerk reaction of chaos – burn the city! Trash the malls; go into full “knock-out” mode! This, my friends, is ok, perhaps in the Congo or Rwanda, but not in a civilized neighborhood……

·         'BLACK POWER'...
·         Korean Bar Bans 'Africans'...

Second Amendment

As we have made mention of before, our Declaration of Independence defined clearly that our rights come from God and those rights are unalienable. However, in the federal government and in many states, lawmakers think they are authorized to write laws that infringe on the unalienable rights of their citizens. The latest example is Massachusetts. Governor Deval Patrick signed a new, sweeping gun bill into law last week that could be picked up by other states, which grossly oversteps the bounds of government in the restriction of firearms, and citizens need to be made aware of what is going on so that they can stand up for their rights.

Pro-Gun Milwaukee Sheriff Triumphs Over Bloomberg-Backed Opponent - Joshua Cook On Tuesday, Second Amendment-loving Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. beat City of Milwaukee Police Lt. Chris Moews in the Democratic primary for sheriff. This victory is made even sweeter by the fact that former New York City Mayor and nanny-to-the-world Michael Bloomberg gave $150,000 to the Moews campaign for TV ads.

Social Commentary

I was looking around the web over the weekend and came across a story that, for most readers, would have very little effect. I scanned it and reacted similarly. I thought, okay, big deal.  A few hours later, I went back to it.  The story was of a woman who was arrested for swearing at her two kids in a Kroger supermarket in North Augusta, South Carolina. "A mother of two in South Carolina has been cuffed, hauled off to jail, and charged with disorderly conduct after she allegedly yelled at her kids to 'stop squishing the f***ing bread’  at a grocery store."  Danielle Wolfe, 22, was arrested under a city ordinance in North Augusta, South Carolina, which makes it a crime, punishable by up to 30 days in jail, to "utter while in a state of anger, in the presence of another, any bawdy, lewd or obscene words or epithets". Evidently, another shopper called police to the Kroger store about 10 PM on Sunday to report that Ms. Wolfe was swearing at her children in public…..

A recent news item suggests that if offense possibly can be taken, it will be taken. We have just been treated to studied outrage at the nicknames of the NFL’s Washington “Redskins”, Florida State University’s “Seminoles” and MLB’s Cleveland “Indians.” As my friend and colleague Randy Holcombe reminds us in a recent blog, the moniker of the “New York Yankees” may be more offensive to southerners than any of those names.  News reports now suggest that a small cadre of faculty members at the University of Mississippi want to ban the use of “Ole Miss” as the school’s nickname owing to its “racist” origins. Never mind that a survey conducted by the university itself found that a majority of respondents reported that “Ole Miss” was nothing more than convenient shorthand for “The University of Mississippi” (and it fits better on football helmets and baseball and basketball jerseys)….

Social Security

The Social Security Trustees have just released their 2014 report, which updates their actuarial estimates of when the program’s Disability Insurance (DI) trust fund and the Old Age and Survivor’s Insurance (OASI) trust fund will run out of money, forcing both disability and pension benefits to be cut.  Let’s get to the worst news first. Social Security’s Disability Insurance trust fund will be the first to be depleted, which the trustees now forecast will occur in less than two years. Under current law, when the DI trust fund is depleted in 2016, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments made to Americans with disabilities will be permanently cut by nearly one-fifth.

Terrorism

Within the next few years, autonomous vehicles—alias robot cars—could be weaponized, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) fears. In a recently disclosed report, FBI experts wrote that they believe that robot cars would be “game changing” for law enforcement. The self-driving machines could be professional getaway drivers, to name one possibility. Given the pace of developments on autonomous cars, this doesn’t seem implausible.

This and That

Is American Foreign Policy for Sale? - Daniel Drezner, Washington Post
Last week Peter Beinart threw down a pretty provocative argument about the hawkish foreign policy rhetoric coming from the crop of potential 2016 presidential candidates, particularly Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). According to Beinart, they’re in it for the money, and the money wants a more hawkish foreign policy. more »

St. Julian Assange Now Preaches to Nobody - Padraig Reidy, Telegraph
What does one do, trapped, by one’s own volition, in the same tiny space for two years? Suspended in time and space, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange would in past times have been a hermit, an ascetic, even a saint. more »

Tyranny?

The new Army manual, known as ATP 3-39.33, provides discussion and techniques about civil disturbances and crowd control operations that occur in the continental United States (CONUS) and outside the continental United States (OCONUS). This document, just published August 15, 2014  promises to change the way the "authorities" deal with protesters, even peaceful ones. The consequences of ATP 39.33 could prove deadly for protesters. Further, the provisions of this Army manual could prove to be the end of the First Amendment right to assemble peaceably….

Voter Fraud

There has been a lot of talk about the TEA Party's lack of success in 2014, but as we have seen in Mississippi, there may be reasons for that subpar performance. In June, Thad Cochran narrowly defeated Chris McDaniel (7,667 votes) in a runoff election, but McDaniel refused to concede. Almost immediately there were serious concerns raised about unethical moves made by the Cochran camp. There were reports that Thad Cochran's campaign actually bought votes from crossover democrats for $15 each in the primary. His opponent and TEA Party favorite, Chris McDaniel, has tried to stick to the high ground in subsequent weeks and address other inconsistencies in the election process. As of late last week, however, Chris McDaniel has finally filed suit.

 

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