Saturday, August 29, 2015
"What a lie! For nothing they give only five years."...more
A woman walks into a Russian food store. "Do you have any meat?"
"No, we don't."
"What about milk?"
"We only deal with meat. Across the street there is that store where they have no milk."...more
A man walks into a Russian green grocer and inquires about the price of beets. When told that they cost 2 rubles, the shopper yells "you're a thief. Across the street they sell beets for 1/2 a ruble.
The grocer tells the man that he can't match the price and tells the man to go across the street to shop.
The man replies, "are you crazy? He hasn't had beets in months."
Have you heard about the new Obama diet?
You let Putin eat your lunch everyday.
But both countries were also secretive, absolute monarchies, and they found themselves thrust into competition with the freer countries Holland and Great Britain. Holland, in particular, with a government that didn't try to control information, became the information center of Europe — the place traders went to find out vital information which they then used as the basis of their projects and investments. The large empires, on the other hand, had economies so centrally planned that the monarch himself would often make detailed economic decisions. As these secretive monarchies tried to prop up their economies, they ended up in unsustainable positions that invariably led to bankruptcy, collapse and conflict.
In Spain, the result was a slow collapse, which has left it and its former empire suffering from perpetual economic crisis and political instability. In France, an open society would eventually be born through monarchial bankruptcy that pulled down banks around Europe, and ended in violent revolution and the vastly destructive Napoleonic wars.'
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
The letter states: "AI technology has reached a point where the deployment of [autonomous weapons] is – practically if not legally – feasible within years, not decades, and the stakes are high:'
Musk and Hawking have warned that AI is "our biggest existential threat" and that the development of full AI could "spell the end of the human race". But others, including Wozniak have recently changed their minds on AI, with the Apple co-founder saying that robots would be good for humans, making them like the "family pet and taken care of all the time".
'To understand China's predicament, Mr. Dollar compared its experience with some of the best known stories of successful economic development of the last half-century: Japan, which reached China's income level per capita in the early 1970s; Taiwan, which passed this threshold in the early 1980s; and South Korea, which hit it around 1990.
What is most striking is not how all three countries followed quite similar paths, but how China's trajectory has diverged from the others'.
Household spending was always the main source of demand in all three, declining gradually to about 50 percent of gross domestic product when they were about as rich as China is today. Investment rates, which rose sharply in the early stages of their development, peaked at that time at around 35 percent of G.D.P.
By these metrics, China's economy is upside down: Consumer spending by households is only 35 percent of the nation's G.D.P. — one of the lowest levels in the world. Its investment rate — nearly 50 percent of G.D.P. — is extraordinarily high. And the productivity of this investment is dismal.'
Elsewhere in Helmand, two men in military uniforms opened fire in the former British base of Camp Bastion, killing two NATO soldiers.
In the first summer fighting season since foreign troops formally stepped back from combat roles in the Afghan war, the Taliban have pushed into a number of districts but have struggled to hold them when the Afghan army counter-attacks.'
Of the 1,130,818 immigrants who were granted legal permanent residency in 2009, a total of 747,413 were family sponsored immigrants -- 66 percent.'
The Soviet Union was a strange kind of petrostate. In 1985, fuel accounted for 52.7 percent of its exports. But only 24.7 percent of the exported crude, 61.6 percent of oil products and 45 percent of natural gas were sold for hard currency, in other words, at market prices. The rest was supplied to Comecon countries for "transfer rubles," the Soviet Bloc's common currency, or was bartered to other nations within the Soviet orbit. Satellite countries were able to obtain oil and gas in exchange for goods the Soviet Union didn't particularly need. This was, in effect, a system of subsidies.
Much of the hard currency earned by exports to the capitalist world was used to purchase grain. The collectivization of farming under Stalin and the subsequent decline of Soviet agriculture turned Russia from the No. 1 grain exporter into the biggest importer. '
This was a time when the party strayed far into the electoral wilderness, then succumbed to years of infighting as modernisers like Mr Mandelson, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown wrenched it away from the loony left and led it back to power after 18 years in opposition. Three decades on, however, one of the losers in that battle—Jeremy Corbyn, the hard-left MP for Islington North—is on the verge of winning the party leadership. Once more a period of introspection and infighting looms.'
In response, the city of Chicago is experimenting with having local taxes collected on cloud computing services and streaming music and video. Other state governments like Tennessee and Idaho are experimenting with new taxes as well….
Yahoo Finance's Michael Santoli says while the Netflixs of the world may not like it, it's not surprising that these tax schemes are arising. "Many [local goverments] have done it under the guise of 'you can tax services as well,' so I do think that it's a very predictable thing when you see these municipalities losing revenue from a big consumer area and essentially trying to replace that."'
Starting in 2018, employers pay a 40% tax on costs of health plans that are above $10,200 per individual and $27,500 for family coverage.
The Kaiser Family Foundation, which looked at a sampling of nearly 2,000 employers that range in size from more than 5,000 workers to fewer than five employees, said the tax could impact even more employers as their costs rise. Kaiser researchers said nearly one-third, or 30%, of employers could be affected by 2023, rising to 42% of employers in 2028'
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
The petition was launched earlier this month by British citizen Damian Moran and is posted on the government's website.
"Under international law he (Netanyahu) should be arrested for war crimes upon arrival in the UK for the massacre of over 2,000 civilians in 2014," Moran said, referring to the 51-day offensive by Israeli forces in Gaza last year.
If the number of signatories reaches 100,000, the petition can be considered for debate in Britain's parliament. '
The central bank's action came after a global stock market rout in which China's markets led the declines. The main Shanghai share index plunged another 7.6 percent on Tuesday, to its lowest level this year. That brought its three-day decline to 22 percent and signaled that two months' worth of attempts by the government to prop up stock prices had limited effects.
In an aggressive two-part move on Tuesday, the central bank lowered the benchmark lending and deposit rates by 0.25 of a percentage point. It also cut the so-called reserve requirement ratio for the amount of cash that banks are required to hold in reserve by 0.5 of a percentage point. It was China's fifth interest rate cut since November, and the fourth reduction of the reserve ratio since February. The central bank made a similar tandem cut to both rates in June, when the stock market first began to fall from its peak, but that reduction of the reserve ratio did not apply to the biggest banks.'
Monday, August 24, 2015
Friday, August 21, 2015
In contrast with the US, Russia has large units dedicated to electronic warfare, known as EW, which it dedicates to ground electronic attack, jamming communications, radar and command-and-control nets…
Thursday, August 20, 2015
'The Tony Soprano Enabling Act
Labor gangsterism—mob-run labor unions that loot pension funds, make back-room deals with both politicians and companies that favor union management over workers, and support crooked big city machines as part of a strategy to keep law enforcement at bay—is one of America's oldest union traditions. How important has the mob been in labor history? Ask Jimmy Hoffa, if you can find him.
Now, a recent rash of minimum wage laws have created a huge new opportunity for mafia enrichment: laws that hike the minimum wage to utterly unrealistic levels, but allow companies to pay less than the minimum wage—if the low wages are part of a collective bargaining agreement with a labor union. WSJ:
More than 20 U.S. cities and counties, recently including Los Angeles and Kansas City, Mo., have set minimum wages above state and federal levels. Some will eventually reach more than twice the federal rate of $7.25 an hour.
In at least a half-dozen of those communities, the pay-floor ordinances include a provision allowing unions to waive the wage mandates as part of a collective-bargaining agreement.…
the real answer is the exemptions create an incentive to force companies like hotels and fast food chains to recognize labor unions precisely so they can keep labor costs down..
One way to stop that would be for state governments to intervene and outlaw minimum wage laws that offer labor loopholes. There should not be two classes of workers in American states, and private organizations like labor unions should not be able to grant exemptions to public laws.'
This is a new one in the history of arms control. Parchin is the military complex long suspected as the home of Iran's nuclear-weapons and ballistic-missile development.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Le Luong Minh, secretary-general of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, said ASEAN foreign ministers expressed concerns in a meeting Tuesday over massive Chinese island-building activities that have escalated tensions in the area.…
the amount of land reclaimed by Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan in the disputed area over the last 45 years totals 40 hectares (100 acres), a fraction of the more than 1,200 hectares (3,000 acres) reclaimed by China in the last 18 months alone.'
And for what? The purported benefit is to avoid an imperceptible 0.02 degree Celsius increase in global temperatures by the year 2100. That's the official EPA estimate of the benefits of this Clean Air Plan. You must be kidding.
A majority of those killed are understood to be firefighters first on the scene and engulfed by a much larger second explosion. Many were aged just 17 and earned less than 3000 renminbi ($640) a month.
'Deputy head Dong Shexuan is the son of a former police chief of Tianjin port.
"My connections is in police and fire. When we needed a fire inspection, I went to meet officials at the Tianjin port fire squad. I gave them the files and soon they gave me the appraisal," Dong said, according to Xinhua.
The warehouse was storing hundreds of tonnes of sodium cyanide, far more than legally allowed, it has emerged.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
The numbers are far higher than the record 438,000 asylum applications in 1992 during the Bosnian crisis.
Few arrivals from Balkan countries such as Albania or Kosovo are granted asylum in Germany and the government in Berlin is currently considering measures aimed at discouraging Balkan migrants from arriving.'
Monday, August 17, 2015
The declaration, titled "the Blessed Aksa Mosque Document" and signed by scores of religious figures, expressed their objections to Israeli and Jordanian understandings that allow Jews to visit the Temple Mount and to claims that the two countries had agreed to jointly supervise archeological excavations at the holy site.
The declaration was initiated by the Islamic Supreme Commission, which is headed by former Jerusalem mufti Sheikh Ekrima Sabri.
The Israeli presence in Jerusalem, the sheikh emphasized, was an "illegal occupation," and added that Israel has no sovereignty over the Aksa Mosque.
Sabri told journalists at the press conference that the Aksa Mosque, as well as all the area surrounding it and above and beneath it, was "purely and exclusively sacred to Muslims."
Neither Jews nor any other party had any right to the site, "not even one grain of soil," he said, adding that entering the site is considered an incursion of Palestinian Muslim rights.'
The $5 billion-plus purchase is likely just the first of many more as America's Middle Eastern allies arm themselves in response to the nuclear deal, which would lift Iran's conventional-arms embargo sanctions in five years and sanctions on long-range missile projects in eight.
"We're going to see more of this," Karako said. "So long as the Iranian missile threat exists, GCC and other countries in the region are going to have to invest in counters offensive and defensive."
The Obama administration's warning to Beijing is likely to increase tensions between the two countries ahead of an official visit by President Xi Jingping to Washington next month.'
Sunday, August 16, 2015
A National Security Agency briefing from 2014 showed that the intrusion was first detected in April 2010, and the attacks are still ongoing, according to a senior intelligence official who spoke to NBC.
The issue, says Parkinson and dozens of other sheriffs and police chiefs across California and Arizona, is that, while Immigration and Customs Enforcement routinely asks departments to hold prisoners like Chavez until they can take custody of them for deportation, the local law enforcement officials believe doing so will expose them to lawsuits.
Thursday, August 13, 2015
Beijing's devaluation of the yuan allowed it to fall by its biggest one-day margin in a decade. The central bank said the 1.9% decline was due to changes aimed at making the way it sets exchange rates more market-oriented. The U.S. dollar also gained against the yen, Indian rupee, South Korean and other Asian currencies.'
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
The SEC initially filed fraud charges under seal on Aug. 10 in the U.S. District Court in Newark, N.J. The Justice Department announced criminal charges against several of the same defendants, including the alleged hackers, Ivan Turchynov and Oleksandr Ieremenko.
The Ukrainian men are said to have led the scheme over a five-year period. They hacked at least two newswire services, stealing hundreds of corporate earnings announcements before they were released.
The two hackers created a secret location on the Internet to send stolen data to traders in Russia, the Ukraine, Malta, Cyprus, France, and three U.S. states: Georgia, New York and Pennsylvania. In some cases, the traders shared a portion of their illicit profits with the hackers.'
In the video, the men, wearing traditional tribal clothes and with blindfolds around their heads are made to kneel in front of machine gun-toting jihadists clothed fully in black.
A scene that was filmed earlier showed the Islamic State fighters burying explosives in mounds on which the captives would later sit.
The men were accused by the so-called Khorasan province of the Islamic State of collaborating with the Taliban and Pakistan's intelligence agency against the Sunni jihadist group that aims to establish a global caliphate'
"We will continue to use tax policy to maintain steady economic growth by helping through tax reduction to stimulate the economy when it is sluggish." – 1968 Democratic Party Platform
"We reject ..the big government theory that says we can..tax and spend our way to prosperity..We honor business as a noble endeavor." -- 1992 Democratic Party Platform
"Today's Democratic Party knows that the era of big government is over. Big bureaucracies and Washington solutions are not the real answers to today's challenges. We need a smaller government." – 1996 Democratic Party Platform
"We have ended the era of big government; it's time to end the era of old government…Democrats believe in supporting the startups, the small businesses, and the entrepreneurs that are making the New Economy go." -- 2000 Democratic Party Platform
"We promise to cut taxes for 98% of Americans…We believe the private sector, not government, is the engine of economic growth and job creation." -- 2004 Democratic Party Platform
"The American people do not want government to solve all our problems..We will shine a light on government spending." -- 2008 Democratic Party Platform
"What is the difference between a Democrat and a socialist? I used to think there was a big difference. What do you think?"--MSNBC's Chris Matthews to Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL)
"The difference between….the real question is what's the difference between being a Democrat and being a Republican." -- Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), avoiding Matthews' question
Five years after the immaculate recovery declared by Vice President Joe Biden in the summer of 2010, the U.S. still faces dismal job and wage growth, with more small businesses shuttering than opening, a first for the U.S. economy since the Carter Administration.
What could fix all that?
For the Democrats to stop their identity crisis and return to their economic growth plans built on their small government, low-tax platforms.'
The rescue plan, outlined in a 20-hour negotiating session in an Athens hotel, would provide aid worth up to 86 billion euros, or about $94.4 billion, to Greece in exchange for harsh austerity terms. It also acknowledged that the economy has been so severely damaged that it is now likely to wallow in recession through at least next year.
But whether the accord would satisfy Germany, or be ratified by other European governments in time to send Greece new aid to make a crucial €3.2 billion payment to the European Central Bank on Aug. 20, remained to be seen.
Martin Chaudhuri, a spokesman for the German Finance Ministry, said that Berlin had not yet been notified of an agreement. Should a deal emerge, "we are ready to evaluate it quickly," he said.
"What we have is a technical-level agreement," Annika Breidthardt, a spokeswoman for the European Commission, told a daily news conference on Tuesday, referring to the negotiations with the government in Athens. "What we don't have at the moment is a political agreement."'
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: "It is the mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to erase Israel from the map of the region." (2001)
Hassan Nasrallah, a leader of Hezbollah: "If they [Jews] all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide." (2002)
Nasrallah: "Israel is our enemy. This is an aggressive, illegal, and illegitimate entity, which has no future in our land. Its destiny is manifested in our motto: 'Death to Israel.'" (2005)
Yahya Rahim Safavi, the former commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps: "With God's help the time has come for the Zionist regime's death sentence." (2008)
Mohammad Hassan Rahimian, Khamenei's representative to the Moustazafan Foundation: "We have manufactured missiles that allow us, when necessary to replace [sic] Israel in its entirety with a big holocaust." (2010)
Mohammad Reza Naqdi, the commander of the Basij paramilitary force: "We recommend them [the Zionists] to pack their furniture and return to their countries. And if they insist on staying, they should know that a time while arrive when they will not even have time to pack their suitcases." (2011)
Khamenei: "The Zionist regime is a cancerous tumor and it will be removed." (2012)
Ahmad Alamolhoda, a member of the Assembly of Experts: "The destruction of Israel is the idea of the Islamic Revolution in Iran and is one of the pillars of the Iranian Islamic regime. We cannot claim that we have no intention of going to war with Israel." (2013)
Nasrallah: "The elimination of Israel is not only a Palestinian interest. It is the interest of the entire Muslim world and the entire Arab world." (2013)
Hojateleslam Alireza Panahian, the advisor to Office of the Supreme Leader in Universities: "The day will come when the Islamic people in the region will destroy Israel and save the world from this Zionist base." (2013)
Hojatoleslam Ali Shirazi, Khamenei's representative in the Revolutionary Guard: "The Zionist regime will soon be destroyed, and this generation will be witness to its destruction." (2013)
Khamenei: "This barbaric, wolflike & infanticidal regime of Israel which spares no crime has no cure but to be annihilated." (2014)
Hossein Salami, the deputy head of the Revolutionary Guard: "We will chase you [Israelis] house to house and will take revenge for every drop of blood of our martyrs in Palestine, and this is the beginning point of Islamic nations awakening for your defeat." (2014)
Salami: "Today we are aware of how the Zionist regime is slowly being erased from the world, and indeed, soon, there will be no such thing as the Zionist regime on Planet Earth." (2014)
Hossein Sheikholeslam, the secretary-general of the Committee for Support for the Palestinian Intifada: "The issue of Israel's destruction is important, no matter the method. We will obviously implement the strategy of the Imam Khomeini and the Leader [Khamenei] on the issue of destroying the Zionists. The region will not be quiet so long as Israel exists in it ..." (2014)
Mohammad Ali Jafari, the commander-in-chief of the Revolutionary Guard: "The Revolutionary Guards will fight to the end of the Zionist regime ... We will not rest easy until this epitome of vice is totally deleted from the region's geopolitics." (2015)'
Sunday, August 9, 2015
"Qassem Soleimani is the one who has been exporting malign activities throughout the Middle East for some time now"
Qassem Soleimani, the leader of the Iranian Quds Force that is tied to terrorist activity and reports directly to the supreme leader, recently visited Moscow to meet with … Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and President Vladimir Putin'
The head of Russia's biggest oil company is warning that the world's second largest oil producing nation could soon face a fuel shortfall.
Rosneft's Igor Sechin predicts that Russia's gasoline shortage could reach 5 million tonnes a year by 2017. It produced around 38 million tonnes of gasoline in 2014, according to the energy ministry.
The expected shortfall is a result of many factors, including new tax rules, a weakening economy and Western sanctions that are hurting Russia's oil refining businesses. This is pushing fuel prices up, even as oil prices have plunged.
The answer is: a much, much milder version of the Obama-Clinton plan has been tried in Germany—and it has already impoverished millions.
• "The U.S. is dropping coal plants at an unprecedented rate, but still nowhere near as quickly as India is adding them," Bloomberg Business reckons.
"By the end of this year, some 7.5% of the U.S. coal fleet will have disappeared ... . But by 2020 India may have built about 2.5 times as much capacity as the U.S. is about to lose."
Then, of course, there's the world's biggest coal addict by far — the People's Republic of China
Lawson's calculations of how coal use is growing in China are jaw-dropping
Friday, August 7, 2015
Wednesday, August 5, 2015
Monday, August 3, 2015
Bernie Sanders wants to bring Vermont's model to all of America. Voters may want to look at the results first.'
Sunday, August 2, 2015
Juan Emmanuel Razo, 35, was arrested Monday after a shootout with police following a crime spree police say began with the attempted rape of a girl in a park in Painesville, about 30 miles northeast of Cleveland. He later shot a woman in front of her children and murdered a 60-year-old woman in nearby Concord Township, according to police. While Razo is being held on $10 million bond, authorities are trying to explain why he was allowed to remain in the U.S. illegally after local authorities questioned him just three weeks ago.
A machine at China's National University of Defense Technology in Guangzhou, called Tianhe-2 (Milky Way-2) is thought to currently be the fastest supercomputer in existence — variously reported as doing either 34 or 55 petaflops (1 petaflop is equivalent to 1 quadrillion floating-point operations per second).
The executive order, issued by Obama on Wednesday, would set up a body known as the National Strategic Computing Initiative (NSCI) to research and build what is hoped to become the first machine to hit 1 exaflop, equivalent to 1,000 petaflops…
But Industry Tap notes that such a machine would require 200 megawatts of power (compared with 3 megawatts for the current-generation machines). That means "a power plant would be required to run it."
The president's executive order is just the latest salvo in something of an international supercomputer arms race that has broken out in recent years...
A 100-petaflop machine is being developed in the U.S. and is expected to be ready by 2017...
Saturday, August 1, 2015
Now those plans may be in jeopardy. The U.S. government claims the Tianhe-2 has been used in "nuclear explosive activities," and has banned Intel from shipping its Xeon chips to four related Chinese supercomputing centers.
"I think the U.S. doesn't want the Tianhe-2 to reach 100 petaflops," said Zhang Yunquan, a professor at the Institute of Software Chinese Academy of Sciences, who also keeps track of China's top supercomputers. '
Turkey was a secular Muslim country for nearly a century until 2002, when Erdogan's Islamic Justice and Development Party (AKP) rose to power.
Turkey is currently providing shelter for nearly 2 million Syrian refugees, and that figure is projected to rise another 500,000 by the end of 2015...
"Deniz told the interviewing agents that he shot the victims because he was getting tired of waiting around, and because the daughter laughed at him."