Sunday, June 30, 2013

The master of creating mistrust speaks to the issue.

Obama to Africa: Be wary of foreign powers, even United States

President Obama pledged $7 billion in aid Sunday to provide electricity to sub-Saharan Africa, as he warned Africans to be wary of exploitation by other countries, including the U.S.
“I’m calling for America to up our game when it comes to Africa,” Mr. Obama said in a speech at the University of Capetown in South Africa, midway through his weeklong tour of the continent. “We want to unleash the power of entrepreneurship and markets to create opportunity here in Africa.”

Funds from the electricity initiative, dubbed Power Africa, will be distributed over the next five years to six countries: EthiopiaGhanaKenyaLiberiaNigeria and TanzaniaMr. Obama said the U.S. wants to help Africa without interfering like colonial powers did in the past.
“You will always find the extended hand of a friend in the United States of America,” he said.
But on his three-nation tour, the president also has been warning Africans not to automatically trust foreign powers offering help, including the U.S.
“When we look at what other countries are doing in Africa, I think our only advice is make sure it’s a good deal for Africa,” Mr. Obama told reporters in Johannesburg.
“If somebody says they want to come build something here, are they hiring African workers? If somebody says that they want to help you develop your natural resources, how much of the money is staying in Africa? … Don’t just assume that folks come here and they’re automatically benefiting Africans. And that includes the United States. Ask questions in terms of what we do.”
Although Mr. Obama has been emphasizing initiatives such as food security and international funding to combat AIDS, much of his African trip has been overshadowed by his inability to meet over the weekend with the critically ill Nelson Mandela, 94, hospitalized with a lung infection.
The president and his aides held out the possibility of a meeting with Mr. Mandela until Saturday, when Mr. Obama decided to meet instead with several members of the civil rights icon’s family, saying he didn’t want to intrude at the hospital. He praised Mr. Mandela as a “hero for the world” and said America’s prayers were with him.
Mr. Obama told the audience at the University of Capetown that Mr. Mandela inspired his first political act, when he was a 19-year-old student at Occidental College in California.
He said he was motivated to give a short speech about divesting from South African companies after learning about Mr. Mandela and other political prisoners fighting for equality in South Africa.
“My own government in the United States was not standing on their side,” Mr. Obama said. “That’s why I got involved in what was known as the divestment movement in the United States. It was the first time I ever attached myself to a cause.
“I know now that something inside me was stirring at that time, something important,” he said. “And that was the belief that I could be part of something bigger than myself, that my own salvation was bound up with those of others.”
Earlier Sunday, Mr. Obama and his family toured the South African prison that held Mr. Mandela. The president wrote in a visitors log that they were “deeply humbled” by the experience.
Mr. Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, daughters Malia and Sasha, and the Obamas’ niece Leslie Robinson arrived on Robben Island after a five-minute helicopter flight from Capetown on Marine One. They were accompanied by a press helicopter and a contingent of Secret Service agents.

They got a tour of the prison, where Mr. Mandela spent 27 years as a political prisoner, from 83-year-old former inmate Ahmed Kathrada. They also saw the small cell that Mr. Mandela once occupied.
The president and first lady paused at the prison’s logbook, and Mr. Obama wrote the following entry:
“On behalf of our family we’re deeply humbled to stand where men of such courage faced down injustice and refused to yield. The world is grateful for the heroes of Robben Island, who remind us that no shackles or cells can match the strength of the human spirit. Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, 30 June 2013.”

I can assure him that there are lots of Americans who don't trust his America. Isn't paternalistic in the manner od colonialism to tell foreign countries whom to trust and how to behave?

It's how he does it at home as well. Arrogance personified


President Barack Obama told American reporters to "behave" during a joint press conference with President Jacob Zuma of South Africa on Saturday. 

Obama was warning U.S. journalists not to ask too many questions in one, complaining that "my press" tried too squeeze "three or four or five questions in there," complimenting Zuma on his more compliant media. 
(The Associated Press noted that "both U.S. and South African reporters asked multi-part questions," though seconded Obama's description of U.S. journalists as "his press corps.")
Press freedom is being challenged in South Africa, where the ruling African National Congress (ANC) chafes at criticism of its difficulties and resents exposure of its numerous corruption scandals. Television networks are dominated by the government-owned South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), which favors a pro-ANC line, and Internet media growth has been stunted by the state telecommunications monopoly, Telkom. 
Yet Zuma, though frequently at loggerheads with local media, would hardly dare tell them to "behave."
Obama's admonition of American journalists is not the first time he has rebuked them in the presence of a foreign leader, on foreign soil. 
In March, during a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he scolded NBC reporter Chuck Todd for asking several questions, saying an Israeli reporter who asked only one question had "behaved" better. 
Despite enjoying the support of mainstream media, Obama has often remained aloof from the press, and the recent AP/Rosen scandals have deepened the mistrust.

The cesspool that is the middle east


Syrian Catholic priest Francois Murad killed last weekend by jihadi fighters was beheaded, according to a report by Catholic Online which is linking to video purportedly showing the brutal murder.
As TheBlaze reported last week, Murad, 49, was setting up a monastery in Gassanieh, northern Syria. Last Sunday, on the Christian leader’s Sabbath, extremist militants trying to topple President Bashar Assad breached the monastery and grabbed Murad.
While earlier reports suggested Murad may have been shot to death, Catholic Online reported Saturday: “The Vatican is confirming the death by beheading of Franciscan Father, Francois Murad, who was martyred by Syrian jihadists on June 23.”
Catholic Priest Beheaded in Syria by Al Qaeda Linked Rebels as Men and Children Cheer on and Take Pictures
Syrian Catholic priest Francois Murad (Photo courtesy: Syria Report)
The Catholic news service quotes local sources who report that the radical Al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra, or Al-Nusra Front, was behind the savage killing.
In video posted by Live Leak purporting to show the execution, dozens of men and boys are seen cheering on as three men are seated on the ground awaiting their grisly fate.
The men are methodically beheaded one at a time by men holding what appears to be a simple kitchen knife after which the heads are placed on top of the bodies.
According to Catholic Online, the first victim was Murad.
A frenzy ensues, with dozens drawing out their smartphones to capture the bloody scene, as a chorus of Allahu Akbar (“Allah is the greatest”) are sung with jihadi rapture. Several observers are seen moving within inches of the bodies in an effort to capture close-up photos.
Catholic Priest Beheaded in Syria by Al Qaeda Linked Rebels as Men and Children Cheer on and Take Pictures
Men are poised with cameras waiting to capture photos of beheading scene in Syria, as frenzied shouts of Allahu Akbar are heard (Screenshot: Live Leak)

Catholic Online is raising alarm that western nations are providing support to the rebels who have shown a proclivity toward persecuting Christians:
This should make it clear to Christians around the world what jihadists are about. Make no mistake. Catholics and Christians around the globe are under dire threat, particularly from the spread of militant Islam. Until the threat is recognized and taken seriously, martyrdoms like this will continue.
Vatican Radio reports that Gassanieh, a village with a majority Christian population, had been under attack by Islamist fighters for the past few weeks, forcing most residents to flee for safety.
It quotes Custos of the Holy Land, Franciscan Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa who says, “Unfortunately Syria has now become a battleground not only between Syrian forces, but also between Arab countries and the international community. And those paying the price are the poor, the young and the Christians. That the international community must put a stop to all this”.
Pizzaballa told the Vatican News Agency, “The world must know that the support of gunmen by the west is helping extremists in killing Syrians.
“With such stances, not a single Christian will remain in the East,” he added.
Vatican Radio writes, “Fr. Mourad was just one of the many men and women religious putting their faith on the front line in Syria, refusing to abandon the communities they serve, Christian and Muslim. They stay because they want to be a sign of hope, light and comfort to people in the midst of destruction.”

I guess that gig in North Korea is out, right?

Jenny from the Eastern Bloc: Lopez forced to apologize for singing happy birthday to brutal Turkmen dictator accused of torture 

  • Jennifer Lopez performed at birthday celebration concert for Turkmenistan president Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow
  • Berdimuhamedow leads one of 'the most repressive regimes in the world,' according to Human Rights Watch

Succinctly put

A climate demagogue

Even those who believe that emissions of carbon dioxide are causing unacceptable warming of the earth — and frankly the evidence for that is thus far less than convincing — should be ashamed of President Obama’s demagogic arguments for action.
The fact sheet on the president’s speech this week said carbon “pollution” is “contributing to higher rates of asthma attacks and more frequent and severe floods and heat waves.” His measures would “protect the health of our children.”
“For the children” usually means the orator has run out of good arguments.

It’s the first assertion we’ve seen that carbon dioxide produces or worsens asthma. The Environmental Protection Agency has never asserted that. The only way a child could be hurt by carbon dioxide, essential for plant life and produced in human breath, would be by being hit in the head with a block of dry ice — frozen carbon dioxide.
In a second badly misnamed “fact sheet” — this one specifically for Massachusetts — the White House seeks to blame “climate change” for tropical storm Irene, emergency room visits due to heat stress in 2009 (it did not include “facts” on whether that was up or down from previous years or even since 2009) and 2,380 cases of Lyme disease.
Yes to hear the Obama administration tell it, we are indeed simply doomed.
However, most international and national agencies have found no increase in storm activity. Warming? The alarmist British Meteorological Office finds no warming since 1998 while the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere has increased by 7.4 percent.
Doomsday scenarios depend largely on unreliable computer models whose builders have no explanation for such conflicts.
Professor John Christy of the University of Alabama at Huntsville, a skeptic, calculates that a 50 percent reduction in annual U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide by 2050 — a far greater reduction than Obama seeks — would, according to current models, produce in 2100 a reduction in average temperature of 0.13 degree Fahrenheit.
Without believable computer models, it’s senseless to follow Obama down the road of economic self-mutilation.

                                We should really start worrying when the weather stops changing.

When technology isn't ready no amount of wishful thinking will make it so.

MTA hasn't purchased a hybrid bus in three years - and new diesel engines could make a return

The MTA’s electric revolution is grinding to a halt.
The agency hasn’t purchased an electric-diesel hybrid bus in three years, and as many as 389 — 23 percent of all its hybrids — could be retrofitted with new diesel engines soon, MTA officials revealed to The Post.
Union officials warned that the switch will come with a great cost — to the public’s health.
“It’s a slap in the face if they start going back to diesel again,” said a skeptical transit-union source. “It’s not good for people’s lungs.”
But the city may not have a choice, since hybrids haven’t worked very well, an insider says. Maintenance workers “constantly” have to repair hybrid engines.
ROLLING TO A STOP: MTA is pulling out some broken hybrid engines and replacing them with all-diesels.
Helayne Seidman
ROLLING TO A STOP: MTA is pulling out some broken hybrid engines and replacing them with all-diesels.
“The electric-traction motors are burning out,” the source said. “They’re so expensive to replace that it’ll be cheaper to stick a diesel engine in there.”
A July 2012 contract between the MTA and Indiana-based engine manufacturer Cummins Inc. confirms that the MTA is evaluating how to convert hybrid buses to a “diesel-engine-only application.”
The switch comes at a time when both President Obama and Mayor Bloomberg are calling on government to reduce emissions by using cleaner fuel sources and adopting more efficient fuel standards.
But the MTA argued that new diesel engines are actually cleaner than hybrids, which conform to 2004 Environmental Protection Agency emission standards, according to Henry Sullivan, the MTA’s chief maintenance officer for buses. The new diesel engines conform to stricter 2007 standards.
“When we first went with the hybrid in 2004 that was the way to go,” he said. The diesel is “better than the hybrid now.”
The new diesels “approach or exceed the emissions profile of a hybrid electric,” added spokesman Charles Seaton. “In high-speed operation, they work better.”
According to Seaton, 1,677 out of 5,719 city buses are hybrids.
The ones operating in Manhattan will not be phased out because they stop more frequently, and the electric components of hybrid engines function better with more stops.
Hybrid engines that would be replaced are in buses that roll in the outer boroughs, where high-speed transit and less frequent stops are more common, Seaton said.
“The power plant on a hybrid engine is a diesel engine,” he emphasized.
But the TWU source argued that better fuel efficiency is not the primary reason for the phase-out — it’s the cost of fixing and replacing the hybrids’ traction motor, which is supposed to last as long as the bus itself.
A five-year warranty on 100 hybrid buses is set to expire, which means repairs to the buses’ engines will no longer be covered by the manufacturer, the source said — meaning the MTA would now have to pay for fixing them.
The MTA began phasing out all-diesel bus engines in favor of electric-diesel hybrids about 15 years ago. The first 10 hybrids, which cost $1 million each, began running in 1998. Ten years later, the authority introduced the roll-out of 850 hybrids, billing them as “sleek, modernistic and efficient.”
When the MTA last ordered hybrids about three years ago, it paid between $700,000 and $800,000 apiece for them, Seaton said. Since 2010,the agency has purchased $500,000 diesel buses because they’ve become more fuel-efficient.
Back then, each hybrid saved the authority about 50,000 gallons of diesel fuel. The batteries were also more efficient than their diesel engine forebears and weigh 800 lbs. less than the 4,000 lb. lead-acid batteries in those diesel buses.
But the hybrids have come with their share of problems too.
Two burst into flames in 2009. And last year, The Post revealed that scofflaws were using a switch located on the outside of the buses to shut them down while in service.

The presidents are fund raisers, the professors teach a few hours a week and the teaching assistant get paid slave wages. Some system.

College presidents getting hundreds of thousands in extra pay from foundations

Six-figure taxpayer-funded salaries, generous housing allowances and chauffeur-driven cars don’t seem to be enough for the leadership of New York’s public colleges and universities.
They also need low-interest or interest-free loans and hundreds of thousands in extra pay. And the public they serve may have no idea.
The extras are hidden in private foundations linked to City College, Baruch College, Stony Brook University and other institutions.
Dr. Kenneth Kaushansky, dean of the Stony Brook University School of Medicine, collected a taxpayer-funded salary of $387,500 in 2010 and got another $400,000 from the Stony Brook Foundation. The foundation also lent him $600,000 at an interest rate of no more than 2 percent, documents show.
His state salary rose to $395,250 the next year, and he collected $319,679 from the foundation.
Stony Brook University President Samuel Stanley was paid $400,000 in state money in 2011 and got another $250,000 from the Stony Brook Foundation. He also has a housing allowance and use of a car.
Stanley is the highest-paid public-university president in the state, according to a recent Chronicle of Higher Education survey.
The foundation “is able to help the university attract top talent and foster excellence in a very competitive market,” said a Stony Brook University spokeswoman.
When City College hired Lisa Coico from Temple University in 2010, it paid her $300,000 with taxpayer money. But the City College Fund kicked in another $100,000 a year, compensation that is not disclosed on the group’s tax filings, which list her as working 10 hours a week.
A college spokesman recently told The Post that Coico’s salary was just $300,000.
Baruch College President Mitchel Wallerstein is paid $300,000 and gets an extra $75,000 from the Baruch College Fund, which is not detailed in the group’s tax filing.
The salary arrangements for the college presidents was negotiated by the system’s chancellor “consistent with the marketplace realities of attracting and retaining the highly skilled talent needed to lead our colleges and our university,” said CUNY spokesman Michael Arena.
Meanwhile, students are straining to meet soaring tuition, after trustees in 2011 approved $300-per-student increases for five years for the state and city college systems.
The union is pressing for state legislation that would make the college foundations subject to the state’s open-records law.
“We feel strongly that the funding of the college foundations and the expenditure of funds should be transparent,” said Barbara Bowen, president of the CUNY Professional Staff Congress, the union representing faculty and staff.
Pay packages to university officials became an issue this year when former New York University executive Jack Lew was undergoing congressional confirmation hearings as treasury secretary. The school lent Lew $1.4 million, part of which was forgiven in a rich exit package.
The foundations tied to CUNY and SUNY schools give out scholarships and provide research money.
The Brooklyn College Foundation compensated five college employees last year, including President Karen Gould, whose state salary is $255,000.
Gould worked 12 hours a week for the foundation and received $75,448 in 2011 and $24,898 in unspecified benefits, the group’s latest tax filings show.
But Gould did not list this “non-state” income on her state financial-disclosure form.
CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein, who is a board member of the Research Foundation of the City University of New York, also failed to list that membership on his disclosure form, or the $19,292 in income that came with it.
Goldstein’s total pay is $490,000 plus a $90,000-a-year housing allowance and a car and driver.
It is unclear whether Gould and Goldstein needed permission to do the outside work for the foundations, which are independent non-profits. Such approval is required for some state workers.
Arena insisted they were not employed by the foundations, even though federal tax filings suggest otherwise.
Some of the state college executives who got fat bonuses from private donor-funded foundations:
Kenneth Kaushansky
* Dean, Stony Brook University Medical School
* Taxpayer salary: $395,250
* University foundation bonus: $319,679
* Total: $714,929
Karen Gould
* President, Brooklyn College
* Taxpayer salary: $255,000
* College foundation bonus: $75,448
* Total: $330,448
Samuel Stanley
* President, Stony Brook University
* Taxpayer salary: $400,000
* University foundation bonus: $250,000
* Total: $650,000
Lisa Coico
* President, City College
* Taxpayer salary: $300,000
* College fund bonus: $100,000
* Total: $400,000