Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Microsoft to charge Europeans double for Windows 7

Computerworld - European customers will pay up to twice as much for Windows 7 compared to U.S. users, even though the new operating system will ship without a browser in Europe, according to Microsoft.

When the company launches Windows 7 on Oct. 22, it will price Windows 7 Home Premium, likely the most popular of the three editions available at retail, at €119.99 in the European Union (EU) and charge £79.99 in the U.K., an EU member that has retained its own currency. Those prices are the equivalent to $168.66 and $132.14 U.S., respectively, at Saturday's exchange rates.

U.S. consumers will pay only $119 for the same software after a two-week pre-order sales discount expires July 11. That means EU residents will pay 41% more, and U.K. consumers 10% more, than U.S. buyers for Home Premium Upgrade.

Other editions will come with an even higher surcharge. Windows 7 Professional, the key retail edition for businesses, will sport a price tag of €285, or $400.60, and £189.99, or $313.84, at Saturday's exchange rate. In other words, EU customers will pay twice the $199.99 U.S. price; U.K. buyers will pay 57% more.

The top-end Windows 7 Ultimate, priced at $219.99 in the U.S., will cost €299 ($420.27), or 91% more, in the EU, and £229.99 ($330.36), or 50% more, in the U.K.

Some of the money Microsoft stands to make on the European editions of Windows 7 comes from the weak dollar. Last week, for instance, the dollar fell against the euro the most in a month, hitting $1.41 per euro.

According to Microsoft, it's also not reducing Windows 7's prices from Vista's current marks as much in the EU as it is in the U.S. Windows 7 Home Premium's EU price is down €6, or 4% from the same Vista edition, half the 8% cut that Microsoft made to Home Premium in the U.S. In the U.K., Microsoft left prices untouched; Windows 7 will be priced the same as Vista.

Europe's customers will be paying more for less, as Microsoft has decided to yank Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) from Windows 7 in an effort to head off EU antitrust regulators, who may still force the company to take more drastic measures.

Earlier this month, Microsoft announced that it was dropping IE8 from Windows 7 for customers in the EU, and would ship a browser-less edition, dubbed Windows 7E. Instead, Microsoft said computer makers could decide which browser or browsers to install.

But Windows 7E presents special problems for people who intend to upgrade existing computers from Windows Vista to the new OS. Because Microsoft won't allow EU users to do "in-place" upgrades -- which would leave some version of IE on the machine -- the company isn't selling "Upgrade" editions. Instead, it's selling the "Full" editions, which are usually more expensive, at "Upgrade" prices. (The prices quoted above, for example, compare U.S. Upgrade editions with EU Full editions, since the latter has been marked down.)

It's unclear whether Microsoft's move will mollify EU officials. Although most analysts saw yanking IE8 as a major concession, EU's antitrust agency hasn't exactly warmed to the idea." Rather than more choice, Microsoft seems to have chosen to provide less," the European Commission said in a statement issued after Microsoft's June 11 announcement.

The EU's preferred solution seems to be a "ballot screen" that users would see the first time they try to connect to the Internet from Windows 7. Such a screen would presumably offer multiple browsers, including IE, Mozilla's Firefox, Apple's Safari and Opera Software's Opera. Microsoft and computer makers dread a ballot screen, analysts have said, because of potential support problems.

Users in the U.K., France and Germany will also be able to buy Windows 7 at steep discounts for a limited time starting July 15, a program mimicking the one kicked off last Friday in the U.S., Canada and Japan. The pre-order discounting will trim the price of Windows 7 Home Premium to £49.99 in the U.K. and €49.99 in France and Germany until Aug. 14, assuming supplies last. Windows 7 Professional's sales price will be £99.99 in the U.K and €109.99 in France and Germany.

Cap and Trade Will Lead to Capital Flight

In my last column, I joked that with public spending out of control and the piling on of the international bailout bill, economic collapse seems to be the goal of Congress. It is getting harder to joke about such a thing however, as the non-partisan General Accounting Office (GAO) has estimated that the administration’s health care plan would actually cost over a trillion dollars. This reality check may have given us a temporary reprieve on this particular disastrous policy, however an equally disastrous energy policy reared its ugly head on Capitol Hill last week.

The Cap and Trade Bill HR 2454 was voted on last Friday. Proponents claim this bill will help the environment, but what it really does is put another nail in the economy’s coffin. The idea is to establish a national level of carbon dioxide emissions, and sell pollution permits to industry as the Catholic Church used to sell indulgences to sinners. HR 2454 also gives federal bureaucrats new power to regulate a wide variety of household appliances, such as light bulbs and refrigerators, and further distorts the market by providing more of your tax money to auto companies.

The administration has pointed to Spain as a shining example of this type of progressive energy policy. Spain has been massively diverting capital from the private sector into politically favored environmental projects for the better part of a decade, and many in Washington apparently like what they see. However, under no circumstances should anyone serious about economic recovery emulate an economy that is now approaching 20 percent unemployment, where every green job created, eliminated 2.2 real jobs and cost around $800,000 each!

The real inconvenient truth is that the cost of government regulations, taxes, fees, red tape and bureaucracy is a considerable expense that has to be considered when companies decide where to do business and how many people they can afford to hire. Increasing governmental burden directly causes capital flight and job losses, as Spain has learned. In this global economy its easy enough for businesses to relocate to countries that are more politically friendly to economic growth. If our government continues to kick the economy while its down, it will be a long time before it gets back up. In fact, jobs are much more likely to go overseas, compounding our problems.

And for what? Contrary to claims repeated over and over, there is no consensus in the scientific community that global warming is getting worse or that it is manmade. In fact over 30,000 scientists signed a petition recently directly disputing the claims on which this policy is based. Legitimate environmental claims should instead be directed towards the public sector. The government, especially the military, is the most serious polluter in the country, and is exempt from most EPA regulations. Meanwhile Washington bureaucrats have classified the very air we exhale as a pollutant and have gone unchallenged in this incredible assertion. The logical consequence is that there will come a time when we will have to buy a government permit just to emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from our own lungs!

The events on Capitol Hill last week just demonstrate Washington’s audacity in manufacturing problems just so they can expand government power to solve them.

by Ron Paul


Check this link ........ http://revolutionarypolitics.com/?p=1409

Russia to hold military exercise before Obama arrival

Check this link ..... http://revolutionarypolitics.com/?p=1407

Chinese Communist Party chief stresses inner-party democracy

·CPC chief Hu Jintao has called for a vigorous improvement of inner-party democracy.
·Hu said it will help the CPC perform its duty as the ruling party in more scientific ways.
·Hu said mechanisms to ensure the inner-party democracy must be improved.

BEIJING, June 30 (Xinhua) -- Hu Jintao, chief of the Communist Party of China (CPC), has called for a vigorous improvement of inner-party democracy in order to enhance the Party's ruling capacity and leadership in the development of China.

Hu, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, presided over a meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee on Monday. The digest of his speech at the meeting was published Tuesday, one day ahead of the party's 88th birthday.

Hu said the CPC must pay greater attention to inner-party democracy and actively promote it, because this will help the CPC perform its duty as the ruling party in more scientific and democratic ways and in accordance with the law.

"We must converge the wisdom and strength of the Party to an utmost level; we must fully inspire the creativity and vigor of the Party, and we must spare no efforts to consolidate the unity of the Party," so that the Chinese people can be united under the CPC leadership to carry forward the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics, Hu said.

The realization of inner-party democracy must rely on the guarantee of all Party members' democratic rights to know, to participate, to vote and to supervise in all internal affairs of the Party, Hu said.

CPC members, nearly 76 million out of the 1.3 billion Chinese population, should be encouraged to supervise and suggest on all matters concerning inner-party democracy, such as the work to fight corruption inside the Party.

Hu said mechanisms to ensure the inner-party democracy must be improved, such as the CPC congresses at all levels, and the system to elect, supervise, evaluate and promote officials.

The CPC Central Committee Political Bureau decided Monday that the Party will reform its appraisal system on officials on the basis of merit and transparency.

The assessment system will put more emphasis on achievements made in "coordinating economic and social development, maintaining social stability, and improving people's livelihoods".


























AirAsia to sell new shares to raise up to US$143m

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian budget carrier AirAsia plans to sell new shares to raise as much as 500 million ringgit ($143 million) as it expands amid a global downturn, Chief Executive Tony Fernandes said Tuesday.

The airline will appoint bankers soon to sell the stock, which would expand the number of its shares by a fifth, in a share placement expected in the next two months, he told reporters on the sidelines of an investment conference.

"The key is that there is a demand for it. It will put us in a good position. We will grow our market share and increase our capacity," Fernandes said.

He didn't give further details.

Airlines worldwide are reeling from the global economic slump that has choked passenger and cargo traffic.

But AirAsia is increasing its routes and buying new planes, saying it is benefiting as travelers cut costs and downgrade to budget carriers amid the global economic slump.

In the quarter through March, it has expanded capacity by 19 percent as it launched seven new routes.

Its net profit in the quarter hit a record 203.2 million ringgit ($57 million), up 26 percent from a year earlier.

葛摩‧在科摩羅群島印度洋失事‧載153人‧也門客機墜海 Survivor rescued from Yemenia plane crash - official
















DUBAI (Reuters) - A survivor was rescued from the sea off the Comoros where a Yemenia airlines aircraft crashed on Tuesday, a Yemenia official said.

"We still do not know the nationality or the gender of the person rescued. We have just learned from the Comoros that one person was rescued," Mohammad al-Sumairi, deputy general manager for Yemenia operations told Reuters by telephone from Sanaa.

MORONI, Comoros – A Yemenia jet with 153 people on board crashed into the Indian Ocean on Tuesday as it tried to land during strong winds on the island nation of Comoros. Officials said one child was plucked alive from the sea.

There was no word on other survivors. At least three bodies were recovered, authorities said.

The crash comes two years after aviation officials reported faults with the aircraft, an Airbus 310 flying the last leg of a journey from Paris and Marseille to Comoros, with a stop in Yemen to change planes. Most of the passengers were from Comoros, a former French colony. Sixty-six on board were French nationals.

A child was rescued from the water after the crash, according to Rachida Abdullah, a police immigration officer who works at the operations center in the Comoros, and Yemeni civil aviation deputy chief Mohammed Abdul Qader.

Qader said he was told the child was 5 years old. Further details on the rescue and the child's condition were not immediately available.

Three bodies from the flight were retrieved along with debris from the plane, Abdullah said.

Qader said it was too early to speculate on the cause and the flight data recorder had not been found, but the wind was 40 miles per hour (61 kph) as the plane was landing in the middle of the night.

"The weather was very bad ... the wind was very strong," he said, adding the windy conditions were hampering rescue efforts.

The Yemenia plane was the second Airbus to crash into the sea in as many months. An Air France Airbus A330-200 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean May 31, killing all 228 people on board, as it flew from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.

A crisis center once again was set up at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. Many passengers were from the French city of Marseille, which has a large Comoros community.

"There is considerable dismay," said Stephane Salord, the consul general of the Comoros in the Provence-Alps-Cote d'Azur region of France. "These are families that, each year on the eve of summer, leave Marseille and the region to rejoin their families in the Comoros and spend their holidays."

In France, this week is the start of annual summer school vacations.

The Comoros is an archipelago of three main islands situated about 1,800 miles (2,900 kilometers) south of Yemen, between Africa's southeastern coast and the island of Madagascar. It is a former French colony of 700,000 people.

Gen. Bruno de Bourdoncle de Saint-Salvy, the senior commander for French forces in the southern Indian Ocean, said the Airbus 310 crashed in deep waters about 9 miles (14.5 kilometers) north of the Comoran coast and 21 miles (34 kilometers) from the Moroni airport.

French aviation inspectors found a "number of faults" during a 2007 inspection of the plane that went down, French Transport Minister Dominique Bussereau said on i-Tele television Tuesday.

In Brussels, EU Transport Commissioner Antonio Tajani said the airline had previously met EU safety checks and was not on the bloc's blacklist. But he said a full investigation was now being started amid questions why passengers were put on another jet in the Yemeni capital of San'a.

An Airbus statement said the plane that crashed went into service 19 years ago, in 1990, and had accumulated 51,900 flight hours. It has been operated by Yemenia (Yemen Airways) since 1999. Airbus said it was sending a team of specialists to the Comoros.

The A310-300 is a twin-engine widebody jet that can seat up to 220 passengers. There are 214 A310s in service worldwide with 41 operators.

Christophe Prazuck, French military spokesman, said a patrol boat and reconnaissance ship were being sent to the crash site as well a military transport plane. The French were sending divers as well as medical personnel, he said.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy "expressed his deep emotion" about the crash and asked the French military to help in the rescue operation, particularly from the French islands of Mayotte and Reunion.

Yemenia airline officials say the 11-member crew was made up of six Yemenis, including the pilot, two Moroccans, one Indonesian, one Ethiopian and 1 Filipino. The officials asked that their named not be used because they were not authorized to speak to the media.





日 經該篇文章指出,今年是中國超越日本的關鍵期,這不僅與世界經濟局勢的變化有關,也由於今年是中華人民共和國成立60周年,中國若在今年超越日本,就可藉 此發揚國威,日本拱手讓出第二經濟大國的位置,只是時間問題。該篇文章悲觀認為,經濟地位倒退到第三後,日本所將面對的國際情勢,將會出現巨大轉變,要如 何生存是個問題。









Beijing Expands Yuan Use for Trade

HONG KONG -- Companies in Hong Kong will be allowed to use the yuan to settle trades with their counterparts in five major Chinese cities as soon as next month, monetary authorities in mainland China and Hong Kong said.

[HKMA, PBOC] Reuters

Hong Kong Monetary Authority Chief Executive Joseph Yam, right, and People's Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan sign a yuan-settlement pact.

The pact with Hong Kong to use the yuan as a settlement currency for trade is the latest step toward Beijing's long-term aim of internationalizing the Chinese currency. At present, the yuan isn't fully convertible under the capital account.

The agreement, which had been expected, will also allow Hong Kong banks to carry out more yuan business, a potential benefit to their earnings.

The pact, signed by the People's Bank of China and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority on Monday, will allow Hong Kong firms to settle trades in yuan with companies in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Dongguan and Zhuhai.

Zhou Xiaochuan, the governor of the People's Bank of China, said at a news conference in Hong Kong that the new arrangement "will effectively reduce risks in foreign-exchange rates and costs in translating foreign currencies while making payment," reducing overall trading costs.

Joseph Yam, chief executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, said the agreement will also "facilitate an orderly flow of yuan between Hong Kong and China.

The agreement marks "a significant milestone for Hong Kong," HSBC economist George Leung said, "as it will be the first time the yuan is involved in business activities in the city."

Hong Kong, a former British territory, uses its own currency, which is pegged to the U.S. dollar and freely convertible. Since February 2004, though, Hong Kong banks have been allowed to offer exchange, remittance, credit-card and deposit-taking services in yuan, within strict limits.

Still, the immediate impact is likely to be marginal. Even Mr. Zhou admitted Monday that, for businesses in Hong Kong, the advantages of settling trade deals in yuan "aren't very huge."

Leo Wah, a senior analyst at Moody's Investors Service, said "it may take at least a few years" before income from yuan services has a material impact on Hong Kong's banks.

Mr. Zhou also said China's economy could hit or exceed the government's 8% growth target this year, sounding a note of optimism as a tentative recovery appears to be taking hold on the mainland.

"Based on the current situation, China's economy in the third and fourth quarters will very likely continue to improve, making it likely China's economic growth will reach what it has targeted for this year," Mr. Zhou said.

China's gross domestic product grew 6.1% in the first quarter compared with a year earlier, slowing from the 6.8% expansion in the fourth quarter of last year. But senior Chinese policymakers have indicated that the worst of the downturn may be over, though many, including the State Council, still caution that the foundations of the recovery aren't yet firm.

China is due to issue its second-quarter GDP data in mid-July. Economic indicators, such as fixed-asset investment, manufacturing activity and industrial output, have shown sequential improvements during the first five months of the year, despite continued downward pressure on prices and overcapacity in some sectors.

DHL Unit to Add 10 Transit Hubs in China

DHL Supply Chain, the logistics unit of Deutsche Post AG's Deutsche Post DHL, plans to add 10 transportation hubs in China by year end to meet growing demand for domestic shipping.

"Our customers are growing in China, which is one of the fastest-growing markets for DHL," said Victor Mok, executive vice president of DHL Supply Chain Greater China, at the opening ceremony of the firm's $25 million hub in Shanghai for transportation in eastern China.

DHL Supply Chain, which focuses on warehousing and road transportation and distribution, also operates four major China transportation hubs in Beijing, Guangzhou, Tianjin, and Wuhan. Martin Rowe, a vice president of DHL Supply Chain Greater China, said Fuzhou and Xi-An will be among the 10 new hubs but he didn't give other details.

"China is not only a production base any more, and we are not just moving things for exporters, but also to support domestic consumption in China," he said.

DHL Supply Chain is a key driver for DHL group's growth in China. The country continues to ban foreign companies from entering its domestic express mail market.

DHL group has invested around $2.2 billion in Asia-Pacific and will continue to make significant investments in the region in the future, Mr. Mok said. He said DHL Supply Chain's growth in China will mostly be organic, though the company doesn't rule out acquisition opportunities.

Malaysia Eases Some Investment Curbs

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak relaxed a series of investment restrictions Tuesday, including a race-based policy that calls for local businesses to be partly owned by members of the country's majority ethnic-Malay population.

The moves are part of a series of changes Mr. Najib has pushed since becoming premier in April and are designed to make Malaysia more attractive to foreign investors.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak

Companies listing on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange will be required to allocate 12.5% of their equity to ethnic-Malays, compared with 30% before. The 30% Malay-ownership rules remain in force for "strategic industries" such as telecommunications, ports, energy and transport. In many cases, state investment funds have large controlling interests in these businesses.

Other measures include enabling greater foreign ownership of local stock brokerages.

Last week, Mr. Najib also moved to placate the country's ethnic-Chinese and Indian minorities by announcing plans for new, merit-based university scholarships for which Malay, Chinese and Indian students can compete on an equal basis.

Still, economists said Malaysia is a long way from fully removing its decades-old, race-based affirmative action program, known as the New Economic Policy. A backlash among ethnic-Malays is a real possibility, but "even baby steps towards removing these kinds of market restrictions are unambiguously positive," said Tim Condon, chief Asia economist for ING Group in Singapore.

Elsewhere in Asia, companies and governments are increasingly raising money by selling bonds on the international and local bond markets as the region starts to pull out of its downturn. But borrowing costs, down sharply from late 2008, could rise in the months ahead as relief gives way to concern about the durability of the economic recovery. Renewed tremors in credit markets in the past few weeks suggest investors may be turning more cautious, which could make it more difficult for all but top-rated Asian issuers to raise funds offshore.

—Ditas Lopez contributed to this article

U.S. to Forgive Indonesian Debt in Exchange for Conservation Plan

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- The United States will sign an agreement Tuesday to forgive nearly $30 million in Indonesian debt in return for the large Southeast Asian country agreeing to protect forests on Sumatra Island, which is home to endangered tigers, elephants, rhinos and orangutan.

The deal is the largest so-called debt-for-nature swap the U.S. government has organized so far under the U.S. Tropical Forest Conservation Act and its first such pact with Indonesia, which has one of the fastest deforestation rates in the world, losing an area of forest the size of Switzerland annually.

Conservation International, the U.S.-based conservancy group, helped organize the deal, and has contributed $1 million to help reduce the debt. "This is a huge boost for people and wildlife of Sumatra, and demonstrates a forward-looking policy on the part of the U.S. government," said Jatna Supriatna, vice president of Conservation International Indonesia.

Under the deal, Indonesia will pay the nearly $30 million into a trust over eight years instead of repaying it to the U.S. government. The trust will issue grants for critical forest conservation work in 13 forest areas in Sumatra.

The U.S. in the past has organized smaller debt-for-nature swaps with countries like Guatemala, Botswana, the Philippines and Peru. Under the Tropical Forest Conservation Act of 1998, developing nations with a significant tropical forest, a democratically-elected government, and an economic reform agenda, are eligible for debt forgiveness in return for conservation efforts.

Indonesia's massive deforestation rates makes it the world's third-largest emitter of carbon dioxide behind the United States and China due to the forest fires set each year on peat lands to clear forests. Deforestation has picked up in the past decade due to a break down in law and order, but President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who is standing for re-election next month, has made clamping down on illegal logging a priority.

U.S. Pursues Financial Leverage Over North Korea

WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration is preparing to wield broad financial pressure to try to force North Korea to dial back its weapons program, building on strategies former President George W. Bush employed, but then unwound.

The Treasury Department is taking a leading role and will work through international banking channels to try to restrict funds to 17 North Korean banks and companies that U.S. officials say are central players in Pyongyang's nuclear and weapons trade. These firms serve as a financial lifeline to leader Kim Jong Il, his family and ruling circle.

United Nations sanctions call for the banning of the shipment of all luxury goods to Pyongyang's leadership. American diplomats are also negotiating through the U.N. Security Council to sanction by July 12 as many as a dozen North Korean individuals or companies active in Pyongyang's weapons trade. There is likely to be overlap with the U.S. Treasury's list of 17 sanction targets.

U.S. officials said they're targeting key nodes in the North Korean financial system. The language of the new Security Council resolution also provides Washington with leeway to go after a much wider range of targets, said these officials.

"There are some very powerful provisions" in the new resolution, said a senior U.S. official working on the effort. "It calls for the prevention of all financial services that could contribute to North Korea's...weapons of mass destruction-related programs."

The Bush administration pioneered the use of the global banking system as a weapon against nations involved in arms proliferation and terrorism, such as North Korea, Iran and Syria.

The Treasury Department's 2005 blacklisting of Macau's Banco Delta Asia, which held a large number of North Korea accounts, is viewed today as a model for how the private sector can punish rogue states. The Treasury didn't initially ban U.S. firms from engaging the bank, but simply warned that such transactions risked skirting U.S. law. The result was a run on the bank's accounts and a contagion effect that nearly froze North Korea out of the international banking system in 2006, said current and former U.S. officials.

Mr. Bush eventually eased the clampdown as an incentive for North Korea pushing ahead with disarmament talks.

Senior Obama administration officials say this decision was a mistake that eased pressure on Pyongyang before it took irreversible steps to dismantle its nuclear program. They also said it reaffirmed Pyongyang's belief that it could use international diplomacy to win economic concessions from the U.S.

U.S. officials said Treasury's targeting of a wider number of North Korean banks could potentially have a much more punishing effect on Kim Jong Il than the lone BDA action. These officials also said Pyongyang's recent second nuclear test and a string of missile tests have hardened the resolve of the international community to punish Pyongyang.

"We want to get out of the mindset where the North Koreans are conditioned that these are somehow temporary measures that we'll renegotiate with them at various occasions," said a senior Obama administration official involved in the diplomacy.

North Korea

Two of the architects of Mr. Bush's action against Banco Delta Asia, the Treasury Department's Stuart Levey and Daniel Glaser, are overseeing President Barack Obama's financial clampdown on North Korea, said U.S. officials.

Last week, the White House named Ambassador Philip Goldberg, who served in Bolivia before his expulsion by the government there last year, to head an interagency body focused on implementing the North Korea sanctions. Messrs. Goldberg and Glaser are scheduled to travel to China and Southeast Asia in the coming week to seek consensus on targeting Pyongyang's finances.

China will be the key to any successful action against North Korea, said current and former U.S. officials. Beijing has proven wary of participating in U.S. actions aimed at interdicting North Korean ships believed to be ferrying weapons or contraband. But China has been willing in the past to constrict Pyongyang's banking activities, particularly when they risked infecting Beijing's own financial system. U.S. officials said China cooperated in blacklisting Banco Delta Asia, in part, because they feared any scrutiny of Macau's financial system could hurt Beijing and the operations of Chinese firms. Macau is a special administrative region of China.

"China looks out for itself and is worried about reputational risk," said Michael Green, who advised Mr. Bush on North Korea.

Countries including Myanmar, Thailand and Singapore could also be key targets in efforts to punish North Korea. Myanmar, in particular, has become a trans-shipment point for North Korean arms and contraband in recent years, said U.S. and Asian diplomats. North Korea in the past has conducted significant financial transactions through Bangkok and Singapore.


(新加坡)10名保戶成功獲得庭令,要AIA先退還約106萬元的本金,但AIA以有關保單非保本(capital guaranteed)投資,以及保戶互相勾結非法牟取1770萬元利潤等理由拒絕退還,並向終審法院上訴,結果被判敗訴,須先退還60萬元(約馬幣144萬)。











































Denials of US interference in Iran not credible

The US administration has responded to Iranian allegations of manipulating opposition protests inside the country with flat denials. President Obama declared last week that the United States respected Iran’s sovereignty “and is not at all interfering in Iran’s affairs”.

The American and international media, which has mounted a strident campaign in support of defeated Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, has similarly dismissed out of hand any suggestion that the US and its European allies had a hand in the events since the presidential poll on June 12. Just as the press never examines the claims of Mousavi and his supporters that the election was rigged, so it ignores the considerable evidence of extensive US operations against Iran, spanning a range of diplomatic, intelligence and military activities.

USA Today last week noted that the US Agency for International Development (USAID) was handing out $20 million in grants this financial year to unnamed organisations “to promote democracy, human rights, and the rule of law in Iran”. For next year, the Obama administration is seeking another $15 million via the Near Eastern Regional Democracy Initiative, which has similar aims.

Asked whether such grants constituted interference, White House spokesman Tommy Vietor disingenuously declared: “Let’s be clear. The United States does not fund any movement, faction or political party in Iran. We support... universal principles of human rights, free speech, and the rule of law.” In reality, the funding is the continuation of the Bush administration’s efforts to establish ties with opposition groups in Iran and undermine the government.

One of the funnels for funding is the state-funded National Endowment for Democracy, which has been intimately involved in “colour revolutions” in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet republics. The NED website lists a number of Iranian organisations including the National Iranian American Council as recipients of its funds.

This openly acknowledged program is, however, just the tip of the iceberg. In a series of articles in the New Yorker, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh provided details of the Bush administration’s efforts to foster “regime change” in Tehran and prepare for a military strikes. There is no reason to believe that the Obama administration has ended any of these covert activities by the CIA and the Pentagon.

In one of his first articles entitled “The Coming Wars” in January 2005, Hersh reported that the US military had been staging commando operations inside Iran for months to accumulate “intelligence and targeting information on Iranian nuclear, chemical and missile sites” for future military strikes. US special forces were operating from bases inside neighbouring, US-occupied Afghanistan and Iraq. The use of the military for covert operations avoided the formal legal constraints under which the CIA operated. (“US carrying out acts of war against Iran, magazine reports”)

The WSWS also noted an article in the Guardian reporting that the Pentagon was using members of the Iranian opposition group Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) for intelligence operations inside Iran. The MEK, which is listed as a terrorist organisation by the US State Department, had been under the protection of Saddam Hussein, having fought on Iraq’s side during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s. Following the US occupation of Iraq, the group was based at Camp Ashraf near Baghdad, watched over by American troops.

In 2006, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sought an extra $75 million to fund anti-Tehran propaganda and support opposition groups inside and outside the country. While avoiding the use of the term “regime change,” Rice told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the US intended to “actively confront” Iran. Congress eventually approved $66 million—a major expansion from the previous year’s $10 million. Lacking any diplomatic presence in Iran, the State Department set up a small outpost in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates—the Iranian Regional Presence Office—ostensibly to monitor Iranian state television and talk to Iranians who travelled there.

The extra funding was part of stepped-up US activities against the Iranian regime amid increasingly strident, but unsubstantiated, claims that Tehran was building nuclear weapons, arming anti-US insurgents inside Iraq and Afghanistan, and supporting “terrorism” throughout the Middle East. In a February 2007 article entitled “The Redirection,” Hersh focussed on US efforts to counter Iran throughout the Middle East by forging a coalition of “moderate” states, including Saudi Arabia and Israel. The article provided details of US covert operations inside Lebanon, Syria and Iran, including the use of Al Qaeda-linked Sunni groups deeply hostile to Shiite Iran. (“The Bush administration’s new strategy of setting the Middle East aflame”)

In January 2007, the Boston Globe reported that the Bush administration had established the Iran Syria Policy and Operations Group (ISOG), involving senior officials from the Pentagon, State Department, Treasury, the CIA and National Security Council, with a broad brief to consolidate the US military alliance against Tehran, covertly finance Iranian dissidents and opposition groups and isolate Iran economically. Elizabeth Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, had initially headed ISOG, having been in charge of the State Department’s Iranian Affairs office that dispensed “pro-democracy” funding to Iranian opposition groups. The Los Angeles Times noted in 2006 that the Pentagon had already established its own Directorate for Iran, modelled on the notorious Office of Special Plans that played a major role in concocting the lies to justify the invasion of Iraq. (“The Bush administration’s committee for regime change in Iran”)

Reports also emerged in 2006 and 2007 that the US was covertly assisting armed guerrillas based among Iran’s ethnic minorities to wage war against the Iranian regime. Two bombings in Zahedan in southeastern Iran that killed members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps raised questions about US support for a Sunni extremist group, Jundallah, based among Iran’s Baluch minority. In other circumstances, the US would brand Jundallah as Al Qaeda. In a November 2006 article, Hersh noted that the Pentagon had established “covert relationships with Kurdish, Azeri and Baluchi tribesmen and had encouraged their efforts to undermine the regime’s authority in northern and southeastern Iran”. ABC News published several reports in April 2007 indicating that US officials were in regular contact with the Jundallah leader, Abd el Malik Regi. (“Is the Bush administration behind the bombings in Iran?”)

The Pentagon was further implicated in backing Party for Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK) guerrillas operating from northern Iraq against targets inside the neighbouring Kurdish areas of Iran. A spate of articles appeared in the US press after Iran retaliated by shelling PJAK bases. Journalists met with PJAK leaders who were clearly operating with tacit US approval. While both sides were coy about acknowledging direct American support, PJAK leader Rahman Haji Ahmadi had travelled to Washington in 2006 to meet with senior US officials. The US was clearly walking a fine line as the PJAK “freedom fighters” were linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which was carrying out its own war inside Turkey, a US ally, and was branded a “terrorist” organisation by the US State Department. (“Washington’s proxy war inside Kurdish Iran”)

In mid-2007, ABC News reported that President Bush had signed a formal presidential finding earlier in the year, authorising “a CIA plan that reportedly includes a coordinated campaign of propaganda, disinformation and manipulation of Iran’s currency and international financial transactions”. A detailed article by Hersh last July entitled “Preparing the Battlefield” provided further details of the presidential finding, which authorised the CIA to engage in extensive activities in support of dissident groups inside Iran, as well as minority Ahwazi Arab and Baluchi groups, at a cost of $400 million.

The CIA was working hand in hand with US special forces, who, according to Hersh, were involved in “seizing members of Al Quds, the commando arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, and taking them to Iraq for interrogation, and the pursuit of ‘high-value targets’ in the President’s war on terror, who may be captured or killed”. Hersh noted that the scale and the scope of such operations had been significantly expanded.

Significantly, the presidential finding had been approved by four senior Democrats—House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Jay Rockefeller and House Intelligence Committee chairman Silvestre Reyes. The Democrat backing for Bush’s finding underscores the bipartisan character of the US operations against Iran, which are aimed at securing a regime in Tehran more amenable to US strategic and economic interests in the energy-rich Middle East and Central Asian regions. (“As war clouds gather: Democrats back covert US attacks on Iran”)

The advent of the Obama administration resulted in a tactical shift in US foreign policy, not a fundamental change in direction. Sections of the US political establishment regarded the Bush administration’s war in Iraq as disastrous to America’s standing and interests in the region and pressed for a refocussing on the rapidly deteriorating situation in Afghanistan and neighbouring Pakistan. Iran, which is at the strategic crossroads between the Middle East and Central Asia, was always central to US plans. While Obama has mooted negotiations with Iran to reach a political accommodation, his administration is undoubtedly keeping all its options open.

It is not possible at this stage to determine the full extent of US involvement in the recent Iranian presidential elections and the subsequent protests. However, the entire campaign run by Mir Hossein Mousavi before and after the poll bears an uncanny resemblance to previous US-backed “colour revolutions” in Eastern Europe and former Soviet Republics. Given the intensive activities of the CIA, Pentagon and State Department, not only in recent years, but going back to the 1953 US-backed coup that overthrew the nationalist Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadeq, it certainly can be ruled out that the Obama administration has simply sat back and watched events unfold.

AIG Insurance Bailout


Check this link for details. http://www.gimmiethescoop.com/img/AIG-insurance-bailout2.png

In Iran, confusion surrounds Neda's death

New revelations about the death of Neda Aqa-Soltan, who became a symbol of post-election street rallies in Iran, begin surface.

Neda, 26, became an international icon in recent days after graphic videos of her death grabbed the attention of world media outlets.

She was shot dead on June 20 in an alley away from the scene of clashes between security forces and demonstrators in Tehran.

The man who drove her to hospital said in an interview that her death looked “highly suspicious”, claiming there were no security forces or Basij members nearby.

“People were standing, there were traffic, and people were walking by. Suddenly I saw a girl put her hand on her chest and fall down, and blood was coming out of her mouth and nose,” he said.

The claims have added to the confusion already surrounding the shooting, which has been blamed upon Iranian security forces by the Western media hype.

Her death first became suspicious after revelations that she was killed by a small caliber pistol -- a weapon that is not used by Iranian security forces.

Iranian security forces have dismissed the reports out of hand, asserting that they did not open fire on protestors during the sporadic unrest.

“Policemen are not authorized to use weapons against people,” Tehran Police Chief Azizallah Rajabzadeh said on the morrow of Neda's death.

However, conflicting accounts by a doctor who claimed he tried to save Aqa Soltan's life in her final moments have further complicated the matter.

Key leaders of Honduras military coup trained in U.S.

At least two leaders of the coup launched in Honduras on June 28 were apparently trained at a controversial Department of Defense school based at Fort Benning, Georgia infamous for producing graduates linked to torture, death squads and other human rights abuses.

Leftist President Manuel Zelaya was kidnapped and transported to Costa Rica on Sunday morning after a growing controversy over a vote concerning term limits. Over the last week, Zelaya clashed with and eventually dismissed General Romeo Vasquez -- who is now reportedly in charge of the armed forces that abducted the Honduran president.

According to the watchdog group School of Americas Watch, Gen. Vasquez trained at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation at least twice -- in 1976 and 1984 -- when it was still called School of Americas.

The Georgia-based U.S. military school is infamous for training over 60,000 Latin American soldiers, including infamous dictators, "death squad" leaders and others charged with torture and other human rights abuses. SOA Watch's annual protest to shut down the Fort Benning training site draws thousands.

According to SOA Watch, the U.S. Army school has a particularly checkered record in Honduras, with over 50 graduates who have been intimately involved in human rights abuses. In 1975, SOA Graduate General Juan Melgar Castro became the military dictator of Honduras. From 1980-1982 the dictatorial Honduran regime was headed by yet another SOA graduate, Policarpo Paz Garcia, who intensified repression and murder by Battalion 3-16, one of the most feared death squads in all of Latin America (founded by Honduran SOA graduates with the help of Argentine SOA graduates).

General Vasquez isn't the only leader in the Honduras coup linked to the U.S. training facility. As Kristin Bricker points out:
The head of the Air Force, Gen. Luis Javier Prince Suazo, studied in the School of the Americas in 1996. The Air Force has been a central protagonist in the Honduran crisis. When the military refused to distribute the ballot boxes for the opinion poll, the ballot boxes were stored on an Air Force base until citizens accompanied by Zelaya rescued them. Zelaya reports that after soldiers kidnapped him, they took him to an Air Force base, where he was put on a plane and sent to Costa Rica.
For previous Facing South coverage of controversy surrounding the School of Americas/Western Hemisphere Center, see here.


US, Israel launch CYBERWAR to destabilize Iran

Proof: Israeli Effort to Destabilize Iran Via Twitter

Charting Stocks Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Right-wing Israeli interests are engaged in an all out Twitter attack with hopes of delegitimizing the Iranian election and causing political instability within Iran.

Download this video (Note, at the time of this post the video has aceeded its download limits)

Anyone using Twitter over the past few days knows that the topic of the Iranian election has been the most popular. Thousands of tweets and retweets alleging that the election was a fraud, calling for protests in Iran, and even urging followers hack various Iranian news websites (which they did successfully). The Twitter popularity caught the eye of various blogs such as Mashable and TechCrunch and even made its way to mainstream news media sites.

BBC caught in mass public deception with Iran progaganda

Were these legitimate Iranian people or the works of a propaganda machine? I became curious and decided to investigate the origins of the information. In doing so, I narrowed it down to a handful of people who have accounted for 30,000 Iran related tweets in the past few days. Each of them had some striking similarities -

1. They each created their twitter accounts on Saturday June 13th. 2. Each had extremely high number of Tweets since creating their profiles. 3. "IranElection" was each of their most popular keyword 4. With some very small exceptions, each were posting in ENGLISH. 5. Half of them had the exact same profile photo 6. Each had thousands of followers, with only a few friends. Most of their friends were EACH OTHER.

Why were these tweets in English? Why were all of these profiles OBSESSED with Iran? It became obvious that this was the work of a team of people with an interest in destabilizing Iran. The profiles are phonies and were created with the sole intention of destabilizing Iran and effecting public opinion as to the legitimacy of Iran's election.

I narrowed the spammers down to three of the most persistent - twitter.com/StopAhmadi @StopAhmadi @ twitter.com/IranRiggedElect IranRiggedElect twitter.com/Change_for_Iran @Change_For_Iran

I decided to do a google search for 2 of the 3 - @StopAhmadi and @IranRiggedElect. The first page to come up was JPost (Jerusalem Post) which is a right wing newspaper pro-Israeli newspaper.

JPost actually ran a story about 3 people "who joined the social network mere hours ago have already amassed thousands of followers." Why would a news organization post a story about 3 people who JUST JOINED TWITTER hours earlier? Is that newsworthy? Jpost was the first (and only to my knowledge) major news source that mentioned these 3 spammers.

The fact that JPost promoted these three Twitterers who went on the be the source of the IranElection Twitter bombardment is, unfortunately, evidence that this was an Israeli propaganda campaign against Iran. I must admit that

I had my suspiscions. After all, Que Bono? (latin for "Who Benefits). There's no question that Israel perceives Iran as an enemy, more so than any other nation. Destabilizing the country would benefit them.

Meet the spammers

IranRiggedElect 3146 followers. 31 friends. 340 tweets in past 4 days. none before that. Top 5 words - iranelection, cnnfail, mousavi, tehran, All tweets in English Time: Bulk between 12pm and 2pm eastern standard time Most retweets: @StopAhmadi @IranElection09 @change_for_iran

Change_for_Iran 14,000 followers. 0 friends 117 tweets in 2 days. none before that. All tweets in English Time: Bulk between 8:00 pm and 11:00 pm eastern. Top 5 words: iranelection, people, police, right, students No retweets

IranElection09 800 followers. 9 friends. 196 tweets in 3 days. none before that. 185 in English. 11 in Farsi (Arabic appearing letters. Not sure if it's Farsi) Time: bulk between 2:00pm and 6:00pm eastern. Also 1:00am. Top 5 words: iranelection, rt, mousavi, tehran, march Most retweets: @IranRiggedElect @StopAhmadi

StopAhmadi 6199 followers. 53 friends. 1107 tweets in past 3 days. None before then. top 5 words: iranelection, ppl, news, rt, iran. All tweets in English Time: bulk between 9:00am and 5:00pm eastern Most retweets: @mohamadreza @mahdi

mohamadreza 1433 followers. 142 friends (protected account. cant see data)

The following all have the same photo in their profile and are followed by the profiles previously mentioned.


http://twitter.com/SadeqEn http://twitter.com/greenvote http://twitter.com/Change_for_Iran (14,000 followers) http://twitter.com/iranbaan http://twitter.com/sdavood http://twitter.com/IranElection09 (800 followers. 9 friends.)

Click below for the JPost Article



US confirms it made request to keep Iran tweeting

The Guardian Wednesday, 17 June 2009 http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jun/17/obama-iran-twitter

Pakistan general: US distributed $400 million inside Iran to foment revolution Press TV Monday, 15 June 2009


Eric Holder at Senate Judiciary Committe on the Hate Crimes Bill 6/25/09

Watch this link ....... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KDE9XIf4kw

The Coming Collapse of the Middle Class

Check this out ..... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akVL7QY0S8A

Pat Buchanan - “Climate Change Scam designed to Transfer Wealth and Power to World Government”

Check this link ...... http://revolutionarypolitics.com/?p=1395


Check this link ....... http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/wtc7.html

Gerald Celente speaks on Cap and Trade and other Handicaps to the US Economy June 29, 2009

Check this link ......... http://revolutionarypolitics.com/?p=1397

US Stocks Gain, Led By Energy And Optimism About Economy

Energy stocks led the market higher Monday, boosted by rising oil prices, as investors cautiously returned to making bets on an economic recovery.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which is coming off its first two-week losing streak since early March, recently was up 81 points, or 1%, trading at 8519.40.

The two biggest contributors to the average's point move were Exxon Mobil and Chevron, up 2.1% and 1.3%. Other big winners among the blue chips included American Express, Boeing, Merck and Microsoft. Each rose more than 2%.

The S&P 500 rose 0.9%. All of its sectors traded higher, led by energy, up 1.5%; industrials, up 1.3%; and basic materials, up 1.4%.

Oil futures rose $1.73 to $70.89 a barrel in New York amid continued violence in Nigeria's main oil-producing region. Traders also digested reports that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and the E.U. had agreed in talks that the weakened global economy could support crude prices between $70 and $80 a barrel.

Despite a bullish outlook from many oil traders lately, gasoline prices have been under pressure as U.S. refineries have ramped up to full-scale summer production. That has translated into some relief at the pump for everyday consumers, whose purchases of other goods are often crimped at times when they have to pay more to fill up.

According to the driving club AAA, the average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline fell every day last week and was down a fraction of a penny at 2.639 a gallon Monday, though it still remains up 6.1% from a month ago.

Eric Marshall, portfolio manager at Hodges Capital Management in Dallas, said his firm remained out of consumer-discretionary stocks for the most part in 2008, but it has recently been buying a few names in the sector, including Liz Claiborne and Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, as early bets that a rebound is on the way in the U.S.

"We've actually been narrowing down the total number of names that we own in our portfolios," from 100 last year to about 50, said Mr. Marshall. "But if we see a company with a good balance sheet that has some staying power to get to the other side of the valley in the recession, we are willing to put some money to work."

Elsewhere, oil-services provider Enterprise Products was in focus after announcing plans to buy Teppco for $3.3 billion. Enterprise slipped 0.6% in recent action, while Teppco was up 6%.

Though no major economic releases are scheduled for Monday, several important announcements are due later in the holiday-shortened week. They include the June employment report, which will be announced earlier than usual Thursday, as U.S. markets will be closed Friday in celebration of Independence Day in the U.S.

The Nasdaq Composite Index was little changed, up 0.4%. Its components Oracle and Sun Microsystems posted gains of more than 2% each despite increased scrutiny by the Justice Department of Oracle's proposed $7.4 billion acquisition of Sun.

The dollar was stronger against the yen and weaker against the euro. Treasury prices were mixed. The 10-year note gained 13/32 to yield 3.481%.

High Court Rules for White Firefighters in Discrimination Suit

The Supreme Court today narrowly ruled in favor of white firefighters in New Haven, Conn., who said they were denied promotions because of their race, reversing a decision by Judge Sonia Sotomayor and others that had come to play a large role in the consideration of her nomination for the high court.

The city had thrown out the results of a promotion test because no African Americans and only two Hispanics would have qualified for promotions. It said it feared a lawsuit from minorities under federal laws that said such "disparate impacts" on test results could be used to show discrimination.

In effect, the court was deciding when avoiding potential discrimination against one group amounted to actual discrimination against another.

The court's conservative majority said in a 5 to 4 vote that is what happened in New Haven.

"Fear of litigation alone cannot justify an employer's reliance on race to the detriment of individuals who passed the examinations and qualified for promotions," wrote Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote for the liberals on the court and said the decision knocks the pegs from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

She read her dissent from the bench for emphasis. "Congress endeavored to promote equal opportunity in fact, and not simply in form," she said. "The damage today's decision does to that objective is untold."

On the last day on the bench for retiring Justice David H. Souter, the court failed to reach a decision on one of its most important cases of the term: whether a conservative group's production of a 90-minute film on Hillary Rodham Clinton amounted to a documentary, or merely a long commercial of the type restricted by the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform act.

Instead, the court took the unusual action of scheduling new arguments on the case for Sept. 9, before the court's new term begins next October. The court wants new briefings on issues that could lead to the justices declaring unconstitutional that part of the act, formally called the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act of 2002.

The court's decision probably will lead Democrats to push efforts to have a vote on Sotomayor's confirmation so she can be in place before the September hearing, although it is unclear whether her replacement of Souter would affect the outcome of the case.

Senate hearings on her nomination are set to begin in two weeks.

The New Haven case, Ricci v. DeStefano, has become the ruling that Sotomayor's critics most point to for evidence that she lets her background influence her decisions, even though her role has been somewhat inflated.

The promotion test results produced a heated debate in New Haven, and government lawyers warned the city's civil service board that if it certified the test results, minority firefighters might have a good case for claiming discrimination under Title VII. Federal guidelines presume discrimination when a test has such a disparate impact on minorities.

The board split 2 to 2, which meant the exam was not certified. Those who opposed using the results said they worried the test must be flawed in some way that disadvantaged minorities. (The test questions have not been made public.)

The white firefighters filed suit, saying their rights had been violated under both the law and the Constitution's protections of due process.

District Judge Janet Bond Arterton dismissed their suit before it went to trial. She said in her 47-page decision that the city was justified under the law in junking the test, even if it could not explain its flaws.

The case then went to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, where Sotomayor and judges Robert Sack and Rosemary S. Pooler heard the appeal. Oral arguments lasted an hour, with Sotomayor leading the questioning, as is her reputation. But instead of issuing a detailed and signed opinion, the panel said in a brief summary that, although it was "not unsympathetic" to the plight of the white firefighters, it unanimously affirmed the lower court's decision for "reasons stated in the thorough, thoughtful, and well-reasoned opinion."

Kennedy's opinion referred to the judgment of Sotomayor and the other judges only by noting the short opinion.

Kennedy said the standard for whether an employer may discard a test is whether there is a strong reason to the employer to believe that the test is flawed in a way that discriminates against minorities, not just by looking at the results.

In New Haven's case, "there is no evidence -- let alone the required strong basis in evidence -- that the tests were flawed because they were not job-related or because other, equally valid and less discriminatory tests were available to the city," Kennedy wrote.

The case has drawn considerable attention not just because of Sotomayor's role but because of the sympathetic nature of the claim brought by the firefighters, who said they were discriminated against simply because of the color of their skin.

The lead plaintiff, Frank Ricci, is a veteran firefighter who said in sworn statements that he spent thousands of dollars in preparation and studied for months for the exam. Ricci said he is dyslexic, so he had tapes made of the test materials and listened to them on his commute to work.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Captain Morgan & Cap and Trade: What HAPPENED?!

Whatever happened to INTEGRITY?

In case you blinked last week and missed it, Cap and Trade was introduced, amended, voted and passed, in a stunning new demonstration of just how ridiculously illogical our political system has become

Here's how it went down:

  • The original cap and trade bill, HR 2454, was introduced to congress May 15th
  • June 23rd, the thousand-page bill was replaced by a whole new bill - HR 2998 - weighing in at 1200 pages
  • At 3:09 am on June 26th, a 300 page amendment was filed
  • 16 hours later, the house voted and passed the bill none of them had read

Our government was designed to move slowly, for a reason. When massive new bills are rammed through like this, it's a deliberate attempt to cut the public out of the process.

Here's an example of what happens when they sneak in these last minute amendments - we as taxpayers get saddled with things like the $2.7 billion in tax rebates approved under TARP for a British rum producer. That's right - thanks to TARP, you're now subsidizing the production of Captain Morgan rum, and they're not even a US owned company!

All of these massive "emergency" bills prove one thing: Our representatives' incentives revolve around corporate welfare and special interest favors, and the only weapon we have that can trump their money and resources is our sheer numbers - it's time to make a ruckus.

Start calling your reps to let them know you're voting them out for negligence - they have an obligation to read and understand what they are voting into law, and if the process doesn't allow them sufficient time to do so, they need to change the process. If they don't agree, they're out. It's as simple as that.

Seriously. The gloves are coming off. Who's with me?

Declaring War on the American Economy

The Cap-and-Trade bill that passed the House yesterday will be a declaration of war on the American economy if it ever is enacted into law. It is ostensibly supposed to help the American economy transition from the old, carbon-based industrial economy to the broad, sunlit (and presumably unpolluted) uplands of a post-industrial one. According to an infomercial masquerading as an AP news story, the “climate bill may spur energy revolution.” Overlooked by the AP and other minions of the left is the fact that that revolution has been underway, largely without the federal government’s help, for more than a generation now. In 1970 a one-percent increase in GDP meant a one-percent increase in oil consumption. Today its means less than a third of one percent increase in oil consumption. It would be considerably less than that had the left not brought the development and exploitation of nuclear power to a screeching halt thirty years ago because too many of them went to see The China Syndrome. (The producers, to be sure, arranged, in a stroke of commercial genius, for the movie to open twelve days before the accident at Three-Mile Island occurred.)

And as Kim Strassel pointed out yesterday in the Wall Street Journal, the so-called science behind this massive bill is looking increasingly shaky.

If it’s enacted in its present form, what the cap-and-trade bill will certainly do is

1) Massively increase federal power not only over the economy but over daily life as well. Building codes have always been the province of the states, but this bill, according to one blogger, would require federally mandated energy audits before you could change a window in your home and specifies the number and location of electrical outlets to be permitted;

2) Start a trade war with India and China by slapping tariffs on goods from countries that don’t conform to US standards on carbon emissions;

3) Act like the governor on a steam engine, increasingly slowing down the economy through energy taxes whenever the economy accelerates. In other words, its virtually guarantees economic stagnation at best. And most economists who are not working for liberals think it will be far more economically pernicious than that.

This last, at least, is in the great tradition of the Democratic Party. The party’s founder, Thomas Jefferson, tried to deal with the high-handed ways of the Royal Navy and French privateers by a blockade–not of their ports, but of ours. Thomas Jefferson, in other words, went to war with the American economy. In a series of acts beginning in December, 1807, that Congress passed at Jefferson’s behest, American merchants were forbidden to trade with any other country on pain of fines of $10,000 and forfeiture of goods. The U.S. Navy was dispatched to help enforce the act by stopping vessels leaving American ports. Port cities (which at that time were all large American cities and many small ones) plunged into depression. Smuggling across the Canadian border grew so extensive that Jefferson actually declared parts of northern New England to be in a state of rebellion. The New England economy came close to collapse as it was then heavily dependent on foreign trade. (The American merchant marine at this time–mostly New England owned and built–was second in size only to Britain’s.)

The Embargo Act was, politically and economically, an utter disaster, as anyone who understood anything about commerce, economics, and human nature could have foreseen. Indeed, Jefferson’s Secretary of the Treasury, Albert Gallatin, did understand and wrote the president, “As to the hope that it may. . . induce England to treat us better, I think is entirely groundless. . . . Government prohibitions do always more mischief than had been calculated; and it is not without much hesitation that a statesman should hazard to regulate the concerns of individuals as if he could do it better than themselves.”

Good advice from a very wise man who did this country many a good service. Too bad Thomas Jefferson didn’t take it. Nor, alas, will his present-day successor if he gets a chance to sign this utterly misbegotten bill.

Beijing Formalizes Call for New Reserve Currency

BEIJING -- China's central bank reiterated its call for the creation of a new international currency that could replace currencies such as the dollar in countries' official reserves.

In its annual report on financial stability, issued Friday, the People's Bank of China said the country will push reform of the international currency system to make it more diversified and reasonable. While it didn't specifically target the U.S. currency, it said it aims to reduce over-reliance on the current reserve currencies, of which the dollar is the biggest.

"To avoid the shortcomings of sovereign credit currencies acting as reserve currencies, we need to create an... international reserve currency that can maintain the long-term stability of its value," the PBOC said.

The report, a lengthy document that addressed a broad range of issues, reiterated a proposal made by PBOC governor Zhou Xiaochuan in March to use Special Drawing Rights, the synthetic currency developed by the IMF, as a super-sovereign reserve currency. That proposal, made just before the G20 summit in London earlier this year, appeared in an essay authored by Mr. Zhou and posted on the PBOC's Web site.

The call for a new global reserve currency was among a host of factors exerting pressure on the dollar Friday. The U.S. currency fell during New York trading against the U.K. pound, Australian dollar, yen, Swiss franc and euro.

The PBOC comments "fuel concern about reserve diversification undermining the U.S. currency," said analysts at Credit Suisse.

Senior Chinese officials, including Premier Wen Jiabao, have repeatedly expressed concern about the dollar, which comprises most of China's roughly $2 trillion in foreign-exchange reserves. China is concerned that the dollar's dominance exacerbates global financial imbalances. It also worries that massive U.S. government borrowing to support stimulus spending could eventually lead to inflation, hurting the value of China's holdings.

The SDR proposal's inclusion in the central bank's latest stability report appears to formalize the idea as an official view of the central bank, which ultimately reports to China's State Council.

China's central bank said in the annual report that under the proposal, the IMF should "manage part of the reserves of its members" and be reformed to increase the rights of emerging markets and developing countries.

It also urged stronger monitoring of countries that issue reserve currencies. Central banks around the world hold more U.S. dollars and dollar securities than they do assets denominated in any other individual foreign currency.

The central bank's report, on the PBOC Web site, comes a day after Li Lianzhong, an academic at a key think tank under the Communist Party of China, said China's yuan should become the fifth currency in the SDR, joining the U.S. dollar, yen, euro and sterling. Mr. Li proposed an equal 20% weighting in the SDR basket for the five currencies.

In its report Friday, the PBOC also said China is facing both deflationary pressures in the short term and inflationary pressures in the longer term.

Deflationary pressures have strengthened this year partly because of overcapacity in the domestic market due to weak external demand and falling global commodity prices, it said. But the possibility of global price rises after market confidence recovers, excessive money supply and increasing fiscal deficits in some economies, will likely create inflationary pressures in the longer run, the report said.

The central bank's report echoed a theme in comments Thursday by former PBOC adviser Yu Yongding. At a three-day United Nations conference on the economic crisis, Mr. Yu pushed for monetary and financial-infrastructure reforms.

—Liu Li. Joan R. Magee and Riva Froymovich contributed to this article.