Friday, May 31, 2013

Solar industry on verge of collapse over quality control, panels meant to last 25 yrs. only last 2 yrs., most made in China. Obama doubles down, wants to make US taxpayer subsidies of defective solar panels permanent

..
"Confidentiality agreements often keep the manufacturer’s identity secret."

5/30/13, "Solar Panel Concerns Fuel Worries about Reliability," GlobalWarming.org, Marlo Lewis, Anthony Ward, CEI Research Associate

"Solar industry executives are worried about the reliability of their own products. In an article this week, the New York Times reports industry executives are becoming increasingly concerned about the rising number of solar panel failures. The average expected operational lifetime of a solar panel is 25 years, but some are failing in only two years. Increasingly, it seems that solar panels are becoming defunct earlier than anticipated.

According to the article:

"The solar panels covering a vast warehouse roof in the sun-soaked Inland Empire region east of Los Angeles were only two years into their expected 25-year life span when they began to fail. Coatings that protect the panels disintegrated while other defects caused two fires that took the system offline for two years, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenues.

It was not an isolated incident. Worldwide, testing labs, developers, financiers and insurers are reporting similar problems and say the $77 billion solar industry is facing a quality crisis just as solar panels are on the verge of widespread adoption. 

No one is sure how pervasive the problem is. There are no industry wide figures about defective solar panels. And when defects are discovered, confidentiality agreements often keep the manufacturer’s identity secret, making accountability in the industry all the more difficult.

But at stake are billions of dollars that have financed solar installations, from desert power plants to suburban rooftops, on the premise that solar panels will more than pay for themselves over a quarter century."

Subsidies and the associated pressures to reduce costs, boost sales, and reduce government debt are the principal cause of the decline in quality:
After incurring billions of dollars in debt to accelerate production that has sent solar panel prices plunging since 2009, Chinese solar companies are under extreme pressure to cut costs.
Because the precipitous drop in solar panel prices has reduced profits, manufacturers have begun to seek cheaper materials in order to drop production costs and meet these external pressures. Cheaper materials, however, are often unreliable and prone to failure.

The problems facing solar panels also appear to be widespread.

A review of 30,000 installations in Europe by the German solar monitoring firm Meteocontrol found 80 percent were underperforming. Testing of six manufacturers’ solar panels at two Spanish power plants by Enertis Solar in 2010 found defect rates as high as 34.5 percent.” “In the Netherlands, RenĂ© Moerman, chief strategy officer of Solar Insurance and Finance, said claims had risen 15 percent recently. He said an inspection of a solar plant in Britain in March revealed that 12 percent of the newly installed Chinese-made modules had failed. He said confidentiality agreements prevented him from naming the manufacturer.”

Despite the rise in the number of failures and increasing doubts about the solar industry’s viability from the industry’s own executives, the Obama Administration continues to support the solar energy industry. Recently, the President announced a plan to make permanent subsidies for solar panels. In light of these clear concerns, such policies are indicative of the administration’s

relentless zeal for ineffective solutions at the expense of taxpayers." via Tom Nelson

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5/28/13, "Solar Industry Anxious Over Defective Panels," NY Times, Todd Woody

"“We need to face up to the fact that corners are being cut,” said Conrad Burke, general manager for DuPont’s billion-dollar photovoltaic division, which supplies materials to solar manufacturers. 

The solar developer Dissigno has had significant solar panel failures at several of its projects, according to Dave Williams, chief executive of the San Francisco-based company. 

“I don’t want to be alarmist, but I think quality poses a long-term threat,” he said. “The quality across the board is harder to put your finger on now as materials in modules are changing every day and manufacturers are reluctant to share that information.” 

Most of the concerns over quality center on China, home to the majority of the world’s solar panel manufacturing capacity."...



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US April 2013 retail sales (ex-auto/gas) revised down to .2% from .6%

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5/31/13, "April Core Retail Sales Were Just Revised From A 100% Beat To A Miss," Zero Hedge

"When two weeks ago we reported on the core retail sales "beat", we were surprised. Here's why: "Retail sales ex autos were in line with expectations at -0.1%, on expectations of a -0.2% print, but it was the sales number ex-autos and gas which surprised the most, rising 0.6% on expectations of a +0.3% increase, up from a -0.1% decline." We are no longer surprised. Reuters has the answer:
  • US APRIL RETAIL SALES EX-AUTOS/GASOLINE REVISED TO +0.2 PCT (PREV +0.6 PCT)
And, as a reminder, the consensus was for a +0.3% print. So instead of a 100% beat relative to consensus, it was a 50% miss. Why did this happen: from the Census Bureau: "retail sales estimates were revised to reflect the introduction of a new sample, new seasonal factors, and results of the 2011 Annual Retail Trade Survey."

Of course, the algos who bid stocks up on the flashing read headline of this now outdated and flawed "beat", will certainly go back and sell all the stocks they were otherwise going to buy, since it is now a "miss.""



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US taxpayer contributions to the UN reached new highs in 2008, 2009 and 2010. We're not permitted to know what we gave in 2011 or 2012 because the law requiring an accounting expired-Schaefer, NRO

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5/30/13, "What’s U.S. Taxpayers’ Tab at the U.N.?" NRO, Brett Schaefer

"Year after year, the U.S. pays more into the United Nations system than any other nation. Yet figuring out exactly how much we spend on the U.N. and its affiliated organizations is deceptively difficult.

Although most U.S. contributions come from the State Department, hundreds of millions of dollars also flow from other parts of the federal government. Thus, relying on State Department data fails to capture the full picture.

In 2006, Senator Tom Coburn addressed this issue by asking the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for a comprehensive report on total U.S. contributions to the U.N. system for fiscal years 2001 through 2005. The OMB is in charge of overseeing the preparation of the president’s budget, so it was in a position to require all U.S. agencies to report the requested information.

That 2006 report was an eye-opener. The OMB calculated that U.S. contributions totaled $4.115 billion in 2004 and $5.327 billion in 2005. By comparison, the State Department had estimated 2004 contributions at “well over $3 billion” — far short of the actual amount reported by the OMB.

Five years later, the OMB reported that FY 2010 contributions the U.N. system exceeded $7.691 billion — more than $1.3 billion higher than the previous record, set the year before.  Indeed, 2010 marked the third consecutive year in which U.S. contributions had reached a new high.

Unfortunately, the mandate requiring the OMB to report on U.S. contributions to the U.N. system expired in 2011, and 

the Obama administration has chosen not to report this information since then. 

As a result, there is no comprehensive accounting of U.S. contributions to the U.N. system for FY 2011 or FY 2012. Nor will we know how much will be spent this year or in the future, unless Congress renews the OMB report mandate.

Republicans Senator Mike Lee and Representative Mo Brooks have introduced legislation to fix this lapse. Whether you favor cutting U.S. contributions to the U.N. or increasing them, everyone should agree that good governance requires that the U.S. accurately track and report those contributions to Congress and the public. "



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TheTeaParty.net is actually a GOP co-opt group that neutralizes the TP v the establishment. It 'organized' an April 2013 closed door 'tea party' meeting in the House, and is doing one for the Senate in July 2013. The group is pals with Grover Norquist and CPAC

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5/30/13, "Tea party organizers look to Senate," Politico, Tarini Parti

"The leader of the House Tea Party Caucus, Rep. Michele Bachmann, may have announced her retirement, but organizers of the caucus say the tea party presence in Congress is far from dead. In fact, it’s expanding to the Senate, POLITICO has learned.

TheTeaParty.Net, one of the largest tea party groups in the country, which organized the House caucus meeting last month, will host its next meeting on the Senate side in July.

The group plans to invite all Republicans in the upper chamber instead of limiting it to those supported by the tea party.

“What we’re going to put on in July in the Senate is going to be unprecedented,” said Niger Innis, chief strategist of the group.

It’s unclear what role Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) will play at the meeting. At a recent press conference on the IRS targeting tea party groups, Bachmann called Paul “the chair of the Tea Party Caucus in the U.S. Senate.”

An official Senate Tea Party Caucus does not yet exist, and Paul’s office did not respond to requests for comment on whether he would lead the meeting, but he did not dispute the title at the time. Innis said that although the group is disappointed to see Bachmann leave Congress, her retirement will not affect the House group....

Roughly 20 House Republicans attended April’s closed-door caucus meeting led by Bachmann, along with staffers from nearly 40 congressional offices, including those of Paul and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Bachmann, facing investigations and a tough reelection race, announced early Wednesday that she would not seek a fifth term. Her retirement follows the departure of other tea party favorites — former Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), who lost his seat in the 2012 election, and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who left to run The Heritage Foundation." via Lucianne

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TheTeaParty.net is exposed along with its pals CPAC, Grover Norquist and Suhail Khan. Following are 9+ links explaining plus some financial information from the group's website:

A conservative blogger in early 2011 reports this is a FAKE Tea Party group:

4/5/11, "Evidence mounts TheTeaParty.net is a FAKE,"
conservative outlooks blog


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More on TheTeaParty.net from 2011:

4/29/11, Tea Party.net
is a big supporter of CPAC, whose abject failure is one of the reasons the real Tea Party was born  


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Fake TP group thinks Norquist and CPAC are the greatest: 

3/8/13, "When Bloggers Attack: John Hawkins Takes A Dive for Grover Norquist," Atlas Shrugs, Pamela Geller

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3/8/13, "JihadWatch.com wins CPAC 'People's Choice Award' but is barred from receiving it (updated with response)," American Thinker, Thomas Lifson

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ACU and CPAC are establishment GOP groups that scorn and laugh at the real Tea Party. Norquist is a CPAC board member

4/14/11,"ACU’s Cardenas Questions Tea Party’s Grasp Of Principles," RedState.com, Tom in Florida


==============================
 
2/14/11, "Rush: 'Tea party was under assault at CPAC',"
World Net Daily, Drew Zahn


=================================
 

2/11/12, "The American Conservative Union: neutralizing the conservative movement," Jim Lampe, RedState.com 

==============================

The fake TP group even sponsors a CPAC cruise with Norquist among featured passengers: 


7/27/11, "ACU and TheTeaParty.net Announce Two New Speakers for CPAC Alaskan Cruise"

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OpenSecrets.org FEC records show this self-proclaimed TP group took in over $1 million and gave almost none of it to federal Tea Party candidates in 2012:

"TheTeaParty.net Leadership Fund"
2012 Total Receipts: $1,021,463

Total spent: $795,347

Contributions to federal candidates: $12,500 

 

Electioneering, communication expenses, by targeted candidate: $182,673 

Signed by Treasurer Ron Dove 5/2/12 (Ron Dove is also Treasurer of TheTeaParty.net)

"Official PAC name: THE TEA PARTY LEADERSHIP FUND

Location: WASHINGTON, DC 20003
Industry: Republican/Conservative
Treasurer: BACKER, DAN MR. ESQ.
FEC Committee ID: C00520825

(Look up actual documents filed at the FEC) "


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"THE TEA PARTY LEADERSHIP FUND

209 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE SE
SUITE 2109
WASHINGTON, DC 20003"


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From TheTeaParty.net regular website:
"About us"


"TheTeaParty.net is a division of Stop This Insanity Inc. and is a national non-profit 501(c)(4)
organization created in 2009 for the education and advancement of the constitutional conservative values of the Tea Party movement.
 
6. "TheTeaParty.net is a major sponsor of the CPAC convention every year in Washington D.C. This sponsorship enables us to connect the Tea Party movement with our conservative legislators in Washington."...
Continuing from their website:

8. "We have a full-time Washington D.C. representative with the connections and relationships there."...  

[This representative is Donna Wiesner Keene, wife of lobbyist and former CPAC president David Keene (now Pres. of NRA).]

-----------------------------------

9. TTP.net's website says it gives to "ACU and CPAC


But ACU and CPAC are dedicated to eliminating the TP and conservatives.

---------------------------------------------  

Again from TTP.net  website:

16. "TheTeaParty.net employs two "Freedom Lobbyists" who work with the Tea Party Caucus in Congress to pass legislation in line with the core values of the Tea Party movement."...
On 1/4/13 TheTeaParty.net trumpets hiring 3 new lobbyists as the "first ever" but the group has previously had two paid "Freedom Lobbyists" working with congress on supposed TP issues, per item #16 above from their website. Following is the 1/4/13 press release:
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1/4/13, "TEA PARTY ESTABLISHES CONGRESSIONAL ADVOCACY TEAM"   .
"Grassroots group forms first ever Tea Party advocacy group, including former Congressman J.D. Hayworth, conservative activists Niger Innis and Bob Adams, to push for smaller government on Capitol Hill"
 
Washington D.C. - "The nation’s largest Tea Party group announced today the creation of its new advocacy arm — the first of its kind. With over 600,000 members and over 1.3 million supporters on Facebook, TheTeaParty.Net has been a leading opponent of any legislation that increases taxes or raises the debt, including this week’s deal on the fiscal cliff....

"TheTeaParty.net is a national non-profit 501(c)(4) organization created in 2009 for the education and advancement of the constitutional conservative values of the Tea Party movement."
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8/14/11, Todd Cefaratti says TheTeaParty.net used to be a PAC but isn't anymore. Apparently changed their minds by 2012.        
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=========================================== 
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Norquist is a CPAC board member
:

2/14/11, "Rush: 'Tea party was under assault at CPAC'," World Net Daily, Drew Zahn

"Talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh, himself considered a conservative icon, blasted this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference for drowning out tea partiers and those concerned with social issues, lamenting, “That’s not the CPAC that I’ve always thought of or known.”

 
Saying he was concerned that “I might just drum myself out of a movement,” Limbaugh blamed the “ruling class” at CPAC for missing the message of the 2010 election, namely that there is “an

unmistakable conservative ascendancy happening in this country,”

evidenced most prominently in the tea-party movement.

But at CPAC, you didn’t get the impression here that there was a conservative ascendancy going on. 
You had a lot of people saying, ‘We gotta do something about that faction,’” Limbaugh said on his program today. The tea party was under assault in its own way at CPAC. And you in the tea party understand full well 

the ruling class is not happy with you.

And it was clearly obvious.”...

"Does the left ever hold a convention and say, ‘You know what, we gotta get rid of the Huffington Post people,’ or ‘We gotta deemphasize the Daily Kos?’ Does the left ever do anything it does to appeal to its enemies?”"... 
  
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More on GOP co-opting, an early tea party activist who mailed tea bags to congress and pres. says tea party movement has been hijacked by GOP. GOP 'has stolen anger of a population' fed up with GOP theft of their tax money, funneling it to Wall St. and electing cronies:

10/20/10, "To The Tea Party: Go Screw Yourself," market-ticker.org
 

(Video of Karl Denninger MSNBC interview with Dylan Ratigan previous night)....
 
"Why I and others led people to mail tea bags to Congress and our President in the first place: rampant theft of over taxpayer money propping up FAILED private businesses.  

 
"Tea Party" my ass.  This was nothing other than  

The Republican Party stealing the anger of a population that was fed up with  

The Republican Party's own theft of their tax money at gunpoint to bail out the robbers of Wall Street
and fraudulently redirecting it back toward electing the very people who stole all the ****ing money! ...

The Tea Party was and is about the the corruption of American Politics and the blatant and outrageous theft from all Americans that has resulted.  It is about personal responsibility and enforcement of the law against those who have robbed, financially raped and pillaged the nation.

Yet today we hear literally nothing about these issues among the so-called "Tea Party" candidates and their backers."...

=========================

Ed. note: This isn't the only fake TP group.

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More than 700 killed in Iraq in April 2013

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5/30/13, "Iraq violence 'ready to explode' - UN envoy," BBC

"The UN has said more than 700 people were killed in April - the highest monthly toll in almost five years. That would take the toll from the last two months well over 1,000 victims."
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April 2013 Eurozone unemployment reaches new record high, 40.5% of young people in Italy unemployed-BBC

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5/31/13, "Eurozone unemployment reaches new record high in April," BBC

"Unemployment in the eurozone has reached another record high, according to official figures. The seasonal-adjusted rate for April was 12.2%, up from 12.1% the month before.

An extra 95,000 people were out of work in the 17 countries that use the euro, bringing the total to 19.38 million. One in four people in Greece and Spain are now unemployed. The lowest unemployment rate is in Austria at 4.9%.

The European Commission's statistics office, Eurostat, said Germany had an unemployment rate of 5.4% while Luxembourg's was 5.6%. The highest rates are in Greece (27.0% in February 2013), Spain (26.8%) and Portugal (17.8%)....

Figures from the Italian government showed 40.5% of young people in Italy are unemployed.
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"We have to deal with the social crisis, which is expressed particularly in spreading youth unemployment, and place it at the centre of political action," said Italy's President Giorgio Napolitano."...


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India 2012-13 economy grew at slowest pace in a decade in part due to drop in foreign investment

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5/31/13, "India's economic growth at slowest rate in a decade," BBC

"India's economy grew at its slowest pace in a decade during the 2012-13 financial year, figures show. The economy grew by 5% over the year, after having grown at an annual pace of 4.8% in the January-to-March quarter.

India was recording annual growth of 9% until two years ago, but in recent months it has seen a sharp decline blamed on a slowdown in its manufacturing and services sectors.

Foreign investors have also kept away due to delays in key reforms...

Foreign direct investment into India has fallen, while the amount of corporate money leaving the country is on the rise."...photo above, 11/6/10, afp/getty

==================================

"Probably not since the days of the Pharaohs...."

11/6/10, "Obama's India visit security erect a bomb proof tunnel at the Ghandi Museum," Daily Mail UK

"Probably not since the days of the Pharaohs or the more ludicrous Roman Emperors has a head of state travelled in such
  • pomp and expensive grandeur as the President of the United States of America.
While lesser mortals – the Pope, Queen Elizabeth and so on – are usually happy to let their hosts handle most of the security and transport arrangements when they venture beyond their home shores, the United States creates a mini-America on the move to ensure that nothing is left to chance."...

=======================

India is among the world's most corrupt countries.

12/9/10, "World is getting more corrupt says transparency poll," BBC

"The organisation put Afghanistan, Nigeria, Iraq and India in the most corrupt category, followed by China, Russia and much of the Middle East....

In the Transparency International survey, political parties were regarded as the most corrupt institutions,
  • and 50% of people believed their government was ineffective at tackling the problem.
One in four of those polled said they had paid a bribe in the past year -
  • the police being the most common recipient.
Some 29% of bribes went to the police, 20% to registry and permit officials, and
  • 14% to members of the judiciary."...





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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Drug trade propels Al Qaeda in Africa aided by arrogant and corrupt African urban elites. Alienated youth then join Islamist groups offering hope and money, drugs travel from South America to Africa to Europe facilitated by lax border controls-BBC

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"One significant factor is the perceived arrogance and corruption of urban elites. The marginalisation of poorer communities...has further alienated them from the governing classes. Disgruntled young men have been happy to join radical groups that not only offer them an ideology, but money."

5/29/13, "How Islamist militancy threatens Africa," BBC

"With Islamist militant groups across the Sahara region still able to flex their muscles despite the French intervention in Mali, former UN diplomat and security expert Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah considers their threat to Africa.

The countries of North and West Africa have become embroiled in a new war waged by violent Islamist militants - a conflict that has no front line.

Last week's suicide assaults in Niger on a military base and French-run uranium mine, and a siege in January of the gas plant in Algeria reveal the insurgents' ruthless tactics.

And the start of the withdrawal of French troops from Mali, four months after recapturing northern cities from Islamist insurgents, is being touted by the militants on internet forums as the beginning of their victory.

They also have connections in northern Nigeria, especially with home-grown militant group Boko Haram.

Cocaine
 
Analysts believe there are dormant cells in many large cities, including most capitals in the Sahel region. There are several reasons that this network of militancy has flourished.

One significant factor is the perceived arrogance and corruption of urban elites.

The marginalisation of poorer communities - both in rural areas and smaller towns - and minority ethnic groups has further alienated them from the governing classes.

Disgruntled young men have been happy to join radical groups that not only offer them an ideology, but money.

And it is the widespread drug trafficking in the region that is believed to have enriched militant groups. Details about the operations are sketchy - large amounts of money are involved to ensure secrecy and loyalty.

Drugs from South America are taken across Africa to Europe, where they are more profitable and marketable.

A kilogramme of cocaine bought in Latin America for $3,000 (£1,990) can be sold in the capitals of West Africa for about $16,000; in North Africa it sells for $25,000 and can fetch about $45,000 in Europe.

Getting involved in the transit business as the conveyor or security agent provides not only a good salary but also the social recognition that money brings.

This is a tantalising prospect to many unemployed young men.

Western hostage taking is no less profitable for militant groups - and is another "business" that has grown in the last 10 years. Between 80m-100m euros ($103m-130m) is estimated by the Center for Strategy and Security in the Sahel Sahara to have been paid in ransoms in this time, despite both the United Nations and the African Union discouraging such payments.

Information technology has been a great help to a hard core of between 350 and 450 experienced AQIM fighters estimated to work within the coalition of Islamist militant groups in the Sahel and Sahara region.

The leadership and high ranking officers are mostly Algerians and Mauritanians, but increasingly the Sahelians are moving up the ladder.

They are very mobile and knowledgeable about the region, can often avoid detection and the monitoring of their communications, and can count on hundreds of determined militias and armed sympathisers.

AQIM has its roots in groups in Algeria, Libya and Tunisia. One of its key affiliates is the well-disciplined Mujao group, which was active in Mali and claimed responsibility for last week's Niger attacks.

There is also believed to be a connection between AQIM and the growing piracy of the Gulf of Guinea - similar to the situation in Somalia where the al-Qaeda affiliated al-Shabab group has strong links with pirates operating in the Indian Ocean.

In both cases the main objective is to expand the source of their funding and to enlarge their popular support through redistribution of the loot.

Last summer also saw reports of a liaison between the Islamist militants in the Sahel, al-Shabab and a few other "informal units" operating in the porous borders area between Chad, Libya and Sudan.

Al-Shabab militants were reported to have travelled overland to Mali disguised as Koranic students or merchants.

En route it is believed they stayed in safe houses in major cities before joining groups in the AQIM network to share experiences. The groups interact on more of an informal than a co-ordinated basis - facilitated by lax border controls and territorial continuity.

They also exploit the tribal systems and relationships between ethnic groups, using them to their advantage. Most rebel groups' supplies and logistics come down from the Maghreb or the fighters seize them by force from local armies.

Frustrated border populations either help the combatants or fail to report on them to government officials, despite being given Thuraya satellite phones to do so. Today, however, the Sahel and Sahara region is at a crossroads. There is an opportunity for the region's governments to get a grip on the situation and take advantage of France's gains.

Improving economies coupled with nascent freedoms in North Africa could also help improve weak governance, a major ingredient of terrorism.

In coalition with the private sector and civil society organisations, they could fight poverty and disenfranchisement, which could help quell the rebellion. But there is only a short window of opportunity.

Combatants presently fighting on far fronts, such as Syria, may well return - whether victorious or defeated - to boost the morale and numbers of the Saharan radical groups confronted by French troops.

Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah is the former UN envoy for Somalia and West Africa and now runs the Center for Strategy and Security in the Sahel Sahara in Mauritania"

========================

among comments to BBC

================== 

"44.

I sincerely believe we get it wrong when we link the expansion of islamist threats in Africa with poverty. As most of the suicide bombers are from rich families or were born and breed in Europe. Africans living in Africa are just victims of people who are eager to make a name for themselves for the sake of religion"


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2013 spring in UK will be coldest in 50 years UK Met Office says-BBC

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5/30/13, "Spring will be coldest in 50 years, Met Office says," BBC

"This spring is on track to be the coldest for more than 50 years, provisional Met Office figures suggest. This month has seen lower than average temperatures and it has been wetter than usual, forecasters said.

The UK's mean temperature for spring - based on figures from 1 March to 28 May - is currently 6C.
If conditions stay the same in the last days of May, it will be the coldest spring since 1962, and the fifth coldest since records began in 1910....

The provisional temperature for this spring goes against recent form for the season, forecasters said, with eight of the past 10 years seeing warmer than average springs compared to the long-term (1981-2010) average of 7.7C.

The main reason for the low temperatures in spring was a colder than usual March, which had a mean temperature of 2.2C to 3.3C below the long-term average. This made it the coldest March since 1962. The forecasters added that the colder than average conditions had been caused by frequent easterly and northerly winds, bringing cold air to the UK from polar and northern European regions.

Earlier this month, snow hit Shropshire and Devon and Cornwall, while Wales saw widespread snow in March.

Rainfall amounts for March and April were below average, but May is already wetter than average, with the average area receiving 86mm of rain up to the 28th day of the month - 70mm is the average.

The Met Office said this suggested that spring overall would be slightly drier than average - but not as dry as the springs of 2010 and 2011."


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2Q 2013 US GDP estimate lowered to 2.0-AP

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5/30/13, "US jobless claims rise modestly as economic growth revised down," AP via UK Guardian

"Data shows number of Americans seeking unemployment aid rose to 354,000, while economy in first quarter grew at just 2.4%"

"Economists believe growth is slowing to around a 2% rate in the April-June quarter."...

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'The Conservative doesn't despise government, he despises tyranny.' Trump

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5/30/13,

The Conservative does not despise government. He despises tyranny." -via Mark Levin twitter


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Tea Party groups targeted by IRS to appear before congress on Tuesday

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5/29/13, "Tea Party groups that were targeted by IRS are called to testify," The Hill, Becker

"The House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday will hear testimony from some of the conservative groups that received extra scrutiny from the IRS.

The hearing is the first scheduled with Tea Party groups, and the fifth in general focusing on the IRS’s targeting of groups seeking tax-exempt status. Ways and Means held the first hearing on the issue on May 17 and is now scheduled to be the first to hold multiple hearings on the matter."...via Lucianne


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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Huge decline in first time home buyers from April 2012-April 2013. Investor 'flipping' now up to 2005 levels

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5/28/13, "What Housing Recovery? Percentage of First-Time Home Buyers Falls Again in April," profitconfidential.com, Michael Lombardi

"It’s almost as if the mainstream media is defining the U.S. housing market as being “hot,” while some economists are calling for robust growth ahead. But the reality is that we are far from a recovery in the housing market and more troubles could follow.

As I have discussed in these pages many times before, institutional investors are running to buy homes for rental income, because the yields elsewhere are getting thinner. As a result, we’ve experienced hikes in home prices in the U.S. housing market.

Institutional investors rushed to buy homes with the philosophy of buy cheap, renovate, and rent. But they might be in for a surprise. According to real estate research firm Trulia Inc., since 2005, there have been almost four million single-family homes added to the rental market. That supply has met the demand created during the crisis in the housing market. (Source: Trulia Inc., April 4, 2013.)

As a result, the rental rates that institutional investors were banking on are actually compressing. Take a look at the table below, which depicts the year-over-year change in rental rates and home prices in some major cities in the U.S. economy.

As institutional investors are paying more for homes, their rental income is getting softer.

And the fact of the matter is that we are missing the most important piece of the puzzle for a real housing market recovery—first-time home buyers. Existing-home sales reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) showed that in April, first-time home buyers accounted for only 29% of the purchases in the housing market—a decline of more than 17% from April of 2012, when first-time home buyers accounted for 35% of all the existing-home sales. (Source: National Association of Realtors, May 22, 2013.)

And there are other troubling issues in the housing market; more than a quarter of all homes with a mortgage in the U.S. housing market had negative equity in the first quarter of 2013, while 18.2% of homeowners didn’t have enough equity to be able to cover the related costs of selling or moving into another home. (Source: Zillow, May 23, 2013.)

All of this is just simply adding to my skepticism toward the housing market recovery. At the very best, the U.S. housing market is still very anemic." via Free Republic

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5/29/13, "Flipping Homes Back To 2005 Levels," Zero Hedge






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Dept. of Homeland Security mobilized forces against the Tea Party but had no interest in such a job against Boston Marathon Islamic bomber Tsarnaev returning from a 6 month trip to Dagestan

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So scary is the Tea Party that Dept. of Homeland Security forces showed up at Tea Party gatherings in Orlando, Fla., and St. Louis, Mo. on May 21:
 
5/22/13, "Department of Homeland Security Targets Orlando and St. Louis TEA Party IRS protests," TeaPartyTribune.com, Dr. Richard Swier

"Tom Tillison of BizPac Review reports:

"The protest was held in Maitland, Florida, a short drive north of Orlando and not surprisingly, North Lake Tea Party, long the standard bearer of the Central Florida tea party movement, was on hand.

The tea party was acting on a call to action by Tea Party Patriots Inc., which bills itself as the nation’s largest tea party organization, in response to recent admissions by IRS officials that the agency had intentionally targeted tea party and conservative groups. A scandal that continues to grow in scope with each passing day.

Under the watchful eye of Homeland Security — yes, they were present — protesters carried signs that read “We Do Not Consent to Tyranny,” “Abolish the IRS” and “Don’t Target me Bro!,” making it clear they do not condone the use of the IRS as a political weapon.

As one protester noted, it’s insulting that Homeland Security felt the need to be present as American citizens exercise their first amendment right,

but decide to look away 

when suspected Islamic terrorist Tamerlan Tsarnaev travels back and forth to his home country.

Gateway Pundit reports, “Residents of St. Louis County, MO met in front of the IRS offices on May 21, 2013 to protest the IRS’ practice of targeting and harassing conservatives, patriots and Tea Party supporters. There were no city or county police there, ONLY DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY POLICE.”

Given that officers from the Department of Homeland Security were at TEA Party IRS protests in both St. Louis, MO, Melbourne and Orlando, FL but not in Sarasota, FL indicates targeting? It should be noted that the IRS offices are federal buildings and the DHS has a role in protecting federal buildings in the US. If any other groups noticed the same presence of DHS officers at their protest or the lack thereof please contact WDW."
 


"Residents of St. Louis County, 5/21/13, peacefully protest in front of IRS. "There were no city or county police there, ONLY DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY POLICE."


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'Republican Party is filled with weak, scared, fearful men and women in Washington, DC'-Mark Levin

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5/29/13, "Mark Levin: "Maybe Bob Dole Couldn't Be Nominated Today And Perhaps That's A Good Thing"," Real Clear Politics

"MARK LEVIN: The Republican party is filled with weak, scared, fearful men and women in Washington, D.C. who try to rationalize what they're doing, which isn't much of anything. And then lash out against people who are calling their attention to the perilous future that is being placed before us and demanding action. Not radical action, not right-wing action, none of that. Action based on our founding principles, within our Constitutional construct. That's what we're up against.

Maybe Bob Dole couldn't be nominated today and perhaps that's a good thing. And it's a good thing that Olympia Snowe has left the Senate because she had a disastrous career of contributing to this monstrosity. I don't have a problem with her comments given what she's done and where she's from. They're self-serving, quite frankly. But the rest of us, who haven't served in the Senate or the House, haven't served in the office of the presidency, I think we have a much clearer view of what the hell is going on in this country. (Mark Levin Show, May 28, 2013)" via Mark Levin twitter


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Michele Bachmann's biggest defeat was delivered by John Boehner who denied her a position in new House leadership after Nov. 2010 elections

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5/29/13, "What Bachmann's Departure Means for the Tea Party," Breitbart, Joel B. Pollak

"The most consequential defeat of Bachmann's political career did not come at the ballot box or on the campaign trail, but in the back rooms of Congress, when she was denied a position in the new House leadership after the Tea Party led the GOP back to power in the 2010 elections. Her exclusion slowed the Tea Party's momentum, as did targeting by the IRS--an agency for which, ironically, Bachmann had once worked.

And yet Bachmann arguably paved the way for other Tea Party leaders in Congress, notably Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who followed in Bachmann's footsteps this year by giving a separate Tea Party response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address. She also--as some on the left grudgingly admit--has been one of the most competent members of Congress, serving with distinction on the House Intelligence Committee.

It remains to be seen exactly why Bachmann chose to retire. She faced tough re-election prospects, and is fending off questions about her campaign's compliance with Federal Election Commission rules after a former aide filed a complaint against her. Bachmann insists that she has complied with all rules and that the investigation into those allegations has nothing to do with her decision. The full story will eventually emerge."....


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Nearly 40% of mothers are now the family breadwinner. The deliberate destruction of the US economy and culture by the political class disappeared male providers who remain jobless or in lower paying jobs-Washington Post

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5/29/13, "Nearly 40 percent of mothers are now the family breadwinners, report says," Washington Post, Brigid Schulte

"In a trend accelerated by the recent recession and an increase in births to single mothers, nearly four in 10 families with children under the age of 18 are now headed by women who are the sole or primary breadwinners for their families, according to a report released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center. 
 
The report reveals a sweeping change in traditional gender roles and family life over a few short decades: The number of married mothers who out-earn their husbands has nearly quadrupled, from 4 percent in 1960 to 15 percent in 2011. Single mothers, who are sole providers for their families, have tripled in number, from 7 to 25 percent in the same period.

The decade of the 2000s witnessed the most rapid change in the percentage of married mothers earning more than their husbands of any decade since 1960,” said Philip Cohen, a University of Maryland sociologist who studies gender and family trends. “This reflects the larger job losses experienced by men at the beginning of the Great Recession. Also, some women decided to work more hours or seek better jobs in response to their husbands’ job loss, potential loss or declining wages.”...

Although the trend toward mothers who pull in the biggest part of the family income has been on the rise as more women have become educated and entered the workforce, the recession has accelerated the trend, said Sarah Jane Glynn, an analyst with the Center for American Progress.

“Part of what’s happening is that more men have been getting laid off and are having difficulty finding work,” she said, noting that the number of married wives who are sole earners has increased since 2007. “And with the way the recovery’s played out, some men who lost their jobs wound up taking others that paid less.”"...via Free Republic

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Obama fake out: Obama drones kill 7, wound 4 in "ally" Pakistan days after media said he was 'scaling back' his drone program that only radicalizes survivors and presents a weak and distracted US in the process of decline

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5/29/13, "UPDATE 1-U.S. launches first drone strike in Pakistan since [May 11] election," Reuters

"A U.S. drone strike killed seven people in Pakistan's volatile North Waziristan tribal region on Wednesday, security officials said, the first drone attack since a May 11 election in which the use of the unmanned aircraft was a major issue.

U.S. President Barack Obama recently indicated he was scaling back the drone strike programme, winning cautious approval from Pakistan.

Pakistani security officials and tribesmen said the drone fired two missiles that struck a mud-built house at Chashma village, 3 km (2 miles) east of Miranshah, the administrative town of North Waziristan.

They said seven people were killed and four wounded. It was not immediately clear if the victims were the intended targets.

Prime Minister-elect Nawaz Sharif said this month that drone strikes were a "challenge" to Pakistan's sovereignty. "We will sit with our American friends and talk to them about this issue," he said.

Obama's announcement of scaling back drone strikes was widely welcomed by the tribespeople of North Waziristan, where drones armed with missiles have carried out the most strikes against militants over the past seven years, sometimes with heavy civilian casualties.

Pakistan is a key ally in the U.S. war on terror but, while combating militancy is still a high priority, polls show Americans' main concerns are the economy and other domestic issues such as healthcare. (Reporting by Jibran Ahmad; Editing by Nick Macfie and Paul Tait)"

==============================

So much for the experts at The Hill and the Brookings Institution:

5/27/13, "Fewer drone strikes likely result of new Obama policy, analysts say," The Hill Defense blog, Jeremy Herb



 "Michael O’Hanlon, an analyst at the Brookings Institution, said the use of drones in the Middle East is already on the decline, thanks to earlier administration policy decisions, a lowered threat and the damage the strikes have caused to relations with Pakistan."...

==================== 

7/18/2011, "The War on Terror, now starring Yemen and Somalia," Glenn Greenwald, Salon.com 

"The U.S. continues to spawn the very Terrorism problem it claims to combat, with the media helpfully in tow."

"That the U.S. is creating the very Terrorism problem it claims to be combating is one of the most crucial points in discussions of American Terrorism policy...but it barely is heard in American political discourse.  Further bolstering that fact is the work of Noor Berham, who has spent three years systematically documenting the results of American drone attacks in Pakistan with on-the-scene photojournalism: Noor Behram says his painstaking work has uncovered an important — and unreported — truth about the US drone campaign in Pakistan’s tribal region: that far more civilians are being injured or dying than the Americans and Pakistanis admit....

“For every 10 to 15 people killed, maybe they get one militant,” he said. “I don’t go to count how many Taliban are killed. I go to count how many children, women, innocent people, are killed”...
According to Noor Behram, the strikes not only kill the innocent but injure untold numbers and radicalise the population.

“There are just pieces of flesh lying around after a strike. You can’t find bodies. So the locals pick up the flesh and curse America. They say that America is killing us inside our own country, inside our own homes, and only because we are Muslims."...

====================== 
Obama has "provided the image of a distracted superpower in the process of decline.... This image of weakness is being exploited"....

9/14/12, "The World from Berlin: 'Obama's Middle East Policy Is in Ruins'," Der Spiegel

"Obama was naive to believe that one only needed to adopt a new tone and show more respect in order to dispel deep-seated reservations about the free world....But Washington has provided the image of a distracted superpower in the process of decline to the societies there. This image of weakness is being exploited by Salafists and al-Qaida, who are active in North Africa from Somalia to Mali."

"One thing is clear: If jihadists believe they can attack American installations and kill an ambassador on the anniversary of Sept. 11, then America's deterrent power has declined considerably. For a superpower, it is not enough just to want to be loved. You have to scare the bad guys to keep them in check.""



 



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More roving Minnesota Somali gangs randomly attack lone, defenseless individuals

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5/28/13, "Police: Joggers Attacked At Random In Fridley," minnesota.cbslocal.com

"Police are looking for as many as six or seven Somali men after two joggers were randomly attacked in Fridley.

Authorities said two joggers were the victims of what are being labeled as random attacks on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. and 3:50 p.m.  The joggers, both men, were on a path near East River Road and 37th Avenue NE when the attacks took place.

Police said one man suffered a bloody nose in the attack and the other has a sore throat. Authorities said these attacks were not robbery attempts and that the suspects randomly approached them and assaulted them.

Authorities said the suspects are described of a group of six to seven Somali men, but did not have any more information.

Anyone with information about the incidents is asked to call Fridley Police." via Atlas Shrugs

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5/28/13, "Minnesota: Muslim Mobs Randomly Attack Joggers," Atlas Shrugs, Pamela Geller

"These attacks by Muslim gangs continue to increase as Muslim immigration increases. Muslim Gangs in Minnesota Grow More Dangerous.

Muslim attacks target gays, women, etc. We see a concentration of these Muslim attacks in gateway cities where large Muslim populations are settled under the Refugee Resettlement programs
Our organization, AFDI, has called for:

-- deportation hearings against non-citizens who promote jihad in our nations.

-- an immediate halt of immigration by Muslims into nations that do not currently have a Muslim majority population. 

-- AFDI calls for laws providing that anyone seeking citizenship in the United States should be asked if he or she supports Sharia law, and investigated for ties to pro-Sharia groups. If so, citizenship should not be granted.

-- AFDI calls for the cancellation of citizenship or permanent residency status for anyone who leaves the country of his residence to travel for the purpose of engaging in jihad activity, and for the refusal of reentry into his country of residence after that jihad activity."

[Here is currently working link to 2011 AP story "As Somali gangs evolve, so does enforcement,"]

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7/25/12, "Minnesota Sheriff Reports to Congress on Growing Somalia Gang Threat in Hennepin County," CNS News, Starr

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11/8/10, "Indictment: Somali gangs ran sex ring in 3 states," Minnesota Public Radio, Aslanian, Yuen

============================

2/6/11, "As Somali gangs evolve, so does enforcement," AP via USA Today

"The girl was 12 when the gangsters told her the rule: They would sell her for sex to men outside the gang, but members of the Somali Outlaws or the Somali Mafia would use her for free.

For more than two years she was taken on "missions" to abandoned garages, men's bathrooms, apartments and hotels, enduring hours with multiple men so gang members could get money, pot or booze. Though her mother confronted two of the men twice early on and warned them the girl wasn't even 13, they continued to prostitute her.

Eventually some of the gang members took her on the road to new customers in Nashville, Tenn., while the man she called her "boyfriend" allegedly used a cellphone to send images of her engaging in sex acts with men in the car along the way."...

=================

From Atlas Shrugs, 3/12/11: Muslim Gangs in Minnesota Grow More Dangerous:

"Reader KF sent this, "Minnesota used to be a friendly, safe slice of middle America. Minnesotans are generally welcoming and accepting people. The vibe has changed though. Now cities from Minneapolis to Rochester, have begun to resemble something a little like downtown Mogadishu. The new immigrants are NOT welcoming.. even hostile to their neighbors. In some neighborhoods, groups of muslim children, "chase" people even older people to rob them of their money and groceries (of course they only chase non muslims) They attack single non-muslim women walking home from work and even harass men they perceive to be gay. It is so bizarre.""



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