Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Emboldened by the recent Supreme Court decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act, gay activists are clamoring louder than ever about everything, from how teachers describe marriage to Hollywood films that come against its homosexual agenda.
Of course, the former is nothing new, but the latter is just one example of what we can expect to see—and see more of—as radical gay activism seeks to exert its minority force on all spheres of society.
While I understand the uproar over Alec Baldwin’s online outburst—what some are calling a “homophobic rant,” after a Daily Mail reporter suggested his wife was tweeting during Soprano's actor James Gandolfini's funeral last month—the move to boycott Harrison Ford’s latest film is absurd.
Gay rights activists have targeted Ender’s Game, calling for a boycott because the sci-fi thriller’s author, Orson Scott Card, doesn’t buy into gay marriage.
It seems radical gay activists are taking exception to Card joining the board of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), which was birthed in an effort to combat Proposition 8 legislation banning gay marriage in California.
“Do not buy a ticket at the theatre, do not purchase the DVD, do not watch it on-demand. Ignore all merchandise and toys. ... By pledging to skip Ender's Game, we can send a clear and serious message to Card and those that do business with his brand of anti-gay activism—whatever he’s selling, we’re not buying," a post on Geeks OUT’s website reads. The film is set to debut in November.
The gay agenda already worked to get Card fired from DC Comics for his beliefs. DC Comics shelved Card’s part in a Superman project indefinitely in response to the gay agenda’s intimidation. So why not go after the Harrison Ford film and anything else that gets in the way of LGBT momentum too?
Can you see it? We are moving into an era where anyone who disagrees with what the gay agendawants is muzzled, shut down and downright boycotted.
Of course, gays boycotting brands didn’t start with Ender’s Game. The gay agenda made headlines last year for boycotting Chick-fil-A. Gov. Mike Huckabee counteracted that boycott with Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day that caused the chicken chain to post a world record sales day.
But that was last year. This is now.
With a fresh wind of boldness courtesy of the U.S. Supreme Court, you can expect to see radical gay activists rush to the fore with boycotts on anything and everything that refuses to bow down to its moves to further reshape our culture in the name of tolerance.
Russian experts have found that Syrian militants fighting against the government of President Bashar al-Assad made sarin nerve gas and used it in a deadly attack outside Aleppo in March.
China’s biggest private shipbuilder, China Rongsheng Heavy Industries Group, last week filed for a profit warning as it expects a loss in the first half of 2013. That was the good news. The bad news is that Rongsheng appealed for government aid last Friday and said it was cutting staff as it was delaying payments to suppliers to deal with tightened cash flows.
It also called on its shareholders for financial help and said it was in talks with banks and other financial institutions to renew existing credit lines. In other words a complete liquidity collapse.
Well, maybe not complete: the company also said no suppliers have towed away machinery, and it has seen no "incident of abscondment of salary" pay (whatever that means). Yet. However, the Chinese government now must decide quickly whether this will be the country's first tight liquidity-induced casualty, or will the PBOC's resolve crash and burn with the first Too Big To Fail company emerging in China's new liquidity-tight regime.
If it chooses the former, watch out below as many more companies, which also find themselves on the liquidity edge, follow in Rongsheng's footsteps and fold.
The fundamentals are not pretty: Rongsheng had CNY2.1 billion in cash balance versus short-term borrowings of CNY19.3 billion at the end of last year. And, as DB summarizes, being a flagship operator in the industry that employs around 20,000 workers there are also increasing talks of whether the company is too-big-too-fail for the State.
Of course it is, but the bigger issue is how the PBOC - intent on showing the world that it means business in fighting the world's biggest housing bubble - will react to a government bailout, which in turn will demonstrate that telegraphed market liquidity is absolutely worthless as any company that hits a liquidity crunch will simply get a government lifeline.
Just like in the US (if mostly for banks and labor-union heavy companies).
An appeal for government financial support from China's biggest private shipbuilder presents authorities with some stark choices between protecting a big employer and its jobs or letting the firm go under to ease pressure on a sector suffering from overcapacity and sharply falling new orders.Since Beijing appears intent on telling investors it is serious about changing the investment-led growth model of the world's second-biggest economy and controlling a credit splurge, it may seem like the writing is on the wall for China Rongsheng Heavy Industries Group.Yet analysts say the government is more likely than not to judge that Rongsheng, which employs around 20,000 workers and has received state patronage, is too big and well connected to fail.Analysts say Rongsheng is possibly the largest casualty of a sector that has grown over the past decade into the world's biggest shipbuilding industry by construction capacity. Amid a global shipping downturn, new orders for Chinese builders fell by half last year. In Rongsheng's case, it won orders worth $55.6 million last year, compared with a target of $1.8 billion.Annual reports show that Rongsheng has received state subsidies since 2010, when it listed in Hong Kong.In the prospectus for its initial public offer, Rongsheng said it received 520 million yuan of subsidies from the Rugao city government in the southern province of Jiangsu, where the company is based.The state funds paid for research and development of new types of vessels, and were based in part on the "essential role we play in the local economy", Rongsheng said."We cannot assure you that we will be able to receive similar government subsidies in the future," it said. "If we do not receive such subsidies, our profit and profit margin may be substantially less than if we were to receive such subsidies."The company said it got state funds of 830 million yuan in 2010, 1.25 billion yuan in 2011, and 1.3 billion yuan in 2012.
In a Chinese world which is suddenly hit by CNY1 trillion in deleveraging, Rongsheng would merely be the canary in the coalmine.
As China's economy grinds towards its slackest growth in at least 14 years, more firms like Rongsheng are foundering.Suntech Power Holdings (STP.N), a solar panel maker also based in Jiangsu, is waiting to be bailed out by the government after it was crushed by falling demand and a supply glut, a source with knowledge of the matter said in March. The government wants to find a way to rescue Suntech to avoid an embarrassing collapse that damages its reputation, the source said.
That said, with or without a government bailout of Rongsheng, just like the US green industry, Chinese shipping is in shambles either way:
China's shipbuilding woes are partly of its own making. A global downturn in demand has hammered the sector since 2008, but a national obsession for global dominance in some industries led China to declare in the early 2000s that it wanted to be the world's top shipbuilding nation by 2015.A state-induced spike in the number of Chinese shipbuilders followed as the country led a three-fold rise in new global shipbuilding capacity in the past decade. As the world's largest shipbuilder, it had 1,647 shipyards in 2012, data from China Association of the National Shipbuilding Industry showed. Over 60 percent of its shipbuilders are based in Rongsheng's province of Jiangsu.In contrast, China's main rivals South Korea and Japan have only 10 and 15 active shipyards, respectively, French shipping broker BRS says.
Barclays, which until last week had Rongsheng on neutral and thus was as blindsided as everyone else, issuddenly concerned:
A third of the shipyards in China, the world’s biggest shipbuilding
nation, may be shut in about five years, the China Association of
National Shipbuilding Industry said last week. The order book of Chinese
shipbuilders fell 23 percent at the end of May from a year earlier,
according to data from the shipbuilders’ group.“We expect shipyard failures could become a reality in China if current conditions persist,” Barclays Plc analysts Jon Windham and Esme Pau wrote in a report to clients yesterday. “Those yards not facing such harsh financial difficulties could increase their market and pricing power.” The Hong Kong-based analysts lowered their rating on Rongsheng’s shares to “underweight” from “equalweight.”
Just like the GM bailout was predicated by Obama's taxpayer funded purchase of union vote, so Rongsheng's "connections" may be the determining factor in its fate:
Analysts say what separates Rongsheng from many other companies are its connections with the government and state banks. Rongsheng's Chief Executive Chen Qiang, for example, enjoys "special government allowances" granted by China's cabinet, the firm's annual reports say.Rongsheng also said in its IPO prospectus that it has two five-year financing deals with Export-Import Bank of China that end in 2014 and in 2015, and a 10-year agreement with Bank of China (3988.HK) starting from 2009.Experts say Rongsheng's strong networks suggest the local governments will not let it fail, even if Beijing does not approve of a bailout.After all, local government coffers will suffer the biggest blow if Rongsheng goes bust. The firm had 168 million yuan of deferred income taxes in 2012.
In other words, lose-lose: bail it out and lose all "reform" credibility; let it die, and start the proverbial domino waterfall which pulls the rug from under the country's rotten shadow banking and insolvent local government funding system.
Keep a close eye on China's real canary in the liquidity-parched coalmine.
A massive explosion last Thursday at a major Syrian weapons depot in Latakia, not far from the main port of Tartous, completely destroyed the facility and munitions stored there. Tartous is Syria’s main port. It is largely controlled by the Russian military, and the route by which all weapons transported by sea would enter Syria. As such, any advanced Russian weaponry would enter via Tartous and might be stored in the Latakia depot.
Though the Free Syrian Army took immediate credit for the attack, it was not the responsible party. A confidential Israeli source informs me that Israeli forces attacked the site. The target were components of Russia’s SA-300 anti-aircraft missile system which had been shipped by Russia to Tartous and stored in Latakia. Israel and exerted tremendous pressure on Vladimir Putin to cancel its contract to supply the missile batteries to Syria, since once they were operational they would render Israeli aircraft more vulnerable to attack. Israel, of course, will countenance no front-line state having even defensive weapons which give it superiority over Israeli weapons systems. In response to Israeli entreaties, Russia’s leader refused to budge and recommitted to providing the weapons to Assad. Apparently, he’d begun to follow through on his promise with these first shipments.
This is Israeli third attack inside Syria since January. It considerably escalates the conflict there since it is the first known attack by Israeli forces which destroyed Russian armaments. Though Putin was surely warned by Israel that this would happen if he went forward with the arms deal, actually attacking Russian munitions is an act to which Putin will not take kindly, to say the least.
Assad bragged publicly a month ago that the SA-300 deliveries had arrived. Turns out he was right. Perhaps he shouldn’t have shot his mouth off.
Israel’s Channel 10 aired a claim by Syria rebels that Israel attacked and Israel journalists tell their viewers that they know things they’re not allowed to tell. A clear indication of Israeli involvement. Haaretz reports that a Syrian army source called the explosion the result of a technical failure, which hardly seems credible.
My source further notes that the FSA coordinated with the IDF and launched a rocket attack on nearby government military installations in order to distract loyalist forces from the real target. But the rebels played no role in the attack on the munitions cache. Their claim of responsibility conveniently takes Israel off the hook (until people read this report) and lessens pressure or condemnation on Israel for its third major attack inside Syria since January.
It’s all the stranger that Haaretz’s Amos Harel, in writing about the incident would write this:
Israel wasn’t mentioned in connection with Thursday’s incident in Latakia. It doesn’t intervene in events in Syria.
Apparently, Israelis believe that “intervention” means invading the country with boots on the ground. When it sends its jet planes to bomb Syrian targets inside the country, that’s not considered intervention. This is further evidence of Israeli delusions and self-denial about their level of interference in the affairs of frontline Arab states. Such refusal to acknowledge Israel’s real role allows Israelis to believe falsely they’re innocent bystanders, sometimes even victims (!) in the affairs in the region.
How does Harel think Israel coordinated the FSA diversionary attack near Latakia? With smoke signals? No, Israeli intelligence has created a tacit alliance with the rebels who serve Israel’s interests when Assad acts in ways Israel believes will harm it. Hezbollah’s role in the Qusayr fight may have caused alarm in the Israeli defense ministry, which may’ve seen this as further evidence of escalation inside Syria. If Israel could take Hezbollah down a peg or two after its victory taking the Syria town on Assad’s behalf, it would be eager to do so. In this sense, the Syrian civil war is a proxy battle between Israel and Hezbollah who are itching for their next direct confrontation (the last one being in 2006).
Israel launched a very similar raid several months ago on the Sudanese capital Khartoum, in which it destroyed a major government arms depot. It’s known that Iran ships its weapons to Hamas and Syria via ports on the Arabian Sea, from where they’re shipped via Sudan to points north. Again, Israel has sucked countries throughout the region into the vortex of its own conflict with the Palestinians. If this doesn’t prove that this conflict is a major destabilizing force in the region, nothing will.
The area attacked is in the Alawite heartland of northwestern Syria. As such, Assad would think of it as one of his most secure bastions. Violating it as Israel has done would be meant to show Assad that he has no sanctuary from which to hide and serve as a psychological blow. At least, Israel would hope to convey such a message.
Haaretz’s Hebrew edition reports that Israel may’ve chosen this time to attack because the attention of the international media was focussed on the Egyptian coup, which served as a convenient distraction.
Another factor to keep in mind is that the recent assistance that Hezbollah offered to Assad in sending 4,000 fighters to subdue the strategic town of Qusayr would come with a price. Hezbollah would not be shy is extracting its share of the bargain, which would certainly involve transshipment of advanced Iranian or Russian weaponry via Syria to Lebanon, where the Lebanese militia would use it against Israel in any future military confrontation.
Another possibility is that Russia, which recently confirmed that it would honor its contract with Assad calling for delivery of the SA-300 anti-aircraft system. It’s possible Russia had begun shipping components of these missile batteries to Assad.
This site speculates that Israel used cruise missiles launched from its German-built Dolphin submarines to destroy the complex. If true, it would mean that German built advanced armaments were being used by Israel in a pre-emptive attack violating the territorial sovereignty of another Mideast country. Though Israel could just as easily have used its own air force to do the job.
A flurry of recent stories about police knocking on – and sometimes knocking in people’s front doors have raised alarms in both the U.S. and Canada about whether the home is still constitutionally protected from increasing police power.
As WND reported, High River, Alberta, has become a recent focal point of the controversy, when it was revealed Royal Canadian Mounted Police entered the flooded town after a mandatory evacuation, broke down doors and began confiscating “several hundred” firearms.
The details are eerily reminiscent of New Orleans during hurricane Katrina, when officers similarly invaded homes and confiscated thousands of weapons they uncovered.
In High River, RCMP and province officials assured citizens the only guns taken were those “improperly secured” and “in plain view” – to be stored for safekeeping and returned to residents after the evacuation ended.
But Michael Coren of Canada’s Sun News says the authorities are “lying, because we know the police actually broke locks to get into cupboards to find out if there were guns there.”
High River resident Cam Fleury believes his house, which sits at a high point free of floodwater, was targeted by the RCMP. The following video shows his front door was broken down, and police made a bee-line for his gun cabinet:
“This whole area is the highest point in town, so there was no flood damage,” Fleury told Sun News, “so there was no reason for them to enter any of these houses.”
The RCMP’s actions drew a rebuke from Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper, whose office issued a statement: “If any firearms were taken, we expect they will be returned to their owners as soon as possible. … We believe the RCMP should focus on more important tasks such as protecting lives and private property.”
Yet civil rights and gun advocates in the country warn that’s not good enough.
Faith Goldy, who has been following the story for Sun News, is concerned about the information authorities were able to gather by invading people’s homes: “Now they’ve got [firearm] serial numbers, they’ve got addresses and there is no mechanism put in place for us now to force them to abolish what has basically become an emergency, back-door [gun] registry.”
“There’s absolutely no way, no how you can justify going into people’s homes and taking their property without a warrant,” asserted Tony Bernardo of the Canadian Sport Shooting Association. “This is Canada! We have laws here!”
“People are protected from having an unwarranted search and seizure,” Goldy added, “[yet] that’s exactly what happened here.”
Gun grabbing nothing new in the U.S.
Americans are similarly protected by the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, which states, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
Yet the Fourth Amendment was sorely tried – or outright ignored, depending on your perspective – when the residents of New Orleans faced similar floodwaters.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, thousands of weapons – legally obtained and owned – were simply grabbed from citizens after New Orleans Police Superintendent P. Edwin Compass III announced, “Only law enforcement are allowed to have weapons.”
Just to make sure the message was loud and clear, the city’s Deputy Police Chief Warren Riley told ABC News: “No one will be able to be armed. We are going to take all the weapons.”
Then they did exactly that.
One man at a post-Katrina meeting assembled in conjunction with the National Rifle Association said, “The bottom line is this. Once they did it, they set a precedent. And what we’ve got to be sure [of] is that the precedent stops here.”
In a series of videos, the National Rifle Association has documented the stunning weapons grab by police in New Orleans, assembling videos that show them physically taking weapons from individuals, including one woman who was stunned when officers threw her against her kitchen wall because she had a small handgun for self-defense.
The not-to-be-forgotten images, Part 1:x
Herb Titus, a nationally known constitutional attorney and law professor, told WND government’s claim always is that such draconian powers will only be used “in an emergency situation.”
But there are so many “emergencies,” he said, that “all of our rights are in jeopardy.”
The Boston “emergency”
Similarly startling videos were also captured in Boston earlier this year when police conducted a city-wide manhunt in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon Islamic terror attack.
There, they burst into homes with guns drawn, ordering residents out while they searched.
Commentators said while homeowners there technically had the right to refuse a request for a search if officers didn’t have a warrant, “it seems unlikely that many residents of Watertown felt like exploring that particular legal nuance by refusing the policy entry.”
Merely expecting an “emergency”
As WND has reported, the most recent example of a police-state presence is developing even now in Sanford, Fla., where neighborhood-watch participant George Zimmerman faces a nationally prominent, racially charged murder trial for the death of teenager Trayvon Martin.
Police say they fear the backlash from the community when the jury verdict is delivered, ala the days of rioting in Los Angeles when the Rodney King verdict came down.
So Sanford Police Chief Cecile Smith confirmed officers are going door-to-door talking to people.
“Our worst fear is that we’d have people from outside the community coming in and stirring up … violence,” he said.
The police live here now, ma’am
Yet surprisingly, the Fourth Amendment isn’t the only “front door” right to come under assault in recent months.
As WND reported, a lawsuit has been filed against the Henderson, Nev., police department over an incident in which its officers allegedly demanded to use a private home as a lookout for an investigation, then arrested the resident when he refused.
It raises the unusual claim that the police violated the Third Amendment, which prohibits the “quartering of soldiers” in private homes in peacetime without the owner’s consent.
“Whatever the ultimate outcome of this case, it is clear that lawyers and legal scholars should start taking the Third Amendment more seriously,” commented legal scholar Eugene Volohk. “Contrary to conventional wisdom, there is in fact a history of violations of the Third Amendment, such as the military’s brutal treatment of Alaska’s Aleutian Islanders during World War II.”
In the new case, filed just days ago, plaintiff Anthony Mitchell is suing Henderson, North Las Vegas and a long list of police officials and officers. Mitchell alleges on July 20, 2011, Henderson officers responded to a domestic violence call at a neighbor’s residence.
According to the complaint, “At 10:45 a.m. defendant Officer Christopher Worley (HPD) contacted plaintiff Anthony Mitchell via his telephone. Worley told plaintiff that police needed to occupy his home in order to gain a ‘tactical advantage’ against the occupant of the neighboring house. Anthony Mitchell told the officer that he did not want to become involved and that he did not want police to enter his residence. Although Worley continued to insist that plaintiff should leave his residence, plaintiff clearly explained that he did not intend to leave his home or to allow police to occupy his home. Worley then ended the phone call.”
The complaint then explains that members of the police departments “conspired among themselves to force Anthony Mitchell out of his residence and to occupy his home for their own use.”
According to a report in Court News, “Defendant Officer David Cawthorn outlined the defendants’ plan in his official report: ‘It was determined to move to 367 Evening Side and attempt to contact Mitchell. If Mitchell answered the door he would be asked to leave. If he refused to leave he would be arrested for Obstructing a Police Officer. If Mitchell refused to answer the door, force entry would be made and Mitchell would be arrested.’”
The lawsuit explains at least five police officers banged on Anthony Mitchell’s front door and demanded he leave, then broke down the door and pointed their guns at him.
“As plaintiff Anthony Mitchell stood in shock, the officers aimed their weapons at Anthony Mitchell and shouted obscenities at him and ordered him to lie down on the floor,” court documents explain. “Fearing for his life, plaintiff Anthony Mitchell dropped his phone and prostrated himself onto the floor of his living room, covering his face and hands.”
According to the complaint, Mitchell was subsequently transported to Henderson Detention Center, booked on charges of Obstructing an Officer and required to pay a bond to secure release from custody. All criminal charges, however, were ultimately dismissed with prejudice.
Volokh noted for damages to be due under the Third Amendment, the court would have to decide whether “police … qualify as ‘solders.’”
“On the other hand,” he said, “many police departments are increasingly using military-style tactics and equipment, often including the aggressive use of force against innocent people who get in the way of their plans. … In jurisdictions where the police have become increasingly militarized, perhaps the courts should treat them as ‘soldiers’ for Third Amendment purposes.”
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/07/gun-seizures-trigger-fear-of-massive-police-power/#U601VUXrbyUgzk9Y.99
WASHINGTON, July 8 (RIA Novosti) – A US weapon designed to shoot down nuclear missiles in flight failed to intercept its target in a test off the coast of California, according to the US Department of Defense.
The interceptor missile launched Friday from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California failed to strike a long-range ballistic missile launched from a test site in the northern Pacific Ocean, the latest miscue in the test program that has not seen a successful intercept since 2008.
“Program officials will conduct an extensive review to determine the cause or causes of any anomalies which may have prevented a successful intercept,” the Defense Department said in a statement.
The $214 million test involved a ground-based missile defense system designed by US aerospace giant Boeing and put the US Military Defense Agency’s record in the testing program at eight hits out of 16 tries, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Russia and the United States have repeatedly clashed in recent years over the development of a US missile defense system, which Moscow says would compromise its national security by weakening deterrence. Washington, meanwhile, insists the program is aimed at protecting US territory from a nuclear attack by countries like North Korea and Iran.
Domestic critics of the program in the United States say it uses massive financial resources with no guarantee that such a missile shield would be able to intercept a nuclear weapon mid-air.
The United States currently maintains a total of 30 ground-based interceptors in California and Alaska, and Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel announced earlier this year that the military plans to deploy an additional 14 interceptors, including four at the Vandenberg base.
GRAND ISLE, La. (CBS Houston) — A Louisiana man died after contracting flesh-eating bacteria while fishing in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Town Talk reports the bacteria known as Vibria vulnificus – which is found in warm seawater – killed the 83-year-old man after his open wound got infected when water splashed on him during a fishing trip.
“It thrives in warm water,” Dr. Tina Stefanski of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals told KATC-TV. “So, you can imagine in the summer months we see an increased number of this type of bacteria in warm salt water.”
The department is warning swimmers and beach-goers to be careful in the warm water, especially ones with open wounds.
Three others swimming in the Louisiana Gulf coast were sickened from the bacteria.