“Oportunidades” for Occupy Wall Street

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The Occupiers in America have one chief concern: economic inequality.

The Mexicans have one stunning solution: Oportunidades.

Mother & Cracker-Eating Son

Impoverished Families of Mexico look to Oportunidades for financial aid and stability.

What is “Oportunidades?”

It is a conditional cash transfer anti-poverty program by the Mexican government that has revolutionized economic equality.

The Mexicans social welfare program differs from many in the developed world.  Rather than paying out blanket benefits to beneficiaries specific criteria must be met before financial aid is released.  Recipients must meet educational, health, and nutrition goals.   Already the program covers 5.8 million families or 30% of the total population.

What are the Criteria?

Education, Health, and Nutrition.

Investing in the human capital of the future generation is of primary importance for Oportunidades.  To be put in layman’s terms, the Mexican government works to make future citizens be self-sufficient and perhaps even give back to their country through employment and taxes.

Guaranteeing students attend school is vitally important.  For each student attending school families receive larger cash transfers.  In addition, for each successive year of education the cash transfers grow significantly. Rather than working in the fields engaged students are getting an education.  Some even progress to college and acquire class changing jobs.

Health and nutrition are also essential ingredients in the Oportunidades miracle.  Cash transfer payments are delivered as long as mothers keep regular medical checkups for their children and enroll themselves in classes detailing disease prevention.  Other workshops educate the mothers about dietary needs of their families and the best methods to get the most nutritional food on the table.

Has Oportunidades Been Effective?

Here is a quotation from an article by Tina Rosenberg the New York Times concerning Oportunidades.  Judge the program for yourself:

“In Mexico today, malnutrition, anemia and stunting have dropped, as have incidences of childhood and adult illnesses.  Maternal and infant deaths have been reduced.  Contraceptive use in rural areas has risen and teen pregnancy has declined.  But the most dramatic effects are visible in education.  Children in Oportunidades repeat fewer grades and stay in school longer.  Child labor has dropped.  In rural areas, the percentage of children entering middle school has risen 42 percent.  High school inscription in rural areas has risen by a whopping 85 percent. The strongest effects on education are found in families where the mothers have the lowest schooling levels.  Indigenous Mexicans have particularly benefited, staying in school longer.”

How Would Oportunidades America Help the Occupiers?

Below is one key demand from the manifesto of Occupy Wall Street : NYC.

CONGRESS PASS THE BUFFETT RULE ON FAIR TAXATION SO THE RICH AND CORPORATIONS PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE & CLOSE CORPORATE TAX LOOP HOLES AND ENACT A PROHIBITION ON HIDING FUNDS OFF SHORE.

The Occupiers exclamation amounts to the government enforcing the graduated income tax on the super-wealthy so that the middle class can return to prosperity.  Oportunidades is a physical manifestation of the Occupiers dream.  The Mexican anti-poverty program redistributes the wealth of the nation, through taxes, to help and empower the impoverished and middle class.  This is what the occupiers need.

America needs Oportunidades just as badly as Mexico did.  Currently, 15.1% of Americans live in poverty. 10.5% of Mexicans live in “extreme poverty.”  Oportunidades is one of the primary reasons why the United States has been surpassed by Mexico on taking care of its own people.  The Occupiers must add reformation in anti-poverty programs in order sustain today’s America and empower future  generations.

Are There Any Pilot Oportunidades Programs  in America?

New York, ground zero for the Occupy Wall Street, is ironically the flagship of the American anti-poverty program.  The private program was entitled Opportunity NYC–Family Rewards.  It takes Oportunidades of the rural Mexico and optimizes it for the urban setting.  Initial results were promising.  The program quantitatively decreased poverty and day-to-day hardships, increased school grades and attendance, proliferated use of health insurance, and even increased dental care.  Despite these promising beginnings, under capitalization and a short trial period doomed the program.  It is no longer funded.

Instead, Bloomberg pays riot police to prevent the impoverished  Occupiers from taking what they were once given.

U.S. Solar Panel Manufacturers Declare War On Chinese Imports For (Justified) Protective Tariffs

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Solar Panels

The American-Chinese Trade War Heats Up

After years of American solar panel producers giving the cold shoulder to sizzling Chinese competition sequestering colossal sales with unscrupulous warlike tactics.  Now at the brink of extinction seven American solar panel producers banded together to defend American manufacturing.

How Will the Americans Save Their Industry?

Seven Solar companies, led by SolarWorld Industries America, have filed a broad trade case before Commerce Department to institute tariffs that would double the price of imported Chinese solar panels.  This protectionist tax wall would inflate the price of Chinese imports.  Demand for Chinese solar panels would elastically erode with the price increase.  The supply of Chinese solar panels in the American market would also deteriorate.  Meanwhile, American panels would be substituted into the fair playing field.

Critics question the damage this move could do to the blossoming solar market.  This will doubtlessly raise the price of solar panels and reduce quantity.  However, everyone agrees it will funnel money to American industry and build American jobs to compete with the Chinese.

Chinese solar panel manufactures have already captured over fifty percent of the international market and eclipsed the United States’ production.  Only a scant six percent of sales remain in American hands.  However, with recent blows to domestic companies such as the bankruptcy of Solyndra, it appears the Chinese seek to monopolize the market.

This cannot stand.  America is in a trade war with China; mobilizing in support of the American companies is the first step in retaking our own economy

How are the Chinese Acting Illegally?

Nationally, the Chinese government is stacking the deck.  Chinese companies are able to outbid American manufactures at extraordinary rates that far outpace Chinese technical development.  Their government sabotages laissez-faire and gives the Chinese produces a disproportional advantage with no interest loans and free land.  This is a definitive trade violation.  America reaps bittersweet sorrow with the Chinese criminality. Early solar energy adapters are excited by the prospects of cheaper solar panels in the short-term.  Meanwhile, their neighbors lose their domestic alternative energy jobs and cannot afford anything more than unemployment will allow.

Each company itself is also rife with corrupt affairs.  Accusations of corporate fraud against Chinese companies rival the gross output of #OccupyWallStreet.  Chinese panel output is hampered intermittently by furious strikes that threaten Chinese manufacturing and international sustainable energy.

Bernie Madoff would be proud; not since his bankrupting of charities has such wholesale criminality at the expense of the American public.  The Chinese parallel this infamous criminal on a transcontinental scale.  First, trust is built on the quicksand of an inflated currency and illegal tactics.  Second, in the darkest days of the recession the criminal is unmasked.  An empty husk of charitable hopes and broken panels of the alternative energy dream are all that remain.

How Must America Retaliate?

America is in a trade war with the Chinese.  Action must be taken.  Currently, Both sides symbiotically cooperate for shared prosperity.  However, nibbles of this analogy are being eaten by the Chinese as they consume the American economy for their own benefit.  Already, China has simply cut off trade of rare-earth metals to the United States.  In Libya, they opposed NATO by attempting to arm the Pro-Gaddafi forces with over two hundred million dollars in weapons.

Whether the politicians like it or not America is at war with the Chinese.  Protect our own industries is the only way to insure the continuation of the American dream.  The only alternative is to watch the lights across the United States go dark, one by one, as we are blotted out by the Sino smog.

Terrorism 2.0: Al Qaeda’s Terrorism Disseminated To New Independent Radicals (The TEA Party of the Middle East)

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20110729 Jihadist websites tempt Mauritanian boys | المواقع الجهادي تغوي الشبان الموريتانيين | Les sites web djihadistes, une tentation pour les jeunes Mauritaniens

Featured: The Recruiting Office For New Terrorists

The Arab Spring is a double-edged sword: on one hand it lays the groundwork for democracy in the Middle East while in other regions untraceable terrorism is proliferated.  This dark threat is Terrorism 2.0.

What is Terrorism 2.0?

Moroccan authorities recently broke up two terrorist cells who were planning to attack police stations, French journalists, and Jewish businesses in Casablanca.  Saudi authorities have worked tirelessly over the last several years and have captured over 149 terrorists as well.

These arrests are notable because these cells never trained with or contacted Al Qaeda.  The only linking thread between the two is their terrifying ideology.  The zeitgeist of terrorist threat has become more nebulous as more independent cells threaten international stability.

Who Are These Independent Terrorists?

They are the foot soldiers of Terrorism 2.0.

Regardless of where new terrorists crop up all recruits have several similar characteristics.  First, they are indignant and horrified by perceived Western aggressions against Islam.  Second, economic, political, and social woes are largely attributed to the “Western menace.” Finally, converts join with fanatic groups to carry out plots of death and destruction.  That is what makes them terrorists.

Al Qaeda previously scooped up these radicals, crafting them into walking bombs.  That was Terrorism 1.0; today we live in a brave new world.  After a decade of full-fledged war against Al Qaeda new converts now have to train themselves because Al Qaeda is too weak to train them.  Members of Terrorism 2.0 plot in Internet forums and work independently from any central organization.

New terrorists have little training, but they are hard to pick out of the larger population.  Al Qaeda is now more of a social movement than a structure organization.  These independent terrorists are just well publicized guerrillas.  Regardless, they are still a notable threat.

Is Islam a Religion For Terrorists?

No.

Islam is inherently a good and ethical religion.  For example, one of the core values Islam stresses alms giving.  Islamic priests preach the same moral qualities that their Christian counterparts do.  The only major distinction between the religions is that Islam believes in religious prophets after Jesus, culminating with Muhammad, and Christians do not.  The majority of followers of the Islamic faith, Muslims, do not subscribe to any part of the extremist philosophy that has made Islam infamous.

Many uneducated critics point to the term of Jihad to justify contempt of Muslims.  Jihad not a reason to hate Islam, instead it is a core justification behind why the faith is a good.  This term has many definitions, ranging from a tough internal struggle to a secular war in the defense of Islam.  At its heart, Jihad is the goal of every Muslims to aspire to do the right thing despite external coercion and internal desires.  This is the same value taught to kindergarteners.  There is nothing inherently threatening about Jihads.

How Should We View Terrorism 2.0?

The independent terrorists are the TEA Party of the Middle East.

Both are simply religious fanatics acting on rampant bigotry.  For example, both share anti-Semitic targets and religiously conservative methodologies.  Only the specific religion of the two is different; the TEA Party has Christianity while the Muslim terrorists have Islam.  Both faiths are equally dangerous in these wrong hands.

Only once Jihad is polarized to the point of suicide bombings does it become dangerous.  Of course, Christianity is also dangerous once it has been weaponized by the TEA Party and fired upon minorities, such as the homosexual population.

Terrorism 2.0 is already epidemic in the Middle East.

My question is will Terrorism 2.0 develop in the TEA Party? Many speculate it already has.

Athens and America: A Study of the Paralleled Rise and Fall of Empires

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Zeus or Poseidon?

History Repeats Itself

The global empire of the United States bears staggering similarities to that of the ancient Athenian empire; both rose through an influx in foreign wealth, fought long and costly wars, and lost their supremacy due to singular, devastating defeats.

Athens’s rise and fall was intertwined with the grand conflict of the Peloponnesian War.  Before the war, Athens dominated Greece.  Tribute, paid through monetary and naval capital by Delian League, was arbitrarily used by Athens for its own betterment.  Under Pericles, Athenians built great public works, such as the Parthenon, with foreign money.

Later, the tectonic Peloponnesian War erupted between Athens and Sparta.  Neither could defeat the other, so the conflict evolved into a regional, strategic struggle.  Foreign campaigns, like in Sicily, eroded the strength of the Athenians.  Athens was too heavily invested in these foreign conflicts.

Athens risked too much and the Peloponnesian League, Sparta and her network of Allies, punished them for it.  The tipping point for the Athenian Empire was at Syracuse.  Athenian generals procrastinated at the beginning of the conflict; this delay resulted in the unsuccessful siege of the city rather than a victorious strike.  Spartan reinforcements had enough time to reinforce Syracuse and beat back the Athenians.  Countless ships of Athens were lost in the harbor of Syracuse.  Athenian morale was splintered with their strength broken.  The downward spiral of Athens lasted eight painful years before they surrendered to Sparta.

America is on the downhill slide of the Athenian curve as she circles her own defeat.  Historians would place the high point of the American empire at the close of World War Two.  At this point, many nations adored the victorious liberators.  Wealth flowed into America in exchange for manufactured products.  Destruction of international economic competitions, with the bombings of Europe and the wars of East Asia, enabled this modern reincarnation of Athenian tribute.  Buoyed by foreign wealth, politicians constructed highways, funded Social Security, and created Medicare.  Meanwhile, the Cold War flickered into forest fire.

Forces mobilized against the United States; America’s Cold War would mirror Athens’s Peloponnesian War. Many nations sided with the USSR, and later China, in a manifold communist threat against the United States.  Communist converts were afraid of being poached by America’s predatory foreign policy; the CIA coup of democracy in Iran, GI’s fought the rightful rule of Vietnam, and paratroopers invaded Grenada.  This only empowered America’s enemies.

American capitalism and USSR’s communism fought long and hard, sapping global capital. China besieged the United States in Korea, freedom fighters in Afghanistan killed millions of Russians, and the Middle East burned as Israel, Egypt, and Syria warred.  Ideological conflicts continue to this day in various modern forms.  By 2011 America had overextended herself.  Tens of thousands of troops were stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq, NATO jets controlled the airspace of Libya, and drone strikes assassinated opposition figures in Yemen.

Here the American model caught up to the Athenian timeline.  The next chronological event was a major defeat of the American Empire at the hand of the Chinese.  Despite having the best universities, arguably the most innovative populace, and the most capital the American economy was overtaken by the oppressive, environmentally destructive, and antagonistic Chinese economy. The Americans would be surpassed by 2020; China was declared the Sparta of the modern age.  As early as 2011 the Chinese were flexing their strength, the flow of resources, such as rare metals, was halted to the United States.  It would not be long until other essential elements of the globalized economy simply went missing.  America’s empire unraveled, just as its star-crossed ancestor Athens did before it.

India Invades Tablet Market: $35 “Aakash” Goes Viral In India’s Education system

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Apple’s Ipad 2: $499

Amazon’s Fire: $199

India’s Aakash: $35

Connecting 220 million students with the world’s cheapest tablet: Priceless.

India - Kids - 063

India drives to connect rural students

What is The “Aakash“?

It is a low-cost, high-performance computer tablet, price at $35 per device.

It is designed to proliferate knowledge through education in India, especially in rural regions. Despite its rock bottom price it still displays a 7 inch screen, plays high-definition video, streams video chatting, hosts word processing, runs Android 2.2 operation system, possesses 32 gigabyte memory, uses GPRS for connecting to the Internet from anywhere, and uses WiFi for Youtube streaming in hot spots. The Indian government will subsidized each table down to $35.  This is ideal for university students because it allows them to build better human capital with their limited resources.  Previously, many have been cut off from the rest of the world due nonexistent infrastructure.

The English translation of Aakask is “sky.”  This tablet’s release will mark the beginning of a new dawn in education in India and the world.

What Does Aakash Mean For The Tablet Market?

Datawind, the private company manufacturing Aakash, announced that the tablet will be priced at $60 dollars for the commercial market. It will be on shelves by November.  This will encroach on the tablet war already progressing in India; currently Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 7 holds just under half the market and less than one in five tablets is an Apple Ipad.  Dozens of other models struggle for niches.  The vanguard shipment of Aakash tablets numbers 100,000.  When this large-scale field test proves successful eight to ten million more will be bought by the Indian government.

Undercutting the more expensive tablets the Aakash will force innovation and a price war.  Aakash forces a technological survival of the fittest; the best and cheapest technologies will overthrow the more expensive models.  The economist term for this is creative destruction.

Unless other companies build a better tablet they very simply will be locked out of the market.  The cunning Indian government will disseminate cheaper and higher quality tablets, with internet access, by forcing the hand of the private sector.

What Does This Mean for the Future of Indian Education?

At the unveiling today Kapil Sibal, the Indian Human Resource Minister, aptly described Aakash’s historic significance,

“There are some moments in history that will be milestones recognised by future generations. This is one such milestone. Today, we see the beginning of a dream realised, a dream in which every student in every corner of this country will have access to technology that defines the 21st Century.”

By bringing the world to the fingertips of their students schools towards increasing the quality of education exponentially.  Answers to impossible questions will be just a click away.

It also forces the hand of Western education.  Already, towns and cities across the Western world have already launched similar educational initiative.  This is not enough; every statistic points to American and European students falling behind their Chinese and Indian counterparts.  Many American colleges already distribute laptops, tablets must be given to the coming classes if American schools are to stay competitive.  Otherwise, American education will fall victim to creative destruction.

Over 700 Arrested on Brooklyn Bridge: Occupy Wall Street Protesters Gridlock New York City

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What’s wrapped in orange netting, tastes like pepper spray, and is synonymous with “revolutionary?”  The Occupy Wall Street Movement.

NYPD - Exit from the Bridge

Police Officers Arrest Over 500 Occupiers

What Happened Today?

With chants like, “Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho.  Corp-rate Greed has got to go!”  Hundreds of Occupiers moved from New York City towards Brooklyn, across the historic Brooklyn Bridge.  Many took the pedestrian walkway and protested unmolested.  An undetermined number of demonstrators were entrapped in the traffic lanes, by police officers.  They were cordoned for hours as police officers arrested a few at a time.  All were arrested.  By 8:05 the Brooklyn Bridge was reopened, much to the inflamed bemusement of commuters.

Growing numbers of Occupy Wall Street protesters, initially it was announced that 400 were arrested, then 500, and now more than700, were arrested in The Battle of Brooklyn Bridge.  Many of those who have been arrested have been released with a mere summons.  The NYPD is  simply running out of resources such as, as many dark humor activists have pointed out, cable ties.

The Aftermath Facts

The precincts are full, the 700 protesters arrested today it is said they have been left on buses for the time being.  No water, no food.  Apparently, international photographer to Monica Lopez has taken photos of a twelve-year-old girl getting arrested.  Several marines, in organized fashion, are coming to support the cause, have are coming to support the protesters.  At least one legal observer was arrested.  These revolutionaries are in it for the long haul.  There is no sign of them halting, their momentum only gains.

How is the Protest Progressing?

For hours a live feed of the Occupy Wall Street protests have streamed, live, their demands.  The growing multitudes voice their demands in call and response pattern; one leader speaks their beliefs and the congregation echoes their concern.  Their concerns are simple; protect our environment, protect our security, protect our jobs, and above all protect the rights and political power of the “99%.”  The 99% refers to the everyday American, not the Wall Street Broker or the Hollywood Big Shot, but instead the everyday hero.

They fight for every teachers, every soldiers, every salesmen, everybody who has ever worked in a cubicle, and even every police officer.  Our jobs have been leached from America, globalized by corporate greed as our national stability is endangered by an increasingly polarized Congress.  They are speaking out because the system of checks and balances is out of balance and too many good people are getting hurt for the benefit of a few fat cats, who have bankrupt this once great nation, can lounge in their penthouses.  This will not continue, the Occupiers will have victory.

Get the Latest at this Occupy Wall Street Twitter Feed, or you can get a copy of the Occupy Wall Street Journal.

Get the Demands of the Occupiers Here.

Occupy Wall Street

A Patriot Plays

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