China Stiffs Iran’s Oil Tab; Norman Lear Targets Wisconsin GOP

Sunday, 31 Jul 2011 01:53 PM

By Special From Newsmax's Most Informed Sources

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. U.S., Israel Deny Killing Iran's Nuclear Scientists
2. NFL Star Blasted for Reading Glenn Beck
3. Global Warming Could Boost Crop Yields
4. Norman Lear Group Targets GOP in Wisconsin Recalls
5. Study Links Low Taxes to Metro Area Growth
6. Sanctions Hampering Iran's Oil Trade
 

1. U.S., Israel Deny Killing Iran's Nuclear Scientists

The assassinations of scientists linked to Iran's nuclear weapons program have raised the question: Who is killing the scientists — Israeli agents, the United States, or the Iranians themselves?

Since 2007, four scientists said to be associated with the Islamic Republic's nuclear program have been killed, and a fifth barely survived an assassination attempt.

The most recent victim, Darioush Rezaeinejad — who was reportedly working on a nuclear detonator — was shot and killed in Tehran on July 23 by two gunmen on motorcycles, ABC News reported.

Iranian state media immediately said the killing demonstrated the "desperation" of the United States and Israel in dealing with Iran's nuclear program.

In November 2010, nuclear physicist Majid Shahriari was killed by a bomb planted in his car. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad blamed "Western governments and the Zionist regime."

That same day, Fereydoon Abbasi, head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, was wounded when a motorcyclist detonated a bomb under his car by remote control. Ahmadinejad again blamed "Western governments and Zionists."

That year in January, nuclear physicist Masoud Ali Mohammadi was killed when a motorcycle parked outside his home exploded as he walked past. Ahmadinejad declared: "Zionists did it."

In early 2007, Iranian nuclear scientist Ardeshir Hassanpour died from what the state media called "gas poisoning," and a report surfaced that he had been killed by Israeli agents.

But Iranian opposition groups say that the Iranian government kills dissident scientists and then blames the West, according to ABC News.

One opposition group claimed that Mohammadi was killed by the Iranian regime because he supported Mir Hossein Mousavi when he ran for president against Ahmadinejad in 2009, and released a photo of an alleged hit man who had carried out the assassination.

The United States has officially denied any involvement in the murder of Iranian nuclear scientists. A former senior intelligence official told ABC News that assassinations of Iranian scientists were usually thought to be the work of Israel, but the Israelis won't admit responsibility.

"Every time we ask," said the official, "they just smile and say, ‘We have no idea what you are talking about.'"

Editor's Note:



2. NFL Star Blasted for Reading Glenn Beck

NFL star wide receiver Chad Ochocinco didn't expect the angry response he got when he told his Twitter followers he was reading a book by conservative talker Glenn Beck.

The player announced that he had bought Beck's new book "Broke: The Plan to Restore Our Trust, Truth and Treasure" to read on a plane ride.

"Does anyone know if Glenn Beck has a twitter account?" he wrote. "Starting on his new book BROKE. His views on political n economical issues are EPIC."

The backlash "came fast and furious" from some of his 2.3 million Twitter followers, according to Luke Broadwater of the Baltimore Sun.

"Just lost a lot of respect for you for being a [expletive] beck fan. Idiot," wrote one follower.

Another said: "Unfollowing after two years because you're a Beck fan. Disgraceful and disappointing."

Ochocinco responded to some, saying he's "not a conservative," then reached out to Beck himself: "Kind sir I've seemed 2 have p***ed off a lot of my fans by purchasing your book."

He later wrote: "Gotten through 3 chapters and so far everything he's said is either common or his opinion based off research."

And he wrote: "Its interesting reading the views n opinions from what I'd like to call the other side."

Broadwater observed: "Whether you like Ochocinco or not, you have to admit he came out of his mini-Twitter controversy looking pretty good. He appears open-minded, which is a good quality to have, unlike many of his apparently angry followers."

Editor's Note:



3. Global Warming Could Boost Crop Yields

A leading atmospheric physicist asserts that global warming, rather than endangering food production as climate change alarmists say, will likely increase production instead.

"The latest catastrophic forecast comes to us from climate alarmists who focus on a world food crisis, supposedly as a consequence of global warming," says S. Fred Singer, a professor emeritus of environmental science at the University of Virginia and former founding director of the U.S. Weather Satellite Service.

"While there may well arise problems about world food, it is more likely that global warming — if it does take place — will increase food production rather than lower it."

Singer cites three reasons.

First, the main cause of lowered crop yields is the loss of soil moisture, but any increase in global temperature will also increase evaporation from the oceans and raise global precipitation.

"Global warming is a perfect recipe for creating more fresh water, which according to the alarmists is badly needed," Singer, now a research fellow at the Independent Institute, writes for its website American Thinker.

Second, warmer temperatures will affect higher latitudes, where climate tends to be more severe, more than the tropics.

"So it may be that Canada and Siberia will see increases in crop production because of longer growing seasons, warmer growing temperatures, and fewer frosts — but there will be little change at lower latitudes," Singer says.

Third, the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels, which alarmists say is the cause of global warming, will be good for plant growth.

"CO2 is plant food and a natural fertilizer," Singer points out. "Increased CO2 levels not only speed up plant growth of crops and forests, but enable plants to do better under stressed conditions of drought, pollution, and attacks by insects and fungi."

The looming problem of world hunger, Singer adds, has more to do with difficulties in food distribution and purchasing power than with food production.

Editor's Note:



4. Norman Lear Group Targets GOP in Wisconsin Recalls

A liberal activist group co-founded by TV producer Norman Lear is seeking donations to fund a campaign targeting Wisconsin Republican state senators in upcoming recall elections.

Liberals aim to oust Republicans who supported legislation to end most collective bargaining for state employees, passed to address Wisconsin's $3.6 billion deficit.

Six recall elections are scheduled for Aug. 9, and Lear's group, People for the American Way, has launched campaigns in three senate districts.

An email sent by Lear's group on July 28 states: "We need to raise an additional $50K by TOMORROW to more than double our TV ad airtime in the most competitive race and to run an ad against a fourth right-wing senator.

"We're almost there — only $16,233 away from our goal. But we need to get there by TOMORROW — the deadline to buy more spots."

The email seeking contributions of at least $35 declares: "Donate today to our Recall the Right campaign to defeat the Wisconsin senators who shamefully voted to cut public education, strip public workers of their rights, and rob the working and middle class by raising their taxes, while giving tax breaks to big corporations."

A Gallup poll in March found that 49 percent of Americans support limiting the collective bargaining power of state employee unions, compared to 45 percent who disapprove.

Editor's Note:



5. Study Links Low Taxes to Metro Area Growth

A new study by the Cato Institute confirms that there has been a direct correlation between a metropolitan area's taxes and its growth in population and employment over the last 30 years.

"Although there are numerous factors that can influence the growth of individual economies, one finds a consistent relationship between low taxes and high economic growth in metropolitan areas, in states, and in nations," according to the report, "Why Some Cities Are Growing and Others Are Shrinking."

"Over the last three decades, large cities like Pittsburgh, Detroit, Cleveland, Buffalo, and Toledo have seen their populations shrink, while areas like Houston, Atlanta, Dallas, Tampa, and Phoenix have seen their populations grow rapidly. Examining the policy differences between high-growth and low-growth areas can provide evidence that may help declining cities reverse their fortunes."

The study examined the 100 largest U.S. metro areas and found that in the 10 highest-tax areas, the state and local tax burden accounted for about 12.4 percent of personal income. In those areas, population grew by 21 percent from 1980 to 2007, employment grew by 40 percent, and real personal income grew by 75 percent.

But in the 10 lowest-tax areas, taxes accounted for just 8.3 percent of personal income. Population there grew by 64 percent, employment by 108 percent, and real personal income by 157 percent, according to study author Dean Stansel, an associate professor of economics in the Lutgert College of Business at Florida Gulf Coast University.

Contrasting several pairs of cities, Stansel observes that in 1980, Austin, Texas, and Syracuse, N.Y., were roughly the same size. The Austin metro area had a population of about 590,000, and the Syracuse metro area had about 643,000 residents. By 2007, Austin's population had increased by more than 1 million while Syracuse's population had been stagnant.

State and local taxes accounted for nearly 13 percent of personal income in Syracuse but only about 9 percent in Austin.

In Milwaukee, Wis., the tax burden is about 40 percent higher than in Tampa, Fla. While the two areas were about the same size in 1980, Tampa is now about 75 percent larger. Population in Tampa has grown six times faster, employment has grown four times faster, and real personal income has grown more than twice as fast.

Stansel concludes: "Keeping tax burdens low appears to be an important ingredient in the recipe for economic prosperity.

"If high-tax, low-growth metro areas like Detroit, Milwaukee, Buffalo, and Syracuse want to be more like high-growth areas such as Dallas, Tampa, San Antonio, and Austin, they should lower their onerous burden of taxation and bring spending under control."

Editor's Note:



6. Sanctions Hampering Iran's Oil Trade

Due to American sanctions, Iran can't collect some $30 billion owed by China for oil delivered by the Islamic Republic — or $5 billion for oil sent to India.

The sanctions, imposed by the United States and other nations in response to Iran's defiance over its nuclear program, "make it extremely difficult to conduct dollar-denominated business," the Financial Times reported. Therefore, "China could owe the oil-rich nation as much as $30 billion" for oil delivered over the past two years.

China and India together purchase about one-third of Iran's oil.

"Some Iranian officials are growing increasingly angry about the inability of the country's largest oil customers to pay cash, a problem that has contributed to a shortage of hard currency and has hindered the central bank from defending the Iranian rial, which has been sharply devalued over the past month," according to the Financial Times.

Iran recently threatened to cut off oil exports to India, which has been unable to move the money it owes Iran out of an escrow account. The U.S. sanctions limit the ability of Iran's banking sector to do business with other banks around the globe.

India exports little to Iran, but China has a thriving trade with Iran and could use a barter system involving Chinese goods and services, rather than cash payments, to purchase Iranian oil.

That prospect doesn't sit well with one Iranian former official who spoke to the Financial Times.

"Both China and India are happy to keep Iran's money in their banks and try to get Iran involved in barter deals to sell their junk," he said, "or give yuan and rupees instead of hard currencies."

Iran is the world's fourth largest oil exporter. China, India, Japan, and South Korea are the top four importers of Iranian oil.

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Editor's Note:



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