The Week in Jihad: Slaughter, Lies and Polygamy

The recent interview of JihadWatch’s Robert Spencer by Michael Coren on SunTV was jam packed with topics, listed by video site AlohaSnackbar (links added by me):

1) ISIS beheaded 4 Christian children in Iraq who refused to convert to Islam.

2) ISIS using churches as prisons.

3) School textbooks in Pakistan promote violent jihad.

4) Moderate Bosnian Muslim imam stabbed for criticizing ISIS.

5) Rampant Muslim polygamy in Britain.

The unfriendlies are energized because of their successes and the weakness of America and Europe.

One theme of the interview is how Muslim societies that earlier were friendly to religious minorities are now in the thrall of violent jihad, like Bosnia which once had a less bloodthirsty Islam in Europe, but is now becoming infected with the headchop frenzy.

Regarding the use of churches as prisons in Iraq:

ROBERT SPENCER: They’ve completely eradicated Mosul of the 2000-year-old Christian population that had been there, and seized all the churches. There were 45 Christian installations in Mosul that are now under the control of the Islamic State. They’ve deliberately chosen to convert the churches into prisons as a sign of their contempt for the faith that had been preached there as a sign that they believe in accord with the koran that Jesus was a Muslim father who taught Islam and that wasn’t taught in the churches where they twisted a hijacked version of the true teachings of the Muslim prophet Jesus.

Below, Muslims torched an 1800-year-old Mosul church last summer.

Obama Amnesty Includes Access to Tax Programs Already Riddled with Fraud

The regime apparently is fine with an even larger level of fraud included in the freebies and benefits for the millions of Obama’s unconstitutionally amnestied illegal aliens. The feds have ignored the loss of billions of dollars in tax fraud in a crazy-loose program, i.e. $15 billion in suspicious Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) payouts in 2013. The government is more inclined to investigate the taxes of patriotic citizens than the common tax fraud of foreigners.

For example, in 2011 illegal aliens received $4.2 billion in tax “refunds” although they had paid nothing into the system.

A 2012 report from the local TV station WTHR in Indiana described stories of aliens who claimed a dozen kids or more to benefit from the Additional Child Tax Credit to gain $1000 per non-existent kid: Tax Loophole Costs Billions. The video version is infuriating. Part Two is here.

The ever curious Byron York wrote about the EITC ripoff recently and discuss the problem on Fox News Friday morning.

It’s funny that nobody ever questions the wisdom of the EITC program, which is supported by politicians across the spectrum. If working people need extra cash from the government to get by, then something may be structurally wrong with the economy — perhaps excess labor in the form of immigrant and illegal alien workers.

Obama opens fraud-ridden benefits programs to illegal immigrants, Washington Examiner, By Byron York, December 11, 2014

President Obama’s unilateral executive action on immigration will make hundreds of thousands, perhaps more than a million, illegal immigrants eligible for federal transfer payments. That will be done primarily through two widely used programs — the Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC, and the Additional Child Tax Credit, or ACTC.

As it turns out, those two programs are already among the most corrupt and fraud-ridden in the entire federal government. A newly-released report from the inspector general of the Internal Revenue Service confirms that the EITC is plagued by fraud (which was already well known) and also reveals for the first time that the ACTC is even worse.

The two programs, intended for low-income workers, are what is known as refundable tax credits. That means they give workers a tax refund that is larger than their tax liability. So a family with a tax bill of $1,000 might receive an EITC “refund” of $5,000, meaning the family doesn’t write a check to the government but rather receives a check from the government. The ACTC works similarly for low-income workers with children.

Supported by both political parties over the years, the programs were intended to encourage work and strengthen families. Their growth has been extraordinary in recent years — payments increased 40 percent from 2007 to 2012 alone. And now both are beset by staggering levels of fraud.

According to the inspector general, the IRS paid out $63 billion in EITC benefits in 2013. Of that, 24 percent, or about $15 billion, was given improperly to people not qualified to receive it. That improper payment rate has been enough to qualify the EITC as a “high risk” program for years. Continue reading this article

Obama Threat: Better Make That Temporary Amnesty Permanent

In the last little while, the President has turned up the volume on his hateful criticism of America and its people. He recently asserted that the nation has “deeply seated” racism. He criticized police as having a “fear of folks who look different” which supposedly causes officers to misuse their authority. Obama thinks the “country’s conscience has to be triggered” by street demonstrations by blacks who believe they are still badly treated in this country.

But when Obama wants the citizens to lay down and passively accept his unconstitutional executive amnesty, suddenly the American people have a “good heart” toward invasive foreign lawbreakers. Funny how that works.

Actually, the statement was part of a threat to a future president not to rescind Obama’s temporary free stuff and work permits — the moochers will be miffed! It is indeed politically difficult to remove a major freebie.

And we know how politicians fret about the illegal alien vote rather than the well being of American citizens, who are suffering historic levels of unemployment during the jobless recovery.

Obama’s immigration taunt: Next president won’t dare reverse my executive action, Washington Times, December 9, 2014

President Obama insisted Tuesday that his successor won’t take the political risk that would come with reversing his recent executive action on immigration reform.

Speaking at a town-hall meeting in Nashville, the president said it’s “theoretically” possible that the next administration could undo the amnesty Mr. Obama has granted to more than 4 million illegal immigrants, but he assured a supportive crowd that such a step it is extremely unlikely.

“It’s true a future administration might try to reverse some of our policies. But I’ll be honest with you — the American people basically have a good heart and want to treat people fairly and every survey shows that if, in fact, somebody has come out and subjected themselves to a background check, registered, paid their taxes, the American people support allowing them to stay. So any future administration that tried to punish people for doing the right thing, I think, would not have the support of the American people,” Mr. Obama said. “It’s true, theoretically, a future administration could do something that I think would be very damaging. It’s not likely, politically, that they reverse everything we’ve done.”

Last month, the president unveiled long-awaited executive action on immigration reform. He granted de facto amnesty to more than 4 million illegal immigrants, freeing them from the threat of deportation and allowing them to legally compete for jobs.

The move sparked a major backlash on Capitol Hill and in states across the country; at least 18 states are suing the president over his steps on immigration.

Republican lawmakers argue the executive action puts law-abiding Americans at a disadvantage. Continue reading this article

Roy Beck: Don't Make the Most Vulnerable Americans Pay the Cost of Amnesty

Roy Beck, of NumbersUSA, appeared Monday on MSNBC to discuss Obama’s illegal amnesty (spare video link). While much of the chatter lately has been about deportations, Beck emphasized the central issue regarding the policy’s effect on the American people: The work permits are the amnesty.

ROY BECK: We want members of Congress to think that it is radioactive to add millions of more work permits to illegal aliens, allowing them to have access to almost every job in America, while the labor force participation rate for every group of Americans is going down. That should be radioactive. So it’s very important to constantly tie the immigration issue to the job issues, and the fact is newspapers and your programs are full of stories about how badly most American workers are doing during this economic recovery. . .

This [amnesty] opens up every job in America to them. There are large parts of the economy that illegal aliens aren’t able to move into. They can’t work for employers that are law-abiding; they can only work for criminal employers. . .

We have to constantly put our focus on the vulnerable Americans, like those in Ferguson. . .

The President says he is doing this action primarily to stop deportations. That’s a very different issue than giving out the work permits. He could stop deportations; he never has to give these work permits that are the most damaging to the most vulnerable members of society. . .

Why should those Americans who both can’t find a job and those Americans whose wages are depressed by the presence of so many foreign workers, why should they have to pay the cost of this?

NumbersUSA’s new print ad emphasizes open borders’ effect on American workers. It’s interesting how the concept of supply and demand is little mentioned in today’s discussion of lawless immigration, but it should be a top concern.

Wisconsin Writer Stirs Up Wausau Hmong Issue 20 Years Later

In 1994, the Atlantic monthly published an article by then-reporter Roy Beck that was a wake-up call about extreme immigration diversity being foisted on America: The Ordeal of Immigration in Wausau. I remember reading it around that time and thinking Hmmm…

Now a pro-immigration writer has looked under the Hmong immigration rock, and he probably shouldn’t have gone there. There are immigrants who respond readily to the program of assimilation and become successful, and then there are the Hmong.

Roy Beck’s article illustrated the social disruption that happened when boatloads of rather backward Asians was dumped in a midwestern city. (NB: tribal Hmong are nothing like high-achieving Chinese immigrants.)

On the diversity scale among immigrants admitted to America, the Hmong tribe is surely near the top score of extreme behaviors, including shamanistic medicine, horse-eating, animal sacrifice, marriage by capture, polygamy, disinterest in obeying the law, a highly misogynist value system, and a dislike of education for women.

A Hmong immigrant was convicted of mass murder, a crime that occurred near Meteor Wisconsin, about 140 miles from Wausau. On November 21, 2004, Chai Vang trespassed on a private hunting reserve to shoot deer. When the owners asked him to leave, a dispute broke out and Vang shot eight Americans, killing six, with four shot in the back.

During the trial, Vang said the hunters deserved to die because they disrespected him. Apparently Hmong don’t observe private property where hunting is concerned, so a “culture clash” was cited by the media as an excuse for the brutal mass murder. Vang was sentenced to life in prison, with no parole.

Back to the present, the current writer admits there were diversity tensions back 20 years ago but asserts that difficulties have been sorted out now, so that means there was never a problem in the first place, observing the Beck piece “seems not so much prescient as dated.” It’s a backwards circular argument and not convincing.

If the Hmong really have progressed from their primitive cultural state, that’s good news.

But as Roy Beck asked, Why were the people of Wausau forced to accommodate such a difficult group that citizens as a whole did not want?

How Wausau’s immigration fears failed to come true, By Robert Mentzer, Wausau Daily Herald, December 7, 2014


“It all began simply enough, when a few churches and individuals in Wausau, Wisconsin, decided to settle some Southeast Asian refugees during the late 1970s. To most residents, it seemed like a nice thing to do. Nobody meant to plant the seeds for a social transformation.”

So begins “The Ordeal of Immigration in Wausau,” a landmark magazine story detailing a moment in Wausau’s history that might have been its lowest point in the now 40-year history of the Hmong in central Wisconsin. In 1994, when the story was published in the Atlantic Monthly, Wausau was just barely beginning to heal from a bitter, polarizing fight about how schools should deal with the rapidly rising population of Hmong immigrants.

A “60 Minutes” profile followed the story in the Atlantic. Where the magazine story was lengthy and well-crafted, the “60 Minutes” profile was a blunt instrument. The pages of the Wausau Daily Herald were filled with reactions, clarifications, hand-wringing and a strong sense of resentment at the way the national media outlet had used Wausau as a symbol for a larger debate, caricaturing the city in the process.

Twenty years later, though, even the Atlantic Monthly piece seems not so much prescient as dated. Its predictions didn’t come true, and it’s shot through with a sense of racial anxiety — southeast Asians are taking over this fine white city — that feels gross.

The author of the piece, Roy Beck, achieved national fame from it, and its publication set him on a career path that would make him arguably the nation’s leading anti-immigration voice, as founder and director of the advocacy group NumbersUSA. In a profile this month, The New York Times called him “perhaps the most powerful member of the small but vocal movement that has helped scuttle every effort at an immigration overhaul for nearly two decades.” Continue reading this article

Saudi Spy Is Busted for Stealing Info on US Aircraft Carrier

The Obama administration must hand out security clearances with the same generosity as it does amnesty for illegal aliens, judging from the recent arrest of a Saudi engineer, Mostafa Ahmed Awwad (pictured in handcuffs), for espionage.

He worked in the Norfolk Naval Shipyard’s nuclear engineering and planning department after being hired earlier this year and receiving a clearance a few months later.

According to the Washington Times, “Awwad was born in Saudi Arabia, married a U.S. citizen in Cairo in 2007 and took steps to become a U.S citizen.”

Apparently marrying an American was sufficient to bypass any qualms about national security and get him a job working on critical US weapons.

Have the big security experts in Washington forgotten about a little event in 2001 where 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudis?

Espionage: Saudi engineer attempts to steal U.S. Navy secrets, Examiner, December 6, 2014

A Saudi-born U.S. Navy engineer working on a top-security assignment was nabbed by federal agents and charged on Friday with espionage-related crimes as a result of his attempt to steal classified schematics for what is arguably the most advanced aircraft carrier ever built. The warship is now being constructed in Newport News, Virginia, according to federal indictment documents.

The suspect, 35-year-old Mostafa Ahmed Awwad was working at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard and intended to send the schematics for the project to Egypt, according to agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He was indicted on two counts of attempted exportation of defense articles and technical data and faces a total 40-years imprisonment.

Awwad worked in the nuclear engineering and planning department at the shipyard, having begun working at there in early 2014. His security clearance gave him extensive access to information on Naval nuclear propulsion systems. But many counterterrorism and counterintelligence professionals are wondering how a foreign national from a nation that hosts a large number of Islamic terrorists can get so close to a classified operation such as building an aircraft carrier reputed to dwarf any nations’ warships. Continue reading this article

Sweden Is Having Second Thoughts about Admitting Unlimited Syrian Refugees

In September 2013, the Swedish government generously offered to welcome all refugees from Syria — counted as being two million at that time.

Now the government is toting up the financial cost and the result is not pretty.

The New York Times included a dollar figure for the Swedish taxpayers’ cost a few months back:

Scandinavians Split Over Syrian Influx, New York Times, September 19, 2014

… Sweden has taken an open-door approach to people fleeing the conflict, accepting more Syrians than any other European country.

Never mind that Sweden has double-digit youth unemployment. That there have been riots in immigrant neighborhoods in Stockholm. That there is a severe housing shortage for new arrivals. Or that the Swedish Migration Board, which handles asylum seekers, needs a drastic budget increase — almost $7 billion — to cover soaring costs over the next few years.

Interestingly, that number is based on only 100,000 Syrian refugees, just a tiny portion of the two million Sweden had welcomed. Have all diversity-besotted liberals failed math?

Parties duel as refugee costs rocket, The Local (Sweden), August 20, 2014

Swedish media reported on Tuesday that the country is looking at record-breaking numbers of refugees this year, with one report predicting up to 100,000 displaced people resettling in Sweden.

The Migration Board has announced that it cannot afford to handle the influx with its current budget, and has asked for 48 billion kronor ($6.9 billion) above the 91 billion ($13.2 billion) allowance the board has already been granted for the next four years.

Note to Washington: refugee rescue is an expensive hobby for a nation that is $18 trillion in debt, increasingly so when the uneducated Third World newbies are unlikely to ever pay their way. Excess unskilled labor is particularly unnecessary in an economy which is rapidly becoming automated by smart machines doing the work that was earlier performed by humans.

Back in Sweden, the city of Sodertalje is now being overwhelmed with Middle Easterners. Syrian And Iraqi Refugees Are Half The Population Of This Swedish City:

As a refugee named Issa, who declined to give his surname due to fears of repercussions for his family back in Syria, put it, “The city is mostly Iraqi and Syrian immigrants, but some Swedes live here too.”

The usual mass immigration problems are showing up in utopian Sweden — unemployment, self-segregation leading to non-assimilation and increased costs for taxpayers with jobs.

And Sodertalje is lucky that Muslims self-segregated to another town, leaving the Syrian Orthodox Christians to live in peace. “If they built a mosque there would be trouble here,” one Christian remarked.

Check out a recent news piece from Dutch television, Swedish Budget at Risk from Syrian Refugees (for which GatesOfVienna has posted a transcript).

Administration Is Ordering Up Fresh Rubber Stamps for 1000 New Amnesty Workers

It’s becoming clear that the Obama bunch has been planning the imperial distribution of work permits to illegal aliens for some time, despite the squeals that Republicans were being obstructionist toward the foreigners languishing in the shadows. In October, the administration began organizing the production of the physical work permits, and now the hiring has begun for the bureaucrats to handle the auto-processing of the foreign lawbreakers.

In the video below, Washington Times reporter Stephen Dinan noted, “Of the thousand or so positions they’ve advertised, only seven of them are actually fraud detection staff, which suggests that less than one percent of these people are going to be actually charged with trying to spot fraud in the millions of applications.”

In other words, the administration is saying, “Welcome, cartels gangsters, generic criminals and jihadists!” Public safety and national security apparently mean nothing to the current regime.

America’s Senator, Jeff Sessions, published a press release on Wednesday to point out the new office building dedicated to rubber stamping illegal alien job thieves:

It has just been discovered today that the Obama Administration is now opening a new USCIS facility in Crystal City, Virginia, for the purpose of immediately implementing the President’s imperial immigration decree. They are in the process of hiring 1,000 full-time staff to quickly approve applications for the President’s illegal amnesty, which will provide work permits, photo IDs, Social Security, and Medicare to illegal immigrants—all benefits rejected by Congress. This action will mean that American workers, their sons, their daughters, their parents, will now have to compete directly for jobs, wages, and benefits with millions of illegal immigrants.

This facility is a clear symbol of the President’s defiance of the American people, their laws, and their Constitution. He is hiring federal employees to carry out a directive that violates the laws Congress has passed in order to foist on the nation laws Congress has repeatedly refused to pass.

The Washington Times put Stephan Dinan’s article on Thursday’s front page:

Homeland Security already hiring 1,000 employees to carry out Obama amnesty, Washington Times, December 3, 2014

Department of Homeland Security officials wasted little time in ramping up for President Obama’s amnesty, posting 1,000 job openings the day after his announcement and announcing it already has space for hundreds of employees at a new location in Arlington, Virginia — an indication that it had laid its plans well before Mr. Obama’s announcement.

And even though Mr. Obama said his policy is temporary, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is hiring the employees for permanent positions, at salaries of up to $157,000 a year, according to the job postings listed on the official federal jobs website.

“USCIS is taking steps to open a new operational center in Crystal City, a neighborhood in Arlington, Virginia, to accommodate about 1,000 full-time, permanent federal and contract employees in a variety of positions and grade levels,” the agency said in an internal email to employees on Monday. “The initial workload will include cases filed as a result of the executive actions on immigration announced on Nov. 20, 2014.”

A number of the job openings were posted the day after that Nov. 20 announcement, and those postings have already expired, suggesting the agency already has filled some of the slots.

In a statement, USCIS said it was trying to get its operations in order for when it begins to collect applications.

“Increasing staffing will ensure that every case received by USCIS receives a thorough review under our guidelines,” the agency said late Wednesday.

But Ken Palinkas, head of the labor union that represents USCIS employees, said he couldn’t see any way that the agency could hire enough good people in time to process the millions of applications that are expected.

“I can’t see how they could,” he told The Washington Times. “I think what they’re leaning toward is just getting the paperwork done regardless of who does it. You have to vet these people.”

The employees will need to undergo checks, and some will require security clearances, which is an even longer process.

Mr. Palinkas said the large scale of the hiring and the new office space suggests to him that the White House had its plans in place for some time ahead of Mr. Obama’s announcement last month.

“It’s so orchestrated it’s pathetic,” he said.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, an Alabama Republican who has taken the lead in fighting Mr. Obama’s policy, said the new facility in Virginia is “a clear symbol of the president’s defiance of the American people, their laws and their constitution.”

“He is hiring federal employees to carry out a directive that violates the laws Congress has passed in order to foist on the nation laws Congress has repeatedly refused to pass,” Mr. Sessions said in a statement. Continue reading this article

Congressman Barletta Challenges Administration on Amnesty's Job Displacement

On Tuesday, the Committee on Homeland Security held a hearing titled Open Borders: The Impact of Presidential Amnesty on Border Security. The Secretary of DHS, Jeh Johnson (see his prepared statement), was the only witness and he pitched the administration’s position that the amnesty is lawful in spite of all evidence to the contrary.

Congressman Lou Barletta (R-PA) took another approach, cornering Johnson on the vital topic of what millions more legal workers tossed into the employment pool will do to Americans, millions of whom are are un- or underemployed:

“We keep talking about the illegal immigrant. Here we go again, talking about the illegal immigrant and how we can make it easier for them. How does this help the American worker who can’t find work and can’t provide for his family? Who’s fighting for them? Why don’t we talk about the American worker and what this will do to them, not what it will do for the illegal immigrant?”

More elected officials need to think in terms of how amnesty will screw Americans.

Congressman Barletta’s office recycled his remarks into a press release:

Barletta to DHS Secretary Johnson: Who Will Protect American Workers in Amnesty Fight?, December 2, 2014

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today questioned Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson over the impact on American workers as a result of President Obama’s executive action on illegal immigration.  In a hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee, Barletta argued that the president’s granting of amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants will increase competition for jobs that are already scarce.  In addition, Barletta highlighted the fact that illegal immigrants granted amnesty will be ineligible for Obamacare, meaning they would be cheaper and more attractive for businesses to hire than legal American workers.

“Some people say that our economic security is national security,” Barletta said to Johnson.  “Nearly 20 million Americans woke up this morning either unemployed or underemployed.  The president didn’t mention these Americans when he announced his plan to grant de facto amnesty and work permits to up to 5 million illegal immigrants.”

In response to the problem, Barletta has introduced the Defense of Legal Workers Act (H.R. 5761), which clarifies that illegal immigrants granted amnesty by executive action cannot be issued work permits.  In the committee hearing, Johnson indicated that the Obama Administration’s plan was to encourage illegal immigrants to come out of the shadows and seek to have their deportation deferred under the amnesty program, which would also grant them work authorization.

“But how does that make it easier for the American worker?” Barletta asked.  “We keep talking about the illegal immigrant.  Here we go again, talking about the illegal immigrant and how we can make it easier for them.  How does this help the American worker who can’t find work and can’t provide for his family?  Who’s fighting for them?  Why don’t we talk about the American worker and what this will do to them, not what it will do for the illegal immigrant?” Continue reading this article

America’s Senator Jeff Sessions Urges GOP to Defund the Lawless Amnesty

Senator Sessions continues to recommend Congress use its power of the purse to knock back Obama’s executive amnesty to give work permits to millions of illegal aliens.

Powerful forces from Silicon Valley to big agriculture have spent millions of dollars to increase the number of cheap foreign workers to replace citizens. Senator Sessions has fought these wealthy “Masters of the Universe” for years to protect American jobs from foreign encroachment.

Now Sessions is doing all he can to get weak-kneed Republicans to stand strong against the lawless administration.

Sessions: Congress Must Deny Funding for Obama’s Illegal Amnesty and Work Authorization, December 2, 2014

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee and a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued the following comments today in response to the current plan being floated in the House of Representatives regarding the President’s unconstitutional amnesty:

“The Chairman of the Republican Party made a promise to America on executive amnesty: ‘We can’t allow it to happen and we won’t let it happen… everything we can do to stop it we will.’

Unfortunately, the plan now being circulated in the House fails to meet that test. The executive amnesty language is substantially weaker than the language the House adopted this summer, and does not reject the central tenets of the President’s plan: work permits, Social Security, and Medicare to 5 million illegal immigrants—reducing wages, jobs, and benefits for Americans.

Congress considered and rejected these changes to immigration law in 2006, 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2014. The President’s action erases the laws Congress has passed in order to implement laws Congress has refused to pass.

Now the President demands Congress fund his imperial decree and declare its own irrelevance.

That is why Congress must respond to the President’s unlawful action by funding the government but not funding illegal amnesty. This is a perfectly sound and routine application of congressional authority. In fact, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service reports that last year’s omnibus spending bill included 16 such funding restrictions on fee-based programs.

Such a plan would put the focus where it belongs: on Senate Democrats. They are the ones who should be made to choose sides—save Obama’s amnesty or save Americans’ jobs and borders.

Polling shows voters believe that Americans should get preference for available jobs by almost a 10-1 margin. Republicans should not be timid or apologetic, but mount a bold defense of struggling Americans. Continue reading this article Robots Are in Place to Process Christmas Orders

Many people will be ordering books and other merchandise from this Christmas. But few realize how robotized the company’s warehouses have become. Key is the Kiva robot system which moves shelves of appropriate items to the human who packs the order for shipment.

Below, Kiva warehouse robots are wired in to a computer system that tracks customer orders as well as where everything is located on the floor.

The following video shows the robot warehouse system in action, and it is quite ingenious.

The Wall Street Journal article below notes that the robots may save Amazon $400 million to $900 million a year in so-called fulfillment costs, namely the dollars spent to assemble and ship the merchandise. The good news is increased efficiency, but clearly humans are being phased out of certain aspects of warehouse work, even though the company is hiring extra temps for the holidays.

Just how is the future economy supposed to work with far fewer human workers needed to produce goods and services? One analyst estimates that one in three jobs will be done by smart machines by 2025, only 11 years from now. The Amazon warehouse is an example that the change to automation is already far along.

With a radically transformed economy in the near future, America certainly doesn’t need to import millions of immigrants, even though the boomer generation is retiring from jobs (one common excuse for excessive immigration).

Amazon Robots Get Ready for Christmas, Wall Street Journal, November 19, 2014

The Squat, Wheeled Machines Move Stocked Shelves to Workers Inc.’s robot army is finally falling into place.

The Seattle online retailer has outfitted several U.S. warehouses with squat, orange, wheeled robots that move stocked shelves to workers, instead of having employees seek items amid long aisles of merchandise, according to people familiar with the matter.

At a 1.2-million-square-foot warehouse in Tracy, Calif., about 60 miles east of San Francisco, Amazon this summer replaced four floors of fixed shelving with the robots, the people said.

Now, “pickers” at the facility stand in one place and wait for robots to bring four-foot-by-six-foot shelving units to them, sparing them what amounted to as much as 20 miles a day of walking through the warehouse. Employees at some robot-equipped warehouses are expected to pick and scan at least 300 items an hour, compared with 100 under the old system, current and former workers said.

An Amazon spokeswoman declined to comment.

The robots are the fruits of Amazon’s 2012 purchase of Kiva Systems Inc. for $775 million. In May, Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos told investors at Amazon’s annual meeting that he planned to deploy 10,000 Kiva robots by year-end, up from 1,400 at the time. Continue reading this article

Pope Visit Highlights Islamic Turkey's Religious Intolerance

Pope Francis is visiting Turkey, with hopes that he can promote religious tolerance there to help the Christians and other minorities. Good luck with that. The modern Turkey that Kemal Ataturk built has been almost entirely wiped out by the violent Islamist tide that is roiling the Middle East and is persecuting Christians.

Prime Minister Erdogan claimed a couple weeks back that Muslims discovered America before Columbus, which is as much an expression of Islamist supremacy as it is individual ignorance.

The BBC provided an interesting review of the history of Turkey to accompany the Pope event:

Below, the Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew (with the white beard) presides over a service in Constantinople. His struggles to preserve Orthodox Christianity in a hostile Muslim nation was the subject of a 2009 Sixty Minutes segment, Patriarch Bartholomew Feels “Crucified.”

Pope Francis visit: Turkey’s Christians face tense times, By Mark Lowen, BBC News, November 26, 2014

It tells of a city where empires, cultures and religions collided. A building that bears mosaics of Jesus and the Virgin Mary beside calligraphy reading “Allah” and “the Prophet Mohamed”. There is no greater symbol of the clash of civilisations here than Hagia Sophia.

For almost 1,000 years it stood as the most important Orthodox cathedral in the world, the religious heart of the largely Christian Byzantine empire whose capital was then called Constantinople.

But in 1453 the city fell to the Ottomans, Hagia Sophia became a mosque and Christianity began its slow demise here.

As Turkey grew out of the ashes of the Ottoman Empire, that decline accelerated. When Pope Francis arrives here this week, he will visit a country whose population has fallen from 20% Christian 100 years ago to around 0.2% today.

‘Huge brain drain’
“No country in the region – including Iran – is as homogenous in terms of Islam as Turkey,” says writer Cengiz Aktar. “It’s a mono-colour country – it’s a Muslim country.”

After the Turkish Republic was born in 1923, it carried out a “population exchange” with Greece to create more ethnic and religious consistency. More than a million Greeks were forced out of Turkey to Greece while around 300,000 Muslims from Greece were relocated here.

The Greeks of Istanbul were initially saved but after a crippling wealth tax, anti-Greek pogroms in 1955 and mass expulsions in 1964, the Greek community was left in tatters. And so was the Orthodox Christianity they practised.

“The ethnic cleansing of these non-Muslim minorities was a huge brain drain,” says Mr Aktar, who has created a new exhibition on the loss of the Greeks here.

“It also meant the disappearance of the bourgeoisie because not only were they wealthy but they were artisans. Istanbul lost its entire Christian and Jewish heritage.” Continue reading this article

Page 18 of 193« First...10...1617181920...304050...Last »