Slowdown in Chinese Manufacturing Deepens Fears for Economy

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Factory activity cools for fifth month running as overseas demand for Chinese goods continues to fall

A further slowdown in China’s vast manufacturing sector has intensified worries about the year ahead for the world’s second largest economy.

“Against the backdrop of a faltering global economy, turmoil in the country’s stock markets and overcapacity in factories, Chinese economic growth has slowed markedly. The country’s central bank expects growth in 2015 to be the slowest for a quarter of a century.”

The latest in a string of downbeat reports from showed that activity at China’s factor ies cooled in December for the fifth month running, as overseas demand for Chinese goods continued to fall.

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Against the backdrop of a faltering global economy, turmoil in the country’s stock markets and overcapacity in factories, Chinese economic growth has slowed markedly. The country’s central bank expects growth in 2015 to be NON-STOP-PANIC-EXthe slowest for a quarter of a century.

After growing 7.3% in 2014, the economy is thought to have expanded by 6.9% in 2015 and the central bank has forecast that it may slow further in 2016 to 6.8%.

A series of interventions by policymakers, including interest rate cuts, have done little to revive growth and in some cases served only to heighten concern about China’s challenges.

Friday’s figures showed that the manufacturing sector limped to the end of 2015. The official purchasing managers’ index (PMI) of manufacturing activity edged up to 49.7 in December from 49.6 in November.

The December reading matched the forecast in a Reuters poll of economists and marked the fifth consecutive month that the index was below 50, the point that separates expansion from contraction. Read the rest of this entry »


Inside Job: Soros, Ford Shovel $196 Million to ‘Net Neutrality’ Groups, Staff to White House

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Paul Bedard writes: Liberal philanthropist George Soros and the Ford Foundation have lavished groups supporting the administration’s “net neutrality” agenda, donating $196 million and landing proponents on the White House staff, according to a new report.

“These left-wing groups not only impacted the public debate and funded top liberal think tanks from the Center for American Progress to Free Press. They also have direct ties to the White House and regulatory agencies. At least five individuals from these groups have ascended to key positions at the White House and FCC.”

And now, as the Federal Communications Commission nears approving a type of government control over the Internet, the groups are poised to declare victory in the years-long fight, according to the report from MRC Business, an arm of the conservative media watchdog, the Media Research Center.

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“The biggest money in this debate is from the liberal foundations that lavish millions on self-styled grassroots groups pushing for more and more regulation and federal control.”

— Phil Kerpen, president of American Commitment

“The Ford Foundation, which claims to be the second-largest private foundation in the U.S., and Open Society Foundations, founded by far-left billionaire George Soros, have given more than $196 million to pro-net neutrality groups between 2000 and 2013,” said the report, authored by Media Research Center’s Joseph Rossell, and provided to Secrets.

Nomination Hearing Held For Thomas Wheeler To Chair The FCC

[More – 4 major questions in the net neutrality debate]

[Also see – GOP retreats on bill to block unprecedented ‘net neutrality’ regulations]

[More –  Inside Obama’s net fix]

“These left-wing groups not only impacted the public debate and funded top liberal think tanks from the Center for American Progress to Free Press. They also have direct ties to the White House and regulatory agencies. At least five individuals from these groups have ascended to key positions at the White House and FCC,” said the report which included funding details to pro-net neutrality advocates. Read the rest of this entry »


Jonathan H. Adler: When Think Tanks are in the Tank

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For The Volokh Conspiracy, Jonathan H. Alder writes:  Blogger Zaid Jilani has a post claiming that when he worked for ThinkProgress at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, he was pressured to toe the White House line, even when that conflicted with the positions his organization was supposedly advancing.

One of the controversial topics that was very constrained in our writing at ThinkProgress in 2009 was Afghanistan. CAP had decided not to protest Obama’s surge, so most our writing on the topic was simply neutral — we weren’t supposed to take a strong stand. . . . Flash forward a couple years, and the Democratic Party’s lawmakers in Congress were in open revolt over the Afghanistan policy. Our writing at ThinkProgress had opened up a lot on the issue, and I was writing really critical stuff. . . . But then phone calls from the White House started pouring in, berating my bosses for being critical of Obama on this policy. . . .

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Former ThinkProgress writer: ‘White House Censored Us’, Describes ‘Suffocating Pressure’’

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The Daily Caller‘s Brendan Bordelon reports:  Zaid Jilani, a former blogger with the left-wing think tank Center for American Progress, explained this week how the Obama administration frequently tries to censor the progressive organization’s content when it departs from the White House’s agenda.

[Order Deadly Censorship: Murder, Honor, and Freedom of the Press from Amazon]

Jiliani was reacting to two on-air protests by journalists opposed to Russia’s invasion of southern Ukraine. The two worked for Russia Today (RT) — an English-speaking media outlet funded directly by Moscow — and felt their bosses were trying to censor their opinions

“Essentially, they were doing the same thing to us RT America is telling its American producers to do now — align with your boss, who is the president of the country.”

In a post titled, ”How Working in Washington Taught Me We’re All A Little Like RT America,” Jilani explained how the White House frequently played the part of the Kremlin — leaning on management to push their writers in a particular direction, and punishing them if they strayed from the party line.

“Phone calls from the White House started pouring in,” Jilani claimed, “berating my bosses for being critical of Obama on this policy…”

“I’m writing this post to explain how working in Washington taught me we’re all a little bit like the good folks who work at RT America,” Jilani explained, “struggling against editorial censors, doing our best to follow our conscience despite sometimes suffocating pressures from our publishers and sponsors.” Read the rest of this entry »


Corporate Donor List Revealed: Who Funds the Far Left? You’ll Be Surprised

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Reminder: large corporations are not, in general, supporters of free enterprise

John Hinderaker writes: The Center for American Progress is a left-wing organization that is closely associated with the Obama administration. Its principal product is a web site called Think Progress. Think Progress is part of the internet cesspool that modern liberalism has become. Written by hack left-wing bloggers, it is bitterly hostile to free enterprise. It is a low-rent site that traffics in the most absurd smears and conspiracy theories. Many have wondered for some years who finances far-left web sites like Think Progress. As of today, we know at least part of the answer, as CAP released its corporate donor list for the first time.

CAP says that individuals and foundations account for more than 90% of its funding, and corporations only around 6%. It would be interesting to see the individual and foundation donor list; my guess is that left-wing foundations, most of which spend money left by dead conservatives, would loom large. But what corporations fund Think Progress’s anti-free enterprise propaganda? The full list is here; it includes:

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How a Left-Wing Billionaire Bought the Oval Office

Keystone to the Kingdom 

podesta-steyerMatthew Continetti  writes:  The White House’s newest staffer is John Podesta, the 64-year-old founder of the Center for American Progress (CAP), the head of President Obama’s 2008 transition team, a former chief of staff to President Clinton, and a former lobbyist and cofounder, with his brother Tony, of the Podesta Group. You know: an outsider.

Podesta is joining the administration for one year as White House counselor specializing in energy policy. And despite the fact that he has done more than any other unelected official to shape the policies of cap-and-trade and green energy subsidies, and to employ and place the talent that has attempted to implement those policies during the Obama presidency, the White House assures us that he will never, never have any say in whether the Keystone Pipeline, slow-walked by this president for years, is approved or denied.

“John suggested that he not work on the Keystone Pipeline issue,” a White House aide emailed Ryan Lizza of the New Yorker, “in review at the State Department, given that the review is far along in the process and John’s views on this are well known.” Podesta opposes the pipeline, vociferously, because he says it will exacerbate global warming. But if his opposition to Keystone disqualifies him from working on the issue in the West Wing, wouldn’t that also be a problem for his seat on the Foreign Affairs Policy Board at the State Department, where the pipeline issue is “in review”? Or for his seat on the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board, which must have discussed the pipeline at some point? And does anyone besides the gullible greens at Credo Action, the political arm of a cell phone company that provides its customers feelings of moral superiority, really believe Podesta will be “silenced” when it comes to “what may be the single most closely watched decision of the Obama presidency”? Does anyone who has ever interacted with Podesta or his brother believe either man is capable of silence?

Read the rest of this entry »