Tuesday, June 30, 2009
I have had comments from other vets, especially the ones who served in '65-'67, about the very poor quality of the ARVN troops they encountered. No doubt those recollections are valid, as were some of the news programs and other reports that were severely critical of ARVN units.
This has led to a general belief that the South Vietnamese soldiers were always overall a poorly trained and badly led bunch, who tried to avoid fighting whenever they could, and didn't fight well even when they had to.
But this is actually an unfair and false legend, for reasons many of us just don't know about.
In the '60-'68 time frame, there were many units that were poorly trained and poorly led, officer commissions were obtained through politics and bribes, intra-military politics ran rampant, and only a minority of the units, such as their Rangers, Marines, and some others, were really good, tough soldiers. (A unit of their Rangers held part of the line at Khe Sanh, and performed very well there.)
However, during Tet '68 they seemed to pull together and fought well against the attacks. (ARVN units actually retook more of the territory of Hue than Marines did, in fighting just as nasty as the Marines went through.)
After Tet, a lot more South Vietnamese came off the fence and decided that they really didn't want the North to come down and take them over, enlistments in the Army went way up, training got a lot better, and the general quality of the South's military began to improve noticeably in '69-'71. Of course, that was when the number of Americans serving up front was declining all the time, so there weren't that many opportunities for us to see the ARVN doing better.
By '72, when we were gone, the number of subpar units in the ARVN had become a minority, and many units were excellent, their 1st Division for one. And when the Easter Invasion hit from the North, 200,000 NVA regulars in several divisions, with 400 tanks, much better artillery than we'd left for the ARVN, and AA missiles and guns to shoot down the South's planes, they wound up in a series of large pitched battles that were as intense but a lot longer lasting than any we ever fought. The siege of An Loc was a kind of ARVN Alamo, went on for weeks and weeks, destroyed the city completely, but the cut off ARVN fought like tigers and refused to surrender. They stopped NVA tanks by jumping on them under fire to stuff grenades in the view slits. US Advisors were there to witness it all, and there are some good books about it.
But of course by then the media (both US and international) didn't have that much interest in what went on, there were very few reporters on the ground any more, so the coverage of all this was minimal at best.
But by the final invasion of '75, with NVA forces twice as big as in '72, superbly equipped and supplied from massive bases in Cambodia, the ARVN were on limited fuel and ammo, half their tanks were down for repairs that depended on spare parts they couldn't get any more, and they started to fold under the blitzkrieg. Their President made a poor decision to start an unplanned retreat, and things when to hell in just a few days, leading to the panic scenes of soldiers running after planes and hanging onto chopper rails in Da Nang. (What you didn't hear about were the radio calls from VN Marine units in the hills, who never surrendered and fought to the death.)
So it all went to pieces, but there were still some heavy duty battles, such as the 18th Division under General Le Minh Dao at Xuan Loc holding off three times their number of NVA and inflicting massive casualties on them as they tried to get past them to Saigon. Finally the NVA bypassed them, and when ammo ran out, the General surrendered them and himself (even though the US would have gotten him out), and he became one of the longest prisoners of the war, 18 years in "re-education".
These are the things not many of us heard about, but in all fairness have to take into account now. I know personally more than a few South Vietnamese veterans, who fought hard and have the wounds to prove it, many of whom also spent a lot of time in the terrible camps after the war, where the death rate was 30% from starvation, overwork, and disease. They deserve our respect, and after all, they were our comrades in some sense, who got left in the lurch when Congress cut off their critical supplies and we broke the promise made at the Paris Accords to come to their aid if there was an invasion again.
For anyone who doesn't know it, I go back to Viet Nam to help the crippled ARVN vets who lead really tough lives there, still under laws that discriminate against them, their kids, and grandkids. Go to http://www.thevhf.org/ if you have any interest in this.
White House Drafts Executive Order to Hold Detainees Indefinitely Fearing battle with Congress that could stall Guantanamo closure, administration drafts order that would embrace Bush claims that certain people can be detained without trial for long periods under laws of war.
More shared values with Islam
Last Friday marked the 3rd anniversary of the abduction of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. A citizen of Israel and France, Gilad was only 18 years old when he was captured by Hamas. Over his 1,095 days in captivity he has yet to be allowed a mere single message from his family; Hamas having denied even the repeated requests of the International Committee of the Red Cross. To mark his third year away from friends and loved ones, the Consulate General of Israel in New York has created a video based on the book Gilad wrote when he was 11, "When the Shark and the Fish First Met."
New clashes in Iran as standoff worsens with West
I predicted BO would be the new Jimmy Carter. Iran seems to agree.
Why Health Reform is Bound to Fail
The system is so complex, no one fully grasps it fully--especially politicians campaigning on simple slogans. This is a must read!
The Obamacare horror story you won't hear
This came out while I was on vacation. What is so sickening is how sanctimonious Obama & crew are about helping the poor. Mostly, they want them to stay poor and dependent on the government, thus voting democrat.
Dissecting the Kennedy Health Bill
High Court Rules for White Firefighters in Discrimination Suit
Ruling Reverses High-Profile Decision by Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor
A blow against racism
Tax Oppression Index Ranks America in Bottom Half of Industrialized Nations
And it’s going to get worse—from the people who complain about jobs going overseas.
The Albany-Trenton-Sacramento Disease
How three liberal states got into deep trouble with 'progressive' ideas.
Coming soon to a location near you.
World's 65 and older population to triple by 2050
Lucky for me, I don’t expect to be here then.
Tilting at Green Windmills
The Pain in Spain falls mainly on the Plain (plain taxpayers, that is)
Propane & the Pickens Plan
Green American energy? Nah.
Ahmadinejad Demands Apology From Obama
Iranian Warns Against Further Criticism
Boy, I’m surprised. Who could have predicted that BO’s kissing up to Ahm-a-nut-job wouldn’t work out? Time for more groveling, I guess.
Government Health Plans Always Ration Care
Europe offers a glimpse of the future if President Obama and congressional Democrats have their way.
But they know that….
Lynching in Kenya: A routine crime
Lucky for these people they were able to throw off British rule.
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) would like to amend that little joke he made earlier this week about Sarah Palin when he said he wished it had been the Alaska governor who had gone missing instead of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford.
"Too bad, if a governor had to go missing, it couldn't have been the governor of Alaska. You know, Sarah Palin," Kerry told a group of civic and business leaders on Tuesday, according to the Boston Herald. That, of course, was before he and the rest of us learned Sanford had lost himself in Argentina with his secret mistress.
Monday, June 29, 2009
While in the Black Hills, a part of the country where freedom and individualism are still cherished, I saw a bumper sticker:
“Gun Control is not about guns. It’s about control.”
Since I was reading Mark Levin’s bestseller Liberty and Tyranny, it struck a chord. More about the book when I finish.
Today’s interesting items:
Taking the Tea Party to DC
Problem is, is taxpayer who want to protest, & we have day jobs!
These are the Thugs that are killing Iranian protestors
Hasn’t BO talked them out of it?
Dissecting the Kennedy Health Bill
SHERMAN FREDERICK: Why I dumped Obama's party
Switch & Fight!
Times Reporter Escapes Taliban After 7 Months
When it’s a reporter in danger, they can keep it quiet. American Troops in danger? Tough—the public has a right to know.
Removal of an inspector
Where are the media who complained about Bush firing some US Attorneys?
Slaughter of Westerners in Yemen bears mark of former Gitmo detainee
And we are closing Gitmo….
Obama Ally Tries To Squelch Another Whistleblower
It’s the Chicago Way!
Afghanistan: Jihadists behead university student
The folks BO shares values with, he says….
Reading Miranda Rights to Terrorists Is 'Crazy' and 'Stupid,' Say GOP Congressmen
Suppose we’d conducted WWII this way?
True story of the atomic bombing of Japan.
The Good Old Days.
From Del, a Marine buddy:
Here's one of the stories of the war that of course no one ever heard at the time. And it's special in that it highlights the great performance of South Vietnamese Marines in battle; the forces of the South so seldom ever get credit for how well they fought in the years 1968-75.
In Ride the Thunder, Richard Botkin breaks new ground in telling the heroic story of a few American and Vietnamese Marines who fought brilliantly and turned the tide of the Vietnam War, only to have policymakers surrender the battlefield. Botkin recounts the exploits of the American Marines and their Vietnamese allies who were largely responsible for thwarting the North Vietnamese invasion of the northern portions of South Vietnam—known as the 'Easter Offensive of 1972' in the West3that was intended to bring the nation to its knees. These are the men who 'rode the thunder' and almost saved a nation. Botkin tells the story of Captain John Ripley's daring raid to destroy the Dong Ha Bridge; Major Le Ba Binh and his seven hundred Marines bravely holding off more than 20 thousand North Vietnamese troops; Lieutenant Colonel Gerry Turley's leadership and bravery that helped thwart the Easter Offensive—and much more.
About the Author
Richard Botkin is a former United States Marine Corps infantry officer.
Click here: http://www.amazon.com/Ride-Thunder-Vietnam-Story-Triumph/dp/193507105X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1246197100&s
Sunday, June 28, 2009
So I return to find that “Cap & Trade,” probably the Smoot-Hawley bill locking in this recession, has passed. And people are gushing over the late Michael Jackson. I suppose they will honor him on a postage stamp, in a new “Famous Child Molesters” series, to go with Elvis from the “Famous Drug Abusers” stamp series. Meanwhile, men and women dying to protect an America pass with little but perfunctory notice. One wonders, in the black hours of the night, if this nation deserves protecting.
Prediction. Within two years, there will be an attempt to eliminate the Marine Corps. After all, they can’t expect to make the Republic subservient to foreign interests and anti-freedom statist policies while the Corps exists.
Friends have been filling my inbox with interesting items. A few are below.
Republicans in the Wilderness
Another “Good Thing”
Two by the brilliant Dr. Sowell
We Now Have Gangster Government
When politicians run businesses, the decisions will be political, not economic
Cap & Trade
Largest hit on your wallet yet
Oppression of Women
The beauty of Multiculturalism
An African Woman on Obama
The Stoning of Soraya M.
Oh, like American liberals care about third world women.
Maine: Dhimmi bureaucrats fine anti-jihad group $4,000 for "inflammatory anti-Muslim message"
You just think you have freedom of speech
PETA’s puppy killer
You can make this stuff up.
Brit Global Warming documentary
For the true believers among your friends.
Unions pass out non-union hard hats to Congress
Sign the declaration
The American Welfare State
On life support
Little Boy Blue Devil
Another Duke rape case
Saturday, June 20, 2009
We are NOT taking a computer. So not only will there be no posts until we return, but I'll have to delete the hundreds of e-mails that will pile up, mostly unread, as we are moving the week after we return & are both swamped at work. So you get a vacation from me. Enjoy.
If you are feeling deprived, there are a couple of hundred older posts you may have missed. Just scroll through.~Bob
Friday, June 19, 2009
Quote of the day
When a blind man bears the standard, pity those who follow.
- Proverb, French
Boxer wants to be called “Senator” instead of “Ma’am” by General.
Actually. She was right. “Ma’am” and “Sir” are titles of respect that members of the military render to superiors. Clearly, Sen. Boxer isn’t superior to the lowest recruit, never mind a general.
Newt on the economy
Political ads at your expense
I notice the local road work has big, metal, permanent signs said the project is funded by the stimulus bill. So our tax dollars are—again—going to advertise how wonderful the politicians are. Maybe making signs stimulates the economy, but living in IL, can’t help wondering if a sign-maker is somebody’s cousin. In Chicago, they say, “who sent you? We don’t want nobody that nobody sent!” ~Bob
PETA unhappy with Obama over fly
Next they will be trying to protect viruses.
Imam leads honor killing of woman and child in Pakistan
Wonder if religious clerics killing folks are among the values BO says we share with Islam?
Saudi Arabia: Police arrest 'homosexuals' at party
'Public Option': Son of Medicaid
Lard atop lard that only a politician or bureaucrat could love.
Health Care’s Future: Mexican Medical Tourism for Californians?
A Fake Financial Fix
Muslim countries lead in human trafficking
Rationing Health Care coming?
Comparative effectiveness research took center stage Thursday, on the second day of an expected marathon Senate health committee health reform markup, as Republicans sought language to ensure CMS won't use such research to make coverage determinations and Democrats argued the bill already clarifies that recommendations from the entity tasked with conducting CER should not be construed as mandates for payment, coverage or treatment.
The committee agreed, however, to several amendments from ranking Republican Mike Enzi (R-WY) aimed at ensuring CER would not be “one-size fits all,” would include research on rare diseases, and would assess whether treatments that do not benefit average patients may benefit others. Lawmakers also adopted amendments aimed at ensuring doctors and other clinical experts would be allowed to advise the government on CER.
But the committee rejected along party lines an amendment from Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) that would flatly “prohibit the use of data obtained from comparative effectiveness research to deny coverage of items or services under Federal health care programs and to ensure that comparative effectiveness research accounts for advancements in personalized medicine and differences in patient treatment response.”
Roberts warned that CMS would almost certainly look at the research and consider it as the holy word from “Mount HHS” and make coverage determinations accordingly, even though Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), who was in charge of Title II that houses CER, repeatedly pointed Republicans to bill language stating that research from the newly created Center for Health Outcomes, Research and Evaluation (CHORE) “shall not be construed as mandates for payment, coverage or treatment.”
There is nothing in the bill that controls treatment, she said, and the stated concern about “government bureaucrats” deciding on people's care “is a myth, it's a fabrication, or it's a misunderstanding.”
But Republican senators weren't satisfied. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), a physician, warned that “recommendations” from the federal center could lead to physicians following them in order to protect themselves against malpractice suits, even if the recommendations weren't the best option for their particular patient. Instead of cost savings, that will lead to increased costs “for everybody who doesn't fit into the guidelines,” he said.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
WHERE DOES SINGLE-PAYER HEALTH CARE WORK?
Two days after President Barack Obama told the American Medical Association that in some countries a single-payer health care system "works pretty well," the White House reaffirmed that people in those countries liked their health care, but also said it did not know to which countries the president was referring.
The criticism of single-payer health care -- primarily as practiced in Canada and Europe -- has been that operations and procedures are long-delayed or denied and health care is rationed to control costs. For example:
In Canada, the average wait for a 65-year-old man to get a hip replacement is six months, according to the Freedom Works Foundation.
The average wait time in a Canadian emergency room is 16 hours and 18 minutes.
Also, the average cancer test and radiation treatment cycles vary between 6 to 8 weeks, according to the foundation.
In Great Britain, at any one time, there are about a million people waiting to get into hospitals, according to John C. Goodman, president, CEO and Kellye Wright Fellow of the National Center for Policy Analysis.
Almost 900,000 Canadian patients are on the waiting list at any point in time, according to the Fraser Institute.
In New Zealand, 90,000 people are on the waiting lists, according to government figures.
"Those people constitute only about 1 to 2 percent of the population in those countries, but keep in mind that only about 15 percent of the population actually enters a hospital each year," says Goodman. "Many of the people waiting are waiting in pain. Many are risking their lives by waiting. And there is no market mechanism in these countries to get care to people who need it first."
Earlier this year, the Obama administration signed an economic recovery act into law that established a comparative effectiveness council to determine the most cost-effective medical procedures. This economic stimulus bill also included the establishment of a centrally linked electronic infrastructure that would include the medical information of every American by 2014.
Obama and most Democrats in Congress are pushing for a "public option," or government-run health insurance program that would compete with private health care companies.
Many analysts agree that the private, market-driven companies would be unable to compete with a government-run insurance program, which would have nearly unlimited resources.
Source: Fred Lucas, "White House Stands by Obama's Claim That Single-Payer Health Care Works In Other Countries -- It's Just Not Sure Which Countries Obama Meant," CNSNews.com, June 18, 2009.
For more on Health Issues:
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Bumper Sticker Police: War is not the Answer
Care Packages for the Troops
Arabic Christian group sues City of Dearborn after police restrict its First Amendment rights
Life in paradise as Guantanamo Four take a dip, eat ice cream, and plan first Uighur restaurant in British territory of Bermuda
Live Free or Die
The Folks BO says we share common values with
DoD Training Manual: Protests are "Low-Level Terrorism"
In Vietnam, teenage daughters sold into sex slavery
American Thinker: Iran Election: The Beginning of the End
The mullahs' mettle — and Obama's
'I want to give something back to my country and community'
The Phantom Uninsured
Bumper Sticker Police: War is not the Answer
My favorite idiot bumper stickers are “Food (or Healthcare) for People, not for Profit.” I don’t see the folks with those stickers investing their 401Ks in hospitals or farm that give away care or food, and pay them nothing back.
Care Packages for the Troops
My wife and I regularly send packages to deployed Marines and others we know, or whose families we know. These sites will help you “Support the Troops” if you are not already involved. Thanks if you are.
Arabic Christian group sues Dearborn after police restrict its First Amendment rights
Muslim right not to be offended trumps the US Constitution.
Life in paradise as Guantanamo Four take a dip, eat ice cream, and plan first Uighur restaurant in British territory of Bermuda
If we US taxpayers buy you ice cream, will you stop killing us? Please?
Live Free or Die
Mark Steyn on the decline of freedom in the west.
The Folks BO says we share common values with
ISLAMABAD, June 15 (KUNA) -- A Pakistani Federal Minister Monday said that militants were using kidnapped children as suicide bombers across the country.
Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik talking to newsmen here said that the militants were buying innocent children for few hundred thousand rupees and using them to carry out suicide attacks.
He further said that the militants are getting weapons and ammunition from Afghanistan, adding that the government of Pakistan has taken up the matter with Afghan President Hamid Karazai.
DoD Training Manual: Protests are "Low-Level Terrorism"
The continued decline of freedom
In Vietnam, teenage daughters sold into sex slavery
From a Marine Vietnam vet: Yep, "liberation" has sure paid off for the people of Viet Nam, the "socialist republic" has brought all the peace and prosperity and social justice that the antiwar machine of the 60s&70s proclaimed would come to pass if only imperialist US would leave and the wonderful, benevolent, efficient communist government centered in Hanoi would get rid of all those corrupt South Vietnamese leaders and their systems. Yep, it's a "people's paradise" all right. With economic refugees all over Asia from Viet Nam, Vietnamese women being sold as "brides" in Taiwan, China, Korea, etc, high unemployment, rampant corruption noted by various international agencies, and suppression of any and all forms of dissent by a wonderfully efficient police and court system that can convict anyone they like of some nice all-purpose charge like "anti-revolutionary activities" etc.
I'm still waiting for Jane Fonda and that whole crowd to notice that things haven't quite worked out the way they were so totally, arrogantly sure they would, in their so righteous battle against our support of the South. Or for the NY Times to print a story like this one on the front page, or maybe for John Kerry to contribute some of his many millions (or his wife's, to be more precise) to economic aid to the poor villages of Viet Nam, or the overcrowded orphanages, or maybe build a series of free clinics for poor people. (Pardon me, I like to engage in pure fantasy from time to time.) –Del
American Thinker: Iran Election: The Beginning of the End
We can hope for change….
The mullahs' mettle — and Obama's
Who do you think is stronger?
'I want to give something back to my country and community'
http://www.pennlive.com/news/patriotnews/index.ssf?/base/news/1245020106257800.xml&coll=1 Viet-American citizen
The Phantom Uninsured
Taxpayers must cough up for illegals!
by Thomas Sowell
Past racism makes present racism OK?
Nine Hostages Killed, Mutilated In Yemen
From this blog: "Oddly enough the Associated Press neglected to mention that the head of Al Qaeda in Yemen, Said Ali al-Shihri, is a released Guantanamo detainee.'
Winds of Change?
By Thomas L. Friedman
What? A good word for Bush? In the NYT? Off with his head!
Fired Inspector General on "Glenn Beck"
He'd be a hero if Bush had fired him for doing his job
David Shuster Is a Liar
Pretty blunt headline
June 24: ABC Turns Programming Over to Obama; News to Be Anchored From Inside White House
Control manufacturing. Check. Control banks. Check. Control census. Check. Control voter registration. Check. Control voters with handouts. Check. Control media. Check.
And they said Bush was power hungry.
5 Myths the Left Has Created About Itself
by John Hawkins
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
I earlier posted a piece about the routine aborting of girl babies in China and India.
Now comes this report in the US, that indicates in may be happening here. Note I said "may."
Who knew that supporting a "woman's right to choose" would lead to...fewer women?
U.S. BIRTHS HINT AT BIAS FOR BOYS IN SOME ASIANS
The trend is buried deep in United States census data: seemingly minute deviations in the proportion of boys and girls born to Americans of Chinese, Indian and Korean descent. In those families, if the first child was a girl, it was more likely that a second child would be a boy, according to recent studies of census data. If the first two children were girls, it was even more likely that a third child would be male. Demographers say the statistical deviation among Asian-American families is significant, and they believe it reflects not only a preference for male children, but a growing tendency for these families to embrace sex-selection techniques, like in vitro fertilization and sperm sorting, or abortion.
A number of experts expressed surprise to see evidence that the preference for sons among Asian-Americans has been so significantly carried over to this country. "That this is going on in the United States -- people were blown away by this," said Prof. Lena Edlund of Columbia University. She and her colleague Prof. Douglas Almond studied 2000 census data and published their results last year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences:
In general, more boys than girls are born in the United States, by a ratio of 1.05 to 1.
But among American families of Chinese, Korean and Indian descent, the likelihood of having a boy increased to 1.17 to 1 if the first child was a girl, according to the Columbia economists.
If the first two children were girls, the ratio for a third child was 1.51 to 1 -- or about 50 percent greater -- in favor of boys.
Studies have not detected a similar preference for males among Japanese-Americans. The findings published by Professors Almond and Edlund were bolstered this year by the work of a University of Texas economist, Prof. Jason Abrevaya:
He found that on the basis of census and birth records through 2004, the incidence of boys among immigrant Chinese parents in New York was higher than the national average for Chinese families.
Boys typically account for about 515 of every 1,000 births.
But he found that among Chinese New Yorkers having a third child, the number of boys was about 558.
Source: Sam Roberts, "U.S. Births Hint at Bias for Boys in Some Asians," New York Times, June 15, 2009.
Monday, June 15, 2009
Meanwhile Comcast restored my old service today, can't tell me why it was down, so I'm going to try to use both.
In the meantime, I'm swamped at work, bought a condo today, going on vacation Friday and have a bit of a health challenge. I know--stop global whining.
Below are some links to articles I found interesting, but was unable to send to my list. Thanks to those who forwarded them to me. "Interesting" does not mean, statist spinmeisters, that I agree with everything in them. It means interesting.
I will try to post some interesting things this week, then you will have a blessed reprieve, as I'll be on vacation. Enjoy. ~Bob
Democrats and the Health Tax Taboo
The president attacked McCain for proposing a benefits tax.
Obama Is Pressed to Tax Health Benefits
But, he promised not to raise taxes on the Middle Class!
Crops under stress as temperatures fall
Malkin on Letterman
Under Fire, President Obama’s Pick for Army Job Bows Out
Can Socialists be Happy—George Orwell
Obama’s issues crumbling
America’s Islamist President Faith Freedom International
It’s OK for liberals to call blacks the “N” word
Once, We Would Have Called It a Scandal
by Newt Gingrich
There was a time when we would have called it a scandal.
In 1921, oil tycoon Harry Sinclair gave several prize head of cattle and around $269,000 to President Harding's Secretary of the Interior, Albert Fall.
In return, Sinclair got the exclusive rights to drill in an oil field in Wyoming. Sinclair's no-bid contract became the Teapot Dome scandal, the most notorious example of political corruption in America prior to Watergate.
Between 2000 and 2008, the United Auto Workers (UAW) union gave $23,675,562 to the Democratic Party and its candidates.
In 2008 alone, the UAW gave $4,161,567 to the Democratic Party, including Barack Obama.
In return, the UAW received 55 percent of Chrysler and 17.5 percent of GM, plus billions of dollars.
But nobody's calling this a scandal. It's time we start.
2000-2008 UAW Giving: $23.7 million to Democrats. $193,540 to Republicans
The almost $24,000,000 the UAW has given to Democrats since 2000 compares with the $193,540 the union has given to Republicans.
In the 2008 presidential election, President Obama was by far the biggest recipient of UAW contributions, raking in $27,340 compared to the $10,600 given to Hillary Clinton, the No. 2 recipient of UAW money.
And so it was no surprise to the cynical Washington political class when the payback began with the Chrysler bankruptcy.
In a rigged proceeding in which the federal government disregarded bankruptcy law in favor of the political outcome it desired, the Chrysler bankruptcy laid the predicate for the much larger General Motors bankruptcy to come. Against law and precedent, the unions were moved to the front of the line when it came to who would benefit from the bankruptcy.
The Obama Treasury Department strong-armed Chrysler's creditors into a deal in which the UAW was given 55 percent ownership of the company while Chrysler's secured creditors - investors who would have received priority in a non-political bankruptcy proceeding - were left with just 29 cents on the dollar.
On Monday, the Supreme Court Delayed the Completion of the Chrysler Bankruptcy
Some of these secured creditors, led by a group of Indiana retirement funds, are fighting back. They've charged in court that the Chrysler bankruptcy violated the bankruptcy laws and violated their rights as senior lenders.
On Monday, the Supreme Court put a hold on the Chrysler bankruptcy to hear their case.
We don't yet know which way the high court will rule, or if it will rule at all. But we do know what's at stake. Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock put it well:
"The issue of secured creditors' rights is bigger than Chrysler. It's an essential foundation of our capital markets. And fundamentally, this is about the law."
"Never Has an American Union Done So Well At the Expense of Shareholders and Creditors"
But the Chrysler bankruptcy was just prelude to the Obama-Administration-brokered General Motors bankruptcy deal announced last week.
The GM deal is yet another example of rank, taxpayer-financed political favoritism.
Once again, the big losers are GM's bondholders, who include substitute teachers in Florida and retired tool and dye supervisors in Michigan. They hold $27 billion in GM debt but are receiving a 10 percent stake in the new company.
In contrast, the UAW, which is owed about $20 billion from GM, is walking away with 17.5 percent of the company and a cool $9 billion in cash.
According to one analysis, while the bondholders will be lucky if they recover 15 cents on the dollar, the UAW can expect to recover up to 60 to 70 cents on the dollar - four to five times what the bondholders will receive.
As Barron's Magazine wrote, "Never has an American union done so well at the expense of shareholders and creditors".
"At a Time When Some American Workers are Facing Stiff Pay Cuts, UAW Workers Gave Up Their Customary Paid Holiday on Easter Monday"
Of course, the Obama Administration has assured us that the United Auto Workers has made "substantial concessions" as part of the bankruptcies that have literally saved the union from extinction.
But as no less than the Washington Post put it, the "union concessions were 'painful' only by the peculiar standards of Big Three labor relations: At a time when some American workers are facing stiff pay cuts, UAW workers gave up their customary paid holiday on Easter Monday and their right to overtime pay after less than 40 hours per week. They still get health benefits that are far better than those received by many American families upon whose tax money GM jobs now depend."
Union members also preserved their right to have six unexcused absences from work before they can even be considered to be fired.
Can you feel the pain?
The Unions Have Been Rewarded With Ongoing Subsidization by the Taxpayers
It is a sign of the degree to which raw politics has dominated its handling of Chrysler and General Motors that the Obama Administration has a 31-year-old who has not yet graduated from law school determining the fate of two multi-billion dollar companies.
For their political support of the Democratic Party, the auto unions have been rewarded, not just with ownership stakes in two giant companies, but with ongoing protection and subsidization by the U.S. taxpayers.
The President has said repeatedly that he wants to get out of the auto business as soon as possible. But does anyone seriously believe that he would accept an arrangement in which GM becomes profitable at the expense of the union and its gold-plated benefits?
Having spent $50 billion to "save" GM and the UAW, does anyone really believe that the Obama Administration will now allow economics and not politics to dictate its future decisions?
In the GM and Chrysler bankruptcies, the Obama Administration has trampled on the rule of law.
It is using the taxpayers' money to pay back a political group for its political contributions.
There was a time when we would have called that a scandal.
I sincerely hope that when the president goes in for his annual check-up, the doctors at Bethesda will do a brain scan. Surely something must be terribly wrong with a man who seems to be far more concerned with a Jew building a house in Israel than with Muslims building a nuclear bomb in Iran. --Bert Prelutsky
Sunday, June 14, 2009
I send a lot of e-mail to various friends, family, Marines, vets and political contacts I’ve built up over the years.
Below are some suggested rules I’ve learned the hard way, and still occasionally violate (Hey, I’m not “the one”—I’m not perfect.)
1. When you forward any e-mail, delete the old e-mail addresses from previous forwards. Simply highlight them and hit “backspace.” This makes your message smaller, and keeps these people’s addresses from being harvested for Spam. It also keeps people you forward to from complaining about the people who originated the message—it wasn’t their fault you forwarded it.
2. If you are going to forward an e-mail, forward the original. Don’t forward it as an attachment, if possible. (Sometimes you have to do it that way, as something won’t open. But rarely.) If I have to click through several levels of e-mail to read something, I’m probably just going to delete.
3. If you will put the e-mail addresses of people you are sending the message to in the “BCC” field, instead of in the “To” field, it will keep Spammers from harvesting them. It will also keep everyone from hitting “reply all” and filling up your friends’ e-mail boxes with junk.
4. It is not necessary to reply to every e-mail you get with a “thanks” or a comment. Doing so only adds to the flood of junk e-mail. On the other hand, good responses are valuable—if you have something to say.
5. Creating groups will help you send to the right people. Some folks want to get jokes from me, but not politics. Fine. I have a jokes list for them. And I don’t send every joke to my political lists.
6. If someone asks you not to send e-mail for a period of time, take them out of your lists, then put them back when they are back on line. Likewise, if someone doesn’t want a certain type of e-mail, take them out of that list.
7. Clean up your forwards. Not only removing all the extra addresses thoughtless people forward, but all those ads, lines and >>> marks. The easy way to do this is to download emailStripper, available for free from http://www.papercut.biz/emailStripper.htm. You cut and paste the e-mail into the program, hit clean and copy it back to your e-mail. Takes five seconds.
Following these few simple rules will make your e-mails more enjoyable and interesting. And people will think you know what you are doing on line.
Below are hints on controlling e-mail, from one of my articles.
1. Remember that e-mail creates a trail and a record. It can be traced back to you. It can be forwarded by the recipient, accidentally or maliciously. Because of the ease of copying and forwarding, it’s much more likely than a letter to be seen by eyes it was not intended for. If you wouldn’t put a thought into a letter, don’t put it in e-mail. Think, “Would I be comfortable if this e-mail message was passed to my boss?” If the answer is no, think twice. “E-slander” is as actionable as any other kind.
2. Establish separate business and personal e-mail addresses. Especially, try to keep your business address from your joke-sending friends. It’s too easy for that off-color or ethnic joke, which you didn’t originate and maybe didn’t even like, to slip into the business system if it’s on your work computer. Almost all jokes offend someone, or can be used by folks who want to appear to have been offended. Keep the personal at home. You may also wish to create different screen names for web surfing, as “spammers” harvest e-mail addresses from visited websites.
3. Remember that e-mail can be edited. The e-mail you send saying, “My boss is a great guy” can be changed to “My boss is a fat Twinkie” and forwarded. There’s not much you can do about a sociopath who totally changes your message or creates a new one over your name, except to try to catch up with the lie. But much more common is the taking of key remarks out of context and responding to them. The recipient may not think that this is wrong, and often it’s not. But quoting only part of an e-mail message, especially in a dispute, can’t help but put a “spin” on the context. Is there something in the message that, if quoted out of context and responded to, would do harm? Think a third time.
4. Use the “Reply” and “Reply all” buttons carefully. Is your response something that everyone on the list should see? Hit “Reply All,” as this will save the recipient the trouble of forwarding it, and eliminate the danger of selective forwarding.
Conversely, is this a reply just to the sender, which will only be clutter to the other recipients? Hit “Reply.” More importantly, is your reply confidential? Hit “Reply.” Or, worse, is it insulting to someone on the list? See tip number one! Always check the “To” list on the message before you hit “Send.” Someday that habit will save you embarrassment—or perhaps your job.
5. Make a hard copy, when needed. E-mail on your computer will eventually be deleted, and will certainly become hard to find in the clutter. I once had a staff member who printed and filed every e-mail message. She was a hard worker in many other unproductive ways as well. But paper copies of some e-mail messages should be in your files. Copy messages such as instructions to do something that might be controversial, your response to hot political issues, or notes of praise for your personnel file. Almost every week I find myself searching for, and often not finding, an e-mail message from a few weeks or months back. Save paper copies of those that really matter.
6. Create folders. Don’t let your incoming messages pile up in your in-box. Create perhaps one folder for board members’ messages, one for items to be permanently saved, one for staff messages, one for each of a few special topics or programs (such as a political issue), and one for general mail. Also create a “personal” box, for those personal messages that slip through, despite your compartmentalized social and professional addresses. Clean this file out regularly. Leave only current messages still requiring answers or action in your in-box. Delete those immediately that you know you’ll not need, and drag the rest to the proper folder. You wouldn’t leave every piece of paper that came in for a year piled on your desk, would you?
7. Clean out the folders. Except for the “Save Permanently” file, I try to clean out all messages over six months old once a month. Yes, I’ve wished I had messages I deleted. But it also means I can find the more current ones a lot faster. (Thank goodness for the “Find” feature, or I’d never locate older messages.)
8. Respond promptly. People expect faster replies to e-mail messages than to letters or even phone calls. If you can’t get them the info or take the action they want right away, let then know you are working on it. Use the “auto-reply” feature when you are going to be out of the office for more than a day. And check your business e-mail more than once a day, but don’t drive yourself nuts interrupting your other work every time “you’ve got mail” dings.
9. Put an automatic signature on every e-mail message you send. It’s a mark of courtesy and courage to sign your correspondence. It also helps people who get a forwarded message to know from whom it came. If I signed my messages “Bob,” someone down the line might, just possibly, know another “Bob.”
A signature also lets you put your mission statement, conference dates or other note on the bottom of your messages. At home, I’ve created several signatures with pithy quotes after my contact info.
10. Create a letterhead in your word processing program. That allows you to send professional-looking letters as attachments, with your scanned-in signature as well. It’s a great convenience.
11. Think about the subject line. For something not very important, I add “FYI” before the subject. I also use “PLEASE RESPOND” and “CONFIDENTIAL” after typing in the subjects, to alert my recipients to what I need from them.
12. Those guys in Nigeria? They don’t really have THIRTY TWO MILLION US DOLLARS in TRAPPED FUNDS they want to share with you.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Well into his presidency, George Bush fired a few US Attorneys. The firestorm and investigations still haven't stopped.
Now comes this:
What's behind Obama's sudden attempt to fire the AmeriCorps inspector general?
Important to read, as this will also be "no problem" for most of the media.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Gingrich and Frogue: Congress Must Eliminate Fraud
By Newt Gingrich and Jim Frogue
Special to Roll Call
Congress is kicking off the most significant health care debate in a generation. Everything must be on the table. Our current system is an expensive, frustrating mess where patients and doctors feel increasingly powerless. Doing more of the same but with bigger subsidies will be as effective as the General Motors bailouts.
While there are major partisan divides over how to permanently restructure our health care system, there is one key area where Democrats and Republicans should be working together: fighting health care fraud. Everyone agrees that fraud should be stopped, and most agree that tackling fraud effectively would yield savings well into the tens of billions of dollars annually. Instead of punishing doctors with lower payments and penalizing patients with reduced access, let’s cut off the crooks.
Last month, Harvard professor Malcolm Sparrow, author of the seminal “License to Steal,” testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee that health care fraud and abuse could amount to as much as $500 billion annually. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), a physician, believes that a full third of all health spending is wasted on defensive medicine, paperwork and outright fraud. Considering that $2.5 trillion will be spent on health care this year, he is talking about a figure in excess of $800 billion per year.
FedEx and UPS allow customers to track in real time 23 million moving packages every day at no extra charge. That is the modern world. But when it comes to health care, no state can even tell you how many people its Medicaid program supported in 2008. Miami-Dade County has more licensed home health care agencies than the entire state of California. New York Medicaid recently paid for maternity benefits for 55 men, according to Inspector General Jim Sheehan.
There are endless other examples of equal absurdity.
Read it all here:
Thursday, June 11, 2009
We form a firing squad made up of liberals and conservatives. (Yes, it might require some instruction in what the military still calls “musketry.”) We stand them up against a wall, together, and we shoot all three.
All in favor, signify by saying “aye.” The ayes have it. I claim a right to serve.
Please don’t tell me that “violence solves nothing.” Tell it to the millions of people in Europe and Asia liberated from murderous regimes by pretty intense violence from American and allied forces in WWII, right down to the survivors of the death camps who survived because our forces were violent enough to overcome the Nazis. Yes, the death camps denied by thousands of right-wing wackos like van Brunn and by tens of millions of Muslim wackos like Muhammad. Those death camps.
Or tell it to the people at the Holocaust Museum who survived because the other guards didn’t try to talk with von Brunn (with or without “preconditions”). They shot him. Violence solved that problem.
I firmly believe I could happily shoot all three of these scumbags and sleep like a baby that night. After the party.
And I have a rather long list of other people I’d be happy to shoot, from all members of Al Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah to the black and Hispanic gangbangers who daily kill black and Hispanic kids in Chicago and other cities, but who cry “racism” if the cops are lucky enough to arrest them.
I suppose these opinions mean I won’t be invited to the next “Brie and Chablis Soirée” given by the Obamas and the Ayers in Hyde Park. But that’s okay. I’m more of a “brats and beer at the VFW” kind of guy anyway.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Update: Comcast says they can't tell me why my e-mail is down, but they have bumped it to a higher level. No, I can't get a credit, because e-mail is a "free feature." (But if I don't pay the bill which just arrived in the mail, I bet that "free feature" goes away!)
So I'm working on changing providers, will notify correspondents when up and running. Thinking G-Mail.
Meantime, I'm writing to Comcast: Dear Sir/Madam. While paying your bill is mandatory, my actually mailing the check is a "free feature" and that service is down right now. I can't tell you why, or when it will be up, but I've bumped the problem to a higher level. In the meantime, feel free to drop by my home and pick up the check.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Dear President Obama,
As I gather the Sunday before Memorial Day to worship with two United Methodist congregations I pastor in Griffin, GA, I'll think about some of your recent comments. I'll be thinking of what you told a crowd of about 2,000 in Strasbourg, Germany, as you spoke of our nation's views of Europe - "Instead of celebrating your dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive."
The gray, balding heads on the people who worship with me attest to their years of toil and labor on this Earth. They are, as Jesus said, the 'salt of the Earth." They are grandmamas and granddaddies, blue collar folks who worked hard to build a community and raise families, to give to others when they had precious little for themselves. They continue to do these things today.
Salt of the Earth they are and heroes to boot. When this nation called they answered with a resounding 'yes' and went where Uncle Sam asked them. A couple of months ago, we laid John Busbin to rest.
Like you, he visited Europe on behalf of the U.S. He beat you there by 65 years and spent his time marking and clearing mine fields, not giving speeches. Rather than being arrogant, dismissive or derisive, John partnered with the French and others to meet a common challenge. Others did the same, sailing on ships, slogging through mud or soaring through the air because evil and tyranny were well on their way to taking over the world.
I wish you'd come May 24th and sit with these folks as we sing America the Beautiful and America. I'd like it if you could sit up front with me when Maxine Bunn and Jerry Turner do a medley of military service hymns and the veterans or spouses of deceased veterans stand when their branch's hymn is played. They grab hold of the pew in front of them to pull themselves to their feet. I know I'm in the company of giants.
I'd love for you to meet Janie Worthy and understand those tears that still glisten on her cheeks each Memorial Day Sunday.
Janie married John Pershing Botkin in August 1943. Their daughter Gail was born Aug. 10, 1944, three or four months after John shipped out to Europe. Janie, 19, went to St. Mary's, Ohio to stay with her in-laws after Gail was born. One Sunday afternoon in early December, farm families began to call each other as the postmaster's Model A made its way down the country roads. They knew that car carried news that would shatter a family and were trying to figure out where he was headed. He stopped in front of Janie's in-laws' farmhouse. Her daddy-in-law walked out to meet him and learned that John was killed in action Nov. 11, 1944, serving with the Army in Alsace. Cpl. Botkin never saw, held or kissed his little girl. As a father, you can empathize with Janie's salty tears.
Perhaps if you could come you'd see why your words hurt so many so much. America may be many things and she certainly isn't perfect, but heroes with whom I share my life have hardly been arrogant dismissive or derisive of Europe. They've given themselves to save Europe when Europe couldn't save itself.
So, Mr. President, get out of Washington for a weekend and take a trip down to Georgia. We'll feed you some barbecue over in Williamson and I'll introduce you to some friends of mine, some everyday giants and ordinary heroes.
Pastor, Highland-Hanleiter United Methodist Churches
Posted with Rev. Flanders kind permission.
Monday, June 8, 2009
Sunday, June 7, 2009
From the National Center for Policy Analysis, www.ncpa.org:
THE PERIL OF "BUY AMERICAN"
It's not surprising that Democrats in Congress could not resist adding a "Buy American" provision to the fiscal stimulus bill earlier this year. It might seem sensible (or at least politically useful) to ensure that taxpayer dollars would be used exclusively to support American jobs. But as states and municipalities start spending stimulus money, the idea is starting to look as counterproductive as it should have looked from the beginning. It is sparking conflict with American allies and, rather than supporting employment at home, the "Buy American" effort could ultimately cost American jobs, says the New York Times.
Foreign and domestic companies that employ hundreds of workers in this country cannot bid for government projects because they cannot guarantee the American provenance of all the steel, iron and manufactured goods in their supply chain, as the provision requires. Others are scrambling to figure out whether American-made alternatives exist to replace their foreign inputs.
The steel company Duferco Farrell, for example, has cut about 600 jobs in Pennsylvania after it lost orders from its biggest customer because some of its goods are partly produced abroad.
The Westlake Chemical Corporation of Houston has lost sales to a Canadian vinyl pipe maker that is cutting back production because it can't bid for some American jobs.
Meanwhile, representatives of Australia, Brazil, Canada, the European Union, Japan and Mexico have been consulting about how to respond to the United States' protectionist drive:
After Canadian companies were barred from bidding for American business, news reports say that some 12 Canadian cities passed ordinances against buying American.
And the Federation of Canadian Municipalities is expected to discuss a possible coordinated response at its meeting this month.
Industries like water and wastewater treatment are highly integrated with their Canadian counterparts, with exports to Canada in 2008 worth $6.2 billion and imports worth $4 billion.
According to the United States Chamber of Commerce, retaliation by Canadian municipalities could cost American water equipment companies an estimated $3 billion in lost business.
Whether it is from the point of view of diplomacy or of job creation, "Buy American" is a terrible idea. One that could make the global recession worse, says the Times.
Source: Editorial, "The Peril of 'Buy American,' " New York Times, June 3, 2009.
For more on Trade Issues:
Does your base look so forlorn?
You can still protect your tush—
Just blame it on Bush!
Has Detroit just cooked your goose?
Is Osama still on the loose
Out in the Hindu Kush?
Just blame it on Bush!
Are the banks still going down?
Does Korea make you frown?
Oh, when shove comes to push,
Just blame it on Bush.
Is Iran still hanging Gays,
And your cabinet no taxes pays?
Well don’t let them frost your tush—
Just blame it on Bush!
Is Joe Biden mouthing off?
And the terrorists think you’re soft,
While Israelis your buttons push?
Just blame it on Bush!
As new problems now evolve,
There are none that you can’t solve,
You’re got answers up the tush—
Blame them all on Bush!
~Rab the Rhymer
Where's yur Willie Shakespear noo?
Okay, you can do better. Post additional verses as comments.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Want to know what troubles our American health care system?
Consider the thoughts of psychiatrist and Nazi death camp survivor Viktor Frankl.
We as Americans accept that health care is an individual right, even if someone else is paying for it. The truth that every personal right must have an accompanying personal responsibility is now lost in our self-absorbed materialistic culture. We have only rights, entitlements if you will.
Few have any idea what the costs are of the health care they receive. Many get it tax-subsidized through their employer, many get it through Medicare in a now bankrupt Ponzi scheme in which those working pay taxes to pay for care of those retired, and more than sixty million Americans do not pay at all through Medicaid and SCHIP programs.
Hundreds of millions receive health care the costs of which have little or nothing to do with their own personal realities and then we wonder why those costs are out of control.
Now Ted Kennedy has introduced his solution to all of this, which also captures the thinking of our president. Set up a new government health care plan, subsidized of course by taxes, and call this choice because you are not forced to take it (although you are forced to pay taxes for it).
As Senator Kennedy announces more free health care — meaning one group of Americans will get what another group of Americans will pay for — the disconnect between who gets health care services and who pays for them will grow even greater.
Costs will be controlled, according to Senator Kennedy, by setting up a new army of bureaucrats who will get rid of proverbial "fraud and abuse," will decide for doctors how to treat their patients, and will decide for us how we should behave by dictating the preventative measures we must take for our own good.
To put on a show for what this all might look like, a few weeks ago President Obama "invited" representatives from the major sectors of the health care business — doctors, insurers, hospitals, pharmaceutical firms, medical device manufacturers — to the White House to tell us all how much they would commit to lowering costs.
The result was a supposed commitment by these groups to cut costs by 1.5 percent per year.
Aside from the fact that shortly after the White House announcement, industry representatives began issuing statements denying that they made any such commitment, let's assume it's accurate. That these groups do not know how to run their own businesses and that they can deliver the same products and services annually for 1.5 percent less if the president threatens them.
At our annual health care bill of about $2.5 trillion dollars, savings of 1.5 percent would be about $40 billion.
Let's consider how much of our $2.5 trillion health care bill are costs resulting from behavior that individuals choose.
Googling around and totaling up, I come up with about $240 billion, about ten percent of our total health care bill. This is roughly the total reported health care costs associated with obesity, drug and alcohol abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS and sedentary life styles.
Worth noting is that these occur disproportionately in low-income groups who get their health care free. More than half our spending on HIV/AIDS, for example, is out of Medicaid. Can it be accidental that the huge health care costs related to lifestyle issues are most pronounced where individuals do not personally bear the costs of how they behave?
How can our health care problems be solved by more entitlements and bureaucrats when this is what is causing the problem to begin with?
Viktor Frankl had it right. At the heart of the solution for our health care crisis is personal responsibility. This means more freedom and more markets.
Star Parker is an author and president of CURE, Coalition on Urban Renewal and Education. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And even the country which we were fighting that June day had not attacked us first. In the months following that invasion, in several countries, hundred’s of thousands of innocent civilians, men, women and children, were killed by our forces. The enemy’s cities and civilian population were targeted. Enemy combatants were taken prisoner, held indefinitely, and denied any protections under the US Constitution, including trials and lawyers.
It was thought by Americans of that generation, and the Democrat president and Democrat Congress who led us, that defeating a great evil justified these acts. Today, those of us who still believe in America and what it stood for remember and honor those who died in what the current administration would doubtless view as abandoning our “values.”
Our highest value used to be protecting the freedom and safety of the American people. God willing, we will again have leaders who have empathy for that value.
But this day, we honor those who fought and died for our freedom and safety on the beeches of Normandy, sixty five years ago.
Friday, June 5, 2009
Interesting. Must be part of the Republican Culture of Corruption Nancy "Verbosie" Pelosi was going on about back in 2006.
"Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences, a possibility I abhor less or discount less than my colleague Judge (Miriam) Cedarbaum, our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging. Justice (Sandra Day) O'Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases. I am not so sure that I agree with the statement. I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Obama Calls for New Beginning Between U.S., Muslims “In Cairo, president says no single speech can eradicate years of mistrust, adding that America and Islam share common principles of justice, progress, tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.”
Let’s see what “common principles” we share. Under Shari’a (Islamic) law:
--The Islamic religious leaders are the highest authority in the state—no separation of mosque and State.
--The testimony of a woman is worth only half that of a man.
--Girls may only inherit half that which their brothers inherit.
--A woman who is raped must have four male Muslim witnesses to prove it. Otherwise, she is confessing to adultery and will be stoned to death.
--Girls may be married to old men when they are nine, based on the “perfect example” of the prophet, who married his youngest wife when she was six and consummated the marriage when she was nine, according to the Hadith, sacred Muslim texts..
--Men may beat their wives for refusing sex.
--Non-Muslims (dhimmis) must pay Jizra, a special poll tax, in order to live under an Islamic government. They may not worship openly.
--There is no freedom of speech or the press. Criticizing (insulting) Islam is a crime.
--A Muslim apostate who leaves Islam is punished by death.
--Men may have four wives, women one husband.
--Muslim men may marry infidels, women are punished for doing so, often with death.
--A man may divorce one of his wives with a word, leaving her with no means of support.
--In strict Islamic countries, women may not vote, work, go to school, drive or leave the house without a male relative escort.
--Girls are often killed by male relatives, sometimes for just talking to a man outside the family. This happens among Muslims even in the west. Google “honor killing.”
--Homosexuals are punished with death. Iran regularly hangs them. “Gay Marriage” isn’t even a concept to discuss.
President Obama, who is suddenly bragging about his Muslim roots, may share these “common principles of justice, progress, tolerance and the dignity of all human beings” with his Islamic ancestors, but I don’t. I don’t think most American do. And I don’t think most Muslims believe we do.
This is not to say there are not millions of decent, moderate Muslims who want to live in peace with us. My wife and I just met one who is a salesperson in Sears, a Sunni from India. She has a son-in-law who is Christian and another who is Jewish. She wants everyone to get along.
What she doesn’t have is a gun, and the fanatics do, so until that changes, she and the other moderate Muslims are as irrelevant as moderate Germans and Japanese were in 1939.
Insh’Allah, it won’t take too many American deaths until this President learns that it takes two sides to make a peace, only one to make a war. Just saying “The War on Terror” is over doesn’t make is so, if they are still killing westerners whenever they can.
For pictures of some of the common values Obama shares with Muslims, click here:
But guess who's bragging about his "Muslim roots" now?
The Emergence of President Obama's Muslim Roots
Of course, this is from that right-wing mouthpiece, ABC.....
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
List of U.S. Nuclear Sites Inadvertently Posted Online
Meanwhile, if you live near one of these sites, this might be a fine time to take advantage of the weak housing market and relocate.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
THE AGE OF MILTON FRIEDMAN
The last quarter century has witnessed remarkable progress of mankind, says economist Andrei Shleifer. The world's per capita inflation-adjusted income rose from $5,400 in 1980 to $8,500 in 2005. Schooling and life expectancy grew rapidly, while infant mortality and poverty fell just as fast. Compared to 1980, many more countries in the world are democratic today. The last quarter century also saw wide acceptance of free market policies in both rich and poor countries: from private ownership, to free trade, to responsible budgets, to lower taxes.
Three important events mark the beginning of this period. In 1979, Deng Xiao Ping started market reforms in China, which over the quarter century lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. In the same year, Margaret Thatcher was elected Prime Minister in Britain, and initiated her radical reforms and a long period of growth. A year later, Ronald Reagan was elected President of the United States and also embraced free market policies. All three of these leaders professed inspiration from the work of Milton Friedman. It is natural, then, to refer to the last quarter century as the Age of Milton Friedman, says Shleifer.
Some of the central facts of economic and social development during 1980-2005:
During this period, world per capita income grew at about 2 percent per year, including rapid growth in East and South Asia.
Between 1980 and 2000, the share of the world's population living on less than $1 a day fell from 34.8 percent to 19 percent.
The World Bank forecasts that the number of people living on less than $1 a day will continue to fall sharply despite population growth, and account for 10 percent of the world's population by 2015.
What about economic policies?
The world median inflation rate in 1980 was 14.3 percent; by 2005 that median declined to 4.1 percent.
Top marginal income tax rates fell around the world from the population-weighted average of 65 percent in 1980 all the way down to 36.7 percent in 2005.
In the 1980s, most governments restricted foreign exchange transactions; by 2005 "black market" exchange rates have nearly vanished.
Tariff rates, which fell from the population-weighted world average of 43 parallel with vast expansion in world trade.
Over the last six years, the number of procedures an entrepreneur must follow before he can legally start a business declined, although East Asia and Latin America remain heavily overregulated.
Source: Andrei Shleifer, "The Age of Milton Friedman," Journal of Economic Literature, Vol. 47, No. 1, March 2009.
For more on Economic Issues:
Monday, June 1, 2009
I had never heard of Sonja Schmidt before, but I intend to track her. Enjoy.
29 May 2009
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814
Dear Governor Schwarzenegger,
Thank you for everything you have been doing to cut the expenditure at Los Angeles City College. I have been a mature full-time student at LACC for a year and a half. I have a 4.0 GPA. My life at the college has been a nightmare due to the presence here of people who are not serious students. These people talk non-stop in the classrooms, library and computer labs. There is not one quiet place to work on this campus. When we complain, we are told, “It’s their culture.” If we complain again, we are all but labeled racist. People of every race and nation disrupt this campus, so this noise is nothing to do with anyone’s “culture.”
Political correctness rules at LACC. The kids are afraid to speak up. One Latino lad told me he said in a class that he hated Political Correctness and that five other lads joined in to agree with him. The teacher told them to all shut up or he would eject them from his class, and, I think he said he’d eject them from the district as well.
I had to leave the Computer Applications/Office Technology branch of the Business Department after a year of wasted financial aid and student loans. I had learned very little except how to baby-sit people who don’t know how to behave in a public place. I am a woman, so I hope I will not be accused of “hate speech” if I say that the vast majority of disruptive “students” at LACC are women who never shut up. It appears to me as if these people are already in receipt of quite a bit of government money that most Americans do not get. I think they use the Pell Grant and the Cal Grant as clothing allowances. Often, they have picnics in the computer study areas. I am not sure if I would be opening myself up to a charge of some sort of “hate crime” if I gave a more detailed description of these people.
One of my teachers told me recently that at Santa Monica College (not part of our district) they have been telling students just to enroll, and that they don’t have to turn up for class at all, and that they will get a grade anyway, and they will be able to keep all the financial aid.
One teacher said that their entire department at LACC has been ordered never to “drop” a student from the roll, no matter how infrequently the student comes to class. The money has to go back if students drop.
We heard on the grapevine yesterday morning that all the colleges in the district will be closed for at least part of the summer. This is another blessing out of Sacramento in a week full of blessings. I am not joking, I have been praying to God to eject Los Angeles from the Union. Cut off the money supply. They will disappear. We will have California back.
I am 62, poor, un-propertied and unemployed. I have been back in the USA for 3 ½ years, having spent 30 years in the UK. Intelligent and competent people like me. I am a capable person. I have three glowing references from teachers at LACC, and I can get more. My landlord says he likes me because, out of his 15 tenants, I am the only one who does not complain. I am not my problem. My problem is that I do not live in the City of Our Lady, the Queen of the Angels. I live in the Social Program of Our Lady, the Queen of the Angles.
I had to leave Britain in a hurry due to a Home Office (immigration) snafu. I was not at all ready to leave and when I got to LA, I found myself homeless after the old friend I was meant to stay with turned out to be crazy. I have done time in two homeless shelters. I have been on the giving and receiving ends of two food programs. I have belonged to two churches in my neighborhood. I have contacted only-God-knows how many “Worksource” type places, and I have been a student at LACC. I have had 3 ½ years of wall-to-wall social programs, and I still do not have a steady little typing job or any kind of order in my life. This is because SOCIAL PROGRAMS DO NOT WORK. Social programs benefit only those who are employed by social programs.
I was a volunteer at one of the food pantries. All the Trader Joe’s stuff goes to the people on the inside, as do all the best cakes from Ralph’s. The people in line outside get white rice and dried pinto beans and whatever is left over after the in-crowd has loaded up their wheeled carts. (These people are supposed to be religious.) Neither in the homeless shelters nor at the food distribution centers, all of which give away donated clothes, have I ever seen good clothes on offer for the poor. I have noticed that the receptionists in these places, who get 9 bucks an hour, have extensive and exclusive wardrobes. I could write a book and I might.
Today I read an article in the LA Times about how the budget cuts will prevent people from making something of their lives. I disagree. My experience has been that it is the people on this endless gravy train who prevent me from making something of my life. May I please re-iterate some statistics with which I am sure you are familiar? A Political Science professor at LACC told us last summer that there are 18,000 students enrolled at LACC at any one time. Out of those, he said, 10% (1,800) go on to a four-year college. Out of those 1,800, 87% go on to get a BA. I reckon that makes 1,566 college graduates out of every 18,000 “students” who come here to “make something of their lives.”
For the past year and a half, I have had no money whatsoever to live on except my student grants and loans. I am now in debt for the first time in my life. I have never paid a credit card bill because I have never run up a credit card bill. Now I “owe” $5,000 (which works out at $80 a month for the next 8 years and 4 months), and what I got for this money is incompetence, noise and chaos. There are, of course, dedicated, hard-working and competent faculty and staff members at this college, and we owe them a debt of gratitude for soldiering on in the midst of this, but overall Los Angeles City College is bedlam.
I have complete confidence in myself as a person who can sort her life out. I have been in tough spots before. I can get a job and keep it, but I need these wasters out of my way, so God Bless You for everything you are doing to help us. I used to be a leftie, but no more.