I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree with every—or any—opinion in the posted article. Nor that I disagree with them, of course.
Important: The suicide pacts
While everyone is focused on the PIIGS in
Europe, and the coming Federal Fiscal Failure, a disaster of alarming magnitude is working its way up from below. And it’s not just collapsing states like California and . Not even just large cities, such as the $30B unfunded pension liability in Illinois . Politicians at all levels have bought support from public unions with dollars they don’t have the paper and ink to print. This editorial deals with the unfolding pension disaster in the small cities and towns surrounding Chicago . Is it unique to this area? I don’t think so. ~Bob. Excerpt: Tens of billions of dollars that might pay for these priorities already are committed to future retirement benefits of public employees. Unless we curb that burden going forward, we will bequeath to next-generation Illinoisans an infrastructure of services and facilities that is grossly inferior to what our grandparents and parents bequeathed to us….Over the past four decades, many of the folks who run our state and local governments signed suicide pacts — spectacularly unaffordable retirement deals — with public employee unions. These pacts have committed so many of today's and tomorrow's dollars to so many pension and retiree health benefits that not enough money is left to fund everything else. Hence the suicide pact analogy: Our governments — our taxpayers, that is — cannot realistically cover all of these exorbitant retirement promises. And our public workers cannot realistically expect that their too-generous benefits will survive as written on paper. Chicago
US embassy cables: browse the database
These Wikileaks people need killing before they get too many of the good guys killed. Seriously. ~Bob.
WikiLeaks sparks worldwide diplomatic crisis
Excerpt: The King of Saudi Arabia privately urged the
United States to attack to destroy its nuclear weapons programme, according to diplomatic cables leaked by the whistle-blowing website, WikiLeaks. (Well, I believe the King is a follower of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs, so naturally wants to destroy the apostate followers of Ali. If you don’t get that, it’s because you aren’t up on the 7th Century politics that are getting people killed. ~Bob.) Iran
Yemen covered up drone strikes US
Excerpt: But, according to a leaked document from January, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh told Gen David Petraeus, then commander of US forces in the Middle East, that: "We'll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours." The conversation was reported in a diplomatic cable sent back to
Washington by a US diplomat in . Yemen
Secret cables reveal that
U.S. believes has advanced missiles Iran
United States believes Iran has obtained advanced missiles from North Korea that could reach Moscow and cities across Western Europe, one of several secret diplomatic assessments of 's weapons program disclosed publicly for the first time Sunday. The treasure trove of secret State Department cables obtained by WikiLeaks and reported Sunday by several news organizations chronicle the Iranian nuclear standoff from its genesis. The diplomatic memos disclose the extent to which many of the Iran United States's allies in the Arab world repeatedly implored Washington to stop 's pursuit of nuclear weapons. In one such plea, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia reportedly urged Iran officials in 2008 to "cut off the head of the snake" while there was still time. In another, in May 2009, Israel's defense minister, Ehud Barak, argued that the world had six to 18 months "in which stopping U.S. from acquiring nuclear weapons might still be viable." According to a secret cable that the Iran U.S. ambassador to Israel, James B. Cunningham, sent to , Barak said: "Any military solution would result in unacceptable collateral damage." Washington
Global warming has slowed down over the past 10 years, say scientists
Huh. I noticed that Al Gore has stopped spouting off so much—that would reduce warming! Actually, I thought even the warmist “scientists” were now saying there had been no warming since 1995, but that was “temporary.” ~Bob. Excerpt: The rate at which global temperatures are rising has slowed in the past decade, scientists said today. In a report published today, the Met Office said the slow in the rate of warming was down to a combination of natural variation in the weather and pollution. Scientists say one of the major factors is the rise in heavy industry and pollutant 'aerosols', particularly in
Asia. An upsurge in industrial emissions such as sulphur which are being pumped into the atmosphere reflects sunlight and could lead to a cooling effect.
Easier to make folk songs about the nasty Brits than about the collapse of another Euro-Socialist state. Which is rather too bad, as I’m a huge fan of Irish folk music. Who, do you suppose, will bail out the
when our time comes? ~Bob. Excerpt: Tens of thousands of people have marched through US in protest at the government's austerity programme. Protest leaders said it was the first of many demonstrations over plans to raise taxes and cut public spending. The austerity programme is designed to cut the Dublin 's massive government deficit, exacerbated by the rescue of the country's banks. The march came as officials met to hammer out the final details of a financial bail-out for the country. Irish Republic
Tea Party Targets Big Business
Wait, aren’t the Democrats the folks opposed to big business? ~Bob. Excerpt: “Big business has had huge impact on public policy,” Borelli told the Daily Caller. “It’s time to make business pay the price for lobbying for big -business politics,” he added before singling out The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and the member companies of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) as potential targets. “PhRMA was a huge backer of Obamacare,” said Borelli. “Members of Congress gave [USCAP] credit for cap and trade passing the House. These policies are very unpopular with conservatives and Tea Party activists. It’s reasonable to hold them accountable just like we hold politicians accountable.” The timing of Kibbe and Borelli’s project is no coincidence. The two groups just released a poll Tuesday that showed when consumers are told about a company’s lobbying for progressive legislation, their opinion of the company drops dramatically. General Electric, for example, started out with a 51 percent favorable image among self-identified conservatives. However, when participants were told about GE’s support of liberal policies like cap and trade, as well as CEO Jeffrey Immelt’s coziness with the Obama administration, that rating fell to 20 percent.
Greenland so rich these days? It said goodbye to the EU.
Cutting out government red tape is good for business and jobs? Who knew? ~Bob. Excerpt: If you think that leaving the EU would be catastrophic, take a look at
Greenland. By rights its people ought to be poor. Their island is isolated, suffers from freezing weather, has a workforce of only 28,000 and relies on fish for 82 per cent of its exports. But it turns out that since leaving the EU, Greenland has been so freed of EU red tape and of the destruction of the Common Fisheries Policy, that the average income of the islanders today is higher than those living in Britain, Germany and . France Greenland’s politicians realised that the fisheries policy was ruining their fishing industry. They had the guts to stand up against the all the prophets of doom and let their people vote in a referendum on leaving the European Community, as the EU was then called. On January 1, 1985, it became independent of – the only country ever to do so. Greenland was, with Brussels , one of only two EU countries to be heavily dependent on fishing. In fact, Britain Britain had, in some estimates, 80 per cent of Europe’s fish stocks when it entered the EU, because our fishermen had carefully managed them, while the fisherman of Spain, France and had destroyed most of the Mediterranean stocks. The surprising thing is that while the unemployment from closing (loss-making) coal mines is frequently denounced by Labour politicians, more British workers lost their jobs as a result of gigantic French and Spanish boats being permitted to raid our stocks. Few of those politicians seem to care. Italy
Bombs Don't Kill People; Terrorists Do
Excerpt: This is precisely the disconnect which the Left faces with airport security and passenger examinations. The danger is not that someone will bring a handgun, a knife, or even an explosive on an airliner. Properly stored and maintained, none of these will do the slightest harm to anyone. In fact, if every passenger on September 11, 2001 had been armed, the terrorists would almost certainly have been stopped. Disarming the innocent never stops violence. Moreover, the "things" which can be used to cause injury are as endless as human imagination, and in the hands of terrorists, almost anything can be used to murder large numbers of people. The variety of methods and tools of destruction are as broad as the bored minds of evil men. Anyone who has toured a prison can hear from guards about the remarkable ingenuity with which inmates can make real-looking "guns" or very real knives and other weapons.
It was mercy, not justice, that spared
Excerpt: You’ve probably already heard that Portland, Oregon prohibited its police officers from working with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force—the very unit which intervened in the case of Mohamed Mohamud and deflected his planned mass murder attack into a sting operation with false explosives. But guess why
found the Joint Terrorism Task Force so offensive? Byron York writes in the Washington Examiner: In April 2005, the Portland Portland city council voted 4 to 1 to withdraw city police officers from participating in the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. Mayor Tom Potter said the FBI refused to give him a top-secret security clearance so he could make sure the officers weren’t violating state anti-discrimination laws that bar law enforcement from targeting suspects on the basis of their religious or political beliefs. [emphasis added.] So, Portland refused to cooperate with federal anti-terror police work because such work involved … profiling. It involved using, among other factors, the fact that someone was a Muslim. It was discriminatory. Portland preferred to leave itself helpless in the face of Islamic terrorism than discriminate against even one possible Muslim terrorist. Portland
Excerpt: To many, the idea that
might actually sell nuclear warheads to Islamic extremists might seem implausible, even for the North Koreans. It is obvious to outsiders that to even attempt this, in the current international climate, would be suicidally reckless. But North Korea is perhaps the ultimate rogue state. It has never paid any attention to the normal rules of international conduct: it sells narcotics; it forges currency; it blows up passenger airplanes; it murders the entire families of defectors; it kidnaps children from neighboring countries; it assassinates diplomats; it digs invasion tunnels; and, as we saw yet again with the Yeonpyeong island attacks, it lashes out militarily whenever it feels the need. The result of the DPRK’s dramatically enhanced uranium enrichment capacity is a situation much worse than the one which nearly triggered a war in 1994, during the North Korea administration. Compared to then, North Korean nuclear capability is now a fact, not a possibility; and unless action is taken, the regime will begin adding warheads to its arsenal at the rate of perhaps one a month. What to do now? Unfortunately, we are at the point where the easy options have all evaporated. Contrary to the bizarre conclusion of Dr. Hecker in his report, it is obvious that further direct diplomatic approaches to Clinton itself will be pointless. All the years of frantic diplomacy to date have only succeeded in buying the North time to bring its nuclear weapons program to successful fruition. It is now perfectly clear that, from the very beginning, North Korea was never sincerely willing to bargain away its nuclear activities. (Once again, we pay the price for being “merciful.” The best time to have dealt with this was back in 1953. The author has laid out all the options currently available. His analysis of which is most desirable can be argued against. A new class of explosive bombs the author ignores is the FAE (fuel [oil]-air-explosive) that actually overlaps in destructive power with the smaller (up to perhaps 10 kilotons) nuclear devices. Properly delivered, these would provide a non-nuclear means of absolutely interdicting the mountain passes the NK armor and mechanized infantry would have to use to invade the South. One great and potentially useful suggestion the author makes is to hold the Kim family "personally" responsible if a nuke goes off anywhere in the world. At a minimum, it would make the family keep their heads down. I seriously doubt the wisdom of betting the future of the North Korea and our people on "the throw of the dice." If we need to go to war with the NKs, then we should do it as hard and swiftly as possible, but without telegraphing our every move to the NKs ahead of time. Ron P.) USA
woman, traveling by air the day before Thanksgiving, did not want radiation from an airport ‘naked body’ X-Ray scanner; she also did not want TSA goons to grope her. So she wore a revealing bikini and avoided both radiation and groping. The Obama White House is not nearly so clever. Los Angeles groped the missile defenses of our homeland and President Obama said and did nothing. No one noticed. Well, almost no one. On November 8th, a KCBS-TV news helicopter filmed a missile launched a few miles off the China coast! The video shows a smoke plume rising from the ocean just north of Catalina Island, well inside US territorial waters, heading west over the Pacific Ocean. No one has claimed the mystery missile. No one has said why or how it was done. So let us examine some facts and make a reasonable guess. California
Excerpt: Now that Mark Farrell is the surprise winner to represent District Two on the Board of Supervisors, I asked him if he'd gotten a congratulatory call from political power broker Aaron Peskin. "Still waiting on that one," he joked. "Go figure. It's a mystery." He might have a long wait. Peskin and his far-left leaders of the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee are still shaking off the ice water from the dunking they took at the ballot box. Formerly the organization of write-down-the-endorsements-and-start-planning-the-victory-party (40 out of 43 endorsement wins for supervisor since 1990), the Peskin-led DCCC took an 0-4 skunking on supervisors... Of course, Peskin didn't become known as the city's political mega-mind without an ability to turn burnt toast into crisp croutons. He and San Francisco Labor Council Executive Director Tim Paulson insist they look at the results and see nothing but seashells and rainbows... "The composition of the Board of Supervisors remains unchanged," he said. "Nobody won anything." This hands moderate Supervisor Sean Elsbernd a laugh. "I absolutely disagree," he said. "Every person who is replacing an incumbent is more moderate. If the DCCC didn't think that, why didn't they endorse them? The DCCC was the kiss of death. Perhaps now they will realize how woefully out of step they were."
Union Drops Health Coverage for Workers’ Children
What goes around…the SEIU spent members’ dues to jam ObamaCare through, now members’ kids won’t be covered. ~Bob. Excerpt: One of the largest union-administered health-insurance funds in
is dropping coverage for the children of more than 30,000 low-wage home attendants, union officials said. The union blamed financial problems it said were caused by the state’s health department and new national health-insurance requirements. The fund is administered by 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union. Union officials said the state compelled the fund to start buying coverage from a third party, which increased premiums by 60%. State health officials denied forcing the union fund to make the switch, saying the fund had been struggling financially even before the switch to third-party coverage. The fund informed its members late last month that their dependents will no longer be covered as of Jan. 1, 2011. Currently about 6,000 children are covered by the benefit fund, some until age 23. New York
A Marine collecting Toys for Tots donations at
's Best Buy was stabbed in the back Friday while helping to subdue a shoplifting suspect. Augusta
Excerpt: Fellow Marines identified the injured man as Cpl. Phillip Duggan, 24, who spent part of Black Friday recuperating at
with injuries that were not life-threatening. Tracey Attaway, 39, of Eisenhower Army Medical Center , was jailed and charged with armed robbery, aggravated assault and possession of a knife in the commission of a crime. Waynesboro, Ga.
The turkey being served up last Thursday by the ruling elite was the American people. Because she was wearing a panty liner that obscured the screener's view of her genitals, a TSA official subjected a menstruating woman to a fondling "so invasive that I was left crying and dealing with memories that I thought had been dealt with years ago of prior sexual assaults." When did we agree to surrender to Islam? Seriously. Whom did we appoint or elect to negotiate this surrender? Our surrender has been parceled out in loss of freedom, accommodation, and submission to Islamic supremacist demands, and in foreign policy that is supine before
and cozying up to the Taliban. Iran
Ballot help defies spirit of the law
Excerpt: While some strongly feel the sanctity of
’s polling booths was hijacked during the Nov. 2 state election by an overzealous community activist group, they had best not hold their breath waiting for satisfaction from state election officials about their complaints. The next telephone call they don’t get will be from the secretary of state’s office. That’s because members of the group Neighbor to Neighbor apparently did not violate state election laws by accompanying people into the voting booth and supposedly telling them how to vote; in some instances, they even actually marked their ballots for them, as some poll observers said they witnessed in affidavits filed last week with the Worcester Election Commission. (It seems nothing illegal occurred during the voting process. All those helpful Neighbor to Neighbor folks were doing is permitted under the law. Nothing to see here, folks. Move along. Ron P.) Worcester
Troops Buck Historical Trend by Saying Gays OK
Excerpt: When a majority of troops told the Pentagon this summer they didn't care if gays were allowed to serve openly in the military, it was in sharp contrast to the time when
's fighting forces voiced bitter opposition to accepting racial minorities and women in the services. The survey, due out Tuesday, is expected to find pockets of resistance among combat troops to ending the ban on gays. But some 70 percent of respondents were expected to say that lifting the ban would have a positive or mixed effect, or none at all, according to officials familiar with the findings. The study is expected to set the stage for a showdown in the Senate between advocates of repealing the 17-year-old "don't ask, don't tell" law and a small but powerful group of foes in the final days of the lame-duck Congress. Repeal would mean that, for the first time in America history, gays would be openly accepted by the military and could acknowledge their sexual orientation without fear of being kicked out. (Bob and I must have been ahead of our time. Back in 1965, sitting in the Enlisted Men's Club aboard MCRD San Diego, we decided we'd rather have a Woman Marine or a gay Marine (we didn't call them that at the time of course) who both "wanted to be there and had the will to fight" in the foxhole next to us, rather than somebody who "didn't understand what the fighting was all about," or didn't have the guts to do the job. Even with that said, though, I think this may be a more difficult transition than we are being led to believe. Sexual gratification is about as personal as anything gets. Barracks may have to be rebuilt into smaller—and more private—quarters. There will be people made uncomfortable; but the Marines never promised comfort to any of us (I hear only the Air Force does that). And, why would we want to waste good talent for the job? Take the talent where we find it and bend it to our need, just like we do with everything else. Ron P. Actually, I don’t think they have open squadbays anymore, Ron. All rooms now. ~Bob.) U.S.
Excerpt: Anyone who has dealt with a loved one deeply involved in some destructive behavior understands that there's only so much you can do until the person hits whatever low point is necessary to spark a commitment to turn things around. I think of my beloved
in the same light. What a great state, but it remains on a collision course with reality. We can't keep spending money we don't have, punishing those who pay the bills and ignoring the advice of truth tellers. Californians are known for crafting new realities, but the financial markets are immune to Disney-like fantasies. Eventually, the fiscal self-destruction has to stop – and adults have to step in with an intervention to divert our state from its dangerous path. California
Can environmentalism be saved from itself?
Excerpt: Maybe it was just a bad dream. Just a year ago, 15,000 of the world’s leaders, diplomats, and UN officials were gearing up to descend on
to forge a global treaty that would save the planet. The world’s media delivered massive coverage. Important newspapers printed urgent front-page calls for action, and a popular new U.S. President waded in to put his reputation on the line. The climate talks opened with a video showing a little girl’s nightmare encounter with drought, storms, eruptions, floods and other man-made climate disasters. “Please help the world,” she pleads. Copenhagen
New GOP House Majority Bodes Well for Immigration Reform
Excerpt: Let’s recall that, on the immigration issue, you not only find plenty of Republicans who favor comprehensive immigration reform — usually to please their benefactors in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the business community — but also plenty of Democrats who oppose it, usually at the behest of their benefactors in organized labor who want to keep their members from having to compete with guest workers. That’s a major reason why, even with Democrats in control of the White House and both houses of Congress for the last two years, the prospects for immigration reform have stalled. Is this the arrangement that the immigration reform community was so desperate to preserve? If so, reformers can do better. And, this time, “better” might just mean Republican control of the House of Representatives. They certainly can’t do worse. Democrats had their shot and they refused to take it. They’ve been compromised on this issue. They’re always going to be paralyzed with fear and afraid that voters that will see them as weak on border security the same way that, a generation ago, they were seen as weak on national security. Republicans don’t have that problem. Voters already assume that most of them are tough as nails on border security, so they can afford to bend a little in search of an honest and common sense solution. We might be in for a “Nixon goes to
” moment where Americans finally understand that there is a reason why, despite the rhetoric, it’s usually Republicans — and not Democrats — who push immigration reform efforts. For example, the last time the country debated an “amnesty,” it was in response to the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, a bill written by one Republican (Sen. Alan Simpson, R-WY) and signed by another (President Ronald Reagan). (I don’t think the voters will be happy with another round of reform that grants amnesty for those here in return for never-realized promises of increased security. Like promising to fund ObamaCare by eliminating Medicare fraud. If they could eliminate fraud, why haven’t they done it already? ~Bob.) China
Democratic South Falls at Last
Excerpt: For Democrats in the South, the most ominous part of a disastrous year may not be what happened on Election Day but what has happened in the weeks since.
After suffering a historic rout — in which nearly every white Deep South Democrat in the U.S. House was defeated and Republicans took over or gained seats in legislatures across the region — the party’s ranks in
Dixie have thinned even further. In Georgia, Louisiana and , Democratic state legislators have become Republicans, concluding that there is no future in the party that once dominated the so-called Solid South. That the old Confederacy is shifting toward the GOP is, of course, nothing new. Southerners have been voting for Republican presidents, senators and governors for decades. But what this year’s elections, and the subsequent party switching, have made unambiguously clear is that the last ramparts have fallen and political realignment has finally taken hold in one of the South’s last citadels of Democratic strength: the statehouses. Alabama
- exclusive footage North Korea
Ah, the joys of living in a centrally-planned economy! ~Bob. Excerpt: A growing group of North Korean dissidents are risking their lives to secretly film inside the repressive regime before smuggling the tapes across the Chinese border to show the outside world what is happening to their countrymen.
Captain Stacy Holland with the Texas Department of Public Safety who is on the frontlines battling the Mexican drug cartels, recently told Fox News: 'I never thought that we’d be in this paramilitary type of engagement. It's a war on the border.'
commands a fleet of 16 Texas DPS helicopters and is a daily witness to the columns of drug smugglers armed with AK-47s crossing into this country. Unable to wait any longer for the federal government to act, the Texas Department of Public Safety has launched what they refer to as a ‘counterinsurgency.’ Former FBI prosecutor Steve McCraw said: 'It certainly is a war in a sense that we’re doing what we can to protect Texans and the rest of the nation from clearly a threat that has emerged over the last several years.' Holland