It’s the firm belief of bureaucracies with control of the citizenry’s treasure that the allotment of said treasure is to the benefit of societies, and the healer of all of a nation’s ills.
In Greece, not so much:
The eurozone’s first ever bailout of a debt-laden member country is failing and will need to be renegotiated exactly a year after the €110bn (£96bn) rescue package was agreed for Greece.
Following secret talks in Luxembourg on Friday between Athens and some of the key EU players, it emerged that Greece will not be able to meet the terms of last year’s rescue and is hoping to ask the eurozone for more funds.
As Britain made clear it did not want to offer any more support for Greece as part of an EU package or a bilateral loan, investors remain unconvinced of the ability of Athens to sustain its €340bn debt load.
Signalling that his government will struggle to finance itself on the bond markets by next year – which was part of the deal struck with the eurozone and the IMF – the Greek finance minister, George Papaconstantinou, said: “We will either go out to markets or use the recent decision by the EU that allows the European fund to buy Greek bonds. The markets continue to disbelieve in our country.”
Greece is known for government-subsidized, 50-year old retirees and citizens dependent on government money. Turns out that’s not such a good thing.
This should come as no surprise to anybody:
Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, the Libyan rebel leader, has said jihadists who fought against allied troops in Iraq are on the front lines of the battle against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.
In an interview with the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, Mr al-Hasidi admitted that he had recruited “around 25″ men from the Derna area in eastern Libya to fight against coalition troops in Iraq. Some of them, he said, are “today are on the front lines in Adjabiya”.
Mr al-Hasidi insisted his fighters “are patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists,” but added that the “members of al-Qaeda are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader”.
His revelations came even as Idriss Deby Itno, Chad’s president, said al-Qaeda had managed to pillage military arsenals in the Libyan rebel zone and acquired arms, “including surface-to-air missiles, which were then smuggled into their sanctuaries”.
Was President Obama aware of any of this before he started a war with Libya?
France and England are making noise about bombing Libya and/or establishing a no-fly zone, respectively. Both countries want “action” in North Africa, but there’s a lot of hand-wringing as to what that action will be. One thing is clear, though. The EU has spoken:
An EU summit call today for Gaddafi to “relinquish power immediately” is seen as vital for helping to win support from Arab League meeting of foreign ministers on Saturday. [...]
William Hague, the foreign secretary said that Britain was happy to talk to the council, but stopped well short of recognition. A letter written by Mr Hague yesterday urged the EU to strip Gaddafi of diplomatic recognition.
“The EU and its member states will not work or co-operate with Gaddafi [and should] support the suspension of Gaddafi’s sovereign immunity, removing from him the protection enjoyed by heads of state,” he wrote.
Meanwhile, it’s becoming apparent that the rebels’ inexperience and lack of weaponry appears to be making all the difference as Libya explodes into civil war:
“We have God on our side and a just cause, but Qaddafi has better weapons,” says Sarhan Khaled, a 34-year-old businessman who has been fighting just west of the oil town of Ras Lanuf for the past four days. “We’ll fight either way, but we’d like the international community to stop his planes.”
This afternoon NATO is considering a no-fly zone to protect the uprising – something the rebels have been begging for – and economic sanctions have been heaped on Qaddafi and his associates. [...]
[E]vents today show that consideration of further moves could soon become moot.
Late Thursday afternoon some of the largely civilian militia at the forefront of the uprising against Qaddafi’s 41-year reign started to withdraw from Ras Lanuf after a withering assault by mortars, rocket fire, and warplanes over the past two days.
After pummeling the rebel positions from the air, forces loyal to Qaddafi maneuvered in the desert south of the lightly armed rebels, who are generally visible in large clusters along the highway, to attack them from their flank. As of this writing, the town appeared to remain in rebel hands, albeit shakily.
Today’s assault, to be sure, involved far more than planes. Though the rebels have rockets, they have had difficulty locating Qaddafi’s forces and are generally unskilled operators. That means that Qaddafi’s forces have been able to rain mortars and rockets on the area with little fear of reprisals.
Does anyone else think that the EU’s chest-thumping is falling on deaf ears? Does anyone believe that Qaddafi is taking them seriously? I’m trying to think otherwise, but there’s really no convincing information to the contrary.
Here’s what Governor Walker thinks about polls:
“Polls are nice, if they are on your side,” he said. “But in the end, you’ve got to govern based upon what you think is the right thing.”
Yesterday, Scott Walker and Wisconsin Senate Republicans did the right thing and scored a bold victory and took a huge step towards relinquishing the stranglehold that public unions have on the state budget and on Wisconsin taxpayers:
Bypassing Democrats hiding out in Illinois, Wisconsin Senate Republicans voted Wednesday night to strip state workers of their collective bargaining rights.
Republicans voted 18-1 to pass the stripped-down budget bill in a hastily arranged meeting. None of the Senate Democrats were present.
The State Assembly is expected to vote on the bill Thursday.
All 14 Senate Democrats fled to Illinois nearly three weeks ago, preventing the chamber from having enough members present to consider Gov. Scott Walker’s so-called “budget repair bill” — a proposal introduced to plug a $137 million budget shortfall..
The Senate requires a quorum to take up any measures that spend money. But Republicans on Wednesday split from the legislation the proposal to curtail union rights, and a special conference committee of state lawmakers approved that bill a short time later.
Thanks to this bill — which doesn’t touch any of the civil service protections afforded public workers, nor any private-sector unions — public sector workers will have a choice over whether to join a union. Thanks to this bill, public workers who elect not to join a union won’t be forced to pay dues anyway. Thanks to this bill, elected officials won’t be negotiating away taxpayer dollars the people who finance their campaigns. So, naturally, the Democrats call it the the undoing of fifty years of “civil rights.”
The blowback will be brutal–from the media, the unions, the professional left, etc–and as enormous as this victory is, the work continues. And it will be rough. Efforts to recall the governor and the state senators have been underway for over a week now and this will only help to accelerate them.
The governor and senators made a gutsy move, as they’re risking their political careers over their actions, but that should suit voters just fine. Isn’t that what Americans want? Elected officials who do the right thing, in spite of the risk to their careers?
We can only hope that what Governor Walker has done will inspire conservatives throughout the country and do the right thing for their own constituents.
And let’s not forget–this is a blow to President Obama, the Democratic Party and their enablers in the public sector unions, which fund it all. The President needs the unions, or more specifically, needs their cash.
Speaking of which, here’s an interesting take:
Barack Obama paid for, organized, and is putting on this riot.
Repeat ad nauseam. This is what Barack Obama wants. This is what Barack Obama believes. Barack Obama thinks that, if laws don’t go your way, you form a violent mob and riot.
Look very closely, America. The pictures you see from Madison tonight are of Barack Obama’s worldview.
Earlier this week, Rajb Karim, a Muslim working in the IT department at British Airways, was found guilty for plotting to blow up airplanes en route to the United States. Reports indicated that he was a disciple of the radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, and that he supplied the cleric with information available from his job.
From the story reported in the Guardian:
Jonathan Laidlaw QC, prosecuting, said of Karim: “He is … an Islamic extremist, with close association to, if not membership of Jamaat ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh, an organisation committed to the establishment of Islamic rule in Bangladesh, responsible for terrorist attacks in Bangladesh, and with links to al-Qaida. The defendant … believes terrorism, including murder of civilians, is permissible to establish, as he views it, a true Islamic state. [He] was anxious himself to carry out such an attack and determined to seek martyrdom.”
In February last year Awlaki wrote to Karim: “Our highest priority is the US. Anything there, even on a smaller scale compared to what we may do in the UK would be our choice. So the question is with the people you have is it possible to get a package or a person with a package on board a flight heading to the US?”
I’m bringing this up in light of today’s killing of two United States airmen in a military bus in Frankfurt. The troops were on their way to Afghanistan, and the killer had an interesting choice of words:
When he opened fire, the gunman, identified as a long-term resident of Germany, shouted “Allahu Akbar,” according to sources. He fired nine times, killling two and critically wounding two others before the gun jammed and he was subdued by other passengers. While being wrestled into submission, the suspect shouted either “Jihad Jihad” or “Allahu Akbar,” sources said
Let’s not jump to any conclusions as to what this man’s motives were, however.
From the New York Times:
An American military official, speaking on ground rules of anonymity, said that the United States was not ruling out terrorism, although it was unclear if the suspect was acting alone or with partners. “I don’t know if he’s tied to a group,” said the official. “But there is enough information at this point to indicate that he identifies with Islamist terrorist ideology.”
As the first story points out quite clearly, these extremists want us dead because we’re Americans. They make it quite clear, that this is their intent. They. Want. To. Kill. Us.
These are pure acts of terrorism. There’s no difference between what happened in Frankfurt and what happened in Fort Hood. And unfortunately, there probably won’t be any distinction in the Obama administration’s reaction to today’s events.
Ignoring the fact that radical Muslim extremists are a significant part of the problem, or playing nice with them by not using terms like “Islamic terrorism”, or giving grandiose speeches in Cairo, will not abate their hunger for American blood. They are what they are.
So says a Libyan diplomat:
The recently resigned Libyan representative to the Arab League, Abd Al-Mun’im al-Huni, said Saturday that “the regime in Libya is in its final hours”. Muammar Gaddafi no longer controls large parts of Tripoli, he added. [...]
In an interview published Saturday by London based Al-Sharq Al-Awsat daily, al-Huni said Gaddafi is in dire straits and that he had sent calls of assistance to his tribesmen in the coastal city of Sirte. [...]
The Libyan diplomat said protesters were willing to sacrifice their lives in order to get rid of the leader. “It’s only a matter of time,” he said. “Gaddafi has just hours left.”
Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi, Libya’s closest European ally:
“It appears that, effectively, Gaddafi no longer controls the situation in Libya.”
Meanwhile, the United States has closed its embassy in Tripoli and the United Nations is meeting today. Good luck with anything substantive coming from that.
UPDATE. Tripoli is buckling:
Gaddafi’s security forces have abandoned parts of Tripoli, where protesters now openly defy the regime, Reuters reports.
The withdrawal of security forces from the working-class Tajoura district after five days of anti-government demonstrations leaves Gaddafi’s grip on power looking tenuous, says the news agency.
Revolutions everywhere–in the middle east, in the middle west. But there is a difference: in the middle east, the protesters are marching for democracy; in the middle west, they’re protesting against it.
I mean, Isn’t it, well, a bit ironic that the protesters in Madison, blocking the state senate chamber, are chanting “Freedom, Democracy, Union” while trying to prevent a vote? Isn’t it ironic that the Democratic Senators have fled the democratic process? Isn’t it interesting that some of those who–rightly–protest the assorted Republican efforts to stymie majority rule in the U.S. Senate are celebrating the Democratic efforts to stymie the same in the Wisconsin Senate?
An election was held in Wisconsin last November. The Republicans won. In a democracy, there are consequences to elections and no one, not even the public employees unions, are exempt from that. There are no guarantees that labor contracts, including contracts governing the most basic rights of unions, can’t be renegotiated, or terminated for that matter. We hold elections to decide those basic parameters.
…[T]he anti-Obama, anti-Democrat tide is still running high. This tide is still quite strong enough to overwhelm the government-employees unions in Wisconsin and by 2012 may yet be strong enough to wash Obama himself out of office.
Organized labor is leading liberalism on a lemming stampede toward a cliff, and it’s probably too late for Klein or anyone else to stop them.
If you read any of the liberal blogs or watch cable news, you would think that there is a mass populist revolt going on in the Midwest. This is not the case. Public employee unions are protesting and, as numerous as they are, do not represent the majority of Wisconsin’s citizens.
This is not an “uprising”, it’s not a “revolt”. It won’t be considered a revolt until you see everyday Americans, for lack of food, for lack of representation, for whatever, take to the streets and demand that their voices be heard. But then again, we’ve already seen true uprisings recently, and those only come around once a generation.
These lawbreaking teachers and union thugs are protesting because their way of life–the fleecing of taxpayers, the bankrupting of state governments, the hubris, the sense of privilege, all of it–is
hopefully about to come tumbling down.
The fact that Richard Trumka rolled into Wisconsin today, that President Obama is directing OFA to astroturf the protests, that the SEIU is busing in thousands of malcontents, speaks volumes about how serious they consider the threat. As well they should.
UPDATE. Part of today’s reach-around at Stacy McCain’s place. Thanks!