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Qaddafi offers $400 per family as rebels advance

February 25, 2011 Leave a comment

An act of desperation to be sure:

As antigovernment forces and demonstrators draw nearer to Libya’s capital, Tripoli, Col. Muammar Qaddafi appears to be further losing his grip on power.

In an attempt to appease the masses – possibly inspired by Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, who promised his subject $36 billion in benefits to stave off any potential revolutionaries – Libya’s besieged leader on Friday pledged a 150 percent increase in some government workers’ wages and promised to give every family $400.

Libyan state television announced the wage increase and said each family would receive $400 to help them cope with the rising food prices. The broadcast aired shortly before Libyans went to mosques for Friday prayers. After prayers, antigovernment protesters are expected to continue demonstrating, reports MSNBC.

The dictator no longer has control of the eastern half of Libya, and from what I’ve seen, that’s the oil-rich half of the country.  No doubt Ghaddafi Qaddafi’s power is was derived from the oil proceeds there.  Offering cash to back off the capital is the last gasp of a deranged tyrant.

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Tripoli in the shadow of death

February 25, 2011 Leave a comment

A remarkable account from inside of Tripoli by Robert Fisk of the UK Independent:

There is little food in Tripoli, and over the city there fell a blanket of drab, sullen rain. It guttered onto an empty Green Square and down the Italianate streets of the old capital of Tripolitania. But there were no tanks, no armoured personnel carriers, no soldiers, not a fighter plane in the air; just a few police and elderly men and women walking the pavements – a numbed populace.  […]

Libyans and expatriates I spoke to yesterday said they thought he was clinically insane, but they expressed more anger at his son, Saif al-Islam. “We thought Saif was the new light, the ‘liberal'”, a Libyan businessman sad to me. “Now we realise he is crazier and more cruel than his father.”

The panic that has now taken hold in what is left of Gaddafi’s Libya was all too evident at the airport. In the crush of people fighting for tickets, one man, witnessed by an evacuated Tokyo car-dealer, was beaten so viciously on the head that “his face fell apart”. Talking to Libyans in Tripoli and expatriates at the airport, it is clear that neither tanks nor armour were used in the streets of Tripoli. Air attacks targeted Benghazi and other towns, but not the capital. Yet all spoke of a wave of looting and arson by Libyans who believed that with the fall of Benghazi, Gaddafi was finished and the country open to anarchy.

[Hat Tip: Memeorandum]

The word for this is “astroturfing”

February 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Democratic party operatives are planning protests, with the hopes of copying the energy and exuberance of the Tea Party movement that gained momentum during the summer of 2009, and the Obamacare town-hall debates:

Working with labor unions and liberal groups, they are using the Presidents Day congressional recess to organize a public backlash against billions of dollars in cuts to federal programs.

One labor organizer said that members have been urged to attend congressional town hall meetings to ask Republican lawmakers “pointed questions” about the cuts they supported last week.

“We are targeting various House Republicans in town hall meetings during the recess to let them know these budget cuts are beyond the pale,” said the labor source, who added that it has been difficult to mobilize supporters to public question-and-answer sessions with lawmakers because “they’ve been pretty circumspect in giving out information about the meetings.”

Justin Ruben, the executive director of MoveOn.org, a progressive advocacy group, has also encouraged members to grill lawmakers at town hall meetings.

“Whenever we hear about a town hall meeting we encourage them to go and ask pointed questions about what is happening,” he said.

This is interesting.  Is the general public really supposed to know that radical front groups financed by wealthy, foreign individuals are behind these protests?  I thought that was a myth of the right-wing propaganda machine?

And I was under the assumption that political operations funded from “outside” sources was a detriment to the public discourse on the issues.

Once again, a story the political commentariat should be pointing out on their cable news shows, but won’t.

[Hat Tip: Memeorandum]

UPDATE. A warning, via Weasel Zippers:

Things are about to get ugly in America my friends. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what will happen when the leftists try to storm town halls packed with tea partiers.

Small banks still hurting, failures at 18 year high

February 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Maybe bailing out the biggest banks wasn’t such a good idea:

The number of banks at risk of failing made up nearly 12 percent of all federally insured banks in the final three months of 2010, the highest level in 18 years.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp said Wednesday that the number of banks on its confidential “problem” list rose to 884 in the October-December quarter, up from 860 in the previous quarter. Those are banks rated by examiners as having very low capital cushions against risk.

Twenty-two banks have failed so far this year. And more banks are at risk, even as the FDIC reported the industry’s highest earnings as a group since the financial crisis hit three years ago.

Only a small fraction of the 7,657 federally insured banks — about 1.4 percent with assets of more than $10 billion — are driving the bulk of the earnings growth. They are the largest banks, including Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co.

The big banks accounted for about $20.6 billion of the industry earnings of $21.7 billion in the fourth quarter. The total earnings compared with a net loss of $1.8 billion in the same quarter of 2009. The agency said bank earnings were buoyed in the latest quarter by reduced charges for soured loans.

Most of the big banks have recovered with help from federal bailout money and record-low borrowing rates.   On the other side, many smaller banks are struggling.

The Bush/Obama bailouts aren’t working out so well for the small community banks, the ones that really provide the lifeblood and working capital to small businesses.  I’m shocked that politicians in Washington didn’t see that coming.  Shocked, I say!

And what about that Democratic party tenet that says Democrats are always looking out for the little guy?  Last I checked, the Democrats had complete control of Washington until six weeks ago.

[Hat Tip: Instapundit]

 

“Unions, it seems, attract personalities that approve of violence”

February 23, 2011 Leave a comment

That’s a bit from this IBD piece, which is well worth reading, of which I was thinking when I saw this thread over at Memeorandum.

This is video of Tabitha Hale, conservative activist at Freedom Works, getting assaulted by yet another union thug:

There’s the new civility for ya.  Jim Treacher has had enough:

I know Tabitha. She’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. I’m sick of this crap. We get months of “Teabaggers are violent” — hell, years — when in reality, Tea Partiers have been the recipients of violence. Meanwhile, these union guys are ratcheting up the violent rhetoric and now actually assaulting people in broad daylight.

For the record, I’m in total agreement with Treacher.   Unfortunately there will be no coverage of this story outside of Fox News, and will soon be forgotten I’m sure, so that the media can focus on more important things like how many calories were in Michelle Obama’s ancho-chile braised short ribs dinner or how the Koch Brothers run the country.  And I would be shocked if anyone in the liberal blogosphere is writing about this.

This act of thuggery comes a day after a Tea Party Democrat congressman said this to a crowd of union supporters:

“I’m proud to be here with people who understand that it’s more than just sending an email to get you going  […]

“Every once and awhile you need to get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary.”

So you have a pro-union, liberal Democrat from Massachussets egging on a crowd of frothing union hate-mongers, and less than twenty-four hours later, a union protester with a deranged look in his eye, decides to take the congressman’s words to heart, and assaults someone for standing up for themselves.  That’s not to say that this goon actually heard Congressman Capuano’s statement, but union thuggery appears to be more the rule, and not the exception.

But this is a world of biased inference.  A place where cable news apologizes for a guest using the word “crosshair”, because Sarah Palin put some on a map once, and a Congresswoman was shot months later by an anarchist, so it is of course, Sarah Palin’s fault.

To wit, mission accomplished Congressman Capuano.  Who knows what you’ve started.

UPDATE. Bravo! Ace nails it with a excellent post on the left’s reaction to the Tabitha Hale story, specifically Oliver Willis’ assertion that the attack was a stunt:

“Manufactured” is a slippery term indeed because it embraces a very fat range of meanings. It can be a literal term — something can be literally manufactured, created in whole. It can be more figurative — we say something is “manufactured” if it’s incited by craftiness. In baseball, they speak of “manufacturing” runs, by which they mean relying on less-spectacular methods of run production such as the combination of a walk, a steal, and a sacrifice fly.

Or “manufactured” may refer to the outrage over an incident, which is postulated to be false, and not the actual incident itself.

So a fat, dull, talentless hack like Oliver Willis can offer a general denial of an incident without really specifying in what particular way he denies it. He claims it’s “manufactured.” What does this mean? We don’t know, and in all likelihood, neither does he. Being obese of mind as well as body, he is lazy and hasn’t bothered to figure it out.

But he knows that his job relies upon him vomiting a steady stream of propaganda (as well as half-digested Filet O’Fishes), and so he obliges with a meaningless statement that pleases the leftist lunatics he preaches too and dissatisfies anyone with a working intellect.

[Via: Robert S. McCain]

Real estate market at double-dip levels

February 22, 2011 1 comment

Remember when newly elected President Obama, with Democrats in full control of the government , were going to use their compassionate and virtuous liberal ways to reverse the housing crisis? 

Yeah, me too:

With foreclosures high and demand weak, home prices in a majority of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas posted fresh lows in December and pushed a widely watched index of real estate values close to a double-dip decline.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller Index showed that prices in 20 major U.S. cities dropped an average of 2.4% in December from the same month a year earlier and 1% from November, the fifth straight month the index has fallen.

And experts said things could get worse.

“My intuition rates the probability of another 15%, 20%, even 25% real home price decline as substantial,” said Yale University economics professor Robert Shiller, co-creator of the index. “That is not a forecast, but it is a substantial risk.”

[…]

A recovery in housing prices seemed to be on track last year. But that improvement was fueled by federal home-buying tax credits that expired last summer, analysts said.

Without a stimulus, prices began to fall again. 

Is anyone willing to stand up and admit that big government solutions to just about anything are a complete waste of time?  Unfortunately for Democrats, the reality-based laws of economics don’t care about utopian fantasies.

NJ public employee unions to screw Jersey taxpayers on Friday

February 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Anything to get a day off from work.  Paid for by New Jersey taxpayers of course:

The largest state employee unions are organizing a rally at the Statehouse on Friday to express support for workers rallying in Wisconsin.

The Communications Workers of America, which represents most of the state’s employees, will participate in the rally at noon, and National AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka will address the crowd. The rally is organized by the AFL-CIO and supported by the Change to Win unions and the National Education Association.

“We are all Wisconsin public workers this week,” Hetty Rosenstein, CWA state director, said in a statement. “They’re trying to blame middle class workers for the financial mess that Wall Street caused. It’s more politics as usual and we’re ready to fight back.”

It’s all for the kids, I’m sure, but I wonder how much this will cost taxpayers?