sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Friday, December 31, 2010

A Sober Rant (to end 2010)

(1) Though the blush was off the rose out of the gate, I'm really tired by the Obama Administration and all of the parasites that swept into office in his wake. It's been a long two years and the historic defeat of the Democratic Party in November, while gratifying, doesn't end the ObamaNation. Obama may be a citizen or maybe he isn't. He may be the love child of his momma and Frank Marshall Davis and he may not be. One thing is for certain. He's bad for the nation. I can't think of one positive thing he's done in office.

(2) The 111th Congress spent (borrowed) more money than the previous 110 Congresses. It's not an accomplishment to crow about. We'll be paying it off for a long time. And the economy has yet to find a bottom such that we can say we're recovering. Maybe we'll bottom out in 2011. Maybe not. 

(3) The situation in Mexico, being ignored for the most part by the Obama Administration, will turn out to be a lot more difficult to fix as the cancer that is the narcotics cartels continues to grow in strength and spread. They've instituted the Merida Initiative but the Mexican Government is so corrupt that if any of those guys make it to heaven, they'll steal every last harp. (a line from my upcoming novel: Bloody Mexico: A Novel of Cartel Wars) I may sound ungrateful because the unbridled violence and corruption has given me something to write about.

(4) I've had children move back home in 2010...

I hope that you are all able to tick items off your bucket list in the coming year.

And I'm welcoming 2011 in the hope of a better year with a block on the Democratic Party juggernaut.

Here is wishing you all love, fortune and health in the coming year!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Hope and Change - in the USMC

The issue of homosexual personnel in the US Armed Forces now that openly gay people are "embraced" is an issue. We haven't had a US President who served in the regular armed forces for quite some time so the issue is viewed with a jaundiced eye from the White House. The video portrays what the politicians and ultimately what the public seems to want.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Retrospective - and Perspective

Sometimes I watch old movies and it's amazing how they differ from the work Hollywood puts out today. I don't intend to go on a rant on Christmas, but the old Hollywood stars seem to shine so much more brightly. And many of those old stars such as Ronald Reagan had a view of politics that differed sharply from the lemmings who presently dominate the silver screen.

Lana Turner and Ronald Reagan
(Lana looks a bit like our own Opus #6, doesn't she?)

President Reagan addresses the problem with Socialized Medicine/ObamaCare that we now face in America. As you listen (below), you'll find that Reagan was prophetic.








Thursday, December 23, 2010

The BIGGEST Travel Day of the Season?

I will be staying home this year and celebrating with family and a few friends - Christmas cheer and good will to all men will be confined to my present locality. I wonder if that will be more of a trend with the politically correct Transportation Safety Administration administering security screenings at airports including the ever unpleasant cavity searches.

There really isn't a season for 'peace on Earth and good will toward all men' in Islamic regions. Every day is the same old grind - working to convert or kill, trying to build a better bomb. 

With the strictly politically correct standards of the Department of Homeland Security, you can feel confident that the uniformed TSA Islamic employees (above and below) want only the best for you and that they'll be working hard to keep you safe from other Muslims during this special season.
There used to be "friendly skies" but I don't think that slug line holds true anymore. To be perfectly politically correct, I want to blame everyone (but Muslims) for that. There are the Hindus, the ever unpleasant Greek Orthodox priests, the practitioners of Catholicism, those pesky Mormons, the American Indians and Eskimos, All Italians, the Chinese and last (but not least), the Germans who made the skies unsafe for everyone.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Food

There are two ways to do it. One is to make it yourself. The other is to buy the main dish from a reputable source and handle the sides in-house.

We will have 14 people over for Christmas Dinner and to satisfy the palates of all concerned, I drove through the rain to stand in line to buy a Honeybaked Ham and Honeycured Oven Roasted Turkey Breast today. Keep in mind it's raining as in the days of Noah -- and animals are lining up two-by-two in SoCal in anticipation of the arc floating in to pick them up.

In normal times, there are at least 100 people in line at the Honeybaked Ham store in my area by 8 am. They open at 9 am. The rain slanted in and flooded streets between me and the store -- but I have a capable 4x4 and am ok until the water gets to about 38-40 inches high. I have a snorkel intake so the engine won't suck water but it will eventually flood out the engine and bust up the fan blade.

I ended up arriving at about 9:15 and had foul weather gear to stand in the deluge -- BUT -- With the rain there wasn't anyone in the store. I parked right out in front and walked in. The staff was standing-by for the annual inundation of hungry holiday buyers but there was just me.

I like ham well enough, but the spiral cut honeycured turkey makes a real taste treat for the holidays. And the best part of it was that I didn't have to stand in line to buy it.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bloody Mexico - Coming

cover art by Vince Peterson
Published by Niederhauser Anwendungen (Asia) Ltd. - Hong Kong
A Division of Niederhauser International AG, Bern, Switzerland

The story will be coming to you and available at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com early in 2011.

Worldwide, we spend more money on narcotics than we do on food. The Mexican cartels do manufacture some drugs such as methamphetamine and they grow marijuana and opiates. They’ve made the billions of dollars by moving cocaine that was grown in Peru and Brazil and refined in Colombia through Mexico and into the world’s largest consumer of everything, the United States of America. 

The recent death toll as a result of the cartel wars easily tops 100,000 based on competently vetted, knowledgeable sources. The Mexican government doesn’t really know how many people have been killed, but it continually understates the facts because it has to. Full disclosure would be to admit that there are vast tracts of that nation that are under the absolute control of drug cartels. 

The unstable situation in Mexico, caused in great part by the narcotics cartels, is quickly becoming an issue of American national security. This novel explores a scenario in which it would clearly rise to that level—but it’s only a story. It’s just a flight of imagination. Keep telling yourself that. It will help you sleep at night.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Digital Christmas?

Facebook, bloggers, twitter and social digital media would change Christmas - I mean the original one.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Will Rule 5 Destroy Fox News?

Can Fox News sustain itself in light of this new competitor? I really don't know. While Fox News does a good job, they don't seem to be able to compete in this market.


Are the anchors conservative? Who cares. Is the world coming to an end? Not while people are glued to the news. It's tough to fight a war, confiscate firearms, or do much of anything else when you're watching the news.  Some people will call it porn. Others will simply invoke Rule 5. One thing is clear: It must be endorsed by former President Bill Clinton.

Would you rather watch Greta, Sean or Bill -- or Glenn Beck? If you're a guy and your answer is "yes", don't post because we understand 'don't ask/don't tell'.

Membership means that you receive a personalized and autographed photo of your favorite anchor. Does Fox news take you there? No.

h/t Black Widow for putting me on to this new hard news company out of Canada

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Detroit Model

Detroit is a city of the future, or so it's said. It's a model welfare city where the parasites took over. And it's depopulating. Plans have been put into motion to essentially remake entire neighborhoods into farmland by bulldozing them. There are so many deserted homes in Detroit, that the City Fathers decided that it makes sense to collapse the size of the city.

Not a great option, but what do you do with a dying city?  It's already Thunderdome. (LINK) Now they feel as if they can make it an up-scale Thunderdome by collapsing the size. Will it work? I don't know. Detroit's new plan of cutting police, power, and garbage collection in a full 20% of the city is just a cost-saving move, but it seems to me like like it's part of the plan to cull the city into something smaller.

The Welfare parasites captured the town and now that the host is dying, they're dropping off the carcass and moving on to a new host. It's clearly true that it happens in nature and now we're seeing it in a major American city.

I'm sure that it's not the last.

Do yourself a favor and follow the link (above) and read for yourself. The Motor City isn't much of a city in the classic sense anymore. And it will be even less of a city in the future. It all begs the question of WHY. For many of us, the answer is clear since it's the poster child of the welfare state.

I worked for a major international company two years ago and one of my jobs was dealing with the Russian Mafia in Detroit. The Russians were stealing them blind. How I dealt with it (successfully) is a subject for another day, but running around a city that seemed to be managed by competing mafias did feel as if I was working in a sci-fi movie.

**Factoid - Detroit, MI has the single largest concentration of Iraqi people in the nation.

Monday, December 13, 2010

'Tis the season to give.

(BUY HERE - Amazon.com)

It's too late to put this fine gift next to the Hanukkah Minorah because the seasonal holiday has passed, but, it's not to late to order an Obama Chia Pet for your children to open. Package it, slide it next to the Kwanzaa Kinara (African version of the minorah) as your gift to the kids on the first day of your Kwanzaa festivities.


Maulana Karenga** created Kwanzaa in 1966 as an alternative to Christmas. He said that Jesus was psychotic, and that Christianity was a white religion that black people should shun. (Source: Karenga, Maulana (1967). "Religion". In Clyde Halisi, James Mtume. The quotable Karenga. Los Angeles: University of Sankore Press. pp. 25.) 


**Maulana Ron Karenga (born Ronald McKinley Everett) was a professor of Black Studies at California State University, Long Beach. He is prominently featured in the 2008 Kwanzaa documentary, The Black Candle, directed by M.K. Asante, Jr. and narrated by Maya Angelou

Friday, December 10, 2010

ObamaCare - A Bitter Harvest

A new report out indicates that about 70% of physicians feel as if they're not going to be able to give patients equivalent care under ObamaCare (Fox News). Additionally, doctors will be retiring early or leaving the business under ObamaCare (LINK).
"A larger portion (74%) said they plan to make "one or more significant changes in their practices in the next one to three years, a time when many provisions of health reform will be phased in." (Source: IBD)
Michelle Malkin weighed in with information from SEIU:
"Late last month, the Service Employees International Union informed dues-paying members of its behemoth 1199 affiliate in New York that it was dropping its health-care coverage for children. That’s right. A radical, leftist union — not an evil, Republican corporation — is abandoning the young ’uns to cut costs. Over 30,000 low-wage families will be affected, according to the Wall Street Journal. Who’s to blame? SEIU 1199 benefits manager Mitra Behroozi singled out oppressive new state and federal regulations, including the much-ballyhooed Obamacare rule forcing insurers to cover dependents well into their 20s." (emphasis added)
New federal health-care-reform legislation requires plans with dependent coverage to expand that coverage up to age 26.

To sell Obamacare and manufacture support, desperate Democrats pandered to the college set and their parents. Insurance plans and employers can't pick up the bill, and it's passed onto workers. In the case of SEIU, they're simply dumping all children and parents will have to find child-only insurance in the private market. Many insurance companies don't sell child-only insurance because it's too expensive.

There is no free lunch, to spite the assertions of Democrats - and "The only problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money." (Thatcher)

How far we’ve come from the halcyon moment when President Obama rallied young college students at George Mason University in Virginia in March. To wild applause, he pledged: “If you buy a new plan, there won’t be lifetime or restrictive annual limits on the amount of care you receive from your insurance companies. (Applause.) And by the way, to all the young people here today, starting this year if you don’t have insurance, all new plans will allow you to stay on your parents’ plan until you are 26 years old. (Applause.)” (Malkin)

For the kiddie human shields who helped the Democrats dig their own ditch, reality bites. Live and learn.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

If California goes Bankrupt

California taxpayers receive less federal funding per dollar of federal taxes paid than the average state. In 2005, California taxpayers received only 78 cents in federal expenditures for every dollar in federal taxes sent to Washington DC. (source - LINK) Mississippi, for example, takes $2.02 for every dollar they pay pay in federal taxes. New Mexico takes $2.03 for every dollar they pay in federal taxes. Therefore, California is referred to as a donor state because they give more than they get.  (The highest donor state is New Jersey). The District of Columbia isn't a state, but it takes $5.55 for every dollar it contributes.

As contemptible as some California politicians seem to be (Gov. Jerry Brown and Sen. Barbara Boxer being some of the most notorious), the state's bankruptcy would increase the federal deficit because California would no longer be a donor state. Taken as a world economy, if California was a nation on its own, it would be the eighth largest. Is is the largest of any US State, even though it is clearly a state in decline. (source - LINK) California's GDP is roughly equal to France.

State Bankruptcy would mean that all California's revenue would be kept inside the state and used to bring it's financial house into order. Those outside California who gleefully hope for its demise might want to think twice because it would benefit that state at the expense of the other states.

I am not suggesting that California is too big to fail. I am suggesting that if it fails, and reorganizes, it will become stronger at the expense of the rest of the country.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Will it COUNT for Anything?

During my military service and during other service I rendered to my country, I have been placed in dangerous circumstances and though I might have lost my life, I (obviously) didn't. At least I haven't yet. I have never been bothered with trading blood for genuine freedom or the welfare of the American People. The value of the one is subsumed by the benefit to the many. However, if I was to fall, I always wanted my death to have some meaning.

I am very bothered by wasted lives. We wasted tens of thousands of American and allied lives in Viet Nam, for example. They didn't die to make the world safe. They died for no real reason. Do the Americans who continue to die in Afghanistan die to rid the world of terror or do they spill their last blood - giving their last full measure of devotion for a meaningless effort? When the dust settles, how will history judge the war and the value of their sacrifice?

Was the blood we shed in Iraq worth what we have now as a result of the mountains of dead and the tons of treasure we spent?



You'll notice that I don't care about enemy dead. Not one whit. I only care about American and allied dead. However since Japan is presently an ally of the United States, I want to reflect for a moment on their fateful decision. 

On December 7, we contemplate a horrible war and I'm sure many surviving Japanese must ask themselves why they did it. What hubris and ego must have been present when the decision was made to attack America at Pearl Harbor?

Mankind's march of folly rolls forward and those who don't read and work to understand history, are bound to repeat it.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Political Correctness - Making us Happy?

Political correctness does not legislate tolerance; it only organizes hatred.

Political correctness is the enemy of freedom of speech. What began as a crusade for civility has ended in a situation where one is never quite sure of the politically correct buzzword of the moment. I've found in my brief life that politically correctness seems to hover most closely around pressure groups and political organizing. There are demands and counter-demands by the politically sensitive that have devolved into a situation where almost everyone (irrespective of what their orientation is in the politically correct world) is a racist, a bigot, experiences some degree of Islamophobia, is a sexist, uninformed (stupid) and so forth.

The US Military exists to kill people and break things when Congress or the President (sometimes both) decide that it's time to do that. It's not a tool for social engineering. Don't ask, don't tell (DADT) is poised to make sexual preference an entitlement and "protected class" of people, the same as race, religion, physical disability, etc. Arguments over politically correct language in this regard devolved and soured into arguments over what is “offensive” and, even worse, censorship. 

I discussed World War 2 with my daughters recently and mentioned America's enemy, the Empire of Japan. In discussing a tactical move made by that enemy, I called them, "the Japs". My daughters collectively sucked in their breath and informed me that calling Japanese people "Japs" reached a new low in political insensitivity. I never knew that. Nobody ever told me. I'm glad they never told my father, who was wounded in combat at Okinawa when a kamikazi aircraft, piloted by a "Japanese pilot" (my dad would have said, "a Jap") crashed into the USS Hazelwood and all but sank it.

At times I use insensitive language toward America's enemies - in that I don't take their feelings into account when I discuss them. If they were present, they'd likely try to kill me not because I called them names they didn't like - they'd try to kill me because of my nationality. And this is my point. Political correctness always seems to go in ONE direction and never in both directions. It doesn't create a situation that changes anything - and usually mocks tolerance.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Embracing Diversity


Dale (LINK) came up with an interesting solution to the problem and controversy caused by expanded searches at the airport. He suggests that each passenger should be accompanied by a pig. Muslims who wish to blow themselves and everyone else up on the aircraft would be splattered by pig blood and would go to hell. (no apologies to Cat Stevens) By adopting Dale's plan we could satisfy the requirements of "diversity" which calls for Muslims to "pat themselves down for weapons" and declare whether or not they're carrying one to TSA officials.

The larger question is one of "diversity" which creates protected classes of people who don't have to go through --whatever-- the same as everyone else does. Today Muslims seem to enjoy that protected class status under the rubric of diversity. Muslims are exempt from the odious requirements of ObamaCare that the rest of the nation was saddled with. The obvious question is "WHY?" and the answer is that we all need to learn to respect their protected status. Protected from what? Perhaps from infidels who are naturally less worthy, less clean, etc.? How does that interface with healthcare? I don't know -- but it does because the law sets them apart.

Many people in our society demand that sexual orientation be placed alongside race, color, religion, sex, and national origin, as a class eligible for various diversity programs, tracking initiatives, and complaint resolution processes. They wish to produce a sense, rightly or wrongly, that gay men and lesbians are being elevated to a special status as a “protected class” and will receive special treatment. The push for the military to repeal the practice of Don't Ask Don't Tell is at the heart of this issue.

The Diversity Industry in America has their own lobby in Washington DC and it's a money making concern. There is a lot of lobbying money being thrown at the the Diversity band wagon. Everyone wants to be "protected and special". Ok, I can agree with that. The problem with this is that we are ALL different - so why decide to protect one group over another. Mennonites may never fly, but if they did, would THEY be accorded the same modesty standards as Muslims? No, they don't have a lobby in Washington DC and the homeland isn't a crust of earth resting on a vast sea of crude oil. 

The true standard of Diversity would be for everyone to be treated equally. But that is not the goal of "Diversity".

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

US Military Exercises will continue through December in Korean Waters

The joint military exercise between the US and the Republic of Korea (South Korea) is drawing to a close today. But wait -- an even larger military exercise is about to take between the US and the Japanese Self Defense Force in the Sea of Japan (or Sea of Korea if you're a Korean). LINK to Wall Street Journal This is the 50th Anniversary of the US-Japanese alliance and it's an opportunity for the Japanese to honor that alliance by making this a more intensive showing of commitment to defense...Kim Jung Il are you watching?
(The Yellow Sea where the exercise with the ROK took place is on the western side of the Korean Peninsula 
and the new exercise will take place on the eastern side in the Sea of Japan [or Sea of Korea])

Japan’s Self-Defense Forces will conduct large-scale joint military exercises with the U.S. between Dec. 3 and 10, sending numerous ships and aircrafts out into the waters and airspace surrounding Japan. According to the SDF, some 34,100 troops from Japan will participate in the drills, along with 10,400 from the U.S.

Fox News (LINK) reported today that the US may be planning another military exercise on the heels of the exercise scheduled to end on December 10th. This time - back to Korea again, likely to continue through/over the Christmas/Holiday Season.

China has likely decided what it will do and based on current thinking, it will be announced on Saturday.  The US and the ROK can exercise, coordinate and prepare for war, but the solution to the ongoing problem of their rogue neighbor rests with them. 



Tuesday, November 30, 2010

North Korea: War or Peace

US Navy will deploy the USS Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group to the Western Pacific today. "Haze Gray and Underway"-- as reported in the Navy Times "Three surface ships will depart Naval Station San Diego today and join the USS Carl Vinson for a Composite Training Unit Exercise, or COMPTUEX, off the Southern California coast before heading west (toward North Korea)," Hicks, a US Navy spokesman said.


Background: COMPTUEX, or Composite Training Unit Exercise, is a rehearsal each US Navy Carrier Battle Group performs before departing for deployment. COMPUTEX is normally conducted during a two-week to three-week period six to eight weeks before deployment. Successfully completion of COMTPUEX certifies the carrier and its air wing as qualified for open ocean operations. COMPTUEX consists of an 18 day schedule of even driven exercise which the follows with an 3 day Final Battle Problem. It's conducted and directed by the training carrier group commander and the focus is to bring together the carrier and it's air wing as a working team that can operate in a combat environment, as well as integrating with other assets of the battle group. 

What is being implied, but not explicitly stated, is that the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and escorts will be conducting their rehearsals in transit in the general direction of North Korea.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said, "For the past two decades, we’ve made efforts to resolve the nuclear issue through dialogue and cooperation. But the reality is that North Korea doesn’t stop provocative acts and is still developing nuclear weapons...Only a few meters away from where shells landed, there was a school where classes were going on. I am outraged by the ruthlessness of the North Korean regime, which is indifferent to the lives of little children."

With the ball firmly placed in China's court, we see the next bounce.

Chairman of North Korea's Supreme People's Assembly, Choe Thae Bok, arrived from Pyongyang, breezing past reporters at Beijing's Capital Airport without comment. (LINK) (Choe concurrently serves as a ruling Workers' Party Secretary) was expected to meet top Chinese communist party officials and discuss last week's artillery barrage, the North's nuclear program and the U.S.-South Korean military drills.

Choe will return to North Korea this coming Saturday, suggesting that if China doesn't come out in support of North Korea tomorrow, then China won't make a statement about the situation on the Korean Peninsula until Saturday. 

So China will jump in one direction or the other by Saturday. This is the key to knowing whether there will be a war -- possibly a nuclear exchange -- or not.

Background: The USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), which transited from the east coast to the west coast earlier this year is making her first major overseas deployment since her 3 year nuclear refueling and significant systems upgrade. As nuclear powered aircraft carriers go, she is one of the most modern and prepared in the US inventory. 

Escorting the USS Carl Vinson is the also recently upgraded and super modernized USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), which might be the most modernized and powerful surface combatant on the planet today, plus the USS Stockdale (DDG 106) and USS Gridley (DDG 101) who combined have only been commissioned for 5 years and 1 month. They are likely to pick up additional escorts as they pass Pearl Harbor.


So this is how it stacks up:

The USS George Washington (CVN 73) Carrier Strike Group escorted by a large and capable number of US and South Korean Navy warships are exercising in the Yellow Sea. The USS Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group is deploying from the US west coast, heading to the area. More than half the Japanese fleet is either at sea or on high readiness. The US Air Force is quietly positioning assets to take part in anything that might happen. 

The USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) is likely also heading to the area, though this isn't confirmed.

Expect a very large gathering of very capable US submarines in the area to both defend the carrier strike groups and to provide offensive capability against targets in North Korea with sub-launched nuclear and conventional cruise missiles.

If I was a US war planner, and I'm not, I would target the North Korean missile and nuclear enrichment facilities for strikes and would also decapitate the North Korean command, control and communications capability first -- and if regime change happens, so be it. Hopefully it will not come to war - but if it is war, we must act decisively to make it a short war. 

China has allowed editorials critical of North Korea run in the daily papers all week. We didn't see this following the Cheonan incident in March 2010 (when a North Korean submarine sank the South Korean destroyer Cheonan).

If I was a betting man, and I'm usually far too conservative for that, I would anticipate Chinese condemnation of North Korea and some sort of measurable and punitive sanction to be levied as a result. There will NOT be six party talks aimed at curbing the North Korean nuclear program - China will kick its dog and remove the food bowl for a few days to reinforce its position in the situation. Maybe one day in the future we will see some sort of "negotiate from strength" talks by the six parties involved -- but not soon and not in the form of a reward to North Korea for murdering people for 'shits and giggles'.



Monday, November 29, 2010

South Korea - No More Mr. Nice Guy

Maybe the leadership in North Korea thought it was great sport and high international drama that would bring them more food, fuel and maybe even weapons, but their recent shelling of innocent civilians and their sinking of a South Korean warship operating under in South Korean waters has but the Republic of Korea (South Korea) to the brink of war. (LINK to the Washington Post)
"South Korea will abandon its long-standing policy of not responding militarily to the North's hostile acts", President Lee Myung-bak said, following the artillery bombardment of a South Korean island last week that killed four people, two of them civilians.
That means that some sense of sanity is returning to the Republic of Korea as they have decided not to be North Korea's abuse puppet. Weakness only encourages a bully. Cowards understand strength and resolve.
"In the past, North Korea has provoked us on many occasions, but this is the first time they have made a direct attack on South Korean soil," said Lee, making his first public remarks since the Nov. 23 attack on civilian-inhabited Yeonpyeong island heightened fears of an all-out conflict. "Launching a military attack on civilians is a crime against humanity, even during wartime.
Now, Lee said, "South Koreans realize that tolerance and generosity bring more provocation." He said that South Korea would strengthen its military capability and would "make North Korea pay the due price by all means for its provocation from now on."
Baek Seung-joo, a researcher at the Korea Institute for Defense Analysis, called the speech "a turning point for South Korean government policy dealing with North Korea...With the nation's support, Lee will make sure any further provocation is met with military action."
South Korea is taking steps to respond more quickly and more aggressively to attacks by North Korea. They are upgrading weaponry in border areas and are giving the military more flexible standards for returning fire (rules of engagement/ROE).

Kim Jong Eun, heir to the North Korean dictatorship may or may not be a figurehead for the North Korean military once his father is planted in the ground and a shrine is constructed over his withered corpse. The truth is that nobody will know how that will unfold until it happens. Clearly Kim Jung Il wants to see his bloodline linger in command of the crumbling nation.

Will China put North Korea in their place, or will they wait for a nuclear war to develop on their doorstep?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

China calls for talks on N Korea Nukes -- really?

Today China is calling for multi-nation talks on the North Korean nuclear program.

My response: NO

China doesn't need the US, Japan, Russia and South Korea to sit down in order to determine that their puppet state is out of control. They can tell North Korea to shut it down all on their own -- and that's precisely what China should do.

China doesn't need six party talks to determine whether or not North Korea sank a South Korean ship or fired artillery on innocent civilians last week. A trained chimp can figure out that (a) there is a problem and (b) who is causing the problem.

People in North Korea are starving to death and winter is upon them. China supplies more than fifty percent of the foodstuffs to feed North Korea. A trained chimp can figure out that (a) China can turn the switch off on imports to North Korea and (b) North Korea will listen.

Maybe China doesn't care? That's the only conclusion I can draw from this refusal to act unilaterally to reign in their attack dog. The world's reaction should then turn to CHINA, not to North Korea. It's not as if a Chinese submarine attacked the South Korean destroyer, however if they do nothing -- perhaps they approved of the sinking and the loss of 46 lives. Perhaps they approved of the artillery attack on a civilian city? What other conclusion can we draw if China doesn't take ACTION against North Korea? 

You feed the dog.
It's on your leash. 
If it bites somebody. 
Isn't it your fault?

I'll say the same thing to President Hu Jintao that I regularly say to President Barack Obama. "It's time to man-up."

My Take: Dealing with North Korea

Over the past few days I have blogged about the situation in North Korea and have offered suggestions that  have been made by others, the news media, and have offered a few of my own concepts into the mix. I think that it's time that I offer my concept(s) of a response. I don't expect anyone to listen or agree, but blogging is one of those "lonely impulses of delight" that W. B. Yeates wrote of. I'm sure that the Obama Administration will chart a different course than the one I offer - but who knows? I'm an optimist. 

(1) Financially isolate North Korea. Really do it and keep the pressure up. China will do what China does, but the United States needs to hold the line and try and pull the rest of the planet into lock step. Obama has burned a lot of our international capital (and George Bush did it to toward the end of his presidency) and we need to use what we have left here, in this situation. This means that the United States must show resolve.

(2) Economically quarantine North Korea. To the extent possible, we need to build an international consensus NOT to allow shipments of goods or food to North Korea. Again, China will do what China will do, however, even China has some sense of what is at stake here.

(3) Encourage South Korea to meet force with force. Chicago rules. North Korea understands it and strangely, Obama might get it too. In order to make this happen, the US needs to deploy a permanent naval presence in the Yellow Sea, (no, China won't like it - but it might remind them that THEY created and continue to sustain this North Korean monster) and on the other side of Korea in the Sea of Japan. Conclude a basing agreement with our Japanese allies that would allow for increased basing of US naval vessels and crews there.

(4) Aid our South Korean allies by declaring a quarantine on all North Korean submarines in the South Korean Naval Defensive Zone out to 12 nm. Keeping in mind that a North Korean submarine sank as South Korean destroyer in March 2010, authorize US (submarines primarily) vessels to engage and sink North Korean submarines found in that area.

(5) Increase our clandestine warfare in North Korea promoting regime change. 

(6) Increase our strategic capabilities in North Korea to assist our allies in being able to meet their security needs.

The list of North Korean outrages is sufficient to justify these actions. They'll accept them at first, and simply wait for our resolve to weaken the way it always does. Obama could (in a small way) being to redeem himself by showing strength here instead of endemic weakness.

I would NOT arm South Korea with nuclear weapons, but I'd increase the number of US nuclear weapons we keep on hand in South Korea.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

113 Drug Tunnels

One hundred thirteen tunnels have been DISCOVERED by US Authorities running under the border from the Mexico to the United States in the past ten years. (Connect to the story on FOX NEWS)

Some of the number were not completed when the the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Drug Enforcement Administration or county and municipal law enforcement officers found them. They'd seem to be difficult and time consuming to complete. 

In the story referenced above, a tunnel took a year to dig and was only in operation for one month before it was discovered. ICE agents intercepted a truck leaving the warehouse and discovered 20,000 pounds of marijuana. An additional 32,000 pounds were found in 10-kilo bricks throughout the warehouse, making it the second largest seizure of marijuana in U.S. history.

Authorities said an underground passage located on Thursday (Thanksgiving Day) was similar to one found earlier - both running around 610 meters from Mexico to San Diego and equipped with lighting, ventilation, and a rail system for drugs to be carried on a small cart. (LINK)

The tunnels are believed to be the work of Mexico's Sinaloa cartel, also known as The Federation. "We think ultimately they are controlled by the same overall cartel but that the tunnels were being managed and run independently by different cells operating within the same organisation," Mr Unzueta, a spokesman for ICE, said on Friday.


The tunnel found on Thursday is more than seven football fields in length and extends from the kitchen of a home in Tijuana, Mexico, to two warehouses in San Diego's Otay Mesa industrial district.


Friday, November 26, 2010

China Cautions the US over North Korea

This from the People's Republic of China: (REUTERS - LINK) "We oppose any military act by any party conducted in China's exclusive economic zone without approval," China's Foreign Ministry said in an online response to a question regarding China's position on the George Washington participating in joint naval exercises. This is the first reaction to the US moving the USS George Washington (CVN 73) into the Yellow Sea. As far as China is concerned, they believe no one should be allowed to operate a warship, much less an aircraft carrier, within their exclusive economic zone. There is no international law that China bases their political protest on, as maritime boundary definitions in the UNCLOS are defined as:
  1. Coastal waters—the zone extending 3 nm. from the baseline
  2. Territorial sea—the zone extending 12 nm. from the baseline
  3. Contiguous zone—the area extending 24 nm. from the baseline
  4. Exclusive Economic Zone—the area extending 200 nm. from the baseline except when the space between two countries is less than 400 nm
China's criticism is expected - and they know that International Law only authorizes control of the sea out to the 12 nm limit. Beyond there all nations have the right of innocent passage - even it it's a carrier battle group.

The press has been given access to Yeonpyeong island to see the damage done by North Korean artillery and it puts more pressure on the Governments of South Korea and the United States to do something in response.

"South Korea's Kospi dropped 1.3%, Japan's Nikkei Stock Average shed 0.4%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 0.8% and China's Shanghai Composite declined 0.9%. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 edged up 0.1%. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were down 75 points in screen trade." The Wall Street Journal  Asian markets are jittery but are in no way panicked. The US dollar is up against other currencies with the threat of war.

The Navy exercise in the Yellow Sea between the US and South Korea begins on Sunday. (Watch Fox News Sunday for great commentary on the situation) The unprovoked submarine attack on the Cheonan earlier in the year and now this latest incident has highlighted is a broad flaw in US policy. The patience of the region with the US government's ineffective diplomatic solutions for North Korea has all but expired. Both South Korea and North Korea have stopped working with the Red Cross, which was the last link the two countries had before this latest incident. Japan is skeptical of our repeated inadequacies, Taiwan wonders if they're next if we waffle on North Korea.

The US Navy will deploy a second carrier battle group to the area - but it won't enter the Yellow Sea. It's a show of resolve but there are teeth to back it up. Perhaps the US will deploy a computer virus the way it was suspected of doing in Iran a month ago. (LINK - STUXNET) The virus targeted the Iranian power plants...
Peace -- though superior firepower?

I do not advocate that the US engage in yet another land war in Asia. I don't think that provoking a nuclear exchange involving the Korean Peninsula is in anyone's best interests. China knows this most clearly.  The Obama Administration squandered what prestige the US had early in it's existence, by showing itself as weak and indecisive. A perception of weakness, sadly, means that rogue states will become opportunistic. Now Barack Obama has a situation on his hands that nobody feels he has the skill sets to manage. One can only hope that talented staff people can lead him in the right direction and at the same time, muzzle Vice President Joe (Slow Joe) Biden.


Should the US Arm South Korea with Nuclear Weapons?

The South Koreans government has petitioned the US Government for decades to provide it with nuclear weapons to protect it from North Korea. Those pleas have always been rejected and the US assured their friend and ally, South Korea, that the American nuclear arsenal stood ready to assist. There were US presidents who could be trusted to act, but the North Koreans don't seem to be much impressed with Obama. No, nobody else seems to be either.


In order to allow South Korea the freedom to act in their own defense so that the US President doesn't have to do that --- and can disavow whatever they do, maybe it's time for us to provide them with two or three dozen tactical nuclear weapons and cruise missile (and/or other) delivery systems? What about it, Barack?


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Should South Korea Attack North Korea?

Aftermath of the North Korean attack on South Korea two days ago. (Reuters)

Many South Koreans are urging their government to take a tough stand against their rogue Communist Cousins to the north. (LINK TO YAHOO NEWS)
South Korea's defense minister resigned Thursday amid intense criticism two days after a North Korean artillery attack killed four people on a small island near the Koreas' disputed frontier.
The move came as President Lee Myung-bak vowed to send more troops to the front-line South Korean island and as residents tried to salvage belongings from the blackened wreckage of their homes. Pyongyang warned of additional attacks if provoked.
Hours before Defense Minister Kim Tae-young's resignation, lawmakers had lashed out at the government, claiming officials were unprepared for Tuesday's attack and that the military response to the North's barrage was too slow. Even those in Lee's ruling party demanded Kim's dismissal as well as those of military leaders and some presidential aides.
South Korean President Lee accepted Kim's resignation and a new defense chief will be announced Friday. Watch for a salty old military hawk to take that position. The South Korean public wants to see this North Korean aggression end. First the North Koreans torpedoed** and sank a South Korean Navy ship with a great loss of life (LINK to LA Times) and now they launch an attack against South Korea. Think of a spoiled child that doesn't get it's way and you will have a sense of WHY the North Koreans are doing this. North Koreans starve to death and the winter is coming. The US is not giving them free food or oil - so they lash out and try to hold other nations hostage for their continuing failures to govern effectively.

Expect a South Korean military reaction if the US and China are unable to reign in the failed state in the North.

** Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called the evidence "overwhelming" that the Cheonan, a South Korean warship that sank in March (2010), was hit by a North Korean torpedo. Vice President Joe Biden has cited the South Korean-led panel investigating the sinking as a model of transparency.

The Korean Naval Vessel Cheonan

The South Korean investigation of the sinking of the Cheonan by a North Korean submarine in March was very thorough and included raising the destroyed naval vessel. What did the world do when 46 sailors were murdered in an unprovoked attack? Nothing. What did South Korea do? Nothing. Now North Korea shells South Korea with a loss of civilian and military people and what is happening? That is the question that the public in South Korea are asking their leaders.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

DPRK Crisis

The situation in the Democratic People's Republic of (North) Korea is becoming dire and with that political instability comes the increased possibility of war on the Korean Peninsula. A land war in Korea is a winter war scenario. During summer months the valleys are flooded with planting and are impassable and roads/bridges are likely to be demolished. So once the land is firm and cold, the tanks and trucks can roll.

Background: North Korea's attack on a South Korean island appears to be tied to the leadership succession, a top U.S. military official said Wednesday, as the elderly and frail Kim Jong Il prepares to hand control of his regime to his 27 year old son, Kim Jong-un.  (READ MORE ON FOX NEWS)

The President of the United States, no matter who it is, never gets to make easy choices in foreign policy. The North Korean attack on sovereign South Korea presents nothing but very tough choices. While the Army is fighting two wars on land, the Navy is being called to the northwest Pacific ocean to keep the peace. 

Driven by a near-recessionary economy the President has made a move attempting to portrait a mood of calm in this situation. Nobody wants the stock market to tank on fears of another land war in Asia. That is probably wise, but if things do not go as planned over the next week or so the result COULD be a political catastrophe for the United States.

The United States is exercising gunboat diplomacy by sending a remarkably well armed naval task force into the Yellow Sea. The move is intended to provoke a reaction from China. China feeds North Korea, and North Korea can not survive without Chinese support. That support dates back to the Korean war in the 1950's.

This is a game of chicken with the childish North Korean leadership that acts out in temper tantrums when they want something - and right now North Korea wants many things. This is also a game of chicken with the Chinese. China has repeatedly warned the US of consequences for moving an aircraft carrier into the Yellow sea, and many Generals have made threats including advocacy in editorials that China should strike with military power should the United States should a carrier move into the Yellow Sea. It is one thing to play chicken with a spoiled brat, and quite another to play chicken with China.

By making this move, the US is changing the issue from one of a skirmish to one of an out of control belligerent state in need of a spanking, and we are focusing the worlds attention towards China and demanding they wield the paddle. Whether the Obama administration is being smart or stupid depends on the results. If the US wants to scare China, President Obama needs to wield the option of allowing South Korea and Japan to go nuclear like North Korea. Because North Korea will not give up their nuclear weapons, China is will not control their buffer state without a military of more nuclear weapons pointed tentatively in their direction.

The naval exercise in the Yellow Sea has been put off until Sunday. The US is giving China time to condemn North Korean aggression, thus take the lead and reduce the need to move the naval armada into the Yellow Sea. 

2010 has been a brutal year for Chinese prestiege and the recent skirmish between North and South Korea appears poised to further discredit China with their neighbors in the region. The US believes/hopes that China might act responsibly, allowing America to offload some of the worlds concern for responsibility on Chinese leadership. The Chinese leadership is unlikely to take the opening because of ego and prestige issues. China is unlikely to attack the USS George Washington Carrier Strike Group and start a war with the United States over this issue, but China will have an asymetrical response.

The Obama Administration's move harkens to March 2006 when then President Clinton ordered the Nimitz and Independence battlegroups to sail through the Taiwan Strait. The consequence of that move was a vow by China of "never again". The unintended consequence of Clinton's policy decision has been the most remarkable modernization in human history of the worlds largest Army, Navy, and Air Force. In less than 14 years, China's military has essentially jumped 2 generations of combat capability. 

The Obama administration's policy is to follow South Korea's lead politically but position the US to lead militarily with a show of force. The political signal is to maintain the peace, but respond with strength. That means South Korea will update Rules of Engagement, reinforce military positions in vulnerable areas, and ask for the US for assistance in pressuring China into reigning in North Korean belligerence. 

Stand by for the Chinese reaction.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Will the US send troops to Mexico?

Mexican Narcotics Agents Prepare for a Raid (photo by author)

The cartel wars in Mexico that threaten to spill across the US Border in a far greater way than they have to date are causing some, including Texas Governor, Rick Perry, to suggest that US Military intervention may be one possible answer to the situation. Last week he spoke in San Diego, CA and said, "You have a situation on the border where American citizens are being killed. I think we have to use every aspect of law enforcement that we have, including the military. I think you have the same situation as you had in Colombia. Obviously, Mexico has to approve any type of assistance that we can give them."

To date the only SIGNIFICANT thing that the Federal Government has done for the Border States is to sue them. I know that the Secretary of Homeland Defense crowed about sending a few hundred National Guard troops in "support". Support consists of them monitoring video cameras. Some people say that's simply not enough and I agree. The Federal Government has held that the border security concerns of American citizens are simply the product of racial bigotry and bias. Unfortunately they have misread the situation completely.  Department of Homeland Security's Janet Napolitano, told Perry that if he wants border protection, it's up to him to pay for it with Texas National Guard troops. Is she saying border protection isn't her job? 

The Obama Administration hopes to add 20 million illegal aliens to the voter rolls and taking a national security stand on the Mexican problem would tend to throw that dream of 20 million additional Democratic Party voters off the rails

Mexico can not report the actual death toll from the cartel wars. The Mexican government puts the number at 31,000. I don't think that they or anyone else knows what the real numbers are, but insiders suggest that it's far more - well up to and possibly exceeding 100,000. Large areas of Mexico are under the total control of drug cartels and the Mexican government is not capable of dealing with the corruption and violence. The Mexican Army and Navy do the best they can -- but it's not enough. A new Mexican president will take office in 2012 and there are hopes that will herald a return to the old ways where the Mexican Army "managed" narcotics trafficking. That's not going to happen. The genie is out of the bottle/the blush is off the rose.

"Broken Neighbor, Broken Border" (LINK), a House Immigration Reform Caucus document was released November 20 (2010). It paints a bleak picture of the situation in Mexico. What will the Obama Administration do about it? Don't hold your breath. (download HERE)

Will US troops eventually be requested to eliminate narcoterrorist control of Mexican States? Only time will tell. For now these are the legislative recommendations made by Broken Neighbor, Broken Border:

  1. Let the States Secure their Borders: change “may” to “shall” in Title 32 for DOD funding for National Guard/State Guard deployments by the Governor within a state. 
  2. Community Impact Aid for Border Sheriff’s: The annual budget of Border County Sheriffs Departments shall receive 30% matching federal funds annually in advance of the fiscal year for which it will be used to compensate for additional law enforcement costs for the presence of an inadequately secured Border in or adjacent to their county. (Precedent – CID for county school systems serving military installations) 
  3. Amend 8 USC 1325 to correct change in 2007 bill, to allow illegals to be prosecuted in different sectors. 
  4. Appropriate $3 billion Annually for U.S. military/National Guard/State forces operations to secure the southern border, and to re-establish a chain of military installations from California to Brownsville. 
  5. Block dismissal of illegal immigration charges by the Obama Administration 
  6. E-Verify Mandatory Nationwide on W-2 forms – Subject to fine equal 100% of gross amount of each payroll check in violation, compliance as a positive defense for employers against all illegal employment liability 
  7. Prepaid Grants - Allow small budget rural counties to claim federal law enforcement grants before spending the funds. 
  8. Pave Old Mines Road (FM1472) as a DOT or Homeland Security project 
  9. Liability Shield for Border Patrol/USCG officers/Private Property owners 
  10. Remove foot bridges from the Rio Grande 
  11. Lower Federal Drug Prosecution Age to match States 
  12. Assure powers of detention by National Guard/State Guard on border duty 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Looking for Work? Try TSA

A lot of people have been critical of the Transportation Security Administration lately. I have a different take on the whole thing and am considering applying for a job at TSA. Some of you may be shocked, but the new guidelines offer some perks when you're on the front lines - with nothing between you and a potential international terrorist but your gloved (and sensuous) hands. The TSA Agents at right are wearing no gloves and one wonders what they're looking at?

Since implementing the procedures, numerous complaints have arisen that the search is not a “pat-down” but rather feeling and grabbing along a person’s genitalia and other areas until they 'meet resistance'. Critics have said the pat-downs would be considered sexual assault if performed elsewhere. What's not to love about a job like that one?




If you were a TSA Officer, which woman would you prefer to pat down -- thoroughly?

(1)

(2)
(3)

(4)

Vote with your comments. You may vote as often as you like (Chicago Rules!)

Homeland Security (LINK) has indicated the government is considering the request of an Islamic organization that has suggested Muslim women be allowed to pat themselves down during a full body search that is part of new enhanced procedures at airports. One may opine that Muslim women may get carried away touching themselves - security officers need to stand by vigilantly and make sure that they're stopped if they begin to enjoying it too much. (LINK here)


APPLY HERE for TSA Jobs (LINK). 
Yes, it can be a demanding job - at times the ladies may not even thank you for your thorough pat down. Others may tip you - but it's unethical to take a tip from a lady you just frisked according to Department of Homeland Security guidelines. You can only take money in that way if you're Congressman Charlie Rangle (D-NY), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.


Remember, they pat you down--thoroughly--because they care so much about YOU and your needs.

Bring Order to the Border

The narco-wars in Mexico get worse incrementally and nobody in Mexico or the US sees an improvement coming. The Obama Administration's luke warm response to what would otherwise be a matter of considerable alarm in Washington only serves to make matters worse. The death toll in Mexico, oft touted in the mainstream media is many times higher (based on sources of my own and US insiders who study the problem professionally).

The United States needs to change course and harden the US-Mexico Border to stop ILLEGAL immigration. Nobody is suggesting a halt to the legal process of immigration. Illegal aliens in the US need to be returned home.

One of the stalwarts in the fight against border-region crime is Sheriff Joe Arpaio. To shine a spotlight on the problem of illegal aliens in Mexico, some of whom made Phoenix the kidnapping capitol of the US, he has formed an "Immigration Posse. It's comprised in part of Hollywood actors who also have a legitimate law enforcement background. (LINK: Washington Times)

Since the time Sheriff Arpaio took office in 1993, he has built up the volunteer posse to nearly 3,000 members, with 59 different posses operating throughout Maricopa County. Each year, he said the volunteer posses work thousands of hours and also donate vehicles, planes, helicopters to the sheriff’s office as well as a variety of professional services, saving tax payers millions of dollars annually. Sheriff Arpaio said, "People from all walks of life have contacted my office saying they want to help me in this fight in some way. This is how they can do that by being members of a volunteer posse with the specific aim of fighting illegal immigration and lending their particular expertise to the fight,” the sheriff said. Of the 56 new Immigration Posse members, 33 are already qualified to carry weapons. They will work with deputies in searching for vehicles carrying illegal immigrants and the safe houses where the people are housed before being sent out of state."

The Obama Justice Department  filed a lawsuit against Sheriff Arpaio in part for his English-only policy within the Maricopa County Jails. The Obama Justice Department has also filed suit against Arizona for passing a law that would allow Arizona law enforcement officers to assist and support the US Government's "effort" to stem the flow of illegal aliens, many of whom are narco-terrorists into the US.

It's time for the House of Representatives to send a clear message to the Executive Branch of the US Government. HARDEN THE BORDER - NOW. We understand that the Democratic Party-controlled Senate is anxious to legalize illegals because they will vote for entitlements that they won't be paying for - and thus for Democrats who are happy to buy their votes with taxpayer dollars.

Monday, November 8, 2010

State Bankruptcy


Heavily Democratic US States such as California, Illinois, Connecticut, Michigan and New York are anxiously waiting for the Federal Government to bail them out* (with money taken from other states) because they are insolvent. There is another option and I believe that it should be taken up by the new Congress in January 2011. 

Change the law to allow US States that are insolvent to seek protection under US Code Title 11, Chapter 9 (Bankruptcy Code). The law presently provides for reorganizing municipalities** (which includes cities and towns, as well as villages, counties, taxing districts, municipal utilities, and school districts). This law should be expanded to states rather than bailing them out.

They can go bankrupt and put their debts at the feet of a Federal Court that will have to decide which bills will be paid and when they will be paid. It would result in NOBODY doing any business with the bankrupt state because there is no telling when they would be paid. The court could also order them to sell land holdings, etc. to try and satisfy the debts. I am sure that state parks would be exempt, but most states have an inventory of properties and assets they could put on the auction block.

Big Labor will fight this sort of law tooth and nail. And the country needs to decide who is running the states - the voting public or corrupt unions.***  Applying bankruptcy rules to states would force them to get their financial houses in order under the supervision of the courts. There is no other practical way to do it. Allowing the "Chicago Way" to rule America despite the presidency of Chicago-based Barack Hussein Obama, is not sustainable.

According to the Wall Street Journal (speaking of California in particular), "You've racked up nearly $70 billion in general obligation debt, and that doesn't include your $500 billion unfunded pension liability. Your own analysts predict you'll face a hole of at least $80 billion over the next four years.

"Your government's run by a brothel of environmentalists, lawyers, public-sector unions and legislative bums. When they're not taxing or spending, they're creating regulations and commissions like the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology and the California Blueberry Commission. Many businesses would leave if it weren't for your sunny climate."****

*(LINK) Dick Morris' Blog

**(LINK) "The first municipal bankruptcy legislation was enacted in 1934 during the Great Depression. Pub. L. No. 251, 48 Stat. 798 (1934). Although Congress took care to draft the legislation so as not to interfere with the sovereign powers of the states guaranteed by the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution, the Supreme Court held the 1934 Act unconstitutional as an improper interference with the sovereignty of the states. Ashton v. Cameron County Water Improvement Dist. No. 1, 298 U.S. 513, 532 (1936). Congress enacted a revised Municipal Bankruptcy Act in 1937, Pub. L. No. 302, 50 Stat. 653 (1937), which was upheld by the Supreme Court. United States v. Bekins, 304 U.S. 27, 54 (1938). The law has been amended several times since 1937. In the more than 60 years since Congress established a federal mechanism for the resolution of municipal debts, there have been fewer than 500 municipal bankruptcy petitions filed. Although chapter 9 cases are rare, a filing by a large municipality can— like the 1994 filing by Orange County, California—involve many millions of dollars in municipal debt."

*** Election Day 2010 demonstrated the enormous power of public employee unions and their integral relevance to the Democratic Party. In state after state, the vote totals of Democratic candidates, particularly those running for Senate, exceeded the predictions of all pollsters. This gap between pre-election anticipation and Election Day results had one main cause: the militancy, money, and manpower of public employee unions. It was the combined efforts of the SEIU (Service Employees International Union), the NEA (National Education Association), the AFT (American Federation of Teachers), and AFSME (American Federation of State and Municipal Employees) that preserved the Democratic control of the U.S. Senate.

**** (LINK) The Wall Street Journal refers to California as the "Lindsay Lohan of States" -- that sums it up.