Friday, February 25, 2011

Check out War On Rural Maryland blog

This blog, created by Maryland legislators, describes Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley's radical policies that win the approval of elite leftists, but harm folks that own farms and live in the country.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Calls For American Intervention in Libya

In the past few days, Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi/Qaddaffi/Quadaffi/GaDaffy (OK that's my own spellling) has sent his air forces to attack rebels who now hold multiple cities and sections of the countryside. Some have called on the United States to intervene, either alone or under the aegis of NATO.

As gratifying as it would be, this would be a bad call. America attacked Libya during the Reagan Administration because that nation backed terror assaults on American troops in Europe. International law, such as it is, tends to back the sovereign power of the internationally recognized state in most cases. Without some sort of UN resolution or threat outside his borders, such intevention would set a dangerous precedent.

That being said, the unrest in Libya does cause strategic problems in terms of the oil supply. That country produces 2% of the world's oil. Assuming the idea that intervention does become a real issue, we must do this intelligently.

First, any U. S. move would discredit the anti-Ghaddaffi forces. Only an IDF attack would look worse. That also eliminates most European states with colonial backgrounds, such as Britain, France and Italy. Turkey once ruled Libya directly as a province in their empire, so they are out as well.

That leaves us with Poland, and, well, Poland. American and European financial support behind NATO airstrikes conducted by Poland, the Czech Republic, and a short list of others might do the trick without raising the accusations of imperialism. That being said, the removal of the regime seems a foregone conclusion at this point as Ghaddaffffffie's military is slowly defecting to the rebels. Foreign intervention might halt that process.

Best to give moral support, but not intervene directly.

More Americans Murdered By Somali Pirates

At some point we have to ask ourselves "should we really allow this to keep happening?"

Somali pirates seized a yacht with four American passengers aboard last week. For whatever reason, they decided to kill rather than hold for ransom. Certainly it is foolish to wander into the western Indian Ocean these days, but they did not deserve to die.

Piracy is an old adversary of the United States Navy. In the early 1800s the United States battled and defeated the Barbary Pirates when the rest of the international community had little stomach for the fight. American vessels closely blockaded the port cities and strangled the states supporting the pirate /terrorists. The threat finally ended in 1816.

The Somalis have little more than the Barbary Pirates had then, outside of mechanization. No air power, no satellites, not much at all. They are winning because the civilized world will not deal with them on their terms. Pirates have been caught, released, and caught again. We have to ask why.

Why are we not conducting search and destroy missions? Death will take the starch out of their collars. These are not radical fundamentalists, but guys wanting to steal. Make it clear that piracy means death and they will be less eager to do it.

Why are merchant ships not armed? Mounted .50 calibre machine guns would do the trick. There is nothing more discouraging to a criminal than a lack of easy, vulnerable targets. It's why states with lax gun ownership laws tend to have less crime.

The fact that we still are dealing with this issue is ridiculous. Sink the mother ships. Strand the motorboats. Kill a bunch of them and this will stop. I guarantee it.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Borrowing From the Public Employees Retirement System For Road Construction Is Not a Good Idea

Acting Governor Earl Ray Tomblim quite understandably wants to get some accomplishments under his belt before he runs for the office on a permanent basis. To build his appeal in the Kanawha and Ohio Valleys, he tried to help hammer together a proposal to finish the final fifteen miles of U. S. 35 as a four lane road. This would connect Charleston to Point Pleasant with an expressway that would also extend nearly all the way to Columbus.

The plan calls for the state to borrow $110 million from the Public Employees Retirement System and pay it back over time with toll money.

This is a really bad idea. How long will it take to pay back the money? With baby boomers retiring, will this put the system into a financial bind? Would this not simply invite more borrowing from trust funds?

This sets a bad precedent and could leave public retirees more cash strapped. Combine this with the proposal to increase retirees' health premiums and you have a recipe to make a lot of older West Virginians a lot more fearful for their financial futures.

It will be nice for West Virginia to have a modern highway bringing traffic to the state capital. It would be nice for Tomblin's chances at election. But it is a bad idea and sets a bad precedent. Finishing this highway is not an emergency. Find some other way to finance it.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Time of Unease Brought to You By the Looters

We are entering a time of true unease both here and abroad.

Riots have broken out in Libya, Bahrain, Iran and elsewhere. Over 200 have died in Libya. Egypt is now under military rule, but we saw one of CBS's best known foreign correspondents raped in the streets of its capital.

Fifty-three died in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico since Thursday. Mexican Army efforts to pacify that city's violence have failed. How much of this stemmed from drug cartel influence in the army itself?

Madison, Wisconsin is seeing some of the same unrest that rocked Athens last year. Wisonsin is broke and needs to adjust state employee premiums. The would be Bolsheviks have joined short sighted state employees to try and deal the Republican governor a political defeat. However, he seems to be leaning towards giving them the same treatment meted to air traffic controllers by President Reagan thirty years ago.

It is the looters that have caused this. These looters take different forms. One form is the "president-for-life" that steals from his country's economy and foreign aid. Qaddafi, Mubarek, and others are now being held to account. Iran's day of reckoning is coming soon. The other is the culture of entitlement among welfare statists. They feel like they deserve something that the private sector cannot guarantee to its own. Why should government workers have more security or privilege than anyone else? (By the way, I AM a state employee who now pays more in premiums than last year.) Mexico's drug cartels have looted the money, decency, and spirit from that proud nation.

Looters' belief that they are above the laws of economics and decency are behind a lot of our problems. It is time to deny them all.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Wisconsin Badgered

Governor Scott Walker finds himself under siege these days. Thousands of people from outside the state have decided to make a stand against proposed hikes in insurance premiums for state workers.

Democrats have no chance of stopping the bill legally, so they left the state to hide out, preventing Wisconsin's elected Legislature from having a quorum to do business. It is a low and cowardly tactic.

Governor Manchin shepherded these through in our state last year and we didn't have the radicals, Communists, and would be Bolsheviks raising Cain. As a matter of fact, Governor Manchin was praised for his pragmartic thinking. Must be Governor Walker's Republican registration and Tea Party support that bring the Communists out.

Obama has weighed in, on the side of the unions of course. Walker has struck back by hinting that 12,000 state employees could be without a job if the Democrats do not return to Madison to help pass the state budget and other critical legislation. Meanwhile, hordes of bizarre looking protesters have come in from all over.

Where do these people think that money comes from? Why does a GOP governor get hounded while Democrats get a free pass for doing the same things? State governments are going bankrupt, but some government employees think they deserve a pass. They think they can avoid economic realities. Speaking as a state worker, I am not happy that I have to pay more in premiums for my own health insurance. However, I get it. It's the way of the world that prices rise. It's also a fact that the beginnings of Obamacare have caused a lot of the problems that have resulted in higher premiums.

Meanwhile in West Virginia, austerity measures have drawn praise instead of condemnation. Governor Manchin and the Legislature shepherded through hefty premium hikes last year. Retirees will see their premiums go up under a plan crafted by State Senator Brooks McCabe, a Charleston Democrat. No protests in Charleston greet these measures, just the recognition of a grim reality forced on us by the advent of Obamacare and his other works. We in West Virginia know that our health care is better than a lot of people, even with a premium hike. Wisconsin's governor faces the protests that he does because he is a Republican. And he is right.

Those people in Wisconsin better look out. When President Reagan fired the unionized air traffic controllers, his popularity went up.