A Chinese Internet site last week published a photo of a convoy of what were identified as short-range missiles. It was a very rare display of China's main weapon system and the centerpiece of its military buildup.
A China military analysts said the missile unit could be a launch unit with nine missiles. The photo appeared to be an unofficial snapshot of at least five road-mobile missiles being transported on a road in western Xinjiang
The two reporters for Al Gore's TV Current, an on-line journal based in San Francisco, held since March, were found guilty of illegal entry and sentenced to 12 years hard labor, the North Korean news agency said on Monday.
Al Gore and his on-line network have yet to speak out on the actions by the North Korean government -- the arrest and now the sentencing.
The pair, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, were arrested by the North Korean authorities on March 17, after traveling through northern China to the North Korean border to do a story on trafficking of North Korean women. They may not have even been in North Korea at the time of their arrest. North Korean border guards probably crossed the Tumen (the river that forms the border) while Ling and Lee were filming on the Chinese bank, according to Reporters without Borders.
There were many comments to my April 21, 2009 post when I criticized Gore for failing to speak out on behalf of his journalists. Several irate readers assured us that negotiations were occurring behind the scenes.
Then on June 4, 2009 Reuters reported that the U.S. might send former vice president Al Gore to Pyongyang in order to negotiate the release of two American journalists on trial in North Korea for illegal entry.
Too little and too late.
There's been a virtual news blackout at Gore's TV Current, his on-line TV station has suppressed readers' comments, refused to report the story about his own reporters. TV Current even posted a guard to keep the press out, as reported by the SF Weekly.
Now, the two journalists, Ling and Lee, have been convicted and sentenced.
Then and now, the former Vice President remains silent.
His silence in March, through April, through May has left the two pawns in the standoff between the U.S. and North Korea.
North Korea has defied the U.S. by conducing prohibited missile tests. Now they have insulted the U.S. by sentencing two likely innocent journalists to hard labor. It is an embarrassment to this country, shameful for the former vice president, and a tragedy for the two journalists.
since there are two arrested by the NKorks would you agree to have Al Sharpton join Big Al in subbing for Ling and Lee?
Posted by: Lord garth ||
06/08/2009 9:55 Comments ||
Darling of the left, Al "Leave um" Gore and for the right, Ross "They are mine I will getr them" Perot. Who would you rather work for??
Posted by: 49 Pan ||
06/08/2009 10:39 Comments ||
No one is thinking this thing through.
Al is waiting for the "cap and trade" program to become law. Then he will go to Kimmie and offer 10 trillion tons of CO2 (equivalent to Al's carbon footprint) for their release. This way Kimmie can burn coal and give up his nuclear power ambitions. Am I missing something here?
Posted by: Jack is Back! ||
06/08/2009 10:40 Comments ||
A great reminder, 49 Pan. I'd rather work for Perot than Gore.
Posted by: Steve White ||
06/08/2009 12:08 Comments ||
Maybe Gore hasn't figured out a good way to spin this story so he's keeping quiet in the hope the MSM will forget about it, especially if he knew beforehand that these young and most likely very naive women were going into such a dangerous assignment. I gotta believe he'd be screaming bloody murder if he thought it would be good publicity.
Jomah Goldberg -- an excerpt from his book Liberal Fascism
GM offers an ironic confirmation of Marxist logic. According to orthodox Marxism, the capitalist system becomes fascist as its internal contradictions get the better of it. As a theory of political economy, this analysis falls apart. But at the retail level, there's an undeniable truth to it. Industries that once had a proudly free-market stance suddenly sprout arguments in favor of protectionism, "industrial policy," and "strategic competitiveness" once they find that they can't hack it in the market. The steel and textile industries, certain automobile companies--Chrysler in the 1980s, GM today--and vast swaths of agriculture claim that the state and business should be "partners" at precisely the moment it's clear they can no longer compete. They quickly become captives of politicians seeking to protect jobs or donations or both. These "last-gasp capitalists" do the country a great disservice by skewing the political climate toward a modified form of national socialism and corporatism. They're fleeing the rough-and-tumble of capitalist competition for the warm embrace of It Takes a Village economics, and Hillary Clinton calls it "progress."
Sorry, Gov't Motors no longer authorizes or licenses the production, sale, or disposal of "aftermarket" OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts. The installation of these parts is only authorized at approved Gov't Motors dealerships and repair facilities by Gov't Motors licensed technicians using licensed and registered Gov't Motors tools. Tampering or unauthorized installation of parts or repair of Gov't Motors vehichles is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000. or one year in jail.
They told me that if I voted for Sarah Palin, we'd get a government that would pursue the failed policies of the past and use the power of the state to bestow favors on influential billionaires; that the economy would quickly turn sour; that our foreign policy would make us a laughingstock in the world; that we'd end up with a babbling idiot a heartbeat away from the presidency.
Unfortunately the general public isn't going to take kindly to being told they were a bunch of prejudiced, ignorant, know-nothing idiots willing to bankrupt the country because Zero was the 'cool' candidate to vote for.
Unfortunately the general public isn't going to take kindly to being told anything, especially when they're faced with a collapsed standard of living, inflation, and protracted unemployment. Experience keeps a dear school, but Fools will learn in no other. -- Ben Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack
The main White House argument for health-care reform goes something like this: If we spend now on a hugely expensive new insurance program for the middle class, we can save later by reducing overall U.S. health spending. This "tastes great, less filling" theory could stand some scrutiny, not least because it is being used to rush through the greatest social spending program in American history.
What if this particular theory turns out to be a political illusion? What if the speculative cost savings never report for duty, while the federal balance sheet is still swamped with new social obligations that will be impossible to repeal? The only possible outcome will be the nationalization of U.S. health markets, which will mean that almost all care will be rationed by politics.
Since Medicare was created in 1965, U.S. health spending has risen about 2.7% faster than the economy and on current trend would hit 20% of GDP within a decade. Every public or private attempt to arrest this climb has failed: wage and price controls in the 1970s, the insurance industry's "voluntary effort" in the '80s, managed care in the '90s.
Now the White House -- especially budget chief Peter Orszag -- claims there is new cause for hope. The magic key is the dramatic variations in per patient health spending among U.S. regions. Often there is no relationship between spending and the quality of care, according to a vast body of academic research, most of it coming out of Dartmouth College. If the highest spending areas could be sanded down to the lowest spending areas, about 30% in "waste," or $700 billion each year, would be saved. More than enough to pay for ObamaCare. Or so the theory goes.
But -- how? Mr. Orszag's ideas include more health information technology; emphasizing prevention and healthy living; rejiggering reimbursement policies so doctors and hospitals are paid more for quality care; and funding federal research that compares the effectiveness of medical treatments. These are the lovable bromides of all politicians, and some of them may or may not improve health overall. But there's scant evidence that any of them will ever save real money. There's a reason the Congressional Budget Office can't score them.
Think about comparative effectiveness. Why is low-cost, high-quality Minnesota, say, already making more rational decisions than high-cost, lower-quality Texas? It's ridiculous to suggest that doctors in Rochester have access to clinical information that isn't available in Houston. If it's because the former are simply better physicians, well, medicine isn't Lake Wobegon, where everyone is the Mayo Clinic.
The reality is that after three decades of economic research, the reasons that spending varies are still highly uncertain. As in politics, everything is local in health care. Most of the variation is due to the use of services and mix of care that patients receive, while some relates to labor costs and local prices. The abiding mystery is why practice patterns oscillate so widely, even among hospitals in the same city.
Not surprisingly, variation is greatest when doctors don't agree on the best treatments -- as with back injuries, for example. Another part is technology. New therapies are developed at an astonishing pace. Consider the stent, which props open arteries after a heart attack and was barely used in 1994. By 1998 stents were used in a majority of coronary surgeries. Constant innovation means that there must be trial and error, and thus regional spending variation.
None of the complexities surrounding regional health spending variation would matter as much if the Obama Administration were merely trying to defossilize Medicare and save the federal fisc. But instead it is exploiting the looming bankruptcy of our current entitlements as a pretext to pass the largest entitlement expansion since 1965. And it is selling this agenda with a phony cost-control "plan" that doesn't even exist.
The now-famous Obama-Orszag mantra -- "entitlement reform is health-care reform" -- really means that when they're done, all health care will be an entitlement.
Some years back I saw an article in the Wall Street Journal stating that the two largest components of health care costs were malpractice insurance / lawsuits and end-of-life care. I don't see any of the proposals from the Democrats addressing these issues. Given that trial lawyers are an important constituency of the Democrats, I doubt we'll EVER see them address the tort reform issue.
These opinion pieces consistently (and stupidly) ignore the fact that the USA already has a nationalized health market for a substantial segment of its population. It's called "Medicare". Patients eligible for Medicare are pretty well compelled to use it, although they can buy extra insurance for things Medicare doesn't provide. Health providers are pretty well obligated to either participate in it, adhere to its rules, and/or not take on Medicare patients. What percentage of hospital do not participate in Medicare?
--- How well does Medicare work? "Fossilized" is not an adequate description. How will it be funded over the next 15 years? Unless & until Congress optimizes Medicare, Obama's grand scheme is complete and total nonsense.
But there's scant evidence that any of them will ever save real money. There's a reason the Congressional Budget Office can't score them.
The Medical Savings Theory is poised to be, perhaps, the largest illusionary gimmick ever perpetrated on the American Taxpayer. And once the O-Teams Medical Advisory Board gets full throated on this baby its gonna make the selling of the Stimulus Bill look like Vince from ShamWow.
As recently as last summer, General Motors filing for bankruptcy would have been the biggest news story of the week. But it's not such a very great step from the unthinkable to the inevitable, and by the time it actually happened the market barely noticed, and the media were focused on the president's "address to the Muslim world." As it happens, these two stories are the same story: snapshots, at home and abroad, of the hyperpower in eclipse.
The savvier Muslim potentates have no desire to be sitting in a smelly cave in the Hindu Kush, sharing a latrine with a dozen half-witted goatherds while plotting how to blow up the Empire State Building. Nevertheless, they share key goals with the cave dwellers -- including the wish to expand the boundaries of "the Muslim world" and (as in the anti-blasphemy push at the U.N.) to place Islam, globally, beyond criticism. The nonterrorist advance of Islam is a significant challenge to Western notions of liberty and pluralism.
Once Obama moved on from the more generalized Islamoschmoozing to the details, the subtext -- the absence of American will -- became explicit. He used the cover of multilateralism and moral equivalence to communicate, consistently, American weakness: "No single nation should pick and choose which nations hold nuclear weapons." Perhaps by "no single nation" he means the "global community" should pick and choose, which means the U.N. Security Council, which means the Big Five, which means that Russia and China will pursue their own murky interests and that, in the absence of American leadership, Britain and France will reach their accommodations with a nuclear Iran, a nuclear North Korea and any other psychostate minded to join them.
On the other hand, a "single nation" certainly has the right to tell another nation anything it wants if that nation happens to be the Zionist Entity: As Hillary Clinton just instructed Israel regarding its West Bank communities, there has to be "a stop to settlements -- not some settlements, not outposts, not natural-growth exceptions." No "natural growth"? You mean, if you and the missus have a kid, you've got to talk gran'ma into moving out? To Tel Aviv, or Brooklyn or wherever? At a stroke, the administration has endorsed "the Muslim world's" view of those non-Muslims who happen to find themselves within what it regards as lands belonging to Islam: the Jewish and Christian communities are free to stand still or shrink, but not to grow. Would Obama be comfortable mandating "no natural growth" to Israel's million-and-a-half Muslims? No. But the administration has embraced "the Muslim world's" commitment to one-way multiculturalism, whereby Islam expands in the West but Christianity and Judaism shrivel remorselessly in the Middle East.
There's better phrase-making in the current issue of Foreign Affairs, in a coinage of Leslie Gelb, president emeritus of the Committee on Foreign Relations. The president emeritus is a sober, judicious paragon of torpidly conventional wisdom. Nevertheless, musing on American decline, he writes, "The country's economy, infrastructure, public schools and political system have been allowed to deteriorate. The result has been diminished economic strength, a less-vital democracy, and a mediocrity of spirit." That last is the one to watch: A great power can survive a lot of things, but not "a mediocrity of spirit." A wealthy nation living on the accumulated cultural capital of a glorious past can dodge its rendezvous with fate, but only for a while. That sound you heard in Cairo is the tingy ping of a hollow superpower.
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.