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Page 6: Politix
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Page 1: WoT Operations
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Page 4: Opinion
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Page 5: Local News
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Europe
European MPs earning £1 million profits in a term, report finds
Members of the European Parliament are earning up to £1 million in profit in just one five-year term in office through expenses and allowances, a leaked report has revealed. The report sparked calls for a police investigation into the systematic abuse of taxpayers' money.

The internal report into the system of allowances - conducted by Robert Galvin, a European Union internal audit official - was kept secret when it was carried out last year. But a leaked copy of the 92-page document details the full extent of "corruption, dodgy dealing and poor financial controls" in the European Parliament, according to the Taxpayers' Alliance. It revealed that some MEPs claimed money for assistants that were neither accredited nor registered with the parliament.

Matthew Elliott, the chief executive of the Taxpayers' Alliance, said: "Having acquired the report, we felt it was right to publish it so taxpayers across the EU could see the widespread evidence of corruption, dodgy dealing and poor financial controls in the European Parliament. "It should never have been kept secret, and there must now be a proper investigation by the police. Taxpayers deserve to know how their money is being spent, and if anyone is stealing from them. The EU Parliament must publish the full details of all MEPs' expenses and allowances, and name the people this report found to be ripping taxpayers off."

Mr Elliott said each MEP could save more than £1 million from their expenses and pension benefits over a five-year term at the European Parliament. Over five years, each MEP can claim this includes a subsistence allowance of 117,000 Euros, staff allowance of 489,840 Euros, office expenses of 243,120 Euros, travel expenses of 60,000 Euros and an accrued pension of £350,000. This does not include the MEP salary of £63,291, which is set to increase to £73,584 after the European Parliament elections in June 2009.

There was also widespread failure to comply with tax, company and social security laws. Nearly 80 per cent of transactions that should have been subject to VAT displayed no evidence of either VAT payment or exemption.

In his report, Mr Galvin found that overpayments of parliamentary allowances were common. The investigation discovered a culture of huge "bonuses" being paid to staff members or handling firms at the end of the financial year, ranging from three times to 19 and a half times the employees' monthly salaries. It was also possible to pay large "layoff" payments to the staff of MEPs without any justification being provided.

Chris Davies, the Liberal Democrat MEP who last year exposed some of the report's findings, last night said the "overwhelming majority" of MEPs used their staff budget honestly to pay their staff. He said: "It is not true that expenses are being abused by everyone, but voters should ask questions of their representatives. Honesty doesn't pay in this system and the temptations are great. No-one knows who is cheating and who is not, and it is a disgrace that the Parliament has voted to keep auditors' reports secret."
Posted by: Fred || 02/23/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6476 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Shocked. I am shocked. Who would have thunk it??? What is the world coming to?

<<<< There was also widespread failure to comply with tax, company and social security laws.>>>

And I thought the US had a monopoly on this. Damn. They are stealing our thunder.
Posted by: Omoter Speaking for Boskone7794 || 02/23/2009 0:36 Comments || Top||

#2  "European MPs earning thieving £1 million profits in a term, report finds"

Better.

"Chris Davies, the Liberal Democrat MEP who last year exposed some of the report's findings, last night said the "overwhelming majority" of MEPs used their staff budget honestly to pay their staff. ... No-one knows who is cheating and who is not, and it is a disgrace that the Parliament has voted to keep auditors' reports secret."

Hmm... you're not making a lot of sense there Chris.
Posted by: Bulldog || 02/23/2009 3:00 Comments || Top||

#3  In order to be truly "independent" they have to be unaccountable. Makes sense to a moron.
Posted by: Harcourt Whereger8804 || 02/23/2009 16:07 Comments || Top||

#4  The report sparked calls for a police investigation into the systematic abuse of taxpayers' money.

Systematic abuse of taxpayer's money? I'm astounded!

Some things do seem to be universal.
Posted by: JohnQC || 02/23/2009 16:14 Comments || Top||


Home Front: Politix
Auto team drives imports
The vehicles owned by the Obama administration's auto team could reflect one reason why Detroit's Big Three automakers are in trouble: The list includes few new American cars.

Among the eight members named Friday to the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry and the 10 senior policy aides who will assist them in their work, two own American models. Add the Treasury Department's special adviser to the task force and the total jumps to three.

The Detroit News reviewed public records to discover what many of the task force and staff members drove, but information was not available on all of the officials, and records for some states were not complete.
Continued on Page 49
Posted by: Beavis || 02/23/2009 15:01 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6489 views] Top|| File under:

#1  The necessity of an F-450 duly out on the ranch or a Suburban for the soccer team surely escapes them all.
Posted by: Thealing Borgia122 || 02/23/2009 19:43 Comments || Top||

#2  these are unserious people and poor connoisseurs of the fine melding of art, science, and muscle. Ladies and gentlemen, not a one of them owns a ....F-150!!1!!

/drink up, yewse!
Posted by: Frank G || 02/23/2009 20:39 Comments || Top||

#3  Just try to pry my half-ton from my cold dead hands.
Posted by: Skunky Glins 5*** || 02/23/2009 20:43 Comments || Top||

#4  I wonder if the unions know this, not that it would really matter.
Posted by: Whineper Prince aka Broadhead6 || 02/23/2009 21:15 Comments || Top||

#5  I don't drive US vehicles either -- I like cars that actually work. But a Peugeot??? C'mon!
Posted by: Iblis || 02/23/2009 21:15 Comments || Top||

#6  What's interesting is how many of the vehicles currently owned by the Auto Team are not new or nearly new. Very few of the team members or staff are doing their bit to support the auto industry... or they appreciate cars that can go the distance.

I assume an F-450 is some sort of truck, yes?

Posted by: trailing wife || 02/23/2009 21:24 Comments || Top||

#7  Industrial, yes
Posted by: Frank G || 02/23/2009 22:12 Comments || Top||

#8  A font of information as always, Frank. Thanks!
Posted by: trailing wife || 02/23/2009 22:54 Comments || Top||

#9  cookie
Posted by: OldSPook || 02/23/2009 23:11 Comments || Top||

#10  better cookie
Posted by: OldSpook || 02/23/2009 23:12 Comments || Top||


The Gatekeeper: Rahm Emanuel on the job
A rude, pushy man with no executive experience works for another pushy man with no executive experience. You can see why the Bambi administration is off to such a rocky start.
Posted by: Steve White || 02/23/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6483 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Next to his computer monitor is a smaller screen that looks like a handheld G.P.S. device and tells Emanuel where the President and senior White House officials are at all times.

Does the device has strings out the back with lead to his puppets?

The guy seems to have real control issues. Most spouses are not that anal....

Now we know why Bambi needed to have his blackberry... so his master can keep tabs on him.
Posted by: CrazyFool || 02/23/2009 0:12 Comments || Top||

#2  "Rahm, I told you one thousand times not to call me while I am in the toilets!"
Posted by: JFM || 02/23/2009 7:18 Comments || Top||

#3  Anyone noticed how seldom we see the little puppetmaster in the MSM lately?
Posted by: Besoeker || 02/23/2009 7:27 Comments || Top||

#4  I think that this chief of staff will make many enemies, including his boss. With Rahm as gatekeeper, everyone is acutely aware that the fish is in the mail. I can't imagine him being effective after a year or so of his making back stabbing a high art form.
Posted by: Richard of Oregon || 02/23/2009 7:49 Comments || Top||

#5  Just remember the operative phrase: 'We won.' The Zero administration may be messy but it IS achieving its goals, and very quickly at that. With a majority of voters on the public teat now, do you see a realistic way to (peacefully) restore power to the producers?
Posted by: Glenmore || 02/23/2009 8:26 Comments || Top||

#6  Fuuuccckkkk yoooouuu! Rahm is the man. All the anti-Obama people are gonna get schooled in the end. Just wait.
Posted by: Daniel || 02/23/2009 12:31 Comments || Top||

#7  I got to the rambling bit about Castro's broadcast & lost interest. What the fuck ever, dude.
Posted by: Mitch H. || 02/23/2009 12:55 Comments || Top||

#8  Don't you "reeducated" Daniel. How about Obama's bestest buddy William Ayers as Kommissar of Reeducation?
Posted by: ed || 02/23/2009 12:56 Comments || Top||

#9  Change "Rahm Emanuel" to "Karl Rove" and the New Yorker would want him in jail.
And Daniel. If you've got a "Free Tibet" bumper sticker, I'd suggest you go scrape it off your car. Appears to be no longer "operative".
Posted by: tu3031 || 02/23/2009 13:06 Comments || Top||

#10  Per Daniel: the anti-Obama people are gonna get schooled in the end.

I think most here would be in agreement with that. ;-/
Posted by: ExtremeModerate || 02/23/2009 15:58 Comments || Top||

#11  Daniel, how old are you? 18? Or a baby boomer? Judging by your profanity, youve either got to be a teenager or a baby boomer, both demographics being among the biggest supporters of Obam/Rahm, and also some of the least well-spoken idiots out there. Im sorry, when your view is challenged F-U is the best response you can come up with? Go back to your X-box 360, and when the economy is in the tank a year from now, enjoy the taste of eating your words.
Posted by: haveanoodle55 || 02/23/2009 16:38 Comments || Top||

#12  Not only that but he can't even spell his profanity right.

My guess would be that Danial is 14 or 15 and thinks his parents (and him) will be part of the new 'socialist elite' - a proud product of our public school system.
Posted by: Cravith Speaking for Boskone2008 || 02/23/2009 16:46 Comments || Top||

#13  I invite him to visit Sweden. We have some interesting "youths" he should become familiar with. If he lives, he may learn something.
Posted by: Lagom || 02/23/2009 18:08 Comments || Top||

#14  Our beloved Daniel's IP is in Amsterdam, New York, northeast of Albany.

The area used to be an industrial stronghold. Now its industry are government bureaucracies who find ways to wheedle money from the federal government and dole it out to the minions in return for influence and/or votes. It's often called "Albany Disease" after the state capitol

So don't be too hard on our barely coherent commenter. After all, you wouldn't berate a New Guinea tribesman for being a follower of John Frum.
Posted by: Pappy || 02/23/2009 18:45 Comments || Top||

#15  Ah, lower primate behavior. Territorial demonstration or reaction in fear. Sensing the lack of 'perfection' in to whom they sold their souls to? /rhetorical question.
Posted by: Procopius2k || 02/23/2009 19:18 Comments || Top||

#16  "So don't be too hard on our barely coherent commenter. After all, you wouldn't berate a New Guinea tribesman for being a follower of John Frum."

I dunno, Pappy - it doesn't seem very nice of you to insult those nice New Guinea tribesmen by by comparing them to that clown....
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 02/23/2009 19:32 Comments || Top||

#17  Point taken and I retract any unwarranted criticism. Thanks for the insight Pappy. May I hightlight that I live in upstate New York, too, so please allow me to add a theory that he could be attending one of Upstate New York's fine colleges: Eastman School of Music, Vassar, RIT, Bard, Cornell, Syracuse, etc, and still he cant string a coherant sentence together? Daniel, from one fellow upstate resident to another: get a vocabulary besides F&** Y^&. Thank you.
Posted by: haveanoodle55 || 02/23/2009 19:37 Comments || Top||

#18  gaveanoodle55, students at Eastman don't have time to wander the internet in search of warblogs to troll, and the engineers at RIT would never be so silly. Prob'ly not Cornell's ag-tech side either, for the same reason... which leaves the others. I knew some very silly people who went to the ivy league side of Cornell. ;-)

And Daniel, dear? We'll wait, but I don't think you'll be pleased with what we larn.

/if he can be archaic, so can I.
Posted by: trailing wife || 02/23/2009 19:49 Comments || Top||

#19  gaveanoodle55

Whoops! You knew I meant you, I hope, haveanoodle55.
Posted by: trailing wife || 02/23/2009 19:52 Comments || Top||

#20  Trailing, Yes, I know. I am proudly related to two graduates of two of the aforementioned schools;-), their ascent from noble savages with BB guns in the woodlands of New York to learned men is a blessing. As for Dear Daniel, may he make it out of the woods too.
Posted by: haveanoodle55 || 02/23/2009 20:03 Comments || Top||

#21  Yes, it's possible that our foul-mouthed, simple-minded fan of the White House Amateur Hour is a denizen of one of the colleges, with a tuition that someone else is paying for.

Which would make his commentary even more pathetic.

Posted by: Pappy || 02/23/2009 21:14 Comments || Top||

#22  My heartiest congratulations, haveanoodle55! I'm quite sure your Ascent of Men was not achieved without a great deal of effort by all parties involved.

/beams proudly around at y'all retching into convenient receptacles over that one.
Posted by: trailing wife || 02/23/2009 21:18 Comments || Top||

#23  Ironic that Immanuel might end up playing the part of Goebbels.
Posted by: OldSpook || 02/23/2009 23:14 Comments || Top||


Home Front Economy
Democrats Resisting Obama on Social Security
WASHINGTON — President Obama is eager to seek a bipartisan solution to ensure the long-term solvency of Social Security, people who have spoken with him say, but he is running into opposition from his party’s left and from Democratic Congressional leaders who contend that his political capital would be better spent on health care and other priorities.

Mr. Obama considered announcing the formation of a Social Security task force at a White House “fiscal responsibility summit” that he will convene on Monday. But several Democrats said that idea had been shelved, partly because of objections from House and Senate leaders.

The president signaled in his campaign that he would support addressing the retirement system’s looming financing shortfall, in part by applying payroll taxes to incomes above $250,000. But that would ignite intense opposition from Republicans, especially with the economy deep in recession.

Liberal Democrats are already serving notice that they will be equally vehement in opposing any reductions in scheduled benefits for future retirees. But any solution, budget analysts said, must include a mix of both approaches, though current beneficiaries would see no change.

Despite the long-running partisan divide over benefits and taxes, the advocates for a compromise see an opportunity now given the fact that the stock markets’ slide has discredited the idea of carving private accounts from Social Security. Former President George W. Bush demanded such accounts as the centerpiece of any compromise, while Democrats and some Republicans were just as adamantly opposed, dooming his effort in 2005.

“The carve-out account is off the table,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who has long sought a deal.

This month, Mr. Obama unexpectedly approached Mr. Graham when he was at the White House to meet with Rahm Emanuel, Mr. Obama’s chief of staff. Mr. Graham, who was a vocal foe of Mr. Obama’s $787 billion stimulus plan, said in an interview: “I know he’s sincere about wanting to do something about entitlements generally, health care and Social Security. And I want to help him.”

Despite Mr. Obama’s interest, his political and policy advisers are divided, with most arguing that taking on Social Security would overload a legislative system already strained by the economy and war.

Within the administration, “the question is whether it helps you in moving the rest of the agenda or hurts you,” said John D. Podesta, an informal adviser to Mr. Obama and former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton who is now head of the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning research group.

Mr. Podesta is among those arguing for action sooner rather than later. “What this crisis has proven,” he said, “is that we need to have a basic benefit that keeps people out of poverty, and that we need to work at both ends — toward fiscal sustainability and toward ensuring that people, particularly at the bottom, have an adequate benefit.”

For some Democrats, another reason to act is that with their party in control of the White House and Congress, they are positioned to produce a solution more to their liking. And while neither the changes nor the fiscal benefits would take effect soon, a compromise would send a reassuring signal to markets and to foreign investors who worry about the nation’s huge looming liabilities for promised social benefits, advocates said.

Those who oppose action said Mr. Obama must focus on his bigger priority — health care legislation to expand access to insurance and reduce the costs of care. They argue that success there would help control the unsustainable growth of Medicare and Medicaid, the government’s other major benefit programs, which together pose a far greater fiscal problem.

Posted by: GolfBravoUSMC || 02/23/2009 11:33 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6469 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Go ahead John Wayne, start messing with Social Security. You'll kiss 2012 goodbye in short order. Your donk pals in the congress will be gone long before you!
Posted by: Besoeker || 02/23/2009 11:57 Comments || Top||

#2  President Obama is eager to seek a bipartisan solution to ensure the long-term solvency of Social Security,...

So did Ronald Reagan and George Bush and they got the raised index finger from your party and denunciation that the Trunks were going to do away with SS to scare little old ladies into voting Donk. What goes around, comes around. Stick it right back at them. Tar them with trynig to 'destroy' SS.

Mr. Obama considered announcing the formation of a Social Security task force..

Been there numerous times. Why just dust off the old task force recommendations or would that mean conceding maybe the Trunks had a fundamental point and that you won't be able to claim ownership for posterity?

When they want "Bi-Partisan" that means its going to stink and they want spread it all around. As demonstrated with the largest pork deficit bill in history, you have the votes to push it through Congress. Take ownership dude.
Posted by: Procopius2k || 02/23/2009 12:06 Comments || Top||

#3 
Posted by: tu3031 || 02/23/2009 13:17 Comments || Top||

#4  Social Security is a dead man walking. And most younger people know that. Obama's best bet is to kill it quick, along with Medicare, then spend the rest of his time in office trying to soothe the pissed off recipients.

When dominoes like the T-bill bubble, national retirement bubble, the alt-a and ARM mortgage bubble burst, the era of government largesse is dead.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 02/23/2009 18:27 Comments || Top||


Biden to Oversee Stimulus Package Implementation - God help us?
With Vice President Joe Biden at the helm, $15 billion from the recovery package will be freed up Wednesday for state Medicaid programs, President Obama says.

President Obama has turned to his own vice president to oversee implementation of the $787 billion economic stimulus package, part of which will be available this week for state Medicaid programs.

Vice President Joe Biden, in his new role, would meet regularly with key members of the Cabinet, governors and mayor to make sure their efforts are speedy and effective. He is expected to make regular reports to the president that will be posted online at www.recovery.gov.

With Biden at the helm, $15 billion from the recovery package will be freed up Wednesday for the health care programs, Obama said Monday. The administration projects the money will help states struggling with budget deficits and maintain Medicaid coverage for 20 million recipients.

Obama also appointed Earl Devaney, the inspector general at the Interior department, to serve as watchdog for the distribution of the funding.

Obama spoke Monday at at the conclusion of a conference of the National Governors Association.
Posted by: GolfBravoUSMC || 02/23/2009 11:09 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6473 views] Top|| File under:

#1  This could be a blessing in disguise. If Joe administers the stimupork spending the with the same smoothness and efficiency whith which he constructs his sentences, the whole thing will seize up like an engine running on zero oil pressure, and none of those billions of dollars will actually get spent.

Joe Biden could be the man who saves the treasury.
Posted by: Mike || 02/23/2009 12:05 Comments || Top||

#2  Saw the news today where our Governor here in the Peoples Republic of Washington [State] was all ready to go beg Bambi (and now I guess Slo Joe) for a piece of the pie. I think she had her kneepads and everything.

Sickening....
Posted by: CrazyFool || 02/23/2009 12:13 Comments || Top||

#3 


"I swear I saw that UFO, and the aliens told me to bail out Citibank, because even they have stock in it."
Posted by: BigEd || 02/23/2009 12:17 Comments || Top||

#4  Saw the news today where our Governor here in the Peoples Republic of Washington [State] was all ready to go beg Bambi (and now I guess Slo Joe) for a piece of the pie. I think she had her kneepads and everything.

Secretary of State wannabe.



Seriously, Obama must figure he'll do less damage shooting his mouth off here then he would shooting his mouth off overseas.


Posted by: DoDo || 02/23/2009 13:43 Comments || Top||

#5  The thought of Joe Biden pouring over spread sheets and input output analysis is somewhat amusing. I wonder how Joe sees the job.
Posted by: mhw || 02/23/2009 16:20 Comments || Top||

#6  He probably sees it as a way to gain favor with certain interest groups and constituents. You know, sorta the way Blago saw Zero's vacant Senate seat. It's a valuable effing thing.
Posted by: Ebbang Uluque6305 || 02/23/2009 17:09 Comments || Top||

#7  Who better to oversee that moronic plan.
Posted by: DMFD || 02/23/2009 17:57 Comments || Top||


Fraudulent Fiddling with Fiscal Flop
The Recovery.gov "Where is Your Money Going?" webpage is patently dishonest.
Posted by: Age Of Pericles || 02/23/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6474 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Ancient Rome declined because it had a Senate; now what's going to happen to us with both a Senate and a House?
Will Rogers
Posted by: JohnQC || 02/23/2009 15:10 Comments || Top||

#2  "The Recovery.gov "Where is Your Money Going?" webpage Obama gummint is patently dishonest."

Fixed that for ya'.
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 02/23/2009 15:29 Comments || Top||

#3  Where is Your Money Going?
Posted by: DMFD || 02/23/2009 18:00 Comments || Top||



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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.
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Meet the Mods
In no particular order...
Steve White
Seafarious
Pappy
lotp
Scooter McGruder
john frum
tu3031
badanov
sherry
ryuge
GolfBravoUSMC
Bright Pebbles
trailing wife
Gloria
Fred
Besoeker
Glenmore
Frank G
3dc
Skidmark
Alaska Paul

Two weeks of WOT
Mon 2009-02-23
  100 rounded up in Nineveh
Sun 2009-02-22
  1 European killed, 9 others wounded in Egypt blast
Sat 2009-02-21
  Handcuffed JMB man pops grenade at press meet
Fri 2009-02-20
  Tamil Tiger planes raid Colombo
Thu 2009-02-19
  MPs visit Swat to pay obeisance to Sufi Mohammad
Wed 2009-02-18
  Four killed, 18 injured in Peshawar car bombing
Tue 2009-02-17
  Surprise! Pervez Musharraf was playing 'double game' with US
Mon 2009-02-16
  Another Wazoo dronezap
Sun 2009-02-15
  Talibs: Pak will surrender in Swat
Sat 2009-02-14
  Suspected U.S. Missile Strike Zaps 27
Fri 2009-02-13
  Canadian Muslim sentenced for firebombing Jewish institutions
Thu 2009-02-12
  Pak arrests 'main operator' in Mumbai attacks
Wed 2009-02-11
  Taliban Attack Afghan Government Buildings, Killing 20
Tue 2009-02-10
  FBI woman sexually harassed me: 26/11 accused terrorist
Mon 2009-02-09
  Female Tamil Tiger bomber kills 28 after hiding among refugees

Better than the average link...



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