Monday, March 21, 2011

No Senate Input on Libya; Gadhafi's Mustard Gas; Gadafi Addresses Obama; "Yes We Can Becomes "Er, Maybe We Shouldn't"; Farrakhan's Warning to Barack; 78% of NYC Voters Against Tenure; San Francisco Pension Crisis; John McCarron Predicts Walker Win in Wisconsin

Jeff Emanuel at Redstate writes: As you may have heard, the U.S. is now at war in Libya, leading a coalition of a dozen or so countries (including some nebulous group of “Arab nations” of which only Qatar will allow itself to be publicly named) in offshore SEAD strikes and anti-aircraft patrols against a country whose sole resources are oil and terrorism.  In this case, of course, there have been no presidential addresses to the nation explaining exactly what our rationale is for this action, and laying out our specific goals (contrast this to, to pick one example from the Iraq War run-up, President Bush’s statement to the nation explaining exactly why he was preparing to go to war there, and giving Saddam Hussein and his sons 72 hours to leave Iraq as a means of averting that war).  In fact, the president isn’t even on this continent right now; he’s in Rio, and he’s canceled any opportunities the press may have had to ask him questions about anything, including Libya.
That lack of explanation doesn’t appear to reach only to the American people themselves. Based on the statements of Sens. John McCain and Joe Lieberman, and of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen (whom you’d think would be a fairly important player in this action), Obama hasn’t bothered to tell the Senate or his highest military brass what the actual goal of our action in Libya is.
The Right Scoop writes: West says that as a member of the House Armed Services Committee and considering his lengthy military background he should have been consulted before we started a new combat front with Libya. Instead, he says, Congress was sent home to their districts and the next thing you know is that the US is engaged militarily with Libya. He says he’s not even sure what the mission is:
The Wall St. Journal online writes: U.S. intelligence agencies are watching for signs that a desperate Col. Moammar Gadhafi, under attack from a coalition air assault, could resort to acts of terrorism against Western targets.
Col. Gadhafi has extensive stockpiles of mustard gas and high explosives at his disposal that could be used in attacks against targets in Europe or against his own people. He also has a documented history of orchestrating strikes against civilians and other world leaders.
"U.S. officials are keeping an eye on that possibility," one U.S. official said.
Times Now reveals this from Gaddafi: "Libya is not for you, Libya is for the Libyans," he said.

Details of Gaddafi's letters were released by the Libyan government spokesman at a news conference in Tripoli. Defending his decision to attack rebel cities, Gaddafi told Obama, "Al Qaeda is an armed organisation, passing through Algeria, Mauritania and Mali. What would you do if you found them controlling American cities with the power of weapons? What would you do, so I can follow your example."

Trying to strike a personal note, Gaddafi prefaced his letter saying, "To our son, his excellency, Mr Baracka Hussein Obama. I have said to you before, that even if Libya and the United States of America enter into a war, god forbid, you will always remain a son. Your picture will not be changed."
"Ineffectual, invisible, unable to honour pledges and now blamed for letting Gaddafi off the hook. Why Obama’s gone from ‘Yes we can’ to ‘Er, maybe we shouldn’t’..." opines: Let us cast our minds back to those remarkable days in November 2008 when the son of a Kenyan goatherd was elected to the White House. It was a bright new dawn – even brighter than the coming of the Kennedys and their new Camelot. JFK may be considered as being from an ethnic and religious minority – Irish and Catholic – but he was still very rich and very white. Barack Obama, by contrast, was a true breakthrough president. The world would change because obviously America had changed.

Obama’s campaign slogan was mesmerisingly simple and brimming with self-belief: “Yes we can.” His presidency, however, is turning out to be more about “no we won’t.” Even more worryingly, it seems to be very much about: “Maybe we can… do what, exactly?“
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Farrakhan: "I warn my brother [Barack Obama] do you let these wicked demons move you in a direction that will absolutely ruin your future with your people in Africa and throughout the Arab world... Why don't you organize a group of respected Americans and ask for a meeting with Qaddafi, you can't order him to step down and get out, who the hell do you think you are?
The New York Post writes: A whopping 78 percent of New York City voters said teacher layoffs should be based on performance, not the seniority-based "last-in, first out" law, a poll released today found.
Even 63 percent of voters in union households agree that layoffs should be based on merit, not LIFO, according to the Quinnipiac College survey.
Meanwhile 73 percent of voters said layoffs of cops, firefighters and other government workers should be determined by performance, not seniority. And a majority of voters in union households agree.
The results mirror the findings of a statewide poll released last month, which found that 85 percent of voters backed the elimination of LIFO.
Beforeitsnews reveals: San Francisco's public pension crisis is way worse than many thought... The San Francisco Employees Retirement System (SFERS), which covers most of the city's municipal workers,faces an unfunded liability of $4.4 billion on a market value basis. That's nearly $35,000 per every San Francisco household.

...SFERS' reported liability is based on an optimistic 7.75% annual rate of return. If the 1990-1999 historical average rate of return - 6.2% - is used, the city's unfunded pension liability grows to $6.8 billion.
...The city also reports more than $4.364 billion in unfunded retiree health care costs. That figure will likely grow to $9.5 billion by 2028. Without major policy changes, "the probability of San Francisco meeting its unfunded health care obligation is zero."  [Those union contracts are working out so well, aren't they?  It is so bad that I wonder how many states will go to the United States citizens to pay their pension deficits - to bail out their states?  I think that if this should ever happen, that state should be without any voting representation in the US House of Representatives and the Senate - just to encourage them to get back on track.]
Democrats are being lured into a battle they cannot win, according to John McCarron, in the Chicago Tribune.
"Benefits are another story. Most salaried workers in the private sector, where defined-contribution 401(k) plans are the norm, can only dream of the defined benefits common in the public sector. And most salaried private-sector workers — which is to say most workers — can only dream of benefits that vest in as little as 10 years, or full vesting at age 50, or cash credit for untaken sick or vacation days or minimal contribution to health insurance premiums, even in retirement.
So hit those picket lines, fellow Democrats, and wave your union-made signs. Me? I'll sit this one out. You're not wrong to defend union bennies, just naive. Get back to me when the fight shifts to someplace we can win."
John McCarron teaches, writes and consults on urban affairs.
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