Archive for the ‘government’ Category

Low IQ: Why India Fails on Terrorism

December 2, 2008

An advance team of security personnel securing the Oberoi in Mumbai for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit at a function on November 29 had no idea of persistent terror alerts for several sea-facing hotels in that city.

These alerts had been sounded by the country’s external intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) not once but four times, as reported exclusively by Hindustan Times on Tuesday. Every public place that is to host the prime minister for any length of time is checked and sanitized by the SPG one or two days in advance.

By Varghese K George
From the Hindustan Times

HT has learnt that a team of Special Protection Group (SPG), the outfit that protects past and present PMs and their families, left the Oberoi barely minutes before terrorists struck on November 26.

This paper reported on Tuesday that R&AW had four intercepts starting September 18 about an operation being planned and launched by the terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Tayyeba against Mumbai hotels using the sea route. Though the Oberoi was not among those named in the intercepts — the alerts were against sea-facing hotels. Those named were the Taj Mahal, the Marriott, the Taj Land’s end and the Sea Rock.

The Oberoi also faces the sea. But the SPG had no clue to these alerts.
 
Every public place that is to host the prime minister for any length of time is checked and sanitized by the SPG one or two days in advance. And every threat perception is considered before the visit is allowed.

Each of these alerts was sent to a centralised intelligence group set up by the National Security Adviser MK Narayanan. Sources in the intelligence agency told HT they don’t know what happened to these alerts. They didn’t at least go to the SPG as it was not aware of these alerts. Officials in the group refused to discuss this issue when contacted for comments.

Read the rest:
http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/FullcoverageStoryPage.asp
x?id=20388112-18af-44f2-b55f-dd8763ed84ecMumbaiunderattack
_Special&&Headline=Low+IQ%3a+Why+India+fails+in+stopping+terr
or+attacks

India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the all-party meeting ... 
India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the all-party meeting in New Delhi November 30, 2008. The Mumbai attackers were all from Pakistan, India’s deputy interior minister said on Monday, stopping short of blaming the government in Islamabad for last week’s carnage which left more than 170 dead. Singh’s government has taken a lot of criticism for their response to terror, both from the Indian media and the political opposition.(AFP/Raveendran)

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Zimbabwe Cholera Deaths Near 500; Deathly Sick Spilling Across Borders

December 2, 2008

A cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe has killed at least 484 people since August, according to the UN.

More than 11,700 cases of cholera have been recorded over the same period, an update from the UN office for humanitarian affairs said.

The cholera outbreak has affected most of Zimbabwe’s regions.

Its spread has been aided by the collapse of Zimbabwe’s health and sanitation systems amid a prolonged economic and political crisis.

Previously it had been reported that 425 people had died from cholera, which is spread by contaminated water.

The disease is endemic in Zimbabwe but this is the worst outbreak since 2000.

BBC

State media has reported that much of the capital, Harare, has been left without water because of a shortage of purification chemicals.

Read the rest:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7760088.stm

Pakistan: Near Economic Collapse and Besieged By Terrorists Now Must Deal With U.S., India

December 1, 2008

Indian accusations of a Pakistani hand in last week’s Mumbai massacre couldn’t have come at a worse time for the government in Islamabad: As a Taliban insurgency continues to simmer in the tribal areas along the Afghan border, clashes on Sunday between rival political groups in the southern metropolis of Karachi killed 13 people and wounded 70.

The country is on the verge of economic collapse, its desperate pleas for financial assistance from China and Saudi Arabia last month having been rebuffed, forcing Pakistan to accept loans from the International Monetary Fund – but those loans come with stern conditions limiting government spending, the implementation of which will risk inflaming further unrest. A suspected U.S. predator drone attack in the tribal areas on Saturday – one of dozens in recent months – has further alienated a population already suspicious of U.S. interference. Hardly surprising, then, that Pakistani leaders have reacted with alarm to politicians and the media in India pointing a finger at Pakistan-based terror groups over the Mumbai attack. Some foreign investigators have made similar claims, although not in any official capacity.

Most Pakistanis reacted with horror to news of the Mumbai killing spree starting Wednesday, having lived through equally devastating attacks on their own soil. But that initial sympathy quickly gave way to hostility as the focus of blame landed on Pakistan – a knee-jerk first reaction, rather than one based on any solid evidence. “It is a tragic incident, and we also felt bad about it as Pakistan is going through the same problem,” says Abdur Rashid, a 67-year-old retired government servant in Rawalpindi, near Islamabad. “But it was really unfortunate to see that even before the operation [to clear out the attackers] was finished, the Indian government stated that Pakistan is involved. It sounds that the entire incident was concocted to punish Pakistan.” See images of Mumbai after the siege….

Read the rest from MUZI:
http://dailynews.muzi.com/news/ll/english/10083894.shtml

Thai government demotes national police chief

November 28, 2008

Thailand‘s government demoted the national police chief on Friday after he failed to end a siege of the capital’s airports by anti-government protesters.

By AMBIKA AHUJA and CHRIS BLAKE, Associated Press Writers

Hundreds of demonstrators, demanding the government’s ouster, stormed Suvarnabhumi international airport on Tuesday and took over the smaller Don Muang domestic airport a day later. The capital remains completely cut off from air traffic, stranding thousands of travelers and dealing severe blows to the economy.

Government spokesman Nattawut Sai-Kau said National Police Chief Gen. Pacharawat Wongsuwan has been moved to an inactive post in the prime minister’s office.

Nattawut declined to comment on the order, issued by Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat.

It was not clear if Pacharawat was removed because the police failed to evict the protesters, but it could be because he apparently made no attempt to negotiate a peaceful end to the crisis, as the government had asked.

Interior Minister Kowit Wattana met with police at a precinct near Suvarnabhumi on Friday.

About 200 police, carrying riot gears and shields, were seen outside airport offices, which are about 400 yards (meters) from the terminal where the protesters are camped out.

The airport takeover capped months of demonstrations by the protesters, who belong to the People’s Alliance for Democracy. They took over the prime minister’s office three months ago, virtually paralyzing the government.

They say they won’t give up until the government steps down.

“We are ready to defend ourselves against any government’s operations to get us out of those places,” said Parnthep Wongpuapan, an alliance spokesman.

Government-induced Economic Crisis Getting a Government-insured Resolution

November 28, 2008

There is a condign symmetry about this financial crisis. A government-induced crisis is getting a government-insured resolution.

The excesses of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are being mopped up by huge federal spending made all the more massive by all the reckless endeavors of the politicians, the regulators, and the financiers who frivoled with the intemperance of Freddie and Fannie.

Now President-elect Barack Obama has perhaps faced up to the mess. He has not shied away from bringing former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers onto his economic team as head of his National Economic Council.

By R. Emmett Tyrrell
The Washington Times

Mr. Summers was a proper critic of Freddie and Fannie, having noted this past summer that, “The illusions that the companies were doing virtuous work made it impossible to build a political case for serious regulation.” This virtuous work was extending mortgages to those who could not afford those mortgages. The toxic mortgages were then bundled in with healthy mortgages and sold around the world by Wall Street geniuses like some enormous chain letter whose day of reckoning came some months ago.

The endeavor was a fantasy that had to end badly and so it has. Yet at a certain level the constituent elements of the Democratic Party are given to fantasy and excess. Consider the most vocal critics of Mr. Summers. They are not bankers or economists. They are feminists, often feminist scientists, who forced him out of the presidency of Harvard for his recognition that women of genius are not as plentiful as men of genius in the sciences and math.

What he cited was a fact. Mr. Summers drew no invidious conclusions and offered no program that would limit the number of lady scientists. He just noted the data in a forum supposedly open to free discourse. Kaboom – the women of the fevered brow drove him from office. Remind me not to read a book aloud in Harvard Yard.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008
/nov/28/recognizing-crisis/

Thailand’s Crisis; Government Rejects Army Call To Go

November 26, 2008
Thailand’s army chief told the government on Wednesday to step down and call a snap election as a way out of a political crisis threatening to spiral out of control after a gang shot dead an anti-government activist.
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Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat, who has rejected army chief Anupong Pachinda’s call to dissolve parliament, will address the nation on television at around 9 p.m. (1400 GMT), his chief of staff told Reuters.

Somchai returned to Thailand from an Asia-Pacific summit to find tempers flaring across the country and threatening to explode into civil unrest.

A gang of government supporters in the northern city of Chiang Mai shot dead an anti-government activist on Wednesday, the first serious violence outside Bangkok.

By Nopporn Wong-Anan, Reuters
Wednesday, November 26, 2008; 9:39 AM

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content
/article/2008/11/26/AR2008112600470.html?hpi
d=topnews

Half of primary-care doctors in survey would leave medicine

November 18, 2008

Nearly half the respondents in a survey of U.S. primary care physicians said that they would seriously consider getting out of the medical business within the next three years if they had an alternative.

By Val Willingham
CNN Medical Producer

The survey, released this week by the Physicians’ Foundation, which promotes better doctor-patient relationships, sought to find the reasons for an identified exodus among family doctors and internists, widely known as the backbone of the health industry.

A U.S. shortage of 35,000 to 40,000 primary care physicians by 2025 was predicted at last week’s American Medical Association annual meeting.

In the survey, the foundation sent questionnaires to more than 270,000 primary care doctors and more than 50,000 specialists nationwide.

Of the 12,000 respondents, 49 percent said they’d consider leaving medicine. Many said they are overwhelmed with their practices, not because they have too many patients, but because there’s too much red tape generated from insurance companies and government agencies.

Read the rest:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/11/17/primary.care.
doctors.study/index.html

‘Socialism’? It’s Already Here.

November 15, 2008

Conservatism’s current intellectual chaos reverberated in the Republican ticket’s end-of-campaign crescendo of surreal warnings that big government — verily, “socialism” — would impend were Democrats elected.
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John McCain and Sarah Palin experienced this epiphany when Barack Obama told a Toledo plumber that he would “spread the wealth around.”
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America can’t have that, exclaimed the Republican ticket while Republicans — whose prescription drug entitlement is the largest expansion of the welfare state since President Lyndon Johnson‘s Great Society gave birth to Medicare in 1965; and a majority of whom in Congress supported a lavish farm bill at a time of record profits for the less than 2 percent of the American people-cum-corporations who farm — and their administration were partially nationalizing the banking system, putting Detroit on the dole and looking around to see if some bit of what is smilingly called “the private sector” has been inadvertently left off the ever-expanding list of entities eligible for a bailout from the $1 trillion or so that is to be “spread around.”

The seepage of government into everywhere is, we are assured, to be temporary and nonpolitical. Well. 

By George F. Will
The Washington Post
Sunday, November 16, 2008; Page B07

Probably as temporary as New York City’s rent controls, which were born as emergency responses to the Second World War and are still distorting the city’s housing market. The Depression, which FDR failed to end but which Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor did end, was the excuse for agriculture subsidies that have lived past three score years and 10. ….

An employee working as a money changer prepares U.S. dollar ...

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/11/14
/AR2008111403045.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

Department of Homeland Security Pick Will Tell a Lot

November 11, 2008

The background of President-elect Barack Obama‘s pick to head the Department of Homeland Security will reveal a lot about how his nascent administration views the future of the troubled agency, according to Washington insiders.

“There are any number of excellently qualified candidates,” P.J. Crowley, director of homeland security at the Center for American Progress, told United Press International. “It will be interesting to see the selection. The skill set will tell us a lot about the future direction [of the department] in an Obama administration.”

Mr. Crowley was a senior national security official under President Clinton, and John Podesta, the head of CAP, is co-chairman of Mr. Obama’s transition team.

Mr. Crowley and other security experts said in interviews that the Homeland Security Department, with the second-largest work force in the federal government, has responsibilities in areas of potentially enormous political significance for the new government – counterterrorism, disaster recovery and immigration.

“That is why the skill set is interesting … you can compare it to the challenges in these … diverse areas,” said Mr. Crowley.

“How do you lead an agency that is still searching for a common identity?” asked Mr. Crowley, adding that the department’s agenda was “still a work in progress.”

By Shaun Waterman, UPI

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/
nov/11/nominee-to-need-many-skills/

To Rescue the Economy: How Much Government?

November 9, 2008

What is the right amount of government intervention in the American economy?  That is the question.

China manages its economy from the halls of the Beijing communist government’s headquarters.  Yet the communist government, unable even to assure people of basic safeties like pure and untainted food, often blames other “criminals” that they themselves are unable to deter, prevent or defend against.  Even today, China wants Western nations to clean up the environmental disaster that is China today: despite the fact that China’s communists have gotten unbelievably wealthy by ignoring the environmental lessons learned in the West for decades.

Personally, the fact that China’s ground water is now polluted to a degree of about 90% doesn’t sound like an issue the West should have to deal with: the Chinese communists have allowed filth to proliferate and now they live in filth.  Corrective action is up to them.

A policeman stands gaurd amid the smog in Beijing's Tiananmen Square one month before the Olympic Games start.
Above: A policeman stands gaurd amid the smog in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square one month before the Olympic Games started this summer.  Photo: Reuters

So we know, or should know, that too much government intervention may not be a good thing.  Judging from the vast number of pages of our Tax Code and the fact that even smart accountants often have to consult “outside experts” to figure their own taxes, my faith in the U.S. government’s ability to manage the economy and my life is, let us say, tenuous…..

This brings us to the “blame game” of the American and global economic and financial meltdown.  Russia blames the U.S.  But nobody who got rich due to the lavish practices of spending and lending seems to have been taken to account.  They got rich and they got away.

It might just be me but I believe in accountability — which seems to be gone in our modern society. 

Who paid for the economic meltdown? 

Apparently: you and me.

”These two entities — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — are not facing any kind of financial crisis,” said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ”The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.”  Barney Frank, quoted by The New York Times, said this on September 11, 2003.  Had appropriate action been taken then perhaps we woulnd’t be in this mess.

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank listens ... 
Above: House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank listens during testimony before the committee in a hearing on ‘the Future of Financial Services Regulation,’ on Capitol Hill, October 21, 2008.(Mitch Dumke/Reuters)

Republicans generally want less regulation.  Democrats generally want more.  That is the crux of the issue, as I see it.

And there is already at least some government involvement in the U.S. economy, as Walter E. Williams points out, (see link below) thanks to the Congress, BATF, CAA, CFTC, CPSC, DEA, EEOC, EPA, FAA, FCC, FDA, FDIC, FEMA, FERC, FRB, FTC, INS, IRS, NHTSA, NIH, NLRB, OHSA, SEC, the Departments of: Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Education, Commerce, Labor, Agriculture, Transportation, other federal agenciesand etc…..

Related:
 Capitalism, fiscal woes; contempt for economic liberty