Saturday, 14 September 2013

Barka



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Mark M. Kahle H.


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Fwd: [New post] Decision Looms in Holder’s Fast and Furious Contempt Case





Sard posted: " By William La Jeunesse, Fox News While most of Washington has moved on, legal scholars expect a decision soon in a potentially landmark case in one of the federal government's most damaging scandals -- Operation Fast and Furious. Republican lawmakers, af"

New post on therightplanet.com

Decision Looms in Holder's Fast and Furious Contempt Case

by Sard

By William La Jeunesse, Fox News While most of Washington has moved on, legal scholars expect a decision soon in a potentially landmark case in one of the federal government's most damaging scandals -- Operation Fast and Furious. Republican lawmakers, after holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for failing to turn over records they […]

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Sard | September 14, 2013 at 5:56 pm | URL: http://wp.me/p1SHGG-aNQ

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Fwd: [New post] Virtually hours after Missouri House fails to override Governor’s veto of anti-sharia law bill, a Muslim lawyer announces his intention to practice sharia





BareNakedIslam posted: "Even as anti-Shariah legislation roils statehouses, including in Missouri, one Kansas City attorney has launched a new practice precisely in that field. http://www.stltoday.com/news Missouri lawmakers on Wednesday failed to override two vetoes on measure"

New post on BARE NAKED ISLAM

Virtually hours after Missouri House fails to override Governor's veto of anti-sharia law bill, a Muslim lawyer announces his intention to practice sharia

by BareNakedIslam

Even as anti-Shariah legislation roils statehouses, including in Missouri, one Kansas City attorney has launched a new practice precisely in that field. http://www.stltoday.com/news Missouri lawmakers on Wednesday failed to override two vetoes on measures that would have prevented foreign laws and a United Nations resolution from being applied in the state. The Senate early Wednesday voted to […]

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BareNakedIslam | September 14, 2013 at 5:34 pm | URL: http://wp.me/p276zM-XQG

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Fwd: [New post] Louisiana: Newspaper features Muslim cover story on 9/11, shamed into apology by Americans





creeping posted: "The submission to Islam doesn't stop and the infiltration by Muslims is ramping up aggressively. via 9/11 story missed the mark | Shreveporttimes | shreveporttimes.com. Remembering the heroes and inspiring people moved to action on the horrible events of"
Respond to this post by replying above this line

New post on Creeping Sharia

Louisiana: Newspaper features Muslim cover story on 9/11, shamed into apology by Americans

by creeping

The submission to Islam doesn't stop and the infiltration by Muslims is ramping up aggressively. via 9/11 story missed the mark | Shreveporttimes | shreveporttimes.com. Remembering the heroes and inspiring people moved to action on the horrible events of Sept. 11 is a job for the ages. We missed being your beacon for honoring them […]

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Fwd: Hitting the Ejector Seat on the Clown Car Presidency








Hitting the Ejector Seat on the Clown Car Presidency

Posted By Ed Driscoll On September 12, 2013

"A consensus assessment of the past week's events could easily form around Oliver Hardy's famous lament to the compulsive bumbler Stan Laurel: 'Here's another nice mess you've gotten us into!'", Daniel Henninger writes in the Wall Street Journal on "The Laurel and Hardy Presidency." Though that's an unfortunate shot at a pair of venerated performers from Hollywood's golden era, professional comedians who worked extremely hard to be deliberately funny. Humor, both of the slip-on-a-banana-peel and gallows variety, is merely the unintentional byproduct of Mr. Obama and his hapless administration:

The past week was a perfect storm of American malfunction. Colliding at the center of a serious foreign-policy crisis was Barack Obama's manifest skills deficit, conservative animosity toward Mr. Obama, Republican distrust of his leadership, and the reflexive opportunism of politicians from Washington to Moscow.

It is Barack Obama's impulse to make himself and whatever is in his head the center of attention. By now, we are used to it. But this week he turned himself, the presidency and the United States into a spectacle. We were alternately shocked and agog at these events. Now the sobering-up has to begin.

The world has effectively lost its nominal leader, the U.S. president. Is this going to be the new normal? If so—and it will be so if serious people don't step up—we are looking at a weakened U.S president who has a very, very long three years left on his term.

The belief by some that we can ride this out till a Reagan-like rescue comes in the 2016 election is wrong. Jimmy Carter's Iranian hostage crisis began on Nov. 4, 1979. One quick year later, the American people turned to Ronald Reagan. There will be no such chance next year or the year after that—not till November 2016.

Henninger adds that "The libertarian lurch on foreign policy among some Republicans is a dead end. Libertarians understand markets. But left alone, the global market in aggression won't clear. Like a malign, untreated tumor, it will grow. You can't program it to kill only non-Americans. The world's worst impulses run by their own logic. What's going to stop them now?"

But perhaps the libertarian lurch on foreign policy among some Republicans is caused by a very different kind of dead end. In his review of Lewis Sorley's 1999 book, A Better War: The Unexamined Victories and the Final Tragedy of America's Last Years in Vietnam, Orrin Judd wrote:

In 1972, with the Viet Cong essentially eliminated as an effective fighting force, the North Vietnamese mounted a massive Easter offensive, but this too was decisively defeated.

Having failed to achieve their aims militarily, the North Vietnamese turned their attention to the Paris Peace Talks. They were extraordinarily fortunate to be dealing with Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon, two opportunists of the worst sort, who were willing to negotiate a deal which left the North with troops in South Vietnam. When President Thieu balked at this and threatened to scuttle the talks, the North backed off of the whole deal and Nixon ordered the 1972 Christmas bombings of Hanoi. For eleven days, waves of B-52′s, each carrying 108 500-pound and 750-pound bombs, pummeled the North. For perhaps the only time during the entire War, the North was subjected to total war, and they were forced to return to the negotiating table. Sorley cites Sir Robert Thompson's assessment that :

"In my view, on December 30, 1972, after eleven days of those B-52 attacks on the Hanoi area, you had won the war. It was over."

At that point, the Viet Cong had been destroyed, we had definitely won the insurgency phase of the War. Additionally, the North had been defeated in the initial phase of conventional warfare, and had finally had the War brought home to them in a significant way. Though the overall War was certainly not over, it was sitting there, just waiting to be won.

So what happened ?

Here's how the Democrat Congress eviscerated South Vietnam immediately afterwards, because, you know, Nixon, maaaan:

In 2009 shortly before Barack Obama took office, William McGurn, a former chief speechwriter for Bush #43, wrote in the Wall Street Journal, "Bush's Real Sin Was Winning in Iraq," adding that "perhaps the most important reason for this unpopularity is the one least commented on. Here's a hint: It's not because of his failures. To the contrary, Mr. Bush's disfavor in Washington owes more to his greatest success. Simply put, there are those who will never forgive Mr. Bush for not losing a war they had all declared unwinnable."

Naturally, President Bush's successor could not allow that to stand.

As Michael Graham recently wrote in the Boston Herald, "In Iraq, where we toppled Saddam just a decade ago and oversaw three national elections, there isn't a single American combat soldier left. A fact President Obama has repeatedly celebrated." Because, you know, Bush, maaaan:

Now imagine the world today — the exploding Egypt, sarin-gas Syria, bombs-in-Benghazi world — if Obama had treated Iraq the way America treated Germany, Japan and Korea. Imagine the Middle East with a fully functioning U.S. military base on the border of Iran and Syria, able to project power right on Bashar Assad and the ayatollahs' doorsteps.

Alas, we can only imagine …

Syria, as bad as it is, isn't even close to the greatest foreign policy failure of the Obama administration. It's a symptom of Obama's abandonment of the region. And the high (low?) point of that policy was Obama's decision to abandon the moderate, pro-Western citizens of Iraq to the extremists.

Obama's withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq will be viewed by history as one of the greatest foreign policy blunders of all time.

Please don't start the tired "Bush Lied, People Died" nonsense. Forget the faulty intelligence on Iraq's WMD program. Even if you lie in bed at night sticking pins in your "W" voodoo doll, it's irrational to ignore the pragmatic value of a U.S. military force in a U.S.-leaning Iraq in the heart of the mess that is Obama's "Arab Spring" Middle East.

Having 10,000 trained, intelligence-gathering troops bolstering the flagging courage of timid (small "d") democrats and rattling the nerves of despots and terrorists is a good thing — no matter how we got there.

Nation building requires, as Churchill would say, enormous amounts of blood, sweat, and toil. If our betters on the left side of the aisle won't allow those nations for which we've worked so hard to free from tyranny to maintain their freedom, what's the point? Better to not get involved at all.

Of course, that also applies to those "humanitarian" conflicts the left wishes to engage in as well. Speaking of which, in Obama's mercifully brief but tragically ill-conceived* speech on Tuesday he disgustingly said:

And so to my friends on the right, I ask you to reconcile your commitment to America's military might with the failure to act when a cause is so plainly just.

To my friends on the left, I ask you to reconcile your belief in freedom and dignity for all people with those images of children writhing in pain and going still on a cold hospital floor, for sometimes resolutions and statements of condemnation are simply not enough.

Noted – and not soon forgotten. Yesterday, libertarian economist and 2008 Obama supporter Megan McCardle responded at Bloomberg.com:

Maybe this convinced some left-wing Democrats, though you wouldn't know it from my Twitter feed. But only at the expense of backhanding Republicans. His argument was, in essence: Republicans, you may not care about the freedom and dignity of foreigners, or children writhing in pain and going still on a cold hospital floor. But you sure do love war and the military! We're going to restore dignity, freedom and life to some foreigners by bombing them — couldn't you overlook the fact that foreigners will benefit, as long as we get to blow some stuff up?

I don't think that argument is what he meant to make. That's why it's so breathtaking. Presumably our tin-eared president, and his blinkered speechwriting staff, didn't even hear him juxtaposing people who care about freedom, dignity and dead children, on the one hand, and bitter clingers who are committed to military might, on the other. If Obama does need to go to Congress to get authorization, this lead balloon of an appeal will weigh him down every step of the way.

Way to build unity when, as that leftwing cliché goes, the whole world really is watching, champ. Yet another reason to support, at least for now, what Jonah Goldberg memorably described as the "To Hell With Them" foreign policy.

When the driver of the clown car retires from the circus for good, perhaps the nation will respond differently. Or perhaps, like Charlie Brown, it's seen the football pulled out from under them one too many times.

* Alvy Singer, call your office.


Article printed from Ed Driscoll: http://pjmedia.com/eddriscoll

URL to article: http://pjmedia.com/eddriscoll/2013/09/12/the-clown-car-presidency/

 



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Fwd: Obamacare Employee Accidentally Sends Out 2,400 Social Security Numbers








And to think that there are still people who think ObamaCare is wonderful.

Also check out


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http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/obamacare-employee-accidentally-sends-out-2400-social-security-numbers_753991.html

Obamacare Employee Accidentally Sends Out 2,400 Social Security Numbers

9:05 AM, Sep 14, 2013 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON

 

With Obamacare's massive Patient Data Hub poised to open soon, a sloppy mistake by an Obamacare employee hasn't exactly inspired confidence that Americans' private information will be closely guarded by Obamacare's powers-that-be.  As the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports (and Andrew Johnson highlights at NRO), an Obamacare exchange employee in Minnesota accidentally sent out an email containing 2,400 Americans' Social Security numbers. 

The Star Tribune writes:

"A MNsure employee accidentally sent an e-mail file to an Apple Valley insurance broker's office on Thursday that contained Social Security numbers, names, business addresses and other identifying information on more than 2,400 insurance agents.

"An official at MNsure, the state's new online health insurance exchange, acknowledged it had mishandled private data. A MNsure security manager called the broker, Jim Koester, and walked him and his assistant through a process of deleting the file from their computer hard drives.

"Koester said he willingly complied, but was unnerved.

"'The more I thought about it, the more troubled I was,' he said. 'What if this had fallen into the wrong hands? It's scary. If this is happening now, how can clients of MNsure be confident their data is safe?'"

"Users of the exchange will need to provide sensitive information, including Social Security numbers, that will be sent to a federal hub to verify such things as citizenship and household income….

"All states and the federal government, which also is setting up exchanges for some states, are scurrying to get the complex system running in less than three weeks.

"'The people who believe in this are so driven that there's a subcontext of "Just let us do our job and get as many people signed up as possible, and we'll pick up the debris later,"' said Steve Parente, a University of Minnesota finance professor who specializes in health IT issues.

"Parente testified on Capitol Hill earlier this week, urging caution in pushing the federal hub online before it has been thoroughly tested.

The Star Tribune reports that the recipient of the mishandled privacy data was applying to become an Obamacare "navigator"

"Koester, the agent, had been working with MNsure staff because he was having trouble registering for classes to get trained as a certified 'navigator' to help people sign up for coverage.

"Koester said there had been some back-and-forth with a MNsure staffer when he received an e-mail and attachment that took him by surprise: page after page of names, business addresses, license numbers and Social Security numbers.

…"'[T]he gorilla in the room is that they sent me something that's not even encrypted. It's unsecured, on an Excel spreadsheet — which is using outdated technology to transfer that information in the first place.'

"'They've got to realize they have a huge problem.'"

Here's a helpful diagram of how Obamacare's Patient Data Hub would operate, courtesy of FreedomWorks.  Maybe it's time to delay Obamacare—before repealing it in 2017.



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Fwd: Massive New Gun Taxes Proposed by Democrats







September 12, 2013
by Woody
Related Topics: Firearms General Gun Rights Industry News Legal Issues News Second Amendment     The bill would also increase the transfer tax on all weapons (except antique guns) covered under the National Firearms Act (which excludes most common guns) from $200 to $500 and index to inflation and increase the transfer tax for any other weapon from $5 to $100.

pascrell-edited


The "Gun Violence Prevention and Safe Communities Act," a bill sponsored by William Pascrell, D-NJ, and Danny Davis, D-IL., would nearly double the current 11 percent tax on handguns, while raising the levy on bullets and cartridges from 11 to 50 percent.

Said Rep. Pascrell, co-Chair of the House Law Enforcement Caucus and member of the Ways and Means Committee, "It has been well over two decades since tax rates were last adjusted on firearms and ammunition, and I believe it is appropriate that we look to these taxes as a way to direct additional resources to law enforcement, background checks and gun violence research."

The lawmakers say the bill would generate $600 million per year, which they claim would be used to fund law-enforcement and gun violence prevention. The bill would exempt all federal, state and local agencies, including police departments, from paying the tax.

"What the anti-gun interests can't ban, they want to tax it out of existence," Alan Gottlieb, chairman for the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, told FoxNews.com. "It's nothing more than confiscatory taxation."

The bill includes the following provisions:

  • Increase in federal excise tax on handguns (both pistols and revolvers) from 11% to 20%
  • Increase in federal excise tax on ammunition from 11% to 50%
  • Increase in NFA tax (pre-'86 autos, SBRs, suppressors, etc.) from $200 to $500
  • Increase in NFA AOW tax from $5 to $100
  • Increase in special (occupational) tax for importers, manufacturers, and dealers
  • Adds semiautomatic pistols "chambered for cartridges commonly considered rifle rounds, configured with receivers commonly associated with rifles and capable of accepting detachable magazines" to the list of items taxable as NFA items (26 USC § 5845)


H.R. 3018: Gun Violence Prevention and Safe Communities Act of 2013

John Lott Jr: It must be obvious to everyone now that since Democrats can't completely ban guns, they want to tax them out of existence.



 



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Fwd: Miss Kansas Bares Her Tattoos

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Fwd: War Is Coming: 10 Reasons Why A Diplomatic Solution To The Syria Crisis Is Extremely Unlikely






War Is Coming: 10 Reasons Why A Diplomatic Solution To The Syria Crisis Is Extremely Unlikely


War Is Coming: 10 Reasons Why A Diplomatic Solution To The Syria Crisis Is Extremely Unlikely

Posted: 12 Sep 2013 06:40 PM PDT

U.S. Military War With SyriaOver the past few days, there has been a tremendous wave of optimism that it may be possible for war with Syria to be averted.  Unfortunately, it appears that a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Syria is extremely unlikely.  Assad is certainly willing to give up his chemical weapons, but he wants the U.S. to accept a bunch of concessions that it will never agree to.  And it certainly sounds like the Obama administration has already decided that "diplomacy" is going to fail, and they continue to position military assets for the upcoming conflict with Syria.  Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey are all going to continue to heavily pressure the Obama administration.  They have invested a huge amount of time and resources into the conflict in Syria, and they desperately want the U.S. military to intervene.  Fortunately, overwhelming domestic and global opposition to an attack on Syria has slowed down the march toward war for the moment, but unfortunately that probably will not be enough to stop it completely.  The following are ten reasons why war is almost certainly coming…

#1 Assad wants a guarantee that he will not be attacked by the United States or by anyone else before he will give up his chemical weapons.

That is extremely unlikely to happen.

#2 Assad is not going to agree to any chemical weapons deal unless the U.S. stops giving weapons to al-Qaeda terrorists and other jihadist rebels that are fighting against the Syrian government.

That is extremely unlikely to happen.

In fact, according to the Washington Post, the U.S. has been ramping up the delivery of weapons to jihadist rebels in Syria…

The CIA has begun delivering weapons to rebels in Syria, ending months of delay in lethal aid that had been promised by the Obama administration, according to U.S. officials and Syrian figures. The shipments began streaming into the country over the past two weeks, along with separate deliveries by the State Department of vehicles and other gear — a flow of material that marks a major escalation of the U.S. role in Syria's civil war.

#3 Assad is suggesting that the Israelis should give up their weapons of mass destruction.

That is extremely unlikely to happen.

#4 The Syrian "rebels" desperately want the U.S. military to intervene in the war in Syria.  In fact, that was the entire reason for the false flag chemical weapon attack in the first place.

The "top rebel commander" is now declaring that the Free Syrian Army "categorically rejects the Russian initiative", and he is calling on the United States to strike the Assad regime immediately.

#5 Saudi Arabia desperately wants the U.S. military to intervene in Syria.  The Saudis have spent billions of dollars to support the rebels in Syria, and they have been lobbying very hard for an attack.

#6 Qatar desperately wants the U.S. military to intervene in Syria.  Qatar has also spent billions of dollars to support the rebels in Syria, and it has been reported that "Arab countries" have even offered to pay for all of the costs of a U.S. military operation that would remove Assad.

#7 Turkey has wanted a war which would remove Assad for a very long time.  And CNN is reporting that Turkey has moved troops to the border with Syria in anticipation of an upcoming attack.

#8 Many members of the U.S. Congress want this war.  Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham are virtually foaming at the mouth, and Robert Menendez, the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that he "almost wanted to vomit" after reading Russian President Vladimir Putin's plea for peace in the New York Times.

#9 Obama does not want to look weak, and he seems absolutely obsessed with starting a war with Syria.  For the moment, he has been backed into a corner diplomatically by Russia, but the Obama administration is already laying the groundwork for making it look like "diplomacy has failed".  According to CNN, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is already talking about the "consequences" that will happen when the Syria deal falls apart…

Any agreement reached must be "comprehensive," "verifiable," "credible" and "able to be implemented in a timely fashion," Kerry said, adding that "there ought to be consequences if it doesn't take place."

#10 There have been reports that U.S. soldiers are now receiving orders to deploy to Syria.  For example, the following is from a recent article by Paul Joseph Watson

Venture capitalist Dan Bubalo claims he was told by a source close to Ft. Hood that US troops have been ordered to deploy to Syria.

Writing for conservative columnist Mychal Massie's website, Bubalo cites a "close and verifiable source" who told him that a friend at Ft. Hood had received news that he was to be sent to Egypt for the next nine months.

"This particular soldier said that while he was not really thrilled about the assignment to Egypt, it was better than the soldiers that remained at the military base BECAUSE THEY HAD JUST RECEIVED THEIR DEPLOYMENT ORDERS TO GO TO SYRIA," writes Bubalo.

If you want to read the original report, you can find it right here.

For the moment, Obama and Kerry will dance around and make it look like they are considering peace.  They will try to get Congress to authorize a strike "if diplomacy fails".

But they already know that diplomacy is going to fail.  Once they are ready, Obama will declare that the conditions for war set forth in the congressional authorization have been fulfilled and then he will start raining cruise missiles down on Syria.

When that happens, will Obama have your support?  The video posted below is one of the funniest that I have seen in a long time…

And when Obama does strike Syria, he will officially be allying the United States with al-Qaeda and other radical jihadist groups.

Middle Eastern expert Jonathan Spyer has spent a lot of time on the ground among the Syrian rebels recently.  The following is what he has to say about who they are…

"Undoubtedly outside of Syria, and in the Syrian opposition structures, there are civilian political activists and leaders who are opposed to al-Qaida and opposed to Islamism," Spyer explained to TheDC in an email interview. "There are also civilian activists and structures within the country which are opposed to al-Qaida and Islamism. But when one looks at the armed rebel groups, one finds an obvious vast majority there who are adherents of Islamism of one kind or another — stretching from Muslim Brotherhood-type formations all the way across to groups openly aligned with al-Qaida central and with al-Zawahiri."

"The 'moderate' force which we are told about supposedly consists of those rebel brigades aligned with the Supreme Military Command, of Major-General Salim Edriss," he continued. "Most of the units aligned with the SMC actually come from a 20-unit strong bloc called the Syrian Islamic Liberation Front. This includes some powerful brigades, such as Liwa al-Islam in the Damascus area, Liwa al Farouq and Liwa al Tawhid. These and the overwhelming majority of the units aligned with the SMC are Islamist formations, who adhere to a Muslim Brotherhood-type outlook."

And as NBC News recently pointed out, a high percentage of these "rebels" have come in from outside Syria…

Abu Abdul Rahman, a 22-year-old from Tunisia, sat in a safe house earlier this week in Antakya — a southern Turkey town that's fast becoming a smugglers transit route. He was waiting for a smuggler to take him across the border to fight in Syria.

"Almighty Allah has made Jihad a duty on us. When our Muslim brethren are oppressed, it is a duty to support them wherever they are, because Muslims are not separated by countries," he said.

Abdul Rahman is one of thousands of al-Qaeda volunteers who are flocking to Syria to join what they see as a battle to defend Muslims no one is bothering to help.

"This was a dream for me, to wage jihad for Allah's sake, because this is one of the greatest deeds in Islam, to lift aggression off my brothers, to bleed for Allah and no other," he said.

Is this really who Obama intends for us to become "allies" with?

Is he insane?

In article after article, I have documented how Obama's Syrian rebels have been ruthlessly murdering Christians, using chemical weapons and dismembering little girls.

Today, I found an account from a Time Magazine reporter that chillingly describes the brutality of these fanatics…

I don't know how old the victim was but he was young. He was forced to his knees. The rebels around him read out his crimes from a sheet of paper. They stood around him. The young man was on his knees on the ground, his hands tied. He seemed frozen.

Two rebels whispered something into his ear and the young man replied in an innocent and sad manner, but I couldn't understand what he said because I don't speak Arabic.

At the moment of execution the rebels grasped his throat. The young man put up a struggle. Three or four rebels pinned him down. The man tried to protect his throat with his hands, which were still tied together. He tried to resist but they were stronger than he was and they cut his throat. They raised his head into the air. People waved their guns and cheered. Everyone was happy that the execution had gone ahead.

Should the U.S. military be used to help those jihadist thugs take control of Syria?

If Obama gets us into this war, it has the potential to spin totally out of control very rapidly.

Let us hope and pray that it does not happen.  Because if we do go to war in Syria, it could ultimately lead us down the road to World War III.

Middle East War Is Coming

 

 

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Fwd: San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge – a lesson to be learned









 

Part two - "San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge – a lesson to be learned" is here.

 

San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge – a lesson to be learned

This is a guest column; 'Mihael Willman' is the pseudonym for a concerned Canadian – JG.

This is part two of a two-part series.

by Mihael Willman

"The decision to give contracts to Zhenhua Heavy Industries and other Chinese government-owned companies is not just short-sighted, but potentially suicidal for the future. As long as contracts are given to the lowest bidder, Chinese government-owned companies will easily be able to undercut any domestic company, since profit is not the primary goal. With the financial backing of Beijing, these companies will be able to destroy the capability of American and other Western companies to compete for contracts not only abroad, but in their own countries as well."

At a time of government mega-spending, some of it incredibly wasteful, the time may have arrived for citizens and especially taxpayers to get the right to sue the politicians responsible for these decisions. The Ontario Liberal government's decision to cancel construction of several power stations, under Dalton McGuinty, in the full knowledge that this would cost hundreds of millions of dollars, is a particular case in point. But a more blatant example is the building of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge!

In a supposed effort to save $400 million, former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) pushed to outsource the building of the suspension span to China, in total disregard for the extent to which American workers would be impacted by this decision. But even worse is the fact that no real savings were realized, as in the end the cost of the Chinese-made section was over budget, while completion was three years overdue.

This clearly raises the suspicion that Zhenhua Heavy Industries' bid was deliberately low-balled in order to obtain the contract, in the full knowledge that it could not be completed within those parameters. A clear warning for others, that a low bid from a Chinese company is not necessarily the best and cheapest in the long run.

It is depressing when manufacturing jobs are out-sourced to low-wage countries, like China, for greater profits. But when governments outsource mega-job-creating projects, then there is something obscenely wrong with the situation. Governments are supposed to be fiscally responsible with taxpayers' money and should be required to look for ways to save money. Of paramount importance, however, is their responsibility to ensure the economic well-being of their constituents, particularly when it comes to creating or preserving jobs.

It may be time to altogether do away with the practise of giving contracts to the lowest bidder, a practise which leaves itself open to corruption and manipulation. How many times has the lowest bidder deliberately low-balled their estimates and then had so many cost over-runs that the lowest bid actually ended up being more expensive than the rest? And in cases where the lowest bid remained within budget, one would be justified in asking just where and how the savings were made. Was inferior material used, were workers unduly exploited, were corners cut?

One question remains to be answered: was the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge built to the required specifications? Concerns were frequently voiced by various groups as to the quality of the Chinese steel and the integrity of the work. The American contractors and CalTrans claim that the issue of quality control was covered by sending inspectors to China, to monitor the work 24/7. However, with at least 3,000 workers to watch, in a 1.2 square-mile factory, they couldn't be behind every worker every minute. It is also very unlikely that the American inspectors worked the 16 hours a day, seven days a week shifts of the Chinese workers. If they did, their overtime pay must have been astronomical, further depleting the supposed $400 million savings.

Pencil-pushers and number-crunchers can't work 112 hours a week without starting to make mistakes. If all that these Chinese workers were doing was painting, then a missed spot or thicker blob of paint, here and there, wouldn't make too much of a difference in the long run. But many of these workers were welders or sheet metal workers, who need to be alert to what they are doing. Just how efficiently and safely can anyone work whose shift lasts 16 hours a day, with not one day off to rest and gather new strength? No one can claim that Chinese workers or people are so different from the rest of mankind, that they can work like machines and still not make a single mistake! It just isn't physically possible.

And the salary for this non-stop, virtual slave-labor, started at $9 a day, then rose to $12 a day, and included a bed in the company's dorm facilities! No question of any kind of free time or family life here. Clearly no American or other Western worker is prepared to work this way, not unless they want to lose all the rights and protections won over more than one hundred years. From Schwarzenegger's actions, it would appear that government officials and industry leaders would love nothing better than to turn the clock back to the "good ole days" of the robber barons, to a time when workers had no rights except to work long hours for low pay. And if this can't be achieved at home, then they can simply continue to send the jobs overseas, while claiming to save taxpayers from higher costs.

The decision to give contracts to Zhenhua Heavy Industries and other Chinese government-owned is not just short-sighted, but potentially suicidal for the future. As long as contracts are given to the lowest bidder, Chinese government-owned companies will easily be able to undercut any domestic company, since profit is not the primary goal. With the financial backing of Beijing, these companies will be able to destroy the capability of American and other Western companies to compete for contracts not only abroad, but in their own countries as well. Once that happens, don't count on these same companies continuing with their lower bids. The sky will be the limit if you need to have something done then.

Now that the new bridge, which is supposed to withstand the most powerful earthquake, has been completed, there are plans to demolish the old one. Considering all the quality issues involved, such as corrosion issues (dealt with at considerable length by the May 18, 2013 Sacramento Bee article – "Corrosion plagues new Bay Bridge span" by Charles Piller) it might be extremely prudent and far-sighted not to go ahead with demolition of the old bridge.

Despite the quake damage to the original bridge, it is quite conceivable that the old bridge could outlive the new one, despite its projected lifespan of 150 years. Some experts have already reduced the lifespan of the new bridge, and it has only just been put to use. Wonder whether, despite all their protestations to the contrary, the officials at CalTrans aren't holding their breaths and crossing their fingers waiting to see just how this new bridge will fare when the next, great earthquake hits.

The circumstances surrounding the building of this bridge should serve as a wake-up call to American government officials and industry leaders that something is drastically wrong. It is very sad indeed, that the once all-mighty American Bridge Company, a conglomerate established by John Pierpont Morgan from 28 of America's largest steel and construction companies, and Carnegie Steel, responsible for building many of America's iconic bridges and buildings, has been reduced to the inglorious position of playing second fiddle to an upstart Chinese company!

It is a national scandal and embarrassment that there is not one single company still capable of constructing projects on this large a scale. John Pierpont Morgan and Andrew Carnegie must be spinning in their graves.

Republicans used to claim the moral high ground, and to possess a greater national pride. If Arnold Schwarzenegger is an example of the "new" Republican, prepared to sell off the United States and the American people – to the lowest bidder – then the future for the U.S. is very dim indeed.

Something has to be done soon, starting at the top. Just because something claims to be cheaper, does not mean it is the best. And if you think you are better off paying less, don't be surprised at what you end up getting. After all, as the saying goes, you get what you pay for.

See part one – "San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge made in China at what cost?" here.

****

As a side note, it is interesting to see just how uninformed comments by many denizens of the internet can be. They blame the Democrats for the decision to outsource when it was Republican governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who was actually responsible. They blame President Obama, when the decision was made a couple of years before he even became U.S. President and, more importantly, when the decision was a state and not a federal one.

And they blame the "exorbitant" union wages for sending the jobs to China. After all, how could the unions be so greedy as to demand more than $1 an hour for their workers? If we assume that the Chinese workers got two hours off for lunch and dinner, and I'm being generous with this assumption, then the average Chinese wage on this project was between 64 and 85 cents an hour!

Dog-walkers get more to walk pampered pooches and even pre-teen or teenage baby-sitters get more per hour. If these cheap wages will sway political decision-makers to outsource future mega-projects to China, then maybe it's time to charge those politicians with treason and economic sabotage.

****

The Sacramento Bee article "Corrosion plagues new Bay Bridge span", dated May 18th of this year, provides shocking details of the extent of dangerous water corrosion: "The span's construction violated universally accepted techniques meant to prevent corrosion, they said, and could result in costly inspection and maintenance headaches nearly unheard of for similar modern bridges."

 



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