The financial crisis in Europe, which paralyzed Iceland, which sent Greece into a spiral of angry confrontations with public employees unions, which is tottering Portugal and Spain, and which now is shaking Ireland, has produced a collapse of the government. A $100 billion bailout from the European Union — equal to almost $25,000 per person in the Republic of Ireland — is the catalyst for the collapse of the government. Moody’s has lowered the rating on Irish debt, meaning that the interest required to pay this government debt will rise.
Assertions made by climate-change skeptics that there are ulterior motives behind climate-change legislation were confirmed by a leading member of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The foreign policy bait-and-switch continues. First, President Barack Obama declared the end of combat in Iraq, withdrawing some U.S. troops but leaving many others behind, possibly for decades, and redefining their role as “advise and assist” — whereupon they continued engaging in combat. Now, with Obama having publicly stated his intent to begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan next July, both Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Gen. David Petraeus are arguing for a long-term, if not permanent, U.S. presence in Afghanistan.
On the one hand, the British government has been talking lately about restoring some of its subjects’ lost civil liberties and privacy. On the other hand, it has just taken another step down the road to the total surveillance society: The Financial Services Authority, according to the New York Times, has instituted new rules requiring “all financial services firms … to record any relevant communication by employees on their work cellphones” and to discourage “employees from taking client orders or discussing and arranging transactions on their private cellphones, where conversations cannot be recorded.”
Ireland is one of many nations within the European Union that faces profound doubts about its ability to maintain its financial credibility. During the last several days, ministers of the European Union have tried to cobble together a rescue package that would allow the beleaguered country to manage its public debt.