Saw that coming . . .

Readers will recall the murder of Whitey Bulger a few weeks ago.  As I predicted, this is going to end up in the courts – as it probably should. Mr. Brennan says he is preparing to sue the government on behalf of Bulger’s estate for wrongful death and negligence to find out why authorities sent the frail, notorious gangster to the U.S. Penitentiary Hazelton in West Virginia, and put him in with the general population.“It’s important for the family and the public to know why the prisons decided to wheel an 89-year-old man with a history of heart attacks into one of the most dangerous

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The Philippines’ conundrum over China – and the USA’s, too

Bullying tactics often work if the one being bullied doesn’t have the muscle, strength or willpower to stand up to the bully.  That pretty much sums up what seems to be happening between China and the Philippines right now. Strategy Page reports: President Duterte is trying to be realistic in his policy towards China but that seems to be making the situation worse. Duterte points out that China is already occupying the disputed territory in the South China Sea and no one is willing or able to push them out. China has hired several hundred Chinese fishing boats and their crews as

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It seems civil law trumps church secrets – and it’s about time

For many centuries, the Catholic Church maintained that its clergy and religious (i.e. monks, nuns, brothers and sisters in religious orders) could not be tried in civil or criminal courts, but had to be dealt with by the Church itself.  That continued until the Reformation, and even after it in some countries.  The Church considered herself to be above most aspects of criminal and civil law.  In some ways, it appears to still hold that belief – witness, for example, the refusal by many bishops to refer clergy child sex abuse cases to the civil authorities for prosecution. Part of that

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Stupidity. Detroit. But I repeat myself . . .

Not content with running their city into the ground, then complaining when others had to take over its administration, the Detroit city council have done it again. The Detroit City Council approved a “Bullet Bill” gun control resolution Wednesday with a unanimous vote.The resolution limits ammunition amounts that can be bought while requiring a mental health background check on buyers of ammo in Wayne County.. . .Detroit City Council member Andre Spivey … sponsored the ordinance that would require mental health background checks on those looking to buy ammunition and it would also impose additional county taxes on ammo. There’s more at the link.

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I think the President has a point about General Motors

Angry over General Motors’ decision to shutter several US and Canadian auto manufacturing plants, President Trump recently tweeted: A lot of left-wing and progressive sources are claiming that this is inaccurate, and that GM has repaid all the loans given to it as part of the auto industry bailout.  However, that ignores the reality that the US taxpayer lost almost $11.4 billion on the overall GM bailout package, as Pro Publica confirms.  Click the image to be taken to a full-size view at the organization’s Web site. There are those who claim that the GM bankruptcy deal cost the US taxpayer a lot more than

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Big Brother is watching – and it’s not doing a damned bit of good

As part of its overall anti-terrorism strategy, the British government introduced a program called Prevent.  It appears to have become more an instrument for Big Brother-style thought control, rather than an effective tool against terrorists.  Reason reports: Part of a larger anti-terrorism strategy, Prevent was designed to prevent radicalization and seeks to monitor supposedly vulnerable people for evidence of extremism in the materials they peruse and the ideology they express. The idea is that, once identified, these individuals can be steered by authorities away from negative outcomes. “Interventions can include mentoring, counselling, theological support, encouraging civic engagement, developing support networks (family and

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Putting health-care costs under the microscope

Pro Publica is publishing a useful series of articles examining the health-care industry in the USA – and how its ultimate “beneficiaries” are not us, the patients, but the companies raking in huge excess profits and violating our privacy.  A selection of the articles so far: 1.  Why Your Health Insurer Doesn’t Care About Your Big Bills.  Patients may think their insurers are fighting on their behalf for the best prices. But saving patients money is often not their top priority.2.  Health Insurers Are Vacuuming Up Details About You — And It Could Raise Your Rates.  Without any public scrutiny, insurers and data brokers

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“Smart” gadgets versus your privacy and security

I’ve had a few things to say about the so-called “Internet of Things“, and how it threatens our personal privacy and security.  Any moderately competent hacker can use such devices as a way to spy on us.  However, it now appears that the authorities are doing the same thing, by forcing the providers of such devices to hand over what they record.  Worse still, the companies in the field are not very helpful in letting their customers know about such issues. A decade ago, it was almost inconceivable that nearly every household item could be hooked up to the internet. These

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“Seizing property before it can escape”

Back in May, we looked at a proposal to use property taxes to pay off Illinois’ and Chicago’s pension deficit.  In particular, its advocates noted: The tax would be capitalized into real estate values which would prevent people leaving the state to avoid paying for the liability. It looks like Chicago and its satellite communities may be about to implement that progressive wet-dream tax. They figured out a way to tax wealthy folks trying to flee Illinois: A progressive real estate transfer tax, and the idea seems to be getting popular.. . .Chicago today has a real estate transfer tax of $5.25 per

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The tenuously United States of America

Yesterday’s mid-term elections have highlighted one factor in particular:  the fact that the United States are only barely united, with many influences dividing her people.  A big part of that divide is urban versus rural;  people in the latter areas appear to be far more conservative and “traditional” than those in the former.  Since cities are growing at the expense of smaller towns and the countryside, that divide is going to favor them to an ever-increasing extent . . . but what about the rest of the country?  Can urban voters override rural ones, and expect to get away with

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