Greeks reject austerity

The economy of Greece has been a basket case, with a national debt that is more than the gross national product, leading to a European Union bailout that has imposed an “austerity” program of slashed government spending, higher taxes, and lower wages.  But now the Greeks have voted to end the austerity, going so far as to elect a communist as Prime Minister who is demanding that Germany forgive its debts. [Read more...]

A king dies, but the new king has dementia

Saudi Arabia is trying to hurt the American domestic oil industry by pumping so much oil that it drives down prices so as to make fracking unprofitable.  And yet, that helps Americans with low gasoline prices.  Saudi Arabia is the center of arch-conservative Sunni Islam, but has been a key American ally against ISIS.  Saudi Arabian despotism creates Islamist rebels, but American foreign policy sees it as a force for stability in the Middle East.  Saudi Arabia outlaws Christianity within its borders, but tends to be on the side of America’s government.

Now this important but contradictory nation is suddenly facing a crisis.  Its king, 90-year-0ld King Abdullah, has died.  Its odd laws of succession give the kingship to the various sons of the founding monarch, and, thanks to Islamic polygamy, there are 35 of them.  So the throne goes to the various brothers of the previous king, rather than to the next generation.  So the new king of Saudi Arabia is 79 years old and reportedly suffers from dementia. [Read more...]

Persecution rates

Open Doors has released statistics about the persecution of Christians in 2014:  how many Christians were killed because of their faith (double what it was last year, and triple what it was the year before that); the number of attacks on churches; and the different ways Christians are being persecuted (including “cultural marginalization”).  It also lists the top reasons (#1: militant Islam; #2: dictator paranoia; #3: organized corruption).  Also of interest is a ranking of the countries according to their intolerance of Christianity. [Read more...]

We’re recognizing Cuba

In another use of executive power to implement his legacy apart from Congress, President Obama has announced that he is going to extend diplomatic recognition to Cuba.  We will be re-opening our embassy in Havana, ease travel restrictions, and eliminate economic sanctions against the still-Communist regime.   Good idea?  Bad idea?  What does it mean? [Read more...]

North Korean hackers win

We blogged about  the hack of Sony pictures, apparently by North Koreans angry about “The Interview,” a comedy about an attempt to assassinate that country’s dear leader, Kim Jong-un.  The organization that broke into the company’s data released vast amounts of embarrassing information online, including racially charged remarks about President Obama from chief executives, insulting information about how the studio viewed certain stars, and financial details about who makes more than who.  Not to mention entire movies that can now be pirated before their release.

But then the hackers had this to say about the release of the movie on Christmas day:  “The world will be full of fear.  “Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.)”

With this dirrect threat,  many theater chains and distributors cancelled the showings.  Whereupon Sony has killed the movie completely. [Read more...]

The corruption index

An agency has compiled a list that ranks the world’s nations according to how corrupt they are.  Read this for the story and see the list of the top and bottom 20 after the jump.  (Guess where the USA is.) [Read more...]


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