ATHENS — Retirees throughout Greece mobbed banks as they tried to withdraw a maximum of 120 euros ($134) in pension payments on Wednesday, as the country teetered on the brink of economic collapse hours after an international bailout expired.
Emotions ran high outside a Piraeus Bank branch in downtown Athens as some 60 customers jostled impatiently after waiting for hours in the sweltering sun.
“This is humiliating,” said Athanasios, an 80-year-old former army officer. “I used to receive a monthly pension of 1,500 euros and now I have to line up for hours to receive 120? This is unfair.” (in part from The Ultimate Answer To Kings)
I’m reminded of the junior high boy’s joke about the guy being forced to slide backwards down a giant razor blade (using his b***) for brakes, and landing in a bucket of iodine.
And like dominoes, I fear Greece is only the beginning.
Our own government has already made noises about ‘acquiring’ 401k funds, and pensions, and increasing both the amount and items/services being taxed. And other banks in the World have ‘acquired’ ATM funds and savings of individuals!
The long slide is beginning, my friends, and unless you live largely off the grid in the middle-of-nowhere, bartering gold coin, ammo and water (Joel?), you (we) are in for a wild ride.
If anyone out there thinks bread lines, runs on banks and gas rationing are not in our future, I’d like to heard your predictions.
And ‘domestic violence’ as a result? A forgone conclusion, I’m afraid.
I truly hope I am completely wrong.
Yep. This is unfair. But no one said Life would be.
I really hope none of you thought that total surveillance of everyday Americans was going to stop, or bein any way curtailed.
Earlier this week, we noted that Senator Mitch McConnell, hot off of his huge flop in trying to preserve the NSA’s surveillance powers, had promised to insert the dangerous “cybersecurity” bill CISA directly into the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act). As we discussed, while many have long suspected that CISA (and CISPA before it) were surveillance bills draped in “cybersecurity” clothing, the recent Snowden revelations that the NSA is using Section 702 “upstream” collection for “cybersecurity” issues revealed how CISA would massively expandthe NSA’s ability to warrantlessly wiretap Americans’ communications.
Thankfully, like his PATRIOT Act games from a few weeks ago, this latest McConnell movehas fallen flat. The Senate rejected the attempt by a 40 to 56 vote. So, for now, it looks like the Senate isn’t going to be able to ram CISA through either which is good news.
Still, expect Congress to keep trying. But, each time, it’s important to ask some basic questions: what attacks would this bill actually stop (answer: none). And what laws are currently preventing the supposedly necessary “information sharing” from happening today?
(and here, my friends, is theline…)
Also none. At least as a practical matter, anyway. As with the rest of the permanent bureaucracy that really runs things, they’re going to do whatever they like, and there’s not one damned thing you, I, or anyone else can do about it.
“Gun maker Colt Defense LLC plans to file for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection by Monday (yesterday), according to people familiar with the matter, amid business and accounting troubles. The company has secured financing to continue operating while in bankruptcy and expects to remain in business after the restructuring, the people said.” The combination of years of indifference toward the civilian market combined and the gut-punch that was losing most of its military AR business have finally caught up to Colt . . .(WSJ)
A company with a long tradition, filing it’s second bankruptcy in a little over 20 years.
Back-in-the-day, when the standards battling for market share were largely Colt and Smith & Wesson, I always thought of Smith as the Chevy or Ford, and Colt as the Cadillac or Lincoln. A little nicer finish, perhaps, but way overpriced. Always wanted a Dick Special and a Python. Could never afford them. (I am fortunate to have a National Match upper for my 1911!)
And, what the WSJ says is true! Colt kept vying for the military market, and ignoring it’s civilian base. And the military market went elsewhere.
A Python and Detective Special in my future? Probably not.
My good friend OldNFO was recently given specifics as a counter to the ‘we are being hard/difficult/bigoted against those poor undocumentedworkers, migrants, illegal aliens here in the United States.
A view from working in Mexico, as it were…
From the other side of the fence…
Received the following from Tom Xxxxx, who was a Director with SW BELL in Mexico City:
I spent five years working in Mexico. I worked under a tourist Visa for three months and could legally renew it for three more months. After that you were working Illegally. I was technically illegal for three weeks waiting on the FM3 approval.
During that six months our Mexican and US attorneys were working to secure a permanent work visa called a ‘FM3′. It was in addition to my US passport that I had to show each time I entered and left the country. Barbara’s was the same, except hers did not permit her to work.
To apply for the FM3, I needed to submit the following notarized originals (not copies):
1. Birth certificate for Barbara and I.
2. Marriage certificate.
3. High school transcripts and proof of graduation.
4. College transcripts for every college I attended and proof of graduation.
5. Two letters of recommendation from supervisors I had worked for at least one year.
6. A letter from the St. Louis Chief of Police indicating that I had no arrest record in the U.S. and no outstanding warrants and, was ‘a citizen in good standing’.
Finally, I had to write a letter about myself that clearly stated why there was no Mexican citizen with my skills and why my skills were important to Mexico. We called it our ‘I am the greatest person on Earth letter. It was fun to write.
All of the above were in English that had to be translated into Spanish and be certified as legal translations, and our signatures notarized. It produced a folder about 1.5 inches thick with English on the left side and Spanish on the right.
Once they were completed Barbara and I spent about five hours, accompanied by a Mexican attorney, touring Mexican government office locations and being photographed and fingerprinted at least three times at each location, and we remember at least four locations where we were instructed on Mexican tax, labor, housing, and criminal law and that we were required to obey their laws or face the consequences. We could not protest any of the government’s actions or we would be committing a felony. We paid out four thousand dollars in fees and bribes to complete the process. When this was done we could legally bring in our household goods that were held by US Customs in Laredo, Texas. This meant we had rented furniture in Mexico while awaiting our goods. There were extensive fees involved here that the company paid.
We could not buy a home and were required to rent at very high rates and under contract and compliance with Mexican law.
We were required to get a Mexican driver’s license. This was an amazing process. The company arranged for the licensing agency to come to our headquarters location with their photography and fingerprint equipment and the laminating machine. We showed our US license, were photographed and fingerprinted again and issued the license instantly after paying out a six dollar fee. We did not take a written or driving test and never received instructions on the rules of the road. Our only instruction was tonever give a policeman your license if stopped and asked. We were instructed to hold it against the inside window away from his grasp. If he got his hands on it you would have to pay ransom to get it back.
We then had to pay and file Mexican income tax annually using the number of our FM3 as our ID number. The company’s Mexican accountants did this for us and we just signed what they prepared. I t was about twenty legal size pages annually.
The FM3 was good for three years and renewable for two more after paying more fees.
Leaving the country meant turning in the FM3 and certifying we were leaving no debts behind and no outstanding legal affairs (warrants, tickets or liens) before our household goods were released to customs.
It was a real adventure and if any of our Senators or Congressmen went through it once they would have a different attitude toward Mexico.
The Mexican government uses its vast military and police forces to keep its citizens intimidated and compliant. They never protest at their capitol or government offices, but do protest daily in front of the United States Embassy. The US Embassy looks like a strongly reinforced fortress and during most protests the Mexican military surrounds the block with their men standing shoulder to shoulder in full riot gear to protect the Embassy. These protests are never shown on U.S. or Mexican TV. There is a large public park across the street where they do their protesting. Anything can cause a protest such as proposed law changes in Arizona, California or Texas.
Please feel free to share this with everyone who thinks we are being hard on the illegals.
A close friend has fallen on some hard times, mostly because of health-related issues. As a result, they have missed work, and as a result, have missed income. (This is not my story.)
They obtained Obamacare last year, believing all the promises made public. And they were obtaining top-notch medical care. Seriously.
And all was right with the world.
Until the end of the year, when they were advised, yes, they could keep their insurance. If they could pay ANOTHER $300 a month (on top of the $200+ they were already paying directly – the gov’t was paying $400 on top OF THIS!) Our tax dollars at work!
SO, they went searching, and determined, based on their drop in income, they could qualify for Medicaid. (A State-run, federally funded insurance for low-income folks).
They jumped through all the hoops, provided all the documentation, and became insured once again.
And all was, once again, right with the world.
They were told they would have to requalify every six months, and could then make choices regarding which insurance they could have, of the few available.
They obtained some medical care and tests. And prescriptions. And made a carefully-studied choice regarding which company would be their next insurance.
And the six-month boundary passed. Again, nothing. No company literature, no insurance ID, no specifics.
And care, tests and prescriptions continued to be covered by the initially-assigned company.
And attempts to obtain an insurance ID card and literature on line required their insurance ID number. Which was on the card. Which was not in their possession.
And more tests were scheduled and appointments made.
Then, yesterday, after business hours, their pharmacy called to advise they had received notification the insurance had changed, and they would need a copy of her new carrier’s ID card.
And they have many tests scheduled, for serious maladies. Heart and breathing related.
What were those promises, again?
I suspect they will be many hours on the telephone and on-line today.
The adventure continues.
Keep a good thought.
If stress wasn’t part of the list of maladies, it certainly is now…
(This just in. They were able to make telephone contact this morning. They must CALL BACK Thursday or Friday to get the matter resolved, as the company had no idea who they were!!!)
Glock’s dominance in the LEO market is epic. Over 68% of the market is staggering. But that’s actually not that surprising to me.
What is, well, not so surprising, but disappointing… is the complete falling of SIG and Beretta. 22.6% and 8.5% respectively. As bad as that is… is the results of the question “What would you like to carry?” Those numbers being only 21.3% and 4.6%.
This very clearly tells us that the time of metal framed guns fired with hammers is going the way of the Flint Lock. This saddens me. I prefer the metal-hammer guns over poly-striker guns. The feel, the weight, the superior single action pull… and that I can pull more accuracy out of a hammer fired gun.
What saddens me the most about this though – is that it tells me that Law Enforcement is no longer a Profession of Shootists. Like the FBI, Municipal Law Enforcement isn’t a Gun Culture anymore. They no longer want fine guns of refinement and craftsmanship… they only want Shooting Appliances. They want guns – and this is the secret to Glock’s success – that are simplified down to the lowest common denominator. Yes, I’ll say it.
Glock is the Common Core of handguns.
Most LE Agencies are not hiring shooters anymore. They want guys with education in Psychology and Human Development… They want Councilors. We saw this trend starting 20 years ago. I think this is why we see so many questionable police shootings… so many cops shooting dogs. I think a lot of these COP 2.0 guys may be power tripping… because the guys that come from the Gun Culture don’t get worked up or feel the need to power trip and flex their authority so much as these C2.0 guys and gals.
Huh… Oddly enough, all my LEO friends are from the Classic Old School variety. Good Cops that use Common Sense before using Ego. Damn good Cops. Many of them carry Glocks, because of Policy, not by choice. Some choose the Glocks… and that’s fine. They can’t shoot that well anyways. (j/k)
The Sidearms used by the most astute of shooting professionals remain hammer fired, metal framed guns. The US Navy SEALs, I must point out – having the freedom of using anything they want, use SIG 226’s. I don’t know any single group that personifies a Gun Culture more than the SEALS. They take Pistol Craft more seriously than any other group… with US Air Marshals being a close second. And they want that SIG. They want a stable shooting platform with as much accuracy as you can have in a Semi-Auto handgun.
In the Consumer Market – sales of SIG’s and Beretta’s are down. Regardless of quality, and regardless of special offers and marketing efforts, you just can’t sell them like you used to. The first choice is Glock… followed by the S&W M&P and the Springfield XDM series guns.
I’m not counting 1911’s – that is a market unique to it’s own, and I’ll talk about that in more detail at another time.
For me – I will remain a fan of the SIG’s and the Beretta’s. I prefer the triggers. I prefer the safeties. Now, if you are going to go Glock – get a new trigger system from Lone Wolf. Get some new sights from Lone Wolf. And you can make the most out of that Glock, if that’s what you prefer or have to live with. And I do appreciate the Glock for what it is… and do like them with LWD triggers. But given my druthers, I’ll take my Beretta over any Glock.
Oddly enough, the guns I want the most are all metal framed, hammer guns of the Revolving variety. With only a couple automatics. A SIG M11A1 is one the autos. The other are Browning/FN Hi-Powers and a SIG P210. But my beard is grey and I don’t like the music these kids listen to these days. Oh… and get off my lawn.
I don’t entirely agree with Mad Ogre. But I don’t entirely disagree.
The Glock is down to the lowest common denominator. And most of today’s law enforcement are not shootists – they are looking for an appliance.
I miss the good old days when people like Bill Jordan helped Smith & Wesson design revolvers. And cops were all about mastery of their tools. I wonder if police qualifications have been reduced to a pass/fail – being ‘good enough’?
Now we keep hearing about engagements wherein many shots are exchanged, but no one is hit.
"One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas - how he got in my pajamas I dunno!" - Groucho Marx as Captain Spaulding in Animal Crackers
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