Friday, November 30, 2012

No snickering, please

French Workers On Strike, News At 11

Next up in the “we couldn’t make this shit up” category – PSA and Citroen were hit by strikes after workers were called out for being unproductive.
A single production line at Peugeot’s Aulnay plant on the outskirts of Paris, slated to be closed in 2014 at the cost of 3,000 jobs, ground to a halt after five workers were summoned for lack of productivity, a representative of the CGT union said in a phone interview.
The story of the Aulnay plant and its social implications for France is one of the more fascinating intersections between politics and automobiles. Meanwhile, Renault had two factories hit by job actions after it asked workers to agree to a series of moves that would bring French production costs in line with those in Spain.

Union thuggery. Harry Bridges is still in charge...from the grave


California may find itself in a disastrous fiscal situation, but that won’t stop California’s newly-empowered unions from flexing their muscle. In the aftermath of the failure of Proposition 32, which would have prevented public sector unions from funding politicians, the unions are celebrating their confirmed power by striking. The latest strikes started today with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63, which shut down the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are the busiest ports in the United States.
Even though November traffic remains slow at the ports, that doesn’t mean the economic effect will be mitigated. These ports handle approximately 40% of America’s imports.
Shockingly, the strike doesn’t include dockworkers – it’s just the clerical staff at the union, which has now set up picket lines at the terminals at the Port of Los Angeles. The 50,000-member union supports the strikers; 10,000 dockworkers did refuse to cross the picket lines.
While the unions are shutting down America’s port traffic, they refuse to speak to the media. According to the Los Angeles Times, “The union fell back on a statement released Tuesday evening and had no further comment Wednesday.”
There were no specific demands by the union; their only statement decried “corporate greed and outsourcing.” No wonder so many companies are outsourcing, when unions shut down their ports of entry. The 14 employers negotiating with the unions contend they haven’t outsourced any jobs, and had even proposed “absolute job security” and both wage and pension increases in a rotten economy.
The last lockout of this sort took place in 2002. It cost the economy some $15 billion.

Our ports are antiques compared to those elsewhere in the world. The reason? The unions refuse to modernize.

The new American dream

Posted By Jim Treacher 
Step into an alleyway in the Northeast Washington neighborhood known as Stronghold, and you will see a vegetable patch, a campfire, a view of the Capitol and a cluster of what neighbors call “those tiny people, building their tiny houses.”
The people aren’t really tiny, but their homes are — 150 to 200 square feet of living space, some with gabled roofs, others with bright cedar walls, compact bathrooms and cozy sleeping lofts that add up to living spaces that are smaller than the walk-in closets in a suburban McMansion…
If these affordable homes — which maximize every inch of interior space and look a little like well-constructed playhouses — are the dream, they represent a radically fresh version of what it takes to make Americans happy.
Here’s a look at the entire living space of one such “tiny house,” courtesy of Boneyard Studios, the builders behind the DC dollhouse experiment:

Barbie’s Lowered Expectations House. Put that thing in Flyover Country and cue the Palin jokes. Put it in northeast DC and it magically becomes a fashion statement.
It’s odd… You only read stories about how great it is to be poor, how empowering it is to settle for less, when a Democrat is president. If a Republican was in charge, would WaPo be doing stories about how awesome it is to live in a breadbox?
They’re just trying to prepare you for the inevitable crash. Their ideas don’t work and they know it, so now all they can do is try to make you think their failure is somehow a statement of principle. The dystopian post-Obama future depicted in Dan Simmons’ Flashback gets a little more plausible every minute.
Get ready for many more reminders from our moral, ethical, and intellectual betters in the media that we don’t know how good we’ve got it. And if we want to hang onto what little we have left, we’d better keep electing Democrats.
They think you’re stupid, America. And look how stunningly you just proved them right.

The San Francisco City Council just approved these mini homes in the city. Welcome to the future peasants or should I say happy serfs.

Obama's lies exposed

White House Data Debunk Myth Bush Cuts Built Deficit

While President Obama insists the Bush tax cuts caused the recession and record deficits, his own economists say otherwise.
He might want to consult their data for the truth.
Kicking off fiscal cliff negotiations last month, Obama said: "What I'm not going to do is extend Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% that we can't afford and, according to economists, will have the least positive impact on our economy."
During the White House press conference, he added, "If we're going to be serious about deficit reduction, we've got to do it in a balanced way."
Obama argued voters made it clear in the election that they don't want to go back to Republican policies that "cost" the Treasury revenues and "blew up the deficit," as he told them repeatedly during the campaign.
The Washington media by and large share these assumptions. And they're driving the debate over what to do about the federal budget crisis before Jan. 1, when the tax cuts and spending programs are set to expire.
But the assumptions are faulty, based largely on political demagoguery rather than hard numbers — including ones certified by Obama's own fiscal policy advisers and bean counters in the White House.
Turn to Pages 411-413 of his 2012 Economic Report of the President, published by the Council of Economic Advisers. They show that "the math," as Obama is wont to say, in fact does add up for tax cuts.
After President Bush in late May 2003 signed the largest tax cut since President Reagan — including dropping the top marginal rate to 35% from 39.6% — government receipts from individual income taxes rose from $793.7 billion to a peak of $1.16 trillion in 2007, when the mortgage crisis began, a 47% jump.
Stronger economic growth expanded the tax base and brought in so much revenue that Bush more than halved the deficit over that period. The budget gap plunged to $160.7 billion from $377.6 billion, according to the president's report.
Perhaps the most impressive statistic appears on Page 412, one that undercuts Obama's core argument against continuing the Bush tax cuts.
The post-tax-cut surge in economic growth and tax revenues helped drive down the deficit from 3.5% of gross domestic product in 2004 to 2.6% in 2005, to 1.9% in 2006 and to a manageable 1.2% in 2007.
Based on Bush fiscal policies, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected budget deficits of 0.7% to 1.5% of GDP for the years 2008 through 2011. The CBO even predicted surpluses for the subsequent years through 2018.
What derailed the forecast was the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008.
This financial anomaly threw the economy into a deep recession, beginning in December 2007, and forced a collapse in federal tax revenues.
As a result, the deficit-to-GDP ratio shot up to 10% in 2009 and has remained around that level, thanks to record Obama spending.
(The recession technically ended in June 2009.)
Obama's economic report shows that the average deficit-to-GDP ratio during the entire Bush administration — 2001 to 2009 — was 2%, which is well below the 50-year average of 3%.
During the Obama years, in contrast, the same deficit ratio has averaged 9.1%.
The Bush tax cuts did not "cost" the Treasury revenues. Nor did they increase income inequality.
When fully implemented, they increased the portion of the income tax burden that fell on the wealthiest Americans.
The top 1% of taxpayers went from paying 38.4% of overall taxes to 39.1%, while the bottom 50% saw their share drop from 3.4% to 3.1%.
And as a percentage of the economy, deficits shrank to historically low levels.
Record red ink flowed much later as the housing market toppled and government spending shot up.
New spending on welfare programs and Obama's $1.9 trillion national health care entitlement threaten only to compound the budget crisis.
Yet he proposes backloading any promised spending controls while front-loading "revenue increases" from tax hikes.


For Susan Rice, Benghazi Was Kenya 1998 Deja Vu

Parallels: A mission was attacked after warnings, Americans were killed after security requests were denied, and a diplomat went on TV to explain it all — our current U.N. ambassador, after embassy bombings in 1998.
'What troubles me so much is the Benghazi attack in many ways echoes the attacks on both embassies in 1998, when Susan Rice was head of the African region for our State Department," Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said Wednesday after two hours with our U.N. ambassador. "In both cases, the ambassador begged for additional security."
In both cases, Susan Rice was involved more than she would like to admit.
In the spring of 1998, Prudence Bushnell, the U.S. ambassador to Kenya, sent an emotional letter to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright begging for a more secure embassy in the face of mounting terrorist threats and a warning that she was the target of an assassination plot.
The State Department had repeatedly denied her request, citing a lack of money. But that kind of response, she wrote Albright, was "endangering the lives of embassy personnel."
A matter of months later, on Aug. 7, 1998, the American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya were simultaneously attacked with car bombs. In Kenya, 12 American diplomats and more than 200 Africans were killed.
As in Benghazi, requests for more security were denied, warnings were issued, prior incidents were ignored and Susan Rice went on TV to explain it all.
Within 24 hours, Rice, then assistant secretary of state for African affairs, went on PBS as spokesperson for the administration — just as she was regarding Benghazi when she parroted the administration's false narrative on five Sunday talk shows on Sept. 16, 2012, that Benghazi was caused by a flash mob enraged by an Internet video. Then, as now, she worked for a Clinton.
Also then, as now, she went on TV to claim, falsely, that we "maintain a high degree of security at all of our embassies at all times" and that we "had no telephone warning or call of any sort like that, that might have alerted either embassy just prior to the blast." There were plenty of warnings and our East African diplomats were begging for help as Ambassador Chris Stevens was in Benghazi.
Eerie similarities between Benghazi and Nairobi are many. A review of the attacks showed the CIA repeatedly told State Department officials in Washington and in the Kenya embassy that there was an active terrorist cell in Kenya connected to Osama bin Laden, who masterminded the attack.
The CIA and FBI investigated at least three terrorist threats in Nairobi in the year before the bombing. Gen. Anthony Zinni, commander of the U.S. Central Command, had visited Nairobi on his own and warned that the Nairobi embassy was an easy and tempting target for terrorists.
For Susan Rice and her defenders to claim that she had "nothing to with Benghazi," that she was an innocent victim of altered talking points, is completely bogus. Did she also have "nothing to do with" Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania? She should have remembered Nairobi 1998, and perhaps she did. There was no flash mob then or now, only another willful disregard for American security, part of a naive dismissal of a very real terrorist threat.
Surely, Collins added, "given her position ... she had to be aware of the general threat assessment and the ambassadors' repeated requests for more security ... (h)er actions — and whether or not lessons were learned from the 1998 attacks on our embassies in Africa — are important questions."
Indeed they are, and we're still waiting for some real answers. One thing is clear — Susan Rice is unqualified to be secretary of state.

Obama is not opposed to Iran's nuclear efforts. Everything he does just kicks the can down the road.

Posted By Josh Rogin 


The White House announced its opposition to a new round of Iran sanctions that the Senate unanimously approved Friday, in the latest instance of Congress pushing for more aggressive punitive measures on Iran than the administration deems prudent.
On Thursday, Sens. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) introduced the amendmentto the National Defense Authorization Act, which the Senate passed 94-0. The new legislative language would blacklist Iran's energy, port, shipping, and shipbuilding sectors, while also placing new restrictions on Iran's ability to get insurance for all these industries. The legislation would also vastly expand U.S. support for human rights inside Iran and impose new sanctions on Iranians who divert humanitarian assistance from its intended purpose.
"The window is closing. The time for the waiting game is over," Menendez said on the Senate floor Thursday night. "Yes, our sanctions are having a demonstrable effect on the Iranian economy, but Iran is still working just as hard to develop nuclear weapons."
But the White House told several Senate offices Thursday evening that the administration was opposed to the amendment. National Security Spokesman Tommy Vietor sent The Cable the administration's official position, explaining the White House's view the sanctions aren't needed and aren't helpful at this time.
"As we focus with our partners on effectively implementing these efforts, we believe additional authorities now threaten to undercut these efforts," he said. "We also have concerns with some of the formulations as currently drafted in the text and want to work through them with our congressional partners to make the law more effective and consistent with the current sanctions law to ensure we don't undercut our success to date."
An e-mail from the NSC's legislative affairs office to some Senate Democrats late Thursday evening, obtained by The Cable, went into extensive detail about the administration's concerns about the new sanctions legislation, including that it might get in the way of the administration's efforts to implement the last round of Iran sanctions, the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act (TRA), to which it flatly objected at the time.
"We do not believe additional authority to apply more sanctions on Iran is necessary at this time," read the e-mail, which the NSC legislative affairs office said represented the entire administration's view. "At the same time, we are concerned that this amendment is duplicative and threatens to confuse and undermine some of the TRA provisions." 
One of the White House's chief concerns is that Congress is not providing the administration enough waivers, which would give the United States the option of negating or postponing applications of the sanctions on a case-by-case basis.
The White House also said that secondary sanctions should apply only to those Iranian persons and entities that are guilty of aiding Iran's nulear and missile programs. The new legislative language would designate entire categories of Iranian government entities to be sanctioned -- whether or not each person or entity is directly involved in such activities.
The new sanctions too broadly punish companies that supply materials, such as certain metals, that could be used in Iran's nuclear, military, or ballistic missile programs, the White House worries. The bill allows those materials to be sold to Iranian entities that intend to use them for non-military or nuclear-related purposes, but the administration said that the ambiguity in that part of the legislation will make it hard to implement.
Finally, the White House doesn't want to implement the part of the new legislation that would require reports to Congress on the thousands of boats that dock at Iranian ports and the dozens of Iranian planes that make stops at airports around the world. Those reporting requirements "will impose serious time burdens on the Intelligence Community and sanctions officers," the White House said in the e-mail.
The Obama administration often touts the Iran sanctions it once opposed. In the final presidential debate Oct. 22, President Barack Obama said his administration had "organized the strongest coalition and the strongest sanctions against Iran in history, and it is crippling their economy."
The new Iran sanctions still must survive a House-Senate conference over the defense authorization bill, during which conferees may try to change certain portions of the new sanctions regime. Hill aides predict the White House will try to alter the new sanctions during that process, in what they would likely see as an effort to water them down.
"The truth is that the U.S. Congress continues to lead a comprehensive and unrelenting international sanctions program against the Iranian regime despite a comprehensive and unrelenting campaign by this administration to block or water down those sanctions at every move," a senior GOP Senate aide told The Cable. "We beat them 100-0 last year and while they tried to kill this amendment more quietly this time, we beat them again 94-0. Hopefully House and Senate negotiators will stay strong and resist the administration's strategy to dilute these sanctions in conference."

Notice the lack of coverage by the mainstream media

Video: Staten Island Hurricane Recovery Meeting Erupts in Rage

Borough President James Molinaro almost accidentally riffed the old Reagan line about the most terrifying words in the English language during Thursday night’s meeting: “We’re from the government, and we’re here to help.”
“We go from one to another,” one homeowner said. “We go from FEMA to our homeowners. My homeowners’ insurance offered me $150. What can I do with that?”
“We are friends, we’re here to help,” he said. “There’s a lot of confusion. There’s a lot of statements and mis-statements being made by individuals.”
Individuals still without homes, whom President Obama promised FEMA would help out. FEMA hasn’t helped, and Obama is about to jet off to Hawaii for vacation. I’m not slamming Molinaro, who is the first Conservative to hold his office in New York City. He’s doing his best in an awful situation. He’s already on the record
blasting the Red Cross for raking in cash from donors but not helping people on the ground in the hurricane zone.
Being a government official on hand, Molinaro found himself a target.
“You think it’s a joke? You really think this is a joke,” one angry man yelled. “You go home for the holidays. I don’t. But you sit there with your dumb smile. You know what? I wish it was election year, because you’d do better this year.”
Well, it is an election year at the national level and it’s likely that most in the crowd voted to re-elect the malignant incompetent Barack Obama. Staten Island was a GOP bastion but has been trending Democrat in recent years.
In an ironic twist, Conservative Molinaro is likely to pay a higher price for FEMA’s failures than Democrat Obama ever will.
A 2007-vintage Barack Obama might look at the government’s response to Hurricane Sandy and conclude that race is behind the uncaring response.

How much freedom are you willing to give up?

Free Internet Under Fire

U.S. to oppose Russian plan to give U.N. control of Internet
The United States will seek to block an “alarming” Russian proposal to give a United Nations telecommunications group control over the Internet, a senior State Department official said on Thursday.
“We will actively oppose the Russian proposal,” Terry Kramer, head of the U.S. delegation to a U.N. conference in Dubai, told reporters.
“I have to say, out of all the proposals that have come in, the Russian one candidly is the most shocking and most disappointing in terms of achieving the success that we are seeking globally,” he said.
A Russian government proposal to amend a U.N. treaty at a meeting of the world body’s World Conference on International Telecommunications in Dubai next week contains a provision that calls for bringing “IP-based networks” under U.N. control.
The U.N. treaty, called the International Telecommunications Regulations (ITR), is currently limited to regulating international telecommunications services.
The Russian proposal to amend the treaty has the support of other non-democratic states such as China and Iran.
A copy of the Russian proposal was made public on Nov. 13. It states that “the [proposed] additions to the ITRs … are aimed at formulating an approach that views the Internet as a global physical telecommunications infrastructure, and also as a part of the national telecommunications infrastructure of each Member State,” according to Cnet news.
The conference will be held from Dec. 3 to 14 in Dubai.
Kramer said in a conference call with news reporters that the Dubai conference is not supposed to be focused on Internet governance.
“If you look at the Russian proposal, it’s clearly focused on Internet governance,” he said. “It would basically move to governments the right to route traffic, to review content, and say that’s all a completely national matter—an extremely important precedent it would set for opening the doors, again, to more censorship.”
The Internet giant Google is opposing efforts by the U.N. to control the Internet through the Dubai conference.
“A free and open world depends on a free and open Internet,” Google said in a statement on a website it created called Take Action. “The ITU is the wrong place to make decisions about the future of the Internet.”
Governments have enacted 19 new laws that threaten online free expression over the last two years, the statement said.
Some of the proposals in Dubai would lead to censorship and curtailing Internet access while others will force services like YouTube, Facebook, and Skype to pay tolls to connect around the world, Google said.
Kramer said the Russian proposal was one of several proposals “that are alarming.”
Other proposals seek an “invasive approach of governments into managing the Internet, in managing the content that goes via the Internet, what people are looking at, what they’re saying, et cetera,” he said.
“These fundamentally violate everything that we believe in in terms of democracy and opportunities for individuals, and we’re going to vigorously oppose any proposals of that nature,” Kramer said.
Other proposals call for setting up pricing regimes that would force Internet providers to pay to have traffic delivered abroad.
“If you can think about the implications of this, today much of what we get via the Internet is free,” Kramer said. “In these models, there would now be a paid model.”
Other issues to be discussed at the Dubai meeting will include cyber security and include potentially damaging provisions.
“This is an area that is a critical challenge that we’ve got to protect our networks from malware and hacking, etc.,” Kramer said. “But many of the proposals we’ve seen seem to open the door for content censorship, for routing of traffic, and the ability of governments to control what’s happening on those networks. And again, we find that concerning.”
The U.S. delegation to the conference will push for affordable broadband and Internet access around the world.
Kramer said in dealing with cyber threats that U.S. delegates would push to be “very, very careful about who we assign to deal with these issues.”
China is one state that has been actively working to limit Internet freedom. Chinese censors are among the most advanced at restricting free speech and online content for its estimated 500 million Internet users.
“The Chinese method for controlling social-media content—restricting access to international networks while coercing their domestic alternatives to robustly censor and monitor user communications according to the ruling Chinese Communist Party directives—has become a particularly potent model for other authoritarian countries,” according to a study made public in September by the Freedom House.
China proposed taking control away from the current administrator of the web, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), and giving it to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) last year.
“Governments alone should not determine the future of the Internet,” the Google statement said. “The billions of people around the globe that use the Internet, and the experts that build and maintain it, should be included.”
However, the ITU meeting is limited to government participants and includes representatives of governments “that do not support a free and open Internet,” Google said.
“Engineers, companies, and people that build and use the web have no vote,” the statement said. “The ITU is also secretive. The treaty conference and proposals are confidential.”
Author Arthur Herman wrote in the current issue of Commentary that the U.N. conference poses dangers to Internet freedom.
If new restrictions are codified at the conference, “In short, governance of cyberspace will pass from the country that has kept it free and accessible since its creation—the United States—to the same organization that gave us the financial scandals at UNESCO, voted to designate Zionism as racism, and seated China, Syria, and Muammur Qaddafi’s Libya on its Commission on Human Rights,” Herman wrote.
Kramer said he has been reaching out to nations that support the U.S. position on an open and free Internet in preparation for the meeting.
“We’re getting some positive messages from our partners, then we’re going to hope that there won’t be adverse proposals coming out of this,” he said.
Kramer said he does not believe the ITU should be dismantled and has done some important work on the sharing of information and developmental activities.
Countering the proposals form “nondemocratic” nations is “worrisome,” he said, but “I don’t believe per se that dismantling the ITU is the way to effectively solve that.”
The first priority for the United States at the Dubai conference will be to steer the focus toward telecommunications issues and away from Internet controls, Kramer said.
For the telecommunications treaty, public providers such as AT&T and Verizon Wireless should be involved in discussing regulations, he said.
“This should not be the charter to review private networks, Internet networks, cloud computing networks, and on the other side, government networks,” he said. “That’s not the charter of this treaty.”
Key U.S. backers at the conference include nations from North and South America, Europe, and Asia.
“And there’s a variety of nations that are still forming their positions or we have some disagreement with and we’re going to spend time with and hopefully reach alignment on these common principles about liberalization and internet success,” Kramer said.

Notice how the article ends with a blatant lie.

New ethanol blend could damage vehicles and void warranties, AAA warns

The AAA says the Environmental Protection Agency and gasoline retailers should halt the sale of E15, a new ethanol blend that could damage millions of vehicles and void car warranties.
AAA, which issued its warning today, says just 12 million of more than 240 million cars, trucks and SUVs now in use have manufacturers' approval for E15. Flex-fuel vehicles, 2012 and newer General Motors vehicles, 2013 Fords and 2001 and later model Porsches are the exceptions, according to AAA, the nation's largest motorist group, with 53.5 million members.
"It is clear that millions of Americans are unfamiliar with E15, which means there is a strong possibility that many may improperly fill up using this gasoline and damage their vehicle," AAA President and CEO Robert Darbelnet tells USA TODAY. "Bringing E15 to the market without adequate safeguards does not responsibly meet the needs of consumers."
BMW, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota and VW said their warranties will not cover fuel-related claims caused by E15. Ford, Honda, Kia, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo said E15 use will void warranties, says Darbelnet, citing potential corrosive damage to fuel lines, gaskets and other engine components.
Gasoline blended with 10% ethanol has become standard at most of the nation's 160,000 gas stations, spurred by federal laws and standards designed to use more renewable energy sources and lessen the nation's dependence on foreign oil. Pushed by ethanol producers, the EPA approved the use of E15 -- a 15% ethanol-gasoline blend -- in June over objections from automakers and the oil industry. It's been available at a handful of outlets in Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska since July.
EPA stickers affixed to gas station pumps say E15 is safe for use in virtually all vehicles 2001 and newer. (USA TODAY made repeated requests for EPA comment.)
But AAA -- in an unusual warning for a travel organization -- says the sale and use of E15 should be stopped until there is more-extensive testing, better pump labels to safeguard consumers and more consumer education about potential hazards.
Bob Dinneen, CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, says E15 is safe for virtually all post-2001 vehicles, based on extensive government-sponsored testing. "We think the (EPA) warning label should be sufficient to notify consumers,'' Dinneen says. "There are no corrosive issues with E15. If there's an issue with E15 (damaging vehicles) we're going to know about it, and the EPA is going to know about it."
But the American Petroleum Institute says a three-year study by automakers and the oil industry found that E15 is a consumer safety issue for a majority of drivers with pre-2012 vehicles. "Our testing of a range of ethanol levels at 15% to 20% has identified issues about engine durability,'' API group director and engineer Bob Greco says.
The National Association of Convenience Stores says it's also worried about the effect of E15 on station pumps and fuel lines. "The EPA says its OK to sell it, but for most retailers, there is too much uncertainty related to consumer demand and liability protection, especially if it's later determined E15 is a defective product or there are problems,'' spokesman Jeff Lenard says.
Scott Zaremba, who has been selling E15 blends at several of his eight Zarco 66 stations in Kansas since July, says no customers have complained. He's fueling his 2001 Chevy pickup with the E15 blend.
"The same complaints came when 10% blend came in -- the world was coming to an end,'' says Zaremba, 47. "E15 burns well and has great performance, and four people tell me it gives them better gas mileage. I don't see any major issues with it -- yet."

Ethanol has less energy then gasoline and therefore reduces gas milage by about 20%. Having personally experienced ethanol problems with small motors this station owner is blowing smoke. 


Mercury's water ice at north pole finally proven

Scientists have finally shown what has been postulated for decades: the planet Mercury holds billions of tonnes of water ice at its north pole.
A report in Science shows evidence from the Messenger spacecraft that craters in constant shadow host water.
futher pair of Science papers shows that much of the ice is beneath an insulating layer of dark material rich in organic and "volatile" molecules.
The findings may help explain how these ingredients first arrived on Earth.
Messenger was the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury, and since its arrival in March 2011 has been feeding back the best images of the planet that scientists have ever seen.
The principal evidence for water ice comes from the craft's "neutron spectrometer", which can detect the subatomic particle neutrons as they stream from Mercury.
"Neutrons are generated when cosmic rays hit a planet," Sean Solomon, Messenger principal investigator, explained to the Science podcast.
"Hydrogen is the best absorber of neutrons, so a neutron spectrometer looks for the signature of hydrogen near the surface by looking for decrease in the flux of neutrons coming from the planet."
Prof Solomon spoke to BBC News in early 2011, just before Messenger arrived at Mercury
This dip in the neutron count showed vast amounts of hydrogen in specific places at the planet's pole, consistent with deposits of water.
But further measurements using a laser and looking for reflections showed that much of the ice is covered with a layer of dark material tens of centimetres thick.
"The guess is that both the water and the dark material, which we think is organic-rich material, were delivered by the same objects impacting Mercury: some mixture of comets and the kinds of asteroids that are rich in organic and volatile material like water ice," Prof Solomon said.
"These are very common objects in the Solar System, we know many of them have orbits that bring them very close to the Sun."
Prof Solomon said that what Messenger finds not only unlocks secrets about the innermost planet in our Solar System, but could also shed light on those of other planets.
"The surprise that we received on making the first chemical measurements of Mercury was that none of the theories for how Mercury was assembled are correct," he said.
"So we're having to rewrite the books on how Mercury was assembled, and by implication how all the inner planets were assembled.
"The ice at the poles is only a recent chapter in that history but it's one that might be very informative."
Images of Mercury captured by Nasa's Messenger spacecraft (Image: NASA/JHU Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution)