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10601  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: July 29, 2008, 08:15:12 PM
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/iraq/article4426139.ece

From The Times
July 30, 2008
Love, blackmail and rape – how al-Qaeda grooms women as ‘perfect weapons’
Deborah Haynes in Baladruz, Diyala
Read Deborah Haynes's blog: Inside Iraq

A woman pretending to be pregnant walks up to a hospital in one of Iraq’s most dangerous regions and blows herself up.

Minutes later a man, also laden with explosives, attacks the rescue workers who rushed to the scene in Diyala province, north of Baghdad. Thirty-two people are killed and 52 wounded.

The co-ordinated bombings that ripped through the town of Baladruz in May are one of twelve attacks involving thirteen women suicide bombers to strike Diyala so far this year – a huge jump, signalling a new tactic by insurgents. US officials suspect that al-Qaeda has built a network of cells that recruit women and turn them into killers.

Women are the perfect weapon in a country where it is frowned upon culturally for a man even to approach a woman without her husband or father in tow, let alone frisk her for weapons at one of the many checkpoints that are the bombers’ favourite targets. In addition, it is easy to hide a vest packed with explosives under the traditional Islamic robes worn by women in Iraq without drawing suspicion.

In total, there have been 24 attacks involving women suicide bombers since January, including four on Monday in Baghdad and the northern city of Kirkuk that left scores dead. Al-Qaeda is “a very adaptive enemy”, a US Special Forces captain based in Diyala said. “They will try to use whatever works best for them to attempt to exploit whatever political or cultural restrictions we have.”

In the past, al-Qaeda fighters have used mosques to hold meetings and hide weapons, knowing that the US military will not raid religious buildings. “Now they’ve adapted to try to use female suicide bombers.”

The military believes that al-Qaeda employs a variety of tactics to get women to become suicide bombers. Some are easy prey because their husband or children have been killed or detained by US forces, said Captain Matthew Shown, the intelligence officer for “Sabre Squadron”, 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armoured Cavalry Regiment, which is based in southeast Diyala.

Another method is for a member of al-Qaeda to marry a woman and then dishonour her in some way, such as letting someone else rape her. “This would leave her with no choice but to end her life,” Captain Shown, 34, said.

There are also reports of women being told that their husband or child will be killed unless they agree to become suicide bombers.

Eliminating the threat of female suicide attacks in Diyala is a priority for US and Iraqi forces, who began a large offensive yesterday across the province against al-Qaeda and pockets of Shia militias.

There have been a few successes. Last month Iraqi police arrested the alleged leader of the suicide cell that orchestrated the twin blasts on May 2 in Baladruz. Video footage of attacks on US forces was found at his home. Officers believe the material was used to indoctrinate female recruits.

The US military is also hiring women to stand alongside male guards at checkpoints to ensure that all women get a full body search.“It is not possible for males to search females. It is a cultural thing,” said Staff Sergeant David Schlicher, who works in civil affairs at Forward Operating Base Caldwell, a US camp in the middle of a much larger Iraqi army base in the desert in southeast Diyala. “So this closes that loophole.”

The woman guards will complement a workforce of about 80,000 men who are paid by the US military to protect their neighbourhood under a programme that encouraged many former Sunni insurgents to turn against al-Qaeda.

There are few female volunteers, however, just as there are not many women in the police and Army because it is not part of their culture.

The female bomb threat appears to be changing attitudes. In Baladruz, twenty-five women are due to start civilian guard duties this week, and an appeal has been made for another ten.
10602  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: July 29, 2008, 08:03:29 PM
Well, it appears that Stratfor and I agree that something has the Chinese power structure is acting like there is a major crisis looming. Their analysis is more sophisticated and nuanced than mine. If their actions start to affect international investment in China, they could be inducing a major crisis and normally Beijing isn't that stupid.

Something is going on behind the curtain, this much is true.
10603  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Blade Wounds by a Surgeon on: July 29, 2008, 04:16:23 PM
Is that an upside down Asp on your vest?
10604  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: July 29, 2008, 01:15:02 PM
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-bolton26-2008jul26,0,4549608.story

One world? Obama's on a different planet
The senator's Berlin speech was radical and naive.
By John R. Bolton
July 26, 2008

SEN. BARACK OBAMA said in an interview the day after his Berlin speech that it "allowed me to send a message to the American people that the judgments I have made and the judgments I will make are ones that are going to result in them being safer."

If that is what the senator thought he was doing, he still has a lot to learn about both foreign policy and the views of the American people. Although well received in the Tiergarten, the Obama speech actually reveals an even more naive view of the world than we had previously been treated to in the United States. In addition, although most of the speech was
substantively as content-free as his other campaign pronouncements, when substance did slip in, it was truly radical, from an American perspective.

These troubling comments were not widely reported in the generally adulatory media coverage given the speech, but they nonetheless deserve intense scrutiny. It remains to be seen whether these glimpses into Obama's thinking will have any impact on the presidential campaign, but clearly they were not casual remarks. This speech, intended to generate the enormous publicity it in fact received, reflects his campaign's carefully calibrated political thinking. Accordingly, there should be no evading the implications of his statements. Consider just the following two examples.

First, urging greater U.S.-European cooperation, Obama said, "The burdens of global citizenship continue to bind us together." Having earlier proclaimed himself "a fellow citizen of the world" with his German hosts, Obama explained that the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Europe proved "that there is no challenge too great for a world that stands as one."

Perhaps Obama needs a remedial course in Cold War history, but the Berlin Wall most certainly did not come down because "the world stood as one." The wall fell because of a decades-long, existential struggle against one of the greatest totalitarian ideologies mankind has ever faced. It was a struggle in which strong and determined U.S. leadership was constantly questioned, both in Europe and by substantial segments of the senator's own Democratic Party. In Germany in the later years of the Cold War, Ostpolitik -- "eastern politics," a policy of rapprochement rather than resistance -- continuously risked a split in the Western alliance and might have allowed communism to survive. The U.S. president who made the final successful assault on communism, Ronald Reagan, was derided by many in Europe as not very bright, too unilateralist and too provocative.

But there are larger implications to Obama's rediscovery of the "one world" concept, first announced in the U.S. by Wendell Willkie, the failed Republican 1940 presidential nominee, and subsequently buried by the Cold War's realities.

The successes Obama refers to in his speech -- the defeat of Nazism, the Berlin airlift and the collapse of communism -- were all gained by strong alliances defeating determined opponents of freedom, not by "one-worldism." Although the senator was trying to distinguish himself from perceptions of Bush administration policy within the Atlantic Alliance, he was in fact sketching out a post-alliance policy, perhaps one that would unfold in global organizations such as the United Nations. This is far-reaching indeed.

Second, Obama used the Berlin Wall metaphor to describe his foreign policy priorities as president: "The walls between old allies on either side of the Atlantic cannot stand. The walls between the countries with the most and those with the least cannot stand. The walls between races and tribes; natives and immigrants; Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down."

This is a confused, nearly incoherent compilation, to say the least, amalgamating tensions in the Atlantic Alliance with ancient historical conflicts. One hopes even Obama, inexperienced as he is, doesn't see all these "walls" as essentially the same in size and scope. But beyond the incoherence, there is a deeper problem, namely that "walls" exist not simply because of a lack of understanding about who is on the other side but because there are true differences in values and interests that lead to human conflict. The Berlin Wall itself was not built because of a failure of communication but because of the implacable hostility of communism toward freedom. The wall was a reflection of that reality, not an unfortunate mistake.

Tearing down the Berlin Wall was possible because one side -- our side -- defeated the other. Differences in levels of economic development, or the treatment of racial, immigration or religious questions, are not susceptible to the same analysis or solution. Even more basically, challenges to our very civilization, as the Cold War surely was, are not overcome by naively "tearing down walls" with our adversaries.

Throughout the Berlin speech, there were numerous policy pronouncements, all of them hazy and nonspecific, none of them new or different than what Obama has already said during the long American campaign. But the Berlin framework in which he wrapped these ideas for the first time is truly radical for a prospective American president. That he picked a foreign audience is perhaps not surprising, because they could be expected to welcome a less-assertive American view of its role in the world, at least at first glance. Even anti-American Europeans, however, are likely to regret a United States that sees itself as just one more nation in a "united" world.

The best we can hope for is that Obama's rhetoric was simply that, pandering to the audience before him, as politicians so often do. We shall see if this rhetoric follows him back to America, either because he continues to use it or because Sen. John McCain asks voters if this is really what they want from their next president.

John R. Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and the author of "Surrender Is Not an Option."
10605  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: July 29, 2008, 12:49:38 PM
Look, Ma, No Arms   
By Matthew Continetti
The Weekly Standard | Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Early in 2001, President Bush approved the export of arms to democratic Taiwan. At the time, Bush said the United States would do "whatever it takes" to defend its tiny, besieged Pacific ally. That was yesterday. Today, it's looking more like Bush was just kidding.

How else to explain the administration's recent decision to freeze $16 billion worth of the arms deals? Bush approved the sale of Patriot missiles, Apache helicopters, and submarines to Taiwan more than seven years ago. Since then Taiwan has also requested 66 F-16 fighter jets to replace its aging planes. The Taiwanese legislature has appropriated the money with which to buy the weapons. In some cases it has already even put down payments. In return, America has given Taiwan a whole lot of nothing.

On July 16, the head of Pacific Command, Admiral Timothy Keating, told an audience at the Heritage Foundation that the administration has concluded "there is no pressing, compelling need for, at this moment, arms sales to Taiwan of the systems that we're talking about." This must have been news to the Taiwanese government, which says the weapons are needed to defend Taiwan. And it certainly must have been a surprise to the authors of the Pentagon's annual report on Chinese military power, who have for the past several years noted the dangerous shift in the military balance of power between Taiwan and China.

Taiwan president Ma Ying-Jeou took office last May, pledging to improve relations between Taiwan and China while protecting his democracy's sovereignty. To that end, in recent months the two countries have resumed cross-strait talks, allowed direct flights between the mainland and Taipei, and pursued further economic integration.

Yet Ma also understands that he must negotiate from a position of strength. For the United States to renege on its commitments would weaken Ma's hand at a critical time. After all, his government is only a few months old and Beijing is no doubt searching for weaknesses. American self-doubt and lack of follow through--in effect, a lack of American resolve and confidence in Ma's government--may lead Chinese policymakers to think that they can act provocatively.

Beijing has already gotten away with a lot. China is a rising autocratic power that has suffered no consequences for its gross human rights violations and support for rogue regimes. The military buildup on the Chinese side of the Taiwan Strait continues uninterrupted. There are now more than a thousand Chinese missiles pointed at Taiwan. In the last decade the Chinese have deployed more than 300 advanced aircraft across the Strait. China has five ongoing submarine programs. A massive, underground nuclear submarine base was recently detected on Hainan Island.

China has reasons for its buildup. It is meant, among other things, to deter unilateral declarations of Taiwanese independence. The authors of the Defense Department's 2008 report on Chinese military power wrote, the "ongoing deployment of short-range ballistic missiles, enhanced amphibious warfare capabilities, and modern, long-range anti-air systems opposite Taiwan are reminders of Beijing's unwillingness to renounce the use of force." The greater the military imbalance between China and Taiwan, the more likely China is to use military force in a cross-strait dispute. This is another reason the deal is necessary. Taiwan requires arms to serve as a deterrent against the mainland.

Why the delay? The administration has provided only a series of excuses. First the deal was held up because Washington was displeased with Taiwan president Chen Shui-bian's pro-independence rhetoric. Now Chen is gone, replaced by Ma's quietist diplomacy. The new excuse is that fulfilling our end of the bargain would upset China on the verge of next week's Beijing Olympics. Even if this were the case, and it probably is not, the administration has to shoulder much of the blame. Its foot-dragging in years past helped produce this impasse (though Taiwan's then-opposition Kuomintang party was also a problem). And once the Olympics are over, and the weapons still have not been exported, expect the administration to say that it cannot fulfill its commitments to Taiwan because to do so may jeopardize China's participation in the North Korean denuclearization talks.
All of these excuses point to the actual reason for the delay: America's current Taiwan policy is motivated by fear. We are afraid of upsetting China and afraid, in turn, of what an upset China might do in response. And the consequence of this fear is a weakened position for the United States and its East Asian allies.

On a visit to Taipei last week, former Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz told reporters that he expected the arms sales will be approved. We hope he is right. Let's not forget, however, that the Taiwan Relations Act also gives Congress a say in the defense assistance provided to Taiwan. Should the White House continue to drag its feet, it will fall to Congress to speak out in support of a democratically. And the message Congress might deliver is simple: Who is served when America neglects her friends in a misguided effort not to offend her rivals?
10606  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China vs. Islam on: July 29, 2008, 12:41:57 PM
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080728/ap_on_re_as/china_olympic_threats&printer=1;_ylt=AjSQwSsKPrBa4_m4MVu_COv9xg8F

Beijing cites numerous Olympic threats
By CHARLES HUTZLER, Associated Press Writer
Mon Jul 28, 7:26 PM ET

Just over a week before the Beijing Olympics, a militant Islamic group's claims of responsibility for bombings in China have fueled unease about security. The government has assured its people and the Olympic community that heavy security will ensure a secure games.

But its clampdown has smothered a broad array of groups, many with grievances against the government but without a history of violence.

Among the potential troublemakers Chinese security specialists have identified are Tibetan separatists, who staged occasionally violent protests last spring; members of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement and unemployed workers.

Stirring the latest concerns were videotaped threats purporting to be from an Islamic militant group. They surfaced last week in the name of the Turkistan Islamic Party — a group Chinese and Western terrorism experts say is an offshoot of a secessionist group from China's Central Asian frontier with ties to al-Qaida.

In it, hooded men stood in camouflage fatigues with Kalashnikovs and claimed responsibility for explosions in four cities in Western China in recent months, including two bus bombings last week in Kunming city that authorities said killed two people and injured 14.

One militant, identified by the Washington-based monitoring group IntelCenter as commander Seyfullah, warned athletes and spectators "particularly the Muslims" to stay away.

"Our aim is to target the most critical points related to the Olympics. We will try to attack Chinese central cities severely using the tactics that have never been employed," he said.

Chinese police immediately played down the threat, saying the explosions in Chinese cities claimed by the group were not the work of terrorists.

Still Beijing is being emptied of political critics, underground Christian organizers and ordinary Chinese who come to the capital to protest local government injustices.

Plainclothes security agents surprised rights campaigner Hou Wenzhuo at a cafe on May 30, putting a hood over her head and holding her in an undisclosed detention center for 17 days.

Among their chief concerns during interrogations, she said, were plans for a "human rights torch relay" organized by an exiled Tiananmen Square democracy movement figure and whether Chinese at home might get involved.

"The government is worried that this 'human rights torch' will detract attention from China" and the Olympics, Hou said. "They didn't beat me, but there are different kinds of intimidation."

Officials in charge of security have denied they are rounding up peaceful critics and have defended their actions as necessary, given global terrorism's scope and the publicity attacking the Olympics would bring.

To squelch any threat, Chinese leaders are mobilizing an army of security many times greater than previous Olympics — 110,000 police, riot squads and special forces, augmented by more than 300,000 Olympic volunteers and neighborhood watch members.

"Through all kinds of efforts and by relying on the support and cooperation from the international society and the general public, we are confident we can deal with all the threats and risks and challenges," Liu Shaowu, director of security for the Beijing Olympics organizing committee, said last week.

President Hu Jintao told fellow communist leaders over the weekend that "the task of hosting a safe Olympic Games is as heavy as Mount Tai and everyone shares the responsibility."

The hyper-charged security, however, has put some Western governments on edge, caught between a desire to cooperate on terrorism threats and concern about aiding the policing of peaceful dissent. U.S. and other European governments complain they have offered information but that Chinese police give little in return.

"The Chinese definition of security threat is pretty broad, and in the context of the Olympics, it encompasses anyone who might seek to 'disrupt' the games," Drew Thompson, director of China studies at the Nixon Center in Washington, said in an e-mail.

For the communist regime, "it's not about terrorism. It's about security," said one Western diplomat, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the media. "It's the current reason for expanding the entire scope of the police state."

Chinese and Western terrorism experts agree the threat from terrorist groups, particularly of the militant Islamic stripe, is real. Hardly a month has passed this year without the government reporting it had disrupted a terrorist plot. But with so much effort focused on Beijing, terrorists may be seeking more vulnerable targets.

"The chances of attacks on Olympic areas are very unlikely," said Rohan Gunaratna of the International Center for Political Violence and Terrorism Research in Singapore. "But there could be attacks elsewhere in the run-up to the Olympics to spoil the mood of celebration."

Li Wei, director of the Center for Counterterrorism Studies, which has ties to China's spy agency, said his center has pinpointed five distinct threats: international terrorist groups like al-Qaida, the domestic version fighting to end Chinese rule in far western Xinjiang province, Tibetan separatists, the Falun Gong spiritual movement and ordinary people with grievances against the government or society.

While Li said the Tibetans and Falun Gong are not known for violence, radicals in their midst might lash out. Followers of Falun Gong, a meditation practice suppressed nearly a decade ago after drawing millions of followers, might turn to self-immolation, poisonings and other retaliatory acts if ordered by their leader, believed in hiding in the U.S., he said.

Groups fighting to end Chinese rule in Xinjiang, or what some Muslims call East Turkistan, are singled out as the most likely threat. A rebellion by the indigenous Muslim Turkic people, the Uighurs, has simmered for decades, with some fighting in neighboring Pakistan and Afghanistan.

One group, the East Turkistan Islamic Movement, was based in Afghanistan before the U.S. invasion and is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States. After its leader was killed in 2003, members reorganized into similar groups, including the Turkistan Islamic Party, and received training from al-Qaida in Pakistan's tribal area abutting Afghanistan, said Gunaratna and other terrorism experts.

Gunaratna estimates this hard core numbers around 100. Aside from its recent videotaped threat, the Turkistan Islamic Party released a statement in April calling for biological weapons attacks against China and has posted an Internet video guide on assembling a truck bomb, the IntelCenter said.

Commander Seyfullah's claim to have carried out recent explosions has raised doubts about the group's reach.

Police, cited by Xinhua, said the bus explosion in Shanghai in which three people died was caused by an oil fire and the Wenzhou explosion by a debt-ridden gambler, while there's no evidence to connect the Kunming bus bombings to terrorism.

"Although the Turkistan Islamic Party claimed that they were responsible, I personally think that it's all bluff and bluster," said Li, the counterterrorism expert.

Those explosions, Li and others said, were most likely caused by "lone wolves" — disgruntled individuals and the hardest threat to guard against. Li pointed to the bombing in a park at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics that killed one and injured 111 and was found to be the work of an anti-government extremist.

That "type leaves no clues but only a hot head," said Li.

___

Associated Press reporter Anna Johnson in Cairo contributed to this report.
10607  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: July 29, 2008, 10:22:30 AM
http://www.nypost.com/php/pfriendly/print.php?url=http://www.nypost.com/seven/07292008/postopinion/opedcolumnists/os_tour_de_farce_122049.htm

O'S TOUR DE FARCE
By AMIR TAHERI

July 29, 2008 --
TERMED a "learning" trip, Sen. Barack Obama's eight- day tour of eight nations in the Middle East and Europe turned out to be little more than a series of photo ops to enhance his international credentials.

"He looked like a man in a hurry," a source close to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said last week. "He was not interested in what we had to say."

Still, many Iraqis liked Obama's claim that the improved situation in Iraq owed to Iraqi efforts rather than the Gen. David Petraeus-led surge. In public and private comments, Obama tried to give the impression that the Iraqis would've achieved the same results even without the greater resources America has poured into the country since 2007.

In private, though, Iraqi officials admit that Obama's analysis is "way off the mark." Without the surge, the Sunni tribes wouldn't have switched sides to help flush out al Qaeda. And the strong US military presence enabled the new Iraqi army to defeat Iran-backed Shiite militias in Basra and Baghdad.

Nevertheless, in public at least, no Iraqi politician wants to appear more appreciative of American sacrifices than the man who may become the next US president.

Iraqis were most surprised by Obama's apparent readiness to throw away all the gains made in Iraq simply to prove that he'd been right in opposing the 2003 overthrow of Saddam Hussein. "He gave us the impression that the last thing he wanted was for Iraq to look anything like a success for the United States," a senior Iraqi official told me. "As far as he is concerned, this is Bush's war and must end in lack of success, if not actual defeat."

Even so, Obama knows that most Americans believe they're still at war with an enemy prepared to use terror against them. So he can't do what his antiwar base wants - declare an end to the War on Terror and the start of a period of love and peace in which "citizens of the world" build bridges between civilizations.

That's why Obama is trying to adopt Afghanistan as "his" war. He claims that Bush's focus on Iraq has left Afghanistan an orphan in need of love and attention. Even though US military strategy is to enable America to fight two major wars simultaneously, Obama seems to believe that only one war is possible at a time.

But what does that mean practically?

Obama says he wants to shift two brigades (some of his advisers say two battalions) from Iraq to Afghanistan. But where did that magical figure come from? From NATO, which has been calling on its members to provide more troops since 2006.

NATO wants the added troops mainly to improve the position of its reserves in Afghanistan. The alliance doesn't face an actual shortage of combat units - it's merely facing a rotation schedule that obliges some units to stay in the field for up to six weeks longer than is normal for NATO armies.

Overall, NATO hopes that its members will have no difficulty providing the 5,000 more troops it needs for a "surge." So there's no need for the US to abandon Iraq in order to help Afghanistan.

The immediate effect of Obama's plan to abandon Iraq and send more troops to Afghanistan is to ease pressure on other NATO members to make a greater contribution. Even in Paris, some critics think that President Nicolas Sarkozy should postpone sending more troops until after the US presidential election. "If President Obama can provide all the manpower needed in Afghanistan, there is no need for us to commit more troops," said a Sarkozy security adviser.

Obama's move would suit Sarkozy fine because he's reducing the size of the French army and closing more than 80 garrisons. Other Europeans would also be pleased. German Chancellor Angela Merkel will soon face a difficult general election in which her main rivals will be calling for an end to "the Afghan adventure."

Today, with the sole exception of Spain (where the mildly anti-American Socialist Party is in power), pro-US parties govern Europe. These parties feel pressure from the Bush administration to translate their pro-American claims into actual support for the Afghanistan war effort. By promising to shoulder the burden, Obama is letting the European allies off the hook.

Obama doesn't seem to have noticed the European scene's subtleties. Despite his claim that he came to listen, he seems to have heard nothing of interest during his 10,000-mile trip.

Having announced his strategy before embarking on his "listening tour," he couldn't be expected to change his mind simply because facts on the ground offered a different picture.

In Paris, a friendly reporter asked the Illinois senator if there was anything that he'd heard or seen during his visit that might persuade him to alter any aspect of his polices. Obama's answer was clear: no.

Amir Taheri's next book, "The Persian Night: Iran Under the Khomeinist Revolution," is due out this fall.
10608  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: July 29, 2008, 06:04:31 AM
http://www.redstate.com/diaries/brianfaughnan/2008/jul/24/enthusiasm-for-obama-on-the-wane-2/

Sept/Oct is really when the polls start to matter.
10609  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: July 29, 2008, 06:02:05 AM
World Citizen Obama   
By Frank J Gaffney Jr.
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s single most illuminating statement in the course of a just-completed overseas tour was his self-description during the stop in Berlin as a “citizen of the world.”  Widely interpreted as nothing more than an innocuous expression of solidarity with his adoring, post-nationalist hosts, this declaration is actually just the latest indication that Senator Obama embraces a vision of his own country and its role in the world that should be exceedingly worrisome to America’s citizenry.
The appellation “Citizen” has a checkered past.  French revolutionaries used it  first to distinguish the common man from the reviled aristocracy, then to enforce their reign of terror on both.  Orson Welles entitled his classic film modeled on the life of William Randolph Hearst Citizen Kane – depicting an unscrupulous demagogue who, despite his privileged background, nearly obtained high elective office on a populist platform.

Now Citizen Obama uses a turn of phrase with no less troubling overtones.  The notion of world citizenship has become a staple of transnationalists who seek to subordinate national sovereignty and constitutional arrangements to a higher power.  They are working to replace, for example, our directly elected representatives operating in a carefully constructed system of checks-and-balances, with rule by unaccountable elites in the form of international bureaucracies, judiciaries and even so-called “norms.”

Citizens of the world can have their rights circumscribed or even eliminated without their consent.  For instance, in March the Organization of the Islamic Conference – what amounts to a Muslim mafia organization – demanded that the UN Human Rights Council (dominated by the OIC’s members) amend the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  The effect was to alter the foundational freedom of expression so as to prohibit speech that offends adherents to Islam.

World citizens embrace the idea that the United Nations and other multinational organizations are imbued with a moral authority not found in nation-states like ours.  When he was the Democratic Party standard-bearer, Senator John Kerry famously described American foreign and defense policy as only being legitimate when it passed a “global test” – in other words, approval by the international community.

Today, the Democrats’ incipient nominee subscribes to the view that, as he put it in Berlin, “The burdens of global citizenship continue to bind us together.”  Global citizenship amounts to code for subordinating American interests to our putative responsibilities as a member of the international community.  The former can be pursued only to the extent our fellow global citizens – or, more precisely, their unelected, unaccountable spokesmen in Turtle Bay, Geneva, The Hague or other seats of “world government” – approve.

To further such a subordination of American power, the transnationalists have long sought to enmesh the United States in a web of treaties and institutions.  These include: the World Trade Organization (which now routinely rules against U.S. companies and economic interests while giving a pass to Communist China’s); the International Criminal Court (which has just established an ominous precedent for U.S. officials by indicting the sitting – albeit opprobrious – president of Sudan); and the Law of the Sea Treaty (described by its admirers as a “constitution of the oceans,” it assigns unprecedented responsibilities for control of the oceans and even activities ashore to international organs).

Of course, the notion that there truly is such a thing as an “international community” is a conceit of the transnationalists.  In practice, decisions are made by majorities usually dominated by the world’s authoritarians – Russia, China, the so-called “non-aligned” of the developing world and, increasingly, the Islamist states.  The subordination of U.S. freedom of action, let alone national security, to such a world citizenry is a formula for disaster.

A riveting insight into this reality was provided a few months back when the National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre addressed a meeting in New Orleans, the scene following Hurricane Katrina of the forceful disarmament of law-abiding U.S. citizens.  Mr. LaPierre showed a video which included a chilling statement from a senior UN official to the effect that, while she understood Americans were reluctant to part with their firearms, they had better get used to being “citizens of the world” just like everybody else.

For many in Sen. Obama’s audiences, references to “global citizenship” must sound about as benign as his mantra about promoting “change we can believe in.”  It all has a sort of Rodney King-like quality to it:  “Can’t we all just get along?”

In fact, the terminology Citizen Obama uses reveals an attachment to a radical transformation of not just our foreign policy but of the nature of our country itself.  The “change” he has in mind could prove fatal to our sovereignty and constitutional form of government.

Questions about the appropriate role of America in the world and how it conducts its relationships with foreign powers are, of course, essential topics in any presidential campaign.  That is particularly true at a moment when the United States finds itself engaged in a global war with a totalitarian ideology, Islamofascism, that has embedded itself in many allied countries and enjoys strong support from most of our foes.

It falls most immediately to Senator John McCain to highlight Citizen Obama’s radical answers to these questions and ultimately to U.S. voters to determine whether they want a global citizen in the White House or a president of, by and for the American people.

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. is the founder, president, and CEO of The Center for Security Policy. During the Reagan administration, Gaffney was the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Forces and Arms Control Policy, and a Professional Staff Member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, chaired by Senator John Tower (R-Texas). He is a columnist for The Washington Times, Jewish World Review, and Townhall.com and has also contributed to The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New Republic, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, The Los Angeles Times, and Newsday.
10610  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India on: July 28, 2008, 08:47:20 PM
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24091819-2703,00.html

Fear grows over India car terror

Bruce Loudon, South Asia correspondent | July 29, 2008

TWO cars packed with explosives and bomb-making equipment were found yesterday in the Indian city of Surat, where 92 per cent of the world's diamonds are cut and polished, as fears mounted that jihadis have begun a campaign attacking targets of international significance.

Bomb disposal experts dismantled both bombs in cars that had been abandoned in the city, but officials said there was intelligence showing extremists were "trying to cause as much chaos and bloodshed as possible to further the cause ofjihad".

Anti-terror squads swooped on an apartment in an upmarket part of Mumbai, pinpointed as the origin of a 14-page manifesto issued by an organisation known as Indian Mujaheddin following the bomb blasts in Ahmedabad, in Gujarat.

Police said the apartment was rented to two Americans who had denied any involvement in the email, which, "in the name of Allah", proclaimed "the terror of death" and was sent to several Indian news channels.

Investigators are looking at the possibility that the Americans' personal computers were hacked to send the incendiary document, which analysts say gives the clearest indication yet of the thinking behind the wave of bomb attacks.

The document, written in English, insists Indian Mujaheddin is a home-grown organisation, and asks the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba organisation, which is close to Pakistan's ISI spy agency and linked to al-Qa'ida, not to claim responsibility for bomb attacks carried out in its name.

Indian intelligence experts believe Indian Mujaheddin is the al-Qa'ida-linked Students Islamic Movement of India in a new guise, rebadging itself as Indian rather than a puppet of the ISI.
10611  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizen-Police interactions on: July 28, 2008, 07:36:34 PM
If your car is a traffic hazard, waiver or not it's getting inventoried/towed. Pre-printed waiver or not, what happens to the car of an arrestee will be determinded by dept. policy. Also search incident to arrest applies.
10612  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: July 28, 2008, 07:30:11 PM
Crafty,

I'm hoping i'm right, though if I were betting i'd tend to put my money on us not acting until it's too late.  cry
10613  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: July 28, 2008, 09:52:15 AM
http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=5420514

U.S. Headed for 'Heightened Alert' Stage
Exclusive: Major Events on the Horizon Prompt a Surge in Anti-Terror Efforts

By PIERRE THOMAS
July 28, 2008—

Government officials have been quietly stepping up counterterror efforts out of a growing concern that al Qaeda or similar organizations might try to capitalize on the spate of extremely high-profile events in the coming months, sources tell ABC News.

Security experts point to next month's Olympics as evidence that high-profile events attract threats of terrorism, like the one issued this past weekend by a Chinese Muslim minority group that warned of its intent to attack the Games.

Anti-terror officials in the U.S. cite this summer and fall's lineup of two major political parties' conventions, November's general election and months of transition into a new presidential administration as cause for heightened awareness and action.

This is what the Department of Homeland Security is quietly declaring a Period of Heightened Alert, or POHA, a time frame when terrorists may have more incentive to attack.

According to drafts of government memos described to ABC News, the period would run roughly from this August through July 2009.

During this time, homeland security analysts will be asked to redouble efforts to study terrorism leads. And a number of agencies will be asked to review emergency response plans to a variety of attacks, from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to biological weapons.

Officials also are being asked to make sure they are prepared for all contingencies during the transition from the Bush administration to that of the next president.

In a recent interview, FBI director Robert Mueller told ABC News of his concerns for homeland security.

"When you have a series of events like this which are very public, where you have a number of people that are congregated together, we take additional precautions," he said.

"That means identifying, focusing on the intelligence that's available and scrutinizing it to pieces and running it to ground, to putting in place the precautions to assure the particular events go according to plan and free from terrorist attacks," he said.

At the moment, the nation's public threat level will remain at yellow, or "elevated," but not orange, or "high."

The reasons: There are no specifics indicating an attack on the U.S. is imminent, and U.S. officials do not want to be accused of trying to inject themselves into the presidential campaign.

"That's a balancing act," said Jerry Hauer, former Homeland Security official and ABC News consultant. "They really have to focus on these events and this critical time we're going through as a nation, but they have to be very careful about the public message to not make it look political or like they're fearmongering."

Government officials point to the Sept. 11 attacks, which happened just nine months into a new administration, and the Madrid train bombings, which were carried out just three days before Spain's 2004 general election.

They say history suggests a need to take potential threats seriously -- especially in the very near future.
10614  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: July 28, 2008, 12:15:14 AM
'US talks to Iran to legitimize attack'
Jul. 27, 2008
Yaakov Katz , THE JERUSALEM POST

Recent talks the United States held with Iran are aimed at creating legitimacy for a potential attack against Iranian nuclear facilities, defense officials speculated on Sunday as Defense Minister Ehud Barak headed to Washington for talks with senior administration officials.

Barak will travel to Washington and New York and will hold talks with his counterpart Robert Gates, Vice President Dick Cheney, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Michael Mullen, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley.

Officials said it was likely that President George W. Bush would join the meeting between Barak and Hadley. On Wednesday, Barak will fly to New York for a brief meeting with United Nations Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon.

Barak's departure to the US came as IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi returned to Israel on Sunday from a week-long visit to the US as Mullen's guest. Ashkenazi held talks with Cheney, Hadley and other senior officials with a focus on the Iranian nuclear program.

"There is a lot of strategic thinking concerning Iran going on right now but no one has yet to make a decision what to do," said a top IDF officer, involved in the dialogue between Israel and the US. "We are still far away from the point where military officers are poring over maps together planning an operation."

In recent weeks, Mullen has said publicly that he is opposed to military action against Iran which would open a "third front" for the US military which is currently fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Barak's talks in the US come a little over a week after the Bush administration sent its number three diplomat to Geneva to participate in European Union talks with Iran over its nuclear program.

The move led to reports that the US was changing its isolation tactic vis-à-vis Iran but Israeli defense officials speculated Sunday that the move was really a ploy to buy international support in the event that Bush decides to attack Iran in his last months in office.

"This way they will be able to say they tried everything," one official speculated. "This increases America's chances of gaining more public support domestically as well as the support of European nations which are today opposed to military action."

Diplomatic officials have speculated that the Iran-US talks were also connected to the presidential elections.

According to the IDF officer, the frequent meetings between Israel and the US in recent weeks - Mullen was in Israel in June - is a sign of the strong ties between the two countries as well as the mutual interest both take in different regional issues such as Iran, Hizbullah, Hamas and Syria.

This article can also be read at http://www.jpost.com /servlet/Satellite?cid=1215331116435&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull
10615  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Asia on: July 27, 2008, 05:23:10 PM
http://www.reuters.com/articlePrint?articleId=USSP23014220080727

India on alert after two days of bombings kill 46
Sun Jul 27, 2008 1:12pm EDT
By Alistair Scrutton and Bappa Majumdar

NEW DELHI, India (Reuters) - India's major cities were put on high alert on Sunday, with fears of more attacks after at least 40 people were killed in two days of bombings that hit a communally-sensitive western city and a southern IT hub

At least 16 small bombs exploded in the Indian city of Ahmedabad on Saturday, killing at least 39 people and wounding 110, a day after another set of blasts in Bangalore killed a woman.

A little known group called the "Indian Mujahideen" claimed responsibility for the Ahmedabad attack on Saturday. The same group said it carried out bombs attacks that killed 63 people in the western city of Jaipur in May.

It is unusual for any group to claim responsibility, but India says it suspects militant groups from Pakistan and Bangladesh are behind a wave of bombings in recent years, with targets ranging from mosques and Hindu temples to trains.

"The entire nation, including major metro cities in India have been put on high alert and they have been asked to step up security in vital installations," a home ministry spokesman said.

In New Delhi, police used loudspeakers and distributed leaflets in crowded market places, warning people to watch out for unclaimed baggage and suspicious objects. Police guarded Hindu temples in the eastern city of Kolkata.

There were two separate series of bombings in Ahmedadad, the first near busy market places. A second quick succession of bombs went off 20 to 25 minutes later around a hospital, where at least six people died, police said. All were detonated with timers.

"I came with my two children to cheer up my mother admitted to hospital," said Pankaj Patel, whose son Rohan and daughter Pratha were killed at Ahmedadad hospital. "They were laughing when the blast occurred. Now they are dead."

Two doctors were killed in the hospital in a blast in which at least one bomb was tied onto a gas cylinder. Charred motorcycles and bicycles were shown outside. TV showed victims writhing in pain and covered in blood on hospital floors.

The other bombs were in Ahmedabad's crowded old city dominated by its Muslim community. Many were packed into metal tiffin boxes, used to carry food, and packed with ball-bearings. Some were left on bicycles.

Police found three other unexploded bombs in Ahmedabad on Sunday, local media said.

Ahmedabad is the main city in the communally sensitive and relatively wealthy western state of Gujarat, scene of deadly riots in 2002 in which 2,500 people are thought to have died, most of them Muslims killed by rampaging Hindu mobs.

Both Ahmedabad and Bangalore are in states ruled by the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party and are among the country's fastest-growing.

Gujarat's Chief Minister Narendra Modi is one of India's most controversial politicians, accused of turning a blind eye to the Gujarat riots.

MUSLIM BACKLASH?

Some analysts say there is evidence of local Muslim groups, for years seen as unaffected by the rise of global Islamist militancy, of taking up violence against India, where they are a poor and often neglected minority. They may be getting training and financial backing from Pakistan or Bangladesh.

"Over the last few years, the dissatisfaction among Indian Muslims has hitched onto the wagon of the global/regional jihad," said C. Uday Bhaskar, a security analyst and former director of New Delhi's Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses.

"If you have 150 million Muslims in India, only 0.0001 percent of that figure would mean a militant nucleus of 15,000 people."

Police raided one house in Mumbai where they believe e-mails from the Indian Mujahideen were linked, local media reported.

India's home ministry said on Friday it suspected "a small militant group" was behind the Bangalore attacks, while some police officials suspected the blasts could be the work of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India.

Some IT companies in Bangalore, known as India's Silicon Valley, were increasing security after bombs went off there. Each bomb had a similar explosive force to one or two grenades.

The city is a prominent software development centre and is also home to a major outsourcing industry.

(Additional reporting by Rupam Jain Nair in Ahmedabad; Editing by Bill Tarrant)
10616  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: July 27, 2008, 11:58:39 AM
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/us_elections/article4406814.ece

From The Sunday Times
July 27, 2008
Sleaze scuppers Democrat golden boy

Gotcha: Senator John Edwards, whose wife has cancer, has been caught in a sex scandal that ends his vice-presidential hopes

Sarah Baxter in Washington
SCRATCH John Edwards off the list of potential vice-presidential candidates. The former White House contender, who had been hoping to get the nod from Barack Obama, is in the midst of a full-blown sex scandal.

Every supermarket shopper knows that the preternaturally youthful former senator for North Carolina may have fathered a love child with a film-maker while Elizabeth, his saintly wife, is dying of cancer. There are sensational new details on the National Enquirer website, although most of the media have done their best to ignore them.

The tabloid magazine cornered Edwards, 55, leaving a Los Angeles hotel where Rielle Hunter, his alleged mistress, and her baby were staying, at 2.40am last Tuesday. He ran down a hallway and dived into the men’s bathroom. A hotel security guard confirmed the encounter. “His face just went totally white,” the guard said.

The story has been bubbling away for months, but so far there has been not a word about it in the mainstream newspapers, even though Edwards was John Kerry’s running mate in 2004 and has been tipped for a prominent job in an Obama administration – if not vice-president, then attorney-general or antipoverty tsar.

Edwards volunteered recently: “I’m prepared to consider seriously anything, anything [Obama] asks me to do for our country.”

He can stop waiting by the telephone. News of the “gotcha” rapidly circulated on the internet via the Drudge Report and has been buzzing on the blogs. The Enquirer’s story appears to be well sourced.

According to the magazine, Edwards arrived at the Beverly Hilton on Monday at 9.45pm after attending a meeting on homelessness in Los Angeles and was dropped off at a side entrance. Two rooms were allegedly booked for Hunter in a friend’s name.

Edwards emerged hours later and was confronted by journalists from the Enquirer. His usual spokesmen and defenders have scurried for cover behind a wall of “no comment”, while the details of the story have gone unchallenged.

Even so, Tony Pierce, editor of the Los Angeles Times, issued an edict to the paper’s own bloggers to stay off the subject. “Because the only source has been the National Enquirer, we have decided not to cover the rumours or salacious speculations,” he wrote.

Mickey Kaus, a blogger for Slate magazine, leaked the memo. He noted: “This was a sensational scandal that the Los Angeles Times and other mainstream papers passionately did not want to uncover when Edwards was a formal candidate and now that the Enquirer seems to have done the job for them it looks like they want everyone to shut up while they fail to uncover it again.”

The New York Times has not deigned to touch the story, although it recently ran thousands of words on a relationship between McCain and a female lobbyist, which appeared to be based more on innuendo than fact.

Byron York, a conservative journalist, finally broke the silence in The Hill, a reputable, non-partisan congressional newspaper. “The media looks down on the National Enquirer but you look at the Edwards story and say, ‘Wow! There appears to be a lot of knowledge there’. It is darned fishy,” York said.

Edwards appeared at a press conference on poverty in Houston shortly after the Enquirer story broke. All he would say was: “I don’t talk about these tabloids. They’re tabloid trash and just full of lies.” There was no explicit denial.

York believes sympathy for Edwards’s wife may partly account for the media blackout. “She’s a very high-profile wife and she’s suffering from cancer. But if the story is true, this was going on when he was running for president.”

If Edwards is the father of Hunter’s child, he may also be responsible for an elaborate cover-up which would call into question his political integrity as well as his fidelity. An aide to Edwards had previously claimed via a lawyer that he (the aide) was the father.

Hunter’s existence was first mentioned by Newsweek in 2006, when the magazine claimed that the little-known film-maker had been commissioned by the millionaire candidate to make behind-the-scenes web videos of his presidential campaign after they “met in a New York bar”.

Hunter, a former aspiring actress, was paid $114,000 (£57,000) for her work. Months later, a writer on The Huffington Post website wondered what had happened to the videos, which had vanished from Edwards’s campaign site. The headline read, “Edwards mystery: innocuous videos suddenly shrouded in secrecy”.

As the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination gathered pace in October last year, the Enquirer claimed that Hunter was the candidate’s mistress. “It’s completely untrue. Ridiculous,” Edwards said. “I’ve been in love with the same woman for 30 years.” Two months later the magazine revealed that Hunter, a 43-year-old divorcee, was six months pregnant.

The story took a bizarre turn when she claimed that Andrew Young, a long-time aide to Edwards and a married family man, was the father of her child. Young’s lawyer acknowledged his paternity.

Hunter moved from New York to the same gated community in North Carolina as Young and his wife and young children, raising speculation that he was really her minder. Young has not commented on the latest allegations.

The National Enquirer may publish photographs corroborating Edwards’s presence at the hotel this weekend. A reporter for The Washington Post said yesterday: “To be quite honest, we’re waiting to see the pictures. That said, Edwards is no longer an elected official and he is not running for office now. Don’t expect wall-to-wall coverage.”

The Clinton Connection

Roger Altman, who has a controlling stake in the National Enquirer, is a former official in Bill Clinton’s administration. Some wags believe the magazine poured resources into the love child story to scupper John Edwards’s chances of beating Hillary Clinton for the presidential nomination.

Were the latest revelations timed to finish him off as a potential running mate? Despite the rumours, it is not likely. Few people think Clinton is still on Barack Obama’s shortlist.

David Perel, the Enquirer’s editor-in-chief, said the magazine’s parent company had “nothing to do with the editorial side, which I run”.

“We stayed on the story,” he said. “We did it the old-fashioned way with lots of legwork. We did what the [big] news organisations used to do. We knocked on doors, ran down leads and talked to people.”
10617  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: July 27, 2008, 10:43:29 AM




July 25, 2008, 7:45 a.m.

It’s America, Obama
A modest dissent to the citizen of the world.

By Victor Davis Hanson

What disturbed me about Barack Obama's Berlin speech were some reoccurring utopian assumptions about cause and effect — namely, that bad things happen almost as if by accident, and are to be addressed by faceless, universal forces of good will.

Unlike Obama, I would not speak to anyone as “a fellow citizen of the world,” but only as an ordinary American who wishes to do his best for the world, but with a much-appreciated American identity, and rather less with a commonality indistinguishable from those poor souls trapped in the Sudan, North Korea, Cuba, or Iran. Take away all particular national identity and we are empty shells mouthing mere platitudes, who believe in little and commit to even less. In this regard, postmodern, post-national Europe is not quite the ideal, but a warning of how good intentions can run amuck. Ask the dead of Srebrenica, or the ostracized Danish cartoonists, or the archbishop of Canterbury with his supposed concern for transcendent universal human rights.

With all due respect, I also don't believe the world did anything to save Berlin, just as it did nothing to save the Rwandans or the Iraqis under Saddam — or will do anything for those of Darfur; it was only the U.S. Air Force that risked war to feed the helpless of Berlin as it saved the Muslims of the Balkans. And I don't think we have much to do in America with creating a world in which “famine spreads and terrible storms devastate our lands.” Bad, often evil, autocratic governments abroad cause hunger, often despite rich natural landscapes; and nature, in tragic fashion, not “the carbon we send into atmosphere,” causes “terrible storms,” just as it has and will for millennia.

Perhaps conflict-resolution theory posits there are no villains, only misunderstandings; but I think military history suggests that culpability exists — and is not merely hopelessly relative or just in the eye of the beholder. So despite Obama’s soaring moral rhetoric, I am troubled by his historical revisionism that, “The two superpowers that faced each other across the wall of this city came too close too often to destroying all we have built and all that we love.”

I would beg to differ again, and suggest instead that a mass-murdering Soviet tyranny came close to destroying the European continent (as it had, in fact, wiped out millions of its own people) and much beyond as well — and was checked only by an often lone and caricatured US superpower and its nuclear deterrence. When the Soviet Union collapsed, there was no danger to the world from American nuclear weapons “destroying all we have built” — while the inverse would not have been true, had nuclear and totalitarian communism prevailed. We sleep too lightly tonight not because democratic Israel has obtained nuclear weapons, but because a frightening Iran just might.

When Obama shouts,

Will we reject torture and stand for the rule of law? Will we welcome immigrants from different lands, and shun discrimination against those who don't look like us or worship like we do, and keep the promise of equality and opportunity for all of our people?
it is the world, not the U.S., that needs to listen most. In this regard I would have preferred Sen. Obama of mixed ancestry to have begun with “In the recent tradition of African-American Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice,” rather than the less factual, “I don't look like the Americans who've previously spoken in this great city.”

I want also to shout back that the United States does stand for the rule of law, as even the killers of Guantanamo realize with their present redress of grievances, access to complex jurisprudence, and humane treatment — all in a measure beyond what such terrorists would receive anywhere else. It is the United States that takes in more immigrants than does any country in the world, and thus is the prime destination of those who flee the miseries of this often wretched globe.

American immigration policies are humane, not only in easy comparison to the savagery shown the “other” in Africa or the Middle East, but fair and compassionate in comparison to what we see presently accorded aliens in Mexico, France, and, yes, Germany. Again, in all this fuzziness — this sermonizing in condescending fashion reminiscent at times of the Pennsylvania remonstration — there is the whiff of American culpability, but certainly not much of a nod to American exceptionalism. Politicians characteristically say to applauding audiences abroad what they wish to hear. True statesmen often do not.

In terms of foreign affairs, I think Americans will finally come to vote for a candidate, who with goodwill, a lot of humility, and a little grace, can persuade the world that universal moral progress, freedom, and material prosperity best advance under the aegis of free markets, constitutional government, and individual freedom, rather than for someone who seems to think, in naïve fashion, that these are necessarily shared and natural human practices, or are presently in force outside the West — or will arise due to dialogue or international good intentions.

 — Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.

National Review Online - http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=ZTAzZWIwOWYzMTg1YzkyOTllODM2YmU0OTdjZGVhNjg=
10618  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: July 27, 2008, 10:02:09 AM
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24078316-25837,00.html

Rebels could win Pakistan's nuke haven

Bruce Loudon, South Asia correspondent | July 26, 2008

A CRISIS meeting of Pakistan's new coalition Government has been warned that it could lose control of the North West Frontier Province, which is believed to hold most of its nuclear arsenal.

The warning came yesterday from the coalition leader, who, although he is part of the new Government, is regarded as having the closest links to al-Qa'ida and Taliban militants sweeping through the region.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman bluntly told his colleagues: "The North West Frontier province is breaking away from Pakistan. That is what is happening. That is the reality."

This came just days before new Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani's scheduled meeting with US President George W. Bush to discuss al-Qa'ida and Taliban sanctuaries in Pakistan.

Reports last night said Maulana Fazlur Rehman, regarded as having unparalleled insight into the mood of the three million tribesmen in the NWFP, and leader of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, was backed in his assessment by members of the coalition Government from the Awami National Party, which rules in the province's capital, Peshawar.

They, too, told the meeting of jihadi militant advances throughout the province, with their influence extending to most so-called "settled areas", including Peshawar.

Yesterday, the army was reported to have abruptly ended an operation in the Hangu district, close to Peshawar, after threats by militant leaders.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman and the ANP members blamed the worsening situation on "President (Pervez) Musharraf's eight-year policy to deal with the issue through the barrel of a gun, and the alliance with America".

The crisis meeting resolved to pursue dialogue with the jihadis, a policy derided by US and NATO-led forces in Afghanistan.

It also declared itself to be implacably opposed to US or other forces entering Pakistani territory to deal with the growing jihadi militancy.

Analysts in Islamabad believe the warning about the situation in the NWFP will prompt renewed concern about the security of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, speaking in Australia, suggested the restive border region was the source of a surge in Taliban-related violence in Afghanistan, and said Pakistan needed to do more to prevent attacks.

"We understand that it's difficult, we understand that the North West Frontier area is difficult, but militants cannot be allowed to organise there and to plan there and to engage across the border," Dr Rice said.

"So, yes, more needs to be done."

Al-Qa'ida's operational commander in Afghanistan, a 53-year-old Egyptian named Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, was interviewed on Pakistani television yesterday and claimed the organisation's strength in Afghanistan was growing so rapidly it would "soon occupy the whole country".

He claimed that "the morale of our fighters in Afghanistan is very high and they are putting up a tough fight against US troops".

He also claimed responsibility in the interview for a terrorist attack on the Danish embassy in Islamabad.

The fact of the interview, as much as what he said, is seen as indicating an important new stage in the crisis.

"The bad guys are even popping up and giving television interviews: that's a reflection of what's happening," one foreign diplomat in Islamabad said last night.

A leading think tank warned this week about the Taliban's use of a media strategy to exaggerate their strength and undermine confidence in the Afghanistan Government.

The International Crisis Group says the administration and its backers must counter this propaganda if they are to defeat an insurgency "that is driving a dangerous wedge between them and the Afghan people", in a report entitled Taliban Propaganda: Winning the War of Words?

The Taliban now publicise their messages, warnings and claims of battle successes through a website, magazines, DVDs, cassettes, pamphlets, nationalist songs, poems and mobile telephones.

Audacious tactics such as the Kandahar jailbreak last month and the April assassination attempt on President Hamid Karzai show that the intent is to grab attention.

"The result is weakening public support for nation building, even though few actively support the Taliban," the report says.

It says the international community should also examine its own actions, adding the benefits of military action are outweighed by the alienation they cause.

"The Taliban is not going to be defeated militarily and is impervious to outside criticism," the ICG says.

"Rather, the legitimacy of its ideas and actions must be challenged more forcefully by theAfghan government and citizens."

Additional reporting: AFP, AP
10619  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: July 27, 2008, 09:47:53 AM
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/2461830/Killing-for-religion-is-justified,-say-third-of-Muslim-students.html

Killing for religion is justified, say third of Muslim students
A third of Muslim students in Britain believe killing someone in the name of religion is justified, a new poll claims.
 
By Patrick Sawer
Last Updated: 1:00AM BST 27 Jul 2008

The survey found that extreme Islamist ideology has a profound influence on a significant minority of Muslims on campuses across the country.
The findings will concern police chiefs, the security services and ministers, who are struggling with radicalisation among Muslim communities.
The YouGov poll was conducted for the Right-wing think tank, the Centre for Social Cohesion, at 12 universities, including Imperial College and Kings College London. It also found:
40 per cent support the introduction of sharia into British law for Muslims
a third back the notion of a worldwide Islamic caliphate (state) based on sharia law
40 per feel it is unacceptable for Muslim men and women to mix freely
24 per cent do not think men and women are equal in the eyes of Allah
a quarter have little or no respect for homosexuals.
Although 53 per cent said that killing in the name of religion was never justified, compared with 94 per cent of non-Muslims, 32 per cent said that it was. Of these, 4 per cent said killing could be justified to "promote or preserve" religion, while 28 per cent said it was acceptable if that religion were under attack.
There was also sympathy for the view that Muslim soldiers in the Armed Forces should be allowed to opt out of operations in Muslim countries, with 57 per cent agreeing.
The report's authors found that Islamic societies on campus, operating under the umbrella of the Federation of Student Islamic Societies, exert a strong influence on many of Britain's 90,000 Muslim students. A quarter of them belong to Islamic societies and their views are often more extreme.
While three-fifths of society members said that killing in the name of religion was acceptable, an equal number of non-member Muslims said it was never justified. The security services have identified Islamist activism at universities acts as a possible "gateway" to violent extremism. Several terrorists and sympathisers began their extremist careers on campuses.
The authors of the report, "Islam on Campus", lay much of the blame for extremism among Muslim students on the group Hizb ut-Tahrir, which seeks to build a worldwide Islamic state.
YouGov polled 600 Muslim students and 800 non-Muslim students at universities with a high number of Muslims.
10620  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: July 27, 2008, 09:30:12 AM
http://www.nypost.com/php/pfriendly/print.php?url=http://www.nypost.com/seven/01152008/postopinion/opedcolumnists/smearing_soldiers_265875.htm

SMEARING SOLDIERS
By RALPH PETERS

January 15, 2008 -- THE New York Times is trashing our troops again. With no new "atrocities" to report from Iraq for many a month, the limping Gray Lady turned to the home front. Front and center, above the fold, on the front page of Sunday's Times, the week's feature story sought to convince Americans that combat experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan are turning troops into murderers when they come home.
Heart-wringing tales of madness and murder not only made the front page, but filled two entire centerfold pages and spilled onto a fourth.

The Times did get one basic fact right: Returning vets committed or are charged with 121 murders in the United States since our current wars began.

Had the Times' "journalists" and editors bothered to put those figures in context - which they carefully avoided doing - they would've found that the murder rate that leaves them so aghast means that our vets are five times less likely to commit a murder than their demographic peers.

The Times' public editor, Clark Hoyt, should crunch the numbers. I'm even willing to spot the Times a few percentage points (either way). But the hard statistics from the Justice Department tell a far different tale from the Times' anti-military propaganda.

A very conservative estimate of how many different service members have passed through Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait since 2003 is 350,000 (and no, that's not double-counting those with repeated tours of duty).

Now consider the Justice Department's numbers for murders committed by all Americans aged 18 to 34 - the key group for our men and women in uniform. To match the homicide rate of their peers, our troops would've had to come home and commit about 150 murders a year, for a total of 700 to 750 murders between 2003 and the end of 2007.

In other words, the Times unwittingly makes the case that military service reduces the likelihood of a young man or woman committing a murder by 80 percent.

Yes, the young Americans who join our military are (by self- selection) superior by far to the average stay-at-home. Still, these numbers are pretty impressive, when you consider that we're speaking of men and women trained in the tools of war, who've endured the acute stresses of fighting insurgencies and who are physically robust (rather unlike the stick-limbed weanies the Times prefers).

All in all, the Times' own data proves my long-time contention that we have the best behaved and most ethical military in history.

Now, since the folks at the Times are terribly busy and awfully important, let's make it easy for them to do the research themselves (you can do it, too - in five minutes).

Just Google "USA Murder Statistics." The top site to appear will be the Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics. Click on it, then go to "Demographic Trends." Click on "Age." For hard numbers on the key demographics, click on the colored graphs.

Run the numbers yourself, based upon the demographic percentages of murders per every 100,000 people. Then look at the actual murder counts.

Know what else you'll learn? In 2005 alone, 8,718 young Americans from the same age group were murdered in this country. That's well over twice as many as the number of troops killed in all our foreign missions since 2001. Maybe military service not only prevents you from committing crimes, but also keeps you alive?

Want more numbers? In the District of Columbia, our nation's capital, the murder rate for the 18-34 group was about 14 times higher than the rate of murders allegedly committed by returning vets.

And that actually understates the District's problem, since many DC-related murders spill across into Prince George's County (another Democratic Party stronghold).

In DC, an 18-34 population half the size of the total number of troops who've served in our wars overseas committed the lion's share of 992 murders between 2003 and 2007 - the years mourned by the Times as proving that our veterans are psychotic killers.

Aren't editors supposed to ask tough questions on feature stories? Are the Times' editors so determined to undermine the public's support for our troops that they'll violate the most-basic rules of journalism, such as putting numbers in context?

Answer that one for yourself.

Of course, all of this is part of the disgraceful left-wing campaign to pretend sympathy with soldiers - the Times column gushes crocodile tears - while portraying our troops as clichéd maniacs from the Oliver Stone fantasies that got lefties so self-righteously excited 20 years ago (See? We were right to dodge the draft . . .).

And it's not going to stop. Given the stakes in an election year, the duplicity will only intensify.

For an upcoming treat, we'll get the film "Stop-Loss," starring, as always, young punks who never served in uniform as soldiers. This left-wing diatribe argues that truly courageous troops would refuse to return to Iraq - at a time when soldiers and Marines continue to re-enlist at record rates, expecting to plunge back into the fight.

Those on the left will never accept that the finest young Americans are those who risk their lives defending freedom. Sen. John Kerry summed up the views of the left perfectly when he disparaged our troops as too stupid to do anything but sling hamburgers.

And The New York Times will never forgive our men and women in uniform for their infuriating successes in Iraq.

Ralph Peters' latest book is "Wars of Blood and Faith."
10621  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China vs. Islam on: July 27, 2008, 08:54:27 AM
"In the video released this week and dated July 23, TIP leader Commander Seyfullah warned China of more explosions to come.
"Our aim is to target the most critical points related to the Olympics. We will try to attack Chinese central cities severely using the tactics that have never been employed," he continued"

**Rather than a nuke, this makes me think of radiological dispersal devices (dirty bombs). Bioweapons seem much less likely, despite having been specifically mentioned by "Commander Seyfullah".

Question: Are the bombings in India part of an "Asian campaign" by al qaeda, having their losses in Iraq now entering global consciousness?**
10622  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China vs. Islam on: July 27, 2008, 08:46:24 AM
http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5gs7lUkxBUCG_S2sfv-rSUJibzLtg

Chinese separatists' Olympics threat 'credible': US analyst
1 day ago

WASHINGTON (AFP) — A Chinese Muslim separatist group's threats to launch attacks during the Beijing Olympics are credible, a US expert said Saturday, after the group claimed credit for several recent bus bombings in China.
Although Chinese officials earlier Saturday denied that the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP) was behind the bus bombings in Shanghai, IntelCenter director Ben Venzke pointed to a TIP video showing how to make a truck bomb as evidence that the group has the capacity for serious attacks.
"At this point in time we believe that, based on the TIP's demonstrated ability to conduct bombings and the apparent opportunity TIP believes the Olympic Games presents in terms of targeting and striking a blow to China, that the threat is credible and should be taken seriously," Venzke said.
Venzke, whose company monitors extremist threats around the world for private clients, on Friday released a transcript of TIP's latest video claiming credit for a pair of bus blasts that killed two people Monday in Yunnan province, and a bus explosion in Shanghai in May that killed three.
Chinese officials quickly rejected the claim, denying that TIP, an ethnic Uighur group which seeks to break off part of China's heavily Muslim Xinjiang province into an independent East Turkestan homeland, had caused the explosions.
"We have noticed media reports about the claims, but so far no evidence has been found to indicate the explosions were connected with terrorists and their attacks, or with the Beijing Olympics," a Yunnan public security official was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua news agency.
"The (May 5) blast was indeed deliberate but had nothing to do with terrorist attacks," Cheng Jiulong, deputy head of Shanghai police, told Xinhua.
But Venzke says the threat is likely real.
"Questions remain as to exactly what the TIP capabilities are in the eight cities they have threatened and whether the group has the ability to conduct a sustained campaign during the Games or one or two large-scale attacks."
According to global intelligence analysts Stratfor, TIP is another name for the ethnic Uighur Islamic Party of East Turkestan (ETIM), a group labelled a terrorist organization by both the United States and China.
In the video released this week and dated July 23, TIP leader Commander Seyfullah warned China of more explosions to come.
"Our aim is to target the most critical points related to the Olympics. We will try to attack Chinese central cities severely using the tactics that have never been employed," he continued
.
"While Seyfullah's claims appear greater than reality, they cannot be entirely dismissed, nor can the potential for further transportation infrastructure attacks against China," Stratfor said in an analysis on its website.
TIP's video says the group is willing to use biological weapons in an attack, and Venzke said that specific threat cannot be discounted. But, he added, TIP so far lacks a "demonstrated capability" to use biological weapons.
IntelCenter said it had a video made by TIP showing how to wire a truck with a bomb and another showing a suicide bomber preparing for an attack.
Venzke also noted that senior Al-Qaeda figure Ayman al-Zawahiri has made reference several times to the Uighurs' fight for an East Turkestan homeland
"While not yet on the level of attention focused on places like Somalia, Sudan, Algeria and other major theaters, al-Zawahiri's references do firmly place the jihadi efforts in East Turkistan in the mix of important jihadi fronts," Venzke said.
10623  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China vs. Islam on: July 26, 2008, 05:10:17 PM
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/china/article4406836.ece

From The Sunday Times
July 27, 2008
Islamist bombers target Olympics
Michael Sheridan Far East Correspondent

A MILITANT Islamic group has threatened to attack the Beijing Olympics with suicide bombers and biological weapons and has claimed responsibility for a string of fatal bombings and explosions in China over recent weeks.

In a video released by IntelCenter, a terrorism monitoring group, a bearded man identified as “Commander Seyfullah” is seen reading a declaration of jihad against the Olympics and warns athletes and spectators, “especially Muslims”, to stay away.

It was issued by a group calling itself the Turkestan Islamic party. The group may be allied with the East Turkestan Islamic Movement – designated a terrorist organisation by the US, China and several other countries – which seeks independence for the Muslim Uighur people of China’s far west province of Xinjiang, which Uighur separatists call East Turkestan.

“Commander Seyfullah” said the group was responsible for three bombs last week on buses in the city of Kunming, which killed two people, and for two bus bombings on May 21 in Shanghai, which killed three.

The group said it also bombed a plastics factory in southern China and claimed involvement in an attack on police in the city of Wenzhou using explosives on a tractor, both on July 17.

Some of these incidents had been attributed to criminals, local grievances or accidents.

IntelCenter said that in an earlier five-page communiqué the group had promised to unleash suicide bombers against the Olympics and told Muslims that the use of biological weapons would be religiously justified.

The Chinese authorities have mobilised more than 100,000 troops and police to guard the Olympics and have imposed draconian security restrictions in every city where events will take place.
10624  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China vs. Islam on: July 26, 2008, 04:33:12 PM
Plausible I suppose, but in that it has not been done here in the US or Europe, do you think the Chinese Muslim Fascists have the ability to go nuke?  My sense of things is that they are at a lower level.

**Under most circumstances, I'd tend to agree. Bill Gertz disclosing NEST's presence strikes me as a huge story that seems to have slid under the radar and alters my assessment. Gertz has great sourcing from the nat'l security structure and I don't recall him ever being substantially wrong on a story like this. NEST couldn't be there without the approval from the highest levels of the USG and I can't see Washington willing to take this risk without very good reason. I very much doubt that ETIM has it's own nuclear capability. Still, western China borders the loose nuke center of the universe.**

My sense of things is that playing up the Isalmo-fascist issue becomes  a way for China to neutralize the usual US complaints and bleatings when they are their usual oppressive totalitarian selves.

**True, China seized on "terrorism" as a cover for business as usual right after 9/11. The fact that China is openly discussing terror threats to the Olympics to the degree it is strikes me as significant. Admitting there is a serious threat harms China's "face" at a time when the whole world is watching. The whole motivation for hosting the Olympics is to present the "new China" and promote it's strength and modernity. Having to admit to a serious threat to internal security at this time makes the power structure in Beijing very unhappy. Again, something not done lightly.

One other aspect to keep in mind. AQ has a history of grafting it's global jihad onto muslim struggles that were originally non-religious, ethno-nationalistic in origin. I'd cite the "Alqaeda-ization" of the Chechen independence movement in the 90's. I'm willing to bet this is a factor in what is occurring with the ETIM today. Keep in mind that the terrorists that hit Beslan were majority Chechen, but included arabs recruited for the jihad operation.** 
10625  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China vs. Islam on: July 26, 2008, 09:40:48 AM
The incident with the Qantas jet has me wondering about Ramzi Yousef's "Oplan Bojinka". Connected? I'll be waiting to see if this was metal fatigue or an IED.
10626  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China vs. Islam on: July 26, 2008, 09:30:03 AM
Very gracious.  Forward!  GM?

GM:

You make very good points, but as best as I can tell still do not reach my central doubt about your hypothesis-- can Islamic Fascism really become a big enough threat to internal Chinese control to the piont wherein it will suit Chinese govt purposes to cease and desist the activities you so well describe in order to ally with the US against Islamic Fascism?  Just what is it that we can offer them?

**If China and the US are working together to the degree that we have NEST there, and the first letter being "Nuclear" in the NEST acronym, then there is most likely good intel that has both governments very worried. Modern China has been described as "An ocean of gasoline just waiting for a spark". A nuclear detonation would certainly provide more than enough.

Imagine for a moment there was a nuclear weapon detonated in China. Even if not one victim was American, the impact would shake us and the rest of the world to a degree never seen before. Think of all the ships leaving Chinese ports daily with cargo containers headed for ports like Long Beach, CA. Keep in mind al qaeda's stealth navy and their M.O. of using cargo containers for human smuggling. Anyone think global trade wouldn't rapidly grind to a halt? Rather than 9/11 shutting down the airlines, this would crash the global trade infrastructure. China would very rapidly fracture and now we have to wonder which PLA neo-warlord has China's nukes under control. Does this spur N. Korea into a paniced invasion of the south or does the NorK state crumble, resulting in an epic humanitarian crisis along with China's chaos? What other problem cascade from this?

I know this much, our current housing/banking crisis would pale in comparison to the economic crisis that would stem from such a scenario.**


I'm thinking the solution will include (in no particular order)

a)  strengthening the dollar; higher interest rates, lower corporate tax rate
b)  price stability, reducing govt meddling in the economy
c) allow the market to do its work in responding to higher energy prices
d) eliminating/reducing taxes on alternative forms of energy
f)  drilling for oil
g) I know some like nuclear, but ever since the "experts" here in CA tried building a reactor on an earth quake fault I have a hard time trusting them
h) cultural sedition  grin

**If you've seen the Christmas sales in Shanghai in December as Santa Claus stands on the sidewalk in front of McDonald's and Starbucks as Nike wearing teens clad in NBA team shirts walk by as they listen to Mandarin hip-hop on I-pods, well then we're doing well in that area.**



10627  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China vs. Islam on: July 25, 2008, 08:03:16 PM
Into Africa   
By Roger Kaplan
The Weekly Standard | Friday, July 25, 2008

Close on the heels of the latest sham election in Zimbabwe, the International Criminal Court announced last week that it is seeking the arrest of the president of Sudan on charges of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. As Africa notches up more failures on the long road out of colonialism, a new pseudo-colonial power--China--is busily engaged in getting exactly what it wants out of the continent. The implications for the kind of political and economic evolution likely to unfold in Africa are significant.

Until about 20 years ago, China's interest in Africa consisted mainly of encouraging Marxist revolutionary factions. Lately, however, that interest has taken a decidedly economic turn. China is in the market for most of Africa's products and is selling its own there as well. Once a major oil exporter, China became a net importer of oil in 1993 and is now dependent on imports for half its oil and natural gas. To meet this need, it has diversified its sources, in particular making deals with most of Africa's oil-producing states.

Just in the past three years, Beijing has signed energy deals with Algeria, Nigeria, Angola, Gabon, and Sudan. Its investment in Sudan's pipeline and refinery infrastructure, valued at between $3 billion and $5 billion, is mind-boggling in such a poor country, but it is not unusual for the energy industry. China bought a stake in a Nigerian offshore field two years ago for $2.5 billion and promised to invest the same amount in further exploration and development.

China has huge investments in Algeria, with whose government it is also cooperating on the development of nuclear energy, and Angola, which this spring overtook Nigeria as the continent's largest producer of oil.

Chinese investment in Africa took off exponentially in the early 1990s. So did China-Africa trade. According to the Nigerian economist Adama Gaye, trade between China and Africa reached the $10 billion mark in 2000 and is likely to reach $55 billion this year. If it reaches $100 billion in 2010, as Gaye thinks likely, it will surpass both American and French trade with Africa. The continent's other major trading partners are India (growing) and Britain (not growing).

Significantly, Nigeria's then-president Olusegun Obasanjo, once a U.S. favorite, said last year that this would be the Chinese century, and he encouraged Africans to stay with the leader. There is no question China's mix of authoritarianism and rapid economic development is tempting to states whose political and economic institutions are fragile and whose relations with the liberal West tend to be ambivalent.

Not that the United States has been absent from African affairs. On the contrary, the Bush administration has supported huge increases in African exports to the United States (through the tariff-ending Africa Growth Opportunity Act) and U.S. investments in Africa (through the State Department's Overseas Private Investment Corporation), as well as debt relief initiatives, development aid in agriculture, and programs to combat disease and keep children in school. The Bush administration has encouraged African development more seriously than any of its predecessors, and it has insisted that prosperity is more likely to endure if accompanied by the spread of the institutions that sustain free societies, rather than the authoritarian model China promotes.

Which will be the ascendant influence? Chinese consumer goods are becoming ubiquitous in Africa, as elsewhere. "Made in China" clothes, personal and commercial vehicles, and electronics are widely available, and Chinese fast-food is even catching on. High level trade and investment delegations on multi-country tours are almost banal, while the annual "China-Africa Forums" are becoming more important in terms of deal-making than the Francophonie summits that France sponsors. Chinese assistance includes the deployment of thousands of doctors to fight tropical and infectious diseases.

The Chinese contribute hospitals, schools, and roads--they are building the trans-Maghreb highway across Algeria, for example, on which travelers ride in Chinese-assembled buses. Although as recently as a few years back Peugeot was the dominant car in West Africa by far, Japan's Toyota and Korea's Hyundai, both assembled in China, and China's own Chery Automobile will soon overtake it.

Prestige follows power. "Confucian Centers" are promoting Chinese language study in 16 countries, while "Confucian Institutes" in partnership with local universities have been established for advanced study of language and management in Sudan, Zimbabwe, Kenya, and South Africa. Scholarships are offered for university study in China. Chinese radio broadcasts in several languages compete with the popular programs of the Voice of America, the BBC, and RFI.

China's military role on the continent has grown in importance. Equipment and advisers have been sent to Congo (Kinshasa) and Angola, and there were reports in 2003 that firms fronting for the People's Liberation Army were smuggling weapons to Sierra Leone and Liberia during those small West African countries' catastrophic diamond wars, into which Ivory Coast, beset by its own north-south sectional and tribal problems, was drawn.

China's diplomatic support for the regime in Khartoum is well known as a result of Western efforts to broker peace among the many contending Sudanese clans and tribes. Lately Beijing, concerned to avoid criticism of its embrace of brutal regimes in the run-up to the Olympic Games, has pressured Sudan to cooperate with the deployment of a U.N.-African Union force to protect people in the war-torn Darfur province from tribal militias, some of which Khartoum has armed and supported.

It is worth keeping in mind, however, that civil wars have raged in Sudan practically without interruption since independence in 1956, and China, building its influence in the country, made no effort to stop them. Beijing's official position has been that the "situation in Sudan is an internal affair," as one Chinese foreign minister said. Although wars between the Arab north and the black south officially ended in 2005, the government of Omar al-Bashir is showing little inclination to respect the share-the-oil part of the U.S.-brokered peace agreement. Khartoum has spent some of its revenue from oil on Chinese arms, reinforced by Chinese military personnel.

Meanwhile, the violence in Darfur, which began with the revolt of Muslim tribes in the western province and led to brutal counterinsurgency campaigns, recently blew back into Khartoum. One of the many Darfuri armed groups sent a motorized column into Sudan's capital, where it was decimated--quite possibly with direct Chinese help. J. Peter Pham, a professor at James Madison University and a fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies who reported last year on the Chinese military association with Sudan, notes that when you provide a regime with $100 million worth of supersonic fighter jets, you must really intend for that regime to survive.

Darfur crisis watchers and activists are well aware that the people they are trying to protect in that disaster zone (a quarter of a million killed, two million displaced) are attacked from the air as well as on the ground. Meanwhile, a congressionally mandated report dated October 2006 had already put at anywhere from 4,000 to 10,000 the number of Chinese soldiers in Sudan, lightly disguised as petroleum engineers and construction workers.

Sudan's complexities, however, are unlikely to becloud China's keen sense of its own interests. In the Horn of Africa, for example, Pham points out China has sold a billion dollars' worth of arms to both sides in one of the continent's many underreported conflicts, the one between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Beijing bet heavily on Sudan's Omar al-Bashir, but if or when the southerners go back to the hills to fight for their independence (and their oil), it may well be with arms supplied by China. Until then, Bashir's indictment by the International Criminal Court can only strengthen the Chinese hand to the degree it increases the president's diplomatic isolation.

Arms, too--specifically a shipment of three million AK-47 rounds, rocket-propelled grenades, and mortars--are at the center of the latest episode in the long and warm relationship between China and Zimbabwe. The shipment, on the An Yue Jiang last April, was by no means unusual, but dockworkers in Durban, South Africa, refused to unload it for the overland part of its journey.

The good relations between South Africa and Zimbabwe have been strained by the crazy rule of Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party, which has wrecked a once-flourishing economy, murdered opposition activists, shut down a vigorous independent press, and now is forcing tens of thousands of refugees across the border into Botswana and South Africa, leading to deadly riots. Under these conditions, sending arms right in the middle of a presidential election that the ruling clique was determined to brazen out (Mugabe openly stated he would not allow the opposition Movement for Democratic Change to come to power) strained even the old-comrade ties that have made South African president Thabo Mbeki reluctant to criticize Mugabe.

It is of course quite possible that the days of strongmen like Mugabe are numbered anyway. In the meantime, however, the An Yue Jiang's cargo reportedly arrived safe and sound in Harare, having transited through Mozambique. Will Chinese president Hu Jintao give some stern advice to Mugabe, as he did in June to the Sudanese vice president?

During violence in Kenya last winter sparked by flawed elections, China's People's Daily (the organ of the ruling party) editorialized that "Western-style democracy is not suited for Africa." However, passing through Washington last month, Kenya's prime minister, Raila Odinga, sharply criticized Mugabe and called free elections imperative in Zimbabwe.

If an American presidential candidate did the same--if, without injecting himself into Zimbabwe's or Sudan's or any other country's internal politics, Barack Obama or John McCain made it clear the United States dislikes the kinds of political regimes China promotes and enables--Africans would surely take note. Indeed, in a campaign year unlike any previous one, Americans themselves might notice.

Roger Kaplan is a writer in Washington.
10628  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China vs. Islam on: July 25, 2008, 07:49:48 PM
http://www.tnr.com/story_print.html?id=06d65840-0997-482e-a84d-b09b61a7b0e5   
 
No Country for Young Men
China's testosterone problem.

Mara Hvistendahl,  The New Republic  Published: Wednesday, July 09, 2008



Mike Fiala/AP
At Tiananmen Square for National Day.
Over the last decade, they cropped up in cities throughout China, tucked into raucous markets or along forgotten side streets, their interiors smelling of musty canvas and crammed with bounty for aspiring young soldiers: illicit weapons shops with names like ARMY GOODS STORE and GUNCOOL. For a few thousand yuan--a few hundred dollars--assault rifle-like air guns await in dirty back rooms, along with fatigues, bulletproof vests, kneepads, long underwear, camouflage t-shirts, rucksacks, bandoliers, helmets, helmet sleeves, walkie-talkies, and two-liter CamelBaks. Once outfitted, China's militiamen organize into clubs--Guangzhou Fight Men, Shanghai Band of Brothers, Tianjin Seals--and storm remote lots or abandoned warehouses, shooting at each other with pellets, to stage what they call "war games." The term belies the seriousness participants assign the activity: The more established clubs have dedicated battlegrounds whose surrounding trees are nailed with DANGER signs.

In gun-happy America, this hobby might not rise above the level of eccentricity; but, in China, where most weapons are illegal, it requires a special degree of passion. Beijing periodically cracks down, and clubs sometimes disappear overnight. In a round-up last year, Beijing cops seized 3,400 guns and knives used in war games. Still, the government can't seem to quash the urge among Chinese twentysomethings to unleash a few rounds. The headline on a recent Shanghai Weekly article explains the games' appeal in unusually apt Chinglish: URBAN BATTLE: A VERY MAN ACTIVITY.

The macho violence spurting forth through outlets like war games is a growing trend in Chinese society--and China's one-child policy, in effect since 1979, is partly responsible. The country's three decades of iron-fisted population planning coincided with a binge in sex-selective abortions (Chinese traditionally favor sons, who carry on the family line) and a rise, even as the country developed, in female infant mortality. After almost 30 years of the policy, China now has the largest gender imbalance in the world, with 37 million more men than women and almost 20 percent more newborn boys than girls nationwide.

By the time these newborns reach puberty, war games may seem like a quaint relic. In the 2020s, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences researcher Zheng Zhenzhen, estimates in a People's Daily interview that 10 percent of Chinese men will be unable to find wives, which could have a huge impact on Chinese society. Historian David Courtwright suggests in Violent Land that sexually segregated societies in the United States--frontier towns flush with unmarried men, immigrant ghettos in early twentieth-century cities, mining camps--are behind our propensity toward violence. The immigrants and westward migrants who shaped early America, Courtwright says, were largely young single men, who are-- today as well as then--disproportionately responsible for drug abuse, looting, vandalism, and violent crime. A long-term study of Vietnam veterans in 1998 may explain exactly why: The subjects' testosterone levels, which are linked to aggression and violence, dropped when they married and increased when they divorced. Eternally single men, by extension, maintain high levels of testosterone--a recipe for violent civil unrest.

The one-child policy was instituted in an attempt to hamper the wild growth of the Chinese population. But, in the process of plugging one hole, the government may have left another open. The coming boom in restless young men promises to overhaul Chinese society in some potentially scary ways.

 

Lianyungang, a booming port city in a Jiangsu province economic belt, is ground zero for some of these changes. According to the China Family Planning Association, it's the city in China with the most extreme gender ratio for children under four--163 boys for every 100 girls. One sunny Saturday morning at verdant Cangwu Park, I count six boys and three girls bouncing on the inflatable castle. Near the ice-cream stand are a dozen sticky-faced kids, seven boys and five girls, feeding pigeons. The children running after kites adorned with Olympics mascots and China's Shenzhou VII spaceship: three and two. The drivers of the cheerful little tanks circling an electric track: three and one.

These numbers work fine on the playground, but, for China's many match- making services, they may prove troublesome. At the Good Luck Marriage Introduction Agency, in a town a few hours' drive west from Liangyungang, two whiteboards mounted on the wall advertise the age, height, and income of available singles. On the day I visit, founder Tao Hui, a fortysomething woman with a bouffant, is watching soap operas in her sweatpants. She hasn't felt the shortage yet, she says. On the whiteboards, a few dozen nameless men line up nicely to a few dozen nameless women. For now, many in the early wave of surplus men are marrying younger women.

"We'll see real problems in eight or ten years," Tao predicts. Her 17-year- old son, she assures me, has good prospects. But she already turns away a lot of single males from outlying villages with no money or education. "If they're ugly and can't find work, there's nothing I can do. No one wants them."

Preliminary returns from the first generation of population-controlled kids suggest how all those unwanted men might fill up their time. Over the past decade, as the boys hit adolescence, the country's youth crime rate more than doubled. In December, Chinese Society of Juvenile Delinquency Research Deputy Secretary General Liu Guiming told a Beijing seminar that today's teens were committing crimes "without specific motives, often without forethought."

The Chinese government--which, policy-making blunders aside, hardly wants a population of hopeless, volatile men under its rule--has been vainly trying to undo the damage. At a symposium on the policy last August, family-planning commission head Zhang Weiqing said the gender ratio harbors a "hidden threat to social stability." In February, officials publicly debated the timeline for phasing out stringent population planning targets, citing the gender ratio along with a rapidly aging population. "In the past, everyone thought we didn't have a problem," says Gu Baochang, a demographer at Renmin University in Beijing. "Now they're starting to pay attention."

In the meantime, the government is adopting a softer tone in its propaganda. The red characters painted on village walls throughout the countryside have evolved from the 1980s slogan YOU BEAT IT OUT! YOU CAN MAKE IT FALL OUT! YOU CAN ABORT IT! BUT YOU CANNOT GIVE BIRTH TO IT! Now they read: IMPLEMENT FAMILY PLANNING FOR THE GOOD OF ALL CITIZENS. And, recently, the government added BOYS AND GIRLS ARE BOTH TREASURES. In 2003, it unveiled the Care For Girls program, which gives stipends to parents of girls in some provinces.

But, as Chinese couples make more money, fertility is naturally declining-- meaning that today's bachelors will form an even larger proportion of China's future population than officials expect. Wang Feng, a sociologist at the University of California-Irvine who's part of a group of scholars advocating phasing out the one-child policy, says the outlook is grim: "Each successive birth cohort is going to be smaller. When younger cohorts get smaller, you have fewer females. It's a double whammy."

 

Online, many Chinese are worried--about the safety of their daughters, the marriage prospects of their sons. Others--presumably the boys themselves--meet the problem with ominous boasts. As one predicted last year on the portal Tianya: "Our national ability to pick up chicks will reach heights unparalleled in human history."

And still others are coming up with more practical outlets to exploit China's new cadre of unstable young bachelors. Two years ago in Nanjing, Jiangsu's capital, businessman Wu Gang opened the Rising Sun Anger Release Bar in a cheap hotel near the bank of the Yangtze River. The bar featured staples of Chinese entertainment like big-screen karaoke and plates of sunflower seeds but also a central catwalk where, for 100 yuan ($15) per minute, customers paid to assault the waiters, single young migrants from poorer cities to the north. If a customer preferred, his victim would dress in drag. Men "are under too much pressure," Wu explained to me one day, as the waiters high-kicked Pepsi bottles in the storeroom. "They need a way to release it."

Mara Hvistendahl is a writer based in Shanghai.
10629  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China vs. Islam on: July 25, 2008, 07:41:16 PM
1.  I supect our military plans for victory too.

**Sure, but the US wishes to preserve the post WWII pax americana that has allowed for the economic growth and freedom that has developed in many asian nations. China's envisioned pax sinica would not be nearly so benign.**

2/3.  Agreed.  Note that we too sold to the pre-Taliban to bleed the Russians.  The Chinese govt can be more ruthless in these things because it is a totalitarian state.
4/5.  Again, because it is a totalitarian state, it can be more ruthless.  Does it really need to fear the Chinese Muslims to the point of giving up the joy and "benefit" of helping world-wide Islamic Fascism bleed us? 

**The threat from jihadist 5th generation warfare combined with WMD technology holds the potential for the destruction of the nation-state as a viable entity.**

FWIW I see the Chinese as having some very weak links in their chain:
1) its' banking system is a tremendous house of cards,
2) due to the one child policy, its demographics are quite unusual.  The few will be supporting the many.

**It is specifically due to the demographic instability resulting from the one child policy that almost absolutely ensures that China will deliberately engage in a war or wars as a means to correct the gender imbalance. If this is the case, I'd rather have them pointed towards the 'stans rather than India or us.**

3) it has turned itself into a toxic dump with utterly unsustainable environmental policies
4) apparently there are tremendous social pressures

**Both 3 and 4 tend to support my conclusion stated above.**


10630  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Cooties in Training on: July 25, 2008, 07:24:19 PM
Funny enough, Cal POST didn't have a site or publication I could find on Bloodborne pathogens, but Cal OSHA has this:

http://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/adultfilmindustry.html  evil

There are actual links to useful information that would apply to a martial arts school.

Another useful site:

http://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/dosh_publications/iipp.html


10631  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Cooties in Training on: July 25, 2008, 05:18:41 PM
In a training environment, the adoption of infection control/blood borne pathogen protocols as used at a law enforcement training academy. I'd cut and paste their policy and procedures related to the training environment and injuries that occur while training, including exposure to blood.

I bet California POST has a nice program drawn up with your tax dollars worth looking at.
10632  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 'America Alone' on: July 25, 2008, 05:08:12 PM
Quote
Most of America's "poor" live in material conditions that would be judged as comfortable or well-off just a few generations ago.

I find that statement ridiculous. A few generations ago, many houses had no running water, electricity, or access to basic services. It's comparing apples to oranges.

The thing that irks me about the article is that it somehow equates material possessions with quality of life. The tone is one of "Get over it "poor" people. You own stuff, so be happy."

Owning a bunch of crap doesn't mean that your neighborhood isn't gang and drug infested or violent, lacks quality social services, and is a just plain horrible place to live. Detroit, Compton, New Orleans' 9th Ward, the Appalachians, all horrible places where people own stuff and their lives suck. Please... rolleyes


Isn't it better to be "poor" in American than to be poor throughout most of the world? If we examine the gang and drug infested areas in urban America, what policy solution do you advocate that hasn't as of yet been attempted?
10633  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Cooties in Training on: July 25, 2008, 02:35:32 PM
http://www.laweekly.com/news/news/the-scourge-of-skid-row/14810/

MRSA and the joys of modern law enforcement.  shocked
10634  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 'America Alone' on: July 25, 2008, 02:17:43 PM
http://www.heritage.org/Research/welfare/bg2064.cfm

August 27, 2007
How Poor Are America's Poor? Examining the "Plague" of Poverty in America
by Robert E. Rector
Backgrounder #2064

Poverty is an important and emotional issue. Last year, the Census Bureau released its annual report on poverty in the United States declaring that there were 37 million poor persons living in this country in 2005, roughly the same number as in the preceding years.[4] According to the Census report, 12.6 percent of Amer icans were poor in 2005; this number has varied from 11.3 percent to 15.1 percent of the population over the past 20 years.[5]

To understand poverty in America, it is important to look behind these numbers—to look at the actual living conditions of the individuals the government deems to be poor. For most Americans, the word "poverty" suggests destitution: an inability to provide a family with nutritious food, clothing, and reasonable shelter. But only a small number of the 37 million per sons classified as "poor" by the Census Bureau fit that description. While real material hardship certainly does occur, it is limited in scope and severity. Most of America's "poor" live in material conditions that would be judged as comfortable or well-off just a few generations ago. Today, the expenditures per person of the lowest-income one-fifth (or quintile) of house holds equal those of the median American household in the early 1970s, after adjusting for inflation.[6]

The following are facts about persons defined as "poor" by the Census Bureau, taken from various gov ernment reports:

Forty-three percent of all poor households actu ally own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.

Eighty percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, in 1970, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.

Only 6 percent of poor households are over crowded. More than two-thirds have more than two rooms per person.

The average poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and other cities throughout Europe. (These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor.)

Nearly three-quarters of poor households own a car; 31 percent own two or more cars.

Ninety-seven percent of poor households have a color television; over half own two or more color televisions.

Seventy-eight percent have a VCR or DVD player; 62 percent have cable or satellite TV reception.

Eighty-nine percent own microwave ovens, more than half have a stereo, and more than a third have an automatic dishwasher.
As a group, America's poor are far from being chronically undernourished. The average consump tion of protein, vitamins, and minerals is virtually the same for poor and middle-class children and, in most cases, is well above recommended norms. Poor children actually consume more meat than do higher-income children and have average protein intakes 100 percent above recommended levels. Most poor children today are, in fact, supernour ished and grow up to be, on average, one inch taller and 10 pounds heavier than the GIs who stormed the beaches of Normandy in World War II.
10635  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 'America Alone' on: July 25, 2008, 02:03:08 PM
I'd be curious to see how the numbers are skewed by illegal immigration, especially in the area of health insurance, income and mortality. I'd think the California stats would be especially impacted by illegal immigration.
10636  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China vs. Islam on: July 25, 2008, 01:59:03 PM
1. China's PLA and intelligence apparatus consider themselves at war with the US using the "unrestricted warfare" doctrine as first articulated by Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui. The PLA is building a military capable of defeating the US in a global confrontation.
http://www.terrorism.com/documents/TRC-Analysis/unrestricted.pdf
http://www.ccc.nps.navy.mil/si/2008/Jul/rickardJul08.asp
http://www.heritage.org/Research/MissileDefense/BG1303.cfm

2. China aligns it'self with many jihadist entities and thug nation-states, including it's support of the Sudanese gov't genocide in Dafur, and the brutal Myanmar/Burmese junta. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/panorama/7493934.stm
http://www.washtimes.com/news/2003/jun/26/20030626-084600-7160r/

3. Chinese arms are equipping the Taliban in Afghanistan. http://www.washtimes.com/news/2007/jun/05/20070605-121517-7394r/
http://www.tribuneindia.com/2008/20080522/nation.htm#1

4.  Were China to suffer a serious terrorist attack or attacks at the Olympics (mind you, I am in no position to prevent or mitigate any attacks) it may well result in a strategic realignment of China into an alliance with the US, especially given the unprecedented degree of cooperation between the US and China in securing the Olympics, thus potentially avoiding a future military conflict that otherwise may well develop in the future.

5. China's split with the jihadist terror entities and nation-states would impair their operational abilities, thus improving US national security.
10637  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China vs. Islam on: July 25, 2008, 09:32:09 AM
As i've said in another venue years ago, I strongly suspect China has had multiple jihadist terror attacks which it had covered up. I think the degree of international scrutiny and legitimate worries about terror attacks during the olympics has forced China to take a different approach now. In my opinion, they would not openly discuss the matter if they were confident they could keep it from view.

Is the Chinese state media going to approach the story with any degree of journalistic impartiality? No. The fact it's being discussed at all means it is a serious issue, no matter how it's spun. We can take that much away.
10638  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China vs. Islam on: July 25, 2008, 09:02:21 AM
Shanghai police swoops thwart stadium terrorist plot
www.chinaview.cn  2008-07-25 08:25:16        
Special report: 2008 Olympic Games

    BEIJING, July 25 -- Shanghai police have halted a group of terrorists who planned to attack a football venue in the Olympic co-host city.

    "We obtained information that international terrorist organizations were likely to launch an attack against an Olympics venue in the city during the Games," said Cheng Jiulong, Shanghai Public Security Bureau deputy director and head of the Shanghai security office for the Games.

    Cheng said police staged raids and nabbed the terrorists. He would not provide further details such as when the terrorists were found, how many suspects were detained and their origins.

    "According to information we have obtained, the Olympics venue, athletes' apartments and routes leading to the venue are considered safe," he said. "However, the threat of terrorism remains as some international terrorist organizations have threatened to launch attacks against the city.''

    To prepare for the Olympic soccer events, police have left no stone unturned in the crackdown on security.

    Shanghai Stadium has been closed for security checks since July 20, with both police and armed police conducting round-the-clock patrols.

    Safety checks at key locations, such as Shanghai Stadium and the Xujiahui commercial center, would be intense, Cheng said.

    He also said police would use special methods to prevent congestion at the entrances to Shanghai Stadium, which is expected to receive about 52,000 spectators for each match.

    "Spectators with bags will be guided to special safety check points,'' he said. "This will improve the flow of people entering the stadium.''

    Security personnel will work around the clock at the hotels where athletes will stay.

    "Every team will be provided with a security liaison officer who will accompany the team while they are in the city and respond to their safety demands at any time,'' Cheng said.

    In addition, railway police have stepped up security checks by requiring passengers to open drink bottles and take a sip - a surefire way to detect any dangerous liquids.

    The beefed-up measures have already helped to stop some people from carrying flammable liquids, such as oil paint, on trains, according to the railway police authority. Passengers carrying dangerous goods on board will face criminal charges.

    On Wednesday, city police announced rewards ranging from 10,000 yuan (US$1,464) to 500,000 yuan for information relating to serious crime.

    (Source: Shanghai Daily)
10639  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: July 24, 2008, 09:02:31 PM
http://online.wsj.com/public/article_print/SB121694247343482821.html

What Bush and Batman Have in Common
By ANDREW KLAVAN
July 25, 2008

A cry for help goes out from a city beleaguered by violence and fear: A beam of light flashed into the night sky, the dark symbol of a bat projected onto the surface of the racing clouds . . .

Oh, wait a minute. That's not a bat, actually. In fact, when you trace the outline with your finger, it looks kind of like . . . a "W."


Warner Bros. Pictures
There seems to me no question that the Batman film "The Dark Knight," currently breaking every box office record in history, is at some level a paean of praise to the fortitude and moral courage that has been shown by George W. Bush in this time of terror and war. Like W, Batman is vilified and despised for confronting terrorists in the only terms they understand. Like W, Batman sometimes has to push the boundaries of civil rights to deal with an emergency, certain that he will re-establish those boundaries when the emergency is past.

And like W, Batman understands that there is no moral equivalence between a free society -- in which people sometimes make the wrong choices -- and a criminal sect bent on destruction. The former must be cherished even in its moments of folly; the latter must be hounded to the gates of Hell.

"The Dark Knight," then, is a conservative movie about the war on terror. And like another such film, last year's "300," "The Dark Knight" is making a fortune depicting the values and necessities that the Bush administration cannot seem to articulate for beans.

Conversely, time after time, left-wing films about the war on terror -- films like "In The Valley of Elah," "Rendition" and "Redacted" -- which preach moral equivalence and advocate surrender, that disrespect the military and their mission, that seem unable to distinguish the difference between America and Islamo-fascism, have bombed more spectacularly than Operation Shock and Awe.

Why is it then that left-wingers feel free to make their films direct and realistic, whereas Hollywood conservatives have to put on a mask in order to speak what they know to be the truth? Why is it, indeed, that the conservative values that power our defense -- values like morality, faith, self-sacrifice and the nobility of fighting for the right -- only appear in fantasy or comic-inspired films like "300," "Lord of the Rings," "Narnia," "Spiderman 3" and now "The Dark Knight"?

The moment filmmakers take on the problem of Islamic terrorism in realistic films, suddenly those values vanish. The good guys become indistinguishable from the bad guys, and we end up denigrating the very heroes who defend us. Why should this be?

The answers to these questions seem to me to be embedded in the story of "The Dark Knight" itself: Doing what's right is hard, and speaking the truth is dangerous. Many have been abhorred for it, some killed, one crucified.

Leftists frequently complain that right-wing morality is simplistic. Morality is relative, they say; nuanced, complex. They're wrong, of course, even on their own terms.

Left and right, all Americans know that freedom is better than slavery, that love is better than hate, kindness better than cruelty, tolerance better than bigotry. We don't always know how we know these things, and yet mysteriously we know them nonetheless.

The true complexity arises when we must defend these values in a world that does not universally embrace them -- when we reach the place where we must be intolerant in order to defend tolerance, or unkind in order to defend kindness, or hateful in order to defend what we love.

When heroes arise who take on those difficult duties themselves, it is tempting for the rest of us to turn our backs on them, to vilify them in order to protect our own appearance of righteousness. We prosecute and execrate the violent soldier or the cruel interrogator in order to parade ourselves as paragons of the peaceful values they preserve. As Gary Oldman's Commissioner Gordon says of the hated and hunted Batman, "He has to run away -- because we have to chase him."

That's real moral complexity. And when our artistic community is ready to show that sometimes men must kill in order to preserve life; that sometimes they must violate their values in order to maintain those values; and that while movie stars may strut in the bright light of our adulation for pretending to be heroes, true heroes often must slink in the shadows, slump-shouldered and despised -- then and only then will we be able to pay President Bush his due and make good and true films about the war on terror.

Perhaps that's when Hollywood conservatives will be able to take off their masks and speak plainly in the light of day.

Mr. Klavan has won two Edgar Awards from the Mystery Writers of America. His new novel, "Empire of Lies" (An Otto Penzler Book, Harcourt), is about an ordinary man confronting the war on terror.
10640  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China vs. Islam on: July 24, 2008, 07:32:57 PM
http://www.reuters.com/articlePrint?articleId=USPEK3763220080724

China says breaks up international terrorist cell
Thu Jul 24, 2008 9:23am EDT

BEIJING (Reuters) - Shanghai police have broken up an international terrorist group that had planned to attack an Olympic football preliminary match in the city, state news agency Xinhua said on Thursday.

"We have staged raids and cracked a group of terrorists," Xinhua quoted Cheng Jiulong, Shanghai Public Security Bureau deputy director and head of the Shanghai security office for the Olympics, as saying.

However, Cheng did not say when the terrorists were first discovered, how many suspects were detained or where they came from, said Xinhua.

"We have obtained information that international terrorist organizations would likely launch an attack against an Olympic venue in the city during the Games," Cheng said.

The report comes after state media said earlier in the day that Chinese paramilitary police swore to prevent terrorist attacks or "political incidents" from disrupting the Beijing Olympics in a show of force at the Games' main stadium.

"International terrorist forces are itching to strike with terror attacks against the Beijing Games, and hostile domestic forces' disruption and sabotage activities against the Games are steadily unfolding," the People's Armed Police News reported.

Chinese officials have said their main Games security worries focused on separatist militants seeking an independent Uighur homeland in the country's far west Xinjiang region and campaigners for an independent Tibet.

Human rights critics say China has grossly exaggerated the security threats from Uighurs and Tibetans to justify harsh control in those regions.

Shanghai police have been put on a "crisis" footing as part of a campaign to ensure public safety during Olympic football matches in the city next month, said Xinhua.

Shanghai will host 12 Olympic football matches during the Games and the stadium has been closed for security checks since July 20, with armed police conducting round-the-clock patrols, said the news agency.

Firefighters, engineers and medical staff would be deployed to the stadium to prevent bomb blasts and nuclear and biochemical attacks, it said.

(Reporting by Kirby Chien; Editing by David Fogarty)
10641  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Survialist issues: Hunkering down at home on: July 24, 2008, 07:28:34 PM
Crafty,

Depending on circumstances, running your generator might attract attention you don't want under those worst case scenarios.
10642  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China vs. Islam on: July 24, 2008, 07:19:33 PM
quote author=JDN link=topic=1650.msg19534#msg19534 date=1216938636]
I guess I am speechless; you actually try to justify your joy, elation and hope that 10's of thousands of innocent Chinese
("masses of brown people") will die in a mass casualty attack.  An end is never justified by such horrific means.  I presume your Asian wife isn't Chinese?  No family attending the Olympics?

**Are you this dense or just desperate to try to score some sort of ad hominem attack. Go back and really read the thread and try to see if you can grasp the concepts.**

10643  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: July 24, 2008, 01:31:54 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2008/07/24/mccain-closing-the-gap/

Not inevitable.
10644  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: July 24, 2008, 09:15:47 AM
**Training the next generation of Israel's "partners in peace".**


news
Pictured: The TV rabbit preaching hatred and telling  young Muslims to 'kill and eat Jews'
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 12:38 PM on 23rd July 2008

An Islamic TV station using a Bugs Bunny lookalike to preach hatred to children has been slammed by religious leaders in the UK who fear it could brainwash vulnerable British children.

Assud the rabbit, who vows to 'kill and eat Jews' and glorifies the maiming of 'infidels' appears on Palestinian children's show, Tomorrow's Pioneers.

The rabbit is a number of characters who is punished by viewer's vote when he breaches Sharia law.

In one episode, Assud admits stealing money and is seen begging for mercy after young viewers and parents phone in demanding his hands are cut off as punishment.


Assud the rabbit is threatened with punishment for stealing on Palestinian children's show Tomorrow's Pioneers

At that point the 11-year-old presenter intervenes - and rules that the bunny should only have his ears severed because he has repented.

The rabbit is played by an actor in fancy dress and is one of the main characters on the show broadcast in Gaza by the al-Aqsa channel - known as Hamas TV.

Religious leaders across the UK have today spoken out against the controversial show which can be viewed via satellite.

The programme is also easily viewed on internet sites such as YouTube, sparking fears that British children could be subjected to the radical Islamic message.

The Association of Muslim Schools, which represents the UK's 143 Muslim schools, said it was opposed to any shows that incite violence.

Spokesman Dr Mohamed Mukadam said: 'It goes without saying that any programme which promotes the killing or injuring of human beings is wrong.


Assud encourages children to 'eat and kill Jews' and preaches hatred

'Regardless of religion, shows that incite or inspire others to inflict violence of any kind should be condemned.

'Such shows are against the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, and we would urge people of all ages not to watch them.' 

Set up as a regional station prior to the Palestinian elections in January 2006, al-Aqsa TV now airs on a satellite slot.

It broadcasts what many call a mixture of news of Islamic propaganda, but has picked up a substantial following across the Arabic-speaking world.

Tomorrow's Pioneers was first aired in April 2007, and features young host Saraa Barhoum and her co-host, a large costumed animal.

The show originally featured a Mickey Mouse-style character called Farfur who urged children to fight against the Jewish community and form a world Islamic state.

Farfur was later replaced by a bumble bee called Nahoul, who told viewers to 'follow the path of Islam, of martyrdom and of the Mujahideen'.

He was 'martyred' earlier this year and replaced by Assud, who tells children in his first episode: 'I, Assud, will get rid of the jews, Allah willing, and I will eat them up.' 


UK religious leaders fear young British children could be subjected to the rabbit's hate teachings

In a discussion with 11-year-old host Saraa Barhoum, the young viewers are referred to as 'soldiers'.   

Assud asks Saraa: 'We are all martyrdom-seekers, are we not?'.

To which she replies: 'Yes, we are all ready to sacrifice ourselves for the sake of our homeland.'

The phone-in show accepts calls from children as young as nine on topics about life in Palestine.

During one show broadcast in February, Assud vows to kill and eat all Danish people over the cartoon images of the Prophet Muhammad which appeared in a newspaper.

He also pledges to assassinate the illustrator and Saraa also agrees that she would martyr herself for the cause of Palestine.

Saraa, who has seven brothers and sisters, was invited to host the show after entering a singing competition.

But speaking last year, she defended the programme - and insisted it was not responsible for spreading extremism.

She said: 'We are not terrorists. We do not support terrorism. We are normal people, but we are defending our homeland.

'The Israelis hit next door to my house with a shell. I was wounded on my feet and my little brother Youssef was wounded in the legs.

'We, as Muslims, are against suicide bombers. We are against the death of civilians on all sides. We are only the enemy of those who took our land and kill us every day.'

The show is regularly translated and posted online by The Middle East Media Research Institute, an independent media monitoring group based in the United States.

Al-Aqsa was today was unavailable for comment.

Find this story at www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1037512/Pictured-The-TV-rabbit-preaching-hatred-telling-young-Muslims-kill-eat-Jews.html
10645  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: July 24, 2008, 09:01:31 AM
http://counterterrorismblog.org/2008/07/print/winning_the_war_with_islamic_f.php

Counterterrorism Blog

Winning the War with Islamic Fanaticism

By Andrew Cochran

I am pleased to post the views of Professor Rabbi Daniel M. Zucker, Chairman of "Americans for Democracy in the Middle-East," on this topic, and to associate myself with and assent to his views in this post.
-------------
American-Israeli analyst and news commentator Micah D. Halpern wrote an interesting column last week for his blog—The Micah Report—entitled “The Qualitative Edge” , in which he suggested that Israeli deterrence of enemies has been accomplished through maintaining superior military power: better equipment, better training, better intelligence and greater motivation than its enemies. Halpern states that this doctrine has worked for the past 60 years against Israel’s adversaries, but notes that now Israel is confronted by enemies that are motivated by fervent religious ideology that includes a willingness to die for the cause, putting Israel’s superior military power at bay. In effect, Halpern is asking: how does a military power confront the true-believing enemy that is not only willing to die, but actively seeks death as a way of psychologically defeating the superior power it faces? Halpern suggests that Israel and the West need to find a new model to confront this “new” type of enemy.

With due respect to Dr. Halpern whose article essentially is correct otherwise, a new model is not needed. However, what is needed is the resolve to fight relentlessly against those that use terrorism—especially against innocent non-combatants—as a method of gaining an advantage in the psychological aspect of war. Although the daily missile and rocket attacks from Gaza have been terrorizing Sderot and its environs, as well as Ashkelon with the Grad missile attacks, Israel’s retaliatory attacks on the Hamas leadership were having a pronounced effect on that terrorist organization. The same can be said about Hizballah. Whereas the rank and file may be willing to become shahadin (self-sacrificing homicidal murderers), Hassan Nasrallah and his fellow leaders of Hizballah have been very careful to seek protection when the bullets fly and the bombs fall. In a similar manner, much of the Iranian leadership has displayed no desire to become martyrs for a greater Shiite caliphate—their life is too sweet to be sacrificed—besides, they always send proxies in their stead.

The answer to terrorism—whether it is perpetuated by Palestinian Sunni Islamic fundamentalists, Lebanese Iranian-inspired Shiite fundamentalists, or the fanatic Iranian ayatollahs themselves—is to fight it vigorously, just like we fought the Japanese kamikaze pilots at the end of World War II. The allies didn’t flinch when attacked by the kamikazes—we didn’t call for, or agree to, a truce at that point. We fought with one goal in mind: total defeat of the enemy. Whereas we don’t wish to harm the civilian populations of our adversaries, we should be seeking an overwhelming defeat of those who not only wish, but also actively seek, our destruction. We are in a war, and we need to remember that fact at all times. Truces called by the other side are meant for their advantage; we should not give in to the temptation for a cease-fire when we have our enemies on the ropes. The time for magnanimity is when the enemy has been utterly crushed, and not before.

We need to understand the mentality of our fanatic fundamentalist enemies. Life is totally black or white for them—there are no shades of grey. Surviving a battle with the superior forces of their enemy is seen as a victory by them—proof that we in the West are too soft to defeat them ultimately. Hizballah thus views the 2006 Lebanon War as a victory since the superior military might of Israel was incapable of crushing the Iranians’ Lebanese proxy. So too, Hamas looks at the current cease-fire as a proof that Israel cannot destroy the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood. For that matter, every time that we agree to talk to the Iranians in Iraq, they see it as proof that they are capable of eventually driving us out of the region. And it goes without saying that every time the West offers the Islamic Republic of Iran a bigger incentive to stop its nuclear program, the more adamant Khameneí and his spokesman Ahmadinejad become in their insistence that Iran will never back down ultimately from its “national rights”.

If Israel and the West are to succeed in defeating Islamic fundamentalism, which seeks to return the world to an era long before the Enlightenment—to an era of misogyny and wars of religion—we must realize that our fundamentalist enemies mean to defeat us and subjugate us or put us to the sword. They are fighting as if the future status of heaven and earth are hanging in the balance; it is high time that we learn to take this battle seriously. The fate of Western civilization, indeed of this planet, will be determined by our response to the threats we face today emanating from the Middle East. If we fail to deal with the threat today, by tomorrow the battle will be at our doorstep. .

Professor Rabbi Daniel M. Zucker is founder and Chairman of the Board of "Americans for Democracy in the Middle-East," a grassroots organization dedicated to teaching government officials and the public of the dangers posed by Islamic fundamentalism and the need to establish genuine democratic institutions in the Middle-East as an antidote to the venom of such fundamentalism.

By Andrew Cochran on July 23, 2008 10:30 AM
10646  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: July 24, 2008, 08:46:37 AM
I'm still hoping that the talks with Iran are being done for political cover before President Bush orders a strike on Iran's nuclear infrastructure.

The realist in me says that neither the US or Israel will do anything until it's too late.
10647  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: July 23, 2008, 09:00:35 PM
http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives2/print/021066.php

JULY 23, 2008
THE FINE LINE BETWEEN PANDERING AND LYING

Barack Obama held a press conference in Sderot, Israel today. I wouldn't have blamed him if he had stuck to a reasonable degree of pandering, but check out this question and answer from the press conference:

QUESTION: Senator Obama, you said in AIPAC convention that the (INAUDIBLE) Jerusalem could continue to be the capital city. Then you changed it and clarified later on in the -- (INAUDIBLE) wonder.
How could you be sure if your other statesmen, that you are going to be committed to the security and safety of Israel and you're not going to change it even when you're the President of the United States?

OBAMA: First of all, I didn't change my statement.

I continued to say that Jerusalem will be the capital of Israel. And I have said that before and I will say it again. And I also have said that it is important that we don't simply slice the city in half. But I've also said that that's a final status issue. That's an issue that has to be dealt with with the parties involved, the Palestinians and the Israelis. And it's not the job of the United States to dictate the form in which that will take, but rather to support the efforts that are being made right now to resolve these very difficult issues that have a long history.


Let's pause here. Characteristically, Obama claims that he "didn't change [his] statement." But this is a fantasy. At the AIPAC convention, Obama made the ringing declaration that "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided." "Must." Within 24 hours, however, his advisers scurried to take back Obama's commitment to an undivided Jerusalem, saying that he meant only that Jerusalem shouldn't "be divided by barbed wire and checkpoints as it was in 1948-1967," and that, in fact, Obama was open to Jerusalem also being the capital of the Palestinian state.

In Sderot today, Obama didn't say anything about Jerusalem being the Palestinian capital, but he essentially repeated, not his original call for a Jerusalem that "must" be "undivided," but his mushier fall-back position. In doing so, he not only failed to acknowledge, but specifically denied, that this was a change from his AIPAC call for a Jerusalem that "must remain undivided."

Obama continued:

Now, in terms of knowing my commitments, you don't have to just look at my words, you can look at my deeds. Just this past week, we passed out of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, which is my committee, a bill to call for divestment from Iran, as a way of ratcheting up the pressure to ensure that they don't obtain a nuclear weapon.

But Obama is not a member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. Obama just made that up so he could count the committee's action as one of "my deeds."

If committed by a Republican, this would be a gaffe of historic proportions. Even a Senator as inattentive to his duties as Obama certainly knows what committees he serves on. For him to fabricate the claim, out of whole cloth, that the Senate Banking Committee is "[his] committee," strikes me as another sign of Obama's megalomania. That, plus more evidence that he is totally at sea without a teleprompter.
10648  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: July 23, 2008, 08:21:46 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2008/07/23/obama-a-nuclear-iran-would-be-a-game-changing-situation/

So, what's his position?
10649  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China vs. Islam on: July 23, 2008, 08:11:25 PM
At the current time, western civilization isn't on the trajectory towards victory against the global jihad. If China were to suffer any serious attack during the olympics, it need not be a WMD attack to be serious, then the effect would be to bring China into a direct confrontation with the global jihad.

This would result in a loss of the use of China's banks for money laundering, the loss of access to China's military hardware and direct action from China's intelligence and military.

Long term, it may well result in the development of a true alliance between China and the west.
10650  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: July 23, 2008, 03:12:08 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2008/07/23/video-al-jazeera-throws-birthday-party-for-freed-hezbollah-child-killer/

Partyin' like it's 799!
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