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10651  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 9/11/09 on: September 11, 2009, 03:16:57 PM
Updated: Fri., Sep. 11, 2009, 10:39 AM 
Betraying our dead
By RALPH PETERS

Last Updated: 10:39 AM, September 11, 2009

Posted: 1:13 AM, September 11, 2009

Eight years ago today, our homeland was attacked by fanatical Muslims inspired by Saudi Arabian bigotry. Three thousand American citizens and residents died.

We resolved that we, the People, would never forget. Then we forgot.

We've learned nothing.

Instead of cracking down on Islamist extremism, we've excused it.

Instead of killing terrorists, we free them.

Instead of relentlessly hunting Islamist madmen, we seek to appease them.

Instead of acknowledging that radical Islam is the problem, we elected a president who blames America, whose idea of freedom is the right for women to suffer in silence behind a veil -- and who counts among his mentors and friends those who damn our country or believe that our own government staged the tragedy of September 11, 2001.

Instead of insisting that freedom will not be infringed by terrorist threats, we censor works that might offend mass murderers. Radical Muslims around the world can indulge in viral lies about us, but we dare not even publish cartoons mocking them.

Instead of protecting law-abiding Americans, we reject profiling to avoid offending terrorists. So we confiscate granny's shampoo at the airport because the half-empty container could hold 3.5 ounces of liquid.

Instead of insisting that Islamist hatred and religious apartheid have no place in our country, we permit the Saudis to continue funding mosques and madrassahs where hating Jews and Christians is preached as essential to Islam.

Instead of confronting Saudi hate-mongers, our president bows down to the Saudi king.

Instead of recognizing the Saudi-sponsored Wahhabi cult as the core of the problem, our president blames Israel.

Instead of asking why Middle Eastern civilization has failed so abjectly, our president suggests that we're the failures.

Instead of taking every effective measure to cull information from terrorists, the current administration threatens CIA agents with prosecution for keeping us safe.

Instead of proudly and promptly rebuilding on the site of the Twin Towers, we've committed ourselves to the hopeless, useless task of rebuilding Afghanistan. (Perhaps we should have built a mosque at Ground Zero -- the Saudis would've funded it.)

Instead of taking a firm stand against Islamist fanaticism, we've made a cult of negotiations -- as our enemies pursue nuclear weapons; sponsor terrorism; torture, imprison, rape and murder their own citizens -- and laugh at us.

Instead of insisting that Islam must become a religion of responsibility, our leaders in both parties continue to bleat that "Islam's a religion of peace," ignoring the curious absence of Baptist suicide bombers.

Instead of requiring new immigrants to integrate into our society and conform to its public values, we encourage and subsidize anti-American, woman-hating, freedom-denying bigotry in the name of toleration.

Instead of pursuing our enemies to the ends of the earth, we help them sue us.

We've dishonored our dead and whitewashed our enemies. A distinctly unholy alliance between fanatical Islamists abroad and a politically correct "elite" in the US has reduced 9/11 to the status of a non-event, a day for politicians to preen about how little they've done.

We've forgotten the shock and the patriotic fury Americans felt on that bright September morning eight years ago. We've forgotten our identification with fellow citizens leaping from doomed skyscrapers. We've forgotten the courage of airline passengers who would not surrender to terror.

We've forgotten the men and women who burned to death or suffocated in the Pentagon. We've forgotten our promises, our vows, our commitments.

We've forgotten what we owe our dead and what we owe our children. We've even forgotten who attacked us.

We have betrayed the memory of our dead. In doing so, we betrayed ourselves and our country. Our troops continue to fight -- when they're allowed to do so -- but our politicians have surrendered.

Are we willing to let the terrorists win?

Ralph Peters' new thriller, "The War After Armageddon," goes on sale next Tuesday.
10652  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 9/11/09 on: September 11, 2009, 10:15:46 AM
http://www.artistic-designers.com/bkgds/heroes.html

The Blood of Heroes
10653  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 9/11/09 on: September 11, 2009, 09:27:06 AM
I mark the day, as I have since 9/11/01.

I mourn after going off duty.

My wife is training in a police academy, preparing to go into harm's way to defend and protect her adopted country.

I know that if I live to 100, this day will always carry the same weight with me.
10654  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Emerging Axis of Iran and Venezuela on: September 09, 2009, 10:15:23 PM
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203440104574400792835972018.html?mod=rss_opinion_main#printMode

SEPTEMBER 8, 2009, 7:27 P.M. ET.

The Emerging Axis of Iran and Venezuela
The prospect of Iranian missiles in South America should not be dismissed.

By ROBERT M. MORGENTHAU
The diplomatic ties between Iran and Venezuela go back almost 50 years and until recently amounted to little more than the routine exchange of diplomats. With the election of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2005, the relationship dramatically changed.

Today Mr. Ahmadinejad and Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez have created a cozy financial, political and military partnership rooted in a shared anti-American animus. Now is the time to develop policies in this country to ensure this partnership produces no poisonous fruit.

Signs of the evolving partnership began to emerge in 2006, when Venezuela joined Cuba and Syria as the only nations to vote against a U.N. Atomic Energy Agency resolution to report Iran to the Security Council over its failures to abide U.N. sanctions to curtail its nuclear program. A year later, during a visit by Mr. Chávez to Tehran, the two nations declared an "axis of unity" against the U.S. and Ecuador. And in June of this year, while protesters lined the streets of Tehran following the substantial allegations of fraud in the re-election of Mr. Ahmadinejad, Mr. Chávez publicly offered him support. As the regime cracked down on political dissent, jailing, torturing and killing protesters, Venezuela stood with the Iranian hard-liners.

View Full Image
Associated Press Hugo Chávez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad meet in Tehran, Sept. 5.
.
Meanwhile, Iranian investments in Venezuela have been rising. The two countries have signed various Memoranda of Understanding on technology development, cooperation on banking and finance, and oil and gas exploration and refining. In April 2008, the two countries also signed a Memorandum of Understanding pledging full military support and cooperation. United Press International reported in August that Iranian military advisers have been embedded with Venezuelan troops.

According to a report published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in December of last year, Venezuela has an estimated 50,000 tons of unmined uranium. There is speculation in the Carnegie report that Venezuela could be mining uranium for Iran.

The Iranians have also opened International Development Bank in Caracas under the Spanish name Banco Internacional de Desarrollo C.A., an independent subsidiary of Export Development Bank of Iran. Last October the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control imposed economic sanctions against both of these Iranian banks for providing or attempting to provide financial services to Iran's Ministry of Defense and its Armed Forces Logistics—the two Iranian military entities tasked with advancing Iran's nuclear ambitions.

My office has been told that that over the past three years a number of Iranian-owned and controlled factories have sprung up in remote and undeveloped parts of Venezuela—ideal locations for the illicit production of weapons. Evidence of the type of activity conducted inside the factories is limited. But we should be concerned, especially in light of an incident in December 2008. Turkish authorities detained an Iranian vessel bound for Venezuela after discovering lab equipment capable of producing explosives packed inside 22 containers marked "tractor parts." The containers also allegedly contained barrels labeled with "danger" signs. I think it is safe to assume that this was a lucky catch—and that most often shipments of this kind reach their destination in Venezuela.

A recent U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) study reported a high level of corruption within the Venezuelan government, military and law enforcement that has allowed that country to become a major transshipment route for trafficking cocaine out of Colombia. Intelligence gathered by my office strongly supports the conclusion that Hezbollah supporters in South America are engaged in the trafficking of narcotics. The GAO study also confirms allegations of Venezuelan support for FARC, the Colombian terrorist insurgency group that finances its operations through narcotics trafficking, extortion and kidnapping.

In a raid on a FARC training camp this July, Colombian military operatives recovered Swedish-made anti-tank rocket launchers sold to Venezuela in the 1980s. Sweden believes this demonstrates a violation of the end-user agreement by Venezuela, as the Swedish manufacturer was never authorized to sell arms to Colombia. Venezuelan Interior Minister Tareck El Aissami, a Venezuelan of Syrian origin, lamely called the allegations a "media show," and "part of a campaign against our people, our government and our institutions."

In the past several years Iranian entities have employed a pervasive system of deceitful and fraudulent practices to move money all over the world without detection. The regime has done this, I believe, to pay for materials necessary to develop nuclear weapons, long-range missiles, and road-side bombs. Venezuela has an established financial system that Iran, with the help of Mr. Chávez's government, can exploit to avoid economic sanctions.

Consider, for example, the United Kingdom bank Lloyds TSB. From 2001 to 2004, on behalf of Iranian banks and their customers, the bank admitted in a statement of facts to my office that it intentionally altered wire transfer information to hide the identity of its clients. This allowed the illegal transfer of more than $300 million of Iranian cash despite economic sanctions prohibiting Iranian access to the U.S. financial system. In January, Lloyds entered into deferred prosecution agreements with my office and the Justice Department to resolve the investigation.

In April, we also announced the indictment of a company called Limmt, and its manager, Li Fang Wei. The U.S. government had banned Limmt from engaging in transactions with or through the U.S. financial system because of its role in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to Iran. But our investigation revealed that Li Fang Wei and Limmt used aliases and shell companies to deceive banks into processing payments related to the shipment of banned missile, nuclear and so-called dual use materials to subsidiary organizations of the Iranian Defense Industries Organization. (Limmt, through the international press, has denied the allegations in the indictment.) The tactics used in these cases should send a strong signal to law enforcement, intelligence agencies, and military commands throughout the world about the style and level of deception the Iranians' employ. Based on information developed by my office, we believe that the Iranians, with the help of Venezuela, are now engaged in similar sanctions-busting schemes.

Why is Hugo Chávez willing to open up his country to a foreign nation with little shared history or culture? I believe it is because his regime is bent on becoming a regional power, and is fanatical in its approach to dealing with the U.S. The diplomatic overture of President Barack Obama in shaking Mr. Chávez's hand in April at the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago is no reason to assume the threat has diminished. In fact, with the groundwork laid years ago, we are entering a period where the fruits of the Iran-Venezuela bond will begin to ripen.

That means two of the world's most dangerous regimes, the self-described "axis of unity," will be acting together in our backyard on the development of nuclear and missile technology. And it seems that terrorist groups have found the perfect operating ground for training and planning, and financing their activities through narco-trafficking.

The Iranian nuclear and long-range missile threats, and creeping Iranian influence in the Western Hemisphere, cannot be overlooked. My office and other law-enforcement agencies can help ensure that money laundering, terror financing, and sanctions violations are not ignored, and that criminals and the banks that aid Iran will be discovered and prosecuted. But U.S. law enforcement alone is not enough to counter the threat.

The public needs to be aware of Iran's growing presence in Latin America. Moreover, the U.S. and the international community must strongly consider ways to monitor and sanction Venezuela's banking system. Failure to act will leave open a window susceptible to money laundering by the Iranian government, the narcotics organizations with ties to corrupt elements in the Venezuelan government, and the terrorist organizations that Iran supports openly.

Mr. Morgenthau is the Manhattan district attorney. This op-ed is adapted from a speech yesterday at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.
10655  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Friedman: You know what’s kind of cool? Dictatorship! on: September 09, 2009, 09:23:11 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/09/09/friedman-you-know-whats-kind-of-cool-dictatorship/

Friedman: You know what’s kind of cool? Dictatorship!
posted at 3:36 pm on September 9, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

One normally expects to see paeans to one-party rule and dictatorships in fringe publications sponsored by International ANSWER or World Can’t Wait.  Usually, the New York Times offers those sentiments in more subtle terms than it does in today’s Thomas Friedman column.  Friedman extols the Chinese form of government while deriding the fact that political opposition keeps Obama from imposing the policies Friedman likes:
Watching both the health care and climate/energy debates in Congress, it is hard not to draw the following conclusion: There is only one thing worse than one-party autocracy, and that is one-party democracy, which is what we have in America today.
One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century. It is not an accident that China is committed to overtaking us in electric cars, solar power, energy efficiency, batteries, nuclear power and wind power. China’s leaders understand that in a world of exploding populations and rising emerging-market middle classes, demand for clean power and energy efficiency is going to soar. Beijing wants to make sure that it owns that industry and is ordering the policies to do that, including boosting gasoline prices, from the top down.
Our one-party democracy is worse. The fact is, on both the energy/climate legislation and health care legislation, only the Democrats are really playing. With a few notable exceptions, the Republican Party is standing, arms folded and saying “no.” Many of them just want President Obama to fail. Such a waste. Mr. Obama is not a socialist; he’s a centrist. But if he’s forced to depend entirely on his own party to pass legislation, he will be whipsawed by its different factions.
Oh, those enlightened Chinese government officials!  When they’re not executing people to harvest their organs, and when they’re not forcing women to have abortions to satisfy their one-child policy, and when they’re not tossing people in prison for political dissent, they have a great energy policy … even though they reject Kyoto and any attempt to hamstring themselves on economically-suicidal cap-and-trade policies.
Actually, considering Friedman’s column, perhaps rounding up the opposition is a net plus for the Chinese in his eyes.
Even putting aside Friedman’s longing for fascism (as long as it supports his policies), Friedman’s entire premise is suspect.  We haven’t enacted government-run health care precisely because we’re not a “one-party democracy.”  Constituents have made their opposition plain to it across the nation, and Democrats understand that Republicans will replace many of their colleagues if they support ObamaCare.  Obama’s approval numbers have dropped precipitously as well, because people dissent from the orthodoxy of the Democratic elites.   That’s what has Friedman pining for Beijing.
Saying “no” to very bad ideas is a perfectly legitimate response, especially when the policies impose government control over private industry to the extent Barack Obama and his radical Congress desire.  The opposition has no responsibility to engage on horrible ideas, although contra Friedman, the Republicans have already offered an alternative to ObamaCare, which Henry Waxman refuses to consider.  Saying “no” to rapid expansion of government power is the rational response to radical policies.
What’s next for the New York Times?  A tribute to Benito Mussolini and running the trains on time as a fair exchange for personal and political liberty?  (via The Corner, which has been savaging Friedman all day)
10656  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Rev. Wright on Obamacare on: September 08, 2009, 08:44:48 AM
http://jammiewearingfool.blogspot.com/2009/09/i-think-racists-in-right-wing-are-upset.html

Barry's pastor of 20 years speaks.
10657  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: September 08, 2009, 08:29:14 AM

Swiss topple U.S. as most competitive economy: WEF
By Sven Egenter
Tue Sep 8, 3:10 am ET
 
GENEVA (Reuters) – Switzerland knocked the United States off the position as the world's most competitive economy as the crash of the U.S. banking system left it more exposed to some long-standing weaknesses, a report said on Tuesday.

The World Economic Forum's global competitiveness report 2009/2010 showed economies with a large focus on financial services such as the U.S., Britain or Iceland were the losers of the crisis.

The U.S. as the world's largest economy lost last year's strong lead, slipping to number two for the first time since the introduction of the index in its current form in 2004.

"We have been expecting for some time that it may lose its top-position. There are a number of imbalances that have been building up," said Jennifer Blanke, Head of the WEF's Global Competitiveness Network.

"There are problems on the financial market that we were not aware of before. These countries (like the U.S. and Britain) are getting penalized now," she said.

Trust in Swiss banks also declined. But in the assessment of banks' soundness, the Alpine country still ranked 44th. U.S. banks fell to 108 -- right behind Tanzania -- and British banks to 126 in the ranking, now topped by Canada's banks.

The WEF bases its assessment on a range of factors, key for any country to prosper. The index includes economic data such as growth but also health data or the number of internet users.

The study also factors in a survey among business leaders, assessing for example the government's efficiency or the flexibility of the labor market.

The WEF applauded Switzerland for its capacity to innovate, sophisticated business culture, effective public services, excellent infrastructure and well-functioning goods markets.

The Swiss economy dipped into recession last year, too and had to bail out its largest bank UBS. But its economy is holding up better than many peers and most banks are relatively unscathed by the crisis, which drove U.S. banks into bankruptcy.

The WEF said the U.S. economy was still extremely productive but a number of escalating weaknesses were taking its toll.

Concerns were growing about the government's ability to maintain distance to the private sector and doubts rose about the quality of firms' auditing and reporting standards, it said.

BRAZIL LEAPS

Leading emerging markets Brazil, India and China improved their competitiveness despite the crisis, the report showed.

But Russia saw one of the steepest declines among the 133 countries assessed, falling back 12 places to 63, as worries about government efficiency and judicial independence rose, the WEF said.

After years of rapid improvement, which took it to place 29, China now had to tackle shortcomings in areas such as financial markets, technological readiness and education as it could no longer rely on cheap labor alone to generate growth.

India, ranked 49th, was in turn well positioned in complex fields such as innovation but had still to catch up on basics such as health or infrastructure, the WEF said.

Brazil leapt by 8 ranks to 56th, as measures to improve fiscal sustainability and to liberalize and open the economy showed effects, the report said.

Among the top-ten, Singapore moved up to third from fifth, swapping positions with Denmark, which fell behind fellow-Nordic country Sweden. Finland as 6th and Germany as 7th stayed put while Japan and Canada overtook the Netherlands.

The WEF study named African countries Zimbabwe and Burundi as the world's least competitive economies.

In the case of Zimbabwe, the WEF noted the complete absence of property rights, corruption, basic government inefficiency as well as macroeconomic instability as fundamental flaws.

For the full report click on: www.weforum.org/gcr

(Reporting by Sven Egenter; Editing by Andy Bruce)
10658  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Hall of Shame on: September 08, 2009, 01:10:08 AM
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1211495/No-10-turns-Obama-Clinton-criticising-decision-release-Lockerbie-bomber.html

No.10 turns on Obama and Clinton for criticising decision to release Lockerbie bomber

By Simon Walters
Last updated at 3:14 AM on 06th September 2009

Comments (167) Add to My Stories .



 
Whitehall said US President Obama and Hillary Clinton's reaction to Abdelbaset Al Megrahi's release was 'disingenuous'

Downing Street has hit back at  Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for attacking the decision to release the Lockerbie bomber.


President Obama and the US Secretary of State fuelled a fierce American backlash against Britain, claiming Abdelbaset Al Megrahi should have been forced to serve out his jail sentence in Scotland – but a senior Whitehall aide said their reaction was ‘disingenuous’.


British officials claim Mr Obama and Mrs Clinton were kept informed at all stages of discussions concerning Megrahi’s return.


The officials say the Americans spoke out because they were taken aback by the row over Megrahi’s release, not because they did not know it was about to happen.


‘The US was kept fully in touch about everything that was going on with regard to Britain’s discussions with Libya in recent years and about Megrahi,’ said the Whitehall aide.


‘We would never do anything about Lockerbie without discussing it with the US. It is disingenuous of them to act as though Megrahi’s return was out of the blue.


'They knew about our prisoner transfer agreement with Libya and they knew that the Scots were considering Megrahi’s case.’


Mr Obama said Megrahi’s release on compassionate grounds was a ‘mistake’ while Mrs Clinton phoned the Scottish administration to complain in person.

 
More...Prince Andrew 'had Lockerbie talks with Gaddafi son'

Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Foreign Secretary David Miliband are said to have been ‘disappointed’ by the force of Washington’s response.


American politicians claimed the Anglo-US ‘special relationship’ had been damaged ‘for years to come’ because the UK had gone back on a joint pledge that Megrahi would stay behind bars in Scotland.


Former US Justice Department official David Rivkin said it was ‘duplicitous behaviour’.
10659  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: September 07, 2009, 10:12:19 PM
How to Defeat the Left
 By: David Horowitz
NewsReal | Friday, September 04, 2009



Visit NewsReal

I’ve been following the Newsreal debate between Phyllis Chesler and Jamie Glazov on the one hand and Naomi Wolf, who thinks America, the most “liberated” country on the face of the earth by any — any — progressive standard (treatment of minorities, of women, of the poor, freedom of the individual), is a proto-fascist state and needs a revolution, while the Islamo-fascist enemy, the greatest oppressor of women and minorities ever, needs a wrist slap. Wolf’s moral blindness is just a one minor instance of the general moral vacuity of progressives which for a hundred years has put them on the side of the totalitarian enemies of freedom and inspired their assault against the West.


This led Moshe Ya’alon, Israel’s Minister of Strategic Affairs and former chief of Israel’s Defense Forces, to describe the left as a “virus.” Actually, as Aaron Shuster pointed out in an email which I am about to cite, one could also say the left is in the grips of a virus — a virus that attacks its brain cells and makes it incapable of ingesting real world facts and consequently of arriving at reasonable judgments.

Radical feminism is one form of the virus. It is an ideology grown out of Marxism whose enemy is the freedom of the individual from collective control, and the freedom of society from the totalitarian state. That is why radical feminists are incapable of seeing the anti-feminist monster in Islam: because Islam is now the center of the revolt against the feminists’ real enemy, which is us.

The progressive virus is a religious virus. Political radicalism is an expression of the inability of human beings to live without meaning; it is the replacement of the hope for a divine redemption in a redemption by political activists, which inevitably leads to a totalitarian state.

The consequences of infection by the virus are described in my email from Shuster, who quotes writer Mladen Andrijasevic:
“The virus totally blocks the person from the ability to access, let alone comprehend, any facts and evidence that contradict his or her beliefs. Mountains of data have zero effect on already established views, simply because the person flatly rejects considering reading anything that would go against their ‘truth’. The person is terrified to look beyond his established viewpoint. They behave like the Church at the times of Galileo. They refuse to look through the telescope. For instance, during the past eight years, on numerous occasions, I have recommended to my left-wing friends several books on Islam by Ibn Warraq, Ibn Ishaq, Robert Spencer and others. Many borrowed the books, but they were never read. The power of the virus was stronger. The results of my eight-year effort were meager. Two people have read Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali.”
The strength of the virus derives from the meaning it supplies to meaningless lives, and the consequent good feelings — intoxicated feelings of virtue and self-righteousness — experienced by the devoted. Here Shuster quotes Melanie Phillips:
“A vital part of leftist thinking is the assumption that to be on the left is the only sensible/decent/principled position to hold and therefore cannot ever be wrong; and that is because to differ from the left is to be of ‘the right’, and the right is irredeemably evil. (The idea that to be opposed to the left is not necessarily to be on ‘the right’ or indeed to take any position other than to oppose ideology and its brutal effects is something that the left simply cannot get its head round). And so the true nightmare is that if ‘the right’ turns out to be actually right on anything and the left to be wrong, by accepting this fact the left-winger will by his own definition turn into an evil right-winger. His entire moral and political identity will crumble and he will grow horns and a tail. So to prevent any possibility of this catastrophe occurring, the opponent has to be eliminated.”
This why the only argument that leftists have in their public encounters with others is not an argument at all but an indictment: racist, sexist, homophobe, Islamophobe. In the religion of leftists — in the fevered universe of the virus — the world is an endless plain of battle in which forces of Good (leftists) are ranged against the forces of Evil (the rest of us). At stake is the redemption of the world — or as the environmental totalitarians like to put it, the survival of the planet. No wonder they are deaf to any fact or argument that would bring them back to earth.
 
The only way to defeat the left — and I have failed in twenty years of arguing this to persuade conservatives  — is to turn the table around and attack their moral self-image. Leftists are in fact the enemies and oppressors of women, children, gays, minorities and the poor, and conservatives should never confront them without reminding them of this fact. If Naomi Wolf and her radical friends had their way, America would be disarmed and radical Islam would be triumphant and women would be back in the Middle Ages, and the rest of us along with them.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
David Horowitz is the founder of The David Horowitz Freedom Center and author of the new book, One Party Classroom.
10660  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Veiled Threats on: September 07, 2009, 09:24:30 PM


I do actually think that Islam is worse than Judaism because of how aggressive it is. Muslims don't just want to wear the veil themselves they want   wear all woman to wear  it as well,  Christianity though to a much much lesser degree also shares the fault with Islam of my way being the only right way,  Also historically Christianity converted with the sword.  Religion and Exteminism can go together easily but  I don't believe all Muslims are extremists. 

**Not every muslim is a jihadist, but every jihadist is a muslim. When christians converted by the sword, it was in violation with of core christian concepts, when muslims convert by the sword, it is in keeping with core islamic concepts.**

Obviously honor kipping and rape are bad but can't you prosecute  harshly  honor killings and rapes and still let woman  veil their hair

Isn't it possible to believe religious freedom is okay but religious coercion is not.

Are you saying the veil is like marijuana a gateway drug?

All good vacations must come to an end and it is likely I won't have time to post anything i write myself until this weekend.
10661  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: September 07, 2009, 05:04:12 AM
http://www.phyllis-chesler.com/books/the-death-of-feminism

The Death of Feminism.
10662  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: September 07, 2009, 01:38:41 AM
- Chesler Chronicles - http://pajamasmedia.com/phyllischesler -

The Burqa: Ultimate Feminist Choice?

Posted By Phyllis Chesler On August 31, 2009 @ 8:10 am In Uncategorized | 214 Comments

Naomi Wolf Discovers That Shrouds Are Sexy

Women in chadors are really feminist ninja warriors. Rather than allow themselves to be gawked at by male strangers, they choose to defeat the “male gaze” by hiding from it in plain view.

But don’t you worry: Beneath that chador, abaya, burqa, or veil, there is a sexy courtesan wearing “Victoria Secret, elegant fashion, and skin care lotion,” just waiting for her husband to come home for a night of wild and sensuous marital lovemaking.

Obviously, these are not my ideas. I am quoting from a piece by Naomi Wolf [1] that appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald a few days ago. Yes, Wolf is the bubbly, feminist author who once advised Vice President Al “The Climate” Gore on what colors he should wear while campaigning and who is or was friendly with Gore’s daughter. Full disclosure: I have casually known Wolf and her parents for more than a quarter-century.

Wolf recently traveled to Morocco, Jordan, and Eygpt, where she found the women “as interested in allure, seduction, and pleasure as women anywhere in the world.” Whew! What a relief. She writes:

“Many Muslim women I spoke with did not feel at all subjugated by the chador or the headscarf. On the contrary, they felt liberated from what they experienced as the intrusive, commodifying, basely sexualizing Western gaze. … Many women said something like this: …’how tiring it can be to be on display all the time. When I wear my headscarf or chador, people relate to me as an individual, not an object; I feel respected.’ This may not be expressed in a traditional Western feminist set of images, but it is a recognizably Western feminist set of feelings.”

Really? If so, I’m the Queen of England.

Now that Wolf is no longer the doe-eyed ingenue of yesteryear, she sees the advantage of not being on view at all times. A Westerner, “playing” Muslim-dress up, Wolf claims that hiding in plain view gave her “a novel sense of calm and serenity. I felt, yes, in certain ways, free.” In addition, Wolf believes that the marital sex is hotter when women “cover” and reveal their faces and bodies only to their husbands.

Marabel Morgan lives! In the mid-1970s, Morgan advised wives to greet their husbands at the door wearing sexy clothing and/or transparent saran wrap with only themselves underneath. Her book, Total Woman, sold more than ten million copies. According to Morgan, a Christian, “It’s only when a woman surrenders her life to her husband, reveres and worships him and is willing to serve him, that she becomes really beautiful to him.”

Well, what can I say? Here’s a few things.

Most Muslim girls and women are not given a choice about wearing the chador, burqa, abaya, niqab, jilbab, or hijab (headscarf), and those who resist are beaten, threatened with death, arrested, caned or lashed, jailed, or honor murdered by their own families. Is Wolfe thoroughly unfamiliar with the news coming out of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan on these very subjects? Has she forgotten the tragic, fiery deaths of those schoolgirls in Saudi Arabia who, in trying to flee their burning schoolhouse, were improperly veiled and who were beaten back by the all-powerful Saudi Morality Police?

Most Muslim girls and women are impoverished and wear rags, not expensive Western clothing beneath their coverings. Only the pampered, super-controlled, often isolated, and uber-materialistic daughters of wealth, mainly in the Gulf states, but also among the ruling classes in the Islamic world, match Wolf’s portrait of well kept courtesan-wives.

Being veiled and obedient does not save a Muslim girl or woman from being incested, battered, stalked, gang-raped, or maritally raped nor does it stop her husband from taking multiple wives and girlfriends or from frequenting brothels. A fully “covered” girl-child, anywhere between the ages of 10-15, may still be forced into an arranged marriage, perhaps with her first cousin, perhaps with a man old enough to be her grandfather, and she is not allowed to leave him, not even if he beats her black and blue every single day.

Wolf claims that she donned a “shalwar kameez and a headscarf” for a trip to the bazaar. I suggest that Wolf understand that the shalwar kameez and headscarf that she playfully wore in Morocco are not the problem.

I wonder how Wolf would feel if she’d donned a burqa, chador (full body bags) or niqab (face mask) for that same trip; how well she would do in an isolation chamber that effectively blocked her five senses and made it difficult, if not impossible, for her to communicate with others?

And, by the way, the eerie effect, ultimately, of shrouded women is that they become invisible. They cease to exist. They are literally ghosts.

Wolf presents the West as anti-woman because it treats women as sex objects. Am I happy about pornography and prostitution in the West? Hell no and, unlike Wolf, I’ve fought against them–but to portray these vices as a “Western” evil, and one that the Islamic world opposes, is sheer madness.

It is well known that the Arabs and Muslims kept and still keep sex slaves–they are very involved in the global trafficking in girls and women and frequent prostitutes on every continent. You will find pornography magazines in every princely tent–those for boys as well as for girls. I am told that the Saudis fly in fresh planeloads of Parisian prostitutes every week. Perhaps they veil them before they conduct their all-night and all-day orgies. Or, perhaps they view them as natural, “infidel” prey.

Let me suggest that Wolf read a book that is coming out in September, written by a Christian-American woman, Mary Laurel Ross, whose American Air Force husband trained the Saudi Air Force. It is called Veiled Honor and is a timely, comprehensive, “nuanced” (Wolf calls for “nuance” in our understanding of “female freedom”) account of her approximately fifteen year sojourn in Saudi Arabia. I would also suggest that Wolf read the works of Ayaan Hirsi Ali [2] (Infidel) and Nonie Darwish [3] (Cruel and Usual Punishment) for starters.

Then again, I suspect that Wolf is not necessarily looking for any “nuanced” truths about “female freedom” but is, rather, fishing for Saudi gold and positioning herself within the Democratic Party. After all, what she has written in this brief article supports President Obama’s position vis a vis the Muslim world.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Article printed from Chesler Chronicles: http://pajamasmedia.com/phyllischesler

URL to article: http://pajamasmedia.com/phyllischesler/2009/08/31/the-burqa-the-ultimate-feminist-choice/

URLs in this post:

[1] Naomi Wolf: http://www.smh.com.au/news/opinion/behind-the-veil-lives-a-thriving-muslim-sexuality/2008/08/29/1219516734637.html

[2] Ayaan Hirsi Ali: http://www.amazon.com/Infidel-Ayaan-Hirsi-Ali/dp/0743289692/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1251730420&sr=8-1

[3] Nonie Darwish: http://www.amazon.com/Cruel-Usual-Punishment-Terrifying-Implications/dp/1595551611/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1251730466&sr=1-1

10663  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: September 06, 2009, 06:06:12 PM
"Marc at one point told me I could discuss whatever I wanted and not participate in conversations I didn't want to. I'm taking him at his word"

Absolutely!

In other words, pin Rachel on a topic and she disappears in a puff of smoke.  evil
10664  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: September 04, 2009, 10:02:37 AM
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/09/04/unemployment-jumps-to-97/

So, how soon until we hit 10% (officially)?
10665  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: August 31, 2009, 12:06:21 AM
When and where has the federal gov't ever gotten involved in anything and the end result was that it became cheaper and more effective?
10666  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Sept. 11 Plotter Cooperated After Waterboarding on: August 29, 2009, 07:05:59 PM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/28/AR2009082803874_pf.html

How a Detainee Became An Asset
Sept. 11 Plotter Cooperated After Waterboarding

By Peter Finn, Joby Warrick and Julie Tate
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, August 29, 2009



After enduring the CIA's harshest interrogation methods and spending more than a year in the agency's secret prisons, Khalid Sheik Mohammed stood before U.S. intelligence officers in a makeshift lecture hall, leading what they called "terrorist tutorials."

In 2005 and 2006, the bearded, pudgy man who calls himself the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks discussed a wide variety of subjects, including Greek philosophy and al-Qaeda dogma. In one instance, he scolded a listener for poor note-taking and his inability to recall details of an earlier lecture.

Speaking in English, Mohammed "seemed to relish the opportunity, sometimes for hours on end, to discuss the inner workings of al-Qaeda and the group's plans, ideology and operatives," said one of two sources who described the sessions, speaking on the condition of anonymity because much information about detainee confinement remains classified. "He'd even use a chalkboard at times."

These scenes provide previously unpublicized details about the transformation of the man known to U.S. officials as KSM from an avowed and truculent enemy of the United States into what the CIA called its "preeminent source" on al-Qaeda. This reversal occurred after Mohammed was subjected to simulated drowning and prolonged sleep deprivation, among other harsh interrogation techniques.

"KSM, an accomplished resistor, provided only a few intelligence reports prior to the use of the waterboard, and analysis of that information revealed that much of it was outdated, inaccurate or incomplete," according to newly unclassified portions of a 2004 report by the CIA's then-inspector general released Monday by the Justice Department.

The debate over the effectiveness of subjecting detainees to psychological and physical pressure is in some ways irresolvable, because it is impossible to know whether less coercive methods would have achieved the same result. But for defenders of waterboarding, the evidence is clear: Mohammed cooperated, and to an extraordinary extent, only when his spirit was broken in the month after his capture March 1, 2003, as the inspector general's report and other documents released this week indicate.

Over a few weeks, he was subjected to an escalating series of coercive methods, culminating in 7 1/2 days of sleep deprivation, while diapered and shackled, and 183 instances of waterboarding. After the month-long torment, he was never waterboarded again.

"What do you think changed KSM's mind?" one former senior intelligence official said this week after being asked about the effect of waterboarding. "Of course it began with that."

Mohammed, in statements to the International Committee of the Red Cross, said some of the information he provided was untrue.

"During the harshest period of my interrogation I gave a lot of false information in order to satisfy what I believed the interrogators wished to hear in order to make the ill-treatment stop. I later told interrogators that their methods were stupid and counterproductive. I'm sure that the false information I was forced to invent in order to make the ill-treatment stop wasted a lot of their time," he said.

Critics say waterboarding and other harsh methods are unacceptable regardless of their results, and those with detailed knowledge of the CIA's program say the existing assessments offer no scientific basis to draw conclusions about effectiveness.

"Democratic societies don't use torture under any circumstances. It is illegal and immoral," said Tom Parker, policy director for counterterrorism and human rights at Amnesty International. "This is a fool's argument in any event. There is no way to prove or disprove the counterfactual."

John L. Helgerson, the former CIA inspector general who investigated the agency's detention and interrogation program, said his work did not put him in "a position to reach definitive conclusions about the effectiveness of particular interrogation methods."

"Certain of the techniques seemed to have little effect, whereas waterboarding and sleep deprivation were the two most powerful techniques and elicited a lot of information," he said in an interview. "But we didn't have the time or resources to do a careful, systematic analysis of the use of particular techniques with particular individuals and independently confirm the quality of the information that came out."

After his capture, Mohammed first told his captors what he calculated they already knew.

"KSM almost immediately following his capture in March 2003 elaborated on his plan to crash commercial airlines into Heathrow airport," according to a document released by the CIA on Monday that summarizes the intelligence provided by Mohammed. The agency thinks he assumed that Ramzi Binalshibh, a Sept. 11 conspirator captured in September 2002, had already divulged the plan.

One former U.S. official with detailed knowledge of how the interrogations were carried out said Mohammed, like several other detainees, seemed to have decided that it was okay to stop resisting after he had endured a certain amount of pressure.

"Once the harsher techniques were used on [detainees], they could be viewed as having done their duty to Islam or their cause, and their religious principles would ask no more of them," said the former official, who requested anonymity because the events are still classified. "After that point, they became compliant. Obviously, there was also an interest in being able to later say, 'I was tortured into cooperating.' "

Mohammed provided the CIA with an autobiographical statement, describing a rebellious childhood, his decision to join the Muslim Brotherhood as a teenager, and his time in the United States as a student at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, from where he graduated in 1986 with a degree in mechanical engineering.

"KSM's limited and negative experience in the United States -- which included a brief jail stay because of unpaid bills -- almost certainly helped propel him on his path to becoming a terrorist," according to the intelligence summary. "He stated that his contact with Americans, while minimal, confirmed his view that the United States was a debauched and racist country."

Mohammed provided $1,000 to Ramzi Yousef, a nephew, to help him carry out the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center. In 1994, he worked in the Philippines with Yousef, now serving a life sentence at the federal "supermax" prison in Colorado, on a failed plot to down 12 U.S. commercial aircraft over the Pacific.

Mohammed told interrogators it was in the Philippines that he first considered using planes as missiles to strike the United States. He took the idea to Osama bin Laden, who "at first demurred but changed his mind in late 1999," according to the summary.

Mohammed described plans to strike targets in Saudi Arabia, East Asia and the United States after the Sept. 11 attacks, including using a network of Pakistanis "to target gas stations, railroad tracks, and the Brooklyn bridge in New York." Cross-referencing material from different detainees, and leveraging information from one to extract more detail from another, the CIA and FBI went on to round up operatives both in the United States and abroad.

"Detainees in mid-2003 helped us build a list of 70 individuals -- many of who we had never heard of before -- that al-Qaeda deemed suitable for Western operations," according to the CIA summary.

Mohammed told interrogators that after the Sept. 11 attacks, his "overriding priority" was to strike the United States, but that he "realized that a follow-on attack would be difficult because of security measures." Most of the plots, as a result, were "opportunistic and limited," according to the summary.

One former agency official recalled that Mohammed was once asked to write a summary of his knowledge about al-Qaeda's efforts to obtain weapons of mass destruction. The terrorist group had explored buying either an intact nuclear weapon or key components such as enriched uranium, although there is no evidence of significant progress on that front.

"He wrote us an essay" on al-Qaeda's nuclear ambitions, the official said. "Not all of it was accurate, but it was quite extensive."

Mohammed was an unparalleled source in deciphering al-Qaeda's strategic doctrine, key operatives and likely targets, the summary said, including describing in "considerable detail the traits and profiles" that al-Qaeda sought in Western operatives and how the terrorist organization might conduct surveillance in the United States.

Mohammed was moved to the U.S. military facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in September 2006, and his loquaciousness is now largely confined to occasional appearances before a military commission. Back in his 86-square-foot cell at the secret Camp 7 at Guantanamo, he spends most of his waking hours in prayer, according to a source familiar with his confinement who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

But Mohammed has not abandoned his intellectual pursuits. He requested a Bible for study in his cell, according to the source, in order to better understand his enemy.

Staff writer Walter Pincus contributed to this report.
10667  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Adrenaline on: August 29, 2009, 11:08:21 AM
Tachypsychia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tachypsychia is a neurological condition that alters the perception of time, usually induced by physical exertion, drug use, or a traumatic event. It is sometimes incorrectly referred to by martial arts instructors and self defense experts as the Tachy Psyche effect. For someone affected by tachypsychia, time perceived by the individual either lengthens, making events appear to slow down, or contracts, objects appearing as moving in a speeding blur. It is believed that tachypsychia is induced by a combination of high levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, usually during periods of great physical stress and/or in violent confrontation.

Contents [hide]
1 Physical Responses
1.1 Adrenaline Response
1.2 Psychological Response
2 References
 

[edit] Physical Responses
Also called the "fight or flight" response of the body to an event our mind considers life threatening, tachypsychia is believed to include numerous physical changes.


[edit] Adrenaline Response
Upon being stimulated by fear or anger, the Adrenal medulla may automatically produce the hormone epinephrine (aka adrenaline) directly into the blood stream. This can have various effects on various bodily systems, including:

Increased heart rate and blood pressure. It is average for a person's pulse to raise to between 200 and 300 beats per minute (bpm). Increased heart rate (above 250 bpm) can cause fainting, and the body may constrict itself into a fetal position in preparation for a coma.
Dilation of the bronchial passages, permitting higher absorption of oxygen.
Dilated pupils to allow more light to enter, and visual exclusion--tunnel vision--occurs, allowing greater focus but resulting in the loss of peripheral vision.
Release of glucose into the bloodstream, generating extra energy by raising the blood sugar level.
It is common for an individual to experience auditory exclusion or enhancement. It is also common for individuals to experience an increased pain tolerance, loss of color vision, short term memory loss, decreased fine motor skills, decreased communication skills, decreased coordination.


[edit] Psychological Response
The most common experience during tachypsychia is the feeling that time has either increased or slowed down, brought on by the increased brain activity cause by epinephrine, or the severe decrease in brain activity caused by the "catecholamine washout" occurring after the event.

It is common for an individual experiencing tachypsychia to have serious misinterpretations of their surrounding during the events, through a combination of their altered perception of time, as well as transient partial color blindness and tunnel vision. After the irregularly high levels of adrenaline consumed during sympathetic nervous system activation, an individual may display signs and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, and it is common for the person to display extreme emotional lability and fatigue, regardless of their actual physical exertion.

It is possible to manage the "adrenaline dump" still occurring after the event, and it is common for soldiers and martial artists to use tachypsychia in order to increase their performance during stressful situations.
10668  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Intel Matters on: August 28, 2009, 10:33:20 PM

 
August 28, 2009, 4:00 a.m.

Eric Holder’s Hidden Agenda
The investigation isn’t about torture, but about transnationalism.

By Andrew C. McCarthy


‘This is an administration that is determined to conduct itself by the rule of law. And to the extent that we receive lawful requests from an appropriately created court, we would obviously respond to it.”

It was springtime in Berlin and Eric Holder, a well-known “rule of law” devotee, was speaking to the German press. He’d been asked if his Justice Department would cooperate with efforts by foreign or international tribunals to prosecute U.S. government officials who carried out the Bush administration’s post-9/11 counterterrorism policies. The attorney general assured listeners that he was certainly open to being helpful. “Obviously,” he said, “we would look at any request that would come from a court in any country and see how and whether we should comply with it.”

As the Associated Press reported at the time, Holder was “pressed on whether that meant the United States would cooperate with a foreign court prosecuting Bush administration officials.” He skirted the question in a way Americans ought to find alarming. The attorney general indicated that he was speaking only about “evidentiary requests.” Translation: The Obama administration will not make arrests and hand current or former American government officials over for foreign trials, but if the Europeans or U.N. functionaries (at the nudging of, say, the Organization of the Islamic Conference) want Justice’s help gathering evidence in order to build triable cases — count us in.

Hue and cry followed Holder’s decision this week to have a prosecutor investigate CIA interrogators and contractors. The probe is a nakedly political, banana republic-style criminalizing of policy differences and political rivalry. The abuse allegations said to have stunned the attorney general into acting are outlined in a stale CIA inspector general’s report. Though only released this week — a disclosure timed to divert attention from reports that showed the CIA’s efforts yielded life-saving intelligence — the IG report is actually five years old. Its allegations not only have been long known to the leaders of both parties in Congress, they were thoroughly investigated by professional prosecutors — not political appointees. Those prosecutors decided not to file charges, except in one case that ended in an acquittal. As I outline here, the abuse in question falls woefully short of torture crimes under federal law.

Americans are scratching their heads: Why would Holder retrace this well-worn ground when intimidating our intelligence-gatherers so obviously damages national security? The political fallout, too, is palpable. Leon Panetta, the outraged CIA director, is reportedly pondering resignation. President Obama, laying low in the tall grass on his Martha’s Vineyard vacation, is having staffers try to put distance between himself and his attorney general. It is unlikely that many will be fooled: Both Obama and Holder promised their antiwar base just this sort of “reckoning” during the 2008 campaign. But the question remains, Why is Holder (or, rather, why are Holder and the White House) instigating this controversy?

I believe the explanation lies in the Obama administration’s fondness for transnationalism, a doctrine of post-sovereign globalism in which America is seen as owing its principal allegiance to the international legal order rather than to our own Constitution and national interests.

Recall that the president chose to install former Yale Law School dean Harold Koh as his State Department’s legal adviser. Koh is the country’s leading proponent of transnationalism. He is now a major player in the administration’s deliberations over international law and cooperation. Naturally, membership in the International Criminal Court, which the United States has resisted joining, is high on Koh’s agenda. The ICC claims worldwide jurisdiction, even over nations that do not ratify its enabling treaty, notwithstanding that sovereign consent to jurisdiction is a bedrock principle of international law.

As a result, there have always been serious concerns that the ICC could investigate and try to indict American political, military, and intelligence officials for actions taken in defense of our country. Here it’s crucial to bear in mind that the United States (or at least the pre-Obama United States) has not seen eye-to-eye with Europe on significant national-security matters. European nations, for example, have accepted the 1977 Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions, while the United States has rejected it. Protocol I extends protections to terrorists and imposes an exacting legal regime on combat operations, relying on such concepts as “proportional” use of force and rigorous distinction between military and civilian targets. That is, Protocol I potentially converts traditional combat operations into war crimes. Similarly, though the U.S. accepted the torture provisions of the U.N. Convention Against Torture (UNCAT), our nation rejected the UNCAT’s placing of “cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment” on a par with torture. By contrast, Europe generally accepts the UNCAT in toto.

#pageAs long as we haven’t ratified a couple of bad human-rights treaties, why should we care that Europe considers them binding? Because of the monstrosity known as “customary international law,” of which Koh is a major proponent. This theory holds that once new legal principles gain broad acceptance among nations and international organizations, they somehow transmogrify into binding law, even for nations that haven’t agreed to them. That is, the judgment of the “international community” (meaning, the judgment of left-wing academics and human-rights activists who hold sway at the U.N. and the European Union) supersedes the standards our citizens have adopted democratically. It is standard fare among transnational progressives to claim that Protocol I is now binding on the United States and that what they define as cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment is “tantamount to torture.”

And the transnational Left has still another treat in store: its notion of “universal jurisdiction.” This theory holds that individual nations have the power to prosecute actions that occur in other countries, even when they have no impact on the prosecuting nation. The idea is that some offenses — such as torture and war crimes — so offend the purported consensus of humanity (i.e., so offend left-wing sensibilities) that they may be prosecuted by any country that cares to take the initiative. In fact, many countries (the United States included) open their justice systems to civil suits against government officials — again, even if the country where the suit is filed has nothing to do with the alleged offenses.

So we come back to Holder in Berlin. Two months before the attorney general’s visit, the U.N.’s “special rapporteur on torture” told German television that the Obama administration had “a clear obligation” under the UNCAT to file torture charges against former president George W. Bush and former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld. The rapporteur was relying on documents produced because of American investigations — including a nakedly partisan report by the Democrat-controlled Senate Armed Services Committee.

Meanwhile, as I detailed here in March, Spain’s universal-justice crusader Baltasar Garzón is pursuing his own torture case against Bush administration lawyers who weighed in on interrogation policy. Garzón is the Spanish investigating magistrate who, with the help of a terrorist turned human-rights lawyer, had Chilean strongman Augusto Pinochet arrested in England for crimes against humanity. The same terrorist-lawyer, Gonzalo Boye, is helping Garzón on the Bush case. The Brits, by the way, eventually decided not to send Pinochet to Spain, but not before the law lords ruled that they could, a decision enthusiastically hailed at the time by U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights Mary Robinson, the former president of Ireland. That would be the same Mary Robinson of Durban infamy — the one President Obama just honored with the Medal of Freedom.

And then there is the Center for Constitutional Rights, a Marxist organization that for years has coordinated legal representation for terrorists detained at Guantanamo Bay. The CCR has been attempting to convince Germany, France, Spain, and other countries to file war-crime indictments against former Bush administration officials, including President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and Secretary Rumsfeld. In representing America’s enemies, CCR has collaborated with many private lawyers, who also volunteered their services — several of whom are now working in the Obama Justice Department. Indeed, Holder’s former firm boasts that it still represents 16 Gitmo detainees (the number was previously higher). And, for help shaping detainee policy, Holder recently hired Jennifer Daskal for DOJ’s National Security Division — a lawyer from Human Rights Watch with no prior prosecutorial experience, whose main qualification seems to be the startling advocacy she has done for enemy combatants.

Put it all together and it’s really not that hard to figure out what is going on here.

Transnationalists from outside and, now, inside our government have been ardent supporters of prosecutions against American officials who designed and carried out the Bush counterterrorism policies that kept this country safe after 9/11. The U.N.’s top torture monitor is demanding legal action, almost certainly as a prelude to calling for action by an international tribunal — such as the ICC — if the Justice Department fails to indict. Meantime, law-enforcement authorities in Spain and elsewhere are weighing charges against the same U.S. officials, spurred on by the CCR and human-rights groups that now have friends in high American places. In foreign and international courts, the terrorist-friendly legal standards preferred by Europe and the U.N. would make convictions easier to obtain and civil suits easier to win.

Obama and Holder were principal advocates for a “reckoning” against Bush officials during the 2008 campaign. They realize, though, that their administration would be mortally wounded if Justice were actually to file formal charges — this week’s announcement of an investigation against the CIA provoked howls, but that’s nothing compared to the public reaction indictments would cause. Nevertheless, Obama and Holder are under intense pressure from the hard Left, to which they made reckless promises, and from the international community they embrace.

The way out of this dilemma is clear. Though it won’t file indictments against the CIA agents and Bush officials it is probing, the Justice Department will continue conducting investigations and releasing reports containing new disclosures of information. The churn of new disclosures will be used by lawyers for the detainees to continue pressing the U.N. and the Europeans to file charges. The European nations and/or international tribunals will make formal requests to the Obama administration to have the Justice Department assist them in securing evidence. Holder will piously announce that the “rule of law” requires him to cooperate with these “lawful requests” from “appropriately created courts.” Finally, the international and/or foreign courts will file criminal charges against American officials.

Foreign charges would result in the issuance of international arrest warrants. They won’t be executed in the United States — even this administration is probably not brazen enough to try that. But the warrants will go out to police agencies all over the world. If the indicted American officials want to travel outside the U.S., they will need to worry about the possibility of arrest, detention, and transfer to third countries for prosecution. Have a look at this 2007 interview of CCR president Michael Ratner. See how he brags that his European gambit is “making the world smaller” for Rumsfeld — creating a hostile legal climate in which a former U.S. defense secretary may have to avoid, for instance, attending conferences in NATO countries.

The Left will get its reckoning. Obama and Holder will be able to take credit with their supporters for making it happen. But because the administration’s allies in the antiwar bar and the international Left will do the dirty work of getting charges filed, the American media will help Obama avoid domestic political accountability. Meanwhile, Americans who sought to protect our nation from barbarians will be harassed and framed as war criminals. And protecting the United States will have become an actionable violation of international law.

I’m betting that’s the plan.

 


— National Review’s Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute and the author of Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad (Encounter Books, 2008).
 
 

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National Review Online - http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=ZGMyYTQ1ZTM5YTQ5NjJjNzJmNGUxZDIyOTFjYzIyM2Y=
10669  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: August 28, 2009, 10:55:27 AM
Australian Broadcasting Corporation

TV PROGRAM TRANSCRIPT

LOCATION: http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2004/s1064193.htm

Broadcast: 11/03/2004

Krugman calls on Bush to reign in the red
Reporter:

 
TONY JONES: Well, the US is not just labouring under a record trade deficit, there are warnings tonight that its budget deficit could precipitate a Latin American style financial crisis.

Influential economist Paul Krugman says the US will face a severe downturn before the end of the decade unless the $500 billion fiscal debt is rectified.

In his latest book, The Great Unravelling, the Princeton University economist is calling on President Bush to abandon his program of trillion dollar tax cuts, otherwise, he claims, there may not be enough funds to pay for the waves of baby boomers who will soon retire.

I spoke to Paul Krugman a short time ago.

TONY JONES: Paul Krugman, history proved your predictions right over the Asian financial crisis.

You're now warning essentially that the engine of the world economy, the United States itself, is heading for a South American style financial crisis.

What's the evidence for that?

PROFESSOR PAUL KRUGMAN, PRINCETON ECONOMIST: Well, basically we have a world-class budget deficit not just as in absolute terms of course - it's the biggest budget deficit in the history of the world - but it's a budget deficit that as a share of GDP is right up there.

It's comparable to the worst we've ever seen in this country.

It's biggest than Argentina in 2001.

Which is not cyclical, there's only a little bit that's because the economy is depressed.

Mostly it's because, fundamentally, the Government isn't taking in enough money to pay for the programs and we have no strategy of dealing with it.

So, if you take a look, the only thing that sustains the US right now is the fact that people say, "Well America's a mature, advanced country and mature, advanced countries always, you know, get their financial house in order," but there's not a hint that that's on the political horizon, so I think we're looking for a collapse of confidence some time in the not-too-distant future.

TONY JONES: When you say the not-too-distant future, what does that mean?

We know there may be a crisis in paying, for example, in social security...

PROFESSOR PAUL KRUGMAN: What I envision is that at some point, we have about 10 years now until the baby boomers hit the United States.

The US even more than other advanced countries has a welfare state that's primarily a welfare state for retirees.

We have the huge bulge in the population that starts to collect benefits and earn the next decade.

If there isn't a clear path towards fiscal sanity well before that, then I think the financial markets are going to say, "Well, gee, where is this going?"

I think, where in that 10 years the crunch comes, I don't know.

I think there's a real possibility that next year or one or two years from now, when they see that actually the same irresponsible tax cuts as the solution to everything continue, we might have a crisis that soon but more likely towards the end of the decade.

TONY JONES: Let me ask you this - just in the short-term, given today's policy settings and the ones that are going to prevail, we assume, through the election period, what's likely to happen to interest rates?

PROFESSOR PAUL KRUGMAN: Right now, long-term interest rates, short-term interest rates, I think, are going to stay where there are, which is not far above zero, right through the election and probably beyond because that's directly under the control of the Federal Reserve.

The economy is weak for the time being.

Job creation is essentially non-existent.

Long-term interest rates which should reflect all these things are actually quite low right now and it's an interesting thing when you try to talk to people in the bond market, why, you ask, doesn't the deficit worry you?

Don't you wonder that there's going to be a financing crunch?

And they say: "Well, we believe that next year Bush or whoever is in the White House is going to get responsible."

And you ask them: "What evidence do you have for that?"

And they say: "Well, I don't know but it's always happened before."

So right now again, the bond market is reflecting the credit built up in previous responsible governments.

TONY JONES: Actually the bond market's quite interesting because for the present moment there seems to be a huge influence on the US economy from the Asian central banks.

Is that risky?

PROFESSOR PAUL KRUGMAN: Well sure.

Although, I'm not sure that it's particularly riskier than a lot of other things. But yeah, we have this, I didn't say this, but we've got twin deficits.

We've got a huge budget deficit and an equally large current account deficit.

And if you ask, "How are we financing the current account deficit?", well that's a story.

A few years ago it was foreigners investing in the United States.

It was Daimler buying Chrysler, it was people investing in the strength of the US economy.

These days it's Asian central banks buying up US Government debt because they're trying to keep their currencies weak against the dollar and this can't go on forever.

TONY JONES: Your detractors - and there are quite a few of them on the Republican side of the equation - they're accusing you of scare mongering?

PROFESSOR PAUL KRUGMAN: The first thing to say is to look at what some of those same people were saying in the middle of the Clinton years when the deficit was substantially smaller as a proportion of GDP and they were carrying on about what a bad thing it was.

The other thing is the comparison.

The only time post war that the United States has had anything like these deficits is the middle Reagan years and that was with unemployment close to 10 per cent.

A lot of that was a cyclical thing which would go away when the economy recovered.

Also the baby boomers were 20 years younger than they are today.

If you look at the actual fiscal situation, it's much, much worse than it was even at its worst during the Reagan years. One way to say this is we have social security which is a retirement program which viewed on its own is running a surplus.

If you take that out of the budget then we're running at a deficit of more than 6 per cent of GDP and that is unprecedented.

TONY JONES: One of your fiercest critics, Donald Luskin, seems to fear you because of your very credibility and your plausibility.

As he puts it, you're the most "dangerous liberal commentator in the United States".

He says he once admired you but now he actually runs a website called the Krugman Truth Squad?

PROFESSOR PAUL KRUGMAN: Yeah.

Well, look this is good.

Something I used - let them hate as long as they fear.

I think the point is, let me quote Harry Truman: "I give them the truth and they think it's hell."

I don't think I've been saying anything that isn't quite straight forward.

It's just arithmetic but it's been stuff that a lot of, very few journalists have been willing or able to say.

TONY JONES: It's a bit more than arithmetic though, isn't it?

Would you agree with the proposition that you're slowly transforming yourself, in a way, from a pure economist into also something of a political activist?

PROFESSOR PAUL KRUGMAN: Well, yeah, I mean, it's not what I intended. But I came in writing as a journalist, writing occasional columns in the 90s, mostly about economical fears with a political tinge.

I came to the New York Times intending to do pretty much the same thing.

But then it became clear very early on that the President of the United States was irresponsible and dishonest on matters economic and it turned out that what I learned there was true of other kind of policies as well.

So, I was forced, if you like, just by the arithmetic of understanding how the budget works into a much broader critique of this really kind of scary thing that's happening to my country.

TONY JONES: Let's look a little bit at that broader critique that you outline in The Great Unravelling, your new book.

You claim that President Bush is part of the radical right and that America has become a revolutionary power.

How did you come to those conclusions?

PROFESSOR PAUL KRUGMAN: If you look at the policies and in a variety of areas, they're not within the range of normal partisan divides.

That is, Republicans always want lower taxes and Democrats a bigger state.

There are always disagreements about how strong environmental policies should be, but we're really way outside that now.

We're talking about repeated tax cuts in the face of enormous deficits and in the face of war.

Never done that before.

We're talking about a shift towards unilateralist foreign policy.

We've just gone to war without significant allies other than the UK to destroy weapons that didn't exist.

This is something that's kind of unique.

We're seeing a radical breakdown of the separation of church and state in a lot of policy issues.

This is something that's really outside normal politics and then if you just look at the political history, where do these people come from - you discover that there is a network of think tanks, organisations, funding sources, radical activists - which really, it's more than just an ordinary swing of the political pendulum.

If you like, the vast right-wing conspiracy isn't a theory, it's quite clearly visible to anyone who takes a little care to do his home work.

TONY JONES: One of those think tanks, of course, is the Heritage Foundation which was set up in a way to boost a series of ideological positions on the economy, on the social front and is now, you say, virtually running, to some degree, a lot of economic policy and one of the things they say, for example, is that social security and Medicare are violations of basic principals?

PROFESSOR PAUL KRUGMAN: That's right.

Heritage is central.

Heritage is in the middle of everything.

Almost every - if you like, the WAPs, the policy types such as they are, as opposed to the politicos - but the WAPs in this administration are almost all connected with Heritage or American Enterprise Institute but one or both of those.

And Heritage very clearly in its letters to fund raisers reminds them that our goal is to get rid of these programs, that we need to get rid of the legacy of the new deal on the great society and that means social security and Medicare.

TONY JONES: Now here's another quote from your book: "A revolutionary power does not accept the legitimacy of the state."

PROFESSOR PAUL KRUGMAN: There's a very hardline view.

There was actually a kind of revealing moment recently - Bush gave an interview, was more or less dragooned into an interview on Meet The Press and the interviewer said: "Well, what if you lose the election?"

And he said: "I'm not going to lose the election."

And the interviewer said: "But what if you do lose?"

He said: "I'm not going lose the election."

The possibility that they just would not regard it as a legitimate thing if someone else were to take power.

Quite a few people as part of the Republican movement have said that God chose Bush to be President.

I don't know whether they would accept the idea that mere mortal men should choose for him not to be President for another four years.

TONY JONES: You also link the personal fortunes of George Bush and Dick Cheney to what you called the epidemic of corporate malfeasance.

Are you suggesting that, in a way, their business ethics somehow leaked out into the rest of the corporate world or that they're just representative of it?

PROFESSOR PAUL KRUGMAN: Oh no, they're representative of it.

Let's be clear.

Most of the explosion of corporate malfeasance really took place during the 90s.

It took place with Clinton in the White House, which is not to say that he caused it.

In fact, you could say a lot of it happened despite some mild efforts on the part of Clinton to stop it.

But the point is that you ask when Bush says, "I want to reform corporations," is he credible?

Well, you have to look back and say, "Gee his own personal fortune arose, in large part, through deals that look an awful like Enron."

TONY JONES: Nor do you spare Alan Greenspan, the chairman of the Fed Reserve.

I always thought under the Clinton years or during the Clinton years he was the steady hand on the tiller.

You seem to refer to him these days as a partisan hack?

PROFESSOR PAUL KRUGMAN: Well, here's a special case.

I mean, the governor of the central bank has a terribly important job, enormous responsibility and power.

He's not an elected official.

This is an agreement that we've all reached - that this is a good thing to do because monetary policy is too easily politicised.

Best to have it in a technocrat.

In his role as a technocrat Greenspan has done a good job, not as stellar a job as his admirers will tell you but he's done a very good job.

There's an obligation that goes with this which is to stand above and outside the political fray.

Greenspan did that during the 90s.

But no sooner was Bush in office than Greenspan threw his weight behind tax cuts.

He actually went to Congress and argued that we need tax cuts because otherwise we're going to run excessively large budget surpluses and pay down our debt too quickly.

Which he shouldn't have done in the first place.

This was violating the role.

Then, of course, when it turned out to be completely wrong.

Instead we've plunged from surpluses into huge deficits, he has now said, "Well, I don't think we should rescind the tax cut, instead we need to talk about cutting social security benefits."

That's injecting himself into politics in a very partisan fashion.

TONY JONES: You essentially claiming the Fed is no longer independent?

PROFESSOR PAUL KRUGMAN: Well Mr Greenspan is acting as a partisan figure.

He is acting as somebody who is doing whatever he can to support the agenda of this right-wing movement that is now running a large part of the Government.

I think that the star at the Fed is as good as ever.

My belief is that if you were to promote one of the other governors to chairman of the Fed we would be back to business as we've had it before.

I don't think everybody has been corrupted but I do think that Mr Greenspan has gone very far - basically has abused in his position, in a way, that's no longer recoverable.

TONY JONES: We will have to leave it there.

Paul Krugman, we thank you very much for taking the time to come and join us tonight.

PROFESSOR PAUL KRUGMAN: Well, thank you.

 
10670  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews on: August 28, 2009, 08:43:12 AM
The next thing you know, muslims will flood into european supermarkets and rip Israeli products off of the shelves while American leftists try to defend it as free speech. Nah......That'd never happen.  rolleyes
10671  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: August 28, 2009, 08:39:56 AM
Despite the problems within China, as articulated above they are educating a lot of children to be at the cutting edge of technology while our schools are churning out illiterates with overinflated self images and a vague loathing of America.
10672  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Mary Jo Kopechne unavailable for comment on: August 27, 2009, 04:55:56 PM
Where's Mary Jo Kopechne's Eulogy?
by Henry Rollins
August 27, 2009, 10:57 AM

Not Far Under The Surface. Let’s say I am driving myself and a passenger in my car at night. I accidentally drive off a bridge into the water below. I am able to get out of the submerged vehicle but for some reason, I am unable to free the passenger. I gather two friends, a relative and my lawyer and return to the scene. We are unable to rescue the person trapped in the car. Several hours later, myself nor the two others I took to the site have called the authorities. In fact, it’s two fishermen who find the car the next morning as even then, no one has been called to the scene. The car is removed from the water and it is determined that its occupant is dead. This tragic incident is made international news by my circumstances. I am very well known, a United States senator. My family is incredibly powerful. There are allegations that I had been drinking heavily hours up to the time I got into the vehicle with the passenger. I deny this for the rest of my life. That at no point did I make an attempt to call for rescue would probably be considered by many people to be outrageous and horrible, perhaps a crime that would carry a prison sentence. Can you imagine what the parents of the deceased would be going through when they found out that their 28-year-old daughter died alone in total darkness? I serve no time. Not inconvenienced by the burdensome obstacle of incarceration, I seek to maintain my elected position. I am successful and remain a senator for the next four decades. Would any deed I performed in that time, besides going to prison for the negligent homicide I committed all those years ago, be enough to wipe the slate clean? After my passing, would you fail to mention the incident and the death of this innocent person in reviewing the events of my long and lauded life? You wouldn't forget about her, would you? That would be negligent.
10673  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Intel Matters on: August 27, 2009, 04:41:27 PM
- Pajamas Media - http://pajamasmedia.com -

Morale at CIA Plummets as Panetta Makes a Bad Situation Worse

Posted By Nate Hale On August 25, 2009 @ 10:28 am In . Column1 07, Crime, History, Homeland Security, Media, Politics, US News | 113 Comments

When Leon Panetta took over the CIA earlier this year, he was described (in some circles) as the wrong man for the wrong job at the wrong time.

Seven months later, that assessment is proving eerily prescient. As the agency prepares for a politically-charged investigation of its interrogation practices, Mr. Panetta’s leadership is noticeably lacking. Indeed, there is growing evidence that the director’s recent actions have made a bad situation worse.

We refer to the manufactured “scandal” surrounding the agency’s plans to enlist contractors in the hunt for high-value terror targets. That proposal — which involved the controversial security firm Blackwater — was discussed on several occasions, but never reached the operational stage. Three previous CIA directors declined to brief the proposal to Congress, largely because there was nothing to it.

But that didn’t stop Mr. Panetta from rushing to Capitol Hill when he learned of the project, offering an emergency briefing to members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. Congressional Democrats immediately pounced on Panetta’s admission, saying it supported claims (by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi) that the spy agency had repeatedly lied to lawmakers.

Sources now suggest that Mr. Panetta regrets his actions.  Columnist Joseph Finder, who writes for the Daily Beast [1], reported last week that the CIA director spoke with his predecessors after he reported the program’s existence to members of Congress.  George Tenet, Porter Goss, and Michael Hayden were all aware of the program, but they elected not to inform Congress because it never evolved past the “PowerPoint” stage.

My own contacts within the intelligence community paint a similar picture. There were a few meetings (along with that slide presentation), but the CIA made no effort to make the program operational. Indeed, the planned involvement of contractor personnel made agency personnel nervous, one reason the project never moved past the discussion stage.

In other words, Leon Panetta created an unnecessary scandal at the very moment his agency is facing increased scrutiny.  According to the Washington Post [2], Attorney General Eric Holder will appoint a special prosecutor to examine allegations that CIA officers and contractors violated anti-torture laws during interrogations of terror suspects.

Mr. Holder’s reported decision is anything but a surprise. Literally from the day they took office, members of the Obama administration have been weighing a probe into CIA practices under President George W. Bush. The recent leaks about the agency’s potential partnership with Blackwater — and claims of interrogation abuse — were little more than groundwork for Eric Holder’s pending announcement.

To counter the gathering tempest, the CIA needs its own advocate, someone who can factually counter allegations of widespread misconduct. The fact is, Mr. Holder’s special counsel will investigate only a dozen cases of reported abuse out of literally thousands of interrogations conducted by CIA specialists and contract personnel. Has anyone at Langley asked if such an inquiry represents a legitimate use of government resources? Or is it simply a taxpayer-funded witch hunt, aimed at placating the ultra-liberal wing of President Obama’s party?

True, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency can’t exactly say that sort of thing in public, but you’d think that Mr. Panetta — the ultimate Washington insider — knows how the game is played. Leaks can be countered with more leaks, providing the agency’s own version of events. Better yet, the DCI could call the bluff of his opponents at the ACLU and the White House by demanding the release of documents which affirm the effectiveness of CIA interrogations — and the limited use of so-called “torture techniques.” (Note: the CIA Inspector General’s report was released after this was written and can be found here [3].)

Instead, Leon Panetta became obsessed with a non-scandal, losing valuable opportunities to defend his agency and its personnel. One retired CIA official I spoke with referred to him as “another Colby,” — a reference to William Colby, the DCI who cooperated with the Church and Pike Committees that probed agency abuses in the 1970s. To this day, many CIA employees feel that Colby went too far in his cooperation, opening the door for increased congressional oversight that gutted the agency’s covert operations directorate.

The bitter “Colby” reference is a sure sign that morale at Langley is plummeting. And with good reason. The looming special counsel inquiry will make a skittish organization even more risk averse. Talented personnel will continue to leave the agency, believing (correctly) that the CIA will leave them twisting in the wind when the going gets tough.

It’s a trend that is sadly familiar. Following previous scandals in the 70s and 80s, thousands of skilled analysts and operations specialists left Langley for greener pastures, leaving behind the hacks and politicians who presided over such intelligence debacles as 9-11.

Strong leadership could go a long way in taking on the agency’s critics and preventing another mass exodus from the agency.  But sadly, Mr. Panetta is not that type of leader. Without any meaningful intelligence experience (except as a consumer) the former Democratic congressman and White House chief of staff was asked to lead the CIA during a time of difficult transition under the new director of national intelligence construct.

To his credit, Panetta has fought some battles for his agency. ABC News [4] reports the DCI erupted into a tirade during a White House meeting that apparently laid out plans for Holder’s investigation. Sources tell ABC that Panetta also threatened to resign, although a CIA spokesman denies those claims.

Meanwhile, the White House is said to be screening possible replacements, suggesting that Panetta’s departure is all but inevitable. Under normal circumstances, the removal of an ineffectual CIA director would be welcome news. But these are extraordinary times; American troops are fighting two wars and the threat from global terrorists remains critical. At a time when the agency needs an exceptional hand on the tiller, Mr. Panetta has only one thing going for him: his potential replacement are likely to be even worse, setting the stage for more bloodletting — and diminished capabilities — at Langley.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Article printed from Pajamas Media: http://pajamasmedia.com

URL to article: http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/morale-at-cia-plummets-as-panetta-makes-a-bad-situation-worse/

URLs in this post:

[1] the Daily Beast: http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2009-08-18/spy-agency-fiasco/

[2] Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/24/AR2009082401743.html

[3] here: http://washingtonindependent.com/56175/the-2004-cia-inspector-generals-report-on-torture

[4] ABC News: http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=8398902
10674  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Happy Birthday Marc! on: August 23, 2009, 09:57:56 PM
Have a happy one!
10675  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / A nice primer on surveillance on: August 23, 2009, 08:12:09 PM
http://www.cdt.org/wiretap/wiretap_overview.html

The Nature and Scope of Governmental Electronic Surveillance Activity
July 2006

Even before the PATRIOT Act, federal agencies had broad legal powers to monitor telephone conversations, e-mail, pagers, wireless phones, computers and all other electronic communications and communications devices. The PATRIOT Act expanded some of these powers but generally did not disrupt the basic framework, which is constitutionally grounded.

Government wiretap authority
There are two sources of authority for wiretapping in the US.

(1) The Federal Wiretap Act, sometimes referred to as Title III, was adopted in 1968 and expanded in 1986. It sets procedures for court authorization of real-time surveillance of all kinds of electronic communications, including voice, e-mail, fax, and Internet, in criminal investigations. It normally requires, before a wiretap can commence, a court order issued by a judge who must conclude, based on an affidavit submitted by the government, that there is probable cause to believe that a crime has been, is being, or is about to be committed. Terrorist bombings, hijackings and other violent activities are crimes for which wiretaps can be ordered. (The PATRIOT Act expanded the list of criminal statutes for which wiretaps can be ordered.) This authority is used to prevent as well as punish crimes: government can wiretap in advance of a crime being carried out, where the wiretap is used to identify planning and conspiratorial activities. Judges almost never deny government requests for wiretap orders.

(2) The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 allows wiretapping of aliens and citizens in the US based on a finding of probable cause to believe that the target is a member of a foreign terrorist group or an agent of a foreign power. For US citizens and permanent resident aliens, there must also be probable cause to believe that the person is engaged in activities that "may" involve a criminal violation. Suspicion of illegal activity is not required in the case of aliens who are not permanent residents - for them, membership in a terrorist group is enough, even if their activities on behalf of the group are legal. The most important judicial opinion interpreting FISA is from a special appellate panel: In re Sealed Case at http://www.cdt.org/security/usapatriot/021118fisa.pdf

One major change made by the PATRIOT Act was to allow prosecutors to use FISA for the purpose of gathering evidence in criminal investigations of national security crimes.

Finally, it is worth noting that there are no legislative limits on US government electronic eavesdropping carried out overseas. Neither Title III nor FISA have any application to intelligence collection activities outside the US. The legal authority for electronic surveillance outside the US is contained in Executive Order 12,333 issued by President Reagan in 1982, still in effect today. Intelligence agencies do not need a court order to intercept communications outside the US. If a United States citizen or US permanent resident alien is targeted for surveillance abroad, the Executive Order requires the approval of the Attorney General. By internal guideline, the Attorney General must find that there is probable cause to believe that the US person who is the target of the surveillance is an agent of a foreign power as defined in FISA. Decisions to target non-US persons are left to the intelligence community. And the vacuum cleaner approach that does not involve targeting of US persons also requires no approval from outside the intelligence community, although there are limits on the dissemination of information about US persons that is collected "incidental" to an intelligence collection activity.

Emergency authority
Both Title III and FISA allow the government to carry out wiretaps without a court order in emergency situations involving risk of death or serious bodily injury and in national security cases.

Roving taps
Under Title III, the government has "roving tap" authority, meaning that it can get a court order that does not name a specific telephone line or e-mail account but allows the government to tap any phone line, cell phone, or Internet account that a suspect uses. This authority was initially adopted in 1986 and was substantially broadened in 1999. The PATRIOT Act added roving tap authority to FISA.

Roving taps are relatively rare. In 2005, 8 roving taps were approved in criminal cases under Title III. Of those, one was for a federal racketeering investigation. The other 7 were at the state level: 4 applications were authorized for use in narcotics investigations, 1 application in a racketeering investigation, 1 application in a murder investigation, and 1 application in a money laundering investigation. The 2005 Wiretap Report, issued in April 2006, is available online at http://www.uscourts.gov/wiretap05/contents.html

Encryption
Use of encryption in the US is not regulated. If a service provider encrypts communication and has the key, the service provider must decrypt the communications when served with a wiretap order. But a service provider has no obligation to decrypt communication encrypted by the end user when the service provider does not have the key. Likewise, CALEA, which requires telecommunication carriers to support government surveillance activities on their networks, explicitly states that the carriers have no obligation to provide the plain text of communications encrypted by parties themselves. Beginning with the 2000 Wiretap Report, the government has been required to report on the number of wiretap applications granted in which encryption was encountered and whether such encryption prevented law enforcement officials from obtaining the plain text of communications intercepted pursuant to the court orders. In 2005, no federal wiretaps reported that encryption was encountered. For state and local jurisdictions, encryption was reported to have been encountered in 13 wiretaps in 2005; however, the encryption was not reported to have prevented law enforcement officials from obtaining the plain text of communications intercepted. So far, the government has reported only a single wiretap frustrated by encryption.

Courts Rarely Deny Wiretap Requests
The rapid changes in telecommunications technology have been accompanied by a growth in the potential intrusiveness of electronic surveillance and a steady increase in government surveillance activity. While the wiretap laws establish important protections -- most notably requiring for interception of call content a judicial order based on a finding of probable cause -- in practice state and federal judges rarely deny applications for authority to conduct electronic surveillance.

Every spring, the Administrative Office of the United States Courts publishes statistics on wiretap activity of federal, state, and local police in the prior year. The report covering 2005 is available online: http://www.uscourts.gov/wiretap05/contents.html. A useful summary, covering the years 1993-2005 and showing the nearly steady increase in the use of wiretaps, is provided by Table 7, which is at http://www.uscourts.gov/wiretap05/Table72005-1.pdf.

Highlights of the 2003 Report on Wiretaps in Criminal Cases
Number of wiretap requests approved in 2005: 1,773

Number of wiretap requests denied: 1

Percent of wiretaps that were against mobile phones: 91% (1,433 of 1,773)

Percent in which the most serious crime was a drug-related crime: 81% (1,433 of 1,773)

Percent in which encryption prevented law enforcement from receiving the plain text of intercepted communications: 0%

Average number of communications intercepted per wiretap: 2,835

Average number of people intercepted per wiretap: 107

Approximate number of conversations intercepted: 5.0 million

Longest running federal wiretap ending in 2005: 287 days

Longest running state wiretap ending in 2005: 559 days

Percent of intercepted conversations deemed "incriminating": 22%

Average cost of wiretap: $ 55,530

Recent Trends
Year Applications Wiretap orders approved Denied
2005 1774 1773 1
2004 1710 1710 0
2003 1442 1442 0
2002 1359 1358 1
2001 1491 1491 0
2000 1190 1190 0
1999 1350 1350 0
1998 1329 1327 2
1997 1186 1186 0
1996 1150 1149 1

Prior to 1996, the last time that any application, state or federal, for electronic surveillance was denied was 1988, when 2 out of 738 applications were denied. Meanwhile, from 1990 through 2000, 12,039 applications were approved. Wiretap authorizations have increased 103% since 1990, when there were 872.

These figures do not include consensual wiretaps, bugs and body wires, where a crime victim, an informant or an undercover agent consents to the recording of a conversation to which he or she is a party. Such interceptions, a staple of modern law enforcement practice, usually are not reflected in the statistics since, under federal law and the law of most states, they do not require court approval.

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance
Nor does the figure of 1,773 approved wiretaps for 2005 cover the separate set of authorizations issued by a select group of federal judges, operating under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), who yearly issue over 1,500 interception and secret physical search orders in foreign counterintelligence and international terrorism cases (2,072 in 2005). (It is hard to tell, given the classified nature of the court's proceedings, how many wiretaps these orders entail. Some of the orders are good for one year, while some require reauthorization every ninety days, so some targets are the subject of four orders in a year. On the other hand, one order may authorize multiple taps. Plus, starting in 1996, the figures for the FISA court included physical searches ("black bag jobs"), which are probably relatively few in number but which are included in the single overall number released by the court.) In its entire existence, since 1978, the FISA court has turned down only four government requests for electronic surveillance authority.

Year Applications Wiretap orders approved Denied
2005 2072 2072 0
2004 1754 1754 0
2003 1727 1724 3+1 (in part)
2002 1228 1228 0
2001 934 934 0
2000 1012 1012 0
1999 886 886 0
1998 796 796 0
1997 748 748 1 (sent back)
1996 839 839 0
1995 697 697 0
1994 579 579 0
1993 509 509 0

View chart of Combined Wiretap Usage, 1968-2003

Real-time Collection of Call-Identifying Information -- Pen Register and Trap & Trace Devices
The figures on court ordered wiretaps (interceptions of the content of conversations) also do not include orders issued on a lower standard for surveillance of transactional data through pen registers and trap and trace devices. In 1996, law enforcement agencies in the U.S. Department of Justice alone obtained a total of 4,569 original pen register or trap and trace orders, authorizing contemporaneous interception of dialed number information on the telephone facilities of 10,520 persons. This compares with 4,972 orders in 1995, covering the telephone facilities of 11,801 persons. There are never any denials of pen register and trap and trace requests, since the law provides that the judge "shall" issue the order whenever an attorney for the government certifies that the information likely to be obtained is "relevant" to an ongoing criminal investigation. These statistics cover only the law enforcement agencies of the U.S. Department of Justice. They do not cover other federal law enforcement agencies or state and local police. (In 1994 Congressional testimony, the FBI Director estimated that the total number of pen register orders in 1992 was 9,000.)

Subpoenas for Call-Identifying Information (Transactional Data).
Finally, a full picture of government surveillance activity must include cases in which law enforcement uses a subpoena to obtain stored transactional records relating to local or long distance calls or to Internet usage. Companies collect and store such information for billing and other business purposes, and law enforcement agencies routinely request the information in criminal cases, usually with a grand jury subpoena. (In foreign counterintelligence and international terrorism cases, the FBI can obtain such information without a court order using a procedure known as an NSL.) Data on these cases are not assembled by the government. However, the scope of law enforcement activity is suggested by data submitted by some telephone service providers in response to a congressional inquiry in 1993. Bell Atlantic, for example, indicated that for the years 1989 through 1992, it had responded to 25,453 subpoenas or court orders for toll billing records of 213,821 of its customers. NYNEX reported that it had processed 25,510 subpoenas covering an unrecorded number of customers in 1992 alone.

The Legal Protections and Their Erosion Over Time
The wiretap laws include several protections against abuse. Illegally seized evidence cannot be used in court. The exclusionary rule in the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution is bolstered by a statutory exclusionary rule in the federal wiretap statute, making evidence obtained from illegal wiretaps useless in court. (Successive Administrations have proposed weakening the statutory exclusionary rule, to make the introduction of illegal wiretap evidence easier.)

However, it must also be said that judges tend to give law enforcement agencies broad latitude, as reflected in judicial decisions approving law enforcement conduct when defendants seek to suppress wiretap evidence at trial. Between 1985 and 1994, when there were 8,489 criminal wiretaps, judges nationwide granted 138 suppression motions to exclude intercepted material from evidence while denying 3,060, for a 4.3% suppression rate. Evidence gathered through FISA-authorized surveillance sometimes is introduced in criminal cases -- no FISA evidence has ever been excluded from a criminal case.

One of the most significant areas in which the courts have interpreted the law in the government's favor concerns the question of necessity. The wiretap law states that the court cannot approve an interception request unless it finds that "normal investigative procedures have been tried and have failed or reasonably appear to be unlikely to succeed if tried or to be too dangerous." Law enforcement officials regularly contend, as FBI Director Freeh did in 1994 testimony, that this provision of the law permits electronic surveillance "only when all other investigative techniques will not work or are too dangerous" (emphasis added). In practice, the courts have interpreted this provision to require only that law enforcement try some other techniques, not that they exhaust all reasonably available methods of obtaining the necessary evidence.

Courts have also been reluctant to enforce the minimization requirements of the law, which require law enforcement agents to screen the calls and turn off their recording devices whenever the conversation appears to relate to irrelevant, non-incriminating aspects of the target's life. Judges rarely rule that a wiretap was illegally carried out for failure to minimize.

July 2006
10676  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: August 23, 2009, 07:54:24 PM
Did Mossad hijack Russian ship to stop Iran arms shipment?

Aug. 23, 2009
The Media Line News Agency , THE JERUSALEM POST
Was Israel's secret service behind the unexplained hijacking of a Russian freighter, to foil a secret attempt to ship cruise missiles to Iran?

The mystery surrounding the hijacking of a Russian freighter in July has taken a new twist with reports claiming the pirates were acting in league with the Mossad in order to halt a shipment of modern weapon systems hidden on board and destined for the Islamic republic.

While Israeli and Russian officials dismissed the reports, accounts published in the Russian media sounded more like a spy thriller than a commercial hijacking.

"There is something fishy about this whole story, no doubt about it," former deputy defense minister Ephraim Sneh told The Media Line. "But I can't comment further on this."

The Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported over the weekend that the vessel Arctic Sea had been carrying x-55 cruise missiles and S300 anti-aircraft rockets hidden in secret compartments among its cargo of timber and sawdust.

The eight hijackers originally claimed to be environmentalists when they boarded the ship in the Baltic Sea in Swedish waters on July 24. The Russian navy tracked it down three weeks later and recaptured it near the West African archipelago of Cape Verde on August 17, thousands of kilometers from its original destination of Algeria.

The hijackers were charged late on Friday with kidnapping and piracy, the Interfax news agency reported. Russian authorities have declined to revealing further information about the suspects' motives.

But Dmitri Rogozin, Russia's ambassador to NATO, said allegations that the Arctic Sea had been smuggling weapons were "fantasy" and "ridiculous."

Pravda's Web site reported that the ship had been smuggling cruise missiles to Iran on a well-worn path via Algeria, but a "power that has relations with Ukraine" had prevented this. Novaya Gazeta reported that the hijackers had been operating on behalf of the Mossad. It also reported that President Shimon Peres's visit to Moscow the day after the Russians recaptured the vessel had been motivated by an urgent request to his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, to refrain from arming Iran.

Israeli officials dismissed the reports as "classic conspiracy theories," but defense experts noted that Israel has a record of seizing foreign vessels carrying arms to its enemies.

"This appears as the classic conspiracy theory. I didn't see any evidence for it and so we aren't going to comment," said Yigal Palmor, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem.

A spokeswoman for Peres also dismissed the report, saying the visit had been planned long in advance.

Brig.-Gen. (res.) Shlomo Brom, a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies, did not rule out Israeli covert action against Iranian efforts to acquire nuclear arms, but doubted Israel would take action against Russian ships.

"It seems that it's full of mystery since everything surrounding Russia is mysterious. And if it's mysterious they dump it on Israel," he told The Media Line.

Brom, a retired senior intelligence officer, added he did not believe such an operation could enhance the Mossad's image since it appeared to be a failed hijacking.

Israel relies heavily on intelligence. Naval Intelligence monitors vessels together with other agencies in order to detect suspicious behavior of ships around the world. It was this way that Naval Intelligence was able to detect the PLO arms ship Karine A in 2002. Officers noticed its log was not entirely in keeping with a cargo ship and correlated the information with other intelligence to build a picture of an arms shipment in the making. The weapons had originated in Iran.

Israeli security agents routinely stage surprise at-sea boardings of ships headed to Israeli ports to search for terrorists, contraband and stowaways.

In March, Israeli forces reportedly struck a weapons convoy in Sudan, some 1,400 km. from the Jewish state. According to CBS, the weapons were intended for Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Nearly 40 people were killed in that attack.

This article can also be read at http://www.jpost.com /servlet/Satellite?cid=1249418676474&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull
10677  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues on: August 23, 2009, 07:51:35 PM
Quote
**The courts have ruled over and over that you have no reasonable expectation of privacy in the public sphere. That means anyone can view, photograph, film anyone or anything in public. This means the media, law enforcement or Joe Citizen.**

And this means I should be comfortable with the idea of a truck parked in front of my house with a camera pointed at my bedroom window?

**One word: Curtains.**

Quote
. . . at least one that won't pass someone's version of constitutional muster, and then casts anyone who does take pause as an unmitigated ideologue providing de-facto support for horrible criminal elements preying upon the weakest members of society, and likely strangling kittens, to boot

**Hardly. It would be nice for your critiques of police practices to have some grounding in actual caselaw rather than emotion. You wouldn't accept someone's assertion that global warming was indeed happining because "It feels warmer".**

I'm not a lawyer and hence have little acquaintance with case law and so won't quote what I don't know. And you have me dead to rights, my response is an emotional one: I feel strongly that I don't want police cameras pointed at my house recording the comings and goings of me, my wife, and kids and then used for purposes yet defined; nor do I want thermal imaging done through my walls; nor do I want lasers bounced of my windows to record conversations occurring inside my home; nor do I want people going through my trash or collecting and analyzing flushed body waste to determine if any malfeasance is occurring. Is there case law that allows each of these techniques to be employed? I imagine so. Does that mean I can't dislike it or shouldn't be concerned about misuse?

Be all that as it may, global warming ought to be a scientific debate based on empiric measurement. This debate is about privacy and governmental intrusion into one's life, which is a far more subjective matter that resists empiric measurement.

Quote
As pointed out before, you can pose stark questions faster than I can write reasoned responses.

**I'm trying to evoke a reasoned response, which on this topic is like pulling teeth. What we have here is the same unthinking emotionalism that fuels gun control supporters. Guns are scary so let's get rid of them. Police cameras are scary, so let's get rid of them. Why? Because the potential for misuse is there.**

I'm beginning to think this is a gulf we will not bridge. I look at the sorry history of the planet and can identify very few times and places where the powers that be were constrained from the exercise of arbitrary power. I don't want the status quo endured over most of the planet for just about all of time to impact me and mine here an now. If that's not reasoned well enough for you I'm not sure what more I can say.

***Keep in mind that as much as you fear the potential for the abuse/misuse of police power, living in a place without the rule of law is much, much worse. I know of no place in the US that is a police state, but I bet you live within driving distance of places where is little in the way of police presence and life in those location is a Hobbesian nightmare. Everything law enforcement officers do in this country is subject to many levels of scrutiny and judicial review.***

Quote
If you can't conceive of a misuse given this planet's sorry history of totalitarian governments using every tool at hand to snuff out liberty and life, no amount of keyboarding I do in response is going to do anything more than lead to further stark parsing.

**I have already stated that anything has the potential for misuse. There have been bad police shootings in the past, and there will be bad shootings in the future. Is the policy solution to then disarm police officers?**

I do not want police disarmed, but I do want them to use lethal force judiciously. I also want privacy infringements to be based on judicious standards. In this instance the standard seems to be based on a phone call or other complaint, to which the jurisdiction in question apparently responds by saying "we've got a report of a dirtbag living on Elm street. Let's park a butt ugly truck laden with cameras in front of the house and see if we can intimidate him out of the neighborhood." Be it use of lethal force, privacy infringements, or any other exercise of government power, I would hope they'd be based on standards more stringent than the one described.

I'd bet that there are policies in place that were reviewed by multiple lawyers before the "Armadillo" had day one in the field.
10678  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues on: August 22, 2009, 06:03:22 PM
Privacy and search in the US law
The expectation of privacy is crucial to distinguish a legitimate, reasonable police search and seizure from an unreasonable one.

In Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967) Justice Harlan issued a concurring opinion articulating the two-part test later adopted by the U.S. Supreme Court as the test for determining whether a police or government search is subject to the limitations of the Fourth Amendment: (1) governmental action must contravene an individual's actual, subjective expectation of privacy; (2) and that expectation of privacy must be reasonable, in the sense that society in general would recognize it as such.

In order to meet the first part of the test, the person from whom the information was obtained must demonstrate that they, in fact, had an actual, subjective expectation that the evidence obtained would not be available to the public. In other words, the person asserting that a search was conducted must show that they kept the evidence in a manner designed to ensure its privacy.

The first part of the test is related to the notion "in plain view". If a person did not undertake reasonable efforts to conceal something from a casual observer (as opposed to a snoop), then no subjective expectation of privacy is assumed. [6]

The second part of the test is analyzed objectively: would society at large deem a person's expectation of privacy to be reasonable? If it is plain that a person did not keep the evidence at issue in a private place, then no search is required to uncover the evidence. For example, there is generally no search when police officers look through garbage because a reasonable person would not expect that items placed in the garbage would necessarily remain private.[7] Similarly, there is no search where officers monitor what phone numbers an individual dials,[8] although the Congress has enacted laws which restrict such monitoring. The Supreme Court has also ruled that there is no objectively reasonable expectation of privacy (and thus no search) when officers hovering in a helicopter 400 feet above a suspect's house conduct surveillance.[9]
10679  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues on: August 22, 2009, 05:47:28 PM
There does seem to be a pattern:

1. a person of libertarian bent seizes on a legally defensible police tool because it's "scary" or involves some use of technology (especially cameras) and then decries the obvious signs that this means we are but days, if not seconds away from living in an Orwellian dystopia.

And then there's the converse: a person with a law enforcement bent seizes upon a new tool and can't conceive of a misuse,

**The courts have ruled over and over that you have no reasonable expectation of privacy in the public sphere. That means anyone can view, photograph, film anyone or anything in public. This means the media, law enforcement or Joe Citizen.**

at least one that won't pass someone's version of constitutional muster, and then casts anyone who does take pause as an unmitigated ideologue providing de-facto support for horrible criminal elements preying upon the weakest members of society, and likely strangling kittens, to boot

**Hardly. It would be nice for your critiques of police practices to have some grounding in actual caselaw rather than emotion. You wouldn't accept someone's assertion that global warming was indeed happining because "It feels warmer".**

Quote
2. I ask how it's bad given various constitutional/legal structures.

As pointed out before, you can pose stark questions faster than I can write reasoned responses.


**I'm trying to evoke a reasoned response, which on this topic is like pulling teeth. What we have here is the same unthinking emotionalism that fuels gun control supporters. Guns are scary so let's get rid of them. Police cameras are scary, so let's get rid of them. Why? Because the potential for misuse is there.**

If you can't conceive of a misuse given this planet's sorry history of totalitarian governments using every tool at hand to snuff out liberty and life, no amount of keyboarding I do in response is going to do anything more than lead to further stark parsing.


**I have already stated that anything has the potential for misuse. There have been bad police shootings in the past, and there will be bad shootings in the future. Is the policy solution to then disarm police officers?**

Quote
3. The response is "Well, it COULD be abused" coupled with boilerplate slogans invoking human freedom and constitutional rights.

Name a tool that hasn't been abused and I'll consider sparing you the slogans next lap around this track.

**Any police power has the potential for abuse, which is why we have multiple layers of review over police actions in this country. The courts and ultimately the citizens shape how policing is done here.**
10680  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues on: August 22, 2009, 03:46:15 PM
There does seem to be a pattern:

1. a person of libertarian bent seizes on a legally defensible police tool because it's "scary" or involves some use of technology (especially cameras) and then decries the obvious signs that this means we are but days, if not seconds away from living in an Orwellian dystopia.

2. I ask how it's bad given various constitutional/legal structures.

3. The response is "Well, it COULD be abused" coupled with boilerplate slogans invoking human freedom and constitutional rights.
10681  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues on: August 22, 2009, 03:34:01 PM


One beef I have from the story is that they defined success as either arresting the drug dealer or getting them to leave the neighborhood.  They don't leave the city and they don't leave the business.  Assuming they are known criminals committing crimes, it is not an equivalent success IMO to have them move on rather than marked with an arrest, a conviction and a sentence.

In general, there are many more drug dealers than narcotics detectives and patrol officers to chase them. Knowing that you have bad people doing bad things and being able to meet the standards of probable cause/beyond a reasonable doubt in court are very different things.

Specifically, because there are so many constitutional protections, making a case against a group that is dealing drugs and attracting assorted other bad things into an area takes time and resources and demand almost always outstrips the resources available to law enforcement.

Using tools like the "Armadillo" is a tool to restore some order where it's breaking down. A clever and legal use of police resources, IMHO.

10682  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues on: August 22, 2009, 08:29:32 AM
So how exactly is using the "Aramadillo" not good sense or adhering to the founding principles of this nation?
10683  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues on: August 21, 2009, 10:16:48 PM
Anything that law enforcement does has the potential for abuse. Is the answer then to not have law enforcement?
10684  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues on: August 21, 2009, 09:28:46 PM
If it can be seen from a public place, then it isn't private. The courts have made this clear.

Secondly, where is the concern for those that suffer in their homes from thugs that invade their neighborhood? What of their rights?
10685  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: August 21, 2009, 09:22:48 PM
If people are seeing "green shoots" it's more likely putrefaction rather than growth.
10686  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues on: August 21, 2009, 09:02:23 PM
As much as Eric Holder's free pass to the New Black Panthers' voter intimidation and general Chicago corruption disgusts me, there is no reasonable expectation of privacy for what can be seen or heard from a public place.
10687  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama to raise 10-year deficit to $9 trillion on: August 21, 2009, 05:10:44 PM
Obama to raise 10-year deficit to $9 trillion
Fri Aug 21, 2009 5:54pm EDT
By Jeff Mason

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration will raise its 10-year budget deficit projection to approximately $9 trillion from $7.108 trillion in a report next week, a senior administration official told Reuters on Friday.

The higher deficit figure, based on updated economic data, brings the White House budget office into line with outside estimates and gives further fuel to President Barack Obama's opponents, who say his spending plans are too expensive in light of budget shortfalls.

The White House took heat for sticking with its $7.108 trillion forecast earlier this year after the Congressional Budget Office forecast that deficits between 2010 and 2019 would total $9.1 trillion.

"The new forecasts are based on new data that reflect how severe the economic downturn was in the late fall of last year and the winter of this year," said the administration official, who is familiar with the budget mid-session review that is slated to be released next week.

"Our budget projections are now in line with the spring and summer projections that the Congressional Budget Office put out."

The White House budget office will also lower its deficit forecast for this fiscal year, which ends September 30, to $1.58 trillion from $1.84 trillion next week after removing $250 billion set aside for bank bailouts.

Record-breaking deficits have raised concerns about America's ability to finance its debt and whether the United States can maintain its top-tier AAA credit rating.

Politically, the deficit has been an albatross for Obama, a Democrat who is pushing forward with plans to overhaul the U.S. healthcare industry -- an initiative that could cost up to $1 trillion over 10 years -- and other promises, including reforming education and how the country handles energy.

DEFICIT WORRIES

Republicans have pounced on Obama for planning to spend too much when deficits are so high, and the issue is likely to loom large in next year's Congressional elections.

Obama, who has promised to halve the deficit by the end of his four-year term and likes to remind constituents he inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit from former President George W. Bush, says bringing down healthcare costs is critical to long-term deficit reduction.

Treasury markets have been worried all year about the mounting deficit. The United States relies on large foreign buyers such as China and Japan to cheaply finance its debt, and they may demand higher interest rates if they begin to doubt that the government can control its deficits.

"It's one of those underlying pieces of news that is liable to haunt the bond market at some point in the future," said Kim Rupert, managing director of global fixed income analysis at Action Economics LLC in San Francisco, referring to the revised 10-year deficit projection.

Many economists think it is unlikely the government can curtail spending, which means taxes would have to go up to cover the rising costs of providing retirement and healthcare benefits to aging Americans.

Higher taxes, which could slow economic growth, are also a major concern of voters on both sides of the political divide. Obama has promised not to raise taxes on Americans making less than $250,000 a year.

(Additional reporting by Butron Frierson in New York; editing by Chris Wilson)
10688  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues on: August 21, 2009, 04:49:21 PM
And what would those "civil liberties" ramifications be?
10689  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / China reduces holdings in US debt on: August 21, 2009, 03:11:27 PM
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8207174.stm

China reduces holdings in US debt 
 
China wants to establish a new global currency regime
China reduced its holdings of US government debt by the largest margin in nearly nine years in June, according to data from the US Treasury.

China holds more US government debt than any other country and cut its holdings of US securities by more that 3% in June, said the BBC's Chris Hogg.

Japan and the UK - second and third largest holders of US debt - increased their holdings over the same period.

China's holding of US debt is about 7% higher than at the turn of the year.

Inflation fear

In recent months the US government's budget deficit has widened thanks in part to the Obama administration's costly stimulus plan.

Our correspondent in Shanghai says that China is worried about this, and fears the stimulus efforts will fuel inflation in the US, reducing the value of the dollar.

This would then erode the value of the debt China holds in the US currency.

In June, China cut its holdings of US securities by about $25bn, a fall of 3.1%.

'Dollar alternative'

The sales were made as the US treasury secretary was visiting Beijing to try to reassure the Chinese that their investment in his country's government debt is safe.

In 2008, the Chinese increased their holdings in US debt by 52% over 12 months.

"China has said it would like to establish an alternative to the US dollar as the world's favoured currency for foreign exchange reserves," said our correspondent.

"So far there is no evidence that there is a suitable alternative. But these figures suggest they are exploring ways to diversify their investments where they can."
10690  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Update--Teetering on the edge of economic collapse on: August 21, 2009, 02:19:39 PM
http://www.examiner.com/blog/printexaminerarticles.cfm?section=examiners&blogtype=examiners&section=examiners&mode=alias&blogid=3704&blogURL=Columbia-Conservative-Examiner&byYear=2009&byMonth=8&byDay=21&byAlias=UpdateTeetering-on-the-edge-of-economic-collapse

Update--Teetering on the edge of economic collapse
August 21, 1:13 PM · Anthony G. Martin - Columbia Conservative Examiner
From Karl Denninger at the Market Ticker:

*U.S. TREASURY TO AUCTION $27 BILLION IN 52-WEEK BILLS
*U.S. TREASURY TO AUCTION $42 BILLION IN TWO-YEAR NOTES
*U.S. TREASURY TO AUCTION $31 BILLION IN THREE-MONTH BILLS
*U.S. TREASURY TO AUCTION $28 BILLION IN SEVEN-YEAR NOTES
*U.S. TREASURY TO AUCTION $30 BILLION IN SIX-MONTH BILLS
*U.S. TREASURY TO AUCTION $39 BILLION IN FIVE-YEAR NOTES

As we reported last week in this stunning revelation by some of the nation's top economists, contrary to the mantra of the Obama Administration that the financial stability of the U.S. is growing more secure and that his stimulus program 'is working,' the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury Department have been engaging in covert practices that indicate our economy is in deep trouble, teetering on the edge of collapse.

By monetizing part of the nation's debt by printing more money to cover it and then quickly selling off the bonds at auction, the Fed hopes it can avoid the hyper-inflation that normally ensues with our current economic policies. But it does so at a huge price.  Even more debt is added to the already mind-boggling multi-trillion-dollar national debt that threatens to unravel the entire U.S. economy.

The quote provided above concerning the Treasury's continued practice of auctioning off various notes and bills is an ominous signal that the economy is still very sick and is actually getting sicker.

As Karl Denninger states in the Market Ticker article cited above:

I count $207 billion, coming two weeks after a $250 billion dollar week.

Let's annualize - that would be about $5 trillion a year in annualized issuance.  My-oh-my how long can this continue?

Who knows.  What I do know is that this is absolutely unsustainable, it is approaching 40% of GDP annually, and yet this is what is required to keep all the balls and plates in the air as a direct consequence of our government's decision to sponsor and permit massive financial system fraud to continue.

The world's tolerance for this will eventually end and before it does our government had better have changed their tune and cleaned up the mess, because if that has not taken place first the economic consequences will be catastrophic.

This amounts to sheer insanity.  The Federal Government is playing a game of Russian Roulette with the American economy, and the only question is which pull of the trigger will result in a deadly shot to the nation's core, resulting in a shut-down of banks, financial investment firms, insurance giants, and mortgage corporations.

A concrete example of just how precarious the economy really is lies in General Electric's renewed financial woes.  GE benefited handsomely from the Obama bailout plan, receiving multi-billions of taxpayer dollars for which it reciprocated by overtly supporting Obama's 'green initiative' and promoting his agenda on its television networks--NBC, MSNBC, and CNBC.

Even after gobbling up our tax dollars, GE is still in trouble and is rumored to be looking for another handout from Obama and company, courtesy of the taxpayers.

This is not to mention that one of the largest banks in the South, Colonial Bank of Alabama, was seized by the FDIC last week and is thus the largest single bank failure so far this year.

And look out for auto repossessions to go through the roof when all of those that Obama and the Dems enabled to buy a car through the 'cash for clunkers' program suddenly discover in a few months they cannot afford that new vehicle.

We can also look for the jobless rate to spike significantly in August.

Take evasive action, secure your finances, and batten down the hatches.  We are nowhere near the end of this mess, and the worst may be yet to come.
10691  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: August 21, 2009, 09:37:44 AM
Actually Zogby has Barry polling at 45% approval rating.
10692  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Bush Presidency on: August 21, 2009, 08:58:00 AM
I call B.S.

Hype to spur book sales.
10693  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The Power of Word on: August 20, 2009, 09:01:41 AM
From the wisdom of the Navajo, here's a way to define happiness and well-being:

The Navajo word hozro ... means a sort of blend of being in harmony with one's environment, at peace with one's circumstances, content with the day, devoid of anger, and free from anxieties.

Tony Hillerman, The Ghostway, p. 146
10694  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: August 20, 2009, 08:24:11 AM
I wish I could say I was surprised to read this, but I'm not.
10695  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: August 19, 2009, 09:45:17 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/08/19/unreal-msnbc-edits-clip-of-man-with-gun-at-obama-rally-to-support-racism-narrative/comment-page-1/#comments

Another proud journalistic moment from MSNBC.
10696  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama 'borderline anti-Semitic' on: August 18, 2009, 10:08:45 AM
Minister Herschkowitz: Some of Obama's policies are 'borderline anti-Semitic'

Aug. 16, 2009
Gil Hoffman , THE JERUSALEM POST
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will reject US President Barack Obama's request for a freeze on natural growth in Judea and Samaria, Habayit Hayehudi head Daniel Herschkowitz said Sunday, based on conversations with Netanyahu.

In an interview with the science and technology minister at his Jerusalem office, Herschkowitz told The Jerusalem Post that he did not believe Netanyahu would cross any red lines of Habayit Hayehudi, the most right-wing party in his coalition.

"From my own talks with the prime minister, I can say confidently that I don't think he will freeze natural growth in the settlements," Herschkowitz said. "I am sure he is in favor of allowing natural growth, but he must navigate smartly and walk between the rain drops to ensure that he will get along with the American administration."

Herschkowitz suggested that an arrangement could be found that could allow construction in the settlements to continue without public acknowledgment.

He said this would be preferable to the opposite scenario of press reports of settlement construction when in fact there is none.

A former resident of Madison, Wisconsin, where he was a mathematics professor at the University of Wisconsin, Herschkowitz did not hold back criticism for Obama, especially his decision to grant the Presidential Medal of Freedom to former UN human rights commissioner and longtime Israel basher Mary Robinson.

"I am disappointed in Obama's policies," Herschkowitz said. "Some of the steps he has taken, like giving a medal to Mary Robinson, are borderline anti-Semitic. Israel is an independent state. Relations with the US are important, but relations must go both ways. I don't know if Obama understands it, but most Americans believe that Israel is their only anchor in the Middle East."

Herschkowitz has been criticized by the Right for praising Netanyahu's June 14 policy address at Bar-Ilan University's Begin-Sadat Center in which he conditionally endorsed the creation of a Palestinian state.

He said he himself opposed a Palestinian state, but a prime minister had to speak differently than the average politician.

"It was a good speech, because he shifted the ball to the other side by setting important conditions," Herschkowitz said. "If they can't accept recognizing a Jewish state and the end of the conflict, it shows their real face. But if they would have, there would have been something to talk about. A leader must say yes, and not just no, so it's ideal to say yes while shifting the ball back to the other side."

The Habayit Hayehudi leader said there was a consensus that Israel did not want to control the Palestinians. He said a demilitarized Palestinian state as Netanyahu outlined it would not be that different from the autonomy the overwhelming majority of the Palestinians already had.

But Herschkowitz said he did not think a peace agreement could be reached.

"It is clear that there is no partner," Herschkowitz said. "Every diplomatic plan, even the most conservative one, is wishful thinking, because there is no plan that both sides would accept."

Regarding the tensions inside Habayit Hayehudi, Herschkowitz denied charges he had made a political deal with Netanyahu to vote for his Israel Lands Authority bill, a vote that enraged the other two MKs in his party, Zevulun Orlev and Uri Orbach. His opponents in the party accused him of receiving a commitment in return from Netanyahu that he would no longer advance the mini-Norwegian bill that would have forced Herschkowitz to quit the Knesset in favor of former MK Nisan Slomiansky.

While Herschkowitz said he had a long talk with Orbach, he admitted he had not yet discussed the matter with Orlev nearly two weeks after the August 5 clash in which Orlev called Herschkowitz's behavior shameful.

Netanyahu had threatened to fire Herschkowitz had he voted against the bill. Herschkowitz's associates mocked Orlev for urging him to take a step that would have resulted in him leaving the cabinet after Orlev himself hesitated to resign from his ministerial post ahead of the Gaza Strip withdrawal.

Asked whether he believed he would still be Habayit Hayehudi's leader in the next election, he said he did not know. He noted that to obtain his present positions, he turned down two plum jobs: president of the Technion and chief rabbi of Haifa.

"Politics is very dynamic," he said. "If you would have asked me nine months ago if I would ever be an MK or a minister, I would have said no. Anything, really anything can happen."

This article can also be read at http://www.jpost.com /servlet/Satellite?cid=1249418621164&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull
10697  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: August 16, 2009, 03:08:55 PM
1. It is my understanding that you can always buy insurance, but it may be expensive depending on your circumstances.

2. I believe that 50 different states have 50 laws that define what insurance companies can and can't do in those circumstances, as well as federal laws on the topic.
10698  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: August 15, 2009, 11:12:45 AM
http://blogs.dailymail.com/donsurber/2009/06/11/why-the-left-ridicules-women/

Why the left ridicules women

Too many American liberals cannot handle a strong, good-looking, intelligent, independent woman who disagrees with them — and so they make the crude, cruel and sexist remarks — including those about raping them or their 14-year-old daughters.

 

From left, the women are Katharine Harris, Carrie Prejean, Sarah Palin, Michelle Malkin, and Michele Bachmann.

These five women are are not the only ones that American liberals ridicule without fear. They are like little boys who cannot handle a strong woman. These women dare challenge them intellectually, and so we get crude counterattacks.

So-called feminists stand on the sidelines like so many Silda Spitzers or Elizabeth Edwardses or Hillary Clintons, standing by their menfolk while the boys treat women like dirt. Heck, Mrs. Edwards even served as her husband’s attack dog against any critic — even as she knew he was sleeping with his mistress of many years.

Consider the lack of any reaction by the left to David Letterman’s crude remark that Gov. Palin is buying make-up for that “slutty flight attendant look” insulted not just her but every woman. How could any woman respect such a man?

And yet the left said nothing.

The next night, Letterman hid behind joking to fantasize about the statutory rape of Palin’s 14-year-old daughter. His later “apology” only underscored his perversion:

“We were, as we often do, making jokes about people in the news. These are not jokes made about her 14-year-old daughter. I would never, never make jokes about raping or having sex of any description with a 14-year-old girl. Am I guilty of poor taste? Yes. Did I suggest that it was okay for her 14-year-old daughter to be having promiscuous sex? No.”

Then this jerk had the nerve to invite Palin on his show, as if nothing was wrong.

Excuse me, he fantasized Alex Rodriguez knocking up Palin’s 14-year-old daughter when Palin and the girl went to a ballgame.

A new low was hit in America.

Letterman will get away with it because liberal misogyny is OK in America. It has the Seal of Approval of the National Organization For Women.

Hey, support abortion and NOW and its pseudo feminists will let you get away with murder.

[UPDATE: I was wrong. After I wrote this, NOW placed Letterman in its media Hall of Shame. I apologize. My analysis of this development is here.]

It is crude and it is wrong. But then, so were American  newspaper editors for making Tina Fey their “entertainer of the year” for cruelly mocking Palin last year.

Small wonder Fey gets along so well with co-star Alec Baldwin, whose crude voice-mail to his 13-year-old daughter should have made him unemployable for life. But he supports abortion, so OK. The girl had it coming.

Perez Hilton calling Carrie Prejean the C-word and the B-word. Liberals said nothing.

Then there is the Playboy online article on 10 conservative women the author would like to rape. To its credit, Playboy deleted the online article. But if you want to see a perverted liberal mind, read it here.

This is what happens when you do not look at people as individuals, but rather as members of a group. Many liberals think all women must act a certain way, otherwise they are deviants and therefore, targets. The same with black people. This is why Clarence Thomas and Michael Steele face racism that is not visited upon the president.

Believe it or not, this post was triggered by Republican Congresswoman Bachmann’s declaration that the American economy is the Titanic. She made a good point, so good that it showed why liberals mock her. The truth is, they cannot handle a strong, independent woman. Watching her speak, I realized just what is wrong with the people who mock her: They cannot handle it. The video.

UPDATE: Linked by Glenn Reynolds. And linked by Michelle Malkin.

Oh and follow my adventures on Twitter.

UPDATE II: The Palins to Letterman: No way are we going on your misogynist show. Their spokeswoman said: “The Palins have no intention of providing a ratings boost for David Letterman by appearing on his show. Plus, it would be wise to keep Willow away from David Letterman.”

UPDATE III: Dice Clay was run out of town on a liberal rail for saying similar things.

UPDATE IV: Chris Muir draws and quarters “Dice Clay” Letterman in a cartoon.
10699  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: August 15, 2009, 10:47:30 AM
Rachel,

Why wouldn't you want to discuss the high tech lynching of an uppity female that we saw last year? Why does the feminist mainstream celebrate the choice to abort but not allow a woman to chose to define her politics outside of leftism?
10700  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: August 15, 2009, 08:48:58 AM
Ironic to think of all the blue state women that loudly proclaim how they don't need men while clamoring for government to act as their supper-daddy while many conservative red state women actually have tangible skills and independent lives and yet are sneered at by blue state feminists. See Sarah Palin as a perfect example.
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