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10801  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: August 07, 2008, 06:13:20 PM
Confederate soldiers captured by Union forces were held without habeas corpus rights, despite being US citizens captured on US soil.

Was this right or wrong?

Do you think the Clinton administration's attempts to indict al qaeda into submission was a successful policy?
10802  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: August 07, 2008, 09:45:14 AM
August 07, 2008
Hillary's Growing Shadow
By Victor Davis Hanson
Barack Obama and John McCain are running neck and neck.

Impossible?

It would seem so. Republican President Bush still has less than a 30 percent approval rating. Headlines blare that unemployment and inflation are up -- even if we aren't, technically, in a recession. Gas is around $4 a gallon. Housing prices have nosedived. Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, has been indicted -- another in a line of congressional Republicans caught in financial or sexual scandal.

 
Meanwhile, the GOP's presumptive candidate, John McCain, is 71 years old. The Republican base thinks he's lackluster and too liberal.

So, everyone is puzzled why the Democratic candidate isn't at least 10 points ahead. It seems the more Americans get used to Barack Obama, the less they want him as president -- and the more Democrats will soon regret not nominating Hillary Clinton.

First, Obama was billed as a post-racial healer. His half-African ancestry, exotic background and soothing rhetoric were supposed to have been novel and to have reassured the public he was no race-monger like Al Sharpton. On the other hand, his 20-year career in the cauldron of Chicago racial politics also guaranteed to his liberal base that he wasn't just a moderate Colin Powell, either.

Yet within weeks of the first primary, the outraged Clintons were accusing Obama of playing "the race card" -- and vice-versa. Blacks soon were voting heavily against Hillary Clinton. In turn, Hillary, the elite Ivy League progressive, turned into a blue-denim working gal -- and won nearly all the final big-state Democratic primaries on the strength of working-class whites.

Americans also learned to their regret how exactly a Hawaiian-born Barack Obama -- raised, in part, by his white grandparents and without African-American heritage -- had managed to win credibility in what would become his legislative district in Chicago. That discovery of racial chauvinism wasn't hard once his former associate, his pastor for over 20 years, the racist Rev. Jeremiah Wright, spewed his venom.

Obama himself didn't help things as he taught the nation that his dutiful grandmother was at times a small-minded bigot -- no different from a "typical white person." And in an impromptu riff, Obama ridiculed small-town working-class Pennsylvanians' supposed racial insularity.

The primary season ended with a narrow Obama victory -- and a wounded, but supposedly wiser, Democratic candidate.

Not quite. Without evidence, he unwisely has claimed his opponents ("they") will play the race card against poor him. In contrast, on the hot-button issue of racial reparations, he recently played to cheering minority audiences by cryptically suggesting that the government must "not just . . . offer words, but offer deeds." He later clarified that he didn't mean cash grants, but his initial words were awfully vague.

Second, many are beginning to notice how a Saint Obama talks down to them. We American yokels can't speak French or Spanish. We eat too much. Our cars are too big, our houses either overheated or overcooled. And we don't even put enough air in our car tires. In contrast, a lean, hip Obama promises to still the rising seas and cool down the planet, assuring adoring Germans that he is a citizen of the world.

Third, Obama knows that all doctrinaire liberals must tack rightward in the general election. But due to his inexperience, he's doing it in far clumsier fashion than any triangulating candidate in memory. Do we know -- does Obama even know? -- what he really feels about drilling off our coasts, tapping the strategic petroleum reserve, NAFTA, faith-based initiatives, campaign financing, the FISA surveillance laws, town-hall debates with McCain, Iran, the surge, timetables for Iraq pullouts, gun control or capital punishment?

Fourth, Obama is proving as inept an extemporaneous speaker as he is gifted with the Teleprompter. Like most rookie senators, in news conferences and interviews, he stumbles and then makes serial gaffes -- from the insignificant, like getting the number of states wrong, to the downright worrisome, such as calling for a shadow civilian aid bureaucracy to be funded like the Pentagon (which would mean $500 billion per annum).

If the polls are right, a public tired of Republicans is beginning to think an increasingly bothersome Obama would be no better -- and maybe a lot worse. It is one thing to suggest to voters that they should shed their prejudices, eat less and be more cosmopolitan. But it is quite another when the sermonizer himself too easily evokes race, weekly changes his mind and often sounds like he doesn't have a clue what he's talking about.

In a tough year like this, Democrats could probably have defeated Republican John McCain with a flawed, but seasoned candidate like Hillary Clinton. But long-suffering liberals convinced their party to go with a messiah rather than a dependable nominee -- and thereby they probably will get neither.

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and author, most recently, of "A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War." You can reach him by e-mailing author@victorhanson.com.
10803  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: August 07, 2008, 08:56:52 AM
**Obama needs a bigger bus....**  rolleyes

http://michellemalkin.com/2008/08/05/another-obama-advisor-under-the-bus-shady-muslim-outreach-director-stepsdown/

Another Obama advisor under the bus: Shady Muslim outreach director steps down
By Michelle Malkin  •  August 5, 2008 11:25 PM

Well, that was quick. A little over a week ago, the Obama campaign proudly touted the appointment of a new Muslim outreach director. Now, he’s out following questions about his ties to a radical Muslim imam and the Muslim brotherhood. Doesn’t anyone do background checks for The One after all this time?

From a July 31 Obama campaign website blog post:
All -
Assalamu-Aleikum. My name is Mazen Asbahi and I’ve been blessed and privileged to be serving the Obama for America Campaign as the National Coordinator for Muslim American Affairs. I’m also coordinating Arab American matters. I’m treating the two roles separately as these are two separate constituencies, though of course there is some overlap.
In order to get Senator Obama elected, the Campaign needs all of you to continue your support and if possible to take it to another level. It’s a race for every vote in the key battleground states, such as Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Ohio. We need Muslim Americans to get excited about the Campaign, and there’s a lot to get excited about!
Sure, there have been mis-steps. And of course there are added sensitivities with our faith given the “smear” campaign trying to paint the Senator as too exotic and too un-American to be President.
If you have not plugged into the Campaign, please do. The Campaign makes it very easy to do. Visit your local Obama offices and register voters, raise money, get the word out, and pull in your friends and family to also participate.
Please feel free to contact me with ideas, critiques and suggestions for improvements on our outreach strategies. (Please keep in mind that I’ve just signed on Smiley).
Peace,
Mazen Asbahi

No peace from the WSJ, which reports tonight:

The Muslim-outreach coordinator to the presidential campaign of Barack Obama has resigned amid questions about his involvement in an Islamic investment fund and various Islamic groups.
Chicago lawyer Mazen Asbahi, who was appointed volunteer national coordinator for Muslim American affairs by the Obama campaign on July 26, stepped down Monday after an Internet newsletter wrote about his brief stint on the fund’s board, which also included a fundamentalist imam.
“Mr. Asbahi has informed the campaign that he no longer wishes to serve in his volunteer position, and we are in the process of searching for a new national Arab American and Muslim American outreach coordinator,” spokesman Ben LaBolt said in a statement.
A corporate lawyer at the firm of Schiff Hardin LLP, Mr. Asbahi tendered his resignation after he and the Obama campaign received emailed inquiries about his background from The Wall Street Journal. He did not respond to the email or a message left at his law office; the campaign released a letter in which Mr. Asbahi said he did not want to be a distraction.

The imam is Jamal Said. Background on his jihad-friendly mosque here.
And more details the Obama vetters neglected to vet:

The eight-year-old connection between Mr. Asbahi and Mr. Said was raised last week by the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report, which is published by a Washington think tank and chronicles the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood, a world-wide fundamentalist group based in Egypt. Other Web sites, some pro-Republican and others critical of fundamentalist Islam, also have reported on the background of Mr. Asbahi. He is a frequent speaker before several groups in the U.S. that scholars have associated with the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Justice Department named Mr. Said an unindicted co-conspirator in the racketeering trial last year of several alleged Hamas fund-raisers, which ended in a mistrial. He has also been identified as a leading member of the group in news reports going back to 1993.

Mr. Said is the imam at the Bridgeview Mosque in Bridge-view, Ill., outside Chicago. He left the board of the Islamic fund in 2005, Securities and Exchange Commission filings state. A message left for Mr. Said at the mosque was not returned.
Allied Asset Advisors is a subsidiary of the North American Islamic Trust. The trust, which is supported financially by the government of Saudi Arabia, holds title to many mosques in the U.S. and promotes a conservative brand of Islam compatible with the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood and also akin to the fundamentalist style predominant in Saudi Arabia. Allied executives did not respond to inquiries.

Countdown until CAIR screams Islamophobia and Obama minions scream racist?
3…2…1…
10804  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China vs. Islam on: August 06, 2008, 08:06:32 PM
China and the Enduring Uighurs
August 6, 2008



By Rodger Baker

On Aug. 4, four days before the start of the Beijing Olympics, two ethnic Uighurs drove a stolen dump truck into a group of some 70 Chinese border police in the town of Kashi in Xinjiang, killing at least 16 of the officers. The attackers carried knives and home-made explosive devices and had also written manifestos in which they expressed their commitment to jihad in Xinjiang. The incident occurred just days after a group calling itself the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) claimed responsibility for a series of recent attacks and security incidents in China and warned of further attacks targeting the Olympics.

Chinese authorities linked the Aug. 4 attack to transnational jihadists, suggesting the involvement of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), which Beijing has warned is the biggest terrorist threat to China and the Olympics. Despite the Chinese warnings and TIP claims and the intensified focus on the Uighurs because of the Aug. 4 attack, there is still much confusion over just who these Uighur or Turkistani militants are.



(Click map to enlarge)

The Uighurs, a predominately Muslim Turkic ethnic group largely centered in China’s northwestern Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, have their own culture, language and written script distinct from their Han Chinese counterparts. Uighur ethnic nationalists and Islamist separatists have risen several times to challenge Chinese control over Xinjiang, but the Uighur independence movement remains fractured and frequently at odds with itself. However, recent evolutions within the Islamist militant Uighur movement, including growing links with transnational jihadist groups in Central and Southwest Asia, may represent a renewed threat to security in China.

Origins in Xinjiang
Uighur nationalism traces its origins back to a broader Turkistan, stretching through much of modern day Xinjiang (so-called “East Turkistan”) and into Central Asia. East Turkistan was conquered by the Manchus in the mid-1700s and, after decades of struggle, the territory was annexed by China, which later renamed it Xinjiang, or “New Territories.” A modern nation-state calling itself East Turkistan arose in Xinjiang in the chaotic transition from imperial China to Communist China, lasting for two brief periods from 1933 to 1934 and from 1944 to 1949. Since that time, “East Turkistan” has been, more or less, an integral part of the People’s Republic of China.

The evolution of militant Uighur separatism — and particularly Islamist-based separatism — has been shaped over time by both domestic and foreign developments. In 1940, Hizbul Islam Li-Turkistan (Islamic Party of Turkistan or Turkistan Islamic Movement ) emerged in Xinjiang, spearheading a series of unsuccessful uprisings from the 1940s through 1952, first against local warlords and later against the Communist Chinese.

In 1956, as the “Hundred Flowers” was blooming in China’s eastern cities, and intellectuals were (very briefly) allowed to air their complaints and suggestions for China’s political and social development, a new leadership emerged among the Uighur Islamist nationalists, changing the focus from “Turkistan” to the more specific “East Turkistan,” or Xinjiang. Following another failed uprising, the Islamist Uighur movement faded away for several decades, with only minor sparks flaring during the chaos of the Cultural Revolution.

In 1979, as Deng Xiaoping was launching China’s economic opening and reform, there was a coinciding period of Islamic and ethnic revival in Xinjiang, reflecting the relative openness of China at the time. During this time, one of the original founders of Hizbul Islam Li-Turkistan, Abdul Hakeem, was released from prison and set up underground religious schools. Among his pupils in the 1980s was Hasan Mahsum, who would go on to found ETIM.

The 1980s were a chaotic period in Xinjiang, with ethnic and religious revivalism, a growing student movement, and public opposition to China’s nuclear testing at Lop Nor. Uighur student protests were more a reflection of the growing student activism in China as a whole (culminating in the 1989 Tiananmen Square incident) than a resurgence of Uighur separatism, but they coincided with a general movement in Xinjiang to promote literacy and to refocus on religious and ethnic heritage. Amid this revival, several Uighur separatist or Islamist militant movements emerged.

A critical moment occurred in April 1990, when an offshoot of the Uighur Islamist militant movement was discovered plotting an uprising in Xinjiang. The April 5 so-called “Baren Incident” (named for the city where militants and their supporters faced off against Chinese security forces) led Beijing to launch dragnet operations in the region, arresting known, suspected or potential troublemakers — a pattern that would be repeated through the “Strike Hard” campaigns of the 1990s. Many of the Uighurs caught up in these security campaigns, including Mahsum, began to share, refine and shape their ideology in prisons, taking on more radical tendencies and creating networks of relations that could be called upon later. From 1995 to 1997, the struggle in Xinjiang reached its peak, with increasingly frequent attacks by militants in Xinjiang and equally intensified security countermeasures by Beijing.

It was also at this time that China formed the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), enlisting Central Asian assistance in cracking down on Uighur militants, many of whom had fled China. In some ways this plan backfired, as it provided common cause between the Uighurs and Central Asian militants, and forced some Uighur Islamist militants further west, to Pakistan and Afghanistan, where they would link up with the Taliban, al Qaeda, and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), among others.

Among those leaving China was Mahsum, who tried to rally support from the Uighur diaspora in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Turkey but was rebuffed. Mahsum and a small group of followers headed to Central Asia and ultimately Afghanistan, where he established ETIM as a direct successor to his former teacher’s Hizbul Islam Li-Turkistan. By 1998, Kabul-based ETIM began recruiting and training Uighur militants while expanding ties with the emerging jihadist movement in the region, dropping the “East” from its name to reflect these deepening ties. Until the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, ETIM focused on recruiting and training Uighur militants at a camp run by Mahsum and Abdul Haq, who is cited by TIP now as its spiritual leader.

With the U.S. attack on Afghanistan in October 2001, ETIM was routed and its remnants fled to Central Asia and Pakistan. In January 2002, Mahsum tried to distance ETIM from al Qaeda in an attempt to avoid having the Uighur movement come under U.S. guns. It did not work. In September 2002, the United States declared ETIM a terrorist organization at the behest of China. A year later, ETIM experienced what seemed to be its last gasps, with a joint U.S.-Pakistani operation in South Waziristan in October 2003 killing Hasan Mahsum.

A Movement Reborn?
Following Mahsum’s death, a leaderless ETIM continued to interact with the Taliban and various Central Asian militants, particularly Uzbeks, and slowly reformed into a more coherent core in the Pakistan/Afghanistan frontier. In 2005, there were stirrings of this new Uighur Islamist militant group, the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), which established a robust presence on the Internet, posting histories of the Uighur/Turkistan people in western China and Central Asia and inspirational videos featuring Mahsum. In 2006, a new video surfaced calling for jihad in Xinjiang, and later that year there were reports that remnants of ETIM had begun re-forming and moving back into far western Xinjiang.

It was also around this time that Beijing began raising the specter of ETIM targeting the Olympics — a move seen at the time as primarily an excuse for stricter security controls. In early January 2007, Beijing raided a camp of suspected ETIM militants near the Xinjiang border with Tajikistan, and a year later raided another suspected camp in Urumchi, uncovering a plot to carry out attacks during the Olympics. This was followed in March by a reported attempt by Uighur militants to down a Chinese airliner with gasoline smuggled aboard in soda cans.

Publicly, the Uighur militant issue was quickly swept aside by the Tibetan uprising in March, leaving nearly unnoticed an anti-government protest in Hotan and a series of counterterrorism raids by Chinese security forces in late March and early April that reportedly found evidence of more specific plots to attack Beijing and Shanghai during the Olympics.

In the midst of this security campaign, TIP released a video, not disseminated widely until late June, in which spokesman Commander Seyfullah laid out a list of grievances against Beijing and cited Abdul Haq as calling on Uighur Islamist militants to begin strikes against China. The video also complained that the “U.S.-led Western countries listed the Turkistan Islamic Party as one of the international terrorist organizations,” an apparent reference to the United States’ 2002 listing of the ETIM on the terrorist exclusion list.

In addition to linking the TIP to the ETIM, the April video also revealed some elements of the movement’s evolution since the death of Mahsum. Rather than the typical rhetoric of groups closely linked to the Wahabi ideology of al Qaeda, TIP listed its grievances against Beijing in an almost lawyer-like fashion, following more closely the pattern of Hizb al-Tahrir (HT), a movement active in Central Asia advocating nonviolent struggle against corrupt regimes and promoting the return of Islamic rule. Although HT officially renounces violence as a tool of political change, it has provided an abundance of zealous and impatient idealists who are often recruited by more active militant organizations.

The blending of the HT ideologies with the underlying principles of Turkistan independence reflects the melding of the Uighur Islamist militancy with wider Central Asian Islamist movements. Fractures in HT, emerging in 2005 and expanding thereafter, may also have contributed to the evolution of TIP’s ideology; breakaway elements of HT argued that the nonviolent methods espoused by HT were no longer effective.

What appears to be emerging is a Turkistan Islamist movement with links in Central Asia, stretching back to Afghanistan and Pakistan, blending Taliban training, transnational jihadist experiential learning, HT frameworks and recruiting, and Central Asian ties for support and shelter. This is a very different entity than China has faced in the past. If the TIP follows the examples set by the global jihadist movement, it will become an entity with a small core leadership based far from its primary field of operations guiding (ideologically but not necessarily operationally) a number of small grassroots militant cells.

The network will be diffuse, with cells operating relatively independently with minimal knowledge or communication among them and focused on localized goals based on their training, skills and commitment. This would make the TIP less of a strategic threat, since it would be unable to rally large numbers of fighters in a single or sustained operation, but it would also be more difficult to fight, since Beijing would be unable to use information from raiding one cell to find another.

This appears to be exactly what we are seeing now. The central TIP core uses the Internet and videos as psychological tools to trigger a reaction from Beijing and inspire militants without exposing itself to detection or capture. On July 25, TIP released a video claiming responsibility for a series of attacks in China, including bus bombings in Kunming, a bus fire in Shanghai and a tractor bombing in Wenzhou. While these claims were almost certainly exaggerated, the Aug. 4 attack in Xinjiang suddenly refocused attention on the TIP and its earlier threats.

Further complicating things for Beijing are the transnational linkages ETIM forged and TIP has maintained. The Turkistan movement includes not only China’s Uighurs but also crosses into Uzbekistan, parts of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan and spreads back through Central Asia all the way to Turkey. These linkages may have been the focus of quiet security warnings beginning around March that Afghan, Middle Eastern and Central Asian migrants and tourists were spotted carrying out surveillance of schools, hotels and government buildings in Beijing and Shanghai — possibly part of an attack cycle.

The alleged activities seem to fit a pattern within the international jihadist movement of paying more attention to China. Islamists have considered China something less imperialistic, and thus less threatening, than the United States and European powers, but this began changing with the launch of the SCO, and the trend has been accelerating with China’s expanded involvement in Africa and Central Asia and its continued support for Pakistan’s government. China’s rising profile among Islamists has coincided with the rebirth of the Uighur Islamist militant movement just as Beijing embarks on one of its most significant security events: the Summer Olympics.

Whatever name it may go by today — be it Hizbul Islam Li-Turkistan, the East Turkistan Islamic Movement or the Turkistan Islamic Party — the Uighur Islamist militant movement remains a security threat to Beijing. And in its current incarnation, drawing on internationalist resources and experiences and sporting a more diffuse structure, the Uighur militancy may well be getting a second wind.

Tell Stratfor What You Think

This report may be forwarded or republished on your website with attribution to www.stratfor.com
10805  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: August 06, 2008, 09:54:52 AM
http://hotair.com/archives/2008/08/06/obama-really-doesnt-like-a-debate/

Don't dare question his imperiousness.
10806  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China vs. Islam on: August 06, 2008, 09:19:15 AM
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/olympics/2505151/Beijing-Olympics-safe-despite-jihad-threat.html

Beijing Olympics 'safe' despite jihad threat
The Chinese government has promised that Islamic terrorists would not disrupt the Olympic games despite threats of a jihad in the western city of Kashgar.
 
By Malcolm Moore in Kashgar
Last Updated: 5:23PM BST 05 Aug 2008

With the games due to begin on Friday, authorities in Kashgar said the terrorists behind a bombing in the city on Monday were trying to "turn 2008 into a year of mourning for China".
Two men drove a lorry into a troop of policemen on a morning jog outside the Yijin hotel, killing 16 and injuring another 16, two critically.
"These men were trying to perform a jihad," said Shi Dagang, the Communist party secretary in Kashgar. "We found papers on one of the suspects saying that their religious beliefs are more important than their lives, the prosperity of their families and even the well-being of their mothers."
He said two Islamic groups, the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and the East Turkestan Liberation Organization, could have been behind the attack, since materials on the suspects matched items recovered from an ETIM training camp in January. The groups want an independent region for the Uighurs, the ethnic Muslims that makes up the bulk of the population in Kashgar.
"This was well-planned, at least one month in advance," Mr Shi said. "They knew when the policemen were doing their exercises." He also revealed that 18 foreign terrorists had been arrested so far this year.
During the attack on Monday, the men threw home-made grenades at the policemen before stabbing them with knives, he added.
"One of the men lost his arm in the explosion," he said. The other is already on trial. We recovered nine grenades, two long knives, two daggers and a gun."
The two men were named as Abdul Rahman, 28, and Kurbanyan Ahmet, 33, both from Kashgar. Mr Shi said one was a taxi driver, the other was a hawker.
He promised a "severe and continuous crackdown" against the terrorists, who had previously warned they would carry out one attack each month in the run-up to the games. Other incidents included unrest in two other cities in Xinjiang and an attempted bombing of a China Southern jet from Urumqi, the state capital, to Beijing.
Nevertheless, the organisers of the games sought to reassure the 10,000 athletes and hundreds of thousands of expected tourists that they should not worry about security. "We can guarantee a safe and peaceful Olympic Games," said Sun Weide, a spokesman for the organising committee.
Security across Xinjiang province has been stepped up, with 5,000 armed policemen in Urumqi patrolling buses. Three men were reportedly detained at Urumqi airport on Monday afternoon as they tried to board a flight for Beijing with traces of explosives on their hands.
Special wireless devices were used to check the ID cards of Chinese citizens to see if their data matched blacklisted suspects, according to Xinhua. In Kashgar, however, the police tried to play down the threat, leaving the city more or less operating as normal.
Meanwhile, two Japanese journalists were arrested and beaten while trying to report on the bombing on Monday night.
Masami Kawakita, a photographer with the Tokyo Shimbun newspaper, said he was near the gates of the police compound when he was surrounded by soldiers. "They picked me up by the arms and legs and carried me into the courtyard. They kicked me in the ribs and arms and one stood on my head with his boot," he said.
Mr Kawakita, together with a reporter for Nippon Television, was detained for two hours without water or being allowed to make a telephone call before being released. The Japanese government said it planned to "protest strongly" to China over the alleged detention.
10807  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: August 05, 2008, 07:06:15 PM
http://www.theaugeanstables.com/2008/08/04/gaza-anomalies-blow-pcps-circuits-result-the-sounds-of-silence/

Israel and the "palestinians" and p.c. myths.
10808  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: August 05, 2008, 01:51:35 PM
THOUGHT POLICE
By RALPH PETERS

August 5, 2008 --
AFTER a lecture to the Marine Memorial Association last week, a reporter thrust a mike toward me and asked if I thought I should be tried for war crimes for my columns in The Post supporting our military.

The reporter - who avoided revealing what outlet he was with - thought he was being wonderfully clever, but what fascinated me about the silly encounter (it was in San Francisco, after all) was how unintentionally revealing it was about the shameless hypocrisy of the left.

Think about it: For expressing my views to readers like you on these pages, hardcore leftists believe I should be put on trial as a war criminal.

It tells you all you need to know about the extreme left's view of the First Amendment: Free speech is great, as long as it's their free speech (or extreme pornography). But dissenting views must be censored. The more effective the opponent, the more important it is to shut him down.

The extreme left loves to pretend it stands for freedom. It never has and never will. From the Reign of Terror in Paris onward, its core agenda has been the tyranny of egomaniacal intellectuals. The hard left hates an open debate - especially these days, when it's out of new ideas.

The left pretends that campuses should enjoy freedom of speech, yet activist students shout down, harass and even attack speakers whose views they dislike. That's brownshirt behavior, folks - as surely as show trials are Stalinist.

Hardcore leftists never welcome a freewheeling debate - they'd rather force their beliefs on the rest of us. It's an article of faith for the left that folks like you and me are too stupid to know what's good for us (we're so dumb, some of us even believe in God).

For many years, the left's tactic was to pretend to care about average citizens. In the last century, the motto was the "dictatorship of the proletariat" (still a dictatorship, of course). Then, when American workers showed no interest in the Sovietization of Michigan, outraged leftists retreated into the Dictatorship of the Intellectuals.

Now we have the would-be dictatorship of the pseudo-intellectuals.

The stunning hypocrisy of the march-in-step left was brought home to me again on Sunday while I waited in a green room for a C-Span spot.

The show preceding mine featured a young woman, Mahvish Rukhsana Khan, who's published a book about the poor, innocent, kitten-loving prisoners at Guantanamo. Her interview climaxed with the claim that Guantanamo is the equivalent of the Holocaust.

I guarantee you that no one from MoveOn or DailyKos questioned that outrageous comparison. (Nor did the patsy interviewer challenge it.)

The Holocaust's victims were 6 million innocents. The handful of prisoners at Guantanamo are accused terrorists. Guantanamo has no gas chambers; prisoners aren't forced into slave labor. They aren't tortured or starved or shot. And their trials are open to members of the press.

The truly outrageous aspect of such comparisons is that the American left, with its Stalin-redux willingness to rearrange history, neglects to mention that, outside of Japan, all of the 20th century's great totalitarian regimes had roots on the political left.

It wasn't just Lenin and Stalin whose propaganda machine prefigured MoveOn. Nazi is an acronym for "National Socialist." Read Mein Kampf. It isn't a tribute to free-market capitalism, folks. Mussolini was a populist. Mao was a leftist, as was Pol Pot. The last century's worst censors and book burners all emerged from leftist ideologies.

At the moment, the American left evokes our Communists in 1939, who contorted themselves to justify the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between Stalin and Hitler. As this column recently pointed out, Support Our Troops, Bring Them Home! disappeared from the political scene the instant Obama called for sending those troops to Afghanistan and Pakistan, instead of back to Fort Hood.

For the hardcore left, the party line always trumps conscience. MoveOn isn't new - it's just Pravda with poor punctuation.

The more I think about that proposed war-crimes trial, the more excited I get. If we could just delay it until President Obama invades Pakistan, he and I could share the prisoners' docket together.

Of course, the charges he'd face would be far worse, given that Saddam Hussein was a genocidal dictator and Pakistan's a democracy. But the left is right: We can't let war crimes go unpunished.

Ralph Peters' latest book is "Looking for Trouble: Adventures in a Broken World."
10809  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / While Europe Slept on: August 05, 2008, 01:22:31 AM
http://www.amazon.com/While-Europe-Slept-Radical-Destroying/dp/0767920058/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1217916421&sr=8-1

A must read! I'm sorry I put off reading it for so long.
10810  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: August 04, 2008, 10:52:56 PM
http://michellemalkin.com/2008/08/04/oops-democrat-on-vp-shortlist-underscores-obamas-inexperience/

Self-inflicted wounds are the best!  evil
10811  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: August 04, 2008, 12:49:50 PM
Published on NewsBusters.org (http://newsbusters.org)
British Writer Claims MSM Silence on Edwards Scandal Reflects Newspaper Decline

By P.J. Gladnick
Created 2008-08-04 06:28
Perhaps it takes a foreigner looking from the outside in to give us a clear look at the overall meaning of the mainstream media silence on the alleged John Edwards scandal. In this case it is Guy Adams writing in his US Media Diary [1] in the UK Independent about "The 'scoop' the US papers ignored." (emphasis mine):

That old cliché about everything being bigger in America seems especially pertinent when attempting to describe the sheer scale of the crisis currently afflicting the US newspaper industry, which makes all Fleet Street's woes look like a summer picnic.

Last week, The Los Angeles Times decided to flog its historic downtown offices, on top of sacking 150 of its 870 journalists. So did The Chicago Tribune. Almost every title in the land is now shedding staff; a hundred New York Times hacks have been offered voluntary redundancy; Newsweek recently announced cuts. It's a bloodbath out there, as US media companies attempt to claw a pound of flesh from haemorrhaging readerships.

Consider, against this backdrop of falling circulation and a failing industry, the decision of every mainstream paper in America to ignore the juiciest political story of the month (and possibly the year): the discovery by National Enquirer hacks of John Edwards, in the corridors of a Beverly Hills hotel, where his alleged mistress and alleged love child were also staying, at half past two on the morning of Tuesday, 22 July.

Since Edwards was, until recently, hoping to be president and will almost certainly have a prominent role in any Barack Obama administration, his marital integrity is a matter of public interest. It could yet become an election issue. Yet neither the highfalutin NYT, nor the Tribune, nor even the LA Times, on whose patch the whole sordid business occurred, have yet stepped up to the plate to report it. Their old-fashioned reticence seems quaint, in this day of kiss'n'tell and chequebook journalism. But it's also depressing: one of the reasons America's newspapers are dying is their perceived pomposity. Readers say they are too timid to rock the boat; right-wingers complain (with some justification) that they conspire to suppress damaging stories about Democrats. The general public thinks they have simply become boring.

The Edwards story could be selling truckloads of newsprint. It is attracting enormous traffic online, and has been devoured by viewers of Fox, the only TV network to report it. In ignoring the affair, newspapers are sacrificing potential readers and repeating the mistakes of the 1990s, where they loftily decided against reporting Bill Clinton's many bedroom misdeeds, allowing internet sites to claim the Monica Lewinsky "scoop."

The editor of the LA Times, Tony Pierce, has higher concerns, though. He recently sent staff an edict. "There has been a little buzz surrounding John Edwards and his alleged affair," it read. "Because the only source has been the National Enquirer we have decided not to cover the rumours or salacious speculations."

I can't pretend to know what Mr Pierce does with his 870 journalists. But if he'd asked just one of them to check out these "salacious rumours" regarding John Edwards the LA Times might have a few more readers, and fewer of the 870 staffers might have to be cut from its bloated payroll.

And in the MSM Wall of Silence category comes this report from a Kansas City Star TV writer, Aaron Barnhart, featured here [1] in NewsBusters last Friday. In contrast to his earlier claim that the MSM has finally begun to report on the John Edwards scandal, Barnhart has now backtracked [2] on his earlier position about the new "openness" of the media on this topic (emphasis mine):

Perhaps I spoke too soon about the whole "John Edwards story going mainstream" business. After a couple of reports by my colleagues elsewhere in the vast McClatchy chain appeared last week, there was bupkis out of the MSM. I mean, I got more traction trying to climb Airport Road in my 1961 Ranchero during an ice storm.

I think all the serious political reporters are just waiting for the National Enquirer to break more news. Then they'll pounce. It's a weird way to do journalism, for sure, but not that surprising. There's very little upside for news editors to be early on this story (no one is talking up Edwards as a VP right now), while the downside is considerable. The blogosphere, however, has gone wild over this story, and simply by deigning to talk about it, TV Barn — a blog, mind you, kept by a MSM entertainment critic — just had its biggest weekend in a decade of service.

Kudos to Mr. Barnhart for being man enough to admit his error and correcting it. Oh, and also thanks for the inadvertent shoutout by referencing this blog as "the adverserial" in the following description of the blogosphere reaction to his earlier piece:

Reaction to my piece has ranged from the adversarial [2] to the hotly adversarial [3] to off-the-charts, like this blogger [4] whose line-by-line analysis of my story would make any JFK/9-11/TWA 800 conspiracy theorist proud.

However, I do think Barnhart was a bit harsh in his latter description of the DBKP blog [5] as making a "conspiracy theorist proud." Any blog that describes [6] your humble correspondent in the following manner deserves praise, not scorn (emphasis proudly mine):

PJ Gladnick, of Newsbusters Writer Claims Edwards Scandal Story Has Finally ‘Trickled Out’ Into MSM [6], does a complete demolition of Barnhart’s other claims about why the MSM didn’t cover the story.

Of course, NewsBusters also took a pass on the story in December. But, NBs has been all over the story in its July reincarnation, chiefly through the efforts of Gladnick. Gladnick’s NewsBusters coverage has been a key element in holding the media’s feet to the fire over the last two weeks.

Blush!

Source URL:
http://newsbusters.org/blogs/p-j-gladnick/2008/08/04/british-writer-claims-msm-silence-edwards-scandal-reflects-newspaper-d
Links:
[1] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/comment/guy-adams-us-media-diary-the-scoop-the-us-papers-ignored-884086.html
[2] http://blogs.kansascity.com/tvbarn/2008/08/john-edwards-an.html
[3] http://themachoresponse.blogspot.com/2008/07/like-they-cared-about-mrs-spitzer-and.html
[4] http://deathby1000papercuts.com/2008/08/john-edwards-scandal-kc-writer-cites-veiled-threats-denials-as-likely/
[5] http://deathby1000papercuts.com/2008/08/john-edwards-scandal-kc-writer-cites-veiled-threats-denials-as-likely/
[6] http://deathby1000papercuts.com/2008/08/john-edwards-scandal-kc-writer-cites-veiled-threats-denials-as-likely/
10812  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China vs. Islam on: August 04, 2008, 07:29:34 AM
b]**So, what was the attack a distraction for?**[/b]

Attackers Kill 16 Police at Chinese Border Post
16 dead as attackers ram truck into jogging police, toss explosives near Chinese border post

By CHARLES HUTZLER
The Associated Press

BEIJING

Two men rammed a truck into a clutch of jogging policemen and tossed explosives, killing 16 officers Monday, state media said, in an attack in a restive province of western China just days before the Beijing Olympics, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.

Though it happened on the far side of the country — near the Afghan-Pakistan border — the attack came as security forces were on alert for protests or any disruptions during the Games, which open Friday. It was among the deadliest and most brazen attacks in years in Xinjiang province, site of a sporadically violent rebellion by local Muslims against Chinese rule.

About 20 people upset at having been evicted from their homes staged a brief demonstration near Tiananmen Square, Beijing's heavily guarded political center. Uniformed police quickly surrounded the group until members of a neighborhood committee came and pulled the protesters away, scuffling with some.

In the Xinjiang attack, the two men drove a dump truck into the group of border patrol police officers as they passed the Yiquan Hotel during a routine 8 a.m. jog in the city of Kashgar, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

After the truck hit an electrical pole, the pair jumped out, ignited homemade explosives and "also hacked the policemen with knives," Xinhua said.

Fourteen died on the spot and two others en route to a hospital, and at least 16 officers were wounded, Xinhua said.

Police arrested the two attackers, one of whom was injured in the leg, the report said.

Authorities closed off streets, sealed the Nationalities Hospital, down the street from the explosion, and ordered people to stay inside, said a man answering phones at the hospital duty office.

Local government officials declined comment Monday. An officer in the district police department said an investigation was launched.

Kashgar, or Kashi in Chinese, is a tourist city that was once an oasis trading center on the Silk Road caravan routes and lies 80 miles from the border with Pakistan, Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan. Its mountainous, remote environs have allegedly provided cover for terrorist training camps, one of which Chinese police raided early last year.

Chinese security forces have been on edge for months, citing a number of foiled plots by Muslim separatists and a series of bombings around China in the run-up to the Olympics. Last week, a senior military commander said radical Muslims who are fighting for what they call an independent East Turkistan in Xinjiang posed the single greatest threat to the games.

A spokesman for Beijing's Olympic organizing committee said he did not have enough information to comment on the bombings. But he said security arrangements were being increased around the Olympic venues.

"We've made preparations for all possible threats," the spokesman, Sun Weide, told reporters. "We believe, with the support of the government, with the help of the international community, we have the confidence and the ability to host a safe and secure Olympic Games."

A Chinese counterterrorism expert, Li Wei of the China Institute for Contemporary International Relations in Beijing, said the attack was likely the work of local sympathizers, rather than trained terrorists who sneaked across the border into China.

Xinhua said that Xinjiang's police department earlier received intelligence reports about possible terrorist attacks between Aug. 1 and 8 by the East Turkistan Islamic Movement. The movement is the name of a group that China and the U.S. say is a terrorist organization, but Chinese authorities often use the label for a broad number of violent separatist groups.

In Xinjiang, a local Turkic Muslim people, the Uighurs (WEE'-gurs), have chafed under Chinese rule, fully imposed after the communists took power nearly 60 years ago. Occasionally violent attacks in the 1990s brought an intense response from Beijing, which has stationed crack paramilitary units in the area and clamped down on unregistered mosques and religious schools that officials said were inciting militant action.

Uighurs have complained that the suppression has aggravated tensions in Xinjiang, making Uighurs feel even more threatened by an influx of Chinese and driving some to flee to Pakistan and other areas where they then have readier access to extremist ideologies.

One militant group, the Turkistan Islamic Party, pledged in a video that surfaced on the Internet last month to "target the most critical points related to the Olympics." The group is believed to be based across the border in Pakistan, with some of its core members having received training from al-Qaida and the Pakistani Taliban, according to terrorism experts.

Terrorism analysts and Chinese authorities, however, have said that with more than 100,000 soldiers and police guarding Beijing and other Olympic co-host cities, terrorists were more likely to attack less-protected areas.

10813  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: August 03, 2008, 06:53:50 PM
McEveety is one of several big names that will make it hard for the Hollywood establishment to ignore An American Carol. Jon Voight plays George Washington. Dennis Hopper makes an appearance as a judge who defends his courthouse by gunning down ACLU lawyers trying to take down the Ten Commandments. James Woods plays Michael Malone's agent. And Kelsey Grammer plays General George S. Patton, Malone's guide to American history and the mouthpiece of the film's writers.

I chatted with Grammer on the set at Warner Brothers studios. "I'm glad some of the bigger guys jumped in--Dennis Hopper, Jon Voight, James Woods."

Grammer has been out as a conservative for several years and has publicly mused about running for office. His name comes up periodically when California Republicans are brainstorming about candidates to take on Barbara Boxer or Dianne Feinstein for their Senate seats. It's not hard to see why. He is passionate about the issues that matter most to conservatives and extraordinarily articulate.

"The accepted way to speak about America is in the voice that disrespects it. And the voice that's unacceptable is the one that loves America," he says, wearing the uniform of an Army general and sipping from a bottle of pomegranate juice. "How did we get here?"

Over the course of two hours, we are joined by several others working on the movie and talk about everything from taxes--"the rich in this country are being criminalized"--to Iraq. "Petraeus has to couch every bit of optimism in some convoluted formulation to avoid the promised rush of disrespect," Grammer says.

Eventually, the conversation turns from policy to punditry. Grammer, who is friends with Ann Coulter, says he quoted her once to some of the young people who work for him.

"'Ann Coulter,'" he says, recalling their horror and assuming their voice. "'She's the antichrist.' And I said: 'What the f-- do you know about the antichrist? You don't even believe in Christ.'"

Robert Davi, who plays the lead terrorist in the Zucker film, joins us as the discussion turns from policy to the cable pundit shows. Davi is one of those actors with an instantly recognizable face--he was the villain in the Bond film Licence to Kill--but whose name is unknown to most of the country.

"I can't stand Keith Olbermann," says Davi. "Jesus Christ, I want to slap that guy."

"I just sit there and watch these shows"--he picks up an imaginary remote from the table in front of him, points it at the imaginary television somewhere to the right of my head and begins clicking--"I watch them all. I cannot watch the murder shows anymore. Greta comes on and"--he changes the channel once more.

Our discussion continues over lunch and we are joined by Myrna Sokoloff, Kevin Farley, and Chriss Anglin, who plays JFK. Lunch lasts an hour, and we discuss marginal tax rates, the Democratic primary, whether John McCain will pick Condoleezza Rice as his running mate, the Colombia Free Trade Agreement, and whether the talk of closing Guantánamo is serious or just campaign rhetoric.

Eventually, the conversation turns to the war and the opposition to it--the subject of their current project. "No one on the left wants to admit that radical Islamists want to kill Americans, the Jews--everyone in the West," Davi says. "I try to talk to my friends on the left and they just don't get it. Most of them have never even heard of Sayyid Qutb. How can you have an intellectual discussion about the war we're in without knowing who Sayyid Qutb is?" he asks, raising his voice so that actors from other tables glance over to see what's causing the commotion. JFK concentrates on his food.

Later that same day, I spoke to Lee Reynolds, who plays the New York police officer whose efforts to search the terrorists are thwarted by the ACLU. Reynolds, too, is a conservative--something David Zucker did not know when he cast Reynolds in the anti-Kerry ad he produced in 2004. Reynolds was active duty military for 12 years and shortly after 9/11 worked as the chief media officer for detainee operations at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

When he returned, he took a job as a production assistant on a film--he asked me not to name it--shot in several locations across the United States. Reynolds worked hard and, he says, won the confidence of the film's directors, who gave him more responsibility. But just as he was making a name for himself, word began to spread that he had been in the military and, far worse, that he supported the efforts of his uniformed colleagues in the war on terror.

"Once they found out I was a Republican, unfortunately for some people it was a problem," he recalls. Several people who had talked to him regularly throughout the shoot simply stopped. And a trip that he was to have taken to participate in an offsite shoot across the country was abruptly cancelled. Another person was sent in his place. Reynolds says that he had only two colleagues who treated him the same way they had before, including "an anti-Bush lesbian" who was disgusted by the dogmatism of the others on the film. Reynolds, now a reservist, is scheduled to leave for Iraq in early 2009. The more Zucker is known as a conservative, the more frequently he has encounters with others who consider themselves conservative.

On one of the days I was on set, McEveety had invited Vivendi Entertainment president Tom O'Malley to meet Zucker. Vivendi had just agreed to distribute the film and had promised wide release--news that had the cast and crew of An American Carol in particularly good spirits.

O'Malley and Zucker chatted about the fact that O'Malley is the nephew of Candid Camera's Tom O'Malley and that they are both from the Midwest, among other things. Zucker thanked him for picking up the movie, which will be one of the first for Vivendi's new distribution arm. O'Malley told Zucker that he was particularly interested in this film in part because he, too, leans right.

Such revelations are common occurrences at the periodic meetings of the secret society of Hollywood conservatives known as the "Friends of Abe." The group, with no official membership list and no formal mission, has been meeting under the leadership of Gary Sinise (CSI New York, Forrest Gump) for four years. Zucker had spent a year working on a film with Christopher McDonald without learning anything about his politics. Shortly after the film wrapped, he ran into McDonald, best known as Shooter McGavin from Adam Sandler's Happy Gilmore, at one of these informal meetings.

"It's almost like people who are gay, show up at the baths and say, 'Oh, I didn't know you were gay!' " Zucker says.

From the beginning, Zucker knew what the political message of An American Carol would be. His problem was how to make it funny.

The war on terror, of course, does not lend itself to hilarity. But Zucker knows comedy and has spent nearly four decades making people laugh. With his friend Lewis Friedman, a comedy writer, Zucker went looking for the absurd in the political left and found an abundance of material.

Zucker and Friedman poked fun of the know-nothing culture of antiwar protests. During a rally at Columbia University, students chant: "Peace Now, We Don't Care How!" Some of their protest signs are ones you'd find at any antiwar rally. Some are not. "9/11 Was an Inside Job," "Kick Army Recruiters Off Campus!" "End Violence--War Is Not the Answer!" "End Disease--Medicine Is Not the Answer!" "It's Too Dark Outside, The Sun Is Not the Answer!" "Overpopulation--Gay Marriage Is the Answer!"

Other claims were so absurd they didn't require exaggeration. "We really didn't have to do a lot of stretching," says Zucker.

When he heard Rosie O'Donnell claim that "radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America where we have a separation of church and state," he knew he had several minutes of material.

In the film, a rotund comedian named Rosie O'Connell makes an appearance on The O'Reilly Factor to promote her documentary, The Truth About Radical Christians. O'Reilly shows a clip, which opens with a pair of priests walking through an airport--as seen from pre-hijacking surveillance video--before boarding the airplane. Once onboard, they storm the cockpit using crucifixes as their weapon of choice. Next the documentary looks at the growing phenomenon of nuns as suicide bombers, seeking 72 virgins in heaven. A dramatization shows two nuns, strapped with explosives, board a bus to the cries of the other passengers. "Oh, no! Not the Christians!" O'Connell's work ends with a warning about new threats and the particular menace of the "Episcopal suppository bomber."

Zucker is plainly not worried about offending anyone. David Alan Grier plays a slave in a scene designed to show Malone what might have happened if the United States had not fought the Civil War. As Patton explains to a dumbfounded Malone that the plantation they are visiting is his own, Grier thanks the documentarian for being such a humane owner. As they leave, another slave, played by Gary Coleman, finishes polishing a car and yells "Hey, Barack!" before tossing the sponge to someone off-camera.

It is one of just two references to the ongoing presidential campaign. (The other one, more cryptic, comes in a scene that's a throwback to the Iraq Study Group ad. Neville Chamberlain, after polishing Adolf Hitler's boots, signs the Munich Agreement, and declares: "We have hope now.") But Tom O'Malley, president of Vivendi, believes that the timing of the film's release--October 3--will give it special relevance to the current debates. And several of the film's leading figures have strong opinions about Barack Obama. "Obama is not qualified to be president, and it'll be a disaster," says Zucker, who then pauses as if he's said something he should have kept to himself. "Shouldn't I be allowed to say that?"

Zucker says that one of the major differences between the left and the right in America today is that leftists think of their political opponents as evil. "I don't think that Obama is an evil guy, I just think he's wrong. But I do think we face real evil in Ahmadinejad and the mullahs and all these crazy guys."

Does Obama understand that?

"I don't think so. I don't think so."

Zucker points to a National Journal study that found Obama to be the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate. "John Kerry was, and Obama is. Fortunately, Kerry was a stiff. But Obama isn't a stiff and he's really adaptable. He's like a really clever virus who adapts. Obama's the farthest left of all of these guys. And that's why he associated with all of those crazies--terrorists, preachers of hate."

Jon Voight, who says he was "duped" as a young man into rallying against the Vietnam war, is also troubled both by Obama's associations and his willingness to end them so abruptly. "When I look at the other side, when I look at Barack Obama, I see expediency," he says, pointing to Obama's relationship with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and assuming Obama's voice. "He's like family. I could never disown him. I didn't know him. I didn't hear those words in that church."

If those behind the film have similar views about Obama, many of them have opposing views about the long-term impact of a film like An American Carol on the movie industry.

"If this does well, it'll change everything," says Grammer.

"I think it would be pompous to say that," says Voight. "It's a movie. It's a satire. And it's a funny satire. I don't want to point to this thing, just because there are so few films from conservative sources, and make it a target. It's a movie. Let's not burden this little horse with additional weights."

David Zucker seems to be of two minds. When I ask him if he had an objective in making the film, he borrows a line from his friend and former partner, Jim Abrahams. "Avoid embarrassment."

He adds: "I don't have any desire to be taken seriously. Really, I really don't. But having said that, I really believe this stuff. Why can't I put it out there? And I'm scared to death of Obama. If I didn't do something about it I would feel--My kids would ask: 'What did you do in the war Daddy?'"

"I donated my career to stop this s--."

Stephen F. Hayes, a senior writer at THE WEEKLY STANDARD, is the author of Cheney: The Untold Story of America's Most Powerful and Controversial Vice President (HarperCollins) .
10814  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: August 03, 2008, 06:52:46 PM
http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/015/385rlkfy.asp?pg=1

Hollywood Takes on the Left
David Zucker, the director who brought us 'Airplane!' and 'The Naked Gun,' turns his sights on anti-Americanism.
by Stephen F. Hayes
08/11/2008, Volume 013, Issue 45

Los Angeles
For anyone who has ever been on a movie set, the commotion inside Warner Brothers Studio 15 will be familiar: serious-faced actors and actresses quietly rehearsing their lines; the director of photography huddled with his assistants around two high-definition screens inside a small black tent reviewing the last scenes; extras lounging around the set trying both to stay out of the way and to get noticed; carpenters busily working to construct the set for the next scene; a frazzled first assistant director guzzling Red Bull and yelling instructions to anyone who will listen.

"Rolling," he shouts.

Others throughout the cavernous studio echo his call.

"Rolling! Quiet please!"

David Zucker is sitting in a high-backed director's chair with his name on it. (I'd always assumed they were just used for effect in movies, but here one was.) Zucker is looking at a monitor showing the inside of an empty New York City subway station. It's actually just a set--a stunning replica of a subway station--and it sits 15 feet to Zucker's right.

The first assistant director breaks the silence.

"Action!"

The set jumps to life. Two young men--both terrorists--enter the station. They are surprised to see a security checkpoint manned by two NYPD officers. "I'll need to see your bag, please," says one of the officers. The lead terrorist glances nervously at his friend and swings his backpack down from his shoulder to present it to the cops. Just as the officer pulls on the zipper, however, a small army of ACLU lawyers marches up to the policemen with a stop-search order. The cops look at each other and shrug their shoulders. "This says we can't search their bags."

The young men are relieved. They smile fiendishly as they walk toward the crowded platform. As the lead terrorist once again slips the backpack over his shoulder, he mutters his appreciation.

"Thank Allah for the ACLU."

Zucker's latest movie, An American Carol, is unlike anything that has ever come out of Hollywood. It is a frontal attack on the excesses of the American left from several prominent members of a growing class of Hollywood conservatives. Until now, conservatives in Hollywood have always been too few and too worried about a backlash to do anything serious to challenge the left-wing status quo.

David Zucker believes we are in a "new McCarthy era." Time magazine film writer Richard Corliss recently joked that conservative films are "almost illegal in Hollywood." Tom O'Malley, president of Vivendi Entertainment, though, dismisses claims that Hollywood is hostile to conservative ideas and suggests that conservatives simply haven't been as interested in making movies. "How come there aren't more socialists on Wall Street?"

But Zucker's film, together with a spike in attendance at events put on by "The Friends of Abe" (Lincoln, not Vigoda)--a group of right-leaning Hollywood types that has been meeting regularly for the past four years--is once again reviving hope that conservatives will have a battalion in this exceedingly influential battleground of the broader culture war.

Zucker has always been interested in politics. He was raised in Shorewood, Wisconsin, a suburb of Milwaukee, in a household where Franklin Delano Roosevelt was viewed as either a hero or a dangerous conservative. He was elected president of his senior class at the University of Wisconsin, and, when he addressed his classmates at commencement in the spring of 1970, his speech was serious--a friend describes it as "solemn" and political. Among other things, Zucker condemned the Kent State shootings and lamented the mistreatment of America's blacks. Two years later, he appeared on stage with lefty leading man Warren Beatty and Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern. Zucker says at the time he was "very liberal." (His brother Jerry remains an unreconstructed liberal and recently optioned a sympathetic movie about the life and times of serial fabulist Joe Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame.)

David Zucker got his start in entertainment right after school. In 1971, he teamed up with his brother and two friends to create an irreverent revue called Kentucky Fried Theater. They drew large crowds to cafés and small theaters in Madison and soon outgrew the college town. They went to Hollywood to chase the dream, and, surprise, the show worked in Southern California, too.

They caught the attention of some of Hollywood's boldfaced names--the show would serve as one of Lorne Michaels's inspirations for Saturday Night Live--and in 1977 they released their first film, The Kentucky Fried Movie. It was the first of many classics: Airplane!, Top Secret!, The Naked Gun, BASEketball. Actually, BASEketball sucked, but by the time it was released in 1998, Zucker had put together enough of a streak that he was widely regarded as a comedic genius. Matt Stone, who together with Trey Parker created South Park, starred in BASEketball. He described Zucker's influence this way: "I used to sit at home with my friends in high school and watch Kentucky Fried Movie and Airplane! and vomit from laughing."

Although these films had some political jokes, the movies themselves did not carry overt political messages. Naked Gun 2 came closest with a vaguely pro-environment theme. (It opens with George H.W. Bush meeting with the heads of America's coal, oil, and nuclear industries: the representatives of the Society for More Coal Energy [pronounced SMOKE]; the Society of Petroleum Industry Leaders [SPIL]; and the Key Atomic Benefits Office of Mankind [KABOOM].) Zucker, who owns a Toyota Prius and derives a third of the energy for his house from photovoltaic cells, is still an environmentalist.

In 1984, one of Zucker's college friends, Rich Markey, suggested he listen to a local Los Angeles talk radio show, "Religion on the Line," hosted by Dennis Prager. Zucker took the advice and soon struck up a friendship with Prager, whose conservative views appealed to Zucker as common sense. Although his politics were evolving, Zucker remained supportive of California Democrats, giving $2,400 to Senator Barbara Boxer in the mid-1990s. He contributed another $600 to an outfit called the "Hollywood Women's Political Committee" which, with members like Jane Fonda, Bonnie Raitt, and Barbra Streisand, probably wasn't calling for low taxes and abstinence education.

Zucker was still nominally a Democrat when George W. Bush was elected in 2000. "Then 9/11 happened, and I couldn't take it anymore," he says. "The response to 9/11--the right was saying this is pure evil we're facing and the left was saying how are we at fault for this? I think I'd just had enough. And I said 'I quit.'"

He decided to write a letter to Boxer, sharing his disgust and telling her not to expect any more of his money. Having never done this before, he asked a friend with the Republican Jewish Committee for help. This friend recommended Zucker contact Myrna Sokoloff, a former paid staffer for Boxer, who had recently completed a similar ideological journey.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Sokoloff had worked for several stars of the Democratic party's left wing. She served on the campaign staff of Mark Green, a close associate of Ralph Nader, when he ran for Senate in New York against Al D'Amato. She worked for Jerry Brown's 1992 presidential campaign and in 1998 was a fundraiser for Barbara Boxer's reelection effort.

Sokoloff had begun to sour on the Democratic party and the left generally during the impeachment of Bill Clinton. "As a feminist, I was outraged," she recalls. "If he had been a Republican president we would have demanded his resignation and marched on the White House." When she made this point to her Democratic friends, she says, they told her to keep quiet.

Although she didn't vote for George W. Bush in 2000, Sokoloff says she was glad that he won. Less than a year later, she understood why. "When 9/11 happened, I knew Democrats wouldn't be strong enough to fight this war."

Sokoloff and Zucker never did write the letter to Boxer, but their partnership would prove much more fruitful.

As the 2004 presidential election approached, Sokoloff and Zucker looked for a way to influence the debate. Their first effort was an ad mocking John Kerry for his flip-flops that the conservative Club for Growth paid to put on the air. In 2006, Sokoloff and Zucker followed that with a series of uproarious short spots mocking, in turn, the Iraq Study Group, Madeleine Albright and pro-appeasement foreign policy, and pro-tax congressional Democrats.

The Iraq Study Group ad was the most memorable. It opens with news footage of British prime minister Neville Chamberlain celebrating the signing of the Munich Agreement. A newspaper stand boasting "Peace with Honour" flashes across the screen.

Neville Chamberlain: "This morning, I had another talk with the German Chancellor, Herr Hitler. Here is the paper, which bears his name upon it, as well as mine."

The spot cuts to footage of German bombers over Warsaw. "Well," intones a narrator, "that negotiation went well. Fifty million dead worldwide. Nicely done, Mr. Chamberlain."

Then viewers are shown footage of imaginary negotiations between James Baker, Syria's Bashar Assad, and "Iranian madman" Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Baker's Iraq Study Group had formally recommended talks with Iran and Syria as part of its proposed solution to the problems in Iraq.

When Ahmadinejad asks Baker for permission to develop nuclear weapons so long as Iran promises not to use them, Baker agrees. Triumphant music plays loudly in the background and the diplomacy pauses for a celebration and some photos.

The music stops and Baker returns to the table with Ahmadinejad and Syria's Bashar Assad.

"Next item: You must agree to stop supplying the explosive devices that are killing our American soldiers in Iraq," Baker insists.

"We won't do that."

"Well, can you reduce the number?"

"Okay, how about 10 percent?" Assad proposes.

"Twenty percent," Baker responds.

"Fifteen."

"Five."

"Sold!"

The music starts again and Baker, like Chamberlain, triumphantly waves the signed agreement.

"Now, this thing about destroying Israel," he says to Ahmadinejad.

"We will do that," says the Iranian leader.

Baker shrugs. "That's fair," he says, affixing his signature to yet another agreement and once again waving it before the cameras.

Zucker says that the idea to do a feature film grew out of those ads, and several of the actors in the spots, including Turkish actor Serdar Kalsin, who plays Ahmadinejad, have speaking roles in the film.

If An American Carol grew out of Zucker's work on these commercials, the narrative device dates back to 1843. An American Carol is based loosely--very loosely--on A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

"Why be original?" Zucker asks. "I've done that. It doesn't work, like BASEketball"--as he says this, he rolls his eyes and moves his right hand across his body to indicate a car going off a cliff.

The holiday in An American Carol is not Christmas and the antagonist is not Ebenezer Scrooge. Instead, the film follows the exploits of a slovenly, anti-American filmmaker named Michael Malone, who has joined with a left-wing activist group (Moovealong.org) to ban the Fourth of July. Along the way, Malone is visited by the ghosts of three American heroes--George Washington, George S. Patton, and John F. Kennedy--who try to convince him he's got it all wrong. When terrorists from Afghanistan realize that they need to recruit more operatives to make up for the ever-diminishing supply of suicide bombers, they begin a search for just the right person to help produce a new propaganda video. "This will not be hard to find in Hollywood," says one. "They all hate America." When they settle on Malone, who is in need of work after his last film (Die You American Pigs) bombed at the box office, he unwittingly helps them with their plans to launch another attack on American soil.

The entire film is an extended rebuttal to the vacuous antiwar slogan that "War Is Not the Answer." Zucker's response, in effect: "It Depends on the Question."

Zucker had originally hoped to cast Dan Whitney (aka Larry the Cable Guy) as Malone, but a timing conflict kept him from getting it done. After briefly considering Frank Caliendo, a fellow Wisconsinite, a colleague passed him a reel from Kevin Farley, the younger brother of the late Chris Farley, and Zucker, who recalled seeing Kevin Farley in an episode of Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm, was interested.

Zucker and Sokoloff met Farley in April 2007. Zucker described his new film with words he had chosen carefully. "I figured he was like everyone else in Hollywood--a Democrat," Zucker recalls. "And we knew that this was not a Democrat movie." It would be a satirical look at the war on terror, he told Farley, and explained that he and Sokoloff were political "moderates."

Farley hadn't seen any of Zucker's ads and assumed he was like everyone else in Hollywood--a Democrat. So he answered with some strategic ambiguity of his own. "I consider myself a centrist," he said, worried that they might press him more about his political views.

Zucker gave Farley the script and, concerned that Farley's agent would advise him against accepting the role because of the film's politics, told the actor not to show it to anyone. Farley, best known for his recurring role in a series of Hertz commercials, read the script and called back the next day to accept.

When he met Zucker and Sokoloff on the set as shooting on the film began, he told them that he, too, had long considered himself a conservative. "I couldn't believe it," says Sokoloff. "We were afraid that he would not want to be involved in something that was so directly taking on the left and that he would not want to play the Michael Moore character."

Farley told me this story during a break in filming at the Daniel Webster Elementary School in Pasadena, last April, with Steve McEveety, the film's producer, listening in.

"I thought that the minute we started talking about politics that would be the end," Farley recalls. "There was this dance that we did--a dance familiar to conservative actors in Hollywood. Lots of actors have done it."

"All three of you," said McEveety.

"Yeah, all three of us."

Farley is not aggressive about his politics and has chosen simply to opt out of political discussions when they have arisen on other projects. "I usually just bite my tongue unless it gets too ridiculous," he says. "The only thing that really bothers me is when they go off about the president. It just gets annoying."

If Farley is nervous that his proverbial big break is coming in a film with politics that might make getting his next big role more difficult, he doesn't show it. "If it's the last movie I do, I'll go work for Steve's company," he says.

"If this doesn't work," McEveety deadpans, "I won't have a company."

Yes, he will. He founded the company, Mpower Pictures, two years ago with John Shepherd, a former child actor, and Todd Burns, who helped put himself through law school by working as an EMT. McEveety, whose producing credits include Braveheart, We Were Soldiers, and The Passion of the Christ, is far too well-established to live or die based on the success of one film. And he created Mpower in part because he wanted the freedom to take risks on film projects others in Hollywood wouldn't consider. One such film, The Fallen, will be out later this fall. The film, based on a powerful book by Iranian journalist Friedoune Sahebjam, tells the true story of a young Iranian woman who is framed by her husband on false charges of infidelity and persecuted under the strictures of sharia law. According to McEveety, the Iranian regime has already begun an effort to discredit the film.

10815  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: August 03, 2008, 06:15:31 PM
http://rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/election_20082/2008_presidential_election/only_22_say_mccain_ad_racist_but_over_half_53_see_obama_dollar_bill_comment_that_way

Only 22% Say McCain Ad Racist, But Over Half (53%) See Obama Dollar-bill Comment That Way
Sunday, August 03, 2008

Sixty-nine percent (69%) of the nation’s voters say they’ve seen news coverage of the McCain campaign commercial that includes images of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton and suggests that Barack Obama is a celebrity just like them. Of those, just 22% say the ad was racist while 63% say it was not.
However, Obama’s comment that his Republican opponent will try to scare people because Obama does not look like all the other presidents on dollar bills was seen as racist by 53%. Thirty-eight percent (38%) disagree.
Both campaigns expressed a desire to move beyond the recent flap. On Saturday Obama backed off the racism charge and accused McCain's campaign of cynicism instead. He also rejected McCain's charge that the Democrat himself had brought race into the campaign with his dollar bill comment.
Two months after Obama clinched the Democratic Presidential Nomination, the race for the White House remains amazingly close in the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll.
Not surprisingly, the McCain ad generates significantly different perceptions along racial and ethnic lines. Most African-American voters—58%--saw the McCain ad as racist. Just 18% of white voters and 14% of all other voters shared that view. To watch the ad, click HERE.
As for Obama’s comment, 53% of white voters saw it as racist, as did 44% of African-Americans and 61% of all other voters.
There were also significant partisan divides. Democrats were evenly divided as to whether the McCain commercial was racist, and they were also evenly divided on the Obama comment. Republicans, by an 87% to 4% margin, rejected the notion that the McCain campaign ad was racist. But, by a 67% to 26% margin, GOP voters believe that Obama’s comment was racist.
Unaffiliated voters, by a five-to-one margin, said the McCain ad was not racist. By a much narrower 50% to 38% margin, unaffiliateds viewed Obama’s comment as racist.
Overall, just 22% of voters believe that most Americans are racist. That view is shared by 32% of Democrats, 20% of unaffiliated voters and 12% of Republicans. African-American voters are evenly divided on the question.
10816  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: August 03, 2008, 11:12:20 AM
There is a long history of the "palestinians" seeking shelter in Israel when needed. Of course they'll be back to terrorism as soon as they get on their feet.
10817  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: August 02, 2008, 04:48:30 PM
Germany’s Intifada   
By Stephen Brown
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, August 01, 2008
First it was France, and now Germany.
 
German authorities are reporting that, within their cities, areas now exist where police fear to tread. In many German urban areas drug dealing, theft, brawls, and assaults on police officers are the order of the day. The problem is becoming so severe police scarcely dare enter some quarters except in strength, while in others they concentrate on their own safety first.     
 
But this is old news to French law enforcement officials. The 2005 riots woke France up to the fact that an anti-civilization had arisen in the “banlieues” (housing projects), which surround major French cities. Populated mainly by immigrants from North and West Africa, many with a Muslim background, they are known as places of anger and aggression towards anyone who represents “official” France.
 
French police are sometimes attacked with Molotov cocktails when they enter such areas. Firemen and ambulance attendants are not treated much better. Police even had difficulty protecting a French president, Jacques Chirac, and his interior minister when they went campaigning in a banlieue. The two high-ranking politicians were also met with Molotovs and had to retreat.
 
In all, the French housing projects have the look of scarred battlefields with burnt out cars littering the landscape. The extent of France’s lawlessness problem manifested itself last month when 592 cars were torched in France in the two nights surrounding Bastille Day, July 14 and 15, 150 in the Paris region alone. To make matters worse, Islamic fundamentalists have attracted many of the banlieus’ unemployed, uneducated and frustrated young men to their cause. These fundamentalists, it is suspected, were the ones directing the 2005 disturbances and their recurrence in 2007.
 
In Germany, the problem neighbourhoods are often located within the city and not on the outskirts. Like in France, though, urban anti-societies have arisen, but in Germany they consist mainly of Turkish and Arab immigrants, many from Lebanon. In their districts, German laws and values now have little, if any, validity, while their culture of lawlessness does.
 
Police complain that when they conduct routine checks in these neighbourhoods, they are met with angry crowds and often risk assault. Even when a policeman is carrying out a simple duty, like inspecting someone’s identification, out of nowhere suddenly appear 20 to 30 men, yelling wildly, who push and shove him. They assemble quickly after having been contacted by cell phone.
 
While confrontations occur over nothing, violence can occur when the stakes are higher. When Berlin police arrested three drug-dealing Arabs in Kreuzberg, for example, a district where Turks and Arabs form the majority, they were immediately swarmed by two dozen men who tried to free the suspected criminals by force. Only the quick arrival of reinforcements saved the day. It is also in Kreuzberg that the first car burnings in Germany took place.
 
For the last ten years Berlin has been the leading German city for such “resistance-to-police” incidents. Overall, Germany’s police union records an average of 26,000 such occurrences a year, an increase of 60 per cent from the 1980s. Berlin accounts for about 3,000 of this total. In Germany’s capital, a union official said, there exists “an alarm level red” concerning violence against police.
 
“We have been registering for years a loss of police authority and a rapid sinking of a lack of restraint,” said Eberhard Schonberg, the police union’s head.
 
But what is even more disturbing to law enforcement officials is the increase in violent crime among minors, especially those with a foreign background. Germany was shocked this year when two youths, one Turkish and the other Greek, nearly beat a 76-year-old retired school principal to death in Munich last December. The pensioner had admonished them for smoking on a commuter train. The two criminals kicked and yelled “s**t German” at the man’s prostrate form after having knocked him down.
 
There is also an overrepresentation of immigrant youth in crime statistics. A survey of schools in western German cities showed that ten per cent of the Turkish students were repeat offenders, who had committed more than five violent offences. The same survey showed 8.3 per cent of students from the former Yugoslavia were in the same category along with 5.9 per cent from the former Soviet Union. Native-born Germans, who also included those from migrant backgrounds with German citizenship, made up only 2.9 per cent of such delinquents.   
 
And while German teenagers are more often the victims of youth crime, immigrant youth brutality very often occurs between different ethnic groups. Violence between Turks and Arabs at one high school in Berlin, for example, became so bad the principal asked the city to close her school. This incident then led other principals across Germany to request the same for their schools.
 
But even immigrant children as young as eight are committing illegal acts. Police report of an Arab neighborhood in Duisburg, a city in the Rhineland, where such youthful miscreants “kick old ladies, demand sexual intercourse from women, throw water-filled balloons against business windows and deliberately cross streets at red lights to create traffic jams.” Their aim, police say, is to generate fear among outsiders.
 
The overall purpose of such disturbing behavior and anti-police incidents is to turn these immigrant neighbourhoods into lawless mini-states, where their tribal and religious customs and rules predominate, and criminals can act freely. In scuffles and confrontations German police are often told, in threat and obscenity-filled language, to go away and that these streets belong to the ethnic group that lives there.
 
As everyone knows, a competent and effective police force is necessary to protect the law-abiding citizen, guarantee his rights and carry out one of the main functions of the state: law and order. But increasingly in some European urban areas, a police uniform has come to mean nothing. And countries like Germany do not act now to reverse this, their cities will become as burnt out and eviscerated as the carcasses of cars France knows only too well.

Stephen Brown is a contributing editor at Frontpagemag.com. He has a graduate degree in Russian and Eastern European history. Email him at alsolzh@hotmail.com.
10818  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: August 02, 2008, 03:23:01 PM
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/afghanistan/2485750/British-Muslims-fighting-with-Taliban-in-Afghanistan.html

British Muslims 'fighting with Taliban in Afghanistan'
British Muslims are helping the Taliban in their war against UK soldiers in southern Afghanistan, according to the former commander of Britain's forces in Afghanistan.
 
By Con Coughlin, Duncan Gardham and Thomas Harding
Last Updated: 12:25PM BST 02 Aug 2008

Brig. Ed Butler: 'There are British passport holders who live in the U.K. who are being found in places like Kandahar' Photo: HEATHCLIFF O'MALLEY
Brig. Ed Butler, who spent six months commanding British forces in Afghanistan, also revealed fears that militant Islamic groups in south-east Asia are supporting terrorist plots in the UK.
The brigadier, a former head of the SAS, spoke exclusively to the Daily Telegraph in the week when the British death toll in Afghanistan reached 114, with 17 fatalities in the last two months.
UK forces have uncovered evidence that British Muslims are actively supporting the Taliban and al-Qa'eda in attacks on coalition forces in southern Afghanistan, Brig Butler said.
He said: "There are British passport holders who live in the U.K. who are being found in places like Kandahar."
Earlier this year, it was revealed that RAF Nimrod spyplanes monitoring Taliban radio signals in Afghanistan had heard militants speaking with Yorkshire and Midlands accents.
Privately, British officers in Afghanistan estimate that several thousand Taliban fighters have been killed since 2006, among them people from outside the country.
One officer said: "While my troops have not actually found British passports on enemy dead there has been a suspicion that with the high number of Taliban casualties they have needed to recruit a lot of foreign fighters and some of these are likely to be of British-Muslim descent."
Disturbingly, Brig Butler suggested the traffic between Britain and Afghanistan may flow in both directions, with some British Muslims returning from the region and posing a domestic security threat.
Brig Butler, 46, said he had seen evidence that terror groups based in southern Afghanistan were plotting with Muslim extremists in Britain to carry out terror attacks in the UK.
"There is a link between Kandahar and urban conurbations in the UK," said Brig. Butler. "This is something the military understands but the British public does not."
Western intelligence agencies are increasingly concerned that Afghanistan and its lawless border with Pakistan are now home to many training camps used by Jihadi groups to prepare radicals for attacks in the West.
A Whitehall source confirmed that the security services are aware of some radicalized British Muslims returning to the UK from Afghanstan.
The source said: "There are very small numbers of British citizens traveling out there, being trained up and then returning to the UK."
With al-Qaeda widely seen to be losing ground in Iraq, counter-terrorism officials say that Afghanistan is emerging as the focus for radicalised Western Muslims wanting to fight Western forces.
Earlier this year, Nigel Inkster, a former deputy head of MI6, warned that Taliban groups over the border in Pakistan have "dispatched terrorists to a number of locations including Spain and the United Kingdom."
Brig Butler, widely regarded as one of the best British officers of his generation, announced his decision to retire from the Army earlier this year.
He had been a candidate for the job of Director, Special Forces, overseeing the SAS, the SBS and the Special Reconnaissance Regiment.
Despite claims that his premature retirement was in protest at the government's underfunding of the Armed Forces, Brig Butler insisted his decision to step down had been prompted by the desire to spend more time with his family.
"I reached the conclusion that I did not want to leave my family any more for an extended period. Life is too short. There is no point having a family if you are not going to see them," he said.
Brig Butler commanded British forces when they began their current mission in southern Afghanistan two years ago and is credited with being the architect of the British Army's strategy for defeating the Taliban.
But he said that from the outset British commanders knew the Taliban "would be up for a fight, but we were surprised at how ferocious that fight turned out to be."
When British forces deployed to Helmand province in 2006, Brig Butler warned the government that there was a strong possibility that British soldiers would end up killing Muslims who held British passports and were fighting with the Taliban and al-Qa'eda.
He is currently Commander of Joint Force Operations based at Northwood, near London, and will formally leave the Army next year.
British commanders and diplomats have warned that the West faces a "long haul" in Afghanistan and may have to retain a military presence there for decades to come.
Brig Butler believes the continued presence of radical British Muslims in southern Afghanistan is one of the reasons British forces must remain in the region, despite the heavy number of battlefield fatalities.
"This is a highly significant mission," he said. "If we do not win against the protagonists of the September 11 attacks then those who are against us will take great succour from it."
It is vital for British forces to remain in Afghanistan "for as long as it takes" to prevent a repeat of the July 7 bombings in London in 2005, which killed 52 people, he said.
Several British Muslims were detained in Afghanistan during the 2001 U.S.-led military operation to overthrow the Taliban, and were held at Guantanamo Bay as enemy combatants.
All were later released and say they had no involvement in anti-coalition activity.
10819  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: August 02, 2008, 03:05:33 PM
http://www.zombietime.com/up_your_alley_2008/

CONTENT WARNING! SF street fair.
10820  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India on: August 02, 2008, 02:43:37 PM
I'm not sure a ground offensive from India might not be a good thing. It might force a reality check in Pak.
10821  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: August 01, 2008, 09:30:57 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2008/08/01/cbs-message-indicates-zawahiri-critically-wounded-possibly-dead/

Is Al Zawa-lumpy now a martyr? My fingers are crossed.....
10822  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: August 01, 2008, 05:34:44 PM
Not really. Without googling the numbers, the number of people, cargo and vehicles crossing US borders daily is immense. Only a tiny fraction are searched under the border search doctrine. There is a compelling interest for the US government to control what enters and exits the United States. Also, very few nations you might be transiting to/from have a greater degree of privacy rights than the US, thus your "reasonable expectation of privacy" is very little, if any.
10823  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: August 01, 2008, 03:07:28 PM
    http://news.cnet.com/
Police blotter: Laptop border searches OK'd

By Declan McCullagh
http://news.cnet.com/Police-blotter-Laptop-border-searches-OKd/2100-1030_3-6098939.html

Story last modified Thu Jul 27 05:30:52 PDT 2006


"Police blotter" is a weekly CNET News.com report on the intersection of technology and the law.
What: A business traveler protests the warrantless search and seizure of his laptop by Homeland Security at the U.S.-Canada border.

When: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rules on July 24.

Outcome: Three-judge panel unanimously says that border police may conduct random searches of laptops without search warrants or probable cause. These searches can include seizing the laptop and subjecting it to extensive forensic analysis.

What happened, according to court documents:

In January 2004, Stuart Romm traveled to Las Vegas to attend a training seminar for his new employer. Then, on Feb. 1, Romm continued the business trip by boarding a flight to Kelowna, British Columbia.

Romm was denied entry by the Canadian authorities because of his criminal history. When he returned to the Seattle-Tacoma airport, he was interviewed by two agents of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement division.

They asked to search his laptop, and Romm agreed. Agent Camille Sugrue would later testify that she used the "EnCase" software to do a forensic analysis of Romm's hard drive.

That analysis and a subsequent one found some 42 child pornography images, which had been present in the cache used by Romm's Web browser and then deleted. But because in most operating systems, only the directory entry is removed when a file is "deleted," the forensic analysis was able to recover the actual files.

During the trial, Romm's attorney asked that the evidence from the border search be suppressed. The trial judge disagreed. Romm was eventually sentenced to two concurrent terms of 10 and 15 years for knowingly receiving and knowingly possessing child pornography.

The 9th Circuit refused to overturn his conviction, ruling that American citizens effectively enjoy no right to privacy when stopped at the border.

"We hold first that the ICE's forensic analysis of Romm's laptop was permissible without probable cause or a warrant under the border search doctrine," wrote Judge Carlos Bea. Joining him in the decision were Judges David Thompson and Betty Fletcher.

Bea cited the 1985 case of U.S. v. Montoya de Hernandez, in which a woman arriving in Los Angeles from Columbia was detained. Police believed she had swallowed balloons filled with cocaine, even though the court said they had no "clear indication" of it and did not have probable cause to search her.

Nevertheless, the Supreme Court said police could rectally examine De Hernandez because it was a border crossing and, essentially, anything goes. (The rectal examination, by the way, did find 88 balloons filled with cocaine that had been smuggled in her alimentary canal.)

Justices William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall dissented. They said the situation De Hernandez experienced had "the hallmark of a police state."

"To be sure, the court today invokes precedent stating that neither probable cause nor a warrant ever have been required for border searches," Brennan wrote. "If this is the law as a general matter, I believe it is time that we re-examine its foundations."

But Brennan and Marshall were outvoted by their fellow justices, who ruled that the drug war trumped privacy, citing a "veritable national crisis in law enforcement caused by smuggling of illicit narcotics." Today their decision means that laptop-toting travelers should expect no privacy either.

As an aside, a report last year from a U.S.-based marijuana activist says U.S. border guards looked through her digital camera snapshots and likely browsed through her laptop's contents. A London-based correspondent for The Economist magazine once reported similar firsthand experiences, and a 1998 article in The New York Times described how British customs scan laptops for sexual material. Here are some tips on using encryption to protect your privacy.

Excerpt from the court's opinion (Click here for PDF):

"First, we address whether the forensic analysis of Romm's laptop falls under the border search exception to the warrant requirement...Under the border search exception, the government may conduct routine searches of persons entering the United States without probable cause, reasonable suspicion, or a warrant. For Fourth Amendment purposes, an international airport terminal is the "functional equivalent" of a border. Thus, passengers deplaning from an international flight are subject to routine border searches.

Romm argues he was not subject to a warrantless border search because he never legally crossed the U.S.-Canada border. We have held the government must be reasonably certain that the object of a border search has crossed the border to conduct a valid border search....In all these cases, however, the issue was whether the person searched had physically crossed the border. There is no authority for the proposition that a person who fails to obtain legal entry at his destination may freely re-enter the United States; to the contrary, he or she may be searched just like any other person crossing the border.

Nor will we carve out an "official restraint" exception to the border search doctrine, as Romm advocates. We assume for the sake of argument that a person who, like Romm, is detained abroad has no opportunity to obtain foreign contraband. Even so, the border search doctrine is not limited to those cases where the searching officers have reason to suspect the entrant may be carrying foreign contraband. Instead, 'searches made at the border...are reasonable simply by virtue of the fact that they occur at the border.' Thus, the routine border search of Romm's laptop was reasonable, regardless whether Romm obtained foreign contraband in Canada or was under "official restraint."

In sum, we hold first that the ICE's forensic analysis of Romm's laptop was permissible without probable cause or a warrant under the border search doctrine."
10824  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India on: August 01, 2008, 09:29:40 AM
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/01/world/asia/01pstan.html?_r=2&hp=&oref=slogin&pagewanted=print

August 1, 2008
Pakistanis Aided Attack in Kabul, U.S. Officials Say

By MARK MAZZETTI and ERIC SCHMITT

WASHINGTON — American intelligence agencies have concluded that members of Pakistan’s powerful spy service helped plan the deadly July 7 bombing of India’s embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, according to United States government officials.

The conclusion was based on intercepted communications between Pakistani intelligence officers and militants who carried out the attack, the officials said, providing the clearest evidence to date that Pakistani intelligence officers are actively undermining American efforts to combat militants in the region.

The American officials also said there was new information showing that members of the Pakistani intelligence service were increasingly providing militants with details about the American campaign against them, in some cases allowing militants to avoid American missile strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

Concerns about the role played by Pakistani intelligence not only has strained relations between the United States and Pakistan, a longtime ally, but also has fanned tensions between Pakistan and its archrival, India. Within days of the bombings, Indian officials accused the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, of helping to orchestrate the attack in Kabul, which killed 54, including an Indian defense attaché.

This week, Pakistani troops clashed with Indian forces in the contested region of Kashmir, threatening to fray an uneasy cease-fire that has held since November 2003.

The New York Times reported this week that a top Central Intelligence Agency official traveled to Pakistan this month to confront senior Pakistani officials with information about support provided by members of the ISI to militant groups. It had not been known that American intelligence agencies concluded that elements of Pakistani intelligence provided direct support for the attack in Kabul.

American officials said that the communications were intercepted before the July 7 bombing, and that the C.I.A. emissary, Stephen R. Kappes, the agency’s deputy director, had been ordered to Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, even before the attack. The intercepts were not detailed enough to warn of any specific attack.

The government officials were guarded in describing the new evidence and would not say specifically what kind of assistance the ISI officers provided to the militants. They said that the ISI officers had not been renegades, indicating that their actions might have been authorized by superiors.

“It confirmed some suspicions that I think were widely held,” one State Department official with knowledge of Afghanistan issues said of the intercepted communications. “It was sort of this ‘aha’ moment. There was a sense that there was finally direct proof.”

The information linking the ISI to the bombing of the Indian Embassy was described in interviews by several American officials with knowledge of the intelligence. Some of the officials expressed anger that elements of Pakistan’s government seemed to be directly aiding violence in Afghanistan that had included attacks on American troops.

Some American officials have begun to suggest that Pakistan is no longer a fully reliable American partner and to advocate some unilateral American action against militants based in the tribal areas.

The ISI has long maintained ties to militant groups in the tribal areas, in part to court allies it can use to contain Afghanistan’s power. In recent years, Pakistan’s government has also been concerned about India’s growing influence inside Afghanistan, including New Delhi’s close ties to the government of Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president.

American officials say they believe that the embassy attack was probably carried out by members of a network led by Maulavi Jalaluddin Haqqani, whose alliance with Al Qaeda and its affiliates has allowed the terrorist network to rebuild in the tribal areas.

American and Pakistani officials have now acknowledged that President Bush on Monday confronted Pakistan’s prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, about the divided loyalties of the ISI.

Pakistan’s defense minister, Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, told a Pakistani television network on Wednesday that Mr. Bush asked senior Pakistani officials this week, “ ‘Who is in control of ISI?’ ” and asked about leaked information that tipped militants to surveillance efforts by Western intelligence services.

Pakistan’s new civilian government is wrestling with these very issues, and there is concern in Washington that the civilian leaders will be unable to end a longstanding relationship between members of the ISI and militants associated with Al Qaeda.

Spokesmen for the White House and the C.I.A. declined to comment for this article. Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, Husain Haqqani, did not return a call seeking comment.

Further underscoring the tension between Pakistan and its Western allies, Britain’s senior military officer said in Washington on Thursday that an American and British program to help train Pakistan’s Frontier Corps in the tribal areas had been delayed while Pakistan’s military and civilian officials sorted out details about the program’s goals.

Britain and the United States had each offered to send about two dozen military trainers to Pakistan later this summer to train Pakistani Army officers who in turn would instruct the Frontier Corps paramilitary forces.

But the British officer, Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, said the program had been temporarily delayed. “We don’t yet have a firm start date,” he told a small group of reporters. “We’re ready to go.”

The bombing of the Indian Embassy helped to set off a new deterioration in relations between India and Pakistan.

This week, Indian and Pakistani soldiers fired at each other across the Kashmir frontier for more than 12 hours overnight Monday, in what the Indian Army called the most serious violation of a five-year-old cease-fire agreement. The nightlong battle came after one Indian soldier and four Pakistanis were killed along the border between sections of Kashmir that are controlled by India and by Pakistan.

Indian officials say they are equally worried about what is happening on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border because they say the insurgents who are facing off with India in Kashmir and those who target Afghanistan are related and can keep both borders burning at the same time.

India and Afghanistan share close political, cultural and economic ties, and India maintains an active intelligence network in Afghanistan, all of which has drawn suspicion from Pakistani officials.

When asked Thursday about whether the ISI and Pakistani military remained loyal to the country’s civilian government, Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, sidestepped the question. “That’s probably something the government of Pakistan ought to speak to,” Admiral Mullen told reporters at the Pentagon.

Jalaluddin Haqqani, the militia commander, battled Soviet troops during the 1980s and has had a long and complicated relationship with the C.I.A. He was among a group of fighters who received arms and millions of dollars from the C.I.A. during that period, but his allegiance with Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda during the following decade led the United States to sever the relationship.

Mr. Haqqani and his sons now run a network that Western intelligence services say they believe is responsible for a campaign of violence throughout Afghanistan, including the Indian Embassy bombing and an attack on the Serena Hotel in Kabul earlier this year.

David Rohde contributed reporting from New York, and Somini Sengupta from New Delhi.
10825  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Islamic Countries: on: August 01, 2008, 09:14:08 AM
Interesting.

Are all marriages arranged in SA?

**Most all, if not all. Usually to a first cousin. No joke.**

Another question?  What is it about pets that attracts the women?  The association with status, money, or simply a conversation piece?

It sounds like women like the corruptive influence from the West.

**The wahabists are always on the lookout for corruptive western influences.**
10826  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India on: July 31, 2008, 03:01:43 PM
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/msid-3307797,prtpage-1.cms

Al-Qaida tech used in Bangalore, Surat bombs
31 Jul 2008, 0021 hrs IST, Vishwa Mohan ,TNN


NEW DELHI: Al-Qaida may not have a presence in India but its footprint was visible in the bombs used in Bangalore and Surat, according to intelligence officials. ( Watch )

For the first time in India, Integrated Circuit (IC) chips were used to assemble bombs in Bangalore and Surat — a technique perfected by the Qaida-linked Indonesian terror group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI). Besides using the technique to bomb different places in Indonesia, JI — which aims to establish Islamic state in southeast Asia — has also exported it to Philippines where terrorists have used it effectively in a number of incidents. ( See Ninan’s cartoon )

Referring to the technique being put to use in India, intelligence officials said some local terrorists could have visited Indonesia for training via Bangladesh — a fact which the Special Task Force (STF) of Uttar Pradesh police had first got wind of during interrogation of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) operatives last year.

"Links of LeT and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) with Al Qaida is not a secret, and this leads to strong possibility of linkages of their Indian modules with JI in southeast Asia," said an official, adding that the IC explosive device — similar to the ones used by JI — found in Bangalore and Surat had only confirmed the suspicion.

While the jehadis were successful in their first attempt to use IC explosive devices in Bangalore on July 25, they could not make a similar impact three days later in Surat, where the chips used in the bombs had some fault.

None of the bombs in Surat exploded, averting another disaster. "It indicates origin of consignments from two different places for Bangalore and Surat — even though it could be the handiwork of a single group using different terror modules," said a senior official of the National Security Guard (NSG) which has sent its forensic experts to Gujarat.

The bombs in Ahmedabad were, however, of a different make. Timer devices were used there and the design was strikingly similar to those used to bomb courts in three UP cities — Varanasi, Faizabad and Lucknow — in November last year and in Jaipur on May 13 this year. Incidentally, a group calling itself Indian Mujahideen claimed responsibility for all three attacks by sending emails to media organisations prior to the blasts.

"Different modus operandi followed in these three cities and in Bangalore and Surat should not be misconstrued as it being the handiwork of different groups," a senior intelligence officer said.

He added that the timing of operations in Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Surat was an indication of meticulous planning and conspiracy by a single command structure from across the border which used different modules in different Indian cities comprising local contacts.

vishwa.mohan@timesgroup.com
10827  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: July 31, 2008, 02:54:45 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2008/07/31/hope-and-change-obama-loses-eight-points-in-four-days/

**This gives me HOPE the polls will continue to CHANGE!**  evil
10828  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizen-Police interactions on: July 31, 2008, 08:43:25 AM
**Below i've cut and pasted from a large, well run Sheriff's Dept. policy on motor vehicle search/seizure.**

10. Motor Vehicle Searches

a) Generally, deputies do not need a warrant to stop and search a vehicle capable of being moved when there is probable cause to believe that evidence of a crime is in the vehicle. This exception is allowed due to exigent circumstances created by the mobility of the vehicle and the diminished expectation of privacy.

 b) When probable cause exists, the following circumstances make a warrant unnecessary:1) The vehicle is moving. 2) The deputy has reason to believe that persons known or unknown may move thevehicle. 3) The vehicle has recently been moved. 4) It is impractical to post a guard while obtaining a warrant. 5) The probability exists that time or elements may destroy evidence. 6) It is an emergency situation in which the vehicle must be searched to save life,prevent injury to others, or prevent serious damage to property.

c) When an occupant of a vehicle has been taken into custody, the deputy may conduct a warrantless search of the passenger compartment where weapons or evidence of a crime may be located. The search may include glove boxes, receptacles, luggage bags, clothing, or other closed containers.

11. Vehicle Inventory Search: a) On July 6, 1976, the Supreme Court expressed four (4) reasons why police may inventory impounded vehicles:

1) To protect the owner’s property while it is in police custody.

 2) To protect the police and the municipal government from claims or disputes overalleged lost or stolen property.

3) To protect the police from the potential danger of thieves entering the vehicles and stealing firearms or drugs left therein.

4) To determine whether a vehicle is stolen and to learn the owner’s identity. b) When impounding any vehicle, a thorough search of the vehicle (to include the trunk) will be conducted. This search will include any and all containers, whether open or closed to inventory the contents. The contents of the vehicle will be listed on the reverse side of the impound sheet and signed by the tow truck driver.

12. Plain View Doctrine:a) When the deputy is lawfully on the premises, the deputy may make a warrantless seizureof property if it is immediately apparent that the property constitutes criminal evidence. b) The item seized must be immediately apparent as contraband or evidence of a crime. If the item must be moved or examined more closely, plain view doctrine does not apply.A search warrant will be required to move/seize the item. c) Except in cases involving exigent circumstances or motor vehicles, a plain view observation of contraband or evidence does not justify a warrantless entry into aconstitutionally protected area to seize the item.
10829  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizen-Police interactions on: July 30, 2008, 11:17:55 PM
The quick answer is "it depends". The courts have ruled in the past that you have a lesser expectation of privacy for your vehicle than you do for a home. The mobility of a vehicle is a factor. The admissability of evidence seized in an inventory/tow depends on the court's view of the seizure of the car, contrasting "fruit of the poisoned tree" vs. "inevitable discovery".

Just because you demand a supervisor doesn't mean one will respond or honor your wishes.
10830  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Survialist issues: Hunkering down at home on: July 30, 2008, 05:23:24 PM
http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/worst_case_scenarios/4275747.html

L.A. Quake Was Minor, but Is America Ready for the Big One?
By Erik Sofge
Published on: July 30, 2008
 
Spectators look at a Pomona, California, scene where bricks collapsed into an alley from an unoccupied building during a magnitude 5.4 earthquake on July 29th. (Photograph by David McNew/Getty Images)


Yesterday morning, Los Angeles dodged another bullet. The earthquake that originated near Chino Hills, roughly 35 miles east of downtown L.A., was powerful enough to rattle homes and damage a hotel near the epicenter. But with a magnitude of 5.4, it was classified by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) as a moderate quake—one of 39 such events in the country this year. A moderate earthquake could pose a serious threat in some regions, particularly in places like New York City, where many brownstones were built more than a century ago. In Southern California, where seismic upheaval is practically routine, this quake left few signs of its passage.

“Engineered structures are meant to withstand a 5.4 earthquake,” says Jamie Steidl, a research seismologist at the University of California at Santa Barbara’s Institute for Crustal Studies. “Even non-engineered, old, unreinforced masonry structures should still be okay. There’s lots of old stuff in Long Beach, and in some of these cities that have been around awhile—older brick buildings that aren’t reinforced. But at this magnitude, we’re not even pushing what the building code was 80 years ago.” The quake preparedness of Los Angeles was put to the test yesterday, but only barely.

The Chino Hills event, minor as it may have been, was a reminder of the United States’ earthquake vulnerability. In Japan and Mexico, researchers have developed earthquake early warning systems, which can detect seismic activity and trigger a sequence of automated responses. This is a frantic sort of race, since the waves created by an earthquake propagate at some 3 kilometers, or nearly 2 miles, per second. In Japan, where quakes tend to start in offshore subduction zones, some areas would have a minute or more to prepare for the worst. “There’s a whole bunch you can do in 60 seconds,” says Thomas Jordan, director of the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC). “Shutting off gas mains. Conditioning the electrical grid for what’s going to happen. In hospital situations, especially during surgery, there’s a lot you can do.”

So far, Japan’s early warning system hasn’t done very much—it failed to detect the country’s last two moderate quakes. But in the United States, the outlook is even worse, since no such earthquake early warning system exists, though some preliminary research is underway. “Right now, we’re just fiddling with the concepts,” says Jordan. “We’re not into operational testing, yet.” Coincidentally, says Jordan, a Caltech team reported that its experimental detection gear had been off-line when the Chino Hills earthquake hit.

Realistically, however, if the recent quake had been severe, closer to the 6.7 magnitude that the USGS says is almost certain to hit the state in the next few decades, an earthquake early warning system wouldn’t have helped. The quake simply occurred too close to Los Angeles, with the ground-shaking waves hitting the city in less than 20 seconds. That’s why most of the research into early warning is focused on the San Andreas fault, which can produce earthquakes as close as 40 km (25 miles) from L.A., or as far as 200 km (nearly 125 miles) south of the city. With enough distance, a system-wide alert becomes viable. “Think of an earthquake as a cascade of events,” Jordan says. “They can generate tsunamis, which take some time to hit. Fire following earthquakes, that’s one of the biggest problems you can have. So you get the firetrucks ready, the station doors open. If you know what is happening, you can begin to prepare for what is going to happen later in that cascade.”

As limited as an earthquake early warning detection might be, the potential benefits—particularly in Southern California—seem clear. “It’s something we should be pushing a lot harder than we’re pushing. And we’ve fallen behind other countries. We’ve been a little remiss, to be honest,” Jordan says. He believes a system could be up and running in California in five years, at the earliest. That’s assuming that government agencies like the National Science Foundation and the USGS greenlight additional funding for research. Unfortunately, Jordan thinks it could take a large disaster to make that happen.

In the meantime, the SCEC is helping to prepare for just such a disaster, with the United States’ largest earthquake drill. Scheduled for this November, the Great Southern California Shakeout will test the region’s response to a simulated 7.8 magnitude quake at the southern end of the San Andreas fault. Using supercomputers, seismologists have created a scenario that calculates where the most severe damage would occur, how many fires might be started, and how many lives could be lost. The event will include at least 5 million participants throughout the region, from schools and firefighters to agencies like FEMA. “In a recent meeting, the L.A. County Fire Chief told us, ‘We’ve never really thought this through,’” Jordan says. “A lot of the standard operation procedures wouldn’t apply. That’s what we learned from Katrina. A big enough hammer blow shatters the system. We want to make sure that when that hammer comes down this time, and it’s going to come, the system doesn’t break.”
10831  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: July 30, 2008, 04:49:24 PM
Current mainstream feminist and/or post-modernist leftist thought teaches that sex/gender are just "constructs". To dare suggest that there are concrete differences in the male and female brain is very un-pc, despite the huge amount of neuroscience that demonstrates this to be the case.
10832  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Survialist issues: Hunkering down at home on: July 30, 2008, 03:58:32 PM
**Moving out of SoCal is probably the best survival strategy, overall.**  evil

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faraday_cage
10833  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: July 30, 2008, 03:11:42 PM
Eh, i'm a bit skeptical of the newsmax EMP article.
10834  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: July 30, 2008, 08:45:38 AM
http://www.city-journal.org/2008/eon0728hm.html

Heather Mac Donald
Math Is Harder for Girls
. . . and also, it seems, for the New York Times.
28 July 2008

The New York Times is determined to show that women are discriminated against in the sciences; too bad the facts say otherwise. A new study has “found that girls perform as well as boys on standardized math tests,” claims a July 25 article by Tamar Lewin—thus, the underrepresentation of women on science faculties must result from bias. Actually, the study, summarized in the July 25 issue of Science, shows something quite different: while boys’ and girls’ average scores are similar, boys outnumber girls among students in both the highest and the lowest score ranges. Either the Times is deliberately concealing the results of the study or its reporter cannot understand the most basic science reporting.

Lewin begins her piece with the mandatory mocking reference to former Harvard president Lawrence Summers’ suicidal speculations about why women are underrepresented on science and math faculties. She also manages to squeeze in a classic feminist trope for how our sexist society destroys girls’ innate abilities, invoking the infamous “talking Barbie doll [who] proclaimed that ‘math class is tough.’” Lewin implies that the new study blows Summers’ wide-ranging speculations on gender and math out of the water; all that holds women back from equal representation in MIT’s theoretical physics labs, it seems, is Mattel and other patriarchal marketers of gender myths.

On the contrary, Science’s analysis of math test scores only confirms the hypothesis that cost Summers his Harvard post: that boys are found more often than girls at the outer reaches of the bell curve of abstract reasoning ability. If you’re hoping to land a job in Harvard’s math department, you’d better not show up with average math scores; in fact, you’d better present scores at the absolute top of the range. And as studies have shown for decades, there are many more boys than girls in that empyrean realm. Unless science and math faculties start practicing the most grotesque and counterproductive gender discrimination, a skew in the sex of their professors will be inevitable, given the distribution of top-level cognitive skills. Likewise, boys will be and are overrepresented among math dunces—though the feminists never complain about the male math failure rate.

Lewin claims that the “researchers looked at the average of the test scores of all students, the performance of the most gifted children and the ability to solve complex math problems. They found, in every category, that girls did as well as boys.” This statement is simply wrong. Among white 11th-graders, there were twice as many boys as girls above the 99th percentile—that is, at the very top of the curve. (Asians, however, showed a very slight skew toward females above the 99th percentile, while there were too few Hispanics and blacks scoring above even the 95th percentile to compute their gender ratios.)

The Science researchers themselves try to downplay the significance of the two-to-one ratio for whites—the vast majority of students—on the grounds that it should produce a 67 percent to 33 percent disparity in male-to-female representation in math-dependent fields. Yet Ph.D. programs for engineering, they say, contain only about 15 percent women. Therefore, the authors conclude, “gender differences in math performance, even among high scorers, are insufficient to explain lopsided gender patterns in participation in some [science and math] fields.”

This reasoning is flawed, however, because the tests used in their study are pathetically easy compared with what would be required of engineering or other rigorous math-based Ph.D.s. The researchers got their data from math tests devised by individual states to fulfill their annual testing obligations under the federal No Child Left Behind act. NCLB has produced a mad rush to the bottom, as many states crafted easier and easier reading and math tests to show their federal overseers how well their schools are doing. The Science researchers analyzed the difficulty of those tests and found that virtually none required remotely complicated problem-solving abilities. That a gender difference at the highest percentiles shows up on tests pitched to such an elementary level of knowledge and skill suggests that on truly challenging tests, the gender difference at the top end of the distribution will be even greater. Indeed, between five and ten times as many boys as girls have been found to receive near-perfect scores on the math SATs among mathematically gifted adolescents, for example. Far from raising the presumption of gender bias among schools and colleges, the Science study strengthens a competing hypothesis: that the main drivers of success in scientific fields are aptitude and knowledge, in conjunction with personal choices about career and family that feminists refuse to acknowledge.

The same reality-denying feminists are itching to subject college science and math departments to gender quotas. They have already persuaded Congress to require university scientists to perform Title IX compliance reviews—a nightmare of bean-counting paperwork—covering everything from faculty composition to lab space. Misleading reporting like Lewin’s will only strengthen the movement to select cancer researchers and atomic engineers on the basis of their sex, not their abilities.

The Wall Street Journal, it should be noted, had no difficulty grasping the two main findings of the Science study: that “girls and boys have roughly the same average scores on state math tests,” as Keith J. Winstein reported on July 25, but that “boys more often excelled or failed.” That the New York Times, in an article over twice as long as the Journal’s, couldn’t manage to squeeze in a reference to the fact that boys outperformed girls at the top end of the curve should put its readers on notice: trust nothing you read here.

Heather Mac Donald is a contributing editor of City Journal and the John M. Olin Fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Her latest book, coauthored with Victor Davis Hanson and Steven Malanga, is The Immigration Solution.
10835  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: July 29, 2008, 10:59:25 PM
With the drop in oil, i'm worried the public will drift back into complacency on this issue.
10836  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: July 29, 2008, 10:29:35 PM
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=h110-6615

HR 6615 IH

110th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 6615

To provide for the transport of the enemy combatants detained in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to Washington, DC, where the United States Supreme Court will be able to more effectively micromanage the detainees by holding them on the Supreme Court grounds, and for other purposes.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

July 24, 2008


Mr. GOHMERT introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Armed Services, and in addition to the Committee on the Judiciary, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned

A BILL

To provide for the transport of the enemy combatants detained in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to Washington, DC, where the United States Supreme Court will be able to more effectively micromanage the detainees by holding them on the Supreme Court grounds, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the ‘Giving Inmate Terrorists More Opportunities (GITMO) Act of 2008’.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

Congress finds the following:

(1) The United States Supreme Court issued an opinion styled Boumediene v. Bush on June 12, 2008.

(2) Justice Anthony Kennedy, in the court’s majority opinion, held that foreign terrorism suspects held at the Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba have constitutional rights to challenge their detention in United States courts.

(3) This is an obvious effort on the part of the Supreme Court to micromanage the detainment and disposition of detainees in the War on Terror who are dedicated to destroying innocent people and the American way of life.

(4) The United States Supreme Court clearly needs increased opportunity to oversee the handling of the enemy combatants, as it has seen fit to take a greater role in managing the Global War on Terror, which is a duty previously exercised by the Executive Branch.

(5) There can be no better way for the United States Supreme Court to exercise its new self-appointed war powers than to house the prisoners whom it has taken a greater role in overseeing.

SEC. 3. TRANSPORTATION AND DETAINMENT OF ENEMY COMBATANTS.

(a) Transportation- The Secretary of Defense shall immediately transport all enemy combatants detained in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to Washington, DC, where the United States Supreme Court shall hold the prisoners on the Court grounds, confined by adequate fencing.

(b) Shelter on Supreme Court Building Grounds- The Secretary of Defense, in conjunction with Justice Anthony Kennedy, the author of the majority opinion in Boumediene v. Bush, is directed to provide shelter for the detainees outside the United States Supreme Court building, but on the building grounds. The Secretary of Defense shall provide guards to watch over the prisoners and shall implement a system to ensure that the prisoners receive the appropriate amount of food and water. Should the detainees need the use of restroom facilities, they shall use the facilities inside the United States Supreme Court building. The Chief Justice, if the Chief Justice so chooses, may perform the duties of Justice Anthony Kennedy under this subsection.

(c) Guard Duty- If any of the nine Supreme Court justices desire at any time to stand guard over the prisoners, or to provide the prisoners with their meals or water, or both, then the justices shall be permitted to perform these functions whenever they want.

SEC. 4. ENFORCEMENT.

If either the Secretary of Defense or any justice of the Supreme Court refuses to carry out their duties under this Act, then their respective department or court shall receive funding for the next fiscal year at half the level of funding appropriated for the current fiscal year, or until such time as the Supreme Court no longer desires to micromanage the prisoners who have sworn to destroy our way of life.
10837  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: July 29, 2008, 08:59:55 PM
**My reaction to the article below is "old news".**

http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/feedarticle/7686896

China spying on Olympics hotel guests-US senator

Reuters
, Tuesday July 29 2008
By Richard Cowan
WASHINGTON, July 29 (Reuters) - China has installed Internet-spying equipment in all the major hotel chains serving the 2008 Summer Olympics, a U.S. senator charged on Tuesday.
"The Chinese government has put in place a system to spy on and gather information about every guest at hotels where Olympic visitors are staying," said Sen. Sam Brownback.
The conservative Republican from Kansas, citing hotel documents he received, added that journalists, athletes' families and others attending the Olympics next month "will be subjected to invasive intelligence-gathering" by China's Public Security Bureau. He said the agency will be monitoring Internet communications at the hotels.
The U.S. senator made a similar charge a few months ago but said that since then, hotels have come forward with detailed information on the monitoring systems that have been required by Beijing.
Brownback refused to identify the hotels, but said "several international hotel chains have confirmed the existence of this order."
Spokesmen at the Chinese Embassy in Washington were not available for comment.
Brownback, who staged an unsuccessful campaign for president this year, released documents that he said were notices to the hotels on Internet security. The authenticity of the documents could not be checked and portions were redacted.
One document said: "In order to ensure the smooth opening of Olympic in Beijing and the Expo in Shanghai in 2010, safeguard the security of Internet network and the information thereon in the hotels ... it is required that your company install and run the Security Management System."
Brownback said the hotels "have invested millions of dollars in their Chinese properties" and "could face severe retaliation from the Chinese government" if they refused to comply.
The senator called on China to reverse its policy, but said the hotels are advising guests that "your communications and Web site activity are not private" and that e-mails and Web sites being visited are accessible to local law enforcement.
More than two years ago, a U.S. House of Representatives committee held a hearing to probe U.S. firms' compliance with China's Internet censorship demands.
Brownback has been a critic of China on human rights issues and has been among U.S. lawmakers calling on President George W. Bush to boycott the Olympics opening ceremonies, largely to highlight allegations of Beijing's supply of arms to Sudan in return for oil. Those weapons have been used to carry out genocide in Darfur, according to China critics.
China has called human rights allegations nothing more than "noise pollution" and is hoping the Olympic Games will boost its international image. (Editing by Doina Chiacu)
10838  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: July 29, 2008, 08:15:12 PM
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/iraq/article4426139.ece

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The female bomb threat appears to be changing attitudes. In Baladruz, twenty-five women are due to start civilian guard duties this week, and an appeal has been made for another ten.
10839  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: July 29, 2008, 08:03:29 PM
Well, it appears that Stratfor and I agree that something has the Chinese power structure is acting like there is a major crisis looming. Their analysis is more sophisticated and nuanced than mine. If their actions start to affect international investment in China, they could be inducing a major crisis and normally Beijing isn't that stupid.

Something is going on behind the curtain, this much is true.
10840  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Blade Wounds by a Surgeon on: July 29, 2008, 04:16:23 PM
Is that an upside down Asp on your vest?
10841  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: July 29, 2008, 01:15:02 PM
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-bolton26-2008jul26,0,4549608.story

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John R. Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and the author of "Surrender Is Not an Option."
10842  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: July 29, 2008, 12:49:38 PM
Look, Ma, No Arms   
By Matthew Continetti
The Weekly Standard | Tuesday, July 29, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On a visit to Taipei last week, former Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz told reporters that he expected the arms sales will be approved. We hope he is right. Let's not forget, however, that the Taiwan Relations Act also gives Congress a say in the defense assistance provided to Taiwan. Should the White House continue to drag its feet, it will fall to Congress to speak out in support of a democratically. And the message Congress might deliver is simple: Who is served when America neglects her friends in a misguided effort not to offend her rivals?
10843  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China vs. Islam on: July 29, 2008, 12:41:57 PM
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080728/ap_on_re_as/china_olympic_threats&printer=1;_ylt=AjSQwSsKPrBa4_m4MVu_COv9xg8F

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

___

Associated Press reporter Anna Johnson in Cairo contributed to this report.
10844  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: July 29, 2008, 10:22:30 AM
http://www.nypost.com/php/pfriendly/print.php?url=http://www.nypost.com/seven/07292008/postopinion/opedcolumnists/os_tour_de_farce_122049.htm

O'S TOUR DE FARCE
By AMIR TAHERI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But what does that mean practically?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amir Taheri's next book, "The Persian Night: Iran Under the Khomeinist Revolution," is due out this fall.
10845  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: July 29, 2008, 06:04:31 AM
http://www.redstate.com/diaries/brianfaughnan/2008/jul/24/enthusiasm-for-obama-on-the-wane-2/

Sept/Oct is really when the polls start to matter.
10846  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: July 29, 2008, 06:02:05 AM
World Citizen Obama   
By Frank J Gaffney Jr.
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, July 29, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. is the founder, president, and CEO of The Center for Security Policy. During the Reagan administration, Gaffney was the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Forces and Arms Control Policy, and a Professional Staff Member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, chaired by Senator John Tower (R-Texas). He is a columnist for The Washington Times, Jewish World Review, and Townhall.com and has also contributed to The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New Republic, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, The Los Angeles Times, and Newsday.
10847  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India on: July 28, 2008, 08:47:20 PM
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24091819-2703,00.html

Fear grows over India car terror

Bruce Loudon, South Asia correspondent | July 29, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

Indian intelligence experts believe Indian Mujaheddin is the al-Qa'ida-linked Students Islamic Movement of India in a new guise, rebadging itself as Indian rather than a puppet of the ISI.
10848  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizen-Police interactions on: July 28, 2008, 07:36:34 PM
If your car is a traffic hazard, waiver or not it's getting inventoried/towed. Pre-printed waiver or not, what happens to the car of an arrestee will be determinded by dept. policy. Also search incident to arrest applies.
10849  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: July 28, 2008, 07:30:11 PM
Crafty,

I'm hoping i'm right, though if I were betting i'd tend to put my money on us not acting until it's too late.  cry
10850  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: July 28, 2008, 09:52:15 AM
http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=5420514

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

By PIERRE THOMAS
July 28, 2008—

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They say history suggests a need to take potential threats seriously -- especially in the very near future.
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