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10951  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: August 27, 2008, 10:11:03 PM
Yes. Forgive my brevity, but I really need to get my run in before work.
10952  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: August 27, 2008, 09:40:45 PM

"Barry-O and the temple of Hubris"
10953  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: August 27, 2008, 03:03:49 PM
**The problem being that Elvis is sighted more often than this hoped for majority of peaceful muslims. **

Don't post an article in which the author himself states that "The Muslim world is far from unanimous in its rejection of the West, nor have the Muslim regions of the Third World been the most passionate and the most extreme in their hostility", and then say that contrary to the author's assertions, peaceful Muslims don't exist. It comes off as hypocritical.

**I'm not saying there are not any, i'm pointing out that that whatever the number globally, they are mostly silent. Those that aren't mostly live the lives of mob informants, even in europe or north america.**

The problem is that the extremists are more visible than their peaceful brethren. Depending on who's numbers you use, there are between .700 billion and 1.2 billion Muslims in the world. IF they were ALL extremists bent on the destruction of the western world, the speed at which they would accomplish this mission would accelerate exponentially.

**Again, i'm not saying ALL.**

Are there Muslims who hate us? Yes. Are there Muslims willing to do whatever it takes to destroy our way of life? Yes.

Are we trying to deal with them? Yes, with varying degrees of success. Should more people be paying attention to extremists. Yes.

We get it.


**I'm glad we can all agree on this point.**

I am just so sick of the "All Muslims are out to get us argument". They're not. IF you've done any travelling outside of the US, you realize that most people, in most countries, are trying to do one thing (no matter what their religion): live their lives. They can't be bothered with thoughts of world domination, submission of the great devil, or how to plan the downfall of any country. They're trying to put food on the table, raise their kids, and keep their jobs. Period. No matter what the guy in the pulpit says.

**During the heights of Hitler's power, most Germans weren't nazis. Not much solace in knowing that for the internal/external victims of the nazi war machine.**

In every religion, there are people that show up to church/temple/synagogue/mosque and believe it and live it 100%. There are those who take it to the extreme. There are those who make an appearance cuz it's what they're supposed to do. There are those that make an appearance because they have to. IF everyone in every religion followed the tenets of their religion to the word, we ALL be screwed. But not everyone does, because not everyone can be bothered. A lot of religions say a lot of things about a lot of things. Most people listen, say, "That's nice.", or "Hmmm, interesting.", or "Whatever...", and go on about their day.

"The Muslims are coming" is getting old. Some of them are. We're working on it. The rest could probably give a flying f*ck. (Pardon my language)

As for my use of radical instead of orthodox...whatever. Radical, extremist, ultra orthodox, medium strength orthodox, orthodox, isolationist, fundamentalist Islamists hate us. And they always will. And they are in the minority. And as I said, we're working on it.

I hate that this rant is the last thing I post before my vacation, but such is life. I'll check back in sometime around late September.

**Enjoy your vacation.**
10954  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: August 27, 2008, 10:18:49 AM
Suddenly, or so it seemed, America had become the archenemy, the incarnation of evil, the diabolic opponent of all that is good, and specifically, for Muslims, of Islam. Why?

I think that should read "...for radical Muslims, of Islam." As the author states earlier in the article, "There are still significant numbers, in some quarters perhaps a majority, of Muslims with whom we share certain basic cultural and moral, social and political, beliefs and aspirations..."

**The problem being that Elvis is sighted more often than this hoped for majority of peaceful muslims. What criteria do you use to define a radical muslim from an orthodox muslim?**

As for why the hatred of America, we offer what radical Islamists do not: freedom of expression, freedom of religion, the right to vote (for men and women), freedom of thought, freedom of movement. All things that are frightening to any radical theology.Theirs just happens to be one that is willing to do whatever it takes to abolish those freedoms.
Our system of government is utterly contrary to sharia law. The problem is that sharia law is the law of allah and to ignore god's law and  make your own is not acceptable in classic islamic theology.
10955  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: August 26, 2008, 09:29:21 PM
**The bold is my emphasis. I suggest you follow the link and read the whole article.**

Why so many Muslims deeply resent the West, and why their bitterness will not easily be mollified

The Roots of Muslim Rage

In one of his letters Thomas Jefferson remarked that in matters of religion "the maxim of civil government" should be reversed and we should rather say, "Divided we stand, united, we fall." In this remark Jefferson was setting forth with classic terseness an idea that has come to be regarded as essentially American: the separation of Church and State. This idea was not entirely new; it had some precedents in the writings of Spinoza, Locke, and the philosophers of the European Enlightenment. It was in the United States, however, that the principle was first given the force of law and gradually, in the course of two centuries, became a reality.

If the idea that religion and politics should be separated is relatively new, dating back a mere three hundred years, the idea that they are distinct dates back almost to the beginnings of Christianity. Christians are enjoined in their Scriptures to "render ... unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's and unto God the things which are God's." While opinions have differed as to the real meaning of this phrase, it has generally been interpreted as legitimizing a situation in which two institutions exist side by side, each with its own laws and chain of authority—one concerned with religion, called the Church, the other concerned with politics, called the State. And since they are two, they may be joined or separated, subordinate or independent, and conflicts may arise between them over questions of demarcation and jurisdiction.

This formulation of the problems posed by the relations between religion and politics, and the possible solutions to those problems, arise from Christian, not universal, principles and experience. There are other religious traditions in which religion and politics are differently perceived, and in which, therefore, the problems and the possible solutions are radically different from those we know in the West. Most of these traditions, despite their often very high level of sophistication and achievement, remained or became local—limited to one region or one culture or one people. There is one, however, that in its worldwide distribution, its continuing vitality, its universalist aspirations, can be compared to Christianity, and that is Islam.

Islam is one of the world's great religions. Let me be explicit about what I, as a historian of Islam who is not a Muslim, mean by that. Islam has brought comfort and peace of mind to countless millions of men and women. It has given dignity and meaning to drab and impoverished lives. It has taught people of different races to live in brotherhood and people of different creeds to live side by side in reasonable tolerance. It inspired a great civilization in which others besides Muslims lived creative and useful lives and which, by its achievement, enriched the whole world. But Islam, like other religions, has also known periods when it inspired in some of its followers a mood of hatred and violence. It is our misfortune that part, though by no means all or even most, of the Muslim world is now going through such a period, and that much, though again not all, of that hatred is directed against us.

We should not exaggerate the dimensions of the problem. The Muslim world is far from unanimous in its rejection of the West, nor have the Muslim regions of the Third World been the most passionate and the most extreme in their hostility. There are still significant numbers, in some quarters perhaps a majority, of Muslims with whom we share certain basic cultural and moral, social and political, beliefs and aspirations; there is still an imposing Western presence—cultural, economic, diplomatic—in Muslim lands, some of which are Western allies. Certainly nowhere in the Muslim world, in the Middle East or elsewhere, has American policy suffered disasters or encountered problems comparable to those in Southeast Asia or Central America. There is no Cuba, no Vietnam, in the Muslim world, and no place where American forces are involved as combatants or even as "advisers." But there is a Libya, an Iran, and a Lebanon, and a surge of hatred that distresses, alarms, and above all baffles Americans.

At times this hatred goes beyond hostility to specific interests or actions or policies or even countries and becomes a rejection of Western civilization as such, not only what it does but what it is, and the principles and values that it practices and professes. These are indeed seen as innately evil, and those who promote or accept them as the "enemies of God."

This phrase, which recurs so frequently in the language of the Iranian leadership, in both their judicial proceedings and their political pronouncements, must seem very strange to the modern outsider, whether religious or secular. The idea that God has enemies, and needs human help in order to identify and dispose of them, is a little difficult to assimilate. It is not, however, all that alien. The concept of the enemies of God is familiar in preclassical and classical antiquity, and in both the Old and New Testaments, as well as in the Koran. A particularly relevant version of the idea occurs in the dualist religions of ancient Iran, whose cosmogony assumed not one but two supreme powers. The Zoroastrian devil, unlike the Christian or Muslim or Jewish devil, is not one of God's creatures performing some of God's more mysterious tasks but an independent power, a supreme force of evil engaged in a cosmic struggle against God. This belief influenced a number of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish sects, through Manichaeism and other routes. The almost forgotten religion of the Manichees has given its name to the perception of problems as a stark and simple conflict between matching forces of pure good and pure evil.

The Koran is of course strictly monotheistic, and recognizes one God, one universal power only. There is a struggle in human hearts between good and evil, between God's commandments and the tempter, but this is seen as a struggle ordained by God, with its outcome preordained by God, serving as a test of mankind, and not, as in some of the old dualist religions, a struggle in which mankind has a crucial part to play in bringing about the victory of good over evil. Despite this monotheism, Islam, like Judaism and Christianity, was at various stages influenced, especially in Iran, by the dualist idea of a cosmic clash of good and evil, light and darkness, order and chaos, truth and falsehood, God and the Adversary, variously known as devil, Iblis, Satan, and by other names.

The Rise of the House of Unbelief
In Islam the struggle of good and evil very soon acquired political and even military dimensions. Muhammad, it will be recalled, was not only a prophet and a teacher, like the founders of other religions; he was also the head of a polity and of a community, a ruler and a soldier. Hence his struggle involved a state and its armed forces. If the fighters in the war for Islam, the holy war "in the path of God," are fighting for God, it follows that their opponents are fighting against God. And since God is in principle the sovereign, the supreme head of the Islamic state—and the Prophet and, after the Prophet, the caliphs are his vicegerents—then God as sovereign commands the army. The army is God's army and the enemy is God's enemy. The duty of God's soldiers is to dispatch God's enemies as quickly as possible to the place where God will chastise them—that is to say, the afterlife.

Clearly related to this is the basic division of mankind as perceived in Islam. Most, probably all, human societies have a way of distinguishing between themselves and others: insider and outsider, in-group and out-group, kinsman or neighbor and foreigner. These definitions not only define the outsider but also, and perhaps more particularly, help to define and illustrate our perception of ourselves.

In the classical Islamic view, to which many Muslims are beginning to return, the world and all mankind are divided into two: the House of Islam, where the Muslim law and faith prevail, and the rest, known as the House of Unbelief or the House of War, which it is the duty of Muslims ultimately to bring to Islam. But the greater part of the world is still outside Islam, and even inside the Islamic lands, according to the view of the Muslim radicals, the faith of Islam has been undermined and the law of Islam has been abrogated. The obligation of holy war therefore begins at home and continues abroad, against the same infidel enemy.

Like every other civilization known to human history, the Muslim world in its heyday saw itself as the center of truth and enlightenment, surrounded by infidel barbarians whom it would in due course enlighten and civilize. But between the different groups of barbarians there was a crucial difference. The barbarians to the east and the south were polytheists and idolaters, offering no serious threat and no competition at all to Islam. In the north and west, in contrast, Muslims from an early date recognized a genuine rival—a competing world religion, a distinctive civilization inspired by that religion, and an empire that, though much smaller than theirs, was no less ambitious in its claims and aspirations. This was the entity known to itself and others as Christendom, a term that was long almost identical with Europe.

The struggle between these rival systems has now lasted for some fourteen centuries. It began with the advent of Islam, in the seventh century, and has continued virtually to the present day. It has consisted of a long series of attacks and counterattacks, jihads and crusades, conquests and reconquests. For the first thousand years Islam was advancing, Christendom in retreat and under threat. The new faith conquered the old Christian lands of the Levant and North Africa, and invaded Europe, ruling for a while in Sicily, Spain, Portugal, and even parts of France. The attempt by the Crusaders to recover the lost lands of Christendom in the east was held and thrown back, and even the Muslims' loss of southwestern Europe to the Reconquista was amply compensated by the Islamic advance into southeastern Europe, which twice reached as far as Vienna. For the past three hundred years, since the failure of the second Turkish siege of Vienna in 1683 and the rise of the European colonial empires in Asia and Africa, Islam has been on the defensive, and the Christian and post-Christian civilization of Europe and her daughters has brought the whole world, including Islam, within its orbit.

For a long time now there has been a rising tide of rebellion against this Western paramountcy, and a desire to reassert Muslim values and restore Muslim greatness. The Muslim has suffered successive stages of defeat. The first was his loss of domination in the world, to the advancing power of Russia and the West. The second was the undermining of his authority in his own country, through an invasion of foreign ideas and laws and ways of life and sometimes even foreign rulers or settlers, and the enfranchisement of native non-Muslim elements. The third—the last straw—was the challenge to his mastery in his own house, from emancipated women and rebellious children. It was too much to endure, and the outbreak of rage against these alien, infidel, and incomprehensible forces that had subverted his dominance, disrupted his society, and finally violated the sanctuary of his home was inevitable. It was also natural that this rage should be directed primarily against the millennial enemy and should draw its strength from ancient beliefs and loyalties.

Europe and her daughters? The phrase may seem odd to Americans, whose national myths, since the beginning of their nationhood and even earlier, have usually defined their very identity in opposition to Europe, as something new and radically different from the old European ways. This is not, however, the way that others have seen it; not often in Europe, and hardly ever elsewhere.

Though people of other races and cultures participated, for the most part involuntarily, in the discovery and creation of the Americas, this was, and in the eyes of the rest of the world long remained, a European enterprise, in which Europeans predominated and dominated and to which Europeans gave their languages, their religions, and much of their way of life.

For a very long time voluntary immigration to America was almost exclusively European. There were indeed some who came from the Muslim lands in the Middle East and North Africa, but few were Muslims; most were members of the Christian and to a lesser extent the Jewish minorities in those countries. Their departure for America, and their subsequent presence in America, must have strengthened rather than lessened the European image of America in Muslim eyes.

In the lands of Islam remarkably little was known about America. At first the voyages of discovery aroused some interest; the only surviving copy of Columbus's own map of America is a Turkish translation and adaptation, still preserved in the Topkapi Palace Museum, in Istanbul. A sixteenth-century Turkish geographer's account of the discovery of the New World, titled The History of Western India, was one of the first books printed in Turkey. But thereafter interest seems to have waned, and not much is said about America in Turkish, Arabic, or other Muslim languages until a relatively late date. A Moroccan ambassador who was in Spain at the time wrote what must surely be the first Arabic account of the American Revolution. The Sultan of Morocco signed a treaty of peace and friendship with the United States in 1787, and thereafter the new republic had a number of dealings, some friendly, some hostile, most commercial, with other Muslim states. These seem to have had little impact on either side. The American Revolution and the American republic to which it gave birth long remained unnoticed and unknown. Even the small but growing American presence in Muslim lands in the nineteenth century—merchants, consuls, missionaries, and teachers—aroused little or no curiosity, and is almost unmentioned in the Muslim literature and newspapers of the time.

The Second World War, the oil industry, and postwar developments brought many Americans to the Islamic lands; increasing numbers of Muslims also came to America, first as students, then as teachers or businessmen or other visitors, and eventually as immigrants. Cinema and later television brought the American way of life, or at any rate a certain version of it, before countless millions to whom the very name of America had previously been meaningless or unknown. A wide range of American products, particularly in the immediate postwar years, when European competition was virtually eliminated and Japanese competition had not yet arisen, reached into the remotest markets of the Muslim world, winning new customers and, perhaps more important, creating new tastes and ambitions. For some, America represented freedom and justice and opportunity. For many more, it represented wealth and power and success, at a time when these qualities were not regarded as sins or crimes.

And then came the great change, when the leaders of a widespread and widening religious revival sought out and identified their enemies as the enemies of God, and gave them "a local habitation and a name" in the Western Hemisphere. Suddenly, or so it seemed, America had become the archenemy, the incarnation of evil, the diabolic opponent of all that is good, and specifically, for Muslims, of Islam. Why?
10956  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: August 26, 2008, 07:34:15 PM

Charlie Wilson's Slip

Former Texas Rep. Charlie Wilson -- yes, that Charlie Wilson -- was speaking at an anti-war rally when he, um, flubbed a line:

"We should be led by Osama bin Laden," he said, then quickly corrected himself. "I mean Obama and Biden."
How does that Southwest commercial go? Want to get away?

**Honest mistake.  grin **
10957  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: August 26, 2008, 07:26:11 PM
I notice that often on this forum "Front Page Magazine" is quoted (cut and pasted).  Albeit interesting, it is hardly the pinnacle of the sources available in the search for impartial and unbiased truth.  Rather it is an extreme right wing biased magazine who definitely seems to only have a radical conservative agenda. 

**Do me a favor and define what "radical conservatism" is to you.**

As for the issue of faith, IF Obama was or is Muslim, why is that, by itself, good or bad?  IF Obama was or is a Jew, why is that good or bad?  IF Obama was or is a Christian, why is that good or bad?  Fine men and women, peace seeking men and women exist in all of these faiths.  Evil exists in all faiths.  As does good. 

**Were you this upset when Mitt Romney's mormonism was getting skewered from the left? You'll note that christianity's core theology allowed for the evolution of secular government and freedom of religion as a right, concepts not found in islam.**

Our country was founded on the principle of freedom of religion.  We are not a "Christian" Nation, but a free nation - you can choose your religion without worry.  That is the cornerstone of our country.  We preach tolerance; why promote articles of religious hate?

**Where in the article do you see religious hate? It's an examination of the muslim perception of Obama's "muslim" identity.**

I have read many inflammatory and seemingly hateful articles on Obama being possibly Muslim.  Does that seem right? 

**Post-9/11, the US population has taken a hard look at islam and amazingly, it's not very popular.  rolleyes
In addition, I doubt very much that Obama is a practicing muslim, he's been less than honest in addressing the topic. I personally find Obama's adult choice in a racist version of christianity much more disturbing than any exposure to islam he may have as a child.**

 If he was a Jew would such articles be tolerated? 

**What's the current count on Americans murdered by jews motivated by a vision of the world dominated by Judaism ?**

I hope not.  Yet Romney is being criticized for being Mormon.  Again, is that right?  I mean if you don't like the man, fine, yet I know many fine Mormons, Jews, Muslims, et al.  What's the problem?  Kennedy had to go through this because he was Catholic - I had hoped/thought America was finally past such obvious bigotry.  IF you think Obama is/was a Muslim so what? 

**My objection is Obama's lack of candor on the subject. As a child, no one gets to choose their religion.**

IF you like him, like what he says and the direction he suggests, vote for him.  IF not, don't, vote for McCain, another person, or simply abstain.  But if a Buddist or Hindu was running, and you liked them, you should vote for them.  Don't base your decision on the color of their skin or their own belief in their God.  That is not the American way.

10958  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: August 26, 2008, 12:07:28 AM

"FEMA employs about 2,600 people full-time nationwide, with a reserve of 4,000 more who remain on standby until a disaster strikes."

**If the "BIG ONE" hits SoCal, the entire FEMA entity isn't even a drop in the bucket for what will be needed.**
10959  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: August 25, 2008, 09:55:20 PM
Due to our constitutional "separation of powers", it is your local level government that is responsible for police/fire/EMS. Then it falls to your state. The USG is 3rd. in line. FEMA is much more of a "check writing" entity rather than a first responder by congressional design.

BTW, you are actually the person who holds the core responsibility for your security and safety. Much of the problems in N.O. result from the entrenched mentality of governmentally based learned helplessness.

Even "Kah-lee-fohr-niah" encourages individual preparation:
10960  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: August 25, 2008, 01:25:41 AM
What is probably most inexcusable and has been kept relatively quiet is that the Red Cross and the Salvation Army were staged and ready to enter New Orleans with food, water and other emergency supplies. The roads to the Superdome and the Convention Center were open, and other areas of the city remained similarly accessible. But the Louisiana Dept. of Homeland Security denied them permission to go in, saying their presence would “prevent people from leaving.”

In the ultimate, horrible example of a bureaucratic Catch-22, the government kept people from leaving New Orleans, and the Dept. of Homeland Security would not let aid agencies in, saying having aid available in the city would create a magnet to keep people from leaving.

Eventually, of course, aid agencies were allowed in, and within a few days following Katrina, the Salvation Army had in place 10 mobile feeding units, including at the evacuation points, as well as 2 large mobile kitchens, with a total capacity of serving 200,000 meals per day. As of Sept. 30, the Salvation Army has served over 2 million hot meals plus over 3 million sandwiches, snacks, and drinks from its 150 mobile feeding trucks plus 10 field kitchens deployed throughout the region. It has distributed over 35,000 cleaning kits: brooms, mops, buckets and detergent; and 60,000 food boxes. It has sheltered and provided counseling to approximately half a million people. Its Emergency Radio Network, designed to help people locate family members, has received over 60,000 inquiries and found almost 16,000 survivors. A woman from our San Francisco office was dispatched to run the Astrodome operations, returning last week. As Hurricane Rita built up, the Salvation Army deployed office workers, including our webmaster, to Houston to be prepared to provide disaster assistance there—everyone else was already deployed following Katrina. In all, almost 7,000 Salvation Army officers, together with almost 7,000 Salvation Army employees, plus thousands of trained volunteers have served in the affected areas, and they will remain as long as relief is needed. They’re still serving in Florida in the aftermath of last year’s hurricanes there, and they remained onsite at Ground Zero for two years following 9/11, with a large tent facility housing rest facilities, food, clean socks, counseling and other needs for the rescue workers there.

The Salvation Army is being judged the most effective relief agency throughout the Gulf Coast—and, with reason. A front-page story in the September 29 Wall Street Journal praised the Salvation Army for its quick, effective hurricane relief efforts. Based from their operations already well-established in nearly every community, where they work daily in permanent shelters with the homeless and poor and with people trying to put their lives back together after an apartment fire or years of alcohol and drug abuse, they’re well prepared to meet the needs of victims of natural disasters. Its military-style structure is designed for rapid mobilization and puts a premium on training people in advance to deal with disasters. Most people aren’t aware that the Salvation Army is actually a church. Its officers are all ordained ministers and they are in the Army as a calling—their way of ministering to the poorest of the poor in the name of Christ, with love and without discrimination, and for very little pay. The head of the Red Cross draws a salary of $450,000. The head of the U.S. Salvation Army is paid less than $30,000. They do this work from their hearts, and they do it very, very well.

Now I don’t want to make it sound as if I think that every private organization walks on water. Not every private entity did perform well in the disaster. The government says it will bring criminal charges against the owners of a nursing home whose 34 abandoned residents died, and it is proper that they should be held liable for this negligence. But who do the victims of the gross and arguably criminal neglect in the Superdome, the Convention Center—or for that matter, the thousands whose property and lives were lost due to the government’s failure to maintain its levees—sue?

The Lesson

For this is the salient point: private organizations, whether for-profit or non-profit, perform or lose their customers or their donors. When a private entity fails to deliver on its promise, or actually causes harm, it is held liable for the failure and pays the damages. When government fails, it gets a bigger budget and even more power.

Relying on big bureaucracies is itself a recipe for disaster. Bureaucracies do not talk to each other, and they are actually disincented from solving problems. Last year’s 9/11 commission issued a comprehensive, damning indictment of the intelligence community’s failure to perform its basic function. Yet rather than waiting for any facts on which to act, government had instead three years before created a whole new level of bureaucracy that could be guaranteed to only exacerbate the failings we saw 9/11 and now again with Katrina.

And that is exactly the danger we face again now: suddenly, in the heat of the immediate, emotional aftermath of the disaster, frantic calls go up to have FEMA do more, not less. The federal government is jumping in with promises to perform tasks no-one would have dreamed appropriate following previous disasters: reimburse faith-based charities for their expenses in providing relief; rebuilding entire neighborhoods and communities under no-bid, cost-plus contracts.

What’s going to happen when we allow the pre-empting of our very effective charitable sector by bureaucracy? What’s going to happen to the voluntary, charitable sector when people see enough examples of their tax dollars being used for the purpose for which they used to designate their charitable giving? Just as with the tradition of mutual-aid and other voluntary initiatives, private charity will fade as government’s involvement increases.

Although you may not be aware of it, this is already happening. Organizations like the Salvation Army are already dependent on government funding. When that funding is lost in the face of politics, as happened here in San Francisco when the Salvation Army’s faith-based mission fell in disfavor among our extremist city council, we lost $3 million per year in government funding of detox, homeless shelter, and senior feeding programming. Losing the funding forced us to revitalize the board and get back in closer touch with our community—now that we were again wholly dependent upon it for support.

We also took a close look at the programs for which we had suddenly lost funding, and discovered, a bit to our chagrin, that they could actually be run better and more efficiently than government requirements. I dubbed it the “Pentagon model” of social service. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the adage that the Pentagon is always preparing to fight the last war—commissioning weapons systems, for example, designed to defeat the Soviet Union, not fight a dispersed, decentralized War on Terror; and of course its well-deserved reputation for being bloated. While nothing like that scale, several of our government-funded programs turned out to be a bit behind the times, and we revamped them to better meet our community’s needs today. For example, the Federal Meals on Wheels program has an age 60 minimum. Revamped as the privately-funded Meals That Heal, in addition to providing for seniors, we also deliver nutritious meals to younger people homebound by diseases such as HIV/AIDS.

Similarly, there had been excessive administrative and reporting requirements. We were able to cut administrative positions and place a case-worker in every one of our 16 facilities across the city.

Disasters of Government Failure

As the Independent Institute’s research shows time and again, the Katrina disaster aftermath is simply the current most obvious example of government failure. It is not the exception, it is the pattern: a crisis occurs, often because of existing government failure such as inadequate levees, the cry goes up that government must “do something,” it moves in with ambitious new programs that drive out voluntary initiatives, until the myth that government has to do it or it wouldn’t be done is true.

We saw only too clearly in New Orleans what happens when government is allowed a monopoly on disaster response: bureaucratic bungling and mistreatment of those who most need help.

But to me, at least as important as the fact that government performs relief work less well than private initiatives, is the message Tocqueville drew from observing our society: voluntary association brings us closer together and keeps us free and “democratic.” By working together in voluntary association to help one another and solve our own problems, we learn that we as individuals are effective and powerful.

The lessons of Katrina provide a picture-perfect case study of what happens when we surrender these functions to nameless, unaccountable bureaucrats: levee systems that everyone knows are inadequate and no one does anything about; a Keystone Cop scenario of bureaucrats pointing fingers and waiting for the feds to save them; and helpless victims.

I prefer the very real and well-functioning world documented in Tocqueville’s Democracy in America and The Independent Institute’s The Voluntary City. Communities in which individuals working together in voluntary association meet and solve their problems in common.

Unlike the Superdome, the Astrodome was operated as a shelter under the auspices of the Red Cross and The Salvation Army. Government forecasts had predicted that evacuees would be there for months. Instead, less than 4,000 remained in the Astrodome two weeks after Katrina, with all of them placed within a month.

So instead of the Federal government’s disbursing no-bid, cost-plus contracts to rebuild New Orleans (and who on earth is the master planner of what is being built, where, and why?) how about instead declaring the affected region an enterprise zone—exempt from tax and regulatory restrictions? There would be an inflow of investment as dramatic as the phoenix rising from the ashes. Think Hong Kong, that island rock with no natural resources, having even to import drinking water. Yet the economic success story of the 20th century—that could be New Orleans, freed of the most corrupt government at all levels in the entire country. Freed of slums, dead-end lives of hopelessness.

As for the levees, the failure of which was the proximate cause of New Orleans’ devastation, let’s fire the Army Corps of Engineers and turn that agency over to stakeholders who will have incentives to invest in bringing it up to 21st century standards and be held accountable if it fails. You could privatize it as many former iron-curtain countries privatized formerly state-run enterprises, by distributing a share to every citizen of the area; or have the levees be owned and operated through insurance schemes; or bid them out for sale to a consortium of business or other condominium-type holding.

The wonderful thing about the market is that no one has to be prescient—when you get barriers out of the way, innovative entrepreneurs devise ways of solving needs never thought of before. For example, one of the most vibrant economies today is Estonia. This former Soviet satellite was so thrilled to be freed of their hated Russian rulers that they have since 1990 allowed almost no central control. The result is the most booming, energetic, happy place—rediscovering and revitalizing things like traditional native dance. At the same time it is one of the most advanced countries technologically in the world. Estonia leapfrogged traditional telephone technologies and jumped right into the wireless age. You can even pay for your parking meter from your cell phone.

It’s amazing what happens when you set the private sector free.

So, what can we learn from Katrina? First of all, let’s realize that no knight in shining armor is going to come save us, so let’s do what needs to be done ourselves. Let’s believe Mayor Gavin Newsom when he tells us he won’t be able to evacuate San Francisco in the event of an emergency, and that Rudy Guiliani didn’t actually single-handedly save New York post-9/11. They’re just guys, they’re not super-heroes.

The Independent Institute will pursue activities like documenting and publicizing examples like the Business Roundtable’s proactive emergency communication system. Let’s champion those examples, get involved in efforts to promote and replicate them, and support and get involved with organizations like the Independent Institute and the Salvation Army that produce solutions.

And let’s help spread the word to others that this is the way to take care of ourselves and those in our communities who need help. Yes, it’s work, time, and money, and government’s promises to do it for us, at an invisible cost to us, are tempting to believe. But next time we hear a great new proposal for a great new government initiative that’s going to solve everything once and for all, let’s just say, “No, thanks. We’d rather do it ourselves.”

Mary L. G. Theroux is Vice President and Secretary at The Independent Institute and a member of both the National and San Francisco Advisory Boards of the Salvation Army. She is also former Chairman of the San Francisco Salvation Army Advisory Board.

10961  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: August 25, 2008, 01:23:02 AM

The Ray Nagin memorial motor pool.


Public and Private Responses to Katrina: What Can We Learn?
October 20, 2005
Mary L. G. Theroux

This talk was presented at the Chief Executive Organization's Women's Seminar October 7, 2005.

For the lessons to be gleaned in the aftermath of Katrina, I look to two non-profits with which I have been involved for many years and that I see as providing a two-pronged strategy for solving problems—immediate-term and long-term.

I’ve served for 10 years on the San Francisco board, and three years on the National board of The Salvation Army, which Peter Drucker has termed “the most effective organization in the U.S.” It does an amazing job at addressing and alleviating immediate problems and suffering. It brings people in off the street to become clean and sober and learn to lead productive lives through its detox and transitional housing and programming. It provides job training, character-based after-school and summer camp programming for children, toys at the holidays; shelters for battered women and their children; senior feeding and housing; delivery of hot meals to the homebound, housing and programming for aged-out foster care young adults; and is one of the largest relief agencies worldwide. Based in London, it operates in 109 countries every day, with 65,000 employees in the U.S. alone. So when disaster strikes, the Salvation Army is already there, ready to spring into action.

The Independent Institute, where I am a director and Vice President, tackles many of these same problems on a long-term basis. We commission and produce research into the underlying causes of problems like homelessness, urban problems, health-care costs, energy, the crisis in education, drugs, and global poverty. We use these studies to devise and promote innovative, market-based solutions to these problems.

The Gift of Markets

Why market-based? Well, here are some statistics from 100 years ago that I think well illustrate my point:

In 1905, our average life expectancy in the U.S. was 47. Only 14% of homes had a tub; 8% had a phone; 95% of all births took place at home; women washed their hair once a month, using borax or egg shampoo; and the average worker made about $300 per year.

Our rapid advancement to the bounty found in even the poorest home in the U.S. today is due not to any government program or non-profit initiative, but primarily because profit-pursuing individuals have innovated to produce hitherto unknown prosperity.

And it’s also due to the for-profit, market-based sector that many of our threatened crises never materialize. For example, when I was a girl, it was widely predicted that there would be mass starvation in the near future, as exploding populations would overwhelm the planet’s limits on food production. Instead, the development of higher-yielding plants and better farming methods created an international green revolution.

Yet when was the last time you received an invitation for a gala black-tie event honoring a for-profit hero? Don’t most of us instead find ourselves inundated with celebrations of those who have “given back” or honoring “public servant” politicians?

Social Innovation and Civil Society

That said, there certainly are problems we see in our communities that we would like to be able to do something about, and we form non-profit organizations to do so. And innovation and entrepreneurship can do much to address those as well. Americans have a long tradition of banding together to do just that. Probably the best-documented study of this can be found in Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. A young French aristocrat, Tocqueville toured America in 1831-32, and he made an amazingly extensive study of our society and institutions. One thing that struck him the most was our penchant for forming what he dubbed “associations”:

Americans of all ages, all conditions, and all dispositions constantly form associations. They have not only commercial and manufacturing companies, in which all take part, but associations of a thousand other kinds, religious, moral, serious, futile, general or restricted, enormous or dimunitive. The Americans make associations to give entertainments, to found seminaries, to build inns, to construct churches, to diffuse books, to send missionaries to the antipodes; in this manner they found hospitals, prisons, and schools....

Unlike the societies Tocqueville had known—the England of a privileged aristocracy, where Noblesse Oblige would tend to the poor, or post-revolutionary France, whose strong central government was assumed to be responsible for taking care of all such problems, in the American democratic society power and money were widely diffused among individuals, such that they had to combine forces to solve any given problem:

Among democratic nations ... all the citizens are independent and feeble; they can do hardly anything by themselves, and none of them can oblige his fellow men to lend him their assistance. They all, therefore, become powerless if they do not learn voluntarily to help one another. [emphasis added]

So, I think our tradition of innovative individuals forming alliances to solve problems stands us in good stead. The Independent Institute’s book, The Voluntary City, similarly brings together case studies of innovative alliances that historically met and many which continue to meet, needs from housing, transportation, education, medical care, to police and law courts. Long before there was unemployment or health insurance, for example, many people belonged to mutual-aid societies, into which they would pay dues. When they found themselves out of work, facing unexpected medical or other costs, they could receive funding from the society. By 1925, there were 120,000 such societies across the country.

And so we have a rich and proven-effective tradition of voluntary associations solving problems. Yet, in case after case, we see government taking over more and more of our voluntary sector. And that is why I’m so concerned about the calls in the aftermath of Katrina to expand FEMA and other programs.

First of all, there’s just the plain evidence that the public sector doesn’t do the job nearly as well as the private. Let’s take a look at the vast differences in the responses to Katrina from the public vs. the private sector.

Responses to Katrina: Public vs. Private

FEMA, and all levels of state and local governments in the affected areas have claimed that a disaster of Katrina’s proportions could not have been foreseen or planned for and they should thus be given a pass—or better, yet, a bigger budget and more power—for having performed so badly.

Yet let’s take a look at what happened in the private sector:

The giant private hospital company HCA held a “Hurricane Lessons Learned” planning meeting last fall, following last year’s devastating Florida hurricanes. Some key gaps they identified were: cell phones often fail, so alternative phone systems are needed. Roads become impassable, so emergency supplies have to be stored closer to hospitals. Back-up generators are needed. As a result of the meeting, HCA provided its hospitals with satellite phones, hurricane shutters and additional backup generators. It struck deals with local businesses like refrigeration, water, diesel and gasoline companies, to provide supplies quickly in the event of an emergency. In hurricane-prone areas it also warehoused food, medical supplies and other gear closer to its hospitals. In the immediate aftermath of Katrina, senior management set up a “war room” and quickly decided they would need to lease 20 helicopters to evacuate their Tulane hospital. HCA’s chairman and CEO didn’t hesitate in ordering them to do so. They used ham radios to create a makeshift air-traffic control system and immediately began ferrying critically ill patients out, without one mishap.

Literally across the street, the state-run Charity hospital was without emergency supplies and unable to get any governmental help in evacuating. Subsisting on fruit cocktail and a dwindling supply of water, Charity’s patients were only saved by being ferried by boat to Tulane and evacuated by HCA’s privately-leased helicopters.

Similarly, Wal-Mart and Home Depot had emergency-response plans in place and their senior management immediately sprang into action ordering them implemented, sending supplies like generators, food, water, flashlights and batteries into the areas hit. They were able to quickly establish and maintain a supply chain throughout the region. Pfizer distributed needed drugs and medicines via Wal-Mart and other retailers. Budweiser delivered truckloads of water and ice. Ford provided vehicles for search and rescue.

At the heart of the corporate response was a stunning array of advanced communication networks that kept firms in touch and coordinating. Following last year’s tsunami aid effort, the Business Roundtable had arranged for each of its 160 member companies to designate a disaster-relief point man. They were in place and ready before Katrina hit. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce set up a clearinghouse to compile lists of needed supplies. Each donor company indicated what order it could fill, eliminating duplication or delay. Black & Decker’s employees worked through Labor Day weekend to produce more generators.

And on and on.

Meanwhile, what was going on the New Orleans mayor’s and Louisiana governor’s offices? Both expressed frustration and helplessness, caused by having no plans for an emergency of this magnitude. The mayor’s office set up operations in the privately owned and operated Hyatt hotel, judged the safest base. They were equipped with old field-type phones that couldn’t be recharged. Both the governor and mayor claimed they were paralyzed by lack of communication, and pointed the finger at the feds’ failure to come to the rescue. The entire governmental response, from top to bottom, was beset by lack of leadership, action, and absolutely no coordination or communication between any two agencies. It had been immediately pointed out following 9/11 that much of that rescue effort was hindered and many of the deaths of firefighters and police were due to the inability of rescue agencies to communicate among and between themselves. Yet four years later, and despite billions of dollars distributed to and by the new Dept. of Homeland Security, the exact same systems were in place.

When one mayor in Louisiana called FEMA to get supplies, he was put on hold for 45 minutes. Eventually a bureaucrat promised to write a memo to his supervisor. Evacuees on a boat could not receive permission to dock along the Mississippi river. A sheriff was told he could only get the help he was seeking if he emailed his request—of course, his parish was flooded and without electricity.

School buses sat idle in parking lots—contrary to the City of New Orleans’ emergency plan that called to use such buses to evacuate residents to safety—not to the Superdome, which lay within the threatened area. Furthermore, the Superdome had been used as emergency shelter before, and there had been violence and civil disorder within it on those occasions. Yet no provision had been made to prevent the recurrence of such violence that had occurred before and worsened under the “hell-like” conditions following Katrina. The people in the Superdome were essentially held under house arrest, not allowed to leave or even go outside for fresh air. No provision was made to provide them food, water, sanitation, counseling, or even communicate to them what was happening and what they could expect. It’s little wonder that such desperate “Lord of the Flies” conditions led to a breakdown in civil society. It could have been a laboratory study in what happens when you treat people like cattle—only worse, because cattle owners feed and water their stock.

A group of 500 guests in French Quarter hotels pooled their resources to come up with $25,000 to charter buses to come and rescue them, subsidizing those without the means to contribute. They waited 48 hours for the buses whose arrival was said to be “imminent,” only to learn that the military had commandeered them as soon as they arrived in the city. Once kicked out of the hotels, “by orders,” they learned they would not be allowed in either of the two city shelters—the Convention Center and the Superdome—which had descended into humanitarian and health hellholes. Yet neither could they leave the city—those trying to leave the city on foot were turned back by armed police, “protecting” neighboring cities from fleeing evacuees. Only those with transport could leave, yet, as we’ve seen, transport was denied them.

Companies wanting to send in planes and helicopters to rescue their people were prohibited from doing so. One company contacted Louisiana Congressman Bobby Jindal’s office for help identifying who could grant them permission to send in a helicopter to rescue their stranded employees. Unable to find anyone at FEMA, the FAA or the military who would accept responsibility to grant permission, the congressman advised the company to just go ahead.

10962  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Military Life, The Return and Crafty Dog?? on: August 24, 2008, 07:29:26 PM
Outstanding Maxx! Thanks for your service.
10963  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: August 24, 2008, 05:28:34 PM

More smart leftists at the DNC!
10964  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: August 24, 2008, 05:24:02 PM

Winning over the swing voters!
10965  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: McCain on: August 24, 2008, 04:22:46 PM
 "Mitt should request no time limit in the debate for Joe Biden to speak."

Exactly!!!!!  grin
10966  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: August 24, 2008, 03:50:47 PM

Unadulterated leftist "thought" at the DNC.
10967  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: August 24, 2008, 02:17:53 PM
"I knew that the man in charge of disaster preparedness at the Federal Emergency Management Agency turned out to be incompetent and unqualified."

**So, how did the conservatives get the incompetent  DEMOCRATS elected to Louisiana governor and New Orleans mayor?**
10968  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: August 23, 2008, 02:58:37 PM

August 20, 2008, 6:45 a.m.

‘Just Words’ That Joe Biden Would Like To Forget
The curse of a loose mouth and Nexis.

By Jim Geraghty

The fun thing about an Obama-Biden ticket is that the McCain campaign can point to a new awkward comment by Joe Biden — either on the importance of experience, in praise of McCain, or in support of invading Iraq — that contradicts the stands and qualities of the Democratic nominee for every day from now until Election Day.

Biden, on a post-debate appearance on MSNBC, October 30, 2007: “The only guy on the other side who’s qualified is John McCain.”

Biden appearing on The Daily Show, August 2, 2005: “John McCain is a personal friend, a great friend, and I would be honored to run with or against John McCain, because I think the country would be better off, be well off no matter who...”

On Meet the Press, November 27, 2005: “I’ve been calling for more troops for over two years, along with John McCain and others subsequent to my saying that.”

Reacting to an Obama speech on counterterrorism, August 1, 2007: “‘Look, the truth is the four major things he called for, well, hell that’s what I called for,’ Biden said today on MSNBC’s Hardball, echoing comments he made earlier in the day at an event promoting his book at the National Press Club. Biden added, ‘I’m glad he’s talking about these things.’”

Also that day, the Biden campaign issued a release that began, “The Biden for President Campaign today congratulated Sen. Barack Obama for arriving at a number of Sen. Biden’s long-held views on combating al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan.” That release mocked Obama for asking about the “stunning level of mercury in fish” and asked about a proposal for the U.S. adopt a ban on mercury sales abroad at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.

Assessing Obama’s Iraq plan on September 13, 2007: “My impression is [Obama] thinks that if we leave, somehow the Iraqis are going to have an epiphany” of peaceful coexistence among warring sects. “I’ve seen zero evidence of that.”

Speaking to the New York Observer: Biden was equally skeptical — albeit in a slightly more backhanded way — about Mr. Obama. “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” he said. “I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”

Also from that Observer interview: “But — and the ‘but’ was clearly inevitable — he doubts whether American voters are going to elect ‘a one-term, a guy who has served for four years in the Senate,’ and added: ‘I don’t recall hearing a word from Barack about a plan or a tactic.’”

Around that time, Biden in an interview with the Huffington Post, he assessed Obama and Hillary Clinton: “The more people learn about them (Obama and Hillary) and how they handle the pressure, the more their support will evaporate.”

December 11, 2007: “If Iowans believe campaign funds and celebrity will fix the debacle in Iraq, put the economy on track, and provide health care and education for America’s children, they should support another candidate,” said Biden for President Campaign Manager Luis Navarro. “But I’m confident that Iowans know what I know: our problems will require experience and leadership from Day One. Empty slogans will be no match for proven action on caucus night.”

Also that night, Biden said in a campaign ad, “When this campaign is over, political slogans like ‘experience’ and ‘change’ will mean absolutely nothing. The next president has to act.”

September 26, 2007: Biden for President Campaign Manager Luis Navarro said, “Sen. Obama said he would do everything possible to end the war in Iraq and emphasized the need for a political solution yet he failed to show up to vote for Sen. Biden’s critical amendment to provide a political solution in Iraq.

December 26, 2006: “Frankly, I think I’m more qualified than other candidates, and the issues facing the American public are all in my wheelbarrow.”

 Biden on Meet the Press in 2002, discussing Saddam Hussein: “He’s a long term threat and a short term threat to our national security… “We have no choice but to eliminate the threat. This is a guy who is an extreme danger to the world.”

Biden on Meet the Press in 2002: “Saddam must be dislodged from his weapons or dislodged from power.”

Biden on Meet the Press in 2007, on Hussein’s WMDs: “Well, the point is, it turned out they didn’t, but everyone in the world thought he had them. The weapons inspectors said he had them. He catalogued — they catalogued them. This was not some, some Cheney, you know, pipe dream. This was, in fact, catalogued.”

Biden, on Obama’s Iraq plan in August 2007: “I don’t want [my son] going [to Iraq],” Delaware Sen. Joe Biden said from the campaign trail Wednesday, according to a report on Radio Iowa. “But I tell you what, I don’t want my grandson or my granddaughters going back in 15 years and so how we leave makes a big difference.” Biden criticized Democratic rivals such as Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama who have voted against Iraq funding bills to try to pressure President Bush to end the war. “There’s no political point worth my son’s life,” Biden said, according to Radio Iowa. “There’s no political point worth anybody’s life out there. None.”

Biden on Meet the Press, April 29, 2007: “The threat [Saddam Hussein] presented was that, if Saddam was left unfettered, which I said during that period, for the next five years with sanctions lifted and billions of dollars into his coffers, then I believed he had the ability to acquire a tactical nuclear weapon — not by building it, by purchasing it. I also believed he was a threat in that he was — every single solitary U.N. resolution which he agreed to abide by, which was the equivalent of a peace agreement at the United Nations, after he got out of — after we kicked him out of Kuwait, he was violating. Now, the rules of the road either mean something or they don’t. The international community says “We’re going to enforce the sanctions we placed” or not. And what was the international community doing? The international community was weakening. They were pulling away.”

Biden to the Brookings Institution in 2005: “We can call it quits and withdraw from Iraq. I think that would be a gigantic mistake. Or we can set a deadline for pulling out, which I fear will only encourage our enemies to wait us out — equally a mistake.”

Analyzing the surge on Meet the Press, September 9, 2007: “I mean, the truth of the matter is that, that the — America’s — this administration’s policy and the surge are a failure, and that the surge, which was supposed to stop sectarian violence and — long enough to give political reconciliation, there’s been no political reconciliation... The reality is that, although there has been some mild progress on the security front, there is, in fact, no, no real security in Baghdad and/or in Anbar province, where I was, dealing with the most serious problem, sectarian violence. Sectarian violence is as strong and as solid and as serious a problem as it was before the surge started.”

Biden in October of 2002: “We must be clear with the American people that we are committing to Iraq for the long haul; not just the day after, but the decade after.”

On Meet the Press, January 7, 2007, assessing the proposal of a surge of troops to Iraq: “If he surges another 20, 30, or whatever number he’s going to, into Baghdad, it’ll be a tragic mistake, in my view, but, as a practical matter, there’s no way to say, ‘Mr. President, stop.’”

On Meet the Press, November 27, 2005: “Unless we fundamentally change the rotation dates and fundamentally change how many members of the National Guard we’re calling up, it’ll be virtually impossible to maintain 150,000 folks this year.” (The number of troops in Iraq peaked at 162,000 in August 2007, during the surge.)

Having said all that: “There’s something decent at the core of Joe Biden.” — Jim Geraghty, December 13, 2007

— Jim Geraghty writes the “Campaign Spot” blog for NRO.

National Review Online -
10969  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: August 23, 2008, 09:32:03 AM

Well, at least with Biden, Obama locks up all three of Delaware's electoral votes!   evil


I love watching the dems self-destruct. Wouldn't miss it.
10970  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: August 23, 2008, 09:01:40 AM

Biden has a good point!
10971  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: August 23, 2008, 08:40:25 AM
Biden? Biden? Bwahahahahahahahaha!

The only thing that could make this better is having Celine Dion sing "My heart will go on" to open the democratic convention.
10972  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: It's all about back yards on: August 22, 2008, 09:25:48 PM
Wow. My spanish is better than I though....   grin
10973  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: August 22, 2008, 02:46:24 PM
A Response to Feminists on the Violent Oppression of Women in Islam   
By David Horowitz and Robert Spencer | Thursday, January 24, 2008

The David Horowitz Freedom Center has succeeded in putting the feminists and Islamists on the defensive. As David Horowitz and Robert Spencer note in the article below, the DHFC's exposure of the feminist movement's lack of attention to women's rights in the Muslim world has caused many of the movement's most prominent activists to sign a letter protesting that they originated concern for Muslim women. The letter, drafted by feminist writer Katha Pollitt, has been signed by such notables as:
Susan Faludi, the author of Backlash: The Undeclared War Against Women, which argues conservatives are trying to suppress American womyn, and The Terror Dream: Fear and Fantasy in Post-9/11 America, which claims terrorism provided a handy excuse for the American Right to begin binding women's feet again;
Julianne Malveaux, who expressed her feelings about Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas on PBS' To the Contrary, "I hope his wife feeds him lots of eggs and butter and he dies early like many black men do, of heart disease"
Jennifer Baumgardner, a Nation writer whose idea of fighting female oppression is staging productions of The Vagina Monologues;
Dana Goldstein, an employee of the Soros-funded Center for American Progress and a writing fellow at the Soros-funded The American Prospect; and
More than 700 more leftists.
The letter spread quickly, beginning on the website of the far-Left's flagship publication, The Nation. (The Nation's piece was also picked up by Yahoo News). Soon, it had been posted on Mother Jones, the Islamic Forum, the University of Maine, and many other sites -- including that of a woman named Heart who is running for president. Not all are pleased; at least one insists U.S. immigration laws and Israeli treatment of Palestinians are a more direct affront to women's rights than clitorectomies. (She asks, "Does Ms. Pollitt think that 'Muslim countries' are particularly hostile to women’s rights for some reason?") Nonetheless, the very fact that the Left, so long silent about the crimes countenanced by its Islamic partners in the antiwar movement, now feels that it must mount a rousing defense is a vindication of our efforts. -- The Editors.

This week, seven hundred feminists signed an Open Letter complaining that “columnists and opinion writers from The Weekly Standard to the Washington Post to Slate have recently accused American feminists of focusing obsessively on minor or even nonexistent injustices in the United States while ignoring atrocities against women in other countries, especially the Muslim world.”

We recognize this Open Letter as a delayed response to the Freedom Center’s Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week, which protested the silence of feminists over the “Oppression of Women in Islam” on campuses all over the country last fall, organized sit-ins at a dozen Women’s Studies Departments to protest the absence of courses and department-sponsored events confronting the issue, and made this a matter of national discussion and debate. This is why the signers of the Open Letter complain that “‘Women’s rights are human rights’ was not a slogan dreamed up by David Horowitz or Christina Hoff Sommers,” two of our speakers for Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week. (We never claimed it was.)

The signers of this Letter claim that, “contrary to the accusations of pundits,” they support Muslim feminists in “their struggle against female genital mutilation, ‘honor’ murder, forced marriage, child marriage, compulsory Islamic dress codes, the criminalization of sex outside marriage, brutal punishments like lashing and stoning, family laws that favor men and that place adult women under the legal power of fathers, brothers, and husbands, and laws that discount legal testimony made by women.”

Well, we welcome these avowals of support for the rights of Muslim women. However, forgive us for doubting their sincerity. As one of us pointed out in a speech given at the University of Wisconsin during Islamo-Fascism Week:

“One of our concerns … is the failure of the Women’s Studies Movement to educate students about these atrocities. Our researchers looked at more than 600 Women’s Studies programs on fifteen American campuses, which focus on the unequal treatment of women in society. But they were unable to locate a single class which focuses on the oppression of women under Islamic law.”

What was true last October is still true today. As recently as December 10, a Muslim teenager was strangled by her father for refusing to wear a hijab without a protest from the American feminist movement. And that is only one of many crimes committed in the name of Islam against Muslim women over which the feminist movement continues to be silent.

On New Year’s Day, Amina Said, 18, and her sister Sarah, 17, were shot dead in Irving, Texas. Police are searching for their father, Yaser Abdel Said, on a warrant for capital murder. The girls’ great aunt, Gail Gartrell, told reporters, “This was an honor killing.” Apparently Yaser Said murdered his daughters because they had non-Muslim boyfriends.

The signers of the Open Letter say that they are against honor killing. Here is an honor killing in the United States. Where are these feminists on this issue? Why are they not supporting the hunt for Amina’s and Sarah’s killers and organizing a campaign in the Muslim community to stop such practices?

On Sunday, January 20, the New York Times published an article, “A Cutting Tradition,” which falsely described female genital mutilation practiced under Islamic law as “circumcision” and portrayed it in a generally positive light, and even warned against “blindly judging those who practice it.” The article made no mention of the physical effects of this barbaric practice, which affects 140 million Muslim girls who have their genitals sliced off yearly, and in some 15 million cases their vaginal tract sewn up. These effects, as enumerated by the British Medical Journal in 1993, are “Immediate physical complications include severe pain, shock, infection, bleeding, acute urinary infection, tetanus, and death. Long-term problems include chronic pain, difficulties with micturition and menstruation, pelvic infection leading to infertility, and prolonged and obstructed labor during childbirth.”

Where is the feminist outrage over the New York Times article? Where are the feminist demonstrations against this practice? Where are the campus teach-ins? Where are the candlelight parades? What Muslim organizations have been confronted for their complicity in this assault on female Muslim children? This is a horrific crime against the female gender -- global in extent -- and yet one would be hard-pressed to identify a single public event, protest or march organized by feminists to oppose it.

The Open Letter mentions the feminist “V-Day” organized to protest violence against women. We challenge the signers of this letter to identify the speeches given during “V-Day” that protested female genital mutilation in the Islamic world. We challenge them to identify the Vagina Monologue of Islamic misogyny.

We are encouraged by the fact that these American feminists feel the need to respond to our challenge over their silence as a movement on violence against Muslim women and to assert their opposition to these barbaric practices. We challenge them now to put actions behind their words.

Join us in sponsoring a campus tour on the Oppression of Women in Islam with speakers such as Nonie Darwish, Wafa Sultan and Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Form academic committees to provide curricula on these subjects in Women’s Studies courses. Devote a major segment of your V-Day demonstrations to the plight of Muslim women. Join us during Islamo-Fascism Week II this spring in appealing to campus Muslim organizations to condemn these practices.

Then we’ll know you’re serious.
10974  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: August 22, 2008, 02:40:40 PM
China Looks Across the Strait   
By Dan Blumenthal and Christopher Griffin
The Weekly Standard | Friday, August 22, 2008

For Beijing, Russia's invasion of Georgia has been a mixed blessing. Vladimir Putin stole China's limelight during the Olympics' opening ceremonies with a fireworks display of his own in the Caucasus and embarrassed his Chinese hosts. On the other hand, Putin's Olympics offensive has a long-term upside for Beijing: that the West dithered during the invasion of an upstart democracy must have provided comfort to those in China who want to settle the Taiwan issue by force.
The U.S. response to the invasion of Georgia was embarrassing. President Bush chose not to interrupt his Beijing itinerary of watching basketball and beach volleyball, and his administration's lackadaisical actions sent a clear message to his Chinese hosts about waning American will to stand by its allies. The initial call by both presidential candidate Barack Obama and President Bush that both aggressor and victim stand down must have been music to China's ears.
For years China has been selling the argument that Taiwan is a provocateur. Beijing argued throughout the administration of independence-leaning Taiwan president Chen Shui-bian that "separatists" in Taipei had hijacked Chinese "compatriots" on the island who really want unification with the Chinese motherland. Remove the separatists, China's rhetoric went, and Taiwan will return to the motherland--allow them to govern, and China will one day have to attack.
The election of the more accommodationist President Ma Ying-jeou has somewhat stalled China's belligerence, but Taiwan is a democracy and the "separatists" will be voted back in one day. The Taiwanese public, moreover, is itself becoming more separatist--only a tiny and diminishing minority wants to unify with China. This fact may explain why, even after Ma's election, China has not halted its military build-up across the Strait: Over 1,000 ballistic missiles, 300 advanced fighters, dozens of submarines and destroyers are poised to wreak havoc on the small, isolated island. As China grows stronger it is no longer fanciful to imagine it pulling a Putin, trumping up any number of Taiwanese "provocations" as a pretext to attack.
The underlying tensions in the Taiwan Strait bear important similarities to those in the Caucasus. Just as authoritarian Russia objects to a democratic, pro-American Georgia, so too authoritarian China sees a democratic, pro-American Taiwan as a gaping wound on its periphery. The main cause of tensions is domestic politics. An authoritarian China, like authoritarian Russia, needs fervent nationalism to retain its shaky legitimacy. The "sacred goal" of reunifying the motherland serves that purpose well.
America's tepid response to Russia's invasion of Georgia has harmed its ability to act as a global deterrent. If Washington was slow in response to Georgia, a country that it sponsored for NATO membership, whose president it feted at the White House in 2006 and that hosted President Bush in 2005 with great fanfare, Beijing must wonder if the United States would do anything for isolated Taiwan. Unlike Georgia, Taiwan is a pariah in the international community.
Washington's complicity in Taiwan's isolation only tempts Chinese aggression. While Russia's actions have sent a harmful signal to all would-be aggressors, a Chinese invasion of Taiwan is far from inevitable. The United States can recapitalize its maritime and air forces in the Pacific, and make it clear that it will defend Taiwan from attack. America is a $15 trillion economy that can afford the weapons it needs to keep the peace in the Pacific. While Beijing's military threat to Taiwan should be taken seriously, China is a $3 trillion economy with a host of domestic problems.
In the end, though, the true path to peace in the Strait is a reformed and liberalized China focused on its manifold domestic problems rather than on a bellicose nationalism.

Dan Blumenthal is a resident fellow and Christopher Griffin a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.
10975  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues on: August 22, 2008, 02:33:26 PM
Hmmmmm. That kind of sounds like making a brief statement to the police.....    evil
10976  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: August 22, 2008, 09:45:39 AM

What Sort of Plea Did Clinton Cop?
Chris Suellentrop
Posted Friday, Jan. 19, 2001, at 7:09 PM ET

President Clinton and Independent Counsel Robert Ray agreed Friday to settle the seven-year Whitewater probe. The president admitted that he gave misleading testimony in the 1998 Paula Jones case about his affair with Monica Lewinsky, accepted a five-year suspension of his Arkansas law license, and promised to cover $25,000 in legal fees related to disbarment proceedings against him in Arkansas. In exchange, Ray agreed not to indict Clinton on perjury charges. What kind of agreement is this?

It's not your everyday legal agreement. It's not a declination, in which a prosecutor drops a criminal investigation because the case isn't solid enough to indict. Nor is it a plea bargain, in which a prosecutor accepts a guilty plea from the indicted in exchange for a lenient sentence (because, of course Clinton was never indicted). Nor is it a referral of a criminal case to civil authorities for resolution (such as when a criminal antitrust case is referred to civil prosecutors). The most unusual aspect of the deal is that Clinton reached a civil resolution with a criminal prosecutor.

The Clinton-Ray agreement occupies a legal space somewhere between a declination and a plea bargain. Ray declined to indict Clinton for criminal perjury (as in a declination), but he also struck a deal that requires Clinton to admit his evasions in the Jones proceedings and to pay a price (as in a plea bargain).

The deal brings in a third party, the Arkansas Supreme Court's Committee on Professional Conduct, which was considering disbarment of Clinton--a civil action--over his alleged perjury. How exactly the deal was brokered is not clear. But here's what it offers the three parties: Ray goes home knowing that Clinton received some punishment for his behavior. The Supreme Court's committee gets the same satisfaction. And Clinton frees himself from the clutches of a criminal prosecutor and from a civil proceeding in which he could have been disbarred.

Next question?

Explainer thanks Paul Butler, professor of criminal law at George Washington University Law School, and Jamin Raskin, professor of constitutional law at American University.

Chris Suellentrop, a former Slate staffer, writes "The Opinionator" for the New York Times.
Article URL:
10977  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: August 22, 2008, 09:14:50 AM
Can you cite the source for your statistics?
10978  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues on: August 22, 2008, 09:08:18 AM
Ok, say it's you vs. Johnny Ratzo. Now you're standing over Johnny but no passer-by has dialed 911. Are you going to call 911? What do you say to the dispatcher on the recorded line? Do you have an attorney on retainer? Will your attorney call 911 for you ?
10979  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Russia-Georgia on: August 21, 2008, 09:42:07 PM
Ahhh I have always liked the quote, "I don't care if he's a dictator as long as he's (America) our dictator".  So true; we have supported so many despots and butchers to further our own gain and oddly quite a few have come back to bite us.  And only then do we act noble and indignant. 

**Let's just put aside what we did in rebuilding Germany and Japan post-WWII and examine other dictators we were aligned with. Taiwan and South Korea spring to mind. Initially they were both quite totalitarian when we aligned with them out of pragmatism. Over time, we were able to pressure them into becoming very decent nations with human rights and free elections, not to mention quite a bit of prosperity. Which side of the Korean border would you rather live on? Would you rather live in Taipei or Beijing?**

We can't be the policeman of the world; tragedy happens, or as GM said, "War is brutal and horrible." 

**It is brutal and horrible. There is nothing romantic or wonderful about war, much like choosing to have a limb amputated, it's something to do only when there is no other viable option. True enough that we at any one time can't address every wrong in the world and confront every dictator, this does not mean that we can't act in a manner that furthers the cause of human freedom as well as our national interest.**

GM, I believe YOU said, "If I had to choose between dead enemy civilians and dead US troops, I'ld choose for dead enemies."  Obviously, you don't care a whole lot for those innocent civilians - so what's your point or criticism of the "liberal left"?

**If I had to choose that an utterly sterile war could be fought where no innocents at all were killed or wounded, that would be my preference. If there was never a need for war ever, that would be even better. The US goes to incredible lengths to avoid the deaths of innocents and tries to provide humanitarian aid while engaging in combat operations. This is because of core American values. The left loves to claim to care about people, but does nothing but love and support the worst dictators and ideologies on the planet, so long as they are sufficiently anti-american.**
10980  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizens defend themselves/others. on: August 21, 2008, 08:33:02 PM
More kids die from drowning in swimming pools every year than are killed by firearms. I'm saying it's long past time we ban the possession of swimming pools.  evil
10981  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues on: August 21, 2008, 08:30:05 PM
Let's get this straight; Miquel Goodguy killed one (Johnny Ratzo) and wounded two others forcing them to flee.  And Miguel is covered in blood.  No witnesses to how it started, just one witnesses report, "fight in progress".  Seems to me that the Det. has PC to arrest Mr. Goodguy regardless of how he tells the story and/or the previous arrest record of the "victims".

**He does have PC, however depending on state law and department policy, the Det or ranking officer on scene may well have the discretion to not arrest Miguel on the scene while the investigation takes place. Self defense is an absolute defense against a criminal charge, not a mitigating factor. It very well could be forwarded to the DA's office to determine if charges should be pursued. The DA might bring charges or convene a grand jury to examine the case to decide if there are charges to be pursued.** 

Talking to police MAY get him exonerated OR arrested. 

**Without saying a word, there is PC to arrest Miguel. In choosing to do so, he risks losing evidence that could be collected that would corroborate his claim of self defense. Lots of jurors expect that a rightious person would indeed make some sort of statement to law enforcement, especially a statement asserting self defense.**

And his own words might bury him later.  The "disparity of force and violence of the assault" needs to be proven and evaluated by the DA. 

**If there were three assailants, that's all you need for disparity of force that would justify Miguel using deadly force. There are plenty of use of force expert witnesses that can testify how three unarmed attacks can quickly overwhelm a single person and cause him/her serious bodily injury/death. Most everyone in law enforcement understands this concept**

And hanging overhead is the potential civil action of the "sweet and innocent" bride of dear but dead Johnny Ratzo. 

**Civil liability hangs over the head of everyone at all times. In self defense, the 1st problem is surviving the confrontation, the 2nd is the criminal justice system, the civil side is the least of your worries. If Miguel ends up doing time in the CDC, a civil suit from Johnny Ratzo's survivors is really the least of his problems. If Miguel were cleared on the criminal side, then it would be tougher to pursue something on the civil side. Still, that's the least of the concerns in this scenario.**

What was Mr. Goodguy's state of mind?  Could lethal force have been avoided?  Did he try to retreat, or did he take the attack to them?  We (the police) don't know the "facts", just Mr. Goodguy's opinion. 

**Once Miguel makes the assertion that he acted in self defense, then he has a due process right to that assertion being investigated as the caselaw I posted above says. The investigation pieces together facts, and with a degree of cooperation from Miguel then there is opportunity for evidence that corroborates his claim that there were multiple attackers to be found and documented.**

I still would think Basic Rule # is to keep your mouth shut.  "I am so shook up, I just can't talk right now..." and wait until your attorney arrives is good advice.  Wait for an attorney; his job is to defend you.

**Big boy rules apply. You do what you think is in your best interest. Unless you have a prior professional relationship with an attorney and a LARGE retainer, it's very unlikely he/she will be rolling to represent you minutes after a self defense incident.**

As an example, most Officer Involved Shooting Protocols ask for the officer involved to give a voluntary statement immediately after the shooting. 

**OIS policies vary from dept. to dept. Law enforcement officers have issues related to Garrity that allows the agency to compel a statement/written report that citizens don't face. My dept. requires a written report for any use of force to be completed before the end of the shift. Were I to have a similar encounter with a Johnny Ratzo while off duty, i'd make an initial statement to the responding officers to ensure that they had the evidence that would corroborate my assertion of a lawful use of force. Yes, i'd get legal representation, but i'd make an initial statement as well**

 Yet in nearly every case BEFORE giving a voluntary statement to his own police department the officer involved will "speak with their attorney PRIOR to giving a voluntary statement."  Now, if a police officer thinks an attorney is necessary BEFORE he gives a voluntary statement, I sure do!

**The point were are debating is not to have an attorney or not, but if it's good policy to never talk to the police, no matter what.**
10982  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Russia-Georgia on: August 21, 2008, 08:51:35 AM
The Left, Georgia and Double Standards   
By Steven Plaut | Thursday, August 21, 2008

Putin's Russia is, at this very moment, in the process of inventing a new "nation" that is in need of "self-determination" as a shrewd and brutal ploy to break up Georgia. It is has shrewdly coordinated moves by separatists inside Georgia to serve as a justification for its own invasion.

The Putin regime articulates outrage about the mistreatment of the Ossetians, while mysteriously being totally callous about its own human rights abuses inside Russia, especially in Chechnya. It is obvious that the  Russians are preaching human rights and self-determination as a weapon to engage in aggression. 

The story brings to mind two historical parallels. The first is the campaign by Nazi Germany on behalf of "self-determination" for the Sudeten Germans inside Czechoslovakia in the 1930s.  Germany also invented a "people" in need of self-determination inside the small state it had designs on. Thus, it invented claims of human rights abuses and then used the separatist activities of the Sudetens as an excuse to invade and demolish Czechoslovakia. It goes without saying that human rights were respected much more inside Czechoslovakia than inside Nazi Germany.  And ethnic Germans already had their own sovereign countries they could migrate to if they were unhappy in the Sudeten areas of Czechoslovakia.

The other historical parallel concerns the invention of a "Palestinian people."  The Arabs use the "Palestinian" separatist movement in a similar way to how Russia uses the Ossetian separatists.  The Arabs and their apologists invent tales of "human rights abuses" by Israel of "Palestinians" much like Russia invents stories about Georgian mistreatment of Ossetians. Never mind that the human rights of Arabs inside Israel are respected infinitely better than are those of Arabs inside Arab countries, and that non-Arabs inside Arab countries are treated even worse.  The world is up in arms about so-called Israeli "apartheid," while in reality Israel is the only Middle East regime that is not an apartheid regime.

Yes, the Georgians did sometimes mistreat the Ossetians and the Ossetians have a far stronger case for self-determination than the "Palestinians."  The Ossetians speak their own language unrelated to that of their neighbors and have their own culture.  In comparison, the "Palestinians" are far less different culturally and less distinct linguistically from the Arabs in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria (whence most of them migrated into "Palestine" in the late 19th and early 20th century).

These phenomena beg a serious question: If the world is horrified at Russian aggression and behavior towards Georgians, where is its outrage at Arab aggression towards Israel and behavior identical to that of Russia?  Why are those who dismiss the claims of a right to self-determination by Ossetians not dismissing as a similar Sudeten-style ploy the demands for "Palestinian self-determination?" Why are Palestinians, who enjoy treatment far better than that of the Ossetians and the Chechens, the focus of countless media exposes about their imaginary mistreatment by Israel?

And where are all those solidarity protesters? Where are the "International Solidarity Movement" protesters who like to attack Israeli troops and police and to serve as "human shields" to protect the Palestinian "victims" of Israeli self-defense? Why are they not rushing to Ossetia and Georgia to stand up to the Russian troops, throwing rocks at them and singing Kun-Ba-Ya? 

Where are the leftist human shields blocking the path of Russian military vehicles the same way they block Israeli Defense Forces operations? Are they afraid they will not be served the same nice gourmet lattes they get when Israeli forces apprehend them for hooliganism in the West Bank?

Why are leftists not organizing ships to break the Russian blockade of the Georgia coast the same way they are trying to provide sea-borne aid to the Hamas in Gaza?  Where are the Rachel Corries and why are they not challenging Russian bulldozer crews?  Why are the Anarchists against the Wall not hopping planes to Tbilisi to challenge Russian construction crews erecting walls in Abkhazia and Ossetia?  Why are the Israeli leftist professors not holding pro-Ossetian poetry readings and solidarity rallies in Tbilisi?

Here we have the hypocrisy of the members of the political faith exposed for all to see.

Steven Plaut is a professor at the Graduate School of the Business Administration at the University of Haifa and is a columnist for the Jewish Press. A collection of his commentaries on the current events in Israel can be found on his "blog" at
10983  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: August 20, 2008, 11:05:15 PM

Obama channels UN’s Egeland in sneering at American charity

As if Barack Obama didn’t do enough damage with his “above my pay grade” response on abortion at the Saddleback Church presidential forum on Saturday, Jay Ambrose finds another revealing nugget in a different answer Obama gave Rick Warren.  When asked about his own shortcomings, Obama gave an initially touching response in identifying a “fundamental selfishness” in his youth that led to destructive behaviors.  Unfortunately, Obama then expanded on his statement to accuse Americans of a lack of charity:

“Americans’ greatest moral failure in my lifetime,” he said, “has been that we still don’t abide by that basic precept in Matthew that whatever you do for the least of my brothers, you do for me.”

Sorry, but he can hang that one up. Whatever the case is with his own selfishness, the evidence of an internationally superior American generosity is impressive, beginning with the numbers on our charitable giving. We give twice as much as the British per capita, and according to The American magazine, seven times as much as the Germans and 14 times as much as the Italians.

Even in inflation-adjusted dollars, the amount given each year just keeps getting larger, and meanwhile, we do far more volunteer work than in other industrialized countries.

Obama’s allegation echoes that of then-UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland in December 2004.  In the immediate aftermath of the Asian tsunami disaster, Egeland commented that America was “stingy” (as well as other Western nations).  He called on the US to take more money in taxes so that the funds could get redirected to the UN relief funds:

“It is beyond me why are we so stingy, really,” the Norwegian-born U.N. official told reporters. “Christmastime should remind many Western countries at least, [of] how rich we have become.”

“There are several donors who are less generous than before in a growing world economy,” he said, adding that politicians in the United States and Europe “believe that they are really burdening the taxpayers too much, and the taxpayers want to give less. It’s not true. They want to give more.”

This makes sense if people count only that charity taken by threat of force by the government.  Even then, the notion made no sense; the US sent a massive Navy presence to the islands devastated by the tsunamis to ensure the proper distribution of relief, at no small cost to our nation and military during a period when we were fighting two wars.  Even apart from that, Americans raised over $2 billion privately for tsunami relief, more than doubling the $900 million spent by the US government.

In fact, no country even came close to our efforts in tsunami relief.  Germany and Australia gave $1.3 billion, the UK almost $800 million, Canada $780 million, Japan $500 million, and France gave $300 million.

The American noted the difference between Americans and the rest of the world as givers:

No developed country approaches American giving. For example, in 1995 (the most recent year for which data are available), Americans gave, per capita, three and a half times as much to causes and charities as the French, seven times as much as the Germans, and 14 times as much as the Italians. Similarly, in 1998, Americans were 15 percent more likely to volunteer their time than the Dutch, 21 percent more likely than the Swiss, and 32 percent more likely than the Germans. These differences are not attributable to demographic characteristics such as education, income, age, sex, or marital status. On the contrary, if we look at two people who are identical in all these ways except that one is European and the other American, the probability is still far lower that the European will volunteer than the American.

In Spain, the government studied this question and found that the US more than doubled any Western nation in per-capita donations (in Euros):


Czech Republic………………25


So the notion that Americans somehow come up short on charitable giving is simply a myth.  Moreover, it’s a myth with a purpose.  The people who float this nonsense want to take more out in taxes so that the elites who run the government make the decisions on how the money gets spent, and not the people who originally earn the money.

Once again, we see Obama give a knee-jerk Blame America First response without knowing the facts.  Americans give mightily, as a normal condition and especially in times of crisis.  Does Obama think he can win the votes of Americans by slandering them?

Addendum: As Instapundit notes, perhaps Obama can stop lecturing Americans about how to care for their figurative brothers and set an example by taking care of his own real brother, living in destitution and squalor.

Update: And while we’re talking about charity, please visit Baldilocks’ site to help her support the school Obama forgot.

10984  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizens defend themselves/others. on: August 20, 2008, 06:19:38 PM
Some criminals are incredibly sharp witted and can lie with incredible ability.

The police arrive and based on what she saw on the net, grandma refuses to speak to the police. Meanwhile, the little dirtbag tells the police that he was walking down the sidewalk when the old lady confronted him at gunpoint and abducted him into her home. He then says he was trying to call 911 for help when she caught him and told him to tell the dispatcher he broke in, all while at gunpoint.

I wish I could ask the prof to answer that one.  evil
10985  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Russia-Georgia on: August 20, 2008, 06:00:49 PM
**It always amazes me how the left seems not to care how many lives are lost by the people they claim to care for so much. Never a dictator you can't side with, so long as he's anti-american, right JDN? Who cares about the Vietnamese and Cambodians the left delivered into mass graves, right? Why not do the same to the Iraqis and Georgians too? Keep the left's streak going.**

Pinning Civilian Deaths on the Great Satan   
By Mark D. Tooley | Friday, October 13, 2006

A British medical journal is once again inflating the number of Iraqis killed during the U.S.-led liberation of that country -- and pillars of the Religious Left have welcomed the chance to demonize the United States. The Lancet, is claiming that the freeing of Iraq has caused more than 600,000 deaths. The study interviewed 1,849 families and found that 547 people died in the post-invasion period, whereas these families remembered only 82 dying during a similar period before the invasion. From these 465 additional deaths, the study confidently extrapolated that 654,965 civilians have died from Operation Iraqi Freedom.

As one blogger points out, the study claims that more Iraqi civilians have been killed over the last three years than were German civilians killed during five years of intense Allied bombing during World War II.

That is a remarkable claim indeed, but one eagerly embraced by Religious Left activists Jim Wallis of Sojourners and Bob Edgar of the National Council of Churches, who are eager for macabre new grist for their antiwar, anti-American tirades.

“From now on, any political debate on Iraq must start here and be disciplined by these FACTS,” Wallis asserts. “Not by politics, not by arguments, not by visions of democracy in the Middle East, but by the deaths caused to so many of God’s children.”

Edgar sounded a similar note of confidence about the study’s assertions. “When I first heard that nearly two-thirds of a million Iraqis have been killed I was shocked and horribly saddened,” he said. “The perpetrators of this war can no longer tell us this is 'collateral damage' as they prosecute this war. They must face up to the widespread death and destruction that is being inflicted daily upon innocent men, women, and children living in a country that never attacked the United States.”

Even the study acknowledges that two-thirds of these supposed 600,000-plus civilian deaths were caused by insurgents and sectarian violence, not by the Allied forces. At least Wallis makes reference to this. But naturally he and Edgar will latch onto the study as definitive validation of their demand for immediate U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq, although such a precipitous withdrawal would certainly increase the sectarian strife, send an invitation to jihadists, and result in a bloodbath as did our withdrawal from Vietnam (which Edgar and Wallis also supported).

“Any politician speaking about the war should be asked how they intend to stop the violence and blood-letting that has overwhelmed that country,” Wallis demands, assuming it is within the power of U.S. politicians to stop Sunnis and Shiites from killing each other. ”Every candidate running for the U.S. Senate or Congress should be asked how they feel about the loss of all these lives and how they intend to stop it,” Wallis further opines, without explaining how any member of the U.S. Congress could stop all “the violence” in any country.

Edgar insists that “nearly every major Christian church leader spoke out against this war before the invasion” because the war “did not remotely meet the criteria of a just war.” Of course, neither Edgar nor Wallis have ever described what exactly would constitute a just war. Wallis is pacifist who believes that force is never justified, and Edgar, although disclaiming the label, is at least opposed to wars waged by the U.S. military, most especially those waged against Communists.

Wallis and Edgar have long experience in opposing the America at war. Both came of age politically by opposing the Vietnam War. Edgar as a young Democratic U.S. Representative from Philadelphia was even a member of the notorious 94th U.S. Congress, which refused to aid the drowning South Vietnamese in 1975 as they were overrun by North Vietnam's Soviet-supplied tanks.

Like others on the anti-war Left, Wallis and Edgar saw the Vietnam War as purely the invention of U.S. interventionism and imperialism. All killed Vietnamese and U.S. servicemen were victims of U.S. folly. American withdrawal from Southeast Asia was the end of Wallis’ and Edgar’s interest in any killing there. The victorious Communists murdered millions in Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos. Thousands more “boat people” would drown at sea or be killed by pirates as they attempted to flee from their “liberated” lands.

We will never know how many more countless deaths occurred because of the corruption and oppression of the Marxist police states that governed Cambodia for another two decades, and which still govern Laos and Vietnam. The sum total of human suffering caused by the poverty and oppression of those tyrannical regimes is incalculable. Southeast Asia without Communism could have replicated the prosperity and freedom of today’s South Korea, Taiwan, or Singapore.

But old Religious Left activists like Edgar and Wallis ignore the fruits of their activism, trying to relive those youthful days today. Even now, they avoid commenting about the many ongoing crimes of the Vietnamese and Laotian Communists, who came to power thanks in part to the causes Wallis and Edgar led, and whose 30 years of persecutions include the torment of Christians and other religious believers.

Similarly, Edgar and Wallis never had much to say about the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis whom Saddam Hussein murdered, a number that would have been even higher without the U.S. and British air forces giving 10 years of protection to the Kurds and southern Shiites. Like others on the left, Edgar and Wallis exclusively blamed the U.S for hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who ostensibly died from United Nations sanctions against Saddam’s regime. Saddam’s own role in hoarding cash, medicines, and food for his own supporters, while withholding such essentials from his perceived enemies, was largely unremarked upon.

Edgar and Wallis do not have the nerve to assert it specifically, but the obvious implication of all their frenzied activism and statements before and after the U.S. led overthrow of Saddam’s regime is that Iraq would be better off if the dictator had been left in power. They should simply say it. At least their argument would be an honest one. Dictators, however brutal, at least can offer a terrible stability.

Perhaps Edgar and Wallis should go a step further. In his bold and ridiculous new 9/11 conspiracy book, Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11, David Ray Griffin blames the United States for 180 million deaths around the world every decade. Griffin, a professor emeritus at United Methodist Claremont School of Theology in California, claims that the U.S., as the hegemon of a global capitalist empire, is responsible for nearly every premature death everywhere. As such, it is worse than Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, and is today the “chief embodiment of demonic power.” Ray’s book, which alleges the Bush administration actually blew up the World Trade Center and Pentagon, was published by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) publishing house.

Edgar and Wallis, who are eager to accept the dubious claim that the U.S. has killed 600,000 Iraqi civilians, may as well accept Griffin’s bracing thesis in full. Like Griffin, and at variance with traditional Christianity, they see the world as basically an innocent place, sullied only by the demonic presence of the United States. Edgar says he is praying for an end to the “unspeakable horrors” endured by Iraqis, by which he means chiefly the U.S. presence. But the poor Iraqis were suffering unspeakably long before U.S. forces appeared.   

A premature exit by the U.S. from Iraq, as from Southeast Asia 30 years ago, could expand those horrors exponentially. But Edgar and Wallis prefer to slay their own favorite, and largely imagined dragon.

Mark D. Tooley directs the United Methodist committee at the Institute on Religion and Democracy.

10986  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizens defend themselves/others. on: August 20, 2008, 05:14:28 PM
In reference to the other thread, would the law prof suggest that she make no statement when the police arrive?
10987  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues on: August 20, 2008, 05:11:33 PM
In the US criminal justice system, there are different ethical standards for the different players.

The defense attorney has an obligation to advocate in the best interest of his client. Guilty or innocent, right or wrong, the defense is only interested in the best possible outcome for those he/she represents. Not society, not justice, the client alone is the person to be served.

The prosecutor is supposed to be interested in justice and act in furtherance of justice and the public good. Win/loss ratios, political gain are not supposed to be part of their consideration in choosing to prosecute or not.

The law enforcement officer is supposed to be a witness for the truth. Not a cat's paw of the prosecution or an enemy of the defense but a fair and impartial finder of fact. Conducting an investigation is like doing a complex math problem, not only do you need to get the right answer, you have to show your work. Through the entire legal process, you need to be able to demonstrate how you went from the start of the investigation and arrived at probable cause, and hopefully beyond a reasonable doubt.

If a woman gets murdered, and the husband tells you about a one armed man that did it, you'd better make a good faith effort to investigate that claim. Based on actuarial tables, the husband is the best suspect, but although statistics and patterns of crime are something to be aware of, you need to pursue every lead and follow the evidence where it leads you. You don't assume the husband did it, then try to assemble a case against him, you make a good faith effort to reconstruct what did happen and pursue every lead. What the law professor leaves out, is that every bit of evidence will be examined and every aspect of the investigation will be deconstructed and scrutinized on the stand.

As the caselaw I posted above states, as an investigator, you are obligated to turn over potentially exculpatory evidence to the prosecutor for discovery purposes. Failing to do so not only compromises the case, it places you in legal jeopardy if you fail to act in good faith.

Let me address the prof's core claim. If you are guilty of a crime, don't speak to the police. Agreed. However, if you did something that is potentially illegal, or potentially legal depending on certain elements you'd better make sure the cops know those elements that will vindicate you.

Let's say Miguel is walking down the street in Santa Barbara, minding his own business. Suddenly he is attacked by three thugs. Given the disparity of force and the violence of the assault on his person, Miguel uses an edged weapon against the attackers. One falls to the ground, mortally wounded, the two others flee to tend to their wounds. While the battle was engaged, a passerby calls 911 to report a "fight in progress". As patrol units roll up, the find Miguel standing over the fallen perp, weapon in hand. Miguel gets taken down at gunpoint, cuffed and stuffed in the back of the patrol car.

Quickly, the initial investigation shows that Miguel is a solid citizen with a clean record. The decedent is one Johnny Ratzo, a freshly paroled felon with a violent criminal hx that goes back to his teens. CDC has validated him as a member of the Aryan Brotherhood and his corpse is littered with prison tats.

Heeding the advice he saw on the net from a law professor, Miguel immediately "lawyers up" and says nothing but a request for an attorney. The SBPD det. that catches the case arrives on scene and examines what he has:

1. Dead Johnny Ratzo, apparently killed by edged weapon wounds.

2. Live Miguel Goodguy, in possession of a knife covered in blood who refuses to make any statement explaining how he came to be disheveled and covered in blood.

There is a minimal crime scene to be documented. Pretty much photos of the decedent and any visible blood spatter. The crime scene tech mistakenly bags Miguel's knife in a biohazard bag fearing bloodborne pathogens after seeing the badly infected track marks where Johnny Ratzo had been skin popping meth since leaving Pelican Bay.

So, the det has P.C. to arrest Miguel and because Miguel has followed the advice from the professor, the opportunity to preserve the serological/DNA evidence that would demonstrated that Miguel acted in self defense against multiple attackers is lost. Because the case appears to be so straight forward, no other investigation is needed to pursue the case.

Because of Miguel's silence, the det. never queries any database to check for known criminal associates of Johnny Ratzo. Because of that, when those two known associates drive to Bakersfield for medical treatment, and BPD gets called by the hospital to investigate two subjects with knife wounds, the is no "be on the lookout" flag attached their their names when BPD officers "run" them for wants and warrants at the hospital. Because Miguel made no statement, no one seizes the convenience store camera footage that puts Johnny Ratzo and his two associates two blocks away from the assault, 10 minutes before as they buy malt liquor and Philly blunts before the footage gets erased.

By the time Miguel gets his first face to face with his attorney, he's in county in an orange jumpsuit and all the evidence that would corroborate his self defense claim is gone. Meanwhile, the local press is abuzz with "local man charged with murder" coverage.

Sound good?

Here is the problem with defense attorneys, very few ever defend innocent people. Their bread and butter is defending Johnny Ratzo and his ilk. If Johnny Ratzo gets arrested, then nothing he says will help him, so from that perspective the advice is good. However, if you are a Miguel Goodguy, then it may well do more harm than good in a scenario like the one I illustrated above.

10988  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / DA/LEO lia for failure to disclose exculpatory evidence on: August 20, 2008, 09:34:51 AM
Ok, I'll post more later, but to get to the main points, I liked the Det. although he didn't go into enough detail to clarify his point, but the prof is a bonehead. Confirming my opinion about many defense attorneys, the prof appears to have stopped doing legal research after getting his J.D.

Read the caselaw below and note how it undercuts most of the prof's assertions:

Officer Liability for Failure to Disclose Exculpatory Evidence

Mark Newbold, Deputy City Attorney, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, Charlotte, NC

Police chiefs should be aware that their officers could be subject to liability in federal court for failing to disclose to a prosecutor any evidence that may be favorable to a defendant. Although the federal courts are divided as to the source of this obligation, it appears that officers acting in bad faith could be found to have committed an "affirmative abuse of power." Such allegations against police officers are rare; nevertheless, they are often difficult to rebut. This column reviews the important court decisions on the issue and makes recommendations to police departments to reduce the risk of litigation.

Brief History of Prosecutor's Duty

The landmark case of Brady v. Maryland1 places on a prosecutor an affirmative constitutional duty to disclose exculpatory evidence to a defendant. This constitutional duty is triggered by the impact that the favorable evidence has on the outcome of the criminal proceeding. It requires the prosecutor to evaluate a case in its entirety and look at the cumulative effect that withholding the information has on the outcome of the trial.

Brady arose out of a line of cases going back to the early 1900s that addressed circumstances where prosecutors knowingly presented perjured or false evidence.2 Not too long ago discovery was virtually nonexistent in criminal proceedings. At times, fundamental fairness took a backseat to the adversarial process and the pressure to win. The result is the need for some prosecutors to be reined in and reminded that fundamental fairness is always more important than obtaining a guilty verdict.

The next chapter unfolded in Brady. The prosecutor in that case did not affirmatively present false or misleading information to the court. Rather, the prosecutor suppressed a statement favorable to the defendant after the defendant made a request for such statements. In response to the prosecutor's decision to withhold evidence, the court in Brady stated, "We now hold that the suppression of evidence by the prosecution of evidence favorable to an accused upon request violates due process where the evidence is material either to guilt or to punishment, irrespective of the good faith or bad faith of the prosecution."3 The court explicitly reasoned that fundamental fairness outweighed adversarial posturing and required that the accused be afforded a review of information that is favorable to his defense.4

Prosecutor's Duty in Brady Expanded

In Giglio v. United States, 405 U.S. 150 (1972), the U.S. Supreme Court expanded the prosecutor's duty to disclose evidence relative to the credibility of a governmental witness.5 Later, in United States v. Agurs, 427 U.S. 97 (1976), the Court made it clear that the defendant need not request exculpatory information from the prosecutor. Rather the duty to disclose attached regardless of whether the defense requested the evidence.

In Kyles v. Whitley, 514 U.S. 419 (1995), the Supreme Court reviewed the Brady doctrine and found three circumstances where the duty attaches: first, where "previously undisclosed evidence revealed that the prosecution introduced trial testimony that it knew or should have known was perjured." Id.; second, "where the Government failed to accede to a defense request for disclosure of some specific kind of exculpatory evidence." Id.; and third, where the defense failed to request information or made a general request for exculpatory evidence. Id.

The effect of the above is that prosecutors can no longer feel comfortable holding back some evidence that might be exculpatory. In order to avoid a breach of their duty, cautious prosecutors must now continuously review their files and constantly evaluate their cases with an eye towards identifying exculpatory evidence.6

Favorable Evidence Must Be "Material"

The constitutional duty is not triggered simply because the evidence might be favorable to the defendant. Rather, the touchstone of materiality is whether the failure to disclose the information undermines the confidence in the outcome of the trial. The failure to disclose strikes at the very purpose of the trial itself, which is to ensure the accused is afforded a process that is fundamentally fair before the accused is deprived of his or her freedom or property.

"The question is not whether the defendant would more likely than not have received a different verdict with the evidence," the Court wrote in Kyles, "but whether in its absence he received a fair trial, understood as a trial worthy of a confidence. A 'reasonable probability' of a different result is accordingly shown when the government's evidentiary suppression 'undermines confidence in the trial.'"7

An Officer's Duty to Disclose Evidence to the Prosecutor

Inevitably, some defendants sought to extend the reasoning in Brady to police officers. Rather than correcting alleged disclosure violations by police by remanding or reversing criminal proceedings, several courts in the late 1980s allowed defendants to file civil actions for damages in federal court against officers. Unlike prosecutors who are generally immune from civil actions for their prosecutorial acts, officers are accorded only qualified immunity. Essentially, officers were being held to the same standard as prosecutors but were treated differently when it came to the remedy available to the plaintiff.

One such example is McMillian v. Johnson, 88 F.3d 1554 (11th Cir. 1996), where a former prison inmate sued several law enforcement officials for damages after a murder charge was dismissed against him. McMillian alleged, among other claims, that police officers violated his due process rights by withholding exculpatory and impeachment evidence from the prosecutor. Specifically, officers were accused of withholding three statements from the prosecutor that would have contradicted evidence that was admitted at trial.

In McMillian the court discussed the relationship of Brady to an officer's duty to disclose. "The Constitution imposes the duty to disclose exculpatory evidence to the defense to the prosecutor," the court wrote. "Investigators satisfy their obligation under Brady when they turn exculpatory and impeachment evidence over to the prosecutor." Id. at 1567. "Our case law clearly established that an accused's due process rights are violated when the police conceal exculpatory or impeachment evidence." Id. at 1569.

The court in McMillian relied on the approach adopted by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which reasoned that "police are also part of the prosecution, and the taint on the trial is no less if they, rather than the state's attorney, were guilty of the nondisclosure."8 The court wrote that "the duty to disclosure [sic] is that of the state, which ordinarily acts through the prosecuting attorney; but if he too is the victim of police suppression of the material information, the state's failure is not on that account excused." Id.9

In Jean v. Collins, 221 F.3d 656 (4th Cir. 2000), Jean was convicted of rape and first-degree sexual offenses. The court held that the government's failure to disclose audio recordings and accompanying hypnosis reports were Brady violations. The court noted that a police officer who withholds exculpatory information from a prosecutor can be liable under Section 1983 but only where the officer's failure to disclose the exculpatory information deprived the Section 1983 plaintiffs of their right to a fair trial. Id.

One Size Does Not Fit All

The role of the police is not the same as that of the prosecutor. Hence, it is inconsistent to hold the police to the same standard.10 Moreover, there are several good common-sense reasons for not holding officers to the same standard. The terms "exculpatory," "material," and "impeachment" are so steeped with technical legalistic meaning that even a trained prosecutor has difficulty determining when a piece of evidence falls within his or her duty to disclose.

Furthermore, evidence that is favorable to the defendant may not, in many circumstances, be identified as such until the entire case is ready for trial. In some investigations the accumulation of evidence occurs over a period of years. What may have been a seemingly meaningless statement made by a person early in the investigation may not actually be favorable to the defendant until it is compared to other pieces of evidence that are collected years later in the investigation. In other investigations the identification of the evidence as exculpatory does not occur until the defendant decides to produce his or her evidence. This in effect allows the defendant to control the timing of the when evidence will be identified as favorable&3151;a questionable tactic if officers are to be exposed to damages.

Reducing Liability Risks

Although the federal courts are divided as to the source of the obligation of officers to turn exculpatory evidence over to the prosecutor, it is clear that officers may be subject to liability in federal court for failing to do so. The dust has not settled sufficiently for us to determine just what minimal level of culpability must be involved before officers will be held liable for failing to disclose exculpatory evidence. Nevertheless, it is clear that officers acting in "bad faith" could be found to have committed an "affirmative abuse of power." If an officer commits an affirmative abuse of power then he or she has deprived a defendant of due process under the Fourteenth Amendment.11 An example of bad faith would be where officers knew the information was exculpatory but deliberately removed the information from the file so the prosecutor could not review the information.

Obviously this does not happen frequently. Nevertheless, it is difficult for officers to rebut allegations of bad faith. The fact that information did not make it over to the prosecutor opens the door to the assertion that it was done in bad faith. Essentially, it is better not to answer allegations of missing documents in the first place. The following are some common-sense suggestions that police departments may want to consider for reducing the risk of litigation on this issue.

Consider installing a tracking system that identifies when the entire file is transmitted to the prosecutor. There should be a way to verify that the prosecutor has acknowledged receipt of the investigative file. This way, the department can verify that the contents of the materials were in fact transferred to the prosecutor.

Discourage investigators from keeping a separate personal file of the investigation. Maintain the integrity of the official file. This prevents investigators from inadvertently forgetting to place material in the official file. The discovery of a statement anywhere other than the official file opens the door to allegations of deliberate nondisclosure. It is much easier to keep track of the investigation than to have to counter the allegation of intentionally mishandling a case.

Make sure the prosecutor is aware of "street" files that contain information on governmental witnesses. Always run government witnesses' names through these files. If you get a hit, the prosecutor needs to determine whether the information is exculpatory or effects the witness's credibility.

Come to a consistent understanding on the disposition of handwritten notes. Some investigators choose to discard the notes after they complete their reports. In this circumstance, investigators will have the burden of showing that as a matter of routine and habit they always recorded the entire contents of notes onto the report and therefore had no need to retain the notes. However, if your investigators discard their notes is because they don't want the defense to know about them, they are opening themselves up to allegations of deliberately destroying potential exculpatory statements.

Don't hesitate to document the precise dates and times you discuss the case with the prosecutor. The documentation will come in handy in the event there is a dispute as to whether you provided them with exculpatory evidence. Remember they have prosecutorial immunity, you don't.

Make sure recruit and in-service training includes training on an officer's duty to disclose exculpatory evidence. Do not rely solely on local and federal prosecutor's presentations. They tend to focus only on their duties under Brady and Giglio, rather than addressing the officer's duty to disclose.


Brady v. State of Maryland, 373 U.S. 89 (1968).

In Mooney v. Holohan, 294 U.S. 103, 112 (1935), the Supreme Court made clear that deliberate deception of a court and jurors by the presentation of known false evidence is incompatible with "rudimentary demands of justice." This was reaffirmed in Pyle v. Kansas, 317 U.S. 213 (1942). In Napue v. Illinois, 360 U.S. 264 (1959), the Court continued with this line of reasoning and said, "The same result obtains when the State, although not soliciting false evidence, allows it to go uncorrected when it appears." Id. at 269.

Brady, 83 S.Ct. 1194, 1197.

"The principle [supporting the holding] is not punishment of society for misdeeds of a prosecutor but avoidance of an unfair trial to the accused. Society wins not only when the guilty are convicted but when criminal trials are fair; our system of justice suffers when any accused is treated unfairly." Id.

"When the reliability of a given witness may well be determinative of guilt or innocence nondisclosure of evidence affecting credibility falls within this general rule." Giglio v. United States, 405 U.S. 150, 153 (1972).

"Nevertheless, there is a significant practical difference between the pretrial decision of the prosecutor and the post-trial decision for the judge. Because we are dealing with an inevitably imprecise standard and because the significance of an item of evidence can seldom be predicted accurately until the entire record is complete, the prosecutor will resolve doubtful questions in favor of disclosure." United States v. Agurs, 98 S.Ct. 2392, 2400 (1976).

Kyles v. Whitley, 514 U.S. 419, 432 (1995), citing United States v. Bagley, 473 U.S. 667, 678 (1985).

Freeman v. Georgia, 599 F.2d 65, 69 (5th Cir. 1979), and Geter v. Fortenberry, 849 F.2d 1550 (5th Cir. 1988).

However, it is submitted that the precedent cited does not directly support the theory that officers should be held personally liable for failure to disclose exculpatory evidence to the prosecutor. At best, McMillian relies on authority that stands for the proposition that the officer's actions will be imputed to the state—not to him personally.

"The Brady duty is framed by the dictates of the adversary system and the prosecution's legal role therein. Legal terms of art define its bounds and questions as whether an item of evidence has exculpatory or 'impeachment' value and whether such evidence is 'material.' It would be inappropriate to charge police with answering these same questions, for their job of gathering evidence is quite different from the prosecution's task of evaluating it. This is especially true because the prosecutor can view the evidence from the perspective of the case as a whole while police officers, who are often involved in only one portion of the case, may lack necessary context. To hold that the contours of the due process duty applicable to the police must be identical to those of the prosecutor's Brady duty would thus improperly mandate a one-size-fits all regime." Jean v. Collins, 221 F3d 656 (4th Cir 2000).

In Jean, the court concludes the standard applicable to officers is analogous to the circumstances in Arizona v. Youngblood where the court refused to find officers violated the due process clause in the absence of evidence of bad faith on the part of the officers. (Officers failed to refrigerate evidence connected to a rape).

This column is prepared monthly by members of IACP's Legal Officers Section. Interested section members should coordinate their contributions with Elliot Spector at 860-233-8251.                       

For more information, please contact:
Gene Voegtlin
(703)836-6767, ext. 211
10989  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues on: August 17, 2008, 08:17:10 PM
I think it's entirely reasonable to UA people in "safety sensitive" positions. An impaired person shows up for work at a fast food joint, maybe you get the wrong order at the drive thru. A railroad employee goes to work impaired and as a result a chlorine tanker breaches in the midst of a densely populated urban area at o'dark 30 in the A.M. and you know better than I how nightmarish that would be.

My jurisdiction borders a rail line and I see all sorts of interesting placards on the tank cars passing by at all hours. My PPE consists of a dark blue polyester uniform and reminds me of the old hazmat joke:

"How do firefighters know there is a hazmat spill?"

"All the dead cops laying around"
10990  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues on: August 17, 2008, 07:18:18 PM
I can think of at least 343 reasons that a firefighter would want the NSA to employ their capabilities to intercept and analyze communications in al qaeda infested areas.
10991  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Russia-Georgia on: August 17, 2008, 06:52:33 PM

Check it out and see just how wonderful life was under Saddam.
10992  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Russia-Georgia on: August 17, 2008, 06:46:37 PM
Well, Saddam's thugs aren't feeding dissidents feet first into industrial plastic shredders anymore. His two sociopathic sons have committed their last rapes. People vote. Iraqi Kurdistan is a major success story.

No, Iraq won't be a setting for Club Med resorts anytime soon, but at least they have a chance at a better future. Expect Russia to do anything like that?
10993  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues on: August 17, 2008, 06:42:00 PM

I think the reforms in the PATRIOT act were needed and neccesary. There is a lot of hype surrounding it by people who really can't define why it's bad or can suggest better options.

G M (civ. police Lt.)
10994  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Russia-Georgia on: August 17, 2008, 06:01:37 PM

**It's hardly a good point. We freed the Iraqis from Saddam and are rebuilding the country. I doubt very much Russian troops are building schools and giving medical treatment to Geogians right now.**

Ahhh lately we sure aren't doing a very good job of rebuilding ; and we did a heck of a job destroying Iraq.

– Education: According to a 2005 analysis by the United Nations University, since the 2003 invasion, 84 percent of Iraq’s higher education institutions had been “burnt, looted or destroyed.”

– Medical Care: Before the U.S. invasion, there were 34,000 doctors registered in Iraq; an estimated 20,000 have left since then. “It’s definitely worse now than before the war,” Eman Asim, a Ministry of Health official who oversees the country’s 185 public hospitals, told the New York Times in 2004.


**Yeah, good to cite old and probably misleading sources, and again missing the point. What we do and why we do it is different than what is done elsewhere.**
10995  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: August 17, 2008, 04:06:09 PM


(ANSAmed) - TUNIS, AUGUAT 12 - In Tunisia, which mostly takes into consideration the women's role in the active life among the Arab countries, it might seem controversial but the statistics are merciless: 20% of the married women are victims of violence on the part of their spouse. According to the statistics announced by daily Le Temps, many of them become disfigured, handicapped, receive psychological traumas and in various cases end up committing suicide. And all this, or almost all this, happens in silence between the home walls. For fear of further retaliation, and in order not to allow showing that the marriage has been ruined, due to a psychological and physical subjection which have lasted for centuries, such as that for example which requires that the wife should always walk two steps behind her husband. Feminist organisations have been leading for a long time a campaign to raise the awareness aimed at convincing the victims of this violence to at least trust them and the social workers. However, the fact that the first step has to be made by both spouses in the family remains unchanged. The law, obviously, also punishes this kind of violence. However, the feminists observe that the law is totally dissatisfying. Because if the victim intends to file a complaint, they must present a medical certificate issued by a public hospital certifying injures curable in 21 days. In case the prognosis results lower, the complaint will not be accepted. (ANSAmed).
2008-08-12 14:29
10996  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues on: August 17, 2008, 03:46:05 PM
Lt MedTB:
The "Founding Fathers" seemed to have an appreciation of the weaknesses inherent in systems of power, building in the separation of powers and a system of checks and balances.
All words are open to interpretation, so it seems that it is the constant responsibility of any citizenry to stay engaged in this process of critical thinking; observing, evaluating, voting, dissenting - whatever is necessary.
Fear is a tried and true tactic to erode this independent thinking process, and I think it is worth stepping back and evaluating any large policy changes based on fear to see if they are rational or not, and to see if they are worth the cost.
e.g. "The bad people are a out there and a threat to you and your family. Unless we get the power to "X", we cannot guarantee your safety". True? Not true?

So, are there threats to the US, or is it just fearmongering?
10997  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: August 17, 2008, 03:43:07 PM
**Waiting for American feminists to get upset about this anytime now. Yup, anytime soon....**  rolleyes,0,6108880,full.story

Pakistani women burned by acid or fire rely on beauty of others

K.M. Chaudary / Associated Press
Saira Liaqat, 26, puts make up on a client at the Depilex beauty center in Lahore, Pakistan.
Women who say their husbands threw acid at them or burned them find help in becoming self-reliant through salon work.
From the Associated Press

1:14 PM PDT, August 16, 2008

LAHORE, PAKISTAN -- Saira Liaqat squints through her one good eye as she brushes a woman's hair. Her face, most of which the acid melted years ago, occasionally lights up with a smile. Her hands, largely undamaged, deftly handle the dark brown locks.

A few steps away in this popular beauty salon, Urooj Akbar diligently trims, cleans and paints clients' fingernails. Her face, severely scarred from the blaze that burned about 70% of her body, is somber. It's hard to tell if she's sad or if it's just the way she now looks.

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Moving on

At work
"Every person wishes that he or she is beautiful," says Liaqat, 21. "But in my view, your face is not everything. Real beauty lies inside a person, not outside."

"They do it because the world demands it," Akbar, 28, says of clients. "For them, it's a necessity. For me, it isn't."

Liaqat and Akbar got into the beauty business in the eastern city of Lahore thanks to the Depilex Smileagain Foundation, an organization devoted to aiding women who have been burned in acid or other attacks.

About five years ago, Masarrat Misbah, head of Pakistan's well-known Depilex salon chain, was leaving work when a veiled woman approached and asked for her help. She was insistent, and soon, a flustered Misbah saw why.

When she removed her veil, Misbah felt faint. "I saw a girl who had no face."

The woman said her husband had thrown acid on her.

Misbah decided to place a small newspaper ad to see if others needed similar assistance.

Forty-two women and girls responded.

Misbah got in touch with Smileagain, an Italian nonprofit that has provided medical services to burn victims in other countries. She sought the help of Pakistani doctors. Perhaps the biggest challenge has been raising money for the cause, in particular to build a special hospital and refuge for burn victims in Pakistan.

Her organization has about 240 registered victims on its help list, 83 of whom are at various stages of treatment.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan found that in 2007, at least 33 women were burned in acid attacks, and 45 were set on fire. But the statistics are probably an undercount, since many cases go unreported out of fear.

The victims Misbah has helped need, on average, 25 to 30 surgical procedures over several years, but she soon realized that wasn't enough. Some, especially those who were outcasts in their families, had to be able to support themselves.

To her surprise, several told her they wanted to be beauticians.

"And I felt so sad," Misbah says. "Because beauty is all about faces and beautiful girls and skin."

She helped arrange for 10 women to train in a beauty course in Italy last year. Some have difficulty because their vision is weak or their hands too burned for intricate work. But several, including Liaqat and Akbar, are making their way in the field.

The salon in Lahore is not the usual beauty parlor. There are pictures of beautiful women on the walls -- all made up, with perfect, gleaming hair. But then there's a giant poster of a girl with half her face destroyed.

"HELP US bring back a smile to the face of these survivors," it says.

Working for the salon is a dream come true for Liaqat, whose mischievous smile is still intact and frequently on display. As a child she was obsessed with beauty. Once she burned some of her sister's hair off with a makeshift curling iron. She still wears lipstick.

Akbar, the more reserved one, also carries out many administrative and other tasks for the foundation. One of her duties is collecting newspaper clippings about acid and burn attacks on women.

Both say they are treated well by clients and colleagues, but Misbah says some clients have complained.

"They say that when we come to a beauty salon, we come with the expectation that we're going to be relaxed, in a different frame of mind," Misbah says. "If we come here and we see someone who has gone through so much pain and misery, so automatically that gives us that low feeling also. They have a point.

"At the same time, there are clients who take pride in asking these girls to give them a blow-dry, or getting a manicure or pedicure taken from them."

Sometimes they ask what happened.

According to Liaqat and a lawyer for her case, she was married in her teens, on paper, to a relative, but the families had agreed she wouldn't live with him until she finished school. Within months, though, the man started demanding she join him.

One day at the end of July 2003, he showed up at their house with a package. He asked her to get him some water. He followed her to the kitchen, and as she turned around with the water, she says, he doused her with the acid. It seared much of her face, blinded her right eye, and seriously weakened her left one.

Liaqat shakes her head when recalling how a few days before the incident she found a small pimple on her face and threw a fit.

After she was burned, her parents at first wouldn't let their daughter look at a mirror. But eventually she saw herself, and she's proud to say she didn't cry.

"Once we had a wedding in the family. I went there and all the girls were getting dressed and putting on makeup. So that time, I felt a pain in my heart," she says. "But I don't want to weaken myself with these thoughts."

Her husband is in prison as the attempted murder case against him proceeds. The two are still legally married.

Akbar says she found herself in an arranged marriage by age 22. Her husband grew increasingly possessive and abusive, she says. The two had a child.

About three years ago, Akbar says, he sprinkled kerosene oil on her as she slept and lighted it.

A picture taken shortly afterward shows how her face melted onto her shoulders, leaving her with no visible neck.

Akbar has not filed a case against her now ex-husband. She says she'll one day turn to the law, at least to get her daughter back.

Both women were reluctant for a reporter to contact their alleged attackers.

Liaqat and Akbar have undergone several surgeries and expect to face more. They say Misbah's foundation was critical to their present well- being.

"Mentally, I am at peace with myself," Akbar says. "The peace of mind I have now, I never had before. I suffered much more mental anguish in my married life."

Bushra Tareen, a regular client of Liaqat's, praises her work.

"I feel that her hands call me again and again," Tareen says. She adds that Liaqat and Akbar remind her of the injustices women face, and their ability to rise above them.

"When I see them, I want to be like them -- strong girls," she says.

Liaqat is grateful for having achieved her goal of being a beautician. She worries about her eyesight but is determined to succeed.

"I want to make a name for myself in this profession," she says.

Akbar plans to use her income one day to support her little girl, whom she has barely seen since the attack.

"I'm independent now, I stand on my own two feet," she says. "I have a job, I work, I earn. In fact, I'm living on my own . . . which isn't an easy thing to do for a woman in Pakistan, for a lone woman to survive."
10998  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Russia-Georgia on: August 17, 2008, 03:08:52 PM
While it is easy and perhaps right to admire and respect the Georgians, one needs to be practical too.  And, sometimes one needs to be fair and put ourselves in the other (Russian) person's shoes.  Aren't we being a little bit hypocritical in our condemnation of Russia when we would probably have done the same thing if Mexico became a close Russian/Iranian/North Korean ally with talk of a missile defense system?

**I very much doubt it. We don't act now, with multiple Mexican military incursions onto US soil, attacks on border law enforcement.**,0,2584755.story

A good point is raised.

**It's hardly a good point. We freed the Iraqis from Saddam and are rebuilding the country. I doubt very much Russian troops are building schools and giving medical treatment to Geogians right now.**
10999  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Russia-Georgia on: August 17, 2008, 02:39:29 PM

August 16, 2008
BUSH AND SAAKASHVILI....Josh Marshall on the Russo-Georgian war:

The truth is that the US screwed up here in a big way. This isn't to excuse the Russians. But we pumped the Georgians up as our big Iraq allies, got them revved up about coming into NATO, playing all this pipeline politics, all of which led them to have a much more aggressive posture toward the Russians than we were willing, in the final analysis, to back up. So now they've gotten badly mauled.

I've read variations on this theme about a hundred times now, and I really feel like some pushback is in order. The idea that we somehow prompted Mikheil Saakashvili to undertake his invasion of South Ossetia last week just doesn't bear scrutiny.

Look: Saakashvili came to power on a Georgian nationalist platform of recovering Abkhazia and South Ossetia. He's been jonesing for an excuse to send troops in for years, regardless of anything the U.S. did or didn't do. Likewise, Putin has been eagerly waiting for an excuse to pound the crap out of him in return — again, regardless of anything the U.S. did or didn't do. (You don't think Russia was able to mount a highly precise counterattack within 24 hours just by coincidence, do you?)

Now sure, in general, Kosovo + missile shield + NATO enlargement + resurgent Russian nationalism formed the background for this war, and maybe the U.S. has played a bad hand on this score. But Bush administration officials have said for months (i.e., before the war started, meaning this isn't just post hoc ass covering) that they've urged Saakashvili to stay cool. And I believe them. What else would they do, after all? There was never any chance that we were going to provide Georgia with military help in case of a Russian invasion, and it's improbable in the extreme that anyone on our side said anything to suggest otherwise. When Saakashvili says, just hours before sending troops into South Ossetia, that he understands this means war with Russia but he "cannot imagine the West not coming to Georgia's aid," he's being delusional.

The U.S. should have played a smarter, longer-term game here. But that said, supporting Georgia's future entry into NATO and helping to modernize their military really isn't the same thing as encouraging Saakashvili to start a war with Russia. It just isn't.

—Kevin Drum 1:37 PM
11000  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues on: August 17, 2008, 02:10:36 PM

You are active duty .mil, right?
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