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11351  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People on: June 26, 2008, 02:01:40 PM

73% agree.
11352  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: June 26, 2008, 01:37:52 PM

More from our "amigos".
11353  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People on: June 26, 2008, 01:25:16 PM
Finally, a good ruling from the SCOTUS!!!!!!
 grin  grin  grin

11354  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: June 26, 2008, 09:05:13 AM
**Their troops in action?**

Man killed in home invasion; drugs suspected
by Ali Pfauser - Jun. 23, 2008 04:34 PM
Six men with guns and body armor ambushed and killed a man in his Phoenix home Sunday, firing over one hundred rounds into the house.

No one else was injured. Investigators believe the house was being used to sell marijuana and the shooting was not random. Nevertheless, the large amount of ammunition alarmed authorities.

"We have seen an increasing amount of these type of violent crimes in the past five months," Phoenix Police Sgt. Joel Tranter said. "We want the public to realize that these types of crimes will not be tolerated in Phoenix."

Phoenix police officials gave the following details about the case: Special Assignments Unit detectives were near the area of 83rd Avenue and Encanto Boulevard when they heard gunshots coming from a neighborhood. The detectives began to drive toward the gunshots where they were directed by neighbors to a nearby house.

Once inside the home, detectives discovered the body of Andrew Williams, 30, shot numerous times, Phoenix Police Detective Cindy Scott said.

As police searched the gunshot-riddled house they determined over 100 rounds of various calibers of ammunition were used.

Police also recovered marijuana and body armor from the house.

As more investigators came to help, they noticed a red Chevrolet Tahoe driving suspiciously in the neighborhood. Detectives followed the vehicle to 7th Street and Coronado Road where Daniel Garcia-Saenz, 24; Manual Garcia-Trejom, 25; and Rodolfo Madrigal Lopez, 19, jumped out and ran from the vehicle before being apprehended by authorities.

All three suspects were wearing law-enforcement-like body armor. Helmets and various weapons were recovered from the suspect's vehicle.

Police believe there are three more suspects still outstanding in the case, Scott said.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Phoenix Police Department at 602-262-6141 or 480-WITNESS.
11355  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: June 26, 2008, 08:32:09 AM

It's an innovation in Albania, not mainstream islam, but obviously arose out of sharia law's influence on gender roles in that culture.
11356  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: June 25, 2008, 11:11:58 PM
In recent times, some islamic apologists have tried to market islam as sharing core ethics with judeo-christian morality and tried to introduce the "Abrahamic faiths" meme. This is exhibit A on why that is not true:
11357  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: June 25, 2008, 11:06:52 PM
CCP I certainly didn't count all the rights married couples have compared to non-married couples'   It is likely they were very generous in how they counted.   
Another huge lack  between  partnership and marriage is immigrations rights for your partner. I have a friend that was thinking of leaving the country to be with his boyfriend but thankfully the boyfriend got a green card. 


**So, some discrimination is ok then?**

I guess it has do with my definition of marriage. I think marriage is life partnership between two people.   A child is not yet old enough to consent and polygamous marriage is not an equal partnership

***So, you are falling back to this nation's moral and legal definitions when it suits your purpose.***
**So those that act in a manner that you find morally unacceptable should face punitive acts by the legal system?**


It has nothing to do with my finding it morally unacceptable. If a man  or a woman  makes a partnership with a spouse and  he/ she does not live up to his/her  end of it he/she should face punitive acts by the legal system in case of divorce especially in something  so basic to the marriage  as sexual fidelity.

***Again, when it suits your purpose then legal discrimination is acceptable, right?***
**Would a Boy Scout troop leader that engaged in heterosexual wife-swapping, group sex and sadomasochistic bondage and domination be more or less acceptable to you than a openly gay troop leader? If not, why not?**

I don't see the connection between homosexual sex and what you mentioned.    Do you see the connection between those things and interracial marriage because that use to be common.  I  personally have no interest  in discussing  the pros and cons of  wife swapping,  bondage,  nambla, incest etc.   If you think they are worth discussing go right ahead  but I will not be participating.

***Because you can't defend your point. This is why you won't defend it. Homosexual conduct is commonly defined as sexually deviant behavior in traditions judeo-christian morality, as are the other sexual acts that you don't want to defend. "Gay marriage" is imposed on us by judicial imperialism by activist judges because it doesn't win in the legislatures and ballot initiatives. Your core argument seems to be  "It should be legal because I know some gay people and they are nice."***

Crafty_ Dog
Rachel, forgive my martian linearity  wink but this is not the question presented.  The question presented is whether
a) the Consitution compels the State to make it a crime or civil offense
b) the State should make it a crime or civil offense

A.I'm sorry -- I  don't feel capable of answering that question 
B.  The short answer is yes for actions not thoughts ( sexual orientation should have the  same protections for that we do for  gender, age, disabilities, etc) but the long answer there would be exceptions.  For example religious organizations should be able to discriminate.    ( I didn't think that was a question I was avoiding -- I thought I had answered it Huh   

11358  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: June 25, 2008, 05:38:49 PM
Not only did the Times give America a fraudulent picture of the Soviet Union in the 1930s; its coverage of the Holocaust in the next decade suggests a determination both to maintain an appearance of impartiality and to preserve an illusion that Hitler’s regime was not as monstrous as it really was. Hitler’s destruction of the Jews was so blatantly evil that to write about it in a civilized and responsible manner meant taking sides; but that was apparently too much for the Times to ask of itself. Though it was already well established by 1942 that the Nazis intended to exterminate European Jewry, as Laurel Leff notes in her 2005 book Buried by the Times, the newspaper’s European correspondents “would not be the ones to disclose this information.” Though the Times (then as now) prided itself on covering even relatively minor international news, it managed not to report the decimation of the Jewish populations of whole cities and countries. When the State Department confirmed the murder of approximately two million Jews in German-occupied areas, the Times ran the story on page ten. When the Times did run stories about the Holocaust, moreover, it deliberately obscured the fact that the victims were being killed because they were Jews. It even avoided using the word “Jews,” routinely referring to the victims as “refugees” or identifying them by nationality. And it repeatedly served up the fiction that they had been killed because they were opponents or perceived opponents of the Nazi regime.

Leff’s exhaustive account of this ignominy makes it clear that the Times considered it more important to seem objective than to tell the whole truth about Nazi genocide. In a letter written at the time, Sulzberger explained that he had to remain “disassociated from active participation in any movement which springs from the oppression of the Jews in Germany” so as not to compromise “the unprejudiced and unbiased position of the Times.” In other words, he was holding up as a journalistic ideal a neutral stance toward the extermination of millions. Amoral though this insistence on “objectivity” was, however, even it seems to have been largely a cover for something else — namely a simple failure of institutional courage. Reading Leff’s book, one gathers that if those in power at the Times chose to systematically mute the facts about the Holocaust, it was largely for no more profound reasons than that they, like their counterparts today who sugarcoat Islam, didn’t want to endanger their position in the cultural elite, or even risk, say, a modicum of discomfort at the occasional dinner party. It was more important to them to maintain their own status, not to mention the newspaper’s reputation, than to fully and honestly report the facts about a historically unprecedented act of monstrous evil.

One also has the impression that the Holocaust-hiders then, like the whitewashers of European Islam now, felt that, all in all, it was best to soft-pedal horrors — almost as if denying the terrible truth, or at least drastically diminishing it, would somehow make it less real or less horrible. Michael Marrus (quoted by Leff) speaks of reporters’ “unwillingness to break established patterns to help the Jews” — which strikingly echoes an observation by Harrison Salisbury (quoted by Taylor) that Duranty was “incapable of reporting something that broke the pattern he had established.” Indeed, it can seem that for the Times, when it comes to the very biggest and most disturbing stories, the “news that’s fit to print” was, and is, often the news that best fits the paper’s pre-existing picture of the world. In this sense, the Times is not a liberal newspaper at all, but deeply conservative, determined above all to provide its largely comfortable and affluent readers with a consistent, predictable picture of the world that doesn’t challenge their own worldview in any significant way or make them feel obliged to deal with things they’d prefer not to deal with. Certainly a loyalty to “established patterns” is a factor in the refusal by the Times and other media today to report honestly on the dramatic changes in European society wrought by the continent’s ongoing Islamization.

At both the Holocaust-era and present-day Times, one senses a dread over appearing to take the side of European Jews — whether the Jews are being exterminated by Germans (as they were then) or tormented by Muslims (as is the case today). Leff’s conclusion is striking: “When confronted with the facts of mass murder, journalists reacted as if they had no understanding of what those facts meant.” She quotes an observation by Saul Friedlander about “the simultaneity of considerable knowledge of the facts and of a no less massive inability or refusal to transform these facts into integrated understanding.” This is a remarkably apt description of the Times’s approach to Islam in the West today: the facts, the anecdotes, the statistics, all add up to a clear, coherent picture of what some of us have called cultural jihad or soft jihad; but the Times, and the innumerable news organs around the world that follow its lead and/or share its mindset, categorically decline to add the pieces up. In the 1940s, reporters recognized the reality of the Holocaust even as they refused, or on some level were unable, to accept it; a similar psychological process seems to be in operation today with regard to Islam. As Seth Lipsky noted in a cogent review of Leff’s book, its importance “is in helping us to understand what happened so that we can…avoid the same mistakes now that a new war against the Jews is under way and a new generation of newspaper men and women are in on the story.”

One should also mention, in this context, the very special relationship between The New York Times and Fidel Castro. William F. Buckley, Jr., put it memorably: Fidel Castro got his job through the The New York Times. To be more specific, he got it through the Walter Duranty of mid-century, Herbert Matthews, who fell head over heels for Castro much as Duranty did for Stalin. Glenn Garvin put it this way in Reason in March 2007: “Matthews was the first American reporter to interview Fidel Castro and the last to recognize the man as a ruthless and slightly mad totalitarian murderer.” At the time when Matthews was portraying him as a romantic guerrilla hero who enjoyed broad popular support and represented a serious threat to the government of Fulgencio Batista, Castro was in reality a washout with a ragtag group of no more than eighteen followers; but Matthews’s landmark front-page article of Sunday, February 24, 1957 (in which he called the revolutionary “overpowering,” a “man of ideals, of courage, and of remarkable qualities of leadership”), gave him a new lease on life and established the still potent Castro myth.

As was the case with Duranty and Stalin, moreover, Matthews’ articles and private confidences strongly influenced State Department views of Castro; and his rhapsodies about the Cuban, like Duranty’s hymns to the Georgian, were echoed throughout the Western media. Matthews insisted repeatedly that Castro was not a Communist, and he smeared reporters (just as Duranty had smeared Gareth Jones) who disagreed. As Duranty had excused Stalin’s crimes with the blithe sentiment that “you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs,” so Matthews justified Castro’s abuses by saying that “A revolution is not a tea party.” And though Castro’s victory, in which Matthews was proud to have played a part, led to the murder of countless Cubans by firing squads, the reporter was ready to play down such uncomfortable details, excuse them, and even misrepresent them — in the same way that Duranty had done with the Ukraine famine. Just as Duranty defended Stalin’s show trials and the executions that followed, so Matthews dismissed Castro’s post-Revolution bloodbaths, calling Cuba “the happiest country in the world” (a lie that has lived on for decades in PC circles). In one editorial, Matthews referred to Castro as a “friend”; Castro, in a personal note professing his “deep and lasting affection,” addressed Matthews as “Mi Querido Amigo.”

And with Matthews, as with Duranty, the Times was a willing accomplice. In 1959, when Castro visited the Times offices in New York to “thank the Times for its role in the revolution” — as Matthews’s biographer, Anthony DePalma, put it – Sulzberger was there to “welcome” him, and “Castro thanked Sulzberger and several editors profusely.” (Castro would visit the Times’ offices twice more, in 1995 and 2000.) In a memo written shortly after the revolution, Matthews told Sulzberger that Castro “really wants advice and guidance and constructive criticism from sources he knows to be friendly, such as The New York Times.” Eventually, the Times stopped running Matthews’s pieces on Cuba — not because they were too heavily slanted toward Castro, but because Matthews was so public about his friendship with the dictator. What mattered to the Times, in short, was not maintaining objectivity but preserving an illusion thereof. “It is bad enough,” Buckley later wrote, “that Herbert Matthews was hypnotized by Fidel Castro, but it was a calamity that Matthews succeeded in hypnotizing so many other people, in crucial positions of power, on the subject of Castro.” Indeed. The lingering influence of Matthews’s idolization of Castro — who executed political rivals and put homosexuals in concentration camps — could be observed, as Garvin notes, in such nauseating spectacles as Dan Rather’s chumminess with the dictator in a 60 Minutes interview, Barbara Walter’s hosting a dinner party for him, and Diane Sawyer’s greeting him with a kiss.

This overview would not be complete without at least a brief mention of Times Indochina correspondent Sydney Schanberg, who was immortalized by actor Sam Waterston in the film The Killing Fields. In a 1975 article, Schanberg looked forward to the fall of the Lon Nol government in Cambodia, writing that “for the ordinary people of Indochina . . . it is difficult to imagine how their lives could be anything but better with Americans gone.” This line was quoted in 2003 by Myron Kuropas, who went on to cite Schanberg’s backhanded defense of the genocidal Khmer Rouge:

Was this just cold brutality: a cruel and sadistic imposition of the law of the jungle which only the fittest will survive? Or is it possible that, seen through the eyes of the peasant soldier and revolutionaries, the forced evacuation of the cities is a harsh necessity? Perhaps they are convinced that there is no way to build a new society for the benefit of the ordinary man, hitherto exploited, without literally starting from the beginning; in such an unbending view people who represent the old ways and those considered weak or unfit would be expendable and would be weeded out.

The weasel words “harsh” and “unbending” aside, this passage amounts to a reprehensible attempt to justify pure evil on what we would today call multicultural grounds. Similar language was used to defend Stalin and Hitler. Indeed, to read Duranty, Matthews, Schanberg, and the Times’ Holocaust-era European correspondents is to be struck by how much alike they all sound. Whether they were in the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, Castro’s Cuba, or Pol Pot’s Cambodia, these reporters evinced the selfsame fascination with tyrants and offered the selfsame justifications for tyranny. This mentality is still on view today in the pages of the Gray Lady, as one after another of Duranty’s heirs continue to try to sell the line that Islam is a religion of peace, that “jihad” means spiritual struggle, that only a minuscule minority of Muslims in the West want to exchange democracy for sharia, and that the only real problem with Islam in Europe is European racism.

The Times should have learned a valuable lesson or two from its past. But it’s making exactly the same mistakes today with Islam in the West that it did with Stalinism and Hitlerism, ignoring and discrediting the testimony of honest observers while giving legitimacy to tyranny’s sympathizers and apologists. The Times’s power is such that it might play an immensely positive role in educating its readers about the situation before them and helping them to recognize where their own responsibilities lie. Instead it’s pursuing an editorial policy that bids fair to be every bit as disastrous as was its approach to Stalin, the Holocaust, and Castro. And a large segment of the mainstream Western media is following its example.

Article printed from Pajamas Media:

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11359  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: June 25, 2008, 05:37:42 PM
- Pajamas Media - -

The Times, It Ain’t a-Changin’
June 25, 2008 - by Bruce Bawer

Just imagine the world picture of somebody whose primary — or even (God forbid!) sole — source of news is the New York Times.

In particular, imagine that person’s image of Islam — and of the problems and issues surrounding the growing presence of Islam in the West today. At the Times — as at other important news organizations — the slant on Islam has been shaped almost exclusively by apologists like Karen Armstrong (author of Muhammed: A Prophet for Our Time) and John Esposito (director of the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University). In March, the New York Times Magazine published a long essay by another major apologist, Harvard law professor and Times Magazine contributing writer Noah Feldman, who took (shall we say) an exceedingly generous view of sharia law and its proponents. Last Sunday, the magazine ran a [1] new piece by Feldman, arguing that Muslims are Europe’s “new pariahs” and that the only real problem related the rise of Islam in Europe today is — guess what? — European racism.

It’s a familiar claim, to put it mildly, and Feldman served up the usual rhetoric, conflating the nationalist bigots of Belgium’s Vlaams Belang party with people like the Netherlands’ Geert Wilders, whose views on the Islamization of Europe are rooted in liberal values. Feldman dismissed as “prejudice” concern about first-cousin marriages among Muslims — never mind that almost all such marriages are forced, that the overwhelming majority involve rape and abuse, and that those who have campaigned hardest against them are not “racists” but women’s rights advocates. Feldman deep-sixed the catastrophic rise in rape, gay-bashing, and other crimes by young European Muslim males, the extensive abuse of European welfare systems that is helping to destroy them, and the broad-based cultural jihad which ultimately seeks nothing less than the replacement of democracy with sharia. Feldman insisted that “a hallmark of liberal, secular societies is supposed to be respect for different cultures, including traditional, religious cultures — even intolerant ones.” That’s easy to say about things happening on the other side of an ocean from your Ivy League office. I’d like to see Feldman tell this to gay people in Amsterdam, where ten years ago they felt safer than anyplace else on earth and where Muslim youths now beat them up in broad daylight in the middle of town. Or why doesn’t he try this line on Jewish children in France, who according to a French government report can no longer get an education in that country because of severe harassment (and worse) by Muslim classmates? Feldman further equated Islamic and Roman Catholic views of gays and women — as if the Church’s “rejection of homosexuality and women priests” could be compared to the execution of gays and the wholesale subordination of women to the will of men. Feldman scored Europeans for failing to treat immigrants “as full members of their society” — yet while such prejudice does indeed exist, somehow immigrants from places like Vietnam and Chile nonetheless persevere and thrive (in the U.K., Hindus are more economically successful than the average Brit), while Muslims don’t. The difference has to do not with European prejudice but with Islam.

Since 9/11, the kind of brazen sugarcoating of Islam that Feldman served up last Sunday has become a convention in the Times and other mainstream media. Routinely, news organizations suppress, downplay, or misrepresent developments that reflect badly on Islam; they go out of their way to find stories that reflect (or that can be spun in such a way as to reflect) positively on it; and they publish professors and intellectuals and “experts” like Feldman, who share the media’s determination to obscure the central role of jihadist ideology in the current clash between Islam and Western democracy and to point the finger instead (as Feldman does) at European racism.

Yet while a number of media consumers are wise to this policy regarding Islam, relatively few realize that it’s a fresh variation on a well-established tradition. This tradition — which may be fairly characterized as one of solicitude, protectiveness, and apologetics when reporting on totalitarian ideologies, movements and regimes — involves habitual practices that can be attributed partly to institutional stasis, passivity, and timidity, partly to a desire to maintain access to this or that tyrant, partly to profound failures of moral insight and responsibility, partly to inane notions of “fairness” and “balance,” partly to an unwillingness to face aspects of the real world that need to be acknowledged and dealt with, and partly to an inability to grasp (or, perhaps, to face the fact) that the status quo has changed.

To get an idea of what I’m talking about, let’s examine some highlights from the history of the Times — not only America’s most famous newspaper, but the one from which the nation’s media have, to an extraordinary extent, taken their lead for generations. These highlights do not even begin to tell the whole story of the Times’s treatment of totalitarianism over the decades, of course, but they point to something chronic, unhealthy, and dishonest at the heart of the Gray Lady’s editorial sensibility that has yet to be effectively addressed - and that has its counterparts in countless less prominent media on which the Times has long exerted a major influence.

First case in point: Walter Duranty, the Times’s Moscow correspondent during much of the Stalin era. The celebrated British author Malcolm Muggeridge once commented that “no one…followed the Party Line as assiduously” as Duranty did; Tim Rutten, in a 2003 Los Angeles Times article, called Duranty “an active agent of Soviet propaganda and disinformation - probably paid, certainly blackmailed, altogether willing.” Author of a novel, One Life, One Kopeck (1937), that was pure Communist cant and a non-fiction book, The Kremlin and the People (1941), that another old Moscow hand, Louis Fischer, described as a “Song of Praise” for Stalin, Duranty was an unswerving Kremlin apologist: he praised a 1932 law that forbade peasants to leave their collective farms, insisted (to Trotsky’s consternation) that the false confessions extracted at Stalin’s show trials were true, and condemned the Berlin Airlift. It was Duranty who coined the term “Stalinism” and who, rationalizing Stalin’s brutality, first said “You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.” Duranty claimed to want to bring about “Russian-American…understanding” — which is to say that he used the word “understanding” in exactly the same way that it’s often used now vis-à-vis Islam. (What’s being encouraged, of course, isn’t understanding at all but its opposite — a determination not to understand, see, or acknowledge certain facts. In the 1930s, Britons who were desperate to avoid war with the Nazis also spoke about “understanding” in this way - refusing to recognize that there are some things that, once properly understood, must be actively resisted and destroyed.)

Duranty’s position afforded him immense power to shape the American public’s image of the Soviet Union. As Muggeridge biographer Ian Hunter put it in 2003, Duranty was “the most influential foreign correspondent in Russia,” a man whose articles were “regarded as authoritative” and “helped to shape U.S. foreign policy.” While Stalin was shipping people to the Gulag, Duranty’s rosy dispatches were taken by many American leftists as confirmation that the USSR was indeed a veritable workers’ paradise.

His crowning disgrace was his reporting on the Ukraine famine of 1932-33. It began when Stalin, out to forestall a counter-revolution, forced Ukrainian peasants onto collective farms, seized the 1932 crops, confiscated food, grain, and livestock, made it a crime to supply villages with food, and put grain supplies under armed guard while children starved nearby. The historian Robert Conquest has described the Ukraine during this period as “one vast Bergen-Belsen”; in the end, the famine — which many experts and governments, including America’s, officially regard as an act of genocide — killed about a quarter of the Ukraine’s population. (Most estimates of the death toll range from seven to ten million.) Yet Duranty denied that Ukrainians were starving. Reports he filed from the region appeared under such headlines as “Soviet Is Winning Faith of Peasants” and “Abundance Found in North Caucasus.” His biographer, S.J. Taylor, has summed up his spin as follows: “He spoke of happy workers, plentiful harvests, congenial conditions. Any talk of famine, he said…was ‘a sheer absurdity.’” Though in a few articles he came somewhat closer to telling the truth (apparently having seen conditions so horrible that even he felt, if only momentarily, the pull of conscience), he soon reverted to full denial mode. That his colossal misrepresentations were deliberate is proven by records of a private conversation he had with a British official in 1933, in which he admitted that “as many as 10 million people may have died directly or indirectly from lack of food in the Soviet Union during the past year.”

While Duranty presented Soviet lies about the Ukraine as the unvarnished truth, others risked life and limb to get the facts out. A 1932 report by Andrew Cairns outlined in detail the catastrophe Stalin had brought about, but Stalin’s supporters on the British Left made sure it was never published. Arthur Koestler, who spent the winter of 1932-33 in the Ukraine, described entire villages that perished of starvation; and Muggeridge’s own admiration for Stalin dissolved in the face of what he described in the Guardian as “one of the most monstrous crimes in history, so terrible that people in the future will scarcely be able to believe it ever happened.” (The result of Muggeridge’s exposés? Thanks to Stalinists in high places, he was unable to find work in Britain.) Perhaps most intrepid of all was a young Welshman, Gareth Jones, who published at least twenty articles in the U.S. and Britain about the famine. Because, unlike Duranty, he had no impressive institutional credentials, Jones’s articles drew little notice; yet one of them, which appeared in the Manchester Guardian, so unsettled the Kremlin that the Soviet Press Censor, Constantine Oumansky, gathered together all the Western correspondents in Moscow and persuaded them — apparently with little difficulty — to write articles calling Jones a liar. Duranty came through like a trouper: in a piece headlined “Russians Hungry, But Not Starving,” he savaged Jones’s reportage. Taylor calls Duranty’s mendacity about the famine “the most outrageous equivocation of the period. Yet the statement seems to have pacified almost everyone.”

Duranty’s Moscow dispatches add up to an appalling legacy, and the Times was intimately implicated in every last bit of it. A State Department document that was declassified in 1987 revealed that in 1931 Duranty admitted to a U.S. embassy official in Berlin that “in agreement with The New York Times and the Soviet authorities,” his articles consistently reflected “the official opinion of the Soviet regime.” Throughout his long tenure at the Times, there were critics — most but not all of them marginal (Time Magazine decried him as “the No. 1 Russian apologist in the West”) — who pilloried the Times for printing Duranty’s disinformation. Yet Times publisher Arthur Hays Sulzberger dismissed all criticism of what he called Duranty’s “faithful and brilliant work at Moscow.” Sulzberger’s successors, moreover, while acknowledging the validity of the criticism, have invariably done so in tame, vague, and thoroughly inadequate terms. To this day, moreover, the Times has stubbornly resisted calls to return the Pulitzer that Duranty won for a 1931 series of articles singing the praises of the economic policies that laid the famine’s foundations.

Indeed, just as Duranty not only lied about the famine but slandered those who told the truth about it, so Times editor Bill Keller, in a remarkably callous 2003 response to a Ukrainian group that sought to have Duranty’s Pulitzer rescinded, compared the petitioners to the dictator who had slaughtered so many millions of their people, suggesting that revoking the award “might evoke the Stalinist practice to airbrush purged figures out of official records and histories.” When a member of Gareth Jones’s family wrote to Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., in 2003, asking him to return Duranty’s award, Sulzberger — whose family’s newspaper had been instrumental in airbrushing Jones from history — didn’t even bother to reply. And when the Pulitzer board decided that same year not to rescind the prize, Sulzberger released a statement alluding to “defects” and “lapses” in Duranty’s work — weak language indeed to describe the covering up of a holocaust — and offering a few feeble, euphemistic words of “sympathy” for “those who suffered as a result of the 1932-33 Ukrainian famine.”

In the end, as Taylor has written, “fewer words were actually published” in the Western press about the Ukrainian famine “than the number of men, women, and children who had perished.” The New York Times and its man in Moscow deserve an enormous share of the responsibility for this, given the extent to which the American press followed the Times’s lead. (Indeed, many U.S. papers’ Soviet coverage consisted largely or entirely of syndicated Times articles.) Since the U.S. and British governments exerted little or no pressure on Stalin to end the Ukrainian famine, frank and vivid reporting about the famine in the Times might have forced their hands. Taylor notes that of all those who witnessed “the greatest man-made disaster ever recorded,” only Duranty “had sufficient prestige and prominence to exert an influence”; had he “spoken out loud and clear…the world could not have ignored him.” Andrew Stuttaford, writing in National Review in 2001, agreed: “Had he told the truth, he could have saved lives.”

Yet the obloquy is not Duranty’s alone. Sulzberger and his editors understood very well what kind of game their man in Moscow was playing. It was a game of access and of influence. The Times, to be true to its image of itself, simply had to be assured that if, for example, Stalin wanted to give an exclusive interview to only one Western newspaper, he would choose the Times; and in order for the Times to retain that predominant position, it had to play ball (just as CNN, decades later, would play ball with Saddam’s regime in order to be able to keep operating out of Baghdad). Sulzberger and company knew, too, that for the Times to retain its authoritative image on the American Left, it couldn’t challenge the Left’s image of Russia too aggressively. What’s more, they may have thought they were serving a cause they perceived as greater than truth — namely, the cause of peace and solidarity between Russia and the West. Similar motives appear to shape the relationship of the Times and other media today to the complete truth about Islam and to the contemporary Gareth Joneses who have sought to tell it. Duranty endeavored to cover his bases on Stalin, moreover, in the same way that many journalists today seem to be trying to cover their bases on Islam. As Muggeridge explained it, Duranty attempted to write in such a manner that, whether “the famine got worse and known outside Russia” or, alternatively, “got better and wasn’t known outside Russia,” he would be able in either case to point to what he’d written at the time and claim that he’d gotten the story right. In short, he embodied cautious, cynical careerism at its worse.

11360  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 24, 2008, 12:00:44 PM

An indictment worth reading.
11361  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 24, 2008, 11:45:09 AM

Part of the bigger picture.
11362  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 24, 2008, 11:39:40 AM

"Fresh Start or False Start?--
Identity Theft in Bankruptcy Cases"

By Jane E. Limprecht (1)
Executive Office for U.S. Trustees
Washington, D.C. (2)
      Janet Doe (3) received an official-looking letter addressed to her son John. She opened the letter and discovered that it directed John to appear at a meeting of creditors convened as part of his Chapter 13 bankruptcy case. Janet was shocked at this notice, because she knew John had never filed for bankruptcy. John was five years old. Janet sought help from the nearest United States Trustee field office. She suspected that John's father--her estranged husband--filed the case to stay an impending foreclosure of the family home. The father had filed for bankruptcy twice before, and his second case had been dismissed less than three months earlier.

      Ruth Roe's employment regularly took her away from home for extended periods of time. At some point, another woman began to impersonate Ruth, using Ruth's name, Social Security number, and educational and professional licensing information to take out loans for real property and vehicles in Ruth's name, and even to obtain a professional license and employment in Ruth's field. The woman failed to repay the loans, and ultimately filed a Chapter 13 petition using Ruth's name and SSN. Ruth found out about the long-standing fraud when she returned from her work assignment and discovered that her credit record was severely damaged.
      One of Beth Boe's friends asked if she could transfer her house into Beth's name because she had some "tax problems." Beth also co-signed a mortgage note on her friend's house. After falling behind on the mortgage payments, the friend filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Beth's name. The friend actually made payments on "Beth's" Chapter 13 plan for several years. Beth found out about the bankruptcy when she applied for a vacation loan. The loan was denied because of the bankruptcy filing and large home loan listed on her credit record.

      At the request of her landlord, eighteen-year-old Martina Moe signed some documents the landlord needed to "help him own property." Martina did not understand that the documents named her as a co-owner of an apartment building guaranteed by a Federal Housing Administration loan. Some time later, Martina was denied credit because she had two bankruptcy filings listed on her credit record. She discovered that her landlord had filed for bankruptcy in her name to stay foreclosure on one of his rental properties. In fact, he had filed multiple bankruptcy cases in the names of numerous current or former tenants and employees. The U.S. Trustee, the Chapter 13 trustee, and an employee of the Bankruptcy Clerk had flagged the petitions as unusual; they were all filed on behalf of pro se debtors by a bankruptcy petition preparer who had previously used a false SSN, and none attempted to discharge anything but real property debt.
New Law; Federal Initiatives

      Each of these cases represents a variation of identity theft--the use of another person's personal data in some way that involves fraud or deception, typically for economic gain. Historically, the "victim" of identity theft was considered to be the creditor who was deceived into extending goods or services; the person whose identity was actually appropriated had little legal recourse. In October 1998, Congress enacted theIdentity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act, 18 U.S.C. §1028 ("Identity Theft Act") to ameliorate this situation. The Identity Theft Act made it a crime to "knowingly transfer[] or use[], without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit, or to aid or abet, any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of Federal law, or that constitutes a felony under any applicable State or local law."
      To assist wronged victims, the Identity Theft Act designated the Federal Trade Commission as the federal clearinghouse for receiving and processing identity theft complaints, providing information to consumers, and referring consumers to the appropriate agencies for investigation of their complaints. (4) In July 2000, an FTC official testified before Congress that the agency's Identity Theft Hotline, in operation since November 1999, was already receiving more than 800 calls per week. (5) About two-thirds of these calls were from consumers who suspected they were victims of identity theft.
      Violations of the Identity Theft Act are investigated by agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Secret Service, for bank and credit card fraud; the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, for mail fraud; the Social Security Administration's Office of Inspector General, for fraud relating to Social Security benefits; and the Internal Revenue Service, for tax fraud. The Justice Department handles the prosecution of cases under the Identity Theft Act. To help coordinate identity theft investigation and prosecution, the Justice Department created a working group that includes members from Justice components such as the U.S. Trustees, the FBI, and the Criminal Division; from other federal entities including the FTC, Secret Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, IRS, and Social Security Administration; and from state and local governments.

      Federal agencies scheduled three identity theft workshops for the fall of 2000. These workshops were designed to build upon the Treasury Department's March 2000 identity theft "summit meeting," which brought together federal, state, and local government representatives, consumer advocacy groups, credit organizations, and others in the private sector to develop a public/private partnership to prevent identity theft and help its victims. On October 23-24, the FTC hosted a public workshop focusing on assisting victims of identity theft, which included a presentation by U.S. Trustee staff. On October 25, the Social Security Administration held a second public workshop to address means to prevent identity theft. On December 6, the Justice Department's Criminal Division and the Secret Service will host a workshop on law enforcement, with attendance limited to representatives of law enforcement agencies.

Identity Theft and Bankruptcy

      A significant number of identity theft cases are related to bankruptcy in some way. The U.S. Trustee Program's primary role on the Justice Department's identity theft working group is to outline the various ways in which identity theft intersects with bankruptcy, and to explain how the Program can assist law enforcement as it monitors the integrity of the bankruptcy system.
       The cases described earlier in this article merely hint at the range of actions that may constitute bankruptcy-related identity theft. Forms of bankruptcy-related identity theft include, without limitation:

Filing for bankruptcy using the name and/or SSN of another known person, such as a parent, sibling, child, or other relative; a spouse, ex-spouse, "significant other" or ex-significant other; a current or former business partner, co-employee, cosigner on a debt, friend, neighbor, or fellow student; or even a deceased person.

Incurring debt under a false name and/or Social Security number and then filing for bankruptcy, using that name and/or number, to discharge the debt. Sometimes this debt is owed to the government, via a farm loan, small business loan, student loan, or similar obligation.

Transferring property into the name of a relative or friend, and then filing for bankruptcy using that person's name and/or SSN to avoid foreclosure. Typically the transferee agrees to the transfer "to help out," but does not understand the legal ramifications.
Filing for bankruptcy using a false name and/or SSN that was apparently randomly chosen, because it does not belong to a person known to the perpetrator.

Transferring a fractional interest in real property into the name of an innocent person whose bankruptcy case is pending. The pending case stays foreclosure on the perpetrator's real property once the innocent debtor is listed as a partial owner.

Using a false SSN when identifying oneself as a bankruptcy petition preparer.
      In many instances, it appears that bankruptcy cases are filed under a false identity solely to obtain the benefit of the automatic stay, primarily to delay foreclosure or eviction. In such cases, the filer fails to appear at the Section 341 meeting of creditors and the case is dismissed. A record of the filing remains, however, in the court record and on the victim's credit record.

      In extreme cases of identity theft, a perpetrator may wholly co-opt another person's identity--obtaining driver's and professional licenses, obtaining employment, applying for apartments, taking out home and automobile loans, applying for credit cards, and even receiving traffic tickets and warrants under the false identity. Illegal immigration rings have used this method to create identities for illegal aliens. The false name and SSN are initially used to obtain employment, and subsequently to establish credit; ultimately, the illegal alien files for bankruptcy using the false name and SSN to discharge the debt incurred. Whatever the circumstances surrounding such a "total identity steal," the bankruptcy filing is only part of a complex scheme of impersonation, which often collapses only when the victim discovers the fraudulent bankruptcy cases listed in his or her name.

Warning Signs

      Typically, a fraudulent bankruptcy filing comes to the attention of bankruptcy professionals when the victim contacts the U.S. Trustee's office to inquire why he or she has received notice of a Section 341 meeting in the mail, or why a bankruptcy is listed on his or her credit record. There are other warning signs, however, to which bankruptcy professionals and lenders should be alert. They include:
A client's failure to bring a purported joint debtor to meet with bankruptcy counsel. One debtor wife asked her bankruptcy attorney to let her take the bankruptcy petition home for her husband to sign, because he was too busy to come with her to the attorney's office. In fact, she forged her husband's name on the joint petition and filed it without his knowledge.
A debtor's failure to appear at the Section 341 meeting. In the case described above, the debtor wife appeared at the meeting of creditors with a man who falsely claimed to be her spouse and falsely testified that he had signed all of the documents. It is much more common, however, for the fraudulent filer not to appear at the Section 341 meeting. In such a case, the bankruptcy petition may have been filed solely for the purpose of temporarily avoiding foreclosure or eviction, without the knowledge of the true holder of the name and SSN.

The same real property listed in different bankruptcy cases. This may indicate that a perpetrator is filing serial cases in multiple false names to avoid foreclosure on the property.

Bankruptcy petitions, filed serially in the same or neighboring jurisdictions, that contain the same debtor's name but different SSNs; the same names with different middle initials; or slightly different forms of the same name.


      Cases of suspected bankruptcy-related identity theft should be reported to the nearest U.S. Trustee field office (6). In addition to harming the victim, identity theft clearly impairs the integrity of the bankruptcy system. U.S. Trustee employees may, if appropriate, pursue various civil enforcement remedies.
      By statute, the Program is a neutral party that represents the public interest. Thus, U.S. Trustee staff cannot directly represent the victim, who would be well advised to obtain private counsel to address the specific problems caused by the identity theft. Nonetheless, civil enforcement remedies that promote the integrity of the bankruptcy system often benefit the identity theft victim as well, and staff often work with the victim to obtain information necessary for enforcement actions. Depending upon the circumstances of the case and the procedures preferred by the Bankruptcy Courts in the local jurisdiction, actions by U.S. Trustee staff may include:

Moving to dismiss a pending case in which the bankruptcy filer used a false name and/or SSN. In some cases the U.S. Trustee also seeks a specific court finding that the named person did not file the case or authorize the filing, and that the signature was a forgery.

Moving to expunge or void a pending or closed case. The U.S. Trustee seeks expungement from the case docket as well as the court's automated system, and in some cases seeks to have the hard copy of the case file sealed.

Moving to correct the debtor's SSN in the bankruptcy court record.

Moving to have the discharge revoked or the discharge date extended until the SSN is corrected.
Moving for an in rem order for relief from the automatic stay with respect to all real property interests in the debtor's name.

Moving to vacate the order for relief.

Placing the burden upon the debtor to amend the petition to correct the SSN; to obtain a court order that the true holder of the number did not file the bankruptcy case or authorize it to be filed; and to serve that order upon the three major credit reporting agencies.
As in any other case of suspected criminal bankruptcy fraud, assisting law enforcement by helping to obtain relevant information and documents, advising on bankruptcy law, providing expert testimony at trial, and generally providing expertise on bankruptcy law and procedure.
New Identification Procedure

      Over the last few years, a number of U.S. Trustee offices and private trustees have introduced procedures to better detect the use of a false name and/or SSN in bankruptcy cases. In some districts, for example, the U.S. Trustee requires photo identification or notarized verification of SSN for Section 341 meetings conducted by tele-conference. In other districts, Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 trustees require debtors to produce photo identification and proof of SSN.
      The U.S. Trustee Program has begun work to initiate, in 19 districts, a pilot program that will require identification at the Section 341 meeting. The pilot program is modeled after the Program's first region-wide debtor identification procedure, launched by Region 11 U.S. Trustee Ira Bodenstein in the fall of 1999. All Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 debtors who file in the region--which consists of Wisconsin and Northern Illinois, with headquarters in Chicago--are now required to provide the panel trustees and standing trustees with proof of identity and SSN at the Section 341 meeting.

      Region 11 adopted this policy after uncovering a substantial number of instances of incorrect SSNs on bankruptcy petitions. While some of these were typographical errors, others were instances of Social Security and/or identity fraud that were referred to the U.S. Attorney's office for prosecution.
      Region 11 initiated the identification procedure in September 1999 with the Chapter 7 panel trustees in Chicago. By mid-November 1999, all panel trustees and standing trustees in the region were requiring all debtors to comply. In general, implementation proceeded smoothly, and practitioners in the region now routinely inform their clients that proof of identity and SSN will be requested at the Section 341 meeting. Acceptable forms of identification include a driver's license, state identification card, or passport. Proof of SSN may be provided through documents such as a driver's license, Social Security card, or payroll check stub.
      If a debtor fails to provide adequate proof of identity and SSN at the Section 341 meeting, the trustee automatically continues the meeting to the trustee's next date for meetings. If the debtor provides an SSN different from the one listed on the petition, the trustee asks the debtor to explain the discrepancy, reports the matter to the U.S. Trustee field office, and continues the Section 341 meeting; the debtor's attorney is expected to file an amended petition with the correct SSN before the continued meeting date. The debtor's attorney may be required to notify the three major credit reporting agencies that the SSN was used erroneously.

      If debtor's counsel does not file the amended petition, the trustee delays the filing of the no-asset report and/or seeks dismissal of the case. Before the continued Section 341 meeting, the U.S. Trustee field office investigates whether the incorrect SSN was used intentionally or inadvertently, using a proprietary public records search data base. If it appears that the use was intentional, the U.S. Trustee or the private trustee files a motion to dismiss the case or deny discharge, and the matter is referred to the U.S. Attorney for criminal prosecution.
       Typographical errors in SSNs have declined noticeably since this identification procedure was instituted in Region 11, resulting in a more reliable official record. In addition, the new policy has helped to maintain the accuracy of innocent victims' credit records, by identifying incorrect use of an SSN long before the victim might otherwise have learned of the error.
      Clearly, this identification procedure will not catch all instances of bankruptcy-related identity theft. Some filers will fail to attend the Section 341 meeting; others may produce false identification at the meeting. As the nationwide pilot program takes shape, however, the identification procedure will be fine-tuned--with input from the bankruptcy community--to improve its efficiency and effectiveness within each pilot location. Taken as a whole, the Section 341 meeting identification procedure, the civil enforcement remedies pursued by U.S. Trustee staff and private trustees, and the Program's continuing participationwith concerned public and private groups will help fight bankruptcy-related identity theft.

End Notes

1. All views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, the United States Department of Justice or the United States Trustee Program.

2. The author wishes to thank the United States Trustee Program employees who provided information for this article. For more information about bankruptcy-related identity theft, see "'What Do You Mean, I Filed Bankruptcy?' or How the Law Allows a Perfect Stranger to Purchase an Automatic Stay in Your Name," Maureen Tighe (United States Trustee for Region 16) and Emily Rosenblum, 32 Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review 1009 (June 1999).

3. These examples of identity theft are based on cases reported to the United States Trustees, but the names of all individuals have been changed.

4. To help disseminate information to the public, both the Justice Department and the FTC have developed web sites containing a wealth of information about identity theft. The Justice Department web site is The FTC web site is

5. Testimony of Jodie Bernstein, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, before the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Technology, Terrorism and Government Information (7/12/00).

6. Contact information for United States Trustee field offices is available at
11363  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: June 24, 2008, 11:34:11 AM
1516 Hours: Secure ID Violation at Dallas-Forth Worth (DFW)

. . . 1556 Hours: Explosive Detection Alarms at Los Angeles (LAX)

. . . 1653 Hours: Suspicious Individual at Newark (EWR)

. . . 1727 Hours: Suspicious Checked Baggage at John Wayne (SNA)

. . . 1924 Hours: Disruptive Passenger Atlanta (ATL)

. . . 2115 Hours: Passenger Arrested at Las Vegas (LAS)

"The guy in L.A. is a doper!" a voice calls from the Watch Floor.

"Where?" Chan says, turning to Denny. "Who are you talking to?"

"Los Angeles. The guy was nervous about flying, so he smoked pot," says Denny. "No apparent nexus to terrorism."

"Stand down!" Chan tells his officers.

The L.A. passenger was a 21-year-old African American. He had been smoking marijuana. It evidently made him paranoid.

Chan orders a text page: CLOSE OUT LAX; suspicious male pax arrested on charges of Public Intoxication and Fleeing a Checkpoint.

Chan takes another deep breath. So do his agents. The events in Miami and Los Angeles are not related.

As the afternoon dims into evening, Chan eats soup from a vending machine at his desk and calls Kathy at home. "We thought we had something today," he tells her. "How's Jamie?"

Chan's shift winds down with minor incidents in Dallas, Los Angeles, Newark, Santa Ana, Atlanta and Las Vegas. Earlier incidents close out. The Charlotte-Indianapolis passenger was not on a terrorist watch list after all. There had been an error in spelling his common Muslim name. He did, however, appear on a visitors list for a radical prisoner.

It took hours to resolve the case of the Lebanese man in Miami, who had leapt from the parking ramp and broken his arm. "That guy made me almost mess my pants today," Chuck says. "I'd throw him off the parking ramp myself."

Law enforcement officials pulled the Lebanese man's two companions off their flight and found 10 credit cards and three cashier's checks totaling more than $1 million. The carry-on bag the Lebanese man had abandoned contained cocaine.

He told police he fled because he was "having a bad day, and was nervous that he would miss his flight."

2336 Hours: Suspicious Individual in Custody at Santa Clara County (RHV)

Chan is listening to jazz instrumentals as he drives home in the dark. After eight hours of monitoring terrorism traffic, he doesn't want to hear any words. He reviews his day: "Did I call the right people? Get the right agents involved?"

It is 10:40 p.m. Up in the woods on Bull Run Mountain, in a small house on a gravel road, Chan's floor partner, Chuck, is already asleep, wearing his Marine medallion. Chuck will be on the Watch Floor again by sunrise. Before sinking into his dreams, Chuck cuddled with his Rottweiler and his wife, who share a king-size bed.

"Good night, Mom," Chuck said, to his wife.

"Good night, baby," Chuck said to the dog, who sleeps between them. Chuck pampers his pet even more since she's been diagnosed with lymphoma.

In the basement, hang Chuck's Marine uniforms: the dress blues, the green service alphas, the camouflage utilities. The closet is left open. Chuck tells people that being a Watch Floor command duty officer is like being a Marine, "same fight, different uniform." He tells himself, or tries to, that the work is satisfying: "Isn't that sad to say, at 50 you're washed up? Fortunately, we find a place we feel useful."

But then at night, when the truth seeps like vapors under his door, Chuck dreams that there's a national emergency. The Marines call him back into active duty, into real combat. He has the dream once a week; he's sorry to wake up.

"What's the dream?" Chuck says later. "That somebody needs you." Then Chuck stops talking, because he starts to cry. When he cries, sometimes, the Rottweiler licks his tears.

At 11 p.m., Chan's boss, Kent, is still awake, taking calls from the Watch Floor. Sitting in his family room, in his easy chair, feet up, all he wants to do is watch "Dancing With the Stars" and crash. But Kent answers the phone again and again, summoning his brisk, work voice: "Jefferies." It might be a call about the pilot who accidentally fired off a round in the cockpit. Or the three men on USAirways, kicking one another over a seat assignment. Or maybe it's the passenger who strapped a baby alligator to his leg and was caught when the screener saw his pants wiggle. (Kent: "It begs the question, which way was the alligator's head facing?")

Kent's response to the watchmen is always cool, but more than anyone, he absorbs the Floor's considerable heat. "Everyone wants to be the big boss, but it's not so great," Kent says. "Back in the day, I used to run with the president. I used to do a lot of things. I used to make fun of people like me." Now Kent has no time to exercise. Every quarter, he takes a government physical and a doctor checks his blood pressure, "to make sure I'm not going to croak."

During a break in the calls, Kent goes to bed. His dental night guard, he notices, is worn out. Since he's come to TSA, he has started clenching his jaws. He sometimes pulls back his lips, and examines the flat, black crack where his upper and lower bite meet. The iceman's teeth are ground even.

At 11:20 p.m., Chan drives up to Kathy's house. Inside, he checks on Jamie, who is sleeping on her back, holding her raggedy yellow blanky to her cheek.

"She has no idea," Chan thinks, looking at the little girl, "how drastic the world is." He closes Jamie's door carefully, trying not to disturb her.

When Chan opens Kathy's bedroom door, he is happy to see that she isn't asleep. Her red hair is spread out on her pillowcase. Her eyes are half-closed. She is wearing his aunt's antique diamond engagement ring.

"Are you serious?" Kathy had said last week, when Chan finally found the courage to propose.

Kathy had married young, been hurt hard and, after that, closed up. But an elderly man at the Freedom Center told her, "You deserve to have a nice guy to treat you right." After years of watching Chan bumble past, it occurred to her -- maybe the nice guy was Chan.

Now they would be married: Chan Browne and Kathy White. "We'll change our name to Tan," she joked.

"There actually is love," Chan said to her. "I'd stopped looking."

"I'd stopped looking," Kathy replied.

At 11:30 p.m., Chan lies down next to Kathy. He kisses her. He looks at her. He looks back at his day -- "Did I do everything right?" -- one last time. Then he falls asleep, at peace. Five minutes later, the BlackBerry on his bedside table vibrates.

A Secret Service agent in Santa Clara reports: A man in custody for theft and check fraud with possible "mental disabilities" said that in 2005, he took a flight from San Francisco to Dulles. He had planned to hijack the plane, and crash it into the White House.

Laura Blumenfeld is a Magazine staff writer. She can be reached at
11364  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: June 24, 2008, 11:32:14 AM
1510 Hours : Passenger Arrested After Behavior Detection Officer Referral at Los Angeles (LAX)

"The exact situation just happened in L.A.," says Andrew, Kent's deputy, pulling Kent aside. "A passenger took off."

Fifteen minutes had passed since the Lebanese man in Miami had fled. Now, a man in Los Angeles had been referred to secondary screening for suspicious behavior. The man dropped his bag on the X-ray conveyor belt and ran.

The tiniest of frown lines pinches Kent's brow. "Was he Lebanese?

"Jeanne Meserve is going to go live on CNN about it."

"Was he Lebanese?" Kent's frown line deepens.

On the white board at the front of the room, the incident unscrolls: LOS ANGELES LAX SUSPICIOUS PASSENGER IN TERMINAL 1 CHECKPOINT . . .

"Was he Lebanese or not?" Kent asks.

"I don't know," says Andrew. "See if he has grape leaves."

Chan orders another blast notification page, this time about L.A. In his mind, he is "bleeding between Code Orange and Red." Security directors from Newark, Connecticut and airports across the East Coast bombard the Freedom Center with questions. At La Guardia Airport in New York City, TSA employee Robert DeFrancesco, fires off an e-mail:

What about Miami, is there a connection?HuhHuh

Kent, whose motto is "connect the dots," contemplates this: "Major airports on either coast, large aircraft like 9/11. Is it a probe, or is this an actual attack?"

"Get back on the phone with L.A.," Chuck orders the officer who took the L.A. report. Chuck's tremendous hands are flying. He stuffs them into his pockets so he doesn't accidentally whack someone. "Don't let them off the phone till I say so. Tell L.A. we want to compare facts: If he's a hundred-year-old Chinaman or a 12-year-old Mexican, we can take a step back."

Chan's investigator, Mike, clatters away at nine systems on five screens, racing to link the men in Miami and L.A.: Warrants? Border crossings? Did they share a PO box? Rent an apartment together? Mike's face turns warm. Then it gets hot. The Miami man has a fake California driver's license. Mike presses his cold Deer Park bottle to his burning cheek and forehead.

Kent's supervisor, Don Zimmerman, is called, who in turn -- "a few hairs up on the back of my neck" -- calls his supervisor at TSA headquarters in Arlington. Deputy administrator Gale Rossides looks at her caller ID: "URGENT-DonZ."

She steps out of a meeting.

"We have a situation here," Don tells her. "Actually, it's two situations."

On the Watch Floor, the usual murmur is gone. Chan has stopped pacing; he has to take a breath. With "two, simultaneous, 9/11-like activities" going on, he needs a few seconds to focus. "Don't overreact. Don't underreact," Chan tells himself. He doesn't want his agents to see him scared.

But when Chan looks up at the electronic U.S. map, at the Charlotte-to-Indianapolis flight pulsing across state lines, he thinks that armed terrorists might be on board, that the checkpoint running might be a diversion, that the terrorists have companions on other flights, and that any minute the entire map could light up with tiny, white planes.

It's like that dream Chan sometimes has: "I've been at work. It's faded and foggy. It's like you're a cop and in a foot chase. You never catch the guy. You're making all the right calls. Despite all your efforts, it's the realization that something bad is going to happen. And it drops off, like you're falling off the bed."

As Chan stands on the Watch Floor, he feels that same sinking in his stomach. The words flash through his mind, "Here we go again." The terrorist attack he expected. Then another flash: his past shortcomings and failures.

But seared in deep, beneath those fears, behind his own history, burn the faces of the 19 hijackers. He can see them, their eyes, their gaze, mental sketches of the men of 9/11: "three rows of five, and one row of four people. The steadfast, committed-to-their-mission look. Stoic, deliberate and tuned into their job."

Chan has seen that look before, that look of dedication -- in American police officers in uniform. And in him.

If there is going to be another strike, a second chance, "I hope it's me that gets to deal with it."

Chan takes a breath and tells one of his agents, Denny Spencer, in a calm, authoritative voice: "Alert all federal marshals transiting Miami and L.A."

Chan's next step would be to broadcast an emergency message to all air marshals in the United States and overseas; Chuck would dial into DOD's classified red-switch network to contact the U.S. Northern Command (Northcom) and NORAD.

"I'm on it," says Denny, catching the unwavering look in Chan's eyes. He flashes Chan a thumbs up.
11365  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: June 24, 2008, 11:30:21 AM
1425 Hours: Suspicious Passenger at Charlotte (CLT)

... 1442 Hours: Passenger Arrested After Travel Document Checker Referral at Miami (MIA)

At the Freedom Center, Chan rolls past a guard, the concrete abutments and a black metal fence, trimmed with three rows of barbed wire. Inside, he buzzes himself beyond the "SECRET" sign. Kathy works in another room, but Chan isn't thinking about love just now. His eyes tighten. The Watch Floor hums, windowless and dim, high-ceilinged and air-conditioned in a haze of radiant heat. Along one wall, digital clocks glow red, ticking in 10 time zones.

Kent's deputy, Andrew Hosey, sums up the day: "Vanilla."

Chan knocks wood.

The law enforcement databases keep logging off, idle. The air smells of microwaved popcorn. Kent teases Chan's partner, command duty officer Chuck Phucas, who is scanning "Hey, Chuck, what's the matter, nothing going on?"

"Nothing," says Chuck, a retired Marine. Chuck has 26 guns in his basement, forearms as thick as thighs and a 105-pound Rottweiler he loves because "I don't want a rug rat that's good for 30 yards, if you kick 'em right." Every night, as Chuck leaves work, he calls his wife because "who knows who's watching the building?" They have a code word, "in case there's trouble. If I use 'cupcake,' she calls the police."

Chuck had served as a master sergeant in counterintelligence. "We're still fighting the same fight," says Chuck, who is about to turn 50. "We stand in the breach." No one will hurt Americans, "not on my watch, not while I'm standing here."

Chuck is sitting in a polo shirt in front of seven phones with speed-dial buttons to every commercial airline, the White House Situation Room, the Coast Guard Operations Center and the National Military Command Center at the Pentagon.

Chan settles in beside Chuck at the head of the pod. Chan runs the research and law enforcement side. Chuck receives incoming reports and speaks for the Watch Floor on the Domestic Events Network, an interagency, perpetual conference call with the FAA.

It is quiet. "Too quiet," says their boss, Kent, hovering behind them.

Then, a call comes in from USAirways, area code 704. A passenger on Flight 1736, Charlotte to Indianapolis, said he saw a weapon on another passenger.

"I checked him," says Mike Jimenez, hurrying over to Chan with a notepad. Mike, an investigator with the fastest fingers on the Watch Floor, says he often has two minutes -- no more -- to determine if a person is an immediate threat. "He's on a watch list for terrorists. Short, 55, 170 pounds, possibly Muslim."

The profile fits a potential threat, except for one thing. The man on the watch list, Mike says, is, "the man who said he saw the weapon."

Chan stands up. Chuck does, too.

"What kind of weapon?" Kent says. "Hand grenade? Knife? Gun?"

"The butt of a gun," says Chuck, who is getting details from a watch officer. "In a passenger's pocket."

The air traffic controllers had released the plane for takeoff. "They let the bird go," says Chuck. He tells an officer: "Put it up on the tracking board."

USAirways 1736 blips white across the computerized U.S. map. A systems search reveals that the pilot is armed. Ground agents in Charlotte had screened the two passengers, but, even so, Chan's officer calls the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force to meet the plane at the gate when it lands in Indianapolis. Mike, Chan's investigator, gulps water from a Deer Park gallon bottle, as he scours government, law enforcement and commercial databases for clues.

Then, a call comes in from a TSA official, area code 305. "A man ran away at a checkpoint," Chuck says, relaying the notes from the officer who took the call.

"Where?" says Kent.


"Probably an illegal immigrant," says Kent.

"He bolted."

"That doesn't excite me," says Kent. "We've had people bolt away cause they can't take their $40 lip gloss. My daughter said, 'Dad can't you do anything about the lip-gloss rule?' "

"He was tackled by law enforcement," says Chuck.

"Oh, they tackled him?" Kent grimaces and smiles. "That's hard on the knees."

"He was Lebanese."

"What?" says Kent.

"Lebanese! Lebanese!" Chuck cracks his knuckles.

"How do you know?" Kent says, stepping back. A recent intelligence brief had highlighted the Lebanese group Hezbollah, noting: "Tactics include hijacking commercial aircraft and in-transit ambushes."

In Miami, the Lebanese man had presented a fake U.S. passport with a Hispanic name. The guard was suspicious and referred him to secondary screening. When the secondary screener reached for the man's bag, the suspect snatched his passport and ran.

"Create a file, mark it 'hot,' " Chuck says.

"We have two things now," Kent says, ever cool: a passenger in Charlotte who says he sees a gun; a passenger in Miami who flees. Are they related?

"Start a white board," says Chuck.

An officer named Lee starts typing, black letters crawling across a large white screen at the front of the room: "MIAMI SUSPICIOUS LEBANESE PASSENGER, CHECKPOINT/SECONDARY SCREENING. HE DISAPPEARED --"

"Hey, Lee!" Chuck barks. "He didn't 'disappear.' They tackled him! He left behind a bag."

As partners, Chuck and Chan know each other's tension ticks. Chuck gets loud; Chan gets quiet. Chuck slashes the air with his powerful arms, pointing. Chan paces like he's "on a dog run."

The two men are starting to slash and pace.

Chan's investigator, Mike, pulls up a picture of the 42-year-old suspect online, along with his real passport from Lebanon. He discovers in a commercial database that the suspect had bought his American Airlines ticket as well as tickets for two other men. Like him, the two men were flying from Miami to Los Angeles that afternoon, though, notably, on a different airplane.

Chan's agent pulls up a diagram of the Miami airport. Something about the police chase bothers Chan. The Lebanese man had fled the terminal, dashed outside. As the Miami-Dade County Police approached him, the man jumped from a second-story parking ramp. He hit the pavement and shattered his arm. Yet even with a broken limb, the suspect continued to struggle.

"Why jump?" Chan wonders. "Why so extreme?" He'd seen a lot before, but "we never have people running away." Abandon a bag? Leap off a ramp?

Chan says to an agent, "Send out an alert notification page."

The agent begins to type: MIA suspicious male pax ran from ckpt . . .

The text message blasts out to all American airports, federal air marshals, TSA employees and federal security directors, in case -- though very unlikely -- something similar is happening, somewhere.
11366  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: June 24, 2008, 11:27:09 AM
On this Tuesday morning, Chan finishes his run around the neighborhood, his shirt soaked, his breath short, his calves burning, his thoughts scrolling over incidents from the day before: a suspicious golf bag at the Savannah airport causes delays; a box cutter is found in Phoenix on a Southwest jet, wedged between seats 2F and 2E ... As stressful as being an air traffic controller had been, this job is more so.

Chan stops at Kathy's front door and looks up at the sky. At any given moment, 6,000 planes are soaring overhead, crisscrossing America. As a boy, even one -- airborne -- seemed like a miracle. As a man in midlife, Chan wrestles with the dread of even one going down.

"This is like a second life for me. I get a chance to make redemption for the mistakes I made," he says. "I get a do-over, so I can tell Kathy's daughter I did it right."

1125 Hours: Suspicious Selectees on Flight to Las Vegas (LAS)

... 1133 Hours: Disruptive Passenger on Flight Arrested at Philadelphia (PHL)

... 1204 Hours: Firearm Detected During Checkpoint Screening at Birmingham (BHM)

... 1225 Hours: Passenger Arrested After Behavior Detection Officer Referral at Minneapolis (MSP)

Chan takes a quick shower -- "I don't have any hair to wash" -- while his BlackBerry vibrates on Kathy's television stand.

In Northern Virginia, meanwhile, at the Freedom Center, Chan's boss, Kent Jefferies, rises from his desk.

"Excuse me, Kent," Bruce Brown says, poking his head through the door. "Anomalous radar target coming up the Potomac."

Bruce is the division chief for the National Capital Region Coordination Center, which monitors the airspace over Washington. The NCRCC staff, including a liaison to the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) wearing an Air Force flight suit, occupies a pod on the Watch Floor. The men stare at radar feeds on three giant screens from the FAA, DOD and DHS. They scrutinize the green, glowing rings for incursions into the forbidden circle. Every month, there are 20 to 30.

Kent considers Bruce's report. A pair of Customs and Border Protection Black Hawk helicopters swept the area; the pilots found nothing. Still, supervisors at the White House are raising their vigilance to "condition yellow."

"Sometimes computers do weird things," Kent says, spinning the wedding ring on his finger, as his thoughts go round.

"Do we want to put out a page?" Bruce asks. A notification page alerts TSA officials.

"No. You could start a war 'cause you're reading it on your BlackBerry and get only half of it -- 'radar anomaly,' " Kent says. "A lot of times, it's a flock of birds."

Kent is the iceman of the Watch Floor. As the special agent in charge, his blood pumps slower, and chillier, than the shift workers he oversees. "The folks on watch are on and off. I am never off, so I have a higher threshold," Kent says, confident. "I'm supposed to be that person, a step back from the action."

Stepped back, and yet Kent is always there. At home on a recent Saturday, he was on an emergency conference call for so many hours that he switched to speakerphone and painted his teenage daughter's bedroom. When the phone rang on Christmas Eve, he recalls with a laugh, "my wife said, 'If you answer that, I'll divorce you.' " He answered.

Kent is a former Secret Service agent who drove Amy Carter to school, jogged with George H.W. Bush ("That man was as cool as a cucumber; he could shower and stop sweating and be dressed in five minutes. He always beat us."), and trailed Ronald Reagan horseback riding ("In Santa Barbara, he wanted male company. He said, 'Nancy's talking to Patti, and I can't get a word in edgewise.' "). At 52, Kent looks like a paunchier version, with reading glasses, of one of his Secret Service nicknames: Ken Doll.

"I've been 'doing' bad guys for 34 years," says Kent, who can still drive -- hands free -- with his left knee, though he is no longer limber enough to make turns. When his daughter calls him at work, he answers, "Hi, I'm saving the world!" On this Tuesday morning, Kent strides tall, tight and precise out of his office, toward the Watch Floor.

"Bad guys want to launch multiple attacks," Kent says, while walking. "I'm looking for a second or third incident, to tie it together, to link things." Kent looks up at a huge electronic map of the United States. "What are we tracking Delta 39 for?"

Three white flight lines cut across the map. One blip marked "AF2," is Air Force Two, the vice president's aircraft. Another digital white line indicates the path of "suspicious selectees," members of a swim team flying to Las Vegas. The airplane in question is "DL39."

Has the pilot "gone Nordo," short for no radio contact? A common occurrence, and yet each time -- keeping in mind 9/11 -- the watchmen rip though a checklist: Cockpit secure? VIPs on board? Air marshals? Hazardous cargo? Size and weight of the plane? Screening anomalies at airport of origin?

"Delta 39 --" says the command duty officer. "Drunk passenger, making passes at flight attendants."

"Oh, geez," Kent says, noting the flight path over the Atlantic. "From England?"

"Hamburg, Germany."

The bawdy traveler, in Watch Floor parlance, is a "disruptive passenger." On this day, another disruptive passenger, a man with leg cramps in an aisle seat flying to Philadelphia, threatens the crew. An all-time favorite disruption: a young woman on her way to a party in Fort Lauderdale who burst out of the lavatory naked and ran down the aisle.

"You always think the disruptive passenger is a diversion, 'cause you don't know how many bad guys he's traveling with," says Paul Ross, a former USAirways pilot, who works on the Watch Floor. The man flying to Tucson who refuses to lower the volume on his laptop? He is possibly, in the eyes of the watchmen, a mass-murdering terrorist.

Passengers creating diversions to hijack an airplane is one scenario that Chan plays out in his head as he gets ready for work. Chan likes to test himself, a mental exercise he calls "the pregame warmup."

"We cannot be wrong. We have to be right," is Chan's grave cheer.

At Kathy's house, Chan towels off and walks into her closet where for five months now, he has been keeping his things, and where he hopes, against the odds, they are here to stay. Chan hadn't dated for 14 years. And Kathy has, as she puts it, "trust issues ... a hard exterior" from a marriage to a high school sweetheart, by whom she felt betrayed.

Along came Chan, who ran out of gas on their first date, who wore a visor and burned his scalp on their second date, who tried to propose at a recent dinner at Olives in Washington but got so nervous that he dropped his keys, his fork, his water glass and his money clip, sending him crawling and groping under another table.

"You're a mess," Kathy had said.

"All along, I'm thinking, 'I'm going to mess this up,' " Chan recalls. "This is my second chance. Actually, my only chance, at love."

In Kathy's closet, Chan passes her clothes on the way to his. They comfort him. Kathy's gray business suits, her tennis dress, the rust-orange blouse she wears with his favorite brown slacks. He buries his face in her blouse and inhales. He smells coconut lotion, and Kathy.

Chan knots his tie, gets into his car. Hypothetical threats unfold in his mind as he drives. He checks his BlackBerry: A firearm is confiscated in Birmingham; a suspicious man with no travel documents in Minneapolis says he is "hanging around the airport ... wanted to leave the country, but was unable to decide where." A background check reveals that the man is wanted for assault in Chicago.

We cannot be wrong. We have to be right.

Scenarios, real and imagined, diverge, veer off and circle back to the same shaky place:

What would I do in a crisis?
11367  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: June 24, 2008, 11:26:01 AM
The Flight Watchmen
Nearly seven years after 9/11, Americans may feel like safe is normal again. But, to the counterterrorism experts who scour the nation's airspace, safety is hard-earned every minute of every day
By Laura Blumenfeld
Sunday, June 22, 2008; W10

0645 Hours: Peanut Butter and jelly, or ham and cheese?

Chan Browne is standing in his girlfriend's kitchen, making a sandwich for his girlfriend's daughter's lunch. He wants to get it right. Strawberry jelly, not grape, creamy peanut butter, not crunchy, spread thin, not thick, on wheat bread, not Italian, cut in rectangles, not triangles. The crusts are trimmed.

It is dark out still, but Chan's girlfriend, Kathy, has left for work. Chan, a thickly built federal air marshal from Alabama, an expert marksman wearing flip-flops and jeans, picks up a pen: Jamie, Have a good day. Do well in school and mind your manners. Mom and Chan. He folds the note and closes the 7-year-old's Hannah Montana lunchbox. He hopes it's good enough. He hopes he's good enough. He opens the lunchbox and adds Oreos.

For Chan, it has been nine months of second-guessing, of tucking in his shirt, of checking his tie, nine months of dating Kathy White. He has dated pretty women before. In high school he went out with the entire cheerleading team, one set of pom-poms at a time. But his enchantment with Kathy is unlike anything he's known, more exciting than her spark-red hair, more soothing than her Irish cream skin. When she walks into the room, his palms sweat.

Chan first saw Kathy three years ago at work, rushing past him in the hall. At the Freedom Center, a counterterrorism compound in Northern Virginia where Chan is an assistant special agent in charge, the employees always seem to rush. They hurry from the Huddle Room to the Emergency Conference Room, to the coffee refill room, to the Pentagon rubble memorial of 9/11 at the entrance, to the signs on the double door -- "Restricted Area," "Authorized Personnel Only" -- leading to the Watch Floor.

It is here that the officers stand watch round-the-clock with one assignment: Stop another 9/11.

From the time Kathy blurred past Chan until their first drink, two years had gone by. "It was boy sees girl. Boy wants to ask girl out. Boy's too nervous and doesn't," Chan recalls. He felt thrown by her, tumbling back to adolescence. Once, he wandered back to her office, pretending to look for a file. He had planned to ask for a date. When she looked up at him, though, with those clear, blue-sky eyes, he froze. "I almost felt like writing her a note: 'I like you. Do you like me? If so, check yes.' " But Chan is 44 now, achy-kneed, balding and divorced, his days and nights punctuated by the vibrations of a BlackBerry issued by the Department of Homeland Security.

Standing in Kathy's kitchen at dawn in Charles Town, W.Va., glancing at his BlackBerry on the counter, enveloped by the aroma of Jamie's toasting cinnamon Pop-Tart, he thinks about how much harder it is to fall in love a second time.

"You've got all the knowledge of your past failures," he says. You're always on alert. When the first time ends in disaster, the second time you have to do everything right.

Chan's BlackBerry begins to dance, vibrating across the counter. Something is wrong.

0650 Hours: Improper Selectee Screening at Chippewa (CIU)

On a runway at Chippewa County International Airport in northern Michigan, on Mesaba Airlines Flight 3042 to Detroit, a man is sitting in seat 4C, waiting for takeoff. He shouldn't have been allowed on the plane.

The man is a selectee, a person flagged by the government as one who might pose "a direct threat to U.S. civil aviation," according to Greg Alter, a DHS spokesman. The selectee's boarding pass had been printed with a special mark. At the checkpoint, a guard was supposed to divert the man for additional screening. The guard missed the mark.

For Chan and the others who work the Watch Floor, the passenger at Chippewa in 4C triggers the first adrenaline uptick of the day. Chan is at home, about to wake Jamie, who is snuggled upstairs with her yellow blanky. Chan's shift doesn't begin until 2 p.m., but he is tracking alerts and incidents on his BlackBerry because in a few hours they will be his.

Every security breach across eight modes of transportation collects and dumps on the Watch Floor. The unmarked building, originally called the Transportation Security Operations Center, opened in August 2003. It responds to threats to mass transit, bridges, railways, vehicles and roads, pipelines, postal and cargo shipping, maritime matters and ports, and, above all, aviation. One minute, a report comes in about a mysterious truck abandoned on railroad tracks in Delaware. The next, a note is discovered on a ferry in North Carolina: There are bombs on this boat. Do not run. Only a warning. The next, a 78-year-old Egyptian woman in a wheelchair is trying to board a plane from Nashville to JFK with $9,800 in cash and eight boxes of razor blades in her bra.

"You treat every incident, like --" says Chan's boss, Kent Jefferies, bracketing his eyes as if his hands were blinders on a horse, "-- is this the next 9/11? No? Good. Move on."

One lesson of al-Qaeda's simultaneous strikes in 2001 is the importance of communication. Though run by DHS, the Watch Floor houses representatives from the Department of Defense, Department of Transportation, Secret Service, Capitol Police, FBI and FAA. Data from more than 450 federalized airports and 19,000 general aviation airfields feed into the Watch Floor. Analysts try to connect seemingly unrelated -- and unusual -- events as they unfold across the country, to spot trends, to stop an emerging attack. In the fall of 2005, for example, over the course of two weeks, passengers on three different flights stood up in the aisles and fainted. Was it a probe? Were terrorists testing emergency preparedness on airplanes, or were the serial faintings a coincidence?

"You always hope it's going on somewhere, that the military is talking to the FAA, is talking to law enforcement, is talking to the airlines," says Alter. "You hope somehow, some way, those folks are talking, in case something goes bad."

If things do go bad, or at least seem to, men in Air Force uniforms take action. "We're scrambling now!" an officer said on a recent afternoon, running across the Watch Floor. Scrambling fighter jets. The classified radar had picked up an unidentified Cessna in restricted airspace over Washington. As Fox News reported the evacuation of the North Lawn at the White House and broadcast a live shot of people spilling out of the Capitol, a pair of F-16s roared toward the errant Cessna

"We are not sentries. It's more activist than that," says Kip Hawley, administrator of DHS's Transportation Security Administration, which manages the center. "Our job is not to sit and watch, but to stand and fight."

Over his 13 months in the job, Chan has developed a sense about the threats, when they're routine blunders or world-class crazies, and when they might be real. At Chippewa, a flight attendant escorted the selectee out of seat 4C, for additional screening. The guard who missed the special selectee mark spent the rest of his shift in remedial training. TSA at Chippewa reported: "There was no media attention." And on this quiet Tuesday, Chan isn't alarmed. Not yet, anyway. His biggest concern at 8:30 a.m., is getting Kathy's daughter to the bus on time.

"How's your day going to go?" he asks Jamie as they hurry along.

Chan is never sure. Kathy, a former travel agent who now makes reservations for air marshals, is the optimist. Chan has "a doomsday outlook," he says. "There's an underlying, unknown anxiety and stress in those of us who deal with terrorist threats. We know we're getting farther away from 9/11 and closer and closer to the next attack. It's only a matter of time." When Chan sends Kathy's

7-year-old girl out into the world, he worries.

At the bus stop, Jamie is the last kid in line. She steps up, and right before she disappears through the bus door, she always turns around. Chan looks at her: the sandy hair he has brushed and smoothed back with Jamie's favorite lime green headband, the freckles across her nose, the blue eyes. Chan waves. He calls it "that last reassurance wave."

He gives it to her every day.

0847 Hours: Passenger Arrested After Firearm Detected During Checkpoint Screening at Memphis (MEM)

Ready. Set. Jet. That is ExpressJet Airline's motto. Not for one passenger, though, on this sunny Memphis morning. The man tries to board Flight 2704 to Houston Intercontinental carrying a .32-caliber Kel Tec pistol loaded with seven rounds -- one chambered. He says that he "forgot the firearm was in his bag."

Every day, on average, American airport screeners find two guns.

As the Memphis police descend on the passenger with the pistol, Chan is changing into sweatpants in Kathy's bedroom. "Normal business," Chan thinks, clicking the "FIREARM DETECTED (MEM)" message on his BlackBerry. He laces up his sneakers and goes out for a run before his eight-hour shift, "to bleed-off the pent-up anxiety and work frustration." He jogs up and down the hills of Charles Town, searching the sky for the cottony contrail ribbons that unspool from aircraft. As much as aviation bedevils him, Chan loves airplanes.

He was born in a two-room hospital in Alabama, to a petite saleswoman and to a farmer he never met, and never could conjure beyond "a shadow on a tractor." Chan's stepfather, a 6-foot-3 slab of man, helped raise him, urging Chan to follow his example and excel at football. Chan drank a gallon of milk a day; he prayed each night he'd wake up six inches taller. But the slight, blond boy with light moss eyes never cleared 5-8.

That left airplanes. "It was another way to keep the bond with my stepfather," Chan recalls.

Chan's stepfather would park for hours near the end of the runway at the local airfield. "It always bewildered me, that these heavy airplanes can stay airborne," Chan says. "It's an amazing puzzle." Chan sat on the hood of their 1968 yellow Dodge Coronet, eating bags of roasted peanuts, as his stepfather pointed out the jets and the propellers.

"You'd feel the roar in your whole body," Chan recalls. "It wasn't frightening. It was comforting." Sometimes it rained. But Chan felt happy as he imagined the planes navigating the same wet winds that nipped his chin and fingers. He felt, he says, "connected. I thought: 'I belong in that. I'm connected to that. I belong in that airplane.' "

Chan became an Air Force air traffic controller. At age 19, his commander nominated him for the Air Force Academy preparatory school, a step toward his dream of pilot training. But Chan had met a woman in the Air Force. The academy accepted only prospective cadets who were single. Forced to choose, he pursued married life instead of his wings. In 1984, as a controller, he was honored by the Air Force Association as one of 12 Outstanding Airmen of the year, for his "superior leadership, job performance, community involvement and personal achievements." Up in the control tower, where Chan rose to supervisor, he felt "wonderment that you could talk to the planes, having that connectivity through the radio." He enrolled in the FAA's air traffic academy and was assigned to Forth Worth.

Then his marriage of 10 years began to fail. So did his performance in the control tower.

The personal turmoil distracted him. "I couldn't memorize the airspace and what altitude restrictions apply," Chan recalls. Soon he found himself divorced and out of a job.

Chan shambled back, defeated, humiliated, to Alabama where he worked for the state police. It took 9/11, eight years later, to bring him back to the skies. He applied for a job as a federal air marshal. Flying under cover, he told fellow travelers he was in "mortuary affairs"; they looked at him and believed it.

Last year, Chan was promoted to a supervisory position on the Watch Floor. Every day, when he crosses the lobby at work, a twisted steel girder salvaged from the 72nd floor of the World Trade Center's North Tower reminds him of the cost of another failure.

11368  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 24, 2008, 10:55:13 AM
I once assisted in an investigation of an LA based interstate financial fraud ring that racked up more than a million dollars in losses. This was back when a million was real money. One of the tasks I had was putting the real identity of the perps to their dozens of false identities and trying to link all the other players associated with the scheme. Also, at a million plus in losses, it was still too small for the feds to be interested and was left up to the local DA to prosecute.
11369  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 24, 2008, 10:48:05 AM
I don't have the numbers in front of me, but I bet some were. Say you or a loved one were the victim of a mortgage fraud and the perp disappeared after emptying his bank accounts. What leads do I have if as many fraudsters do, he was using a false identity?
11370  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 24, 2008, 09:54:30 AM

April 29, 2008
Mortgage Fraud Now An Organized Crime Staple
by Broderick Perkins

Mortgage fraud has become a staple in today's organized crime circles.

Fraud associated with home loans first cashed in on the greed that came with the previously booming housing market, when some buyers would do anything to own a home.

The cons used falsified applications, inflated appraisals and other techniques to get home loans approved on the home buying end.

Now, mortgage fraud is taking advantage of vulnerabilities that come with the housing market's down cycle, including homeowners, down on their luck, who face losing their homes and would do anything to avoid losing their homes.

FBI Director Robert Mueller recently testified before the U.S. Senate Appropriations panel that the "tremendous surge" in mortgage fraud investigations has been so great he has diverted agents and resources from other areas of white collar crime.

Suspicious activity reports the FBI reviews for potential mortgage fraud have grown from 3,000 in fiscal year 2003 to 48,000 in fiscal year 2007. In 2008, the FBI is on track to receive more than 60,000 such reports.

The subprime crisis will only aggravate matters, Mueller testified.

"I'm not sure at this point we can see the extent of the surge," he added.

Fraud that once primarily used inflated appraisals, "flipping" schemes and identity theft ruses to target home buying and home equity growth is now muscling in on foreclosures, reverses mortgages and subprime loans.

The FBI says known organized crime syndicates, terrorists and recognized political activists are not currently associated with mortgage fraud, but the crime does come with the hallmarks of what is considered organized crime -- collusion, conspiracy, insider cooperation and now, identity theft, one of the newest growth sectors in organized crime recognized by the FBI.

"We are investigating more than 1,300 individual mortgage fraud matters. Perhaps more importantly, we have identified 19 corporate fraud matters related to the subprime lending crisis -- cases that may have a substantial impact on the marketplace," he said.

The racketeers are also using insider trading violations connected to risky loans and the investments spun off of those loans.

On the consumer level, one of the latest cons is a bold one called "House Stealing". A con artist assumes the identity of a homeowner and transfers the deed into the con's name or sells the home outright -- even while the owner is still living there.

A variation on House Stealing includes the con artist preying on homeowners having mortgage troubles. The con promises to refinance the mortgage, but instead buys the home using a fake identity.

Mortgage fraud hotspots include California, Texas, Arizona, Florida, Ohio, Michigan, and Utah.

11371  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 24, 2008, 09:35:37 AM
In this country, robbing a bank or store will net you a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, and you risk a long prison stretch, especially if a weapon is involved. On the other hand, financial crimes can net you millions of dollars and much lower risk of serious incarceration since it's not a violent crime and the ultimate victims tend to be faceless financial entities that eat the loss. Only the key problem is that they really don't suffer the loss, as it's passed onto we the consumers. We all end up paying a "crime tax" to various criminal entities that impact this country's financial infrastructure.
11372  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Communicating with the Muslim World on: June 24, 2008, 09:06:05 AM
The core problem is, jihadists aren't "radicals" or "extremists", they are just observant muslims.
11373  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: June 24, 2008, 08:50:54 AM
***Some brave souls might even concede that if the U.S. had withdrawn in the depths of the chaos, the world would be in worse shape today.***

Don't expect any real honesty like this from BO.

Or any other opponent of the war....
11374  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 24, 2008, 08:47:25 AM
Again, these are not private citizens being fingerprinted for no reason, they choose to work in a field regulated by congress under it's constitutional authority, and for reasons apparently not understood by the author of the article.
11375  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: June 23, 2008, 10:33:54 AM

Inside TSOC.
11376  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Free Speech vs. Islamic Fascism (formerly Buy DANISH!!!) on: June 23, 2008, 09:29:31 AM

Counterterrorism Blog

Jihad Against Freedom of Speech at the United Nations

By Jeffrey Imm

The United Nations' Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has no problem with its members suggesting that the 9/11 attacks were an "inside job" perpetrated by the United States on itself. The human rights of America's 9/11 victims are not a priority for UNHRC's Richard Falk, the special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, who engages in 9/11 conspiracy propaganda, while working for an organization headquartered in New York City funded by U.S. tax dollars. This is Richard Falk's protected freedom of speech.

Denying the role of Jihadists in the 9/11 attacks is apparently perfectly acceptable freedom of speech for the UNHRC, but criticizing Sharia law is another story.

On June 16, 2008, UNHRC president Doru Romulus Costea announced that criticism of Sharia law will not be tolerated by the UNHRC, based on the complaints and pressure by Islamist delegates to the UNHRC. In effect, the Islamist nations represented at the UNHRC have effected a Jihad against freedom of speech at the United Nations when it comes to criticizing Sharia or Islamic supremacist (aka Islamist) theocratic ideologies that threaten the freedom and lives of innocents around the world. This again demonstrates the key imperative of control for Islamists - in this case in terms of controlling ideas, thoughts, and words of an international organization intended to promote human rights. Outgoing UNHRC Commissioner Louise Arbour subsequently raised concerns about debates on Sharia becoming "taboo" within the United Nations group, stating that it "should be, among other things, the guardian of freedom of expression."

The UNHRC ban on debate regarding Sharia came as a result of a three minute joint statement by the Association for World Education with the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) to the Human Rights Council on women's rights and the impact of Sharia law. These NGOs sought to address international issues of violence against women, specifically, the stoning of women, "honor killings" of women, and female genital mutilation, as a result of Sharia law.

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the Arab Republic of Egypt vehemently criticized this attempted NGO message, interrupting it via "16 points of order", for an hour and twenty-five minutes per the IEHU. Jihad Watch provides a full transcript of the debate. The Egyptian UNHRC delegate claimed that silencing these NGOs was necessary to ensure "that Islam will not be crucified in this Council," but the fact is that Islamist forces seek to silence any debate on Sharia at all - anywhere, any time.
Ongoing Efforts to Silence Debate on Sharia

This is not the first time that efforts have been made by such pro-Islamist Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) member nations to influence the United Nations. In my article "Jihad, Islamism, and the United Nations," I addressed the efforts of OIC member nations to reword a UNHRC resolution on religious freedom so that it would not respect the right of individuals to change their religion, as this would be in conflict with Sharia law. The OIC continues global efforts to influence the United Nations and worldwide organization to silence any debate on Sharia by painting such debate as "Islamophobia."

In the war of ideas, the debate over Sharia's influence on Jihad (or "Islamist terrorism" per the 9/11 Commission Report), continues to remain under the radar for many analysts. Yet in the ongoing battles by the Taliban in Pakistan, a primary stated objective of the Taliban is enforcing Sharia law throughout the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, a sentiment that nearly 75 percent of Pakistanis agree with. (I address this issue in my article "Pakistan and the Growing Threat of a Sharia Mini-State.")

Two days after this silencing of debate on Sharia at the UNHRC, a man was sentenced to death for "blasphemy" in Pakistan by a Sharia court. This is the same Pakistan, whose government seeks to export the death penalty for "blasphemy" against Islam on a global basis, that now has successfully achieved the silencing of debate on Sharia in the United Nations. Moreover, when the Danish Embassy was attacked by terrorists in Pakistan recently, the Pakistan ambassador suggested that this was deserved due to the "blasphemous" cartoons published in Danish newspapers -- the Pakistan ambassador to Norway further stated to the press that "blasphemous" cartoons are "an act of terrorism."

The challenge of Sharia's impact on Jihad is so completely beyond the thought processes of counterterrorism analysts that Sharia is not even mentioned in the latest "terror lexicon" publications by the DHS and NCTC warning government officials not to use terms like "jihad," "Islamist," "caliphate," "mujahedeen." Yet Sharia is a fundamental component of what western political scientists call "Islamism" or "political Islam." The 9/11 Commission Report specifically states that "Islamist terrorism" is based on "Islamism."

Nevertheless, as the U.S. and the United Kingdom governments seek to end dialogue on jihad, Islamism, etc., the United Nations now seeks to end debate on Sharia. The war of ideas seems to be ending before it is even begun.

News media publications cannot be relied upon to address this vacuum in ideological debate either. Most refuse to address Islamic supremacist ideologies, including the impact of Sharia law on human rights and freedoms. The Wall Street Journal even employs specialists on Sharia law to help promote Sharia-based financial instruments.

Silence on Supremacist Ideologies Not Consistent With History or Democracy

The gross illogical nature of such an approach is seen by looking at another form of supremacist political ideology that the United States government, the United Nations, and other nations have aggressively debated and have enforced change in their governments and their people to remove.

If the issue was a racial supremacist ideology, would such objections exist?

Can one imagine the United Nations refusing to debate "white supremacism" due to fears of insulting "whites," or refusing to debate "apartheid"?

Can one imagine the U.S. government refusing to use terms such as "white supremacism" in dealing with fighting the Ku Klux Klan, or in refusing to consider the influences of white supremacist ideology when guaranteeing civil rights for all of its citizens, and in creating laws to effectively ban white supremacist influences in schools, businesses, and public places?

Most of all, in fighting white supremacist terror groups as the Ku Klux Klan, would the FBI have consulted "non-violent" white supremacists for ideological guidance? Would the FBI and the federal government have stated that it could not be involved in the "war of ideas" against white supremacism?

With the context of history, such questions are obviously absurd. That is precisely the point regarding the unwillingness to address the challenges of Islamic supremacist ideologies.

History shows that, in fact, none of this happened, and that the United Nations, the U.S government, and federal U.S. law enforcement all took action against such supremacist ideologies and publicly, aggressively, debated these in a war of ideas that would change the world and the nation. For the United States, the history of such federal action against such supremacist ideologies goes back nearly 140 years.

Therefore, such deliberate silence and denial regarding Sharia and Islamic supremacist ideologies is completely inconsistent with the history of such organizations and with America's democratic values. I will be addressing this in more detail in a future article to be entitled "Jihad and Supremacist Ideologies."

UNHRC president Doru Romulus Costea silenced debate on Sharia due to his fears of pursuing a "slippery slope" in such discussions.

Yet it is precisely such a "slippery slope" of denial on Islamic supremacist ideologies that the world is facing in the debate over Jihad, or in the words of Osama Bin Laden "the greater state of Islam from the ocean to the ocean, Allah permitting."

On a national and global level, the combination of denial and refusal to address the impact of Sharia and Islamic supremacist ideologies in providing an ideological basis for global Jihadist activity is truly a "slippery slope" for the safety of the entire world.

Sources and Related Documents:

June 19, 2008 - FOX News: Critics Demand Resignation of U.N. Official Who Wants Probe of 9/11 'Inside Job' Theories

June 19, 2008 - Pakistan Daily Times: Muslim countries win concession regarding religious debates

June 19, 2008 - JihadWatch: UN Human Rights Council: Any mention of the word "sharia" is now taboo

June 18, 2008 - AFP: UN Rts Head Concerned At Council "Taboos" After Sharia Row

June 18, 2008 - Reuters: UN's Arbour opposes "taboos" in human rights body

June 17, 2008 - International Humanist and Ethical Union: Human Rights Council President: "We are on a slippery slope"

June 18, 2008 - AP: Muslim man in Pakistan sentenced to death for blasphemy

February 29, 2008 - OIC Statement on Islamophobia

February 1, 2008 - Jihad, Islamism, and the United Nations - Counterterrorism Blog - by Jeffrey Imm

February 29, 2008 - Jihad, Islamism, and U.S. Envoy to OIC - Counterterrorism Blog - by Jeffrey Imm

November 14, 2007 - Dow Jones, Wall Street Journal, and Islamist Financing - Counterterrorism Blog - by Jeffrey Imm

June 10, 2008 - Pakistan and the Growing Threat of a Sharia Mini-State - Counterterrorism Blog - by Jeffrey Imm

UN Watch Blog

UN Watch Home Page

By Jeffrey Imm on June 19, 2008 10:00 PM
11377  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: June 23, 2008, 09:08:38 AM

Europe fears Obama on Iran

One might think that Europe would welcome Barack Obama with open arms, but according to Glenn Kessler at the Washington Post, Obama has them worried.  Key European allies fear a rupture between the US and the Continent if Obama attempts to waive the precondition of enrichment cessation in dealing with Iran.  While they would like to see a heavier emphasis on team play rather than American hegemony, Obama’s insistence on cozying up to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is far out of step with the rest of the West:

European officials are increasingly concerned that Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign pledge to begin direct talks with Iran on its nuclear program without preconditions could potentially rupture U.S. relations with key European allies early in a potential Obama administration.

The U.N. Security Council has passed four resolutions demanding that Iran stop enriching uranium, each time highlighting the offer of financial and diplomatic incentives from a European-led coalition if Tehran suspends enrichment, a route to producing fuel for nuclear weapons. But Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has said he would make such suspension a topic for discussion with Iran, rather than a precondition for any negotiations to take place.

European officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said they are wary of giving up a demand that has been so enshrined in U.N. resolutions, particularly without any corresponding concessions by Iran. Although European officials are eager to welcome a U.S. president promising renewed diplomacy and multilateralism after years of tensions with the Bush administration, they feel strongly about continuing on the current path.

Obama’s response?  Dr. Susan Rice told the Post that Europe has failed, and a new approach was needed.   That ought to kick-start a new era in American diplomacy, eh?

While Europe may not care for the Bush administration’s tendency towards saber-rattling, they do not prescribe to the nonsense that dropping the precondition for ending enrichment would somehow make the Iranians more likely to stop.  The EU has been on the front line of this issue for several years, and they have first-hand experience with Iranian lies and double-dealing.  They understand that it will take a strong, united, and dominant front to force the Iranians into retreat on uranium enrichment.

At the moment, Europe has its hands full in pushing Russia and China into recognizing this, even with the US on board.  An Obama presidency would put the US in a position even softer than that of Russia and China and give the Iranians a breath of fresh air.   Obama’s team says such talks would provide the US with more leverage against Iran, but never quite explain how that would work.  Supposedly, failed talks at the presidential level would prompt tougher sanctions from Russia and China, but why would they agree to that when their own failed talks with their own client did not?  Why would they act tougher when the West acts weaker?

What Europe fears is the Chamberlain effect.  When a leader of a democracy gets elected on a peace platform and then meets with the head of hostile states, a tremendous pressure for success grows until the democratic leader starts bargaining to show some kind of victory.  After all, if Obama walked away from Ahmadinejad empty handed, he’d look like a buffoon.   Ahmadinejad would have little pressure to produce anything from such a meeting, except to remain obstinate.

Europe likes to remind people that the preconditions of cessation are European demands, not American, although the US has supported it wholeheartedly.  Obama’s insistence on dropping this precondition in order to score PR points with MoveOn and Ahmadinejad looks a lot less like multilateralism and much more like cowboy diplomacy than anything Bush has done on Iran thus far.  If Obama is to Europe’s left on Iran, what does that say about his foreign policy?
11378  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: June 23, 2008, 08:45:48 AM
I don't care whether homosexuality is a choice or not. I still don't think you should discriminate against people for it. Religion and political affiliation are a choice and I don't think you should discriminate against people for it.    I was arguing more against Freud  than the idea that homosexuality is  biologically driven.Homosexuality  may be biologically driven, it may be nurture,  it may be a choice, and it may be constellation of all those  factors.

I don't think polygamy  or child brides should be legal so I  wouldn't  being looking for research that it is okay. Go right ahead and look for those studies.

**So, some discrimination is ok then?**

I think adultery is morally and ethically wrong but I don't think it should be illegal. I have no problem with men losing money for adultery in a divorce . if your wife consents for you  not to be  monogamous  she wouldn't divorce you if you cheated. 

**So those that act in a manner that you find morally unacceptable should face punitive acts by the legal system?**

If I honestly believed that baring Gay Boy Scout  troop leads would protect kids from sexual assault I wouldn't have a problem with it.  I think that kids are much more at risk from someone the adults around them trust and someone who has private access to them.   You could be protecting your kid from the bogeyman and the problem would be your next door neighbor.

**Would a Boy Scout troop leader that engaged in heterosexual wife-swapping, group sex and sadomasochistic bondage and domination be more or less acceptable to you than a openly gay troop leader? If not, why not?**
11379  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: June 22, 2008, 10:54:39 PM

My state still has adultery in it's criminal code, though it's unprosecutable. In most every state, men face serious economic damage in civil court for having sexual relations outside their marriage, despite a wealth of research that demonstrates that heterosexual males desire multiple female sexual partners. Long term monogamy is a social construct, not biologically based. Should we alter our laws that affect not a  small minority, but a MAJORITY of men in this country? If not, why not?
11380  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: June 22, 2008, 10:35:13 PM
**Do we possess free will? What are the societal consequences of adapting very primitive neuropsychological research to further our political perpectives?**

Independent, The (London) > Mar 24, 2000 > Article > Print friendly
Science: Inside the mind of a killer

Jim Giles

Professor Adrian Raine has met more convicted murderers than most. As a neuroscientist interested in criminal behaviour, he has tested hundreds of violent criminals to investigate the murky relationship between brains and aggressive behaviour. And as with many in his field, he risks his work being appropriated by lawyers searching for a possible scientific explanation for their clients' crime.

Raine's latest study will be particularly interesting to lawyers. Instead of scouring prisons for his subjects, the participants were taken from the general community. All had been diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder (APD), a condition characterised by life-long antisocial and often violent behaviour. Although they had not committed the seriously violent crimes of his previous subjects, they had similar violent tendencies.

Controversy is never far away from the interpretation of Professor Raine's findings. His main claim to fame is that he detected physical differences in the front part of the brain above the eyes - the prefrontal cerebral cortex - in violent male offenders compared to other men.

"Our previous research has shown that convicted murderers - really violent offenders - have poorer functioning in the brain's prefrontal cortex," Raine says. Brain imaging techniques showed that just as with the more violent offenders, the APD sufferers had fewer cells in their prefrontal cortex. In this case, a deficit of between 11 and 14 per cent - equivalent to about two teaspoons of brain tissue.

But could Raine's subjects actually be suffering from something other than ADP? Previous studies have been criticised for failing to eliminate the possibility that subjects were, for example, undiagnosed schizophrenics. Raine and his colleagues believe that they have carefully controlled for possibilities such as these, and by doing so have actually strengthened the case for ADP being a disorder in its very own right.

Dr Antonio Damasio, a neuroscientist at the University of Iowa, believes Raine's findings are remarkable. "The result identifies a potential neuropathological signature [for ADP]. If replications indicate that the finding is not present in other psychiatric populations, then we would be dealing with a notable advance in the understanding of mental diseases."

But Dr Damasio is quick to caution. Like all work using the technique functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), the shadow of phrenology is never far away. "Normal or pathologic effects related to a given area are often the result of actions elsewhere in the brain. Whatever explanation we formulate for these disorders will have to take into account factors ranging from the level of molecules and neurons to cultural phenomena that impinge in the life of whole individuals."

So where does work like this leave our notion of personal responsibility for our actions? Next time one of Raine's APD patients commits a crime - as they often do - can we hold them responsible given that they appear to be at a physical disadvantage? Raine's work hasn't yet made it into America's courtrooms, but lawyers are seldom slow in making use of new science. And as the case of "Spydor Cystkopf" reveals, it can be difficult for the legal system to deal with.

In the winter of 1991 Cystkopf, a well off semi-retired advertising executive, had an argument with his wife in their New York apartment. During the argument she scratched his face. Given that Cystkopf's friends later testified that he is an extremely calm man, what happened next is hard to explain.

Cystkopf forced his wife to the floor and strangled her. He then threw the body from the window of their apartment in an attempt to make the death look like suicide.

Unlike most defendants, Cystkopf had the resources to explore any avenue of defence. His lawyer put them to good use. The sudden outburst of violence in a previously calm man pointed to the possibility of some brain dysfunction. A brain scan revealed a cyst (hence the pseudonym given to "Cystkopf" by the medical profession) underneath the left half of his frontal lobe which had been present since childhood.

This was enough for him to be referred to Dr Damasio, one of America's leading neuroscientists. Dr Damasio's report stated, "It is reasonable to assume that his inability to respond correctly is due to his long-standing neurological condition." Dr Damasio's evidence never made it to court, however. The prosecution uncovered evidence of heavy gambling debts and allegations that Cystkopf tried to persuade his former wife to commit suicide. He pleaded guilty.

So how should the courts deal with a case such as Cystkopf's? If the prosecution hadn't uncovered evidence of his debts should Dr Damasio's evidence have been used in court? Although the conditions Raine has studied are different from Cystkopf's, both involved dysfunctions in the frontal lobe. Should juries be expected to take into consideration damage to this area?

"We are talking of a predisposition to antisocial behaviour," says Raine of the effect of prefrontal damage. "Some people who have prefrontal deficits do not become antisocial, and some antisocial individuals do not have prefrontal deficits. It's important to make clear that biology is not destiny."

The question of biology and destiny is especially relevant in the case of Cystkopf. More than 4,000 people in New York state would be expected to be suffering from similar cysts. And despite the strong link between APD and the brain's frontal lobe, the existence of APD can be predicted equally well by a collection of 10 "psychosocial risk factors" as it can by the biological deficits. Because mild frontal lobe damage is only one possible cause of violent behaviour, it is unlikely it could be used to acquit someone of a crime. But should it somehow "explain" a crime and lead to a lesser sentence?

Despite the work of Raine and others, the mechanisms by which frontal lobe deficiencies influence criminal behaviour are still unclear. How could deficiencies in a person's frontal lobe predispose them to violence? Linking anatomy to behaviour is a difficult task in any area of the brain, but especially so in the frontal lobe. Neuroscientists know it plays a critical role in a range of abilities, including regulation of aggression, but because the frontal lobe has connections with so many parts of the brain it is impossible to ascribe a single function to it.

Raine is working on several theories, perhaps most the interesting of which concerns the need for an "arousal fix". Psychologists have wondered for a long time if the antisocial behaviour of APD patients was linked to low levels of arousal. Perhaps APD sufferers are unconsciously trying to compensate through stimulation-seeking? "For some kids," says Raine, "one way of getting an arousal-jag is by robbing stores or beating people up."

However Raine's work develops, the use of neurological evidence in a criminal court is always going to be controversial. But if a defendant can pay for it, stopping a neuroscientist testifying may be difficult.

The writer works on the Wellcome Wing Project at the Science Museum in London
11381  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: June 22, 2008, 10:05:20 PM

**Have anything on the plight of polygamy in the US and how US laws and social mores oppress those who marry children in an attempt to follow god's laws?**

June 21, 2008

Polygamy and child marriage in the U.S.? It could happen

It could easily happen, given the prevailing multiculturalism and new court rulings on marriage. If marriage can be redefined once, it can be redefined again. And it will be, unless a sufficient number of people say no, they don't want polygamy, or child brides, or any other aspects of Sharia, in the United States.

"Polygamy, child brides coming to U.S.? Editor of Islam book says recent court rulings pave the way," from WorldNetDaily, June 21:

WASHINGTON – Polygamy and child brides may make a comeback in the U.S. as a result of recent court rulings and the simultaneous rise of Islam, says the editor of a book of stories about Muslims leaving the faith.
"In light of the recent California court ruling and the FLDS (Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints) legal fiasco in Texas, is the time coming when we in the U.S will be forced to tolerate child brides and multiple wives?" asks Joel Richardson, editor of the provocative new book "Why We Left Islam: Former Muslims Speak Out," published by WND Books.

The book is a compilation of the stories of 23 men and women who left Islam. The contributors are explicit about the danger that is posed by incrementally yielding traditional western moral and beliefs to Islamic tradition, a process that is called "soft sharia."...

And stealth jihad.

Posted at June 21, 2008 7:59 AM
11382  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: June 22, 2008, 02:55:58 PM

New York Slimes
11383  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: June 21, 2008, 09:58:10 PM
**And Michelle Obama panders to this lunacy, without criticism.**
Study: Many Blacks Cite AIDS Conspiracy
Prevention Efforts Hurt, Activists Say
By Darryl Fears
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 25, 2005; Page A02

More than 20 years after the AIDS epidemic arrived in the United States, a significant proportion of African Americans embrace the theory that government scientists created the disease to control or wipe out their communities, according to a study released today by Rand Corp. and Oregon State University.

That belief markedly hurts efforts to prevent the spread of the disease among black Americans, the study's authors and activists said. African Americans represent 13 percent of the U.S. population, according to Census Bureau figures, yet they account for 50 percent of new HIV infections in the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nearly half of the 500 African Americans surveyed said that HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is man-made. The study, which was supported by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, appears in the Feb. 1 edition of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.

More than one-quarter said they believed that AIDS was produced in a government laboratory, and 12 percent believed it was created and spread by the CIA.

A slight majority said they believe that a cure for AIDS is being withheld from the poor. Forty-four percent said people who take the new medicines for HIV are government guinea pigs, and 15 percent said AIDS is a form of genocide against black people.

At the same time, 75 percent said they believe medical and public health agencies are working to stop the spread of AIDS in black communities. But the responses, which varied only slightly by age, gender, education and income level, alarmed the researchers.

"As a researcher knowing that these beliefs were out there, I wasn't as surprised as people I share the study with," said Laura Bogart, a behavioral scientist for the Rand Corp., who co-authored the study with Sheryl Thorburn, associate professor in the College of Health and Human Sciences at Oregon State.

"But the findings are striking, and a wake-up call to the prevention community," Bogart said. "The prevention community has not addressed conspiracy beliefs in the context of prevention. I think that a lot of people involved in prevention may not be from the community where they are trying to prevent HIV."

The findings were also no surprise to Na'im Akbar, a professor of psychology at Florida State University who specializes in African American behavior.

"This is not a bunch of crazy people running around saying they're out to get us," Akbar said. The belief "comes from the reality of 300 years of slavery and 100 years of post-slavery exploitation."

Akbar cited the Tuskegee experiment conducted by the federal government between 1932 and 1972. In it, scientists told black men they were being treated for syphilis but actually withheld treatment so they could study the course of the disease.

Today, he said, African Americans are more likely to live in communities near pollution sources, such as freeways and oil refineries, and far from health care centers. "There are a lot of indicators that our lives are not valued," Akbar said.

Phill Wilson, executive director of the Black AIDS Institute in Los Angeles, said past discrimination is no longer an excuse for embracing conspiracies that allow HIV to fester.

"It's a huge barrier to HIV prevention in black communities," Wilson said. "There's an issue around conspiracy theory and urban myths. Thus we have an epidemic raging out of control, and African Americans are being disproportionately impacted in every single sense."

Black women made up 73 percent of new HIV cases among women in 2003, and black men represented 40 percent of new cases, according to the most recent federal figures available. Among gay men, blacks represented 30 percent of new infections, and adolescents ages 18 to 24 accounted for nearly 80 percent of new HIV cases.

"The whole notion of conspiracy theories and misinformation . . . removes personal responsibility," Wilson said. "If there is this boogeyman, people say, 'Why should I use condoms? Why should I use clean needles?' And if I'm an organization, 'Why should I bother with educating my folks?' The syphilis study was real, but it happened 40 years ago, and holding on to it is killing us."
11384  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: June 21, 2008, 08:58:06 PM

You'll note I posted a piece criticizing McCain on this topic a while ago. Having said that, I doubt "Barry-O" wins in comparing character flaws to McCain.
11385  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: June 21, 2008, 08:36:46 PM

Preemptive strike!
11386  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: June 21, 2008, 07:55:45 PM

Hillary’s fake “multilingual” schtick

If you’re a Southerner, Hillary Carpetbagger thinks that you speak a for-een language. That’ll win over those red states.

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton said Friday she sees her sometimes Southern accent as a virtue.

“I think America is ready for a multilingual president,” Clinton said during a campaign stop at a charter school in Greenville, S.C.

The New York senator — who said she’s been thinking about critics who’ve suggested that she tried to put on a fake Southern accent in Selma, Ala. — noted that she’s split her life between Arkansas, Illinois and the East Coast.

Clinton added a Southern lilt to her voice last week when addressing a civil rights group in New York City headed by the Rev. Al Sharpton. On Monday, dealing with a microphone glitch at a fundraiser for young donors, she quoted former slave and underground railroad leader Harriet Tubman.

It’s not a “Southern lilt” that Hillary adds, or not just a Southern lilt. She always adds it when speaking in black churches. What the reporter is passing off as falling into an old habit is just a shameless pander. And a bad one at that.

I’m sure Hillary is joking about being “multilingual,” but that’s the kind of joke that would get a Republican in trouble. So would faking the accent. And besides, as a joke it’s not even funny. And why do Democrats tend to joke about what “America is ready for” anyway? Liberal political humor, when it comes, nearly always has an annoying top-down, know-it-all, we’re-your-betters quality about it.

Hillary’s phony accent has been good for a Hot Air joke, though. I’m sure she’ll be good for quite a few jokes between now and election day.
11387  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: June 21, 2008, 07:47:13 PM



“’Racism’” is the trump card in the indictment of Republicans,” points out Dr. Thomas Sowell of the Hoover Institute. “But the cold fact is that the whole Jim Crow era in the South was dominated by Democrats.”


If the Dems were so bad back then, why have they managed to maintain a lock on the African American electorate for so long? And why have Republicans struggled to bring African Americans "back" to the party?

Look at the "black leadership" that Obama and the left have wedded themselves to. Black conservatives are blasted as "Uncle Toms" and sellouts. Look at Obama's "spiritual advisor", who when he wasn't shouting "God damn America" was smearing Clarence Thomas and Condoleeza Rice. The dems love "diversity", just as long as everyone marches in ideological lockstep. HRC can do her verbal minstrel show in speaking to black audiences and gets a free pass while President Bush has minorities in high ranking positions in his two terms and gets nothing but derision in exchange. Lip service to minorities from the dems wins approval while actual steps towards a colorblind society from republicans is ignored. Much like the utter hypocrisy of dems who "care about the environment" while jet setting around the world and living in sprawling mansions, because the dems give lips service to the professional race hucksters like Jackson and Sharpton and their lot, then real action isn't needed or demanded. It isn't logical, but this is the way things are today.

11388  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: June 21, 2008, 07:27:14 PM

Obama or Not, America Still a 'Racist Nation'
Larry Elder
Thursday, April 10, 2008

Republicans show more optimism about race relations than do Democrats. A June 2007 Gallup Poll asked Republicans and Democrats to rate relations between blacks and whites. Among Democrats, 67 percent said relations were "somewhat good" or "very good," while 77 percent of Republicans gave those answers. Similarly, 22 percent of Republicans ranked black/white race relations as "somewhat bad" or "very bad," yet 31 percent of Democrats gave those pessimistic responses.

As I wrote in my new book, "Stupid Black Men: How to Play the Race Card -- and Lose," a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll asked which type of presidential candidate would you not vote for, even if that candidate agreed with you on most issues. More Democrats (17 percent) than Republicans (13 percent) wouldn't vote for a Mormon. For a 72-year-old candidate -- again, more Democrats (19 percent) than Republicans (12 percent) refused to vote for someone that age. Likewise more Democrats (4 percent) than Republicans (3 percent) ruled out voting for a black candidate.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., a black Clinton supporter, explained why whites vote for Obama. According to Cleaver, "This is (their) chance to demonstrate that we have been able to get this boogeyman called race behind us. And so they are going to vote for him, whether he has credentials or not, whether he has any experience …"

Here's where things get interesting.

As to the argument that an Obama election would show an America overcoming its history of racial injustice, Cleaver says no, it would show the opposite. "Yet Cleaver asserts," according to an Associated Press article, "that Obama as president could actually hamper efforts to curb racial injustice. He said future concerns about race 'would be met with rejection because we've already demonstrated that we're not a racist nation.'"

In other words, whites cleverly intend to vote for Obama -- not because they consider him qualified or the better candidate, but so that they can diminish future allegations of alleged racism and racial injustice. But Cleaver sees through the plot. To Cleaver, America remains a "racist nation." And Obama as president simply pulls the wool over the eyes of America, minimizing the continued and future victims of racism, while giving America's racists free rein to continue their deviousness.

Former Democratic vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, another Clinton supporter, makes the opposite argument. Ferraro claims that Obama's race gives him an advantage that obscures his otherwise thin resume. "If Obama was a white man," said Ferraro, "he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman of any color, he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept."

Black state Sen. Robert Ford, D-S.C., also a Clinton supporter, takes the Cleaver position. In explaining his refusal to support Obama, Ford said, "It's a slim possibility for (Obama) to get the nomination, but then everybody else is doomed. Every Democrat running on that ticket next year would lose because he's black and he's top of the ticket. We'd lose the House and the Senate and the governors and everything. I'm a gambling man. I love Obama. But I'm not going to kill myself."

Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton can now breathe easier. If Obama loses, blame race. If Obama wins, blame race. Either way, Obama's election, as regards race relations, means nothing. So Jackson and Sharpton and the rest of the like-minded traveling circus can remain in the business of ferreting out, exploiting and often exaggerating allegations of racism for face time on TV and continued relevance.

In 1911, former slave Booker T. Washington prophetically wrote about "black leaders" like Cleaver, Jackson and Sharpton: "There is (a) class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs -- partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs. … There is a certain class of race-problem solvers who don't want the patient to get well, because as long as the disease holds out they have not only an easy means of making a living, but also an easy medium through which to make themselves prominent before the public."
11389  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: June 21, 2008, 05:35:24 PM

11390  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: June 21, 2008, 05:08:41 PM

Another one hits the bus: Obama reverses on FISA

Barack Obama reversed his position on FISA reform yesterday, giving the Left a taste of the real Obama for the second time this week.  After Obama abandoned public financing, most of his supporters in the hard-Left base seemed willing to write that off as good politics.  This latest reversal has received a different reaction, as Paul Kane at the Washington Post notes:

In his most substantive break with the Democratic Party’s base since becoming the presumptive nominee, Obama declared he will support the bill when it comes to a Senate vote, likely next week, despite misgivings about legal provisions for telecommunications corporations that cooperated with the Bush administration’s warrantless surveillance program of suspected terrorists. ….

This marks something of a reversal of Obama’s position from an earlier version of the bill, which was approved by the Senate Feb. 12, when Obama was locked in a fight for the Democratic nomination with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.).

Obama missed the February vote on that FISA bill as he campaigned in the “Potomac Primaries,” but issued a statement that day declaring “I am proud to stand with Senator Dodd, Senator Feingold and a grassroots movement of Americans who are refusing to let President Bush put protections for special interests ahead of our security and our liberty.”

The wheels of the bus went round and round over Senators Dodd, Feingold, and that same grassroots movement of Americans.  Why?  John McCain has spent the last few weeks hammering Obama on his national-security weaknesses, and Obama’s repeated clinging to the Nuremberg military tribunals as an example of why he opposes military tribunals didn’t help. He needed to show that he can take a nuanced approach to the effort on the war, and he apparently chose FISA as the moment.  It’s sheer political calculus, much the same as Obama’s position on public financing, the death penalty, the Iraq war, and just about every position Obama has taken in this campaign.

It’s becoming clear even  to the Left that Obama has no real firm principles, only ambition.  This FISA package doesn’t differ much from the compromise Senate bill in February — one supported by a significant number of Democrats then — except that it requires a court to certify that telecoms meet the prerequisites for immunity that the first bill granted outright.  As Feingold notes, the bill drafts those requirements to ensure that the applications will be approved, as they should be, since the government assured the telecoms that the activities were legal.   Obama’s stated reason for switching — that it restores FISA and wiretap statutes — was true of the previous version as well.

What changed?  Obama doesn’t need the hard Left to get past Hillary Clinton.  In fact, Code Pink, International ANSWER, and that “grassroots movement”  will become liabilities in a general-election campaign against a nationally-known war hero.   He tossed them under the bus with as much consideration as he did Jeremiah Wright and Jim Johnson.
11391  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: June 21, 2008, 12:33:11 AM

About that Israeli Exercise

The New York Times is reporting that the Israeli military carried out a large-scale exercise earlier this month that, in the words of U.S. officials, appeared to be a rehearsal for a possible attack on Iran.

According to the Times, more than 100 Israeli Air Force (IAF) F-15s and F-16s participated in the drill, which was conducted over the eastern Mediterranean and Greece during the first week of June. Officials who spoke with the Times (on the condition of anonymity) described the exercise as an effort to “develop a long-range strike” capability, and “demonstrate the seriousness with which Israel views Iran’s nuclear program.”

We’d say it was more of an effort to practice long-range strike, since the IAF has had that sort of capability for decades. It’s been 27 years since Israeli jets destroyed Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor at Osirak, and more than a decade since the IAF flew across the Mediterranean and took out Yasser Arafat’s headquarters in Tunis. In both cases, the Israelis achieved tactical surprise, demolished their targets, and suffered no losses of aircraft or crews.

As we’ve noted in the past, the IAF would almost certainly employ deceptive elements for a similar attack against Iran. That’s one reason that most analysts believe the strike package would be relatively small (no more than two dozen aircraft), with fighters flying in tight formation with their aerial tankers to minimize radar returns. The raid would likely follow an established air corridor, with Israeli aircraft mimicking the IFF “squawk” and radio callsigns of commercial aircraft.

By comparison, the “rehearsal” effort in early June was a much larger, and (arguably) more noisy effort, aimed at sending signals to the U.S., the Europeans—and Iran. As one American official told the Times:

“.. the scope of the Israeli exercise virtually guaranteed that it would be noticed by American and other foreign intelligence agencies. A senior Pentagon official who has been briefed on the exercise, and who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the political delicacy of the matter, said the exercise appeared to serve multiple purposes.

One Israeli goal, the Pentagon official said, was to practice flight tactics, aerial refueling and all other details of a possible strike against Iran’s nuclear installations and its long-range conventional missiles.

A second, the official said, was to send a clear message to the United States and other countries that Israel was prepared to act militarily if diplomatic efforts to stop Iran from producing bomb-grade uranium continued to falter.

“They wanted us to know, they wanted the Europeans to know, and they wanted the Iranians to know,” the Pentagon official said. “There’s a lot of signaling going on at different levels.”

Officials interviewed by the NYT said they do not believe that Israel has concluded that it must strike Iran’s nuclear facilities, and do not view such an attack as “imminent.” But, it’s worth remembering the U.S. was surprised by past Israeli air missions. Incorporating the expected deception campaign, the IAF could likely mask strike preparations and launch the raid without detection by American intelligence assets.

One unique feature of the recent exercise was the incorporation of Israeli helicopters, which could be used to rescue downed pilots. U.S. or Israeli officials have not revealed the extent of rotary wing activity during the drill, or its proximity to operating areas for fighter aircraft. Israeli helicopter crews routinely participate in search-and-rescue training in the eastern Mediterranean with American and Turkish units.

But combat search-and-rescue (CSAR) represents only one potential mission for the choppers. Israel’s long-range helicopters are a primary insertion platform for commando units, which could be used to designated targets, assist downed aircrews, or recover material after the attack. There are reports that Israeli special forces participated in last year’s strike on a Syrian nuclear reactor, scooping up evidence that was used to confirm its purpose.

More than two years ago, we reported that IAF officers told their American counterparts that planning for an Iran mission had largely been completed. Given Israel’s long concern about Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, that claim seems entirely plausible. That would also suggest that the recent exercise was something of a rehearsal, not the “long-range strike development effort” suggested by the Times.

During the same 2006 encounter, IAF officials also suggested that special ops planning for an Iran operation had also been concluded. Without going into details, they indicated that Israeli helicopters, C-130 tankers (for refueling the choppers) and commando teams would be forward deployed in support of the raid. Turkey, a longtime ally of Israel, might be a possible basing location for SOF teams and support elements. A forward operating base in northern Iraq is another possibility.

While the recent exercise clearly served training (and diplomatic) purposes, we’d say it meet other needs as well. Given the mechanics of an actual raid against Iran, we believe the package would be significantly smaller, and incorporate deceptive elements not seen earlier this month. That’s why the early June drill may also support a disinformation campaign, aimed at confusing Tehran (and western intelligence) over the size, composition and tactics of a potential strike formation.

Here’s a historical fact: virtually every major IAF operation has been preceded by a carefully planned and executed deception effort. That’s why it would be a mistake for Tehran, the Europeans and the U.S. to accept this month’s exercise as the template for an actual strike. If past performance is any indicator, the Israelis still have a few tricks up their sleeve.
11392  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: June 20, 2008, 09:25:04 PM
Left-Wing Racism Remembered   
By Floyd and Mary Beth Brown | Monday, May 19, 2008

Did you know…Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Republican? Every civil rights law, beginning in the 1860s through the 1950s and 1960s, was fought against by Democrats? Or the KKK had links to the Democratic Party? Not only are these questions addressed by the National Black Republicans Association (NBRA), but also more surprising facts.

A few months ago, we had the privilege to meet the chairwoman of NBRA, a brave and gusty woman named Frances Rice. “The double standard looms large when Democrats practice racism,” says Rice. “Those who search in the Republican Party haystack for the racist needles, ignore the mountain of evidence about racism in the Democrat Party.”

Rice does not initially appear to be the type of person who would strike out and dare to challenge a giant, but that’s just what this modern day “David” has done. Rice said her organization is working to set the record straight and “wake up” black voters and “shed the light of truth on the racist past and failed socialism of the Democratic Party.”

Little did we know Rice would soon be feeling the intense, sizzling heat of the national spotlight for reminding people and speaking the truth that the Democratic Party wishes we would all forget.

Last week, when Democrats became aware of NBRA’s Fall 2007 magazine being distributed at a black-voter event in Tallahassee, the liberal media and Democratic Party giants alike began firing their attacks. One headline in a newspaper read, “Magazine stirs race politics” and wrote that the magazine “pushes racial buttons by highlighting low points in the history of the Democratic Party.” A reporter from the The Miami Herald decried The Black Republican magazine, calling its comments “strident” and saying Democrats were “outraged.”

Sometimes the truth hurts.

Rice cites renowned liberal historian and author Dr. Eric Foner in her well-documented expose, “The Ku Klux Klan was the Terrorist Arm of the Democratic Party”. In “A Short History of Reconstruction,” Professor Foner wrote: “Founded in 1866 as a Tennessee social club, the Ku Klux Klan spread into nearly every Southern state, launching a ‘reign of terror’ against Republican leaders black and white.” Again, it was Foner who said, “In effect, the Klan was a military force serving the interests of the Democratic party…and all who desired the restoration of white supremacy.”

Several other articles, including one titled “Why Martin Luther King, Jr. Was a Republican,” also raised the ire of “giants.” Frances Rice says she knew MLK’s family and “there’s no way they were Democrats” in the 1960s. Not only did King vote for Eisenhower in 1956, but this was a time when racist southern Democrats such as Bull Connor used vicious dogs and fire hoses to break up protests; after all, segregation and discrimination were the law of the land in the South.

One who saw firsthand Connor’s atrocities was our nation’s first female black secretary of state, Condi Rice. Not only did she witness the brutality inflicted on the peaceful protestors at the 1963 Children’s March in Birmingham, but Condi’s neighborhood experienced threats of violence. One of her childhood friends was killed in a church bombing by the Ku Klux Klan along with three other girls. Secretary Rice’s family repeatedly faced discrimination. A prime example of this was when John, her father, tried to register to vote with the Democratic Party. They told him that to register as Democrat he must first guess the number of beans in their jar. Not one to accept such insulting treatment, John Rice headed over to the Republican register and promptly became a Republican.

“’Racism’” is the trump card in the indictment of Republicans,” points out Dr. Thomas Sowell of the Hoover Institute. “But the cold fact is that the whole Jim Crow era in the South was dominated by Democrats.”

The mission of the NBRA is “to be a resource for the black community on Republican ideals and promote the traditional values of the black community which are the core values of the Republican Party: strong families, faith in God, personal responsibility, quality education, and equal opportunities for all.”

We saw evidence of one of their bold campaigns in Florida. Prominently displayed on a gigantic billboard was the proclamation that “Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Republican” along with a photo of the civil rights leader, the organization’s name and Web site. It was hard to miss. Currently NBRA has identical signs in several other states and hopes to go nationwide. To help and donate go to:

The Republican Party, the party of Abraham Lincoln, fought to free blacks from slavery. Now the daunting goal of NBRA is to “return black Americans to their Republican Party roots by enlightening them about how Republicans fought for their freedom and civil rights and are now fighting for their educational and economic advancement".
11393  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: June 20, 2008, 08:10:26 PM

Intelligence Officials: Dozens of Europeans Have Trained in Terror Camps in Pakistan
Officials Fear This May be the Beginnings of a New Breed of al-Qaeda-Affiliated Terrorism

June 20, 2008—

Dozens of white Europeans have trained in terrorist camps in Pakistan's tribal regions in recent months, U.S. intelligence sources tell ABC News, in what officials fear may be the beginnings of a new breed of al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorism.

Government officials suspect the terrorists, recruited in Europe, have been dispatched to plan attacks against Europe and possibly the United States. The alleged terrorists hail from Britain, the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Romania and Estonia, sources said.

There is growing evidence that some European recruits may have already gone operational. Two of the suspects arrested in a September 2007 plot to kill American soldiers in Germany were native Germans, and U.S. officials say they are investigating whether they were trained in Pakistan.

An April 2008 report from Europol also noted that an increasing number of European nationals attended training in Pakistan "and were later involved in, or suspected of, terrorist offences in the EU."

Intelligence officials say the remote tribal areas along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan have in the last several years become a haven for terrorist recruiting and training. Hundreds of radicals from across the region have flocked to al-Qaeda training camps in the area.

In interviews with ABC News and in a series of little-noticed public statements and reports, intelligence officials have said they believe al-Qaeda has successfully completed a major goal: recruiting and training Western would-be terrorists.

"Al-Qa'ida is improving the last key aspect of its ability to attack the U.S.: the identification, training and positioning of operatives for an attack in the Homeland," according to a February Threat Assessment report from the Director of National Intelligence.

"[W]e have seen an influx of new Western recruits into the tribal area since mid-2006," the report said.

Those Western recruits are thought to be more difficult to detect and able to easily enter Europe and the U.S. and blend in with Western culture.

"They're recruiting operatives from Europe. Why? If you're from Europe, it doesn't require a visa to fly to the United States," Mike McConnell, the director of National Intelligence, said in a speech in March.

"So if you can get a disgruntled person in Europe to come to Pakistan to be trained in how to buy something commercially -- hydrogen peroxide -- [and] use it in a particular way, you could have mass casualties in the United States greater than 9/11," he said.

CIA Director Michael Hayden, in a speech in April, said the recruits "wouldn't cause you any concern or draw your attention if they were in the passport line at Dulles with you. I mean, they look Western and they fit in. So that's one, the continued intent to attack, training to attack, using Western operatives."

Despite these public warnings, members of Congress, including Republicans, say they are frustrated that the Bush administration and Pakistan have not done more to shut down the camps.

"The result that we have today is not acceptable," said Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich. "You can't have those camps in place in Pakistan."

Intelligence officials tell ABC News that the administration is trying to target key al-Qaeda leaders in the tribal regions with Predator airplane attacks and recently killed one leader who helped coordinate European operatives.

The U.S. has also urged the Pakistani government to be aggressive in pursuing terrorist leaders in the tribal areas, these sources said.

The Pakistani government has said it is committed to stopping militants in the area.
11394  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: June 20, 2008, 07:20:53 PM


I incorrectly though that partly because McCain is white and partly because neo nazi/kkk do usually vote Republican and run for office as Republicans-- they are the extreme right


"Neo nazi/kkk do usually vote republican" Huh? You base this on what, exactly?
11395  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: SPP: "Security and Prosperity Partnership"/United Nations on: June 20, 2008, 09:50:48 AM

North American Union

Claim:   The leaders of Canada, the United States, and Mexico agreed in 2005 to subsume their countries into a greater "North American Union" by the year 2010.

Status:   False.

Example:   [Collected via e-mail, January 2008]

I've heard rumors going around recently that President Bush, Mexican President Fox, and Canadian Prime Minister Martin met in Waco, TX in 2005 and agreed to create a North American Union (NAU). In this plan it was (supposedly) outlined that by 2010 the borders between the three countries would be dissolved and there would only be a common border surrounding the former countries. Further, the plan called for a purposeful reduction in the value of the dollar to help facilitate the creation of a new currency (the Amero) common to the NAU. Also part of the plan is for the US to give up its sovereignty.

Origins:   In March 2005, the leaders of the United States, Canada, and Mexico (President George W. Bush, Prime Minister Paul Martin, and President Vicente Fox, respectively) met in Texas to
discuss plans for increased cooperation between their three countries in areas of common interest, such as border security, protection against terrorist threats, improved trade relations, competitiveness in the global marketplace, the combating of infectious diseases, and disaster response.

Contrary to the rumor expressed in the example quoted above, the three men did not sign any treaty or agreement to subsume the sovereignty of their countries to a greater entity called the North American Union (NAU), eliminate their common borders, or create a common currency (akin to the Euro) to replace their nations' currencies. What the leaders agreed to was the creation of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP), a "dialogue to increase security and enhance prosperity among the three countries." The SPP is not itself an agreement or a treaty, it is not a movement to merge the United States, Mexico, and Canada into a North American Union or to establish a common currency, nor does it seek to alter or subsume the sovereignty of those three countries.

The notion that the establishment of a North American Union (along with the dissolving of national borders and the creation of a common currency) is set to take place in 2010 stems from proposals such as Building a North American Community (a publication of the Council on Foreign Relations in association with the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and the Consejo Mexicano de Asuntos Internacionales) which advocate more aggressive plans for North American cooperation, such as the "establishment by 2010 of a North American economic and security community, the boundaries of which would be defined by a common external tariff and an outer security perimeter." However, such proposals are merely analyses and recommendations developed by independent "think tanks"; they are not treaties, legislation, or official blueprints for future governmental actions.

None of this is to say that the three North American countries might not someday decide to form closer ties along the lines of the European Union, perhaps with a common currency and more fluid borders. But there is currently no official governmental plan underway to make all that happen by 2010.

Last updated:   9 January 2008

The URL for this page is

11396  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: SPP: "Security and Prosperity Partnership"/United Nations on: June 20, 2008, 09:42:26 AM

SPP Myths vs Facts
Security and Prosperity Partnership Of North America

The SPP is a White House-led initiative among the United States and the two nations it borders – Canada and Mexico – to increase security and to enhance prosperity among the three countries through greater cooperation. The SPP is based on the principle that our prosperity is dependent on our security and recognizes that our three great nations share a belief in freedom, economic opportunity, and strong democratic institutions. The SPP outlines a comprehensive agenda for cooperation among our three countries while respecting the sovereignty and unique cultural heritage of each nation. The SPP provides a vehicle by which the United States, Canada, and Mexico can identify and resolve unnecessary obstacles to trade and it provides a means to improve our response to emergencies and increase security, thus benefiting and protecting Americans.

The SPP is meant to:

Coordinate our security efforts to better protect U.S. citizens from terrorist threats and transnational crime and promote the safe and efficient movement of legitimate people and goods;
Expand economic opportunity for all our people by making our businesses more competitive in the global marketplace, cutting red tape, and providing consumers with safe, less expensive, and innovative products; and
Enhance our common efforts to combat infectious diseases, develop responses to man-made or natural disasters to enhance our citizens’ quality of life, protect our people and our environment, and improve consumer safety.
The SPP benefits the American people in many ways, and much progress has already been made.  For example (see for more information):

To save lives, prevent injuries, and make consumer goods safer, the United States, Canada and Mexico signed separate agreements for advance notifications when consumer goods violate one country's safety standards or pose a danger to consumers.
To strengthen border security, Mexican and U.S. agencies are exchanging information and establishing protocols to detect fraud and smuggling, and address border violence.
To speed up response times when managing infectious disease outbreaks, the United States and Canada signed an agreement to enable simultaneous exchange of information between virtual national laboratory networks.
To speed cargo shipping, the three countries are developing uniform in-advance electronic exchange of cargo manifest data for maritime, railroad and motor carriers.
To develop a coordinated strategy aimed at combating counterfeiting and piracy, a task force of senior officials from the three North American countries has been established
To reduce the cost of trade, the United States and Canada decreased transit times at the Detroit/Windsor gateway, our largest border crossing point, by 50 percent.
To reduce market distortions, facilitate trade, and promote overall competitiveness, the North American Steel Trade Committee developed a new strategy that focuses on improving innovation and market development.
Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP):

Myth vs. Fact

Myth: The SPP was an agreement signed by Presidents Bush and his Mexican and Canadian counterparts in Waco, TX, on March 23, 2005.

Fact: The SPP is a dialogue to increase security and enhance prosperity among the three countries.  The SPP is not an agreement nor is it a treaty.  In fact, no agreement was ever signed.

Myth: The SPP is a movement to merge the United States, Mexico, and Canada into a North American Union and establish a common currency.

Fact: The cooperative efforts under the SPP, which can be found in detail at, seek to make the United States, Canada and Mexico open to legitimate trade and closed to terrorism and crime.  It does not change our courts or legislative processes and respects the sovereignty of the United States, Mexico, and Canada.  The SPP in no way, shape or form considers the creation of a European Union-like structure or a common currency.   The SPP does not attempt to modify our sovereignty or currency or change the American system of government designed by our Founding Fathers.

Myth: The SPP is being undertaken without the knowledge of the U.S. Congress.

Fact: U.S. agencies involved with SPP regularly update and consult with members of Congress on our efforts and plans.

Myth: The SPP infringes on the sovereignty of the United States.

Fact: The SPP respects and leaves the unique cultural and legal framework of each of the three countries intact.  Nothing in the SPP undermines the U.S. Constitution. In no way does the SPP infringe upon the sovereignty of the United States.

Myth: The SPP is illegal and violates the Constitution.

Fact: The SPP is legal and in no way violates the Constitution or affects the legal authorities of the participating executive agencies.  Indeed, the SPP is an opportunity for the governments of the United States, Canada, and Mexico to discuss common goals and identify ways to enhance each nation’s security and prosperity.  If an action is identified, U.S. federal agencies can only operate within U.S. law to address these issues.  The Departments of Commerce and Homeland Security coordinate the efforts of the agencies responsible for the various initiatives under the prosperity and security pillars of the SPP.  If an agency were to decide a regulatory change is desirable through the cooperative efforts of SPP, that agency is required to conform to all existing U.S. laws and administrative procedures, including an opportunity to comment.

Myth: The U.S section of the SPP is headed by the Department of Commerce.

Fact: The SPP is a White House-driven initiative. In the United States, the Department of Commerce coordinates the ‘Prosperity’ component, while the Department of Homeland Security coordinates the ‘Security’ component. The Department of State ensures the two components are coordinated and are consistent with U.S. foreign policy.

Myth: The U.S. Government, working though the SPP, has a secret plan to build a "NAFTA Super Highway."

Fact: The U.S. government is not planning a NAFTA Super Highway.  The U.S. government does not have the authority to designate any highway as a NAFTA Super Highway, nor has it sought such authority, nor is it planning to seek such authority. There are private and state level interests planning highway projects which they themselves describe as "NAFTA Corridors," but these are not Federally-driven initiatives, and they are not a part of the SPP.

Myth: The U.S. Government, through the Department of Transportation, is funding secretive highway projects to become part of a “NAFTA Super Highway”.

Fact: Many States in the American Midwest are proposing or undertaking highway projects to improve or build roads as Federal-aid and State or private sector revenue becomes available. All projects involving Federal-aid funds or approvals are subject to normal Federal-aid requirements, such as review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), including public involvement.  This public involvement, the common thread among all these activities, makes them anything but “secret.”  In addition, Congress directs Department of Transportation funding for specific highway projects.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will continue to cooperate with the State transportation departments as they build and upgrade highways to meet the needs of the 21st century.  Rather than evidence of a secret plan to create a NAFTA Super Highway that would undermine our national sovereignty, the FHWA’s efforts are a routine part of cooperation with all the State transportation departments to improve the Nation’s highways.

Myth: U.S. Government officials sponsored a secret SPP planning meeting in Banff, Alberta in September 2006.

Fact: The U.S. Government did not sponsor the meeting in Banff.  The North American Forum, a private initiative that is separate from the U.S. Government, hosted the September 12-14, 2006 conference “Continental Prosperity in the New Security Environment.”  Academics, businesspersons, private citizens, and government officials from the U.S., Mexican, and Canadian governments attended the conference.  The North American Forum is not a product of the SPP.

Myth: The SPP will cost U.S. taxpayers money.

Fact: The SPP is being implemented with existing budget resources.  Over the long-term, it will save U.S. taxpayers money by cutting through costly red tape and reducing redundant paperwork.  This initiative will benefit the taxpayers through economic gain and increased security, thereby enhancing the competitiveness and quality of life in our countries.

Myth: The working groups and SPP documents are a secret and not available to the public.

Fact: The SPP’s initiatives and milestones with timelines can be found by clicking the Report to Leaders link at  The Web site contains a section to enable interested persons to provide input directly to the various working groups.

Myth: The SPP seeks to lower U.S. standards through a regulatory cooperation framework.

Fact: The framework will support and enhance cooperation and encourage the compatibility of regulations among the three partners while maintaining high standards of health and safety. Any regulatory changes will require agencies to conform to all U.S. administrative procedures, including an opportunity to comment. Enhanced cooperation in this area will provide consumers with more affordable, safer, and more diversified and innovative products.

Myth: The SPP is meant to deal with immigration reform and trade disputes.

Fact: Immigration reform is a legislative matter currently being debated in Congress and is not being dealt with in the SPP.  Likewise, trade disputes between the United States, Canada, and Mexico are resolved in the NAFTA and WTO mechanisms and not the SPP.

Myth: The SPP will result in the loss of American jobs.

Fact: The SPP seeks to create jobs by reducing transaction costs and unnecessary burdens for U.S. companies, which will bolster the competitiveness of our firms globally.  These efforts will help U.S. manufacturers, spur job creation, and benefit consumers.

Myth: The SPP will harm our quality of life.

Fact: The SPP improves the safety and well-being of Americans.  It builds on efforts to protect our environment, improves our ability to combat infectious diseases, such as avian influenza, and ensures our food supply is safe through the exchange of information and cooperation ─ improving the quality of life for U.S. citizens.  Americans enjoy world class living standards because we are engaged with the world.

Myth: The SPP creates a NAFTA-plus legal status between the three countries.

Fact: The SPP does not seek to rewrite or renegotiate NAFTA.  It creates no NAFTA-plus legal status.
11397  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: June 20, 2008, 05:57:43 AM

I'll concede that it was some campaign staffer or staffers that did the selection of the backdrop. Still, I find it telling who was there for the photo op and their agendas, as articulated in the Debbie Schlussel article.
11398  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: June 19, 2008, 09:12:22 PM

Obama supporters! Just not in the photos....
11399  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: June 19, 2008, 09:06:52 PM

June 18, 2008

Obama, Islamophobe? Muslims barred from picture at Obama event

Once again he throws a billion Muslims under the bus by tacitly acknowledging that they carry just a bit too much political baggage for him.

(But it's OK -- he apologized.)

"Muslims barred from picture at Obama event," by Ben Smith at Politico, June 18 (thanks to all who sent this in):

Two Muslim women at Barack Obama's rally in Detroit Monday were barred from sitting behind the podium by campaign volunteers seeking to prevent the women's headscarves from appearing in photographs or on television with the candidate.
The campaign has apologized to the women, all Obama supporters who said they felt betrayed by their treatment at the rally.

"This is of course not the policy of the campaign. It is offensive and counter to Obama's commitment to bring Americans together and simply not the kind of campaign we run," said Obama spokesman Bill Burton. "We sincerely apologize for the behavior of these volunteers."

Building a human backdrop to a political candidate, a set of faces to appear on television and in photographs, is always a delicate exercise in demographics and political correctness. Advance staffers typically pick supporters out of a crowd to reflect the candidate's message.

When Obama won North Carolina amid questions about his ability to connect with white voters, for instance, he stood in front of a group of middle-aged white women waving small American flags. Across the aisle, a Hispanic New Hampshire Democrat, Roberto Fuentes, told Politico that he was recently asked, and declined, to contribute to the "diversity" of the crowd behind Senator John McCain at a Nashua event.

But for Obama, the old-fashioned image-making contrasts with his promise to transcend identity politics, and to embrace all elements of America. The incidents in Michigan, which has one of the largest Arab and Muslim populations in the country, also raise an aspect of his campaign that sometimes rubs Muslims the wrong way: The candidate has vigorously denied a false, viral rumor that he himself is Muslim. But the denials seem to some at times to imply that there something wrong with the faith, though Obama occasionally adds that he means no disrespect to Islam.

"I was coming to support him, and I felt like I was discriminated against by the very person who was supposed to be bringing this change, who I could really relate to," said Hebba Aref, a 25-year-old lawyer who lives in the Detroit suburb of Bloomfield Hills. "The message that I thought was delivered to us was that they do not want him associated with Muslims or Muslim supporters."...
11400  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: June 19, 2008, 08:12:33 PM

I assume you are now retracting "I'm positive   Neo Nazi/KKK vote  will all be for McCain ."

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