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11551  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: January 04, 2008, 11:45:10 PM

Yeah, aside from losing the war against the global jihad and causing the death of western civilization, i'm sure he'd be a great president....
11552  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Intel Matters on: January 04, 2008, 11:40:37 PM

Heather Mac Donald
Talking Sense on “Spying”
Requiring warrants for computerized surveillance is absurd and dangerous to national security.
2 January 2006

It’s time to get real: Computers can’t spy. They can’t violate your privacy, because they don’t know that you exist. Computers are the solution to Americans’ hyperactive privacy paranoia, not its nightmare confirmation. Next Monday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the National Security Agency’s Al Qaeda phone-tracking program should focus on the promise of computer technology in fighting terrorism, and on overcoming the impediments to using it.

The furor over the National Security Agency program has been inflamed by conflating computer scanning with human spying. Administration opponents and the media have thrown around the phrases “domestic surveillance” and “warrantless eavesdropping” to refer to what appears to be computer analysis of vast amounts of communications traffic. In only the most minute fraction of cases has a human mind attended to the results—at which point, the term “eavesdropping” may become appropriate. Most of the time, however, the communications data passed through NSA’s supercomputers without any further consequences and without any sentient being learning what the data were. Anyone who feels violated by the possibility that his international phone calls or emails joined the flood of zeros and ones that feed the NSA’s machines only to be passed by undeciphered, must believe that his wonderful individuality can spark interest even in silicon chips.

But although the NSA’s Al Qaeda communications analysis program did not in the vast majority of cases violate privacy, it probably did violate the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. And that fact should serve as a warning that national security law needs reform if we want to deploy one of our greatest defensive assets—computer technology—against Islamic terrorists.

The facts about the NSA tracking program remain unknown: administration accounts and media reports are conflicting and incomplete. Assuming some truth in what has come out to date, it seems that when American soldiers and intelligence agents abroad seize phones and computers from Al Qaeda suspects, NSA computers start tracking communications to and from the phone numbers and email addresses contained in those devices, including communications between Al Qaeda suspects abroad and people here in the U.S.

Some of that mechanized tracking, it appears, simply follows calling or emailing patterns to and from the intercepted numbers and internet addresses—looking solely at phone numbers and email addresses without analyzing content. Other aspects of the program may search for certain key phrases within phone and electronic messages. And perhaps in a small percentage of cases, an NSA agent may monitor the content of highly suspicious communications between Al Qaeda operatives and U.S. residents.

Under the law, all of those methods require a court order if any of the numbers or addresses belong to U.S. citizens or legal residents, even though only a live agent poses any privacy problems. Using a computer to track phone numbers called and email addresses contacted, or to search for key words in conversations—assuming no follow-up action by the government—is a privacy-protecting measure. A computer is no more sensitive to the meaning of the millions of conversations it may be scanning for Jihadist code words than a calculator that you use to figure out your taxes is privy to your income and debt levels.

But the legal hurdles to such automated-scanning programs become significant if there’s any possibility that data on American residents are in play. To track just the phone numbers dialed out of and received by numbers contained in Khalid Sheik Mohammad’s cell phone, without any interception of content, for example, requires a court order under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, if some of those numbers belong to U.S. residents or are found in the U.S. This requirement is particularly perverse, because the Supreme Court has held that there is no Fourth Amendment privacy interest in the numbers you dial from or receive into your phone. Phone companies already possess that information, which they use (among other things) to pitch new calling plans to subscribers. Dialing patterns, therefore, have no claim to constitutionally protected privacy.

The barriers to using our computer capacity grow even more daunting when the government wants to use computers to find Jihadist language in communications. Remember: a computer cannot eavesdrop on a conversation, because it does not “know” what anyone is saying, and a key-word detection program would exclude from computer analysis all conversations and all parts of conversations that don’t use suspicious language. Nevertheless, such an insensate tracking device becomes “surveillance” for FISA purposes. Thus, in order to put a computer to work sifting through thousands of phone conversations or email messages a day, the NSA must convince the FISA court that there is probable cause to believe that every U.S. resident whose conversations will be dumbly scanned is an agent of a foreign power knowingly and illegally gathering intelligence or planning terrorism. FISA’s 72-hour emergency exception rule, which allows the government to begin monitoring a conversation and seek a warrant within 72 hours, is no help. The government will still need to prove that the thousands of electronically scanned and ignored conversations emanate from American agents of foreign governments or terrorist organizations.

Obviously, such a requirement is both unworkable and unnecessary. It is wrong to consider computer analysis a constitutional “search” of data that haven’t been selected for further inspection. Only when authorities order a follow-up investigation on selected results should a probable-cause standard come into play.

That FISA employs probable-cause standards at all is a belated encroachment on national defense that contravened centuries of constitutional thinking. The Fourth Amendment’s probable-cause requirement governs criminal prosecution. It requires public authorities to prove to a judge issuing a search or arrest warrant that there is sufficient reason to believe that the wanted individual has committed a crime or that the criminal evidence sought is likely to be in the alleged location. The purpose of probable-cause rules is to ensure that the government’s police powers are correctly targeted and do not unreasonably invade privacy. But federal judges and criminal evidentiary standards should be irrelevant when the government is gathering intelligence to prevent an attack on the country. A federal judge has no expertise in evaluating the need for and significance of foreign intelligence information. And the standard for gathering intelligence on our enemies should be lower than that for bringing the government’s penal powers to bear on citizens.

FISA’s incongruous probable-cause standards, passed in a fit of civil-libertarian zeal after the Church Committee hearings in the 1970s, however, are likely here to stay. At the very least, we should not make matters worse by equating computer interception of large-scale data with “surveillance” under FISA. Requiring probable cause for computer analysis of intelligence data would knock out our technological capacity in the war on Islamic terrorists almost as effectively as a Jihadist strike against NSA’s computers.
11553  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: January 04, 2008, 05:31:07 PM

Infidel smited.
11554  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: January 04, 2008, 04:06:02 PM

It's going to be a helluva fight. Ron Paul has FAR more than just the "crazy vote", plus $20 million in his pocket. Giuliani will doubtless do well outside of Iowa, Thompson will maintain a solid position, & Romney will come back hard. I suspect McCain is already gone (along with Hunter), and Huckabee will be dead in the water soon, so we're still looking at 4 strong candidates.

It would have been even more interesting if Gary Johnson had decided to run.

When the general public takes a hard look at Dr. Crazy's foreign policy, he'll have nothing but his base of nazis, troofers, jihadists and tin-foil hatters. The blimp will become the Hindenburg.
11555  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: January 04, 2008, 09:47:28 AM
You know the Clinton machine is sharpening knives right now, planning bad things for Barry-O. I hope 3rd. place fires up Fred, as Huckleberry is unelectable in the general election. Ron Paul has the crazy vote locked up, but even if his loons raise a billion, he can only be a democratic asset in the general.
11556  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: January 02, 2008, 09:02:34 PM

Yeah, probably a half dozen other would-be assassins were killed when the IED detonated in the crowd.....
11557  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: January 02, 2008, 04:41:10 PM

11558  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: January 02, 2008, 03:38:08 PM

You can't say Ron Paul's base isn't.....diverse.  rolleyes
11559  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: January 02, 2008, 02:55:22 PM

Enter Biden.
11560  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: January 02, 2008, 09:48:10 AM

I'm sure the MSM will be all over this story.....Any minute now.....
11561  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: January 01, 2008, 04:33:55 PM

11562  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: January 01, 2008, 09:04:10 AM

Analysis: Military slew Bhutto -- sources   

Dec 31 11:11 AM US/Eastern

WASHINGTON, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Benazir Bhutto was assassinated on orders of lower- and middle-level officers of the Pakistani army and air force, according to various intelligence sources, including members of India's counterintelligence service.

According to a source who asked to remain unnamed, members of the Pakistani armed forces involved in Thursday's killing of the former prime minister and leader of the opposition are sympathizers of the ultra-conservative Islamists with ties to the jihadis.

"It's worrying when half of your lower or mid-level Pak intelligence analysts have bin Laden screen savers on their computers," a former official of the CIA was reported to have commented.

More than one analyst is of the opinion al-Qaida and other jihadis have managed to successfully penetrate Pakistan's armed forces and security services. Given the fact Pakistan is in possession of nuclear weapons, the possibility of a pro-al-Qaida regime replacing President Pervez Musharraf would radically change the entire geopolitical alignment in southwest Asia, and it would have a spin-off effect on the Middle East, as well, primarily in regards to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

And it's not for lack of trying, either. Pro-Islamist groups have tried to assassinate Musharraf multiple times. Two attempts took place in December 2003 when rockets were fired at his vehicle during a visit to Rawalpindi, the same city where Bhutto was assassinated last Thursday.

Then there was an attempt to shoot his plane down with anti-aircraft fire in early 2007. There were also two suicide attacks on the army's general headquarters and two attacks outside the offices of the Inter-Services Intelligence agency after Pakistani security forces, acting on orders from Musharraf, assaulted the Red Mosque in Islamabad last July; Islamists had sought refuge inside the mosque with dozens of hostages. Scores of people died in the assault, and hundreds were arrested.

Following the two attacks on Musharraf, lower-ranking army and air force officers were placed under arrest. The investigation that followed discovered that the officers had ties with Jaish-e-Mohammad, an Islamist group. In the rocket attack, security forces arrested the son of an army brigadier general. According to the same source, however, only lower-ranking army officials were arrested and court-martialed. "The investigations are dead in the water," said the source.

Bhutto's main fear, according to a well-placed source in the intelligence community, was that retired Brig. Gen. Ijaz Shah of the Pakistani Intelligence Bureau would prove a grave threat to her. Bhutto was worried about her security but did not make a big issue of it, some say believing in destiny. But as recently as Dec. 26 she complained that the electronic jammers used to neutralize improvised explosive devices provided by the government were faulty.

Bhutto was well aware of the dangers she faced, having been briefed and having received death threats from her enemies. "She was warned of the dangers yet she continued to behave in a way in which the Secret Service in the U.S. would never accept," said Thomas Houlahan, director of military assessment with the Center for Security and Science in Washington.

Bhutto insisted on having her own people run her protection, said Houlahan, who added, "but nothing would protect her when she decided to stand through the sunroof of her car."

"That was extremely reckless," he said. "I don't see what could have been done."

Opposition to Bhutto was to be found not only in the country's armed forces and bin Laden sympathizers, but also from old Zia ul-Haq loyalists who did not want the daughter of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in a position of power. "They especially loathed the idea that Bhutto had pledged the United States to allow U.S. intelligence to interrogate rogue atomic scientist A.Q. Khan and allow U.S. forces to hunt for bin Laden on Pakistani soil.

"She did not have much of a chance," Houlahan said.

(Claude Salhani is Editor of the Middle East Times.)

11563  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: December 29, 2007, 02:03:48 PM

Aside from Ron Paul pandering to nazis, Trufers and other assorted tin-foil hats, he's utterly clueless about the global jihad and foreign policy.
11564  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Free Speech vs. Islamic Fascism (formerly Buy DANISH!!!) on: December 29, 2007, 01:29:15 PM

Islamic Bloc Scores 'Defamation of Religions' Resolution at UN
By Patrick Goodenough International Editor
December 20, 2007

( - Alongside a resolution adopted by the U.N. General Assembly this week calling for a moratorium on the death penalty, the world body passed a raft of other human rights-related motions. One of them, introduced by Islamic nations, focuses on combating the "defamation of religions."

Resolutions on the human rights situation in North Korea and Iran also passed, although dozens of countries -- including human rights violators Cuba, Sudan, Syria and Zimbabwe -- voted against the motions.

An annual resolution on "the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination" also passed by an overwhelming margin, with only the United States, Israel, and three small Pacific island nations voting "no." There were four abstentions.

The motion on defamation of religions has been a priority for the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) since 9/11. It took on new impetus following a Danish newspaper's publication in 2005 of cartoons satirizing Mohammed.

Introduced by Pakistan on behalf of the OIC, it passed on Tuesday by a 108-51 margin, with 25 abstentions. As with many of the other votes, the U.S. lined up with democracies in Europe, Asia and elsewhere against developing nations, including repressive regimes.

Although the resolution refers to defamation of "religions," Islam is the only religion named in the text, which also takes a swipe at counter-terrorism security measures.

It expresses alarm about "discrimination" and "laws that stigmatize groups of people belonging to certain religions and faiths under a variety of pretexts relating to security and illegal immigration."

Muslim minorities are subjected to "ethnic and religious profiling ... in the aftermath of the tragic events of 11 September 2001," it says.

The resolution decries "the negative projection of Islam in the media" and voices "deep concern that Islam is frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and terrorism."

OIC secretary-general Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu earlier this month addressed an international conference on "Islamophobia," held in Turkey, and told the gathering that freedom of expression was being used as a cover in the West to promote anti-Islam sentiment.

The OIC soon will release its first-ever annual report on "Islamophobia."

'Flawed and divisive'

On a number of the General Assembly resolutions passed Tuesday, the U.S. stood in the minority, including one dealing with practices that contribute to "fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance," and another on a report on preparations by the U.N.'s Human Rights Council for a major conference on racism, scheduled for 2009.

The international conference is intended to review progress achieved on a program of action adopted at an earlier racism conference, held in Durban, South Africa in 2001.

The Durban event was marred by controversy, with attempts spearheaded by Arab and Muslim states to equate Zionism with racism. The U.S. government sent a low-level delegation and then recalled it midway in protest against the attacks on Israel.

On Tuesday, only the U.S., Israel and the Marshall Islands voted against the resolution on preparations for the Durban review conference.

In an earlier explanation of vote, American envoy Grover Joseph Rees told member-states that although the U.S. supported the stated objectives of Durban gathering, "the outcomes of the conference were deeply flawed and divisive."

"The resolution now before us endorses that flawed outcome and is therefore itself seriously problematic," he said.

Rees said the Human Rights Council should be concentrating on the role for which it was created - "addressing human rights situations around the world, particularly emerging situations."

At the same time, countries should be focusing on implementing existing commitments, rather than on following-up "a flawed instrument" or creating of new ones.

Specifically, he said, states should be ratify and effectively implement the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Countries that have not ratified the 1965 treaty include Burma, North Korea, Malaysia, Angola, Singapore and a number of small Pacific island nations.
11565  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mormons on: December 07, 2007, 03:56:08 PM
I grew up close to Utah, have spent time there and have known lots of mormons. As a group, they are hardworking, patriotic and family oriented. Still, there is a creepy cultishness to the religion and the theology is almost as strange and laughable as islam's. Rural Utah town have a "pod people" feel to them that makes my skin crawl.
11566  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: November 28, 2007, 11:14:01 PM
The Moonlight Bunny Ranch's support of Ron Paul hurts my opinon of the Moonlight Bunny Ranch.
11567  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: November 20, 2007, 10:15:22 PM
I had such hopes for Thompson. His campaign has been a comedy of errors though. I'd be surprised if he was viable anymore.
11568  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: November 19, 2007, 09:08:46 PM
November 19, 2007
Ron Paul is a Useful Man for Democrats

By Andrew Walden
The Ron Paul story never seems to end -- and yet never seems to quite make it into the mainstream media. That's because, in the political equivalent of a bank shot, Paul's fringe support helps bleach embarrassing stains from the Democrats.

First there is the revelation that Jim C Perry, the "Orthodox Jewish" head of "Jews for Paul" also calls himself a gay pagan Unitarian.

Now it turns out that Perry, Paul's point man in response to questions raised by the Jewish Telegraph Agency, is also accused of stealing money from the local New Hampshire branch of the Libertarian Party. What a great guy! It's only an accusation. And the "Libertarian" Perry was in 2006 running for New Hampshire Legislature as a Democrat.

Oh yes: Then the federal raids started.

It turns out that some folks actually buy-in to Ron Paul's blither about US dollars being "phony money". Here Paul is talking about "phony money" at a recent Ron Paul rally outside the Philadelphia Mint with a large crowd including -- surprise, surprise, -- some more white supremacists. (Who show they fully understand the New Orleans protocol.)

Some of Paul's gold bug supporters been trying to pass so-called "Liberty Dollars" off as real currency at stores nationwide. Sleepy clerks have given them change in US currency for purchases. Raids have been conducted in the last few days by the FBI and Secret Service at Liberty Dollar HQ in a strip mall office in Evansville, Indiana, (that's not where I would be keeping three pounds of gold, but I digress) as well as Asheville, NC (here the segregationist ‘Council of Conservative Citizens' is very concerned) and a private mint located in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Arrests were also made recently in Wisconsin (on their blogsite, these geniuses detail three places where the spent Liberty Dollars as if they were legal tender). In 2006 two arrests had been made in Buffalo, NY. The Evanston raid netted a huge load of "Ron Paul Dollars" apparently just delivered from Idaho and backed perhaps by the full faith and credit of... Ron Paul?

Ron Paul's Evanston supporters went to Liberty Dollar HQ to protest with Ron Paul-for-president signs. At the Evansville Ron Paul site one of their leaders explains the defense strategy:
"I sent an email to, so with any luck we'll make it on and go viral. If nothing else should come of this, maybe the LD can get a case before the Supreme Court and settle once and for all and maybe Ron Paul's name will be on more people's minds and lips."
And, yes Ron Paul donor 9-11 "troother" Alex Jones did post it. And it did go ‘viral'. But no that doesn't mean the 9-11 "troothers" are integral to the Ron Paul campaign because ...uh...uh... (insert Paulite rationalization here).

Meanwhile over at Reason Magazine, they seem to have lost all of theirs. Writes Jeff Taylor:
"As such, accounts of the (Evansville) raid focused on the Ron Paul angle seem off-base, at least given the available facts."
Sure, just close your eyes and it will all go away. Let yourself get sucked down the toilet with the frauds, and scammers. Reason wants us to believe that Ron Paul has absolutely nothing to do with Ron Paul dollars. But Paul's "troother" supporters believe that George Bush and ‘the Jooos' personally crawled through the ductwork at the World Trade Center to wire the explosives for controlled detonation.

Apparently they didn't get the message at the Daily Paul. Their response to the raid:
"This is pretty scary stuff and reminiscent of a time in Germany...I wonder if the motivation was our wonderful $4.3M day?"
The Street writes;
"...if the raid results in the conviction of anyone involved, it is possible that the Paul campaign may have to return a cash donation made by Liberty Dollar....So far, Liberty Dollar has donated $2,300 to the Paul campaign, a fact confirmed by both Paul's office and Bernard von NotHaus, who runs Liberty Dollar."
No connection there?

No tough questions for Paul, but plenty of fluff. Rolling Stone writes: "Republican takes the lead against the war." This comes after Bill Maher physically chased "troothers" from his studio audience October 19 shouting "out, out, out" and Bill Clinton stared down troother hecklers October 24 with: "An inside job? How dare you?"

The Democrats and their media are using the Paul campaign to scrape six years of accumulated "toother" scum off the Democrat Party, deposit it into the Libertarian movement make a little mess for the GOP. With Obama, Hillary and Edwards all refusing to promise to withdraw troops from Iraq by 2013 Democrats dream of losing the "surrender monkey" tag.
Here is a Chicago Tribune fluff piece with this gem of verbal judo:
"to a growing, Internet-based pool of supporters, the silver-haired obstetrician turned politician is the sanest man at the Republican debates and perhaps in all of Congress. Paul attracts an unusual political potpourri of people of all ages and viewpoints, including a sprinkling of conspiracy theorists and other extremists whose views Paul's campaign disavows."
No anti-Semites, KKKers, or FBI raids in sight anywhere -- just ‘conspiracy theorists'--but all neatly "disavowed." Really? Was that when Jesse Benton -- Ron Paul's national communications director -- said "I cannot say that we will be rejecting Mr. Black's (Stormfront) contribution?"

Well actually Ron Paul appears to be disavowing some contributions: those given by bankers and Wall Streeters. Corporate money is too dirty for Ron Paul to accept but KKK money is not?

The Chicago Tribune also offers this nugget:
"Paul appears financially comfortable but not exceedingly wealthy, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission. Most of his holdings are in about two dozen gold and silver firms, many valued at less than $15,000 and none valued at more than $250,000."
Do those firms benefit from the sale of Ron Paul Dollars? Of course they do; someone has to bring in the wrong way crowd to buy gold and silver at the top of the commodities cycle.
Meanwhile the mainstream media is mostly ignoring the cesspool of neo-Nazis, Klanners, Holocaust deniers, and gold-bugs-with-the-FBI-pounding-on-their-door, surrounding Paul. Why? The Democrats can unload some of their whack-job fringe to the GOP via Ron Paul and in their dreams, hang these nut jobs around the GOP's neck like a dead albatross. At the same time they assist Hillary or Obama in trying to move to the center for the general election.

Timing is everything. Paul has staked $1.1 million on the NH primary. His big fundraising push November 5 and now December 16 come conveniently before the Jan 1 reporting deadline. That deadline is too close to the Iowa and NH votes for evidence about Paul's supporters to make a difference.

The hard work is done. The information about Paul is on line neatly organized for even the laziest reporter in America to confirm, write up and look like a genius.

Writes WaPo:
"As if Ron Paul's supporters needed any more motivation to storm the battlements and wreak havoc on the Republican presidential primary, now comes this: the feds are trying to take away their money."
Antonio Gramsci would be very proud.

Andrew Walden is editor of Hawai`i Free Press in Hilo.

Page Printed from: at November 19, 2007 - 10:28:26 AM EST

11569  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Thanksgiving on: November 19, 2007, 09:06:34 PM
Mark Steyn: World should give thanks for America


Speaking as a misfit unassimilated foreigner, I think of Thanksgiving as the most American of holidays.
Christmas is celebrated elsewhere, even if there are significant local variations: In Continental Europe, naughty children get left rods to be flayed with and lumps of coal; in Britain, Christmas lasts from Dec. 22 to mid-January and celebrates the ancient cultural traditions of massive alcohol intake and watching the telly till you pass out in a pool of your own vomit. All part of the rich diversity of our world.
But Thanksgiving (excepting the premature and somewhat undernourished Canadian version) is unique to America. "What's it about?" an Irish visitor asked me a couple of years back. "Everyone sits around giving thanks all day? Thanks for what? George bloody Bush?"
Well, Americans have a lot to be thankful for.
Europeans think of this country as "the New World" in part because it has an eternal newness, which is noisy and distracting. Who would ever have thought you could have ready-to-eat pizza faxed directly to your iPod?
And just when you think you're on top of the general trend of novelty, it veers off in an entirely different direction: Continentals who grew up on Hollywood movies where the guy tells the waitress "Gimme a cuppa joe" and slides over a nickel return to New York a year or two later and find the coffee now costs $5.75, takes 25 minutes and requires an agonizing choice between the cinnamon-gingerbread-persimmon latte with coxcomb sprinkles and the decaf venti pepperoni-Eurasian-milfoil macchiato.
Who would have foreseen that the nation that inflicted fast food and drive-thru restaurants on the planet would then take the fastest menu item of all and turn it into a Kabuki-paced performance art? What mad genius!
But Americans aren't novelty junkies on the important things. The New World is one of the oldest settled constitutional democracies on Earth, to a degree the Old World can barely comprehend. Where it counts, Americans are traditionalists.
We know Eastern Europe was a totalitarian prison until the Nineties, but we forget that Mediterranean Europe (Greece, Spain, Portugal) has democratic roots going all the way back until, oh, the mid-Seventies; France and Germany's constitutions date back barely half a century, Italy's only to the 1940s, and Belgium's goes back about 20 minutes, and currently it's not clear whether even that latest rewrite remains operative. The U.S. Constitution is not only older than France's, Germany's, Italy's or Spain's constitution, it's older than all of them put together.
Americans think of Europe as Goethe and Mozart and 12th century castles and 6th century churches, but the Continent's governing mechanisms are no more ancient than the Partridge Family. Aside from the Anglophone democracies, most of the nation-states in the West have been conspicuous failures at sustaining peaceful political evolution from one generation to the next, which is why they're so susceptible to the siren song of Big Ideas – communism, fascism, European Union.
If you're going to be novelty-crazed, better the zebra-mussel cappuccino than the Third Reich.
Even in a supposedly 50/50 nation, you're struck by the assumed stability underpinning even fundamental disputes. If you go into a bookstore, the display shelves offer a smorgasbord of leftist anti-Bush tracts claiming that he and Cheney have trashed, mangled, gutted, raped and tortured, sliced 'n' diced the Constitution, put it in a cement overcoat and lowered it into the East River. Yet even this argument presupposes a shared veneration for tradition unknown to most Western political cultures: When Tony Blair wanted to abolish, in effect, the upper house of the national legislature, he just got on and did it.
I don't believe the U.S. Constitution includes a right to abortion or gay marriage or a zillion other things the Left claims to detect emanating from the penumbra, but I find it sweetly touching that in America even political radicalism has to be framed as an appeal to constitutional tradition from the powdered-wig era.
In Europe, by contrast, one reason why there's no politically significant pro-life movement is because, in a world where constitutions have the life expectancy of an Oldsmobile, great questions are just seen as part of the general tide, the way things are going, no sense trying to fight it. And, by the time you realize you have to, the tide's usually up to your neck.
So Americans should be thankful they have one of the last functioning nation-states. Europeans, because they've been so inept at exercising it, no longer believe in national sovereignty, whereas it would never occur to Americans not to. This profoundly different attitude to the nation-state underpins, in turn, Euro-American attitudes to transnational institutions such as the United Nations.
But on this Thanksgiving the rest of the world ought to give thanks to American national sovereignty, too. When something terrible and destructive happens – a tsunami hits Indonesia, an earthquake devastates Pakistan – the United States can project itself anywhere on the planet within hours and start saving lives, setting up hospitals and restoring the water supply.
Aside from Britain and France, the Europeans cannot project power in any meaningful way anywhere. When they sign on to an enterprise they claim to believe in – shoring up Afghanistan's fledgling post-Taliban democracy – most of them send token forces under constrained rules of engagement that prevent them doing anything more than manning the photocopier back at the base.
If America were to follow the Europeans and maintain only shriveled attenuated residual military capacity, the world would very quickly be nastier and bloodier, and far more unstable. It's not just Americans and Iraqis and Afghans who owe a debt of thanks to the U.S. soldier but all the Europeans grown plump and prosperous in a globalized economy guaranteed by the most benign hegemon in history.
That said, Thanksgiving isn't about the big geopolitical picture, but about the blessings closer to home. Last week, the state of Oklahoma celebrated its centennial, accompanied by rousing performances of Rodgers and Hammerstein's eponymous anthem:
"We know we belong to the land
And the land we belong to is grand!"
Which isn't a bad theme song for the first Thanksgiving, either.
Three hundred and 14 years ago, the Pilgrims thanked God because there was a place for them in this land, and it was indeed grand. The land is grander today, and that, too, is remarkable: France has lurched from Second Empires to Fifth Republics struggling to devise a lasting constitutional settlement for the same smallish chunk of real estate, but the principles that united a baker's dozen of East Coast colonies were resilient enough to expand across a continent and halfway around the globe to Hawaii.
Americans should, as always, be thankful this Thanksgiving, but they should also understand just how rare in human history their blessings are.
11570  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: November 16, 2007, 07:28:24 PM
I agree with him on multiple points, including the 2nd. I don't like his neo-isolationism and I sure don't like his pandering to the Trufers and nazis.
11571  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: November 16, 2007, 03:32:56 PM
Not THIS cop! Et tu, Crafty?  evil
11572  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: November 10, 2007, 03:27:54 PM

Khaleej Times Online >> News >> SUBCONTINENT
‘Pakistan cuts troops on Indian border’
By our correspondent

7 November 2007

NEW DELHI — For the first time in 60 years, Pakistan has considerably reduced the number of troops along the heavily guarded border with India.

The matter has come up in the Cabinet Committee on Security headed by the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh.

Turmoil in Pakistan and unrest in its western areas, have resulted in Pakistani troops being pulled away in large numbers from the border areas adjoining Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat.

Reports quoting intelligence agencies said here yesterday that the aggressively positioned eastern frontier areas adjoining India have become extremely thin. Pakistani troops that otherwise are positioned to counter Indian forces, have been moved out to Waziristan and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas on the western borders, reports said.

Intelligence officials have been quoted as saying that strain is starting to tell on the regular Pakistan army with tensions mounting in the north west frontier. “The very sign of pressure building up against Pakistan is that their forces which never compromised on its eastern border have been moved out leaving the border areas along India lean and lanky,” said top officials.

Some 38,000 troops from key border installations have been repositioned, the Caninet Committee has been told. It is said as many as 15 Infantry Brigades of Pakistan army have been repositioned on the border areas of north west frontier to fight Taleban.

Many reserve troops and units that were on duty on the borders at Indo-Pak Line of Control have been moved out. Even soldiers from the elite strike corps that are trained to slice into India in the event of war along with reserves with the army GHQ in Rawalpindi have been mobilised. However, this doesn’t indicate that Pakistan’s eastern border has been left totally unattended.

The thinning of troops indicate that Islamabad is quite apprehensive about internal developments more than any untoward events unfolding with India. Officials were quoted as saying that Islamabad isn’t worried with New Delhi that has seemingly been sympathetic with the situation in its neighbour that forced President Pervez Musharraf impose 'emergency' last Saturday.

“For them the priority is surely the western flank that has brought them more trouble as of now. With Indo-Pak peace process still on, Islamabad can at least trust its new found camaraderie with New Delhi,” officials said. Latest inputs have shown that the Mangla-based Army Reserve North (ARN) and Multan-based Army Reserve South (ARS) too have been repositioned, said Indian Express newspaper.

“They have been dispatched to Peshawar or Quetta for deployment along the troubled Afghan frontier. Units from the Force Command Northern Area (FCNA) that controls Pakistan’s Azad Kashmir region and forces from the dual-role XI Corps in Peshawar — tasked with defending the Afghan border have also been moved to fight the Taleban,” said the report.

The reports quoting valid details, point out that written instructions were sent by Pakistan Army GHQ to all formation commanders to determine the quantity of forces each unit could relieve for deployment along the Afghan border and even the hinterland. After that a classified list of ‘extra troops’ was drawn up by GHQ based on an internal audit that was carried out by all formations.

Top US-based defence analysts watching developments in India and Pakistan, have warned that this pressure on Pakistani armed forces could lead to an ‘abnormally high percentage of Pakistani troops on active duty’ — a factor that is dangerous, as it can ‘crack open’ the army against President Musharraf himself.

“Intelligence data says that out of the 66 Infantry Brigades (about 1.65 lakh troops) in the Pak army, 33 brigades are currently on active duty. Of these, 18 brigades (45,000 troops) are deployed for counter-terror operations. With half its troops committed to active duty, the army is finding it hard to rotate and relive formations,” said reports.

“It is a major operational constraint. In the event of war, the whole army gets mobilised but in an ideal scenario, one-third of the troops should be on duty, while the rest are in transit or in a peace area. In long term, it will get increasingly difficult to manage the already strained forces,” top officials were quoted as saying.

On this scenario, strategic affairs expert Stephen Cohen has pointed out that “the (Pakistani) army might lose its coherence. It is a multi-ethnic army, derived from the old British Indian army, and from time to time it, like its predecessor, has had ethnic-based mutinies (the most notable being the revolt of the Bengali elements of all three services in 1970).”

“At present, about 18 per cent of the Pakistan army are Pushtuns or of Pushtun-origin. There are reports of officers refusing to attack targets, and the astonishing case, still unexplained, of nearly 300 officers and jawans surrendering to the militants in Waziristan — where they are still being held hostage,” Cohen wrote for Brookings Institution explaining that America was in for a tough ride with developments in Pakistan.
11573  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam the religion on: November 07, 2007, 08:18:49 PM
There is a weird homoerotic subtext to the islamic culture, arising from the metapsychological pathologies inherent in the theology. Namely the misogynistic alienation from childhood through adulthood.
11574  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: October 27, 2007, 07:51:05 AM
Imad Mugniyah is one of the most dangerous terrorists on the planet. I'm sure it's shocking news to you all that during the Clinton administration, we had a chance to capture/kill him but didn't.
11575  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: October 20, 2007, 03:07:09 PM
Are we really talking about Ellen's doggie-drama here?  rolleyes

I don't know the laws of the People's Republic of Kalifornia, but in my state, police officers take great pains to avoid getting involved in civil disputes. There are "civil stand-bys" where cops will stand by as a referee where there is contention between parties, but the only way I as a peace officer would seize a dog was with a court order requiring I do so, aside from it being evidence in a crime or a victim of abuse or a threat to public safety and order.

Were I a citizen of the PRK, i'd be more worried about the state of the CDC. I was in a "Security Threat Group" training class several months ago (STG is the PC term for prison gang) and the instructor discussed how once upon a time the CDC was the model for corrections and dealing with STGs. Now, they are throwing their hands up as the CDC spirals out of control.
11576  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal issues on: October 13, 2007, 01:11:20 AM
Too much in that article to give a full response to, but I'll pick a couple of parts.

In his dissent from the court's approval of the use of race in law-school admissions, he quoted Frederick Douglass: "If the negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone!" Justice Thomas observed: "Like Douglass, I believe blacks can achieve in every avenue of American life without the meddling of university administrators."

A reasonable person might take those statements to mean that if a black person gets a chance to achieve and fails, then it's his own damn fault.  Clarence's (pretty cynical) interpretation is that blacks shouldn't consider themselves entitled to even a chance.

Mr. Yoo is a professor at the Law School of the University of California at Berkeley, and a former Supreme Court clerk for Justice Thomas

Mr. Yoo is also the author of several memos defending torture and arguing for essentially un-checked power of the executive branch while working for the Justice Department under George W. Bush.

Yes, black people can only succeed with the help of paternalistic white liberals and government programs. rolleyes

The un-checked power of the executive branch is only ok when the democrats are in office. Everyone knows that.
11577  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: October 13, 2007, 12:58:44 AM

Commentary: An Open Letter to Code Pink
By Richard Lund (10-02-07)

While the protest that you staged in front of my office on Wednesday, Sept. 26th, was an exercise of your constitutional rights, the messages that you left behind were insulting, untrue, and ultimately misdirected. Additionally, from the comments quoted in the Berkeley Daily Planet article, it is clear that you have no idea what it is that I do here. Given that I was unaware of your planned protest, I was unable to contest your claims in person, so I will therefore address them here.

First, a little bit about who I am: I am a Marine captain with over eight years of service as a commissioned officer. I flew transport helicopters for most of my time in the Marine Corps before requesting orders to come here. Currently, I am the officer selection officer for the northern Bay Area. My job is to recruit, interview, screen, and evaluate college students and college graduates that show an interest in becoming officers in the Marine Corps. Once they’ve committed to pursuing this program, I help them apply, and if selected, I help them prepare for the rigors of Officer Candidate School and for the challenges of life as a Marine officer. To be eligible for my programs, you have to be either a full-time college student or a college graduate. I don’t pull anyone out of school, and high school students are not eligible.

I moved my office to Berkeley in December of last year. Previously, it was located in an old federal building in Alameda. That building was due to be torn down and I had to find a new location. I choose our new site because of its proximity to UC Berkeley and to the BART station. Most of the candidates in my program either go to Cal or to one of the schools in San Francisco, the East Bay, or the North Bay. Logistically, the Shattuck Square location was the most convenient for them.

Next, you claim that I lie. I have never, and will never, lie to any individual that shows an interest in my programs. I am upfront with everything that is involved at every step of the way and I go out of my way to ensure that they know what to expect when they apply. I tell them that this is not an easy path. I tell them that leading Marines requires a great deal of self-sacrifice. I tell them that, should they succeed in their quest to become a Marine officer, they will almost certainly go to Iraq. In the future, if you plan to attack my integrity, please have the courtesy to explain to me specifically the instances in which you think that I lied.

Next, scrawled across the doorway to my office, you wrote, “Recruiters are Traitors.” Please explain this one. How exactly am I a traitor? Was I a traitor when I joined the Marine Corps all those years ago? Is every Marine, therefore, a traitor? Was I a traitor during my two stints in Iraq? Was I a traitor when I was delivering humanitarian aid to the victims of the tsunami in Sumatra? Or do you only consider me a traitor while I am on this job? The fact is, recruitment is and always has been a part of maintaining any military organization. In fact, recruitment is a necessity of any large organization. Large corporations have employees that recruit full-time. Even you, I’m sure, must expend some effort to recruit for Code Pink. So what, exactly, is it that makes me a traitor?

The fact is this: any independent nation must maintain a military (or be allied with those who do) to ensure the safety and security of its citizens. Regardless of what your opinions are of the current administration or the current conflict in Iraq, the U.S. military will be needed again in the future. If your counter-recruitment efforts are ultimately successful, who will defend us if we are directly attacked again as we were at Pearl Harbor? Who would respond if a future terrorist attack targets the Golden Gate Bridge, the BART system, or the UC Berkeley clock tower? And, to address the most hypocritical stance that your organization takes on its website, where would the peace keeping force come from that you advocate sending to Darfur?

Finally, I believe that your efforts in protesting my office are misdirected. I agree that your stated goals of peace and social justice are worthy ones. War is a terrible thing that should only be undertaken in the most dire, extreme, and necessary of circumstances. However, war is made by politicians. The conflict in Iraq was ordered by the president and authorized by Congress. They are the ones who have the power to change the policy in Iraq, not members of the military. We execute policy to the best of our ability and to the best of our human capacity. Protesting in front of my office may be an easy way to get your organization in the headlines of local papers, but it doesn’t further any of your stated goals.

To conclude, I don’t consider myself a “recruiter.” I am a Marine who happens to be on recruiting duty. As such, I conduct myself in accordance with our core values of honor, courage, and commitment. I will never sacrifice my honor by lying to anyone that walks into my office. I will never forsake the courage that it takes to restrain myself in the face of insulting and libelous labels like liar and traitor. And, most importantly, I will never waver from my commitment to helping individuals who desire to serve their country as officers in the Marine Corps.

Captain Richard Lund is the United States Marine Corps’ officer selection officer for the northern Bay Area.
11578  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: October 08, 2007, 08:15:25 PM
Ok, Rogt. Please explain how removing a nightmarish tyrant and trying to rebuild a shattened nation is "bullying".
11579  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The left's family values on: October 07, 2007, 07:16:51 PM
America is bullying al qaeda in Iraq?

America is bullying Iraqis in Iraq.  Iraqis who had nothing to do with AQ and surely hated Saddam.  But they see their friends and family members getting killed, and all of a sudden AQ sounds a lot more appealing to them.  What a great accomplishment of ours.

Wow. Do you know anything about the war in Iraq at all? You must not have read a lot of the stuff posted here.
11580  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The left's family values on: October 07, 2007, 05:42:48 PM
Woof Doug,

Here's how I see it.  Let's say a good friend of mine whom I've known my whole life is behaving like a bully and as a result, not very many people like him.  Then one day he starts a fight with somebody whose ass he's convinced he can kick no problem, but that guy turns out to be a lot tougher than he thought and now it looks like he's the one about to get his ass kicked.  I think bullying is wrong and I hate it, but every time the bully succeeds in shaking somebody down or beating them into submission, it only reinforces the idea (in his mind) that bullying is OK because it gets him what he wants.  He's my friend, so I won't intervene on his would-be victim's behalf, but if he won't (or can't) figure it out on his own that bullying is wrong, then it stands to reason that getting his ass kicked is the only way he'll get the message.  JMHO.

I really don't want to start another debate on abortion and/or gay marriage, since it's unlikely that you and I will agree.  I have no problem with somebody thinking that abortion is murder or that marriage is a special relationship between a man and woman, but I do have a problem with people justifying laws against X, Y, or Z simply because the Bible (or their interpretation of it) says they're wrong.

FWIW, I agree with the last paragraph of your post.  IMHO, the "civil union" (whether it's between two men, two women, or a man and woman) should be the only relationship recognized by the government.  If people want to designate "marriage" as a sacred institution exclusive to a man and woman, I have no problem with that as long it confers no additional legal rights that would be denied to same-sex couples.


America is bullying al qaeda in Iraq? Saddam and his sons were victims of American bullying? Are the al qaeda and Taliban in Afghanistan victims of our bullying as well?
11581  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The left's family values on: October 06, 2007, 08:55:45 PM

Too offensive for Miller.
11582  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: October 06, 2007, 08:23:20 PM

Art 4. A. Prisoners of war, in the sense of the present Convention, are persons belonging to one of the following categories, who have fallen into the power of the enemy:
(1) Members of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict, as well as members of militias or volunteer corps forming part of such armed forces.

(2) Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, provided that such militias or volunteer corps, including such organized resistance movements, fulfil the following conditions:[
(a) that of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
(b) that of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance;
(c) that of carrying arms openly;
(d) that of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.

(3) Members of regular armed forces who profess allegiance to a government or an authority not recognized by the Detaining Power.

(4) Persons who accompany the armed forces without actually being members thereof, such as civilian members of military aircraft crews, war correspondents, supply contractors, members of labour units or of services responsible for the welfare of the armed forces, provided that they have received authorization, from the armed forces which they accompany, who shall provide them for that purpose with an identity card similar to the annexed model.

(5) Members of crews, including masters, pilots and apprentices, of the merchant marine and the crews of civil aircraft of the Parties to the conflict, who do not benefit by more favourable treatment under any other provisions of international law.

(6) Inhabitants of a non-occupied territory, who on the approach of the enemy spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading forces, without having had time to form themselves into regular armed units, provided they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war.

**Please explain how al qaeda is covered by the treaty.**
11583  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: October 06, 2007, 07:07:44 PM
I think you're reading too much into it. What international law are you alleging is being violated?

The Geneva Conventions.

I know it may seem nit-picky to focus on this single word in Bush's statement, but I don't think it's a small matter here.  What exactly is meant by "international obligation"?  Is Bush willing to swear on a Bible that our interrogation methods are fully compliant with "international law"?  I doubt it.

What legal protections do al qaeda have under the Geneva Conventions?
11584  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The left's family values on: October 06, 2007, 02:53:50 PM
What good would come from us losing? How would this help this country and the world?
11585  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: October 06, 2007, 02:51:49 PM
I think you're reading too much into it. What international law are you alleging is being violated? Are you aware that we have Chinese national held in Gitmo that we won't return to the PRC because the Chinese Ministry for State Security WILL torture them?
11586  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The left's family values on: October 06, 2007, 02:48:39 PM
Is rooting for your country to lose a war patriotic?
11587  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The left's family values on: October 06, 2007, 12:59:27 PM
Woof Tom,

It's not exactly a secret that SF is a very liberal city and that a lot of it's residents are against the war, so I don't exactly buy all the shock and outrage from right-wingers.  I often feel like these incidents are almost deliberate setups to give them an excuse to bash SF as an America-hating, troop-hating city.  But that said, I don't see what the big deal would have been about letting the Marines film a commercial here.

You guys don't sound like you actually read the last sentence in the above.  Take that to mean that I do not agree with the decision to not let them shoot the commercial here.

No, I don't think this was a deliberate setup to make SF look bad.  My real point is that the right-wingers see SF as the embodiment of just about everything they consider wrong with America, and will jump at any chance to bash it as such.

IMO, if a lot of right-wingers consider themselves "patriotic" it's because they have a pretty (IMO) messed-up idea of what that word means.


Please explain patriotism to me.
11588  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: October 06, 2007, 12:58:04 PM
I doubt it.
11589  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The left's family values on: October 05, 2007, 01:45:09 AM

More pics of the "festival". CONTENT WARNING!!! NSFW!

Though I guess it's ok to take small children to see, right?
11590  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: October 04, 2007, 08:06:46 PM
We (The US) are not hated by much of the muslim world because of Israel, Israel is hated because it's a part of us (western civilization). Israel is hated because they dare to be free of islamic domination. They are hated because of their success. They are hated because of their strength. I'm about as non-jewish as you can get, and I support Israel because they are part of our shared civilization.
11591  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The left's family values on: October 04, 2007, 08:00:25 PM

Yeah, the key point is under the banner of "multiculturalism", it's ok for the left to take a child to a venue that has public sex acts as if it were just another expression of the bay area's "culture". It's like going to Chinatown for spring festival or Cinco de Mayo in a latin enclave, right?

It's seems the left's "tolerance" is endless, except of course for anything patriotic.

Yes, Rogt. Condeming taking children to see public sex acts is like just like the Taliban executing women for leaving home without a male relative escorting them.  rolleyes
11592  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The left's family values on: October 03, 2007, 01:09:38 PM

Marines Denied Permission To Film Commercial
On The Streets Of San Francisco
 By Dan Noyes

SAN FRANCISCO, Sep. 24, 2007 (KGO) - New York said "yes," but we said "no." Why were the U.S. Marines denied permission to film a recruiting commercial on the streets of San Francisco?

San Francisco is, once again, the center of a controversy over how city leaders treat the U.S. military. This time, it involves an elite group of Marines who wanted to film a recruitment commercial in San Francisco on the anniversary of 9/11.

The tension has been building in the two weeks since the city turned away members of the Silent Drill Platoon, and it boiled over Monday afternoon at a meeting of the San Francisco Film Commission.

The U.S. Marine Silent Drill Platoon performed Monday morning in New York's Times Square. They filmed part of a recruitment commercial through the start of the morning rush hour -- something they could not do in San Francisco on the anniversary of 9/11.

"It's insulting, it's demeaning. This woman is going to insult these young heroes by just arbitrarily saying, 'no, you're not going to film any Marines on California Street," said Captain Greg Corrales of the SFPD Traffic Bureau.

Captain Greg Corrales commands the police traffic bureau that works with crews shooting commercials, TV shows and movies in the city. He's also a Marine veteran and his son is serving his third tour of duty in Iraq.

He says Film Commission Executive Director Stefanie Coyote would only allow the Marine's production crew to film on California Street if there were no Marines in the picture. They wound up filming the empty street and will have to superimpose the Marines later.

"Ms. Coyote's politics blinded her to her duty as the director of the Film Commission and as a responsible citizen," said Captain Corrales.

We asked Stefanie Coyote why they're not allowing the Marines to shoot on California Street. She wouldn't answer our questions.

At today's Film Commission meeting, she said she wouldn't let the Marines film because of rush hour.

"Traffic control was the issue," explained Stefanie Coyote.

However, the Marines would have just shut down one lane of California Street for a few minutes at a time, and Captain Corrales points out the Film Commission often approves shoots for rush hour.

"If they want to get the job done, they find a way to get it done," said Captain Corrales.

The city's treatment of the Marines is making many people angry, from local conservatives like Christine Hughes with the San Francisco Republican Party who told us, "it's an embarrassment. I'm a fourth generation San Franciscan and I don't even recognize my city right now."

To current and former Marines like Vince Rios, a Vietnam veteran.

"I'd like to say, 'does your mother know you're doing this? And if so, is she proud of you for that?'" said Vince Rios.

"The city of San Francisco made a statement saying, 'we don't like the war' by shutting down the troops. I don't think that was the right thing to do," explained Eric Snyder, a U.S. Marine.

"I wish to hell she would leave her politics at home and take care of the city business and the bridge business on an even keel basis," said Mike Paige, a Korea veteran.

The Marines also applied for permits to shoot on the Golden Gate Bridge that same morning, but were turned down because of similar traffic concerns.

The end result -- the crew didn't film the Marines in San Francisco at all. They had to go to the National Park Service for permission to shoot in Marin overlooking the bridge and at Kirby Cove.

"Golden Gate National Recreation Area is steeped in military tradition and we're honored to be a part of their continued military traditions so we're glad that we could accommodate the shoot," said Amy Brees with the National Park Service.

Captain Corrales and several other Marine veterans came to the Film Commission Monday afternoon. They see this as just the latest insult along with the city blocking the USS Iowa from docking here, banning the junior ROTC from high schools, and trying to ban the yearly Blue Angels air show.

"This -- a slap in the face of every veteran and every parent of men and women who are doing their duty -- is shameful," said Captain Corrales.

The Marines we spoke with also make the point that the city allows street demonstrations, anti-war protests and other events which snarl traffic, such as Critical Mass. They still don't understand why the Marines got turned away.
11593  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The left's family values on: October 02, 2007, 10:51:44 PM

People engage in a amazing variety of sexual behaviors. As long as it's consenting adults in the PRIVACY of their own homes, I don't care. Funny how this is OK but the Marines weren't allowed to film in SF.
11594  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The left's family values on: October 02, 2007, 08:55:31 PM
Knowing about deviant sexual subcultures is required part of sexual assault and homicide investigation training. I doubt very much there was anything there i'm unaware of. I've worked male on male sexual assault cases and once dealt with a "transgendered" martial artist that had sexually assaulted multiple children prior to his arrest. The first HIV+ positive inmate I ever dealt with was a teenage male that had contracted it from one of his adult male "lovers". The young man identified himself as "out and proud". As this was before the current drug therapies, I doubt he's alive today.

Forgive me if I don't find this "lifestyle" something worthy of a street fair. The bay area doesn't have private venues where this sort of activity can take place?
11595  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The left's family values on: October 02, 2007, 06:53:25 PM

Child friendly celebration.
11596  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: September 30, 2007, 12:21:45 AM

FISA kills.
11597  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Help our troops/our cause: on: September 25, 2007, 12:49:54 PM
This is where "lawfare" is leading us.  rolleyes

I'm sure our "legal model advocates" here would require that any alleged insurgent our military might want to engage would be required to be served with a legal notice for a hearing to determine if the person is indeed a combatant and can be shot as such on the field of battle. This of course would require an independant judiciary, legal representation and translators to ensure due process.
11598  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: September 25, 2007, 12:16:55 PM
Woof GM,

Perhaps you can point to some specific parts of that report you consider absolutely fatal to whatever argument you think I'm making?

I only skimmed the report (I have a full-time job), and I did see one part where they state clearly "The Panel has not been able to conclude with absolute certainty whether the Killian documents were forgeries".  It goes on to say that Rather took them to be authentic based on the authenticity of a signature, and was responsible for ensuring their authenticity before reporting them as fact.  It's basic conclusion is that Rather is guilty of shoddy reporting because he was in a rush to report the story first.

Should be an interesting court proceeding.


The report doesn't give any "dead-bang" statements that the documents are forgeries because the originals can't be examined. All they have are the photocopies of documents that pefectly match up with Microsoft Word. The originals would put the final nail in the document's coffin. If Fox News ran a similar story right before the 2008 election with photocopies of alleged memos from Hillary Clinton ordering Vince Foster's murder and the "documents" had the same shady pedigree, I can only imagine the howls of outrage from the MSM and the left.

Of course, Fox News doesn't have a history of such journalistic scandals, unlike the NY Times, the New Republic and "See B.S."
11599  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: September 25, 2007, 04:47:57 AM

Read it and weep. evil
11600  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: September 24, 2007, 11:40:31 PM

Here is the cool graphic overlay of the two images. Amazing the TANG had word processors in 1973. Karl Rove must have a time machine! shocked
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