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9551  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: July 05, 2009, 09:34:47 PM
In general, conservatism is working from ideas that are proven to work while "liberalism" is generally based on fantasy and emotion.
9552  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: July 05, 2009, 09:41:13 AM
Nouriel "Dr. Doom" Roubini is right, but I think things will be even worse than what he predicts. Then again, I expected the Dow to be in the 6000 range by now.
9553  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: North Korea on: July 03, 2009, 06:33:09 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/07/03/north-korean-burmese-alliance-grows-closer/

North Korean-Burmese alliance grows closer
POSTED AT 5:15 PM ON JULY 3, 2009 BY ED MORRISSEY   


Any room for one more in the Axis of Evil Alternative Ethics Outlook?  Burma, called Myanmar by the ruling military junta, sent its military leaders to North Korea for secret talks last year, resulting in a closer military and economic alliance just coming to light now, according to the Telegraph.  Pyongyang has begun supplying the Burmese regime with weapons in defiance of UN arms embargos on both countries:

A 37-page document in Burmese obtained by Radio Free Asia detailed a visit by 17 Burmese officials, including General Thura Shwe Mann, the chief of staff of the army and Burma’s third-ranked leader, to Beijing and Pyongyang last November.

The stated aim of the visit was “to modernize the Burmese military and increase its capabilities through visiting and studying the militaries” of China and North Korea, and a memorandum of understanding was signed with North Korea counterparts on November 27.

The report also says the Burmese delegation was shown North Korean surface-to-air missiles and rockets, along with naval and air defense systems and tunnel construction, including how Pyongyang stores aircraft and ships underground to protect them from aerial attack.

None of this comes as any great shock, as Pyongyang needs all the customers it can get for its weapons systems, and Burma needs weapons systems to maintain its iron grip on power.  The path of the Kang Nam, the North Korean ship trailed by the US Navy and suspected of illegal gun-running, originally appeared to lead to Burma, before American pressure forced it to turn around.  This revelation confirms that Kim Jong-Il has turned the rogue nation of Burma into a client state.

If we needed more proof of Kim’s inclination to act as a proliferator, it would be difficult to find anything better.  He partners with fellow rogue states to move weapons around the world while his people starve to death.  The only action that will get his attention is a blockade, which is why Kim keeps threatening war when the US and its Pacific Rim allies attempt to impose it.  It may not be a bluff; if we cut off his ability to sell weapons, Kim will have no choice but to either surrender to the six-party agenda or to attempt to seize the entire Korean peninsula.
9554  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: North Korea on: July 03, 2009, 06:29:04 PM
http://formerspook.blogspot.com/2009/06/changing-course.html

Changing Course

For more than a week, the USS John S. McCain has been shadowing a North Korean merchant vessel, believed to be carrying illegal weapons.

Now that ship--the Kang Nam--appears to be heading back home. As the AP reports:

U.S. officials said Tuesday that a North Korean ship has turned around and is headed back toward the north where it came from, after being tracked for more than a week by American Navy vessels on suspicion of carrying illegal weapons.

The move keeps the U.S. and the rest of the international community guessing: Where is the Kang Nam going? Does its cargo include materials banned by a new U.N. anti-proliferation resolution?

Originally, the North Korean cargo vessel was believed enroute to Myanmar, carrying a load of missile parts. The two rogue nations have drawn closer in recent years, although Myanmar has little need for ballistic missiles. However, various intelligence agencies and anti-proliferation groups have reported that Pyongyang has been attempting to sell missiles to the Myanmar regime since 2005.

There is also the possibility that Myanmar was merely a trans-shipment point, but those reports are also unconfirmed. With U.S. naval vessels trailing the Kang Nam--and hints that we might board and search the vessel--North Korea decided to recall the ship and its cargo.

Still, no one can actually be sure the the Kang Nam is heading back to the DPRK. In the past, North Korean ships involved in illicit activities (most notably, drug running) have operated from Chinese coastal waters. Under that scenario, the vessel would rendez-vous with another ship and transfer the cargo.

However, given the constant surveillance of the Kang Nam, accomplishing that transfer would be difficult, if not impossible. It's also unlikely that Beijing would want to be associated with that activity, particularly as U.S. envoys press China to put more pressure on Pyongyang.

The most likely scenario? In a few days, the Kang Nam slips back into port at Nampo, and the cargo is unloaded. Then, it's shipped to Sunan Airfield, near Pyongyang, and loaded onto an IL-76 transport, which flies the cargo to the customer.

As we noted almost three years ago, North Korea has long used airlift to move high-value cargo to its most important clients, including Iran. And that illustrates a rather serious "hole" in current efforts to contain Pyongyang. While the U.S. (and other naval powers) are actively tracking DPRK maritime shipments, there is no comparable effort for air transfers.

In some cases, those shipments would be almost impossible to stop. With a lighter load, an IL-76 can fly non-stop from North Korea to Iran. However, those flights do require direct routing (through Chinese or Russian airspace). Without it, North Korea or Iranian airlifters would be forced to make refueling stops, providing an opportunity for the U.S. to lobby for third-party inspections, or deny access to the airfields.

As with other attempts to pressure Pyongyang, China would be a key player in eliminating the air option. But (apparently) there are limits to Beijing's cooperation. Intelligence reports indicate that North Korean IL-76s sometimes use Chinese airfields during flights to the Middle East. Without more assistance from the PRC, North Korea's "air bridge" will remain open, and Kim Jong-il will retain a critical option for shipping missile and WMD cargoes to his customers.
9555  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: July 03, 2009, 09:26:39 AM
This is who they are:

http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/230
9556  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama's worst fcukup thus far on: July 02, 2009, 09:12:33 AM

Missing Our Moment in Iran
Obama’s policy is a lose/lose proposition that will please neither side.

By Victor Davis Hanson

Last month, hundreds of thousands of Iranians took to the streets to protest a rigged presidential election. Our president was extremely cautious in his initial criticism of the Iranian government’s fierce crackdown against the protestors. At first, President Obama said that the United States — given our history in Iran — should not be “meddling” in the country’s internal affairs.

Obama suggested that the leading opposition candidate, the reformer Mir-Hossein Mousavi, might not be that different from the entrenched theocracy’s choice, the incumbent (and declared winner of the June election) Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Finally, as both the crowds in the Iranian streets and the violence against them increased over the next several days, Obama conceded that he was “appalled” at the clerics’ repression.

In defense of the president’s hesitation, some of his supporters argued that our initial neutrality was aimed at not spoiling the administration’s earlier efforts at outreach to Iran’s Islamist regime. We were taking the realistic long view, they added, in which negotiations with the clerics might still curb Iran’s nuclear-weapon aspirations and their support for terrorism. As Obama’s U.N. ambassador, Susan Rice, put it, the  “legitimacy” of the regime was “not the critical issue in terms of our dealings with Iran.”

Perhaps Obama also wishes to avoid former President Bush’s muscular approach in the Middle East, which ended up in costly efforts to foster legitimate constitutional governments in Afghanistan and Iraq, after removing the Taliban and Saddam Hussein.

Unfortunately, Obama’s policy is a lose/lose proposition that will please neither side in Iran. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, isn’t suddenly going to embrace the U.S. because of Obama’s more charismatic approach, much less stop subsidizing terrorists and developing a nuclear arsenal.

For over three decades, the Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II administrations all reached out — both overtly and covertly — to the Iranian theocracy, with offers of normalizing relations, secret arms deals, back-channel meetings, and occasional apologies. But the clerics today are as anti-American as they were in 1979. And they’re still rounding up, killing, and torturing dissidents in the same manner that they used to consolidate power after the fall of the Shah.

In addition, our belated, tepid criticism of the repressive Iranian government may not translate into goodwill from Iranian advocates for freedom — given our painful silence in the early days of the demonstrations, when achieving global support was critical.

And what about other pro-democracy dissidents abroad — whether in Cuba, the Arab world, or Venezuela? Will they still trust that the U.S. supports their efforts to obtain a free society?

Meanwhile, authoritarians in China, North Korea, Russia, the Middle East, and South America may draw two unfair and unfortunate conclusions. One, the United States does not care much what other regimes do to their own people. Two, a new America will overlook almost anything in order just to get along with these authoritarians.

But is the U.S. at least consistent in its promises not to meddle?

Not all the time.

When Benjamin Netanyahu came to power in Israel, the Obama administration made its distaste clear. It also has tried to find ways to isolate Hamid Karzai’s elected government in Afghanistan — and was initially not happy about the prospects of its reelection.

Most recently, the U.S. condemned the Honduran military’s arrest of Pres. Manuel Zelaya. The nation’s supreme court had found his efforts to extend his presidential tenure in violation of its constitution, once Zelaya tried to finesse an illegal third term.

In other words, the U.S. pressures other nations as it pleases — though strangely now more to lean on friends than to criticize rivals and enemies.

In contrast, had President Obama voiced early, consistent, and sharp criticism of the Iranian crackdown, the theocracy would have worried that the president’s stature could have galvanized global boycotts and embargos to isolate the theocracy and aid the dissidents. And the reformers in the streets could have become even more confident with a trademark Obama “hope and change” endorsement.

Internal democratic change in Iran is the only peaceful solution to stopping an Iranian bomb, three decades of Iranian-sponsored terrorism, and a Middle East arms race. When thousands risked their lives for a better Iran, a better Middle East, and a better world, we, the land of the free, simply were not with them.

— Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal. © 2009 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

National Review Online - http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=NmY3ZTg4YjAyMTQ0M2Q2NDA5MTljOWFhOGVjMTNiZTE=
9557  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Security issues on: July 01, 2009, 08:55:16 AM
 I suggest everyone "red team" their home/business/lifestyle. Take a walk around your residence after dark and look for vulnerabilities. How constant are your patterns. How predictable are you?
9558  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: July 01, 2009, 08:37:35 AM
This just in!

Michael Jackson......still dead.

Details at 11:00
9559  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Security issues on: June 30, 2009, 11:03:47 PM
Cultivating awareness of one's surroundings. Noting patterns and any deviations from the standard patterns around your home/work.
9560  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: June 30, 2009, 10:49:22 PM
June 29, 2009
Persistent Myths in Feminist Scholarship

By CHRISTINA HOFF SOMMERS

"Harder to kill than a vampire." That is what the sociologist Joel Best calls a bad statistic. But, as I have discovered over the years, among false statistics the hardest of all to slay are those promoted by feminist professors. Consider what happened recently when I sent an e-mail message to the Berkeley law professor Nancy K.D. Lemon pointing out that the highly praised textbook that she edited, Domestic Violence Law (second edition, Thomson/West, 2005), contained errors.

Her reply began:

"I appreciate and share your concern for veracity in all of our scholarship. However, I would expect a colleague who is genuinely concerned about such matters to contact me directly and give me a chance to respond before launching a public attack on me and my work, and then contacting me after the fact."

I confess: I had indeed publicly criticized Lemon's book, in campus lectures and in a post on FeministLawProfessors.com. I had always thought that that was the usual practice of intellectual argument. Disagreement is aired, error corrected, truth affirmed. Indeed, I was moved to write to her because of the deep consternation of law students who had attended my lectures: If authoritative textbooks contain errors, how are students to know whether they are being educated or indoctrinated? Lemon's book has been in law-school classrooms for years.

One reason that feminist scholarship contains hard-to-kill falsehoods is that reasonable, evidence-backed criticism is regarded as a personal attack.

Lemon's Domestic Violence Law is organized as a conventional law-school casebook — a collection of judicial opinions, statutes, and articles selected, edited, and commented upon by the author. The first selection, written by Cheryl Ward Smith (no institutional affiliation is given), offers students a historical perspective on domestic-violence law. According to Ward:

"The history of women's abuse began over 2,700 years ago in the year 753 BC. It was during the reign of Romulus of Rome that wife abuse was accepted and condoned under the Laws of Chastisement. ... The laws permitted a man to beat his wife with a rod or switch so long as its circumference was no greater than the girth of the base of the man's right thumb. The law became commonly know as 'The Rule of Thumb.' These laws established a tradition which was perpetuated in English Common Law in most of Europe."

Where to begin? How about with the fact that Romulus of Rome never existed. He is a figure in Roman mythology — the son of Mars, nursed by a wolf. Problem 2: The phrase "rule of thumb" did not originate with any law about wife beating, nor has anyone ever been able to locate any such law. It is now widely regarded as a myth, even among feminist professors.

A few pages later, in a selection by Joan Zorza, a domestic-violence expert, students read, "The March of Dimes found that women battered during pregnancy have more than twice the rate of miscarriages and give birth to more babies with more defects than women who may suffer from any immunizable illness or disease." Not true. When I recently read Zorza's assertion to Richard P. Leavitt, director of science information at the March of Dimes, he replied, "That is a total error on the part of the author. There was no such study." The myth started in the early 1990s, he explained, and resurfaces every few years.

Zorza also informs readers that "between 20 and 35 percent of women seeking medical care in emergency rooms in America are there because of domestic violence." Studies by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Bureau of Justice Statistics, an agency of the U.S. Department of Justice, indicate that the figure is closer to 1 percent.

Few students would guess that the Lemon book is anything less than reliable. The University of California at Berkeley's online faculty profile of Lemon hails it as the "premiere" text of the genre. It is part of a leading casebook series, published by Thomson/West, whose board of academic advisers, prominently listed next to the title page, includes many eminent law professors.

I mentioned these problems in my message to Lemon. She replied:

"I have looked into your assertions and requested documentation from Joan Zorza regarding the March of Dimes study and the statistics on battered women in emergency rooms. She provided both of these promptly."

If that's the case, Zorza and Lemon might share their documentation with Leavitt, of the March of Dimes, who is emphatic that it does not exist. They might also contact the Centers for Disease Control statistician Janey Hsiao, who wrote to me that "among ED [Emergency Department] visits made by females, the percent of having physical abuse by spouse or partner is 0.02 percent in 2003 and 0.01 percent in 2005."

Here is what Lemon says about Cheryl Ward Smith's essay on Romulus and the rule of thumb:

"I made a few minor editorial changes in the Smith piece so that it is more accurate. However, overall it appeared to be correct."

A few minor editorial changes? Students deserve better. So do women victimized by violence.

Feminist misinformation is pervasive. In their eye-opening book, Professing Feminism: Education and Indoctrination in Women's Studies (Lexington Books, 2003), the professors Daphne Patai and Noretta Koertge describe the "sea of propaganda" that overwhelms the contemporary feminist classroom. The formidable Christine Rosen (formerly Stolba), in her 2002 report on the five leading women's-studies textbooks, found them rife with falsehoods, half-truths, and "deliberately misleading sisterly sophistries." Are there serious scholars in women's studies? Yes, of course. Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, an anthropologist at the University of California at Davis; Janet Zollinger Giele, a sociologist at Brandeis; and Anne Mellor, a literary scholar at UCLA, to name just three, are models of academic excellence and integrity. But they are the exception. Lemon's book typifies the departmental mind-set.

Consider The Penguin Atlas of Women in the World (2008), by the feminist scholar Joni Seager, chair of the Hunter College geography department. Now in its fourth edition, Seager's atlas was named "reference book of the year" by the American Library Association when it was published. "Nobody should be without this book," says the feminist icon Gloria Steinem. "A wealth of fascinating information," enthuses The Washington Post. Fascinating, maybe. But the information is misleading and, at least in one instance, flat-out false.

One color-coded map illustrates how women are kept "in their place" by restrictions on their mobility, dress, and behavior. Somehow the United States comes out looking as bad in this respect as Somalia, Uganda, Yemen, Niger, and Libya. All are coded with the same shade of green to indicate places where "patriarchal assumptions" operate in "potent combination with fundamentalist religious interpretations." Seager's logic? She notes that in parts of Uganda, a man can claim an unmarried woman as his wife by raping her. The United States gets the same low rating on Seager's charts because, she notes, "State legislators enacted 301 anti-abortion measures between 1995 and 2001." Never mind that the Ugandan practice is barbaric, that U.S. abortion law is exceptionally liberal among the nations of the world, and that the activism and controversy surrounding the issue of abortion in the United States is a sign of a vigorous free democracy working out its disagreements.

On another map, the United States gets the same rating for domestic violence as Uganda and Haiti. Seager backs up that verdict with that erroneous and ubiquitous emergency-room factoid: "22 percent-35 percent of women who visit a hospital emergency room do so because of domestic violence."

The critical work of 21st-century feminism will be to help women in the developing world, especially in Muslim societies, in their struggle for basic rights. False depictions of the United States as an oppressive "patriarchy" are a ludicrous distraction. If American women are as oppressed as Ugandan women, then American feminists would be right to focus on their domestic travails and let the Ugandan women fend for themselves.

All books have mistakes, so why pick on the feminists? My complaint with feminist research is not so much that the authors make mistakes; it is that the mistakes are impervious to reasoned criticism. They do not get corrected. The authors are passionately committed to the proposition that American women are oppressed and under siege. The scholars seize and hold on for dear life to any piece of data that appears to corroborate their dire worldview. At the same time, any critic who attempts to correct the false assumptions is dismissed as a backlasher and an anti-feminist crank.

Why should it matter if a large number of professors think and say a lot of foolish and intemperate things? Here are three reasons to be concerned:

1) False assertions, hyperbole, and crying wolf undermine the credibility and effectiveness of feminism. The United States, and the world, would greatly benefit from an intellectually responsible, reality-based women's movement.

2) Over the years, the feminist fictions have made their way into public policy. They travel from the women's-studies textbooks to women's advocacy groups and then into news stories. Soon after, they are cited by concerned political leaders. President Obama recently issued an executive order establishing a White House Council on Women and Girls. As he explained, "The purpose of this council is to ensure that American women and girls are treated fairly in all matters of public policy." He and Congress are also poised to use the celebrated Title IX gender-equity law to counter discrimination not only in college athletics but also in college math and science programs, where, it is alleged, women face a "chilly climate." The president and members of Congress can cite decades of women's-studies scholarship that presents women as the have-nots of our society. Never mind that this is largely no longer true. Nearly every fact that could be marshaled to justify the formation of the White House Council on Women and Girls or the new focus of Title IX application was shaped by scholarly merchants of hype like Professors Lemon and Seager.

3) Finally, as a philosophy professor of almost 20 years, and as someone who respects rationality, objective scholarship, and intellectual integrity, I find it altogether unacceptable for distinguished university professors and prestigious publishers to disseminate falsehoods. It is offensive in itself, even without considering the harmful consequences. Obduracy in the face of reasonable criticism may be inevitable in some realms, such as partisan politics, but in academe it is an abuse of the privileges of professorship.

"Thug," "parasite," "dangerous," a "female impersonator" — those are some of the labels applied to me when I exposed specious feminist statistics in my 1994 book Who Stole Feminism? (Come to think of it, none of my critics contacted me directly with their concerns before launching their public attacks.) According to Susan Friedman, of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, "Sommers' diachronic discourse is easily unveiled as synchronic discourse in drag. ... She practices ... metonymic historiography." That one hurt! But my views, as well as my metonymic historiography, are always open to correction. So I'll continue to follow the work of the academic feminists — to criticize it when it is wrong, and to learn from it when it is right.

Christina Hoff Sommers is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. She is the author of Who Stole Feminism? (Simon & Schuster, 1994) and The War Against Boys (Simon & Schuster, 2000), and editor of The Science on Women and Science, forthcoming from the AEI Press.

http://chronicle.com
Section: The Chronicle Review
9561  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Where is the outrage? on: June 27, 2009, 05:20:02 PM
Milt, Rogt, JDN?

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2009/06/barack-obama-george-w-bush-detainees.html

Obama prepares to hold Gitmo guys indefinitely, just as Bush did


In yet another sign of political perfidy, the White House of President George W. Bush has drafted a presidential executive order that would allow that double-dealing Republican chief executive to hold suspected terrorist detainees indefinitely.

According to the president's intentions, such suspects could be detained for long periods of time, virtually indefinitely. Is this really what the nation voted for last November?

Oh, wait. No. According to an exclusive Washington Post/Pro Publica report this afternoon, it's the refreshing new Democratic administration of Barack Obama that's now preparing this new executive order to hold certain terrorist suspects indefinitely.

This is an obviously inspiring sign of the new style of leadership the Democrat promised and is finally bringing to the White House. As one blogger put it, George W. Obama. And it shows the kind of powerful political pragmatism with which the ex-senator from Illinois approaches this job at such a crucial and globally turbulent time.Strangely, it was leaked to the Post on a slow summer Friday afternoon when it wouldn't gain much attention.

According to the Post report, the 44th president is now starting to think that closure of the internationally-reviled Guantanamo Bay detention facility, which Obama announced with so much fanfare on his first day in office last winter, may be impossible to actually accomplish before the one-year deadline he set for himself before actually planning where else to put these prisoners.

In other words, fanfare aside, status quo ante. Democrat or Republican, same deal. Ex-Vice President Dick Cheney will be so pleased that the Obama-Biden folks finally accepted his advice to protect national security.

Another sign, finally, of real change after eight long years of the very same thing.

-- Andrew Malcolm
9562  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: June 23, 2009, 01:57:18 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/06/23/ramirez-on-obama-iran/

Perfectly captures our President on Iran.
9563  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: June 21, 2009, 10:17:04 PM
- Works and Days - http://pajamasmedia.com/victordavishanson -

“This Is the Moment”?
Posted By Victor Davis Hanson On June 20, 2009 @ 4:10 pm In Uncategorized | 95 Comments



Let Me Count the Ways Why Obama Should at Last Speak Out ( —I write this at around noon on Saturday, and suspect the pressure of public outrage will soon get to Obama, and he soon will recant and start sounding Reaganesque)

 

(As in something like this:

 

“Hundreds of thousands of gallant Iranians are now engaged in a non-violent moral struggle against tyranny in Iran-one of the great examples of bravery in our times. All free peoples of the world watch their ordeal, and can only wish them success, while owing them a great deal of gratitude for risking their lives for the innate and shared notion of human freedom and dignity. We in the United States ask the government of Iran—as well as its military and security forces — to recognize the universal appeal of freedom that flourishes among its own remarkable people, to stand down and renounce its serial use of violence and coercion-and to ensure a truly free election where the voices of all can be at last fully heard, so that  Iran can once more properly reenter  the family of law-biding nations”.)

 

So why speak out louder? (Does not Obama see that the world has been given a rare chance, thanks to brave Iranians—as if the German people had risen up in 1938 in fear of what was on the horizon)

 

1)   It is the moral and right thing to do to support the brave and idealistic (the Congressional Democrats mostly get this. And, after a week of embarrassment, the “I worship whoever runs the White House” pundits are not far behind and scrambling to retract and revise last week’s obsequious columns.). The dissidents in fact can win in this new age of private instant communications, in which global news is not predicated on elite correspondents and news desks editors, but can flow globally and instantaneously, unfiltered, with unforeseen consequences.)

 

2)   The theocracy is a fiendish regime that hides behind third-world victimhood while it murders and promotes terror abroad. When it totters, the world sighs relief from Iraq to Lebanon; when it chest-thumps, thousands die at home and abroad.

 

 

3)   Of the three ways to stop a nuclear theocracy-(regime change, preemption, embargo), supporting the opponents of the regime is the most logical, peaceful, and cost-effective-and has the best chance of success. (Ask the worried surrounding Arab frontline countries).

 

 

4)    There is a long bipartisan American history of supporting dissidents who were fighting for election fairness abroad in Poland, Serbia, Latin America, and South Africa. (Does Obama think Mandela did not wish words of support from America? Why then would he think the Iranians being shot at in the streets would not wish moral clarity from the prophet of Cairo?). The Europeans (and even the Arab world) are way ahead of us.

 

5)   Obama’s realpolitik is flawed: 1) if the mullahs win, they will have greater contempt for our timidity; 2) if the dissidents win, they will not forget our realistic fence-sitting; 3) you can never believe (ever) anything the mullahs say or do. Negotiating with them is like signing a pact with Hitler. They are afraid of US voiced support for the dissidents, not the dissidents themselves who ask for our solidarity. If anything, the theocrats grasp that their own do not want a nuclear confrontation with Israel in which the people would be sacrificial pawns. Again and again, the dissidents have repeated that they are tired of being hated in the world as Ahmadinejad’s Iranians, not that they wanted Obama’s America to be less critical of Ahmadinejad.



…. And Why He Has Not:

 

1)   Our President has always been a trimmer-voting present serially in Illinois; proclaiming broad new positions on the campaign trail only to disown them while President; rhetorically always splitting the difference with ‘on the one hand, on the other’, ’some, they, others say’, ‘I don’t accept false choices…’ etc. So now he waits to see who wins. And then will provide the soaring rhetoric postfacto to suggest that he was either the careful realist all along who foresaw the dissidents’ failure-or the enthusiastic moralist who always really did cheer on the mullahs’ demise. Robert Gibbs has both scripts already fed into the bookend A and B teleprompters.

 

OR

 

 

2)   It’s a personal thing that interferes with Obama’s ego, and messianic personal diplomacy.  Obama himself is not comfortable with those abroad who emulate American values and seek to have the freedoms and rights we take for granted. The post-colonial industry mandates that the Other is a perpetual victim of colonialism, imperialism, capitalism, and racism with justified grievances. Only elite American intellectuals of singular insight and empathy understand the calculus of the oppressed, and so, through apologies, accommodations, and concessions, they alone on our behalf can deal with an Ahmadinejad, Chavez, Ortega, Castro, Morales, Nasrallah, etc. But when we see a purple-finger election, a statue of liberty at Tiananmen, or the current Levi-clad, cell-phoning, English-placard-carrying Iranian grassroots resistance, all the above is rendered null and void. Obama wants to rise above his country; but when his country is not held in disrepute (as is true among the Iranian people), he is an actor without a role.

 

People abroad really do prefer freedom and true constitutional government to autocratic grievance mongers who loot their country and brutalize the free. In such conditions, old-fashioned Americans, often inarticulate and perhaps clumsy, but honest in their belief in the universal appeal of human freedom, do better than all the nuanced Kennedy School intellectuals (e.g. They laughed at the reductionist  “Tear Down This Wall” and “Evil Empire” and apparently preferred “No Inordinate Fear of Communism”). So a deer-in-the-headlights Obama wonders, ‘Wait, why aren’t they shouting the boilerplate ‘Death to America!’ and invoking, like I did, 1953 and the CIA crimes? Don’t they know the things that we did to them and I apologized for? Don’t they see that I am as separate from the US of the 1950s as they are? What’s this grass-roots rejection of an anti-Western, anti-colonialist indigenous Iranian government all about? (cf. his moral equivalent comparison of Mousavi to Ahmadinejad as equally anti-American).



OR

 

3)   Obama is clueless. Hillary knows more, but not that much more (Bill knows less as his 2005 Davos disastrous encomium of Iran proved). Biden, well, is Biden. The brighter like Holbrooke serve on the second tier.  In short, no one knows now to whom do you apologize? And if to no one, what then do you do? We’re back to sorta, sorta not shoot the pirates, kinda, kinda not stop the Koreans, maybe, maybe not keep renditions, tribunals, wiretaps, intercepts, and drone attacks-or why didn’t someone brief me on the problems with closing Guantanamo before I promised the world at end to our American Gulag?

 

 

OR

 



4)   He’s addicted to the ossified Iraqi paradigm of “Bush intervened and caused a mess” (Free Iraq is apparently still equivalent to Saddam’s Iraq), so “I don’t want to follow his lead” (as if vocal support now is the same as shock and awe then). Somewhere in stone a lie is chiseled “Iraq made Iran stronger”. He doesn’t see the footnote: “But if Iraqi democracy survives, it fuels emulation in neighboring Iran and does more to undermine the theocracy than all the F-22s in the world”. Who knows-if Iranian freedom spreads, some nut might praise Bush’s commitment to Middle East freedom in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Lebanon, and not Obama’s apologetics at Cairo? (Free Shiites in Iraq are far better for Iran than either oppressed minorities under Saddam, or Saddam’s opportunistic dictatorship). Bottom line again: Obama needs to forget Ahmadinejad and talk daily with Maliki.

 

OR

 

5) His entire anti-Bush foreign policy is then in trouble. We’ve heard for eight years a cheap slur of “neo-cons” did it, not that in the dangerous world abroad there are no good choices, but supporting freedom is usually the better alternative if one must choose. If a peaceful democratic revolution succeeds in Iran, then what happens with “outreach” to Putin, Chavez, and Hamas? The new liberal realpolitik insisted that we don’t offer moral judgment, and was framed instead by winning the hearts and minds of tyrants through humbling ourselves and meae culpae. But if these democracies in Afghanistan, Iraq, and an Iran (?) were to succeed, then what? You would not go to Chavez and promise first to talk about shared colonial racist oppression, but rather say to the Venezuelan people, “We stand with you in your struggle to achieve freedom and dignity and to join the other democracies of Latin America”? That is not just in the cards, and so Iran, is well, a monkey-wrench.

 

For now, watch the Iranian army and police. If one battalion bolts, then . . .

Article printed from Works and Days: http://pajamasmedia.com/victordavishanson

URL to article: http://pajamasmedia.com/victordavishanson/this-is-the-moment/
9564  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: June 21, 2009, 10:18:35 AM
http://www.nypost.com/php/pfriendly/print.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nypost.com%2Fseven%2F06202009%2Fpostopinion%2Fopedcolumnists%2Fisrael_betrayed_175238.htm

ISRAEL BETRAYED
By JAMES KIRCHICK


June 20, 2009 --
When Barack Obama was running for president, he vigorously reassured voters of his firm commitment to America's special relationship with Israel. Indeed, he worked to beef up his pro-Israel bona fides long before he even announced his intention to run. In a 2006 speech before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Obama recounted a helicopter tour over the Israeli border with the West Bank. "I could truly see how close everything is and why peace through security is the only way for Israel," he said. In that same speech, Obama called the Jewish State "our strongest ally in the region and its only established democracy." During the primary and general election campaigns, Obama dispatched a stream of high-profile Jewish supporters to canvas Florida, and in a 2008 AIPAC speech, he went so far as to declare that Jerusalem must remain the "undivided" capital of Israel.

For all the qualms that anti-Obama "smears" would depress support in the Jewish community, Jews rewarded Obama with nearly 80% of their votes, more than they gave John Kerry.

Just six months into the new administration, however, it is becoming increasingly clear that those who harbored suspicions about Obama's approach to the Middle East had good reason to be worried. A confluence of factors -- including his administration's undue pressure on Israel, a conciliatory approach to authoritarian Muslim regimes, and the baseless linkage of the failed "peace process" to the curtailment of the Iranian nuclear program -- point to what could become "the greatest disagreement between the two countries in the history of their relationship," as Middle East expert Robert Satloff recently told Newsweek.

This dramatic shift in American policy began several months ago when the administration signaled that it would make the cessation of Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank the centerpiece of its policy to revamp the region. And that approach, mostly hinted at through anonymous leaks, became as good as official when Obama delivered his vaunted address to the Muslim world in Cairo earlier this month. In that speech, Israel (and, specifically, its policy of settlement construction) was the only state to merit specific criticism from the president of the United States. Among all the degradations and injustices in the Middle East, from the abhorrent treatment of women in nations like Saudi Arabia, to Syrian-backed assassinations of pro-sovereignty politicians in Lebanon, to the arrest and imprisonment of gay men in Egypt, the leader of the free world singled out America's one, reliable democratic ally in the region for rebuke.

Obama's strategic worldview assumes that once the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolved, other problems in the Middle East will be easier to fix, if not solve themselves. "We understand that Israel's preoccupation with Iran as an existential threat," National Security Advisor Jim Jones told George Stephanopoulos last month. "We agree with that. And by the same token, there are a lot of things that you can do to diminish that existential threat by working hard towards achieving a two-state solution."

By establishing this connection, the fate of the entire region thus hinges upon the resolution of a problem that hasn't had a solution for over six decades. This is an awfully convenient view for those who enjoy the status quo, which is why so many Arab despots cling to it, and it's discouraging to see the Obama administration joining them.

"Linkage" is faulty for two reasons. The first is intrinsic to the peace process itself, as it is going nowhere. And it will continue to go nowhere for at least as long as Hamas -- a terrorist organization constitutionally committed to the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews -- rules the Gaza Strip, which it has controlled since violently seizing power in the summer of 2007. But it's not just Hamas that remains hesitant to work with Israel. To see the continued intransigence of the Palestinians, witness their bizarre reactions to Benjamin Netanyahu's momentous speech last week, in which the Israeli Prime Minister, for the first time in his career, announced his support for the two-state solution so obsessively demanded by the international community. The Palestinian Ambassador to Egypt denounced Netanyahu's pledge as "nothing but a hoax." The PLO Executive Committee Secretary called Netanyahu a "liar and a crook" who is "looking for ploys to disrupt the peace endeavor." A spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said that, "The speech has destroyed all peace initiatives and [chances for] a solution." And these are the so-called "moderates."

The second reason why "linkage" is a faulty premise, and why the Obama administration is so foolish to pursue it, is that the problems of the Middle East are not inspired by the lack of a Palestinian state. The biggest crisis in the Middle East right now is Iran's mad quest for nuclear weapons. Nothing even comes close. Even the Arab states -- whose citizens, we are told, cannot rest due to Palestinian statelessness -- are letting the world know that their foremost concern is a revolutionary Islamic theocracy with nuclear weapons (As the dramatic and inspiring street protests in Tehran over the past week have amply demonstrated, what really rouses the Muslim "street" is the venality and cruelty of the region's authoritarian governments, not far-off Zionists reluctant to give Palestinians a state).

These regimes know that Iran, thus armed, will be able to act with far greater impunity that it already does, causing more trouble for coalition forces in Iraq, ordering its proxy armies of Hamas and Hezbollah to ramp up attacks on Israel and stir chaos in Lebanon, and support radical elements throughout the region. It would also set off a regional arms race, with Saudi Arabia and Egypt as the next likely proliferators. Yet the Obama administration does not seem to realize that stopping an Iranian nuclear bomb ought take precedence over the stalled "peace process."

In his otherwise admirable remarks about the significance of the Holocaust and the hatefulness of its denial in his Cairo speech, Obama did further damage by paying obeisance to the Arabs' false narrative about Israeli's creation. In neglecting to affirm the Jews' historic claim on the land of Israel, Obama confirmed the Arab belief that they are paying for the crimes of mid-twentieth century Europe. However awful the misfortune that befell them, Obama's narrative -- in the minds of his audience -- portrays the Jews, however awful their misfortune, as occupiers, not indigenous neighbors.

The Cairo speech provided Obama with an opportunity to call on the Muslim world to acknowledge that Jews are as much a part of the Middle East and its history as are Persians and Arabs, Sunnis and Shia, Druz and Christians. He failed in that task.

Unfortunately, the President seems to be paying no domestic political price for turning on Israel. Given the historic support that the American public has shown for the Jewish State, this is in and of itself a disturbing sign. But when an American administration's rhetoric and diplomacy render Israel the obstinate actor and portray its supposed recalcitrance as the main obstacle to peace, public opinion will follow.

The percentage of American voters who call themselves supporters of Israel has plummeted from 69% last September to 49% this month, according to the Israel Project. Meanwhile, only 6% of Jewish Israelis consider Obama to be "pro-Israel," a Jerusalem Post poll found, pointing to a disturbing gulf between the two nations. There are even signs of rising anti-Semitism, as a survey by Columbia and Stanford professors found that 32% of Democrats blamed Jews for the financial crisis.

Obama is turning America against Israel, for what exactly? The false hopes of improved relations with Arab nations and a nuclear-equipped Iran. That is not what he promised in his campaign, and neither a fair practice or a fair trade.

James Kirchick is an assistant editor of The New Republic and a Phillips Foundation Journalism Fellow.
9565  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: June 20, 2009, 04:30:53 PM





June 20, 2009, 6:00 a.m.

Neutrality Isn’t an Option
You always have a dog in the fight, whether you know it or not.

By Mark Steyn

The polite explanation for Barack Obama’s diffidence on Iran is that he doesn’t want to give the mullahs the excuse to say the Great Satan is meddling in Tehran’s affairs. So the president’s official position is that he’s modestly encouraged by the regime’s supposed interest in investigating some of the allegations of fraud. Also, he’s heartened to hear that OJ is looking for the real killers. “You've seen in Iran,” explained President Obama, “some initial reaction from the Supreme Leader that indicates he understands the Iranian people have deep concerns about the election . . . ”

“Supreme Leader”? I thought that was official house style for Barack Obama at Newsweek and MSNBC. But no. It’s also the title held by Ayatollah Khamenei for the last couple of decades. If it sounds odd from the lips of an American president, that’s because none has ever been as deferential in observing the Islamic republic’s dictatorial protocol. Like President Obama’s deep, ostentatious bow to the king of Saudi Arabia, it signals a fresh start in our relations with the Muslim world, “mutually respectful” and unilaterally fawning.

And how did it go down? At Friday prayers in Tehran, Ayotollah Khamenei attacked “dirty Zionists” and “bad British radio” (presumably a reference to the BBC’s Farsi news service rather than the non-stop Herman’s Hermits marathon on Supergold Oldies FM). “The most evil of them all is the British government,” added the supreme leader, warming to his theme. The crowd, including President Ahmadinelandslide and his cabinet, chanted, “Death to the U.K.”

Her Majesty’s Government brought this on themselves by allowing their shoot-from-the-lip prime minister to issue saber-rattling threats like: “The regime must address the serious questions which have been asked about the conduct of the Iranian elections.”

Fortunately, President Obama was far more judicious. And in return, instead of denouncing him as “evil” and deploring the quality of his radio programming, Ayatollah Khamenei said Obama’s “agents” had been behind the protests: “They started to cause riots in the street, they caused destruction, they burnt houses.” But that wasn’t all the Great Satin did. “What is the worst thing to me in all this,” sighed the supreme leader, “are comments made in the name of human rights and freedom and liberty by American officials . . . What? Are you serious? Do you know what human rights are?”

And then he got into specifics: “During the time of the Democrats, the time of Clinton, 80 people were burned alive in Waco. Now you are talking about human rights?”

It’s unclear whether the “Death to the U.K.” chanters switched at this point to “Democrats lied, people fried.” But you get the gist. The President of the United States can make nice to His Hunkalicious Munificence the Supremely Supreme Leader of Leaders (Peace Be Upon Him) all he wants, but it isn’t going to be reciprocated.

There’s a very basic lesson here: For great powers, studied neutrality isn’t an option. Even if you’re genuinely neutral. In the early nineties, the attitude of much of the west to the disintegrating Yugoslavia was summed up in the brute dismissal of James Baker that America didn’t have a dog in this fight. Fair enough. But over in the Balkans junkyard the various mangy old pooches saw it rather differently. And so did the Muslim world, which regarded British and European “neutrality” as a form of complicity in mass murder. As Osama bin Laden put it:
The British are responsible for destroying the Caliphate system. They are the ones who created the Palestinian problem. They are the ones who created the Kashmiri problem. They are the ones who put the arms embargo on the Muslims of Bosnia so that two million Muslims were killed.

How come a catalogue of imperial interventions wound up with that bit of scrupulous non-imperial non-intervention? Because great-power “even-handedness” will invariably be received as a form of one-handedness by the time its effects are felt on the other side of the world. Western “even-handedness” on Bosnia was the biggest single factor in the radicalization of European Muslims. They swarmed to the Balkans to support their coreligionists and ran into a bunch of Wahhabi imams moving into the neighborhood with lots of Saudi money and anxious to fill their Rolodex with useful contacts in the west. Among the alumni of that conflict was the hitherto impeccably assimilated English public (ie, private) schoolboy and London School of Economics student who went on to behead the Wall Street Journal’s Daniel Pearl. You always have a dog in the fight, whether you know it or not.

For the Obama administration, this presents a particular challenge — because the president’s preferred rhetorical tic is to stake out the two sides and present himself as a dispassionate, disinterested soul of moderation: “There are those who would argue . . . ” on the one hand, whereas “there are those who insist . . . ” on the other, whereas he is beyond such petty dogmatic positions. That was pretty much his shtick on abortion at Notre Dame. Of course, such studied moderation is usually a crock: Obama is an abortion absolutist, supporting partial-birth infanticide, and even laws that prevent any baby so inconsiderate as to survive the abortion from receiving medical treatment.

So in his recent speech in Cairo he applied the same technique. Among his many unique qualities, the 44th president is the first to give the impression that the job is beneath him — that he is too big and too gifted to be confined to the humdrum interests of one nation state. As my former National Review colleague David Frum put it, the Obama address offered “the amazing spectacle of an American president taking an equidistant position between the country he leads and its detractors and enemies.”

What would you make of that “equidistance” if you were back in the palace watching it on CNN International? Maybe you’d know that, on domestic policy, Obama uses the veneer of disinterested arbiter as a feint. Or maybe you’d just figure that no serious world leader can ever be neutral on vital issues. So you’d start combing the speech for what lies underneath the usual Obama straw men — and women: “I reject the view of some in the West that a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal.” Very brave of you, I’m sure. But what about the Muslim women who choose not to cover themselves and wind up as the victims of honor killings in Germany and Scandinavia and Toronto and Dallas? Ah, but that would have required real courage, not audience flattery masquerading as such.

And so, when the analysts had finished combing the speech, they would have concluded that the meta-message of his “equidistance” was a prostration before “stability” — an acceptance of the region’s worst pathologies as a permanent feature of life.

The mullahs stole this election on a grander scale than ever before primarily for reasons of internal security and regional strategy. But Obama’s speech told them that, in the “post-American world,” they could do so with impunity. Blaming his “agents” for the protests is merely a bonus: Offered the world’s biggest carrot, Khamenei took it and used it as a stick.

He won’t be the last to read Obama this way.


— Mark Steyn, a National Review columnist, is author of America Alone. © 2009 Mark Steyn
National Review Online - http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=MDlhMmZmY2I1MjI0MTZlNDBhZmI3N2Y3ZDk2ZGZlYjA=
9566  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Security issues on: June 19, 2009, 10:20:36 PM
The LDS have a large cadre of former/current  federal law enforcement/intel officers to draw from to protect church interests.
9567  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: June 18, 2009, 03:30:44 PM
Ok, I don't see how the economy will turn out alright after Obanomics drives us into unimaginable debt.

Meanwhile, we are getting ready to catch a BRIC to our collective heads. And Tthe remaining axis of evil nations are running wild.

So, how does this portend a recovery?
9568  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama greenlights the crackdown on: June 18, 2009, 10:25:22 AM
http://www.nypost.com/php/pfriendly/print.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nypost.com%2Fseven%2F06182009%2Fpostopinion%2Fopedcolumnists%2Fgreen_light_for_a_crackdown_174811.htm

GREEN LIGHT FOR A CRACKDOWN
By RALPH PETERS

June 18, 2009 --
SILENCE is complicity. Our president's refusal to take a forthright moral stand on the side of the Iranian freedom marchers is read in Tehran as a blank check for the current regime.

The fundamentalist junta has begun arresting opposition figures, with regime mouthpieces raising the prospect of the death penalty. Inevitably, there are claims that dissidents have been "hoarding weapons and explosives."

Foreign media reps are under house arrest. Cellphone frequencies are jammed. Students are killed and the killings disavowed.

And our president is "troubled," but doesn't believe we should "meddle" in Iran's internal affairs. (Meddling in Israel's domestic affairs is just fine, though.)

We just turned our backs on freedom.

Again.

Of all our foreign-policy failures in my lifetime, our current shunning of those demanding free elections and expanded civil rights in Iran reminds me most of Hungary in 1956.

For years, we encouraged the Hungarians to rise up against oppression. When they did, we watched from the sidelines as Russian tanks drove over them.

For decades, Washington policymakers from both parties have prodded Iranians to throw off their shackles. Last Friday, millions of Iranians stood up. And we're standing down.

That isn't diplomacy. It's treachery.

Despite absurd claims that Obama's Islam-smooching Cairo speech triggered the calls for freedom in Tehran's streets, these politics are local. But if those partisan claims of the "Cairo Effect" were true, wouldn't our president be obliged to stand beside those he incited?

Too bad for the Iranians, but their outburst of popular anger toward Iran's oppressive government doesn't fit the administration's script -- which is written around negotiations with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

To Obama, his dogmatic commitment to negotiations is infinitely more important than a few million protesters chanting the Farsi equivalent of "We Shall Overcome."

This is madness. There is no chance -- zero, null, nada -- that negotiations with the junta of mullahs will lead to the termination (or even a serious interruption) of Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons. Our president's faith in his powers of persuasion is beginning to look pathological. Is his program of negotiations with apocalypse-minded, woman-hating, Jew-killing fanatics so sacrosanct that he can't acknowledge human cries for freedom?

Is the Rev. Jeremiah Wright a better role model than Martin Luther King? It's a damned shame that our first minority president wasn't a veteran of our civil-rights struggle, rather than its privileged beneficiary.

An ugly pattern's emerging in our president's beliefs:

He's infallible. This is rich, given all the criticism of the Bush administration's unwillingness to admit mistakes. We now have a president with Jimmy Carter's naivete, Richard Nixon's distaste for laws, Lyndon Johnson's commitment to the wrong war, and Bill Clinton's moral fecklessness.

Democracy isn't important. Our president seems infected by yesteryear's Third-World-leftist view that dictatorships are essential to post-colonial development -- especially for Muslims.

Look where Obama has gone and who he supports: the pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, his groveling speech in Egypt, his embrace of Hamas, his hands-off approach to the gory regime in Sudan -- and now his dismay at the protests in Iran.

Strict Islam is true Islam. This is bewildering, given Obama's childhood exposure to the tolerant Islam practiced in most of Indonesia. The defining remark of his presidency thus far was his Cairo demand for the right of Muslim women to wear Islamic dress in the West -- while remaining silent about their right to reject the hijab, burqa or chador in the Middle East.

History's a blank canvas -- except for America's sins. Of course, we've had presidents who presented the past in the colors they preferred -- but we've never had one who just made it all up.

Obama's ignorance of history is on naked display -- no sense of the brutality of Iran's Islamist regime, of the years of mass imprisonments, diabolical torture, prison rapes, wholesale executions and secret graves that made the shah's reign seem idyllic. Our president seems to regard the Iranian protesters as spoiled brats.

Facts? Who cares? In his Cairo sermon -- a speech that will live in infamy -- our president compared the plight of the Palestinians, the aggressors in 1948, with the Holocaust. He didn't mention the million Jews dispossessed and driven from Muslim lands since 1948, nor the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestinian Christians from the West Bank.

Now our president's attempt to vote "present" yet again green-lights the Iranian regime's determination to face down the demonstrators -- and the mullahs understand it as such.

If we see greater violence in Tehran, the blood of those freedom marchers will be on our president's hands.
9569  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: June 17, 2009, 07:45:57 AM
JONAH GOLDBERG:
Obama's choice is not to choose on Iran
The president has an opportunity to stand up for democracy.
Jonah Goldberg
June 16, 2009




Do it, President Obama, please. Take the side of democracy.

Declare yourself and your nation on the side of hope and change where it is more than a slogan and better than a rationalization for ever-bigger government. Stop measuring the success of your diplomacy with Iran by the degree to which the grinning, hate-filled stooge of a clerical junta will "temper" his rhetoric about the pressing need to destroy Israel and slow his ineluctable pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Instead, choose a higher standard. Look to history. Look to the aspirations of the students risking their lives and livelihoods to protest a sham election. Stop fawning over the mythological Muslim street only when it hates America, and look to the real Iranian street at the moment of its greatest need, when its heart may be open to loving America.

You often invoke President Kennedy's pledge to put a man on the moon to justify your domestic agenda. You and your supporters invite comparisons to Camelot. Well, what of John F. Kennedy's most solemn vow? "Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty."

No, we should not bomb Iran, or invade it. Those prices are too steep; those burdens are too heavy. But maybe you could lift a finger for democracy?

During the campaign you mocked those who belittled your rhetoric as "just words." Well, what you've offered so far is less than just words. You've put a fresh coat of whitewash on Iran's sham "democracy." On Monday, you proclaimed yourself "troubled" by the events in Iran, before hinting that you'd negotiate with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad no matter what an investigation into his "landslide" victory found. Then there was your pre-election mumbling about "robust debate [that] hopefully will advance our ability to engage them in new ways."

Of course, debate in Iran has been robust only if you are grading on a curve. Ahmadinejad's main opponent, Mir-Hossein Mousavi, was an accidental reform candidate. The mullahs had disqualified about 400 others, leaving in the race only four presumed hacks deemed to be pliant enough not to rock the boat. Mousavi's popular support and the robustness of the debate he ignited were an unintended consequence of a rigged election, not the intention of a democratic regime. Going into the election, you chose to celebrate the process, to placate a theocratic politburo.

Reportedly, you are biding your time, waiting to see what happens, as if it is a great mystery. Your campaign lived and breathed YouTube. Check it now, check it often. You and your team promised "soft power" and "smart power." Well, let's see some of that. Because by not clearly picking a side, it appears you have chosen the wrong side.

Do you fear antagonizing the powers-that-be in Iran? That ship has sailed. Though I am sure they're grateful for your eagerness not to roil the seas around them. Is it because you think "leader of the free world" is just another of those Cold War relics best mothballed in favor of a more cosmopolitan and universal awe at your own story?

"Enough about those people bleeding in the street. What do you think of me?" Is that how it is to be?

During the Bush years, what was best about liberalism had bled away. One of the worst things about the Republican Party has always been its Kissingerian realpolitik, the "it's just business" approach to world affairs that amounted to a willful blindness to our ideals beyond our own borders. The Democratic Party may not have always gotten the policies right, but it had a firm grasp of the principle.

In the 1990s, liberals championed "nation building," and conservatives chuckled at the naivete of it. Then came Iraq, and Republicans out of necessity embraced what liberals once believed out of conviction. The result? Liberals ran from their principles, found their inner Kissingers and embraced a cold realism whose chill emanated from the corpse of their ideals.

Labor unions, such as the AFL-CIO, once battled tyranny abroad on the grounds that workers everywhere need democracy. Today, the president turns a blind eye to the independent labor movement in Iran, and the unions and Democrats spend their time trying to figure out how to eliminate the secret ballot in the American workplace.

So far, "hope and change" has meant spending trillions we do not have on expanded government we do not need. Meanwhile, the huddled masses of Iranians yearning to breathe free think hope and change means something more. But the new American colossus stands all but silent, her beacon dimmed, her luster tarnished.

Please, Mr. President, prove me wrong.

jgoldberg@latimescolumnists.com
9570  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: June 15, 2009, 11:03:25 AM
Obama's probable response to the crisis:

1. Blame Bush.

2. Issue another apology.

3. Go golfing.
9571  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Limited Government on: June 13, 2009, 09:34:10 AM
I like the new thread.
9572  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews on: June 10, 2009, 09:21:26 PM
Rachel,

Obama is a 20 year disciple of Rev. "Them Jews" Wright. Much like Obama's lack of concern for the US soldier murdered by the black muslim convert in Arkansas, I doubt his concern here. His radicalism become clearer every day.
9573  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews on: June 10, 2009, 07:28:26 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/06/10/guy-who-attended-jeremiah-them-jews-wrights-church-for-20-years-we-must-be-vigilant-about-anti-semitism/

I'm sure he's just "shocked and saddened".  rolleyes
9574  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Sarah warned us about this on: June 10, 2009, 06:02:40 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/06/10/good-news-us-reportedly-reading-terrorists-their-miranda-rights-now/

Good news: U.S. reportedly reading terrorists their Miranda rights now
POSTED AT 6:22 PM ON JUNE 10, 2009 BY ALLAHPUNDIT   


Say, weren’t we warned during the campaign that this might happen if Obama won? Take it away, Sarahcuda:

Terrorist states are seeking nuclear weapons without delay … he wants to meet them without preconditions.

Al-Qaida terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America … he’s worried that someone won’t read them their rights?

As I recall, she ate no small amount of crap for accusing him of that given his silence on the matter before the election. But then, this is the same woman who said enormous tax hikes were inevitable under The One in order to pay for his catastrophic expansion of government, notwithstanding his campaign promises not to raise taxes on the middle class. How’s that prediction working out so far? Crazy Sarah and her nutty theories.

Anyway, yeah. Miranda warnings:

If Tenet is right, it’s a good thing KSM was captured before Barack Obama became president. For, the Obama Justice Department has quietly ordered FBI agents to read Miranda rights to high value detainees captured and held at U.S. detention facilities in Afghanistan, according a senior Republican on the House Intelligence Committee. “The administration has decided to change the focus to law enforcement. Here’s the problem. You have foreign fighters who are targeting US troops today – foreign fighters who go to another country to kill Americans. We capture them…and they’re reading them their rights – Mirandizing these foreign fighters,” says Representative Mike Rogers, who recently met with military, intelligence and law enforcement officials on a fact-finding trip to Afghanistan.

Rogers, a former FBI special agent and U.S. Army officer, says the Obama administration has not briefed Congress on the new policy. “I was a little surprised to find it taking place when I showed up because we hadn’t been briefed on it, I didn’t know about it. We’re still trying to get to the bottom of it, but it is clearly a part of this new global justice initiative.”

It was thoughtful of the most transparent administration evah to force Rogers to find out about this on the battlefield. There’s a certain perverse logic to it, though: If you’re unwilling to use any form of enhanced interrogation to save lives, you might as well go the whole nine yards and affirmatively warn detainees that they don’t have to talk to you. That’s what a law-enforcement approach to terrorism means — accepting a heightened risk of an attack by eschewing certain preventative measures in order to heighten the risk of conviction in court later by following criminal procedure. How this squares with The One’s willingness to send drones into Pakistan and torpedo houses packed with people on the say-so of informants is beyond me, but I’m sure we’ll get a speech on it at some point down the line. Exit question: Why institute a Miranda policy for terrorists captured abroad before the Supreme Court’s even heard the issue? They might find a wrinkle distinguishing classic criminal cases from prisoners of war — especially if Sotomayor’s half as tough on crime as the White House spin team keeps assuring us she is.
9575  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama's church bulletin on: June 10, 2009, 05:53:15 PM
http://www.bizzyblog.com/wp-images/TUCChamasColumn072207.jpg

Great reading for a future president.
9576  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews on: June 10, 2009, 11:40:06 AM
Who would have guessed that someone that was a 20 year adherent of Rev. Wright would be an anti-Israeli president ?

Shocked! I am just stunned to see this development. How many Jews in Obama's administration again?
9577  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: June 10, 2009, 11:15:20 AM
http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/World-News/Terror-Names-Linked-To-Doomed-Flight-AF-447-Two-Passengers-Shared-Names-Of-Radical-Muslims/Article/200906215300405?lpos=World_News_Carousel_Region_0&lid=ARTICLE_15300405_Terror_Names_Linked_To_Doomed_Flight_AF_447%3A_Two_Passengers_Shared_Names_Of_Radical_Muslims

Terror Names Linked To Doomed Flight AF 447

3:58pm UK, Wednesday June 10, 2009
Peter Allen, in Paris
Two passengers with names linked to Islamic terrorism were on the Air France flight which crashed with the loss of 228 lives, it has emerged.


Debris from Air France flight AF 447 has been recovered from the Atlantic
French secret servicemen established the connection while working through the list of those who boarded the doomed Airbus in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on May 31.
Flight AF 447 crashed in the mid-Atlantic en route to Paris during a violent storm.
While it is certain there were computer malfunctions, terrorism has not been ruled out.

Soon after news of the fatal crash broke, agents working for the DGSE (Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure), the French equivalent of MI6, were dispatched to Brazil.
It was there that they established that two names on the passenger list are also on highly-classified documents listing the names of radical Muslims considered a threat to the French Republic.
A source working for the French security services told Paris weekly L'Express that the link was "highly significant".
Agents are now trying to establish dates of birth for the two dead passengers, and family connections.
There is a possibility the name similarities are simply a "macabre coincidence", the source added, but the revelation is still being "taken very seriously".
France has received numerous threats from Islamic terrorist groups in recent months, especially since French troops were sent to fight in Afghanistan.
Security chiefs have been particularly worried about airborne suicide attacks similar to the ones on the US on September 11, 2001.
9578  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: June 10, 2009, 09:54:03 AM
Comment, Rachel?
9579  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: June 10, 2009, 09:51:06 AM
What of a High Energy Radio Frequency burst directed to the "fly by wire"  system?
9580  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hack-Jet: Losing a commercial airliner in a networked world on: June 09, 2009, 11:29:32 PM
http://counterterrorismblog.org/2009/06/print/hack-jet_losing_a_commercial_a.php

Counterterrorism Blog

Hack-Jet: Losing a commercial airliner in a networked world

By Roderick Jones

When there is a catastrophic loss of an aircraft in any circumstances, there are inevitably a host of questions raised about the safety and security of the aviation operation. The loss of Air France flight 447 off the coast of Brazil with little evidence upon which to work inevitably raises the level of speculation surrounding the fate of the flight. Large-scale incidents such as this create an enormous cloud of data, which has to be investigated in order to discover the pattern of events, which led to the loss (not helped when some of it may be two miles under the ocean surface). So far French authorities have been quick to rule out terrorism it has however, emerged that a bomb hoax against an Air France flight had been made the previous week flying a different route from Argentina. This currently does not seem to be linked and no terrorist group has claimed responsibility. Much of the speculation regarding the fate of the aircraft has focused on the effects of bad weather or a glitch in the fly-by-wire system that could have caused the plane to dive uncontrollably. There is however another theory, which while currently unlikely, if true would change the global aviation security situation overnight. A Hacked-Jet.

Given the plethora of software modern jets rely on it seems reasonable to assume that these systems could be compromised by code designed to trigger catastrophic systemic events within the aircraft's navigation or other critical electronic systems. Just as aircraft have a physical presence they increasingly have a virtual footprint and this changes their vulnerability. A systemic software corruption may account for the mysterious absence of a Mayday call - the communications system may have been offline. Designing airport and aviation security to keep lethal code off civilian aircraft would in the short-term, be beyond any government civil security regime. A malicious code attack of this kind against any civilian airliner would, therefore be catastrophic not only for the airline industry but also for the wider global economy until security caught up with this new threat. The technical ability to conduct an attack of this kind remains highly specialized (for now) but the knowledge to conduct attacks in this mold would be as deadly as WMD and easier to spread through our networked world. Electronic systems on aircraft are designed for safety not security, they therefore do not account for malicious internal actions.

While this may seem the stuff of fiction in January 2008 this broad topic was discussed due to the planned arrival of the Boeing 787, which is designed to be more 'wired' --offering greater passenger connectivity. Air Safety regulations have not been designed to accommodate the idea of an attack against on-board electronic systems and the FAA proposed special conditions , which were subsequently commented upon by the Air Line Pilots Association and Airbus. There is some interesting back and forth in the proposed special conditions, which are after all only to apply to the Boeing 787. In one section, Airbus rightly pointed out that making it a safety condition that the internal design of civilian aircraft should 'prevent all inadvertent or malicious changes to [the electronic system]' would be impossible during the life cycle of the aircraft because 'security threats evolve very rapidly'.

Boeing responded to these reports in an AP article stating that there were sufficient safeguards to shut out the Internet from internal aircraft systems a conclusion the FAA broadly agreed with - Wired Magazine covered much of the ground. During the press surrounding this the security writer Bruce Schneier commented that, "The odds of this being perfect are zero. It's possible Boeing can make their connection to the Internet secure. If they do, it will be the first time in the history of mankind anyone's done that." Of course securing the airborne aircraft isn't the only concern when maintenance and diagnostic systems constantly refresh while the aircraft is on the ground. Malicious action could infect any part of this process.

While a combination of factors probably led to the tragic loss of flight AF447 the current uncertainty serves to highlight a potential game-changing aviation security scenario that no airline or government is equipped to face.

Comments on Hack-Jet:

(Note - these are thoughts on the idea of using software hacks to down commercial airliners and are not specifically directed at events surrounding the loss of AF447).

If you would like to comment on Hack-Jet go to discussion blog linked here.

From the author of Daemon Daniel Suarez:

It would seem like the height of folly not to have physical overrides in place for the pilot -- although, I realize that modern aircraft (especially designs like the B-2 bomber) require so many minute flight surface corrections every second to stay aloft, that no human could manage it. Perhaps that's what's going on with upcoming models like the 787. And I don't know about the Airbus A330.

I did think it was highly suspicious that the plane seems to have been lost above St. Peter & Paul's Rocks. By the strangest of coincidences, I had been examining that rock closely in Google Earth a few weeks ago for a scene in the sequel (which was later cut). It's basically a few huge rocks with a series of antennas and a control hut -- with nothing around it for nearly 400 miles.

Assuming the theoretical attacker didn't make the exploit time-based or GPS-coordinate-based, they might want to issue a radio 'kill' command in a locale where there would be little opportunity to retrieve the black box (concealing all trace of the attack). I wonder: do the radios on an A330 have any software signal processing capability? As for the attackers: they wouldn't need to physically go to the rocks--just compromise the scientific station's network via email or other intrusion, etc. and issue the 'kill' command from a hacked communication system. If I were an investigator, I'd be physically securing and scouring everything that had radio capabilities on those rocks. And looking closely at any record of radio signals in the area (testing suspicious patterns against a virtual A330's operating system). Buffer overrun (causing the whole system to crash?). Injecting an invalid (negative) speed value? Who knows... Perhaps the NSA's big ear has a record of any radio traffic issued around that time.

The big concern, of course, is that this is a proof-of-concept attack -- thus, the reason for concealing all traces of the compromise.

---

From John Robb - Global Guerrillas:

The really dangerous hacking, in most situations, is done by disgruntled/postal/financially motivated employees. With all glass cockpits, fly by wire, etc. (the Airbus is top of its class in this) it would be easy for anybody on the ground crew to crash it. No tricky mechanical sabotage.

External hacks? That is of course, trickier. One way would be to get into the diagnostic/mx computers the ground crew uses. Probably by adding a hack to a standard patch/update. Not sure if any of the updates to these computers are delivered "online."

Flight planning is likely the most "connected" system. Easier to access externally. Pilots get their plans for each flight and load them into the plane. If the route has them flying into the ground mid flight, it's possible they won't notice.

In flight hacks? Not sure that anything beyond outbound comms from the system is wireless. If so, that would be one method.

Another would be a multi-directional microwave/herf burst that fries controls. Might be possible, in a closed environment/fly by wire system to do this with relatively little power.

----

There has been continuous discussion of the dangers involved with fly-by-wire systems in Peter Neumann's Risk Digest since the systems were introduced in the late 1980s. The latest posting on the subject is here.

Investigator: Computer likely caused Qantas plunge
----

Links to Note

PodCast Analysis of flight AF447 error messages from Innovation Analysis Group [Analysis suggest all computer systems failed simultaneously]

Pilot Network online discussion

Aviation Safety Network

Photograph of Jet from spotter site

Twitter Feed for Flight AF447

------
By Roderick Jones on June 9, 2009 3:34 PM
9581  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: June 08, 2009, 06:00:29 PM
40% of the US population doesn't pay federal income tax. Should they be able to vote?
9582  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: June 08, 2009, 02:50:38 AM
http://www.examiner.com/x-2684-Law-Enforcement-Examiner~y2009m6d6-NYPD-Intelligence-issues-update-on-Jihad-at-army-recruiting-station

NYPD Intelligence issues update on Jihad at army recruiting station
June 6, 9:19 AM
 
A suspected "Jihadist" killed one US Army recruiter and wounded another during a morning attack in Little Rock, on Monday .
Private William Long, 23, was killed as he worked at a military recruitment center in Arkansas. 

Long and another man, Private Quinton I. Ezeagwula, 18, were shot as they stood outside the Army-Navy recruitment center in Little Rock.  Ezeagwula was wounded but survived the attack.

According to the New York City Police Department's Intelligence Division, the suspect, a black male, drove his SUV by the Army/Navy Recruitment Center located at the Ashley Area Square Shopping and opened fire on two recruiters standing outside of the military recruitment offices.

Emergency Medical Responders pronounced one of the recruiters DOA (dead on arrival), while the other recruiter was rushed to the hospital where he is in critical, but stable, condition.

Following the drive-by shooting, bloodshed and the subsequent pursuit, local police officers captured the suspect near the Interstate (I-30/I -630) highway interchange.

After taking the suspect into custody, police discovered a SKS rifle, a .22 caliber handgun, ammunition, and a "suspicious" package, according to the NYPD Intelligence Division's William O'Regan, a research specialist.

Police said that the suspect surrendered without incident and that he used language "indicating his association with "Jihad." He also indicated the possible existence of explosives.

The Little Rock police officers at the scene brought in their department's Hazmat/Bomb Squad, who retrieved the suspicious parcel for analysis.

Little Rock police reported there were no other suspects involved in the deadly attack.

According to NYPD Intelligence, military installations continue to be the target of anti-military groups and individuals. Recruiting stations, National Guard armories, and Reserve Centers have no armed guards which makes them vulnerable targets.

New York City military facilities have been targeted in the past — i.e. the March 6, 2008 bombing of the Times Square Recruiting Station.

Police identified the alleged attacker as Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, 23, an Islamic convert. He is being charged with first-degree murder as well as 15 counts of perpetrating terrorism.
Update by NYPD Intelligence Division/NYPD Shields
According to officials with the New York City Police Department, Abdulhakim Majahid Muhammad, a/k/a
Carl Leon Bledsoe, converted to Islam as a teenager.
 
Prior to the attack and homicide, the FBI had initiated an investigation of Muhammad following his return to the US from Yemen. According to the intelligence report -- based on the FBI report and a post-incident interview of Muhammad -- he was arrested in Yemen for carrying a false passport. Subsequently he studied "Jihad" with a Yemeni Islamic scholar.
 
Muhammad told interrogators that he attacked the recruiting station and Army recruiters because of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
 
The search warrants issued for the young terrorist's apartment and SUV reportedly resulted in the following in addition to items already found in SUV:
-Molotov cocktails
-Homemade silencers
-Compact disks with Arabic writing
 
Muhammad allegedly conducted Google Map searches on Jewish institutions, a Baptist church, a child care facility, a U.S. post office, and military recruiting centers in the following areas:
-Atlanta, Georgia
-Little Rock, Arkansas
-Louisville, Kentucky
-New York, New York
-Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
-Memphis, Tennessee
 
The NYPD issued a list of previous plots and attacks:
-May 2009, 4 converts arrested in New York for targeting Bronx Synagogues and a military aircraft
 
-February 2009, convert arrested for killing Philadelphia police officer
 
-June 2008, converts sentenced for targeting military and Jewish facilities in California
 
-November 2007, convert pleads guilty to conspiracy to use WMD’s against Illinois shopping mall
 
-February 2007, convert convicted for role in “Virginia Jihad Network”
 
-August 2007 convert pleads guilty in New York to conspiracy to support terrorists
 
 
The NYPD Shields report stated that there exists a "troubling trend for US security and law enforcement officials."
 
The report also stated that terrorists -- foreign and domestic -- continue the targeting of high-value civilian and government targets, while military installations continue to be the target of anti-military groups and individuals
 
Recruiting stations, National Guard armories, and Reserve Centers have no armed guards which makes them vulnerable targets. New York City military and religious facilities have been targeted in the past—i.e. the March 6, 2008 bombing of the Times Square Recruiting Station
 
Additional Sources:
 
U.S. Army National Guard Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection Report,
“Update: Gunman Shoots Two at Arkansas Military Recruitment Center,”FBI and DHS Threat Alert and Advisory Message,"
National Association of Chiefs of Police Terrorism Committee
9583  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: June 07, 2009, 10:49:09 PM
Very funny Doug.

CCP,

Whatever it takes to protect the President. No matter who is in the office.
9584  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: June 06, 2009, 09:17:45 AM
http://www.iris.org.il/blog/archives/838-The-Unreported-Legal-Abuse-of-Non-Muslims-in-Islam.html

Wednesday, December 28, 2005
The Unreported Legal Abuse of Non-Muslims in Islam

 

Indian in Saudi Arabia to Have an Eye Gouged Out

The big story here is not the brutality of the Saudi justice system. What is never reported is that because non-Muslim testimony has half the weight of a Muslim's in a sharia court, non-Muslims are almost always the losers of disputes. (The same holds true for women.) In this case, for example, an Indian gas station worker pointlessly testified that the injury he inflicted was in self-defense.

This presents enormous potential for abuse, even disregarding corruption and the routine hostility toward the "other" in the Muslim world. This is how the most unbelievable items are routinely stolen from Christians, for example, such as land and houses in the West Bank and Gaza. It is one reason why Christians are fleeing nearly every country with Muslim rule.

This system offers unscrupulous Muslims carte blanche to abuse others in private, which is behind the routine oppression (including rape) and de facto enslavement of foreign domestic workers in Saudi Arabia.

A former PLO terrorist, Walid Shoebat, explained how his land and property in Judea were stolen from him by his family after he converted to Christianity. His case was not typical, given the death sentence meted under sharia for converts from Islam. After he converted, he learned that his American mother had been held prisoner for 35 years after a honeymoon in the Holy Land. His father's responses to her attempts to flee made her keep her Christianity a secret from her own children.

Update (Dec. 29): Here is a shocking illustration:

79 Lashes for Gangrenous Maid Who Spoke Against Saudi Torturer (from The Arab News-Saudi Arabia, via the excellent Lost Budgie Blog).
A Riyadh judge sentenced an Indonesian maid, who accused her sponsor and his wife of torturing her, to 79 lashes yesterday....In March, Miyati was brought to a hospital in Riyadh by her sponsor in a critical condition suffering from gangrene to her fingers, toes and a part of her right foot. Doctors had to remove some of her fingers and toes....A judge later sentenced the sponsor?s wife, who admitted to beating Miyati, to 35 lashes. The husband was found innocent due to lack of evidence against him.
There was a "lack of evidence" against the husband despite the pictures, the medical evidence and the wife's confession. The (apparently Muslim) maid's testimony was essentially discarded because it is accorded half of the weight of that of a Muslim man.

Despite the distinction unanimously claimed by the mainstream media between "radicals" and the "moderate majority," there is no significant Muslim opinion that disagrees with either the desirability of implementing Muslim law or the half-valuation of testimony under it. There is almost no source other than IRIS explaining the systemic incentive to exploit the "other" under Islam.

See also:

Saudi Police Arrest Thousands of... Runaway Maids

Saudis to Gouge Out More Eyes

April 24, 2006: Pakistani Teen Raped, Jailed in Saudi Arabia
"Isma Mahmood, 16, was deported to Pakistan last month after having served six months in shackles and handcuffs in a prison in Saudi Arabia. Her crime?being raped by a Saudi man"
9585  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: June 06, 2009, 09:10:21 AM
Sharia law, based on the qu'ran, ahadith and the sunna (life of Muhammad) mandate the treatment of non-muslims in a discriminatory manner.
9586  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Knife Law on: June 06, 2009, 09:02:25 AM
This is sooooooo stupid. Know what edged weapons the average street scrote carries? A box cutter or tile knife bought at the dollar store. Cheap, plausibly deniable and readily disposable after they commit a crime with it.
9587  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: June 06, 2009, 08:51:47 AM
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/11/world/europe/11manila.html?_r=1&pagewanted=print

August 11, 2006
MANILA PLOTTERS
Echoes of Early Design to Use Chemicals to Blow Up Airliners

By RAYMOND BONNER and BENJAMIN WEISER
JAKARTA, Indonesia, Aug. 10 — The plot to blow up several airliners over the Atlantic, uncovered by British authorities, bears a striking, if not eerie, resemblance to a plot hatched 12 years ago to simultaneously blow up a dozen airliners over the Pacific.

That scheme was developed in Manila by Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who was starting his climb to become a top lieutenant to Osama bin Laden, and Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, who was a mastermind of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. Philippine investigators came to believe that the Manila operation was financed by Mr. bin Laden.

Mr. Mohammed code-named the operation Bojinka, which was widely reported to have been adopted from Serbo-Croatian, meaning big bang. But Mr. Mohammed has told his C.I.A. interrogators that it was just a “nonsense word” he adopted after hearing it when he was fighting in Afghanistan during the war against the Soviet Union, according to “The 9/11 Commission Report.” Mr. Mohammed was seized in Pakistan in 2003, and is now being held by the C.I.A. at an undisclosed location.

The Bojinka plot in 1995 was anything but nonsense. At an apartment in Manila, Mr. Yousef began mixing chemicals, which he planned to put into containers that would be carried on board airliners, much like the plotters in Britain are alleged to have been planning.

In those days, it would have been relatively easy to get liquid explosives past a checkpoint. Mr. Mohammed and Mr. Yousef, according to the 9/11 Commission, studied airline schedules and planned to sneak the liquid on a dozen planes headed to Seoul, South Korea, and Hong Kong and then on to the United States. The idea was that the bombs, complete with timing devices, would be left on the airliners, but that the plotters would disembark at a stop before detonating the devices.

To rehearse the operations, a practice bomb was detonated in a Manila theater late in 1994. Another bomb was concealed aboard Philippine Airlines Flight 434 from Manila to Tokyo 10 days later. The bomb exploded on the way to Tokyo, killing a passenger, but the pilot managed to land the damaged 747. American prosecutors later concluded that Mr. Yousef had taken a liquid explosive onto the plane before disembarking.

The plot, however, was foiled in early 1995 when a fire broke out in the apartment where some of the conspirators were working. Among the things found when the police investigated was Mr. Yousef’s laptop, with a file named “Bojinka.” They also found dolls with clothes containing nitrocellulose, according to the 9/11 Commission.

“When the police hit the place, they were weeks away from starting,” said Michael J. Garcia, a prosecutor in the 1996 Bojinka trial and now the United States attorney in Manhattan. “In Ramzi’s laptop there were very detailed plans,” he said, including equipment, airports, flight numbers and the timer settings.

Mr. Yousef was captured in Pakistan, turned over to the United States, convicted in New York and sentenced to life without parole.

According to investigators, Mr. Yousef’s specialty was making bombs from innocuous-looking objects that could be smuggled through airport security — a digital wristwatch modified to serve as a timer, or a plastic bottle for contact lens solution filled with liquid components for nitroglycerine.

When questioned after his arrest, Mr. Yousef refused to explain precisely how he had planned to carry out the bombings, according to testimony at his trial for the Bojinka plot.

Brian G. Parr, a Secret Service agent, testified at the trial that under questioning Mr. Yousef made clear that other terrorists were aware of the explosive technique, and he did not want to compromise their ability to carry out similar acts.

“He said that he didn’t want us to have knowledge of the techniques that they were going to use,” Mr. Parr testified, “because it may help us prevent other people from using those techniques.”

And Mr. Yousef, in his statement to Mr. Parr, made clear that he had carefully analyzed how to carry explosives through airline security.

For example, when questioned about one chemical mixture that could be used in explosives, Mr. Yousef said he would not have used it because it could have “been easily detected by airport security screening,” Mr. Parr testified.

Mr. Parr said that Mr. Yousef “specifically said that he would have used a different type of device that even the most sophisticated bomb-screening machines would not have been able to detect.”

Mary Jo White, the former United States attorney whose office successfully investigated and prosecuted Mr. Yousef in the Bojinka plot, recalled: “It was frightening. There were people wandering the globe able to do this. And that was 10 years ago.”

Mr. Mohammed has told his interrogators that after the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, which involved explosives loaded onto a truck that failed to bring down the building, he “needed to graduate to a more novel form of attack,” as the 9/11 report puts it. That led to Bojinka, and the first thoughts about using planes to bomb the World Trade Center.

Raymond Bonner reported from Jakarta, Indonesia, for this article, and Benjamin Weiser from New York. William K. Rashbaum contributed reporting from New York.
9588  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / London: The Latest in a String of Al Qaeda Plots Against Airlines on: June 06, 2009, 08:40:51 AM
**When I look at the missing Air France flight, I'm reminded of the incidents below.**

Counterterrorism Blog

London: The Latest in a String of Al Qaeda Plots Against Airlines

By Zachary Abuza

The London plot is simply the latest in a concerted effort to target airliners, something that Al Qaeda and its affiliates know would have a crippling global impact. In statement by Osama bin Laden issued in early October 2002, he warned: “We will target the nodes of your economy.” The global aviation industry is clearly front and center in Al Qaeda’s targeting.

•   In 1994-1995 Ramzi Yousef and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed plotted to down 11-12 US jetliners over the Pacific in what is now known as the Bojinka Plot. Although a test run worked when a bomb aboard a jetliner detonated forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing in Okinawa, the plot went awry when Ramzi Yousef and an accomplice Hakim Murad set the nitro-glycerine on fire.

•   In 2001, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed began planning a second phase of 9/11 that would target the West Coast of the United States with Jetliners from Asia. This plot was put on hold by the Al Qaeda leadership.

•   22 December 2001 Richard Reid’s plot to blow up a jetliner with a shoe bomb – a mixture of high explosives and TATP, failed.

•   On 27 November 2003, English authorities recovered a similar shoe bomb from Sajid Badat, a co-conspirator of Richard Reid.

•   In 2004, Philippine Police raided an Abu Sayyaf safehouse in Manila where they found a number of small bombs comprised of C4 melted down with I think kerosene and injected into toothpaste tubes and shampoo bottles. Philippine intelligence officials believed these bombs were intended for use on airplanes.

•   In September 2004, US officials intercepted another shoe bomb at California postal facility, sent from Southeast Asia.

By Zachary Abuza on August 10, 2006 10:36 PM
9589  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: June 05, 2009, 10:49:09 PM
No idea. I don't have enough money to worry about investing.
9590  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Economic Dog and Pony Show on: June 05, 2009, 10:15:05 PM
June 5, 2009

The Charm Offensive


This week, Team Obama took their dog and pony show on the road. Treasury Secretary Geithner went to China, Fed Chairman Bernanke to Capitol Hill, and the President himself began a Mideast tour in Saudi Arabia. This full-court press is not coincidental, and comes just as the federal government has begun unloading trillions of dollars in new Treasury obligations. The coordinated charm offensive is meant to assure the world-at-large that the United States can repay these obligations without destroying the dollar.

Given the renewed weakness in the dollar and the recent expressions of concern from China, our largest creditor, about the safety of its current holdings, this is no easy sell. Not only must our leaders convince holders of our debt not to sell what they already own, but to back up the truck and buy a whole lot more. The hope is that a dream team consisting of a charismatic politician, a skilled Wall Street banker with longstanding ties to China, and a respected Fed Chairman, can close the deal. However, no matter how slick the sales pitch, no amount of lipstick can dress up this pig.

The most obvious fear the trio must address is that oversized deficits will persist indefinitely. Reading from a carefully scripted rebuttal book, all three proclaim that as soon as the stimulus revives our economy, the government will take all necessary steps to reign in the deficits that result. Bernanke’s testimony showcases this rhetorical shift. The Fed Chairman claimed that catastrophe has been averted and that the recession is nearly over. As a result, he advised Congress to now focus on debt management. How he expects them to do that was left unexamined.

Setting aside the fact that the recession is far from over and that the stimulus will actually weaken the economy in the long run, Bernanke’s words were less a practical guide to Congress than a bromide for our foreign creditors. Meanwhile, Obama carefully peppers his speeches with calls for Americans to live within their means, to save more and spend less, to produce more and consume less. But nothing in the government’s current fiscal or monetary policy will encourage such behavior. In fact, the objective of economic stimulus is to prevent such changes from taking place!

The laughter of Chinese students that greeted Secretary Geithner at Peking University shows how ridiculous this spiel sounds overseas. Actions speak louder than words, and the actions of the current Administration are deafening. Multi-trillion dollar deficits, bailouts, nationalizations, quantitative easing, and grandiose plans for government-provided healthcare, education, and alternative energy, render all their claims of future prudence meaningless. If our leaders will not make tough choices now, why should anyone believe they will do so later when those choices will be even harder to make?

Of course, it’s not just major holders, like China and Saudi Arabia, that need to be convinced. Since the largest holders are already in so deep, they have the greatest short-term incentive to play ball. While throwing good money after bad is certainly a lousy investment strategy, it is politically expedient as it delays the need to officially acknowledge losses. The spin is designed to keep all the smaller, more nimble holders from dumping their Treasuries. The major holders can publicly pledge their commitment to Treasuries, while they privately planning their exit strategies, as long as they feel that the smaller holders won’t spook the market by front-running their trades.

However, once the psychology turns, there is no way to stop the rush for the exits. Remember how quickly the secondary market for subprime mortgages collapsed? One day, investors were lining up to buy; the next day, the stuff couldn’t be given away. Make no mistake about it, we are issuing subprime paper and no amount of political spin can alter that reality. Bogus credit ratings aside, I think the world already knows this and it’s just a matter of time before someone admits it.

In the meantime, by continuing to lend, our creditors merely supply us the shovels to dig ourselves into an even deeper economic hole. Their credit enables our government to grow when it needs to shrink, finances bailouts of companies that should be allowed to fail, and enables a nation that should be saving and producing to continue borrowing and spending. As a result, the more money the world loans us, the less capable we are of paying it back. I really wish the world would stop doing us favors, as neither party can afford the consequences.

For an timely example, just look at California. With an unmanageable $20 billion deficit, California recently asked Washington for a bailout. With none immediately forthcoming, California was forced to make real and needed budget cuts. The hard choices, which will benefit California in the long run, would not have been made if federal funds had been committed. We all should be so lucky.

For a more in depth analysis of our financial problems and the inherent dangers they pose for the U.S. economy and U.S. dollar denominated investments, read Peter Schiff’s book "Crash Proof: How to Profit from the Coming Economic Collapse".
9591  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / There Goes The Country on: June 05, 2009, 10:00:37 PM
Europac.net

June 3, 2009

There Goes The Country


Yesterday, after a painfully long death spiral, General Motors finally filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Oftentimes, bankruptcy portends rebirth. Unfortunately, the politically-inspired GM plan holds no such possibilities. Under the current deal, the restructuring of GM will cost taxpayers some $100 billion (after the hidden costs of interest and refinancing are included). Even then, it is highly unlikely that GM will ever be competitive or that its debts will ever be repaid. Far worse, the massive government bailout will delay rather than encourage broader economic recovery. And yet, U.S. stock markets rose on the GM announcement as if it were good news.

General Motors is but a microcosm of what most ails the U.S. economy. For decades, GM rested on its laurels. Its management yielded to innumerable, exorbitant trade union demands, passing the costs on to consumers in the form of lower quality products. The result was that higher quality foreign cars, eventually also produced domestically by American workers, severely eroded GM’s once dominant market position. The company’s autonomy was effectively extinguished by the growing debt needed to finance this downward spiral. Investors, believing that GM was “too big to fail,” continued to accept the company’s high-risk paper.

In short, GM was brought to its knees by the abuse of trade union power and management’s unwillingness to fight back.

Contrary to general belief, GM is not a huge employer. It directly employs only some 60,000 workers. This is less than one tenth of one percent of the number of Americans presently unemployed. However, its trade union pension fund is being given billions of dollars of citizens’ money and a major stake in the restructured company. Favoring GM workers over the millions of America’s unemployed is grossly inequitable. The reason, however, is found in the murky world of politics.

The United Auto Workers (UAW), GM’s primary union, was a major supporter of President Obama’s election campaign. Predictably, this Administration has moved aggressively to subsidize them. Obama has taken the position that GM workers are an ‘elite’ and entitled to privileges not afforded to other workers. If GM were any other company entering bankruptcy, many workers would have lost their jobs, pensions and health coverage. Not so under the protective blanket of Daddy Government.

In its fight for grotesque entitlements for this small, but heavily Democratic, subset of the workforce, the Administration has run roughshod over those who financed the American auto industry, even labeling some as “unpatriotic” for failing to surrender their contract rights as bondholders. The notion that these stakeholders should “cooperate” to reach an “equitable” solution ignores the free-market cooperation that led to the original, contractual agreements. If I agree to give you half of my steak in return for half of your mashed potatoes when I finish my entrée, and when I go to collect you have eaten 9/10 of your mashed potatoes, can you plead poverty? You ate the potatoes!

Aside from these considerations, the sheer logic of the deal is faulty. Has Obama ever heard of opportunity costs?

Having pursued a path to commercial failure for many decades, it is clear that GM’s management and workforce are moribund. However, the government has decided to pump massive amounts of citizens’ money into this flaccid firm, without the practical ability to change its operations. Remember, the unions put Mr. Obama in office, and this project is meant to reward them. Will he have the courage to do what a profit-seeking management couldn’t, by cutting the fat from this company? Obama now claims that a new “private sector” management team will be installed to make decisions independent of political control. This is farcical.

Economists believe that for each $1 billion spent on infrastructure projects, 35,000 wealth-generating jobs are created in the broader economy. The Administration is set on spending a minimum of $60 billion, and more likely $100 billion, to protect 60,000 workers at GM. Spent on much needed infrastructure, these same monies would create between 2.1 and 3.5 million real private sector jobs.

Furthermore, the money spent on GM represents a direct penalty against those foreign auto companies that manufacture domestically, who are fighting desperately for a piece of a decreasing market. American workers at these plants must surely feel unfairly discriminated against. Perhaps these competitors’ ownership is overseas; but, while GM was shipping its manufacturing to Canada and Mexico, these firms were expanding their operations right here in America.

The federal bailout of GM exemplifies the grossly negative impact that government intervention has on the economy. As this type of behavior becomes ever more accepted and popular (barring a major change in voter sentiment), the prospects for the U.S. dollar and American stock markets is grim. Yet, American investors are bullish on the bad news. They are reading corrupt bankruptcy proceedings and profligate spending as a sign of effective governance. This highlights how desperately most investors, indeed most Americans, are clinging to the red herrings of “hope” and “change.”

As goes GM, so goes the country.

For a more in depth analysis of our financial problems and the inherent dangers they pose for the U.S. economy and U.S. dollar denominated investments, read Peter Schiff’s latest book "The Little Book of Bull Moves in Bear Markets".
9592  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: June 05, 2009, 09:54:24 PM
http://www.philly.com/philly/business/Anyway_you_spin_it_the_job_market_is_still_bad.html

Anyway you spin it, the job market is still bad

We’ll learn today how many jobs were destroyed by employers in May.

But, to use the jargon of Wall Street, even if the number “beats estimates,” let’s not get too excited.

It’s probably recession/bailout fatigue, but I’ve run out of patience for the economic spin doctors from both extremes - the doom and gloomers as well as the sunny optimists.

Already this week, I’ve heard chief investment officers and economists calling for a “four- or five-handle” on the employment report. That’s financial news show-speak for a monthly loss of jobs of 400,000 to 500,000.

Such a report would be promising, the optimists say, because it shows the job market is getting “less bad.” After all, the worst month for job loss stands as January, when U.S. employers shed 741,000 workers.

But when the job market has turned from a comfy warm tub to a scalding cauldron of acid, wonky discussions about the temperature seem to miss the point:

It’s a lousy job market, and it’s going to stay bad for some time to come.

Yes, 500,000 is a smaller figure than 700,000. Forgive me if I save the champagne for the month when employers are creating jobs again.

Since the start of the recession in December 2007, the United States has lost 5.7 million jobs. Pick any survey of forecasters you want and none predicts job creation beginning before 2010. Think deep into 2010.

For the 132 million of us counted in non-farm payroll statistics, that’s worrisome. For the 13.7 million unemployed identified in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ household survey, that’s downright depressing.

The economists at IHS Global Insight are among the more optimistic. They project a decline in payroll employment of 450,000 in May. “In normal circumstances a decline of 450,000 jobs would be seen as very bad news,” IHS said in a recent note.

Their point is these are not normal times, so coming after the loss of 539,000 jobs in April, 699,000 jobs in March and 681,000 in February, IHS views a four-handle as “clear improvement.”

What’s clear to me is that we have a lot of pain to endure before we harvest Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s “green shoots.”
9593  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: June 04, 2009, 08:49:29 PM
Rachel,

I'd agree that the borders created by the British empire created a real mess that we face today.

My tribe traded land for peace and let's say it didn't work out real well for us.
9594  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: June 04, 2009, 08:08:16 PM
So, JDN, when are you going to stop illegally occupying Aztlan ?
9595  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: June 04, 2009, 07:57:11 PM

An Absolut Outrage
By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Tuesday, April 08, 2008 4:20 PM PT

The Border: A vodka maker's ad campaign in Mexico is more than a marketing faux pas that offends many Americans. There's a real movement out there that feels our Southwest is really occupied Mexico.

The first rule of marketing is know your customer base. So when the makers of Absolut vodka began an ad campaign in Mexico featuring what a map of North America might look like "In An Absolut World," it was well aware it might appeal to many Mexicans there and here.
The ad by the Swedish Absolut Spirits Co. features an 1830s era map where Mexico includes California, Texas, Arizona and other southwest states. The U.S. border lies where it was before the Mexican-American war of 1848 and before the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo saw the Mexican territories of Alta California and Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico ceded to the U.S.
The campaign taps into the national pride of Mexicans, according to Favio Ucedo, creative director of the leading Latino advertising agency in the U.S., Grupo Gallegos.
"Mexicans talk about how the Americans stole their land," the Argentine native said of the Absolut campaign, "so this is their way of reclaiming it. It's very relevant and the Mexicans will love the idea."
This isn't the first ad campaign targeted at what some Mexican activists call the "Reconquista" movement of those who dream and work toward the day when the American Southwest will be reconquered. To them, illegal aliens crossing the U.S. border are merely returning home.

In 2005, a Los Angeles billboard advertising a Spanish-language newscast showed the Angel of Independence, a well-known monument in Mexico City, in the center of the L.A. skyline, with "CA" crossed out after "Los Angeles" and the word "Mexico" in bold red letters put in its place.
The activists working for this cause actually see themselves as "America's Palestinians" and view the Southwest as their Palestine and Los Angeles as their lost Jerusalem.
An editorial in the newspaper La Voz de Aztlan in Los Angeles stated: "There are great similarities between the political and economic condition of the Palestinians in occupied Palestine and that of La Raza in the southwest United States."

The editorial went on to say: "The similarities are many. The primary one, of course, is the fact that both La Raza and the Palestinians have been displaced by invaders that have used military means to conquer and occupy our territories."
A key player in the "Reconquista" movement is the National Council of La Raza. Its motto: "For the Race, everything. For those outside the Race, nothing."
Few caught the significance of the warmly received words of then-Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo before the Council in Chicago on July 27, 1997:
"I have proudly affirmed that the Mexican nation extends beyond the territory enclosed by its borders." During a 2001 visit to the U.S., President Vincente Fox repeated this line, calling for open borders and endorsing Mexico's new dual-citizenship law.
A secondary group in the "Reconquista" movement is an Hispanic student activist group known as MEChA, for Movimento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (Chicano Student Movement of Aztlan).
It has spent the last three decades indoctrinating Latino students on American campuses, claiming that the American Southwest was stolen and should be returned to its rightful owners, the people of Mexico, under the name "Nation of Aztlan."
Aztlan is the mythical place where the Aztecs are said to have originated.
Former MEChA members include Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who was officially endorsed by La Raza for mayor and awarded La Raza's Graciela Olivarez award. Another MEChA member is former California Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, who delivered the keynote address at La Raza's 2002 annual convention.
We have an idea: Let's build the border fence and pay for it by selling ad space, even to an ideologically driven company such as the makers of Absolut vodka. We'll drink to that.
9596  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: June 04, 2009, 06:21:59 PM
GM said; "The point is valid. You live on land that other claim as theirs, that was taken by military might. Aside from Native Americans, Los Angeles was once part of Mexico, and may be once again in the future. So, explain how your case is different."


I thought colonialism among the industrialized world was a thing of the past; I guess not...

**I guess you are still living on colonialized land, yes? Is that alright?**

And it seems the U.S. Government's position (not to mention most of the world) is that indeed the settlements are illegal.

**Our current president's position, shocking given his anti-semitic associations. Funny how world opinion isn't so upset over China's brutal occupation of Tibet, as an example.**

"At the same time, Israelis must acknowledge that just as Israel's right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestine's. The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop."



Barack Hussein Obama, standing with his muslim brothers. Big surprise!
9597  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Israel, meet the Obama bus on: June 04, 2009, 09:14:59 AM
http://yidwithlid.blogspot.com/2009/06/obamas-cairo-speech-threw-israel-under.html

THURSDAY, JUNE 4, 2009
How Obama's Cairo Speech Threw Israel Under the Bus

President Obama's speech in Cairo was historic.  No other President has gone to a foreign nation to so publicly throw a strong ally under the bus. Once again the President, pandered to the Muslim world by dissing Israel in a major way, he downplayed the role of terrorism, made Hamas look like a rowdy Boys Glee Club, called for the internationalization of Jerusalem, and used the Palestinian party line to describe the Israeli presence not only in the West Bank and Gaza but its VERY existence at all:

He started his Israel/Palestinian discussion by talking about the Holocaust and Anti-Semitism:
The second major source of tension that we need to discuss is the situation between Israelis, Palestinians and the Arab world.

America's strong bonds with Israel are well known. This bond is unbreakable. It is based upon cultural and historical ties, and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied.
Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust. Tomorrow, I will visit Buchenwald, which was part of a network of camps where Jews were enslaved, tortured, shot and gassed to death by the Third Reich. Six million Jews were killed - more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today. Denying that fact is baseless, ignorant, and hateful. Threatening Israel with destruction - or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews - is deeply wrong, and only serves to evoke in the minds of Israelis this most painful of memories while preventing the peace that the people of this region deserve.

You notice that how he discusses Anti-Semitism, without mentioning the fact that the Muslim Middle East is the major supplier of Anti-Semitic fervor in the world.

Obama then goes on to talk about the 60+ years of Palestinian suffering, taking the Palestinian view that the very creation of Israel was bad. He mixes the "Christian" Palestinians with the Muslim ones, ignoring the horrible persecution of Palestinian Christians by their Muslim neighbors. Obama also discusses Gaza as an occupied territory. Er..Mr. President maybe you didn't read the newspapers in August 2005, but Israel pulled out of Gaza almost four years ago.  I know--I was in Jerusalem at the time.
On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people - Muslims and Christians - have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than sixty years they have endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead. They endure the daily humiliations - large and small - that come with occupation. So let there be no doubt: the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.
Obama also forgot to mention the role of Egypt and Jordan in making sure that the Palestinians stayed in camps and the fact that there were more Jews thrown out of Muslim countries in 1948 than Arabs leaving Israel. A mistake he repeats below:
For decades, there has been a stalemate: two peoples with legitimate aspirations, each with a painful history that makes compromise elusive. It is easy to point fingers - for Palestinians to point to the displacement brought by Israel's founding, and for Israelis to point to the constant hostility and attacks throughout its history from within its borders as well as beyond. But if we see this conflict only from one side or the other, then we will be blind to the truth: the only resolution is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states, where Israelis and Palestinians each live in peace and security.
Displacement? I am surprised he didn't use the word nabka (catastrophe) that's what the Muslims call it. Again accepting Muslim propaganda, the President doesn't make the point that the Arab Palestinian's weren't thrown out, the were told to leave by the Arab League states.

That is in Israel's interest, Palestine's interest, America's interest, and the world's interest. That is why I intend to personally pursue this outcome with all the patience that the task requires. The obligations that the parties have agreed to under the Road Map are clear. For peace to come, it is time for them - and all of us - to live up to our responsibilities.

Palestinians must abandon violence. Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and does not succeed. For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation. But it was not violence that won full and equal rights. It was a peaceful and determined insistence upon the ideals at the center of America's founding. This same story can be told by people from South Africa to South Asia; from Eastern Europe to Indonesia. It's a story with a simple truth: that violence is a dead end. It is a sign of neither courage nor power to shoot rockets at sleeping children, or to blow up old women on a bus. That is not how moral authority is claimed; that is how it is surrendered.

Violence? You mean Terrorism? No because in the next few lines he reaches out to HAMAS:
Now is the time for Palestinians to focus on what they can build. The Palestinian Authority must develop its capacity to govern, with institutions that serve the needs of its people. Hamas does have support among some Palestinians, but they also have responsibilities. To play a role in fulfilling Palestinian aspirations, and to unify the Palestinian people, Hamas must put an end to violence, recognize past agreements, and recognize Israel's right to exist.
He makes Hamas seem like naughty children, "OK Hamas stop hitting your brother." Here again what Obama doesn't say is just as bad as what he says, "recognize Israel's right to exist." The words he missed is ..as a Jewish state. Neither Hamas or the supposedly moderate Fatah recognize Israel as a Jewish State, they both call for flooding the country with millions of Muslims to ensure that Israel becomes another Muslim country:
At the same time, Israelis must acknowledge that just as Israel's right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestine's. The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop.
We have discussed this Ad nauseam during the past few days, by saying this, not only is Obama throwing Israel to the international wolves, but he is ignoring agreements that previous administrations made with Israel about natural growth of existing settlements.
Israel must also live up to its obligations to ensure that Palestinians can live, and work, and develop their society. And just as it devastates Palestinian families, the continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza does not serve Israel's security; neither does the continuing lack of opportunity in the West Bank. Progress in the daily lives of the Palestinian people must be part of a road to peace, and Israel must take concrete steps to enable such progress.
This was one of Bibi Netanyahu's campaign promises, but not as an obligation as a way to peace.  This is not Israel's obligation, this is the obligation of Egypt and Jordan who created the problem.

His discussion of the "humanitarian crisis" was a bit disingenuous. Maybe he should have mention why Israel closed the borders, and the fact that Hamas has been stealing many of the supplies heading to Gaza.
Finally, the Arab States must recognize that the Arab Peace Initiative was an important beginning, but not the end of their responsibilities. The Arab-Israeli conflict should no longer be used to distract the people of Arab nations from other problems. Instead, it must be a cause for action to help the Palestinian people develop the institutions that will sustain their state; to recognize Israel's legitimacy; and to choose progress over a self-defeating focus on the past.
Again he doesn't call for the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. Now he calls for the internationalization of Israel's capital Jerusalem:
America will align our policies with those who pursue peace, and say in public what we say in private to Israelis and Palestinians and Arabs. We cannot impose peace. But privately, many Muslims recognize that Israel will not go away. Likewise, many Israelis recognize the need for a Palestinian state. It is time for us to act on what everyone knows to be true.

Too many tears have flowed. Too much blood has been shed. All of us have a responsibility to work for the day when the mothers of Israelis and Palestinians can see their children grow up without fear; when the Holy Land of three great faiths is the place of peace that God intended it to be; when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims, and a place for all of the children of Abraham to mingle peacefully together as in the story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed (peace be upon them) joined in prayer

During the campaign, I warned all lovers of Israel, that Barack Obama would abandon the state of Israel, today he foreshadowed that abandonment to the Muslim world
9598  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Did White House order FBI to "back off" anti-terror investigations of radicalize on: June 04, 2009, 08:35:39 AM
http://directorblue.blogspot.com/2009/06/red-alert-did-white-house-order-fbi-to.html

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

RED ALERT: Did White House order FBI to "back off" anti-terror investigations of radicalized Muslim converts?

Today's update from Stratfor Research describes the background of a recent attack on U.S. soldiers in Little Rock, Arkansas. One soldier was killed and another critically wounded by a lone gunman who began shooting from a pickup truck.

Police quickly apprehended a suspect, Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, a 21-year-old African-American man and convert to Islam. In his vehicle, police recovered an SKS rifle and two handguns. Muhammad reportedly admitted to the shootings and claimed he had specifically targeted U.S. military personnel; he stated had more soldiers been in the parking lot, he would have shot them too.

A disturbing aspect of the attack is that Muhammad had been brought to the FBI’s attention months ago, according to ABC News.

But U.S. counterterror teams may have been intentionally prevented from investigating radicalized converts to Islam:

Several weeks ago, STRATFOR heard from sources that the FBI and other law enforcement organizations had been ordered to “back off” of counterterrorism investigations into the activities of Black Muslim converts. At this point, it is unclear to us if that guidance was given by the White House or the Department of Justice, or if it was promulgated by the agencies themselves, anticipating the wishes of President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder.

Stratfor implies, however, that the investigations were canceled for purely political reasons.

...politics have proved obstructive to all facets of counterterrorism policy. And politics may have been at play in the Muhammad case as well as in other cases involving Black Muslim converts...

Is it possible that the White House or Eric Holder's Justice Department "turned off" counterterror investigations that could have saved the targeted soldiers?

This paragraph would appear to make clear that such an order was given:

Many FBI supervisors are reluctant to authorize investigations that they believe may have negative blow-back on their career advancement. In light of this institutional culture, and the order to be careful in investigations relating to Black Muslim converts, it would not be at all surprising to us if a supervisor refused to authorize a full-field investigation of Muhammad that would have included surveillance of his activities... Had the FBI opened a full-field investigation on Muhammad, and had it conducted surveillance on him, it would have been able to watch him participate in preoperational activities such as conducting surveillance of potential targets and obtaining weapons.

Congress must demand the release of this order and a complete explanation of its issuance.

Furthermore, the White House was silent on this incident, but immediately issued a press release in the case of the slain Kansan abortion doctor.

Congress must demand an immediate investigation of these reports. Our men and women serving in the military deserve better.
9599  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: June 04, 2009, 08:21:30 AM
Well, the quick and dirty response is, just as the Obamas didn't get permission from the Iroquois tribe before convicted felon Tony Rezko, helped them with their home purchase, Israel need no permission to build additional housing for it's citizens in land it won in war. What native people used to live on the land your home now rests on?

You are too intelligent; you can do better than that.



The point is valid. You live on land that other claim as theirs, that was taken by military might. Aside from Native Americans, Los Angeles was once part of Mexico, and may be once again in the future. So, explain how your case is different.
9600  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Whoops, the "accidental" release of classified material on: June 03, 2009, 09:49:23 PM
http://formerspook.blogspot.com/2009/06/no-accident.html

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 03, 2009

No Accident

If you believe the so-called "experts," the recent, on-line publication of a detailed report on U.S. nuclear facilities was nothing more than an "accident."

The 266-page summary, which provided detailed information on civilian nuclear sites and programs, was posted at a Government Printing Office website until Tuesday night, when it was suddenly removed. That action followed disclosure of the document's existence--and its accessibility--at a web site devoted to government secrecy.

According to The New York Times, the report was marked "Highly Confidential" and listed hundreds of civilian reactors and research facilities linked to government nuclear programs. In some cases, the document provided maps that showed the precise location of fuel stockpiles used for nuclear weapons.

While analysts debate the damage caused by the disclosure, the Times managed to find an expert who dismissed the report's publication as little more than a clerical error:

“These screw-ups happen,” said John M. Deutch, a former director of central intelligence and deputy secretary of defense who is now a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “It’s going further than I would have gone but doesn’t look like a serious breach.”

Of course, there is no small irony in Mr. Deutch's comments. As you'll recall, he was dismissed as CIA Director during the Clinton Administration for a colossal security blunder. Investigators discovered the Mr. Deutch not only took home highly classified intelligence files, he uploaded them on a personal computer that was linked to the internet. The CIA has never disclosed if foreign intelligence agencies were able to access Mr. Deutch's computer, and download secret files stored on his personal computers--machines that were never cleared for classified use.

Apologist for Mr. Deutch tried to depict him as a computer neophyte--a latecomer to the world of laptops--but that defense only goes so far. A CIA investigation into Deutch's computer files revealed that the CIA Director first tried to retain his machines, which had been purchased by the agency. When that request was rejected, Mr. Deutch apparently tried to reformat his computer, in an attempt to erase the classified files. He even sought help from technical experts at CIA HQ in an effort to reformat computer memory cards, a request that first raised questions about the director and his security habits.

In other words, Mr. Deutch willfully broke the rules, although he was never prosecuted and received a pardon from President Clinton. The "willful intent," so apparent in the Deutch case, is also evident in the "accidental" publication of that nuclear report. In other words, someone made a conscious decision to put the document on that unclassified government web site.

How can we be so sure? Government policy mandates the creation, editing and publication of classified reports on systems cleared for that type of information. Typically, a "confidential" report would be produced on a SECRET-level system, and published on an intranet cleared for that level of data. In the Department of Defense, the intranet for SECRET information is called SIPRNET. Other government agencies also have access to SIPRNET, or utilize their own SECRET-level intranets.

Getting that report on that unclassified web site, took several deliberate steps (or mistakes, depending on your perspective). First, the document had to be downloaded from a classified system and then copied or uploaded onto the unclassified site. Quite a series of missteps, wouldn't you say?

However, tracking down the guilty party should be relatively easy--assuming that the Obama Administration is interested in sealing the security breach. Government computer systems (at all levels) are extensively monitored, and employees must log on/log off using a personalized access card. Consequently, it shouldn't be too hard to find out who download the report, then uploaded it on the unclassified system.

One final note: many of the government's classified systems won't accept "outside" media, meaning you can't stick an unclassified flash card, floppy disk, CD-ROM or DVD into the appropriate drive and download information. Obviously, the feds haven't released details on the system(s) involved in this compromise, so we can't be completely sure how the information was transferred.

But one thing is clear: given the steps required, the posting of that report on an unclassified government web site was anything but an accident or a simple "screw-up."
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