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9601  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / More birther goodness! on: July 27, 2009, 04:27:50 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/07/27/gibbs-on-birthers-nothing-will-convince-them/

More on the "birther" movement.
9602  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Clinton prepares to jump from the SS Obamatanic on: July 27, 2009, 02:50:54 PM
Hillary will push a hawkish, pro-Israel stance until it blows up with Obama firing her or her resigning in protest, setting up her 2012 campaign.
9603  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Clinton prepares to jump from the SS Obamatanic on: July 27, 2009, 02:48:48 PM

Clinton says Iran's nuclear pursuit is "futile"
Sun Jul 26, 2009 8:43pm EDT
By Sue Pleming

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Sunday that Iran would not be allowed to have a nuclear weapon and reiterated Washington's commitment to protect close ally Israel from any threat posed by Tehran.

"We are going to do everything we can to prevent you (Iran) from getting a nuclear weapon. Your pursuit is futile," she told NBC's "Meet the Press" program, adding that Iran did not have the right to develop a nuclear weapon.

Clinton annoyed ally Israel last week by saying the United States would cope with a nuclear Iran by arming its allies in the Gulf and extending a "defense umbrella" over the region.

A senior Israeli official said the United States should focus on preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon rather than talking as if this may be a fait accompli.

Asked whether she had been referring to a nuclear umbrella, Clinton told NBC: "We are not talking in specifics, because that would come later if at all. My view is you hope for the best, but plan for the worst," said Clinton.

"Clearly, we have a long, durable relationship with Israel. We believe strongly that Israel's security must be protected," she added.

Major powers suspect Iran is seeking to build a nuclear bomb. Tehran maintains its nuclear work is a civilian program to generate much-needed electrical power.

Several senior U.S. officials, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates and national security advisor James Jones, will be in Israel this week, seeking to reassure the Jewish state amid concerns it could strike first against Iran if it believes there is no global resolve to curb Tehran's nuclear plans.

"Our message (to Israel) is as it has been. The United States stands with you and the United States believes that Israel has a right to security. We believe, however, that this (diplomatic) approach we are taking, holds out the promise of realizing our common objective," said Clinton.

The Obama administration fears an Israeli strike against Iran would further destabilize the region and have dramatic consequences.

DIPLOMATIC PUSH

Asked for her views on a preemptive Israeli strike against Iran, Clinton reiterated Israel's right to defend itself and said it would not listen to other nations if it believed its survival were threatened.

But she stressed that pursuing intensive diplomacy with Iran was the best approach, a shift from the Bush administration which avoided engagement with Tehran and insisted that Tehran give up sensitive nuclear work first.

"We will continue to work with all of our allies, and most particularly Israel, to determine the best way forward to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear state," she said.

The Obama administration and several European allies such as France have threatened a new round of financial sanctions against Iran by the end of the year if it does not agree to give up uranium enrichment.

Clinton said major powers would make very clear to Iran what the costs of pursuing their nuclear ambitions would be.

So far, U.S. diplomatic outreach with Tehran has failed to produce any results and Clinton said this month that confusion following Iran's disputed election made the country's intentions even less clear.

Clinton said she had been "moved" by Iranian protesters' actions following the June election.

"Clearly, we would hope better for the Iranian people, we would hope that there is more openness and that peaceful demonstrations are respected," she said, criticizing the Iranian government's quelling of dissent.

(Additional reporting by Alister Bull; editing by Anthony Boadle)
9604  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: July 27, 2009, 10:10:28 AM
Knowing that Barack Obama Jr. would run for president one day she calls to get his birth announcement published in the local paper?
9605  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: July 27, 2009, 09:44:00 AM
http://politicalwire.com/archives/2009/07/24/mccain_lawyers_investigated_obama_citizenship.html?referrer=js

July 24, 2009


McCain Lawyers Investigated Obama Citizenship
As we asked earlier this week, if questions over President Obama's citizenship were valid, wouldn't they have come out during the presidential campaign?

David Weigel talked with Trevor Potter and other lawyers for Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign who said that they did look into the Obama citizenship rumors and found them without merit.

Said Potter: "To the extent that we could, we looked into the substantive side of these allegations. We never saw any evidence that then-Senator Obama had been born outside of the United States. We saw rumors, but nothing that could be sourced to evidence. There were no statements and no documents that suggested he was born somewhere else. On the other side, there was proof that he was born in Hawaii. There was a certificate issued by the state's Department of Health, and the responsible official in the state saying that he had personally seen the original certificate. There was a birth announcement in the Honolulu Advertiser, which would be very difficult to invent or plant 47 years in advance."
9606  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: July 26, 2009, 11:44:44 PM
If Obama's mother was outside the US at the time of his birth, then her passport would show it. If an infant Obama were born outside the US, when and with what documents did he enter the US? Obama traveled and lived outside the US as a child and young man. To obtain a US passport, an applicant would have to submit to the US State Dept proof of citizenship. Most commonly for children, it's a birth cert.and sworn statement from the parents.

There should be a substantial paper trail in the federal archives. Birthers should be filing FOIAs for these documents.
9607  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Knife for Self Defense on: July 26, 2009, 06:38:03 PM
Depending on where you live, knives may be your only option, but from the criminal/civil perspective they are far from optimal.

The typical prosecutor and likely juror pool tend to have a bias against knives. Look at tv/movies, unless it's a medival/fantasy movie, the bad guys are the ones that use blades. John Wayne and Dirty Harry shoot and punch the bad guys, not much use of blades.

Ideally, cutting down a bad guy/s is the same as shooting them in legitimate self defense, but in reality, appearances can make all the difference.

Just like in some jurisdictions, a scary looking "assault rifle"may be legal, but will get you indicted while the identical shooting with a blued gun with engraving and polished wood stocks would pass without indictment.

Do I carry knives? Yes. Might I use them for defensive purposes? Yes. Do I use them to open boxes, or potentially cut seatbelts to free an accident victim or other uses? Yes.

Do NOT have any artwork or engraving, clothing or tats that suggests you are looking forward to using the knife as a weapon.

Have other items for lesser levels of force. I'm a big fan of O.C. spray. High intensity "tactical" flashlights are very useful. Putting 150+ lumens into the eyes of potential assailants can end the problem before it even starts.

Your first option is to avoid trouble. If that fails, break contact and evade/un-ass the area in a flash of bright light and/or cloud of O.C.

Only in the same circumstances that you'd shoot someone should you use other items/techniques that have a high degree of causing serious bodily injury and/or death.
9608  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Education on: July 25, 2009, 10:51:44 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/07/25/video-why-california-really-really-needs-race-to-the-top-funds/

Liberals are smart.
9609  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: July 25, 2009, 09:54:26 PM
- Pajamas Media - http://pajamasmedia.com -

The Gates Arrest: Sgt. Crowley’s Nightmare Is All Too Real
Posted By Jack Dunphy On July 25, 2009 @ 12:34 am In . Feature 01, Crime, Politics, Race Issues, US News | 106 Comments

I had a terrible nightmare last night: I dreamed I was driving along in my patrol car when I responded to a fairly routine radio call. Someone had reported a possible burglary, and when I went to the home to investigate I encountered not the burglar I was led to believe I would find but rather the home’s resident, an Ivy League professor who, while indignantly challenging my authority to inquire into the reported crime, couldn’t resist doing so without calling my intelligence into question, accusing me of racial bias, and even going so far as to insult my sainted mother. When the verbal provocations escalated further and crossed the line into illegal conduct, I slapped the handcuffs on the man and hauled him down to the station house. A frothing media maelstrom then ensued, with reporters clogging the streets outside my home and traipsing across the lawn and through the shrubbery with their cameras and their boom microphones and their incessant, impertinent questions. Finally, the president of the United States was on television telling the entire world how stupid I am.

Then I woke up.

I am in a sense fortunate in that I work in an area where I’m as likely to encounter an extraterrestrial as an Ivy League professor, but like most police officers I can nonetheless sympathize with Cambridge Police Department sergeant James Crowley, for whom there will be no waking from the nightmare for some time to come. But, except for the notoriety and lofty position of the reported “burglar” (one of America’s preeminent black scholars, and all that), the scenario presented to Sgt. Crowley is fairly typical, one that every cop has experienced many times. A well-meaning neighbor has seen something she perceives as out of the ordinary and has asked the police to investigate. If more people were disposed to act this way, America’s crime rate would plummet overnight.

The first question to be asked about Sgt. Crowley’s initial response is, was it lawful and reasonable? Clearly it was both.  A cornerstone U.S. Supreme Court decision, [1] Terry v. Ohio, held that an officer may stop and detain a person he reasonably believes to be involved in criminal activity. Here, Sgt. Crowley answered a citizen’s report of a possible burglary. Such reports are granted a presumption of reliability under the law, so Sgt. Crowley was on solid ground in approaching the home and, upon seeing a man inside who matched the description provided by the witness, asking him for his identification. A police officer responding to such a report must, for his own safety, assume the report to be accurate until he can satisfy himself that it isn’t. The cop who blithely handles every call assuming it to be a false alarm will likely not survive to handle many of them. In fact, many police officers faced with the identical facts would likely have ordered Henry Gates out of the home at gunpoint.

Sgt. Crowley did not go so far as that (imagine the furor if he had), but he exercised a measure of caution by following Gates into the home as Gates retrieved his identification. Gates insists Crowley needed a warrant to enter the home but he is mistaken, as even the most liberal judge would find that Crowley was faced with sufficiently exigent circumstances, viz. a possible burglar who may have attempted to arm himself or flee, to justify a warrantless entry.

Mr. Gates, who [2] admits he asked his limo driver to force open a stuck door, is surely accustomed to a certain amount of bowing and scraping in the circles in which he travels, and it must have come as a shock when he was surprised by a cop who neither knew nor cared that he occupied such an exalted position. He apparently never stopped to consider that he and his driver may have been seen by someone who would misinterpret their actions and report them to the police. No, to Mr. Gates the first and only explanation for the sudden appearance of a white police officer at his doorstep was that the cops had come to hassle him because he’s black.

The next question is whether Mr. Gates’s language and behavior that Sgt. Crowley described in his police report fell within the proscribed conduct of the Massachusetts statute against disorderly conduct. This is where the two accounts diverge most dramatically. Mr. Gates [3] addressed the issue with CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, who, reading from the [4] police report, said, “[Sgt. Crowley] described you as behaving in a tumultuous manner.”

“Yeah,” Gates responded with a chuckle, “look at how tumultuous I am. I’m five foot seven, I weigh a hundred-fifty pounds.” He said this as though it’s inconceivable that someone of those proportions might behave in manner that could be characterized as “tumultuous,” an assertion that any police officer, and for that matter just about anyone not affiliated with an Ivy League university, knows is preposterous. That Gates’s behavior at the scene of his arrest might differ from that which he exhibited on a nationally televised interview was an issue that went unexplored.

But there is a way we might learn, as best we may, of what really occurred that day on Harvard Square. Mr. Gates says he’s considering a lawsuit against Sgt. Crowley and the Cambridge Police Department, during which, one presumes, we would hear testimony from all the various parties and witnesses. If Mr. Gates is to prevail in such an action he would have to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that Sgt. Crowley fabricated the case against him, and did so in the knowledge that the incident had been witnessed by several other police officers, including a black sergeant from his own department and some officers from the Harvard campus police with whom he is presumably unacquainted. Also called to testify would be the woman who made the initial call to the police and some or all of the “at least seven other passers-by” referred to in the police report. And the arrest, which was undoubtedly vetted all the way up the police department’s chain of command, was nonetheless allowed to proceed despite the certain knowledge that Harvard Law School professor Charles Ogletree and a phalanx of briefcase-bearing shiny suits would soon descend on the police station and start tossing about their habeas corpus this and their mens rea that, and that they would spare no effort or expense in ferreting out any weaknesses the case may have.

Sure, professor, Sgt. Crowley made it all up. Arresting Mr. Gates may have been arguably imprudent, but it wasn’t illegal.

If I may presume to offer Sgt. Crowley a bit of advice, I would encourage him to invest in a small digital tape recorder such as the one I carry while on duty. I have done so for many years and it has often proved invaluable, as in the case when some of my colleagues and I were accused of all manner of heinous conduct by a young man we had arrested for carrying a gun. Among the allegations was that we had used the notorious “N-word,” which, though one can’t walk a block in some parts of Los Angeles without hearing the denizens use it a dozen times, is nonetheless held as a near-capital offense when spoken by a police officer.

The time came for my interview with the internal affairs investigators, for whom I played the tape. It revealed, among other inconsistencies in my accuser’s tale, that it was he and not we who had so liberally used the accursed word, and that he used it, in the span of about 45 seconds, as a noun, a verb, an adjective, an adverb, and as something of an all-purpose interjection, a linguistic feat I suspect I may never see equaled. I was cleared of the charge, but I still listen to that tape every now and then just for its entertainment value.

Sgt. Crowley, you can pick up one of those recorders for less than a hundred dollars. Don’t you wish you had bought one earlier?

Article printed from Pajamas Media: http://pajamasmedia.com

URL to article: http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/sgt-james-crowleys-nightmare-is-all-too-real/

URLs in this post:
[1] Terry v. Ohio: http://supreme.justia.com/us/392/1/case.html
[2] admits: http://www.theroot.com/views/skip-gates-speaks
[3] addressed the issue: http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/living/2009/07/23/bia.henry.gates.cnn?iref=videosearch
[4] police report: http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2009/0723092gates1.html
9610  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: July 25, 2009, 09:48:23 PM
Crafty,

You do understand that American law enforcement has changed a great deal in the last 30 years?
9611  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: July 25, 2009, 11:07:26 AM
Without being too much of a smartass, how long ago was your 20's?
9612  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hey Obama voters, thanks! on: July 25, 2009, 10:50:51 AM
July 24, 2009, 0:30 p.m.

Promoting Racial Paranoia
In his comments Wednesday, Obama recycled long-discredited anti-cop fictions.

By Heather Mac Donald

Henry Louis Gates Jr. has threatened to make a documentary on “racial profiling” in the wake of his highly publicized arrest for disorderly conduct on July 16. It’s going to be a very long film, given the Harvard professor’s exceedingly expansive definition of what counts as biased policing. Unfortunately, Pres. Barack Obama’s take on police work is no more reality-based than Gates’s. Obama’s ill-considered lecture on the Gates arrest controversy during his Wednesday prime-time press conference was replete with ACLU misinformation about policing, misinformation that has been repeatedly refuted by the federal government itself.

But whereas Gates’s rantings about police bias might ultimately be dismissed as standard ivory-tower posturing, Obama has now put the presidential imprimatur on a set of untruths that will only fuel disrespect for the law and impede the police in their efforts to protect inner-city residents from crime. His belated recognition Thursday night that the arresting officer in the Cambridge incident was performing his duty hardly undoes the damage from his previous distortions.

Let’s acknowledge up front that Gates endured a bizarre and humiliating experience. Being escorted out of your home in handcuffs for what you perceive as no offense at all would feel like a grotesque invasion of privacy, due process, and property rights. Gates’s anger is therefore understandable. But just because an incident is — from one’s subjective perspective — unjustified does not make it racial. Gates was almost certainly not arrested because he was black, but quite possibly because he committed “contempt of cop,” an extralegal offense that can greatly affect the outcome of officer-civilian interactions.

Gates, however, sees race and racism in every aspect of this unfortunate episode, thus exemplifying the racial paranoia that can make police work so difficult. He accuses the witness who called in a possible burglary incident of “racial profiling” for merely describing what she saw. Here, in Gates’s own words, is what the caller observed: Gates and his “regular driver” from his “regular car service” were both on his front porch, “fiddl[ing] with the door.” (The New York Times recasts this delicious nugget from Gates’s limousine-liberal lifestyle as an interaction with a mere “taxi driver.”) Next, says Gates, “[m]y driver hit the door [which was jammed] with his shoulder and the door popped open.”

The caller’s 911 report, according to Gates, “said that that two big black men were trying to break in with backpacks on.” Such a description, provided undoubtedly under stress, is accurate enough under the circumstances. “My driver,” acknowledges Gates, “is a large black man.” But Gates calls it “the worst racial profiling I’ve ever heard of in my life.” Why? Simply because Gates himself is not “big.” But a rough description of individuals engaged in what to most observers would appear to be suspicious behavior, no matter the race of the individuals, is not “racial profiling,” it is simply ordinary crime reporting. Gates undoubtedly means to imply that the 911 caller, in her timorous white racism, sees every black man as “big,” but it is he who is engaged in racial stereotyping, not her.

Gates’s interpretation of the actions of the officer who answered the 911 call is just as narcissistic and deluded. As soon as the officer asked Gates to step onto the porch to speak with him, Gates started a long tirade against the officer’s racism, according to the police report. Nothing provides stronger corroboration of this allegation in the report than Gates’s own racially fevered account of the episode. There was nothing  inappropriate, much less racist, in the officer’s request.

Confronting unknown suspects in dwellings and cars, where the officer cannot see the suspect’s full environment or hands, is the most dangerous activity that cops undertake. Six officers have been seriously wounded, two fatally, by suspects holed up in houses in Oakland and Jersey City this year; in 2007, an NYPD officer was shot dead by three thugs during a car stop. In the Cambridge burglary investigation, the officer was working by himself, without back-up. He had no idea whether he was confronting two armed suspects.

But Gates sees himself as the victim of police bias from the beginning of the interaction through its end. He shoehorns the incident into the standard racial-profiling narrative that the ACLU has honed to dishonest perfection over the years, in which the police allegedly grab any black man they can get their hands on just to make an arrest: “You can’t just presume I’m guilty and arrest me. . . . He just presumed that I was guilty and he presumed that I was guilty because I was black. There was no doubt about that. . . . I would hope that the police wouldn’t arrest the first black man that they saw.”


Gates seems not to understand that he was arrested for disorderly conduct, not for burglary. He was not “the first black man that [the officers] saw” committing what they viewed as disorderly conduct; he was the only man they saw committing disorderly conduct. If arresting a man for an offense committed in the officer’s presence constitutes “racial profiling,” then the most legally unimpeachable aspect of police work has been discredited.

It is certainly possible to debate whether Gates’s escalating verbal abuse of the investigating officer and refusal to cooperate with his requests rose to the level of criminal conduct. Most certainly, it lay within Sgt. James Crowley’s discretion not to make the arrest —  and in retrospect, it would have been preferable if he had thanked Gates for his cooperation and walked away from the provocation. I would guess that Sergeant Crowley simply snapped under Gates’s taunts and chose to teach him a lesson for the informal offense of contempt of cop — an understandable, if less than ideal, reaction, but not a racist one. Crowley, even by Gates’s account, acted politely throughout the interaction.

Gates’s post-incident rantings were bad enough before President Obama made this otherwise trivial incident a matter of presidential attention. Obama does not seem to understand the power of his office. If he is going to weigh in on something as crucial to the health of cities as policing, he had better get his facts straight. But everything that he said about the Cambridge confrontation was untrue. He presents a highly telescoped version of the events that echoes Gates’s implication that he was arrested on the burglary charge: “The Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home,” Obama intoned. But Gates was arrested for disorderly conduct; his being in his own home is irrelevant.

Obama then decided he was going to give us a history lesson: “What I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there’s a long history in this country of African Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately. That’s just a fact.”

This statement has many possible meanings, all of them untrue.

The ACLU and other anti-police activists have alleged for years that blacks are the victims of disproportionate and unjustified traffic stops, a charge that has become received wisdom among large swathes of the population. It happens to be contradicted by drivers themselves. The Bureau of Justice Statistics regularly polls tens of thousands of civilians about their contacts with the police. Virtually identical proportions of white, black, and Hispanic drivers — 9 percent — report being stopped by the police, though in 2005, the self-reported black stop rate — 8.1 percent — was nearly a percentage point lower than the self-reported white stop rate (8.9 percent). The stop rate for blacks is lower during the day, when officers can more readily see a driver’s race.

As for urban policing — where the police have victim identifications and contextual and behavioral cues to work with — blacks are stopped more, but only in comparison with their proportion of the entire population. Measured against their crime rate, they are understopped. New York City is perfectly typical of the black police-stop and crime rates. In the first three months of 2009, 52 percent of all people stopped for questioning by the police in New York City were black, though blacks are just 24 percent of the population. But according to the victims of and witnesses to crime, blacks commit about 68 percent of all violent crime in the city. Blacks commit 82 percent of all shootings and 72 percent of all robberies, whereas whites, who make up 35 percent of the city's population, commit about 5 percent of all violent crimes, 1 percent of shootings, and about 4 percent of robberies.

These figures are not police-generated; they come from the overwhelmingly minority victims of crime in their reports to the police. Such crime reports mean that when the police respond to community demands for protection against crime, information-based police deployment will send officers to minority neighborhoods where crime is highest. When the police respond to a call about a shooting, they will almost never be told that the shooter was white, and thus will not be searching for a white suspect.


National crime patterns are the same. Black males between the ages of 18 and 24 commit homicide at ten times the rate of whites and Hispanics combined. Such vastly disproportionate crime rates must lead, if the police are going after crime in a color-blind fashion, to disproportionate stop and arrest rates. To criticize the police for crime-determined enforcement activity is to blame the messenger.

Obama has no one around him who could disabuse him of his ignorance about the police. Attorney General Eric Holder enthusiastically participated in the reign of unjustified federal consent decrees that the Justice Department slapped on police departments during the Clinton administration. Worrisomely, Obama gestures towards those days when he says that “we’re working with local law enforcement to improve policing techniques so that we’re eliminating potential bias,” as if Justice Department lawyers know a thing about “policing techniques.”

Obama’s prime-time recycling of advocate-generated myths about policing will only make inner-city neighborhoods more dangerous for their many law-abiding residents. No one benefits more from proactive policing than the poor, who have as much of a right to public safety as Cambridge residents. Officer Crowley was only doing his job, without any manifestation of racial bias. Now, if an officer investigates a 911 call in good faith, who knows if the president will say he acted “stupidly?” Why bother putting your reputation on the line? The blow to police morale from Obama’s gratuitous remarks is enormous.

Worse, Obama has only increased the racial paranoia that Gates put so vividly on display. Officers of all races say that the first thing out of a black driver’s mouth during a traffic stop for speeding or running a red light is often: “You only stopped me because I’m black,” a reaction ginned up by decades of anti-cop agitating and now bolstered by Obama’s recycled fictions. The advocate-fueled resentment of the police in inner-city neighborhoods makes crime fighting more difficult and more dangerous. Obama’s hope for reviving urban economies rests on a crucial precondition: that cities stay safe. He has just put that precondition in jeopardy. 

— Heather Mac Donald is a contributing editor at City Journal and the author of Are Cops Racist?
National Review Online - http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=YTU4MGE4MDkwYzhiYjY4OTk2OWRlZjcyMWY0MjFkNmE=
9613  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama: Cop basher and race baiter on: July 24, 2009, 04:59:00 PM
Who'da thunk that someone that was a disciple of Rev. Wright and Weatherman Ayers would be a cop bashing, race baiter? Gee, I never saw this coming.  rolleyes
9614  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: July 24, 2009, 01:49:42 PM
Obama's mask slipped, and America caught a glimpse of what was underneath.
9615  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: July 24, 2009, 08:53:03 AM
http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/obama_administration/daily_presidential_tracking_poll

Rude awakening, in progress
9616  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Less than 50% and dropping on: July 24, 2009, 08:51:30 AM
http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/obama_administration/daily_presidential_tracking_poll

SS Obamatanic meets the icy edge of reality.
9617  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal issues on: July 24, 2009, 08:41:35 AM
Outside of traffic, or some misd. offenses, i'm opposed to strict liability criminal laws. Intent should be an element of a felony crime.
9618  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The next bubble to burst on: July 23, 2009, 07:27:07 PM
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/3a1e9d86-76eb-11de-b23c-00144feabdc0.html?ftcamp=rss&nclick_check=1

US banks warn on commercial property
By Francesco Guerrera and Greg Farrell in New York
Published: July 22 2009 19:21 | Last updated: July 22 2009 19:21

Two of America’s biggest banks, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo, on Wednesday threw into sharp relief the mounting woes of the US commercial property market when they reported large losses and surging bad loans.

The disappointing second-quarter results for two of the largest lenders and investors in office, retail and industrial property across the US confirmed investors’ fears that commercial real estate would be the next front in the financial crisis after the collapse of the housing market.


The failing health of the $6,700bn commercial property market, which accounts for more than 10 per cent of US gross domestic product, could be a significant hurdle on the road to recovery.

Colm Kelleher, Morgan Stanley’s chief financial officer, said he did not see the light “at the end of the commercial real estate tunnel yet”, after the bank reported a $700m writedown on its $17bn commercial property portfolio in the second quarter. “Peak to trough, you have already had a pretty nasty correction in the market but it is still not looking very good at the moment,” he said after Morgan Stanley reported its third straight quarterly loss.

Wells Fargo saw non-performing loans in commercial real estate jump 69 per cent, from $4.5bn to $7.6bn in the second quarter as the economic downturn caused developers and office owners to fall behind in their mortgage payments.

Shares in the San Francisco-based bank were down more than 3 per cent at $24.55 in the early afternoon in New York as the increase in commercial non-performing loans undermined news of its best-ever quarterly profit. Morgan Stanley shares dipped before moving higher.

Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, was repeatedly questioned by lawmakers on commercial real estate while testifying to Congress on Wednesday.

Mr Bernanke warned that a continued deterioration in commercial property, where prices have fallen by about 35 per cent since the market’s peak and defaults have been rising sharply, would present a “difficult” challenge for the economy.

He added that one of the main problems was that the market for securities backed by commercial mortgages had “completely shut down”.

The widespread weakness in commercial real estate is a crucial issue for US banks, especially regional lenders that ramped up their exposure to local developers in the easy credit boom that preceded the crisis.

“The commercial real estate market is soft, and most of the big banks are seeing the same kind of thing,” said Howard Atkins, chief financial officer of Wells Fargo.
9619  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The greatest depression on: July 23, 2009, 08:42:11 AM
http://directorblue.blogspot.com/2009/07/we-are-now-in-early-stages-of.html
9620  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: July 20, 2009, 09:49:48 PM
http://www.usdebtclock.org/

I know, let's spend more on a gov't healthcare boondoggle!
9621  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: July 20, 2009, 08:38:46 PM
Where are all the O-bot, Bush haters? Step up and justify your Chicago-thug, marxist, empty-suit of a president. Hasn't quite turned out like you though, has it?
9622  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: July 20, 2009, 05:23:57 PM
I don't even know how we'd ever recover from that. That is the ultimate game changer with that level of debt.
9623  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / How's the Kool-aid taste now? on: July 20, 2009, 11:21:54 AM
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/07/20/wapo-poll-has-obama-under-water-on-health-care/

WaPo poll has Obama under water on health care
posted at 9:26 am on July 20, 2009 by Ed Morrissey


Pollster Scott Rasmussen first reported that support for Barack Obama and the Democrats in general had begun to seriously slip over a month ago, especially on the economy.  At first, other pollsters didn’t catch the trend, but now almost all surveys show Americans losing confidence in the administration’s efforts on fiscal matters.  Now the bleeding also has begun on health care, as the new Washington Post poll shows:
Heading into a critical period in the debate over health-care reform, public approval of President Obama’s stewardship on the issue has dropped below the 50 percent threshold for the first time, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Obama’s approval ratings on other front-burner issues, such as the economy and the federal budget deficit, have also slipped over the summer, as rising concern about spending and continuing worries about the economy combine to challenge his administration. Barely more than half approve of the way he is handling unemployment, which now tops 10 percent in 15 states and the District.
The president’s overall approval rating remains higher than his marks on particular domestic issues, with 59 percent giving him positive reviews and 37 percent disapproving. But this is the first time in his presidency that Obama has fallen under 60 percent in Post-ABC polling, and the rating is six percentage points lower than it was a month ago. …
Since April, approval of Obama’s handling of health care has dropped from 57 percent to 49 percent, with disapproval rising from 29 percent to 44 percent. Obama still maintains a large advantage over congressional Republicans in terms of public trust on the issue, even as the GOP has closed the gap.
The erosion in Obama’s overall rating on health care is particularly notable among political independents: While positive in their assessments of his handling of health-care reform at the 100-day mark of his presidency (53 percent approved and 30 percent disapproved), independents now are divided at 44 percent positive and 49 percent negative.
Bear in mind that this poll has a rather odd partisan split.  Unlike the CBS poll, which got deliberately tweaked to emphasize Democrats, this poll appears to have a natural sample that overemphasizes independents.  According to the raw data, the poll only has 22% Republicans, 33% Democrats, and 41% independents.  In that case, Republicans are significantly undersampled, and Democrats slightly undersampled.  The independents lean slightly Democratic, which was certainly true in the last election, but the double-digit gap between Democrats and Republicans didn’t exist in the presidential election and certainly doesn’t reflect the electorate — and this sampling bias still can’t mask the decline Obama has seen in his polling.
One of the most interesting questions in which this can be seen is in question 15: Is Obama a new-style Democrat who will be careful with the public’s money, or an old-style tax-and-spend Democrat?  Obama still gets a majority saying new-style Democrat, 52%-43%, but that metric shows a lot of erosion.  Four weeks ago, that was 58%-36%, and four months ago 62%-32%.  Trending on Obamanomics is also heading south.  Confidence in its ability to improve the economy has fallen to 56%-43%, down from 64%-35% in March.
However, as the Post reports, the most remarkable numbers come from the trendline on health care.  In April, Obama had a 57%-29% approval-to-disapproval rating on this issue.  By June, it was 53%-39%, at about the time the CBO began scoring ObamaCare.  Now it’s at 49%-44%, almost within the margin of error, and that was before the CBO rated the House version of ObamaCare as a deficit buster.
Obama will hold another prime-time press conference on Wednesday to try to sell ObamaCare to the nation.  These numbers show why he’s going back to the well, but they also show that he’s rapidly losing credibility.  More jawing at the cameras may not help much.
9624  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hide the numbers! on: July 20, 2009, 11:06:32 AM
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090720/ap_on_go_pr_wh/us_midsummer_s_budget_nightmare/print

White House putting off budget update
By TOM RAUM, Associated Press Writer Tom Raum, Associated Press Writer
1 hr 1 min ago
 
WASHINGTON – The White House is being forced to acknowledge the wide gap between its once-upbeat predictions about the economy and today's bleak landscape.

The administration's annual midsummer budget update is sure to show higher deficits and unemployment and slower growth than projected in President Barack Obama's budget in February and update in May, and that could complicate his efforts to get his signature health care and global-warming proposals through Congress.

The release of the update — usually scheduled for mid-July — has been put off until the middle of next month, giving rise to speculation the White House is delaying the bad news at least until Congress leaves town Aug. 7 on its summer recess.

The administration is pressing for votes before then on its $1 trillion health care initiative, which lawmakers are arguing over how to finance.

The White House budget director, Peter Orszag, said on Sunday that the administration believes the "chances are high" of getting a health care bill by then. But new analyses showing runaway costs are jeopardizing Senate passage.

"Instead of a dream, this routine report could be a nightmare," Tony Fratto, a former Treasury Department official and White House spokesman under President George W. Bush, said of the delayed budget update. "There are some things that can't be escaped."

The administration earlier this year predicted that unemployment would peak at about 9 percent without a big stimulus package and 8 percent with one. Congress did pass a $787 billion two-year stimulus measure, yet unemployment soared to 9.5 percent in June and appears headed for double digits.

Obama's current forecast anticipates 3.2 percent growth next year, then 4 percent or higher growth from 2011 to 2013. Private forecasts are less optimistic, especially for next year.

Any downward revision in growth or revenue projections would mean that budget deficits would be far higher than the administration is now suggesting.

Setting the stage for bleaker projections, Vice President Joe Biden recently conceded, "We misread how bad the economy was" in January. Obama modified that by suggesting the White House had "incomplete" information.

The new budget update comes as the public and members of Congress are becoming increasingly anxious over Obama's economic policies.

A Washington Post-ABC News survey released Monday shows approval of Obama's handling of health-care reform slipping below 50 percent for the first time. The poll also found support eroding on how Obama is dealing with other issues that are important to Americans right now — the economy, unemployment and the swelling budget deficit.

The Democratic-controlled Congress is reeling from last week's testimony by the head of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, Douglas Elmendorf, that the main health care proposals Congress is considering would not reduce costs — as Obama has insisted — but "significantly expand" the federal financial responsibility for health care.

That gave ammunition to Republican critics of the bill.

Citing the CBO testimony, House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, on Monday accused Democrats of "burying this budget update until after Congress leaves town next month." He called the budget-update postponment "an attempt to hide a record-breaking deficit as Democratic leaders break arms to rush through a government takeover of health care."

White House budget office spokesman Tom Gavin disagreed, noting the delay was "really not something out of the norm" and is typical for a president's first year. Gavin noted that President George W. Bush's budget office did not release the mid-session review in his first year until August 22; in President Bill Clinton's first year, it did not come out until Sept. 1.

Obama also didn't release his full budget until early May — instead of the first week in February, when he put out just an outline

Late last week, Obama vowed anew that "health insurance reform cannot add to our deficit over the next decade and I mean it."

The nation's debt — the total of accumulated annual budget deficits — now stands at $11.6 trillion. In the scheme of things, that's more important than talking about the "deficit," which only looks at a one-year slice of bookkeeping and totally ignores previous indebtedness that is still outstanding.

Even so, the administration has projected that the annual deficit for the current budget year will hit $1.84 trillion, four times the size of last year's deficit of $455 billion. Private forecasters suggest that shortfall may actually top $2 trillion.

Budget updates in previous administrations have given rise to charges that the White House was manipulating its figures to offer too rosy an outlook. Critics will be watching closely when the White House's Office of Management and Budget releases the new numbers.

Still, the update mainly involves plugging in changes in economic indicators, not revising program-by-program details. And indicators such as unemployment and gross domestic product changes have been public knowledge for some time.

Standard & Poor's chief economist David Wyss said part of the problem with the administration's earlier numbers is that "they were just stale," essentially put together by budget number-crunchers at the end of last year, before the sharp drop in the economy.

Wyss, like many other economists, says he expects the recession to last at least until September or October. "We're looking for basically a zero second half (of 2009). And then sluggish recovery," he said.

Even as it prepares to put larger deficit and smaller growth figures into its official forecast, the administration is looking for signs of improvement.

"If we were at the brink of catastrophe at the beginning of the year, we have walked some substantial distance back from the abyss," said Lawrence Summers, Obama's chief economic adviser.
9625  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant on: July 19, 2009, 06:21:03 PM
Funny, I recall JDN dishonestly smearing Michelle Malkin, the US military and being an uninformed buffoon at best. No loss in my book.
9626  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: July 15, 2009, 05:19:19 PM
Yes, Debka is the Weekly World News of OSINT. (Batboy joins al qaeda!)

I almost didn't post the article because it was mentioned. Still, the important point of the article was that AQ and other have and will continue to target commercial aviation for mass casualty attacks.

This isn't "the last war", this is one of the major threats we face.
9627  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: July 15, 2009, 09:11:16 AM
- Pajamas Media - http://pajamasmedia.com -

Foiling the Next 9/11 and Not Even Knowing It
Posted By Ryan Mauro On July 14, 2009 @ 12:00 am In . Column2 05, . Positioning, Crime, Homeland Security, US News | 91 Comments

The United States may have narrowly missed a repeat of the 9/11 attacks in June — and, apparently, even the FBI doesn’t realize it.

On June 4, a 24-year-old Muslim man named Raed Abdhul-Rahman Alsaif was [1] arrested for trying to bring a seven-inch knife on board a U.S. Airways flight at Tampa International Airport, destined for Phoenix. The blade was seen by a screener and Alsaif was caught before he could get onto the airliner. Of course, he says he is innocent, as some forgetful friend gave him the luggage bag and failed to mention that a knife was embedded inside the material, which the criminal complaint [2] states was “artfully” concealed in such a way as to allow for it to be retrieved once the flight took off.

Alsaif graduated from the Islamic Saudi Academy in Virginia in 2003. For those that don’t remember, this school has been embroiled in a little bit of controversy the past two years. In October 2007, the U.S. Commission on International Religion Freedom [3] requested that the State Department close the school, citing the use of textbooks filled with extremism. The commission again [4] reported on the school’s radical curriculum in June 2008. One graduate has been convicted of [5] working with al-Qaeda, while two former students were [6] kicked out of Israel upon landing due to clear signs they were planning suicide bombings.

Private investigator Bill Warner [7] notes that when Alsaif was booked and photographed by police in October on his second arrest on drug charges, he had a beard — a beard that was shaven off before he attempted to board the U.S. Airways flight. For those that think this is all attributable to coincidence, there’s another key element to consider.

On the same day, June 4, two other individuals, Roshid Milledge and Damien Young, were [8] arrested in Philadelphia after sneaking a handgun onto a flight. The airline? U.S. Airways. The destination? Phoenix. The departing time? About [9] 35 minutes from the flight Alsaif attempted to board, using the same airliner and with the same destination.

The FBI immediately cast doubt on questions that the two were part of a terrorist plot or even connected to Alsaif.

“This investigation represents an isolated incident, involving only these two individuals,” the FBI press release following their arrest [8] states.

I don’t know what’s more frightening: the fact that the FBI so readily dismissed the remarkably similar arrests as unconnected, or the fact that in the latter case, the handgun actually made it on board the aircraft and the suspects were only apprehended after another passenger reported them as engaging in suspicious behavior. The aircraft was then turned around and brought back to the gates.

Luckily, the FBI does appear to have common sense and the tone has changed. A spokesperson has [10] said, “We don’t know if there is a connection, but we are checking it out.”

However, the fact remains that the FBI prematurely dismissed a possible connection, reflecting a desire to immediately squash speculation about a wider plot. Either the FBI was aware of the similarities in the arrests and deliberately misled the public, or they failed to look into other data indicating a wider conspiracy before making a conclusion. Either way, it does not reflect well upon the FBI.

The hit-or-miss Israeli website Debkafile [11] reported on July 7 that U.S. and German intelligence believes that 15-20 al-Qaeda terrorists have been trained in Pakistan and Algeria and are now hiding in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Turkey, and Egypt. Their mission, according to the report, is to hijack and bomb Western airliners headed to Israel and the United States.

Are we really to believe these three events are unrelated — the arrest of Milledge and Young, the arrest of Alsaif, and the reported warning about attacks on airliners?

The good news is that a 9/11 plot may have been thwarted. The bad news is that the public and possibly the FBI are unaware that they even have had a success, failing to connect obvious dots. If the coincidences of these cases are not addressed and if they are attributed to chance, then we’ve truly fallen out of the post-9/11 mindset and only a disaster will wake us up.

Article printed from Pajamas Media: http://pajamasmedia.com

URL to article: http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/foiling-the-next-911-and-not-even-knowing-it/

URLs in this post:
[1] arrested: http://www2.tbo.com/content/2009/jun/16/man-charged-trying-bring-knife-plane-tia/
[2] states: http://www.investigativeproject.org/blog/2009/06/islamic-saudi-academy-grad-held-without-bail-after-
trying.html

[3] requested: http://www.uscirf.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=88
[4] reported: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/03/17/despite-revising-islamic-history-books-saudi-academy-face
s-criticism/

[5] working with al-Qaeda: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4461642.stm
[6] kicked out of Israel: http://www.nydailynews.com/archives/news/2002/03/27/2002-03-27_u_s__muslim_terror_bust__mar.html
[7] notes: http://pibillwarner.wordpress.com/2009/06/17/saudi-arabian-muslim-student-raed-al-saif-at-univ-of-ta
mpa-tries-to-get-on-plane-with-7-inch-butcher-knife-in-his-carry-on-bag-the-last-name-al-saif-is-lin
ked-to-al-qaeda/%20

[8] arrested: http://philadelphia.fbi.gov/pressrel/pressrel09/ph060409.htm
[9] 35 minutes: http://www.billwarnerpi.com/2009/06/were-two-us-airways-planes-going-to-be.html
[10] said: http://www2.tbo.com/content/2009/jun/19/fbi-investigates-attempts-smuggle-weapons-planes/
[11] reported: http://www.debka.com/headline.php?hid=6169
9628  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: July 15, 2009, 09:10:14 AM
Schneier is to security what Obama is to economic or foreign policy.  rolleyes
9629  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China vs. Islam on: July 15, 2009, 08:59:44 AM
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gtOBNpRVLjLpYPH44fs87rt2kmPA

Al-Qaeda vows to hit China over Uighur unrest
By Polly Hui – 1 day ago

HONG KONG (AFP) — Al-Qaeda is threatening for the first time to attack Chinese interests overseas in retaliation for the deaths of Muslims in the restive region of Xinjiang, according to a risk analysis group.
The call for reprisals against China comes from the Algerian-based offshoot Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), according to a summary of its report sent to AFP by the international consultancy Stirling Assynt.
"Although AQIM appear to be the first arm of Al-Qaeda to officially state they will target Chinese interests, others are likely to follow," said the report, which was first divulged by the South China Morning Post Tuesday.
Osama bin Laden's network has not previously threatened China, but the Stirling report said a thirst for vengeance over Beijing's clampdown in Xinjiang was spreading over the global jihadist community.
Hundreds of thousands of Chinese work in the Middle East and North Africa, including 50,000 in Algeria, estimated the group, which has offices in London and Hong Kong providing risk advice to corporate and official clients.
"This threat should be taken seriously," Stirling said, basing its information on people who it said had seen the AQIM instruction.
"There is an increasing amount of chatter ... among jihadists who claim they want to see action against China.
"Some of these individuals have been actively seeking information on China's interests in the Muslim world, which they could use for targeting purposes."
Stirling said the extremist group could well target Chinese projects in Yemen in a bid to topple the Beijing-friendly government of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The intelligence firm also noted Al-Qaeda's killing of 24 Algerian security officers who were meant to be protection for Chinese engineers three weeks ago.
"On that occasion they did not attack the Chinese engineers because the target was the project on which they were working.
"Now, future attacks of this kind are likely to target security forces and Chinese engineers alike," the report said.
The most likely scenario would be that Al-Qaeda's central leadership would encourage their affiliates in North Africa and the Arabian peninsula to attack Chinese targets near at hand, it said.
Al-Qaeda centrally does "not want to open a new front with China," the analysis said.
"But equally their sense of Muslim solidarity compels them to help and/or to be seen to be helping. This is also a factor in helping the organisation regain support and funding from their global constituency."
Chinese authorities have said that riots in the Xinjiang city of Urumqi by Muslim Uighurs on July 5 left 184 people dead -- most of whom were Han, China's dominant ethnic group -- and more than 1,600 injured.
Uighur leaders accuse Chinese forces of opening fire on peaceful protests, in the latest unrest to rock the Muslim-majority region of Xinjiang.
Chinese authorities have previously blamed low-level attacks on Xinjiang's East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), which Beijing, the United States and the United Nations list as a terrorist organisation.
China has also said that ETIM militants have received some training and funding from Al-Qaeda.
However, many experts have told AFP that they doubt the ETIM is a major threat in Xinjiang, and some lawmakers in the United States are pushing for the terrorist label to be lifted.
The US government meanwhile last month released four Uighurs from the Guantanamo Bay detention site, years after clearing them of any wrongdoing. Beijing's bid to have them extradited was denied and they are now in Bermuda.
9630  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Cyberwar on: July 15, 2009, 08:51:13 AM
Somehow, I doubt that NorK kiddies are behind the cyber-attacks. How many NorK households have a computer and access to the net?
9631  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: July 14, 2009, 11:34:14 AM
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090615/ap_on_go_ot/us_health_care_s_forgotten

Read this and tell me how great gov't health care is.
9632  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: July 14, 2009, 11:31:23 AM
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/07/14/an-american-government-health-care-system-you-should-know/

An American government health-care system you should know
POSTED AT 12:16 PM ON JULY 14, 2009 BY ED MORRISSEY   


Over the last few months, as Barack Obama’s plans to transform the health-care industry in America have proceeded, I have written extensively on the two existing government-run health-care systems and their myriad problems: Medicare/Medicaid and the VA.  It seems I missed a third that may be worse than either or perhaps both combined.  Mary Clare Jalonick of the Associated Press provides an eye-opening report on Indian Health Service, a single-payer system that rations care to Native Americans on reservations across the country — and kills them through neglect and a severe lack of resources:

On some reservations, the oft-quoted refrain is “don’t get sick after June,” when the federal dollars run out. It’s a sick joke, and a sad one, because it’s sometimes true, especially on the poorest reservations where residents cannot afford health insurance. Officials say they have about half of what they need to operate, and patients know they must be dying or about to lose a limb to get serious care.

Wealthier tribes can supplement the federal health service budget with their own money. But poorer tribes, often those on the most remote reservations, far away from city hospitals, are stuck with grossly substandard care. The agency itself describes a “rationed health care system.”

The sad fact is an old fact, too.

The U.S. has an obligation, based on a 1787 agreement between tribes and the government, to provide American Indians with free health care on reservations. But that promise has not been kept. About one-third more is spent per capita on health care for felons in federal prison, according to 2005 data from the health service.


Without a doubt, the people on the reservations represent some of the poorest of the poor in America.  Yet we already have a single-payer system in place to provide health care to Native Americans on these reservations.  Do we properly fund it?  Do we make sure that enough resources are applied to ensure good health care?  Not at all.  It is, as the agency itself describes, a system of rationing medical resources, and the end result is a poor population unable to seek out its own care locked into a system that only works when someone is on death’s door.

In fact, as Jalonick reports, it often doesn’t recognize when a patient faces death.  Jalonick profiles the heartrending case of Ta’Shon Rain Little Light, who began complaining of stomach pains at the age of 5, and stopped eating and playing.  The overwhelmed clinic diagnosed her as depressed, and ten subsequent visits to the clinic over the next several months while Ta’Shon’s symptoms worsened didn’t change the diagnosis.  Only when she suffered a collapsed lung did IHS airlift her to Denver, where Ta’Shon was diagnosed with terminal cancer.  Could it have been treated?  We’ll never know, thanks to a diagnostic service that appears to be just above the wild-guess level on the reservation.

When government owns the nation’s health-care system, we can all look forward to the same level of care.  After all, as Obama himself insists, a government-run system will “save costs,” but he never explains how those costs get saved.  We will all go into the rationing-system grinder, just as veterans do with the VA, seniors and disabled do with Medicare, and Native Americans do with IHS.
9633  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: July 13, 2009, 09:18:33 PM
"Enough shovels of earth -- a mountain. Enough pails of water -- a river."

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

"With time and patience the mulberry leaf becomes a silk gown."

China has been positioning it's pieces for decades. America's current weakness and China's internal pressures may well force China's hand.
9634  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: July 12, 2009, 05:02:40 PM
http://www.ndtv.com/news/india/china_could_attack_india_by_2012_defence_journal.php

China could attack India before 2012, claims analyst

Press Trust of India, Sunday July 12, 2009, New Delhi


 
A leading defence expert has projected that China will attack India by 2012 to divert the attention of its own people from "unprecedented" internal dissent, growing unemployment and financial problems that are threatening the hold of Communists in that country.

"China will launch an attack on India before 2012. There are multiple reasons for a desperate Beijing to teach India the final lesson, thereby ensuring Chinese supremacy in Asia in this century," Bharat Verma, editor of the Indian Defence Review, has said.

Verma said the recession has "shut the Chinese exports shop", creating an "unprecedented internal social unrest" which in turn, was severely threatening the grip of the Communists over the society.

Among other reasons for this assessment were rising unemployment, flight of capital worth billions of dollars, depletion of its foreign exchange reserves and growing internal dissent, Verma said in an editorial in the forthcoming issue of the premier defence journal.

In addition to this, "The growing irrelevance of Pakistan, their right hand that operates against India on their behest, is increasing the Chinese nervousness," he said, adding that US President Barak Obama's Af-Pak policy was primarily Pak-Af policy that has "intelligently set the thief to catch the thief".

Verma said Beijing was "already rattled, with its proxy Pakistan now literally embroiled in a civil war, losing its sheen against India."

"Above all, it is worried over the growing alliance of India with the US and the West, because the alliance has the potential to create a technologically superior counterpoise.

"All these three concerns of Chinese Communists are best addressed by waging a war against pacifist India to achieve multiple strategic objectives," he said.

While China "covertly allowed" North Korea to test underground nuclear explosion and carry out missile trials, it was also "increasing its naval presence in South China Sea to coerce into submission those opposing its claim on the Sprately Islands," the defence expert said.

He said it would be "unwise" at this point of time for a recession-hit China to move against the Western interests, including Japan. "Therefore, the most attractive option is to attack a soft target like India and forcibly occupy its territory in the Northeast," Verma said.

But India is "least prepared" on ground to face the Chinese threat, he says and asks a series of questions on how will India respond to repulse the Chinese game plan or whether Indian leadership would be able to "take the heat of war".

"Is Indian military equipped to face the two-front wars by Beijing and Islamabad? Is the Indian civil administration geared to meet the internal security challenges that the external actors will sponsor simultaneously through their doctrine of unrestricted warfare?

"The answers are an unequivocal 'no'. Pacifist India is not ready by a long shot either on the internal or the external front," the defence journal editor says.

In view of the "imminent threat" posed by China, "the quickest way to swing out of pacifism to a state of assertion is by injecting military thinking in the civil administration to build the sinews. That will enormously increase the deliverables on ground -- from Lalgarh to Tawang," he says.
9635  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Articulating our cause/strategy against Islamic Fascism on: July 11, 2009, 06:07:00 PM
Makes sense to me.
9636  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tick, tick, tick on: July 10, 2009, 02:53:55 PM
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aTP9nCROB6PU

Commercial Real Estate Is a ‘Time Bomb,’ Maloney Says (Update2)


By Dawn Kopecki

July 9 (Bloomberg) -- The $3.5 trillion commercial real estate market is a ticking “time bomb” that may lead to a second wave of losses at large U.S. banks, congressional Joint Economic Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney said.

About $700 billion in commercial mortgages will need to be refinanced before the end of 2010 and “doing nothing is not an option,” Maloney, a New York Democrat, said at a committee hearing today. This “looming crisis” may lead to significant losses for banks, force shopping center and hotel owners into bankruptcy, and impede economic recovery, she said.

The response by banks to this “growing threat has been slow and inadequate,” said James Helsel, a partner at RSR Realtors in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and treasurer for the National Association of Realtors. “The lack of liquidity and banks’ reluctance to extend lending are also becoming apparent in the increasing level of delinquent properties.”

There were 5,315 commercial properties in default, foreclosure or bankruptcy at the end of June, more than twice the number at the end of last year, with hotels and retail among the most “problematic,’ Real Capital Analytics Inc. said in a report yesterday. Losses on commercial mortgage-backed securities, or CMBS, will total 9 percent to 12 percent of the market, or as much as $90 billion, said Richard Parkus, a research analyst for Deutsche Bank Securities in New York.

Bottom Not Near

The bottom is several years away, and it will be at least 2012 before there is “palpable improvement” in the commercial real estate market, Parkus told lawmakers at the hearing. “It’s hard to imagine fundamentals improving in an environment where we are beginning to see massive increases in defaults.”

The largest concentration of distressed properties is in New York City, Helsel said. Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Detroit, Phoenix, Chicago, Dallas and Boston also have high distress rates, he said.

A tightening in issuance of CMBS, which used to account for about 30 percent of financing, has exacerbated problems, Jon D. Greenlee, the Federal Reserve’s associate director for banking supervision and regulation, said in prepared testimony today. A disproportionately high number of small and medium-sized banks have “sizable exposure” to commercial real estate loans, and delinquency rates at around 7 percent in the first quarter are almost double from a year ago, he said.

“Market participants anticipate these rates will climb higher by the end of this year, driven not only by negative fundamentals but also borrowers’ difficulty in rolling-over maturing debt,” Greenlee said. “In addition, the decline in CMBS has generated significant stresses on the balance sheets of institutions that must mark these securities to market.”

Fed Programs

The Federal Reserve has expanded its Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility, or TALF, to new and existing commercial mortgage backed securities to jump start the market. Maloney said the Public Private Investment Program, or PPIP, may also help with the problem as officials release more details of its potential use.

Maloney said the TALF program expires at the end of this year, which may short cut its effectiveness “just as it begins to ramp up.” She also said that uncertainty about the future of the PPIP has kept many investors “on the sidelines, so there’s some urgency to the Treasury providing additional clarity about the program.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Dawn Kopecki in Washington at dkopecki@bloomberg.net.

Last Updated: July 9, 2009 12:14 EDT
9637  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: July 09, 2009, 10:14:27 AM
http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=5736B6C8-18FE-70B2-A8A8C069D3E78A15

Economist declares 'train wreck'
By: Victoria McGrane
July 8, 2009 04:50 AM EST

If you thought last week’s job numbers were bad, take a look at the latest from Morgan Stanley’s chief economist, Richard Berner.

In a research note that’s been making the rounds of economics blogs this week, Berner declares that “America’s long-awaited fiscal train wreck is now under way.”

By “train wreck,” he means out-of-control federal budget deficits that he’s sure will finally drag the economy under — as if we weren’t already feeling badly enough about its shaky state.

“Depending on policy actions taken now and over the next few years, federal deficits will likely average as much as 6 percent of [the gross domestic product] through 2019, contributing to a jump in debt held by the public to as high as 82 percent of GDP by then — a doubling over the next decade,” Berner writes on Morgan Stanley’s online Global Economic Forum.

“Worse, barring aggressive policy actions, deficits and debt will rise even more sharply thereafter as entitlement spending accelerates relative to GDP. Keeping entitlement promises would require unsustainable borrowing, taxes or both, severely testing the credibility of our policies and hurting our long-term ability to finance investment and sustain growth,” he adds. “And soaring debt will force up real interest rates, reducing capital and productivity and boosting debt service.”

“Not only will those factors steadily lower our standard of living,” Berner concludes, “but they will imperil economic and financial stability.”

Wall Street POLITICO is a weekly column looking at issues that drive business.
9638  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: July 07, 2009, 10:18:00 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5yxFtTwDcc&feature=channel

So libs, is 173 MPH ok because Obama is sooooooo dreamy?
9639  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: July 07, 2009, 01:19:25 PM
http://www.wtop.com/?nid=778&sid=1711695#

U.S. warns of multiple al-Qaida plots
July 7, 2009 - 7:15am
 
Intelligence suggests al Qaida operatives are planning to plant multiple explosive devices in several locations. (AP File Photo) J.J. Green, wtop.com
WASHINGTON - Last week, German authorities discovered that groups of terrorists may have been dispatched from training bases in Pakistan to launch crippling attacks.

In April, U.S. intelligence officials warned Germany about possible terror attacks. Since that time German security officials have reportedly been preparing for massive, multi-layered attacks for which al-Qaida has become known.

Shortly after the April warning, German Ambassador Klaus Scharioth said in an unrelated interview, "You will understand that I can't go into the details of the terrorist threat, but I can only tell you that we all know that we have to be vigilant and that we have to continue to work very hard on that, but I do not want to go into details."

Intelligence suggests al-Qaida operatives are planning to plant multiple explosive devices in several locations and detonate them either in a simultaneous or sequential fashion.

U.S. and German intelligence sources say that strategy is designed to emulate the ones employed Bali in 2002 and Madrid in 2004. The idea is to draw in first responders to the scene after the first explosion, and then the subsequent explosions are set off in the same location to inflict maximum casualties.

A U.S. intelligence source with knowledge about the situation says "it is a credible threat, which also includes Germans in North Africa."

They say as a minimum of 12 al-Qaida operatives who were trained in the tribal region of Pakistan have left the training camps and are headed back to their home countries. Spain, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy and Egypt are just some of those countries.

According to the source, the threat levels also were raised for many other Western European countries to include concerns for "Turkish Airlines flying passengers from Istanbul to the U.S., the UK and Israel."

The source says "passengers traveling out-bound from Istanbul to those locations on July Fourth were segregated, screened multiple times, including their bags and told there were concerns for Turkish Airlines flights to these locations."

Another source headed to Chicago from Istanbul said they were told that there was a specific threat against Turkish Airlines flights headed to those places.

In the U.S., Turkish Airlines flies to New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Charlotte, Tampa and Chicago.

U.S. Intelligence and German media sources indicate the warning came from the U.S. government, but the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) had arrived at the same conclusion after picking up chatter that al-Qaida is planning an attack during the run-up to the Bundestag election to try to force Germany to withdraw from Afghanistan.

Scharioth is well aware of why Germany is a target.

"We are the third biggest troop contributor in Afghanistan, and we are also the fourth biggest contributor of civilian efforts, training and reconstruction and also trying to help the country to redo the education system, give more girls a chance to get an education and all those things - that's one thing," Scharioth says.

The operatives are thought to be skilled in obtaining, assembling and the detonation of explosives that could damage large buildings, disable transit systems and create mass casualties.

This alleged plot is only a part of what concerns Scharioth. A number of rogue nations may be on the verge of obtaining nuclear weapons and opening the door to al-Qaida to get ahold of them.

"We have to address the problem of nuclear proliferation because we would be very concerned, if say in 15-20 years, you have 20 nuclear weapon countries and of course the more nuclear weapon countries you have, the greater the risk and you also have to protect those nuclear weapons [so they don't fall into the wrong hands]," Scharioth says.

Scharioth says he's grateful that the U.S. and Germany are allies. He praises the cooperative effort given the alternative.

"We believe that the Cold War was dangerous enough. We were very close to a very, very bad situation and everybody who was bearing responsibility can tell you just how close we came," Scharioth says.

The German government is reportedly concerned enough about this new threat that it is contemplating changes to its emergency response measures
9640  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The Power of Word on: July 06, 2009, 07:03:10 PM
Best post, ever!
9641  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Green Light? on: July 06, 2009, 06:47:58 PM
http://formerspook.blogspot.com/2009/07/green-light.html

SUNDAY, JULY 05, 2009

The Green Light?
A pair of reports, published this weekend, suggest that Israel has received tacit permission for a raid against Iran's nuclear facilities.

The first account, from the U.K. Telegraph, claims that Saudi Arabia has assured Israel that it will "cast a blind eye" to IAF jets flying over the kingdom, during any potential raid against nuclear targets in Iran.

The head of Mossad, Israel’s overseas intelligence service, has assured Benjamin Netanyahu, its prime minister, that Saudi Arabia would turn a blind eye to Israeli jets flying over the kingdom during any future raid on Iran’s nuclear sites.

Earlier this year Meir Dagan, Mossad’s director since 2002, held secret talks with Saudi officials to discuss the possibility.

The Israeli press has already carried unconfirmed reports that high-ranking officials, including Ehud Olmert, the former prime minister, held meetings with Saudi colleagues. The reports were denied by Saudi officials.

“The Saudis have tacitly agreed to the Israeli air force flying through their airspace on a mission which is supposed to be in the common interests of both Israel and Saudi Arabia,” a diplomatic source said last week.

Use of Saudi airspace would solve enormous logistical, planning and tactical challenges for the IAF. Without a direct route (through Saudi Arabia or Iraq), Israeli pilots would be forced to use corridors through Turkey or around the Arabian Peninsula. As we noted more than three years ago, longer routes put added pressure on Israel's small tanker fleet, which would be used to re-fuel strike aircraft on the Iran mission.

Estimates vary on the exact numbers of tankers in the IAF inventory, but most analysts believe there are only 5-7 KC-707s. These aircraft would be an integral part of any long-range mission to Iran, providing aerial refueling and (possibly) command-and-control functions, such as radio relay. Israeli aircraft use the same "boom" refueling system as the USAF; fighters maneuver behind the tanker as the "boom operator" extends the refueling probe into the refueling receptacle of the receiving aircraft. Once contact is established, the tanker begins pumping fuel to the receiver, at a rate of several hundred pounds per minute.

The number of tankers available, coupled with their potential offload, will limit the size of any Israeli strike package. Again, estimates on the size of the formation vary (depending on the number of targets to be struck, fighter payload, target distance and airspeed), but many analysts believe the Israelis would launch 4-5 tankers, supporting no more than 30 strike aircraft, divided roughly between F-15Is and F-16Is (which would attack the nuclear facilities) and other F-15s and F-16s, flying air defense suppression and air superiority missions. Divide the number of "bombers" (say 15) by the number of nuclear complexes (four), and you'll see that the IAF has virtually no margin for error.

Flying across Saudi airspace would not only decrease in-flight refueling requirements, it could also allow the IAF to add additional strike aircraft to the package, and increase their munitions load, improving prospects for success. Utilizing a corridor through Saudi Arabia would also provide "plausible denial" for two of Israel's most important allies, Turkey (which controls northern approaches to Iran), and the United States, which controls Iraqi airspace.

But if securing the Saudi route is critically important--and it is--why leak the information? A couple of possibilities come to mind. First, there's the chance that someone in Israel or Saudi Arabia decided to leak the information, trying to deter the attack for political reasons.

Secondly, the leak may be designed to send a message to Iranian leaders. Saudi complicity means that Israel has overcome one of the last major obstacles in striking Iran's nuclear facilities. That means an attack would come at any time, giving the mullahs something to contemplate as they set strategy in Ahmadinejad's second presidential term.

The announcement about the Saudi air route came just days after another disclosure from Tel Aviv. Late last week, the Defense Ministry disclosed that an Israeli Dolphin-class recently transited the Suez Canal in June. It was the first IDF warship to use the waterway in years, and signals improving relations between Israel and Egypt. The transit also gives Israeli subs direct access to the Red Sea and Indian Ocean, putting them closer to possible targets in Iran.

According to various defense and press accounts, Israel's newest subs are capable of launching cruise missiles through their torpedo tubes. Details on the weapons system remain sketchy; some analysts believe the cruise missile is a modified Harpoon or Popeye with limited range. Others suggest a long-range weapon, capable of hitting targets up to 750 miles away. Whatever its capabilities, the cruise missile gives Israel another option for striking Iran.

There are also indications that the U.S. will not stand in the way if Israel attacks Tehran's nuclear facilities. In an interview on ABC's "This Week," Vice President Joe Biden said the Israelis are free to set their own course on Iran. According to the AP, Biden's remarks suggest the administration is adopting a "tougher" stance toward Tehran, although the vice president still holds out hope for talks with the Iranians.

Given Mr. Biden's penchant for verbal slips and gaffes, it's hard to say if his comments actually reflect administration policy, or he was simply free-lancing once again. Assuming his remarks are consistent with White House views, then it looks like the Obama team may be accepting the inevitable.

In other words, Tehran has no plans to give up its nuclear program, and Israel will not allow Iran to get the bomb. That makes an Israeli strike almost inevitable, and there's only so much the U.S. can do to prevent it.

Besides, even the "diplomacy first" crowd that dominates the White House and State Department must recognize the bottom line. If the Israelis go after Iran, they will be doing the world a favor, and (possibly) prevent a regional conflagration. It's the sort of bold action that-- in another time--might be openly endorsed by the U.S. But in today's political environment, tacit approval is about as good as it gets.
9642  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China vs. Islam on: July 06, 2009, 10:57:36 AM
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124685864855299373.html#printMode

ASIA NEWS JULY 6, 2009, 11:32 A.M. ET
Scores Reported Dead in China After Riots
By GORDON FAIRCLOUGH and JASON DEAN

SHANGHAI -- The official death toll in riots in China's northwestern Xinjiang region rose sharply Monday, with the government saying that 140 had been killed in what appears to be one of the deadliest episodes of unrest in China in decades.

Police said at least 828 other people were injured in violence that began Sunday in Urumqi, Xinjiang's capital. Witnesses said the conflicts pitted security forces against demonstrators, and members of the region's Turkic-speaking Uighur ethnic group against members of the country's Han Chinese majority. Many among the predominantly Muslim Uighurs have chafed at Chinese government rule.

The official tally of dead and injured increased Monday as more information came out of Urumqi through the state-run Xinhua news agency, although it appeared that most or all of the violence had ended by the early hours of Monday.

Xinhua quoted Liu Yaohua, a senior police official in Xinjiang, as saying that rioters had burned 261 vehicles, including 190 buses and two police cars, several of which were still ablaze as of Monday morning. Mr. Liu said the death toll of 140 "would still be climbing."

As evening fell in Urumqi Monday, witnesses said that paramilitary troops of the People's Armed Police, backed by armored personnel carriers, were patrolling largely calm city streets. Many businesses remained shuttered and gates of the city's central bazaar, which was the scene of unrest Sunday night, were closed.

Police said they were still searching for dozens of people suspected of fanning the violence. Several hundred people have already been arrested in connection with the riot, police said, and the government said it was bringing "ethnic officials" from nearby areas to help with interrogations.

Uighur activists said hundreds of Uighurs, many of them students, had gathered Sunday to protest racial discrimination and call for government action against the perpetrators of an attack last month on Uighur migrant workers at a toy factory in southern China. In that incident, a group of Han Chinese broke into a factory dormitory housing Uighur workers. State media reported that two people were killed. Uighur groups say the death toll may have been higher.

The protests appear to have spun out of control late Sunday, with clashes between protestors and police as well as ethnic violence around the city. Xinhua's report Monday said that 57 dead bodies had been "retrieved from Urumqi's streets and lanes," while the remaining fatalities were confirmed dead at hospitals.

An official in the nursing department of one of Urumqi's largest hospitals, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region People's Hospital, said the hospital received 291 people injured in the unrest. Seventeen of them died, and more than 20 others were in critical condition on Monday night.

The official said that 233 of the injured were Han Chinese, 39 were Uighurs and the rest belonged to other ethnic minority groups. Seven of the injured had gunshot wounds, she said.

Uighurs have long complained about restrictions on their civil liberties and religious practices imposed by a Chinese government fearful of political dissent in strategically important Xinjiang, which covers one-sixth of China's territory and is also an important oil-and-gas-producing region.

Many Uighurs resent what they see as economic and social discrimination by the majority Han Chinese, who have migrated to Xinjiang in growing numbers. Some Uighurs, seeking independence from China, have waged sporadic and at times violent campaigns against the government.

Pictures said to be of the Sunday's protests distributed by the Washington-based Uyghur American Association showed young Uighurs marching in Urumqi, in some cases carrying the Chinese flag. Pictures also showed phalanxes of helmeted police in riot gear, with shields and batons.

Demonstrators clashed with the police, witnesses said, and rioters smashed shops and attacked buses. "Most were young Uighurs. They were smashing everything on the street," said one Han Chinese man who works as a driver.

Another Han Chinese man, who owns a shop in the city's central bazaar, said he saw Uighurs "with big knives stabbing people" on the street. He said crowds of Hans and Uighurs were fleeing the violence. "They were targeting Han, mostly," he added. "We need to hide inside for a few more days."

The government blamed the unrest on a prominent exiled Uighur leader, Rebiya Kadeer, president of the World Uyghur Congress, an activist group. Sunday's demonstration was "instigated and directed from abroad," according to a government statement cited by Xinhua.

Alim Seytoff, vice president of the Uyghur American Association, dismissed the government's claim, saying, "Every time something happens, they blame Ms. Kadeer." He added: "It's really the Chinese government's heavy-handed policies that create such protests and unrest."

Unrest in Xinjiang mounted last year, as some Uighurs sought to emulate widespread antigovernment demonstrations in Tibetan areas. There were several violent incidents around the time of last summer's Beijing Olympics, including an attack on a border-police unit that left 16 dead. Ten militants died after another attack with improvised explosives in a Xinjiang city on the first weekend of the Games.

Write to Gordon Fairclough at gordon.fairclough@wsj.com and Jason Dean at jason.dean@wsj.com
9643  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.
9644  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.
9645  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.
9646  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.
9647  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
9648  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=
9649  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?
9650  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
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