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9651  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: March 11, 2011, 02:05:50 PM
In this case, Mexico has the right to be pissed.
9652  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama silent as liberals make death threats on: March 11, 2011, 07:52:53 AM
http://blogs.dailymail.com/donsurber/archives/30580

Obama silent as liberals make death threats
March 10, 2011 by Don Surber

This is not about the threats made against Republican Congressman Peter King for daring to hold a hearing on threats to America from radical Muslims.

I comment on radio talker Charles Sykes in Milwaukee posting an e-mail to: Sen. Kapanke; Sen. Darling; Sen. Cowles; Sen. Ellis; Sen. Fitzgerald; Sen. Galloway; Sen. Grothman; Sen. Harsdorf; Sen. Hopper; Sen. Kedzie; Sen. Lasee; Sen. Lazich; Sen. Leibham; Sen. Moulton; Sen. Olsen.

They are Republican state senators in Wisconsin.

Some union supporter threatened them:

Please put your things in order because you will be killed and your familes
will also be killed due to your actions in the last 8 weeks. Please explain
to them that this is because if we get rid of you and your families then it
will save the rights of 300,000 people and also be able to close the deficit
that you have created. I hope you have a good time in hell. Read below for
more information on possible scenarios in which you will die.

WE want to make this perfectly clear. Because of your actions today and in
the past couple of weeks I and the group of people that are working with me
have decided that we’ve had enough. We feel that you and the people that
support the dictator have to die. We have tried many other ways of dealing
with your corruption but you have taken things too far and we will not stand
for it any longer. So, this is how it’s going to happen: I as well as many
others know where you and your family live, it’s a matter of public records.
We have all planned to assult you by arriving at your house and putting a
nice little bullet in your head. However, we decided that we wouldn’t leave
it there. We also have decided that this may not be enough to send the
message to you since you are so “high” on Koch and have decided that you are
now going to single handedly make this a dictatorship instead of a
demorcratic process. So we have also built several bombs that we have placed
in various locations around the areas in which we know that you frequent.
This includes, your house, your car, the state capitol, and well I won’t
tell you all of them because that’s just no fun. Since we know that you are
not smart enough to figure out why this is happening to you we have decided
to make it perfectly clear to you. If you and your goonies feel that it’s
necessary to strip the rights of 300,000 people and ruin their lives, making
them unable to feed, clothe, and provide the necessities to their families
and themselves then We Will “get rid of” (in which I mean kill) you. Please
understand that this does not include the heroic Rep. Senator that risked
everything to go aganist what you and your goonies wanted him to do. We feel
that it’s worth our lives to do this, because we would be saving the lives
of 300,000 people. Please make your peace with God as soon as possible and
say goodbye to your loved ones we will not wait any longer. YOU WILL DIE!!!!

Where is the denunciation from Barack Obama?

The lefty media has praised him repeatedly for his calls for civil discourse.

The Associated Press from January 2010: “Tampa, Fla. — Trying to bury a year of polarization, President Obama has escalated his appeal for politicians and voters to settle differences without tearing each other apart. His plea: ‘Let’s start thinking of each other as Americans first’.”

PBS from January 2011: “Obama’s Call for Civil Discourse Resonates Around the Country.”

He keeps calling for it.

But as leader of the Democratic Party he does nothing about it. He has never in 6 years in the national eye ever denounced Democratic Party excesses.

He should leap on this one to quiet things in Madison and to bring civil discourse to that state’s capital city.
9653  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: March 11, 2011, 05:30:13 AM
Most don't have the ability to attack us directly. Thus they are busy attacking other muslims, christians, buddhists, hindus and others within reach. Show me a muslim populations and there is someone being oppressed/killed to the cry of "allah akbar"!
9654  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People on: March 11, 2011, 05:27:09 AM
More PATRIOT act paranoia.  rolleyes
9655  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / More union civility on: March 10, 2011, 06:25:52 PM
http://legalinsurrection.blogspot.com/2011/03/why-do-these-people-many-of-whom-are.html

Thursday, March 10, 2011
Why do these people, many of whom are professionals, feel no fear in expressing such death wishes in the open?
You have seen the video of Twitter death wishes directed at Sarah Palin, by people who did not feel the need to hide their identities.

So like clockwork, death wishes (threats?) are being tweeted about Scott Walker, again often using real names.

And these were before last night's Senate vote (a Vimeo version is here in case YouTube takes it down):
9656  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The new civility! on: March 10, 2011, 05:25:23 PM
http://www.620wtmj.com/news/local/117732923.html

Capitol Chaos: Lawmakers Get Death Threats
By Jon Byman

Story Created: Mar 10, 2011

Story Updated: Mar 10, 2011

MADISON - The State Department of Justice confirms that it is investigating several death threats against a number of lawmakers in response to the legislature's move to strip employees of many collective bargaining rights.

Among the threats the Justice Department is investigationg is one that was emailed to Republican Senators Wednesday night.  Newsradio 620 WTMJ has obtained that email.

The following is the unedited email:

Please put your things in order because you will be killed and your familes
will also be killed due to your actions in the last 8 weeks. Please explain
to them that this is because if we get rid of you and your families then it
will save the rights of 300,000 people and also be able to close the deficit
that you have created. I hope you have a good time in hell. Read below for
more information on possible scenarios in which you will die.

WE want to make this perfectly clear. Because of your actions today and in
the past couple of weeks I and the group of people that are working with me
have decided that we've had enough. We feel that you and the people that
support the dictator have to die. We have tried many other ways of dealing
with your corruption but you have taken things too far and we will not stand
for it any longer. So, this is how it's going to happen: I as well as many
others know where you and your family live, it's a matter of public records.
We have all planned to assult you by arriving at your house and putting a
nice little bullet in your head. However, we decided that we wouldn't leave
it there. We also have decided that this may not be enough to send the
message to you since you are so "high" on Koch and have decided that you are
now going to single handedly make this a dictatorship instead of a
demorcratic process. So we have also built several bombs that we have placed
in various locations around the areas in which we know that you frequent.
This includes, your house, your car, the state capitol, and well I won't
tell you all of them because that's just no fun. Since we know that you are
not smart enough to figure out why this is happening to you we have decided
to make it perfectly clear to you. If you and your goonies feel that it's
necessary to strip the rights of 300,000 people and ruin their lives, making
them unable to feed, clothe, and provide the necessities to their families
and themselves then We Will "get rid of" (in which I mean kill) you. Please
understand that this does not include the heroic Rep. Senator that risked
everything to go aganist what you and your goonies wanted him to do. We feel
that it's worth our lives to do this, because we would be saving the lives
of 300,000 people. Please make your peace with God as soon as possible and
say goodbye to your loved ones we will not wait any longer. YOU WILL DIE!!!!
 Reply Reply to all Forward
9657  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: March 10, 2011, 05:06:30 PM
PC,

Yup. If a president was trying to make her ideas become reality, would that president be doing anything different than what Obama is doing now?
9658  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People on: March 10, 2011, 05:04:03 PM
There is a law enforcement technique called "controlled delivery", but, as one might guess from the name, you maintain a degree of control of the contraband and then arrest the recipients. You don't just facilitate the flow of contraband for years with no arrests.
9659  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Saudi Arabia & the Arabian Peninsula on: March 10, 2011, 04:52:40 PM
The house of Saud will go the full Ka-daffy.
9660  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / 38 thus far on: March 10, 2011, 04:50:18 PM
Line of duty deaths for 2011.
9661  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Police Officer Jay Sheridan on: March 10, 2011, 04:45:51 PM
Police Officer Jay Sheridan
Limon Police Department
Colorado
End of Watch: Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Biographical Info
Age: 27
Tour of Duty: 6 years
Badge Number: Not available

Incident Details
Cause of Death: Gunfire
Date of Incident: Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Weapon Used: Gun; Unknown type
Suspect Info: Committed suicide

Officer Jay Sheridan was shot and killed as he and other officers
served a fugitive arrest warrant at approximately 6:10 pm.

As the officers entered the mobile home where the subject lived
the man opened fire on them, fatally wounding Officer Sheridan.
Two other officers on the scene remained in another room in the
home and called for assistance.

The subject was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound
later in the evening after a SWAT team made entry into the
home.

Officer Sheridan had served with the Limon Police Department for
six years. He is survived by his wife and child.
9662  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / U.S. Marshal Dies of Shooting Injuries on: March 10, 2011, 04:42:31 PM
U.S. Marshal Dies of Shooting Injuries

Wednesday, March 09 2011

(St. Louis, MO) -- A United States Marshal involved in a shoot-out in St. Louis Wednesday, died from his injuries last night.
Another marshal was wounded in the incident as was a St. Louis police officer.

The suspect also died after being shot by police during the standoff.

Tuesday morning, Marshals went to the door of a 36 year old man to serve a drug warrant.
Officers say the man opened fire.     

One marshal was shot and critically wounded.  He later died.  He is now identified as Deputy U.S. Marshal John Perry.

The other marshal, Theodore Abegg, is in fair condition. The police officer has minor injuries.

Three children inside the house were taken to a neighbor's home before the shooting started.
9663  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: March 10, 2011, 04:40:49 PM
Doug,

Keep in mind that they are many forms of jihad, not just the bombers/shooters/headcutters. There are those who wage the jihad of the pen and tongue, those that raise money and support the jihad in other ways.
9664  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: March 10, 2011, 04:37:32 PM
"has one wife (my snip at Newt)"

Newt was working so hard for us, he committed personal "indiscretions".  rolleyes


I guess it's all our fault.
9665  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: March 10, 2011, 04:30:05 PM
The odds of her being found alive are dim indeed. Very sad.  cry
9666  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Dying Declaration on: March 10, 2011, 01:56:12 PM
http://definitions.uslegal.com/d/dying-declaration/

Dying Declaration
Law & Legal Definition

A dying declaration is an exception to the hearsay rule, which prohibits introducing evidence of out-of-court statements made by unavailable witnesses. The Federal Rules of Evidence have relaxed the common law standards for dying declarations and require the following conditions be met before introducing a dying declaration into evidence:

   1. Awareness of imminent death: The declarant must, at the time he made his statement, believe that his death is imminent.
   2. Actual death: At common law, the declarant must in fact be dead by the time the evidence is offered. But this is not required under the Federal Rule, although the declarant must be unavailable.
   3. Homicide: At common law, the declaration may be used only in a homicide case. Under the Federal Rules, dying declarations are usable in civil suits and homicide cases, but not in non-homicide criminal cases.
   4. Declarant is victim: At common law, declaration may be offered only in a trial for the killing of the declarant, not the killing of someone else. The Federal Rules no longer include this requirement.
   5. Relating to circumstances of killing: Both at common law and under the Federal Rules, the declaration must relate to the causes or circumstances of the killing.
   6. For accused: The statement may be admitted on behalf of the accused (though usually, it is admitted against him.)

9667  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Disproportionate on: March 10, 2011, 10:48:53 AM
Never in my entire career in Washington have I encountered the hype and scare tactics of those opposing the hearings into Islamic radicalization by Rep. Pete King. A classic example was a headline on MSNBC.com: "Inquiry by congressional committee looks like inquisition to many Muslims."

The line of attack is now familiar: If King (R-L.I.) were truly interested in violent extremism, his hearings would focus on a wide range of groups that wreak havoc on America, including neo-Nazis and others; by focusing solely on Muslim extremism, the argument goes, he is betraying his bias.

This is utterly ridiculous. Our organization, the Investigative Project on Terrorism, recently did an analysis of all terrorism convictions based on statistics released by the Justice Department. These stats show that more than 80% of all convictions tied to international terrorist groups and homegrown terrorism since 9/11 involve defendants driven by a radical Islamist agenda. Though Muslims represent less than 1% of the American population, they constitute defendants in 186 of the 228 cases the Justice Department lists.

The figures confirm that there is a disproportionate problem of Islamic militancy and terrorism among the American Muslim population.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2011/03/10/2011-03-10_muslim_american_groups_not_rep_pete_king_are_the_ones_fomenting_hysteria.html#ixzz1GDSAca74

**Funny how this happens, given that islam is a religion of peace, or so I've been told.

9668  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / It's all Greek to me on: March 10, 2011, 10:26:19 AM
http://www.nationalreview.com/exchequer/261796/biggest-bond-fund-dumps-us-debt

Biggest Bond Fund Dumps U.S. Debt
March 9, 2011 7:42 P.M.
By Kevin D. Williamson

Tags: Debt, Deficits, Despair, Fiscal Armageddon

So, the guy behind the world’s largest bond fund is dumping U.S. government debt.

Got your attention yet?

Bill Gross of Pacific Investment Management Co. (PIMCO) is no great fan of  U.S. government debt to start with: His fund also zeroed out its holdings of Uncle Sam’s IOUs back in 2009, but had added some back into the portfolio. No more. He’s not buying what Washington is selling, and he’s urging others to dump U.S. bonds, too. Bloomberg reports:

    Gross in his February commentary urged investors to reduce holdings of Treasuries and U.K. gilts and buy higher-returning securities such as debt from emerging-market nations. “Old-fashioned gilts and Treasury bonds may need to be ‘exorcised’ from model portfolios and replaced with more attractive alternatives both from a risk and a reward standpoint,” Gross wrote.

So, what’s wrong with U.S. government debt? With deficits running at insane levels but interest rates still low, the risk-reward ratio is out of whack, even compared to “emerging-market” countries — read: those Third World regimes whose farcical finances we used to regard with a mixture of scorn and pity, until we began emulating them. All the money-printing down at the Fed is taking a toll:

    Gains in so-called headline inflation matter more for the U.S. economy than Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke suggests and rising oil prices may cut U.S. gross domestic product by a quarter to half a percentage point, Gross said March 4 in a radio interview on “Bloomberg Surveillance” with Tom Keene.

    “Bernanke tends to think this doesn’t matter — at least in terms of headline versus the core — we do,” Gross said.

What this means, of course, is pressure on the U.S. government to offer higher interest rates on its bonds. Gross says that the rates need to go up about 1.5 percent to reflect market realities. And market realities, ignored for the past few years, are going to start reasserting themselves as “quantitative easing” ends and the Fed stops buying U.S. debt that the markets don’t want.

As things stand, interest on the debt (at about 6 percent of all federal spending) is equal to about one-third of all discretionary spending combined (about 19 percent of the budget). Current forecasts have debt-service costs alone amounting to nearly $1 trillion by 2020, consuming 20 percent of all federal tax revenues. That’s a vicious circle: Bigger deficits add to the total debt, which drives up the cost of debt service, which creates bigger deficits, shampoo, rinse, repeat, and wake up in Argentina circa 1999–2002.

Which gets us back, as usual, toward the one inevitable, undeniable fact of American life at this moment: The major entitlement programs — Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid — other “mandatory” spending, national defense, and interest on the debt make up more than 80 percent of federal spending. Everything else put together accounts for less than $1 in $5 of government outlays. Assuming we don’t default on our national debt, interest on the debt is the one spending item that is truly off the table. Even if we cut national-defense spending to zero, that would only get us just over halfway toward eliminating the trillion-dollar deficit headed our way in 2012. (We aren’t cutting national-defense spending to zero.) Meaning that major reform of the entitlement programs is not optional. It is do or die.

Bernanke & Co. have baked inflation into this cake, and catastrophic state and local finances mean that Washington really can’t pass off its spending schemes onto the governors, mayors, and state legislatures.

You may think the Ryan Roadmap looks harsh and disruptive. But we simply must start dealing with these things right now, while we have some resources, some options, and some time. It will be much more harsh and disruptive to try to deal with these things after the fiscal crisis is upon us, when inflation is skyrocketing, unemployment is through the roof, and the markets start demanding a very high premium to finance the debt of Washington, the states, and the cities, if indeed investors are willing to do so at all.

We are in an extraordinarily dangerous period, one that calls for real leadership in Washington, where the geniuses in charge are currently locked in a death struggle over whether to cut nothing or next to nothing.

NPR? Foreign aid? Food stamps? That isn’t going to do it. The fact that we’re even having a discussion about whether we have to federally subsidize experimental opera companies in Topeka suggests that the message has not quite hit home. Maybe when the Social Security checks stop coming, Americans will notice. Which is to say, when it’s too late.
9669  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: March 10, 2011, 10:20:40 AM
PC,

Cloward-Piven.



9670  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Coming collapse-3 on: March 10, 2011, 09:44:34 AM
It is at this point analysts and economists invariably argue none of China's overspending and debt really matters. All of those empty apartments, unused factories and ghost cities will eventually teem with people as rural Chinese move to the cities and grow rich. The theme of China's urbanization has become deeply entrenched, with the oft–repeated line that over the next 20 years China will add 350 million people to its urban areas — a migration greater than the entire population of the United States. Yet critics point to flaws in this argument that threaten to stunt rather than fuel China's growth.

For one thing, China under–counts the number of people already living in urban areas, says Katsenelson. China only considers a region to be urban if it has a population density greater than 1,500 people per sq. km, versus around 500 people in the West. By that measure, Edmonton wouldn't make the cut. Indeed, some so–called rural villages in China boast steel mills and factories, while one, Beishanmen, near the city of Xi'an, recently erected a 23–storey apartment tower. Katsenelson also argues that since local officials are tasked with meeting specified growth targets on a per capita basis, there's an incentive to downplay the size of the local population. "There are probably a lot more people living in cities already, but they're just not in the numbers," he says. Besides, for the hundreds of millions of rural peasants who have already migrated to cities — supplying factories with an endless supply of cheap labour — life in cities like Shanghai, Beijing or Shenzhen means being treated like second–class citizens, since their access to social services and education for their children is tightly limited.

But above all, China faces a demographic time bomb that's as bad, if not worse, as the one plaguing Europe. Largely as a result of the country's one–child policy, instituted in the 1970s, China's population is aging fast. The number of workers aged 20 to 29 will peak in about four years, then drop sharply over the next 15. At a point in the not distant future, China's population will actually begin to shrink. All of those factors will curtail the number of people who are likely to move to cities and take up new jobs. "Their labour force is getting old and shrinking," says Katsenelson. "I don't think migration is going to be as big a force as people are expecting it to be."

We've seen all this before. Remember that campaign ad about the Chinese professor? Rather than look 20 years in the future to see what China holds in store, the world would be wise to cast its gaze back a couple of decades instead. In the '80s and '90s, U.S. newspaper and magazine headlines trilled the rise of an Asian superpower and the decline of America's influence abroad. That country was Japan, and business leaders couldn't contain their enthusiasm for Tokyo's economic miracle. One–time presidential candidate Walter Mondale warned Americans that unless things changed, there would be no future for their children other than to sweep the factory floors between Japanese–made computers.

That's not at all how things turned out, of course. Japan's overreliance on cheap exports and debt–fuelled investment backfired. The refusal to acknowledge the bad debts incurred by banks during its property bubble plunged Japan into its "lost decade" and ended talk about Japanese global domination. (Driving home that point, China recently overtook Japan to become the world's second–largest economy.)

Two decades of stagnation didn't tip Japanese society into chaos, but if China's economy goes bust, don't expect the fallout to be nearly so smooth. "The problem for China is compounded by the fact that, unlike Japan, the vast majority of Chinese have not participated in this boom," says George Friedman, CEO of Stratfor, a global intelligence company. In simple terms, the Japanese got rich before they got old, but the Chinese will get old before they get rich. "For them, unemployment, especially for those several hundred million who came to the cities to get jobs, is personally catastrophic, so they have a serious problem."

Many argue China's US$2 trillion in foreign reserves would protect it from any crisis, but Chovanec points out there have only been two times in modern history when a country accumulated such large reserves — America in the '20s and Japan in the '80s. And if history repeats itself, it's not just going to be their problem. China is inextricably tied into the global economy. What happens there will have far reaching repercussions, especially in countries like Canada and Australia that have supplied China with the raw material to remake itself.

To grasp what a slowdown in China would do to Canada's economy, it's worth stepping back a moment to look at how all those Chinese skyscrapers, railway lines and steel mills have reshaped the economic and political landscape here. Last January, Canfor, Canada's largest lumber company, mothballed its sawmill in Quesnel, B.C. The move came as a result of the collapse of America's housing market, which evaporated demand for B.C. lumber. Then, several months later Canfor surprised locals by announcing it would bring everyone back to work. Only now the entire output from the mill is loaded onto freighters and shipped to China. The Asian giant may still accounts for only 15% of the province's lumber exports, but exports to China are up 71% in just one year, and many believe it's only a matter of time before China, and not the U.S., becomes B.C.'s largest forestry customer.

What's happened in tiny Quesnel has played out across the country over the past decade on a massive scale. By some estimates, demand from China is behind half the rise in global commodity prices, such as copper, oil, nickel, iron ore, coal and potash — all resources hauled from the Canadian landscape. China has become Canada's fastest–growing trading partner, and three–quarters of what we now sell to them comes from the ground. This dynamic shielded us from the brunt of the global recession. In 2009, Canada's exports fell 28% from the year before because of the crisis in the U.S., yet at the same time our exports to China actually rose 7%.

Some have argued the resource sector isn't all that crucial to Canada's well–being, since mining and oil and gas extraction directly account for just 4.5% of the economy. But this figure fails to capture the wider influence the commodity boom has had here. While conventional manufacturers in the automotive, steel and textile sectors have struggled, companies building equipment for the energy and mining sectors barely blinked. Banks and investment firms have reaped windfalls from merger and IPO activity in the resource sector, while the boom is lucrative for investors in the domestic market. Meanwhile, China's boom has spilled into Canada's real estate market. In Vancouver, according to condo marketer Bob Rennie, between 60% and 80% of all real estate sales in the city's West Side are now to mainland Chinese, while markets like Calgary and Saskatoon have soared thanks to all the new oil and potash wealth.

In plain terms, should China's economic miracle turn out to be a mirage, all of that would be at risk. "If China fails, or even if this fixed investment model fails, countries like Australia and Canada are in deep trouble," says John Lee, a foreign–policy expert at the Hudson Institute who is also a research fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies in Sydney, Australia. For one thing, commodity prices are likely to plunge. That could throw a wrench in plans for the oilsands, which require high oil prices to remain profitable, and crimp much of the manic exploration activity in mining. Canada's resource sector was one of the primary drivers for employment over the past decade, according to Statistics Canada, so a correction in China would also rob this country of a key engine for job growth. It would also sap provincial and federal governments of needed tax and royalty revenue, hurting their balance sheets.

A slowdown in China would have repercussions far beyond commodity prices. If China's growth slumps, experts see civil unrest as the likely outcome. China already faces dozens of large–scale "mass incidents" — the government's term for riots — each year, but they're largely contained to rural areas. That could change with a prolonged downturn. "At the moment, they have unrest, but it's in rural areas, not the cities," says Lee. "The whole strategy of [the Chinese Communist Party] to stay in power is to keep the urban people happy. If growth slows down, they won't have the means to keep those people happy." For instance if China's housing bubble were to collapse, urban property owners would be hard hit. In a recent report the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences argued house prices in 11 cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen are overvalued by between 30% and 50%. The obvious fear within the Chinese government is a repeat of the Tiananmen Square protest and crackdown in 1989. After the incident, it took three years for the economy to fully recover.

But the world is a much more interconnected place than it was even 20 years ago, and China's role is vastly greater. The International Monetary Fund recently stressed China's importance to global growth when it updated its growth forecast for the country — at 10.5% in 2010 and 9.6% in 2011. "China's strong and sustained growth over the past several years has served as a linchpin for global trade, benefiting exporters of commodities and capital goods," the fund said in a report. Anything hinting of a revolution would undoubtedly shock investors and spark a crisis of confidence among economists who have come to view China as the cornerstone of the economy decades into the future. There's a reason paranoid officials tried to block Chinese netizens from reading about populist uprisings in Egypt and elsewhere.

Some observers are hopeful the aftershocks of a Chinese economic collapse would be muted. Pettis at Peking University has argued on his blog that a slowdown in Chinese growth "might not be the disaster for the world that many believe." If China's massive trade surplus with the rest of the world contracts, that could act as a boost to its trading partners. He argues everything depends on whether China rebalances its economy amid a sharp slowdown by raising interest rates and wages. If that happened, a recession would be borne by state–owned enterprises, and not consumers, he says.

There are also those who insist China's blistering growth rate is sustainable, saying predictions about the demise of China's economy are nothing new. And they're right. It's been nine years since the book The Coming Collapse of China first hit bookshelves.

But simply because China has twisted and contorted its economy to generate empty growth doesn't mean its future success is guaranteed. Quite the opposite. China has failed to learn the most important lesson of being a modern, thriving economy, says Chovanec at Tingshua University. "Failure is very important for any economy. To have businesses fail, to have people lose money, to have the stock market and real estate go down, is all really critical, because it teaches people what is a good investment, and what is a waste of resources," he says. "Unless you have that, then people will think they can put their money into whatever they want, and they'll always make more money, until the costs get socialized and everybody wonders why everyone in China is so poor."

Not that you'll hear frank talk like that from most investment bankers, business consultants or in corner offices in the West. Otherwise ardent free market capitalists, they remain strangely convinced that China's socialist brain trust is capable of correctly pulling all the levers of its massive economy to keep it on a path to prosperity. Perhaps this isn't so strange, though. After all, China offers all the elements of Wall Street's most cherished commodity — the investment story. Such a narrative must be easily packaged, sold and resold — think dot–coms, U.S. real estate or green energy — and China offers angles. As with all investment stories, critics pointing out the risks are easily dismissed, until it's too late.
9671  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Coming collapse-2 on: March 10, 2011, 09:43:01 AM
When Ma Zhiyuan's phone rang last year, and a real estate agent told him she had a client ready to pay cash for his Beijing apartment, he was stunned. What surprised him was not that she was offering stacks of Maos. China's new middle class are as thrifty as their parents and see apartments as the ultimate place to stash their accumulated savings. No, what struck Ma, a marketing manager, was that he hadn't even listed the place for sale. The realtor had simply hunted him down as the owner of the unit. And now she was offering 1.1 million yuan, or about $170,000 for the pad.

To someone in the West, that may not seem like an exorbitant amount for a highrise apartment in a major capital city. Yet, at that price the unit was 26 times greater than the average Beijinger's salary. Even so, Ma told her he'd have to think about it. (He'd been renting out the apartment and enjoyed the extra income.) Shortly afterward, the realtor called back to say her client would pay 100,000 yuan more. And when Ma rejected that, she offered another 100,000 yuan, and then another. It went on like this for weeks. Finally Ma agreed to a price: 1.6 million yuan, nearly 50% more than the place had been worth a month earlier. "They hadn't even seen the apartment," he says. "At that time, housing prices were going crazy."

"Crazy" fails to capture the utter insanity of what's gone on in China's property markets. In January, home prices in 70 Chinese cities jumped another 6.3% from the year before, and have more than tripled in the past five years. In prime markets like Beijing and Shanghai, prices have risen far faster. It's no longer surprising to find taxi drivers and teachers who claim to own two or even three apartments each. At one point, Shanghai economist Andy Xie cited local media reports that some 65 million urban homes reported zero electricity consumption over a six–month period, suggesting there are enough vacant homes in China to house 200 million people. While power companies denied that was the case, in the regions around Shanghai, Beijing and other cities, fancy new apartment blocks stretch off into the horizon, their surfaces pocked with black holes where windows would otherwise be. Policy–makers have attempted to deflate prices. They've limited the number of homes Chinese can buy, restricted many state–run companies from buying up land, and ordered banks to rein in their lending, yet still prices continue to rise.

It's not just the residential sector. Commercial developers have engaged in their own orgy of debt–fuelled construction projects, bidding up land values threefold last year and erecting countless office towers, malls and hotels. It's all adding to a glut of properties that are sitting vacant. In Beijing, where the official commercial vacancy rate is 30% but approaches 50% in many pockets, developers go to great lengths to make empty buildings look occupied, going so far as to paint silhouettes of office workers in stairwells. For instance, in the 29–storey Central Point towers, built three years ago, a handful of tenants finally moved in last fall, according to a property manager. However security guards were surprised to see a visitor come through the door, and appeared to be the only people in the building.

How could there be so many new buildings going up when, at the same time, so many others already sit empty? Simple. China is engaged in an elaborate shell game to hide a mountain of bad debts piling up on the balance sheets of its banks, developers and state–owned enterprises. In the case of real estate, it's a matter of turning a blind eye to staggering losses, says Patrick Chovanec, a professor at Tsinghua University's School of Economics and Management in Beijing. In an interview last year, he pointed to situations where buildings sit half empty, yet landlords refuse to lower their rental rates. To do so would sink the value of the underlying land, which was used as collateral for the developer's loans. "The rational response would be to lower the rental asking price, but that would mean the value of the collateral would be lowered and the bank would be forced to write down the loan," he says. "So the building stays empty. Economically it makes no sense."

This same scenario is playing out across the country on a massive scale, say experts. Beijing and the World Bank officially claim China's government debt remains very manageable, at less than 20% of GDP — far below levels in the industrial world — but the truth is, local governments are piling on new debt at a staggering pace. In research last year, Victor Shih, a political economist at Northwestern University, examined the borrowing records of 8,000 local–government entities. He found that at the end of 2009 local governments had taken on US$1.7 trillion in debt, with another US$1.9 trillion in lines of credit available. Coupled with other obligations, Beijing is on the hook for nearly US$6 trillion next year, bringing it to par with GDP — making China seem almost as profligate as America. The trillion–dollar question is: How much of that debt is going to go sour? For his part, Shih has warned of a "wave" of non–performing loans hitting the country in 2012, while in August there were reports the China Banking Regulatory Commission conducted a stress test and found 20% of loans to be in "trouble." By comparison, a stress test on America's largest banks in 2009 found that in a worst–case scenario, losses at the 19 banks would hit 9.1% of their loan portfolio, although, admittedly, many believe in reality it was far higher.

The final tally of dud loans in China could be far higher, sparking a financial crisis in the country. Consider the case of New Ordos, a city the government of Inner Mongolia built from scratch in just five years to house 100,000 people. There is plenty of public art and innovative architecture on offer in the city, including a reservoir with an artificial waterfall. The only thing missing is people. Most of the apartments are sold out but remain vacant, since speculators snapped them up as investment properties. The most striking building is the eight–storey library, built to resemble books standing side by side. Inside, however, it's nearly devoid of books and patrons. On a weekday morning last year, the only people using the computer lab, equipped with 100 new PCs, were two teenage boys playing video games.

New Ordos is far from alone. There are at least a dozen other ghost cities scattered across the country. In November, the government of Hebei said it plans to build three new cities in the region around Beijing over the next few years. In Dongguan, the city where rioting workers killed a factory manager, the New South China Mall lays claim to being the largest mall in the world, yet is bereft of tenants. Likewise, in Beijing, Pangu Plaza, a hotel and mall complex shaped like a dragon and which runs the length of seven football fields, is largely vacant of shops and people.

The list goes on and on. But for how much longer, wonder some China watchers. The rush to build over the past five years has left China drowning in overcapacity in many key sectors. In Liaoning province, the government is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to build five mega–ports over the next couple of years, even though China's ports are already operating far below capacity. Likewise, according to a report by Pivot Capital Management that analyzed China's manufacturing capabilities, China continues to build new steel mills, cement factories and aluminum smelters even though up to one–third of existing plants sit idle.

As for China's ever–expanding network of bullet trains, Chinese media report trains on several of the new lines frequently run with more than half their seats empty. Some worry China's high–speed rail experiment will lead to a debt crisis, since the mammoth project has already saddled China's railway ministry with US$150 billion in debt. Over just the next few years that figure is expected to rise to half a trillion dollars.
9672  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / China's coming collapse on: March 10, 2011, 09:41:22 AM
From Canadian Business magazine, 14 March 2011
China's coming collapse

The Middle Kingdom's prosperity is an illusion. And when China finally falls, we'll all feel the pain.
By Jason Kirby

As fearmongering election campaign ads go, it's hard to top the "Chinese Professor," which flickered across the Internet just before Americans went to the polls last fall. In the spot, set in a sleek Beijing lecture hall 20 years in the future, a sharply dressed Chinese instructor explains to his Asian students why previous empires, from Ancient Greece to the U.S.A., turned to dust. The Americans failed because they lost sight of their principles, he says in Mandarin, with subtitles. They overspent, overtaxed and over–borrowed. "Of course, we owned most of their debt," he cackles, as the class joins in. "So now they work for us."

If you missed the ad, put out by the conservative group Citizens Against Government Waste, no matter. The notion that China's headed for superpower status at the expense of the United States has been repeated so often that many in the West now take it as an undisputable fact. With breathless enthusiasm economists predict China's red–hot economy will power past America's to become the world's largest in just 15 years. Bookstore shelves are filled with titles like China's Ascent and When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order, in which author Martin Jacques argues America is in denial about the fact China is its "usurper and ultimate replacement." Hollywood's even getting in on the act with a remake of the 1980s Cold War paranoia flickRed Dawn, in which Soviet soldiers overran a Midwest American town. Only this time, the marauders are Chinese. Having conquered American capitalism, the People's Liberation Army is coming for America's Capitol, too.

It's easy to find evidence that ostensibly confirms China's unstoppable ascent. Try this: Go to Google News and type in "China," along with any laudatory adjective, then add the suffix "–est." Do so, and you'll learn that China is building the world's third–tallest skyscraper ("China usurps U.S. in skyscrapers"); it produces the smartest children ("Chinese students outperform U.S. in recent test") and now boasts of the world's fastest trains ("China's fastest train leaves rest of world behind"). This super–country narrative has become so pervasive that the majority of Americans take it for granted. At the end of last year, pollsters for the Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor asked Americans which country "has the strongest economy in the world today." Half picked China, and just one in five selected the United States.

Yet for all the talk of China's economic might, skeptics are gathering force. Over the past year, a growing number of analysts and investors have argued all is not as it appears in the Middle Kingdom. What they see instead is a government desperately priming the pump to maintain an illusion of prosperity. Far from an economic powerhouse, China's economy remains a middleweight when its vast number of poor people is taken into account — the country's per capita GDP is only around US$4,500, 1/10th that of the U.S. And as a share of the economy, household incomes have actually declined over the past decade. With the domestic economy too weak to maintain China's high growth rates, and with exports to the West hurting, the Communist Party in Beijing and its regional offshoots have come to rely heavily on cheap exports and debt–fuelled investment to sustain China's fragile fortunes. And the problems will only get worse as China's massive population starts to age rapidly over the next decade. Investors in the West have become too focused on China's growth and interpret it as a sign of a healthy economy. But the country only maintains that growth rate because it doesn't worry about being profitable. As Jim Chanos, a U.S. hedge fund manager and China skeptic famously put it early last year, China "is on a treadmill to hell."

China is trying to transform itself from an agrarian backwater into a modern industrial power in the span of a single generation — a feat that took the West a century of ups and downs, harsh lessons and hard–won victories. Within its borders, China's dash for modernity has sparked a dangerous property bubble, led to astonishing overcapacity and generated enough toxic debt to put even a U.S. mortgage banker to shame. But the country's super–charged growth has also profoundly driven world events. Its massive stockpiles of foreign reserves and low–cost factories have suppressed long–term interest rates, kept global inflation in check and driven a boom in commodities that has benefited Canada immensely. In the same way, our interconnected economies mean a slowdown in China is likely to export pain to the rest of the world in ways we've never seen before.

So forget the collapse of the Greek or Irish economies, which grab headlines but ultimately matter little to the world economy. Investors are completely unprepared for the shock and upheaval that will come should China fail, and Canada in particular would feel the pain.

In a country that's often been called the world's factory floor, China's Pearl River Delta is the industrial engine that keeps the assembly lines running. So, when America's economy tanked in 2008, and western consumers stopped buying TVs and sneakers, the region was hit hard. Exports to the U.S. and the rest of the world plunged, and more than 100,000 factories shut their doors, throwing millions of Chinese labourers out of work. As protests broke out, officials worried the backlash could escalate. Their fears were justified. When workers at a steel mill in Dongguan rioted after learning about a new round of job losses, the mob beat a senior manager to death.

Faced with crisis, China's leaders swung into action with a mammoth stimulus plan. In November 2008, Beijing unveiled a US$600–billion rescue effort that, relative to GDP, was several times larger than what America put in place. More important, the government ordered its state–run banks to crank up lending, especially to residential and commercial developers. The banks promptly obliged, shovelling more than US$1.5 trillion of loans out the door last year, an amount equal to 30% of the country's economy. It worked better than the Chinese could have ever hoped — on paper at least. In the face of a global recession, China's GDP rocketed 8.9% in 2009. Soon, analysts were crediting Beijing with saving the global economy. The sharp rebound in oil and other commodity prices that came with China's renewed vigour certainly pulled Canada out of the pit.

To many, the episode was yet another sign of China's economic prowess. Anthony Bolton, a well–known British fund manager who moved to China to establish a special fund dedicated to the country, hailed "the effectiveness of the centrally run economy."

Instead, the crisis and the government's response exposed just how fragile China's economy has become. The problem is simple — for all the hype around China's emerging middle class, Chinese shoppers contribute very little to the country's fortunes. In any economy, domestic consumption typically makes up roughly 55% to 65% of GDP. The remainder is typically split between exports and investment. Not so in China. Over the past decade, domestic consumption's share of the economy has plunged from around half to a miniscule 35%, the lowest of any significant economy ever, according to Michael Pettis, a finance professor at Peking University whose online writings have become must–reads for those eager to divine what's really going on in China.

With almost nothing in the way of health insurance, welfare or a social safety net for retirement, Chinese feel pressure to save every penny they earn. At the same time, official policies that favour Chinese banks and exporters — namely artificially low interest rates, an undervalued yuan and cheap labour — come at the expense of household savers. This isn't to say consumers aren't spending more than they did a decade ago. A stroll through the busy retail shops along Shanghai's Nanjing Road, or hours spent in a Beijing traffic jam amid shiny Black Audis, will attest to that. It's just that the red–hot growth that has earned China its miracle status was overwhelmingly the result of exports and investment.

But the days of China being able to fall back on cheap exports is coming to an end, say experts. It's not just that consumers in developed countries have retrenched, though that's an immediate threat. China's policy of devaluing its currency to grab export market share from the West is now squarely in the crosshairs of politicians in the U.S. and Europe. "Unless Beijing shows real determination to move on the currency front, the likelihood of the U.S. slapping on a surcharge on China's imports in 2011 is high," Diana Choyleva, an analyst at Lombard Research in Hong Kong wrote in a report last fall. "The early 2010s could well turn out to mark the end of China's years of miraculous growth, with trend growth halving during this decade."

With the writing on the wall for China's export machine, officials have to scramble for an alternative way to juice the economy. So China has increasingly looked to investments in infrastructure and construction to keep Chinese workers employed. In 2009, the peak of China's stimulus campaign, fixed investments accounted for a whopping 95% of the country's GDP growth. Even last year, despite all the efforts by Beijing to rein in its stimulus efforts, investment in fixed assets was the fastest–growing segment of the economy. One report by Thomson Reuters suggested investment in fixed capital projects is "significantly above the levels that prevailed in Japan and the U.S. during their respective real estate bubbles."

Ironically, it is China's investment in these hard assets like airports, bridges, mines, railways and office towers that wow so many in the West. We look in awe at China's cities, with their shimmering skyscrapers, and the claim that another 10 New Yorks must be built over the next two decades to accommodate the country's surging middle class. With the West's infrastructure falling apart, we envy their vast network of high–speed railway lines — more extensive than in the rest of the world combined — never mind the 5,000 kilometres to be laid over the next two years alone. And while it can take years for cities in the West to decide whether or not to build a new airport, China is erecting terminals across the country at a rate of nearly 10 a year. Yet the glint from all that shiny metal and glass can easily obscure what's really going on. Traffic through many of the four–dozen terminals China has built in the past five years is a fraction of what was originally forecasted, according to an Los Angeles Times report. It's why Yasheng Huang, a professor at MIT and author of the book Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics, uses the term "Airportologists" to describe western pundits who draw sweeping conclusions about China's economy after passing through its massive terminals.

China's stellar GDP statistics may send western business leaders into raptures, but even the Chinese government doesn't believe them. In a diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks in December, Li Keqiang, executive vice–premier of China and a leading candidate to replace Premier Wen Jiabao, told a U.S. official China's GDP statistics are "man–made," and are "for reference only."

The fact is, says Vitaliy Katsenelson, director of research at Investment Management Associates in Denver, Colo., and a prominent China skeptic, China's frantic building boom over the past five years not only boosted GDP on paper and put millions to work but also produced a property bubble where neither investors nor developers are likely to ever recover their costs. "They already had a weak foundation, and on top of that you've had a government throwing enormous amounts of money at the economy in a chaotic way," he says. "This isn't going to end good."
9673  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Death to Apostates: Not a Perversion of Islam, but Islam on: March 10, 2011, 09:35:51 AM
http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/260155/death-apostates-not-perversion-islam-islam-andrew-c-mccarthy

February 19, 2011 4:00 A.M.
Death to Apostates: Not a Perversion of Islam, but Islam
The case of Said Musa shows why we cannot graft democracy onto Islamic societies.

   


On NRO Friday, Paul Marshall lamented the Obama administration’s fecklessness, in particular the president’s appalling silence in the face of the death sentence Said Musa may suffer for the crime of converting to Christianity. This is in Afghanistan, the nation for which our troops are fighting and dying — not to defeat our enemies, but to prop up the Islamic “democracy” we have spent a decade trying to forge at a cost of billions.

This shameful episode (and the certain recurrence of it) perfectly illustrates the folly of Islamic nation-building. The stubborn fact is that we have asked for just these sorts of atrocious outcomes. Ever since 2003, when the thrust of the War On Terror stopped being the defeat of America’s enemies and decisively shifted to nation-building, we have insisted — against history, law, language, and logic — that Islamic culture is perfectly compatible with and hospitable to Western-style democracy. It is not, it never has been, and it never will be.

This is not the first time an apostate in the new American-made Afghanistan has confronted the very real possibility of being put to death by the state. In 2006, a Christian convert named Abdul Rahman was tried for apostasy. The episode prompted a groundswell of international criticism. In the end, Abdul Rahman was whisked out of the country before his execution could be carried out. A fig leaf was placed over the mess: The prospect of execution had been rendered unjust by the (perfectly sane) defendant’s purported mental illness — after all, who in his right mind would convert from Islam?  His life was spared, but the Afghans never backed down from their insistence that a Muslim’s renunciation of Islam is a capital offense and that death is the mandated sentence.

They are right. Under the construction of sharia adopted by the Afghan constitution (namely Hanafi, one of Islam’s classical schools of jurisprudence), apostasy is the gravest offense a Muslim can commit. It is considered treason from the Muslim ummah. The penalty for that is death.

This is the dictate of Mohammed himself. One relevant hadith (from the authoritative Bukhari collection, No. 9.83.17) quotes the prophet as follows: “A Muslim . . . may not be killed except for three reasons: as punishment for murder, for adultery, or for apostasy.” It is true that the hadith says “may,” not “must,” and there is in fact some squabbling among sharia scholars about whether ostracism could be a sufficient sentence, at least if the apostasy is kept secret. Alas, the “may” hadith is not the prophet’s only directive on the matter. There is also No. 9.84.57: “Whoever changes his Islamic religion, then kill him.” That is fairly clear, wouldn’t you say? And as a result, mainstream Islamic scholarship holds that apostasy, certainly once it is publicly revealed, warrants the death penalty.

Having hailed the Afghan constitution as the start of a democratic tsunami, the startled Bush administration made all the predictable arguments against Abdul Rahman’s apostasy prosecution. Diplomats and nation-building enthusiasts pointed in panic at the vague, lofty language injected into the Afghan constitution to obscure Islamic law’s harsh reality — spoons full of sugar that had helped the sharia go down. The constitution assures religious freedom, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice maintained. It cites the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and even specifies that non-Muslims are free to perform their religious rites.

Read the fine print. It actually qualifies that all purported guarantees of personal and religious liberty are subject to Islamic law and Afghanistan’s commitment to being an Islamic state. We were supposed to celebrate this, just as the State Department did, because Islam is the “religion of peace” whose principles are just like ours — that’s why it was so ready for democracy.

It wasn’t so. Sharia is very different from Western law, and it couldn’t care less what the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has to say on the matter of apostasy. Nor do the authoritative scholars at al-Azhar University in Cairo give a hoot that their straightforward interpretation of sharia’s apostasy principles upsets would-be Muslim reformers like Zuhdi Jasser. We may look at Dr. Jasser as a hero — I do — but at al-Azhar, the sharia scholars would point out that he is merely a doctor of medicine, not of Islamic jurisprudence.

The constitution that the State Department bragged about helping the new Afghan “democracy” draft established Islam as the state religion and installed sharia as a principal source of law. That constitution therefore fully supports the state killing of apostates. Case closed.

The purpose of real democracy, meaning Western republican democracy, is to promote individual liberty, the engine of human prosperity. No nation that establishes a state religion, installs its totalitarian legal code, and hence denies its citizens freedom of conscience, can ever be a democracy — no matter how many “free” elections it holds. Afghanistan is not a democracy. It is an Islamic sharia state.
9674  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / More muslim "Human rights" issues on: March 10, 2011, 09:28:25 AM
**Muslims killing people for being non-muslim? Shocking!

http://www.aina.org/news/201103921279.htm

Washington -- International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that the Ethiopian government has sent military forces to put down the anti-Christian violence perpetrated by Muslims in Asendabo and the surrounding areas. Government officials have arrested several Muslims suspected of attacking Christians in the area.

When the attacks began on March 2, Muslims killed one Christian, wounded several others, burned down 55 churches, 30 Christian homes, a Bible school, a Christian orphanage, and a church office. More than 3,000 Christians are now displaced because of the violence.

The violence started after Muslims falsely accused Christians of desecrating the Qur'an. The local police and government officials did nothing to stop the attackers. Federal government officials have now stepped in and removed the local Muslim administrator for his failure to protect Christians.


A Christian leader told ICC that the attacks were organized by members of Kwarej, a radical Islamic group that fights to establish an Islamic state in Ethiopia. The Muslim attackers came from different parts of Ethiopia, including the Somali region.

"It's very sad that a radical Muslim group destabilizes the unity of Ethiopian Christians and Muslims. We are devastated by the attacks and we urge all concerned people to help us. We call upon Ethiopian officials to prevent similar attacks from happening in the future," the church leader added.

Asendabo is a town located in Jimma Zone, Western Ethiopia. Western Ethiopia was the scene of violent attacks against Christians in 2006 when Muslims killed more than a dozen Christians and burned down several churches. Thousands of Christians have been forced to leave their homes as a result of these attacks.

"Islamic radicals are fighting to establish an Islamic state in Christian majority Ethiopia. Unfortunately, the Christians have borne the brunt of the Islamic attacks. Christians will continue to be killed unless the government of Ethiopia starts taking serious measures to stop Islamists from carrying out similar attacks. We urge all the concerned to put pressure on Ethiopia to protect its citizens," said Jonathan Racho, ICC's Regional Manager for Africa.
9675  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: March 10, 2011, 09:22:56 AM
Counterterrorism and intelligence sources from the NYPD and FBI say law enforcement faces the same problem with the Mafia, drug cartels and the MS-13 gang.

"Criminals are criminals. It gets dicier because Muslim extremists wrap their work in religion, but the smokescreens, the silence and intimidation are similar," an FBI source said.

"What's different is the risk - the extent of the damage, the number of innocent people who can be hurt."

King has outraged many Muslim-Americans by convening hearings into homegrown radical Islamists and claiming the community has stonewalled terror investigations.

They say the Long Island Republican is on a witch hunt, and some critics have pointed out that he's gone to bat for members of the Irish Republican Army in the past.

He said his probe is no different than a hearing into the Mafia or another ethnicity-based group and that the U.S. must uncover the extent of jihadist recruitment on American soil.

As an example, he cited Queens-born terrorist Bryant Neal Vinas, who allegedly spoke at Long Island mosques about jihadist aspirations. No one told cops, and Vinas admitted to participating in Al Qaeda attacks on U.S. soldiers after his 2008 arrest in Pakistan.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/2011/03/08/2011-03-08_muslims_as_mum_as_any_other_group_say_fed_agents.html#ixzz1GD6tsZI8
9676  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: March 10, 2011, 09:16:23 AM
Why is it islam falls so short in terms of human rights? Why is it that even the heroic wall guard you mention would kill a member of his family for becoming another religion? Why is it that all the "Mainstream" muslim groups in the US, like CAIR are fronts for the Muslim Brotherhood?

Huh?

You obviously read my reply/answered with an agenda, I am used to this. So, I just won't post here anymore-kinda sad really. Glad my kids live in Oregon, where bigots are few and far between...

Woof from Kunduz

So why can't you answer these simple questions?

Speaking of Oregon, wasn't that where a young muslim wanted to blow up a christmas tree lighting? Wasn't Oregon where Oussama Kassir wanted to set up a jihad training camp? Isn't Oregon where a group of muslims were arrested by the FBI in 2002 for wanting to wage war against the US? Wasn't John Allen Muhammad (DC Sniper) a member of the Oregon Nat'l Guard?

Lots of interesting things seem to go on with the "religion of peace" in Oregon.
9677  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: March 09, 2011, 10:35:06 PM
Why is it islam falls so short in terms of human rights? Why is it that even the heroic wall guard you mention would kill a member of his family for becoming another religion? Why is it that all the "Mainstream" muslim groups in the US, like CAIR are fronts for the Muslim Brotherhood?
9678  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Unions on: March 09, 2011, 07:52:11 PM
I don't know.
9679  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People on: March 09, 2011, 07:19:32 PM
This makes no sense. Exactly what intel would be gained from an extended operation like this???
9680  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant on: March 09, 2011, 03:48:00 PM
I don't remember, but he said the Greeks liked Obama!   evil

Same mad financial skillz!
9681  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / National Palestinian Radio on: March 09, 2011, 07:45:08 AM
http://hotair.com/archives/2011/03/08/npr-places-schiller-on-administrative-leave-over-okeefe-video/
 

NPR Stung!
9682  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Not going according to plan..... on: March 08, 2011, 05:32:08 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2011/03/08/meltdown-women-harassed-attacked-in-tahrir-square-during-international-womens-day-protests/

Not Jeffersonian.
9683  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Marriage and Family on: March 08, 2011, 05:04:32 PM
Vic,

Exactly what would he have to be "going through" to justify his behavior?
9684  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: March 08, 2011, 08:05:55 AM
http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2011-03-06/worldwide-gender-gap-means-more-bachelors-in-asia/

"No country for young men."

9685  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / "Says All Middle East Oil Will Be Cut Off To the West" on: March 07, 2011, 05:35:28 PM
BREAKING: Iranian Official Admits Aiding Hezbollah, Says All Middle East Oil Will Be Cut Off To the West

Sepah News (the house organ of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard) reports:

    On Wednesday, March 2nd, Commander of the Basij organization, Brigadier General Mohammad-Reza Naghdi spoke at a conference of specialist working groups of Basiji corps of engineers. “Seventy percent of the world’s fossil fuel reserve is under the feet of the soldiers of the Supreme Leadership and soon oil and gas fields belonging to Muslims, which is now in the hands of America will fall into the hands of the people; that will be the time when all those overlords will have sanctions put on them.” He added: “The enemy is heavily dependent on this energy and the events in the region has them quite agitated, this of course provides us with a hopeful future.”

    Naghdi added: “In combating the sanctions our engineers have achieved many impressive things which has clearly frustrated the enemy. And of course our engineers in the nuclear area were shining examples as they were faced with international powers which had colluded against us in preventing this project from going forward, but they did not succeed.”

    Naghdi admitted that the Basij militia was in fact instrumental in supporting Palestinians and the Hezbollah during the 22 day and 33 day wars and this has also sparked awareness among people around the world. He said: “Today Zionism is surrounded and it’s days are numbered. If we stay the course and carry out all plans as designed, the awareness that we have inspired will be the basis for the downfall of the overlords.’

    Underlining the importance of the changes taking place throughout the region and especially regarding Libya Naghdi claimed: “The Americans have installed their own agent there so that he resists; this then will be a reason for the U.S. to launch a military attack. They’ve always hated the idea of the oil being in control of Muslims, therefore they conspire against all those countries.” He added: “This military resistance in Libya resembles the atrocities committed by Saddam which in fact was America’s own set up as a part of creating the basis for total control over that country. Any action against Libya would be a stupider move than the stupidity of the invasion of Iraq. There are great men in that country and they will never allow their soil to be under American control for a single day. Should the U.S. attack any of the (liberated) countries, it will suffer a blow at the hand of all the nations of Islam.

    This decade is the decade of the people’s rule in our region, to push America out, destroy the Zionists; this of course adds to our responsibilities as we must protect and guarantee that all those people who have managed to free themselves, do not fall prey to the evil overlords.”

(Translation provided by “Reza Kahlili,” a pseudonym for an ex-CIA spy who requires anonymity for safety reasons. A Time to Betray, his book about his double life as a CIA agent in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, was published by Simon & Schuster on April 6.)
9686  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing Crisis Explained and Questions Answered on: March 07, 2011, 05:00:07 PM
FWIW, I think that's exactly the situation.
9687  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing Crisis Explained and Questions Answered on: March 07, 2011, 12:02:55 PM
Hey, thanks for lending your expertise.

Question: It is my belief that the market has a long way to go before we find the real bottom. Am I right or wrong in this?
9688  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: March 06, 2011, 06:52:00 PM
Loving Ya's analysis.  grin
9689  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Foreign Policy on: March 06, 2011, 03:12:04 PM
The concept of natural rights is utterly incompatible with islamic theology.
9690  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Islamic tolerance alert! on: March 06, 2011, 09:31:53 AM
http://www.aina.org/news/20110304222016.htm

(AINA) -- A mob of nearly four thousand Muslims has attacked Coptic homes this evening in the village of Soul, Atfif in Helwan Governorate, 30 kilometers from Cairo, and torched the Church of St. Mina and St. George. There are conflicting reports about the whereabouts of the Church pastor Father Yosha and three deacons who were at church; some say they died in the fire and some say they are being held captive by the Muslims inside the church.

Witnesses report the mob prevented the fire brigade from entering the village. The army, which has been stationed for the last two days in the village of Bromil, 7 kilometers from Soul, initially refused to go into Soul, according to the officer in charge. When the army finally sent three tanks to the village, Muslim elders sent them away, saying that everything was "in order now."

A curfew has been imposed on the 12,000 Christians in the village.

This incident was triggered by a relationship between 40-year-old Copt Ashraf Iskander and a Muslim woman. Yesterday a "reconciliation" meeting was arranged between the relevant Coptic and Muslim families and together with the Muslim elders it was decided that Ashraf Iskander would have to leave the village because Muslims torched his house.

The father of the Muslim woman was killed by his cousin because he did not kill his daughter to preserve the family's honor, which led the woman's brother to avenge the death of his father by killing the cousin. The village Muslims blamed the Christians.

The Muslim mob attacked the church, exploding 5-6 gas cylinders inside the church, pulled down the cross and the domes and burnt everything inside. Activist Ramy Kamel of Katibatibia Coptic advocacy called US-based Coptic Hope Sat TV and sent an SOS on behalf of the Copts in Soul village, as they are presently being attacked by the mob. He also said that no one is able to contact the priest and the deacons inside the burning church and there is no answer from their mobile phones.

Coptic activist Wagih Yacoub reported the mob has broken into Coptic homes and has called on Copts to leave the village. "Terrorized Copts have fled and some hid in homes of Muslim neighbors," he added.

Witnesses said the mob chanted "Allahu Akbar" and vowed to conduct their morning prayers on the church plot after razing it.

By Mary Abdelmassih
9691  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: March 06, 2011, 09:20:43 AM
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-5835831-503544.html

Nine years ago, former Arkansas governor and 2008 GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee commuted the prison sentence of Maurice Clemmons, the man being sought by police in connection with the weekend murder of four police officers in Washington.

Huckabee's decision to commute Clemmons' sentence came "over the protests of prosecutors," according to the Seattle Times, which quotes an Arkansas prosecutor saying, "This is the day I've been dreading for a long time."

Huckabee distanced himself from Clemmons in a statement last night, writing that if Clemmons is found responsible for the murders, "it will be the result of a series of failures in the criminal justice system in both Arkansas and Washington State." Here's more from the statement:

    He was recommended for and received a commutation of his original sentence from 1990. This commutation made him parole eligible and he was then was paroled by the parole board once they determined he met the conditions at that time. He was arrested later for parole violation and taken back to prison to serve his full term, but prosecutors dropped the charges that would have held him. It appears that he has continued to have a string of criminal and psychotic behavior but was not kept incarcerated by either state.

4620389Clemmons has a long criminal history that reportedly includes at least 13 felony convictions, and most recently had been in jail on charges of child rape. According to the Times, he was sentenced to 60 years in prison in 1990 for burglary and theft, when he was 18 years old; he had already been serving a 48 year prison sentence at the time, and faced another possible 95 years behind bars on separate charges. Huckabee reportedly commuted that sentence, pointing to the fact that Clemmons was just a teenager.

This is not the first time Huckabee, who is widely believed to be considering another presidential run, has faced questions tied to his intervention on behalf of a prisoner.

In 1985, a man named Wayne DuMond was convicted of the rape of a 17-year-old girl with a connection to then-Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton. DuMond's sentence was set at life in prison, plus 20 years. In 1992, Clinton's successor in the Arkansas governor's mansion, Jim Guy Tucker, reduced that sentence to 39 years, making DuMond eligible for parole.

When Huckabee became governor in 1996, he expressed doubts about DuMond's guilt and said he was considering commuting his sentence to time served. After the victim and her supporters protested, Huckabee decided against commutation.

But in 1997, according to the Kansas City Star, Huckabee wrote a letter to DuMond saying "my desire is that you be released from prison." Less than a year later, DuMond was granted parole. He was later arrested for sexually assaulting and murder and was the leading suspect in a second rape and murder.

Huckabee's office denied that the governor played a role in the parole board's decision, but there was evidence to contradict that claim.

In 2007, Huckabee told CNN, "For people to now politicize these deaths and to try to make a political case out of it, rather than to simply understand that a system failed and that we ought to extend our grief and heartfelt sorrow to these families, I just regret that politics is reduced to that."
9692  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: March 06, 2011, 08:22:27 AM
http://patterico.com/2009/11/29/mike-huckabee-commuted-washington-murder-suspect/

11/29/2009
Mike Huckabee Commuted Washington Murder Suspect’s Prison Sentence
Filed under: Crime,Politics — DRJ @ 8:17 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The suspect in this morning’s murder of 4 Washington State police officers had his prison sentence commuted by Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee:

    “Maurice Clemmons, the 37-year-old Tacoma man being sought for questioning in the killing this morning of four Lakewood police officers, has a long criminal record punctuated by violence, erratic behavior and concerns about his mental health.

    Nine years ago, then-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee granted clemency to Clemmons, commuting his lengthy prison sentence over the protests of prosecutors.

    “This is the day I’ve been dreading for a long time,” Larry Jegley, prosecuting attorney for Arkansas’ Pulaski County said tonight when informed that Clemmons was being sought for questioning in connection with the killings.”

I think you can throw out those “Huckabee 2012″ bumper stickers. The Washington officials have some explaining to do, too.
9693  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: March 05, 2011, 08:22:42 PM
The above are four reasons I'll never vote for Huckabee for anything.
9694  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: March 05, 2011, 08:21:25 PM


Officer Gregory James Richards
Lakewood Police Department
Washington
End of Watch: Sunday, November 29, 2009

Biographical Info
Age: 42
Tour of Duty: 8 years
Badge Number: 135

Incident Details
Cause of Death: Gunfire
Date of Incident: Sunday, November 29, 2009
Weapon Used: Officer's handgun
Suspect Info: Shot and killed

Officer Greg Richards, Sergeant Mark Renninger, Officer Tina Griswold, and Officer Ronald Owens were shot and killed in an ambush attack while sitting inside a coffee shop in Parkland.

All four officers had just finished a call and went to the coffee shop to complete paperwork. Sergeant Renninger, Officer Owens and Officer Griswald were seated at a table, and Officer Richards was in line waiting to order coffee. The suspect entered the shop, walked directly over to the table where the three officers were sitting, drew a 9 mm handgun and shot Officer Griswald, killing her. The suspect then shot Sergeant Renninger, killing him.

After shooting the two officers, the suspect’s weapon jammed and he became involved in a physical fight with Officer Owens. During the struggle, the suspect drew a second weapon, a .38 caliber revolver and shot and killed Officer Owens. Officer Richards, hearing the shots, moved toward the suspect and became involved in physical fight with him. During the struggle, Officer Richards was able to shoot the suspect once in the torso, before the suspect was able to gain control of his weapon. The suspect then shot Officer Richards, killing him.

The suspect fled the location, prompting a two day manhunt. He was shot and killed by a Seattle police officer after the officer observed him near a stolen car. The officer attempted to take the suspect into custody, but the suspect refused to follow commands and attempted to flee, prompting the officer to fatally shoot him.

Officer Richards had served with the Lakewood Police Department for five years and had a total of eight years of law enforcement service. He is survived by his wife and three children.
9695  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: March 05, 2011, 08:20:16 PM


Officer Ronald Wilbur Owens II
Lakewood Police Department
Washington
End of Watch: Sunday, November 29, 2009

Biographical Info
Age: 37
Tour of Duty: 12 years
Badge Number: 121

Incident Details
Cause of Death: Gunfire
Date of Incident: Sunday, November 29, 2009
Weapon Used: Handgun; .38 caliber
Suspect Info: Shot and killed

Officer Ronald Owens, Sergeant Mark Renninger, Officer Tina Griswold, and Officer Greg Richards were shot and killed in an ambush style attack while sitting inside a coffee shop in Parkland.

All four officers had just finished a call and went to the coffee shop to complete paperwork. Sergeant Renninger, Officer Owens and Officer Griswald were seated at a table, and Officer Richards was in line waiting to order coffee. The suspect entered the shop, walked directly over to the table where the three officers were sitting, drew a 9 mm handgun and shot Officer Griswald, killing her. The suspect then shot Sergeant Renninger, killing him.

After shooting the two officers, the suspect’s weapon jammed and he became involved in a physical fight with Officer Owens. During the struggle, the suspect drew a second weapon, a .38 caliber revolver and shot and killed Officer Owens. Officer Richards, hearing the shots, moved toward the suspect and became involved in physical fight with him. During the struggle, Officer Richards was able to shoot the suspect once in the torso, before the suspect was able to gain control of his weapon. The suspect then shot Officer Richards, killing him.

The suspect fled the location, prompting a two day manhunt. He was shot and killed by a Seattle police officer after the officer observed him near a stolen car. The officer attempted to take the suspect into custody, but the suspect refused to follow commands and attempted to flee, prompting the officer to fatally shoot him.

Officer Owens had served with the Lakewood Police Department for five years and had a total of twelve years of law enforcement service. He is survived by his daughter.
9696  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: March 05, 2011, 08:18:42 PM


Sergeant Mark Joseph Renninger
Lakewood Police Department
Washington
End of Watch: Sunday, November 29, 2009

Biographical Info
Age: 39
Tour of Duty: 13 years
Badge Number: 23

Incident Details
Cause of Death: Gunfire
Date of Incident: Sunday, November 29, 2009
Weapon Used: Handgun; 9 mm
Suspect Info: Shot and killed

Sergeant Mark Renninger, Officer Tina Griswold, Officer Greg Richards, and Officer Ronald Owens were shot and killed in an ambush style attack while sitting in a coffee shop in Parkland.

All four officers had just finished a call and went to the coffee shop to complete paperwork. Sergeant Renninger, Officer Owens and Officer Griswald were seated at a table, and Officer Richards was in line waiting to order coffee. The suspect entered the shop, walked directly over to the table where the three officers were sitting, drew a 9 mm handgun and shot Officer Griswald, killing her. The suspect then shot Sergeant Renninger, killing him.

After shooting the two officers, the suspect’s weapon jammed and he became involved in a physical fight with Officer Owens. During the struggle, the suspect drew a second weapon, a .38 caliber revolver and shot and killed Officer Owens. Officer Richards, hearing the shots, moved toward the suspect and became involved in physical fight with him. During the struggle, Officer Richards was able to shoot the suspect once in the torso, before the suspect was able to gain control of his weapon. The suspect then shot Officer Richards, killing him.

The suspect fled the location, prompting a two day manhunt. He was shot and killed by a Seattle police officer after the officer observed him near a stolen car. The officer attempted to take the suspect into custody, but the suspect refused to follow commands and attempted to flee, prompting the officer to fatally shoot him.

Sergeant Renninger had 13 years of law enforcement experience, five with the Lakewood Police Department and eight with the Tukwila Police Department. He is survived by his wife and three children.
9697  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: March 05, 2011, 08:17:19 PM


Officer Tina G. Griswold
Lakewood Police Department
Washington
End of Watch: Sunday, November 29, 2009

Biographical Info
Age: 40
Tour of Duty: 14 years
Badge Number: 101

Incident Details
Cause of Death: Gunfire
Date of Incident: Sunday, November 29, 2009
Weapon Used: Handgun; 9 mm
Suspect Info: Shot and killed

Officer Tina Griswold, Sergeant Mark Renninger, Officer Greg Richards, and Officer Ronald Owens were shot and killed in an ambush style attack while sitting inside a coffee shop in Parkland.

All four officers had just finished a call and went to the coffee shop to complete paperwork. Sergeant Renninger, Officer Owens and Officer Griswald were seated at a table, and Officer Richards was in line waiting to order coffee. The suspect entered the shop, walked directly over to the table where the three officers were sitting, drew a 9 mm handgun and shot Officer Griswald, killing her. The suspect then shot Sergeant Renninger, killing him.

After shooting the two officers, the suspect’s weapon jammed and he became involved in a physical fight with Officer Owens. During the struggle, the suspect drew a second weapon, a .38 caliber revolver and shot and killed Officer Owens. Officer Richards, hearing the shots, moved toward the suspect and became involved in physical fight with him. During the struggle, Officer Richards was able to shoot the suspect once in the torso, before the suspect was able to gain control of his weapon. The suspect then shot Officer Richards, killing him.

The suspect fled the location, prompting a two day manhunt. He was shot and killed by a Seattle police officer after the officer observed him near a stolen car. The officer attempted to take the suspect into custody, but the suspect refused to follow commands and attempted to flee, prompting the officer to fatally shoot him.

Officer Griswold had served with the Lakewood Police Department for five years and had a total of fourteen years of law enforcement service. She is survived by her husband and two children.
9698  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / "Nothing to see here" on: March 05, 2011, 05:37:45 PM
http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/261379/arid-uka-s-gratitude-mark-steyn?page=1

March 5, 2011 7:00 A.M.
Arid Uka’s Gratitude
Multiculturalism says he’s as German as Helmut and Franz. Except he’s not.


According to Bismarck’s best-known maxim on Europe’s most troublesome region, the Balkans are not worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier. Americans could be forgiven for harboring similar sentiments after the murder of two U.S. airmen in Germany by a Kosovar Muslim.

Remember Kosovo? Me neither. But it was big at the time, launched by Bill Clinton in the wake of his Monica difficulties: Make war, not love, as the boomers advise. So Clinton did — and without any pesky U.N. resolutions, or even the pretense of seeking them. Instead, he and Tony Blair and even Jacques Chirac just cried “Bombs away!” and got on with it. And the Left didn’t mind at all —  because, for a modern Western nation, war is only legitimate if you have no conceivable national interest in whatever war you’re waging. Unlike Iraq and all its supposed “blood for oil,” in Kosovo no one remembers why we went in, what the hell the point of it was, or which side were the good guys. (Answer: Neither.) The principal rationale advanced by Clinton and Blair was that there was no rationale. This was what they called “liberal interventionism,” which boils down to: The fact that we have no reason to get into it justifies our getting into it.

A decade on, Kosovo is a sorta sovereign state, and in Frankfurt a young airport employee is so grateful for what America did for his people that he guns down U.S. servicemen while yelling “Allahu akbar!” The strange shrunken spectator who serves as president of the United States, offering what he called “a few words about the tragic event that took place,” announced that he was “saddened,” and expressed his “gratitude for the service of those who were lost” and would “spare no effort” to “work with the German authorities” but it was a “stark reminder” of the “extraordinary sacrifices that our men and women in uniform are making . . . ”

The passivity of these remarks is very telling. Men and women “in uniform” (which it’s not clear these airmen were even wearing) understand they may be called upon to make “extraordinary sacrifices” in battle. They do not expect to be “lost” on the shuttle bus at the hands of a civilian employee at a passenger air terminal in an allied nation. But then I don’t suppose their comrades expected to be “lost” at the hands of an army major at Fort Hood, to cite the last “tragic event” that “took place” — which seems to be the president’s preferred euphemism for a guy opening fire while screaming “Allahu akbar!” But relax, this fellow in Frankfurt was most likely a “lone wolf” (as Sen. Chuck Schumer described the Times Square bomber) or an “isolated extremist” (as the president described the Christmas Day Pantybomber). There are so many of these “lone wolves” and “isolated extremists” you may occasionally wonder whether they’ve all gotten together and joined Local 473 of the Amalgamated Union of Lone Wolves and Isolated Extremists, but don’t worry about it: As any Homeland Security official can tell you, “Allahu akbar” is Arabic for “Nothing to see here.”
9699  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Hezbollah-Mex narco connection? on: March 05, 2011, 03:50:47 PM

Only thing new there is the media attention.
9700  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Decline and Fall of the US Navy on: March 05, 2011, 09:24:53 AM
http://formerspook.blogspot.com/2011/03/todays-reading-assignment.html


Wednesday, March 02, 2011
Today's Reading Assignment

..Mark Helprin, writing in today's edition of The Wall Street Journal, on the continued decline of our Navy--and the potential consequences. Among his observations:

With the loss of a large number of important bases world-wide, if and when the U.S. projects military power it must do so most of the time from its own territory or the sea. Immune to political cross-currents, economically able to cover multiple areas, hypoallergenic to restive populations and safe from insurgencies, fleets are instruments of undeniable utility in support of allies and response to aggression. Forty percent of the world's population lives within range of modern naval gunfire, and more than two-thirds within easy reach of carrier aircraft. Nothing is better or safer than naval power and presence to preserve the often fragile reticence among nations, to protect American interests and those of our allies, and to prevent the wars attendant to imbalances of power and unrestrained adventurism.

And yet the fleet has been made to wither even in time of war. We have the smallest navy in almost a century, declining in the past 50 years to 286 from 1,000 principal combatants. Apologists may cite typical postwar diminutions, but the ongoing 17% reduction from 1998 to the present applies to a navy that unlike its wartime predecessors was not previously built up. These are reductions upon reductions. Nor can there be comfort in the fact that modern ships are more capable, for so are the ships of potential opponents. And even if the capacity of a whole navy could be packed into a small number of super ships, they could be in only a limited number of places at a time, and the loss of just a few of them would be catastrophic.

[snip]

As China's navy rises and ours declines, not that far in the future the trajectories will cross. Rather than face this, we seduce ourselves with redefinitions such as the vogue concept that we can block with relative ease the straits through which the strategic materials upon which China depends must transit. But in one blink this would move us from the canonical British/American control of the sea to the insurgent model of lesser navies such as Germany's in World Wars I and II and the Soviet Union's in the Cold War. If we cast ourselves as insurgents, China will be driven even faster to construct a navy that can dominate the oceans, a complete reversal of fortune.

As we noted in a previous post, signs of our naval decline were on display in recent weeks, as the Libyan crisis began to unfold. Instead of sending a warship to rescue American citizens from that country (as the British did), the U.S. hired a commercial ferry. One reason: there was only one U.S. warship in the Mediterranean at the time, although a carrier battle group and an amphibious group were only three days away, in the Red Sea. Those assets have since re-deployed to the Med.

We neglect our Navy at our own peril. A few years back, the Royal Navy, which ruled the waves for centuries, held a review of the fleet. The Queen was there, along with most of Britain's senior defense officials. Wags said the only no-show was the British fleet; the largest vessel that passed in review that day as an oiler.

America's Navy hasn't reached that point--yet. But in an era when federal spending must be reduced, it is very easy to say we have "no peer competitors" (to use Dr. Gates's phrase) and use that as an excuse to downsize the military. A modern Navy is expensive to build and expensive to operate. Yet, it represents an essential investment, not only for the United States but for the west as a whole.

Did we mention that China is currently building five fleet carriers which will join the PLAN by 2020? Beijing is building a Navy for the future, while ours continues to decline. We've been down this road before (think Japan in the 1930s) and paid dearly for our mistakes. The next time, we may not be as lucky.
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