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9701  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Waiting for the murders and riots..... on: December 17, 2008, 10:02:12 PM
Where are my hordes of violent christians? Where are the death threats? Why the "riot gap"?
9702  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Dr. Jessica Fridrich on: December 17, 2008, 09:43:27 PM
http://www.city-journal.org/html/15_2_boys_girls.html

Can We Make Boys and Girls Alike?
Stanley Kurtz   

When Lawrence Summers suggested that biology might be partially responsible for the relative rarity of female mathematics professors, he was provoking an academic giant. Powerful as the president of Harvard may be, his influence is as nothing compared with that of the behemoth that is the women’s studies movement. The field of women’s studies originated in the heady sixties and grew exponentially through the seventies and eighties. By the mid-nineties, when Daphne Patai and Noretta Koertge published Professing Feminism, their searing critique of the field, more than 600 undergraduate and several dozen graduate women’s studies programs were up and running at colleges and universities across the country.

The intellectual cornerstone of women’s studies is “gender,” the notion that differences between men and women are not rooted in biology, as Summers had hypothesized some might be, but are cultural artifacts, inculcated by an oppressive patriarchal society. Precisely because the gender idea builds a specific (radical) political orientation into the field, Patai and Koertge point out, women’s studies proved intellectually suspect from the start. You can read that radical politics right in the National Women’s Studies Association constitution: “Women’s Studies . . . is equipping women to transform the world to one that will be free of all oppression . . . [and is] a force which furthers the realization of feminist aims.” True justice for these radical feminists means overcoming gender and establishing an androgynous society. So when Summers asserted that something besides artificial cultural roles—something besides “gender”—might account for the distinct positions of men and women in society, he was undermining the intellectual and political foundation of the entire women’s studies establishment.

The alternatives to feminist orthodoxy don’t end with Summers-style invocations of biology as destiny. Take psychiatrist Leonard Sax’s new book, Why Gender Matters: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know About the Emerging Science of Sex Differences, for example. Sax begins by arguing that variations in how boys and girls learn result from brain biology. But, unlike many believers in hardwired sex differences, he goes on to argue that we can triumph over biology through single-sex education. If we teach boys and girls separately and in sync with their biologically based learning styles, he claims, they will perform equally well in all academics, including math.

There’s also a fourth possible view on the relations between sex and success—one that no one has systematically articulated to date. If those who assert biological differences between the sexes disagree about whether we can overcome them, the same might apply to those who assert the power of cultural differences. Even if we do provisionally hold that virtually all differences between men and women are cultural, might it not also be true that those differences are impossible to overcome? If so, it wouldn’t be “gender” but the feminist effort to eliminate it that is truly oppressive. This fourth view suggests that the very same cultural forces that make feminists desire androgyny may actually prevent us from achieving it. The cultural sources of “gender” difference, properly understood, would then inform us not that our gender identities are infinitely malleable but that they’re effectively impossible to change.

Sociologists have thought long and hard about the cultural “reproduction of society”—the transmission of deeply held cultural attitudes across the generations. Some social thinkers focus on the conscious transmission of cultural messages through religion and custom, while others highlight the influence of deeper social structures, such as economic organization or family forms. The most sophisticated feminist theories of gender—those that offer the most plausible alternatives to biological explanations—take the latter view. To explain the reproduction of gender differences, they zero in on family structure, especially during the first months and years of life, to a time when the way we care for children is far more important than the words we speak.

A case in point is the work of psychoanalytic sociologist Nancy Chodorow, a women’s studies pioneer who gives flesh to a radically “cultural constructivist” idea of gender. Nearly every feminist plan for engineering a new, androgynous society—from the “egalitarian feminism” of political theorist Susan Okin to the “difference feminism” of developmental psychologist Carol Gilligan—offers a variation on Chodorow’s themes, so it’s worth considering them closely.

Chodorow hypothesizes that the differences between the sexes simply derive from the contingent circumstance that women happen to be the primary caretakers of children. The special, “feminine” empathy required for rearing children, she suggests, becomes indelibly associated in our minds with people who just physically happen to be female. Identifying with their daughters, moreover, mothers tend to stay tightly connected with them for years, drawing them into a circle of mutual dependence and empathy that is the essence of femininity. So it’s not television ads or Barbie dolls that turn little girls into caring women, who themselves want to be mothers. It’s the emotional closeness of mothers and daughters that perpetuates the conventional female sexual role for generation after generation.

Boys learn their gender lessons early, too, Chodorow maintains. Since traditional mothers assume that boys are different from girls, early on they tend to encourage their sons to be independent. As mothers begin to push their sons out of the warm circle of empathy, boys get the message that people with Daddy’s kind of body should act differently from the way Mommy acts. If they want to be men, boys learn, they’ve got to overcome the qualities of emotional empathy of people like Mom. Masculinity thus finds its ground in a rejection of “feminine” qualities.

If we could just break the association between gender and child care, thinks Chodorow—if men as well as women could “mother” children—then we might vanquish gender. Men and women would still have a few distinct body parts, of course, but “masculine” and “feminine” personality differences would no longer have anything to do with bodily equipment. No one would assume that only people with a certain kind of body should be caring and empathic. The speed with which a child became independent would no longer depend on whether it was male or female. A new era would dawn.

Yet even if this understanding of gender as learned behavior is right, androgyny proponents quickly run into a problem. As Chodorow herself underscores, mothering by women produces women who themselves want to be mothers. The mechanism at work may be social and psychological, rather than biological, but it’s no less real for that. How, then, do you get women to mother less and men to mother more, especially when, according to Chodorow, everything in a typical male’s early rearing makes him wrong for the job?

Plato faced this dilemma when he drew up history’s first great plan for a perfectly just society in the Republic—a society that required, among other things, androgyny. His solution: send the members of the old, imperfect city into exile, so that the new, just city could be built from scratch. Otherwise, their recalcitrant mental habits would sabotage the creation of the new order. The fact is, attempts to force a society out of its most deeply held cultural values can be every bit as tyrannical as schemes to override our biological nature.

But what if a society actually existed—not just a theoretical utopia—whose inhabitants yearned for androgyny? What if a society existed whose citizens, motivated by a burning passion for perfect justice, committed themselves to a total reorganization of the traditional family system, with the express purpose of eliminating gender? Such a society has existed, of course: the early Israeli kibbutz movement. The movement wasn’t just a precursor to modern feminism, it’s important to add. The kibbutzniks were utopian socialists who wanted to construct a society where the ideal of “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” would govern the production and distribution of goods. It was as part of this larger socialist vision that the kibbutzniks set out to wipe away gender.

Kibbutz parents agreed to see their own children only two hours a day, and for the remaining 22 hours to surrender them to the collective, which would raise them androgynously (trying more to “masculinize” women than “feminize” men). Boys and girls would henceforth do the same kind of work and wear the same kind of clothes. Girls would learn to be soldiers, just like boys. Signs of “bourgeois” femininity—makeup, say—would now be taboo. As if they had stepped out of Plato’s Republic, the children would dress and undress together and even use the same showers.

The experiment collapsed within a generation, and a traditional family and gender system reasserted itself. Why? Those who believe in hardwired natural differences obviously would say that cultural conditioning couldn’t remove the sexes’ genetic programming. Indeed, in his now-infamous conference remarks, Lawrence Summers invoked the history of the kibbutz movement to help make his case that biology might partially explain sex roles.

Feminists, though, say that the kibbutz experiment didn’t get a fair chance. However committed to gender justice the kibbutzniks might have been, they were all traditional Europeans by upbringing. Somehow they must have transmitted the old cultural messages about gender to the children. Perhaps, too, those messages came from the larger Israeli society, from which it was impossible to shelter the boys and girls entirely. What’s more—and Chodorow would doubtless emphasize this fact—the kibbutz child-care nurses were all women. A 50/50 male-female mix might have done the trick.

Yet American androgyny proponents rarely refer to the kibbutz experiment—for understandable reasons. Its failure—even if you accept their own cultural explanation for it—puts a serious damper on the idea of androgynizing America. In the U.S., after all, there’s nothing remotely approaching the level of commitment to surmounting gender found among the early kibbutzniks. If androgyny proved unattainable in a small socialist society whose citizens self-selected for radical feminist convictions, how could one bring it about in contemporary America, where most people don’t want it? It would take a massive amount of coercion—unacceptable in any democracy—to get us even to the point where the kibbutzniks were when they failed to build a post-gender society.

The best account of the experiment’s breakdown, offered by anthropologist Melford Spiro in his books Gender and Culture and Children of the Kibbutz, points out an even bigger obstacle to androgyny. Ultimately, Spiro argues, the kibbutzniks didn’t succeed because the mothers wanted their kids back. They wanted to take care of their young children in the old-fashioned way, themselves. Two hours a day with their kids wasn’t enough. Even among the kibbutz founders, Spiro notes, women often agonized over the sacrifice of maternal pleasure that their egalitarian ideology demanded. He quotes from one mother’s autobiography: “Is it right to make the child return for the night to the children’s home, to say goodnight to it and send it back to sleep among the fifteen or twenty others? This parting from the child before sleep is so unjust!” Such feelings persisted and intensified, until collective pressure forced the kibbutz to let parents spend extra time with their kids.

Spiro holds that a pre-cultural form of maternal instinct subverted the kibbutz’s child-rearing approach. But a plausible cultural explanation is even more devastating to feminist hopes for a gender-free America. What really defeated androgyny on the kibbutz, this interpretation posits, was the profound tension built in to the very culture of modern democratic individualism that the kibbutzniks embraced—the tension between liberty and equality. As part of their insistence on their unique individuality, the kibbutzniks recognized the unabridgeable unique individuality of everyone else. Hence, their insistence on radical equality. Full equality meant that everyone had to treat everyone else the same way. Even the differences between my children and the neighbors’ kids would have to go. They pretended that their children belonged to the collective—“child of the kibbutz,” they would say, not “my child.”

But the other side of democratic individualism is the idea that each of us is uniquely individual. And inseparable from this individualism are certain aspirations—to express yourself personally, and to treat yourself, your possessions, and your family differently from how you treat everyone else. Child rearing doesn’t escape these aspirations. In fact, in modern societies people pay far greater attention to the unique characters of their children than people do in traditional, group-oriented societies. Lavishing intense, personal attention on their kids is a favorite way for modern individuals to exercise personal liberty.

Kibbutz mothers who hoped to treat everyone the same thus also wanted to express their individual characters by molding their own kids. The two goals—reflecting the two sides of modern democratic individualism—were finally incommensurable. Eventually, the desire for personal expression trumped the quest for radical equality. The parents decided to raise their own kids in their own way. No one ever got the chance to find out if further tinkering might have eliminated their children’s gender differences.

The culture of democratic individualism characterizes contemporary America, too, of course, and it still cuts two ways. Feminists insist on radical equality, and androgyny is the logical outcome of that drive for equality. Yet at the same time, especially since the baby boomers came on the scene, many American women have treated the experience of motherhood as an exercise in self-expression—indeed, they do so more fervently than the kibbutzniks.

A modern, self-expressive, committed-to-full-equality American mother might know that her child is getting quality care from a relative, a nanny, or a nursery, but she’ll often feel dissatisfied, since the care isn’t hers. Part of the point of being a parent, she’ll feel, is to express one’s unique personality through how one cares for and shapes one’s children. In practical terms, she’ll be reluctant to give up her kids long enough to break the cycle of “gender reproduction.”

True, the last 40 years have seen tremendous changes in the social roles of men and women—changes that could never have happened were there not significant flexibility in gender roles. From the standpoint of feminism’s ideal of androgyny, though, the shift is still very partial. Until the link between women and child rearing completely breaks down, neither corporate boardrooms nor Harvard professorships of mathematics will see numerical parity between men and women. In the meantime, in disproportionate numbers, at critical points in their careers, women will continue to choose mothering over professional work.

From either a biological or cultural point of view, then, the feminist project of androgyny is ultimately doomed. But that doesn’t mean that it can’t do harm in the meantime. In America, many boys are slipping behind in school; their sisters are significantly more likely to go on to college. Yet thanks largely to the influence of academic feminists, legal and educational resources still flow disproportionately to supposedly victimized girls. In the end, gender won’t disappear, whatever the mavens of women’s studies hope, but the careers of some bright young men probably will.
9703  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Dr. Jessica Fridrich on: December 17, 2008, 09:38:43 PM
So many tasteless jokes that could be made here. I'll just be nice for once....   grin
9704  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: December 16, 2008, 09:56:50 PM
Comment JDN?
9705  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Military Science on: December 15, 2008, 09:59:35 PM
"Terminator vs. haji"

I love it!
9706  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Waiting for the murders and riots..... on: December 15, 2008, 03:16:36 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2008/12/15/milk-carton-alert-millions-of-rampaging-christians-missing-after-playboy-maria-outrage/

Any predictions as to the death toll and/or riots from the fanatical christians often mentioned by the left here?
9707  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Its not going away , , ,but it should on: December 15, 2008, 01:36:15 PM
These seem like some fair points to me , , ,

"Anyone who relies solely on MSM outlets ... may not even know that Obama has, to this day, not authorized the state of Hawaii to release his Certificate of Live Birth -- the 'long form' -- to prove that he is a 'natural born citizen' (NBC), a Constitutional requirement of all presidents. Instead, We, the People, have online access to an Obama document known as a Certification of Live Birth, which, as Randall Hoven explains at American Thinker blog, is a computer-generated short form that is not even accepted by the Hawaii Department of Home Lands as adequate verification of Hawaiian identity. ... Further dimming the online document's Holy Grail aspects, it has been altered -- the certificate's number has been redacted -- which, according to a statement printed on the document, actually invalidates it. But that's not all. Back on Oct. 31, Hawaii's director of health, along with the registrar of Vital Statistics, released a statement verifying that the Hawaii's Department of Health has Obama's 'original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures.' Well, that's just great. But no matter how many times this statement from 'Hawaiian authorities' is cited as the NBC clincher, it doesn't prove a thing. It turns out, as Hoven reports, that Hawaii issues birth certificates even for babies born elsewhere, so simply having an original Hawaiian birth certificate 'on record' doesn't answer the key questions. Namely: What exactly does this original birth certificate say? And why doesn't Obama simply authorize the document's release and be done with the question? ... I think it is nothing less than good citizenship to seek to verify that Obama is a 'natural born citizen' since our elites, which include the major political parties and the MSM, failed to bring the matter to its extremely simple resolution long ago. But while important, this isn't just a story about whether we as Americans are right or wrong to ask our president-elect the question about his original birth certificate. It is about whether our president-elect is right or wrong not to answer it." --columnist Diana West

**Obama obviously had a passport to go to Indonesia as a child and Pakistan as a young man, meaning the US State Department found he was a US citizen long before he had any political connections, yes?**

http://travel.state.gov/passport/get/minors/minors_834.html?css=print

Special Requirements for Children Under Age 16


Before You Start, Please Note:
Minors under age 16 must apply in person
All children regardless of age, including newborns and infants, must have their own passport
There are special requirements for All Minors Ages 16 & 17



STEPS TO SUBMITTING A PASSPORT APPLICATION FOR A MINOR UNDER AGE 16:

Read and understand Steps 1 - 7 before leaving this page.

STEP 1: Complete and Submit Form DS-11: Application For A U.S. Passport

Complete Form DS-11: Application for a U.S. Passport. To submit Form DS-11, the minor:

Must apply in person with both parents/guardian(s)
Must provide the additional documentation required by Form DS-11 (See Steps 2-7)
Must not sign the application until instructed to do so by the Acceptance Agent
Must provide his/her Social Security number
STEP 2: Submit Evidence of U.S. Citizenship

The minor's evidence of U.S. citizenship must be submitted with Form DS-11. All documentation submitted as citizenship evidence will be returned to you. These documents will be delivered with your newly issued U.S. passport or in a separate mailing.

Primary Evidence of U.S. Citizenship (One of the following):
 Previously issued, undamaged U.S. Passport
 Certified birth certificate issued by the city, county or state*
 Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth
 Naturalization Certificate
 Certificate of Citizenship

*A certified birth certificate has a registrar's raised, embossed, impressed or multicolored seal, registrar’s signature, and the date the certificate was filed with the registrar's office, which must be within 1 year of your birth. Some short (abstract) versions of birth certificates may not be acceptable for passport purposes.

NOTE: If you do not have primary evidence of U.S. citizenship or your U.S. birth certificate does not meet the requirements, please see Secondary Evidence of U.S. Citizenship.

STEP 3: Submit Evidence of Relationship

Parent(s)/Guardian(s) must submit evidence of their relationship to the minor applicant.
Evidence of Relationship (One of the following):
Minor's certified U.S. birth certificate with both parents’ names
Minor's certified Foreign Birth Certificate with both parents’ names*
Minor's Report of Birth Abroad with both parents’ names
Adoption Decree with adopting parents’ names*
Court Order establishing custody
Court Order establishing guardianship

*Foreign documents should be accompanied by an official English translation

NOTES:

Previous U.S. passports are not acceptable as evidence of relationship
Evidence of a legal name change must be submitted, if the name of a parent/guardian has changed since the original documents were issued (e.g. photocopy of a marriage certificate, etc.)
STEP 4: Present Identification of Parent(s)/Guardian(s)

When applying for a minor under age 16, both parent(s)/guardian(s) must present acceptable identification at the time of application.

Primary Identification (One of the following):
 Previously issued, undamaged U.S. passport
 Naturalization Certificate
 Valid Driver's License
 Current Government Employee ID (city, state or federal)
 Current Military ID (military and dependents)

NOTE: If none of these items are available, please see Secondary Identification.

STEP 5: Provide Parental Consent

Both parents must provide consent authorizing passport issuance for a minor under age 16. See the scenarios below, and follow the instruction that best applies to your circumstance:


Both Parents MUST:



Appear in person with the minor
Sign Form DS-11 in front of an Acceptance Agent
 

One Parent MUST:

 

Appear in person with the minor
Sign Form DS-11 in front of an Acceptance Agent
Submit the second parents’ notarized Statement of Consent (Form DS-3053)
 

One Parent
(with sole legal custody)
MUST:

 

Appear in person with the minor
Sign Form DS-11 in front of an Acceptance Agent
Submit primary evidence of sole authority to apply for the child with one of the following:
Minor’s certified U.S. or foreign birth certificate listing only the applying parent
Consular Report of Birth Abroad (Form FS-240) or Certification of Birth Abroad (Form DS-1350) listing only the applying parent
Court order granting sole custody to the applying parent (unless child's travel is restricted by that order)
Adoption decree (if applying parents is sole adopting parent)
Court order specifically permitting applying parent's or guardian's travel with the child
Judicial declaration of incompetence of non-applying parent
Death certificate of non-applying parent
NOTE: If none of the above documentation is available, the applying parent must submit Form DS-3053 stating why the non-applying parent/guardian's consent cannot be obtained

A Third Party
(in Loco Parentis applying on behalf of a minor under the age of 16)
MUST:

Submit a notarized written statement or affidavit from both parents or guardians authorizing a third-party to apply for a passport
When the statement of affidavit is from only one parent/guardian, the third-party must present evidence of sole custody of the authorizing parent/guardian.
STEP 6: Pay the Applicable Fee

Please see Current Passport Fees and methods of payment.

STEP 7: Provide Two Passport Photos

We can help you submit clear and correctly exposed passport photos the first time - especially when applying for the U.S. Passport Card. See Quality Requirements for Passport Book & Passport Card Photographs to avoid photo processing delays.

Your Photographs Must Be:

Identical
In color
2 x 2 inches in size
Taken within the past 6 months, showing current appearance
Full face, front view with a plain white or off-white background
Between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head
Taken in normal street attire:
Uniforms should not be worn in photographs except religious attire that is worn daily
Do not wear a hat or headgear that obscures the hair or hairline
If you normally wear prescription glasses, a hearing device, wig or similar articles, they should be worn for your picture
Dark glasses or nonprescription glasses with tinted lenses are not acceptable unless you need them for medical reasons (a medical certificate may be required)

NOTES:

Vending machine photos are not generally acceptable
See Digitized Passport Photos for information on acceptable digital photos
Professional photographers, see Guidelines for Producing High Quality Photographs for U.S. Travel Documents
9708  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena, Obama, Emmanuel, Blagojevich and Fitzpatrick on: December 15, 2008, 01:10:56 PM
I notice that I am about the only one that believes it was Obama that blew the whistle on the corrupt Gov, setting himself up to be the ethical hero of the century as he takes the oath.

**Then why the stonewalling from Obama and his camp? If he's the hero, he should be out front with it, not circling the wagons.**
9709  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: December 14, 2008, 08:53:05 PM
**Funny how the MSM-Obamedia is ignoring this story.....  rolleyes

http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,24799317-5012748,00.html

Barack Obama chief Rahm Emanuel drawn into Rod Blagojevich corruption investigation
Article from: Agence France-Presse

By Jitendra Joshi in Washington
December 15, 2008 08:00am
BARACK Obama's chief of staff is under pressure over reported contacts with Illinois's corruption-tainted governor, who faces impeachment proceedings this week.

Rahm Emanuel, a combative congressman from Illinois who will serve as Obama's political gatekeeper in the White House, was reported to have been in touch with Governor Rod Blagojevich about  Mr Obama's Senate seat.

The Chicago Tribune and New York Times did not suggest any wrongdoing by Mr Emanuel, citing sources as saying he had presented suggested names to take over the seat without offering any inducements to Mr Blagojevich.

But the reports could present a distraction to the president-elect, as the Republican Party released a new advertisement declaring that "questions remain" over Mr Obama's links to the disgraced governor.

The web ad by the Republican National Committee highlighted Mr Obama's past support for Mr Blagojevich and showed commentators questioning why the president-elect had not been more forthright in denouncing the Governor.

Mr Blagojevich has refused to resign after his arrest in an FBI investigation that accuses him of staggering corruption, including an attempt to sell Mr Obama's vacated Senate seat to the highest bidder.

Illinois lawmakers are expected to begin impeachment proceedings today in a hastily called special session, while state Attorney General Lisa Madigan wants the state supreme court to strip Mr Blagojevich of the bulk of his powers.

Ms Madigan noted speculation, reported by the Chicago Sun-Times, that Mr Blagojevich may now be set to resign as early as today or temporarily step aside to fight the corruption allegations.

Commenting on the reports about Emanuel, she told NBC television that it "doesn't appear from what I've heard so far that there is anything improper that has occurred."

Ms Madigan was among the names reportedly suggested by Mr Emanuel for the Governor to appoint as Mr Obama's senatorial replacement.

Others were Mr Obama's senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, Illinois Representative Jan Schakowsky, state Comptroller Dan Hynes and Illinois Veterans Affairs director Tammy Duckworth.

"One source confirmed that communications between Emanuel and the Blagojevich administration were captured on court-approved wire-taps," the Chicago Tribune said.

But wire-tap transcripts released by prosecutors suggest that Mr Blagojevich was not being offered anything beyond appreciation from the Obama camp, much to the Governor's foul-mouthed frustration.

Mr Obama has ordered his staff to divulge any contacts they may have had with Mr Blagojevich, while insisting he was "absolutely certain" that there had been no dealings on the alleged scheme to sell off the Senate seat.
9710  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: December 14, 2008, 12:28:47 PM
The average age of homicide perps has been dropping every year. Our murder rate would be much worse were it not for our medical technology.
9711  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: December 14, 2008, 12:23:51 PM
Bergen is wrong. We have dodged a bullet multiple times since 9/11 and AQ really wants to make a hit early on in the empty suit's administration.
9712  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: December 13, 2008, 02:03:35 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2008/12/13/emanuel-blago-had-conversations-on-senate-succession/

Emanuel, Blago had “conversations” on Senate succession
posted at 11:23 am on December 13, 2008 by Ed Morrissey   


The categorical denials coming from Barack Obama on the Rod Blagojevich pay-to-play scandal took another hit today from the Chicago Tribune.  Two sources confirm that Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s new chief of staff, had a number of conversations with Blagojevich chief of staff John Harris to discuss acceptable candidates to fill the rest of Obama’s Senate term.  These conversations got captured by federal wiretaps and will likely be reviewed by a grand jury looking to indict people on corruption charges:

Rahm Emanuel, President-elect Barack Obama’s pick to be White House chief of staff, had conversations with Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s administration about who would replace Obama in the U.S. Senate, the Tribune has learned.

The revelation does not suggest Obama’s new gatekeeper was involved in any talk of dealmaking involving the seat. But it does help fill in the gaps surrounding a question that Obama was unable or unwilling to answer this week: Did anyone on his staff have contact with Blagojevich about his choice for the Senate seat? …

One source confirmed that communications between Emanuel and the Blagojevich administration were captured on court-approved wiretaps.

Another source said that contact between the Obama camp and the governor’s administration regarding the Senate seat began the Saturday before the Nov. 4 election, when Emanuel made a call to the cell phone of Harris. The conversation took place around the same time press reports surfaced about Emanuel being approached about taking the high-level White House post should Obama win.

Emanuel delivered a list of candidates who would be “acceptable” to Obama, the source said. On the list were Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, Illinois Veterans Affairs director Tammy Duckworth, state Comptroller Dan Hynes and U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Chicago, the source said. All are Democrats.

Sometime after the election, Emanuel called Harris back to add the name of Democratic Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan to the approved list, the source said.

As I wrote this week, no one would be surprised to hear that Emanuel and Obama had enough interest in the latter’s replacement to get in contact with the man who would normally make that appointment, Governor Blagojevich.  After all, the composition of the Senate matters a great deal to Obama, who needs to ensure that his agenda gets the most support possible in the next two years.  Given the corruption in Illinois politics, it might make it even more important to get involved in the process early to avoid getting someone who would embarrass the administration at a later point in time, especially with Patrick Fitzgerald’s years-long probe into Illinois politics still ongoing.

However, Barack Obama and his team chose not to give that honest and common-sense explanation.  Instead, they issued categorical denials that Obama and his staff had contacted Blagojevich or his staff about the succession.  It’s a mystifying claim, and one that will apparently get proven false fairly easily.  Now, instead of just saying that contact existed but that no one had tried making deals, they have thrown away their credibility on a very foolish point — which will lead to the conclusion that Team Obama has something very significant to hide.

Now it comes down to the Watergate question for both Emanuel and Obama: What did they know, and when did they know it?  Did Emanuel’s conversations with Harris or anyone else involve discussions of quid pro quo?  Team Obama will deny it, but they spent all of this week denying any conversations took place, and only the most gullible will believe denials from this point forward.  The wiretaps will go to the grand jury, and we will see whether Emanuel got himself caught in Fitzgerald’s nets.

If he did discuss quid pro quo and didn’t report it to the feds, Emanuel may or may not have committed a crime, but Obama will have no choice but to fire him.  And axing a Chief of Staff before even taking the oath of office does not lend much confidence in either the competence nor the honesty of the new President.

Update: Here’s what Obama said in his December 11th statement:

I had no contact with the governor’s office. I did not speak to the governor about these issues, that I know for certain. What I want to do is to gather all the facts about any staff contacts that may have taken place between the transition office and the governor’s office, and we’ll have those in the next few days and we’ll present them. But what I’m absolutely certain about is that our office had no involvement in any deal-making around my Senate seat. That, I’m absolutely certain of, and that would be a violation of everything this campaign has been about. That’s not how we do business.

So Obama said in one part that he himself hat no contact with the governor’s office or the governor regarding the appointment, which makes sense, because he’s got other issues to handle. He then claims that his office “had no involvement in any deal-making around my Senate seat.” If that’s true, then what was Emanuel discussing with Harris — and how did Blagojevich know that they wouldn’t give him anything but their appreciation? From the complaint, it doesn’t sound like an assumption Blagojevich made. (Hat tip: HA reader David M)
9713  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Our Troops in Action on: December 12, 2008, 10:59:58 PM

The Impact of War
Amputee Wounded in Iraq to Return to Active Duty

by Joseph Shapiro

Capt. David Rozelle with his wife, Kim, and son, Forrest. Courtesy of the Rozelle family

 

Rozelle had always been a competitive athlete in peak condition. After his injury, he trained even harder. Only one other amputee has been found fit to return to active duty in Iraq. Rozelle will be the first to return. Courtesy of the Rozelle family

 
Morning Edition, March 4, 2005 · Capt. David Rozelle of the Third Armored Cavalry Regiment will soon become the Army's first amputee from a wound suffered in Iraq to return to active duty.

In the past, it's been rare for soldiers who underwent amputations to go back to war, but better prosthetic arms and legs are now allowing wounded soldiers to do more.

At Fort Carson in Colorado, Rozelle said he knows he's returning both as a fighter and as a role model -- for the soldiers under his command and for other troops with amputations.

"I'm breaking the ice for them," Rozelle says. "I don't want to be an anomaly. I want to be the first to go back. But I don't want to be the last."

Rozelle was injured in June 2003, when an anti-tank mine destroyed part of his right foot and leg. He recounts the experience in a new memoir, Back in Action: An American Soldier's Story of Courage, Faith, and Fortitude. The book's first chapter is excerpted below.

Book Excerpt

Note: This excerpt contains language that some may find offensive.

Chapter 1: The Price of Freedom

It's not hard to get your mind focused for a mission when there's a price on your head. It was the day that would change my life forever, 21 June 2003, in Hit (pronounced "heat"), Iraq.

Just a few days before, my translator and I were smoking cigarettes and enjoying some hot tea, waiting with a few sheiks for our weekly situation meeting to begin. I was the de facto sheriff of Hit. As we waited for the rest of the sheiks to arrive, we would discuss the Iran-Iraq war. My translator had been a POW in the war, held for eleven years in an Iranian prison. He had been pressed into military service after his third year of medical school and served as an infantryman. As a POW, he found himself doing procedures in prison with no anesthesia, no sanitary rooms, and few medical instruments. His techniques kept fellow prisoners alive, but were often brutal and crippling.

After getting out of prison, he decided to never practice medicine again. He was a good man, and was proud to be of service to those who had freed him for the second time in his life. After taking a long drag on one of my Marlboros, he looked over at me and said in a low voice, "Captain, do not go on your mission tonight."

I was surprised. "I always lead my men," I responded. "It's still dangerous and I want to command on the ground."

He said, "Your men will be safe, but you will be attacked. If you go, it may be your last mission."

"What the hell are you talking about?" I said angrily. In a loud voice, so that the sheiks in the room could hear, I continued, "You're not trying to threaten me, are you? I will destroy any man who attacks me. Tell me who is saying these things—I'll arrest them today!"

He spoke to me carefully, in a low voice so that others couldn't hear, trying to calm me: "Captain, there are men in town who are planning missions in our mosques, under the command of clerics here and from Ar Ramadi. These men I do not know. But they are dangerous. Some are from Iran, and some are from Syria. It's rumored that they have offered $1,000 U.S. to any man who can kill you, the one who rides in the vehicle with the symbols K6 on the side . . . the one who always wears sunglasses. They recognize you as the leader, and as one who is successful and powerful. . . . Please do not go tonight."

I responded out loud, "You spread the word: I am powerful and I command many men. Out of respect for the people of Hit, I have yet to bring my tanks into this city and show you my full combat capabilities. Let the town know that the whereabouts of these terrorists must be reported in order to protect the innocent civilians of this city. I'm not afraid and I'm not threatened."

On our mission that night, we did arrest several suspicious people and killed two men who tried to attack our tanks with rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs). After such a wild night, we decided to stay out of the city for a few days. Unfortunately, we were giving the terrorists more time to prepare their next attack.

It was 1630 hours on the day of my final mission. I could tell when my men were ready because the sounds below changed from bolts charged and orders given during the final pre-combat inspection to laughter and tough talk. I never came down from my command post until I heard the distinctive sound of my high-mobility multi-wheeled vehicle (Humvee), distinctive because each Humvee has its own pitch or hum. Upon hearing that sound, I knew that my windshield and binocular lenses were clean, my maps updated with the most current intelligence, my radios checked, and my personal security detachment was loaded, with weapons pointed outward. With so many antennae and barrels protruding, we must have looked like some strange oversized desert insect. But before I walked down to conduct my final inspection, I continued my tradition of kissing the picture of my wife, Kim, listening to the message she had recorded in the frame, and saying a short prayer to God to take care of my unborn child if I did not return.

I was "Killer 6,"which is the code word for the leader of K Troop, 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. I commanded 139 men, nine M1A2 main battle tanks, 13 M3A2 Cavalry fighting vehicles, two tracked vehicles carrying 120 mm mortar guns, three support tracked vehicles, and five wheeled vehicles.

Before heading out on the mission, I would walk the line of soldiers to look at their faces. It wasn't just to make a final inspection. They needed to see me confident and unafraid of our impending mission. We treated every mission the same, whether we were conducting a traffic control point (TCP) or were capturing terrorists. My men had to be ready for anything.

A few weeks earlier, my boss had informed me that now that we had "stood up" an entirely new police force, we had to train them in police work. This tasking was a V Corps requirement. I was excited about it, tired of conducting patrols where I spent most of my time watching over my shoulder. Training leads to confidence and job comfort. We had done something historic. Within weeks of the end of major combat operations, we had rearmed Iraqi soldiers and were now patrolling the streets with them. They certainly needed training, and training was our task for the night.

We had scheduled the first night of training to start at 1700 hours, as it promised to be cooler than midday. The sun did not set until 2030 or 2100 hours, so we had plenty of time to train. We had planned on teaching for two hours, which we knew would turn into three or four. We always planned twice the amount of time to do anything with local forces.

It was about 1640 hours when we finally headed out the gate of our compound. I was traveling with two of my Humvees, my own and an improvised gun-truck, and two military police (MP) Humvees. As I crossed through the wire at the lead of the convoy, I called my departure report to Squadron Operations Center and told my detachment to lock and load their weapon systems.

On the squadron radio, I reported, "Thunder, this is Killer 6 . . . Killer is departing FOB Eden to Hit police academy, vicinity soccer stadium, with one officer and twenty-one enlisted."

Changing hand microphones, I immediately followed, "Killer, this is Killer 6, lock and load your weapon systems and follow my move."

After getting acknowledgments from the three vehicles following me, I charged my 9 mm Beretta, watching as the bullet slipped easily into the chamber. As was my custom, as a deterrent to possible wrongdoers, I had my pistol outside the window in my right hand, and my left inside on the Bible my father had given me just before deploying to Iraq. Inscribed on the inside cover were the words, "Use it as a tour guide," and in the back I had pasted a picture of my wife and me with my parents, taken just after our deployment ceremony.

It was only about five miles from our Forward Operating Base (FOB) to the town of Hit. Just before we reached the roundabout at the north end of the city, I told my driver to turn left down a dirt road we often used for observation by tanks at night.

I intended to avoid the roundabout in order to avoid detection from any spies at the first intersection. The dirt road took us from one paved road to another, and was only about two hundred meters in length. Just as we reached the far side, I noticed that the gradual terrace that normally allowed easy access to the road was now steeper and recently graded. Looking over the edge, I decided that the vehicles could handle the drop and we started to ease over the ledge.

As we began rolling again, everything exploded.

My right front tire, just under my feet, detonated an anti-tank mine. The mine violently lifted the Humvee off the ground and set it back on the three remaining of four wheels. The blast was so powerful that most of it went out and up from the front tire, launching a door and tire a hundred meters away. Blinded by smoke and dust, I wasn't sure exactly what had just happened, but I knew we were either under attack by RPGs or artillery, or had struck a mine -- and that I was injured.

I looked down and saw blood on my arms, and through my glasses I could see that my bulletproof vest seemed to have absorbed a lot of shrapnel. Everything was quiet. I could not speak. I was in terrible pain. I heard noises coming from my driver, screams of pain and fear. I was more confused than afraid.

Finally, I got my voice and asked, "Is everyone okay?"

My driver responded with more screams, and my translator simply gave me a crazy look.

We needed to get out of the Humvee. I began to pull at my left leg, but I couldn't get it free. My left foot was trapped under the firewall and heater. The right front portion of the vehicle's frame was now on the ground, so I set my right foot out into the sand to get some footing, in order to pull myself and my left leg free. But I couldn't get any footing.

I thought, "F--- . . . Oh, God, I am hurt . . . I have to get out of here . . . Why aren't they shooting at me? We're trapped in a stationary vehicle . . . They've got me . . . F---, that hurts . . . Move, David, move now!"

It felt as if I were setting my right foot into soft mud or a sponge. I looked down to see blood and bits of bone squeezing out of the side of my right boot. I gave one big push and turned to dive into the arms of two brave men who ran selflessly into the minefield to save me.

My good friend and fiercest warrior, Sergeant First Class John McNichols, grabbed me and said, "Don't worry, sir, I've got you."

All I could do was look at the ground. I tried to use my feet, but neither one would bear my weight. I could hear First Sergeant Cobal sighing under the burden of my weight.

I looked into his eyes and said, "I can't walk. I'm f---ed up."

Turning now to face Sergeant First Class McNichols, I said, "My feet are messed up."

Sergeant First Class McNichols smiled at me and said, "It's just a walk in the park, sir."

That was the last time I ever used my right foot.

Excerpted from Back in Action: An American Soldier's Story of Courage, Faith, and Fortitude, by Captain David Rozelle. Used by permission of Regnery Publishing.
9714  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: December 12, 2008, 09:17:47 PM
http://michellemalkin.com/2008/12/12/rahm-a-drama-beet-red-and-pissed-with-the-msm/

"Rahm-bo" not so tough now.
9715  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: December 12, 2008, 07:10:46 PM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/graphic/2008/12/10/GR2008121000748.html

The Chicago way, illustrated.
9716  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: December 12, 2008, 03:24:20 PM
**If we can find people of this caliber to serve in uniform, surely we can find some to serve in political office.**

CHP Double Amputee Back On Duty
Posted: July 8th, 2008 05:27 PM EDT

IBS/KCRA-TV
CHP Officer Mike Remmel is returning to work after losing both legs in a traffic accident last year.

Daily Breeze (Torrance, California)

By Don Thompson
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
WEST SACRAMENTO - A California Highway Patrol officer who lost both legs in a traffic accident last year is returning to work on "bionic legs" after proving his fitness with tests such as running the 100-yard dash in 20 seconds.
"I probably still could outrun four or five guys in my office, even on these legs," officer Mike Remmel joked Wednesday after demonstrating his new prostheses at the CHP academy in West Sacramento.
Remmel, 47, is the first double amputee to be cleared for field duty after passing the CHP's difficult test using what officers call his "bionic legs," said CHP spokesman Tom Marshall.
Besides sprinting the length of a football field, new cadets and veterans returning from injuries must run 550 meters in two minutes, climb a steep hill, drag a weight and complete several agility tests.
Remmel spent more than a year in rehabilitation and training before passing the last test and getting his doctor's clearance Aug. 10, exactly 19 months after he lost his legs. He quietly returned to work four days later. CHP brass recruited him to give a motivational talk to cadets Wednesday and invited the media.
Remmel was completing a traffic accident investigation just after dusk Jan. 10, 2006, alongside Highway 49 near his hometown of Sonora. A confused 80-year-old driver struck him at 45 mph, sending him flying 23 feet over a tow truck.
He lost his left leg above the knee and his right leg below the knee. Three days later, Remmel came out of sedation after a near constant series of surgeries. He almost immediately began telling the officers around his bed that he would one day rejoin them on patrol. "No one believed me then," he said.
He learned to use a $40,000 computerized leg that can gauge his stride and react accordingly - technology recently developed largely for wounded soldiers returning from Iraq.
To pass the CHP's running tests, Remmel used a $30,000 pair of lighter, springier metal legs. He's run the 100 yards in 17.2 seconds - 18.6 seconds when he's wearing his bulletproof vest and gun belt.
"When I first started doing this, I was falling every 10 yards or so," Remmel said in an interview. Now he is so fast that he is considering competing in sports events for athletes with disabilities.
Using his computerized legs, Remmel played golf again for the first time Monday - and shot a better score than before the accident.
"I needed my old life to come back as much as possible," Remmel said of his motivation. "I needed to know that nothing ended - and so far it hasn't."
--------------------------------------------------------------

The Impact of War
Amputee Wounded in Iraq to Return to Active Duty

by Joseph Shapiro

Capt. David Rozelle with his wife, Kim, and son, Forrest. Courtesy of the Rozelle family

 

Rozelle had always been a competitive athlete in peak condition. After his injury, he trained even harder. Only one other amputee has been found fit to return to active duty in Iraq. Rozelle will be the first to return. Courtesy of the Rozelle family

 
Morning Edition, March 4, 2005 · Capt. David Rozelle of the Third Armored Cavalry Regiment will soon become the Army's first amputee from a wound suffered in Iraq to return to active duty.

In the past, it's been rare for soldiers who underwent amputations to go back to war, but better prosthetic arms and legs are now allowing wounded soldiers to do more.

At Fort Carson in Colorado, Rozelle said he knows he's returning both as a fighter and as a role model -- for the soldiers under his command and for other troops with amputations.

"I'm breaking the ice for them," Rozelle says. "I don't want to be an anomaly. I want to be the first to go back. But I don't want to be the last."

Rozelle was injured in June 2003, when an anti-tank mine destroyed part of his right foot and leg. He recounts the experience in a new memoir, Back in Action: An American Soldier's Story of Courage, Faith, and Fortitude. The book's first chapter is excerpted below.

Book Excerpt

Note: This excerpt contains language that some may find offensive.

Chapter 1: The Price of Freedom

It's not hard to get your mind focused for a mission when there's a price on your head. It was the day that would change my life forever, 21 June 2003, in Hit (pronounced "heat"), Iraq.

Just a few days before, my translator and I were smoking cigarettes and enjoying some hot tea, waiting with a few sheiks for our weekly situation meeting to begin. I was the de facto sheriff of Hit. As we waited for the rest of the sheiks to arrive, we would discuss the Iran-Iraq war. My translator had been a POW in the war, held for eleven years in an Iranian prison. He had been pressed into military service after his third year of medical school and served as an infantryman. As a POW, he found himself doing procedures in prison with no anesthesia, no sanitary rooms, and few medical instruments. His techniques kept fellow prisoners alive, but were often brutal and crippling.

After getting out of prison, he decided to never practice medicine again. He was a good man, and was proud to be of service to those who had freed him for the second time in his life. After taking a long drag on one of my Marlboros, he looked over at me and said in a low voice, "Captain, do not go on your mission tonight."

I was surprised. "I always lead my men," I responded. "It's still dangerous and I want to command on the ground."

He said, "Your men will be safe, but you will be attacked. If you go, it may be your last mission."

"What the hell are you talking about?" I said angrily. In a loud voice, so that the sheiks in the room could hear, I continued, "You're not trying to threaten me, are you? I will destroy any man who attacks me. Tell me who is saying these things—I'll arrest them today!"

He spoke to me carefully, in a low voice so that others couldn't hear, trying to calm me: "Captain, there are men in town who are planning missions in our mosques, under the command of clerics here and from Ar Ramadi. These men I do not know. But they are dangerous. Some are from Iran, and some are from Syria. It's rumored that they have offered $1,000 U.S. to any man who can kill you, the one who rides in the vehicle with the symbols K6 on the side . . . the one who always wears sunglasses. They recognize you as the leader, and as one who is successful and powerful. . . . Please do not go tonight."

I responded out loud, "You spread the word: I am powerful and I command many men. Out of respect for the people of Hit, I have yet to bring my tanks into this city and show you my full combat capabilities. Let the town know that the whereabouts of these terrorists must be reported in order to protect the innocent civilians of this city. I'm not afraid and I'm not threatened."

On our mission that night, we did arrest several suspicious people and killed two men who tried to attack our tanks with rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs). After such a wild night, we decided to stay out of the city for a few days. Unfortunately, we were giving the terrorists more time to prepare their next attack.

It was 1630 hours on the day of my final mission. I could tell when my men were ready because the sounds below changed from bolts charged and orders given during the final pre-combat inspection to laughter and tough talk. I never came down from my command post until I heard the distinctive sound of my high-mobility multi-wheeled vehicle (Humvee), distinctive because each Humvee has its own pitch or hum. Upon hearing that sound, I knew that my windshield and binocular lenses were clean, my maps updated with the most current intelligence, my radios checked, and my personal security detachment was loaded, with weapons pointed outward. With so many antennae and barrels protruding, we must have looked like some strange oversized desert insect. But before I walked down to conduct my final inspection, I continued my tradition of kissing the picture of my wife, Kim, listening to the message she had recorded in the frame, and saying a short prayer to God to take care of my unborn child if I did not return.

I was "Killer 6,"which is the code word for the leader of K Troop, 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. I commanded 139 men, nine M1A2 main battle tanks, 13 M3A2 Cavalry fighting vehicles, two tracked vehicles carrying 120 mm mortar guns, three support tracked vehicles, and five wheeled vehicles.

Before heading out on the mission, I would walk the line of soldiers to look at their faces. It wasn't just to make a final inspection. They needed to see me confident and unafraid of our impending mission. We treated every mission the same, whether we were conducting a traffic control point (TCP) or were capturing terrorists. My men had to be ready for anything.

A few weeks earlier, my boss had informed me that now that we had "stood up" an entirely new police force, we had to train them in police work. This tasking was a V Corps requirement. I was excited about it, tired of conducting patrols where I spent most of my time watching over my shoulder. Training leads to confidence and job comfort. We had done something historic. Within weeks of the end of major combat operations, we had rearmed Iraqi soldiers and were now patrolling the streets with them. They certainly needed training, and training was our task for the night.

We had scheduled the first night of training to start at 1700 hours, as it promised to be cooler than midday. The sun did not set until 2030 or 2100 hours, so we had plenty of time to train. We had planned on teaching for two hours, which we knew would turn into three or four. We always planned twice the amount of time to do anything with local forces.

It was about 1640 hours when we finally headed out the gate of our compound. I was traveling with two of my Humvees, my own and an improvised gun-truck, and two military police (MP) Humvees. As I crossed through the wire at the lead of the convoy, I called my departure report to Squadron Operations Center and told my detachment to lock and load their weapon systems.

On the squadron radio, I reported, "Thunder, this is Killer 6 . . . Killer is departing FOB Eden to Hit police academy, vicinity soccer stadium, with one officer and twenty-one enlisted."

Changing hand microphones, I immediately followed, "Killer, this is Killer 6, lock and load your weapon systems and follow my move."

After getting acknowledgments from the three vehicles following me, I charged my 9 mm Beretta, watching as the bullet slipped easily into the chamber. As was my custom, as a deterrent to possible wrongdoers, I had my pistol outside the window in my right hand, and my left inside on the Bible my father had given me just before deploying to Iraq. Inscribed on the inside cover were the words, "Use it as a tour guide," and in the back I had pasted a picture of my wife and me with my parents, taken just after our deployment ceremony.

It was only about five miles from our Forward Operating Base (FOB) to the town of Hit. Just before we reached the roundabout at the north end of the city, I told my driver to turn left down a dirt road we often used for observation by tanks at night.

I intended to avoid the roundabout in order to avoid detection from any spies at the first intersection. The dirt road took us from one paved road to another, and was only about two hundred meters in length. Just as we reached the far side, I noticed that the gradual terrace that normally allowed easy access to the road was now steeper and recently graded. Looking over the edge, I decided that the vehicles could handle the drop and we started to ease over the ledge.

As we began rolling again, everything exploded.

My right front tire, just under my feet, detonated an anti-tank mine. The mine violently lifted the Humvee off the ground and set it back on the three remaining of four wheels. The blast was so powerful that most of it went out and up from the front tire, launching a door and tire a hundred meters away. Blinded by smoke and dust, I wasn't sure exactly what had just happened, but I knew we were either under attack by RPGs or artillery, or had struck a mine -- and that I was injured.

I looked down and saw blood on my arms, and through my glasses I could see that my bulletproof vest seemed to have absorbed a lot of shrapnel. Everything was quiet. I could not speak. I was in terrible pain. I heard noises coming from my driver, screams of pain and fear. I was more confused than afraid.

Finally, I got my voice and asked, "Is everyone okay?"

My driver responded with more screams, and my translator simply gave me a crazy look.

We needed to get out of the Humvee. I began to pull at my left leg, but I couldn't get it free. My left foot was trapped under the firewall and heater. The right front portion of the vehicle's frame was now on the ground, so I set my right foot out into the sand to get some footing, in order to pull myself and my left leg free. But I couldn't get any footing.

I thought, "F--- . . . Oh, God, I am hurt . . . I have to get out of here . . . Why aren't they shooting at me? We're trapped in a stationary vehicle . . . They've got me . . . F---, that hurts . . . Move, David, move now!"

It felt as if I were setting my right foot into soft mud or a sponge. I looked down to see blood and bits of bone squeezing out of the side of my right boot. I gave one big push and turned to dive into the arms of two brave men who ran selflessly into the minefield to save me.

My good friend and fiercest warrior, Sergeant First Class John McNichols, grabbed me and said, "Don't worry, sir, I've got you."

All I could do was look at the ground. I tried to use my feet, but neither one would bear my weight. I could hear First Sergeant Cobal sighing under the burden of my weight.

I looked into his eyes and said, "I can't walk. I'm f---ed up."

Turning now to face Sergeant First Class McNichols, I said, "My feet are messed up."

Sergeant First Class McNichols smiled at me and said, "It's just a walk in the park, sir."

That was the last time I ever used my right foot.

Excerpted from Back in Action: An American Soldier's Story of Courage, Faith, and Fortitude, by Captain David Rozelle. Used by permission of Regnery Publishing.
9717  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: December 12, 2008, 03:05:32 PM
**Yawn. They are lucky I don't get to design the program. Waterboarding would be the least of their concerns.**
9718  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: December 12, 2008, 02:54:55 PM
There are several ways to mitigate the tendency towards corruption in gov't:

1. Transparancy. Open records should be the norm, not the exception.

2. Small government. As mentioned above, smaller gov't reduces the potential for corruption.

3. Zero tolerance for corrupt acts. I'm just as happy to see Ted Stevens get nailed by the feds as to see Blag-gate unfold.
9719  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: December 12, 2008, 02:03:15 PM
Corruption is just a form of crime. Crime never goes away, you can do things to reduce it, but there is no endpoint where there is none. For crime (or evil) to triumph, it takes two kinds of people. The first group are those that actively commit the evil acts, the second group are those that choose to excuse or ignore or even defend the acts of the first group.
9720  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: December 12, 2008, 12:59:59 PM
So long as the trains run on time, corruption is no big deal?
9721  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Question from a friend in Iraq on: December 12, 2008, 12:54:08 PM
no experience in this department,

But my initial thought process would lead me to a taser.

wouldnt a taser stop the process that would allow him/her from pushing the button?

**Probably not.**

Problems

1. would the taser its self set off the bomb?

**Maybe. As SB said, it depends on the device and explosives used. Tasers aren't "phasers, set on stun".**



9722  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: December 11, 2008, 04:03:00 PM
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122895354114996367.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

DECEMBER 11, 2008
Officials Worry Attacks in Mumbai Could Spur Copycats in the West

By SIOBHAN GORMAN and SUSAN SCHMIDT

WASHINGTON -- The Mumbai attacks have prompted some Western officials to step up vigilance against the type of low-tech assault the 10 gunmen mounted last month.

Since the attacks in Mumbai, al Qaeda Web sites and chatrooms have lit up with aspiring militants urging more such attacks, according to the Washington-based SITE Intelligence Group. One message cheered "the heroes" of the attack for making "the enemies suffer," including the U.S., the U.K. and Israel.

Historically, the group accused in the attack, Lashkar-e-Taiba, has focused on furthering Pakistan's claims to the Kashmir region, disputed with India. Although its messages have a strong anti-American component, U.S. officials have seen the group as a lesser counterterrorism priority.

But current and former intelligence officials say they are worried the Mumbai attacks may reflect a broadening of Lashkar's interests, and that would-be jihadis may copy the approach of the Mumbai attackers, who carried out their assault on foot using little more than machine guns, explosives and cellphones. Al Qaeda's resurgent base in Pakistan also provides opportunities for collaboration with groups such as Lashkar, officials said.

David Cohen, the head of intelligence for the New York Police Department and a former senior Central Intelligence Agency official, said what used to be merely propaganda against the U.S. and Israel has now been "operationalized" by the Mumbai attacks. "It puts us on notice in a much more clear and direct way," he added.

The NYPD has dispatched three officers to Mumbai to better understand the attacks because of concerns about copycats.

"It's a very clear indication that we have the potential to be victimized by a group motivated by religious ideology that doesn't use something sophisticated," said John Cohen, a senior official in the Bush administration's office for sharing information among intelligence agencies.

Pockets of Lashkar supporters sympathetic to the group's flavor of conservative Islam can be found around the U.S., current and former U.S. officials say.

Lashkar operates with an English-speaking public face, said Evan Kohlmann, a terrorism specialist. A camp-and-classroom structure brings people together from all over the world, and when graduates remain connected in a potent alumni network.

The most recent case alleging American involvement with Lashkar is that of two Americans in Atlanta. The men, who are awaiting trial, said in communications obtained by law enforcement that they sought to work under Lashkar because it was easier to "climb the ladder" to another terrorist group, said Mr. Kohlmann, who has reviewed the communications while assisting law enforcement on the case. Lawyers for the two men said they weren't involved with Lashkar.

Write to Siobhan Gorman at siobhan.gorman@wsj.com and Susan Schmidt at susan.schmidt@wsj.com
9723  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: December 11, 2008, 02:59:12 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/12/us/politics/12union.html?_r=3&hp=&pagewanted=print

December 12, 2008
Union Linked to Corruption Scandal

By STEVEN GREENHOUSE

The Service Employees International Union has long boasted that it is on the cutting edge of the labor movement. But it found itself badly embarrassed this week when it was linked by name to Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich’s maneuvering to secure some financial gain from picking the next Senator from Illinois.

The federal criminal complaint filed against Mr. Blagojevich said his chief of staff, John Harris, had suggested to a service employees’ official that the union should help make the governor the head of Change to Win, the federation of seven unions that broke away from the A.F.L.-C.I.O. The complaint said Mr. Blagojevich was seeking a position that paid $250,000 to $300,000 a year.

In exchange, the complaint strongly suggested, the service employees union and Change to Win would help persuade Mr. Blagojevich to name Valerie Jarrett, President-elect Barack Obama’s first choice, as the state’s new senator. And the union would get help from the Obama administration, presumably for its legislative agenda.

Several union officials in Chicago and Washington said that the service employees official approached by Mr. Harris was Tom Balanoff, the president of the union’s giant janitors’ local in Chicago and head of the union’s Illinois state council. Mr. Balanoff, one of the union officials closest to Mr. Obama, is widely seen as an aggressive, successful labor leader, who has helped unionize thousands of janitors not just in the Chicago area but also in Texas.

Reached by telephone on Tuesday, Mr. Balanoff said, “I can’t comment on anything right now.”

The Illinois branch of the service employees issued a statement on Wednesday night saying, “We have no reason to believe that S.E.I.U. or any S.E.I.U. official was involved in any misconduct.” It added that the union and Mr. Balanoff “are fully cooperating with the federal investigation.”

Greg Denier, Change to Win’s spokesman, said the federation “had no involvement, no discussion, no contact” with Mr. Blagojevich or his staff. “The idea of a position at Change to Win was totally an invention of the governor, and his stance has no basis in reality,” Mr. Denier said.

Mr. Denier noted that the presidency of Change to Win was an unsalaried position. The federation’s president, Anna Burger, is the service employees’ secretary treasurer and receives only her S.E.I.U. salary.

Service employee officials said that the criminal complaint does not allege that the unnamed “S.E.I.U. official” did anything wrong. All he did, they said, was listen to Mr. Blagojevich and his chief of staff and ferry some messages for them.

A senior service employees official who insisted on anonymity because prosecutors have asked union officials not to talk said his union was one of many that backed Mr. Blagojevich and has received favors from him. But he said that it was understandable that Mr. Blagojevich would ask the service employees for favor because it was so powerful and was seen as one of the unions closest to Mr. Obama.

Patrick Gaspard, the former political director of the service employees’ huge New York health-care affiliate, 1199, was political director of Mr. Obama’s campaign.

If Mr. Blagojevich was going to approach a union to help land a cushy job after leaving the Illinois governorship, it probably made sense for him to approach the service employees, the nation’s fastest growing union.

With more than 1.8 million members nationwide, it is the largest union in Illinois, was an early and generous backer of his gubernatorial ambitions and received some important favors from him. In 2005, the governor issued an executive order that enabled the service employees to unionize 49,000 in-home child care providers who were paid through state and federal funds.

Afterward, the service employees negotiated a 39-month contract that raised the child-care providers daily rates by 35 percent on average and provided them with health coverage.

With Mr. Blagojevich evidently hoping to trade favors with President-elect Obama, the service employees seemed like a sensible intermediary because it was widely seen as doing more to elect Mr. Obama than any other union. The service employees’ political action committee spent at least $26 million on Mr. Obama’s behalf in this year’s presidential campaign, making it by far the largest single PAC donor in the campaign.

The service employees union was by far the top overall donor to Mr. Blagojevich’s 2006 re-election campaign, with records showing it donated more than $900,000, or about 5 percent of his total campaign funds.

Michelle Ringuette, a service employees’ spokeswoman, said the political contributions were not unusual.

“Many unions make donations to political candidates,” she said, “in the interest of making sure we have elected officials who represent the interest of working families, men and women who get up and go to work every day.”

The service employees’ president, Andy Stern, is often seen as the nation’s most powerful union official, serving as both a dynamo and lightning rod for the labor movement. He led the schism from the A.F.L.-C.I.O., and now he is seeking to lead an effort to persuade Mr. Obama to enact two major pieces of legislation in his first 100 days: universal health coverage and the Employee Free Choice Act, a law that would make it far easier for workers to unionize.

Mr. Stern was embarrassed early this year when Tyrone Freeman, an official he appointed to run a large, home-care workers’ local in Los Angeles, was suspended and later banned for misappropriating hundreds of thousands of dollars in funds. Mr. Freeman was found to have improperly directed union funds to his wedding, his wife’s company, even to membership in a private cigar club.

Mr. Stern has named a panel of experts to develop a tougher ethical code for the union.
9724  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: December 10, 2008, 10:36:54 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2008/12/10/changegov-hiding-questions-on-blagojevich-scandal/

Happy to see this, "Hopenchangers"? It looks like some people are just begging to get "Plumbered".
9725  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Bla-gate! on: December 10, 2008, 10:01:25 PM
http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=235D31DE-18FE-70B2-A81FD06F3EE7C4B9

7 Blago questions for Obama
By: Kenneth P. Vogel and Carrie Budoff Brown
December 10, 2008 07:21 PM EST

The stinging criminal complaint against Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his chief of staff John Harris raises lots of questions for President-elect Barack Obama – questions he’ll have a chance to answer Thursday when he does his first news conference since Blagojevich was charged.

Here are seven worth asking:

1 – “Did you communicate directly or indirectly with Blagojevich about picking your replacement in the U.S. Senate?”

Obama issued a categorical statement Tuesday that he personally hadn’t spoken with Blagojevich about the seat — but seemed to correct himself in a way that suggested others around Obama might have.

“I had no contact with the governor or his office and, so we were not – I was not aware of what was happening," Obama said.

Yet, according to prosecutors’ characterizations of Blagojevich’s wiretapped telephone conversations, the Illinois governor seemed to believe he had a channel of communications with Obama’s team.

For instance, Blagojevich was recorded speaking to a union official who Blagojevich “understood … was an emissary” to discuss the interest of Obama confidant Valerie Jarrett in the seat, according to the criminal complaint unveiled Tuesday.

But at some point, Blagojevich seemed to become aware that Obama’s team had no interest in his favored option – he would pick Jarrett in exchange for being named secretary of health and human services, prosecutor allege. How did he know that?

2 – “Why didn’t you or someone on your team correct your close adviser David Axelrod when he said you had spoken to Blagojevich about picking your replacement?”

Last month, Axelrod unambiguously described a conversation between Obama and Blagojevich about filling the seat.

“I know he's talked to the governor and there are a whole range of names, many of which have surfaced, and I think he has a fondness for a lot of them," Axelrod told an interviewer from Chicago’s Fox affiliate.

But then, Axelrod retracted the comment – after the president-elect asserted Tuesday that he hadn’t spoken to Blagojevich. Axelrod issued a statement saying he "was mistaken when I told an interviewer last month that the President-elect has spoken directly to Governor Blagojevich about the Senate vacancy. They did not then, or at any time, discuss the subject."

3. “When did you learn the investigation involved Blagojevich’s alleged efforts to ‘sell’ your Senate seat, or of the governor’s impending arrest?”

Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said it was not until Tuesday that Obama learned the details of the complaint against Blagojevich – the same day it was released to the public – and wouldn’t say exactly when or how Obama was notified.

But at least some people got an early heads-up: Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. told reporters that he was notified Monday night by federal prosecutors that the investigation was coming to a head, that an arrest was imminent and that Jackson was not a target.

4 – “Did you or anyone close to you contact the FBI or U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald about Blagojevich’s alleged efforts to sell your Senate seat to the highest bidder?”

Blagojevich seems to believe that Obama’s team was aware of – and had rejected – his offers, telling Harris in a wiretapped Nov. 11 conversation that Obama was “not willing to give (Blagojevich) anything except appreciation” for picking Jarrett.

If Blagojevich contacted anyone on Obama’s team even hinting at a possible pay-for-play arrangement, it seems they would have been obligated to report that to law enforcement.

One report out of Chicago suggested the possible tipster was Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s pick for chief of staff and a potential conduit for any communications from Blagojevich’s office to Obama. But Emanuel’s office has denied that story.

5 – “Did federal investigators interview you or anyone close to you in the investigation?”

Fitzgerald said Tuesday he was “not going to speak for what the President-elect was aware of,” but it’s difficult to imagine his investigators did not reach out to Obama or his team during the course of the investigations into Blagojevich and businessman Tony Rezko, given how closely the subject matter involved Obama.

Rezko, a former Obama fundraiser who in June was convicted of 16 corruption-related counts, had alleged that prosecutors pushed him for dirt on both Blagojevich and Obama.

6 – “When did you and Blagojevich last speak and about what?”

Obama and Blagojevich both attended the National Governors Association meeting last week in Philadelphia and were photographed shaking hands at the event.

Before the meeting, Blagojevich was quoted saying he had asked Obama’s transition team for federal stimulus aid of $3 billion over the next three years to help fill Illinois’ estimated $2 billion deficit.

If Obama had spoken on the phone with him since Election Day, it’s conceivable that the conversation would have been recorded by the FBI, which in late October won a court order authorizing the wiretapping.

7 – “Do you regret supporting Blagojevich?”

Obama endorsed Blagojevich in his two gubernatorial runs and was among his key advisors during his first bid, in 2002.

During the governor’s reelection campaign in 2006 – with press reports swirling about a grand jury investigation into Blagojevich’s alleged jobs-for-contributions scheme – Obama praised the governor as a leader “who has delivered consistently on behalf of the people of Illinois.”

It doesn’t seem like he shared the same high regard for Obama, at least not lately, considering that during a Nov. 10 conference call with advisers he called his old political ally and the president-elect an obscene name.

Carrie Budoff Brown contributed.
9726  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Question from a friend in Iraq on: December 10, 2008, 09:51:33 PM
http://www.michaelyon-online.com/the-hands-of-god.htm

"The closer a counterfeit comes to the genuine article, the more obvious the deceit. As the murderer dressed in women’s clothes walked purposefully toward his target, there was a village man ahead. But under the guise of a simple villager was a true Martyr, and he, too, had his target in sight. The Martyr had seen through the disguise, but he had no gun. No bomb. No rocket. No stone. No time.

The Martyr walked up to the murderer and lunged into a bear hug, on the spot where we were now standing.



The blast ripped the Martyr to pieces which fell along with pieces of the enemy. Ball-bearings shot through the alley and wounded two children, but the people in the mosque were saved. The man lay in pieces on the ground, his own children having seen how his last embrace saved the people of the village."
9727  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Question from a friend in Iraq on: December 10, 2008, 09:01:32 PM
There are key factors to keep in mind when developing methods/techniques to address this threat:

1. This is a deadly force scenario. Using distance and cover to prone out suspected homicide bombers at riflepoint is the best practice. Non-compliance should be met with precision marksmanship to destroy the brain stem. The greater the distance and better the cover, the better the odds for the police to avoid injury or death should the IED detonate deliberately or accidentally. Enaging the HB-IED carrier outside rather than inside a structure and in an isolated area is the best, if possible.

2. I do not know the most commonly used explosives for human-borne IEDs in Iraq, but in Israel and other locations, Tri-Acetone-Tri-Peroxide and other peroxide based explosives are commonly used. This greatly increases the threat to law enforcement and innocents in the scenario given the dangerous instability inherent in TATP and it's sensitivity to kinetic energy.

3. Immobilizing the arms of the HB-IED carrier does not mean that the threat from the IED is negated. Aside from the threat of the IED detonating in the struggle, it is a common practice for the HB-IED to be remotely detonated by a second, distant observer. If the scenario is so desperate that a single officer is forced to engage a HB-IED H2H, then taking the bomber to the ground immediately while trying to negate the bomber's ability to detonate the IED is best as if the bomber is on the ground with the officer covering him when the IED detonates, this reduces the lethality of the blast and shrapnel to innocents in the area.

4. Usually the IED detonator is connected to the main charge in the bomb vest by wires that run down the arm to where the detonator is concealed in the hand of the HB-IED carrier. Trying to resolve this H2H is the last, worst option taken knowing that you will most likely die along with the bomber. So take this option keeping that in mind.
9728  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Question from a friend in Iraq on: December 10, 2008, 06:56:40 PM
H2H, pin the haji to the ground and break the neck, severing the spinal cord. Theoretically, you can jam a knife blade into the base of the skull to sever the brain stem, but in the position where I had the haji face down, I'd go for the neck break myself.
9729  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: December 10, 2008, 03:26:26 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2008/12/10/abc-candidate-who-allegedly-offered-blago-money-for-senate-seat-is-jesse-jackson-jr/

ABC: Candidate who allegedly offered Blago money for Senate seat is Jesse Jackson Jr
posted at 1:05 pm on December 10, 2008 by Allahpundit   


Better and better. Yesterday he was shocked, shocked to find influence peddling going on. Today? Meet “Senate Candidate 5?:

Chicago Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL) is the anonymous “Senate Candidate #5? whose emissaries Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich reportedly claimed offered up to a million dollars to name him to the U.S. Senate, federal law enforcement sources tell ABC News.

According to the FBI affidavit in the case, Blagojevich “stated he might be able to cut a deal with Senate Candidate 5 that provided ROD BLAGOJEVICH” with something “tangible up front.”

Jackson Jr. said this morning he was contacted yesterday by federal prosecutors in Chicago who he said “asked me to come in and share with them my insights and thoughts about the selection process.”

Jackson Jr. said “I don’t know” when asked if he was Candidate #5, but said he was told “I am not a target of this investigation.”…

“It is impossible for someone on my behalf to have a conversation that would suggest any type of quid pro quo or any payments or offers,” Jackson Jr. told ABC News. “An impossiblity to an absolute certainty.”…

The FBI says in an October 31, 2008 conversation, Blagojevich described an approach from an associate of Senate Candidate 5: “We were approached ‘pay to play.’ That, you know, he’d raise me 500 grand. An emissary came. Then the other guy would raise a million, if I mad him (Senate Candidate 5) a Senator.”

Fancy that: Another Democratic politician whose cronies allegedly took it upon themselves, completely on their own initiative, to throw money around on their boss’s behalf. Fred Baron did the same thing for John Edwards, you’ll recall, shoveling money to Silky’s mistress for months purely out of the goodness of his heart, unbidden by his political patron. Liberals sure do have amazing friends.

It sounds like they’re talking about campaign fundraising here, not money in briefcases being passed under the table, which presumably makes this the sort of routine backscratching scumbaggery extolled by Axelrod in his 2005 op-ed rather than an actionable offense. Use your office to line your own pockets and you go to jail; use it to line your campaign’s pockets and you’re just practicing Illinois politics. Although didn’t the feds record Blago at one point whining that he felt “stuck” in the governor’s job and wanted something that was more prestigious or more lucrative? For which office was he planning to run that he needed Jackson to fundraise for him?

ABC also notes that Blago and Jackson met just two days ago, at which point Blago said he was close to making a decision. Exit question: Is that why Fitzgerald arrested him now? Byron York studied the timeline and speculates that the Tribune’s story on December 5 about wiretapping spooked Blagojevich into clamming up, putting the investigation at a dead end. I’m skeptical; given how reckless and stupid he is, he’d have started talking again and Fitzgerald surely knew it. I wonder if in fact the feds didn’t move in because they were worried that the appointment was imminent and knew that having this news break after the fact would surround the appointee with a royal political clusterfark.

Update: If you missed Jim Lindgren’s timeline this morning connecting news items on Obama’s preference for the Senate seat to the details of the FBI complaint, make time to read it. It sure sounds like someone within Team Barry got nervous. But who, and why?
9730  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Question from a friend in Iraq on: December 10, 2008, 03:17:37 PM
A gunshot wound to the brain stem.
9731  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: December 10, 2008, 09:00:05 AM
http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=20CAE797-18FE-70B2-A8BFE802A4A48E3A

In scandal, risks for Obama
By: Ben Smith and Jonathan Martin
December 10, 2008 08:31 AM EST

At first blush, Barack Obama comes out of the Rod Blagojevich scandal smelling like a rose. The prosecutor at a news conference seemed to give the president-elect a seal of approval, and the Illinois governor himself was caught on tape complaining that Obama was not interested in crooked schemes.

But make no mistake: The Blagojevich scandal is nothing but a stink bomb tossed at close range for Obama and his team.

Legal bills, off-message headlines, and a sustained attempt by Republicans to show that Obama is more a product of Illinois’s malfeasance-prone political culture than he is letting on—all are likely if the Blagojevich case goes to trial or becomes an extended affair.

Obama and his aides have so far mounted a tight-lipped defense, publicly distancing themselves from Blagojevich’s alleged plans to profit personally from his power to fill Obama’s newly vacant Senate seat with firm but vague denials of any involvement.

Privately, Obama allies are noting that the foul-mouthed governor and the president-elect, though both Democrats atop the Illinois power structure, are hardly close: Obama did not back Blagojevich in his 2002 primary race for governor, and Blagojevich did not back Obama in his 2004 Senate primary.

Republicans, though, plan to keep the pressure on. Republican National Chairman Robert “Mike” Duncan on Tuesday said Obama’s initial response to questions about the governor was inadequate. South Carolina GOP Chairman Katon Dawson, seeking the national party post, went further. He called on Obama to release any records of discussions between his transition team and Blagojevich about Obama’s successor – citing Obama’s oft-repeated pledge for greater transparency.

And, in a Politico interview, Illinois state Republican chairman Andy McKenna, pressed Obama to commit to keeping U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald in his post until the corruption cases run their course.

One prominent Chicago Democrat close to many of those named in the indictment suggested the risk for Obama is “Whitewater-type exposure.” That was a reference to an Arkansas real estate deal that produced a series lengthy and highly intrusive investigations in the 1990s that never proved illegality by the Clintons.

What this Democrat meant with his analogy—which on the facts so far seems a bit premature—was that Obama could suffer by being in the proximity of a back-scratching and deal-making culture, even if he was mostly a bystander. “What will splatter on to Obama is he is to some degree a product of this culture, and he has never entirely stood against it,” said the Democrat, who wanted anonymity for fear of antagonizing the president-elect.

Indeed, at a minimum it will be hard for a transition team that wants to shine a light on their plans to clean up Washington if the steaming compost pile of Illinois politics— and its florid tradition of bribes, extortion, and payback—is in the news.

But there are less obvious hazards. Anyone who has ever been near a public corruption case—and many of Obama’s top advisers have, thanks to their experience in the Clinton years—knows the hassles that can torment even innocent people. Even peripheral figures wind up hiring expensive lawyers. At trial, testimony by minor witnesses becomes a major news event if it is someone close to the president taking the stand.

Prosecutor Fitzgerald pointed out during questions and answers at his news conference that “there's no reference in the complaint to any conversation involving the president-elect or indicating that the president-elect was aware of it.”

Obama advisers argue that Blagojveich's alleged crimes -- extorting campaign contributions from a children's hospital, demanding the firing of the top editors at the Chicago's flagship newspaper in return for state assistance -- are so over-the-top that they speak for themselves, and will only serve to taint the disgraced governor.

Obama aides see proof of his vindication in the fact that Blagojevich, in the secret tapes, complains that the president-elect’s team won’t give him anything. Obama emerged personally untarnished in the 78-page Blagojevich complaint. He was, to the allegedly deeply corrupt governor, the “mother***er” who was owed no favors and a lily-livered reformer who, instead of a bribe, wouldn’t give the disgusted Blagojevich “anything except appreciation.”

But there are enough unanswered questions to give his political opponents plenty of grist, starting with Obama’s curt denial that he had ever spoken to Blagojevich about how to fill Obama’s vacant seat.

His chief political adviser, David Axelrod, Tuesday corrected his own suggestion last month that Obama and Blagojevich had spoken about filling Obama’s vacant seat. Spokespeople did not respond to a question of when Obama and Blagojevich last spoke, and about what.

And there is the question of Fitzgerald’s future . Presidents can appoint their own U.S. Attorneys, but Republicans aim to all but dare Obama to remove the crusading Fitzgerald before he's done cleaning out corruption in Chicago and Springfield.

"What he should do tomorrow is say, 'Patrick Fitzgerald has a job and can have for as long as he wants,'" McKenna told Politico. "Some have wondered if Barack Obama would keep Fitzgerald [as U.S. Attorney]. It would be great if he confirms that he plans to."

Meanwhile, the case is likely to turn reporters into students of Illinois political history, just as the Clinton presidency produced a generation of reporters and opposition researchers obsessed with turning over the rocks of Arkansas politics.

In 2002, when Blagojevich left the U.S. House (opening up a seat for Emanuel), Obama joined other black Chicago Democrats – including his one-time rival Bobby Rush and state Senate mentor Emil Jones –in supporting Roland Burris, an African-American former Illinois Comptroller and state Attorney General.

In a further effort to put distance between Obama and the governor, Obama allies are preemptively noting that incoming Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s claim this summer in a New Yorker article that he and Obama were “the top strategists of Blagojevich's victory” in 2002 was inaccurate.

In a subsequent article in the Springfield political publication Capitol Fax this summer, now being circulated by Obama allies, Emanuel walked back his assertion.

"David [Wilhelm] and I have worked together on campaigns for decades,” Emanuel said, referring to the Democratic operative who was a top adviser to Blagojevich in 2002 and strongly denied that Obama had been involved in that race. “Like always, he's right and I'm wrong."

Further, the allies note that Blagojevich did not support Obama in 2004 in what was initially thought to be a hotly contested primary.

Still, as Obama emerged from the sheltered, reformist enclave of Hyde Park in the 1990s, he made valuable friends among the bosses of its political machine – Mayor Richard Daley, Emil Jones and many others. He bragged at times that Illinois had made him tough. He also campaigned on an ethics bill he helped pass in the Illinois State Senate.

And he seemed still to be in that Chicago straddle when asked about Blagojevich’s arrest yesterday, mustering only word that he was “saddened” and “sobered” at a time when even other Illinois Democrats were demanding Blagojevich resign.
9732  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: December 09, 2008, 06:21:04 PM
http://counterterrorismblog.org/2008/12/print/guantanamos_jihad_the_show_beg.php

Counterterrorism Blog

Guantanamo’s Jihad: The Show Begins…

By Walid Phares

Al Qaeda’s great moment for propaganda has arrived, just as I predicted it would when I wrote about this in June. The Guantanamo trials will provide leading figures in the 9/11 massacre their “moment” to deliver a blow to America’s psyche, image and legal system.

As predicted, almost to the letter in my analysis in June, the men charged with plotting the September 11 attacks have declared their readiness to make confessions. According to Associated Press the military judge assigned to their war crimes trial at Guantanamo Bay read aloud a letter in which the five co-defendants said they request an immediate hearing session “to announce our confessions.” The AP report added that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (aka KSM) has already told interrogators he was the mastermind of the attacks. “Now he’s telling the judge that he and the others want to make confessions at the trial.” The judge at the pre-trial hearing, Army Col. Stephen Henley, is asking each defendant if they are prepared to enter a plea. Three have agreed to do so.

So, is there an Al Qaeda plan being put into motion on the inside? Most likely there is as our knowledge of Al Qaeda training instructions has shown. -Both the government and media of the United States are ill-prepared for this type of jihadi propaganda warfare. Seven years after the beginning of the so-called “War on Terror,” the enemy’s ideology, strategies and methods still haven’t been officially identified. It is like using a Word War I mind set to fight World War II terror strategies.

Here is what the jihadists, both on the inside and the outside of the Guantanamo detention center are planning for:

First, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his comrades will use the so-called confessions deal to build a psychological environment for a martyrdom case: “istishaad.” They aren’t interested in saving their lives (at first, although they think they could) but in providing a maximum damage to their enemy through the tribunal proceedings. They will claim the court is not legitimate, the entire Guantanamo process as illegal and that they are ready to die as Jihadis in the path to Allah. Their first target is to grant themselves, in the eyes of millions of militants around the world the status of “Shuhada,” martyrs, even though they could survive it.

The “confessions” turned declaration of victory will be picked up by Al Qaeda and other jihadi groups and transformed into vital material for propaganda: videos, audio and texts. The “show” inside court will be used for indoctrination purpose around the world. A myth will be set in motion and emotional reactions to the “story” will be mutated into future revenge operations.

From there on, leave it to the architects of jihadi propaganda: statements made by the defendants will be used by operatives online, in the chat rooms but also on Al Jazeera (by callers and guests), and in other medium to widen the radicalization of youth in the Arab and Muslim world and within the West as well. An Al Qaeda “control room” will use the feed from the Guantanamo trials to produce a victory in their war of ideas against democracies. The fate of the 9/11 detainees isn’t the issue to Al Qaeda. By pledging loyalty to the “mission” through the so-called “confessions” or statements they have already sacrificed themselves ideologically. What KSM and his comrades are offering to their “brothers” around the world is an unbeatable series of images, footage and audio — pure gold for Al Qaeda propagandists and ideologues.

Ironically, during this time of transition between the two administrations in both the Bush and Obama teams may find they overlook the direct goals of Al Qaeda’s plan. As national security teams meet and wrestle over future options in the War on Terror (will some possibly end up just calling it a “war”?) the other side is waging its own war methodically, relentlessly and unstoppably. Every inch of room to maneuver is used to the maximum to weaken the enemy, even from within the walls of the detention centers. And that is only at Guantanamo that the defendants are openly admitting their responsibilities in spreading terror. Wait until the processing of jihadists hits our U.S. courts here on the mainland. What we see now is just the beginning.

Dr. Walid Phares is Director of the Future Terrorism Project at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies

By Walid Phares on December 8, 2008 11:27 PM
9733  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: December 09, 2008, 05:18:05 PM




December 09, 2008, 4:30 p.m.

Why Does KSM Want to be Executed?
Who Cares?

By Andrew C. McCarthy

We don’t understand our enemies any better than we did when they first strode out on that great American stage, the federal courtroom, 15 years ago.

That is the upshot of Monday’s latest episode in Mohammed’s March to Martyrdom, a dreadful show that should close in Cuba before ever making it to the Great White Way. Five top al-Qaeda terrorists told a military judge at Guantanamo Bay that they want to skip their commission trial, admit — no, brag about — their guilt, and proceed straight to execution and its promised eternity of Boogie Nights.

Mohammed, of course, is none other than KSM, the black artist formerly known as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. That was before he orchestrated the 9/11 atrocities, vaulting into that small circle of celebrity where the initials are all you need to know. Infamy is the achievement of a lifetime for this Baluchi marauder turned courtroom diva. It’s what he has always craved: to be known . . . and feared.

In the mid-Nineties, he was just an up-and-comer: anteing up a paltry $660 for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, then co-designing the off-off-Broadway run of Bojinka: an ambitious 1994 production designed to slaughter hundreds of Americans by exploding their cross-Pacific flights in midair — a production that collapsed when a preview detonation failed to bring down the plane, though it did manage to kill a Japanese tourist.

KSM was green with envy when those pilots became star turns for other terrorists: his mad-scientist nephew, Ramzi Yousef, and Omar Abdel Rahman, the capo di tutti jihadi known in America’s living rooms as “the Blind Sheikh.”

Back in those days, KSM couldn’t get himself arrested. Or at least the FBI couldn’t get him arrested. That was thanks to Qatar, another of our ambivalent Arab “allies” in the war on terror. The emirate is an authoritarian sharia-state and jihadist financial hub — though you may know it better as the home of al-Jezeera, the Muslim world’s virulently anti-American media giant to which KSM once served as al-Qaeda’s official liaison.

A U.S.-educated engineer, KSM had a government job in Qatar’s ministry of electricity and water when he was tipped off in 1996 that the Americans were closing in. In the nick of time, he fled to Afghanistan. That’s where Osama bin Laden, having recently worn out his welcome in Sudan, was just setting up shop.

The rest, as they say, is history. Years later, while confirming his status as an enemy combatant, KSM recounted how he’d become al-Qaeda’s “military operational commander” for all foreign operations, running the 9/11 attacks “from A to Z.”

And that was just the warm-up. Mohammed took charge of the cell that managed production of biological weapons and radiological “dirty bombs.” He planned an unconsummated “second-wave” of suicide-hijacking attacks on the Israeli city of Elat, iconic sites in Great Britain, and the U.S. — where the Empire State Building and other skyscrapers in Chicago, San Francisco and the state of Washington were targeted. KSM directed the bombing of a hotel frequented by Israelis in Mombassa, Kenya — and, for good measure, shot a surface-to-air missile near Mombassa’s airport, barely missing a departing El-Al flight. He plotted bomb strikes against America’s domestic financial centers; American naval ships and oil tankers in Singapore and the Straits of Hormuz and Gibraltar; and American embassies in Japan, Australia, and Indonesia. The list (which you can find at pages 17-18 of the combatant hearing transcript, here) goes on and on.

KSM is going to be put to death. He knows it and we know it. The same is true of his four underlings. The question is not if but when.

These legal proceedings, then, are simply theater. For the Left, that means projecting shopworn themes under the guise of thoughtfully pondering the purpose of the jihadists’ procedural maneuvering. Is KSM scheming to challenge our new president’s redoubling of Islamic outreach? Is he daring Obama to kick off the promised era of good feeling by executing Muslims, even as the new administration backpedals from campaign commitments to shut down Gitmo and withdraw from Iraq forthwith? Or is he, as the ACLU speculated for the New York Times, trying to draw attention to the asserted folly of abandoning the 1990’s model of civilian terrorist trials in favor of “a failed commission process”?

Yes, it’s the silly season.

What we don’t yet seem to grasp, even after all that’s gone on these last two decades, is that our politics and our law are of interest only to us. They matter nothing to jihadists. It’s a fatuous exercise in self-absorption to suppose otherwise — and a foolish one since it demonstrates for all to see that we still don’t get it. The delusion that we can change our enemies by changing ourselves is what makes the useful idiots useful.

KSM doesn’t see Bush or Obama. He sees an American president. He sees a symbol — the embodiment of a people and culture that are his mortal enemy. Back in 1994, when the Bojinka escapade was flushed out in the Philippines, investigators found that the jihadists were also planning an assassination of President Clinton. Thirteen years later, KSM explained to a military judge that he had mapped out “the assassination of several former American presidents, including President Carter.”

Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, cowboy or solon — these distinctions matter to us. KSM couldn’t care less.

In 1999, as was the fashion throughout the Nineties, we gave the embassy bombers due process’s version of The Full Monty: a civilian trial in the Big Apple, with multiple taxpayer-funded attorneys and investigators at their beck and call. We thought we were teaching the enemy and the world about America’s high regard for them and for the rule of law.

The Islamic world was unimpressed — much of it mocking the proceedings as a show trial. As for al-Qaeda, it did what al-Qaeda does: it studied our solicitous procedures with an eye toward the usual barbarity. Mamdouh Salim, a KSM confederate in al-Qaeda’s top echelon, determined that the constitutional rights to counsel and to prepare a defense provided a splendid opportunity to kidnap one’s American lawyers and use them as human shields in an attempted jail-break. Salim was stopped, but not before nearly killing the prison guard he stabbed in the eye while making his move.

For radical Islam, it’s not about us; it’s about them. KSM isn’t about us. He’s about KSM. There is no system we can devise, nothing we can do or not do, no one we can elect or anoint, that will alter how we are perceived by the millions who share the jihadist worldview, if not jihadist methods.

So why are KSM and his four fellow detainees trying to end-run their trial and rush to martyrdom? I daresay the answer should be, “Who cares?”

Live jihadists attain a lofty status in our custody, their notoriety enhancing their ability to inspire more terror. The Blind Sheikh issued the fatwa for 9/11 from his American jail cell; Sayyid Nosair, the murderer of JDL-founder Meir Kahane, exhorted the 1993 World Trade Center bombers from Attica prison; those bombers, in turn, egged on Spanish terrorists by sending messages through the penitentiary mail system. KSM and his associates will be no different. If they are ready to die, we ought to accommodate them — for once, our interests are in sync.

If I thought it was worth wasting much attention on his latest ploy, I’d point out that since being captured in 2003, KSM has been what he hates maybe even more than he hates Americans: irrelevant. Now that he finally has his soapbox, he also has his reputation to consider. Since 9/11, he’s best known for breaking under interrogation and thus helping the United States thwart more mayhem than he managed to pull off.

What he wants now is to go out in a blaze of bravado. A full-blown trial — whether military or civilian — might not be the best way to do that. It would broadcast his failures as much as his triumphs. As the outcome is not in doubt, he’d just as soon focus on a heroic, defiant, martyr’s death, with as much spotlight as possible.

We should take his guilty plea, then move swiftly to the capital phase and the inevitable death sentence. That is our law. But once that’s done, KSM ought to be consigned back to obscurity, at least for a while. He’s in a rush, but we don’t need to be. At a time of our choosing, when it will get minimum coverage, KSM and his confederates should be executed without fanfare. A curt announcement should be made, informing the public that the deed has been done.

Most of the world would yawn. That would be justice.

 — National Review’s Andrew C. McCarthy chairs FDD’s Center for Law & Counterterrorism and is the author of Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad (Encounter Books 2008).

National Review Online - http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=M2M2YjliZWM4NGRmMTQ3MDY1YjM1ZTU0ZGMxMjNmNDc=
9734  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: December 09, 2008, 04:20:37 PM
Gosh, reminds me of something somebody has been arguing for years....  evil
9735  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Libertarian Issues on: December 06, 2008, 10:36:35 PM
I'd like to see the affidavit for the search warrant. I expect the DOJ/FBI will be looking at this with great interest.
9736  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: December 06, 2008, 10:24:59 PM
As much as I'd love for Obama to be ineligible to be president, I have no doubt he was born in Hawaiii, thus is going to be sworn in 1/20/09.
9737  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India and India-Pak on: December 05, 2008, 08:56:56 AM
http://counterterrorismblog.org/2008/12/print/after_mumbai_deciphering_the_h.php

December 4, 2008

After Mumbai: Deciphering the Horizons
By Walid Phares


As the crisis between India and Pakistan is drawing the attention of the international community and the diplomatic efforts of the United States, public opinion has shown an increased interest in the Jihadi agenda in India. In this regard the Counter Terrorism community is focusing on analyzing the long term strategic agenda of the Terror forces involved in the attack. Today's panel discussion in Congress at the invitation of the Counter Terrorism Foundation opened several perspectives in projecting the next stage of the conflict. The minutes of this briefing will be useful to the growing debate about Post Mumbai. Following is a short piece published initially by Fox News.com today, raising some of the issues I discussed at the panel in Congress this morning.


Mumbai’s “bloody week” has ended with shock and awe in India and around the world. Since 9/11, and even before, the jihadists have been leaping from one massacre to another, scarring democracies and civil societies with their violent imprints.

From New York and Washington to Madrid and London; from Beslan and Baghdad to Islamabad and Bali, the seekers of a Taliban-like “Caliphate” continue to adapt their tactics and while staying the course. No civilization or continent has escaped their designs.

But after Mumbai, one has to expect more and worse. Let’s look at what’s on the the horizon:

1) Urban Jihad is Open for Business

My initial assessment of the Mumbai terror attacks leads me to predict that the Mumbai model is now a frame of reference for copycats. These attack can unfortunately happen again, in India, in the region and around the globe. “Urban jihad,” the termed I’ve used in my last three books and in recent op-ed pieces, is a combination of terror activities by Salafists or other adherents of Jihadism aimed at shocking, paralyzing, and seizing part of a city or neighborhood.

The goal of “urban jihad” is to take the battle inside the cities of the enemy, in this case India. But the Beslan school massacre in Russia in September 2004, the terror attacks in Saudi Arabia in November, 2003 the multiple killings in Iraq, Afghanistan and Algeria, as well as the similar scenarios in Israel over several decades, tell us that this form of urban terrorism is now open for business. In the near future I will make more predictions jihadi copycats worldwide.

2) Real Jihadi Claims Beyond Kashmir

Interestingly, the jihadi propaganda machine reacted instantly to the attacks by invoking the issue of Kashmir. So did many in the international media. But the reality is -- using the words of the jihadists -- the goals have mutated and now extend beyond the classical ethnic conflict in Kashmir. The aim is now to establish a Taliban state covering half of India, all of Pakistan and also Afghanistan. It is more the Caliphate then self-determination that the terrorists seek.

3) Trans-Regional Forces Trump Local Forces


As I write, many experts and authorities on terror have been trying to determine if the Mumbai “perpetrators” are the Pakistan-based Laskar e Taiba, the Indian Mujahideen, Taliban inspired factions or simply Al Qaeda. Strategically, we don’t need to wonder too much: all four of these groups are all part of the same web. It’s a web that stretches from Kabul to Mumbai: these are the subcontinent’s jihadists. Decisions are made at a high level with coordination between the big bosses and terrorist actions are carried out by the designated organizations, teams, and cells. The rest is left for our media and commentators to guess and juggle. While it is very useful from an intelligence perspective to determine the chain of command and the entity directly involved in the Mumbai terror attacks, from a global perspective it is important for the public and decision makers from around the world to realize that the three south Asian democracies are all threatened by the same enemy, appearing in different shapes and showing multiple faces.

4) Preempting the Forthcoming Offensive in Afghanistan

Beyond the investigation regarding the Mumbai attackers and their networks, it is equally important for strategic planners inside NATO to read the attacks as a preemptive strike against the forthcoming reinforcement of U.S. and allied troops in Afghanistan. It seems to me that the Mumbai attack, and possibly the other attacks that may follow, are actions designed to break down precarious relationships between the three democratic governments in that region and to weaken the efforts promised by President-elect Obama against Al Qaeda and its regional allies in 2009.

**********

Dr Walid Phares is the Director of the Future Terrorism Project at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and the author of The Confrontation: Winning the War against Future Jihad
9738  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India and India-Pak on: December 04, 2008, 11:15:36 AM
JDN,

Does this mean you've woken up to the threat of the global jihad?
9739  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Reproductive issues on: December 04, 2008, 09:02:59 AM
[
**Again, a state does not have jurisdiction to charge you for something you do that is legal in the state you do it in. California cannot charge you for patronizing a legal prostitute in Nevada.**

I understand; my point is that if you do something illegal in one state; prostitution or for example perform an illegal abortion, you may be arrested and held and returned to another state if prostitution or for example abortion is also illegal in the state to which you fled/traveled.

**It need not be illegal in the state you flee to. CA wants to charge you for patronizing a prostitute. You flee to NV. A NV state trooper stops for for an illegal lane change, runs your license and finds the CA warrant for your arrest. As long as CA will extradite you back for trial, the trooper will arrest you and take you to county pending extradition. NV's legal brothels have no effect on you being sent back to CA to face trial.**

And I understand coercive and invasive searches are legal at the border, but since I often travel internationally, short of chartering a private plane (beyond my budget) I have few choices. 

**Private plane or not, crossing an international border, you will face being searched by US Customs and Border Protection officers. The only border crossers that are immune are those with diplomatic immunity.**


Even flying to NY is a very long walk, drive, or train ride.  Yet, if during this search, sticking to topic, if evidence was found in my luggage that I had committed an illegal abortion and it was illegal in the state I was traveling from and going to, I could be arrested and/or detained at either location; correct?

**I have a hard time imagining what would constitute evidence of an illegal abortion that could be discovered by TSA security screening. They are trained (somewhat) to detect threats to aviation security. If in the process of searching you or your property, they discovered potential evidence of a crime, a sworn LEO would respond. If he/she then found probable cause that a crime, then indeed you would face arrest.**

As for "rent a cop" I was thinking TSA employees; in contrast, I have the highest respect for the training and qualifications of Custom Officers and I know they are doing a difficult job.



9740  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Communicating with the Muslim World on: December 04, 2008, 08:20:40 AM
**Finally, some expressions of regret!  evil **

http://iowahawk.typepad.com/iowahawk/2008/12/apologetic-mumbai-killers-we-didnt-get-the-memo-about-obama.html

Apologetic Mumbai Killers: "We Didn't Get the Memo About Obama"

MUMBAI - Ajmal Amir Kasab, the sole surviving member of the 10-man team of Pakistani gunmen that left hundreds dead or wounded after a bloody three day rampage in Mumbai, today blamed the mayhem on an "email mixup" that left him and his colleagues unaware that Barack Obama had won election as President of the United States.

"What? Oh bloody hell, now you tell me," said Kasab, as he was led away in handcuffs by Indian security forces.

Kasab, 21, apologized to Indian President Pratibha Patil, explaining that no one in his group had known about the recent U.S. election results.

"Boy, talk about having egg on the face," said a visibly embarrassed Kasab. "If we knew Bush was on his way out, obviously we would have called off the crazy random baby-shootings and martyrdom stuff, and signed on with the Peace Corps or Habitat for Humanity. At this point I guess all I can say is 'my bad.'"

"Seriously, I can't even begin to tell you how shitty the whole situation makes me feel," he added dejectedly. "Don't get me wrong, I'm as thrilled as everybody else to find out Barack won the election, but this moment is always going to be bittersweet knowing that all those shootings were tragically unnecessary. Not to mention the six weeks I wasted in training camp."

Kasab, who is personally suspected of killing over 30 victims at point-blank range in a posh Mumbai hotel, was at a loss to explain how he and other members of the terrorist assault team remained unaware of the historic U.S. election results that many American analysts predicted would lead to an immediate and permanent outbreak of rapturous harmony and transcendent brotherly love throughout the universe.

"Jeez, I'm... I don't know, I just never got any kind of memo," said Kasab. "The ironic thing is that just the other day, when we were ritually shaving our testicles for final martyrdom, a bunch of us were talking about how great and symbolic it would be if the American infidels would only elect an handsome, articulate young African-American infidel. That way we could just lay down the suicide belts and scimitars and suitcase nukes and finally get involved in the positive aspects of community activism, like raising awareness for breast cancer research.  Look, I know it's a cliche to point fingers at the IT department, but our email system really sucks. And it's hard to find a decent wi-fi hot spot in Northwest Pakistan."

Tragically, though, it appears that internet connectivity was only the tip of the iceberg in a system-wide Obama news communication failure at Al Qaeda Headquarters.

"Obama won? Seriously?" said an astonished Abdul Aziz Qasim, Senior Media Affairs Director for Al Qaeda's Peshawar Office at an afternoon press conference announcing responsibility for the attacks. "I mean... you're positively sure of that?"

After a reporter screened a YouTube video for him showing Obama's election night celebration, Qasim angrily summoned his intelligence department.

"Have any of you seen this? Any of you?" shouted Qasim, jabbing at the laptop screen with his hook, as his staff awkwardly stared at their sandals. "Because it would have been nice to know about it TWO FUCKING WEEKS AGO."

"Can one of you idiots remind me why I pay you?" he continued. "Because all I know is that I'm the only one in this goddamn tent who ends up taking the heat from bin Laden and Zawahiri, and gets stuck doing the damage control caused by you stupid fuckups."

Regaining his composure, Qasim said that Al Qaeda would work to make amends with victims of the Mumbai tragedy, including sending flowers and handwritten apology notes containing 1000 rupee ($12.65) PakMart gift cards to the surviving families of all 173 dead. Wounded victims are slated to receive a 50 rupee coupon good at participating Waziristan Fried Chicken restaurants.

"Ultimately, I know the 'buck stops here,' but I just want to remind everybody in the infidel world that the only gripe that we've really ever had with you is about George Bush," said Qasim. "There's just something instantly irritating about that guy, you know what I mean? It's that smirk, the way he says 'nuke-u-ler' and all that 'evildoers' crap. There's only so much you can take of him before you start flying planes into skyscrapers or bombing subways, or shooting Hindus, or beheading Thai school teachers, and what-have-you."

"Believe me, now that Bush is out of the picture we're just as upset about those senseless killings as everybody else, especially those of us who actually did the senseless killing," he added. "All we ask is that the Indian judges not take it too hard on Ajmal. The poor kid feels bad enough already. It's not his fault he didn't find out about the infidel elections, you know how hard it is to get a decent Verizon cell in Mumbai. Now that we're all on the same page again it would be a great time for all of us, believers and infidels alike, to put all the nonsense of the Bush years behind us and rekindle that beautiful peace and friendship thing we all had going on back in 2000."

"I know my wife is looking forward to another Florida vacation -- even though she'll have to drop a few pounds to fit back into her beach chador," Qasim joked. "She was only ten when we were there for our honeymoon."

"Oh, before I forget, let me finally send our belated congratulations to President-Elect Obama," said the Al Qaeda spokesman. "Let me also say we're very sorry for the snafu in Mumbai, and hope this won't put a damper on our negotiations for the peaceful return of Spain. We're cool, right?"
9741  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Communicating with the Muslim World on: December 04, 2008, 01:42:16 AM
http://hotair.com/archives/2008/12/03/quote-of-the-day-410/

Here are the protests!
9742  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Reproductive issues on: December 03, 2008, 10:35:18 PM
I'm sorry, maybe I wasn't clear.  If using your example, I patronized a prostitute in CA (prostitution is illegal in CA) and took a flight to Utah;
could they prosecute me? 

**California would have jurisdiction. If you fled and were arrested in Utah, CA could have you extradited back to face trial in California. Neither CA or UT could charge you for patronizing a legal prostitute in NV.**

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Extradition

The transfer of an accused from one state or country to another state or country that seeks to place the accused on trial.

Extradition comes into play when a person charged with a crime under state statutes flees the state. An individual charged with a federal crime may be moved from one state to another without any extradition procedures.

Article IV, Section 2, of the U.S. Constitution provides that upon the demand of the governor of the prosecuting state, a state to which a person charged with a crime has fled must remove the accused "to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime." When extraditing an accused from one state to another, most states follow the procedures set forth in the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act, which has been adopted by most jurisdictions. A newer uniform act, the Uniform Extradition and Rendition Act, is designed to streamline the extradition process and provide additional protections for the person sought, but by 1995, it had been adopted by only one state.

Extradition from one state to another takes place on the order of the governor of the Asylum state (the state where the accused is located). The courts in the asylum state have a somewhat limited function in extraditing the accused to the state where she or he is charged with a crime. They determine only whether the extradition documents are in order (e.g., whether they allege that the accused has committed a crime and that she or he is a fugitive) and do not consider the merits of the charge, since the trial of the accused will take place in the state demanding extradition.

In some cases, courts considering extradition from one state to another may go beyond the procedural formalities and look at the merits of the criminal charge or at allegations by the accused that extradition will lead to harmful consequences beyond a prison term. These cases are rare because under the U.S. Constitution, states are not given the power to review the

underlying charge. This problem occurred in New Mexico ex rel. Ortiz v. Reed, 524 U.S. 151, 118 S. Ct. 1860, 141 L. Ed. 2d 131 (1998), in which the state of New Mexico refused to return a fugitive to the state of Ohio.

The Supreme Court has identified that a court considering an extradition case can only decide four issues: (1) whether the extradition documents on their face are in order, (2) whether the petitioner has been charged with a crime in the demanding state, (3) whether the petitioner is the person named in the request for the extradition, and (4) whether the petitioner is a fugitive. The New Mexico Supreme Court in Reed determined that the person subject to the extradition, Manuel Ortiz, was not a "fugitive," and refused to honor the extradition order from the state of Ohio. The Supreme Court found that New Mexico courts had overstepped their authority and ordered the New Mexico Supreme Court to return the fugitive.


In BOTH states the "act" is illegal therefore it seems to me one could be prosecuted or extradited from Utah to CA; yes?  I mean
if I kill someone in CA (illegal) and flee to Utah (murder is also illegal) I can and in most cases will be prosecuted and/or extradited to CA.  Using you analogy,
if one state permitted murder, and I crossed into that state, then you are right, they would not prosecute or extradite me.  But going back to the example, if most
states prohibit abortion, I guess the woman has a serious, maybe criminal problem?

**Again, you cannot charge/prosecute unless you have jurisdiction. If you legally possess marijuana in California, then cross into Nevada, NV law now applies. The legality ends once you cross out of California's legal jurisdiction. NV cannot charge you for marijuana you possess in CA, but can charge you for marijuana you do possess while in NV.**

Also, regarding searches; even leaving the US I can be subjected to a very invasive search.  And while it may be a "consent" search, even domestically,
if I want to travel, business or pleasure, I have no option, do I? 

**The courts have ruled that 4th Amnd. protections do not apply at border crossings. As far as consenting to security screening, you can charter a private plane, drive, take a bus, take a train or walk. They may not be your preferred options, but they are options.**


And I find it offensive that they want to search my computer files, yet given that I travel a
lot, I have not choice.  "Consent" perhaps, but in reality I have no choice.  And if some rent a cop found something on my computer, I miss my flight. 

**TSA does not inspect the contents of your hard drive. US Customs officers might at a border crossing. They are federal law enforcement officers, hardly "rent a cops".**

The same applies to the woman in the above example.  Either one of us might need a lawyer for something innocuous.  I guess that is how they could catch criminals like women who have abortions if it is illegal?


**Again, a state does not have jurisdiction to charge you for something you do that is legal in the state you do it in. California cannot charge you for patronizing a legal prostitute in Nevada.**
9743  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Communicating with the Muslim World on: December 03, 2008, 09:33:17 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2008/12/03/questions-that-answer-themselves-2/

Questions that answer themselves
posted at 2:43 pm on December 3, 2008 by Ed Morrissey   


Tom Friedman asks in his New York Times column today why we haven’t seen Muslims protesting in the street after the Mumbai attacks:

On Feb. 6, 2006, three Pakistanis died in Peshawar and Lahore during violent street protests against Danish cartoons that had satirized the Prophet Muhammad. More such mass protests followed weeks later. When Pakistanis and other Muslims are willing to take to the streets, even suffer death, to protest an insulting cartoon published in Denmark, is it fair to ask: Who in the Muslim world, who in Pakistan, is ready to take to the streets to protest the mass murders of real people, not cartoon characters, right next door in Mumbai?

After all, if 10 young Indians from a splinter wing of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party traveled by boat to Pakistan, shot up two hotels in Karachi and the central train station, killed at least 173 people, and then, for good measure, murdered the imam and his wife at a Saudi-financed mosque while they were cradling their 2-year-old son — purely because they were Sunni Muslims — where would we be today? The entire Muslim world would be aflame and in the streets.

So what can we expect from Pakistan and the wider Muslim world after Mumbai?


I can provide an answer: apathy and rationalization, and not just from Muslims.  Deepak Chopra blamed it on the Bush administration and the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, as if the causation was reversed.  While Bollywood condemned the terrorist attacks, some followed Chopra’s example.

Has Friedman seen massive protests in the streets against radical Islamist terrorists in these Muslim countries, ever?  Did any of them protest the 9/11 attacks, or the Madrid attack, or any of the large-scale attacks on Western civilians or previous attacks in India at all?  Either we heard ululating or deafening silence, punctuated with a few diplomatic missives about solidarity and the occasional criticism on the effect the attacks have on Muslims.

In other words, we can either expect delight or a collective yawn from the Muslim world.  It’s been a week since the attacks commenced.  Thus far, all we’ve gotten is the latter.  Why would this surprise Friedman, given the history?

And what does that tell us about the attitude towards the terrorists among the Muslim nations?  They may not endorse terrorist attacks, but they certainly don’t strenuously object to them, either.  While we’re wringing our hands over interrogation techniques, and not for bad reasons, they’re indifferent to mass murder.  At some point, the world — or in Friedman’s tiresome terminology, the “village” — will have to come to terms with that reality.

Muslims will not care about terrorist attacks until the cost becomes too high for them.  The risk-to-reward ratio hasn’t reached that level yet, and probably hasn’t come near it.  Mewling about the “village” and asking for a little outrage won’t do it, either.

Update: SANEworks has a few thoughts along the same lines.
9744  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Reproductive issues on: December 03, 2008, 09:03:24 PM
"secondly, being able to conduct such invasive searches with consent or a warrant is pretty much impossible."

I don't understand;
at the border or at even the airport they they seem to have the "right" and do conduct "invasive" searches all the time
without a warrant.

**Cross into the US at the border or international port of entry and you are subject to very invasive search as a result of entering the US from another nation. Going through security screening by the TSA at the airport is a consent search. You are consenting to being searched in exchange for being allowed to enter the "sterile area" of the airport. You can refuse a search, but then cannot enter the boarding area for your flight.**

I do agree that one cannot "prosecute a person that had an abortion in a state where it is legal" but what if a person
crossed a border to a state from and to where abortion is illegal?  Prosecution could result; the same as in your gambling example
if the person gambled in a state where gambling was illegal and went to Utah.

**Uhhhhh.... No. The state only has jurisdiction over what occures within the boundaries of the state. Utah can charge people for patronizing a prostitute in Utah, but has no jurisdiction over someone that patronizes a prostitute in a legal brothel in Nevada.**
9745  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: December 03, 2008, 08:29:02 PM
Stratfor.com

From the New York Landmarks Plot to the Mumbai Attack
December 3, 2008

By Fred Burton and Ben West


On the surface, last week’s attack on Mumbai was remarkable for its execution and apparently unconventional tactics. But when compared to a plot uncovered 15 years ago that targeted prominent hotels in Manhattan, it becomes apparent that the Mumbai attack was not so original after all.

The 1993 New York Landmarks Plot
In July 1993, U.S. counterterrorism agents arrested eight individuals later convicted of plotting an elaborate, multistage attack on key sites in Manhattan. The militants, who were linked to Osama bin Laden’s then-relatively new group, al Qaeda, planned to storm the island armed with automatic rifles, grenades and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). In multiple raids on key targets combined with diversionary attacks, they aimed to kill as many people as possible.

The planned attack, which came to be known as the “Landmarks” plot, called for several tactical teams to raid sites such as the Waldorf-Astoria, St. Regis and U.N. Plaza hotels, the Lincoln and Holland tunnels, and a midtown Manhattan waterfront heliport servicing business executives and VIPs traveling from lower Manhattan to various New York-area airports. The militants carried out extensive surveillance both inside and outside the target hotels using human probes, hand-drawn maps and video surveillance. Detailed notes were taken on the layout and design of the buildings, with stairwells, ballrooms, security cameras and personnel all reconnoitered.

The attackers intended to infiltrate the hotels and disguise themselves as kitchen employees. On the day of the attack, one attack team planned to use stolen delivery vans to get close to the hotels, at which point heavily armed, small-cell commando teams would deploy from the rear of the van. Stationary operatives would use hand grenades to create diversions while attack teams would rake hotel guests with automatic weapons. The attackers planned to carry gas masks and use tear gas in hotel ballrooms to gain an advantage over any security they might come up against. They planned to attack at night, when the level of protection would be lower.

The targeted hotels host some of the most prestigious guests in Manhattan. These could have included diplomats like the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, who traditionally keeps an apartment in the Waldorf-Astoria, or even the U.S. secretary of state, who is known to stay at the Waldorf during U.N. sessions. They also host various business leaders. If successful, the attackers doubtless would have killed many high-profile individuals key to New York’s stature as a center for financial and diplomatic dealings.

Meanwhile, the plots to detonate explosives in the Lincoln and Holland tunnels would have blocked critical transportation infrastructure, sowing chaos in the city as key escape routes were closed off. And VIPs seeking to escape the city via the midtown heliport would have been thwarted by the attack planned for that location. In fact, the heliport attack was planned to be carried out using watercraft, which also could have been used to target transport ferries, further disrupting transportation in and out of Manhattan. The New York City Police Department could plausibly even have quarantined Manhattan to prevent the attackers from fleeing the city.

With the city shut down and gunmen running amok, the financial center of the United States would have been thrown into chaos and confusion until the attackers were detained or killed. The attacks thus would have undermined the security and effectiveness of New York as a center for financial and diplomatic dealings.

At the time, U.S. counterterrorism officials deemed that the attack would have had a 90 percent success rate. Disaster, then, was averted when federal agents captured the plotters planning the Landmarks attack thanks to an informant who had infiltrated the group. Along with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing just four months earlier, which killed six people but was intended to bring down both towers, the United States dodged a major bullet that could have been devastating to New York.

The Nov. 26 Mumbai Attack
A little more than fifteen years later, the Nov. 26 attacks in Mumbai closely followed the script of the New York plot. Militants armed with AK-47s, grenades and military-grade explosives carried out a very logistically sophisticated and coordinated attack on the financial capital of India.



(click to view map)


Clearly, the Mumbai attack involved extensive preoperational surveillance. Attackers had maps of the targeted hotels, and according to the Indian Marine Commandos who raided the Taj Mahal hotel, the militants moved around as if they knew the hotel’s layout by heart. Advance members of the attack teams had already taken up positions in the hotels, stockpiling firearms, ammunition, grenades and food that were quickly accessed and used to maintain the attackers’ positions in the hotels. One of the attackers reportedly also had taken a job as an intern chef in the Taj Mahal hotel kitchen, so his movements raised less suspicion and he had a detailed knowledge of the entry points and corridors. For such attacks, preparedness is key, and escaping alive is a long shot. The attackers therefore must have been highly motivated and willing to die — a rare combination that requires immense amounts of training and ideological zeal.

At least two teams entered the city by watercraft, breaking up into smaller groups as they made their way to the Taj Mahal hotel, Oberoi-Trident hotel complex and Nariman (also known as Chabad) House, a Jewish center in the same area of Mumbai. These tactical teams dispersed across the city, attacking prominent sites where foreign VIPs were sure to be present. They infiltrated the hotels through back entrances and kitchens, thus enhancing the element of surprise as they opened fire on guests in the dining areas and atriums of the hotels.

Beyond killing people and holding hostages in Mumbai’s most prestigious hotels, other attack teams assaulted additional strategic sites in Mumbai, creating a sense of chaos and confusion over the whole city. Mumbai’s main train station, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, as well as Cama Hospital, offices of The Times of India newspaper, restaurants, a theater, and bars frequented by foreigners also were attacked. The attackers’ excellent coordination — the multiple attacks took place nearly simultaneously — thus ensured maximum confusion and chaos, frustrating police responses. This could explain in part why operations like those at Nariman House and the hotels lasted for more than 48 hours.

Similarities between New York and Mumbai
The similarities between the Landmarks plot and the Nov. 26 Mumbai attack are quite obvious. In symbolic terms, as the Mumbai attack unfolded, many onlookers said that an attack on Mumbai is to India what an attack on New York is to Americans. In more concrete terms, the targets, methods, weapons and geography involved were similar (if not identical), and the unconventional style of the attacks points to a common author.

U.S. counterterrorism forces in 1995 detained Landmarks plot mastermind Ramzi Yousef, who remains in U.S. federal prison. But his ideas obviously did not stay behind bars. This illustrates how a plan’s initial failure does not mean the threat has been eliminated. Indeed, Stratfor observed in 2005 that the 1993 Landmarks plot (among others) should not be discounted, as al Qaeda or other terrorist groups are known to return to past targets and plot scenarios.

The similarities between the Landmarks plot and the Mumbai attack exist at several levels.

The first relates to the target set. Both New York and Mumbai are the respective financial centers of their countries and home to their nations’ major stock exchanges. In both cities, the planners had picked out high-profile soft targets — sites that have less security personnel and countermeasures than, say, a military installation or key government building. Softer security means gaining access to strategic assets and people is easier. Stratfor has long stressed the importance of maintaining vigilance at soft targets like hote ls that cater to international guests, as these are likely targets for militant Islamists. Both plans also involved infiltrating hotel staff and booking rooms in the hotels to gain inside information and store supplies.

The second similarity involves how both plans included peripheral targets to cause confusion and chaos and thus create a diversion from the main targets. In Mumbai, transportation infrastructure like the city’s main railway station was attacked, and militants detonated explosive devices in taxis and next to gasoline pumps. Meanwhile, roving gunmen attacked other sites around the city. In a country where coordination among first responders is already weak, the way the attackers fanned out across the city caused massive chaos and distracted security forces from the main prize: the hotels. Attacking Cama Hospital also sowed chaos, as the injured from one scene of attack became the targets of another while being rescued.

A third similarity exists in the geography of the two cities. In both plots, the use of watercraft is a distinctive tactical similarity. Watercraft gave militants access at unconventional locations where security would be more lax. Both Mumbai (a peninsula) and Manhattan (an island) offer plenty of points where militants can mount assaults from watercraft. Such an attack would not have worked in New Delhi or Bangalore; these are landlocked cities where militants would have had to enter by road, a route much more likely to encounter police patrols. Being centers of trade and surrounded by water, both Mumbai and New York have high levels of maritime traffic. This means infiltrating the area from the water would raise minimal suspicions, especially if the craft were registered locally (as was the case in the Mumbai attack). Such out-of-the box tactics take advantage of security services, which often tend to focus on established threats.

A fourth similarity lies in transportation. In addition to using watercraft, both plots involved the use of deceptive vehicles to maneuver around the city undetected. The Landmark plotters used taxis to conduct surveillance and planned on using a delivery van to approach the hotels. In Mumbai, the attackers planted bombs in taxis, and at least one group of militants hijacked a police van and used it to carry out attacks across the city. Using familiar vehicles like taxis, delivery vans or police vans to carry out surveillance or attacks reduces suspicion and increases the element of surprise, allowing militants to stay under cover until the moment of attack.

An Off-the-Shelf Plan
As indicated, the striking similarities between the Landmarks plot and the Mumbai attack suggest that Ramzi Yousef and other early al Qaeda operatives who helped prepare the Landmarks plot in New York authored the Mumbai plan. Considering that the militants launched their original attack from Karachi, Pakistan, and the previous involvement of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency — which has connections with al Qaeda leaders in western Pakistan — it is very likely that al Qaeda in Pakistan at least provided the blueprints for this attack. On-the-ground operations like training, surveillance and the actual attack appear to have been carried out by the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba in connection with Indian Islamist groups.

Here we see more evidence of the existence of an ideological or strategic battle space that exists in the radical Islamist world, which has been greatly influenced by al Qaeda. Like a contingency plan that might sit on the shelf for years or decades before it is useful, terrorist plots (especially good ones) can have a long shelf life and be applied in various scenarios. In fact, plans that sit on the shelf longer might actually be more effective as security officials focus their attention on evolving threats and forget old ones.

Just because a plot has been disrupted, the threat has not been eliminated. Once terrorists happen upon a successful model, they are likely to follow that model. This can be seen in al Qaeda’s return to the World Trade Center in 2001, eight years after the initial truck bomb attacks in 1993. It can also be seen in the fact that Mumbai has been the target of multiple attacks and threats, including train bombings in 2006 that killed approximately 200 people. Though the tactics might have differed, the target set remained the same. Various parts of the attack cycle can change, but rarely does an attack occur that is completely novel.

Ultimately, the biggest difference between the Landmarks plot and the Mumbai attack is that the Mumbai attack succeeded. The failure of the Landmarks plot probably provided key lessons to the planners of the Mumbai attack, who were able to carry out the stages of the attack without detection and with the full element of surprise. Gauging by the success of the Mumbai incident, we can expect similar strategies and tactics in future attacks.
9746  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Reproductive issues on: December 03, 2008, 08:06:06 PM
GM,

The consequences of a police officer a judge deciding whether or not I can get a lifesaving procedure is not acceptable to me.
I  have no problem with the fact that in the case of a healthy mother and healthy baby  late term abortions are currently not performed. I have problem with a Kansas trying to act in this particular situation like a third world county.
 

The nightmare scenario I  imagining  at  the border  would be something like checking luggage  for clothing with blood or  carrying  lots of sanitary napkins etc.

**Let me dispel your fears. First, given that women have menstual cycles, the clothing with blood and sanitary napkins are hardly evidentiary items, secondly, being able to conduct such invasive searches with consent or a warrant is pretty much impossible. Thirdly, the state that bans abortion would not have the jurisdiction to prosecute a person that had an abortion in a state where it is legal. As an example, the state of Utah has strict laws against gambling, but cannot do anything to the large number of Utah residents that cross into Nevada to gamble.**

9747  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India and India-Pak on: December 03, 2008, 07:40:48 PM
http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=6378603

Mumbai: Where are the 14 Other Pakistani-Trained Terrorists?
Captured Gunman Says Only 10 of 24 Were Sent to Mumbai; Concern for New Delhi

By LEN TEPPER, RICHARD ESPOSITO, and BRIAN ROSS
December 3, 2008—


The lone gunman captured alive in Mumbai has told interrogators only 10 of the 24 young men in his year-long terrorist training course were sent to Mumbai last week, leaving 14 still in Pakistan, ready to strike again, law enforcement and security sources tell ABCNews.com.

Security officials say they have been warned by Indian and U.S. officials that a second attack on the Indian capital city New Delhi is possible.

U.S. officials say the captured gunman's account corroborates other intelligence that points to the role of the Pakistani-based Lashkar e Taiba, a group affiliated with al Qaeda that opposes Indian rule over the disputed state of Kashmir.

U.S. counter-terrorism officials say Lashkar e Taiba's ability to operate with impunity inside Pakistan is one reason U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has warned Pakistan "this is a time for complete, absolute, total transparency and cooperation."

A warning issued by U.S. intelligence agencies to Indian officials in mid-October suggests the U.S. may know the precise location of the training camps or headquarters in Pakistan, according to sources in the intelligence community.

"There's going to have be retaliation, but it could be a while," said former CIA intelligence officer John Kiriakou, an ABC News consultant.

"The location of those bases is the worst kept secret in South Asia, but by now they probably have been abandoned," he said.

Mohammad Ajmal Amir Iman, 21, captured by police at Mumbai's main train station, reportedly told interrogators he began training for last week's deadly attack in late 2007 along with 23 other recruits to Lashkar e Taiba, a terror group affiliated with al Qaeda.

He reportedly described four, three-month training segments at locations in Pakistan: physical fitness, running, weapons and explosives and sea maneuvers.


Gunmen Were Trained Terrorists

The captured terrorist described his trainers as former Pakistani military officers, including one who was known as Cha-Cha, or Uncle.

Indian officials say his account is corroborated by evidence recovered from the group's boats and from intercepted satellite phone conversations that have been recovered from data files.

The officials say they have now heard one conversation in which a gunman is heard telling Lashkar e Taiba headquarters, "We finished off the four goats," a reference to the murder of four crewmen on the boat hijacked by the attackers in Indian waters.
9748  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Communicating with the Muslim World on: December 03, 2008, 07:00:15 PM
Cartoons of Mohammed cause protests and riots worldwide. Where is the outrage for this latest outrage?
9749  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Communicating with the Muslim World on: December 03, 2008, 10:52:24 AM
The muslim masses will not condemn Mumbai, Bali, Beslan, 9/11, 7/7 or any other islamic terrorism because these are acts that stem from core islamic beliefs. It would be like jews condeming keeping kosher.
9750  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India and India-Pak on: December 03, 2008, 08:45:56 AM
New template for terror?
Mumbai attacks' sophistication shows need for new approach to defenses, experts say.
By Mark Sappenfield | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
from the December 3, 2008 edition

New Delhi - Sixty hours in Mumbai have begun to change the calculus of global terrorism.
New reports suggest that both Indian and American intelligence agencies had foreseen the threat to Mumbai (formerly Bombay). Yet the manner of the attack – with 10 heavily armed, highly trained fighters clinically fanning out across the city – meant that no "police force anywhere would have been prepared to counter this type of operation," says Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism analyst at Georgetown University in Washington.
Armed sieges are not a new terrorist tactic, but never before has one been used to such effect. Some experts suggest this could be the most sophisticated terrorist attack since 9/11. Now, other militants might consider copycat operations – and the world's cities will have to be ready for them.
"It was not so much of a success in terms of people killed – it was more the publicity they got for three days, and their ability to project the Indian state ... as helpless," says B. Raman, former head of counterterrorism for Indian top intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). "Others will want to repeat it," he predicts.
Indians' anger toward their government continued to mount Tuesday as several reports indicated that there was specific intelligence pointing to an attack on Mumbai from the sea – the way the terrorists entered the city.
On Sept. 18 and 24, RAW intercepted two satellite phone calls in which a member of the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba discussed an operation that would attack Mumbai by boat, according to the Hindustan Times, an Indian newspaper. One call mentioned the Taj Mahal Hotel, where the last fighter was killed Saturday.
Moreover, a US counterterrorism official told CNN Tuesday that "the United States warned the Indian government about a potential maritime attack against Mumbai at least a month before last week's massacre in Mumbai."
President Bush is diverting Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice from a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels this week to visit India. She is expected to arrive in New Delhi Wednesday.
India now feels confident it has established a link between the attackers and elements in Pakistan, perhaps Lashkar-e-Taiba. India is now demanding that Pakistan extradite 20 people – including the head of Lashkar-e-Taiba – which India's foreign minister, Pranab Mukherjee, called a "fugitive from Indian law." Pakistan is considering the request.
Significantly, Mr. Mukherjee says India is not currently considering the use of force against Pakistan. US officials were concerned that India might deploy more troops to its northern border, as it did after an attack on the Indian Parliament in 2001. Pakistan would have countered by pulling troops away from the fight against militants on the Afghan border.
That India felt the need to dismiss such an option is a measure of how deeply the country has been shaken by last week's attacks. Purely by the numbers, the attacks were barely more lethal than a series of bombings that hit Mumbai on July 11, 2006, killing 186. The current death toll from the latest attacks is 188. But newspapers and commentators here have repeatedly called this India's worst terrorist attack primarily because of the way it unfolded.
The paroxysm of the bombings was replaced by 60 hours of uncertainty. The militants moved through the city with military precision, killing as they headed toward three rendezvous points – the Taj and Oberoi hotels and Nariman House, a Jewish community center.
In fact, during the fight for the Taj, Indian commandos expressed grudging admiration for the terrorists. They admitted that the terrorists knew the hotel better than the commandos did themselves, and they fought more like soldiers than terrorists.
Employing only guns and grenades, "the individual tactics they used were not that sophisticated," says John Harrison, a terrorism analyst at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. "But how they put them all together showed a tremendous amount of strategic thinking."
The simpler parts of the operation are easily copied. Terrorists in Kashmir, for instance, have long used similar sieges, albeit on a much smaller scale. "I believe this will become the new popular terrorist tactic since no police force in the world is prepared for ... such an attack," says Georgetown Professor Hoffman by e-mail.
He says that even an attack as complicated as the one in Mumbai could be reproduced. It is "very replicable – provided you have the training facilities, skilled trainers, time, and the ability to engage in pre-op [operation] planning and preparation," Hoffman says.
Others disagree, saying the Mumbai attack, with its multiple targets and coordinated movements, was more akin to 9/11, requiring such exhaustive preparation that it cannot be repeated easily.
"The complexity and scale might not be replicable elsewhere," says Professor Harrison, of Singapore.
The proficiency of the Mumbai terrorists has led to questions about Indian authorities' insistence that there were only 10 people involved. But Harrison says the figure "is very plausible," citing how a few terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics held off security forces for hours.
In a hotel like the Taj, "it is incredibly difficult for urban commandos to get control of a situation," he says.
Police have since revealed that the militants booby-trapped dead bodies with hand grenades to slow the commandos' progress. They set fires to add to the confusion. They even took cocaine, police reported, so that they could stay awake for 60 hours straight.
It seems likely, however, that the fighters had help in some form from local contacts – perhaps scouting sites or gathering information, experts say. The Indian police say they have not dismissed that possibility.
Their difficulties in coming to grips with the attacks as they happened will now become a global lesson, says Hoffman. Police worldwide will have to match terrorists' rising sophistication – from rescuing hostages quickly to knowing the layout of all potential targets.
"Police forces will have to prepare for more than one major operation," he says.
 

 
 
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