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9801  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / War on the Southern Border: Cartels, Terrorists are Winning on: August 30, 2010, 06:44:31 PM
http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/id.7206,css.print/pub_detail.asp


War on the Southern Border: Cartels, Terrorists are Winning

August 30, 2010 - Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely, US Army (Ret)

There was a time a time when the municipality of San Fernando in northeastern Mexico was known for farming, fishing and a quiet way of life. Today, it is associated with death. This week, a young Ecuadorean with bullet holes through his shoulder and cheek told the story of how he and his travelling companions on their way to the US in search of work had been kidnapped in San Fernando by the Zetas, one of Mexico’s drug cartels. Even Monterrey, the country’s industrial center known until recently for its peaceful lifestyle, has been turned upside down with terror. The past few months have seen an increase in so-called “narco-bloqueos” or impromptu roadblocks by drugs gangs to create maximum chaos in the selected cities and thwart any local authority   to keep the peace.
 
 “They pulled us out of the truck violently and demanded money,” The young Ecuadorian told authorities after managing to escape. “They said that they were Zetas and that they would pay us $1,000 every two weeks [if we joined them] but we didn’t accept and they opened fire.” Mexican authorities confirmed the account when they discovered in a remote and semi-derelict grain warehouse 72 bullet-ridden bodies with their hands tied and eyes bandaged. Among them was a woman in the final stages of pregnancy.
 
Revelations of what has now been confirmed as the worst massacre since Felipe Calderón, Mexico’s president, declared war on organized crime almost four years ago have focused international attention on the country’s drug war like never before.  They have underlined the extent to which the cartels have moved into other avenues of crime, such as extortion, kidnapping and human trafficking. And they have left Mexicans with the increasing feeling that the government is losing the war.
 
It used to be possible to pay little heed to Mexico’s drugs cartels, which supply an estimated 80-90 per cent of the cocaine consumed in the US, as well as a substantial chunk of marijuana, methamphetamines and heroin. Today, the violence resulting from bloody inter-cartel battles over local markets and international smuggling routes affects just about everyone.
 
Less than a week ago, police found four decapitated bodies hanging from a bridge in a wealthy area of Cuernavaca, a weekend getaway about an hour from Mexico City prized for its climate of eternal spring. The victims’ genitals had been hacked off and their little fingers removed. Nearby, police found a calling card left by the South Pacific Cartel, a relatively new drugs syndicate.
 
Remember the “plaza”, that sunlit square complete with bubbling fountain in the middle that forms any self-respecting image of a Mexican town? Today, it means a local territory for dealing drugs.

Dar piso - The literal translation of “dar piso” is to “give floor” (to something). Today it means to kill someone or to “take them out”. Narco- Perhaps the most flexible term in the new vocabulary is the prefix “narco”.
 
Try “narcocandidato”, the term for describing a corrupt politician. Or “narcofiesta”, a party of rabble-rousing music, pretty girls and plenty of white cowboy hats held by and for drug traffickers. Then there is the somewhat older term “narcocorrido”, a ballad whose lyrics are specifically about mafia culture.  Things got so bad this week that Coparmex, a national confederation of 36,000 businesses that account for one-third of Mexico’s economic output, demanded that federal, state and municipal governments fulfilled their obligations to protect citizens. Mexico’s security arrangements are a patchwork of institutions – there are more than 1,600 separate police forces dotted around the country – with little or no information-sharing and notoriously vulnerable to bribes and corruption.
9802  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Barrio Azteca Trial and the Prison Gang-Cartel Interface on: August 30, 2010, 01:14:28 PM
The Barrio Azteca Trial and the Prison Gang-Cartel Interface is republished with permission of STRATFOR.

The Barrio Azteca Trial and the Prison Gang-Cartel Interface
November 19, 2008 | 2130 GMT

By Fred Burton and Ben West
Related Links

    * Tracking Mexico’s Drug Cartels

On Nov. 3, a U.S. District Court in El Paso, Texas, began hearing a case concerning members of a criminal enterprise that calls itself Barrio Azteca (BA). The group members face charges including drug trafficking and distribution, extortion, money laundering and murder. The six defendants include the organization’s three bosses, Benjamin Alvarez, Manuel Cardoza and Carlos Perea; a sergeant in the group, Said Francisco Herrera; a lieutenant, Eugene Mona; and an associate, Arturo Enriquez.

The proceedings represent the first major trial involving BA, which operates in El Paso and West Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. The testimony is revealing much about how this El Paso-based prison gang operates, and how it interfaces with Mexican drug cartel allies that supply its drugs.

Mexico’s cartels are in the business of selling drugs like marijuana, cocaine and heroin in the United States. Large amounts of narcotics flow north while large amounts of cash and weapons flow south. Managing these transactions requires that the cartels have a physical presence in the United States, something a cartel alliance with a U.S. gang can provide.

Of course, BA is not the only prison gang operating in the United States with ties to Mexico. Prison gangs can also be called street gangs — they recruit both in prisons and on the street. Within the United States, there are at least nine well-established prison gangs with connections to Mexican drug cartels; Hermanos de Pistoleros Latinos, the Mexican Mafia and the Texas Syndicate are just a few such groups. Prison gangs like BA are very territorial and usually cover only a specific region, so one Mexican cartel might work with three to four prison or street gangs in the United States. Like BA, most of the U.S. gangs allied with Mexican cartels largely are composed of Mexican immigrants or Mexican-Americans. Nevertheless, white supremacist groups, mixed-race motorcycle gangs and African-American street gangs also have formed extensive alliances with Mexican cartels.

Certainly, not all U.S. gangs the Mexican cartels have allied with are the same. But examining how BA operates offers insights into how other gangs — like the Latin Kings, the Texas Syndicate, the Sureños, outlaw motorcycle gangs, and transnational street gangs like MS-13 — operate in alliance with the cartels.
Barrio Azteca Up Close

Spanish for “Aztec Neighborhood,” BA originated in a Texas state penitentiary in 1986, when five inmates from El Paso organized the group as a means of protection in the face of the often-brutal ethnic tensions within prisons. By the 1990s, BA had spread to other prisons and had established a strong presence on the streets of El Paso as its founding members served their terms and were released. Reports indicate that in the late 1990s, BA had begun working with Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s Sinaloa Federation drug trafficking organization, which at the time controlled drug shipments to Ciudad Juarez, El Paso’s sister city across the Rio Grande.

According to testimony from several different witnesses on both sides of the current trial, BA now works only with the Juarez cartel of Vicente Carrillo-Fuentes, which has long controlled much of Mexico’s Chihuahua state and Ciudad Juarez, and broke with the Sinaloa Federation earlier in 2008. BA took sides with the Juarez cartel, with which it is jointly running drugs across the border at the Juarez plaza.

BA provides the foot soldiers to carry out hits at the behest of Juarez cartel leaders. On Nov. 3, 10 alleged BA members in Ciudad Juarez were arrested in connection with 12 murders. The suspects were armed with four AK-47s, pistols and radio communication equipment — all hallmarks of a team of hit men ready to carry out a mission.

According to testimony from the ongoing federal case, which is being brought under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, drugs are taken at discount from the supplier on the Mexico side and then distributed to dealers on the street. These distributors must then pay “taxes” to BA collectors to continue plying their trade. According to testimony from Josue Aguirre, a former BA member turned FBI informant, BA collects taxes from 47 different street-level narcotics operations in El Paso alone. Failure to pay these taxes results in death. One of the murder charges in the current RICO case involves the death of an El Paso dealer who failed to pay up when the collectors arrived to collect on a debt.

Once collected, the money goes in several different directions. First, BA lieutenants and captains, the midlevel members, receive $50 and $200 per month respectively for compensation. The bulk of BA’s profit is then transferred using money orders to accounts belonging to the head bosses (like Alvarez, Cardoza and Perea) in prison. Cash is also brought back to Ciudad Juarez to pay the Juarez cartel, which provided the drugs in the first place.

BA receives discounts on drugs from the Juarez cartel by providing tactical help to its associates south of the border. Leaders of Carrillo Fuentes’ organization in Juarez can go into hiding in El Paso under BA protection if their lives are in danger in Juarez. They can also order BA to track down cartel enemies hiding in El Paso. Former BA member Gustavo Gallardo testified in 2005 that he was sent to pick up a man in downtown El Paso who had cheated the Juarez cartel of money. Once Gallardo dropped him off at a safe house in El Paso, another team took the man — who was bound with rope and duct tape — to Ciudad Juarez, where Gallardo assumes he was killed.
BA and the World of Prison Gangs

Prison gangs are endemic to prison systems, where safety for inmates comes in numbers. Tensions (usually along racial lines) among dangerous individuals regularly erupt into deadly conflict. Prison gang membership affords a certain amount of protection against rival groups and offers fertile recruiting ground.

Once a prison gang grows its membership (along with its prestige) and establishes a clear hierarchy, its leader can wield an impressive amount of power. Some even wind up taking over prisons, like the antecedents of Russian organized crime did.

It might seem strange that members on the outside send money and answer to bosses in prison, since the bosses are locked up. But these bosses wield a great deal of influence over gang members in and out of prison. Disobedience is punishable by death, and regardless of whether a boss is in prison, he can order a hit on a member who has crossed him. Prison gang members also know that if they end up in prison again — a likely outcome — they will once again be dependent on the help of the boss to stay alive, and can perhaps even earn some money while doing time.

BA’s illegal activities mean its members constantly cycle in and out of prison. Many BA members were involved in smaller, local El Paso street gangs before they were imprisoned. Once in prison, they joined BA with the sponsorship of a “godfather” who walks the recruit through the process. BA then performs a kind of background check on new recruits by circulating their name throughout the organization. BA is particularly interested in any evidence that prospective members have cooperated with the police.

Prison authorities are certainly aware of the spread of BA, and they try to keep Mexican nationals separated from known BA members, who are mostly Mexican-American, to prevent the spread of the gang’s influence. BA has organizations in virtually every penitentiary in Texas, meaning that no matter where a BA member is imprisoned, he will have a protection network in place. BA members with truly extensive prison records might personally know the leader of every prison chapter, thus increasing the member’s prestige. Thus, the constant cycling of members from the outside world into prison does not inhibit BA, but makes its members more cohesive, as it allows the prison system to increase bonds among gang members.

Communication challenges certainly arise, as exchanges between prisoners and those on the outside are closely monitored. But BA seems to have overcome this challenge. Former BA member Edward Ruiz testified during the trial that from 2003 to 2007, he acted as a clearinghouse for jailed members’ letters and packages, which he then distributed to members on the outside. This tactic ensured that all prison communications would be traceable to just one address, thus not revealing the location of other members.

BA also allegedly used Sandy Valles New, who worked in the investigations section of the Office of the Federal Public Defender in El Paso from 1996 to 2002, to pass communications between gang members inside and outside prison. She exploited the access to — and the ability to engage in confidential communications with — inmates that attorneys enjoy, transmitting information back and forth between BA members inside and outside prison. Taped conversations reveal New talking to one of the bosses and lead defendants, Carlos Perea, about her fear of losing her job and thus not being able to continue transmitting information in this way. She also talked of crossing over to Ciudad Juarez to communicate with BA members in Mexico.

While BA had inside sources like New assisting it, the FBI was able to infiltrate BA in return. Josue Aguirre and Johnny Michelleti have informed on BA activities to the FBI since 2003 and 2005, respectively. Edward Ruiz, the mailman, also handed over stacks of letters to the FBI.
BA and the Mexican Cartels

As indicated, BA is only one of dozens of prison gangs operating along the U.S.-Mexican border that help Mexican drug trafficking organizations smuggle narcotics across the border and then distribute them for the cartels. Mexican drug trafficking organizations need groups that will do their bidding on the U.S. side of the border, as the border is the tightest choke point in the narcotics supply chain.

Getting large amounts of drugs across the border on a daily basis requires local connections to bribe border guards or border town policemen. Gangs on the U.S. side of the border also have contacts who sell drugs on the retail level, where markups bring in large profits. The current trial has revealed that the partnership goes beyond narcotics to include violence as well. In light of the high levels of violence raging in Mexico related to narcotics trafficking, there is a genuine worry that this violence (and corruption) could spread inside the United States.

One of the roles that BA and other border gangs fill for Mexican drug-trafficking organizations is that of enforcer. Prison gangs wield tight control over illegal activity in a specific territory. They keep tabs on people to make sure they are paying their taxes to the gang and not affiliating with rival gangs. To draw an analogy, they are like the local police who know the situation on the ground and can enforce specific rules handed down by a governmental body — or a Mexican cartel.

Details emerging from the ongoing trial indicate that BA works closely with the Juarez cartel and has contributed to drug-related violence inside the United States. While the killing of a street dealer by a gang for failure to pay up on time is common enough nationwide and hardly unique to Mexican drug traffickers, apprehending offenders in El Paso and driving them to Ciudad Juarez to be held or killed does represent a very clear link between violence in Mexico and the United States.

BA’s ability to strike within the United States has been proven. According to a STRATFOR source, BA is connected to Los Zetas — the U.S.-trained Mexican military members who deserted to traffic drugs — through a mutual alliance with the Juarez cartel. The Zetas possess a high level of tactical skill that could be passed along to BA, thus increasing its effectiveness.
The Potential for Cross-Border Violence

The prospect for enhanced cross-border violence is frightening, but the violence itself is not new. So far, Mexican cartels and their U.S. allies have focused on those directly involved in the drug trade. Whether this restraint will continue is unclear. Either way, collateral damage is always a possibility.

Previous incidents, like one that targeted a drug dealer in arrears in Phoenix and others that involved kidnappings and attacks against U.S. Border Patrol agents, indicate that violence has already begun creeping over from Mexico. So far, violence related to drug trafficking has not caused the deaths of U.S. law enforcement officials and/or civilians, though it has come close to doing so.

Another potential incubator of cross-border violence exists in BA’s obligation to offer refuge to Juarez cartel members seeking safety in the United States. Such members most likely would have bounties on their heads. The more violent Mexico (and particularly Ciudad Juarez) becomes, the greater the risk Juarez cartel leaders face — and the more pressure they will feel to seek refuge in the United States. As more Juarez cartel leaders cross over and hide with BA help, the cartel’s enemies will become increasingly tempted to follow them and kill them in the United States. Other border gangs in California, Arizona and New Mexico probably are following this same trajectory.

Two primary reasons explain why Mexican cartel violence for the most part has stopped short of crossing the U.S. border. First, the prospect of provoking U.S. law enforcement does not appeal to Mexican drug-trafficking organizations operating along the border. They do not want to provoke a coordinated response from a highly capable federal U.S. police force like the Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or FBI. By keeping violence at relatively low levels and primarily aimed at other gang members and drug dealers, the Mexican drug-trafficking organizations can lessen their profile in the eyes of these U.S. agencies. Conversely, any increase in violence and/or the killing of U.S. police or civilians would dramatically increase federal scrutiny and retaliation.

The second reason violence has not crossed the border wholesale is that gangs like BA are in place to enforce the drug-trafficking organizations’ rules. The need to send cartel members into the United States to kill a disobedient drug dealer is reduced by having a tight alliance with a border gang that keeps drugs and money moving smoothly and carries out the occasional killing to maintain order.

But the continued integrity of BA and its ability to carry out the writ of larger drug-trafficking organizations in Mexico might not be so certain. The Nov. 3 trial will undermine BA activity in the crucial trafficking corridor of El Paso/Ciudad Juarez.

The indictment and possible incarceration of the six alleged BA members would not damage the gang so badly — after all, BA is accustomed to operating out of prison, and there must certainly be members on the outside ready to fill in for their incarcerated comrades. But making BA’s activities and modus operandi public should increase scrutiny on the gang and could very well lead to many more arrests.

In light of the presence of at least two FBI informants in the gang, BA leaders have probably moved into damage control mode, isolating members jeopardized by the informants. This will disrupt BA’s day-to-day operations, making it at least temporarily less effective. STRATFOR sources say BA members on both sides of the border have been ordered to lie low until the trial is over and the damage can be fully assessed. This is a dangerous period for gangs like BA, as their influence over their territory and ability to operate is being reduced.

Weakening BA by extension weakens the Juarez cartel’s hand in El Paso. While BA no doubt will survive the investigations the trial probably will spawn, given the high stakes across the border in Mexico, the Juarez cartel might be forced to reduce its reliance on BA. This could prompt the Juarez cartel to rely on its own members in Ciudad Juarez to carry out hits in the United States and to provide its own security to leaders seeking refuge in the United States. It could also prompt it to turn to a new gang facing less police scrutiny. Under either scenario, BA’s territory would be encroached upon. And considering the importance of controlling territory to prison gangs — and the fact that BA probably still will be largely intact — this could lead to increased rivalries and violence.

The Juarez cartel-BA dynamic could well apply to alliances between U.S. gangs and Mexican drug-trafficking organizations, such as Hermanos de Pistoleros Latinos in Houston, the Texas Syndicate and Tango Blast operating in the Rio Grande Valley and their allies in the Gulf cartel; the Mexican Mafia in California and Texas and its allies in the Tijuana and Sinaloa cartels; and other gangs operating in the United States with ties to Mexican cartels like Mexikanemi, Norteños and the Sureños.

Ultimately, just because BA or any other street gang working with Mexican cartels is weakened does not mean that the need to enforce cartel rules and supply chains disappears. This could put Mexican drug-trafficking organizations on a collision course with U.S. law enforcement if they feel they must step in themselves to take up the slack. As their enforcers stateside face more legal pressure, the cartels’ response therefore bears watching.

Read more: The Barrio Azteca Trial and the Prison Gang-Cartel Interface | STRATFOR










The Barrio Azteca Trial and the Prison Gang-Cartel Interface is republished with permission of STRATFOR.
9803  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Mexicanization of American Law Enforcement on: August 30, 2010, 12:21:46 PM
http://www.city-journal.org/2009/19_4_corruption.html

Judith Miller

The Mexicanization of American Law Enforcement
The drug cartels extend their corrupting influence northward.
Customs and Border Protection agents have been bought off by drug dealers.
Leslie Hoffman/AP Photo
Customs and Border Protection agents have been bought off by drug dealers.

Beheadings and amputations. Iraqi-style brutality, bribery, extortion, kidnapping, and murder. More than 7,200 dead—almost double last year’s tally—in shoot-outs between federales and often better-armed drug cartels. This is modern Mexico, whose president, Felipe Calderón, has been struggling since 2006 to wrest his country from the grip of four powerful cartels and their estimated 100,000 foot soldiers.

But chillingly, there are signs that one of the worst features of Mexico’s war on drugs—law enforcement officials on the take from drug lords—is becoming an American problem as well. Most press accounts focus on the drug-related violence that has migrated north into the United States. Far less widely reported is the infiltration and corruption of American law enforcement, according to Robert Killebrew, a retired U.S. Army colonel and senior fellow at the Washington-based Center for a New American Security. “This is a national security problem that does not yet have a name,” he wrote last fall in The National Strategy Forum Review. The drug lords, he tells me, are seeking to “hollow out our institutions, just as they have in Mexico.”
9804  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: August 30, 2010, 12:11:38 PM
http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/256618

Ex-Mexican Army In Phoenix AZ Home Invasion Up
By Gar Swaffar.
 +   
The consensus of opinion from the Phoenix, Arizona police is that at least some of the six cross border raiders were ex-Mexican Army personnel involved in the home invasion homicide on Monday.
The thoughts of the Phoenix Police officers are that the drug cartels are now performing cross border home invasion raids and murders north of the border i.e. Arizona. The past few months have been difficult for the Mexican Police and some of the drug cartel members who have assumed room temperature. As a result, some members of the remaining Mexican drug cartels are moving parts of their operations into the United States.
The home invasion on Monday, where a homeowner, 30-year-old Andrew Williams was murdered and as many as 100 rounds were fired at the home.
The Phoenix Police Department (PPD) documents linked here describe military tactical ops control. Complete with window raking, suppressive firing, and door breaches (busting in.)
The documents also appended suggest the home invaders were prepared to take the battle to the PPD, but ran out of ammunition prior to the arrival of the first PPD officers.
This nearly full scale battle which took place at 8329 W. Cypress St. Phoenix AZ. is presumed by the PPD to be only the beginning of the problem. Some reports indicate the drug cartels are interested in finding a safer place to do business than Mexico.
The issue of cross border raids has been gaining notoriety over the past five months, the trend appears to be on the rise with no end in sight at this point.
9805  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: August 30, 2010, 11:54:10 AM
The cartels are laying the groundwork by building alliances with US gangs and working to corrupt law enforcement.
9806  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tea Party, Glen Beck and related matters on: August 30, 2010, 11:29:15 AM
Did google try to sabotage Beck's rally?

http://www.pcworld.com/article/204373/google_maps_misplaces_lincoln_memorial.html?tk=hp_new
9807  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: August 30, 2010, 07:54:33 AM
Yup.
9808  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tea Party, Glen Beck and related matters on: August 29, 2010, 05:41:21 PM
http://dailycaller.com/2010/08/29/what-theyre-saying-about-the-828-rally/

Media bias.

Journolist?
9809  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy on: August 29, 2010, 05:19:55 PM
I think it's pretty clear that you have a reasonable expectation of privacy under your clothes in a public place. I don't think the backscatter x-ray vans could be legally used in public places in the US.

As far as the GPS tracking by law enforcement, the court agreed with my argument that you do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy driving your vehicle on public roads.
9810  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tea Party, Glen Beck and related matters on: August 29, 2010, 12:29:01 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2010/08/29/the-honor-of-a-great-people/

A very good read.
9811  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tea Party, Glen Beck and related matters on: August 29, 2010, 11:34:04 AM
http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/08/29/wildly-conflicting-reports-about-beck-rally-crowd-size/#more-119796

Depends who you ask.


9812  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: August 28, 2010, 07:34:23 PM
Yup, especially oil.

 China: To Invest $1 Billion In Iranian Petrochemical Projects
August 28, 2010

The National Iranian Petrochemical Company and a Chinese consortium are completing talks on an agreement under which China would funnel some $1 billion into petrochemical projects in Iran, Mehr News Agency reported Aug. 28. The construction of the petrochemical facilities requires a total of $43 billion in investment funds; contracts have already been signed to implement 28 of those projects.
9813  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government Programs, spending, budget process on: August 28, 2010, 12:03:19 PM
http://www.executivegov.com/2010/08/mullen-national-debt-is-a-security-threat/

The national debt is the single biggest threat to national security, according to Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Tax payers will be paying around $600 billion in interest on the national debt by 2012, the chairman told students and local leaders in Detroit.

“That’s one year’s worth of defense budget,” he said, adding that the Pentagon needs to cut back on spending.
9814  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy on: August 28, 2010, 11:49:45 AM
In a free market, you are free to not patronize any business that does things you don't like.
9815  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: August 28, 2010, 11:47:25 AM
http://www.dailyfinance.com/story/greenspan-warns-us-budget-deficit-greece/19521722/

Sword of Damocles.
9816  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tea Party, Glen Beck and related matters on: August 28, 2010, 11:32:01 AM
I don't recall C. Blow or any other member of the race-baiting industrial complex condemning Al "Tawana Brawley" Shapton or any other huckster for invoking MLK.
9817  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government Programs, spending, budget process on: August 28, 2010, 11:28:23 AM
God help us.

I guess I better buy some Yuan and work on my Mandarin.

Thanks Obama voters.
9818  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy on: August 28, 2010, 11:18:49 AM
How does that make privacy dead?
9819  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tea Party, Glen Beck and related matters on: August 28, 2010, 11:17:45 AM
Charles Blow sucks as well.
9820  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: August 28, 2010, 11:08:32 AM
But for Reidl, who recently issued his own report on federal spending, seven to 10 years may be too optimistic.
 
“It’s very tough to predict when a financial crisis will hit, because much of it depends on bond market psychology,” Reidl said. “As soon as the bond market decides the U.S. may not be able to fully service its debts, they will respond with a flight from our currency. When the bond market makes that decision is really anybody’s guess. It could be two to three years from now, it could be 10 years from now.”

**It could be even sooner.**
9821  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tea Party, Glen Beck and related matters on: August 28, 2010, 11:06:47 AM
**Best thing written about Beck evah**  grin

http://reason.com/blog/2010/08/27/i-like-glenn-beck-because-hes

My right honorable colleague Michael Moynihan has amusingly limned Beck’s freedom from accuracy, but the real reason I and my fellow coastal elites are wary of Glenn Beck is a lot more basic: He’s the fat kid you don’t want to be seen with at the lunch table. I'll admit it! I find Beck a little bit creepy and gross and needy, and he gives me this sense that things are not going to end well. But after hearing all this carping about him, I checked out a recent episode of his show to see if it had somehow changed from the breathless, flop-sweating dormroom tirade I remembered with some fondness. (It was the August 21 ep. if you want to check my math.) And my impression remains: Why is everybody down on this guy? Above all why are libertarians down on this guy?

Yes, he’s trying, as Moynihan memorably put it, to learn history and teach it at the same time. But so what? Like the dumpy woman with low self-esteem we all dream of, Beck makes up in enthusiasm what he lacks in natural gifts. I like the sense that he’s bringing you his findings as fast as they come in. You get the impression that two weeks ago Beck had never heard of Woodrow Wilson, yet now he has figured out that Woodrow Wilson was one of the most evil people of the 20th century, and he wants to tell everybody. There's something fun about that, a performance that invites you to help fill in details and fix errors. It's certainly something you don't see anywhere else on TV, a medium populated almost entirely by people who are more cocksure about everything than I am about anything.
9822  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: August 28, 2010, 10:39:39 AM
http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/67183

9823  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: August 27, 2010, 08:08:58 PM
FWIW, I quote our esteemed vice president:

"This is a big fcuking deal".

I think history will show that this was an important benchmark. China is moving forward as we decline.
9824  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: August 27, 2010, 05:52:04 PM
Banks back switch to renminbi for trade

By Robert Cookson in Hong Kong

Published: August 26 2010 17:55 | Last updated: August 26 2010 17:55

A number of the world’s biggest banks have launched international roadshows promoting the use of the renminbi to corporate customers instead of the dollar for trade deals with China.

HSBC, which recently moved its chief executive from London to Hong Kong, and Standard Chartered, are offering discounted transaction fees and other financial incentives to companies that choose to settle trade in the Chinese currency.
EDITOR’S CHOICE
Editorial Comment: Renminbi goes global - Aug-26
David Pilling: Long march to convertibility - Aug-25
Opinion: Great dangers of great powers - Aug-20
Lex: McDonald’s renminbi bonds - Aug-20
Beijing looks to broaden renminbi use - Aug-17
Opinion: Watch China’s coasts, not its currency - Aug-10

“We’re now capable of doing renminbi settlement in many parts of the world,” said Chris Lewis, HSBC’s head of trade for greater China. “All the other major international banks are frantically trying to do the same thing.”

HSBC and StanChart are among a slew of global banks – including Citigroup and JPMorgan – holding roadshows across Asia, Europe and the US to promote the renminbi to companies.

The move aligns the banks favourably with Beijing’s policy priorities and positions them to profit from what is expected to be a rapidly growing line of business in the future.

The phenomenon will accelerate Beijing’s drive to transform the renminbi from a domestic currency into a global medium of exchange like the dollar and euro.

Chinese central bank officials accompanied StanChart bankers on a roadshow to Korea and Japan in June. The bank held similar events in London, Frankfurt and Paris.

Lisa Robins, JPMorgan’s head of treasury and securities services for China, said there had been a “spike in interest” from international clients.

An increasing number of Chinese companies have been asking foreign trading partners to accept renminbi as payment, said Carmen Ling, Hong Kong head of global transaction services at Citi.

BBVA, Spain’s second-biggest bank, is also drawing up plans for a global marketing campaign that will focus on Latin American companies that export to China.

Banks started establishing renminbi trade settlement operations in mid-2009, when Beijing introduced a pilot scheme allowing companies to use the renminbi for trade outside China.

The scramble has intensified in recent months as Beijing has substantially expanded the scheme – from a handful of Asian countries to the whole world – and introduced other liberalisations to its currency regime.

Cross-border trade in renminbi totalled Rmb70.6bn ($10bn) in the first half of the year – about 20 times the Rmb3.6bn recorded in the second half of 2009.

But those figures remain tiny compared to the $2,800bn worth of goods and services that were traded across China’s borders last year, most of which was settled in dollars or euros.

With renminbi trade settlement volumes expected to increase rapidly, banks are under pressure to establish a foothold in the nascent market and demonstrate to Chinese officials that they are committed to the scheme.

China has taken several steps in recent months to boost the international use of its currency and to establish Hong Kong, the special administrative region, as the global centre for offshore renminbi business.

McDonald’s, the US burger chain and icon of globalisation, took advantage of the new rules this month when it became the first foreign multinational to issue renminbi-denominated bonds in Hong Kong.
9825  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: August 27, 2010, 04:56:50 PM
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/182a2b70-b130-11df-b899-00144feabdc0.html

Thoughts?
9826  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: August 26, 2010, 10:12:06 PM
http://hotair.com/greenroom/archives/2010/08/26/ground-zero-mosque-supporter-to-holocaust-survivor-obviously-he-didnt-learn-his-lesson/

The mask slips.
9827  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: August 26, 2010, 11:38:26 AM
I wonder if Mexico has hit the tipping point where the narcos have more money, soldiers than the Mexican gov't.
9828  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Law Enforcement on: August 26, 2010, 09:13:35 AM
Ramos and Compean set themselves up when they failed to report dischaging their weapons. Local/state/federal, if you fire your weapon, it's a big deal. What might have been a good shoot is then tainted by the attempt at a cover up.
9829  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government Programs, spending, budget process on: August 25, 2010, 10:53:19 PM
Wow. Those are amazing examples. I hope the public in those places is aware of this.  shocked
9830  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government Programs, spending, budget process on: August 25, 2010, 09:14:43 PM
PC,

What you say is true, but until recently the "We'll have to cut police/fire/EMS" was just a threat to protect pork. Now, lots of agencies are really getting cut, and at some levels, the money just isn't there.
9831  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government Programs, spending, budget process on: August 25, 2010, 06:15:20 PM
http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2010-08-25-1Anresponsecops25_ST_N.htm

The de-policing of America.
9832  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Articulating our cause/strategy against Islamic Fascism on: August 25, 2010, 02:15:48 PM
Moderate muslim= One that hasn't finished taking his flying lessons/building the device.  evil
9833  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces on: August 25, 2010, 08:11:41 AM
**My favorite part:

Daily Bell: What do you think of Congressman Ron Paul?

George Gilder: Like many movement libertarians, he always prefers the quixotic ideal (radical spending cuts) to the feasible improvement of lower tax rates. By opposing defense spending and American power he has become a shill for the enemies of capitalism and freedom.
9834  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Officially a depression now? on: August 24, 2010, 05:14:12 PM
http://www.cnbc.com/id/38831550
9835  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: August 24, 2010, 04:51:15 PM
**Wow, it's almost like he's trying to lose this war....**


WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is focused on meeting its July 2011 deadline to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan, but it has no political strategy to help stabilize the country, current and former U.S. officials and other experts are warning.

The failure to articulate what a post-American Afghanistan should look like and devise a political path for achieving it is a major obstacle to success for the U.S. military-led counter-insurgency campaign that's underway, these officials and experts said.



Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/06/16/96019/experts-us-has-no-long-term-political.html#ixzz0rAPDYoRF


http://hotair.com/archives/2010/08/24/marine-corps-commandant-obamas-withdrawal-timetable-is-giving-sustenance-to-the-taliban/
9836  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government Programs, spending, budget process on: August 24, 2010, 04:45:04 PM
You did? You voted for Obama with this in mind?  rolleyes
9837  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: August 24, 2010, 02:48:16 PM
http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=38673

Glad he's doing "outreach" on our dime. Thanks Obama!
9838  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Dow faces bumpy ride to 5000 on: August 24, 2010, 11:47:10 AM
http://www.cnbc.com/id/38826988

Strap in.
9839  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama's war on jobs on: August 24, 2010, 07:39:14 AM
http://hotair.com/greenroom/archives/2010/08/24/the-phantom-priority/

The Phantom Priority
posted at 1:05 am on August 24, 2010 by Doctor Zero


After the passage of his massive health-care plan, President Obama promised a “hard pivot” to dealing with our flagging economy.  Job creation was said to be his new “top priority.”  Politicians make a habit of declaring lots of top priorities.  Mark Knoller of CBS News recently put together an amusing list of thirteen items the President has declared to be his top priority.  The promise to put the economy first was repeated loudly and often.  It will still be ringing in the ears of voters when they clean Democrats out of Congress with an electoral leaf blower this autumn.

In reality, job creation and economic growth are nowhere to be found on this Administration’s list of priorities.  The “hard pivot” was actually the feeble ring of ruby slippers clicking together.
9840  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government Programs, spending, budget process on: August 23, 2010, 10:49:48 PM
NYPD is the only one with unlimited sick time. Keep in mind though, you have to really be sick to use it. NYPD has an IA unit that places officers on sick leave under surveillance and verifies medical documentation.
9841  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: August 23, 2010, 10:27:30 PM
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38811725/ns/business-the_new_york_times

**Real estate as an investment is dead.**
9842  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government Programs, spending, budget process on: August 23, 2010, 09:56:13 PM
http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/killed/2008/officersassaulted.html

http://www.policeone.com/off-duty/articles/2026720-Off-duty-in-rural-America/

Couple of points to consider.
9843  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government Programs, spending, budget process on: August 23, 2010, 09:31:09 PM
You aren't counting the injury rate, or attempted murders/assaults on officers. Lumberjacks don't have to worry that a tree will follow him home to ambush him and his family in his driveway.
9844  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: August 23, 2010, 08:07:16 PM
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38790670/ns/technology_and_science-security/

Disturbing aviation security news.
9845  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government Programs, spending, budget process on: August 23, 2010, 07:03:04 PM
**Most jobs, public sector or private don't have things like this as potential threats:

http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/21227694/detail.html

PUEBLO, Colo. -- A man suspected of trying to blow up a Pueblo police officer's home was in jail Wednesday, following an extensive manhunt across the city.

Officers arrested Robert Howard Bruce, 47, at a Kmart in Pueblo on Tuesday evening.

Police had been actively looking for him since Pueblo police officer Nathan Pruce found a 30-pound propane tank on Tuesday morning, rigged to pump the explosive gas into his home.
9846  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government Programs, spending, budget process on: August 23, 2010, 06:52:21 PM
Las Vegas Metro Police pays better and given that NV has no state income tax, you actually see more and 1000 dollars a month rent doesn't have you living next to the projects. Look at what a tiny apt in NYC goes for and factor in the federal, state and city taxes and overall cost of living for NYPD, even after 5 years, it's pretty brutal.
9847  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy on: August 23, 2010, 06:31:45 PM
Privacy takes effort and caution. There is no absolute privacy as there is no absolute security. I'm less concerned with a big corp like AA having my personal info than what can be gained by private investigators working for criminal cartels.
9848  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy on: August 23, 2010, 05:52:19 PM
Your name and DOB are probably out there from a variety of sources. Your SSN is much more important when it comes to identity theft.
9849  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government Programs, spending, budget process on: August 23, 2010, 05:47:25 PM
I'm not offended. I may end up getting out of law enforcement for a variety of reasons, at least on a full time basis anyway.
9850  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy on: August 23, 2010, 10:23:11 AM
All airlines must now get DOBs for passengers when tickets are purchased. The Name and DOB gets passed on to the TSA.
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