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9801  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: August 08, 2009, 03:59:26 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/08/08/video-worlds-worst-tv-interview/

At least the left is willing to have an honest debate.  rolleyes
9802  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: August 08, 2009, 02:34:32 PM
http://europac.net/externalframeset.asp?from=home&id=16962&type=schiff

August 7, 2009

“Experts” Never Learn
 

There is an inexplicable, but somehow widely held, belief that stock market movements are predictive of economic conditions. As such, the current rally in U.S. stock prices has caused many people to conclude that the recession is nearing an end. The widespread optimism is not confined to Wall Street, as even Barack Obama has pointed to the bubbly markets to vindicate his economic policies. However, reality is clearly at odds with these optimistic assumptions.

In the first place, stock markets have been taken by surprise throughout history. In the current cycle, neither the market nor its cheerleaders saw this recession coming, so why should anyone believe that these fonts of wisdom have suddenly become clairvoyant?

According to official government statistics, the current recession began in December of 2007. Two months earlier, in October of that year, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 both hit all-time record highs. Exactly what foresight did this run-up provide? Obviously markets were completely blind-sided by the biggest recession since the Great Depression. In fact, the main reason why the markets sold off so violently in 2008, after the severity of the recession became impossible to ignore, was that it had so completely misread the economy in the preceding years.

Furthermore, throughout most of 2008, even as the economy was contracting, academic economists and stock market strategists were still confident that a recession would be avoided. If they could not even forecast a recession that had already started, how can they possibly predict when it will end? In contrast, on a Fox News appearance on December 31, 2007, I endured the gibes of optimistic co-panelists when I clearly proclaimed that a recession was underway.

Rising U.S. stock prices – particularly following a 50% decline – mean nothing regarding the health of the U.S. economy or the prospects for a recovery. In fact, relative to the meteoric rise of foreign stock markets over the past six months, U.S. stocks are standing still. If anything, it is the strength in overseas markets that is dragging U.S. stocks along for the ride.

In late 2008 and early 2009, the “experts” proclaimed that a strengthening U.S. dollar and the relative outperformance of U.S. stocks during the worldwide market sell-off meant that the U.S. would lead the global recovery. At the time, they argued that since we were the first economy to go into recession, we would be the first to come out. They claimed that as bad as things were domestically, they were even worse internationally, and that the bold and “stimulative” actions of our policymakers would lead to a far better outcome here than the much more “timid” responses pursued by other leading industrial economies.

At the time, I dismissed these claims as nonsensical. The data are once again proving my case. The brief period of relative outperformance by U.S. stocks in late 2008 has come to an end, and, after rising for most of last year, the dollar has resumed its long-term descent. If the U.S. economy really were improving, the dollar would be strengthening – not weakening. The economic data would also show greater improvement at home than abroad. Instead, foreign stocks have resumed the meteoric rise that has characterized their past decade. The rebound in global stocks reflects the global economic train decoupling from the American caboose, which the “experts” said was impossible.

Though the worst of the global financial crisis may have passed, the real impact of the much more fundamental U.S. economic crisis has yet to be fully felt. For America, genuine recovery will not begin until current government policies are mitigated. Most urgently, we need a Fed chairman willing to administer the tough love that our economy so badly needs. That fact that Ben Bernanke remains so popular both on Wall Street and Capital Hill is indicative of just how badly he has handled his job.

Contrast Bernanke’s popularity to the contempt that many had for Fed Chairman Paul Volcker in the early days of Ronald Reagan’s first term. There were numerous bills and congressional resolutions demanding his impeachment, and even conservative congressman Jack Kemp called for Volcker to resign. Had it not been for the unconditional support of a very popular president, efforts to oust Volcker likely would have succeeded. Though he was widely vilified initially, he eventually won near unanimous praise for his courageous economic stewardship, which eventually broke the back of inflation, restored confidence in the dollar, and set the stage for a vibrant recovery. Conversely, Bernanke’s reputation will be shattered as history reveals the full extent of his incompetence and cowardice.

As congress and the president consider the best policies to right our economic ship, it is my hope that they will pursue a strategy first developed by Seinfeld character George Costanza. After wisely recognizing that every instinct he had up unto that point had ended in failure, George decided that to be successful, he had to do the exact opposite of whatever his instincts told him. I suggest our policymakers give this approach a try.
9803  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Self-Defense Law on: August 08, 2009, 01:53:25 PM
http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=864.100
9804  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Self-Defense Law on: August 08, 2009, 01:46:40 PM
The above is bad advice, unless you have committed a crime. If you lawfully used force to defend youself/another, a brief statement needs to be given.
9805  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Rising Anger in America on: August 06, 2009, 09:41:59 PM
- Works and Days - http://pajamasmedia.com/victordavishanson -

Prairie-Fire Anger
Posted By Victor Davis Hanson On August 5, 2009 @ 8:15 am In Uncategorized | 176 Comments

Why Are People in Revolt?

The approval ratings on nearly every one of the President’s key policy initiatives—cap-and-trade, health care overhaul, government take over of industry and finance, deficit spending, stimulus—are already less than half of polled voters. Obama’s own popularity has fallen dramatically and hovers near fifty percent. A number of well-publicized town meetings have erupted in shouting, as administration and congressional representatives try, often in condescending fashion, to explain the Obama agenda. The Republicans—written off just a few weeks ago as an obsolete party headed for oblivion—are now often polling higher in generic surveys than are Democrats.

Why the sudden uproar?

Bait-and-Switch

There is a growing sense of a “we’ve been had”, bait-and-switch. Millions of moderate Republicans, independents, and conservative Democrats—apparently angry at Bush for Iraq and big deficits, unimpressed by the McCain campaign, intrigued by the revolutionary idea of electing an African-American president—voted for Obama on the assumption that he was sincere about ending red state/blue state animosity. They took him at his word that he was going to end out of control federal spending. They trusted that he had real plans to get us out of the economic doldrums, and that he was not a radical tax-and-spend liberal of the old sort.

Instead, within days Obama set out plans that would triple the annual deficit, and intends to borrow at a record pace that will double the aggregate debt in just eight years.

He not only took over much of the auto- and financial industries, but also did so in a way that privileged unions, politically-correct creditors, and those insider cronies who favor administration initiatives. On matters racial, his administration is shrill and retrograde, not forward-looking. It insists on emphasizing the tired old identify politics that favor a particular sort of racial elite that claims advantage by citing past collective victimization or piggy-backs for advantage on the plight of the minority underclass.

 In other words, the Obama swing voter thought he was getting a 21st-century version of pragmatic, triangulating Bill Clinton—and instead got something to the left of 1970s Jimmy Carter.

 

Those Who Receive and Those Who Dole Out

There is, of course, a growing fear of government—but a new sort of anxiety that transcends the traditional skepticism of statism. Few Americans younger than 60 can recall the magnitude of the current government take-over of the economy that may reach 40-45% of GDP. Evocation of “socialism” is still considered inflammatory by the Left, but it is now simply an empirical term, not a slur, given that America’s tax codes and entitlement spending may look like the  social landscape in France or Scandinavia in short order.

Apprehensive voters dread turning their hard-won and paid-for private health care plans into something like the emergency room on Saturday night, where the care reflects the chaos. The new anti-Obamians do not want industry run like the Department of Motor Vehicles, where most time and money are invested mostly in those  who do not follow the rules like registering their cars or getting a driver’s license. And it is not just the waste, inefficiency, and lack of accountability inherent in government-run enterprises that bother the growing cadre of angry voters.

There is, again, a mounting anxiety that the current federal expansion is politically-driven in rather radical ways—an effort to create a permanent new constituency of millions who either receive expanded federal largess or are gleefully employed in doling it out. The zealotry of expansive bureaucracy and dependency instills fears, rational or not, of a radicalized huge federal work force, a sort of national version of Acorn to the nth degree that in pack-like fashion is mobilized to target potential naysayers.

Bastille Day—All the Days

Voters are beginning to sense a certain edge to the Obama revolution, a meanness in its class-driven rhetoric aimed at the more successful. Even the middling classes do not necessary like this constant bashing of their bosses and lawyers, doctors, dentists, contractors, brokers, and real estate agents. The constant harangue about taxing only those who make over $250,000 (or is it now $200,000?, or $150,000) accentuates the notion that those who run successful businesses, who create  profitable medical practices, and who are accomplished professionals are somehow culpable—greedy, conniving, or worse.

If well over 40% of the population pays no federal income tax, and the demonized 1% pay more federal income tax than does the bottom 95%, and still we are to hear whining about Bush-era greed, what is next? What does the Left ultimately want—confiscation of 90% of all income? Tax exemptions for 99% of the electorate? Continual Barney Frank show-trial congressional hearings to grandstand the bullying of the now satanic CEOs and investors?

In just six months has arisen a Storming the Bastille anger of “pay-back.” Class envy and anger are unleashed through careless presidential rhetoric about Las Vegas junkets, Wall Street vampires, Super Bowl trips, and all the other slurs and slanders that have nothing to do with the building contractor who makes $250,000 a year by working weekends and twelve hour days—only to plow back his profits immediately into his business.

Existential questions are now being raised—isn’t compensation fickle (why should the brain surgeon make more than the auto worker?) and in need of federal readjustment on April 15? Is your income really your own, but not more to be envisioned as something on loan from society at large, to be morally recalled as needed?

Yet how strange that the highly-compensated, privileged DC technocrat deprecates the manifestation of success of the small businessman while bailing out the Wall Street buccaneers who have so lavishly donated in the past to the Obama cause. In the world of Obama, make $300,000 in household income and you deserve to be in the crosshairs; make $30,000,000 and you are a sensitive fat cat donor, who rises above class and personal interests, and so becomes deserving of  a bail-out, insider exemption, honorific federal post or ambassadorship, or dinner at the White House. The grandee talks of Harvard-educated children and Martha’s Vineyard, and  so in his noblisse oblige is one of ‘us’, the grasping plumbing contractor goes to NASCAR and deserves what he gets.

One senses that a number of the successful are already detaching themselves psychologically from the American scene—and figuring out how to reduce, shield, and avoid income. They often see themselves, if not in melodramatic fashion, as modern-day Kulaks, targeted for extinction by equality-of-result state, FICA, and federal tax hikes that may result in nearly 70% of their income going for the Obama New Deal. They sense the more they pay, the more they will pay more to come. In Obama world, the fact that you will pay 40% federal tax, a health care surcharge, higher state taxes, and FICA on most of your income, is proof that you should have paid those tax rates all along, and will pay even more in the future.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

 

There is a cascading anger at a new sort of left-wing elitism and hypocrisy as well, one that feeds the rhetoric of class warfare. The rules of the game simply do not apply to this bunch of wannabe Platonic Guardians. Stopping Bush’s private Social Security accounts was patriotic; using the same tactics to stop Obama care is nearly disloyal; a gross Joker-like image of Obama surfaces on the Internet and is deemed horribly unfair; that Vanity Fair published something identical about Bush was hilariously legitimate criticism. Radio talk show is now deemed radically insurrectionist; Moveon.org’s and Michael Moore’s open hostility to the U.S. military and American society at time of war (remember “General Betray-Us” ads, and Moore’s lament that bin Laden hit a blue-state city?) did not earn them ostracism from the Democratic leadership.

A well educated technocracy—we see such figures in the emblematic Timothy Geithner, Eric Holder, or Barack Obama himself —have most of their lives served in government, largely regulating, overseeing, organizing, auditing, and sermonizing far more productive and capable others. One of the worst flaws of this species of utopian technocrat is the notion that he wishes to curtail in others the very things he wishes to enjoy without constraint himself.

Thus we sense that a Geithner does not wish to pay the taxes he hikes on others. A Holder wants to destroy through subpoena and litigation the Bush lawyers, but pleaded once for mercy for his own shenanigans involving the crooked Clinton pardons. And Obama lectures about the inequality of wealth and the burdens of racism while his wife’s salary climbed as his political influence grew. Meanwhile his own rarified tastes translated into a shady transaction with Tony Rezco to help to score a stately home and expansive yard—while attending a Trinity Church that radiated racial venom from a charlatan preacher who ended up in a mansion on a golf course.

In other words,  a great number of people are scared of these new versions of Al Gores and John Edwardses who live one way, and quite shamelessly preach another. I don’t think anyone in this green administration is going to be chauffeured to work in a Civic. Few will put their kids in the DC school system as they oppose vouchers. None would be happy in an environmentally-correct 1200 square foot home, with an ideal carbon-footprint, as they preach cap-and-trade taxes on energy for apartment dwellers.

Al Gore, for example, preached the evils of DC insiderism and the need for a new independent TV network. But when his company foolishly sent two of its employees into modern-day Mordor, he uses his status to convince the spouse of the Secretary of State and former President to grant concessions (by the mere fact of his presence with such a monster) to North Korea, free his workers, and set the precedent that hostage-taking does indeed earn high profile exposure. Some egalitarians.

 Epilogue

I confess that when I first read Dreams From My Father and The Audacity of Hope, first learned in depth about Trinity Church and its tirades about “black middle classness”, first studied the modus operandi of Obama’s state legislative campaigns and the mysterious implosions of both his primary and general election senatorial foes—all this belatedly in late 2006 and early 2007—I had little hope that he would prove to be anything other than the fossilized angry liberal that he is sadly proving to be.

But I erred in one key regard: I assumed his prepped oratory, youth and “cool”, transracial profile, media sycophants, and “Bush did it” excuses would ensure that his ratings stayed well above 60% at least through the midterm elections.

In other words, I underestimated the righteous anger of those who are daily deprecated by a utopian class—one that has neither the ability nor the fortitude to achieve what it now wishes to undo in others.

 

Post script: I will finish Mediterranean reflections, ancient and modern, next posting–on thoughts about Rhodes, Bodrum, the Cyclades and Istanbul as well as the Greek mainland.

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

URL to article: http://pajamasmedia.com/victordavishanson/prairie-fire-anger/
9806  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Marriage on: August 06, 2009, 01:09:47 PM
Phrases like "I need to find myself" need to be replaced with "Man the fcuk up". Psychobabble from the 60's/70s is nothing but destructive.
9807  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: August 05, 2009, 10:16:55 PM
Stratfor.com

Paying Attention to the Grassroots

By Scott Stewart and Fred Burton | August 5, 2009

Seven men accused by U.S. authorities of belonging to a militant cell appeared in U.S. District Court in Raleigh, N.C., for a detention hearing Aug. 4. The hearing turned out to be very lengthy and had to be continued Aug. 5, when the judge ordered the men to remain in government custody until their trial. The seven men, along with an eighth who is not currently in U.S. custody, have been charged with, among other things, conspiring to provide material support to terrorists and conspiracy to murder, kidnap, maim and injure persons in a foreign country.

According to the grand jury indictment filed in the case, one defendant, Daniel Boyd (also known as “Saifullah,” Arabic for “the sword of Allah”), is a Muslim convert who was in Pakistan and Afghanistan from 1989 to 1991 attending militant training camps. The indictment also states that Boyd fought in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union, though we must note that, because the Soviets completed their withdrawal from Afghanistan in February 1989, it is more likely that any combat Boyd saw in Afghanistan was probably against Soviet-backed Afghan forces during the civil war waged by Islamist militants against the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. The Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (a socialist state and Soviet ally) was overthrown by Islamist forces in 1992.

Islamist veterans of that war in Afghanistan are held in reverence by some in the Muslim community, tend to be afforded a romanticized mystique, and are considered to be victorious mujahideen, or “holy warriors,” who defeated the Soviets and their communist (and atheistic) Afghan allies. The grand jury indictment implies that Boyd used the prestige of his history in Pakistan and Afghanistan to influence and recruit others to participate in militant struggles abroad. It also charges that he helped train men inside the United States to fight in battles abroad and that he helped them attempt to travel to conflict zones for the purpose of engaging in militant activities such as guerrilla warfare and terrorist operations.


An examination of the indictment in the Boyd case reveals that the facts outlined by the government allow for a large number of parallels to be drawn between this case and other grassroots plots and attacks. The indictment also highlights a number of other trends that have been evident for some time now. We anticipate that future court proceedings in the Boyd case will produce even more interesting information, so STRATFOR will be following the case closely.



Homegrown Jihadists

As STRATFOR has noted for several years now, the threat from al Qaeda and its jihadist militant spawn has been changing, and in fact has devolved to pre-9/11 operational models. With al Qaeda’s structure under continual attack and no regional al Qaeda franchise groups in the Western Hemisphere, perhaps the most pressing jihadist threat to the U.S. homeland at present stems from grassroots jihadists. This trend has been borne out by the large number of plots and arrests over the past several years, including:

A June 2009 attack against a U.S. military recruiting office in Little Rock, Ark.

A May 2009 plot to bomb Jewish targets in the Bronx and shoot down a military aircraft at an Air National Guard base in Newburgh, N.Y.

The August 2007 arrests of two men found with an improvised explosive device in their car near Goose Creek, S.C.

A May 2007 plot to attack U.S. soldiers at Fort Dix, N.J.

A June 2006 plot to attack targets in the United States and Canada involving two men from Georgia.

A June 2006 plot to bomb the Sears Tower in Chicago involving seven men from Miami.

The July 2005 arrests in Torrance, Calif., of a group of men planning to attack a list of targets that included the El Al airline ticket counter at Los Angeles International Airport, synagogues, California National Guard armories, and U.S. Army recruiting stations.

And now the organization led by Daniel Boyd.

We are listing the Boyd group as a grassroots cell because it appears to have only dated or tangential connections to the larger jihadist movement, though members of the group appear to have attempted to initiate stronger contact with other jihadist players. According to the indictment in the Boyd case, Daniel Boyd, his two sons and two other associates were largely unsuccessful in their attempts to link up with militant groups in Gaza to fight against the Israelis. One of Boyd’s associates, Hysen Sherifi, appears to have had a little more success establishing contact with militant groups in Kosovo, and another associate, Jude Kenan Mohammad, attempted to travel to camps on the Pakistani-Afghan border. (Some reports indicate that Mohammad may have been arrested in Pakistan shortly after his arrival there in October 2008, although his current whereabouts are unknown.)

A Known Quantity

Information released during the Aug. 4 detention hearing indicated that Boyd also attended training camps in Connecticut in the 1980s — an indication, perhaps, that he was then connected to the al Qaeda-linked “Brooklyn Jihad Office” (formally known as the al-Kifah Refugee Center), which trained aspiring jihadists at shooting ranges in New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut before sending them on to fight in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

According to some reports, Boyd and his brother Charles (also a Muslim convert) were arrested in Pakistan in 1991 and charged with bank robbery. The Boyd brothers were initially sentenced by a Pakistani court to have a hand and a foot amputated as punishment, but they were pardoned by a Pakistani court in October 1991 and deported. It is not clear whether the Boyds were guilty of the bank robbery, but interestingly, in a recording introduced during the detention hearing, Boyd could be heard saying that militant operations could be financed by robbing banks and armored cars, lending credence to the charge.

Due to Boyd’s activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan he was likely known to U.S. counterterrorism officials — there were many Americans who fought as jihadists in Afghanistan but very few were blond-haired, as Boyd is, and he would have garnered additional attention. The chance of his being on the U.S. government’s radar dramatically increased due to his alleged involvement in jihadist training inside the United States and his arrest in Pakistan. It is therefore not surprising to see that Boyd had been under heavy scrutiny, and evidence produced so far appears to indicate that not only was he under electronic surveillance but the FBI had also placed at least one confidential informant within his circle of confidants, or somehow recruited one of his associates to serve as an informant.

This government scrutiny of Boyd may also explain the problems he and his co-conspirators experienced when they tried to travel to Gaza to link up with militants there. The Americans likely tipped off the Israelis. This would also explain why Boyd was questioned by American authorities twice upon his return to the United States from Israel. Boyd has been charged in the indictment with two counts of making false statements to government agents during these interviews.

Parallels

In many ways, the activities of Boyd’s group closely mirror those of the group of jihadists in New York that would go on to assassinate Rabbi Meir Kahane in Manhattan in 1990, help bomb the World Trade Center in February 1993 and attempt to attack other New York landmarks in July 1993. The members of that New York organization were very involved with firearms training inside the United States and many of them traveled overseas to fight.

It was this overseas travel (and their association with Sheikh Omar Ali Ahmed Abdul-Rahman, also known as the “Blind Sheikh”) that allowed them to link up with the nascent al Qaeda network in Afghanistan. Bin Laden and company would later assign a pair of trained operational commanders and bombmakers from Afghanistan, Abdel Basit and Ahmed Ajaj, to travel to the United States to help the New York group conduct the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

One huge difference between the Boyd case and the 1993 New York cases is the legal environment. Prior to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, there were no “terrorism” statutes concerning the use of weapons of mass destruction or acts of terrorism transcending national borders. Instead, prosecutors in terrorism cases struggled to apply existing laws. The defendants in the 1993 New York landmarks bomb-plot case were not charged with conspiring to build bombs or commit acts of international terrorism. Rather, they were convicted on the charge of seditious conspiracy — a very old statute without a lot of case law and precedent — along with a hodgepodge of other charges. This made the case extremely challenging to prosecute.

Because of cases like the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the trial of the Blind Sheikh and his co-conspirators, that legal environment has changed dramatically. As highlighted in the Boyd case, today there are not only laws pertaining to terrorist attacks that have been completed, but prosecutors now can charge defendants with providing material support to terrorists (18 USC section 2339 A), or with conspiring to kill, kidnap, maim or injure persons outside the United States (18 USC section 956 [a]).

Following 9/11, the PATRIOT Act amended many statutes in order to ease the prosecution of terrorist crimes and stop them before people were harmed. For example, the definition of “material support” in the statute (18 USC section 2339 A) was changed to include providing “expert advice or assistance” and “monetary instruments.” Such charges are far easier to prove in court than seditious conspiracy.

Before these legal changes, agents and police officers assigned to the joint terrorism task forces investigating the cases and the assistant U.S. attorneys they coordinated with needed to have all the goods on a suspect before proceeding to act on a terrorism case. (It was, quite frankly, easier to prosecute a terrorist case after the attack had been conducted, and the authorities didn’t want to risk losing the case in court. This often meant letting the conspiracy fully develop and get very close to action before authorities stepped in and interdicted the attack — a risky endeavor.) The newer terrorism laws mean that prosecutors can be far more proactive than they could be in the early 1990s, and this has allowed them to focus on prevention rather than prosecution after the fact.

One other interesting parallel between the Boyd case and the 1993 cases is the ethnic mix of militants involved in the plot. In the World Trade Center bombing, Egyptian and Palestinian jihadists worked with Pakistanis. In the follow-on July 1993 landmarks plot, there were Egyptians, Sudanese, an African-American and a Puerto Rican militant involved. In the Boyd case, we have Boyd and his sons, all Caucasian Americans, along with men from Kosovo, and Jude Kenan Mohammad, who appears to have a Pakistani father and American mother. Ethnic mixing also seems to be in play in the recent plot disrupted in Australia, where Somali militants were reputed to be working with Lebanese militants.

Ethnic mixing is not uncommon among Muslim communities in Western countries, just as Westerners tend to congregate in places like China or Saudi Arabia. Such mixing in a militant cell, then, reflects the composition of the radical Muslim community, which is a small component drawn from the overall Muslim population.

What Ifs

Because investigators and prosecutors in the Boyd case had the luxury of pursuing the prevention strategy, Boyd’s cell did not have the opportunity to develop its conspiracy to a more mature form. This has caused some commentators to downplay the potential danger posed by the cell, pointing to its inability to link up with militant groups in Gaza and Pakistan.

However, it is important to remember that, although Boyd’s cell was seemingly unable to make contact with major jihadist groups, it seems to have tried. Had it succeeded in making contact with a major jihadist group — such as al Qaeda or one of its regional franchises — Boyd’s group, like the 1993 New York cell, could have played an important part in launching an attack on U.S. soil, something the jihadists have been unable to do since 9/11. Hopefully the lessons learned from the 1993 plotters (who were also under heavy scrutiny prior to the first World Trade Center bombing) would have helped prevent the group from conducting such an attack even with outside help.

Frustration over not being able to conduct militant operations abroad appears to be another parallel with the plot recently thwarted in Australia. The Somalis and Lebanese arrested there reportedly were originally plotting to commit violence abroad. After being repeatedly thwarted, they decided instead to conduct attacks inside Australia. In some of the evidence released in the Boyd case detention hearing, Boyd could be heard saying that he would consider attacks inside the United States if he could not conduct militant operations abroad.

It is important to remember that even without assistance from a professional militant organization, Boyd and his followers were more than capable of conducting small-scale attacks that could have killed many people. In addition to the training conducted with Boyd, other members of the cell had reportedly attended a private academy in Nevada where they allegedly received training in survival, assassination, and escape and evasion.

At the time of his arrest, Daniel Boyd was carrying an FN Five-Seven pistol and his son Dylan Boyd was armed with a 9 mm pistol. According to the indictment, Boyd had purchased a rather extensive arsenal of weapons — certainly enough for the group to have conducted an armed assault-style attack. An FBI agent testified during the detention hearing that agents seized more than 27,000 rounds of ammunition (some armor-piercing) from the Boyd residence while executing a search warrant.

As STRATFOR has noted repeatedly, even seemingly unsophisticated “Kramer jihadists” can occasionally get lucky. Aggressive counterterrorism efforts since 9/11 have helped reduce the odds of such a lucky strike, but as we move further from 9/11, complacency, budget constraints and other factors have begun to erode counterterrorism programs.
9808  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-Russia on: August 05, 2009, 11:44:28 AM
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/08/04/great-news-russian-attack-subs-spotted-off-east-coast-of-us/

Great news: Russian attack subs spotted off east coast of U.S.
POSTED AT 9:55 PM ON AUGUST 4, 2009 BY ALLAHPUNDIT   


You know what this calls for? An Obama speech in Red Square about the common humanity that unites us in a struggle for blah blah blah blah.

But the collapse of the Soviet Union all but eliminated the ability of the Russian Navy to operate far from home ports, making the current submarine patrols thousands of miles from Russia even more surprising for military officials and defense policy experts.

“I don’t think they’ve put two first-line nuclear subs off the U.S. coast in about 15 years,” said Norman Polmar, a naval historian and expert on submarine warfare…

The submarine patrols come as Moscow tries to shake off the embarrassment of the latest failed test of the Bulava missile, a long-range weapon that was test fired from a submarine in the Arctic on July 15. The failed missile test was the sixth since 2005, and some experts see Russia’s assertiveness elsewhere as a gambit by the military to prove its continued relevance…

While the submarines had not taken any provocative action beyond their presence outside territorial waters of the United States, officials expressed wariness over the Kremlin’s motivation for ordering such an unusual mission.

“Any time the Russian Navy does something so out of the ordinary it is cause for worry,” said a senior Defense Department official who has been monitoring reports on the submarines’ activities.

A few possibilities off the top of my head for What This Might Mean in addition to the NYT’s “Bulava missile” theory. (1) Russia wants to see how much The One will let them get away with, just as Biden predicted would happen last year. (2) Russia’s pissed at Biden for his crack a few weeks ago about their economy “withering” and is flexing some muscle in response. (3) Russia’s looking to expand its presence in the western hemisphere more generally, which explains its naval exercises with Venezuela in December. (4) Russia’s gearing up to make another move on Georgia and is putting The One on notice that they’re not to be trifled with when they do. (5) Russia’s got a fee-vah and the only prescription is more bare-chested Putin photos, and a display of military strength in America’s backyard makes for nice optics on the front page tomorrow next to Vlad’s pecs. You’re free to vote for more than one theory — they’re hardly mutually exclusive — but as of right now I’m leaning towards number 4.
9809  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-Russia on: August 05, 2009, 11:21:21 AM
Well, what DO you think he/we should do?

Park a destroyer on top of the subs and SONAR ping the snot out of them making sure all on board get no sleep, then sneak an attack sub in behind them to trail them in silence and run attack drills. Note Russia's belligerence, remind them that this behavior last time around forced them into an arms race that they lost, causing their empire to crumble, question whether they want a return to those days, and state that the ballistic missile defense they are very much against will be implemented fully in view of their habit of provocation. State we can't do much about their penchant for killing journalists and critics opposed to their thugocracy, while making clear that does not mean we are unable to define our interests and protect them.

Yeah, if we had a president who wasn't wearing a trainee hat and didn't have a head full of leftist anti-americanism, he'd do exactly that.
9810  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-Russia on: August 05, 2009, 10:51:25 AM
Aside from the 2012 elections? Gird your loins and hope the worst thing Obama does is wreck the economy.
9811  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-Russia on: August 05, 2009, 08:34:43 AM
Exactly.
9812  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Marriage on: August 04, 2009, 10:30:33 PM
That's a good woman. Her husband disgusts me.
9813  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: August 01, 2009, 08:51:37 PM
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/07/31/napolitano-brings-terror-security-discussion/

Napolitano Lets the Word 'Terror' Come Out of the Closet at Homeland Security

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who drew criticism for not mentioning the word "terror" during her first appearance before Congress in February, used the term or its variants 23 times during a 30-minute speech before the Council of Foreign Relations on Wednesday.

By Joshua Rhett Miller
FOXNews.com
Friday, July 31, 2009


Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says the U.S. government has not done everything it can to educate and engage the public in preventing terrorism. (AP)

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who drew criticism for not mentioning the word "terror" during her first appearance before Congress in February, has reinserted the term into her lexicon.

The former Arizona governor used the term or its variants 23 times Wednesday during a 30-minute speech before the Council of Foreign Relations in New York.

When she testified before the House Homeland Security Committee in February, Napolitano became the first homeland security director not to mention the word "terror." Her predecessor, Michael Chertoff, mentioned terrorism seven times during his address in 2005. Tom Ridge, the agency's first secretary when the department was created in 2003, uttered the word 11 times, according to an Associated Press analysis.

But Napolitano noticeably avoided the term in February, referring to acts of terrorism as "man-caused disasters" instead.

She later admitted that it was part of a larger effort to change the tone in Washington. The Obama administration has also phased out the term "War on Terror," replacing it with the less sinister "overseas contingency operation."

The switch "speaks for itself," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters in March.

"It demonstrates that we want to move away from the politics of fear toward a policy of being prepared for all risks that can occur," Napolitano told the German magazine Der Spiegel.

But now, terror is back. So, what's in a name?

Asked Friday what prompted her to start saying "terror" again, Napolitano told FOX News, "I'm not really into labels. What we're talking about is the fight against terrorism in all forms, whether it comes from abroad or indeed is homegrown and what Americans can do to combat it."

She said Americans are safer than they were prior to the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, but she stressed that more work remains to be done.

"The threat of terror is always with us, we can't hermetically seal off the United States," Napolitano said. "But there are things we can do individually, locally, federally and even with international partners to make us safer."

Individually, Napolitano said Americans can always be on the lookout for unusual occurrences, like "someone taking photographs of a piece of critical infrastructure" or an unattended package left on a platform, and to report them to authorities.

"Those are the kinds of very simple things that can be done," she said. "Now we're not asking people to spy on their neighbors or do any of that sort of thing. There's a balance to be struck, but it's a careful balance and it's one that in the end, I think will make us safer."

Napolitano acknowledged an "increased presence" of homegrown extremism and called for increased cooperation on local, state and federal levels to thwart any potential attacks.

Asked whether homegrown terror risks have become a bigger threat than those overseas, Napolitano demurred.

"I don't know that you can rank them one or two," she said. "Both exist; they both must be dealt with. They are both things that we are concerned about and they're both things that we want Americans to be prepared about."
9814  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: July 30, 2009, 10:08:37 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/07/30/wow-black-cop-in-gates-arrest-sends-letter-to-obama-about-being-called-an-uncle-tom/comment-page-1/

Good cop smeared.
9815  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Knife for Self Defense on: July 30, 2009, 09:14:59 PM
Maybe it wasn't possible to bail. Fine. I'm glad he didn't sever your femoral or a friend of his didn't put a cap in your dome.

The world we live in today, you can never count on a "man to man" fight.
9816  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Knife for Self Defense on: July 30, 2009, 07:21:02 PM
Maxx,

You should have called the police to deal with the "Dick". Lucky you are still alive, and recovering.

This is why my advise is: Your first option is to avoid trouble. If that fails, break contact and evade/un-ass the area in a flash of bright light and/or cloud of O.C
9817  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / FBI, DHS Warn Police on Homegrown Terrorists on: July 30, 2009, 07:28:50 AM


FBI, DHS Warn Police on Homegrown Terrorists

Wednesday, July 29, 2009 7:24 AM


WASHINGTON -- Antiterrorism officials are increasingly concerned about American-bred extremists who travel abroad for terror training and then return home, sometimes quietly recruiting followers over the years.

Federal authorities have issued a bulletin to law enforcement agencies around the country on the heels of the arrest Monday in North Carolina of a man whose devotion to the cause of violent jihad allegedly began 20 years ago.

The internal bulletin - reviewed by The Associated Press - says the FBI and the Homeland Security Department are very worried about the danger posed by little-noticed Americans traveling abroad to learn terrorism techniques, then coming back to the United States, where they may be dormant for long periods of time while they look for followers to recruit for future attacks.

On Monday, the FBI arrested Daniel Patrick Boyd, 39, charging he was the ringleader of a group of aspiring international terrorists.

The charges "underscore our ongoing concerns about individuals returning to the United States after training or fighting on behalf of extremists overseas," said Justice Department spokesman Richard Kolko.

"As a general matter, such individuals may be in a unique position to solicit others in the U.S. to follow their example, given their combat experience, their network of overseas contacts and their credibility among young radicals seeking an authority figure," Kolko said.

Six other suspects - including Boyd's two sons - were also charged in what prosecutors say was a long-running conspiracy to train for violence and then fight overseas.

Boyd's wife, Sabrina, said in a statement Tuesday that the charges are unsubstantiated.

"We are an ordinary family," she said. "We are decent people who care about other human beings."

The internal terrorism bulletin says Boyd is part of what investigators believe is an unsettling trend of Americans attracted to terrorist groups.

Often, such individuals are what officials call "self-recruiting," using only an Internet connection to plug into a network of like-minded people who help point them toward militant groups.

Just a week ago, federal prosecutors revealed they had in custody an American, Bryant Neal Vinas, who was raised on Long Island, N.Y., converted to Islam and traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan to train alongside senior al-Qaida operatives.

And on Monday, a Virginia man was sentenced to life in prison for joining al-Qaida and plotting to assassinate then-President George W. Bush. Authorities say he joined al-Qaida while attending college in Saudi Arabia.

The police bulletin, issued the evening after Boyd's arrest in North Carolina, also cites a case of what authorities say were aspiring terrorists in Oregon. In that case, prosecutors won a conviction of a man for trying to set up a terror training camp in 1999 in Bly, Ore.

Boyd and the others arrested Monday are not charged with planning attacks in the United States. Prosecutors say the seven men repeatedly traveled overseas hoping to engage in violence, and trained in military tactics at a private property in North Carolina.

The Boyds lived at an unassuming lakeside home in a rural area south of Raleigh and had a family-operated drywall business.

In 1991, Boyd and his brother were convicted of bank robbery in Pakistan. They were also accused of carrying identification showing they belonged to the radical Afghan guerrilla group, Hezb-e-Islami, or Party of Islam. Each was sentenced to have a foot and a hand cut off for the robbery, but the decision was later overturned.

Their wives told The Associated Press in an interview at the time that the couples had U.S. roots but the United States was a country of "kafirs" - Arabic for heathens.

Sabrina Boyd said in her statement that her husband was in Afghanistan fighting against the Soviet Union "with the full backing of the United States government."
9818  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Fundamentals still Suck on: July 28, 2009, 12:09:10 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/07/28/obamanomics-101-the-bad-news-isthe-good-news-isnt-really-that-good/

Obamanomics 101: The Bad News Is, the Good News Isn’t Really That Good
posted at 8:47 am on July 28, 2009 by The Other McCain


The Boss today calls attention to a New York Times feature about unemployment:

It’s bad enough that the unemployment rate has doubled in only a year and a half and one out of six construction workers is out of work. What truly troubles President Obama’s economic advisers is that, even adjusting for the recession, the contraction in employment seems way too high. . . .
The Federal Reserve now expects unemployment to surpass 10 percent . . . The economy has shed 6.5 million jobs . . . Economists fear that even when the economy turns around, the job market will be stagnant.
Even while the media keeps pushing “recovery” talk, the further ahead you look, the scarier it gets:
The global economy may fall back into a recession by late 2010 or 2011 because of rising government debt, higher oil prices and a lack of job growth, said Nouriel Roubini, the New York University economist who predicted the credit crisis. A “perfect storm” of fiscal deficits, rising bond yields, “soaring” oil prices, weak profits and a stagnant labor market could “blow the recovering world economy back into a double-dip recession,” he wrote . . .
Did anybody notice that the FDIC took over six banks Friday, bringing the year-to-date total to 64 bank failures? And there’s more trouble on the horizon for the banking industry:
Regional banks can no longer ignore the elephant in the room — their exposure to the commercial real estate bust . . . analysts expect credit problems over the next year to center on commercial real estate — mortgages on office and apartment buildings and shopping malls, as well as construction, development and industrial loans. U.S. banks hold some $1.8 trillion worth of commercial loans, according to Federal Reserve data . . . With financing markets locked up and the economy still mired in recession — unemployment is at a 26-year high while capacity utilization, a key measure of industrial production, recently hit a record low — observers fear a wave of loans will go bad in coming quarters . . .
People who read headline saying the worst is over need to read the fine print in those stories. If the headline says “June New Home Sales Up,” for example, be sure to pay attention to the bad news about the good news:
However, sales are still 28% below the levels of a year ago, when new homes sold in June at an annualized rate of 530,000. Four years ago, during the height of the housing boom, the sales rate for June was 1,374,000, nearly three-and-a-half times higher than last month. . . .
Look at what analysts told the Wall Street Journal:
“[T]he dismal state of the U.S. labor market will continue to cast a long shadow over the prospects for a meaningful recovery in the sector in the near term . . .”
“[T]he report showed a sharp 6% sequential decline in June suggesting that much of the sales activity was concentrated at the lower end of the market . . .”
“The news sounds better than it looks . . . despite the jump in sales in June, new home sales remain at very low levels, and the not seasonally adjusted data show a total of 36,000 homes sold nationwide in June, the lowest sales total for June since 1982.”
Hey, how good can the economy be, if Tim Geithner can’t sell his house? The two-week stock-market surge — which saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average zoom up about 800 points before the rally ended Friday — was fueled in large measure by a constant media drumbeat of “recovery is near” messages. Allen Abelson of Barron’s is getting tired of the happy-talk:
The melancholy fact is that our ink, online and TV colleagues can be too easily snookered by Washington, Wall Street and Corporate America, all of whom are desperately peddling recovery rather than reality.
One of the things that make it hard for people to figure out which way the economy is heading is that analysts shy away from outright predictions:
Like being a weatherman who never gets around to saying firmly, “It’s gonna rain tomorrow,” you’re always 100% accurate.
Me? I boldly say, “Bring your umbrella.” As I first explained in December at The American Spectator, the most important thing to understand about Obamanomics is It Won’t Work. The neo-Keynesian deficit-spending “stimulus” approach, which began with Henry Paulson and the Bush administration, is the exact opposite of what the economy needs, because The Fundamentals Still Suck.
Obamanomics flunks in terms of the basics. There is nothing in economic history to support the belief that the agenda currently being pursued in Washington will lead to real recovery. Jimmy Carter-style “stagflation” is a much more likely result.
9819  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Race, religion, ethnic origin on: July 27, 2009, 10:48:21 PM
Cambridge Police Profiling Still A Grim Reality for Harvard Faculty Assholes

http://iowahawk.typepad.com/iowahawk/2009/07/cambridge-police-profiling-still-a-grim-reality-for-harvard-faculty-assholes.html

Guest Opinion
by Professor John Evans Evans-John
Harvard School of Harvard Faculty Asshole Studies
Harvard University

When I first learned of the arrest of my colleague Professor Henry Louis "Skip" Gates after he stood up to the fascist jackboots of a declasse, ill-educated Cambridge police officer, I was of course angered -- but scarcely shocked. L'Affaire Gates simply aired, in public, the dirty 100-thread-count table linen of an American culture where Harvard faculty assholes still face a daily struggle against profiling, abuse, and insolence.

It will come as no surprise that Skip's arrest was the talk of the Douchebag Room at the Harvard Faculty Club last Friday. I and a group of colleagues had assembled for our weekly lunch; I opted for their competently-prepared Ahi Tuna Tartare and an amusing glass of '05 Hospices de Beaune Premier Cru Cuvee Cyrot-Chaudron. I had noticed that the Franz Fanon Memorial Booth -- Skip's long-reserved lunch spot -- was uncharacteristically empty, and asked our waiter Sergio for an explanation.

"Professor Skeep, he no is come today," said Sergio. "I tink he is in the jail."

Our table exchanged knowing glances, for we knew immediately that Skip was only the latest victim of a system that singles out the Harvard faculty asshole for stigmatization and unequal justice. It is a system that all of us knew too well, and provided an opportunity for an open conversation about our shared experiences as Harvard faculty assholes in America while waiting for Sergio to bring the dessert cart.

One after one came the cascade of stark stories: the rolled eyes of our department secretaries. The Spanish language mockery of our office janitors. The foul gestures of drunken strap-hanging Red Sox lumpenproles aboard the MBTA. The frequent police stops on the highway to Cape Ann and Martha's Vineyard for "Volvoing While Asshole." And then there are the insulting media stereotypes, where we are routinely caricatured as pompous, effete, self-important, irrelevant elitists. All, I might add, by a motley collection of lowbrow inferiors, few of whom have ever published in a peer-reviewed journal. Let alone edit one.

Sometimes it even comes at the hand of self-styled "peers" from D-list state ampersand institutions. One colleague recounted the tale of his restroom confrontation with a Texas A&M professor at a national academic conference last year. After relieving themselves at adjacent urinals, my colleague noticed the oaf leaving hastily for the plenary session and decided to gently point out his hygienic forgetfulness. "A Harvard man washes his hands after urinating," he said. "And an Aggie don't piss all over his hands, asshole," came the reply.

A female colleague from the English department recalled a recent incident along the Charles River jogging path during her regular morning run. A confused passer-by rudely interrupted her progress and requested directions, as if my colleague were some sort of lowly campus guide or untenured adjunct. "Where does this street go to?" she demanded. Naturally, my colleague took the opportunity to correct her, noting that "at Harvard we do not end our sentences in prepositions."

"Okay, Where does this street go to, asshole?" barked the interloper. Needless to say, my colleague's daily morning runs have since been replaced with tear-filled visits to the Faculty Asshole Self Esteem Counseling Center.

For untold hundreds of Harvard faculty assholes such indignities are, sadly, still part and parcel of being "The Other." As Associate Director of the School of Harvard Faculty Asshole Studies, I have worked to institute policies to insure that Harvard maintains a nurturing environment for all assholes in our community, be they faculty, students, or alumni. Some progress has been made, such as Harvard's mandatory sensitivity and deference training program for all incoming freshassholes. But such internal programs do little to address the impertinence and discrimination we still face outside campus. Some have suggested that we involve the Cambridge Police Department in an educational outreach program, but in my experience the CPD is among the worst offenders.

Case in point: last winter I was slated to deliver the keynote address for an intradepartmental asshole colloquium at Lowell House. Running late, I temporarily parked along Plympton. As I emerged from my Audi, I discovered that I had captured the unwelcome attention of a CPD officer. "Hey Buddy, is that your car?" he barked.

"Why? Because I'm a Harvard faculty asshole in America?" I cleverly retorted.

"No asshole, because this is a snow route and you can't double park here," he sneered, concocting a flimsy excuse for his continued harassment. "You have to move it now."

"That's Professor Asshole to you, you fascist townie," I explained, tossing him the Audi's remote-start key. "Need a valet? Call your mother at the brothel."

It doesn't take an experienced asshole rights activist to tell you what happened next: my Audi was on its way to impound while I rode to the Cambridge Police Station in the unheated vinyl rear seat of Bull Conner's squad car. To add insult to injury, the desk officer refused my request for a dignified background bookshelf for my booking photos.

Thankfully the Constitution still allows even Harvard Assholes a bare modicum of human rights, so I used my allotted phone call to alert the Dean and the Faculty Grievance Committee to my plight. In those 35 excruciating minutes I wasted away waiting in that stark cell, I wrote the opening chapter of "Letters From a Cambridge Jail," my forthcoming scholarly magnum opus on the grim legacy of Asshole oppression in America.

Eventually my arrest record was expunged and I agreed to meet the loathsome arresting officer at President Faust's office for a conciliatory off-record "beer chat." As the University Counsel had predicted, the lure of free limitless alcohol proved irresistible to the simpleminded Irishman, and he was soon happily signing confessions of guilt and abject apologies. Still, even after he was fired, I was left to pick up the pieces of my shattered psyche.

As I recounted the details of that unpleasant encounter to my colleagues, a few wondered aloud if we were not better served by changing the system gradually. Then our eyes turned to the stately historic portraits of the Harvard faculty assholes who came before us, hanging in silent judgment on the Douchebag Room walls; Schlessinger, Galbraith, Leary, Cornel West, Alan Dershowitz, Theodore Kaczynski. Would these great assholes have accepted complicit silence in the face of crude police insolence? How will we be remembered by future generations of Harvard faculty assholes who will battle future generations of Cambridge police and parking enforcement officials? Where is Sergio with the damned dessert cart?

Some suggest that the election of President Obama proves that America's prejudice against Harvard assholes is a quaint relic of the past. But for those of us who live with it every day, the evidence shows the opposite. And it isn't just Harvard assholes suffering the cold, rude hand of uppity townie privilege. Other, if less endowed, asshole faculties suffer similar oppression; in the southern Lacrosse fields of Duke, in the west coast arugula farms of Stanford, at Northwestern, where ever Northwestern is.

No, we must not be silent. That is why I have used a portion of my class action windfall against the Cambridge Police department to produce a shocking new documentary film, "Asshole Like Me," detailing the courageous plight of the tenured Sphincter-American community. It premiers this Friday at the Science Center. Get your tickets now -- with free beer on tap, demand will be high!
9820  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Race, religion, ethnic origin on: July 27, 2009, 08:29:08 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/07/27/must-see-cambridge-cop-says-she-wont-vote-for-obama-again-after-gatesgate/

Stand up people.
9821  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / More birther goodness! on: July 27, 2009, 04:27:50 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/07/27/gibbs-on-birthers-nothing-will-convince-them/

More on the "birther" movement.
9822  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Clinton prepares to jump from the SS Obamatanic on: July 27, 2009, 02:50:54 PM
Hillary will push a hawkish, pro-Israel stance until it blows up with Obama firing her or her resigning in protest, setting up her 2012 campaign.
9823  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Clinton prepares to jump from the SS Obamatanic on: July 27, 2009, 02:48:48 PM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DIPLOMATIC PUSH

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Additional reporting by Alister Bull; editing by Anthony Boadle)
9824  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: July 27, 2009, 10:10:28 AM
Knowing that Barack Obama Jr. would run for president one day she calls to get his birth announcement published in the local paper?
9825  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: July 27, 2009, 09:44:00 AM
http://politicalwire.com/archives/2009/07/24/mccain_lawyers_investigated_obama_citizenship.html?referrer=js

July 24, 2009


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

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

Said Potter: "To the extent that we could, we looked into the substantive side of these allegations. We never saw any evidence that then-Senator Obama had been born outside of the United States. We saw rumors, but nothing that could be sourced to evidence. There were no statements and no documents that suggested he was born somewhere else. On the other side, there was proof that he was born in Hawaii. There was a certificate issued by the state's Department of Health, and the responsible official in the state saying that he had personally seen the original certificate. There was a birth announcement in the Honolulu Advertiser, which would be very difficult to invent or plant 47 years in advance."
9826  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: July 26, 2009, 11:44:44 PM
If Obama's mother was outside the US at the time of his birth, then her passport would show it. If an infant Obama were born outside the US, when and with what documents did he enter the US? Obama traveled and lived outside the US as a child and young man. To obtain a US passport, an applicant would have to submit to the US State Dept proof of citizenship. Most commonly for children, it's a birth cert.and sworn statement from the parents.

There should be a substantial paper trail in the federal archives. Birthers should be filing FOIAs for these documents.
9827  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Knife for Self Defense on: July 26, 2009, 06:38:03 PM
Depending on where you live, knives may be your only option, but from the criminal/civil perspective they are far from optimal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Only in the same circumstances that you'd shoot someone should you use other items/techniques that have a high degree of causing serious bodily injury and/or death.
9828  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Education on: July 25, 2009, 10:51:44 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/07/25/video-why-california-really-really-needs-race-to-the-top-funds/

Liberals are smart.
9829  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: July 25, 2009, 09:54:26 PM
- Pajamas Media - http://pajamasmedia.com -

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

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

Then I woke up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

URLs in this post:
[1] Terry v. Ohio: http://supreme.justia.com/us/392/1/case.html
[2] admits: http://www.theroot.com/views/skip-gates-speaks
[3] addressed the issue: http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/living/2009/07/23/bia.henry.gates.cnn?iref=videosearch
[4] police report: http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2009/0723092gates1.html
9830  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: July 25, 2009, 09:48:23 PM
Crafty,

You do understand that American law enforcement has changed a great deal in the last 30 years?
9831  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: July 25, 2009, 11:07:26 AM
Without being too much of a smartass, how long ago was your 20's?
9832  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hey Obama voters, thanks! on: July 25, 2009, 10:50:51 AM
July 24, 2009, 0:30 p.m.

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

By Heather Mac Donald

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

— Heather Mac Donald is a contributing editor at City Journal and the author of Are Cops Racist?
National Review Online - http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=YTU4MGE4MDkwYzhiYjY4OTk2OWRlZjcyMWY0MjFkNmE=
9833  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama: Cop basher and race baiter on: July 24, 2009, 04:59:00 PM
Who'da thunk that someone that was a disciple of Rev. Wright and Weatherman Ayers would be a cop bashing, race baiter? Gee, I never saw this coming.  rolleyes
9834  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: July 24, 2009, 01:49:42 PM
Obama's mask slipped, and America caught a glimpse of what was underneath.
9835  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: July 24, 2009, 08:53:03 AM
http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/obama_administration/daily_presidential_tracking_poll

Rude awakening, in progress
9836  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Less than 50% and dropping on: July 24, 2009, 08:51:30 AM
http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/obama_administration/daily_presidential_tracking_poll

SS Obamatanic meets the icy edge of reality.
9837  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal issues on: July 24, 2009, 08:41:35 AM
Outside of traffic, or some misd. offenses, i'm opposed to strict liability criminal laws. Intent should be an element of a felony crime.
9838  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The next bubble to burst on: July 23, 2009, 07:27:07 PM
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/3a1e9d86-76eb-11de-b23c-00144feabdc0.html?ftcamp=rss&nclick_check=1

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“The commercial real estate market is soft, and most of the big banks are seeing the same kind of thing,” said Howard Atkins, chief financial officer of Wells Fargo.
9839  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The greatest depression on: July 23, 2009, 08:42:11 AM
http://directorblue.blogspot.com/2009/07/we-are-now-in-early-stages-of.html
9840  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: July 20, 2009, 09:49:48 PM
http://www.usdebtclock.org/

I know, let's spend more on a gov't healthcare boondoggle!
9841  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: July 20, 2009, 08:38:46 PM
Where are all the O-bot, Bush haters? Step up and justify your Chicago-thug, marxist, empty-suit of a president. Hasn't quite turned out like you though, has it?
9842  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: July 20, 2009, 05:23:57 PM
I don't even know how we'd ever recover from that. That is the ultimate game changer with that level of debt.
9843  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / How's the Kool-aid taste now? on: July 20, 2009, 11:21:54 AM
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/07/20/wapo-poll-has-obama-under-water-on-health-care/

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


Pollster Scott Rasmussen first reported that support for Barack Obama and the Democrats in general had begun to seriously slip over a month ago, especially on the economy.  At first, other pollsters didn’t catch the trend, but now almost all surveys show Americans losing confidence in the administration’s efforts on fiscal matters.  Now the bleeding also has begun on health care, as the new Washington Post poll shows:
Heading into a critical period in the debate over health-care reform, public approval of President Obama’s stewardship on the issue has dropped below the 50 percent threshold for the first time, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Obama’s approval ratings on other front-burner issues, such as the economy and the federal budget deficit, have also slipped over the summer, as rising concern about spending and continuing worries about the economy combine to challenge his administration. Barely more than half approve of the way he is handling unemployment, which now tops 10 percent in 15 states and the District.
The president’s overall approval rating remains higher than his marks on particular domestic issues, with 59 percent giving him positive reviews and 37 percent disapproving. But this is the first time in his presidency that Obama has fallen under 60 percent in Post-ABC polling, and the rating is six percentage points lower than it was a month ago. …
Since April, approval of Obama’s handling of health care has dropped from 57 percent to 49 percent, with disapproval rising from 29 percent to 44 percent. Obama still maintains a large advantage over congressional Republicans in terms of public trust on the issue, even as the GOP has closed the gap.
The erosion in Obama’s overall rating on health care is particularly notable among political independents: While positive in their assessments of his handling of health-care reform at the 100-day mark of his presidency (53 percent approved and 30 percent disapproved), independents now are divided at 44 percent positive and 49 percent negative.
Bear in mind that this poll has a rather odd partisan split.  Unlike the CBS poll, which got deliberately tweaked to emphasize Democrats, this poll appears to have a natural sample that overemphasizes independents.  According to the raw data, the poll only has 22% Republicans, 33% Democrats, and 41% independents.  In that case, Republicans are significantly undersampled, and Democrats slightly undersampled.  The independents lean slightly Democratic, which was certainly true in the last election, but the double-digit gap between Democrats and Republicans didn’t exist in the presidential election and certainly doesn’t reflect the electorate — and this sampling bias still can’t mask the decline Obama has seen in his polling.
One of the most interesting questions in which this can be seen is in question 15: Is Obama a new-style Democrat who will be careful with the public’s money, or an old-style tax-and-spend Democrat?  Obama still gets a majority saying new-style Democrat, 52%-43%, but that metric shows a lot of erosion.  Four weeks ago, that was 58%-36%, and four months ago 62%-32%.  Trending on Obamanomics is also heading south.  Confidence in its ability to improve the economy has fallen to 56%-43%, down from 64%-35% in March.
However, as the Post reports, the most remarkable numbers come from the trendline on health care.  In April, Obama had a 57%-29% approval-to-disapproval rating on this issue.  By June, it was 53%-39%, at about the time the CBO began scoring ObamaCare.  Now it’s at 49%-44%, almost within the margin of error, and that was before the CBO rated the House version of ObamaCare as a deficit buster.
Obama will hold another prime-time press conference on Wednesday to try to sell ObamaCare to the nation.  These numbers show why he’s going back to the well, but they also show that he’s rapidly losing credibility.  More jawing at the cameras may not help much.
9844  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hide the numbers! on: July 20, 2009, 11:06:32 AM
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090720/ap_on_go_pr_wh/us_midsummer_s_budget_nightmare/print

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That gave ammunition to Republican critics of the bill.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"If we were at the brink of catastrophe at the beginning of the year, we have walked some substantial distance back from the abyss," said Lawrence Summers, Obama's chief economic adviser.
9845  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant on: July 19, 2009, 06:21:03 PM
Funny, I recall JDN dishonestly smearing Michelle Malkin, the US military and being an uninformed buffoon at best. No loss in my book.
9846  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: July 15, 2009, 05:19:19 PM
Yes, Debka is the Weekly World News of OSINT. (Batboy joins al qaeda!)

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

This isn't "the last war", this is one of the major threats we face.
9847  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: July 15, 2009, 09:11:16 AM
- Pajamas Media - http://pajamasmedia.com -

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[8] arrested: http://philadelphia.fbi.gov/pressrel/pressrel09/ph060409.htm
[9] 35 minutes: http://www.billwarnerpi.com/2009/06/were-two-us-airways-planes-going-to-be.html
[10] said: http://www2.tbo.com/content/2009/jun/19/fbi-investigates-attempts-smuggle-weapons-planes/
[11] reported: http://www.debka.com/headline.php?hid=6169
9848  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: July 15, 2009, 09:10:14 AM
Schneier is to security what Obama is to economic or foreign policy.  rolleyes
9849  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China vs. Islam on: July 15, 2009, 08:59:44 AM
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gtOBNpRVLjLpYPH44fs87rt2kmPA

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

HONG KONG (AFP) — Al-Qaeda is threatening for the first time to attack Chinese interests overseas in retaliation for the deaths of Muslims in the restive region of Xinjiang, according to a risk analysis group.
The call for reprisals against China comes from the Algerian-based offshoot Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), according to a summary of its report sent to AFP by the international consultancy Stirling Assynt.
"Although AQIM appear to be the first arm of Al-Qaeda to officially state they will target Chinese interests, others are likely to follow," said the report, which was first divulged by the South China Morning Post Tuesday.
Osama bin Laden's network has not previously threatened China, but the Stirling report said a thirst for vengeance over Beijing's clampdown in Xinjiang was spreading over the global jihadist community.
Hundreds of thousands of Chinese work in the Middle East and North Africa, including 50,000 in Algeria, estimated the group, which has offices in London and Hong Kong providing risk advice to corporate and official clients.
"This threat should be taken seriously," Stirling said, basing its information on people who it said had seen the AQIM instruction.
"There is an increasing amount of chatter ... among jihadists who claim they want to see action against China.
"Some of these individuals have been actively seeking information on China's interests in the Muslim world, which they could use for targeting purposes."
Stirling said the extremist group could well target Chinese projects in Yemen in a bid to topple the Beijing-friendly government of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The intelligence firm also noted Al-Qaeda's killing of 24 Algerian security officers who were meant to be protection for Chinese engineers three weeks ago.
"On that occasion they did not attack the Chinese engineers because the target was the project on which they were working.
"Now, future attacks of this kind are likely to target security forces and Chinese engineers alike," the report said.
The most likely scenario would be that Al-Qaeda's central leadership would encourage their affiliates in North Africa and the Arabian peninsula to attack Chinese targets near at hand, it said.
Al-Qaeda centrally does "not want to open a new front with China," the analysis said.
"But equally their sense of Muslim solidarity compels them to help and/or to be seen to be helping. This is also a factor in helping the organisation regain support and funding from their global constituency."
Chinese authorities have said that riots in the Xinjiang city of Urumqi by Muslim Uighurs on July 5 left 184 people dead -- most of whom were Han, China's dominant ethnic group -- and more than 1,600 injured.
Uighur leaders accuse Chinese forces of opening fire on peaceful protests, in the latest unrest to rock the Muslim-majority region of Xinjiang.
Chinese authorities have previously blamed low-level attacks on Xinjiang's East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), which Beijing, the United States and the United Nations list as a terrorist organisation.
China has also said that ETIM militants have received some training and funding from Al-Qaeda.
However, many experts have told AFP that they doubt the ETIM is a major threat in Xinjiang, and some lawmakers in the United States are pushing for the terrorist label to be lifted.
The US government meanwhile last month released four Uighurs from the Guantanamo Bay detention site, years after clearing them of any wrongdoing. Beijing's bid to have them extradited was denied and they are now in Bermuda.
9850  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Cyberwar on: July 15, 2009, 08:51:13 AM
Somehow, I doubt that NorK kiddies are behind the cyber-attacks. How many NorK households have a computer and access to the net?
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