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3601  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / take a guess gay pride parade or UFC? on: July 19, 2013, 08:56:31 AM
trust me.  I wouldn't say it to their faces:
3602  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Benghazi and related matters on: July 19, 2013, 08:28:22 AM
survivors forced to sign non disclosure

Obstruction of justice at the highest level.  This sounds like a Hillary trick.

Of course it is in the interests of "national" security.   Not just her political career security.

No outrage.  No response.  Not even a blip in the media's noise meter for the day. 

And people trust the government to control and monitor and manipulate the world's internet?

3603  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security, Border Protection, and American Freedom on: July 17, 2013, 04:24:16 PM
From Crafty's post above.

"places a chill over every citizen in not only America but the world. It should also chill all news reporters, pundits, filmmakers, writers, thinkers, philosophers, patent and copyright holders, strategists and communicators in every branch of the arts and sciences."

One can forget about intellectual property being protected except by the very rich and powerful.

Finally, at least a few people are recognizing this.   Way too late for me.   Probably too late for all of us.

I know I am a minority on this board.  But I still think Snowden is a hero.

3604  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Law Enforcement on: July 16, 2013, 09:11:40 PM
End only of one chapter.   There is no legal punishment that fits the crimes of this monster:
3605  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / potential avenue for obesity research and maybe investment on: July 14, 2013, 09:15:01 PM
interesting research angle into the obesity and diabetes conditions.  diabetes @ tends to reverse within a few days after bariatric surgery even before the major weight loss has occurred suggesting the anatomical changes in the proximal gut alter the chemistry via gastrointestinal hormones in a way the change metabolism.  This same chemical alterations may lead to drugs that can induce the same changes without the surgery.  NGM biopharmaceuticals is private but has entered into agreement with Medimmune:

NovoNordiscs victoza used for Type 2 diabetes treatment is known to induce several percent weight loss.  At this time it is FDA approved only for diabetes.  A dose of 3 mg (vs the 0.6 to 1.8 for diabetes) is being researched for FDA approval for use in obesity.  It may cause and ?maintain up to 8% weigh loss.  I am not sure if all its mechanisms are known.  It delays stomach emptying this making feel full faster and less hungry and is also thought to work directly through the brain as well.   I wonder if adding that to the VVUs drug  would add additional benefits.  Some combinations I have read do not add much if any benefit however.

*Of course for us male and female studs on this board we do not need such help.  I am speaking of the millions of couch potatoes who sit at desks all day and commute for hours.*
3606  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Race, religion, ethnic origin, LGBT, & "discrimination" on: July 14, 2013, 08:40:21 PM
Another twist was a female lawyer on cable today suggesting those who criticize the verdict are really discriminating against women because the jury and judge were all female.


There seems no end to this by who those intent on turning this small town trial into spearheads for any variety of  national political agendas or money making campaigns from marketers, medias, attorneys, race baiters, politicians, book writers, and possibly book deals, or fifteen minutes of fame from jurors.

Everyone has their own opinion and mine is manslaughter would have been the closet to fit the circumstance.  It does bother me a 17 child walks to the store for soda and candy and gets killed on the way home while taking a shortcut.   Zimmerman did start the whole think.   

That said turning this into a the civil rights issue of the century is just beyond my logic.

It remains to be seen how harassed will Zimmerman be and for how long.  On one hand he will suffer pushback forever.  On the other hand this might be a money making opportunity for him.
3607  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fascism, liberal fascism, progressivism, socialism: on: July 13, 2013, 09:11:25 PM
 Doug writes,

"Yes, and they won't see the hypocrisy that the year of the woman needs to follow the year we ended all gender distinctions, eliminating terms like wife, bride and motherhood."

Excellent point.  I hadn't thought of that.   As for Hillary fatigue I sure hope you are right.   No sooner did I post my comments above when I get this weeks Economist with this article in it. 

*****The Economist
World politics

Sexual politics

More than half the electorate

Will the “war on women” rhetoric help Democrats?
 Jul 13th 2013  | WASHINGTON, DC  |From the print edition

The battleground

IT HAS been a busy few weeks for Republican foes of abortion. The House of Representatives has passed a bill banning it after 20 weeks of pregnancy; a similar one is expected to be introduced in the Senate soon. A bill imposing a 20-week limit on the District of Columbia is pending in the Senate, backed by 34 Republicans.

There is action in the states, too. Republican-led legislatures in Texas and North Carolina are considering various restrictions; the one in Wisconsin recently approved some, only to have them suspended by a court. All told, the first half of the

Democrats like to describe these measures as part of a Republican “war on women”. As further evidence, they point to foot-dragging from Republicans in Congress over measures aimed at promoting equal pay for women and preventing domestic violence, along with the outlandish comments about sex made by Republican politicians every now and again. Trent Franks, the congressman who sponsored the 20-week limit in the House, argued against an exemption for victims of rape, claiming that the number of rapes that led to pregnancy was “very low”. A colleague, Michael Burgess, suggested that fetuses are already masturbating by 20 weeks—although only male ones.

Similar comments probably cost Republicans two Senate seats in last year’s election, and seem to have lost the party votes more broadly, argues Charlie Cook of the Cook Political Report. Although Barack Obama’s support among men dropped by four percentage points compared with 2008, to 45%, it fell by only one point among women. His lead there, of 11 points, was much bigger than his deficit among men, of seven points. In fact, the “gender gap” favoured the Democrats even more, since women cast 53% of votes. Democratic charges of Republican sexism seem to have boosted turnout among young, single women (a strongly left-leaning group). They have also given married suburban women with misgivings about Mr Obama’s economic stewardship reason to hesitate before voting Republican.

Yet Republicans are unfazed, continuing to push abortion curbs that have little or no chance of becoming law. The Senate, for example, is sure to squelch the House’s 20-week limit on abortions. Even if it did not, Mr Obama would veto it. Legislatures in North Dakota and Arkansas have approved laws banning abortions from six and 12 weeks respectively. The Supreme Court is unlikely to let either law stand.

Jonathan Collegio of American Crossroads, a conservative campaign outfit, argues that this persistence simply reflects the priorities of the party’s supporters: “Christian voters are still a major part of the Republican coalition, often the most intense and likely to vote, and it’s foolish to pretend they don’t exist.”

Republicans scoff at the idea that they are waging war on women. They favour equal pay, they say, but not rules that make it too easy to sue employers. The Democrats’ rhetoric will backfire, they add, if they use it to oppose policies many women support, including certain curbs on abortion. Polls show that most favour keeping abortion legal, but support drops off dramatically the later in a pregnancy it occurs. A narrow majority seems to support a 20-week limit; a large one opposes late-term abortions. Similarly, argues Stu Rothenberg, an election analyst, laws that impose stricter medical standards on abortion clinics mark an attempt by Republicans to placate their base without offending the majority of voters.

Relatively few voters, however, base their votes on abortion or other “social issues”. Just 4% of respondents to the latest Economist/YouGov poll rated abortion as “the most important issue”; 31% chose the economy. Linda DiVall, a Republican pollster, argues that Democrats keep banging on about the war on women purely as a distraction from the disappointing state of the economy. If Republicans were to find a more compelling way to talk about that, she believes, it would render the Democratic attacks moot.*****
3608  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The coming women's infatada on: July 13, 2013, 07:45:35 AM
With Hillary as their point woman we will be barraged with the feminism infatada, like the gay one we have been subjected to over the next couple of yrs.

CNN, and the rest of the liberal media will be waging propaganda campaigns like we have never seen.   It will be NOW style feminism on steroids.  It will use the gay infatada mass media tactics as a template.   "shame", "bullying", "disgrace", "sexist", "civil rights", will all be part of it.  Every single thing a woman does will be celebrated.  Like the woman UFC fighter.   Like the woman nascar racers.  They are the first this the first that.   All to coincide with the sudden need for the first woman president;  guess who.   There was never a peep when Sarah was a VP candidate.   Why?  Because it could not be a Republican.  It has to be a liberal staunch believer in the Democrat party and the socialist elite taking over the world.   For all our own good, of course.
3609  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: July 12, 2013, 07:58:32 AM
In the final paragraph the impression is being made that this is a "global warming" problem.   From what I read the glaciers on the West of Antarctica are shrinking but are getting larger on the East Side.   It is admitted the phenomenon of large ice breaks from glaciers is poorly understood.   
Yet the global warming crowd will seize on this and use it as armament for their cause of the day.
3610  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / This thread would be banned in Washington State on: July 11, 2013, 10:25:20 PM
It's starting.....

****Washington state gets rid of sexist language

 Claudine Zap July 3, 2013   
Achieving gender-neutral language is no small task, says a Washington state lawmaker from Seattle. (Thinkstock …

In Washington state, the word "freshman" is out. And "first-year student" is in. In total, 40,000 words have been changed as part of an effort to rid state statutes of gender-biased language.

The bill, signed into law earlier in the year by Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee, went into effect this week.

And it was no small task. "This was a much larger effort than I had envisioned. Mankind means man and woman," Democratic state Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles of Seattle told Reuters.

"Fisherman" is now a "fisher." "Penmanship" is called "handwriting." And "manhole cover" is, well, still "manhole cover." Some words don’t have an easy replacement.

Others do: "His" is now “his and hers.” "Clergyman" is now "clergy." "Journeyman plumber" is now “journey-level plumber,” according to the Daily Mail.

According to Reuters, Washington is the fourth state to officially remove gender-biased language from the law. Others are Florida, North Carolina and Illinois. Nine other states are considering similar gender-neutral laws.

"Words matter," Liz Watson, a National Women's Law Center senior adviser, told Reuters. "This is important in changing hearts and minds."

France recently officially banned the term "mademoiselle" from official documents. The Gallic term means "miss," and French officials contended it forced women to acknowledge their marital status.

The French also bid adieu to "maiden name," which they dismissed as "archaic." They should know: Paris only recently got rid of a law that banned women from wearing pants.****
3611  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / DARPA doing it again on: July 11, 2013, 09:55:17 PM
Bring the boys home.   Send in the terminators:
3612  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / glaciers growing or receding? on: July 11, 2013, 11:11:43 AM
3613  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / first color movie short on: July 09, 2013, 10:28:46 PM
3614  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / George Brett and the Pine Tar incident on: July 09, 2013, 08:53:52 PM
I remember this game well.  No one could believe George Brett going so bananas over being called out.   The homerun was reinstated.  So I guess there was no illegal use of extra pine tar.  But the day before the bat was covered in it?   In any case.  From what I recall, George Brett was never the same hitter again after this.  I don't know if that was coincidence or it affected his hitting skills thereafter:
3615  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: July 09, 2013, 08:20:44 PM
Good article and perspective.   She is far wiser than the guy in the White House.
3616  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Cyberwar and American Freedom on: July 09, 2013, 08:10:47 PM
Well its kind of hard to feel sorry for the likes of MSFT and Google and the like who hire teams of hackers and investigators to snoop all over the place when it is in their interests.

It is surely the case of the pot calling the kettle black.  I am not for any of it; corporate or governmental.   That said, I lament, there is no stopping it.

3617  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Coulter is correct. on: July 09, 2013, 08:04:35 PM
Most Latinos want border security before legalization of illegals already here.   And why wouldn't they?   Same for Blacks.   Why would anyone in their right mind like having waves upon waves of people dragging down wages and competing with workers already here?  Unless of course they were employers taking advantage of these "undocumented" workers, including those who knowingly hire them as nannies, housekeepers, etc.  Or are Dem politicians who want more voters.  Or are Repub politicians bribed by the business interests who exploit these workers and screw the rest of us over.  

Republicans are too bribed, too stupid, or too timid to take advantage of this opportunity.  Coulter is correct.  No deal.  Secure the border then we figure out the rest later.   The Bushies need to go back to Texas and stay there.   While you're at it take Rove with you.  Rubio get your advice from Cruz, not the imperial DC crowd.  

Check out these poll numbers.  Laraza or whatever they are called don't speak for most Latinos.
3618  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Democrats, I mean smokers get a break on: July 09, 2013, 07:49:33 AM
I find this very hard to believe this is NOT political.   A "glitch".  Give me a break.  Everyone knows there are far more smokers on the lower non-taxpaying socioeconomic side of the voting spectrum.
This appears to be just another Democrat party thing.

******A break for smokers? Glitch may limit penalties

FILE - In this June 11, 2007 file photo, Helen Heinlo smokes outside of a coffee shop in Belmont, Calif. Some smokers trying to get coverage in 2014 under President Barack Obama’s health care law may get a break from tobacco-use penalties that could have made their premiums unaffordable. The Obama administration _ in yet another health care overhaul delay _ has quietly notified insurers that a computer system glitch will limit penalties that the law says the companies may charge smokers. A fix will take at least a year to put in place. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

Associated Press
Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Associated Press 31 minutes ago  Barack Obama

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Some smokers trying to get coverage next year under President Barack Obama's health care law may get a break from tobacco-use penalties that could have made their premiums unaffordable.

The Obama administration — in yet another health care overhaul delay — has quietly notified insurers that a computer system glitch will limit penalties that the law says the companies may charge smokers. A fix will take at least a year to put in place.

Older smokers are more likely to benefit from the glitch, experts say. But depending on how insurers respond to it, it's also possible that younger smokers could wind up facing higher penalties than they otherwise would have.

Some see an emerging pattern of last-minute switches and delays as the administration scrambles to prepare the Oct. 1 launch of new health insurance markets. People who don't have coverage on the job will be able to shop for private insurance, with tax credits to help pay premiums. Small businesses will have their own insurance markets.

Last week, the White House unexpectedly announced a one-year postponement of a major provision in the law that requires larger employers to offer coverage or face fines. Officials cited the complexity of the requirement as well as a desire to address complaints from employers.

"This was an administration that was telling us everything was under control," health care industry consultant Robert Laszewski said. "Everything was going to be fine. Suddenly this kind of stuff is cropping up every few days."

A June 28 Health and Human Services Department document couched the smokers' glitch in technical language:

"Because of a system limitation ... the system currently cannot process a premium for a 65-year-old smoker that is ... more than three times the premium of a 21-year-old smoker," the industry guidance said.

If an insurer tries to charge more, "the submission of the (insurer) will be rejected by the system," it added.

Starting in 2014, the law requires insurance companies to accept all applicants regardless of pre-existing medical problems. But it also allows them to charge smokers up to 50 percent higher premiums — a way for insurers to ward off bad risks.

For an older smoker, the cost of the full penalty could be prohibitive.

Premiums for a standard "silver" insurance plan would be about $9,000 a year for a 64-year-old non-smoker, according to the online Kaiser Health Reform Subsidy Calculator. That's before any tax credits, available on a sliding scale based on income.

For a smoker of the same age, the full 50 percent penalty would add more than $4,500 to the cost of the policy, bringing it to nearly $13,600. And tax credits can't be used to offset the penalty.

The underlying reason for the glitch is another provision in the health care law that says insurers can't charge older customers more than three times what they charge the youngest adults in the pool. The government's computer system has been unable to accommodate the two. So younger smokers and older smokers must be charged the same penalty, or the system will kick it out.

That's not what insurers had expected. Before the glitch popped up, experts said the companies would probably charge lower penalties for younger smokers, and higher penalties for older ones.

"Generally a 20-year-old who smokes probably doesn't have much higher health costs than someone who doesn't smoke in any given year," said Larry Levitt, an insurance market expert with the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. "A 60-year-old is another story."

The administration is suggesting that insurers limit the penalties across all age groups. The HHS guidance document used the example of a 20 percent penalty.

In that case the premium for a 64-year-old would be about $10,900, a significant cut from the $13,600 if insurers charged the full penalty.

It's unclear what insurance companies will do. A spokesman for America's Health Insurance Plans, the main industry trade group, said insurers were aware of the issue and expected the administration would fix it eventually.

Another workaround for the companies would be to charge the full penalty to both younger and older smokers. In that case, there wouldn't be any savings for older smokers, and younger ones would see a big price shock.

Levitt said he suspects insurers would keep the penalties low to sign up more young people. Laszweski said he thought they would do the opposite.

"It's going to throw cold water on efforts to get younger people to sign up," he said.

Workers covered through job-based health plans would be able to avoid tobacco penalties by joining smoking cessation programs because employer plans operate under different rules. But experts say that option is not guaranteed to smokers trying to purchase coverage individually. *****
3619  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Why did Romney lose? on: July 05, 2013, 06:30:50 PM
I don't know.  I think the previous article is full of hot air.

It didn't help Romney has zero charisma.   Indeed I don't recall anyone on this right of center board falling over their own feet getting to the head of the line to cheer for him during the Republican primaries.

I disagree with this statement:     

“A pinched understanding of human motivation led Romney to believe that a significant fraction of the voters had been bought off. They would be unalterably closed to his arguments no matter how cogent they were. That same pinched understanding led him to say things that repeatedly earned him opprobrium. It also led him to choose campaign strategists who reduced the high art of democratic politics—persuasion through reason and rhetoric, the heart of genuine political leadership—to the low crafts of polling and advertising.”

Polling most certainly did help Obama win.  Even Rove admits that the crats were way ahead of the Republicans with daily continuous polling data not static once a quarter stuff.
The Republicans were relying on polls that were flawed.   I recall Axelrod, when asked before the election what about the Rasmussen polls and he blew them off as "flawed".  Unfortunately he *was* right.   

And if this author thinks that it is easy to sell ideals like "freedom" liberty" "Constitution", etc. against cold hard cash in your pocket courtesy of taxpayers than he must reside in fairy land.

Until Republicans can come up with a strategy that is an appealing alternative to the 75% who live from paycheck to paycheck and have someone with charisma to persuade voters they will always fight the uphill battle.  IMHO of course.
3620  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / "Sergaent" Stubby on: July 04, 2013, 11:54:13 AM
The first official four legged trooper:
3621  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / One traveller's account. on: July 04, 2013, 11:45:40 AM
Someone I know who travels around the World went to Egypt not too long ago.   She loved the pyramids.   She did not go to see the mummies.  She is a Buddhist and does not believe in disturbing the dead.  But above all she complained about people approaching her and the other travelers trying to sell them things and asking for money.   She said it is like that in poor countries but in Egypt her experience was worse.   Usually one can just say no and the beggar or vendor would back off but there they were in her face and very pushy and would not take no for an answer. 

Just anecdotal.   

Anyone on this board been to Egypt?

3622  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: July 04, 2013, 11:34:07 AM
I didn't realize she is that popular.   Her legal logic seems sensible but not being an attorney I am not qualified to critique them.   

On a different take the mass media sexualization of the news is off the charts.  I have to say Fox news is probably one of the biggest peddlers of blonds of any of the news outlets.
3623  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / and another one from Noonan on: July 03, 2013, 09:38:17 PM
It appears Abe spent some months formulating and polishing his speech destined for the Ages.   

And he didn't need a teleprompter let alone a speechwriter.
3624  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Did a google images search on dogbrothers on: July 03, 2013, 08:50:40 PM
This is what came up:
3625  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Intel Matters on: July 03, 2013, 08:46:59 PM
Criticism of Brock from the left:
3626  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy, Big Brother (State and Corporate) and the 4th & 9th Amendments on: July 03, 2013, 08:46:24 PM
The concept of double transparency is interesting.  It is kind of a mea culpa to the inevitable I guess.  A kind of mutually assured destruction for everyone. 

The only way double transparency could work in a fair and equitable world is to have cameras and audio cover every single inch of the planet and allow everyone access to all of it.

3627  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: July 03, 2013, 10:51:08 AM
Until Obama gets out of the way energy sits in a holding pattern on the runway.   Hillary will do whatever gets her the most votes.   So if  most people would like to open the energy tidal wave she will be for it.   If environmentalists win the propaganda war she will side with them.  We already know the Clintons are all poll driven.   Despite what Bill recently claims with his bravery in bombing Kosovo despite what the polls said.  (tail wagged the dog was the reason for that.  not "courage".  just self serving headline diversion).

3628  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: July 03, 2013, 10:44:31 AM
This question is not answered.   Where do we draw the line.   I noted in previous post that we could probably easily replace the entire US workforce including all blue collar and some white collar workers by simply opening up borders to any one willing for a bit less.

The result is wages keep being driven down.   As it stands now 75% of the nation cannot afford even putting a dime away into savings.  While we are all marketed to death by a consumer economy all day long.

This is why I think whoever has good answers (or believable) to this fundamental problem facing most Americans can easily win an election.

Yeah Rubio can try to curry favor with this Drudge reported bill he is going to propose making abortion illegal after 20 months.  Obviously to try to win back some love from conservatives he just squandered.   But to think this is going to win in 2016.   At least some of the talking heads on radio are waking up.   The politicians in DC are another story. 

I like Rubio.   He is not ready for big time national politics.   
3629  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: July 01, 2013, 08:40:30 AM
Yesterday the temperature hit 128 in death valley.  Highest recorded but today with the clarification - highest in *June*.  Over the last several days it was simply the highest recorded.

I've been to DV.  It was merely 110 at the time.  If one likes there is a golf course and a resort hotel in the middle.   Some of the colors of the mountains and bluffs are amazing as the sun shifts.

Other locations have very strong winds.  Sand dunes.   Cracked earth.   Lowest point below sea level.  Neat place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there.
3630  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / altering history to support a political agenda? on: June 30, 2013, 10:57:09 PM
No, you say.  Think again.
I remember reading in the 1960s about temperatures reaching the 130's.  I remember the record in the Guinness Book was in 1922 in Libya.   I am wondering why we keep hearing 122 in Death Valley is approaching the World record now.    Now I know.  The environmentalist have been able to expunge the 1922 record just recently in 2012.  Just in time for their media blitz to shove the carbon tax in front of our faces:

****What is the hottest air temperature ever recorded on earth?

In: Meteorology and Weather, Atmospheric Sciences, Temperature   

The world's highest recorded air temperature is officially recognized by the World Meteorological Organization as 134°F (57.6°C) recorded at Death Valley, California, USA on 10 July 1913.

 Note that this is in recorded history. Higher temperatures have occurred, of course, at different times during the 4.55 billion years of Earth's history.

Related Information:

 El Azizia, Libya, held this record for decades, after recording a temperature of 136 °F (58°C) on 13 September 1922. It was coincidentally also on 13 September of 2012 that this record was stripped by the WMO after a team of experts determined that there were enough questions surrounding this measurement that this temperature was probably not really recorded.

 The temperature had been suspect in atmospheric science circles for a number of reasons. One being that the time of year is inconsistent with such a high reading. Also, the type and exposure of the measuring instruments cast doubt on the accuracy of the data. However, other temperatures in the same general area approach that maximum, especially in the cloudless southern Sahara, far from the moderating effects of water. Several links are provided below for more information on this process.

Other Earth Temperature Highs:

 The modern, most reliably recorded air temperature at Death Valley was 129°F (54°C) on 7/20/1960, 7/18/1998, 7/20/2005, and 7/7/2007. Still, the hottest in the Western Hemisphere.

 The highest naturally occurring temperature (at Earth's core) is higher than the melting point of iron and is estimated to be approximately 5000°C.

 The highest temperature ever created in a laboratory experiment: Scientists, using the Z machine, have produced plasma at temperatures of more than 2 billion degrees Kelvin (3.6 billion degrees F) at Sandia National Laboratories, located near Albuquerque New Mexico.

 Dasht-e Lut, a desert in southeastern Iran, was identified as having the hottest surface temperature (not air temperature) of 70.7 degrees C (159 degrees F) This was only during the years of study in 2004 and 2005 by MODIS, which is a satellite remote sensor, mounted on NASA satellites Aqua and Terra.

Caveats to the Above:

 Modern measuring methods, instruments, and techniques are more sophisticated and standardized today. Example: The World Meteorological Organization, recommends that air temperatures be measured at a height of 1.25 to 2 meters (4.1010 to 6.5617 feet) above ground level.

 The most likely places on Earth for record high temperatures are in depressions in desert regions, especially in areas below sea level. The Dallol (Danakil) Depression in Africa (Ethiopia), Death Valley in USA, and the area around Lake Eyre in Australia are likely candidates. However, the Gobi Desert's temperatures, while far from any ocean, are mitigated by altitude. The Dallol (Danakil) Depression had a weather station for a short while, only a few years, that was run by a mining company. It wasn't there long enough to measure an extreme maximum to beat the Libyan record, although it did measure very high mean average temperatures while it operated.

 The thing to remember about very hot places, is that data is sparse. This is because very few people with high levels of technology stay in these places for long. The environment of the Danikil Depression is inimical (hostile) to human life.****
3631  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / military is now the NEW place to date on: June 30, 2013, 11:35:23 AM
I guess if I was younger and wanted to meet girls and get laid I could join the military..... new military recruiting ad can go like:

you need dates come and serve.  We have a huge selection of boys and girls gay straight you name it.

****The Pentagon's Surrender to Feminism

Pat Buchanan June 25, 2013  Society
"The Pentagon unveiled plans Tuesday for fully integrating women into front-line and special combat roles, including elite forces such as Army Rangers and Navy SEALs."

So ran the lead on the CNN story. And why are we doing this?

Did the young officers leading troops in battle in Afghanistan and Iraq, returning with casualties, say they needed women to enhance the fighting efficiency of their combat units and the survival rate of their soldiers?

Did men from the 101st and 82nd airborne, the Marines, the SEALs and Delta Force petition the Joint Chiefs to put women alongside them in future engagements to make them an even superior force?

No. This decision to put women in combat represents a capitulation of the military brass, a surrender to the spirit of our age, the Pentagon's salute to feminist ideology.

This is not a decision at which soldiers arrived when they studied after-action reports, but the product of an ideology that contradicts human nature, human experience and human history, and declares as dogma that women are just as good at soldiering as men.

But if this were true, rather than merely asserted, would it have taken mankind the thousands of years from Thermopylae to discover it?

In the history of civilization, men have fought the wars. In civilized societies, attacks on women have always been regarded as contemptible and cowardly. Even the Third Reich in its dying hours did not send women into battle, but old men and boys.

"You don't hit a girl!" was something every American boy had drilled into him from childhood. It was part of our culture, the way we were raised. A Marine friend told me he would have resigned from the Corps rather than fight women with the pugil sticks used for bayonet practice at Parris Island.

Sending women into combat on equal terms seems also to violate common sense. When they reach maturity, men are bigger, stronger, more aggressive. Thus they commit many times the number of violent crimes and outnumber women in prisons 10 to 1.

For every Bonnie Parker, there are 10 Clyde Barrows.

Is it a coincidence that every massacre discussed in our gun debate — from the Texas Tower to the Long Island Railroad, from Columbine to Ft. Hood, from Virginia Tech to Tucson, from Aurora to Newtown — was the work of a crazed male?

Nothing matches mortal combat where soldiers fight and kill, and are wounded, maimed and die for cause or country. Domestically, the closest approximations are combat training, ultimate fighting, boxing and that most physical of team sports, the NFL.

Yet no women compete against men in individual or team sports. They are absent from boys' and men's teams in high school and college, be it football, basketball, baseball, hockey or lacrosse.

Even in the non-contact sports of golf, tennis and volleyball, men compete with men, women against women. In the Olympics, to which nations send their best athletes, women and men compete separately in track and field, swimming and gymnastics.

Consider our own history. Would any U.S. admiral say that in any of America's great naval battles — Mobile Bay, Manila Bay, Midway, the Coral Sea — we would done better with some women manning the guns?

In the revolutionary and civil wars, World Wars I and II, Korea and Vietnam, women were not in combat. Was it invidious discrimination of which we should all be ashamed that women were not fighting alongside the men at Gettysburg, in the Argonne, at Normandy or with "Chesty" Puller's Marines in the retreat from the Chosin Reservoir?

Undeniably, some women might handle combat as well as some men. But that is true of some 13-, 14- and 15-year-old boys, and some 50- and 60-year old men. Yet we do not draft boys or men that age or send them into combat. Is this invidious discrimination based on age, or ageism?

Carry this feminist-egalitarian ideology to its logical conclusion, and half of those storming the Omaha and Utah beaches should have been girls and women. Is this not an absurdity?

We have had Navy ships become "love boats," with female sailors returning pregnant. At the Naval Academy, three midshipmen, football players, allegedly raped an intoxicated classmate. For months, she was too ashamed and frightened to report it.

An estimated 26,000 personnel of the armed forces were sexually assaulted in 2011, up from 19,000 in 2010. Obama and the Congress are understandably outraged. Such assaults are appalling. But is not the practice of forcing young men and women together in close quarters a contributory factor here?

Among the primary reasons the Equal Rights Amendment, the ERA, went down to defeat three decades ago was the realization it could mean, in a future war, women could be drafted equally with men, and sent in equal numbers into combat.

But what appalled the Reaganites is social progress in the age of Obama. This is another country from the one we grew up in.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of "Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?" To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at

3632  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / It's the economy stupid. Yes, but more specifically... on: June 29, 2013, 04:05:16 PM
It is this fact, that most Americans have no savings and live paycheck to paycheck that threatens this country, freedom from tyranny and the Republican party more than anything else in my very humble opinion.   Whichever party can address this concern of the vast majority of Americans will win.  So far the crats win because they offer taxpayer money to support people who are struggling.   The Republicans still do not, don't even seem to be thinking correctly in these terms, are split in calculating they have to compromise, or completely not compromise.   Both of these approaches are off base.

When people are living paycheck to paycheck who do you think they are going to vote for?  The party that offers them public assistance or the party that preaches things like "constitution", freedom, lower taxes, jobs, jobs, jobs.   All of the latter miss the mark.   They are all correct but they alone are not the right message.

"They who answer this shall have all the power".   Verse 1 from ccp.  

So far the crats do the job.  Of course at great harm to taxpayers and the country as a whole but for those living from paycheck to paycheck the rest is all back seat stuff.  

"He who answers this will get the independents, more minorities, more races, maybe a few single mothers.   As for gays who knows and who cares."  Verse 2 ccp
3633  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: June 29, 2013, 03:49:05 PM
Maybe Rush is wrong.   Maybe it is not about the money after all .  Perhaps some Republicans are just that stupid?  sad
3634  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Mark Steyn: on: June 29, 2013, 09:25:40 AM
3635  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: June 28, 2013, 08:39:14 PM
Could anyone imagine Clinton honoring their political enemy like this?

All they have to do when she runs against Bush is replay this image of him honoring her.   

3636  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: June 28, 2013, 09:19:17 AM
Off of Yahoo political news this AM.  This guy is some sort of pollster or political scientist?  This says nothing.   Does not get to the core problems and as always there is the eternal plug that Republicans can simply not get over "their hatred of Obama".  If Republican politicians are listening to these kinds of consultants than it is obvious why they cannot win.   I could write circles around this guy.  I agree with Rush.  Our leaders cannot be this "stupid".  It has to be about the money.   Like all else in the world.   Republicans politicians are on the hook.   LIke Armstrong said about biking, "you cannot win the Tour" without doping.  One cannot stay in power in Washington without having to play the money game.  Just won't happen.    As for this article it reportedly answers why Americans are divided.  After reading the article I see no answer listed.   Yet this headline Yahoo news.  Again this stuff gets headlines and as always there is the bash against Republicans slipped in there.   I have to wonder if this part of the media propaganda machine from the left?

*****Why Americans Are Divided Between Two Political Parties

National Journal
Charlie Cook 5 hours ago 
After President Obama’s rather comfortable victory over Mitt Romney last November, some Democrats thought the president could defy the laws of political gravity. They are now disappointed. So are Republicans who thought that controversies over Benghazi, the Internal Revenue Service, and domestic surveillance would bring Obama’s approval ratings crashing down into the 30s, if not the 20s, as has happened with some second-term presidents. Obama’s approval numbers have been on a very gradual decline and are now at the political equilibrium point where equal numbers of Americans approve and disapprove.

In Gallup polling the week of June 17-23, 46 percent approved and disapproved of Obama’s performance. If you take an average of the most recent polls by ABC News/Washington Post, CBS News/New York Times, CNN, Fox News, Pew Research, and NBC News/Wall Street Journal, all conducted either this month or last, Obama’s approval is a point higher, 47 percent, with a disapproval of, you guessed it, 47 percent. This puts Obama’s job-approval rating at basically the same place as George W. Bush’s at this point in his second term and behind the 55 percent and 58 percent levels where Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan were, respectively, at this stage.

The good news for Obama is that the economy is getting better. The bad news is that Washington and much of the news coverage in recent weeks have been focused on just about everything but the economy.

Of course, Republicans not only want to see Obama’s numbers drop but their party’s favorability ratings climb. So far, that hasn’t happened. Gallup polling shows that the percentage of Americans viewing the Republican Party favorably has been declining since the beginning of 2011. Most recently, in a June 1-4 poll, 39 percent rated the party favorably, 53 percent unfavorably, compared with 46 percent who saw the Democratic Party favorably and 48 percent unfavorably (which is certainly nothing for Democrats to cheer about). The other two major national polls asking about party ratings in the past two months indicated that the GOP’s brand damage has continued. The Pew Research Center pegged Democrats with 51/45 favorable/unfavorable ratings, in contrast to Republicans’ 39/53 ratings. The NBC/Wall Street Journal poll put Democrats at 39/37 and Republicans at 32/41. Average the three polls together, and 45 percent gave Democrats a favorable rating and 43 percent unfavorable, compared with 37 percent with favorable views of the Republican Party and 50 percent unfavorable.

Even stipulating for a moment that the Republican brand is badly damaged, we can’t say that this will be the determining factor in the 2014 midterm elections. We know that in recent years the kinds of voters who have boosted Democrats in presidential years have a track record of staying home in midterms. Even some Democrats totally enamored with Obama are unlikely to show up and vote for a congressional candidate whom they don’t know.

Another potentially important issue is the Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare.” Unquestionably health care, aided by a weak economy, was most responsible for Democrats in 2010 losing their House majority and a half-dozen seats in the Senate. In 2009 and 2010, during the height of the health care debate, some people decided that Obama’s proposal was terrific, many thought it was terrible, while still others were ambivalent. Few minds were changed in either direction during 2011 or 2012.

But what about 2013 and 2014, as more elements become operative? The Kaiser Family Foundation’s health tracking poll asks about current attitudes toward the health care law. At the moment, 35 percent have a favorable impression of the law, 43 percent have an unfavorable impression, and 23 percent remain undecided. Equally important, twice as many Americans, 30 percent, have a “very unfavorable” view, compared with just 15 percent who have a “very favorable” one. Indeed, the people who don’t like the ACA hate it (30 percent very unfavorable, 13 percent somewhat unfavorable), but the people who like it don’t necessarily love it (15 percent very favorable, 20 percent somewhat favorable). In recent months the unfavorable share has been gradually increasing, and the favorable share has been in a slow slide, although nothing earth-shattering. The key is those undecided in the middle, many of whom are cross-pressured on the issue. They may think we needed to do something about the affordability and access of health care, but they aren’t sure whether this law was the right way to do it.

The thing that makes it difficult for Republicans to capitalize on the ACA issue is that many in the party are so blinded by their hate for Obama and Obamacare that only the word “repeal” comes out of their mouths. This is something that is virtually impossible to achieve unless Republicans get at least 60 seats in the Senate, which is very unlikely to happen anytime soon. Smarter Republicans would say that “we need to fix Obamacare,” or that “we need to make changes to the law so it won’t screw up health care.” These sorts of arguments are more likely to resonate with voters outside of the party’s conservative base (keeping in mind that only 35 percent of Americans identify themselves as conservatives—25 percent are liberal, 40 percent moderate, according to the 2012 exit polls, roughly the same as in other national polls).

So, at the halfway point of 2013, we’re at a place where we still don’t know what the dominant theme will be in the 2014 midterm elections, and that probably won’t change until this fall, at the earliest.****

3637  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: June 26, 2013, 07:50:13 PM

I doubt it will hit 120 in Vegas this week.  Also Tsunamis in NJ?   Come on.  We are being barraged with endless scare tacticts.  No coincidence.   Sooner or later that island will split in the Canary islands and a wave will wipe out the East Coast.  So we should stop fracking?

Yes.  Now he is not up for election he is ramming everything through he can.   Then Hillary is going to "fight for women"  against the "war on women" from the Republicans. 

Women will eat it right up too.

I don't understand why taxpayers just cannot get traction?   I guess there are more of them then us as Marc Levin once put it.
3638  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: June 26, 2013, 07:41:37 PM
Hi Bigdog,

""...the case that's before you today, is whether or not California can take a class of individuals based upon their characteristics, their distinguishing characteristics, remove from them the right of privacy, liberty, association, spirituality,  and identity that -­ that marriage gives them."

"right to privacy, liberty, association, spirituality" was/is not denied.

I am not sure anyone was interfering with this.

Beautiful stuff about love and romance aside the case was brought to avoid estate taxes (from what I read). 

In any case the Court has decided.

I do not (and I don't think Doug was either) disparaging Mr. Olsen who is brilliant.   But, he is such a crusader for gay marriage?   Where did this come from?
3639  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / The legal warriors involved. on: June 26, 2013, 06:34:39 PM
I don't get Ted Olsen.  undecided
3640  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Benghazi and related matters on: June 26, 2013, 05:29:58 PM
I can't seem to read Dick's essays anymore without being hit with ads to sign up for something.

Dick, if your listening, I like to read your essays but please make the sign up requests less "in your face".

3641  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Any reference to *gender* on: June 26, 2013, 05:18:11 PM
is politically incorrect in Sweden.   

Sweden is on some sort of anti gender kick.  Perhaps all the Nordic countries are close behind.   I don't normally read slate but in searching under gender neutrality and Sweden this came up:

We know what the N word is.  The F word (slang for gay).   Soon there will be the H word (he) and the S word (she).

The L word lying actually has become politically ok.  Remember how I lamented that no one had the courage to call someone else a liar on TV (for fear of a slander suit, I guess).  Now I hear people calling brock and team liars all the time.   Doesn't seem to faze the Democrats at all though.

Weiner in the lead.   Indeed, it seems being a world class liar is an asset to a Democrat.   Something to marvel in.  To relish.   To be proud of.   The rough and tumble of "hardball" politics from a warrior hell bent on doing good in the world.....

I wonder if it is a resume requirement when applying for a job in the Democratic party.
3642  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: June 22, 2013, 12:19:27 PM
From where I sit the only reason health care spending is down is because so many people are hurt by the economy they can't afford even the copays.  Around here every doctor I know states their census is down "15%".   Obama care has NOTHING to do with this.  It is the poor economy.

Yet we are being lied to.  wink

As an older primary care doctor I wish the following as true but I know it is not.   Primary care will be taken over by nurse practitioners.   It is a done deal.  The only thing remaining is the political battle between pharmacists, nursing organizations and doctor organizations.   For now NPs will jockey themselves upwards for positions once filled by MDs.  For now they will sell they are cheaper to the politicians.  As they gain power they will start demanding more money the same as us.  Done deal.  Christiansen certainly was right.   Classic disruption.   No chance at stopping it.  The medical organizations still are in denial.   Eventually NPs will slither into specialties too.  I predict that.  I am ahead of the ball on that to my knowledge.   

For everyone else you will get a somewhat lower level of care.  For most simple stuff in primary care it doesn't make a lot of difference but for the increasing complicated stuff it does.


****Reverse the Doctor Shortage by Restoring Primary-Care Prestige (Op-Ed)
LiveScience.comBy Dr. Bruce Koeppen, Quinnipiac University  | – 18 hrs ago..

Dr. Bruce Koeppen is founding dean of the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University. He contributed this article to LiveScience's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

The United States currently faces a growing physician shortage. While this shortage is across many of the specialties and subspecialties of medicine, it is most acute in the primary-care disciplines, traditionally defined as family medicine, general internal medicine and general pediatrics. As medical educators, we must tackle the challenge of restoring the prestige of a career in primary care.

It is quite an undertaking. Fewer students enter medical school with an eye toward a career in primary-care medicine, and many of those who do often change their mind as they go through training.

The reasons for students' decisions vary, and include perceptions that primary-care medicine is less prestigious than subspecialty medicine, that the knowledge base to be mastered is too broad, that the lifestyle (being on call) is too demanding and that the work-patient interactions are not interesting. Earnings potential may be a factor for some, but for the majority of students, I believe the other factors are more important.

If we are to reverse the trend of fewer medical students choosing careers in primary care, we must address the aforementioned perceptions and change the environment in which primary-care physicians are trained.

The goal of effective primary care is to keep patients out of hospitals . Yet residency training in the primary-care disciplines occurs predominantly in acute-care facilities. It is no wonder that resident physicians surrounded by specialists in this working and learning environment change their minds and pursue careers in subspecialties.

Primary care is delivered outside hospitals, and residency training for primary-care disciplines must also take place, predominately, outside hospitals. The Affordable Care Act provides grants to establish "Teaching Health Centers," environments in which exactly that kind of training takes place. We need to learn from these Teaching Health Centers, expand them and provide new training sites with stable funding beyond the term of these initial grants.

The latest trend in primary-care delivery is the patient-centered medical home, in which teams of health professionals — consisting of physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, physical and occupational therapists, social workers, mental-health counselors, and nutritionists — take care of patients. As delivery of care moves from the traditional solo-practice model to patient-centered medical homes, the perceptions of what it means to be a primary-care physician will change.

In the medical-home model, each professional brings specific expertise to the care of the patient, freeing physicians to focus on aspects of patient care that require their expertise. With each member of the team practicing at the "top of their training," the result is an exciting and fulfilling work environment for all. Most importantly, patients receive better-coordinated, higher-quality care. Done right, this model will lower total health care costs by keeping patients well longer.

Through changes in both training and work environments, I believe we will see more medical students choosing careers in a primary-care discipline that they will find professionally fulfilling. Changes in the reimbursement system for primary-care services will also help.

I believe this is an exciting time to be a primary-care physician. If the U.S. can make the necessary changes, its health care system will be a better place for everyone — the workforce will be happier and more productive, and patients will stay healthier longer.****

3643  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Enzyme Blocker on: June 22, 2013, 12:05:29 PM
second post today:

Interesting new enzyme blocker which actually works to alter the metabolism for fat in the body and not simply an appetite suppressant.   Company not public but if clinical studies continue to suggest safety and efficacy it will be.

Huge, huge risk.  I looked up this class of drugs and they appear to have different and unknown actions in the body.

Our wonderful regulatory government can tax fatty foods, sugary foods, alcohol, pot, cigarettes guild walking and bicycle paths, go after soda makers and force companies to set up fitness plans for their employees all they want.  But these kinds of drugs are the future of the treatment of obesity.
3644  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: June 22, 2013, 11:18:04 AM

Agreed.  This is all out of control. 

I heard an ad recently for the Coast Guard advertising for recruits.  The pitch is for people to join to protect the nation, our coastlines, and our wild habitats against polluters.

I am waiting for the ad for army recruits to protect America from Republicans, Christians, and white men.
3645  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: June 22, 2013, 11:13:58 AM
Many recommend young men get the vaccine now mainly to curtail spread of some of the carcinogenic HPV subtypes. 

I have no idea why any young person would not want to get it unless they plan on being celibate for ever.
3646  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Only on MSLSD on: June 20, 2013, 11:06:47 PM
Conversation between Chris Matthews,  Eugene Robinson, and Howard Fineman.   I laughed my head off reading this so therefore I felt it belonged in this thread:

*****MSNBC: Obama and Merkel Are the New 'Ronnie and Maggie'; Matthews Sees Conspiracy to Push Hillary 2016

Published: 6/19/2013 6:22 PM ET

to Scott Whitlock

By Scott Whitlock

MSNBC's Chris Matthews and his liberal guest on Wednesday thrilled over the relationship between Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Washington Post writer Eugene Robinson even compared them to Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher: "I think in a way, you know, Barack and Angela are the new Ronnie and Maggie...They can be kind of a dynamic duo." (Of course, Reagan and Thatcher oversaw huge economic recoveries and the end of the Cold War.) [MP3 audio here.]

Highlighting Obama's speech in Germany, Matthews saw a secret plan to promote Hillary Clinton. After mentioning Thatcher, plus other famous female leaders, he wondered "whether this partnership between our president...isn't that a leading indicator?" Matthews theorized, "I think it says to Americans watching television, yes, this makes sense. It makes sense to him for Hillary to be the next person standing in that role he's in."

One detail Matthews and Robinson did not harp on: In 2008, Obama's Berlin speech drew 400,000. In 2013, the President managed a mere 4,500.

A partial transcript of the June 19 segment follows:


[On the relationship between Barack Obama and Angela Merkel.]

EUGENE ROBINSON: He has gotten along very well with Merkel. There is a relationship there.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: What is that relationship?

ROBINSON: You know, I wondered about that. I wondered if it isn't what he started with. We don't look like the normal-


ROBINSON: – They're kind of outsiders. She's from the east. He's She's– He's African-American.

MATTHEWS: Yeah, that being from the east is also like a minority.

ROBINSON: Exactly. Exactly. They're both outsiders who are now leading these societies. I think in a way, you know, Barack and Angela are the new Ronnie and Maggie. I mean, they're kind of– They can be kind of a dynamic duo.

FINEMAN: I feel a column coming on. I feel a column coming on.

MATTHEWS: In other words, the way we used to do it, Reagan would be nice to the queen and to Thatcher and then George senior-- Bush would become friends with Helmut Kohl, sort of the establishment, old boys club. And yet, here he's saying this is not an old boys club. This is something of the outsiders who are now on the inside who should rally the outsiders of the world. He's saying to Germany, "look out for the poor people of the world. Don't just be Germany."

FINEMAN: He's basically saying, look, as I say, the Germans and I've spent a lot of time there. They're very conflicted at best about their own history. They've seen the downside of empire, as well as the glory of it. and the pain and the horror of it. They don't want this necessarily. The German people don't want it. But what the president is saying is, it's okay. Look to your good history.


MATTHEWS: Most of the world leaders in our lifetime– in the last ten million years– have been men. Sometimes we've seen really good women leaders come to fore. Certainly, Golda Meir was fabulous. Right? Certainly, Margaret Thatcher for the British mind, especially, was great, not necessarily for the coal miners but great for the country and its spirit. Certainly Indira Gandhi was a great leader. I'm thinking now whether Angela Merkel is on this level and whether this partnership between our president and her so vividly displayed with the hand over the back, sort of a pal kind of thing going on, isn't that a leading indicator, I think avatar may be appropriate here, of a Hillary Clinton leadership role? I think it says to Americans watching television, yes, this makes sense. It makes sense to him for Hillary to be the next person standing in that role he's in.

ROBINSON: That's an interesting way of looking an the it. Gee, maybe if Hillary runs, maybe he'll support her.

MATTHEWS: That's what I'm getting to. Don't you know what I'm getting to? You think Joe Biden likes that picture?
3647  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Gertz: Islamic terror threats spreading on: June 20, 2013, 10:40:49 PM

Al Qaeda Terrorist Threat Is Growing

Official, private assessments contradict president’s claim that group is on ‘path to defeat’
BY:  Bill Gertz   
June 19, 2013 5:00 am

The threat posed by al Qaeda terrorism around the world continues to increase despite President Barack Obama’s recent claim that the central group behind the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks is on the path to defeat, according to U.S. and foreign counterterrorism officials and private experts.

Obama said in a speech to the National Defense University May 23 that because of the death of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and most of his top aides, “we are safer.”

While terrorist threats still exist, “the core of al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan is on the path to defeat,” the president said.

However, a U.S. counterterrorism official said the threat posed by al Qaeda is growing. “From Africa to Pakistan, it is spreading systematically,” the official said.

The official blamed the Obama administration policy of focusing its counterterrorism efforts almost exclusively on central al Qaeda.

The focus on Pakistan and Afghanistan resulted in a lack of targeted counterterrorism efforts in other locations, the official said. The official added that counterterrorism efforts have been weakened by the administration’s policy of dissociating Islam from al Qaeda and other Islamist terrorism. The policy was a key effort of John Brennan, White House counterterrorism chief during the first Obama administration. As CIA director, Brennan has expanded the policy of limiting links between Islam and terrorism at the agency.

The result is that Islamist terror groups are flourishing, posing direct threats to the United States and to U.S. interests outside the country, the official said.

That assessment is bolstered by a new report by the private Lignet intelligence group. The report made public Tuesday says the U.S. government’s overreliance on sanctions and surveillance has limited the war on terror.

The result is “a decentralized al Qaeda structure—and a much greater threat,” the report said.

“Al Qaeda has transitioned from a hierarchical cell structure to a franchise organization that is now responsible for four times as many terrorist attacks a year as it was before 9/11,” the report said.

“Al Qaeda training camps are now being established on the Arabian Peninsula, in Africa, countries of the former Soviet Union, and Southeast Asia.”

U.S. counterterrorism efforts in Southwest Asia, including a steady series of armed drone attacks against al Qaeda leaders, have resulted in central al Qaeda moving out of the region.

York Zirke, head of Germany’s federal criminal police agency, told a conference in Russia recently that al Qaeda and other terrorist groups are shifting operations from Pakistan and Afghanistan to Syria, northern Africa, Yemen, and other countries.

“Speaking about the situation in the world, it has to be reiterated that al Qaeda and organizations associated with it are not halting their activities, but the centers of its activities have moved from the area close to the Pakistani and Afghani borders to other regions such as Syria, Northern Africa, Mali, and Yemen,” Zirke said during a conference in Kazan, Russia, on June 6, according to Interfax.

The U.S. official outlined gains by al Qaeda both ideologically and operationally in expanding its reach as well as developing affiliates in key regions targeted by Islamists over the past several months.

Al Qaeda has moved rapidly to expand in parts of east, west, and north Africa, helped by the so-called Arab Spring.

A key affiliate, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, known as AQIM, and the Somalia-based al Shabaab group are the two main groups operating and expanding in Africa. The Nigerian al Qaeda group Boko Haram also emerged as a new affiliate and is posing a significant threat to the region.

About 4,000 French troops were dispatched to Mali in January to battle al Qaeda terrorists.

AQIM is expanding despite the French military intervention. A BBC report from May 29 stated that the expansion is not new. “Militants and armed radical groups have expanded and entrenched their positions throughout the Sahel and Sahara over the last decade under the umbrella of [AQIM].”

French troops announced a day later they had uncovered an AQIM bomb factory engaged in making suicide bomber vests in northern Mali.

U.S. intelligence agencies recently identified a new AQIM training base near Timbuktu in Mali. An al Qaeda training manual discovered in Mali revealed that terrorists are training with SA-7 surface-to-air missiles, the Associated Press reported.

Al Qaeda affiliates in Libya are moving into the power vacuum left by the ouster of the regime of Muammar Gadhafi. The main al Qaeda affiliate there is Ansar al Sharia, blamed for the Sept. 11, 2012, attack against the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi that killed four Americans, including Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens.

France’s government recently said Paris has become increasingly alarmed about al Qaeda activities in Libya and is considering a deployment of troops near Libya for counterterrorism operations.

French President Francois Hollande said in a speech last month that Libya-based jihadists represent the main security threat to North Africa and also to Europe. He told a reporter May 23 that the terrorist threat in Mali “began in Libya and is returning to Libya.”

The concerns are based on recent intelligence reports that al Qaeda and other jihadists groups have new training camps in the southern Libyan desert.

Further east in Africa, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood government is creating an environment that is allowing al Qaeda to develop in that country.

A U.S. intelligence official has said reports from Egypt identified al Qaeda groups operating Al-Azhar University in Cairo. The university is said to be a covert base for al Qaeda organizational and training activities that is developing a jihadist network made up of many different nationalities.

Al Shabaab in Somalia continues to conduct attacks, although there are signs the group is fragmented, with some armed fighting among various groups within al Shabaab. The group remains a key al Qaeda affiliate.

Attacks related to al Shabaab continue to increase, according to U.S. officials.

One particular concern for security officials are reports that al Qaeda is moving into Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. A U.S. official said in May that al Qaeda elements were conducting small arms training in the mountainous areas of the Sinai Peninsula in preparation for fighting alongside jihadist rebels in Syria.

The al Qaeda affiliate in the Sinai was identified by U.S. officials as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM). The group’s logo is similar to that of al Qaeda—a black flag, an AK-47, and a globe.

Saudi Arabia has been battling the affiliate al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which tried several high-profile airline bombings against the United States. The group is led by several former inmates of the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and is very active against the government of Yemen.

Earlier this year, a leaked memorandum from Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry revealed that Riyadh is exporting al Qaeda terrorists to Syria. The memo from April 2012 disclosed that 1,239 prisoners who were to be executed were trained and sent to “jihad in Syria” in exchange for a full pardon. The prisoners included 212 Saudis and the rest were foreigners from Syria, Pakistan, Yemen, Sudan, Egypt, Jordan, Somalia, Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Iraq and included Palestinians.

Syria’s al Qaeda group is the al Nusra Front, which has emerged as the most powerful rebel group opposing the forces of the Bashar al-Assad regime.

Obama said in his National Defense University speech that the “lethal yet less capable al Qaeda affiliates” and domestic jihadists remain a threat.

“But as we shape our response, we have to recognize that the scale of this threat closely resembles the types of attacks we faced before 9/11.”

The Lignet report said the use of sanctions and financial penalties against al Qaeda produced the unintended consequence of transforming al Qaeda into a coalition of loose, localized, autonomous terror cells.

“In terms of financing, al Qaeda’s shuria or high command council, no longer plays a central role in allocating expenditures or soliciting funds,” the report said. “Instead, terrorist financing has moved further into the ‘gray’ economy. Cells raise funds from a combination of charities, independent criminal ventures, and licit businesses.”

Crime is now the main source of al Qaeda funds and criminal activities by the group include extortion, hijacking, theft, blackmail, the drug trade, and kidnapping for ransom.

“Counterterrorism efforts that target the financing of terrorism are a work in process,” the report concludes. “The measures employed by the United States and others in the last 12 years have reshaped rather than resolved the terrorist threat. It remains to be seen if the United States will be able to in turn adapt to al Qaeda’s new and alarming franchise cell structure and finance methods.”

Joseph Myers, a retired Army officer and specialist on the ideology of Islamist terror, said U.S. efforts to target and kill al Qaeda leaders have been successful. But al Qaeda affiliates are spreading “from the Horn of Africa, across North Africa and post-Gaddafi Libya into central Africa to Dagestan and like-minded bombers in Boston,” he noted.

“Al Qaeda is an idea, not simply an organization and ideas are not easily ‘killed,’” Myers said in an email.

The U.S. government’s counterterrorism paradigm is misguided because the forefront of global Islamic jihad is not al Qaeda, but the Muslim Brotherhood “we are now partnering with as a matter of policy,” he said.

The doctrine of Islamic jihad remains the key ideological threat that must be recognized, he said. Until that is realized, “we will continue to have national security failures of analysis and prediction and not only al Qaeda, but other Islamic jihadist groups will continue to emerge and spread,” Myers said.

Fred Fleitz, a former intelligence analyst now with Lignet, said al Qaeda has shifted tactics toward “a multitude of smaller, low-probability attacks.”

“This includes recruiting members behind U.S. borders through Internet-based efforts to find and radicalize ‘home grown terrorists,’” Fleitz said in an email.

“I am especially concerned about the recent plot to bomb a Toronto to New York train which was backed by al Qaeda members in Iran,” Fleitz said. “This was a good example of what al Qaeda can still do.”

“We are also seeing al Qaeda franchises and other Islamist groups growing in strength in Mali, Somalia, and Nigeria.  Seven of nine Syrian rebel groups are Islamist and there is an al Qaeda presence in Syria.”

Sebastian Gorka, a counterterrorism expert and military affairs fellow with the Foundation for Defense for Democracies, said the administration has created a narrative that asserts the United States is solely at war with the remnants of al Qaeda Central and that the group is on the decline since bin Ladin was killed.

“The rest of the national security mission in counterterrorism has been reduced to the amorphous ‘counter violent extremism’ which is of course fallacious since as a nation we are not threatened by general violent extremism – Basque separatists or abortion clinic bombers – but a specific brand of religious extremism: global jihad,” Gorka said in an email.

“Anything that countermands the official narrative, such as the the Fort Hood shooter or the Boston bombers, has to be undermined with labels such ‘workplace violence’ or ‘loser jihadis’ since anything else would mean that al Qaeda is very much alive and well,” said Gorka, who teaches U.S. national security at Georgetown University. “This represents a politically driven distortion of objective threat assessments.”

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