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22951  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: January 23, 2012, 08:04:09 PM
I'm surprised Santorum scores as well as Newt.
22952  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / EX-CIA agent busted for blabbing to POTH and others on: January 23, 2012, 08:00:55 PM
Ex-CIA man accused of leaking classified info
 

January 23, 2012 7:20 PM EST
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — An ex-CIA officer who helped track down and capture a top al-Qaida figure was charged Monday with disclosing classified secrets, including the role of one of his associates on that covert mission, in the latest of a series of prosecutions by the Obama administration against suspected leakers.

John Kiriakou, 47, of Arlington, is charged with violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act and the Espionage Act. A federal judge ordered Kiriakou to be released on a $250,000 unsecured bond. Kiriakou declined to comment as he left the courthouse Monday.

According to authorities, Kiriakou divulged to three journalists, including a New York Times reporter, the role of "Officer B," who worked with Kiriakou on the capture of suspected al-Qaida financier Abu Zubaydah in the months after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times, and his case has been made an example by those who believe the interrogation technique should be outlawed. And Kiriakou's public discussions of Zubaydah's waterboarding were a key part of the debate.

In a separate accusation, Kiriakou is alleged to have disclosed the identity of a covert operator to an unidentified journalist. Authorities say that journalist then gave the officer's name to a team of defense lawyers representing a suspect the U.S. held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. When the lawyers included information about the officer in a sealed legal brief in 2009, the CIA became suspicious and the government began to investigate.

The affidavit states that the defense lawyers were found to have done nothing wrong.

According to the affidavit, FBI agents interviewed Kiriakou last week, and he denied leaking the information. When specifically asked whether he had provided the Zubaydah interrogator's name to the Times for a 2008 article, he replied "Heavens, no." A New York Times spokeswoman declined to comment.

Kiriakou's attorney, Plato Cacheris, told reporters after the hearing that his client will plead not guilty. He also said a potential defense argument could be that the charges criminalize conduct that has been common between reporters and government sources for decades.

If convicted, Kiriakou could face up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

The case was secretly investigated by a top federal prosecutor, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald of the Northern District of Illinois. Fitzgerald is best known for his successful prosecutions of Scooter Libby, former Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, for perjury and of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich for corruption.

Kiriakou has worked as a consultant to ABC News, although he hasn't appeared on the network since early 2009. ABC declined to comment on his arrest. In a 2007 interview with the network, Kiriakou said that waterboarding was used — effectively — to break down Zubaydah. But he expressed ambivalence about pouring water into a suspect's breathing passages to simulate drowning to try to get them to talk.

"(W)e were really trying to do anything that we could to stop another major attack from happening," Kiriakou said, describing the months after the Sept. 11 attacks. "I don't think we're in that mindset right now. ... And, as a result, waterboarding, at least right now, is unnecessary."

The attorney who represents Zubaydah in the prisoner's civil petition for release said he is not involved in the Kiriakou prosecution and has never met him. However, Brent Mickum said he had wanted to interview Kiriakou for information that might help the case, but the ex-CIA man refused, by email, to speak with him.

"He was basically out there talking to the whole world about our client and his involvement . I would have loved to hear what he had to say, but he refused to talk to me," Mickum said.

Mickum said he has come to believe Kiriakou has overstated his knowledge and involvement in the case against Zubaydah, who has been held without charges at Guantanamo since 2006.

Mickum said he and other attorneys who work at Guantanamo take security restrictions seriously and know not to reveal classified information such as the names of covert investigators. But he also said the government abuses the classification system, selectively leaking information and keeping secret anything that could embarrass U.S. officials.

The charges also accuse Kiriakou of lying about his actions in an effort to convince the CIA to let him publish a book, "The Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the CIA's War on Terror," in 2010. The book explores "the inner workings of the U.S. intelligence apparatus," according to its description on Amazon.com, and "chillingly describes what it was like inside the CIA headquarters on the morning of 9/11."

Since leaving the agency, Kiriakou has also worked as a consultant and on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, according to his LinkedIn profile. He earned a bachelor's degree in Middle Eastern studies in 1986 and a master's degree in legislative affairs in 1988, both from George Washington University in Washington.

The Justice Department's campaign to prosecute leakers has been particularly aggressive under Obama. This is the sixth criminal leak case opened under the administration and the second involving a former CIA officer and the Times. Federal prosecutors in Alexandria claim Jeffrey Sterling divulged classified information to Times reporter James Risen about CIA efforts to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Sterling's trial has been delayed while prosecutors appeal several pre-trial rulings, including the judge's decision to effectively quash a government subpoena demanding that Risen testify. His attorneys argued that unless his testimony is absolutely critical to a government's case then prosecutors should not be able to subpoena a reporter and require him to testify about anonymous sources.

The Sterling case is not the only leak prosecution to run into trouble. In a case against former National Security Agency executive Thomas Drake, a judge sentenced him only to probation and scolded prosecutors for how they pursued the case.

Prosecutions under the Espionage Act have been particularly contentious. Opponents say the law can be used to unfairly target those who expose government misdeeds. The law was used, for instance, to charge Daniel Ellsberg in the Pentagon Papers case, and a grand jury has been investigating whether WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can be prosecuted for the mass of disclosures by WikiLeaks that were allegedly fostered by leaks from Army Pfc. Bradley Manning.

"Safeguarding classified information, including the identities of CIA officers involved in sensitive operations, is critical to keeping our intelligence officers safe and protecting our national security," said Attorney General Eric Holder. "Today's charges reinforce the Justice Department's commitment to hold accountable anyone who would violate the solemn duty not to disclose such sensitive information."

In light of the indictment, CIA Director David Petraeus reminded his agency's employees of the essential need for secrecy in their work.

"When we joined this organization, we swore to safeguard classified information; those oaths stay with us for life," he said "Unauthorized disclosures of any sort — including information concerning the identities of other agency officers — betray the public trust, our country, and our colleagues."

___

Associated Press writers Ben Fox in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Brett Zongker in Washington contributed to this story.
22953  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Newt Gingrich on: January 23, 2012, 12:53:59 PM
IMHO Newt's strategy for making Obama accept the debates is fiendishly clever.  I'm out the door right now, but I'm pretty sure its already been posted in this thread or the election thread.
22954  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / WSJ Hackers for hire or rent on: January 23, 2012, 09:55:05 AM
By CASSELL BRYAN-LOW

Sitting in his Los Angeles home, Kuwaiti billionaire Bassam Alghanim received an alarming call from a business associate: Hundreds of his personal emails were posted online for anyone to see.
 
Mr. Alghanim checked and found it to be true, according to a person familiar with the matter. The emails included information on his personal finances, legal affairs, even his pharmacy bills, this person said.
 






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Reuters
Kuwaiti billionaire Kutayba Alghanim, above, allegedly commissioned hackers to copy emails of his brother, Bassam.
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That led to another surprise. Mr. Alghanim discovered the person who had allegedly commissioned the hackers was his own brother, with whom he is fighting over how to divide up billions of dollars of joint assets. Mr. Alghanim's lawyers allege in court filings that the brother hired investigators to illegally access his email with the help of Chinese hackers. Cost to hire the hackers: about $400.
 
Although the brothers' feud involves big money, documents filed in two civil cases in September 2009 suggests just how simple and affordable online espionage has become. Computer forensic specialists say some hackers-for-hire openly market themselves online. "It's not hard to find hackers," says Mikko Hyppönen of computer-security firm F-Secure Corp.
 
One such site, hiretohack.net, advertises online services including being able to "crack" passwords for major email services in less than 48 hours. It says it charges a minimum of $150, depending on the email provider, the password's complexity and the urgency of the job. The site describes itself as a group of technology students based in Europe, U.S. and Asia.

Hiretohack.net's claims couldn't immediately be verified, and the group didn't respond to a request for comment.



Reuters
Bassam Alghanim
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Mischel Kwon, who runs a security-consulting firm and is the former director of the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team, a government organization known as US-CERT, says the hacker-for-hire industry is well established. Some are one- or two-person outfits, but there are also larger "organized crime" groups," she said. She and other specialists note that it is also easy to find tools online that assist in hacking into someone's email.
 
The issue of hacking and online espionage has gained prominence recently. In December, The Wall Street Journal reported that hackers in China breached the computer defenses of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. A month earlier, a Paris court fined French energy giant Électricité de France SA €1.5 million, or about $1.9 million, for directing an investigator to hack into the computers of environmental group Greenpeace in 2006. In the U.K., authorities are investigating allegations of hacking by News Corp.'s recently closed tabloid, News of the World. News Corp., which has said it is cooperating with police, also owns The Wall Street Journal.
 
China appears to be a source of a significant proportion of attacks. In an October 2011 report to Congress, the U.S. Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive said that U.S. economic information and technology are targeted by industry and government from dozens of countries but that attackers based in China "are the world's most active and persistent perpetrators of economic espionage."
 
A U.K. government report took a shot at putting numbers to the problem last year: It estimated that computer-related industrial espionage cost U.K. businesses about £7.6 billion, or about $11.8 billion, annually in loss of information that could hurt a company's chances of winning open tenders, and loss of merger-related information. Cyber intellectual-property theft cost business an additional £9.2 billion annually, it estimated.
 
The problem is under-measured because many victims are reluctant to report attacks to protect their reputation. The Alghanims' dispute, however, provides a rare look at detailed hacking allegations.

The spat between the two brothers involves the divvying up of a sprawling business empire originally founded by their father. The brothers, Kutayba and Bassam, 66 years old and 60, respectively, are both U.S.-educated Kuwaiti citizens.
 






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The allegations of email hacking are detailed in litigation filed by Bassam in the U.K. and the U.S. According to his court filings, his older brother, Kutayba Alghanim, along with the brother's son and the company's chief legal officer, allegedly stole thousands of pages of emails over more than a year.

Bassam's lawyer said his client "was horrified to discover the privacy of his email accounts had been compromised."
 
A lawyer representing Kutayba and his son declined to comment on the hacking allegations or make the men available for comment. A lawyer representing the son's chief legal officer declined to comment. In the U.S. lawsuit—the one in which the three men are named as defendants—none has addressed the hacking allegations. The three men aren't named as defendants in the U.K. action.
 
Bassam is based in Los Angeles, while Kutayba and his son primarily live in Kuwait but maintain residences in the U.S., including a 16,000-square-foot Manhattan mansion and a 48-acre Long Island estate, according to Bassam's legal filings. Their fight has included a U.K. High Court civil case and a separate civil case in U.S. Federal Court in New York.
 
In the U.K., a judge recently concluded that the two defendants in that case, both British investigators, arranged the hacking. In that October decision, Justice Peter Smith also said the evidence showed that the hacking was carried out at the direction of Kutayba, his son and the chief legal officer, although they weren't defendants in that case.
 
"It is clear, on the evidence I have," that the trio orchestrated the computer hacking, Mr. Smith said in his ruling.
 
In the U.S. civil case, Kutayba, his son and the legal officer are named as defendants. Documents filed in federal court in New York allege the three directed the hacking and violated federal and state laws including computer misuse.
 
One of the two private investigators admitted to the U.K. court that he had hacked Bassam's email and said he did it at the orders of the second investigator. After the first investigator began cooperating with Bassam's lawyers, the legal action against him was stayed. The second investigator denied hacking; the judge found him in breach of civil laws on privacy and confidence.
 
Kutayba's legal filings argue that his brother is trying to avoid earlier agreements requiring their asset-split dispute to be handled by a Kuwaiti arbitrator. "Bassam has done everything in his power to avoid his obligations, including his obligation to arbitrate," Kutayba said in U.S. court filings.

In November in New York, the judge stayed the U.S. case pending a ruling by a Kuwait arbitrator on the dispute.
 
The two brothers were once close—they used to share homes in New York, Los Angeles and Kuwait, according to a person familiar with the matter. But they fell out a few years ago, according to Bassam's U.S. filings. One source of tension was an effort by Kutayba to promote his eldest son, Omar Alghanim, as heir to the family business, a person familiar with the matter said. Omar is a former Morgan Stanley analyst and founding shareholder of New York merger firm Perella Weinberg Partners LP.
 
Omar currently is chief executive of the family company, Alghanim Industries, a conglomerate that distributes electronics, among other things. The company's chief legal officer is Waleed Moubarak, the man who is alleged, along with Kutayba and his son, to have commissioned the hacking. Mr. Moubarak didn't respond to a request for comment.
 
Unable to reconcile, the brothers decided to divide their jointly held assets. Included is Alghanim Industries and other businesses; a stake in Kuwait's Gulf Bank; residential properties in New York, London, Los Angeles, Kuwait and elsewhere; a $450 million portfolio; and $100 million in art, according to Bassam's U.S. and U.K. court filings.
 
The two continued to feud even after signing a March 2008 memorandum of understanding, according to U.S. court filings by both. That memorandum, included in Kutayba's filings, describes a 60:40 ownership split between Kutayba and Bassam, respectively, of their Kuwait-based assets and an even split of overseas assets.

As the dispute escalated, Kutayba and his associates turned to Steven McIntyre, a private investigator near London, according to documents filed in the U.K. court by Bassam and Mr. McIntyre. Mr. McIntyre, in turn, enlisted the help of Timothy Zimmer, a forensic investigator and then-colleague, and in mid-2008 asked him to gain access to Bassam's two personal email accounts, according to a witness statement by Mr. Zimmer in U.K. court.
 
A lawyer who represented Mr. McIntyre during the U.K. proceedings declined to comment. Mr. McIntyre didn't respond to requests seeking comment.
 
In his witness statement, Mr. Zimmer said he contacted an organization called Invisible Hacking Group, which he had previously used for security-testing of web-based email accounts.
 
Little is known about IHG. Mr. Zimmer, in his witness statement, said IHG instructed him to send payment to Chengdu, a city in China. The legal filings don't indicate how Mr. Zimmer and IHG first came in contact.
 
Today, IHG doesn't appear to have an online presence, although there are a few message-board posts from 2004 under that name offering computer-monitoring services for a few hundred dollars a month. "Do you want to know what your business competitors are doing online everyday?" the message reads. An email sent to an address in the message bounced back.
 
According to Mr. Zimmer's statement, the IHG service worked like this: It requested the target person's email address, the names of friends or colleagues, and examples of topics that interest them. The hackers would then send an email to the target that sounded as if it came from an acquaintance, but which actually installed malicious software on the target's computer. The software would let the hackers capture the target's email password.
 
Mr. Zimmer forwarded Bassam's email addresses to IHG, according to his witness statement. IHG then sent him the passwords to Bassam's email accounts, for which he paid £256 (about $400) to the China address, he said.
 
Using the passwords, Mr. Zimmer printed Bassam's emails—filling eight ring binders—and gave them to Mr. McIntyre, according to Mr. Zimmer's statement. Mr. McIntyre initially personally delivered them to Omar, Kutayba's son, first on his yacht moored at the Italian island of Capri and then, via a colleague, on his yacht in Sardinia, according to Bassam's U.K. and U.S. filings.
 
To make the process of obtaining the emails more efficient, the investigators set up a password-protected website, jackshome.info, to which they uploaded copies of the emails, Bassam's U.K. and U.S. court filings allege.

Bassam alleges that his brother and his associates accessed thousands of pages of emails, according to the U.K. and U.S. court filings. The private investigators received more than $200,000 for their alleged hacking services over 13 months, according to Bassam's U.S. filings.

The operation was tripped up in August 2009 when one of Bassam's advisers found some of the emails online, according to U.K. filings. Because of a glitch, documents uploaded to the password-protected website were actually accessible via Google search, the filings said.
 
In September 2009, Mr. Zimmer and Mr. McIntyre's colleague flew to New York to explain what went wrong to Omar and Mr. Moubarak, Mr. Zimmer said in his witness statement. The men gathered in a suite at the luxury Carlyle Hotel. Omar, who "was getting very worked up," according to Mr. Zimmer's statement, said in the meeting that not only did he want to get back into Bassam's email accounts but he also wanted access to the email of another family member close to Bassam.

In his U.K. witness statement, Mr. Zimmer admitted he hacked Bassam's emails and said Mr. McIntyre instructed him to do so.

Mr. McIntyre disputed the hacking allegations in a letter to the court, but said he couldn't afford to attend court. According to the October judgment, Mr. McIntyre said he was "too ill and too distressed, too oppressed" to attend. The judge hasn't yet ruled on whether Mr. McIntyre will have to pay damages.
22955  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Yes we have no bananas on: January 23, 2012, 09:48:41 AM
Banana republics have trouble attracting capital because of a reputation for arbitrarily changing the rules whenever it suits the populist in power. With last week's decision to block TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline, President Obama stunned investors by demonstrating that he doesn't see anything wrong with the banana republic way of doing things.

The administration seems to think that it can use environmental claptrap to convince the American public that it is behaving ethically and legally in denying the TransCanada permit, even after the company has spent $1.9 billion over 40 months carefully adhering to the federal regulatory process. And a lot of Americans will not have the time or inclination to get into the weeds on this issue.







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Associated Press
A Keystone XL Pipeline protest at the White House, Sept. 2, 2011.
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Yet what is unseen by the public is likely to be more dangerous to the well-being of the society than what is seen, as the 19th-century journalist and political philosopher Frédéric Bastiat famously warned. In this case, the unseen is the effect that Mr. Obama's unmitigated cynicism and abuse of power is likely to have on investors. Unlike the general public, those who have ready capital to deploy to infrastructure projects like Keystone will fully analyze this decision. Seeing how our president has behaved, they are not likely to come away feeling confident about the rule of law.

To understand how Mr. Obama is thumbing his nose at the law, recall the State Department's decision in November to delay permit approval based on a complaint from the state of Nebraska about the pipeline route there. State had already issued three environmental impact statements over three years finding that there would be "no significant impact" on the environment from the pipeline. But as it prepared to issue its final ruling, the environmental lobby descended on the White House with protests.

Within days, State announced that a rerouting in Nebraska was necessary, which implied yet another round of environmental impact studies. It was a "green" victory because it meant delaying the permitting at least another three years, not counting the inevitable litigation and notwithstanding State's forecast that it would be done in 15 months.
 
It was an absurd proposition. Keystone XL will run more than 2,000 miles. The disputed segment is about 100 miles and by late November the company had already begun working with Nebraska on a rerouting plan. With some 20,000 new direct construction jobs and more than 100,000 indirect jobs along the pipeline route hanging in the balance, Republicans decided to give Mr. Obama a way out of the problem he faced of having to do another long, drawn-out environmental impact study. They attached a rider to the Dec. 23 payroll-tax bill that instructed the president to rule within 60 days on whether the oil pipeline crossing the U.S. border is in the national interest.

In making the determination, the rider said, the president should consider factors like the economy, energy security, foreign policy, employment, trade and even, notably, the environment. For example, Mr. Obama could have said that oil from Canada's oil sands is bad for the global environment. Perhaps that's what he wanted to say. It is, after all, the position of some of his most generous campaign contributors.

But with unemployment at 8.5%, Iran threatening to close off the Strait of Hormuz and Hugo Chávez jailing dissidents, denouncing Canadian energy isn't a winning campaign slogan. It may also be discriminatory, and thus a violation, under the North American Free Trade Agreement and U.S. membership in the World Trade Organization.

Out of options, Mr. Obama concluded last week that it is not in the national interest to grant the permit because of the State Department's view that further environmental studies are required due to the Nebraska rerouting. It's a nice try. But it directly contravenes the rider, which specifically states that the one thing Mr. Obama need not concern himself about—indeed could not consider—is any new environmental impact studies.

The three bullet points that cover this point in the rider couldn't be much clearer: First, "the final environmental impact statement issued by the Secretary of State on August 26, 2011, satisfies all requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 . . . and section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act." Second, "any [my emphasis] modification" to the route "shall not require supplementation of the final environmental impact statement . . ." Third, "no further Federal environmental review shall be required."

Congress anticipated that Mr. Obama would try to use the complex process of environmental study as a fig leaf for further delaying the pipeline. But if the law is to be followed, since the president failed to make a national interest determination as specified in the rider, it means that "the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline . . . shall be in effect by operation of law." The only question is whether Mr. Obama can be made to obey the letter and the spirit of that law and whether Republicans will try to enforce it. Investors will be watching.
 
Write to O'Grady@wsj.com
22956  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: No-fault Newt on: January 23, 2012, 09:06:50 AM
By JAMES TARANTO

It looks as if standing ovations at political debates are now the norm. Newt Gingrich got another one last night, after his answer to the opening question from CNN's John King, which concerned what the Drudge Report had hyped as ABC-TV's "bombshell" interview with the ex-speaker's ex-wife Marianne.
 
CNN.com quotes the response: " 'To take an ex-wife and make it two days before the primary a significant question in a presidential campaign is as close to despicable as anything I can imagine,' Gingrich told King, the moderator of the debate." The story notes that "Gingrich's response elicited loud applause from the audience" but it doesn't mention the standing ovation, perhaps because such a thing is no longer newsworthy, more likely because it was at the expense of the network's host.
 
The interview aired on "Nightline" some 90 minutes after the debate ended, and the bombshell turned out to be a dud. The supposed big revelation--that "he wanted an open marriage," as she, not he, put it--turned out in context to be trivial.
 
As Mrs. Gingrich told the story, the then-speaker informed her over the phone that he wanted a divorce. "I said to him, 'Newt, we've been married a long time.' And he said, 'Yes. But you want me all to yourself. Callista doesn't care what I do.' "
 
"What was he saying to you, do you think?" asked interviewer Brian Ross.
 
Mrs. Gingrich: "Oh, he was asking to have an open marriage and I refused."


By her account, he first asked for a divorce. She protested, and he made clear that he was unwilling to give up his then-mistress. It's unclear from Marianne Gingrich's account whether Mr. Gingrich actually offered to remain married in exchange for tolerance of his infidelity, or if this was merely her inference.
 
In either case, there is an enormous difference between offering such an arrangement as a "compromise" to a spouse who does not wish to divorce, which is what Mr. Gingrich appears to have done, and flat-out asking for an open marriage. Neither reflects well on him, but the former is within the normal range of cruel and confused behavior during a breakup, whereas the latter is, at least by American standards, deviant.
 
There is also evidence that the Gingriches' marriage had been troubled for years before the split. National Review's Robert Costa notes a 1999 Associated Press report on their separation, which revealed some background:
 
Documents related to the divorce filed Friday in Cobb County Superior Court include a separation agreement signed by the couple and notarized in December 1987. There is no indication it was ever filed.
 
Browning said Marianne Gingrich called her husband on his birthday in June 1987 to tell him she was leaving him. Gingrich, he said, came back to Georgia to find his home emptied out.
 
Browning said the pair maintained separate residences for six years before reconciling in late 1993 or early 1994.
 
There's no way to know who was at fault in the first separation, and while it is not in dispute that Mr. Gingrich committed adultery before the actual divorce, the 1987 story leads one to wonder if he was completely to blame for the ultimate breakup.

Which brings us to the public-policy implication of the Gingrich divorce story. Mr. Gingrich might have been morally blameworthy in the breakup of his marriage, but at the time almost every state had a no-fault divorce regime. Today every state does. Mr. Gingrich was acting in accord with a legal regime that favors the spouse who wishes to divorce and gives no weight to the other's objections. Mrs. Gingrich's position would have been stronger, giving Mr. Gingrich an incentive to be more respectful, under the old fault-based divorce system.
 

Here is a point of commonality between Mr. Gingrich and his political contemporary, Bill Clinton: Both of their personal-political scandals arose out of relatively recent changes in the law. As we noted in a 1998 Wall Street Journal essay, the discovery process that led to the revelation of Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky was normal for a sexual harassment lawsuit. Yet Clinton's defenders, while complaining bitterly about how intrusive that process was, never questioned whether harassment law in general had gone too far.
 
Likewise, we don't expect the spotlight on Gingrich's marital woes to lead to a debate over the wisdom of no-fault divorce. Like the sexual harassment tort, it is firmly entrenched in our culture. Women initiate a large majority of both divorces and harassment lawsuits, so put this down to the power of feminism.
22957  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ on: January 23, 2012, 08:56:50 AM
Newt Gingrich's sweeping victory in South Carolina throws the GOP Presidential contest into a useful uproar and poses a challenge for Mitt Romney, what's left of the Republican establishment, and not least for Mr. Gingrich himself. We'll see who rises to the occasion.
 
There's no denying the breadth of the former House speaker's triumph in the Palmetto State. He won among rank-and-file Republicans, tea partiers, men and women, all manner of conservatives, most income groups, and every age group save those under 30 (who went narrowly for Ron Paul over Mr. Gingrich).

Most strikingly, he routed Mr. Romney on what had been the former Massachusetts governor's greatest strength—electability. Some 45% of voters in the exit poll said defeating President Obama was the candidate trait that mattered most, and they went for Mr. Gingrich over Mr. Romney, 51% to 37%.

***

This reflects Mr. Gingrich's debate skills but perhaps more his willingness to promote conservative values. Since Reagan, Republicans have had a President or nominee who was typically either tongue-tied or timid in defending their policies and principles. With Mr. Obama preparing a re-election assault on those principles, GOP voters understandably want a tenacious advocate. Voters sense that, whatever his other failings, Mr. Gingrich can match Mr. Obama on the issues and won't go down without a fight.







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This is in contrast to Mr. Romney, who is cautious at his most tenacious but in the last week has seemed befuddled by questions he surely knew were coming. The demand to release his tax returns was inevitable, especially with Mr. Obama preparing to attack him as "Mr. 1%." Mr. Romney said Sunday he will release his 2010 tax return on Tuesday, but blowing that layup suggests either personal stubbornness or the lack of an adviser who can tell him when he's wrong.
 
The more serious flaw exposed by the tax debate is Mr. Romney's inability, or unwillingness, to make a larger and persuasive case for free-market economic growth and lower tax rates. Before last week, he seemed to believe he could dodge a class-war battle by not proposing a cut in tax rates. This was always implausible given Mr. Obama's campaign, but it is impossible now that he has disclosed that his own effective tax rate is 15%.

He faces a fundamental political choice: Duck and cover against the barrage of attacks on his 15% rate, the lower rate on "carried-interest" and any overseas income he might have, or go on offense by standing for something larger than his own career, such as a major tax reform to spur growth.

Mr. Romney and his advisers are making the mistake that John Kerry made against George W. Bush in 2004—believing that voters are so unhappy with the incumbent that all Mr. Romney has to do is present himself as a safe alternative. Mr. Romney seems to think it's enough to run on his biography as a businessman.

It won't be enough—unless the economy goes into another recession, which no one should want in any case. The Republican nominee will have to make a sustained and specific case that Mr. Obama's policies made the recovery weaker than it should have been (stimulus, health care), squandered resources on political boondoggles (Solyndra), and how and why GOP policies will do better. Mr. Romney's 59 economic proposals are fine but forgettable little ideas. He needs a big idea.
 
In the wake of his victory, Mr. Gingrich has his own challenge because he has always been at his worst when he is on top. The Georgian's main vulnerability isn't his failed marriages, as South Carolina proved. It is his penchant for over-the-top statements and sudden shifts of strategy or policy based on personal whim. In South Carolina, for example, he began to rise when he muted his misguided attacks on Bain Capital and focused on other issues.
 
Rick Santorum is candidly saying he plans to stay in the race, despite a distant third-place finish, mainly because he thinks Mr. Gingrich will blow himself up again. Mr. Romney and his surrogates will also try to portray the former speaker as unreliable and erratic, a Hindenburg sure to explode if he gets the nomination. If Mr. Gingrich handles the attacks with good humor and rational explanation, he'll reassure voters. If he erupts in anger or unleashes his inner de Gaulle, he'll play into the hands of his competitors.

Mr. Gingrich will also eventually need a more inclusive message than he is now offering. He made a stab at it in his South Carolina victory remarks by mentioning the strengths of his competitors. His bow to Mr. Paul's "sound money" platform was especially shrewd, but then he kept talking and talking in his familiar undisciplined fashion.
 
Mr. Gingrich's biggest problem is that more voters say they dislike than like him. In a recent Fox News poll, 56% said they had an unfavorable view of him, versus 27% favorable. That's a net unfavorable rating of minus-29%, compared with a plus-5% for Mr. Obama and plus-7% for Mr. Romney.

Mr. Gingrich is never going to be well loved, and voters may overlook that if they want a hard man for hard times. But he can't only practice the politics of contrast and win an election. Media-bashing may work when the questions seem unfair, but not when they are legitimate queries concerning his record at Freddie Mac or in Congress. He needs to practice the politics of addition with independents and nonconservatives.
 
***

As for the GOP establishment, such as it still is, Mr. Gingrich's re-emergence is likely to cause a panic attack. They don't believe he is electable. Our advice would be to relax and let the voters decide. If Mr. Romney can't marshal the wit and nerve to defeat the speaker, then he isn't likely to defeat Mr. Obama.

If GOP office-holders had a better candidate, they should have rallied behind one to get into the race, and they still could if the primary contest drags on without a clear winner. In any case the record of elected GOP politicians in picking nominees is hardly inspiring. Rank-and-file voters are likely to have a clearer sense of what the country needs. On to Florida.
22958  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Maori war dance for rugby match on: January 23, 2012, 12:59:23 AM


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HtVivhwYQM
22959  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Demogogue snakes at their anti-gun ways again on: January 23, 2012, 12:58:14 AM
*****Nationwide Warning*****

 
 
A friend sent this to me.....It goes right along with pediatricians
asking children if there are guns in their home.

Concealed Carry - IMPORTANT

I didn't have this happen, but then I wasn't at a V.A. doctors office.
A friend did run into a little of this when he had to visit a doctor
other than his regular doctor when his doctor was on vacation. One of
the questions on the form he had to fill out was: Do you have any guns
in your house?? His answer was "None of your damn business!!" So it is
out there! It is either an insurance issue or government intervention.
Either way, it is out there and the second the government gets into
your medical records (as they want to under Obama care) it will become
a major issue and will ultimately result in lock and load!!

Please pass this on to all the other retired guys and gun owners...Thanks
From a Vietnam Vet and retired Police Officer:

I had a doctor’s appointment at the local V.A. clinic yesterday and
found out something very interesting that I would like to pass along.

While going through triage before seeing the doctor, I was asked at
the end of the exam, three questions:
1. Did I feel stressed?
2. Did I feel threatened?
3. Did I feel like doing harm to someone?

The nurse then informed me, that if I had answered yes to any of the
questions, I would have lost my concealed carry permit as it would
have gone into my medical records and the VA would have reported it to
Homeland Security.

Looks like they are going after the vets first. Other gun people like
retired law enforcement will probably be next. Then when they go after
the civilians, what argument will they have? Be forewarned and be
aware.

The Obama administration has gone on record as considering veterans
and gun owners potential terrorists. Whether you are a gun owner
veteran or not, YOU'VE BEEN WARNED !

If you know veterans and gun owners, please pass this on to them.
Be very cautious about what you say and to whom.

 
I already have concern for those that have followed legal procedure and are now on
record with a permit.

as for me and mine and most I know around south central Texas...what permits?  and
everyone knows someone set up to selfload ammo.

 
 
Please!!! When Sending This Vital Information To Friends and Family DO NOT Use The
"To: Address Line!!! It Shows Every Name and The Email Associated With Each Name In
The Body of Any Email Sent Using This Line!

 Instead Enter The Email Address of Those You Are Sending This Important Warning To
on The "Bcc: Line"!! This Will Show Only Names and Not Email Addresses!!!

22960  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Show up, show up, from wherever you are! on: January 23, 2012, 12:24:12 AM
No idea as to the trustworthiness of this site

http://obamareleaseyourrecords.blogspot.com/2012/01/georgia-judge-malihi-denies-obamas.html
22961  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Withdraw from Afghanistan on: January 23, 2012, 12:13:18 AM
I have called out both Bush and Baraq's policies in Afpakia for incoherence.  I have done my best to draw attention to the insightful intel and analysis brought our way by our YA.  I have done my best to apply what I understand from what he has shared to offer better strategies-- the essence being that the true problem is to be found in Pakistan.  As best as I can tell there is essentially zero chance of an intelligent policy eminating from any of the possible candidates.   I have listened to Romney talk tough on Afghanistan and wondered if he really would produce any better.  I have seen our troops bravely and loyally stay the course through year after year of piss-poor leadership in Afpakia.  I cannot say I disrespect what this man is saying here, though I think he gravely underestimates the consequences of our leaving, especially in conjunction with Baraq's clueless and politically motivated dash for the exits, but I think the thoughts worth sharing here and worth our discussion.

www.captainsjournal.com

Withdraw From Afghanistan
BY Herschel Smith
1 hour, 20 minutes ago

Michael Yon has written a short note entitled Time To Leave Afghanistan.  I concur, but for somewhat different reasons, or at least, I will state my reasons somewhat differently.  I had been pondering going public with my counsel to withdraw from Afghanistan, and then I read possibly the most depressing entry on Afghanistan I have ever seen, from Tim Lynch.  Some of it is repeated below.
 

Ten years ago, Afghans were thrilled to see us and thought that finally they could live in peace and develop their country …
 
Five years ago they watched us flounder – we stayed on FOBs and shoveled cash by the billions into the hands of a corrupt central government that we insisted, despite clear evidence to the contrary, was a legitimate government – one that had to be supported at all costs. We raided their homes at night and shot up civilians who got too close to our convoys, we paid for roads that did not exist and, because of the “force protection” mentality, most Afghans thought our soldiers were cowards because they never came to the bazaar off duty and unarmored to buy stuff like the Russians did. In fact, every bite of food our soldiers consumed was flown into country at great expense, so in a land famous for its melons and grapes our troops ate crappy melon and tasteless grapes flown in by contractors from God knows where.
 
Now, they want to shoot us in the face. Except for the klepocratic elite who want us to give them billions more and then shoot us in the face.
 
There it is; Afghanistan is toast, and what the last 10 years has taught us is we cannot afford to deploy American ground forces.  Two billion dollars a week (that’s billion with a B) has bought what?  Every year we stay to “bring security to the people,” the security situation for the people gets worse and worse, deteriorating by orders of magnitude.  Now the boy genius has announced a “new strategy”.  A strategy that is identical to the “strategy” that resulted in a hollow ground force getting its ass kicked by North Korea in 1950; a mere five years after we had ascended to the most dominant military the world had ever known.
 
Tim goes on to say things about Iraq and national defense policy with which I don’t entirely agree.  My views on Iraq are complicated, as my readers know, and I will recapitulate (and summarize) them soon.  But if anyone would know that Afghanistan is toast, Tim Lynch would.
 
Listen well.  This is no anti-war cry.  If have argued virtually non-stop for increasing troop levels, staying the course, and increased (and different) lines of logistics for support of our troops.  But I have watched with dismay and even panic over the course of the last six years as we haven’t taken the campaign seriously, and good men have suffered and perished because of it.
 
I have watched as different members of NATO carried different strategies into the campaign without being united at the top level.  I have argued for recognizing the resurgence of the Taliban, while General Rodriguez argued against even the possibility of a spring offensive in 2008.  I watched as that same general micromanaged the Marines as they surged into the Helmand Province, issuing an order requiring that his operations center clear any airstrike that was on a housing compound in the area but not sought in self-defense.
 
We have seen General McChrystal issue awful and debilitating rules of engagement, along with personal stipulations that modified them to be even more restrictive.  “If you are in a situation where you are under fire from the enemy… if there is any chance of creating civilian casualties or if you don’t know whether you will create civilian casualties, if you can withdraw from that situation without firing, then you must do so,” said McChrystal.
 
Those disastrous rules and McChrystal’s disastrous management played a critical role in the shameful and immoral deaths of three Marines, a Navy Corpsman and a Soldier at Ganjgal, the firefight where Dakota Meyer earned his MoH.  Read the comments of the families of those warriors who perished at Ganjgal, and let the sentiments wash over you.
 
Study again my writing on Now Zad.  I was the only writer or blogger anywhere who was following the Marines at Now Zad – how they brought more trauma doctors with them than usual due to the massive loss of limbs and life that Marine command knew they would sustain, how they lived in so-called Hobbit holes in Now Zad, two or three Marines to a hole in distributed operations, hunting for Taliban fighters who had taken R&R in Now Zad because we didn’t have enough troops to prevent them from doing so.
 
While I was arguing for more Marines in Now Zad, I watched as a Battalion of infantrymen at Camp Lejeune (the class entering after my own son returned from his combat deployment in Iraq) entered the Marines expecting to go to Afghanistan or Iraq.  At that time we were heading for the exits in the Anbar Province of Iraq, and instead of focusing on Marines losing their legs and screaming for help in Now Zad, Afghanistan, that Battalion went on a wasteful MEU (Marine Expeditionary Unit).  No MEU has ever been used by a President for anything in the history of doing MEUs except for humanitarian missions.
 
So that Battalion didn’t deploy to Iraq, went on a MEU, and then weren’t on rotation for Afghanistan.  Instead of helping their brothers in Now Zad, the Marine Corps Commandant had them playing Iwo Jima, as if we’re ever going to launch a major, sea-based forcible entry again.  A full Battalion of infantry Marines with two wars going on – and no deployment to Iraq, and no deployment to Afghanistan in a four year enlistment.
 
I argued against night raids by the so-called “snake eaters,” with them flying back to the FOBs that night, totally absent from the locals to explain what happened and why.  In addition to pointing out the wrong way to do it, I pointed out the right way to do it in lieu of night time raids by snake eaters.  I have argued for following and killing every single Taliban fighter into the hinterlands of Afghanistan, while the strategists under General McChrystal withdrew to the population centers just like the Russians did.
 
I pointed out that withdrawal from the Pech River Valley would invite the return of of al qaeda, Haqqani and allied fighters, and that’s exactly what happened.  I have been in the thick of this with my advocacy for the campaign, but again and again, it has become clear that we aren’t going to take this campaign seriously.  I have advocated against nation building, and by now I think it has become clear that population-centric counterinsurgency and nation building won’t ever work in Afghanistan.  Staying long enough with enough troops to find and kill the enemy has its problems, of course, including the fact that we may have to go back in eight or ten years later and do it all over again.
 
But that’s the Marine way.  Do now what has to be done, do it quickly and violently, achieve the mission, and leave.  At least I have been consistent, while always acknowledging that we cannot possibly achieve anything permanent, and will probably have to return at some point.  As it is, it isn’t clear that we’ve achieved anything at all.
 
The Wise family from Arkansas has lost their second son in Afghanistan.  For all those warriors who have given their all, and those families still suffering today because of that, America isn’t worthy of their sacrifices.  To be sure, if we continue the campaign there will still be magnificent warriors who answer the call.  But it’s our duty to take seriously the war to which we’re calling them if we let them go.  We’re heading for the exits, releasing insurgents from prisons in Afghanistan, and instead of trying to develop better lines of logistics, we’re trying to figure out how to get all of our equipment out of Afghanistan.
 
Regardless of who calls for what, the President will ask the Joint Chiefs of Staff what can be done to withdraw.  They will ask the flag and staff officers, and the staff officers will ask the logistics officers.  Logistics will decide how and when we can withdraw from Afghanistan.  No one else.
 
But within that framework, I am calling for the full, immediate and comprehensive withdrawal of all troops from Afghanistan, and that we focus exclusively on force protection until that can be accomplished.  It’s time to come home.
 
UPDATE: Many thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the attention.
 
UPDATE #2: Thanks to Michael Yon for the attention.






Afghanistan,Featured
22962  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Morris on FL. on: January 22, 2012, 09:31:53 PM
HOW TO WIN FLORIDA

By DICK MORRIS

Published on DickMorris.com on January 22, 2012

Everybody is focused on momentum, money, and manpower as the keys to victory in
Florida.  But the three Ms won't matter much.  It is a fourth M that will determine
the winner: message.
 
Don't count on Mitt Romney's money or organization to win the Florida primary after
his devastating loss in South Carolina.  And don't bet on Newt's momentum coming off
a win to mean a whole lot.  With two debates next week, it will be these rhetorical
matchups that will determine the winner, not money or manpower.  The GOP debates are
the functional equivalent of campaign finance reform!
 
Florida is a very different state from South Carolina.  It has an altogether
different mix of the three elements that comprise the GOP electorate.  It is strong
on national security and evangelical conservatives, but there are fewer economic
conservatives in the mix.  The Florida Panhandle is a lot like South Carolina, but
its west coast is pure Midwestern and its east coast is composed largely of New York
and New Jersey refugees and Latinos - quite unlike South Carolina.
 
Newt Gingrich's social populism played well with evangelicals (and Romney's religion
hurt him). His long-standing embrace of a strong military attracted lots of military
active and retired voters to give him a winning coalition.
 
But, in South Carolina, it is the free market economic conservatives who will
predominate.
 
To win, Romney must link Newt's attacks on Bain Capital and his tax rate to Obama's
class warfare.  He needs to play jujitsu to Newt's new found economic populism,
making himself the poster boy for capitalism.
 
But, first, Romney needs to release his tax returns.  There is likely nothing in
them so deadly as the question mark that hangs over the GOP contest.  Where formerly
Romney was seen as the most likely to defeat Obama, now worries about what might be
in his taxes overshadow his claim to electability.
 
If Newt hits Romney over taxes, he will be playing into his rival's hands and
setting up the class warfare argument for Mitt.  For his part, Romney must explain
the inequity of double taxation to voters and should ask a simple question: Does
anyone in America voluntarily pay more than they legally owe in taxes?  So why
should I have done so?  Then he needs to cite his millions in charitable donations
to explain what he does instead with his fortune.
 
For Newt's part, he will make a big mistake if he continues to pound on Romney over
taxes and Bain Capital.  If he attributes his victory in South Carolina to these
attacks, he will be wrong.  He won because of his positive message.  He triumphed
because he won the debate on Monday in grand style - slamming Paul for comparing
Osama bin Laden to a Chinese dissident seeking asylum and calling Obama the
"foodstamp president."  His incredible insights, his unique way of looking at
issues, and his intellect and sagacity brought him to victory in South Carolina, not
his attacks on either the media or Romney.
 
Santorum is still in this race.  In a four way contest, if A and B attack one
another, it is C and D who benefit.  After a week of watching Mitt and Newt fight it
out, Rick will look pretty good to many voters.  His relatively strong finish in
South Carolina - 17% isn't bad - after languishing in single digits in most polls
was due to his victory in Thursday's debate.  So he is still on the map and the
likely beneficiary of the battle between Romney and Gingrich.
 
Romney, Gingrich, and Santorum each have a shot in Florida.  But the Sunshine State
won't determine the outcome.  This battle still has a long way to go!


22963  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DBMA SP seminar in Chicago 3/30-4/1 on: January 22, 2012, 09:14:08 PM
Looking forward to it Pete.
22964  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Guro Crafty in Salt Lake City January 21-22 on: January 22, 2012, 09:13:10 PM
More good times today.  Some excellent gun and rifle disarm material from Tuhon Wihongi, which is now part of the DBMA curriculum.
22965  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: the titles of the teachers in the fillipino martial arts on: January 22, 2012, 09:01:53 PM
Someone was asking me about this so TTT.
22966  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Knee pads and safety equipment on: January 22, 2012, 08:58:55 PM
No worries. Just post on one of the existing threads and I will.  smiley
22967  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: 5 What ifs? on: January 22, 2012, 08:32:37 AM
By SIMON CONSTABLE

When it comes to investing, 2012 isn't the year to do nothing and just hope for the best.
 
Yes, there are some mammoth-sized unknowns out there that could hurt your returns. But when the biggest "what ifs" are resolved, you could also profit, if you play it right.
 
Here's how to tackle the five scenarios that are keeping Wall Street investors awake at night:‬
 
1 What if Europe gets worse?
 
No matter how much investors might desire it, Europe's economic mess just won't go away. But the big fear is that it will deteriorate even more before it gets better.



Jon Krause.

"Europe getting worse is a disaster for everything but the safest investments," says Milton Ezrati, market strategist at Jersey City, N.J.-based money-management firm Lord Abbett.
 
You'll know Europe's economy is imploding if you see the value of the euro fall much further. Currently, one euro buys approximately $1.29, down from $1.48 in May.
 
If it does get worse, then all assets will do poorly except U.S. Treasurys, U.S. government agency debt and the highest-quality corporate debt, Mr. Ezrati says.
 
In simpler terms, stay in investments denominated in U.S. dollars and away from those in euros or British pounds. Britain isn't part of the euro zone, but it does more business with Europe than with any other region. So a recession in Europe would hit the pound hard.
 
All European stock markets will likely fare poorly: If you must stay in European stocks, then Germany's stock market would be "the least worst," he says.
 
He adds: European stocks could look really cheap in 12 to 18 months. So savvy investors will be wise to keep some cash on the sidelines.
 
2 What if U.S. housing finally improves?
 
It's now close to five years since the housing bubble burst. When it rebounds isn't only an investment question, but of vital importance to households as well.
 
You'll know real estate is improving when you see rising prices in combination with greater sales volumes of housing units. For that to occur, "lots of other good things need to be happening," says Barry Ritholtz, CEO of FusionIQ, a New York-based research and asset-management company.

Notably, he says, look for a better jobs picture, with an increase in average wages. You'll also need to see people who had been living with their parents for financial reasons finally getting their own home, either buying or renting.

That would lead to an increase in so-called household formation, a vital factor for a housing recovery.
 
If all those things are happening, then, Mr. Ritholtz says, savvy investors will be looking beyond the obvious investment choices of home-building stocks. Instead, he says, look to companies that will prosper from an improved labor market, such as staffing firm Robert Half International (RHI), payroll processor ADP(ADP) and jobs-listing service Monster Worldwide (MWW).
 
3 What if the jobs recovery falters?
 
The long-awaited jobs recovery seems to have arrived. The unemployment rate has dropped steadily, albeit slowly, from 9.1% in August to 8.5% in December.
 
The big question: Can it be sustained?
 
If things start going backward, then "basic support for U.S. stocks will be undermined," says Art Hogan, head of product strategy at New York-based Lazard Capital Markets. "It will do an awful lot of damage to investor confidence."
 
You'll know the jobs recovery is in reverse by watching the unemployment claims data (released Thursdays) and the Department of Labor employment report (the first Friday of each month).
 
Specifically, watch for a higher unemployment rate and climbing first-time claims for unemployment insurance.
 
If the jobs market does falter, then stocks of companies that sell consumer staples, such as soap and food, could benefit, he says. In addition, pharmaceutical companies and electric utilities, also providers of essentials, will tend to do well, he says. You can get a basket of such stocks by purchasing the Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP) exchange-traded fund.
 
4 What if there's another budget crisis?
 
Last summer, investors watched in horror as Congress wrestled over the government's finances. They even risked the first-ever default on U.S. debt.
 
Although no one wants it, a repeat performance is possible at year-end. Why? The Bush-era tax cuts are set to expire (again). Unless one party claims a decisive victory across Capitol Hill in November's election, then there will be a wrangle over whether to extend some or all of the tax cuts into 2013.

"It's always a shaky prospect when you put the fate of the U.S. economy in the hands of congressional leaders," says Ellen Zentner, senior U.S. economist at Nomura Securities in New York.
 
The problem: Massive uncertainty over the outcome.The bigger the differences between the two sides, the worse it will be for investors. Ms. Zentner says an impasse could cause wild swings in the stock market and the economy. So if Congress looks like it's headed for another blockbuster fight, stay safe in cash and avoid the potential gyrations of stocks.
 
5 What if China's economy heats up?
 
China's economy matters because it's the second largest in the world. Over the past decade, the communist country has grown fast, but lately it has been cooling off. The question is: What happens when it heats up again?
 
"As China grows so does the use of commodities," says Michael Woolfolk, senior currency strategist at BNY Mellon in New York. Specifically, he points to industrial minerals such as iron ore and copper, which are used in construction and manufacturing.
 
You'll know China's economy is doing better if you see a sustained rise in Chinese output. Look for gross-domestic-product growth to jump back to the double digits, from its "slow rate" of 8.9% at the end of 2011.
 
Many observers doubt the value of Chinese economic data. "Just take it at face value," Mr. Woolfolk says, since the trends in the data are more important.
 
Stocks that would likely do well include industrial miners Vale(VALE), Rio Tinto (RIO), BHP Billiton (BHP) and Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX).
 
Those investors not wanting to pick stocks might consider a specialized mutual fund, such as the $3.9 billion Vanguard Precious Metals and Mining fund (VGPMX).
22968  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Scientific American: The coming mega-drought on: January 22, 2012, 07:26:10 AM
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-coming-mega-drought
22969  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Knee pads and safety equipment on: January 22, 2012, 12:20:35 AM
Freebird:

We tend to be somewhat ruthless around here on posting in existing threads which already cover the subject area of a post.   Please search for "equipment" and post accordingly.

TIA,
Crafty Dog
22970  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Ohio fire, CAIR, & Salah Soltan on: January 21, 2012, 08:25:48 PM
Ohio Fire Illuminates CAIR's Inconsistency

IPT News
January 20, 2012

http://www.investigativeproject.org/3391/ohio-fire-illuminates-cair-inconsistency

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Can a hate peddler be the victim of a hate crime?

The people at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) seem to think so. It
is not clear whether they agree that Salah Soltan, a former leader in the Columbus,
Ohio Muslim community who is hailed by some Islamists as an influential scholar, is
a hate monger. He has issued fatwas sanctioning the murder of Zionists, and who has
said the 9/11 attacks were "planned within the U.S., in order to enable the U.S. to
control and terrorize the entire world."

Soltan's home in Hilliard was nearly destroyed early Monday morning in a fire
described as arson by local investigators. Soltan's adult son and a roommate escaped
without injuries. CAIR issued a statement asking the FBI to investigate the fire as
a hate crime, noting two recent incidents in which anti-Muslim graffiti was painted
on the house.

This is not to minimize the severity of the crime, which thankfully resulted in no
injuries, but the case serves as an example of how dangerous radicalism like
Soltan's gets sugar-coated by his supporters and by the media.

CAIR's release about the fire makes no mention of his history of incitement, or of
the fact that it worked with Soltan, who also helped establish the Muslim American
Society and spent years in Ohio running the American Center for Islamic Research and
lecturing at the Islamic Society of Greater Columbus. There is no record of CAIR
condemning Soltan's radicalism when he lived in Ohio or since he left the country
for Bahrain about five years ago.

Soltan signed CAIR's 2005 fatwa against terrorism. But he has repeatedly praised
Hamas, endorsing "the creed of Jihad and Resistance" while rejecting the very
concept of a peaceful settlement to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. He serves on
the board of trustees for influential Muslim Brotherhood theologian Yusuf
al-Qaradawi's International Union for Muslim Scholars.

Media reports from Columbus news outlets refer to Soltan as a "controversial Islamic
scholar."

Ricky Gervais hosting the Golden Globes again was controversial. College football's
system of declaring a champion is controversial. But Soltan is more than
"controversial:" by his words and actions, he has spread the most virulent
anti-Semitism and endorsed violence.

In August, Soltan issued a fatwa during a rally in Cairo saying "whoever meets a
Zionist in Egypt, it is his right to kill him."

During the Jewish holiday of Passover in 2010, Soltan appeared on the
Hamas-affiliated Al-Aqsa television station in Gaza where he invoked the blood libel
against Jews. Zionists killed a French doctor and his nurse, Soltan claimed, "Then
they kneaded the matzos with the blood of Dr. Toma and his nurse. They do this every
year."

Osama bin Laden's terrorism, Soltan said last year, is not as bad as American
terrorism because bin Laden acted "in the defense of Islam and the resistance
against the occupiers," while the United States acts only "in defense of hegemony,
oppression, and tyranny."

CAIR, which has a record of touting alleged hate crimes which do not turn out to be
right, does not allow consideration that Soltan may not have been targeted solely
for his faith; the house that was set on fire also is the listed address for
Soltan's former research center.

Soltan may have returned to the United States in the wake of the fire. Egypt's
Al-Ahram newspaper reports that officials there wanted to question him regarding
insults he may have made toward the Egyptian army, but that was postponed "to allow
him to travel urgently to the US."

An article on Soltan's website blamed "the Zionist entity" for the fire, vowing that
"such brutal attacks will not deter us from continuing our struggle and jihad in the
way of God Almighty in order to achieve the liberation of al Aqsa, the prisoners
Jerusalem and Palestine."

Rather than believing two wrongs don't make a right, Soltan took the destruction of
his property to call for jihad against Israel.

The FBI defines a hate crime as a regular offense "with an added element of bias"
including race, religion, sexuality and other factors. In other words, because the
victims are black, or gay, or Muslim, they are targeted for the crime.

If Salah's home was targeted, it likely wasn't merely due to his faith. That doesn't
make it any less deplorable. But neither is it a hate crime.

Read More: Salah Soltan, blood libel, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Hamas, The Council on
American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)

The IPT accepts no funding from outside the United States, or from any governmental
agency or political or religious institutions. Your support of The Investigative
Project on Terrorism is critical in winning a battle we cannot afford to lose. All
donations are tax-deductible. Click here to donate online. The Investigative Project
on Terrorism Foundation is a recognized 501(c)3 organization.
22971  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / How far does this reach? on: January 21, 2012, 08:15:07 PM
Not Just A Democrat Dirty Trick, But A Crime


A few years ago, as part of its strategy of facilitating voter fraud as a means of winning close elections, the Democratic Party undertook a campaign to secure as many Secretary of State offices in swing states as possible. From those perches, the Democrats would be in a position to oversee elections and enforce (or decline to enforce) election laws. That strategy has been quite successful, but the Democrats suffered a setback in Iowa in 2010 when conservative Republican Matt Schultz won an upset victory in the Secretary of State race. Since then, Iowa Democrats have targeted Schultz.

That targeting has taken a sinister turn–a criminal one, in fact–as the Des Moines Register reports:

A Des Moines man has been arrested after police say he used, or tried to use, the identity of Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz in a scheme to falsely implicate Schultz in perceived unethical behavior in office.

Zachary Edwards was arrested Friday and charged with identity theft.

The Iowa Department of Public Safety issued a news release saying Schultz’s office discovered the scheme on June 24, 2011 and notified authorities.

Iowa blogger Shane Vander Hart has more here.

Edwards is a former Obama staffer who directed “new media operations” for Obama in five states during the 2008 primaries. Thereafter, he was Obama’s Director of New Media for the State of Iowa. In the Democratic Party’s lexicon, “new media” apparently includes identity theft.

Edwards now works for LINK Strategies, a Democratic consulting firm with extraordinarily close ties to Iowa Democrat Tom Harkin. Its principal, Jeff Link, has served as Harkin’s campaign manager and chief of staff. Link, too, is a former Obama staffer. The LINK Strategies web site says that Jeff Link “served as a media consultant to the Obama for President Campaign, coordinating branding, all paid media and polling in 25 states, including seven battleground states (VA, NC, FL, CO, NM, NV, MT)….”

That Edwards allegedly tried to steal the Secretary of State’s identity in order to frame Schultz for “unethical behavior in office” is no coincidence. Iowa Democrats, as Kevin Hall of the Iowa Republican points out, have mounted a campaign of false accusations against Schultz:

Since his surprise victory over incumbent Michael Mauro in November 2010, Secretary of State Schultz has been a target of the Iowa Democratic Party. Interestingly, on June 24, the same day as Zach Edwards alleged crime, Under the Golden Dome, a blog connected to Iowa Democrats, launched a three-part series of articles critical of Matt Schultz. They were based on documents obtained through an open records request from “a tipster.” The blog alleged that a batch of emails from Schultz’s office “raise some serious questions about his ability to remain independent and ensure election integrity”.

Just 15 days earlier, on June 9, the Iowa Democratic Party filed an ethics complaint against Schultz, claiming the Secretary of State of used public resources to campaign against presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman. The Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board dismissed the complaint on July 19.

So on its face, Edwards’s identity theft appears to be part of a coordinated effort by the Iowa Democratic Party to bring down the Republican Secretary of State so he can be replaced with a Democrat. We hope that Edwards will get the long jail term that he deserves, but the more important question is, from whom was he taking instructions? Circumstantially, one would guess from his boss, Jeff Link. But if so, who was instructing (and paying?) Link’s firm? The White House? Tom Harkin? Iowa’s Democratic Party?

Much like Watergate, which began with a seemingly simple (if puzzling) burglary and ultimately unraveled the Nixon administration, it is impossible to say how far the trail of criminality will go if the Edwards case is pursued aggressively. Will that happen? I don’t know; stay tuned.
22972  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cunningham to plead the 5th; AZ to open its own investigation on: January 21, 2012, 08:11:47 PM
second post:

Federal official in Arizona to plead the fifth and not answer questions on 'furious'

By William La Jeunesse

Published January 20, 2012

FoxNews.com


The chief of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona is refusing to testify before Congress regarding Operation Fast and Furious, the federal gun-running scandal that sent U.S. weapons to Mexico.

Patrick J. Cunningham informed the House Oversight Committee late Thursday through his attorney that he will use the Fifth Amendment protection.

Cunningham was ordered Wednesday to appear before Chairman Darrell Issa and the House Oversight Committee regarding his role in the operation that sent more than 2,000 guns to the Sinaloa Cartel. Guns from the failed operation were found at the murder scene of Border Agent Brian Terry.

The letter from Cunningham’s Washington DC attorney stunned congressional staff. Last week, Cunningham, the second highest ranking U.S. Attorney in Arizona, was scheduled to appear before Issa‘s committee voluntarily. Then, he declined and Issa issued a subpoena.

Cunningham is represented by Tobin Romero of Williams and Connolly who is a specialist in white collar crime. In the letter, he suggests witnesses from the Department of Justice in Washington, who have spoken in support of Attorney General Eric Holder, are wrong or lying.

“Department of Justice officials have reported to the Committee that my client relayed inaccurate information to the Department upon which it relied in preparing its initial response to Congress. If, as you claim, Department officials have blamed my client, they have blamed him unfairly,” the letter to Issa says.

Romero claims Cunningham did nothing wrong and acted in good faith, but the Department of Justice in Washington is making him the fall guy, claiming he failed to accurately provide the Oversight Committee with information on the execution of Fast and Furious.

"To avoid needless preparation by the Committee and its staff for a deposition next week, I am writing to advise you that my client is going to assert his constitutional privilege not to be compelled to be a witness against himself." Romero told Issa.

This schism is the first big break in what has been a unified front in the government’s defense of itself in the gun-running scandal. Cunningham claims he is a victim of a conflict between two branches of government and will not be compelled to be a witnesses against himself, and make a statement that could be later used by a grand jury or special prosecutor to indict him on criminal charges.
==============

Arizona's state legislature will open its own investigation into the Obama administration's disgraced gun-running program, known as "Fast and Furious," the speaker of the state House said Friday.


Speaker Andy Tobin created the committee, and charged it with looking at whether the program broke any state laws — raising the possibility of state penalties against those responsible for the operation.


It's a turnaround from the rest of the immigration issue, where the federal government has sued to block the state's own set of laws.
A law requiring businesses to check new workers' legal status was upheld by the Supreme Court last year, and the court has agreed to hear the case of Arizona's crackdown law that makes being an illegal immigrant a state crime and gives state and local police the power to enforce that law.


Fast and Furious was a straw-purchase program run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The goal was to try to trace guns sold in Arizona shops and then trafficked across the Mexican border, where they landed in the hands of drug cartels.


As part of the operation, however, agents let the guns "walk" — meaning they lost track of them. At least two of the guns ended up at the scene where Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in a shootout with Mexican bandits along a smuggling corridor in Arizona.


Mr. Tobin will announce the committee's jurisdiction at a press conference in Phoenix on Monday. The committee is charged with looking into the facts about the program, what impact it had on Arizona and whether any of the state's laws were broken.


A report is due back by March 30.
Arizona's investigation into Fast and Furious comes on top of an investigation by Republicans in Congress.
On Friday the chief of the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Arizona told a House committee he will decline to answer their questions next week, citing his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.
The official's lawyer, in a letter to the committee, said his client is innocent but is "ensnared by the unfortunate circumstances in which he now stands between two branches of government."


http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/...es-feds-over-/
By Stephen Dinan
22973  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: January 21, 2012, 08:05:47 PM
 rolleyes Reality check.  We helped Afg throw the Russians out and left them along until they hosted an attack on our homeland.  As for Pak, I'll wait and see if YA jumps in, but until then would note that there are lots of seriously tough places on the planet that do not teach their children to commit suicide.  Only Iran, the Palestinian territories, and Afpakia come to mind.
22974  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / DC Fed District Court rules in favor on ATF's multiple sale regs on: January 21, 2012, 08:01:53 PM
This from Gun Owners of America.  GOA's emails have started appearing in my email box, but I am not really familiar with them.

Well, this past Friday, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a setback to gun owners. The issue involved a lawsuit challenging Barack Obama’s illegal multiple sales regulations. [NSSF v. Jones, Acting Director, BATFE.]
 
Through those regulations, Obama has demanded, by regulatory fiat, that firearms licensees in four southwestern states report multiple sales of certain long guns to the federal government.   
 
In upholding this action, Judge Rosemary Collyer -– a Bush appointee! –- ignored the Constitution, the Supreme Court’s decision in the Heller case, and the clear language of federal law.
 
Of course, this once again underscores the danger of putting all our eggs in the “court basket.” It’s not a bad idea to challenge unconstitutional measures in the courts, but it’s problematic if we look to them as being the ultimate defenders of our gun rights. Clearly, they are not.
 
Among other things, Judge Collyer ignored the obvious language of the 1986 McClure-Volkmer Act, which prohibits the ATF from demanding any information on gun owners other than information explicitly allowed by statute.
 
Specifically, the section states: “Such [licensees] shall not be required to submit to the Attorney General reports and information with respect to such records and the contents thereof, except as expressly required by this section.” (18 U.S.C. 923(g)(1))
 
Paragraph (g)(5) allows the Attorney General to demand information by issuing a “demand letter,” but participants in the drafting of McClure-Volkmer affirm that this was not intended to trump the paragraph (1) limitation, in order to statutorily mandate reporting requirements.
 
To interpret paragraph (g)(5), as Obama and Attorney General Holder have interpreted it, is to say that there are NO limits on the information the Attorney General can demand -– up to and including every 4473 in the country.
 
In opening this door, Collyer cited much narrower decisions in the Fourth and the liberal Ninth Circuit, but expanded them beyond any judicial precedent. Citing a test that looked at whether the ATF’s action constituted a “clear error of judgment” or was “arbitrary or capricious,” Collyer gave all of the benefit of the doubt to Obama -– and none to the Second Amendment, which wasn’t even considered in her 21-page opinion.
 
The decision will presumably be appealed to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals -– a supposedly “conservative” circuit that nevertheless upheld ObamaCare.   
 
But the larger issue is this: Congress can block these regulations by simply cutting off the money to implement them. Last fall, we demanded that the House include such a prohibition in its giant money bill. But congressional leaders ignored the Second Amendment community on this and a variety of other pro-gun issues, including defunding ObamaCare.
 
It is late in the game. But there is still an opportunity to prohibit funding for the multiple sales regulations on the annual Department of Justice Appropriations bill and the “continuing resolution” which will inevitably follow around September 30.
 
True, a lot of damage will have been done by that point. But we cannot allow to stand the precedent that the Attorney General can seize any and all gun-related information, simply by saying he wants it.
 
ACTION: Click here to ontact your representative. Tell him Congress must act to block funding for the unlawful, anti-gun Obama multiple sales regulations.
22975  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Emergency Tips and Emergency Medicine on: January 21, 2012, 07:48:36 PM
Looking for basic input on the proper use of Quick Clot; when to use, when not to use.

I gather there are now "QC sponges" for civilian use, to lessen the risk of inappropriate use.

I am coming at this not only from a desire to inform myself, but also because I am moving forward on our catalog offering a trauma kit.  I'm thinking that QC should be included, but I'm also wondering about what info should be included.
22976  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Guro Crafty in Salt Lake City January 21-22 on: January 21, 2012, 07:45:16 PM
I was housed in the DVQ (Distinguised Visitors Quarters) last night on base.  I confess it chuckled me greatly to be a DV.

Good times at the seminar today and looking forward to more tomorrow.
22977  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor: The Dance continues on: January 21, 2012, 07:33:37 PM
Japan on Thursday became the first country to officially inform Washington that it
would seek a waiver from pending U.S. sanctions on foreign institutions doing
business with Iran's central bank. Japanese officials delivered the message to a
visiting U.S. government delegation. Other importers of Iranian crude, including
India, China and South Korea, have either waffled in their commitment to support the
U.S.-led sanctions or expressed an outright dismissal of them.

Washington passed sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran as part of a larger defense
authorization bill Dec. 31. Nations that agree to abide by the sanctions have a
six-month window to comply, during which time they can continue buying crude from
Iran. This is similar to proposed EU sanctions that will be discussed Jan. 23. As
with the 2010 U.N. sanctions banning gasoline sales to Iran, these sanctions are
unlikely to have the desired effect of crippling Iran's economy to the point of
Iranian capitulation. The same goes for the European Union's planned embargo, which
will be replete with loopholes for objecting states. Beyond trying to financially
strain Iran, the sanctions rhetoric is designed to keep Iran and its nuclear
ambitions in the headlines and to demonstrate publicly that action is being taken
against Iran, while quieter clandestine efforts are in play.

The last three months have seen the latest round of a cycle that has played out
repeatedly over the last several years: Israel escalates claims that Iran is close
to attaining a bomb that could threaten the existence of the Jewish state. The
United States and Europe then propose hardened sanctions aimed at deterring that
activity -- while Washington makes sure to note that military options remain on the
table -- and Iran responds by threatening to disrupt the shipment of oil through the
Strait of Hormuz, enervating global energy markets. The rhetoric in this
circumstance belies the actors' capabilities. Israel knows it has limited ability to
launch a successful airstrike on Iran, while the United States wants to avoid a new
war with a Persian Gulf state, and Tehran does not want to incur the economic cost
of shutting down the Strait of Hormuz.

Israeli rhetoric markedly shifted Wednesday. Defense Minister Ehud Barak told
Israeli Army Radio that an attack on Iran by his country is not soon forthcoming,
and he downplayed the immediacy of the threat posed by Iran's nuclear efforts.
Barak's comments came the day before U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen.
Martin Dempsey traveled to Israel. An article published Thursday in Israeli media,
written by a journalist with close ties to Barak, claimed that Dempsey would be
briefed on an Israeli intelligence assessment indicating that Iran has not yet tried
building a deliverable nuclear device. The assessment also implies that the Iranian
regime is more preoccupied with the potential for unrest following parliamentary
elections in March than it is with moving forward with its nuclear program.

A visit by a high-level U.S. defense official to Israel was already guaranteed to
capture Iran's attention, especially coming on the heels of Iranian military
maneuvers centered on the Strait of Hormuz. Israel and the United States could have
hinted at a possible attack in an effort to further their psychological warfare
campaign against Iran. Instead, Israel has done essentially the opposite, choosing
to de-emphasize the urgency of the Iranian nuclear threat. Notably, this follows
revelations that the United States reached out to Iran amid tensions over the Strait
of Hormuz. Israel's recent rhetoric on the Iranian nuclear program in many ways
takes the wind out of an already tottering sanctions campaign. The question is why
Israel would do this.

Israel could be employing psychological warfare tactics, lowering Iran's guard in
preparation for an attack. But Israel could not carry out such an attack
unilaterally, and the United States is giving no indication it is ready for a
military confrontation in one of the world's most vital energy thoroughfares. Israel
seems pleased with the progression of its covert military campaign against Iran (the
recent death of an Iranian chemist associated with the nuclear program could serve
to bolster that confidence), and thus does not seem motivated to push Washington
toward a military campaign the United States wants no part of. Israel may be willing
to see what comes out of the United States' latest attempt at dialogue with Iran.
Israel is even doing its part to create an atmosphere more conducive to those talks,
while relying on its covert capabilities to address Iran's nuclear threat.

And so, after a months-long buildup in tensions that again raised in the media the
possibility of a looming regional war, it appears rhetoric is cooling for now. U.S.
sanctions will likely leave space for allies of the United States to continue buying
Iranian crude (albeit at reduced levels); Washington is reportedly reaching out to
Iran for a diplomatic dialogue, while Iran has temporarily dialed down its bellicose
rhetoric regarding the Strait of Hormuz; and the Israelis, through the conduit of
Barak, have indicated that they are content for now with this course of action.
22978  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: January 21, 2012, 07:31:47 PM
I would proffer the probability that Romeny's weenie response on his tax returns this past week typifies how he will respond to class warfare from Barak and the Demogogues.

Oh, and btw, NEWT WINS grin grin grin
22979  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Newt Gingrich on: January 21, 2012, 07:27:48 PM
I disagree.  I have seen him readily agree on his failings in the past.

Oh, and by the way m, , , Pravda on the Hudson has projected Newt as the winner in SC today  grin grin grin
22980  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: January 21, 2012, 07:25:32 PM
 rolleyes

What do you make of the fact that they are modelling commiting suicide?
22981  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Fatah fuct, and so is "peace process" on: January 20, 2012, 02:35:40 AM
The cognitive dissonance produced by this article is simply amazing. 

Palestinian Fatah looks ill-prepared for election
 
In this photo taken Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012, Kifah Iwaiwi, a district Fatah party leader speaks at his office in the West Bank City of Hebron. Fatah, the mainstream Palestinian national movement whose survival is key to hopes for a peace deal with Israel, appears ill-prepared for a promised electoral showdown with the Islamic militant Hamas. (AP Photo - Nasser Shiyoukhi)
KARIN LAUB
From Associated Press
January 20, 2012 2:24 AM EST
HEBRON, West Bank (AP) — Fatah, the mainstream Palestinian national movement whose survival is key to hopes for a peace deal with Israel, appears ill-prepared for a promised electoral showdown with the Islamic militant Hamas.

The movement's leaders, blaming Fatah's loss to Hamas in 2006 parliament elections on lack of organization, say this time they've come up with a detailed plan to mobilize supporters and field attractive candidates. But skeptics note the party, known for epic infighting, hasn't even begun looking for a presidential candidate to replace leader Mahmoud Abbas, 76, who says he is retiring.


Some say the movement that once cast itself as a band of swashbuckling revolutionaries needs "rebranding" — its star dimmed after two decades of corruption-tainted rule in the Palestinian autonomy zones and the failure of negotiations with Israel meant to produce an independent state.

In the West Bank's largest city of Hebron, district party leader Kifah Iwaiwi said he spent much of the past four years on the job apologizing for the past misbehavior of Fatah members. Relying largely on volunteers and donations in the campaign, Iwaiwi said one of Fatah's biggest assets, at least locally, is the ability to solve voters' personal problems because of its ties to the Palestinian Authority.

Fatah and Hamas — after several years of running rival governments in the West Bank and Gaza — agreed in principle to "reconcile" and hold presidential and parliamentary elections by May 2012. Since then, Islamists have emerged victorious in parliamentary elections in Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco, feeding a fear that the Palestinian territories — if elections indeed are held — could be next.

A political takeover of the West Bank as well by an unreformed, globally shunned Hamas would isolate the Palestinians, crushing any hopes for peace and a negotiated path to Palestinian independence. It could also mean the end to hundreds of millions of dollars worth of annual foreign aid from the West, which regards Hamas as a terror group.

"Everyone feels that if Fatah falls down again, it's the end," said Iwaiwi. Hebron overwhelmingly voted for the Islamists last time.

Fatah may be helped this time by some disillusionment with Hamas, which seized Gaza by force in 2007. Pollster Khalil Shikaki sees a drop in the Islamists' popularity, from 44 percent in 2006 to 29 percent today — but a fifth of respondents are undecided, and pollsters failed to predict the stunning 2006 upset by Hamas.

The election date is linked to progress in slow-moving reconciliation talks, and Abbas' initial election date of May 4 already seems out of reach.

Central Elections Commission director Hisham Kheil said he still awaits Hamas permission to update voter records in Gaza, a process of some six weeks. Elections would be held about three months after preparations are completed, with the date set in a presidential degree by Abbas.

The delay has raised questions about whether Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal are genuinely committed to elections. They announced again last month that they are ready to end the split, but the goodwill gestures promised at the time, such as releasing political detainees and lifting travel bans, have not been carried out. They plan to meet again in Cairo in early February.

Each faces some opposition in their movements, and power-sharing comes at a steep price, especially for Abbas who would lose international support by bringing Hamas into the fold.

Abbas has told Fatah's 22-member decision-making Central Committee repeatedly that he is serious about retiring and moving forward with elections, and that the party had better find a presidential candidate.

But polls show that only Abbas could defeat a Hamas candidate, and that his lieutenants — except senior Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, imprisoned by Israel — would win minimal voter support.

Meanwhile, the party is arguing over how to choose the candidates for parliament. Chaotic primaries in 2006 were blamed for Fatah's defeat: many of those who weren't picked in the primaries ran as independents and split the vote, helping Hamas candidates win certain districts.

The Central Committee wants to skip primaries this time and pick the candidates, said Mohammed Madani, head of Fatah's election campaign.

Such a decision, however, would antagonize those seeking a more democratic process, including party elders who advocate choosing the candidates for president and parliament in a convention, not in back rooms.

"Fatah lost the last election due to an accumulation of errors. I do not see that it has learned from its mistakes," said Nabil Amr, one of the party elders who have been sidelined.

Shikaki's latest poll puts Fatah ahead of Hamas by 43 to 29 percent, with 11 percent backing other factions and 17 percent undecided. In the presidential race Abbas tops Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas by 55 to 37 percent. Jailed Fatah icon Barghouti would defeat a Hamas candidate with 54 percent, while senior Abbas aide Saeb Erekat would lose with just 7 percent. The mid-December survey of 1,260 carried an error margin of 3 percentage points.


No one knows quite what to make of the polls.

Many believe Islamist support — as elsewhere throughout the Arab world — may be under-measured systematically in such surveys. In the West Bank specifically, Hamas backers may not always be honest about their political leanings because of the ongoing crackdown on the Islamists by Abbas' security forces.

With all the uncertainty, Abbas and Mashaal could also keep postponing the election.

Hamas is confident of victory, but fears that it would be a pointless one if, just as in 2006, its West Bank candidates are harassed and arrested by Israel. Abbas might come under growing pressure from Fatah to call off the vote, as he did in 2010 when he canceled local elections after it became apparent his party would lose.
22982  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: January 20, 2012, 12:24:37 AM
I gather they also claim mines that lurk on the bottom which are then released to float up as a ship passes overhead.
22983  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Newt Gingrich on: January 20, 2012, 12:23:22 AM
Arguably he has matured since 15 years ago-- in part due to his being brought low, in part due to his time in the wilderness, in part due to the natural passage of time.
22984  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / NYPD wants to use technology to scan for guns on: January 20, 2012, 12:21:38 AM
There is much to quibble with in that piece, but the examples given are not the only ones.

==========================

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/01/17/nypd-researching-gun-scanning-technology-for-city-streets/

NYC police pursuing technology to scan pedestrians for guns
www.foxnews.com
The NYPD is working in conjunction with the Department of Defense to further crack down on illegal guns in the city by researching technology that could detect concealed weapons on people as they walk down the street, the New York Post reports.
22985  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / More from Cong. Issa on: January 20, 2012, 12:18:34 AM
Issa issues another subpoena in probe of 'Fast and Furious'
By Jordy Yager - 01/19/12 01:22 PM ET


Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has subpoenaed a senior official from the U.S. Attorney's Office in his investigation of the botched gun-tracking operation "Fast and Furious."

Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, issued a subpoena for Patrick Cunningham, the chief of the Phoenix office’s criminal division within the U.S. Attorney’s office in Arizona.

In a letter to Cunningham sent on Wednesday, Issa said Justice Department (DOJ) officials have suggested that Cunningham is “the most appropriate person to interview from the U.S. Attorney’s Office regarding Operation Fast and Furious.”

“Senior Justice Department officials have recently told the committee that you relayed inaccurate and misleading information to the department in preparation for its initial response to Congress,” said Issa in the letter, which was made public on Thursday.

Though Issa does not specify what “initial response to Congress” he is referring to, he is likely talking about a letter from DOJ sent last year to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) that contained false statements about the operation led by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

One Republican lawmaker, Wisconsin Rep. James Sensenbrenner, has suggested impeaching Attorney General Eric Holder for lying to Congress.

In that February letter, which has since been rescinded, DOJ stated that it did everything in its power to make sure that firearms do not cross the border into Mexico.

Later, it came to light that Operation Fast and Furious oversaw the sale of nearly 2,000 guns to known and suspected straw buyers for Mexican drug cartels. Officials did not provide surveillance for the weapons — a highly controversial and frowned upon tactic known as letting guns “walk” — which has caused many of the firearms to go missing.

In late 2010, two of the guns sold under the operation were found at the murder scene of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry in Arizona miles from the border.

Issa said that Cunningham insisted that “no unacceptable tactics were used” in Fast and Furious even after the “initial response” to Congress.

Issa has been investigating the operation and the tactics it used since March of last year. Holder and President Obama have denied ever approving or knowing about the tactics used in Fast and Furious. A separate inspector general investigation has been ongoing since March 2011 as well.

Holder is scheduled to appear before Issa's committee in two weeks.

The committee has been working with Cunningham’s lawyer since August to try and arrange an interview, and one had been scheduled for Thursday, according to Issa’s letter. But Cunningham canceled on Tuesday, leading the chairman to issue a subpoena.

“As a result of your recalcitrance and inflexible positions, the committee is now forced to engage in compulsory process to obtain your testimony,” Issa stated.

Cunningham was named once before in a subpoena Issa issued in October that sought email communications between top DOJ officials. In the subpoena was a request for correspondence sent to or from Cunningham between the dates of Dec. 16 and Dec. 18, 2009, Dec. 15 and Dec. 17, 2010, and March 9 and March 14, 2011.

Cunningham joined the U.S. Attorney’s office in Arizona in late 2009 and worked directly under former U.S. Attorney for Arizona Dennis Burke. Burke, who oversaw much of the legal advice given during Operation Fast and Furious, resigned in August.

A spokesperson for the Justice Department declined to comment. Requests for comment from the U.S. Attorney's office in Arizona were not immediately returned.

This story has been updated to clarify that a senior official for the U.S. Attorney's Office was subpoenaed.
22986  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Sarah Palin and Rick Perry endorse Newt on: January 19, 2012, 10:37:50 AM
I just heard that Perry has endorsed Newt.

And this from the Newt folks:

Dear Friend,

Newt Gingrich is surging.

Newt won the debate Monday night - it wasn't even close. Then Sarah Palin told Sean
Hannity last night on Fox that she'd vote for Newt if she had a vote in South
Carolina. And just this morning, a new Rasmussen poll showed Newt within three
points of Mitt Romney!

Please watch this video and you'll see why we have so much momentum right now:

http://list.dickmorris.com/t/134051/613051/884/2/

Here's what others said:

Frank Luntz: "I've never seen it in a debate and I've been doing these debates now
for 16 years - a standing ovation in the middle of a debate!"

Dick Morris: "Newt, Newt, Newt. He was absolutely terrific tonight? He might win on
Saturday!"

Kathryn Lopez of National Review: "This will get watched and re-watched."

Everything is going our way right now, but we are running out of time.  Please check
out the note from Newt below and help us win this critical primary here in South
Carolina on Saturday.

http://list.dickmorris.com/t/134051/613051/884/4/

Sincerely,

Michael Krull

Campaign Manager

Newt 2012
22987  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: January 19, 2012, 10:19:15 AM
Perry who?  cheesy

"Generally speaking, presidents with approval ratings below 50 percent are in danger. President George H.W. Bush had 46 percent at this stage of his presidency and went down to defeat.  On the other hand, President Clinton also was at 46 percent in January 1996 and won re-election."

Worth noting is that he won with well less than 50% of the vote due to Ross Perot.   Will Ron Paul do the same thing to the same effect?
22988  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: January 19, 2012, 10:13:54 AM
As best as the lowly layman reader can tell, those three pieces are rather impressive-- especially the Jonescu one--thank you BBG.  I note btw, the second posted material, references the variable I have been asking Chuck to address, namely solar activity.

Anyway, Chuck, over to you.
22989  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Internet and related technology on: January 19, 2012, 10:02:39 AM
"While the folks at the “Copyright Alliance” pretend to be looking out for the interests of independent filmmakers and authors, the fact is that the only paying members of their lobbying group seem to be big corporations, corporations that aren’t worried about creators, they’re worried about profits. Given a choice between a great film and a profitable one, they’d pick the profitable one every time. Given the choice between paying net profits to creators and adjusting the accounting…"

I disagree with this.  It profoundly misses the fact that property rights and profit are good.

I'm willing to entertain the notion that there may be serious unintended side effects and it remains to be seen whether the drafting of the legislation can address these concerns or not, but I am not willing to agree to the additional assertion that people SHOULD be able to steal my work.

Like our Constitution, I believe in copyright. 

Do you?

Why or why not?

The simple fact is that there are sites dedicated to making people's work e.g. martial arts instructional DVDs, downloadable for free.   Your TED guy talks about reversing the presumption of innocent until proven guilty, but in the real world what is someone to do when the site is completely anonymous and located both nowhere and everywhere?  As a matter of legislative drafting I'd have no problem with having two different courses of legal remedy.   For a site that is run by identifiable persons (legal or corporate) then the usual legal framework remains.   For those which seek to anonymously steal, well then the legal route of what is effectively a TRO (temporary restraining order) seems rather reasonable to me.
22990  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / New battlefield tourniquet on: January 19, 2012, 09:34:05 AM
http://blog.al.com/businessnews/2012...tml#incart_hbx

Birmingham and Georgia physicians invent new tourniquet for the battlefield
Published: Wednesday, January 18, 2012, 8:00 AM
By Stan Diel -- The Birmingham News The Birmingham News

The abdominal aortic tourniquet should save lives on the battlefield, said its co-inventor, Birmingham's Dr. John Croushorn.

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- A Birmingham emergency medicine doctor and a Georgia physician have developed an inflatable tourniquet they believe will save lives on the battlefield by stopping bleeding from severe abdominal wounds.

Dr. John Croushorn, former head of emergency medicine at Trinity Medical Center and a former combat surgeon and helicopter door gunner in Iraq, on Tuesday said the inflatable device is an answer to gunshot wounds just below soldiers' body armor.

Insurgents often aim below the body armor, where damage to large, inaccessible blood vessels in the pelvis can be fatal within minutes. The device developed by Croushorn and Dr. Richard Schwartz, head of emergency medicine at the Medical College of Georgia, is placed around the body at the level of the belly button and inflated to compress the aorta.

The device mimics a long-standing combat medicine technique of using one's knee to apply pressure to the abdomen, cutting off all blood flow to lower extremities.

"Those wounds are devastating," Croushorn said in an interview. "They make very large holes and injure a lot of different things. So you just sort have to turn all of the blood flow off for a little bit."

Such wounds aren't the most common on a battlefield, he said, but they are among the most common causes of preventable combat deaths.

The device, which Croushorn said looks a little like a fanny pack, secures around the waist and is inflated using a hand pump. A gauge turns green when the pressure is sufficient to halt blood flow. Then the patient can be evacuated to a medical facility.

Studies on pigs have shown that the device can be left in place for an hour, which should be enough time to get the wounded to more sophisticated care.

Research on the device was bankrolled in part by the U.S. Department of Defense, and its path through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration bureaucracy was expedited because the military believed it could save lives on the battlefield. It won FDA "premarket" approval in October, a little more than a year after the application was filed. Most medical devices take three to five years to win premarket approval.

Croushorn and Schwartz have created a company to market the device, Compression Works LLC, and hope to have it in full production by April or May, Croushorn said. Military special operations commands, which have budgets separate from the military at large, already have placed orders, he said.

In addition to its military application, the device also may have civilian applications for victims of auto accidents and other such trauma, he said.

And it also could be proven to improve the survival rate for heart attack victims by increasing the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart during chest compressions, Croushorn said.

Both Croushorn and Schwartz have experience in military medicine. Croushorn served as command surgeon of Task Force 185 Aviation in the U.S. Army in Iraq in 2004, he said. He left the Mississippi National Guard as a major. Schwartz was a member of the Fifth Special Forces Group during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm,
22991  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: January 19, 2012, 12:24:10 AM
There is also the not-so-minor matter that one can LOSE money in the market, in real estate, etc.  Trust me on this one  cry
22992  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Surf Dog and TUF in Brazil on: January 18, 2012, 11:55:14 PM
Surf Dog, who has become one of the top judges in MMA (regularly judging the UFC, Strikeforce, TUF, etc) will be one of the judges for this coming season where the coaches are Vitor Belfort and Vanderlei Silva.  The season will be in Brazil, filming begins Feb 6.  Surf Dog will be there for 6 weeks.

In other news female MMA fighter "Cyborg" tested positive for steroids after knocking out her Japanese opponent in 16 seconds.
22993  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Internet and related technology on: January 18, 2012, 10:26:27 PM
I would submit that this forum comes nowhere close to meeting the criterion of being "dedicated to piracy", contrast various sites I have seen dedicated to theft.   That said, the GOA piece on what the Brady folks have tried to get away with gives pause, and Glenn Beck certainly has credibility with me as well.

This is not to say that much/most of the opposition comes from folks who simply wish to keep stealing and that piracy is not a real problem.

I have no problem acknowledging that considerable drafting issues remain for this legislation to become worthy of passage.
22994  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Self Defense with Pistols on: January 18, 2012, 10:19:52 PM
I would note that there seems to have been zero preparation of these students by the police for actually drawing the gun.  Then the students were given holsters remarkably unsuited for drawing the gun while wearing clothing that made the draw even less likely to succeed.
22995  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Fire Hydrant: Howls from Crafty Dog, Rules of the Road, etc on: January 18, 2012, 10:05:40 PM
Looking forward to this  cool

Changing subjects, currently I am at the SHOT Show in Las Vegas.  We will be offering a number of new items in our catalog in the coming weeks.
22996  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / SOPA and related legislation on: January 18, 2012, 09:05:22 PM


Bringing the conversation over to here from Homeland Security and American Freedom:

I note that my man Glenn Beck opposes the current bills and here's this email which I received today:

=====================


By now, you are no doubt aware that several websites have either gone
totally or partially "dark" today in protest of the
pernicious internet legislation that will be coming to a vote next
week.  Wikipedia and Google are just two of the websites which are
protesting in this manner.

And while you may have not paid much attention to this story, you need
to know that the "muzzle the web" legislation these sites are
protesting could also affect your ability to get gun-related
information on websites like GOA's.

The reason is that S. 968 could, in its final form, allow the Brady
Campaign to partially shut down our GOA website and our organization
(plus many other pro-gun websites) with a series of factually accurate,
but legally frivolous complaints.

The Senate bill and its House counterpart have accurately been called
"a direct attack on the underpinnings of the web."

True, many of the most serious "gun problems" are in the
House counterpart.  But the reality is this:  We are within a few votes
of killing the whole concept next week in the Senate with only 41
Senate votes.

But if we allow the so-called "anti-piracy" bill to go
forward on the HOPE that the worst provisions will not make it into the
final version --- and we fail to eliminate them --- the bill may be
unstoppable.

Here are the "gun problems," as we see them:

Section 103(b)(1) of H.R. 3261 allows any "holder of an
intellectual property right" to demand that PayPal and other
payment and advertising services stop providing services to
organizations like ours, thereby shutting off our income.

How would they do this?  Perhaps by arguing that we were stealing their
intellectual property by quoting their lying misrepresentations in our
alerts.

Is this legally frivolous?  Sure it is.  But the Brady Campaign is the
King of Frivolous Complaints:

* Remember when the Brady Campaign asked the Federal Election
Commission in 2007 to shut down GOA's ability to post its candidate
ratings on the Internet?  They claimed that we were in violation of the
McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act.  Thankfully, the FEC ruled
in GOA's favor, thus enabling us to continue posting candidate ratings
without restraint.

* Remember when the Brady Campaign got 36 state and local jurisdictions
to bring frivolous lawsuits against gun manufacturers --- not in the
expectation of winning, but to drain the resources of the manufacturers
in order to halt the manufacture of guns in America?

This "muzzle the web" legislation will throw the doors open
to even more frivolous complaints.  Could we defend ourselves?  Yes, we
could.  We could file a counter notification under section 103(b)(5)
and spend years defending ourselves.  But the one thing we did learn
during the 36 frivolous lawsuits is that the anti-gun forces in America
have very deep pockets.

And the other problem is that, under section 104, our Internet
providers would be insulated from liability for shutting us down.  But
they would receive no comparable insulation from legal liability if
they refused to cut us off.

The Senate version, S. 968, has been amended, at the behest of Iowa
Senator Chuck Grassley and others, to provide many protections which
were not in its initial form.

Under section 3, the Attorney General would go to court and would have
to claim that, because of a hyperlink to an offending site, we were
"primarily" engaged in the theft of intellectual property.

We would feel a lot better about these protections if the Attorney
General were not Eric Holder, a ruthless ideologue who has demonstrated
that he will go to any lengths to destroy the Second Amendment.

So the bottom line is this:  H.R. 3261 and S. 968
would potentially empower the Brady Campaign and Eric Holder to go
after our Internet site.  To do so, they would have to make the same
frivolous arguments and engage in the same lawless activity that they
have done so often in the past.

But --- given that we're within a few votes of snuffing out that risk
by killing the bill in the Senate --- we believe it's the better course
of action to do so.

ACTION:  Contact your Senators.  Ask them to vote against S. 968, every
chance they get.
22997  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: January 18, 2012, 09:02:53 PM
Lets take this over to the Internet thread on the SCH forum.

http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=1167.new#new
22998  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Morris: Newt is Newt again on: January 18, 2012, 08:51:29 PM
NEWT IS FINALLY NEWT AGAIN

By DICK MORRIS

Published on TheHill.com on January 17, 2012

The impostor who wallowed in negative ads, attacked capitalism at Bain Capital and
hemmed and hawed when asked about his role at Freddie Mac is gone. The real Newt
Gingrich has returned!

The former Speaker was in his element during Monday night's GOP debate in South
Carolina. Inspired and egged on by a conservative crowd and appealing to a national
TV audience, he put red meat before the voters. Rick Santorum, by contrast, served
only white-meat chicken. (It was a GOP debate, so nobody served pork.)

When Newt spoke about the importance of a work ethic and criticized Fox News's Juan
Williams for implying that being a janitor was demeaning for young people, he gave
vent to the frustrations of millions of Americans chafing under the restraints of
political correctness.

And when he savaged Ron Paul for comparing Osama bin Laden to a Chinese dissident
seeking asylum in the United States, he articulated what we all felt -- revulsion at
Paul's modern-day impersonation of Neville Chamberlain cowering in the face of
Hitler.

Newt is back!

With biweekly debates, these national contests -- far more than local campaigning
and even paid advertising -- will shape the outcome of the early primaries.
Especially in a state the size of South Carolina, where media is not that costly, so
everyone can afford their share, the debates will be the difference.

Santorum's performance was workmanlike, statistical, detailed and lawyerly. He laid
out his points well and even baited a trap for Romney over his failure to urge the
repeal of a Massachusetts law permitting felons to vote, even while incarcerated.
But the difference between Santorum and Gingrich was on vivid display on Monday
night: passion versus carefully articulated positions.

Just as important for Newt was the destruction of Ron Paul. His quibbling over how
we should have handled bin Laden and the candidate's obviously self-destructive
isolationism should reduce even further his vote share in a defense-oriented state
like South Carolina. If Newt can open up a separation in vote share vis-à-vis Paul
and Santorum (and Perry recognizes reality and bows out) then Newt has Mitt where he
wants him -- one on one.

Romney's debate performance was subpar. He handled the income tax return question
poorly. Everybody realizes that releasing your returns in April won't help primary
voters decide for whom they should vote in January. Most likely, Mitt's return will
show that he paid the capital gains rate -- 15 percent -- on his income, which is
his legal right, but which will open him up for criticism. But Romney has to realize
that he needs to take the heat and release them sooner rather than later. If
Gingrich releases his returns before South Carolina, you can bet he will force
Romney to fess up before Florida.

Mitt also needs to do a better job of defending Bain Capital. This is not a
tax-supported or philanthropic institution. Bain got private investors to bail out
failing companies. To do that, and to take those kinds of risks, you need to offer
monster returns. That Bain was able to produce, attract capital and turn around so
many companies is very, very admirable. And Romney needs to start addressing it in
those terms. Are his critics confident that he would have gotten the capital to try
to turn these companies around if he offered a lower return? On what basis do they
think so?

Newt only hurts himself by going negative. He looks bad doing it and it brings out
the worst in his image. It makes one wonder if he is staying in the race out of
anger and a need for revenge. But when he articulates his positive vision, we
realize what a patriot he really is.
22999  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re-entry on: January 18, 2012, 08:07:13 PM
BTW I met a CMH recipient at the SHOT Show today  cool cool cool

Wars lessons being applied to ease combat stress
JULIE WATSON
From Associated Press
January 18, 2012 7:59 PM EST
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (AP) — When the Marine unit that suffered the greatest casualties in the 10-year Afghan war returned home last spring, they didn't rush back to their everyday lives.

Instead, the Marine Corps put them into a kind of decompression chamber, keeping them at Camp Pendleton for 90 days with the hope that a slow re-entry into mundane daily life would ease their trauma.

The program was just one of many that the military created as it tries to address the emotional toll of war, a focus that is getting renewed attention as veterans struggling to adjust back home are accused of violent crimes, including murder.


While veterans are no more likely to commit such crimes than the general population, the latest cases have sparked a debate over whether they are isolated cases or a worrying reminder of what can happen when service members don't get the help they need.

"This is a big focus of all the services, that we take care of our warriors who are returning because they have taken such good care of us," Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said, pointing out that tens of thousands of veterans return home to lead productive lives.

Some, however, fall on hard times, getting into trouble with the law. Others quietly suffer, with their families and friends trying to pull them out of a depression.

In the latest high-profile criminal case involving an Iraq war veteran, a former Camp Pendleton Marine is accused of killing four homeless men in California. His family said he was never the same after his 2008 deployment. In Washington state, an Iraq War veteran described as struggling emotionally killed a Mount Rainier National Park ranger and later died trying to escape.

Suffering from combat stress is an age-old problem. What's new is the kind of wars that troops fight now. They produce their own unique pressures, said psychologist Eric Zillmer, a Drexel University professor and co-editor of the book "Military Psychology: Clinical and Operational Applications."

The war on terror "is very ambiguous, with no front lines, where you can't tell who the enemy is. During the day, he may be a community leader and, at night, a guerrilla fighter. You never know when an assault takes place. It's very complicated, and people feel always on edge," he said.

Add to that, multiple deployments that tax the central nervous system, said Zillmer: "The human brain can only stay in danger mode for so long before it feels like it's lost it. It gets exhausted." He compared going into combat like "diving to the depths of the ocean and when you have to go back to the surface you have to decompress.

"It's the same process," he said. "It's almost a biological process."

A 2009 Army report concluded that the psychological trauma of fierce combat in Iraq might have helped drive soldiers from one brigade to kill as many as 11 people in Colorado and other states. The study found the soldiers also faced "significant disruptions in family-social support."

The military's stubbornly high suicide rate has proven that more help is needed, and that is why it has been investing in helping troops transition back from war zones.

Few units know war's pain more than the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment. The Camp Pendleton battalion nicknamed "The Dark Horse" lost 25 members in some of the heaviest fighting ever seen in Afghanistan. More than 150 Marines were wounded. More than a dozen lost limbs.

The Marine Corps brass, concerned about the traumatic deployment's fallout, ordered the entire 950-member unit to remain on the Southern California base after it returned home. The 90 days was the same amount of time crews aboard war ships usually spend upon returning home.

During that time, the Marines participated in a memorial service for their fallen comrades. They held barbecues and banquets, where they talked about their time at war. Before the program, troops would go their separate ways with many finding they had no one to talk to about what they had just seen.

Mental health professionals are monitoring the group, which has since scattered. They say it is too early to tell what kind of impact keeping them together made. Combat veterans believe it likely will help in the long run. The Marines have ordered combat units since then to stick together for 90 days after leaving the battlefield.

"They share a commonality because they've gone through the same thing, so it helps them to come down," said Maj. Gen. Ronald Bailey, the commanding general of one of Camp Pendleton's most storied units, the 1st Marine Division.

"I can tell you from experience that this will help," said Bailey, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The new practice is one of a slew of initiatives ushered in by the new commandant, Gen. James Amos, who has made addressing mental health issues of Marines a top priority. He was concerned by the branch's suicide rate, which has ranked among the highest of the armed services.

Commanders have tried to remove the stigma that seeking help is a sign of weakness. The Marines have set up hotlines and designated psychologists, chaplains and junior troops to identify troubled troops. "We've been in this 11 years and the medical staff and Marine officials are better educated now on dealing with combat stress," Bailey said.

All service members also now undergo rigorous screening of their mental stability both before and after they go to battle.

While Veterans Affairs and Department of Justice have said veterans don't commit more crimes per capita than others, the VA has launched efforts to help veterans in trouble with the law receive help rather than just be locked up.

Since 2009, the VA has had a legal team review cases to see if the best remedy is treatment instead of incarceration. States also have been establishing special veterans courts to do the same. Some say combat stress is also being used by criminals trying to get a lighter sentence.

Veterans agree the military has made great strides in the past few years but they say the help has come too late for many.

Paul Sullivan, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based National Organization of Veterans' Advocates, said the military only started administering medical exams of service members before and after deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan in 2007 to identify problems early so they can be treated more effectively and less expensively.


"It's good their implementing it now, yes, however, what's the military going to do with all of the veterans the military didn't examine?" he asked. "That's the problem."

___

Associated Press writers Amy Taxin in Santa Ana, Calif., Dan Elliott in Denver and Kevin Freking in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.
23000  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: January 18, 2012, 11:43:03 AM
I fear that just like George "Passionate Conservatism" Bush, Mitt suffers from what I call "patrician's guilt" and that therefor he will have a strong tendency to crumble and crump under class warfare and race-baiting from the progressives-Dems.
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