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23101  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Iran & the BO administration on: November 07, 2008, 10:27:44 AM
Geopolitical Diary: Iran and an Obama Administration
November 7, 2008 | 0256 GMT

A number of senior Iranian officials on Thursday issued positive statements toward the United States. One of those was Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who, in a rare move, congratulated U.S. President-elect Barack Obama on his electoral victory. Then the Islamic Republic’s Prosecutor-General, Ayatollah Qorban-Ali Dori-Najafabadi, called on Obama to demonstrate goodwill and end sanctions against Tehran. Elsewhere, Iranian Ambassador to Kuwait Ali Jannati said his country was ready to normalize relations with the United States and expressed hope that, under an Obama administration, Washington would change its policies toward Tehran.

Important to note in these various remarks is that they were made by prominent hard-liners as opposed to the more pragmatic conservative elements in the clerical regime. The most noteworthy of these was the Iranian envoy to Kuwait, who is the son of a very senior and powerful radical cleric, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, chairman of the Guardian Council — the body that vets candidates for public office and has the power of legislative oversight. So, the question is, why is the Ahmadinejad administration, which would normally be lambasting the United States, now acting all warm and fuzzy?

For starters, the Iranians, like many other international actors, expect an Obama administration — in a sharp departure from the attitude of its predecessor — would invest heavily in some bold diplomacy. From Tehran’s point of view, this potentially could provide the perfect opening for it to move ahead and consolidate its position vis-a-vis Iraq and the nuclear issue. The Iranians feel that they are well placed to negotiate with a new White House from a position of relative strength, especially given Obama’s need to make good on his electoral promise to disengage militarily from Iraq.

The interest of a geopolitically emergent Iran, however, is not the only factor informing Ahmadinejad’s calculus. Before it can truly improve its position, Tehran desperately needs to get ahead of a burgeoning economic crisis. Just two days ago, Iran’s deputy central bank governor for economic affairs, Ramin Pashaei, said that Tehran needs the price of oil to average a little over $60 a barrel until March 2009 (the end of the current Iranian year) to avoid “big problems.” It should be noted that on Thursday oil prices were barely able to stay at the $60 mark.

The faltering state of the Iranian economy is the sore point for Ahmadinejad, who is up for re-election in June 2009. He, therefore, desperately needs to show some sort of victory in order to secure his re-election. The president and his ultraconservative faction also realize that Tehran must bury the hatchet with the United States in order to achieve its objective of being a global player — and Ahmadinejad wants to be able to claim this success.

On the U.S. side of this equation, an Obama administration also will want to engage diplomatically with the clerical regime — but the million-dollar question is, how does it go about doing that without creating problems for itself both at home and internationally. The Bush administration, which was not bogged down with public doubts about its commitment to national security, has been unable to make much progress on this front.

Even in its fading moments, the Bush administration is struggling between the need to deal with Iran and the need to contain it. On Thursday, the Treasury Department imposed additional restrictions against Iran’s banks — a move that comes amid reports that the administration could announce the opening of a “U.S. interests section” in Iran before the end of November. The Bush administration has also had a hard time balancing its need to engage Iran with its commitment to its Arab allies and Israel.

For an Obama administration, this could create an even bigger problem, with the Israelis and the Arabs very uncomfortable with the new U.S. government reaching out to Iran. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who is hoping to be prime minister in the aftermath of the Israeli election slated for February, expressed opposition to any move on the part of an Obama administration to talk to Iran. Similarly, Saudi King Abdullah, who is due to arrive in New York next week for an interfaith gathering at the United Nations, will reportedly be putting out feelers to Obama in an effort to gauge how the balance of power in the Persian Gulf will be affected by the moves to engage Iran.

Striking a balance between the need to reach a settlement with Iran (on Iraq, at least) and the need to maintain existing relationships with Israel and the Arab states could very well prove to be the most challenging foreign policy issue that the Obama administration will find itself struggling with very early on in its term.
23102  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: November 07, 2008, 08:49:24 AM
Chris Matthews, being honest

http://reason.tv/roughcut/show/598.html
23103  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Pope's Engagement with Islam on: November 07, 2008, 07:18:09 AM
Its the NYTimes: Caveat Lector:

BTW, did the Church just sign on to opposing the Danish cartoons?
====================

Catholics and Muslims Pledge to Improve Links
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By RACHEL DONADIO
Published: November 6, 2008
VATICAN CITY — Catholic and Muslim leaders worked on Thursday to deflate suspicion between their two faiths, pledging at a high-level seminar here to work together to condemn terrorism, protect religious freedom and fight poverty.

The meeting came a year after 138 Muslim leaders wrote a letter to Pope Benedict XVI after he offended many Muslims by quoting a Byzantine emperor who called some teachings of the Prophet Muhammad “evil and inhuman.” In turn, top Vatican officials have worried about freedom of worship in majority-Muslim countries, as well as immigration that is turning Europe, which they define as a Christian continent, increasingly Muslim.

But on Thursday both sides said they hoped that the seminar would open a new and much-improved chapter in Catholic-Muslim relations, as the two groups said they might establish a committee that could ease tensions in any future crisis between the two religions.

“Let us resolve to overcome past prejudices and to correct the often distorted images of the other, which even today can create difficulties in our relations,” Benedict told the Muslim delegation. He called the gathering “a clear sign of our mutual esteem and our desire to listen respectfully to one another.”

Addressing the pope on behalf of the Muslim delegation, Seyyed Hossein Nasr of Iran, a professor of Islamic studies at George Washington University in Washington, said that throughout history, “various political forces” of both Christians and Muslims had carried out violence.

“Certainly we cannot claim that violence is the monopoly of only one religion,” he said.

The three-day forum brought together nearly 30 Catholic clerics and scholars, led by Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the head of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue; and as many Muslim clerics and scholars, led by Mustafa Ceric, the Grand Mufti of Bosnia and Herzegovina based in Sarajevo.

The meeting “exceeded our expectations,” said Ingrid Mary Mattson, the director of the Islamic Society of North America and a professor of Islamic studies at the Hartford Seminary.

“The atmosphere was very good, very frank,” said Tariq Ramadan, a professor of Islamic Studies at Oxford University. A celebrated intellectual in Europe, Mr. Ramadan in 2004 was denied a visa to the United States on the grounds that he had donated to two European charities that the State Department later said gave money to Hamas.

Mr. Ramadan said the thorniest questions the group tackled were “apostasy” and “freedom of worship in a minority situation.” Some Muslims believe it is apostasy to convert out of Islam.

The 15-point declaration the group issued on Thursday did not address issues of conversion.

It called on Catholics and Muslims to renounce “oppression, aggressive violence and terrorism, especially that committed in the name of religion.”

And it said religious minorities should be “entitled to their own places of worship, and their founding figures and symbols they consider sacred should not be subjected to any form of mockery or ridicule.”

In 2006, Muslims around the world protested, some violently, after a Danish newspaper printed cartoons of Muhammad.

One participant, Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk in northern Iraq, called the meeting “a first step” but said he hoped that the declaration would “bear fruit.”

In recent years, Islamic militants in Kirkuk have killed, kidnapped or forced Iraqi Christians to convert. Archbishop Sako noted that in their homilies, “many imams are preaching against infidels and crusaders,” and that “some simple people” believed that this referred to all Christians.

He called on Muslim leaders to publicize the declaration, with its assertion of shared Christian-Muslim values. “This should be clarified, stated, given to the media to teach people about it,” he said. “For us Christians living in Muslim countries, that would be very, very helpful.”

The Muslim delegation included representatives of Sunni and Shiite Islam, as well as several converts and participants from North Africa, Indonesia, the Philippines and Uganda.

It notably did not include any participants from Saudi Arabia, where non-Muslim worship is not tolerated and with which the Vatican has had strained ties. Two Saudis were expected to attend, but had to cancel at the last minute for health reasons, said Ibrahim Kalin of Turkey, a spokesman for the Muslim delegation and a professor of Islamic Studies at Georgetown University in Washington.

Yet in July, Cardinal Tauran and other Vatican officials attended an interfaith dialogue organized by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in Spain.

Participants in this week’s conference pledged to hold another dialogue in a Muslim country in 2010.
23104  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Russia-Georgia, Turkey, Caucasus on: November 07, 2008, 07:11:13 AM
The NY Times is frequently a dishonest newspaper and IMHO the subject matter of this article precisely of the sort wherein the NYT is motivated to lie, mislead, misrepresent, and distort.

Caveat lector:
======================

TBILISI, Georgia — Newly available accounts by independent military observers of the beginning of the war between Georgia and Russia this summer call into question the longstanding Georgian assertion that it was acting defensively against separatist and Russian aggression.

Georgia moved forces toward the border of the breakaway region of South Ossetia on Aug. 7, at the start of what it called a defensive war with separatists there and with Russian forces.

Instead, the accounts suggest that Georgia’s inexperienced military attacked the isolated separatist capital of Tskhinvali on Aug. 7 with indiscriminate artillery and rocket fire, exposing civilians, Russian peacekeepers and unarmed monitors to harm.
The accounts are neither fully conclusive nor broad enough to settle the many lingering disputes over blame in a war that hardened relations between the Kremlin and the West. But they raise questions about the accuracy and honesty of Georgia’s insistence that its shelling of Tskhinvali, the capital of the breakaway region of South Ossetia, was a precise operation. Georgia has variously defended the shelling as necessary to stop heavy Ossetian shelling of Georgian villages, bring order to the region or counter a Russian invasion.

President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia has characterized the attack as a precise and defensive act. But according to observations of the monitors, documented Aug. 7 and Aug. 8, Georgian artillery rounds and rockets were falling throughout the city at intervals of 15 to 20 seconds between explosions, and within the first hour of the bombardment at least 48 rounds landed in a civilian area. The monitors have also said they were unable to verify that ethnic Georgian villages were under heavy bombardment that evening, calling to question one of Mr. Saakashvili’s main justifications for the attack.

Senior Georgian officials contest these accounts, and have urged Western governments to discount them. “That information, I don’t know what it is and how it is confirmed,” said Giga Bokeria, Georgia’s deputy foreign minister. “There is such an amount of evidence of continuous attacks on Georgian-controlled villages and so much evidence of Russian military buildup, it doesn’t change in any case the general picture of events.”

He added: “Who was counting those explosions? It sounds a bit peculiar.”

The Kremlin has embraced the monitors’ observations, which, according to a written statement from Grigory Karasin, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, reflect “the actual course of events prior to Georgia’s aggression.” He added that the accounts “refute” allegations by Tbilisi of bombardments that he called mythical.

The monitors were members of an international team working under the mandate of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or O.S.C.E. A multilateral organization with 56 member states, the group has monitored the conflict since a previous cease-fire agreement in the 1990s.

The observations by the monitors, including a Finnish major, a Belorussian airborne captain and a Polish civilian, have been the subject of two confidential briefings to diplomats in Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, one in August and the other in October. Summaries were shared with The New York Times by people in attendance at both.

Details were then confirmed by three Western diplomats and a Russian, and were not disputed by the O.S.C.E.’s mission in Tbilisi, which was provided with a written summary of the observations.

Mr. Saakashvili, who has compared Russia’s incursion into Georgia to the Nazi annexations in Europe in 1938 and the Soviet suppression of Prague in 1968, faces domestic unease with his leadership and skepticism about his judgment from Western governments.

The brief war was a disaster for Georgia. The attack backfired. Georgia’s army was humiliated as Russian forces overwhelmed its brigades, seized and looted their bases, captured their equipment and roamed the country’s roads at will. Villages that Georgia vowed to save were ransacked and cleared of their populations by irregular Ossetian, Chechen and Cossack forces, and several were burned to the ground.

Massing of Weapons

According to the monitors, an O.S.C.E. patrol at 3 p.m. on Aug. 7 saw large numbers of Georgian artillery and grad rocket launchers massing on roads north of Gori, just south of the enclave.



============
Page 2 of 3)


At 6:10 p.m., the monitors were told by Russian peacekeepers of suspected Georgian artillery fire on Khetagurovo, an Ossetian village; this report was not independently confirmed, and Georgia declared a unilateral cease-fire shortly thereafter, about 7 p.m.

During a news broadcast that began at 11 p.m., Georgia announced that Georgian villages were being shelled, and declared an operation “to restore constitutional order” in South Ossetia. The bombardment of Tskhinvali started soon after the broadcast.
According to the monitors, however, no shelling of Georgian villages could be heard in the hours before the Georgian bombardment. At least two of the four villages that Georgia has since said were under fire were near the observers’ office in Tskhinvali, and the monitors there likely would have heard artillery fire nearby.

Moreover, the observers made a record of the rounds exploding after Georgia’s bombardment began at 11:35 p.m. At 11:45 p.m., rounds were exploding at intervals of 15 to 20 seconds between impacts, they noted.

At 12:15 a.m. on Aug. 8, Gen. Maj. Marat M. Kulakhmetov, commander of Russian peacekeepers in the enclave, reported to the monitors that his unit had casualties, indicating that Russian soldiers had come under fire.

By 12:35 a.m. the observers had recorded at least 100 heavy rounds exploding across Tskhinvali, including 48 close to the observers’ office, which is in a civilian area and was damaged.

Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn, a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, said that by morning on Aug. 8 two Russian soldiers had been killed and five wounded. Two senior Western military officers stationed in Georgia, speaking on condition of anonymity because they work with Georgia’s military, said that whatever Russia’s behavior in or intentions for the enclave, once Georgia’s artillery or rockets struck Russian positions, conflict with Russia was all but inevitable. This clear risk, they said, made Georgia’s attack dangerous and unwise.

Senior Georgia officials, a group with scant military experience and personal loyalties to Mr. Saakashvili, have said that much of the damage to Tskhinvali was caused in combat between its soldiers and separatists, or by Russian airstrikes and bombardments in its counterattack the next day. As for its broader shelling of the city, Georgia has told Western diplomats that Ossetians hid weapons in civilian buildings, making them legitimate targets.

“The Georgians have been quite clear that they were shelling targets — the mayor’s office, police headquarters — that had been used for military purposes,” said Matthew J. Bryza, a deputy assistant secretary of state and one of Mr. Saakashvili’s vocal supporters in Washington.

Those claims have not been independently verified, and Georgia’s account was disputed by Ryan Grist, a former British Army captain who was the senior O.S.C.E. representative in Georgia when the war broke out. Mr. Grist said that he was in constant contact that night with all sides, with the office in Tskhinvali and with Wing Commander Stephen Young, the retired British military officer who leads the monitoring team.

“It was clear to me that the attack was completely indiscriminate and disproportionate to any, if indeed there had been any, provocation,” Mr. Grist said. “The attack was clearly, in my mind, an indiscriminate attack on the town, as a town.”

Mr. Grist has served as a military officer or diplomat in Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Kosovo and Yugoslavia. In August, after the Georgian foreign minister, Eka Tkeshelashvili, who has no military experience, assured diplomats in Tbilisi that the attack was measured and discriminate, Mr. Grist gave a briefing to diplomats from the European Union that drew from the monitors’ observations and included his assessments. He then soon resigned under unclear circumstances.

A second briefing was led by Commander Young in October for military attachés visiting Georgia. At the meeting, according to a person in attendance, Commander Young stood by the monitors’ assessment that Georgian villages had not been extensively shelled on the evening or night of Aug. 7. “If there had been heavy shelling in areas that Georgia claimed were shelled, then our people would have heard it, and they didn’t,” Commander Young said, according to the person who attended. “They heard only occasional small-arms fire.”

The O.S.C.E turned down a request by The Times to interview Commander Young and the monitors, saying they worked in sensitive jobs and would not be publicly engaged in this disagreement.

Grievances and Exaggeration

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

Page 3 of 3)

Disentangling the Russian and Georgian accounts has been complicated. The violence along the enclave’s boundaries that had occurred in recent summers was more widespread this year, and in the days before Aug. 7 there had been shelling of Georgian villages. Tensions had been soaring.

Each side has fresh lists of grievances about the other, which they insist are decisive. But both sides also have a record of misstatement and exaggeration, which includes circulating casualty estimates that have not withstood independent examination. With the international standing of both Russia and Georgia damaged, the public relations battle has been intensive.
Russian military units have been implicated in destruction of civilian property and accused by Georgia of participating with Ossetian militias in a campaign of ethnic cleansing. Russia and South Ossetia have accused Georgia of attacking Ossetian civilians.

But a critical and as yet unanswered question has been what changed for Georgia between 7 p.m. on Aug 7, when Mr. Saakashvili declared a cease-fire, and 11:30 p.m., when he says he ordered the attack. The Russian and Ossetian governments have said the cease-fire was a ruse used to position rockets and artillery for the assault.

That view is widely held by Ossetians. Civilians repeatedly reported resting at home after the cease-fire broadcast by Mr. Saakashvili. Emeliya B. Dzhoyeva, 68, was home with her husband, Felix, 70, when the bombardment began. He lost his left arm below the elbow and suffered burns to his right arm and torso. “Saakashvili told us that nothing would happen,” she said. “So we all just went to bed.”

Neither Georgia nor its Western allies have as yet provided conclusive evidence that Russia was invading the country or that the situation for Georgians in the Ossetian zone was so dire that a large-scale military attack was necessary, as Mr. Saakashvili insists.

Georgia has released telephone intercepts indicating that a Russian armored column apparently entered the enclave from Russia early on the Aug. 7, which would be a violation of the peacekeeping rules. Georgia said the column marked the beginning of an invasion. But the intercepts did not show the column’s size, composition or mission, and there has not been evidence that it was engaged with Georgian forces until many hours after the Georgian bombardment; Russia insists it was simply a routine logistics train or troop rotation.

Unclear Accounts of Shelling

Interviews by The Times have found a mixed picture on the question of whether Georgian villages were shelled after Mr. Saakashvili declared the cease-fire. Residents of the village of Zemo Nigozi, one of the villages that Georgia has said was under heavy fire, said they were shelled from 6 p.m. on, supporting Georgian statements.

In two other villages, interviews did not support Georgian claims. In Avnevi, several residents said the shelling stopped before the cease-fire and did not resume until roughly the same time as the Georgian bombardment. In Tamarasheni, some residents said they were lightly shelled on the evening of Aug. 7, but felt safe enough not to retreat to their basements. Others said they were not shelled until Aug 9.

With a paucity of reliable and unbiased information available, the O.S.C.E. observations put the United States in a potentially difficult position. The United States, Mr. Saakashvili’s principal source of international support, has for years accepted the organization’s conclusions and praised its professionalism. Mr. Bryza refrained from passing judgment on the conflicting accounts.

“I wasn’t there,” he said, referring to the battle. “We didn’t have people there. But the O.S.C.E. really has been our benchmark on many things over the years.”

The O.S.C.E. itself, while refusing to discuss its internal findings, stood by the accuracy of its work but urged caution in interpreting it too broadly. “We are confident that all O.S.C.E. observations are expert, accurate and unbiased,” Martha Freeman, a spokeswoman, said in an e-mail message. “However, monitoring activities in certain areas at certain times cannot be taken in isolation to provide a comprehensive account.”



23105  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Quotes of note: on: November 07, 2008, 07:03:03 AM
"It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder."
-- Frederic Bastiat, "The Law," 1850
23106  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: GRAPPLING Y CUCHILLOS... on: November 07, 2008, 07:01:29 AM
Guau a todos:

Me gustan los comentarios aqui.

A los aqui quienes leen ingles, sugiero ver el hilo http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=1296.0

Si alguien tiene un programa que puede traducirlo para llevarlo aqui, so lo agradeceria muchisimo.

La Aventura continua,
Crafty Dog
23107  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Argentina on: November 07, 2008, 06:51:31 AM
Disfrute muchisimo mi reciente viaje a Argentina y espero poder repitirlo lo mas pronto posible.

Comparato con Uds ahora un articulo, desafortunadamente en ingles, escrito sobre la situacion actual alli desde un punto de vista de aqui'.  ?Que opinan Uds?

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

WSJ

"It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder."
-- Frederic Bastiat, "The Law," 1850

Our subject today is not Barack Obama's "change" plan to "share the wealth." But readers who want to know what happens to a nation that legalizes plunder -- as the 19th century French economist termed the taking of private property for socialist ends -- will want to pay attention just the same.

 
AP
Argentines protest the nationalization of their pension funds, Oct. 28.
Argentina is a constitutional republic with many historical similarities to the U.S. It has a rich immigrant heritage and an abundance of natural resources. But the U.S. is a rich, advanced country and Argentina is poor.

How did the breadbasket of South America fall so far behind? One explanation goes back some 90 years, when the Argentine Supreme Court began chipping away at property rights as a way of addressing economic inequality. Argentine politicians quickly learned that lawful plunder was their path to power.

This history is still being written, and the latest chapter ought to frighten Americans.


Buenos Aires as an example of "sharing the wealth." (Nov. 3)
After seven straight years of driving up government spending and hammering every capitalist in sight, the Argentine government, which went bust in 2001, is running out of money -- again.

No surprise there. For more than a few years, analysts have warned that inflation, trade protectionism, disregard for contracts and confiscatory tax rates were having a deleterious effect on capital flows.

Suboptimal investment rates, the same analysts warned, would mean economic trouble when global growth began to slow and the commodity boom came to an end. But former President Nestór Kirchner (2003-2007) and his wife, current President Cristina Kirchner, had promised to bring change to Argentina and didn't want to hear it. They thought they saw better returns to their own bottom lines by stoking class warfare while increasing government spending.

That revenues would, at some point, fail to meet the rising expenses of the welfare state was predictable. The only mystery was when the wall would be hit and how the further plunder to make up the difference would be carried out.

On Oct. 21, Mrs. Kirchner ended the suspense by announcing that the nation's private pension system -- with a stock of $30 billion and a flow of $5 billion annually -- would become government property. To put that in words that Americans can more clearly comprehend, it would be as if the assets of all 401(k)s were suddenly swept out of owners' accounts and into a single government account.

The Americas in the News
Get the latest information in Spanish from The Wall Street Journal's Americas page.
Mrs. Kirchner defended her decision to seize the pension assets by asserting that the market is too risky for retirement savings, and that the returns earned by private-sector fund managers are not adequate.

That's quite a claim considering that the average annual return of Argentina's private-sector pension managers over the past 14 years is 13.9%. But it is even more absurd if one compares the private-sector returns to those of the government's pay-as-you-go social security system over four decades.

Last week La Nacion columnist Adrián Ventura reminded his compatriots of this "history of state fraud." In the 1960s, "the law guaranteed retirees 82% of their salaries," Mr. Ventura writes. But, he says, "it became impossible to calculate." How come? Because the government did not publish the true rates of inflation and, more broadly, because politicians had zero interest in protecting the assets. "The government did little to maintain its promise to pay good pensions to workers," Mr. Ventura explains, "and it did a lot to make use, for itself, of their savings."

The columnist was not just teaching a history lesson. He was reminding change advocates that plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. Today, the Argentine central bank stands accused of manipulating official inflation data and, because politicians have been spending like mad, between now and the end of 2009 the government will encounter a $10 billion financing gap.

By law half of the privately managed pension assets are already allocated to government debt. But it is not unreasonable to suspect -- as more than 70% of respondents in a Buenos Aires poll said last week -- that Mrs. Kirchner is acting not to achieve better returns, but to get her hands on the rest of the money ahead of midterm elections next year.

Mr. Ventura echoes the fears of many when he writes that her legislation "puts almost no limits on how the money can be used, and if it did, nothing would stop the government from modifying it or ignoring it."

Long-suffering Argentines know well that once converted into "an instrument of plunder" there is no limit to the pain the law can inflict. Americans might note that even when government is already highly interventionist, things can get worse.
23108  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Legal issues on Prop 8 on: November 07, 2008, 06:44:41 AM
California voters on Tuesday approved Proposition 8, which adds to the state constitution the following sentence: "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."

While the wording is simple, the situation quickly became complicated. For example, what happens to those same-sex couples who married before the ruling? Legal challenges filed Wednesday raised other questions: Was the referendum process itself lawful? Does the new language conflict with other parts of the state constitution? Separately, should Proposition 8 opponents have filed challenges saying the proposition violated the U.S. Constitution?

David Cruz, a constitutional-law expert at the University of Southern California, has some answers.

WSJ: Please explain the grounds upon which Proposition 8 is being challenged in court.

Mr. Cruz: The lawsuits challenge the procedure by which the referendum was passed. Under California law, there are two categories of changes that can be made to the state constitution: amendments and revisions. Amendments are more minor changes; revisions are larger in effect. This is important because each has its own process for taking effect, essentially different ways they go before the voters. An amendment can go in the form of a ballot initiative, which requires a certain number of signatures to make its way on. Constitutional revisions, however, have to have a two-thirds blessing from each house of the state legislature to make the ballot.

Now, the problem, at least from the point of view of Proposition 8 supporters, is that the legislature had previously indicated a willingness to support same-sex marriage. So the proposition's supporters were unwilling to treat this bill as a revision and send it to the legislature, opting instead to treat it as an amendment. So the Proposition 8 opponents are arguing that this change actually constitutes a revision, not an amendment, and therefore needed to go through the legislature.

WSJ: Were any other issues raised in the suits?

Mr. Cruz: Yes. A same-sex couple that was married before the election made another argument. Remember, the California Supreme Court in May ruled that bans on same-sex marriage were not allowed under the state's constitution. (That ruling prompted Proposition 8.) Now, in that ruling, the Supreme Court essentially said two things: that same-sex couples had a fundamental right to marry and that the underlying law violated the state's equal protection clause.

The suit filed Wednesday argues that while Proposition 8 squarely addressed the marriage half of the Supreme Court's ruling, it didn't address the equal-protection half. In other words, the couple argues that the state constitution is now in conflict with itself -- part of it says that same-sex marriage is flatly illegal, and the Supreme Court has interpreted another part to say that a ban on same-sex marriage violates the state's equal protection clause.

WSJ: And a constitution can't be in conflict with itself?

Mr. Cruz: Right. There's a common principle in constitutional jurisprudence called "harmonization," which says that no part of a constitution can conflict with any other.

WSJ: Provided that the state Supreme Court rejects all these arguments and the constitutional amendment is allowed, you still have this issue as to what happens to the marriages that took place before Proposition 8 was passed, right?

Mr. Cruz: On that question the state Supreme Court would likely look at what the intent of the voters was in passing the law.

WSJ: How would the court determine that? By asking voters?

Mr. Cruz: It would likely look at the language of the proposition itself, in addition to the title, official ballot literature, and to the advertisements that were run during the campaign. Supporters of Proposition 8 point to language on the ballot that explained that voters would be defining marriage as between a man and woman, "regardless of when or where performed." That seems to argue for invalidating the earlier marriages. But the attorney general, Jerry Brown, will likely raise the official title of the proposition, which mentions the elimination of the "right of same-sex couples to marry." Here, there's no mention of the earlier marriages, and it seems to indicate that it's the right to get married going forward that's being taken away.
23109  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Way Forward for the American Creed on: November 07, 2008, 06:30:52 AM
'Compassionate' Conservatism Was a Mistake
By DICK ARMEY

The liberal pundits who embraced the candidacy of Barack Obama are also eager to issue a death certificate for free market capitalism. They're wrong, and they remind me of what the great Willie Nelson once said: "I'm ragged but I'm right."

To be sure, the American people have handed power over to the Democrats. But today there is a categorical difference between what Republicans stand for and the principles of individual freedom. Parties are all about getting people elected to political office; and the practice of politics too often takes the form of professional juvenile delinquency: short-sighted and self-centered.

This was certainly true of the Bush presidency. Too often the policy agenda was determined by short-sighted political considerations and an abiding fear that the public simply would not understand limited government and expanded individual freedoms. How else do we explain "compassionate conservatism," No Child Left Behind, the Medicare drug benefit and the most dramatic growth in federal spending since LBJ's Great Society?

John McCain has long suffered from philosophical confusions about free markets, and his presidential campaign reflected as much. Most striking was his inability to explain his own health-care proposal, or to defend his tax cuts and tax reform. Ultimately, it took a plumber from Ohio to identify the real nature of Barack Obama's plan to "spread the wealth."

Mr. McCain did find his message on taxes in the last few weeks, but it was too late. A Rasmussen poll of Oct. 30 reported that 31% of likely voters believed that "taxes will go down" under an Obama administration versus just 11% under a McCain administration. Shockingly, 19% of self-described conservatives believed Mr. Obama would cut taxes; only 12% thought Mr. McCain would.

The response by Mr. McCain to the financial crisis on Wall Street was the defining moment of the campaign. In what looked like a tailor-made opportunity to "clean up Washington," the Republican nominee could have challenged the increasingly politicized nature of Federal Reserve policies, and the inherently corrupt relationships between Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and various Democratic committee chairmen. Instead, his reaction was visceral and insecure: He "suspended" his campaign and promised "to put an end to the reckless conduct, corruption, and unbridled greed that have caused a crisis on Wall Street."

In the process, he squandered his political standing with the investor class, a core Republican voting bloc. An October 26-30 Reuters/C-Span/Zogby poll of likely voters showed Mr. McCain barely beating the Democratic nominee among self-identified "investors," 50.4% to 43.8% -- a dramatic drop from the 15-point lead he held in a similar poll a month earlier.

The modern Republican Party has risen above its insecurities to achieve political success. Ronald Reagan, for example, held an unshakably positive vision of American capitalism. He didn't feel a need to qualify the meaning of his conservatism. He understood that big government was cruel and uncaring of individual aspirations. Small government conservatism was, by definition, compassionate -- offering every American a way up to self-determination and economic prosperity.

Republicans lost control of Congress in 2006 because voters no longer saw Republicans as the party of limited government. They have since rejected virtually every opportunity to recapture this identity. But their failure to do so must not be misconstrued as a rejection of principles of individual liberty by the American people. The evidence suggests we are still a nation of pocketbook conservatives most happy when government has enough respect to leave us alone and to mind its own business. The worrisome question is whether either political party understands this.

What will be the fate of free market capitalism in America? Will the 2008 election look more like 1932 -- or 1992?

On both occasions, Republican presidents had abandoned their party's principles for bigger government policies that exacerbated difficult economic times. On both occasions, Democrats took control, largely hijacking the small-government, fiscally responsible rhetoric of their opponents. Of course, FDR's election ushered in the New Deal, the most dramatic expansion of government power in American history, together with policy changes and economic uncertainty that inhibited investment and growth and locked in massive unemployment for nearly a generation.

The official agenda of the incoming administration is not so different from FDR's. Whatever doubts remain about Mr. Obama's governing principles can be cleared up by looking at the governing philosophy of the Democrats in Congress he will be crafting legislation with or the liberal constituencies he is indebted to support. Democrats will not be ambiguous. They have every right to be energized, and will attempt sweeping changes to our economy and the very nature of the relationship between individual American citizens and the federal government.

Their wish list is long. Charlie Rangel, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, has said he would like to redistribute a trillion dollars through the tax code, including massive tax hikes on capital accumulation and individual entrepreneurship. Labor unions want to take away the right of a worker to a secret ballot in organizing elections. Radical environmentalists demand strict curbs on energy production and use. Hillary Clinton may have lost the primary, but expect Democrats to push her favorite idea: government-run heath care.

Will Democratic overreach give the small-government movement the opportunity to reassert itself in the GOP? Former Congressman Dick Gephardt has warned President-elect Obama and the new Democratic majorities to be humble and measured. But with a legislative agenda driven by Nancy Pelosi, George Miller and Mr. Rangel, the temptations may be too great.

In 1992, Republican backbenchers including Newt Gingrich, myself, Bob Walker and John Boehner rose up to challenge the Clinton administration's agenda on taxes, spending and government-run health care. But before we could beat the Democrats, we had to beat the old bulls of our own party who had forgotten their principles and had become very comfortable as a complacent minority. We captured control of Congress in 1994 because we had confidence in our principles, and in the American people's willingness to understand and reward a national vision based on lower taxes, less government and more freedom.

That can happen again today -- but it will require a new generation of leadership, the sooner the better. Rest assured that the American people will show up for the fight.

Mr. Armey, U.S. House majority leader from 1995 to 2002, is chairman of FreedomWorks Foundation.
23110  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Coming Clusterfcuk on: November 07, 2008, 06:25:51 AM
I too think GM has it right.

Gov. P-whipped has done the opposite what he promised to do to get elected.  No spending cuts- instead MASSIVE increases.  If he simply had frozen spending we would be fine right now.  Instead Gov. Global Warming has been galvanting around sucking up and selling out to his wife's friends and family.

Tom McClintock was very good and very knowledgeable on these issues when he was in the State Legislature.  He just ran for US Congress.  Does anyone know if he won?

Changing subjects, BO does not have to be a Clusterfcuk , , ,
-------------

If Barack Obama ran for president by calling for a heavier hand of government, he also won by running one of the most entrepreneurial campaigns in history.

Will he now grasp the lesson his campaign offers as he crafts policies aimed at reigniting the national economy? Amid a recession, two wars, and a global financial crisis, will he come to see that unleashing the entrepreneur is the best way to raise the revenue he needs for his lofty priorities?

Like every entrepreneur, Mr. Obama's rise was improbable. An unusually-named, African-American first-term senator defeated two of the most powerful incumbent political brands, the Clintons and John McCain. Like many upstarts, he won by changing the rules of the game.

Mr. Obama, following FDR's mastery of radio and JFK's success on TV, is the first candidate to fully exploit the Web. The community organizer seemed to realize that new social networking and video technologies were perfect for politics. It didn't hurt that Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes worked for the campaign. "What ultimately transformed the presidential race," Joshua Green of The Atlantic wrote in June, "was not the money that poured in from Silicon Valley but the technology and the ethos."

The results of Mr. Obama's decentralized Web effort were staggering: 8,000 Web-based affinity groups, 50,000 local events, 1.5 million Web volunteers, and 3.1 million donors who contributed almost $700 million. Republicans, Charlie Cook reported on Nov. 3, believe their large but impersonal centralized databases could not match the tacit knowledge, individual initiative and agility of Mr. Obama's diffuse social networks.

Such creativity could bubble up because Mr. Obama was stable at the top. Not just anyone could recruit an army of volunteers and let them run free, establishing their own networks, offices and events. Because Mr. McCain lurched from one message and tactic to the next with dramatic frequency, his supporters froze. They spent more time defending or deciphering his shifting policies and tactics than they did organizing and persuading. Mr. Obama's even temper and relentlessly consistent message, on the other hand, encouraged supporters to take risks without the worry of being blindsided.

The key question now is how will Mr. Obama govern? Will he stick with the policies he ran on or adopt the approach that he won with?

The only way a president can maximize economic growth is to unleash diffuse networks of entrepreneurs. As economist Bob Litan of the Kauffman Foundation says, "Government can't compel growth." But Mr. Obama's plans -- "card check" legislation to allow workers to unionize a workplace without a secret ballot election; curbing free trade; a government-led "green economy"; and higher tax rates on capital and entrepreneurs -- do not reflect his campaign's deep trust in individuals.

A thought experiment, Mr. President-elect: What if as your campaign raised more and more money it was taxed away and given to Mr. McCain to level the field? Or think of this: What if you were not allowed to opt out of the public financing scheme that left Mr. McCain with a paltry $84 million, about a quarter of your autumn total?

Opting out of monopolistic, closed or centralized systems is often the path to innovation. Sometimes we opt out through the relaxation of regulations. More often, technology allows us to leap, obliterate or ignore the obstacles altogether.

So on education, why doesn't Mr. Obama take Charles Murray's advice? Instead of spending ever more billions to send ever more students to get often-meaningless, four-year college degrees, we should disaggregate the higher education market using the Web and skill-specific short courses and accreditation exams.

Clayton Christensen of Harvard Business School makes a similar argument for K-12 education, where we mindlessly follow a century-old way of doing business. Get rid of this manufacturing era, "value chain" model -- where we take inputs (students), add value (sometimes), and spit them out the other end -- in favor of a "user network" model where unique students with distinct learning styles plug in to smart software and tutoring tools that deliver a customized education.

On health care, let's face facts. We are not going to "solve" the entitlements crisis by gouging American producers to pay for the current Medicare/Medicaid abomination. Much better to transcend the issue with medical innovations and an entrepreneurial, consumer-driven market where more physicians go into medical technology, more nurses replace doctors, more technologies replace doctor visits, and, with properly-aligned incentives and real prices, more citizens take better care of their own health and thus their pocket books. The only way to escape current predictions of scarcity is the unforeseen abundance that entrepreneurship can bring.

Finally, Mr. President-elect, here's a secret: Insist on a strong and stable dollar. It worked wonders for presidents Reagan and Clinton. A weak dollar killed Messrs. Nixon, Ford, Carter and Bush 43. In the same way that Mr. Obama's millions of entrepreneurial volunteers took comfort in their leader's calm, steady, disciplined approach, entrepreneurs need the predictability and discipline of a stable currency to unleash their unpredictable innovations.

Mr. Obama should throw away his tax-regulate-and-centralize white papers. Instead, he should follow his campaign playbook and trust the networked masses. The best way to harness their power is to undo the reins.

Mr. Swanson is a senior fellow and director of the Center for Global Innovation at The Progress & Freedom Foundation.
23111  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: November 07, 2008, 06:16:27 AM
GM:  That is very funny in a wicked, deranged sort of way.

Rachel:  I disagree that loss was inevitable for McCain.  I agree strongly that McCain failed to speak in positives-- indeed I think a large part of BO's appeal was and is his ability to speak in positives-- as vapid and internally incosistent as they may be.  The American people were, and are, tired of the Hatfields and McCoy's routine out of the Patricians and Demogogues of Washington.
23112  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-Russia on: November 07, 2008, 06:10:18 AM
The decline of oil prices and continuing Russian demographic weakness suggest that we need not run for the hills just yet  wink


Here's this from today's WSJ:

Obama's Russia Test Article
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'Mark my words. It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama. . . . I guarantee you it's gonna happen." Joe Biden's famous campaign gaffe-as-prophecy was off by six months. How Mr. Obama responds to the Kremlin's provocation this week will offer an important glimpse of his Administration's approach to foreign policy.

In the yearly state of the nation address on Wednesday, President Dmitry Medvedev blamed the Georgia war, Russia's tanking markets and declining bilateral relations on a "selfish" and "mistaken, egotistical and sometimes simply dangerous" America. Presumably for effect, the national address was moved from last month to Wednesday, and started and ended with anti-U.S. tirades.

The Russian President also announced plans to deploy missiles in the Kaliningrad enclave between NATO members Poland and Lithuania unless America drops plans to deploy missile defenses in Europe. He added that Russia would jam U.S. radar. This would be an act of war if an Iranian missile, the intended target of the defenses, slipped through the net and hit America or its allies.

The U.S. struck agreements with Poland and the Czech Republic to put missile interceptors and radar on their territory after long negotiations. The countries agreed at some political risk, and clearly the Kremlin is hoping it can intimidate the new Administration into disavowing that commitment. It bears repeating that the system in no way diminishes Russia's own nuclear deterrent.

The State Department responded with its typical thunder, calling the speech "disappointing." President Bush, the U.S. head of state for another two-plus months, has said nothing. Mr. Obama's aides say the President-elect doesn't want to undermine Mr. Bush during the transition, and is focused on building his Administration.

That's fine. But he could help U.S. interests and himself merely by putting on record that an Obama-led America won't be intimidated by threatening outbursts from Russian leaders and will be a reliable partner to its allies in Europe. Any hint of doubt from the next Administration on this point will send shivers through our NATO allies and encourage more bad behavior by Russia and others. The Kremlin is doing Mr. Obama a favor by testing him so early.

All the more because Congressional Democrats have given the impression that U.S. support for Poland or NATO aspirants Ukraine and Georgia is negotiable. Money for the missile defense program was struck in May by Democrats who claimed the threat from Iran wasn't materializing quickly and a deal with Poland hadn't been signed. Some funding was restored after Poland agreed to host 10 missile-defense interceptors in August. We also hear from liberal quarters that America really is to blame for the deteriorating relationship with Moscow. The Kremlin has heard that too.

No matter who's in charge at the White House, the U.S. won't easily get along with a Russia that chokes off political freedoms at home and threatens neighboring democracies. Fortunately, America has built up strong alliances with free European countries that are, in turn, now willing to help defend the U.S. and Europe against a rogue missile threat. It'd be nice to hear from the next President that he stands by these alliances.
23113  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ on Saracuda on: November 07, 2008, 05:56:53 AM
I think this from the WSJ gets it right:

Palin and the GOP
 
Love Sarah Palin or hate her -- and there seems to be little in between -- the Alaska Governor has become a national political figure. She could have a big political future, assuming she and the many Republicans now trashing her learn something from their recent misadventures.

Last August we advised John McCain not to select a relative unknown like Mrs. Palin, in part because we remember the way Dan Quayle was treated. The media haze GOP candidates in a way they never do Democrats. (See Joe Biden, unreported gaffes of.) Any national-campaign novice was bound to be chewed up. Mr. McCain nonetheless decided to take one of his celebrated leaps off the high bar. (Our track record this campaign was perfect: If we proposed it, Mr. McCain did the opposite.)

 Associated Press
In the event, Mrs. Palin's contribution to the McCain ticket was mixed. Her bravura convention speech defied the early media mockery and made her an instant hero among rank-and-file Republicans. Her reform credentials and social conservatism inspired a GOP base that was angry with its wayward party and wary of Mr. McCain. The exit polls show that conservative turnout was strong, and Mrs. Palin deserves some credit for that.

Yet Mrs. Palin was clearly thrust into the spotlight before she was prepared for the rigors of a national campaign. The McCain camp also did her no favors, initially keeping her under a quarantine that raised the stakes for any media interview she did do. When it finally handed her over to Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric, Mrs. Palin was set up to fail with ground rules that let CBS dribble out her uncertain answers night after night.

The nasty leaks and gossip about Mrs. Palin that are now emerging from sources inside the McCain campaign have the ring of score-settling. Staff aides who mishandled her, or set her up for the Couric embarrassment, are now saying she refused coaching. Perhaps these were the same advisers who told her to cite Alaska's proximity to Russia as a foreign-policy credential.

No one really cares by now who did what to whom. The important point is that Mrs. Palin isn't responsible for Tuesday's defeat. The sages who urged Mr. McCain to "suspend" his campaign and throw himself in the middle of bailout talks on Capitol Hill can take far more credit for the loss.

Mrs. Palin is of course responsible for her own campaign performance, and this was uneven at best. A generation ago, a candidate might have been able to get away with the missteps in the Couric interview, but not in the age of YouTube. On the day she was chosen, the Governor wasn't conversant enough with many of the biggest national security and economic debates. Amid the financial panic, all she could offer were populist bromides about "greed and corruption." Voters who heard those answers were no doubt among the 60% who told exit pollsters on Tuesday that they didn't feel she was ready to be Commander in Chief.

Only 44 years old, and now with a loyal conservative following, Mrs. Palin is nonetheless well-positioned to help shape the Republican future. Her grasp of energy policy suggests she's capable of mastering subjects when she wants to, and if she wants a national future she's going to have to do the same on national issues.

Our advice would be that she also broaden her appeal beyond the politics of cultural division. One unfortunate campaign decision was to turn Mrs. Palin's initial response to press criticism into a consistent theme. The Governor's stump speech took on an us-versus-them cast, framing the election as a battle between the "real America" and blue-state elites. Hard as it may be to believe, New Jersey is part of America too.

This was an odd turn for Mrs. Palin, given her reputation in Alaska of taking on her own party and reaching across the aisle. Her commitment to a set of principles -- cleaning up government, taking on crony capitalism -- is what earned her 90% job approval. Her decision to jettison that appeal in favor of a base-rallying cultural pitch turned off many independents and suburbanites. Mrs. Palin will need those Americans if she wants to rebuild a party that must win in places like suburban Philadelphia, Orlando and New Hampshire to retake the White House.

As for Mrs. Palin's Republican critics, they might consider if they can afford to write off a young leader with such natural political talent. We don't see a large constellation of other GOP stars on the horizon. Mr. McCain was right to understand that his party needs a new generation of leaders who haven't grown comfortable with the perks of Washington. Especially as Democrats once again grow the Beltway, the next GOP leaders will need to make a better case for entrepreneurship and limited government. Mrs. Palin deserves a chance to see if she has the skill and work ethic to become that kind of leader.
23114  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / What would you like to see from DBMA? on: November 07, 2008, 05:48:35 AM
Woof All:

This thread is for requests and suggestions for how we can best help you.

The Adventure continues,
Guro Crafty
23115  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Starting up with FMA (training options) on: November 07, 2008, 05:47:24 AM
Great.   smiley

I hope you will continue to post here.
23116  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Medvedev's carefully timed address on: November 07, 2008, 05:41:24 AM
Geopolitical Diary: Medvedev's Carefully Timed Address
November 6, 2008
On Wednesday, as the entire world took in the idea of having Barack Obama as the next U.S. president, one of the greatest challengers to American power, Russia, decided to make itself immediately clear on its views of the current U.S. administration, Obama’s election and the global U.S. agenda.

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev gave his long-awaited first State of the State address (the equivalent of the U.S. president’s State of the Union address) on Nov. 5. The speech was much more than a nationalist appeal liberally sprinkled with Soviet-era rhetoric; it was a declaration of Russia’s return to the ranks of the world’s great powers. In effect, Medvedev not only tossed the gauntlet for Russia’s rivals in the West, but he also is not waiting around to see how they respond.

It must be understood that Medvedev — while he is certainly coming into his own under the sponsorship of his mentor, former president and current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin –- did not write this speech himself. The author is the Kremlin’s gray cardinal, Vladislav Surkov, who has played the role of backroom dealer, enforcer, planner and puppet master for Putin for most of the past eight years. Surkov does not control Putin — far from it -– but in many ways is the brains behind much of what happens in the Kremlin these days.

It was Surkov who recommended that Medvedev’s speech, originally scheduled for Oct. 23, be postponed. Ostensibly, the delay was meant to allow Russia more time to deal with its deepening financial crisis, but in reality, Surkov wanted to know which presidential candidate the Americans were going to elect. The speech was already written. In fact, according to Stratfor sources, two speeches had been written — one for each possible outcome of the U.S. election. In waiting for a clear picture on whom Moscow would be dealing with in Washington, Russia underscored the central role the United States plays in the international system, and that Moscow views Washington as its main counterweight.

Unlike many previous State of the State addresses, Medvedev’s Nov. 5 speech contained few veiled threats or simple proclamations. Instead, it announced hard actions, including the following statements:

Russia will deploy Iskander short-range ballistic missiles to Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave sandwiched between NATO and EU states Lithuania and Poland, in order to directly target the fledgling U.S. ballistic missile defense installations slated for Poland and the Czech Republic. (The Iskanders’ limited range will allow them to put only the Polish site at risk.)
Russia will return to a more Soviet-style system of term limits in order to more firmly entrench the power of the Putin team.
Moscow will not even consider negotiations with the lame-duck administration of President George W. Bush, preferring instead to wait for President-elect Barack Obama’s team, which Moscow thinks will be easier to manipulate (whether or not this proves true).
The United States is to blame not only for Russia’s war with Georgia, but also for the global financial crisis.
Russia will not make any concessions on its international position; the United States can take it or leave it.
All in all, these statements bear a degree of boldness that has long been present in Russian propaganda, though not necessarily backed up by any particular actions. Russia’s goal is simple: Use the three-month U.S. presidential transition period to impose a reality on the regions Moscow considers of core interest, presenting soon-to-be President Obama with a fait accompli. Most of Russia’s efforts will focus on Ukraine, but attention also will be spread throughout the Caucasus and Central Asia, as well as the Baltics, Belarus, Poland and the Czech Republic.

These states are already nervous about Obama’s ability to stand up to Russia’s new swagger, especially since he has never outlined a firm stance against Moscow and will be embroiled in other critical affairs, like Iraq and Iran. Now, Medvedev has told these states outright that Russia is about to act while the Americans can’t. He is playing on the states’ fears to push them into making a choice: Continue to depend on the United States (whether its support comes through or not), work with Moscow, or get crushed in the process.

23117  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The Power of Word on: November 07, 2008, 05:17:11 AM
Rachel:

Ignorant Jew that I am I somehow have found my path to be one of focusing on the Ten "Sayings"  wink  (I wonder if anyone other that you and similarly educated people will undertand the intending meaning here)-- and so I find your post quite interesting and pertinent to my personal path.  If you have the time and inclination to post further on the themes of the Ten Sayings and the 613 Mitzvots I would be very glad of it.

Thank you,
Marc
23118  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Starting up with FMA (training options) on: November 07, 2008, 05:07:49 AM
Greetings Barna:

And welcome to our Forum.

It sounds to me you like have three fine options.    I am guessing (though you should probably verify with the Inosanto Academy) that the Katipunan school is certified by my teacher, Guro Dan Inosanto.  I love Guro Inosanto and would be nothing without him.  Inosanto Blend is the dominant influence on DBMA and knowledge and training in it will serve you very well in DBMA.

Pekiti Tirisia is also a fine system.  I am a member of the PT family and have trained with GT Gaje both in the US and at his home in the Philippines.  The best fighter in the Dog Brothers, Eric "Top Dog" Knaus, was PT trained and PT is one of the three main FMA influences on DBMA.  Because PT is an important influence on DBMA, a goodly portion of whatever PT you do learn will serve you well in DBMA.

Obviously I like DBMA too  wink 

As you may know, I was just in Buenos Aires for 4 days of training and was very pleased to see the work that Nicolas has been doing in person.  Nico regularly sends me discs with footage of him teaching and his students training so I was not surprised in the slightest.
Also, while I was there Nico showed me some footage of him sparring in the Philippines with people of good level and doing quite well.  His fighting movement showed fluidity, good technique, and very good results-- I was very pleased.  During my time there I was able to do some good work with Nico and give him the next block of things for him to work on.  I am confident he will continue to work well the material I give him.  Nico is now authorized to start Training Groups throughout Argentina, Chile (we had some people from Chile at the seminar), and Uruguay.

Concerning sparring/fighting:  The mission statement of DBMA is to "Walk as a warrior for all your days".  The primary laboratory for the system is "Dog Brothers Real Contact Stickfighting" BUT MOST PEOPLE IN DBMA ARE "PRACTITIONERS", NOT FIGHTERS.  There is no sense of someone being a "kitty" if they do not spar or fight.  How far someone goes into that (from Action Flex sitcks, heavier protetive gear and various limiting rules all the way to DB type fighting) is simply a matter of what makes sense to each individual for himself.  I would add that IMHO those who do not spar or fight benefit greatly from being around those who do-- it gives a valuable understanding of what the training is designed to do, especially when taught by a teacher with some experience such as Nicolas. 

Does this help?
Guro Crafty Dog
23119  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: November 06, 2008, 10:22:43 PM
Good post from SBMig.

I too liked Manzi's comments in particular but found all of them assaying to be thoughtful and not just chattering class chatter.
23120  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: November 06, 2008, 10:18:33 PM
I had a similar reaction to Romney's concession speech, except that this one was so much more.
23121  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Coming Clusterfcuk on: November 06, 2008, 10:15:59 PM
If I have my datum correct, spending has increased over 40% under Gov P-whipped.

My wife just mentioned this to me a little while ago, and this article is the first I have read on it.  Something like this (imposing sales tax on my teaching income) could be the straw that breaks the camel's back and drives us out of CA.

23122  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: November 06, 2008, 04:03:46 PM
Bush was a Patrician and was rejected for it. 

The problem with McCain is that the man is inarticulate, and lacks comprehension of economics.  Much of what he sincerely is, is a Democrat, not a Maverick.
23123  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Palin phenomenon on: November 06, 2008, 03:57:29 PM
If Stevens wins and then has to resign, can she appoint herself Senator?
23124  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-Russia on: November 06, 2008, 12:34:22 PM
In the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Empire, I think it understandable for the US (not just Clinton) to have relaxed mentally.  OTOH Bush, with alleged Russian expert Condi Rice at his elbow, chose to pursue a very particular policy and signs were there to see e.g. Kosovo.  If we weren't busy elsewhere it may well have been a valid approach, but we WERE busy elsewhere and IMHO he badly overplayed our hand.    It IS an ugly situation that BO has inherited and I fear he will make it uglier.

I hated what the Dems did to Bush over Iraq and I AM A BETTER AMERICAN THAN THE DESTRUCTIVE ONES WERE-- so for me the frame of referenceis what is good for America.

Specifically WHAT should we do in response to the Russian actions?
23125  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: November 06, 2008, 12:24:42 PM
Woof TE:

I am about to OD on forum matters so I will be a bit briefer than your question deserves:

No one is talking about letting someone without money die from car accidents etc.

I would draw attention to your apparent notion that it is morally superior to turn people away for overcrowding as versus turning people away for insufficient money.   What is your reasoning here?

Denial of service due to overcrowding--due to virtually unlimited demand and diminished supply-- is precisely what happens when a good such as health is made "free"-- which in part is what is meant when we say "If you think health care is expensive now, just wait until the government makes it free." (PJ O'Rourke)  At the moment, in Canada you do not suffer the full consequences of your course of action precisely because you live next door to us.

Let me tell you a story of an experience of mine:

In 1992 I had a freak BJJ accident wherein the ACL, PCL, and Lateral Collateral Ligaments of my left knee were snapped in half.  Thanks to the wonders of modern medicine, what 5 to 10 years previous to that would have left me seriously gimp for life was fixed during the course of three surgeries which replaced the snapped ligaments with tendons from cadavers.  INCREDIBLE!   The cost was nearly $50,000 (remember this was 1992-93 dollars)  Because I bought health insurance, I was out of pocket $5,000 and the insurance company paid the other $45,000. 

THE SYSTEM WORKED - BECAUSE I WORKED AND TOOK RESPONSIBILITY FOR MYSELF.

OTOH, if Hillary Clinton and her health care program had been in charge, they probably would have decreed that there were too many specialists making too much money (this was a favorite point of hers) and there probably would not have been the specialists and the technology capable of saving my knee--- and my life in martial arts.

THAT IS WHAT UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE MEANS TO ME.

Furthermore, I used to be a lawyer in Washington DC, so I have a very visceral sense of the human beings who would be the bureaucrats deciding whether I was allowed to get a particular treatment are.  They are slow, vapid, and basically don't give a fcuk.  As a free man in a free country, giving such people control over how I pursue my health is a bitter anathema.

IMHO it is important to understand that the clusterfcuk we have now is NOT the free market and most of its undesirable features can be traced rather directly to government intervention.

That's all I have time for right now.  I hope it helps explain my perspective.

TAC,
Marc

23126  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / PD WSJ on: November 06, 2008, 12:04:08 PM
Temporary Ted

People are scratching their heads that Alaska Senator Ted Stevens appears to have won re-election despite being convicted on seven felony counts of concealing improper gifts received from an oil services company executive. He clings to a 4,000-vote lead over Democrat Mark Begich, Anchorage's mayor, with several thousand absentee ballots not yet counted.

That Alaska is a Republican state and turnout was high due to the presence of Governor Sarah Palin on the GOP ticket isn't enough to explain how the 84-year-old Stevens appears to have become a political Lazarus. For one thing, turnout wasn't up very much, if at all. Certainly loyalty to Mr. Stevens, whose control over the levers of the federal budget has allowed him to play the state's Santa Claus for four decades, was a factor.

But the real reason for his survival appears to be tactical voting on the part of the state's voters. GOP sources tell me word was spread that the only way to keep the seat in the Republican column and prevent a possible 60-seat filibuster-proof Democratic majority was for voters to hold their noses and re-elect Mr. Stevens. Mr. Stevens himself implied as much in the race's only debate, held after his conviction.

The drama is now likely to play out as follows: Should Mr. Stevens be certified the winner, he will likely be told he won't be seated when the new Senate convenes in January. Governor Palin then would fill the vacancy for a period not to exceed 90 days, when a special election would have to be held. Mrs. Palin is likely to appoint her lieutenant governor, Sean Parnell, to the seat. Mr. Parnell, in turn, would likely face Mr. Begich early next year. Watch for a great deal of money to be poured into the race by Democrats, who hope that the absence of the legendary Mr. Stevens from the ballot will finally give them a chance to win.

-- John Fund

Obama v. Pelosi

Barack Obama obviously has thought carefully about mistakes made by previous Democratic presidential winners who wrongly believed a Congress controlled by their own party would help make them a success.

Pollster Doug Schoen, who helped Bill Clinton win re-election in 1996 over overwhelming odds after the 1994 Democratic debacle, recently warned in a Journal op-ed: "If the Democrats govern as if there is no Republican Party, they are likely headed to the kind of reaction that Bill Clinton faced when he made the same misjudgment after the 1992 election victory." Mr. Schoen cites specifically a meeting in Little Rock after the election with Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell and House Speaker Tom Foley, when Mr. Clinton agreed to defer to Congress on key elements of his legislative agenda. The subsequent lurch to the left did incalculable damage to his presidency.

That may be one reason why Mr. Obama has chosen Rahm Emanuel, a respected member of the Congressional leadership, to become his new White House Chief of Staff. Mr. Emanuel has a reputation as a tough partisan, but he has also exhibited impatience with left-wing members of his party who have overly ambitious ideological agendas. A likely first assignment for Mr. Emanuel will be reminding House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that, after only two years of Democratic control, Congress already has a lower approval rating than even President Bush's.

To the extent Mr. Obama becomes a successful president, it will be because he remains his own man and trusts the brilliant political instincts that have gotten him this far, this fast.

-- John Fund

Throw the Bums In

For an idea of just how ugly the anti-GOP tide was in this election, and how powerful was Barack Obama's influence on the ticket, consider the Democrats who survived. Not even earmark scandals or constituent insults were enough to dislodge Pennsylvania's Paul Kanjorski and Jack Murtha.

Mr. Kanjorski was considered the Democratic Party's most vulnerable member this year, and for reasons of his own making. The twelve-termer from Northeast Pennsylvania's 11th District landed in the soup after directing millions in defense funding to a research company owned by his relatives that ultimately went bankrupt. Mr. Kanjorski was widely expected to lose to his well-known Republican challenger, Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta. Instead, a flood of newly registered voters came out to support Mr. Obama and brought Mr. Kanjorski along for the ride.

That was also the case in Western Pennsylvania, where 17-term Rep. Murtha had managed to offend most of his district by claiming his constituents were "rednecks" who might be too "racist" to vote for Mr. Obama. That got voters thinking about Mr. Murtha's long and checkered past, and wondering if they wouldn't like something new in the person of retired Army lieutenant colonel William Russell. Closing polls showed the race surprisingly tight, yet Mr. Murtha, after an emergency visit by Bill Clinton to the district, pulled 58% of the vote. "You keep sending me back regardless of what I say," Mr. Murtha chortled afterward.

True, if unfortunate.

-- Kim Strassel

Quote of the Day

"[John] McCain deserves credit for a respectable showing and dodging the full-on disaster his party could have faced. How did he achieve that? One word: 'Maverick.' While Obama made a strong case tying McCain to President Bush, McCain was able to cut loose some of that dead weight by distancing himself from Bush over the campaign's final weeks. McCain won a striking 31 percent of voters who said they disapprove of Bush, including 16 percent of voters who said they 'strongly disapprove' of Bush. In 2000, by way of comparison, Al Gore carried just 9 percent of voters who disapproved of Bill Clinton" -- National Journal's John Mercurio.


Leading With Ideas

With the election results pouring in early Tuesday night, Florida Rep. Adam Putnam announced he was resigning from his post as the No. 3 Republican in the House, saying: "It is time to step off the leadership ladder and return my focus to crafting public policy solutions for America's generational challenges -- the very reason I ran for Congress in the first place."

Mr. Putnam is one of his party's most promising young leaders -- smart, principled and gifted politically. He also is living evidence that at least some Republicans understand why their party has so quickly become irrelevant.

Potentially another is GOP House Minority Leader John Boehner. He didn't step down to take responsibility for Tuesday's outcome, but he did send a letter to his members spelling out the party's need to win back credibility "issue by issue" by showing voters that Republicans have better solutions to the problems facing the country.

History will show the GOP's slide from power began earlier but became precipitous with Hurricane Katrina. Remember, in the weeks before the storm hit, Republicans were talking about votes on tax cuts and Social Security reform. But between President George W. Bush's slow response to the devastation and Congress's giddy rush to spend billions indiscriminately to "rebuild" from the storm, the small-government, low-taxes agenda that had animated the GOP since Ronald Reagan was swept away.

Majority Leader Tom DeLay went so far as to pooh-pooh concerns by saying the budget had already been stripped of wasteful spending. Mr. DeLay unceremoniously refused to support efforts by Rep. Mike Pence and other conservatives to offset any Katrina spending with corresponding cuts. The Bridge to Nowhere only became the most visible sign of the utter collapse of GOP credibility on bread-and-butter issues.

After Tuesday, there will no longer be a Republican in the House from New England. Republicans already have taken a pounding in recent years in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Michigan and Iowa -- regions hit hard by the loss of manufacturing jobs but also suffering under a burden of taxes and regulation that have driven businesses and households to friendlier climes. These are states where the GOP agenda, if enacted, might actually do some visible good. Instead Republicans themselves are an endangered species.

The path back to power is to do what Rep. Putnam is suggesting. The GOP has to show itself to be relevant again in the upper Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and New England. Writing off much of this territory has left the party with a shrinking base. If the GOP's hold on the South is now in jeopardy -- as the results from Virginia suggest -- that's all the more reason to start back at the grass-roots level. How long Republicans will remain in the political wilderness depends on what they start doing today.

-- Brendan Miniter



23127  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / from PD WSJ on: November 06, 2008, 12:02:32 PM
Temporary Ted

People are scratching their heads that Alaska Senator Ted Stevens appears to have won re-election despite being convicted on seven felony counts of concealing improper gifts received from an oil services company executive. He clings to a 4,000-vote lead over Democrat Mark Begich, Anchorage's mayor, with several thousand absentee ballots not yet counted.

That Alaska is a Republican state and turnout was high due to the presence of Governor Sarah Palin on the GOP ticket isn't enough to explain how the 84-year-old Stevens appears to have become a political Lazarus. For one thing, turnout wasn't up very much, if at all. Certainly loyalty to Mr. Stevens, whose control over the levers of the federal budget has allowed him to play the state's Santa Claus for four decades, was a factor.

But the real reason for his survival appears to be tactical voting on the part of the state's voters. GOP sources tell me word was spread that the only way to keep the seat in the Republican column and prevent a possible 60-seat filibuster-proof Democratic majority was for voters to hold their noses and re-elect Mr. Stevens. Mr. Stevens himself implied as much in the race's only debate, held after his conviction.

The drama is now likely to play out as follows: Should Mr. Stevens be certified the winner, he will likely be told he won't be seated when the new Senate convenes in January. Governor Palin then would fill the vacancy for a period not to exceed 90 days, when a special election would have to be held. Mrs. Palin is likely to appoint her lieutenant governor, Sean Parnell, to the seat. Mr. Parnell, in turn, would likely face Mr. Begich early next year. Watch for a great deal of money to be poured into the race by Democrats, who hope that the absence of the legendary Mr. Stevens from the ballot will finally give them a chance to win.

-- John Fund
=================
What if Saracuda appoints herself to Stevens seat?!? Can she do that?!?

23128  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-Russia on: November 06, 2008, 11:57:53 AM
FWIW my current thinking is that Bush has left the US in a bad position with Russia by badly overplaying our hand and by not understanding what was at stake.

He should have expanded our military back in 2004 as his opponent Senator Kerry said-- but he was too fcuking full of hubris to admit that we needed to do so.

THEN he kept on treating Russia like we weren't extended and could extend right up to their borders.

He failed to appreciate that what Russia's play in Georgia was about was about Central Asian gas and oil.  See e.g. my post today in the Russia Big Picture (or something like that) thread.

So, while I certainly agree that McCain would be a far better president-elect to have at this moment and that we may soon come to deeply regret having an utter neophyte at the helm, as an American my first concern is what AMERICA should do.
23129  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Reagan: The Speech part 2 on: November 06, 2008, 11:50:36 AM


At the same time, can't we introduce voluntary features that would permit a citizen who can do better on his own to be excused upon presentation of evidence that he had made provision for the non-earning years? Should we not allow a widow with children to work, and not lose the benefits supposedly paid for by her deceased husband? Shouldn't you and I be allowed to declare who our beneficiaries will be under this program, which we cannot do? I think we're for telling our senior citizens that no one in this country should be denied medical care because of a lack of funds. But I think we're against forcing all citizens, regardless of need, into a compulsory government program, especially when we have such examples, as was announced last week, when France admitted that their Medicare program is now bankrupt. They've come to the end of the road.

In addition, was Barry Goldwater so irresponsible when he suggested that our government give up its program of deliberate, planned inflation, so that when you do get your Social Security pension, a dollar will buy a dollar's worth, and not 45 cents worth?

I think we're for an international organization, where the nations of the world can seek peace. But I think we're against subordinating American interests to an organization that has become so structurally unsound that today you can muster a two-thirds vote on the floor of the General Assembly among nations that represent less than 10 percent of the world's population. I think we're against the hypocrisy of assailing our allies because here and there they cling to a colony, while we engage in a conspiracy of silence and never open our mouths about the millions of people enslaved in the Soviet colonies in the satellite nations.

I think we're for aiding our allies by sharing of our material blessings with those nations which share in our fundamental beliefs, but we're against doling out money government to government, creating bureaucracy, if not socialism, all over the world. We set out to help 19 countries. We're helping 107. We've spent 146 billion dollars. With that money, we bought a 2 million dollar yacht for Haile Selassie. We bought dress suits for Greek undertakers, extra wives for Kenya[n] government officials. We bought a thousand TV sets for a place where they have no electricity. In the last six years, 52 nations have bought 7 billion dollars worth of our gold, and all 52 are receiving foreign aid from this country.

No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. So, governments' programs, once launched, never disappear.

Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth.

Federal employees -- federal employees number two and a half million; and federal, state, and local, one out of six of the nation's work force employed by government. These proliferating bureaus with their thousands of regulations have cost us many of our constitutional safeguards. How many of us realize that today federal agents can invade a man's property without a warrant? They can impose a fine without a formal hearing, let alone a trial by jury? And they can seize and sell his property at auction to enforce the payment of that fine. In Chico County, Arkansas, James Wier over-planted his rice allotment. The government obtained a 17,000 dollar judgment. And a U.S. marshal sold his 960-acre farm at auction. The government said it was necessary as a warning to others to make the system work.

Last February 19th at the University of Minnesota, Norman Thomas, six-times candidate for President on the Socialist Party ticket, said, "If Barry Goldwater became President, he would stop the advance of socialism in the United States." I think that's exactly what he will do.

But as a former Democrat, I can tell you Norman Thomas isn't the only man who has drawn this parallel to socialism with the present administration, because back in 1936, Mr. Democrat himself, Al Smith, the great American, came before the American people and charged that the leadership of his Party was taking the Party of Jefferson, Jackson, and Cleveland down the road under the banners of Marx, Lenin, and Stalin. And he walked away from his Party, and he never returned til the day he died -- because to this day, the leadership of that Party has been taking that Party, that honorable Party, down the road in the image of the labor Socialist Party of England.

Now it doesn't require expropriation or confiscation of private property or business to impose socialism on a people. What does it mean whether you hold the deed to the -- or the title to your business or property if the government holds the power of life and death over that business or property? And such machinery already exists. The government can find some charge to bring against any concern it chooses to prosecute. Every businessman has his own tale of harassment. Somewhere a perversion has taken place. Our natural, unalienable rights are now considered to be a dispensation of government, and freedom has never been so fragile, so close to slipping from our grasp as it is at this moment.

Our Democratic opponents seem unwilling to debate these issues. They want to make you and I believe that this is a contest between two men -- that we're to choose just between two personalities.

Well what of this man that they would destroy -- and in destroying, they would destroy that which he represents, the ideas that you and I hold dear? Is he the brash and shallow and trigger-happy man they say he is? Well I've been privileged to know him "when." I knew him long before he ever dreamed of trying for high office, and I can tell you personally I've never known a man in my life I believed so incapable of doing a dishonest or dishonorable thing.

This is a man who, in his own business before he entered politics, instituted a profit-sharing plan before unions had ever thought of it. He put in health and medical insurance for all his employees. He took 50 percent of the profits before taxes and set up a retirement program, a pension plan for all his employees. He sent monthly checks for life to an employee who was ill and couldn't work. He provides nursing care for the children of mothers who work in the stores. When Mexico was ravaged by the floods in the Rio Grande, he climbed in his airplane and flew medicine and supplies down there.

An ex-GI told me how he met him. It was the week before Christmas during the Korean War, and he was at the Los Angeles airport trying to get a ride home to Arizona for Christmas. And he said that [there were] a lot of servicemen there and no seats available on the planes. And then a voice came over the loudspeaker and said, "Any men in uniform wanting a ride to Arizona, go to runway such-and-such," and they went down there, and there was a fellow named Barry Goldwater sitting in his plane. Every day in those weeks before Christmas, all day long, he'd load up the plane, fly it to Arizona, fly them to their homes, fly back over to get another load.

During the hectic split-second timing of a campaign, this is a man who took time out to sit beside an old friend who was dying of cancer. His campaign managers were understandably impatient, but he said, "There aren't many left who care what happens to her. I'd like her to know I care." This is a man who said to his 19-year-old son, "There is no foundation like the rock of honesty and fairness, and when you begin to build your life on that rock, with the cement of the faith in God that you have, then you have a real start." This is not a man who could carelessly send other people's sons to war. And that is the issue of this campaign that makes all the other problems I've discussed academic, unless we realize we're in a war that must be won.



Those who would trade our freedom for the soup kitchen of the welfare state have told us they have a utopian solution of peace without victory. They call their policy "accommodation." And they say if we'll only avoid any direct confrontation with the enemy, he'll forget his evil ways and learn to love us. All who oppose them are indicted as warmongers. They say we offer simple answers to complex problems. Well, perhaps there is a simple answer -- not an easy answer -- but simple: If you and I have the courage to tell our elected officials that we want our national policy based on what we know in our hearts is morally right.

We cannot buy our security, our freedom from the threat of the bomb by committing an immorality so great as saying to a billion human beings now enslaved behind the Iron Curtain, "Give up your dreams of freedom because to save our own skins, we're willing to make a deal with your slave masters." Alexander Hamilton said, "A nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master, and deserves one." Now let's set the record straight. There's no argument over the choice between peace and war, but there's only one guaranteed way you can have peace -- and you can have it in the next second -- surrender.

Admittedly, there's a risk in any course we follow other than this, but every lesson of history tells us that the greater risk lies in appeasement, and this is the specter our well-meaning liberal friends refuse to face -- that their policy of accommodation is appeasement, and it gives no choice between peace and war, only between fight or surrender. If we continue to accommodate, continue to back and retreat, eventually we have to face the final demand -- the ultimatum. And what then -- when Nikita Khrushchev has told his people he knows what our answer will be? He has told them that we're retreating under the pressure of the Cold War, and someday when the time comes to deliver the final ultimatum, our surrender will be voluntary, because by that time we will have been weakened from within spiritually, morally, and economically. He believes this because from our side he's heard voices pleading for "peace at any price" or "better Red than dead," or as one commentator put it, he'd rather "live on his knees than die on his feet." And therein lies the road to war, because those voices don't speak for the rest of us.

You and I know and do not believe that life is so dear and peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery. If nothing in life is worth dying for, when did this begin -- just in the face of this enemy? Or should Moses have told the children of Israel to live in slavery under the pharaohs? Should Christ have refused the cross? Should the patriots at Concord Bridge have thrown down their guns and refused to fire the shot heard 'round the world? The martyrs of history were not fools, and our honored dead who gave their lives to stop the advance of the Nazis didn't die in vain. Where, then, is the road to peace? Well it's a simple answer after all.

You and I have the courage to say to our enemies, "There is a price we will not pay." "There is a point beyond which they must not advance." And this -- this is the meaning in the phrase of Barry Goldwater's "peace through strength." Winston Churchill said, "The destiny of man is not measured by material computations. When great forces are on the move in the world, we learn we're spirits -- not animals." And he said, "There's something going on in time and space, and beyond time and space, which, whether we like it or not, spells duty."

You and I have a rendezvous with destiny.

We'll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we'll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.

We will keep in mind and remember that Barry Goldwater has faith in us. He has faith that you and I have the ability and the dignity and the right to make our own decisions and determine our own destiny.

Thank you very much.

23130  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Reagan: The Speech on: November 06, 2008, 11:49:27 AM
Thread coherence please!

CCP, your comment belongs in The Coming Clusterfcuk or Politics.  This thread is for Political Rants.   Here's one from 44 years ago:

TAC,
Marc
===============
Program Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, we take pride in presenting a thoughtful address by Ronald Reagan. Mr. Reagan:

Reagan: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you and good evening. The sponsor has been identified, but unlike most television programs, the performer hasn't been provided with a script. As a matter of fact, I have been permitted to choose my own words and discuss my own ideas regarding the choice that we face in the next few weeks.

I have spent most of my life as a Democrat. I recently have seen fit to follow another course. I believe that the issues confronting us cross party lines. Now, one side in this campaign has been telling us that the issues of this election are the maintenance of peace and prosperity. The line has been used, "We've never had it so good."

But I have an uncomfortable feeling that this prosperity isn't something on which we can base our hopes for the future. No nation in history has ever survived a tax burden that reached a third of its national income. Today, 37 cents out of every dollar earned in this country is the tax collector's share, and yet our government continues to spend 17 million dollars a day more than the government takes in. We haven't balanced our budget 28 out of the last 34 years. We've raised our debt limit three times in the last twelve months, and now our national debt is one and a half times bigger than all the combined debts of all the nations of the world. We have 15 billion dollars in gold in our treasury; we don't own an ounce. Foreign dollar claims are 27.3 billion dollars. And we've just had announced that the dollar of 1939 will now purchase 45 cents in its total value.

As for the peace that we would preserve, I wonder who among us would like to approach the wife or mother whose husband or son has died in South Vietnam and ask them if they think this is a peace that should be maintained indefinitely. Do they mean peace, or do they mean we just want to be left in peace? There can be no real peace while one American is dying some place in the world for the rest of us. We're at war with the most dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind in his long climb from the swamp to the stars, and it's been said if we lose that war, and in so doing lose this way of freedom of ours, history will record with the greatest astonishment that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening. Well I think it's time we ask ourselves if we still know the freedoms that were intended for us by the Founding Fathers.

Not too long ago, two friends of mine were talking to a Cuban refugee, a businessman who had escaped from Castro, and in the midst of his story one of my friends turned to the other and said, "We don't know how lucky we are." And the Cuban stopped and said, "How lucky you are? I had someplace to escape to." And in that sentence he told us the entire story. If we lose freedom here, there's no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth.

And this idea that government is beholden to the people, that it has no other source of power except the sovereign people, is still the newest and the most unique idea in all the long history of man's relation to man.

This is the issue of this election: whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.

You and I are told increasingly we have to choose between a left or right. Well I'd like to suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There's only an up or down: [up] man's old -- old-aged dream, the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order, or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. And regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would trade our freedom for security have embarked on this downward course.

In this vote-harvesting time, they use terms like the "Great Society," or as we were told a few days ago by the President, we must accept a greater government activity in the affairs of the people. But they've been a little more explicit in the past and among themselves; and all of the things I now will quote have appeared in print. These are not Republican accusations. For example, they have voices that say, "The cold war will end through our acceptance of a not undemocratic socialism." Another voice says, "The profit motive has become outmoded. It must be replaced by the incentives of the welfare state." Or, "Our traditional system of individual freedom is incapable of solving the complex problems of the 20th century." Senator Fulbright has said at Stanford University that the Constitution is outmoded. He referred to the President as "our moral teacher and our leader," and he says he is "hobbled in his task by the restrictions of power imposed on him by this antiquated document." He must "be freed," so that he "can do for us" what he knows "is best." And Senator Clark of Pennsylvania, another articulate spokesman, defines liberalism as "meeting the material needs of the masses through the full power of centralized government."

Well, I, for one, resent it when a representative of the people refers to you and me, the free men and women of this country, as "the masses." This is a term we haven't applied to ourselves in America. But beyond that, "the full power of centralized government" -- this was the very thing the Founding Fathers sought to minimize. They knew that governments don't control things. A government can't control the economy without controlling people. And they know when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. They also knew, those Founding Fathers, that outside of its legitimate functions, government does nothing as well or as economically as the private sector of the economy.

Now, we have no better example of this than government's involvement in the farm economy over the last 30 years. Since 1955, the cost of this program has nearly doubled. One-fourth of farming in America is responsible for 85% of the farm surplus. Three-fourths of farming is out on the free market and has known a 21% increase in the per capita consumption of all its produce. You see, that one-fourth of farming -- that's regulated and controlled by the federal government. In the last three years we've spent 43 dollars in the feed grain program for every dollar bushel of corn we don't grow.

Senator Humphrey last week charged that Barry Goldwater, as President, would seek to eliminate farmers. He should do his homework a little better, because he'll find out that we've had a decline of 5 million in the farm population under these government programs. He'll also find that the Democratic administration has sought to get from Congress [an] extension of the farm program to include that three-fourths that is now free. He'll find that they've also asked for the right to imprison farmers who wouldn't keep books as prescribed by the federal government. The Secretary of Agriculture asked for the right to seize farms through condemnation and resell them to other individuals. And contained in that same program was a provision that would have allowed the federal government to remove 2 million farmers from the soil.

At the same time, there's been an increase in the Department of Agriculture employees. There's now one for every 30 farms in the United States, and still they can't tell us how 66 shiploads of grain headed for Austria disappeared without a trace and Billie Sol Estes never left shore.

Every responsible farmer and farm organization has repeatedly asked the government to free the farm economy, but how -- who are farmers to know what's best for them? The wheat farmers voted against a wheat program. The government passed it anyway. Now the price of bread goes up; the price of wheat to the farmer goes down.

Meanwhile, back in the city, under urban renewal the assault on freedom carries on. Private property rights [are] so diluted that public interest is almost anything a few government planners decide it should be. In a program that takes from the needy and gives to the greedy, we see such spectacles as in Cleveland, Ohio, a million-and-a-half-dollar building completed only three years ago must be destroyed to make way for what government officials call a "more compatible use of the land." The President tells us he's now going to start building public housing units in the thousands, where heretofore we've only built them in the hundreds. But FHA [Federal Housing Authority] and the Veterans Administration tell us they have 120,000 housing units they've taken back through mortgage foreclosure. For three decades, we've sought to solve the problems of unemployment through government planning, and the more the plans fail, the more the planners plan. The latest is the Area Redevelopment Agency.

They've just declared Rice County, Kansas, a depressed area. Rice County, Kansas, has two hundred oil wells, and the 14,000 people there have over 30 million dollars on deposit in personal savings in their banks. And when the government tells you you're depressed, lie down and be depressed.

We have so many people who can't see a fat man standing beside a thin one without coming to the conclusion the fat man got that way by taking advantage of the thin one. So they're going to solve all the problems of human misery through government and government planning. Well, now, if government planning and welfare had the answer -- and they've had almost 30 years of it -- shouldn't we expect government to read the score to us once in a while? Shouldn't they be telling us about the decline each year in the number of people needing help? The reduction in the need for public housing?

But the reverse is true. Each year the need grows greater; the program grows greater. We were told four years ago that 17 million people went to bed hungry each night. Well that was probably true. They were all on a diet. But now we're told that 9.3 million families in this country are poverty-stricken on the basis of earning less than 3,000 dollars a year. Welfare spending [is] 10 times greater than in the dark depths of the Depression. We're spending 45 billion dollars on welfare. Now do a little arithmetic, and you'll find that if we divided the 45 billion dollars up equally among those 9 million poor families, we'd be able to give each family 4,600 dollars a year. And this added to their present income should eliminate poverty. Direct aid to the poor, however, is only running only about 600 dollars per family. It would seem that someplace there must be some overhead.

Now -- so now we declare "war on poverty," or "You, too, can be a Bobby Baker." Now do they honestly expect us to believe that if we add 1 billion dollars to the 45 billion we're spending, one more program to the 30-odd we have -- and remember, this new program doesn't replace any, it just duplicates existing programs -- do they believe that poverty is suddenly going to disappear by magic? Well, in all fairness I should explain there is one part of the new program that isn't duplicated. This is the youth feature. We're now going to solve the dropout problem, juvenile delinquency, by reinstituting something like the old CCC camps [Civilian Conservation Corps], and we're going to put our young people in these camps. But again we do some arithmetic, and we find that we're going to spend each year just on room and board for each young person we help 4,700 dollars a year. We can send them to Harvard for 2,700! Course, don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting Harvard is the answer to juvenile delinquency.

But seriously, what are we doing to those we seek to help? Not too long ago, a judge called me here in Los Angeles. He told me of a young woman who'd come before him for a divorce. She had six children, was pregnant with her seventh. Under his questioning, she revealed her husband was a laborer earning 250 dollars a month. She wanted a divorce to get an 80 dollar raise. She's eligible for 330 dollars a month in the Aid to Dependent Children Program. She got the idea from two women in her neighborhood who'd already done that very thing.

Yet anytime you and I question the schemes of the do-gooders, we're denounced as being against their humanitarian goals. They say we're always "against" things -- we're never "for" anything.

Well, the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant; it's just that they know so much that isn't so.

Now -- we're for a provision that destitution should not follow unemployment by reason of old age, and to that end we've accepted Social Security as a step toward meeting the problem.

But we're against those entrusted with this program when they practice deception regarding its fiscal shortcomings, when they charge that any criticism of the program means that we want to end payments to those people who depend on them for a livelihood. They've called it "insurance" to us in a hundred million pieces of literature. But then they appeared before the Supreme Court and they testified it was a welfare program. They only use the term "insurance" to sell it to the people. And they said Social Security dues are a tax for the general use of the government, and the government has used that tax. There is no fund, because Robert Byers, the actuarial head, appeared before a congressional committee and admitted that Social Security as of this moment is 298 billion dollars in the hole. But he said there should be no cause for worry because as long as they have the power to tax, they could always take away from the people whatever they needed to bail them out of trouble. And they're doing just that.

A young man, 21 years of age, working at an average salary -- his Social Security contribution would, in the open market, buy him an insurance policy that would guarantee 220 dollars a month at age 65. The government promises 127. He could live it up until he's 31 and then take out a policy that would pay more than Social Security. Now are we so lacking in business sense that we can't put this program on a sound basis, so that people who do require those payments will find they can get them when they're due -- that the cupboard isn't bare?

Barry Goldwater thinks we can.
23131  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: November 06, 2008, 11:43:48 AM
"The reason we had "compassionate conservatism" in the first place was because Rove and others recognized that strict classic Reagonics is doomed and does not speak to the "growing" majority of this country who are simply not expanding their share of the pie like the wealthy have been."

Disagree.   Bush 1 lost his re-election because he welched on his "Read my lips- no new taxes" and because Ross Perot allowed
Slick Willie to win with 43% of the vote.  Newt Gingrich did not take back the Congress for the Republicans by being a moderate-- he took it back with forthright Win-win Reaganism.

Bush went with "Compassionate Conservatism" because he lacked the chops to defend freedom-- probably because inside he knew he was a child of patrician privilege.

"That *is* why BO won.   End of story.  Until the Right recognizes this and finds a way to deal with this they are doomed.  Unfortunately, the party is held hostage by "strict" conservatives like those two talk show hosts I speak of."

I haven't listened to Rush much recently, (too little content to time ratio, and at that time of day I am not in my car) and find Hannity to be an , , , anus.  That said, what you say here would make sense only if McCain had run as a conservative!
23132  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Reagan: The Speech part 2 on: November 06, 2008, 11:35:30 AM
Part Two

At the same time, can't we introduce voluntary features that would permit a citizen who can do better on his own to be excused upon presentation of evidence that he had made provision for the non-earning years? Should we not allow a widow with children to work, and not lose the benefits supposedly paid for by her deceased husband? Shouldn't you and I be allowed to declare who our beneficiaries will be under this program, which we cannot do? I think we're for telling our senior citizens that no one in this country should be denied medical care because of a lack of funds. But I think we're against forcing all citizens, regardless of need, into a compulsory government program, especially when we have such examples, as was announced last week, when France admitted that their Medicare program is now bankrupt. They've come to the end of the road.

In addition, was Barry Goldwater so irresponsible when he suggested that our government give up its program of deliberate, planned inflation, so that when you do get your Social Security pension, a dollar will buy a dollar's worth, and not 45 cents worth?

I think we're for an international organization, where the nations of the world can seek peace. But I think we're against subordinating American interests to an organization that has become so structurally unsound that today you can muster a two-thirds vote on the floor of the General Assembly among nations that represent less than 10 percent of the world's population. I think we're against the hypocrisy of assailing our allies because here and there they cling to a colony, while we engage in a conspiracy of silence and never open our mouths about the millions of people enslaved in the Soviet colonies in the satellite nations.

I think we're for aiding our allies by sharing of our material blessings with those nations which share in our fundamental beliefs, but we're against doling out money government to government, creating bureaucracy, if not socialism, all over the world. We set out to help 19 countries. We're helping 107. We've spent 146 billion dollars. With that money, we bought a 2 million dollar yacht for Haile Selassie. We bought dress suits for Greek undertakers, extra wives for Kenya[n] government officials. We bought a thousand TV sets for a place where they have no electricity. In the last six years, 52 nations have bought 7 billion dollars worth of our gold, and all 52 are receiving foreign aid from this country.

No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. So, governments' programs, once launched, never disappear.

Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth.

Federal employees -- federal employees number two and a half million; and federal, state, and local, one out of six of the nation's work force employed by government. These proliferating bureaus with their thousands of regulations have cost us many of our constitutional safeguards. How many of us realize that today federal agents can invade a man's property without a warrant? They can impose a fine without a formal hearing, let alone a trial by jury? And they can seize and sell his property at auction to enforce the payment of that fine. In Chico County, Arkansas, James Wier over-planted his rice allotment. The government obtained a 17,000 dollar judgment. And a U.S. marshal sold his 960-acre farm at auction. The government said it was necessary as a warning to others to make the system work.

Last February 19th at the University of Minnesota, Norman Thomas, six-times candidate for President on the Socialist Party ticket, said, "If Barry Goldwater became President, he would stop the advance of socialism in the United States." I think that's exactly what he will do.

But as a former Democrat, I can tell you Norman Thomas isn't the only man who has drawn this parallel to socialism with the present administration, because back in 1936, Mr. Democrat himself, Al Smith, the great American, came before the American people and charged that the leadership of his Party was taking the Party of Jefferson, Jackson, and Cleveland down the road under the banners of Marx, Lenin, and Stalin. And he walked away from his Party, and he never returned til the day he died -- because to this day, the leadership of that Party has been taking that Party, that honorable Party, down the road in the image of the labor Socialist Party of England.

Now it doesn't require expropriation or confiscation of private property or business to impose socialism on a people. What does it mean whether you hold the deed to the -- or the title to your business or property if the government holds the power of life and death over that business or property? And such machinery already exists. The government can find some charge to bring against any concern it chooses to prosecute. Every businessman has his own tale of harassment. Somewhere a perversion has taken place. Our natural, unalienable rights are now considered to be a dispensation of government, and freedom has never been so fragile, so close to slipping from our grasp as it is at this moment.

Our Democratic opponents seem unwilling to debate these issues. They want to make you and I believe that this is a contest between two men -- that we're to choose just between two personalities.

Well what of this man that they would destroy -- and in destroying, they would destroy that which he represents, the ideas that you and I hold dear? Is he the brash and shallow and trigger-happy man they say he is? Well I've been privileged to know him "when." I knew him long before he ever dreamed of trying for high office, and I can tell you personally I've never known a man in my life I believed so incapable of doing a dishonest or dishonorable thing.

This is a man who, in his own business before he entered politics, instituted a profit-sharing plan before unions had ever thought of it. He put in health and medical insurance for all his employees. He took 50 percent of the profits before taxes and set up a retirement program, a pension plan for all his employees. He sent monthly checks for life to an employee who was ill and couldn't work. He provides nursing care for the children of mothers who work in the stores. When Mexico was ravaged by the floods in the Rio Grande, he climbed in his airplane and flew medicine and supplies down there.

An ex-GI told me how he met him. It was the week before Christmas during the Korean War, and he was at the Los Angeles airport trying to get a ride home to Arizona for Christmas. And he said that [there were] a lot of servicemen there and no seats available on the planes. And then a voice came over the loudspeaker and said, "Any men in uniform wanting a ride to Arizona, go to runway such-and-such," and they went down there, and there was a fellow named Barry Goldwater sitting in his plane. Every day in those weeks before Christmas, all day long, he'd load up the plane, fly it to Arizona, fly them to their homes, fly back over to get another load.

During the hectic split-second timing of a campaign, this is a man who took time out to sit beside an old friend who was dying of cancer. His campaign managers were understandably impatient, but he said, "There aren't many left who care what happens to her. I'd like her to know I care." This is a man who said to his 19-year-old son, "There is no foundation like the rock of honesty and fairness, and when you begin to build your life on that rock, with the cement of the faith in God that you have, then you have a real start." This is not a man who could carelessly send other people's sons to war. And that is the issue of this campaign that makes all the other problems I've discussed academic, unless we realize we're in a war that must be won.



Those who would trade our freedom for the soup kitchen of the welfare state have told us they have a utopian solution of peace without victory. They call their policy "accommodation." And they say if we'll only avoid any direct confrontation with the enemy, he'll forget his evil ways and learn to love us. All who oppose them are indicted as warmongers. They say we offer simple answers to complex problems. Well, perhaps there is a simple answer -- not an easy answer -- but simple: If you and I have the courage to tell our elected officials that we want our national policy based on what we know in our hearts is morally right.

We cannot buy our security, our freedom from the threat of the bomb by committing an immorality so great as saying to a billion human beings now enslaved behind the Iron Curtain, "Give up your dreams of freedom because to save our own skins, we're willing to make a deal with your slave masters." Alexander Hamilton said, "A nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master, and deserves one." Now let's set the record straight. There's no argument over the choice between peace and war, but there's only one guaranteed way you can have peace -- and you can have it in the next second -- surrender.

Admittedly, there's a risk in any course we follow other than this, but every lesson of history tells us that the greater risk lies in appeasement, and this is the specter our well-meaning liberal friends refuse to face -- that their policy of accommodation is appeasement, and it gives no choice between peace and war, only between fight or surrender. If we continue to accommodate, continue to back and retreat, eventually we have to face the final demand -- the ultimatum. And what then -- when Nikita Khrushchev has told his people he knows what our answer will be? He has told them that we're retreating under the pressure of the Cold War, and someday when the time comes to deliver the final ultimatum, our surrender will be voluntary, because by that time we will have been weakened from within spiritually, morally, and economically. He believes this because from our side he's heard voices pleading for "peace at any price" or "better Red than dead," or as one commentator put it, he'd rather "live on his knees than die on his feet." And therein lies the road to war, because those voices don't speak for the rest of us.

You and I know and do not believe that life is so dear and peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery. If nothing in life is worth dying for, when did this begin -- just in the face of this enemy? Or should Moses have told the children of Israel to live in slavery under the pharaohs? Should Christ have refused the cross? Should the patriots at Concord Bridge have thrown down their guns and refused to fire the shot heard 'round the world? The martyrs of history were not fools, and our honored dead who gave their lives to stop the advance of the Nazis didn't die in vain. Where, then, is the road to peace? Well it's a simple answer after all.

You and I have the courage to say to our enemies, "There is a price we will not pay." "There is a point beyond which they must not advance." And this -- this is the meaning in the phrase of Barry Goldwater's "peace through strength." Winston Churchill said, "The destiny of man is not measured by material computations. When great forces are on the move in the world, we learn we're spirits -- not animals." And he said, "There's something going on in time and space, and beyond time and space, which, whether we like it or not, spells duty."

You and I have a rendezvous with destiny.

We'll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we'll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.

We will keep in mind and remember that Barry Goldwater has faith in us. He has faith that you and I have the ability and the dignity and the right to make our own decisions and determine our own destiny.

Thank you very much.
23133  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Our Founding Fathers: on: November 06, 2008, 11:34:32 AM
Program Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, we take pride in presenting a thoughtful address by Ronald Reagan. Mr. Reagan:

Reagan: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you and good evening. The sponsor has been identified, but unlike most television programs, the performer hasn't been provided with a script. As a matter of fact, I have been permitted to choose my own words and discuss my own ideas regarding the choice that we face in the next few weeks.

I have spent most of my life as a Democrat. I recently have seen fit to follow another course. I believe that the issues confronting us cross party lines. Now, one side in this campaign has been telling us that the issues of this election are the maintenance of peace and prosperity. The line has been used, "We've never had it so good."

But I have an uncomfortable feeling that this prosperity isn't something on which we can base our hopes for the future. No nation in history has ever survived a tax burden that reached a third of its national income. Today, 37 cents out of every dollar earned in this country is the tax collector's share, and yet our government continues to spend 17 million dollars a day more than the government takes in. We haven't balanced our budget 28 out of the last 34 years. We've raised our debt limit three times in the last twelve months, and now our national debt is one and a half times bigger than all the combined debts of all the nations of the world. We have 15 billion dollars in gold in our treasury; we don't own an ounce. Foreign dollar claims are 27.3 billion dollars. And we've just had announced that the dollar of 1939 will now purchase 45 cents in its total value.

As for the peace that we would preserve, I wonder who among us would like to approach the wife or mother whose husband or son has died in South Vietnam and ask them if they think this is a peace that should be maintained indefinitely. Do they mean peace, or do they mean we just want to be left in peace? There can be no real peace while one American is dying some place in the world for the rest of us. We're at war with the most dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind in his long climb from the swamp to the stars, and it's been said if we lose that war, and in so doing lose this way of freedom of ours, history will record with the greatest astonishment that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening. Well I think it's time we ask ourselves if we still know the freedoms that were intended for us by the Founding Fathers.

Not too long ago, two friends of mine were talking to a Cuban refugee, a businessman who had escaped from Castro, and in the midst of his story one of my friends turned to the other and said, "We don't know how lucky we are." And the Cuban stopped and said, "How lucky you are? I had someplace to escape to." And in that sentence he told us the entire story. If we lose freedom here, there's no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth.

And this idea that government is beholden to the people, that it has no other source of power except the sovereign people, is still the newest and the most unique idea in all the long history of man's relation to man.

This is the issue of this election: whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.

You and I are told increasingly we have to choose between a left or right. Well I'd like to suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There's only an up or down: [up] man's old -- old-aged dream, the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order, or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. And regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would trade our freedom for security have embarked on this downward course.

In this vote-harvesting time, they use terms like the "Great Society," or as we were told a few days ago by the President, we must accept a greater government activity in the affairs of the people. But they've been a little more explicit in the past and among themselves; and all of the things I now will quote have appeared in print. These are not Republican accusations. For example, they have voices that say, "The cold war will end through our acceptance of a not undemocratic socialism." Another voice says, "The profit motive has become outmoded. It must be replaced by the incentives of the welfare state." Or, "Our traditional system of individual freedom is incapable of solving the complex problems of the 20th century." Senator Fulbright has said at Stanford University that the Constitution is outmoded. He referred to the President as "our moral teacher and our leader," and he says he is "hobbled in his task by the restrictions of power imposed on him by this antiquated document." He must "be freed," so that he "can do for us" what he knows "is best." And Senator Clark of Pennsylvania, another articulate spokesman, defines liberalism as "meeting the material needs of the masses through the full power of centralized government."

Well, I, for one, resent it when a representative of the people refers to you and me, the free men and women of this country, as "the masses." This is a term we haven't applied to ourselves in America. But beyond that, "the full power of centralized government" -- this was the very thing the Founding Fathers sought to minimize. They knew that governments don't control things. A government can't control the economy without controlling people. And they know when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. They also knew, those Founding Fathers, that outside of its legitimate functions, government does nothing as well or as economically as the private sector of the economy.

Now, we have no better example of this than government's involvement in the farm economy over the last 30 years. Since 1955, the cost of this program has nearly doubled. One-fourth of farming in America is responsible for 85% of the farm surplus. Three-fourths of farming is out on the free market and has known a 21% increase in the per capita consumption of all its produce. You see, that one-fourth of farming -- that's regulated and controlled by the federal government. In the last three years we've spent 43 dollars in the feed grain program for every dollar bushel of corn we don't grow.

Senator Humphrey last week charged that Barry Goldwater, as President, would seek to eliminate farmers. He should do his homework a little better, because he'll find out that we've had a decline of 5 million in the farm population under these government programs. He'll also find that the Democratic administration has sought to get from Congress [an] extension of the farm program to include that three-fourths that is now free. He'll find that they've also asked for the right to imprison farmers who wouldn't keep books as prescribed by the federal government. The Secretary of Agriculture asked for the right to seize farms through condemnation and resell them to other individuals. And contained in that same program was a provision that would have allowed the federal government to remove 2 million farmers from the soil.

At the same time, there's been an increase in the Department of Agriculture employees. There's now one for every 30 farms in the United States, and still they can't tell us how 66 shiploads of grain headed for Austria disappeared without a trace and Billie Sol Estes never left shore.

Every responsible farmer and farm organization has repeatedly asked the government to free the farm economy, but how -- who are farmers to know what's best for them? The wheat farmers voted against a wheat program. The government passed it anyway. Now the price of bread goes up; the price of wheat to the farmer goes down.

Meanwhile, back in the city, under urban renewal the assault on freedom carries on. Private property rights [are] so diluted that public interest is almost anything a few government planners decide it should be. In a program that takes from the needy and gives to the greedy, we see such spectacles as in Cleveland, Ohio, a million-and-a-half-dollar building completed only three years ago must be destroyed to make way for what government officials call a "more compatible use of the land." The President tells us he's now going to start building public housing units in the thousands, where heretofore we've only built them in the hundreds. But FHA [Federal Housing Authority] and the Veterans Administration tell us they have 120,000 housing units they've taken back through mortgage foreclosure. For three decades, we've sought to solve the problems of unemployment through government planning, and the more the plans fail, the more the planners plan. The latest is the Area Redevelopment Agency.

They've just declared Rice County, Kansas, a depressed area. Rice County, Kansas, has two hundred oil wells, and the 14,000 people there have over 30 million dollars on deposit in personal savings in their banks. And when the government tells you you're depressed, lie down and be depressed.

We have so many people who can't see a fat man standing beside a thin one without coming to the conclusion the fat man got that way by taking advantage of the thin one. So they're going to solve all the problems of human misery through government and government planning. Well, now, if government planning and welfare had the answer -- and they've had almost 30 years of it -- shouldn't we expect government to read the score to us once in a while? Shouldn't they be telling us about the decline each year in the number of people needing help? The reduction in the need for public housing?

But the reverse is true. Each year the need grows greater; the program grows greater. We were told four years ago that 17 million people went to bed hungry each night. Well that was probably true. They were all on a diet. But now we're told that 9.3 million families in this country are poverty-stricken on the basis of earning less than 3,000 dollars a year. Welfare spending [is] 10 times greater than in the dark depths of the Depression. We're spending 45 billion dollars on welfare. Now do a little arithmetic, and you'll find that if we divided the 45 billion dollars up equally among those 9 million poor families, we'd be able to give each family 4,600 dollars a year. And this added to their present income should eliminate poverty. Direct aid to the poor, however, is only running only about 600 dollars per family. It would seem that someplace there must be some overhead.

Now -- so now we declare "war on poverty," or "You, too, can be a Bobby Baker." Now do they honestly expect us to believe that if we add 1 billion dollars to the 45 billion we're spending, one more program to the 30-odd we have -- and remember, this new program doesn't replace any, it just duplicates existing programs -- do they believe that poverty is suddenly going to disappear by magic? Well, in all fairness I should explain there is one part of the new program that isn't duplicated. This is the youth feature. We're now going to solve the dropout problem, juvenile delinquency, by reinstituting something like the old CCC camps [Civilian Conservation Corps], and we're going to put our young people in these camps. But again we do some arithmetic, and we find that we're going to spend each year just on room and board for each young person we help 4,700 dollars a year. We can send them to Harvard for 2,700! Course, don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting Harvard is the answer to juvenile delinquency.

But seriously, what are we doing to those we seek to help? Not too long ago, a judge called me here in Los Angeles. He told me of a young woman who'd come before him for a divorce. She had six children, was pregnant with her seventh. Under his questioning, she revealed her husband was a laborer earning 250 dollars a month. She wanted a divorce to get an 80 dollar raise. She's eligible for 330 dollars a month in the Aid to Dependent Children Program. She got the idea from two women in her neighborhood who'd already done that very thing.

Yet anytime you and I question the schemes of the do-gooders, we're denounced as being against their humanitarian goals. They say we're always "against" things -- we're never "for" anything.

Well, the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant; it's just that they know so much that isn't so.

Now -- we're for a provision that destitution should not follow unemployment by reason of old age, and to that end we've accepted Social Security as a step toward meeting the problem.

But we're against those entrusted with this program when they practice deception regarding its fiscal shortcomings, when they charge that any criticism of the program means that we want to end payments to those people who depend on them for a livelihood. They've called it "insurance" to us in a hundred million pieces of literature. But then they appeared before the Supreme Court and they testified it was a welfare program. They only use the term "insurance" to sell it to the people. And they said Social Security dues are a tax for the general use of the government, and the government has used that tax. There is no fund, because Robert Byers, the actuarial head, appeared before a congressional committee and admitted that Social Security as of this moment is 298 billion dollars in the hole. But he said there should be no cause for worry because as long as they have the power to tax, they could always take away from the people whatever they needed to bail them out of trouble. And they're doing just that.

A young man, 21 years of age, working at an average salary -- his Social Security contribution would, in the open market, buy him an insurance policy that would guarantee 220 dollars a month at age 65. The government promises 127. He could live it up until he's 31 and then take out a policy that would pay more than Social Security. Now are we so lacking in business sense that we can't put this program on a sound basis, so that people who do require those payments will find they can get them when they're due -- that the cupboard isn't bare?

Barry Goldwater thinks we can.
23134  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Coming Clusterfcuk on: November 06, 2008, 11:20:08 AM
GM:

This is some important stuff.  Would you please start posting these matters on the Russia-US thread?

Thank you,
Marc
23135  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Libertarian Issues on: November 06, 2008, 11:02:28 AM
Well, isn't the idea and fact of a search warrant rather important in our Constitutional scheme of things?!? 

Again I ask the question:  Are you OK with what my two posts describe or is there something there that goes too far, even for you? 

If so, what is it?
23136  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Palin phenomenon on: November 06, 2008, 10:56:23 AM
Fair enough, it IS hard to believe that she didn't know that Africa was a continent-- still, there have been moments where she has left me with an uneasy feeling-- and I like her a lot.
23137  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: November 06, 2008, 10:48:04 AM
"but if he was like  Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton you still think he would have won? Hell no!"

Umm, , , as I see it, that is not the point.  The comparison is not with obvious race baiting scum bag professional negroes like those two, the point is whether a glib white candidate with his de minimis qualifications and history of scuzzy associations (Frank Davis Marshal, Ayres & Dorn, the whacko preacher, ACORN, the CAIR connection to his getting into Harvard, not keeping track of the nationality of hundreds of millions of dollars in donations, etc, etc etc) would have gotten the same blind eye treatment and overwhelming support that BO did.

23138  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / More Central Asian Energy under the Kremlin's Thumb on: November 06, 2008, 10:11:35 AM
Russia: More Central Asian Energy Under the Kremlin's Thumb
Stratfor Today » November 5, 2008 | 1950 GMT

ALEXEY DRUZHININ/AFP/Getty Images
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (L) and Kazakh President Nursultan NazarbayevSummary
Russia increased its share in the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) to 31 percent after buying a 7 percent stake from Oman, Russian daily Kommersant reported Nov. 5. The Kremlin has now reached its objective in controlling a key east-west oil pipeline in Central Asia, giving Russia even greater leverage in tampering with Caspian crude exports to the West in accordance with the Russian geopolitical agenda. With CPC under its belt, Moscow’s eyes will now turn to the only remaining Central Asian pipeline outside its control: the Kazakhstan-China pipeline.

Analysis

The Russian government bought a 7 percent stake in the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) from Oman, raising its share in the project to 31 percent, Russian daily Kommersant reported Nov. 5, citing sources from Russia’s Transneft, which operates the CPC. The deal is believed to have been struck during an Oct. 30 meeting between Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Kommersant sources claim that Russia bought the stake from Oman for around $350 million — about half the starting price that Hungarian energy group MOL had offered. The hefty discount that Russia apparently got on this deal was in all likelihood thanks to a number of political and energy levers Moscow used to gain the approval of Nazarbayev and the other consortium members.

Related Special Topic Pages
Russian Energy and Foreign Policy
Central Asian Energy: Circumventing Russia

Russia’s acquisition of the Omani stake in CPC is no ordinary business deal. The negotiations with Oman over this stake were rooted in Russia’s core geopolitical interest in monopolizing Kazakhstan’s export routes and bullying Astana’s energy clients, in yet another move to consolidate Russia’s control in its Central Asian periphery. The 935-mile CPC pipeline runs from the Tengiz oil field in Kazakhstan to the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiysk, carrying around 700,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil from the Caspian Sea region across the Caucasus to the global crude market. There are plans for the pipeline’s capacity to be expanded to 1.3 million bpd by 2010.

The CPC pipeline has been a challenge for the Russians since it was first commissioned in 2001. Prior to the deal with Oman, the consortium was run by three governments (Russia, Kazakhstan and Oman) and 10 companies representing seven countries, including U.S. energy giant Chevron.

The Russians previously tried a number of heavy-handed tactics to cripple the consortium so they could then swoop in and take full possession of the largely U.S.-funded and privately owned pipeline. Those tactics included having Transneft try to drive the consortium into bankruptcy by charging millions of dollars in transit fees and back taxes, halting Russian crude shipments to the pipeline and delaying the CPC’s expansion plans for years.

All these moves backfired, however, and pushed Astana closer to entertaining energy deals with the West and especially the Chinese, who have long been yearning to get a strong energy foothold in Central Asia. The more Russia bullied, the less Kazakhstan felt compelled to maintain a commitment to Soviet-era pipelines and railroads to ship its crude, and the more interested it became in trying to strike a balance among Russia, China and the West.

Though Kazakhstan has notably increased its energy independence in recent years, it still has not been able to break free from Moscow, particularly when it has much to fear from the Russian Federal Security Service’s strong presence in the country. Now that Oman and Russia have struck this deal over CPC, Russia has a lot more leverage in influencing how Astana manages its future energy relations.

Russia previously held a 24 percent stake in the consortium, which was not enough for the Kremlin to use the pipeline as a tool in its foreign policy arsenal. According to Russian law, a stake of at least 25 percent is required to veto management decisions of any company or consortium. Now that it holds a 31 percent stake, the Kremlin can control the CPC’s actions and block any decisions made by the consortium that go against Russian interests. This means Russia can raise transit fees and block crude shipments at will in accordance with its political preference while consolidating control over Western-extracted oil from Kazakh oilfields.

In addition, Russia now has more leverage over Russian oil producers who have opted to load more of their crude into the CPC pipeline as opposed to the Atyrau-Samara pipeline, which is linked to Russia’s state-owned oil transport monopoly Transneft to save on transit fees. Transneft will be much relieved to see Russia gain a bigger chunk of the CPC, and thus more control over the pipeline’s pricing to direct which way Kazakh crude will flow.

With the CPC locked down, Russia will now be freed up to target the last remaining Central Asian pipeline that has escaped the Kremlin’s grip: the Kazakhstan-China pipeline. China has watched carefully as Kazakh-Russian ties have eroded since the fall of the Soviet Union. Planning its moves into Central Asia carefully, China has built up a strong relationship with Astana and has signed a series of deals to fund new roads, railroads, and oil extraction and production. Most importantly, energy-hungry China is in the process of building a 200,000 bpd pipeline that runs across the entire width of Kazakhstan, and it also plans to construct a natural gas pipeline from Kazakhstan to Turkmenistan.

The last thing Russia wants to see is some 2 million bpd of crude and 70 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year diverted away from Russian-controlled energy networks. Not only would such an outcome deal a heavy blow to the Russian economy, it would also constrain Russia in supplying European energy contracts — an area key to Russia’s ability to bully Europe on political matters — and seriously undermine Russia’s influence in Central Asia.

The Chinese, therefore, have much to be concerned about. They can expect to be hit with all the usual Russian pressure tactics, including delays on construction, monopolizing consortiums and pressure on Astana to hike expenses. Many of these tactics are already in play, but the geopolitical balance is now tilting more strongly in Moscow’s favor. With the CPC deal, Russia has taken care of a huge obstacle in monopolizing Kazakhstan’s energy export options to the West. Russia’s attention can now be expected to turn eastward to China’s energy networks in Central Asia.

23139  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Your phone is watching you on: November 06, 2008, 08:27:21 AM
Or how about this?

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v30/n16/soar01_.html
Short Cuts
Daniel Soar
For a moment in the late 1990s, it looked as though mobile phones might make us free. You could work in the park, be available when you wanted to be, choose who you answered to. You could be anywhere while you did anything. If location was mentioned it was gratuitous chatter (‘I’m on the train!’) or a handy lie (‘I’m in the office’). Back then, a phone in your pocket was an expensive novelty. Ten years later, there are 3.3 billion active mobile phones, meaning that – if you ignore the show-offs who have several – half the planet has one; 85 per cent of the million new subscriptions taken up each day come from the developing world. Three billion people are just a few button presses away, and where they are doesn’t matter. But if you’re the retiring type, the trouble is that the phone companies and interested others do know exactly where you are, at any given second, so long as you have your handbag with you and your phone switched on: even the most basic technology, phone mast triangulation, locates you to within a couple of hundred metres; newer phones, with GPS built in, will tell any system that asks whether you’re in the kitchen or the loo.

You might assume that this information is either of interest to no one or, at the very least, protected by privacy laws and accessible only by the agencies that hunt suicide bombers and paedophiles. But you’d be wrong. Anyone can, for instance, sign up – at £29.99 a year – to mapAmobile.com (‘you’ll always know where your loved ones are’), which allows you to follow the movements of your ‘family and friends’ on a computer screen. The safeguard, from your friend’s point of view, is that he has to consent to being tracked, a process which involves his replying to a text message alerting him to the request; this shouldn’t be much of a hindrance to you as would-be stalker if he happens to leave his phone lying around. That this sort of enterprising solution is possible is the result of the major networks – in the UK, Vodafone, Orange, O2 and T-Mobile – having decided, in around 2002, to sell their location data to any company willing to pay for it.

Such services are obscure, and barely legal, but it’s about to be brought home to the majority of mobile users that what they’re up to isn’t private information. Owners of the latest version of Apple’s iPhone – avidly queued for at stores around the world last month – can now download an application that displays a friend’s location as a bright green dot on a map. In 2009, phones running Google’s Android operating system will be able to show you in pictures how to reach that green dot while avoiding traffic snarl-ups and stray hurricanes; they’ll also tell you how much a drink will cost when you get there. Along the way you might have to dodge a virtual attack from a passing stranger who, like you, has signed up to an urban espionage ‘immersive game’ and has pegged you in the street as a target. If all this sounds like unnecessary gimmickry, and you’re perfectly happy with your phone the way it is, or would be if only you knew how to make it ring like a phone rather than a wheezing horse or a three-dimensional aural representation of the rings of Saturn, then you’re out of luck: the information your phone provides is out there anyway. It doesn’t belong to you, and anyone with the required resources can do with it what they will.

At a very rough estimate half a trillion calls are made each day on the world’s mobile networks: their origin and destination, their time and duration and all identifying codes are logged on telecom provider hard-drives and generally retained, under emerging legislation, for up to two years. It’s impossible to exaggerate the value of these data. In most countries no one can listen in to your conversation – though it’s technically trivial to do – without a warrant, but given what most of us talk about most of the time what we actually say when we’re on the phone may be the least interesting thing about the call. Certainly this is the view of the growing Intelligence Support Systems industry (ISS), which sells analysis tools to government agencies, police forces and – increasingly – the phone companies themselves. Take the case of ThorpeGlen, a company headquartered in a business park outside Ipswich that also hosts research divisions of BT and Nokia Siemens Networks. At the frequent ISS conferences – Dubai, Qatar, Washington, Prague – one of the key topics of discussion tends to be how to identify targets for LI (that’s ‘lawful intercept’) in the first place: it’s a cinch to bug someone, but how do you help a law enforcement agency decide who to bug?

To help answer that question, companies like ThorpeGlen (and VASTech and Kommlabs and Aqsacom) sell systems that carry out ‘passive probing’, analysing vast quantities of communications data to detect subjects of potential interest to security services, thereby doing their expensive legwork for them. ThorpeGlen’s VP of sales and marketing showed off one of these tools in a ‘Webinar’ broadcast to the ISS community on 13 May. He used as an example the data from ‘a mobile network we have access to’ – since he chose not to obscure the numbers we know it’s Indonesia-based – and explained that calls from the entire network of 50 million subscribers had been processed, over a period of two weeks, to produce a database of eight billion or so ‘events’. Everyone on a network, he said, is part of a group; most groups talk to other groups, creating a spider’s web of interactions. Of the 50 million subscribers ThorpeGlen processed, 48 million effectively belonged to ‘one large group’: they called one another, or their friends called friends of their friends; this set of people was dismissed. A further 400,000 subscriptions could be attributed to a few large ‘nodes’, with numbers belonging to call centres, shops and information services. The remaining groups ranged in size from two to 142 subscribers. Members of these groups only ever called each other – clear evidence of antisocial behaviour – and, in one extreme case, a group was identified in which all the subscribers only ever called a single number at the centre of the web. This section of the ThorpeGlen presentation ended with one word: ‘WHY??’

Once you’ve found your terrorist, how do you know that he won’t, say, pass on his phone, or get a new number or use a throwaway pay-as-you-go handset (as British Olympic officals were advised to do by MI6 in an attempt to evade Chinese spies)? ThorpeGlen has a solution for that too. It also sells ‘profiling’ systems, which measure the behaviour pattern of an individual subscriber and, using statistical analysis, determine whether that same pattern is now appearing from another source. In other words, if your terrorist gets a new phone you’ll still know it’s him. If he keeps the same phone and starts changing his pattern, then he’s about to blow up Jakarta International Airport. This is important stuff. If you want to see how ThorpeGlen’s systems work for yourself, just log on to https://81.143.55.50:58443; all you need to do is figure out a username and password. Who isn’t a spy now?
23140  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: November 06, 2008, 08:23:03 AM
Was his being black helpful or hurtful to his candidacy?

IMHO he would not have even been noticed but for his being black, let alone being aided and abetted by a shameless and dishonest MSM.
23141  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Vote Fraud (ACORN et al) on: November 06, 2008, 08:18:41 AM
Diebold Finally Admits its Voting Machines Drop Votes



Premier Election Solutions, formerly called Diebold Election Systems,
has finally admitted that a ten-year-old error has caused votes to be
dropped.

It's unclear if this error is random or systematic.  If it's random -- a
small percentage of all votes are dropped -- then it is highly unlikely
that this affected the outcome of any election.  If it's systematic -- a
small percentage of votes for a particular candidate are dropped -- then
it is much more problematic.

Ohio is trying to sue.

In other news, election officials sometimes take voting machines home
for the night.

http://www.networkworld.com/news/2008/082208-e-voting-vendor-programming-errors-caused.html
or http://tinyurl.com/69wzb2
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/08/26/decade_old_evoting_error/
http://www.engadget.com/2008/08/23/diebold-comes-clean-admits-that-its-e-voting-machines-are-fault/
or http://tinyurl.com/5fxkdp
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2008/08/21/ohio_voting_machines_contained.html
or http://tinyurl.com/57ckcu
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/election2008/story/48508.html

http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/08/19/mom-can-my-voting-machine-spend-the-night/index.html
or http://tinyurl.com/6jtxze

My 2004 essay on election technology:
http://www.schneier.com/crypto-gram-0411.html#1
23142  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / AELE on: November 06, 2008, 08:13:06 AM
You are welcome to forward this e-mail; please encourage your colleagues to sign up for periodic mailings at http://www.aele.org/e-signup.html
 
1. The November 2008 issue of the AELE Monthly Law Journal is online, with three new articles:
 
* Police Civil Liability
Civil Liability for the Use of Handcuffs
Part II - Use of Force Against Handcuffed Persons
 
Part two discusses cases where force was used on a handcuffed prisoner. http://www.aele.org/law/2008-11MLJ101.html
 
* Discipline and Employment Law
"On-Call Duty"
 
Officers and firefighters who are on-call must wear a pager or mobile phone, and may be required to report for duty, fully sober, in less than an hour. Is that compensable duty time? http://www.aele.org/law/2008-11MLJ201.html
 
* Corrections Law
Staff Use of Force Against Prisoners
Part III: Use of Chemical Weapons
 
Courts have generally upheld the use of chemical weapons in prison riot or disturbance circumstances, but have also clearly indicated that some uses can lead to liability. http://www.aele.org/law/2008-11MLJ301.html
 
2. The November 2008 issues of AELE's three periodicals have been uploaded. The current issues, back issues since 2000 and three 30+ year case summaries are FREE. Everyone is welcome to read, print or download AELE publications without charge.
 
The main menu is at: http://www.aele.org/law
 
Take advantage of our free search engine. The database is more than 25,000 case summaries in police liability, jail & prison legal issues, and discipline & employment law.
 
Among 100+ different cases noted in this month's periodicals, several that warrant mention:
 
*** Law Enforcement Liability Reporter ***
 
* Tasers
 
Federal appeals court upholds multiple uses of Taser against a handcuffed motorist who refused to comply with instructions to stand up and walk to an officer's car. Buckley v. Haddock, #07-10988, 2008 WL 4140297, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 19482 (Unpub. 11th Cir.). http://www.ca11.uscourts.gov/unpub/ops/200710988.pdf
 
* Firearms
 
A police officer's decision to fatally shoot a man threatening grocery store clerks with a knife was reasonable.
 
The officers attempted to use non-lethal force to subdue him, but he continued to resist. Gregory v. Zumult, #07-1282, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 20551 (Unpub. 4th Cir.). http://pacer.ca4.uscourts.gov/opinion.pdf/071282.U.pdf
 
*** Fire and Police Personnel Reporter ***
 
* Hairstyle Regulations
 
The New Jersey Dept. of Corrections' training academy's no-facial hair policy was neutral and only incidentally burdened religion. It was rationally related to compliance with federal and state health regulations concerning the use of respirator masks and a concern about the esprit de corps, which comes from uniformity of appearance.
 
Management did not violate the rights of a Muslim trainee who was removed from the training program when he failed, on three separate occasions, to keep his beard within parameters that were allowed to him as an accommodation of his religion. Valdes v. New Jersey, #07-2971, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 17380 (Unpub. 3rd Cir.). http://www.ca3.uscourts.gov/opinarch/072971np.pdf
 
* Retaliatory Personnel Action
 
Seventh Circuit rejects an action brought by a jailer who claimed that she was fired in retaliation for filing a sexual harassment complaint. She unlawfully tape-recorded her meeting with her superiors. "Title VII does not grant employees license to engage in dubious self-help activities to obtain evidence." Argyropoulos v. City of Alton, #07-1903, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 18330 (7th Cir.).  http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data2/circs/7th/071903p.pdf
 
*** Jail and Prisoner Law Bulletin ***
 
* Religion
 
The record failed to show how a prison's limit of ten books in a prisoner's cell furthered safety and security interests. The appeals court ordered further proceedings on the prisoner's lawsuit, challenging the removal of 57 books, including the Koran. Warren v. Pennsylvania, #07-3011, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 17395 (Unpub. 3rd Cir.). http://www.ca3.uscourts.gov/opinarch/073011np.pdf
 
* Strip Searches: Inmates
 
Pre-trial detainees, who were subjected to strip searches as part of the process before being placed into the general jail population, did not suffer a violation of their Fourth Amendment rights, despite the lack of an individualized finding of reasonable suspicion that each of them was concealing weapons, drugs, or other contraband.
 
The appeals court observed that the U.S. Supreme Court has never imposed such a requirement for strip-searching arrestees bound for the general jail population. Powell v. Barrett, #0516734, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 18907 (11th Cir.). http://caselaw.findlaw.com/data2/circs/11th/0516734pv1.pdf
 
3. *** Interrogation ***

In a 21-page document, the Defense Dept. revised its policy on intelligence interrogations, detainee debriefings and tactical questioning. DoD Directive 3115.09 (9 Oct. 2008). Among other things, it limits the role of psychologists advising interrogators. "Behavioral science consultants may not be used to determine detainee phobias for the purpose of exploitation during the interrogation process."
http://www.fas.org/irp/doddir/dod/d3115_09.pdf
 

4. *** Articles in other publications ***
 
* Dept. of Justice - C.O.P.S.
"Combat Deployment and the Returning Police Officer" http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/RIC/ResourceDetail.aspx?RID=471.
 
* FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, Aug. 2008.
"Speech and the Public Employee"
http://www.fbi.gov/filelink.html?file=/publications/leb/2008/august08leb.pdf
 
* Police Chief, Aug. 2008
"When Does an Employer's Search of Employee Work Areas Violate Privacy Rights?" http://policechiefmagazine.org/magazine/index.cfm?fuseaction=display_arch&article_id=1568&issue_id=82008
 
Conducting research? Learn how to navigate AELE's online library of 26,000+ case digests and 300+ periodicals. http://www.aele.org/navigate.pdf
 

23143  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Globalizacion on: November 06, 2008, 07:03:39 AM
Qué es la Globalización....??

El mejor ejemplo lo tenemos en el caso de la Princesa Diana
Una princesa británica con un novio egipcio, que usa un
celular sueco, que choca en un túnel francés a bordo de un auto alemán
con motor holandés, manejado por un conductor belga que se empedó con whisky escocés.
A ellos les seguía de cerca un paparazzi italiano en una
motocicleta japonesa, que tomaba fotos con una cámara taiwanesa para una revista española.
Ella fue intervenida por un médico ruso y un asistente filipino que utilizaron medicinas brasileñas...
Este artículo fue traducido del inglés por un colombiano, y ahora lo está leyendo un huevón estadounidense que no tiene nada que hacer, para lo cual, usa una computadora americana ensamblada en México. ¿Qué tal?
¿Queda claro que es GLOBALIZACIÓN?
 
23144  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Force Science News on: November 06, 2008, 06:51:07 AM
New study ranks risks of injury from 5 major force options



   
How would you rank the relative risk for officers and suspects suffering injury from these 5 force options:

• Empty-hand control techniques
• Baton
• OC spray
• Conducted energy weapons (Tasers)
• Lateral vascular neck restraint.

If you judged OC to be the ³safest² and baton to be ³most injurious² to both officers and offenders, you¹re in agreement with the findings of a new study of force encounters involving officers on a major municipal department.

The study, the first of its kind in Canada, was conducted by S/Sgt. Chris Butler of the Calgary (Alberta) Police Service and Dr. Christine Hall of the Canadian Police Research Center.

They analyzed 562 use-of-force events that occurred across a recent 2-year period as officers effected the arrests of resistant subjects in Calgary, a city of more than 1 million population. The threatened or actual use of firearms were omitted from the review, as were handcuffing, low-level pain compliance techniques like joint locks and pressure points, K-9s, and tactical responses such as chemical agents, flashbangs and less-lethal projectiles.

Here¹s what they discovered:

• OC, used in roughly 5% of force-involved arrests, produced the lowest rate of injury. More than 80% of sprayed subjects sustained no injury whatever. About 15% had only minor injuries (³visible injuries of a trifling nature which did not require medical treatment²) and some 4% had what the researchers termed ³minor outpatient² injuries (some medical treatment required but not hospitalization). No cases resulted in hospitalization or were fatal.

Officers involved in OC use fared even better. They suffered no injury in nearly 89% of cases and only minor damage the rest of the time.

The pepper spray involved was Sabre Red, with 10% oleoresin capsicum.

• Batons, deployed in 5.5% of force-involved arrests, caused the greatest rate of higher-level injury. Fewer than 39% of subjects receiving baton contact remained uninjured. More than 3% were hospitalized and nearly 26% required outpatient treatment, combining to be ³most injurious,² according to the researchers. About 32% of batoned subjects sustained minor injuries requiring no treatment.

Of officers involved in baton incidents, nearly 13% required outpatient treatment. Some 16% sustained minor injury and the rest were uninjured.

In Calgary, the baton used is the Monadnock Autolock expandable with power safety tip.

• Empty-hand controls, applied in 38.5% of the force events, also ranked high for more serious injuries. For purposes of the study, physical controls included ³nerve motor point striking and stunning techniques, grounding techniques such as arm-bar takedowns, and other balance displacement methods.²

Nearly 14% of these subjects required outpatient medical care and about 4% had to be hospitalized. Almost 50% had minor injuries and about 33% remained uninjured.

Among officers, 1% required hospitalization and 4.5% needed outpatient aid. The vast majority (77.8%) were uninjured and nearly 17% had minor injuries.

Judging from these findings, the researchers conclude, agencies need ³to seek out alternatives to hands-on physical control tactics and the baton if they wish to reduce the frequency and seriousness of citizen and police officer injuries.²

• The second safest force mode for suspects proved to be the lateral vascular neck restraint. Used in 3% of force-related arrests, the LVNR left more than half (52.9%) of offenders uninjured. About 41% sustained minor injuries and less than 6% required minor outpatient treatment. There were no hospitalizations and no fatalities.

Officers applying a LVNR remained uninjured more than 76% of the time and those who were hurt suffered only minor injuries.

• Conducted energy weapons also scored high in safety for both suspects and officers. The Taser X26, the CEW issued to Calgary officers, was the most frequently deployed of the 5 force options studied, being used against nearly half (48.2%) of resistant arrestees. About 1% ended up hospitalized, about 12% needed minor outpatient treatment and more than 42% had only minor injuries. Nearly 45% sustained no injuries and there were 0 fatalities.

Of officers using Tasers, about 83% were uninjured and about 13% sustained minor injuries. Only about 2% and 1% required outpatient medical attention or hospitalization respectively.

³The commonly held belief² that CEWs carry ³a significant risk of injury or deathŠis not supported by the data.² Indeed, they are ³less injurious than either the baton or empty-hand physical control,² which often would be alternative options where electronic weapons were not available.

In a 14-page report of their study, Butler and Hall point out that ³[N]o use of force technique available to police officers can be considered Œsafe¹ ² in the dictionary sense that it is free from harm or secure from threat of danger. ³[E]very use of force encounter between the police and a citizen carries with it the possibility for injury for one or all of the participants, however unexpected that injury might be.²

The best that can be hoped for is an appropriate, proportional balance between ³the degree of risk of harm² and the ³resistance faced by police² that requires the use of force.

The public has been fed ³a large amount ofŠincomplete or incorrect information and even intentional artifice² about some force options, the researchers charge. Their study, they say, may help eliminate the resulting confusion. Plus, knowing the level of injury likely to result from a given force method can aid trainers and administrators in developing ³sound policies and practices.²

³This study is a great snapshot about force and its associated injuries and is a valuable addition to the discussion of force issues in Canada and elsewhere,² says Dr. Bill Lewinski, executive director of the Force Science Research Center at Minnesota State University-Mankato.

³Hopefully, the researchers will now be encouraged to probe further into some of the issues they touched on, exploring in greater depth the decision-making that led officers to apply various types of force, the level of emotional and physical intensity generated by subjects receiving the force, the causes of injuries to both officers and subjects, and so on. There is still much to be learned in these areas.²

As part of their study, Hall and Butler compiled statistics on the broad overview of force encounters among Calgary officers, which closely mirror findings regarding U.S. law enforcement.

For instance:

• Out of more than 827,000 police-public interactions, the 562 instances which ended up involving use of force represented less than 1% (.07%) of the total. (Other studies have pegged that figure in the U.S. at 1.5%.)

• Arrests occurred in only 4.6% of police-public interactions, and 98.5% of the time the arrests were finessed without force.

• Roughly 88% of all subjects requiring force were under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol or ³some degree of emotional illness.² Almost 94% of resistant offenders requiring force were male.

• The researchers found ³a notable pattern of relationshipŠbetween the number of officers present and the frequency and nature of injuries sustained by both citizens and officers.² Namely: ³[M]ore injuries occurred in circumstances where only one officer was present.²

The researchers state bluntly that ³biased reporting of events has led the lay-public to have the impression that the police use of force is frequent when compared to the overall number of police and public interactions.²

They mentioned also a bias that results in ³extensive media coverage of events where subjects have died² after use of a CEW and a ³lack of publication of CEW uses without an adverse outcome.²

Such skewed reporting ³prevents the publicŠfrom forming an informed opinion about the actual risk presented² by various force modalities, they stated.

The study¹s official jaw-breaking title is: ³Public-Police Interaction and Its Relation to Arrest and Use of Force by Police and Resulting Injuries to Subjects and Officers; a Description of Risk in One Major Canadian Urban City.² It is expected to be posted online in mid- to late-August by the Canadian Police Research Center at www.cprc.org

S/Sgt. Butler can be reached at chris.butler@calgarypolice.ca.
 
23145  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Libertarian Issues on: November 06, 2008, 06:26:35 AM
GM:

Would you be OK with this for the US?

=======================================
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/3384743/Internet-black-boxes-to-record-every-email-and-website-visit.html
Internet black boxes to record every email and website visit
Internet "black boxes" could be used to record every email and website visit made by computer users in Britain, it has been reported.
 
By Graham Tibbetts
Last Updated: 12:24AM GMT 06 Nov 2008

Under Government plans to monitor internet traffic, raw data would be collected and stored by the black boxes before being transferred to a giant central database.

The vision was outlined at a meeting between officials from the Home Office and Internet Service Providers earlier this week.

It is further evidence of the Government's desire to have the capability to vet every telephone call, email and internet visit made in the UK, which has already provoked an outcry.

Richard Thomas, the Information Commissioner, has described it as a "step too far".

The proposal is expected to be put out to consultation as part of the new Communications Data Bill early next year.

At Monday's meeting in London representatives from BT, AOL Europe, O2 and BSkyB were given a presentation of the issues and the technology surrounding the Government's Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP), the name given by the Home Office to the database proposal.

They were told that the security and intelligence agencies wanted to use the stored data to help fight serious crime and terrorism.

Officials tried to reassure the industry by suggesting that many smaller ISPs would be unaffected by the "black boxes" as these would be installed upstream on the network and hinted that all costs would be met by the Government.

One delegate at the meeting told the Independent: "They said they only wanted to return to a position they were in before the emergence of internet communication, when they were able to monitor all correspondence with a police suspect. The difference here is they will be in a much better position to spy on many more people on the basis of their internet behaviour. Also there's a grey area between what is content and what is traffic. Is what is said in a chat room content or just traffic?"

Ministers have said plans for the database have not been confirmed, and that it is not their intention to introduce monitoring or storage equipment that will check or hold the content of emails or phonecalls on the traffic.

A spokesman for the Home Office said: "We are public about the IMP, but we are still working out the detail. There will a consultation on the Communications Data Bill early next year."

23146  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Fox on Palin on: November 06, 2008, 06:23:08 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWZHTJsR4Bc

Saracuda does not come out looking very good on this one.
23147  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: November 06, 2008, 06:11:49 AM
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/uselection2008/barackobama/3388430/Barack-Obama-may-have-helped-California-Proposition-8-gay-marriage-ban-pass.html
Barack Obama may have helped California Proposition 8 gay marriage ban pass
Gay marriage will be banned in California after voters turning out to back Barack Obama gave their assent to a motion known as Proposition 8.
 
By Matthew Moore
Last Updated: 6:47AM GMT 06 Nov 2008

Around 70 per cent of the African-American voters who overwhelmingly backed Mr Obama also approved Proposition 8, helping pass the controversial ballot measure despite a small majority of whites voting against the ban on same-sex unions. Hispanic and Asian voters were split on the issue.

The state's black turnout jumped to 10 per cent of the electorate, up from 6 per cent in 2004, as voters inspired by Mr Obama flocked to the polls for the first time. The Democratic candidate took the state with 61 per cent of the popular vote.

Although the president-elect opposed the gay marriage ban, it appears his supporters may have helped pass the measure that was vociferously opposed by many white Democrats.

The news is a blow to gay rights campaigners, who had hoped California would be the vanguard for the legalisation of same-sex marriage across the US. More than 18,000 homosexual couples have wed in the state since its supreme court allowed gay marriages earlier this year. The status of those unions is now in doubt.

On the day that Mr Obama swept to power, voters handed a number of defeats to gay campaigners.

Amendments to ban gay marriage were also approved in Arizona and Florida, and Arkansas voters approved a measure banning unmarried couples from serving as adoptive or foster parents

But gay rights campaigners, who spend tens of millions of dollars fighting to oppose Proposition 8, have vowed not to admit to defeat. A petition to dismiss the measure on the grounds that decision of such importance should be taken by state legislatures rather than voters has already been filed to the Supreme Court.


"We pick ourselves up and trudge on," said Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. "There has been enormous movement in favour of full equality in eight short years. That is the direction this is heading, and if it's not today or it's not tomorrow, it will be soon."

23148  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Drug Traces in Tap Water on: November 06, 2008, 05:26:40 AM
Drug Traces Common in Tap Water
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Drug Traces Common in Tap Water

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: March 10, 2008 Filed at 9:18 a.m. ET

A vast array of pharmaceuticals -- including antibiotics, anti-convulsants,
mood stabilizers and sex hormones -- have been found in the drinking water
supplies of at least 41 million Americans, an Associated Press investigation
shows.

To be sure, the concentrations of these pharmaceuticals are tiny, measured
in quantities of parts per billion or trillion, far below the levels of a
medical dose. Also, utilities insist their water is safe.

But the presence of so many prescription drugs -- and over-the-counter
medicines like acetaminophen and ibuprofen -- in so much of our drinking
water is heightening worries among scientists of long-term consequences to
human health.

In the course of a five-month inquiry, the AP discovered that drugs have
been detected in the drinking water supplies of 24 major metropolitan
areas -- from Southern California to Northern New Jersey, from Detroit to
Louisville, Ky.

Water providers rarely disclose results of pharmaceutical screenings, unless
pressed, the AP found. For example, the head of a group representing major
California suppliers said the public ''doesn't know how to interpret the
information'' and might be unduly alarmed.

How do the drugs get into the water?

People take pills. Their bodies absorb some of the medication, but the rest
of it passes through and is flushed down the toilet. The wastewater is
treated before it is discharged into reservoirs, rivers or lakes. Then, some
of the water is cleansed again at drinking water treatment plants and piped
to consumers. But most treatments do not remove all drug residue.

And while researchers do not yet understand the exact risks from decades of
persistent exposure to random combinations of low levels of pharmaceuticals,
recent studies -- which have gone virtually unnoticed by the general
public -- have found alarming effects on human cells and wildlife.

''We recognize it is a growing concern and we're taking it very seriously,''
said Benjamin H. Grumbles, assistant administrator for water at the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency.

Members of the AP National Investigative Team reviewed hundreds of
scientific reports, analyzed federal drinking water databases, visited
environmental study sites and treatment plants and interviewed more than 230
officials, academics and scientists. They also surveyed the nation's 50
largest cities and a dozen other major water providers, as well as smaller
community water providers in all 50 states.

Here are some of the key test results obtained by the AP:

--Officials in Philadelphia said testing there discovered 56 pharmaceuticals
or byproducts in treated drinking water, including medicines for pain,
infection, high cholesterol, asthma, epilepsy, mental illness and heart
problems. Sixty-three pharmaceuticals or byproducts were found in the city's
watersheds.

--Anti-epileptic and anti-anxiety medications were detected in a portion of
the treated drinking water for 18.5 million people in Southern California.

--Researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey analyzed a Passaic Valley Water
Commission drinking water treatment plant, which serves 850,000 people in
Northern New Jersey, and found a metabolized angina medicine and the
mood-stabilizing carbamazepine in drinking water.

--A sex hormone was detected in San Francisco's drinking water.

--The drinking water for Washington, D.C., and surrounding areas tested
positive for six pharmaceuticals.

--Three medications, including an antibiotic, were found in drinking water
supplied to Tucson, Ariz.

The situation is undoubtedly worse than suggested by the positive test
results in the major population centers documented by the AP.

The federal government doesn't require any testing and hasn't set safety
limits for drugs in water. Of the 62 major water providers contacted, the
drinking water for only 28 was tested. Among the 34 that haven't: Houston,
Chicago, Miami, Baltimore, Phoenix, Boston and New York City's Department of
Environmental Protection, which delivers water to 9 million people.

Some providers screen only for one or two pharmaceuticals, leaving open the
possibility that others are present.

The AP's investigation also indicates that watersheds, the natural sources
of most of the nation's water supply, also are contaminated. Tests were
conducted in the watersheds of 35 of the 62 major providers surveyed by the
AP, and pharmaceuticals were detected in 28.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/us/A...pagewanted=all
===============

Cont.

Yet officials in six of those 28 metropolitan areas said they did not go on
to test their drinking water -- Fairfax, Va.; Montgomery County in Maryland;
Omaha, Neb.; Oklahoma City; Santa Clara, Calif., and New York City.

The New York state health department and the USGS tested the source of the
city's water, upstate. They found trace concentrations of heart medicine,
infection fighters, estrogen, anti-convulsants, a mood stabilizer and a
tranquilizer.

City water officials declined repeated requests for an interview. In a
statement, they insisted that ''New York City's drinking water continues to
meet all federal and state regulations regarding drinking water quality in
the watershed and the distribution system'' -- regulations that do not
address trace pharmaceuticals.

In several cases, officials at municipal or regional water providers told
the AP that pharmaceuticals had not been detected, but the AP obtained the
results of tests conducted by independent researchers that showed otherwise.
For example, water department officials in New Orleans said their water had
not been tested for pharmaceuticals, but a Tulane University researcher and
his students have published a study that found the pain reliever naproxen,
the sex hormone estrone and the anti-cholesterol drug byproduct clofibric
acid in treated drinking water.

Of the 28 major metropolitan areas where tests were performed on drinking
water supplies, only Albuquerque; Austin, Texas; and Virginia Beach, Va.;
said tests were negative. The drinking water in Dallas has been tested, but
officials are awaiting results. Arlington, Texas, acknowledged that traces
of a pharmaceutical were detected in its drinking water but cited post-9/11
security concerns in refusing to identify the drug.

The AP also contacted 52 small water providers -- one in each state, and two
each in Missouri and Texas -- that serve communities with populations around
25,000. All but one said their drinking water had not been screened for
pharmaceuticals; officials in Emporia, Kan., refused to answer AP's
questions, also citing post-9/11 issues.

Rural consumers who draw water from their own wells aren't in the clear
either, experts say.

The Stroud Water Research Center, in Avondale, Pa., has measured water
samples from New York City's upstate watershed for caffeine, a common
contaminant that scientists often look for as a possible signal for the
presence of other pharmaceuticals. Though more caffeine was detected at
suburban sites, researcher Anthony Aufdenkampe was struck by the relatively
high levels even in less populated areas.

He suspects it escapes from failed septic tanks, maybe with other drugs.
''Septic systems are essentially small treatment plants that are essentially
unmanaged and therefore tend to fail,'' Aufdenkampe said.

Even users of bottled water and home filtration systems don't necessarily
avoid exposure. Bottlers, some of which simply repackage tap water, do not
typically treat or test for pharmaceuticals, according to the industry's
main trade group. The same goes for the makers of home filtration systems.

Contamination is not confined to the United States. More than 100 different
pharmaceuticals have been detected in lakes, rivers, reservoirs and streams
throughout the world. Studies have detected pharmaceuticals in waters
throughout Asia, Australia, Canada and Europe -- even in Swiss lakes and the
North Sea.

For example, in Canada, a study of 20 Ontario drinking water treatment
plants by a national research institute found nine different drugs in water
samples. Japanese health officials in December called for human health
impact studies after detecting prescription drugs in drinking water at seven
different sites.

In the United States, the problem isn't confined to surface waters.
Pharmaceuticals also permeate aquifers deep underground, source of 40
percent of the nation's water supply. Federal scientists who drew water in
24 states from aquifers near contaminant sources such as landfills and
animal feed lots found minuscule levels of hormones, antibiotics and other
drugs.

Perhaps it's because Americans have been taking drugs -- and flushing them
unmetabolized or unused -- in growing amounts. Over the past five years, the
number of U.S. prescriptions rose 12 percent to a record 3.7 billion, while
nonprescription drug purchases held steady around 3.3 billion, according to
IMS Health and The Nielsen Co.
=========
Cont.

''People think that if they take a medication, their body absorbs it and it
disappears, but of course that's not the case,'' said EPA scientist
Christian Daughton, one of the first to draw attention to the issue of
pharmaceuticals in water in the United States.

Some drugs, including widely used cholesterol fighters, tranquilizers and
anti-epileptic medications, resist modern drinking water and wastewater
treatment processes. Plus, the EPA says there are no sewage treatment
systems specifically engineered to remove pharmaceuticals.

One technology, reverse osmosis, removes virtually all pharmaceutical
contaminants but is very expensive for large-scale use and leaves several
gallons of polluted water for every one that is made drinkable.

Another issue: There's evidence that adding chlorine, a common process in
conventional drinking water treatment plants, makes some pharmaceuticals
more toxic.

Human waste isn't the only source of contamination. Cattle, for example, are
given ear implants that provide a slow release of trenbolone, an anabolic
steroid used by some bodybuilders, which causes cattle to bulk up. But not
all the trenbolone circulating in a steer is metabolized. A German study
showed 10 percent of the steroid passed right through the animals.

Water sampled downstream of a Nebraska feedlot had steroid levels four times
as high as the water taken upstream. Male fathead minnows living in that
downstream area had low testosterone levels and small heads.

Other veterinary drugs also play a role. Pets are now treated for arthritis,
cancer, heart disease, diabetes, allergies, dementia, and even obesity -- 
sometimes with the same drugs as humans. The inflation-adjusted value of
veterinary drugs rose by 8 percent, to $5.2 billion, over the past five
years, according to an analysis of data from the Animal Health Institute.

Ask the pharmaceutical industry whether the contamination of water supplies
is a problem, and officials will tell you no. ''Based on what we now know, I
would say we find there's little or no risk from pharmaceuticals in the
environment to human health,'' said microbiologist Thomas White, a
consultant for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

But at a conference last summer, Mary Buzby -- director of environmental
technology for drug maker Merck & Co. Inc. -- said: ''There's no doubt about
it, pharmaceuticals are being detected in the environment and there is
genuine concern that these compounds, in the small concentrations that
they're at, could be causing impacts to human health or to aquatic
organisms.''

Recent laboratory research has found that small amounts of medication have
affected human embryonic kidney cells, human blood cells and human breast
cancer cells. The cancer cells proliferated too quickly; the kidney cells
grew too slowly; and the blood cells showed biological activity associated
with inflammation.

Also, pharmaceuticals in waterways are damaging wildlife across the nation
and around the globe, research shows. Notably, male fish are being
feminized, creating egg yolk proteins, a process usually restricted to
females. Pharmaceuticals also are affecting sentinel species at the
foundation of the pyramid of life -- such as earth worms in the wild and
zooplankton in the laboratory, studies show.

Some scientists stress that the research is extremely limited, and there are
too many unknowns. They say, though, that the documented health problems in
wildlife are disconcerting.

''It brings a question to people's minds that if the fish were affected ...
might there be a potential problem for humans?'' EPA research biologist
Vickie Wilson told the AP. ''It could be that the fish are just exquisitely
sensitive because of their physiology or something. We haven't gotten far
enough along.''

With limited research funds, said Shane Snyder, research and development
project manager at the Southern Nevada Water Authority, a greater emphasis
should be put on studying the effects of drugs in water.
==============
Cont.

''I think it's a shame that so much money is going into monitoring to figure
out if these things are out there, and so little is being spent on human
health,'' said Snyder. ''They need to just accept that these things are
everywhere -- every chemical and pharmaceutical could be there. It's time
for the EPA to step up to the plate and make a statement about the need to
study effects, both human and environmental.''

To the degree that the EPA is focused on the issue, it appears to be looking
at detection. Grumbles acknowledged that just late last year the agency
developed three new methods to ''detect and quantify pharmaceuticals'' in
wastewater. ''We realize that we have a limited amount of data on the
concentrations,'' he said. ''We're going to be able to learn a lot more.''

While Grumbles said the EPA had analyzed 287 pharmaceuticals for possible
inclusion on a draft list of candidates for regulation under the Safe
Drinking Water Act, he said only one, nitroglycerin, was on the list.
Nitroglycerin can be used as a drug for heart problems, but the key reason
it's being considered is its widespread use in making explosives.

So much is unknown. Many independent scientists are skeptical that trace
concentrations will ultimately prove to be harmful to humans. Confidence
about human safety is based largely on studies that poison lab animals with
much higher amounts.

There's growing concern in the scientific community, meanwhile, that certain
drugs -- or combinations of drugs -- may harm humans over decades because
water, unlike most specific foods, is consumed in sizable amounts every day.

Our bodies may shrug off a relatively big one-time dose, yet suffer from a
smaller amount delivered continuously over a half century, perhaps subtly
stirring allergies or nerve damage. Pregnant women, the elderly and the very
ill might be more sensitive.

Many concerns about chronic low-level exposure focus on certain drug
classes: chemotherapy that can act as a powerful poison; hormones that can
hamper reproduction or development; medicines for depression and epilepsy
that can damage the brain or change behavior; antibiotics that can allow
human germs to mutate into more dangerous forms; pain relievers and
blood-pressure diuretics.

For several decades, federal environmental officials and nonprofit watchdog
environmental groups have focused on regulated contaminants -- pesticides,
lead, PCBs -- which are present in higher concentrations and clearly pose a
health risk.

However, some experts say medications may pose a unique danger because,
unlike most pollutants, they were crafted to act on the human body.

''These are chemicals that are designed to have very specific effects at
very low concentrations. That's what pharmaceuticals do. So when they get
out to the environment, it should not be a shock to people that they have
effects,'' says zoologist John Sumpter at Brunel University in London, who
has studied trace hormones, heart medicine and other drugs.

And while drugs are tested to be safe for humans, the timeframe is usually
over a matter of months, not a lifetime. Pharmaceuticals also can produce
side effects and interact with other drugs at normal medical doses. That's
why -- aside from therapeutic doses of fluoride injected into potable water
supplies -- pharmaceuticals are prescribed to people who need them, not
delivered to everyone in their drinking water.

''We know we are being exposed to other people's drugs through our drinking
water, and that can't be good,'' says Dr. David Carpenter, who directs the
Institute for Health and the Environment of the State University of New York
at Albany.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/us/A...pagewanted=all
23149  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Our Founding Fathers: on: November 06, 2008, 05:17:41 AM
"Let the American youth never forget, that they possess a noble inheritance, bought by the toils, and sufferings, and blood of their ancestors; and capacity, if wisely improved, and faithfully guarded, of transmitting to their latest posterity all the substantial blessings of life, the peaceful enjoyment of liberty, property, religion, and independence."
—Joseph Story (Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833)

Reference: Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, 718.

23150  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ on: November 06, 2008, 05:12:48 AM
WASHINGTON -- Overhauling the extraordinary legal framework established under President George W. Bush after the 9/11 attacks may prove among the most difficult -- and urgent -- tasks on President-elect Barack Obama's agenda.

While the nation's economic crisis and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan may be higher priorities for most Americans, Mr. Obama will have to decide quickly whether to permit the military-commission trials under way at Guantanamo Bay to proceed. He also must weigh the fates of hundreds of detainees held there in legal limbo.

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Associated Press
President-elect Barack Obama will need to decide quickly whether to allow military-commission trials under way in Guantanamo Bay to proceed.
As a senator and candidate, Mr. Obama voted and campaigned against some of the Bush administration's most aggressive surveillance, detention and interrogation policies, including the secret prison network run by the Central Intelligence Agency.

The Obama administration will "take an immediate interest in what's actually going on there," said Prof. Laurence Tribe, who once taught Mr. Obama at Harvard Law School and now is among his legal advisers. "I'm certain that a rather bright light would be turned to Guantanamo right away."

Still, closing the offshore prison -- as Mr. Obama pledged to do -- will require a series of decisions on vexing issues such as the prisoners who have been approved for release, but whom no other country is willing to accept.

More than a dozen Uighurs, Chinese Muslims captured near the Afghan border, have been cleared of terrorism charges but remain locked up at Guantanamo because they face persecution in China and no country will accept them. A federal judge's order to free them in the U.S. is on hold while the Bush administration appeals.

Even Democrats critical of the Bush policy see no easy resolution. "Can you imagine the political fallout if one of the first things Obama does is bring the Uighurs to the U.S.?" says a Democratic congressional aide familiar with detainee affairs.

Polls, Maps, Graphics
Electoral Calculator & MapComplete Coverage: Campaign 2008Washington Wire
Wash Wire: Reports on the election winners and losersSo-called high-value detainees, such as accused Sept. 11, 2001, attack organizer Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, present another set of problems. Mr. Mohammed and other such prisoners were subjected to waterboarding, which simulates drowning, and they were secretly held under grueling conditions. Statements taken through coercion are difficult if not impossible to introduce in court. Already, several terrorism prosecutions have been scuttled because of abusive treatment by interrogators.

"There are people there like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed who can't be let out, no matter how badly the previous administration [bungled] the process," the Democratic aide says. "You have to get those folks tried."

The Bush administration has begun military-commission proceedings against Mr. Mohammed and four co-defendants. Prosecutors have said higher-ups pushed to get the long-delayed trials under way before Mr. Bush leaves office, hoping to lock the Obama administration into seeing them through.

Mr. Obama has also supported increased oversight of the secret CIA detention program and efforts to restrict the CIA to interrogation techniques used by the military, which would prohibit waterboarding.

When it comes to domestic security, Mr. Obama has said he would end the Bush administration's preference for conducting surveillance outside of court oversight. He said he would ask his attorney general to conduct a comprehensive review of domestic surveillance and would appoint a senior adviser for domestic intelligence.

The national-security transition team, which is still taking shape, will learn gradually about the full extent of the Bush administration's surveillance apparatus. Mr. Obama's team will receive more detailed intelligence briefings in the coming weeks, according to people familiar with the transition.

"There will be a review of the state of the intelligence community, so that they are comfortable when they assume power that these are things that they feel are appropriate to continue and that will be able to address what our pressing national security issues will be," said John Brennan, a former chief of the National Counterterrorism Center and adviser to the Obama campaign on intelligence issues, in an interview shortly before Election Day.

The transition team will evaluate intelligence activities based on whether there are adequate protections for civil liberties, as well as adherence to laws and executive orders, Mr. Brennan said.

Aides are likely to draw up a list of some actions the new president can take quickly after he assumes office, but full solutions to many of the large legal issues will take much longer. Human-rights advocates and civil-liberties groups -- which, after being shut out of Bush administration policy debates, won major victories on detainee issues in the courts -- expect Mr. Obama to take their views seriously.

The American Civil Liberties Union has already assembled a proposal urging Mr. Obama to issue three executive orders on his first day on the job. The orders would close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, "cease and prohibit the use of torture and abuse" in CIA interrogations, and end the practice of sending detainees to countries that conduct harsher interrogations than are allowable under U.S. law.
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