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23301  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cain and the FAIR Tax; Bachman-Cain; Noonan on Romney on: June 13, 2011, 06:48:08 AM
Herman Cain was interviewd this weekend on the WSJ Editorial Report (or something like that) on FOX.

A VERY strong interview.  The man owns the topic on a level I have not before seen.  Previously I liked Cain because I agreed with most of what he says (winced on his non-position on Afghanistan and his lack of knowledge of the "right of return" wrt Israel though) but this is the first time I got a sense of the level he can operate at.  

As I have mentioned previously, Michelle Bachman continues to draw my attention (see my post the other day of the WSJ piece on her, plus a just read an extensive piece in yesterday's National Post while in Toronto ).  

I continue to toy with the idea that a Bachman-Cain ticket would be a very good one.  Due to his beginner level on foreign affairs ultimately IMHO he will not and should not get the presidential nominatiaon, but his executive experience complements an area where Bachman is very weak, while her intellgient and informed hostility to the federael tax code due tax attorney background means that together the two of them could be a powerful team for radical tax reform of the best sort-- and in a way that can appeal across party lines.

Though IMHO Peggy Noonan no longer hits at the level she used to, she remains a writer I follow.  Herewith her thoughts on Romney:

Of course he should resign—or, better, and as a statement, the House should remove him. I speak as a conservative who wishes to conserve. If I were speaking as a Republican I'd say, "By all means keep him, let him taint all your efforts."

But sometimes all of Washington has to put up its hand up like a traffic cop and say no. It has to say: That doesn't go here, it's not acceptable, it's not among the normal human transgressions of back stairs, love affairs and the congressman on the take. This is decadence. It is pornography. We can't let the world, and the young, know it's "politically survivable." Because that will hurt us, not him, and define us, not him. So: enough.

In other news, Mitt Romney had his first good week. It was startling. He stepped out from the blur. The other candidates now call him "the front runner." By most standards he was the front runner months ago, but nobody talked about him. He didn't live in the Republican imagination. It was "Will Mitch run?" and "You like Pawlenty?" Only seven minutes into the conversation would you get, "How will Romney do?" He was so '08, that disastrous year.

But this week he got three big boosts. He had a reasonable announcement speech followed by a lot of national interviews. Then the Washington Post poll: Mr. Romney leads President Obama. On top of that, the two most visible Republicans the past 10 days were Sarah Palin, on her magical mystery tour, and him. They got all the coverage, and for a moment it seemed like a two-person race. Meaning a lot of Republicans got to think, "Hmm, Palin or Romney—a trip to Crazytown or the man of sober mien." That did not hurt him.

VThe financial reporting period ends June 30. Mr. Romney's focused like a laser on getting the kind of numbers that will demoralize rivals and impress the media. Money leads to money. At a Manhattan fund raiser this week, an organizer said they raised about $200,000, not bad for an hour at the end of a long day of fund raising. The roughly 70 attendees were mostly men in suits. There was no vibration of "I'd walk on burning coals for this guy." More an air of "This is a sound choice." On the other hand, no one was distractedly checking his BlackBerry in the back of the room, as I saw once at a Giuliani event in 2008. He was talking, they were scrolling. That's what we call "a sign."

Mr. Romney's emergence means a new phase in the primary contest begins. So some quick observations on the front runner. We'll begin with shallowness and try to work our way up.

All candidates for president are network or local. Romney is a network anchorman—sleek, put together, the right hair, a look of dignity. He's like Brian Williams. Some candidates are local anchormen—they're working hard, they're pros, but they lack the patina, the national sense. Reagan, Clinton, Obama—they were network. This has to do not only with persona, but with a perceived broadness of issues and competencies. It's not decisive, and it can change—Harry Truman was local, and became network. But it probably helps Mr. Romney that he's network.

His seamless happiness can be grating. People like to root for the little guy, and he's never been the little guy. His family has never in his lifetime known financial ill fortune, and his personal wealth is of the self-made kind, the most grating because it means you can't even patronize him. He has in him that way of people who are chipper about each day in large part because each day has been very nice to them. This makes some people want to punch him in the nose. I said once he's like an account executive on "Mad Men," stepping from the shower and asking George the valet to bring him the blue shirt with the white collar. But this year he looks slightly older, maybe wiser, maybe a little more frayed than in 2008. Which is good. Since 2008 everyone else is more frayed, too.

In '08, Romney's brand was at odds with his stand. He looked and had the feel of a well-born Eastern moderate Republican. But he positioned and portrayed himself as grass-roots tea party. It was jarring, didn't seem to fit, and contributed to the impression that he was an attractive lump of poll-tested packaging. He's trying to get around this in two ways. First, he's attempting to focus on economic issues, on which he has personal and professional credibility. Second, he's trying to demonstrate authenticity by sticking to some stands unpopular with the base—global warming, health care.

The common wisdom has been that health care is the huge weak spot in his candidacy. Maybe, but maybe not. The base hates ObamaCare, as we know, and Mr. Romney devised a similar plan as governor of Massachusetts. But he can talk earnestly about it on the hustings until voters' eyes glaze over and they plead to change the subject, which he will. And there are a lot of other subjects. If he gets through the primaries, his position on health care will become a plus: The Democrats this year will try to paint the Republican candidate as radical on health spending. It would be harder to do that to Mr. Romney.

Has enough time passed since his famous flip-flops on issues like abortion to make them old news? Four years ago it colored his candidacy. We'll find out if people decide it's yesterday's story, and give him a second look.

The real problem for Romney is: Does he mean it? Is he serious when he takes a stand? Has he thought it through or merely adopted it? And there is of course religion. In a silly and baiting interview with Piers Morgan on CNN, Mr. Romney swatted away an insistence that he delve into Mormonism and, by implication, defend it. It was like seeing some Brit in 1960 trying to make John F. Kennedy explain and defend Catholicism. It's not something we do in America. Because we still have a little class.

When Mr. Romney's father, George, ran for the GOP nomination in 1968, his religion was not an issue. Forty years later, when his son first ran, it was. Has America grown more illiberal? Maybe not. In 1968, evangelical Christians voted in Democratic primaries, because they tended to be Democrats. By 1980, all that was changing: evangelicals went Republican with Reagan and never came back.

Catholics do not tend to take a harsh view of Mormonism, nor do mainstream Protestants. It is evangelical Christians who are most inclined not to approve. In a general election this would not make much difference: Evangelicals will not vote for Obama. But in the GOP primaries it could still hurt Mr. Romney. No one knows, because no one knows what kind of year this is. Maybe evangelicals will have seen enough of him not to mind; maybe the Obama presidency convinced them it's not so important.

My own read is standard Catholic. Mormons have been, on balance, a deeply constructive force in American life, and it is absurd and ignorant not to support a political figure only because you do not prefer or identify with the theology of his church.

Really, grow up. Enough.

23302  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / FAIR Tax and Herman Cain on: June 13, 2011, 06:39:11 AM
Herman Cain was interviewd this weekend on the WSJ Editorial Report (or something like that) on FOX.

A VERY strong interview.  The man owns the topic on a level I have not before seen.
23303  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Jefferson gets testy with the press 1805 on: June 13, 2011, 06:16:44 AM

"During the course of administration, and in order to disturb it, the artillery of the press has been levelled against us, charged with whatsoever its licentiousness could devise or dare. These abuses of an institution so important to freedom and science are deeply to be regretted, inasmuch as they tend to lessen its usefulness and to sap its safety." --Thomas Jefferson, Second Inaugural Address, 1805

23304  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Redistricting begins on: June 12, 2011, 06:50:08 AM

SAN FRANCISCO—California's embrace of an independent commission to redraw legislative districts got its first big test Friday as a newly released map of proposed boundaries drew criticism from Republicans and a prominent Latino group.

Many Republicans complained that the proposed new districts would make their party even less competitive in a state already dominated by Democrats. Nineteen of California's 58 congressional districts are held by Republicans while Democrats hold both Senate seats, almost all elected statewide offices and near-full control of the Legislature.

Under the proposed new lines unveiled by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission, legislative districts would have a more compact shape, with few dividing cities or taking snakelike paths to connect similar voting blocs.

Some currently Republican state and congressional districts would be redrawn to include parts of ones now held by Democrats—potentially setting up an election between incumbents that could make it tougher for the GOP member to be re-elected, said Tom Del Beccaro, chairman of the California Republican Party.

"You can make the argument that this has improved the chances of the Democrats statewide, which I don't think is what the voters had in mind," Mr. Beccaro said, referring to ballot initiatives in 2008 and 2010 that took the job of redrawing political boundaries in California out of the hands of the Legislature. California and Arizona are the only states where congressional districts are determined by independent panels. The California commission also is redrawing state legislative districts.

The chairman of the California Democratic Party, John Burton, said he couldn't comment on the map until he had the opportunity to study it further.

Another potential sore point among some voters will be that many districts in heavily Latino areas are being redrawn, said Bruce Cain, a political science professor at the University of California, Berkeley. The biggest changes to congressional districts are occurring in areas including eastern Los Angeles County and San Bernardino County, he said, where the Hispanic population has grown rapidly over the past 10 years.

But Latino activists point out that despite their population gains, they are getting no new congressional districts. That is due in part to the fact that California—for the first time since statehood—received no added district under the 2010 census because its population didn't grow enough.

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund had requested the number of districts representing mostly Latino areas grow from seven to 11, but it has stayed at seven. "We have extremely serious concerns about that," said Steven Ochoa, a spokesman for the Los Angeles-based advocacy group.

But commission members said they prepared the map with no biases, using only federally mandated criteria such as making sure districts were of equal population. They also said they depended on extensive input from residents at 23 public hearings.

"Our job is to come up with a legal plan and base it all on public testimony," said Cynthia Dai, a commissioner from San Francisco. The maps released Friday will be subject to more hearings before they are finalized Aug. 15.

If California's new redistricting system succeeds, it likely would be followed by other states, Mr. Cain said. He added a likely byproduct from the new California maps, if they hold up, would be heightened competition in congressional races that are now mostly shoo-ins for incumbents. He estimated as many as a third of the districts would be competitive in 2012.
23305  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Cognitive Dissonance in Rep strategy? on: June 12, 2011, 06:47:51 AM
I can't access the whole piece from where I am, but this sentence posits the apparent cognitive dissonance rather pithiy:

Tim Pawlenty's call for an economic-growth plan built on tax cuts has raised concerns among Republicans in Congress who worry the presidential candidate's message could muddy their immediate quest to slash spending and curb the deficit.
23306  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: The game of "Go" on: June 12, 2011, 06:44:39 AM

A 2,000-year-old board game holds the key to understanding how the Chinese really think—and U.S. officials had better learn to play if they want to win the real competition.

That's the pitch that David Lai, a professor at the Army War College, has been making in recent months to senior military officials in the U.S. and overseas. Learning the ancient board game of wei qi, known in the U.S. as Go, can teach non-Chinese how to see the geostrategic "board" the same way that Chinese leaders do, he says.

Wei qi, the game of "surrounding," has long been popular in the East -- known as Go in Japan and Baduk in Korea. Now, U.S. military officials are looking at the game in an attempt to understand how the Chinese really think. WSJ's Christina Tsuei gets a lesson on the game from 35-year GO veteran Jean-Claude Chetrit.

The game, already well known in the days of Confucius and still wildly popular in Asia, is starkly different from chess, the classic Western game of strategy. The object of Go is to place stones on the open board, balancing the need to expand with the need to build protected clusters.

Go features multiple battles over a wide front, rather than a single decisive encounter. It emphasizes long-term planning over quick tactical advantage, and games can take hours. In Chinese, its name, wei qi (roughly pronounced "way-chee"), means the "encirclement game."

"Go is the perfect reflection of Chinese strategic thinking and their operational art," says Mr. Lai, who grew up watching his father—who was jobless during the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution—constantly play the game. A self-described midlevel Go player, Mr. Lai came to the U.S. about 30 years ago.

Mr. Lai's best-known work about the nexus between Go and Chinese geopolitical strategy is a 2004 paper called "Learning From the Stones," a reference to the 361 black and white stone pieces that eventually fill the 19-by-19 Go board. He described China's long-term and indirect approach to acquiring influence. He also zeroed in on concrete geopolitical challenges such as Taiwan, which he described, in terms of Go, as a single isolated stone next to a huge mass of opposing pieces.

As Chinese leaders see it, he suggested, Taiwan was a vulnerable piece that the U.S. should want to trade away for a better position elsewhere on the board. The U.S., by contrast, sees Taiwan not as a bargaining chip but as a democratic ally that it has supported diplomatically and militarily for more than 60 years.

Mr. Lai's paper caught the attention not only of his then-bosses at the Air Force's Air University in Alabama but of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who quickly became a convert to his way of thinking.

Throughout his new book, "On China," Mr. Kissinger uses wei qi to explain how Chinese leaders such as Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping managed crises during the Korean War, disputes over Taiwan, the Vietnam War, conflicts throughout Southeast Asia and with the Soviet Union, and the normalization of relations with the U.S.

In the first days of the Korean conflict, for example, President Harry Truman sent U.S. troops to South Korea and the U.S. Navy to the Taiwan strait. He had, "in Chinese eyes," Mr. Kissinger writes, "placed two stones on the wei qi board, both of which menaced China with the dreaded encirclement." Thus, despite being war-weary and impoverished, China felt the need to confront the U.S. directly.

The game can also be used to interpret recent Chinese behavior. Consider China's participation in antipiracy efforts in the Indian Ocean—the first time that China has undertaken blue-water naval operations in support of an international coalition. The West tends to see such cooperation as responsible behavior on China's part.

But a strategy paper published last December by the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party offers a different view: that antipiracy operations can help China to subtly gain a foothold in a vital region. "China can make use of this situation to expand its military presence in Africa," the paper said.

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Getty Images/Flickr RF
Wei qi (roughly pronounced 'way-chee') means the 'encirclement game.'

One of Mr. Lai's first fans was Air Force Gen. Steve Lorenz, formerly the head of Air University, where Mr. Lai then taught. Gen. Lorenz heard one of his lectures in late 2005 and summoned him for a full briefing about the insights that Go could offer.

"It really intrigued me," recalls Gen. Lorenz, now retired. "He made a whole generation of airmen think about the world in a different way."

In recent months, Mr. Lai has briefed officers at Pacific Command, the U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command, the Center for Army Analysis and the Australian Defence College.

U.S. defense officials regularly receive strategy briefings from outside experts, and the U.S. military regularly taps ancient classics such as Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" and Xenophon's "The March of the Ten Thousand" to help educate modern officers.

One officer at the U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command, where Mr. Lai gave a presentation at a commander's conference in March to about three dozen officers, said "the game analogy really sparked fascination" and was useful for Air Force officers who might have to consider China a potential adversary one day. He conceded, though, that the briefing's heavy academic content left "plenty of heads hurting."

"You've got to think like the other guy thinks," said the officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Mr. Lai's theories are not universally embraced by China experts. For starters, some say, comparing national strategic thought to popular sports and games is an over-simplification—and at any rate, the Chinese version of chess has lots of adherents in China, too.

Furthermore, despite the ancient roots of Chinese military thinkers such as Sun Tzu, it's far from clear that Chinese leaders over the millennia, especially Communist Chinese leaders, have followed a single, broad strategy at all, let alone the one sketched by the board game.

"Go is a very useful device for analyzing Chinese strategy, but let's not overdo it," says James Holmes, an expert on Chinese strategy and professor at the Naval War College.

Though he agrees that Go helps to describe the strategic showdown between China and the U.S. in East Asia, he says that "we have to be extremely cautious about drawing a straight line from theory to the actions of real people in the real world."

He notes that China's "amateurish" diplomatic blunders in recent years, including bullying neighbors and trying to push other navies out of international waters, represent a departure from the patient, subtle tenets of Go.

Write to Keith Johnson at
23307  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Schutz and Volcker on: June 12, 2011, 06:41:35 AM

"The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world."

That is the opening sentence of a report issued last week by the Global Commission on Drug Policy. Both of us have signed on to this report. Why?

(Drug use in the U.S. is no lower than in countries with different approaches.)

We believe that drug addiction is harmful to individuals, impairs health and has adverse societal effects. So we want an effective program to deal with this problem.

The question is: What is the best way to go about it? For 40 years now, our nation's approach has been to criminalize the entire process of producing, transporting, selling and using drugs, with the exception of tobacco and alcohol. Our judgment, shared by other members of the commission, is that this approach has not worked, just as our national experiment with the prohibition of alcohol failed. Drugs are still readily available, and crime rates remain high. But drug use in the U.S. is no lower than, and sometimes surpasses, drug use in countries with very different approaches to the problem.

At the same time, the costs of the drug war have become astronomical. Inmates arrested for consuming drugs and for possessing small quantities of them now crowd our prisons, where too often they learn how to become real criminals. The dollar costs are huge, but they pale in comparison to the lives being lost in our neighborhoods and throughout the world. The number of drug-related casualties in Mexico is on the same order as the number of U.S. lives lost in the Vietnam and Korean wars.

Throughout our hemisphere, governance and economic development have suffered because of drugs. It is no accident that the initiative for this global commission came from former presidents of Latin American nations. These countries, sometimes with American support, have made strong efforts to reduce drug supplies. But they have increasingly concluded that drug policies in the U.S. are making it more difficult for their people to enjoy security and prosperity.

The problem starts with the demand for drugs. As Milton Friedman put it forcibly over 20 years ago in the pages of this paper: "It is demand that must operate through repressed and illegal channels. Illegality creates obscene profits that finance the murderous tactics of the drug lords; illegality leads to the corruption of law enforcement officials."

We do not support the simple legalization of all drugs. What we do advocate is an open and honest debate on the subject. We want to find our way to a less costly and more effective method of discouraging drug use, cutting down the power of organized crime, providing better treatment and minimizing negative societal effects.

Other countries that have tried different approaches include Britain, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Portugal and Australia. What can we learn from these varied experiences, some more successful than others? What can we learn from our own experience in reducing sharply the smoking of cigarettes or in the handling of alcohol after the end of Prohibition?

Simple legalization is by no means the only or safest approach. One possibility is to decriminalize the individual use of drugs while maintaining laws against supplying them, thus allowing law-enforcement efforts to focus on the drug peddlers. Some of the money that is saved can be spent on treatment centers, which drug users are more likely to seek out if doing so does not expose them to the risk of arrest.

The situation that confronts us today is dangerous. After 40 years of concentrating on one approach that has been unsuccessful, we should be willing to take a look at other ways of working to solve this pressing problem. As the global commission concludes: "Break the taboo on debate and reform. The time for action is now."

—Mr. Shultz, former U.S. secretary of state under President Reagan, is a distinguished fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution. Mr. Volcker, former chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, is professor emeritus of international economic policy at Princeton University.

23308  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Gates's speech on NATO on: June 12, 2011, 06:32:05 AM
BRUSSELS—Defense Secretary Robert Gates issued a blunt critique of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on Friday, arguing the Libya operations demonstrated America's allies suffered from serious gaps in military capabilities because of their failure to spend enough on their own defense.

One of the NATO's most ardent defenders and pointed critics, the outgoing U.S. defense chief scathingly accused Europe of behaving increasingly like a free rider, as budget cuts eat deeper into military spending.

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America's European allies, Mr. Gates said, are "apparently willing and eager for American taxpayers to assume the growing security burden left by reductions in European defense budgets."

Although the Libya mission has met its initial military objectives of grounding the Libyan air force and eroding Col. Moammar Gadhafi's ability to mount attacks on his own citizens, the operations have exposed weaknesses in the alliance, Mr. Gates said. While all members of the 28-nation alliance approved the Libya mission, fewer than half are participating, and even a smaller fraction are conducting air-to-ground strike missions.

"Frankly, many of those allies sitting on the sidelines do so not because they do not want to participate, but simply because they can't. The military capabilities simply aren't there," he said.

Journal Community

On the day of his speech, Norway—one of just seven NATO nations contributing ground-strike aircraft to the Libya campaign—announced it would pull out of the operation on Aug. 1 and, in the meantime, reduce the number of its strike fighters to four from six.

Norway's Defense Minister Grete Faremo said she expected understanding from allies, because the country's small air force couldn't maintain a large fighter-jet contribution over an extended period.

Norway, along with Denmark, has been praised by U.S. officials for pulling more than its weight over Libya. The two countries have provided 12% of allied strike aircraft yet have struck about one-third of the targets, Mr. Gates said.

In a private meeting with NATO defense ministers Wednesday, Mr. Gates identified Spain, Turkey and the Netherlands as countries that should contribute more to the Libya mission, and urged Germany and Poland, which have so far not contributed, to join the fight.


Full Text: Gates's speech on NATO
Dozens Die in Fresh Gadhafi Offensive
NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has expressed his own fears about other allies falling further behind the U.S. and being dependent on American technology. But he was confident allies would provide what was necessary to fulfill the Libya mission, she said.

A spokeswoman for Germany's foreign service said the country makes a considerable contribution to NATO and to NATO-led operations. She said the "large German engagement" in Afghanistan and elsewhere was explicitly praised by President Barack Obama when he met Chancellor Angela Merkel in Washington on June 7.

Officials from the U.K., which has the second-largest defense budget in NATO, said they didn't believe Mr. Gates's comments were directed at them. Nonetheless, U.S. officials have expressed disappointment at a 7.5% cut to defense spending in coming years.

British Defence Secretary Liam Fox has echoed some of Mr. Gates's views, saying other countries are relying too much on a few countries, particularly the U.K. and France, in Libya.

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Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert delivered a speech in Brussels Friday.

French and British officials have spoken of a three-tier alliance—with the U.S. far ahead of the second tier of Britain and France, and the rest way behind them.

Mr. Gates said he had long worried NATO was developing into a tiered alliance, divided between countries willing to bear the burden of military operations and those who "enjoy the benefits" but won't share the costs. "This is no longer a hypothetical worry," he said. "We are there today. And it is unacceptable."

Mr. Gates blasted the alliance for failing to develop intelligence and reconnaissance assets, forcing NATO to rely on American capabilities to develop targeting lists. "The most advanced fighter aircraft are little use if allies do not have the means to identify, process and strike targets as part of an integrated campaign," Mr. Gates said.

In addition, he said, even in a campaign against a "poorly armed regime in a sparsely populated country" allies began running short on munitions after just 11 weeks, forcing the U.S. to step in and help.

NATO officials said ammunition shortages hadn't affected the campaign.

Mr. Gates said the alliance had outperformed his expectations in Afghanistan. But even in the face of increased operations there, NATO defense budgets have fallen, forcing allies to put off critical modernization programs. In the 10 years since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, U.S. defense spending doubled. European defense spending, Mr. Gates said, fell by 15%. NATO members are supposed to spend 2% of their GDP on defense, but only five of the 28 allies meet that target.

In a question-and-answer session after the speech, Mr. Gates said historical attachments U.S. leaders have had to NATO are "aging out."

"Decisions and choices are going to be made more on what is in the best interest of the United States going forward," he said.
23309  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Salafists going after Coptic Christians on: June 12, 2011, 06:28:10 AM
I cannot access the complete article from where I am


QENA, Egypt—Five weeks after the fall of the Egyptian regime, Ayman Anwar Mitri's apartment was torched. When he showed up to investigate, he was bundled inside by bearded Islamists.

Mr. Mitri is a member of the Christian Coptic minority that accounts for one-tenth of the country's 83 million people. The Islamists accused him of having rented the apartment—by then unoccupied—to loose Muslim women.

Inside the burnt apartment, they beat him with the charred remains of his furniture. Then, one of them produced a box cutter and performed what he considered an appropriate punishment under Islam: He amputated Mr. Mitri's right ...
23310  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: IMF hacked on: June 12, 2011, 06:25:23 AM
Or we could withdraw from the IMF , , ,

WASHINGTON—The International Monetary Fund is investigating a recent cyber attack that hit its network, the latest in a series of high-profile hacking incidents against major corporations and institutions.
The fund declined to disclose the nature of the attack, whether its systems were infiltrated or whether any confidential information had been compromised. The extent of any infiltration remains unclear.
"We had an incident," said IMF spokesman David Hawley. "We're investigating it and the fund is completely functional." He said IMF staff received a "routine notification" about the incident by email Wednesday asking them to contact their tech department "if they saw anything suspicious."
The threat against the institution is the latest in a recent series as it responds to economic turmoil in several European nations. Earlier this month, the IMF said it had taken precautions after a group called Anonymous indicated its hackers would target the IMF web site in response to the strict austerity measures in its rescue package for Greece.
The IMF has faced repeated cyber attacks in recent years. It routinely collects sensitive information about the financial conditions of its 187 member nations. Some data in its computer systems could conceivably be used to influence or trade currencies, bonds and other financial instruments in markets around the world.
The latest infiltration was sophisticated in that it involved significant reconnaissance prior to the attack, and code written specifically to penetrate the IMF, said Tom Kellermann, a former cybersecurity specialist at the World Bank who has been tracking the incident.
"This isn't malware you've seen before," he said, making it that much more difficult to detect. The concern, Mr. Kellermann said, is that hackers designed their attack to gain market-moving insider information.
The attackers appeared to have broad access to IMF systems, which would give them visibility into IMF plans, particularly as it relates to bailing out the economies of countries on shaky financial footing, Mr. Kellermann said.
The IMF spokesman wouldn't comment on any specific details of the incident, which was first reported Saturday by the New York Times.
The attack on the IMF led the World Bank this week to cut a network link between the two institutions, even though the tie is not used for confidential financial information or other sensitive data. The IMF and World Bank, whose headquarters are next door to each other in Washington, work closely together on economic concerns of their member nations around the world.
A World Bank official said Saturday the network link with the IMF "involved nonpublic, nonsensitive information and it was cut out of an abundance of caution."
The network link between the two institutions has been severed before due to attacks against the fund.
Cyber threats against the fund have increased in recent years, particularly after the global financial crisis. The IMF has been heavily involved with European governments in bailing out Greece, Ireland and Portugal as the nations struggle with sovereign-debt crises.
It's not clear whether the number of cyber attacks is increasing, but it is certainly the case that institutions have recently grown more comfortable about disclosing them. So widespread is the threat that the fear of embarrassment appears to have shrunk, security experts say.
Google Inc. recently said users of its Gmail email service had been hacked by unknown people in China. Lockheed Martin Corp. has acknowledged a breach that it linked to an attack on EMC Corp.'s RSA unit, a security company that makes the numerical tokens used by millions of corporate employees to access their network.

Read more:
23311  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Or we could abolish the DOE , , , on: June 12, 2011, 06:22:35 AM

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is threatening to use the power of his position to alter key elements of No Child Left Behind if Congress doesn't renew and upgrade the education law before the next school year begins.

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Associated Press
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, right, takes questions from first graders as Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., listens during a visit to Dayton's Bluff Achievement Plus Elementary School in May.

Mr. Duncan is promising to waive specific requirements of the law in exchange for states agreeing to adopt other efforts he has championed, such as linking teacher evaluations to student achievement, expanding charter schools and overhauling the lowest-performing schools. Effectively, he's warning Congress that if it doesn't overhaul the nine-year-old law, he'll bypass lawmakers to get his way.

"Principals, superintendents and children cannot wait forever for the legislative process to work itself out," Mr. Duncan said in a conference call with reporters. "As it exists now, No Child Left Behind is creating a slow-motion train wreck for children, parents and teachers."

No Child Left Behind, President George W. Bush's signature domestic achievement, has been up for renewal since 2007. Congress has so far extended it on a year-by-year basis.

The law requires states to test students in math and reading and punishes schools that fall short of score objectives set by the states. The law has been widely criticized for labeling too many schools as failures, narrowing the school curriculum and prodding states to water down standardized tests.

Mr. Obama and Mr. Duncan have aggressively pushed Congress to overhaul the law and, until recently, it was expected to be one of the few bipartisan achievements this year. But Republicans have begun to push back, especially tea-party Republicans who want to reduce the federal government's role in K-12 schools.

Mr. Duncan's pledge to use the waiver process didn't sit well with two Congressmen working to renew the law.

"Given the bipartisan commitment in Congress to fixing No Child Left Behind, it seems premature at this point to take steps outside the legislative process that would address NCLB's problems in a temporary and piecemeal way," Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin, chairman of the Senate education committee, said in a statement.

Rep. John Kline, Republican chairman of the House education committee, has said he feels no urgency to move a bill, despite Mr. Duncan's pressure. "He'd like to get this done before they go back to school in September. We're not going to do that," he said in a May interview with the Wall Street Journal. He said he hopes to have the matter settled in 2011, partly because it's more difficult to pass ambitious legislation during a presidential election year.

Mr. Kline is particularly hostile to Race to the Top, Mr. Obama's pet program that provides competitive funding for states that embrace the education changes he favors. The president has repeatedly cited this as a key to his administration's success in education and a blueprint in reauthorizing No Child Left Behind.

Jennifer Allen, Mr. Kline's spokeswoman, said the Congressman didn't know details of Mr. Duncan's recent waiver promise, but said, "Chairman Kline remains concerned about any initiative–including waivers–that would allow the secretary to pick winners and losers in the nation's education system."

Mr. Kline said his committee would pass legislation in small pieces so that members, particularly newly elected ones, can understand it.

The law as it stands gives the education secretary broad authority to waive certain provisions. Mr. Duncan wouldn't offer specifics on which provisions are under consideration, but said he's opposed to one that currently punishes schools for not reaching high, specified goals, even as they make dramatic improvement. He also said he might offer states flexibility on how they can spend federal education money.

Mr. Duncan said individual states could apply for waivers and he might approve them in exchange for agreements to embrace other education changes. States that already have adopted reforms favored by the administration also would be considered.

"There is zero intent here to abandon accountability," Mr. Duncan said. "In fact, ideally, this flexibility would be in exchange for courage and reform."
23312  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: June 12, 2011, 06:10:27 AM
Can we not simply take the statement to mean that she will make a 100% effort?  Contrast Newt's cruise ship vacation, , ,   

Anyway, I liked this piece about Michelle.  I hope for a strong performance from her tomorrow night.
23313  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues and LE in action on: June 11, 2011, 08:54:39 PM

Lets steer this back to a more over-the-dinner-table tone please.
23314  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Straight Blast on: June 11, 2011, 08:53:23 PM
Crane Wings:

That is a very interesting question.  May I ask that you start a thread dedicated to it?

Crafty Dog

PS:  The quote of which you are thinking is "The fastest progress comes from working the weakest link."
23315  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Michelle Bachman on: June 11, 2011, 06:45:58 PM
If I'm in, I'll be all in," says Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, artfully dodging my question of whether she's running for president. Given that she just hired campaign strategist Ed Rollins, whose past clients include Ross Perot and Mike Huckabee, rumors abound. "We're getting close," she says, "and if I do run, like all my races, I will work like a maniac."

That's pretty much how she does everything, and it helps explain how the relatively junior congresswoman has become a tea party superstar—and uniquely adept at driving liberals bonkers.

View Full Image

Terry Shoffner
 After spending a good part of two days with her in Washington as she scurries from one appointment to another, I have no doubt that Ms. Bachmann will announce her presidential bid soon. And it would be a mistake to count her out: She's defied the prognosticators in nearly every race she's run since thrashing an 18-year incumbent in the Minnesota Senate by 20 points in 2000. Says Iowa Congressman Steve King, "No one has electrified Iowa crowds like Michelle has."

Ms. Bachmann is best known for her conservative activism on issues like abortion, but what I want to talk about today is economics. When I ask who she reads on the subject, she responds that she admires the late Milton Friedman as well as Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams. "I'm also an Art Laffer fiend—we're very close," she adds. "And [Ludwig] von Mises. I love von Mises," getting excited and rattling off some of his classics like "Human Action" and "Bureaucracy." "When I go on vacation and I lay on the beach, I bring von Mises."

As we rush from her first-floor digs in the Cannon House Office Building to the House floor so she can vote, I ask for her explanation of the 2008 financial meltdown. "There were a lot of bad actors involved, but it started with the Community Reinvestment Act under Jimmy Carter and then the enhanced amendments that Bill Clinton made to force, in effect, banks to make loans to people who lacked creditworthiness. If you want to come down to a bottom line of 'How did we get in the mess?' I think it was a reduction in standards."

She continues: "Nobody wanted to say, 'No.' The implicit and then the explicit guarantees of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were sopping up the losses. Being on the Financial Services Committee, I can assure you, all roads lead to Freddie and Fannie."

Ms. Bachmann voted against the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) "both times," she boasts, and she has no regrets since Congress "just gave the Treasury a $700 billion blank check." She complains that no one bothered to ask about the constitutionality of these extraordinary interventions into the financial markets. "During a recent hearing I asked Secretary [Timothy] Geithner three times where the constitution authorized the Treasury's actions, and his response was, 'Well, Congress passed the law.'"

Insufficient focus on constitutional limits to federal power is a Bachmann pet peeve. "It's like when you come up to a stop sign and you're driving. Some people have it in their mind that the stop sign is optional. The Constitution is government's stop sign. It says, you—the three branches of government—can go so far and no farther. With TARP, the government blew through the Constitutional stop sign and decided 'Whatever it takes, that's what we're going to do.'"

Does this mean she would have favored allowing the banks to fail? "I would have. People think when you have a, quote, 'bank failure,' that that is the end of the bank. And it isn't necessarily. A normal way that the American free market system has worked is that we have a process of unwinding. It's called bankruptcy. It doesn't mean, necessarily, that the industry is eclipsed or that it's gone. Often times, the phoenix rises out of the ashes."

She also bristles at the idea, pushed of late by the White House, that the auto bailouts were a big success for workers and taxpayers. "We'll probably be out $15 billion. What was galling to so many investors was that Chrysler's secured creditors were supposed to receive 100% payout of the first money. We essentially watched over 100 years of bankruptcy law thrown out the window and President Obama eviscerated the private property interests of the secured creditors. He called them 'greedy' for enforcing their own legal rights."

So what would she have done? "For one, I believe my policies prior to '08 would have been much different from [President Bush's]. I wouldn't have spent so much money," she says, pointing in particular at the Department of Education and the Medicare prescription drug bill. "I would have advocated for greater reductions in the corporate tax rate and reductions in the capital gains rate—even more so than what the president did." Mr. Bush cut the capital gains rate to 15% from 20% in 2003.

She's also no fan of the Federal Reserve's decade-long policy of flooding the U.S. economy with cheap money. "I love a lowered interest rate like anyone else. But clearly the Fed has had competing goals and objectives. One is the soundness of money and then the other is jobs. The two different objectives are hard to reconcile. What has gotten us into deep trouble and has people so perturbed is the debasing of the currency."

That's why, if she were president, she wouldn't renominate Ben Bernanke as Fed chairman: "I think that it's very important to demonstrate to the American people that the Federal Reserve will have a new sheriff" to keep the dollar strong and stable.

As for foreign policy, she joined 86 other House Republicans last week in voting for the resolution sponsored by antiwar Democrat Dennis Kucinich to stop U.S. military action in Libya within 15 days. Is she a Midwestern isolationist? "I was opposed to the U.S. involvement in Libya from the very start," she says. "President Obama has never made a compelling national security case on Libya."

Even more striking, she says the 1973 War Powers Resolution, requiring congressional approval for military action after 60 days, is "the law of the land" and must be obeyed. That's a notable difference from every recent president of either party, including Ronald Reagan.

Ms. Bachmann attributes many of her views, especially on economics, to her middle-class upbringing in 1960s Iowa and Minnesota. She talks with almost religious fervor about the virtues of living frugally, working hard and long hours, and avoiding debt. When she was growing up, she recalls admiringly, Iowa dairy farmers worked from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Her political opponents on the left portray her as a "she-devil," in her words, a caricature at odds with her life accomplishments. She's a mother of five, and she and her husband helped raise 23 teenage foster children in their home, as many as four at a time. They succeeded in getting all 23 through high school and later founded a charter school.

She got started in politics after seeing the failures in public schooling. "The kids were coloring posters in 11th grade algebra class," she says. "I decided to do my duty, go to the Republican convention. I had on jeans, a sweatshirt with a hole in it, white moccasins, and I showed up in this auditorium and everyone said, 'Why are we nominating this guy [Gary] Laidig every four years?'"

"I thought, 'I'm nobody from nowhere but maybe if I challenge the guy, he'll shape up a little bit.' So I gave a five-minute speech on freedom, economic liberty and all the rest. And no one could believe it, but I won a supermajority on the first ballot and he was out on his keister."

She ran for Congress in 2006, the worst year for Republicans in two decades. "Nancy Pelosi and all her horses spent $9.6 million to defeat me in that race"—almost three times what Ms. Bachmann had raised. She won 50% to 42%. In 2010, the Democrats and their union allies raised more than $10 million to try to defeat her. "My adversaries have certainly been highly motivated," she says.

But her adversaries—or, at least, rivals—aren't limited to the left. There's Sarah Palin, with whom journalists are convinced she has frosty relations, and fellow Minnesotan Tim Pawlenty, now running for president. About Ms. Palin the congresswoman shrugs, "People want to see a mud-wrestling fight. They won't get it from me because I like Sarah Palin and I respect her." As for whether Mr. Pawlenty was a good governor, "I really don't want to comment."

Ever ready to cite stories from American history, Ms. Bachmann notes with a grin that the last House member to be elected president was James Garfield in 1880. If she were to take her shot, she'd run on an economic package reminiscent of Jack Kemp, the late congressman who championed supply-side economics and was the GOP vice presidential nominee in 1996. "In my perfect world," she explains, "we'd take the 35% corporate tax rate down to nine so that we're the most competitive in the industrialized world. Zero out capital gains. Zero out the alternative minimum tax. Zero out the death tax."

The 3.8 million-word U.S. tax code may be irreparable, she says, a view she's held since working as a tax attorney at the IRS 20 years ago. "I love the FAIR tax. If we were starting over from scratch, I would favor a national sales tax." But she's not a sponsor of the FAIR tax bill because she fears that enacting it won't end the income tax, and "we would end up with a dual tax, a national sales tax and an income tax."

Her main goal is to get tax rates down with a broad-based income tax that everyone pays and that "gets rid of all the deductions." A system in which 47% of Americans don't pay any tax is ruinous for a democracy, she says, "because there is no tie to the government benefits that people demand. I think everyone should have to pay something."

On the stump she emphasizes an "America-centered energy policy" based on "drilling and mining for our rich resources here." And she believes that repealing ObamaCare is a precondition to restoring a prosperous economy. "You cannot have a pro-growth economy and advise, simultaneously, socialized medicine."

Her big challenge is whether the country is ready to support deep spending cuts. On this issue, she carries a sharper blade than everyone except Ron Paul. She voted for the Paul Ryan budget—but "with an asterisk." Why? "The asterisk is that we've got a huge messaging problem [on Medicare]. It needs to be called the 55-and-Under Plan. I can't tell you the number of 78-year-old women who think we're going to pull the rug out from under them."

Ms. Bachmann also voted for the Republican Study Committee budget that cuts deeper and faster than even Mr. Ryan would. "We do have an obligation with Social Security and Medicare, and we have to recognize that" for those who are already retired, she says. But after that, it's Katy bar the door: "Everything else is expendable to bring spending down," and she'd ax "whole departments" including the Department of Education.

"I think people realize the crisis we face isn't in 25 years or even 10 years off. It is right now. And people want it solved now—especially Republican primary voters."

Mr. Moore is a member of The Journal's editorial board.

23316  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues and LE in action on: June 11, 2011, 05:38:33 PM
Is any of this really addressed to the original question
23317  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Yip! on: June 11, 2011, 05:33:40 PM
Yip from a secret location.   cheesy  Back on Monday.
23318  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: June 11, 2011, 05:23:29 PM
Umm , , , GM , , , the Harlequinn paraody was/is a joke rolleyes
23319  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant on: June 11, 2011, 05:08:13 PM
Yip from , , , a secret location.   cheesy  I am on the road for an oof-the-radar-screen seminar.  Will be back on Monday.
23320  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Monetary Policy, Inflation, US Dollar, & Gold/Silver on: June 11, 2011, 05:07:26 PM
From an internet friend who is deep into Austrian economics:

A good article, as most of "Pater Tenbrarum's" articles are -- and solidly
grounded in a good understanding of Austrian School economics, too.

In my mind we truly have an unprecedented situation in the world. Almost
every government, everywhere, is facilitating a rapid debt buildup -- mostly
unproductive debt created by issuing new money unbacked by any commodity or
even any productive activity. Whenever markets swoon and threaten to stop
some of the nonsense, these governments act to prevent any correction from
being completed. They give yet more newly created money to the entities that
have already wasted hundreds of billions of dollars of real resources -- and
then count the ensuing spending as "economic activity." It's not; it's
un-economic activity. This is not a process that can continue forever.

Given where we are now, it's pretty clear that governments around the world
will continue this craziness until some circumstance forcibly prevents them
from doing so. By definition, I would think, such a crisis will be bigger
and more difficult to endure than any previous crisis.

I will post yesterday's Doug Noland commentary immediately below. I wish he
wrote the English language better than he does, but Noland still does
understand some things about credit expansions that elude most other
analysts. He writes the weekly Credit Bubble

Here is one of my key take-away paragraphs from Noland's column:

"At some inevitable - if not predictable - point the markets will care
tremendously whether a Credit system is sound or not.  Regrettably, the
current era’s ... unique capacity for sustaining non-productive debt booms
poses major problems.  In short, the booms last too long and activist
policymaking ensures they end up afflicting the heart of Credit systems.
These protracted Bubbles are resolved through problematic crises of
confidence, debt revulsion and economic restructuring."


The King Of Non-Productive Debt:

There is important confirmation of the “bear” thesis to discuss.  But, as
usual, let’s first set the backdrop:

The world is in the midst of history’s greatest Credit Bubble.  A
dysfunctional global financial system essentially operates without
mechanisms to regulate the quantity and quality of debt issuance.  In
response to severe banking system impairment and fiscal problems in the
early-nineties, the Greenspan Fed helped nurture a Credit system shift to
nontraditional marketable debt.  The bank loan was largely replaced by
mortgage-backed securities (MBS), asset-backed securities (ABS), GSE debt
instruments, derivatives and a multitude of sophisticated “Wall Street”
Credit instruments.  The Credit expansion grew exponentially, while becoming
increasingly detached from production and economic wealth-creation (the
boom, in fact, exacerbated deindustrialization).

The Fed implemented momentous changes in monetary management to bolster the
new “marketable debt” Credit system structure, including “pegging”
short-term interest rates; serial interventions to assure “liquid and
continuous markets;” and adopting an “asymmetrical” policy framework that
disregarded asset inflation/Bubbles, while guaranteeing the marketplace an
aggressive policy response to any risk of market illiquidity or
financial/economic instability.  Massive expansion of marketable debt
coupled with a highly-accommodative policy backdrop incited incredible
growth in speculation and leveraging.  Over time, trends in U.S. Credit,
policy and speculative excess took root around the world.

Global markets suffered a devastating crisis of confidence in 2008.  The
failure of Lehman Brothers, in particular, set off a panic throughout global
markets for private-sector debt, especially Credit intermediated through
sophisticated Wall Street structures.  Unprecedented government intervention
reversed the downward spiral in Credit and economic output.  Especially in
the U.S., Trillions of private debt instruments were put under the umbrella
of government backing.  Meanwhile, Trillions more were acquired by the Fed,
ECB and global central bankers in the greatest market intervention and debt
monetization in history.  Policy making – fiscal and monetary, at home and
abroad – unleashed the “Global Government Finance Bubble”.

Currency market distortions have been instrumental in sowing financial
fragility and economic instability.  Chiefly because of the dollar’s special
“reserve currency” status, U.S. Credit system excesses have been
accommodated for way too long.  Global central banks have been willing to
accumulate Trillions of our I.O.U.s, providing a critical liquidity backstop
for the marketplace.  Highly liquid and orderly currency markets have been
instrumental in ensuring a liquid Credit market, which has provided our
fiscal and monetary policymakers extraordinary flexibility to inflate our
Credit, our asset markets and our economy.  Meanwhile, massive U.S. Current
Account Deficits and other financial flows have inundated the world,
creating liquidity excess and unfettered domestic Credit expansion
throughout the world.  Global imbalances, having mounted for decades, went
“parabolic” over the past few years.

I would argue strongly that the euro currency regime owes much of its great
success to the structurally weak U.S. dollar.  For all the flaws and
potential pitfalls of a common European currency, the euro has from day one
looked awfully appealing standing side-by-side with the dollar.  And the
buoyant euro created powerful market distortions that promoted Credit excess
throughout the region, especially in Europe’s periphery (Greece and the
so-called “PIIGS” would never have enjoyed the capacity to push borrowing to
such extremes had they been issuing debt denominated in their own
currencies).  The weak dollar and strong euro – along with the perception
that the Eurozone and ECB would never tolerate a default by one of its
sovereigns – were instrumental in promoting profligate borrowing, lending,
spending and speculating.

I have recently turned more focused on differentiating between “productive”
and “non-productive” debt.  This is an important analytical distinction –
although, by nature, a challenging gray area for Macro Credit Analysis.  At
the time of its creation, there might actually be little difference from a
systemic perspective whether a new financial claim is created in the process
of financing real investment or an asset purchase or, instead, to fund a
government stimulus program.  In each case, new purchasing power is released
into the system.  The key is that the new Credit stimulates economic
“output” through increased spending, incomes and/or asset inflation.
Especially during the halcyon Credit boom days, the markets will pay scant
attention to the assets underpinning the new debt instruments (particularly
when policymakers are actively intervening and distorting markets!).

However, don’t be fooled and don’t become too complacent.  At some
inevitable - if not predictable - point the markets will care tremendously
whether a Credit system is sound or not.  Regrettably, the current era’s
(unrestrained global finance, structurally-unsound dollar, “activist”
policymaking, rampant global speculation, etc.) unique capacity for
sustaining non-productive debt booms poses major problems.  In short, the
booms last too long and activist policymaking ensures they end up afflicting
the heart of Credit systems.  These protracted Bubbles are resolved through
problematic crises of confidence, debt revulsion and economic

First of all, booms create a fragile mountain of debt not supported by
underlying wealth-creating capacity.  Second, Credit Bubbles inflate various
price levels throughout the economy, creating systemic dependencies
requiring ongoing debt and speculative excess.  And, third, the boom in
non-productive debt will tend to foster consumption and malinvestment at the
expense of sound investment in productive capacity.   When the boom
eventually falters, market revulsion to unsound debt, the  economy’s
addiction to uninterrupted Credit expansion, and the lack of capacity for
real wealth creation within the (“Bubble”) real economy ensure a very severe
crisis and prolonged adjustment period.  These dynamics become critically
important as soon as a government (finally) loses its capacity to perpetuate
the Bubble (i.e. Greece, Portugal, Ireland, etc.)

As a crisis unfolds, the markets eventually must come to grips with a very
harsh reality:  There will be denial and it will take some time to really
sink in - but the markets will come to recognize that too little of the
existing debt is backed by real wealth.  Non-productive Credit booms are,
after all, essentially “Ponzi Finance” schemes.  Worse yet, only huge
additional injections of debt/purchasing power will hold economic collapse
at bay.  Fundamentally, non-productive Credit booms foment deleterious
effects upon the economic structure – that only compound over time.  As we
have witnessed with Greece and Ireland, “bailout” costs can quickly
skyrocket to meaningful percentages of GDP - and will keep growing.

And once stunned by the downside of “Ponzi Finance,” markets will be keen to
mitigate risk exposure to the next episode.   This is the essence of
“contagion effects.”  Especially in interlocking global markets dominated by
leveraged speculation and trend-following trading strategies, de-risking and
de-leveraging in one market tend to quickly translate to risk aversion and
faltering liquidity throughout the marketplace.  Markets perceived as
liquidity abundant can almost overnight be transformed to
liquidity-challenged.  This dynamic went to devastating extremes during the
2008 crisis – only to begin mount a resurgence with last year’s Greek debt
crisis and contagion.

It has been my thesis that last year’s aggressive market interventions –
QE2, the European fiscal and monetary “bailouts,” and massive global central
bank monetization – incited a highly speculative Bubble environment
vulnerable to negative liquidity surprises.  And now we’re down to the final
few weeks of QE2.  The European bailout strategy is unwinding, with little
possibility of near-term stabilization.  Meanwhile, the US economy has
downshifted in spite of massive fiscal and monetary stimulus.  Risk and
uncertainty abound; de-risking and de-leveraging are making a comeback.

Bloomberg went with the headline, “Fed’s Maiden Lane Sales Trigger Bank
Stampede to Dump Risk.”  At The Wall Street Journal, it was “As ‘Junk’ Bonds
Fall, Some Blame the Fed.”  Both articles noted the deterioration in pricing
for a broadening list of Credit market instruments, including junk bonds,
subprime mortgage securities, and various Credit derivatives.  And while the
Fed’s liquidation of an old AIG portfolio is surely a drag on some prices, I
believe the rapidly changing liquidity backdrop is more indicative of global
de-risking dynamics.  This is providing important confirmation of the bear

There are fascinating dynamics at work throughout our Credit market.
Arguably, the U.S. is the King of Non-Productive Debt.  In the wake of a
historic expansion of non-productive household debt comes a Bubble in
government (Treasury and related) Credit.  The assets underpinning too much
of the U.S. debt mountain are of suspect quality, although this hasn’t
mattered recently.  And in true Bubble fashion, the marketplace has
increasingly gravitated to Treasury debt as the “Greek” crisis escalates and
contagion effects gather momentum.  The corporate debt market has enjoyed
extreme bullish sentiment – along with waves of investment and speculative
inflows.  While the corporate balance sheet appears sound, I would counter
that corporate earnings and cash flows have been artificially inflated by
unsustainable federal deficits.  In particular, the bubbling junk bond
market would appear vulnerable to the deteriorating liquidity backdrop.

Elsewhere, there is the murky world of subprime derivatives and such.  This
bastion of speculative excess certainly enjoyed the fruits of policy-induced
reflation.  But not only has housing performed dismally, there are now the
market issues of de-risking and liquidity uncertainties.  Today from the
WSJ:  “Since April, prices of many subprime mortgage securities have
declined between 15% and 20%... The decline in subprime mortgage bonds
accelerated in the last two weeks…”  From Bloomberg this morning:  “Declines
in credit-default swaps indexes used to protect against losses on subprime
housing debt and commercial mortgages accelerated this month, reaching
almost 20% in the past five weeks..”  Also from Bloomberg:  “Default swaps
on the six largest U.S. banks have gained an average of 19.4 bps to 137.2
bps since May 31…”

In conclusion, support seemed abundant this week for the thesis which holds
that the U.S. Credit system and economy are much more vulnerable to
contagion effects than is commonly appreciated.  Treasury and dollar rallies
appear constructive for system liquidity.  In reality, it is likely that
both markets are heavily impacted by speculative trading (speculators, in
various forms, have used Treasury and dollar short positions to finance
higher-returning holdings).  Strength in the Treasury market and the dollar
are indicative of – and place additional pressure on – the unwind of
leveraged trades.  And it is when the speculator community finds itself back
on its heels and backing away from risk that liquidity becomes a critical
market issue.
23321  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DBMA Training Camp August 12-14 on: June 10, 2011, 01:36:07 PM
Woof All:

On August 12-14, 2011 (Friday-Sunday) we will be holding the "Dog Brothers
Martial Arts Training Camp" here in Hermosa Beach (Seven miles south of the
Los Angeles LAX Airport).  Hermosa Beach is a very agreeable place to be,
especially in August; as always, there will be plenty of socializing in the

With this year's camp being five weeks before the Sept 18th, 2011 "Dog
Brothers Open Gathering of the Pack", the timing is perfect for the focus of
this year's camp, which will be , , , drum roll please , , , Real Contact
Stick Fighting (RCSFg).  This camp is ideal for relative beginners looking
to raise their learning curve as well as for intermediate and experienced
fighters looking to put themselves to the test at Dog Brothers Gatherings.
For those fighting at the Gathering, this camp will help bring your game up
to a new level.  For those who don't fight, training alongside and with
those who do will help you functionalize your skills more than you may think

While leaving ourselves free to go with the flow, the planned progression

1) Conceptual Overview:

   a)  Our Theory of Seven Ranges and how it helps us to apply our skills
technically in the adrenal state.  See my article of several years ago
posted in the "Ranges observed in the fights" thread at  (Also see the "Snake
Range" article from ten years ago at the end of this newsletter);
   b) The Triangle from the Third Dimension:  Getting to the inner ranges
(medio, corto, clinch, and ground) scientifically, whether it be by
combinations, "attacking blocks", or "occupying strikes";
   c) St. Foom:  The art and science of maintaining the outer ranges and
preventing the close;
   d) How RCSFg lays the foundation for "Kali Tudo"-- really applying
weaponry motions empty handed and in street situations (our "Die Less Often"
material) so that we have "Consistency across categories";
   e) Footwork:  Applied triangles and bilateralism;

2) Basic Krabi Krabong for DBMA:  KK is the Thai military weaponry system
from which the combat ring sport of Muay Thai descends.

3) Dos Triques and Advanced Double Stick fighting:  "Triques" is our
neologism for the initials of our subsystem that blends "Kali" and "Krabi
Krabong"-- KKK!  For obvious reasons we want to avoid this!!!  Thus, the bad
pun of Triques for "the three Ks". Dos Triques is the double stick aspect of
"Triques" and is where we install the triangular footwork matrix that
applies in all areas of DBMA.

4) Los Triques:  Although traditional Filipino Martial Art theology posits
that kicking in a weapons fight is a really bad idea, our experience has
been that the KK approach to using of kicks and knees has a lot of merit. We
teach the integration of kicks with stick with triangular footwork in the
single stick portion of Triques.

5) The Science of Closing to Media/Corto/Clinch:  In my opinion, one of the
fortes of DBMA is our ability to get to the inner ranges technically and
scientifically so that we arrive in a dominant manner in good balance with
our eyes open.  This is where we
see Attacking Blocks, Closing Combinations, and Occupying Strikes.

6) The Salty Structure and The Bolo Game:  Named after the legendary Salty
Dog, the Salty Game is the science of fighting from the off lead (weapon in
rear hand)  The Bolo Game works very well from the Salty Structure.

7) Snaggletooth Variations

Cool The Trident: Integrating the various games into the footwork matrix.

9) Applied Staff fighting

10) Applied Stick & Knife

11) Stick Clinch

12) Stick grappling

I am in a mood to really lay it down with this material and there is a very
good chance that the material from this camp will become a DBMA DVD
"Advanced Stick Fighting".

So, how much for this veritable cornucopia of stickfighting sagacity?  As
always, we respect that value of your time and money with fair prices:  The
cost is $100 per day, or $250 for all three days.  10% discount for DBMA
Association members, 15% discount for Law Enforcement, and 25% for US (and
NATO allies e.g. Canada) military.

The Adventure continues!
Guro Crafty

PS:  For additional discussion of the Camp, please see

The following article is quite old, but perhaps it remains relevant wink

Snake Range,
by Guro Crafty  (Copyright 2001 Dog Brothers Inc.)

  As Juan Matus has pointed out, seeing what is not there as well as what is
powerful--in life as well as in stickfighting. I often see doubt or the “BS
alert” expression in people’s faces when they hear that Snake Range, the
first range of DBMA, is defined as “before contact is made”. To most people,
if no hitting is going on, then nothing of importance is going on. Yet the
idea of Snake Range is that what is done in the absence of hitting in order
to define the moment of impact (and its continuation) is one of the most
important parts of fighting.

  So what are the elements of the Snake in DBMA?

First there is “the skill of moving your stick to protect your hand, hide
your intent, create your opening, and mask your initiation.”

Second, there is the analysis of your opponent’s psychological type.

Third, and closely related, there is the analysis of his structure which we
call “The Theory of Chambers”.

Fourth, there is a specific theory of footwork.

Fifth, there is using this range to AVOID contact, which includes both ST.
FOOM (an acronym for “stay the fornicate off of me”) and the specific
footwork theory for avoiding engagement. And sixth, there is the theory of
the skirmish (multiple versus one, and many versus many where numbers may or
may not be equal)

The first element we will leave for another day. For now we will note that
Top Dog’s distinctive circling of the stick we call “the clock” and that a
fighter seasoned in the Attacking Block Drills will be able to use a Upward
8 in a similar manner.

Lets turn to psychological types and games that one should recognize in
Snake Range. Here, in no particular order, are some examples:

  a) "Mongo" (after the Alex Karras character in Mel Brooks's "Blazing
Saddles") Mongo looks to smash anything and every thing that comes at him or
is in front of him.

  b) The Stalker: he lumbers after you, often with step and slide footwork.

  c) The Evader: evades and looks to counter hit.

  d) The Blocking Counter Hitter: he presses forward and looks to counter
hit after blocking your strike.

  e) The Posturer: he doesn’t really want to fight. Typically Posturers
strut and posture just out of reach in the hopes you will overextend
yourself due to impatience.

  f) The Salesman: uses the stick deceptively hoping to trick you into
exposing yourself.

  g) Three Card Monte: a variation of the salesman done with double stick.
It mixes the chambers of each stick (e.g. holds one high and one low) and
tries to hit you with the one at which you’re not looking.

  h) The Speed Merchant: not much power, but he scores and moves.

  i) The Troglodyte: doesn’t care much if you hit him, he’s going to hit

  j) The Linebacker: comes after you like a linebacker blitzing a
quarterback. He wants to crash and take it to the ground.

There’s more of course and these types can be combined. For example, a Mongo
can be a Troglodyte Stalker.

The Theory of Chambers is the analysis of the physical structure of the man
in front of you. From where does he throw? Some examples:

  a) From above the forehand shoulder is “the Caveman”.

  b) Does he finish this swing with his elbow in centerline? Then he is
“elbow fulcrum”.

  c) A “backhander” prefers to throw from the backhand side.

  d) A “slapper” has bad form and tends to swing horizontally.

  e) “Off-lead” is with the weapon in the rear hand.

  f) Low Chamber is a low forehand position. This sometimes is in an

  g) Siniwali Caveman is with the caveman strike in the rear, and the front
stick is a jabbing/shielding position (a.k.a. “paw and pow”).

  h) Double Caveman is with each stick above its respective shoulder.

  i) False lead is left shoulder and right foot forward, right stick in
right hand or vice versa.

  These are but some examples. For each of these structures you want to know
what are the strengths and weaknesses and have solutions.

  In addition to the snakey stick, there is also “the snaky foot”, which of
course is an oxymoron because snakes don’t have feet?but never mind that.
There is a specific theory of footwork for this distance which we will leave
for another day.

  And in the street you may not want to engage and may want to keep the
jackal(s) away. ST. FOOM is moving your feet and swinging your stick so as
to create a bubble around yourself into which no one wants to step.

  And the Skirmish is all the skills you need for multiple situations. This
is more tactics and strategy than particular technique. Technical competence
is already assumed, thus it is usually covered later in the training. If you
can’t fight one, you may not be ready to think about fighting more than one.

  All of these are elements of Snake Range in Dog Brothers Martial Arts.

  Guro Crafty

23322  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left on: June 10, 2011, 12:32:22 PM
And then there were the various responses to Bill stuffing Monica with a cigar and getting blown in the Oval Office , , , and forcing himself on Paula Jones and the insults tow which she was subjected (ugly, trailer park and the like) and what was her name, the woman who came to him to plead for her husband's job only to get groped or something like that?

Well maybe we can say that Mrs. Weiner is rather attractive and Hillary could give a man frostbite?  cheesy

Meanwhile, the country heads off a fg cliff. 
23323  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: June 10, 2011, 12:26:11 PM
There most certainly WAS the C'l issue as to whether he was eligible to be President!   Given how few tracks he left in his life, and the considerable sums he spent covering up those that were, it is completely understandable and rational that heightened suspicion would result from his failure to show the long form.

As for Pravda on the Beach (POTB a.k.a. the Left Angeles Times) holding back the video, the responsibility and shame for that fall squarely on POTB.
23324  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: June 10, 2011, 12:10:52 PM
Harlequin novel, version 2011


He grasped me firmly, but gently, just above my elbow and guided me into a room, his room. Then he quietly shut the  door and we were alone. He approached me soundlessly, from behind, and spoke in  a low, reassuring voice close to my ear.


"Just  relax."


Without warning, he reached down and I felt his strong,  calloused hands start at my ankles, gently probing, and moving upward along my  calves, slowly but steadily. My breath caught in my throat.


I knew I should  be afraid, but somehow I didn't care. His touch was so experienced, so sure.  When his hands moved up onto my thighs, I gave a slight shudder, and partly  closed my eyes. My pulse was pounding. I felt his knowing fingers caress my  abdomen, my ribcage. And then, as he cupped my firm, full breasts in his hands,  I inhaled sharply.


Probing, searching, knowing what he wanted, he brought his  hands to my shoulders, slid them down my tingling spine and into my panties..  Although I knew nothing about this man, I felt oddly trusting and expectant.  This is a man, I thought. A man used to taking charge. A man not used to taking  ‘No for an answer. A man who would tell me what he wanted. A man who would look into my soul and say . . . .


"Okay ma'am, you can board your flight now."



23325  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: June 10, 2011, 12:02:17 PM
I believe my point is supported, i.e. that the House of Reps, where spending originates, can specify to what purpose the spending is to be put and to specify that spending can not be put to other purposes.

Was this not the root of Iran-contragate?  That the Ollie North and other Reagan folks were looking to raise money that they could not get from Congress?
23326  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Jefferson on the judiciary 1821 on: June 10, 2011, 11:59:21 AM
"The great object of my fear is the federal judiciary. That body, like gravity, ever acting, with noiseless foot, and unalarming advance, gaining ground step by step, and holding what it gains, is ingulfing insidiously the special governments into the jaws of that which feeds them." --Thomas Jefferson, letter to Judge Spencer Roane, 1821
23327  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 21 battalions of narco gunmen in two cities on: June 10, 2011, 10:52:32 AM
From a retired USMS friend:

At least 14,000 "armed criminals" are in the northern Mexican cities of Ciudad Juárez and Chihuahua, working for the drug cartels that are fighting for control of smuggling routes into the United States, Chihuahua state Attorney General Carlos Manuel Salas said.


RF: Based upon approx. 650 soldiers per rifle battalion (the number back in my day), that's like 21 battalions of narco gunmen in those two cities...
23328  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Vehicle flight a violent felony on: June 10, 2011, 10:48:34 AM

Sent to me by a retired USMS friend:

The Supreme Court decided yesterday that fleeing the police in a vehicle could be considered a violent felony.
Back in 1990 I was involved in a car chase event.  Afterwards, among other things, I argued that the act of fleeing law enforcement in a car (indeed the predicate act of escape from custody as well which was the situation in this case), was in and of itself an act of desperation with a high risk of a dangerous outcome and a disregard for others.  The head of U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) personnel told me, and I quote almost verbatim, that 'until the guy actually hit somebody with the car he was not a danger to the public.'  I thought he was a moron then, and I am glad to see the Supreme Court essentially agrees.
Of particular interest back then was the number of mindless know it all drones who, although ostensibly operational personnel, had never been in any dangerous/complicated situation in their entire careers and who simply agreed in lockstep with this idiot who was head of USMS personnel.  For all practical purposes they were nothing more than, as most of them are right now, administrative employees who had been given a gun and a badge and who themselves would flee for their lives at the merest hint of danger like the cowards they are.  Most of them are an utter embarrassment to law enforcement in general, and the warrior ethos in particular.
23329  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: June 09, 2011, 09:27:32 PM
Isn't spending targeted?  e.g. $X for the XYZ plane, $Y for Iraq, $Z for toilet seats, etc?
23330  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Sun activity on: June 09, 2011, 09:26:23 PM

23331  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / John Adams, Inaugural Address 1797 on: June 09, 2011, 05:10:05 PM

"We should be unfaithful to ourselves if we should ever lose sight of the danger to our liberties if anything partial or extraneous should infect the purity of our free, fair, virtuous, and independent elections." --John Adams, Inaugural Address, 1797

23332  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: June 09, 2011, 05:09:28 PM
Ignore it.  Let Congress defund or not.
23333  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / John Adams, Inaugural Address 1797 on: June 09, 2011, 05:07:22 PM

"We should be unfaithful to ourselves if we should ever lose sight of the danger to our liberties if anything partial or extraneous should infect the purity of our free, fair, virtuous, and independent elections." --John Adams, Inaugural Address, 1797

23334  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues and LE in action on: June 09, 2011, 05:05:46 PM
For which I can see a notation being made in his record and his being told "Next time let us know promptly where you are" and that sort of thing, but to fire him?  Wrong, very wrong.
23335  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Newt's aides abandoning ship; Krauthammer on Cain on: June 09, 2011, 05:02:14 PM
Krauthamamer hasn't changed his opinion on Cain, but gave him a nod of respect on Bret Baier yesterday for getting 7% in the poll.

Gingrich’s Senior Campaign Aides Resign

Newt Gingrich’s campaign manager and a half-dozen senior advisers resigned on Thursday, two aides said, dealing a significant setback to his bid to seek the Republican presidential nomination and severely complicating his plan to make a political comeback.

The campaign manager, Rob Johnson, along with advisers in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, joined together to step down after a period of deep internal disagreements about the direction of the campaign.

Mr. Gingrich, a former House speaker who has been fighting to regain his political footing after a rough campaign announcement last month, had been absent from the campaign trail for about two weeks on what aides had described as a pre-planned vacation. He made his first return to the campaign trail on Wednesday in New Hampshire, one day before the resignations were announced.

Read More:
23336  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy, Big Brother (State and Corporate) & the 4th Amendment on: June 09, 2011, 10:30:34 AM
Thank you for the correction to the false original report.  I am relieved to hear it.
23337  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues and LE in action on: June 09, 2011, 10:28:04 AM
Try looking the widow of the fallen officer in the eye when her man died because your employee did not come to his aid for fear of losing his job.
23338  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues and LE in action on: June 08, 2011, 11:21:49 PM
Officers were down.  Some men will run towards the sound of the guns.  Others will do nothing.  Some are sheep dogs, and some are sheep.
23339  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Good things Pres. Bush isn't the one doing this or POTH would be PO'd on: June 08, 2011, 08:39:47 PM

U.S. Is Intensifying a Secret Campaign of Yemen Airstrikes

The Obama administration has intensified the American covert war in Yemen, exploiting a growing power vacuum in the country to strike at militant suspects with armed drones and fighter jets, according to American officials.

The acceleration of the American campaign in recent weeks comes amid a violent conflict in Yemen that has left the government in Sana, a United States ally, struggling to cling to power. Yemeni troops that had been battling militants linked to Al Qaeda in the south have been pulled back to the capital, and American officials see the strikes as one of the few options to keep the militants from consolidating power.

Read More:
23340  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Heh heh heh, take that Chicago! on: June 08, 2011, 08:33:36 PM
23341  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: June 08, 2011, 07:30:34 PM
Herman Cain had a fairly substantial amount of time on the Beck show today.  Not flashy, but good to see him getting exposure.
23342  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues and LE in action on: June 08, 2011, 06:05:14 PM
There was about a 15 year period in my youth (about 15 to 30 years of age) when every single dream I had, had a policeman in it somewhere.  Can we say "Issues with authority"?  cheesy

More seriously now, I profoundly disrespect the values of corporations, police departments, etc that do as was done here.
23343  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glen Beck TV on: June 08, 2011, 05:42:32 PM
23344  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues and LE in action on: June 08, 2011, 05:29:19 PM
Well, cross you off a list of people for whom I would want to work cheesy
23345  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Fall Dog Brothers Open Gathering of the Pack 9/18/11 on: June 08, 2011, 05:28:03 PM
Hello Kitty (DF?):

I have been trying to get an answer out of my wife over this but she has been deep in a bookkeeping mission and is ignoring all other requests for info.
23346  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Constitutional Issues concerning the Fed and Coinage on: June 08, 2011, 11:44:31 AM

'Last October, I won the Nobel Prize in economics for my work on unemployment and the labor market," Peter Diamond, an economics professor at MIT, wrote in the New York Times on Sunday. "But I am unqualified to serve on the board of the Federal Reserve—at least according to the Republican senators who have blocked my nomination. How can this be?"

Not a bad question for the Republicans to be thinking about in the wake of Mr. Diamond's decision to withdraw his name from consideration for the Fed. Announcing his decision in the Times, Mr. Diamond warned of what he called "a failure to recognize that analysis of unemployment is crucial to conducting monetary policy."

Is another Ph.D. in economics really what is needed at the Federal Reserve? Prof. Diamond's leading opponent, Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, wants someone who has more experience in crafting monetary policy. Yet the Fed has plenty of experts in monetary policy.

I'd suggest what the board of the Fed really needs is a sage of the Constitution. The Constitution is the only place where our government gets its monetary powers and disabilities. And the more the Fed flounders during the course of this monetary crisis—in which the value of a dollar has plunged to less than a 1,500th of an ounce of gold—the more glaring is the blitheness of its attitude toward America's foundational law. And, for that matter, toward how the Founders of America thought about money.

This became clear within moments of Ben Bernanke being sworn in as the Fed's chairman in 2006. President Bush had gone over to the Federal Reserve for the occasion, and after the constitutionally required oath was sworn, Mr. Bernanke went over to a microphone to offer thanks to the president and his colleagues. Then he made an odd statement.

"The Federal Reserve," he said, "was created by Congress in 1913, and it was entrusted with the power, granted originally to the Congress by the U.S. Constitution, to coin money and regulate the value thereof."

Yet the Federal Reserve Act that Congress passed in 1913 didn't contain a single reference to the coinage power. On the contrary, as scholar Edwin Vieira Jr., has written, "one can search the Act until his eyes fall out without finding a delegation of the '"power to coin money.'"

The Supreme Court case that vouchsafed the power of the Congress to set up a national bank—McCulloch v. Maryland (1819), one of the most famous decisions ever handed down by the court—didn't mention the coinage power either, though it did allude to the taxing and spending power and the war powers.

By claiming power under the coinage clause, Mr. Bernanke was behaving a bit like Secretary of State Alexander Haig when, after President Ronald Reagan was shot, he suggested, albeit fleetingly, that he had the constitutional authority of the president. The fact is that not long after the Constitution was ratified, Congress exercised its coinage power not by creating the Fed but, in the Coinage Act of 1792, the United States Mint.

Even if, somewhere in the mists, the Fed can trace its authority to the coinage power, who on the Fed board is going to look out for these kinds of issues? Or more basic ones—like what a dollar really is, and what is its purpose?

Back in March, when Chairman Bernanke testified before the House Financial Services Committee, Congressman Ron Paul asked him for his definition of the dollar. Mr. Bernanke made no mention of the Constitution or any law passed by Congress. Instead he replied that his definition of a dollar was what it will buy.

That isn't how the Founders thought about the dollar. They thought about it as a measure of value. They gave Congress the coinage power in the same sentence in which they also gave it the power to fix the standard of weights and measures. When they twice used the word "dollars" in the Constitution, they had something specific in mind—371¼ grains of silver. They made reference not only to silver but to gold.

My guess is that the Founders would agree with Mr. Diamond when he writes that "[w]e need to preserve the independence of the Fed from efforts to politicize monetary policy." This is why they defined money in terms of silver and gold, the latter in particular being the measure of value that is hardest to politicize. Wouldn't it be nice to have among the governors of the Fed someone who thinks about money not in terms of theories but in the constitutional terms in which the Founders thought?

Mr. Lipsky is editor of the New York Sun. An anthology of its editorials on the gold standard, "It Shines for All," has just been published by New York Sun Books.

23347  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Wolves, Dogs and other canines on: June 08, 2011, 11:08:55 AM
 cool cool cool cool cool cool cool cool cool
23348  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / WSJ: Make Profs teach on: June 08, 2011, 11:08:08 AM
No sooner do parents proudly watch their children graduate high school than they must begin paying for college. As they write checks for upwards of $40,000 a year, they'll no doubt find themselves complaining loudly about rising college costs—even asking: "Is it worth it?"

It's a legitimate question. As college costs have risen wildly, the benefits of the degree seem less and less clear. Larger numbers of college graduates are taking relatively low-paying and low-skilled jobs.

The good news? There are ways to greatly ease the burden and make college more affordable, according to new data from the University of Texas at Austin.

 Naomi Schaefer Riley, author of "The Faculty Lounges," explains how colleges are spending your money.
.In a study for the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, Christopher Matgouranis, Jonathan Robe and I concluded that tuition fees at the flagship campus of the University of Texas could be cut by as much as half simply by asking the 80% of faculty with the lowest teaching loads to teach about half as much as the 20% of faculty with the highest loads. The top 20% currently handle 57% of all teaching.

Such a move would require the bulk of the faculty to teach, on average, about 150-160 students a year. For example, a professor might teach one undergraduate survey class for 100 students, two classes for advanced undergraduate students or beginning graduate students with 20-25 students, and an advanced graduate seminar for 10. That would require the professor to be in the classroom for fewer than 200 hours a year—hardly an arduous requirement.

Faculty will likely argue that this would imperil the university's research mission. Nonsense. First of all, at UT Austin, a mere 20% of the faculty garner 99.8% of the external research funding. Second, faculty who follow the work habits of other professional workers—go to work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and work five days a week for 48 or 49 weeks a year—can handle teaching 200 hours a year while publishing considerable amounts of research. I have done just this for decades as a professor.

Third, much research consists of obscure articles published in even more obscure journals on topics of trivial importance. Mark Bauerlein, a professor of English at Emory University, once estimated that 21,000 articles have been written on Shakespeare since 1980. Wouldn't 5,000 have been enough? Canadian scholar Jeffrey Litwin, looking at 70 leading U.S. universities, concluded the typical cost of writing a journal article is about $72,000. If we professors published somewhat fewer journal articles and did more teaching, we could make college more affordable.

There are other things colleges could do to reduce costs, such as slashing bureaucracies or using buildings more efficiently. But by not extending the contracts of nontenured faculty or by phasing out tenured positions over time, universities could seriously cut labor costs.

The bottom line is that colleges typically spread knowledge about everything under the sun except themselves. It's time to change that. There's no better place to start than by closely examining the work load of those who absorb the lion's share of university budgets.

Mr. Vedder is a professor of economics at Ohio University and directs the Center for College Affordability and Productivity.

23349  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: US tries to get UN SC to address Syria's failure to comply with IAEA on: June 08, 2011, 11:04:41 AM

Associated Press
VIENNA—The U.S. and its allies pushed ahead Wednesday with efforts to bring Syria before the United Nations Security Council for failure to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency, despite opposition from China and Russia.

Separately, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said that Britain and France will put forward a resolution at the U.N. condemning the crackdown in Syria.

A draft of a resolution obtained by The Associated Press finds Syria in "non-compliance with its obligations" with IAEA requirements to allow inspectors access to all nuclear facilities to ensure they are not being used for military purposes.

The draft criticizes Syria's lack of cooperation with "repeated requests for access" by the U.N. nuclear agency to information about a facility at Dair Alzour that appears to have been a nuclear reactor capable of producing plutonium, which is used to arm nuclear weapons. The site was destroyed in 2007.

The draft was circulated Wednesday to the 35 ministers who serve on the IAEA's board of governors to be discussed and put to vote. It needs majority approval from the board before it can be sent to the Security Council.

The IAEA has tried in vain since 2008 to follow up on strong evidence that the Dair Alzour site, bombed in 2007 by Israeli warplanes, was a nearly finished reactor built with North Korea's help.

Drawing on a May 24 report by IAEA chief Yukiya Amano, the resolution expresses "serious concern" over what it calls "Syria's lack of cooperation with the IAEA director general's repeated requests for access to additional information and locations as well as Syria's refusal to engage substantively with the agency on the nature of the Dair Alzour site."

Some nations have expressed misgivings about bringing Syria before the Security Council over an unresolved nuclear issue while there is a nationwide crackdown on a revolt against President Bashar Assad, but diplomats have indicated that a majority should be possible.

But without China and Russia the question remains whether that is enough, given the power of those nations to veto any measures that come before the Security Council.

In Britain, Mr. Cameron told the House of Commons that the U.K. and France wish to condemn the repression by Mr. Assad's government.

Mr. Cameron told lawmakers that the resolution before the Security Council will be focused on "demanding accountability and humanitarian action."

He said that if "anyone votes against that resolution or tries to veto it, that should be on their conscience."

Activists say Syria's nationwide crackdown on the revolt against Mr. Assad's regime has killed more than 1,300 Syrians.

23350  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / LEO fired for rendering assistance to officers under fire , , , on: June 08, 2011, 10:06:23 AM
Unfg believable , , ,
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