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23451  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Remembering Ramadi on: May 16, 2011, 11:37:24 AM
Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

When death came to Ramadi, it came, as any unwanted guest, to stay. It took a bleached, sand-blown landscape and flooded it red. It seized one Army brigade after another, gutting the ranks so deeply that, between my embeds with the First Armored Division's First Brigade Combat Team (1/1) in Iraq, it carved in granite a quarter of the names in my email inbox. It claimed so many lives and mangled so many others that, even now, on what ought to be the eve of the team's fifth anniversary reunion, the brigade's commander, then-Col. Sean MacFarland, cannot tote them up.

So, no, Brig. Gen. MacFarland's decision to call off the reunion celebration did not astound me. With nearly 100 of his soldiers killed and 500 wounded in eight months, I didn't know how many would (or could) summon the will for a jamboree to cast a glance backward. Instead, from his living room on the bank of the Missouri River, Brig. Gen. MacFarland and I—soldier and civilian, the neatly-ordered student of logic and the disheveled embodiment of what he defends—hold a micro-reunion.

Vacations, kids, work: Brig Gen. MacFarland credits his bare list of RSVPs to the routines that saddle us all. I pin the blame on what is being celebrated. That is, we pick up our argument where we left it five years ago. Not even the 7,000 miles that separate America and Iraq can measure the distance between us, or between the officer corps and the country it serves. In Iraq, the U.S. mission entailed complex operational schemes and thorny moral dilemmas. In the journalist's notebook, the U.S. mission required easy certainties and narrative simplicity.

Where I saw only mayhem in Ramadi, Col. MacFarland saw method and a path forward. One day, as we visited a local sheikh, the sheikh's radio crackled with panicked tribesmen under siege. "We'll bring in air," Col. MacFarland assured the sheikh, who was so busy shouting and being shouted at that it wasn't clear he actually heard the lanky, soft-spoken colonel. "So, um, get your men inside."

Antennae relayed a flurry of coordinates; one of the F-18s on station above Ramadi banked toward the insurgents. Problem solved. Later that day, Col. MacFarland told me he viewed the battle in the way of a mathematical equation: "Within its chaos there can be order," the historian Clayton Newell writes of the paradox of war. And, indeed, by "flipping" Ramadi's tribes, erecting small combat outposts, and otherwise anticipating the tenets of counterinsurgency that Gen. David Petraeus would later enshrine in official policy, 1/1 transformed a blasted shell into a place that bustled with the everyday vibrancy of a living community.

To assert that the outstanding officer can mitigate the chaos of war, however, is not to assert that he can mitigate its horror. Instead, Ramadi's horrors multiplied in direct proportion to the clarity of 1/1's advance.

On my first day back in Iraq, 1/1's public affairs officer and a young captain I admired were killed by a fuel-enhanced IED. Every day supplied a new variation—a marine shot in the neck, a soldier burned alive in his tank, a pilot disemboweled and set alight. Yet even as he devised tomorrow's plans on his color-coded tribal map, Col. MacFarland banished from brigade headquarters photos of yesterday's dead.

Serene in the conviction that Col. MacFarland cared more about victory than about its cost, I soon learned that my biases had things backward. At the landing zone where he loaded body-bags onto helicopters, the colonel was spotted one night behind a stack of medical kits, sobbing into his shirt sleeve. Toward the end of the deployment, one of the brigade's officers told me, he sensed that Col. MacFarland wanted to climb into a body bag.

At his promotion ceremony years later, it became clear what a steep price had been exacted by the tension between battlefield gain and human loss, between his steely command persona and his genuinely warm persona. Quietly and haltingly, Col. MacFarland confessed to the audience that "the many shattered bodies and shattered lives that made victory in Ramadi possible" had led him to ask himself if he was worthy of this honor. "I am not."

Back in Kansas, Brig. Gen. MacFarland says that, with the brigade's achievement now well-chronicled, the unpleasant images have become cloudy and flickering. "I have to believe all of it meant something," he says. "When my son-in-law, serving in southern Iraq, tells me he's bored, that means something."

And the reunion he put so much effort into assembling? The notion that the exquisite sensitivities of men who paint skulls on their tank turrets keep them home-bound seems far-fetched: Soldiers regard themselves as agents, not victims. So, yes, they're busy making other plans, mapping the routes to amusement parks and camp sites. Like Sean MacFarland, I have to believe this. And that, on this reunion day, even the dead have plans.

Mr. Kaplan is a contributing editor at the New Republic and a visiting professor at the U.S. Army War College.

23452  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: May 16, 2011, 11:17:26 AM
Bush 1 lost because of Perot.
23453  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Newt Gingrich on: May 16, 2011, 11:09:17 AM
My strong support of Newt in 2008 is of record around here, as are my increasing expressions of doubt this time around.  THIS I think is a fatal blow to any remaining willingness on my part to consider him seriously.
23454  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Dog Brothers 2011 Tribal Gathering on: May 16, 2011, 10:13:23 AM
Given two days of outstanding fighting it is no surprise that there were several ascensions, indeed more names than I can remember.  Here are the few that I do remember off the top of my head.  If I failed to mention you, please email me and I will put things right

New Dog Brothers:

Mark "Beowulf" Houston
Rene "Growling Dog" Houston
Tyler "Dirty Dog" Morin

New Candidate Dog Brothers

Thomas "C-Gong Fu" Holtman

23455  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: May 14-15: "Dog Brothers Tribal Gathering of the Pack" on: May 15, 2011, 09:51:08 PM
Leaving now for the Pier.  Cell is 310-738-1044.
23456  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: May 14-15: "Dog Brothers Tribal Gathering of the Pack" on: May 15, 2011, 09:32:45 PM
And thank you for your outstanding expression today; a true pleasure to watch.
23457  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: May 14-15: "Dog Brothers Tribal Gathering of the Pack" on: May 15, 2011, 09:16:13 PM
OK, just stay there.

Everyone else, meet at the Hermosa Beach pier at 20:00 and we can walk over to La Playita from there.
23458  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: May 14-15: "Dog Brothers Tribal Gathering of the Pack" on: May 15, 2011, 06:55:09 PM
Dinner at 20:00.

Location will be announced here, but first I have to confer with Pretty Kitty who is out at the moment.
23459  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizen-Police interactions on: May 15, 2011, 12:20:04 PM

Of course the practical course of action will often be exactly as you describe, but the conceptual foundations must be those of a free people.  So, the question remains:  Do you recognize the RIGHT to self-defense against authority?
23460  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: May 15, 2011, 12:17:17 PM
In the big picture and Cain's capable hands I think this sort of hateful nonsense will help the cause of Freedom.
23461  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / UAE building private army with Blackwater on: May 15, 2011, 11:04:41 AM

The complete article can be found at

May 14, 2011
Secret Desert Force Set Up by Blackwater’s Founder

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Late one night last November, a plane carrying dozens of Colombian men touched down in this glittering seaside capital. Whisked through customs by an Emirati intelligence officer, the group boarded an unmarked bus and drove roughly 20 miles to a windswept military complex in the desert sand.

The Colombians had entered the United Arab Emirates posing as construction workers. In fact, they were soldiers for a secret American-led mercenary army being built by Erik Prince, the billionaire founder of Blackwater Worldwide, with $529 million from the oil-soaked sheikdom.

Mr. Prince, who resettled here last year after his security business faced mounting legal problems in the United States, was hired by the crown prince of Abu Dhabi to put together an 800-member battalion of foreign troops for the U.A.E., according to former employees on the project, American officials and corporate documents obtained by The New York Times.

The force is intended to conduct special operations missions inside and outside the country, defend oil pipelines and skyscrapers from terrorist attacks and put down internal revolts, the documents show. Such troops could be deployed if the Emirates faced unrest in their crowded labor camps or were challenged by pro-democracy protests like those sweeping the Arab world this year.

The U.A.E.’s rulers, viewing their own military as inadequate, also hope that the troops could blunt the regional aggression of Iran, the country’s biggest foe, the former employees said. The training camp, located on a sprawling Emirati base called Zayed Military City, is hidden behind concrete walls laced with barbed wire. Photographs show rows of identical yellow temporary buildings, used for barracks and mess halls, and a motor pool, which houses Humvees and fuel trucks. The Colombians, along with South African and other foreign troops, are trained by retired American soldiers and veterans of the German and British special operations units and the French Foreign Legion, according to the former employees and American officials.

In outsourcing critical parts of their defense to mercenaries — the soldiers of choice for medieval kings, Italian Renaissance dukes and African dictators — the Emiratis have begun a new era in the boom in wartime contracting that began after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. And by relying on a force largely created by Americans, they have introduced a volatile element in an already combustible region where the United States is widely viewed with suspicion.

The United Arab Emirates — an autocracy with the sheen of a progressive, modern state — are closely allied with the United States, and American officials indicated that the battalion program had some support in Washington.

“The gulf countries, and the U.A.E. in particular, don’t have a lot of military experience. It would make sense if they looked outside their borders for help,” said one Obama administration official who knew of the operation. “They might want to show that they are not to be messed with.”

Still, it is not clear whether the project has the United States’ official blessing. Legal experts and government officials said some of those involved with the battalion might be breaking federal laws that prohibit American citizens from training foreign troops if they did not secure a license from the State Department.

Mark C. Toner, a spokesman for the department, would not confirm whether Mr. Prince’s company had obtained such a license, but he said the department was investigating to see if the training effort was in violation of American laws. Mr. Toner pointed out that Blackwater (which renamed itself Xe Services ) paid $42 million in fines last year for training foreign troops in Jordan and other countries over the years.

The U.A.E.’s ambassador to Washington, Yousef al-Otaiba, declined to comment for this article. A spokesman for Mr. Prince also did not comment.

For Mr. Prince, the foreign battalion is a bold attempt at reinvention. He is hoping to build an empire in the desert, far from the trial lawyers, Congressional investigators and Justice Department officials he is convinced worked in league to portray Blackwater as reckless. He sold the company last year, but in April, a federal appeals court reopened the case against four Blackwater guards accused of killing 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad in 2007.

To help fulfill his ambitions, Mr. Prince’s new company, Reflex Responses, obtained another multimillion-dollar contract to protect a string of planned nuclear power plants and to provide cybersecurity. He hopes to earn billions more, the former employees said, by assembling additional battalions of Latin American troops for the Emiratis and opening a giant complex where his company can train troops for other governments.

Knowing that his ventures are magnets for controversy, Mr. Prince has masked his involvement with the mercenary battalion. His name is not included on contracts and most other corporate documents, and company insiders have at times tried to hide his identity by referring to him by the code name “Kingfish.” But three former employees, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of confidentiality agreements, and two people involved in security contracting described Mr. Prince’s central role.

The former employees said that in recruiting the Colombians and others from halfway around the world, Mr. Prince’s subordinates were following his strict rule: hire no Muslims.

Muslim soldiers, Mr. Prince warned, could not be counted on to kill fellow Muslims.

A Lucrative Deal

Last spring, as waiters in the lobby of the Park Arjaan by Rotana Hotel passed by carrying cups of Turkish coffee, a small team of Blackwater and American military veterans huddled over plans for the foreign battalion. Armed with a black suitcase stuffed with several hundred thousand dollars’ worth of dirhams, the local currency, they began paying the first bills.

The company, often called R2, was licensed last March with 51 percent local ownership, a typical arrangement in the Emirates. It received about $21 million in start-up capital from the U.A.E., the former employees said.

Mr. Prince made the deal with Sheik Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and the de facto ruler of the United Arab Emirates. The two men had known each other for several years, and it was the prince’s idea to build a foreign commando force for his country.

Savvy and pro-Western, the prince was educated at the Sandhurst military academy in Britain and formed close ties with American military officials. He is also one of the region’s staunchest hawks on Iran and is skeptical that his giant neighbor across the Strait of Hormuz will give up its nuclear program.

“He sees the logic of war dominating the region, and this thinking explains his near-obsessive efforts to build up his armed forces,” said a November 2009 cable from the American Embassy in Abu Dhabi that was obtained by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks.

For Mr. Prince, a 41-year-old former member of the Navy Seals, the battalion was an opportunity to turn vision into reality. At Blackwater, which had collected billions of dollars in security contracts from the United States government, he had hoped to build an army for hire that could be deployed to crisis zones in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. He even had proposed that the Central Intelligence Agency use his company for special operations missions around the globe, but to no avail. In Abu Dhabi, which he praised in an Emirati newspaper interview last year for its “pro-business” climate, he got another chance.

Mr. Prince’s exploits, both real and rumored, are the subject of fevered discussions in the private security world. He has worked with the Emirati government on various ventures in the past year, including an operation using South African mercenaries to train Somalis to fight pirates. There was talk, too, that he was hatching a scheme last year to cap the Icelandic volcano then spewing ash across Northern Europe.

The team in the hotel lobby was led by Ricky Chambers, known as C. T., a former agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation who had worked for Mr. Prince for years; most recently, he had run a program training Afghan troops for a Blackwater subsidiary called Paravant.

He was among the half-dozen or so Americans who would serve as top managers of the project, receiving nearly $300,000 in annual compensation. Mr. Chambers and Mr. Prince soon began quietly luring American contractors from Afghanistan, Iraq and other danger spots with pay packages that topped out at more than $200,000 a year, according to a budget document. Many of those who signed on as trainers — which eventually included more than 40 veteran American, European and South African commandos — did not know of Mr. Prince’s involvement, the former employees said.

Mr. Chambers did not respond to requests for comment.

He and Mr. Prince also began looking for soldiers. They lined up Thor Global Enterprises, a company on the Caribbean island of Tortola specializing in “placing foreign servicemen in private security positions overseas,” according to a contract signed last May. The recruits would be paid about $150 a day.

Within months, large tracts of desert were bulldozed and barracks constructed. The Emirates were to provide weapons and equipment for the mercenary force, supplying everything from M-16 rifles to mortars, Leatherman knives to Land Rovers. They agreed to buy parachutes, motorcycles, rucksacks — and 24,000 pairs of socks.

To keep a low profile, Mr. Prince rarely visited the camp or a cluster of luxury villas near the Abu Dhabi airport, where R2 executives and Emirati military officers fine-tune the training schedules and arrange weapons deliveries for the battalion, former employees said. He would show up, they said, in an office suite at the DAS Tower — a skyscraper just steps from Abu Dhabi’s Corniche beach, where sunbathers lounge as cigarette boats and water scooters whiz by. Staff members there manage a number of companies that the former employees say are carrying out secret work for the Emirati government.

Emirati law prohibits disclosure of incorporation records for businesses, which typically list company officers, but it does require them to post company names on offices and storefronts. Over the past year, the sign outside the suite has changed at least twice — it now says Assurance Management Consulting.

While the documents — including contracts, budget sheets and blueprints — obtained by The Times do not mention Mr. Prince, the former employees said he negotiated the U.A.E. deal. Corporate documents describe the battalion’s possible tasks: intelligence gathering, urban combat, the securing of nuclear and radioactive materials, humanitarian missions and special operations “to destroy enemy personnel and equipment.”

One document describes “crowd-control operations” where the crowd “is not armed with firearms but does pose a risk using improvised weapons (clubs and stones).”

People involved in the project and American officials said that the Emiratis were interested in deploying the battalion to respond to terrorist attacks and put down uprisings inside the country’s sprawling labor camps, which house the Pakistanis, Filipinos and other foreigners who make up the bulk of the country’s work force. The foreign military force was planned months before the so-called Arab Spring revolts that many experts believe are unlikely to spread to the U.A.E. Iran was a particular concern.

An Eye on Iran

Although there was no expectation that the mercenary troops would be used for a stealth attack on Iran, Emirati officials talked of using them for a possible maritime and air assault to reclaim a chain of islands, mostly uninhabited, in the Persian Gulf that are the subject of a dispute between Iran and the U.A.E., the former employees said. Iran has sent military forces to at least one of the islands, Abu Musa, and Emirati officials have long been eager to retake the islands and tap their potential oil reserves.

The Emirates have a small military that includes army, air force and naval units as well as a small special operations contingent, which served in Afghanistan, but over all, their forces are considered inexperienced.

In recent years, the Emirati government has showered American defense companies with billions of dollars to help strengthen the country’s security. A company run by Richard A. Clarke, a former counterterrorism adviser during the Clinton and Bush administrations, has won several lucrative contracts to advise the U.A.E. on how to protect its infrastructure.

Some security consultants believe that Mr. Prince’s efforts to bolster the Emirates’ defenses against an Iranian threat might yield some benefits for the American government, which shares the U.A.E.’s concern about creeping Iranian influence in the region.

“As much as Erik Prince is a pariah in the United States, he may be just what the doctor ordered in the U.A.E.,” said an American security consultant with knowledge of R2’s work.

The contract includes a one-paragraph legal and ethics policy noting that R2 should institute accountability and disciplinary procedures. “The overall goal,” the contract states, “is to ensure that the team members supporting this effort continuously cast the program in a professional and moral light that will hold up to a level of media scrutiny.”

But former employees said that R2’s leaders never directly grappled with some fundamental questions about the operation. International laws governing private armies and mercenaries are murky, but would the Americans overseeing the training of a foreign army on foreign soil be breaking United States law?

Susan Kovarovics, an international trade lawyer who advises companies about export controls, said that because Reflex Responses was an Emirati company it might not need State Department authorization for its activities.

But she said that any Americans working on the project might run legal risks if they did not get government approval to participate in training the foreign troops.

Basic operational issues, too, were not addressed, the former employees said. What were the battalion’s rules of engagement? What if civilians were killed during an operation? And could a Latin American commando force deployed in the Middle East really be kept a secret?

Imported Soldiers

The first waves of mercenaries began arriving last summer. Among them was a 13-year veteran of Colombia’s National Police force named Calixto Rincón, 42, who joined the operation with hopes of providing for his family and seeing a new part of the world.

“We were practically an army for the Emirates,” Mr. Rincón, now back in Bogotá, Colombia, said in an interview. “They wanted people who had a lot of experience in countries with conflicts, like Colombia.”

Mr. Rincón’s visa carried a special stamp from the U.A.E. military intelligence branch, which is overseeing the entire project, that allowed him to move through customs and immigration without being questioned.

He soon found himself in the midst of the camp’s daily routines, which mirrored those of American military training. “We would get up at 5 a.m. and we would start physical exercises,” Mr. Rincón said. His assignment included manual labor at the expanding complex, he said. Other former employees said the troops — outfitted in Emirati military uniforms — were split into companies to work on basic infantry maneuvers, learn navigation skills and practice sniper training.

R2 spends roughly $9 million per month maintaining the battalion, which includes expenditures for employee salaries, ammunition and wages for dozens of domestic workers who cook meals, wash clothes and clean the camp, a former employee said. Mr. Rincón said that he and his companions never wanted for anything, and that their American leaders even arranged to have a chef travel from Colombia to make traditional soups.

But the secrecy of the project has sometimes created a prisonlike environment. “We didn’t have permission to even look through the door,” Mr. Rincón said. “We were only allowed outside for our morning jog, and all we could see was sand everywhere.”

The Emirates wanted the troops to be ready to deploy just weeks after stepping off the plane, but it quickly became clear that the Colombians’ military skills fell far below expectations. “Some of these kids couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn,” said a former employee. Other recruits admitted to never having fired a weapon.

Rethinking Roles

As a result, the veteran American and foreign commandos training the battalion have had to rethink their roles. They had planned to act only as “advisers” during missions — meaning they would not fire weapons — but over time, they realized that they would have to fight side by side with their troops, former officials said.

Making matters worse, the recruitment pipeline began drying up. Former employees said that Thor struggled to sign up, and keep, enough men on the ground. Mr. Rincón developed a hernia and was forced to return to Colombia, while others were dismissed from the program for drug use or poor conduct.

And R2’s own corporate leadership has also been in flux. Mr. Chambers, who helped develop the project, left after several months. A handful of other top executives, some of them former Blackwater employees, have been hired, then fired within weeks.

To bolster the force, R2 recruited a platoon of South African mercenaries, including some veterans of Executive Outcomes, a South African company notorious for staging coup attempts or suppressing rebellions against African strongmen in the 1990s. The platoon was to function as a quick-reaction force, American officials and former employees said, and began training for a practice mission: a terrorist attack on the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai, the world’s tallest building. They would secure the situation before quietly handing over control to Emirati troops.

But by last November, the battalion was officially behind schedule. The original goal was for the 800-man force to be ready by March 31; recently, former employees said, the battalion’s size was reduced to about 580 men.

Emirati military officials had promised that if this first battalion was a success, they would pay for an entire brigade of several thousand men. The new contracts would be worth billions, and would help with Mr. Prince’s next big project: a desert training complex for foreign troops patterned after Blackwater’s compound in Moyock, N.C. But before moving ahead, U.A.E. military officials have insisted that the battalion prove itself in a “real world mission.”

That has yet to happen. So far, the Latin American troops have been taken off the base only to shop and for occasional entertainment.

On a recent spring night though, after months stationed in the desert, they boarded an unmarked bus and were driven to hotels in central Dubai, a former employee said. There, some R2 executives had arranged for them to spend the evening with prostitutes.

Mark Mazzetti reported from Abu Dhabi and Washington, and Emily B. Hager from New York. Jenny Carolina González and Simon Romero contributed reporting from Bogotá, Colombia. Kitty Bennett contributed research from Washington.
23462  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WaPo: The ten year saga of the hunt for OBL on: May 15, 2011, 10:54:06 AM
A friend forwards to me:

"I don't agree with all of the spin, but this is a very interesting 
account of how the ten year hunt was conducted. Too long to attach 
the full text, unfortunately."
23463  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: May 15, 2011, 10:50:37 AM
JDN raises a fair point here, though he substantially understates Cain's track record as Doug points out.

I certainly have had nowhere near the exposure to Cain necessary for me to form any sort of opinion of substance, but I do admit to being chuckled at the idea of two black men running for the Presidency with one of them apparently a genuine sincere man of Tea Party proclivities.    What a great way to neuter Democratoc race-baiting!!! afro
23464  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizen-Police interactions on: May 15, 2011, 10:42:17 AM
No surprise that GM would see this as he does  grin

As best as I can tell with the facts here (domestic dispute, only husband spoke up that all was alright) a good case can be made for legal entry, so the court's apparent holding seems unnecessary and perhaps overbroad.

Readily granted, the exercise of this right presents profound risks and serious problems in the real world.

That said, on the whole, there have gotten to be a rather extraordinary amount of people's home being forcefully entered by the police in our society, often by no-knock warrants, SWAT teams and so forth.  There were and are good reasons for the Common Law being as it has been for 900 years.  The theoretical remedy proferred seems , , , theoretical indeed and rather contrary to the spirit of a free people.

Perhaps we can begin the conversation by asking if there is a right to self-defense when being assaulted by a policeman?  GM?
23465  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / DBMA's Snake Range on: May 15, 2011, 10:32:09 AM

Snake Range
written by Marc “Crafty Dog” Denny
(Copyright Dog Brothers Inc.  If you wish to share, please direct people here and do not post elsewhere)

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 strucure 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 seaoned 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.

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 you.

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 swatter can be a stalker or he can be a retreater.


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 “backander” prefers to throw from the backhand side.

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

e) “Off-lead” is a righty with the left foot forward or vice versa.

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

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 multipe 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
23466  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Indiana: No right to resist illegal police entry on: May 15, 2011, 09:16:33 AM
Court: No right to resist illegal cop entry into home
Story Discussion By Dan Carden, (317) 637-9078 | Posted: Friday, May 13, 2011 3:56 pm | (239) Comments

PDF: Supreme Court ruling in Barnes v. State

INDIANAPOLIS | Overturning a common law dating back to the English Magna Carta of 1215, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Hoosiers have no right to resist unlawful police entry into their homes.

In a 3-2 decision, Justice Steven David writing for the court said if a police officer wants to enter a home for any reason or no reason at all, a homeowner cannot do anything to block the officer's entry.

"We believe ... a right to resist an unlawful police entry into a home is against public policy and is incompatible with modern Fourth Amendment jurisprudence," David said. "We also find that allowing resistance unnecessarily escalates the level of violence and therefore the risk of injuries to all parties involved without preventing the arrest."

David said a person arrested following an unlawful entry by police still can be released on bail and has plenty of opportunities to protest the illegal entry through the court system.

The court's decision stems from a Vanderburgh County case in which police were called to investigate a husband and wife arguing outside their apartment.

When the couple went back inside their apartment, the husband told police they were not needed and blocked the doorway so they could not enter. When an officer entered anyway, the husband shoved the officer against a wall. A second officer then used a stun gun on the husband and arrested him.

Professor Ivan Bodensteiner, of Valparaiso University School of Law, said the court's decision is consistent with the idea of preventing violence.

"It's not surprising that they would say there's no right to beat the hell out of the officer," Bodensteiner said. "(The court is saying) we would rather opt on the side of saying if the police act wrongfully in entering your house your remedy is under law, to bring a civil action against the officer."

Justice Robert Rucker, a Gary native, and Justice Brent Dickson, a Hobart native, dissented from the ruling, saying the court's decision runs afoul of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

"In my view the majority sweeps with far too broad a brush by essentially telling Indiana citizens that government agents may now enter their homes illegally -- that is, without the necessity of a warrant, consent or exigent circumstances," Rucker said. "I disagree."

Rucker and Dickson suggested if the court had limited its permission for police entry to domestic violence situations they would have supported the ruling.

But Dickson said, "The wholesale abrogation of the historic right of a person to reasonably resist unlawful police entry into his dwelling is unwarranted and unnecessarily broad."

This is the second major Indiana Supreme Court ruling this week involving police entry into a home.

On Tuesday, the court said police serving a warrant may enter a home without knocking if officers decide circumstances justify it. Prior to that ruling, police serving a warrant would have to obtain a judge's permission to enter without knocking.

Copyright 2011 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

23467  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Nuclear Power on: May 15, 2011, 09:02:16 AM
"Let's keep this , , , discussion alive beyond the crisis."

23468  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics on: May 15, 2011, 09:01:03 AM
Mundell, with very good reason, was the darling of the editorial page of the WSJ in its mighty heyday in the 1980s and '90s and was a huge influence on Jude Wanniski in writing his seminal book "The Way the World Works".

That said,

a) He's saying fed policies have strengthened the dollar?!?
b) Now that we are more than 1/3 the way through the year, how is his prediction of growth rate doing?
23469  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Nullification by the States on: May 15, 2011, 08:56:17 AM

Nullification: What You'll Never Learn in School

Mises Daily: Friday, October 29, 2010 by Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

Having just finished a course on the New Deal for the Mises Academy, I'm now offering one on state nullification, the subject of my most recent book. I thought my New Deal course covered issues and sources left out of the typical classroom, but in that respect this course has that one beat.

Nullification is the Jeffersonian idea that the states of the American Union must judge the constitutionality of the acts of their agent, the federal government, since no impartial arbiter between them exists. When the federal government exercises a particularly dangerous power not delegated to it, the states must refuse to allow its enforcement within their borders.

I can hear people saying that such a response doesn't go nearly far enough. No argument there. The trouble with nullification is not that it is too "extreme," as the enforcers of opinion would say, but that it is too timid. But it gets people thinking in terms of resistance, which has to be a good thing, and it defies the unexamined premise of the entire political spectrum, according to which society must be organized with a single, irresistible power center issuing infallible commands from the top.

That's at least a pretty good start.

The course, Nullification: A Jeffersonian Bulwark Against Tyranny, will cover the basics, to be sure, and after the first week everyone will be well-grounded in the relevant issues. But then I want to dig into the primary sources. I want to examine the long-forgotten debates on this subject in detail. In particular, we'll study the exchanges between Daniel Webster and Robert Hayne, Andrew Jackson and Littleton Waller Tazewell, and Joseph Story and Abel Upshur.

Hardly anyone, including graduate students in American history, has actually read these texts as opposed to just knowing of their existence — and if my own experience at Columbia University is any indication, even that is more than some grad students know.

The various commissars who have taken it upon themselves to ensure that no one strays from officially approved opinion — or to appropriately scold anyone who in fact does so — have become apoplectic at the return of nullification. I confess to taking mischievous delight in this. They are accustomed to setting the terms of debate. They are not used to seeing people promote ideas of their own.

And the commissars have not read these sources, either. But you will. You will know the arguments of both sides inside and out.

You will also enjoy the discussions that ensue at the end of each lecture. You can sign off whenever you like, of course, but during the course I just completed on the New Deal I stayed around for an hour and a half to two extra hours answering questions and directing discussion, and then shooting the breeze about anything people wanted to discuss. We had a great time. As always, the lectures are available for viewing, along with a full transcript of the chat box, for people who cannot watch them live.

I understand the impatience that many of us feel regarding nullification, particularly the complaints that

the Constitution per se isn't what matters anyway; what matters is freedom; and
the states are no angels, either.
These criticisms are by no means misplaced. But nullification remains a useful quiver in the liberty arsenal all the same. As I've said, it gets people thinking in healthy ways. And it can be employed for good purposes, as when the Principles of '98 (as the ideas culminating in nullification came to be known) were cited on behalf of free speech and free trade, and against unconstitutional searches and seizures, military conscription, and fugitive-slave laws. In our own day, Janet Napolitano said the reason the Real ID Act failed was that the states refused to cooperate in its enforcement.

And the states are indeed rotten, too — which is why we may as well put them to some good use by pursuing nullification. Liberty is more likely to have room to flourish in a world of many competing jurisdictions rather than under a single, irresistible jurisdiction.

In short, this course will introduce you to a chapter of American history that has fallen down the memory hole but which is much too interesting and valuable to leave down there. In the process of pulling it out, you'll acquire a much deeper understanding of American history.

I hope you'll join me.

Here is the Mises Institute's Jeffrey Tucker interviewing me on the subject: [see this link for the video interview]

23470  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: May 15, 2011, 08:52:49 AM
Also, something that caught my attention recently about Cain was some footage of President Clinton (not the current one, the one from the 90s) doing some "meet with and answer questions of real live citizens sort of thing" and there was Cain, questioning him about Hillary Care which was then a heated issue. (1993?)  Cain was , , , drum roll please , , , abely , , , rim shot , , , questioning the President with some follow up questions that were pointed without being disrespectful. 
23471  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Grandchildren of Nazis delve into past on: May 15, 2011, 08:48:18 AM
Very good conversation going on this thread and I hope to contribute to it in the next few days.  In the meantime here is this interesting article:

German grandchildren of Nazis delve into past

Saturday, May 14, 2011

(05-14) 12:23 PDT BERLIN, Germany (AP) --

Rainer Hoess was 12 years old when he found out his grandfather was one of the worst mass murderers in history.

The gardener at his boarding school, an Auschwitz survivor, beat him black and blue after hearing he was the grandson of Rudolf Hoess, commandant of the death camp synonymous with the Holocaust.

"He beat me, because he projected on me all the horror he went through," Rainer Hoess said, with a shrug and a helpless smile. "Once a Hoess, always a Hoess. Whether you're the grandfather or the grandson — guilty is guilty."

Germans have for decades confronted the Nazi era head-on, paying billions in compensation, meticulously teaching Third Reich history in school, and building memorials to victims. The conviction Thursday in Munich of retired Ohio autoworker John Demjanjuk on charges he was a guard at the Sobibor Nazi death camp drives home how the Holocaust is still very much at the forefront of the German psyche.

But most Germans have skirted their own possible family involvement in Nazi atrocities. Now, more than 65 years after the end of Hitler's regime, an increasing number of Germans are trying to pierce the family secrets.

Some, like Hoess, have launched an obsessive solitary search. Others seek help from seminars and workshops that have sprung up across Germany to provide research guidance and psychological support.

"From the outside, the third generation has had it all — prosperity, access to education, peace and stability," said Sabine Bode, who has written books on how the Holocaust weighs on German families today. "Yet they grew up with a lot of unspoken secrets, felt the silent burdens in their families that were often paired with a lack of emotional warmth and vague anxieties."

Like others, Hoess had to overcome fierce resistance within his own family, who preferred that he "not poke around in the past." Undeterred, he spent lonely hours at archives and on the Internet researching his grandfather.

Rudolf Hoess was in charge of Auschwitz from May 1940 to November 1943. He came back to Auschwitz for a short stint in 1944, to oversee the murder of some 400,000 Hungarian Jews in the camp's gas chambers within less than two months.

The commandant lived in a luxurious mansion at Auschwitz with his wife and five children — among them Hans-Rudolf, the father of Rainer. Only 150 meters (yards) away the crematories' chimneys were blowing out the ashes of the dead day and night.

After the war, Hoess went into hiding on a farm in northern Germany; he was eventually captured and hanged in 1947, in front of his former home on the grounds of Auschwitz.

"When I investigate and read about my grandfather's crimes, it tears me apart every single time," Hoess said during a recent interview at his home in a little Black Forest village.

As a young man, he said, he tried twice to kill himself. He has suffered three heart attacks in recent years as well as asthma, which he says gets worse when he digs into his family's Nazi past.

Today, Hoess says, he no longer feels guilty, but the burden of the past weighs on him at all times.

"My grandfather was a mass murderer — something that I can only be ashamed and sad about," said the 45-year-old chef and father of two boys and two girls. "However, I do not want to close my eyes and pretend nothing ever happened, like the rest of my family still does ... I want to stop the curse that's been haunting my family ever since, for the sake of myself and that of my own children."

Hoess is no longer in contact with his father, brother, aunts and cousins, who all call him a traitor. Strangers often look at him with distrust when he tells them about his grandfather — "as if I could have inherited his evil."

Despite such reactions, descendants of Nazis — from high-ranking officials to lowly foot soldiers — are increasingly trying to find out what their families did between 1933 to 1945.

"The Nazis — the first generation — were too ashamed to talk about the crimes they committed and covered everything up. The second generation often had trouble personally confronting their Nazi parents. So now it is up to the grandchildren to lift the curses off their families," said Bode.

It was only during her university years — reading books about the Holocaust — that Ursula Boger found out her grandfather was the most dreaded torturer at Auschwitz.

"I felt numb for days after I read about what he did," recalled Boger, a shy, soft-spoken woman who lives near Freiburg in southwestern Germany. "For many years I was ashamed to tell anybody about him, but then I realized that my own silence was eating me up from inside."

Her grandfather, Wilhelm Boger, invented the so-called Boger swing at Auschwitz — an iron bar that hung on chains from the ceiling. Boger would force naked inmates to bend over the bar and beat their genitals until they fainted or died.

Boger, 41, said it took her several years of therapy and group seminars to begin to come to terms with the fact her grandfather was a monster.

"I felt guilty, even though I hadn't committed a crime myself, felt like I had to do only good things at all times to make up for his evil," she said.

Like Hoess, Boger never personally met her grandfather, who died in prison in 1977. After her father died five years ago, she found old letters from her grandfather begging to see his grandchildren in prison — something that never happened.

"It all just doesn't go together," Boger said. "He is the man who killed a little boy with an apple who came in on a transport to Auschwitz, by smashing his head against a wall until he was dead, and then picked up and ate that apple.

"At the same time, he put a picture of myself as a little girl over his bed in prison. How am I supposed to come to terms with this?"

Tanja Hetzer, a therapist in Berlin, helps clients dealing with issues related to their family's Nazi past. While there are no studies or statistics, she said, many cases indicate that descendants of families who have never dealt with their Nazi family history suffer more from depression, burnout and addiction, in particular alcoholism.

In one prominent case, Bettina Goering, the grandniece of Hermann Goering, one of the country's leading Nazis and the head of the Luftwaffe air force, said in an Israeli TV documentary that she decided to be sterilized at age 30 "because I was afraid to bear another such monster."

Some grandchildren of Nazis find a measure of catharsis in confronting the past.

Alexandra Senfft is the granddaughter of Hanns Elard Ludin, Hitler's Slovakia envoy who was involved in the deportation of almost 70,000 Jews. After Ludin was hanged in 1947, his widow raised the children in the belief their father was "a good Nazi."

In her book, "The Pain of Silence," Senfft describes how a web of lies burdened her family over decades, especially her mother, who was 14 years old when her beloved father was hanged.

"It was unbearable at times to work on this book, it brought up fears and pain, but at the same time I got a lot out of writing it all down," Senfft, a lively 49-year-old, explained during an interview at a Berlin coffee shop.

"If I had continued to remain oblivious and silent about my grandfather's crimes, I would have become complicit myself, perhaps without even being aware of it."

Senfft said she also wrote the book so her children could be free of guilt and shame, and that confronting family pasts is essential for the health of German society as a whole so that history does not repeat itself.

These days Rainer Hoess lectures schoolchildren about the Nazi era and anti-Semitism. A few months ago, he visited Auschwitz for the first time and met a group of Israeli students.

That day was "probably the most difficult and intense day in my life," Hoess said, but it was also liberating because he realized that the third generation of Jews after the Holocaust did not hold him responsible. One Israeli girl even gave him a little shell with a blue Star of David painted on it, which he now wears around his neck on a black leather necklace at all times.

Hoess was embroiled in controversy in 2009 when Israeli media reported he tried to sell some of his grandfather's possessions to Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust Memorial. But email correspondence seen by the AP backs up Hoess' assertion that he would have been just as willing to donate the items. Hoess eventually donated everything he owned from his grandfather — including a trunk, letters and a cigar cutter — to the Institute of Contemporary History in Munich.

Hoess acknowledges that his grandfather will probably never stop haunting him. After his visit to Auschwitz, he met Jozef Paczynski, a Polish camp survivor and the former barber of Commandant Hoess.

"Somehow, subconsciously, I was hoping that maybe he would tell me one positive story about my grandfather, something that shows that he wasn't all evil after all, that there was some goodness in him," Hoess confided.

Paczynski asked Hoess to get up and walk across the room — then told him: "You look exactly like your grandfather."
23472  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: May 15, 2011, 12:34:36 AM
Tax increases now, spending cuts many years from now.  Charlie Brown as the kicker and Lucy as the football holder , , ,
23473  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: May 15, 2011, 12:32:49 AM
Up from the memory hole-- BO's Senate win was against lst minute stand-in and carpetbagger to Illinois, Alan Keyes.

At the moment I am delighted to see Cain in there aggressively speaking Tea Party themes effectively and aggressively.  It is very much to the good; amongst other things it will make it harder for the Dems to racebait the eventual Republican nominee I think.  Cain might make a good VP candidate , , ,
23474  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: May 14-15: "Dog Brothers Tribal Gathering of the Pack" on: May 15, 2011, 12:23:59 AM
11:00 tomorrow (Sunday) at the same location.

Tennessee Dog is in  cool
23475  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: May 14-15: "Dog Brothers Tribal Gathering of the Pack" on: May 14, 2011, 05:59:40 PM
Great day today DBs cool

Dinner at Akbar's at 19:30 (free standing building in a parking lot at the NW corner of Aviation Bl and Prospect Ave).

23476  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: May 14, 2011, 11:06:46 AM
I don't understand how the end of QE2 can not mean the beginning of strong increases in interest rates.
23477  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: May 14, 2011, 11:04:46 AM
Actually, although I have no idea as to his motivations, IMHO it is a principled distinction he is making here;.  Those wanting to discuss this point further, please take it to the Race thread on the SCH forum.
23478  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Case Study: The will to live, the will to win on: May 14, 2011, 09:18:36 AM
23479  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: May 14-15: "Dog Brothers Tribal Gathering of the Pack" on: May 14, 2011, 08:33:13 AM
See you next time Dog Howie.

@all:  My cell phone number is 310-738-1044.  This is my mobile number and the number to use to reach me starting at 09:30.  Before then, please continue to use 310-543-7521.

Those of you not going directly to the location, please meet at the park by 09:45 so that we can caravan to the location at 10:00.
23480  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Malpass: QE2 a Y2K? on: May 14, 2011, 08:26:02 AM
I don't really see how the end of QE2 can't be a big deal, but David Malpass does:

Concerns about the end of QE2 have put downward pressure on equities and bond yields. We think this will ease.
We expect the consensus outlook to improve as it did in the face of Y2K.  Like the June 30 end of QE2, Y2K crash warnings had a date certain, January 1, 2000, to worry about, causing months of hand-wringing due to the uncertainty.  Equities ended up rallying over 15% in the final three months of 1999 and went higher in following months.  We expect a substantial flow from bonds to equities in coming months as the growth outlook improves, inflation rises and the uncertainty over the end of QE2 is finally resolved. 
The $16 billion 30-year bond auction had the weakest number of bids per bond since November.  We think this signals a decline in risk aversion and a weakening of the bond squeeze that has dominated bond yields in recent weeks (see Bond Squeeze Nearly Over on May 3.)  Short-term interest rates and Treasury bond yields were being squeezed down by what we think were temporary factors, giving a false impression of market-based pessimism and risk aversion and a disconnect between falling bond yields and rising equities.  Several factors caused what we think was an artificial month-long decline in bond yields from April 11 through May 6 including the April risk that the $14.3 trillion debt limit might have suspended Treasury issuance while the Fed was still buying heavily – but due to strong April tax receipts and technical factors, Treasury now has headroom to continue regular deficit funding into August, lifting the squeeze (see a list of the temporary squeeze factors in the attachment).
The April low point in the consensus outlook had a long list of concerns beyond QE2 and falling bond yields.  These included the oil price spike, the ECB’s rate hike on April 7, Japan’s severe crisis, China’s aggressive monetary tightenings, the first quarter weather-related letdown in U.S. GDP and the deterioration in peripheral European debt markets. While each of this is a negative, we don’t think they will derail the global expansion, leaving room for an improvement in the outlook (see Tall Wall of Worry; Good Second Half Outlook on April 15.)
We note several positive developments: 
Retail stocks are rising. Consumer credit has increased six months in a row (through March) after 20 months of shrinkage.  We disagree with the view that consumer debt will constrain consumption – the key variable in consumption is the employment climate which is gradually improving.  Today’s retail sales data was a bit weaker-than consensus, but there were upward revisions to previous months and the net result is consistent with our expectation of over 3% real growth in the second quarter.  Retail sales are up 7.6% yoy.  Excluding autos, gas and building materials (which is an input for GDP), sales are up 5.5% yoy.
April tax receipts were strong.  This suggests economic strength.  More importantly, it helped Treasury delay the debt limit problem beyond the Fed’s final QE2 bond purchases in June.  We think the timing change for the debt limit increase broke the bond squeeze and will reduce the sensitivity of financial markets to the debt limit increase.
April payroll data was strong, consistent with today’s sizeable upward revisions in February and March retail sales data.
Bearish sentiment and continuing confusion about QE2 provides upside – for example, some analysts are asserting that M2 growth will drop when QE2 ends because that Fed will stop increasing excess reserves (yet excess reserves aren’t part of M2).
We expect the U.S. to continue very loose monetary and fiscal policy – meaning a near-zero Fed funds rate and over $3.7 trillion per year in federal spending.  We look for a moderate 3%-3.5% U.S. growth rate in coming quarters -- that’s disappointing given the severity of the recession and won’t create the surge in small-business jobs needed to pull the unemployment rate quickly below 8% but is fast enough to dispel the QE2 concerns and QE3 predictions. 
David Malpass
David Malpass is President of Encima Global and He also served in the Reagan Treasury Dept, the Bush (41) State Dept and was Chief Economist at Bear Stearns.
23481  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor: A Tectonic Shift in Central Europe on: May 14, 2011, 08:21:30 AM
A Tectonic Shift in Central Europe

At a Thursday meeting, the defense ministers of the Visegrad Group (V4) — a loose regional grouping of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia — decided to create a battle group. The decision is significant but expected. It’s significant because it shows that the V4 states are willing to upgrade their loose alliance to the security and military level. It’s expected because STRATFOR has long forecast that they would be forced to take security matters into their own hands by NATO’s lack of focus on the singular issue that concerns them: Russian resurgence in the post-Soviet sphere.

Europe’s two major political and security institutions are the European Union and NATO, both born in the aftermath of World War II, which devastated Europe. They then evolved in the shadow of a looming confrontation with the Soviet Union, which threatened to revisit such devastation. Approximating national interests to form a common security strategy was not perfect during the Cold War, but it was simple, especially with Soviet armored divisions poised for a strike at Western Europe via the North European Plain and the Fulda Gap.

“Poland could therefore be pivotal in any divergence of the blocs from the European core and hamper Moscow’s national security designs.”
The Cold War and the memory of World War II acted as bookends holding European states on the metaphorical bookshelf. Once the two eroded in the 1990s, the books did not immediately come tumbling down. Instead, the drive to expand NATO and the European Union became an end to itself, giving both organizations a raison-d’etre in the 1990s. Inertia drove the entities.

But a number of factors since the mid-2000s has shaken this unity, primarily the emergence of an independent-minded Germany and the resurgence of Russia as a regional power. While Russia does not pose the same threat it did during the Cold War, Central Europeans continue to see Moscow as a security threat and would prefer for NATO to treat Russia accordingly. Germany sees Russia as a business opportunity and an exporter of cheap and clean energy. The two views collided most recently during discussions for NATO’s New Strategic Concept, producing a largely incomprehensible mission statement for the alliance. There are other tremors. The United States, the guarantor of European security structures, has spent the last 10 years obsessed with the Middle East and has been unable to prevent the divergence of interests on the European continent.

NATO has unsurprisingly become incapable of approximating national security interests toward a common mean, while the European Union has failed — spectacularly so in Libya — to create a coherent foreign policy. Instead, European countries are diverging into regionally focused groupings. The two most prominent of these are the Nordic states, which are cooperating closely with the Baltic states, and the V4. The blocs’ security concerns regarding Russian intentions are rooted in separate geographies. The Nordic and Baltic states’ focus is in the Baltic Sea region, while the V4 is concerned with Moscow’s strength in the traditional border states of Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova. The two regional blocs remind us of primordial continental plates splitting off from Pangea. Europe’s tectonic plates, held together for 60 years by geopolitical conditions, have begun to diverge.

Poland is key. It shares a Baltic Sea coast with Nordic neighbors to the north, of which it perceives Sweden as a strategic partner. But its historical roots are in the northern slopes of the Carpathians, a geographical feature it shares with the other V4 members. It also happens to be the United States’ most committed Central European ally as well as the region’s most populous country and most dynamic economy. Poland could therefore be pivotal in any divergence of the blocs from the European core and hamper Moscow’s national security designs.

23482  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: May 14-15: "Dog Brothers Tribal Gathering of the Pack" on: May 14, 2011, 12:06:04 AM
Why do dogs lick their balls?
Because they can.

How do you give a dog medicine?
Put it on his balls.

When does a dog give you a kiss?
Right after he has taken his medicine.
23483  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tea Party, Glen Beck and related matters on: May 14, 2011, 12:04:22 AM

I watched BG's show tonight; live audience of college students focused on representing Founding Father ideas in the hostile environment of universities of today.  Looks like GB will be doing a lot of work in this area.  Good call for him.

23484  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: May 14, 2011, 12:01:18 AM
GM, that's the sort of thing I was looking for; thank you.
23485  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / TUF on: May 13, 2011, 09:00:24 PM
Any comments on TUF?
23486  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: May 13, 2011, 08:55:19 PM
I was aware of the anti-Semitic stuff.  Got any convenient URLs on it and/or the race-tinged stuff?
23487  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Aurora Borealis on: May 13, 2011, 08:48:45 PM

Time-lapse video captures aurora borealis (2 minutes):

Timelapse Video of San Francisco-to-Paris Flight Captures Aurora Borealis
On a flight from SF to Paris, this guy set up his digital SLR camera on a tripod, attached a timelapse controller, and got spectacular footage of the aurora borealis...
23488  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Ron Paul on: May 13, 2011, 07:43:29 PM
I confess to considerable sympathy for RP's willingness to get seriously radical with regard to the size and reach of our government in our lives, to abolish the Fed and restore responsible monetary policy, and for his respect for our Constitution.

OTOH sometimes he is just a fg nut,

I heard tonight on the Bret Baier report that he would not have approved the raid that killed OBL without prior approval from Pakistan.
23489  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: May 14-15: "Dog Brothers Tribal Gathering of the Pack" on: May 13, 2011, 05:09:38 PM
Pretty Kitty and I just came back from our favorite Chinese Massage place.  Only $20 per hour!!! -- and they are really good!!!  They soak your feet in hot tea while they start working on your head and then go from there. afro

They are open from 10:00-22:00 2219 Artesia Bl in Redondo Beach CA 90278  310-793-2308.   Just the thing for the night before fighting, between two days of fighting, and after two days of fighting , , , grin
23490  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DBMA Training Camp August 12-14 on: May 13, 2011, 05:05:09 PM
People seem to be responding well to the idea of a goodly portion of the time being spent on how to really hit people with sticks grin a.k.a. Dog Brothers Real Contact Stickfighting the DBMA way.

Right now I am focused on the DB Tribal, so further developments on this will have to wait until next week.
23491  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: May 13, 2011, 04:59:46 PM
GF is an unusually insightful guy IMHO but in this one he seems to let himself be guided by the assumption that Afg. is the issue , , ,
23492  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tea Party, Glen Beck and related matters on: May 13, 2011, 04:58:35 PM
So with a quickie blast of his mighty Google Fu, GM has huffed and puffed and blown down JDN and MMcC's glass house. rolleyes  I'm shocked, absolutely shocked. rolleyes
23493  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: May 13, 2011, 04:51:41 PM
Colin: With Taliban in Pakistan claiming responsibility for an attack that killed 80 people in a paramilitary academy in the country’s northwest frontier, the Pakistan question looms large in Washington. But despite the rhetoric from both the United States and Islamabad, it is likely to be business as usual.

Colin: Welcome to Agenda with George Friedman.

George: Well first let’s frame the basic picture. The Pakistanis need the United States to counterbalance India. The United States needs Pakistan to find some sort of solution in Afghanistan. This is not a relationship made of love it is a relationship made of interests. The United States, if it did not have the cooperation of Pakistan, would simply not be able to wage the war. First the supply line from Karachi to the Khyber Pass would be closed. We could find an alternative working with Russia perhaps, but that would cause a problem. There is another alternative on the Caspian but that won’t solve the entire problem. If Pakistan were to turn on us, our position in Afghanistan would become difficult. Plus whatever limited help the Pakistanis are giving the United States in dealing with Taliban strongholds in Pakistan itself would disappear.

First much of the wild talk about punishing Pakistan and so on fails to take into account the American position in Afghanistan. And secondly it fails to take into account that Pakistan is a country of 180 million people, not a country that you can easily punish. At the same time, the Pakistanis badly need the United States to balance India because the Pakistanis by themselves would be no match for the Indians, would be threatened and overwhelmed, and therefore they can’t simply reject American relations. For the past 10 years since 9/11, there’s been terrific tension between the two countries. The United States has wanted the Pakistanis to do things in support of the United States that the Pakistanis felt would lead to a possible breakdown in Pakistan because of civil tension between the various factions. A fine line has been walked. With the capture of Osama bin Laden and the assertion that the Pakistanis harbored him or didn’t effectively act against him, there is the temptation, particularly on the part of the Americans, to break with the Pakistanis. The problem is that’s not an option for the Americans so long as they remain in Afghanistan. They need whatever level of cooperation the Pakistanis are going to give and that’s really where it stands in the midst of all of the hubbub and charges and senators demanding investigations and cutoffs of aid. We simply need the supply lines. We need what ever support the Pakistanis are prepared to give or we’re going to have to think about how to leave Afghanistan.

Colin: Is it your view as some suggest that the recent events in the United States can now leave Afghanistan earlier?

George: Well it depends very much on how the United States positions the death of Osama bin Laden. If it makes the claim that with this death of Osama bin Laden the threat of terrorism emanating from Afghanistan has diminished to the point that mission has been accomplished, then it can make the claim that it has to leave. And the problem there is of course that the threat of terrorism isn’t so much emanating from Afghanistan; it’s emanating from Pakistan. The U.S. presence in Afghanistan is only minimally affecting the struggle against terrorism. Certainly if the United States left, al Qaeda would move back into Afghanistan but by definition al Qaeda is going to be operating where ever the United States isn’t. This is a guerrilla war on a global level. In that sense guerrillas constantly decline combat where the conventional force is overwhelming and move to areas where the conventional force is weak. On a global level where ever the United States isn’t, is where al Qaeda is going to be. The United States can’t be in Pakistan. The ability to overwhelm Pakistan, it is an enormous country in terms of population - it is just beyond reach of the number of troops in Americans have - and therefore the argument that Osama bin Laden’s death changes something dramatically is probably dubious but as a political claim may be persuasive and may allow the administration to begin to consider withdrawal with a claim of some sort of victory.

Colin: George we’ve seen a visit by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Afghanistan. Is that relevant to all this or is it a sideshow?

George: It’s not a sideshow but it’s not really relevant because in the end, India is geopolitically not in the position to insert large numbers of troops in Afghanistan and therefore can’t support the Karzai government. The map simply makes it almost impossible for the Indians to do that and so the Indians are fishing in muddy waters. They’re trying to shore up Karzai’s spirits. They’re trying to signal the Pakistanis. But again, all of this diplomatic signaling back and forth ignores geopolitical reality. The Indians cannot insert and support a significant military force in Afghanistan. They’re not an alternative to the United States. Their commitment to Afghanistan really doesn’t make that much of a difference. Sometimes diplomatic gestures mean something and sometimes they simply don’t. In this particular case I think the Indians would like it to be able to mean something but it doesn’t.

Colin: George thanks very much indeed. George Friedman there, ending Agenda. I’m Colin Chapman. Thanks for your time today.

23494  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / CNN host also advises the President on: May 13, 2011, 04:49:20 PM
Any conflict of interest there?  Nah , , ,  otherwise the Pravdas would be all over it-- but they are not so there mustn't be , , , rolleyes
23495  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Spengler: Excrement approaching fan , , , on: May 13, 2011, 04:31:27 PM
Another entry today for Egypt.  This one seems rather significant , , ,

 The hunger to come in Egypt
By Spengler

Egypt is running out of food, and, more gradually, running out of money with which to buy it. The most populous country in the Arab world shows all the symptoms of national bankruptcy - the kind that produced hyperinflation in several Latin American countries during the 1970s and 1980s - with a deadly difference: Egypt imports half its wheat, and the collapse of its external credit means starvation.

The civil violence we have seen over the past few days foreshadows far worse to come.

The Arab uprisings began against a background of food insecurity, as rising demand from Asia priced the Arab poor out of the grain   
market (Food and failed Arab states, Asia Times Online February 2, 2011). The chaotic political response, though, threatens to disrupt food supplies in the relative near term. Street violence will become the norm rather than the exception in Egyptian politics. All the discussion about Egypt's future political model and its prospective relations with Israel will be overshadowed by the country's inability to feed itself.

Egypt's political problems - violence against Coptic Christians, the resurgence of Islamism, and saber-rattling at Israel, for example - are not symptoms of economic failure. They have a life of their own. But even Islamists have to eat, and whatever political scenarios that the radical wing of Egyptian politic might envision will be aborted by hunger.

The Ministry of Solidarity and Social Justice is already forming "revolutionary committees" to mete out street justice to bakeries, propane dealers and street vendors who "charge more than the price prescribed by law", the Federation of Egyptian Radio and Television reported on May 3.

According to the ministry, "Thugs are in control of bread and butane prices" and "people's committees" are required to stop them. Posters on Egyptian news sites report sharp increases in bread prices, far in excess of the 11.5% inflation reported for April by the country's central bank. And increases in the price of bottled propane have made the cost of the most widely used cooking fuel prohibitive.

The collapse of Egypt's credit standing, meanwhile, has shut down trade financing for food imports, according to the chairman of the country's Food Industry Holding Company, Dr Ahmed al-Rakaibi, chairman of the Holding Company for Food Industries. Rakaibi warned of "an acute shortage in the production of food commodities manufactured locally, as well as a decline in imports of many goods, especially poultry, meats and oils". According to the country's statistics agency, only a month's supply of rice is on hand, and four months' supply of wheat.

The country's foreign exchange reserves have fallen by US$13 billion, or roughly a third during the first three months of the year, Reuters reported on May 5. The country lost $6 billion of official and $7 billion of unofficial reserves, and had only $24.5 billion on hand at the end of April. Capital flight probably explains most of the rapid decline. Egypt's currency has declined by only about 6% since January, despite substantial capital flight, due to market intervention by the central bank, but the rapid drawdown of reserves is unsustainable.

At this rate Egypt will be broke by September.

Egypt imported $55 billion worth of goods in 2009, but exported only $29 billion of goods. With the jump in food and energy prices, the same volume of imports would cost considerably more. Egypt closed the 2009 trade gap with about $15 billion in tourist revenues, and about $8 billion of remittances from Egyptian workers abroad. But tourism today is running at a fraction of last year's levels, and remittances are down by around half due to expulsion of Egyptian workers from Libya. Even without capital flight, Egypt is short perhaps $25 billion a year.

Source: Yahoo

Egyptian Stock Market Index (EGX 30)

Source: Bloomberg

Price controls and currency depreciation have made it more profitable for wholesalers - including some employees of state companies - to export rice and cooking oil illegally. According to the daily al-Ahram, hoarding of rice by wholesalers has pushed up the price of the grain by 35% this year, while 200 containers per day are sold to Turkey and Syria.

"What is happening," the newspaper claims, is that that traders are storing basic items such as rice and barley, hoarded in barns and in large quantities, and are reluctant to send it to the rice mills in order to raise the price of this strategic commodity". The al-Ahram report, headlined, "Conspiracy to Monopolize Rice," demands physical inspection of containers leaving Egyptian ports.
The rest of the story is predictable. Once the government relies on young men with guns to police its merchants, hoarding will only get worse. The Egyptian revolution has cracked down on the commercial elite that ran the country's economy for the past 60 years, and the elite will find ways to transfer as much of its wealth to safety as it can. The normal chain of distribution will break down and "revolutionary committees" will take control of increasingly scarce supplies. Farmers won't get fuel and fertilizer, and domestic supplies will fail.

The Egyptian government will go to the International Monetary Fund and other aid agencies for loans - the government reportedly will ask for $7 billion to tide things over - and foreign money at best will buy a few months' respite. The currency will collapse; the government will print IOUs to tide things over; and the Egyptian street will reject the IOUs as the country reverts to barter.

It will look like the Latin American banana republics, but without the bananas. That is not meant in jest: few people actually starved to death in the Latin inflations. Egypt, which imports half its wheat and a great deal of the rest of its food, will actually starve.

Revolutions don't only kill their children. They kill a great many ordinary people. The 1921 famine after the Russian civil war killed an estimated five million people, and casualties on the same scale are quite possible in Egypt as well. Half of Egyptians live on $2 a day, and that $2 is about to collapse along with the national currency, and the result will be a catastrophe of, well, biblical proportions.

Spengler is channeled by David P Goldman. Comment on this article in Spengler's Expat Bar forum.

(Copyright 2011 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)
23496  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Wesbury on CPI: Inflation is here on: May 13, 2011, 11:14:42 AM
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased 0.4% in April To view this article, Click Here
Brian S. Wesbury - Chief Economist
Robert Stein, CFA - Senior Economist
Date: 5/13/2011

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased 0.4% in April, matching consensus expectations. The CPI is up 3.2% versus a year ago.

“Cash” inflation (which excludes the government’s estimate of what homeowners would charge themselves for rent) was up 0.5% in April and is up 3.8% in the past year.
About half of the increase in the CPI in April was due to energy, which rose 2.2%.  Food prices were up 0.4%.  Excluding food and energy, the “core” CPI increased 0.2%, matching consensus expectations. Core prices are up 1.3% versus last year.
Real average hourly earnings – the cash earnings of all employees, adjusted for inflation – fell 0.3% in April and are down 1.2% in the past year. Real weekly earnings are down 0.6% in the past year.
Implications:  The price inflation that has been evident at the producer level for some time has clearly made its way to the consumer. The CPI is up 3.2% in the past year and is accelerating. In the past six months, the CPI is up at a 5.1% annual rate and an even stronger 6.2% rate in the past three months. We like to follow “cash inflation,” which is everything in the CPI (including food and energy) but without owners’ equivalent rent (the government’s estimate of what homeowners would pay if they rented their own homes). Cash inflation increased 0.5% in April and is up at a 7.8% annual rate in the past three months. While these increases have been led by energy, which is up at a 42.8% annual rate in the past three months, the “core” CPI (which excludes food and energy) is also accelerating. Core prices are up only 1.3% versus a year ago, but up at a 2.1% annual rate in the past three months. Rising inflation is a concern now, but we fully expect the Federal Reserve to continue to justify keeping short-term interest rates near zero – through around the middle of next year – by saying that it’s “transitory.”
23497  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / It seems that there will not be an EMT this time. on: May 13, 2011, 11:13:00 AM
Woof All:

In recent years we have rather consistently had an EMT at the Gatherings, notably our own Kaju Dog.   Due to personal matters beyond his control he will not be able to make it.  Our possible back-up, Frankfurter has unexpectedly been hit with work committments and he too will not be able to make it.

Bottom line: no EMT. 

To the best of my knowledge, the nearest hospital is "Little Company of Mary" on Torrance Ave/BL in Torrance.  This is a very good hospital.  You should take a moment to find where it is and have directions so that if you are injured someone can take you there.  My guess is about 12-15 minutes driving time. Also, there is an "Urgent Care" on Pacific Coast Highway in Redondo Beach called "Ocean Medical".  My guess is about 8 minutes driving time.

As always, only you are responsible for you, so protect yourself at all times.
23498  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Where oh where , , , on: May 13, 2011, 11:05:19 AM
If you are not familiar with where we used to hold the Gatherings, please go to and enter my old address

505 4th St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.

Please try to arrive by 09:45 so we can leave for the actual location at 10:00.
23499  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Egypt on: May 13, 2011, 10:23:20 AM
23500  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tea Party, Glen Beck and related matters on: May 13, 2011, 10:22:35 AM
Well, not having heard/seen GB's comments in context or otherwise, or seen Meghan McCain in the dress in question, I see no particular reason to take a side here-- though I do note that GB can be pretty hard (in a humorous way) on his own appearance so her comments about him in this regard are , , , hard for me to follow. 

Bottom line, whatever.  I watch the show most days and I know what I see and hear and I read and hear how others describe what I see and hear.
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