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23501  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Did Feds really raid a Mormon food storage facility? on: December 13, 2011, 04:50:26 PM
Answer, no-- but interesting questions are presented nonetheless.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/did-federal-agents-really-raid-a-mormon-food-storage-facility/
23502  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / GM Gilbert Tenio and Decuerdas Esrkima on: December 13, 2011, 04:46:39 PM
Woof All:

I'd like to put out a collective howl for info, URLs etc on the late GM Gilbert Tenio of Stockton CA and his Decuerdas Eskrima.

Thank you,
Crafty Dog
23503  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DBMA Winter Camp 2012 on: December 13, 2011, 04:40:47 PM
GM Art is working on getting some material on his teacher GM Gilbert Tenio and his Decuerdas Eskrima to me.
23504  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy, Big Brother (State and Corporate) & the 4th Amendment on: December 13, 2011, 04:39:01 PM
The technology in short order will produce zillions of flying surveillance robots, too small or too far away to be seen or heard.

Please feel free to break out of your self-sustaining feedback loop on this one , , ,
23505  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Newt and FDR on: December 13, 2011, 04:14:56 PM
Obviously all context has been edited out, but with that said , , ,  shocked

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/gingrich-flashback-progressive-fdr-was-greatest-president-of-the-20th-century-plus-seius-andy-stern-is-visionary-union-leader/
23506  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy, Big Brother (State and Corporate) & the 4th Amendment on: December 13, 2011, 12:47:29 PM
C'mon GM, you already know the answer to that.  The technological trajectory is towards the capability to have Big Brother watching all the time everywhere.  That may fit your idea of a free people in a free society, but it does not fit mine.  You already know this.
23507  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: December 13, 2011, 12:44:58 PM
I'm wondering if we should start a separate thread concerning the C'l issues and other aspects (e.g. Kagan's recusal vel non) of SCOTUS's consideration of this case , , ,
23508  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Lie of the Palestinian People on: December 13, 2011, 11:10:32 AM
An Invented People
Posted By David Meir-Levi On December 13, 2011

On Friday, December 9, presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich was interviewed on cable TV’s The Jewish Channel, where he made the unexpected comment that the Palestinians are an invented people with no apparent right to their own state.  His remarks, summarized in the Washington Post, were promptly condemned; but is he correct?

Let’s recall that Mr. Gingrich has an MA and PhD in History from Tulane University.  In fact, history is quite clear on this issue.  Mr. Gingrich is correct, and the first to say so was Daniel Pipes.

The name “Palestine” derives from the Philistines, who originated from the Eastern Mediterranean (perhaps Greece or Crete) and invaded the region in the eleventh and twelfth centuries B.C. Related to the Bronze Age Greeks, they spoke a language akin to Mycenaean Greek.  Their area of habitation on the Eastern Mediterranean littoral became known as “Philistia.”

When Romans arrived a thousand years later they corrupted “Philistia” to “Palestina,” from whence “Palestine.”  Six hundred years later, the Arab invaders corrupted “Palestina” to “Falastin.”

Throughout all subsequent history there was never a nation of “Palestine,” never a people known as the “Palestinians,” nor any notion of “historic Palestine.” The region remained under successive foreign rulers, from the Umayyads and Abbasids and Ayyubids to the Fatimids, Ottomans and British.  During these millennia the term “Falastin” referred to an undefined geographical region, much like “Appalachia” or “the great Southwest” in modern U.S. geography.

In 1695 a Dutch orientalist, Hadrian Reland, conducted a geographical survey of the region. He found that none of the known settlements, ancient or contemporary, bore Arabic names.  Most names were Hebrew, Greek, or Latin in origin.  Moreover, the land was almost empty of inhabitants, desolate, the few towns (Jerusalem, Acre, Safed, Jaffa, Tiberius and Gaza) inhabited mostly by Christians and Jews, with Muslims present only in very small number, mostly Bedouin in the hinterland.

His book, Palaestina ex monumentis veteribus illustrata (Utrecht, 1714), offers no evidence for a “Palestinian people,” “Palestinian heritage,” “Palestinian nation” or “Palestinian homeland” in ancient times; and it provides a powerful argument against the outrageous and transparently false assertions by some modern Arab spokespersons that what most people know to be Jewish history is in fact “Palestinian” history. Today’s defenders of the “Palestinian cause” are reduced to stealing Jewish history and heritage precisely because the so-called “Palestinians” have none of their own.
Today’s “Palestinians” are indeed an invented people.  But how did they get invented?  Arabs themselves answer that question for us.

The term “Palestine” was given a political meaning for the first time in history by the British after World War I, when they took the region from the Turks and termed it “British Mandatory Palestine.”   At that time (1920) Arab political and intellectual leaders spoke out vehemently against the creation of this new “Palestine” because the region was, in their minds, inextricably connected to Syria.  The Arabs of the area had their own designation for the region: Balad esh-Sham (the province of Damascus), or as-Suriya al-Janubiya (southern Syria). In fact, Arab nationalists protested the use of the term “Palestine” because for them “Palestine” was really southern Syria. Even the most vitriolic and vociferous Arab nationalist, the Hajj Amin el-Husseini, opposed creating “Palestine” separate from Syria.  For documentation see Marie Syrkin’s “Palestinian Nationalism: Its Development and Goal,” in Curtis, Michael, Neyer, Joseph, Waxman, Chaim, and Pollack, Allen, The Palestinians: People, History, Politics (New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Books, 1975), p. 200.

The General Syrian Congress of 1919 stressed an exclusively Syrian identity for the Arabs of “southern Syria”: “We ask that there should be no separation of the southern part of Syria, known as Palestine . . .” (Ibid, Syrkin, Supra). George Antonius, the father of modern Arab nationalist history, documented in The Arab Awakening (1938. P. 312) the upheaval created among the Arabs of “Greater Syria” and Iraq as they flocked to the streets of Syrian cities, including Jerusalem, in armed uprisings to protest the British imposition of a separate political entity known as “Palestine,” carved out of what was traditionally a part of Syria.

Once France conquered Syria in 1920, leaders in “southern Syria” changed their tune.  Arab allegiances were to Damascus, not to France.  With the French controlling Syria, the ideaof “Palestine” as a separate Muslim and Arab state began to take shape, and Palestinian leaders, most prominently el-Husseini, began a nationalist movement for the Arabs of British Mandatory Palestine, modeled after and in opposition to Zionism. Palestinian national identity was invented in 1920, and midwifed by Zionism!

Even toward the end of the Mandate period, almost 30 years later, there was still opposition to the concept of a separate political entity known as “Palestine” among leading Arab spokespersons.  Philip Hitti, historian and most eloquent spokesman for the Arab cause, testified to the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry in 1946: “Sir, there is no such thing as Palestine in history, absolutely not.”

In early 1947, when the UN was exploring the possibility of the partition of British Mandatory Palestine into two states, Jewish and Arab, various Arab political and academicspokespersons vociferously protested because, they argued, the region was really a part of southern Syria. No such people as “Palestinians” had ever existed, so it would be an injustice to Syria to create a “Palestine” ex nihilo at the expense of Syria.

Akhmed Shukairi, Saudi ambassador to the UN, asserted in 1956, eight years after the birth of the State of Israel, that “It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but Southern Syria” (and cf. Supra, Syrkin, p. 201).  As late as March 8, 1974, Syria’s President Hafez al-Assad asserted on Radio Damascus that: “… Palestine is not only a part of our Arab homeland, but a basic part of southern Syria.” During the nineteen years from 1948 to the Six-Day War (June, 1967), all that remained of the territory initially set aside for the Arabs of British Mandatory Palestine was the West Bank, under illegal Jordanian sovereignty, and the Gaza Strip, under illegal Egyptian rule. Never during these nineteen years did any Arab leader argue for the right of national self-determination for the Arabs of these territories.

Even Yasser Arafat, until 1967, used the term “Palestinians” to refer only to the Arabs who lived under, or had fled from, Israeli sovereignty; and the term “Palestine” to refer only to Israel in its pre-1967 borders. In the PLO’s original founding Charter, Article 24 states: “…(the PLO).. does not exercise any regional sovereignty over the west Bank in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, in the Gaza Strip or the Himmah area.” For Arafat in 1964, “Palestine” was not the West Bank or the Gaza Strip, which after 1948 belonged to other Arab states. The only “homeland” for the PLO in 1964 was the State of Israel.  However, after the Six- Day War, thanks to Arafat’s mentoring by the Soviets, the PLO revised its Charter on July 17, 1968, to remove the language of Article 24, thereby newly asserting a “Palestinian” claim of sovereignty to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

After the Six-Day War, Arab leaders reframed the conflict.  Formerly, Israel was the “David” and the Arab world the “Goliath.” Now Israel was the gargantuan illegal occupier and the “Palestinians” were the weak, hapless, homeless, hopeless “oppressed people” and “victims of colonialism.” But this reframing required, created as it was ex nihilo, an “historic Palestine” and an ancient “Palestinian people” who had lived in their “homeland” from “time immemorial,” who could trace their “heritage” back to the Canaanites, who were driven out by the evil Zionists, and who had the inalienable right granted by international law and universal justice to use terror to reclaim their national identity.

That this was a political confection was revealed by Zahir Muhse’in, a member of the PLO’s Executive Committee, in a March 31, 1977 interview with British journalist James Dorsey in the Amsterdam-based newspaper Trouw:

The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct ‘Palestinian people’ to oppose Zionism.
Dorsey’s original interview is not available online, but has been quoted here, here, and here.

In addition to verifying that the “Palestinians” are an invented people, Muhse’in also tells us why they were invented: “Only for political and tactical reasons…to oppose Zionism.”

The lie of the “Palestinian people,” invented to justify the destruction of Israel, is exposed by their own leaders, and by the fact that, in absence of their own, they must steal Jewish history. Josef Goebbels’ technique of repeating the same lie until it is believed turned this lie into erstwhile “fact,” until Gingrich.
Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.
23509  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Bret Stephens: A lesson before dying on: December 13, 2011, 11:05:36 AM


Does the manner of our dying count in the final reckoning of how we have lived our lives? Nearly my first assignment at the University of Chicago was to read the Platonic dialogues on the trial and death of Socrates. "Then, holding the cup to his lips, quite readily and cheerfully he drank off the poison." It is the supreme moment in the Western philosophical tradition, when wisdom and courage, resignation and defiance, combine to overcome injustice and, in a sense, death itself.

Would that we could all die as Socrates did. Generally we don't. "The good death has increasingly become a myth," wrote the Yale surgeon and bioethicist Sherwin Nuland in his 1993 prize-winning book "How We Die." Dying, in Dr. Nuland's eloquent telling, amounts to "a series of destructive events that involve by their very nature the disintegration of the dying person's humanity." Who can—who would dare—judge a man's worth when his mind and body are being picked bare by disease?

I've been thinking about all this for over a year now as I watched a brain tumor, along with the associated medical interventions, pick away at my father bit by bit. First, an operation to remove the tumor, which erased his right field of vision and took away his ability to read and drive. Next came debilitating bouts of chemo and radiation, along with an agonizing case of shingles. Then avascular necrosis set in, leaving him unable to walk. Later, as the tumor returned, his memory began to slip. Near the end he was almost totally blind, couldn't utter a sentence, couldn't swallow a pill, couldn't hold his food down. Cancer is a heist culminating in murder.

I suppose Dr. Nuland's book should have prepared me for this. I suppose, too, that I should have known what was coming after visiting my aunt as she was dying of brain cancer. My father had been with me on that trip to wish his sister a final happy birthday. His own tumor was diagnosed three weeks later.

Enlarge Image

CloseBret Stephens
 
Charles J. Stephens at Gibraltar.
.But I wasn't prepared. My father, always in excellent shape, had a way of projecting an air of indestructibility. When he phoned to tell me about the diagnosis, it was in a tone suggesting it was only slightly more serious than a fender-bender. The five-year survival rate for his kind of cancer is 4%. I looked that up on the Internet, then persuaded myself that he was surely in the 4%.

"The body has 1,000 lines of ingenious defense," I remember my father telling me as a child, in what must have been one of our first talks about death. And I had believed him, because to me he was the living proof.

To grow up is to understand that the confidence a parent radiates around his children is rarely the confidence the parent feels. I knew my father well enough to know his various fears and insecurities. I knew he had seen his own father die of brain cancer and was intimately familiar with the course of the disease. I knew that, born optimist though he was, he had no faith in an afterlife. My father loved the life he had, lived it fully and well, had no desire to leave it.

All this meant that the diagnosis should have been devastating to him. Yet he never betrayed the slightest sign of fear. Except when his shingles were at their most excruciating, he remained his cheerful, interested, encouraging self. For a while I put this down to his belief that he would somehow beat the cancer, a belief I was eager to share.

Yet my father maintained his usual sangfroid even when it became clear that there would be no getting well. There were no five stages of grief, no bouts of denial, anger, bargaining and depression. About six weeks before the end, when we had brought him to a hospice, I asked if he wouldn't rather be at home. "Given where I am," he replied with a cocked eyebrow, "I am where I am." I was astonished he could even speak. We brought him home anyway.

How did my father maintain his composure in the face of his progressive deterioration? We never spoke about it. I sometimes chalked it up to being born in the 1930s, before the baby boom and the cult of self. He was not a complainer. To bemoan his illness after a life in which the good breaks outnumbered the bad ones would have seemed to him ungrateful. The worst he ever said to me about his cancer was that it was "a bummer."

Yet there was something else at work. The sicker my father got, the more dependent he became on his family, the less he had to give back. What could he offer, except not to sink us into the terror he surely must have felt? So he maintained his usual active and joyful interest in our lives and the lives of his friends and in politics and the movies we watched together. Sticking to the mundane and the lighthearted was his way of being protective with the people he loved. For as long as he could muster his wits, death was not allowed to enter the room.

Throughout his life my father taught me many lessons: about language, history and philosophy; about ethics, loyalty and love. In the end, he taught me that death cannot destroy the dignity of a dignified man.

Charles J. Stephens, 1937-2011. May his memory be for a blessing.
23510  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ on: December 13, 2011, 10:59:17 AM
By CONOR DOUGHERTY
The U.S. economy is on track to grow faster in the current quarter than any time since the second quarter of last year, though several risks—including a possible meltdown in Europe—are clouding the outlook.

In recent days, a number of economists have increased estimates for fourth-quarter growth, pointing to stronger-than-expected readings on trade, consumer spending and other gauges. Forecasting firm Macroeconomic Advisers on Friday raised its estimate to 3.7%, from 3.5%, while Goldman Sachs has raised its target to 3.4% from the 2.5% it was predicting two weeks ago.

Nomura Global Economics lifted its target from 3.7% to 3.9%, which, if achieved, would match the fastest quarterly growth of the recovery.

This pace of growth is much stronger than economists were expecting a few months ago, when Europe's sovereign-debt problems started getting worse. A Wall Street Journal survey of economists in October showed they expected growth of just 2% in the fourth quarter. There was good reason for the subdued projection, including a third quarter that sparked little hope of an accelerating economy. Stock-market gyrations earlier this year erased huge amounts of wealth, while weak housing and job markets constrained consumer confidence.

But the economy looks much better now. The stock market has made up much of its losses, although new worries about Europe sent indexes lower Monday, and consumer sentiment has improved, prompting consumers to dip into savings and continue spending. Companies are not only selling more, they're restocking shelves when they become too lean. Retail sales rose 0.5% in October and were up 7.2% from the same month last year, according to the Commerce Department. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires estimate another 0.5% gain when November's retail-sales figures are released Tuesday.

A few months ago, Alan Levenson, chief economist at T. Rowe Price, predicted fourth-quarter growth would come in below 2%—a contrast with his current forecast of 3.5% to 4%.

That updated outlook comes with significant caveats. "My caution is that 3.5% is not the new trend and we're expecting substantial slowing to below 2% in the beginning of next year," he said.

Most economists see more reasons for caution than optimism. In the most recent Wall Street Journal survey, conducted in late November and released last week, 92% of economists said the euro zone now is in recession or faces an imminent recession. A number of manufacturing reports suggest growth has slowed in overseas economies including China and Brazil. In addition to a slowing manufacturing sector, China's cooling real-estate market could damp domestic demand.

Many forecasters also doubt that U.S. consumers can keep spending at their current pace. Home values continue to fall. The personal savings rate, after moving up sharply in the wake of the financial crisis, is heading back down. Americans saved 3.5% of their after-tax income in October, down from 5.2% at the start of the year.

Despite what is shaping up to be a strong fourth quarter, economists surveyed by the Journal said they expect a slowdown in the beginning of next year. They predict growth of 2.1% in the first quarter.

23511  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / WSJ: Drone use growing in LE on: December 13, 2011, 10:43:18 AM
DALLAS—Drones, the remote-controlled aircraft used in combat zones, are now hovering over some U.S. cities as police enlist them to get a bird's-eye view of crime scenes and accidents at relatively low expense.

But as financially strapped municipalities add drones to their crime-fighting arsenal, they are facing increasing questions about the vehicles' safety, as well as their potential to violate citizens' privacy.

Law-enforcement officials say the unmanned aircraft help avoid putting police in the line of fire, either by performing surveillance close to the ground, like a live officer, or by monitoring from high up, removing pilots from potential danger. Earlier this year, a police helicopter in Los Angeles had to make an emergency landing after it was shot at by a gunman.

Drones are also considerably cheaper than regular aircraft. Officials in Montgomery County, near Houston, Texas, estimate it costs $30 an hour to operate a drone, compared with a minimum of $500 an hour for a helicopter. The purchase price of a drone is typically less than that of a chopper or plane, too.

Airborne Enforcer
How one drone shapes up

Department: Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, Texas

Model: Shadowhawk

Cost:$300,000

Manufacturer: Vanguard Defense Industries LLC

Altitude limit: 8,000 feet

Weight: About 50 pounds

Features: Infrared camera that can detect the heat emitted by a person below

Source: Vanguard Defense Industries LLC, Montgomery County Sheriff's Office .That math was attractive to the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, which recently used a grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to purchase a $300,000 drone called the Shadowhawk, made by Vanguard Defense Industries LLC, of Conroe, Texas. It comes equipped with an infrared camera that can detect the heat emitted by a person below. In addition to crime-fighting assistance, officials say, that will help track lost hikers in a nearby national forest.

"We certainly do not have the funds to go out and purchase our own helicopter," said Randy McDaniel, the office's chief deputy.

Most departments say the small craft aren't suitable for high-speed chases of suspects. But police are finding they can help with other duties, including monitoring crowds at parades, performing reconnaissance ahead of raids and helping ground officers respond more quickly to accidents such as highway pileups and hazardous-material spills.

Because of increasing demand for small unmanned aircraft, the Federal Aviation Administration is devising new rules to regulate their flight. A proposal is expected in January.

The FAA grants permits to operate drones on a case-by-case basis, depending on their planned use. As of September, there were 285 active permits requested by 85 government groups, including public universities, federal law-enforcement agencies and police departments.

However, some airplane pilots complain that the rules set by those individual permits are largely unknown to the rest of the flying public. Heidi Williams, of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, said that drones should be subject to a set of standard rules, just like manned aircraft.

"There has to be some way for them to integrate safely into the airspace system," she said.

Though drones have been used by the military for decades, they are still relatively new in law enforcement on U.S. soil. The models used by police are smaller and unarmed, weigh less than 55 pounds and are maneuvered from the ground through a computer or a joystick. Their range varies from a few hundred to several thousand feet in altitude, and their price from $5,000 for in-house-fabricated models to several hundred thousand dollars.

Vanguard Defense, the company that made the Montgomery County drone, markets its law-enforcement units through in-person presentations and at industry trade shows such as the International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference, said Michael S. Buscher, the company's chief executive.

Civil-rights advocates worry the technology could be used to pry into citizens' lives.

"There's a question about the degree to which Americans are going to be able to preserve the privacy of movement that we've all enjoyed," said Catherine Crump, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union in New York.

In response to such concerns, some agencies are setting guidelines that allow the flight of drones only for specific missions, rather than random air patrols.

Andrew Cohen, a sergeant with the Miami-Dade Police Department, said its two units were reserved for emergencies, and hadn't been deployed a single time since the agency got a flying permit for them six months ago.

Another challenge for police is changing the drone's public image.

"We are purposely not calling these drones. When people hear the word 'drone' they automatically think of the huge military-type aircraft equipped with weapons," said Lt. Chad Gann of the Arlington police department.

He prefers the term "small unmanned aircraft" to describe the two units his department is buying. Mr. Gann said they will help jump-start fatal-crash investigations by arriving to the scene sooner and taking aerial pictures, saving money and officers' time.

In Columbia, S.C., police planning a raid on a house where an armed man had barricaded himself used a small drone to get details of the property, such as the direction in which the door opened, said Ruben Santiago, deputy chief of operations. "It cut down on the time it would take for us to do the necessary surveillance," he said.

Mr. Cohen, at the Miami-Dade Police Department, said that whenever the drones make their debut, residents don't have to worry about the aircraft sneaking up on them, because they sound like flying lawn mowers.

"It's not stealth technology at all," he said.  (That may change though, yes?)

23512  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Fewer entering illegally on: December 13, 2011, 10:35:12 AM
By MIRIAM JORDAN
Arrests of people trying to sneak into the U.S. from Mexico have plunged to the lowest level in four decades, the latest sign that illegal immigration is on the retreat even as legislatures, Congress and presidential candidates hotly debate the issue.

 Arrests of migrants sneaking into the U.S plunge to lowest level in decades, indicating illegal immigration is on the retreat even as states, Congress and GOP presidential candidates hotly debate the issue. Miriam Jordan explains on The News Hub.
.Behind the historic drop is a steep decline in the birthrate in Mexico and greater opportunities there relative to the weak U.S. economy. Stepped-up U.S. patrols along the border make it both riskier and more expensive for Mexicans to attempt to enter the country.

Government crackdowns on U.S. employers who hire illegal workers also have discouraged immigrants. The Supreme Court agreed Monday to decide whether an Arizona statute targeting illegal immigrants interferes with U.S. law.

The decline in Mexican immigrants is being felt as far away as farms in Washington and Michigan, which weathered labor shortages during the recent apple harvest.

The U.S. arrested 340,252 migrants along the Mexico-U.S. border in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30—down 24% from the year before and the lowest level in 39 years, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a unit of the Department of Homeland Security.

In the previous fiscal year, agents apprehended 447,731 illegal crossers in the Southwest, compared with 1.6 million in 2000, the peak year. The last time the border was this quiet was 1972, when agents caught 321,326 people.

"We have reached the end of an era," said Dowell Myers, a demographer at the University of Southern California. "Even if immigration increases some after this recession, it won't rebound back to levels we saw in the early 2000s."

Rafael Garcia, a 40-year-old undocumented immigrant in Washington State, said he would discourage Mexican friends from attempting to enter the U.S. illegally, even though he has worked in vineyards, apple orchards and dairy farms in the country for two decades.

"You have to be really desperate to come here now," said Mr. Garcia, who is married with three U.S.-born daughters. "It's so hard to get across, and then you have all these states passing laws to get rid of you."

The dramatic decrease in border arrests—which the U.S. considers a key gauge of how many people try to enter illegally—is supported by figures that show a shrinking number of illegal immigrants already in the country.

Journal Community
..In 2010, that undocumented population was estimated at 11 million by the independent Pew Hispanic Center, down 8% from its peak of 12 million in 2007.

Mexicans constitute about 60% of undocumented U.S. immigrants. "Current flows are as low as we have ever seen them," said Jeffrey Passel, a senior researcher at the Pew center. "More unauthorized Mexicans have been leaving than coming."

At 150,000 last year, Mexican immigration to the U.S. was one-fifth of what it was in 2000, when 750,000 Mexicans flocked to the U.S., the majority of them illegally. All told, net immigration from Mexico is "essentially zero," said Mr. Passel.

Nearly 21,500 agents, about twice as many as in 2004, guard the Southwestern border. They are backed by hundreds of miles of fencing and high-tech surveillance, including thermal imaging and unmanned aerial systems.

Mexican drug cartels also may play a role in discouraging people. (Ya think?!?) The cartels often ply the same routes to the U.S. that undocumented immigrants use, making those paths violent and dangerous. Some crossers have been forced to serve as drug carriers for cartels.

Some demographers say more undocumented Mexicans may be leaving the U.S. than arriving as a downturn in construction, hospitality and other industries makes low-skill jobs scarce. Thousands of illegal immigrants have lost their jobs after the U.S. has audited company payrolls to find undocumented workers.

"No one knows better than the migrants themselves about the state of the U.S. economy. They hear that their cousin, uncle and friends are without work," said Primitivo Rodriguez, a Mexican migration expert who formerly worked for the Mexican Human Rights Commission.

Back in Mexico, families have shrunk, providing less incentive for young people to leave. In 1970, each Mexican woman bore an average of 6.8 children. By 1990, that number was 3.4. Today, the birthrate is at replacement level, about 2.1.

That "enormous demographic shift," coupled with a better economic climate in Mexico, is helping curb emigration, said Gordon Hanson, an international economist at the University of California, San Diego.

To be sure, annual immigration to the U.S. from its neighbor has climbed and receded before. It dropped by one-third after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The annual influx of Mexicans averaged 550,000 between 2003 and 2006, according to Pew. It has since tumbled.

Still, illegal immigration remains a contentious political issue. More than one million people have been deported since President Barack Obama took office in 2009. Deportations hit a record 397,000 in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30. The president favors putting undocumented workers on the path to legalization. But as the 2012 election approaches, no immigration bill is expected to come before the House and Senate.

The impasse has propelled several states, such as Arizona, Alabama and Georgia, to pass laws to curb illegal immigration. Supporters say undocumented workers are taking jobs from Americans at a time of high unemployment and burdening cash-strapped public governments.

Except for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who said those in the U.S. more than 20 years should be able to earn legal status, top Republican presidential candidates oppose letting illegal immigrants remain in the U.S.

23513  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Michael Yon in Afghanistan on: December 13, 2011, 10:30:51 AM
http://www.michaelyon-online.com/note-from-ranger-prosser.htm
23514  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Long POTH article on on-line schooling on: December 13, 2011, 10:01:52 AM


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/13/education/online-schools-score-better-on-wall-street-than-in-classrooms.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha23
23515  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: December 13, 2011, 09:49:16 AM
Didn't Kagan also work on Obamacare?  huh

Why does a question arise over Thomas and Obamacare?
23516  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Alexander Hamilton 1794 on: December 13, 2011, 09:47:51 AM
"The instrument by which [government] must act are either the AUTHORITY of the laws or FORCE. If the first be destroyed, the last must be substituted; and where this becomes the ordinary instrument of government there is an end to liberty!" --Alexander Hamilton, Tully, No. 3, 1794
23517  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Russia's plan to disrupt US-Europe relations on: December 13, 2011, 08:50:59 AM

Russia's Plan to Disrupt U.S.-European Relations
December 13, 2011

 

By Lauren Goodrich
Tensions between the United States and Russia have risen in the past month over several long-standing problems, including ballistic missile defense (BMD) and supply lines into Afghanistan. Moscow and Washington also appear to be nearing another crisis involving Russian accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The crises come as Washington struggles over its many commitments in the world and over whether to focus on present events in Afghanistan or future events in Central Europe. Russia has exploited the U.S. dilemma, using its leverage in both arenas. However, if Moscow takes its aggressive moves too far, it could spark a backlash from the United States and Central Europe.
The Persisting Disagreement over BMD
The U.S. BMD scheme for Europe has long been a source of U.S.-Russian tensions. Washington argues that its European BMD program aims to counter threats emerging from the Middle East, namely Iran, but its  missile defense installations in Romania and Poland are not slated to become operational until 2015 and 2018, respectively, by which time Russia believes the United States will have resolved its issues with Iran. Moscow thus sees U.S. missile defense strategy as more about the United States seeking to contain Russia than about Iran. Moscow does not fear that the United States is seeking to neutralize or erode Russia’s nuclear deterrent, however; the issue is the establishment of a physical U.S. military footprint in those two states — which in turn means a U.S. commitment there. Romania and Poland border the former Soviet Union, a region where Russia is regaining influence.
Russia previously pressured key states in the Bush-era BMD scheme, such as Poland and the Czech Republic, to reconsider acceding to such plans. This assertiveness peaked with its 2008 invasion of Georgia, which both proved that Moscow was willing to take military action and exposed the limits of U.S. security guarantees in the region. The Russian move in Georgia gave the Central Europeans much to think about, prompting some attempts to appease the Kremlin. Still, these states did not abandon all faith in the United States as a strategic counter to Russia.
Russia has since shifted its BMD strategy. Instead of categorically opposing the plan, Moscow proposed a cooperative, integrated scheme. The Kremlin reasoned that if Iran and other non-Russian threats were the real reason for expanding missile defense, then Russian involvement — which would strengthen the West’s defenses — would be welcomed. Russia’s BMD capabilities span the Eurasian continent, though their practical utility to and compatibility with U.S. systems is questionable. This plan was seen as a way to take a more conciliatory approach with the same end goal: blocking the placement of U.S. troops in Eastern Europe.
The United States and most of NATO refused Russia’s proposals, however, leaving the door open for the Kremlin to introduce a new defense strategy, which Russian President Dmitri Medvedev outlined Nov. 23. Medvedev emphasized that Russia had exercised the “political will” to open a fundamentally new chapter in relations with the United States and NATO, only to have the United States spurn the offer. U.S. resistance to Russian inclusion in the BMD system forced Moscow to make other arrangements to counter U.S. plans in Central Europe — precisely the outcome it had hoped for.
Medvedev also said that if United States continues to refuse BMD cooperation with Russia, Moscow would carry out plans for the deployment of the Iskander mobile short-range ballistic missiles and the activation of an early-warning radar system in Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave on the Baltic Sea that borders NATO members Poland and Lithuania. He said Russia also would consider the deployment of other Iskander systems, particularly along his country’s western and southern borders, and would hasten to fit its ballistic missiles with advanced maneuverable re-entry vehicles and penetration aids, a process that has long been under way. The prospect of Russian strategic weapons targeting BMD facilities was also raised. Medvedev added that more measures could be implemented to “neutralize the European component of the U.S. missile defense system,” concluding that all these steps could be avoided in favor of a new era of partnership between the United States and Russia if Washington so desired.
The U.S. Dilemma
The United States was expected to respond to Russia’s renewed strategy during the Dec. 8 meeting between NATO and Russian foreign ministers in Brussels. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton avoided doing so, however, reiterating that the BMD scheme was about Iran, not Russia. Clinton’s move highlights the dangerous U.S. position with regard to Russia. Washington has no intention of abandoning its commitment to Central Europe in the face of a resurging Russia, but commitments elsewhere in the world may prevent the United States from resisting Russia in the short term.
At present, Washington is struggling to halt the deterioration of relations with Pakistan, which have reached a new low after a U.S. helicopter strike on the Afghan-Pakistani border killed some two dozen Pakistani servicemen. After the strike, the Pakistanis forbade the shipment of fuel and supplies for the NATO-led war effort in Afghanistan across the Pakistani border, leaving the United States and its allies wholly dependent on the Northern Distribution Network, at least temporarily. Moscow used this as an opportunity to remind Washington that it could cut this alternative route, leaving NATO and the United States in a catastrophic position in Afghanistan — a move tied directly to Russia’s negotiations over missile defense.
While Russia has used previous threats against U.S. interests, such as increased support for Iran, as leverage in its BMD negotiations, its present threat marks a new dynamic. Washington called Moscow’s bluff on its threatened support for Iran, knowing Russia also did not want a strong Iran. But it cannot so easily dismiss the specter of interrupted supplies into Afghanistan, as this puts more than 130,000 U.S. and allied troops in a vulnerable position. Consequently, the United States must work to mitigate the BMD situation.
American Olive Branch or New Crisis?
In recent months, the United States has cultivated one potential olive branch to defuse short-term tensions. Previously, there was little the United States could offer Russia short of abandoning U.S. strategy in Central Europe. When tensions escalated in 2009 and 2010, the United States offered to facilitate large economic deals with Russia that included modernization and investment in strategic sectors, mainly information technology, space and energy. Since Russia had just launched its sister programs of modernization and privatization, it jumped on the proposal, reducing tensions and eventually joining U.S. initiatives such as sanctions against Iran. Now, the United States is extending another carrot: WTO membership.
Russia has sought WTO membership for 18 years. Even though it has the 10th largest economy in the world, it has failed to win accession to the 153-member body. Though the country’s extreme economic policies have given members plenty of reason to exclude Russia, the main barriers of late have been political. For its part, Moscow cares little about the actual economic benefits of WTO membership. The benefits it seeks are political, as being excluded from the WTO made it look like an economically backward country (though its exclusion has given it a convenient excuse to rail against the United States and Georgia).
As Russia sorted through its economic disputes with most WTO members, Georgia alone continued to block its bid because of the Russian occupation of the disputed Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. In recent months, Georgia has dropped its opposition under U.S. pressure — pressure that originated from Washington’s need for something to offer the Russians. With all obstacles cleared, the WTO should approve Russia’s candidacy Dec. 15-16, apparently giving the United States the olive branch it sought.
Unfortunately for the United States, however, once Russia is voted in, each member-state must “recognize” Russia as a member. No WTO members, not even Georgia, have indicated that they intend to deny Russia recognition. But there is one country that cannot legally recognize Russian membership: the United States.
The United States still has a Soviet-era provision in federal law called the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, which bars trade relations with certain countries guilty of human rights violations (namely, the Soviet Union). The measure continued to apply to Russia after the Soviet collapse, though every U.S. president has waived its provisions by decree since 1992. Only Congress can overturn it, however, and until it does so, the United States cannot recognize Russia as a WTO member.
The White House has called for the provision’s immediate repeal, but with Congress and the White House divided over so many issues, it seems unlikely the issue will be resolved swiftly — if at all — under the current Congress and presidency. This gives Russia another opportunity to increase U.S.-Russian tensions. Indeed, Moscow could noisily decry the insult of the United States making Russian WTO accession possible only to derail it.
Balancing Crisis and Strategy
Just how many crises in U.S.-Russian relations does Moscow want, and what is its goal? Moscow’s strategy involves using these crises with the United States to create uncertainty in Central Europe and to make the Europeans uncomfortable over perceptions that the United States has forced Russia to act the way it is acting. Thus, it is not a break between Russia and the United States that Moscow seeks but a break between Europe and the United States.
Indications are emerging that the Central Europeans are in fact growing nervous, particularly following Medvedev’s new defense strategy announcement. With the United States not responding to the renewed Russian aggression, many Europeans may be forgiven for wondering if the United States is planning to trade its relationship with Central Europe in the short term to ensure the supply lines via Russia into Afghanistan remain open. It isn’t that the Central Europeans want a warmer relationship with Russia, only that they may feel a need to hedge their relationship with the United States. This was seen this past week with Poland announcing it would be open to discussions with Russia over missile defense (albeit within the paradigm of separate BMD systems), and with the Czech Republic, a previous American missile defense partner, signing multibillion-dollar economic deals with Russia.
But with more opportunities arising for Russia to escalate tensions with the United States, Moscow must avoid triggering a massive crisis and rupture in relations. Should Russia go too far in its bid to create an uncomfortable situation for the Europeans, it could cause a strong European backlash against Russia and a unilateral unification with the United States on regional security issues. And it is in Russia’s interest to refrain from actually disrupting the Northern Distribution Network; Moscow is seeking to avoid both complications in the Afghan theater that could hurt Russian interests (one of which is keeping the United States tied down in Afghanistan) and a strong U.S. response in a number of other areas. Moscow must execute its strategy with precision to keep the United States caught between many commitments and Europe off balance — a complex balancing act for the Kremlin.
23518  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Palestinian Hip Hop on: December 13, 2011, 12:10:56 AM
http://www.theblaze.com/stories/palestinian-hip-hop-group-comparing-israelis-to-nazis-performs-for-oregon-public-high-school-students/
23519  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Newt on the Second Amendment on: December 12, 2011, 11:29:11 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWsE9jvwjLA&feature=player_embedded
23520  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: December 12, 2011, 10:24:47 PM
Careful GM.  Bret Baier report today reported that the deficit is on track to come in under $1T this year.  This is about 33% down from the peak.  Another $250B and the statement will be true.
23521  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: December 12, 2011, 10:20:05 PM
Krauthammer's criticism of Newt is correct.
23522  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Chinese possible Port of Call in Seychelles on: December 12, 2011, 08:26:04 PM
Dispatch: The Chinese Navy's Possible Port of Call in the Seychelles
December 12, 2011 | 2304 GMT
Click on image below to watch video:
 

Vice President of Strategic Analysis Rodger Baker discusses the Chinese dilemma over the use of a port in the Seychelles.
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT:
Related Links
•   China Prepares for the U.S. Re-Engagement in Asia
China’s Ministry of National Defense said Dec. 12 that the Chinese navy may use ports in the Seychelles, or other countries, as ports of call for ongoing counter-piracy missions and for future deployments. The comments follow an invitation from the Seychelles for China to use the island nation’s ports and to establish a military presence on the main island of Mahe, already a regular port of call for the United States and other nation’s warships and military aircraft such as U.S. UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] and French maritime surveillance aircraft.
China’s response highlights a continuing debate inside the PLA [People’s Liberation Army] regarding overseas basing. The PLAN [People’s Liberation Army Navy] has been participating in counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and off the east coast of Africa since December 2008. Supplying and maintaining these ships at a distance has been a test of the Chinese navy’s capacity for extended deployment. As part of the resupply, China has used several ports in the region, primarily Salalah in Oman, but also Aden, Djibouti and Karachi. Resupplying from the Seychelles would mark a further expansion of the range of China’s PLAN deployments, and would be the furthest of the resupply ports from the current anti-piracy operations.
Beijing arranges what are essentially ad hoc agreements to use friendly ports and facilities, avoiding the diplomatic agreements necessary to allow more established and enduring access to the facilities for the Chinese navy. This is largely due to the Chinese government’s stated non-interference policies and its attempts to shape the international image of Chinese overseas military operations as purely defensive and cooperative and thus non-threatening.
But this can bring China’s public image in contention with military necessity. The ad hoc arrangements have been effective thus far, but it leaves Chinese long-distance maritime operations without the means to establish more robust and reliable access and facilities, particularly in terms of forward maintenance and rearmament. For now, this appears to be a risk China is willing to take, using its political and economic leverage to ensure basic access for refueling without the formal diplomatic agreements for extended port use by the PLAN and particularly the facilities that a sustained forward presence requires. But as China continues to expand the range and role of its naval forces, this question of overseas basing agreements will intensify.
23523  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: December 12, 2011, 04:49:03 PM
GM:

Your point/the point of the piece you post, is quite correct.

I am looking to make an additional point-- which is that the number which is currently 8.6% is the number which people track; just as people (including me I might add) tend to follow "the DOW average" instead of the "S&P 500"-- which is a decidedly better overall metric.  If people see if falling from 10+% to 8.0% (or even 7.9%) His Glibness will be all over it like white on rice and like stink on excrement selling it as "See, I inherited a terrible mess but I have managed to turn things around and now we are in the right direction.  Give me another 4 years to fininsh the job.  Don't put back in the people who got us into this mess in the first place!"
23524  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Chinese Cyberspying on: December 12, 2011, 04:43:13 PM
By SIOBHAN GORMAN
WASHINGTON—U.S. intelligence agencies have pinpointed many of the Chinese groups responsible for cyberspying in the U.S., and most are sponsored by the Chinese military, according to people who have been briefed on a U.S. intelligence investigation.

Enlarge Image

CloseREUTERS
 
U.S. Air Force personnel work in the Air Force Space Command Network Operations & Security Center at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado in a July 2010 file photo.
.Armed with this information, the U.S. has begun to lay the groundwork to confront China more directly about its expansive cyberspying campaign. Two weeks ago, U.S. officials met with Chinese counterparts and warned China about the diplomatic consequences of economic spying, according to a former official familiar with the meeting.

The Chinese cyberspying campaign stems largely from a dozen groups connected to China's People's Liberation Army and a half-dozen nonmilitary groups connected to organizations like universities, said those who were briefed on the investigation. Two other groups play a significant role, though investigators haven't determined whether they are connected to the military.

In many cases, the National Security Agency has determined the identities of individuals working in these groups, which is a critical development that provides the U.S. the option of confronting the Chinese government more directly about the activity or responding with a counterattack, according to former officials briefed on the effort.

"It's actually a small number of groups that do most of the PLA's dirty work," said James Lewis, a cybersecurity specialist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies who frequently advises the Obama administration. "NSA is pretty confident of their ability to attribute [cyberespionage] to this set of actors."

In early November, the U.S. chief of counterintelligence issued a report that was unusually blunt in accusing China of being the world's "most active and persistent" perpetrator of economic spying. Lawmakers have also become more vocal in calling out China for its widening campaign of cyberespionage.

Still, diplomatic considerations may limit the U.S. interest in taking a more confrontational approach because some U.S. officials are wary of angering China, the largest holder of U.S. debt. Chinese officials regularly dispute U.S. allegations of cyberspying, saying they are the victims, not the perpetrators, of cybercrime and cyberespionage.

Identifying adversaries has been difficult because it is easy to fake identities and locations in cyberspace. An inability to tie cyberspying activities with precision to a certain actor has in the past limited the U.S.'s ability to respond because it is hard to retaliate or confront an unidentified adversary.

The U.S. government, led by the National Security Agency, has tracked the growing Chinese cyberspying campaign against the U.S. for decades. Past government efforts have had exotic names like "Titan Rain," and "Byzantine Hades.

"More recently, NSA and other intelligence agencies have made significant advances in attributing cyberattacks to specific sources—mostly in China's People's Liberation Army—by combining cyberforensics with ongoing intelligence collection through electronic and human spying, Mr. Lewis said.

The U.S. investigation of China's activities is the latest round of spy-versus-spy in cyberspace.

The activity breaks down into cyberspying efforts by 20 groups with different attack styles that are responsible for most of the cybertheft of U.S. secrets, said the people briefed on the investigation. U.S. intelligence officials have given different classified code names to each group.

U.S. intelligence officials can identify different groups based on a variety of indicators. Those characteristics include the type of cyberattack software they use, different Internet addresses they employ when stealing data, and how attacks are carried out against different targets. In addition to U.S. government agencies, major targets of these groups include U.S. defense contractors, according to former officials.

Collectively, these groups employ hundreds of people, according to former officials briefed on the effort. That number is believed to be small compared to the estimated 30,000 to 40,000 censors the Chinese government is believed to employ to patrol the Internet.

23525  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Bi-lingual pledge of allegiance in CA school on: December 12, 2011, 02:53:10 PM


http://www.theblaze.com/stories/teachers-upset-over-elementary-students-reciting-pledge-of-allegiance-in-english-and-spanish/
23526  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: American History on: December 12, 2011, 02:44:56 PM
Glenn Beck made this point about TR being a progressive frequently and with great vigor due to Jonah Goldberg's influence.  JG appeared on the show at least once, and maybe more. He regularly appears on the panel of the Bret Baier Report where IMHO he handles himself quite well.  I have his book, "Liberal Fascism"
23527  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Linked-in scams? on: December 12, 2011, 02:41:23 PM
This from a trusted friend:
==============================

Recently I decided to make a couple of moves to test the integrity of the LinkedIn system vis-a-vis Internet scammers.
 
This morning I received a LinkedIn invitation from an associate, asking me to join his network. The appearance of the e-mail is exactly what one would expect a LinkedIn communication to look like. However, the red flags of oddness immediately cropped up:
1.   I am already, and have been for five months, connected to this associate on LinkedIn.
2.   The request came in to an e-mail address that is NOT the one I currently use for LinkedIn purposes. I deliberately changed the LinkedIn account e-mail address late last week as part of an integrity test (due to my suspicions that LinkedIn was connected to another ongoing e-mail scam effort) . If this associate (even if it were a legitimate invitation for the very first time) had used the LinkedIn system to send me an invitation, it would not have come in to the e-mail account that it did. It would have come in to the account I switched over to late last week.  As did a legitimate invitataion earlier this morning.
3.   When I access my LinkedIn account, and this is, perhaps, the most significant red flag, there is no invitation activity from this individual this morning. The only LinkedIn activity from him was the July 2011 invitation request, and several other messages during the past five months.
4.   This invitation from this morning came in addressed to my fist initial. My first initial is what would appear on the e-mail account that the invitation came in on. The requesting associate has never, and would never, address me just by my first initial. All his comms to me have been by my first name. The reason this “invitation” came in to my first initial was because the sender does not know my full first name because neither the e-mail address nor the name on the e-mail account provides that information.
There is no doubt in my mind that this is a well developed scam, the goal of which is to get me to click on the link provided in the body of the e-mail.
 
I am particularly attuned to the possibility of LinkedIn e-mail scams because several weeks ago I received an official looking “LinkedIn” invitation request from somebody I have never heard of, and it came into an e-mail account and name which there is not even an existing LinkedIn account for anybody to send an invitation to.
 
The moral of this saga is to be wary of the e-mails you receive. No matter how “official” they may look, think a moment before automatically clicking any links inside such an e-mail.
 
You don't need to be paranoid; you do need to NOT be oblivious.
23528  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Wesbury on Obama's 8% prediction on: December 12, 2011, 01:55:54 PM

This strikes me as pretty plausible, and the political consequences quite spinnable by His Glibness , , ,

=======================
Monday Morning Outlook
________________________________________
Obama's 8%: Sounds Right To view this article, Click Here
Brian S. Wesbury - Chief Economist
Robert Stein, CFA - Senior Economist
Date: 12/12/2011
Given his advisers’ track record, you would think President Obama would be very cautious when making predictions about the unemployment rate. Back in January 2009, fresh off his inauguration, his economic team forecast that the $800 billion “stimulus” bill would keep the jobless rate below 8%.
As we all now know, even though the “stimulus” bill was fully implemented, the jobless rate kept heading north, peaking at 10.1% in October 2009 and never once falling even remotely close to 8%. Nevertheless, President Obama is doing it again and predicting unemployment will be 8% around Election Day.
 
This time, we think he’s right.
 
It’s important to recognize that 8% unemployment is not good. The unemployment rate was lower than 8% for 25 straight years, from early 1984 through early 2009. During that time no one would have been proud of an 8% jobless rate.
 
The difference between then and now is the size of government. Spending, regulation and expanded jobless benefits have made the US look more like Europe, where even in the best of times unemployment rates rarely fall below 7%. Nonetheless, the US economy is growing today, it is creating new jobs, and unemployment will continue to fall in the months ahead just as the President has predicted.
 
Here’s why we think 8% makes sense. Just two years ago, in the last quarter of 2009, the jobless rate averaged 10%. In the current quarter, unemployment will probably end up averaging 8.8%. (We look for an 8.7% rate in December).
 
That’s a drop of 1.2 percentage points over two years, when real GDP was growing around 2.5% per year. And notice that the drop in the jobless rate was not due to people leaving the labor force. The labor force is up slightly versus two years ago.     
 
We think the economy will grow in the 3 to 3.5% range in 2012, which makes a drop to an 8% unemployment rate a sensible forecast. Faster economic growth should generate a faster decline in the jobless rate. And remember, this faster growth is occurring without a new stimulus bill and without QE3. The fact that the government has done nothing new in the past few quarters is helping the economy accelerate again.
 
Some analysts keep waiting for a large surge in the labor force (more people looking for work), which would drive the unemployment rate up again, or at least makes it tough to get the jobless rate down further. But that’s unlikely.
 
The aging of the Baby Boom generation started putting downward pressure on the labor force participation rate about a decade ago and that process will continue. Any increase in the labor force in the year ahead should be modest compared to prior economic expansions.
 
Bottom-line: We think President Obama is right about the 8% unemployment rate. What’s interesting is that so many people have been so negative about the economy for so long that 8% is going to feel like a huge victory, even when it isn’t. This is the problem with creating negative expectations…even slight improvement could be considered a victory.


23529  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: We are out of Shamsi Air Base in Baluchistan on: December 12, 2011, 08:55:32 AM
Pakistan's military said Sunday that Washington has met its demand to pull U.S. equipment and personnel from an air base in the southwest of the country.

 US army vacates airbase in Pakistan, as angry demonstrators burn the American flag in protest at a NATO air strike that killed 24 soldiers. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
.Pakistan demanded the U.S. withdraw from Shamsi air base in Baluchistan province as a retaliatory measure after a North Atlantic Treaty Organization strike late last month killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

The U.S. had used Shamsi to operate drone strikes against Taliban militants sheltering in the tribal regions on the frontier with Afghanistan, according to Pakistani defense officials.

The U.S. already had scaled back operations at the base this summer due to Pakistani demands to do so, these officials said.

 .The expulsion from Shamsi is more symbolic than a meaningful attempt to halt the drone attacks, which have killed scores of Taliban and al Qaeda militants.

The U.S. has continued the covert program, which is run by the Central Intelligence Agency, from bases in Afghanistan, despite the wind-down at Shamsi begun this summer.

But another Pakistan retaliatory measure for the NATO air strikes — shutting key NATO supply routes through Pakistan — is likely to pose a greater threat to U.S. interests in the region, U.S. officials say.

Pakistan has given no indication of when it will lift the blockade. NATO sends about half of its supplies for its soldiers in Afghanistan via two Pakistani land routes.

If the shut-down lasts much longer, affecting key supplies of fuel, it could begin to hurt NATO's campaign in Afghanistan, U.S. officials have said.

Anti-U.S. sentiment has been on the rise this year due to the drone program, which is unpopular with many people, and the covert U.S. raid on a Pakistani garrison town in May that killed Osama bin Laden.

After the NATO raid on Nov. 26, Pakistan gave the U.S. 15 days to fully vacate Shamsi. The "last flight carrying leftover US Personnel and Equipment departed Shamsi Base today and the Base has been completely vacated," Pakistan's military said in a statement Sunday. "The control of the Base has been taken over by the Army."

Attempts to contact a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad were not successful.

23530  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: December 12, 2011, 08:50:53 AM

A follow up to my post a moment ago concerning Mitt's $10k bet challenge to Perry:

What a kitty response to the psuedo-brouhaha!  He should have pushed back and said that the chattering class was missing the point-- as it so often does-- the point being to challenge Perry to put up or shut up concerning the allegation in question.  Instead of the patricianly guilt he displays, he should have no apology-- "Yes, I have money, and I earned it.  Its a reason I should be president.  Look at what I did for turning the Olympics around!  Let me do that for America!".

We didn't see Newt kittying out to the brouhaha over his comments on the Palestinians, did we?

IMHO this sort of thing encapsulates a lot concerning the ceiling to Romney's support.
23531  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Newt running strong on: December 12, 2011, 08:43:47 AM


By DAMIAN PALETTA
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is solidifying his lead in key states as the final stretch before the Iowa caucuses begins, while Mitt Romney faces criticism for a $10,000 bet he offered Rick Perry during a weekend debate.


 ..An NBC News/Marist Poll poll released Sunday showed support for the former speaker of the House soaring in South Carolina and Florida, making Mr. Gingrich the distinct front-runner for those states' late January primaries. His performance in the Saturday night debate in Des Moines suggests Mr. Gingrich also remains on stable footing with just over three weeks left before Iowa's first-in-the-nation voting on Jan. 3.

Mr. Romney, meanwhile, was trying to tamp down a potential misstep after former Texas Gov. Rick Perry accused Mr. Romney during the Saturday debate of saying his 2006 Massachusetts health insurance expansion "should be the model for the country." Mr. Romney disputed ever making such a comment and offered to bet him $10,000 that he was right. Mr. Perry turned down the bet.
 
A $10,000 wager triggered a backlash among Democrats and Republicans, given Mr. Romney's wealth from his private equity days.
.Who would have won the wager isn't clear. Mr. Perry was referring to a passage from the first edition of Mr. Romney's 2010 book "No Apology." The former governor wrote that "we can accomplish the same thing for everyone in the country" in reference to the Massachusetts law that requires most residents to carry insurance or pay a fee.

Those words were cut from subsequent editions of the book. Elsewhere in the book, Mr. Romney called for other states to design their own models, different from the one in Massachusetts.

Still, the $10,000 wager triggered a quick backlash among Democrats and Republicans given the former private-equity executive's wealth and the way he appeared to flaunt the money. By noon Sunday, the Democratic National Committee had sent out seven emails either mocking or slamming the five-figure offer.

Mr. Perry, speaking on Fox News Sunday, said he was "a little taken aback" by the proposed bet, and that it showed how Mr. Romney was "a little out of touch with the normal Iowa citizen." The campaign of former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman immediately set up the website 10kbet.com with the headline "Why Mitt Romney owes Rick Perry $10,000."

Mr. Romney turned the comment into a bit of a joke at a press conference after a town hall in Hudson, N.H., on Sunday evening. "After the debate was over, Ann [Mrs. Romney] came up and gave me a kiss and said I was great and she said there are a lot of things you do well, betting isn't one of them," Mr. Romney said. He didn't elaborate. Asked a follow-up question, he said, "that's all I got."

Mr. Romney's stumble came amid new evidence he is losing ground in key states. The new NBC News/Marist Poll showed Mr. Gingrich leading Mr. Romney 42% to 23% among likely Republican primary voters in South Carolina and 41% to 28% in Florida. Adding in likely Republican voters in Florida who were undecided but said they are leaning towards one of the candidates, Mr. Gingrich's lead widened to 44% to 29% for Mr. Romney.

Mr. Gingrich seemed to fare better during Saturday's debate, despite efforts by his opponents to challenge positions he has taken. Over the weekend, Mr. Gingrich drew fire for his recent suggestion that Palestinians were an "invented" people.

Rep. Steve King (R., Iowa) said on CBS's "Face the Nation" that the comment was "probably unnecessary in the scope of this campaign" and makes you "wonder what kind of discipline he might have." Mr. King, who has not yet endorsed a Republican in the presidential race, has an influential voice with Iowa Republican voters.

Mr. Gingrich defended his Palestinian comments Saturday night, saying Palestinians encouraged terrorism and should not be put on an equal playing field with the Israelis.

Mohammed Sobeih, the Arab League official who handles Palestinian affairs, told the Associated Press on Sunday that Mr. Gingrich's comments were "irresponsible and dangerous."

Reps. Ron Paul (R., Texas) and Michele Bachmann (R., Minn.), who are trailing but trying to climb in the polls, said Messrs. Gingrich and Romney shared similar philosophies on governing and didn't represent the break from the past that Republicans need.

Ms. Bachmann, appearing on "Face the Nation," tried to reiterate a theme she invoked Saturday night, when she suggested the two front-runners were essentially the same person who she dubbed "Newt-Romney." "There's not a dime's worth of difference between the two of them," she said.

Mr. Paul said he would not rule out running on a third-party ticket or endorsing a third-party candidate if he didn't win the Republican nomination, but he said it wasn't something he was thinking about now. "I'm not going to rule anything out or anything in," Mr. Paul said.

President Barack Obama said in an interview aired Sunday on CBS' "60 Minutes" that whichever GOP nominee emerges will offer Americans a stark contrast with his strategy for running the country. Mr. Gingrich is "somebody who's been around a long time, and is good on TV, is good in debates," Mr. Obama said. "But Mitt Romney has shown himself to be somebody who's … good at politics, as well. He's had a lot of practice at it." He added: "I think that they will be going at it for a while."

Write to Damian Paletta at damian.paletta@wsj.com

23532  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / NYTimes: When the Truth survives Free Speech on: December 12, 2011, 08:27:53 AM


Last week, a story came across my desk that seemed to suggest that a blogger had been unfairly nailed with a $2.5 million defamation award after a judge refused to give her standing as a journalist. A businessman who was the target of the blogger’s inquiries brought the suit.

I went to work on a blog post, filled with filial umbrage, saddened that the Man once again had used a boot heel to crush truth and free speech. But after doing a little reporting, I began to think that what scanned as an example of a rich businessman using the power of the courts to silence his critic was actually something else: a case of a blogger using the Web in unaccountable ways to decimate the reputation of someone who didn’t seem to have it coming.
The ruling on whether she was a journalist in the eyes of the law turned out to be a MacGuffin, a detail that was very much beside the point. She didn’t so much report stories as use blogging, invective and search engine optimization to create an alternative reality. Journalists who initially came to her defense started to back away when they realized they weren’t really in the same business.
On the surface, it seemed that the blogger, Crystal Cox, was doing the people’s work. A blogger and real estate agent in Montana who spent a lot of time fighting with the National Association of Realtors, Ms. Cox took an interest a few years ago in the bankruptcy of Summit Accommodators, an intermediary company in Bend, Ore., that held cash to complete property exchanges. The company went belly up and Federal prosecutors indicted three senior executives — a fourth pleaded guilty — charging them with conspiring to defraud clients of millions.
Kevin D. Padrick, a lawyer in Oregon, was appointed as trustee in the case after the company entered bankruptcy. Prompted by the postings of someone whom Mr. Padrick was going after to recover assets — the daughter of one of the men who was indicted — Ms. Cox began suggesting in her blog posts that Mr. Padrick had used inside information and illegal measures to take control of the remaining assets and enrich himself.
In a long-running series of hyperbolic posts, she wrote that Mr. Padrick and his company, the Obsidian Finance Group, had engaged in bribery, tax fraud, money laundering, payoffs and theft, among other things. Her one-woman barrage did not alter the resolution of the Summit affair, but it was effective in ruining Mr. Padrick.
In a phone interview, he told me his business as a financial adviser had dropped by half since Ms. Cox started in on him, and any search of his name or his company turned up page after page on Google detailing his supposed skullduggery, showing up under a variety of sites, including Bend Oregon News, Bankruptcy Corruption, and Northwest Tribune.
As it turned out, all of the allegations and almost all of the coverage in the case were coming from Ms. Cox, who churned URL’s and cut-and-pasted documents to portray Mr. Padrick as a “thug,” and a “thief” who “committed tax fraud” and who may have “hired a hit man” to kill her while engaging in “illegal and fraudulent activity.”
Here’s the problem. None of that was ever proved, nor was it picked up by other mainstream media outlets.
Even a broken clock is right twice a day, but there is nothing in Mr. Padrick’s professional history or the public record that I found to suggest he is any of those things. He was appointed as a trustee by the court, he was subjected to an F.B.I. background check, and there have been no criminal investigations into his conduct. About 85 percent of the funds have been returned to the creditors, which seems to be a good result.
Annie Buell, the chairwoman of the Official Unsecured Creditors Committee who was appointed by the United States Trustee’s Office, said in an interview by phone that there was no basis in fact for Ms. Cox’s scabrous postings about Mr. Padrick.

=======================
(Page 2 of 2)
“He did a very good job for the creditors,” she said. “He was above board, had all of his cards on the table and was competent and fair. If I ever was in the same situation again, he would be my first choice.” Lawyers I spoke with who had done business with Mr. Padrick used similar adjectives to describe him.

Mr. Padrick, a lawyer who is a member of the bar in four states and has never been disciplined or investigated from anything I could find, said he spent a lot of sleepless nights wondering how he ended up as Ms. Cox’s bête noire.
“A woman who I did not know, who had no connection to me or my company or with this case she has been making statements on, has turned my business life and personal life upside down,” he said. “Companies who are considering doing business with us do a routine search on Google and there is page after page of these allegations. If it can happen to me, it can happen to anybody.”
And it has. Ms. Cox, who calls herself an “investigative blogger,” has a broad range of conspiratorial/journalistic interests. She has written that Bruce Sewell, the general counsel of Apple, “aids and abets criminals,” that Jeffrey Bewkes, the chief executive of Time Warner, is “a proven technology thief,” and that various Proskauer Rose lawyers have engaged in a pattern of “conspiracy.” And don’t get her started on the local officials in and around her hometown, Eureka, Mont.
When she gets in a fight with someone, she frequently responds by creating a domain with their name, some allegation of corruption, or both. Many of the negative posts about Mr. Padrick appeared on obsidianfinancesucks.com and there are many more like it. In order to optimize visibility to Web crawlers, she often uses the full name and title of her target, and her Web sites are filled with links to her other sites to improve their search ranking. She has some 500 URLs at her disposal and she’s not afraid to use them.
“I have a gift for getting on top of search engines and I want to give voice to victims of the corrupt judicial system,” she said in an interview by phone. “The system wants to shut me up and they have been trying to for years.”
“I’m glad I lost the case, because it gives attention to what I have been doing,” she added, saying she doesn’t have money to hire an attorney — she represented herself in the defamation case — let alone $2.5 million to pay in damages. She plans to appeal.
She said she remained convinced that Mr. Padrick would be indicted, “even if I have to stay on it for the next decade.” But, as Forbes first pointed out following the verdict, she had been willing to negotiate a cease-fire.
“At this Point in my Life it is Time to Think of Me,” she wrote in a letter to Mr. Padrick’s lawyer, David Aman. “So I want to Let you know and Obsidian Finance that I am now offering PR Services and Search Engine Management Services starting at $2500 a month,” she wrote to promote “Law Firms” and “Finance Companies” and “to protect online reputations and promote businesses.”
What looked to be an unsubtle offer to holster her gun in exchange for a payoff was signed, “In Love and Light, Crystal Cox.”
Ms. Cox said she sent that note in response to a request from Mr. Padrick’s attorney — Mr. Aman said he made no such inquiry — and that she was “not on trial for writing e-mails.”
In the pre-Web days, someone like Ms. Cox might have been one more obsessive in the lobby of a newspaper, waiting to show a reporter a stack of documents that proved the biggest story never told. The Web has allowed Ms. Cox to cut out the middleman; various blogs give voice to her every theory, and search algorithms give her work prominence.
Mr. Padrick, who had never met Ms. Cox and had no idea why she seemed intent on destroying him, sued her last January. Judge Marco Hernandez of United States District Court in Portland, Ore., threw out most of his claims of defamation, ruling that Ms. Cox’s posts were so over-the-top that no reasonable reader would conclude she was making allegations of fact.
But Judge Hernandez did allow that a single post published on Christmas Day in 2010 charging all manner of criminal conduct could be read as containing “provable assertions of fact.” A one-day trial took place on Nov. 29 and after deliberating for 75 minutes, the jury awarded Obsidian $1 million and Mr. Padrick $1.5 million.
“I view our case as a blow for the First Amendment,” said Mr. Padrick. “If defamatory speech is allowed just because it is on the Internet, it cheapens the value of journalism and makes it less worthy of protection.”
Mr. Padrick signed off by reminding me that those who have been in conflict with Ms. Cox frequently find their names showing up in newly registered Web addresses. I’m thinking of buying RottenScoundrelDavidCarr.com as soon as I’m done typing.
Then again, I’ve got some institutional muscle when it comes to how I’m perceived on the Web. All Mr. Padrick had was his good reputation. Too bad there’s no algorithm to measure truth.
23533  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / My idiot state senator on: December 12, 2011, 07:19:09 AM
Sent by a friend.  I leave in his prefacatory comments.
======
So let me get this straight. A business can't spend its advertising money where it chooses? Political groups and legislators can force them to spend it where they don't want to? Ahhhh, California slips deeper into the void where idiocy meets lunacy.

jvs


http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/12/11/california-senator-threatens-boycott-after-lowes-pulls-ads-from-muslim-american/?test=latestnews

California Senator Threatens Boycott After Lowe's Pulls Ads from Muslim-American Reality Show
Published December 11, 2011
 
In this undated image provided by Discovery, Nawal Aoude, a pediatric respiratory therapist, left, and her husband Nader go for a walk in a scene from the TLC series, "All-American Muslim."

LOS ANGELES –  A state senator from Southern California was considering calling for a boycott of Lowe's stores after the home improvement chain pulled its advertising from a reality show about Muslim-Americans.

Calling the retail giant's decision "un-American" and "naked religious bigotry," Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, told The Associated Press on Sunday that he would also consider legislative action if Lowe's doesn't apologize to Muslims and reinstate its ads. The senator sent a letter outlining his complaints to Lowe's Chief Executive Officer Robert A. Niblock.
The retail giant stopped advertising on TLC's "All-American Muslim" after a group called the Florida Family Association complained the show was "propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda's clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values."

The program premiered last month and chronicles the lives of five families from Dearborn, Mich., a Detroit suburb with a large Muslim and Arab-American population.

"The show is about what it's like to be a Muslim in America, and it touches on the discrimination they sometimes face. And that kind of discrimination is exactly what's happening here with Lowe's," Lieu said.

The Florida group sent three emails to its members, asking them to petition Lowe's to pull its advertising. Its website was updated to say that "supporters' emails to advertisers make a difference."

Suehaila Amen, whose family is featured on "All-American Muslim," said she was disappointed by the Lowe's decision.
"I'm saddened that any place of business would succumb to bigots and people trying to perpetuate their negative views on an entire community," Amen, 32, told The Detroit News on Sunday.

Lowe's issued a statement Sunday apologizing for having "managed to make some people very unhappy." The North Carolina-based company did not say whether it would reinstate advertising on the show.

The apology doesn't go far enough, Lieu said. The senator vowed to look into whether Lowe's violated any California laws and said he would also consider drafting a senate resolution condemning the company's actions.
"We want to raise awareness so that consumers will know during this holiday shopping season that Lowe's is engaging in religious discrimination," he said.

In addition to an apology and reinstatement of the ads, Lieu said he hoped Lowe's would make an outreach to the community about bias and bigotry.

A call to Lowe's headquarters seeking comment about the boycott threat was not immediately returned Sunday.

"Individuals and groups have strong political and societal views on this topic, and this program became a lightning rod for many of those views," the company's statement said. "As a result we did pull our advertising on this program. We believe it is best to respectfully defer to communities, individuals and groups to discuss and consider such issues of importance."

Lieu's office said a decision was expected Wednesday or Thursday on whether to proceed with the boycott.
Dawud Walid, Michigan director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said his group felt "extreme disappointment" at Lowe's "capitulation to bigotry."

Walid said he has heard expressions of anger and calls for a boycott by Muslims but said a key to resolving the Lowe's advertising controversy will be how non-Muslim religious leaders and others react to Lowe's decision.

"I will be picking up the phone tomorrow to some of our friends and allies to explain the situation to them," Walid said Sunday.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/12/11/california-senator-threatens-boycott-after-lowes-pulls-ads-from-muslim-american/?test=latestnews#ixzz1gIChE0pS
23534  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Remember those grenades on: December 11, 2011, 08:13:42 PM
mentioned in the Gun Rights thread under the post "Grenade Walker"?  Well, here are six of them http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GhNGWDimSUc&feature=share

The impunity of it all:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhMobuDCzPQ&feature=share

Btw, the 23,000 number mentioned is about 20-25,000 too low.
23535  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Corruption on: December 11, 2011, 07:53:47 PM
We are Spartacus-- and this time Spartacus wins! grin
23536  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Ed Rothstein: The How of Japanese Internment but not all of the Whys on: December 11, 2011, 06:46:13 PM
Museum Review
 The How of an Internment, but Not All the Whys
 [http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2011/12/10/arts/10CENTER/10CENTER
 -articleLarge.jpg] Yone Kubo Collection; Lynn Donaldson for The New
 York Times
 
 Heart Mountain Interpretive Learning Center From left, Boy Scouts at the Heart Mountain internment camp in Wyoming during World War II; the view today.
 
By EDWARD ROTHSTEIN<http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/r
/edward_rothstein/index.html?inline=nyt-per>
Published: December 9, 2011
 
 POWELL, Wyo. — In a region of inspiring landscapes, this certainly isn’t one of them. If you stand near where the barracks once were, not far from the Heart Mountain Interpretive Learning Center that opened last summer, this barren expanse, with its craggily eccentric mountain in the distance, could almost seem cruelly mocking.
 
Displays at the Heart Mountain Interpretive Learning Center. More than 10,000 people were relocated to the camp there.

 A sign at the center lists individuals from the camp who volunteered to serve in the U.S. military during World War II.

Scenes from the Heart Mountain internment camp in Wyoming in World War II: typing inside one of the barracks.
 
Children polishing shoes at the Heart Mountain internment camp.
 
 
A scene from a Christmas program.
 
 
 
 Imagine you are James Osamu Ito, son of a Japanese immigrant, possessor of a degree in soil science from the University of California, Davis, and owner of a 29-acre farm in California. In 1942 you are told by the United States military that you must abandon your land, your machinery and your home, and board a train, emerging here in the wintry cold. You are assigned to a drafty, tar-papered barracks where you must live out the war that your nation is waging against the land of your ancestors.
 
Could any place be more different from the verdant California farmland? Could anything be more dispiriting than the rows of wooden shacks where families are crammed in? And could anything be more unsettling than the guard towers or the barbed wire winding round 740 acres?
 
By 1943, 10,000 people were living here in the Heart Mountain Relocation Center, about a third of them first-generation Japanese immigrants known as Issei (who were not American citizens), and the rest Nisei, second-generation Japanese-Americans. For a while, Heart Mountain was Wyoming’s third-largest city. And along with nine other “internment camps” — all in isolated regions where there could be no fear of transfer of information or contraband — this was where people of Japanese heritage were sent in 1942 after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, by Executive Order 9066<http://ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=true&doc=74>. The concern was that they might constitute a fifth column that would subvert the American war effort.
 
It was a relocation of more than 110,000 people, most of them American citizens. There was no selective screening. Even now, after an official apology to the victims by the United States government, after the payment of $1.65 billion in reparations and after the writing of enough histories and memoirs to fill a bookcase, the episode remains shocking and bewildering. How did it happen and why?
 
Until now, one of the internment camps, Manzanar in California<http://www.nps.gov/manz/index.htm>, has had the most public attention; it is run by the National Park Service and includes an exhibition. But a museum at Heart Mountain (awkwardly dubbed an “interpretive learning center”) is welcome. The sparseness of the landscape and its relative isolation from competing attractions — it is a half-hour from Cody and 60 miles from Yellowstone National Park — focus your attention.
 
It took 15 years of fund-raising by the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation<http://www.heartmountain.org/>, and the acquisition of 50 acres (together with 74 owned by the federal government) before this 11,000-square-foot center could be constructed. Its two joined buildings are meant to recall the camp’s barracks; there is also a reconstructed guard tower.
 
Only one building from the camp remains, a brick structure once part of its hospital; not even an original barrack can be seen here, though one is installed at the Japanese American National Museum<http://www.janm.org/> in Los Angeles. So the impact must come from the exhibition itself, which is designed by Split Rock Studios<http://www.splitrockstudios.com/> of Minnesota. It is meant to honor those whose lives were so overturned, explain how the internment happened, give some sense of camp life and suggest lessons for the future.
 
The museum is not uniformly successful in these ambitions, but its impact is still considerable. Wrenched out of ordinary life, stripped of many constitutional rights and placed in an unforgiving environment, Heart Mountain’s inhabitants created an alternative universe. Land was farmed, shoes repaired, a newspaper printed and sports teams formed. Remarkably, residents also enlisted in, or were drafted into, the armed forces. Some residents were even imprisoned after resisting the draft, a case examined in a book by the legal scholar Eric L. Muller<http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/548228.html>, a program committee director at the museum.
 
Primarily, this is a museum shaped by survivors’ recollections. In oral histories<http://www.densho.org/> they recount being forced from their homes, tell of having to eat apart from their parents in the mess hall, or describe the humiliation of unpartitioned toilets. (The museum’s restrooms hint at the experience with mirrored stalls.) Japanese culture, we learn, taught forbearance and discipline. And pride is justly taken. In this museum, history is told in the first person. It is about “us”; its actors are “we.” This is a communal narrative about shared injustices and triumphs.
 
But this is also one of the museum’s weaknesses. “We” and “us” also create limits. The experience becomes central. How, though, is it to be interpreted? What is its context?
 
One problem is that the internment camp doesn’t easily fit into familiar categories. Heart Mountain certainly looked like a prison. Yet we also read of its newspaper editors working in Cody and of other jobs held outside the camp. How common was such employment?
 
Internment actually had fairly large loopholes. In the 10 internment camps, more than 4,000 students left to attend college<http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/02/17/japanese2_17>. In addition, if a family found a place to live in another part of the country outside the West Coast or other militarily important areas, they were free to move; 30,000 did. At least one company, in New Jersey, even recruited employees here. These peculiar mixtures of liberties and restrictions give the internment a surreal cast.
 
A Congressional commission<http://www.archives.gov/research/japanese-americans/hearings.html> that examined the camps in the 1980s endorsed the explanation, now standard, that they were a result of wartime hysteria and racism. For example, at the exhibition we learn of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1925 assertion that the mixing of American and “Asiatic blood” would have “unfortunate results.” There was also envy of the Japanese-American economic success.
 
But wartime internment was more the rule than the exception. During World War I many European countries incarcerated citizens of opposing nations; the United States, too, imprisoned “enemy aliens,” including Germans who were not citizens.
 
During World War II<http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/w/world_war_ii_/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier> Japanese-Canadians were put in camps. In Britain, even Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany were interned as enemy aliens on the Isle of Man. What made the situation of the Japanese in the United States more complicated is that while the Issei, forbidden to become naturalized, were classified as enemy aliens whose internment was legal, their American children, the Nisei, were citizens. But surely the other examples of wartime internment would help us understand why Executive Order 9066 was widely supported.
 
It would help, too, to have a clearer understanding of the prewar Japanese-American population, which is now portrayed as homogenously assimilationist. But we know that 1930s Japan was a racist, militant society, convinced of the emperor’s divinity, and that a considerable number of Nisei were sent there to study.
 
“Loyalty to the emperor,” we learn at the Japanese American National Museum, was a cherished value for the Issei. Even the use of terms like Issei and Nisei shows careful attention to Japanese connections. In addition, American military and F.B.I. reports<http://www.sfmuseum.org/war/dewitt1.html> describe a number of Japanese-American organizations on the West Coast that were financially and ideologically devoted to the mother country and its policies.
 
All of this would have amplified suspicions. In addition, the government had decoded dispatches from Japanese agents referring to their plans and successes. On May 9, 1941, one from Los Angeles read: “We have already established contacts with absolutely reliable Japanese in the San Pedro and San Diego area.”
 
Two days later, a dispatch from Seattle said, “We are securing intelligences concerning the concentration of warships within the Bremerton Naval Yard”; Japanese residents were relocated from that area in 1942.
 
Moreover, the Japanese were known for similar espionage elsewhere, including the Philippines. A treasonous example of assistance from residents of Japanese descent also occurred just after Pearl Harbor, in which a couple on a remote Hawaiian island tried to help a downed Japanese pilot escape. The threat was palpable: a Japanese submarine had sunk American ships and shelled a California oil field.
 
I am not suggesting that such factors justified the relocations<http://www.regnery.com/regnery/040802_defense.html>. Almost all of the internees were surely innocent, and most deserved the rights of citizens. The policy was racially tinged and hysterical in its sweep. But at the very least, the context demonstrates that the relocation was a response — an extreme one — to a problem. There was a geographical rationale, not simply a racial one. This context also helps explain the peculiar ambiguities in the camps’ regulatory mixture of anxiety, ruthlessness and flexibility.
 
It should also affect contemporary conclusions. “Could an injustice like Heart Mountain happen again?” the museum asks. “It’s all too easy in times of crisis and war to look for an ‘outsider’ scapegoat.” It then suggests that this is why Japanese-American groups spoke out on behalf of American Muslims after 9/11. But such linkages surely deserve more scrutiny.
 
What is beyond question is that whatever the context, nothing can lessen the policy’s tragic consequences — the violation of principle, the loss of property, the inability of internees to pick up their old lives, the suicides, the hatreds, the lost possibilities — and they are all powerfully commemorated here.
 
 The Heart Mountain Interpretive Learning Center is in Powell, Wyo.; heartmountain.org.
 
A version of this review appeared in print on December 10, 2011, on page C1 of the New York edition with the headline: The How of an Internment, but Not All the Whys.
23537  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Follow up to PC's valuable posts. on: December 11, 2011, 06:30:10 PM
Folks, please note the PC has provided the URL to a MUCH more readable form of the invaluable info he posted here.

GM:  Articles like you just posted seem to me great propaganda pieces for Tea Party Candidates.
23538  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Harris Hawks-- wolves of the sky on: December 11, 2011, 06:25:20 PM


http://www.parahawkusa.com/About_Harris_Hawks.html
23539  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / He fought the law and the law won on: December 11, 2011, 06:09:09 PM
second post:

By PoliceOne Staff
LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Newly-released video shows a suspect lunge at a police officer moments before responding officers shot him after slashing a fellow cop’s face with a knife.
Arson suspect Paul Spencer, 39, was pursued by Officer Jeff Webb for almost four miles in October, according to WLFI. Spencer's car left the roadway and Webb pulled up behind him, along with assisting officers Ron Dombkowski and Joe Fisher.
In the video, Spencer lunges out of his car at Dombkowski. Moments later, Spencer stabbed Dombkowski in the face using a large knife, according to Lafayette Police Chief Don Roush.

About 22 feet stood between Spencer and Dombkowski, a 13-year veteran of the department. Autopsy results determined that police shot Spencer seven times after the knife attack.
People in the neighborhood commented on the incident, which could be heard from nearby homes.
"I heard five to six rapid fire rounds, clearly gun shots, and I was like...that's not good. That's what I woke up to this morning," local resident John Blichmann said.

Spencer died at the hospital a few hours later, and Dombkowski was admitted for treatment.
Officers began their pursuit after receiving a call about a vehicle that matched one connected to a duplex set on fire.

Per departmental policy, all three officers were placed on paid administrative leave following the shooting
23540  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Crazy? on: December 11, 2011, 05:34:37 PM
http://www.michaelyon-online.com/michael-yon-alert.htm
23541  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Tased but not dazed, so he's shot on: December 11, 2011, 03:58:56 PM
Comments by a USMS service friend:
============

No shortage of dynamics in this story.

It must really be shocking to learn that all the defensive tactics you learned in the academy simply didn't do you one bit of good against a street thug who apparently was not at all impressed with, or affected by, said defensive tactics training.

--------------------

Takoma Park officer fatally shoots suspect
By Matt Schudel
 
A suspect in a carjacking attempt in Takoma Park was fatally shot by police Saturday as he struggled with an officer after a chase, authorities said.  Takoma Park police said the incident began about 3:50 p.m. with an attempt to take a car at a gas station in the 6700 block of New Hampshire Avenue.  Police said a man drove to the station and tried to take a Porsche from its owner. The owner resisted and was stabbed with what appeared to be a steak knife, police said.
 
The Porsche owner was taken to a hospital in critical condition.
 
A suspect was pursued by police to Metzerott and Riggs roads in Prince George’s County. On the way, police said, the suspect’s car struck three occupied vehicles. At Metzerott and Riggs, the suspect’s car flipped over, and he began to run.
A Takoma Park officer followed him and tried to subdue him with a Taser. They struggled, and he beat her as she lay on the ground , police said.
 
Police said a second Takoma Park officer arrived and fatally shot the suspect. Names were not available.
23542  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: December 11, 2011, 09:19:47 AM
BD: 

And I have yet to fully grasp what is the problem with passing legislation saying that people can't take over public parks just because they have already done so.   I seen no favoritism of one view over another.   Just because a particular political movement has taken over public parks, doesn't mean that a such legislation is driven by content discrimination.  Nor is content neutrality impugned simply because the Tea Party and Glenn Beck's crowds act differently and respectfully of others while OWS does not.

TAC!
23543  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Movies on: December 11, 2011, 09:11:41 AM
As the saying goes here in LA, "There's just two things not to like about Hollywood people; their face."  It would not surprise me at all were the accusation against JC to be true; folks at that level of the game have a sense of entitlement and being beyond the rules that is hard to imagine. 

Combine this with the fact that Hollywood is an industry whose highest ideal is acting.  What is acting?  It is to believably pretend that something not true is real.  Ordinary people might call this lying.  In other words, the industry has skillful lying as its highest ideal. 

I have often spoken of how one of President Reagan's greatest preparations for the Presidency was having been the president of the Screen Actors Guild.  If you can climb to the top of that snake pit of vipers, Washington is nothing.  cheesy
23544  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: CNN Piece - Dog Brothers: Martial Arts to the max on: December 11, 2011, 09:04:14 AM
Yes, quite the variety in the comments  cheesy 
23545  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Mujer que patea a un hombre en la cabeza on: December 10, 2011, 09:58:19 PM
El tema de las acciones de mujures durante peleas entre hombres y ataques contra su hombre es una tema interesante en si'.
23546  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Newt Gingrich on: December 10, 2011, 09:23:04 PM
And the ability and confidence to back it up if/when challenged.
23547  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Tonight's fights on: December 10, 2011, 06:03:35 PM
Any comments/predictions on tonight's fights?
23548  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: NLRB vs. Boeing on: December 10, 2011, 05:59:30 PM
What a sham, or scam, or choose a synonym. On Wednesday, the International Association of Machinists approved a new contract with Boeing in which the company agreed to make its 737 Max jet with union labor in Washington state. Yesterday, after getting the machinist all-clear, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) dropped its lawsuit against Boeing's investment in South Carolina.

Has there ever been a more blatant case of a supposedly independent agency siding with a union over management in collective bargaining?

Boeing says the new contract wasn't tied directly to a settlement of the NLRB complaint, and that it always made sense to build the 737 Max in Renton, Washington because its work force has experience on the current 737 and offers natural efficiencies.

But it's hard to resist the conclusion that Boeing felt obliged to make the agreement to save its more than $1 billion investment in South Carolina, where it is building 787s. Boeing might have won a legal battle in the end, but first it would have to run through an administrative law judge, then the politicized and Obama-stacked NLRB, and only then would it get to an appellate court. Meanwhile, its investment was in jeopardy and its legal bill was rising.

As for the NLRB, its decision to drop the case so quickly after the machinists cut their deal exposes how politically motivated the Boeing suit was. The NLRB is supposed to be a fair-minded referee in labor disputes, making sure neither side breaks the law. But the board put its fist squarely on the union side to make Boeing pay a price for moving one of its 787 assembly lines to a right-to-work state, to make sure Boeing never did that again, and to demonstrate to any other unionized company that its investment is at risk if it makes the same decision.

By dropping the case, the Obama team at the NLRB can claim it delivered those lessons without ever having to contest them in court. Oh, and Democrats running for Senate in right-to-work states, like Tim Kaine in Virginia, are spared from having to endorse a union position that is unpopular because it costs their states jobs.

The damage here goes well beyond Boeing, which presumably understands the tradeoffs. The NLRB is exposed as one more federal agency that can't be trusted to make honest decisions. The ability of the 21 right-to-work states, which passed such laws under the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act, to attract businesses from pro-union states will also be eroded. The AFL-CIO may cheer that message, but in practice the result is likely to be that more companies simply send jobs overseas where there's no NLRB. Congratulations.

23549  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Newt Gingrich on: December 10, 2011, 05:56:58 PM
He has that effect doesn't he GM  grin
23550  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Corruption on: December 10, 2011, 04:05:36 PM
Ah-- I would have picked that up if you had said so  cheesy

Anyway, it would take away their profits from Marijuana and undermine the loyalty of the people whom they would no longer be employing.
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