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23501  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Zebra vs. Lion on: December 08, 2010, 11:57:43 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bx796zSg5gs&feature=player_embedded
23502  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Jon Stewart on Bernanke on: December 08, 2010, 10:56:43 AM

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-december-7-2010/the-big-bank-theory
23503  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor: China-Philippines agreement coming soon? on: December 08, 2010, 10:40:11 AM
Summary
High-level meetings between Philippine and Chinese military officials beginning Dec. 7 are expected to culminate in the signing of a bilateral military logistics agreement to aid the Armed Forces of the Philippines. As the U.S.-Philippine military relationship cools, China sees an opportunity to gain a foothold in the country as it aggressively pushes toward its Southeast Asian periphery. Manila, meanwhile, sees U.S.-Chinese military competition as a way to maneuver its relationship with both countries for its own benefit.

Analysis
The chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Gen. Ricardo David Jr., flew to Beijing on Dec. 7 for a five-day visit to meet with officials from China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and sign a military logistics agreement. Details of the agreement were not disclosed, but an AFP spokesman described it as a possible starting point for increased military ties between Beijing and Manila that would have a substantial benefit for the AFP’s 130,000 troops.

The AFP is one of Asia’s weakest military forces, according to a 2007 report by the Jamestown Foundation, despite being one of the top recipients of U.S. military aid (and the oldest U.S. ally) in the Pacific region. Currently, its military force is unable to fully defend against internal threats to the country, let alone handle external security challenges such as control of its many islands and sea-lanes. Thus, the deal would both help the AFP to diversify its sources of military funding and send a message to Washington that Manila has other options for such aid. The anticipated deal is the latest manifestation of the Philippine government’s recent strategy to leverage military assistance from other countries, particularly China and the United States as the two compete for military influence in the region.

The Philippines established defense relations with the United States during the U.S. colonial period from 1898-1946, and these defense relations were enshrined after World War II by the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty. The Philippines occupied a strategic location to U.S. interests in the Pacific. Until November 1992, the United States maintained and operated military facilities at Clark Air Base, Subic Bay Naval Complex and several other subsidiary installations in the country. The United States closed these facilities in 1992, but U.S. forces returned seven years later through the 1999 Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), a bilateral agreement deal that allows U.S. soldiers to be stationed on Philippine soil.

Washington has considerably stepped up its military assistance to the country since the Sept. 11 attacks, viewing it as a frontline for U.S. counterterrorism efforts in Southeast Asia. It is estimated that the United States has donated more than $500 million-worth of military equipment and supplies since then and provided a vital deterrence capability against potential external threats. However, AFP’s heavy reliance on aid and second-hand weapons systems — including aircraft, patrol boats and small arms from the United States — to equip, train and deploy its forces, means the country still lacks the resources to deal with its security threats.

As the country shifted its focus primarily to internal security threats, particularly from various Islamist separatist groups, namely the Abu Sayyaf Group and Moro Islamist Liberation Front in the southern islands, and the communist group the New People’s Army, an urgent request was made to upgrade Philippine defense capability. The country initiated a military modernization program in 1992, which in 1995 became the AFP Modernization Act. The law aimed to upgrade AFP enough to be able to safeguard the country’s territory and assist government agencies in socio-economic development, but this modernization plan made no substantial gains in the ensuing decade. After newly elected Philippine President Benigno Aquino III took office, the modernization plan was again placed as the top military priority, and China has become a potential alternative to the United States in this endeavor.

Opportunities began emerging for China soon after U.S.-Philippine military relations hit a high point after Aquino returned from a trip to the United States in September and brought back billions of dollars in aid and investment opportunities. In October, Manila began reviewing the VFA. Washington has repeatedly emphasized the deal’s importance, pointing out long-standing military and security assistance to the Philippines. However, Manila argues that the United States has failed in its VFA-mandated obligation to help modernize the AFP and that more aid is needed. Bilateral ties also were strained when the White House released a travel advisory warning of potential terrorism in Manila, which the Philippine government interpreted as retaliation for the VFA review.

Seeing the opening, Beijing stepped up ties with the Philippines, with Chinese Ambassador Liu Jianchao meeting with senior Philippine defense officials on Nov. 11 to deliver 172 million Philippine pesos-worth ($3.95 million) of heavy equipment to the AFP. China’s “military” aid consists of a small consignment of heavy construction equipment — neither the military hardware the Philippines needs for its counterinsurgency and counterterrorism efforts nor anything approaching the scale of U.S. aid — but the delivery reflects Beijing’s growing efforts to get a foothold in the country. Along these lines, China has since 2007 offered to sell eight Harbin Z-9 utility helicopters to the Philippines to replace the country’s aging Bell UH-1H helicopters, as well as other modern armaments. It is not clear whether those arms would be included in the deal to be signed by David, but it would be an important indicator to measure any substantial progress in Chinese military assistance to the country.

In the past decade, China has become a major investor in Philippine infrastructure, energy and agriculture and has stepped up its influence on the political and military front. China recognizes U.S. dominance in this sphere, however, and its attempts to gain ground remain cautious to avoid a direct challenge to Washington. However, China may be shifting that behavior to move more aggressively to secure relationships in its periphery, both diplomatically and militarily, since it feels greater pressure from the United States and wants to establish tangible ties to dissuade neighbors from working against China and increase the costs if they choose to do so. Since Manila is the formal U.S. mutual defense treaty ally in the region, the potential for Chinese military influence is somewhat limited, but for the same reason the gains China makes in drawing the Philippines closer are all the more valuable.

Ultimately, the Philippines will remain a close U.S. ally and within the U.S. sphere of influence in the region, but from Manila’s point of view, the renewed U.S. interest in the region, in part to counterbalance China’s growing power, has provided the country room to maneuver its relations with the two powers for its own benefit. Nevertheless, it has to carefully manage these relations to avoid a bold challenge to either side or getting caught in the middle of a brawl between the two giants.

23504  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: December 08, 2010, 10:26:17 AM
I too support the best and the brightest coming to the America.
23505  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Wikileaks: There WERE WMD in Iraq on: December 08, 2010, 10:24:41 AM


http://www.examiner.com/public-safety-in-national/wikileaks-wmd-program-existed-iraq-prior-to-us-invasion
23506  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Wikileaks: There WERE WMD in Iraq on: December 08, 2010, 10:23:39 AM


http://www.examiner.com/public-safety-in-national/wikileaks-wmd-program-existed-iraq-prior-to-us-invasion
23507  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: December 7th, 1941 on: December 07, 2010, 11:23:23 PM
The two stories he told me that I remember:

a) a feud with the Army over 10,000 cases of captured Japanese beer,

b) A movie about the impeachment of President Andrew Jackson was interrupted by an air raid.  A few of the officers were making bets with some of the less educated enlisted men over how it was going to turn out.
23508  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: December 7th, 1941 on: December 07, 2010, 06:22:07 PM
My dad served in the Navy in New Guineau during the war.  He was a Sea Bee building airstrips.
23509  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Bird Intelligence on: December 07, 2010, 06:17:59 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efcIsve5wu8&feature=related
23510  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / African Grey on: December 07, 2010, 06:17:14 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WUyQcg8WCA&feature=related
23511  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Russia prepares capability to go after US satellites on: December 07, 2010, 10:49:28 AM
It appears that not only the Chinese are working on this:

http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2010-11/russia-invests-2-billion-clean-space-debris

Worth noting is that BO has virtually eliminated our space efforts, including military.  Although this has not gathered any attention, IMHO this is a huge error.  We are going to wake up one morning with our satellite capabilities neutered by the Chinese, just as Iran had its nuke program disrupted by Stuxnet, and our military very seriously exposed e.g. our navy in the western Pacific.
23512  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Sen. Feinstein (D-CA) on Assange on: December 07, 2010, 10:24:44 AM
By DIANNE FEINSTEIN
When WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange released his latest document trove—more than 250,000 secret State Department cables—he intentionally harmed the U.S. government. The release of these documents damages our national interests and puts innocent lives at risk. He should be vigorously prosecuted for espionage.

The law Mr. Assange continues to violate is the Espionage Act of 1917. That law makes it a felony for an unauthorized person to possess or transmit "information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation."

The Espionage Act also makes it a felony to fail to return such materials to the U.S. government. Importantly, the courts have held that "information relating to the national defense" applies to both classified and unclassified material. Each violation is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

No doubt aware of this law, and despite firm warnings, Mr. Assange went ahead and released the cables on Nov. 28.

In a letter sent to Mr. Assange and his lawyer on Nov. 27, State Department Legal Adviser Harold Hongju Koh warned in strong terms that the documents had been obtained "in violation of U.S. law and without regard for the grave consequences of this action."

Mr. Koh's letter said that publication of the documents in Mr. Assange's possession would, at minimum:

• "Place at risk the lives of countless innocent individuals—from journalists to human rights activists and bloggers to soldiers to individuals providing information to further peace and security;

• "Place at risk on-going military operations, including operations to stop terrorists, traffickers in human beings and illicit arms, violent criminal enterprises and other actors that threaten global security; and,

• "Place at risk on-going cooperation between countries—partners, allies and common stakeholders—to confront common challenges from terrorism to pandemic diseases to nuclear proliferation that threaten global stability."

View Full Image

AFP/Getty Images
 
That WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is breaking the law is clear.
.None of this stopped Mr. Assange. That he is breaking the law and must be stopped from doing more harm is clear. I also believe a prosecution would be successful.

In an October analysis of earlier WikiLeaks disclosures, the Congressional Research Service reported that "it seems that there is ample statutory authority for prosecuting individuals who elicit or disseminate the types of documents at issue, as long as the intent element can be satisfied and potential damage to national security can be demonstrated."

Both elements exist in this case. The "damage to national security" is beyond question. As for intent, Mr. Assange's own words paint a damning picture.

In June, the New Yorker reported that Mr. Assange has asserted that a "social movement" set on revealing secrets could "bring down many administrations that rely on concealing reality—including the U.S. administration." The same piece revealed Mr. Assange's stunning disregard for the grave harm his actions could bring to innocent people, which he dismisses as "collateral damage."

Mr. Assange claims to be a journalist and would no doubt rely on the First Amendment to defend his actions. But he is no journalist: He is an agitator intent on damaging our government, whose policies he happens to disagree with, regardless of who gets hurt.

More
U.K. Police Seek Assange Interview
.As for the First Amendment, the Supreme Court has held that its protections of free speech and freedom of the press are not a green light to abandon the protection of our vital national interests. Just as the First Amendment is not a license to yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater, it is also not a license to jeopardize national security.

This latest WikiLeaks release demonstrates Mr. Assange's willingness to disseminate plans, comments, discussions and other communications that compromise our country. And let there be no doubt about the depth of the harm. Consider the sobering assessment, delivered in an email to employees of U.S. intelligence agencies late last month, by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper: "The actions taken by WikiLeaks are not only deplorable, irresponsible, and reprehensible—they could have major impacts on our national security. The disclosure of classified documents puts at risk our troops, law enforcement, diplomats, and especially the American people."

Mrs. Feinstein, a Democrat, is a U.S. senator from California and chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

23513  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Mortgage Delinquency rate falls on: December 07, 2010, 08:46:54 AM
The percentage of U.S. consumers who are delinquent on their mortgages could fall to about 5% by the end of 2011, from an expected 6.2% at the end of this year, according to a leading credit bureau.

Even so, the proportion of consumers who are 60 or more days overdue on their mortgages would still be sharply higher than the historical range of 1.5% to 2%, according to TransUnion LLC, which analyzed about 27 million randomly selected consumer records from its database. The Chicago credit bureau first started tracking these statistics in 1992.

In data released Tuesday, TransUnion forecasts that mortgage delinquencies will fall to 4.98% in the fourth quarter of 2011 from 6.21% at the end of this year. According to TransUnion, this delinquency rate peaked at 6.89% in fourth quarter of 2009, as lenders tightened underwriting standards.

A decrease in mortgage delinquencies, traditionally a precursor to foreclosure, could boost the faltering recovery in the U.S. economy and the residential real-estate market.

"We think that the mortgage industry isn't out of the woods yet, but it's starting to move in a better direction," said Steve Chaouki, a group vice president in TransUnion's financial-services unit.

Protracted and high unemployment and depressed home values are contributing to the elevated delinquency rate.

TransUnion also forecast that credit-card delinquencies, an important gauge of future losses for lenders, will continue to fall, though not nearly as sharply. By the end of this year, the ratio of credit-card borrowers who are 90 days or more delinquent on one or more of their credit cards is expected to reach 0.75%—below the levels at the beginning of 2007, at the peak of the credit boom, according to TransUnion.

As credit quality improves, this delinquency rate is expected to fall to 0.67% by the end of 2011. Credit-card delinquencies are lower than mortgage delinquencies in part because credit-card lenders have more ways to control the potential losses, such as reducing customers' credit lines.

23514  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Chuck Norris" BO's 7 Creator Omissions on: December 07, 2010, 08:33:25 AM
I have no idea about the particular's of what Chuck is pushing concerning the bible here, but post this because of its specificity with BO's deliberate deletion of our rights coming from our Creator.
===============

Obama's 7 'Creator' Omissions (Part 2)
 
 
Chuck Norris
Obama's 7 'Creator' Omissions (Part 2)

Last week, I detailed seven occasions in the past few months at which President Barack Obama omitted the words "by their Creator" from direct quotes of the Declaration of Independence: "that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness."

Though you can read the actual quotes in detail in Part 1, let me briefly remind readers where and when they occurred:

--On Oct. 21 at a rally for Sen. Patty Murray in Seattle.

--On Oct. 18 at a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee dinner in Rockville, Md.

--On Oct. 17 at a reception for Gov. Ted Strickland in Chagrin Fall, Ohio.

--On Sept. 22 at a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee/DSCC dinner in New York.

--On Sept. 15 at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute's 33rd Annual Awards Gala in Washington.

--On Sept. 11 at the Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, Va.

--On Sept. 10 at the president's news conference at the White House.

Those presidential omissions might seem justifiable to some, but it alarms me when omissions are exclusively divine and so easily exit and are excused by the United States' supreme leader.

Even at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, where both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were debated and drafted, divine omissions seem to be in vogue.

Recently, my pastor and the chaplain of my organizations, Todd DuBord, was on a tour of Independence Hall with David Barton, Jim Garlow and dozens of others. The National Park Service guide leading their group blurted out five unbelievable lies and distortions about our Founders' religious beliefs and history, with school-age children present, as well, in the room:

--"We have no record that George Washington ever attended church."

--While the NPS guide, physically hunched over, mimicked and mocked one carrying and swinging an oversize Bible in his hand, he said to the crowd: "Even if I said the Founders were Christians, how could we really know? Just because people carry a big ol' Bible in their hand, they can still be atheists!"

--"Most of these men owned slaves. How could good Christians do that?"

--"We know that Benjamin Franklin was a deist."

--"We don't really know for sure about their religion. It's open for interpretation. You'll have to do your own study on that."

To add insult to injury, this past week my chaplain received an unfortunate response letter about their grievous tour from Cynthia MacLeod, the superintendent of the Independence National Historical Park. She dodged culpability and refused to cast blame against the NPS guide, justifying that "each ranger leads a tour in his or her own way ... allowing visitors to draw their own conclusions." Really? Even if the ranger misleads and lies about our Founders? (You can read MacLeod's letter in its entirety at my chaplain's website, http://www.NationalTreasures.org.)

That's no way to teach more than 2 million annual guests who visit Independence Hall, including hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren being bused in from across the nation, ready and eager to learn about the accurate history of our republic and its Founders.

The truth is that if you want an accurate religious history of America, you no longer are going to get it from our president, our progressive society or secular schools, at least not without unbiased and trained teachers or the induction of a religious curriculum that hasn't tampered with and twisted history.

Remembering the role of religion in our republic is why I included an entire chapter on the subject (titled "From Here to Eternity") in my latest New York Times best-seller, "Black Belt Patriotism." It is also why my wife, Gena, and I are on the board of the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, which has a Bible-based curriculum that has been used in public schools -- on campus, during school hours, for credit -- for the past 15 years. The NCBCPS curriculum has been implemented in 2,075 public high schools. More than 370,000 students nationwide have taken this elective course to date.

We are proud to announce that the NCBCPS will have an electronic version of its curriculum available starting Dec. 15. It will include movies, videos and slides, in addition to its hardcover text, "The Bible in History and Literature," and also "The Teacher's Companion Guide."

The NCBCPS' curriculum is not the Bible curriculum in circulation that promotes UNESCO in its Bible textbook for students. Please make sure your district uses the Bible curriculum textbook titled "The Bible in History and Literature," by the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools. Don't accept counterfeits, if even under candy-coated biblical titles!

If you would like more information on the NCBCPS' curriculum or want help getting it into your local school district, go to http://www.BibleInSchools.net or call 336-272-8838. To date, 94 percent of the school boards approached with this Bible curriculum have voted to implement it.

Abraham Lincoln, our 16th president, was right: "The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next."

That is why, for the sake of our posterity and the preservation of truth in each of our own communities, we all need to accept this challenge by Ronald Reagan: "You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children's children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done."
23515  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Chuck Norris: BO' on: December 07, 2010, 08:31:18 AM
Obama's 7 'Creator' Omissions (Part 2)
 
 
Chuck Norris
Obama's 7 'Creator' Omissions (Part 2)
Email Chuck Norris | Columnist's Archive  Share   Buzz 0diggsdigg
Sign-Up  Last week, I detailed seven occasions in the past few months at which President Barack Obama omitted the words "by their Creator" from direct quotes of the Declaration of Independence: "that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness."

Though you can read the actual quotes in detail in Part 1, let me briefly remind readers where and when they occurred:

--On Oct. 21 at a rally for Sen. Patty Murray in Seattle.

--On Oct. 18 at a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee dinner in Rockville, Md.

--On Oct. 17 at a reception for Gov. Ted Strickland in Chagrin Fall, Ohio.

--On Sept. 22 at a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee/DSCC dinner in New York.

--On Sept. 15 at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute's 33rd Annual Awards Gala in Washington.

--On Sept. 11 at the Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, Va.

--On Sept. 10 at the president's news conference at the White House.

Those presidential omissions might seem justifiable to some, but it alarms me when omissions are exclusively divine and so easily exit and are excused by the United States' supreme leader.

Even at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, where both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were debated and drafted, divine omissions seem to be in vogue.

Recently, my pastor and the chaplain of my organizations, Todd DuBord, was on a tour of Independence Hall with David Barton, Jim Garlow and dozens of others. The National Park Service guide leading their group blurted out five unbelievable lies and distortions about our Founders' religious beliefs and history, with school-age children present, as well, in the room:

--"We have no record that George Washington ever attended church."

--While the NPS guide, physically hunched over, mimicked and mocked one carrying and swinging an oversize Bible in his hand, he said to the crowd: "Even if I said the Founders were Christians, how could we really know? Just because people carry a big ol' Bible in their hand, they can still be atheists!"

--"Most of these men owned slaves. How could good Christians do that?"

--"We know that Benjamin Franklin was a deist."

--"We don't really know for sure about their religion. It's open for interpretation. You'll have to do your own study on that."

To add insult to injury, this past week my chaplain received an unfortunate response letter about their grievous tour from Cynthia MacLeod, the superintendent of the Independence National Historical Park. She dodged culpability and refused to cast blame against the NPS guide, justifying that "each ranger leads a tour in his or her own way ... allowing visitors to draw their own conclusions." Really? Even if the ranger misleads and lies about our Founders? (You can read MacLeod's letter in its entirety at my chaplain's website, http://www.NationalTreasures.org.)

That's no way to teach more than 2 million annual guests who visit Independence Hall, including hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren being bused in from across the nation, ready and eager to learn about the accurate history of our republic and its Founders.

The truth is that if you want an accurate religious history of America, you no longer are going to get it from our president, our progressive society or secular schools, at least not without unbiased and trained teachers or the induction of a religious curriculum that hasn't tampered with and twisted history.

Remembering the role of religion in our republic is why I included an entire chapter on the subject (titled "From Here to Eternity") in my latest New York Times best-seller, "Black Belt Patriotism." It is also why my wife, Gena, and I are on the board of the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, which has a Bible-based curriculum that has been used in public schools -- on campus, during school hours, for credit -- for the past 15 years. The NCBCPS curriculum has been implemented in 2,075 public high schools. More than 370,000 students nationwide have taken this elective course to date.

We are proud to announce that the NCBCPS will have an electronic version of its curriculum available starting Dec. 15. It will include movies, videos and slides, in addition to its hardcover text, "The Bible in History and Literature," and also "The Teacher's Companion Guide."

The NCBCPS' curriculum is not the Bible curriculum in circulation that promotes UNESCO in its Bible textbook for students. Please make sure your district uses the Bible curriculum textbook titled "The Bible in History and Literature," by the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools. Don't accept counterfeits, if even under candy-coated biblical titles!

If you would like more information on the NCBCPS' curriculum or want help getting it into your local school district, go to http://www.BibleInSchools.net or call 336-272-8838. To date, 94 percent of the school boards approached with this Bible curriculum have voted to implement it.

Abraham Lincoln, our 16th president, was right: "The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next."

That is why, for the sake of our posterity and the preservation of truth in each of our own communities, we all need to accept this challenge by Ronald Reagan: "You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children's children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done."
23516  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Pearl Harbor: December 7, 1941 on: December 07, 2010, 08:17:39 AM


  Re: Pearl Harbor: December 7, 1941
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2009, 01:01:14 PM »     

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

Remembering Pearl Harbor
"December 7, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan. ... Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might, will win through to absolute victory. ... With confidence in our armed forces -- with the unbounded determination of our people -- we will gain the inevitable triumph -- so help us God." --Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Democrat far removed from today's crop of defeatists

On that fateful "Day of Infamy," 353 Japanese planes attacked a military target killing 2,390 American servicemen and civilians and wounding 1,282. The attack sank or damaged eight battleships, three cruisers, three destroyers and one minelayer and destroyed 188 aircraft. It took four years and the full military-industrial capability of the United States to defeat Japan. It is with honor and respect for those who died or suffered terrible injuries that Sunday morning that we should never again fall into the slumber that allowed such a tragedy as Pearl Harbor -- or the attack on Sept. 11, 2001 -- again.
 
23517  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: December 7th, 1941 on: December 07, 2010, 08:16:36 AM


  Re: Pearl Harbor: December 7, 1941
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2009, 01:01:14 PM »     

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

Remembering Pearl Harbor
"December 7, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan. ... Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might, will win through to absolute victory. ... With confidence in our armed forces -- with the unbounded determination of our people -- we will gain the inevitable triumph -- so help us God." --Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Democrat far removed from today's crop of defeatists

On that fateful "Day of Infamy," 353 Japanese planes attacked a military target killing 2,390 American servicemen and civilians and wounding 1,282. The attack sank or damaged eight battleships, three cruisers, three destroyers and one minelayer and destroyed 188 aircraft. It took four years and the full military-industrial capability of the United States to defeat Japan. It is with honor and respect for those who died or suffered terrible injuries that Sunday morning that we should never again fall into the slumber that allowed such a tragedy as Pearl Harbor -- or the attack on Sept. 11, 2001 -- again.
 
23518  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Looking for Teachers, Schools, and Training Partners on: December 06, 2010, 08:20:18 PM
BTW, Randall is C-Wolf Dog  cool
23519  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Death Tax on: December 06, 2010, 04:18:50 PM
Overlooked in the brawl over expiring Bush-era tax rates is what will happen to the death tax. Without action in the lame duck Congress, the estate tax will rise from the dead on January 1 with a vengeance, the rate climbing back to 55% from zero this year. The exemption amount will revert to a miserly $1 million, unindexed for inflation, so more middle class taxpayers will get hit year after year.

President Obama and Congressional Democrats don't think this is a high priority, but voters do. A November Gallup Poll found that Americans think that keeping the estate tax "from increasingly significantly" is "very important" by 56% to 17% "not too important." That's more than think it is a priority to extend current tax rates (50%), extend jobless benefits (48%), ratify the Start treaty (40%) or let openly gay men and women serve in the military (32%).

Liberals are content to let the rate revert to 55%, with some moderate Democrats arguing for a 45% rate. Republican Jon Kyl of Arizona and Democrat Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas are pushing a compromise that would lower the top rate to 35% with a $5 million deduction. That rate is still 35 percentage points too high for our liking, but we'll take it as an alternative to the greedy political confiscation of more than half of the wealth built by someone who has saved over a lifetime. An estate of $5 million isn't all that much for a successful and thrifty business person with some real estate to accumulate over 50 or 60 years.

 Senior Economics Writer Stephen Moore says congressional Republicans may drive a harder bargain on behalf of taxpayers. Also, Global View Columnist Bret Stephens explains why Iran's foreign minister doesn't want to talk to the US Secretary of State.
.Mr. Obama, who professes to care about small businesses and jobs, should pay attention to new estimates by the Joint Committee on Taxation. The committee finds that reverting to the 55% rate with a $1 million exemption will tax roughly 10 times more small businesses and farms than would Mr. Kyl's proposal. A recent study by Doug Holtz-Eakin, the former director of the Congressional Budget Office, finds that the estate tax reduces savings and capital formation and forces family businesses to liquidate at the time of an owner's death, which puts hundreds of thousands of jobs in peril.

As for the deficit, Congress could give relief to families and enhance revenue collections by lowering the gift tax rate to 10% or 15% from 35% on any gifts above $13,000 a year. This would allow parents to pass along more money to their kids and grandkids while they are still alive, increasing federal tax collections in the next few years by billions of dollars.

The Gallup results confirm that voters intuitively understand this tax isn't really about socking Bill Gates or Warren Buffett. Those two billionaires, like most others, have made sure they'll escape the grim tax reaper by parking most of their wealth into tax-exempt foundations. That may explain why the estate tax is so fiscally inconsequential, raising barely 1% of all federal revenue (0.6% in 2009).

At least 10 Senate Democrats have campaigned at one time or another for death tax repeal or relief. The next few days will determine whether they were telling the truth. The result will tell us if Congress is turning to a tax agenda rooted in growth and fairness, or sticking with the policy of government greed and envy that has defined the last four years.

23520  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: How to fight and win the cyberwar on: December 06, 2010, 04:06:42 PM
By MORTIMER ZUCKERMAN
Several years ago, during the presidency of George W. Bush, many banks and Wall Street firms were knocked offline. The financial industry, which had long been considered to have the best safeguards against cyberinfections in the private sector, discovered its computers had been penetrated by a worm, so-called because a virus grown on one computer can worm its way to millions of others. Mr. Bush asked then Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson to examine what it would take to protect our critical infrastructures. The upshot was that steps were taken to strengthen the security of the military networks, but little else was done.

The major shock about the mischievous WikiLeaks—even more than the individual headline items—is that it dramatizes how vulnerable we still are. Digitization has made it easier than ever to penetrate messages and download vast volumes of information. Our information systems have become the most aggressively targeted in the world. Each year, attacks increase in severity, frequency, and sophistication. On July 4, 2009, for instance there was an assault on U.S. government sites—including the White House—as well as the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq. There were similar attacks that month on websites in South Korea. In 2008, our classified networks, which we thought were inviolable, were penetrated. Three young hackers managed to steal 170 million credit-card numbers before the ringleader was arrested in 2008.

The Internet was originally intended for thousands of researchers, not billions of users who did not know and trust one another. The designers placed a higher priority on decentralization than on security. They never dreamed the Internet could be used for commercial purposes or that it would eventually control critical systems and undergird the world of finance. So it is not surprising that the Internet creators were comfortable with a network of networks rather than separate networks for government, finance and other sectors.

A symbol to many of the open communication of American culture, the Internet has thus evolved into a two-edged sword. Our extensive systems facilitate control of pipelines, airlines and railroads; they energize commerce and private banking. They give us rapid access to medical and criminal records. But they also offer a growing target for terrorists and thieves.

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Corbis
 .Most people who experience "malware" have been victims of so-called phishing, whereby criminals pretending to be bank employees, for example, trick the gullible into revealing account numbers and passwords. But cyberwarriors can do damage on a much larger scale, as former White House counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke points out in his revealing book "CyberWar," published earlier this year. They can tap into these networks and move money, spill oil, vent gas, blow up generators, derail trains, crash airplanes, cause missiles to detonate, and wipe out reams of financial and supply-chain data. Havoc can be created at the blink of an eye from remote locations overseas. Criminal groups, nation-states, terrorists and military organizations are at work exfiltrating vast amounts of data from the U.S. public and private sectors.

Another worrisome threat is the distributed denial of service attack, a deluge of Internet traffic specifically intended to crash or jam networks. Hackers using malicious computer code can mobilize a "botnet," or robotic network, of hundreds of thousands of machines that simultaneously visit certain websites to shut them down.

More recently, a virus that targets special industrial equipment has become widely known as the "Stuxnet" attack. This is the worm that this fall reportedly infiltrated the computers controlling Iran's nuclear centrifuge facilities, thereby delaying or even destroying its nuclear-weapons program (the one Iran denies it has). It is the world's first-known super cyberweapon designed specifically to destroy a real-world target.

Similarly, many believe that the immobilization of hundreds of key sites in independent Georgia in 2008 was a Russian government operation accompanying its kinetic war in support of breakaway regions in the former Soviet republic. In a cyberattack on South Korea last year, an estimated 166,000 computers in 74 countries flooded the websites of Korean banks and government agencies, jamming their fiber optic cables.

Mr. Clarke argues in his book that China is one of the key players in developing a cyberwar capability. The Chinese use private hackers to engage in widespread penetration of U.S. and European networks, successfully copying and exporting huge volumes of data. That's on top of their capacity to attack and degrade our computer systems and shut down our critical networks. He believes that the secrets behind everything from pharmaceutical formulas, bioengineering designs, and nanotechnologies to weapons systems and everyday industrial products have been stolen by the Chinese army or private hackers who in turn give them to China.

The United States has done little to enhance the safety of the networks that bolster our economy. We urgently need to develop defensive software to protect these networks and create impermeable barriers to the profusion of malware. Network convergence—transporting all communications over a common network structure—increases the opportunities for and the consequences of disruptive cyberattacks. Hackers and cyberwarriors are constantly devising new ways to trick systems.

Not many people realize that all of our nation's air, land and sea forces rely on network technologies that are vulnerable to cyberweapons, including logistics, command and control, fleet positioning and targeting. If they are compromised or obliterated, the U.S. military would be incapable of operating. It does not help that there is a disproportion between offense and defense. The average malware has about 175 lines of code, which can attack defense software using between 5 million and 10 million lines of code.

It is currently incredibly challenging to figure out the source of an attack, and this in turn inhibits our capacity to prosecute the wrongdoers or retaliate. Malicious programmers are always able to find weaknesses and challenge security measures. The defender is always lagging behind the attacker.

The task is of such a scale that it needs nothing less than a souped-up Manhattan Project, like the kind that broke the scientific barriers to the bomb that ended World War II. Our vulnerabilities are increasing exponentially. Cyberterrorism poses a threat equal to that of weapons of mass destruction. A large scale attack could create an unimaginable degree of chaos in America.

We should think of cyberattacks as guided missiles and respond similarly—intercept them and retaliate. This means we need a federal agency dedicated to defending our various networks. You cannot expect the private sector to know how—or to have the money—to defend against a nation-state attack in a cyberwar. One suggestion recommended by Mr. Clarke is that the our government create a Cyber Defense Administration. He's right. Clearly, defending the U.S. from cyberattacks should be one of our prime strategic objectives.

Few nations have used computer networks as extensively as we have to control electric power grids, airlines, railroads, banking and military support. Few nations have more of these essential systems owned and operated by private enterprise. As with 9/11, we do not enjoy the luxury of a dilatory response.

Mr. Zuckerman is chairman and editor in chief of U.S. News & World Report.

23521  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Decline and Fall of the American Empire-2 on: December 06, 2010, 12:42:36 PM
Military Misadventure: Present Situation

Counterintuitively, as their power wanes, empires often plunge into ill-advised military misadventures.  This phenomenon is known among historians of empire as “micro-militarism” and seems to involve psychologically compensatory efforts to salve the sting of retreat or defeat by occupying new territories, however briefly and catastrophically. These operations, irrational even from an imperial point of view, often yield hemorrhaging expenditures or humiliating defeats that only accelerate the loss of power.

Embattled empires through the ages suffer an arrogance that drives them to plunge ever deeper into military misadventures until defeat becomes debacle. In 413 BCE, a weakened Athens sent 200 ships to be slaughtered in Sicily. In 1921, a dying imperial Spain dispatched 20,000 soldiers to be massacred by Berber guerrillas in Morocco. In 1956, a fading British Empire destroyed its prestige by attacking Suez. And in 2001 and 2003, the U.S. occupied Afghanistan and invaded Iraq. With the hubris that marks empires over the millennia, Washington has increased its troops in Afghanistan to 100,000, expanded the war into Pakistan, and extended its commitment to 2014 and beyond, courting disasters large and small in this guerilla-infested, nuclear-armed graveyard of empires.

Military Misadventure: Scenario 2014

So irrational, so unpredictable is “micro-militarism” that seemingly fanciful scenarios are soon outdone by actual events. With the U.S. military stretched thin from Somalia to the Philippines and tensions rising in Israel, Iran, and Korea, possible combinations for a disastrous military crisis abroad are multifold.

It’s mid-summer 2014 and a drawn-down U.S. garrison in embattled Kandahar in southern Afghanistan is suddenly, unexpectedly overrun by Taliban guerrillas, while U.S. aircraft are grounded by a blinding sandstorm. Heavy loses are taken and in retaliation, an embarrassed American war commander looses B-1 bombers and F-16 fighters to demolish whole neighborhoods of the city that are believed to be under Taliban control, while AC-130U “Spooky” gunships rake the rubble with devastating cannon fire.

Soon, mullahs are preaching jihad from mosques throughout the region, and Afghan Army units, long trained by American forces to turn the tide of the war, begin to desert en masse.  Taliban fighters then launch a series of remarkably sophisticated strikes aimed at U.S. garrisons across the country, sending American casualties soaring. In scenes reminiscent of Saigon in 1975, U.S. helicopters rescue American soldiers and civilians from rooftops in Kabul and Kandahar.

Meanwhile, angry at the endless, decades-long stalemate over Palestine, OPEC’s leaders impose a new oil embargo on the U.S. to protest its backing of Israel as well as the killing of untold numbers of Muslim civilians in its ongoing wars across the Greater Middle East. With gas prices soaring and refineries running dry, Washington makes its move, sending in Special Operations forces to seize oil ports in the Persian Gulf.  This, in turn, sparks a rash of suicide attacks and the sabotage of pipelines and oil wells. As black clouds billow skyward and diplomats rise at the U.N. to bitterly denounce American actions, commentators worldwide reach back into history to brand this “America's Suez,” a telling reference to the 1956 debacle that marked the end of the British Empire.

World War III: Present Situation

In the summer of 2010, military tensions between the U.S. and China began to rise in the western Pacific, once considered an American “lake.”  Even a year earlier no one would have predicted such a development. As Washington played upon its alliance with London to appropriate much of Britain's global power after World War II, so China is now using the profits from its export trade with the U.S. to fund what is likely to become a military challenge to American dominion over the waterways of Asia and the Pacific.

With its growing resources, Beijing is claiming a vast maritime arc from Korea to Indonesia long dominated by the U.S. Navy. In August, after Washington expressed a “national interest” in the South China Sea and conducted naval exercises there to reinforce that claim, Beijing's officialGlobal Times responded angrily, saying, “The U.S.-China wrestling match over the South China Sea issue has raised the stakes in deciding who the real future ruler of the planet will be.”

Amid growing tensions, the Pentagon reported that Beijing now holds “the capability to attack… [U.S.] aircraft carriers in the western Pacific Ocean” and target “nuclear forces throughout… the continental United States.” By developing “offensive nuclear, space, and cyber warfare capabilities,” China seems determined to vie for dominance of what the Pentagon calls “the information spectrum in all dimensions of the modern battlespace.” With ongoing development of the powerful Long March V booster rocket, as well as the launch of two satellites in January 2010 and another in July, for a total of five, Beijing signaled that the country was making rapid strides toward an “independent” network of 35 satellites for global positioning, communications, and reconnaissance capabilities by 2020.

To check China and extend its military position globally, Washington is intent on building a new digital network of air and space robotics, advanced cyberwarfare capabilities, and electronic surveillance.  Military planners expect this integrated system to envelop the Earth in a cyber-grid capable of blinding entire armies on the battlefield or taking out a single terrorist in field or favela. By 2020, if all goes according to plan, the Pentagon will launch a three-tiered shield of space drones -- reaching from stratosphere to exosphere, armed with agile missiles, linked by a resilient modular satellite system, and operated through total telescopic surveillance.

Last April, the Pentagon made history.  It extended drone operations into the exosphere by quietly launching the X-37B unmanned space shuttle into a low orbit 255 miles above the planet.  The X-37B is the first in a new generation of unmanned vehicles that will mark the full weaponization of space, creating an arena for future warfare unlike anything that has gone before.

World War III: Scenario 2025

The technology of space and cyberwarfare is so new and untested that even the most outlandish scenarios may soon be superseded by a reality still hard to conceive. If we simply employ the sort of scenarios that the Air Force itself used in its 2009 Future Capabilities Game, however, we can gain “a better understanding of how air, space and cyberspace overlap in warfare,” and so begin to imagine how the next world war might actually be fought.

It’s 11:59 p.m. on Thanksgiving Thursday in 2025. While cyber-shoppers pound the portals of Best Buy for deep discounts on the latest home electronics from China, U.S. Air Force technicians at the Space Surveillance Telescope (SST) on Maui choke on their coffee as their panoramic screens suddenly blip to black. Thousands of miles away at the U.S. CyberCommand's operations center in Texas, cyberwarriors soon detect malicious binaries that, though fired anonymously, show the distinctive digital fingerprints of China's People's Liberation Army.

The first overt strike is one nobody predicted. Chinese “malware” seizes control of the robotics aboard an unmanned solar-powered U.S. “Vulture” drone as it flies at 70,000 feet over the Tsushima Strait between Korea and Japan.  It suddenly fires all the rocket pods beneath its enormous 400-foot wingspan, sending dozens of lethal missiles plunging harmlessly into the Yellow Sea, effectively disarming this formidable weapon.

Determined to fight fire with fire, the White House authorizes a retaliatory strike.  Confident that its F-6 “Fractionated, Free-Flying” satellite system is impenetrable, Air Force commanders in California transmit robotic codes to the flotilla of X-37B space drones orbiting 250 miles above the Earth, ordering them to launch their “Triple Terminator” missiles at China's 35 satellites. Zero response. In near panic, the Air Force launches its Falcon Hypersonic Cruise Vehicle into an arc 100 miles above the Pacific Ocean and then, just 20 minutes later, sends the computer codes to fire missiles at seven Chinese satellites in nearby orbits.  The launch codes are suddenly inoperative.

As the Chinese virus spreads uncontrollably through the F-6 satellite architecture, while those second-rate U.S. supercomputers fail to crack the malware's devilishly complex code, GPS signals crucial to the navigation of U.S. ships and aircraft worldwide are compromised. Carrier fleets begin steaming in circles in the mid-Pacific. Fighter squadrons are grounded. Reaper drones fly aimlessly toward the horizon, crashing when their fuel is exhausted. Suddenly, the United States loses what the U.S. Air Force has long called “the ultimate high ground”: space. Within hours, the military power that had dominated the globe for nearly a century has been defeated in World War III without a single human casualty.

A New World Order?

Even if future events prove duller than these four scenarios suggest, every significant trend points toward a far more striking decline in American global power by 2025 than anything Washington now seems to be envisioning.

As allies worldwide begin to realign their policies to take cognizance of rising Asian powers, the cost of maintaining 800 or more overseas military bases will simply become unsustainable, finally forcing a staged withdrawal on a still-unwilling Washington. With both the U.S. and China in a race to weaponize space and cyberspace, tensions between the two powers are bound to rise, making military conflict by 2025 at least feasible, if hardly guaranteed.

Complicating matters even more, the economic, military, and technological trends outlined above will not operate in tidy isolation. As happened to European empires after World War II, such negative forces will undoubtedly prove synergistic.  They will combine in thoroughly unexpected ways, create crises for which Americans are remarkably unprepared, and threaten to spin the economy into a sudden downward spiral, consigning this country to a generation or more of economic misery.

As U.S. power recedes, the past offers a spectrum of possibilities for a future world order.  At one end of this spectrum, the rise of a new global superpower, however unlikely, cannot be ruled out. Yet both China and Russia evince self-referential cultures, recondite non-roman scripts, regional defense strategies, and underdeveloped legal systems, denying them key instruments for global dominion. At the moment then, no single superpower seems to be on the horizon likely to succeed the U.S.

In a dark, dystopian version of our global future, a coalition of transnational corporations, multilateral forces like NATO, and an international financial elite could conceivably forge a single, possibly unstable, supra-national nexus that would make it no longer meaningful to speak of national empires at all.  While denationalized corporations and multinational elites would assumedly rule such a world from secure urban enclaves, the multitudes would be relegated to urban and rural wastelands.

In Planet of Slums, Mike Davis offers at least a partial vision of such a world from the bottom up.  He argues that the billion people already packed into fetid favela-style slums worldwide (rising to two billion by 2030) will make “the 'feral, failed cities' of the Third World… the distinctive battlespace of the twenty-first century.” As darkness settles over some future super-favela, “the empire can deploy Orwellian technologies of repression” as “hornet-like helicopter gun-ships stalk enigmatic enemies in the narrow streets of the slum districts… Every morning the slums reply with suicide bombers and eloquent explosions.”

At a midpoint on the spectrum of possible futures, a new global oligopoly might emerge between 2020 and 2040, with rising powers China, Russia, India, and Brazil collaborating with receding powers like Britain, Germany, Japan, and the United States to enforce an ad hoc global dominion, akin to the loose alliance of European empires that ruled half of humanity circa 1900.

Another possibility: the rise of regional hegemons in a return to something reminiscent of the international system that operated before modern empires took shape. In this neo-Westphalian world order, with its endless vistas of micro-violence and unchecked exploitation, each hegemon would dominate its immediate region -- Brasilia in South America, Washington in North America, Pretoria in southern Africa, and so on. Space, cyberspace, and the maritime deeps, removed from the control of the former planetary “policeman,” the United States, might even become a new global commons, controlled through an expanded U.N. Security Council or some ad hoc body.

All of these scenarios extrapolate existing trends into the future on the assumption that Americans, blinded by the arrogance of decades of historically unparalleled power, cannot or will not take steps to manage the unchecked erosion of their global position.

If America's decline is in fact on a 22-year trajectory from 2003 to 2025, then we have already frittered away most of the first decade of that decline with wars that distracted us from long-term problems and, like water tossed onto desert sands, wasted trillions of desperately needed dollars.

If only 15 years remain, the odds of frittering them all away still remain high.  Congress and the president are now in gridlock; the American system is flooded with corporate money meant to jam up the works; and there is little suggestion that any issues of significance, including our wars, our bloated national security state, our starved education system, and our antiquated energy supplies, will be addressed with sufficient seriousness to assure the sort of soft landing that might maximize our country's role and prosperity in a changing world.

Europe's empires are gone and America's imperium is going.  It seems increasingly doubtful that the United States will have anything like Britain's success in shaping a succeeding world order that protects its interests, preserves its prosperity, and bears the imprint of its best values.

Alfred W. McCoy is professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Copyright 2010 Alfred W. McCoy
23522  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Decline, Fall, and Resurrection of America on: December 06, 2010, 12:42:03 PM
All:

I post this not because I agree with the inevitability of American decline, but because IMHO this is a serious piece deserving serious conversation.

Marc
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The Decline and Fall of the American Empire
Four Scenarios for the End of the American Century by 2025
By Alfred W. McCoy

A soft landing for America 40 years from now?  Don’t bet on it.  The demise of the United States as the global superpower could come far more quickly than anyone imagines.  If Washington is dreaming of 2040 or 2050 as the end of the American Century, a more realistic assessment of domestic and global trends suggests that in 2025, just 15 years from now, it could all be over except for the shouting.

Despite the aura of omnipotence most empires project, a look at their history should remind us that they are fragile organisms. So delicate is their ecology of power that, when things start to go truly bad, empires regularly unravel with unholy speed: just a year for Portugal, two years for the Soviet Union, eight years for France, 11 years for the Ottomans, 17 years for Great Britain, and, in all likelihood, 22 years for the United States, counting from the crucial year 2003.

Future historians are likely to identify the Bush administration’s rash invasion of Iraq in that year as the start of America's downfall. However, instead of the bloodshed that marked the end of so many past empires, with cities burning and civilians slaughtered, this twenty-first century imperial collapse could come relatively quietly through the invisible tendrils of economic collapse or cyberwarfare.

But have no doubt: when Washington's global dominion finally ends, there will be painful daily reminders of what such a loss of power means for Americans in every walk of life. As a half-dozen European nations have discovered, imperial decline tends to have a remarkably demoralizing impact on a society, regularly bringing at least a generation of economic privation. As the economy cools, political temperatures rise, often sparking serious domestic unrest.

Available economic, educational, and military data indicate that, when it comes to U.S. global power, negative trends will aggregate rapidly by 2020 and are likely to reach a critical mass no later than 2030. The American Century, proclaimed so triumphantly at the start of World War II, will be tattered and fading by 2025, its eighth decade, and could be history by 2030.

Significantly, in 2008, the U.S. National Intelligence Council admitted for the first time that America's global power was indeed on a declining trajectory. In one of its periodic futuristic reports, Global Trends 2025, the Council cited “the transfer of global wealth and economic power now under way, roughly from West to East" and "without precedent in modern history,” as the primary factor in the decline of the “United States' relative strength -- even in the military realm.” Like many in Washington, however, the Council’s analysts anticipated a very long, very soft landing for American global preeminence, and harbored the hope that somehow the U.S. would long “retain unique military capabilities… to project military power globally” for decades to come.

No such luck.  Under current projections, the United States will find itself in second place behind China (already the world's second largest economy) in economic output around 2026, and behind India by 2050. Similarly, Chinese innovation is on a trajectory toward world leadership in applied science and military technology sometime between 2020 and 2030, just as America's current supply of brilliant scientists and engineers retires, without adequate replacement by an ill-educated younger generation.

By 2020, according to current plans, the Pentagon will throw a military Hail Mary pass for a dying empire.  It will launch a lethal triple canopy of advanced aerospace robotics that represents Washington's last best hope of retaining global power despite its waning economic influence. By that year, however, China's global network of communications satellites, backed by the world's most powerful supercomputers, will also be fully operational, providing Beijing with an independent platform for the weaponization of space and a powerful communications system for missile- or cyber-strikes into every quadrant of the globe.

Wrapped in imperial hubris, like Whitehall or Quai d'Orsay before it, the White House still seems to imagine that American decline will be gradual, gentle, and partial. In his State of the Union address last January, President Obama offered the reassurance that “I do not accept second place for the United States of America.” A few days later, Vice President Biden ridiculed the very idea that “we are destined to fulfill [historian Paul] Kennedy's prophecy that we are going to be a great nation that has failed because we lost control of our economy and overextended.” Similarly, writing in the November issue of the establishment journal Foreign Affairs, neo-liberal foreign policy guru Joseph Nye waved away talk of China's economic and military rise, dismissing “misleading metaphors of organic decline” and denying that any deterioration in U.S. global power was underway.

Ordinary Americans, watching their jobs head overseas, have a more realistic view than their cosseted leaders. An opinion poll in August 2010 found that 65% of Americans believed the country was now “in a state of decline.”  Already, Australia and Turkey, traditional U.S. military allies, are using their American-manufactured weapons for joint air and naval maneuvers with China. Already, America's closest economic partners are backing away from Washington's opposition to China's rigged currency rates. As the president flew back from his Asian tour last month, a gloomy New York Times headline summed the moment up this way: “Obama's Economic View Is Rejected on World Stage, China, Britain and Germany Challenge U.S., Trade Talks With Seoul Fail, Too.”

Viewed historically, the question is not whether the United States will lose its unchallenged global power, but just how precipitous and wrenching the decline will be. In place of Washington's wishful thinking, let’s use the National Intelligence Council's own futuristic methodology to suggest four realistic scenarios for how, whether with a bang or a whimper, U.S. global power could reach its end in the 2020s (along with four accompanying assessments of just where we are today).  The future scenarios include: economic decline, oil shock, military misadventure, and World War III.  While these are hardly the only possibilities when it comes to American decline or even collapse, they offer a window into an onrushing future.

Economic Decline: Present Situation

Today, three main threats exist to America’s dominant position in the global economy: loss of economic clout thanks to a shrinking share of world trade, the decline of American technological innovation, and the end of the dollar's privileged status as the global reserve currency.

By 2008, the United States had already fallen to number three in global merchandise exports, with just 11% of them compared to 12% for China and 16% for the European Union.  There is no reason to believe that this trend will reverse itself.

Similarly, American leadership in technological innovation is on the wane. In 2008, the U.S. was still number two behind Japan in worldwide patent applications with 232,000, but China was closing fast at 195,000, thanks to a blistering 400% increase since 2000.  A harbinger of further decline: in 2009 the U.S. hit rock bottom in ranking among the 40 nations surveyed by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation when it came to “change” in “global innovation-based competitiveness” during the previous decade.  Adding substance to these statistics, in October China's Defense Ministry unveiled the world's fastest supercomputer, the Tianhe-1A, so powerful, said one U.S. expert, that it “blows away the existing No. 1 machine” in America.

Add to this clear evidence that the U.S. education system, that source of future scientists and innovators, has been falling behind its competitors. After leading the world for decades in 25- to 34-year-olds with university degrees, the country sank to 12th place in 2010.  The World Economic Forum ranked the United States at a mediocre 52nd among 139 nations in the quality of its university math and science instruction in 2010. Nearly half of all graduate students in the sciences in the U.S. are now foreigners, most of whom will be heading home, not staying here as once would have happened.  By 2025, in other words, the United States is likely to face a critical shortage of talented scientists.

Such negative trends are encouraging increasingly sharp criticism of the dollar's role as the world’s reserve currency. “Other countries are no longer willing to buy into the idea that the U.S. knows best on economic policy,”observed Kenneth S. Rogoff, a former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund. In mid-2009, with the world's central banks holding an astronomical $4 trillion in U.S. Treasury notes, Russian president Dimitri Medvedev insisted that it was time to end “the artificially maintained unipolar system” based on “one formerly strong reserve currency.”

Simultaneously, China's central bank governor suggested that the future might lie with a global reserve currency “disconnected from individual nations” (that is, the U.S. dollar). Take these as signposts of a world to come, and of a possible attempt, as economist Michael Hudson has argued, “to hasten the bankruptcy of the U.S. financial-military world order.”

Economic Decline: Scenario 2020

After years of swelling deficits fed by incessant warfare in distant lands, in 2020, as long expected, the U.S. dollar finally loses its special status as the world's reserve currency.  Suddenly, the cost of imports soars. Unable to pay for swelling deficits by selling now-devalued Treasury notes abroad, Washington is finally forced to slash its bloated military budget.  Under pressure at home and abroad, Washington slowly pulls U.S. forces back from hundreds of overseas bases to a continental perimeter.  By now, however, it is far too late.

Faced with a fading superpower incapable of paying the bills, China, India, Iran, Russia, and other powers, great and regional, provocatively challenge U.S. dominion over the oceans, space, and cyberspace.  Meanwhile, amid soaring prices, ever-rising unemployment, and a continuing decline in real wages, domestic divisions widen into violent clashes and divisive debates, often over remarkably irrelevant issues. Riding a political tide of disillusionment and despair, a far-right patriot captures the presidency with thundering rhetoric, demanding respect for American authority and threatening military retaliation or economic reprisal. The world pays next to no attention as the American Century ends in silence.

Oil Shock: Present Situation

One casualty of America's waning economic power has been its lock on global oil supplies. Speeding by America's gas-guzzling economy in the passing lane, China became the world's number one energy consumer this summer, a position the U.S. had held for over a century.  Energy specialist Michael Klare has argued that this change means China will “set the pace in shaping our global future.”

By 2025, Iran and Russia will control almost half of the world's natural gas supply, which will potentially give them enormous leverage over energy-starved Europe. Add petroleum reserves to the mix and, as the National Intelligence Council has warned, in just 15 years two countries, Russia and Iran, could “emerge as energy kingpins.”

Despite remarkable ingenuity, the major oil powers are now draining the big basins of petroleum reserves that are amenable to easy, cheap extraction. The real lesson of the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico was not BP's sloppy safety standards, but the simple fact everyone saw on “spillcam”: one of the corporate energy giants had little choice but to search for what Klare calls “tough oil” miles beneath the surface of the ocean to keep its profits up.

Compounding the problem, the Chinese and Indians have suddenly become far heavier energy consumers. Even if fossil fuel supplies were to remain constant (which they won’t), demand, and so costs, are almost certain to rise -- and sharply at that.  Other developed nations are meeting this threat aggressively by plunging into experimental programs to develop alternative energy sources.  The United States has taken a different path, doing far too little to develop alternative sources while, in the last three decades, doubling its dependence on foreign oil imports.  Between 1973 and 2007, oil imports have risen from 36% of energy consumed in the U.S. to 66%.

Oil Shock: Scenario 2025

The United States remains so dependent upon foreign oil that a few adverse developments in the global energy market in 2025 spark an oil shock.  By comparison, it makes the 1973 oil shock (when prices quadrupled in just months) look like the proverbial molehill.  Angered at the dollar's plummeting value, OPEC oil ministers, meeting in Riyadh, demand future energy payments in a “basket” of Yen, Yuan, and Euros.  That only hikes the cost of U.S. oil imports further.  At the same moment, while signing a new series of long-term delivery contracts with China, the Saudis stabilize their own foreign exchange reserves by switching to the Yuan.  Meanwhile, China pours countless billions into building a massive trans-Asia pipeline and funding Iran's exploitation of the world largest natural gas field at South Pars in the Persian Gulf.

Concerned that the U.S. Navy might no longer be able to protect the oil tankers traveling from the Persian Gulf to fuel East Asia, a coalition of Tehran, Riyadh, and Abu Dhabi form an unexpected new Gulf alliance and affirm that China's new fleet of swift aircraft carriers will henceforth patrol the Persian Gulf from a base on the Gulf of Oman.  Under heavy economic pressure, London agrees to cancel the U.S. lease on its Indian Ocean island base of Diego Garcia, while Canberra, pressured by the Chinese, informs Washington that the Seventh Fleet is no longer welcome to use Fremantle as a homeport, effectively evicting the U.S. Navy from the Indian Ocean.

With just a few strokes of the pen and some terse announcements, the “Carter Doctrine,” by which U.S. military power was to eternally protect the Persian Gulf, is laid to rest in 2025.  All the elements that long assured the United States limitless supplies of low-cost oil from that region -- logistics, exchange rates, and naval power -- evaporate. At this point, the U.S. can still cover only an insignificant 12% of its energy needs from its nascent alternative energy industry, and remains dependent on imported oil for half of its energy consumption.

The oil shock that follows hits the country like a hurricane, sending prices to startling heights, making travel a staggeringly expensive proposition, putting real wages (which had long been declining) into freefall, and rendering non-competitive whatever American exports remained. With thermostats dropping, gas prices climbing through the roof, and dollars flowing overseas in return for costly oil, the American economy is paralyzed. With long-fraying alliances at an end and fiscal pressures mounting, U.S. military forces finally begin a staged withdrawal from their overseas bases.

Within a few years, the U.S. is functionally bankrupt and the clock is ticking toward midnight on the American Century.

23523  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Assange on: December 06, 2010, 12:14:55 PM
Whatever else WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has accomplished, he's ended the era of innocent optimism about the Web. As wiki innovator Larry Sanger put it in a message to WikiLeaks, "Speaking as Wikipedia's co-founder, I consider you enemies of the U.S.—not just the government, but the people."

The irony is that WikiLeaks' use of technology to post confidential U.S. government documents will certainly result in a less free flow of information. The outrage is that this is Mr. Assange's express intention.


This batch includes 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables, the kind of confidential assessments diplomats have written since the era of wax seals. These include Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah urging the U.S. to end Iran's nuclear ambitions—to "cut the head off the snake." This alignment with the Israeli-U.S. position is not for public consumption in the Arab world, which is why leaks will curtail honest discussions.

Leaks will also restrict information flows within the U.S. A major cause of the 9/11 intelligence failures was that agencies were barred from sharing information. Since then, intelligence data have been shared more widely. The Obama administration now plans to tighten information flows, which could limit leaks but would be a step back to the pre-9/11 period.

Mr. Assange is misunderstood in the media and among digirati as an advocate of transparency. Instead, this battening down of the information hatches by the U.S. is precisely his goal. The reason he launched WikiLeaks is not that he's a whistleblower—there's no wrongdoing inherent in diplomatic cables—but because he hopes to hobble the U.S., which according to his underreported philosophy can best be done if officials lose access to a free flow of information.

In 2006, Mr. Assange wrote a pair of essays, "State and Terrorist Conspiracies" and "Conspiracy as Governance." He sees the U.S. as an authoritarian conspiracy. "To radically shift regime behavior we must think clearly and boldly for if we have learned anything, it is that regimes do not want to be changed," he writes. "Conspiracies take information about the world in which they operate," he writes, and "pass it around the conspirators and then act on the result."

His central plan is that leaks will restrict the flow of information among officials—"conspirators" in his view—making government less effective. Or, as Mr. Assange puts it, "We can marginalize a conspiracy's ability to act by decreasing total conspiratorial power until it is no longer able to understand, and hence respond effectively to its environment. . . . An authoritarian conspiracy that cannot think efficiently cannot act to preserve itself."

Berkeley blogger Aaron Bady last week posted a useful translation of these essays. He explains Mr. Assange's view this way: "While an organization structured by direct and open lines of communication will be much more vulnerable to outside penetration, the more opaque it becomes to itself (as a defense against the outside gaze), the less able it will be to 'think' as a system, to communicate with itself." Mr. Assange's idea is that with enough leaks, "the security state will then try to shrink its computational network in response, thereby making itself dumber and slower and smaller."

Or as Mr. Assange told Time magazine last week, "It is not our goal to achieve a more transparent society; it's our goal to achieve a more just society." If leaks cause U.S. officials to "lock down internally and to balkanize," they will "cease to be as efficient as they were."
This worldview has precedent. Ted Kaczynski, another math-obsessed anarchist, sent bombs through the mail for almost 20 years, killing three people and injuring 23. He offered to stop in 1995 if media outlets published his Unabomber Manifesto. The 35,000-word essay, "Industrial Society and Its Future," objected to the "industrial-technological system" that causes people "to behave in ways that are increasingly remote from the natural pattern of human behavior." He's serving a life sentence for murder.

Mr. Assange doesn't mail bombs, but his actions have life-threatening consequences. Consider the case of a 75-year-old dentist in Los Angeles, Hossein Vahedi. According to one of the confidential cables released by WikiLeaks, Dr. Vahedi, a U.S. citizen, returned to Iran in 2008 to visit his parents' graves. Authorities confiscated his passport because his sons worked as concert promoters for Persian pop singers in the U.S. who had criticized the theocracy.

The cable reported that Dr. Vahedi decided to escape by horseback over the mountains of western Iran and into Turkey. He trained by hiking the hills above Tehran. He took extra heart medication. But when he fell off his horse, he was injured and nearly froze. When he made it to Turkey, the U.S. Embassy intervened to stop him being sent back to Iran.
"This is very bad for my family," Dr. Vahedi told the New York Daily News on being told about the leak of the cable naming him and describing his exploits. Tehran has a new excuse to target his relatives in Iran. "How could this be printed?"

Excellent question. It's hard being collateral damage in the world of WikiLeaks.
23524  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Palin phenomenon on: December 06, 2010, 11:15:58 AM
And "able to do the job" includes life experiences that prepare one for what may be the toughest job on the planet.

Palin comes from being mayor of a town of 10,000, two years governing a state with a population less than one million, a VP campaign, and , , , tweeting.   While I've no doubt this left her better prepared than BO (with her background dealing with the oil industry i suspect she would have handed the BP Gulf oil spill far better than BO) is it really enough?
23525  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Happy Hibernation! on: December 06, 2010, 11:10:56 AM
I used to look at the holiday season as a collective madness wherein at the same time every year most people went on a frenzy of spending and consuming in which killing lots of pine trees played an important role.  Gyms had shortened hours or even were closed on some days.   I mean, what if the 25th was squat day?!? 
 
Now, many years later I have come to realize that I was peeing into the wind; that from Thanksgiving to the first week of January is a time for hibernation and recharging-of Mind, Body, and Spirit.
 
BODY

For me spring throught fall this year involved quite a bit of heavy physical training, teaching and travel-- including some trips with major time zone changes.  I pushed hard and progressed well, and now it is time for my training to focus on recharging and laying the foundations for future growth.

After several months away from it, I've returned to the site of my rucking training at Bluff Cove, only now I do it un-weighted for forty minutes for speed in my Vibram five-fingered "barefooting" shoes instead in boots with a fifty pound weight vest for three hours.  There's been lots of work re-opening hips and re-establishing alignment and core strength (long, international flights in steerage class don't help!), re-establishing aerobic levels, a squat cycle of one day a week with another day a week of sprints and football/lacrosse type agility, and so forth.   Today Cindy and I started a Bikram Yoga class together.  (Bikram is done in a room heated to over one hundred degrees-how utterly perfect for a season of hibernation!)

MIND

I usually do my squat routine at a gym on the beach in Hermosa Beach called "The Yard".  Last week when I was there we were in the midst of several summer-like days in the mid-eighties. The Hermosa Beach pier is but a block and a half away and so I walked to its end.  With the warmth of the sun on my skin, good waves for the surfers, and a school of nervous mackerel made skittish by a couple of dolphins, the feng shui was quite nice.

I sat there a while shirtless in the warm glow of the afternoon sun and entered the altered space.  As we get older, we begin to notice how where we are is a result of what we have done with where we have been.   So, how on earth did I get to where I am?  Tis a mystery to me!  As the line in a Grateful Dead song says "What a long strange trip it has been!"

SPIRIT

Often we seek simultaneously to become both more purposeful in how we live and more humble about thinking that we know what we are doing.   In my humble opinion, whether we realize it or not, ultimately for all our plotting and planning there comes the time to put our Word to something and, as Juan Matus would say, to "act with abandon"... and turn it all over to our Creator.  Vaguely remembering a line from a movie, "Things will work out.  We may not know how-that's the mystery of it."



So in this season of hibernation I wish you some time to rest and recharge, I wish you some time to reflect on where you've been and where you are going, and I wish you time in connection with the Consciousness of our Creator.



The Adventure continues!
Crafty Dog
23526  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Palin phenomenon on: December 06, 2010, 10:33:13 AM
Her voice irritates the hell out of my wife.

Like GM I certainly admire her enemies list.  While she may not say much that is cutting edge (though her recent comments on QE2 were enough in front of the pack that a recent WSJ editorial complimented her on it)  I like that she says it forthrightly with confidence and pride.  I think she makes it cooler for women to be conservative.  She has a very good ability to deflate with pithy soundbites.

Brit Humes current six part series on FOX on the history of the conservative movement (quite good by the way- recommended!) is currently at part four, which covers the Reagan presidency.  Amongst the points well-made was that Reagan had a tremendous ability to take and hold the course with momentarily unpopular stands.  Much of the Rep party was quite skittish or even hostile to his tax rate cuts for example, particularly around 1982 when the economy still had not recovered.  Palin gives the impression of someone with a similar quality.

In contrast Gingrich, and regular readers of this forum will remember I strongly wanted him for president this past election, recently has shown signs of a life of punditry on FOX and elsewhere dulling his edge e.g. his backing that liberal in Republican clothing for Congress in upstate NY; hesitations over the Tea Party, etc.

All this said, I have considerable doubts about the wisdom of her as a candidate.


23527  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Sponge Bob in China on: December 05, 2010, 09:14:47 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PxymwN7nYQQ
23528  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Feb 4-6: Guro Crafty in Chicago on: December 05, 2010, 05:10:21 PM
Tres cool BD-- I look forward to it cool
23529  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 05, 2010, 04:40:24 PM
How about bomb sniffing dogs?  cheesy
23530  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DB Euro Gathering 8/13-14, 2010 on: December 05, 2010, 04:38:43 PM
@Andrew:  I am sure that everyone there knew that a big athletic guy like you was being a good sport smiley
23531  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Sundry on: December 05, 2010, 04:37:38 PM

a) Freddie Roach on GSP:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpkjn8Wufz8&feature=player_embedded

b) Machida vs. Jackson:  Hard to see how the judges came to that decision!

c) Last night on the TUF finale event, Joe Rogan had a riff on how bad decsions are getting  to start to thing that MMA is starting to get corrupt; he went on to say that it is because the Nevada Athletic Commission, which basically is boxing people, is putting clueless morons judging UFC fights.  I was surprised at how candid his comments were.

d) Exciting finale to the TUF event.  I really like that kid who won (name slips my mind at the moment) but he sure took too many strong hits in the first round.  IMHO shots like those have a cumulative effect.  He really needs to clean up his standing striking game.
23532  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / When Rock Stars get old on: December 05, 2010, 04:31:13 PM
http://dalesdesigns.net/rock-on.htm
23533  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 05, 2010, 04:10:01 PM
Well, it looks like you get to evade my question , , , until AQ gets the kiestering technology down  smiley , , , or you can accept the hypothetical:  What if AQ does succeed or make a credible effort with keister bombs?  Just how far is the TSA and/or you willing to go on this?
23534  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / DBMA Initials/Acronym Guide on: December 05, 2010, 12:39:47 PM
Woof All:

If you think about it for a moment, it is clear that doing what we do in
the American legal environment is no small trick.  Not only in litigation
crazy America is our foundation a form of fighting that the early UFC turned
down for being “just too extreme”, but in order for me to dedicate my life
to the “Dog Brothers mission” it is necessary for me to earn my living at
it.  I know, I know, it is not the craftiest of financial decisions I could
have made -- as I sometimes joke, “I used to be a lawyer, but then I went
for the big bucks in stick fighting.”-- but it is a life in which I believe
in what I do.

Pay attention, this is a guide to how things are organized around here:

The DOG BROTHERS (DB)/ The DOG BROTHERS TRIBE:  “A band of sweaty, smelly,
psychopaths with sticks dedicated to higher consciousness through harder
contact”. © DBI.  My role within the Dog Brothers is “The Guiding Force”.
The “Council of Elders” helps me make important decisions.  The Council of
Elders is Benjamin "Lonely Dog" Rittiner, Mike "Dogzilla" Tibbitts, Philip "Sled Dog"
Gelinas, and me.

The Council of Elders (COE) is the body that after consultation with the Tribe,
confers membership in the DB Tribe.   To become a member of the Tribe no
money is ever involved.  It does not matter what your lineage is. Stating the
matter plainly, though a goodly percentage of the Dog Brothers Tribe trains
in Dog Brothers Martial Arts, the DB Tribe is a separate matter and having the
COE bestow membership in the Tribe helps make the point.

DOG BROTHERS INC. (DBI):  DBI has been incorporated in California since
1988.   DBI is the legal vehicle through which “Dog Brothers Gatherings of
the Pack are held”.  This helps minimize the risk of legal liability for all
concerned—including me!

Indeed, for that very reason all my teaching and all my other martial art
professional activities I do not as Marc Denny, but as an employee of DBI.
This also applies to my wife Cindy Denny, who is in charge of Reality at
DBI.  (I am in charge of everything else she informs me)  Amongst other
things, “Reality” for includes our DVD and other product sales and the
websites.   The “Magic Words” that open a “DB Gathering of the Pack” apply
to all dealings with DBI too: “No suing no one for no reason for nothing no
how no way.  Only you are responsible for you, so protect yourself at all
times.  California law applies.” © DBI

DOG BROTHERS MARTIAL ARTS (DBMA):    I am the Head Instructor of DBMA, which
I founded in 1995.  The mission statement of DBMA is “To walk as a warrior
for all your days” © DBI.  Please be clear that although lots of DBs got
some or all of their training in DBMA, being involved with DBMA does not
make you a Dog Brother or a member of the DB Tribe.  Please keep this clear
in your dealings with others.

As stated a moment ago in the previous section, all my DBMA activities are
as an employee of DBI.  These activities include:

a)      private and group classes;

b)      seminars (to which it is agreed that California law applies);

c)      The Dog Brothers Martial Arts Association (DBMA Ass'n)  The DBMAA is for
everyone, particularly those without regular access to DBMA training.  The
heart of the DBMAA is the DBMAA website—particularly its forum, where I can
be found most days.  For more info http://dogbrothers.com/join-dbmaa/

d)     DBMA Training Groups (DBMA TG):  Typically DBMA TGs are your
quintessential backyard groups.  Each group has its own feel and its own mix
of interests be it "Real Contact Stick Fighting", “Kali Tudo”, or the “Die
Less Often” material.  Each DBMA TG has a Group Leader (GL).  A DBMA Group
Leader is someone who is training with me (or Guro Lonely Dog in Europe)
whom I have certified as a Group Leader.  A group leader must train with me
at least once a year with a “Personal Training Program” (PTP) or by hosting
a seminar. (There are some additional requirements that will be discussed at
an appropriate moment).  There is a secure forum for DBMA GLs where DBMA and
teaching DBMA can be discussed with privacy.  GLs can post their lesson
plans for commentary by either GLs and/or me.  Videos clips can be posted.
At random intervals, “Vid-lessons” are released.  I am available to answer
questions on the forum.  DBMA TGs have the support of DBI/DBMA/DBMAA e.g.
listing on the DBMA public site or on the public site forum.  This can
greatly help in finding kindred spirits.

The DBMA Affiliate Program (DBMA AP):  Just as the DBMAA is for individuals
wherever they may be and DBMA TGs are for backyard groups, the DBMA AP is
for martial arts schools looking for to offer DBMA.  The DBMA AP will give
schools a way of building their people from the ground up.  People developed
in this program can prepare themselves to fight in a Dog Brothers Gathering
and by so doing become members of the DB Tribe.  People developed in this
program can focus on walking as a warrior for all their days.   As part of
DB values having to do with initiation of boys into men, this program
includes options for parents and adolescents (usually fathers and sons, but
women and girls are welcome too) training together and for children’s
classes.    

To summarize:

DB: The Dog Brothers
DBI: Dog Brothers Incorporated
DBMA: Dog Brothers Martial Arts
DBMAA: The Dog Brothers Martial Arts Association
DBMA TG:  DBMA Training Group
DBMA TG GL:  DBMA TG Group Leader
DBMA Ass'n: DBMA Association
DBMA AP:  DBMA Affiliate Program


The Adventure continues!
Marc F. Denny/Crafty Dog/Guro Crafty
Guiding Force of the Dog Brothers
President Dog Brothers Inc.
Founder/Head Instructor Dog Brothers Martial Arts





23535  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / DBMA Instructor Association-- School Program on: December 05, 2010, 12:37:20 PM
A hearty woof to all:

I came late in life to the martial arts, around 30 years old.

Growing up in New York City as I did when I did meant having a variety of
experiences that would shape my life in martial arts.   The nature of these
experiences was not of the young male hierarchical sort that motivates so
many in martial arts.  These were incidents of uneven numbers, sometimes
with criminal nature.

For example in the summer of 1977 (which would make me twenty five years old
at the time) I was in a wild fight in a small town in southern Mexico
wherein four locals armed with bottles and car antennaes tried to drag off
the two American girls who were with a Mexican friend and me.  Assisted by
my forethought in having a particular belt buckle with me we were able to
keep the four would-be rapists at bay, but when we ran to the police station
for help the only policeman on duty ran away.   We barricaded ourselves in
the station as the four banged on the door.  We were climbing out the back
window when the police arrived in force.   In the comedy of errors that
ensued the police threw us into the local prison (and I mean “prison”, not
“jail”) for three days.  During those three days while we were negotiating
our release, various mini-adventures in the prison yard ensued.

It is in this background that my choice of Guro Inosanto’s Kali Academy in
Torrance, CA with Kali as my core martial art in 1982 is to be understood.

I met Eric Knaus around 1986 and we took our hard sparring to the Inosanto
Academy, which by then had moved to Marina del Rey.  In 1988 Eric and I,
soon to be joined by Arlan Sanford, started the Dog Brothers.   After a year
of preparing Eric for the camera in 1992 Eric and I shot the “Real Contact
Stickfighting” series, which I edited while recuperating from a series of
surgeries to fix a knee badly injured in a freak BJJ training accident.
Upon their release in 1993 word began to spread of Eric’s phenomenal
performance, the Dog Brothers fights therein, and what some people have come
to call “the Dog Brother philosophy”.

The Dog Brother philosophy operates on many levels and resonated deeply with
many people.  For many for them (most?) actually doing real contact stick
fighting was not the point-- and for others the fighting WAS the point, and
they began doing something most of them never would have predicted that they
would do.

Similarly, surprising myself, my training began including teaching people to
fight at Dog Brothers Gatherings.   By 1995 things evolved to where what I
was teaching could not be fairly called anything except “Dog Brothers
Martial Arts” (DBMA).  Without having intended to do so, I had “founded” a
system.

Top Dog is one hell of an act to follow; to this day I sometimes pop the
first series in and watch in awe.  I think I was more surprised than anyone
when we shot the first DVD featuring me (1997?) -- although if I remember
correctly it took me a year or two to screw up the courage to actually
release it!

Many DVDs have followed since then and, as witnessed by the “Die Less Often”
and the “Kali Tudo” series DBMA has grown from a system focused upon “Real
Contact Stickfighting”, to one “In search of the totality of ritual and
reality” © DBI.

With this growth has come growth in the numbers of people to whom we are
relevant and out of this growth has sprung the Dog Brothers Martial Arts
Association (DBMAA) and the DBMA Training Groups (DBMA TGs).   The DBMAA and
the DBMA TGs offer a way for people to get involved with the system if they
do not have direct access to a DBMA Guro/teacher.

What we have not had until now is a DBMA School Program.  This is not to say
that I have not had inquiries in this regard over the years, for I have.
What I did not have though was a sense of how to go about it.

Now thanks to years of some 15 years of teaching privately, backyard groups,
classes, seminars, DVDs, and law enforcement and military units I think I do
have a sense of how to go about it and so I hereby announce the formation of
the Dog Brothers Martial Arts School Program (DBMA SP)-- which for legal and
tax reason will operate as DBMA SP Inc.

There is also the matter of with whom to do it.  Just as DBMA is not “the
Marc Denny style” and we have DBMA DVDs by other instructors, I am not the
right teacher for all people and all circumstances.  For the DBMA SP there
are skill sets that I lack.  For example I know next to nothing of the
business side of running a martial arts school.  I can be the wrong teacher
for many women students; and, as deeply as I believe in their importance and
the importance of initiation and related matters, I am utterly clueless when
it comes to teaching adolescents and children.

This brings me to DBMA Guro Matt “Boo Dog” Booe, who under my guidance will
be handling much of the DBMA SP.   I’d like to tell you a bit about him:

a)      First and foremost, he “gets” the Dog Brothers philosophy;
b)     When it comes to fighting he is one of the best of the active
fighters of the Dog Brothers—and though he does not fight professionally in
my opinion he is of pro-level in MMA and instead limits himself to training
and sparring with elite level MMA fighters;
c)      He “gets” the underlying logic of DBMA mission to "Walk as a warrior
for all our days" and contributes to the material of DBMA.  Indeed, he will
be the featured instructor in “DBMA Kali Tudo 4” which will be shot after
our movie (working title “Tao of the Dog”) finishes post production.
d)     He does know about the business side of running a martial arts school
e)      He has extensive experience teaching adolescents and children.


The DBMA SP is responsive to many types of people.  In no particular order:

a)      the martial arts student/practitioner who is looking to have fun, be
fit, and be functional should Life spring a dangerous surprise upon him;
b)     those looking to prepare and test themselves at a “Dog Brothers
Gathering of the Pack”, perhaps even to become a Dog Brother some day;
c)      Families: children and adolescents with or without their parents;
d)     Mixed Martial Arts:  Our "Kali Tudo"(tm) program;
e)      Our “Die Less Often”(tm) program; of particular interest to law
enforcement, those in security related jobs, and those wanting to be
prepared for serious reality problems.

As with everything we do in DBMA, the business side of things is simply to
enable us to pursue our life in martial arts, walking as warriors for all
our days.    As always, there is to be a real relationship between you and
us.  As a family man, my willingness to travel on for DBMA SP seminars on
top of my other seminars is finite.  There will come a time when we are
unable to accept more schools.  Tomorrow is promised to no one.

Due to my proclivity to get distracted by training and teaching instead of
the details of business the official website is not yet up but the DMBA SP
is already up and running; the first seminar for Pete Juska’s school in
Chicago will be the first week of February.  Those wanting to be sure of
being the first to be considered should not wait for the official website
but instead should click on the button for the DBMA SP at
www.dogbrothers.com and fill in the info there and Guro Boo Dog will get in
touch with you.

Walking as warriors for all our days,
Guro Marc “Crafty Dog” Denny
23536  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Desalination plants stymied on: December 05, 2010, 12:15:06 PM
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2010/12/californians-need-water-but-desalination-projects-are-bogged-down.html
23537  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Knife Law on: December 05, 2010, 11:22:17 AM
This is from the NY Times (for which my nickname is Pravda On The Hudson: POTH) so caveat lector:
==============

PHOENIX — Arizona used to be a knife carrier’s nightmare, with a patchwork of local laws that forced those inclined to strap Buck knives or other sharp objects to their belts to tread carefully as they moved from Phoenix (no knives except pocketknives) to Tempe (no knives at all) to Tucson (no knives on library grounds).

D’Alton Holder, a longtime knife maker, said, “It’s ridiculous to talk about the size of the knife as if that makes a difference.”
But that changed earlier this year when Arizona made its Legislature the sole arbiter of knife regulations. And because of loose restrictions on weapons here, Arizona is now considered a knife carrier’s dream, a place where everything from a samurai sword to a switchblade can be carried without a quibble.

Arizona’s transformation, and the recent lifting of a ban on switchblades, stilettos, dirks and daggers in New Hampshire, has given new life to the knife rights lobby, the little-known cousin of the more politically potent gun rights movement. Its vision is a knife-friendly America, where blades are viewed not as ominous but as tools — the equivalent of sharp-edged screw drivers or hammers — that serve useful purposes and can save lives as well as take them.

Sure, knife fights and knife attacks are a concern. No knife-lover would ever deny that. In fact, Todd Rathner, the lobbyist for Knife Rights Inc., an advocacy group based in Arizona that is now in its third year, was mugged twice in New York City before moving to Tucson, once — “ironically,” he said — at knifepoint.

But the problem is with the knife wielder, not the knife itself, the knife lobby says, sounding very much like those who advocate for gun rights.

In fact, knife advocates contend that the Second Amendment applies to knives as well as guns. They focus their argument elsewhere, though, emphasizing that knives fill so many beneficial roles, from carving Thanksgiving turkeys to whittling, that they do not deserve the bad name they often get.

“People talk about how knives are dangerous, and then they go in the kitchen and they have 50 of them,” said D’Alton Holder, a veteran knife maker who lives in Wickenberg, Ariz. “It’s ridiculous to talk about the size of the knife as if that makes a difference. If you carry a machete that’s three feet long, it’s no more dangerous than any knife. You can do just as much damage with an inch-long blade, even a box cutter.”

As for the pocketknife he carries with him every day, Mr. Holder said: “I use it for everything — to clean my fingernails, to prune a tree or carve, even to eat dinner with. I never think about the knives that I carry or the knives that I make as weapons.”

Jennifer Coffey, the New Hampshire state representative who led the effort to overturn the state’s switchblade ban, is also an emergency medical technician who uses knives to extract people from vehicles after accidents. Even when switchblades were outlawed, there were exceptions for emergency workers and others who might use them on the job, but Ms. Coffey still considered the law outrageous.

“We had certain knives that were illegal, but I could walk down the street with a kitchen knife that I used to carve a turkey and that would be legal,” Ms. Coffey said. “I’d be more scared of a kitchen knife than a switchblade.”

She said switchblade bans were passed in the 1950s because of the menacing use of the knives in movies like “West Side Story” and “Rebel Without a Cause.” Her legislation drew the support of an array of knife-related entities: Knife Rights, a young upstart in knife advocacy; the American Knife and Tool Institute, a group based in Wyoming that represents knife manufacturers, sellers and owners; and publications like Blade, Cutlery News Journal and Knife World.

The effort to lift the ban on switchblades in New Hampshire even won the support of the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police.

==========



In Arizona, however, police groups were more circumspect about lifting all of the local knife laws. The Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police opposed the move, saying local jurisdictions ought to set their own knife restrictions. The Phoenix Law Enforcement Association remained neutral.

In much of the country, especially in urban areas, knives are still viewed as weapons in need of tight control.
District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. of Manhattan announced in June that his office had pressured retail stores that were selling illegal knives to remove them from their shelves, forfeit profits from the knives made over the last four years and help finance a campaign to educate people against illegal knives.

“What makes these knives so dangerous is the ease with which they can be concealed and brandished,” Mr. Vance said of the illegal switchblades and gravity knives, which require a wrist flip to open instead of a switchblade’s spring, that were bought by undercover agents.

Mr. Vance’s offensive drew the ire of the American Knife and Tool Institute, which issued an “action alert” and offered to assist New York retailers and individuals charged with knife violations with their legal defenses.

The knife lobby similarly rose up in 2009 when the federal Customs and Border Protection agency issued a proposal that would have reclassified many pocketknives and pocket tools as switchblades and thus made them illegal for import or sale across state lines under the 1958 federal Switchblade Act. In the end, Congress intervened and blocked the change.

A case now unfolding in Seattle shows how volatile knives continue to be. A police officer there fatally shot a man in August after, the officer said, he ordered the man several times to drop a knife that he was carrying. But the legitimacy of the shooting has been questioned by the Police Department, partly because the knife, which had a three-inch blade, was found in a closed position near the body of the dead man, who had been using it to carve a piece of wood.

Knife advocates are hoping that, just as Arizona’s immigration law has led to a national debate on that topic, its move to end knife restrictions will lead more states to take up the cause.

“Arizona is now the model when it comes to knives,” said Mr. Rathner, who was a National Rifle Association lobbyist before he switched to knives. “We’re now going to be moving to other states, probably in the Rocky Mountains and the Southeast. There’s probably half a dozen or more places that are ripe for this.”

23538  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 05, 2010, 10:24:04 AM
Well, lets see if I can play a different tact here with a small thought experiment.

We had the Shoe Bomber and so now we take off our shoes.  We had the Undie Bomber and now we are either scanned by a scanner that claims to radiate only the skin or get our groins grabbed.  And a few months ago, Saudi Arabia had a bomber with a bomb us his anus explode himself in an attempt to kill a Saudi prince.

So, here's the question:  What do we do in the wake of such an attack in an airport or on an airplane in the US?  What security measures do we take?

23539  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Palin phenomenon on: December 04, 2010, 03:22:54 PM
Good article.  Good comment.
23540  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: WHERE IS THE FOOTWORK!?! on: December 03, 2010, 09:30:06 PM
Poi Dog also applies it to good effect  grin
23541  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 5 quotes on: December 03, 2010, 09:28:09 PM
a) The price of freedom is infernal vigilantes

b) I'll keep my money, freedom, and guns. You keep the change.

c) Democracy has no convictions for which people would be willing to stake their lives."
Dr. Ernst Hanfstaengl

d) "Military power wins battles, but spiritual power wins wars."
Gen G.C. Marshall
       
e) "We are determined that before the sun sets on this terrible struggle, our flag will be recognized throughout the world as a
symbol of freedom on the one hand and of overwhelming force on the other."
Gen G.C. Marshall
23542  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hamas willing to accept Israel's right to exist?!? on: December 03, 2010, 03:05:52 PM


http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/hamas-vows-to-honor-palestinian-referendum-on-peace-with-israel-1.328234
23543  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: December 03, 2010, 02:53:37 PM
For the record, my idea of the national sales tax would be in lieu of all other taxes.  IMHO this would unleash an extraordinary surge in productivity and growth. 
23544  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Chris Christie! on: December 03, 2010, 02:35:48 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pn4_0IV0JME&feature=player_embedded
23545  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / This seems about right to me on: December 03, 2010, 01:46:00 PM
A resumption of six-party talks will not resolve the Korean crisis, as all parties have different goals, Vice President of Strategic Intelligence Rodger Baker says.

Editor’s Note: Transcripts are generated using speech-recognition technology. Therefore, STRATFOR cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

Colin Chapman: North Asia remains on edge with no sign of an end to the tension after the attacks by North Korea just over a week ago. Welcome to agenda I’m Colin Chapman, and on the agenda next week is a significant tripartite meeting between Japan, South Korea and the United States, but the chances for any kind of solution to the crisis are not good. You can see the tactical details of the exchange of fire between North Korea and South Korea on our website, along with satellite imagery that we’ve obtained and military analysis. Joining me to discuss this is Rodger Baker. Rodger, what’s your analysis of where things stand now?

Rodger Baker: We’re at a very delicate position right now in Northeast Asia. Certainly, every side is making a case that none of them want war, none of them want this to escalate, and yet the South Koreans have a incentive to — if there’s another North Korean action — to respond extremely strongly. The North Koreans may have a sense that they need to show one more time that they’re tough. The Chinese are offering talks that they don’t nobody’s going to come to, so we’re at kind of an uncertain moments as we watch the situation unfold.

Colin Chapman: Yet some people are clutching at straws. For example, North Korea has hinted it might allow international investment in mining in its country, a strange step if you’re planning a major war.

Rodger Baker: One of the things they been watching it to see whether or not the North Korean behavior with the shelling of this island fits within their typical pattern of creating crises in order to head into negotiations, and this seemed a step beyond what they’ve normally done in the past. Yet in the background we’re seeing certain actions but that still fit in the old patterns. So we’ve seen regular inspection tours by Kim Jong Il and his son. We’ve also seen an announcement today by the North Koreans that they’ve upgraded to ministry status a natural resources department and that’s suggesting that they’re going ahead with earlier plans to expand foreign investment in mining and try to draw in other individuals and if you’re about to head into a war that’s probably not something you would be doing.

Colin Chapman: The key to all this is of course China, but as you’ve said yourself North Korea is a liability that China simply cannot abandon.

Rodger Baker: Certainly when you look at China’s relations with North Korea its been a bit contentious. The Chinese sometimes appear not to be able to control the North Koreans or they get drawn into situations of tension with their other neighbors or with the United States over North Korea. At the same time the Chinese are able to manipulate that. But in the end when you look at the Chinese, North Korea serves as a strategic buffer. North Korea presents effectively the United States from being able to place troops right along the Chinese border and so no matter what you hear from the Chinese talking about maybe supporting reunification or not supporting the North Koreans or standing back, in the end they’re going to ensure that something is that position whether it be North Korea ,whether it be a Chinese-run North Korea, that creates that sense of space so they can’t have the United States coming up against the Yalu River.

Colin Chapman: Did WikiLeaks come up with anything that might be relevant here?

Rodger Baker: Some of the things we’ve seen and what got a lot of play was the idea, for example, that the Chinese had considered letting the two Koreas and letting South Korea run that. It’s kind of a misrepresentation of the Chinese position. Certainly at times Chinese scholars or Chinese officials will say things like that and they say that to appease the South Koreans. They say that to let the United States think that they’re not offensive or they’re not out trying to be dominant in the region. But in general if you look at the Chinese position the Chinese now no less than in 1950 have an interest to prevent the United States from coming up to the Yalu River.

Colin Chapman: The date in the diary is this tripartite meeting between Japan and South Korea, and the United States but is there any real prospect that it could come up with any kind of solution?

Rodger Baker: The meeting between the United States and its two key Northeast Asian allies — Japan and South Korea — is probably not going to come up with some amazing new policy on North Korea or new way of resolving the situation. However the United States really feels it does need to demonstrate first and foremost its strong commitment to these allies, solidify that that military commitment as well as the political commitment and only then after talking with the three of them will the U.S. even begin to consider how it might go back into negotiations with North Korea and maybe allow China to facilitate those. So right now this is about the U.S. showing to its allies and showing to the region that the United States does give a strong defense commitment to countries that it works with.

Colin Chapman: I talked to three former envoys to Seoul this week and all of them agreed that South Korea had handled this in a pretty cool and sensible fashion, but they think the solution is now going to be the resumption of the six-party talks. Do you agree with that?

Rodger Baker: Well I think if you look at the six-party talks, its questionable whether the six-party talks or any other multilateral forum is going to resolve the situation and that’s because as you look at each of the players they don’t necessarily have the same end goal in mind. So for China, as we’ve noted, the Chinese are really not ultimately interested in a reunified Korea at least not one that would in any way be a potential challenger or competitor or be an ally to the United States. The South Koreans don’t necessarily want to rush reunification. The United States is not looking to get involved in either a conflict in the region or to abandon its position in the region and the Japanese are always cautious about the idea of a unified Korea as being really something that could that could challenge Japanese interests in the region. The Russians haven’t decided whether or not they’re getting back involved. The North Koreans certainly don’t want to become subservient to the South Koreans so we when look at the six-party talks, the six-party talks may be about stopping the North Koreans from having nuclear weapons but the North Koreans already have them. There is very little that the North Koreans would get in giving up a capability they already have. So I think if you look at the six-party talks in particular, the Chinese use the talks as a way to manage the situation but not as a way to resolve the situation. They use it to keep the other players in check, they use it to gain leverage over some of the other players, but in the end I don’t think we have anybody who’s actually expecting these talks, these negotiations, to resolve either the North Korean nuclear issue or the broader picture which is the division of the Korean Peninsula.

Colin Chapman: Rodger Baker there, ending this week’s Agenda. I’m Colin Chapman at STRATFOR, thanks for being with us today.

23546  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: December 03, 2010, 12:25:09 PM
National Sales Tax has considerable appeal to me.
23547  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Musings from an Indian friend on: December 03, 2010, 12:01:43 PM
about one month old:

Some random musings...paki perfidy always gets my goat!.


Have you ever wondered, why the US cannot control pak ?. The solution to pak problem is very simple, and the US could implement it in a minute. What is not said is the need of the US govt to keep India in check (to maintain balance of power between India and Pak). The pakis know this and they exploit it fully. If the US did not try to keep India down, the pak problem would go away very quickly. Every weapons shipment (free) to Pak is done with the ostensible aim to help fight the taliban, but in reality it is to keep India under control. All the US needs to do is stop financing pak and keep a watch on the nukes. Within a few months pak will collapse, the state will break into its provinces, Balochistan would be free, the durrand line will go away, Afghan-Pak problem will disappear, The kashmir problem would go away and peace will reign smiley). Yugoslavia is quite peaceful now...


Carrying on with the current policy is a setup for failure. The Americans are generally the most hated nationals in pak, we waste resources on a god forsaken land. Due to american support, the army steals all the money it can, with very little left to improve the infrastructure, education or the poor. Its only a matter of time when the peasant class rises against the feudal elites. The MQM party is proposing land reforms, though I expect the bill to not pass. In essence, american money makes it easy for the generals to steal even more. In reality, the beggar nation should not be spending on nukes. If pak has nukes, the US is fully to blame, because we turned a blind eye to the chinese, who gave them the technology.


However,  the US-India equation is changing. Instead of trying to check India wrt pak, the US now needs to checkmate China, for that reason the US is now supportive of India, which means that support to Pak must fade. I anticipate a harder line wrt to Pakiland, and improved relationship with India. This change seems to be happening. In Nov, Obama travels to India, many billion dollar deals will be signed, most related to weapons!. What is galling to americans is that Bush signed the nuclear deal with India, which has allowed many nations (France, Russia, canada etc) to sign nuclear power plant and uranium deals with India, but the US is still to bag a single deal!. This is because of Obama's insistence on technology denial to India under equal terms. The world is changing, and the Americans seem to be the last to realize it. When I talk to visiting Indians, the energy and enthusiasm regarding the future place of India in the comity of nations is palpable. In India, people ignore Pak needle pricks, and are now focussed on China. The thinking is that if a war can be avoided for one more decade, the economic progress will be sufficient to make any aggression by China very painful to them.
23548  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Die Less Often: Interface of Gun, Knife and Emtpy Hand on: December 03, 2010, 11:57:28 AM
Good thing the Dog Brother Martial Arts forum is part of spreading the word  wink
23549  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Why won't he call? Cell phones in prison on: December 03, 2010, 11:55:48 AM


latimes.com

Charles Manson had a cellphone? California prisons fight inmate cellphone proliferation

Contraband cellphones are burgeoning among prisoners, giving them the ability to arrange crimes on the outside. Even Charles Manson was caught with one. But it's not illegal for state prisoners to possess the devices.
By Jack Dolan, Los Angeles Times

5:41 PM PST, December 2, 2010

Reporting from Sacramento


Contraband cellphones are becoming so prevalent in California prisons that guards can't keep them out of the hands of the most notorious and violent inmates: Even Charles Manson, orchestrator of one of the most notorious killing rampages in U.S. history, was caught with an LG flip phone under his prison mattress.

Manson made calls and sent text messages to people in California, New Jersey, Florida and British Columbia before officers discovered the phone, said Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections.

Asked whether Manson had used the device to direct anyone to commit a crime or to leave a threatening message, Thornton said, "I don't know, but it's troubling that he had a cellphone since he's a person who got other people to murder on his behalf."

Although officials say inmates use smuggled cellphones for all manner of criminal activity, including running drug rings from behind bars, intimidating witnesses and planning escapes, it is not a crime to possess one in a California prison.

In August, President Obama signed a bill banning cellphones from federal prisons and making it a crime, punishable by up to a year in jail, to smuggle one in. That law does not apply to state institutions.

The proliferation of cellphones in California prisons has been exponential in recent years, authorities say. Guards found 1,400 in 2007, when the department began to keep records of confiscations. The number jumped to 6,995 in 2009 and stands at 8,675 so far this year.

The phones show up in minimum security work camps as well as in the most heavily guarded administrative segregation units — whose residents include gang leaders confined to their cells around the clock except for brief stints when they're allowed to pace around metal cages in the prison yards.

Prisoners and supplies coming into those units are searched, but inmates sometimes hide devices in their body cavities, officials said.

There have also been state-documented cases of guards bringing phones into prisons. An inspector general's report last year noted that the phones fetch up to $1,000 each and highlighted the case of a corrections officer who made $150,000 in a single year by supplying the devices to inmates. He was fired, the report said. Criminal charges were not an option.

Examples of inmates using phones to run criminal enterprises are not hard to find. In August, Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown, now the governor-elect, trumpeted the arrest of 34 Nuestra Familia gang members in Visalia who had been following orders from incarcerated leaders.

Last month, two escapees from Folsom prison were recaptured after they disappeared from a minimum-security work detail. They used a contraband cellphone to arrange for a friend pick to them up, said warden Rick Hill.

Inmates also use the phones to contact each other. "We know they are communicating building to building to thwart our efforts to recover contraband," Hill said.

Prison administrators across the country have been asking for the authority to jam cellphone signals on prison grounds, but the Federal Communications Commission, which regulates the nation's airwaves, has refused.

The politically powerful telecommunications industry lobby has argued that jamming is not precise enough, and legitimate customers trying to use their phones near prisons could also be denied service.

The industry is pushing a more expensive solution called "managed access," which would allow only calls from approved phones to transmit through towers near prisons. Calls from numbers not on the approved list would not go through.

Next year California officials will test such a system, similar to one begun in August near a Mississippi prison. Authorities in that state said the program blocked more than 216,000 unauthorized phone calls and text messages in the first month.

The system didn't cost taxpayers anything, said Mississippi prison spokeswoman Suzanne Singletary.

It was paid for by Global Tel Link, a national company that charges inmates to make calls from many state prisons, including those in Mississippi and California. Who will pay for California's pilot program has not been determined.

Prisoner-rights advocates argue that cellphones let prisoners avoid high fees for making collect calls from prison pay phones — the only allowed method of phone communication, with all calls monitored — and help them maintain crucial bonds with family and friends while they serve time.

But family contact can cut two ways, prison officials say. In September, an inmate at Avenal State Prison in Central California had been calling his 75-year-old mother to get her to collect drug debts owed by customers on the street. After guards found the phone, police raided the woman's La Puente home and found more than $24,000 cash, said Doug Snell, a corrections department spokesman.

The woman was arrested and charged with unauthorized communication with an inmate. A trial is pending.

In September, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill that would have imposed a $5,000 fine on anyone caught giving a phone to a prisoner. In his veto message, Schwarzenegger complained that the bill did not make it a serious crime for a prisoner to possess a phone and did not include the threat of jail time for the smuggler.

"Signing this measure would mean that smuggling a can of beer into a prison carries with it a greater punishment than delivering a cellphone to the leader of a criminal street gang," Schwarzenegger wrote.

Sen. Alex Padilla (D- Pacoima), who sponsored the bill, SB 525, said he was caught between a governor who wants to put smugglers in prison and a Senate Public Safety Committee policy against adding new felonies to the state penal code for fear of exacerbating California's prison overcrowding.

Early this year, a panel of three federal judges ordered the state to reduce its prison population by some 46,000 inmates to alleviate the cramped conditions. Schwarzenegger appealed the decision; the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the case Tuesday.

"The fact that Charles Manson had a cellphone in prison is just further proof that the situation is out of control," a frustrated Padilla said last week. "I'm not giving up. Until we have a law on the books with real consequences, this will continue to be a danger."

State Sen. Mark Leno (D- San Francisco), who is chairman of the Senate Public Safety Committee and responsible for enforcing the policy against creating new felonies, said he's not opposed to creating a felony charge to deter people from smuggling phones into prison. But he warned that courts have ruled that the prison inmate population can't be increased, so some who are currently locked up in state facilities would have to be kept in county jails.

For now, the only recourse prison officials have when they find an inmate with a phone is to charge him or her with a violation of department policy.

Prison officials would not release the identities of any of the people Manson contacted. But the entertainment news show Inside Edition broadcast recordings of a voice, identified as Manson's, on March 23, 2009. Four days later, guards found a phone during a search of Manson's cell.

One of the clips features Manson's raspy, high-pitched voice singing, "I've seen the world spinning on fire, I've danced and sang in the devil's choir."

Manson, 76, who is technically eligible for parole but will almost certainly die in prison for ordering the ritualistic murders of actress Sharon Tate and six others in 1969, had 30 days added to his sentence after his phone was discovered.

"He was counseled and reprimanded, too," Thornton said.

jack.dolan@latimes.com

Copyright © 2010, Los Angeles Times

 

23550  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Fair Tax on: December 03, 2010, 11:53:32 AM
Second post of day:

It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds. – Samuel Adams

Weekly Feature

A bestselling book many FairTaxers have read is, “The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century” by Thomas Friedman. A simplistic description of its premise is that global commerce is advancing around the world faster than ever before with less boundaries every year due to technology and other factors. This trend points to the FairTax as a way for American businesses to remain competitive and the Made In America label to make a comeback. These same forces are changing the way you can promote the FairTax.

In the day and age of technology like Facebook, the Samuel Adams quote above just might be an understatement.

Technology has amplified the rate at which we impact the world around us.  Email, instant messaging, texting, cell phones, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook have allowed us to connect with thousands of people at the speed of our fingers. With social networking sites we have far more instant connections than at any other time in our history.  The ease and simplicity of using these sites has never been greater. Now every day, regular people can have far greater impact than at any other time in our history. Samuel Adams would be excited!

For example, Facebook, the top daily website with over 500 million members, was directly responsible for at least one new co-sponsor of the FairTax bill last year in Indiana and likely more.

Here’s another lesson from our Indiana volunteer leaders: FairTax Indiana volunteers and supporters became “friends” with as many of the candidates as possible and posted FairTax information whenever it was necessary. They requested meetings with the candidates through Facebook connections and eventually 27 of the primary candidates committed to becoming a co-sponsor if elected. In total, at least one FairTax committed candidate ran in all 9 congressional races in the general election. This led to 6 FairTax committed candidates winning in the General Election on Nov 2nd!

Just last month, a polite Facebook contact turned into a FairTax.org spokesman being interviewed in front of millions of Fox Business Channel’s “Follow the Money” viewers. 

So when you send Congress a message to support the FairTax, send an e-card to your friends or yourself for forwarding or follow the FairTax on Twitter or Facebook, know your voice carries more impact than ever and our message is spreading. As always, local volunteers need old fashioned boots on the ground support as well.

Thank you!
 
FairTax in the News
FairTax would boost nation's economy – Wisconsin Rapids Tribune

As the 112th Congress approaches, so does the passage of the FairTax... Well-known people like Dave Ramsey and Chuck Norris back the FairTax. One of the most popular stars on YouTube, Philip DeFranco, has published a short video which includes promotion of the FairTax.

Last month, the CEO of Cisco and the president of Oracle Corporation penned a joint letter in the Wall Street Journal with a solution to our economic fatigue. Their common sense plea was to lower the U.S. tax rate for corporations wishing to bring their overseas earnings to the United States. The current rate of up to 35 percent strongly discourages re-investment in our nation and is opposite the policy of the rest of the developed world. They imagined a trillion dollars flooding into our nation and millions of Americans hired. They were ignored...

How to Straighten This Country Out - ThePilot.com

...First, do away with the IRS.

Replace it with the Fair Tax. Every Fair Tax proposal I've seen calls for lower-income citizens to receive advanced rebates to prevent further hardship on those folks until we can create higher-paying jobs for them. The Fair Tax would cause hundreds of companies to either open headquarters locations or move entirely to the U.S.

The result would be millions of new jobs, good jobs that would result in much higher revenues being collected from the Fair Tax. Employers would be competing for good workers, and the economy would explode with success...
 
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