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23701  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / History on: August 04, 2008, 08:16:49 AM
This thread is for items of interest we run across about moments in history.  For example, I have never really understood WW1.  On this day in 1914 the British declared war on Germany, and the NY Times today has its article from then.  For me, it helps give a sense of what people then thought they were up to.  Here it is:
===========

England Declares War on Germany

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British Ship Sunk
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French Ships Defeat German, Belgium Attacked
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17,000,000 Men Engaged in Great War of Eight Nations
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Great English and German Navies About to Grapple
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rival Warships Off This Port as Lusitania Sails
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State of War Exists, Says Britain, as Kaiser Rejects Ultimatum
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MUST DEFEND BELGIUM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
King George Issues Call to Arms and Thanks the Colonies for Their Support
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
ENVOY LEAVES BERLIN
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
British Foreign Office Makes Final Announcement One Hour Before Time Limit
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VOTE $525,000,000 Fund
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England Takes All Foreign Warships Building in Her Ports -- Two From Turkey
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JAPAN TO AID ENGLAND
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To Smash the Kiel Canal Probably English Fleet's First Attempt Against Germany
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Special Cable to THE NEW YORK TIMES

Kaiser Hurls Two Armies Into Belgium After Declaring War: Liege Attack Repulsed: German Guns Are Reported to be Bombarding Both That City and Namur: Belgians Rush to Arms: Parliament Acclaims King's Appeal and Votes $40,000,000 for National Defense: French Border Clashes: Stronger German Forces Crossing the Border Near Marsla-Tour and Moineville: Russians Attack Memel: Seacoast Town of Germany Defeats Attempts of Enemy to Capture It

Over 17,000,000 Fighting Men of Eight Nations Now Engaged in the Colossal European War

Cunarder Slips Out; Will Pick Up British Cruisers as Escorts:

German Warships Near: Liner to Head for Newfoundland, Where Other English Ships Will Meet Her: French Cruisers Outside: Wireless Code Messages From Telefunken Station at Sayville Aid German Cruisers: To Be Sent to Washington: The Dresden Reported Off Cape Cod in an Attempt to Cut French Cable: Our Destroyers Put Out: Liner Olympic Sails in Under Convoy of Cruiser Essex -- German Warships Outclassed

German Fleet Sinks a British Mine Layer: Scoutship Pathfinder Is Chased by the Kaiser's Warships But Makes Its Escape

Two German Warships Taken, Another Sunk: French Fleet in the Mediterranean Reported to Have Won a Victory

Conspiracy Scare on the Vaterland:

Talk of Plot to Blow Her Up Brings Launches With Searchlights, and 50 Policemen
British Declaration of War With Germany, Following Rejection of Her Demand

England Calls All Unmarried Men From 18 to 30 to Serve King and Country in This Hour of Need
 
London, Wednesday, Aug. 5-- War is on between England and Germany. An ultimatum to the German Government that the neutrality of Belgium must be respected was rejected by the Kaiser's Government and the British Foreign Office announced last night that a state of war existed.

The time limit for Germany's reply was set at midnight, but the Foreign Office announced that as Germany had given his passports to the British envoy at an earlier hour, the state of war existed from 11 o'clock.

King George has issued his proclamation mobilizing the army and has sent a message to the colonies thanking them for their hearty support in the hour of national emergency.

The Government has assumed control of all the railways and the Admirality has taken over all the foreign warships now building in English ports. The House of Commons has voted a fund of $525,000,000 for the emergency.

England Cool in Great Crisis

England is facing this, the greatest crisis in her history, with calmness and courage. Sir Edward Grey's exposition has made it clear that the war is none of her seeking, and that she goes into it because her honor and her self-preservation alike compel her to do so. There is neither any sign of panic nor flame of war fever. All parties and all classes present a united front. The few exceptions are not worthy of mention. The protests that the Labor members of Parliament and a few Liberals have made in the House of Commons do not represent the prevalent feeling either in the ranks of labor or among the avowed pacifists. The peace-at-any price advocates are submerged beneath the huge majority who would have welcomed peace with honor but prefer war to dishonor.

Liberal newspapers like The Westminster Gazette, The Daily Chronicle, and even The Daily News accept the situation as inevitable.

"Here we stand, and we can do no other. The Germans will recognize that famous phrase," says The Westminster Gazette, "and understand that it expresses the feelings of the vast majority of the British people."

The demeanor of the crowds last evening and this morning began to betray growing excitement . A procession of a thousand young men marched along by Whitehall and up the Strand, cheering. It was headed by a squad carrying the Union Jack of England and the tricolor of France. As it passed Trafalgar Square there was some booing, but the cheering outweighed it. Fleet Street last evening was jammed by crowds watching the bulletins. Occasionally they sang "The Marseillaise" and "God Save the King."

Soon after the announcement of Germany's declaration of war against Belgium was displayed on the bulletin board- the crowds, evidently believing no greater news was likely to come, quietly dispersed, and by 11 o'clock Fleet Street was as quiet as usual.

Would Smash Kiel Canal

Premier Asquith's statement in the House of Commons yesterday that the German Government had been asked to give satisfactory assurances on the question of Belgium's neutrality by midnight was generally regarded as meaning that England was prepared to strike at once if the reply was unfavorable.

The German fleet is concentrated for the defense of the Kiel Canal. Its destruction will be the first object of the British fleet. Germany's compliance with the British ultimatum was not expected. Germany, according to a statement emanating from her London embassy, would have consented to refrain from using Belgian ports and would have confined her violation of neutrality to the inland districts if Great Britain would agree to hold aloof. It is obvious that a compact on such lines would have been useless to Great Britain. Belgian neutrality is strategically important in two ways -- by sea to Great Britain and Germany and by land to Germany and France. If England abandoned it in its land aspect, nobody, not even the Belgians, would have been willing to defend it when it was threatened in its sea aspect.

It seemed unlikely from the start that Germany would desist, because it was a matter affecting the military plans of her General Staff. The whole German theory of war is to make plans years ahead and have everything down to the last railway siding ready for their execution, and to carry them out without deviation. It is probable that the present plan was made as long ago as when Anglo-German hostility was an axiom, and there was no question in German minds of so shaping their strategy as to keep Great Britain neutral.

German Ships in Peril

As was anticipated, Germany's first naval effort was to deal a heavy blow to the Russians in the Baltic, but as yet there is insufficient evidence that it succeeded or that the Russian fleet was rendered powerless. Germany's most urgent need, according to experts, is to assemble all her available naval forces on the west, principally in the North Sea, but, these experts say, the Germans are not likely to seek battle, hoping the strength of their adversaries may be reduced by the action of mines and torpedoes.

Two German cruisers seem to be in peril. The battle cruiser Goeben, on the way from the Mediterranean, is reported to have passed Gibraltar, steaming westward. She will not venture through the English Channel, and must travel homeward via the west coast of Ireland and north of Scotland. An attempt certainly will be made to intercept her, and the need of carrying assistance to her may bring about a fleet action. The German cruiser Brealau is reported to have shelled Bona before proceeding westward toward Gibraltar. Her position seems perilous in the extreme.

Control of Railway Lines

The Governmet took over the railways to complete the co-ordination of the railway facilities, in view of the military and naval requirements and the needs of the civil communities. The staff of each railway remains as before. Supreme control is vested in a committee composed of the General Managers of the chief railways.

The Acting Chairman is H. A. Walker, manager of the London & Southwestern, who is well known among American railway men. The committee was formed some days ago. The Great Eastern is not represented, possibly because its General Manager, H.W. Thornton, is an American.

News Flashed to Navy

When the announcement of the state of war was made by the Foreign Office, and the quietness of the Summer night was suddenly broken by the raucus cries of the news venders, the streets were practically empty. The ordinary troops of theatregoers were conspicuous for their absence. Midnight was considered the fateful hour when orders would be flashed by wireless to the British Navy to begin operations.

Reports which had spread during the evening that German warships had sunk a British mine finder and chased the destroyer Pathfinder, were taken as another instance of Germany's method of taking an unfair advantage and acting before war actually was declared.

Sir John Jellicoe, who has been long regarded as predestined to head the fleet in case of war, has taken supreme command, with Rear Admiral Madden as Chief of Staff. Sir John Jellicoe, who is familiarly known as "J. J.," is a typical, keen-faced officer, distinguished for his personal courage as well as for scientific gunnery. He has the German decoration of the Red Eagle. Lord Kitchener is taking the Administrative part of the work of the War Office, where Lord Haldane is assisting Mr. Asquith.

The only panicky note which struck the English press hard came from The Evening News, which came out in a poster headed "Treachery" and stating that Lord Haldane's German sympathies made his apointment to the War Office a matter of suspicion to France. The New York Times correspondent saw Lord Haldane at Whitehall yesterday afternoon walking toward Westminster. When accosted he said there was nothing he could say.

Lord Haldane did yeoman service when at the War Office, and a Liberal paper says the worst news Germany could receive is that he has returned to the department.

England's war with Germany is likely to be purely a naval conflict for the time being. Germany will keep her fleet sheltered at Wilhemshaven and trust to her submarines and torpedo boats to reduce the strength of the British investing fleet. The reported sinking of a mine-layer probably is due to this. The feature of the Anglo-German war will be the strewing of the North Sea with floating mines.

Asquith's Impressive Speech

The first chapter of the critical events of the day was unfolded when Premier Asquith read his statement in the House of Commons. The Premier read in a firm and measured voice, and his hand shook as he held the typewritten copy. His words were listened to in a silence that was almost uncanny, so tense and overwrought was the crowded House.

After he had read the telegrams exchanged between London and Berlin and London and Brussels, Mr. Asquith's announcement of the ultimatum to Germany demanding an answer by midnight was greeted with prolonged applause. There was a strange note of solemnity in the deep cheers that rolled up from all sides like thunder waves beating on a rockbound shore. Plainly enough the telegrams had eaten deep into the feelings of the audiences, revealing Germany's disregard of the law of nations in browbeating Belgium.

Until yesterday afternoon a strong minority of the Liberal Party was in favor of British neutrality. Sir Edward Grey's speech reduced the minority to small proportions. Today's events almost extinguished it.

Even the Labor members, despite their sworn devotion to neutrality, were unfavorably impressed by this sample of German methods. A Scotch Radical member, who hates war, said: "Germany leaves us no alternative but to fight. We are standing for public law; she is trampling upon it.

"It is another struggle in the incessant conflict between right and force, wherein the rival champions in the last generation were Gladstone and Bismarck. Mr. Gladstone, who was a most peaceful statesman, said he would spend every shilling of the British exchequer and employ every soldier in the British Army in the defense of the independence of Belgium."
23702  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Question On The Shivworks P'Kal on: August 03, 2008, 11:57:54 PM
No content came through.
23703  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Estudio: Consejos legales on: August 03, 2008, 11:55:43 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpPBc4ZUSlo&feature=related
23704  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Estudio: Secuestro rapidisimo on: August 03, 2008, 11:42:54 PM


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADEbPaqNy3c

23705  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Estudio: Buen trabajo en Colombia por la policia on: August 03, 2008, 11:40:05 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEpvr3vnpNw&feature=related
23706  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Case Study: Killer Criminal Mind on: August 03, 2008, 11:15:06 PM

http://www.myfoxdfw.com/myfox/pages/Home/Detail?contentId=6830893&version=2&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=VSTY&pageId=1.1.1
23707  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DB Gathering of the Pack August 10th, 2008 on: August 03, 2008, 10:39:34 PM
Yes, good health and happy hunting.
23708  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Daily Expression of Gratitude on: August 03, 2008, 10:38:38 PM
Woof Craig:

I'm glad to move it, but may I suggest that it may be better for you to do so.  Some additional details, including the aftermath, may come to you as you do so.

The Adventure continues!

PS:  See you Sunday.
23709  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DB Gathering of the Pack August 10th, 2008 on: August 03, 2008, 08:03:54 PM
I'm guessing 10:00, but that will be up to Cindy.  She returns from visiting her mom Tuesday night.
23710  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: FL, Crist, McCain on: August 03, 2008, 05:02:06 PM
Political Diary
August 3, 2008
Paging Charlie Crist
Up until last month, John McCain led Barack Obama in every poll taken in Florida this year -- eleven in all. Since the middle of June, Mr. Obama has moved ahead in three of the last four surveys in the Sunshine State. The RealClearPolitics Average for Florida last Wednesday showed Messrs. McCain and Obama tied at 45.8% each, although a new poll on Thursday moved the average in Mr. McCain's favor by a slim 46% to 45.5%.

 
Mr. Obama's surge in Florida is explained by an analysis of advertising spending released last week by the University of Wisconsin. Between June 3 (the effective end of the Democratic primary) and July 26, Team Obama spent a whopping $5,028,000 on television ads in Florida -- at least $1 million more than Team Obama spent in any other state. Mr. McCain's spending during that same period? Zero.

Earlier this week the Obama campaign announced an unprecedented $20 million push for Latino voters that will focus on Florida and three other states. That effort, coupled with an expected surge in African-American turnout and an aggressive outreach to Jewish voters, has the Obama camp believing they have a legitimate shot at winning Florida in November.

Six weeks ago, with Mr. McCain leading in all the Florida polls, it looked as if adding Governor Charlie Crist to the ticket was not only unnecessary but might further alienate some conservatives. Now, with Mr. Obama pouring resources into Florida, things look considerably different. Speculation about a McCain VP selection lately has raged around Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, but Mr. McCain may want to give Mr. Crist another look -- because it's impossible to see how Mr. McCain wins the White House without Florida's 27 electoral votes.
23711  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Estudio: Pitbul contra toro para salvar un hombre on: August 03, 2008, 11:27:02 AM
Aqui se ve el proposito original

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iA9pw53WaKQ&feature=related
23712  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Fatah takes refuge in Israel? on: August 03, 2008, 11:07:57 AM
150 Fatah supporters enter Israel after Hamas takes over east Gaza

GAZA CITY (CNN) -- About 150 pro-Fatah Palestinians seeking refuge from a Hamas crackdown in eastern Gaza City were allowed into Israel on Saturday, an Israel Defense Forces spokesman told CNN.

They were let in at the request of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas after Hamas took control of a neighborhood in eastern Gaza City on Saturday.

The Palestinians entered through a security checkpoint in Nahal Oz in the Gaza Strip's northern region Saturday afternoon, the spokesman said.
"They were asking to enter the state of Israel after being threatened by Hamas gunmen," the spokesman said.

The spokesman said the Palestinians, some of whom were wounded, were allowed to cross the border after they disarmed. He also said they would be asked about the events leading them to seek refuge in Israel.
Those who suffered injuries were taken to a facility to receive medical treatment.

It was a rare act that could be interpreted as a sign of Israel's support of the Fatah party, which is led by Abbas.

"It was a sort of humane gesture," the IDF spokesman said.

Hamas forces took control of the al-Shojaeya neighborhood in eastern Gaza City late Saturday, ending several hours of deadly fighting.
The Hamas forces were battling a family suspected of harboring Fatah members wanted in last week's Gaza beach bombing.

Hamas police surrounded the clan, and a battle began with rocket-propelled grenades, rockets and rifles, sources said.
The violence in the large neighborhood left four people dead, including two police officers, and wounded at least 60 others. Watch a report on the violence »

The IDF confirmed that some of the Palestinians who entered Israel on Saturday were members of the clan.

Hamas Interior Minister Said Salam said in a news conference that bomb-making materials were found. He asked why so many people would have fled to Israel if they weren't guilty.

Hamas forces began raiding houses in the 15-block neighborhood after the fighting died down, arresting at least 12 men Saturday night.
Earlier, the Hilles clan, a family known to support Fatah, refused Hamas police demands to hand over 20 activists suspected in the bomb attack, sources said.

Hamas security forces in Gaza had already detained hundreds of people affiliated with Fatah since five Hamas militants and a child died in the July 25 beach bombing. Fatah sources say about 450 were apprehended.
Among the dead in the beach attack was Amar Musubah, a Hamas military commander, who has been the target of Israeli military assassination attempts.

Fatah denied responsibility for the attack.
Hamas sources said Saturday the group will release 10 Fatah members arrested earlier in Gaza.

In addition, Hamas released Fatah spokesman Ibrahim Abu-Naja.
Hamas also shut down a radio station, accusing it of airing pro-Fatah broadcasts.

The two Palestinian factions have been bitterly divided since Hamas drove Abbas' security forces from Gaza last year.
23713  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Question On The Shivworks P'Kal on: August 03, 2008, 11:05:50 AM
Max:

You have PM.
23714  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DB Gathering of the Pack August 10th, 2008 on: August 03, 2008, 11:02:54 AM
A hearty howl of respect and gratitude to Randall Gregory who will not be able to make the Gathering due to serving our country on that date.
23715  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Police kill mayor's dogs in no-knock raid on: August 03, 2008, 11:00:56 AM
Some Doubt Mayor's Tie to Drugs
One Theory Has Md. Man an Unwitting Recipient
By Rosalind S. Helderman and Aaron C. Davis
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, August 2, 2008; B01



Police are investigating whether a package of marijuana addressed to the wife of a Prince George's County mayor was really intended to be intercepted by a deliveryman as part of a drug smuggling scheme.

A Prince George's Sheriff's Office SWAT team and county police narcotics officers burst into the house of Berwyn Heights Mayor Cheye Calvo on Tuesday evening after they saw Calvo take the package inside. In the course of the raid, they shot and killed his two black Labrador retrievers.

According to law enforcement sources, police believe it is possible that a deliveryman intended to collect the box from Calvo's porch, either before the package was signed for or after the mayor or his wife reported that it wasn't theirs. They asked to remain anonymous because the investigation is ongoing.

Police had been tracking the package, which was addressed to Calvo's wife, since a police dog at a shipping facility in Arizona alerted authorities to the presence of drugs inside. It was delivered to Calvo's house by police posing as deliverymen and left on his porch at the instructions of his mother-in-law. After the raid, police recovered an unopened package containing more than 30 pounds of marijuana, but they made no arrests.
The possibility that no one in Calvo's house was the intended recipient of the package is among several theories police are pursuing.

Prince George's State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey said that police have made some "headway" in the investigation, which continues.

"I don't think they've shut down any angles in their investigation," he said.
Special Agent Edward Marcinko, a spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration in Maryland, said it is not unheard of for traffickers to ship a package to a stranger's home.

In February, for instance, Dunn Loring resident Sid Phillips said his 76-year-old neighbor opened a UPS package left on his porch and discovered marijuana packed in vacuum-sealed pouches inside.

Phillips said the neighbor called him for advice, and the two of them reported the discovery to police. Officers swarmed the house and collected the drugs without incident. The package, Phillips said, had been sent from Arizona, just like the box delivered this week to Calvo in Maryland.

"If the same thing happened to this mayor, I would totally sympathize," Phillips said.

Fairfax police spokesman Don Gotthardt confirmed that police seized approximately four pounds of what they suspected was marijuana in the Dunn Loring incident.

In another case this year, a College Park area resident reported receiving a package with drugs inside, one of the sources said.

Residents of Berwyn Heights., meanwhile, have expressed outrage over the raid and the shooting of the two dogs, well known to neighbors who often saw the 37-year old mayor walking the dogs.

Calvo has said that sheriff's deputies shot his 7-year-old dog, Payton, near the front door and then his 4-year-old dog, Chase, as the dog ran into a back room. He has said that he and his mother-in-law were handcuffed and interrogated for hours while surrounded by the carcasses and blood of his pets.

"There is not anybody in the town who is not outraged at how this came down," said Ann Harris Davidson, a Berwyn Heights resident for 22 years.
A rally in support of Calvo and in memory of his dogs has been scheduled for tomorrow evening at a ball field in the town. Berwyn Heights Police Chief Patrick Murphy said his eight-person department has been besieged by phone calls from as far away as Louisiana from people who mistakenly believe his officers were involved.

Murphy said he is angry that, instead, his officers were not informed ahead of time of that the county planned a major operation inside the town limits, especially in light of a 2006 incident in which then-Prince George's Police Chief Melvin C. High expressed formal "regret" that Berwyn Heights police were not told of threats made to an abortion clinic.
"I believe there is absolutely no credible reason why notification to my police department should not have been made," Murphy said. He said he is confident his officers could have entered Calvo's house without violence.
Cpl. Clinton Copeland, a spokesman for the Prince George's police department, said officers had a "no-knock" warrant, which allowed them to enter the house without alerting Calvo. Such warrants are issued when police fear they might face armed suspects. He said they notified Murphy immediately after entering the house.

"They were not notified before then due to the integrity of the ongoing investigation and for officer safety purposes," Copeland said.

The dogs were shot by county sheriff's deputies. The Sheriff's Office did not return calls for comment yesterday. A sheriff's spokesman has expressed regret over the death of the dogs but said deputies on the scene felt threatened by the pets.

Ivey said the marijuana seized could have fetched as much as $70,000.
"From my perspective, the key part is figuring out where the drugs came from and who should be held accountable for that," he said.

Staff writer Henri E. Cauvin contributed to this report.
23716  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DB Gathering of the Pack August 10th, 2008 on: August 02, 2008, 07:33:07 PM
Woof All:

We are informed Al's paperwork is on the way, so my posting here is of a provisional nature..  When it is acknowledged by Cindy by her posting it on the Registered Fighters List, Al will be officially registered. 

Al Romo.   
Age 39 ht.6' weight 255
337 s. 4 St. La Puente Ca. 91746

"Higher Consciousness through Harder Contact" (c)
Crafty Dog
GF
23717  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: August 02, 2008, 03:19:16 PM
K:

I know what your point is  cheesy  I am just being relentless on my point that there are things which are right and things which are wrong-- and that it right to teach them as such.

yip!
Marc/CD
23718  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Blade Wounds by a Surgeon on: August 02, 2008, 02:30:43 PM
"Still, I'm going to do some research to see if I can bring some peer reviewed literature to this discussion. I'll let you know if I find anything interesting."

Looking forward to it.
23719  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Turkey on: August 02, 2008, 01:17:19 PM
Turkey's Islamists
Inspire a New
Climate of Fear
By ZEYNO BARAN
August 2, 2008; Page A11

Istanbul

This week's verdict by Turkey's Constitutional Court -- which rejected an attempt to ban the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) for undermining the country's secular foundations -- has been hailed by the U.S. and the EU as a great step forward for democracy and rule of law. Fair enough. Banning a party that last year renewed its mandate in office with 47% of the vote would have been a huge setback for Turkey. But that doesn't mean we should all sigh with relief and conclude that liberal democracy is flourishing under the Islamic-oriented AKP's rule.

Government surveillance of AK Party critics and leaks to media of personal phone conversations have created a climate of fear. There is concern among some liberals that the country is becoming a police state. The foundation of a healthy democracy -- the right to dissent and hold an elected government accountable -- is gradually being undermined.

When asked about mass wire-tapping, Minister of Transportation Binali Yildirim gave a Kafkaesque response: "It is not possible to prevent being listened to; the only way is not to talk [on the phone]. If there is nothing illegal in our actions, we should not be concerned about such things."

Some examples of recent intrusive practices in Turkey include the appearance on YouTube of voice recordings of prominent figures either from the military or antigovernment circles. Several anti-Islamist senior military officers have reportedly resigned over the past few years when faced with the possibility that their private conversations would be leaked. The leaks involve some top-secret military documents, so they are also highly illegal and might pose a serious security breach for the NATO alliance.

In this context, several aspects of the so-called Ergenekon trial are worth highlighting. Ergenekon is alleged to be a secret antigovernment organization named after a pre-Islamic Turkish myth. The case involves a network of ultranationalists -- including journalists, military, business and civil society leaders -- who allegedly have been involved in a range of terror attacks since the early 1990s, and most recently conspired to attempt a coup against the AKP.

The investigation began in June 2007, when over two dozen hand grenades were found in an Istanbul house. The same type of grenade was used in the attacks on the Istanbul offices of the prominent anti-Islamist newspaper Cumhuriyet in 2006. At the time, many believed the attack against the newspaper was carried out by Islamists. Now, according to the prosecution, this and other such attacks were not carried out by Islamists, but by Ergenekon conspirators.

The indictment reads like a Solzhenitsyn novel; it includes private conversations between suspects, who discuss their conversations with prominent figures, such as former president Suleyman Demirel and business tycoon Rahmi Koc. While these do not by themselves make a case, they are highly embarrassing when reprinted on the front pages of major newspapers. The message that many people took from the indictment is that those critical of the government are officially on notice.

The case is built around retired Brig. Gen. Veli Kucuk, an alleged leader of Ergenekon, who is accused of a number of illegal activities, including some of the most shocking crimes in recent Turkish history. Ergenekon conspirators are also accused of planning to murder the current chief of the Turkish military's general staff, Yasar Buyukanit, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Nobel Prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk (among others), and of planning attacks on NATO facilities.

Most Turks would welcome the elimination of such furtive armed networks, and the clear restoration of the rule of law. However, the timing of this case, as well as the movie-like aspects of the indictment, have aroused suspicions that the AKP or its supporters are behind a campaign of intimidation -- and that they are striking back in the legal arena against the same people who tried to ban the party.

First, the timing. The Istanbul court declared its acceptance of the indictment and released the 2,455 page document on July 25 -- the weekend prior to the start of the AKP closure case. While AKP and its supporters claim the two cases are not related, those in opposition see the two closely linked, and point to the headline of the strongly antimilitary daily Taraf the next day: "Founded in 1923, cleansed in 2008" -- i.e., it declared the collapse of Mustafa Kemal's secular Turkish Republic.

Second, the leading opposition paper Cumhuriyet seems to be a key target. The phones of its senior journalists have been tapped, and some conversations deemed anti-AKP leaked to the press -- including one involving a readout of an off-the-record conversation between the paper's U.S. correspondent and members of U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney's staff. The paper's senior editor and columnist, Ilhan Selcuk, was arrested in March as a result of the information extracted from his private phone conversations. He is one of the leading figures among the 86 people charged with being a member of a "terrorist organization."

A third point made by those who managed to go through those 2,455 pages is that the indictment is full of unsubstantiated speculation, and that its attempt to blame all kinds of terror attacks and assassinations on Ergenekon is far-fetched. These include the killing of prominent anti-Islamist scholars and journalists, and what were thought to be Kurdish acts of terror and killings by the Islamist group Hezbullah (unrelated to the Lebanese organization).

The Ergenekon trial has so far raised more questions than answers. If the allegations can be proven, it would be a huge success for the AKP for having the courage to tackle such a horrendous entity. If, however, it turns out to be mostly a show trial, then those concerned about Turkish democracy and rule of law need to reconsider where Turkey is headed.

Ms. Baran, a native of Turkey, is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and director of its Center for Eurasian Policy.

See all of today's editorials and op-eds, plus video commentary, on Opinion Journal.
23720  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Daily Expression of Gratitude on: August 02, 2008, 01:16:49 PM
@ TT:  My wife worked sedulously on having our son's first words be "dada" so I would be the one who would have to go to him when he woke up in the night.

Woof All: 

My wife has an "Attitudes of Gratitude" book for reading on the throne, which is where I happened to be before setting down to the computer.  My reading this time around spoke of being grateful for good things, but then raised the question of the attitude to take towards bummer things and to be grateful to them for what they can teach us.

23721  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Pulling the Trigger on: August 02, 2008, 12:13:51 PM
Pulling the Trigger
August 2, 2008; Page A10
Let's hope Capitol Hill never catches fire. Congress would switch off the alarm and pretend there were no flames. That, at least, was the policy message sent by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her health-care enforcers when the House voted last week to deactivate a warning that entitlement spending is running amok.

Everybody has known forever that Medicare's spending trend is untenable. The program soaked up 3.2% of GDP and 16% of all federal spending in 2007, and it is expected to grow by 7.4% or more a year over the next decade. The Tom DeLay Republicans made the problem worse with their 2003 prescription drug benefit, but in doing so they felt a twinge, a flicker, a memory flash of fiscal conscience. So as a token gesture Republicans added a "trigger" that was supposed to force some future Congress to address the program's long-term insolvency.

The trigger kicks in if Medicare's Trustees project, for two years in a row, that the program will draw more than 45% of its funding from general government revenue -- instead of from payroll taxes, or premiums and co-pays from beneficiaries. That has happened for the last two years, and probably will every year for the foreseeable future. And when it does, the White House is required to write up "corrective" legislation. Under special procedures, the White House proposal is guaranteed an up-or-down vote in the House, though not the Senate.

The trigger doesn't actually require any cost-saving, much less real discipline. All it does is oblige the political class to nod at Medicare's deteriorating finances. But even that minor annoyance is too much for Democrats, so the House voted 231-184 last Thursday to change the rules to avoid considering President Bush's proposal.

Not that the Administration's proposal is ambitious. It would merely slow the rate of spending growth enough to shut off the 45% trigger. Provisions include moving toward electronic health records and a microincrease in prescription drug premiums for 1.5 million wealthy seniors. The horror!

Congress was free to reject any of this. But a vote might draw attention from the otherwise sleepy Capitol Hill press corps, and Democrats objected even to having the discussion. Liberal health-care maharishi Pete Stark wailed about "a political ploy to foster an unfounded panic," while Majority Leader Steny Hoyer called the trigger "completely arbitrary."

Democrats have tried repeatedly since 2006 to abolish the trigger because it gets in the way of their health-care agenda, even if only a little bit. Barack Obama has plans for a slow-motion roll toward "Medicare for all," the ultimate goal of Democratic health policy. The trigger reminds people of how spendthrift and taxing the budget for Medicare already is -- even when it's reserved only for seniors.

The House vote stalls action until the next Administration, when Democrats will almost certainly dump the trigger entirely.

23722  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India on: August 02, 2008, 10:36:15 AM
"Pak does this everytime... the US raises heat on them!..like clockwork!. This is a subtle reminder to the rest of the world that they better coddle Pak...or they may initiate a nuclear confrontation with India. Unfortunately, their story line is wearing thin...and with Mush gone, Pak will come under increasing pressure to control the ISI....X."
Pak does it again, fires at Indian troops from across LoC

Agencies
Posted online: Saturday, August 02, 2008 at 1523 hrs Print  Email


Jammu, August 2:: An Indian military post was targeted from across the Line of Control yet again despite New Delhi asking Islamabad not to vitiate the atmosphere between the two countries by repeatedly violating the ceasefire.


"There was firing on an Indian post along LoC in 12 Brigade area of Uri sector in Baramulla district of Kashmir Valley yesterday," defence sources said.

At least 15 to 16 small arms firing targeted the ward post, but the Indian troops did not retaliate and no casualties were reported, they said.

"We are investigating if it was ceasefire violation. Militants may have targeted troops on this side to push in armed ultras," they said.

In a major violation of the five-year-old ceasefire along the LoC, 15 Pakistani soldiers crossed into the Indian territory on July 28 and opened fire in the Kupwara sector killing an Indian jawan.

The two sides held a flag meeting in a bid to ease tension the next day after the two sides exchanged fire for 16 hours.

A spurt in such incidents in recent days prompted External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee to raise the issue with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi on the sidelines of the SAARC Summit in Colombo but Islamabad played them down as 'minor incidents' which can be dealt with at military level.

Pakistan troops have violated the 2003 Indo-Pak border truce 20 times in 2008 in Samba, Krishnagati, Mendhar, Rajouri, Poonch, Sabzian, Tangdhar, Uri, Teetwal, Kupwara and Baramulla areas of Jammu and Kashmir.
23723  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: August 01, 2008, 05:11:06 PM
Good contribution GM, as usual.

Still, does not the idea of the government prowling through people's papers (i.e. their computers) make you uneasy?
23724  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DB Gathering of the Pack August 10th, 2008 on: August 01, 2008, 01:58:08 PM
I was bummed when I heard that Dino and Ashley were not going to be able to make it to this Gathering as planned, but by the way of setting the hook for Ashley's appearance at the next Gathering:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVbMpzAq0Cw
http://www.teamruthless.com/AshleyKnifeSparring_NEW.wmv 
http://www.teamruthless.com/Dog_Brot...aining_NEW.wmv  (working the generator pattern from DBMA drill "Attacking Blocks" 1A with Guro Porn Star Dog)

23725  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: El enemigo armado on: August 01, 2008, 01:01:42 PM
Guau Cecilio:

Me alegra mucho verte aqui de nuevo.  Espero que tus viajes te hayan ido muy bien.

!La Aventura continua!
Marc/Crafty Dog
23726  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hamdan at Gitmo on: August 01, 2008, 12:53:45 PM
Justice at Gitmo
By DAVID B. RIVKIN JR. and LEE A. CASEY
WSJ
August 1, 2008; Page A13

After years of litigation, the first military commission trial of the war on terror -- United States v. Hamdan -- is underway in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Don't believe the critics who say justice isn't being done.

Salim Ahmed Hamdan was captured by American and allied forces in Afghanistan. The government maintains -- and Hamdan has confirmed -- that he was Osama bin Laden's driver and bodyguard. Hamdan is charged with conspiracy to commit war crimes and providing material support for terrorism.

Some of the complaints about the trial are trivial, such as that the proceedings are not televised (neither, of course, are the Supreme Court's). Other complaints are irrelevant, such as the claim that reporters cannot move about the Guantanamo base without an escort (try wandering unescorted into the Oval Office if you are on the White House beat).

Then there are the suggestions that the trial atmosphere feels wrong (all those uniforms in the "jury" box), and that the trial is going too fast compared with civilian cases. Since these are trials by military commission, the uniforms should have been anticipated. A quicker pace is also typical of military proceeding. Unlike civilian trial judges, military judges don't need to juggle civil litigation in addition to criminal cases on their dockets.

The real question, of course, is whether Hamdan is getting due process, and whether his trial is fair. The answer is yes. Hamdan has an able team of defense lawyers determined to squeeze from the system every drop of procedural advantage. They have, for example, made an unsuccessful attempt to have his trial postponed until after he has had a hearing in the civilian courts. Although the Supreme Court ruled in June that Guantanamo detainees can seek "habeas corpus" review, Judge James Robertson -- appointed by President Bill Clinton to the federal district court in Washington, D.C. -- ruled that the military commission trial can go forward.

Second, the defense has argued that the evidence against Hamdan should be excluded because it was obtained through "coercion." This claim mostly involves rough treatment after his capture in Afghanistan (he was held by both Afghan and American forces) and his being questioned during his long detention at Guantanamo.

The trial judge -- a military officer as provided by law -- excluded Hamdan's statements from Afghanistan (where questioning was, at times, by armed interrogators) but very properly rejected the defense claim that merely being held without trial as an enemy combatant, subject to Guantanamo's rules and discipline, was impermissible coercion. Captured enemy combatants can be so held, noted the judge. He consequently gave "little weight to the coercive effect" supposedly inherent in being detained for long periods without access to friends and advisers. Thus was the "best interest of justice" admissibility standard approved by Congress in the 2006 Military Commissions Act applied, proving that uniformed judges will say no to both the prosecution and defense.

Pretrial motions resolved, the prosecution has presented a compelling case. By his own admissions, Hamdan was part of Osama bin Laden's inner circle, even if not in a very senior position. Witnesses state that Hamdan has admitted responsibility for preparing bin Laden's transportation for rapid movement in case of American attacks, and was also aware of the Sept. 11 attacks in advance.

Hamdan has also offered information on other al Qaeda operations and its field logistics -- including bin Laden's manner of travel and security escort. The evidence so far has also confirmed an interesting tidbit about bin Laden's thinking. Because of a lack of a vigorous U.S. military response to the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings and the 2000 Cole bombing, bin Laden evidently came to believe that the U.S. would never actually come after him in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.

Under the standards applied in previous wars, these facts -- unless disproved or rebutted by the defense -- would fully justify Hamdan's conviction as an unlawful enemy combatant and a person who has rendered material support to a terrorist organization. He may have been a driver, but one who was trained as a terrorist and provided essential security and logistics support for al Qaeda's commander in chief. He was no more a civilian, entitled to trial in civilian courts, than were Hitler's SS bodyguards.

Hamdan's trial is an important test for the system as a whole. It will be followed in short order by that of Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen also captured in Afghanistan -- at the age of 15 -- and accused of killing an American military medic. After that, the trials of far more senior al Qaeda members will follow. That includes Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the mastermind of Sept. 11.

In short, based upon the military commission rules and actual practice of the Hamdan trial we've seen so far, the U.S. is according the unlawful enemy combatants at Guantanamo the fairest war-crimes trials in history. That's right, more due process at Gitmo than during the post-World War II Nuremberg tribunal and at least as much as in the more recent Hague tribunal proceedings -- both of which are routinely extolled by the critics of military commissions. But none of this seems to matter to the critics, who continue stubbornly to insist that only the civilian justice system is acceptable for the Guantanamo detainees.

The U.S. must continue the military commission system. Only military courts that provide a fair hearing and sufficient protection for national security information can ultimately provide justice to both the detainees and the American people.

Messrs. Rivkin and Casey, Washington attorneys, served in the Justice Department under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
23727  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Paulson's Fannie Gamble on: August 01, 2008, 12:49:19 PM
Hank Paulson's Fannie Gamble
By LAWRENCE B. LINDSEY
August 1, 2008

Our housing finance system has been broken for quite some time, creating perverse incentives for borrowers and lenders. We have now reaped the consequences, and a major financial bailout of the system is probably inevitable.

Conservatives can rightly argue that had Congressional Democrats not blocked the various initiatives of the Bush administration to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for the past five years, we would not be sitting at the precipice like we are today. But that does not change the need for a government injection of funds to fill the financial hole in those two enterprises. The institutional arrangements in the American mortgage market cannot be changed overnight, and the risks of a breakdown in that market at some point over the next 18 months are still quite real.

 
Chad Crowe 
The trouble is, the legislation that just passed Congress indicates that Washington has learned nothing from our recent troubles. And, as this bailout bill is likely to be followed by at least one additional bill next year, the evident inability or unwillingness of Congress to move up the learning curve and abandon its past practices will make the ultimate cost to the taxpayer far higher than it might have been.

The 700 pages of legislation, which I doubt many members of Congress have even attempted to read, contains many egregious provisions, some of which are unrelated to the trouble at hand. But the pork designed to buy votes for the legislation pales before the blunders directly related to the problem at hand.

First, Congress rejected a proposal that Fannie and Freddie be barred from paying dividends if they are receiving injections of capital from the federal government. This idea would seem to be the first lesson in a course on Government Bailout 101. The government shouldn't be shoveling taxpayer money in the front door while the company is shoveling dividends to shareholders out the back door.

Freddie Mac paid $1.6 billion in dividends last year while Fannie Mae paid $2.5 billion. Both have dividend yields that are many times higher than the norm. Congress chose to protect the shareholders at the expense of the taxpayer.

Second, Congress did not give the taxpayer any of the upside from a potential recovery of Fannie and Freddie, leaving it all with existing management and existing shareholders. This breaks with past bailout or workout traditions in both the public sector and the private sector. In the Chrysler bailout of the 1980s, the government gave itself warrants that paid off when the company recovered. In most private-sector deals, existing common shareholders get virtually wiped out (Bear Stearns, for example) while preferred shareholders at least get a haircut. Fannie and Freddie shareholders were untouched by this bill. Congress bailed them out on the downside and preserved their upside potential.

Third, the legislation did not produce any substantive reforms in the home-lending area, particularly the problems which became endemic in the recent bubble. For example, President Bush asked for authority to allow for risk-based pricing in government-generated mortgages. That idea is based on the commonsense view that higher-risk customers should pay higher interest rates.

Congress rejected this, despite the lessons of the recent housing boom and bust associated with risky lending. And when it came to controlling risk through minimum down payments by homebuyers, the legislation set the required down payment for a government mortgage at only 3½%.

Fourth, the legislation included a special tax on mortgages originated by Fannie and Freddie to go into a fund for "affordable housing" run by politicians and community activists. It may seem natural for politicians to help out their colleagues and the people who turn out the votes on election day with newly dedicated taxes. But whatever logic there is in boosting taxes on entities that need public funds escapes me.

The list of such nonsensical provisions goes on and on. The examples mentioned above were not surprises snuck into the legislation in the dark of night. The president threatened to veto the bill in a formal Statement of Administration Policy issued on July 11 because it contained such objectionable items. The veto threat was reiterated by the White House just days before the House passed the legislation, but Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson reversed the veto threat in time for the vote.

The usual reason given for monstrosities such as this is that these provisions were needed to secure passage and that the need to pass the bill was pressing. But was it really that pressing? Fannie and Freddie declared during the congressional debate that they were both adequately capitalized and had no problem obtaining liquidity. If they were telling the truth, then certainly there was plenty of time for more serious deliberation.

If they were not telling the truth -- and the GSEs just got out of a five-year habit of issuing reports that were late or "qualified" by the auditors -- then Congress just created a blank check for a bailout of two institutions with dubious credibility. Either way, prudence would dictate a little more caution and time should have been taken.

The more plausible reason for the bill's structure is that the decades of coziness between politicians and Fannie and Freddie is paying off. Not only were there campaign contributions, but their "foundations" contributed huge sums to think tanks, and many political figures made the transition from government to the GSEs. The list of their connections reads like a combined Washington-New York phone book, and undoubtedly gives the appearance that both Wall Street and politicians close to Fannie and Freddie had key seats at the bargaining table over this bill. The taxpayer was not adequately represented.

Nor was the homeowner an obvious beneficiary. Both conforming and jumbo mortgage rates have risen about a quarter point during July. The new law actually reduces the amount of competition in the mortgage securitization business going forward by solidifying the special position for the two leading players, Fannie and Freddie, while competitors scramble to get capital.

The legislation also creates long-term uncertainty with regard to the extent and form of government assistance. In effect, Treasury Secretary Paulson now has an open-ended mandate to bail out the nation's troubled housing finance market, the largest single capital market in the world.

If any other country announced that its finance minister could print unlimited debt to do something similar, financial markets around the world would dump both the country's debt and the country's currency. It may well be different because this is the United States of America. But certainly, to take such a risky and unprecedented step, a better crafted and considered piece of legislation should have been created.

Mr. Lindsey, former assistant to the president for economic policy, is president and CEO of the Lindsey Group, and author of "What a President Should Know . . . But Most Learn too Late" (Rowman & Littlefield, 2008).
23728  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Madison's second inaugural on: August 01, 2008, 12:46:38 PM
The Patriot Post
Founders' Quote Daily

"[T]o exclude foreign intrigues and foreign partialities,
so degrading to all countries and so baneful to free ones; to
foster a spirit of independence too just to invade the rights of
others, too proud to surrender our own, too liberal to indulge
unworthy prejudices ourselves and too elevated not to look down
upon them in others; to hold the union of the States on the basis
of their peace and happiness; to support the Constitution, which
is the cement of the Union, as well in its limitations as in its
authorities; to respect the rights and authorities reserved to
the States and to the people as equally incorporated with and
essential to the success of the general... as far as sentiments
and intentions such as these can aid the fulfillment of my duty,
they will be a resource which can not fail me."

-- James Madison (Second Inaugural Address, March 1813)

Reference: Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents of the United
States.
23729  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WTF?!? on: August 01, 2008, 09:45:05 AM
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. federal agents have been given new powers to seize travelers' laptops and other electronic devices at the border and hold then for unspecified periods the Washington Post reported on Friday.
Under recently disclosed Department of Homeland Security policies, such seizures may be carried out without suspicion of wrongdoing, the newspaper said, quoting policies issued on July 16 by two DHS agencies.
Agents are empowered to share the contents of seized computers with other agencies and private entities for data decryption and other reasons, the newspaper said.
DHS officials said the policies applied to anyone entering the country, including U.S. citizens, and were needed to prevent terrorism.
The measures have long been in place but were only disclosed in July, under pressure from civil liberties and business travel groups acting on reports that increasing numbers of international travelers had had their laptops, cellphones and other digital devices removed and examined.
The policies cover hard drives, flash drives, cell phones, iPods, pagers, beepers, and video and audio tapes -- as well as books, pamphlets and other written materials, the report said.
The policies require federal agents to take measures to protect business information and attorney-client privileged material. They stipulate that any copies of the data must be destroyed when a review is completed and no probable cause exists to keep the information.

===========
Quoting from another forum- caveat lector:

"Here's a link to the actual government DHS policies "allowing" them to do this:

http://www.cbp.gov/linkhandler/cgov/..._authority.pdf

There's two current solutions:

1) Encrypt everything (PGP Whole Disk would be my recommendation)
2) Don't travel with electronic media

Keep in mind if you encrypt, shut your computer OFF entirely before travelling - don't leave it hibernating or sleeping, as it's potentially possible to capture the keys out of memory with a hardware hack."
23730  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Daily Expression of Gratitude on: July 31, 2008, 04:21:05 PM
Grateful for the nice workout today swinging sticks and KBs  cool
23731  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DB Gathering of the Pack August 10th, 2008 on: July 31, 2008, 04:18:15 PM
How did he send it?  Mail?  Fax? Email?
23732  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Guro Crafty in Toronto, Canada 7/19-20 on: July 31, 2008, 04:16:51 PM
I would simply like to say that I had a wonderful time meeting many cool people.  Rene and I are working out the details of my next seminar there-- it looks like it will be in February.  Bbbbrrrrrrr!  cheesy
23733  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Our Founding Fathers: on: July 31, 2008, 12:53:20 PM
"I believe a time will come when an opportunity will be offered
to abolish this lamentable evil. Everything we do is to improve
it, if it happens in our day; if not, let us transmit to our
descendants, together with our slaves, a pity for their unhappy
lot and an abhorrence of slavery."

-- Patrick Henry (letter to Robert Pleasants, 18 January 1773)

Reference: The Spirit of 'Seventy-Six, Henry Commager and Richard
Morris, 402.
23734  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: July 31, 2008, 12:10:19 PM
Woof Karsk:

My intention for the moment is to ruthlessly focus on these words of yours "combating ideologies of all sorts". 

I disagree.

I believe that we receive from our Creator the inaleinable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit, not the guarantee, of happiness.  To pursue happiness, we have freedom of choice.  To make our choices meaningul, we have freedom of speech to inform us and we have separation of church and state.  And to make sure that the State remembers, we have the right to keep and bear arms. 

I came to this things through education and through thought.  In my opinion these things are right and those ideologies that oppose these things are wrong.

Do you agree or disagree?

TAC,
Marc
23735  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Is McCain Stupid? on: July 31, 2008, 09:34:33 AM
Is John McCain Stupid?
July 31, 2008; Page A13
Is John McCain losing it?

On Sunday, he said on national television that to solve Social Security "everything's on the table," which of course means raising payroll taxes. On July 7 in Denver he said: "Senator Obama will raise your taxes. I won't."

This isn't a flip-flop. It's a sex-change operation.

He got back to the subject Tuesday in Reno, Nev. Reporters asked about the Sunday tax comments. Mr. McCain replied, "The worst thing you could do is raise people's payroll taxes, my God!" Then he was asked about working with Democrats to fix Social Security, and he repeated, "everything has to be on the table." But how can . . .? Oh never mind.

 
AP 
Yesterday he was in Aurora, Colo., to wit: "On Social Security, he [Sen. Obama] wants to raise Social Security taxes. I am opposed to raising taxes on Social Security. I want to fix the system without raising taxes."

What I'm asking is, does John McCain have the mental focus, the intellectual discipline, to avoid being out-slicked by Barack Obama, if he isn't abandoned by his own voters?

It's not just taxes. Recently the subject came up of Al Gore's assertion that the U.S. could get its energy solely from renewables in 10 years. Sen. McCain said: "If the vice president says it's doable, I believe it's doable." What!!?? In a later interview, Mr. McCain said he hadn't read "all the specifics" of the Gore plan and now, "I don't think it's doable without nuclear power." It just sounds loopy.

Then this week in San Francisco, in an interview with the Chronicle, Sen. McCain called Nancy Pelosi an "inspiration to millions of Americans." Notwithstanding his promises to "work with the other side," this is a politically obtuse thing to say in the middle of a campaign. Would Bill Clinton, running for president in 1996 after losing control of the House, have called Newt Gingrich an "inspiration"? House Minority Leader John Boehner, facing a 10-to-20 seat loss in November, must be gagging.

 RSS FEEDS

 
For weekly updates of Daniel Henninger's Wonder Land column, point your RSS reader here:
http://online.wsj.com/xml/rss/3_7128.xmlThe one thing -- arguably the only thing -- the McCain candidacy has going for it is a sense among voters that they don't know what Barack Obama stands for or believes. Why then would Mr. McCain give voters reason to wonder the same thing about himself? You're supposed to sow doubt about the other guy, not do it to yourself.

Yes, Sen. McCain must somehow appeal to independents and blue-collar Hillary Democrats. A degree of pandering to the center is inevitable. But this stuff isn't pandering; it's simply stupid. Al Gore's own climate allies separated themselves from his preposterous free-of-oil-in-10-years whopper. Sen. McCain saying off-handedly that it's "doable" is, in a word, thoughtless.

Speaker Pelosi heads a House with a 9% approval. To let her off the hook before the election reflects similar loss of thought.

The forces arrayed against Sen. McCain's candidacy are formidable: an unpopular president, the near impossibility of extending Republican White House rule for three terms, the GOP trailing in races at every level, a listless fundraising base, doubtful sentiments about the war, a flailing economy.

The generic Democratic presidential candidate should win handily. Barack Obama, though vulnerable at the margin, is a very strong candidate. This will be a turnout election. To win, Mr. McCain needs every Republican vote he can hold.

Why make it harder than it has to be? Given such statements on Social Security taxes, Al Gore and the "inspirational" Speaker Pelosi, is there a reason why Rush Limbaugh should not spend August teeing off on Mr. McCain?

Why as well shouldn't the Obama camp exploit all of this? If Sen. Obama's "inexperience" is Mr. McCain's ace in the hole, why not trump that by asking, "Does Sen. McCain know his own mind?"

* * *
In this sports-crazed country, everyone has learned a lot about what it takes to win. They've heard and seen it proven repeatedly that to achieve greatness, to win the big one, an athlete has to be ready to "put in the work."

John McCain isn't doing that, yet. He's competing as if he expects the other side to lose it for him. Sen. McCain is a famously undisciplined politician. Someone in the McCain circle had better do some straight talking to the candidate. He's not some 19-year-old tennis player who's going to win the U.S. presidential Open on raw talent and the other guy's errors. He's not that good.

There is a reason the American people the past 100 years elevated only two sitting senators into the White House -- JFK and Warren Harding. It's because they believe most senators, adept at compulsive compromise, have no political compass and will sell them out. Now voters have to do what they prefer not to. Yes, Sen. McCain has honor and country. Another month of illogical, impolitic remarks and Sen. McCain will erase even that. Absent a coherent message for voters, he will be one-on-one with Barack Obama in the fall. He will lose.

Write to henninger@wsj.com
23736  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Daily Expression of Gratitude on: July 31, 2008, 01:10:25 AM
Grateful for a good conversation with my brother, and a partner in BJJ tonight who did not grind me as much as he could have  cheesy
23737  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Question On The Shivworks P'Kal on: July 31, 2008, 01:05:30 AM
IMHO Southnark's concept here is quite sharp.
23738  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: July 31, 2008, 12:38:53 AM
"I prefer an educational system that requires an intellectual "gathering of the pack" as a basis of combating ideologies of all sorts.  Now wouldn't that be something?
Karsk"

ALL ideologies?  Including the one upon this country was founded? 


MD:  "Notwithstanding this, the liberal- secular humanist-PC-Democratic ideology seeks to impose parity in all areas via the coercive powers of the State."

KARSK:  "Just out of curiosity, do you see such issues as  a distinct and encompassing ideology?   I do not in the sense that I might identify a "Fundamentalist Ideology" or a "Communist Ideology".  Secular humanism ideology definitely extends throughout much of present day thought and I think its expression is much more subtle.  Is that ideology what you see as responsible for gender issues? In some ways I can see your point and particularly how governments can really muck things up however..."

How about this definition?  "(T)he view that every nook and cranny of society should work together in spiritual union toward the same goals, overseen by the State.  "Everything in the State, nothing outside the State." , , , No question about the role of government or its power (is) truly settled , , a "middle" or "third way" between capitalism and socialism , , , the State should be allowed to get away with anything, so long as it is for "good reasons".  , , , It represents the triumph of Pragmatism in politics in that it recognizes no dogmatic boundaries to the scope of government power., , , (T)he federal government should use its power to do nice things wherever and whenever it can."


23739  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: July 30, 2008, 12:53:20 PM
Your summary of the recent discussion seems accurate to me.

I agree 100% that the trouble with so many things that so many people "know" is that they aren't so.

IMHO it is profoundly obvious that there are important differences between men and women.  Notwithstanding this, the liberal- secualr humanist-PC-Democractic ideology seeks to impose parity in all areas via the coercive powers of the State.
23740  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Cyberwar on: July 30, 2008, 12:45:21 PM
Today's post on the Iran thread about Iran planning a nuke EMP pulse attack over the US wiping out electronics makes thie following all the more pertinent:
========================

Geopolitical Diary: Cyberwarfare Beginning To Take Center Stage
July 30, 2008 | 0152 GMT
2008 has seen an increasingly public acknowledgment by the U.S. intelligence community of the cyberwarfare threat. A report by Defense News on Tuesday highlighted the recent emergence of significant bipartisan congressional support by the powerful U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence for a White House initiative on comprehensive national cybersecurity. Though public details are vague, the initiative seeks to improve computer security holistically across the military and government, while better hardening critical infrastructure against cyberattack. The intent is to create architecture that is also open to participation by business and the public.

Related Special Topic Pages
Cyberwarfare
It has long been abundantly clear that computers and especially the global connectivity of the Internet have been, as a whole, one of the most radical and far-reaching inventions in human history. High technology has changed the way business is done and the way humans personally connect and interact. Already we see jihadists using the Internet as a tool for manipulating public perception, coordinating operations and even sharing tactics, training and practices. At the same time, cyberspace has opened new avenues for espionage and crime alike. The free flow of information across international boundaries has influenced color revolutions in countries like Ukraine and precipitated the fall of governments.

But while the geopolitical significance of cyberspace is undeniable, its exploitation in global conflict — cyberwarfare — has largely been limited and deniable. Both the Pentagon’s exercise of cyberwarfare in Kosovo in 1999 and the potential use of it by Israel as part of its raid on Syria in September 2007 is the stuff of speculation. The world has yet to see the comprehensive military exploitation of cyberspace in international conflict.

This is an enormous concern, and though the U.S. Air Force is working to consolidate its cyberwarfare efforts under the aegis of a new Cyber Command, the Pentagon does not have anything close to the established dominance that it enjoys in more traditional domains.

For example, some experts claim that the massive 2004 blackout in the American northeast was precipitated by a Chinese hacker tinkering with systems relevant to the power grid. In 2007, in what has become one of the few true case studies in cyberwarfare, a massive cyberattack brought Estonia to a standstill in the wake of the controversial relocation of a Soviet World War II memorial. (And despite its recent status as a Soviet republic, Estonia is no poorly connected backwater. In fact, it is an exceptionally “wired” country by any standard — which contributed heavily to the effectiveness of the attack.)

At the time, the government was unable to communicate efficiently. Attacks on government websites were interspersed with disinformation and fraudulent postings. Though not everyone or everything was targeted, Estonia’s entire Internet infrastructure was so overloaded with traffic and preoccupied with defending itself that it essentially ceased to function — bringing corporate banking, access to the media and even day-to-day personal transactions to a halt.

Reports on the Estonian incident suggest that the attacks ultimately involved more than a million computers from some 75 countries (including some of Estonia’s NATO allies). And while nationalist fervor on the Russian side certainly played a part in rallying independent hackers, there is little doubt that the Kremlin was involved.

There are several interrelated points here:

Cyberwarfare has the potential to bring a country to an economic standstill on par with that experienced by the United States in the days following the 9/11 attacks.
Offensive actions in cyberspace often provide a great deal of deniability. It is a smart weapon of choice for inflicting blows without engaging in a shooting war.
The connectivity and computing power of systems and servers inside a country and allied countries can be co-opted and used in very simple but often all too effective brute-force attacks.
An attack can be executed from almost anywhere in the world without consideration for strategic geographic buffers and otherwise insurmountable distances.
The list goes on, but the underlying point is that cyberspace is a domain in which many of the traditional considerations of geopolitical conflict are fundamentally altered — if not obviated all together (e.g. geography may not matter, resources can be amassed largely undetected and the primary form of damage may be economic rather than physical).

As the unchallenged and the sole superpower, the United States is the obvious target because symmetrical competition is often inconceivable. Cyberwarfare efforts are under way in many countries around the world (including Russia), but China is widely considered to have the most advanced and robust capability.

Currently, assaults on U.S. systems (corporate, government and military alike) from all over the world occur daily. But there can be little doubt that in a significant escalation of hostilities with a country like Russia or China, such blows will be felt at home even if the conventional conflict may be thousands of miles away.

Keeping conflict an ocean and half a world away has been a core geopolitical imperative for Washington since the beginning. It is the root of the Monroe Doctrine and the reason why Soviet missiles in Cuba were so unacceptable. The very nature of the Internet thus makes comprehensive national cybersecurity at home a geopolitically relevant national interest.
23741  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / The day after , , , on: July 30, 2008, 12:09:19 PM
What do we do the day after this?

How do we prepare?

What can we do to protect our electronically stored records (e.g. bank accounts, business records, website businesses, etc)?
==========

http://www.newsmax.com/timmerman/ira...29/117217.html

Newsmax.com

U.S. Intel: Iran Plans Nuclear Strike on U.S.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008 9:00 AM

By: Kenneth R. Timmerman

Iran has carried out missile tests for what could be a plan for a nuclear strike on the United States, the head of a national security panel has warned.

In testimony before the House Armed Services Committee and in remarks to a private conference on missile defense over the weekend hosted by the Claremont Institute, Dr. William Graham warned that the U.S. intelligence community “doesn’t have a story” to explain the recent Iranian tests. One group of tests that troubled Graham, the former White House science adviser under President Ronald Reagan, were successful efforts to launch a Scud missile from a platform in the Caspian Sea.

“They’ve got [test] ranges in Iran which are more than long enough to handle Scud launches and even Shahab-3 launches,” Dr. Graham said. “Why would they be launching from the surface of the Caspian Sea? They obviously have not explained that to us.”

Another troubling group of tests involved Shahab-3 launches where the Iranians "detonated the warhead near apogee, not over the target area where the thing would eventually land, but at altitude,” Graham said. “Why would they do that?”

Graham chairs the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack, a blue-ribbon panel established by Congress in 2001. The commission examined the Iranian tests “and without too much effort connected the dots,” even though the U.S. intelligence community previously had failed to do so, Graham said.

“The only plausible explanation we can find is that the Iranians are figuring out how to launch a missile from a ship and get it up to altitude and then detonate it,” he said. “And that’s exactly what you would do if you had a nuclear weapon on a Scud or a Shahab-3 or other missile, and you wanted to explode it over the United States.”

The commission warned in a report issued in April that the United States was at risk of a sneak nuclear attack by a rogue nation or a terrorist group designed to take out our nation’s critical infrastructure.

"If even a crude nuclear weapon were detonated anywhere between 40 kilometers to 400 kilometers above the earth, in a split-second it would generate an electro-magnetic pulse [EMP] that would cripple military and civilian communications, power, transportation, water, food, and other infrastructure," the report warned.

While not causing immediate civilian casualties, the near-term impact on U.S. society would dwarf the damage of a direct nuclear strike on a U.S. city.

“The first indication [of such an attack] would be that the power would go out, and some, but not all, the telecommunications would go out. We would not physically feel anything in our bodies,” Graham said.

As electric power, water and gas delivery systems failed, there would be “truly massive traffic jams,” Graham added, since modern automobiles and signaling systems all depend on sophisticated electronics that would be disabled by the EMP wave.

“So you would be walking. You wouldn’t be driving at that point,” Graham said. “And it wouldn’t do any good to call the maintenance or repair people because they wouldn’t be able to get there, even if you could get through to them.”

The food distribution system also would grind to a halt as cold-storage warehouses stockpiling perishables went offline. Even warehouses equipped with backup diesel generators would fail, because “we wouldn’t be able to pump the fuel into the trucks and get the trucks to the warehouses,” Graham said.

The United States “would quickly revert to an early 19th century type of country.” except that we would have 10 times as many people with ten times fewer resources, he said. “Most of the things we depend upon would be gone, and we would literally be depending on our own assets and those we could reach by walking to them,” Graham said. America would begin to resemble the 2002 TV series, “Jeremiah,” which depicts a world bereft of law, infrastructure, and memory. In the TV series, an unspecified virus wipes out the entire adult population of the planet. In an EMP attack, the casualties would be caused by our almost total dependence on technology for everything from food and water, to hospital care. Within a week or two of the attack, people would start dying, Graham says.

“People in hospitals would be dying faster than that, because they depend on power to stay alive. But then it would go to water, food, civil authority, emergency services. And we would end up with a country with many, many people not surviving the event.”

Asked just how many Americans would die if Iran were to launch the EMP attack it appears to be preparing, Graham gave a chilling reply.

“You have to go back into the 1800s to look at the size of population” that could survive in a nation deprived of mechanized agriculture, transportation, power, water, and communication.

“I’d have to say that 70 to 90 percent of the population would not be sustainable after this kind of attack,” he said.

America would be reduced to a core of around 30 million people — about the number that existed in the decades after America’s independence from Great Britain. The modern electronic economy would shut down, and America would most likely revert to “an earlier economy based on barter,” the EMP commission’s report on Critical National Infrastructure concluded earlier this year.

In his recent congressional testimony, Graham revealed that Iranian military journals, translated by the CIA at his commission’s request, “explicitly discuss a nuclear EMP attack that would gravely harm the United States.”

Furthermore, if Iran launched its attack from a cargo ship plying the commercial sea lanes off the East coast — a scenario that appears to have been tested during the Caspian Sea tests — U.S. investigators might never determine who was behind the attack. Because of the limits of nuclear forensic technology, it could take months. And to disguise their traces, the Iranians could simply decide to sink the ship that had been used to launch it, Graham said. Several participants in last weekend’s conference in Dearborn, Mich., hosted by the conservative Claremont Institute argued that Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was thinking about an EMP attack when he opined that “a world without America is conceivable.”

In May 2007, then Undersecretary of State John Rood told Congress that the U.S. intelligence community estimates that Iran could develop an ICBM capable of hitting the continental United States by 2015. But Iran could put a Scud missile on board a cargo ship and launch from the commercial sea lanes off America’s coasts well before then. The only thing Iran is lacking for an effective EMP attack is a nuclear warhead, and no one knows with any certainty when that will occur. The latest U.S. intelligence estimate states that Iran could acquire the fissile material for a nuclear weapon as early as 2009, or as late as 2015, or possibly later.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld first detailed the “Scud-in-a-bucket” threat during a briefing in Huntsville, Ala., on Aug. 18, 2004.

While not explicitly naming Iran, Rumsfeld revealed that “one of the nations in the Middle East had launched a ballistic missile from a cargo vessel. They had taken a short-range, probably Scud missile, put it on a transporter-erector launcher, lowered it in, taken the vessel out into the water, peeled back the top, erected it, fired it, lowered it, and covered it up. And the ship that they used was using a radar and electronic equipment that was no different than 50, 60, 100 other ships operating in the immediate area.”

Iran’s first test of a ship-launched Scud missile occurred in spring 1998, and was mentioned several months later in veiled terms by the Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States, a blue-ribbon panel also known as the Rumsfeld Commission.  I was the first reporter to mention the Iran sea-launched missile test in an article appearing in the Washington Times in May 1999.

Intelligence reports on the launch were “well known to the White House but have not been disseminated to the appropriate congressional committees,” I wrote. Such a missile “could be used in a devastating stealth attack against the United States or Israel for which the United States has no known or planned defense.”

Few experts believe that Iran can be deterred from launching such an attack by the threat of massive retaliation against Iran. They point to a December 2001 statement by former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, who mulled the possibility of Israeli retaliation after an Iranian nuclear strike.

“The use of an atomic bomb against Israel would destroy Israel completely, while [the same] against the Islamic only would cause damages. Such a scenario is not inconceivable,” Rafsanjani said at the time.

Rep. Trent Franks, R, Ariz., plans to introduce legislation next week that would require the Pentagon to lay the groundwork for an eventual military strike against Iran, to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and EMP capability. “An EMP attack on America would send us back to the horse and buggy era — without the horse and buggy,” he told the Claremont Institute conference on Saturday. “If you’re a terrorist, this is your ultimate goal, your ultimate asymmetric weapon.” Noting Iran’s recent sea-launched and mid-flight warhead detonation tests, Rep. Franks concluded, “They could do it — either directly or anonymously by putting some freighter out there on the ocean.”

The only possible deterrent against Iran is the prospect of failure, Dr. Graham and other experts agreed. And the only way the United States could credibly threaten an Iranian missile strike would be to deploy effective national missile defenses.

“It’s well known that people don’t go on a diet until they’ve had a heart attack,” said Claremont Institute president Brian T. Kennedy. “And we as a nation are having a heart attack” when it comes to the threat of an EMP attack from Iran.

“As of today, we have no defense against such an attack. We need space-based missile defenses to protect against an EMP attack,” he told Newsmax.

Rep. Franks said he remains surprised at how partisan the subject of space-based missile defenses remain. “Nuclear missiles don’t discriminate on party lines when they land,” he said. Arizona Republican Sen. Jon Kyl, a long-standing champion of missile defense, told the Claremont conference on Friday that Sen. Obama has opposed missile defense tooth and nail and as president would cut funding for these programs dramatically. “Senator Obama has been quoted as saying, ‘I don’t agree with a missile defense system,’ and that we can cut $10 billion of the research out — never mind, as I say, that the entire budget is $9.6 billion, or $9.3 billion,” Kyl said. Like Franks, Kyl believes that the only way to eventually deter Iran from launching an EMP attack on the United States is to deploy robust missile defense systems, including space-based interceptors.

The United States “needs a missile defense that is so strong, in all the different phases we need to defend against . . . that countries will decide it’s not worth coming up against us.  That’s one of the things that defeated the Soviet Union. That’s one of the ways we can deal with these rogue states . . . and also the way that we can keep countries that are not enemies today, but are potential enemies, from developing capabilities to challenge us,“ Kyl said.
23742  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / PD WSJ on: July 30, 2008, 11:51:53 AM
Secoond post of the day

Welfare State

It looks as if the senator who brought us the "Bridge to Nowhere" may be heading in the same direction politically. Alaska Senator Ted Stevens' indictment yesterday on seven counts of lying on his financial disclosure forms has certainly ended his political career. He's accused of covering up a total of $250,000 in gifts

The indictment appears to be about as airtight as a prosecutor could wish for. The FBI recorded two phone calls between Sen. Stevens and Bill Allen, a Stevens patron who dominated state politics as the head of the oil-services firm VECO until he pleaded guilty to bribing state legislators this year. Mr. Allen has already testified in open court that he paid some of the bills incurred in the expensive remodeling of Mr. Stevens's Alaska home. A year ago today, FBI agents raided the senator's home to secure evidence about the remodeling work.

Political experts in Alaska tell me that Mr. Stevens, who has served since 1968 and rose to become chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee, will almost certainly lose his August 26 Republican primary. His major opponent is David Cuddy, a banker who held Mr. Stevens to 58% of the vote in a 1996 primary by attacking his spendthrift ways. An era is ending in Alaska politics. Rep. Don Young, Alaska's lone House member, is himself under investigation by the Feds for his ties to VECO. Polls show him trailing his primary opponent, Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell.

For decades Alaska justified its raids on the federal Treasury because Washington owned so much of the state and had locked up so many of its natural resources from development (the oil underneath the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge being the most famous example). In what some called "compensation," the state made sure it became No. 1 in the nation for pork per person -- $984.85 for each Alaskan in 2005. With the abrupt loss of seniority the state is about to experience in Congress, it may now have to come up with a new model of economic development. Here's hoping Congress contributes by opening more of the state's resources to development. Producing real wealth would be a healthier strategy for most Alaskans than the continuing pillage of the U.S. taxpayer the state's raiding parties in Congress have been conducting for decades.

-- John Fund

McCain on Taxes: The Picture Gets Fuzzy

The McCain campaign is starting to wrap itself around just how much of a potential problem it created for itself with the candidate's claim on ABC News last Sunday that "nothing's off the table" -- including raising taxes -- when a President John McCain tackles Social Security reform.

The Democratic National Committee quickly pounced, issuing a press release headlined, "McCain Tax Pledge? Not so much." It listed the many times Mr. McCain has pledged not to raise taxes and contrasted these statements with his "nothing's off the table" line. Some Republicans predict this is only the opening barrage in a Democratic attack theme -- regardless of Mr. Obama's own publicly stated plans to raise Social Security taxes on upper-income earners. "Raising Social Security taxes is a pretty easy issue to scare folks about -- and kills small business," is how one GOP consultant put it to me.

Sensing that Democrats were already cueing up their tape machines to prepare commercials for the fall campaign, McCain aides are now pressing their boss to return to his often-stated anti-tax message. Yesterday, at a town hall meeting in Sparks, Nevada, Mr. McCain was asked by a young girl if he planned to raise taxes as president. "No," was his stern one-word answer.

Now if he can elaborate on that a bit he may be able to portray his ABC News answer as a one-day blunder rather than a self-launched torpedo aimed directly at one of his most effective arguments against Barack Obama. The Democratic candidate has extensive plans to raise taxes at a time of economic weakness -- something that no school of economics, Keynesian or supply-side, would advocate.

-- John Fund

This Bud's for Belgium

Politicians and Wall Streeters are starting to ask why the Belgian beer company InBev purchased Anheuser-Busch and not the other way around. Anheuser-Busch is an iconic American firm and some find it almost unpatriotic that Anheuser CEO August Busch IV allowed the "King of Beers" to relocate across the Atlantic -- though shareholders were the big winners here with a $50 billion-plus takeaway.

But here's the real question: Was the takeover basically financed by the savings Anheuser expected from escaping America's increasingly uncompetitive corporate tax system? According to the Tax Foundation, Belgium's corporate tax rate is 33%, but the effective tax rate can be half the nominal rate thanks to adjustments for something the OECD calls a "notional allowance for corporate equity." Bottom line: InBev was paying around 20% of its profits in corporate taxes, compared to Anheuser-Busch's rate of 38.4%.

Things have gotten pretty bad when U.S. companies relocate to Europe to cut their tax payments. But a research analysis by Morgan Stanley finds the combined company's corporate tax bill will be lower than in the U.S. and that the tax differential indeed figured into the economics of the sale.

So while John McCain may have benefited from his wife's ownership of Anheuser stock (estimated at between 40,000 and 80,000 shares), the country will continue to see its competitive edge wither away without a corporate tax rate cut. Mr. McCain to his credit wants to cut the corporate tax rate to 25%, close to the global average. Senator Obama is more interested in raising tax rates than cutting them.

Wall Street dealmakers tell us to expect more sales of U.S. companies to European rivals thanks to the combination of America's higher corporate taxes and the weak dollar. They're right. New data from the OECD for 2008 indicate that the international average for corporate tax rates fell by another percentage point last year, meaning the U.S. is pricing itself out of the market as a corporate headquarters. "America's 35% corporate tax rate is not just bad economics, it's downright unpatriotic," says tax expert Kevin Hassett of the American Enterprise Institute.

-- Stephen Moore and Tyler Grimm

Quote of the Day

"Barack Obama has long been his party's presumptive nominee. Now he's becoming its presumptuous nominee. . . . In the latest issue of the New Republic, Gabriel Sherman found reporters complaining that Obama's campaign was 'acting like the Prom Queen' and being more secretive than Bush. The magazine quoted the New York Times' Adam Nagourney's reaction to the Obama campaign's memo attacking one of his stories: 'I've never had an experience like this, with this campaign or others.' Then came Obama's overseas trip and the campaign's selection of which news organizations could come aboard. Among those excluded: the New Yorker magazine, which had just published a satirical cover about Obama that offended the campaign. Even Bush hasn't tried that" -- Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank.

In the China Shop

China watchers got a glimpse of the Obama staff's leanings today, courtesy of a widely distributed op-ed entitled "Obama, McCain Must Tread Lightly On China" by two of the senator's advisers on China policy.

The authors, Jeffrey Bader and Richard Bush III, both affiliated with the Brookings Institution and both advisers to Barack Obama, suggest that presidential candidates should "avoid condemning China" as a campaign stunt to win votes. Fair enough: Candidates from both parties have pulled that trick in the past, and it was a special curse for Bill Clinton's later China policy. But the authors go further, insisting that China policy should remain "tethered firmly to reality," noting that "China's human rights record is poor, but its people are much freer than were their parents under Mao."

That's a pretty low bar, indicating little enthusiasm for challenging China's treatment of political prisoners or Tibet. "Personal relationships of trust are highly valued," they write. "The Chinese will react negatively if a new president throws difficult issues on the table before establishing such trust." That sounds like China, not the U.S., setting the agenda.

But perhaps we shouldn't be surprised. As the latest issue of Harper's Magazine points out, Mr. Bader isn't merely a Brookings scholar or necessarily an independent voice on China -- he's also listed as a senior director at lobbying group Stonebridge International's China office.

-- Mary Kissel

23743  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: From Gitmo to Miranda, with Love on: July 30, 2008, 10:06:39 AM
From Gitmo to Miranda, With Love
By DEBRA BURLINGAME
July 30, 2008; Page A15

Captive Miranda, Lord knows I have not given a thought to the paperwork you sent me.

Let me tell you, Captive, that our release is not in the hands of the lawyers or the hands of America. Our release is in the hands of He who created us.

The poem, "To My Captive Lawyer, Miranda," was written by Abdullah Saleh Al-Ajmi while he was a detainee at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. No doubt, it would have given the former detainee, who was released in 2005, immense satisfaction to know that his last earthly deed was referenced in Justice Antonin Scalia's dissenting opinion in Boumediene v. Bush. That's the recent Supreme Court decision that gave Guantanamo detainees the constitutional right to challenge, in habeas corpus proceedings, whether they were properly classified by the military as enemy combatants.

 
Abdullah Saleh Al-Ajmi, on the left, in a martyrdom video posted on an al Qaeda Web site.
Al-Ajmi, a 29-year-old Kuwaiti, blew himself up in one of several coordinated suicide attacks on Iraqi security forces in Mosul this year. Originally reported to have participated in an April attack that killed six Iraqi policemen, a recent martyrdom video published on a password-protected al Qaeda Web site indicates that Al-Ajmi carried out the March 23 attack on an Iraqi army compound in Mosul. In that attack, an armored truck loaded with an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 pounds of explosives rammed through a fortified gate, overturned vehicles in its path and exploded in the center of the compound. The huge blast ripped the façade off three apartment buildings being used as barracks, killing 13 soldiers from the 2nd Iraqi Army division and seriously wounding 42 others.

Using the name "Abu Juheiman al-Kuwaiti," Al-Ajmi is seen on the video brandishing an automatic rifle, singing militant songs and exhorting his fellow Muslims to pledge their allegiance to the "Commander of the Faithful" in Iraq. Later, Al-Ajmi's face is superimposed over the army compound, followed by footage of the massive explosion and still shots of several dead bodies lying next to the 25-foot crater left by the blast.

 
Bill Roggio / The Long War Journal 
Abdullah Saleh Al-Ajmi killed 13 people in this March 23 truck bombing in Mosul, Iraq—after he was released from U.S. custody at Guantanamo Bay.
In 2006, Al-Ajmi's "Miranda" poem was included in a recitation of detainee poetry at a "Guantanamo teach-in" sponsored by Seton Hall Law School. The all-day event was Webcast live to 400 colleges and law schools across the country and abroad. Some of the lead attorneys pushing for detainee rights participated in the event, which began with organizers boasting about the diversity of the event's participating schools as exemplified by the American University of Paris, the American University in Cairo, the U.N. University for Peace in Costa Rica, Princeton Theological Seminary, and Parsons School of Design in New York City. One of Al-Ajmi's lawyers gave a presentation about detainee treatment entitled, "Insults to Religion."

Marc Falkoff, a former Covington & Burling attorney-turned-law-professor who represents several detainees, read the poems and later published a selection of them in a book ("Poems from Guantanamo: The Detainees Speak," Iowa University Press, 2007.) In his introductory remarks to the students, Mr. Falkoff described Al-Ajmi and the other detainee poets as "gentle, thoughtful young men" who, though frustrated and disillusioned, expressed an abiding hope in the future. "One thing you won't hear is hatred," he said, "and the reason you won't hear it is not because I edited it out, it's because it's not there in the poetry." Then how to explain the fact that -- on the advice of Al-Ajmi's attorneys -- "To My Captive Lawyer, Miranda," was excluded from the published collection last year? Mr. Falkoff, who also has a Ph.D. in literature, refused to explain further, though he insists on describing Al-Ajmi's verse as a "love poem to his lawyer."

Miranda, antelope, I am madly in love with captive Roman gazelles.

I pledge that if I ever see you outside this jail, I shall capture you and take you in a starry night.

In light of Al-Ajmi's deadly suicide attack, his poem seems less, as Mr. Falkoff insisted in a recent interview, "a trope about being a prisoner of love," and more about taunting his lawyers and mocking the American legal system. As any devotee of the successful "Law & Order" television franchise knows, "Miranda" is more than a fanciful female name. It is also the name of another infamous prisoner -- Ernesto Miranda, the career criminal and itinerant sex offender whose 1966 landmark legal case resulted in the "Miranda rule," requiring law enforcement officers to inform criminal suspects in custody of their right to remain silent and their right to an attorney during questioning.

It is easy to imagine the detainees' attorneys, upon first arriving at Guantanamo in 2004, earnestly explaining to their incredulous clients how the Miranda warning works. Incredulous, because detainees would certainly grasp that extending the full array of Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights to unlawful enemy combatants would have a devastating effect on vital intelligence-gathering efforts. Indeed, lawyers have already become part of the al Qaeda tool kit. When Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was apprehended in Pakistan in 2003 and handed over to the U.S., he reportedly told his initial interrogators, "I'll talk to you guys when you take me to New York and I can see my lawyer."

After the Boumediene decision, that is no longer an empty threat. While Justice Anthony Kennedy stated in his 5-4 majority opinion that detainees are entitled to habeas review in the federal courts, he failed to expressly outline what legal standards the government would have to meet for detainee cases to pass constitutional muster. Many legal experts contend that if the habeas lawyers succeed in attaining for detainees the same degree of procedural rights as those extended to ordinary criminal defendants in domestic cases, "lawyering up" would mean the end of terrorist questioning, not the beginning.

If this is what "Miranda" represents, no wonder an Islamist suicide bomber would love her.

Miranda, what can I say? The heart is incarcerated in prisons of injustice, tortured and deprived, targeted with sharp, poisoned arrows by the hands of oppressors who have no mercy. Tell the mothers about their sons, the prisoners, brothers in bondage . . . they shall walk home.

But many in the detainees' home countries aren't welcoming them with open arms. The bombings carried out by Al-Ajmi and two other Kuwaiti nationals have stirred a public outcry from their fellow citizens. Al-Ajmi's own father has reportedly threatened to sue the government of Kuwait for issuing his son a passport and failing to live up to the terms set forth in the transfer agreement with U.S. State Department as a condition of his release. Kuwait's negligence and the State Department's failure to follow up have resulted in calls from the public for the detainees to stay right where they are and for Guantanamo to stay in operation.

"I believe the U.S. State Department knows the prisoners well, their way of thinking, and their plans after being released from prison," wrote Ali Ahmad Al-Baghli, Kuwait's former Minister of Oil, in the Arab Times after news of Al-Ajmi's suicide attack broke. He specifically criticized the outspoken leader of the Kuwaiti detainee families committee, Khalid Al-Odah, (interestingly, he is one of the "translators" Mr. Falkoff acknowledges in his poetry book), whose son remains at Guantanamo. Al-Odah hired a Washington, D.C., public-relations firm to "humanize" the detainees with sympathetic press.

"We cannot romanticize them into fallen heroes of Western neo-imperialism," wrote Shamael Al-Sharikh, a columnist for the Kuwaiti Times, in an article advocating that Guantanamo stay open, "because we are as much potential victims of terrorist attacks as [Americans] are."

As an example of where we might be headed after Boumediene, consider the situation in Britain. In June, Abu Qatada, a radical imam wanted in connection with bombing conspiracies in several countries, was released from jail after seven years of fighting his deportation. Qatada, whose recorded sermons were found in the Hamburg apartment of the 9/11 hijackers, was described by an immigration appeals commission as a "truly dangerous individual" who was "heavily involved, indeed at the center of terrorist activities associated with al-Qa'eda."

But judges in Britain will not extradite him to Jordan, where he was convicted in absentia, because his lawyers allege that the evidence against him might have been obtained by torture. Sending him packing under these circumstances, the court ruled, would violate the European Convention on Human Rights.

The result is a perverse situation in which, to protect the human rights of the man who issued a fatwa to kill the wives and children of Egyptian police and army officers, the British public pays a yearly tab of $1.1 million to cover Qatada's round-the-clock police surveillance, housing and welfare assistance for him, his wife and five children.

For those who scoff at the idea that U.S. judges would release a dangerous terrorist here, think again. As Attorney General Michael Mukasey pointed out in a speech earlier this month at the American Enterprise Institute, the Boumediene decision was vague on every detail but one. The ruling said that for habeas review to mean anything, the court must have the power to release. What do we do with a graduate of al Qaeda training camps who hasn't yet committed an act of violence? What do we do if no country will take him? If Congress doesn't intervene, the most difficult detainee cases may end up being administered by federal judges who are dismissive of concerns about enemy combatants returning to the battlefield.

"Courts guarantee an independent process, not an outcome," wrote John Coughenour, the federal judge who presided over the trial of "millennium bomber" Ahmad Ressam in a Washington Post op-ed just this Sunday. Yes, and that is precisely why Congress has an obligation to formulate the substance and parameters of that process. Judges do not make law or policy. The scope of their review is limited to the immediate case before them.

Unless Congress weighs in, judges -- unaccountable to the body politic -- will decide what standards of proof and rules of evidence will apply to these detainees, resulting in an ad hoc, case-by-case body of law which focuses on the rights of the detainees, not on the consequences for our war fighters who risk their lives to capture them. Since when do we leave it to judges to decide when and to what degree our troops are required to engage in police duties in the heat of battle?

Further, judges only rule on the applications made by the lawyers who come before them. Despite their rhetoric about "rule of law," attorneys are not charged with acting in furtherance of the national security interests of the public. Their obligation is to their clients alone, the detainees. Hence, we have witnessed the six-year campaign by Gitmo lawyers to pressure the U.S. government into releasing dangerous men before their cases come before a military tribunal or are heard in the federal courts.

David Cynamon, a senior attorney at Pillsbury Winthrop Putnam Shaw, is one of the lead lawyers negotiating the repatriation of the Kuwaiti detainees. In an email last fall to Pentagon officials, Mr. Cynamon expressed frustration with what he perceived as foot-dragging in the release of the last four Kuwaitis still held at Gitmo. He attached an exhibit which compared the unclassified information on all original 12 Kuwaiti detainees who were captured in Afghanistan. "I find it impossible to deduce from this chart," he wrote, "that the four who remain are any more (or less) [sic] dangerous than the ones who were returned." After Al-Ajmi's devastating suicide attack in Mosul, one hopes the Pentagon is giving his chart a second look.

Meanwhile, the habeas attorneys' effort to smear the United States and paint their clients as innocent victims continues. "Poems from Guantanamo" was taught this spring in an undergraduate course called "Writers in Exile" at City University of New York in Queens, a short distance from Ground Zero. The book's introduction states that the detainee poets "follow in the footsteps of prisoners who wrote in the Gulag, the Nazi concentration camps, and, closer to home, Japanese-American internment camps." One of the students, posting on the class blog, wrote of the detainees' plight, "Wow, I had no idea. For the first time in my life, I am ashamed to be seen as an American."

Your whole being and your heart will be captivated by this night, who drove the Romans to madness. You will forget everything about Rome and will live the life of faith in Islam.

Abdullah Salem Al-Ajmi, the detainee who wrote of turning the tables on his lawyer, Miranda, should haunt the dreams of every member of Congress.

Ms. Burlingame, a former attorney and a director of the National September 11 Memorial Foundation, is the sister of Charles F. "Chic" Burlingame III, the pilot of American Airlines flight 77, which was crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.

See all of today's editorials and op-eds, plus video commentary, on Opinion Journal.
23744  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: July 30, 2008, 09:56:47 AM
“Here comes the orator! With his flood of words, and his drop of reason.” —Benjamin Franklin
23745  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Patriot Post on: July 30, 2008, 09:55:59 AM
DEZINFORMATSIA
Obama buster: “Obama has benefited from a week of good images. But substantively, optimism without reality isn’t eloquence. It’s just Disney.” —New York Times columnist David Brooks

Drooling over Obama: “What, what do you make of this? Let’s take another bite here because it was quite a speech. You have to judge for yourself but the speech had its thrill factor, certainly once again. Here he was.” —MSNBC’s Chris Matthews  “Barack Obama’s overseas trip—it was almost flawless.” —CNN’s Jack Cafferty

The Big Con: “And I think what [Barack Obama is] trying to say, one of the messages that I heard was, ‘look, I’m not some wooly-headed liberal lefty that thinks we should all sing Kumbaya together. I’m here to tell them that we need international cooperation to beat the terrorists, to beat the extremists, to win the war in Afghanistan.’... But I think for the American voter he was saying, ‘look, I’m here speaking for our national security interests... My metaphor is the wall that Reagan used, not John Kennedy’s metaphor.” —CBS’s Jeff Greenfield  “[Obama] doesn’t have to equal McCain in [foreign policy and national security issues], he just has to make voters seem like he’s okay, he knows what he’s talking about.” —CBS’s Jeff Greenfield

Right from the left: “Why can’t Obama bring himself to acknowledge the surge worked better than he and other skeptics, including this page, thought it would? What does that stubbornness say about the kind of president he’d be?” —USA Today

Tinfoil hat: “The price of oil has been high. The people who can affect the price of oil would prefer a Republican presidential candidate. Watch the price of oil. If it goes down, which it may very well, it could help John McCain quite a bit.” —fake-but-accurate Dan Rather **Talk about voodoo economics!

Newspulper Headlines: Be Careful What You Wish For: “Texas Oilman: Clear Path for Wind Power” —Associated Press  “Hurricane Dolly Slams South Texas Before Weakening” —Associated Press

We Blame Global Warming: “While Sun Shines on Obama, Storm Trips Up McCain” —Boston Globe  “Maine Governor Fears Cold Winter” —Boston Globe

Help Wanted: “Authorities Seek Indicted Polygamist Sect Members” —Associated Press

Everything Seemingly Is Spinning Out of Control: “Dwarf Pops Out of Suitcase at Airport Counter” —Atlanta Journal-Constitution  “Flesh-Eating Slug Invades Wales” —ScienceBlogs.com  “Global Warming Could Be Causing a Kitten Boom, Experts Say” —InfoZine.com  “Angry Man Shoots Lawn Mower for Not Starting” —Associated Press  “New Jersey Man Killed by Flying Cocktail Glass” —Associated Press

News You Can Use: “A Place to Take That Lamborghini for a Spin” —Reuters

Bottom Stories of the Day: “Star Explodes and No One Notices” —FoxNews.com (Thanks to The Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto)

THE DEMO-GOGUES
Talk about arrogance: “I have become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions.” —Barack Obama to House members

Unreal: “Let us... answer our destiny and remake the world once again.” —Barack Obama in Berlin

Always the articulate orator: “You know, it’s always a bad practice to say ‘always’ or ‘never’.” —Barack Obama  “Many of the crisises [sic] that we face are the, uh, a direct result of putting off tough decisions for too many years.” —Barack Obama **“Crisises”?

History for dummies: “Throughout our history, America’s confronted constantly evolving danger, from the oppression of an empire, to the lawlessness of the frontier, from the bomb that fell on Pearl Harbor, to the threat of nuclear annihilation. Americans have adapted to the threats posed by an ever-changing world.” —Barack Obama **“The bomb that fell on Pearl Harbor”?

Supporting the troops?: “So the point that I was making at the time was that the political dynamic [in Iraq] was the driving force between that sectarian violence. And we could try to keep a lid on it, but if these underlining dynamic continued to bubble up and explode the way they were, then we would be in a difficult situation. I am glad that in fact those political dynamic shifted at the same time that our troops did outstanding work.” —Barack Obama on the surge

Bad energy policy: “I’m trying to save the planet; I’m trying to save the planet. I will not have this [energy] debate trivialized by their excuse for their failed policy. I respect the office that I hold. And when you win the election, you win the majority, and what is the power of the speaker? To set the agenda, the power of recognition, and I am not giving the gavel away to anyone.” —Nancy Pelosi, who refuses to allow offshore drilling

World’s smallest violin: “I go on the floor of the House every day and deal with people who don’t want to give health care to poor little children in America.” —Nancy Pelosi

INSIGHT
“People who make careers out of helping others—sometimes at great sacrifice, often not—usually don’t like to hear that those others might get along fine, might even get along better, without their help.” —John Holt

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.” —Winston Churchill

“A fool and his money are soon elected.” —Will Rogers

“It is essential to the triumph of reform that it should never succeed.” —William Hazlitt

 

UPRIGHT
“What is amazing this year is how many people have bought the fundamentally childish notion that, if you don’t like the way things are going, the answer is to write a blank check for generic ‘change,’ empowering someone chosen not on the basis of any track record but on the basis of his skill with words.” —Thomas Sowell

“Barack Obama concedes that America’s troops have contributed to improvements on the ground in Iraq, but he still stands by his vote against the surge. Why not just admit that he was wrong?... Obama has fallen to pride in part because he has bought his own myth. By staking his future on a past of supernatural vision, he has made it difficult to admit human fault. The magic isn’t working anymore. And Obama, the visionary one, can’t even see what everyone else sees: He was wrong.” —Kathleen Parker

“So Senator Obama and his campaign decided that it would be inappropriate to visit wounded soldiers in Germany while touring Europe as a candidate for the presidency. Senator McCain hit this one right on the head: it is never inappropriate to visit our wounded men and women in uniform.” —Bobby Eberle

“Barack Obama represents an obnoxiously elitist attitude that reeks of paternalistic government...” —Kathryn Lopez

“Sen. Obama owes it to the public to let us know how much of our hard-earned money he, in his wisdom, believes we have a moral obligation to give away to poor people around the world—and how much of our money that he has a moral obligation to extract from our wages forcefully, through federal taxation.” —Tony Blankley

“The time may be coming when our lunatic environmental policies are swept away by a rising tide of common sense.” —Michael Barone

EDITORIAL EXEGESIS
“Reneging on his no-new-taxes pledge cost President George H.W. Bush a second term. Will John McCain play into Barack Obama’s hands by making the same mistake on Social Security taxes?... Asked Sunday by George Stephanopoulos on ABC about Social Security payroll-tax increases, McCain replied: ‘Nothing is off the table. I don’t want tax increases. Of course, I’d like to have young Americans have some of their money put into an account with their name on it, but that doesn’t mean that anything is off the table.’... The repercussions of McCain backpedaling on his commitment are serious... Fortunately, it’s not too late for McCain to regain his footing from this misstep. No one has more credibility as a spending hawk. Instead of talking about payroll tax hikes, he should use this presidential campaign to talk up the country’s impending entitlement crisis and embrace the fundamental reforms necessary to prevent fiscal disaster. The solutions to the catastrophes that lie ahead for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are not new taxes that only delay the day of reckoning by a few more years. The answers are innovations like personal retirement accounts controlled by the individual and the expansion of tax-free health savings accounts to help pay private insurance costs. Voters appreciate being told the facts. They will elect a straight talker with the guts to fix our biggest fiscal challenge. Right now John McCain is missing an opportunity that seems tailor-made for him—which could mean the election of a president whose socialistic intentions will only shorten the fuse on America’s entitlement time bomb.” —Investor’s Business Daily

VILLAGE IDIOTS
Delusional: “I think in general [Barack Obama has] shown people he’s not a left-wing ideologue. If anything, he’s center, even center-right, on foreign policy issues in the way he was talking on this trip.” —Fred Kempe, President of the Atlantic Council of the United States

Audacity of hope: “If [Obama] picks Hillary he gets her 18 million supporters and we would win in a cakewalk and control the White House for 16 years.” —former DNC chief and permanent Clintonista Terry McAuliffe

From the Moonbat files: “You’ve ruled against impeaching George Bush and Dick Cheney, and now Kucinich is trying to pass that. Why do you, why do you insist on not impeaching these people so that the world and America can really see the crimes that they’ve committed?” —Joy Behar of “The View” to Nancy Pelosi

Trouble on the home front?: “The story is false. It’s completely untrue, ridiculous. Anyone who knows me knows that I have been in love with the same woman for 30-plus years.” —John Edwards on his “extracurricular activities”

It ain’t easy being green: “It has become increasingly clear that damage is occurring daily to our Earth and its creatures. Among the gravest concerns is the peril imposed by global warming and vanishing sea ice. The polar bear has become the iconic image of this threat, but all of us know that the polar bear is literally the tip of the iceberg. Climate change is threatening flora and fauna of all types—and that includes we humans. The heat is on. The time is now.” —Robert Buchanan, Polar Bears International President

SHORT CUTS
“Obama is a three-year senator without a single important legislative achievement to his name, a former Illinois state senator who voted ‘present’ nearly 130 times. As president of the Harvard Law Review, as law professor and as legislator, has he ever produced a single notable piece of scholarship? Written a single memorable article? His most memorable work is a biography of his favorite subject: himself.” —Charles Krauthammer

“Barack Obama wrote a prayer to God which he placed in Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall last week. The prayer note was retrieved by a seminary student and published in an Israeli newspaper. Everybody in Israel wanted to know if it was addressed, ‘Dear Dad’.” —Argus Hamilton

“Barack Obama finally played the Palace, or at least the Tiergarten, and he left a lot of promises in his wake. He’ll get Christians, Muslims and Jews to hit the sawdust trail together, to repent their sins and suspicions and remake the world. He’ll tear down walls between nations, between races, tribes and immigrants; between East and West, between the haves and the have-nots. And with his spare change he’ll buy the world a Coke.” —Wesley Pruden

“Obama was in Germany [last week], and 200,000 people showed up. There was so many Germans shouting and screaming that France surrendered just in case.” —Craig Ferguson



David Letterman: From the “Top Ten Signs Barack Obama is Overconfident”: Proposed bill to change Oklahoma to “Oklobama”; Offered Bush 20 bucks for the “Mission Accomplished” banner; Asked guy at Staples, “Which chair will work best in an oval-shaped office?”; The affair with Barbara Walters; Having head measured for Mount Rushmore; He’s voting for Nader; Offered McCain a job in gift shop at Obama Presidential Library; Been cruising for chicks with John Edwards.

Jay Leno: Barack Obama is back from his big European tour. Did you see him in Europe? People were cheering him, holding up signs, blowing him kisses. And that was just the American media covering the story. ... Barack Obama was on “Meet the Press” Sunday. John McCain was on a new show called, “I Wish I Could Meet the Press.” ... Polls show Obama more popular than McCain in Germany, France, and Great Britain. However, McCain leads in Mesopotamia, Gaul and the Holy Roman Empire. So, it’s pretty balanced. ... In world news, I guess you’ve heard Barack Obama [was] elected Chancellor of Germany. ... You can tell the French are still a little gun shy. After speaking in front of 200,000 Germans, when Obama arrived in France, they said, “You came alone, right?” ... You know, they said on the news earlier [this week] that this political campaign has only 100 days left. Only! Anybody complaining that this thing was dragging out? ... I don’t know what’s less likely, Barack Obama getting enough experience in 100 days, or John McCain living another 100 days. ... The National Enquirer caught former presidential candidate John Edwards sneaking out of his girlfriend’s hotel room at the 2:40 in the morning. See, Edwards got caught ‘cause the reporters were there waiting for him...f Edwards didn’t want to get caught, he should have met this woman at the hotel where John McCain was staying. There are no reporters. ... If this story turns out to be true, there go his chances at becoming vice president. He could still be governor of New York. ... And in Puerto Rico, it [was] Constitution Day [Friday]. So, that’s where the Constitution went. I knew we weren’t using it anymore.

Veritas vos Liberabit—Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus, et Fidelis! Mark Alexander, Publisher, for The Patriot’s editors and staff. (Please pray for our Patriot Armed Forces standing in harm’s way around the world, and for their families—especially families of those fallen Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, who granted their lives in defense of American liberty.)

23746  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Daily Expression of Gratitude on: July 30, 2008, 09:46:41 AM
I am very grateful that my wife is talking our children to see the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Liberty Bell, and Gettysburg. 
23747  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Virtues of the Dog on: July 30, 2008, 09:44:59 AM
Thank you.

IMHO you say it much better than the piece you quote  cheesy  Now I see that it expresses ideas with which I quite sympathetic.
23748  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Hamilton: Consent of the people on: July 30, 2008, 09:41:19 AM
"The fabric of American empire ought to rest on the solid basis of
THE CONSENT OF THE PEOPLE. The streams of national power ought
to flow from that pure, original fountain of all legitimate
authority."

-- Alexander Hamilton (Federalist No. 22, 14 December 1787)

Reference: Hamilton, Federalist No. 22.
23749  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tommy Friedman agrees with me on Afg on: July 30, 2008, 09:39:58 AM
but misses the point on drilling:
==============

NY Times

Drilling in Afghanistan
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By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
Published: July 30, 2008
Sometimes in politics, particularly in campaigns, parties get wedded to slogans — so wedded that no one stops to think about what they’re saying, whether the reality has changed and what the implications would be if their bumper stickers really guided policy when they took office. Today, we have two examples of that: “Democrats for Afghanistan” and “Republicans for offshore drilling.”

Skip to next paragraph
 
Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times
Thomas L. Friedman

Go to Columnist Page » Republicans have become so obsessed with the notion that we can drill our way out of our current energy crisis that re-opening our coastal waters to offshore drilling has become their answer for every energy question.

Anyone who looks at the growth of middle classes around the world and their rising demands for natural resources, plus the dangers of climate change driven by our addiction to fossil fuels, can see that clean renewable energy — wind, solar, nuclear and stuff we haven’t yet invented — is going to be the next great global industry. It has to be if we are going to grow in a stable way.

Therefore, the country that most owns the clean power industry is going to most own the next great technology breakthrough — the E.T. revolution, the energy technology revolution — and create millions of jobs and thousands of new businesses, just like the I.T. revolution did.

Republicans, by mindlessly repeating their offshore-drilling mantra, focusing on a 19th-century fuel, remind me of someone back in 1980 arguing that we should be putting all our money into making more and cheaper IBM Selectric typewriters — and forget about these things called the “PC” and “the Internet.” It is a strategy for making America a second-rate power and economy.

But Democrats have their analog. For many Democrats, Afghanistan was always the “good war,” as opposed to Iraq. I think Barack Obama needs to ask himself honestly: “Am I for sending more troops to Afghanistan because I really think we can win there, because I really think that that will bring an end to terrorism, or am I just doing it because to get elected in America, post-9/11, I have to be for winning some war?”

The truth is that Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Pakistan are just different fronts in the same war. The core problem is that the Arab-Muslim world in too many places has been failing at modernity, and were it not for $120-a-barrel oil, that failure would be even more obvious. For far too long, this region has been dominated by authoritarian politics, massive youth unemployment, outdated education systems, a religious establishment resisting reform and now a death cult that glorifies young people committing suicide, often against other Muslims.

The humiliation this cocktail produces is the real source of terrorism. Saddam exploited it. Al Qaeda exploits it. Pakistan’s intelligence services exploit it. Hezbollah exploits it. The Taliban exploit it.

The only way to address it is by changing the politics. Producing islands of decent and consensual government in Baghdad or Kabul or Islamabad would be a much more meaningful and lasting contribution to the war on terrorism than even killing bin Laden in his cave. But it needs local partners. The reason the surge helped in Iraq is because Iraqis took the lead in confronting their own extremists — the Shiites in their areas, the Sunnis in theirs. That is very good news — although it is still not clear that they can come together in a single functioning government.

The main reason we are losing in Afghanistan is not because there are too few American soldiers, but because there are not enough Afghans ready to fight and die for the kind of government we want.

Take 20 minutes and read the stunning article in last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine by Thomas Schweich, a former top Bush counternarcotics official focused on Afghanistan, and dwell on his paragraph on Afghan President Hamid Karzai:

“Karzai was playing us like a fiddle: The U.S. would spend billions of dollars on infrastructure improvement; the U.S. and its allies would fight the Taliban; Karzai’s friends could get rich off the drug trade; he could blame the West for his problems; and in 2009, he would be elected to a new term.”

Then read the Afghan expert Rory Stewart’s July 17 Time magazine cover story from Kabul: “A troop increase is likely to inflame Afghan nationalism because Afghans are more anti-foreign than we acknowledge, and the support for our presence in the insurgency areas is declining ... The more responsibility we take in Afghanistan, the more we undermine the credibility and responsibility of the Afghan government and encourage it to act irresponsibly. Our claims that Afghanistan is the ‘front line in the war on terror’ and that ‘failure is not an option’ have convinced the Afghan government that we need it more than it needs us. The worse things become, the more assistance it seems to receive. This is not an incentive to reform.”

Before Democrats adopt “More Troops to Afghanistan” as their bumper sticker, they need to make sure it’s a strategy for winning a war — not an election.
23750  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / McCain Health Care on: July 29, 2008, 11:53:05 PM
McCain Is the Radical on Health Reform
By JOHN C. GOODMAN
WSJ
July 30, 2008; Page A15

If you listen only to presidential campaign rhetoric, you might conclude that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama proposed bold new changes for our health-care system, while John McCain is offering only small improvements. If so, you are in for a surprise. Most health-policy analysts believe that Mr. McCain is proposing the most fundamental health-care reform.

Right now the federal government encourages private health insurance primarily through the tax system -- handing out more than $200 billion in tax subsidies every year. Mr. Obama would leave this system largely intact. Mr. McCain would completely replace it with a fairer, more efficient system with a much better chance of insuring the uninsured and controlling health costs at the same time.

Under the current system, every dollar in health-insurance premiums paid by an employer is excluded from employee income and payroll taxes. Take an employee in the 25% income-tax bracket. Throw in state and local income taxes, add the 15.3% (FICA) payroll tax, and the tax exclusion for a middle-income family is worth almost 50 cents on the dollar. To make things a little better, employees can often pay their share of the premium with pretax dollars as well.

But this system is extremely arbitrary. There is virtually no tax relief for people who work for the 40% of employers who do not provide insurance, for part-time workers or people not in the labor market, or for anyone else who for any reason must buy his own insurance. The self-employed get a slightly better deal: They can deduct 100% of their premiums, but they get no relief from the payroll tax.

According to the Lewin Group, a private health-care consulting firm, families earning $100,000 a year get four times as much tax relief as families earning $25,000. In other words, the biggest subsidy goes to those who least need it, and who probably would have purchased insurance anyway.

The system is also wasteful. People can always lower their taxes by spending more on health insurance, and there is no limit to how bloated a health plan can be.

Under the McCain plan, no longer would employers be able to buy insurance with pretax dollars. These payments would be taxable to the employee, just like wages. However, every individual would get a $2,500 credit (and every family would get $5,000) to be applied dollar-for-dollar against taxes owed.

The McCain plan does not raise taxes, nor does it lower them. Instead, it takes the existing system of tax subsidies and treats everyone alike, regardless of income or job status. All health insurance would be sold on a level playing field under the tax law, regardless of how it is purchased.

The impact would be enormous. For the first time, low- and moderate-income families would get just as much tax relief as the very rich when they purchase health insurance. People who must purchase their own insurance would get just as much tax relief as those who obtain it through an employer. Whereas Mr. Obama would continue the current practice of giving the vast bulk of federal help to the rich (through tax subsidies) and the poor (through spending programs), the McCain tax credit would give the most new tax relief to the middle class.

The McCain plan would also encourage all Americans to control costs. The tax credit would subsidize the core insurance that everyone should have. It would not subsidize bells and whistles (marriage counseling, acupuncture, etc.) as the current system does. Since employees and their employers will be paying for additional coverage with aftertax dollars, everyone will have an incentive to compare the value of extra health benefits to the value of other things money can buy. When they eliminate health-care waste, they would get to keep every dollar they save.

The McCain tax credit would be refundable. People could apply $2,500 per person or $5,000 per family to the purchase of health insurance, even if they do not owe any income taxes. Families would not have to wait until April 15 the following year to get their credit. They could obtain the subsidy at the time the insurance is purchased.

The credit would also be transferable. Insurance companies and other intermediaries would be able to help families obtain their credit and apply it directly to health-insurance premiums.

The McCain health plan would allow people to buy insurance across state lines -- thus creating a competitive, national market for health insurance. It would provide additional federal money for people who have been denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition, making it easier for people who have lost their insurance to obtain new coverage. It would also encourage Medicare to become a smarter, more efficient buyer of care.

The McCain plan will not solve all our health-care problems. But it has a far better chance of positively reforming the system than any other plan that has been proposed in this campaign season.

Mr. Goodman is president of the National Center for Policy Analysis. He is an unpaid adviser to the McCain campaign.

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