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23751  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: European “Gathering of the Pack” 2011 on: July 10, 2011, 01:30:57 PM
My bad. embarassed  This was only his second Gg as Candidate and so he is not yet eligible for consideration.  He remains C-Gung Fu Dog,
23752  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: European “Gathering of the Pack” 2011 on: July 10, 2011, 12:41:19 AM
Far too big a day to relate all at once, (I will have to get the final count of the fighters from Benji) so I will start with the newly ascended Gong Fu Dog;s Three Section Staff.  In the interest of full disclosure I should say that I worked both GFD and one of his opponents, Dog Andraz  wink

Frankly our thoughts on the TSS before GFD was that generally it was not a terribly effective weapon (see #6 in RCSFg, The Stick vs Other Weapons) but GFD, with a strong background in a traditional Chinese Gung Fu system has caused our thinking to evolve.  See the 2011 TrIbal Gg clip.  When paired with his substantial aggressive BJJ guard skills it is not enough to achieve closing the distance.  I worked with Dog Andraz some ideas for closing on GFD's TSS , , , and then I worked with GFD to become harder to close against.  Much of this had to do with adding to his ability to throw caveman and forehand horizontals (which by the themselves run the risk of predictability) with uppercuts from both sides and backhand horizontals and diagonals as well.  Also we worked a gunfighting footwork concept to his spinning backhand move.   
Given that he had only been exposed to these ideas for the first time the day before this fight, I was really impressed with how well he integrated them into his fight.

I look forward to seeing what happens as he deepens in this material from this experience.

DA executed very well the blocking structure on which we had worked to defend against the TSS ability to whip around typical blocks and whack the opponent, often in the back of the head.  Being sound in this is vital against the TSS and I thought DA did this very well.   

Both men had their moments in a very exciting fight.

This was not the only quality fight for the TSS.  GFD can generate considerable power with some of his motions and he may have broken a metacarpal in one of a different opponent's hands.  Also there submissions  from guard. when the fight did close e.g. GFD closed against a spear structure long staff opponent.   

In a related vein Lonely Dog and , , , I forget who had an intriguing fight using flails (stick with wooden ball attached by short length of rope).  IT being felt that the wooden ball presented IQ reducing risks, a certain care was used.

Sorry for disjointed nature of this post; it is the best I am capable of at this moment.
23753  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / CAIR on: July 10, 2011, 12:09:01 AM

In Defense Of The Constitution

News & Analysis
July 9, 2011
http://www.anti-cair-net.org/CAIRreportLeeBacaMuslimBrotherhood.html

   
     CAIR, Berkeley, And The Report About Nothing

     The Council on American-Islamic Relations(CAIR) and Berkeley
University recently issued a joint report on “Same Hate, New Target:
Islamophobia and Its Impact in the United States 2009-2010 (
http://crg.berkeley.edu/content/islamophobia-report-0910 )”.  There
are a few interesting questions arising from this joint effort between
one of Americas largest Islamic hate groups and a university that
prides itself on politically inclusive speech and“diversity”.

     Some questions for Berkeley;

   -    Why did Berkeley join with a known Islamic supremacist
hate group with proven ties (
http://www.anti-cair-net.org/HLFJudgeSolisUnsealedRulingCAIRHamas.pdf
) to Islamic terrorism to issue a report?
   -    Why wouldn’t Berkeley respond when Anti-CAIR e-mailed
them simply asking for an explanation on their relationship to CAIR?

     The best thing to come from this infamous collaboration
was…exactly nothing.  The report was printed on glossy paper, many
names and high titles of authors were included, and spiffy graphics
were on the cover. Yet it appears nobody has bothered to read the
report.  It seems that CAIR’s ability to attract fawning mentions
of this"report" in the main-stream press has hit a stumbling block.
There are no adoring reporters calling CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper
about the report, there is no mention of it on the talk-show networks.
It appears there is no interest in CAIR and Berkeley’s phony report
on "Islamophobia".  (We did find news releases paid for by CAIR (
http://www.google.com/search?q=Same+Hate%2C+New+Target%3A+Islamophobia+and+Its+Impact+in+the+United+States+2009-2010&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a#q=Same+Hate%2C+New+Target%3A+Islamophobia+and+Its+Impact+in+the+United+States+2009-2010&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbo=u&tbm=nws&source=og&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wn&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=dd5639e19c54e10d&biw=992&bih=583
) touting their farcical report.)

     Time and money was wasted, trees were needlessly cut down,
much pontificating and smoke blowing went into the Report About
Nothing and it seems nobody cares.

     This is as it should be.

-------------------------
 
   
     L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca's Muslim Community Affairs Unit
Spills The Beans On The Muslim Brotherhood?

     L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca has unfortunately shown to be a
tireless defender of CAIR (
http://www.investigativeproject.org/2675/compelling-testimony-political-theater
). Despite all evidence (
http://www.anti-cair-net.org/WhatLawEnforcementSaysAboutCAIR.html )
proving CAIR's creation by HAMAS supporters and operatives (
http://www.anti-cair-net.org/HLFJudgeSolisUnsealedRulingCAIRHamas.pdf
) to advance the goals of the Muslim Brotherhood and support HAMAS (
http://www.anti-cair-net.org/FBItiesCAIRHamas ), Baca has publicly and
enthusiastically defended CAIR as witnessed at the recent
congressional hearings (
http://www.investigativeproject.org/2675/compelling-testimony-political-theater
) held by Rep. Peter King.

     So an interesting event occurred at the Islamic Center of
Southern California (
http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/355.pdf ) (ICSC).
The Center was hosting a community town hall meeting led by the Muslim
Public Affairs Council (
http://www.investigativeproject.org/1785/mpac-pursues-islamist-ideology-in-guise-of-civil
) (MPAC), a group founded (
http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/358.pdf ) and
staffed (
http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/ArticlePrint.aspx?id=554287 )
by supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and other like-minded
Islamofascists (
http://www.danielpipes.org/4603/mpac-cair-and-praising-osama-bin-laden
).
 
     The L.A. County Sheriff’s Muslim Community Affairs Unit
(MCAU) was featured, represented by Deputy Sherif Morsi whose goal (
http://homeland.house.gov/sites/homeland.house.gov/files/Testimony%20Baca%20Attach%201.pdf
) as a MCAU official is to “build a stronger relationship with the
Muslim community for better understanding and cooperation with law
enforcement.”

     Deputy Morsi was questioned by Alan Kornman (
http://theunitedwest.org/la-sheriff%E2%80%99s-muslim-community-affairs-unit-is-a-civil-rights-lawsuit-waiting-to-happen/
) of"The United West ( http://theunitedwest.org/ )" about the MCAU and
whether other religions had a special unit in the L.A. County
Sheriff's office to help build their community support. (The short
answer, No. None.)

     When Mr. Kornman spoke to Deputy Morsi after the meeting,
Kornman had started to ask a question about the Muslim Brotherhood
when Deputy Morsi immediately cut off the entire question upon hearing
the words "Muslim Brotherhood" by saying: (video 4:44 (
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=1x7C8P_Hu6g ))

     "I don't work terrorism, that's not my function,...I don't
deal with terrorism, I'm not going to make any comments on
terrorism..."

     Deputy Sheriff Sherif Morsi did what probably no other Muslim
in that meeting would have done, let alone in public. When asked about
the Muslim Brotherhood he quickly and emphatically equated the group
with TERRORISM. There can be no mistake here. Morsi clearly related
the Muslim Brotherhood with Terrorism.

     L.A. County Deputy Sheriff Sherif Morsi apparently knows the
real danger the Muslim Brotherhood poses to the United States of
America.

     Maybe he can one day clue-in his boss?

Andrew Whitehead
Director
Anti-CAIR
ajwhitehead@anti-cair-net.org
www.anti-cair-net.org ( http://www.anti-cair-net.org/ )

Story Links:
http://crg.berkeley.edu/content/islamophobia-report-0910
http://www.google.com/search?q=Same+Hate%2C+New+Target%3A+Islamophobia+and+Its+Impact+in+the+United+States+2009-2010
http://www.investigativeproject.org/2675/compelling-testimony-political-theater
http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/355.pdf
http://www.anti-cair-net.org/WhatLawEnforcementSaysAboutCAIR.html
http://www.anti-cair-net.org/HLFJudgeSolisUnsealedRulingCAIRHamas.pdf
http://www.anti-cair-net.org/FBItiesCAIRHamas
http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/355.pdf
http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/358.pdf
http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/ArticlePrint.aspx?id=554287
http://www.danielpipes.org/4603/mpac-cair-and-praising-osama-bin-laden
http://homeland.house.gov/sites/homeland.house.gov/files/Testimony%20Baca%20Attach%201.pdf
http://theunitedwest.org/la-sheriff%E2%80%99s-muslim-community-affairs-unit-is-a-civil-rights-lawsuit-waiting-to-happen/
http://theunitedwest.org/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=1x7C8P_Hu6g
23754  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: European “Gathering of the Pack” 2011 on: July 09, 2011, 05:14:56 PM
An awesome day.
23755  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: July 09, 2011, 11:14:53 AM
About one year ago Glenn Beck had some go outside in front of his studio and act all this out. VERY funny bit and  tragic that this is what we have come to.
23756  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Panetta: Winning! on: July 09, 2011, 11:05:52 AM
Panetta: US within reach of defeating al-Qaida
 
FILE - In this June 9, 2011 file photo, Leon Panetta testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington during a hearing on his nomination for defense secretary. Speaking with reporters flying with him on his first visit to Afghanistan since taking over as defense secretary, Panetta said Saturday, July 9, 2011 that the U.S. and its allies are within reach of defeating al-Qaida after killing Osama bin Laden and gaining new insights about the terrorist group's other leading figures. (AP Photo - Manuel Balce Ceneta)
ROBERT BURNS
From Associated Press
July 09, 2011 11:23 AM EDT
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The U.S. and its allies are within reach of defeating al-Qaida after killing Osama bin Laden and gaining new insights about the terrorist group's other leading figures, new U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Saturday.

The former CIA director offered an upbeat assessment about the prospects for ending al-Qaida's threat as he spoke with reporters flying with him on his first visit to Afghanistan since taking over as Pentagon chief July 1.

In a separate interview later, Army Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, said he agreed with Panetta's assessment.


In the aftermath of the May 2 raid that killed bin Laden in Pakistan, the U.S. has determined that eliminating "somewhere around 10 to 20 key leaders" of al-Qaida would cripple the network, Panetta said. Those leaders are in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and North Africa, he added.

"We're within reach of strategically defeating al-Qaida," Panetta said, addressing reporters for the first time since succeeding Robert Gates as defense secretary.

"The key is that, having gotten bin Laden, we've now identified some of the key leadership within al-Qaida, both in Pakistan as well as in Yemen and other areas," he said.

"If we can be successful at going after them, I think we can really undermine their ability to do any kind of planning, to be able to conduct any kind of attack" on the United States. "That's why I think it's within reach. Is it going to take some more work? You bet it is. But I think it's within reach," Panetta said.

In an interview at the main U.S. military headquarters in Kabul, Petraeus said al-Qaida is on the run.

"There has been enormous damage done to al-Qaida," beyond the death of bin Laden, in the areas of western Pakistan where the group is believed operating, Petraeus said. "That has very significantly disrupted their efforts and it does hold the prospect of a strategic defeat, if you will, a strategic dismantling, of al-Qaida."

Asked how he defines a "strategic defeat" for al-Qaida, Petraeus said it means that "they can't carry out strategically important attacks."

Petraeus, who is leaving his post this month and succeeding Panetta at the CIA, said there are small numbers of al-Qaida terrorists in Afghanistan. He said the al-Qaida "brand" is likely to remain a feature of the global terrain, even if the Pakistan-based core of al-Qaida is unable to carry out large attacks against the West.

Panetta said the 10 to 20 top terrorist figures in al-Qaida's hierarchy who are now the focus of U.S. efforts include Ayman al-Zawahri, the designator successor to bin Laden as al-Qaida's leader.

Panetta said the U.S. believes al-Zawahri is living in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of western Pakistan.

The only other name he mentioned was Anwar al-Awlaki, the U.S.-born Muslim cleric living in Yemen. The U.S. has put him on a kill-or-capture list.

"Now is the moment, following what happened with bin Laden, to put maximum pressure on them because I do believe that if we continue this effort we can really cripple al-Qaida as a major threat" to America, he said.

Al-Qaida's attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, triggered the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan and the overthrow of the Taliban government that had sheltered bin Laden. But in the years since, the Taliban has reasserted itself and al-Qaida has managed to operate from havens in neighboring Pakistan.

Al-Qaida affiliates have emerged in Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, and elsewhere. That's led many in the U.S. to argue for a shift from fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan to targeting al-Qaida leaders in Pakistan and other places.

Asked whether he thought Pakistani authorities knew that bin Laden had been living in their country, Panetta said, "Suspicions, but no smoking gun." The Pakistani government says it did not know bin Laden's whereabouts when Navy SEALs attacked his compound not far from Islamabad.

In Panetta's talks with Petraeus and his successor, Marine Gen. John R. Allen, a central topic was expected to be President Barack Obama's decision on June 22 to withdraw 10,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan this year and 23,000 more by September 2012. The drawdown is to begin this month, but not all details have been worked out.

Offering an overview of the security situation in Afghanistan, Petraeus said he was encouraged that the number of insurgent attacks in June was down slightly from June 2010 and that the trend is holding thus far in July. This contrasts with intelligence analysts' forecast of an 18 percent to 30 percent increase for 2011, he said.

Panetta also intended to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Karzai's mercurial character and frequent public criticisms of the U.S.-led international military coalition have soured his relations with many U.S. officials, including the current U.S. ambassador. Karl Eikenberry.


Eikenberry is handing off that post this month to Ryan Crocker, a veteran diplomat and former U.S, ambassador to Iraq who was coaxed out of retirement. Crocker reopened the U.S. Embassy in Kabul after the 2001 toppling of the Taliban

Panetta said he believes he and Obama's "whole new team" of U.S. leaders in Kabul have a good understanding of Karzai.

"Hopefully, it can be the beginning of a much better relationship than what we've had over the last few years," he said.

On a lighter note, he said he has gotten a feel for his new job as defense secretary. He compared it to his official aircraft, a towering military version of the Boeing 747.

"It's big, it's complicated, it's filled with sophisticated technology, it's bumpy, but in the end it's the best in the world."
23757  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: July 09, 2011, 10:33:14 AM
For one year in the 1980s I was a member of the ACLU.   The in-house material was extremely leftist and dishonest in its pretense of a commitment to freedom and quite pro-socialist.  I did not renew.
23758  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Incandescent bulbs on: July 09, 2011, 10:24:00 AM


http://dailycaller.com/2011/07/08/house-gop-set-to-repeal-incandescent-bulb-ban/
23759  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: July 09, 2011, 10:22:38 AM
Umm , , , our embassador?
23760  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Noonan- Reagan on: July 09, 2011, 02:59:21 AM
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What brilliant good it can do a country when the world respects, and will not forget, one of its leaders. What was vividly true 30 years ago is true today: The world looks to America. It doesn't want to be patronized or dominated by America, it wants to see America as a beacon, an example, a dream of what could be. And the world wants something else: American goodness. It wants to have faith in the knowledge that America is the great nation that tries to think about and act upon right and wrong, and that it is a beacon also of things practical—how to have a sturdy, good, unsoiled economy, how to create jobs that provide livelihoods that allow families to be formed, how to maintain a system in which inventors and innovators can flourish. A world without America in this sense—the beacon, the inspiration, the speaker of truth—would be a world deprived of hopefulness. And so we must be our best selves again not only for us but for the world.

These are the thoughts that follow eight days of celebration, in Eastern Europe and London, of the leadership of Ronald Reagan. History is rarely sweet, but it was last week when they raised statues of him in his centenary year. People old and young stopped for a moment to think and speak of him, and to define what his leadership meant to them and their countries. The celebrations in Krakow, Budapest, Prague and London were a reminder that we are all traveling through history together, that you are living not only your own life but the life of your times, as Laurens van der Post once said. And your era can actually be affected, made better, by what you do.

The subject matter was the fall of the wall, the end of communism, the reunification of Europe—those epochal events the world is still absorbing and that in retrospect seem even more amazing. Good people picked good leaders—the Big Three of the Cold War, Margaret Thatcher, Pope John Paul II, Reagan—and together they pushed until walls fell. Man is not used to such kind outcomes. A feeling of awe and gratitude colored the ceremonies: "My God, look what was done, I still can't believe it. Let's talk about how it happened and take those lessons into the future." Now of all times we could use the inspiration.

In Krakow, the city from which Karol Wojtyla was called to Rome to become John Paul II, there was a thanksgiving mass celebrated by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, who said in his homily: "President Reagan . . . took great pains to bring about the demise of that which he so aptly named 'the evil empire.' This empire of evil denied many people and nations their freedom. It did so by way of a pernicious ideology . . . the result of this experiment was the death and sufferings of millions." "There can be no doubt," he said, that Reagan and John Paul brought about "the collapse of communism."

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Martin Kozlowski
In Budapest, in a special session of the Hungarian Parliament, Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjen spoke of the end of Hungary as a captive nation and its beginnings as a democracy. Reagan, he said, "helped Hungary find itself." Member of Parliament Janos Horvath spoke of Reagan's style of peaceful liberation. What America did by being strong, by being serious in its focus, by speaking plain and true, not only inspired the victims of communism but weakened their oppressors. Reagan had "the imagination" to understand that the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 was a historic event: "He kept quoting Harry Truman's commitment to the liberation of the captive nations. That, for Reagan, was a more important thing than for other presidents." Hungary knew Truman had been "infuriated" by what the Soviets did, "arresting people, including myself." Reagan made clear he "felt the indignation." And so, "Hungary took seriously what America meant—human rights, democracy." It left Horvath an optimist. "I have faith that the right thing prevails. This is the Ronald Reagan mentality."

I asked a member of Parliament whether the people of Hungary had felt any bitterness over the fact that President Eisenhower did not commit U.S. military forces to help the Hungarians in 1956. At first he was puzzled. Bitterness? Any residual disappointment, I said. No, he said. "We understood your position." Meaning, he explained, our position as a superpower in the nuclear age, and our position on freedom. They knew whose side we were on.

A veteran diplomat in the area, an American, said later that everything he'd heard in the speeches left him thinking how the great progress of the past quarter-century had been made not through warfare but through diplomacy, tough decisions, aid, encouragement and rhetorical clarity and candor.

More Peggy Noonan

Read Peggy Noonan's previous columns

Click here to order her book, Patriotic Grace

At the unveiling of the Reagan statue in Freedom Square, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Reagan "managed change wisely and preserved peace. This is why he needs to have a statue in Budapest." In tearing down "the distorted and sick ideologies of the 20th century," Reagan "remade the world for us."

Rather stunningly, the leader of Hungary's government bluntly ended his speech with a sentiment often heard in Omaha, Tucson, Morristown and Tallahassee: "We need a Ronald Reagan. Is he there, somewhere, already?" The world misses him as much as we do. It misses grand leadership as much as we do.

***
In Prague they named a street for him. In London, on the Fourth of July, 235th birthday of the United States, they unveiled a statue in front of the U.S. Embassy in Grosvenor Square. Two other presidents grace that square: a heroic FDR in flowing cape, and a steely-eyed Eisenhower in army uniform. The day was nonpartisan, non-narrow. A great American was being justly honored by his British friends who, as Foreign Secretary William Hague said, "will never forget" him. A statue, he said, is not just a remembrance. With statues we come "face to face" with the great men and women of the past, and ponder their greatness.

That night, members of Parliament gathered for a formal dinner in London's magnificent Guildhall. There were speeches, some beautiful. Among the packed tables there was a former member of Mrs. Thatcher's cabinet, who in his day had taken heavy blows for his unrepentant conservatism. Now, white-haired, he listened to the speeches, as across the room a woman watching him remembered the greatest speech in English history: "Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot/ But he'll remember with advantages/ What feats he did that day."

And so Mr. Reagan's centennial nears its close. We remember him—and Thatcher, and John Paul—for many reasons. To reinforce and reinspire. To keep fresh our knowledge that history can be made better. To be loyal to the truth.

And another reason. That night in conversation, former Prime Minister John Major asked how our teaching of history was in America. Not good, I said. He said in Britain it was the same, and it concerned him. We were across from a huge, heroic sculpture of the Duke of Wellington. If we don't teach who he was and what he did, we will not make any more Wellingtons. Glory lives only when you pass it on.
23761  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: on: July 09, 2011, 02:53:46 AM
The best that can be said for yesterday's June jobs report is that maybe, if we're lucky, it's a lagging indicator. Perhaps the meager 18,000 in net new jobs, and the increase in the jobless rate to 9.2%, are the trailing end of the 2011 slowdown that will turn around in the second half.

Let's hope so because the details of the report are every bit as ugly as the headlines. Revised numbers for May indicate a gain of only 25,000 jobs, instead of the initial report of 54,000. The separate and more volatile household survey found that the labor force shrank by 272,000. So the jobless rate rose even as the supply of workers fell.

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Wages declined by a penny to $22.99 an hour and the average workweek fell slightly to 34.3 hours. The combined rate for jobless and discouraged workers rose to 16.2%, and six million Americans, or 44.4% of the jobless, have been out of work for more than six months. The percentage of working age Americans with a paycheck fell to 58.2%, which is below the 58.5% at this time a year ago. The economy isn't generating President Obama's vaunted "green jobs," or blue- or white-collar jobs, or any color jobs.

Other recent economic indicators have pointed to a growth pickup. Corporate profits are healthy, the stock market (until Friday) had rebounded from its recent correction, manufacturing output has climbed, and consumers increased retail spending at a brisk 7% clip last month.

But it's no wonder that polls find that more than half of Americans believe the economy is still in recession. In six of the last eight recoveries, all the jobs lost were regained within two years of recession's end. In this recovery we are still seven million jobs below peak employment in 2008, and about two million fewer than if the $830 billion 2009 stimulus had worked as advertised and held unemployment below 8%.

President Obama's economic advisers have been leaving one by one to return to private life, and who can blame them. They used the entire Keynesian, liberal playbook to spur economic growth, and this is the result. The intellectual dissonance must be demoralizing.
23762  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Baraq about to bone Boener on: July 09, 2011, 02:47:23 AM
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President Obama wants Congress to raise the $14.3 trillion national debt limit, which means he needs House Republican votes. Yet Mr. Obama and the Washington chorus are insisting that in return for doing him the favor of voting to raise that limit, Republicans must also do him another favor by raising taxes.

That's the larger political context for the news that House Speaker John Boehner and Mr. Obama have agreed to go for a big bang debt-limit deal that cuts spending and raises taxes far more than everyone expected. The target is now said to be $4 trillion over 10 years, though that's far less important than the details, which are still murky.

But we're told that the essence of the deal is that Mr. Obama is willing to put larger cuts in Medicare and Social Security and the promise of tax reform on the table, if Mr. Boehner agrees to let the current tax rates on capital gains, dividends and the top two tax brackets expire after 2012.

We can't fault Mr. Boehner for trying, and his arguments for doing so carry some weight. The thinking is that cuts in entitlements must be done on a bipartisan basis, Mr. Obama has incentive to deal to shed his big-spending reputation, and even if Republicans win Congress and the White House in 2012 they won't be able to do much against united Democrats. The Speaker thinks that if he can get Mr. Obama's consent now to put spending on a downward path to 19% of GDP over time (from 24% or so), it is worth moving on taxes.

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We trust Mr. Boehner also realizes this is a high-risk game for the economy and his House majority. Especially risky is his willingness to "decouple" the Bush tax rates for the middle class and upper incomes. The White House is insisting that as part of any deal the current tax rates on the middle class—the child tax credit, etc.—would be made permanent, while the lower rates on capital gains, dividends and the higher income brackets would expire after 2012. Taken by itself this would be a tax increase pure and simple and violate the GOP's campaign pledge.

But here's what we're told is Mr. Boehner's political kicker: The proposed deal would also include some kind of "trigger" device, so far undefined, that would compel House and Senate negotiators to complete tax reform discussions over the next several months. We're told the White House has said it is open in principle to a top rate of 35% on individuals and something like 26% or 27% on corporations—in return for closing various loopholes.

More troubling than these details is the staggered timing. Republicans would be putting their fingerprints on a tax increase in return for spending cuts as a first order of business, which would raise the dividend and top income tax rates to 39.6% (from 35%), or 41% if you include the phase-out of deductions. (Plus the 3.8% payroll tax hike baked into ObamaCare.) Only then would Mr. Obama and the Democrats negotiate the details of tax reform and lower overall rates.

But why at that point would Democrats want tax reform? They'd have achieved their main political goals of a huge debt-reduction deal, getting GOP cover for a tax increase, and putting Republicans cross-wise with the tea party. Raising tax rates first also makes the math of tax reform that much harder to negotiate on both revenue and income-distribution grounds. Under the Beltway's scoring rules, cutting rates would look like an even bigger gain for higher-income folks and an even bigger revenue loss for the Treasury.

In other words, Mr. Boehner would make his ultimate goal—tax reform—that much more difficult to achieve politically. And that's assuming the entitlement cuts he gets are genuine—not merely cuts to doctors or hospitals that won't happen in practice. It also assumes that the "trigger" for tax reform is strong enough to override liberal obstruction in the Senate. We'll see a unicorn first.

Meantime, such a deal would signal that tax rates are more likely to rise in 2013, which won't help the listless economy. Only yesterday, in response to the June 9.2% jobless rate, Mr. Obama called for an extension of this year's payroll tax cut. So he wants to increase the deficit by extending a payroll tax cut that has coincided with higher joblessness, while raising other taxes in a way that would reduce investment that would create jobs. Republicans who embrace this logic deserve the tea party's disdain.

***
Tax reform is a worthwhile policy goal, and Mr. Boehner is right to pursue it. But the only way he can avoid being taken for a ride by Democrats is if all parts of any deal are negotiated, voted on and then implemented immediately. Two men, one deal, once. Promises of future action aren't credible.

Even if Mr. Obama is sincere on tax reform, he can't guarantee he can deliver Senate Democrats who are desperate to keep their majority in 2012, much less Nancy Pelosi. We're told that in Thursday's White House meeting, Mr. Obama promised to veto any short-term debt-limit deal to give the two sides more time to negotiate. If that's true, then the President isn't serious. It means he is using the pressure of the August 2 deadline to bull-rush Mr. Boehner into a bad deal.

If Mr. Obama is sincere about a long-term spending and tax reform agreement, he'll take the time to get it right. If he insists on issuing ultimatums, then House Republicans would be better off passing a debt-limit ceiling for a few months with comparable spending cuts and letting Senate Democrats do the same. Mr. Boehner shouldn't bet his majority on Mr. Obama's promises.
23763  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: WTO ruling relevant to REE issue on: July 09, 2011, 02:41:12 AM
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By JAMES BACCHUS

China's entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001 was an unambiguously positive step for China in terms of opening up the country to trade and overall economic development. Now it is becoming clearer that China's WTO membership is a benefit for other countries, too. Witness the way in which the WTO may help foreign governments and businesses compel Beijing to reconsider troubling export restrictions on important raw materials.

In recent years, Beijing has expanded a list of minerals and metals subject to stiff export taxes and quotas or outright export bans. A trend that started with elements such as bauxite and materials such as coke for use in steel production expanded dramatically last year to include so-called rare-earth metals—17 elements whose unique properties make them indispensable to high-technology applications such as magnets, lasers, computer screens and cell phones. China currently accounts for 97% of global production of these critical metals.

Foreign businesses and governments have struggled to convince Beijing to relax these export limits, especially in the case of rare earths. But the ruling in a WTO case decided this week suggests that the world trade body could be an effective tool for resolving this problem.

Responding to a complaint by the United States, the European Union and Mexico, a WTO panel ruled on Tuesday that duties and quotas imposed by China on exports of nine metal ores and other raw materials vital to steel, chemical, aluminum and other industries violate international trade rules. This case does not touch on rare earths specifically but the facts and legal concepts are very similar.

The most significant aspect of the finding relates to China's claim to an environmental defense of its export rules. China's WTO accession agreement committed Beijing to eliminate taxes and other charges on exports of all goods except for a list of 84 products; the list does not include any of the raw materials at issue in the current case or any of the rare-earth elements. The only exception allowed by the WTO would be if China could prove that an export restriction is necessary for health or environmental protection, which is what Beijing tried to do in this case.

Mining can at times damage the environment, so China's defense couldn't necessarily be ruled out automatically. The WTO panel's rationale in the raw-materials case decided this week helps set the ground rules for judging China's future environmental claims.

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An iron ore stock yard in Tianjin, China

Importantly, the panel in the raw-materials case concluded that commitments of this kind made in China's accession agreement are not eligible for the environmental defense that is available to many other WTO violations. The rule permitting an environmental defense is in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) which is one of many agreements that, together, comprise the overall WTO treaty. An open legal question is the extent to which the scope of this rule extends to excusing violations of the specific accession agreements of China and other WTO members.

The raw-materials panel concluded that since China's WTO agreement didn't specifically invoke GATT rules for export duties relating to these products (and for rare-earths), China can't now base its defense on a GATT provision. Based on previous WTO rulings, this seems a sound conclusion.

The panel went on to say that even if an environmental defense were available in such cases, China did not meet the legal burden of proving such a defense in the raw-materials dispute. The panel found that China did not show that those restrictions would contribute to human health by reducing pollution. Further, although China argued that the raw-materials restrictions are justified because they relate to the conservation of exhaustible natural resources, the panel found otherwise.

The basic legal problem for Beijing in claiming an environmental defense is that while it has limited exports to foreigners, it has not simultaneously taken steps to limit domestic mining or consumption, which is required under the GATT rule for such a defense. This rationale has a direct bearing on the rare-earths limits because those too have affected only exports and not domestic consumption.

This week's panel decision may not be the last word in this case. China has 60 days to appeal to the WTO Appellate Body, the global trade appeals court, which would then have 90 days to render a final decision. China can be expected to appeal. Reacting to this week's ruling, the Chinese government reiterated its environmental argument, saying its restrictive export measures on the raw materials "are in line with the objective of sustainable development promoted by the WTO and they help induce the resource industry toward healthy development."

Based on findings in previous cases, though, it is by no means certain China would win an appeal. If the panel decision were upheld, Beijing would either have to comply with the ruling by removing the restrictions on raw-materials exports, or suffer costly sanctions in other areas of trade from the countries that filed the case.

Beijing can't necessarily afford for matters to go that far. There are signs the government may change its policies accordingly. For instance, although the rare-earths restrictions have not yet been the subject of any litigation, the Commerce Ministry announced that it may unilaterally reform the rare-earths restrictions "according to relevant laws and World Trade Organization rulings," even as other parts of the government seemed to press forward toward an appeal.

Some officials within Beijing understand that China needs the WTO as much as other WTO members need China. Because China has a stake in maintaining free trade under the WTO system—and in encouraging other countries to change their own policies in those WTO cases where China itself prevails—Beijing has an incentive to comply with the spirit of the ruling across the board, in addition to complying with the letter of the ruling for the affected exports.

One positive outcome would be a negotiated settlement to the rare-earths issue now—years before any WTO ruling on that case could be implemented. Such a settlement could address any legitimate health or environmental concerns Beijing may have while ensuring that domestic and foreign consumers of rare earths alike share in any costs associated with better health and environmental compliance.

The next chance for a breakthrough will come next week with the arrival in Beijing of EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht. Commenting on the raw-materials ruling, Mr. De Gucht said, "I expect that China will now bring its export regime in line with international rules. Furthermore, in the light of this result, China should ensure free and fair access to rare earth supplies." That's good advice. Beijing would be wise to heed it.

Mr. Bacchus, a former Democratic Representative from Florida, is former chairman of the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization and chairs the global practice of Greenberg Traurig LLP.
23764  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Foreign Policy on: July 09, 2011, 01:18:58 AM
My last two posts in the SNAFU thread contain what is IMHO some very important material.  The US, as Iran has predicted for some time now, appears to be in the process of being run out of the Middle East altogether.  It appears we are out of Afpakia, Iraq, Egypt, and now Saudi Arabia, hence out of all the smaller kingdoms of the Arabian peninsula.

It appears that Baraq has managed to completely rupture the Saudis trust in our will with his handling of their concerns during the uprising against Mubarak in Egypt.

Looking backwards for a moment, in a larger sense it seems to be that all of this was already in the cards when the Dems determined to bring down US efforts in Iraq and Baraq pretend surged in Afpakia.

Bush is not immune here either.  A plausible although mistaken case can be made that we should have finished with Afpakia (either leaving altogether or finishing the job) before going into Iraq.  This IMHO ignores what would have happened had we not gone into Iraq- which is a longer discussion than I feel up to right now with the Gathering in a few hours.  Bush-Rumbo also did a poor job of running the Iraq War, even when taking into account the utter destructiveness of the Dem opposition.

But here we are.   What to do now?

One idea that occurs to me is a mutual defense treaty with Israel with a base in Israel. 
23765  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Triangle of intrigue- some very important stuff here folks on: July 09, 2011, 01:05:10 AM

STRATFOR
---------------------------
July 9, 2011


TRIANGLE OF INTRIGUE: IRANIAN-SAUDI NEGOTIATIONS AND THE U.S. POSITION

On Thursday, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast repeated a demand
for Saudi Arabia to withdraw its forces from Bahrain and "prepare the ground for
regional cooperation." He added that negotiations between Tehran and Riyadh would
benefit the region, but "the conditions should be provided" for such negotiations.
 
The idea of Iranian-Saudi negotiations developing over the future balance of power
in the Persian Gulf region does not seem to have caught the attention of mainstream
media, but STRATFOR is exploring the theme thoroughly and for good reason. We
spotted the first indication of this cooperation June 29, when rumors began
circulating that the GCC Peninsula Shield Force, which intervened in Bahrain in
mid-March to help put down a Shia-led uprising, was drawing down its forces.
Commander in Chief of the Bahrain Defense Force Marshal Shaikh Khalifa bin Ahmed Al
Khalifa denied rumors of a withdrawal of GCC forces in a July 7 interview. Al
Khalifa said the forces were repositioning while looking at ways to increase their
military capacity and coordination. Meanwhile, STRATFOR sources claim that the
1,000-plus force that deployed in mid-March has been pared down to about 300. We are
then left with two questions: Why the sudden confusion over the status of GCC forces
in Bahrain? And why have Iranian officials suddenly begun issuing near-daily
statements about the conditions for a fruitful negotiation with Saudi Arabia?

"As one Saudi source phrased it, if the Americans do not include the Saudis in their
own talks with Iran, then why should the Saudis coordinate their negotiations with
the Americans?"

 
The answer to both questions is related to a developing dialogue between Riyadh and
Tehran, driven by the fact that the United States lacks both a clear strategy and
the capability to prevent Iran from filling a crucial power vacuum in Iraq once U.S.
forces withdraw. Against the odds, the United States is trying to negotiate with the
Iraqi government an extension that would allow at least one U.S. division of 10,000
troops to remain in Iraq past the end-of-year Status of Forces Agreement deadline.
Washington is struggling to negotiate this residual force against Iran for one
simple reason: leverage. From the politicians in Parliament to Shiite leader Muqtada
al-Sadr's militiamen on the street, Iran has more means than the United States to
influence decisions made in Baghdad.

Iran could theoretically consent to a small U.S. military presence (far less than a
division) in Iraq, but Tehran would only do so if it felt confident it could hold
those troops under the threat of attack while remaining immune to an invading force.
The United States won't agree to a small and ineffective force that would be
vulnerable to Iran, so the negotiations fail to move forward. The pressure felt by
the United States was expressed Thursday when U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman
Adm. Mike Mullen told Pentagon reporters that "Iran is very directly supporting
extremist Shia groups, which are killing our troops" in Iraq. Any extension of the
U.S. troop presence, Mullen said, "has to be done in conjunction with control of
Iran in that regard."

The weakness of the U.S. position vis-a-vis Iran worries the GCC states, especially
Saudi Arabia. A strong Iranian push into Iraq, combined with the long-term threat
that Iran can provoke Shiite dissent in not only Bahrain, but more importantly in
Saudi Arabia's oil-rich Eastern Province, creates a highly stressful situation for
the Saudis. Add to that the prospect of a weak and insufficient U.S. conventional
military deterrent against Iran, and it becomes easier to see why the Saudis might
feel compelled right now to open up a dialogue with the Iranians.
 
Saudi Arabia may not be able to accept the idea of recognizing an Iranian sphere of
influence in Iraq that extends dangerously close to the Saudi borderland. However,
the Kingdom could negotiate a temporary truce with Iran under the terms of which
Saudi Arabia would begin to draw down its military presence in Bahrain, while Iran
would cease meddling in the Shiite affairs of the GCC states. This
confidence-building conversation could then extend step-by-step to other strategic
matters, including the appointment of a Sunni (versus a Shia) to the defense
ministry in Iraq, the distribution of Iraqi oil revenues, the Sunni-Shia power
balance in Lebanon and so on.

While investigating this issue, STRATFOR learned that at least five bilateral
meetings between Saudi Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Turki bin Muhammad
bin Saud and Iranian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Muhammad Rida Shibani have
quietly taken place, suggesting that negotiations are proceeding, albeit slowly.
According to STRATFOR sources. Iran has tried to bring Kuwait into the talks as a
third party, a prospect Saudi Arabia has thus far rejected. Iran often confuses
negotiations by adding more participants, with the aim of sowing divisions in the
adversary's camp. They employ the tactic regularly when negotiating with the West
over Iran's nuclear program, trying to bring countries like Turkey and Brazil into
the conversation. However, Saudi Arabia seems to be making clear to Iran that it
intends to speak alone on behalf of the GCC -- excluding even its main patron, the
United States.
 
Given the current situation, the Saudis cannot be sure that the United States will
be able to buttress them against Iran. The Saudis also don't know whether the United
States and Iran will reach an understanding of their own that would leave Saudi
Arabia vulnerable. Such a rapprochement might see Washington effectively ceding Iraq
to Iran (which in many ways may be inevitable) while seeking guarantees that Iran
will desist from meddling in Saudi Arabia. Unable to trust U.S. intentions toward
Iran, the Saudis appear to be negotiating with Iran independent of the United
States. As one Saudi source phrased it, if the Americans do not include the Saudis
in their own talks with Iran, then why should the Saudis coordinate their
negotiations with the Americans?
 
This reaction could put the United States in a difficult position. Washington, in
trying to negotiate an extension in Iraq, needs to build up its leverage against
Iran. One-on-one talks between the Iranians and the Saudis would undermine the U.S.
negotiating position. Moreover, the United States cannot be sure how far a
Saudi-Iranian negotiation will go. Right now, preliminary steps like a truce in
Bahrain can be made between the Saudis and the Iranians, but what if the
negotiations move to discussing the eviction of the U.S. Fifth Fleet from Bahrain in
exchange for Iranian security guarantees to Saudi Arabia? The Saudi royals hope
these thoughts will compel the White House to commit to a more effective blocking
force against Iran, thereby precluding the need for Riyadh to strike an unsavory
deal with the Persians. The problem is that the United States already feels so
compelled but finds itself stymied. If the question now is one of capability, Iran
has already shown that it holds the upper hand in Iraq as Washington and Riyadh
contemplate their next -- independent -- moves.
23766  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: KALI TUDO (tm) Article on: July 08, 2011, 07:05:24 PM
Though I don't post about every little new idea, I continue to play with this material and get positive feedback from people who are bringing it into their sparring.  I continue to look for the right fighter(s) to showcase this material in the cage.

The Bolo Punch increases in importance.  Not only does it work nicely in its own right as a strike, throwing it seems to really discourage low line shoots.
23767  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: European “Gathering of the Pack” 2011 on: July 08, 2011, 06:59:15 PM
"Higher consciousnesss through harder contact!" (c DBI)
23768  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: El Fire Hydrant: (Noticias) on: July 08, 2011, 06:57:25 PM
Me encuentro actualmente en Bern Suiza por el Euro DB Gg of the Pack, lo cual tendra lugar manana.  Parece que habran unos 60 peleadores.  Luego Guro Lonely y yo vamos a ensenar por tres dias.
23769  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / DB Tribal Gg clip on: July 08, 2011, 06:55:14 PM
Para quienes no lo sepan, les informo que el clip del Spring 2011 DB Tribal Gathering se encuentra acutalmente en la primera pagina de este sitio.
23770  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Chistes, Bromas on: July 08, 2011, 06:52:07 PM
Mucho tiempo aqui sin bromas , ,,
23771  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Venezuela Pol?tica on: July 08, 2011, 06:51:06 PM
Estoy leyendo de los problemas de salud de Chavez.  Parece que acaba de regresar de tratamiento en Cuba.  Denny S., ?nos puede decir algo al respeto?
23772  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Palo Colombiano on: July 08, 2011, 06:48:48 PM
Recientemente un amigo de internet me mandaba los URL de unos youtube clips de palo Colombiano.  Me encuentro en Suiza actualmente, por lo cual se me hace dificil encontrar y poner aqui los URLs, ?pero posiblemente haya alguien aqui quien pueda investigar el asunto y poner los aqui?
23773  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Mexico on: July 08, 2011, 06:45:36 PM
Como decia Porfirio Diaz hace un poco mas de cien anos atras "Pobre Mexico, tan lejos de Dios y tan cerca a los Estados Unidos."  Que tristeza ver tanto muerte tan feo.

23774  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Chess on: July 08, 2011, 06:36:10 PM
This morning I fooled around with the a PK4,KBP4 gambit operating under the assumption the gambit would be accepted.  Who could resist such recklessly offered bait after all?  Apparently the Russian I played with this evening.  I could tell about 4 moves into  declined gambit he played that he was good.  Around move 12 I foolishly pushed a pawn to harass his knight and things went down hill from there.

Alerted by this experience to his level, I beat him in games 2 and 3 grin

I kicked ass with a lesser player or two with it and then used it to good effect with a good player.  Fortunately he gifted me a piece early in the game, which made things easier, especially as the quality of his play got very strong in the latter part of the game.  I really had to struggle to get the win even though for a while I had a substantial advantage in pieces.

Initial impression:  This opening seems very promising and a good fit to my temperament.  Very aggressive AND unfamiliar to most people- which helps against quality players who have really studied openings while I am more or less winging it.  With the KBP gambit, we are both winging it cool
23775  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: July 08, 2011, 06:26:00 PM
Tis not a common event, but I mostly agree with JDN's comments.  She can retire whenever she pleases without it being a negative on her or an insult to anyone else.  We have seen judges hold on so a current Prez is not the one who chooses a replacement, so why not retire to ensure the current Prez does get to choose? 
23776  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Other Weapons on: July 08, 2011, 06:21:45 PM
There is a mai sowks fight in #6 of the RCSFg series, with Salty Dog fighting, ,, Shark Dog I think it was.  Due to healthy respect fot the MS, Shark work a hard helmet and not a fencing mask.

For the record, I turned down Salty's invitation to fight his MS, a decision I do not regret-only I am responsible for me after all.  IMHO even more than that the sharp edges issue is that even with rounded edges IMHO a punch with this weapon can readily break ribs and/or lastingly reduce IQ.
23777  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: July 08, 2011, 05:26:41 PM
That belongs in the Gun thread.
23778  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Middle East: War, Peace, and SNAFU on: July 08, 2011, 05:25:01 PM

July 8, 2011


VIDEO: AGENDA: WITH GEORGE FRIEDMAN ON IRAN

In the first of a special edition of Agenda on world pressure points, STRATFOR CEO
Dr. George Friedman examines the tricky relationship between the United States and
Iran. He argues the risk of Iranian hegemony in the Persian Gulf is a more pressing
issue than Iran's nuclear ambitions.

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

Colin: The great Satan and the axis of evil, several years ago the leaders of the
United States and Iran traded these insults about each other and its relations with
Tehran tend to be one of the most worrisome for the United States State Department,
made worse of course by Iran's nuclear ambitions and its territorial goals as
Americans leave Iraq.
Welcome to Agenda with George Friedman. George what is it about Iran that worries us
the most? Is it its steady move towards having nuclear weapons or the prospect of
Iranian hegemony in the Persian Gulf?

George: Clearly the issue is the changing balance of power in the Persian Gulf and
the possibility, if not of hegemony by Iran, then certainly increased power. The
withdrawal of the United States from Iraq has opened the possibility of Iranian
influence growing dramatically or even domination of Iraq. The events in Bahrain
where Iranian inspired demonstrators tried to topple the government and Saudi Arabia
intervened, the presence of Shiites throughout the Arabian Peninsula and the absence
of the United States, all taken together, have created a situation where Iran is
going to be the largest conventional military force in the Persian Gulf region. And
that would change the balance of power dramatically.

Colin: In other words, a serious problem.

George: The change in the balance of power is not necessarily a serious problem so
long as Iran and the United States and Europe, for example, reach some sort of
accommodation. Under the current circumstances, in which the West is hostile to
Iran, Europe differently than the United States, but still hostile. The growing
power of Iran over what constitutes a massive outflow of oil to the world opens the
possibility of the Iranians being able to interfere with that flow and profoundly
affecting Western economies. Right now the United States, in particular, is aligned
with Saudi Arabia, and it is through Saudi Arabia that it guarantees the flow of oil
to the west. Should Saudi Arabia become relatively weaker compared to Iran and Iran
plays a greater role in this, then the relationship between the United States,
between Europe and Iran becomes critical. Under the current configuration of
relationships, any growth of power in Iran threatens the interests of the United
States and Europe.

Colin: Turning to the nuclear issue how far is Iran from acquiring operable nuclear
weapons?

George: Here is what we know so far about the nuclear weapons. First, Iran has not
detonated a test. How far they are from detonating a test is unclear but the
distance between a testable nuclear device and deliverable nuclear weapon is
substantial. A nuclear weapon, it has to be small enough to sit on top of a rocket,
for example, rugged enough to withstand the incredible stresses of launch, entry
into a vacuum of space, high and low temperatures in space, re-entry and must be
able to work. That's a very complex thing; it's not easy to do. It is not easy but
relatively easier to simply detonate a test weapon but to go from there to a
deliverable nuclear device that is reliable, since it had better explode on contact
or there are consequences for the Iranians, that's even harder and it requires much
more than simply being able to enrich uranium. There are many other technologies
involved, most importantly quality assurance, making certain that each part works as
it does, testing and so on. And I suspect that is going to take the Iranians quite a
bit of time if they can do it all. I don't regard the Iranian nuclear program as
necessarily the extraordinary game-changer that others do. The real game-changer in
the Persian Gulf is the existing Iranian military force and its ability to operate
against any combination of forces native to the area if the United States leaves.
The nuclear program is a wonderful negotiating device which compels the West to sit
down and talk to them and they are in a position of strength it appears, but it is
far more than that than a military weapon. It is a psychological weapon, a political
weapon and in that sense it is almost irrelevant whether it ever exists.

Colin: Let's talk about the chasm between the United States and Iran. Does the
United States have any kind of strategy to bridge it?

George: Washington is of two minds on Iran. One is the ongoing belief that existed
since 1979 that Iran's government would face a popular uprising that will topple it
and there's always been this belief that it would happen. Washington and the media
got tremendously excited in 2009 during what was called the Green Revolution, which
STRATFOR's position was that it was a pretty isolated, relatively minor affair that
would be fairly easily put down by the government as it was. But there's still the
ongoing belief that there is tremendous dissatisfaction in Iran that would translate
itself to revolutionary action. The other idea is that there are political tensions
in the Iranian elite that will tear them apart. Well it will certainly be stressful
but there are stresses in the British government, within the American government. I
don't see the stresses in Iran even between institutions such as the presidency and
the supreme leader as leading to the same result. I think to a very great extent
that this fixation on internal evolutions in Iran has paralyzed American strategic
thinking.

Colin: So what you're really saying, George, is there is no strategy.

George: Well there is a strategy, I think it is a wrongheaded strategy but it's also
a strategy that allows the United States not to make any fundamental decisions. The
fundamental decision the United States has about Iran is the three. First, go to war
-- very dangerous. Second, negotiate with Iran -- politically very difficult.
Thirdly, hope for the best -- some sort of evolution in Iran. The American
predilection to hope for the best relieves any American administration of the need
to take unpleasant actions from negotiations to war and so it suits everybody's mind
to think that shortly you will have destabilization.

Colin: What could the Iranians do realistically; they are not going to give up their
nuclear weapons?

George: I don't really think the Iranians care about their nuclear weapon. To Iran,
the most important thing is the decision of the United States to withdrawal from
Iraq. Their historic fear has been another war with Iraq. That’s gone because of
what the United States did. Remember they lost a million casualties during the war
of the 1980s. They don't want that again, well that's gone. The Iranians are at an
extraordinary point in their history. For the first time in a very long time, it
appears that there will be a drawdown of a global presence in the region. This opens
the door for tremendous Iranian opportunities and I think one of the things that's
going on inside of Iran is a tussle, if you will, in the elite of just how much risk
to take. It's not clear who wants to take more or less risk but you're facing a
situation where Iran could emerge with its historical dream intact: the dominant
power in the Persian Gulf. And this is not simply an Islamic dream. This was the
Shah's dream; this was his father's dream. This has been the ongoing Persian dream
for a very long time. It's at hand, it's not a certainty but that is what they are
really focusing on: to be able to define the politics of the Persian Gulf, the oil
revenues of the Persian Gulf, the governments of the Persian Gulf, I mean this is
the real opportunity and I think the nuclear weapons is very much a side issue for
them.

Colin: Of course the United States was a participant in trying to help the Shah
achieve his dream. You would think there would be a greater upside in resolving the
conflict. Is there a chance, any chance, of that point being reached?

George: Remember that the United States in the 1960s and 70s had a dual strategy.
One was the support of Saudi Arabia; the other was the support of Iran. Although
there were tensions between the two countries many times, it fairly well worked.
The United States obviously didn't have support of the Iranians but the United
States actually, since 1979 and the release of the hostages at the embassy, did
fairly well with them. The Iranians blocked the Soviets as they hoped. Iranians were
hostile to the Taliban takeover in Iran, in Afghanistan I should say, there was a
lot of cooperation under the table between the two countries, not because they liked
each other because they had common interests. Out of that comes the fact that there
is a possibility of some sort of alignment, but the United States has to make a
historic decision. I don't think at this point it can be both aligned with Iran and
Saudi Arabia, and the decision the United States really has to make is whether or
not it is going to bet on the Saudis or the Iranians. The Saudis have been the
historic allies of the United States but frankly they are not particularly congenial
to either American culture or sometimes to American interests. The Iranians are
hostile to both but they have a great deal more power and potential are a more
reliable ally. So the United States faces a historic choice between Iran and Saudi
Arabia. Thus far, the administration has made it very clear that it stands with the
Saudis against the Iranians and that's understandable. But then it will really have
to decide what to do as Iran becomes relatively more powerful, the United States
weaker in the region, precisely what does it intend to do to contain Iranian power.

Colin: George Friedman, thank you. In next week's Agenda we will look at the United
States relations with Russia. Until then, goodbye.
23779  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: July 08, 2011, 01:36:10 PM
THAT is how to make the case for the economic side of the American Creed.   Clearly we need to keep our eye on this man.  Without knowing more than the little I currently know about him, he seems like an IDEAL VP candidate.  He will eat Biden alive, he will give Reps a shot at the Latino vote (yes, yes, I know the Cubans and the Mexicans are different voting blocks but this guy will know how to handle the immigration issue and neutralize it with the Mex vote and bring them home with cultural conservative issues). 
23780  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: July 08, 2011, 01:21:45 PM
I thought I heard she was having some sort of health issues?  (Cancer?)
23781  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Other Weapons on: July 08, 2011, 01:19:47 PM
Woof all:

This thread is for the discussion of weapons out of the ordinary.

I'd like to kick things off with the Three Section Staff.  In the clip of the 2011 Tribal Gathering (currently on the front page) we can see C-Gong Fu Dog wielding this unusual and challenging to use weapon to good effect.  Today here in Bern I worked with C-GF on his TSS game a bit angry.  It will be interesting to see how things go tomorrow.  wink

The Adventure continues!
Crafty Dog

PS:  C-Mighty Dog:  C-GF gives his thanks for the TSS you gave him.  Methinks you may come to regret this generous deed cheesy
23782  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Swiss Champ on: July 08, 2011, 02:19:14 AM
I brought a nice travelling set with me to Bern |(the board rolls up, classic Staunton design for the pieces) and set it up in open invitation in the dining area at the campground where we are holding the Euro Gg and Training Camp.  A man in his 50s chatted with me briefly to size me up and then he said he had time for  one game.  My play was pretty solid for about 10 moves- I could tell he was good- and then I made one minor mistake and he stomped me with ruthless efficiency.  I asked for another game and he readily agreed.   Now fully aware of his level, I played much better, but the result was the same.  He complimented me (in response to his Queen's pawn opening I had played an off center QB pawn gambit that I developed playing against my son) Shyly, to help assuage my feelings, he let me know he had been a professional player and had been the champion of Switzerland with a ranking of 2300!  We played for about three hours more- or perhaps I should say he coached me for three hours.   Awesome experience!
23783  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Fall Dog Brothers Open Gathering of the Pack 9/18/11 on: July 08, 2011, 01:35:55 AM
I love seeing that there will be more double stick and staff fights.
23784  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Prayer and Daily Expression of Gratitude on: July 07, 2011, 11:37:32 AM
Grateful to have three seats on the red eye flight from Philly to Zurich last night so I was able to lay down and sleep for about 4 hours.
23785  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Madison VA ratifying convention 1788; Hamilton on the Tenth, NY rat'g convention on: July 06, 2011, 06:59:34 AM
"There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." --James Madison, speech at the Virginia Ratifying Convention, 1788

"This balance between the National and State governments ought to be dwelt on with peculiar attention, as it is of the utmost importance. It forms a double security to the people. If one encroaches on their rights they will find a powerful protection in the other. Indeed, they will both be prevented from overpassing their constitutional limits by a certain rivalship, which will ever subsist between them." --Alexander Hamilton, speech to the New York Ratifying Convention, 1788



23786  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant on: July 05, 2011, 10:59:08 PM
I'm off to Switzerland in 9 hours for one week, but should be able to post here from there.
23787  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Fire Hydrant: Howls from Crafty Dog, Rules of the Road, etc on: July 05, 2011, 10:58:24 PM
I'm off to Switzerland in 9 hours for a week, but should be able to post here from there.
23788  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Winning? No more than Charlie Sheen on: July 05, 2011, 10:53:22 PM
America's Troubling Investment Gap
For the first time in decades, America is on net losing, not attracting, growth capital.
By David Malpass And Stephen Moore
In June, President Obama celebrated a rare sliver of good economic news: Foreign investment was up 49% last year over 2009. The president says that this boost in capital shipped to the U.S. by international companies or foreign investors leads to more businesses and higher-paying jobs here at home. He's right.

But this isn't the economic success story that the White House is spinning. The real truth of the recession and limping recovery is that for the first time in decades America is, on net, losing, not attracting, growth capital. That may be the single most important explanation for persistently high unemployment and stagnant wages.

It is true that foreign direct investment rose to $236 billion in 2010 from $159 billion in 2009. But that was still well below the $310 billion invested in 2008. The White House also neglected to disclose that in the first quarter of 2011 foreign investment fell by 51% from the first quarter of last year, according to data released last month from the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis. Foreigners of late have not found the U.S. to be a receptive, high-return home for investment.

Much more worrisome is that Americans are taking their investment dollars abroad at a faster pace than foreigners are bringing capital to these shores. In 2010, for example, U.S. investment abroad was $351 billion—$115 billion higher than foreign investment here. Economic recoveries are periods when investment capital usually surges into a country, but since this weakling rebound began in the middle of 2009 the U.S. has lost more than $200 billion in investment capital. That is the equivalent of about two million jobs that don't exist on these shores and are now located in places like China, Germany and India.

This is a recent and dramatic reversal of fortune. Huge net inflows of productive capital into the U.S. in the 1980s and '90s helped finance the 25-year boom in jobs and broad-based prosperity from 1982-2007. Over that period, foreigners invested just over $6 trillion more in the U.S. (in total capital) than Americans invested abroad, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, with most of it going into businesses.



That tidal wave of funds provided the capital to finance new American companies, while increasing the value of other assets, such as real estate. It also underwrote new factories owned by foreign companies like Honda. All of this investment contributed mightily to the 35 million new jobs in the 1980s and '90s. By 2008, the average job created with foreign investment paid $71,000 a year, about 30% above the U.S. average, according to a report issued in June by the White House Council of Economic Advisers, "U.S. Inbound Foreign Direct Investment."

So why did the investors put their money in the U.S. in those years? We'd say it was a combination of low tax rates, a strong dollar, low inflation and other free-market reforms. Capital flows to where it is most highly rewarded, and low marginal tax rates on the returns to capital and business income create a gravitational pull on global funds. A strong and stable currency allows businesses to invest in innovation, employees and productivity rather than inflation hedges. It also encourages investors to wait longer to cash in their profits without worrying about the losses of a depreciating dollar. In the high-tax, high-inflation 1970s, the U.S. was a net exporter of risk-taking capital. As we are now.

That's only part of the story behind the disappointing recovery we now face. To be sure, foreigners still park a huge amount of money in this country, but in the last several years they've shifted their investment toward U.S. Treasury securities and government-guaranteed bonds, and away from the private-sector staples—corporate bonds, intellectual property, ownership of businesses—that create sustainable jobs. Since 2009, foreigners have invested just over $1 trillion in U.S. Treasury bonds, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Some economists argue that investing in low-interest-rate government bonds works fine for America because it allows the government to boost spending on programs—the latest doozies are windmills, high-speed rail and 99 weeks of unemployment benefits. The low interest rates, this argument goes, prove there is no negative "crowding out" from America's near $1.5 trillion deficit.

That misses the point. To produce rapid growth, most capital must be allocated by markets. The effect of $4.5 trillion of borrowing since 2009 is that foreigners and Americans are buying Treasury bills instead of investing in the next Google, Oracle, Wal-Mart or biomedical company. Today, foreigners are financing food stamps and the next bridge to nowhere while Americans are building state-of-the-art production systems abroad. This is the real pernicious "crowding out effect" of the federal government's borrowing.

The free flow of capital across borders is unquestionably a positive sum game for everyone—in the same way free trade is—but the U.S. can only retain its status as a high-wage dynamic economy if we are enticing capital for new operations to these shores. The U.S. is still by far the world leader in the cumulative stock of foreign investment, which now stands at some $3.3 trillion. But the composition of that investment is tilting toward government securities.

Meanwhile, the best related measure of our competitiveness as a nation—the balance of foreign direct investment into the U.S. versus the investment capital going abroad—is a red flag.

Mr. Malpass is president of Encima Global. Mr. Moore is senior economics writer for the Wall Street Journal editorial page.


23789  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The mind boggles . . . on: July 05, 2011, 08:46:58 PM
Pravda on the Hudson:

Breaking News Alert
The New York Times
Tuesday, July 5, 2011 -- 7:06 PM EDT
-----

Somali Man Tied to Militants Was Detained Aboard U.S. Navy Ship for Months

A Somali man accused of ties to two Islamist militant groups was captured by the American military in April and interrogated for months aboard a navy ship without being warned of his Miranda rights to remain silent and have a lawyer. On Tuesday, the Obama administration announced that the man had been flown to New York City to face prosecution before a civilian court.

In an indictment unsealed in the Southern District of New York, Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame was charged with nine counts related to accusations that he provided support to the Somalia-based Al Shabaab and the Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Mr. Warsame was captured on April 19, and a plane carrying him arrived in New York City around midnight Monday night, officials said.

Read More:
http://www.nytimes.com/?emc=na
23790  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: July 05, 2011, 08:16:06 PM
GM:

Thanks for that.  I am using it for return fire with the person who sent it to me  grin
23791  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Chavez returns to V. on: July 05, 2011, 04:08:09 PM
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez made a surprise return to Caracas early Monday morning just in time for his country’s bicentennial celebrations on Tuesday. Chavez’s medical condition appears to be quite serious and his extended recovery will continue to fuel speculation over the future stability of the regime.

Chavez appeared in his military fatigues on Monday to deliver a speech from the balcony of the Miraflores Palace. This 30-minute speech — along with the 15-minute speech he gave January 30th from Cuba — were pretty uncharacteristic for the usually loquacious and charismatic president. In both speeches, Chavez appeared a lot thinner, a lot weaker. He was reading from a script in both instances. Overall, he appeared to be in pretty bad medical shape, yet does not appear to be in a life-threatening condition by any means.

Chavez has admitted publicly that he has been treated for a cancerous tumor, but that that recovery will take time. Specifically, Chavez said in his speech Monday that “I should not be here very long, and you all know the reasons why.” That was an indication that this recovery is going to take some more time and that that time could be spent in Cuba.

It was very revealing that Chavez was both capable and sufficiently motivated to make an appearance on July 5th for the bicentennial celebrations. This is a highly symbolic event for the head of state and there was a lot riding on Chavez’s appearance, especially as speculation has run rampant on whether the president’s medical condition would cut his political career short. Chavez, of course, wanted to short-circuit a lot of that speculation and remind his allies and adversaries alike that he very much remains in the political picture.

What’s been most revealing about this whole episode is just how little trust Chavez has placed in his inner circle. By design, Chavez is the main pillar of the regime and he’s done an extremely good job of keeping his friends close and his enemies even closer. Close ideological allies like the president’s brother Adan, or Vice-President Elias Jaua, simply don’t have that support within the regime or outside to sustain themselves independent of Chavez. The same goes for military elites like the head of Venezuela’s strategic operational command, Gen. Henry Rangel Silva.

We expect that Chavez will be making some changes to his Cabinet very soon to manage the internal rifts within this regime. This is something I like to refer to as “rats in the bag management.” If you have a bag of rats and you shake them up enough you can prevent any one rat from gnawing their way out of the bag. When Chavez shakes up his Cabinet this time around, we expect him to keep potential rivals like Gen. Silva extremely close, while boosting more trusted allies like Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro to manage day-to-day affairs.

Based on what we’ve seen so far, we expect that Chavez will be able to manage his regime pretty tightly, even during his medical leave. But given the apparent seriousness of his medical condition, and the potential for relapse in the lead-up to the 2012 presidential election, this also serves as a very good opportunity to identify those regime elites that Chavez has to worry about most in trying to manage the day-to-day affairs of the state most importantly and trying to manage any potential rivals within his inner circle.

23792  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DBMA in the Philippines on: July 05, 2011, 10:26:55 AM
Woof MK:

Delighted to have you here and thank you for your question.  I am off for the gym on my last day in town before a one week trip, so it is a busy day for me but I will try later to flesh out what has already been said by other posters.

Crafty Dog
23793  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Movies/TV of interest on: July 05, 2011, 10:25:07 AM
I found most of the actors in Game of Thrones completely unbelievable as fighting men, and laughed at the perfection of some of the clothing-- e.g. natty fine Italian looking leather for a medieval knight type, but somehow the show drew my wife and then me in; I loved the seeing some beautiful women's bodies grin  I thought the character of the Dwarf was very interesting and very well done by the actor in question. 
23794  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy, Big Brother (State and Corporate) & the 4th Amendment on: July 04, 2011, 11:52:20 PM
 cool cool cool
23795  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Our Founding Fathers on: July 04, 2011, 11:51:22 PM

http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/signers/index.htm
23796  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Fall Dog Brothers Open Gathering of the Pack 9/18/11 on: July 04, 2011, 11:48:19 PM
C-MD:

No worries if he does; I will show you what to do  grin
23797  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Foreign Policy on: July 04, 2011, 11:46:38 PM
So, what was the point of this post?

"http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/american-boots-on-ground-in-somalia/
Remember all the howling over Bush's "illegal war"? To quote Glenn Reynolds "They told me if I voted for McCain, there would be endless wars without congressional oversight, and they were right!""
23798  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy, Big Brother (State and Corporate) & the 4th Amendment on: July 04, 2011, 06:44:54 PM
The point being addressed here is the "Well, if you have nothing to hide argument".  May I take your response to mean that you agree that the argument is unsound?
23799  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy, Big Brother (State and Corporate) & the 4th Amendment on: July 04, 2011, 06:12:49 PM
"**Would someone who walks naked in public areas have a right of privacy that prevents them from being photographed? Or is there a requirement that if one wishes to assert privacy rights, that one actually takes steps to preserve that privacy?"

The problem arises when the government shoves a camera down your pants or up your anus.

More precisely, the point being made here is different than the straw man you attack.  The point is that people do and should have a right to privacy-- and that the "well if you have nothing to hide" argument is unsound.

23800  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fascism, liberal fascism, progressivism, socialism: on: July 04, 2011, 06:09:41 PM
We're drifting a bit afield here, e.g. Blagojevich more properly belongs in the Corruption thread, ditto the fund raising in the WH issue.  The subject at hand is whether the ignoring the debt ceiling is C'l or a fascist type above-the-law action.
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