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23801  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: The CIA and Kadaffy on: September 06, 2011, 07:47:09 AM

The Central Intelligence Agency and Libyan intelligence services developed such a tight relationship during the George W. Bush administration that the U.S. shipped terror suspects to Libya for interrogation and suggested the questions they should be asked, according to documents found in Libya's External Security agency headquarters.

The Regime's Inner Workings
Reams of confidential documents reveal in vivid detail the desperation and disarray at the highest reaches of Col. Moammar Gadhafi's regime this spring as power slipped through their fingers.

The relationship was close enough that the CIA moved to establish "a permanent presence" in Libya in 2004, according to a note from Stephen Kappes, at the time the No. 2 in the CIA's clandestine service, to Libya's then-intelligence chief, Moussa Koussa.

Libya's Revolution
View Slideshow

Alexandre Meneghini/Associated Press
People in the rebel-held town of Benghazi celebrated the news Aug. 22 of the capture of Moammar Gadhafi's son Seif al-Islam.
.On Edge in Libya
Track fighting and city control around the country.

View Interactive
.Map: Regional Upheaval
Track events day by day in the region.

View Interactive
.More photos and interactive graphics
. Secret documents unearthed by human rights activists indicate the CIA and MI6 had very close relations with Libya's 2004 Gadhafi regime. Video courtesy of Reuters.
.The memo began "Dear Musa," and was signed by hand, "Steve." Mr. Kappes was a critical player in the secret negotiations that led to Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi's 2003 decision to give up his nuclear program. Through a spokeswoman, Mr. Kappes, who has retired from the agency, declined to comment.

A U.S. official said Libya had showed progress at the time. "Let's keep in mind the context here: By 2004, the U.S. had successfully convinced the Libyan government to renounce its nuclear-weapons program and to help stop terrorists who were actively targeting Americans in the U.S. and abroad," the official said.

The files documenting the renewal of ties between the CIA and Libyan intelligence were reviewed and copied by researchers from Human Rights Watch during a tour of Libya's External Security agency headquarters in downtown Tripoli. Emergencies Director Peter Bouckaert said he was touring the building on Friday as part of the group's effort to help the Libyan transitional authority secure sensitive documents left by the Gadhafi regime, which collapsed in August after a five-month rebellion.

Mr. Bouckaert said he discovered the files inside the complex in a room that guards described as the former office of Mr. Koussa, who became foreign minister in 2009. Mr. Bouckaert photographed the documents, leaving the originals in their place, and gave copies to The Wall Street Journal.

Human Rights Watch has been critical of the U.S. policy of sending terror suspects to third countries for interrogation, a practice known as rendition. The practice dates at least to 1995, when Egypt began aiding the U.S. with rendition.

U.S. officials say they obtained assurances from the recipient countries that the rendered detainees would be treated humanely. "There are lots of countries willing to take terrorists off the street who want to kill Americans," the U.S. official said. "That doesn't mean U.S. concerns about human rights are ignored in the process."

In an April 15, 2004 letter to Libyan intelligence, the CIA proposed the rendition of another man, saying, "We respectfully request an expression of interest from your service regarding taking custody."

Citing "recently developed agreements," the CIA asked the Libyans to "agree to take our requirements for debriefings of [the suspect], as well as a guarantee that [his] human rights will be protected."

The files also show the close relationship that some British intelligence officials had with Mr. Koussa.

With Libya's NTC in Place, Little Sign of Leading
Washington Says It Knew of Ex-Diplomat's Libya Meet

.Mr. Koussa, who defected from Col. Gadhafi's government in March, was credited with helping negotiate Libya's rapprochement with the international community and bartering an end to sanctions in return for Libya renouncing its weapons-of-mass-destruction program.

Yet he was also one of the stalwarts of the Gadhafi regime and headed the foreign intelligence service during a time when many Western officials believed Col. Gadhafi was funding and supporting international terrorist groups. In 1980, he was expelled from his diplomatic post in the U.K. after calling in a newspaper interview for the killing of Libyan dissidents in Great Britain. Libya later claimed he had been misquoted.

By the early years of the George W. Bush administration, however, as seen in the 2004 memo, Mr. Kappes was writing to Mr. Koussa: "Libya's cooperation on WMD and other issues, as well as our nascent intelligence cooperation mean that now is the right moment to move ahead."

The intelligence services had discussed the move for "quite some time" Mr. Kappes wrote.

The files provide an extraordinary window into the highly secretive and controversial practice of rendition, whereby the agency would send detainees to other countries for interrogation, including ones known for harsh treatment of detainees. The program was ramped up for terror detainees after the Sept. 11 attacks.

When taking over the CIA at the outset of the Obama administration, then-director Leon Panetta said the agency would continue to use rendition, but would seek assurances that the detainee wouldn't be tortured—which has been the standing U.S. policy. Mr. Panetta left the CIA two months ago to lead the Pentagon.

"We are eager to work with you in the questioning of the terrorist we recently rendered to your country," Mr. Kappes wrote in the memo, adding that he would like to send two more officers to Libya to question a suspect directly.

The documents show the logistical hurdles the rendition program experienced, such as Hong Kong's refusal to allow a Libyan aircraft to land, the requirements to show valid insurance documents, and certifications of airworthiness.

In some of the documents, the CIA provided Libyan intelligence with a long list of questions it wanted to have posed to one suspect in Tripoli's custody, a Libyan-Canadian who Western intelligence agencies accused of being a leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, a now-defunct group the U.S. suspected of links to al Qaeda. The Americans wanted to know, among other things, whether the man had relationships with named individuals in Cincinnati, Seattle and Los Angeles or with companies across the U.S. from a Colorado auto-sales firm to a global shipping company in California.

Many of the questions U.S. intelligence officials wanted posed to the suspect were about other alleged members of the organization.

Another document said the CIA was aware that Libyan intelligence was cooperating with the British to bring to Tripoli a suspected militant leader who was being held in detention in Hong Kong for immigration violations.

An April 6, 2004 memo titled "Iraqi Scientists," the CIA asked Libyan intelligence to let U.S. agents interview several Iraqi scientists who were living in Libya, part of a postwar scramble to determine the fate of Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction.

In one memo with the subject line "ALLEGED TERRORIST CELL WITHIN LIBYA PLANNING FOR ATTACKS AGAINST U.S. INTERESTS," the CIA asked for help tracking down a suspected "operational cell" in Libya suspected of being in contact with al Qaeda operatives in Iraq. The CIA said it feared U.S. government officials and commercial interests in Libya would be attacked.

"Thank you very much for your speedy assistance," the memo concluded.

—Adam Entous and Julian E. Barnes contributed to this article.
23802  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Huntsman on Piers Morgan on: September 06, 2011, 07:29:16 AM
I watched Huntsman on Piers Morgan the other day and saw much there to like.  Apart from the issues on which we disagree, he was absolutely horrendous on last month's game of chicken over the budget-- parroting hook, line, and sinker the Dem talking points about how the Tea Party and radical Republicans were willing for the US to default and how he was the only Rep candidate to oppose that.  There was something else that slips my mind at the moment that I also found quite bad, but overall his schpiel about Reps being too radical really grates for me.  The truth is that they are not radical enough-- as we are about to discover when Boener's "super committee" fails to come to terms leading to the gutting of US military , , , all for $21B in cuts this year.

PS:  On the human side I was pleasantly surprised to discover that he had dropped out of school to try to become a rock musician (keyboards) and that his favorite musician was , , , drum roll please , , , Captain Beefheart!-- about whom he spoke knowledgeably-- quite surprising for a Mormon!  Both Huntsman and his daughter played some piano and both are seriously good.

Last week, immediately after I announced my vision for economic revival in America, we saw the report that zero jobs were created during the month of August. Zero. This number isn't simply depressing. It's unacceptable. It represents the final verdict on this administration's failed policies and the overall lack of leadership in Washington.

Behind our nation's unemployment numbers are human tragedies: families torn apart, relationships pushed to the brink, and men and women struggling to maintain self-esteem and the pride that comes with self-sufficiency.

President Obama believes we can tax and spend and regulate our way to prosperity. We cannot. We must compete our way to prosperity. To do that, we must equip the American worker and the American entrepreneur with the tools to compete in the global economy.

Restoring our competitiveness will not be possible without first recognizing our constitutional commitment to limited government, a precondition for unleashing the spirit of American entrepreneurialism.

In the long term, this will mean dramatic education and immigration reform, but in the short term, tax simplification, regulatory reform, and changes in energy and trade policy will jump-start the American economy and allow us to export more and import less, creating sustainable growth and jobs.

We need a revenue-neutral tax overhaul modeled after Ronald Reagan's 1986 tax reform package—which will require taking on sacred cows. This means eliminating special interest carve-outs, loopholes and deductions while lowering rates across the board so our tax code is flatter, fairer, simpler and more conducive to growth.

This is similar to the reforms we implemented in Utah, which allowed our state to lead the nation in job creation and our economy to grow at triple the national rate.

For individual taxpayers, we will introduce three drastically lower rates of 8%, 14% and 23%. Eliminating deductions and credits in favor of lower marginal rates will yield a simpler and more efficient system, decreasing the taxpayer burden. We'll also use the increased revenue from closing loopholes to make business tax rates globally competitive and eliminate double taxes on investment, both measures that will encourage hiring.

Our entrepreneurs are harmed as much by overregulation as by overtaxation. One recent example is the National Labor Relations Board's effort to prevent our largest exporter, Boeing, from operating a plant in South Carolina because of its right-to-work law. As president, if the NLRB were to continue pursuing this antijobs policy, I would replace its general counsel, who has not been confirmed, and also its board if necessary. The Dodd-Frank financial regulation law is another regulatory sin—a 1,600 page monstrosity that creates massive compliance costs.

Dodd-Frank also perpetuates "too big to fail," all but guaranteeing more bailouts, massive regulatory oversight and preferential funding for the biggest banks. Protecting taxpayers, community banks and their small-business customers will ultimately require the biggest banks, which are in danger of becoming public utilities, to choose between downsizing or facing much higher capital ratios to fend off more public rescues and even more regulation.

We cannot stabilize our economy without stabilizing the housing market. Washington inflated the housing bubble in part through the misuse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Today, the White House continues to use these institutions to perpetuate a failed intervention in the housing market that is preventing a natural stabilization. As president, I will privatize Fannie and Freddie, and let the housing market clear in order to lay the groundwork for renewed growth.

With respect to energy independence, the Environmental Protection Agency can fulfill its mission of guarding America's clean air and water by increasing opportunities for clean, domestic fuels. Every year America sends more than $300 billion overseas for oil, much of it to unstable and unfriendly regimes. That accounts for half of our trade deficit. We can redeploy that capital in this country, immediately creating jobs by harnessing domestic energy opportunities and eliminating subsidies and regulations that discourage clean American energy sources and technologies such as natural gas, biofuels, coal-to-liquids and electric cars.

As president, I would expedite the approval process for safe, environmentally sound projects involving our oil and gas reserves in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska and appropriate federal lands. I would offer continued support for the Keystone Pipeline, which brings oil from Canada. We will also remove barriers between those resources and consumers such as the Obama administration's newly issued fuel economy regulations, which effectively bar heavy-duty trucks from converting to cleaner, domestic natural gas.

Despite the fact that 95% of the world's customers live outside our borders, the U.S. is party to only 17 of the more than 300 existing trade agreements world-wide. Opening more markets for American businesses will immediately spark growth. For two and a half years, the president has failed to act on trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. I'd make them a priority.

We must also seek new trade opportunities, giving American businesses and workers access to consumers around the world whom are eager for quality American products. We are right to pursue a Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, but this is not ambitious enough. As president I will immediately start pursuing free-trade agreements with India, Japan and Taiwan and strengthen our relationship with our European trading partners, who will be critical to America's success in the years ahead.

Around the world, other nations are making the tough choices necessary to compete in the 21st century economy. America must do the same.

Mr. Huntsman, formerly a governor of Utah, Huntsman Corporation executive and ambassador to China and Singapore, is seeking the Republican presidential nomination.
23803  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / 9/25/11 Benefit seminar for GM Bobby Taboada of Balintawak on: September 06, 2011, 07:03:16 AM


Hosted by: John Spezzano
Location: Five Star Martial Arts 4201 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 105, Los Angeles, CA 90010
Free parking at the back of the building
Date and time: Sept. 25, 20011; 2:30-5:30PM
Fees: $60.00

Featured Instructors:

GM Nene Gaabucayan of NNG Balintawak International
and GM Virgil Cavada of Applied Balintawak Eskrima


Demonstration by: Richard “Army” Maguire
of Ageless Strength

For your donations or payments, send check or money order to :
Nene Gaabucayan
1150 ½ N Mariposa Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90029
23804  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Jefferson: The construction of laws, 1823 on: September 06, 2011, 06:59:02 AM

"Laws are made for men of ordinary understanding and should, therefore, be construed by the ordinary rules of common sense. Their meaning is not to be sought for in metaphysical subtleties which may make anything mean everything or nothing at pleasure." --Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Johnson, 1823

23805  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Oy fg vey 2: Coming law on babysitters on: September 06, 2011, 06:51:26 AM
California regulating babysitters out of business
Posted on September 1, 2011 by PoliPunditWith millions of people fleeing the once-Golden State, California is focusing on what’s really important:

The nanny state impulse runs strong in the Golden State, where the State Assembly has passed a bill that would virtually regulate babysitting out of business. After 2 hours of babysitting, a mandatory 15 minute break must be give, meaning that a stand-by babysitter must be present. Then there are the paperwork requirements, and the severe penalties that kick in for any parents who fail to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. State Senator Doug LaMalfa writes:

The bill has already passed the Assembly and is quickly moving through the Senate with blanket support from the Democrat members that control both houses of the Legislature – and without the support of a single Republican member. Assuming the bill will easily clear its last couple of legislative hurdles, AB 889 will soon be on its way to the Governor’s desk.

Under AB 889, household “employers” (aka “parents”) who hire a babysitter on a Friday night will be legally obligated to pay at least minimum wage to any sitter over the age of 18 (unless it is a family member), provide a substitute caregiver every two hours to cover rest and meal breaks, in addition to workers’ compensation coverage, overtime pay, and a meticulously calculated timecard/paycheck.
23806  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / NY Times: Time to Revive Home Economics on: September 06, 2011, 06:42:50 AM
Time to Revive Home EcBy HELEN ZOE VEIT
Published: September 5, 2011

NOBODY likes home economics. For most people, the phrase evokes bland food, bad sewing and self-righteous fussiness.

But home economics is more than a 1950s teacher in cat’s-eye glasses showing her female students how to make a white sauce. Reviving the program, and its original premises — that producing good, nutritious food is profoundly important, that it takes study and practice, and that it can and should be taught through the public school system — could help us in the fight against obesity and chronic disease today.

The home economics movement was founded on the belief that housework and food preparation were important subjects that should be studied scientifically. The first classes occurred in the agricultural and technical colleges that were built from the proceeds of federal land grants in the 1860s. By the early 20th century, and increasingly after the passage of federal legislation like the 1917 Smith-Hughes Act, which provided support for the training of teachers in home economics, there were classes in elementary, middle and high schools across the country. When universities excluded women from most departments, home economics was a back door into higher education. Once there, women worked hard to make the case that “domestic science” was in fact a scientific discipline, linked to chemistry, biology and bacteriology.

Indeed, in the early 20th century, home economics was a serious subject. When few understood germ theory and almost no one had heard of vitamins, home economics classes offered vital information about washing hands regularly, eating fruits and vegetables and not feeding coffee to babies, among other lessons.

Eventually, however, the discipline’s basic tenets about health and hygiene became so thoroughly popularized that they came to seem like common sense. As a result, their early proponents came to look like old maids stating the obvious instead of the innovators and scientists that many of them really were. Increasingly, home economists’ eagerness to dispense advice on everything from eating to sleeping to posture galled.

Today we remember only the stereotypes about home economics, while forgetting the movement’s crucial lessons on healthy eating and cooking.

Too many Americans simply don’t know how to cook. Our diets, consisting of highly processed foods made cheaply outside the home thanks to subsidized corn and soy, have contributed to an enormous health crisis. More than half of all adults and more than a third of all children are overweight or obese. Chronic diseases associated with weight gain, like heart disease and diabetes, are hobbling more and more Americans.

In the last decade, many cities and states have tried — and generally failed — to tax junk food or to ban the use of food stamps to buy soda. Clearly, many people are leery of any governmental steps to promote healthy eating; Michelle Obama’s campaign against childhood obesity has inspired right-wing panic about a secret food police.

But what if the government put the tools of obesity prevention in the hands of children themselves, by teaching them how to cook?

My first brush with home economics, as a seventh grader in a North Carolina public school two decades ago, was grim. The most sophisticated cooking we did was opening a can of pre-made biscuit dough, sticking our thumbs in the center of each raw biscuit to make a hole, and then handing them over to the teacher, who dipped them in hot grease to make doughnuts.

Cooking classes for public school students need not be so utterly stripped of content, or so cynical about students’ abilities to cook and enjoy high-quality food.

A year later, my father’s job took our family to Wales, where I attended, for a few months, a large school in a mid-size industrial city. There, students brought ingredients from home and learned to follow recipes, some simple and some not-so-simple, eventually making vegetable soups and meat and potato pies from scratch. It was the first time I had ever really cooked anything. I remember that it was fun, and with an instructor standing by, it wasn’t hard. Those were deeply empowering lessons, ones that stuck with me when I first started cooking for myself in earnest after college.

In the midst of contracting school budgets and test-oriented curricula, the idea of reviving home economics as part of a broad offensive against obesity might sound outlandish. But teaching cooking — real cooking — in public schools could help address a host of problems facing Americans today. The history of home economics shows it’s possible.

Helen Zoe Veit, an assistant professor of history at Michigan State University, is the author of the forthcoming “Victory Over Ourselves: American Food in the Era of the Great War.”

23807  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / POTH: Spying on Israel on: September 06, 2011, 06:39:25 AM

When Shamai K. Leibowitz, an F.B.I. translator, was sentenced to 20 months in prison last year for leaking classified information to a blogger, prosecutors revealed little about the case. They identified the blogger in court papers only as “Recipient A.” After Mr. Leibowitz pleaded guilty, even the judge said he did not know exactly what Mr. Leibowitz had disclosed.
“All I know is that it’s a serious case,” Judge Alexander Williams Jr., of United States District Court in Maryland, said at the sentencing in May 2010. “I don’t know what was divulged other than some documents, and how it compromised things, I have no idea.”
Now the reason for the extraordinary secrecy surrounding the Obama administration’s first prosecution for leaking information to the news media seems clear: Mr. Leibowitz, a contract Hebrew translator, passed on secret transcripts of conversations caught on F.B.I. wiretaps of the Israeli Embassy in Washington. Those overheard by the eavesdroppers included American supporters of Israel and at least one member of Congress, according to the blogger, Richard Silverstein.

In his first interview about the case, Mr. Silverstein offered a rare glimpse of American spying on a close ally.

He said he had burned the secret documents in his Seattle backyard after Mr. Leibowitz came under investigation in mid-2009, but he recalled that there were about 200 pages of verbatim records of telephone calls and what seemed to be embassy conversations. He said that in one transcript, Israeli officials discussed their worry that their exchanges might be monitored.

Mr. Leibowitz, who declined to comment for this article, released the documents because of concerns about Israel’s aggressive efforts to influence Congress and public opinion, and fears that Israel might strike nuclear facilities in Iran, a move he saw as potentially disastrous, according to Mr. Silverstein.

While the American government routinely eavesdrops on some embassies inside the United States, intelligence collection against allies is always politically delicate, especially one as close as Israel.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation listens in on foreign embassies and officials in the United States chiefly to track foreign spies, though any intelligence it obtains on other matters is passed on to the C.I.A. and other agencies. The intercepts are carried out by the F.B.I.’s Operational Technology Division, based in Quantico, Va., according to Matthew M. Aid, an intelligence writer who describes the bureau’s monitoring in a book, “Intel Wars,” scheduled for publication in January. Translators like Mr. Leibowitz work at an F.B.I. office in Calverton, Md.

Former counterintelligence officials describe Israeli intelligence operations in the United States as quite extensive, ranking just below those of China and Russia, and F.B.I. counterintelligence agents have long kept an eye on Israeli spying.

For most eavesdropping on embassies in Washington, federal law requires the F.B.I. to obtain an order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which meets in secret at the Justice Department. If an American visiting or calling an embassy turns up on a recording, the F.B.I. is required by law to remove the American’s name from intelligence reports, substituting the words “U.S. person.” But raw transcripts would not necessarily have undergone such editing, called “minimization.”

Mr. Silverstein’s account could not be fully corroborated, but it fits the publicly known facts about the case. Spokesmen for the F.B.I., the Justice Department and the Israeli Embassy declined to comment on either eavesdropping on the embassy or Mr. Leibowitz’s crime. He admitted disclosing “classified information concerning the communication intelligence activities of the United States,” standard language for the interception of phone calls, e-mails and other messages by the F.B.I. and the National Security Agency, which generally focuses on international communications.

Mr. Leibowitz, now in a Federal Bureau of Prisons halfway house in Maryland, is prohibited by his plea agreement from discussing anything he learned at the F.B.I. Two lawyers who represented Mr. Leibowitz, Cary M. Feldman and Robert C. Bonsib, also would not comment.

Mr. Silverstein, 59, writes a blog called Tikun Olam, named after a Hebrew phrase that he said means “repairing the world.” The blog gives a liberal perspective on Israel and Israeli-American relations. He said he had decided to speak out to make clear that Mr. Leibowitz, though charged under the Espionage Act, was acting out of noble motives. The Espionage Act has been used by the Justice Department in nearly all prosecutions of government employees for disclosing classified information to the news media, including the record-setting five such cases under President Obama.

Mr. Silverstein said he got to know Mr. Leibowitz, a lawyer with a history of political activism, after noticing that he, too, had a liberal-minded blog, called Pursuing Justice. The men shared a concern about repercussions from a possible Israeli airstrike on nuclear facilities in Iran. From his F.B.I. work from January to August of 2009, Mr. Leibowitz also believed that Israeli diplomats’ efforts to influence Congress and shape American public opinion were excessive and improper, Mr. Silverstein said.


Page 2 of 2)

“I see him as an American patriot and a whistle-blower, and I’d like his actions to be seen in that context,” Mr. Silverstein said. “What really concerned Shamai at the time was the possibility of an Israeli strike on Iran, which he thought would be damaging to both Israel and the United States.”

Mr. Silverstein took the blog posts he had written based on Mr. Leibowitz’s material off his site after the criminal investigation two years ago. But he was able to retrieve three posts from April 2009 from his computer and provided them to The New York Times.  The blog posts make no reference to eavesdropping, but describe information from “a confidential source,” wording Mr. Silverstein said was his attempt to disguise the material’s origin.
One post reports that the Israeli Embassy provided “regular written briefings” on Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza to President Obama in the weeks between his election and inauguration. Another describes calls involving Israeli officials in Jerusalem, Chicago and Washington to discuss the views of members of Congress on Israel. A third describes a call between an unnamed Jewish activist in Minnesota and the Israeli Embassy about an embassy official’s meeting with Representative Keith Ellison, Democrat of Minnesota, who was planning an official trip to Gaza.

Mr. Silverstein said he remembered that embassy officials talked about drafting opinion articles to be published under the names of American supporters. He said the transcripts also included a three-way conversation between a congressman from Texas, an American supporter of the congressman and an embassy official; Mr. Silverstein said he could not recall any of the names.

At his sentencing, Mr. Leibowitz described what he had done as “a one-time mistake that happened to me when I worked at the F.B.I. and saw things which I considered were violation of the law, and I should not have told a reporter about it.”

That was a reference to Israeli diplomats’ attempts to influence Congress, Mr. Silverstein said, though nothing Mr. Leibowitz described to him appeared to be beyond the bounds of ordinary lobbying.

Mr. Leibowitz, 40, the father of 6-year-old twins at the time of sentencing, seems an unlikely choice for an F.B.I. translation job. He was born in Israel to a family prominent in academic circles. He practiced law in Israel for several years, representing several controversial clients, including Marwan Barghouti, a Palestinian leader convicted of directing terrorist attacks on Israelis, who Mr. Leibowitz once said reminded him of Moses. In 2004, Mr. Leibowitz moved to Silver Spring, Md., outside Washington, where he was a leader in his synagogue. Mr. Silverstein said Mr. Leibowitz holds dual American and Israeli citizenship.

In court, Mr. Leibowitz expressed anguish about the impact of the case on his marriage and family, which he said was “destitute.” He expressed particular sorrow about leaving his children. “At the formative time of their life, when they’re 6 years old and they’re just finishing first grade, I’ll be absent from their life, and that is the most terrible thing about this case,” he said.

While treated as highly classified by the F.B.I., the fact that the United States spies on Israel is taken for granted by experts on intelligence. “We started spying on Israel even before the state of Israel was formally founded in 1948, and Israel has always spied on us,” said Mr. Aid, the author. “Israeli intercepts have always been one of the most sensitive categories,” designated with the code word Gamma to indicate their protected status, he said.

Douglas M. Bloomfield, an American columnist for several Jewish publications, said that when he worked in the 1980s for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a lobbying group, he assumed that communications with the embassy were not private.

“I am not surprised at all to learn that the F.B.I. was listening to the Israelis,” he said. “But I don’t think it’s a wise use of resources because I don’t see Israel as a threat to American security.”
23808  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / POTH: The United States of Europe on: September 06, 2011, 06:28:24 AM
23809  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Every child deserves a mother and a father on: September 06, 2011, 06:25:38 AM
Third article of the morning

A conspicuous absence of children
Every child deserves to begin life with a mother and father. Gay couples cannot provide the family support they need.

A bigot is someone who refuses to see the other point of view. A number of columnists in Australian newspapers have smeared opponents of gay marriage as bigots, yet by and large they refuse to see the other point of view -- and that means the point of view of the child.

"Marriage is fundamentally about the needs of children", writes David Blankenhorn, a supporter of gay rights in the US who nevertheless draws the line at same-sex marriage. "Redefining marriage to include gay and lesbian couples would eliminate entirely in law, and weaken still further in culture, the basic idea of a mother and a father for every child."

Here is the heart of opposition to same-sex marriage: that it means same-sex parenting, and same-sex parenting means that a child must miss out on either a mother or a father.

Marriage is a compound right under Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; it is not only the right to an exclusive relationship, but the right to form a family. Therefore gay marriage includes the right to form a family by artificial reproduction. But any child created within that marriage would have no possibility of being raised by both mother and father.

Obviously there are tragic situations where a child cannot have both a mum and a dad, such as the death or desertion of a parent, but that is not a situation we would ever wish upon a child, and that is not a situation that any government should inflict upon a child.

Yet legalising same-sex marriage will inflict that deprivation on a child. That is why it is wrong, and that is why all laws are wrong that permit single people or same-sex couples to obtain a child by IVF, surrogacy, or adoption.

Australia’s Finance Minister, Penny Wong, recently announced that her lesbian partner is expecting an IVF child. She is an effective politician, but she can never be a dad to a little boy. She and her partner tell us they have created a baby who will have no father, only a mother and another woman. Their assertion is that a dad does not matter to a child.

As ethicist Margaret Somerville wrote in these pages, such assertions "force us to choose between giving priority to children's rights or to homosexual adults' claims." Yet trivial arguments frame the gay marriage debate solely in terms of the emotional needs of adults, ignoring the child's point of view.

Such adult-centred narcissism raises the wider question: if gender no longer matters in marriage, why should number? If marriage is all about adults who love each other, by what rational principle should three adults who love each other not be allowed to marry? Academic defenders of polyamory are asking that question, and no doubt critics will soon be slurring opponents of polyamory as binary bigots.

Warm and fuzzy images of gay couples leave no room for imagining possible harm to society from gay marriage. However the serious minds behind the movement occasionally let us glimpse their wider purpose. US activist Michelangelo Signorile urges gays "to fight for same-sex marriage and its benefits and then, once granted, redefine the institution of marriage completely." He sees same-sex marriage as "the final tool with which to get education about homosexuality and AIDS into public schools."

Sure enough, we now have empirical evidence that normalising gay marriage means normalising homosexual behaviour for public school children.

Following the November 2003 court decision in Massachusetts to legalise gay marriage, school libraries were required to stock same-sex literature; primary school children were given homosexual fairy stories such as King & King; some high school students were even given an explicit manual of homosexual advocacy entitled The Little Black Book: Queer in the 21st Century, which the Massachusetts Department of Health helped develop. Education had to comply with the new normal.

Beyond the confusion and corruption of schoolchildren, the cultural consequences of legalising same-sex marriage include the stifling of conscientious freedom. Again in Massachusetts, when adoption agency Catholic Charities was told it would have to place children equally with married homosexuals, it had to close. As Canadian QC and lesbian activist Barbara Findlay said, "The legal struggle for queer rights will one day be a showdown between freedom of religion versus sexual orientation".

Blankenhorn has warned, "Once this proposed reform became law, even to say the words out loud in public – ‘every child needs a father and a mother’ -- would probably be viewed as explicitly divisive and discriminatory, possibly even as hate speech."

The Australian parliament must say these words out loud, because they are bedrock sanity. It must accept that the deep things of human nature are beyond the authority of any political party to tamper with.

Marriage is not a fad to be cut to shape according to social whim. The father of modern anthropology, Claude Levi-Strauss, called marriage "a social institution with a biological foundation." Marriage throughout history is society's effort to reinforce this biological reality: male, female, offspring. All our ceremonies and laws exist to buttress nature helping bind a man to his mate for the sake of the child they might create.

Not all marriages do create children but typically they do, and the institution exists for the typical case of marriage. Homosexual relationships cannot create children or provide a child with natural role models. Such relationships are important to the individuals involved, and demand neighbourly civility, but they do not meet nature's job description for marriage.

Homosexual couples now enjoy equality with male-female couples in every way short of marriage. It must stop short of marriage, because the demands of adults must end where the birthright of a child begins. Marriage and family formation are about something much deeper than civil equality; they are about a natural reality which society did not create and which only a decadent party such as the Australian Greens, so out of touch with nature, would seek to destroy.

Dr David van Gend is a Toowoomba general practitioner and a spokesman for the Family Council of Queensland. A version of this article was first published in The Australian 29/8/11.
23810  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Vox populi says no on: September 06, 2011, 06:20:25 AM
second post

In June the New York State Assembly approved same-sex marriage, 33 votes to 29, making New York the sixth state out of fifty to issue marriage licences to gay couples. The press of the entire world conveyed the impression that gay marriage has become mainstream in American culture and therefore it is only a matter of time before it is recognized in the whole country.

The truth, for the time being at least, is the exact opposite. Every time the issue has been put to the people in a referendum, the outcome has been a round “NO”. This has been the case everywhere, even in states that are in the vanguard of modernity and permissiveness, like California. Thirty-one states out of fifty have held referendums and in every case the majority of ordinary people voted against same-sex marriage.

If this is the case, then why did it pass in those six states? Thanks solely to either courts of law or to politics pressured by intense campaigns, capable of mustering huge amounts of capital.

The current federal law was signed in 1996 by President Bill Clinton and is known as DOMA, an acronym for Defence of Marriage Act.

DOMA defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman and also asserts the constitutional right of each state to deny recognition to same-sex marriages celebrated in another state. Following the passage of DOMA, a majority of the fifty states (37 out of 50 and counting) have defined marriage in their own constitutions as a union between one man and one woman.

It was only in 2003 that gay marriage was first recognized. The breakthrough came in ultra-liberal Massachusetts, which set an example for other liberal North Eastern states: Connecticut (2008), Vermont (2009) and New Hampshire (2010). In 2009 it was approved in the Midwestern state of Iowa, followed now by New York (2011). Add to these the District of Columbia (the area surrounding Washington that does not belong to any state) and the decision by Maryland in 2010 to automatically recognize same-sex marriages celebrated in other states, and you have the sum total of US jurisdictions that recognize same-sex marriage.

But none of these decisions have ever come from the people.

In the 31 states where the people were consulted, what prevailed was always the will to defend marriage between man and woman, even when this opposed verdicts or laws that had already been passed.

In three cases, Hawaii (1998), Alaska (1998) and California (2008), voters actually annulled court verdicts. In Maine (2009) the citizens abrogated a law that had been approved by their State Assembly.

In other words, so far, advocacy for homosexual marriage has succeeded only when the matter was in the hands of a judge or a group of politicians whom the LGBT lobbies managed to win over. But this very significant fact has been drowned out by the fanfare surrounding the news of the recognition granted in the state of New York alone.

The clamour surrounding that piece of news was so great that it drowned out all other news, such as the fact that the same approval had just been denied in Maryland and in Rhode Island, as well as the recent approval of two constitutional amendments to state constitutions -- in Indiana and in Minnesota – to follow DOMA by defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Similar amendments are currently being examined in North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

To achieve the approval of same-sex marriage in New York the gay community lobbied Albany long and hard. Five pro-gay marriage groups merged into one and hired a consultant to help them set up an effective lobbying campaign, with phone calls and post cards to politicians, a television blitz costing US$3 million, donations by wealthy benefactors with gay relatives and one-to-one lobbying of politicians.

Effort-wise, gay activists outdid the supporters of traditional marriage, who were financially and numerically incapable of organizing politically to succeed in opposing the New York law. However, to get an idea of how high feelings run on the issue and how attentive to it the public is, suffice it to say that in New York itself, less than two years ago (December 2009), gay marriage had already been put to a vote and lost 38-24. Yet in that case as in others, the governor, who at the time was David A. Paterson, had come out in favour of gay marriage, and the gay rights organizations had steered almost $1 million to election campaigns to support the law.

But California is the case that has seen the most action, involving courts, legislators and referendums. In November 2008, six months after a verdict of the California Supreme Court had recognized the legal quality of same-sex marriages, voters voiced their opinion in a referendum known as “Proposition 8”, whose outcome stipulated that marriage be defined as a union between one man and one woman.

Yet the tables turned once again in August last year when the Ninth District Court in California called this referendum unconstitutional. This decision is currently being appealed and the hearing is scheduled for December. But whatever the outcome, it is probable that this verdict will be sent to the US Supreme Court, which might then validate gay marriage and thereby annul the laws extant in most of the states: an outcome reminiscent of the way abortion came to be legalized in the US almost 40 years ago.

Meanwhile, by the way, it has become known that the judge of the Ninth Circuit who decreed the unconstitutional nature of the referendum was in a situation which could be deemed of conflict of interest, since, as he has freely admitted, he has himself been in a stable homosexual relationship for ten years.

Currently four cases are being tried in as many States, asking that DOMA be declared unconstitutional.

In the White House President Obama has been working on the issue as well. In February his administration made an unprecedented move by officially announcing that it would not defend the constitutionality of DOMA, a federal law. And on July 19 Obama went further, by announcing his support for a bill of law that would abrogate DOMA. Meanwhile the Senate is also preparing to vote on the abrogation of DOMA.

In conclusion, even though over the last eight years same-sex marriage has won the support of judges, politicians, and the media, it remains a controversial subject in the eyes of voters, and has a long way to go before it belongs to the cultural mainstream.

Alessandra Nucci is an Italian writer and freelance journalist. In 2007 she won the Golden Florin in the essay sector of  the Premio Firenze [Florence Award] for her book on gender feminism as an instrument of class warfare, La donna a una dimensione [One-Dimensional Woman], published by Marietti 1820.

23811  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Gay marriage: A novel notion of justice on: September 06, 2011, 06:16:51 AM

The extent to which people will go to advance their rationalizations for sexual misbehavior grows ever more amusing and ambitious, with consequences, however, that are less jolly. The ultimate level of absurdity has now been reached by the claim that justice requires the legalization of same-sex marriage. Consider the following two protestations.

Celebrating the recent passage of such a law in New York, Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen wrote: “I am the brother of a woman in a longtime same-sex relationship... This is a cause whose justness has long been apparent to me. The opponents have no case other than ignorance and misconception and prejudice.”

And when Edwin O'Brien, the Catholic archbishop of Baltimore, attempted to remonstrate with Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, a Catholic, over his sponsorship of a same sex marriage bill, the Governor responded that: "When shortcomings in our laws bring about a result that is unjust, I have a public obligation to try to change that injustice."

So now it is no longer tolerance, but the demands of justice that seem to require legally equating homosexual marriage with heterosexual marriage, something no other civilization in recorded history has done.

But before justice can be enlisted on behalf of this cause, we should ask ourselves: what is justice? The classical answer to this question is that justice is giving to things what is their due according to what they are. In other words, to act justly, one must first know what things are. When one knows what something is, one then understands what it is for. The purpose of the thing then determines whether our actions toward it are a use or an abuse. This is where the matter of justice comes in.

One does not get to make up what things are. If that were the case, then justice could be anything that one said it was. That is what tyrants do. This would be arbitrary, and what is arbitrary is by definition tyrannical. It is based upon pure will, unguided by reason. Those who wish to base their freedom upon the supposed purposelessness of things should face the consequences of this view. What seems unmitigated freedom is, in fact, the foundation of tyranny.

Unfortunately, this solipsistic view of reality has reached high places. In the 1992 Planned Parenthood vs. Casey ruling, the Supreme Court opined that, "At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life." Well, actually not. The universe is already here. It has already been defined for us; otherwise, it would not be in existence. Our choice is not to make up the meaning of the universe, but to discern its meaning and then either conform ourselves to it, or revolt against it. The choice today is revolt. Igor Stravinsky once wrote, “The old original sin was one of knowledge, the new original sin is one of non-acknowledgment.” It is the refusal to acknowledge anything outside the operation of the human will — most especially “the good” toward which the soul is ordered. "The good" is what ultimately informs human justice.

The modern premise, so evident in the campaign for same-sex marriage, is that any pre-existing rational end constitutes a limitation on human freedom. Therefore, “freedom” requires the denial that rational ends inhere in things. Things are tabula rasa, blank slates upon which we can write anything we desire. Things, being purposeless themselves, only have the ends we give them by our will and choice. They serve whatever purpose we wish. This is a very dangerous teaching, especially as it affects the issue of justice.

As mentioned earlier, it is necessary to apprehend things as they are in order to act justly. A simple example suffices. If one does not know the difference between a man and a dog, one may end up treating a man as if he were a dog. This would be acting unjustly. Justice in no way pertains to how we feel about things but rather to what they are. In our anthropomorphic enthusiasm, we may feel that our pet dog is human. However, it would be absurd to pass legislation requiring the dog's consent to its owner’s rule, because the dog is not human and is incapable of giving its consent. Dogs do not have free will. It is therefore just for men to rule over dogs.

Likewise, no feeling can justify the enslavement of another human being, because a human being has the inalienable right to consent in his or her rule. This, of course, was the problem with slavery. Only the understanding of what a human being is allows one to make this vital distinction between the human and the nonhuman. It is something one knows, or does not (or refuses to acknowledge), with huge consequences. It is precisely the loss of this distinction upon which the practice of abortion is based.

Once we know what something is, we can know what it is for. Its purpose is within it. How does this pertain to the issue of the justice of same-sex marriage? It has to do with the procreative and unitive powers of our sexual organs. What are they for? Today, we seem to know what every other part of our body is for, except our genitals. This is a case of selective epistemological amnesia.

Sex has a natural purpose

In using or treating any part of our body, the critical question is: what are the ends to which the nature of the thing directs it, and is the action outside of, or within those ends? For instance, our lungs are for breathing. Breathing oxygenates our blood through the alveoli. If anyone suggested that our lungs are for imbibing water, they would be set straight in short order and informed that water in the lungs would lead to drowning and death. If they nonetheless insisted that water is good for the lungs and applied this teaching to themselves, they would soon be asphyxiated.

No one has really been tempted to do this. However, people have found a great deal of pleasure in smoking cigarettes. This has been shown to be a misuse of the lungs, because the tars and nicotine from the tobacco smoke cause lung cancer. Therefore, we can say with some confidence that the end or purpose of the lungs is not pleasure from smoking. The purpose of a thing cannot be fulfilled in an action which leads to its destruction. On the basis of this, the government has taken vigorous steps to dissuade people from smoking. Laws have been passed prohibiting young people from buying cigarettes and requiring the labeling of cigarettes as injurious to health.

However, no one today can publicly suggest that our genitals are not made for sodomy or even, without becoming the objects of obloquy, point out the health consequences of this unclean practice. Well before HIV/AIDS arrived on the scene, the life expectancy of practicing homosexuals was substantially below that of the heterosexual male population because of the deleterious health effects of this behavior. What things are have a way of fighting back against those who deny what they are and who act in such a way as if they weren’t.

So what is sex for? The purpose of sex is to make “one flesh.” Two becoming “one flesh” encompasses both the generative and unitive nature of sex. By nature, only men and women are physically capable of becoming “one flesh.” (Otherwise, the pieces don't fit.) The end of sex is not simply pleasure; otherwise, any kind of sex that produces pleasure would be “natural.” That something occurs, or can occur, does not make it “natural.” Cancer occurs, but one would not say, by that fact, that cancer is therefore natural to, say, the lungs. Why not? Because we know that lungs are for breathing, and that cancer impedes and eventually prevents breathing.

A great deal of human ingenuity has gone into finding other uses for sex that go directly against its unitive and generative nature. Those who misuse its powers perversely are saying, in effect: We will take the pleasure, but not the thing toward which the pleasure is directed: the imago Dei. As Fr. James Schall has written (CRISIS Sense & Nonsense, March 1995), “Whenever we seek pleasure without it being grounded in what is right in the action in which it exists, we isolate the pleasure, the act, from reality.” Every act of coition presupposes the unitive and the commitment within which it must take place. And when it is not there, it is felt as a betrayal, a lie. It is followed by emptiness. There is something inherently false about sexual acts outside of marriage.

Only marital love can tame erotic passion

However, sex is a very strong passion, and it is difficult for anyone to contain. The only thing that can tame Eros and direct it to an end that can satisfy the sexual passion is love, which leads Eros away from death and, quite literally, toward new life. When a specific person is the object of love, no substitute will do. Love demands exclusivity, and receives it in marriage. The desire for oneness in marital union is also a thirst for fecundity. The wild and complete abandon of the marital act is a joyful affirmation of the possibility of more — in children.

In their souls, what people truly love is goodness. And when they love goodness, it is what they seek to serve. This is true with sex, also. Sex is directed to goodness by love. Love sublimates lust and restores the original innocence of sex. It is no longer self-seeking, self consuming, but self-giving and life-generating. It seeks the unity that is only available in "one flesh." So it seems spousal love requires becoming “one flesh.”

This is not a matter of "who says," but of how we are constituted by nature. Anything else is counterfeit. To make the counterfeit official, as in legal same-sex marriage, is to substitute the unreal for the real. If you cannot become "one flesh" with the person whom you love, that is nature's way of telling you that the character of your love is not spousal, but something else.

Love has its proper expression according to its subject and object – sisterly love, parental love, conjugal love, the love of friendship are each distinct and are expressed accordingly. A child does not love its father with parental love, because the child is not the parent of its father. It may seem silly to state something so obvious, but this is what must be done when reality is being contested. It is just as necessary and obvious to say that two men, or two women, cannot become husband and wife because that relationship requires a person of the other gender. No matter how many times homosexual advocates say it, two flesh of the same kind is not, and cannot become, "one flesh." Homosexual marriage is not, as some have suggested, "inclusive," simply making room for another kind of marriage. Its legalization requires the denial of the true nature of marriage. Militant homosexuals are trying to conform reality to themselves, rather than conforming themselves to reality. They will say, no doubt, that their reality is that they are homosexuals. But that is no more persuasive than an alcoholic acknowledging the reality of his condition.

Abnormality and normality

Many who think that homosexuality is a genetic condition believe that this, in and of itself, justifies homosexual marriage. That is why a great deal has been invested in the argument over whether homosexuality is a genetic trait or learned behavior. This issue, however, is immaterial to the morality of homosexual acts. The same kind of argument could be made over alcoholism. There appears to be a missing chromosome – the Y chromosome – that predisposes certain people to alcoholism; others seem to acquire alcoholism through their behavior. In either case, drunkenness is no less evil because of an inherent predisposition to it. Likewise, sodomy.

Of course, it is very hard to live with such predispositions, and profound sympathy and assistance is due to those who suffer from them. The worst disservice that could be done in either case, however, would be to encourage or participate in the celebration of the afflictions, as in "Gay Pride Day." Why is “Gay Pride Day” any less absurd than an “Alcoholic Pride Day” would be? Both conditions exist as aberrations, as abnormalities in the light of what is normal by nature. To substitute an abnormality for normality destroys the distinction between the two, and closes off the path to recovery.

In moral terms, this would be analogous to substituting a cancerous lung for a healthy lung on the basis that we cannot tell the difference between them. Such a claim would obviously subvert medical care and would represent a huge injustice to cancer patients. Sodomy is the cancer version of coition. Substituting it for spousal intercourse on the basis that there is no difference between them is an act of injustice that will subvert marriage and the soul of the society that accepts it.

This makes richly ironic Richard Cohen’s and Governor O'Malley’s invocation of justice to advance a cause based upon the denial of the nature of marriage. They are, in fact, complicit in perpetrating fraud. “Thinking against nature,” wrote Irenaeus in Against Heresies (180 AD), “you will become foolish. And if you persist you will fall into insanity.” No one can say we were not warned. The path ahead to the asylum is clear, but in this case the asylum will be the entire society.

Robert Reilly has worked in foreign policy, the military, and the arts. His most recent book is The Closing of the Muslim Mind: How Intellectual Suicide Created the Modern Islamist Crisis.

23812  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 911 on: September 06, 2011, 06:06:06 AM
9/11 and the Successful War
September 6, 2011

By George Friedman

It has been 10 years since 9/11, and all of us who write about such things for a living are writing about it. That causes me to be wary. I prefer being the lonely voice, but the fact is that 9/11 was a defining moment in American history. On Sept. 12, 2001, few would have anticipated the course the resulting war would take — but then, few knew what to think. The nation was in shock. In retrospect, many speak with great wisdom about what should have been thought about 9/11 at the time and what should have been done in its aftermath. I am always interested in looking at what people actually said and did at the time.

The country was in shock, and shock was a reasonable response. The country was afraid, and fear was a reasonable response. Ten years later, we are all much wiser and sure that our wisdom was there from the beginning. But the truth is that, in retrospect, we know we would have done things superbly had we the authority. Few of us are being honest with ourselves. We were all shocked and frightened. Our wisdom came much later, when it had little impact. Yes, if we knew then what we know now we would have all bought Google stock. But we didn’t know things then that we know now, so it is all rather pointless to lecture those who had decisions to make in the midst of chaos.

Some wars are carefully planned, but even those wars rarely take place as expected. Think of the Germans in World War I, having planned the invasion of France for decades and with meticulous care. Nothing went as planned for either side, and the war did not take a course that was anticipated by anyone. Wars occur at unpredictable times, take unpredictable courses and have unexpected consequences. Who expected the American Civil War to take the course it did? We have been second-guessing Lincoln and Davis, Grant and Lee and all the rest for more than a century.

This particular war — the one that began on 9/11 and swept into Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries — is hard to second-guess because there are those who do not think it is a war. Some people, including President George W. Bush, seem to regard it as a criminal conspiracy. When Bush started talking about bringing al Qaeda to justice, he was talking about bringing them before the bar of justice. Imagine trying to arrest British sailors for burning Washington. War is not about bringing people to justice. It is about destroying their ability to wage war. The contemporary confusion between warfare and criminality creates profound confusion about the rules under which you operate. There are the rules of war as set forth in the Geneva Conventions, and there are criminal actions. The former are designed to facilitate the defense of national interests and involve killing people because of the uniform they wear. The latter is about punishing people for prior action. I have never sorted through what it was that the Bush administration thought it was doing.

This entire matter is made more complex by the fact that al Qaeda doesn’t wear a uniform. Under the Geneva Conventions, there is no protection for those who do not openly carry weapons or wear uniforms or at least armbands. They are regarded as violating the rules of war. If they are not protected by the rules of war then they must fall under criminal law by default. But criminal law is not really focused on preventing acts so much as it is on punishing them. And as satisfying as it is to capture someone who did something, the real point of the U.S. response to 9/11 was to prevent anyone else from doing something — killing and capturing people who have not done anything yet but who might.

Coming to Grips

The problem is that international law has simply failed to address the question of how a nation-state deals with forces that wage war through terrorism but are not part of any nation-state. Neither criminal law nor the laws of war apply. One of the real travesties of 9/11 was the manner in which the international legal community — the United Nations and its legal structures, the professors of international law who discuss such matters and the American legal community — could not come to grips with the tensions underlying the resulting war. There was an unpleasant and fairly smug view that the United States had violated both the rules of war and domestic legal processes, but very little attempt was made to craft a rule of warfare designed to cope with a group like al Qaeda — organized, covert, effective — that attacked a nation-state.

As U.S. President Barack Obama has discovered, the failure of the international legal community to rapidly evolve new rules of war placed him at odds with his erstwhile supporters. The ease with which the international legal community found U.S. decision makers’ attempts to craft a lawful and effective path “illegal and immoral” (an oft-repeated cliche of critics of post-9/11 policy) created an insoluble dilemma for the United States. The mission of the U.S. government was to prevent further attacks on the homeland. The Geneva Conventions, for the most part, didn’t apply. Criminal law is not about prevention. The inability of the law to deal with reality generated an image of American lawlessness.

Of course, one of the most extraordinary facts of the war that begin on 9/11 was that there have been no more successful major attacks on the United States. Had I been asked on Sept. 11, 2001, about the likelihood of that (in fact, I was asked), my answer would have been that it was part of a series of attacks, and not just the first. This assumption came from a knowledge of al Qaeda’s stated strategic intent, the fact that the 9/11 team had operated with highly effective covert techniques based on technical simplicity and organizational effectiveness, and that its command structure seemed to operate with effective command and control. Put simply, the 9/11 team was good and was prepared to go to its certain death to complete the mission. Anyone not frightened by this was out of touch with reality.

Yet there have been no further attacks. This is not, I think, because they did not intend to carry out such attacks. It is because the United States forced the al Qaeda leadership to flee Afghanistan during the early days of the U.S. war, disrupting command and control. It is also because U.S. covert operations on a global scale attacked and disrupted al Qaeda’s strength on the ground and penetrated its communications. A significant number of attacks on the United States were planned and prosecuted. They were all disrupted before they could be launched, save for the attempted and failed bombing in Times Square, the famed shoe bomber and, my favorite, the crotch bomber. Al Qaeda has not been capable of mounting effective attacks against the United States (though it has conducted successful attacks in Spain and Britain) because the United States surged its substantial covert capabilities against it.

Obviously, as in all wars, what is now called “collateral damage” occurred (in a more civilized time it would have been called “innocent civilians killed, wounded and detained”). How could it have been otherwise? Just as aircraft dropping bombs don’t easily discriminate against targets and artillery sometimes kills innocent people, covert operations can harm the unintended. That is the nature and horror of war. The choice for the United States was to accept the danger of another al Qaeda attack — an event that I am certain was intended and would have happened without a forceful U.S. response — or accept innocent casualties elsewhere. The foundation of a polity is that it protects its own at the cost of others. This doctrine might be troubling, but few of us in World War II felt that protecting Americans by bombing German and Japanese cities was a bad idea. If this troubles us, the history of warfare should trouble us. And if the history of warfare troubles us, we should bear in mind that we are all its heirs and beneficiaries, particularly in the United States.

The first mission of the war that followed 9/11 was to prevent any further attacks. That mission was accomplished. That is a fact often forgotten.

Of course, there are those who believe that 9/11 was a conspiracy carried out by the CIA in order to justify interference in our liberty. But an organization as capable as they believe the CIA is would not need a justification to abridge liberty. That was a lot of work to justify something, and the truly powerful don’t need to justify anything. Nor do they need to leave people who are revealing the truth alive. It is striking that the “doubters” believe 9/11 was created in order to crush American freedoms but that the conspirators are so incompetent they cannot shut down those who have discovered the conspiracy and are telling the world about it. Personally, if I were interested in global domination triggered by a covert act like 9/11, I would silence those revealing my secret. But then I’m not that good at it, and the doubters all have reasons why they are blogging the truth and are not dead or languishing in a concentration camp.

I take this detour for four reasons. First, doubters should not be ignored but answered. Second, unless they are answered, they will be able to say the CIA (or whomever they think did it) needed one attack to achieve its goals. Third, the issue the doubters raise is not the structural integrity of a building but the underlying intent of the CIA in carrying out the attack. The why is everything to them, and it is important to point out that it is their explanation of motive that makes no sense. Finally, I am engaging the doubters here because I enjoy receiving an abundance of emails containing fascinating accusations and the occasional threat.

Considering the Failures

But to return to the main theme, it is important here to consider not only the successes but also the failures of the war, and here Iraq comes to mind. There is a case to be made that the Iraq campaign was not irrational, but even more interesting, I think, is the fact that no war is without its disastrous misjudgments, even successful wars. In my mind, the U.S. invasion of the Philippines in 1944 was a major mistake. It did little to contribute to the fall of Japan, cost far more than the 4,000 American lives lost in Iraq, and it could have actually delayed the end of the war. It was opposed by senior commanders and was essentially something Gen. Douglas MacArthur insisted on for political reasons. The Battle of the Somme in World War I cost 600,000 British and French casualties, with 60,000 in one day. Their total gain during the battle was perhaps six miles. And in the American Civil War, the federal drive into Virginia turned into a disaster.

Every successful war is built around a series of defeats and miscalculations. The perfect war is built around deeply flawed and unnecessary campaigns. My own personal selections are not as important as the principle that all successful wars contain massive mistakes. If we simply write off Iraq as one of these, that in itself does not change the fact that the American homeland was not attacked again. Did Iraq contribute to that? This is a question that warrants a long discussion. But conceding that it had no effect simply makes the post-9/11 war normal and, in that normality, tragic.

What has not been normal has been the length of the war. Heavy fighting continues in Afghanistan, Iraq is not quite done and new theaters for covert operations are constantly opening and closing. It is the first U.S. campaign — Afghanistan — that actually poses the most vexing problem, one that is simple to express: When is the war over? That, of course, depends on the goal. What is the United States trying to achieve there?

The initial goal of the invasion was to dislodge al Qaeda, overthrow the government that had supported it and defeat the Taliban. The first two goals were accomplished quickly. The third goal has not been accomplished to this day, nor is it likely that the United States will ever accomplish it. Other powers have tried to subdue Afghanistan, but few have succeeded. The Taliban are optimized for the battlefield they fight on, have superior intelligence and have penetrated and are able to subvert government institutions, including the Afghan military. They have the implicit support of elements in a neighboring major nation — Pakistan — that are well beyond American means to intimidate. The United States has no port from which to supply its forces except the one controlled by Pakistan and only complex and difficult supply routes through other countries.

On the other hand, the Taliban cannot defeat the United States, which can stay in Afghanistan indefinitely. But the major U.S. mission in Afghanistan is concluded. Al Qaeda has not used Afghanistan as a primary base since 2002. Al Qaeda in Pakistan, according to the United States, has been crippled. The Taliban, products of Afghanistan for the most part, have no international ambitions. Al Qaeda has relocated to other countries like Yemen and Somalia.

Given this, continued combat in Afghanistan cannot be linked to al Qaeda. It could be said that the reason to go to war in Afghanistan was to prevent al Qaeda’s return. But the fact is that it doesn’t need Afghanistan, and if it did return to Afghanistan, it would be no more dangerous to the United States than it currently is with its bases elsewhere.

In wars, and especially in counterinsurgencies, the mission tends to creep upward. In Afghanistan, the goal is now the transformation of Afghan society into one that is democratic, no longer corrupt by American standards and able to defend itself against the Taliban. This goal does not seem attainable given the relative forces and interests in the country.

Therefore, this war will go on until the United States decides to end it or there is a political evolution in Kabul in which the government orders us out. The point is that the goal has become disengaged from the original intent and is unattainable. Unlike other wars, counterinsurgencies rarely end in victory. They usually end when the foreign forces decide to leave.

There is talk of a long war against radical Islam. It had better not be. The Islamic world is more than a billion people and radical Islam is embedded in many places. The idea that the United States has the power to wage an interminable war in the Islamic world is fantasy. This is not a matter of ideology or willpower or any other measures. It is a matter of available forces, competing international interests and American interests.

Ultimately, there are three lessons of the last decade that I think are important. The first is the tremendous success the United States has had in achieving its primary goal — blocking attacks on the homeland. The second is that campaigns of dubious worth are inevitable in war, and particularly in one as ambiguous as this war has been. Finally, all wars end, and the idea of an interminable war dominating American foreign policy and pushing all other considerations to the side is not what is going to happen. The United States must have a sense of proportion, of what can be done, what is worth doing and what is too dangerous to do. An unlimited strategic commitment is the definitive opposite of strategy.

The United States has done as well as can be expected. Over the coming years there will be other terrorist attacks. As it wages war in response, the United States will be condemned for violating international laws that are insensate to reality. At this point, for all its mistakes and errors — common to all wars — the United States has achieved its primary mission. There have been no more concerted terrorist attacks against the United States. Now it is time to resume history.

23813  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Oy fg vey: CA Dream Act on: September 05, 2011, 07:46:34 PM
We are cutting tons of stuff left and right but it appears we are in the process of signing for subsidies to illegals to go to college , , ,
23814  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Save the boobies! on: September 05, 2011, 07:43:55 PM

The normal boobs ( . )( . ), the silicone boobs ( + )( + ), the perfect boobs (o)(o) Some boobs are cold (^)(^), and some boobs belong to grandmothers \./\./And let’s not forget the very large boobs (o Y o), and very small boobs (.)(.), and lastly the asymmetrical boobs (•)(.). We love them all!. Post this message on your wall and say ┌П┐(•_•)┌П┐ to breast cancer. Save the boobies !!!
23815  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Guide Dog Opening Martial Arts School in Pomona, California on: September 05, 2011, 02:50:55 PM
Ouch!  Where are you located?
23816  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Guide Dog Opening Martial Arts School in Pomona, California on: September 05, 2011, 11:27:03 AM
It is just a matter of how much you want it , , , grin
23817  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Quotes, quips, and sayings on: September 05, 2011, 10:38:16 AM



"Democracy can be likened to two wolves and one lamb voting on what to have for lunch."

"Progress is not possible without deviation." (Frank Zappa)

"All fixed set patterns are incapable of adaptability or pliability. The truth is outside of all fixed patterns."(Bruce Lee)


"There is no security on this earth; there is only opportunity."
(Douglas MacArthur)
"We are what we repeatedly do." (Aristotle)

"Success: To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded."
(Ralph Waldo Emerson, submitted by J.P. Bahner)

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."
(Theodore Roosevelt, submitted by Kenneth R.)

"To endure is greater than to dare; to tire out hostile fortune; to be daunted by no difficulty; to keep heart when all have lost it -- who can say this is not greatness? (William Makepeace Thackeray, recommended by U.Doran)

"Daydreams of a fair world which would treat him according to his real worth are the refuge of all those plagued by a lack of self-knowledge." (Ludwig von Mises)

"The way of the Tao is reversal." (Lao Tzu)

"Chance favours the prepared mind." (Louis Pasteur)

"It is neither necessary to hope to undertake, nor to succeed to persevere." (William of Orange)

"Economic history is a never-ending series of episodes based on falsehoods and lies, not truths. It represents the path to big money. The object is to recognize the trend whose premise is false, ride that trend, and step off before it is discredited." (George Soros)

"You must have a willingness to do something when everyone else is petrified. You must learn the lesson of following logic over emotion." (Warren Buffett)

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." (Winston Churchill)

"Where there is ruin, there is hope for treasures."(Rumi)

"May a fair road always be open to you." (CHS, April 2, 2006)

"A healthy homecooked family meal and a home garden are revolutionary acts." (CHS, May 2008)

"You don't miss what you no longer want." (CHS, August 2008)

"Food is wealth, health is wealth, energy is wealth; all else is illusion." (CHS, December 15, 2008)

"Meaningful work and meaningful skills make a meaningful life, even if the work is unpaid." (CHS, March 6, 2009)

"If you like eating, begin liking dirt." (CHS, April 6, 2009)

"Either we restrict the foods we eat when we have a choice, or our diet will eventually be restricted by chronic diseases." (CHS, May 9, 2009)

"Greed is a wonderful motivator but fear works much faster." (Riley T., Sept. 2008)

"Democracy can be likened to two wolves and one lamb voting on what to have for lunch." (unknown source, submitted by Tim B.)

"Every effort under compulsion demands a sacrifice of life energy." (Nikola Tesla, submitted by Kenneth R.)

"In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists." (Eric Hoffer, submitted by Angry Saver)

"In times of change, learners will inherit the earth."(Eric Fromm, submitted by Tom P.)

"Just look at us. Everything is backwards; everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, universities destroy knowledge, governments destroy freedom, the major media destroy information and religions destroy spirituality." Michael Ellner (submitted by Gene M.)

"The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second." John Steinbeck
(submitted by Ken R.)

"Do the thing and you shall have the power." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

"Radical self-reliance begins with rock-solid personal integrity and a willingness to ask cui bono-- to whose benefit?--of every arrangement."
(CHS, October 30, 2009)

"Do you know what amazes me more than anything else? The impotence of force to organize anything."(Napoleon Bonaparte)

"Concentrations of wealth disrupt the ecology of power."
(CHS, March 13, 2010)

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." (George Orwell)

"Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself." (Leo Tolstoy)

"The path out of darkness begins with those exasperatingly persistent individuals who are constitutionally incapable of capitulation." (Winston Churchill)

"The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty." (James Madison, submitted by Ken R.)

"We must believe in luck. For how else can we explain the success of those we don't like?" (Jean Cocteau)

"I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center." (Kurt Vonnegut, via Chinle)

"O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle -- be Thou near them! With them -- in spirit -- we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it -- for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen." (Mark Twain, via Dublin Mick)

"But we are told that we need not fear; because those in power, being our representatives, will not abuse the powers we put in their hands. I am not well versed in history, but I will submit to your recollection, whether liberty has been destroyed most often by the licentiousness of the people, or by the tyranny of rulers.

I imagine, sir, you will find the balance on the side of tyranny. Happy will you be if you miss the fate of those nations, who, omitting to resist their oppressors, or negligently suffering their liberty to be wrested from them, have groaned under intolerable despotism!

Most of the human race are now in this deplorable condition; and those nations who have gone in search of grandeur, power, and splendor, have also fallen a sacrifice, and been the victims of their own folly. While they acquired those visionary blessings, they lost their freedom."(Patrick Henry)

"Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people…. [There is also an] inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and … degeneracy of manners and of morals…. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare."(James Madison)

"When sacrifice, trade-offs and accountability are anathema, then so too is liberty." (July 17, 2010, CHS)

"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect." (Mark Twain)

"You assist an evil system most effectively by obeying its orders and decrees. An evil system never deserves such allegiance. Allegiance to it means partaking of the evil. A good person will resist an evil system with his or her whole soul. (Mahatma Gandhi, via Ken R.)

"Madison Avenue is a very powerful aggression against private consciousness. A demand that you yield your private consciousness to public manipulation." (Marshall McLuhan)

"...there is a contemporary form of violence to which the idealist fighting for peace by nonviolent methods most easily succumbs: activism and overwork. The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence.

More than that, it is cooperation in violence. The frenzy of the activist neutralizes his or her work for peace. It destroys one's own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of one's own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful." (Thomas Merton, via Ken R.)

"Experience is a dear teacher, but fools will learn in no other." (Benjamin Franklin, via Eric A.)

"To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness." (Bertrand Russell).

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."(Hunter S. Thompson)

"It's not where you take things from, it's where you take them to." (Jean-Luc Godard)

"The man who has a garden and a library has everything." (Cicero, via Lee Bentley)

"Without health there is no happiness. An attention to health, then, should take the place of every other object." (Thomas Jefferson, 1787, via Ken R.)

"It's hard for bad things to happen when you have no debt." (Howard Lutnick, CEO of Wall Street firm Cantor Fitzgerald)

"I'd rather be condemned than have other people think for me." (reader David C.)

"Our world only cares for unenchanted things." (Li Po, Chinese poet, 701-762 C.E.)

"The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerated the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That in its essence is fascism: ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or any controlling private power." (Franklin D. Roosevelt, submitted by C. Ikehara)

"A currency is not just stock of ownership in a particular economy. A currency is also the best possible reflection of the quality of supply chain mechanisms within a particular economy." (John Feier)

I slept and dreamt that life was joy.
I awoke and saw that life was duty.
I acted and behold, duty was joy.
(Rabindranath Tagore, 1861-1941, via Dan C.)

"Every great advance in natural knowledge has involved the absolute rejection of authority."(Thomas H. Huxley)

"Its not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it." (Aung San Suu Kyi)

"All fixed set patterns are incapable of adaptability or pliability. The truth is outside of all fixed patterns."(Bruce Lee)

"Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it." (Bruce Lee)

"All you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun."(Jean-Luc Godard)

"Television is motion sickness of the soul." (Dr. David D.)

"Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom."(Thomas Jefferson)

"...Suffering to see your youth pass like a drift of smoke, but if it springs up again and comes to life in what you do, nothing has been lost and the power to work is another youth." (Vincent Van Gogh)

"Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind." (Henry James, via Lynn B.)

"Reality is just so hard to get past security." (Dan C., "Auntiegrav")

"What we need is not a new technology but a new way of living. (Bernard Rudofsky)

"You do not merely want to be considered just the best of the best. You want to be considered the only one who does what you do.” (Jerry Garcia)

"Victory favors those who take pains." (amat victoria curam)

"You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream." (C.S. Lewis)

"I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone." (Bill Cosby)

"Genius is a non-marketable asset." (CHS, July 17, 2011)

"Progress is not possible without deviation." (Frank Zappa, via Richard Metzger)

"America is in love with Apocalypse. It always has been." (Alexander Cockburn)

"Philosophy is the battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by language." (Wittgenstein, via William S.)

"He who will not risk cannot win." (John Paul Jones)
23818  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Patriot Post on: September 05, 2011, 10:30:40 AM

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Brief · September 5, 2011

The Foundation
"To cherish and stimulate the activity of the human mind, by multiplying the objects of enterprise, is not among the least considerable of the expedients, by which the wealth of a nation may be promoted." --Alexander Hamilton


Labor Day? Hardly."President Obama enter[ed] this Labor Day weekend with a serious problem on his hands. For all intents and purposes, the economy appears to be stuck in neutral, with news out [Friday] that the U.S. economy created a grand total of zero jobs in August. This followed two months of near zero growth. Not surprisingly then, the unemployment rate in August remained at 9.1 percent, virtually unchanged since April. In fact, it was completely unchanged, and for the first time since 1945, no new jobs were created -- Zero. America now has the weakest labor market in a generation, and the American people know it. ... [W]hile the U.S. economy is creating no net new jobs, President Obama is offering no new ideas to fix the problem. In a speech to a joint session of Congress [on] Thursday, the President is expected to rehash the same expensive, ineffective policies he has tried since his presidency began. And it's an economic philosophy that America has come to know all too well. The President hopes that through the sheer force of spending taxpayer dollars, he can turn the economy around. It isn't working -- and neither are nearly 14 million Americans. ... The two-and-a-half-year Keynesian experiment of flooding the economy with taxpayer dollars has failed, yet the President and his union allies continue to peddle the myth that the only way to save the economy is to spend more." --Heritage Foundation's Mike Brownfield

Where are the jobs?
For the Record
"Will Barack Obama become the first president in the post-World War II era during whose term real gross domestic product never grew in any quarter at an annual rate greater than 4 percent? With less than optimistic recent forecasts from the Federal Reserve System's Federal Open Market Committee and the Congressional Budget Office, it now seems like a very real possibility. Having been inaugurated in January 2009, Obama has served as president in 10 quarters. ... In three of the quarters of 2008, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, real GDP grew at a negative annualized rate, dropping as low as -8.9 percent in the fourth quarter of that year. At the beginning of Obama's term, real GDP remained negative in the first two quarters, hitting -6.7 percent in the first quarter of 2009 and -0.7 percent in the second quarter. But two full years have passed since then. During that time, real GDP peaked in the first quarter of 2010, hitting an annualized rate of 3.9 percent. Since that modest peak a year and a half ago, the economy has been on a generally downward trend, with growth of real GDP hitting a dismal 0.4 percent in the first quarter of this year and a nearly as dismal 1 percent in the second quarter. Now both the FOMC and the CBO are indicating they do not expect vigorous economic growth to resume any time soon." --columnist Terence Jeffrey

Opinion in Brief
"The biggest star in the Obama firmament of green-jobs companies has just imploded. Solyndra, a California-based firm that produced solar panels, declared bankruptcy [last] week, putting more than a thousand additional workers on the unemployment line. The Solyndra story tells you all you need to know about President Obama's ability to 'create' jobs -- green or otherwise. ... The company received over half a billion dollars in federal loan guarantees for the project. But U.S. taxpayers will likely never see a dime repaid now that the company has gone into Chapter 11 bankruptcy. ... Solyndra is one of three major solar companies to declare bankruptcy this summer alone. No matter how many speeches the president gives, he can't turn an economically unsustainable enterprise into a profitable one, even if he siphons from the U.S. treasury to do so. ... If Solyndra's technology, which rested on a new design for solar panels, was as promising as the Obama administration seemed to think, investors willing to risk their own money should have been plentiful. Where were Warren Buffet and the president's other billionaire supporters? ... What doesn't work is commandeering other people's money in a crapshoot where there are more losers than winners." --columnist Linda Chavez

"I want the people of America to be able to work less for the government and more for themselves. I want them to have the rewards of their own industry. This is the chief meaning of freedom. Until we can reestablish a condition under which the earnings of the people can be kept by the people, we are bound to suffer a very severe and distinct curtailment of our liberty." --President Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933)

Essential Liberty
"America seems to be facing a pivotal moment: Do we move ahead by advancing or by receding -- by reaffirming the values that made us exceptional or by letting go of those values, so that a creeping mediocrity begins to spare us the burdens of greatness? As a president, Barack Obama has been a force for mediocrity. He has banked more on the hopeless interventions of government than on the exceptionalism of the people. His greatest weakness as a president is a limp confidence in his countrymen. He is afraid to ask difficult things of them. Like me, he is black, and it was the government that in part saved us from the ignorances of the people. So the concept of the exceptionalism -- the genius for freedom -- of the American people may still be a stretch for him. But in fact he was elected to make that stretch. It should be held against him that he has failed to do so." --Hoover Institution's Shelby Steele

The Gipper
"Only when the human spirit is allowed to invent and create, only when individuals are given a personal stake in deciding economic policies and benefiting from their success -- only then can societies remain economically alive, dynamic, prosperous, progressive and free." --Ronald Reagan

Re: The Left
"On Tuesday, the Justice Department announced it was shuffling Kenneth Melson, acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, out of his job. The disclosure comes amid continued GOP investigations into the administration's fatally botched straw gun purchase racket at the border and spreading outrage over legal obstructionism and whistleblower retaliation by DOJ brass. ... Internal documents earlier showed that Melson was intimately involved in overseeing the program and screened undercover videos of thousands of straw purchases of AK-47s and other high-powered rifles -- many of which ended up in the hands of Mexican drug cartel thugs, including those who murdered Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry last December. Fast and Furious weapons have been tied to at least a dozen violent crimes in America and untold bloody havoc in Mexico. ... Melson has been kicked back to DOJ's main office in a flabbergasting new slot as 'senior adviser on forensic science in the department's Office of Legal Policy.' ... DOJ is run by Eric Holder, the Beltway swamp creature who won bipartisan approval for his nomination -- even after putting political interests ahead of security interests at the Clinton Justice Department in both the Marc Rich pardon scandal and the Puerto Rican FALN terrorist debacle. Remember: Holder won over the Senate by arguing that his poor judgment made him more qualified for the job. Screw up, move up, cover up: It's the Holder way, the Obama way, the Washington way. And innocent Americans pay." --columnist Michelle Malkin

Political Futures
"Regardless of the public image they may convey, Barack Obama and his wife never fail to take full advantage of a lifestyle that would be the envy of any modern-day monarch while the bulk of the American populace struggles to afford life's necessities. He is but another in a long line of those who promote socialism and proclaim to be 'of the people' with only the interests of the citizens at heart -- as they duplicitously pursue a personal agenda. ... [Obama's] sense of entitlement stems not only from a deep-seated belief in socialist theory and an overweening sense of superiority, but also as a man obsessed with his skin color and payback for his perception of Western colonialism (as detailed in his autobiography Dreams from My Father). ... He is much too busy enjoying the trappings of royalty, despite his oft-declared disdain for that class, to be bothered about the dismal future of the United States." --columnist Steve McCann

Faith & Family
"The New York Times' executive editor, Bill Keller, in a piece in The New York Times Magazine, argues that presidential candidates should be asked tough questions about their faith. Keller wants to know whether a candidate will place 'fealty to the Bible, the Book of Mormon ... or some other authority higher than the Constitution and laws of this country' and 'whether a president respects serious science and verifiable history.' He wants to make sure 'religious doctrine' does not become 'an excuse to exclude my fellow citizens from the rights and protections our country promises.' ... [K]eller's concern isn't with the religious beliefs of all candidates, only Christians, and not all Christians, just those who take the Bible seriously. ... The reality is that throughout our history, the halls of American government have teemed with Bible-believing Christians, and they've never pushed for theocracy. Ironically, it is leftists who are far likelier to use the power of government to selectively suppress political and religious liberties." --columnist David Limbaugh



"[T]he Left considers itself the undisputed champion of 'science,' but there are scads of issues where they take un-scientific points of view. Sure they can cite dissident scientists -- just as conservatives can -- on this or that issue. But everyone knows that when the science directly threatens the Left's pieties, it's the science that must bend -- or break. During the Larry Summers fiasco at Harvard, comments delivered in the classic spirit of open inquiry and debate cost Summers his job. Actual scientists got the vapors because he violated the principles not of science but of liberalism. During the Gulf oil spill, the Obama administration dishonestly claimed that its independent experts supported a drilling moratorium. They emphatically did not. The president who campaigned on basing his policies on 'sound science' ignored his own hand picked experts. ... His support for wind and solar energy ... isn't based on science but on faith. And that faith has failed him dramatically. The idea that conservatives are anti-science is self-evident and self-pleasing liberal hogwash. I see no reason why conservatives should even argue the issue on their terms when it's so clearly offered in bad faith in the first place." --columnist Jonah Goldberg

23819  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / GB's Declaration of Rights and Responsibilities (and the coming of GBTV) on: September 05, 2011, 10:26:46 AM
It truly has been an incredible summer.  We’ve been working non-stop ever since we left cable news in June and we are exactly one week away from showing you the result of our efforts – my new two hour daily show on debuts next Monday at 5 pm ET!
I’d like to thank those of you who have already joined me on GBTV as we start this journey.  Those of you who have watched us build GBTV over the summer and came with us (either in person or through GBTV) to Israel for the Restoring Courage events have seen the beginning of some incredible things.
At the final Restoring Courage event, I kicked off a new direction for my company as I unveiled our plan to take our message global. Next Monday on 9/12, we bring the message of individual rights & responsibilities back to the 5 pm ET time slot.
I ask that you review the Declaration of Rights & Responsibilities below – print them, carry them with you, memorize them, and join us one week from today on for the debut of my new show.
Declaration of Rights & Responsibilities

Thus, we the people do hereby declare not only our rights, but do now establish this bill of responsibilities.
1. Because I have the right to choose, I recognize that I am accountable to God and have the responsibility to keep the 10 commandments in my own life.
2. Because I have the right to worship as I choose, I have the responsibility to honor the right of others to worship as they see fit.
3. Because I have freedom of speech, I have the responsibility to defend the speech of others, even if I strongly disagree with what they’re saying.
4. Because I have the right to pursue happiness, I have the responsibility to show humility and express gratitude for all the blessings I enjoy and the rights I’ve been given.
5. Because I have the right to honest and good government I will seek out honest and just representatives when possible. If I cannot find one then I accept the responsibility to take that place.
6. Because I have the God given right to liberty, I have the personal responsibility to have the courage to defend others to be secure in their persons, lives and property.
7. Because I have the right to equal justice, I will stand for those who are wrongly accused or unjustly blamed.
8. Because I have the right to knowledge, I will be accountable for myself and my children’s education…to live our lives in such a way that insures the continuation of truth.
9. Because I have the right to pursue my dreams and keep the fruits of my labor, I have the responsibility to feed, protect and shelter my family, the less fortunate, the fatherless, the old and infirm.
10. Because I have a right to the truth, I will not bear false witness nor will I stand idly by as others do.
Unconditionally, while maintaining my responsibility to compassionately yet fiercely stand against those things that decay the natural rights of all men. And for the support of this declaration, and with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence we mutually pledge to each other our lives, fortunes and sacred honor.
This is the beginning of a global movement. Don’t just witness it, be a part of it. Join me on
Laus Deo,
23820  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Friedberg: China's challenge at sea on: September 05, 2011, 10:22:58 AM
AMERICA’S fiscal woes are placing the country on a path of growing strategic risk in Asia.

With Democrats eager to protect social spending and Republicans anxious to avoid tax hikes, and both saying the national debt must be brought under control, we can expect sustained efforts to slash the defense budget. Over the next 10 years, cuts in planned spending could total half a trillion dollars. Even as the Pentagon saves money by pulling back from Afghanistan and Iraq, there will be fewer dollars with which to buy weapons or develop new ones.

Unfortunately, those constraints are being imposed just as America faces a growing strategic challenge. Fueled by economic growth of nearly 10 percent a year, China has been engaged for nearly two decades in a rapid and wide-ranging military buildup. China is secretive about its intentions, and American strategists have had to focus on other concerns since 9/11. Still, the dimensions, direction and likely implications of China’s buildup have become increasingly clear.

When the cold war ended, the Pacific Ocean became, in effect, an American lake. With its air and naval forces operating through bases in friendly countries like Japan and South Korea, the United States could defend and reassure its allies, deter potential aggressors and insure safe passage for commercial shipping throughout the Western Pacific and into the Indian Ocean. Its forces could operate everywhere with impunity.

But that has begun to change. In the mid-1990s, China started to put into place the pieces of what Pentagon planners refer to as an “anti-access capability.” In other words, rather than trying to match American power plane for plane and ship for ship, Beijing has sought more cost-effective ways to neutralize it. It has been building large numbers of relatively inexpensive but highly accurate non-nuclear ballistic missiles, as well as sea- and air-launched cruise missiles. Those weapons could destroy or disable the handful of ports and airfields from which American air and naval forces operate in the Western Pacific and sink warships whose weapons could reach the area from hundreds of miles out to sea, including American aircraft carriers.

The Chinese military has also been testing techniques for disabling American satellites and cybernetworks, and it is adding to its small arsenal of long-range nuclear missiles that can reach the United States.

Although a direct confrontation seems unlikely, China appears to seek the option of dealing a knockout blow to America’s forward forces, leaving Washington with difficult choices about how to respond.

Those preparations do not mean that China wants war with the United States. To the contrary, they seem intended mostly to overawe its neighbors while dissuading Washington from coming to their aid if there is ever a clash. Uncertain of whether they can rely on American support, and unable to match China’s power on their own, other countries may decide they must accommodate China’s wishes.

In the words of the ancient military theorist Sun Tzu, China is acquiring the means to “win without fighting” — to establish itself as Asia’s dominant power by eroding the credibility of America’s security guarantees, hollowing out its alliances and eventually easing it out of the region.

If the United States and its Asian friends look to their own defenses and coordinate their efforts, there is no reason they cannot maintain a favorable balance of power, even as China’s strength grows. But if they fail to respond to China’s buildup, there is a danger that Beijing could miscalculate, throw its weight around and increase the risk of confrontation and even armed conflict. Indeed, China’s recent behavior in disputes over resources and maritime boundaries with Japan and the smaller states that ring the South China Sea suggest that this already may be starting to happen.

This is a problem that cannot simply be smoothed away by dialogue. China’s military policies are not the product of a misunderstanding; they are part of a deliberate strategy that other nations must now find ways to meet. Strength deters aggression; weakness tempts it. Beijing will denounce such moves as provocative, but it is China’s actions that currently threaten to upset the stability of Asia.

Many of China’s neighbors are more willing than they were in the past to ignore Beijing’s complaints, increase their own defense spending and work more closely with one another and the United States.

They are unlikely, however, to do those things unless they are convinced that America remains committed. Washington does not have to shoulder the entire burden of preserving the Asian power balance, but it must lead.

The Pentagon needs to put a top priority on finding ways to counter China’s burgeoning anti-access capabilities, thereby reducing the likelihood that they will ever be used. This will cost money. To justify the necessary spending in an era of austerity, our leaders will have to be clearer in explaining the nation’s interests and commitments in Asia and blunter in describing the challenge posed by China’s relentless military buildup.

Aaron L. Friedberg, a professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton, is the author of “A Contest for Supremacy: China, America and the Struggle for Mastery in Asia.”

23821  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Book review: Counterstrike by Schmidt and Shanker on: September 05, 2011, 10:16:57 AM
Although not a perfect fit, I post this here because much of the book is about Homeland Security
23822  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / POTH: Post Office facing default on: September 05, 2011, 10:08:57 AM
23823  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Jefferson, 1795 on: September 05, 2011, 10:06:07 AM
"In our private pursuits it is a great advantage that every honest employment is deemed honorable. I am myself a nail-maker." --Thomas Jefferson, Jean Nicolas DÈmeunier, 1795
23824  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: European matters on: September 05, 2011, 09:10:41 AM
In that case the number is far too low!  cheesy
23825  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left on: September 05, 2011, 09:10:01 AM
Well, maybe it should be done as it used to be done-- by parents, communities, churches, and so forth.
23826  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / China offered arms to Kadaffy on: September 05, 2011, 09:06:29 AM
When the Lockerbie bomber was released this forum questioned the move vigorously.  It appears now that the truth was far worse than even we imagined.

23827  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Cyberwar and American Freedom on: September 05, 2011, 08:59:14 AM

I suspect this thread is going to grow in importance as time goes by , , ,
23828  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: European matters on: September 05, 2011, 08:56:37 AM
38% seems like a really high number , , , 
23829  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: September 05, 2011, 08:50:50 AM
Amen on the Tea Party, but this:

"We need to get their attention somehow and if by making sure they don't get into office and sending copies of the checks I send to Obama to the RNC with a note telling them why and enough people do it then we might win the Party back. There is no viable third Party and if we are not willing to fight to get control of the Republican Party then all is lost and the Libs know it."

seems a temper tantrum to me.  Increasing the vote for Baraq seems a really counter-productive way to me to increase the ideological clarity of the Rep Party.  Again, the message received will be that the TP is too fg radical.  The Libertarian Party may not be "viable", but there is little doubt what a vote for it, what a check to it, means.
23830  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: September 04, 2011, 10:12:29 PM
Though we agree on most things, I am not persuaded in the slightest by your reasoning on this point at all.

23831  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Sugar Ray Leonard on BL on: September 04, 2011, 10:04:19 PM
23832  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Gene LeBelle on Bruce Lee on: September 04, 2011, 10:03:09 PM
23833  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Joe Rogan on SS on: September 04, 2011, 10:00:29 PM
23834  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Bas Rutten on SS on: September 04, 2011, 09:50:22 PM
23835  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Steven Seagal on: September 04, 2011, 09:42:36 PM
SS a puppy killer?
23836  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: September 04, 2011, 09:16:22 PM
A fair point, but my point remains.  If you vote for Baraq you send the message to the sluts that run for office that the fascist-socialist excrement is what wins.  By all means vote for third party, but don't vote for fascism-socialism
23837  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Extreme Sheepherding on: September 04, 2011, 01:30:52 PM

23838  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Marriage and Family on: September 04, 2011, 01:21:54 PM
Well, I'd like to see this thread go back to the subject matter of "Marriage and Family"  cheesy
23839  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Pravda on the Beach: Outside the Muslim Bubble on: September 04, 2011, 01:20:24 PM
Well, its the Left Angeles Times, so caveat lector:,0,2495732.story
23840  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: September 04, 2011, 01:08:18 PM
Agreed-- especially if you take the apostrophe out of "Visa's" and make the "V" lower case  cheesy
23841  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 911 on: September 04, 2011, 01:07:00 PM
JDN:  That belongs on the Homeland Security thread.  This thread is for matters and thoughts pertaining directly to 911.  Thank you.
23842  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WaPo: JSOC on: September 04, 2011, 01:05:54 PM
Top Secret America’: A look at the military’s Joint Special Operations Command
By Dana Priest and William M. Arkin, Published: September 2
The CIA’s armed drones and paramilitary forces have killed dozens of al-Qaeda leaders and thousands of its foot soldiers. But there is another mysterious organization that has killed even more of America’s enemies in the decade since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

CIA operatives have imprisoned and interrogated nearly 100 suspected terrorists in their former secret prisons around the world, but troops from this other secret organization have imprisoned and interrogated 10 times as many, holding them in jails that it alone controls in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Since 9/11, this secretive group of men (and a few women) has grown tenfold while sustaining a level of obscurity that not even the CIA has managed. “We’re the dark matter. We’re the force that orders the universe but can’t be seen,” a strapping Navy SEAL, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said in describing his unit.

The SEALs are just part of the U.S. military’s Joint Special Operations Command, known by the acronym JSOC, which has grown from a rarely used hostage rescue team into America’s secret army. When members of this elite force killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in May, JSOC leaders celebrated not just the success of the mission but also how few people knew their command, based in Fayetteville, N.C., even existed.

This article, adapted from a chapter of the newly released “Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State,” by Washington Post reporters Dana Priest and William M. Arkin, chronicles JSOC’s spectacular rise, much of which has not been publicly disclosed before. Two presidents and three secretaries of defense routinely have asked JSOC to mount intelligence-gathering missions and lethal raids, mostly in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also in countries with which the United States was not at war, including Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, the Philippines, Nigeria and Syria.

“The CIA doesn’t have the size or the authority to do some of the things we can do,” said one JSOC operator.

The president has given JSOC the rare authority to select individuals for its kill list — and then to kill, rather than capture, them. Critics charge that this individual man-hunting mission amounts to assassination, a practice prohibited by U.S. law. JSOC’s list is not usually coordinated with the CIA, which maintains a similar but shorter roster of names.

Created in 1980 but reinvented in recent years, JSOC has grown from 1,800 troops prior to 9/11 to as many as 25,000, a number that fluctuates according to its mission. It has its own intelligence division, its own drones and reconnaissance planes, even its own dedicated satellites. It also has its own cyberwarriors, who, on Sept. 11, 2008, shut down every jihadist Web site they knew.

Obscurity has been one of the unit’s hallmarks. When JSOC officers are working in civilian government agencies or U.S. embassies abroad, which they do often, they dispense with uniforms, unlike their other military comrades. In combat, they wear no name or rank identifiers. They have hidden behind various nicknames: the Secret Army of Northern Virginia, Task Force Green, Task Force 11, Task Force 121. JSOC leaders almost never speak in public. They have no unclassified Web site.

Despite the secrecy, JSOC is not permitted to carry out covert action as the CIA can. Covert action, in which the U.S. role is to be kept hidden, requires a presidential finding and congressional notification. Many national security officials, however, say JSOC’s operations are so similar to the CIA’s that they amount to covert action. The unit takes its orders directly from the president or the secretary of defense and is managed and overseen by a military-only chain of command.

Under President George W. Bush, JSOC’s operations were rarely briefed to Congress in advance — and usually not afterward — because government lawyers considered them to be “traditional military activities” not requiring such notification. President Obama has taken the same legal view, but he has insisted that JSOC’s sensitive missions be briefed to select congressional leaders.

Lethal force

JSOC’s first overseas mission in 1980, Operation Eagle Claw, was an attempted rescue of diplomats held hostage by Iranian students at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. It ended in a helicopter collision in the desert and the death of eight team members. The unit’s extreme secrecy also made conventional military commanders distrustful and, as a consequence, it was rarely used during conflicts.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, smarting from the CIA’s ability to move first into Afghanistan and frustrated by the Army’s slowness, pumped new life into the organization. JSOC’s core includes the Army’s Delta Force, the Navy’s SEAL Team 6, the Air Force’s 24th Special Tactics Squadron, and the Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment and 75th Ranger Regiment.

The lethality of JSOC was demonstrated in the December 2001 mountain battle at Tora Bora. Although bin Laden and many of his followers eventually escaped across the border into Pakistan, an Army history said that on the nights of Dec. 13 and 14, JSOC killed so many enemy forces that “dead bodies of al-Qaeda fighters were carted off the field the next day” by the truckload.

It also made mistakes. On July 1, 2002, in what the Rand Corp. labeled “the single most serious errant attack of the entire war,” a JSOC reconnaissance team hunting Taliban came under attack and an AC-130 gunship fired upon six sites in the village of Kakarak. The estimates of civilian deaths ranged from 48 to hundreds. The “wedding party incident,” as it became known because a wedding party was among the targets accidentally hit, convinced many Afghans that U.S. forces disregarded the lives of civilians.

Nevertheless, on Sept. 16, 2003, Rumsfeld signed an executive order cementing JSOC as the center of the counterterrorism universe. It listed 15 countries and the activities permitted under various scenarios, and it gave the preapprovals required to carry them out.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, lethal action against al-Qaeda was granted without additional approval. In the other countries — among them Algeria, Iran, Malaysia, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Somalia and Syria — JSOC forces needed the tacit approval from the country involved or at least a sign-off from higher up on the American chain of command. In the Philippines, for example, JSOC could undertake psychological operations to confuse or trap al-Qaeda operatives, but it needed approval from the White House for lethal action. To attack targets in Somalia required approval from at least the secretary of defense, while attacks in Pakistan and Syria needed presidential sign-off.

In the fall of 2003, JSOC got a new commander who would turn the organization into arguably the most effective weapon in the U.S. counterterrorism arsenal. From his perch as vice director of operations on the Joint Staff, Brig. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal had come to believe there was an aversion to decision making at the top of government. No one wanted to be wrong, so they asked more questions or added more layers to the process. The new emphasis on interagency cooperation also meant meetings were bigger and longer. Any one of a multitude of agencies could stifle action until it was too late.

McChrystal believed he had “to slip out of the grip” of Washington’s suffocating bureaucracy, he told associates. He moved his headquarters to Balad Air Base, 45 miles northeast of Baghdad, and worked inside an old concrete airplane hangar with three connecting command centers: one to fight al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Iraq, one for the fight against Shiite extremists in the country and a third for himself, so he could oversee all operations.

He coaxed the other intelligence agencies to help him out — the CIA presence grew to 100, the FBI and National Security Agency to a combined 80. He won their loyalty by exposing the guts of his operation to everyone involved. “The more people you shared your problem with, the better you’d do in solving it,” he would say.

McChrystal installed a simple, PC-based common desktop and portal where troops could post documents, conduct chats, tap into the intelligence available on any target — pictures, biometrics, transcripts, intelligence reports — and follow the message traffic of commanders in the midst of operations.

Then he gave access to it to JSOC’s bureaucratic rivals: the CIA, NSA, FBI and others. He also began salting every national security agency in Washington with his top commandos. In all, he deployed 75 officers to Washington agencies and 100 more around the world. They rotated every four months so none would become disconnected from combat.

Some thought of the liaisons as spies for an organization that was already too important. But those suspicions did little to derail JSOC or McChrystal.

Stories spread that he ate just one meal and ran 10 miles every day. He looked the part, with his taut face, intense eyes and thin physique. A sign inside the wire at Balad said it all: “17 5 2.” Seventeen hours for work, five hours for sleep, two hours for eating and exercise.

McChrystal’s legendary work ethic mixed well with his Scotch Irish exuberance and common-man demeanor. He viewed beer calls with subordinates as an important bonding exercise. He made people call him by his first name. He seemed almost naively trusting. (This trait would become McChrystal’s undoing in 2010, after he was promoted to commander of forces in Afghanistan. He and members of his inner circle made what were seen as inappropriate comments about their civilian leaders in the presence of a Rolling Stone reporter. McChrystal offered to resign, and Obama quickly accepted.)

Harnessing technology

The Iraqi insurgency’s reliance on modern technology also gave tech-savvy JSOC and its partners, particularly the National Security Agency, an advantage. The NSA learned to locate all electronic signals in Iraq. “We just had a field day,” said a senior JSOC commander, speaking on the condition of anonymity to describe secret operations.

One innovation was called the Electronic Divining Rod, a sensor worn by commandos that could detect the location of a particular cellphone. The beeping grew louder as a soldier with the device got closer to the person carrying a targeted phone.

Killing the enemy was the easy part, JSOC commanders said; finding him was the hard part. But thanks to Roy Apseloff, director of the National Media Exploitation Center, the U.S. government’s agency for analyzing documents captured by the military and intelligence community, JSOC’s intelligence collection improved dramatically. Apseloff offered to lend McChrystal his small staff, based in Fairfax, to examine items captured in raids. Apseloff’s team downloaded the contents of thumb drives, cellphones and locked or damaged computers to extract names, phone numbers, messages and images. Then they processed and stored that data, linking it to other information that might help analysts find not just one more bad guy but an entire network of them.

The major challenge was how to find the gems in the trash quickly enough to be useful. The key was more bandwidth, the electronic pipeline that carried such information as e-mail and telephone calls around the world. Luckily for the military and JSOC, the attacks of 2001 coincided with an unrelated development: the dot-com bust. It created a glut in commercial satellite capacity, and the military bought up much of it.

Within a year after McChrystal’s arrival, JSOC had linked 65 stations around the world to enable viewers to participate in the twice-daily, 45-minute video teleconferences that he held. By 2006, JSOC had increased its bandwidth capability by 100 times in three years, according to senior leaders.

The other challenge JSOC faced was a human one: Ill-trained interrogators had little information about individual detainees and didn’t know what questions to ask or how to effectively ask them. Worse, some members of the JSOC’s Task Force 121 were beating prisoners.

Even before the Army’s Abu Ghraib prison photos began circulating in 2004, a confidential report warned that some JSOC interrogators were assaulting prisoners and hiding them in secret facilities. JSOC troops also detained mothers, wives and daughters when the men in a house they were looking for were not at home. The report warned these detentions and other massive sweep operations were counterproductive to winning Iraqi support.

An investigation of JSOC detention facilities in Iraq during a four-month period in 2004 found that interrogators gave some prisoners only bread and water, in one case for 17 days. Other prisoners were locked up in cells so cramped they could not stand up or lie down while their captors played loud music to disrupt sleep. Still others were stripped, drenched with cold water and then interrogated in air-conditioned rooms or outside in the cold.

Eventually, 34 JSOC task force soldiers were disciplined in five cases over a one-year period beginning in 2003.

McChrystal ordered his intelligence chief, Michael Flynn, to professionalize the interrogation system. By the summer of 2005, JSOC’s interrogation booths at Balad sat around the corner from the large warren of rooms where specialists mined thumb drives, computers, cellphones, documents to use during interrogations. Paper maps were torn down from the walls and replaced with flat-panel screens and sophisticated computerized maps. Detainees willing to cooperate were taught how to use a mouse to fly around their virtual neighborhoods to help identify potential targets.

JSOC had to use the rules laid out in the Army Field Manual to interrogate detainees. But its interrogators were — and still are — permitted to keep them segregated from other prisoners and to hold them, with the proper approvals from superiors and in some case from Defense Department lawyers, for up to 90 days before they have to be transferred into the regular military prison population.

The new interrogation system also included an FBI and judicial team that collected evidence needed for trial by the Iraqi Central Criminal Court in Baghdad. From early 2005 to early 2007, the teams sent more than 2,000 individuals to trial, said senior military officials.

Body counts

Al-Qaeda used the U.S. invasion of Iraq as a call to arms to terrorists and recruits throughout the Middle East who flooded in from Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Saudi Arabia — as many as 200 of them a month at the high point. By the end of 2005, a shocking picture emerged: Iraq was rife with semiautonomous al-Qaeda networks.

Al-Qaeda had divided Iraq into sections and put a provincial commander in charge of each. These commanders further divided their territory into districts and put someone in charge of each of those, too, according to military officials. There were city leaders within those areas and cells within each city. There were leaders for foreign fighters, for finance and for communications, too.

By the spring of 2006, using the expanded bandwidth and constant surveillance by unmanned aircraft, JSOC executed a series of raids, known as Operation Arcadia, in which it collected and analyzed 662 hours of full-motion video shot over 17 days. The raid netted 92 compact discs and barrels full of documents, leading to another round of raids at 14 locations. Those hits yielded hard drives, thumb drives and a basement stacked with 704 compact discs, including copies of a sophisticated al-Qaeda marketing campaign. Operation Arcadia led, on June 7, 2006, to the death of the al-Qaeda leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, when JSOC directed an airstrike that killed him.

JSOC’s lethality was evident in its body counts: In 2008, in Afghanistan alone, JSOC commandos struck 550 targets and killed roughly a thousand people, officials said. In 2009, they executed 464 operations and killed 400 to 500 enemy forces. As Iraq descended into chaos in the summer of 2005, JSOC conducted 300 raids a month. More than 50 percent of JSOC Army Delta Force commandos now have Purple Hearts.

The most intense Iraqi raids reminded McChrystal of Lawrence of Arabia’s description of “rings of sorrow,” the emotional toll casualties take on small groups of warriors. Greatly influenced by T.E. Lawrence’s life story, McChrystal thought of his JSOC troops as modern-day tribal forces: dependent upon one another for kinship and survival.

If killing were all that winning wars was about, the book on JSOC would be written. But no war in modern times is ever won simply by killing enough of the enemy. Even in an era of precision weaponry, accidents happen that create huge political setbacks.

Every JSOC raid that also wounded or killed civilians, or destroyed a home or someone’s livelihood, became a source of grievance so deep that the counterproductive effects, still unfolding, are difficult to calculate. JSOC’s success in targeting the right homes, businesses and individuals was only ever about 50 percent, according to two senior commanders. They considered this rate a good one.

“Sometimes our actions were counterproductive,” McChrystal said in an interview. “We would say, ‘We need to go in and kill this guy,’ but just the effects of our kinetic action did something negative and they [the conventional army forces that occupied much of the country] were left to clean up the mess.”

In 2008, Bush also briefly sent JSOC into Pakistan. To soothe the worries of U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson about the mounting civilian deaths from JSOC raids in other countries, commandos brought her a Predator console so she could witness a raid in real time. Because of public outcry in Pakistan, U.S. officials canceled the mission after only three raids. The CIA has continued to conduct drone strikes there.

Targeting bureaucracy

The Defense Department has given JSOC a bigger role in nonmilitary assignments as well, including tracing the flow of money from international banks to finance terrorist networks. It also has become deeply involved in “psychological operations,” which it renamed “military information operations” to sound less intimidating. JSOC routinely sends small teams in civilian clothes to U.S. embassies to help with what it calls media and messaging campaigns.

When Obama came into office, he cottoned to the organization immediately. (It didn’t hurt that his CIA director, Leon E. Panetta, has a son who, as a naval reservist, had deployed with JSOC.) Soon Obama was using JSOC even more than his predecessor. In 2010, for example, he secretly directed JSOC troops to Yemen to kill the leaders of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

The Arab Spring forced the White House to delay some JSOC missions. In the meantime, the organization is busy with its new 30,000-square-foot office building turned command center. Unlike previous offices, it is not in some obscure part of the world. It sits across the highway from the Pentagon in pristine suburban splendor, just a five-minute drive from McChrystal’s civilian office and the former general’s favorite beer-call restaurants.

As its name implies, the focus of Joint Special Operations Task Force-National Capital Region is not the next terrorist network but another of its lifelong enemies: the Washington bureaucracy. Some 50 battle-hardened JSOC warriors and a handful of other federal intelligence and law enforcement agencies work there.

Mexico is at the top of its wish list. So far the Mexican government, whose constitution limits contact with the U.S. military, is relying on the other federal agencies — the CIA, the Department of Homeland Security, the Drug Enforcement Administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement — for intelligence collection and other help.

But JSOC’s National Capital task force is not just sitting idly by, waiting to be useful to its southern neighbors. It is creating targeting packages for U.S. domestic agencies that have sought its help, including the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, the second-largest federal law enforcement agency and the latest to make a big play for a larger U.S. counterterrorism role.

From the book “Top Secret America.” Copyright 2011 by Dana Priest and William M. Arkin. Reprinted by permission of Little, Brown and Co., New York, N.Y. All rights reserved.
23843  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: September 04, 2011, 10:39:54 AM

To quote my 1992 Congressional campaign slogan as a Libertarian candidate, "If you continue to vote for the lesser of two evils, you will continue to get the evil of two lessers" so I get what you are saying , , , in part.    Where I think you go off course though is in saying that you would vote for Obama.   On the whole, politicians are whores who go where the votes are.  To vote for the anti-American liberal fascist crap of His Glibness is to feed the system a profoundly wrong signal.  If you can't bring yourself to vote for a particular Republican, then at least vote for a third party candidate whose positions on the whole you do respect.

Concerning Bachman and Perry:  I like Michele a lot.  The utter lack of executive experience is a real problem though and it is why Perry is sucking up her oxygen.  Not only is it quite sound, but I think Perry's Tenth Amendment strategy has the potential to be rather , , , crafty; it allows him to finesse contentious issues that in some states could be a problem for a conservative Republican candidate e.g. leave gay marriage to the states (though I gather he has waffled on this a bit.)
23844  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Fall Dog Brothers Open Gathering of the Pack 9/18/11 on: September 04, 2011, 10:13:52 AM
Good catch of my glitch  embarassed  Thank you for posting the complete version.
23845  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Marriage and Family on: September 04, 2011, 12:28:54 AM

A fascinating piece on RP and the Nazis, but one with de minimis connection with this thread.  May I ask you to post it either in the Presidential 2012 thread or the Anti-semitism thread please?

Thank you,
23846  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: September 04, 2011, 12:23:29 AM
"Buraq must have been stoned out of his gourd in some undergrad cultural anthopology 101 course and developed this delusional behavior thinking somehow it demonstrated his cultural sensitivity."

Inuitively to me this seems pretty close to the mark.

"The mayor of Tampa at that time was Pam Iorio, a daughter of an Italian immigrant father. That makes sense, we all know how the Italians are big on ceremonial bowing."

She looks Asian in the picture with Obowma, but not in the headshot provided by GM.

All in all, WEIRD-- and , , , out of character for what we want in a President of the United States of America.  cry angry angry
23847  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: September 03, 2011, 09:33:18 PM
I think we are getting on a tangent here gentlemen.  Let's return to the merits please.   My point with the multiple bowing clips is that they seem to reveal something about Obama himself. JDN, For the sake of argument, lets put aside the bows to the Chinese leader, the emperor of Japan, and the King of Saudi Arabia-- why on earth would he bow to the mayor of Tampa?!? As one of the clips clearly shows, he greeted several people normally, then, when he got to the Asian woman, he bowed.  Does this not seem weird too you?
23848  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People (Gun rights stuff ) on: September 03, 2011, 09:19:47 PM
We also need to remember that, as reported here, F&F is but one operation and that there were others of similar characteristics.
23849  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 911 on: September 03, 2011, 05:11:21 PM

Critic’s Notebook
Amid the Memorials, Ambiguity and Ambivalence
Published: September 2, 2011
Has any attack in history ever been commemorated the way this one is about to be? What might we have anticipated, that morning of Sept. 11, as we watched the demonically choreographed assault unfold? What could we have imagined when New York City was covered in the ashes of the twin towers and their dead, or when a section of the Pentagon — the seemingly invulnerable core of the world’s most powerful military — was reduced to rubble? Or when we finally understood that but for the doomed bravery of several heroes, the destruction of the Capitol or the White House was assured?

Enlarge This Image

InterRelations Collaborative
“9/11 Peace Story Quilt,” at the Met Museum.

Enlarge This Image

Marcus Yam/The New York Times
Seen from ground zero, the twin beams of the “Tribute in Light,” which conveyed the absence of the World Trade Center during last year's Sept. 11 anniversary.

Would we have conjured up anything like the “9/11 Peace Story Quilt,” now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, with children’s drawings and words emphasizing the need for multicultural sensitivity? Or a book paying tribute to “Dog Heroes of September 11th”? Would we have predicted that the performance artist Karen Finley would impersonate Liza Minnelli at the West Bank Cafe for the occasion, supposedly to champion her spunky spirit (though Ms. Finley will probably be far more mischievous)? Or that a Film Forum festival would pay tribute to the N.Y.P.D. with 19 movies, some unflattering (like “Serpico”)?

The cultural commemorations scheduled for this anniversary will also include compositions that have been associated with death (Brahms’s “Requiem”) and the overcoming of death (Mahler’s “Resurrection” Symphony), as well as a “Concert of Peace” that will offer music from the cultures out of which the attackers arose.

And while the hours of television broadcasts will include documentaries and interviews with first responders, families of victims, political leaders and the players of the New York Mets, they will also encompass “The Suze Orman Show,” focusing on the money and investment lessons of Sept. 11; a show about messages received from the dead of Sept. 11; and a chronicle of Paul McCartney’s experiences on Sept. 11. There are plays about the rescuers, the rescued and the witnesses; symposiums about American political malfeasance; analyses of the ethics of the attack and the response.

The sheer quantity of cultural events is overwhelming; so is their scattered miscellany, a potpourri of sentiment and argument, memorialization and self-criticism, reflection and political polemic. It seems as if every cultural institution, television network and book publisher feels duty-bound to produce some sort of Sept. 11 commemoration. Is there a precedent for this almost compulsive variety show about an attack on a nation’s people?

No examples suggest themselves. And in the United States, the attack on Pearl Harbor — the only incident remotely comparable — doesn’t seem to have inspired anything similar, even though that surprise assault initiated one of the most traumatic and transformative decades in this nation’s history. Did anybody think to have children make a “peace quilt” after that attack, as a war raged?

Of course Sept. 11 is something different. Most of us didn’t think we had such enemies or were subject to such an assault (though the accumulated evidence was clear enough). And reactions to Sept. 11 still depend on the extent to which we are thought to be in anything like a war, or precisely what the nature of its battles are. But the crossing of an American version of the Maginot Line undermined our implicit sense of the geographic exceptionalism of the United States, whose mainland has not been subjected to the bombardment or devastation known by nearly every other major nation of the modern world.

Had a bomb fallen on the twin towers, though, even that would have been less traumatic. This was something unforeseen, expertly planned, a jarring demonstration of vulnerability. So otherworldly did it seem when those planes were flown into their targets that their collapse came like a thunderclap of judgment. And that is how many immediately took it. “Why do they hate us?” was asked again and again.

And like theologians after the catastrophic 18th-century Lisbon earthquake, who saw the wages of sin in the disaster, many intellectuals didn’t wait long to assert that this blowback was payback. This is why this attack is often mischaracterized as tragedy, a drama that unfolds out of the flaws or failings of its victim.

That impulse of self-blame still runs through many cultural commemorations. Indeed, because little during the past decade was an unmitigated triumph, the impulse has even grown stronger. A poll from the Pew Charitable Trust this week shows that while in September 2001, 33 percent of those asked thought United States wrongdoing might have motivated the attacks, now 43 percent hold that belief. Many of the Sept. 11 books now being published are sentimental recollections of loved ones; another hefty segment is about criticism of American policy before and after Sept. 11.

This means that memorialization, rather than simply recalling the dead, or strengthening the resolve to pursue an enemy, becomes an opportunity to push these arguments further. Disaster becomes ambiguously commemorated. Any victory is also ambiguously celebrated because it is seen as scarred by sin (though surely no victory is ever unmarred). The delays in the reconstruction at ground zero are as much a result of these tensions as anything else.

You can see the same conflicts in the White House “talking points” for Sept. 11 commemorations that The New York Times reported on this week. The memos don’t suggest any cheering for successes of the last decade; there is even a hesitation to attract much attention, as if the White House were feeling ambivalent about the whole business, haunted perhaps by guilt. The memos also minimize any suggestion that military force had something to do with Al Qaeda’s suffering severe setbacks.

Moreover, they stress that commemorations here and abroad should “emphasize the positive.” The implication is made that at one time “fear” was the response to Sept. 11; now “resilience” is. And resilience implies a kind of firm passivity. This is strange, because anyone who has spent time undressing in snaking airport lines before undergoing the kinds of screenings once associated with convicted felons knows full well that this has little to do with resilience.

The memos almost treat Sept. 11 as if it weren’t Sept. 11. It is certainly not about Islamist extremism or the jihadist proclamations by its aspirants. It isn’t even really about us. We are told: “We honor all victims of terrorism, in every nation of the world. We honor and celebrate the resilience of individuals, families and communities on every continent, whether in New York or Nairobi, Bali or Belfast, Mumbai or Manila, or Lahore or London.” (Is it just an accident of alliteration that crucial cities torn by terror have been omitted, because that would have required acknowledging that Jerusalem or Tel Aviv faces something similar?)

Indeed, so anxious is the White House to filter out any historical aspects of Sept. 11 that it proclaims this anniversary “the third official National Day of Service and Remembrance.” It should be used to encourage “service projects” and a “spirit of unity.” Through such demonstrations, the memos affirm, our communities can withstand “whatever dangers may come — be they terrorist attacks or natural disasters.”

If that is the sense the national leadership finds in that day, why should we expect much more from cultural commemorations than miscellany, euphemism, self-effacement and self-blame?

But what might such commemorations look like if approached with more clarity? Some aspects would stay very much the same: this week’s miscellany, after all, is partly a reflection of the world that has provoked our enemies. For the Sept. 11 attacks were not just inspired by Islamist extremism. There are similarities in the motivations behind diverse acts of recent terror, including those of Timothy J. McVeigh, the bomber of the federal office building in Oklahoma City, and Theodore J. Kaczynski, the Unabomber. They all involved a disgust with modernity in the West and tried, in different ways, to destroy its culture and institutions. Democratic culture might seem innocuous to us, but it assaults fundamentalisms with its variety, unpredictability, contradiction, dissipation and possibility.

As many commemoration plans suggest, though, democratic culture also finds it difficult to conceive of this kind of enmity, overlooking, like the White House memos, the fact that Islamist extremism is one of the most powerful and dangerous manifestations of such passions. And that strain is not diminishing. The Pew survey found that 21 percent of all Muslim Americans now believe there is either a fair amount or a great deal of support for extremism in their own communities.

So a Sept. 11 commemoration might well be a celebration of democratic culture’s enduring presence. It might include the wide range of what we see before us: Noam Chomsky’s fulminations (“Ten Years of Terror” at the Guggenheim Museum) and an interview with former President George W. Bush (“The 9/11 Interview,” on National Geographic television); multicultural bridge-making; and lines in the sand. But is it impossible to imagine that in the midst of concerts and quilts for peace, communications with the spirit world and varied forms of political and psychological exorcisms, there might also be a recognition of what was at stake that day, and what, to a great extent, still is?

23850  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / President Obowma on: September 03, 2011, 05:08:58 PM
As is well documented here, I had and have a rather low opinion of McCain.   That said, concerning "War Hero" IMHO it is something that shows character and character is more important than IQ.

For example, here are some indications of something quite distinctive about Baraq's character:

To the King of Saudi Arabia:
To the Emperor of Japan with comparisons of how leaders of other countries handle introduction:

To Chinese leader  and a second occasion with the Chinese Leader
To the Mayor of Tampa FL: this one contains clear shot as a still photo   and one in context leaving now doubt of the bow
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