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23951  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / OTMs on: May 15, 2010, 12:37:21 PM
!!!

http://www.wsbtv.com/video/23438021/index.html

http://www.wsbtv.com/video/23438712/index.html
23952  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / POTH: Food Chain and Food Politics on: May 15, 2010, 12:25:03 PM
I doubt an important part of this piece's argument because I suspect that GMO practices lead to de-diversication, thus setting us up for the inevitable mutation(s) that will lead to catastrophic results. Still I post it because it discusses this issue in a reasonable way.
=================================================================


A REPORT by the National Research Council last month gave ammunition to both sides in the debate over the cultivation of genetically engineered crops. More than 80 percent of the corn, soybeans and cotton grown in the United States is genetically engineered, and the report details the “long and impressive list of benefits” that has come from these crops, including improved soil quality, reduced erosion and reduced insecticide use.

Related
Health Guide: Genetically Engineered FoodsIt also confirmed predictions that widespread cultivation of these crops would lead to the emergence of weeds resistant to a commonly used herbicide, glyphosate (marketed by Monsanto as Roundup). Predictably, both sides have done what they do best when it comes to genetically engineered crops: they’ve argued over the findings.

Lost in the din is the potential role this technology could play in the poorest regions of the world — areas that will bear the brunt of climate change and the difficult growing conditions it will bring. Indeed, buried deep in the council’s report is an appeal to apply genetic engineering to a greater number of crops, and for a greater diversity of purposes.

Appreciating this potential means recognizing that genetic engineering can be used not just to modify major commodity crops in the West, but also to improve a much wider range of crops that can be grown in difficult conditions throughout the world.

Doing that also requires opponents to realize that by demonizing the technology, they’ve hindered applications of genetic engineering that could save lives and protect the environment.

Scientists at nonprofit institutions have been working for more than two decades to genetically engineer seeds that could benefit farmers struggling with ever-pervasive dry spells and old and novel pests. Drought-tolerant cassava, insect-resistant cowpeas, fungus-resistant bananas, virus-resistant sweet potatoes and high-yielding pearl millet are just a few examples of genetically engineered foods that could improve the lives of the poor around the globe.

For example, researchers in the public domain have been working to engineer sorghum crops that are resistant to both drought and an aggressively parasitic African weed, Striga.

In a 1994 pilot project by the United States Agency for International Development, an experimental variety of engineered sorghum had a yield four times that of local varieties under adverse conditions. Sorghum, a native of the continent, is a staple throughout Africa, and improved sorghum seeds would be widely beneficial.

As well as enhancing yields, engineered seeds can make crops more nutritious. A new variety of rice modified to produce high amounts of provitamin A, named Golden Rice, will soon be available in the Philippines and, if marketed, would almost assuredly save the lives of thousands of children suffering from vitamin A deficiency.

There’s also a sorghum breed that’s been genetically engineered to produce micronutrients like zinc, and a potato designed to contain greater amounts of protein.

To appreciate the value of genetic engineering, one need only examine the story of papaya. In the early 1990s, Hawaii’s papaya industry was facing disaster because of the deadly papaya ringspot virus. Its single-handed savior was a breed engineered to be resistant to the virus. Without it, the state’s papaya industry would have collapsed. Today, 80 percent of Hawaiian papaya is genetically engineered, and there is still no conventional or organic method to control ringspot virus.

The real significance of the papaya recovery is not that genetic engineering was the most appropriate technology delivered at the right time, but rather that the resistant papaya was introduced before the backlash against engineered crops intensified.

Opponents of genetically engineered crops have spent much of the last decade stoking consumer distrust of this precise and safe technology, even though, as the research council’s previous reports noted, engineered crops have harmed neither human health nor the environment.

In doing so, they have pushed up regulatory costs to the point where the technology is beyond the economic reach of small companies or foundations that might otherwise develop a wider range of healthier crops for the neediest farmers. European restrictions, for instance, make it virtually impossible for scientists at small laboratories there to carry out field tests of engineered seeds.

As it now stands, opposition to genetic engineering has driven the technology further into the hands of a few seed companies that can afford it, further encouraging their monopolistic tendencies while leaving it out of reach for those that want to use it for crops with low (or no) profit margins.

The stakes are too high for us not to make the best use of genetic engineering. If we fail to invest responsibly in agricultural research, if we continue to allow propaganda to trump science, then the potential for global agriculture to be productive, diverse and sustainable will go unfulfilled. And it’s not those of us here in the developed world who will suffer the direct consequences, but rather the poorest and most vulnerable.


Pamela C. Ronald, a professor of plant pathology at the University of California, Davis, is the co-author of “Tomorrow’s Table: Organic Farming, Genetics and the Future of Food.” James E. McWilliams, a history professor at Texas State University at San Marcos, is the author of “Just Food.”
23953  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / POTH (NYT) editorial on: May 15, 2010, 12:13:40 PM


Given that the source (Pravda on the Hudson a.k.a. POTH a.k.a. The NY Times) is suspect I ask here whether this editorial makes a fair point:

Editorial
A Hole in the Spring SkyPublished: May 14, 2010
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LinkedinDiggFacebookMixxMySpaceYahoo! BuzzPermalink. Twenty-five years ago this month, a small team of scientists discovered that the ozone layer above their Antarctic station was thinning more and more every spring. The layer protects life on earth from the sun’s ultraviolet light. The response to that discovery is a rare, happy environmental morality tale.

In 1996, an international accord banned the use of chlorofluorocarbons, or CFC’s — which were used as refrigerants in air-conditioners and propellants in aerosol spray cans — that were causing the ozone hole. The treaty has phased in slowly. And the hole, gaping widely every spring, is much larger today. But it would be far worse without the protocol, and there is good reason to expect that it will return to pre-1970 levels by 2080.

There is another lesson here, one that has nothing to do with citizen action or international accords or aerosol sprays. The discovery of the ozone hole would have been impossible without paying close, consistent attention to the world around us and having the personnel needed to decipher the results.

As Jonathan Shanklin, one of the scientists who discovered the hole notes, Halley Research Station had continuous ozone data reaching back nearly 40 years. Discovering the ozone hole was to a large extent a matter of processing and correlating that data and being open to the surprising results.

It’s a reminder that good science is patient, observant, careful and continuous. That kind of science — which is especially valuable for understanding climate change — requires long-term commitments in financing and education. It requires the ability to gather data accurately over the years and to educate the scientists who can turn that data into a new awareness of how this world works. That knowledge helped us to make the decision that aerosol sprays and other CFC’s are not worth a yawning void in the springtime Antarctic skies.
23954  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / POTH: Student's arrest tests policy on: May 15, 2010, 12:08:18 PM


Student’s Arrest Tests Immigration Policy
By ROBBIE BROWN
Published: May 14, 2010

ATLANTA — Jessica Colotl, a 21-year-old college student and illegal Mexican immigrant at the center of a contentious immigration case, surrendered to a Georgia sheriff on Friday but continued to deny wrongdoing.

Ms. Colotl was arrested in March for driving without a license and could face deportation next year. On Wednesday the sheriff filed a felony charge against her for providing a false address to the police.
The case has become a flash point in the national debate over whether federal immigration laws should be enforced by local and state officials. And like Arizona’s tough new immigration law, it has highlighted a rift between the federal government and local politicians over how illegal immigrants should be detected and prosecuted.

“I never thought that I’d be caught up in this messed-up system,” Ms. Colotl said Friday at a news conference after being released on $2,500 bail. “I was treated like a criminal, like a threat to the nation.”

Civil rights groups say Ms. Colotl should be spared deportation because she was brought to the United States without legal documents by her parents at age 11. They also note that she has excelled academically and was discovered to be here illegally only after a routine traffic violation. Supporters of immigration laws and the sheriff’s office in Cobb County say she violated state law, misled the police about her address and should not receive special treatment for her age or education.

Ms. Colotl was pulled over March 29 by a campus officer at Kennesaw State University in suburban Atlanta, where she is two semesters from graduation, for “impeding the flow of traffic.” After she presented the officer an expired Mexican passport instead of a valid driver’s license, she was arrested and taken to a county jail, where she acknowledged being an illegal immigrant. On May 5, she was transferred to the Etowah Detention Center in Alabama to await deportation to Mexico.

But after protests by Latino groups, demonstrations at the Georgia Capitol by her sorority sisters and a letter of support from the university’s president, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency granted a one-year deferral on her deportation so she could finish college. The “deferred action” means she could still be deported, but will be allowed to apply for an extension next year. Her ultimate goal, Ms. Colotl said at the news conference, is that proposed legislation called the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act — known as the Dream Act — will become law, providing students without legal immigration status a path to become legal.

She and her lawyer declined to discuss the immigration status of her parents.

In Georgia, the case has become intensely political. Ms. Colotl received in-state tuition, substantially reducing her cost of attending Kennesaw State. The university will charge her out-of-state rates in the future, but Republican politicians are calling for new legislation to make attendance more expensive, or impossible, for illegal immigrants.

One Republican candidate for governor, Eric Johnson, has said that if elected he will mandate that all college applicants demonstrate their citizenship. The chancellor of the state university system says that would be prohibitively expensive, costing $1.5 million, for roughly 300,000 students.

Under a program by the Department of Homeland Security, known as 287(g), local sheriffs are permitted to handle federal immigration law enforcement. The Cobb County sheriff’s office was the first in Georgia and one of the first in the United States to apply for the program. Immigration is a hot topic in the largely conservative county, where Hispanics make up 11 percent of the population, census figures show.

Mary Bauer, the legal director for the Southern Poverty Law Center, which is assisting in Ms. Colotl’s defense, said Cobb County had a history of using federal laws designed to detect dangerous criminals for arresting illegal immigrants for minor offenses. A review by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution found that from 2007 to 2009, the main crime for which immigration detainees were arrested in the county was traffic offenses.

“This is a civil rights disaster,” said Ms. Bauer, who called the county’s application of the law “mean-spirited and very probably illegal. We call on the Obama administration to end 287(g),” she said.

Supporters of strict immigration legislation say Ms. Colotl’s case was handled legally.

The sheriff, Neil Warren, said Ms. Colotl provided a false address to the police, a felony charge. Her lawyers say that she provided the address of the residence where she used to live and to where her car insurance is registered, and that she also provided her current address.

No exception should be made, however admirable the offender, said Phil Kent, a spokesman for Americans for Immigration Control, a national group opposed to illegal immigration.

“Ironically, she says she wants to go on to law school, but she’s undermining the law,” Mr. Kent said. “What’s the point of educating an illegal immigrant in a system where she can’t hold a job legally or get a driver’s license?”
23955  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Libertarian Issues on: May 15, 2010, 11:53:18 AM
Of course!  It is simply that there would be less of it!  With less profit in crime, criminals would become less violent, our police's jobs less dangerous, less doors would be kicked in by accident, less grannies with heart attacks, less puppies with sad eyes getting shot, etc etc etc.
23956  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Support our troops on: May 15, 2010, 11:50:43 AM
Second post of the day:

It may be "Armed Forces Day" today, but they are there every day for us.  Let us do the same for them.
23957  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Libertarian Issues on: May 15, 2010, 10:17:05 AM
Understood and agreed!   , , , and not the point as far as I am concerned.  You asked what my suggestions were to decrease these tragedies and invasions of the sanctity of the homes of innocent Americans and I responded by suggesting that we dramatically curtail the WOD.
23958  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Prisoners of the Pill on: May 15, 2010, 09:47:27 AM
Prisoners of the pill
Carolyn Moynihan | 14 May 2010




Mother’s Day in the United States (and some other countries) had an ironic twist to it this year: the powers that be chose to observe May 9 as the fiftieth anniversary of the public debut of the contraceptive pill, the twentieth century’s chief weapon against motherhood as a serious vocation.

Articles marking the occasion have been largely celebratory in tone, reminding women that their lives have been powerfully transformed -- for the better -- by the pill. We have been liberated from biology to extend our education, engage in paid work, carve out public careers and achieve financial independence. Hooray.

True, there has been the odd complaint about this wonder drug. “I hate the pill,” declares Geraldine Sealey at Salon. “Hormonal contraception, which covers birth control pills and nearly every other highly effective method on the market, murders my libido.” Still, she can’t stop herself patting contraceptive pioneers such as Margaret Sanger on the back.

The Wall Street Journal wonders why, at this late stage of the game, almost half of US pregnancies -- about 3.1 million a year -- are unintended. It turns out that a lot of people who are having sex but don’t want a baby are not responsible enough to use contraception. How surprising. Then there are all the women who miss taking their pill -- so many that Princeton’s birth control expert James Trussell says we should forget the pill and steer women towards long-acting contraceptives such as implants and IUDs. (Women may be liberated, you see, but they can be, er, not smart.)

Fail-safe birth control is not the only thing the era of the pill has not delivered. Elaine Tyler May, author of a new book on the pill, admits that ending poverty, curing divorce and eliminating unwed pregnancies were “promises the pill could never keep”. Indeed, all those things have flourished during the past 50 years and societies have stopped even trying to encourage marriage and discourage divorce. Poverty is the only thing that has not been rationalised, but then its link with contraceptive culture is not even recognised.

Still, we are meant to rejoice that women have the world at their feet, because, even if their contraceptive device or their willpower fails, there is always abortion to ensure that they can keep their job, if not their husband. All in all, then, women should be happier than they were when their energies were largely consumed by looking after a husband and three or four kids.

Declining female happiness


Are they? No. Much quoted research by Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers of the University of Pennsylvania shows that there has been a marked decline in women’s happiness in the industrialised countries over the past 35 years. In an article last year they wrote:

The paradox of women’s declining relative well-being is found across various datasets, measures of subjective well-being, and is pervasive across demographic groups and industrialized countries. Relative declines in female happiness have eroded a gender gap in happiness in which women in the 1970s typically reported higher subjective well-being than did men. These declines have continued and a new gender gap is emerging—one with higher subjective well-being for men.

Stevenson and Wolfers stress the power of this decline by equating it to the misery resulting from an 8.5 per cent rise in unemployment, or to having missed out entirely on the gains from economic growth since the 1970s.

A paradox? A mere coincidence that female happiness has been eroded at same time as the pill was bringing liberation? Denver economist Timothy Reichert does not think so. In a recent article in First Things (“Bitter Pill”, April, 2010) he says that, contrary to the rhetoric of the sexual revolution, contraception is deeply sexist in nature. It has shifted wealth and power away from women, and away from their childrearing years when they need it most. It has also, for that reason, made children on the whole worse off.

Reichert arrives at these conclusions by doing a market analysis of sexual relationships under the influence of what is still known as “efficient contraception”. To my mind, he makes a highly plausible case.

How women lose: a market analysis


Fifty years ago, he argues, there was a single “mating market”, populated by men and women in roughly equal numbers and who paired off in marriage. By lowering the cost of premarital and extramarital sex (pregnancy, shotgun marriage) contraception allowed a separate sex market (apart from prostitution) to form. That would not have affected either sex adversely if the numbers of men and women in both markets remained roughly equal, but of course, they did not.

Because of limits to their fertility, women have to move out of the sex market and into the marriage market earlier than men. This makes them relatively scarce in the former and abundant in the latter, able to negotiate better “deals” in the first but worse deals in the second where there is a scarcity of marriageable men.

(As an aside, this dilemma puts me in mind of Lori Gottlieb’s much-bruited willingness to give up the quest for romantic love in her forties and “settle” for a husband who will put out the garbage bin and fix the leaky taps. )

Under these conditions, says Reichert, men take more and more of the “gains from trade” and women take fewer and fewer. He comments:

This produces a redistribution of bargaining power and, ultimately, of welfare from the later childrearing phases of a woman’s lifetime toward the earlier, and in my view less important, phases. This redistribution has some very concrete, very undesirable consequences for women—and for the children that they bear.

What are these consequences? Reichert points out four.

More divorce. Striking “bad deals” in an imbalanced marriage market makes divorce more likely. Reduced commitment creates a “demand” for divorce even before the marriage begins (pre-nups). At the social level women allow the stigma of divorce to erode and they support no-fault

divorce laws. They compensate for these trends by developing relatively more market earning power, and invest less in family relationships, the moral formation of their children, and community activism. In doing so, they become more like men, and the couples become less interesting to one another. “Sameness begets ennui, which begets divorce.”

Inflation of household costs. As wealthier two-earner households bid up the price of homes, more women are forced into the labour market. With this comes a redistribution of welfare from younger to older generations, and from a family’s younger, child-rearing years to its later childless years (when they could sell the $500,000 house). This redistribution “rests largely on the backs of the women in the labour force who support the higher housing cost and, ultimately, on the children who otherwise would have had the benefit of their mothers’ time.” And perhaps another sibling.

Infidelity. This increases because the cost -- detection -- is lowered. The sex market provides the opportunity, and here married (successful, older) men are more attractive to younger women, than older women are to younger men. This, again, is to the detriment of women.

Abortion. Before the pill the cost of an unwanted pregnancy was often borne by the man in the form of a shotgun wedding. Now it is borne by the woman: contraception is her business and so, therefore, is the unintended pregnancy. If she keeps the baby she forfeits opportunities in the labour market; if she has an abortion (which around one million women in the US do each year) she usually pays the money cost and always the emotional costs.

To repeat Reichert’s conclusion:

Contraception has resulted in an enormous redistribution of welfare from women to men, as well as an intertemporal redistribution of welfare from a typical woman’s later, childrearing years to her earlier years.

Further, given that women’s welfare largely determines the welfare of children, this redistribution has in part been “funded” by a loss of welfare from children. In other words, the worse off are women, the worse off are the children they support. On net, women and children are the big losers in the contraceptive society.

And this fits with the Stevenson and Wolfers finding of declining happiness among women.

The big question is, then, why do they put up with it?

The prisoner's dilemma


Reichert explains it as a “prisoner’s dilemma” -- a concept from game theory. This posits a situation where all parties have choice between cooperation and non-cooperation, and where all would be better off if they chose cooperation. However, because the parties cannot effectively coordinate and enforce cooperation, all choose the best individual choice, which is non-cooperation.

Applying this to young women in a contraceptive culture Reichert suggests that those who don’t enter the sex market miss out on the “higher prices” paid there (presumably he means things like more attention from men, more likelihood of a partner, a sense of wellbeing and a “good” image) but they also remain at a disadvantage in the over-subscribed marriage market. Their “optimal decision” therefore is to “to enter the sex market and remain there for as long as possible, despite the fact that the new equilibrium may be worse, over the total life cycle, for women.”

Only very powerful social mores or laws can break prisoner’s dilemmas like this, and laws we are surely not going to get. Reichert, a Catholic, sees the church’s moral authority in this area being woefully under-utilised and calls for a movement of “new feminism”. But while the beginnings of such a movement can certainly be found in the Catholic Church and other religious groups, there seems to be no corresponding secular insight into the role of contraception in female misery.

In a piece in The Atlantic magazine this week Caitlin Flanagan, an enfant terrible of contemporary feminism, bewails the hook-up culture that girls reluctantly endure while they hope, like girls in every other era, for a real boyfriend and romance. She then talks about her mother and other “forward-looking” older women who helped Planned Parenthood promote birth control to teenage girls 20-something years ago.

As progressive as they were, says Flanagan, they would have been horrified by hooking up: "all of them, to a woman, believed in the Boyfriend Story. This set wasn’t in the business of providing girls and young women the necessary information and services to allow boys and men to use and discard them sexually."

Oh, but they were. That is exactly what they were doing, albeit unwittingly. And that is what continues to draw girls into the prisoner’s dilemma at ever younger ages. When are people like Flanagan going to stop groping around this elephant and take their blindfolds off?

Carolyn Moynihan is deputy editor of MercatorNet.
23959  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Libertarian Issues on: May 15, 2010, 09:11:24 AM
If you read my post again I think you will see that there was no suggestion whatsoeverthat those who make mistakes take it any less lightly than the good human beings that they are.  Rather, the aspersion was on your response here  grin  Humorous reparatee aside, part of the calculus needs to be that such things do happen and need to be weighed with respect for their true meaning and value.
23960  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Kagan on: May 15, 2010, 12:53:40 AM
Not the best written piece, but the underlying point has merit:

Kagan Bad on Guns
by  Brian Darling

05/14/2010


“President Obama’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court,” I wrote in HUMAN EVENTS on June 3, 2009, “owes the American people an explanation on her view of the 2nd Amendment.”

The nominee then was Sonia Sotomayor, who never provided an explanation.  Now, with the choice of Solicitor General Elena Kagan, President Obama is two for two in selecting Supreme Court nominees with an apparent strong hostility to the right of self-defense. 

And it’s only fair that Kagan now be held to the “Kagan Standard.” 


In the spring of 1995, Kagan wrote a book review of Stephen Carter’s The Confirmation Mess.  “When the Senate ceases to engage nominees in a meaningful discussion of legal issues, the confirmation process takes on an air of vacuity and farce, and the Senate becomes incapable of either properly evaluating nominees or appropriately educating the public,” Kagan wrote.

Well, to maintain that standard, the Senate should demand Clinton-era memos written by Kagan, so lawmakers can understand her view of the 2nd Amendment.  After all, she was very much involved in many of the gun-control initiatives pushed by President Bill Clinton.  The Senate must “properly evaluate” Kagan and “appropriately” educate the public about any anti-gun views she holds. 

Of course, some documents from Kagan’s time in the Clinton Administration should remain privileged, to protect a President’s right to enjoy unfettered advice from his staff during deliberations.  But other official memos should be provided to senators and the American public. 

Instead, though, expect the administration to stonewall.  Kagan has no public record to speak of, and the President aims to keep her anti-gun views secret from the American public. 

Even without much of a paper trail, reporters have already found a “smoking gun” that indicates Kagan’s extensive anti-gun activism.  James Oliphant of the Los Angeles Times wrote May 10, “according to records at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Ark., she also drafted an executive order restricting the importation of certain semiautomatic assault rifles.”  Senators should study that executive order and the memos written during its preparation to understand if Kagan advised Clinton to infringe on the 2nd Amendment rights of Americans. 

There’s more evidence of hostility to gun rights on her part.  The Times also reports that “gun-control efforts were a hallmark of the Clinton Administration.  Kagan had already been involved in an executive order that required all federal law-enforcement officers to install locks on their weapons.”  Kagan also may have worked on legislation to effectively close gun shows.  “Those moves angered the National Rifle Association, which became even more alarmed in late 1998 when Clinton proposed closing the ‘gun show’ loophole that allowed firearms purchases without background checks.”

Her efforts to restrict the importation of some guns, mandate trigger-locks on federal law-enforcement officers’ guns and efforts to close gun shows are three issues that must be raised during Kagan’s Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing.  Expect Kagan to dodge any direct questions on these gun-grabbing activities during the Clinton years, though, and run away from her own “Kagan Standard.” 

To indicate where the American people are on this, note that the Senate has voted six times on pro-gun legislation.  Large bipartisan majorities have voted for legislation authored by Sen. Tom Coburn (R.-Okla.) to allow guns in national parks, a bill by Sen. John Ensign (R.-Nev.) to restore 2nd Amendment rights to District of Columbia residents, two amendments by Sen. Robert Wicker (R.-Miss.) to allow law-abiding Amtrak passengers to securely transport firearms in checked baggage and legislation sponsored by Sen. John Thune (R.-S.D.) to set standards to allow individuals to conceal and carry a firearm over state lines.  An amendment from Sen. Richard Burr (R.-N.C. ) to protect the 2nd Amendment rights of veterans was the only one to garner less than a majority of the Senate.   

Of the five pieces of strong pro-gun legislation offered that pulled more than 50 votes, 15 Democrats voted pro-gun, including Max Baucus and Jon Tester of Montana, Evan Bayh of Indiana, Mark Begich of Alaska, Michael Bennet and Mark Udall of Colorado, Robert Casey of Pennsylvania, Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Harry Reid of Nevada and Jim Webb of Virginia.  All of these Democrats voted for Sotomayor, but will they vote for a second justice who seems hostile to the 2nd Amendment?

There is also evidence that in 1987, Kagan said that she had no sympathy for the claim of a man that his 2nd Amendment rights were violated.  Bloomberg reports that “Elena Kagan said as a U.S. Supreme Court law clerk in 1987 that she was ‘not sympathetic’ toward a man who contended that his constitutional rights were violated when he was convicted for carrying an unlicensed pistol.”  In the wake of the District of Columbia v. Heller decision holding that the 2nd Amendment is an individual right, it is incumbent upon Senators to explore this statement of Kagan from her early career as a lawyer to see if her views have changed.

Senators should not allow Kagan to dodge questions about the right to self-defense that’s enshrined in the Constitution.  If Kagan tries to dodge questions on this or any other important issue, senators have the moral duty to extend debate until those questions are answered. Anything less would be Constitutional malpractice.
23961  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Libertarian Issues on: May 15, 2010, 12:42:28 AM
Valid points, yet so too is the point that cavalier responses to grannies being given heart attacks and family pets being shot is also not good for law enforcement's rep.
23962  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: May 15, 2010, 12:39:40 AM
Ditto.

Actually a big part of my disconnect here is precisely my supply side instincts; it is hard to see how big tax rate increases via taxes or inflation are not already baked into the pie-- and this is VERY bad.
23963  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Not supporting the troops on: May 15, 2010, 12:37:35 AM
is bad for customer relations.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PnlWHdJGLM&feature=player_embedded
23964  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Dog Brothers Tribe on: May 14, 2010, 08:34:45 PM
Please remind me of the various ascensions from the Tribal Gathering.
23965  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: May 14, 2010, 08:31:49 PM
"Hannity is not the brightest light."

Amen to that-- and IMHO his "emotional IQ" is well below average.   Sometimes I wonder if he does our cause as much harm as good.
23966  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / McClintock says on: May 14, 2010, 08:28:15 PM
This man has an outstanding record in the CA legislature and I gave money to his US Congressional campaign.  His words, particularly on CA state issues, carry great weight with me:

cClintock Ballot Recommendations

On the Propositions:

Prop. 13. Seismic Retrofits. YES: Earthquake proofing your house shouldn't trigger a tax increase until you're ready to sell. Any questions?

Prop. 14. Distorted Primary. NO: This was the result of the corrupt deal for the tax increase engineered by Abel Maldonado that included this measure to by-pass party primaries in a manner Maldonado believed would enhance his future election prospects. Instead of voters of each party putting their best candidate forward, this jerry-rigged system is designed to disguise the difference between the parties and force those pesky third parties off the general election ballot entirely.

Prop. 15. Taxpayer Funded Elections. NO: The real purpose of this measure is to allow the legislature to tap taxpayers to finance political campaigns. Jefferson said it best: "To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical."

Prop. 16. Utility Elections. YES: Cash-guzzling city governments have been taking over the territory of utilities through eminent domain and PG&E wants to put it to a vote. This measure gives you the choice upon whose mercy your future electricity bills will depend: the monopoly of city hall or the monopoly of your utility. Here's a better idea: restore the freedom of individual consumers to choose among competing providers who actually have to earn their business. Alas, that part was left out by the suits at PG&E.

Prop. 17. Insurance Rates. YES: A simple question: should drivers be able to take their "continuous coverage" discount with them when they change insurance companies? A simpler question: why are our laws such a micro managing mess that we have to vote on something as self-evident as this in the first place?

On the statewide races:

For Governor, Steve Poizner: Steve had the courage to support Arizona's decision to enforce our immigration laws when Meg Whitman cut and ran. He opposes the bank bailouts, rampant borrowing and environmental extremism that Meg Whitman embraces. And unlike Whitman, Steve Poizner was never "a huge fan" of radical leftist Van Jones. This time, let's have a governor from the Republican wing of the Republican Party.

For Lt. Governor, Sam Aanestad: Sam was my seatmate for many years in both the Assembly and the Senate. He never wavered from his devotion to Republican principles of limited government. Abel Maldonado broke his signed taxpayer pledge and bears responsibility not only for the biggest tax increase in California's history, but also the budgets that ran California off the fiscal cliff. No single race on the ballot more clearly defines the difference between the Party of Reagan and the Party of Schwarzenegger.

For Attorney General, John Eastman: I worked with John Eastman at the Claremont Institute – a public policy think tank devoted to restoring American founding principles to the public policy debate. John is a nationally renowned Constitutional advocate and scholar whose leadership is desperately needed in the Attorney General's office. Imagine having an Attorney General who not only respects the Constitution but who understands and reveres it.

For Insurance Commissioner, Anybody But Villines. Mike Villines was another of the sell-out Republican votes on the massive tax increase that crushed what was left of our state's economy last year, after signing a no-new-taxes pledge. Liars don't belong in government.

For U.S. Senate, Chuck DeVore: Chuck is a conservative's conservative who has always stood on principle, even when it has meant standing virtually alone. I've never heard him give a speech without thinking "I wish I'd said that." I rank him up there with Sam Aanestad as one of the finest people I've had the opportunity to serve with in the legislature. He would become an instant leader in the United States Senate.

23967  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: 67 Year Old Vietnam Vet Puts it down old school on young punk on: May 14, 2010, 01:12:03 PM
Woof Max:

Thread coherence please!  This would be best in Video Clips of Interest.  Please post it there and I will delete this thread.
23968  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Kagan on: May 14, 2010, 08:45:08 AM
By TOM GRANT AND JOHN ULLYOT
When federal agents took Times Square bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad into custody at JFK airport on May 3, they interviewed him for several hours before reading him his Miranda rights. Agents did this under the "public safety exception" recognized by the Supreme Court in the 1984 case New York v. Quarles. The same exception was used in interrogating accused Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, as well as other terror suspects arrested on U.S. soil.

But what if the Supreme Court had never approved a public safety exception in the first place? That question is directly relevant to the upcoming Senate confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. The Justice she would replace, John Paul Stevens, and her boss when she clerked for the Court, Thurgood Marshall, both rejected the public safety exception and were among the dissenting Justices in this key case.

As the Obama administration turns to the federal courts to deal with terror suspects, the Supreme Court could be asked to weigh in again on the limits of the public safety exception. So finding out if the former Harvard Law School dean accepts or rejects the Marshall-Stevens position should be a priority for senators as they consider her nomination.

New York v. Quarles involved a simple set of facts. Police pursued an armed rape suspect into a supermarket. They spotted him, he ran, and the police briefly lost sight of him. In that moment, the suspect discarded his loaded .38 caliber pistol. The police then caught up and surrounded him. They saw the suspect's empty shoulder holster and asked where the pistol might be. The suspect pointed and said "over there." Then the police found the weapon where the suspect had pointed.

Up to that point, the officers had not read the suspect his Miranda rights. The question before the Court was whether his statement—and the pistol—could be admitted into evidence. The Court held that both could be admitted under a new "public safety exception" for law enforcement authorities acting in the public interest.

This exception is even more important today, when law enforcement authorities face terrorists armed with weapons vastly more powerful than a .38 caliber pistol, and particularly so for an administration that emphasizes criminal prosecution in its fight against terrorism. Last weekend, Attorney General Eric Holder said the public safety exception helps law enforcement officers when they apprehend terrorist suspects like Shahzad and suggested that the administration would support legislative efforts to expand it.

It's curious, then, that President Obama would invoke Justice Stevens' unblemished track record of "wisdom" as an inspiration to Ms. Kagan. "For nearly 35 years . . . [Stevens] has brought to each case not just mastery of the letter of the law, but a keen understanding of its impact on people's lives. And he has emerged as a consistent voice of reason, helping his colleagues find common ground on some of the most controversial issues the Court has ever faced," the president said in nominating her on Monday.

So how exactly did Justice Stevens view the public safety exception? In Quarles, he joined Marshall in opposing the exception in the strongest terms, expressing pointed concern for the rights of the criminal defendant even in situations involving a threat to public safety. "[T]he arresting officers had no legitimate reason to interrogate the suspect without advising him of his rights to remain silent and to obtain assistance of counsel," Marshall wrote in the dissent, joined by Justice Stevens.

In their view, the public safety exception to Miranda invited "coerced self-incriminating statements in criminal prosecutions" that would lead to "chaos." The decision of the Court's majority was "an unwise and unprincipled departure from our Fifth Amendment precedents," and involved a "chimerical quest for public safety."

Yet in apprehending terrorists in a ticking-time bomb scenario or after an attack, the quest of law enforcement authorities is anything but chimerical. Agents need critical information right away in order protect the public. Without the public safety exception, they are left with few tools to get that information lawfully.

Where does Solicitor General Kagan, who clerked for Marshall a mere three years after he wrote his dissent in Quarles, stand on this issue? During the upcoming confirmation hearings, senators will want to examine closely whether she agrees with her former boss and the Justice she would succeed, and how she would view efforts to expand the public safety exception they both opposed.

Mr. Grant is a lecturer in law at Cambridge University. Mr. Ullyot is a Republican strategist and former spokesman for the Senate Armed Services Committee.
23969  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Turkey on: May 14, 2010, 07:46:06 AM
Turkey's Struggle to Become a Major Player
TURKISH PRESIDENT ABDULLAH GUL MET WITH his Russian counterpart, Dmitri Medvedev, in Ankara on Wednesday. The Russian president described his country’s relations with Turkey as having entered a new “strategic” phase. Medvedev and Gul also signed several energy deals worth some $25 billion, which are likely to increase Russia’s energy influence over the Turks.

While Medvedev’s trip to Turkey may give the impression that relations between the two historic rivals are improving, it should not be forgotten that this visit takes place against the backdrop of a successful move by the Russians to frustrate Turkish plans to expand the latter’s influence in the Caucuses. STRATFOR has written extensively on how the Kremlin was able to undermine Turkey’s moves to normalize relations with its historic foe Armenia by creating problems between Turkey and its ally Azerbaijan. This incident, along with its attempts to play nice with Russia, shows that Turkey, while on the path of regional resurgence, is not in a position to compete with its traditional rival to its north.

More importantly, this weakness vis-a-vis Russia highlights a key obstacle to the Turkish objective of trying to serve as a bridge between the East and the West. During the nearly eight years of the rule of the Justice & Development Party, Turkey has been in the process of reviving itself as a major player on the international scene. One of the ways in which it has been trying to realize this aim is by trying to be a transit state supplying the West with oil and gas.

From Russia’s point of view, this Turkish policy is unacceptable because it undermines European dependence on Russian energy resources. But it is also not in Russia’s interest to adopt a hostile attitude toward Turkey. Hence the Kremlin’s move to engage Turkey in a complex set of bilateral and multilateral relationships in the Caucuses, and thereby successfully checkmating Ankara.

“It is not in Russia’s interest to adopt a hostile attitude toward Turkey.”
One can explain this outcome as a function of Russia being in a far stronger position than Turkey. However, there is more to it than the simple notion of Moscow having a better deck of cards than Ankara. There is also a deeper geopolitical problem that has to do with Turkey awakening from a nearly 90-year geopolitical coma, which could explain Turkey’s miscalculation –- leading it to not only fail in its attempts to normalize ties with Armenia, but also upset relations with its longtime ally, Azerbaijan.

Acting as a state, and following the lead of the West in terms of foreign policy, has led the Turkish leadership to struggle to assume a more independent and leading role. After the implosion of the Ottoman dominion, its successor, the modern Turkish republic based on the Ataturkian model, was an entity that was content to be part of the West. The current leadership has broken with that doctrine and is steering the country toward an increasingly independent foreign policy. But its track record so far indicates that it has a long way to go before the country actually is able to shape geopolitical events and increase its influence on the international scene. This is because the state is dealing with internal problems. Its political and business elite is expanding influence and levers while having to learn how to maneuver on the ground.

Russia is a principal obstacle in its path to great power status, but Turkey is not having much luck elsewhere either. Ankara has been pursuing the role of mediator in a number of disputes to increase its geopolitical influence in the regions it straddles. Key among these disputes has been the Israeli-Syrian peace talks, which floundered and eventually led to deterioration in Turkish-Israeli relations. More recently, Ankara has been increasingly involved in Iraq as well as the Iranian nuclear controversy.

In Iraq, Turkey has run up against Iran, which is far better placed, given that Tehran has had a long head start. On the Iranian nuclear front, it appears to be doing better, but again finds itself caught between Washington and Tehran. Elsewhere, the Turks are trying to make inroads into southeastern Europe –- another former stomping ground. The prospects here look more promising due to the European Union crisis, but again, Turkey has a long way to go.

These initial setbacks do not mean that Turkey is not moving toward great power status, but they do show that the Turks are having to learn from scratch what it means to be a major player. Turkey will eventually get there, but for the time being it appears as though its current leadership may be getting ahead of itself.
23970  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Casual sex rankings on: May 14, 2010, 07:35:00 AM
Britain on top in casual sex league
From The Sunday Times
November 30, 2008

BRITISH men and women are now the most promiscuous of any big western industrial nation, researchers have found.

In an international index measuring one-night stands, total numbers of partners and attitudes to casual sex, Britain comes out ahead of Australia, the US, France, the Netherlands, Italy and Germany.

The researchers behind the study say high scores such as Britain’s may be linked to the way society is increasingly willing to accept sexual promiscuity among women as well as men. They also believe that, among certain age groups and at certain times, men and women are equally liberal.

The researchers say that cultural developments have meant women are now as able to engage in no-strings sex as men. “Historically we have repressed women’s short-term mating and there are all sorts of double standards out there where men’s short-term mating was sort of acceptable but women’s wasn’t,” said David Schmitt, a professor of psychology at Bradley University, Illinois, who oversaw the research.

The study was conducted by asking more than 14,000 people in 48 countries to fill in anonymous questionnaires. Respondents were asked about numbers of partners and one-night stands, and their attitudes were assessed by asking them how many people they expected to sleep with over the next five years and how comfortable they were with the idea of casual sex.

The results were combined into an index of so-called “sociosexuality”, the term used by evolutionary psychologists as a measure of how sexually liberal people are in thought and behavior. Most individuals scored between 4 and 65.

The country with the highest rating was Finland, with an average of 51. Taiwan came lowest, with 19.

Britain scored 40, placing it 11th overall, behind countries such as Latvia, Croatia and Slovenia - but it was highest among the major western industrial nations. The first tranche of research was published in 2005 but analyses have continued and Schmitt described the latest in this week’s edition of New Scientist.

Britain’s ranking was ascribed to factors such as the decline of religious scruples about extramarital sex, the growth of equal pay and equal rights for women and a highly sexualised popular culture.

Schmitt says the ratio of men to women is one of the factors that determine a country’s ranking.  The high scores in many Baltic and eastern European states might be linked, Schmitt said, to the fact that women outnumber men and so are under more pressure to conform to what men want in order to find a mate. In Asian countries, by contrast, men tend to outnumber women slightly, so it is men who have to conform.

Schmitt’s findings are reinforced by earlier research showing that the British are more likely than other nationalities to have “stolen” other people’s lovers. A third of British men are in relationships with women they have poached from other long-term relationships, he found.  Among British women, 28% have apparently poached their other halves rather than formed relationships with single men. Only 17% of men in America had poached their girlfriends. In France only 10% of both men and women were poachers. In Germany the figures were 17% of men and 14% of women.

Schmitt said that in more liberal countries such as Britain women may even be becoming more promiscuous than men. Such trends are typified by the television series Secret Diary of a Call Girl, in which Billie Piper played a middle-class prostitute who relished her numerous sexual encounters.

One of the most intriguing ideas emerging from Schmitt’s and others’ work is that when women are at their most fertile they become even more willing than men to consider one-night stands.

There are, however, still key differences in the behaviour of men and women, especially regarding the ages at which they are most sexually liberated. Schmitt found that men tended to have the most partners, and to think most about acquiring new ones, when in their twenties. Women’s promiscuity and lustful thoughts tended to peak in their thirties.

PROMISCUITY RANKINGS OF MAJOR COUNTRIES*
*OECD countries with populations over 10m Source: David Schmitt, Bradley University

1 United Kingdom
2 Germany
3 Netherlands
4 Czech Republic
5 Australia
6 USA
7 France
8 Turkey
9 Mexico
10 Canada
11 Italy
12 Poland
13 Spain
14 Greece
15 Portugal
23971  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: May 14, 2010, 06:50:18 AM
For those of us who missed this.  What an anus!

===========================

Holder Admits to Not Reading Arizona's Immigration Law Despite Criticizing It
FOXNews.com

Attorney General Eric Holder testifies before the House Judiciary Committee May 13 on Capitol Hill. (AP Photo)

Despite repeatedly voicing concerns about Arizona's new immigration enforcement law in recent weeks and threatening to challenge it, Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday he has not yet read the law -- which is only 10 pages long.

"I have not had a chance to -- I've glanced at it," Holder said at a House Judiciary Committee hearing when asked had he read the state law cracking down on illegal immigrants.

Holder told reporters last month that he fears the new law is subject to abuse and that the Justice Department and the Homeland Security Department are in the midst of conducting a review.

The Arizona law requires local and state law enforcement to question people about their immigration status if there's reason to suspect they're in the country illegally, and makes it a state crime to be in the United States illegally.

The law has sparked protests across the country, including a City Council-approved boycott of Arizona businesses by Los Angeles.But proponents deny that the law encourages racial profilng, with some saying the local controversy is a symptom of a broken federal immigration system.

Holder said last month that a number of options are under consideration, including the possibility of a court challenge.  On Thursday, Holder said he plans to read the law before reaching a decision on whether he thinks it's constitutional.  When asked by Rep.Ted Poe, R-Texas, how he could have constitutional concerns about a law he has not read, Holder said: "Well, what I've said is that I've not made up my mind. I've only made the comments that I've made on the basis of things that I've been able to glean by reading newspaper accounts, obviously, television, talking to people who are on the review panel...looking at the law."

On Sunday, Holder said he does not think Arizona's law is racially motivated but voiced concern that its enforcement could lead to racial profiling.
Holder said he understands the frustration behind the Arizona law, but he warned during an appearance on ABC's "This Week" that "we could potentially get on a slippery slope where people will be picked on because of how they look as opposed to what they have done."

 
23972  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: May 13, 2010, 11:10:11 PM
That would be VERY funny.

I saw today that our Guv said he would be afraid to travel to AZ without a passport because of his accent. A cheap political joke tongue
23973  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The American Creed: Our Founding Fathers: on: May 13, 2010, 11:08:41 PM
Well, I do confess that for me that taken in their totality they are holy verses; I think our FF were divinely inspired.
23974  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Libertarian Issues on: May 13, 2010, 11:07:44 PM
Weed was legal until 1936, yes?
23975  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: May 13, 2010, 10:40:59 PM
The tracking course I'm taking will be in AZ and we are planning to take our next family vacation in AZ.
23976  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We are losing on: May 13, 2010, 10:39:44 PM
Greetings,

A new dispatch on Afghanistan is up: PENGUINS OF AFGHANISTAN

My intentions were to write several more dispatches about missions, yet there seems to be so little interest in Afghanistan that it hardly seems worth the time to write about real missions.

There is little embedded work coming from Afghanistan.  McChrystal's censorship seems to be working.  (For now.)  He's losing the war and covering it up.  The deception is easy when so few people are paying attention.  We are losing the war.  At this rate it will be lost.

--
Very Respectfully,

Michael Yon
23977  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Sweden on: May 13, 2010, 09:12:48 PM
Raging Muslim Students Screaming “Allahu Akbar” Assault Swedish Artist During Free Speech Lecture

(Video)

http://gatewaypundit.firstthings.com...lecture-video/


Posted by Jim Hoft on Tuesday, May 11, 2010, 12:37 PM

Woah!… Raging Muslim students attacked artist Lars Vilks during a free speech lecture in Sweden. 15 Muslims screaming “Allahu Akbar” rushed the podium, headbutted Vilks, broke his glasses and tackled him to the floor. The whole assault was caught on tape:

Vilks has been receiving death threats since he drew an image of the prophet Mohammad with a dog’s body.

The AP and Atlas Shrugs have more on the attack:

A Swedish artist who angered Muslims by depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a dog was assaulted Tuesday while giving a university lecture about the limits of artistic freedom.

Lars Vilks told The Associated Press a man in the front row ran up to him and head-butted him during a lecture, breaking his glasses but leaving him uninjured. It wasn’t immediately clear what happened to the attacker.

Vilks has faced numerous threats over his controversial drawing of Muhammad with a dog’s body, but Tuesday’s incident was the first time he has been physically assaulted.

Earlier this year U.S. investigators said Vilks was the target of an alleged murder plot involving Colleen LaRose, an American woman who dubbed herself “Jihad Jane,” and who now faces life in prison. She had pleaded not guilty.

Vilks said a group of about 15 people had been shouting and trying to interrupt the lecture before the incident at Uppsala University.  Many of them stormed the front of the room after the attack and clashed with security guards as Vilks was pulled away into a separate room, he said, describing the scene as “complete chaos.”

“A man ran up and threw himself over me. I was head-butted and my glasses were broken,” Vilks said before hanging up for questioning by police.

The Muslims want Lars Vilks dead because he drew this:

He drew the Prophet Mohammad with a dog’s body. Now, he must die.

UPDATE: Zombie has background on the “roundabout dog.”

http://gatewaypundit.firstthings.com...lecture-video/
23978  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The American Creed: Our Founding Fathers: on: May 13, 2010, 07:36:28 PM
Well, that was unexpected shocked

Feet of clay or not, we are a Republic and the Supreme Law is our Consitution.
23979  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Libertarian Issues on: May 13, 2010, 07:31:04 PM

"I don't mind the seizure of assets, but it should only happen after a conviction. It should never happen with charges not being filed."

AMEN!!!  And, to be perfectly clear, nor should it happen with only charges filed.

As for my recommended search warrant policy, it would start by dramatically limiting or ending the WOD.  I suppose that one can make a case that certain drugs physiologically bypass free will, hence personal responsibility, but that really cannot be said of pot.

IMHO the pot prohibitions violate our 9th Amendment rights to pursue happiness as we see fit and as such should be voided by the Supreme Court.  This would make for a lot less door kicking.
23980  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The Power of Word on: May 13, 2010, 07:27:07 PM
By Tzvi Freeman
Not only is there is no conflict between your work and your time for study, meditation and prayer—on the contrary, they compliment one another:

When you start your day by connecting it to Torah, the day shines and all its parts work in synchronicity. And when you work honestly, carrying the morning’s inspiration in your heart, your work itself rolls out the Torah before your open eyes.


23981  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Kali Tudo 3 on: May 13, 2010, 07:14:50 PM
Marc Denny Spoke with Night Owl this morning at 05:30-- just before he went to bed!

Anyway, KT-3 is moving along nicely. NO tells me he has edited it down to a razor sharp two hour disc. I should be receiving a fine edit by this weekend.
23982  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: May 13, 2010, 06:49:33 PM
These are two very bright, very insightful men and they have some genuine insights and what just happened and where it may be heading.  

Highly recommended.

PS:  I'm working on persuading Scott to join us as his busy schedule allows.
23983  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Panic: Redleaf & Vigilante on: May 13, 2010, 06:18:02 PM


http://scottgrannis.blogspot.com/2010/05/finance-book-of-year.html
23984  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: May 13, 2010, 02:06:40 PM
and, clicking our way along the cyber brick road, we find:

http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/2010/05/09/20100509immigration-law-momentum.html
23985  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: May 13, 2010, 02:05:23 PM


A progressive site has some concrete info

http://wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/2010/05/12/arizona-reasonable-suspicion/

along with , , , some progressive stuff.
23986  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: May 13, 2010, 01:45:34 PM
Second post of the day:

The Iraq Question
ON MAY 11, AN AP REPORT CITED multiple anonymous U.S. military sources stating that the planned American drawdown of combat troops from Iraq had been delayed. Later that same day, a Pentagon spokesman denied the veracity of those claims. In his rebuttal, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said that of the 94,000 U.S. soldiers currently in Iraq, only 50,000 would remain by the end of August, with the accelerated drawdown set to begin in earnest in June, keeping in line with previous pledges made by U.S. President Barack Obama. Speaking hypothetically, Morrell said that even if the withdrawal timetable had truly been drawn out, it would not have represented a “dramatic development.”

Despite the Pentagon’s official position on the matter, it is undeniable that Iraq has seen a ramp up in violence and political tension of late. This makes it hard to believe that the Obama administration is not wondering just how strong the hand it holds on the Iraq question is these days in relation to the other player at the table: Iran. Make no mistake, however. The United States is leaving Iraq, even if later than the currently scheduled date for total departure, the end of 2011. And while over the long run the United States holds clear advantages over Iran, the question that affects the more immediate future is how much (if at all) the United States will be able to utilize the time it has left in Iraq to ensure that the country will not be politically dominated by Tehran once the United States is gone.

Judging from the results of the March 7 parliamentary elections in Iraq, the United States may have a harder time than it had previously hoped in seeing this goal through. It is now clear that the Shia will hold the upper hand over the Sunnis when it comes to dictating the terms of who gets what in the new Iraqi government, which is good news indeed in Tehran. It is not good news in Washington, which now faces the prospect of a Shia-run Baghdad — albeit with a significant Sunni population acting as a natural check — being heavily influenced by its eastern Shiite neighbor. As American foreign policy in the region is heavily centered upon maintaining balances of power (one of which, the Iran-Iraq balance, was shattered as a result of the 2003 U.S. invasion), an emboldened Iran flanking its Iraqi satellite state would represent a setback for the United States.

There are options for what the Obama administration may decide to do about the Iraq question, but none of them are very appealing from the United States’ point of view. Washington could attempt to renegotiate its Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with the Iraqi government and prolong its military occupation of the country past 2011. In this case, it could opt for either a prolonged presence involving a large number of troops (the least preferable option in the United States’ eyes), or an extended presence with a smaller number of troops. Both scenarios would generate fierce opposition from Iran and many sectors of Iraqi society, not to mention Obama’s constituents at home. Choosing an extended occupation — assuming it got the go ahead for the renegotiation of the SOFA with Baghdad — would see the United States keeping its forces in Iraq and re-evaluating its options as time progresses.

“There are options for what the Obama administration may decide to do about the Iraq question, but none of them are very appealing from the United States’ point of view.”
If Washington eschews both options, it could, of course, simply accept Iran as the dominant regional power. The United States’ geopolitical interests make all of these unattractive choices, however, meaning the United States could seek to alter the equation, in this case through negotiations with Iran. To do this, Washington must be prepared to give Iran credible security guarantees in exchange for a promise from Tehran to allow an independent Iraq at least a modicum of political independence.

Iran may hold the better hand at the moment, but the United States is still the global hegemon, meaning that despite being in a pretty good situation these days, the Iranian regime is anything but overly confident. The threat of war or sanctions may have subsided, but Tehran knows that its fortunes could change rapidly.

The Iranians know the United States wants to leave Iraq — sooner rather than later — and despite their bellicose rhetoric, are willing to work to accommodate the American aspiration to leave behind a relatively stable country. What Tehran desires more than anything is to guarantee its national security. It hopes it can take advantage of America’s momentary weakness to extract concessions, using its potential leverage over Iraq as its prized bargaining chip. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s routine reminders that the only way for Obama to solve his country’s problems in the Middle East is to enlist Iranian support serves to highlight this point.

Already, there have been vague signs of a possible opening in dialogue between the two countries. While in New York last week, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki hosted a dinner that brought together representatives from United Nations Security Council member states. The United States sent Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Alejandro Wolff, a low-ranking official, but a representative of the United States government nonetheless. Wolff and Mottaki reportedly discussed the status of four American citizens currently believed to be held in Iran, including former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who has not been seen since 2007. On May 11, Mottaki announced that the mothers of the other three Americans discussed at the dinner — a trio of hikers detained on the Iranian side of the border near Iraqi Kurdistan in July 2009 — would be granted visas to come visit their children.

It is exactly these types of gestures, however insignificant they may appear in isolation, that must precede any meaningful dialogue on a topic as momentous as the future of an independent Iraq.
23987  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor: The Drawdown from Iraq on: May 13, 2010, 11:46:43 AM
Summary
The rapid withdrawal of some 40,000 U.S. troops from Iraq over the course of three months looms even as the delicate ethno-sectarian balance of power in Baghdad looks shakier than it has in years and violence appears to be on the rise. STRATFOR examines this withdrawal and its implications.


There are 94,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. Although reports emerged May 11 that the long-anticipated drawdown to 50,000 troops might not begin in earnest until June, the Pentagon maintains that everything is on track to meet the deadline for all combat troops to be out of the country at the end of August.

The planned drawdown comes as violence in Iraq appears to be on the rise and the ethno-sectarian balance of power holding the country together looks to be growing ever more delicate. The drawdown certainly will have implications for the situation in Iraq, but even a reduced U.S. force remains a significant presence in the country and an important factor in the effectiveness of the Iraqi security forces.

The Basics
The drawdown of just more than 40,000 troops in three months (only 91,000 troops are expected to remain in Iraq by the end of May) can only be described as rapid. Even U.S. Army Gen. Ray Odierno, the top U.S. officer in Iraq, described it as a “waterfall.” But a drawdown of this scale at this pace does not happen without immense preparation, and that is a key aspect of the plan; many of the shifts the drawdown entails have already taken place. Since the 2007 surge, during which the number of U.S. troops in the country peaked at around 170,000, the U.S. military in Iraq slowly shifted from being at the forefront of security efforts to playing a tactical overwatch role. That role has continued to evolve, with U.S. forces continuing to move toward a more operational or, in some cases, even a higher, strategic-level overwatch.

Joint patrols are still conducted, especially in more contentious areas such as the northern city of Kirkuk. U.S. training, advising and support — particularly in terms of intelligence and logistics — are still essential to the effective functioning of the Iraqi security forces, which are not expected to be fully effective until at least the end of 2011. But by and large, the United States has already handed over its role in directly maintaining routine security.

The U.S. role is still practical in terms of facilitating and overseeing the day-to-day maintenance of security. But the drawdown schedule has been informed by projections and calculations about what the Iraqi security forces will need from U.S. forces in terms of said facilitation and oversight. In short, if the overarching but delicate sectarian balance of power holds, the United States will have sufficient forces in place to continue supporting the Iraqis in providing for basic internal security.

The Catch
However, that remains a rather large “if.” Even at the height of the surge, the United States has never had anywhere near enough troops in Iraq to militarily impose a political reality on the entire country. The surge’s success was founded upon the 2006-7 decision by the Sunni tribal chiefs in Anbar and other Sunni provinces to reject al Qaeda in Iraq and form Awakening Councils that worked directly with the U.S. military. It also succeeded because of the 2006 agreement in Baghdad on an acceptable division of control over the various security and intelligence organs of state among Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish leadership.

It was this division of control that provided the foundation for the delicate sectarian balance of power that has made the security environment in Iraq fairly stable and permissive for the last few years. The relatively calm and peaceful March 7 elections appeared promising in terms of sustaining this balance, but the formation of a governing coalition has been fraught with difficulty and sectarian strife. Moreover, in Iraq the winners must not only form a parliamentary coalition but must also decide whether to divvy up the various security and intelligence posts in line with the 2006 deal or to strike a new one. That process remains very much in flux.

Meanwhile, sectarian tensions have begun to flare back up, and Sunnis have serious concerns about being marginalized after they threw their weight behind the non-sectarian al-Iraqiya party, which won the most votes. At the moment, STRATFOR remains fairly confident in its assessment that a massive and devastating blow has been struck against al Qaeda in Iraq, but should the Sunnis return to arms, they could again become more welcoming to foreign jihadists.

So while it is clear that the post-drawdown provisions for security in the country are likely sufficient to maintain the status quo in a benign security environment, the real heart of the matter is the Iraqi security forces’ ability to hold together and impose security, as well as Baghdad’s writ in a more contentious and charged sectarian environment.

Since Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s botched dispatch of Iraqi security forces to Basra in 2008 to take action against Shiite militias — especially the armed wing of Muqtada al-Sadr’s movement — without prior consultation with the United States (an operation that was woefully underplanned and undersupplied and was only saved by quick U.S. intervention), very real and important improvements have been made to the Iraqi security forces. But while some units have performed well under fire, the overall environment has been relatively benign and free of excessive sectarian tension, so the forces have gone effectively untested with respect to the situations they may face in the next year.

The military is institutionally stronger and more coherent than even the National Police service, but Iraqis largely still identify along ethno-sectarian lines. This can create multiple senses of identity and thus competing loyalties — not just among the soldiers but also among the commanders and civilian leaders. Amid the current ethno-sectarian tensions, the security forces remain coherent and intact. But if tensions seriously escalate, the list of potential scenarios is almost limitless. A major breakdown in Iraq could lead to not just desertions but the use of security forces for sectarian purposes and even different elements of the forces fighting amongst themselves.

U.S. Combat Capability
The United States has limited ability to ramp its forces in Iraq back up to intervene in a civil war. With nearly 100,000 U.S. troops slated to be committed to Afghanistan by the end of the summer, the United States simply lacks the troops to return to surge levels in Iraq even if it wanted to — and it certainly has no appetite to do so. Meanwhile, the disposition of U.S. forces has fundamentally shifted and contracted considerably. Not only joint security stations but whole forward operating bases have been decommissioned and handed over to the Iraqis. U.S. troops are becoming less dispersed and less exposed, concentrating at bases that are better protected and less vulnerable. But they are also losing some of their nuanced situational awareness and certainly their ability to respond rapidly across the country. Simultaneously, massive amounts of materiel have either been liquidated or shipped back out of the country. So even with the troops still in place, there are logistical and infrastructural complications to returning to Iraq in a big way.

In any event, the United States requires either a coherent Iraqi security force to support in dealing with widespread sectarian tension or for the violence to take place only in isolated areas where force can be concentrated and Iraqi security personnel can be more carefully selected to minimize ethno-sectarian conflicts of interest.

And while all combat troops are supposed to be out of the country by the end of August, this is less of a distinction than it might seem. In terms of day-to-day operations, Americans remain important force multipliers and enablers for Iraqi security forces, with whom they work regularly. This means that, in areas where U.S. troops remain involved after August, the shift will not necessarily be as sharp and sudden as it might first seem.

An Advisory and Assistance Brigade (AAB) is still, at heart, a brigade combat team — simply under a different name with some reorganization and reorientation. Five of the 10 brigade combat teams in Iraq (not counting three brigades dedicated to convoy and base security) are already designated as AABs. They continue to have not only infantry, but cavalry and in some cases even armored battalions under their command, and even the smallest contingent of American advisers should have the ability to call for artillery support or close air support.

In short, there is no denying that slashing more than 40,000 troops from Iraq in three months will entail significant shifts on the ground. But 50,000 troops is still an enormous commitment of forces (as a point of comparison, U.S. forces in Korea number less than 30,000). The contingent is still larger and more capable than many countries’ entire militaries, and that is without mentioning the potent special operations forces that will remain on the ground. Though these forces will be unable to impose a reality on Iraq as was done in post-World War II Germany and Japan, they will be able to help maximize the effectiveness of Iraqi security forces. They can also defend themselves and, if necessary, conduct limited operations themselves.

This utilization of U.S. forces is not something that would be done lightly or without consequence, but it is a reminder of the enduring, if declining, military capability and subsequent influence that the United States will continue to enjoy in Iraq and with the government in Baghdad. The American position should not be overstated, but it must also not be understated. The essential fact is that it is on a steady, downward trajectory. It is neither precipitous nor cautious, but in the end remains extremely difficult to reverse.

Ultimately, everything rests on the formation of a government in Baghdad and the establishment of an equitable power-sharing agreement for the security and intelligence organs. It need not be perfect, and it need not be without contention. But the more contained and more limited the sectarian flare-ups, the more manageable they will be for the fledgling Iraqi security forces and the remaining U.S. troops. Conversely, if the descent into sectarian chaos becomes deep and sustained, the question will become not if but when the security forces will begin to fracture — and even 170,000 U.S. troops would not be able to manage that without some underlying political understanding between ethno-sectarian factions.
23988  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: May 13, 2010, 10:25:05 AM
Agreed that that is the current law. 

What is not clear to me however is what a legal category of no Miranda rights for US citizens declared by the State to be X would look like; ditto where they could lose their citizenship, as proposed by Senator Lieberman.
23989  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Kagan on: May 13, 2010, 10:22:41 AM
Alexander's Essay – May 13, 2010

Komrade Kagan
"[T]he opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not ... would make the judiciary a despotic branch. ... [T]he germ of dissolution of our federal government is ... the federal Judiciary ... working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief, over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall be usurped. ... They are construing our constitution from a co-ordination of a general and special government to a general and supreme one alone." --Thomas Jefferson

Justice Elena Kagan?Barack Obama has nominated his Solicitor General, Elena Kagan, to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

Since this is a lifetime appointment, we should consider the implications for our Constitution and for liberty.

Will this Ivy League academic be an advocate for Essential Liberty and Rule of Law, or does she subscribe to the errant notion of a "living constitution"?

According to Obama, Kagan "is widely regarded as one of the nation's foremost legal minds," and he's right -- if by "widely" he means among elitist Leftists.

In fact, Obama's assessment of Kagan mirrored that of her über-Leftist Princeton prof Sean Wilentz, under whose tutelage Kagan wrote her glowing thesis on socialism in the early 20th century. "Kagan," said Wilentz, "is one of the foremost legal minds in the country."

In her thesis, Kagan lamented the fact that free enterprise overcame socialism and concluded, "A coherent socialist movement is nowhere to be found in the United States to speak of a golden past than of a golden future, of capitalism's glories than of socialism's greatness."

"Why, in a society by no means perfect, has a radical party never attained the status of a major political force?" wondered Kagan. "Why, in particular, did the socialist movement never become an alternative to the nation's established parties? Through its own internal feuding, then, the SP [Socialist Party] exhausted itself..."

In her thesis, Kagan lamented the fact that free enterprise overcame socialism and concluded, "In our own times, a coherent socialist movement is nowhere to be found in the United States. Americans are more likely to speak of a golden past than of a golden future, of capitalism's glories than of socialism's greatness. ... In unity lies their only hope."

Ah, yes, the "hope and change" necessary for Obama to make good on his promise to "fundamentally transform the United States of America."

Just as Obama was mentored by Marxists, Kagan has been steeped in socialist doctrine, and is no doubt rejoicing in the resurgence of socialism in the U.S. under the leadership of Obama and his water boys in the legislative and judicial branches.

As for her qualifications for a seat on the Supreme Court, Obama insists that Kagan "is an acclaimed legal scholar with a rich understanding of constitutional law."

In fact, she has exactly no judicial experience and very limited litigation experience. Legal authority Ken Klukowski writes that Kagan is an ideal nominee for Obama: "She's a liberal without a paper trail."

Sounds like the Obama model.

Most of Kagan's experience is academic (read: "deficient"), at the University of Chicago Law School and as dean of Harvard Law School, where she attempted to boot military recruiters off campus at the height of the war in Iraq. Her reason for this frontal assault on our nation's ability to defend itself was the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which Kagan called "a profound wrong -- a moral injustice of the first order."

Even The Washington Post concludes that her qualifications "can only be called thin," noting further, "even her professional background is thin."

While media profiles of Kagan paint her, predictably, as a moderate "consensus-builder," Kagan is, in fact, a genuine, hardcore Leftist, a former legal counsel to the Clintonista regime who began her political career in earnest as a staffer for liberal Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis's presidential run back in 1988.

Her liberal roots were firmly entrenched by the time she graduated from Princeton in 1981, the year Ronald Reagan took office. A New York Times profile of Kagan notes, "On Election Night, she drowned her sorrow in vodka and tonic as Ronald Reagan took the White House."

More recently, the thin legal trail she has established as Obama's Solicitor to the Supreme Court raises serious questions about Kagan's commitment to the plain language of the First Amendment.

In a 1996 law review article, Kagan wrote that the "redistribution of speech" is not "itself an illegitimate end," which is another way of saying that the court has a responsibility to level the playing field for various ideas, including the Internet, talk radio, etc.

She recently offered a similar argument before the High Court in regard to the government's authority to regulate print materials under campaign finance laws, a notion that Chief Justice John Roberts concluded, "As a free-floating test for First Amendment coverage, that [proposition] is startling and dangerous."

Says Kagan, "Constitutional rights are a product of constitutional text as interpreted by the courts and understood by the nation's citizenry and its elected representatives."

She undoubtedly came to that errant conclusion while clerking for Justice Thurgood Marshall, of whom she later wrote admiringly, "In Justice Marshall's view, constitutional interpretation demanded, above all else, one thing from the courts: it demanded that the courts show a special solicitude for the despised or disadvantaged. It was the role of the courts, in interpreting the Constitution, to protect the people who went unprotected by every other organ of government -- to safeguard the interests of people who had no other champion. The Court existed primarily to fulfill this mission. ... The Constitution, as originally drafted and conceived, was 'defective.' The Constitution today ... contains a great deal to be proud of. But the credit does not belong to the Framers. It belongs to those who refused to acquiesce in outdated notions of 'liberty,' 'justice,' and 'equality.' Our modern Constitution is [Marshall's]."

Setting aside her utter disdain for our Constitution and its authors, Kagan is flat-out wrong about the role of the High Court. It exists to safeguard the unbiased application of our Constitution's original intent.

In 1987, the year before Kagan clerked for Marshall, he delivered a lecture entitled, "The Constitution: A Living Document," in which he argued that the Constitution must be interpreted in a way that succumbs to the contemporary political, moral and cultural climate.

That is the very definition of the "living constitution" upon which judicial activists have relied in order to amend our Constitution by judicial fiat rather than its prescribed method in Article V.

No doubt, Kagan will advance that heretical and treasonous interpretation.

Obama claims that Kagan understands the law "not as an intellectual exercise or words on a page -- but as it affects the lives of ordinary people."

Not as "words on a page"?

It is precisely that rejection of the plain language of our Constitution that led President Thomas Jefferson in 1804 to call the court "the despotic branch."

Indeed, since the very founding of our constitutional government, the judiciary has worked "like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief, over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall be usurped."

Back in 1987, during confirmation hearings for Judge Robert Bork (one of the most qualified jurists ever nominated to the High Court), one Leftist senator commented, "The Framers intended the Senate to take the broadest view of its constitutional responsibility," especially in regard to the nominee's "political, legal and constitutional views." That senator was Joe Biden, who rejected Judge Bork because he was a "constitutional constructionist," precisely the attribute our Founders wanted in jurists.

Perhaps those in the Senate today will rightly consider Kagan's "political, legal and constitutional views," and reject her nomination in order to preserve Essential Liberty and Rule of Law.

Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!

Mark Alexander
Publisher, PatriotPost.US
23990  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Lock-up Raw: Predatory Behavior on: May 13, 2010, 08:49:33 AM


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Po3Cl8uCHvs&NR=1
23991  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: May 13, 2010, 07:51:53 AM
Although, as I just mentioned, I admire Scott's work greatly-- I do not share his optimistic conclusions, as tempered as they may be.  I think (fear?) that this time is different; that we have kept kicking the day of reckoning upstream until we have reached a point where the world as a whole is rather bankrupt and a world wide bubble is in the process of bursting.

Glenn Beck makes the interesting point that in the aftermath of WW2 that world-wide economic integration was seen as a good and necessary way to prevent another world-wide conflagration, but that now that we are all integrated into one world-wide economy, when the excrement hits the fan that everyone is going to get splattered.
23992  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Russia-- Europe on: May 13, 2010, 07:45:39 AM
BBG:

You raise a fascinating point here, one of import beyond the confines of this thread.  If you have more in this vein, maybe I should expand the definition of the Fascism thread , , ,
23993  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: May 13, 2010, 07:42:15 AM
Understood, of course.  But what if Progressives are in charge and start defining us as terrorist threats, e.g. as was seen in that Homeland Security report a few months back and this logic is already established for Islamo-fascism?
23994  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / John Paul Jones on: May 13, 2010, 07:39:08 AM
An honorable Peace is and always was my first wish! I can take no delight in the effusion of human Blood; but, if this War should continue, I wish to have the most active part in it." --John Paul Jones, letter to Gouverneur Morris, 1782
23995  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: May 12, 2010, 02:50:42 PM
Although I tend to be more apocalyptic, as always Scott Grannis is a beacon of quality economic analysis:

http://scottgrannis.blogspot.com/

This is quality stuff folks!
23996  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Guro Crafty in NYC 6/19-20 on: May 12, 2010, 02:18:51 PM
So, some of the Toronto Clan of the DBs will be coming?
23997  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Founding Father Fridays on: May 12, 2010, 01:48:34 PM
GB is running Founding Father Fridays for at least a month.  #1 was Sam Adams.  My son and I watched this together.  Saved and awaiting our viewing is #2 on George Washington.  #3 will be on the black patriots in MA.

Based upon what my son and I saw in #1, I recommend this heartily.  Good family viewing too!  Help educate your children right!

23998  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Shazad and the pre-911 paradigm on: May 12, 2010, 01:40:36 PM
Question presented:  What of Glenn Beck's hypothetical last night in the context of the Kagan nomination and her statement in support of treating someone accused of raising money for AQ as an enemy combatant:  What if another Timothy McVeigh strikes?  Can the State use what Mukasey describes below to go after those of us who actively support the 912 movement/the Tea Party?

====================================

Shazad and the pre-911 paradigm
By MICHAEL B. MUKASEY
Some good news from the attempted car bombing in Times Square on May 1 is that—at the relatively small cost of disappointment to Broadway theater-goers—it teaches valuable lessons to help deal with Islamist terrorism. The bad news is that those lessons should already have been learned.

One such lesson has to do with intelligence gathering. Because our enemies in this struggle do not occupy a particular country or location, intelligence is our only tool for frustrating their plans and locating and targeting their leaders. But as was the case with Umar Faruk Abdulmutallab, who tried to detonate a bomb aboard an airplane over Detroit last Christmas Day, principal emphasis was placed on assuring that any statements Faisal Shahzad made could be used against him rather than simply designating him an unlawful enemy combatant and assuring that we obtained and exploited any information he had.

On Sunday, Attorney General Eric Holder said that in regard to terrorism investigations he supports "modifying" the Miranda law that requires law enforcement officials to inform suspects of their rights to silence and counsel. But his approach—extension of the "public safety exemption" to terror investigations—is both parsimonious and problematic. The public safety exemption allows a delay in Miranda warnings until an imminent threat to public safety—e.g., a loaded gun somewhere in a public place that might be found by a child—has been neutralized. In terror cases it is impossible to determine when all necessary intelligence, which in any event might not relate to an imminent threat, has been learned.

The lesson from our experience with Abdulmutallab, who stopped talking soon after he was advised of his rights and did not resume for weeks until his family could be flown here to persuade him to resume, should have been that intelligence gathering comes first. Yes, Shahzad, as we are told, continued to provide information even after he was advised of his rights, but that cooperation came in spite of and not because of his treatment as a conventional criminal defendant.

Moreover, once Shahzad cooperated, it made no more sense with him than it did with Abdulmutallab to publicize his cooperation and thereby warn those still at large to hide and destroy whatever evidence they could. The profligate disclosures in Shahzad's case, even to the point of describing his confession, could only hinder successful exploitation of whatever information he provided.

The Shahzad case provides a reminder of the permanent harm leaks of any kind can cause. An Associated Press story citing unnamed law enforcement sources reported that investigators were on the trail of a "courier" who had helped provide financing to Shahzad.

A courier would seem oddly out of place in the contemporary world where money can be transferred with the click of a mouse—that is, until one recalls that in 2006 the New York Times disclosed on its front page a highly classified government program for monitoring electronic international money transfers through what is known as the Swift system.

That monitoring violated no law but was leaked and reported as what an intelligence lawyer of my acquaintance referred to as "intelliporn"—intelligence information that is disclosed for no better reason than that it is fun to read about, and without regard for the harm it causes. Of course, terrorists around the world took note, and resorted to "couriers," making it much harder to trace terrorist financing.

In the hours immediately following the discovery and disarming of the car bomb, media outlets and public figures fell all over themselves to lay blame as far as possible from where it would ultimately be found. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano suggested the incident was entirely isolated and directed her agency's personnel to stand down. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg sportingly offered to wager a quarter on the proposition that the bomb was the work of a solitary lunatic, perhaps someone upset over passage of the health-care bill, and much merriment was had over how primitive the bomb had been and how doomed it was to fail.

This sort of reaction goes back much further than this administration. Consider the chain of events leading to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and eventually 9/11.

In November 1990, Meir Kahane, a right-wing Israeli politician, was assassinated after delivering a speech at a Manhattan hotel by El-Sayid Nosair, quickly pigeonholed as a lone misfit whose failures at work had driven him over the edge. The material seized from his home lay largely unexamined in boxes until a truck bomb was detonated under the World Trade Center in 1993, when the perpetrators of that act announced that freeing Nosair from prison was one of their demands.

Authorities then examined the neglected boxes and found jihadi literature urging the attacks on Western civilization through a terror campaign that would include toppling tall buildings that were centers of finance and tourism. An amateur video of Kahane's speech the night he was assassinated revealed that one of the 1993 bombers, Mohammed Salameh, was present in the hall when Nosair committed his act, and the ensuing investigation disclosed that Nosair was supposed to have made his escape with the help of another, Mahmoud Abouhalima, who was waiting outside at the wheel of a cab.

Nosair jumped into the wrong cab and the terrified driver pulled over and ducked under the dashboard, at which point Nosair tried to flee on foot and was captured. Salameh was captured when the vehicle identification number on the truck that carried the bomb led investigators to a rental agency, where he showed up days later to try to retrieve the deposit on the truck so that he could finance his escape.


Despite the toll from the first World Trade Center blast—six killed, hundreds injured, tens of millions of dollars in damage—and the murder of Kahane, much sport was made of how inept the perpetrators were.

Nosair and the 1993 Trade Center bombers were disciples of cleric Omar Abdel Rahman, known as the "blind sheikh," who was tried and convicted in 1995 along with nine others for conspiring to wage a war of urban terror that included not only that bombing and the Kahane assassination but also a plot to bomb simultaneously the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels, the George Washington Bridge and the United Nations.

One of the unindicted co-conspirators in that case was a then-obscure Osama bin Laden, who would declare in 1996 and again in 1998 that militant Islamists were at war with the United States. In 1998, his organization, al Qaeda, arranged the near-simultaneous bombing of American Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Despite the declaration of war and the act of war, the criminal law paradigm continued to define our response. Along with immediate perpetrators, and some remote perpetrators including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, bin Laden was indicted, and the oft-repeated vow to "bring them to justice" was repeated. Unmoved, and certainly undeterred, bin Laden in 2000 unleashed the attack in Yemen on the destroyer USS Cole, killing 17.

That was followed by Sept. 11, 2001, and it appeared for a time that Islamist fanaticism would no longer be greeted with condescending mockery. To the phrase "bring them to justice" was added "bring justice to them." The country appeared ready to adopt a stance of war, and to be ready to treat terrorists as it had the German saboteurs who landed off Long Island and Florida in 1942—as unlawful combatants under the laws of war who were not entitled to the guarantees that the Constitution grants to ordinary criminals.

There have been more than 20 Islamist terrorist plots aimed at this country since 9/11, including the deadly shooting by U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, those of Abdulmutallab and Shahzad, and those of Najibullah Zazi and his cohorts, Bryant Neal Vinas and his, against commuter railroads and subways in New York; of plotters who targeted military personnel at Fort Dix, N.J., Quantico, Va., and Goose Creek, S.C., and who murdered an Army recruiter in Little Rock, Ark.; of those who planned to blow up synagogues in New York, an office building in Dallas, and a courthouse in Illinois, among others.

Yet the pre-9/11 criminal law paradigm is again setting the limit of Attorney General Holder's response, even to the point of considering the inapposite public safety exception to Miranda as a way to help intelligence gathering. He continues to press for a civilian trial for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and others who had long since been scheduled to be tried before military commissions.

A significant lesson lurking in Shahzad's inadequacy, and the history that preceded it, is that one of the things terrorists do is persist. Ramzi Yousef's shortcomings in the first attempt to blow up the World Trade Center were made up for by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. We should see to the good order of our institutions and our attitudes before someone tries to make up for Faisal Shahzad's shortcomings.

Mr. Mukasey was attorney general of the United States from 2007 to 2009.
----
23999  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Guro Crafty in Tolmin, Slovenia 6/26-27 on: May 12, 2010, 01:20:44 PM
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24000  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Guro Crafty in NYC 6/19-20 on: May 12, 2010, 01:09:21 PM
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