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24201  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Its not going away , , , on: December 15, 2008, 12:53:44 PM
These seem like some fair points to me , , ,

"Anyone who relies solely on MSM outlets ... may not even know that Obama has, to this day, not authorized the state of Hawaii to release his Certificate of Live Birth -- the 'long form' -- to prove that he is a 'natural born citizen' (NBC), a Constitutional requirement of all presidents. Instead, We, the People, have online access to an Obama document known as a Certification of Live Birth, which, as Randall Hoven explains at American Thinker blog, is a computer-generated short form that is not even accepted by the Hawaii Department of Home Lands as adequate verification of Hawaiian identity. ... Further dimming the online document's Holy Grail aspects, it has been altered -- the certificate's number has been redacted -- which, according to a statement printed on the document, actually invalidates it. But that's not all. Back on Oct. 31, Hawaii's director of health, along with the registrar of Vital Statistics, released a statement verifying that the Hawaii's Department of Health has Obama's 'original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures.' Well, that's just great. But no matter how many times this statement from 'Hawaiian authorities' is cited as the NBC clincher, it doesn't prove a thing. It turns out, as Hoven reports, that Hawaii issues birth certificates even for babies born elsewhere, so simply having an original Hawaiian birth certificate 'on record' doesn't answer the key questions. Namely: What exactly does this original birth certificate say? And why doesn't Obama simply authorize the document's release and be done with the question? ... I think it is nothing less than good citizenship to seek to verify that Obama is a 'natural born citizen' since our elites, which include the major political parties and the MSM, failed to bring the matter to its extremely simple resolution long ago. But while important, this isn't just a story about whether we as Americans are right or wrong to ask our president-elect the question about his original birth certificate. It is about whether our president-elect is right or wrong not to answer it." --columnist Diana West
24202  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues on: December 15, 2008, 12:32:52 PM
Does that mean the white man was right to kill the buffalo that blanketed the prairies when we arrived? rolleyes cheesy
24203  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Triggerfish on: December 15, 2008, 11:34:58 AM
Second post of the morning

FOIA docs show feds can lojack mobiles without telco help
By Julian Sanchez | Published: November 16, 2008 - 10:45PM CT

Related StoriesCourt: warrant needed to turn cell phone into homing beacon

Courts in recent years have been raising the evidentiary bar law enforcement agents must meet in order to obtain historical cell phone records that reveal information about a target's location. But documents obtained by civil liberties groups under a Freedom of Information Act request suggest that "triggerfish" technology can be used to pinpoint cell phones without involving cell phone providers at all.

Triggerfish, also known as cell-site simulators or digital analyzers, are nothing new: the technology was used in the 1990s to hunt down renowned hacker Kevin Mitnick. By posing as a cell tower, triggerfish trick nearby cell phones into transmitting their serial numbers, phone numbers, and other data to law enforcement. Most previous descriptions of the technology, however, suggested that because of range limitations, triggerfish were only useful for zeroing in on a phone's precise location once cooperative cell providers had given a general location.

This summer, however, the American Civil Liberties Union and Electronic Frontier Foundation sued the Justice Department, seeking documents related to the FBI's cell-phone tracking practices. Since August, they've received a stream of documents—the most recent batch on November 6—that were posted on the Internet last week. In a post on the progressive blog Daily Kos, ACLU spokesperson Rachel Myers drew attention to language in several of those documents implying that triggerfish have broader application than previously believed.

 As one of the documents intended to provide guidance for DOJ employees explains, triggerfish can be deployed "without the user knowing about it, and without involving the cell phone provider." That may be significant because the legal rulings requiring law enforcement to meet a high "probable cause" standard before acquiring cell location records have, thus far, pertained to requests for information from providers, pursuant to statutes such as the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) and the Stored Communications Act.

The Justice Department's electronic surveillance manual explicitly suggests that triggerfish may be used to avoid restrictions in statutes like CALEA that bar the use of pen register or trap-and-trace devices—which allow tracking of incoming and outgoing calls from a phone subject to much less stringent evidentiary standards—to gather location data. "By its very terms," according to the manual, "this prohibition applies only to information collected by a provider and not to information collected directly by law enforcement authorities.Thus, CALEA does not bar the use of pen/trap orders to authorize the use of cell phone tracking devices used to locate targeted cell phones." 

Perhaps surprisingly, it's only with the passage of the USA PATRIOT Act in 2001 that the government has needed any kind of court order to use triggerfish. While previously, the statutory language governing pen register or trap-and-trace orders did not appear to cover location tracking technology. Under the updated definition, these explicitly include any "device or process which records or decodes dialing, routing, addressing, and signaling information."
24204  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Audit on: December 15, 2008, 11:12:38 AM
As the first digital president, Barack Obama is learning the hard way how difficult it can be to maintain privacy in the information age. Earlier this year, his passport file was snooped by contract workers in the State Department. In October, someone at Immigration and Customs Enforcement leaked information about his aunt's immigration status. And in November, Verizon employees peeked at his cell phone records.

What these three incidents illustrate is not that computerized databases are vulnerable to hacking -- we already knew that, and anyway the perpetrators all had legitimate access to the systems they used -- but how important audit is as a security measure.

When we think about security, we commonly think about preventive measures: locks to keep burglars out of our homes, bank safes to keep thieves from our money, and airport screeners to keep guns and bombs off airplanes. We might also think of detection and response measures: alarms that go off when burglars pick our locks or dynamite open bank safes, sky marshals on airplanes who respond when a hijacker manages to sneak a gun through airport security. But audit, figuring out who did what after the fact, is often far more important than any of those other three.

Most security against crime comes from audit. Of course we use locks and alarms, but we don't wear bulletproof vests. The police provide for our safety by investigating crimes after the fact and prosecuting the guilty: that's audit.

Audit helps ensure that people don't abuse positions of trust. The cash register, for example, is basically an audit system. Cashiers have to handle the store's money. To ensure they don't skim from the till, the cash register keeps an audit trail of every transaction. The store owner can look at the register totals at the end of the day and make sure the amount of money in the register is the amount that should be there.

The same idea secures us from police abuse, too. The police have enormous power, including the ability to intrude into very intimate aspects of our life in order to solve crimes and keep the peace. This is generally a good thing, but to ensure that the police don't abuse this power, we put in place systems of audit like the warrant process.

The whole NSA warrantless eavesdropping scandal was about this. Some misleadingly painted it as allowing the government to eavesdrop on foreign terrorists, but the government always had that authority. What the government wanted was to not have to submit a warrant, even after the fact, to a secret FISA court. What they wanted was to not be subject to audit.

That would be an incredibly bad idea. Law enforcement systems that don't have good audit features designed in, or are exempt from this sort of audit-based oversight, are much more prone to abuse by those in power -- because they can abuse the system without the risk of getting caught. Audit is essential as the NSA increases its domestic spying. And large police databases, like the FBI Next Generation Identification System, need to have strong audit features built in.

For computerized database systems like that -- systems entrusted with other people's information -- audit is a very important security mechanism. Hospitals need to keep databases of very personal health information, and doctors and nurses need to be able to access that information quickly and easily. A good audit record of who accessed what when is the best way to ensure that those trusted with our medical information don't abuse that trust. It's the same with IRS records, credit reports, police databases, telephone records -- anything personal that someone might want to peek at during the course of his job.

Which brings us back to President Obama. In each of those three examples, someone in a position of trust inappropriately accessed personal information. The difference between how they played out is due to differences in audit. The State Department's audit worked best; they had alarm systems in place that alerted superiors when Obama's passport files were accessed and who accessed them. Verizon's audit mechanisms worked less well; they discovered the inappropriate account access and have narrowed the culprits down to a few people. Audit at Immigration and Customs Enforcement was far less effective; they still don't know who accessed the information.

Large databases filled with personal information, whether managed by governments or corporations, are an essential aspect of the information age. And they each need to be accessed, for legitimate purposes, by thousands or tens of thousands of people. The only way to ensure those people don't abuse the power they're entrusted with is through audit. Without it, we will simply never know who's peeking at what.

Obama stories:
NSA domestic spying:

FBI's Next Generation Identification System:

This essay first appeared on the Wall Street Journal website.
24205  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Unintended consequences on: December 15, 2008, 11:06:15 AM
U.S. President George W. Bush made what is likely his final trip as president to Iraq on Sunday. During the trip, he discussed what progress had been made while reiterating that the war there has not yet been won decisively. Bush was undoubtedly correct on both counts, but in a sense, these are no longer the key (or at least the only) questions that have to be asked in evaluating the Iraq war.

We have discussed the reasoning behind the U.S. invasion of Iraq innumerable times, and the issue certainly has been debated to the point that it is unlikely there is anyone left who hasn’t made up his mind on the subject. The point that significant progress has been made but that the situation remains fluid strikes us as fairly uncontroversial. Few deny that progress has been made; few would say the war is over.

There are four ways to evaluate the Iraq war. First, was the U.S. goal in the war worthy of the effort it required? Second, did the war achieve its intended goal? Third, was the war effort executed effectively? And finally, did the war have unintended consequences elsewhere? This last issue has always been discussed in terms of international hostility toward the United States or radicalization in the Muslim world. These subjects are worthy of discussion, but to our minds, the greatest unintended consequence of the Iraq war was the opportunity it provided for other states to enhance their power. The United States’ commitment to Iraq provided the world with breathing room and space for maneuver that it otherwise might not have had.

For five years, the bulk of American ground war-fighting capability was committed to Iraq. During that time, the threat posed by American power declined. Venezuela, for example, with all its talk about an American invasion, knew perfectly well that the United States was in no position to think about Caracas. This gave Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez room for maneuver that he otherwise might not have felt he had. In another example, there is much discussion of the need to intervene in Darfur. Whatever the wisdom of such an action, the Sudanese government has known the United States was in no position to play a leading role in such an operation. And whatever threats Washington might have made against Pakistan, Islamabad knew perfectly well that a multidivisional attack was not an option. With U.S. land power off the table for five years, the American ability to shape the world through threats and actions was severely diminished.

Nowhere was this better demonstrated than in the former Soviet Union. Russia is intrinsically weaker than the United States, but military power is not an abstract relationship. Judging military power is a question of which side can bring more power to bear in a certain place at a certain time. In a country like Georgia this past summer, Russian power was greater than American power — and this is now true throughout the Russian periphery. Moscow is now free to reshape the former Soviet Union without fear of meaningful American intervention. This fact is obvious to all of these countries, and it conditions their responses.

One can argue that the U.S. invasion of Iraq was justified, and one can also argue that the war was executed as effectively as possible. But Bush nailed the indisputable problem: the war is still not over. The fact that the war has taken too long from a global perspective is, to us, the key issue that is rarely discussed. It is not the situation on the ground in Iraq that frames the question of the war; it is the war’s effect on American strategic power around the world.

Because the Iraq war has lasted as long as it has, it has opened doors for other countries – doors that would have been closed had it been possible to end the war more quickly. The fact that the Iraq war is still continuing, and that it likely will last at least another 18 months, has created strategic consequences — independent of the question of the wisdom of the war in the first place. Even if the Iraq war were to end with a U.S. victory tomorrow, it nevertheless has brought with it profound strategic costs.
24206  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues on: December 15, 2008, 10:36:12 AM
Ummm, , , , I think I have it right.  Gore's theory is convenient to liberal fascism's designs for increased state power.   The facts are in its way.  Yes?
24207  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Washington: Last words on: December 15, 2008, 10:32:44 AM
"'Tis well."

--George Washington, last words, 14 December 1799
24208  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: December 15, 2008, 03:01:32 AM
Iran's universities are again the scene of battles over the country's future. In the digital age, we're able to take a better peek inside.

Footage of recent student protests in Tehran, Shiraz and Hamedan are all over the Internet. In particular, one clip of a student dressing down a government dignitary reveals a remarkable willingness to defy the regime. On the video, a young man at Shiraz University rises to address the visiting speaker of parliament and former nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani. "I'm not going to ask you a question because I don't accept you as the legitimate speaker or the parliament as legitimate," the student says, citing the elimination of opposition candidates in the previous parliamentary election.

Watch the Video

Courtesy of YouTube.Sitting on stage before a hundred or so students, Mr. Larijani looks taken aback and says nothing. "Let me tell you what is weighing heavily on my heart," the student continues. "I hate three things. One, I hate [President] Mahmoud Ahmadinejad."

Applause erupts -- in itself an act of defiance, since the mullahs consider clapping, along with neckties, a Western habit. "Two, I hate him for his hypocrisy." At this point, some pro-regime students -- whom reports link to the government-sanctioned Basij organization, the mullahs' brown shirts -- interrupt with chants and heckles. Amid the mayhem, the video ends. We don't know the young man's name or what happened to him after this October 9 encounter. Some Iranians speculate he was arrested; others say he went into hiding.

Since the last student uprising was crushed six years ago, Iran has seen sporadic but growing resistance to the regime -- most recently at the "Student Day" rallies on December 6 that commemorate the 1953 killing of three demonstrators by the Shah's army. The Shiraz student calls to mind the lone man, that "unknown rebel," who stood up to Chinese tanks during the Tiananmen protests. President-elect Obama says the U.S. should engage Iran. As one of our friends points out, "He has a choice: Engage with what Larijani represents, or engage with the generation of that student."
24209  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Disarming ourselves on: December 15, 2008, 02:58:52 AM
Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo get more press, but among the most urgent national security challenges facing President-elect Obama is what to do about America's stockpile of aging nuclear weapons. No less an authority than Secretary of Defense Robert Gates calls the situation "bleak" and is urging immediate modernization.

Department of Defense
Robert Gates.
On the campaign trail, Mr. Gates's new boss appeared to take a different view. Candidate Obama said he "seeks a world without nuclear weapons" and vowed to make "the goal of eliminating all nuclear weapons a central element in our nuclear policy." His woolly words have given a boost to the world disarmament movement, including last week's launch of Global Zero, the effort by Richard Branson and Queen Noor to eliminate nuclear weapons in 25 years. Naturally, they want to start with cuts in the U.S. arsenal.

But the reality of power has a way of focusing those charged with defending the U.S., and Mr. Obama will soon have to decide to modernize America's nuclear deterrent or let it continue to deteriorate. Every U.S. warhead is more than 20 years old, with some dating to the 1960s. The last test was 1992, when the U.S. adopted a unilateral test moratorium and since relied on computer modeling. Meanwhile, engineers and scientists with experience designing and building nuclear weapons are retiring or dying, and young Ph.D.s have little incentive to enter a field where innovation is taboo. The U.S. has zero production capability, beyond a few weapons in a lab.

Background Reading


A World Free of Nuclear Weapons (01/04/07)
– George P. Shultz, William J. Perry, Henry A. Kissinger and Sam NunnToward a Nuclear-Free World (01/15/08)
– George P. Shultz, William J. Perry, Henry A. Kissinger and Sam Nunn


Gen. Kevin Chilton: Sounding the Nuclear Alarm (11/22/08)
– Melanie KirkpatrickWe're told Mr. Gates's alarm will be echoed soon in a report by the Congressionally mandated commission charged with reviewing the role of nuclear weapons and the overall U.S. strategic posture. The commission's chairman is William Perry, a former Clinton Defense Secretary and a close Obama adviser. Mr. Perry is also one of the "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse," the nickname given to him, George Shultz, Henry Kissinger and Sam Nunn for an op-ed published in these pages last year offering a blueprint for ridding the world of nuclear weapons.

The commission's interim report is due out any day now, and the advance word is that Mr. Perry has come back to Earth. We're told the report's central finding is that the U.S. will need a nuclear deterrent for the indefinite future. A deterrent is credible, the report further notes, only if enemies believe it will work. That means modernization.

That logic ought to be obvious, but it escapes many in Congress who have stymied the Bush Administration's efforts to modernize. Britain, France, Russia and China are all updating their nuclear forces, but Mr. Bush couldn't even get Congress this year to fund so much as R&D for the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) program. Senator Dianne Feinstein dismissed the RRW, saying "the Bush Administration's goal was to reopen the nuclear door."

In today's Opinion Journal


Madoff and MarketsDisarming OurselvesIran's YouTube Generation


The Americas: Innocents Die in the Drug War
– Mary Anastasia O'GradyInformation Age: Internet Attacks Are a Real and Growing Problem
– L. Gordon Crovitz


Bush Blinks on the Auto Bailout
– Paul IngrassiaThe Fed Still Has Plenty of Ammunition
– Frederic S. MishkinIt's Time to Junk the Electoral College
– Jonathan SorosIn the House, similar damage has been done by Ellen Tauscher, chairman of the subcommittee on strategic weapons. Ms. Tauscher, whose California district includes the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, likes to talk about a strong nuclear deterrent while bragging about killing the RRW. She also wants to revive the unenforceable Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which the Senate rejected in 1999. Let's hope the Perry report helps with her nuclear re-education.

If Congress isn't paying attention, U.S. allies are. The U.S. provides a nuclear umbrella for 30-plus countries, including several -- Japan, Germany and South Korea, for example -- capable of developing their own nuclear weapons. If they lose confidence in Washington's ability to protect them, the Perry report notes, they'll kick off a new nuclear arms race that will spread world-wide.

In a speech this fall, Mr. Gates said "there is no way we can maintain a credible deterrent" without "resorting to testing" or "pursuing a modernization program." General Kevin Chilton, the four-star in charge of U.S. strategic forces, has also spent the past year making the case for modernization. "The time to act is now," he told a Washington audience this month.

The aging U.S. nuclear arsenal is an urgent worry. A world free of nuclear weapons is a worthy goal, shared by many Presidents, including Ronald Reagan. Until that day arrives, no U.S. President can afford to let our nuclear deterrent erode.

24210  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Internet Attacks on: December 15, 2008, 02:50:49 AM
In the 1960s, the Pentagon looked for a secure way to keep its lines of communication going in the event of all-out war. The interlinked packet networks of computers became the Internet. Fast-forward to today, and that system of open protocols brings the enormous benefits of the Web to civilian life. But the Web has also become an open field for cyber warriors seeking to harm the U.S.

We're only now realizing that many of these attacks have happened, as evidence mounts that outsiders accessed sensitive government networks and other databases. A report based on closed-door information about cyber attacks reached a sobering conclusion: Foreign governments and terrorist groups are focused on cyber offensives in a "battle we are losing."

Last week's Center for Strategic and International Studies report disclosed that the departments of Defense, State, Homeland Security and Commerce all have had intrusions by unknown foreign entities. The Pentagon's computers are probed "hundreds of thousands of times each day." An official at the State Department says terabytes of its information have been compromised. The Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security had to go offline for several months. NASA has stopped using email before shuttle launches. Jihadist hackers are trying to confuse military computers into mistaking the identities of friendly and unfriendly forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The quasigovernmental commission revealing these cyber attacks is made up of private-sector information executives, military and intelligence officials, and two members of Congress. The study found that no department knew the extent of damage done to other departments. The extent of the harm is not known.

"The organization of the federal government, which dates to the 1930s or earlier, is part of the reason we are vulnerable," says the report. "Our industrial-age organization makes a cyber-dependent government vulnerable and inefficient. A collection of hierarchical 'stovepipes' is easier to attack and harder to defend because security programs are not of equal strength (the weakest link compromises all) and stovepiped defenders cannot appreciate the scope of, and respond well to, a multiagency attack."

As the first to build out an Internet grid, the U.S. is more vulnerable than countries that have built their infrastructure later. China, for example, constructed its Internet much later, on a more secure set of protocols. "Many Americans believe that our nation still leads in cyberspace, just as many Americans in 1957 believed that the U.S. led in space until a Soviet satellite appeared over their heads," the study says.

It's telling that the U.S. doesn't have a publicly stated doctrine on cyber defense that warns enemies and commits to taking action in response. Likening today's issues to the Cold War, the report says there should be clear rules about who will be punished how for what. It's in the nature of cyber attacks that it's hard to know exactly who's responsible, but some response must be made. "These uncertainties limit the value of deterrence for cybersecurity," the report says. "The deterrent effect of an unknown doctrine is quite limited."

In today's Opinion Journal


Madoff and MarketsDisarming OurselvesIran's YouTube Generation


The Americas: Innocents Die in the Drug War
– Mary Anastasia O'GradyInformation Age: Internet Attacks Are a Real and Growing Problem
– L. Gordon Crovitz


Bush Blinks on the Auto Bailout
– Paul IngrassiaThe Fed Still Has Plenty of Ammunition
– Frederic S. MishkinIt's Time to Junk the Electoral College
– Jonathan SorosOne problem is that Russia and China are the main suspects, but the U.S. defense establishment hesitates to say so too loudly. It's true that few cyber attackers are ever clearly identified. No one knows for sure who brought down the Internet in Estonia in 2007, when Moscow was outraged when a Soviet-era war memorial was relocated in Tallinn. Or who was behind the cyber attacks that virtually shut down government communications and financial transactions in the former Soviet republic of Georgia earlier this year. Likewise, many foreign visitors had their PCs and BlackBerrys compromised during the Olympics in Beijing, where cybersnooping equipment is widely available.

Data are lost, communications are compromised, and "denial of service" attacks bring down selected Web sites and national networks. Supposedly confidential corporate information, the report warns, is almost certainly being hacked. As more individuals and companies rely on "cloud computing" -- storing information and services such as email remotely on supposedly secure servers -- foreign intelligence agencies and commercial snoops may have access.

A former official at Darpa, the Pentagon research agency that launched the Web, testified to Congress last year that a major cyber attack on the U.S. could knock out electricity, banking and digital-based communications. Americans would be left rooting around for food and water, trading with one another for firewood (presumably not on eBay). Even if end-of-the-world visions are overdone, it's past time to assess risks and justify countermeasures.

The report has recommendations for the Obama administration, including a new government structure for cyber protection and working more closely with the private sector on security research. The broader point is that it's about time that we knew the extent of the cyberwarring against us. The first step to fighting back is to admit that there's a fight on.

Write to
24211  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues on: December 15, 2008, 02:37:48 AM
Let not the facts get in the way of a convenient theory tongue
24212  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Evolutionary biology/psychology on: December 15, 2008, 02:35:35 AM
In contrast to the notions of this article are the writings of Austrian ethnologist (study of animals) and Nobel Laureate Konrad Lorenz who, like psychologist Carl Jung and Sandhurst military historian John Keegan (History of War) point out that over time War has become evermore efficient in its brutality.  Working from memory, the deaths of the American Civil War exceeded what went before, yet was exceeded by the trench warfare of WW1, then the 20 million or so killed by Stalin and the tens of millions killed by Mao, then WW2 (including the use of nuclear weapons etc.)

Against the long term trend, it is risky to see the last few decades as a historical turning point.  If could be, but there's plenty to suggest otherwise as well.
24213  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Bush: "It was a size 10 shoe" on: December 14, 2008, 06:58:12 PM
President Bush shows some good reflexes in dealing with cranky reporter
24214  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: December 14, 2008, 02:49:02 PM

May I suggest taking this over to the Evolutionary Psychology/Biology thread on the SCE forum?  Once there I look forward to raising Konrad Lorenz's analysis of this issue (Jung too) -- which is completely to the contrary.  He held that the 20th Century was the most brutal in human history.


PS:  Wright's book on "Non-Zero Sum" is brilliant.
24215  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: December 14, 2008, 02:42:48 PM
I'm not getting the motive to be disingenuous here , , , huh
24216  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The Power of Word on: December 14, 2008, 02:40:42 PM
Thank you for continuing my education once again Rachel.

This in particular caught my attention:

"The Jewish people (Jewish tradition has it that all Jewish souls were at Sinai) agreed to obey the Torah before they heard it or understood it."

VERY interesting.
24217  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / NYT: Safe at hom on: December 14, 2008, 10:37:06 AM

Published: December 13, 2008

A FEW days before the presidential election, the director of national intelligence, Mike McConnell, told a group of intelligence officials that the new administration could well be tested by a terrorist attack on the homeland in its first year in office. “The World Trade Center was attacked in the first year of President Clinton, and the second attack was in the first year of President Bush,” he said.

President-elect Barack Obama made a similar observation when he told “60 Minutes” that it was important to get a national security team in place “because transition periods are potentially times of vulnerability to a terrorist attack.” During the campaign, Joe Biden warned that “it will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy.”

Should we be worried? In fact, the probability of a Qaeda attack on the United States is vanishingly small, for the same reasons that for the past seven years the terrorist group has not been able to carry out one.

President Bush and his supporters have often ascribed the absence of a Qaeda attack on the United States to the Iraq war, which supposedly acted as “flypaper” for jihadist terrorists, so instead of fighting them in Boston, America has fought them in Baghdad. Other commentators have said that Al Qaeda is simply biding its time to equal or top 9/11.

The real reasons are more prosaic. First, the American Muslim community has rejected the Qaeda ideological virus. American Muslims have instead overwhelmingly signed up for the American Dream, enjoying higher incomes and educational levels than the average.

Second, though it is hard to prove negatives, there appear to be no Qaeda sleeper cells in the United States. If they do exist, they are so asleep they are comatose. True, in 2003, the F.B.I. arrested Iyman Faris, an Ohio trucker who met with Qaeda leaders in Pakistan after 9/11 and then had a plot to demolish the Brooklyn Bridge with a pair of blowtorches, a deed akin to trying to blow up the Statue of Liberty with a firecracker. But he is an exceptional case. Two years after his arrest, a leaked F.B.I. report concluded, “To date, we have not identified any true ‘sleeper’ agents in the U.S.”

Third, when jihadist terrorists have attacked the United States, they have arrived from outside the country, something that is much harder to do now. The 19 hijackers of 9/11 all came from elsewhere. Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind of the 1993 Trade Center bombing, flew to New York from Pakistan. Today’s no-fly list and other protective measures make entering the country much more difficult.

Fourth, the Bush administration has made Americans safer with measures like the establishment of the National Counterterrorism Center, where officials from different branches of government share information and act on terrorist threats. As a result of such measures, scores of terrorism cases have been aggressively investigated in the United States. But despite the billions of dollars invested in all these efforts and the thousands of men and women who get up every day to hunt for terrorists, the resulting cases have almost never involved concrete terrorist plots or acts.

Of the so-called terrorism cases since 9/11, many have revolved around charges of “material support” for a terrorist group, a vague concept that can encompass almost any dealings with organizations that have at one point engaged in terrorism. And in the cases where a terrorist plot has been alleged, the plans have been more aspirational than realistic.

If Al Qaeda can’t get people into the country, doesn’t have sleeper cells here and is unable to garner support from the American Muslim community, then how does it pull off an attack in the United States? While a small-bore attack may be organized by a Qaeda wannabe at some point, a catastrophic mass-casualty assault anything along the lines of 9/11 is no longer plausible.

This is not to say Al Qaeda is no longer a threat to our interests. It has of course regenerated itself on Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan since 9/11, and as the 2005 attacks on the London subways and the foiled 2006 plot to bring down airliners leaving Heathrow Airport showed, it remains a grave danger to Britain.

In addition, Al Qaeda’s inability to attack the American homeland for the foreseeable future does not then mean that it can’t kill large numbers of American living overseas. If the 2006 “planes plot” had succeeded, British prosecutors say, as many as 1,500 passengers would have died, many of them Americans.

The incoming Obama administration has much to deal with, between managing two wars and the implosion of the financial system and car industry. But the likelihood of a terrorist attack on the United States in its early stages by Al Qaeda is close to zero.

Peter Bergen is a senior fellow at the New America Foundation and the author of “The Osama bin Laden I Know.”
24218  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: December 14, 2008, 10:17:02 AM
Though some may roll their eyes at her name, I think Dr. Laura Schlessinger is on sound ground when she says that at least one parent should be dedicated to the home and the children and that that one parent is usually the mother.    I think a lot of the societal breakdown that we have seen in recent decades is due to children being raised by daycare, nannies, and TV instead of loving mothers.
24219  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India and India-Pak on: December 14, 2008, 10:11:33 AM
When the majority of the Muslim world decides that the struggle is between civilization and barbarism instead of between the West and Islam, then the war can be won.
24220  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: December 14, 2008, 09:37:40 AM

I've been meaning to ask you about these words of yours:

"Women joined the work force not because of  feminism but because of economic necessity.  I would credit feminism for  encouraging woman to be doctors as well as nurses but not for getting them a job outside the home in the first place."

If I understand you correctly, you are saying that given a choice, most women would rather have their work be their homes and their families.  I'm OK with the concept, but am more than a little surprised to here it come from you. cheesy

"Capitalism encourages people to wait before having a family."

In that the dynamic we discuss was present in spades in the Russian population of the Soviet Empire, I'd quibble with the word "capitalism" and would suggest using "economically developed" instead.
24221  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Agradecimiento de cada dia on: December 14, 2008, 01:27:44 AM
Agradezco un buen entrenamiento de Kali Tudo esparring hoy despues de mi clase.  Sigo explorando nueva materia.
24222  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Daily Expression of Gratitude on: December 14, 2008, 12:02:36 AM
For my extra time with my children while my wife is out of town.
24223  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: April 2009 US Gathering on: December 13, 2008, 11:57:40 PM
The corral is no longer owned by the same person.  I'm playing phone tage with my brother to clarify the situation, and have asked if we can use the dirt area between his house and the orange grove as a Plan B.

24224  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Indians capture 23 pirates on: December 13, 2008, 01:20:13 PM
Indian navy captures 23 pirates
Pirates threatened a merchant vessel in the Gulf of Aden, navy says
The Associated Press
updated 9:45 a.m. PT, Sat., Dec. 13, 2008

NEW DELHI - The Indian navy captured 23 pirates who threatened a merchant vessel Saturday in the lawless waters of the Gulf of Aden, where dozens of ships have come under attack by gunmen in recent months.

An Indian navy ship, the INS Mysore, was escorting merchant ships in the region near Somalia when it received a distress call from seamen on board the MV Gibe, who said they were being attacked by two boats.

The distress call said the pirates were firing as their boats closed in on the Gibe, according to a statement from the Indian government. The pirate boats attempted to escape when they saw the Mysore and its helicopter, but were boarded by Indian marine commandos, the statement said.

The pirates had "a substantial cache of arms and equipment," including seven AK-47 assault rifles, three machine guns, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher and other weapons, the statement said. They also found a GPS receiver and other equipment.

The pirates were from Somalia and Yemen, two countries on the coast of the Gulf of Aden.

The Gibe was flying an Ethiopian flag, the statement said, but there was no further information about the ship.

Last month, India's navy drew criticism after sinking a Thai fishing trawler that had been commandeered hours earlier by pirates. At least one Thai crew member was killed in the attack, which the Indian navy had originally announced by saying it had sunk a pirate "mother ship." The Indian navy defended its actions, saying it had fired in self-defense.

Somali pirates have become increasingly brazen, and recently seized a Saudi supertanker loaded with $100 million of crude oil. Many of the vessels are taken to pirate-controlled regions in Somalia, where they are held for ransom.

It was not immediately clear what would happen to the pirates captured by the Indians, or where they would be taken. The statement said only that the prisoners and their weapons would be "handed over to appropriate authorities ashore."

'All necessary measures'
Most foreign navies patrolling the Somali coast have been reluctant to detain suspects because of uncertainties over where they would face trial, since Somalia has no effective central government or legal system.

An estimated 1,500 pirates are based in Somalia's semiautonomous Puntland region, raking in millions of dollars.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will present a draft Security Council resolution next week asking the United Nations to authorize "all necessary measures" against piracy from Somalia.

But on Friday, the commander of the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet expressed doubt about the wisdom of launching attacks against Somali pirates on land, as the draft proposes.

U.S. Vice Adm. Bill Gortney told reporters that it is difficult to identify pirates, and the potential for killing innocent civilians "cannot be overestimated."
24225  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: We the unorganized militia on: December 13, 2008, 01:09:14 AM
And a second related piece:

1). On what to do - Some folks think we are advocating running into the fight screaming with a knife in one hand and a snubby in the other. I'm not sure where that comes from, as it has never been suggested and is quite silly when you think about it.

Still, an aggressive counter attack at the outset of the incident seems to be a better option than hiding and hoping to go undetected once the bad guys have consolidated their forces. I do think that if you are unarmed (why would anyone do that today?), your options are very limited.

Additionally, if you are not at the point of contact, going to the fight may not be smart as you don't have any more info other than shots have been fired.
Going out in a blaze of glory is not on anyone's "to do" list here - at least I don't think so. But hiding helplessly and calling for help is not on it either.

If you can't do anything about the event, I am all for getting the “foxtrot” out of dodge. As far as evidence gathering - or getting intel out - or helping the police identify the bad guys, etc. Why is that your problem?

2). If you are armed (as well you should be), and know what is happening beyond a shadow of a doubt (its not the DEA in a firefight with a drug dealer that you are now intervening in), and in a position to shoot the bad guys - well - what do you think you should do?

911? Nope - not for me. Someone else can do that.
Call someone else ? Not at that point - not for me.

I am either engaging, or getting out. Once I am out, I may call, but when in the fire, you either fight, fly, or fry.

3). Before considering engaging the bad guys, consider who is with you. For example, endangering your family to save someone else may be seen by some as the epitome of selflessness, but I see it as the epitome of stupidity. I got a chance to speak with a Deputy whose daughter was killed by an armed robber because he chose to put another’s property and safety above that of his own family. Bad choice - very bad choice.

If I am in a Mumbai-esque situation with them, my job is to use my skills to get them out. Those who did not prepare are on their own until I get them to, what I consider, safety. If fifty unarmed peacenik liberals get slaughtered because I chose the safety of my tribe and family first, oh well - they made their bed, now they can bleed in it.

Now, having said that, if any tangos are in your way as you egress, you bet you should shoot your exit right through them. If I am alone, I may do something different, but family and tribe comes before anyone and anything else…so should yours.

4). If I am at ground zero, when the bad guys begin shooting, and I am alone, I will attack. Not because it is the best thing to do, but because it is the only thing to do. What other option do you have? I suggest you do likewise. And understand the tactical implications of "ATTACK". It doesn't mean running into their midst with a knife in one hand and a Glock in the other screaming “Wolverines”. If that is what you think attacking means- dude! - you need to come to class and get updated. How many times have I made an issue of shooting from long range in the Terrorist Interdiction Course?? Attack means you get your sights on the terrorist (his head if possible) and you smoke him in cold blood. This is vastly different from a typical civilian CCW self-defense shooting. There is no need for warning - no requirement to do anything, nor any chance given for surrender.

Perhaps AMBUSH is a better word.

5). I do not see the advantage in hunkering down and allowing the event to consolidate itself while you, the good witness, gather and pass information. That may be what the authorities want you to do as it benefits their mission. But YOUR mission is different.

I see what goes on in the Al Qaeda Training Video, and what has taken place in nearly every event where there have been organized terrorist active shooters. They have a plan and once they are able to consolidate their forces your options get very very limited.

An example - they know you are hiding in a covered area - and they will notice once they either stumble upon you in their security sweeps, or when you fire at one of them. They order you to come out. You tell them to go suck bacon. They grab a little girl and blow her brains out right there in front of you and her mother. As she falls, they grab another one. The mother is no longer screaming as she has been butt stroked into unconsciousness. Then they tell you again to come out as they grab up her sister and put the muzzle of an AK in her mouth. This is right out of their play books.

6). Some guys are assuming the bad guys will be using AKs. I think in Mumbai they used AKs because that was what they could get in Pakistan. One of my contacts - a man who should know, advises the rifles they used were Pakistani military AKs. If G3s would have been available, they may have used those.

Some think the AK will always mark you with the image of “the bad guy”. I think having ANY rifle in your hands may do that in these cases. Some interesting things in this area. I have asked several police guys about this and the truth is they can't readily distinguish between a FAL and an SKS. A rifle is a rifle and a pistol is a pistol. That is usually as far as it gets.

Another case in point – The Beltway terrorists Malvo and Mohammed, they used an AR-15.

Interestingly enough, there has been a fair bit of off the schedule training of cops with AKs. Agencies that allow their people to buy their own stuff are seeing more and more AKs in service. Specially the Arsenal SLRs in 223.

7). If the event is a typical psycho-lone gunman type thing like Trolley Square, Tacoma Mall, et al, you can expect a reasonably quick police response (still in the realm of several minutes at best). So the idea of picking up one of the bad guy’s rifles may not be either needed, nor wise. If you find yourself in this, you will be fighting with your pistol, not with the bad guy’s rifle, nor your personal rifle. Time to go get it, you will not have.

In a Mumbai/Beslan type event you can bet the tangos will have set up something to delay the police. Whether it is explosives, or outside shooters (which you may need to deal with as you egress anyway), or something. In such an event, picking up the bad guy’s weapons is an option. An option, but not one without risks. It gives you a better capability to engage and drop tangos than your CCW pistol, but in these events, anyone with a rifle may still be mistaken as a bad guy.

Cool. I have heard a great deal of discussion about whether Mumbai was a practice run or not. This attitude is usually seen in very US-centric thinkers. Not everything that happens around the world has anything to do with us. This was as much a practice run as Pearl Harbor was a practice run for the invasion of the Philippines.

Terror is seen as a tool by the terrorists, and not usually as an end in itself. There was a reason for Beslan, The Twin Towers, Madrid, etc. Terror creates fear and the realization that the authority in power cannot protect anyone. This will either bring a solidarity against the evil, as has been seen in Israel, or the desire to appease the evil, as has been seen in Europe. Terror hopes to appeal to that appeasement mentality who wants to give in to the terrorist so the terror will stop.

It also appeals to man's natural hatred. In this case, it appeals to the Indians who will say - "See what happens when we make friends with Americans and Jews".
It will also appeal to those who will say, "See you cannot trust Pakistan. Pakistan is and always has been, our enemy".

The fomenting of those sentiments and their cultivation and development, which may be strategically seen as an advantage by the terrorist masterminds, is what Mumbai was about.

Still, one cannot ignore that many victims there did not give a flying fornication about US Foreign Policy, India's Alliances, or Islam's Expansion, but they were still tortured and killed, specially if they were Jews or Americans.

Gabe Suarez
24226  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / To serve & defend our Constitution; we the unorganized militia; citizenship on: December 13, 2008, 01:05:05 AM
Woof All:

Inmy humble opinion there is an American Creed-- that of our Founding Fathers as expressed in the Declaration of Independence, the Federalist Papers, and our Constitution.

One are of particular interest to us (use the search funcion for the "Poltics & Religion" forum) is that which has to do with the   Second Amendment and Section 311 Title 10 (see the John Lott article "The Unorganized Militia" on the Flight 93 Memorial page).  Its why we have a thread titled "The Unorganized Militia" on the P&R forum!

Q:  So why have a thread of the same name here?  

A:  This one is to discuss where the rubber meets the road.

We kick things off with a piece by Gabe Suarez:
There has been a great deal of discussion about what to carry for an event like Mumbai. Gents, let's think about this. If you happen to be caught up in this at its conclusion, facing a dozen riflemen working together as a unit, and you with your Kel-Tec, what do you think your realistic chances of success are? Being real is not being defeatist, but come on.

Now, at the outset of the event, where there may be only one or two adversaries, it gets a little better in terms of odds. But only a little. You have one advantage and that is the advantage of surprise and one target. They, on the other hand have many avenues of danger to cover, only one which is yours. This will be a rapidly moving fluid situation.

One man was saying that using a cell phone to photograph the bad guys would be good. Pictures of the bad guys on your cell phone? Come on....seriously? If you have the ability to take their picture, you also have the ability to take their life, or GTFOT (get the f*** out of there) so get out of the evidence collecting mindset.

Number two, some guys were discussing carrying a special bag with them with all manner of weapons and gear to facilitate such a fight. Keeping a Bug Out Bag in the office or in the car is a wise move, but I doubt many of us are going to walk around fully kitted out all the time, so I think this will be limited to what you have on your person. Know'll carry your tango bag everywhere until you get sick of it and leave it in the car one day and then, that will be the day and you will fight with what you have on your person anyway.

Those of you with little bitty guns (snubbies and Glock 27s and such), I suggest you rethink your weapon choices. I can run a mini-Glock pretty good, but not as good as a full sized gun. What do I carry? A Glock 22 when at home and a Glock 17 when away. 15 rounds or 17 rounds respectively.

Yes, the bigger gun is harder to hide. Yes, I have to choose my clothing more carefully. Yes, its heavier. All of those things they tell you are true. But when you NEED THE MOTHER F'ING GUN NOW, those uber-comfortable pocket chain guns so popular with the CCW crowd will never allow you to fight as well as a full-sized gun.

Calibers - Please! I will take a 40 or a 9mm over a 45 any day of the week for the simple fact of the matter that I can fight much longer with one than I can with a seven or eight shot weapon. It may have been a caliber edge in 1976 when the only thing going was marginal hollow point ammo, but not today bwana. Ask any of those metro-sexual gun instructors if they want to get shot in the face with my "45 set on stun".
Magazine capacity is not an asset, it is a blessing.

Engagement Dynamics - Short range, run and gun, point shooting is an essential skill and must be prioritized for the urban ambush gunfight. However, for anti-terrorist activity, if you find yourself just outside or arm's length with a doped up, combat-trained AK-armed tango, you have already stepped into it. You can still fight, but wouldn't it be far better to be able to ice these monkeys from 25, 50 or even 100 yards?

Read the reports boys. There are folks who had an eye on the action from a distance. "If only I had a gun" was one of the Brit reporters said. The ability to hit out at these distances is not hard at all. But it must be learned and trained. And, your gear must support your ability to do it.

Those uber-court-proof heavy triggers promoted as essential by the lawyer-instructors are trash. Get rid of them. You don't need a hair trigger on your pistol, but you do need a manageable trigger. My Glocks for example all use the standard 5# connector set up and give me a crisp release that is conducive to accuracy. You don't need the 3# target connector, but good heavens don't add one of the abominable New York triggers.

Those big fat close range sights? If you can hit at 100 yards with them, drive on. I cannot, so I use sharply defined black iron sights like the Heines, and the Trijicons. Those of you with eye issues that can't use the irons well enough, invest in one of the Docter red dot sights. Yep....a red dot sight on your pistol. It is small enough to carry around and bright enough that even Mr. Magoo can hit at 100 meters with it.

Another thing - Usually after one of those events I will hear "By golly if I had been there I would have pulled out my custom model 29 and..." That is usually spoken by a guy who hasn't done any physical training since high school, would have a heart attack if he had to run ten feet to cover, and is so out of condition he could not fight his way out of a Sierra Club Tea Party In San Francisco. I'm not trying to offend anyone here but its not just about marksmanship and your ammo choices. If you are already a good shot, you need to get away from the range and into the gym or the street and train your out of shape shooter's body so you will be able to fight not just shoot.

And finally, without which all else is wasted, develop the will to kill. It is hard for some to sneak up on a man and shoot him in the back of the head unannounced, regardless of what the man has done, or is about to do. You need to get over that if you want to be a player at this level. it is not about capturing, or about bringing to justice, or about "stopping the action". it is about getting the drop on a terrorist from a distance, unseen and undetected, putting your sights on his ear, controlling your heartbeat, and then pressing that trigger without a moment's hesitation.

Gabe Suarez

One Source Tactical
Suarez International USA

24227  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor: The significance of pirates on: December 13, 2008, 12:37:47 AM
Geopolitical Diary: The Significance of Pirates
December 12, 2008

High-level discussions began Thursday over a U.S.-sponsored resolution at the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) that seeks to strengthen the international response to piracy in waters off the coast of Somalia. The new resolution -— which comes just a week after the UNSC passed another U.S.-penned resolution, extending the current U.N. approach to Somali piracy by another year —- would authorize foreign countries to send military assets ashore into Somalia and into Somali airspace in pursuit of pirates.

This would significantly intensify the international fight against Somalia-based pirates, who are now in possession of some 17 major ships. Thus far, international law has authorized foreign warships to invade Somali territorial waters in counter-piracy operations, but their activity has been confined to maritime interdictions. The U.S. push for broader authority is meant to strike at the pirates in Puntland, the lawless part of Somalia where they find safe haven.

The slow expansion of piracy off the Horn of Africa increasingly has dominated headlines in recent years, but on a strategic level it has been little more than a nuisance for global commerce. After the capture of one supertanker from Saudi Arabia, major oil shipments from the Middle East to the West began steering an extremely wide berth around Somalia.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy, which is the de facto guarantor of worldwide maritime shipping security, has plenty of bandwidth to address any real challenges to freedom the of seas. Washington has been taking its time with the piracy issue politically, and slowly working to build an international consensus through the UNSC, because Somali piracy has not yet reached the point that it poses a strategic threat to U.S. interests. The request for further U.N. authorization means not that Washington is punting the issue, but rather that it is starting to consider taking on piracy more forcefully.

The deeper meaning of the piracy issue is that it runs up against the underlying U.S. interest in control of the seas: the foundation of U.S. global military dominance, and in turn the foundation of U.S. global economic dominance. Combating maritime piracy has been a perennial concern of the United States, and is in essence the cornerstone of U.S. naval policy.

Throughout its existence, the United States has depended on maritime commerce for its survival. Even the early European colonies in North America were at first heavily dependent on seaborne lines of communication to Europe, and over time the colonies came to rely heavily on commercial maritime trade, which was protected from piracy by the European navies. In 1783, however, when the American Revolutionary War officially ended with the Treaty of Paris, the U.S. government suddenly became responsible for the safety and protection of its own merchant traffic overseas.

The United States, with its Continental Navy in the process of being disbanded and the new government deep in war-related debt, could not protect its interests abroad and was forced to pay annual tribute and occasional ransoms to the “Barbary” states of Algiers, Tripoli and Tunis -— North African regencies of the Ottoman Empire that had long extorted payments from ocean-going powers through the threat of piracy. It was not until the turn of the 19th century that the reconstituted U.S. Navy was equipped with its first frigates. When tribute was demanded of President Thomas Jefferson’s new administration in 1801, he dispatched the Navy to protect U.S. commercial interests on the other side of the Atlantic. What followed was a series of naval engagements and the first U.S. expeditionary assault on foreign soil: the Battle of Derne in Tripoli, which the United States won and which was the decisive action in the First Barbary War.

U.S. interest in freedom of the seas —- and the U.S. Navy’s ability to protect that interest -— would only continue to grow. The core American imperative of ensuring the free flow of traffic on the high seas was a key factor in the War of 1812, as a Britain engaged in the Napoleonic wars forcefully impressed sailors aboard U.S.-flagged ships into Royal Navy service. And arguably one of the most important outcomes of World War II was that the United States achieved an effectively unchallenged hegemony over the world’s oceans — a hegemony only further solidified in subsequent decades.

The Somali pirates do not, at this point, pose a strategic threat to the U.S. interest in freedom of the seas — but the push to intensify operations against them shows that Washington wants to act against them before they have a chance to rise to that level.

24228  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Food Chain and Food Politics on: December 12, 2008, 11:04:29 PM
PJ O'Rourke had a very powerful chapter in his "Parliament of Whores" about the Dept. of Ag.    It would make sense to me to abolish the whole thing.
24229  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Los Asesinos de Habilidad Creciente on: December 12, 2008, 10:51:57 PM
En México, los Asesinos de Habilidad Creciente
Los Hits bien-coordinados del Cártel Muestran Sofisticación más grande
Un equipo forense examina la escena del asesinato de Huerta. Los asesinos despidieron 85 series en SUV de Huerta, lo golpeando 40 veces. No cerca vehículos fueron golpeados por balas perdidas.

Por Puesto de William
El Poste de Washington Servicio Extranjero
El viernes, el 12 de diciembre de 2008; Llame A16

CIUDAD JUAREZ, México -- El hit fue rápido, bravo, mortal. Jesús Huerta Yedra, un acusador federal primero aquí, fue gunned hacia abajo la semana pasada en un cruce ocupado 100 yardas de la frontera de EEUU en un asesinato de la coreografía precisa.

En la guerra caótica de droga de México, los ataques son ya no el trabajo de aficionados desesperados con objetivo malo. Cada vez más, las matanzas son llevadas a cabo por profesionales, a menudo encapuchado y enguantado, que atrapa sus objetivos en emboscadas coordinada, la huelga con potencia de fuego arrolladuro, y entonces se desaparece en la hora punta de tarde -- así como ellos hicieron en la matanza de Huerta.

Los asesinos pagados, conocido como sicarios, son prendidos raramente. Los funcionarios mexicanos dicen que las escuadras del comando probablemente viajan del estado para indicar, a través de un país donde el gobierno y sus fuerzas de seguridad dibujan alarmando conclusiones acerca del alcance y la habilidad de un enemigo apoyado por miles de millones de dólares en ganancias de droga.

"Ellos consiguen muy bueno en sus trabajos," dijo Hector Hawley Morelos, el coordinador del estado forense y el laboratorio de crimen aquí, donde criminólogos y pesquisidores han sido agobiados por más de 1.600 homicidios en Juarez este año. "Los asesinos muestran un nivel alto de sofisticación. Ellos han tenido la instrucción -- en algún lugar. Ellos parecen tener el conocimiento de policía procedimientos investigativos. Por ejemplo ellos no dejan huellas dactilares. Eso perturba muy".

Alejandro Pariente, el portavoz para el fiscal general en el estado de chihuahua, dijo, "Ellos son llamados crimen organizado para una razón muy buena. Porque ellos son organizados muy".

En Ciudad Juarez, una ciudad industrial dura a través del río del Paso de El, donde 42 personas han sido matadas en el la semana pasada, el depósito de cadáveres sirve como un aula cruel para el estudio de violencia de droga por la frontera.

En una entrevista la semana pasada, un pesquisidor ocupado en el laboratorio forense habló al realizar una autopsia. Una docena de muertos aguardaron exámenes finales, extendieron en mesas metálicas, su pebbled de cuerpos con hoyos gordos de bala, abre ojos que miran fijamente en bombillas fluorescentes. Los hombres todo fue clasificado finalmente como "organizó crimen" homicidios, que justifican la mayoría de muertes en Ciudad Juarez, la ciudad más violenta en México.

El lunes, Fiscal general federal Eduardo Medina Mora dijo que ha habido 5.376 matanzas relacionadas con la droga este año en México, el doble dura el número de año. Luego esa noche, Victor Hugo Moneda, que dirigió agencia investigativa de policía de México D.F., fue matado en una emboscada como él salía su coche en su casa en la capital. Los agresores, utilizando un coche y la motocicleta, despidieron 22 disparos, según custodiar.

En el depósito de cadáveres de Juarez, los tres congeladores con acceso directo son llenados a la capacidad de más de 90 cadáveres, amontonó piso al techo, a salir bolsas blancas con cremalleras. Después de que unos pocos meses, los que no sean identificados son enterrados en un campo en el cementerio de la ciudad en la orilla del desierto.

"Las pautas que nosotros a menudo vemos con homicidios organizados de crimen son armas de alto nivel, heridas de múltiplo, trauma extremo," dijo el Alma Rosa Padilla, un médico encargado de las análisis principal, que completa tantas como cinco autopsias llenas cada día. "Ellos no van al hospital".

Un EEUU policía anti droga, que habló en la condición del anonimato porque él trabaja en México, dijo, "El ejército mexicano ha tenido un problema con desertores. Así que tiene a la policía, inclusive unidades anti crimen especiales. Ellos ahora trabajan para el otro lado".

Más que una docena funcionarios mexicanos primeros de aplicación de la ley han sido retenidos recientemente para trabajar supuestamente para los cárteles de droga, inclusive Noé Ramírez Mandujano, el acusador anti droga, primero y anterior de la nación. El fue detenido el mes pasado en la sospecha de aceptar $450.000 a cambio de compartir la inteligencia con negociantes.

En México, los Asesinos de Habilidad Creciente

Según información soltó el jueves por el Congreso mexicano, más de 18.000 soldados han desertado al ejército mexicano este año. En los últimos tres años, 177 miembros de unidades de especial-fuerzas han abandonado sus postes, y muchos fueron a trabajar para el crimen organizado.

Recientemente, chihuahua Gov. José Reyes Baeza dijo que pistoleros empleados que han sido detenidos confesaron que ellos llevaron a cabo ejecuciones para 1.000 pesos por la matanza, acerca de $75.

Las armas vierten sobre la frontera aquí de Tejas, comprado ilegalmente de pandillas de calle o legalmente en tiendas deportivas de bienes en Estados Unidos. Dure mes, el ejército mexicano hizo la toma más grande de armas ilegales de fusiles y militar-tipo en más de dos décadas, destapando una reserva de 540 rifles, 165 granadas y 500.000 cartuchos en una casa en Reynosa, justo a través de la frontera de McAllen, Tex.

Según funcionarios mexicanos, los rifles robados de la Beatitud de Fuerte, un poste de Ejército de EEUU en el Paso de El, acaba por en las calles de Juarez. En el laboratorio forense, el equipo de la balística sacó una docena de armas, inclusive AK-47s, AR-15s, M 16s y otros armamentos de militar-grado.

"Pienso que el gobierno es agobiado simplemente. Los casos entran cincos y decenas ahora, y son probablemente muy duro mantenerse al ritmo de," dijo Tony Payan, un experto en el comercio de droga y profesor en la Universidad de Tejas en el Paso de El. "El gobierno está en el defensivo. Los maleantes tienen la ventaja aquí. Ellos probablemente perfeccionan sus técnicas más rápido que el gobierno puede encontrar que los expertos o los recursos para combatirlos".

El asesinato de Huerta fue una huelga brava. El fue el acusador federal segundo-más alto en el estado. Recientemente, el abogado de 40 años de edad fue entregado el caso de mató a periodista Armando Rodríguez, un periodista de policía de veterano en periódico de El Diario que fue matado por un pistolero delante de su casa dura mes en Ciudad Juarez. Las razones detrás de la matanza de Huerta se quedan desconocido.

Cuándo investigador forense David García y su socio llegaron en su camioneta blanca 15 minutos después del disparar en la tarde de diciembre. 3, la policía municipal marcaba el perímetro de la escena de crimen con cinta amarilla y los primeros soldados llegaban a montar guardia.

La Sunny, cruce ancho de la Calle de Arizona y el Bulevar que Papa John Paul II linda con el Grande de Rio y es un camino de cinco-minuto de un principal puente en el Paso de El. Fácilmente visible a través del río fue una línea de piquete de vehículos de Patrulla de fronteras de EEUU.

Huerta cabalgaba en el asiento de pasajero de un nuevo Viaje de Regate de plata-coloró SUV con platos de Tejas, que había parado en una luz roja. El coche fue pasado a un secretario en la oficina del acusador, Marisela Esparza Granados. Cuándo García llegó, el astilló limpiaparabrisas en el vehículo todavía luchaban por operar.

El cruce alrededor del Regate fue ensuciado con esqueletos gastados. García y su socio, que llevan tablillas con sujetapapeles pero ningunas armas, fotografiaron metódicamente la escena y reunieron 85 cubiertas, todo en el calibre coherente con la cuenta algunos testigos policía dicha -- que dos hombres encapuchados de dos camionetas recogieron frente del Regate y fuego abierto con AK-47s.

Los criminólogos en el laboratorio forense fueron golpeados por varios detalles. Primero, ellos sospecharon que Huerta fue seguido por por lo menos uno, y quizás varios, persiguen vehículos, que habrían ayudado a los pistoleros se ponen en posición de tender una emboscada Huerta. Ellos supieron que el coche Huerta utilizaría y su ruta, los investigadores dijeron.

Segundo, los criminólogos fueron impresionados con la precisión, la velocidad y la audacia del ataque.

Cuándo se paró en el semáforo, el vehículo de Huerta fue rodeado por otros coches en un cruce llenado. Pero ningunos otros vehículos fueron golpeados por balas perdidas. Más tarde, Hawley, el coordinador de laboratorio, indicó la pauta apretada de pocking de disparo de fusil la parabrisas del SUV.

"Usted ve ellos golpean donde ellos apuntan. El fue el objetivo. No ella," Hawley dijo. Los asesinos concentraron su fuego directamente en Huerta, que no llevaba una chaleca antibalas. "Si ellos saben que ellos llevan una chaleca antibalas, ellos ignoran el pecho y disparan la cabeza," él agregó.

La autopsia reveló que Huerta había sido golpeado por lo menos 40 veces, la mayoría del en el pecho. El asiento del pasajero del SUV fue empapado con sangre. El secretario, Esparza, fue golpeado sólo tres veces, aunque una herida de cuello fue fatal.

En el laboratorio de crimen, las cubiertas de esqueleto fueron examinadas por el equipo de la balística y registrados. Las balas son casi siempre de Estados Unidos. Los asesinos no se fían de balas hechas en México, Hawley dijo, agregar, "Las balas norteamericanas son mejores".
24230  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: December 12, 2008, 10:48:23 PM

Would you please also post your article about Capt Rozelle on the "Our troops in action" thread?

24231  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: December 12, 2008, 10:43:01 PM
In Mexico, Assassins of Increasing Skill
Well-Coordinated Cartel Hits Show Greater Sophistication
A forensics team examines the scene of Huerta's murder. Assassins fired 85 rounds at Huerta's SUV, hitting him 40 times. No nearby vehicles were hit by stray bullets.

By William Booth
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, December 12, 2008; Page A16

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico -- The hit was fast, bold, lethal. Jesús Huerta Yedra, a top federal prosecutor here, was gunned down last week in a busy intersection 100 yards from the U.S. border in a murder of precise choreography.

In Mexico's chaotic drug war, attacks are no longer the work of desperate amateurs with bad aim. Increasingly, the killings are being carried out by professionals, often hooded and gloved, who trap their targets in coordinated ambushes, strike with overwhelming firepower, and then vanish into the afternoon rush hour -- just as they did in the Huerta killing.

The paid assassins, known as sicarios, are rarely apprehended. Mexican officials say the commando squads probably travel from state to state, across a country where the government and its security forces are drawing alarming conclusions about the scope and skill of an enemy supported by billions of dollars in drug profits.

"They are getting very good at their jobs," said Hector Hawley Morelos, coordinator of the state forensics and crime laboratory here, where criminologists and coroners have been overwhelmed by more than 1,600 homicides in Juarez this year. "The assassins show a high level of sophistication. They have had training -- somewhere. They appear to have knowledge of police investigative procedures. For instance, they don't leave fingerprints. That is very disturbing."

Alejandro Pariente, the spokesman for the attorney general in Chihuahua state, said, "They are called organized crime for a very good reason. Because they are very organized."

In Ciudad Juarez, a tough industrial city across the river from El Paso, where 42 people have been killed in the last week, the morgue serves as a grim classroom for the study of drug violence along the border.

In an interview last week, a busy coroner in the forensics lab spoke while performing an autopsy. A dozen dead men awaited final exams, sprawled on metal tables, their bodies pebbled with fat bullet holes, open eyes staring at fluorescent bulbs. The men were all eventually classified as "organized crime" homicides, which account for the majority of deaths in Ciudad Juarez, the most violent city in Mexico.

On Monday, federal Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora said there have been 5,376 drug-related killings this year in Mexico, double last year's number. Later that evening, Victor Hugo Moneda, who led Mexico City's investigative police agency, was killed in an ambush as he was exiting his car at his home in the capital. The assailants, using a car and motorcycle, fired 22 shots, according to police.

In the Juarez morgue, the three walk-in freezers are filled to capacity with more than 90 corpses, stacked floor to ceiling, in leaking white bags with zippers. After a few months, those who are not identified are buried in a field at the city cemetery at the edge of the desert.

"The patterns that we often see with organized crime homicides are high-caliber weapons, multiple wounds, extreme trauma," said Alma Rosa Padilla, a chief medical examiner, who completes as many as five full autopsies each day. "They don't go to the hospital."

One U.S. anti-drug law enforcement officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he works in Mexico, said, "The Mexican army has had a problem with deserters. So have the police, including special anti-crime units. They are now working for the other side."

More than a dozen top Mexican law enforcement officials have been detained recently for allegedly working for the drug cartels, including Noé Ramírez Mandujano, the nation's former top anti-drug prosecutor. He was arrested last month on suspicion of accepting $450,000 in exchange for sharing intelligence with traffickers.

In Mexico, Assassins of Increasing Skill

According to information released Thursday by the Mexican congress, more than 18,000 soldiers have deserted the Mexican army this year. In the last three years, 177 members of special-forces units have abandoned their posts, and many went to work for organized crime.

Recently, Chihuahua Gov. José Reyes Baeza said that hired gunmen who have been arrested confessed that they carried out executions for 1,000 pesos per killing, about $75.

Weapons pour over the border here from Texas, bought illegally from street gangs or legally at sporting goods stores in the United States. Last month, the Mexican army made the largest seizure of illegal firearms and military-type weapons in more than two decades, uncovering a cache of 540 rifles, 165 grenades and 500,000 rounds of ammunition in a house in Reynosa, just across the border from McAllen, Tex.

According to Mexican officials, rifles stolen from Fort Bliss, a U.S. Army post in El Paso, end up on the streets of Juarez. At the forensic laboratory, the ballistics team pulled out a dozen weapons, including AK-47s, AR-15s, M-16s and other military-grade arms.

"I think that the government is simply overwhelmed. The cases are coming in fives and tens now, and it is probably very hard to keep up," said Tony Payan, an expert on the drug trade and professor at the University of Texas in El Paso. "The government is on the defensive. The thugs have the upper hand here. They probably perfect their techniques faster than the government can find the experts or the resources to combat them."

Huerta's murder was a bold strike. He was the second-ranking federal prosecutor in the state. Recently, the 40-year-old lawyer was handed the case of slain journalist Armando Rodríguez, a veteran police reporter at El Diario newspaper who was killed by a gunman in front of his house last month in Ciudad Juarez. The reasons behind Huerta's killing remain unknown.

When forensic investigator David García and his partner arrived in their white van 15 minutes after the shooting on the afternoon of Dec. 3, the municipal police were marking the perimeter of the crime scene with yellow tape and the first soldiers were arriving to stand guard.

The sunny, broad intersection of Arizona Street and Boulevard Pope John Paul II abuts the Rio Grande and is a five-minute drive from a main bridge into El Paso. Easily visible across the river was a picket line of U.S. Border Patrol vehicles.

Huerta was riding in the passenger seat of a new silver-colored Dodge Journey SUV with Texas plates, which had stopped at a red light. The car was driven by a secretary at the prosecutor's office, Marisela Esparza Granados. When García arrived, the splintered windshield wipers on the vehicle were still struggling to operate.

The intersection around the Dodge was littered with spent shells. García and his partner, who carry clipboards but no weapons, methodically photographed the scene and collected 85 casings, all in the caliber consistent with the account some witnesses told police -- that two hooded men from two vans pulled in front of the Dodge and opened fire with AK-47s.

The criminologists at the forensic lab were struck by several details. First, they suspected that Huerta was followed by at least one, and perhaps several, chase vehicles, which would have helped the gunmen get into position to ambush Huerta. They knew the car Huerta would use and his route, the investigators said.

Second, the criminologists were impressed with the precision, speed and audacity of the attack.

When it rolled to a stop at the traffic light, Huerta's vehicle was surrounded by other cars at a crowded intersection. But no other vehicles were hit by stray bullets. Later, Hawley, the lab coordinator, pointed out the tight pattern of gunfire pocking the SUV's windshield.

"You see they hit where they aim. He was the target. Not her," Hawley said. The assassins concentrated their fire directly at Huerta, who was not wearing a bulletproof vest. "If they know they're wearing a bulletproof vest, they ignore the chest and shoot the head," he added.

The autopsy revealed that Huerta had been struck at least 40 times, most in the chest. The passenger seat of the SUV was soaked with blood. The secretary, Esparza, was struck only three times, though a neck wound was fatal.

In the crime laboratory, the shell casings were examined by the ballistics team and recorded. The bullets are almost always from the United States. The assassins do not trust bullets made in Mexico, Hawley said, adding, "The American bullets are better."

24232  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: December 12, 2008, 02:33:51 PM
The more of our lives the government controls and manipulates, the more reason there will be to buy politicians and their price will go up.
24233  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Any comments on the Levin Report on: December 12, 2008, 02:31:25 PM
The bipartisan vote in support of the report would seem to give it considerable weight.  Any comments?  GM?
24234  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Segunda Parte on: December 12, 2008, 02:10:53 PM
El Ejército mexicano

Antes Calderon envió al ejército después de los narcos en 2006, contrabando de droga estuvo desenfrenado en México, pero los cárteles controlaron sus respectivos territorios, donde corrupción reinó y la paz prevaleció (más o menos). Había escaramuzas ocasionales de cártel en cártel pero ellos tendieron a ser efímeros. La falta histórica de presión de gobierno creó finalmente más riqueza y el poder para los cárteles para luchar sobre y la violencia comenzó a subir. Cuándo Calderon mandó a tropas federales, ellos revolvieron efectivamente el nido del avispón. Los asesinatos de droga-relacionó a través de skyrocketed de México como cárteles compitieron para el territorio flojamente tenido de sus rivales que vacilan.

Calderon no es el primer presidente mexicano de utilizar el ejército para combatir los cárteles, pero él ha cambiado dramáticamente la manera que el ejército contribuye a la misión del counternarcotics del gobierno. Los antecesores de Calderon confiaron principalmente en el Grupo Especial de Fuerzas Airmobile (GAFE), que fue entrenado especialmente y fue equipado para realizar desafiando extraordinariamente operaciones con poco tiempo de antelación. Estas misiones incluyeron el 2003 arresto de Osiel Cardenas Guillen, líder anterior del cártel de Golfo, y de la 2002 captura de Benjamin Arellano Felix, la cabeza del cártel de Tijuana.

Pero las operaciones que implican GAFE o el alto mando GAFE (las la mayoría de los élite de fuerzas especiales de México) fueron solo-objetivo, misiones aisladas. Desde que 2006, Calderon ha desplegado a tropas — inclusive ambas unidades especiales de fuerzas y batallones regulares de infantería — Por primera vez en misiones a largo plazo diseñadas para imponer la estabilidad y desenredar el sistema entero de cártel. La misión ha llegado a ser, en un sentido, tanto counterinsurgency como counternarcotics, con fuerzas federales que operan distante distante con el conocimiento limitado del paisaje o personas locales. En algunas maneras, esto es muy semejante a las fuerzas de desafíos EEUU encara en Iraq y Afganistán.

La política nacional doméstica de la seguridad de México bajo Calderon ha sido formulada en el nivel de Gabinete, con el Secretariado Interior (SEGOB) tomando la delantera. A pesar de la muerte de Interior Secretario Juan Camilo Mourino en un noviembre. 4 choque del avión en México D.F. (pensó ser causado por error piloto), política de seguridad hace probable continúa proceder de the secretariat. SEGOB trabaja con el Secretariado de Defensa, la Seguridad Pública Secretariado y el PGR a coordinar el despliegue de fuerzas federales (ambos militar y la aplicación de la ley).

Casi todos despliegues a gran escala son operaciones conjuntos con policía y tropas federales que patrullan junto, que combina la fuerza bruta de fuerza militar con las capacidades investigativas de la policía federal. La cooperación no es perfecta, y hay muchos ejemplos de coordinación pobre. Muchas de las correrías y arrestos mayores han sido llevados a cabo por GAFE con exclusión de aplicación de la ley federal. GAFE entonces transfiere a detenidos en la custodia de la oficina del fiscal general para la prosecución. A menudo, aplicación de la ley federal es recortada de operaciones sensibles — Presumiblemente porque el ejército tiene la inteligencia que podría ser cedida si expuso de corromper policía federal.

Primer despliegue militar de Calderon contra los cárteles implicó a 6.500 tropas expedidas a Michoacan (estado de la casa de Calderon) en diciembre 2006. Michoacan fue el centro de una oleada de violencia que había dejado a 500 muertos en incidentes relacionados con la droga ese año (muchas de las muertes fueron aturdirmente horribles, inclusive decapita y los desmembramientos). El mes siguiente, Calderon desplegó a 3.300 tropas al estado de Baja California y 1.000 tropas al estado de Guerrero. Desde entonces, las tropas han sido mandadas a calmar violencia en 14 otros estados, con tener total de despliegues estabiliza para el por delante de seis meses en aproximadamente 35.000. Aunque los números de despliegue son un secreto de cerca tenido, nosotros también estimamos que aproximadamente 10.000 policía federal también ha sido enviada a éstos molesta lugares.

La infantería mexicana del ejército y fuerzas especiales luchan la guerra del suelo del mayoría del ejército contra los cárteles. Las fuerzas especiales participan en correrías de precisión en ubicaciones estratégicas mientras la infantería realiza patrullas (a menudo con policías federales), establece puntos de revisión de camino y entra en la búsqueda y destruye misiones en la marihuana y operaciones de cultivo de amapola de opio. A llegar en un área de operaciones, las tropas empiezan por vetting la policía local. Esto requiere, como mínimo, un desarme temporario de policías, y a veces la corrupción local es tan profunda que los oficiales permanentemente son aliviados de sus armas. La marina mexicana ha sido utilizada asimismo para operaciones offshore como el 2006 cerrar del litoral de Michoacan en conjunción con operaciones simultáneas de suelo. Cuándo unidades necesarias y militares coordinan con policía federal autorizada a realizar investigaciones que el ejército no es permitido ni es preparado para realizar.

La estrategia de Calderon para los primeros 12 meses de operaciones del contrario-cártel del ejército implicó, casi exclusivamente, concentrando en el Gulf cartel En fortalezas en y alrededor de Tamaulipas y Michoacan indica. El objetivo durante este período parece haber sido de desmantelar Golfo centrándose antes en otros cárteles. En el proceso, sin embargo, el cártel de Sinaloa comenzó a hacer movimientos para llenar los vacíos dejaron por Golfo. Aunque violencia girara fuera de control en territorio de Sinaloa, casi ningunas tropas fueron enviadas allí durante el primer año (el territorio de Sinaloa tiene comercio o industria importantes pequeños y fue una prioridad más baja, mientras Golfo opera cerca del pasillo de envío de Monterrey-Nuevo Laredo, por que más que el 60 por ciento de exportaciones mexicanas al paso de Estados Unidos). Durante estos primero 12 a 15 meses, la estrategia de contrario-cártel fue dictada por el territorio controlado por el cártel de Golfo.

Ahora parece que la estrategia es de perseguir múltiples cárteles y para manejar la violencia en centros de población. Después de que 12 a 15 meses de operaciones contra Golfo, el cártel fuera apreciablemente más débil y la violencia comenzaba a estallar en otras áreas, inclusive centros grandes de población como Juarez y Tijuana. En ese punto, el gobierno empezó despliegues extendido más anchamente, expidiendo rápidamente a tropas necesitaron como “apagar fuegos.” Uno de los factores primarios en el cambio en la estrategia fue opinión pública. Los residentes y los alcaldes de ciudades grandes quieren que Tijuana y Juarez llegaba a ser cada vez más harta de la violencia creciente. Ansioso de demostrar a los gobiernos del pueblo y el estado que lo todavía tuvo un asidero en la situación, el gobierno federal comenzó a reaccionar más directamente a éstos concierne, enviando a tropas no contra un cártel particular pero al último lugar de peligro violento. Hasta ahora, mientras el gobierno federal ha conseguido mantener las calificaciones positivas de aprobación, han estirado el ejército muy delgado en el proceso.

En esencia, el ejército movió de utilizar una almádena en un solo objetivo a utilizar una serie de pequeños martillos en muchos objetivos. Los resultados han sido menos que satisfactorio. Más temprano en la campaña, despliegues de ejército tendrían como resultado inicialmente una disminución inmediata y notabla en la violencia. Esto es ya no el caso. Desde marzo, cuando el ejército movió en estabilizar Juarez — donde violencia giraba rápidamente fuera de control — El ejército ha tenido a menos tropas disponibles y ha tenido que depender de la policía local para la ayuda. La violencia continuó aún después de las tropas llegadas.

La operación de Juarez fue un momento decisivo en la estrategia del gobierno federal, y no es un ejemplo bueno de cómo opinión pública condujo el gobierno hacia una respuesta prominente que hace, al fin, mejora apreciablemente la situación de la seguridad. La operación representó el primer despliegue a gran escala en el que un número insuficiente de soldados y policía federal fue forzado a compensar la escasez de mano de obra reclutando la ayuda de aplicación de la ley local. Naturalmente, la situación fue complicada por el hecho ése razón las tropas fueron en primer lugar había de investigar a la policía local para lazos al crimen organizado. Como resultado, muchas policía protestó o fue a la huelga, y a este día situación de la seguridad de la ciudad se queda tenue. Juarez fue el primer signo claro que el gobierno no desplegaba suficientes fuerzas para encontrar la misión expandida del ejército.

Uno de los problemas más grandes que el ejército ha tenido que confrontar es tamaño completo de México. El ejército del país 200,000-strong (todas ramas, con el ejército en acerca de 144.000) — consistir en su mayor parte de reclutas —Simplemente no es suficiente grande para dominar 761.606 millas cuadradas de México del territorio ni seguir un estimó a 500.000 personas implicadas en el comercio ilícito de droga. Unas 35.000 tropas federales son desplegadas en cada ocasión. En el el norte de área contigua, donde 16.000 tropas son desplegadas, los traficantes de drogas tienen una cantidad tremenda de tierra abierta en su disposición, donde ellos han establecido una red vasta de rutas y pisos francos (el el norte de área contigua atraviesa casi 250.000 millas cuadradas y está acerca del tamaño de Tejas). Los esfuerzos de la aplicación de la ley en este ambiente son muy difíciles, desde que los cárteles tienen la capacidad de cambiar rápidamente tránsito rutas y cambiar sus pautas de conducta para evitar descubrimiento (aunque ellos pasarán generalmente por pueblos en los que ellos son capaces de establecer control). Las 16.000 tropas en el el norte de la frontera encaran una situación semejante que Marina de EEUU confrontaron en la provincia de Anbar de Iraq, donde un juego que frustra de “golpea un lunar” llegó a ser la táctica predominante de la coalición. Aún con cooperación de EEUU, hay tropas mexicanas simplemente demasiadas pocas por EEUU-la frontera de México para combatir completamente actividades de cártel México interior.

Un segundo desafío que el ejército mexicano debe tratar con es aún más básico: No fue diseñado para esta clase de misión. Como la mayoría de los ejércitos parados, el ejército de México no es entrenado ni es equipado para imponer las leyes domésticas de país. Falta no sólo la autoridad civil pero también la pericia necesaria para realizar investigaciones e imponer orden. Aunque el ejército despliegue con aplicación de la ley federal, que tiene alguna pericia civil, el grado a que el ejército debe operar sin la ayuda de policía local (es decir, los que saben el territorio) es un estorbo que paraliza.

El ejército así es forzado a adaptar rápidamente a una clase de guerra que puede ser llamada fácilmente asimétrico. Los agresores criminales organizados en México, quieren a rebeldes en Iraq y Afganistán, son difícil de distinguirse de civiles inocentes y puede montar ataques entonces mezclan rápidamente en la población. Y con ninguna manera de depender de pericia local, la inteligencia exacta y oportuna es limitada muy. Visto como una fuerza que ocupa, tropas federales tienen un tiempo difícil que gana la confianza de habitantes y redes locales efectivas reveladoras de humano-inteligencia, que es clave a un counterinsurgency exitoso.

A pesar de estos desafíos, las estrategias y las políticas aplicadas han llevado hasta ahora a éxitos inauditos contra traficantes de drogas. El ejército es responsable de la mayor parte de estos éxitos. Sobre los últimos dos años, la marina mexicana ha reducido el trafico de drogas marítimo de drogas ilícitas por el 65 por ciento. La vigilancia aumentada del ejército de espacio aéreo (junto con nuevos radares y restricciones de donde vuelos son permitidos aterrizar) ha llevado a una reducción del 90 por ciento en el trafico de drogas de antena de cocaína de Colombia. En esencia, el ejército tiene probado así ser lejos la única institución en México que tiene la capacidad de intervenir apreciablemente con crimen organizado en el país.

A pesar de estos éxitos significativos sobre los últimos dos años, el ejército, con su número limitado de tropas, no ha podido prevenir el número de víctimas relacionado con la droga de subir (el peaje se paró en 1.543 en 2005 y superará 5.000 en 2008). Verdaderamente, si cualquier cosa, la situación de la seguridad ha empeorado a través de México, en parte porque el gobierno tan es centrado en los cárteles a costa de criminales ordinarios. Como resultado, crímenes violentos como asesina, armó robo y el asalto está en la subida por todas partes el país.

El Golpetazo Duro Largo

No hay solución sencilla al problema de cárteles de la droga de México. Aún desmantelar el aparato de cártel sería un remedio a corto plazo a un permanente problema. Siempre que hay una demanda para drogas en Estados Unidos, habrá individuos emprendedores que tratarán de negociarlos por el EEUU el sur de vecino.

La artimaña, entonces, es de construir sólido que suficientes instituciones en México para reemplazar — o contrarresta por lo menos — La influencia de los traficantes de drogas. El militar puede desmantelar corrompe las policías, pero el sistema para establecer un efectivo judicial u otra autoridad cívica en su lugar no parecen ser suficiente completo para lograr ninguna última reforma. El militar puede purgar corrompe individuos de los grados de aplicación de la ley local, pero del problema básico de plomo de plata O persiste. Y allí parece ser una capacidad disminuyente de aplicar un programa económico del desarrollo que proporcionaría oportunidades alternativas de empleo para miembros de cártel y haría el comercio de droga menos atractivo. En esencia, no hay estrategia completa de reedificación, y sin un surgir de equilibrio de ser-sosteniendo de operaciones militares, una victoria clara y decisiva es difícil de lograr aún en el mejor de circunstancias.

Mientras ciudadanos mexicanos todavía por y por apoyo grande la misión del gobierno, battle fatigue is beginning to set in, Y su tolerancia para la violencia podría ondear. Calderon todavía mantiene las calificaciones de aprobación de alrededor del 60 por ciento, pero sobre la mitad de mexicanos sondeó cree durante el verano que el gobierno pierde la guerra en cárteles. Si apoyo público se marcha de Calderon, la guerra del gobierno en el crimen organizado ganará a otro enemigo más.
Tell Stratfor What You Think
24235  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Stratfor: Una Guerra de atricion es estrategia limitada on: December 12, 2008, 02:08:48 PM
Part 2: A War of Attrition is a Limited Strategy
El 10 de diciembre de 2008 | 1211 GMT


 Durante los últimos dos años, el gobierno mexicano ha participado en una campaña concertada contra los cárteles de droga, que había operado con la impunidad cercano por décadas en áreas contiguas de México. Mientras ha habido algunos éxitos, factores geográficos, institucionales y técnicos han hecho el gobierno hace campaña una lucha ascendente. Con corrupción desenfrenada que plaga los grados de la aplicación de la ley de México, el Presidente Felipe Calderon utiliza el ejército para imponer la regla de la ley en la periferia del país, donde los cárteles todavía colocan el peligro más grande. Pero la situación recuerda el esfuerzo temprano de EEUU en Iraq, donde una pequeña fuerza extranjera entrenada para la guerra convencional puede no rápidamente transición a un papel del counterinsurgency y donde no había estrategia completa para la reedificación.

 La Nota de la redacción: Esto es la segunda parte de una serie en México.

El desafío primario de México en su combate contra los cárteles de droga es su geography. El país el norte de la región contigua es hecho de desierto, separando las redes de transporte y centros de población occidentales y orientales costeras. Gran distancias y terreno inhóspito — mucho de ello árido o montañoso — Haga control de gobierno del país desafiando muy.
El gobierno no controla las cuestas de la Sierra Madre Oriental ni el Occidental de Sierra Madre, que corre al norte-sur arriba cada costa y es las rutas primarias de droga-trafico de drogas. Ni lo hace controla el el norte de desierto que bordea Estados Unidos, que, como el oeste americano fabuloso en Estados Unidos, es en esencia una frontera donde leyes escritas en México D.F. son difíciles de imponer.

El el norte de la región contigua es definido fundamentalmente por su proximidad a Estados Unidos, que es la fuente primaria de renta de comercio, el turismo, las remesas, los trabajos (para los que afrontan la frontera que cruza) e inversión directa extranjera. Por supuesto, Estados Unidos es también el mercado más grande de mundo para drogas ilícitas. México del sudeste es igualmente frontera-como, con selvas densas en la orilla oriental de la frontera de México-Guatemala y en las montañas de las tierras altas de Chiapas. Aunque México D.F. más cerca, el el sur de la región es muy pobre, de diversidad étnica y todavía acoge el Zapatista Ejército Nacional de Liberación, un resto de la Revolución mexicana a principios del siglo XX.

No casualmente, la revolución, que empezó en 1910, implicó un desafío cercano-idéntico para el gobierno central en función de control territorial, con rebeldes de Ejército de la Liberación de Emiliano Zapata del Sur en el sur de México y el ejército de la Casa de campo de Pancho en el norte. Las similitudes geográficas entre las fortalezas de la revolucionario era y ésos de cárteles actuales de droga subrayan cuán históricamente difícil es para el gobierno para controlar su territorio. La ausencia de conexiones como interconectar geográficas naturales los ríos, que proporcionarían fácil y la línea ferroviaria urbana para fuerzas federales de seguridad, significa que el gobierno central mexicano debe vencer montañas, los desiertos y las selvas para afirmar su autoridad en los interiores.
Hoy, los cárteles toman ventaja llena de la falta del gobierno de control en el el norte de y del sur de partes del país. Los traficantes de drogas mueven cocaína en el sur de México después de atravesar América Central, en el norte de manera de los países andinos cacao-crecientes de Sudamérica. Al norte, y por los pasillos de transporte de las dos costas, cárteles mexicanos de droga disfrutaron de limitó el gobierno interferencia durante las décadas del Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) regla y estableció de los reinos factos donde su palabra fue la ley y las drogas movieron eficientemente hacia el norte — En Estados Unidos.

En 2006, sin embargo, la marea giró para los traficantes de drogas cuando Presidente mexicano nuevamente elegido Felipe Calderon cabalgó para enchufar en promesas de campaña de aplastar los cárteles. La tarea no sería fácil para Calderon. La corrupción penetra cada nivel de instituciones de la aplicación de la ley de México — cuyos miembros son continuamente bajo la amenaza de la muerte por los cárteles — Y local (e incluso federal) policía puede non mantener la regla de la ley. Esto ha dejado mucha de la región contigua de México totalmente sin ley.

Con aplicación de la ley local y federal cedió — y encarado con un enemigo bien-entrenado rico mucho armado y pernicioso — Calderon concluyó que la única manera de derrotar a mexicano organized crime Fue de desplegar el ejército. Pero a pesar de la potencia de fuego superior del ejército y combate las capacidades (comparó a fuerzas domésticas de seguridad), es ni suficiente grande para cubrir el territorio necesario ni es diseñó para la aplicación de la ley doméstica. Largo, alargó operaciones militares también enfatizan un presupuesto ya molestado del gobierno. Y el ambiente en el que el militar debe operar es un hostil uno. Cuando sigue los cárteles, el ejército mexicano es más como un poder que ocupa que persigue a rebeldes locales que una agencia del gobierno central que impone la regla de la ley. Además, su reputación relativamente sin mancha en un país plagado con corrupción no es garantizada aguantar. El más largo permanece comprometido con los cárteles las más grande sus oportunidades de ser corrompido. La realidad, por supuesto, es que México tiene pocas otras opciones.

Problemas institucionales

Durante los 71 años de regla por el PRI y la presidencia subsiguiente de seis-año de Zorro de Vicente del Nacional Partido de Acción, el gobierno mexicano hizo limitó movimientos contra los cárteles. Para la regla de la mayor parte de PRI, los cárteles estuvieron muy lejos de tan fuerte como ellos ha llegado a ser en la década pasada, así que políticos podrían proporcionar para permitirles ser, en la mayor parte. La presión carente durante esta vez, los cárteles crecieron cada vez más poderoso, estableciendo las redes complejas del negocio a través de sus regiones y en los mercados internacionales de droga. Cuando el negocio comenzó a recoger, así que hizo la influencia de los cárteles. El flujo de caja creciente dio los cárteles operando más alto presupuestos, que hicieron más fácil de comprar cooperación de administración local y también levantó las estacas en la industria de droga-trafico de drogas.

Cuando los cárteles llegaron a ser más poderosos el nivel de violencia también comenzó a subir, y por el gobierno de 2006 Calderon decidido para hacer su movimiento. Por esta vez, sin embargo, los cárteles de droga tan fueron atrincherados que ellos habían llegado a ser la ley vigente en sus respectivos territorios. Las autoridades locales y federales de la aplicación de la ley habían llegado a ser corrompen, y la entrada de tropas militares tuvo el efecto de desestabilizar estas relaciones — cuando los planificadores pensaron — Y estropear el negocio de los cárteles. Con la disolución de sus redes, los cárteles empezaron defender, proveer sus lazos establecidos en el gobierno y defendiendo agresivamente su césped.

El problema de corrupción se reduce al lure of money Y la amenaza de la muerte. Conocido por el plomo de plata O de frase (que traduce literalmente a “la plata o dirige,” con el significado implicado, “toma un soborno o toma una bala”), el selecto dado a la aplicación de la ley y funcionarios del estado los pone bajo la amenaza de la muerte si ellos no permiten (o, como es a menudo el caso, facilita) operaciones de cártel. Con el gobierno históricamente incapaz de proteger todo su personal de estas clases de amenazas — y ciertamente incapaz de emparejar los largos bolsillos de los cárteles — Los funcionarios de la aplicación de la ley de México han llegado a ser casi universalmente informales. Las amenazas de la muerte han aumentado como el gobierno ha intensificado sus operaciones anti cártel, teniendo como resultado movimiento y dificultades altos que alistan nuevo personal — Personal especialmente calificado. (La ciudad de Juarez ha estado sin un jefe de policía desde que pleno verano, después de que jefes anteriores fueran matados o fueron huidos a Estados Unidos. Los destinos semejantes han acontecido agencias locales de aplicación de la ley en casi cada estado mexicano).

En función de dinero a mano, mexicano organizó crimen puede golpear cualquier oferta que el gobierno puede hacer. Los cárteles mexicanos introducen en algún lugar entre $40 mil millones y $100 mil millones por año. El octubre. 27 anuncio eso 35 employees of the anti-organized crime unit (SIEDO) in the Office of the Mexican Attorney General (PGR) Había sido detenido y había sido cargado con corrupción ilustra el hecho que ni los alcances superiores del gobierno están a salvo de infiltración por los cárteles. En este ejemplo, funcionarios primeros fueron pagados hasta $450.000 por mes para pasar información adelante a un cártel implicado en el trafico de drogas de cocaína. Esta clase de dinero es una tentación inmensa en un país donde salarios anuales para funcionarios huyen $10.000 para policías locales a $48.000 para senadores y $220.000 para el presidente. El crimen organizado puede concentrar en individuos clave en el gobierno mexicano y convencerlos a proporcionar información con una combinación de ofertas lucrativas y amenazas físicas si ellos no obedecen.

Cuándo viene a terminar en amenazas de la muerte, los cárteles tienen probado sí mismos ser bastante eficientes. Los asesinatos de Edgar Millan Gomez, Igor Labastida Calderon Y otros funcionarios federales de policía en México D.F. antes este año es ejemplos que hace al caso. Golpear a funcionarios de alto nivel en la capital del país les envían un mensaje bravo a funcionarios del estado. En un nivel local y más pernicioso, los cárteles han montado una ofensiva concertada contra estado y policía municipal. En el año pasado ellos han asesinado un suma de 500 policías, y en algunos pueblos, el jefe de policía y el cuerpo de policía entero ha sido detenido en cargas de corrupción.

Las amenazas de la muerte son un problema grave para autoridades mexicanas porque México simplemente no tiene la capacidad de proteger todo su personal de aplicación de la ley y a funcionarios del estado. Los detalles protectores efectivos requieren niveles altos de habilidad, y deficiencias de la mano de obra de México lo hacen difícil de encontrar que personas para llenar estas posiciones — Especialmente desde que los candidatos serían en gran parte el personal mexicanos de aplicación de la ley que son a sí mismo los objetivos.

Y sin la protección completa, hay muy poco estímulo para el personal de aplicación de la ley de tener fuera contra influencia de cártel. Después de todo, una vez que los cárteles han establecido a sí mismo como la ley vigente, son mucho más fácil para la policía local permitir perros que durmientes están que son de escoger combates con el perro más grande en el bloque — Con ninguna esperanza de respaldo suficiente del gobierno central.

La pérdida coherente del personal por charges of corruption Y la muerte es una debilidad inherente para México. Hace la conservación del conocimiento institucional difícil, erosionándose aún más la eficacia de esfuerzos de la seguridad del gobierno. Adicionalmente, la pérdida de jefes locales de policía, los alcaldes e indica y funcionarios federales de policía a la muerte, la prosecución o la resignación interrumpen continuidad de la autoridad y hacen la estabilidad en el operacional plano imposible. Además, el proceso es que se autoperpetúa. Los que reemplazan muerto o corrompen a funcionarios a menudo son experimentados menos y menos vetted y son más probable de ser perdido a la corrupción o el asesinato.

El movimiento y la corrupción altos también duelen la reunión de la inteligencia y reducen el conocimiento situacional. Mantener fuentes en el campo son una táctica importante en cualquier guerra, pero esas fuentes requieren el manejo coherente por el personal de aplicación de la ley que ellos se fían de — Y cambios rápidos en el personal destruyen esa confianza. Verdaderamente, la corrupción y el movimiento conducen más a menudo las capacidades de la inteligencia hacia atrás, saltando filtraciones y encauzando información del gobierno a los cárteles en vez de al revés.

Aún la constitución es una fuente de la inseguridad institucional, limitando el tiempo en la oficina del presidente y legisladores a un término. Irónicamente, mientras estas provisiones fueron puestas en el lugar para prevenir la trinchera de líderes en posiciones del poder (verdaderamente, esto fue uno de los asuntos que conducen de la Revolución mexicana), ellos contribuyen realmente a la corrupción, desde que líderes no encaran el desafío de buscar reelección y averiguación duradera de votante. Aunque refuerza el aparato del partido poniendo el énfasis en el plan del partido antes que las ambiciones del individuo, el estado de México- y políticos federal-planos son casos perdidos sobre la oficina entrante. Esto los liberta para asentarse favores políticos y asuntos personales sin necesitar para explicárselo a votantes en el día de las elecciones.

Integración federal de Aplicación de la ley

Los desafíos de la guerra de cártel han incitado la administración de Calderon a reorganizar y combinar las dos agencias federales de aplicación de la ley de país, la Policía Impeditiva Federal (PFP) y la Agencia Federal de Investigaciones (AFI), en lo que será simplemente conocido como la Policía Federal. Las dos agencias independientes han tenido tradicionalmente responsabilidades diferentes e informados a dos secretarios diferentes en el Gabinete del presidente.

El PFP ha sido la fuerza más física, en esencia una agencia doméstica grande de policía cargó con proporcionar el gran público seguridad como mantener ordena en protestas y parar disturbios. El AFI, por otro lado, fue modelado después de EEUU Oficina Federal de Investigación — Una agencia que enfoca más a investigar actividad criminal que lo combatiendo en las calles. En muchos despliegues de counternarcotics durante el por delante de dos años, tanto PFP como AFI han sido desplegados, con PFP manejando generalmente puntos de revisión de carretera y búsquedas de vehículo mientras AFI investiga escenas de crimen y sigue plomos. Desde que son agencias federales de aplicación de la ley, sus áreas de la superposición de responsabilidades, pero cada han mantenido su propia estructura separada de la cultura y la orden.

Con la guerra de droga que intensifica sobre los últimos dos años, se hizo patente que amenaza primaria de seguridad de México fue organizada crimen y la violencia que acompañaron lo. Los cárteles de México son muy brutales (y tan requieren la mano pesada del PFP), pero ellos también son organizados muy bien y de complicidad (requiriendo la pericia investigativa del AFI). En el pasado, las dos agencias a menudo trabajarían el mismo caso sin coordinar sus actividades, que tuvieron como resultado una falta de información-compartir e investigaciones prolongadas. La administración de Calderon concluyó que luchando los cárteles requieren un cuerpo de policía federal capaz de proporcionar la seguridad física y realizar el trabajo investigativo continuamente.

Así que el gobierno aplicó un plan para integrar el PFP y AFI — Un plan eso, mientras considerado completo en el papel, es distante de completo en la práctica. Tales transiciones burocráticas toman inevitablemente mucho tiempo y el esfuerzo y tienen como resultado ineficacias a corto plazo (que puede ser un problema con una guerra de cártel que rabía). Para fechar, rivalidades burocráticas parecen haber prevenido unidad verdadera en todo. A pesar del acuerdo de papel, el PFP y AFI se quedan separación en la práctica, haciendo sus propios arrestos y seguir sus propios casos con interacción limitada uno con el otro. En septiembre 2008, AFI agents protested El hecho que ellos fueron hechos para informar a comandantes de PFP en la Seguridad Pública Secretariado. PFP quitó finalmente a los agentes de AFI del caso, demostrando claramente las rivalidades entre organismos.

Además, no es claro cómo la decisión impresionará corrupción en las agencias. Por una parte, habiendo centralizado control sobre una sola institución carena el proceso de corrupción-vigilancia. Por otro lado, con sólo una institución federal de seguridad, no hay segundo partido de proporcionar un cheque independiente de exterior en la corrupción. Además, si hay sólo una agencia y es corrompe o sufrimiento de ataques, entonces toda policía federal de México es debilitada. Adicionalmente, manteniendo que dos agencias también tiene en cuenta cada en ser aislado de la corrupción y debilidades del otro.

Es claro que una unión formal de dos agencias independientes de policía no puede ser institucionalizada de noche. Pero la presión es gran acelerar el proceso. Calderon ha puesto una fecha tope tentativa de integración completa por 2012 (que es también el año de la elección luego presidencial). La idea es para la Policía Federal de últimamente tomar la delantera en la campaña contra los cárteles en vez del ejército.

Más allá de los problemas de reorganización burocrática, agencias federales de aplicación de la ley de México encaran varios desafíos logísticos y técnicos. Las deficiencias técnicas serán dirigidas hasta cierto punto por EEUU Merida Initiative, Que otorgará aproximadamente $900 millones a México en los próximos dos años para el equipo y la instrucción. Esto dará México la oportunidad de recoger las tecnologías como equipo de espectrometría de ion (la tecnología de narcótico-presintiendo) eso tiene probado ser útil en tomas de marihuana. Hay también mucho cuarto de mejorar colección de información, el almacenamiento y el análisis. No hay base de datos centralizada con antecedentes penales para local, el estado ni agencias federales de policía. Las agencias de la aplicación de la ley también faltan las capacidades suficientes de seguro-comunicaciones y droga-descubrimiento, que significa que custodia actividades pueden ser vigiladas por los cárteles y embarques domésticos de droga son más difíciles de discernir.

Pero incluso si México pueda crear la estructura más efectiva y eficiente burocrática y obtener las tecnologías muy últimas para sus fuerzas de la seguridad, no hay manera verdadera de compensar la corrupción que paraliza que penetra aplicación de la ley federal. Y con la ferocidad creciente de los cárteles de droga, no hay fin a la vista a la presión que ellos pueden y colocarán en el personal de la aplicación de la ley de México. Las causas fundamentales de corrupción institucional en México — coerción y soborno — Son entrelazados profundamente en la cultura política de país y tomarán décadas, quizás generaciones, para arrancar. Esto significa que el gobierno no alcanzará su objetivo de transición la guerra de droga en las manos de tiempo de aplicación de la ley pronto, que tendrá en cambio consecuencias para el ejército como luchan contra los cárteles. Fundamentalmente, la seguridad fuerza reforma de necesidad (y rápidamente) antes el ejército sucumbe a las mismas presiones que han paralizado a la policía federal.
24236  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / CCW in National Parks on: December 12, 2008, 01:20:45 PM
Around the nation: Concealed carry in national parks
Last week, the Department of Interior adopted a new regulation that allows concealed weapons permit holders to carry their weapons into national parks if the state in which the park is located allows concealed carry. This is a significant change from the previous regulations, which prohibited the possession of loaded firearms in national parks. Indeed, the new recognition that there is a Second Amendment even in national parks is a step in the right direction. There is also a Tenth Amendment issue here -- that the laws of states prevail, even on federal land.

Although the NRA and sensible gun owners across the country welcomed this change, gun-control advocates reacted with their usual hysteria. Using the same apocalyptic exaggerations they trotted out (unsuccessfully) to oppose state concealed carry laws, the gun grabbers issued warnings of bedlam. Of course, their predictions of carnage never came true in states that have enacted concealed carry laws. To the contrary, crime dropped in these states. For the same reasons, national parks will not become the free-fire zones that the gun grabbers predict. Instead, law-abiding citizens now can defend themselves and their families against hostile predators -- human and animal -- that might threaten their lives.

Although the regulation takes effect before Obama takes office, his record shows his support of radical gun-control laws, and we expect an executive order undoing the regulation. During his tenure in the Illinois Senate and again in the U.S. Senate, Obama rarely saw a gun-control measure that he didn't support. He supported a ban on handguns; he voted in favor of a ban on virtually all semiautomatic rifles, pistols and shotguns; he favors registration and licensing; he opposes concealed carry. Yet he promises, "I believe in common-sense gun safety laws, and I believe in the Second Amendment. Lawful gun owners have nothing to fear. I said that throughout the campaign. I haven't indicated anything different during the transition. I think people can take me at my word." But a simple check of his "Change" Web site (under Crime and Law Enforcement) puts the lie to this promise.

24237  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 3rd SF group gets Silver Star on: December 12, 2008, 01:12:48 PM
Profiles of Valor: 3rd Special Forces Group
On 6 April 2008, in the mountains of Afghanistan's Nuristan province, a battle erupted between a team of 12 Special Forces troops from Operational Detachment Alpha 3336, a few dozen Afghan allies and hundreds of jihadis. The soldiers had jumped from helicopters at daybreak onto a mountain covered in ice, attempting to gain the high ground on a terrorist stronghold in the Shok Valley. Their mission: To capture or kill members of the militant group Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin (HIG). But insurgents quickly took positions against the U.S. troops -- and the insurgents had the high ground. Staff Sgt. Luis Morales saw an insurgent and opened fire, killing him, but enemy fighters then began firing on U.S. and Afghan troops from practically every direction. Because there was only one way up the valley, the jihadis "were able to wait until we were in the most vulnerable position to initiate the ambush," said Staff Sgt. Seth Howard. Several soldiers were hit in the opening barrage, but they all fought back. "We were pretty much in the open, there were no trees to hide behind," said Morales, who helped pull Staff Sgt. Dillon Behr, shot in the hip, back to a safer position. Morales himself had been shot in the thigh and ankle.

For the next seven hours, the small contingent of U.S. and Afghan troops fought hard while pinned to the side of the mountain, and managed to get down the mountain without being overwhelmed only when Air Force jets bombarded the insurgent positions with 2,000-pound bombs. The soldiers who could walk carried those who couldn't, including Staff Sgt. John Wayne Walding, who was hit by a bullet that according to Master Sgt. Scott Ford, the team sergeant, "basically amputated his right leg right there on the battlefield."

A helicopter attempted to land and evacuate the soldiers, but took several rounds in the rotor and hovered just long enough for the medic to jump off. A second helicopter then landed in an icy stream nearby and collected the troops. Among the Americans and Afghans, there were 15 wounded and two killed, both Afghans, while 150 to 200 jihadis were killed. The Green Berets were nearly out of ammunition, too -- each one had two magazines left. Today, 10 of those soldiers from Operational Detachment Alpha 3336 of the 3rd Special Forces Group will receive the Silver Star for their heroism. It will be the highest such number given to elite troops for a single battle since the Vietnam War. (For more details of the battle, see The Washington Post's account.)
24238  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / PD WSJ on: December 12, 2008, 12:49:07 PM
The New Blacklist

Hollywood has spent more than half a century railing against the anti-Communist blacklists of the 1950s that prevented some people from working in the movie industry. Woody Allen, George Clooney and countless other celebrities have produced liberal-minded films purporting to show how evil the blacklist was and upbraiding those who were silent while it was imposed.

Well, a real live blacklist is going on in California now and only a few liberals are daring to question it. Last month, after California voters approved Proposition 8 prohibiting gay marriage, many activists were bound and determined to hound anyone who supported the measure. Scott Eckern, artistic director of the California Musical Theater in Sacramento, the state's largest nonprofit performing arts company, donated $1,000 to the "Yes on 8" campaign. Protests from the producer of the Broadway musical "Hairspray" and many other show business people soon forced him to resign.

Similarly, Los Angeles Film Festival Director Richard Raddon was forced to step down after it was revealed he had donated $1,500 to "Yes on 8." The festival's organizer put out a statement blandly saying, "Our organization does not police the personal, religious or political choices of any employee, member or filmmaker." Behind the scenes, however, many of the festival's board members pressured Mr. Raddon to resign. "From now on, no one in entertainment is going to feel safe making a donation as measly as $100 to a conservative defense-of-marriage campaign," says Brent Bozell, head of the conservative Media Research Center.

Nor is the modern-day blacklist confined to entertainment. This week, Marjorie Christoffersen, manager of the famous Los Angeles restaurant El Coyote, resigned after her restaurant was subjected to a month of boycotts and demonstrations because she had contributed $100 to the campaign against gay marriage. Ms. Christoffersen, who had been with El Coyote for 26 years, insisted her stance had nothing to do with prejudice against gays, but rather with her Mormon faith. That didn't impress the blacklisters. Fellow employees at El Coyote vouched for her kindness to gay employees, including personally paying for the mother of an employee who died of AIDS to attend his funeral. That didn't matter either. And neither did the fact that the managers of El Coyote sent $10,000 to gay groups to "make up" for Ms. Christofferson's contribution. The boycott continued.

The slowdown in business forced Ms. Christoffersen to leave, prompting Charles Karal Bouley, a former columnist for the gay publication The Advocate, to ask in the Huffington Post if the reaction against some Prop 8 supporters hasn't been "overkill." "Marjorie Christoffersen had the right to donate $100 to yes on 8," he wrote. "Americans have the right to be wrong. . . . Even Barack Obama said marriage was between a man and a woman at a time when we needed his voice on our side on equality. He let us down, too, remember, and many of you still gave him a job."

At least the Hollywood blacklist targeted those who either professed Communist sympathies or refused to sign loyalty oaths. As columnist Maggie Gallagher points out, "Targeting an entire business because one person associated with it made (in their personal capacity) a donation to a cause is brand new." Some gay activists are one step away from claiming that if someone disagrees with them, they shouldn't be allowed to work anywhere. The original Hollywood blacklist never went that far, but you won't see any movies made about the current intolerance mounted against supporters of traditional marriage.

-- John Fund

The Spector of Specter

Last night’s auto bailout collapse was not the last word on taxpayer dollars for Detroit, but the showdown was certainly a down payment on an even bigger Senate fight next year over labor unions.

In a conference call with bloggers yesterday, Republican Senator Jim DeMint said the biggest battle in next year’s Congress would be over card check legislation -- and pointed to Republican Senator Arlen Specter as the weak point in Republican defenses.

You might think Detroit’s troubles would be a warning against enlarging union power to dictate wages and terms to American business. Card check would allow union organizers to take over workplaces without a secret ballot vote. But Mr. Specter faced a tough primary fight in 2004 from conservative GOP Rep. Pat Toomey, and won largely because the state AFL-CIO strongly urged its Republican members to support him. Mr. Specter paid the union back by voting for card check in 2007, albeit at a time when Republicans had enough votes to stop it from becoming law.

Next year, Democrats will likely be only two votes short of the 60 votes needed in the Senate. And if Al Franken prevails in the Minnesota recount, Mr. Specter could end up being the deciding vote. Already, Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Chief Bill George is telling reporters that the card check vote would be “critical” in determining whether the union throws its weight behind Mr. Specter again. Meanwhile, conservative activist Grover Norquist and Mr. Toomey, who now runs the Club for Growth, are laying down markers for Mr. Specter on the right. Mr. Toomey tells The Hill newspaper he might consider running against Mr. Specter again in the 2010 primary if Mr. Specter supports labor's agenda.

This morning, the UAW’s Ron Gettelfinger blamed failure of the auto bailout talks on GOP desire to get a “win” in advance of the card check fight. The talks collapsed over Democratic refusal to force the UAW to accept a reduction in wages and benefits to match the transplant factories of the foreign manufacturers.

Mr. Gettelfinger didn’t quite say so, but card check is also part of Big Labor’s increasingly hopeless strategy to preserve its Big Three pay levels. The idea is to drive up wage and benefit costs at Toyota, Nissan and other transplants. Card check is key. The UAW has racked up a goose egg in 20 years of trying to organize the foreign-owned plants, and Detroit's recent troubles are not exactly a big advertisement to workers in Tennessee or Alabama to welcome the UAW. Whether even card check would help is doubtful in any case. But certainly a process that continues to rely on a secret ballot free from intimidation is unlikely to advance the UAW’s cause.

-- Holman W. Jenkins Jr.

Quote of the Day

"Like his memoir, Fugitive Days , 'The Real Bill Ayers' is a sentimentalized, self-justifying whitewash of his role in the weirdo violent fringe of the 1960s-70s antiwar left. 'I never killed or injured anyone,' Ayers writes. 'In 1970, I co-founded the Weather Underground, an organization that was created after an accidental explosion that claimed the lives of three of our comrades in Greenwich Village.' Right. Those people belonged to Weatherman, as did Ayers himself and Bernardine Dohrn, now his wife. Weatherman, Weather Underground, completely different! And never mind either that that 'accidental explosion' was caused by the making of a nail bomb intended for a dance at Fort Dix. . . . I wish Ayers would make a real apology for the harm he did to the antiwar movement and the left. . . . I'd like him to say he's sorry for his part in the destruction of Students for a Democratic Society. He's sorry he helped Nixon make the antiwar movement look like the enemy of ordinary people. He's sorry for his more-radical-than-thou posturing, and the climate of apocalyptic nuttiness he helped fuel . . ." -- columnist Katha Pollitt, writing in The Nation magazine, in response to a New York Times op-ed by Obama friend and former Weather Underground terrorist William Ayers.

In Search of . . . Margaret Thatcher

Britain's Conservative Party was depressed to learn this week that it's not making up a great deal of ground against Prime Minister Gordon Brown despite a U.K. economy even harder hit by the credit crisis than the U.S.

On the third anniversary of David Cameron's rise to become leader of the Tories, a new Times of London poll shows his party garnering the support of just 39% of Britons. These are lousy numbers for a party long out of power and with the opportunity to blame a serious recession on Mr. Brown's Labour Party. The only good news for Conservatives is that Labour's approval rating is even lower at 35%, not much higher than George W. Bush's numbers.

Maybe that's why down is beginning to look a little like up to Conservatives, who've been on the wrong side of British pollsters for more than a decade. Mr. Cameron, who figures to square off against Mr. Brown in an election in 2009 or 2010, finally has begun differentiating himself from Mr. Brown's tax-and-spend policies. He has been warning voters of Labour's "unsustainably high" spending and of the inevitable tax hikes ahead. Some see this as evidence Tories are finally recapturing their Thatcherite mojo. In the last three years, Mr. Cameron has made many mistakes, from messily fussing over the Conservative "brand" to lacking an early and articulate rebuttal to Mr. Brown's statist maneuvers. Many voters on the right still wonder just how conservative this Conservative Party leader really is. He remains a vocal supporter of public services such as the National Health Service, one of the biggest reasons for uncontrolled spending growth.

Mr. Cameron's challenge is not dissimilar to the challenge faced by Republicans in Washington. After an orgy of "Big Government" conservatism, the latter are now trying to regain their status as a voice for fiscal restraint amid a crisis-spawned explosion of interventionism. Of course, it doesn't help that a president of their own party has been a big contributor to the spree. Mr. Cameron at least has the advantage of being able to sound a more credible trumpet -- if he's willing to use it. It took a decade of economic crisis on both sides of the Atlantic before voters gave the Thatcher-Reagan solution a chance. Let's hope it doesn't take so long this time.

24239  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: China's Democratic Charter on: December 12, 2008, 11:58:57 AM
China's democracy movement has moved in fits and starts since the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. But a manifesto issued this week marks a brave new chapter in the fight for political freedom.

More than 400 Chinese citizens living inside China published "Charter 08" on the Internet. The document calls for a new constitution to establish multiparty democracy and includes a scathing account of Communist rule. It describes its ambition for a political system in which the military, courts, schools and churches are accountable to the constitution rather than to a political party.

In a year that has seen a crackdown on political dissent, especially during the Olympics and March Tibet protests, this is a bold step, and the authors don't mince words: "Our political system continues to produce human rights disasters and social crises." It continues: "[A]s the ruling elite continues with impunity to crush and to strip away the rights of citizens to freedom, to property, and to the pursuit of happiness, we see the powerless in our society . . . becoming more militant and raising the possibility of a violent conflict of disastrous proportions. The decline of the current system has reached the point where change is no longer optional."

An introduction to the charter by American Sinologist Perry Link -- who translated it into English -- likens it to Charter 77, the document signed by Vaclav Havel and other Czechoslovakian dissidents in 1977. Like those dissidents, two signers of Charter 08 were detained by police this week and about a dozen have been questioned, according to Amnesty International.

The Czech dissidents waited 13 years to realize their democratic dream. In China, the reality of self-government also seems far off and Charter 08 won't produce immediate change. But the boldness and bravery of its statement suggest that the democrats' day will come.
24240  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Jefferson: Lies on: December 12, 2008, 11:53:37 AM
"It is of great importance to set a resolution, not to be shaken, never to tell an untruth. There is no vice so mean, so pitiful, so contemptible; and he who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and a third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he tells lies without attending to it, and truths without the world's believing him. This falsehood of the tongue leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all its good disposition."

--Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, 19 August 1785
24241  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Other than that, the story was accurate on: December 12, 2008, 11:50:33 AM
Other Than That, the Story Was Accurate

Yesterday's item on Gov. Rod Blagojevich's alleged attempt to sell Barack Obama's erstwhile Senate seat cited a pair of reports from KHQA-TV in Quincy, Ill., contradicting Obama aide David Axelrod's claim that Obama never discussed the Senate appointment with Blagojevich, a claim that contradicted Axelrod's own earlier claim that he knew the governor and the president-elect had discussed the matter.

The first KHQA report, on Nov. 5, said that Obama was "meeting with Governor Rod Blagojevich this afternoon in Chicago to discuss" the nomination. The second, three days later, said that the meeting had taken place. Never mind, KHQA now says:

KHQA TV wishes to offer clarification regarding a story that appeared last month on our website The story, which discussed the appointment of a replacement for President Elect Obama in the U.S. Senate, became the subject of much discussion on talk radio and on blog sites Wednesday.
The story housed in our website archive was on the morning of November 5, 2008. It suggested that a meeting was scheduled later that day between President Elect Obama and Illinois Governor Blagojevich. KHQA has no knowledge that any meeting ever took place. Governor Blagojevich did appear at a news conference in Chicago on that date.
To call this a "clarification" is rather an understatement, like saying that KHQA's performance in this matter is not the proudest moment in the history of American journalism. In any case, the "clarified" KHQA report was, as far as we know, the only evidence, aside from Axelrod's now-recanted statement, that Obama and Blagojevich had discussed the matter. Even assuming no conversation took place between the two principals, we still are left with the question of when the Obama team became aware of Blagojevich's alleged scheme and what if anything they did about it.

Jim Lindgren has a detailed and suggestive timeline. He points to a CNN report from Nov. 9, the Sunday after Election Day, in which "a prominent Democratic source close to" Obama confirms an earlier report by Chicago's WSL-TV "that Valerie Jarrett is Obama's choice to replace him in the Senate."

"On Monday, Nov. 10," Lindgren recounts, quoting the criminal complaint, "Blagojevich holds an incredible 2-hour conference call with multiple consultants: 'ROD BLAGOJEVICH, his wife, JOHN HARRIS, Governor General Counsel, and various Washington-D.C. based advisors, including Advisor B,' discussing his corrupt schemes. He follows this with two calls with Advisor A."

The same day, the CNN story linked above was updated:

Two Democratic sources told CNN Monday that Obama wants Jarrett to serve in the White House, not the Senate.
Here is Lindgren's analysis:

So what happened? The likeliest scenario is that one of the many participants in Blagojevich's Monday phone calls either floated his plans to the Obama transition team to assess their response or tipped off the Obama camp about the reckless ideas that Blagojevich had planned.
In any event, within hours of Blagojevich substantially expanding his circle of confidants, the Obama camp withdrew Jarrett's name from consideration and attributed that withdrawal to the President's wanting Jarrett in the White House. And the Obama staffers went out of their way to depict this as Obama's choice, rather than Jarrett's, which would have been more common. The report claims Obama's involvement in the decision and suggests a direct effort to undercut the idea that Obama was pressuring Blagojevich to appoint Jarrett.
Lindgren speculates that Rep. Rahm Emanuel, Blagojevich's successor in the House and Obama's designated chief of staff, was the Obama camp's point of contact with the Blagojevich camp. As National Review's Byron York points out, the L.A. Times asked Obama specifically about this, and he ducked the question (ellipses in transcript):

Q: Have you ever spoken to Gov. Blagojevich about the Senate seat?
Obama: I have not discussed the Senate seat with the governor at any time. My strong belief is that it needed to be filled by somebody who is going to represent the people of Illinois and fight for them. And beyond that, I was focused on the transition.
Q: And that was before and after the election?
Obama: Yes.
Q: Are you aware of any conversations between Blagojevich or [chief of staff] John Harris and any of your top aides, including Rahm [Emanuel]?
Obama: Let me stop you there because . . . it's an ongoing . . . investigation. I think it would be inappropriate for me to, you know, remark on the situation beyond the facts that I know. And that's the fact that I didn't discuss this issue with the governor at all.
What would be the significance if Emanuel turned out to have known about the alleged bribery attempt? Legally, not much, according to Lindgren:

It is not a crime to fail to report a bribery attempt. The federal misprision of felony statute would seem to make it a federal crime to fail to report a federal felony. . . .
But case law has conclusively determined that mere non-reporting is not enough. Active concealment or the acceptance of a benefit for concealing is required.
Since all indications are that the Obama camp rejected any corrupt deal, they would seem to be legally in the clear. In their refusal to make a deal, it would appear their instinct for self-preservation served them well. It would be more impressive, though, if it turns out they did the public-spirited thing and reported Blagojevich's conduct to the authorities.

Obama's "ongoing investigation" dodge has drawn criticism from both right and left (the latter has likened it to President Bush's refusal to comment during the investigation of the Valerie Plame kerfuffle). Yet prosecutors generally do not like prospective witnesses to talk about a case publicly, and surely we want Obama and his aides to cooperate with prosecutors. It does put Obama in a politically awkward position, though, especially if the facts he is constrained from discussing publicly reflect well on him and his advisers.

Who Was Dick Simpson?
He is a political scientist at the University of Illinois at Chicago whom Reuters quoted yesterday (as we noted) as saying, "Obama is not related to the corruption pattern in Chicago," and, "He has not been pressing for any person to replace him in his Senate seat."

Simpson is also a former Chicago alderman--a fact that seems relevant, but that Reuters omitted.

24242  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Organized & Disorganized Religion and anti-religion on: December 12, 2008, 11:16:09 AM
Woof All:

I have always thought there was a correlation between celibacy/the lack of marriage (heterosexual sex) for priests and the Church's massive problems with pedophilia.  The following article in today's WSJ challenges that assumption:


It began on the radio this summer. New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind ran a segment on his Saturday night talk show titled "We Are Only as Sick as Our Secrets: Sexual Abuse, Healing the Shame," featuring graphic accounts of sexual abuse of children in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn.

There had been a few high-profile cases before, but this "was when the floodgates opened," explained Mr. Hikind, an Orthodox Jew himself. Following the show, additional victims and their family members came forward to share with Mr. Hikind their own stories. "Cases of sexual abuse are not worse among the Orthodox," clarifies Mr. Hikind. "But when there's a problem and you don't deal with it, it gets worse." Over the past few months he has collected hundreds of testimonies spanning several decades, naming at least 50 alleged pedophiles across the tri-state Orthodox Jewish community, including well-respected rabbis and teachers.

But now these testimonies have become a source of contention. They have been subpoenaed for a civil suit by a lawyer representing six former students of Rabbi Yehuda Kolko, a longtime teacher at one of Borough Park's leading all-male yeshivas, who has been charged repeatedly since the 1980s with sexually molesting his students. (Last year Rabbi Kolko pleaded guilty to child endangerment.) The problem is that Mr. Hikind had sworn to keep the testimonies confidential.

Mr. Hikind claims he will "do the right thing" about the subpoena without betraying the names of any of the victims. While he will not hand over his complete list of alleged perpetrators, he says that "we are starting to share names" with Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes.

Many people give Mr. Hikind credit for bringing much needed attention to an issue in the Orthodox community that has frequently been swept under the rug. (One exception to the silent treatment was the Orthodox Union's creation of a special commission in 2000 to investigate the sexual abuse charges against Rabbi Baruch Lanner, leader of the National Conference of Synagogue Youth, who was later convicted.) He also deserves credit for getting victims to talk at all. Mr. Hikind says that he encourages each victim who comes to him to go directly to the police, but no one is willing to. They are too afraid of the repercussions for themselves and their families in terms of reputation and marriageability.

The trouble is that subpoena or no subpoena, he has valuable information that is not being effectively utilized to investigate the alleged offenders and get them off the streets. "Dov Hikind has decided that secrecy is a more worthwhile value than child protection," explains Marci A. Hamilton, a professor at the Cardozo School of Law and an expert in clergy law. By witholding the names of the perpetrators, "he is sharing in the responsibility of every child who is harmed by them."

What Mr. Hikind wants to do instead is tackle the issue from within the community. He has assembled a task force of rabbis, therapists, principals and pediatricians to help the community respond to cases of sexually abused children -- raising awareness, forming a registry of teachers (so that a teacher who is removed from one school does not simply go to another) and devising a system of investigating allegations. Investigation is extremely important, he adds, because "you have to make sure an innocent person is not being thrown to the wolves."

While Mr. Hikind's effort is well-intentioned, Prof. Hamilton calls it "a doomed project." Resolving cases of sexual abuse without the legal establishment in this country "has never worked in any other religious community," she points out, citing the Catholic Church as an example. And the truth is, many rabbis agree with her. According to Rabbi Mark Dratch, the chief executive officer of JSAFE (The Jewish Institute Supporting an Abuse-Free Environment), "Rabbinic authorities do not have the expertise or ability to handle these things. Making reports [to the legal authorities] is the only way to go."

Mr. Hikind insists that his plan does not look to circumvent law enforcement, but to collaborate with it. The question, though, is if the ultra-Orthodox constituency that Mr. Hikind is working with will be a real partner in this endeavor. In the past, they have unfortunately been resistant, worrying more about the consequences of disparaging renowned Torah scholars than about protecting a child's life. Some rabbis in the community have even impeded the efforts of other rabbis who are willing to speak out and take action. Orthodox rabbi and psychologist Benzion Twerski resigned from Mr. Hikind's task force for fear of tarnishing his reputation and his family's reputation within the community. In Williamsburg, Rabbi Nuchum Rosenberg received threats for speaking out against abuse in his community.

So is Mr. Hikind's plan "doomed"? It depends. If the community is willing to take more cases to the police rather than watching alleged perpetrators float from one community to another, where they will no doubt prey again, then great. But if they are not, if they succumb to the same social pressures that have paralyzed them for decades, then every day that goes by another community of children is at risk.

No matter what happens, though, Mr. Hikind promises not to reveal any victims' names. "I will not, God forbid, destroy a person's life all over again," he says. That's good. But let's hope another child's life is not destroyed either.

Ms. Schwartz writes a monthly column for the Jewish Week.
24243  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Agradecimiento de cada dia on: December 12, 2008, 11:09:54 AM
Ayer mi esposa se fue a visitar a su madre.  Cuando su avion estaba aterrizando (landing) habia otro avion en el camino (runway) y fue necessario abortar el "landing" en condicion de emergencia (emergency abort of the the landing).  Habian unos segundos de alta emocion.

Agradezco tener mi esposa, madre de mis hijos, en mi vida.
24244  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Humor/WTF on: December 12, 2008, 10:55:09 AM
For those wondering what he is talking about, he is making a reference to a joke I tell at the beginning of "Combining Stick & Footwork".
24245  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Democratas en LA necesitan apoyan EUA on: December 12, 2008, 10:50:08 AM
Publicado en ingles en el WSJ, traducido por software al espanol.
Somos amigos de Estados Unidos. Admiramos el compromiso largo y firme de las personas norteamericanas a los valores de libertad, la democracia y dignidad individual. Cuándo nosotros servimos nuestros países, nosotros hicimos cuanto pudimos para reforzar lazos hemisféricos y transatlánticos con EEUU

Hace unos pocos semanas, las personas norteamericanas tuvieron su elección presidencial 56. La libertad de las personas norteamericanas expresar su hace por el proceso democrático ha mostrado el mundo una vez más que los logros de una gran nación dependen del respeto fuerte para los principios del pluralismo, liberten opinión pública, y la regla de la ley.
Nosotros siempre hemos creído que cerramos relaciones entre naciones democráticas son no sólo bueno bilateralmente pero globalmente también. La amistad, el respeto, la cooperación y el comercio entre democracias promueven prosperidad, favorecen la estabilidad, y refuerzan libertad.

El presidente electo Barack Obama y su nueva administración y Congreso encararán desafíos y amenazas difíciles. Sus decisiones y las acciones jugarán un papel decisivo en la promoción de la democracia y la prosperidad a través del mundo.
En este momento, nosotros experimentamos una crisis financiera de dimensiones inauditas. En este mundo globalizado, la cooperación, el liderazgo, honradez intelectual y valor político son requeridos más que nunca. Juzgando de nuestra experiencia que gobierna, podemos ver que algunas nuevas respuestas serán requeridas a dirigir esta crisis. Necesitamos soluciones creadoras, y ellos deben ser basados en los principios sano de responsabilidad y transparencia. Sin embargo, nosotros no debemos descuidar los otros problemas que encaramos.

La elección del Sr. Obama para el ministro -- Hillary Clinton -- ayudará a construir puentes de la comprensión y la cooperación con Iberoamérica. Iberoamérica es una parte esencial de la comunidad de las naciones que comparten los valores de la democracia y la economía de mercado liberales. Su PIB combinado es más grande que PIB de China.
La historia muestra que siempre que Iberoamérica haya sido descuidada que la causa de libertad y prosperidad ha sido socavada. Por lo tanto, es esencial que las naciones que abracen los principios de libertad y democracia se juntan para encarar amenazas actuales de seguridad.

Vivimos en un mundo peligroso. El fallecimiento del comunismo fue un paso hacia adelante en la causa de la libertad. Pero la historia ha vuelto. Los enemigos viejos de sociedades libres y abiertas colocan nuevos desafíos al mundo. El terrorismo, cualquier su naturaleza, continúa colocar una amenaza a la civilización y la paz. Islamismo es un modelo y una yunta para millones. Utopianism regresivo esparce en muchos países latinoamericanos por una onda del populismo. El nacionalismo y el fanatismo religioso continúan alimentar conflicto e inestabilidad.

Los enemigos de libertad que comparte vistas anti-occidentales ahora forman nuevas alianzas. Las libertades y libertades son disminuidas progresivamente dentro de algunos países latinoamericanos mientras políticas exteriores de duro-poder son aplicadas como un medios para aumentar influencia y debilitar al enemigo común: el Oeste. Latinoamericanos debe continuar trabajar con sus socios y amigos norteamericanos para asegurar la protección de la democracia y otras instituciones civiles. Debemos promover una transición a la democracia en Cuba y dirigir nuestros esfuerzos de evitar el resurgimiento de regímenes autoritarios.

La pobreza es una realidad dolorosa en muchos países. Millones de personas no tienen acceso a la asistencia médica ni la educación. Esto es inaceptable. Creemos totalmente que los beneficios de globalización deben estar disponibles a todos. Hemos encontrado en nuestros propios países que instituciones democráticas fortificantes, proporcionando gobierno bueno, y abriendo nuestras fronteras para comerciar es la mejor manera de mejorar condiciones sociales y bienestar económico.

Iberoamérica tiene mucho en ganar del libre cambio. Los acuerdos de libre cambio exitosamente negociando ayudarán a traer el progreso y la prosperidad a países latinoamericanos, así como alrededor del globo.

Hoy, hay sobre 40 millones de personas con lazos fuertes a Iberoamérica que vive en EEUU y, por su dinamismo, contribuye a su grandeza. La tradición de libertad abrazada por EEUU está en el acuerdo con tradiciones hispanas y cultiva. La coexistencia pacífica del norteamericano y tradiciones hispanas refuerza la idea de Iberoamérica que forma parte del mundo Occidental.

Iberoamérica necesita apoyo contra las amenazas que encara actualmente. Es esencial que Iberoamérica pueda contar con el apoyo de EEUU si es de tener éxito en promover y consolidando valores y principios comunes.

Demócratas latinoamericanos comparten el sueño de libertad y progreso con las personas norteamericanas. El presidente electo Obama personifica una esperanza que debe ser cumplida.

El Sr. Aznar es un presidente anterior de España. El Sr. Zorro es un presidente anterior de México. El Sr. Pastrana es un presidente anterior de Colombia. El Sr. Sanguinetti es un presidente anterior de Uruguay. El Sr. Flores es un presidente anterior de El Salvador.
24246  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Question from a friend in Iraq on: December 11, 2008, 11:02:02 PM
Here's what my friend is thinking off:
24247  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Predictions confirmed on: December 11, 2008, 03:07:43 PM
Evolutionary theory predictions confirmed
24248  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: New to forum on: December 11, 2008, 02:50:09 PM
Woof Rick:

Welcome aboard.  I just surfed through some of your clips-- excellent movement and creativity!

Crafty Dog
24249  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Our Founding Fathers: on: December 11, 2008, 02:06:27 PM
My Fellow Patriots,

Of the American fight for liberty, George Washington wrote, "Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!" Indeed, it was, and it remains our noble cause. And we know, by virtue of your patronage, that you are standing with us on many frontlines in honor and defense of our nation's proud heritage and legacy of liberty.

Of those unwilling to enlist in this righteous cause, Samuel Adams said, "If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen."

However, of those who did enlist, and have in generations since, Adams wrote, "It does not take a majority to prevail ... but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men."

Though a minority we may be, we have never wavered in our endeavor to set brushfires of liberty.

From our humble beginnings in 1996, The Patriot Post is now the most widely read conservative political journal on the Internet. We reach millions of readers, and by extension, their families, friends and associates, and we do so at a cost of less than 25 cents per reader per year. Thousands of our readers repost our content on blogs, social networking sites and personal Web sites. High school teachers, and college and university professors use our content to teach their students, and many political and cultural organizations reprint our content in their publications.

On the other hand, the major print media outlets, which have commanded a stranglehold on public opinion for generations, are now suffering unprecedented reader attrition. Liberal standard-bearers like The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun and other print dailies are losing ground to the "new media" -- that's us.

The Patriot's Annual Fund is donor supported so we can offer our publication free of charge to thousands of American military personnel, students and those in ministry or other professions with limited financial means.

We hear from these Patriot readers every day, and I would like to share a few of their recent comments:

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Patriots, this is a call to arms. As we close out our books this year, we still must raise $153,787 in order to meet our budget. Please, support The Patriot's 2008 Annual Fund today, in accordance with your ability. (If you prefer to support us by mail, please use our printable donor form or print the donor information listed below.)

Publishing, like freedom, is not free. We employ editorial and technical managers, numerous part-time feature and content editors, and an indispensable research and analysis team. In addition, our Internet publishing efforts require a sizable investment beyond the human one; this includes robust and powerful hardware, custom software, office space, installations, maintenance and more. We also incur substantial legal, accounting and insurance costs.

Yet, our mission and operations budget is a small fraction of the expenses of other influential conservative organizations, primarily because our dedicated staff members are motivated by mission and not deterred by modest wages. (View our expense graphic here.)

If you have not already done so, please take a moment to support The Patriot today.

I thank you for the honor and privilege of serving you as editor and publisher of The Patriot. On behalf of your Patriot Staff and National Advisory Committee, thank you, and God bless you and your family this Christmas season.

Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus, et Fidelis!

Mark Alexander,
Publisher, for the editors and staff

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24250  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 10 Worst Predictions for 2008 on: December 11, 2008, 01:52:08 PM
The 10 Worst Predictions for 2008


Posted December 2008
Prognostication is by far the riskiest form of punditry. The 10 commentators and leaders on this list learned that the hard way when their confident predictions about politics, war, the economy, and even the end of humanity itself completely missed the mark.

Scott Gries/Getty Images"If [Hillary Clinton] gets a race against John Edwards and Barack Obama, she's going to be the nominee. Gore is the only threat to her, then. … Barack Obama is not going to beat Hillary Clinton in a single Democratic primary. I'll predict that right now." —William Kristol, Fox News Sunday, Dec. 17, 2006

Weekly Standard editor and New York Times columnist William Kristol was hardly alone in thinking that the Democratic primary was Clinton's to lose, but it takes a special kind of self-confidence to make a declaration this sweeping more than a year before the first Iowa caucus was held. After Iowa, Kristol lurched to the other extreme, declaring that Clinton would lose New Hampshire and that "There will be no Clinton Restoration." It's also worth pointing out that this second wildly premature prediction was made in a Times column titled, "President Mike Huckabee?" The Times is currently rumored to be looking for his replacement.
CNBC"Peter writes: 'Should I be worried about Bear Stearns in terms of liquidity and get my money out of there?' No! No! No! Bear Stearns is fine! Do not take your money out. … Bear Stearns is not in trouble. I mean, if anything they're more likely to be taken over. Don't move your money from Bear! That's just being silly! Don't be silly!" —Jim Cramer, responding to a viewer's e-mail on CNBC's Mad Money, March 11, 2008

Hopefully, Peter got a second opinion. Six days after the volatile CNBC host made his emphatic pronouncement, Bear Stearns faced the modern equivalent of an old-fashioned bank run. Amid widespread speculation on Wall Street about the bank's massive exposure to subprime mortgages, Bear's shares lost 90 percent of their value and the investment bank was sold for a pittance to JPMorgan Chase, with a last-minute assist from the U.S. Federal Reserve.
ERIC CABANIS/Getty Images"[In] reality the risks to maritime flows of oil are far smaller than is commonly assumed. First, tankers are much less vulnerable than conventional wisdom holds. Second, limited regional conflicts would be unlikely to seriously upset traffic, and terrorist attacks against shipping would have even less of an economic effect. Third, only a naval power of the United States' strength could seriously disrupt oil shipments." —Dennis Blair and Kenneth Lieberthal, Foreign Affairs, May/June 2007

On Nov. 15, 2008 a group of Somali pirates in inflatable rafts hijacked a Saudi oil tanker carrying 2 million barrels of crude in the Indian Ocean. The daring raid was part of a rash of attacks by Somali pirates, which have primarily occurred in the Gulf of Aden. Pirates operating in the waterway have hijacked more than 50 ships this year, up from only 13 in all of last year, according to the Piracy Reporting Center. The Gulf of Aden, where nearly 4 percent of the world's oil demand passes every day, was not on the list of strategic "chokepoints" where oil shipments could potentially be disrupted that Blair and Lieberthal included in their essay, "Smooth Sailing: The World's Shipping Lanes Are Safe." Hopefully, Blair will show a bit more foresight if, as some expect, he is selected as Barack Obama's director of national intelligence.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images"[A]nyone who says we're in a recession, or heading into one—especially the worst one since the Great Depression—is making up his own private definition of 'recession.'" —Donald Luskin, The Washington Post, Sept. 14, 2008

The day after Luskin's op-ed, "Quit Doling Out That Bad-Economy Line," appeared in the Post, Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, and the rest is history. Liberal bloggers had long ago dubbed the Trend Macrolytics chief investment officer and informal McCain advisor "the Stupidest Man Alive." This time, they had some particularly damning evidence.
YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images"For all its flaws, an example to others." —The Economist on Kenya's presidential election, Dec. 19, 2007

The week before Kenya's presidential election, the erudite British newsweekly ran an ill-conceived editorial praising the quality of the country's democracy and predicting it might "set an example" for the rest of the continent. If only. The ensuing election was rife with examples of voter fraud and ballot-stuffing. What followed was a month of rioting and ethnic bloodshed that left more than 800 dead and 200,000 displaced. The carnage ended in a messy power-sharing agreement between President Mwai Kibaki and his challenger Raila Odinga, leaving the country deeply divided and its government delegitimized.
Brad Barket/Getty Images"New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg will enter the Presidential race in February, after it becomes clear which nominees will get the nod from the major parties. His multiple billions and organization will impress voters—and stun rivals. He'll look like the most viable third-party candidate since Teddy Roosevelt. But Bloomberg will come up short, as he comes in for withering attacks from both Democrats and Republicans. He and Clinton will split more than 50% of the votes, but Arizona's maverick senator, John McCain, will end up the country's next President." –BusinessWeek, Jan. 2, 2008

No part of this prediction from BusinessWeek's "Ten Likely Events in 2008" turned out to be even remotely true. After weeks of hints and press leaks, Bloomberg declared he would stay out of the race, saying that Barack Obama and John McCain showed signs of displaying the "independent leadership" needed to govern effectively. After overturning New York's term-limits law, Bloomberg seems likely to run for a third term as mayor instead.
Sean Gallup/Getty Images"There is a real possibility of creating destructive theoretical anomalies such as miniature black holes, strangelets and deSitter space transitions. These events have the potential to fundamentally alter matter and destroy our planet." —Walter Wagner,

Scientist Walter Wagner, the driving force behind Citizens Against the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), is making his bid to be the 21st century's version of Chicken Little for his opposition to the world's largest particle accelerator. Warning that the experiment might end humanity as we know it, he filed a lawsuit in Hawaii's U.S. District Court against the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), which built the LHC, demanding that researchers not turn the machine on until it was proved safe. The LHC was turned on in September, and it appears that we are still here.
JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images"The possibility of $150-$200 per barrel seems increasingly likely over the next six-24 months." —Arjun Murti, Goldman Sachs oil analyst, in a May 5, 2008, report

The vaunted predictive powers of Murti, dubbed the "oracle of oil" in a glowing New York Times profile, failed him this time. Oil prices peaked in July at about $147 a barrel before beginning a long decline. Thanks to a decrease in demand because of the global recession, prices are now nearing the $40 mark, and some experts even see $25 as a possibility next year.
VIKTOR DRACHEV/AFP/Getty Images"It starts with the taking over of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which has already happened. It goes on to the destruction of the Georgian armed forces, which is now happening. The third [development] will probably be the replacement of the elected government, which is pro-Western, with a puppet government, which will probably follow in a week or two." —Charles Krauthammer, Fox News, Aug. 11, 2008

Krauthammer immediately followed this inaccurate forecast (Russia eventually agreed to a cease-fire and pulled out its troops several weeks later, leaving Mikheil Saakashvili's government in place) by predicting that Ukraine would be next on Russia's hit list and suggesting that the United States station troops there. As for Saakashvili, his approval rating was at 76 percent in September.
Mario Tama/Getty Images"I believe the banking system has been stabilized. No one is asking themselves anymore, is there some major institution that might fail and that we would not be able to do anything about it." —Henry Paulson on National Public Radio, Nov. 13, 2008

The U.S. Treasury secretary entered November with guns blazing. After much hemming and hawing before Congress a month earlier, he came out with what he called his "bazooka" —a $700 billion mandate to scoop up bad assets from troubled banks. By mid-November, he had already discharged $300 billion in munitions, albeit mostly via the kind of direct equity stakes he had rejected earlier. Unfortunately for Paulson, shortly after his vote of confidence, Citigroup's stock price plunged 75 percent in one week, closing below $5 for the first time in 14 years.

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