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24501  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Washington: Never despair on: August 07, 2008, 06:48:49 AM
"We should never despair, our Situation before has been unpromising
and has changed for the better, so I trust, it will again. If
new difficulties arise, we must only put forth new Exertions and
proportion our Efforts to the exigency of the times."

-- George Washington (letter to Philip Schuyler, 7/15/1777)

Reference: Washington's Maxims, 16.
24502  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizen-Police interactions on: August 07, 2008, 12:39:55 AM
Pr. George's Officers Lacked 'No-Knock' Warrant in Raid
Authorities, Who Broke Down Door During Search for Drugs at Home of Berwyn Heights Mayor, Had Said They Obtained Document
By Rosalind S. Helderman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 6, 2008; B01



Prince George's County authorities did not have a "no-knock" warrant when they burst into the home of a mayor July 29, shooting and killing his two dogs -- contrary to what police said after the incident.

Judges in Maryland can grant police the right to enter a building and serve a search warrant without knocking if the judge finds there is reasonable suspicion to think evidence might be destroyed or the officers' safety might be endangered in announcing themselves.

A Prince George's police spokesman said last week that a Sheriff's Office SWAT team and county police narcotics officers were operating under such a warrant when they broke down the door of Berwyn Heights Mayor Cheye Calvo, shooting and killing his black Labrador retrievers.

But a review of the warrant indicates that police neither sought nor received permission from Circuit Court Judge Albert W. Northrup to enter without knocking. Northrup found probable cause to suspect that drugs might be in the house and granted police a standard search warrant.
"There's nothing in the four corners of the warrant saying anything about the Calvos being a threat to law enforcement," said Calvo's attorney, Timothy Maloney. "This was a lawless act by law enforcement."

Police spokesman Henry Tippett said yesterday that the statement about the warrant that public affairs officers released Friday was based on information provided by Maj. Mark Magaw, commander of the narcotics enforcement division. A request to interview Magaw was not immediately granted yesterday, and Tippett said he could not explain the discrepancy.
"That was the information that was given to us," he said.

Calvo's home was raided after he brought a package addressed to his wife inside from his front porch. Police had been tracking the package since a dog sniffed the presence of drugs in Arizona. It was delivered to the house by police posing as deliverymen and left on the porch on the instruction of Calvo's mother-in-law.

After the raid, police found the unopened package, containing 32 pounds of marijuana, in the house. According to law enforcement sources, police are investigating whether a deliveryman might have been the intended recipient of the package instead of Calvo or his wife. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because the case is open.
Calvo has said that sheriff's deputies entered without knocking and began shooting immediately, killing 7-year-old Payton first, then shooting 4-year-old Chase as he ran to another room.

Sheriff Michael Jackson (D) has not returned several messages about the case. Sgt. Mario Ellis, a Sheriff's Office spokesman, said last Wednesday that deputies regretted shooting the dogs but that they had felt threatened by them. He has not returned calls since.

The case has highlighted friction between law enforcement agencies. The county police and Sheriff's Office have jurisdiction throughout Prince George's and typically handle major crimes, but they share jurisdiction with smaller police forces in some of the county's 27 towns and cities.

Berwyn Heights Police Chief Patrick Murphy has been highly critical of the county police for not alerting his eight-member department before the raid. He said his officers could have gained entry to the home without incident or informed county police that Calvo was unlikely to be violent.
Greenbelt Police Chief James R. Craze said yesterday that county officers contacted his 54-member department the day of the raid to ask whether his emergency response unit could serve the warrant. County police have said the Sheriff's Office was asked to participate because its team was busy at the time. Craze said it is not unusual for agencies to cooperate in such cases.

"From what I know, their SWAT team wasn't available, and that's why they were out shopping," he said.

He said his department, which conducts a drug raid a month, declined to take part because it is authorized to operate outside city limits only when the raid is conducted by a regional task force led by the Maryland State Police. County police are not part of the task force, Craze said.
Craze said county police do not always alert his officers when operating in Greenbelt. "Obviously, I would prefer that they do," he said.

The warrant issue will probably only heighten anger in the community over the incident. Even when a search warrant has been issued, courts have held that police must generally knock to announce their presence, preserve the privacy of a homeowner and let occupants know they are not experiencing an illegal home invasion.
"It's a traditional constitutional protection, going back forever," said defense attorney Richard A. Finci, who is not involved with the Calvo case.
Police officers are sometimes allowed to search without knocking, even without getting authority in advance, but courts have ruled they can do so only if there are specific circumstances at the time of the search that lead officers to conclude evidence might be destroyed or law enforcement could be endangered, said lawyer William C. Brennan, who is not involved with the case.

Were Calvo or his wife, Trinity Tomsic, to be charged in the case, the issue of the search could come up if prosecutors tried to introduce the box of marijuana as evidence. More likely, experts said, the issue could form the basis of a civil rights lawsuit filed by the family against the county in the incident.

Another issue that could arise in court is whether officers provided Calvo a copy of the warrant at the time of the raid, as required by law. Maloney said they did not, even though a detective signed a sworn statement to the judge indicating that he had. Instead, the detective brought the warrant to Calvo several days later, Maloney said.

Maloney said that Calvo and Tomsic are waiting for an explanation from law enforcement and that it would be premature discuss legal action.
24503  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Do you look like a cop off-duty? on: August 07, 2008, 12:35:44 AM
Do you look like a cop off-duty? How to tell...

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I have never thought I look like a cop when I am off-duty. Cop haircut? Nope. "Copstache?" Negative. Wearing clothes emblazoned with police-related labels, phrases, or insignia? Almost never. While most situations are not nearly as dramatic as the San Francisco experience, there have been many times people I very recently met will either ask me if I work in law enforcement, or tell me upon learning what I do for a living that they "just knew it." Often, they come from a police family themselves but cannot put their finger on how they "just knew it." There have also been many instances when I am out and off-duty, and on-duty officers I have never before seen or met will single me out in a crowd for a nod, or a "hey, how you doin'?" I have even gotten this, while on vacation, from other people I learn are off-duty and vacationing cops.
So what is this all about? Am I crazy or does anyone else experience this? Do we give off some police-pheromone? Is it some unconscious way we walk, talk, observe our surroundings, or otherwise behave that we carry with us away from the job? Or is it, as Althea swears, as simple as the way we stand that comes from years of wearing boots, vest, and a loaded duty belt? We are not sure ourselves but we put our heads together, as well as polled some folks who know and love cops, to come up with a simple quiz of "off-duty stereotypes." So (for a bit of light fun only) take the quiz below and give yourself a point for each statement that applies to you. To add to the fun, share your score in the comments section below (with an anonymous name of course!)

My work shoes are good all around shoes. I wear them when I am not at work. They especially go well with suits.
My other favorite pair of footwear is white athletic trainers and/or flip-flops.
I always carry a backup gun. Even off-duty. Even at the beach.
(For men only) I own one suit. I bought it sometime in the late 90s and figure I can get another ten or fifteen years out of it. Besides, it goes really well with my boots.
(For women only) I own one dress or skirt. I wore it once to a department function and no one recognized me! I only got it because it was on clearance.
I cut my hair at home with clippers I bought at a store. Stylists are for metrosexuals. (Add 1 bonus point if you use the same clippers on the dog)
Maximum hair length allowed is ¾ inch. Anything longer is for hippies and Democrats!
Looking in my closet, my clothes are polo shirts, oversize sweatshirts, jeans, t-shirts, workout clothes and nothing else. Shirts are never worn tucked in, in order to hide my gun. (Add 2 points if you own one or more Hawaiian shirts, just because it is such a cliché!)
The colors of my wardrobe are blue, grey, brown and black. Once in awhile I go big and wear red.
Facial hair is for undercover officers and people who are lazy (except for mustaches... mustaches are OK).
Sunglasses of choice? Oakley, of course.
I listen to the scanner at home.
When eating in a restaurant, I must sit where I can watch the door.
I consider beer an essential food group.
I go to Hooters for the food.
My car is All-American, such as Ford, GM, or Dodge. Even though some "American" cars are made in Mexico, and some Hondas in Ohio, it's still USA All The Way!
Gum chewing is an essential job function.
I never smile when my picture is taken, but put on my "cop face." Even at weddings.
I talk to everyone in an interview stance, because you never know who you will have to fight.
My favorite show as a rookie was Cops. My favorite show as a veteran is Reno 911. I swear they stole those characters from my department.
One of the characters was based on me!
"Hey, be safe" is how I end every encounter and conversation with other cops.
I call everyone I don't know "ma'am" or "sir" out of habit.
Whenever a police drama like Law & Order or CSI does not follow procedure, I yell at the TV. (Add 1 bonus point if you have ever gotten so upset you wrote the show's producer a scathing E-mail)
I refuse to watch a movie unless there is a car chase, someone bleeds, guns are fired, or someone is taken hostage.
I cannot understand how some people miss the obvious humor in stories involving the unique ways humans manage to meet their maker and advanced decomposition.
Scoring
0 - 7 points Congratulations! You are most likely laid back, able to leave work at the end of your shift, and able to relate to the non-cop world very well. Just be sure to not be too laid back at work.
8 - 12 points You are probably still able to relate to the non-cop world, but be careful not to slip too far into stereotypical behavior. Maybe you should go out and get a new suit. Or a Subaru.
13 - 20 points You need to work on getting back some balance. May we suggest taking the spouse out to see a (brace yourself) romantic comedy or musical. Desperate measures for desperate times, you know.
21 or more points Whoa, easy there Tackleberry! Actually, it is probably too late for you to dial it back. Just embrace your total immersion into "copness" and use it for the common good. Just always be on guard against burnout, as you may have fewer resources or outlets to combat it.
And be safe.
24504  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Secret deal kept Brits on sidelines in battle for Basra on: August 07, 2008, 12:31:46 AM
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/worl...icle4461023.ece

The Times
August 5, 2008

Secret deal kept British Army out of battle for Basra
Deborah Haynes in Baquba and Michael Evans, Defence Editor

A secret deal between Britain and the notorious al-Mahdi militia prevented British Forces from coming to the aid of their US and Iraqi allies for nearly a week during the battle for Basra this year, The Times has learnt.

Four thousand British troops – including elements of the SAS and an entire mechanised brigade – watched from the sidelines for six days because of an “accommodation” with the Iranian-backed group, according to American and Iraqi officers who took part in the assault.

US Marines and soldiers had to be rushed in to fill the void, fighting bitter street battles and facing mortar fire, rockets and roadside bombs with their Iraqi counterparts.

Hundreds of militiamen were killed or arrested in the fighting. About 60 Iraqis were killed or injured. One US Marine died and sevenwere wounded.

US advisers who accompanied the Iraqi forces into the fight were shocked to learn of the accommodation made last summer by British Intelligence and elements of al-Mahdi Army, the militia loyal to Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shia Muslim cleric.

The deal, which aimed to encourage the Shia movement back into the political process and marginalise extremist factions, has dealt a huge blow to Britain’s reputation in Iraq.

Under its terms, no British soldier could enter Basra without the permission of Des Browne, the Defence Secretary. By the time he gave his approval, most of the fighting was over and the damage to Britain’s reputation had already been done.

Senior British defence sources told The Times that Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi Prime Minister, who ordered the assault, and high-ranking US military officers had become disillusioned with the British as a result of their failure to act. Another confirmed that the deal, negotiated by British Intelligence, had been a costly mistake.

The Ministry of Defence has never confirmed that there was a deal with al-Mahdi Army, but one official denied that the delay in sending in troops was because of the arrangement agreed with the Shia militia.

A spokesman for the MoD said that the reason why troops were not sent immediately into Basra was because there was “no structure in place” in the city for units to go back in to start mentoring the Iraqi troops.

Colonel Imad, who heads the 2nd Battalion, 1st Brigade, 1st Iraqi Army Division, the most experienced division, commanded one of the quick-reaction battalions summoned to assist British-trained local forces, who faltered from the outset because of inexperience and lack of support.

He said: “Without the support of the Americans we would not have accomplished the mission because the British Forces had done nothing there.

“I do not trust the British Forces. They did not want to lose any soldiers for the mission.”

Lieutenant-Colonel Chuck Western, a senior US Marine advising the Iraqi Army, told The Times: “I was not happy. Everybody just assumed that because this deal was cut nobody was going in. Cutting a deal with the bad guys is generally not a good idea.”

He emphasised, however, that he was not being critical of the British military, which he described as first-rate.

Captain Eric Whyne, another US Marine officer who took part in the battle, said that he was astounded that “a coalition force would make a pact with essentially their enemy and promise not to go into their area so as not to get attacked”. He alleged that “some horrific atrocities” were committed by the militia in Basra during the British watch.

A senior British defence source agreed that the battle for Basra had been damaging to Britain’s reputation in Iraq. “Maliki, and the Americans, felt the British were morally impugned by the deal they had reached with the militia. The British were accused of trying to find the line of least resistance in dealing with the Shia militia,” said the source.

“You can accuse the Americans of many things, such as hamfistedness, but you can’t accuse them of not addressing a situation when it arises. While we had a strategy of evasion, the Americans just went in and addressed the problem.”

Another British official said that the deal was intended as an IRA-style reconciliation. “That is what we were trying to do but it did not work.” The official added that “accommodation” had become a dirty word.

US officials knew of the discussions, which continued until March this year. They facilitated the peaceful exit of British troops from a palace compound in Basra last September in return for the release of a number of prisoners. The arrangement fell apart on March 25 when Mr al-Maliki ordered his surprise assault on Basra, catching both the Americans and British off-guard.

The Americans responded by flying in reinforcements, providing air cover and offering the logistical and other support needed for the Iraqis to win.

The British were partly handicapped because their commander, Major-General Barney White-Spunner, was away on a skiing holiday when the attack began. When Brigadier Julian Free, his deputy, arrived to discuss the situation with Mr al-Maliki at the presidential palace in Basra, he was made to wait outside.

The first British troops only entered the city on March 31.

The MoD spokesman said that the operation was launched at such short notice that the only support that could be given in the first few days was air power – in the form of Tornado ground attack aircraft – and logistics.

He said that after British troops were withdrawn from Basra last year it was realised that the Iraqi forces still needed help, which was why the current British force contained more instructors and trainers.
24505  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Muslim Outreach Advisor on: August 07, 2008, 12:28:38 AM
Obama's Muslim-Outreach Adviser Resigns

By GLENN R. SIMPSON and AMY CHOZICK

August 6, 2008; Page A4

The Muslim-outreach coordinator to the presidential campaign of Barack Obama has resigned amid questions about his involvement in an Islamic investment fund and various Islamic groups.

Mr. Asbahi said he did not want to distract Obama's campaign.
Chicago lawyer Mazen Asbahi, who was appointed volunteer national coordinator for Muslim American affairs by the Obama campaign on July 26, stepped down Monday after an Internet newsletter wrote about his brief stint on the fund's board, which also included a fundamentalist imam.
"Mr. Asbahi has informed the campaign that he no longer wishes to serve in his volunteer position, and we are in the process of searching for a new national Arab American and Muslim American outreach coordinator," spokesman Ben LaBolt said in a statement.
A corporate lawyer at the firm of Schiff Hardin LLP, Mr. Asbahi tendered his resignation after he and the Obama campaign received emailed inquiries about his background from The Wall Street Journal. He did not respond to the email or a message left at his law office; the campaign released a letter in which Mr. Asbahi said he did not want to be a distraction.
The Obama campaign is trying to strike a balance between courting Muslim American voters and dispelling rumors intended by some to link the candidate to radical Islam. Sen. Obama is a Christian.
Until Mr. Asbahi joined the campaign, Sen. Obama did not have a Muslim-outreach coordinator and had relied on the Democratic National Committee's efforts. The campaign has long had its own outreach efforts to Catholic, evangelical Christian and Jewish voters. Some Muslim voters have complained about the disparity. An Obama aide says Mr. Asbahi was brought on in part to bridge that perceived gap and to reach out to Muslim communities in Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia, states seen as among the most competitive this fall.
"We need Muslim Americans to get excited about the Campaign, and there's a lot to get excited about!" Mr. Asbahi wrote in a statement posted on a blog when he was appointed. "Sure, there have been mis-steps," he added.
In 2000, Mr. Asbahi briefly served on the board of Allied Assets Advisors Fund, a Delaware-registered trust. Its other board members at the time included Jamal Said, the imam at a fundamentalist-controlled mosque in Illinois.

"I served on that board for only a few weeks before resigning as soon as I became aware of public allegations against another member of the board," Mr. Asbahi said in his resignation letter. "Since concerns have been raised about that brief time, I am stepping down...to avoid distracting from Barack Obama's message of change."
The eight-year-old connection between Mr. Asbahi and Mr. Said was raised last week by the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report, which is published by a Washington think tank and chronicles the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood, a world-wide fundamentalist group based in Egypt. Other Web sites, some pro-Republican and others critical of fundamentalist Islam, also have reported on the background of Mr. Asbahi. He is a frequent speaker before several groups in the U.S. that scholars have associated with the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Justice Department named Mr. Said an unindicted co-conspirator in the racketeering trial last year of several alleged Hamas fund-raisers, which ended in a mistrial. He has also been identified as a leading member of the group in news reports going back to 1993.
Mr. Said is the imam at the Bridgeview Mosque in Bridge-view, Ill., outside Chicago. He left the board of the Islamic fund in 2005, Securities and Exchange Commission filings state. A message left for Mr. Said at the mosque was not returned.

Allied Asset Advisors is a subsidiary of the North American Islamic Trust. The trust, which is supported financially by the government of Saudi Arabia, holds title to many mosques in the U.S. and promotes a conservative brand of Islam compatible with the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood and also akin to the fundamentalist style predominant in Saudi Arabia. Allied executives did not respond to inquiries.
http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB121797906741214995.html?mod=special_page_campaig n2008_leftbox



Allied Asset Advisors is a subsidiary of the North American Islamic Trust. The trust, which is supported financially by the government of Saudi Arabia, holds title to many mosques in the U.S. and promotes a conservative brand of Islam compatible with the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood and also akin to the fundamentalist style predominant in Saudi Arabia.



This is a big problem.
24506  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DB Gathering of the Pack August 10th, 2008 on: August 06, 2008, 11:24:40 AM
Lets be clear here.  Wrestling type elbow and knee protections, i.e. to protect the skin from scraping on the fencing masks is OK, BUT THAT"S IT.
24507  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DB Gathering of the Pack August 10th, 2008 on: August 05, 2008, 09:46:38 PM
Woof Dog Tom:

Absolutely!

I confess puzzlement at the idea that we have people fighting who are padded , , ,

TAC,
CD
24508  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Struggle for Russia's Soul on: August 05, 2008, 08:28:27 PM

Solzhenitsyn and the Struggle for Russia's Soul
August 5, 2008
By George Friedman

The Russian Resurgence

There are many people who write history. There are very few who make history through their writings. Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who died this week at the age of 89, was one of them. In many ways, Solzhenitsyn laid the intellectual foundations for the fall of Soviet communism. That is well known. But Solzhenitsyn also laid the intellectual foundation for the Russia that is now emerging. That is less well known, and in some ways more important.

Solzhenitsyn’s role in the Soviet Union was simple. His writings, and in particular his book “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich,” laid bare the nature of the Soviet regime. The book described a day in the life of a prisoner in a Soviet concentration camp, where the guilty and innocent alike were sent to have their lives squeezed out of them in endless and hopeless labor. It was a topic Solzhenitsyn knew well, having been a prisoner in such a camp following service in World War II.

The book was published in the Soviet Union during the reign of Nikita Khrushchev. Khrushchev had turned on his patron, Joseph Stalin, after taking control of the Communist Party apparatus following Stalin’s death. In a famous secret speech delivered to the leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Khrushchev denounced Stalin for his murderous ways. Allowing Solzhenitsyn’s book to be published suited Khrushchev. Khrushchev wanted to detail Stalin’s crimes graphically, and Solzhenitsyn’s portrayal of life in a labor camp served his purposes.

It also served a dramatic purpose in the West when it was translated and distributed there. Ever since its founding, the Soviet Union had been mythologized. This was particularly true among Western intellectuals, who had been taken by not only the romance of socialism, but also by the image of intellectuals staging a revolution. Vladimir Lenin, after all, had been the author of works such as “Materialism and Empirio-Criticism.” The vision of intellectuals as revolutionaries gripped many European and American intellectuals.

These intellectuals had missed not only that the Soviet Union was a social catastrophe, but that, far from being ruled by intellectuals, it was being ruled by thugs. For an extraordinarily long time, in spite of ample testimony by emigres from the Soviet regime, Western intellectuals simply denied this reality. When Western intellectuals wrote that they had “seen the future and it worked,” they were writing at a time when the Soviet terror was already well under way. They simply couldn’t see it.

One of the most important things about “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” was not only that it was so powerful, but that it had been released under the aegis of the Soviet state, meaning it could not simply be ignored. Solzhenitsyn was critical in breaking the intellectual and moral logjam among intellectuals in the West. You had to be extraordinarily dense or dishonest to continue denying the obvious, which was that the state that Lenin and Stalin had created was a moral monstrosity.

Khrushchev’s intentions were not Solzhenitsyn’s. Khrushchev wanted to demonstrate the evils of Stalinism while demonstrating that the regime could reform itself and, more important, that communism was not invalidated by Stalin’s crimes. Solzhenitsyn, on the other hand, held the view that the labor camps were not incidental to communism, but at its heart. He argued in his “Gulag Archipelago” that the systemic exploitation of labor was essential to the regime not only because it provided a pool of free labor, but because it imposed a systematic terror on those not in the gulag that stabilized the regime. His most telling point was that while Khrushchev had condemned Stalin, he did not dismantle the gulag; the gulag remained in operation until the end.

Though Solzhenitsyn served the regime’s purposes in the 1960s, his usefulness had waned by the 1970s. By then, Solzhenitsyn was properly perceived by the Soviet regime as a threat. In the West, he was seen as a hero by all parties. Conservatives saw him as an enemy of communism. Liberals saw him as a champion of human rights. Each invented Solzhenitsyn in their own image. He was given the Noble Prize for Literature, which immunized him against arrest and certified him as a great writer. Instead of arresting him, the Soviets expelled him, sending him into exile in the United States.

When he reached Vermont, the reality of who Solzhenitsyn was slowly sank in. Conservatives realized that while he certainly was an enemy of communism and despised Western liberals who made apologies for the Soviets, he also despised Western capitalism just as much. Liberals realized that Solzhenitsyn hated Soviet oppression, but that he also despised their obsession with individual rights, such as the right to unlimited free expression. Solzhenitsyn was nothing like anyone had thought, and he went from being the heroic intellectual to a tiresome crank in no time. Solzhenitsyn attacked the idea that the alternative to communism had to be secular, individualist humanism. He had a much different alternative in mind.

Solzhenitsyn saw the basic problem that humanity faced as being rooted in the French Enlightenment and modern science. Both identify the world with nature, and nature with matter. If humans are part of nature, they themselves are material. If humans are material, then what is the realm of God and of spirit? And if there is no room for God and spirituality, then what keeps humans from sinking into bestiality? For Solzhenitsyn, Stalin was impossible without Lenin’s praise of materialism, and Lenin was impossible without the Enlightenment.

From Solzhenitsyn’s point of view, Western capitalism and liberalism are in their own way as horrible as Stalinism. Adam Smith saw man as primarily pursuing economic ends. Economic man seeks to maximize his wealth. Solzhenitsyn tried to make the case that this is the most pointless life conceivable. He was not objecting to either property or wealth, but to the idea that the pursuit of wealth is the primary purpose of a human being, and that the purpose of society is to free humans to this end.

Solzhenitsyn made the case — hardly unique to him — that the pursuit of wealth as an end in itself left humans empty shells. He once noted Blaise Pascal’s aphorism that humans are so endlessly busy so that they can forget that they are going to die — the point being that we all die, and that how we die is determined by how we live. For Solzhenitsyn, the American pursuit of economic well being was a disease destroying the Western soul.

He viewed freedom of expression in the same way. For Americans, the right to express oneself transcends the content of the expression. That you speak matters more than what you say. To Solzhenitsyn, the same principle that turned humans into obsessive pursuers of wealth turned them into vapid purveyors of shallow ideas. Materialism led to individualism, and individualism led to a culture devoid of spirit. The freedom of the West, according to Solzhenitsyn, produced a horrifying culture of intellectual self-indulgence, licentiousness and spiritual poverty. In a contemporary context, the hedge fund coupled with The Daily Show constituted the bankruptcy of the West.

To have been present when he once addressed a Harvard commencement! On the one side, Harvard Law and Business School graduates — the embodiment of economic man. On the other side, the School of Arts and Sciences, the embodiment of free expression. Both greeted their heroic resister, only to have him reveal himself to be religious, patriotic and totally contemptuous of the Vatican of self-esteem, Harvard.

Solzhenitsyn had no real home in the United States, and with the fall of the Soviets, he could return to Russia — where he witnessed what was undoubtedly the ultimate nightmare for him: thugs not only running the country, but running it as if they were Americans. Now, Russians were pursuing wealth as an end in itself and pleasure as a natural right. In all of this, Solzhenitsyn had not changed at all.

Solzhenitsyn believed there was an authentic Russia that would emerge from this disaster. It would be a Russia that first and foremost celebrated the motherland, a Russia that accepted and enjoyed its uniqueness. This Russia would take its bearings from no one else. At the heart of this Russia would be the Russian Orthodox Church, with not only its spirituality, but its traditions, rituals and art.

The state’s mission would be to defend the motherland, create the conditions for cultural renaissance, and — not unimportantly — assure a decent economic life for its citizens. Russia would be built on two pillars: the state and the church. It was within this context that Russians would make a living. The goal would not be to create the wealthiest state in the world, nor radical equality. Nor would it be a place where anyone could say whatever they wanted, not because they would be arrested necessarily, but because they would be socially ostracized for saying certain things.

Most important, it would be a state not ruled by the market, but a market ruled by a state. Economic strength was not trivial to Solzhenitsyn, either for individuals or for societies, but it was never to be an end in itself and must always be tempered by other considerations. As for foreigners, Russia must always guard itself, as any nation must, against foreigners seeking its wealth or wanting to invade. Solzhenitsyn wrote a book called “August 1914,” in which he argues that the czarist regime had failed the nation by not being prepared for war.

Think now of the Russia that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitri Medvedev are shaping. The Russian Orthodox Church is undergoing a massive resurgence, the market is submitting to the state, free expression is being tempered and so on. We doubt Putin was reading Solzhenitsyn when reshaping Russia. But we do believe that Solzhenitsyn had an understanding of Russia that towered over most of his contemporaries. And we believe that the traditional Russia that Solzhenitsyn celebrated is emerging, more from its own force than by political decisions.

Solzhenitsyn served Western purposes when he undermined the Soviet state. But that was not his purpose. His purpose was to destroy the Soviet state so that his vision of Russia could re-emerge. When his interests and the West’s coincided, he won the Noble Prize. When they diverged, he became a joke. But Solzhenitsyn never really cared what Americans or the French thought of him and his ideas. He wasn’t speaking to them and had no interest or hope of remaking them. Solzhenitsyn was totally alien to American culture. He was speaking to Russia and the vision he had was a resurrection of Mother Russia, if not with the czar, then certainly with the church and state. That did not mean liberalism; Mother Russia was dramatically oppressive. But it was neither a country of mass murder nor of vulgar materialism.

It must also be remembered that when Solzhenitsyn spoke of Russia, he meant imperial Russia at its height, and imperial Russia’s borders at its height looked more like the Soviet Union than they looked like Russia today. “August 1914” is a book that addresses geopolitics. Russian greatness did not have to express itself via empire, but logically it should — something to which Solzhenitsyn would not have objected.

Solzhenitsyn could not teach Americans, whose intellectual genes were incompatible with his. But it is hard to think of anyone who spoke to the Russian soul as deeply as he did. He first ripped Russia apart with his indictment. He was later ignored by a Russia out of control under former President Boris Yeltsin. But today’s Russia is very slowly moving in the direction that Solzhenitsyn wanted. And that could make Russia extraordinarily powerful. Imagine a Soviet Union not ruled by thugs and incompetents. Imagine Russia ruled by people resembling Solzhenitsyn’s vision of a decent man.

Solzhenitsyn was far more prophetic about the future of the Soviet Union than almost all of the Ph.D.s in Russian studies. Entertain the possibility that the rest of Solzhenitsyn’s vision will come to pass. It is an idea that ought to cause the world to be very thoughtful.
24509  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Bolton: Diplomats Dither on: August 05, 2008, 12:41:11 PM
While Diplomats Dither,
Iran Builds Nukes
By JOHN R. BOLTON
August 5, 2008; Page A19

This weekend, yet another "deadline" passed for Iran to indicate it was seriously ready to discuss ending its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Like so many other deadlines during these five years of European-led negotiations, this one died quietly, with Brussels diplomats saying that no one seriously expected any real work on a Saturday.

The fact that the Europeans are right -- this latest deadline is not fundamentally big news -- is precisely the problem with their negotiations, and the Bush administration's acquiescence in that effort.

The rationality of continued Western negotiations with Iran depends critically on two assumptions: that Iran is far enough away from having deliverable nuclear weapons that we don't incur excessive risks by talking; and that by talking we don't materially impede the option to use military force. Implicit in the latter case is the further assumption that the military option is static -- that it remains equally viable a year from now as it is today.

Neither assumption is correct. Can we believe that if diplomacy fails we can still take military action "in time" to prevent Iranian nuclear weapons? "Just in time" nonproliferation assumes a level of intelligence certainty concerning Iran's nuclear program that recent history should manifestly caution us against.

Every day that goes by allows Iran to increase the threat it poses, and the viability of the military option steadily declines over time. There are a number of reasons why this is so.

First, while the European-led negotiations proceed, Iran continues both to convert uranium from a solid (uranium oxide, U3O8, also called yellowcake) to a gas (uranium hexafluoride, UF6) at its uranium conversion facility at Isfahan. Although it is a purely chemical procedure, conversion is technologically complex and poses health and safety risks.

As Isfahan's continuing operations increase both Iran's UF6 inventory and its technical expertise, however, the impact of destroying the facility diminishes. Iran is building a stockpile of UF6 that it can subsequently enrich even while it reconstructs Isfahan after an attack, or builds a new conversion facility elsewhere.

Second, delay permits Iran to increase its stock of low-enriched uranium (LEU) -- that is, UF6 gas in which the U235 isotope concentration (the form of uranium critical to nuclear reactions either in reactors or weapons) is raised from its natural level of 0.7% to between 3% and 5%.

As its LEU stockpile increases, so too does Tehran's capacity to take the next step, and enrich it to weapons-grade concentrations of over 90% U235 (highly-enriched uranium, or HEU). Some unfamiliar with nuclear matters characterize the difference in LEU-HEU concentration levels as huge. The truth is far different. Enriching natural uranium by centrifuges to LEU consumes approximately 70% of the work and time required to enrich it to HEU.

Accordingly, destroying Iran's enrichment facility at Natanz does not eliminate its existing enriched uranium (LEU), which the IAEA estimated in May 2008 to be approximately half what is needed for one nuclear weapon. Iran is thus more than two-thirds of the way to weapons-grade uranium with each kilogram of uranium it enriches to LEU levels. Moreover, as the LEU inventory grows, so too does the risk of a military strike hitting one or more UF6 storage tanks, releasing potentially substantial amounts of radioactive gas into the atmosphere.

Third, although we cannot know for sure, every indication is that Iran is dispersing its nuclear facilities to unknown locations, "hardening" against air strikes the ones we already know about, and preparing more deeply buried facilities in known locations for future operations. That means that the prospects for success against, say, the enrichment facilities at Natanz are being reduced.

Fourth, Iran is clearly increasing its defensive capabilities by purchasing Russian S-300 antiaircraft systems (also known as the SA-20) directly or through Belarus. In late July, Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and his spokesman contradicted Israeli contentions that the new antiaircraft systems would be operational this year. Assuming the Pentagon is correct, its own assessment on timing simply enhances the argument for Israel striking sooner rather than later.

Fifth, Iran continues to increase the offensive capabilities of surrogates like Syria and Hezbollah, both of which now have missile capabilities that can reach across Israel, as well as threaten U.S. troops and other U.S. friends and allies in the region. It may well be Syria and Hezbollah that retaliate initially after an Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, thus making further strikes against Iran more problematic, at least in the short run.

Iran is pursuing two goals simultaneously, both of which it is comfortably close to achieving. The first -- to possess all the capabilities necessary for a deliverable nuclear weapon -- is now almost certainly impossible to stop diplomatically. Thus, Iran's second objective becomes critical: to make the risks of a military strike against its program too high, and to make the likelihood of success in fracturing the program too low. Time favors Iran in achieving these goals. U.S. and European diplomats should consider this while waiting by the telephone for Iran to call.

Mr. Bolton, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, is the author of "Surrender Is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations" (Simon & Schuster, 2007).
24510  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: August 05, 2008, 12:35:45 PM
Venezuela: The Significance of Russian Flankers
Stratfor Today » August 4, 2008 | 2126 GMT

ALEX GUZMAN/AFP/Getty Images
Russian Su-30MK “Flankers” conduct a demonstration in Venezuela in 2006Summary
Russia has completed delivery of two dozen Russian-built Sukhoi “Flanker” fighter jets to Venezuela, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Aug. 3. One of the earliest and most prominent deliveries in connection with a series of Russian arms deals that now amount to some $4.4 billion since 2003, these planes could affect the regional military dynamic.

Analysis
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced the completion of delivery of two dozen Sukhoi “Flanker” fighter jets Aug. 3. Though not the newest Sukhoi model, the Su-30MK series jets are widely considered to be among the most advanced fighter aircraft currently available on the world market. Part and parcel of the arms deals between Caracas and Moscow since 2003 that now amount to some $4.4 billion, the aircraft could affect the regional military dynamic.

Chavez’s focus on arms purchases stems partly from a desire to play to nationalist fervor and in part from real fear. He has concertedly attempted to paint Washington as an interminable foreign enemy to focus domestic attention abroad and garner support for his rule. And although an actual invasion of Venezuela by the United States is not in the cards, the two states have had a hostile relationship since Chavez came to power in 1999. It is no secret that U.S. funds were used to help finance a 2002 coup attempt — something Chavez in particular has not forgotten. (And it is worth noting that in the wake of this coup, Chavez purged the military of most of its competent officers.)

From a military perspective, the Venezuelan air force has suffered since 2001 when the breach with Washington resulted in an end of the delivery of parts and supplies for the Venezuelan air force’s U.S.-built F-16s — the country’s premier fighter aircraft. Maintenance crews have reportedly been able to keep a few air-worthy (a point of institutional pride), but most remain on the ground. Despite this, Venezuela’s best pilots reportedly get a respectable amount of airtime annually, though the degree of their proficiency remains unclear.

Related Link
Venezuela: Chavez’s Move For More Control
The transition from Venezuela’s long-standing use of Western military equipment to Russian hardware will inherently present difficulties and perhaps entail significant delays. U.S. and Russian equipment is built to different standards of quality with largely independent design heritages. Electronic systems especially will take a great deal of effort to learn and integrate. Indeed, even after the transition to the new hardware, the air force will then have to learn how to best exploit the aircraft’s newfound capabilities and integrate that utility into its operational doctrine. And while both Russian pilots and maintenance reportedly are in Venezuela training their counterparts, Moscow’s reputation for after-market service and sustainment is notoriously poor. The ultimate quality and durability of Russian training and support in the Venezuelan case is yet to be seen — but remains in doubt.

But in the mean time, some of the first airframes to arrive (delivery began in December 2006) are already considered in service with the air force, and reportedly even launched ordnance in June. Caracas’ pilots (how many are Russian or former Soviet republic expatriates is unclear at this time) have a good chance of being able to operate at least a few of the new Sukhoi aircraft in basic mission profiles in the near future. If Venezuelan pilots prove capable — and that is no small if — Chavez’s investment in Russian hardware could begin to represent a meaningful military capability.





(click image to enlarge)
These planes have a combat radius in excess of 500 nautical miles — more than either the Venezuelan F-16s or their older French-built Mirage III brethren. This is enough to reach the Panama Canal, the U.S. Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay and the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico as well as all of Colombia — Caracas’ main regional rival. Though it is unclear exactly which ordnance was part of the deal, a broad-spectrum kit would include everything from air-to-air missiles to ground attack munitions and potentially even air-launched anti-ship missiles. The Su-30MK series is highly maneuverable and capable of simultaneously engaging two airborne targets.

Competently operated, the Su-30MKV’s — the Venezuelan Su-30MK variant — would be, hands-down, the most capable multirole fighter jets in Latin America and the first instance of “Flanker” proliferation in the Western Hemisphere (it has been rampant in East Asia). Though they would not stop a concerted assault by the United States, the jets are something Venezuela’s neighbors — especially Colombia — will have to work to establish a new counter against.
24511  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / McCain and Bush on: August 05, 2008, 12:21:56 PM
McCain's Problem Isn't Bush
August 5, 2008; Page A17
WSJ

When John McCain stands before the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis one month from now, the American people will see more than a United States senator. They will see a man who served his nation as a young officer and suffered for it as a prisoner of war. They will also see in that life a truly American story of hope and faith and honor.

Which leads to an impolitic question: Just where does George W. Bush fit in?

 
AP 
If you ask Barack Obama, he will tell you that a vote for Mr. McCain is a vote for a "third Bush term." It's a clever strategy, because it works on many levels. Plainly it rankles the McCain campaign, and pricks at the "maverick" label their candidate takes such pride in. It provides a foil to Mr. Obama's own campaign theme of "change." Most obviously, it plays upon the fatigue of people who are tired after seven years of war and hunger for something different.

The McCain response is reflected in the distance the Republican presidential nominee is keeping from the Republican president. The last time the two men were together for a campaign event was a McCain fund-raiser in Arizona back in May. The event was closed to the press, and the only photo was a departure shot at the airport.

Yet however awkward Mr. McCain may find standing with President Bush, the greater danger is that Mr. McCain will buy into Mr. Obama's campaign theme. And that is what appears to be happening.

Of all Republicans, Mr. McCain should have the least to worry about being called a Bush clone. Not only was Mr. McCain pushing for a surge in Iraq, and to replace Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, long before anyone else, he has famously gone his own way on everything from stem cells and campaign finance to global warming and (before recanting) tax cuts.

 RSS FEEDS

 
For weekly updates of William McGurn's Main Street column, point your RSS reader here:
http://online.wsj.com/xml/rss/3_7361.xmlAllowing himself to look afraid of being in the president's company hurts him in two large ways. For one thing, it cuts against Mr. McCain's most attractive trait: his fearlessness. This is a man running as someone who stood up to his captors in Hanoi, who stood up to his own party, and who, as president, would be willing to stand up to America's enemies. For such a man to fear photo ops with the president broadcasts an insecurity that will only feed into the Obama campaign. And the press smells it.

At the fund raiser in May, for example, the story became the closed press. It also handed Mr. Obama this line: "No cameras. No reporters. And we all know why. Senator McCain doesn't want to be seen, hat in hand, with the president whose failed policies he promises to continue for another four years." No matter what Mr. McCain does, Mr. Obama is going to try to tar him with Mr. Bush. If Mr. McCain appears to be afraid of that, he'll get the worst of both worlds.

Mr. McCain's reticence will also hurt him with his own party. While the president's general approval ratings may be down in the 30s, among the GOP faithful the numbers are up in the 60s. These numbers, moreover, do not track intensity: The people who have stayed with Mr. Bush this far have been through the fire with him. They are not likely to be excited by a nominee who makes a habit of dissing fellow Republicans like Phil Gramm, whose crime was trying to support their nominee.

In other words, if by convention time Mr. McCain cannot look comfortable standing with his own president, he's going to find himself on defense through November. He is up against a charismatic opponent who has brought to his party an excitement they have not known since John F. Kennedy. Mr. McCain needs to remember that his real challenge is not to distinguish himself from George W. Bush. It is to put before the American people an agenda that distinguishes himself from Mr. Obama and the Democratic Congress that would likely do his bidding.

Drawing these distinctions should not be difficult. He's done it on the war. But on domestic policy, Mr. McCain offers no positive agenda.

Take energy. Even when he was finally dragged around to supporting more drilling for oil, it was only halfway. Yes, Mr. Obama would have likely attacked Mr. McCain for "flip-flopping" if he had come out in support of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). But Mr. McCain could have easily explained that priorities that may have made sense when gasoline was $2 a gallon no longer make sense when Americans are paying $4 a gallon.

In this context, his refusal to reconsider ANWR doesn't look principled. It just looks stubborn and incoherent. And it makes his support for offshore drilling look inexplicable and insincere.

Mr. McCain seems intent on reassuring skeptics that he's no George W. Bush. If he loses in November, he'll prove it.

Write to mainstreet@wsj.com
24512  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DB Gathering of the Pack August 10th, 2008 on: August 05, 2008, 12:00:08 PM
Pending Fighter Registration:

Mark( Kaoz) Mosqueira.  Age 45 Venice Ca
24513  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Alexander Solzhenitsyn on: August 05, 2008, 11:55:26 AM
Of Good and Evil
August 5, 2008
WSJ

"The hammer banged reveille on the rail outside camp HQ at five o'clock as always. Time to get up. The ragged noise was muffled by ice two fingers thick on the windows and soon died away. Too cold for the warder to go on hammering."

Thus did Alexander Solzhenitsyn begin "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich," his reveille for the world about totalitarianism. Published in 1962, in the brief post-Stalinist thaw under Khrushchev, the novel about a prisoner in a Soviet prison camp made Solzhenitsyn at first a Russian sensation and later the country's most famous dissident after the Kremlin reverted to brutal form.

 
Russians found in Solzhenitsyn, who died Sunday in Moscow at age 89, their own story told with clarity, courage and humanity. Ivan Shukhov's prison camp was, in reality, all of the Soviet Union. When "Gulag Archipelago," his monumental history of the Soviet penal system, was published in Paris in 1973, Solzhenitsyn made it impossible for serious people anywhere to excuse Stalin's crimes or the inhumanity of communist totalitarianism. His documentation showed that the commissars had the blood of 60 million victims on their hands. Communism's essence was exposed in relentless detail as slavery, terror and imperialism.

Expelled from his native country soon after "Gulag" came out, Solzhenitsyn's warning was also not always welcome in the West. Amid the trauma of Vietnam, many had begun to doubt the West's own moral purposes, or at least its staying power against Soviet discipline and aggression. "The timid civilized world has found nothing with which to oppose the onslaught of a sudden revival of barefaced barbarity, other than concessions and smiles," Solzhenitsyn warned in his acceptance speech for the 1970 Nobel literature prize.

Sweden refused to let him receive his Nobel at its embassy in Moscow and, after his exile amid the heyday of "detente," President Gerald Ford declined initially to meet with him. It was arguably the worst moment of Ford's Presidency, offset in part by AFL-CIO President George Meany's embrace of the Russian exile and Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson's invitation to speak on Capitol Hill.

For the rest of his life, Solzhenitsyn engaged in what he called "a struggle with falsehood," caring not a whit what his critics thought. His 1978 Harvard commencement speech solidified his reputation as a prickly recluse. But his diagnosis of threats to the West -- not least those from within -- remains bracing.

Solzhenitsyn warned of "an atmosphere of moral mediocrity, paralyzing man's noblest impulses," and a "tilt of freedom in the direction of evil . . . evidently born primarily out of a humanistic and benevolent concept according to which there is no evil inherent to human nature." His own prison-camp experience after World War II told him evil was all too real and had to be confronted.

However dourly Russian his warnings often were, Solzhenitsyn fortified the West with the truth and will to triumph in the Cold War. The great, inspiring irony of "Ivan Denisovich" is that it ends with Shukhov concluding that, even amid his icy prison, the day was "almost a happy one."
24514  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / While Europe Slept on: August 05, 2008, 10:21:20 AM
Moved here from a post elsewhere by GM:


http://www.amazon.com/While-Europe-Slept-Radical-Destroying/dp/0767920058/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1217916421&sr=8-1

A must read! I'm sorry I put off reading it for so long.
24515  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: While Europe Slept on: August 05, 2008, 10:18:57 AM
Moved to "Islam in Europe". smiley
24516  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Patrick Henry: Liberty on: August 05, 2008, 10:17:37 AM
"Is the relinquishment of the trial by jury and the liberty of the
press necessary for your liberty? Will the abandonment of your most
sacred rights tend to the security of your liberty? Liberty, the
greatest of all earthly blessings - give us that precious jewel,
and you may take every things else! Guard with jealous attention
the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel."

-- Patrick Henry (Speech to the Virginia Convention, 5 June 1788)
24517  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Mex military points guns at US BP agents on: August 05, 2008, 10:08:43 AM
Mex military points guns at US BP agents  angry angry angry

http://www.local2544.us/
===================================
Mexico Security Memo: Aug. 4, 2008
Stratfor Today » August 4, 2008 | 2110 GMT
Related Links
Tracking Mexico’s Drug Cartels
Another Bloody Milestone
In the past week, the number of cartel-related homicides in Mexico surpassed 2,630 for the year, approximately the number of killings in the country during all of 2007. The country’s cartel war has intensified so much in 2008 that it has taken only seven months to claim the same number of victims that were killed in 12 months in 2007, which was a record year for drug violence.

While there are few corners of the country immune to organized-crime activity, much of the current violence is concentrated in areas where authorities have disrupted the largest criminal groups. The growing violence may simply be the price that must be paid for the government’s successes in targeting the cartels.

And there have been successes. A Mexican press report published in the past week detailed the progress the government has made in its operations against the Sinaloa cartel. Over the past two months, according to the report, authorities have investigated presumed money-laundering establishments, taken down a series of “transmission antennae” that formed part of the cartel’s communications network, and seized nearly 200 vehicles, an airplane, various weapons and currency worth more than $12 million.

None of these events alone represents a significant blow to the cartel. New money laundering networks can be set up, new police commanders bribed, and cellular phones can be used instead of radios. Continued over time, however, these kinds of successes would certainly disrupt the cartel’s business operations. With the security operations in Sinaloa state only a few months old, it remains to be seen how long the authorities can maintain their current operational tempo. One vulnerability of the operation is the absence of important industry or tourism in Sinaloa state, which makes the area a relatively low priority for security. There are many more important parts of the country that could emerge as hotspots and quickly draw security forces from their current assignments in Sinaloa.

Colombian Drug Trafficker Captured
Authorities in Mexico announced this past week the arrest of Ever Villafane Martinez, a Colombian drug trafficker believed to be the link between the Beltran Leyva organization in Mexico and the Norte del Valle cartel in Colombia. Villafane Martinez was arrested in Mexico City, where he had lived under an alias and operated a real estate business for several years. Authorities believe he fled Colombia sometime in 2001, when he escaped from a maximum security prison while awaiting extradition to the United States.

Much is unknown about the inner workings and external relationships of the Beltran Leyva organization and the exact role played by Villafane Martinez, which makes it difficult to assess the potential impact of his arrest. On one hand, if he was one of several mid-level members managing the cocaine flow from South America, any effects will likely be short-lived. On the other hand, if he had a management role high in the organization, or was the organization’s sole connection to its Colombian suppliers, the coming investigation into his financial records and Colombian acquaintances could have a lasting impact.





(click to view map)

July 28
A group of armed men opened fire on a police headquarters building in Lerdo, Durango state, killing two officers who were standing outside at the time of the attack.
The former police chief of San Juanito, Chihuahua state, died when he was shot 10 times by a group of gunmen chasing him in his vehicle.
A police patrol car forming part of a convoy transporting an alleged drug trafficker in Oaxaca, Oaxaca state, was intentionally rammed by an SUV driven by several armed men. Authorities believe the incident was an attempt to stop the convoy and rescue the suspect. The rescue attempt was unsuccessful and the alleged drug trafficker was kept in custody.
A police officer in Culiacan, Sinaloa state, was shot to death while driving by gunmen traveling in two vehicles that blocked his path and opened fire. After fleeing the scene, the gunmen returned to ensure that the victim was dead by shooting him in the head at close range.
July 29
Authorities in Aguascalientes, Aguascalientes state, reported the targeted killing of a former police officer. In a separate incident, a jeweler in the city was abducted by armed men from a restaurant where he was dining with his family.
July 30
Six members of a family — including two girls, ages 7 and 8 — were discovered dead in their home by unknown assailants in Ciudad Guzman, Jalisco state. Five of the victims had been shot in the head at close range, while the other was apparently killed by a knife. Authorities have suggested that the crime may have been motivated by robbery, since one of the victims had recently withdrawn a large amount of cash from a bank.
A federal police commander in Mexicali, Baja California state, was arrested by authorities in Los Angeles, Calif., on charges related to organized crime. The commander had reportedly fled to the United States with his family following the recent assassination of federal agents in Mexicali and amid rumors that he would be targeted next.
A police commander in Coacalco, Mexico state, was kidnapped from his home by six men armed with assault rifles.
A city official in charge of public works in Amatlan, Veracruz state, was shot to death by unknown assailants while driving his vehicle.
July 31
The chief of homicide investigations in Mazatlan, Sinaloa state, died when he was shot in the head at close range as he was leaving his home.
One person died and another was wounded in Ecatepec, Mexico state, when their vehicle was fired upon by gunmen traveling in two SUVs with federal police insignia on the side. Authorities recovered more than 150 shell casings from the scene.
Aug. 1
Authorities in Pajacuaran, Michoacan state, found the body of an unidentified man bound at the wrists and with three gunshot wounds to his head.
Two men died and a female police officer was wounded by gunfire attributed to gang members in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state.
The bodies of two unidentified men were found with gunshot wounds to the head in Nogales, Sonora state. In nearby Cananea, the charred bodies of two men were discovered in a burned vehicle.
Aug. 2
The body of an unidentified man with signs of torture and at least one gunshot wound in the face was found in Nextlalpan, Mexico state. A note criticizing the Michoacan state-based criminal group La Familia was reportedly found with the body, though the contents were not released.
Aug. 3
The bodies of four federal agents were found inside a car along a road in Queretaro, Queretaro state. Authorities reported that the agents had been abducted the day before in San Luis Potosi state.
Federal police in Matamoros, Tamaulipas state, arrested three alleged drug traffickers after a pursuit and firefight that began when the suspects attempted to flee from the agents.
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24518  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Daily Expression of Gratitude on: August 05, 2008, 10:03:33 AM
Grateful my family comes home today from visiting Grandma.
24519  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Mom kills dad, gets custody of kids on: August 05, 2008, 12:09:27 AM
Winkler Gets Kids Back; UK Law to Allow 'Women Who Kill in Cold Blood to Escape Murder Charge'
August 4th, 2008 by Glenn Sacks
 Glenn's E-Newsletter/Week in Review, August 5, 2008
glennsacks.com

Mary Winkler--who shot her husband in the back and then refused to aid him or call 911 as he slowly bled to death for 20 minutes--walked away a free woman last year after serving a farcically brief "sentence" for her crimes.

Mary Winkler’s claims of abuse were largely uncorroborated during the trial. According to the testimony from Matthew Winkler's oldest daughter, Patricia, the dead father--who as he lay dying looked at his wife and asked "why?"--was a good man and did not abuse her mother.

Mary Winkler has been in a custody battle with Matthew Winkler's parents, who have been raising the three girls since the murder. The Winklers sought to terminate Mary Winkler's parental rights and adopt the girls, a position I've supported. Mary Winkler was granted supervised visits with her daughters last year. Now, sadly, she has gained back custody of the three girls, which is clearly not in the girls' best interests.

To learn more, see my recent blog post on it here, my co-authored column No child custody for husband-killer Mary Winkler (World Net Daily, 9/14/07), or click here.
24520  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DB Gathering of the Pack August 10th, 2008 on: August 04, 2008, 08:33:56 PM
Pappy Dog tells me Junkyard Dog is in-- which he will be when we get his registration!
24521  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Solar breakthrough on: August 04, 2008, 08:07:48 PM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

MIT Researchers Make Major Solar Power Breakthrough

The process involves splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen cheaply and efficiently at room temperature.

By Thomas Claburn, InformationWeek
Aug. 1, 2008
URL: http://www.informationweek.com/story...leID=209901610

Storing solar energy in batteries remains costly and inefficient. But that may not be true for much longer.

MIT researchers have discovered a way to store solar energy that could make solar power in homes a mainstream energy option and might even make power companies obsolete, at least for residential needs.

Daniel Nocera, a professor of chemistry and energy at MIT, and postdoctoral fellow Matthew Kanan have figured out how to split water into hydrogen and oxygen cheaply and efficiently at room temperature. The process can later be reversed, allowing the recombination of hydrogen and oxygen in a fuel cell to create carbon-free electricity.

"This is the nirvana of what we've been talking about for years," Nocera told the MIT News Service. "Solar power has always been a limited, far-off solution. Now we can seriously think about solar power as unlimited and soon."

Nocera's breakthrough could enable the "hydrogen economy," a possibility that many have dismissed as impractical.

Nocera told the MIT News Service that within 10 years, he expects that homeowners will be able to use solar power to provide electricity during the day and to store unused solar energy to power a household fuel cell for evening use. This would eliminate the need for electricity delivered over power lines.

According to the MIT News Service, James Barber, a professor of biochemistry at Imperial College in London, characterized the research by Nocera and Kanan as "a major discovery with enormous implications for the future prosperity of humankind."

Nocera and Kanan's research is described in an academic paper, "In Situ Formation of an Oxygen-Evolving Catalyst in Neutral Water Containing Phosphate and Co2+," that has just been published in Science magazine.
http://www.informationweek.com/share...leID=209901610
24522  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Why Terror Flourishes in Pak on: August 04, 2008, 07:09:31 PM

Why terror flourishes in Pak
5 Aug 2008, 0052 hrs IST, Subodh Varma,TNN


 
 
NEW DELHI: In the Global War on Terror (GWOT) declared by the United States after the 9/11 attacks, Pakistan has occupied a key status. In the past seven years, the US government has given over $10 billion to Pakistan for the specific purpose of fighting extremists and helping in the war in Afghanistan. Over 80% of cargo and 40% of fuel supplies for the US-led Nato forces in Afghanistan pass through Pakistan.

Yet, Pakistan has slowly descended into an ever-widening whirlpool of extremist violence, with its western region bordering Afghanistan becoming a virtual safe haven for extremists. Data from the World Incident Tracking System of the US National Counter-terrorism Centre shows that more people were killed in terror attacks in Pakistan than in Afghanistan in 2008 (527 against 351 till March). While the number of deaths in such incidents was under 400 from 2004 to 2006, they went up to 1,335 in 2007 and the trend in the current year suggests it could be worse.

The 'long war' against international terrorism appears to be floundering right next door to India, which is itself fighting an increasing terrorist threat, often with links in Pakistan. So, why is it that despite the full backing of the world's foremost economic and military power, terror continues to flourish in Pakistan?

Recent hearings of the US Congress, and audit reports of the funding of GWOT in Pakistan have, for the first time, started giving answers to this question. At a recent hearing of the sub-committee on Middle East and South Asia, its chairman, Gary Ackerman sarcastically noted that US foreign assistance has three pillars — lawyers, guns and money, except that, in Pakistan, only these pillars are there, without any structure to uphold.

Experts say that the huge funding has largely gone to shore up Pakistan's military facilities and line the pockets of the military establishment. According to the testimony of Gene Dodaro, acting comptroller general before a Senate sub-committee in May this year, of the $5.56 billion directed at the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), 96% was spent on military, 3% on border security and just 1% ($40 million) on developmental activities. FATA, which has a 600km long border with Afghanistan and has become a safe haven for extremists, remains a very poor and backward region.

In a belated recognition of the need to spend on development, President Bush in 2007 announced a five-year programme for spending $1 billion for economic and social development in FATA. Even, this has come under question with Mark Ward, a senior official in USAID admitting that up to 30% of such funds may be costed as overheads and never leave the US.

The propensity of the US government to keep funding the military in Pakistan, which in turn bargains for ever more, has come in for increasing criticism. In his testimony before a House sub-committee, Husain Haqqani, director, Center for International Relations, Boston University said that between 1954 and 2002, "on average, US aid to Pakistan amounted to $382.9 million for each year of military rule compared with only $178.9 per annum under civilian leadership."

Apart from the fact that much of the funding is misdirected, there is accumulating evidence of embezzlement too. "The Bush administration has provided $1.6 billion in foreign military financing and $5.56 billion in coalition support funds. The former funds to buy radars and antisubmarine planes to track the nonexistent al-Qaida air force and navy, and the latter funds disappeared into the Pakistani treasury for unspecified services allegedly rendered," Ackerman said at the hearing.

An audit done by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) of the expenditure incurred by Pakistan from the Coalition Support Fund given under GWOT during 2004-2007, found huge anomalies in the government's claims for reimbursements of over $2.2 billion.

These included expenses claimed without backing of documents, unreasonably high rates for certain items, like food for navy sailors billed at $800 per month, claims for construction of bunkers and roads without any evidence of these actually being built, and using a standard exchange rate for conversion of dollars to Pakistani rupees even though the rupee's value had declined by over 6% during the period.

Meanwhile, Pakistan continues to reel under economic and social backwardness, with nearly 10% unemployment and a 34% literacy rate. In the FATA, literacy is a shocking 2%. No political parties are allowed and a special law — Frontier Crimes Regulation of 1901 — governs its 3.1 million people, with no recourse to appeal. 

 
24523  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DB Gathering of the Pack August 10th, 2008 on: August 04, 2008, 06:30:23 PM
By the way folks, Reuters is going to be covering the event and would like to interview some of the fighters before the day gets started.
24524  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: August 04, 2008, 03:40:07 PM
In Defense of the Constitution

Anti-CAIR
News & Analysis
012/08  August 4, 2008

 


    CAIR's Corey Saylor: Hiding The Bloody Truth Of Islamofascism

    Corey Saylor, national legislative director for the terrorist front organization, CAIR,  recently wrote an op-ed in hopes of fooling the public that an amendment to the Intelligence Authorization Act offered by Rep. Pete Hoekstra:

"may unintentionally legitimize Al Qaeda and other anti-American forces"

    Saylor, a key member of CAIR; an organization founded by members of the anti-American Islamic terrorist group Hamas, says the amendment, which passed by a 249-180 vote, needs to be reconsidered.

    Why?

    Apparently, Saylor believes that terms like, 'jihadist,' 'jihad,' 'Islamofascism,' 'caliphate,' 'Islamist,' or 'Islamic terrorist'  should instead be replaced by language that describes Islamic terrorists as 'thugs" and 'criminals'.

    Could it be that Saylor's leash-holders in Hamas find the terms used in the amendment just a bit too close to describing the Islamist ideology?  Or is it more likely that CAIR members and officers have been known to share the ideals and goals of the "Islamofascists" of Hamas.and since the imposition of an Islamic "caliphate" is odious to North Americans.Saylor wants to obscure this from the public?

    However, Saylor is obviously not conversant with his own organizations history.

   Witness: CAIR founder Omar Ahmad, appearing at the Islamic Association of Palestine's third annual convention in Chicago, praised suicide bombers:

"Fighting for freedom, fighting for Islam -- that is not suicide. They kill themselves for Islam"

    Is Saylor repudiating the actions of those "fighting for freedom.(those who) kill themselves for Islam"?  And what would Ahmad have to say about Saylor implying that these so-called "freedom fighters" are "thugs" and "criminals"?

    Did not Ahmad praise Saylor's "thugs" and "criminals" as "heroes"?  Who is right?   Saylor describing those who terror-murder in the name of Islam as "thugs" and "criminals" is insulting to all self-respecting thugs and criminals who don't use religion to justify their crimes.

    Pete Hoekstra's amendement preserves the terms that perfectly describe the religious ideology of Hamas terrorists.

    Corey Saylor - CAIR terrorist sympathizer - can't handle this truth.

    But then again, when could any CAIR lap dog ever handle the truth ...?

Andrew Whitehead
Director
Anti-CAIR
ajwhitehead@anti-cair-net.org
www.anti-cair-net.org




Article Links:
http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080801/OPINION02/808010333
http://detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080723/POLITICS/807230375
http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Read.aspx?GUID=F1767654-CDFB-4E21-A908-99A5001BD215
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1178020746583&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull
http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Read.aspx?GUID=9446CA77-BD91-4D8B-8AA6-00FCC2F0F8CA
http://www.washtimes.com/news/2004/mar/16/20040316-085118-1135r/
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=56169
http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Read.aspx?GUID=E10573A8-988C-44E4-A600-C650E59E2B14

24525  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DB Gathering of the Pack August 10th, 2008 on: August 04, 2008, 02:28:09 PM
Two more pending Fighter Registrations:

*Dog Erik Bryant

*Chris Riojas

24526  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Reagan: on: August 04, 2008, 10:56:32 AM
“When World War II ended, the United States had the only undamaged industrial power in the world. Our military might was at its peak, and we alone had the ultimate weapon, the nuclear weapon, with the unquestioned ability to deliver it anywhere in the world. If we had sought world domination then, who could have opposed us? But the United States followed a different course, one unique in all the history of mankind. We used our power and wealth to rebuild the war-ravished economies of the world, including those of the nations who had been our enemies. May I say, there is absolutely no substance to charges that the United States is guilty of imperialism or attempts to impose its will on other countries, by use of force.” —Ronald Reagan
24527  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Obanomics on: August 04, 2008, 09:28:50 AM
Obamanomics Clarified
By MICHAEL J. BOSKIN
August 4, 2008; Page A13



In my July 29 op-ed ("Obamanomics Is a Recipe for Recession"), I was among the many who took Barack Obama's statements that he would "end the Bush tax cuts for the top incomes" too literally. I interpreted this to mean a return to the pre-Bush tax rates of 39.6% on ordinary income and 20% on capital gains.

The Obama campaign has now clarified that he proposes to do this for labor earnings, but not for capital gains and dividends. I am told that Mr. Obama declared last year that he would raise these rates to "no more than the Reagan rate," by which he apparently means to 28%, from the current 15%. Mr. Obama would thus raise the tax rate on capital gains by about three times as much as President Bush cut it, but he'd preserve at least some of the Bush reduction in the double-taxation of dividends.

(Continued below.)



The 28% rate on capital gains was the price President Ronald Reagan paid to pass the 1986 Tax Reform Act that lowered the top marginal tax rate on ordinary income (including dividends) to 28%. The capital gains rate was cut to 20% in 1997 under President Bill Clinton, and again to 15% in 2003.

However, Mr. Obama is proposing to raise the top marginal rate on wages (also interest, rent and royalties, etc.) more than 40% above the corresponding Reagan rate of 28%. Mr. Obama would thus give us the worst of both worlds: tax rates on ordinary income 40% higher than Reagan and on capital gains 40% higher than Clinton.

Raising the rate on capital gains to 28% would greatly reduce the ability of firms to minimize double taxation by returning cash to their shareholders through repurchases. As for dividends, the Obama plan would nearly double the tax to 28% from 15%.

I have revised the table that accompanied my op-ed showing the negative effects on the after-tax returns on investments to reflect the clarification. It is also available at http://www.stanford.edu/~boskin/. Please use the new table for reference purposes.

I'm glad to hear that Mr. Obama is willing to retain at least a portion of the Bush tax cuts on dividends. But nearly doubling the tax rates on capital gains and dividends to 28% is a terrible idea that would damage fragile financial markets and the economy.

Mr. Boskin is a professor of economics at Stanford University and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution; he was chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers in the George H.W. Bush White House. (The Journal has frequently invited the Obama campaign to explain its tax plans in our pages, and we gladly repeat the invitation publicly here today.)
24528  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Juan Williams: The Race Issue on: August 04, 2008, 09:03:14 AM
OTOH what you propose could "force" a non-rich ex-president to peddle his services to have protection money.  In short, its fine by me that an ex-P. gets protected.

Changing subjects:

The Race Issue Isn't Going Away
By JUAN WILLIAMS
August 4, 2008

With polls showing the presidential contest between John McCain and Barack Obama getting closer, a question is now looming larger and larger. Is skin color going to be the deciding factor?

Just last week, Sen. Obama warned voters that Sen. McCain's campaign will exploit the race issue by telling voters that "he doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills." A few weeks earlier, he said they will attack his lack of experience but also added, "And did I mention he's black?"

 
AP 
The McCain campaign did not counter the first punch, but after last week's jab -- fearing that Mr. Obama was getting away with calling his candidate a racist -- campaign manager Rick Davis responded to the dollar-bill attack by saying, "Barack Obama has played the race card, and he played it from the bottom of the deck. It's divisive, negative, shameful and wrong."

Mr. Obama's campaign concedes it has no clear example of a Republican attack that expressly cites Mr. Obama's name or race. Yet in the last few days some Obama supporters were at it again, suggesting that a McCain ad attacking Mr. Obama as little more than a "celebrity," by featuring young white women such as Britney Spears, is an appeal to white anxiety about black men and white women.

The race issue is clearly not going away. And the key reason -- to be blunt -- is because there is no telling how many white voters are lying to pollsters when they say they plan to vote for a black man to be president. Still, it is possible to look elsewhere in the polling numbers to see where white voters acknowledge their racial feelings and get a truer measure of racism.

In a Wall Street Journal poll last month, 8% of white voters said outright that race is the most important factor when it comes to looking at these two candidates -- a three percentage point increase since Mr. Obama claimed the Democratic nomination. An added 15% of white voters admit the candidates' race is a factor for them. Race is even more important to black voters: 20% say it is the top factor influencing their view of the candidates, and another 14% admit it is among the key factors that will determine their vote. All this contributes to the idea that the presidential contest will boil down to black guy versus white guy.

Consider also a recent Washington Post poll. Thirty percent of all voters admitted to racial prejudice, and more than a half of white voters categorized Mr. Obama as "risky" (two-thirds judged Mr. McCain the "safe" choice). Yet about 90% of whites said they would be "comfortable" with a black president. And about a third of white voters acknowledged they would not be "entirely comfortable" with an African-American president. Why the contradictory responses? My guess is that some whites are not telling the truth about their racial attitudes.

A recent New York Times poll found that only 31% of white voters said they had a favorable opinion of Mr. Obama. That compares to 83% of blacks with a favorable opinion. This is a huge, polarizing differential.

But polling can be tricky. In May, a Pew poll asked voters about Mr. Obama but did not give them the option of saying they are undecided. In that poll, whites split on the candidate, 45% saying they had a favorable opinion, 46% unfavorable. When white voters had the option of being undecided, as they did in the Times poll, 37% of whites said they had an unfavorable opinion of him, but 26% said they were undecided.

To win this campaign, Mr. Obama needs to assure undecided white voters that he shares their values and is worthy of their trust. To do that he has to minimize attention to different racial attitudes toward his candidacy as well as racially polarizing issues, and appeal to the common experiences that bind Americans regardless of color.

Mr. Obama has shown an unprecedented ability to cross the racial divide in American politics. He did particularly well in managing caucus states, such as Iowa, where highly energized supporters, especially idealistic young white supporters, minimized the impact of negative racial attitudes with passionate participation.

But the white Democratic caucus voters in Iowa, where there are relatively few racial issues, are decidedly more liberal than white voters nationally. In primary states from New Hampshire to Texas and California, Mr. Obama lost when one of two things happened. Either working-class white voters did not participate in polls, or some white voters lied and told pollsters they planned to vote for him before casting their votes for another candidate.

There are going to be more of those wobbly white voters in November. The size of the white vote in a general election race dwarfs the white vote in the Democratic primary. Based on the 2004 presidential contest, whites make up about 77% of voters and blacks 11%.

In the Democratic primaries there were states, especially in the South, where blacks made up nearly half of the electorate. But in the general election there are no states where blacks make up so large a percentage. Even in Southern states such as Georgia and North Carolina, where blacks made up about a quarter of the vote in the last presidential election, it will be an upset if Mr. Obama manages to win. Those states have a history of Republican dominance in presidential contests. Even an energized black vote is unlikely to make Mr. Obama a winner anywhere in the South, although some Democrats hold out hope for Virginia.

In 2004, John Kerry had a 46% favorable rating among white voters, barely better than Barack Obama's. But Mr. Kerry lost. Mr. Obama needs to do better with whites. But the white voters' view of him is still clearly unsettled.

Polls show white voters struggling to identify with him as a fellow American who, to quote Bill Clinton, is able to "feel your pain." When the New York Times poll asked whether Mr. Obama cares about "the needs and problems of people like yourself," 70% of whites answered "a lot" or "some." But 28% of whites said Mr. Obama cared about them "not much" or "not at all." Compare that with the 72% of black voters who said Mr. Obama cared about them "a lot." The same Times poll had Mr. Obama leading Mr. McCain by six percentage points, 45-39, but trailing by nine points among white voters, 37-46.

After Jesse Jackson's vicious comments about Mr. Obama, some political strategists suggested that a split with Mr. Jackson and his racially divisive politics could help Mr. Obama with white voters. But polls have yet to reveal this.

Could a Jackson-Obama split cause black voters to lose enthusiasm for him -- dividing their loyalties between the two most prominent black political voices of this era? Opinion surveys do not indicate this is likely. Polling done by Gallup just before Mr. Jackson's outburst indicated that 29% of black Americans chose Mr. Obama as the "individual or leader in the U.S. to speak for you on issues of race." Mr. Jackson came in third with only 4% support (behind Al Sharpton, who had 6%). Last year, a Pew poll focusing on racial attitudes found 76% of blacks judged Mr. Obama a "good influence," a full eight points higher than Mr. Jackson.

Jodie Allen, a senior editor at Pew, wrote recently that a poll Pew conducted last November showed clearly that "the black community is at least as traditional in its views as the larger American public." Blacks in the Pew poll were just as likely as whites to take a hard line opposing crime (as long as black neighborhoods are not unfairly targeted), to condemn the shocking number of children born out of wedlock and express disgust with the violence and misogyny in rap music.

Mr. Obama needs to hammer home these conservative social values to capture undecided white voters. He might lose Mr. Jackson's vote. But he won't lose many black votes, and he will win the undecided white votes he needs to become America's first African-American president.

Mr. Williams is a political analyst for National Public Radio and Fox News.
24529  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / BO's drill bit on: August 04, 2008, 08:57:25 AM
Obama's Drill Bit
August 4, 2008
Even as he proposes to arbitrarily soak the profits from oil exploration (see here), Barack Obama is finally beginning to bend on offshore drilling. Late last week he said he could perhaps support more U.S. energy exploration, so long as it was part of a larger "bipartisan" deal that presumably includes more rules for conservation, subsidies for noncarbon fuels, and other favorites of his green backers.

Leave aside the economic contradiction in allowing more drilling to find more oil only to strip the profits from companies that succeed in finding it. The real news here is political, as Mr. Obama and his advisers have begun to see the polls move against them on energy. With gas at $4 a gallon, voters even in such drilling-averse states as Florida increasingly see the need for more domestic oil supplies. So Mr. Obama is now doing a modified, limited switcheroo to block any John McCain traction on the issue.

Only last week, Mr. Obama couldn't have been more opposed, calling more drilling a "scheme" that wouldn't reduce gas prices. He's also been telling voters that we don't need to open more areas to drilling because the oil companies weren't drilling enough on the leases they already have. That is nonsense, since not every lease yields oil in amounts worth developing and drilling permits aren't automatic even on leased land.

The question for Mr. Obama is whether this latest switch is merely a rhetorical move for campaign purposes. If he's serious, he'll start to publicly lobby Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill to allow a vote on drilling when they return from their August recess. The McCain campaign should keep the pressure on until he does, and until Congress moves.

 
24530  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Windfall tax? on: August 04, 2008, 08:53:52 AM
What Is a 'Windfall' Profit?
August 4, 2008
The "windfall profits" tax is back, with Barack Obama stumping again to apply it to a handful of big oil companies. Which raises a few questions: What is a "windfall" profit anyway? How does it differ from your everyday, run of the mill profit? Is it some absolute number, a matter of return on equity or sales -- or does it merely depend on who earns it?

Enquiring entrepreneurs want to know. Unfortunately, Mr. Obama's "emergency" plan, announced on Friday, doesn't offer any clarity. To pay for "stimulus" checks of $1,000 for families and $500 for individuals, the Senator says government would take "a reasonable share" of oil company profits.

 
Mr. Obama didn't bother to define "reasonable," and neither did Dick Durbin, the second-ranking Senate Democrat, when he recently declared that "The oil companies need to know that there is a limit on how much profit they can take in this economy." Really? This extraordinary redefinition of free-market success could use some parsing.

Take Exxon Mobil, which on Thursday reported the highest quarterly profit ever and is the main target of any "windfall" tax surcharge. Yet if its profits are at record highs, its tax bills are already at record highs too. Between 2003 and 2007, Exxon paid $64.7 billion in U.S. taxes, exceeding its after-tax U.S. earnings by more than $19 billion. That sounds like a government windfall to us, but perhaps we're missing some Obama-Durbin business subtlety.

Maybe they have in mind profit margins as a percentage of sales. Yet by that standard Exxon's profits don't seem so large. Exxon's profit margin stood at 10% for 2007, which is hardly out of line with the oil and gas industry average of 8.3%, or the 8.9% for U.S. manufacturing (excluding the sputtering auto makers).

If that's what constitutes windfall profits, most of corporate America would qualify. Take aerospace or machinery -- both 8.2% in 2007. Chemicals had an average margin of 12.7%. Computers: 13.7%. Electronics and appliances: 14.5%. Pharmaceuticals (18.4%) and beverages and tobacco (19.1%) round out the Census Bureau's industry rankings. The latter two double the returns of Big Oil, though of course government has already became a tacit shareholder in Big Tobacco through the various legal settlements that guarantee a revenue stream for years to come.

In a tax bill on oil earlier this summer, no fewer than 51 Senators voted to impose a 25% windfall tax on a U.S.-based oil company whose profits grew by more than 10% in a single year and wasn't investing enough in "renewable" energy. This suggests that a windfall is defined by profits growing too fast. No one knows where that 10% came from, besides political convenience. But if 10% is the new standard, the tech industry is going to have to rethink its growth arc. So will LG, the electronics company, which saw its profits grow by 505% in 2007. Abbott Laboratories hit 110%.

If Senator Obama is as exercised about "outrageous" profits as he says he is, he might also have to turn on a few liberal darlings. Oh, say, Berkshire Hathaway. Warren Buffett's outfit pulled in $11 billion last year, up 29% from 2006. Its profit margin -- if that's the relevant figure -- was 11.47%, which beats out the American oil majors.

Or consider Google, which earned a mere $4.2 billion but at a whopping 25.3% margin. Google earns far more from each of its sales dollars than does Exxon, but why doesn't Mr. Obama consider its advertising-search windfall worthy of special taxation?

The fun part about this game is anyone can play. Jim Johnson, formerly of Fannie Mae and formerly a political fixer for Mr. Obama, reaped a windfall before Fannie's multibillion-dollar accounting scandal. Bill Clinton took down as much as $15 million working as a rainmaker for billionaire financier Ron Burkle's Yucaipa Companies. This may be the very definition of "windfall."

General Electric profits by investing in the alternative energy technology that Mr. Obama says Congress should subsidize even more heavily than it already does. GE's profit margin in 2007 was 10.3%, about the same as profiteering Exxon's. Private-equity shops like Khosla Ventures and Kleiner Perkins, which recently hired Al Gore, also invest in alternative energy start-ups, though they keep their margins to themselves. We can safely assume their profits are lofty, much like those of George Soros's investment funds.

The point isn't that these folks (other than Mr. Clinton) have something to apologize for, or that these firms are somehow more "deserving" of windfall tax extortion than Big Oil. The point is that what constitutes an abnormal profit is entirely arbitrary. It is in the eye of the political beholder, who is usually looking to soak some unpopular business. In other words, a windfall is nothing more than a profit earned by a business that some politician dislikes. And a tax on that profit is merely a form of politically motivated expropriation.

It's what politicians do in Venezuela, not in a free country.

See all of today's editorials and op-eds, plus video commentary
24531  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Story: State Govts essential on: August 04, 2008, 08:18:34 AM
"In the next place, the state governments are, by the very theory
of the constitution, essential constituent parts of the general
government. They can exist without the latter, but the latter
cannot exist without them."

-- Joseph Story (Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833)

Reference: Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, 191.
24532  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / History on: August 04, 2008, 08:16:49 AM
This thread is for items of interest we run across about moments in history.  For example, I have never really understood WW1.  On this day in 1914 the British declared war on Germany, and the NY Times today has its article from then.  For me, it helps give a sense of what people then thought they were up to.  Here it is:
===========

England Declares War on Germany

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

Special Cable to THE NEW YORK TIMES

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conspiracy Scare on the Vaterland:

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

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

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

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

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

England Cool in Great Crisis

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

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

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

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

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

Would Smash Kiel Canal

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

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

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

German Ships in Peril

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

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

Control of Railway Lines

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

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

News Flashed to Navy

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

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

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

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

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

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

Asquith's Impressive Speech

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

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

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

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

"It is another struggle in the incessant conflict between right and force, wherein the rival champions in the last generation were Gladstone and Bismarck. Mr. Gladstone, who was a most peaceful statesman, said he would spend every shilling of the British exchequer and employ every soldier in the British Army in the defense of the independence of Belgium."
24533  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Question On The Shivworks P'Kal on: August 03, 2008, 11:57:54 PM
No content came through.
24534  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Estudio: Consejos legales on: August 03, 2008, 11:55:43 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpPBc4ZUSlo&feature=related
24535  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Estudio: Secuestro rapidisimo on: August 03, 2008, 11:42:54 PM


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

24536  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Estudio: Buen trabajo en Colombia por la policia on: August 03, 2008, 11:40:05 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEpvr3vnpNw&feature=related
24537  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Case Study: Killer Criminal Mind on: August 03, 2008, 11:15:06 PM

http://www.myfoxdfw.com/myfox/pages/Home/Detail?contentId=6830893&version=2&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=VSTY&pageId=1.1.1
24538  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DB Gathering of the Pack August 10th, 2008 on: August 03, 2008, 10:39:34 PM
Yes, good health and happy hunting.
24539  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Daily Expression of Gratitude on: August 03, 2008, 10:38:38 PM
Woof Craig:

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

The Adventure continues!

PS:  See you Sunday.
24540  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DB Gathering of the Pack August 10th, 2008 on: August 03, 2008, 08:03:54 PM
I'm guessing 10:00, but that will be up to Cindy.  She returns from visiting her mom Tuesday night.
24541  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: FL, Crist, McCain on: August 03, 2008, 05:02:06 PM
Political Diary
August 3, 2008
Paging Charlie Crist
Up until last month, John McCain led Barack Obama in every poll taken in Florida this year -- eleven in all. Since the middle of June, Mr. Obama has moved ahead in three of the last four surveys in the Sunshine State. The RealClearPolitics Average for Florida last Wednesday showed Messrs. McCain and Obama tied at 45.8% each, although a new poll on Thursday moved the average in Mr. McCain's favor by a slim 46% to 45.5%.

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

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

Six weeks ago, with Mr. McCain leading in all the Florida polls, it looked as if adding Governor Charlie Crist to the ticket was not only unnecessary but might further alienate some conservatives. Now, with Mr. Obama pouring resources into Florida, things look considerably different. Speculation about a McCain VP selection lately has raged around Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, but Mr. McCain may want to give Mr. Crist another look -- because it's impossible to see how Mr. McCain wins the White House without Florida's 27 electoral votes.
24542  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Estudio: Pitbul contra toro para salvar un hombre on: August 03, 2008, 11:27:02 AM
Aqui se ve el proposito original

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iA9pw53WaKQ&feature=related
24543  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Fatah takes refuge in Israel? on: August 03, 2008, 11:07:57 AM
150 Fatah supporters enter Israel after Hamas takes over east Gaza

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The two Palestinian factions have been bitterly divided since Hamas drove Abbas' security forces from Gaza last year.
24544  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Question On The Shivworks P'Kal on: August 03, 2008, 11:05:50 AM
Max:

You have PM.
24545  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DB Gathering of the Pack August 10th, 2008 on: August 03, 2008, 11:02:54 AM
A hearty howl of respect and gratitude to Randall Gregory who will not be able to make the Gathering due to serving our country on that date.
24546  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Police kill mayor's dogs in no-knock raid on: August 03, 2008, 11:00:56 AM
Some Doubt Mayor's Tie to Drugs
One Theory Has Md. Man an Unwitting Recipient
By Rosalind S. Helderman and Aaron C. Davis
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, August 2, 2008; B01



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Staff writer Henri E. Cauvin contributed to this report.
24547  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DB Gathering of the Pack August 10th, 2008 on: August 02, 2008, 07:33:07 PM
Woof All:

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

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

"Higher Consciousness through Harder Contact" (c)
Crafty Dog
GF
24548  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: August 02, 2008, 03:19:16 PM
K:

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

yip!
Marc/CD
24549  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Blade Wounds by a Surgeon on: August 02, 2008, 02:30:43 PM
"Still, I'm going to do some research to see if I can bring some peer reviewed literature to this discussion. I'll let you know if I find anything interesting."

Looking forward to it.
24550  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Turkey on: August 02, 2008, 01:17:19 PM
Turkey's Islamists
Inspire a New
Climate of Fear
By ZEYNO BARAN
August 2, 2008; Page A11

Istanbul

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See all of today's editorials and op-eds, plus video commentary, on Opinion Journal.
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