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24551  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Guro Crafty in Tolmin, Slovenia 6/26-27 on: June 22, 2010, 06:06:11 PM

Thanks to you I will appear to be an unusually well-read man tomorrow.

As it was today, I chuckled my hosts with my memories of being an 11 year old boy in Slovenia in 1963- Tito's communist dictatorship.
24552  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: June 22, 2010, 12:30:56 PM
Thank you for catching and cleaning up my using the wrong name for the boundary CCP.
24553  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Guro Crafty in Tolmin, Slovenia 6/26-27 on: June 22, 2010, 12:18:39 PM
I have arrived in Slovenia and am thoroughly jet lagged.  Host Borut and fiance Tina are taking very good care of me.
24554  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Guro Crafty in NYC 6/19-20 on: June 20, 2010, 10:57:30 PM
I had a fine time and was honored that C-Guard Dog and crew travelled so far to be there.

Eddie says he is looking to make this an annual event-- though next year we will be sure not to hold in on Father's Day!
24555  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: June 20, 2010, 07:28:23 AM


A senior Iranian official Thursday warned that Tehran would not tolerate the
inspection of vessels belonging to the Islamic republic in open seas under the
pretext of implementing the latest round of sanctions imposed on Iran by the U.N.
Security Council (UNSC). Kazem Jalali, rapporteur of Parliament's Foreign Policy and
National Security Committee, said one such response would be Iranian countermeasures
in the strategic Strait of Hormuz. This statement from the lawmaker is the latest in
a series of similar statements from senior Iranian civil and military officials in
recent days.

Iran making good on this threat hinges on a number of prerequisites. First, a
country must actually move to exercise the option of boarding an Iranian ship. If
that were to happen, the question then would be: Will Iran actually go as far as
retaliating in the Strait of Hormuz? After all, such an action carries the huge risk
of a countermove from the United States, which cannot allow Iran to tamper with the
free flow of oil through the strait.

At this point, it is unclear how Tehran will respond to one of its ships being
searched. What is certain is that this latest round of sanctions has created a
crisis for the Iranian leadership both on the foreign policy front and domestically,
where an intra-elite struggle has been publicly playing out for a year. Our readers
will recall that STRATFOR's view prior to the June 9 approval of the sanctions was
that the United States was not in a position to impose sanctions with enough teeth
to force Iran to change its behavior.

That view still stands because the latest round of sanctions are not strong enough
to trigger a capitulation on the part of the Iranians. But they have enough bite to
prevent Iran from doing business as usual, especially with the European Union and
the United States piling on additional unilateral sanctions. Perhaps the most
significant development is the Russian alignment with the United States, which made
the fourth round of sanctions possible.

"The latest round of sanctions has created a crisis for the Iranian leadership both
domestically and on the foreign policy front."


Russia is no longer protecting Iran in the UNSC. Furthermore, imposing sanctions on
Iran after it signed a uranium swap deal has been a major loss for Tehran. It has
created a very embarrassing situation for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at
home, where he has no shortage of opponents -- even among his own ultraconservative
camp. The U.S. move to allow the May 17 Turkish-Brazilian-Iranian uranium swap
agreement to go through, followed quickly by a move toward sanctions suggests that
Washington tried to exploit the intra-elite rift to its advantage and undermine the
position of relative strength that Tehran had been enjoying up to that point. The
U.S. move has not only exacerbated tensions between the warring factions in the
Iranian political establishment, it has also forced Iranian foreign policy
decision-makers to go back to the drawing board and re-evaluate Iran's strategy
vis-a-vis the United States.

Despite saying earlier this week that his country is ready to negotiate, there is no
way Ahmadinejad can come to the negotiating table just as the United States has
gained an upper hand in the bargaining process. He cannot be seen as caving in to
the pressure of the American-led UNSC sanctions. As it is, the Iranian president has
to deal with the domestic uproar that he is leading the Islamic republic to ruin,
which makes efforts to regain his position among the warring factions and formulate
a response to get the Islamic republic back in the driver's seat even more

While it has a number of cards to play, (e.g., Iraq, Lebanon, and Afghanistan),
precisely how Iran will respond remains as opaque as the infighting within the
regime. But the next move has to come from Iran. This new situation has led STRATFOR
to engage in its own process of reassessing the situation on the Iranian domestic
and foreign policy fronts.

Copyright 2010 Stratfor.
24556  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: June 18, 2010, 08:49:26 PM
We need to get seriously outside the box.

The following is offered in a brainstorming way only-- there may be some serious flaws in it, but at the moment it is what occurs to me.

a) I would consider ignoring the Darcy line and cut a deal with the Pashtuns to give them a Pashtunistan in return for giving up the AQ in their territory.   This would freak the Paks and I would green light the Indians while taking out Pak's nuke program.

b) I would consider fg with the Russians and freeing the Germans from dependance on Russki gas AND provide an alternate source of money for the rest of Afg by building/threaten/offer to build a natural gas pipeline for central Asian gas through Pashtunistan and the remains of Pakistan to the Indian Ocean that gives it access to the market other than Russia.  Without this gas, Russia will not be able to export to and control Europe, especially Germany and Afgans, Pashtuns, and Paks have an alternate source to making money.

Again, these ideas may be crazy, but maybe there is some value to extract.
24557  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: June 18, 2010, 11:26:37 AM
Excellent post CCP.  That seems sound to me!

BD, you further the conversation with your distinction of methods of interpretation.  If I may paraphrase, we have the strict/plain meaning of the words of the Constitution (or a statute) and we have legislative intent as discerned from the legislative history.  Although you describe well the limitations and challenges in discerning legislative intent, ultimately I am not persuaded by your argument.  As is the case with any legislation we simply do our best to discern the intent of those making the law.  A committee report gets more weight than an isolated congressman flapping his gums.  James Madison gets more weight than some back bencher at a State convention.  Given the role of the two Senators cited by GM, it seems to by that be standard legal analysis, their words, particularly in the absence of words/writing to contrary meaning, should be given considerable weight.
24558  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DBMA Knife and Anti Knife on: June 18, 2010, 11:09:00 AM
No worries, we dogs tend to be non-linear  smiley  That said, may I suggest we consistent terminology from here forward.  As to which terminology, may I suggest  , , , mine? cheesy
24559  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DBMA Knife and Anti Knife on: June 18, 2010, 06:52:52 AM

24560  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: June 18, 2010, 06:48:36 AM

What do you make of GM's posts yesterday concerning the legislative history of the Amendment in question?  They seemed quite strong to me.
24561  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: June 18, 2010, 12:24:52 AM
So, what should BO's strategic decision have been?  If you were President, what would you have done?  And, what would you do now?
24562  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People on: June 17, 2010, 08:18:44 PM
That seems well reasoned.  May I ask that you also post it in the Constitutional Law and the Free Speech threads as well so as to facilitate its discovery via future Search requests?
24563  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: June 17, 2010, 08:14:22 PM
Great discussion!!!

GM, although I confess to being on a terrible laptop with a wimpy screen, my initial impression of your last few posts is that you have presented powerfully on behalf of your argument.

Big Dog is well-educated in these things and I look forward to his response.

24564  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Guro Crafty at Team Quest, Temecula July 24 on: June 17, 2010, 08:04:11 PM
Woof All:

I will be giving a one day seminar at Team Quest (Dan Henderson's gym) on Saturday July 24th.

Details to follow.

The Adventure continues!
Guro Crafty
24565  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DBMA Knife and Anti Knife on: June 17, 2010, 07:56:28 PM

Have you seen my post of 6/13 wherein I define my term?

24566  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Daily Expression of Gratitude on: June 17, 2010, 12:30:02 PM
Grateful to be visiting with my mom.
24567  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: New member a word of caution.... on: June 17, 2010, 12:28:50 PM
I am watching this thread with interest.
24568  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Road Trip on: June 15, 2010, 04:26:54 PM
Woof All:

I leave this evening for the seminars in NYC and Slovenia.

24569  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Road Trip on: June 15, 2010, 04:25:56 PM
Woof All:

I will be leaving this evening for seminars in New York City and Slovenia.  I will have internet access while I am gone.

The Adventure continues,
24570  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Ralph Peters on: June 15, 2010, 04:07:04 PM
second post

The trillion-dollar Afghan battlefield

Posted: 12:10 AM, June 15, 2010


Afghanistan just got its worst news since the Soviet invasion three decades ago: American geologists have charted as much as a trillion dollars' worth of mineral deposits in that tormented landscape.

Up to now, Afghanistan's internal factions and neighbors have been fighting over worthless dirt, Allah and opium. Assigning the battlefield a trillion-dollar value is not a prescription for reconciliation. Expect "The Beverly Hillbillies" scripted by Satan.

Even were Afghanistan at peace, its endemic corruption would generate a grabocracy -- a Nigeria, not a Norway. Throw in inherited hatreds and the appetites of its neighbors, and Afghanistan may end up more like eastern Congo, a playground for state-sanctioned murderers and looters.

Beyond reportedly vast deposits of rare minerals (lithium, etc.) essential to popular technologies, there's copper, cobalt, iron and gold in them thar hills. Afghanistan never before offered so much to fight over.

Instead of making life easier for our troops, the finds will make it harder to disengage. Washington will succumb to arguments that we need to preserve access to these strategic resources, even though it's far cheaper to buy them than to prolong a military protectorate. (US firms won't get the good contracts, anyway.)

We already provide strategic security for Chinese mining interests in Afghanistan -- having been chumped by the Karzai government out of the gate. Now the Chinese will arrive in hordes, bribing and smiling.

The Russians will also take a renewed interest. And the Iranians have already crept into western Afghanistan (where key deposits are located). The potential for violence spilling across more borders -- including into unstable Central Asia -- will be enormous.

But the gravest danger of an all-out shootin' war comes from Pakistan and India. Until the revelation of these finds, Islamabad (which continues to support the Afghan Taliban) just wanted strategic depth in the event of a war with New Delhi, while India had engaged in Afganistan just to frustrate Pakistan.

Now Pakistan, a country in which the powerful have already stolen all there is to steal, will develop delusions of grandeur about controlling Afghanistan's subsurface wealth. And India's swelling economy will develop a sudden hunger for Afghan minerals.

China will side with Pakistan, exploiting Islamabad as a proxy. Iran may line up with China and Pakistan, as well. Pakistan will turn up the heat in Kashmir. The "Great Game" of yore is about to become Monopoly played with corpses.

Afghanistan's one hope was that, eventually, outsiders would leave it alone. That hope's gone now. Development of a full-blown mining industry will take decades, but that just means decades of violent competition.

Back in the happy-face United States, optimists insist that these Afghan finds will fund good government, security and development. Ain't gonna happen. A country living on aid and opium won't go Harvard Business School when megawealth floods in (the opium trade won't disappear, either). And the environmental damage will put BP to shame.

Meanwhile, we can't manage the war we've got. The CIA, at least, keeps killing al Qaeda terrorists across the border in Pakistan. But our troops, in the words of one fighter on the ground, just "patrol, patrol and patrol, making themselves IED magnets."

Afghan National Army training is showing progress, but President Hamid Karzai just dumped his two most pro-American ministers, and our ballyhooed Kandahar offensive -- delayed yet again -- has begun to seem like "Brigadoon" with body armor.

It's high time to ask ourselves the basic question about Afghanistan that we've avoided since we made the decision to stay: What do we get out of it?

"Chinese access to strategic minerals" is not an adequate answer.
24571  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor: Why now? on: June 15, 2010, 02:34:21 PM

U.S. Geological Survey
Workers taking part in a 2006 U.S. Geological Survey mission in AfghanistanSummary
In a June 13 story, The New York Times revived interest in Afghanistan’s potential mineral wealth, which has long been suspected. The country’s mountainous terrain indicates the likelihood of such deposits, and in 2007 the U.S. Geological Survey published a study reporting much of what is being said in the media today. But the challenges of extracting the minerals and bringing them to market in an economical and competitive way remain extraordinarily daunting.

The potential for mineral extraction in Afghanistan has generated immense press in the last few days, following a June 13 New York Times story on an estimated $1 trillion in mineral deposits believed to exist in the country and a June 12 statement by U.S. Central Command chief Gen. David Petraeus characterizing Afghanistan (with caveats, of course) as having “stunning potential” economically.

Yet much of what is being discussed dates back to two studies done in 2006-07 by the U.S. Geological Survey in conjunction with the U.S. Agency for International Development and Afghan geologists. The results of these studies were published in 2007 by the U.S. government, and their findings have now reportedly been verified by a small, Pentagon-led team, which will release its report at a conference in Kabul scheduled for July 20, according to a spokesperson for the French Foreign Ministry. There also is increasing talk of lithium deposits in particular, one of the reasons behind the current coverage. Statements regarding Afghanistan’s potential mineral wealth have been made in the recent past, with Afghan President Hamid Karzai using the $1 trillion figure at least as early as February of this year and Petraeus using it when discussing the matter in December 2009.

U.S. Geological Survey
A map from the 2006 U.S. Geological Survey mission in Afghanistan, including GPS and magnetic base station locations
(click here to enlarge image)
The China Metallurgical Group has already committed $3 billion up front and $400 million thereafter to secure the rights to the Aynak copper mining district in Logar province. Verification drillings were done last year, and a temporary camp is now being prepared, though a massive railway, power plant and smelting facility remain to be built. The Hajigak iron-ore deposit also was examined in an area about 100 kilometers west of Kabul, in Bamyan province, but the Chinese pulled out of the bidding, which was later canceled following a corruption scandal involving the Chinese company and the Afghan Ministry of Mines during the Aynak bidding process. The Chinese experience shows that what little progress is being made in terms of foreign investment in Afghan mining projects is already slowed by problems relating to poor infrastructure, awkward logistics, security threats, and corrupt or opaque negotiations.

The potential presence of large mineral deposits in Afghanistan has never been in doubt — the country’s mountainous terrain indicates the likelihood of such deposits. The challenge is extracting the minerals and bringing them to market in an economical and competitive way, and this challenge remains extraordinarily daunting. Afghanistan is an underdeveloped country with extremely poor infrastructure, including no rail connection to the outside world (though one is under construction to Masar-i-Sharif in the north). Though the nature of a mineral deposit and the economics of its exploitation can vary considerably — even within a single country — pulling ore out of the ground and moving it a great distance is a logistically intensive proposition, even with relatively developed road and rail networks.

Technically, developing sufficient infrastructure in Afghanistan is possible, but the cost of doing so is almost certain to drive the costs of mineral investment, extraction and transportation far above what can be recouped on the global market.

STRATFOR has been focusing and continues to focus on how these reports came about just in the past week. There is clearly a media blitz now under way, and it is important to understand why. Over the next few years there will be little meaningful impact on the ground in Afghanistan in terms of investing in and developing the country’s minerals. The key question at this point is how Washington will play this mineral-wealth story to serve its interests in the region, especially as the United States struggles to break a stalemate in southwestern Afghanistan and force the Taliban to the negotiating table. But local mistrust of U.S. intentions may counter any potential benefit of playing up Afghanistan’s economic potential.
24572  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: June 15, 2010, 11:10:23 AM
Actually, according to my readings, China is quite out of play on this one.  Look at a topographical map of the Afg-Chinese border area.  Look at the distances involved.  Consider that Afg has no paved roads in the regions in question.
24573  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: June 15, 2010, 10:22:35 AM
I've been running across some stuff wondering why this is coming out now and seeing seemingly serious commentary saying this is all a bunch of smoke-- that no one is going to invest the money and take the risks that these projects would entail. 
24574  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Gobar Gas part 2 on: June 15, 2010, 10:05:38 AM
24575  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Daily Expression of Gratitude on: June 14, 2010, 10:40:08 PM
24576  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: June 14, 2010, 02:31:27 PM
That's a shame.  It used to be a sterling center right publication with a remarkably deep and broad world-wide network.  I read it quite a bit 30 some odd years ago. 
24577  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: June 14, 2010, 11:20:23 AM
"726,000 Palestinians left Israeli-controlled territory between 1947 and 1949."  Crafty, do you think nearly three quarters of a million people wanted to leave their home voluntarily?"

Mostly they left because they were told to get out of the way while the Jews were being wiped out.

"As for the question, "How do christians and jews and other minorities get treated in the muslim world? Better or worse than what Israel does?"
The answer is probably worse, but is that relevant?  I mean to what standard should Israel be held?  To the lowest or highest?  For us
to say that we treated blacks in America better than some other countries, or for South African whites to say they treated blacks in South Africa better than most does not make it right.   Israel is a democracy, a thriving, modern, educated country; they are held to a higher moral standard than some backward Middle Eastern or African country or two bit dictatorship.  I like to think in most of the industrialized educated world, before the law, people should be treated equally."

Forgive me, but this is specious drivel.  The hatred of the Jews in this part of the world has been going on a long, long time and well pre-dates the existence of Israel itself.  In this context Israel's achievements in protection of rights under law is nothing less than remarkable. In the context of what you seek is Israel's suicide.

I'm signing off from responding to you on this.

24578  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ on: June 14, 2010, 08:23:04 AM
For 97 years the 12 regional banks of the Federal Reserve system have operated relatively free of political interference from Washington. The looming financial reform bill threatens that independence, not least through an effort to impose new presidential appointees at the regional banks.

The biggest underreported threat comes from Subtitle I, Section 1801 of the House financial reform bill titled "Inclusion of Minorities and Women; Diversity in Agency Workforce." Sponsored by California Democrat Maxine Waters, the provision requires each federal financial agency, the Fed Board of Governors and the 12 regional Fed banks to "establish an Office of Minority and Women Inclusion."

So what else is new, you say? Don't the feds already dictate racial and gender hiring? Yes, they do, through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and assorted other federal laws. As a matter of racial and gender diversity, the Waters provision is at best redundant.

View Full Image

Associated Press
Maxine Waters
.But Ms. Waters and the House are hunting bigger game—to wit, the political allocation of credit. They want to put a network of operatives at the highest level of government who are responsible for making sure that regulators put the hiring of, and lending to, minorities at the top of their priority list. The House provision makes that very clear by making each diversity officer a Presidential appointee who must be confirmed by the Senate. The post, says the bill, will be "comparable to that of other senior level staff."

The law says this diversity czar will "ensure equal employment opportunity and the racial, ethnic and gender diversity" of the work force and senior management of these institutions. More ominously, this creature of Congress and the White House will also be charged with "increas[ing] the participation of minority-owned and women-owned businesses in the programs and contracts" of each agency and conducting "an assessment" of stated inclusion goals.

Mull over that one for a minute. Having recently lived through a financial mania and panic caused in part by political pressure for "affordable housing," Congress will now order regulators to allocate credit by race and gender. Isn't the point of this financial reform supposed to be to make regulators better judges of systemic risks, which means focusing on financial safety and soundness? If the Waters provision passes, federal regulators will have to put racial and gender lending at the top of their watch list when they do their checks on the banks and hedge funds they are regulating.

This is especially pernicious at the Fed regional banks, which have long operated independently of political intrusion. Federal Reserve bank presidents aren't appointed by the President precisely to avoid Treasury and White House control. They are appointed by their regional bank boards.

However, in another threat to Fed independence, the Senate bill departs from that tradition by making the president of the New York Fed a Presidential appointee. Blame for this Congressional intrusion goes to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and former Goldman Sachs executive Stephen Friedman for orchestrating the selection of former Goldman economist William Dudley as Mr. Geithner's replacement at the New York Fed.

Mr. Friedman chaired the search committee to replace Mr. Geithner even as he increased his ownership of Goldman shares. Though this violated Fed rules, Fed Vice Chairman Donald Kohn and the Board of Governors gave Mr. Friedman a conflict-of-interest waiver. Congress has now seized on this to justify putting the New York Fed chief on a Washington political leash.

The Waters provision will also give Congress and the White House a new and powerful lever to influence the operation of the 12 regional Fed banks. Accusations of racial or gender indifference, much less outright bias, are politically deadly. With the threat of such an accusation in their holster, the Waters czars will have enormous clout to influence Fed governance and regulatory decisions, perhaps including monetary policy.

Fed regional presidents are often the main proponents of tight monetary policy. The presence of a diversity czar is one way Congress and the White House can intimidate these regional presidents to go along with the policies they favor. No Fed bank president will want to take the risk of being hauled before Congress to answer a report that the banks under his jurisdiction aren't racially or gender sensitive enough in their lending.

This political sway is already clear from how meekly the Fed as an institution is bowing to the Waters provision. The Senate bill doesn't have the same provision, so it could be removed in the House-Senate conference that begins this week. But we're told that Fed officials in Washington have told the regional banks to keep quiet because it can't be stopped and Ms. Waters and the House might punish them if they try. In other words, the political intimidation is already obvious even before the provision becomes law.

The public debate over Fed independence has focused on Congressional demands for an audit, but that's benign compared to the threat of political appointees sitting on the senior staff of the regional banks and Board of Governors. While masquerading as reform, the Waters and New York Fed provisions are the most brazen attempt to hijack central bank policy since its founding nearly a century ago.

The law will make it harder for regulators to do what ought to be their main job, which is making sure that they don't again let a credit mania run out of control. It's one more way in which this much vaunted reform will make the financial system even more politicized, and thus more vulnerable to another panic.
24579  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Pelosi: "You'll have to pass the bill to find out what's in it." on: June 14, 2010, 08:03:11 AM
How the New Wealth Taxes Will Hit You
The health-care bill that Congress passed in March contained two surprising new taxes to help pay for the changes: an extra 0.9% levy on wages for couples earning more than $250,000 ($200,000 for singles) and a new 3.8% tax on investment income on those same people (technically, people with "adjusted gross incomes" above those amounts).

Each tax signals a radical change in policy. For workers, the extra 0.9% levy puts a progressive element in what used to be a totally flat tax. The 3.8% tax on investment income also knocks down a longstanding wall by applying a "payroll" tax to unearned income. Until now, FICA taxes for Social Security and Medicare have applied only to wages, not investment income.

While many details remain unclear and the Internal Revenue Service hasn't issued any guidance, here are preliminary answers to the most important questions taxpayers are asking.

These taxes take effect in 2013, two elections away. Might they be repealed first?

Not likely. "Congress would have to undo the health reform, and budget constraints would still be there," says Clint Stretch of Deloitte Tax. "Even if Republicans take control of Congress, President Obama holds the veto pen until Jan. 20, 2013."

How does the 0.9% tax work?

If Joe and Mary each earn $175,000, their total employment income is $350,000. Currently they owe 1.45%—$5,075—of regular Medicare tax, and their employers owe a matching amount. In 2013, the couple will owe an extra 0.9%—$900—on their wages above $250,000, which is $100,000. Their employers pay nothing extra.

What about the 3.8% tax on net investment income?

This levy is keyed to "modified adjusted gross income," with a threshold of $250,000 for couples and $200,000 for singles. (This is simply adjusted gross income for nearly everybody except expatriates, who must add back certain exclusions.) The tax is a flat 3.8% on investment income above the threshold.

How would this work?

Example 1: John and Jane, a married couple, have $400,000 of AGI—$200,000 of wages plus $200,000 of investment income. Because they have $150,000 of investment income above the $250,000 threshold, they would owe an extra $5,700.

Example 2: Anne, a single filer, earns $40,000 but has an investment windfall of $190,000, for total income of $230,000. Because she has investment income of $30,000 above her $200,000 threshold, she would owe $1,140 of additional tax.

Example 3: Retirees Mary and Bill have no wages but they do have a taxable IRA payout of $90,000, plus investment income of $150,000, for a total of $240,000. They don't owe the new tax, because they have no investment income above the $250,000 threshold.

What is investment income?

Interest, except municipal-bond interest; dividends; rents; royalties; and capital gains on the sales of financial instruments like stocks and bonds. The taxable portion of insurance annuity payouts also counts, unless it is from a company pension. So do gains from financial trading, as well as passive income from rents and businesses you don't participate in. All are subject to the 3.8% tax on amounts above the $250,000 or $200,000 threshold, as described above.

Not taxed: Distributions from regular and Roth IRAs and other retirement accounts, including pensions and Social Security, and annuities that are part of a retirement plan. Life-insurance proceeds, muni-bond interest and veterans' benefits don't count, nor does income from a business you participate in, such as a Subchapter S or partnership.

Could the 3.8% tax apply to gains on the sale of a home?

Yes, if there is a taxable gain above the $500,000 ($250,000, single) exclusion for gains on the sale of your residence.

Example: Fred and Fran, who bought their home in a New York suburb for $50,000 in 1972, sell it in 2013 for $1 million. After subtracting the $50,000 cost and $500,000 exclusion, they have investment income of $450,000. If they also have a taxable IRA payout of $70,000 and a pension of $30,000, they would owe the tax of $11,400 on $300,000.

What happens if a taxpayer who owes the new tax on investments also has a large itemized deduction—say, medical expenses or a theft loss?

Even if taxable income is zero because of deductions, he or she could still owe the 3.8% tax. Example: Myra is a single filer with investment income of $100,000 and wages of $200,000. But during the same year she loses $300,000 in a Ponzi scheme. She pays no income tax, but she still owes the new Medicare tax of $3,800 on her net investment income, says Sharon Kreider, a tax expert in Sunnyvale, Calif.

Does the 3.8% tax affect trusts and estates?

Yes, and it can hit them hard. The tax is levied on investment income as low as $12,000 that isn't paid out to beneficiaries. Some believe the tax may also hit children's unearned income subject to the "kiddie tax" if the parents owe it themselves.

What professions are able to avoid this tax?

Ms. Kreider and others see a sweet spot for real-estate professionals. The law deems their rents to be "active" income, so they wouldn't be subject to the investment tax. Often they don't owe self-employment taxes on that rental income, either.

What steps do experts recommend to minimize these taxes, other than taking capital gains before 2013 or buying municipal bonds?

• Examine both your regular and investment income: the higher your regular AGI, the more likely that your investment income will be subject to the new tax. So while Social Security and pensions don't count as investment income, they raise AGI. This makes Roth IRA conversions even more attractive for many. "Roth withdrawals don't raise AGI and aren't investment income," says Vern Hoven, a tax expert in Gig Harbor, Wash.

• Reconsider a defined-benefit pension if you're eligible—say, you're in a small business or have consulting income, says Mark Nash of PricewaterhouseCoopers. Pension payouts don't count as investment income, and the older a taxpayer is, the more he can contribute.

• Taxpayers selling assets should consider installment sales, says Ms. Kreider, if spreading out the income would minimize the new tax.

• For some, life insurance may become more attractive. Because life-insurance proceeds at death aren't subject to this tax, a taxpayer could buy a policy, borrow from it and settle up at death, avoiding income tax on investment gains within the policy. But Mr. Nash cautions that the savings must outweigh the fees and other disadvantages such policies may have.
24580  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Well, that's embarrasssing , , , on: June 14, 2010, 06:47:40 AM
24581  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Conditioning on: June 14, 2010, 06:39:05 AM
Is this "saying (I) have 15 seconds to do 7 reps and then 15 seconds to rest?"
24582  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizen-Police interactions on: June 14, 2010, 06:35:09 AM
"I first pinned on a badge positron King."

Sorry to be slow-witted.  What is your meaning here?
24583  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: June 14, 2010, 06:32:30 AM
Exactly.  C'mon JDN, you're avoiding the points being made here.

"Palestinians were forcibly and violently removed to create the Israel state."

24584  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: June 13, 2010, 10:19:44 PM
I could swear there is a word "specious" , , , anyone have a URL for a good dictionary?

I did not say equal, I said one helluva lot closer to equal than vice versa in the Muslim countries, none of whom are surrounded by suicidal killers screaming "Death to the Muslims" as they target Muslim women and children.  C'mon man, get serious.

24585  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizen-Police interactions on: June 13, 2010, 10:14:01 PM
Precisely so.  What I find remarkable is the shamelessness of the egregious (sp?) bullying.
24586  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DBMA Knife and Anti Knife on: June 13, 2010, 10:12:27 PM
Fair enough.

24587  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: June 13, 2010, 05:14:24 PM
JDN, I found that that Makdisi piece to be remarkably specious.  Its kind of tough to live with side by side with folks like this preacher and his congregation, but in Israel Arabs get citizenship, to vote, to be Muslim, to bring law suits, etc.  Try the other side of that coin in any of Israel's neighbors.
24588  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DBMA Knife and Anti Knife on: June 13, 2010, 04:57:52 PM
I can see I need to clarify some things here.

1)  As "I" define things, all four of StillJames's scenarios are defensive.  You are defending yourself from attack.  When I say "offensive" here I am talking about , , , initiation.

2) I'm not sure why Herb is bringing here something I said on another forum that I did not have time for at the moment, but since he has I will take a moment to comment that I am not really sure why what I wrote above is being taken as/being presented as meaning that I am advocating giving poor quality, unrealistic knife attacks.  Surely with DLO-1, DLO-2, and DLO-3 out there it should be pretty fg clear by now that I believe in training to solve realistic knife attacks?

24589  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Ciudad Juarez and on: June 13, 2010, 01:22:32 PM
19 slain at Mexico rehab clinic, 16 in second city
By OLIVIA TORRES and DANICA COTO Olivia Torres And Danica Coto – Fri Jun 11, 11:57 pm ET

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico – At least 30 gunmen burst into a drug rehabilitation center in a Mexican border state capital and opened fire, killing 19 men and wounding four people, police said. Gunmen also killed 16 people in another drug-plagued northern city.

The killings marked one of the bloodiest weeks ever in Mexico and came just weeks after authorities discovered 55 bodies in an abandoned silver mine, presumably victims of the country's drug violence.

The bullet-riddled bodies of 14 men and two women were found Friday in different parts of Ciudad Madero, a city in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, where violence has surged this year amid a turf battle between the Gulf cartel and its former ally, the Zetas gang of hit men. Authorities earlier said 20 were killed but reduced that to 16.  Police had no information on suspects.  It was the deadliest day in Tamaulipas drug violence since 18 gunmen were killed during a series of coordinated attacks on soldiers in April.

Another round of killings occurred late Thursday at the Faith and Life center in Chihuahua city, about 210 miles (350 kilometers) south of Ciudad Juarez and the border with El Paso, Texas, state police spokesman Fidel Banuelos said.

On Wednesday, unidentified assailants killed one man and wounded another at a rehab center in Ciudad Juarez, which has become one of the world's most deadly cities because of drug violence.

More than 60 people have died in mass shootings at rehab clinics in a little less than two years. Police have said two of Mexico's six major drug cartels are exploiting the centers to recruit hit men and drug smugglers, often threatening to kill those who don't cooperate. Others are killed for failing to pay for drugs or betraying a dealer.

The men at the Faith and Life center were roused out of bed shortly before 11 p.m. and placed face-down along a hallway, the center's director, Cristian Rey Ramirez, told The Associated Press.

Ramirez was alerted to the attack by a telephone call from the center's pastor.

"He tells me, 'You know what, come here because they just killed everyone,'" Rey said. "There was no warning."

The attackers left messages accusing the victims of being criminals, Banuelos said.

Four other people were hospitalized, two in critical condition and two in serious condition, officials said.  Most of the victims ranged in age from 30 to 40, with some older, and included a blind man, said the Rev. Rene Castillo, a minister who gives weekly sermons at the center, which opened 11 years ago.

"Everyone is so scared now," he said. Violence is "all everyone talks about, especially with all the threats that have been made," he said.

It was the first such attack on the center, although two men and a woman were kidnapped there in April 2008 while attending a memorial service, Banuelos said.  The three-story, baby-blue concrete building houses addicts for 90 days, although some of those attacked had been there for up to two years, Castillo said.

Among the victims was Jose Luis Zamarron Barraza, a heroin addict who arrived home a year ago from the U.S., said a relative who declined to give her name out of fear. She did not know Zamarron's age.   He entered the center a year ago, she said.

"The only crime he committed was to use drugs and want to get clean," she said. "He was really happy because he was about to leave. ... He almost made it."

President Felipe Calderon, whose war with drug cartels has seen nearly 23,000 people killed since he took office in late 2006, issued a statement condemning the shootings.

"They are outrageous acts that reinforce the conviction of the need to fight criminal groups who carry out such barbaric acts with full legal force," he said.

The federal government promised in February to invest $7.7 million in rehab centers and related programs in Ciudad Juarez. But plans for Mexico's first government-run drug rehab center have stalled for unknown reasons.

The government did open two small offices in Ciudad Juarez two months ago that provide counseling and prevention services.

Chihuahua state Health Secretary Octavio Martinez Perez said the Faith and Life center had a license and regularly met all state requirements.

"It is regrettable and tragic," he said.

In other presumably drug-related violence, authorities discovered three bodies, one of which had been decapitated, in the Pacific Coast state of Guerrero on Thursday and Friday.

One of the bodies was found Friday in the town of Iguala accompanied by a note. Police did not reveal what it said.

A second body was found Thursday in the town of Tecoanapa leaning against a cement post, its head placed between its knees, police said. Attached to that body was a message written on cardboard whose contents authorities declined to release.

The third body was found Thursday with signs of torture in Taxco, a colonial-era tourist town known for its silver jewelry. In late May, authorities discovered a mass grave in an abandoned silver mine on the outskirts of Taxco that had become a dumping ground for apparent victims of Mexico's drug violence. Authorities found 55 bodies before ending their search last weekend.

Also in Guerrero, two gunmen died Thursday after attacking a military convoy while two brothers, including a 16-year-old boy, died Friday during an ambush. No further details were available.


Associated Press Writer Olivia Torres reported this story from Ciudad Juarez and Danica Coto from Mexico City. AP Writer E. Eduardo Castillo in Mexico City contributed to this report.
24590  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: June 13, 2010, 09:38:49 AM
The shamelessness of BO, Holder, et al in this case is extraordinary, as is the silence of the MSM.  Change the races and the politics of those involved and we surely would be seeing different results.
24591  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / They've an eye on you, but not you on them? on: June 13, 2010, 09:35:54 AM

Are Cameras the New Guns?
In response to a flood of Facebook and YouTube videos that depict police abuse, a new trend in law enforcement is gaining popularity. In at least three states, it is now illegal to record any on-duty police officer.

Even if the encounter involves you and may be necessary to your defense, and even if the recording is on a public street where no expectation of privacy exists.

The legal justification for arresting the "shooter" rests on existing wiretapping or eavesdropping laws, with statutes against obstructing law enforcement sometimes cited. Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland are among the 12 states in which all parties must consent for a recording to be legal unless, as with TV news crews, it is obvious to all that recording is underway. Since the police do not consent, the camera-wielder can be arrested. Most all-party-consent states also include an exception for recording in public places where "no expectation of privacy exists" (Illinois does not) but in practice this exception is not being recognized.

Massachusetts attorney June Jensen represented Simon Glik who was arrested for such a recording. She explained, "[T]he statute has been misconstrued by Boston police. You could go to the Boston Common and snap pictures and record if you want." Legal scholar and professor Jonathan Turley agrees, "The police are basing this claim on a ridiculous reading of the two-party consent surveillance law - requiring all parties to consent to being taped. I have written in the area of surveillance law and can say that this is utter nonsense."

The courts, however, disagree. A few weeks ago, an Illinois judge rejected a motion to dismiss an eavesdropping charge against Christopher Drew, who recorded his own arrest for selling one-dollar artwork on the streets of Chicago. Although the misdemeanor charges of not having a peddler's license and peddling in a prohibited area were dropped, Drew is being prosecuted for illegal recording, a Class I felony punishable by 4 to 15 years in prison.

In 2001, when Michael Hyde was arrested for criminally violating the state's electronic surveillance law - aka recording a police encounter - the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court upheld his conviction 4-2. In dissent, Chief Justice Margaret Marshall stated, "Citizens have a particularly important role to play when the official conduct at issue is that of the police. Their role cannot be performed if citizens must fear criminal reprisals…." (Note: In some states it is the audio alone that makes the recording illegal.)

The selection of "shooters" targeted for prosecution do, indeed, suggest a pattern of either reprisal or an attempt to intimidate.

Glik captured a police action on his cellphone to document what he considered to be excessive force. He was not only arrested, his phone was also seized.

On his website Drew wrote, "Myself and three other artists who documented my actions tried for two months to get the police to arrest me for selling art downtown so we could test the Chicago peddlers license law. The police hesitated for two months because they knew it would mean a federal court case. With this felony charge they are trying to avoid this test and ruin me financially and stain my credibility."

Hyde used his recording to file a harassment complaint against the police. After doing so, he was criminally charged.

In short, recordings that are flattering to the police - an officer kissing a baby or rescuing a dog - will almost certainly not result in prosecution even if they are done without all-party consent. The only people who seem prone to prosecution are those who embarrass or confront the police, or who somehow challenge the law. If true, then the prosecutions are a form of social control to discourage criticism of the police or simple dissent.

A recent arrest in Maryland is both typical and disturbing.

On March 5, 24-year-old Anthony John Graber III's motorcycle was pulled over for speeding. He is currently facing criminal charges for a video he recorded on his helmet-mounted camera during the traffic stop.

The case is disturbing because:

1) Graber was not arrested immediately. Ten days after the encounter, he posted some of he material to YouTube, and it embarrassed Trooper J. D. Uhler. The trooper, who was in plainclothes and an unmarked car, jumped out waving a gun and screaming. Only later did Uhler identify himself as a police officer. When the YouTube video was discovered the police got a warrant against Graber, searched his parents' house (where he presumably lives), seized equipment, and charged him with a violation of wiretapping law.

2) Baltimore criminal defense attorney Steven D. Silverman said he had never heard of the Maryland wiretap law being used in this manner. In other words, Maryland has joined the expanding trend of criminalizing the act of recording police abuse. Silverman surmises, "It's more [about] ‘contempt of cop' than the violation of the wiretapping law."

3) Police spokesman Gregory M. Shipley is defending the pursuit of charges against Graber, denying that it is "some capricious retribution" and citing as justification the particularly egregious nature of Graber's traffic offenses. Oddly, however, the offenses were not so egregious as to cause his arrest before the video appeared.

Almost without exception, police officials have staunchly supported the arresting officers. This argues strongly against the idea that some rogue officers are overreacting or that a few cops have something to hide. "Arrest those who record the police" appears to be official policy, and it's backed by the courts.

Carlos Miller at the Photography Is Not A Crime website offers an explanation: "For the second time in less than a month, a police officer was convicted from evidence obtained from a videotape. The first officer to be convicted was New York City Police Officer Patrick Pogan, who would never have stood trial had it not been for a video posted on Youtube showing him body slamming a bicyclist before charging him with assault on an officer. The second officer to be convicted was Ottawa Hills (Ohio) Police Officer Thomas White, who shot a motorcyclist in the back after a traffic stop, permanently paralyzing the 24-year-old man."

When the police act as though cameras were the equivalent of guns pointed at them, there is a sense in which they are correct. Cameras have become the most effective weapon that ordinary people have to protect against and to expose police abuse. And the police want it to stop.

Happily, even as the practice of arresting "shooters" expands, there are signs of effective backlash. At least one Pennsylvania jurisdiction has reaffirmed the right to video in public places. As part of a settlement with ACLU attorneys who represented an arrested "shooter," the police in Spring City and East Vincent Township adopted a written policy allowing the recording of on-duty policemen.

As journalist Radley Balko declares, "State legislatures should consider passing laws explicitly making it legal to record on-duty law enforcement officials."

Wendy McElroy is the author of several books on anarchism and feminism. She maintains the iconoclastic website as well as an active blog at

The author of this post can be contacted at
24592  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Conditioning on: June 12, 2010, 06:43:21 PM
a) A snatch is from hanging to shoulder or overhead?

b) Are you saying you have 15 seconds to do 7 reps and then 15 seconds to rest?
24593  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Looking for fighters for stickfighting TV series on: June 12, 2010, 06:40:38 PM
Count on it  grin 

This is a matter that will take several months to gather traction, if gather traction it does.
24594  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: ACTION items on: June 12, 2010, 05:01:45 PM
Woof All: 

A goodly percentage of my Founding Father Quotes come from this group as do several of my posts.  In short I think them very good and worthy of my support , , , and yours.


Fellow Patriot,

In my recent essay on Army and Flag Day, we launched our 2010 Independence Day Campaign.

A large number of our readers are serving our nation's Armed Forces, are students, are in the mission field, or are in other limited-income situations. We don't ask support from these Patriots as our mission is, in part, to serve them.

Thus, we rely on a relatively small pool of our readers for our annual budget.

While many of you support us at the end of the year, and some throughout the year, we endure a perennial summer "dry spell," a budget shortfall between June and October.

Please support The Patriot's editors and staff, and their families. My team works tirelessly to provide you, and fellow Patriots across the nation, the best digest of news, policy and opinion on the Internet. As the "Voice of Essential Liberty," The Patriot is now a primary touchstone for the growing ranks of Americans demanding the restoration of constitutional integrity.

We still must raise $175,491 for our 2010 Independence Day Campaign. (If you prefer to support us by mail, please use our printable donor form.)

I humbly encourage you to make a contribution -- however large or small, today. Never has your support been more critical than right now.

Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!

Mark Alexander
Publisher, The Patriot Post

P.S. Support The Patriot's 2010 Independence Day Campaign now with your donation of $26 or more and receive a free copy of the Essential Liberty Guide. Click here for more details.
24595  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Tao of the Dog on: June 12, 2010, 04:52:22 PM
We dare dream of major theatrical release , , ,
24596  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Guro Crafty's momentary ruminations on: June 12, 2010, 04:49:49 PM
We had a riff about this on the DBMA Assn forum:  "How does one defecate without dropping the load in one's pants?"
24597  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / July 24 Guro Crafty and Kali Tudo (tm) at Team Quest in Temecula? on: June 12, 2010, 04:47:19 PM
This seminar is subject to confirmation this week, but for those interested put aside the date in the event it does come together.
24598  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: June 12, 2010, 11:39:06 AM
Very interesting report on the Bret Baier report last night on FOX.  Apparently due to the Jones Act (roughly US water for US flagged ships) there are a bunch of oil skimmer ships that would like to come add to the efforts in the Gulf, but are being denied because the BO people are refusing to exercise their option provided for in the Act of temporarily suspending the Act in the case of emergency e.g. as was done by Bush in the wake of Katrina.  Apparent reason?  That certain unions don't like this. angry cry angry
24599  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / POTH: Karzai doubts success on: June 12, 2010, 11:30:05 AM

Granted this is the NYT, and as such is a Pravda, but it reads very plausibly to me.

I have posted here for a long time about incoherence of our strategy , , ,


Karzai Is Said to Doubt West Can Defeat Taliban
Published: June 11, 2010

KABUL, Afghanistan — Two senior Afghan officials were showing President Hamid Karzai the evidence of the spectacular rocket attack on a nationwide peace conference earlier this month when Mr. Karzai told them that he believed the Taliban were not responsible.

In January, Hanif Atmar, then the interior minister of Afghanistan, gestured during a medal ceremony in Kabul. He and another top official have resigned from the Hamid Karzai government.

Afghanistan’s former intelligence chief, Amrullah Saleh, in Kabul on Wednesday. He also resigned his position.

“The president did not show any interest in the evidence — none — he treated it like a piece of dirt,” said Amrullah Saleh, then the director of the Afghan intelligence service.

Mr. Saleh declined to discuss Mr. Karzai’s reasoning in more detail. But a prominent Afghan with knowledge of the meeting, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that Mr. Karzai suggested in the meeting that it might have been the Americans who carried it out.

Minutes after the exchange, Mr. Saleh and the interior minister, Hanif Atmar, resigned — the most dramatic defection from Mr. Karzai’s government since he came to power nine years ago. Mr. Saleh and Mr. Atmar said they quit because Mr. Karzai made clear that he no longer considered them loyal.

But underlying the tensions, according to Mr. Saleh and Afghan and Western officials, was something more profound: That Mr. Karzai had lost faith in the Americans and NATO to prevail in Afghanistan.

For that reason, Mr. Saleh and other officials said, Mr. Karzai has been pressing to strike his own deal with the Taliban and the country’s archrival, Pakistan, the Taliban’s longtime supporter. According to a former senior Afghan official, Mr. Karzai’s maneuverings involve secret negotiations with the Taliban outside the purview of American and NATO officials.

“The president has lost his confidence in the capability of either the coalition or his own government to protect this country,” Mr. Saleh said in an interview at his home. “President Karzai has never announced that NATO will lose, but the way that he does not proudly own the campaign shows that he doesn’t trust it is working.”

People close to the president say he began to lose confidence in the Americans last summer, after national elections in which independent monitors determined that nearly one million ballots had been stolen on Mr. Karzai’s behalf. The rift worsened in December, when President Obama announced that he intended to begin reducing the number of American troops by the summer of 2011.

“Karzai told me that he can’t trust the Americans to fix the situation here,” said a Western diplomat in Kabul, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “He believes they stole his legitimacy during the elections last year. And then they said publicly that they were going to leave.”

Mr. Karzai could not be reached for comment Friday.

If Mr. Karzai’s resolve to work closely with the United States and use his own army to fight the Taliban is weakening, that could present a problem for Mr. Obama. The American war strategy rests largely on clearing ground held by the Taliban so that Mr. Karzai’s army and government can move in, allowing the Americans to scale back their involvement in an increasingly unpopular and costly war.

Relations with Mr. Karzai have been rocky for some time, and international officials have expressed concern in the past that his decision making can be erratic. Last winter, Mr. Karzai accused NATO in a speech of ferrying Taliban fighters around northern Afghanistan in helicopters. Earlier this year, following criticism by the Obama administration, Mr. Karzai told a group of supporters that he might join the Taliban.

American officials tried to patch up their relationship with Mr. Karzai during his visit to the White House last month. Indeed, on many issues, like initiating contact with some Taliban leaders and persuading its fighters to change sides, Mr. Karzai and the Americans are on the same page.

But their motivations appear to differ starkly. The Americans and their NATO partners are pouring tens of thousands of additional troops into the country to weaken hard-core Taliban and force the group to the bargaining table. Mr. Karzai appears to believe that the American-led offensive cannot work.

At a news conference at the Presidential Palace this week, Mr. Karzai was asked about the Taliban’s role in the June 4 attack on the loya jirga and his faith in NATO. He declined to address either one.

“Who did it?” Mr. Karzai said of the attack. “It’s a question that our security organization can bring and prepare the answer.”

Asked if he had confidence in NATO, Mr. Karzai said he was grateful for the help and said the partnership was “working very, very well.” But he did not answer the question.

“We are continuing to work on improvements all around,” Mr. Karzai said, speaking in English and appearing next to David Cameron, the British prime minister.

A senior NATO official said the resignations of Mr. Atmar and Mr. Saleh, who had strong support from the NATO allies, were “extremely disruptive.”

The official said of Mr. Karzai, “My concern is, is he capable of being a wartime leader?”

Page 2 of 2)

The NATO official said that American commanders had given Mr. Karzai a dossier showing overwhelming evidence that the attack on the peace conference had been carried out by fighters loyal to Jalalhuddin Haqqani, one of the main leaders fighting under the Taliban’s umbrella.

“There was no doubt,” the official said.

The resignations of Mr. Saleh and Mr. Atmar revealed a deep fissure among Afghan leaders as to the best way to deal with the Taliban and with their patrons in Pakistan.

Mr. Saleh is a former aide to the late Ahmed Shah Massoud, the legendary commander who fought the Soviet Union and the Taliban. Many of Mr. Massoud’s former lieutenants, mostly ethnic Tajiks and now important leaders in northern Afghanistan, sat out the peace conference. Like Mr. Saleh, they favor a tough approach to negotiating with the Taliban and Pakistan.

Mr. Karzai, like the overwhelming majority of the Taliban, is an ethnic Pashtun. He appears now to favor a more conciliatory approach.

At the end of the loya jirga, Mr. Karzai announced the formation of a commission that would review the case of every Taliban fighter held in custody and release those who were not considered extremely dangerous. The commission, which would be led by several senior members of Mr. Karzai’s government, excluded the National Directorate of Security, the intelligence agency run by Mr. Saleh.

In the interview, Mr. Saleh said he took offense at the exclusion. His primary job is to understand the Taliban, he said; leaving his agency off the commission made him worry that Mr. Karzai might intend to release hardened Taliban fighters.

“His conclusion is — a lot of Taliban have been wrongly detained, they should be released,” Mr. Saleh said. “We are 10 years into the collapse of the Taliban — it means we don’t know who the enemy is. We wrongly detain people.”

Mr. Saleh also criticized the loya jirga. “Here is the meaning of the jirga,” Mr. Saleh said. “I don’t want to fight you. I even open the door to you. It was my mistake to push you into the mountains. The jirga was not a victory for the Afghan state, it was a victory for the Taliban.”

Mr. Karzai has been seeking to build bridges to the Taliban for months. Earlier this year, the president’s brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, held secret meetings with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban’s deputy commander, according to a former senior Afghan official.

According to Gen. Hilaluddin Hilal, the deputy interior minister in an earlier Karzai government, Ahmed Wali Karzai and Mr. Baradar met twice in January near Spin Boldak, a town on the border with Pakistan. The meeting was brokered by Mullah Essa Khakrezwal, the Taliban’s shadow governor of Kandahar Province, and Hafez Majid, a senior Taliban intelligence official, General Hilal said.

A Western analyst in Kabul confirmed General Hilal’s account. The senior NATO official said he was unaware of the meeting, as did Mr. Saleh. Ahmed Wali Karzai did not respond to e-mail queries on the meeting.

The resolution of that meeting was not clear, General Hilal said. Mr. Baradar was arrested in late January in a joint Pakistani-American raid in Karachi, Pakistan. But Mr. Karzai’s attempts to negotiate with the Taliban have continued, he said.

“He doesn’t think the Americans can afford to stay,” General Hilal said.

Mr. Saleh said that Mr. Karzai’s strategy also involved a more conciliatory line toward Pakistan. If true, this would amount to a sea change for Mr. Karzai, who has spent his nine years in office regularly accusing the Pakistanis of supporting the Taliban insurgency.

Mr. Saleh says he fears that Afghanistan will be forced into accepting what he called an “undignified deal” with Pakistan that will leave his country in a weakened state.

He said he considered Mr. Karzai a patriot. But he said the president was making a mistake if he planned to rely on Pakistani support. (Pakistani leaders have for years pressed Mr. Karzai to remove Mr. Saleh, whom they see as a hard-liner).

“They are weakening him under the disguise of respecting him. They will embrace a weak Afghan leader, but they will never respect him,” Mr. Saleh said.
24600  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / The 14th wrt citizenship on: June 12, 2010, 01:01:03 AM
Fascinating discussion in the Immigration thread on P&R at the bottom of
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