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24651  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Son of Hamas founder denounces Islam and converts to Christianity!!! on: January 18, 2009, 11:04:47 PM

et seq!
24652  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Support our troops on: January 18, 2009, 09:03:32 PM
Help the families of fallen Spec Ops Warriors
24653  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The American Creed: Our Founding Fathers: on: January 18, 2009, 08:52:45 PM
MLK's Letter from Jail:
24654  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: January 18, 2009, 07:21:10 PM
I like the literary quality of the allusion/analogy there.  Nice piece.

Returning to the gas find, a clever friend writes:

Google search yields interesting results.  Very early days yet. 


“Early indications are that the resources identified are very substantial, at least equal to our pre-drill estimated gross mean resources of over three trillion cubic feet. Subject to the collection of additional data, the resource estimate for Tamar could further increase.”


Three TCF is significant, but far from “huge.”


Here is the data on Russian gas production:


  “According to the Oil and Gas Journal’s 2008 survey, Russia holds the world’s largest natural gas reserves, with 1,680 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), which is nearly twice the reserves in the next largest country, Iran. In 2006 Russia was the world’s largest natural gas producer (23.2 Tcf), as well as the world’s largest exporter (6.6 Tcf). According to official Russian statistics, production during 2007 totaled around 23.1 Tcf, of which 85 percent (19.4 Tcf) was produced by Gazprom. Russian government forecasts expects gas production to total 31.1 Tcf by 2030.”


So to put it in perspective, the Tamar find is currently estimated to be equal to about 6 months of exports from Russia, highly significant for Israel, but not for Europe.

24655  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: January 18, 2009, 04:08:25 PM
"My only point in my previous post was that both the Koran AND the Old Testament of the Bible have a dark side."

Ummm, was this ever really an issue?

Or given your belief that " Judaism and Christianity have moved on and now refute barbarism.  Islam , , , seem(s) to want to return humanity to the dark age.  That is a huge irreconcilable difference"--- what on earth was the relevance of these repeated references to the rejected negatives of the Old Testament?
24656  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Huge Gas Reserves discovered? on: January 18, 2009, 01:58:32 PM
Huge gas reserves discovered off Haifa

Jan. 18, 2009 Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST

Three massive gas reservoirs have been discovered 80 kilometers off the Haifa coast, at the Tamar prospect, Noble Energy Inc. announced on Sunday.

The Tamar-1 well, located in approximately 5,500 feet of water, was drilled to a total depth of 16,076 feet. The thickness and quality of the reservoirs found were greater than anticipated at the location.

Charles D. Davidson, Noble Energy's chairman, president and CEO, said in an announcement that his company was "extremely excited by the results. This is one of the most significant prospects that we have ever tested and appears to be the largest discovery in the company's history."

Speaking on Army Radio Sunday morning, an exhilarated Yitzhak Tshuva, owner of the Delek Group Ltd, one of the owners of the well, called the discovery "one of the biggest in the world," promising that the find would present a historic land mark in the economic independence of Israel.

"I have no doubt that this is a holiday for the State of Israel. We will no longer be dependent [on foreign sources] for our gas, and will even export. We are dealing with inconceivably huge quantities; Israel now has a solution for the future generations," Tshuva added.

An ecstatic Infrastructures Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said before the weekly cabinet meeting that the discovery was a "historic" one and could "change the face of Israeli industry."

In a statement released following the discovery, the Meimad-Green Movement party also praised the "historic discovery," and called to put plans to erect the coal-fired power plant in Ashkelon on hold.

"Until now, the central argument in favor of building the coal plant was that strategically, we cannot depend on clean natural gas, since its reservoirs are located in hostile countries," said Meimad chairman Rabbi Michael Melchior in the statement.

"Now, with the discovery of the huge reservoirs, the plans to construct the coal plant should be shelved, as it will cause severe health damage to the region's residents," said Melchior.

"Instead, we should build a plant powered by natural gas instead, Israeli and [environmentally friendly], which will have minimal health repercussions and aid Israel's economy," he added.

Production testing at Tamar will be performed after the well is completed. Noble Energy and its partners may keep the rig to drill up to two additional wells in the basin. Pending positive test results, one well could be an appraisal at Tamar.

Noble Energy operates the well with a 36 percent working interest. Other interest owners in the well are Israeli companies Isramco Negev 2, Delek Drilling, Avner Oil Exploration and Dor Gas Exploration.

Following the announcement of the discover, shares of Delek Drilling jumped up 80%, while shares of Isramco Negev 2 skyrocketed by an unprecedented 120 percent. The rest of the Tel Aviv stock market also saw huge gains, with the TA-Index 100 climbing nearly 4 percent.

This article can also be read at /servlet/Satellite?cid=1232265973374&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull
24657  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Study: Gun and grenade fight on: January 18, 2009, 12:54:38 PM
Odd, I thought this one would trigger many comments , , ,
24658  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: January 18, 2009, 10:37:25 AM
I'm not much of a scholar in these things, so please help me out.

Exactly where does the old Testament advocate/grant the right to rape? etc?

And exactly where do we find any Jews advocating this today because God says so?
24659  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: CRISIS ECONOMICA MUNDIAL on: January 18, 2009, 10:29:58 AM
Por favor siempre ponga la razon que este's posting un articulo.

24660  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Bush Presidency on: January 17, 2009, 11:23:49 PM
President Bush is leaving office amid the worst recession in 25 years, and naturally his economic policies are getting the blame. But before we move on to the era of Obamanomics, it's important to understand what really happened during the Bush years -- not least so we don't repeat the same mistakes.

APMr. Bush has tried to explain events with one of his populist aphorisms: "Wall Street got drunk and we got a hangover." The remark is ruefully amusing and has an element of truth. But it also reveals how little the President comprehends about the source of his Administration's economic undoing. To extend his metaphor, Who does Mr. Bush think was serving the liquor?

Democrats like to claim the 1990s were a golden age while the Bush years have been disastrous. But as the nearby chart shows, Mr. Bush inherited a recession. The dot-com bubble had burst in 2000, and the economy was sinking even before the shock of 9/11, the corporate scandals and Sarbanes-Oxley. Mr. Bush's original tax-cut proposal was designed in part as insurance against such a downturn.

 However, to win over Senate Democrats, Mr. Bush both phased in the tax rate reductions and settled for politically popular but economically feckless tax rebate checks. Those checks provided a short-term lift to consumer spending but no real boost to risk-taking or business investment, which was still recovering from the tech implosion. By late 2002, the economy was struggling again -- which is when Mr. Bush proposed his second round of tax cuts.

This time the tax rate reductions were immediate, and they included cuts in capital gains and dividends designed to spur business incentives. As the tax cuts became law in late May 2003, the recovery began in earnest. Growth averaged nearly 4% over the next three years, the jobless rate fell from 6.3% in June 2003 to 4.4% in October 2006, and real wages began to grow despite rising food and energy prices. The 2003 tax cut was the high point of Bush economic policy.

Mr. Bush's spending record is less admirable, especially during his first term. He indulged the majority Republicans on Capitol Hill, refusing to veto overspending and giving in to their demand that the Medicare prescription drug benefit include only modest market reforms. Even those reforms have helped to restrain drug costs, but now Democrats are set to repeal them and the main Bush legacy will be the new taxpayer liabilities.

Nonetheless, the budget deficit did fall mid-decade, as tax revenues soared with the expansion. In fiscal 2007, the deficit hit $161 billion, or an economically trivial 1.2% of GDP. That seems like a distant memory after the bailout blowout of the last few months, but the point is that the Bush tax cuts aren't responsible for the deficits. Before the recession hit, federal tax revenues had climbed above their postwar average of 18.3% of GDP.

Which brings us back to Mr. Bush's "hangover." While his Administration was handling the fiscal levers, the Federal Reserve was pushing the monetary accelerator to the floor. In reaction to the dot-com implosion and the collapse in business investment, Alan Greenspan rapidly cut interest rates to spur housing and consumer spending. In June 2003, even as the tax cuts were passing and the economy took off, he cut the fed funds rate to 1% and kept it there for a year.

His stimulus worked -- far too well. The money boom created a commodity price spike as well as a subsidy for credit across the economy. Economist John Taylor of Stanford has analyzed the magnitude of this monetary mistake in a new paper that assesses government's contribution to the financial panic. The second chart compares the actual fed funds rate this decade with what it would have been had the Fed stayed within the policy lanes of the previous 20 years.

 "This extra easy policy was responsible for accelerating the housing boom and thereby ultimately leading to the housing bust," writes Mr. Taylor, who worked in the first-term Bush Treasury, though not on monetary affairs, and is known for the "Taylor rule" for determining how central banks should adjust interest rates.

By pushing all of this excess credit into the economy, the Fed created a housing and mortgage mania that Wall Street was only too happy to be part of. Yes, many on the Street abandoned their normal risk standards. But they were goaded by an enormous subsidy for debt. Wall Street did get "drunk" but Washington had set up the open bar.

For that matter, most everyone else was also drinking the free booze: from homebuyers who put nothing down for a loan, to a White House that bragged about record home ownership, to the Democrats who promoted and protected Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. (Those two companies helped turbocharge the mania by using a taxpayer subsidy to attract trillions of dollars of foreign capital into U.S. housing.) No one wanted the party to end, though sooner or later it had to.

In Today's Opinion Journal


Mugging Bank of America 

Declarations: Suspend Your Disbelief
– Peggy NoonanPotomac Watch: Meet Obama's Loyal Opposition
– Kimberley A. Strassel


The Weekend Interview: Jim Cooper
– Collin LevyEngaging North Korea Didn't Work for Japan
– Melanie KirkpatrickLeave the New Deal in the History Books
– Mark LeveyLet's Renew America Together
– Colin PowellCross Country: Sports Mania Is a Poor Substitute for Economic Success
– Jerry BowyerWhile the Fed is most to blame, the Administration encouraged the credit excesses. It populated the Fed Board of Governors with Mr. Greenspan's protégés, notably Ben Bernanke and Donald Kohn, who helped to create the mania and even now deny all responsibility. Meantime, Mr. Bush's three Treasury Secretaries knew little about the subject, and if anything were inclined to support easier money and a weaker dollar in the name of reducing the trade deficit. We know because numerous Bush officials sneered at the monetary warnings in these columns going back to 2003.

When the bust finally arrived with a vengeance in 2007, the political timing couldn't have been worse. Mr. Bush tried to rally with one more fiscal "stimulus," but he repeated his 2001 mistake and agreed to another round of tax rebates. They did little good. The Administration might have prevented the worst of the panic had it sought some sort of TARP-like financing for the banking system months or a year earlier than it did last autumn. But neither the Treasury nor the FDIC seemed to appreciate how big the banking system's problems were. Their financial triage was well meaning but came too late and in a frenzy that invited mistakes.

This history is crucial to understand, both for the Democrats who now assume the levers of power and for Republicans who will want to return to power some day. Mr. Bush and his team did many things right after inheriting one bubble. They were ruined by monetary excess that created a second, more dangerous credit mania. They forgot one of the main lessons of Reaganomics, which is the importance of stable money.

24661  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hamas linked speaker at inaugeral event on: January 17, 2009, 09:04:03 PM
WASHINGTON -- A Muslim scholar chosen to speak at President-elect Barack Obama's inaugural prayer service Wednesday is the leader of a group that federal prosecutors say has ties to terrorists.

Ingrid Mattson, president of the Islamic Society of North America, is one of many religious leaders scheduled to speak at the prayer service at Washington's National Cathedral.

Mattson has been the guest of honor at State Department dinners and has met with senior Pentagon officials during the Bush administration. She also spoke at a prayer service at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. Mattson, who was elected president of the society in 2006, is a professor of Islamic studies at Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Conn.

But in 2007 and as recently as last July, federal prosecutors in Dallas filed court documents linking the Plainfield, Ind.-based Islamic society to the group Hamas, which the U.S. considers a terrorist organization.

Neither Mattson nor her organization have been charged. But prosecutors wrote in July that they had "a wide array of testimonial and documentary evidence expressly linking" the group to Hamas and other radical groups.

Linda Douglass, a spokeswoman for Obama's inaugural committee, would not discuss the case or say whether the committee knew about it.

"She has a stellar reputation in the faith community," Douglass said Saturday night.

The existence of the court documents was first reported by Politico.

The Islamic Society of North America, which describes itself as "the nation's largest mainstream Muslim community-based organization," is fighting its inclusion on a list of coconspirators in the Dallas terrorism case against the Holy Land Foundation. In court documents, Mattson's group says it does not condone terrorism.

The court documents represent a complicated picture of the group.

Law enforcement agencies have used the organization's annual convention as part of its outreach to the Muslim community. The group has provided religious training to the FBI, according to court documents. Karen Hughes, a former Bush confidant and under secretary of state, called Mattson "a wonderful leader and role model for many, many people."

All this was going on while officials in the law enforcement and intelligence community apparently had evidence that the Islamic Society of North America had ties to terrorists and to the Holy Land Foundation. That foundation and five of its former leaders were convicted at a retrial in November of funneling millions of dollars to Hamas.

Mark Pelavin, director of inter-religious affairs for the Union for Reform Judaism - another organization participating in the prayer service - called Mattson "a really important voice denouncing terrorism."

"Clearly, Dr. Mattson has been welcome throughout the government," he said. "I haven't found anyone anywhere who's found anything Dr. Mattson has said that's anything other than clearly denouncing terrorism in quite explicit Islamic terms."

Pelavin's group has a partnership with the Islamic Society to encourage members of mosques and synagogues to build ties nationwide.

Attorneys for Mattson's group wrote in court documents that it is not a subject or target of the Holy Land investigation. The group has worked with the Bush administration's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, according to court documents.

According to e-mails filed in the court case, one of the prosecutors seemed willing to ask the judge to remove the group from the list.

"I am sorry for the problems for your clients," Assistant U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks wrote in July 2007. "I hope to get something to you or file something with the court as soon as possible."

The Islamic Society helps certify Muslim chaplains for federal prisons. Mattson leads a program at the Hartford Seminary that trains Muslim chaplains for the U.S. military.

Mattson was one of about three dozen leaders, including former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and two former Republican congressmen, Vin Weber and Steve Bartlett, who developed a report released last fall on how the U.S. can fight extremism in the Muslim world.

AP Religion Writer Rachel Zoll contributed to this report
24662  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / LEO defends gun with knife on: January 17, 2009, 03:21:27 PM
Deputy Stabs Suspect During Fight
After Vehicle Stop
On January 15, 2009, at 10:50 p.m., a Sacramento County Sheriff’s deputy stopped a vehicle in the area of 44th Street and Perry Avenue. The deputy approached the vehicle, which was occupied by a 58-year-old male driver and two female passengers (53- and 41-years-old respectively). He asked the driver to step out of the vehicle so he could speak to him behind the car. As the deputy and driver were standing behind the car, the driver attacked the deputy. During the ensuing struggle, the deputy felt the suspect grab his handgun in an attempt to remove it from its holster. As he fought with the suspect to maintain control of his gun with one hand, and believing he was in imminent danger of death or great bodily injury, the deputy drew a knife from his duty belt with his free hand and stabbed the suspect in the upper body. The suspect stopped fighting at that point and was handcuffed by the deputy. Paramedics transported the suspect to a local hospital where he is being treated for his wounds. He is expected to survive. The two female passengers were detained for questioning.
In accordance with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department’s policies and procedures, the 27-year-old male deputy (a six-year veteran of the department) will be placed on paid administrative leave. Sheriff’s patrol deputies are authorized by the department to carry a knife during the performance of their duties. The circumstances surrounding this incident will be investigated by the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Unit, Internal Affairs Unit, and the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office.
After he is deemed to be fit for incarceration, the suspect will be booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail. His name and booking photo will be released at that time.
Sergeant Tim Curran,
Sheriff's Spokesman
24663  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Coming Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: January 17, 2009, 03:14:49 PM
May I suggest we return to the coming 8.3+% of GDP deficit spending? And the near complete absence of free market response to it? WTF!?! Even guys like Martin Feldstein are caving in!
24664  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / IP, Patents, etc on: January 17, 2009, 10:20:54 AM
A lot of compliments for the book from the author of this piece, but I would like to see more discussison of the actual issues.  If the author of this piece blogs the book chapter by chapter and actually enters into discussion on the merits, that I would be curious to see.
24665  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: VIDEO CLIPS OF INTEREST on: January 17, 2009, 10:12:33 AM
Subing Subing is AWESOME!!!
24666  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Should officers see vids of their encounters? on: January 17, 2009, 10:01:36 AM
I. Should officers see video of their encounters? Force Science states its case

Some months ago, officers responded to a single-car accident on a freeway in a major midwestern city. As they tried to tend to and question the driver, he became unruly and earned himself a Tasering. Later, he died. As customary in that jurisdiction, a state investigative agency took over the death investigation.

And that surfaced a nettlesome conflict.

As part of the report-writing process, the officers' department traditionally permits its personnel to view video from arrest scenes, and it saw no reason that the officers involved shouldn't see recordings of the Tasering before they were interviewed, to stimulate their memories of what occurred. The investigating agency, however, felt strongly that the videos from dash-cams and the Taser should not be seen prior to the officers giving their official statements, lest the viewing color their recollections.

Reports of the controversy motivated a consortium of agencies in Minnesota to probe more deeply into the question that departments large and small throughout the country potentially face: In a major use-of-force situation, which position best contributes to a fair, impartial, and comprehensive investigation?

To see what science might say, the group turned to Dr. Bill Lewinski, director of the Force Science Institute, parent entity of the Force Science Research Center at Minnesota State University-Mankato.

In a first-of-its-kind presentation earlier this month [1/09] in St. Paul, Lewinski spent more than 2 hours exploring the pros and cons of the subject, culminating in recommendations that agencies confronting the dilemma may find useful. In the audience were representatives of 9 of Minnesota's largest law enforcement organizations.


In St. Paul, Lewinski first reviewed some realities of human memory, as determined by scientific research, including experiments conducted with LEOs by FSRC.

"After a high-stress experience, such as a major force confrontation, an officer's memory of what happened is likely to be fragmentary at best," he explained. "An incident is never completely recorded in memory."

At various times during an incident, the focus of an officer's attention may shift between internal thoughts and concerns to external stimuli, and where his focus is at any given moment will unavoidably influence what he remembers.

"A person's attention is an extremely significant factor in determining what that person perceives and then remembers," Lewinski said. "It would be extremely rare, if not impossible, for an officer involved in a fluid, complex, dynamic, and life-threatening encounter to remember peripheral details beyond that on which he or she was focused.

"The average person will actually miss a large amount of what happened in a stressful event and, of course, will be completely unaware of what they did not pay attention to and commit to memory."

Compounding the problem, a participant or witness "may unintentionally add information in their report that was not actually part of the original incident," Lewinski explained--not in a plot to deceive, necessarily, but in a humanly instinctive effort to fill in frustrating memory gaps.

"Memory is not neatly stored in a single compact file in our brain but is stored in chunks in a variety of neural networks," Lewinski said. "Given this, a variety of stimuli may be necessary to mine the fragments thoroughly."

Cognitive interviewing, which encourages an officer to relive an event with all his senses, can be a highly effective tool. So can a walk-through at the scene and/or review of a video of the action, because these "place the officer back within the context of the incident and thus stimulate his 'recognition recall.'

"An officer's version of an incident will vary, depending on whether his statement is taken before, after, or without a walk-through or a viewing of a videotape of the incident."

Even with the help of stimulation strategies, Lewinski cautioned, there will still be inevitable memory errors, particularly when an officer attempts to recall "information that was on the periphery of his attention during the incident, even if that information later turns out to be very important."


Seeing on-scene video, while usually helpful in stimulating an officer's memory, is no panacea, Lewinski stressed.

"A video recording is often considered a thorough and accurate record of the incident because it is rich with information, objective, and unbiased. However, video recordings, regardless of how good the lighting and quality of filming, are never a completely accurate reproduction of any incident."

Among the limitations Lewinski cited:

• "Video cameras generally record only a portion of an incident and are bereft of the context of the event";
• "Video is a 2-dimensional representation of an incident from a particular perspective and tends to distort distance and other associated with depth of field";

• "Generally video does not faithfully record light levels and does not represent what a human being in the incident would perceive";

• "A video does not present the incident as viewed through the officer's eyes";

• "Video cameras recording at less than 10 frames per second can leave out significant aspects of an incident that occur at speeds faster than that."

Despite these limitations, in Lewinski's view, an officer seeing any available video recordings is vital in many cases, if a comprehensive mining of the officer's memory is the goal.


A debatable factor is timing.

A "raw" statement taken from an officer without his viewing any video of the incident or experiencing other memory enhancers (like a walk-through) "may be a good record of his 'state of mind' before, during, and after the confrontation," Lewinski said, "but it may not be a thorough, factual representation of what happened."

Indeed, it could be "viewed more as a memory test with potential disciplinary and criminal consequences than a pursuit of the facts of the incident," he said. "Internal Affairs investigators, criminal prosecutors, and plaintiffs' attorneys exploit discrepancies in reports between participants and witnesses, and they can do the same when there is a discrepancy between the officer's report and a videotape.

"The most enriched, complete, and factually accurate version of a high-stress encounter is most likely to occur after a walk-through and/or after the officer has had at least one opportunity to view an available video of the incident."

Ideally, Lewinski believes, a video review should be permitted before an involved officer gives his official statement.

Currently, however, some departments and prosecutors are insistent on obtaining a "pure" statement to document an officer's state of mind regarding the encounter as it evolved, before other stimuli, particularly a video review, are introduced.

Consequently, Lewinski proposed a compromise "middle-of-the-road" position, which at least assures that a video review becomes part of any force investigation early in the game.


If an agency is adamant about not showing an officer video prior to a statement being taken, Lewinski suggested that a video review be allowed soon after the interview and that the officer then be re-interviewed or given a chance to write an additional report at that time.

"This offers the officer a chance to comment on what he now understands about the incident compared to what he may have said in his original statement," Lewinski told Force Science News. "This is not perfect, but it does offer a chance for additional mining of the officer's memory and it is far better than having the officer 'ambushed' with the video much later, not having seen it at all.

"Where discrepancies exist, investigators need to be knowledgeable and sensitive enough, in the absence of other incriminating evidence, to explain to the officer, the administration, and the public how an officer's perception of an incident can be vastly different from what's seen on a video recording and still be legitimate."

Whether the video is shown before or after the statement, it is important to "caution the officer on the limited accuracy of video recordings," Lewinski told the group. "An officer who is unaware of the limitations and uncertain about the accuracy of his own memory may be influenced to change an otherwise accurate report."

Lewinski also warned that "officers who have been through an extremely emotionally distressing incident may find a walk-through, a viewing of the video, and the giving of a statement to be too difficult to handle unless they have had some time to decompress." (In previous transmissions, experts quoted in Force Science News have recommended that officers be allowed to rest for up to 48 hours after a critical incident before submitting to extensive interviewing.)

Lewinski told FSN that the representatives at the St. Paul meeting do not intend to formulate a joint policy on the video issue. Rather, they planned to individually evaluate their department's position in light of his information and to help in spreading the word to other agencies.

As a part of his presentation, Lewinski included film clips and other materials from the Institute's popular certification course on Force Science Analysis. During this unique 5-day training program, investigators learn how to assess controversial force encounters with scientific principles of biology, physiology, and psychology in mind, to gain a more accurate picture of the dynamics involved.
24667  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Demography on: January 17, 2009, 09:55:08 AM
From an email letter/site which I recently have started receiving:

January 17, 2009

Hi there,

One overlooked feature the current conflict in Gaza is demography. Of the 1.5 million people living in the Gaza Strip, about half are under 15. In most Western countries, the birth rate is between 1.3 and 1.9, while there it is about 5.2. Israel is losing the battle of the birth rates, for its overall birth rate is about 2.9, although this includes a 4.0 birth rate for its Muslim citizens. The Israeli group with the highest birth rates, however, is the ultra-Orthodox Ashkenazi, with about 9.0.

What does this mean for the future? It's hard to tell. History is not made by numbers alone. However, it suggests that militants in Gaza will have an unending supply of recruits and that more and more Israelis will be Muslim. There will also be more ultra-Orthodox in years to come. At the moment, most ultra-Orthodox men are excused from military service, but they tend to take a hard line in politics, so Israel may become even less inclined to favour compromise. Who knows?

But whatever the future holds, population will be an important element. And not only in the Middle East, but everywhere else as well. That's why MercatorNet will be launching a blog, "Demography is Destiny", later in the year. At the moment we are designing it and contacting writers (volunteers welcome). Stay tuned.

Michael Cook
24668  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Free Speech in China?!? on: January 17, 2009, 12:21:49 AM
Geopolitical Diary: Freedom of Speech and Beijing's 'Test'
January 16, 2009
An article promoting freedom of speech in China — published on Wednesday in the Beijing Daily News, a periodical affiliated with the Beijing committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) — was being circulated and discussed in China on Thursday. The piece, titled “Truth Cannot Be Pursued Without Freedom of Speech; ‘Authoritative Determination of Nature’ Should Be Avoided By All Means” and published in the paper’s “Theory Weekly” column, criticizes authorities who try to act as a “judge of truth” and stifle dissenting opinions. Written by Shen Minte, a professor at the Communication University of China, the article delivers a subtle warning to officials not to quiet alternative voices hastily; it also suggests, however, that tolerance for alternative voices does not justify alternative actions — only ideas.

The article notes that freedom of speech is guaranteed by the Chinese constitution, and cautions that one cannot determine whether speech is absurd, progressive or reactionary if it is never allowed to be vocalized. Shen links his call for freedom of speech to Mao Zedong’s support for “a hundred schools of thought contending” — though in this, Chen appears to be subtly criticizing the ultimate outcome of the ensuing “hundred flowers blooming” movement, in which open debate was finally crushed once it became too critical of the CPC.

Shen says it is only in the open, and through the lens of history, that alternative ideas can be judged. He warns that the biggest threat comes when some “authority” declares itself the “judge of truth” and the masses follow blindly, endorsing or condemning the ideas based solely on the judgment of vocal authorities rather than judging the truth themselves. He raises as examples Ma Yinchu and Zhang Zhixin, two early Party members who raised ideas fundamentally contrary to conventional wisdom or the actions of the Party. Ma warned of the dangers of excessive population growth, and Zhang criticized the Cultural Revolution. Both were criticized, quieted and punished — in Zhang’s case, executed — but years later were proven correct in their assessments and were rehabilitated.

In essence, Shen, in a Party-sanctioned paper, is calling for freedom of speech and debate inside the Party, along with a greater responsibility for the citizens of China to test what their officials say, and for those officials to listen more to the people. Shen makes it clear that he is not advocating freedom of action, but only of speech and debate. But his article is a strong criticism of the way some Chinese officials have acted in the past.

It is also a critique of China’s culture of official corruption. The article was published the same day the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) called for greater efforts to crack down on corruption in 2009 and reported that nearly 5,000 officials above the county-head level had been investigated and penalized in the year ending in November 2008. Then on Thursday, Prim Minister Wen Jiabao, speaking to a conference of central and state agencies of the CPC, warned that China and the Party face a “test” in 2009 amid the global economic crisis. He called on Party members and government officials to be models of proper behavior and not to abuse their power or positions for personal gain, and to work together for economic growth.

For China’s central leadership, Shen’s message is both welcome and dangerous. Encouraging greater citizen oversight and more input is seen as a necessary tool to help rein in corruption and rebuild trust in the Party and government. In addition, the central government has been seeking a wider variety of inputs in policy-making from academia, research institutes and government think-tanks. At the same time, one of the government’s biggest fears is losing control of its citizens: of social unrest and organized opposition rising up and bringing down the Party.

As with the Beijing Daily News’ October 2006 publication of Yu Keping’s influential and controversial article, “Democracy Is A Good Thing,” Shen’s article is designed to stimulate debate, but keep things within manageable parameters. Both Shen and Yu made it a point in their articles to avoid overstating the case. Neither promotes the end of the Party or even radical reform — just gradual change within limits — and both caution that their ideas should not be taken too far. Yu praises democracy but also explains its shortfalls, while Shen warns that freedom of speech goes both ways, arguing that both sides need space to express themselves and that neither side should take action based solely on its own ideas.

The publication of articles such as these sheds light on the way the CPC is trying to cope with its role in a changing China. The CPC, to some extent, has outlived itself. Economic reforms and the social and political changes that go along with them are outpacing the Party. The CPC is no longer at the forefront of the ideology as it once was; it is no longer able simply to promise people economic improvement, as it did through the 1980s and into the 1990s. Instead, the Party is struggling for relevance at the center of a changed China. It has recognized the need to change, but many Party functionaries have devolved from the leaders of the people into a group of individuals who are stuck in a bureaucracy or living in a system of collusion, self-aggrandizement and personal power relationships.

This has left the CPC weak and unable to function as a unit. It also has reduced the stature of the Party as a whole in the eyes of the populace. The people may not be actively trying to overthrow the government, but neither do they have respect for it. When they are not allowed to express their opinions, their frustrations and tensions may explode into protest and violence. Yet when they are allowed to express themselves, that too can become a threat to the Party itself.

This is Beijing’s dilemma. The Party cannot allow open opposition — but neither can it retain the loyalty of the people, and its own authority, if it does not allow the people to keep the officials honest.

Articles like Shen’s are exposing the failures and weaknesses of the Party, and are calling for gradual change (at least in mindset). However, they also are being used to try to revive the Party, and to try to help it adapt to a changed China. Beijing’s hope is to build some sense of public oversight to hold the Party officials accountable, but without actually allowing the people to challenge the authority of the CPC.

It is not an easy balance to strike, and in the end it may not work. But there are those in the CPC who know that if the Party does not change and adapt, it will die.

Tell Stratfor What You Think
24669  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / No class tomorrow on: January 16, 2009, 10:40:12 PM
No class tomorrow due to the Francis Fong seminar
24670  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: January 16, 2009, 09:04:01 PM
Actually this is a real opportunity for a teaching moment.

If our liberal and Democratic friends start from the proposition that BO is an honorable man, then what lesson are they to draw from the fact that BO has spoken respectfully about VP Cheney's advice in this regard?  What lesson are they to draw from this decision of his?

I might also note that it reflects favorably on His Glibness that he could man up and speak well of Cheney on precisely this point and take the action that he is.
24671  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Mexico on: January 16, 2009, 03:39:39 PM

?O eso?

El Paso Times
Jan 15, 2009
Daniel Borunda

A group calling itself the Comando Ciudadano por Juárez, or the Juárez Citizens Command, is claiming it will kill a criminal every 24 hours to bring order to the violent crime-plagued city.  The announcement of the supposed group was the first known case of possible organized vigilantism in Juárez as police and the military have been apparently unable to stop a plague of killings and other crimes.

"Better the death of a bad person than that they continue to contaminating our region," the news release stated in Spanish.

The supposed group issued a news release via e-mail stating it is nonpartisan and funded by businessmen fed up with crime.  The group, also calling itself the CCJ, said it would issue a manifesto in the coming days and would set up a system where residents can electronically send information about criminals.

"Our mission is to terminate the life of a criminal every 24 hours ... The hour has come to stop this disorder in Juárez," the CCJ stated.

The announcement comes as Juárez struggles with a wave of homicides, extortions, carjackings, robberies and other crimes that began last year. Business people, teachers, medical professionals and others were targeted by extortionists in the last year as crime surged due in a part to a war between drug cartels. There were more than 1,600 homicides in Juárez last year. There have been more than 40 homicides already this year, including 10 on Wednesday.
24672  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Charles Bronson comes to Mexico on: January 16, 2009, 03:17:46 PM
El Paso Times
Jan 15, 2009
Daniel Borunda

A group calling itself the Comando Ciudadano por Juárez, or the Juárez Citizens Command, is claiming it will kill a criminal every 24 hours to bring order to the violent crime-plagued city.

The announcement of the supposed group was the first known case of possible organized vigilantism in Juárez as police and the military have been apparently unable to stop a plague of killings and other crimes.

"Better the death of a bad person than that they continue to contaminating our region," the news release stated in Spanish.

The supposed group issued a news release via e-mail stating it is nonpartisan and funded by businessmen fed up with crime. The group, also calling itself the CCJ, said it would issue a manifesto in the coming days and would set up a system where residents can electronically send information about criminals.

"Our mission is to terminate the life of a criminal every 24 hours ... The hour has come to stop this disorder in Juárez," the CCJ stated.

The announcement comes as Juárez struggles with a wave of homicides, extortions, carjackings, robberies and other crimes that began last year. Business people, teachers, medical professionals and others were targeted by extortionists in the last year as crime surged due in a part to a war between drug cartels. There were more than 1,600 homicides in Juárez last year.  There have been more than 40 homicides already this year, including 10 on Wednesday.
24673  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Emergency Tips and Emergency Medicine on: January 16, 2009, 02:59:56 PM

Anything you ever would like to share with us is greatly appreciated!
24674  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: April 2009 US Gathering on: January 16, 2009, 02:58:39 PM
The date is April 4-5.

I have tentative approval from my brother for use of his place, but he needs to confirm it with his partner in the property.

Acu Canyon does not work on Sat-Sun because there is a soccer league that uses the field on those days.
24675  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: January 16, 2009, 02:24:26 PM
"Intelligence is the amount of time it takes to forget a lesson" (me, I think)

We are so fcuked! Take a look at what the Committee on Appropriations envisions for the United States:
Looks like a Soviet Ten Year Plan, quickly cobbled together.
24676  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / September 20, 2009 Gathering on: January 16, 2009, 10:58:23 AM
A Howl of Greeting to All:

Subject to confirmation from Powerhouse Gym of its availability, we are looking for our next Open Gathering to be held September 20, 2009.

"Higher Consciousness through Harder Contact (c)"
Crafty Dog
Guiding Force of the Dog Brothers
24677  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Support our troops on: January 16, 2009, 10:37:09 AM - Make your donation here (Spike and UFC)
24678  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: FISA court speaks on: January 16, 2009, 08:55:27 AM
Ever since the Bush Administration's warrantless wiretapping program was exposed in 2005, critics have denounced it as illegal and unconstitutional. Those allegations rested solely on the fact that the Administration did not first get permission from the special court created by the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Well, as it happens, the same FISA court would beg to differ.

In a major August 2008 decision released yesterday in redacted form, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, the FISA appellate panel, affirmed the government's Constitutional authority to collect national-security intelligence without judicial approval. The case was not made public before yesterday, and its details remain classified. An unnamed telecom company refused to comply with the National Security Agency's monitoring requests and claimed the program violated the Fourth Amendment's restrictions on search and seizure.

But the Constitution bans only "unreasonable" search and seizure, not all searches and seizures, and the Fourth Amendment allows for exceptions such as those under a President's Article II war powers. The courts have been explicit on this point. In 1980, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held in Truong that "the Executive need not always obtain a warrant for foreign intelligence surveillance." The FISA appeals court said in its 2002 opinion In re Sealed Case that the President has "inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information" and took "for granted" that "FISA could not encroach on the President's constitutional power."

FISA established a process by which certain domestic wiretaps in the context of the Cold War could be approved, not a limit on what wiretaps were ever allowed. Though the decision applies only to the stopgap FISA measure in place between 2007 and 2008, it sets a precedent.

For all the political hysteria and media dishonesty about George W. Bush "spying on Americans," this fight was never about anything other than staging an ideological raid on the President's war powers. Barack Obama ought to be thankful that the FISA court has knocked the bottom out of this gambit, just in time for him to take office.
24679  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: January 16, 2009, 08:53:23 AM
For most of our nation's history, our approach to economics has favored enterprise, self-reliance and the free market. While the American economy has never been entirely laissez-faire, we have historically cared more about equality of opportunity than equality of results. And while Americans have embraced elements of the New Deal, the Great Society and progressive taxation, we have traditionally viewed welfare as a way to help those in dire need, not as a way of life for the middle class. We have grasped, perhaps more than any other nation, that there is a long-run cost to dependency on the state, including an aversion to risk that eventually enervates the entrepreneurial spirit necessary for innovation and prosperity.

Chad CroweThis outlook, once assumed, is now under attack due to a recent series of political and economic events.

The first is the unprecedented intervention by the federal government, in the form of a $700 billion relief package intended for our financial institutions after the credit crisis last September. This was followed by extending billions of dollars of federal assistance to America's auto makers in order to prevent their imminent bankruptcy -- the first emergency bailout that went to companies outside the financial sector. We understand why the federal government did this, and even supported legislation that, while hardly perfect, prevented an economic meltdown.

Nonetheless, the consequences of this undertaking are enormous. Not only has the size of the expenditures been staggering -- there is talk of another stimulus package worth an estimated $825 billion -- but we are witnessing a fundamental transformation of government's relationship with the polity and the economy.

The last several months are a foreshadowing of a new era of government activism, rather than an unfortunate but necessary (and anomalous) emergency action. We will soon shift from a market-based economy to a political one in which the government picks winners and losers and extends its reach and power in unprecedented ways.

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This shift is exemplified by the desire of President-elect Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress to push us toward government-run health care.

For all his talk of allowing consumers to select their own health-care coverage, Mr. Obama's proposal, as he laid it out in his campaign, will provide strong financial incentives for employers and individuals to sign up with a new, Medicare-style government plan for working-age people and their families. This plan will almost certainly use a price-control system similar to the one in place for Medicare, allowing it to charge artificially low premiums by paying fees well below private rates. These low premiums will serve as a magnet for enrollment and will devastate the private companies trying to compete in the health-insurance market. The result will be the nationalization of the health-care sector, which today accounts for 16% of U.S. gross domestic product.

Nationalizing health care will be profoundly detrimental to the quality of American medicine. In the name of cost control, the government would make private investment in medical innovation far riskier, and thus delay the development of potentially lifesaving treatments.

It will also put America on a glide path toward European-style socialism. We need only look to Great Britain and elsewhere to see the effects of socialized health care on the broader economy. Once a large number of citizens get their health care from the state, it dramatically alters their attachment to government. Every time a tax cut is proposed, the guardians of the new medical-welfare state will argue that tax cuts would come at the expense of health care -- an argument that would resonate with middle-class families entirely dependent on the government for access to doctors and hospitals.

Of course, this health-care plan is occurring against our particular fiscal backdrop: Without major reform, our federal entitlement programs will soon double the size of government. The result will be a crushing burden of debt and taxes.

In short, we may be approaching a tipping point for democratic capitalism.

While the scope of the challenge should not be underestimated, those of us worried about this fundamental reorientation of politics and economics have several things working in our favor. Among them is that a public accustomed to iTunes, Facebook, Google, eBay, Amazon and WebMD is not clamoring for centralized, bureaucratic government. The strong American instinct for individual initiative and entrepreneurship remains intact.

In addition, confidence in government -- from Congress to those responsible for oversight of the financial system -- is quite low.

Our sense is that at the moment, the public is not thinking in terms of "big government" or "small government." Instead, Americans want efficient government -- one that is modern, responsive and adaptive. People want government to act as a fair referee, providing guardrails that allow individuals to rise without intrusively dictating individual decisions.

If conservatives hope to win converts to our cause, we need to understand this new moment and put forward an agenda that reforms key institutions in a way that advances individual freedom, without creating an unacceptable level of insecurity.

This is no easy task, and it must begin with providing a compelling alternative to what contemporary liberalism and Mr. Obama are about to offer. This especially includes health care, where we must start by recalling that our current health-insurance system was designed to meet the needs of a 20th century economy and World War II-era employment laws. It is hopelessly outdated, yet the Obama plan would make the system even more sclerotic.

The core of our message needs to be a commitment to creating a health-care plan that meets the demands of the modern economy. We need to convince concerned citizens that we can help the uninsured find coverage in the private sector and use market incentives to contain costs. The result will be a system that makes it possible for everyone to afford health insurance, including those with pre-existing conditions.

Tax credits, high-risk pools, insurance choice and regulatory reform can form the basis of a transformation from today's enormously costly and inefficient third-party system into one driven by ownership, choice and competition. And at the nucleus of this redesigned system will be the patient-doctor relationship.

If we hope to succeed in making our case, it will require a concerted education campaign that relies on hard data and facts, rigorous and accessible public arguments, and persuasive public advocates.

This is quite a tall order. But if we do not succeed in resisting greater state involvement in the economy -- and health care is meant to be the beachhead of this effort -- we will move from a limited welfare state into a full-blown one. This will reshape, in deep and enduring ways, our nation's historic sensibilities. It will lead here, as it has elsewhere, to passivity and dependence on the state. Such habits, once acquired, are hard to shake.

Between now and the end of this decade may be one of those rare moments in which among other things will turn decisively one way or the other. The stakes could hardly be higher for our way of life.

Mr. Wehner, a former deputy assistant to President George W. Bush, is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Mr. Ryan, a Republican congressman from Wisconsin, is a member of the Budget Committee and the Ways and Means Committee.

24680  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Story on: January 16, 2009, 08:36:31 AM
"No man can well doubt the propriety of placing a president of the United States under the most solemn obligations to preserve, protect, and defend the constitution. It is a suitable pledge of his fidelity and responsibility to his country; and creates upon his conscience a deep sense of duty, by an appeal, at once in the presence of God and man, to the most sacred and solemn sanctions, which can operate upon the human mind."

--Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833
24681  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: January 16, 2009, 08:30:33 AM

January 10, 2009 --
Israel hasn't killed a single civilian in the Gaza Strip. Over a hundred civilians have died, and Israeli bombs or shells may have ended their lives. But Israel didn't kill them.

Hamas did.

It's time to smash the lies. The lies of Hamas. The UN lies. And the save-the-terrorists lies of the global media.  There is no moral equivalence between Hamas terrorists and Israeli soldiers. There is no gray area. There is no point in negotiations.  Hamas is a Jew-killing machine. It exists to destroy Israel. What is there to negotiate? 

When Hamas can't kill Jews, it's perfectly willing to drive Palestinian civilians into the line of fire - old men, women and children. Hamas herds the innocent into "shelters," then draws Israeli fire on them. And the headline-greedy media cheer them on.

Hamas isn't fighting for political goals. "Brokered agreements" are purely means to an end. And the envisioned end is the complete destruction of Israel in the name of a terrorist god. Safe in hidden bunkers or in Damascus, the Hamas leadership is willing to watch an unlimited number of civilians and even street-level terrorists die.

Lives, too, are nothing but means to an end. And dead kids are the coins that keep the propaganda meter ticking.

All Hamas had to do to prevent Israel's act of self-defense was to leave Israel unmolested by terror rockets. All Hamas needs to do now to stop this conflict and spare the Palestinian people it pretends to champion is to stop trying to kill Israelis and agree to let Israel exist in peace.

Hamas didn't, and Hamas won't.

Now Israel has to continue its attack, to wreak all the havoc it can on Hamas before a new American president starts meddling. If Israel stops now, Hamas can declare victory just for surviving - despite its crippling losses. While it's impossible to fully eliminate extremism, killing every terrorist leader hiding in a Gaza bunker is the only hope of achieving even a temporary, imperfect peace. The chance may not come again.

And don't worry about "creating a power vacuum." Let the Palestinians pick up their own pieces. Even anarchy in Gaza is better for Israel than Hamas.

Israelis, Americans and Westerners overall share a tragic intellectual blind spot: We're caught in yesterday's model of terrorism, that of Arafat's PLO, of the IRA, the Red Brigades or the Weather Underground. But, as brutal as those organizations could be, they never believed they were on a mission from God.

Yesteryear's terrorists wanted to change the world. They were willing to shed blood and, in extreme cases, to give their own blood to their causes. But they didn't seek death. They preferred to live to see their "better world."  Now our civilization faces terrorists who regard death as a promotion. They believe that any action can be excused because they're serving their god. And their core belief is that you and I, as stubborn unbelievers, deserve death.

Their grisly god knows no compromise. To give an inch is to betray their god's trust entirely. Yet we - and even some Israelis - believe it's possible to cut deals with them.

In search of peace, Israel handed Gaza to the Palestinians, a people who had never had a state of their own. As thanks, Israel received terror rockets. And the Palestinian people got a gang war.

Peace is the last thing Hamas terrorists and gangsters want. Peace means the game is up. Peace means they've disappointed their god. Peace means no more excuses. They couldn't bear peace for six months.

This is a war to the bitter end. And we're afraid to admit what it's about.

It's not about American sins or Israeli intransigence. It's about a sickness in the soul of a civilization - of Middle-Eastern Islam - that can only be cured from within. Until Arabs or Iranians decide to cure themselves, we'll have to fight.

Instead, we want to talk. We convince ourselves, against all evidence, that our enemies really want to talk, too, that they just need "incentives" (the diplomat's term for bribes). The apparent belief of our president-elect that it's possible to negotiate with faith-fueled fanatics is so naive it's terrifying.

Yet, it's understandable. Barack Obama's entire career has been built on words, not deeds, on his power to persuade, not his power to deliver. But all the caucuses, debates, neighborhood meetings and backroom deal-making sessions in his past haven't prepared him to "negotiate" with men whose single-minded goal is Israel's destruction - and ours.

If Obama repeats the same "peace-process" folly as his predecessors, from Jimmy have-you-hugged-your-terrorist-today? Carter through Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, he'll be devoured before he knows he's been bitten.

How many administrations have to repeat the identical error of believing that, deep down inside, terrorists, gunmen and warlords really want peace every bit as much as we do? Israel's enemies aren't just looking to cut a sharp deal. They want to destroy Israel.

Which part of what they shout in our faces is so hard to understand? Israel's foes have been preaching Jew-hatred for so long that even the "moderates" can't turn back now.

And why does the global left hate Israel so? Why would they pull out the stops to rescue Hamas?

Because Israel exposed the lie that a suffering people can't lift itself up through hard work, education and discipline. Israel didn't need the help of a hundred condescending NGOs and their misery junkies.

Because the Holocaust is a permanent embarrassment to Europeans. They need to believe that Israelis are kosher Nazis.

Because, from the safety of cafes and campuses, it's cool to call terrorists "freedom fighters." It makes you feel less guilty when you hit up daddy (or the state) for money. I mean, dude, it's not like you have to, like, live with them or anything, you know?

Because, above all, the most-destructive racists in the world today are mainstream leftists. Want the truth? The Left codes Israel as white and, therefore, inherently an oppressor. Israel is held to the highest standard of our civilization and our legal codes - and denied the right to self-defense.

But the Left tacitly believes that people with darker skins are inferior and can't be expected to behave at a civilized level. Leftists expect terrorist movements or African dictators to behave horribly. It's the post-modern, latte-sucking version of the "little brown brother" mentality.

The worst enemies of developing societies have been leftists who refuse to hold them to fundamental standards of governance and decency. But, then, the Left needs developing societies to fail to prove that the system's hopelessly stacked against them.

A battered, impoverished, butchered people built a thriving Western democracy in an Eastern wasteland. Israel can never be forgiven for its success.

In this six-decade-old conflict that Israel's intractable neighbors continue to force upon it, there not only are no good solutions, but, thanks to the zero-sum mentality of Islamist terrorists, there aren't even any bad solutions - short of nuclear genocide - that would bring an enduring peace to the Middle East.

And even the elimination of Israel wouldn't be enough. The terrorists would fight among themselves, while warring upon less-devout fellow Muslims.

All Israel can do is to fight for time and buy intervals of relative calm with the blood of its sons and daughters. By demanding premature cease-fires and insisting that we can find a diplomatic solution, we strengthen monsters and undercut our defenders.

And don't believe the propaganda about this conflict rallying Gaza's Palestinians behind Hamas. That's more little-brown-brother condescension, assuming all Arabs are so stupid they don't know who started this and who's dragging it out at their expense.

Gaza's people may not care much for Israelis, but they rue the day they cast their votes for Hamas. Hamas is killing them.

Ralph Peters is a retired U.S. Army officer and the author of "Looking For Trouble."
24682  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / United Nations: Don' on: January 16, 2009, 08:16:20 AM

GENEVA: Islamic countries pushed through a resolution at the U.N. Human Rights Council on Friday urging a global prohibition on the public defamation of religion — a response largely to the furor last year over caricatures published in a Danish newspaper of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad.

The statement proposed by the Organization of Islamic Conference addressed what it called a "campaign" against Muslim minorities and the Islamic religion around the world since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States.

The resolution, which was opposed by European and a number of other non-Muslim countries, "expresses deep concern at attempts to identify Islam with terrorism, violence and human rights violations."

It makes no mention of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism or any other religion besides Islam, but urges countries "to take resolute action to prohibit the dissemination of racist and xenophobic ideas and material aimed at any religion or its followers that constitute incitement and religious hatred, hostility, or violence."

Iran, whose President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeatedly called for Israel to be "wiped off the map," belongs to the 57-member Islamic conference.

The resolution was adopted by a 24-14 vote with nine abstentions. Canada, Japan and South Korea joined European countries in opposition, primarily citing its excessive focus on Islam and incompatibility with fundamental rights such as the freedoms of speech and thought.
"The problem of religious intolerance is worldwide and not limited to certain religions," said Brigitta Maria Siefker-Eberle of Germany," speaking on behalf of the 27-nation European Union. Ghana, India, Nigeria, Zambia and some of the council's Latin American countries abstained.

There are 17 Muslim countries in the 47-nation human rights council. Their alliance with China, Cuba, Russia and most of the African members means they can almost always achieve a majority.

Human Rights Watch said the resolution could endanger the basic rights of individuals. The document "focuses on protection of religions themselves, particularly Islam, rather than the rights of individuals, including members of religious minorities," the New York-based rights group said in a statement. The resolution says freedom of expression "may ... be subject to limitations as provided by law and necessary for respect of the rights or reputations of others ... or morals and respect for religions and beliefs."
The council, which last year replaced the discredited U.N. Human Rights Commission, has no power beyond drawing international attention to rights issues and scrutiny of abuses in certain countries.

The move at the council was initiated last year after protests across the Islamic world drew attention to caricatures of Muhammad first printed in Danish paper Jyllands-Posten in September 2005. One of the drawings showed Muhammad with a bomb-shaped turban. Islamic law is often interpreted to forbid any depiction of the prophet for fear it could lead to idolatry.
24683  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Ataque a Televisa on: January 16, 2009, 12:10:52 AM
?Alguien puede compartir noticias sobre el ataque al Televisa?
24684  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Televisa attacked! on: January 15, 2009, 11:16:02 PM
Mexico Media on High Alert After Drug-Gang Attack on Televisa
AP – Officials examine a car related to an attack on the offices of the television company Televisa in Monterrey, …
Editors at Televisa, the world's most popular Spanish-language network, were having a lively news meeting in the northern Mexico city of Monterrey when they heard a series of pops followed by a thunderous explosion. Running outside, the editors realized the top breaking news item had come straight to them. The pops were bullets sprayed from Kalashnikov automatic rifles directly into the faÇade of their offices. The blast was from a fragmentation grenade. Next to the debris was a message scrawled on cardboard: "Stop just broadcasting us. Also broadcast the narco politicians," it said.

The Jan. 6 assault on Televisa's offices was the latest in a series of attacks on Mexico's media as the nation writhes in an orgy of drug-related bloodshed. Out of a record 5,300 deaths from beheadings, assassinations and massacres last year, eight of them were murdered Mexican journalists, making Mexico the most dangerous country for their trade in the hemisphere. Furthermore, many reporters in cities on the front lines of the drug war say they are systematically threatened, beaten and offered bribes because of their coverage of organized crime. (See pictures of the war on crime in Mexico City.)

But even by such appalling standards, the Televisa attack stood out in the way the assailants so blatantly tried to dictate the coverage of Mexico's television giant, which is probably the most powerful media organization south of the Rio Grande. Earning about 75% of Mexico's broadcast advertising, Televisa has long had an overwhelming influence on the nation's political life. Presidents, lobbyists and rising politicians all fight hard for space on its nightly noticiero, which regularly breaks leading stories. "Televisa has the equivalent political clout of ABC, NBC and CBS combined," says Mexican media investigator Raul Trejo. "When the narcos threaten this organization, they are showing they see no limits in their power."

Counting revenues of some $3.5 billion a year, Televisa is headed by Emilio Azcarraga Jean, 40, who inherited the empire from his father Emilio Azcarraga Milmo, who was known as "El Tigre" because of his white-streaked hair and fierce character. The network catapulted onto the world stage by exporting its steamy telenovelas, which have been translated into more than 50 languages from Korean to Romanian. Critics lambasted the network for giving uncritical support to the government during decades of one-party rule. However, since the advent of multiparty democracy in 2000, Televisa has given fairly equal airtime to competing candidates.

In the past year, Televisa has broadcast daily coverage of the drug war, filming scenes of corpses, firefights and arrests amid the battles between trafficking warlords and government forces. However, it has not led any groundbreaking exposÉs on the cartel empires or their networks of political corruption. "We do not hold back from reporting anything. But at the same time, we do not do detective work because we are not policemen," says Francisco Cobos, news editor at Televisa Monterrey, who witnessed the Jan. 6 blasts.

Televisa has also resisted showing the messages that the cartels write or print on blankets, which are strewn over bridges and hung on public walls as part of their campaign of terrorism. Known as narco mantas (capes), many messages in recent months have accused the administration of President Felipe CalderÓn of working with the Sinaloa cartel based on Mexico's Pacific Coast. Monterrey is home to the rival Gulf cartel, which is believed to be behind many of these messages.

Soldiers and federal police guarded the Televisa offices in the days following the attack, while Mexican and international media organizations poured out condemnations and demanded the apprehension of the assailants. "Solving this attack will be a new test for the government, which wants to make it a federal crime to use violence against the press," said Paris-based Reporters Without Borders in a news release.

Cobos said there are no plans for Televisa to change its coverage. However, in a statement on television, he said staff will take more safety measures. "I think we will continue doing our job in the most efficient way possible but with the precautions that these types of messages [require us to take]," he said. "Men of organized crime, I want to tell you that we don't have anything against you. We are communicators. We are journalists. We are dedicated to informing, and as such, my colleagues don't want to be in the middle of these bullets."

24685  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / An act of dhimmitude on: January 15, 2009, 07:34:49 PM
It is heartening to see some outrage at this shameful and cowardly act of dhimmitude.


Police Remove Israeli Flag during Islamist Protest March
By Yassin Musharbash

Police in the western German city of Duisburg have admitted they removed flags a student had hung in his apartment in support of Israel during a pro-Palestinian protest march in the city. Officers broke down his door and removed the flags. The city's police chief has issued an apology, but outrage is spreading.

It's certainly not a new phenomenon in Germany for feathers to be ruffled every time bombs fall or rockets fly in the Middle East. It is unusual, though, for German police officials to use force to enter into an apartment and remove an Israeli flag from a bedroom because people protesting the Gaza Strip invasion on the street below are bothered by it.

But that's what happened this weekend in Duisburg in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Around 10,000 people had gathered on Saturday morning at the central station in the city, located in the Ruhr region, to protest against Israel's course of action in the Gaza Strip. The protest, organized by the Islamist group Milli Görüs, which, although legal, has been monitored for years by German domestic intelligence agencies in charge of observing potentially radical or fundamentalist groups.

After a short time, the protest passed along one of the city's main thoroughfares. At a house on the corner, protesters spotted two Israeli flags -- one hanging from a balcony and the second from the window of a bedroom inside the apartment. Twenty-five-year-old student Peter P.* and his 26-year-old girlfriend had mounted them there.

'Suddenly I Saw a Police Officer in my Bedroom'

It wasn't the first time, either. At the beginning of the year, P. flew the Israeli flag on the day commemorating the Holocaust. And in May, he flew the flag for several weeks because the state of Israel was celebrating its 60th birthday. For years, Hamas fired rockets at Israel, and few people took notice, P. told SPIEGEL ONLINE, explaining his reasons for flying the flag. This time around, he said, he did it to express "solidarity with the sole democracy in the region."

P. also knew that on that day people participating in the protest march against the Israeli offensive would go past his house. But he said he was also concerned about what he saw as the "greatest onslaught of anti-Semitism in Europe since 1945," namely marches against Israel's actions that included anti-Semitic hate campaigns that he claims are being tolerated in cities like Paris and London.

 Find out how you can reprint this SPIEGEL ONLINE article in your publication. As the first protesters recognized the flag, P. and his girlfriend were standing on the street nearby. He said he followed the march because he wanted to document any incidents of anti-Semitism or hate campaigns. He described the sentiment that developed within the crowd as it viewed the Israeli flag as tantamount to that of a "lynch mob." "Death to Israel," some of the protestors shouted. He said the police appeared to be overburdened.

"Suddenly," the student explained, "I saw a police officer on the balcony on the second floor" in the apartment located directly beneath his. The officer ripped down the Israeli flag that had been affixed to P.'s balcony. A short time later he witnessed an officer inside his own apartment taking down the flag that had been hung in the bedroom.

A Hail of Icicles, Nail Clippers and a Pocket Knife

The police's moves caused loud cheering amongst the protesters -- a fact not only reported by the student, but also confirmed in videos of the event that have been widely circulated on YouTube. The incident first came to the attention of the media after journalists at the local blog "Die Ruhrbarone" reported on it. The objects reportedly thrown at the apartment included what appeared to be small chunks of ice, a folded up pocket knife, nail clippers and also what looked like a stone.

P. said he was "shocked" by the incident. Afraid to return to his apartment, he first went to a friend's place nearby. Around two hours later he returned with his girlfriend and an acquaintance -- but he claims youths were still throwing things at the house.

He said he didn't return to the apartment until they had left. A police car passed by and P. asked the officers to come to his apartment. The officers warned that P. and his girlfriend should stay away from the window and that police would watch the house for a few hours.

"I was beside myself," P. said, "I was afraid." Two hours passed without any incident. Then P.'s acquaintance, also in the apartment, went out to the balcony for a smoke and claims he was immediately cursed as a "shit jew".

Two minutes later, the police returned to P.'s door -- and for the second time they did something unexpected. They ordered the acquaintance to leave the apartment.

A Police Apology

The actions of Duisburg officials have since caused outrage -- sparking criticism from the Central Council of Jews in Germany. Rainer Wendt, the head of the German Police Union for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, said: "It is intolerable that German Islamists be able to determine police actions." At the same time, he expressed understanding for what he described as a "difficult deployment situation" police officials in Duisburg had run up against. He said it appeared too few officers had been dispatched to the protest. Frank Richter of the Union of Police, another organization representing officers in the state, said the police mission should be explored and clarity brought to the incident.

Initially, Duisburg police defended their actions. In its Monday issue, the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper quoted a police spokesperson stating that the flags had been removed in order to de-escalate a potentially dangerous situation. German news agency DDP quoted the spokesperson on Tuesday saying "the right thing had been done here."

But by Tuesday afternoon, the city's chief of police, Rolf Cebin, expressed his apologies for the incident. "I deeply regret the fact that, especially, the feelings of Jewish people were hurt. From the standpoint of the present, it was the wrong decision."

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 Despite the apology, the row may not be over yet. The state chapter of the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) wants a discussion about the police actions to take place in the state parliament in Düsseldorf. "We are going to raise the issue during a meeting of the state domestic affairs committee on Thursday," the party's deputy parliamentary chief, Ralf Jäger, told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "The central question is this: Why was the potential for danger during the protest so underestimated that police were forced into a situation in which they had to concede to the demands of violent (protesters) rather than (protect) the right to the freedom of speech of others?"

The politician claims that Duisburg police believed 1,000 people would attend the rally, far fewer than the 10,000 who eventually turned up. He claims they should have better predicted the situation and the fact that they didn't raises the question of whether the state's Office of Criminal Investigation had done enough "preparation."

As of Tuesday, Milli Görüs has not yet provided any statement about the incident. The acting spokesperson for the organization's secretary general could not be reached for comment, and the group's office said its chairman was currently outside the country.

On Tuesday, Peter P. said he had obtained the services of a lawyer. He still hasn't been told who will be held responsible for paying for the door broken down by police.

* The name of the main source of this story has been changed at his request by the editorial staff.
24686  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: January 15, 2009, 02:28:21 PM
Oy f'g vey  rolleyes
24687  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Washington; Story on: January 15, 2009, 11:33:27 AM
G. Washington

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."


"On the other hand, the duty imposed upon him to take care, that the laws be faithfully executed, follows out the strong injunctions of his oath of office, that he will 'preserve, protect, and defend the constitution.' The great object of the executive department is to accomplish this purpose; and without it, be the form of government whatever it may, it will be utterly worthless for offence, or defence; for the redress of grievances, or the protection of rights; for the happiness, or good order, or safety of the people."

--Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833
24688  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: MINN on: January 15, 2009, 11:25:40 AM
You would think people would learn. The recount in the contest between Norm Coleman and Al Franken for a seat in the U.S. Senate isn't just embarrassing. It is unconstitutional.

This is Florida 2000 all over again, but with colder weather. Like that fiasco, Minnesota's muck of a process violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Indeed, the controlling Supreme Court decision is none other than Bush v. Gore.

Remember Florida? Local officials conducting recounts could not decide what counted as a legal vote. Hanging chads? Dimpled chads? Should "undervotes" count (where a machine failed to read an incompletely-punched card)? What about "overvotes" (where voters punched more than one hole)? Different counties used different standards; different precincts within counties were inconsistent.

The Florida Supreme Court intervened and made things worse, ordering a statewide recount of some types of rejected ballots but not others. It specified no standards for what should count as a valid vote, leaving the judgment to each county. And it ordered partial recounts already conducted in some counties (but not others) included in the final tabulation. The result was chaos.

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By a vote of 7-2, Bush v. Gore (2000) ruled that Florida's recount violated the principle that all votes must be treated uniformly. Applying precedents dating to the 1960s, the Court found that the Equal Protection Clause meant that ballots must be treated so as to give every vote equal weight. A state may not, by "arbitrary and disparate treatment, value one person's vote over that of another." Florida's lack of standards produced "unequal evaluation of ballots in several respects." The state's supreme court "ratified this uneven treatment" and created more of its own, and was unconstitutional.

Bush v. Gore is rightly regarded as controversial -- but not because of its holding regarding the Equal Protection Clause, which commanded broad agreement among the justices. The controversy arose because of the remedy the Court chose for Florida's violation, which was to end the recount entirely. The majority thought that time was up under Florida law requiring that its results be submitted in time to be included in the Electoral College count. That aspect of Bush v. Gore commanded only five votes. Two justices thought Florida should get more time and another chance.

The problem with the remedy was that it arguably violated the same principle that led the Court to invalidate the recount: the need to treat all votes equally. It had the practical effect of awarding the election to Bush (though subsequent media counts confirmed that Bush won anyway, under any uniform standard). This has led to enduring partisan criticism of the case, some fair and some unfair.

But no matter: Bush v. Gore is the law of the land. On the question of how the Equal Protection Clause applies to state recounts, the ruling, which reflected a 7-2 majority, controls.

Minnesota is Bush v. Gore reloaded. The details differ, but not in terms of arbitrariness, lack of uniform standards, inconsistency in how local recounts were conducted and counted, and strange state court decisions.

Consider the inconsistencies: One county "found" 100 new votes for Mr. Franken, due to an asserted clerical error. Decision? Add them. Ramsey County (St. Paul) ended up with 177 more votes than were recorded election day. Decision? Count them. Hennepin County (Minneapolis, where I voted -- once, to my knowledge) came up with 133 fewer votes than were recorded by the machines. Decision? Go with the machines' tally. All told, the recount in 25 precincts ended up producing more votes than voters who signed in that day.

Then there's Minnesota's (first, so far) state Supreme Court decision, Coleman v. Ritchie, decided by a vote of 3-2 on Dec. 18. (Two justices recused themselves because they were members of the state canvassing board.) While not as bad as Florida's interventions, the Minnesota Supreme Court ordered local boards to count some previously excluded absentee ballots but not others. Astonishingly, the court left the decision as to which votes to count to the two competing campaigns and forbade local election officials to correct errors on their own.

If Messrs. Franken and Coleman agreed, an absentee ballot could be counted. Either campaign could veto a vote. Dean Barkley of the Independence Party, who ran third, was not included in this process.

Thus, citizens' right to vote -- the right to vote! -- was made subject to political parties' gaming strategies. Insiders agree that Mr. Franken's team played a far more savvy game than Mr. Coleman's. The margin of Mr. Franken's current lead is partly the product of a successful what's-mine-is-mine-what's-yours-is-vetoed strategy, and of the Coleman team's failure to counter it.

The process is not over yet, since the state court decision in effect kicked the can down the road. The candidates can revisit these issues by contesting the legal validity of the election under state law -- which Mr. Coleman's team did last week.

But as matters stand now, the Minnesota recount is a legal train wreck. The result, a narrow Franken lead, is plainly invalid. Just as in Bush v. Gore, the recount has involved "unequal evaluation of ballots in several respect" and failed to provide "minimal procedural safeguards" of equal treatment of all ballots. Legally, it does not matter which candidate benefited from all these differences in treatment. (Mr. Franken did.) The different treatment makes the results not only unreliable (and suspicious), but unconstitutional.

What is the remedy? Unlike Bush v. Gore, there is no looming national deadline. Minnesota can take its time and do things right.

This means two things: First, the process must conform to Minnesota election law. Second, it must conform to Bush v. Gore. Whatever standards Minnesota uses must be applied uniformly, consistently, and under clear standards not admitting of local variation. Discrepancies between machine counts and hand recounts, and between numbers of recorded votes and signed-in voters, however resolved, must be resolved the same way throughout the state.

The standards for evaluating rejected absentee ballots likewise must be uniform, with decisions made according to legal standards, not by partisan campaigns. If the Minnesota Supreme Court fails to assure these things, the matter could go right up to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In Today's Opinion Journal


Leadership and PanicsA Geithner Tax AmnestyStimulus for Tax Collectors


Wonder Land: Bush and the Libby Pardon
– Daniel HenningerWelcome to the White House, Mr. Obama
– Karl Rove


Even Businessmen Deserve a Lawyer
– Arlen Specter and Edwin Meese IIIBush Destroyed a Dictator. Clinton Installed One.
– Ruth R. WisseAnd what if there is no reliable way to determine in a recount who won, consistent with Bush v. Gore's requirements?

The Constitution's answer is a do-over. The 17th Amendment provides: "When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct."

In a sense, a vacancy has already "happened." The U.S. Senate convened on Jan. 6 with only one senator from Minnesota. Still, the seat is perhaps not "vacant," just unfilled. But if the contest proceeding does not produce a clear winner that passes constitutional muster, a special election -- and a temporary appointment by Gov. Tim Pawlenty -- may be the only answer.

For now, the only thing certain is that the present "certified" result -- which is that Mr. Franken won by 225 votes out of more than 2.9 million cast -- is an obvious, embarrassing violation of the Constitution.

Mr. Paulsen is professor of law at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, Minn. He is formerly associate dean of the University of Minnesota Law School.
24689  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Stratfor: Desafio on: January 15, 2009, 11:22:56 AM
La Agendageopolítica: Desafío de México de Obama

El Secretario Interior mexicano Fernando Gomez Mont el miércoles criticó un informe reciente de Orden de Fuerzas de Coyuntura de EEUU que advierte del potencial para el estado mexicano desplomar y decir que una descentralización de control en México requeriría intervención de EEUU. La declaración de Gomez Mont, junto con preocupación creciente a través de Estados Unidos sobre la estabilidad de México, es otro recordatorio más de los desafíos frente al gobierno mexicano -— Y la administración presidencial entrante de Barack Obama.

Cuando violencia en México se eleva para registrar niveles —- más de 5.700 personas se murieron en la violencia crimen-relacionado organizada en 2008 — El gobierno de EEUU ha comenzado gradualmente a notar la severidad de la situación. Aunque Washington ciertamente ha estado esperando la transición a una nueva administración, ha habido un cambio en la manera México es discutido en círculos de política -– Cuando visto con la Coyuntura que Opera Ambiente 2008 informa. El Departamento de EEUU de la Seguridad de la Patria, el Departamento de la Justicia y el Consejo Nacional de Seguridad tiene todo, en de un solo sentido u otro, expresado semejante concierne que México quizás desplome bajo el esfuerzo de la violencia de cártel de droga, o eso podría haber derrame significativo de violencia en Estados Unidos.

Hasta cierto punto, el equipo de Obama ha señalado que hace caso de estas advertencias de la situación que hace al sur de la frontera. El Presidente mexicano Felipe Calderon es el único jefe de estado extranjero de encontrar hasta ahora con Obama, cuya inauguración es la semana próxima, y las dos esperanzas expresadas para la cooperación mutua en años venideros. Y Ministro-Designa Hillary Clinton dijo durante su audición de confirmación que la nueva administración buscará participación más grande con México y el resto de Iberoamérica.

Hacer a mano una política de Iberoamérica de la tela entera será un desafío para la administración de Obama, como la relación de la región con Estados Unidos se cayó en un estado de descuido bajo la administración de Bush. Clinton prometió que la administración de Obama utilizaría las asociaciones de energía para asegurar una relación cercana con Iberoamérica —- Un objetivo especialmente importante de política, dado que Venezuela y México están entre los primeros cinco suministradores de petróleo a Estados Unidos. La administración de Obama también planea eliminarse restricciones de viaje y remesa Bush ha recaudado contra Cuba.

Pero situación volátil de seguridad de México se queda entre el potencial más significativo desafía la nueva administración encarará, y no es claro si hay mucho más que puede ser hecho en el asunto. Con conexiones que refuerzan entre pandillas de calle de EEUU y cárteles mexicanos, el problema de violencia mexicana es de ninguna manera limitados al lado mexicano de la frontera.

Esto no quiere decir que el gobierno de EEUU no haya hecho nada; la Iniciativa de Merida asignó cientos de millones de dólares para mejorar la instrucción y el equipo para la aplicación de la ley mexicana. Pero Merida es justo el más prominente de una serie de iniciativas la administración de Bush ha estado aplicando calladamente con México sobre los últimos pocos años. También ha habido aumentos sin precedentes en extradiciones, las expansiones de Aplicación de Droga de EEUU Agencia (DEA) presencia administrativa en México y compartir aumentado de inteligencia. La financiación más grande para oficiales locales de aplicación de la ley y Patrulla de fronteras de EEUU ha facilitado operaciones por lado de EEUU de la frontera y ayudado a reducir parte del flujo de armas en México, y ha impresionado apreciablemente pautas contiguas de tráfico. Esto significa que las opciones bajo-colgantes de política disponibles a un presidente de EEUU ya han sido aplicadas. Qué se queda son las decisiones más difíciles.

Por ejemplo, uno de las quejas primeras mexicanas de gobierno concierne el flujo de armas ilegales: Estados Unidos es la No. 1 fuente de armas ilegales en México (aunque hay un flujo significativo por América Central). Muchas de esas armas son compradas legalmente e imposible de encontrar en ferias de armas Estados Unidos interior. Las fuentes dentro del gobierno mexicano consideran la financiación más grande para programas como Traficante de armas de Operación, que financia interdicto de armamentos en el lado de EEUU de la frontera, para ser uno de las principales áreas en los que la administración de Obama podría tener un impacto significativo. Sin embargo, la oportunidad que cambios substanciales al enfoque de EEUU en regulaciones de fusil y armas serán hechos en el nombre de una asociación con México parece bajo.

Pero la inflexibilidad no es limitada a Estados Unidos. La desgana de México para permitir que libertad de aplicación de la ley de EEUU en operaciones o para permitir la presencia de EEUU agencias militares de tendones de la corva de consejeros, como el DEA, que tiene probado sumamente efectivo en combatir organizó crimen en países como Colombia. Mexicanos recuerdan invasiones de EEUU de su país en 1914 y 1916, durante la Revolución mexicana. Muchas culpa Estados Unidos para romper la espalda del gobierno mexicano forzando el ejército para partir su despliegue en rebeldes luchadores de Zapatista en el sur y Casa de campo de Pancho al norte. México, en total, es por lo tanto reacio permitir a tropas de EEUU para pisar su tierra en el nuevo siglo.

La posibilidad de verdadero EEUU-cooperación mexicana a combatir la violencia que plaga México levanta más preguntas que contesta. Pero sin un cambio notable en las pautas de violencia que haría un cambio de política más urgente — por ejemplo un cambio a concentrar en civiles a ambos lados de la frontera, o del asesinato de líderes clave en México — Allí parezca ser pequeño que puede ser prescindido de gastar mucha capital política. Y con los otros desafíos, inclusive una Rusia resurgente y Pakistán caótico, frente a la presidencia de Obama, cambios significativos en la política de México no parecen probables en el futuro próximo.

24690  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / BO's challenge on: January 15, 2009, 11:20:56 AM

Geopolitical Diary: Obama's Mexico Challenge

Mexican Interior Secretary Fernando Gomez Mont on Wednesday criticized a recent U.S. Joint Forces Command report that warns of the potential for the Mexican state to collapse and says a devolution of control in Mexico would require U.S. intervention. Gomez Mont's statement, along with growing concern throughout the United States over the stability of Mexico, is yet another reminder of the challenges facing the Mexican government -— and the incoming presidential administration of Barack Obama.

As violence in Mexico soars to record levels —- more than 5,700 people died in organized crime-related violence in 2008 — the U.S. government has gradually begun to note the severity of the situation. Though Washington certainly has been waiting for the transition to a new administration, there has been a shift in the way Mexico is being discussed in policy circles -– as seen with the Joint Operating Environment 2008 report. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice and National Security Council have all, in one way or another, expressed similar concerns that Mexico might collapse under the strain of the drug cartel violence, or that there could be significant spillover of violence into the United States.

To some extent, the Obama team has signaled that it is heeding these warnings of the situation brewing south of the border. Mexican President Felipe Calderon is the only foreign head of state to meet so far with Obama, whose inauguration is next week, and the two expressed hopes for mutual cooperation in coming years. And Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton said during her confirmation hearing that the new administration will seek greater involvement with Mexico and the rest of Latin America.

Crafting a Latin America policy from whole cloth will be a challenge for the Obama administration, as the region's relationship with the United States fell into a state of neglect under the Bush administration. Clinton promised that the Obama administration would use energy partnerships to secure a close relationship with Latin America —- a particularly important policy goal, given that Venezuela and Mexico are among the top five suppliers of oil to the United States. Obama's administration also plans to do away with travel and remittance restrictions Bush has levied against Cuba.

But Mexico's volatile security situation remains among the most significant potential challenges the new administration will face, and it is not clear whether there is a great deal more that can be done on the issue. With connections strengthening between U.S. street gangs and Mexican cartels, the problem of Mexican violence is by no means limited to the Mexican side of the border.

This is not to say that the U.S. government has done nothing; the Merida Initiative allocated hundreds of millions of dollars to improve training and equipment for Mexican law enforcement. But Merida is just the highest-profile of a series of initiatives the Bush administration has been quietly implementing with Mexico over the last few years. There also have been record increases in extraditions, expansions of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency's (DEA) administrative presence in Mexico and increased intelligence sharing. Greater funding for local U.S. law enforcement and Border Patrol officers has facilitated operations along the U.S. side of the border and helped to reduce some of the flow of weapons into Mexico, and has significantly impacted border traffic patterns. This means that the low-hanging policy options available to a U.S. president already have been implemented. What remain are the more difficult decisions.

For example, one of the Mexican government's top complaints concerns the flow of illegal weapons: The United States is the No. 1 source of illegal weapons in Mexico (although there is a significant flow through Central America). Many of those weapons are purchased legally and untraceably at gun shows inside the United States. Sources within the Mexican government consider greater funding for programs like Operation Gunrunner, which funds arms interdiction on the U.S. side of the border, to be one of the main areas in which the Obama administration could have a significant impact. However, the chance that substantial changes to the U.S. approach on gun and weapons regulations will be made in the name of a partnership with Mexico appear low.

But inflexibility is not limited to the United States. Mexico's reluctance to permit U.S. law enforcement freedom in operations or to allow the presence of U.S. military advisers hamstrings agencies, like the DEA, which have proven highly effective in combating organized crime in countries like Colombia. Mexicans recall the U.S. invasions of their country in 1914 and 1916, during the Mexican Revolution. Many blame the United States for breaking the back of the Mexican government by forcing the military to split its deployment into fighting Zapatista rebels in the south and Pancho Villa to the north. Mexico, as a whole, is therefore loath to allow U.S. troops to tread its soil in the new century.

The possibility of genuine U.S.-Mexican cooperation in combating the violence plaguing Mexico raises more questions than it answers. But without a notable change in the patterns of violence that would make a policy shift more urgent — for instance, a shift to targeting civilians on either side of the border, or the assassination of key leaders in Mexico — there seems to be little that can be done without expending a great deal of political capital. And with the other challenges, including a resurgent Russia and chaotic Pakistan, facing the Obama presidency, significant shifts in Mexico policy do not seem likely in the near future.

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24691  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Study: Gun and grenade fight on: January 15, 2009, 01:14:38 AM
I am in awe!
24692  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: January 15, 2009, 12:56:50 AM
The counter argument by Matthew Alexander of course is that his approach works better AND it does not sap the American people's sense of who we are.

You may not agree, but IMHO the man certainly has a basis for his opinion.
24693  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Murder Spree by people who refuse to ask for directions on: January 14, 2009, 08:18:29 PM
Murder Spree by People Who Refuse to Ask For Directions
by  Ann Coulter

In a front-page article on Jan. 2 of this year, The New York Times took a brief respite from its ongoing canonization of Barack Obama and returned to its series on violent crimes committed by returning GIs, or as I call it: "U.S. Military, Psycho Killers."

The Treason Times' banner series about Iraq and Afghanistan veterans accused of murder began in January last year but was quickly discontinued as readers noticed that the Times doggedly refused to provide any statistics comparing veteran murders with murders in any other group.

So they waited a year, hoping readers wouldn't notice they were still including no relevant comparisons.

What, for example, is the percentage of murderers among veterans compared to the percentage of murderers in the population at large -- or, more germane, in the general population of young males, inasmuch as violent crime is committed almost exclusively by young men?

Any group composed primarily of young men will contain a seemingly mammoth number of murderers.

Consider the harmless fantasy game, Dungeons and Dragons -- which happens to be played almost exclusively by young males. When murders were committed in the '80s by (1) young men, who were (2) Dungeons and Dragons enthusiasts, some people concluded that factor (2), rather than factor (1), led to murderous tendencies.

Similarly, for its series about how America's bravest and finest young men are really a gang of psychopathic cutthroats, the Times triumphantly produced 121 homicides committed by veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars in order to pin the blame for the murders on the U.S. military.

Perhaps the Times' next major expose could be on how a huge percentage of murderers are people who won't ask for directions or share the TV remote.

Let's compare murders by veterans to murders by other 18- to 35-year-olds in the U.S. population at large. From 1976 to 2005, 18- to 24-year-olds -- both male and more gentle females -- committed homicide at a rate of 29.9 per 100,000. Twenty-five- to 35-year-olds committed homicides at a rate of 15.8 per 100,000.

Since 9/11, about 1.6 million troops have served in either Iraq or Afghanistan. That makes the homicide rate among veterans of these wars 7.6 per 100,000 -- or about one-third the homicide rate for their age group (18 to 35) in the general population of both sexes.

But fewer than 200,000 of the 1.6 million troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan have been women, and the murder rate for the general population includes both males and females. Inasmuch as males commit nearly 90 percent of all murders, the rate for males in those age groups is probably nearly double the male/female combined rates, which translates to about 30 to 55 murderers per 100,000 males aged 18 to 35.

So comparing the veterans' rate of murder to only their male counterparts in the general population, we see that Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are about 10 times less likely to commit a murder than non-veterans of those wars.

But as long as the Times has such a burning interest in the root causes of murder, how about considering the one factor more likely to create a murderer than any other? That is the topic we're not allowed to discuss: single motherhood.

As I describe in my new book, "Guilty: Liberal 'Victims' and Their Assault on America," controlling for socioeconomic status, race and place of residence, the strongest predictor of whether a person will end up in prison is that he was raised by a single parent. (The second strongest factor is owning a Dennis Kucinich bumper sticker.)

By 1996, 70 percent of inmates in state juvenile detention centers serving long-term sentences were raised by single mothers. Seventy percent of teenage births, dropouts, suicides, runaways, juvenile delinquents and child murderers involve children raised by single mothers. Girls raised without fathers are more sexually promiscuous and more likely to end up divorced.

A 1990 study by the left-wing Progressive Policy Institute showed that, after controlling for single motherhood, the difference in black and white crime disappeared.

Various studies come up with slightly different numbers, but all the figures are grim. A study cited in the far left-wing Village Voice found that children brought up in single-mother homes "are five times more likely to commit suicide, nine times more likely to drop out of high school, 10 times more likely to abuse chemical substances, 14 times more likely to commit rape (for the boys), 20 times more likely to end up in prison, and 32 times more likely to run away from home."

With new children being born, running away, dropping out of high school and committing murder every year, it's not a static problem to analyze. But however the numbers are run, single motherhood is a societal nuclear bomb.

Many of these studies, for example, are from the '90s, when the percentage of teenagers raised by single parents was lower than it is today. In 1990, 28 percent of children under 18 were being raised in one-parent homes -- mother or father, divorced or never-married. By 2005, more than one-third of all babies born in the U.S. were illegitimate.

That's a lot of social problems in the pipeline.

Think I'm being cruel? Imagine an America with 60 to 70 percent fewer juvenile delinquents, teenage births, teenage suicides and runaways, and you will appreciate what the sainted "single mothers" have accomplished.

Even in liberals' fevered nightmares, predatory mortgage dealers, oil speculators and Ken Lay could never do as much harm to their fellow human beings as single mothers do to their own children, to say nothing of society at large.

But the Times won't run that series because liberals adore single motherhood and the dissolution of traditional marriage in America. They detest the military, so they cite a few anecdotal examples of veterans who have committed murder and hope that no one asks for details.
24694  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / UN schools hire Hamas in Gaza on: January 14, 2009, 07:33:31 PM,2933,479940,00.html

U.N. Agency That Runs School Hit in Gaza Employed Hamas and Islamic Jihad Members
Wednesday, January 14, 2009

By Joel Mowbray

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The United Nations agency that administers a school in Gaza where dozens of civilians were killed by Israeli mortar fire last week has admitted to employing terrorists to work at its Palestinian schools in the past, has no system in place to keep members of Hamas or Islamic Jihad off its payroll, and provides textbooks to children that contain hate speech and other incendiary information.

A growing chorus of critics has taken aim at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in recent years, although momentum on Capitol Hill has been slow. But last week's incident, which Israel maintains was prompted by Hamas operatives firing mortars at Israelis from a location near the school, has prompted some lawmakers to scrutinize the U.N. agency.

Rep. Steve Rothman, D-N.J., introduced a resolution in the fall calling for greater transparency and accountability at UNRWA. The bill called on the agency to make its textbooks available on the Internet for public inspection and to implement "terrorist name recognition software and other screening procedures that would help to ensure that UNRWA staff, volunteers, and beneficiaries are neither terrorists themselves, nor affiliated with known terrorist organizations."

Rothman said he plans to re-introduce his UNRWA resolution in the coming weeks because, "as timely as this bill was before, it is even more timely now. It is urgent that Congress can be assured that U.S. taxpayer money is not being spent to support Hamas and its murderous activities."

A spokesman for UNRWA adamantly said that the agency is now free of terrorist connections. "We're composed of social workers and teachers," the official explained. "We take every step possible to have only civilians inside UNRWA facilities."

But the U.N. Personal History form for UNRWA employees does not ask whether someone is a member of, or affiliated with, a terrorist organization such as Hamas or Islamic Jihad. And there is no formal screening to ensure that employees are not affiliated with terrorist entities.

Asked about this, the UNRWA spokesman replied, "Palestinian staff sign an undertaking confirming that they have no political affiliations whatsoever, and have not and will not participate in any activities that would violate the neutrality of the U.N."

There is no formal enforcement, however, to monitor possible terrorist activities by employees after they sign the pledge at the time of hiring.

UNRWA official Chris Guinness told the Jerusalem Post this week that the agency screens names of new employees against the relatively small U.N. database of Taliban and Al Qaeda figures. Extremist Palestinians, however, are far more likely to belong to organizations, such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, that are not on that watch list.

In 2004, former UNRWA Commissioner-General Peter Hansen told the Canadian Broadcasting Company, "I am sure that there are Hamas members on the UNRWA payroll and I don't see that as a crime." He added, "We do not do political vetting and exclude people from one persuasion as against another."

There have been several high-profile examples of terrorists being employed by UNRWA. Former top Islamic Jihad rocket maker Awad Al-Qiq, who was killed in an Israeli air strike last May, was the headmaster and science instructor at an UNRWA school in Rafah, Gaza. Said Siyam, Hamas' interior minister and head of the Executive Force, was a teacher for over two decades in UNRWA schools.

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill say they are also concerned that terrorist propaganda is being taught in UNRWA schools. A notebook captured by Israeli officials at the UNRWA school in the Kalandia refugee camp several years ago glorified homicide bombers and other terrorists. Called "The Star Team," it profiled so-called "martyrs," Palestinians who had died either in homicide bombings or during armed struggle with Israel. On the book's back cover was printed the UNRWA emblem, as well as a photo of a masked gunman taking aim while on one knee.

There is evidence that students educated in UNRWA schools are much more likely to become homicide bombers, said Jonathan Halevi, a former Israeli Defense Forces intelligence officer who specializes in Palestinian terrorist organizations. Halevi has spent several years building an extensive database for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs of terrorist attacks by Hamas and other Islamic extremist groups.

Though he cautioned that estimates are tricky because the identity of an attacker is not always made public, Halevi estimated that over 60 percent of homicide bombers were educated in UNRWA schools. By comparison, roughly 25-30 percent of Palestinian students in the West Bank, the origin of almost all homicide bombers since the start of the intifada in 2000, attend UNRWA schools, according to the agency's figures.

A UNRWA spokesman strongly disputed any connection between the agency's schools and a greater likelihood of terrorist activity later in life. As proof, he pointed to UNRWA's "special efforts in our schools to teach tolerance, human rights and peaceful conflict resolution."

UNRWA sent an eight-page brochure to that speaks about the group's tolerance, human rights and peaceful conflict resolution curriculum. But it makes no mention of tolerance toward Jews or Christians or of peaceful coexistence with Israel. Rather, it is geared toward student interaction, the rights students should expect in society, and learning to express emotions through acting, painting, and storytelling.

24695  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: January 14, 2009, 07:32:01 PM
On this one we disagree.
24696  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor on: January 14, 2009, 02:57:56 PM
By Fred Burton and Scott Stewart

Related Links
Militant Attacks In Mumbai and Their Consequences

On Jan. 8, the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs heard testimony from a number of experts about the lessons learned from the Nov. 26 Mumbai attack. According to Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), the Mumbai attack deserves attention because it raises important questions about the plans of U.S. authorities to prevent, prepare for and respond to similar attacks directed against targets in the United States.

As we’ve previously pointed out, the tactics employed in the Mumbai attack were not new or remarkable, although the attackers did incorporate some tactical innovations due to their use of modern technology. As shown by a long string of historic terror attacks, armed assaults can be quite effective. There are a number of factors, however, that would reduce the effectiveness of a similar attack inside the United States or many Western European countries.

Armed Assaults

Armed assaults employing small arms and grenades have long been a staple of modern terrorism. Such assaults have been employed in many famous terrorist attacks conducted by a wide array of actors, such as the Black September operation against the Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics; the December 1975 seizure of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries headquarters in Vienna, Austria, led by Carlos the Jackal; the December 1985 simultaneous attacks against the airports in Rome and Vienna by the Abu Nidal Organization; and even the December 2001 attack against the Indian Parliament building in New Delhi led by Kashmiri militants.

In a particularly brutal armed assault, a large group of Chechen militants stormed a school in Beslan, North Ossetia in September 2004, taking more than 1,000 hostages and booby-trapping the school with scores of anti-personnel mines and improvised explosive devices. The attack, standoff and eventual storming of the school by Russian authorities after a three-day siege resulted in the deaths of more than 320 people, half of them children.

In some instances — such as the December 1996 seizure of the Japanese ambassador’s residence in Lima, Peru, by the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement — the objective of the armed assault was to take and intentionally hold hostages for a long period of time. In other instances, such as the May 1972 assault on Lod Airport by members of the Japanese Red Army, the armed assault was a suicide attack designed simply to kill as many victims as possible before the assailants themselves were killed or incapacitated. Even though Mumbai became a protracted operation, its planning and execution indicate it was intended as the second sort of attack — the attackers were ordered to inflict maximum damage and to not be taken alive.

When viewed as a part of this historic trend, perhaps the most revolutionary aspect of the Mumbai attacks was the assailants’ use of modern technology to assist them with planning the attack and with their command, control and communications during the execution of their operation. Technology not only assisted the Mumbai attackers in conducting their preoperational surveillance, it also enabled them to use satellite imagery of Mumbai and GPS receivers to reach their assigned landing spots by water and move to their assigned attack sites. (Mumbai was not the first instance of militants using boats to reach their targets; several Palestinian groups have used boats in attacks against Israeli coastal towns, while other groups — such as the Abu Sayyaf group in the Philippines and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka — have long used watercraft to transport teams for armed assault missions.)

Modern technology also allowed the tactical commanders and even individual team members to use satellite and cell phones to place calls to their strategic commanders in Pakistan, as demonstrated by some of the chilling audio captured by the Indian government. In transcripts of some of the conversations released by the Indian government, an unidentified commander reportedly exhorted the exhausted militants at the Nariman House to continue fighting. In another conversation, an off-site commander allegedly ordered the militants holed up in the Oberoi Hotel to kill their non-Muslim captives. From the transcripts, it is also apparent that the commanders were watching news coverage of the siege and then passing information to the attackers on the ground.

In the past, when a facility was seized, police tactics often called for the power and phone lines to be cut off to limit attackers’ ability to communicate with the outside world. Such measures have proven ineffective in the era of cell phones and portable satellite communications.

Mitigating Armed Assaults

Stratfor has long held that the United States and Europe are vulnerable to armed attacks against soft targets. In an open society, it is impossible to protect everything. Moreover, conducting attacks against soft targets such as hotels or malls can be done with ease, and can prove quite effective at creating carnage.

In fact, as we’ve previously pointed out, Cho Seung Hui killed more people with handguns in his attack at Virginia Tech than Jemaah Islamiyah was able to kill in Jakarta, Indonesia, in the August 2003 bombing of the Marriott Hotel and the September 2004 bombing of the Australian Embassy combined. Clearly, armed assaults pose a threat.

That said, while militants can use this same modus operandi and technology to attack targets in the United States or Europe, several factors would help mitigate the impact of such armed assaults.

First, reviewing the long history of armed assaults in modern terrorism shows that the tactic has forced many countries to develop specialized and highly trained forces to combat it. For example, it was the failed rescue attempt of the Israeli athletes in Munich that motivated the German government to create the elite Grenzschutzgruppe 9 (GSG 9), which would become one of the best counterterrorism forces in the world. The activities of the Provisional Irish Republican Army likewise helped shape the British Special Air Service into its role as an elite counterterrorism force.

While some developing countries, such as Singapore, have managed to develop highly trained and extremely competent counterterrorism units and effectively use such units, India is not one of them. In spite of the long history of terrorist activity directed against India, Indian security and counterterrorism assets are simply too poorly funded and organized to comprehensively address the militant threats the country faces. Even the elite National Security Guards (NSG), also known as the Black Cats, provided a sluggish response to the Mumbai attack.

When we view the entire spectrum of counterterrorism capabilities, however, the greatest gap in capability between Indian and European or Indian and American forces is not the gap between elite counterterrorism forces, but the gap at the individual street cop level. This is significant because street cops are a critical line of defense against terrorists. The importance of street cops pertains not only to preventing attacks by collecting critical intelligence, noticing surveillance or other preoperational planning activity and questioning or arresting suspects, it also applies to the tactical response to armed attackers.

Among the most troubling aspects of the Mumbai attack were accounts by journalists of Indian police shooting at the attackers and missing them. Some journalists have said this failure can be explained by the fact that many Indian police officers are armed with antiquated revolvers and Lee-Enfield rifles. But the Lee-Enfield is an accurate and reliable battle rifle that shoots a powerful cartridge, the .303 British. Like the .30-06 Springfield and the .308 Winchester, the .303 British is a man stopper and is deadly out to long ranges. The kinetic energy produced by such cartridges will penetrate body armor up to the heavy Type III level, and the amount of kinetic energy they impart will often even cause considerable shock trauma damage to people wearing heavy body armor.

The .303 British is a formidable round that has killed a lot of people and big game over the past century. Afghan sharpshooters used the Lee-Enfield with great success against the Soviets, and Taliban are still using it against coalition forces in Afghanistan. There is also nothing wrong with a .38 revolver in capable hands. The problem, then, lies in the hands — more specifically, in the training — of the officers so armed. If a police officer does not have the marksmanship to kill (or even hit) a suspect at 20 or 30 meters with aimed fire from a battle rifle, there is little chance he can control the automatic fire from an assault rifle or submachine gun effectively. In the end, the attackers outclassed the Indian police with their marksmanship far more than they outclassed them with their armaments.

By and large, U.S. and European police officers are better-trained marksmen than their Indian counterparts. U.S. and European officers also must regularly go to the shooting range for marksmanship requalification to maintain those skills. This means that in a Mumbai-type scenario in the United States or Europe, the gunmen would not have been allowed the freedom of movement they were in Mumbai, where they were able to walk past police officers firing at them without being hit.

The overall tactical ability of the average street cop is important. While most large police departments in the United States have very skilled tactical units, such as the New York Police Department’s Emergency Services Unit, these units may take time to respond to an incident in progress. In the case of a Mumbai-style attack, where there are multiple teams with multiple attackers operating in different areas of the city, such units might not be able to tackle multiple sites simultaneously. This means that like in Mumbai, street cops probably not only will have the first contact with the attackers, but also might be called on to be the primary force to stop them.

In the United States, local police would be aided during such a confrontation by the widespread adoption of “active shooter” training programs. Following a series of attacks including the highly publicized 1999 Columbine school shooting, it became apparent that the standard police tactic of surrounding an attacker and waiting for the SWAT team to go in and engage the shooter was not effective when the attacker was actively shooting people. As police officers waited outside for backup, additional victims were being killed. To remedy this, many police departments have instituted active shooter programs.

While the details of active shooter tactical programs may vary somewhat from department to department, the main idea behind them is that the active shooter must be engaged and neutralized as quickly as possible, not allowed to continue on a killing spree unopposed. Depending on the location and situation, this engagement sometimes is accomplished by a single officer or pair of officers with shoulder weapons. Other times, it is accomplished by a group of four or more officers trained to quickly organize and rapidly react as a team to locations where the assailant is firing.

Active shooter programs have proven effective in limiting the damage done by shooters in several cases, including the March 2005 shooting at a high school in Red Lake, Minn. Today, many police departments not only have a policy of confronting active shooters, they also have provided their officers with training courses teaching them how to do so effectively. Such training could make a world of difference in a Mumbai-type attack, where there may not be sufficient time or resources for a specialized tactical team to respond.

In the United States, armed off-duty cops and civilians also can make a difference in armed attacks. In February 2007, for example, a heavily armed gunman who had killed five victims in the Trolley Square Mall in Salt Lake City was confronted by an off-duty police officer, who cornered the shooter and kept him pinned down until other officers could arrive and kill the shooter. This off-duty officer’s actions plainly saved many lives that evening.

One other factor where European and American law enforcement officers have an edge over their Indian counterparts is in command, control and communications. Certainly, an armed assault is very chaotic no matter where it happens, but law enforcement agencies in the United States have a lot of experience in dealing with communications during complex situations. One such example is the February 1997 shootout in North Hollywood, where two heavily armed suspects wearing body armor engaged officers from the Los Angeles Police Department in a lengthy shootout. Following that incident, in which the responding officers’ handguns and shotguns proved incapable of penetrating the suspects’ heavy body armor, many police departments began to arm at least some of their units with AR-15s and other high-powered rifles. Ironically, the LAPD officers almost certainly would have welcomed a couple of old battle rifles like the Lee-Enfield in the gunfight that day.

Hindsight is another huge advantage European and American law enforcement officers now enjoy. Police and security agencies commonly examine serious terrorist attacks for tactical details that can then be used to plan and conduct training exercises designed to counteract the tactics employed. As evidenced by the Jan. 8 testimony of NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Mumbai has gotten the attention of police agencies around the world. The NYPD and others already are studying ways to rapidly deny attackers the communications ability they enjoyed in Mumbai during future attacks. The preoperational surveillance conducted by the Mumbai attackers is also being closely scrutinized to assist in countersurveillance operations elsewhere.

A seen by the Fort Dix plot and actual armed attacks against targets, such as the July 2002 assault on the El Al ticket counter at Los Angeles International Airport and the July 2006 attack against the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, the threat of armed terrorist assaults against soft targets in the United States is quite real. However, the U.S. law enforcement environment is quite different from that in India — and that difference will help mitigate the effects of a Mumbai-like attack.
24697  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tribunal Overseer says on: January 14, 2009, 12:53:19 PM
U.S. military tortured Guantanamo detainee, tribunal overseer says

It is the first time a senior Bush administration official with oversight of practices at the prison has publicly stated that an inmate was tortured.
By Bob Woodward
January 14, 2009

Reporting from Washington -- The top Bush administration official in charge of deciding whether to bring Guantanamo Bay detainees to trial has concluded that the U.S. military tortured a Saudi national who allegedly planned to participate in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, interrogating him with techniques that included sustained isolation, sleep deprivation, nudity and prolonged exposure to cold, leaving him in a "life-threatening condition."

"We tortured [Mohammed] Qahtani," said Susan J. Crawford in her first interview since being named convening authority of military commissions by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in February 2007. "His treatment met the legal definition of torture. And that's why I did not refer the case" for prosecution.

Crawford, a retired judge who served as general counsel for the Army during the Reagan administration and as Pentagon inspector general when Dick Cheney was secretary of Defense, is the first senior Bush administration official responsible for reviewing practices at Guantanamo to publicly state that a detainee was tortured.

Crawford, 61, said the combination of the interrogation techniques, their duration and the impact on Qahtani's health led to her conclusion. "The techniques they used were all authorized, but the manner in which they applied them was overly aggressive and too persistent. . . . You think of torture, you think of some horrendous physical act done to an individual. This was not any one particular act; this was just a combination of things that . . . hurt his health. It was abusive and uncalled for. And coercive. Clearly coercive. It was that medical impact that pushed me over the edge" to call it torture, she said.

Military prosecutors said in November that they would seek to refile charges against Qahtani, 30, based on subsequent interrogations that did not employ harsh techniques. But Crawford, who dismissed war-crimes charges against him in May, said in the interview that she would not allow the prosecution to go forward.

Qahtani was denied entry into the United States a month before the Sept. 11 attacks and was allegedly planning to be the plot's 20th hijacker. He was later captured in Afghanistan and transported to Guantanamo in January 2002. His interrogation took place over 50 days from November 2002 to January 2003, though he was held in isolation until April 2003.

"For 160 days his only contact was with the interrogators," said Crawford, who personally reviewed Qahtani's interrogation records and other military documents. "Forty-eight of 54 consecutive days of 18- to 20-hour interrogations. Standing naked in front of a female agent. Subject to strip searches. And insults to his mother and sister."

The interrogation, portions of which have been previously described in news reports, was so intense that Qahtani had to be hospitalized twice at Guantanamo with bradycardia, a condition in which the heart rate falls below 60 beats a minute and which in extreme cases can lead to heart failure and death. At one point Qahtani's heart rate dropped to 35 beats per minute, the record shows.

The Qahtani case underscores the challenges facing the incoming Obama administration as it seeks to close the controversial detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, including the dilemmas posed by individuals considered too dangerous to release but whose legal status is uncertain.

FBI "clean teams," which gather evidence without using information gained during controversial interrogations, have established that Qahtani intended to join the 2001 hijackers. Mohamed Atta, the plot's leader, who died steering American Airlines Flight 11 into the World Trade Center, went to the airport in Orlando, Fla., to meet Qahtani on Aug. 4, 2001, but the young Saudi was denied entry by a suspicious immigration inspector.

"There's no doubt in my mind he would've been on one of those planes had he gained access to the country in August 2001," Crawford said of Qahtani, who remains detained at Guantanamo. "He's a muscle hijacker. . . . He's a very dangerous man. What do you do with him now if you don't charge him and try him? I would be hesitant to say, 'Let him go.' "

That, she said, is a decision that President-elect Barack Obama will have to make. Obama repeated Sunday that he intends to close the Guantanamo facility but acknowledged the challenges involved.

"It is more difficult than I think a lot of people realize," Obama said on ABC's "This Week," "and we are going to get it done, but part of the challenge that you have is that you have a bunch of folks that have been detained, many of whom may be very dangerous, who have not been put on trial or have not gone through some adjudication. And some of the evidence against them may be tainted, even though it's true."

President Bush and Vice President Cheney have said that interrogations never involved torture.

Crawford, a lifelong Republican, ordered the war-crimes charges against Qahtani dropped in May. But she did not state publicly that the harsh interrogations were the reason.

"It did shock me," she said. "I was upset by it. I was embarrassed by it. If we tolerate this and allow it, then how can we object when our servicemen and women, or others in foreign service, are captured and subjected to the same techniques? How can we complain? Where is our moral authority to complain? Well, we may have lost it."

Crawford said Bush was right to create a system to try unlawful enemy combatants captured in the war on terrorism, but the implementation was fatally flawed. "I think someone should acknowledge that mistakes were made, and that they hurt the effort, and take responsibility for it," she said. "We learn as children it's easier to ask for forgiveness than it is for permission. I think the buck stops in the Oval Office."

Woodward writes for the Washington Post.
24698  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: ¿7 metros? on: January 14, 2009, 10:43:30 AM
Cecilio ha abierto una platica aqui sobre un tema sumamente importante.  ?Donde esta'n las respuestas?  !Para que este foro viva, hay que haber participacion!
24699  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Mexico on: January 14, 2009, 10:41:29 AM
EEUU informe militar advierte "desplome repentino" de México es posible
By Diana Washington Valdez / El Paso Times
Anunciado: El 03:49:34 del 01/13/2009 P.M. MST
El presidente electo Barack Obama escucha como el Presidente de México Felipe Calderon hace una declaración a periodistas en Washington, el lunes, enero. 12, 2009. México es uno de dos países eso "consideración de oso para un desplome rápido y repentino," según un informe por EEUU Fuerzas que Conjuntas Ordenan en amenazas mundiales de seguridad. (Foto de AP)

El PASO de EL - México es uno de dos países eso "consideración de oso para un desplome rápido y repentino," según un informe por EEUU Fuerzas que Conjuntas Ordenan en amenazas mundiales de seguridad.

La orden "Coyuntura que Opera Ambiente (JOE 2008)" informe, que contiene proyecciones de amenazas y potencial globales próximas guerras, ponen Pakistán en el mismo nivel como México. "En función de guiones de peor-caso para la Fuerza Conjunta y verdaderamente el mundo, dos estados grandes e importantes soportan consideración para un desplome rápido y repentino: Pakistán y México.

"La posibilidad mexicana puede parecer menos probable, pero el gobierno, sus políticos, la policía e infraestructura judicial son todo bajo asalto y prensa sostenidos por pandillas criminales y endrogan cárteles. Cómo

Esta imagen proporcionada por Aplicación de Droga de EEUU Administración muestra un cartel de 10 personas identificadas como traficantes de drogas que rivales encerraron una batalla violenta para el control de Tijuana, México. Ellos incluyen Fernando Sanchez Arellano, descrito por el DEA como líder del cártel de Arellano Felix, y de su competidor, Eduardo Teodoro Garcia Simental. México es uno de dos países eso "consideración de oso para un desplome rápido y repentino," según un informe por EEUU Fuerzas que Conjuntas Ordenan en amenazas mundiales de seguridad. El informe es uno en un grave centrándose en problemas internos de seguridad de México, proviniendo de en su mayor parte violencia de droga y corrupción de droga. (Foto/DEA de AP)

Esas vueltas internas del conflicto fuera en los próximos varios años tendrán un impacto mayor en la estabilidad del estado mexicano. Cualquier bajada por México en el caos demandaría una respuesta norteamericana basada en las implicaciones graves para la seguridad de la patria sola".

Las Fuerzas de la Coyuntura de EEUU Ordenan, basado en Norfolk, Va., es uno de los Ministerios de Defensa combate órdenes que incluye a miembros de las ramas militares diferentes de servicio, activo y las reservas, así como empleados de civil y contrato. Uno de sus papeles clave es de ayudar a transformarse las capacidades del ejército de EEUU.

En el prefacio, Gen Marino. J.N. Mattis, el comandante de USJFC, dijo "Predicciones acerca del futuro son siempre arriesgado ... a pesar de todo, si nosotros no tratamos de pronosticar el futuro, no quepa duda que seremos agarrados de protege como nosotros nos esforzamos por proteger este experimento en la democracia que llamamos América".

El informe es uno en un grave centrándose en problemas internos de seguridad de México, proviniendo de en su mayor parte violencia de droga y corrupción de droga. En semanas recientes, el Departamento de la Seguridad de la Patria y zar anterior de droga de EEUU Barry McCaffrey publicó alarmas semejantes acerca de México.

A pesar de tales informes, El Pasoan Veronica Callaghan, un dirigente empresarial contiguo, dijo que ella mantiene chocando con personas en la región que "están en la negación acerca de lo que sucede en México".
La semana pasada, Presidente mexicano Felipe Calderon instruyó su embajada y a funcionarios consulares para promover una imagen positiva de México.

EEUU informe militar, que también analizó situaciones económicas en otros países, también notó que China ha aumentado su influencia en lugares donde campos petrolíferos son presentes.

Diana Washington Valdez puede ser alcanzado en; 546-6140.   

24700  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: January 14, 2009, 10:32:18 AM
U.S. military report warns 'sudden collapse' of Mexico is possible
By Diana Washington Valdez / El Paso Times
Posted: 01/13/2009 03:49:34 PM MST

President-elect Barack Obama listens as Mexico's President Felipe Calderon makes a statement to reporters in Washington, Monday, Jan. 12, 2009. Mexico is one of two countries that "bear consideration for a rapid and sudden collapse," according to a report by the U.S. Joint Forces Command on worldwide security threats. (AP photo)EL PASO - Mexico is one of two countries that "bear consideration for a rapid and sudden collapse," according to a report by the U.S. Joint Forces Command on worldwide security threats.
The command's "Joint Operating Environment (JOE 2008)" report, which contains projections of global threats and potential next wars, puts Pakistan on the same level as Mexico. "In terms of worse-case scenarios for the Joint Force and indeed the world, two large and important states bear consideration for a rapid and sudden collapse: Pakistan and Mexico.

"The Mexican possibility may seem less likely, but the government, its politicians, police and judicial infrastructure are all under sustained assault and press by criminal gangs and drug cartels. How

This image provided by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration shows a poster of 10 people identified as rival drug traffickers locked in a violent battle for control of Tijuana, Mexico. They include Fernando Sanchez Arellano, described by the DEA as leader of the Arellano Felix cartel, and his archrival, Eduardo Teodoro Garcia Simental. Mexico is one of two countries that "bear consideration for a rapid and sudden collapse," according to a report by the U.S. Joint Forces Command on worldwide security threats. The report is one in a serious focusing on Mexico's internal security problems, mostly stemming from drug violence and drug corruption. (AP Photo/DEA)that internal conflict turns out over the next several years will have a major impact on the stability of the Mexican state. Any descent by Mexico into chaos would demand an American response based on the serious implications for homeland security alone."
The U.S. Joint Forces Command, based in Norfolk, Va., is one of the Defense Departments combat commands that includes members of the different military service branches, active and reserves, as well as civilian and contract employees. One of its key roles is to help transform the U.S. military's capabilities.

In the foreword, Marine Gen. J.N. Mattis, the USJFC commander, said "Predictions about the future are always risky ... Regardless, if we do not try to forecast the future, there is no doubt that we will be caught off guard as we strive to protect this experiment in democracy that we call America."

The report is one in a serious focusing on Mexico's internal security problems, mostly stemming from drug violence and drug corruption. In recent weeks, the Department of Homeland Security and former U.S. drug czar Barry McCaffrey issued similar alerts about Mexico.

Despite such reports, El Pasoan Veronica Callaghan, a border business leader, said she keeps running into people in the region who "are in denial about what is happening in Mexico."

Last week, Mexican President Felipe Calderon instructed his embassy and consular officials to promote a positive image of Mexico.

The U.S. military report, which also analyzed economic situations in other countries, also noted that China has increased its influence in places where oil fields are present.

Diana Washington Valdez may be reached at; 546-6140.

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