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25001  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Humor/WTF on: February 28, 2009, 12:39:14 AM
MUST HAVE URL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
25002  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Russian enjoying Biden's "reboot" on: February 27, 2009, 11:34:59 PM
Second post:


Unloaded/Loaded Wt:192,000/326,000 lbs
Dry Thrust:240KN
Armament: 59,000 lbs
Top Speed: Mach 1.25
Range: 7,500 mi
Ceiling: 60,000 feet


Unloaded/Loaded Wt:242,000/590,000 lbs
Dry Thrust:520KN
Armament: 88,000 lbs
Top Speed: Mach 2.2
Range: 10,800 mi
Ceiling:50,000 feet

The Blackjack is a more capable airframe and it has a small RCS. They are producing more advanced versions now.

The Canadians say it was a Bear, Russians say it was a Blackjack.

OTTAWA -- Canada will not tolerate Russian intrusions into Canadian airspace, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Friday after it was disclosed that two Russian bombers were intercepted just outside the Canadian Arctic shortly before U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Ottawa this month.
"I have expressed at various times the deep concern our government has with increasingly aggressive Russian actions around the globe and Russian intrusions into our airspace," the prime minister said at a news conference in Saskatoon.
"This government has responded every time the Russians have done that. We will continue to respond; we will defend our airspace."
Earlier Friday, Defence Minister Peter MacKay disclosed that two CF-18 fighter jets met at least one Russian bomber within 24 hours of the U.S. president's trip to Ottawa on Feb. 19 just outside of Canada's Arctic airspace.
The incident set off a round of bitter sniping between Moscow and Ottawa that was a throwback to the Cold War era.

Initially there was confusion over the number of Russian planes involved -- it turned out to be two, not one -- while Russian sources mocked Canada's assertion that they were given no notice of the flights.

With Mr. Obama poised to leave U.S. soil for the first time as president on Feb. 19, the joint Canada-U.S. aerospace command, Norad, picked up the approaching aircraft.

Canadian jets were scrambled and sent "very clear signals" to the Russian aircraft to "turn tail and head back to its own airspace," which were followed without incident, Mr. MacKay said.

Later Friday, Canadian defence and Norad officials confirmed a second Russian plane was involved in the incident, and identified the two aircraft as Tupolev Tu-95 propeller driven bombers, a type of aircraft known as the "Bear."

Vladimir Drik, an aide to the Russian chief of staff, speaking to RIA Novosti news agency confirmed the Feb. 18 flight, but indicated a different model of Tupolev carried out the mission.

"The Tupolev-160 fulfilled all its air patrol tasks. It was a planned flight."
He said the crew acted solely within the limits of international air agreements and did not violate Canadian airspace.

Typically Blackjacks are not seen until its too late and many are not seen at all:

A Russian nuclear stealth bomber was able to fly within 90 seconds of the British coast without being picked up by radar, it was revealed today.
The supersonic ‘Blackjack’ jet flew completely undetected to within just 20 miles from Hull in one of the worst breaches of British security since the end of the Cold War.

RAF radar eventually picked up the plane, but the only two pairs of fighter jets used for air alerts were on other duties.
25003  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Russian fcuk w His Glibness on: February 27, 2009, 11:32:58 PM
Canadian Jets Scramble to Meet Russian Plane Before Obama Visit


February 27, 2009

Canadian Jets Met Russian Plane Before Obama Visit

Filed at 10:42 a.m. ET

TORONTO (AP) -- Canada's defense minister said fighter jets were scrambled to intercept a Russian bomber in the Arctic on the eve of President Barack Obama's visit to Ottawa last week.

Peter MacKay said Friday that the bomber never made it into Canadian airspace. But he said two Canadian CF-18 jets met the bomber in international airspace and sent a ''strong signal that they should back off.''

''They met a Russian aircraft that was approaching Canadian airspace, and as they have done in previous occasions they sent very clear signals that are understood, that the aircraft was to turnaround, turn tail, and head back to their airspace, which it did,'' MacKay said.

''I'm not going to stand here and accuse the Russians of having deliberately done this during the presidential visit, but it was a strong coincidence,'' he said of the Feb. 18 incident.

Obama arrived in Canada the next day.

MacKay said it happened when Canada's security focus would be on Ottawa, but he said resources weren't stretched.

Attempts to reach the Russian Embassy in Ottawa or officials in Moscow were not immediately successful.

Soviet aircraft regularly flew near North American airspace during the Cold War but stopped after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Several years ago, Russian jets resumed these types of flights.

MacKay said the Russians give no warning prior to the flights. Canadian government officials, including MacKay, have asked the Russian ambassador and defense minister to give Ottawa notice of such flights. The requests have fallen on deaf ears.

''They simply show up on a radar screen,'' MacKay said. ''This is not a game at all.
25004  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Sgt Scott Stream on: February 27, 2009, 05:35:38 PM,0,7802298.story
'If it costs me my life to protect our land and people then that is a small thing...'
February 26, 2009

As President Obama and military officials plan for a marked escalation in the number of American troops in Afghanistan, the powerful words of a fallen soldier show how much the mission continues to mean to the women and men on the ground.

Illinois National Guard Sgt. Scott Stream, 39, of Mattoon, Ill., was killed Tuesday in Afghanistan. Below is a letter he wrote to a friend on New Year's Eve. The Tribune received a copy of the letter from Stream's mother.


Wednesday, December 31, 2008 at 9:30am

A strange thing...

When I think about what surrounds me, the institutional corruption, the random violence, the fear and desperation. I feel the reasons why I am here more and more sharply. As we grow in our soldiers skills, surviving by finding the hidden dangers, seeing the secret motives and the shifting politics... we grow a set of skills that is unique and powerful in this situation.

We also see what you cannot see in the States, you are surrounded by the love of Christ and faith in freedom and humanity, like a fish you think water is 'a puff of air' because it is always there, you do not notice it... we who are out of the water look back and see the world we love surrounded by enemies, poison and envy that wants to fall on you like a storm of ruin.

We who joined with vague notions of protecting our country see how desperate the peril, how hungry the enemy and how frail the security we have is. So the more I love you all the more I feel I must keep fighting for you. The more I love and long for home the more right I feel here on the front line standing between you and the seething madness that wants to suck the life and love out of our land.

Does that mean I cannot go home? I hope not, because I want this just to be the postponement of the joy of life, not the sacrifice of mine. If it costs me my life to protect our land and people then that is a small thing, I just hope that fate lets me return to the promise land and remind people just how great our land is.

War is a young mans game, and I am getting an old mans head... it is a strange thing. I just hope that I am not changed so that I cannot take joy in the land inside the wire when I make it home. I want to be with you all again and let my gun sit in the rack and float on my back in a tube down a lazy river...
25005  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: February 27, 2009, 04:27:10 PM
Good find BBG.

The liberal Jewish mindset is the one in which I was raised in Manhattan NYC.  It is now a mystery to me-- and I to them.

Crafty Dog--Infidel Dog of the Never Again Brigades!
25006  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: February 27, 2009, 04:24:17 PM
Knock me down with a feather twice-- once for Broder and once for Kinsley!

Liberal columnist Michael Kinsley, writing in the Washington Post, on the hidden dangers of deficit spending:

[E]ven if the stimulus is a magnificent success, the money still has to be paid back. The plan of record apparently is that we keep borrowing, spending and stimulating, faster and faster, until suddenly, on some signal from heaven or Timothy Geithner, we all stop spending and start saving in recordbreaking amounts. Oh sure, that will work.

There is another way. If it's not the actual, secret plan, it will be an overwhelming temptation: Don't pay the money back. So far, even as one piggy bank after another astounds us with its emptiness, there have been only the faintest whispers about the possibility of an actual default by the U.S. government. Somewhat louder whispers can be heard, though, about the gradual default known as inflation. Just three or four years of currency erosion at, say, 10 percent a year would slice the real value of our debt -- public and private, U.S. bonds and jumbo mortgages -- in half.

Anyone who regards the prospect of double-digit inflation with insouciance is either too young to have lived through it the last time (the late 1970s) or too old to remember. Among other problems, inflation works only as a surprise or betrayal. It can never be part of any public, official plan. Plan for 10 percent inflation, and you'll get 20. Plan for 20 and you'll need a wheelbarrow to pay for your morning Starbucks. But if that's not the plan, what is?
25007  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Postal Inspectors stop knifing on: February 27, 2009, 04:16:10 PM
Daylight stabbing in downtown Buffalo

Dramatic scene captured on video

Updated: Thursday, 26 Feb 2009, 7:46 PM EST
Published : Thursday, 26 Feb 2009, 7:40 PM EST

George Richert

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - An apparent domestic dispute triggered a dramatic scene in downtown Buffalo, where bystanders rushed to help a woman while she was stabbed in broad daylight.

Here was the scene Wednesday in front of the Main Place Mall:
"Drop it now! For the love of God, just drop it!"

49-year-old Jeffrey Pearson is charged with attempted murder after repeatedly stabbing a woman right there in broad daylight.
Arthur Perkins said, "And had it not been for that leather coat she had on, she'd have been hurt more."

Perkins started recording with his cell phone, just as a Federal agent drew his gun to stop the attack.

Perkins said, "About 15 seconds into the stabbing, he just came out of nowhere."
That was United States Postal Inpsector Chris Buszka and his partner Marty Arthur who just happened to be outside talking nearby.
Buszka said, "Ya just rely on your training."

At first, Pearson was shaking so hard he couldn't drop the knife.
Buszka said, "Grabbed his wrist which made him drop the knife."
Arthur said, "And we pushed him to the ground and handcuffed him."
Pearson is now charged with attempted murder.

News 4's George Richert asked, "Can you explain your actions yesterday."
Pearson said, "Yes, I did that, but it was her fault. She violated the order of protection first."
The victim had a restraining order against him since last month.

A friend of the victim, Raelynn Loncarevich, said, "I think it was more of a stalker issue with this guy, as opposed to domestic violence."
"But I know the positive is that she's not gonna have to worry about him anymore."
The victim is said to be recovering well in the hospital.

A grand jury is expected to get the attempted murder case next week.

Click here for newsvideo:
25008  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ An inconvenient tax on: February 27, 2009, 11:41:22 AM
That didn't take long. The same week that President Obama promised (again) that "95% of working families" would not see their taxes rise by "a single dime," his own budget reveals that taxes will rise for 100% of everyone for the sake of global warming. Ahem.

You don't even have to burrow into yesterday's budget fine print to discover the "climate revenues" section, where the White House discloses that it expects $78.7 billion in new tax revenue in 2012 from its cap-and-trade program. The pot of cash grows to $237 billion through 2014, and at least $646 billion through 2019. If this isn't tax revenue, what is it? Manna from heaven? The offset from Al Gore's carbon footprint?

If it brings in revenue that the government then spends, it's a tax, and politicians should start referring to it as such. The Administration in fact projects that these "climate revenues" will become the sixth largest source of federal receipts by 2019, outpaced only by individual and corporate income taxes, payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare and (barely) excise taxes. We're supposed to be living in a new era of fiscal honesty, so let's start with cap and trade.

Of course it's easy to see why Democrats don't want the public to think of cap and trade as a tax. Tax increases aren't popular, as Mr. Gore learned when he and Bill Clinton tried to impose a BTU tax in 1993. The complex cap-and-trade tax would ripple throughout the energy chain and ultimately the entire economy. All consumers, not just "the rich," would pay more for goods and services that use carbon energy -- though some would pay more than others. A majority of those "95% of working families" probably lives in the middle of the country that relies far more on manufacturing and coal-fired power than do the better-off coastal regions.

Mr. Obama's Energy Secretary Steven Chu was refreshingly candid on this point with the New York Times earlier this month. Given that higher prices are supposed to motivate the changes necessary to reduce carbon energy use, Mr. Chu said he was worried that climate taxes may drive jobs to countries where costs are cheaper. "The concern about cap and trade in today's economic climate," he said, "is that a lot of money might flow to developing countries in a way that might not be completely politically sellable." You are correct, sir.

Meanwhile, the political class loves a cap-and-trade tax because it gives them new economic and political power. Congress would create a new property right to expend CO2, setting a price per ton on carbon output, and then Congress would also get to determine the distribution of allowances. The Administration wants all of them to be auctioned off, which is what creates the giant revenue windfall. The politicians would then decide how to spend all of that new "climate revenue."

Mr. Obama's budget proposes to spend this windfall on two items: $15 billion a year in more subsidies for alternative fuels, and $65 billion or so a year to finance tax subsidies for workers, many of whom don't pay income taxes. In other words, once this cap-and-trade tax is on the books, the revenue stream will create political constituencies that depend on it.

No new pot of gold goes uncontested, however, so you can assume that Mr. Obama's priorities will not go unchallenged. Already on Capitol Hill, Charlie Rangel's tax committee and Henry Waxman's energy clan are feuding about who gets to divvy up the spoils. Not to mention who gets the political control that will become a source of tens of millions in new campaign contributions from thousands of affected businesses.

By the way, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that cap-and-trade taxes would actually throw off as much as $300 billion every year -- not merely $78.7 billion -- and in a footnote the Obama budget implicitly acknowledges that its $645.7 billion estimate is a lowball: "All additional net proceeds will be used to further compensate the public." No doubt.
25009  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor: Turkey and Iran on: February 27, 2009, 11:33:46 AM
Geopolitical Diary: The Turkish and Iranian Balance of Power

Turkish President Abdullah Gul announced on Thursday that he will make a one-day trip to Iran on March 10 to attend the Economic Cooperation Organization summit. While the summit aims to improve economic and commercial relations among the member states, the leaders will also discuss bilateral relations and regional issues. Of the two items on Gul’s agenda, his bilateral meetings with the Iranians hold far more interest for STRATFOR than anything that the summit will generate.

Both Turkey and Iran are on the rise. Until relatively recent times, both have been contained by various forces, most notably Iraq and the Soviet Union. Between the end of the Cold War and American defeat of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, however, many restrictions on the power of both states evaporated. Both Turkey and Iran are looking for wider roles in their region. Both have grand imperial pasts. Both have ambitions. And both are somewhat oddballs in the world of geopolitics.

Most nations are oriented around a piece of flat, core territory where the nationality was not just born, but has entrenched itself. For France, Germany and Poland, that core is their respective portions of the Northern European Plain. The core territory of the United States is the coastal Atlantic strip east of the Appalachians. Argentina is centered on the bountiful flatlands around Buenos Aires. The defining territory of China comprises the fertile regions between the Yellow and Yangtze rivers.

Such flatness is critical to the development of a nation because the lack of internal geographic barriers allows the dominant culture to assimilate or eliminate groups that would dilute or challenge its power. Additionally, plains regions tend to boast river systems that allow thriving agricultural, transportation and trade opportunities that mountainous regions lack. Very few states count mountains as their core simply because mountains are difficult to pacify. It is very easy for dissident or minority groups to root themselves in such regions, and the writ of the state is often weak. Consequently, most mountainous states are defined not by success but by failure. Lebanon, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and Laos come to mind.

Turkey and Iran are different. Their core lands are mountainous regions — the Anatolian Peninsula for Asia Minor and the Zagros Mountains of Persia. Even though the Turks are not original descendants of their their Anatolian power base, they were able to secure their central lands when they swept in as conquerors a millennium ago and have since destroyed or assimilated most of the natives. The Persians ruled through a dizzyingly complex system of interconnected elites that succeeded in instilling a common Persian culture that extended somewhat beyond mere ethnicity, all while keeping the base of power in the Persians’ hands.

But that is where the similarities end. As these two states both return to prominence, it is almost inevitable that Turkey that will fare better than Iran, simply because the Turks enjoy the advantage of geography. Anatolia is a plateau surrounded by water on three sides and enjoys the blessing of the Golden Horn, which transforms the well-positioned city of Istanbul into one of the world’s best — and certainly most strategically located — ports. Turkey straddles Europe and Asia, the Balkans and the Islamic world, the former Soviet Union and the Mediterranean Basin. The result is a culture not only incredibly aware of international events, but one steeped in trade whether via its land connections or —by virtue of being a peninsula — maritime trade. Unsurprisingly, for a good chunk of the past 2,000 years, Anatolia — whether under the Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantines or most recently under the Turks themselves — has been at or nea r the center of human development.

By comparison, Iran got shortchanged. Although Iran has water on two sides, it has a minimal maritime tradition. Its plateau is a salt desert. The Caspian Sea is landlocked and boasts no major population centers aside from Baku — the capital of another country with a hostile ethnic group. The Persian Gulf coast of Iran is not only lightly populated, but it is easy for powers on the gulf’s southern coast to block Iranian water access to the wider world. While Anatolia has a number of regions that are well watered — even though it does not have many rivers — Persia is predominately an arid region.

The Turks also enjoy demographic advantages. Only one-fifth of Turkey’s population is non-Turkish, while roughly half of Iran is non-Persian. Iran requires a large army simply to maintain rule at home, while Turkey has the relative freedom to expend resources on power projection tools such as an air force and navy. The difference shines through in their respective economies as well. Despite having nearly identical populations in terms of size, Iran’s economy is only two-fifths the size of Turkey’s. Even in the battle of ideologies, Turkey retains the advantage. The Arab majority in the region prefer Turkey — a fellow Sunni power — to take the lead in managing regional affairs, whereas Shiite Persian Iran is the historical rival of the Arab world.

Iran may be junior to Turkey in a geopolitical contest, but Iran is still a power that Turkey has to take into consideration. In a major historical reversal, the Iranians have regained influence over Iraq with the rise of a Shia-dominated government that they had lost to the Turks in the mid-1550s, bringing the two powers closer into contact. When two expansionary powers interact closely — as Turkey and Iran are now — they can be either driven to conflict or come to an understanding regarding their respective spheres of influence. In the present day, there are probably more causes for cooperation than conflict between Ankara and Tehran. Iran’s westward expansion gives Turkey and Iran good reasons to cooperate in order to contain Iraq’s Kurdish population in the north. Moreover, Turkey’s bid to become a major energy transit state would improve significantly through a better relationship with Iran.

Given this dynamic, Gul’s upcoming trip to Iran is likely to be the first of many. The Turks and the Persians have much to sort out on the bilateral level as each seeks to expand their geopolitical influence.
25010  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / NYT: BO gives AQ suspect a civilian trial on: February 27, 2009, 11:17:46 AM
Its the NY Slimes, so caveat lector:


U.S. Will Give Qaeda Suspect a Civilian Trial
Published: February 26, 2009

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department, in an abrupt change in policy from the Bush administration, is preparing to bring terrorism-related charges against a man identified as an operative of Al Qaeda who has been held in a military brig for more than five years, government officials said Thursday.

The charges would move the case of the only enemy combatant to be held on American soil, Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, into a civilian criminal court. The Bush administration had argued that he could be held indefinitely without being charged.

The decision also would allow the Obama administration to avoid taking a position for the time being on whether a president may detain legal residents indefinitely without trial.

The Justice Department faced a March 23 deadline to file a brief with the Supreme Court declaring whether it was continuing to hold to the Bush administration’s position that the government had the authority to detain legal residents like Mr. Marri indefinitely, without charges.

The decision to move Mr. Marri to a civilian court should give the Obama administration time to sidestep that issue for now as it sets about a large-scale review of detention policies that would affect those prisoners being held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and those who may later be captured on suspicion of involvement with terrorism.

Mr. Marri was arrested in Peoria, Ill., in December 2001, and moved to the Navy brig in Charleston, S.C., in 2003. The Bush administration described him as a sleeper agent for Al Qaeda.

Mr. Marri is expected to be charged in Illinois as early as Friday with providing material support to terrorist groups. The Justice Department would then probably ask the Supreme Court to drop the case from its docket, saying that the issue was moot.

The decision to bring criminal charges against Mr. Marri was reported separately Thursday on the Web sites of The Washington Post and The New Yorker.

At least in part, the decision is a demonstration that Obama administration officials believe the nation’s civilian courts are capable of handling some terrorism cases.

Bush administration officials had argued that the president needed the authority to detain some terrorism suspects indefinitely because it was impracticable to prosecute many of them in civilian courts.

The issue as to whether there are some terrorism cases that cannot be successfully brought in a civilian criminal court is also at the heart of the debate about what to do with many of the 245 detainees still at Guantánamo.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said Thursday that legal teams would reassess each of the inmates at Guantánamo to decide whether they should be prosecuted for criminal offenses or released.

“We need to look at these people again,” he said in an interview at his office at the Justice Department. “What kind of threats do they represent, if they pose any threats at all? We are determined to do this on an individualized basis.”

Mr. Holder said that some detainees were likely to be found to represent a low enough security risk to warrant their release, but that others would be likely to be found to have engaged in terrorist acts and would be prosecuted under a legal system that he said “must be seen as fair and must be fair.”

He said that department officials had not determined in what forum such prosecutions might take place, but that officials had not ruled out calling for legislation to create a new legal entity like a civilian national security court.

Several lawyers both inside and outside the academic world have said there was a need for such a new court that would allow the government to deal with the most troublesome group of terrorist suspects: those who are believed to be too dangerous to release but who could not be prosecuted effectively because it would require highly classified evidence.

Justice Department officials declined to discuss the developments on the Marri case. But after taking office, President Obama ordered a review of the situation and the decision to charge Mr. Marri in federal court reflected the results of that review, officials said.

Jonathan Hafetz of the American Civil Liberties Union, the lead lawyer in the case, said bringing charges would “definitely be a positive step in that the government will no longer be detaining Mr. Marri without charge and returning him to the civilian justice system.”

But Mr. Hafetz said the criminal charges should have been filed seven years ago, when Mr. Marri was first arrested in Peoria on suspicion of ties to Al Qaeda.

He said the Supreme Court should reject any government argument that the case is moot because the issue of whether the government may indefinitely detain legal residents or those in Guantánamo remains alive.

The case should go forward, Mr. Hafetz said, “to make clear, once and for all, that the indefinite military detention of legal residents or American citizens is illegal, and to prevent this from ever happening again.”

If the Supreme Court does not consider the case, it would leave in place a decision of the federal appeals court in Richmond, that upheld President George W. Bush’s authority to detain Mr. Marri indefinitely and without charging him.

In preparation for arguments before the Supreme Court, the Bush administration provided a sworn 2004 statement from Jeffrey N. Rapp, a military intelligence official. It said Mr. Marri had met with Osama bin Laden and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the chief plotter of the Sept. 11 attacks, in the summer of 2001.

“Al-Marri offered to be an Al Qaeda martyr or to do anything else that Al Qaeda requested,” Mr. Rapp said.

The Qaeda leaders told Mr. Marri, the statement said, to leave for the United States and to make sure he got there before Sept. 11.

John Schwartz contributed reporting from New York.
25011  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Ralph Peters: Ghost States on: February 27, 2009, 10:44:47 AM

February 27, 2009

PAKISTAN'S bloodied Northwest Frontier Province is getting a new name: Pakhtunkhwa, or "Land of the Pashtun" tribesmen. A key demand of Taliban radicals, the new title isn't an end, but a beginning.

Obsessed with the "integrity" of dysfunctional, artificial borders, US policy-makers struggle to come to grips with the Taliban, an overwhelmingly Pashtun organization. For its part, the Taliban functions as the shadow government of a ghost state sprawling across huge stretches of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Pakhtunkhwa already exists in fact, if not in the UN General Assembly. The writs of the governments in Islamabad and Kabul run up to the international border on our maps, but not in reality. We play along with the fantasy.

Census numbers are flimsy, but up to 42 million Pashtuns (or Pakhtuns or Pathans) live in the region, with perhaps 13 million in Afghanistan and double that number in Pakistan. That would make Greater Pakhtunkhwa a middle-weight nation, population-wise.

United by old blood and various dialects of Pashto, the Pashtuns are a collection of five-dozen major tribes that long have functioned as a primitive state, governed by tribal councils amid hundreds of sub-tribes. Although briefly united at a few junctures in history, their primary goal has been the defense of local territory against outsiders, not central administration.

Now the Pashtuns, as manifested by the Taliban, seek an authentic state governed by Sharia law. It isn't good news for us, for women, or for the feeble states of Afghanistan and Pakistan. But how much of our blood and treasure is it worth to keep those wretched states on life support, while denying the vigor of a ghost state fighting to become flesh?

A Pakhtunkhwa that includes all of the Pashtuns would be culturally abhorrent. But it may be inevitable. Are we fighting forces our measures can't defeat?

Nor is the ghost-state problem limited to our confused efforts in Afghanistan. The 6 million Kurds in northern Iraq are ethnically, linguistically and culturally different from the oppressive Arab majority to the south. Iraq's Kurds are also the most-advanced Middle Eastern population outside of Israel (and the most pro-American).

Well, the ghost nation of Kurdistan isn't just three Iraqi provinces, but a broader Kurdish state struggling to be born. Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Syria and the southern Caucasus hold 30 million Kurds between them, nearly all subject to Jim Crow laws and worse.

The Kurds are struggling for freedom. We find them an inconvenience.

But "inconveniences" don't go away just because we ignore them. Consider yet another ghost state where US troops have engaged: Greater Albania.

Again, census numbers are sticky, but Albania itself has a population of 3 million to 4 million, with another 1½ million ethnic Albanians in Kosovo and a half-million more in Macedonia and Montenegro.

How much effort should we expend to prevent the natural emergence of Greater Albania? Doesn't self-determination count in the clinch? (As for a "Muslim menace," a third of Albania's inhabitants are Christians. In the Balkans, organized crime's a far greater threat than Islam.)

Of course, a ghost state of a different sort exists on our Southwest border and in northern Mexico. But, apart from a few rabid activists in La Raza, that's one ghost state that doesn't seek a real state. The difference? Individual rights and fair opportunities, guaranteed by the rule of law (on our side of the border).

Contrary to racist myths, few Latinos want to return our Southwest to the Mexico they fled. Nobody's going to vote for death squads, corruption, poverty and a narco-state. While we need to fully control our border and boot out convicted criminals immediately, self-interest and economics will handle the rest.

Yet, we do need to recognize that the age of European Imperialism, to which we were an adjunct, left a legacy of international borders that range from the awkward to the impossible - and no state wants to give up an inch of territory, even when its efforts to control separatists appear suicidal.

We don't need to play along, though, except when it's clearly in our national interest. The question before us is blunt: Should our soldiers die to preserve the disastrous borders Europeans left behind?

Should Free Kurdistan, or Greater Albania, or even a full-fledged Pakhtunkhwa be opposed simply because their emergence would mean shifting desks in the State Department? Can our policy-makers even tell the difference between the expedient and the inevitable?

The borders Europe left behind are prisons. How long will we be the guards up on the walls?
25012  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: POSTPONED!!! Guro Crafty in Hemet on Sunday March 1 on: February 27, 2009, 09:34:40 AM
All is well, and thanks for the understanding.  I will get talk with Surf (if he's not too mad!  embarassed cheesy ) and we will plan a bit further our in advance.
25013  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: February 27, 2009, 09:32:51 AM
Assuming for the moment that BO wouldn't shoot down Israeli jets, given what we have just seen in giving $900 to Hamas, it seems pretty likely to give him a chance to do what he wants-- rupture the alliance with Israel.

Of course the Israelis just handled Syria, but the point here is about using them as a flight plath, an even longer one that over Iraq, and one with substantial risk of being spotted and Iran notified.

And if sounds like we both agree that such raids are not likely to achieve lasting consequence , , ,
25014  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / a citizen; J. Adams on: February 27, 2009, 09:28:19 AM
"Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? It is feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American. ...[T]he unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people."

--A Pennsylvanian, The Pennsylvania Gazette, 20 February 1788

"Liberty must at all hazards be supported. We have a right to it, derived from our Maker. But if we had not, our fathers have earned and bought it for us, at the expense of their ease, their estates, their pleasure, and their blood." --John Adams
25015  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: February 26, 2009, 11:01:56 PM
Agree the Israeli are awesome, but the logistics of hitting Iran are a b*tch.

Distance makes fuel a serious issue, even flying over Iraq.  Do you think His Glibness will let them fly over Iraq?!?



And WHERE to hit?  With WHAT?   The sites are quite numerous, many locations not known, and most of them are hardened, and as Stratfor knows, plenty of them are now protected by Russian AA.

The only technically feasible option which occurs to me is missile launches from Israeli subs-- and that opens the gates to hell itself.
25016  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: POSTPONED!!! Guro Crafty in Hemet on Sunday March 1 on: February 26, 2009, 10:41:34 PM
Woof All:

My deep apologies, but I need to postpone this weekend's seminar.  Something has come up unexpectedly that requires that I be there for my son.  It would be too long a song and dance to explain here, so I will just ask for everyone's understanding and forgiveness.

I've just left messages on Surf's various phone numbers, and post here now to maximize the notice.

Guro Crafty
25017  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: North Korea on: February 26, 2009, 10:30:35 PM
Can open.  Worms everywhere , , ,
25018  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: February 26, 2009, 10:19:33 PM
Again, what military options does Israel really have here?

25019  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Pelosi tosses cold water on AWB? on: February 26, 2009, 06:47:07 PM
Pelosi tosses cold water on assault-weapon ban

Pelosi tosses cold water on assault-weapon ban
By Mike Soraghan

Posted: 02/26/09 11:59 AM [ET]

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tossed cold water on the prospect of reinstating the assault weapons ban, highlighting Democrats’ reluctance to take on gun issues.

Attorney General Eric Holder raised the prospect Wednesday that the administration would push to bring back the ban. But Pelosi (D-Calif.) indicated on Thursday that he never talked to her. The Speaker gave a flat “no” when asked if she had talked to administration officials about the ban.

“On that score, I think we need to enforce the laws we have right now,” Pelosi said at her weekly news conference. “I think it's clear the Bush administration didn’t do that.”

Outside of the dig at the recent Republican president, that phrase is the stock line of those who don’t want to pass new gun control laws, such as the National Rifle Association.

The White House declined to comment on Holder's remarks, referring reporters to the Department of Justice. The DoJ did not respond to The Hill's request for comment.
25020  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / PLEASE USE SUBJECT HEADINGS on: February 26, 2009, 06:28:33 PM

The value of the search function is tremendously improved when we bother to use the Subject heading when we post.  Lets do better with this please.

Thank you,
25021  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Senator from DC? Screw the C.! on: February 26, 2009, 06:25:28 PM
Associated Press Writer Jim Abrams, Associated Press Writer – 25 mins ago
Featured Topics: Barack Obama Presidential Transition WASHINGTON(AP — The right to a vote in Congress denied the District of Columbia when it became the nation's capital two centuries ago would be granted under legislation the Senate passed Thursday.

Congress is "moving to right a centuries-old wrong," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid shortly before the 61-37 vote.

The House is expected to pass the measure with a strong majority next week and President Barack Obama, a co-sponsor when the bill failed to clear the Senate two years ago, has promised to sign it.

The measure is likely to face a court challenge immediately after becoming law; opponents argue that it is unconstitutional because D.C. is not a state and does not qualify for representation.

Sen. Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut independent, who sponsored the bill with Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, expressed confidence that they could win the legal argument and noted that the bill contained an expedited appeals process to ensure a quick court decision.

The real issue, he said, is that the disenfranchisement of 600,000 residents of the nation's capital "is patently unjust and un-American in a sense of the best principles of this country."

"This is a historic moment," said Ilir Zherka, head of the advocacy group DC Vote. "In 2007 we were gaining tremendous momentum," he said. "The huge difference this year is that we have an advocate in the White House."

Two years ago, with Democrats holding a smaller majority in the Senate and then-President George W. Bush threatening a veto on constitutional grounds, the Senate fell three votes short of overcoming a GOP-led filibuster.

Under the rules of debate Thursday, supporters needed 60 votes to win passage. Six Republicans voted for the measure while two Democrats opposed it.

Utah's Hatch was a co-sponsor in part because the legislation, to offset the certain Democratic gain from D.C., adds a fourth district to Republican-leaning Utah. That would increase House voting membership by two, to 437.

The two representatives would be seated at the start of the next session in January 2011. Utah's maintaining that fourth seat would depend on the outcome of the 2010 census. Utah barely missed out on picking up an extra seat after the 2000 census.

The final Senate vote came after supporters turned back a constitutional challenge and another amendment that would have effectively returned the nonfederal areas of the district to Maryland.

Senators did approve, 62-36, a controversial amendment pushed by pro-gun advocates that overturns most of the district's tough gun control laws. That provision would still have to be approved when the House and Senate meet to reconcile differences in their bills.

Opponents of the legislation pointed to Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution, which says members of the House should be chosen "by the people of the several states."

The Constitution is clear, said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, that "only states elect members of Congress. And according to the same article, the seat of the federal government is not to be considered a state."

Congress in 1978 did approve a constitutional amendment giving the district a full voice in Congress, but it was unable to win ratification of three-fourths of state legislatures.

Those on the other side cited Article I, Section 8, which empowers Congress to "exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever" over the district chosen to be the national capital. Constitutional scholars, they say, agree that gives Congress the right to give the district a vote. They add that D.C. residents pay federal taxes and serve in the military and that the courts have long considered the district equivalent to a state in matters such as interstate commerce, taxation and criminal matters.

D.C. residents have had the right to vote in presidential elections since the 23rd Amendment was ratified in 1961.

25022  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: February 26, 2009, 03:31:09 PM
In a closely related vein, see my post on the Intel Matters thread about the new head of the powerful NIE  shocked cry
25023  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor: Russia, Bushehr reactor, Iran, US on: February 26, 2009, 10:51:21 AM
A flurry of activity at Iran’s Russian-built Bushehr nuclear power facility Feb. 25 marked another slow step in the long-delayed plant’s activation. But the final delivery of Russian fuel late last month and Iran’s current testing at the facility are not taking place in a vacuum. Washington is watching closely.

Related Special Topic Pages
Ballistic Missile Defense
U.S.-Iran Negotiations
The Russian Resurgence
Iran reportedly started running tests at its nuclear power plant at Bushehr on Feb. 25, heralding the facility’s pre-commissioning stage, according to the deputy head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Mohammad Saeedi. Sergei Kiriyenko, the head of Russia’s state nuclear agency, stood beside Saeedi and told reporters that while the construction phase is complete, he did not yet have a specific schedule for when the plant would be brought online (though in an earlier statement he did allude to a “trial run” later this year). The head of the AEOI, Gholamreza Aghazadeh, has stated that these tests will take between four and seven months.

Geopolitically, the Bushehr nuclear power plant has been one of the key bargaining chips that the Russians like to use in their negotiations with the United States. By making moves that Washington could see as threatening — such as providing Iran with the tools to jump-start a nuclear power plant or selling Iran — Moscow attempts to command Washington’s attention on issues deemed vital to Russian interests.

This is not to say that the Russians are particularly keen on seeing a nuclear-armed Iran. On the contrary, Russia has a common interest with the West in keeping its southern neighbor contained and has worked to ensure that Russian fuel shipments will not be repurposed for military uses, and that spent fuel will be repatriated to Russia.

Click map to enlarge
At the same time, Russia is not afraid to use the Iranian nuclear issue to up the ante when it feels the need to push the United States into making certain concessions in the much broader range of issues on the table, from ballistic missile defense (BMD) in Europe to assurances about the integrity of a Russian sphere of influence. The continued work on Bushehr (Russia could hardly have put it off for any longer) will not go unnoticed in Washington.

Two weeks ago, the U.S. began to signal that its controversial European BMD system in Europe might be up for negotiation as part of a larger understanding with Russia. Indeed, on Feb. 12, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton linked the two issues of European BMD and Iran. While negotiations of such magnitude and gravity do not happen overnight, the celebrations at Bushehr on Feb. 25 are a reminder of the reach and scope of Russian foreign policy and how pressure can be brought to bear on the Americans in any number of places and issues around the world.

Iran will continue to be an issue. And Moscow still has a very powerful lever with Iran because of the latter’s reliance on the Russians for fuel. Iran lacks the mineral resources to sustain any sort of meaningful nuclear power production facility on its own — to say nothing of a 1 gigawatt reactor. So while estimates suggest that Iran now has sufficient nuclear fuel for the initial fueling of Bushehr, Tehran will continue to depend on Moscow for the fuel to sustain operations. This provides Russia with a long-term lever — a lever than can either be used to make things more problematic or more manageable for Washington. Even Russian non-interference would be a welcome development in Washington.

But that non-interference will come with a price elsewhere.
25024  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / How do we respond to this? on: February 26, 2009, 09:08:18 AM
U.S. Is Arms Bazaar for Mexican Cartels

Published: February 25, 2009
PHOENIX — The Mexican agents who moved in on a safe house full of drug dealers last May were not prepared for the fire power that greeted them.

Skip to next paragraph
When the shooting was over, eight agents were dead. Among the guns the police recovered was an assault rifle traced back across the border to a dingy gun store here called X-Caliber Guns.
Now, the owner, George Iknadosian, will go on trial on charges he sold hundreds of weapons, mostly AK-47 rifles, to smugglers, knowing they would send them to a drug cartel in the western state of Sinaloa. The guns helped fuel the gang warfare in which more than 6,000 Mexicans died last year.

Mexican authorities have long complained that American gun dealers are arming the cartels. This case is the most prominent prosecution of an American gun dealer since the United States promised Mexico two years ago it would clamp down on the smuggling of weapons across the border. It also offers a rare glimpse of how weapons delivered to American gun dealers are being moved into Mexico and wielded in horrific crimes.

“We had a direct pipeline from Iknadosian to the Sinaloa cartel,” said Thomas G. Mangan, a spokesman for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Phoenix.

Drug gangs seek out guns in the United States because the gun-control laws are far tougher in Mexico. Mexican civilians must get approval from the military to buy guns and they cannot own large-caliber rifles or high-powered pistols, which are considered military weapons.

The ease with which Mr. Iknadosian and two other men transported weapons to Mexico over a two-year period illustrates just how difficult it is to stop the illicit trade, law enforcement officials here say.

The gun laws in the United States allow the sale of multiple military-style rifles to American citizens without reporting the sales to the government, and the Mexicans search relatively few cars and trucks going south across their border.

What is more, the sheer volume of licensed dealers — more than 6,600 along the border alone, many of them operating out of their houses — makes policing them a tall order. Currently the A.T.F. has about 200 agents assigned to the task.

Smugglers routinely enlist Americans with clean criminal records to buy two or three rifles at a time, often from different shops, then transport them across the border in cars and trucks, often secreting them in door panels or under the hood, law enforcement officials here say. Some of the smuggled weapons are also bought from private individuals at gun shows, and the law requires no notification of the authorities in those cases.

“We can move against the most outrageous purveyors of arms to Mexico, but the characteristic of the arms trade is it’s a ‘parade of ants’ — it’s not any one big dealer, it’s lots of individuals,” said Arizona’s attorney general, Terry Goddard, who is prosecuting Mr. Iknadosian. “That makes it very hard to detect because it’s often below the radar.”

The Mexican government began to clamp down on drug cartels in late 2006, unleashing a war that daily deposits dozens of bodies — often gruesomely tortured — on Mexico’s streets. President Felipe Calderón has characterized the stream of smuggled weapons as one of the most significant threats to security in his country. The Mexican authorities say they seized 20,000 weapons from drug gangs in 2008, the majority bought in the United States.

The authorities in the United States say they do not know how many firearms are transported across the border each year, in part because the federal government does not track gun sales and traces only weapons used in crimes. But A.T.F. officials estimate 90 percent of the weapons recovered in Mexico come from dealers north of the border.

In 2007, the firearms agency traced 2,400 weapons seized in Mexico back to dealers in the United States, and 1,800 of those came from dealers operating in the four states along the border, with Texas first, followed by California, Arizona and New Mexico.

Mr. Iknadosian is accused of being one of those dealers. So brazen was his operation that the smugglers paid him in advance for the guns and the straw buyers merely filled out the required paperwork and carried the weapons off, according to A.T.F. investigative reports. The agency said Mr. Iknadosian also sold several guns to undercover agents who had explicitly informed him that they intended to resell them in Mexico.

Mr. Iknadosian, 47, will face trial on March 3 on charges including fraud, conspiracy and assisting a criminal syndicate. His lawyer, Thomas M. Baker, declined to comment on the charges, but said Mr. Iknadosian maintained his innocence. No one answered the telephone at Mr. Iknadosian’s home in Glendale, Ariz.

A native of Egypt who spent much of his life in California, Mr. Iknadosian moved his gun-selling operation to Arizona in 2004, because the gun laws were more lenient, prosecutors said.


Page 2 of 2)

Over the two years leading up to his arrest last May, he sold more than 700 weapons of the kind currently sought by drug dealers in Mexico, including 515 AK-47 rifles and one .50 caliber rifle that can penetrate an engine block or bulletproof glass, the A.T.F. said.

The authorities say weapons from X-Caliber Guns in Phoenix fueled gang warfare in Mexico. Officials say weapons from George Iknadosian’s store in Phoenix ended up in the hands of a cartel that included Alfredo Beltrán Leyva.
Based on the store’s records and the statements of some defendants, investigators estimate at least 600 of those weapons were smuggled to Mexico. So far, the Mexican authorities have seized seven of the Kalashnikov-style rifles from gunmen for the Beltrán Leyva cartel who had battled with the police.

The store was also said to be the source for a Colt .38-caliber pistol stuck in the belt of a reputed drug kingpin, Alfredo Beltrán Leyva, when he was arrested a year ago in the Sinaloan town of Culiacán. Also linked to the store was a diamond-studded handgun carried by another reputed mobster, Hugo David Castro, known as El Once, who was arrested in November on charges he took part in killing a state police chief in Sonora.

According to reports by A.T.F. investigators, Mr. Iknadosian sold more than 60 assault rifles in late 2007 and early 2008 to straw buyers working for two brothers — Hugo Miguel Gamez, 26, and Cesar Bojorguez Gamez, 27 — who then smuggled them into Mexico.

The brothers instructed the buyers to show up at X-Caliber Guns and to tell Mr. Iknadosian they were there to pick up guns for “Cesar” or “C,” the A.T.F. said. Mr. Iknadosian then helped the buyers fill out the required federal form, called the F.B.I. to check their records and handed over the rifles. The straw buyers would then meet one of the brothers to deliver the merchandise. They were paid $100 a gun.

The Gamez brothers have pleaded guilty to a count of attempted fraud. Seven of the buyers arrested last May have pleaded guilty to lesser charges and have agreed to testify against Mr. Iknadosian, prosecutors said.

In one transaction, Mr. Iknadosian gave advice about how to buy weapons and smuggle them to a person who turned out to be an informant who was recording him, according to a transcript. He told the informant to break the sales up into batches and never to carry more than two weapons in a car.

“If you got pulled over, two is no biggie,” Mr. Iknadosian is quoted as saying in the transcript. “Four is a question. Fifteen is, ‘What are you doing?’ ”
25025  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / J. Adams: arms in the hands of citizens on: February 26, 2009, 08:38:53 AM
"To suppose arms in the hands of citizens, to be used at individual discretion, except in private self-defense, or by partial orders of towns, counties or districts of a state, is to demolish every constitution, and lay the laws prostrate, so that liberty can be enjoyed by no man; it is a dissolution of the government. The fundamental law of the militia is, that it be created, directed and commanded by the laws, and ever for the support of the laws."

--John Adams, A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, 1787-1788
25026  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Guro Crafty in Hemet on Sunday March 1 on: February 26, 2009, 01:11:13 AM
From Surf Dog:

  OR YOU CAN CALL LESTER AT 951 492 8362
25027  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Estudio en los riesgos de ser heroe on: February 26, 2009, 12:57:15 AM

En el metro, un criminal se le agarra la bolsa (purse) de una mujer.  Un heroe patea y agarra al criminal, quien le pincha varias veces.

25028  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Grannis! on: February 25, 2009, 07:34:46 PM
The brilliant blog of Scott Grannis:

25029  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: February 25, 2009, 07:12:39 PM
"You think health care is expensive now?  Just wait until the govt. makes it free."  PJ O'Rourke.

25030  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: animals on: February 25, 2009, 07:04:04 PM
Nice post. 

May I ask you to put it either in the "Nature" thread or the "Nature and Man" thread?

Thank you.  I'll delete this thread once you do.
25031  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Daily Expression of Gratitude on: February 25, 2009, 07:02:04 PM
Grateful for the fatherly joy of watching my son's kickboxing lesson today.
25032  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Grandfathers Speak Vol. 2: Sonny Umpad on: February 25, 2009, 04:35:27 PM
It WAS hella cool.

And a hearty woof of affirmation to the fine seeds that Maestro Sonny planted in folks like Maija and Eddy and , , , I not really the one to list the names, but I was greatly impressed by what I saw of his students that day in Oakland.  Maija and I get together occasionally to share.  Good times! cool
25033  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: The C. vs. seats for DC on: February 25, 2009, 03:14:45 PM
The House of Representatives seems set to grow by two Members, to 437, after next year's election. Yesterday the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act passed a key procedural vote in the Senate, making passage of the legislation, which President Obama supports, all but certain. The only thing standing in the way may be the Constitution.

The District of Columbia is reliably and overwhelmingly Democratic, and most of the bill's sponsors are Democrats. But one Republican is conspicuous among its sponsors: Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah. That is because the legislation also creates a new House seat for Mr. Hatch's state, which in 2000 lost out to North Carolina for the 435th seat because the Census Bureau declined to count Mormon missionaries temporarily overseas as Utah residents.

Utah is one of the most Republican states in the country, but this is still a bad trade for the GOP. Whereas the new District of Columbia seat is permanent, and Democratic dominance in D.C. is as permanent as such things can be, the other new seat will be Utah's for only two years. Thereafter, like all other Congressional seats, it will be reassigned every 10 years as part of reapportionment. It could just as easily go to a Democratic state as to a Republican one.

More important, the legislation runs afoul of the plain language of the Constitution, which provides that House members shall be chosen "by the People of the several States" and stipulates that the District of Columbia is not a state.

In 1960, Congress proposed a Constitutional amendment giving residents of the capital the right to vote for President. The 23rd Amendment was ratified the following year. The District already sends a nonvoting delegate to the House, but if Congress wishes to grant it full representation, it should do so by amending, not ignoring, the Constitution.
25034  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: BO's pick for NIE on: February 25, 2009, 02:45:54 PM
It keeps getting worse and worse , , ,

During the presidential campaign, a constant refrain of Barack Obama and other Democratic candidates was that the Bush administration had severely politicized intelligence, resulting in such disasters as the war in Iraq.

Chinese President Hu Jintao, left, greets Chas Freeman Jr., right, at a reception prior to a dinner in his honor in Washington, April 2006.
The irony of course is that, if anything, President Bush badly failed at depoliticizing a CIA that was often hostile to his agenda. Witness the repeated leaks of classified information that undercut his policies. It now appears Mr. Obama has appointed a highly controversial figure to head the National Intelligence Council, which is responsible for producing National Intelligence Estimates. The news Web site yesterday reported that it could confirm rumors that a former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Charles "Chas" Freeman Jr., has been appointed chairman. (My calls to the White House and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence produced neither confirmation nor denial.)

Without question, Mr. Freeman has a distinguished résumé, having served in a long list of State and Defense Department slots. But also without question, he has distinctive political views and affiliations, some of which are more than eyebrow-raising.

In 1997, Mr. Freeman succeeded George McGovern to become the president of the Middle East Policy Council. The MEPC purports to be a nonpartisan, public-affairs group that "strives to ensure that a full range of U.S. interests and views are considered by policy makers" dealing with the Middle East. In fact, its original name until 1991 was the American-Arab Affairs Council, and it is an influential Washington mouthpiece for Saudi Arabia.

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As Mr. Freeman acknowledged in a 2006 interview with an outfit called the Saudi-US Relations Information Service, MEPC owes its endowment to the "generosity" of King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia. Asked in the same interview about his organization's current mission, Mr. Freeman responded, in a revealing non sequitur, that he was "delighted that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has, after a long delay, begun to make serious public relations efforts."

Among MEPC's recent activities in the public relations realm, it has published what it calls an "unabridged" version of "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy" by professors John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt. This controversial 2006 essay argued that American Jews have a "stranglehold" on the U.S. Congress, which they employ to tilt the U.S. toward Israel at the expense of broader American interests. Mr. Freeman has both endorsed the paper's thesis and boasted of MEPC's intrepid stance: "No one else in the United States has dared to publish this article, given the political penalties that the Lobby imposes on those who criticize it."

Unsurprisingly, Mr. Freeman has views about Middle East policy that differ rather sharply from those held by supporters of the state of Israel. More surprisingly, they also differ rather sharply from the views -- or at least the views stated during the campaign -- of the president who has invited him to serve.

While President Obama speaks of helping the people of Israel "search for credible partners with whom they can make peace," Mr. Freeman believes, as he said in a 2007 address to the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs, that "Israel no longer even pretends to seek peace with the Palestinians; it strives instead to pacify them." The primary reason America confronts a terrorism problem today, he continued, is "the brutal oppression of the Palestinians by an Israeli occupation that is about to mark its fortieth anniversary and shows no sign of ending."

Although initial reaction to Mr. Freeman's selection has focused on his views of the Middle East, that region is by no means Mr. Freeman's only area of interest. He has pronounced on a wide variety of other subjects, including China, where he has attempted to explain away the scale and scope of the starkly intensive buildup of the People's Liberation Army. The specter of a Chinese threat, he remarked during a China forum at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in October 2006, is nothing more than "a great fund-raiser for the hyper-expensive advanced weaponry our military-industrial complex prefers to make and our armed forces love to employ."

On the massacre at Tiananmen Square in 1989, Mr. Freeman unabashedly sides with the Chinese government, a remarkable position for an appointee of an administration that has pledged to advance the cause of human rights. Mr. Freeman has been a participant in ChinaSec, a confidential Internet discussion group of China specialists. A copy of one of his postings was provided to me by a former member. "The truly unforgivable mistake of the Chinese authorities," he wrote there in 2006, "was the failure to intervene on a timely basis to nip the demonstrations in the bud." Moreover, "the Politburo's response to the mob scene at 'Tiananmen' stands as a monument to overly cautious behavior on the part of the leadership, not as an example of rash action." Indeed, continued Mr. Freeman, "I do not believe it is acceptable for any country to allow the heart of its national capital to be occupied by dissidents intent on disrupting the normal functions of government, however appealing to foreigners their propaganda may be."

We have already seen a string of poorly vetted appointments from the Obama White House, like those of Tom Daschle and Bill Richardson, that after public scrutiny were tossed under the bus. The chairmanship of the National Intelligence Council differs from those cases, for it does not require Senate confirmation. If someone with such extreme views has been appointed to such a sensitive position, is this a reflection of Mr. Obama's true predilections, or is it proof positive that the Obama White House has never gotten around to vetting its own vetters?

Either way, if those complaining loudest about politicized intelligence have indeed placed a China-coddling Israel basher in charge of drafting the most important analyses prepared by the U.S. government, it is quite a spectacle. The problem is not that Mr. Freeman will shade National Intelligence Estimates to suit the administration's political views. The far more serious danger is that he will steer them to reflect his own outlandish perspectives and prejudices.

Mr. Schoenfeld, a resident scholar at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, N.J., is writing a book about secrecy and national security.
25035  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Strat: The long arm of the lawless. on: February 25, 2009, 02:41:00 PM
Nice find Tom.

By Fred Burton and Scott Stewart

Related Special Topic Page
Tracking Mexico’s Drug Cartels
Last week we discussed the impact that crime, and specifically kidnapping, has been having on Mexican citizens and foreigners visiting or living in Mexico. We pointed out that there is almost no area of Mexico immune from the crime and violence. As if on cue, on the night of Feb. 21 a group of heavily armed men threw two grenades at a police building in Zihuatanejo, Guerrero state, wounding at least five people. Zihuatanejo is a normally quiet beach resort just north of Acapulco; the attack has caused the town’s entire police force to go on strike. (Police strikes, or threats of strikes, are not uncommon in Mexico.)

Mexican police have regularly been targeted by drug cartels, with police officials even having been forced to seek safety in the United States, but such incidents have occurred most frequently in areas of high cartel activity like Veracruz state or Palomas. The Zihuatanejo incident is proof of the pervasiveness of violence in Mexico, and demonstrates the impact that such violence quickly can have on an area generally considered safe.

Significantly, the impact of violent Mexican criminals stretches far beyond Mexico itself. In recent weeks, Mexican criminals have been involved in killings in Argentina, Peru and Guatemala, and Mexican criminals have been arrested as far away as Italy and Spain. Their impact — and the extreme violence they embrace — is therefore not limited to Mexico or even just to Latin America. For some years now, STRATFOR has discussed the threat that Mexican cartel violence could spread to the United States, and we have chronicled the spread of such violence to the U.S.-Mexican border and beyond.

Traditionally, Mexican drug-trafficking organizations had focused largely on the transfer of narcotics through Mexico. Once the South American cartels encountered serious problems bringing narcotics directly into the United States, they began to focus more on transporting the narcotics to Mexico. From that point, the Mexican cartels transported them north and then handed them off to U.S. street gangs and other organizations, which handled much of the narcotics distribution inside the United States. In recent years, however, these Mexican groups have grown in power and have begun to take greater control of the entire narcotics-trafficking supply chain.

With greater control comes greater profitability as the percentages demanded by middlemen are cut out. The Mexican cartels have worked to have a greater presence in Central and South America, and now import from South America into Mexico an increasing percentage of the products they sell. They are also diversifying their routes and have gone global; they now even traffic their wares to Europe. At the same time, Mexican drug-trafficking organizations also have increased their distribution operations inside the United States to expand their profits even further. As these Mexican organizations continue to spread beyond the border areas, their profits and power will extend even further — and they will bring their culture of violence to new areas.

Burned in Phoenix
The spillover of violence from Mexico began some time ago in border towns like Laredo and El Paso in Texas, where merchants and wealthy families face extortion and kidnapping threats from Mexican gangs, and where drug dealers who refuse to pay “taxes” to Mexican cartel bosses are gunned down. But now, the threat posed by Mexican criminals is beginning to spread north from the U.S.-Mexican border. One location that has felt this expanding threat most acutely is Phoenix, some 185 miles north of the border. Some sensational cases have highlighted the increased threat in Phoenix, such as a June 2008 armed assault in which a group of heavily armed cartel gunmen dressed like a Phoenix Police Department tactical team fired more than 100 rounds into a residence during the targeted killing of a Jamaican drug dealer who had double-crossed a Mexican cartel. We have also observed cartel-related violence in places like Dallas and Austin, Texas. But Phoenix has been the hardest hit.

Narcotics smuggling and drug-related assassinations are not the only thing the Mexican criminals have brought to Phoenix. Other criminal gangs have been heavily involved in human smuggling, arms smuggling, money laundering and other crimes. Due to the confluence of these Mexican criminal gangs, Phoenix has now become the kidnapping-for-ransom capital of the United States. According to a Phoenix Police Department source, the department received 368 kidnapping reports last year. As we discussed last week, kidnapping is a highly underreported crime in places such as Mexico, making it very difficult to measure accurately. Based upon experience with kidnapping statistics in other parts of the world — specifically Latin America — it would not be unreasonable to assume that there were at least as many unreported kidnappings in Phoenix as there are reported kidnappings.

At present, the kidnapping environment in the United States is very different from that of Mexico, Guatemala or Colombia. In those countries, kidnapping runs rampant and has become a well-developed industry with a substantial established infrastructure. Police corruption and incompetence ensures that kidnappers are rarely caught or successfully prosecuted.

A variety of motives can lie behind kidnappings. In the United States, crime statistics demonstrate that motives such as sexual exploitation, custody disputes and short-term kidnapping for robbery have far surpassed the number of reported kidnappings conducted for ransom. In places like Mexico, kidnapping for ransom is much more common.

The FBI handles kidnapping investigations in the United States. It has developed highly sophisticated teams of agents and resources to devote to investigating this type of crime. Local police departments are also far more proficient and professional in the United States than in Mexico. Because of the advanced capabilities of law enforcement in the United States, the overwhelming majority of criminals involved in kidnapping-for-ransom cases reported to police — between 95 percent and 98 percent — are caught and convicted. There are also stiff federal penalties for kidnapping. Because of this, kidnapping for ransom has become a relatively rare crime in the United States.

Most kidnapping for ransom that does happen in the United States occurs within immigrant communities. In these cases, the perpetrators and victims belong to the same immigrant group (e.g., Chinese Triad gangs kidnapping the families of Chinese businesspeople, or Haitian criminals kidnapping Haitian immigrants) — which is what is happening in Phoenix. The vast majority of the 368 known kidnapping victims in Phoenix are Mexican and Central American immigrants who are being victimized by Mexican or Mexican-American criminals.

The problem in Phoenix involves two main types of kidnapping. One is the abduction of drug dealers or their children, the other is the abduction of illegal aliens.

Drug-related kidnappings often are not strict kidnappings for ransom per se. Instead, they are intended to force the drug dealer to repay a debt to the drug trafficking organization that ordered the kidnapping.

Nondrug-related kidnappings are very different from traditional kidnappings in Mexico or the United States, in which a high-value target is abducted and held for a large ransom. Instead, some of the gangs operating in Phoenix are basing their business model on volume, and are willing to hold a large number of victims for a much smaller individual pay out. Reports have emerged of kidnapping gangs in Phoenix carjacking entire vans full of illegal immigrants away from the coyote smuggling them into the United States. The kidnappers then transport the illegal immigrants to a safe house, where they are held captive in squalid conditions — and often tortured or sexually assaulted with a family member listening in on the phone — to coerce the victims’ family members in the United States or Mexico to pay the ransom for their release. There are also reports of the gangs picking up vehicles full of victims at day labor sites and then transporting them to the kidnapping safe house rather than to the purported work site.

Drug-related kidnappings are less frequent than the nondrug-related abduction of illegal immigrants, but in both types of abductions, the victims are not likely to seek police assistance due to their immigration status or their involvement in illegal activity. This strongly suggests the kidnapping problem greatly exceeds the number of cases reported to police.

Implications for the United States
The kidnapping gangs in Phoenix that target illegal immigrants have found their chosen crime to be lucrative and relatively risk-free. If the flow of illegal immigrants had continued at high levels, there is very little doubt the kidnappers’ operations would have continued as they have for the past few years. The current economic downturn, however, means the flow of illegal immigrants has begun to slow — and by some accounts has even begun to reverse. (Reports suggest many Mexicans are returning home after being unable to find jobs in the United States.)

This reduction in the pool of targets means that we might be fast approaching a point where these groups, which have become accustomed to kidnapping as a source of easy money — and their primary source of income — might be forced to change their method of operating to make a living. While some might pursue other types of criminal activity, some might well decide to diversify their pool of victims. Watching for this shift in targeting is of critical importance. Were some of these gangs to begin targeting U.S. citizens rather than just criminals or illegal immigrants, a tremendous panic would ensue, along with demands to catch the perpetrators.

Such a shift would bring a huge amount of law enforcement pressure onto the kidnapping gangs, to include the FBI. While the FBI is fairly hard-pressed for resources given its heavy counterterrorism, foreign counterintelligence and white-collar crime caseload, it almost certainly would be able to reassign the resources needed to respond to such kidnappings in the face of publicity and a public outcry. Such a law enforcement effort could neutralize these gangs fairly quickly, but probably not quickly enough to prevent any victims from being abducted or harmed.

Since criminal groups are not comprised of fools alone, at least some of these groups will realize that targeting soccer moms will bring an avalanche of law enforcement attention upon them. Therefore, it is very likely that if kidnapping targets become harder to find in Phoenix — or if the law enforcement environment becomes too hostile due to the growing realization of this problem — then the groups may shift geography rather than targeting criteria. In such a scenario, professional kidnapping gangs from Phoenix might migrate to other locations with large communities of Latin American illegal immigrants to victimize. Some of these locations could be relatively close to the Mexican border like Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, San Diego or Los Angeles, though they could also include locations farther inland like Chicago, Atlanta, New York, or even the communities around meat and poultry packing plants in the Midwest and mid-Atlantic states. Such a migration of ethnic criminals would not be unprecedented: Chinese Triad groups from New York for some time have traveled elsewhere on the East Coast, like Atlanta, to engage in extortion and kidnapping against Chinese businessmen there.

The issue of Mexican drug-traffic organizations kidnapping in the United States merits careful attention, especially since criminal gangs in other areas of the country could start imitating the tactics of the Phoenix gangs.
25036  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: February 25, 2009, 02:11:49 PM
This guy is going to make Jimmy Carter look like a warmongering genius.  We just threw away everything Israel just accomplished.    cry cry cry
25037  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Recommended by an astute Indian friend on: February 25, 2009, 02:09:38 PM
For those intertested in Af-Pak-India affairs two perceptive sites...which have a good track record...
25038  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Divisions amongst the Palestinians on: February 25, 2009, 01:48:41 PM
Geopolitical Diary: Public Divisions Among the Palestinians
February 24, 2009

Hamas said on Monday that a delegation led by the group’s No. 2 official, Moussa Abu Marzouk, would attend Egyptian-sponsored talks with rival group Fatah in Cairo on Tuesday. In addition to the Hamas-Fatah negotiations, Cairo will be hosting a conference of 13 Palestinian factions who will discuss the future of the Fatah-dominated Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Even as Hamas and Fatah prepared for the talks, relations between the two remained tense, with Hamas accusing the Fatah-dominated Palestinian National Authority of collaborating with Israel during the recent Gaza offensive.

There has been, in effect, a civil war within the Palestinian community for years, pitting two radically different visions of Palestine against each other. The older tradition represented by Fatah was secular and socialist, and above all, pan-Arab. Islam was incidental to what it believed, and in some ways it was hostile to Islam, and to Islamic states like Saudi Arabia. Fatah derived its existence from Egypt under Gamal Abdul Nasser and was part of his historic alignment with the Soviet Union. Indeed, during the 1970s in particular, Fatah itself was closely aligned with the Soviet Union. It represented a very different Palestine from the one Hamas has in mind.

Hamas’ roots run to the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the largest opposition movement in Egypt. Hamas is not in any way secular or socialist or pan-Arab. It sees itself as religious, supporting traditional society, and celebrating an Islamism that goes beyond the Arab world. It sees the traditional enemies of Fatah — the conservative monarchies of the Arabian Peninsula — as its friends.

Apart from sharing a Palestinian identity and hostility to Israel, Hamas and Fatah have little in common and much to divide them. For Fatah, the struggle for statehood is part of a secular ideological imperative. Therefore, there is an element of flexibility built into its attitude. In the end, its mission does not come from Allah. Hamas’ mission does come from Allah, and this limits what they can concede and bargain away.

But more than that, Hamas is a movement in Gaza; Fatah now dominates the West Bank. These are two utterly different environments. Gaza is a city, not a region. It is a vast slum which has a minimal economy and which, in the end, survives on charity and foreign aid. The Palestinians in Gaza have little room to maneuver, little room for compromise and less to lose. They are trapped in an untenable position, and surrounded by two enemies: Israel and Egypt. Gaza is a natural fit for Hamas.

The West Bank, for all of its shortcomings, is a very different place. It is a region with distinct towns and villages, many with diverse outlooks and interest. There is a vast chasm between Hebron’s militancy and Jericho’s relative quiet. Governing the West Bank is a complex balancing act with multiple players that need to be satisfied. It would be wrong to say that the region is inherently moderate; it isn’t. But it is a region whose politics are sufficiently complex that it can be governed only with flexibility. It is also a region that is not devoid of options with regard to Israel or its other enemy, Jordan.

Therefore, the difference between Hamas and Fatah is partly a difference in ideology but also a difference in geography. It is ironic to think of Fatah as moderate, given its role from Munich to Beirut. But at the same time, Fatah was never locked into a position the way Hamas is.

The current tensions between Fatah and Hamas are not new; the two sides have been at war for years. Though a stalemate of sorts exists between them, Hamas wants to supplant Fatah. It is unlikely that Hamas can do that. Hamas is at home in Gaza. It is far less at home in the West Bank. What Hamas has done, however, is give Israel precisely what it wanted. There is now a very public civil war between the two Palestinian regions and factions. Hamas clearly thinks it has an opening, given the aging leadership of Fatah and the movement’s lack of charisma. But Fatah is a mature and wily entity. It won’t go gently into that good night — and it has the support, ironically, of Israel and many Arab countries worried about the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood-type Islamism.

Hamas will not defeat Fatah quickly — and the longer the struggle continues, the more Israel benefits.
25039  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: February 25, 2009, 01:47:22 PM
Very interesting.
25040  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: February 25, 2009, 01:02:48 PM
If America and the American Creed are to survive, those of us who still "get it" must stand strong and make the case.  When others lose their heads, we must keep ours and make the case.    The gathering clusterfcuk will cure a lot of people of believing in the liberal fascist tooth fairy-- we must be able to show that we saw what was happening, called it, and stood by our principles-- and show them the way to apply them to our situations.

I hope this forum contributes to our cause.
25041  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Jindall on: February 25, 2009, 12:58:04 PM
"Democratic leaders say their legislation will grow the economy. What it will do is grow the government, increase our taxes down the line and saddle future generations with debt. Who among us would ask our children for a loan, so we could spend money we do not have, on things we do not need? That is precisely what the Democrats in Congress just did. It's irresponsible. And it's no way to strengthen our economy, create jobs or build a prosperous future for our children." --Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal in his rebuttal to Obama's address Tuesday night
25042  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Webster on: February 25, 2009, 12:45:58 PM
"Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States."

--Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution, 10 October 1787
25043  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Race, religion, ethnic origin on: February 25, 2009, 12:18:49 PM
Good piece BBG!

Here's this on the white version of Oreos  cheesy
25044  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Grandfathers Speak Vol. 2: Sonny Umpad on: February 25, 2009, 11:59:41 AM
The pics of Maestro Sonny and me are from Dieter Knuetel (sp?) and Alfred Plath's big shindig several years ago in Dusseldorf Germany (A "20 masters under one roof for one weekend" sort of thing).    Great fun!  Given the nature of such an event, it was expenses only for us and Germany is a long trip from Los Angeles.  I can honestly say that seeing that Maestro Sonny would be there was the key factor in my decision to go.  I had heard rumors that intrigued me and made sure to schedule my day so that I could check him out.

He recognized me and was very kind and gracious.  A very gentle demeanor.  His "pendulum" training method is conceptually quite similar to our "metronome" and so we were able to achieve a base level of training rapport quite quickly.  He gracefully and effortlessly established some serious angles on me.  The amount of distance he could glide was quite amazing.  When we did knife he did standard grip reverse edge-- which I had never before experienced in the hands of someone who knew what he was doing.  shocked

I asked if he would teach me and he laughed and said he would rather exchange techniques.  I think I may have blushed a tad. cheesy
He gave me his address, but in one of the larger stupidities of my life I failed to follow up.  I was in LA and he was in Oakland and as the years went by it was always "I'll get to this next month". cry

I got word of his lung cancer from one of his students.  In such a moment one wants to be sure to not intrude or be the ghoul, and at the same time, it is a last opportunity.  I had his student ask if he would be interested in doing a Grandfathers 2 with us and was informed he was quite eager to begin.

Things were set up and Ron "Night Owl" Gabriel and I drove up.  As we entered his living room/training hall, I was moved to see that he had a picture of the two of us together in Dusseldorf.

It was a very special day as is students came to perform for him one last time.

Maestro Sonny's dignity and composure throughout the day moved me greatly-- off the top of my head I cannot think of a greater lesson than that.

The Adventure continues, , ,
Crafty Dog
25045  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Team Dog Brothers MMA? on: February 25, 2009, 11:42:20 AM
Welcome to our campfire Blackwolf.
25046  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Stratfor on: February 25, 2009, 11:39:14 AM
?Se puede entender esas traducciones de computadora?

El Memorándum de la Seguridadde México: Febrero. 23, 2009
El 23 de febrero de 2009 | 2248 GMT

•   Tracking Mexico’s Drug Cartels
El convoy del gobernador de chihuahua atacó

Cuando violencia organizada de crimen-relacionó continuó a través de México esto semana pasada, el número de víctimas del país para los primeros 51 días de 2009 subió arriba 1.000, según marcas mantenidas por salidas mexicanas de noticias. Mientras esto es el más temprano en un año común que la 1.000 marca ha sido alcanzada, representa un ligeramente más despacio ritmo que los meses finales de 2008, cuando el número de homicidios subió de 3.000 a 4.000 en 48 días y de 4.000 a 5.000 en 42 días.

La violencia continuó en ciudades mexicanas por la frontera de EEUU y en otra parte; un incidente especialmente digno de mención ocurrió en chihuahua, estado de chihuahua, cuando varios hombres armados cambiaron disparo de fusil con guardaespaldas que protegen al gobernador de estado de chihuahua. El incidente ocurrió la tarde de febrero. 22 como el gobernador conducía a su casa después de hacer una visita personal, que él fue descrito haciendo como todos los domingos nocturno. El gobernador conducía supuestamente su propio vehículo blindado y fue acompañado por un viajes de detalle de seguridad en dos otros vehículos.

Según información soltada por el gobernador, como su convoy se acercó una luz de detención, uno de los guardas de seguridad del gobernador parados aproximadamente cinco hombres armados que viajan en dos vehículos cerca. Los funcionarios dijeron que después de los guardaespaldas paraban los dos vehículos sospechosos e identificaban a sí mismo como policías — los agentes no como protectores asignaron al gobernador — Los hombres en los vehículos sospechosos abrieron fuego sobre ellos. Durante el tiroteo el gobernador logró marcharse ileso, pero el cambio de disparo de fusil dejó por lo menos un agente protector muerto y dos herido. Varios informes indican que todos los pistoleros lograron escapar, aunque por lo menos uno fue creído haber sido herido durante el tiroteo.

Basado en la información disponible, es difícil de concluir que esto fue de hecho un ataque en el gobernador. Verdaderamente, el gobernador acentúa que sus agentes protectores identificaron a sí mismo como policías parecidos pensaron implicar que los pistoleros pensaron que ellos atacaban simplemente a policías — apenas excepcional en chihuahua — Y fueron ignorante que el gobernador estuvo cerca. Que el vehículo del gobernador aparentemente no fue atacado presta creencia a esta teoría, aunque soporta mencionar que en muchos asesinato anterior procura en México que detalles de la seguridad del objetivo fueron neutralizados antes los objetivos fueron atacados.

A pesar de estos detalles, varios aspectos de este caso sugieren que fue mucho más que coincidencia. Que el gobernador pareció haber seguido una pauta rutinaria de viaje lo habría hecho vulnerable atacar en aquel momento. Además, el gobernador había recibido varias amenazas en el pasado, inclusive banderas que parecieron fuera de su residencia el año pasado lo denominando y el fiscal general apoyando como a rivales del cártel de Sinaloa. Los incidentes como este oso vigilancia cuidadosa, especialmente en el contexto de ataques de cártel contra funcionarios del estado de alto rango en México, que ha dejado muchos federal, el estado y funcionarios locales muertos pero tiene mas reclamar la vida de un gobernador.

Trafico de drogas marítimo de droga

La marina mexicana soltó nueva información esto semana pasada con respecto al febrero. 12 toma de un barco pesquero de mexicano Señaló cargado con unos 7 toneladas de cocaína. Según funcionarios, el barco fue discernido inicialmente y fue parado por el Servicio de guardacostas de EEUU a más de 700 millas la costa mexicana. Las autoridades del Servicio de guardacostas de EEUU abordar el buque sospechoso, lo inspeccionó, descubrió la cocaína y custodia transferida del barco y cuatro miembros de tripulación mexicanos a la marina mexicana en aguas territoriales mexicanas. Los funcionarios indicaron aún más que cuatro miembros de tripulación fueron del estado de Sinaloa, y que el barco fue registrado en el puerto de Mazatlan, estado de Sinaloa. Los funcionarios dijeron el barco navegado de Mazatlan durante los primeros pocos días de febrero.

Este incidente soporta varias similitudes a la última toma marítima a gran escala de cocaína de la costa de México. Durante el incidente anterior, en septiembre 2008, la marina mexicana prohibió un barco pesquero de Mazatlan-Registró tripulado por mexicano nacional y cargó con unos 4 toneladas de cocaína de la costa de estado de Oaxaca. Cuando en el incidente más reciente, el barco fue captado dentro de semanas de la vela de Mazatlan.

En ambos casos es poco claro donde los barcos habían viajado, aunque la cantidad de cocaína a bordo de sugiere que ellos recibieron sus cargas en un país de fuente — como Perú o Colombia — Y no un pasillo de tránsito como América Central. Otra posibilidad probable no es que los barcos habían recibido sus embarques en la tierra pero en el mar, habiendo transferido la cocaína de otro barco — Quizás un buque media sumergible colombiano. Varios tales barcos han sido sabidos entregar embarques directamente a puertos mexicanos, mientras otros hacen con frecuencia entregas en aguas internacionales. Es difícil de dibujar ninguna conclusión sin más información en la gama de los buques y capacidades de velocidad, pero en el tiempo corto entre la salida de los barcos de México y su captura sugiere que ellos no habrían tenido suficiente tiempo de viajar completamente a Sudamérica.

Asumir que el mismo cártel mexicano de droga participó en ambos casos, parece que a pesar de la pérdida del embarque de septiembre, los negociantes lograron poseer los recursos, las conexiones y el consentimiento para continuar utilizar los métodos semejantes de contrabando y rutas. Además, estos incidentes subrayan el enfoque diversificado que negociantes mexicanos toman a contrabando cocaína de Sudamérica a México; envío aún como terrestre por América Central ha aumentado durante los últimos 18 meses, estos incidentes lo hacen vacía ese trafico de drogas marítimo de droga se queda vivo y bien.

Febrero. 16
•   Un funcionario del estado de Guadalupe, estado de chihuahua, se murió cuando ella fue muchas veces de disparo en una tienda.

Febrero. 17
•   Un tiroteo en Reynosa, estado de Tamaulipas, Reynosa, Tamaulipas state, Dejó por lo menos siete personas muertas. Varios informes sugieren que miembro de cártel de Golfo Hector Manuel Sauceda Gamboa se murió durante el incidente. El tiroteo ocurrió el mismo día esas protestas anti militar — supuestamente organizado droga-traficar con drogas organizaciones — Sucedió en Tamaulipas y dos otros estados.
•   A El jefe de la policía del diputado en Ciudad Juarez, estado de chihuahua, se murió cuando él fue muchas veces de disparo. Dos de sus guardaespaldas también se murieron durante el ataque.
•   A Custodie a comandante en Cardenas, estado de Tabasco, se murió cuando él fue disparo varias veces por hombres armados en dos vehículos como él llegó en su casa.
•   A La serie de tiroteos en Torreon, estado de Coahuila, dejó a unos seis personas muertas. La policía dijo que los varios incidentes parecen implicar el mismo grupo de criminales que viajan en un vehículo.

Febrero. 18
•   Varios hombres armaron con rifles de asalto disparó y mató a un hombre no identificado en Reynosa, estado de Tamaulipas, como él salió su vehículo.
•   Authorities En Zihuatanejo, estado de Guerrero, encontró los cuerpos de dos hombres no identificados envueltos en mantas dentro de un coche.
•   Police Culiacan cercano, estado de Sinaloa, encontró el cuerpo de un hombre no identificado con varios escopetazos que están luego a dos vehículos abandonados del lujo.

Febrero. 19
•   Por lo menos siete personas fueron informadas matado en el estado de chihuahua, inclusive cuatro en Ciudad Juarez. Las matanzas traen el suma del estado para febrero a 160, superando el suma de enero de 159.

Febrero. 20
•   Dos hombres fueron detenidos Tuxtla Gutierrez cercano, estado de Chiapas, en la posesión de 66 granadas de fragmentación, que ellos dijeron que ellos planeaban transportar a Morelia, estado de Michoacan. Las granadas parecidas haber sido fabricadas por Israel y vendidos al gobierno guatemalteco.
•   Two Los hombres abrieron fuego sobre un vehículo que pertenece al comité eléctrico federal en Comitan, estado de Chiapas.
•   At Menos cuatro hombres fueron informados matado en incidentes separados en Tijuana, estado de Baja California. En un caso, el cuerpo de un hombre con varios escopetazos fue encontrado dentro de un vehículo.
•   The Custodie a jefe en Ciudad Juarez, estado de chihuahua, dimitió de su posición entre amenazas que más policías serían matados si él se quedó en su posición.

Febrero. 21
•   Un grupo de hombres mucho armados tiró dos granadas en un edificio de policía en Zihuatanejo, estado de Guerrero, hiriendo por lo menos cinco personas.
•   A El tiroteo entre dos grupos criminales en Nuevo pueblo, estado de Durango, dejó a unos 10 personas muertas.

25047  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor on: February 25, 2009, 11:34:42 AM
Mexico Security Memo: Feb. 23, 2009
Stratfor Today » February 23, 2009 | 2248 GMT
Related Special Topic Page
Tracking Mexico’s Drug Cartels
Chihuahua governor’s convoy attacked

As organized crime-related violence continued throughout Mexico this past week, the country’s death toll for the first 51 days of 2009 rose above 1,000, according to tallies maintained by Mexican news outlets. While this is the earliest in a calendar year that the 1,000 mark has been reached, it represents a slightly slower pace than the final months of 2008, when the number of homicides rose from 3,000 to 4,000 in 48 days and from 4,000 to 5,000 in 42 days.

Violence continued in Mexican cities along the U.S. border and elsewhere; one particularly noteworthy incident occurred in Chihuahua, Chihuahua state, when several armed men exchanged gunfire with bodyguards protecting the Chihuahua state governor. The incident occurred the evening of Feb. 22 as the governor was driving to his home after making a personal visit, which he was described as doing every Sunday evening. The governor reportedly was driving his own armored vehicle and was escorted by a security detail traveling in two other vehicles.

According to information released by the governor, as his convoy approached a stoplight, one of the governor’s security guards stopped approximately five armed men traveling in two vehicles nearby. Officials said that after the bodyguards stopped the two suspect vehicles and identified themselves as police officers — not as protective agents assigned to the governor — the men in the suspect vehicles opened fire on them. During the firefight the governor managed to drive off unhurt, but the exchange of gunfire left at least one protective agent dead and two wounded. Several reports indicate that all of the gunmen managed to escape, though at least one was believed to have been wounded during the firefight.

Based on the available information, it is difficult to conclude that this was in fact an attack on the governor. Indeed, the governor’s emphasizing that his protective agents identified themselves as police officers seemed intended to imply that the gunmen thought they were simply attacking police officers — hardly unusual in Chihuahua — and were unaware that the governor was nearby. That the governor’s vehicle was apparently not attacked lends credence to this theory, though it bears mentioning that in many previous assassination attempts in Mexico the target’s security details were neutralized before the targets were attacked.

Despite these details, several aspects of this case suggest it was much more than coincidence. That the governor appeared to have been following a routine travel pattern would have made him vulnerable to attack at that time. In addition, the governor had received several threats in the past, including banners that appeared outside his residence last year naming him and the attorney general as supporting rivals of the Sinaloa cartel. Incidents such as this bear careful monitoring, especially in the context of cartel attacks against high-ranking government officials in Mexico, which have left many federal, state and local officials dead but have yet to claim the life of a governor.

Maritime drug trafficking

The Mexican navy released new information this past week regarding the Feb. 12 seizure of a Mexican-flagged fishing boat loaded with some 7 tons of cocaine. According to officials, the boat was initially detected and stopped by the U.S. Coast Guard more than 700 miles off the Mexican coast. U.S. Coast Guard authorities boarded the suspect vessel, inspected it, discovered the cocaine and transferred custody of the boat and four Mexican crew members to the Mexican navy in Mexican territorial waters. Officials further stated that all four crew members were from Sinaloa state, and that the boat was registered in the port city of Mazatlan, Sinaloa state. Officials said the boat sailed from Mazatlan during the first few days of February.

This incident bears several similarities to the last large-scale maritime seizure of cocaine off the coast of Mexico. During the previous incident, in September 2008, the Mexican navy interdicted a Mazatlan-registered fishing boat manned by Mexican nationals and loaded with some 4 tons of cocaine off the coast of Oaxaca state. As in the most recent incident, the boat was captured within weeks of sailing from Mazatlan.

In both cases it is unclear where the boats had traveled, though the quantity of cocaine aboard suggests that they received their loads in a source country — such as Peru or Colombia — and not a transit corridor like Central America. Another likely possibility is that the boats had received their shipments not on land but at sea, having transferred the cocaine from another boat — perhaps a Colombian semi-submersible vessel. Several such boats have been known to deliver shipments directly to Mexican ports, while others frequently make deliveries in international waters. It is difficult to draw any conclusions without more information on the vessels’ range and speed capabilities, but the short time between the boats’ departure from Mexico and their capture suggests that they would not have had enough time to travel all the way to South America.

Assuming that the same Mexican drug cartel was involved in both cases, it appears that despite the loss of the September shipment, the traffickers managed to possess the resources, connections and willingness to continue using the similar smuggling methods and routes. Furthermore, these incidents underscore the diversified approach that Mexican traffickers take to smuggling cocaine from South America to Mexico; even as overland shipping through Central America has increased during the last 18 months, these incidents make it clear that maritime drug trafficking remains alive and well.

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Feb. 16
A government official from Guadalupe, Chihuahua state, died when she was shot multiple times in a store.

Feb. 17
A gunbattle in Reynosa, Tamaulipas state, Reynosa, Tamaulipas state, left at least seven people dead. Several reports suggest that Gulf cartel member Hector Manuel Sauceda Gamboa died during the incident. The firefight occurred the same day that anti-military protests — allegedly organized by drug-trafficking organizations — took place in Tamaulipas and two other states.
A deputy police chief in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, died when he was shot multiple times. Two of his bodyguards also died during the attack.
A police commander in Cardenas, Tabasco state, died when he was shot several times by armed men in two vehicles as he arrived at his home.
A series of firefights in Torreon, Coahuila state, left some six people dead. Police said the various incidents appear to involve the same group of criminals traveling in a vehicle.

Feb. 18
Several men armed with assault rifles shot and killed an unidentified man in Reynosa, Tamaulipas state, as he exited his vehicle.
Authorities in Zihuatanejo, Guerrero state, found the bodies of two unidentified men wrapped in blankets inside a car.
Police near Culiacan, Sinaloa state, found the body of one unidentified man with several gunshot wounds lying next to two abandoned luxury vehicles.

Feb. 19
At least seven people were reported killed in Chihuahua state, including four in Ciudad Juarez. The killings bring the state’s total for February to 160, surpassing January’s total of 159.

Feb. 20
Two men were arrested near Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas state, in possession of 66 fragmentation grenades, which they said they planned to transport to Morelia, Michoacan state. The grenades appeared to have been manufactured by Israel and sold to the Guatemalan government.
Two men opened fire on a vehicle belonging to the federal electrical committee in Comitan, Chiapas state.
At least four men were reported killed in separate incidents in Tijuana, Baja California state. In one case, the body of a man with several gunshot wounds was found inside a vehicle.
The police chief in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, resigned from his position amid threats that more police officers would be killed if he remained in his position.

Feb. 21
A group of heavily armed men threw two grenades at a police building in Zihuatanejo, Guerrero state, wounding at least five people.
A firefight between two criminal groups in Pueblo Nuevo, Durango state, left some 10 people dead.
25048  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Looking for fighters for stickfighting TV series on: February 25, 2009, 11:28:07 AM
Sounds like you are assuming the show will be "TUF with sticks".  While that certainly is one of the ideas under consideration, there are  , , , others. wink grin
25049  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / 3 smiling bodies on: February 24, 2009, 06:57:47 PM
Three dead bodies turn up at the morgue, all with very big smiles on their


The coroner calls the police to tell them what has happened.

The Coroner tells the Inspector, "First body is a 72 year old Frenchman.

He died of heart failure while with his mistress.

Hence the enormous smile."

"Second body is an Irishman, 25 years of age.

He won a thousand dollars on the lottery and spent it all on whiskey.

Died of alcohol poisoning, hence the smile.

Inspector asked, "What of the third body?"

"Ah," says the coroner, "This is the most unusual one.

Nancy Pelosi, Democrat, Speaker of the House, 66, struck by lightning."

"Why is she smiling then?" inquires the Inspector.

"Thought she was having her picture taken."
25050  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Team Dog Brothers MMA? on: February 24, 2009, 06:55:00 PM
Woof All:

I'm pulling on my own leash with regard to this lest I get too excited too soon, but this is something for which I have been WAITING for quite some time now , , ,

The Adventure continues!
Guro Crafty
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