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25101  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / WSJ: Post Kelo CA decision on: May 02, 2011, 04:19:50 PM
Ever since the Supreme Court's misguided 2005 decision in Kelo v. City of New London, states have been passing their own laws to protect property owners from abuses of eminent domain. One of those laws was enforced this month in California, and the decision is a major victory for property rights.

In Community Youth Athletic Center v. National City, San Diego Superior Court Judge Steven R. Denton ruled that National City, California's designated blight zone is "invalid and unenforceable." The decision means the city will not be allowed to seize property belonging to CYAC, a local boxing gym that sponsors programs for at-risk kids.

The tale began in 2005 when National City gave private developer Jim Beauchamp the right to build a condo project on the gym's land. The Community Development Commission threatened that if the CYAC were "unable to come to terms with the developer on the sale of your property," then "the developer may request that the CDC proceed directly with the acquisition of your property."

In 2007, the city extended an ordinance designating some 692 properties, including the gym, as "blighted" and therefore subject to eminent domain for 10 years. Facing a slew of bad publicity, National City Mayor Ron Morrison downplayed any threat to the gym itself, but the eminent domain threat hovered around developers' plans for surrounding neighborhood properties, including churches, schools and small businesses.

This was exactly the scenario California legislators had in mind when they passed a post-Kelo law in 2006 requiring the government to show "specific and quantifiable" evidence of blight and that the blight couldn't be improved without eminent domain. The court's ruling chastised the city for failing to document exactly why the targeted properties should qualify as "blighted." "Lack of parking" doesn't qualify, Judge Denton noted dryly.

California has been a leading abuser of eminent domain and the case should resonate with California Republican lawmakers, who have been in the odd position of rejecting an effort by Governor Jerry Brown to jettison the state's some 400 redevelopment agencies because they opposed his overall budget. Getting rid of the redevelopment agencies would save the state roughly $1.7 billion a year amid a roughly $25 billion budget deficit.

According to the Institute for Justice, which represented CYAC, nearly 200 California development projects have used or threatened to use eminent domain laws for private developments, often on the grounds of economic improvement. The victims of the law are often minorities and economically disadvantaged residents, who are unable to protect their businesses and neighborhoods from politically connected developers.

Property takings rarely produce the economic growth their developers promise, and any gentrification of a neighborhood is little consolation to those whose homes and businesses are seized. We're glad average citizens are fighting for their property rights, and we hope GOP lawmakers take Governor Brown up on the offer to send redevelopment agencies to the knackery.

25102  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Bin Laden dead on: May 02, 2011, 04:17:21 PM
The death of Osama bin Laden at the hand of U.S. special forces doesn't end the war against Islamic terror, but it is a crucial and just victory that is rightfully cause for celebration.

Especially so in a war fought against combatants who hide in the world's dark corners, who rarely fight in the open and who attack innocents far from any conventional battlefield. Even if it took nearly 10 years, the skillful tracking and daring attack on al Qaeda's founder shows that democracies can prevail in such a struggle and is as notable as landmark victories of other wars that involved the taking of cities or island-hopping. The battle of Abbottabad is a triumph of intelligence, interrogation and special operations that are by necessity three of the main weapons in what the U.S. military has called this "long war."

***
Credit goes to the intelligence gatherers, at the Pentagon, CIA or National Security Agency, who developed the leads and pursued them. President Obama also singled out the "extraordinary courage and capability" of the "small team" of special forces who carried out the risky mission deep inside Pakistan. U.S. special forces too rarely get attention for their perilous work because they must operate in secret, but this is a moment of triumph to savor amid all of their sacrifices.

Mr. Obama also deserves credit for ordering a special forces mission rather than settling for another attack with drones or stand-off weapons from afar. Drones have their uses, but a target as valuable as bin Laden was worth the gamble of a U.S. military raid both to reduce the chances of his escape and to end once and for all the myth that he couldn't be taken. The skill and success of the raid is also a boost to American prestige and pride at a moment of too much national self-doubt.

Yet if the mission had failed, the second-guessers would have asked why Mr. Obama hadn't merely ordered a drone strike. Pakistan's anti-American voices would have exploited the failure, and U.S. soldiers might have been captured or killed. These are nonetheless risks that Presidents must take to achieve larger purposes, and Mr. Obama deserves the praise he is receiving for taking them.

When Bin Laden Struck
In the days following Sept. 11, 2001, Journal staffers returned to the paper's offices at 200 Liberty Street in Manhattan to recover what they could. They took these photos during their visit.
.This is also a moment to salute George W. Bush. After 9/11, Mr. Bush began the counterattack that became the war on terror, developed and expanded the military and intelligence means to fight it, and never flagged in its pursuit even as his political opposition derided him for his determination. The attack even looks to be a vindication of Mr. Bush's interrogation policies, as U.S. sources say the initial break that led to the operation, concerning a bin Laden courier, came several years ago from Guantanamo detainees.

The most striking fact of Mr. Obama's prosecution of the war on terror is how much it resembles Mr. Bush's, to the consternation of America's anti-antiterror left. This includes the strategy to pursue terrorists in their sanctuaries, keeping them on defense and less able to plot against U.S. targets.

No doubt bin Laden's demise will cause some to declare victory in the war on terror, and to urge that we now negotiate a truce with the Taliban in Afghanistan. This sentiment will be heard loudly in Pakistan, which seems to want America out of its region, as well as among Americans tired of the costs of fighting in faraway places.

But the very fact that the U.S. felt obliged to issue a world travel warning at the moment of bin Laden's death shows that the terror threat remains without him. Al Qaeda has evolved in this decade, with smaller cells, new leaders and other sanctuaries. The branch in Yemen is especially dangerous, having played a role in at least two terror attempts on the U.S. mainland. Now is the time to press the advantage, not assume the threat is past.

Continuous Updates
News updates and reactions from around the world.

U.S. Forces Kill Osama bin Laden
How bin Laden Was Found
Video: Obama's Speech
Read Obama's Speech
.In this context, we should add that the U.S. decision to dispose of bin Laden's body at sea strikes us as a potential mistake. We understand the instinct to respect Islamic rituals and dispose of the body within 24 hours, but al Qaeda and others may now try to dismiss the entire episode as U.S. propaganda. Notwithstanding White House assertions today of positively identifying bin Laden's DNA, we hope the U.S. took photos of the dead bin Laden and that those will be released in a formal, public briefing on the evidence with dispatch. The U.S. should not feed the myth that bin Laden was a model of Islamic piety when in fact he perverted Islam's tenets for his own political uses.

We should also add a word about Pakistan and its habit of fighting on both sides of the antiterror war. Abbottabad is not some distant outpost in that country, and it is hard to believe that some in Pakistan did not know of bin Laden's hideout. U.S. officials clearly believed they couldn't trust Pakistani intelligence with what we were learning about bin Laden, a mistrust born of hard experience.

Many Pakistanis will be outraged at the violation of their sovereign territory, but if Pakistan won't behave like a genuine ally then the U.S. must see to its own self-defense. The Pakistan government, and especially its military, would be wise to see the bin Laden operation as proof that the U.S. will act if Pakistan will not. The best security for Pakistan is to defeat the Taliban, not to keep using it as a weapon to bleed America in Afghanistan.

***
Much as during the decades of the Cold War, the "long war" on terror has made many Americans tire of the fight, especially in the absence of cheering crowds waving U.S. flags in Paris or Palermo. But we cannot forget that this is a war for national survival against enemies who would annihilate our cities if they could. The death of bin Laden is a measure of justice for the thousands he killed. As important, it is a warning to others who would kill Americans that they will meet the same fate, no matter how long it takes or where they try to hide.

25103  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: What the US Navy is doing in the Desert on: May 02, 2011, 03:04:23 PM
That is very funny and very true cool cool cool
25104  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DB Tribal Gathering Fighter List on: May 02, 2011, 02:59:45 PM
Pappy:

Acknowledged  cool

CD
25105  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / That's odd , , , on: May 02, 2011, 12:22:19 PM
Within a mile of a Pakistani officer training school.
 
12-18 foot walls
 
No trash pickup, phone hookup or internet connection
 
Few windows facing to the outside.  Third floor balcony had a 7' privacy wall
 
Roughly 8 times the size of any residence nearby
25106  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: May 02, 2011, 12:15:24 PM
Bush 41 broke his "Read my lips, no new taxes!" pledge.
25107  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor: So what? on: May 02, 2011, 12:11:42 PM
   
The Tactical Irrelevance of Osama bin Laden's Death
May 2, 2011 | 1450 GMT

NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images
A man in Manila watches news coverage of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s deathSummary
The killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden represents possibly the biggest clandestine operations success for the United States since the capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in 2003. The confirmation of his death is an emotional victory for the United States and could have wider effects on the geopolitics of the region, but bin Laden’s death is irrelevant for al Qaeda and the wider jihadist movement from an operational perspective.

Analysis
Americans  continued to celebrate the killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden well into May 2 outside the White House, near the World Trade Center site in New York and elsewhere. The operation that led to bin Laden’s death at a  compound deep in Pakistan is among the most significant operational successes for U.S. intelligence in the past decade. While it is surely an emotional victory for the United States and one that could have consequences both for the U.S. role in Afghanistan and for relations with Pakistan, bin Laden’s elimination will have very little effect on al Qaeda as a whole and the wider jihadist movement.

Due to bin Laden’s status as the most-wanted individual in the world, any communications he carried out with other known al Qaeda operatives risked interception, and thus risked revealing his location. This forced him to be extremely careful with communications for operational security and essentially required him to give up an active role in command-and-control in order to remain alive and at large. He reportedly used a handful of highly trusted personal couriers to maintain communication and had no telephone or Internet connection at his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Limited as his communications network was, if news reports are accurate, one of these couriers was compromised and tracked to the compound, enabling the operation against bin Laden.

Because of bin Laden’s aforementioned communications limitations, since October 2001 when he  fled Tora Bora after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, he has been relegated to a largely symbolic and ideological role in al Qaeda. Accordingly, he has issued audiotapes on a little more than a yearly basis, whereas before 2007 he was able to issue videotapes. The growing infrequency and decreasing quality of his recorded messages was most notable when al Qaeda did not release a message marking the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in September 2010 but later followed up with a tape on Jan. 21, 2011.

The reality of the situation is that the al Qaeda core — the central group including leaders like bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri — has been eclipsed by other jihadist actors on the physical battlefield, and over the past two years it has even been losing its role as an ideological leader of the jihadist struggle. The primary threat is now posed by al Qaeda franchise groups like al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the latter of which may have carried out the recent attack in Marrakech, Morocco. But even these groups are under intense pressure by local government and U.S. operations, and much of the current threat comes from grassroots and lone wolf attackers. These actors could attempt to stage an attack in the United States or elsewhere in retribution for bin Laden’s death, but they do not have the training or capabilities for high-casualty transnational attacks.

STRATFOR long considered the possibility that bin Laden was already dead, and in terms of his impact on terrorist operations, he effectively was. That does not mean, however, that he was not an important ideological leader or that he was not someone the United States sought to capture or kill for his role in carrying out the most devastating terrorist attack in U.S. history.

Aggressive U.S. intelligence collection efforts have come to fruition, as killing bin Laden was perhaps the top symbolic goal for the CIA and all those involved in U.S. covert operations. Indeed, Obama said during his speech May 1 that upon entering office, he had personally instructed CIA Director Leon Panetta that killing the al Qaeda leader was his top priority. The logistical challenges of catching a single wanted individual with bin Laden’s level of resources were substantial, and while 10 years later, the United States was able to accomplish the objective it set out to do in October 2001. The bottom line is that from an operational point of view, the threat posed by al Qaeda — and the wider jihadist movement — is no different operationally after his death.

 
25108  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: May 02, 2011, 10:42:57 AM
No doubt there will be props to Bush too , , , 

"Detainees at the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, had given the courier’s pseudonym to American interrogators and said that the man was a protégé of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the confessed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks. American intelligence officials said Sunday night that they finally learned the courier’s real name four years ago, but that it took another two years for them to learn the general region where he operated."

Returning to the point in question:  We need to remember the roll of Perot in derailing Bush 1. 

And yes, the kill of OBL will help BO.
25109  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Monetary Policy, Inflation, US Dollar, & Gold/Silver on: May 02, 2011, 10:39:50 AM
I heard that the margin requirement on silver has been raised.  Anyone have any word on this?  (Also note implications for margin requirements on oil futures)
25110  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor: Egypt's changing attitudes on: May 02, 2011, 10:34:42 AM
Friday, April 29, 2011   STRATFOR.COM  Diary Archives 

Egypt's Changing Foreign Policy Attitudes

Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil al-Arabi said in an interview with Al Jazeera on Thursday that Cairo was working to permanently open the Rafah border crossing with the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. Al-Arabi told the Qatari-owned channel that within seven to 10 days, measures would be adopted to assuage the “blockade and suffering of the Palestinian nation.” The Egyptian foreign minister added, “It is the responsibility of each country in the world not to take part in what is called the humiliating siege. In my view, this (siege) was a disgraceful thing to happen.”

These statements reflect a shift in Egyptian policy toward the Palestinian territory ruled by the Islamist movement since mid-2007. Although occasional openings were allowed, Egypt, under the ousted Mubarak regime and in conjunction with Israel, maintained the blockade of Gaza in an effort to weaken Hamas’ standing among Gazans through economic hardships. So, the question is why is Egypt making such a radical change in policy?

“The only difference now is that the military is directly ruling the country and is in the process of changing the Egyptian political landscape to a multiparty system.”
This is the latest of radical foreign policy moves on the part of the new provisional military authority: There is a push toward reviving diplomatic ties with Iran, and the brokering of a rapprochement between Hamas and its arch secular rival, Fatah, toward the creation of a new Palestinian coalition government. There is also talk of allowing Hamas to open up an office in Cairo.

The common element in these developments is that they are against what Israel has to come to expect of Egypt. It is true that the collapse of the Mubarak government had created fears that it could elevate the Islamists (Muslim Brotherhood) to power, which could in turn lead to the undoing of the 1978 peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. Despite the fall of former President Hosni Mubarak’s family and friends, regime change has not happened in Egypt.

The only difference now is that the military is directly ruling the country and is in the process of changing the Egyptian political landscape to a multiparty system. For the foreseeable future, however, Egypt is to be ruled by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). Yet, we see shifts in the attitudes toward Israel that one does not expect from the Egyptian military, which has long done business with Israel.

These changes have to do with both domestic and foreign policy concerns of Egypt’s military rulers. On the domestic front, SCAF is well aware of the popular sentiment toward the Palestinians and Israel and is therefore adjusting its behavior accordingly. In an effort to manage a new era of multiparty politics, the military is appropriating the agenda of groups like the Muslim Brotherhood to contain their influence and placate popular sentiment.

Domestic politics, however, is not the only factor informing the shift in Egypt’s foreign policy attitude. The new military rulers also wish to see their country regain its status as the pre-eminent player in the Arab world. From their perspective, this can be achieved by engaging in radical moves vis-a-vis the Palestinians, Israel and Iran. It is unlikely, however, that Egypt is about to truly reverse its position toward Israel. The Egyptians do not wish to create problems with the Israelis.

Opening up Rafah is one thing, but breaking the peace treaty with Israel is another. Were Cairo to abandon this aspect of the relationship with Israel, it would dramatically alter Israel’s national security considerations and create massive tension between the two countries. It is hard to envision a military government in Egypt openly opting for such a scenario. Easier to imagine is for the SCAF-controlled Egypt to behave like Turkey — maintaining relations with Israel yet retaining the ability to criticize it.

25111  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Confirmed! on: May 02, 2011, 10:24:47 AM
Pat Gagnon
Chris Goard
Heiko Zauske


Pappy Dog-- we have not received yours yet.

25112  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Bin Laden dead? on: May 02, 2011, 09:07:33 AM
Wonderful news for America! cool cool cool cool cool cool cool cool cool

Many interesting implications to absorb here , , ,
25113  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / OBL dead!?! on: May 02, 2011, 02:26:10 AM
Red Alert: Osama bin Laden Killed
May 2, 2011 | 0249 GMT

The United States has killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and recovered his body, according to numerous media reports May 1 citing U.S. officials. U.S. President Barack Obama is scheduled to make an announcement on the subject. It is not clear precisely how bin Laden was killed or how his body was recovered, but the assertion that he is dead is significant.

Bin Laden had become the symbol of al Qaeda, even though the degree to which he commanded the organization was questionable. The symbolic value of his death is obvious. The United States can claim a great victory. Al Qaeda can proclaim his martyrdom.

It is difficult to understand what this means at this moment, but it permits the Obama administration to claim victory, at least partially, over al Qaeda. It also opens the door for the beginning of a withdrawal from Afghanistan, regardless of the practical impact of bin Laden’s death. The mission in Afghanistan was to defeat al Qaeda, and with his death, a plausible claim can be made that the mission is complete. Again speculatively, it will be interesting to see how this affects U.S. strategy there.

Equally possible is that this will trigger action by al Qaeda in bin Laden’s name. We do not know how viable al Qaeda is or how deeply compromised it was. It is clear that bin Laden’s cover had been sufficiently penetrated to kill him. If bin Laden’s cover was penetrated, then the question becomes how much of the rest of the organization’s cover was penetrated. It is unlikely, however, that al Qaeda is so compromised that it cannot take further action.

At this early hour, the only thing possible is speculation on the consequences of bin Laden’s death, and that speculation is inherently flawed. Still, the importance of his death has its consequences. Certainly one consequence will be a sense of triumph in the United States. To others, this will be another false claim by the United States. For others it will be a call to war. We know little beyond what we have been told, but we know it matters.

=====================

Question of Pakistani Cooperation in bin Laden Strike
May 2, 2011 | 0421 GMT
U.S. President Barack Obama announced late May 1 that al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is dead and that the body of the jihadist leader is in U.S. custody. Obama said bin Laden was killed in a firefight with U.S. special operations forces in Abbottabad, about 56 kilometers (35 miles) north of Islamabad. Prior to Obama’s announcement, Pakistani intelligence officials were leaking to U.S. media that their assets were involved in the killing of bin Laden. Obama said, “Over the years, I’ve repeatedly made clear that we would take action within Pakistan if we knew where bin Laden was. That is what we’ve done. But it’s important to note that our counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden and the compound where he was hiding.” Obama said he had called Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and that his team had also spoken to their counterparts. He said Islamabad agreed it is “a good and historic day for both of our nations and going forward its essential for Pakistan to join us in the fight against al Qaeda and its affiliates.”

The detailed version of what led to the hit and the extent of U.S.-Pakistani cooperation in the strike is not yet publicly known, but reports so far claim that bin laden and his son were hiding in a massive compound with heavy security and no communications access when they were attacked. Two key questions thus emerge. How long was the Pakistani government and military-security apparatus aware of bin Laden’s refuge deep in Pakistani territory? Did the United States withhold information from Pakistan until the hit was executed, fearing the operation would be compromised?

Major strains in the U.S.-Pakistani relationship have rested on the fact that the United States is extraordinarily dependent on Pakistan for intelligence on al Qaeda and Taliban targets and that Pakistan in turn relies on that dependency to manage its relationship with the United States. Following the Raymond Davis affair, U.S.-Pakistani relations have been at a particularly low point as the United States has faced increasing urgency in trying to shape an exit strategy from the war in Afghanistan and has encountered significant hurdles in eliciting Pakistani cooperation against high-value targets.

Now that the United States has a critical political victory with which to move forward with an exit from the war in Afghanistan, Pakistan now faces the strategic dilemma of how to maintain the long-term support of its major external power patron in Washington.
25114  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: May 01, 2011, 10:32:37 AM
Amazing foto YA! shocked shocked shocked
25115  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews on: May 01, 2011, 10:31:19 AM
Looking forward to it.  smiley BTW, I leave tomorrow evening for a seminar in Israel. (First time for this American Jew).  I am very excited!
25116  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Foreign Policy on: May 01, 2011, 10:27:49 AM
A) Citation on the Petraeus quote?

B)  I'd say the Paks are more pissed that we told them after 911 we would bomb them back to the stone age if they didn't cooperate with us against AQ and the Taliban and that we regularly intrude upon their sovereignty, yet somehow the Jews get blamed  tongue , , ,  Anyone blaming the Taiwanese for troubles in our relations with China?  Anyone blaming the South Koreans for our troubles with the North Koreans?
25117  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: UFC/MMA Thread on: May 01, 2011, 12:52:43 AM
Thanks for those SG.

A couple of quick comments:

Glad to see old gym mate Vlady Matyshenko back in the UFC and scoring with a quick KO.  Great Karate Kid kick from Lyoto!!!  shocked  What up with Steven Seagal?!?  I noticed him sitting there with Spider and that Lyoto gave him props too.  He has a substantial reputation as a major anus, but fighters like Spider and Lyoto can choose with whom they train , , , Bit of a stinker of a fight with GSP and Shields.  No blame to GSP, it looks like he got his cornea scratched in the second round, but WTF was Shields' strategy?

Many good fights tonight-- I gather Chuck Liddell was the matchmaker?
25118  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Encounters of the canine kind on: April 30, 2011, 12:45:23 PM


http://vimeo.com/2556048
25119  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sharia 101 on: April 30, 2011, 12:43:58 PM
I certainly would not want to see the insanity of US racial laws imposed here.
25120  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Epidemics: Bird Flu, TB, etc on: April 30, 2011, 12:31:09 PM
That was interesting BBG.
25121  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sharia 101 on: April 29, 2011, 09:18:53 PM
Interesting case and interesting legal question presented.  My first read is that the facts in the case law can be distinguished from the question presented; I'd certainly be interested to see what is decided on appeal.
25122  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: UFC/MMA Thread on: April 29, 2011, 08:37:28 PM
Is Nordin on Brock's team?
25123  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Mexico on: April 29, 2011, 04:53:00 PM
Mexican drug cartels continue to war with one another and with the government. While the situation has long been fluid, the past 18 months have seen the Sinaloa Federation rapidly expand at the expense of other groups. The following are key events in the evolution of Mexico’s cartel landscape over the last four and a half years:



(click here to view interactive slideshow)
December 2006: Mexican President Felipe Calderon takes office, promising to fight back against drug cartels. His first two years in office show strong successes against the cartels, with large drug seizures and the capture of several organizations’ leaders. The government’s chief target is the Gulf cartel, the most powerful in Mexico.


December 2008: A two-yearlong campaign by the Calderon government against the Gulf cartel has left it crippled. The cartel’s enforcement arm, Los Zetas, splintered off in spring 2008 and now controls much of what used to be Gulf territory. The government’s success is a double-edged sword, however: The decline of the Gulf cartel has left a large power vacuum, encouraging other organizations — and factions within those organizations — to fight to increase their influence.


December 2009: As the government pressures powerful cartels, the situation in Mexico becomes more volatile and two distinct but interconnected wars begin to emerge: the government’s fight against the cartels, and the cartels’ fights between and among themselves. The geography of cartel influence does not change significantly, though one notable exception to this is the rise of the infamous La Familia Michoacana (LFM), which has captured media attention by marrying drug-trafficking activities to a pseudo-religious ideology.


May 2010: A major rift emerges in the Beltran Leyva Organization (BLO) after the death of leader Arturo “El Jefe de Jefes” Beltran Leyva. Two factions emerge, one under Arturo’s brother, Hector, and the other made up of elements of the BLO’s brutal enforcement wing and run by Edgar “La Barbie” Valdez Villarreal.


December 2010: Tensions between the Gulf cartel and Los Zetas also have boiled over into open war in the country’s east, with the Gulf cartel reaching out to its former rivals in Sinaloa as well as LFM to align under the name “New Federation” and pushing Los Zetas from one of their traditional strongholds, Reynosa, though not out of Nuevo Laredo or Monterrey. In its weakened state, Los Zetas began increasing operations outside the normal scope of drug trafficking, such as kidnapping for ransom, and giving rise to a trend that STRATFOR eventually would dub Mexico’s third war: that of the cartels on the Mexican public. Cartel-related violence in the country reaches new heights, with more than 11,000 deaths on record.


April 2011: Violence continues to rise in all parts of the country. The Sinaloa Federation continues to expand its territory north and east, taking over areas formerly under the influence of the Carrillo Fuentes Organization and the Arellano Felix Organization. With the help of Sinaloa, the Gulf cartel has been able to repel offenses from Los Zetas in Reynosa and Matamoros, though the Zetas are proving resilient. LFM appeared to implode in January, but now a large subset of the former LFM seems to have simply rebranded itself as the “Knights Templar.” Its size and capabilities remain unclear.
25124  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Evolution of cartels areas of influence on: April 29, 2011, 04:52:36 PM
Mexican drug cartels continue to war with one another and with the government. While the situation has long been fluid, the past 18 months have seen the Sinaloa Federation rapidly expand at the expense of other groups. The following are key events in the evolution of Mexico’s cartel landscape over the last four and a half years:



(click here to view interactive slideshow)
December 2006: Mexican President Felipe Calderon takes office, promising to fight back against drug cartels. His first two years in office show strong successes against the cartels, with large drug seizures and the capture of several organizations’ leaders. The government’s chief target is the Gulf cartel, the most powerful in Mexico.


December 2008: A two-yearlong campaign by the Calderon government against the Gulf cartel has left it crippled. The cartel’s enforcement arm, Los Zetas, splintered off in spring 2008 and now controls much of what used to be Gulf territory. The government’s success is a double-edged sword, however: The decline of the Gulf cartel has left a large power vacuum, encouraging other organizations — and factions within those organizations — to fight to increase their influence.


December 2009: As the government pressures powerful cartels, the situation in Mexico becomes more volatile and two distinct but interconnected wars begin to emerge: the government’s fight against the cartels, and the cartels’ fights between and among themselves. The geography of cartel influence does not change significantly, though one notable exception to this is the rise of the infamous La Familia Michoacana (LFM), which has captured media attention by marrying drug-trafficking activities to a pseudo-religious ideology.


May 2010: A major rift emerges in the Beltran Leyva Organization (BLO) after the death of leader Arturo “El Jefe de Jefes” Beltran Leyva. Two factions emerge, one under Arturo’s brother, Hector, and the other made up of elements of the BLO’s brutal enforcement wing and run by Edgar “La Barbie” Valdez Villarreal.


December 2010: Tensions between the Gulf cartel and Los Zetas also have boiled over into open war in the country’s east, with the Gulf cartel reaching out to its former rivals in Sinaloa as well as LFM to align under the name “New Federation” and pushing Los Zetas from one of their traditional strongholds, Reynosa, though not out of Nuevo Laredo or Monterrey. In its weakened state, Los Zetas began increasing operations outside the normal scope of drug trafficking, such as kidnapping for ransom, and giving rise to a trend that STRATFOR eventually would dub Mexico’s third war: that of the cartels on the Mexican public. Cartel-related violence in the country reaches new heights, with more than 11,000 deaths on record.


April 2011: Violence continues to rise in all parts of the country. The Sinaloa Federation continues to expand its territory north and east, taking over areas formerly under the influence of the Carrillo Fuentes Organization and the Arellano Felix Organization. With the help of Sinaloa, the Gulf cartel has been able to repel offenses from Los Zetas in Reynosa and Matamoros, though the Zetas are proving resilient. LFM appeared to implode in January, but now a large subset of the former LFM seems to have simply rebranded itself as the “Knights Templar.” Its size and capabilities remain unclear.
25125  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glick: Choose! on: April 29, 2011, 04:23:17 PM
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s response to the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority’s peace deal with Hamas would be funny if it weren’t tragic. Immediately after the news broke of the deal Netanyahu announced, “The PA must choose either peace with Israel or peace with Hamas. There is no possibility for peace with both.”

Netanyahu’s statement is funny because it is completely absurd. The PA has chosen.

The PA made the choice in 2000 when it rejected Israel’s offer of peace and Palestinian statehood and joined forces with Hamas to wage a terror war against Israel.

The PA made the choice in 2005 again when it responded to Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza with a tenfold increase in the number of rockets and missiles it fired on Israeli civilian targets in the Negev.

The Palestinians made the choice in 2006, when they elected Hamas to rule over them.

They made the choice in March 2007 when Fatah and Hamas signed their first unity deal.

The PA made the choice in 2008 when Abbas rejected then-prime minister Ehud Olmert’s offer of statehood and peace.

The PA made the choice in 2010 when it refused to reinstate peace negotiations with Netanyahu; began peace negotiations with Hamas; and escalated its plan to establish an independent state without peace with Israel.

Now the PA has again made the choice by signing the newest peace deal with Hamas.

In a real sense, Netanyahu’s call for the PA to choose is the political equivalent of a man telling his wife she must choose between him and her lover, after she has left home, shacked up and had five children with her new man.

It is a pathetic joke.

But worse than a pathetic joke, it is a national tragedy. It is a tragedy that after more than a decade of the PA choosing war with Israel and peace with Hamas, Israel’s leaders are still incapable of accepting reality and walking away. It is a tragedy that Israel’s leaders cannot find the courage to say the joke of the peace process is really a deadly serious war process whose end is Israel’s destruction, and that Israel is done with playing along.

There are many reasons that Netanyahu is incapable of stating the truth and ending the 18- year policy nightmare in which Israel is an active partner in its own demise. One of the main reasons is that like his predecessors, Netanyahu has come to believe the myth that Israel’s international standing is totally dependent on its being perceived as trying to make peace with the Palestinians.

According to this myth – which has been the central pillar of Israel’s foreign policy and domestic politics since Yitzhak Rabin first accepted the PLO as a legitimate actor in 1993 – it doesn’t matter how obvious it is that the Palestinians are uninterested in peaceful coexistence with Israel.

It doesn’t matter how openly they wage their war to destroy Israel. Irrespective of the nakedness of Palestinian bad faith, seven successive governments have adopted the view that the only thing that stands between Israel and international pariah status is its leaders’ ability to persuade the so-called international community that Israel is serious about appeasing the Palestinians.

For the past several months, this profoundly neurotic perception of Israel’s options has fed our leaders’ hysterical response to the Palestinians’ plan to unilaterally declare independence.

The Palestinian plan itself discredits the idea that they are interested in anything other than destroying Israel. The plan is to get the UN to recognize a Palestinian state in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and Gaza outside the framework of a peace treaty with Israel. The PA will first attempt to get the Security Council to endorse an independent “Palestine.” If the Obama administration vetoes the move, then the PA will ask the General Assembly to take action. Given the makeup of the General Assembly, it is all but certain that the Palestinians will get their resolution.

The question is, does this matter? Everyone from Defense Minister Ehud Barak to hard-left, post-Zionist retreads like Shulamit Aloni and Avrum Burg says it does. They tell us that if this passes, Israel will face international opprobrium if its citizens or military personnel so much as breathe in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem without Palestinian permission.

These prophets of doom warn that Israel has but one hope for saving itself from diplomatic death: Netanyahu must stand before the world and pledge to give Israel’s heartland and capital to the Palestinians.

And according to helpful Obama administration officials, everything revolves around Netanyahu’s ability to convince the EU-3 – British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel – that he is serious about appeasing the Palestinians. If he doesn’t offer up Israel’s crown jewels in his speech before the US Congress next month, administration officials warn that the EU powers will go with the Palestinians.

And if they go with the Palestinians, well, things could get ugly for Israel.

Happily, these warnings are completely ridiculous. UN General Assembly resolutions have no legal weight. Even if every General Assembly member except Israel votes in favor of a resolution recognizing “Palestine,” all the Palestinians will have achieved is another non-binding resolution, with no force of law, asserting the same thing that thousands of UN resolutions already assert. Namely, it will claim falsely that Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and Gaza are Palestinian territory to which Israel has no right. Israel will be free to ignore this resolution, just as it has been free to ignore its predecessors.

The threat of international isolation is also wildly exaggerated. Today, Israel is more diplomatically isolated than it has been at any time in its 63-year history. With the Obama administration treating the construction of homes for Jews in Jerusalem as a greater affront to the cause of world peace than the wholesale massacre of hundreds of Iranian and Syrian protesters by regime goons, Israel has never faced a more hostile international climate. And yet, despite its frosty reception from the White House to Whitehall, life in Israel has never been better.

According to the latest data released by the Central Bureau of Statistics, Israel’s economy grew 7.8 percent in the last quarter of 2010.

International trade is rising steeply. In the first quarter of 2011, exports rose 27.3%. They grew 19.9% in the final quarter of last year. Imports rose 34.7% between January and March, and 38.9% in the last quarter of 2010.

The Israel-bashing EU remains Israel’s largest trading partner. And even as Turkey embraced Hamas and Iran as allies, its trade with Israel reached an all time high last year.

These trade data expose a truth that the doom and gloomers are unwilling to notice: For the vast majority of Israelis the threat of international isolation is empty.

The same people telling us to commit suicide now lest we face the firing squad in September would also have us believe that the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is the single greatest threat to the economy. But that lie was put paid this month with the demise of the Australian town of Marrickville’s BDS-inspired boycott.

Last December, the anti-Israel coalition running the town council voted to institute a trade, sports and academic boycott against Israel. Two weeks ago the council was forced to cancel its decision after it learned that it would cost $3.4 million to institute it. Cheaper Israeli products and services would have to be replaced with more expensive non-Israeli ones.

Both Israel’s booming foreign trade and the swift demise of the Marrickville boycott movement demonstrate that the specter of international isolation in the event that Israel extricates itself from the Palestinian peace process charade is nothing more than a bluff. The notion that Israel will be worse off it Netanyahu admits that Abbas has again chosen war against the Jews over peace with us has no credibility.

So what is preventing Netanyahu and his colleagues in the government from acknowledging this happy truth? Two factors are at play here. The first is our inability to understand power politics. Our leaders believe that the likes of Sarkozy, Cameron and Merkel are serious when they tell us that Israel needs to prove it is serious about peace in order to enable them to vote against a Palestinian statehood resolution at the UN. But they are not serious. Nothing that Israel does will have any impact on their votes.

When the Europeans forge their policies towards Israel they are moved by one thing only: the US.

Since 1967, the Europeans have consistently been more pro-Palestinian than the US. Now, with the Obama administration demonstrating unprecedented hostility towards Israel, there is no way that the Europeans will suddenly shift to Israel’s side. So when European leaders tell Israelis that we need to convince them we are serious about peace, they aren’t being serious. They are looking for an excuse to be even more hostile. If Israel offers the store to Abbas, then the likes of Cameron, Merkel and Sarkozy will not only recognize “Palestine” at the UN, (because after all, they cannot be expected to be more pro-Israel than the Israeli government that just surrendered), they will recognize Hamas. Because that’s the next step.

It would seem that Israel’s leaders should have gotten wise to this game years ago. And the fact that they haven’t can be blamed on the second factor keeping their sanity in check: the Israeli Left. The only group of Israelis directly impacted by the BDS movement is the Israeli Left. Its members – from university lecturers to anti-Zionist has-been politicians, artists, actors and hack writers – are the only members of Israeli society who have a personal stake in a decision by their leftist counterparts in the US or Europe or Australia or any other pretty vacation/sabbatical spots to boycott Israelis.

And because the movement threatens them, they have taken it upon themselves to scare the rest of us into taking this ridiculous charade seriously. So it was that last week a group of washed-up radicals gathered in Tel Aviv outside the hall where David Ben-Gurion proclaimed Israeli independence, and declared the independence of “Palestine.” They knew their followers in the media would make a big deal of their agitprop and use it as another means of demoralizing the public into believing we can do nothing but embrace our enemies’ cause against our country.

The time has come for the vast majority of Israelis who aren’t interested in the Nobel Prize for Literature or a sabbatical at Berkeley or the University of Trondheim to call a spade a spade. The BDS haters have no leverage. A degree from Bar-Ilan is more valuable than a degree from Oxford. And no matter how much these people hate Israel, they will continue to buy our technologies and contract our researchers, because Cambridge is no longer capable of producing the same quality of scholarship as the Technion.

And it is well past time for our leaders to stop playing this fool’s game. We don’t need anyone’s favors. Abbas has made his choice.

Now it is time for Netanyahu to choose.
25126  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / TUF on: April 29, 2011, 03:15:34 PM
Anyone following TUF this season?  I may have missed an episode or two, but impressions so far:

Brock Lesnar is a clueless d*ck. cheesy  Wuzzup with repeated calling his team "chicken excrement"?  Erick Paulson is the real trainer for his team.

Junior Dos Santos seems alright, though it looks like he is about to seriously lose patience with his team's wrestling coach for repeated violations of not staying in his lane.  

Not really impressed with the fighters or the fighting so far.

I would have scored this week's fight a draw after two rounds.  The "losing" fighter needs to seriously work on his response to the boxing blast.

Gnarly broken finger this week.
25127  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Baston y daga, espada y daga on: April 29, 2011, 03:10:10 PM
There should be some B&D at the upcoming DB Tribal Gathering.  wink
25128  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Help please on: April 29, 2011, 03:08:42 PM
Woof All:

I'm looking for leads on good sources of data concerning just how much impact a human skull/brain can safely take. 

Football/hockey/Army helmet mfgrs?  Medical research?

TIA,
Crafty Dog
25129  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: 6/25-28/11 Guro Crafty & Peyton Quinn at RMCAT in CO? on: April 29, 2011, 03:06:02 PM
Its looking like this is too close geographically and temporally to my Memphis seminar.  Peyton and I are now talking about early October.
25130  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Guro Crafty in Israel May 6-7 on: April 29, 2011, 03:04:47 PM
Leaving on Monday.  I get to spend a day in Madrid waiting for my connecting flight to Israel.
25131  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Prayer and Daily Expression of Gratitude on: April 29, 2011, 03:03:20 PM
Prayers for a friend on his way to Afghanistan
25132  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Reporter banned , , , for reporting on: April 29, 2011, 02:58:46 PM


http://michellemalkin.com/2011/04/28/obama-lied-transparency-died-part-9999/
25133  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Patriot Post: The Enemies List on: April 29, 2011, 01:33:27 PM
From the Left: The Enemies List
The Obama administration, fearful of the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United ruling in favor of free speech, is looking to change the rules of the campaign game for 2012. The administration is demanding that potential federal contractors make known any political donations over $5,000 made by the contracting company or its executives. Government contractors are already required to disclose political contributions to candidates, but this order will expand that to include independent groups, a category in which conservatives outspent liberals in the last election cycle.

The implications are obvious: If a company wants to win a federal contract while Obama is in the White House, it had better have a campaign donation record that reflects greater support for Democrats. Leftists attempted to rig the corporate donation game in 2010 with the Disclose Act, but it failed to pass. Now the White House is again extra-constitutionally taking matters into its own hands with the same intent -- reduce the overall dollar amount received in donations by independent conservative groups. Federal labor unions don't have to worry, though. The SEIU, AFL-CIO and other groups that brought Obama some $200 million worth of support in 2008 are conveniently exempted from the new disclosure rules in the executive order. Perhaps they slipped the president's mind.

25134  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Birther Blather on: April 29, 2011, 01:24:47 PM
"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily." --George Washington


Government & Politics
The Birther Blather

The Obama birth certificate"I can't spend all of my time with my birth certificate plastered on my forehead." --Barack Hussein Obama in August 2010

Of course, Obama never spent any time with his birth certificate plastered to his forehead, the subterfuge has been part of a successful political charade.

Since Obama's election, we have received some complaints that Mark Alexander has never devoted an essay to the controversy concerning Obama's birth certificate or nationality. The issue has received the mention it deserved in our analysis (not much) but mostly it has been featured in our humor section (e.g., Jay Leno's quip, "Obama's overseas trip has been such a disaster that people in Kenya now claim that he has an American birth certificate.").

Alexander responded to the issue early on, noting that he believed Obama was born in Hawaii, and the birth certificate controversy was one facet of Obama's campaign strategy to divide up opposition resources. In other words, it was a ploy to divert the political capital of some well-meaning Obama detractors, and lead them to focus on the question of where Obama was born, rather than much more important questions about his qualifications to be president.

Alexander noted that at some point, Obama would release his original birth certificate, thus discrediting the so-called "birthers." By extension, and by design, this undermines the credibility of other legitimate concerns about Obama, first and foremost, his socialist agenda for the "fundamental transformation" of our nation.

Apparently this week, Obama's handlers determined they had squeezed all the political juice out of this issue, now that Jerome Corsi's book was out and Donald Trump released his birth certificate. (Was Trump actually born in this galaxy?) Finally, Obama did what any humble and respectable candidate should have done the first day the question was asked -- he released his long form birth certificate. Of course, "humble and respectable" are not characteristics of Obama's Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

For the record, we were as interested as any conservatives should be about the constitutional question of Obama's eligibility to run for president, but understood that even if definitive evidence was produced that Obama was born in Kenya, the question then becomes a statutory debate about eligibility based on the fact that at the time of his birth, his American mother was below the statutory age for recognition of her child as a U.S. citizen.

Further, it was clear two years ago that no matter what form of birth certificate Obama released and when, it would still be seen as a fraud by those claiming he was born in Kenya, and make no difference one way or the other to his sycophantic lemmings.

We still demand that Obama release other information that presidential candidates should release -- transcripts, passport and travel information, etc., but don't expect to see that information in this election cycle.

Finally, we offer this advice to grassroots conservatives: Caveat Emptor! Beware of organizations like WorldNetDaily and other "conservative news" sources, which build readership by hyping issues such as Obama's nationality in order to sell advertising. Many of those controversial stories are based on 10 percent substance and 90 percent fragrance. Hyping political issues serves only their self-interest, and distracts from serious concerns about Obama and his cadres of Leftists, which is precisely what Obama wants.

25135  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: April 29, 2011, 10:54:24 AM
Yes, thank you.
25136  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: April 29, 2011, 10:53:45 AM
My wife gave me a post-it sticky pad cool  Lets post future comments about this campaign on The Way forward for the American Creed thread.
25137  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: April 29, 2011, 10:48:01 AM
I saw , , , what's his name, the black businessman/radio commentator , , , on Bret Baier last night.  Good interview, also the footage of him showed him tactfully getting in President Bill Clinton's face about Hillary Care-- which shows he has been politically involved for quite some time now.  I look forward to some excellent contributions in the debates from him.
25138  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Who says econ isn't funny? on: April 29, 2011, 01:34:46 AM

Keynes vs. Hayek
 
Round One
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0nERTFo-Sk

Round Two (this is the current one)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTQnarzmTOc
25139  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DB Tribal Gathering Fighter List on: April 28, 2011, 04:05:53 PM
I am really looking forward to this fight. Gong Fu brings some very good skills to bear with the 3 section staff.
25140  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: April 28, 2011, 10:15:07 AM
GM:

I like it  grin
25141  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / What lucky people do differently on: April 28, 2011, 10:13:07 AM
What Lucky People Do Different (sic)


Today’s guest contributor is former Wall Street Journal and Fortune writer, Erik Calonius. Erik collaborated with Dan Ariely on Predictably Irrational and he has a new book out from Penguin Portfolio, Ten Steps Ahead: What Separates Successful Business Visionaries from the Rest of  Us.

+++

A few years ago I was standing in the garage where Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak started Apple Computer. I had an excellent guide that autumn morning: Steve Jobs himself. He was showing me where his desk sat in the cramped space; where Woz had his workbench; where they piled the boxes of freshly built Apple I’s.

“Look at this,” he exclaimed, pointing to the far wall. In the corner was a full-page newspaper ad for the Apple I computer, circa 1980. The headline read: What Is A Personal Computer?

Today we certainly know what a personal computer is. We can thank Jobs and the Woz for that.  And thanks to Steve, we also know what an iPod is, what an iPhone is, what an iPad is–not to mention what a Mac is. Thanks, Steve.

The thing we don’t know today concerns Steve himself. Whether this icon in the black turtleneck will overcome his health problems. That question, of course, spills over into the question about Apple Corp itself–whether Apple will thrive—or even endure for long—when Steve Jobs some day leaves. There’s huge speculation about it in the stock market now, evident in the dips and swings of Apple stock over the past few years in reaction to Steve’s continuing battle against pancreatic cancer.

But there’s another other issue at play in Steve’s illness, and Jonathan, I think you raised it your recent post, Dust in the Wind. The post showed a red dumpster beneath your apartment window, where the life’s possession of elderly widows and widowers are dumped on a regular basis when they pass away.  “This is what’s left of someone’s life,” you wrote. “Not the experiences, but the stuff.” Your readers obviously understood the existential question you were raising. So did I: my mother passed a few years ago, and one of the most traumatic events of my life was filling three dumpsters to the top with her stuff following two weekends of estate sales.

Recently I stumbled upon a Stanford graduation address that answers that question surprisingly well. And it’s from Steve Jobs himself. The speech was given in 2005, less than a year after he found out he had cancer. I think that’s why Steve’s remarks were unusually candid and personal.

This is what he said:

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool that I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.  Because almost everything—all external expectations all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure—these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.  Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

That’s a blunt confession, especially delivered to an assembly of fresh-faced college graduates. But Jobs offered some prescriptive advice.

“For the past 33 years I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

Great thought. But how do you “change something?” How do you take the image of your face in the mirror—or the sight of the dumpster down in the street—and change your own life?

Recently I came upon a fascinating study by Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire. Wiseman surveyed a number of people and, through a series of questionnaires and interviews, determined which of them considered themselves lucky—or unlucky. He then performed an intriguing experiment: He gave both the “lucky” and the “unlucky” people a newspaper and asked them to look through it and tell him how many photographs were inside. He found that on average the unlucky people took two minutes to count all the photographs, whereas the lucky ones determined the number in a few seconds.

How could the “lucky” people do this? Because they found a message on the second page that read, “Stop counting. There are 43 photographs in this newspaper.” So why didn’t the unlucky people see it? Because they were so intent on counting all the photographs that they missed the message. Wiseman noted,

“Unlucky people miss chance opportunities because they are too focused on looking for something else. They go to parties intent on finding their perfect partner, and so miss opportunities to make good friends. They look through the newspaper determined to find certain job advertisements and, as a result, miss other types of jobs. Lucky people are more relaxed and open, and therefore see what is there, rather than just what they are looking for.”

I think Steve Jobs would agree wholeheartedly with this. In fact, in his Stanford address he described how he dropped out of Reed College after a mere six months. After that, he said he hung around the campus, slept on the floor in a friend’s room, walked seven miles across town on Sunday nights for a good meal at the Hare Krishna Temple, and took a few classes, whatever he wanted.  It sounds like a waste—like Jobs should have been “counting the photographs” in life rather than meandering about. But as you can imagine, it isn’t true. Says Jobs:

“Reed College at the time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class and learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, and about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great.”

Here’s the kicker:

“If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, “ Jobs explained, “the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionately spaced ones. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them.”

He added,

“Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something—your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

So that’s what Jobs means by “changing something.” Not a decision to do this or that, but an emotional choice to keep your mind open. To stop counting the “photographs.” To look around.  To open your eyes and bring real life–raw, untamed and full of promise—into your world.

When we see a dumpster full of stuff, maybe that’s the thought we need to keep in mind. Possessions, after all, are not always a comfort. Sometimes they are a cage.
25142  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Right to defend on: April 28, 2011, 08:14:32 AM
Tzvi Freeman: Any Jew alive on the face of this planet today is a walking miracle. Our mere existence today is wondrous, plucked from the fire at the last moment again and again, with no natural explanation that will suffice.  Each of us alive today is a child of martyrs and miracles.




AB wrote: "And second of all, the horrors of Marxism here werent really horrors at all, and most certainly they werent Marxists horrors. I beleive you refer to Yugoslavia. All recent studies and polls show that a vast majority of people said life back then was a lot more lax, less stresfull, happier and freer. Almost 0% crime rate, no unemployment, free health care with one of the best surgeons and doctors in central europe, a solid school system, sure work after graduation, economical vertical mobility, great national spirit and cameradery..."

As GM has already clarified, his comments were directed to the entirety of Marxism, the over twenty million killed by Stalin et al, the 50-70 million killed by Mao, etc.  I would add a simple comment based upon my personal experience.  When I was 11 years old my family and I (liberal NYC Jews btw so we were not predisposed to a negative experience) went into what was then northern Yugoslavia for several days.  The oppression and fear in the air was palpable.  As you know, last year I was in Slovenia which seemed to me to be a fine, wonderful place.  Also, I went to Cuba for ten days in 1981, shortly before the Port Mariel exodus.  I speak Spanish at an adult level, and Latin America was my region of specialization for my degree in International Relations from U. of PA-- the point being I did go in with some education and the ability to talk to people independently of government provided guides.  Again, oppression in the air, and empty stomachs in a fertile tropical island.  As for your description of central Europe, I have a hard time squaring that with the fact of the Berlin Wall and Soviet and East German guards shooting people trying to escape.


AB wrote "So in short I cannot honestly answer you to the question : does Israel have a right to exist?  Does Israel have a right to self-defense? I mean of course from the basic context, there is no doubt that it does, but my pitch is, that the problem is WAY more layered and structured than this basic question."

I find your response here quite remarkable.  It is PRECISELY as simple as whether Israel has a right to exist and to defend itself or not!!!  Annale slice and layer all you want to concerning the etymology of the terms Palistine/Palestinian, Iran/Aryan, Jihad/Kampf but the simple facts are

a) that there are major strands of Jewish hatred in the Arab world today based upon portions of Islam;
b) that this hatred precedes the creation of Israel;
c) that almost as many Jews came to Israel to escape oppression in the Arab (and Aryan Iranian) world as came from Europe;
d) that the ASIs (Arabs Surrounding Israel) have tried to wipe it out various times;
e) that there are many, many ASIs currently dedicated to the destruction of Israel
f) Iran is building missiles and nukes that will give it the ability to wipe Israel out in a flash
g) that Israel gave the Sinai back to Egypt after it accepted Israel's right to exist
h) that this option was on the table for many years for the West Bank, though at this point many Israelis have decided to move on and keep land from which their security and survival has been attacked innumerable times and
i) those who would make peace and do business with Israel are killed
j) the rights of Arabs in Israel are far, far greater than the rights of Jews in Arab coutntries.

PS:  I have looked in vain for your statement of your guiding philosophy "Annales Marxism" was it?  I would like to read up on this a bit.  This is what I have found so far-- is this it?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annales_School
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1364891/Annales-school
 
25143  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor: Long term flux on: April 28, 2011, 06:42:35 AM
The Middle East in Long-Term Flux

There are days when disparate events in multiple countries offer key insights into the trajectory of the wider region. Tuesday was one of them. A number of significant developments took place in the Middle East – a region that in the past four months has become far more turbulent than it has been in the last decade. Let us start with Egypt, where the provisional military authority appears to be considering a radical foreign policy move in re-establishing ties with Iran. It is too early to say whether such a rapprochement will materialize, but the country’s interim premier, Essam Sharaf, who is on a tour of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), sought to reassure his Persian Gulf Arab hosts that revived Egyptian-Iranian ties would not undermine their security. Having successfully dealt with popular unrest at home, the military of Egypt appears to be on a path to reassert Cairo onto the regional scene, and revitalizing relations with an emergent Iran is likely a key aspect of this strategy.

Egypt, being far removed from the Persian Gulf region, does not have the same concerns about Iran that its fellow Sunni Arab states on the Arabian Peninsula do. It can therefore afford to have ties with the clerical regime. The Egyptians are also watching how the GCC states are unable to effectively deal with a rising Tehran and are thus seeing the need to become involved in the issue. However, unlike the Khaleeji Arabs, they do not think confrontation is the way forward. Establishing ties with Iran also allows Egypt to undercut Syria, which thus far is the only Arab state to have close relations with the Persian Islamist state.

“Iran wants to dispense with the unfinished business of Iraq, allowing it to focus on the other side of the Persian Gulf where turmoil in places like Bahrain offers potential opportunities of historic proportions.”
Meanwhile, Syria faces growing public agitation and its future looks uncertain. Damascus is caught in a dilemma — its use of force to quell the popular demonstrations has only aggravated matters. Placating the masses through reforms is also risky for the future well-being of the regime. Faced with bad options, it has largely focused on using force to try and neutralize the opposition — a move that has its northern neighbor, Turkey, concerned about turmoil on its southern borders (turmoil that could easily spread to Lebanon). This is why on Tuesday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that he will send a delegation to the Syrian capital to try to help defuse the situation.

Growing instability in Syria, however, is beginning to be an issue for the Turks. In Iraq, the Turks have long been caught in the middle of an intensifying U.S.-Iranian struggle. And on Tuesday, that struggle took an interesting turn with reports that the Iraqi prime minister is considering ways in which his government could allow American troops to remain in his country while not upsetting his patrons in Iran. It will be difficult to strike such a compromise given that Iran is anxiously waiting for the withdrawal of American forces from its western neighbor so it can move to consolidate its influence there unencumbered.

Iran wants to dispense with the unfinished business of Iraq, allowing it to focus on the other side of the Persian Gulf, where turmoil in places like Bahrain offers potential opportunities of historic proportions. While its arch regional nemesis, Saudi Arabia, seems to have things under control in the Shiite-majority Arab island kingdom for now, the situation there is not tenable given that the demographics work in favor of Iran. A more immediate concern for the Saudis in relation to the Arabian Peninsula is the serious potential for a meltdown of the Yemeni state.

Riyadh and its GCC allies have been working overtime trying to broker a deal in Yemen whereby beleaguered President Ali Abdullah Saleh can step down and hand over power to a transitional coalition government. On Tuesday, it was announced that the deal is supposed to be signed next Monday in the Saudi capital. Given the complex fault lines separating the various players in the largely tribal country, the chances of Yemen undergoing an orderly transfer of power remain low. In fact, because of the complexity and number of actors involved in the process, the likelihood of civil war remains high.

Ultimately, the prospects of turmoil on the Arabian Peninsula and Levant remain high. Egypt, Turkey and Iran – to varying degrees – could benefit in the long term. In the short term, we are looking at a slow but steady spread of instability throughout the region, rendering it precarious for years to come.

25144  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Poltical Privacy under attack by BO. on: April 27, 2011, 02:27:51 PM
By DAVID MARSTON AND JOHN YOO
Suppose that during the civil rights movement segregationist governors ordered all state contractors to disclose their political donations in an attempt to expose civil rights supporters to harassment and retaliation. The Supreme Court would have had none of it.

In NAACP v. Alabama (1958), the court barred Alabama from forcing the NAACP to disclose its members. Those justices would have struck down a similar effort to force the release of the NAACP's financial supporters. They would have rightly viewed it as an infringement of the constitutional right to free association and free speech.

Today President Obama is ignoring the lessons of the civil rights era he claims to revere. According to a draft executive order leaked last week, Mr. Obama plans to require any company seeking a federal contract to disclose its executives' political contributions over $5,000—not just to candidates, but to any group that might make "independent expenditure" or "electioneering communication" advertisements.

If a small businesswoman wants to sell paper clips to the Defense Department, Mr. Obama would force her to reveal contributions to groups such as Planned Parenthood or the National Rifle Association. These donations are obviously irrelevant to whether she made the most reliable bid at the lowest price. The only purpose of the executive order is to dangle the specter of retaliation (by losing her contracts) and harassment (from political opponents).

It would be comforting if this order had been some aberration produced from somewhere deep in the bowels of the federal bureaucracy. Unfortunately, it was not. This order represents the latest salvo in the Obama administration's war on the First Amendment rights of its political opponents.

The conflict goes back to January 2010, with the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The court held as unconstitutional the McCain-Feingold Act's limits on the political spending of corporations, unions and other groups. Mr. Obama struck back, claiming that the decision "strikes at our democracy itself." He trotted out the usual suspects—"big oil, Wall Street banks, health-insurance companies and other powerful interests"—as the winners. He promised that the White House would "talk with bipartisan congressional leaders to develop a forceful response to this decision."

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Getty Images
 .There was no bipartisanship, but there was certainly a forceful response. Democrats proposed the Disclose Act, which would have muzzled political speech by prohibiting federal contractors from making contributions to federal candidates or parties. Though the act failed to overcome a filibuster last year in the Senate, its supporters remain undeterred.

Having failed to undo Citizens United by legislation, Mr. Obama apparently believes that he can veto the Supreme Court by naked presidential fiat. But before the administration barrels through with this attempt to suppress corporate political activity, it would do well to revisit NAACP v. Alabama.

The court declared that the privacy of group membership and political activity were critical to the "effective advocacy of both public and private points of view, particularly controversial ones." Privacy can be critical for free speech. "Inviolability of privacy in group association may in many circumstances be indispensable to preservation of freedom of association, particularly where a group espouses dissident beliefs," Justice John Marshall Harlan wrote for a unanimous court.

The court went on to recite a litany of potential retaliation—"economic reprisal, loss of employment, threat of physical coercion, and other manifestations of public hostility"—that could deter people from publicly supporting the NAACP. It did not matter, the justices observed, that the harassment would likely come from "private community pressures." What mattered is that such pressure would be prompted by "the initial exertion of state power."


Our era of instant mass communication exponentially multiplies this threat. Supporters of California's Proposition 8, which bars gay marriage, have faced relentless harassment after a federal court refused to bar the disclosure of their identities in 2009. Opponents promptly created a website that used the Prop 8 list to create a map of donors' homes. Widespread intimidation followed: Some Prop 8 supporters were fired from their jobs, and several of their businesses were boycotted.

Mr. Obama's executive order threatens to replicate the Prop 8 experience on a nationwide scale. In fact, it requires the release of contractors' political contributions in a publicly available electronic database to be posted online as soon as possible. It shouldn't matter here that disclosure would be the price for doing business with the government. In B oy Scouts of America v. Dale (2000), the Supreme Court made it clear that a group did not have to give up its right to associate in exchange for some government benefit.

Civil libertarians and liberals have so far been mum in the face of Mr. Obama's executive order. They're likely justifying their silence on the basis that businesses—not unions—will suffer. But if the president succeeds in reducing the free-speech rights of business today, it will be far easier to limit the same rights of other Americans tomorrow.

Imagine the outcry we'll hear from self-described First Amendment supporters when every professor applying for a government research grant has to disclose his political donations.

Mr. Marston is a lawyer and former U.S. attorney in Philadelphia. Mr. Yoo, a law professor at the University of California Berkeley and a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, served in the George W. Bush Justice Department.

25145  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ/Joffe: In case Andraz does not have enough to which to respond :-) on: April 27, 2011, 02:06:17 PM


By JOSEF JOFFE
In politics, shoddy theories never die. In the Middle East, one of the oldest is that Palestine is the "core" regional issue. This zombie should have been interred at the beginning of the Arab Spring, which has highlighted the real core conflict: the oppressed vs. their oppressors. But the dead keep walking.

"The plight of the Palestinians has been a root cause of unrest and conflict in the region," insisted Turkish President Abdullah Gul in the New York Times last week. "Whether these [recent] uprisings lead to democracy and peace or to tyranny and conflict will depend on forging a lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace." Naturally, "the U.S. has a long overdue responsibility" to forge that peace.

Writing in the Financial Times, former U.S. National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft intoned: "The nature of the new Middle East cannot be known until the festering sore of the occupied territories is removed." Read: The fate of democracy hinges on Palestine.

So do "Iran's hegemonic ambitions," he insinuated. This is why Tehran reaches for the bomb? Syria, too, will remain a threat "as long as there is no regional peace agreement." The Assad regime is slaughtering its own people for the sake of Palestine? And unless Riyadh "saw the U.S. as moving in a serious manner" on Palestine, Mr. Scowcroft warned, the Saudis might really sour on their great protector from across the sea. So when they sent troops into Bahrain, were they heading for Jerusalem by way of Manama?

Shoddy political theories—ideologies, really—never die because they are immune to the facts. The most glaring is this: These revolutions have unfolded without the usual anti-American and anti-Israeli screaming. It's not that the demonstrators had run out of Stars and Stripes to trample, or were too concerned about the environment to burn Benjamin Netanyahu in effigy. It's that their targets were Hosni Mubarak, Zine el Abidine Ben-Ali, Moammar Gadhafi and the others—no stooges of Zionism they. In Benghazi, the slogan was: "America is our friend!"

The men and women of the Arab Spring are not risking their lives for a "core" issue, but for the freedom of Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Syria. And of Iran, as the Green revolutionaries did in Tehran in 2009.

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Associated Press
 
Syrian anti-government protesters march during a demonstration in Banias, Syria, on April 17.
.Every "Palestine-first" doctrine in the end comes down to that fiendish "Arab Street": The restless monster must be fed with Israeli concessions lest he rise and sweep away our good friends—all those dictators and despots who pretended to stand between us and Armageddon. Free Palestine, the dogma goes, and even Iran and Syria will turn from rabid to responsible. The truth is that the American and Israeli flags were handed out for burning by those regimes themselves.

This is how our good friends have stayed in power: Divert attention and energy from oppression and misery at home by rousing the masses against the enemy abroad. How can we have free elections, runs a classic line, as long as they despoil our sacred Islamic lands? This is why anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism are as rampant among our Saudi and Egyptian allies as among the hostile leaders of Iran and Syria.

The Palestinians do deserve their own state. But the Palestine-first strategy reverses cause and effect. It is not the core conflict that feeds the despotism; it is the despots who fan the conflict, even as they fondle their U.S.-made F-16s and quietly work with Israel. Their peoples are the victims of this power ploy, not its drivers. This is what the demonstrators of Tahrir Square and the rebels of Benghazi have told us with their silence on the Palestine issue.

So Palestine has nothing to do with it? It does, though not in the ways insisted by Messrs. Gul and Scowcroft. The sounds of silence carry a different message: "It's democracy, stupid!" Freedom does not need the enemy at the gate. Despots do, which is why they happily let the Palestinian sore fester for generations.

Israel, which has reacted in utter confusion to the fall of Mubarak, might listen up as well. If democracies don't have to "busy giddy minds with foreign quarrels," as Shakespeare has it in Henry IV, then Israel's reformed neighbors might at last be ready for real, not just cold peace. Mr. Mubarak was not. Nor is Mr. Assad of Syria, who has refused every Israeli offer to hand back the Golan Heights. If you rule at the head of a tiny Alawite minority, why take the Heights and give away a conflict that keeps you in power? Peace at home—justice, jobs and consent—makes for peace abroad.

Still, don't hold your breath. Yes, democracy is where history is going, but it is a long, perilous journey even from Tunis to Tripoli, let alone all the way to Tehran.

Mr. Joffe is senior fellow at the Freeman-Spogli Institute for International Studies and a fellow at the Hoover Institution, both at Stanford.

25146  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / RH Lee 1786 ; James Madison 1824 on: April 27, 2011, 10:47:32 AM


"It is certainly true that a popular government cannot flourish without virtue in the people." --Richard Henry Lee, letter to Colonel Martin Pickett, 1786


"I entirely concur in the propriety of resorting to the sense in which the Constitution was accepted and ratified by the nation. In that sense alone it is the legitimate Constitution. And if that is not the guide in expounding it, there may be no security." --James Madison, letter to Henry Lee, 1824
25147  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: April 27, 2011, 10:22:54 AM
Trump is an alpha male, Obama , , , what's this phrase his people have been using recently?  Obama "leads from (or is it "with his") behind."

Trump has what it takes temperamentally to spank a Meredith Veira and the rest of the Pravda press and to speak up FOR the United States.  Its just that he stands for himself more than anything else and as expression thereof has a long history of positions whose only principle seems to be his own self-interest.

I saw Pawlenty interviewed last night on Bret Baier Report.  Good job.
25148  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / At long last long form revealed on: April 27, 2011, 10:17:57 AM
Breaking News Alert
The New York Times
Wed, April 27, 2011 -- 9:24 AM ET
-----

White House Releases Long Form of President Obama's Hawaii Birth Certificate

President Obama posted a copy of his "long form" birth
certificate, hoping to finally end a long-simmering
conspiracy theory among some conservatives that he was not
born in the United States and was not a legitimate president.

The birth certificate, which is posted online at the White
House website, shows conclusively that Mr. Obama was born in
Honolulu, Hawaii, and is signed by state officials and his
mother.

Read More:
http://www.nytimes.com?emc=na

25149  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The conversation continues , , , on: April 27, 2011, 10:16:36 AM
AB said: "In the Modern era, apart from a few natural disasters, the only reason for Jews immigrating (emmigrating?) from "Arab countries“ is because of the Ottoman restrictions on Zionist land acquisition and immigration. Settler numbers prior to that are marginal, compared to the Aliyah migrations from Europe."

I'm not sure I understand here.  Concerning "Ottoman restrictions on Zionist land acquistion":  Wouldn't it be more accurate here to say "Jewish" than to say "Zionist"?  Did the Ottoman Empire allow Jews who were not Zionists to acquire land? I find that doubtful.  What then is the point/purpose for saying "Zionist" instead of saying "Jewish"? Is it to avoid having to acknowledge an example of the oppressive nature of dhimmitude throughout much/most/all the Ottoman Empire especially in the Arab regions?

Anyway, the point is tangential to the one that I was seeking to make:  That upon the creation of the Jewish State of Israel by the United Nations there was massive Jewish emmigration from the oppressive nature of dhimmitude in Arab lands to Israel and that the numbers involved rival the numbers coming from Europe.  I apologize for not being the scholar that you are in these matters Andrew and so lack citations, but my intended underlying point is to undercut the assertion sometimes made that Israel's creation is due simply to Europe dumping its Jews on the Arabs.

AB said "About the killings, and terror attacks etc. I post this table from 2008, about the „effectiveness“ of the Palestinian war machine

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/93/Israelis_killed_by_Palestinians_in_Israel_and_Palestinians_killed_by_Israelis_in_Gaza_-_2008.png "

Although wikipedia is adequate for many kinds of citations, for others, particularly controversial issues such as the one we are discussing here, IMHO it is less than definitive.  Just as we have cited in this thread how youtube is systematically removing material supportive of the Israel and Jews (due to intimidation?) given what I understand to be the nature of how Wikipedia works, it seems to me that the same forces can be at work.  As one of GM's posts point out (accurately and fairly in my opinion) there are widely believed falsehoods against Israel out there about many things and and I am not ready to grant the accuracy of numbers skewed as heavily as these are.   Indeed in one of your citations, the ratio is more like 3-1 instead of the numbers here.

That said, I agree that more Palestinians have been killed by the IDF than Israelis have been killed by Palestinians, a datum which is cited by some as an indication of , , , I'm not sure what-- moral virtue (!) on the part of the Palestinians?   The logic eludes me.  Does Israel have to wait for the efficacy of rockets launched from Gaza and suicidal kills to rise to higher death levels before acting to abate these attacks from an entity led by a democratically elected group (Hamas) formally dedicated to the destruction of Israel?  Does not Israel have a right of self-defense?!?

I said: "Yet despite all their genocidal attacks on the Jews, good people such as yourself do not hold the Palestinians to blame for the natural consequences of their actions.  Indeed you speak of the Jews surrounding the Arabs/Palestinians!?!

AB responded:  "I will not comment on the video links, I do not consider this type of argumenting viable for such a seriously delicate topic. Likewise I can return the favor with the link to the Massada2000 website and the s.h.i.t. list, and give you a counter argument for the frightenly imbecilic zionistic groups, but where would that lead us ?"

I have heard of Zionist groups that Israeli friends tell me go too far, but they are stuff of the internet, not on official state TV of Israel as the Palestian clips I posted are on official West Bank TV-- so my reponse is that the comparison you seek to make is not valid.

Then there is the matter of "Who started it?"  If we were to look at WW2 post D-day, the Allies certainly were imposing more casualties than they were receiving-- yet no one (I hope!) would use that datum to suggest that they were the aggressors (Russia excepted!!!)  

The starting point needs to be that the the Arabs Surrounding Israel (hereinafter ASIs be they Lebanese, Syrian, Jordanian, West Bankers, Gazans, Egyptians) have sought to wipe out Israel-- which was created by the United Nations.  Israel has defended itself-- righteously and effectively.  THAT IS A GOOD THING.  As is the case when aggressors lose wars, they sometimes lose land from which they launched their attacks. Those who accepted Israel's right to exist (Egypt) got their land back.  Those who persisted in trying to wipe out Israel didn't.  After years of murderous, indeed evil deliberate targeting of Jewish women and children, yes some Jewish groups have concluded that peace is not possible and that efforts at peace will be met with taquiya in preparation for the day when pretenses can be dropped and so hard-core, hard-line thought can be found, though the overwhelming majority of Israelis would be delighted to have genuine partners in peace.

AB said "You saw them purely as terrorists, I posted that, as a balance check to the other side, whereas in reality my personal opinions on the whole matter are very mixed, and quite frankly, not appropriate for this portion of the forum."

Well, that certainly is an intriguing dangle!  And as the host here, I give you the green light to say what your personal feelings are.

Next: Thank you for this citation http://middleeast.about.com/b/2009/07/24/israel-bans-al-naqba-from-textbooks.htm

AB said "I'm writing my ass off here, thinking and argumenting my point, but for you linking articles and sources that support your view on things is a self suficient argument in a debate.Actually I would rather call shoving other peoples opinions down your collegues throats,  indoctrination."

Well, you are not the first person around here to have commented on GM's propensity to post articles without personal commentary of his own! smiley  Indeed, on occasion I have been amongst those so commenting smiley  That said, I can also see the point of not wanting to get in the way of the expression of a journalist or writer who addresses the questions raised in an authoritative manner and in the case at hand here I think the articles GM cites are quite on point and well-reasoned; indeed I invite you to address the points they make or to share quality pieces which do address the points in question.

I'd also like to remind all of us (ahem GM, AB, and , , , um , , , me  smiley ) that this is by its nature a subject subjected to intense emotions and that in some cases we come from different cultures which may or may not have subtly different understandings as to what constitutes good manners in communication.  Let us avoid making snarky comments please and let us avoid getting irked by snarky comments.  We have the raw material here for some really good conversation which can help each and everyone of us move forward in our understandings.

Concerning the discussion of Solway, from my point of view (and perhaps in search of simplicity I achieve merely the simplistic) about Palestine/Palestinians etc. I confess that on a certain level the significance of what I perceive to be the essence of AB's point eludes me; it seems to me on a par with arguing that the UN should have created not one but two Israels, one for Ashkenazi Jews and one for Sephardic.  Certainly, as GM points out, the Kurds have a far stronger claim to deserving a separate nation (instead of being divided amongst Iraq, Turkey, Syria, and Iran) than the particular subset of Arabs currently residing in the West Bank (thanks to AB's interesting commentary I am no longer sure whether I should be calling them Palestinians or not smiley ) but there does not seem to be much interest in that , , ,

AB wrote: "When reading about Hitler and his ideology and propaganda et al. You have to be very careful, since he is an epitome of „picking what you like from all around and stuff it into one big neat pile of WTF“. At one point in his „career“ he became obsessed with finding the pure race, and traveled almost off world to find his agenda. From aryans in Iran to Tibet. Now as some may know he was obsessed with Nietzsche, although he read it in a completely oppurtunistic manner. Nietzche on the other hand had a thing (to put it bluntly ) for Zoroaster/Zarathustra the prophet. Through this prism he started to plow around Iran to find the „aryan“ he read so largely about in Zoroaster texts, sadly little did he know that this „aryan“ meant something totally other to what his version of „aryan“ was all about. The reason why alot of Iranians/Persians got excited about the book was, since it was promoted as a book that promotes the domination of the aryan race, the aryan ideology. Needless to say, the aryan race in that or any other context doesnt exist, and what they read about, and were so excited about was not their Aryan, but that of the NSDAP."

I'm not clear on the point here.  Perhaps GM and I are misled by propaganda.  In my case I have come into this conversation with the understanding that the analysis offered by GM's article is correct.  Are you saying that the government of Persia, which coincidentally was in bed at the time with the Nazis, changed its name to Iran for reasons not having to do with the Aryan racial theories of Hitler?  If so, what were those reasons?

AB said to GM "I find your oversimplifications of the matters in this case, strongly disconcerting."  

I confess to having a similar line of thought, though GM beat me to expressing it smiley  The explanation of our oversimplications may be rather , , , simple.  We are Americans and we are working with what we know! Certainly we would be in over our heads concerning the history of the various regions/republics/countries of what used to by Yugoslavia (oddly enough, I know a little bit due to a US legal decision about whether to grant political asylum to one "Artukovic" in the aftermath of WW2 due to his actions in Serbo-Croatia) but given the vicious Jew hatred of Iran's current regime (including its determination to completely wipe Israel out) and the connections of its prior government with the Nazis, it seems to me that it was not a strange leap of logic to infer Jew hatred from Iranian participation in the Waffen SS.

Next:  As I Jew of course I am quite aware of vast stretches of terrible Christian behavior towards Jews.  Indeed it was not until I was 8 years old that the Pope forgave me for killing Christ.  As a somewhat educated man I am aware of a historical period many centuries ago wherein Jews were treated decently in parts of the Muslim world, certainly far better than we were treated in the Christian world.  But what interests me in the world today is the reality of the world today.  In most of the Christian world as a Jew I am safe (questionable: Russia, parts of eastern Europe, and increasingly the rest of Europe-- but is Europe really Christian or Secular Humanist now? , , , but I digress).  Certainly, the issue is quite different in the Arab world!!!  I certainly hope I do not need to expound further on this point!!!

Which brings me back to the starting point-- your idea that the "Palestians"/Arabs surrounding Israel are surrounded by the Jews (!) (who, if they were wise would allow them a way out,?) instead of the other way around.  To the north is Hezbollah, armed by Iran (led by a man dedicated to the erradication of Israel) with some 50,000 plus rockets that cover a large % of Israel, to the northeast is Syria, which more than once in my lifetime has sought to invade and obliterate Israel but now is surprised that Israel holds and is reluctant to give back the Golan Heights before Syria recognizes Israel's right to exist, to the east is the West Bank, a land abandoned by Jordan rather than continue to deal with Arafat and the PLO and a land which continues to violate its promises in the Oslo Accords to recognize Israel's right to exist (yet its school books and military emblems continue to show "from river to sea") and to its south-west is Gaza, headed by democractically elected Hamas which is dedicated to the erradication of Israel.  Then there is Egypt, which got Sinai back after recognizing Israel-- though the durability of that peace is now in deep question.

AB, does Israel have a right to exist?  Does Israel have a right to self-defense?
25150  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Jon Stewart: Congress's final FU to 911 responders on: April 27, 2011, 07:52:37 AM


http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-april-26-2011/friends-without-benefits
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