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25151  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: May 13, 2010, 02:05:23 PM


A progressive site has some concrete info

http://wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/2010/05/12/arizona-reasonable-suspicion/

along with , , , some progressive stuff.
25152  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: May 13, 2010, 01:45:34 PM
Second post of the day:

The Iraq Question
ON MAY 11, AN AP REPORT CITED multiple anonymous U.S. military sources stating that the planned American drawdown of combat troops from Iraq had been delayed. Later that same day, a Pentagon spokesman denied the veracity of those claims. In his rebuttal, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said that of the 94,000 U.S. soldiers currently in Iraq, only 50,000 would remain by the end of August, with the accelerated drawdown set to begin in earnest in June, keeping in line with previous pledges made by U.S. President Barack Obama. Speaking hypothetically, Morrell said that even if the withdrawal timetable had truly been drawn out, it would not have represented a “dramatic development.”

Despite the Pentagon’s official position on the matter, it is undeniable that Iraq has seen a ramp up in violence and political tension of late. This makes it hard to believe that the Obama administration is not wondering just how strong the hand it holds on the Iraq question is these days in relation to the other player at the table: Iran. Make no mistake, however. The United States is leaving Iraq, even if later than the currently scheduled date for total departure, the end of 2011. And while over the long run the United States holds clear advantages over Iran, the question that affects the more immediate future is how much (if at all) the United States will be able to utilize the time it has left in Iraq to ensure that the country will not be politically dominated by Tehran once the United States is gone.

Judging from the results of the March 7 parliamentary elections in Iraq, the United States may have a harder time than it had previously hoped in seeing this goal through. It is now clear that the Shia will hold the upper hand over the Sunnis when it comes to dictating the terms of who gets what in the new Iraqi government, which is good news indeed in Tehran. It is not good news in Washington, which now faces the prospect of a Shia-run Baghdad — albeit with a significant Sunni population acting as a natural check — being heavily influenced by its eastern Shiite neighbor. As American foreign policy in the region is heavily centered upon maintaining balances of power (one of which, the Iran-Iraq balance, was shattered as a result of the 2003 U.S. invasion), an emboldened Iran flanking its Iraqi satellite state would represent a setback for the United States.

There are options for what the Obama administration may decide to do about the Iraq question, but none of them are very appealing from the United States’ point of view. Washington could attempt to renegotiate its Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with the Iraqi government and prolong its military occupation of the country past 2011. In this case, it could opt for either a prolonged presence involving a large number of troops (the least preferable option in the United States’ eyes), or an extended presence with a smaller number of troops. Both scenarios would generate fierce opposition from Iran and many sectors of Iraqi society, not to mention Obama’s constituents at home. Choosing an extended occupation — assuming it got the go ahead for the renegotiation of the SOFA with Baghdad — would see the United States keeping its forces in Iraq and re-evaluating its options as time progresses.

“There are options for what the Obama administration may decide to do about the Iraq question, but none of them are very appealing from the United States’ point of view.”
If Washington eschews both options, it could, of course, simply accept Iran as the dominant regional power. The United States’ geopolitical interests make all of these unattractive choices, however, meaning the United States could seek to alter the equation, in this case through negotiations with Iran. To do this, Washington must be prepared to give Iran credible security guarantees in exchange for a promise from Tehran to allow an independent Iraq at least a modicum of political independence.

Iran may hold the better hand at the moment, but the United States is still the global hegemon, meaning that despite being in a pretty good situation these days, the Iranian regime is anything but overly confident. The threat of war or sanctions may have subsided, but Tehran knows that its fortunes could change rapidly.

The Iranians know the United States wants to leave Iraq — sooner rather than later — and despite their bellicose rhetoric, are willing to work to accommodate the American aspiration to leave behind a relatively stable country. What Tehran desires more than anything is to guarantee its national security. It hopes it can take advantage of America’s momentary weakness to extract concessions, using its potential leverage over Iraq as its prized bargaining chip. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s routine reminders that the only way for Obama to solve his country’s problems in the Middle East is to enlist Iranian support serves to highlight this point.

Already, there have been vague signs of a possible opening in dialogue between the two countries. While in New York last week, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki hosted a dinner that brought together representatives from United Nations Security Council member states. The United States sent Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Alejandro Wolff, a low-ranking official, but a representative of the United States government nonetheless. Wolff and Mottaki reportedly discussed the status of four American citizens currently believed to be held in Iran, including former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who has not been seen since 2007. On May 11, Mottaki announced that the mothers of the other three Americans discussed at the dinner — a trio of hikers detained on the Iranian side of the border near Iraqi Kurdistan in July 2009 — would be granted visas to come visit their children.

It is exactly these types of gestures, however insignificant they may appear in isolation, that must precede any meaningful dialogue on a topic as momentous as the future of an independent Iraq.
25153  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor: The Drawdown from Iraq on: May 13, 2010, 11:46:43 AM
Summary
The rapid withdrawal of some 40,000 U.S. troops from Iraq over the course of three months looms even as the delicate ethno-sectarian balance of power in Baghdad looks shakier than it has in years and violence appears to be on the rise. STRATFOR examines this withdrawal and its implications.


There are 94,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. Although reports emerged May 11 that the long-anticipated drawdown to 50,000 troops might not begin in earnest until June, the Pentagon maintains that everything is on track to meet the deadline for all combat troops to be out of the country at the end of August.

The planned drawdown comes as violence in Iraq appears to be on the rise and the ethno-sectarian balance of power holding the country together looks to be growing ever more delicate. The drawdown certainly will have implications for the situation in Iraq, but even a reduced U.S. force remains a significant presence in the country and an important factor in the effectiveness of the Iraqi security forces.

The Basics
The drawdown of just more than 40,000 troops in three months (only 91,000 troops are expected to remain in Iraq by the end of May) can only be described as rapid. Even U.S. Army Gen. Ray Odierno, the top U.S. officer in Iraq, described it as a “waterfall.” But a drawdown of this scale at this pace does not happen without immense preparation, and that is a key aspect of the plan; many of the shifts the drawdown entails have already taken place. Since the 2007 surge, during which the number of U.S. troops in the country peaked at around 170,000, the U.S. military in Iraq slowly shifted from being at the forefront of security efforts to playing a tactical overwatch role. That role has continued to evolve, with U.S. forces continuing to move toward a more operational or, in some cases, even a higher, strategic-level overwatch.

Joint patrols are still conducted, especially in more contentious areas such as the northern city of Kirkuk. U.S. training, advising and support — particularly in terms of intelligence and logistics — are still essential to the effective functioning of the Iraqi security forces, which are not expected to be fully effective until at least the end of 2011. But by and large, the United States has already handed over its role in directly maintaining routine security.

The U.S. role is still practical in terms of facilitating and overseeing the day-to-day maintenance of security. But the drawdown schedule has been informed by projections and calculations about what the Iraqi security forces will need from U.S. forces in terms of said facilitation and oversight. In short, if the overarching but delicate sectarian balance of power holds, the United States will have sufficient forces in place to continue supporting the Iraqis in providing for basic internal security.

The Catch
However, that remains a rather large “if.” Even at the height of the surge, the United States has never had anywhere near enough troops in Iraq to militarily impose a political reality on the entire country. The surge’s success was founded upon the 2006-7 decision by the Sunni tribal chiefs in Anbar and other Sunni provinces to reject al Qaeda in Iraq and form Awakening Councils that worked directly with the U.S. military. It also succeeded because of the 2006 agreement in Baghdad on an acceptable division of control over the various security and intelligence organs of state among Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish leadership.

It was this division of control that provided the foundation for the delicate sectarian balance of power that has made the security environment in Iraq fairly stable and permissive for the last few years. The relatively calm and peaceful March 7 elections appeared promising in terms of sustaining this balance, but the formation of a governing coalition has been fraught with difficulty and sectarian strife. Moreover, in Iraq the winners must not only form a parliamentary coalition but must also decide whether to divvy up the various security and intelligence posts in line with the 2006 deal or to strike a new one. That process remains very much in flux.

Meanwhile, sectarian tensions have begun to flare back up, and Sunnis have serious concerns about being marginalized after they threw their weight behind the non-sectarian al-Iraqiya party, which won the most votes. At the moment, STRATFOR remains fairly confident in its assessment that a massive and devastating blow has been struck against al Qaeda in Iraq, but should the Sunnis return to arms, they could again become more welcoming to foreign jihadists.

So while it is clear that the post-drawdown provisions for security in the country are likely sufficient to maintain the status quo in a benign security environment, the real heart of the matter is the Iraqi security forces’ ability to hold together and impose security, as well as Baghdad’s writ in a more contentious and charged sectarian environment.

Since Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s botched dispatch of Iraqi security forces to Basra in 2008 to take action against Shiite militias — especially the armed wing of Muqtada al-Sadr’s movement — without prior consultation with the United States (an operation that was woefully underplanned and undersupplied and was only saved by quick U.S. intervention), very real and important improvements have been made to the Iraqi security forces. But while some units have performed well under fire, the overall environment has been relatively benign and free of excessive sectarian tension, so the forces have gone effectively untested with respect to the situations they may face in the next year.

The military is institutionally stronger and more coherent than even the National Police service, but Iraqis largely still identify along ethno-sectarian lines. This can create multiple senses of identity and thus competing loyalties — not just among the soldiers but also among the commanders and civilian leaders. Amid the current ethno-sectarian tensions, the security forces remain coherent and intact. But if tensions seriously escalate, the list of potential scenarios is almost limitless. A major breakdown in Iraq could lead to not just desertions but the use of security forces for sectarian purposes and even different elements of the forces fighting amongst themselves.

U.S. Combat Capability
The United States has limited ability to ramp its forces in Iraq back up to intervene in a civil war. With nearly 100,000 U.S. troops slated to be committed to Afghanistan by the end of the summer, the United States simply lacks the troops to return to surge levels in Iraq even if it wanted to — and it certainly has no appetite to do so. Meanwhile, the disposition of U.S. forces has fundamentally shifted and contracted considerably. Not only joint security stations but whole forward operating bases have been decommissioned and handed over to the Iraqis. U.S. troops are becoming less dispersed and less exposed, concentrating at bases that are better protected and less vulnerable. But they are also losing some of their nuanced situational awareness and certainly their ability to respond rapidly across the country. Simultaneously, massive amounts of materiel have either been liquidated or shipped back out of the country. So even with the troops still in place, there are logistical and infrastructural complications to returning to Iraq in a big way.

In any event, the United States requires either a coherent Iraqi security force to support in dealing with widespread sectarian tension or for the violence to take place only in isolated areas where force can be concentrated and Iraqi security personnel can be more carefully selected to minimize ethno-sectarian conflicts of interest.

And while all combat troops are supposed to be out of the country by the end of August, this is less of a distinction than it might seem. In terms of day-to-day operations, Americans remain important force multipliers and enablers for Iraqi security forces, with whom they work regularly. This means that, in areas where U.S. troops remain involved after August, the shift will not necessarily be as sharp and sudden as it might first seem.

An Advisory and Assistance Brigade (AAB) is still, at heart, a brigade combat team — simply under a different name with some reorganization and reorientation. Five of the 10 brigade combat teams in Iraq (not counting three brigades dedicated to convoy and base security) are already designated as AABs. They continue to have not only infantry, but cavalry and in some cases even armored battalions under their command, and even the smallest contingent of American advisers should have the ability to call for artillery support or close air support.

In short, there is no denying that slashing more than 40,000 troops from Iraq in three months will entail significant shifts on the ground. But 50,000 troops is still an enormous commitment of forces (as a point of comparison, U.S. forces in Korea number less than 30,000). The contingent is still larger and more capable than many countries’ entire militaries, and that is without mentioning the potent special operations forces that will remain on the ground. Though these forces will be unable to impose a reality on Iraq as was done in post-World War II Germany and Japan, they will be able to help maximize the effectiveness of Iraqi security forces. They can also defend themselves and, if necessary, conduct limited operations themselves.

This utilization of U.S. forces is not something that would be done lightly or without consequence, but it is a reminder of the enduring, if declining, military capability and subsequent influence that the United States will continue to enjoy in Iraq and with the government in Baghdad. The American position should not be overstated, but it must also not be understated. The essential fact is that it is on a steady, downward trajectory. It is neither precipitous nor cautious, but in the end remains extremely difficult to reverse.

Ultimately, everything rests on the formation of a government in Baghdad and the establishment of an equitable power-sharing agreement for the security and intelligence organs. It need not be perfect, and it need not be without contention. But the more contained and more limited the sectarian flare-ups, the more manageable they will be for the fledgling Iraqi security forces and the remaining U.S. troops. Conversely, if the descent into sectarian chaos becomes deep and sustained, the question will become not if but when the security forces will begin to fracture — and even 170,000 U.S. troops would not be able to manage that without some underlying political understanding between ethno-sectarian factions.
25154  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: May 13, 2010, 10:25:05 AM
Agreed that that is the current law. 

What is not clear to me however is what a legal category of no Miranda rights for US citizens declared by the State to be X would look like; ditto where they could lose their citizenship, as proposed by Senator Lieberman.
25155  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Kagan on: May 13, 2010, 10:22:41 AM
Alexander's Essay – May 13, 2010

Komrade Kagan
"[T]he opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not ... would make the judiciary a despotic branch. ... [T]he germ of dissolution of our federal government is ... the federal Judiciary ... working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief, over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall be usurped. ... They are construing our constitution from a co-ordination of a general and special government to a general and supreme one alone." --Thomas Jefferson

Justice Elena Kagan?Barack Obama has nominated his Solicitor General, Elena Kagan, to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

Since this is a lifetime appointment, we should consider the implications for our Constitution and for liberty.

Will this Ivy League academic be an advocate for Essential Liberty and Rule of Law, or does she subscribe to the errant notion of a "living constitution"?

According to Obama, Kagan "is widely regarded as one of the nation's foremost legal minds," and he's right -- if by "widely" he means among elitist Leftists.

In fact, Obama's assessment of Kagan mirrored that of her über-Leftist Princeton prof Sean Wilentz, under whose tutelage Kagan wrote her glowing thesis on socialism in the early 20th century. "Kagan," said Wilentz, "is one of the foremost legal minds in the country."

In her thesis, Kagan lamented the fact that free enterprise overcame socialism and concluded, "A coherent socialist movement is nowhere to be found in the United States to speak of a golden past than of a golden future, of capitalism's glories than of socialism's greatness."

"Why, in a society by no means perfect, has a radical party never attained the status of a major political force?" wondered Kagan. "Why, in particular, did the socialist movement never become an alternative to the nation's established parties? Through its own internal feuding, then, the SP [Socialist Party] exhausted itself..."

In her thesis, Kagan lamented the fact that free enterprise overcame socialism and concluded, "In our own times, a coherent socialist movement is nowhere to be found in the United States. Americans are more likely to speak of a golden past than of a golden future, of capitalism's glories than of socialism's greatness. ... In unity lies their only hope."

Ah, yes, the "hope and change" necessary for Obama to make good on his promise to "fundamentally transform the United States of America."

Just as Obama was mentored by Marxists, Kagan has been steeped in socialist doctrine, and is no doubt rejoicing in the resurgence of socialism in the U.S. under the leadership of Obama and his water boys in the legislative and judicial branches.

As for her qualifications for a seat on the Supreme Court, Obama insists that Kagan "is an acclaimed legal scholar with a rich understanding of constitutional law."

In fact, she has exactly no judicial experience and very limited litigation experience. Legal authority Ken Klukowski writes that Kagan is an ideal nominee for Obama: "She's a liberal without a paper trail."

Sounds like the Obama model.

Most of Kagan's experience is academic (read: "deficient"), at the University of Chicago Law School and as dean of Harvard Law School, where she attempted to boot military recruiters off campus at the height of the war in Iraq. Her reason for this frontal assault on our nation's ability to defend itself was the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which Kagan called "a profound wrong -- a moral injustice of the first order."

Even The Washington Post concludes that her qualifications "can only be called thin," noting further, "even her professional background is thin."

While media profiles of Kagan paint her, predictably, as a moderate "consensus-builder," Kagan is, in fact, a genuine, hardcore Leftist, a former legal counsel to the Clintonista regime who began her political career in earnest as a staffer for liberal Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis's presidential run back in 1988.

Her liberal roots were firmly entrenched by the time she graduated from Princeton in 1981, the year Ronald Reagan took office. A New York Times profile of Kagan notes, "On Election Night, she drowned her sorrow in vodka and tonic as Ronald Reagan took the White House."

More recently, the thin legal trail she has established as Obama's Solicitor to the Supreme Court raises serious questions about Kagan's commitment to the plain language of the First Amendment.

In a 1996 law review article, Kagan wrote that the "redistribution of speech" is not "itself an illegitimate end," which is another way of saying that the court has a responsibility to level the playing field for various ideas, including the Internet, talk radio, etc.

She recently offered a similar argument before the High Court in regard to the government's authority to regulate print materials under campaign finance laws, a notion that Chief Justice John Roberts concluded, "As a free-floating test for First Amendment coverage, that [proposition] is startling and dangerous."

Says Kagan, "Constitutional rights are a product of constitutional text as interpreted by the courts and understood by the nation's citizenry and its elected representatives."

She undoubtedly came to that errant conclusion while clerking for Justice Thurgood Marshall, of whom she later wrote admiringly, "In Justice Marshall's view, constitutional interpretation demanded, above all else, one thing from the courts: it demanded that the courts show a special solicitude for the despised or disadvantaged. It was the role of the courts, in interpreting the Constitution, to protect the people who went unprotected by every other organ of government -- to safeguard the interests of people who had no other champion. The Court existed primarily to fulfill this mission. ... The Constitution, as originally drafted and conceived, was 'defective.' The Constitution today ... contains a great deal to be proud of. But the credit does not belong to the Framers. It belongs to those who refused to acquiesce in outdated notions of 'liberty,' 'justice,' and 'equality.' Our modern Constitution is [Marshall's]."

Setting aside her utter disdain for our Constitution and its authors, Kagan is flat-out wrong about the role of the High Court. It exists to safeguard the unbiased application of our Constitution's original intent.

In 1987, the year before Kagan clerked for Marshall, he delivered a lecture entitled, "The Constitution: A Living Document," in which he argued that the Constitution must be interpreted in a way that succumbs to the contemporary political, moral and cultural climate.

That is the very definition of the "living constitution" upon which judicial activists have relied in order to amend our Constitution by judicial fiat rather than its prescribed method in Article V.

No doubt, Kagan will advance that heretical and treasonous interpretation.

Obama claims that Kagan understands the law "not as an intellectual exercise or words on a page -- but as it affects the lives of ordinary people."

Not as "words on a page"?

It is precisely that rejection of the plain language of our Constitution that led President Thomas Jefferson in 1804 to call the court "the despotic branch."

Indeed, since the very founding of our constitutional government, the judiciary has worked "like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief, over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall be usurped."

Back in 1987, during confirmation hearings for Judge Robert Bork (one of the most qualified jurists ever nominated to the High Court), one Leftist senator commented, "The Framers intended the Senate to take the broadest view of its constitutional responsibility," especially in regard to the nominee's "political, legal and constitutional views." That senator was Joe Biden, who rejected Judge Bork because he was a "constitutional constructionist," precisely the attribute our Founders wanted in jurists.

Perhaps those in the Senate today will rightly consider Kagan's "political, legal and constitutional views," and reject her nomination in order to preserve Essential Liberty and Rule of Law.

Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!

Mark Alexander
Publisher, PatriotPost.US
25156  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Lock-up Raw: Predatory Behavior on: May 13, 2010, 08:49:33 AM


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Po3Cl8uCHvs&NR=1
25157  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: May 13, 2010, 07:51:53 AM
Although, as I just mentioned, I admire Scott's work greatly-- I do not share his optimistic conclusions, as tempered as they may be.  I think (fear?) that this time is different; that we have kept kicking the day of reckoning upstream until we have reached a point where the world as a whole is rather bankrupt and a world wide bubble is in the process of bursting.

Glenn Beck makes the interesting point that in the aftermath of WW2 that world-wide economic integration was seen as a good and necessary way to prevent another world-wide conflagration, but that now that we are all integrated into one world-wide economy, when the excrement hits the fan that everyone is going to get splattered.
25158  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Russia-- Europe on: May 13, 2010, 07:45:39 AM
BBG:

You raise a fascinating point here, one of import beyond the confines of this thread.  If you have more in this vein, maybe I should expand the definition of the Fascism thread , , ,
25159  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: May 13, 2010, 07:42:15 AM
Understood, of course.  But what if Progressives are in charge and start defining us as terrorist threats, e.g. as was seen in that Homeland Security report a few months back and this logic is already established for Islamo-fascism?
25160  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / John Paul Jones on: May 13, 2010, 07:39:08 AM
An honorable Peace is and always was my first wish! I can take no delight in the effusion of human Blood; but, if this War should continue, I wish to have the most active part in it." --John Paul Jones, letter to Gouverneur Morris, 1782
25161  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: May 12, 2010, 02:50:42 PM
Although I tend to be more apocalyptic, as always Scott Grannis is a beacon of quality economic analysis:

http://scottgrannis.blogspot.com/

This is quality stuff folks!
25162  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Guro Crafty in NYC 6/19-20 on: May 12, 2010, 02:18:51 PM
So, some of the Toronto Clan of the DBs will be coming?
25163  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Founding Father Fridays on: May 12, 2010, 01:48:34 PM
GB is running Founding Father Fridays for at least a month.  #1 was Sam Adams.  My son and I watched this together.  Saved and awaiting our viewing is #2 on George Washington.  #3 will be on the black patriots in MA.

Based upon what my son and I saw in #1, I recommend this heartily.  Good family viewing too!  Help educate your children right!

25164  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Shazad and the pre-911 paradigm on: May 12, 2010, 01:40:36 PM
Question presented:  What of Glenn Beck's hypothetical last night in the context of the Kagan nomination and her statement in support of treating someone accused of raising money for AQ as an enemy combatant:  What if another Timothy McVeigh strikes?  Can the State use what Mukasey describes below to go after those of us who actively support the 912 movement/the Tea Party?

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

Shazad and the pre-911 paradigm
By MICHAEL B. MUKASEY
Some good news from the attempted car bombing in Times Square on May 1 is that—at the relatively small cost of disappointment to Broadway theater-goers—it teaches valuable lessons to help deal with Islamist terrorism. The bad news is that those lessons should already have been learned.

One such lesson has to do with intelligence gathering. Because our enemies in this struggle do not occupy a particular country or location, intelligence is our only tool for frustrating their plans and locating and targeting their leaders. But as was the case with Umar Faruk Abdulmutallab, who tried to detonate a bomb aboard an airplane over Detroit last Christmas Day, principal emphasis was placed on assuring that any statements Faisal Shahzad made could be used against him rather than simply designating him an unlawful enemy combatant and assuring that we obtained and exploited any information he had.

On Sunday, Attorney General Eric Holder said that in regard to terrorism investigations he supports "modifying" the Miranda law that requires law enforcement officials to inform suspects of their rights to silence and counsel. But his approach—extension of the "public safety exemption" to terror investigations—is both parsimonious and problematic. The public safety exemption allows a delay in Miranda warnings until an imminent threat to public safety—e.g., a loaded gun somewhere in a public place that might be found by a child—has been neutralized. In terror cases it is impossible to determine when all necessary intelligence, which in any event might not relate to an imminent threat, has been learned.

The lesson from our experience with Abdulmutallab, who stopped talking soon after he was advised of his rights and did not resume for weeks until his family could be flown here to persuade him to resume, should have been that intelligence gathering comes first. Yes, Shahzad, as we are told, continued to provide information even after he was advised of his rights, but that cooperation came in spite of and not because of his treatment as a conventional criminal defendant.

Moreover, once Shahzad cooperated, it made no more sense with him than it did with Abdulmutallab to publicize his cooperation and thereby warn those still at large to hide and destroy whatever evidence they could. The profligate disclosures in Shahzad's case, even to the point of describing his confession, could only hinder successful exploitation of whatever information he provided.

The Shahzad case provides a reminder of the permanent harm leaks of any kind can cause. An Associated Press story citing unnamed law enforcement sources reported that investigators were on the trail of a "courier" who had helped provide financing to Shahzad.

A courier would seem oddly out of place in the contemporary world where money can be transferred with the click of a mouse—that is, until one recalls that in 2006 the New York Times disclosed on its front page a highly classified government program for monitoring electronic international money transfers through what is known as the Swift system.

That monitoring violated no law but was leaked and reported as what an intelligence lawyer of my acquaintance referred to as "intelliporn"—intelligence information that is disclosed for no better reason than that it is fun to read about, and without regard for the harm it causes. Of course, terrorists around the world took note, and resorted to "couriers," making it much harder to trace terrorist financing.

In the hours immediately following the discovery and disarming of the car bomb, media outlets and public figures fell all over themselves to lay blame as far as possible from where it would ultimately be found. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano suggested the incident was entirely isolated and directed her agency's personnel to stand down. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg sportingly offered to wager a quarter on the proposition that the bomb was the work of a solitary lunatic, perhaps someone upset over passage of the health-care bill, and much merriment was had over how primitive the bomb had been and how doomed it was to fail.

This sort of reaction goes back much further than this administration. Consider the chain of events leading to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and eventually 9/11.

In November 1990, Meir Kahane, a right-wing Israeli politician, was assassinated after delivering a speech at a Manhattan hotel by El-Sayid Nosair, quickly pigeonholed as a lone misfit whose failures at work had driven him over the edge. The material seized from his home lay largely unexamined in boxes until a truck bomb was detonated under the World Trade Center in 1993, when the perpetrators of that act announced that freeing Nosair from prison was one of their demands.

Authorities then examined the neglected boxes and found jihadi literature urging the attacks on Western civilization through a terror campaign that would include toppling tall buildings that were centers of finance and tourism. An amateur video of Kahane's speech the night he was assassinated revealed that one of the 1993 bombers, Mohammed Salameh, was present in the hall when Nosair committed his act, and the ensuing investigation disclosed that Nosair was supposed to have made his escape with the help of another, Mahmoud Abouhalima, who was waiting outside at the wheel of a cab.

Nosair jumped into the wrong cab and the terrified driver pulled over and ducked under the dashboard, at which point Nosair tried to flee on foot and was captured. Salameh was captured when the vehicle identification number on the truck that carried the bomb led investigators to a rental agency, where he showed up days later to try to retrieve the deposit on the truck so that he could finance his escape.


Despite the toll from the first World Trade Center blast—six killed, hundreds injured, tens of millions of dollars in damage—and the murder of Kahane, much sport was made of how inept the perpetrators were.

Nosair and the 1993 Trade Center bombers were disciples of cleric Omar Abdel Rahman, known as the "blind sheikh," who was tried and convicted in 1995 along with nine others for conspiring to wage a war of urban terror that included not only that bombing and the Kahane assassination but also a plot to bomb simultaneously the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels, the George Washington Bridge and the United Nations.

One of the unindicted co-conspirators in that case was a then-obscure Osama bin Laden, who would declare in 1996 and again in 1998 that militant Islamists were at war with the United States. In 1998, his organization, al Qaeda, arranged the near-simultaneous bombing of American Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Despite the declaration of war and the act of war, the criminal law paradigm continued to define our response. Along with immediate perpetrators, and some remote perpetrators including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, bin Laden was indicted, and the oft-repeated vow to "bring them to justice" was repeated. Unmoved, and certainly undeterred, bin Laden in 2000 unleashed the attack in Yemen on the destroyer USS Cole, killing 17.

That was followed by Sept. 11, 2001, and it appeared for a time that Islamist fanaticism would no longer be greeted with condescending mockery. To the phrase "bring them to justice" was added "bring justice to them." The country appeared ready to adopt a stance of war, and to be ready to treat terrorists as it had the German saboteurs who landed off Long Island and Florida in 1942—as unlawful combatants under the laws of war who were not entitled to the guarantees that the Constitution grants to ordinary criminals.

There have been more than 20 Islamist terrorist plots aimed at this country since 9/11, including the deadly shooting by U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, those of Abdulmutallab and Shahzad, and those of Najibullah Zazi and his cohorts, Bryant Neal Vinas and his, against commuter railroads and subways in New York; of plotters who targeted military personnel at Fort Dix, N.J., Quantico, Va., and Goose Creek, S.C., and who murdered an Army recruiter in Little Rock, Ark.; of those who planned to blow up synagogues in New York, an office building in Dallas, and a courthouse in Illinois, among others.

Yet the pre-9/11 criminal law paradigm is again setting the limit of Attorney General Holder's response, even to the point of considering the inapposite public safety exception to Miranda as a way to help intelligence gathering. He continues to press for a civilian trial for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and others who had long since been scheduled to be tried before military commissions.

A significant lesson lurking in Shahzad's inadequacy, and the history that preceded it, is that one of the things terrorists do is persist. Ramzi Yousef's shortcomings in the first attempt to blow up the World Trade Center were made up for by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. We should see to the good order of our institutions and our attitudes before someone tries to make up for Faisal Shahzad's shortcomings.

Mr. Mukasey was attorney general of the United States from 2007 to 2009.
----
25165  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Guro Crafty in Tolmin, Slovenia 6/26-27 on: May 12, 2010, 01:20:44 PM
TTT
25166  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Guro Crafty in NYC 6/19-20 on: May 12, 2010, 01:09:21 PM
Host Eddie Hunt tells me momentum is building for this one.  Pardon the cliche, but space is limited; if you want to be sure of your space it is time to get busy!
25167  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Great shot! on: May 12, 2010, 10:58:28 AM

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/international/sniper_kills_qaeda_from_mi_away_sTm0xFUmJNal3HgWlmEgRL
25168  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Free Speech vs. Islamic Fascism (formerly Buy DANISH!!!) on: May 12, 2010, 10:30:32 AM


Jon Stewart on South Park

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/lachlan-markay/2010/04/23/jon-stewart-notes-blatant-double-standard-south-park-muhammed-censor
25169  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Conditioning on: May 11, 2010, 11:11:53 PM
My required working weight is 45 pounds, so today I did 45 pounds for 6 miles (9 trips down and up) at Bluff Cove.  Nasal strips definitely helping breathing.
25170  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Dog Brothers Open Gathering Sept 19, 2010 on: May 11, 2010, 11:09:59 PM
Dog Mauricio of Mexico City looks to be in. 

Many others too; it's still early for people getting formally registered.
25171  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: UFC 113 in Montreal on: May 11, 2010, 10:35:47 AM
As Machida waited for the fight to begin I did not sense his mind to be 100% right and the initial exchanges increased my sense of this.  In my analysis the determining factor in the first fight, which I think (and Lyoto's ribs think too I suspect) Rua won, was that Rua shut off LM's ability to move right (i.e. to the outside angle for the mirror lead structure presented by lefty vs. righty).  Perhaps this was due to the threat of Rua's hook (see e.g. the Zirconia like hook with which he knocked out Chuck Lidell)?

I saw L try circling right one time (I've only watched the fight once and will watch it again before deleting it) but then he got manuevered into circling left again.  I'll have to check, but I suspect SR's left foot was outside LM's right foot at the moment of his right hand coming over L's left hand.

I continue to root for Kimbo and was glad he had some nice takedowns, but you would think that by now he would have the basics of defending his legs from kicks in place , , ,

I forget whether it was Stout or Stevens (IIRC?) but someone in that fight used linear Zirconias 2x very nicely.

25172  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / JP Jones 1778 on: May 11, 2010, 10:22:56 AM
"I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm's way." --John Paul Jones, letter to M. Le Ray de Chaumont, 1778


25173  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Washington: General Orders 1776 on: May 10, 2010, 09:57:03 PM
Washington

"We have therefore to resolve to conquer or die: Our won Country's Honor, all call upon us for vigorous and manly exertion, and if we now  shamefully fail, we shall become infamous to the whole world. Let us therefore rely upon the goodness of the Cause, and the aid of the supreme Being, in whose hands Victory is, to animate and encourage us to great and noble Actions." --George Washington, General Orders, 1776
25174  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / PM Margaret Thatcher on: May 09, 2010, 05:16:13 PM


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okHGCz6xxiw&feature=related
25175  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / White Woman's Workout on: May 09, 2010, 04:47:31 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ma3CNRehvwk&feature=player_embedded#!
25176  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: May 09, 2010, 01:00:38 AM
Only if the Rep candidate wins in November.
25177  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government Programs, spending, budget process on: May 09, 2010, 12:57:51 AM
I was hoping for a more specific answer than that , , ,
25178  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Conditioning on: May 09, 2010, 12:52:56 AM
40 minutes today with 80 pounds and another 40 with 70 pounds on the Bluff Cove path.  Huffin' and puffin'!
25179  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: I don't know if I can post this here but, I am selling a few knives on: May 08, 2010, 03:48:40 PM
Well, if you don't know, the correct thing to do is ask first  cheesy and yes you may  smiley
25180  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Authorities: WTF? on: May 08, 2010, 09:39:18 AM
Origin of Wall Street’s Plunge Continues to Elude Officials
By GRAHAM BOWLEY
Published: May 7, 2010
NYT
 
A day after a harrowing plunge in the stock market, federal regulators were still unable on Friday to answer the one question on every investor’s mind: What caused that near panic on Wall Street?


Through the day and into the evening, officials from the Securities and Exchange Commission and other federal agencies hunted for clues amid a tangle of electronic trading records from the nation’s increasingly high-tech exchanges.

But, maddeningly, the cause or causes of the market’s wild swing remained elusive, leaving what amounts to a $1 trillion question mark hanging over the world’s largest, and most celebrated, stock market.

The initial focus of the investigations appeared to center on the way a growing number of high-speed trading networks interact with one another and with venerable exchanges like the New York Stock Exchange. Most investors are unaware that these competing systems have fractured the traditional marketplace and have displaced exchanges like the Big Board as the dominant force in stock trading.

The silence from Washington cast a pall over Wall Street, where shaken traders returned to their desks Friday morning hoping for quick answers. The markets remained on edge, as the uncertainty over what caused Thursday’s wild swings added to the worries over the running debt crisis in Greece.

In a joint statement issued after the close of trading, the S.E.C. and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said they were continuing their review. And the two agencies indicated they were looking particularly closely at how different trading rules on different exchanges, which temporarily halted trading on some markets while activity in the same stocks continued on other markets, might have contributed to the problem.

“We are scrutinizing the extent to which disparate trading conventions and rules across various markets may have contributed to the spike in volatility,” the statement said.

A government official who was involved in the investigation said regulators had moved away from a theory that it was a trading mistake — a so-called fat finger episode — and were examining the links between the futures and cash markets for stocks.

In particular, this official said, it appeared that as stock trading was slowed on the New York Exchange when big price moves started, orders moved automatically to other, electronic exchanges that did not have pricing restrictions.

The pressure in the less-liquid markets was amplified by the computer-driven trades, which led still other traders to pull back. Only when traders began to manually respond to the sharp drop did the market seem to turn around, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation was not complete.

On Friday evening, another government official directly involved in the investigation said that regulators had not yet been able to completely rule out any of the widely discussed possible causes of the market’s gyrations.

This official, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that regulators had collected statistical and trading data from stock and futures exchanges, and had begun cross-analyzing that with trading reports from brokerage firms and large market participants. Regulators have also gathered anecdotal accounts of what happened from hedge funds and other trading firms.

The two major regulatory agencies — the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission — have generated multiple memos detailing what they have found and offering possible causes for the market events. Among the issues discussed in the memos, the official said, were the disparate rules that different stock exchanges have for dealing with large price movements on the same securities and how prices on futures markets and stock exchanges appeared to lead or follow each other’s movements down and back up.

The lack of a firm answer, more than 24 hours after the market’s plunge Thursday, left some on Wall Street frustrated.

“The problem is you don’t come in and find out what the clear answer is,” said Art Hogan, the New York-based chief market analyst at Jefferies & Company. “We don’t have the clear explanation for how it happened.”

Others, however, said it would take time to pinpoint what happened given the increasingly complex nature of modern stock trading.

Over the last five years, the stock market has split into a plethora of new competing hubs and trading outlets, a legacy of deregulation earlier this decade and fast-paced technological change. On Friday, the rivalry between the two main exchanges erupted into view as each publicly pointed the finger at the other for being a main cause of the collapse on Thursday, which sent shockwaves around the globe.

“This is the sort of situation that has been a worry for a long time, but the markets have changed in a way that has made things more difficult,” said Robert L. D. Colby, former deputy director of trading and markets at the S.E.C. “They’ve become more fragmented, so it’s harder for any one exchange to see the full picture and take action.”

On Friday, President Obama sought to provide reassurance that regulators were working to find the root of the problem.

“The regulatory authorities are evaluating this closely with a concern for protecting investors and preventing this from happening again,” the president said.

The absence of a unified system to halt trading in individual stocks led to bitter accusations between exchanges on Friday. Robert Greifeld, chief executive of Nasdaq OMX, appeared on CNBC to criticize the New York Stock Exchange for halting trading for up to 90 seconds in half a dozen stocks on Thursday.

“Stopping for 90 seconds in time of crisis is exactly equivalent to not picking up the phone,” Mr. Greifeld said.

A few minutes later, Duncan L. Niederauer, chief executive of NYSE Euronext, responded in an interview on CNBC, blaming Nasdaq’s computers for continuing trading while the market was in free fall.

“These computers go out and just find the next bid they can find,” he said.

Mr. Niederauer acknowledged the need to introduce circuit-breakers along the lines of those already in place on the Big Board, and his views were echoed by some chief executives of the new exchanges.
25181  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Nutrition, Diet Thread on: May 07, 2010, 04:53:15 PM
We now interrupt this thread for some irrelevant and irreverant humor:

WC Fields: "Water? NEVER!  Fish fcuk in it!"

Carry on!
25182  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Survivalism; Armageddon; Zombies on: May 07, 2010, 04:50:42 PM
Sometimes it's a good mental exercise to play "What if?".  Here in Los Angeles, what with earthquakes, brush fires, a vulnerable water supply, a plethora of juicy jihadi targets (e.g. our harbor is the largest on the west coast of the western hemisphere) and a proven proclivity to social disorder (remember the Rodney King riots with 300 fires burning out of control at once and major areas of the city abandoned by the police?), the mental exercise seems a tad more relevant , , ,

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlcYpgfI564
25183  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Blood drive suspended on: May 07, 2010, 11:12:05 AM
Village Academic Curriculum: SJSU Suspends Blood Drives
In February 2008, then-president of San Jose State University Don Kassing suspended all blood drives on campus. In response to a complaint from an employee, Kassing concluded that the blood drives violated the university's non-discrimination policy because the FDA does not accept blood from men who have had sex with other men. The University's new president, Jon Whitmore, recently decided to continue Kassing's ban on blood drives. Apparently believing that "inclusiveness" is more important than the collection of life-saving blood, Whitmore's decision is a disturbing example of political correctness run amok.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the risk of accepting blood from men who have engaged in homosexual sex is substantial. Even if HIV positive men don't donate blood, the risk of HIV transmission from potential donors with a history of homosexual sex is 200 times higher than for first-time blood donors, and is 2,000 times higher than for repeat blood donors. Moreover, HIV can be hard to detect in the early stages of infection, even with modern testing techniques. Because there are more than 20 million transfusions of blood or blood products every year, an error rate as minuscule as one in one million can devastate many innocent lives.

Whitmore's policy has real, and devastating, consequences. According to the Red Cross, every blood donation can help to save up to three lives. Blocking blood drives at SJSU leaves the local blood bank to struggle with critical shortages. None of this seems to matter to the caring, compassionate Whitmore and other radical inclusivists. Rather than put the well being of millions of innocent patients first, they would rather kowtow to radical homosexual activists who eschew any responsibility for their own behavior.
25184  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Patriot Post: Big Brother to monitor your bank account? on: May 07, 2010, 11:06:32 AM
Hope 'n' Change: Big Brother to Monitor Your Bank Account?
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who didn't see fit to pay his own income taxes, may soon have the authority to watch over your financial transactions, thanks to a new federal agency that would be created in the Democrats' financial overhaul bill. The Office of Financial Research, straight out of a George Orwell novel, would serve as a central repository of transaction records generated at private financial companies. Geithner, along with an unspecified number of bureaucrats that he hires, will have unlimited access for "statistical analysis and research" of the nation's financial institutions -- supposedly for the purpose of spotting systemic problems that will allow them to act before another meltdown.

This agency is the latest in the series of unconstitutional power grabs that Democrats have grown accustomed to since Barack Obama became president. It violates American citizens' Fourth Amendment guarantee of security in their "persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures" and its imprecise language leaves plenty of room for expanding the agency's activities without congressional approval. The type of information access that Democrats seek would not have enabled them to prevent the financial meltdown of 2008, but it would allow bureaucrats who work for this agency the opportunity to share their privileged information with the private sector one year after leaving the agency. So, ironically, the Office of Financial Research simply presents our bloated government even more opportunity for further corruption and mismanagement of the economy.
25185  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: May 07, 2010, 11:03:35 AM
The Washington Times suggests a solution:

"[W]hile millionaire athletes become walking billboards for a political cause, the state of Arizona might want to review the terms of its relationship with the Suns. If Mr. Sarver wants to use his team to push a political agenda, perhaps citizens can push back. Imagine Phoenix residents channeling the spirits of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. by turning up en masse to Suns games, sneaking in without tickets, demanding special services like free food and access to box seats, overtaxing arena security and ruining the game for the people with tickets. They can call it a celebration of diversity."
We might add that if you give birth at a game, you get lifetime season tickets for the anchor baby. Or maybe the Suns should stick to basketball. Just a thought.
25186  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / P. Henry 1775 on: May 07, 2010, 10:31:46 AM
"The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave." --Patrick Henry, speech at the Virginia Convention, 1775
25187  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government Programs, spending, budget process on: May 07, 2010, 08:53:00 AM
If the money escapes, to where does it go?
25188  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Daily Expression of Gratitude on: May 07, 2010, 08:50:56 AM
@SG:  Well I'm glad you had a good day of it yesterday, it scared the beejeezus out of me shocked  Fortunately I was, and am, 60% in cash.  An excrement storm cometh.

I am grateful I was 60% in cash yesterday.
25189  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Awake on: May 07, 2010, 08:46:03 AM
By Tzvi Freeman
Just as we learn to walk by falling down, so we learn to be awake by groping in the dark.

When there is no support, no brightness to keep us on our toes, when we are all on our own, that is when we learn to be awake.

Truly awake—not because it is day, but because we are awake.

25190  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Door Work, Bouncing, Bodyguarding on: May 06, 2010, 09:34:58 PM
This clip inspires me to start this thread:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWfetF1jCO4&feature=related
25191  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Violent movie declares war on AZ immigration law on: May 06, 2010, 06:08:07 PM
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/05/06/violent-movie-declares-war-arizona-immigration-law/

 

Updated May 06, 2010

Violent Movie Declares War on Arizona for Immigration Law
FOXNews.com



YouTube

An image from the trailer for 'Machete,' a revenge flick that centers on an assassination plot against an anti-immigration U.S. senator.

A violent new film from cult director Robert Rodriguez is declaring war on Arizona with a "special Cinco De Mayo message" in the wake of the state's controversial illegal immigration law.

That message is: "They just f---ed with the wrong Mexican."

"Machete," which features a knife-wielding Mexican assassin out for revenge against double-crossing gringos, won't be in theaters until September, but it is already sparking a political melee over Wednesday's stab at the Grand Canyon State.

In the trailer for the film, the title character is hired to assassinate an anti-immigration U.S. senator played by Robert De Niro. Protesters are seen waving nationalist signs as the senator speaks to a charged-up rally: "We are at war," he booms. "Every time an illegal dances across our border, it is an act of aggression against this sovereign state — an overt act of terrorism."

But before the trailer even begins, the battle-scarred title character stares out from the screen as he tells viewers that what's about to unfold — an immigration-laced slasher grindhouse flick — is about the current border battle in Arizona.

Click here to see the video.

The trailer was released Wednesday, just 24 hours after an envelope filled with a still-undetermined white powder was sent to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, temporarily closing the State Capitol in Phoenix. The powder spilled out when a staffer opened it Tuesday morning, sending Hazmat teams scrambling through the governor's offices. No one was sickened, but state police and the FBI are investigating the incident.

It was just the latest development in a debate that is growing more rancorous by the minute.

Some outspoken critics of illegal immigration took umbrage at the movie trailer and its swipe at Arizona, which is the entry point for one-third of all illegal immigrants in the U.S.

"It's pretty ugly out there," said former Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo, a staunch advocate of tougher immigration laws. "Half the time that's the way all of us are depicted: corrupt, no good, racist."

Tancredo, who served in the House from 1999-2009, said he received "tons of death threats" while in office and frequently wore a bulletproof vest during public speeches. Though the language of the film is nothing new to him, he said he still finds it offensive.

"The racists who made that trailer, they are as racist as anything I have ever seen" from either side of the immigration debate, Tancredo said.

But, he added, "these guys are 'politically correct' racists, so you cannot heap indignities upon them."

In "Machete," the protagonist, played by Danny Trejo, is a former Mexican Federale now looking for work as a day laborer in Texas. He charges $70 a day for yard work, but an oily businessman makes him an offer he can't refuse: $150,000 to take out a senator bent on deporting illegal immigrants.

"As you know, illegal Americans are being forced out of our country at an alarming rate," says the contractor. "For the good of both our people, the senator must die."

The film, which is set to be released Sept. 3, is produced by 20th Century Fox, a production company owned by Fox News' parent company, News Corp.

20th Century Fox said that Rodriguez speaks for himself on political issues. The studio was comfortable with the release of the movie trailer on Cinco De Mayo, but says it has no political stake in the immigration debate.

Representatives for Rodriguez did not return requests for comment. But the head of the production studio handling the international release of the film said "Machete" is a classic grindhouse picture typical of the man who made "Desperado" and "Sin City."

"'Machete' is a Robert Rodriguez movie through and through, wild and wonderful, exactly the kind of exciting and irreverent genre movie that his fans dream about," Ashok Amritraj, CEO of Hyde Park Entertainment, said in an interview with Variety Magazine.

De Niro, playing the senator, fits many familiar tropes about the Southwest: he's a gun-toting, Stetson hat-wearing, flag pin-blazing cowboy from Texas.

He and Trejo are joined by a number of stars: Cheech Marin plays a shotgun-shooting warrior priest, Lindsay Lohan plays the senator's Patty Hearst-like daughter and Don Johnson, as a sheriff, growls that "there's nothing I'd like more than to see more than that Mexican dance the bolero at the end of a rope."

Jessica Alba, a border patrol agent, rallies a group of laborers while crying, "We didn't cross the border — the border crossed us!"

Tancredo, who argued that the film should not be distributed at all, said he wasn't worried the movie would incite any violence, but that its political message was clear.

"I think it is a true reflection of exactly who these people are and what they think about America," he said.
25192  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Fannie and Freddie Forever on: May 06, 2010, 10:50:24 AM
Morning Bell: Fannie and Freddie Failure Forever

Posted By Conn Carroll On May 6, 2010 @ 9:29 am In Enterprise and Free Markets | No Comments

Yesterday, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) told reporters [1] about his financial regulation bill, “We’ve ended the ‘too big to fail’ debate. So no longer do I expect any argument to be made that this bill exposes the American taxpayer.” Really. Someone might want to tell Sen. Dodd that in other news yesterday, Freddie Mac announced [2] that it lost another $6.7 billion in the first quarter of 2010 and therefore needed another $10.6 billion in cash from U.S. taxpayers. Since formally nationalizing Freddie in 2008, the federal government has already spent $50.7 billion bringing the Freddie bailout total to $61.3 billion so far. Combined with Fannie Mae’s raid on the Treasury, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the American people will spend $389 billion bailing out the two Government Sponsored Entities by 2019. So much for American taxpayers no longer being exposed to “too big to fail.”

In fact, nothing in the Dodd bill does anything to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This despite the fact that Fannie and Freddie were key components [3] in causing the very financial crises Dodd claims his bill will forever prevent. Fannie and Freddie were both created for the specific purpose of making it easier for Americans to buy more expensive housing. Starting in 1993 [4], political forces pushed Fannie and Freddie to loosen their once strict loan purchasing requirements. By 1996, regulations required that 40% of all Fannie and Freddie-bought loans [4] must come from individuals with below median incomes. In 1995, Fannie and Freddie began buying subprime securities [5] originally bought and bundled by private firms. One of these firms was Countrywide Financial who, thanks to their status as Fannie Mae’s biggest customer [6], delivered investors a 23,000% return between 1985 and 2003. [7] By 2004, Fannie and Freddie were purchasing $175 billion worth of subprime securities per year from Countrywide and their brethren…  a 44% share of the entire market [5]. There are other factors that helped contribute to the 2008 financial crisis [3], but Fannie and Freddie’s use of their “too big to fail” status to create and grow the subprime security market was essential.

But Sen. Dodd, who received V.I.P. treatment from Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo [8], never saw any problem with Fannie and Freddie. On July 13, 2008, Senator Dodd said on national television [5], “To suggest somehow that [Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac] are in trouble is simply not accurate.” Less than two months later the bailouts of Fannie and Freddie began. Keep these facts in mind when Dodd says his bill solves the “too big to fail” problem.

The problems with the Dodd bill go beyond its failure to let Fannie and Freddie wither into extinction [9]. While Dodd has agreed to get rid of the $50 billion bailout fund, the underlying bailout authority still remains. Now taxpayers are expected to front the government money while firms are liquidated. But the irresponsible creditors who let those firms borrow money irresponsibly would still be eligible for taxpayer bailouts. According to The Washington Post [10], “a failing firm would be forced to pay back the government any money they received above what they would have gotten under a bankruptcy proceeding.” But how does the government know what creditors would have got if the company went into bankruptcy? Why not just strengthen the existing bankruptcy system [11] and actually allow these too big to fail firms to, ya know, fail?

But Dodd and the Obama administration would never allow that. It would defeat the whole purpose this financial regulation bill, which is to transfer as much power to the federal government as possible. Never mind that these are the same government regulators who failed to see the last crisis coming.

Quick Hits:

Protesters objecting to the cuts in government wages and pensions [12] necessary to secure $141 billion in loans for Greece from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund turned violent yesterday.
The European commission forecasts that the United Kingdom’s budget deficit is set to surpass Greece [13]’s as worst in the European Union.
Celebrating Cinco de Mayo at the White House, President Barack Obama promised to press for amnesty for illegal immigrants [14] this year.
The Federal Communications Commission announced yesterday that for the first time in its history, the federal government will try to regulate the Internet [15].
Sens. John Kerry (D-MA) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) plan to use the BP oil spill [16] to push their energy tax bill next week.

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

Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.: http://blog.heritage.org

URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2010/05/06/morning-bell-fannie-and-freddie-failure-forever/

URLs in this post:

[1] told reporters: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0510/36821.html

[2] announced: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/05/AR2010050505227.html

[3] key components: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2009/10/Understanding-the-Great-Global-Contagion-and-Recession

[4] 1993: http://www.huduser.org/datasets/GSE/gse2001.pdf

[5] 1995, Fannie and Freddie began buying subprime securities: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/09/AR2008060902626_pf.html

[6] Fannie Mae’s biggest customer: http://www.forbes.com/markets/2008/09/08/bofa-bailout-winner-markets-equity-cx_md_0908markets32.html

[7] delivered investors a 23,000% return between 1985 and 2003.: http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2003/09/15/349151/index.htm

[8] who received V.I.P. treatment from Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo: http://blog.heritage.org/2008/06/13/the-countrywide-bailout-explained/

[9] let Fannie and Freddie wither into extinction: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2008/09/Fannie-and-Freddie-Time-to-Clean-up-the-Mess-and-Move-Forward

[10] The Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/05/AR2010050504164.html

[11] strengthen the existing bankruptcy system: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Commentary/2010/04/A-BETTER-WAY-TO-AVOID-BAILOUTS

[12] cuts in government wages and pensions: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/05/AR2010050505360.html

[13] United Kingdom’s budget deficit is set to surpass Greece: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/may/05/uk-budget-deficit-worse-than-greece

[14] amnesty for illegal immigrants: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/96311-obama-calls-for-immigration-reform-criticizes-ariz-law

[15] the federal government will try to regulate the Internet: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/06/technology/06broadband.html?ref=todayspaper&pagewanted=print

[16] plan to use the BP oil spill: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0510/36837.html
25193  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People on: May 06, 2010, 08:49:39 AM
Gail Collins is an arch liberal progressive columnist for Pravda on the Hudson, the NYT, but what do we make of the question presented here?

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

Congress, Up in Arms
By GAIL COLLINS
Published: May 5, 2010
There seems to be a strong sentiment in Congress that the only constitutional right suspected terrorists have is the right to bear arms.

“I think you’re going too far here,” said Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina at a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday. He was speaking in opposition to a bill that would keep people on the F.B.I. terrorist watch list from buying guns and explosives.
Say what?

Yes, if you are on the terrorist watch list, the authorities can keep you from getting on a plane but not from purchasing an AK-47. This makes sense to Congress because, as Graham accurately pointed out, “when the founders sat down and wrote the Constitution, they didn’t consider flying.”

The subject of guns turns Congress into a twilight zone. People who are perfectly happy to let the government wiretap phones go nuts when the government wants to keep track of weapons permits. A guy who stands up in the House and defends the torture of terror suspects will nearly faint with horror at the prospect of depriving someone on the watch list of the right to purchase a pistol.

“We make it so easy for dangerous people to get guns. If it’s the Second Amendment, it doesn’t matter if they’re Osama bin Laden,” said Paul Helmke, the president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

Graham wanted to make it clear that just because he doesn’t want to stop gun purchases by possible terrorists, that doesn’t mean he’s not tough on terror.

“I am all into national security. ... I want to stop reading these guys their Miranda rights,” he said.

The Obama administration has been criticized by many Republicans for having followed the rules about how long you can question a terror suspect before you read him his rights. These objections have been particularly loud since the arrest of Faisal Shahzad in the attempted Times Square bombing. No one seems moved by the fact that Shahzad, after being told that he had the right to remain silent, continued talking incessantly.

“Nobody in their right mind would expect a Marine to read someone caught on the battlefield their rights,” Graham said.

Terror threats make politicians behave somewhat irrationally. But the subject of guns makes them act like a paranoid mother ferret protecting her litter. The National Rifle Association, the fiercest lobby in Washington, grades every member of Congress on how well they toe the N.R.A. line. Lawmakers with heavily rural districts would rather vote to legalize carrying concealed weapons in kindergarten than risk getting less than 100 percent.

The Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing on “Terrorists and Guns: The Nature of the Threat and Proposed Reforms,” concerned a modest bill sponsored by Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey. It would allow the government to stop gun sales to people on the F.B.I. terror watch list the same way it does people who have felony convictions. Because Congress has repeatedly rejected this idea, 1,119 people on the watch list have been able to purchase weapons over the last six years. One of them bought 50 pounds of military grade explosives.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City and his police commissioner, Ray Kelly, dutifully trekked down to Washington to plead for the bill on behalf of the nation’s cities. The only thing they got for their trouble was praise for getting the city through the Times Square incident in one piece. And almost everyone had a good word for the T-shirt vendor who first noticed the suspicious car and raised an alert. Really, if someone had introduced a bill calling for additional T-shirt vendors, it would have sailed through in a heartbeat.

Gun legislation, not so popular.

Lautenberg’s bill has been moldering in committee, and that is not going to change.

“Let me emphasize that none of us wants a terrorist to be able to purchase a gun,” said Senator Susan Collins of Maine, who nevertheless went on to argue against allowing the government to use the terrorist watch list to keep anyone from being able to purchase, um, a gun.

“Some of the people pushing this idea are also pushing the idea of banning handguns,” said Graham, darkly. “I don’t think banning handguns makes me safer.”

The terrorist watch list is huge, and some of the names on it are undoubtedly there in error. The bill would allow anyone denied the right to purchase a firearm an appeal process, but that would deprive the would-be purchaser some precious gun-owning time. Before we subject innocent Americans “to having to go into court and pay the cost of going to court to get their gun rights back, I want to slow down and think about this,” said Graham.

Slow is going to be very slow, and the thinking could go on for decades.
25194  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Zombie Bureaucrats end run court decision on: May 06, 2010, 08:34:57 AM
Endrunning the recent court decision?
======
By AMY SCHATZ
WASHINGTON—In a move that will stoke a battle over the future of the Internet, the federal government plans to propose regulating broadband lines under decades-old rules designed for traditional phone networks.

The decision, by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski, is likely to trigger a vigorous lobbying battle, arraying big phone and cable companies and their allies on Capitol Hill against Silicon Valley giants and consumer advocates.

Breaking a deadlock within his agency, Mr. Genachowski is expected Thursday to outline his plan for regulating broadband lines. He wants to adopt "net neutrality" rules that require Internet providers like Comcast Corp. and AT&T Inc. to treat all traffic equally, and not to slow or block access to websites.

The decision has been eagerly awaited since a federal appeals court ruling last month cast doubt on the FCC's authority over broadband lines, throwing into question Mr. Genachowski's proposal to set new rules for how Internet traffic is managed. The court ruled the FCC had overstepped when it cited Comcast in 2008 for slowing some customers' Internet traffic.

In a nod to such concerns, the FCC said in a statement that Mr. Genachowski wouldn't apply the full brunt of existing phone regulations to Internet lines and that he would set "meaningful boundaries to guard against regulatory overreach."

Some senior Democratic lawmakers provided Mr. Genachowski with political cover for his decision Wednesday, suggesting they wouldn't be opposed to the FCC taking the re-regulation route towards net neutrality protections.



"The Commission should consider all viable options," wrote Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D, W.V.), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, and Rep. Henry Waxman (D, Calif.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, in a letter.

At stake is how far the FCC can go to dictate the way Internet providers manage traffic on their multibillion-dollar networks. For the past decade or so, the FCC has maintained a mostly hands-off approach to Internet regulation.  Internet giants like Google Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and eBay Inc., which want to offer more Web video and other high-bandwidth services, have called for stronger action by the FCC to assure free access to websites.  Cable and telecommunications executives have warned that using land-line phone rules to govern their management of Internet traffic would lead them to cut billions of capital expenditure for their networks, slash jobs and go to court to fight the rules.

Consumer groups hailed the decision Wednesday, an abrupt change from recent days, when they'd bombarded the FCC chairman with emails and phone calls imploring him to fight phone and cable companies lobbyists.

"On the surface it looks like a win for Internet companies," said Rebecca Arbogast, an analyst with Stifel Nicolaus. "A lot will depend on the details of how this gets implemented."

Mr. Genachowski's proposal will have to go through a modified inquiry and rule-making process that will likely take months of public comment. But Ms. Arbogast said the rule is likely to be passed since it has the support of the two other Democratic commissioners. 

President Barack Obama vowed during his campaign to support regulation to promote so-called net neutrality, and received significant campaign contributions from Silicon Valley. Mr. Genachowski, a Harvard Law School buddy of the president, proposed new net neutrality rules as his first major action as FCC chairman.

Telecom executives say privately that limits on their ability to change pricing would make it harder to convince shareholders that the returns from spending billions of dollars on improving a network are worth the cost.  Carriers fear further regulation could handcuff their ability to cope with the growing demand put on their networks by the explosion in Internet and wireless data traffic. In particular, they worry that the FCC will require them to share their networks with rivals at government-regulated rates.

Mike McCurry, former press secretary for President Bill Clinton and co-chair of the Arts + Labs Coalition, an industry group representing technology companies, telecom companies and content providers, said the FCC needs to assert some authority to back up the general net neutrality principles it outlined in 2005.

"The question is how heavy a hand will the regulatory touch be," he said. "We don't know yet, so the devil is in the details. The network operators have to be able to treat some traffic on the Internet different than other traffic—most people agree that web video is different than an email to grandma. You have to discriminate in some fashion."

UBS analyst John Hodulik said the cable companies and carriers were likely to fight this in court "for years" and could accelerate their plans to wind down investment in their broadband networks.

"You could have regulators involved in every facet of providing Internet over time. How wholesale and prices are set, how networks are interconnected and requirements that they lease out portions of their network," he said.
25195  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Infiltrating Jihad on: May 06, 2010, 08:26:11 AM
Second post of the day:

WSJ: Infiltrating Jihad
By JOEL STONINGTON
After the failed attempt to bomb Times Square, New York police are dispatching more officers to be seen on the streets, around landmarks and on subways. But there's one tactic they hope won't go noticed at all: getting inside the bands of terrorists-in-the-making.

That's why a young Bangladeshi immigrant working undercover found himself among a dozen men at an Islamic bookstore in Brooklyn one day in 2004 to watch videos of U.S. soldiers being slain.

"That made these guys pumped up and happy," the officer said. "It's like a party at a club. They were hitting the walls with excitement. One guy even broke a chair."

Among the revelers: Shahawar Matin Siraj, who would be sentenced in January 2007 to 30 years in prison for an August 2004 plot to blow up Herald Square. "He loved talking about doing jihad," said the officer.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, the undercover officer described four years embedded with Brooklyn radicals, a stint which began a few months after the Sept. 11 terror attacks and ended with his testimony at Mr. Siraj's trial in mid-2006. Police and the officer declined to make his identity public. In court records in the trial of Mr. Siraj, he was identified by his undercover name, Kamil Pasha.

David Cohen, deputy commissioner for intelligence of the New York Police Department, said such undercover operations have become the city's main defense amid the escalation of threats and plots since the attack on the World Trade Center nearly a decade ago.

The 30-year-old officer spent his childhood in Brooklyn and Queens, where he went to high school. He joined the force after graduating from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 2001. He said his undercover work has remained a secret to his friends, siblings and parents. During the posting, he told his parents he was working for a private security firm, and they now know he works for the police department.  He received individualized training so few would know he was a police officer; there would be no buddies from the academy to recognize him on the street. He said undercover investigators must walk a delicate line by playing the role of a potential terrorist and friend while refraining from pushing a plot forward.

The officer said only a few other members of the department knew of the life he developed in Brooklyn, as he rented an apartment, bought furniture, joined a local gym and slowly sought to become part of the community.  He attempted to maintain as much of his everyday personality as possible; he didn't change his habit of attending a mosque with some regularity, and he sought to make friends among the community.

The officer said he fit the profile of the young men he sought to meet: middle-class, first- or second-generation Americans in their late teens or early 20s. He said he watched the radicalization process of dozens. At times, it was so rapid that a year or two could separate clubbing in Miami from prayer five times a day.

The officer described Mr. Siraj's path. It unfolded in Brooklyn mosques, on local basketball courts and at an Islamic book store in Brooklyn that served as a gathering spot for radicals. The video, for example, that the officer said he watched with Mr. Siraj showed the "top 10" killings of U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

The groups he penetrated spoke frequently of jihad, or holy war, and enlisted him to train with them. By the time an attack on Herald Square was being plotted, the officer had decided to focus his time on another group in Borough Park that had converted to Islam while in prison.

Once with that group, he trained for jihad by going paintballing, climbing mountains late at night, shooting assault rifles at firing ranges. During one of these trips to a firing range, he says he felt the barrel of a 9mm handgun pressed to the back of his head.  The officer said he was able to talk the youth down, though to this day he said he still doesn't know if he was being tested. Back at police headquarters, Mr. Cohen said officials mulled for days over whether to pull him from the assignment.

Eventually, the officer surfaced to testify in the case against Mr. Siraj, who claimed he had been entrapped by a government informant—not the officer himself—to bomb Herald Square before the 2004 Republican National Convention. Explosives were never obtained for the attack.

The undercover program is both secretive and controversial. Local Muslim groups have criticized the infiltration of the Muslim community by investigators from the Intelligence Division as a form religious profiling. The police deny that, saying they follow threats wherever they may lead.

Mr. Cohen declined to say how many undercover officers work for the department or in counterterrorism. Police spokesman Paul Browne said there are about 1,100 people assigned to counterterrorism throughout the department, with more than 300 of those in the Intelligence Division. Despite the reduction of the overall uniformed force—from 41,000 to 35,000 in the last eight years—Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has not scaled back the Intelligence Division.
25196  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / One punch kill on: May 06, 2010, 08:13:24 AM
Lack Of Cigarette Leads To Deadly Punch

May 5, 2010 at 10:53 AM by AHN

Hansen Sinclair – AHN News Reporter

Miami, FL, United States (AHN) – A man was punched in the head and died when he fell to the ground after he refused to give another man a cigarette, according to Miami police.

Linsey Oliveira, 26, of Boca Raton, FL was walking to a club with another friend in downtown Miami when a man approached the two and asked for a cigarette. Oliveira’s friend told the man they did not have any cigarettes, and the two men continued walking.  The man walked behind Oliveira and his friend and punched Oliveira in the head, causing him to stumble and hit his head on the pavement, according to reports.  He was rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center, where he died.

No arrests have been made.

Oliveira’s friend’s name was not released by authorities.

Article © AHN – All Rights Reserved
25197  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The American Creed: Our Founding Fathers: on: May 06, 2010, 08:02:02 AM
"With hearts fortified with these animating reflections, we most solemnly, before God and the world, declare, that, exerting the utmost energy of those powers, which our beneficent Creator hath graciously bestowed upon us, the arms we have compelled by our enemies to assume, we will, in defiance of every hazard, with unabating firmness and perseverance employ for the preservation of our liberties; being with one mind resolved to die freemen rather than to live as slaves." --John Dickinson and Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of the Cause and Necessity of Taking up Arms, 1775
25198  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Strat: Uncomfortable Truths on: May 06, 2010, 08:00:48 AM
Uncomfortable Truths and the Times Square Attack
May 6, 2010
By Ben West and Scott Stewart

Faisal Shahzad, the first suspect arrested for involvement in the failed May 1 Times Square bombing attempt, was detained just before midnight on May 3 as he was attempting to depart on a flight from Kennedy International Airport in New York. Authorities removed Shahzad, a naturalized U.S. citizen of Pakistani descent, from an Emirates Airlines flight destined for Dubai. On May 4, Shahzad appeared at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan for his arraignment.

Authorities say that Shahzad is cooperating and that he insists he acted alone. However, this is contradicted by reports that the attack could have international links. On Feb. 3, Shahzad returned from a trip to Pakistan, where, according to the criminal complaint, he said he received militant training in Waziristan, a key hub of the main Pakistani Taliban rebel coalition, the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Authorities are reportedly seeking three other individuals in the United States in connection with the May 1 Times Square bombing attempt.

Investigative efforts at this point are focusing on identifying others possibly connected to the plot and determining whether they directed Shahzad in the bombing attempt or merely enabled him. From all indications, authorities are quickly collecting information on additional suspects from their homes and telephone-call records, and this is leading to more investigations and more suspects. While the May 1 attempt was unsuccessful, it came much closer to killing civilians in New York than other recent attempts, such as the Najibullah Zazi case in September 2009 and the Newburgh plot in May 2009. Understanding how Shahzad and his possible associates almost pulled it off is key to preventing future threats.


Shahzad’s Mistakes





U.S. Department of Justice via Getty Images
(click here to enlarge image)
While the device left in the Nissan Pathfinder parked on 45th Street, just off Times Square, ultimately failed to cause any damage, the materials present could have caused a substantial explosion had they been prepared and assembled properly. The bomb’s components were common, everyday products that would not raise undue suspicion when purchased — especially if they were bought separately. They included the following:

Some 113 kilograms (250 pounds) of urea-based fertilizer. A diagram released by the U.S. Department of Justice indicates that the fertilizer was found in a metal gun locker in the back of the Pathfinder. The mere presence of urea-based fertilizer does not necessarily indicate that the materials in the gun locker composed a viable improvised explosive mixture, but urea-based fertilizer can be mixed with nitric acid to create urea nitrate, the main explosive charge used in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. (It is not known if the fertilizer in the Pathfinder had been used to create urea nitrate.) Urea nitrate is a popular improvised mixture that can be detonated by a blasting cap and does not require a high-explosive booster charge like ammonium nitrate does; 250 pounds of urea nitrate would be enough to destroy the Pathfinder completely and create a substantial blast effect. If detonated near a large crowd of people, such an explosion could produce serious carnage.
Two 19-liter (5-gallon) containers of gasoline. If ignited, this fuel would have added an impressive fireball to the explosion but, in practical terms, would not have added much to the explosive effect of the device. Most of the damage would have been done by the urea nitrate. Reports indicate that consumer-grade fireworks (M-88 firecrackers) had been placed between the two containers of gasoline and were detonated, but they do not appear to have ruptured the containers and did not ignite the gasoline inside them. It appears that the firecrackers were intended to be the initiator for the device and were apparently the source of a small fire in the carpet upholstery of the Pathfinder. This created smoke that alerted a street vendor that something was wrong. The firecrackers likely would not have had sufficient detonation velocity to initiate urea nitrate.
Three 75-liter (20-gallon) propane tanks. Police have reported that the tank valves were left unopened, which has led others to conclude that this was yet another mistake on the part of Shahzad. Certainly, opening the tanks’ valves, filling the vehicle with propane gas and then igniting a spark would have been one way to cause a large explosion. Another way would have been to use explosives (such as the adjacent fertilizer mixture or gasoline) to rupture the tanks, which would have created a large amount of force and fire since the propane inside the tanks was under considerable pressure. Shahzad may have actually been attempting to blast open the propane tanks, which would explain why the valves were closed. Propane tanks are commonly used in improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in many parts of the world. Even without detonating, the propane tanks would have become very large and dangerous projectiles if the fertilizer had detonated.
That none of these three forms of explosive and incendiary materials detonated indicates that the bombmaker was likely a novice and had problems with the design of his firing chain. While a detailed schematic of the firing chain has not been released, the bombmaker did not seem to have a sophisticated understanding of explosive materials and the techniques required to properly detonate them. This person may have had some rudimentary training in explosives but was clearly not a trained bombmaker. It is one thing to attend a class at a militant camp where you are taught how to use military explosives and quite another to create a viable IED from scratch in hostile territory.

However, the fact that Shahzad was apparently able to collect all of the materials, construct an IED (even a poorly designed one) and maneuver it to the intended target without being detected exhibits considerable progress along the attack cycle. Had the bombmaker properly constructed a viable device with these components and if the materials had detonated, the explosion and resulting fire likely would have caused a significant number of casualties given the high density and proximity of people in the area.

It appears that Shahzad made a classic “Kramer jihadist” mistake: trying to make his attack overly spectacular and dramatic. This mistake was criticized by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leader Nasir al-Wahayshi last year when he called for grassroots operatives to conduct simple attacks instead of complex ones that are more prone to failure. In the end, Shahzad (who was probably making his first attempt to build an IED by himself) tried to pull off an attack so elaborate that it failed to do any damage at all.

As STRATFOR has discussed for many years now, the devolution of the jihadist threat from one based primarily on al Qaeda the group to one emanating from a wider jihadist movement means that we will see jihadist attacks being carried out more frequently by grassroots or lone wolf actors. These actors will possess a lesser degree of terrorist tradecraft than the professional terrorists associated with the core al Qaeda group, or even regional jihadist franchises like the TTP. This lack of tradecraft means that these operatives are more likely to make mistakes and attempt attacks against relatively soft targets, both characteristics seen in the failed May 1 attack.


Jihadist Attack Models

Under heavy pressure since the 9/11 attacks, jihadist planners wanting to strike the U.S. mainland face many challenges. For one thing, it is difficult for them to find operatives capable of traveling to and from the United States. This means that, in many cases, instead of using the best and brightest operatives that jihadist groups have, they are forced to send whoever can get into the country. In September 2009, U.S. authorities arrested Najibullah Zazi, a U.S. citizen who received training at an al Qaeda camp in Pakistan in 2008 before returning to the United States to begin an operation that would involve detonating explosive devices on New York City subways.

Zazi’s journey likely raised red flags with authorities, who subsequently learned through communication intercepts of his intent to construct explosive devices. Zazi had no explosives training or experience other than what he had picked during his brief stint at the training camp in Pakistan, and he attempted to construct the devices only with the notes he had taken during the training. Zazi had difficulty producing viable acetone peroxide explosives, similar to what appears to have happened with Shahzad in his Times Square attempt. Zazi also showed poor tradecraft by purchasing large amounts of hydrogen peroxide and acetone in an attempt to make triacetone triperoxide, a very difficult explosive material to use because of its volatility. His unusual shopping habits raised suspicion and, along with other incriminating evidence, eventually led to his arrest before he could initiate his planned attack.

Other plots in recent years such as the Newburgh case as well as plots in Dallas and Springfield, Ill., all three in 2009, failed because the suspects behind the attacks reached out to others to acquire explosive material instead of making it themselves. (In the latter two cases, Hosam Smadi in Dallas and Michael Finton in Springfield unwittingly worked with FBI agents to obtain fake explosive material that they thought they could use to attack prominent buildings in their respective cities and were subsequently arrested.) In seeking help, they made themselves vulnerable to interception, and local and federal authorities were able to infiltrate the cell planning the attack and ensure that the operatives never posed a serious threat. Unlike these failed plotters, Shahzad traveled to Pakistan to receive training and used everyday materials to construct his explosive devices, thus mitigating the risk of being discovered.

A much more successful model of waging a jihadist attack on U.S. soil is the case of U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, who shot and killed 13 people at Fort Hood in Texas in November 2009. Instead of traveling to Yemen or Pakistan for training, which would have aroused suspicion, Maj. Hasan used skills he already possessed and simple means to conduct his attack, something that kept his profile low (although he was under investigation for posting comments online seemingly justifying suicide attacks). Ultimately, Hasan killed more people with a handgun than the recently botched or thwarted attacks involving relatively complicated IEDs.

With AQAP leader al-Wahayshi advocating smaller and easier attacks against softer targets in the fall of 2009 (shortly before Maj. Hasan’s attack at Fort Hood), it appears that the tactic is making its way through jihadist circles. This highlights the risk that ideologically radicalized individuals (as Shahzad certainly appears to be) can still pose to the public, despite their seeming inability to successfully construct and deploy relatively complex IEDs.


Slipping Through the Cracks?

It is likely that U.S. authorities were aware of Shahzad due to his recent five-monthlong trip to Pakistan. Authorities may also have intercepted the telephone conversations that Shahzad had with people in Pakistan using a pre-paid cell phone (which are more anonymous but still traceable). Such activities usually are noticed by authorities, and we anticipate that there will be a storm in the media in the coming days and weeks about how the U.S. government missed signs pointing to Shahzad’s radicalization and operational activity. The witch hunt would be far more intense if the attack had actually succeeded — as it could well have. However, as we’ve noted in past attacks such as the July 7, 2005, London bombings, the universe of potential jihadists is so wide that the number of suspects simply overwhelms the government’s ability to process them all. The tactical reality is that the government simply cannot identify all potential attackers in advance and thwart every attack. Some suspects will inevitably fly under the radar.

This reality flies in the face of the expectation that governments somehow must prevent all terrorist attacks. But the uncomfortable truth in the war against jihadist militants is that there is no such thing as complete security. Given the diffuse nature of the threat and of the enemy, and the wide availability of soft targets in open societies, there is simply no intelligence or security service in the world capable of identifying every aspiring militant who lives in or enters a country and of pre-empting their intended acts of violence.
25199  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory on: May 06, 2010, 07:52:06 AM
Iran and the United States, Grasping for Diplomacy
THE IRAQI BALANCE SWUNG IN TEHRAN’S DIRECTION Tuesday when an announcement was made that Iraq’s two main rival Shiite coalitions have finally agreed to merge into a single parliamentary bloc. While there is still more political wrangling to be had, including the chore of picking the prime minister, this development carries enormous implications for the United States and its allies in the region. Before diving into those implications, we first need to review the results of the March 7 Iraqi elections.

The Iraqi vote was primarily split four ways: Former Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, a Shi’i leading the Sunni-concentrated al-Iraqiya bloc, barely came in first with 91 seats, while Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s predominantly Shiite State of Law (SoL) bloc took second place with 89 seats. In third place, the Iranian-backed Shiite Islamist Iraqi National Alliance (INA) won 70 seats, while the unified Kurdish bloc came out with 43 seats. The magic number to form a ruling coalition is 163, raising all sorts of ethno-sectarian coalition possibilities that could make or break the stability the United States created with the 2007 troop surge.

The Kurdish strategy was the most predictable in this fractured political landscape. Knowing that their Arab rivals would lack enough seats on their own to form a coalition, the Kurds positioned themselves early on to ensure their kingmaker status in the new government. An SoL-INA coalition is just four seats shy of the 163 needed to form the government, and the Kurds fully expect to fill that gap.

The Sunni-Shiite and the Shiite-Shiite divisions are where things get much more complicated. With just two seats between them, al-Iraqiya and SoL were both intent on ruling the next government. Since neither bloc could get along with one another, two possibilities emerged over the course of the last eight weeks: Either a super Shiite bloc could be formed between the INA and SoL, effectively sidelining the Sunnis in Allawi’s al-Iraqiya bloc, or the INA could join with al-Iraqiya, leaving al-Maliki in the dust.

“An INA-SoL coalition is thus political poison for Iraq’s Sunnis, the United States, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and anyone else in the region that is highly uncomfortable with the idea of Iraq living under an Iranian shadow.”
Such political wrangling may be taken as a sign of a healthy democracy in most countries, but in Iraq, coalition politics can turn very deadly, very fast. It is important to remember that when Iraq held its first democratic experiment in 2005, the bulk of Iraq’s Sunnis chose the bullet over the ballot. This time around, the Sunnis are looking to regain their political voice in Baghdad, and they still have the guns and militant connections to return to if that search ends in failure.

An INA-SoL coalition is thus political poison for Iraq’s Sunnis, the United States, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and anyone else in the region who is highly uncomfortable with the idea of Iraq living under an Iranian shadow. The United States did not anticipate having more than 98,000 troops in Iraq more than seven years after it toppled Saddam Hussein, and needs at least half of those troops out of Mesopotamia within the next three months. To do that, Washington needs to leave at least some semblance of a Persian-Arab balance in the Middle East, and that means ensuring a place for the Sunnis at the winners’ table in Baghdad.

But Iran is not about to make things easy for the United States. The Iranians can see that the U.S.-led sanctions effort, while irritating, lacks bite. They can also see that the U.S. administration is not interested at the moment in waging a third military campaign in the Islamic world, no matter how much Israel complains. Iran is thus in a prime position. They have a super Shiite majority getting ready to rule Iraq, while the United States is left helpless for the most part.

That does not mean Iran is home free, however. In spite of the daily barrages of rhetoric emanating from Tehran on Iranian military might, the country is ill at ease with having the world’s most powerful military stacked on its eastern and western borders. Iran would very much like those U.S. troops to go home, but only if it can be assured somehow that a U.S. military with more of an attention span will not show up in the neighborhood again with plans for an air campaign against Iranian nuclear facilities. For Iran to get this security assurance, it needs to set a high price: American recognition of Iranian dominance in the Persian Gulf.

Given the United States’ need for a Sunni-Shiite balance in this region, this is likely too high a price for Washington to pay at this point in time. So Iran has to turn to more coercive means to capture the United States’ attention. This could include the threat of disenfranchising Iraq’s Sunnis, upping the ante on the nuclear issue, bolstering Taliban forces when U.S. troops are surging into Afghanistan and a resurgence of Shiite militia activity. Indeed, the same day the Iraqi Shiite political merger was announced, radical Iraqi Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr, who has been living under Tehran’s protection since 2007, proclaimed the official revival of his Mehdi Army and threatened to attack U.S. forces should they outstay their Dec. 31, 2011, deadline. This was not exactly a subtle signal on Iran’s part.

There is no shortage of reasons for the United States and Iran to come back to the negotiating table, but the process will be a painful one. Moreover, the fact that Iran is holding the upper hand in this round is a bitter pill for Washington to swallow. Many in Washington will make the case that it is better for the United States to focus on bolstering its regional allies and rely on a residual force of 50,000 troops in Iraq to keep Iran at bay until more options come into view. But Iran has a plan for that, too. If Tehran cannot get the United States to leave Iraq on its terms, then it might as well have U.S. forces concentrated in places where Iran carries influence through proxies. In other words, maintain the status quo. Either way, Iran has options.

25200  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Daily Expression of Gratitude on: May 05, 2010, 11:33:38 PM
Grateful for good times with my children.
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