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25351  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / PD WSJ on: April 24, 2008, 12:20:27 PM
Hillary Math

We keep hearing that Barack Obama leads Hillary Clinton in both the number of elected delegates and the total popular vote cast in primaries and caucuses. But Mrs. Clinton herself makes the argument that she now leads in popular votes in the wake of her 10-point win in Pennsylvania.

It all depends on how you do the counting. Barack Obama's campaign says Mr. Obama has won 14.4 million votes compared to 13.9 million for Mrs. Clinton, a 49% to 47% lead. But yesterday in Indianapolis, Mrs. Clinton hauled out her New Math.

"As of today, I have received more votes by the people who have voted than anybody else, and I am proud of that," she told a rally. "It's a very close race, but if you count, as I count, the 2.3 million people who voted in Michigan and Florida, then we are going to build on that." Indeed, if you count the Florida and Michigan results, she leads Mr. Obama by 15.1 million votes to 15. million.

The status of the rogue Michigan and Florida primaries continues to bedevil Democrats. Delegates from both states have been stripped of their votes at the Denver convention because their state parties held primaries too early. In Florida, no one campaigned and Mrs. Clinton won a 50% to 33% victory. In Michigan, Mr. Obama's name didn't appear on the ballot and Mrs. Clinton won 55% of the vote. An uncommitted slate of delegates favoring Mr. Obama won 40% of the vote.

Mr. Obama didn't put up a big fuss about Mrs. Clinton's numbers. "I guess there have been a number of different formulations that the Clinton campaign has been trying to arrive at to suggest that somehow they're not behind," he told reporters on Wednesday. "I'll leave that up to you guys. If you want to count [Florida and Michigan] for some abstract measure, you're free to do so." His point was simple: He has more delegates and that's what will count in choosing the nominee.

But at least until Indiana and North Carolina vote in two weeks, Mrs. Clinton has a new rhetorical talking point to make with voters and superdelegates -- if you count every vote cast so far in a recognized or unrecognized primary, she is the temporary leader.

-- John Fund

Big Labor Bada Bing

And the Oscar for best performance in a humorous political ad goes to... Vince Curatola, better known as "Johnny Sack" in the Sopranos, for a new ad about unfair union organizing.

Big Labor has been desperate to replace the system of secret ballots in union-organizing elections with a "card check" method, in which a majority of employees would simply have to sign a card. The Democratic House passed a "card check" bill last year at union bidding, but polls shows a majority of the public hates the idea, recognizing that workers would be subject to intimidation and peer pressure.

In the ad, created by the business-backed Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, a worker walks into a voting booth to cast a ballot. A hand suddenly clamps him on the shoulder and "Johnny Sack" appears in the booth, looking as mobsterish as ever. "Whaddya got there?" he asks. My "secret ballot" replies the worker. "Not any more it ain't," says Mr. Curatola, who snaps his fingers to make the curtains disappear, leaving the man in front of a crowd of intimidating colleagues pressuring him to sign a card.

The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace is made up of about 500 business associations and groups across the country fighting card check legislation. It will soon start running the educational ad on national cable stations, and will presumably tailor it for districts of specific Democratic House members who last year voted to get rid of the secret ballot. As for Mr. Curatola, word is he's simply a paid actor, and takes no public stand on card check one way or another. But his menacing mob face is sure to stick in voters' minds come November.


--Kim Strassel

The Pope of California

Arnold Schwarzenegger once did a movie called "Twins." Now he's become so close to his bicoastal buddy, New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, they might as well do a political sequel to that film.

The California governor was in New York last week for a round of fundraisers for his ballot initiative that would change the way state legislative lines are drawn in California. Mayor Bloomberg rolled out the red carpet, donating $250,000 to the cause and opening his Upper East Side home for a fundraiser.

Governor Schwarzenegger was in good form at the event, saying that the mayor had at first "pumped him up" at a luncheon earlier in the day by telling a crowd that "we have an important guest in town who speaks with a German accent, has millions of people who hang on his every word and is infallible." Then Mr. Schwarzenegger paused dramatically and delivered the punch line: "You can imagine how I was deflated when he explained it was the Pope!"

Then it was down to the serious business of explaining his proposal to end the conflict of interest that allows California legislators to draw their own districts. Noting that the lines are so carefully designed to protect incumbents that not a single state legislator was defeated in the 2004 or 2006 elections, the governor told the audience: "They just had an election in Russia in which only the people Putin wanted elected won. Well, sometimes I think the legislators back in California have gone Putin one better in making sure the people have no say."

Assuming his initiative collects the required signatures, Mr. Schwarzenegger's ballot measure will appear before voters in November.

-- John Fund

Canadian Tiger

Democratic Members of Congress look yearningly to Canada as a model for all kinds of things. They might do well to adopt the Canadian model of tax policy.

Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty was in New York yesterday to give a speech touting the economic achievements of the relatively new government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He stopped by the Journal offices to give a preview. Since coming to office two years ago, Mr. Flaherty told us, the Harper government has succeeded in steadily whacking down the corporate income tax to 18% from 22%, and is headed for 15% by 2012. Aiming for a total tax burden or no more than 25%, Ottawa has also been pushing the provinces to cut their own taxes on business profits. Ontario (Canada's Taxachusetts) has been a notable holdout and some in the Canadian press even accused Mr. Flaherty yesterday of leaving Ontario out of his sales pitch to U.S. investors. Mr. Flaherty joked in return that he was "gently prodding [Provincial] Premier [Dalton] McGuinty in my own subtle way to reduce business taxes."

Canada's cuts come none too soon. Business tax-cutting has been a global phenomenon, with the OECD countries now averaging less than 27%, down from 38% in 1993 (the U.S. average is 40%). It's also of a piece with the Harper government's broader pro-growth agenda, which includes free trade deals with Colombia, Peru and South Korea and work to speed up transit of goods at the Windsor-Detroit border crossing.

What about Nafta? Canada believes Nafta "is working well," said Mr. Flaherty, but he also noted that Canada exports a great deal of oil to the U.S., so Canada would have no shortage of bargaining leverage if the trade pact were opened for renegotiation as threatened on the campaign trail by the two Democratic presidential contenders.
25352  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: April 24, 2008, 10:01:13 AM
Definitely a hit piece, but interesting nonetheless; another example of unsavory support for BO.

http://www.frontpagemagazine.com/Art...6-765A3D7EDCD7

Terrorist Fundraisers for Obama By Patrick Poole
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Two years ago, Hatem El-Hady was the chairman of the Toledo, Ohio-based Islamic charity, Kindhearts, which was closed by the US government in February 2006 for terrorist fundraising and all its assets frozen. Today, El-Hady has redirected his fundraising efforts for his newest cause - Barack Obama for President.

El-Hady has his own dedicated page on Barack Obama's official website, chronicling his fundraising on behalf of the Democratic Party presidential candidate (his Obama profile established on February 19, 2008 - two years to the day after Kindhearts was raided by the feds). Not only that, but he has none other than Barack Obama's wife, Michelle Obama, listed as one of his friends (one of her 224 listed friends).
But his leadership of Kindhearts is not the only thing that has brought him scrutiny by federal law enforcement officials. Last summer, El-Hady was questioned by the FBI concerning his knowledge of possible conspirators in a UK-based terror plot.

Hatem El-Hady's interest in "change" is understandable. Following the closure of Kindhearts, he said in response to the government's closure of his organization:
"It's dirty politics," said Dr. Hatem Elhady, chairman of the board of KindHearts, which raised $5.1 million in 2004. "They do not like the way things are going in Palestine. They do not like the election results. But that is not our problem. Our problem is providing aid to people in desperate need of help."
The Department of Justice had a very different version of events. According to the DOJ, Kindhearts assumed the role of lead terrorist fundraising in the US after the government had closed other such Islamic "charities":
"KindHearts is the progeny of Holy Land Foundation and Global Relief Foundation, which attempted to mask their support for terrorism behind the façade of charitable giving," said Stuart Levey, Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.
Not only was Kindhearts engaged in providing funds for HAMAS in Lebanon and the West Bank, it had hired as a fundraising specialist the man identified as the designated HAMAS bag man in the US, Mohammed El-Mezain.

And as investigative reporter Joe Kaufman revealed, "The Black Hearts of Kindhearts", a number of other Kindhearts officials were tied to terrorist fundraising and support:
KindHearts’ Director of Domestic Programs, Khalifah Ramadan. Ramadan was a training and evaluation consultant for the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), two large Muslim organizations based in the United States that have links to overseas terror groups.
KindHearts’ Representaive, Omar Shahin. Shahin was an Imam for the Islamic Center of Tucson (ICT), the former home of numerous terror operatives, including Wael Jelaidan, who later helped found Al-Qaeda.
KindHearts’ Representative, Wagdy Ghuneim. Ghuneim, an Egyptian cleric, has been featured in KindHearts fundraising dinners for 2002, 2003 and 2004. During a rally at Brooklyn College, in May of 1998, Ghuneim attempted to persuade the crowd to support violent jihad and labeled Jews as “descendants of the apes.”
KindHearts’ Representative, Hatem Bazian. Bazian is an Islamic Studies instructor and a member of the faculty of Near Eastern Studies at UC Berkley. In April of 2004, during a San Francisco anti-war rally, Bazian, a native Palestinian, called for an “intifada” against the United States. This was just two months prior to Bazian being featured in a KindHearts Fundraising Dinner, entitled ‘Palestinians in agony!’
KindHearts’ Manager in Lebanon, Haytham Maghawri (a.k.a. Haytham Fawri). Maghawri, the past Social Services Director for HLF, according to the Treasury Department, “collected [KindHearts] funds and sent them to Hamas and other Salafi groups.” [One of the recipients of KindHearts funding was Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) Usama Hamdan, a leader of Hamas in Lebanon.]
And two months before Kindhearts closure by the US government, Beila Rabinowitz had revealed that the South Asia Division Coordinator for Kindhearts, Zulfiqar Ali Shah, had known ties to al-Qaeda, even conducting a 10-day tour with officials for the Tablighi Jamaat organization, which the New York Times had described as "a springboard for militancy" and a "recruitment" center for Al-Qaeda.

Barack Obama has promised change. And as indicated by the public support that his candidacy has received by accused terrorist fundraiser Hatem El-Hady, Obama's version of change that terrorists and their US supporters can believe in.
__________________
25353  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Syria and Israel hint at Peace Talks on: April 24, 2008, 08:20:56 AM
Geopolitical Diary: Syria and Israel Hint at Peace Talks
April 24, 2008
The morning of April 21, we woke up to a report in the Syrian media saying that Israel had agreed to hand the Golan Heights back to Syria in exchange for a peace agreement. The Syrian story was reported in the Israeli media, with no comment from the Olmert government, although several Israeli politicians vigorously condemned the idea. Since Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was reported to be on vacation, we figured there was a time delay and settled back waiting for the Israeli government to deny the Syrian report.

That’s when it became interesting. Rather than denying the report, Olmert’s spokesman Mark Regev said, “I have nothing to add beyond what the prime minister said on Friday in his interviews with the Israeli press about his desire for peace with Syria.” Olmert had said, “Very clearly we want peace with the Syrians and are taking all manner of action to this end. President Bashar al-Assad knows precisely what our expectations are and we know his. I won’t say more.”

Today, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem held a press conference in Tehran, of all places, along with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki. Al-Moallem said there that “if Israel is serious and wants peace, nothing will stop the renewal of peace talks.” Another Syrian minister, speaking on Al Jazeera at about the same time, said that “Olmert is ready for peace with Syria on the grounds of international conditions; on the grounds of the return of the Golan Heights in full to Syria.”

So now we have the Syrian foreign minister offering peace talks with the Israelis while standing next to the Iranian foreign minister, who apparently did not go into cardiac arrest; another Syrian minister confirming this and implying that the quid pro quo for peace is the Golan Heights; and the Israeli prime minister’s office refusing to deny these reports while referring back to a statement made by the prime minister in which he said that Israel wants peace with the Syrians and both sides know what the terms are.

This is not quite the same thing as saying that a deal has been made. What it is saying is that the terms of such a deal are clearly understood by both sides and that neither side is walking away from the table, which means that the terms are at least in the ball park — so much so from the Syrian side that it was worth going to Tehran to talk about it with the Iranians, and apparently the Iranians did not back away from Syria. That means that the Syrians not only have their ally on board, but are signaling the Israelis that the ally — Iran — can live with the terms, which of course opens other vistas.

The talk today has focused on the Golan Heights, at least as far as the Syrians are concerned. From the Israeli point of view, the Heights are not nearly as militarily critical as they once might have appeared. While holding the Heights — which, unlike Gaza, are fairly lightly populated — the Syrians fired artillery at Israeli settlements. That was a problem, but not a strategic threat. Holding the Golan Heights did pose a challenge to the Israelis. In the 1973 War, the Israelis had to fight with their backs to the Golan escarpment in order to block the Syrians. Had the Syrians held the Heights, and the Israelis were in the hills on the other side of the Jordan River, the strategic situation would have been different. The Syrians could not have taken the Israelis by surprise, and the armor descending the Heights would have been in the killing ground for Israeli armor, artillery and missiles as they descended. Moreover, in today’s military environment, conventional artillery is vulnerable to everything from cruise missiles to helicopters firing Hellfire missiles and to computerized counter-battery fire. Whatever the argument was for taking the Heights in 1967, the military situation has evolved since then.

It is therefore not inconceivable that Olmert would trade the Golan Heights for a peace treaty. But the real issue between Israel and Syria isn’t the Golan Heights. The issue is Lebanon. Syria’s fundamental interest is to the west, where it has strategic and economic interests. It wants to be the dominant power in Lebanon. Israel also has deep interests in Lebanon, which are primarily defensive. It does not want Lebanon used — primarily by Hezbollah at this point — as a base from which to attack Israel. Israel and Syria had an informal understanding after the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon that Syria would have a free hand there and would be expected to control Hezbollah. There is a basis for understanding here as well — one which would leave many Lebanese in a difficult position, but might satisfy Israeli and Syrian interests.

But before that comes the domestic battle in Israel. There are powerful forces that would argue that one, the Golan is much more significant militarily than we have portrayed it; two, allowing Syria to dominate Lebanon gives Damascus another axis from which to attack Israel later; and three, Israel would find a Syrian-Iranian force to their north over the next generation. These are not trivial arguments and can be reinforced by the Tehran press conference, which signaled that the Syrians are not acting independently of the Iranians.

At the same time, Olmert will argue that peace is worth the risk and point to Egypt as an example. The argument will go on, but now at least we are seeing where the various odd events of the past few weeks were leading — and it is not clear that it cannot end in war. If this falls apart, as it well might, the situation could rapidly spiral out of control as both countries start to maneuver in Lebanon.

All of this is fascinating, but what stands out is the fact that the Iranians have signaled that they can live with a deal with Israel. In the long run, the implications of that are the most interesting.
25354  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Plutonium on the Euphrates on: April 24, 2008, 08:04:53 AM

   
REVIEW & OUTLOOK 


 
Plutonium on the Euphrates
April 24, 2008; Page A12
What really happened in the Syrian desert near the Euphrates River on the night of September 6, 2007? The Bush Administration is finally due to answer that question today when it briefs Members of Congress. We've been hearing, and the press is now reporting, that the Administration will confirm that Israel bombed what the U.S. believes was a nascent plutonium-producing nuclear reactor being built with North Korea's assistance.

Everyone who has looked at the incident has suspected as much, despite official refusals to talk about it. But the Administration's acknowledgment of it, even in classified briefings, makes its current stance toward North Korea seem odder than ever.

The State Department has already given up on holding North Korea to its promise to disclose all of its nuclear activities. But now it appears that Foggy Bottom and President Bush are prepared to forgive North Korea for telling what the U.S. now agrees were lies about the North's nuclear proliferation to a Middle Eastern autocrat who is an enemy of America. At the same time, Bush Administration officials are saying that it is good policy to trust Kim Jong Il's declarations on his stockpiles of plutonium.

So: Israel had to risk war with Syria to destroy a nuclear facility built with the help of lying North Koreans. But no worries, the U.S. says it can still trust North Korea to tell the truth about its current programs. This makes us wonder if the unofficial U.S. nonproliferation policy is to have Israel bomb every plutonium facility that the North Koreans decide to sell.

If a Democratic President were pursuing the Bush Administration's North Korean diplomacy, Republicans would hoot him out of town. Mr. Bush should beware of diplomats dangling "legacies" before him. Otherwise, his real legacy on North Korea may be turning nuclear nonproliferation into a global farce.
 
25355  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: East Europe supports Ukraine and Georgia for NATO on: April 24, 2008, 08:01:32 AM
Eastern Solidarity
FROM TODAY'S WALL STREET JOURNAL EUROPE
April 24, 2008

The "new Europeans," although safely ensconced in NATO and the EU, aren't turning their backs on countries still stranded in a security and political limbo farther east. If only their moral clarity were infectious.

Yesterday in Prague, the Visegrád Group – Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia – said that Ukraine and Georgia should be put on a track toward NATO membership at the earliest opportunity. At the NATO summit in Bucharest earlier this month, Germany, along with a few other "old Europeans," scotched a U.S.-led effort to give these two countries "membership action plans." The Alliance is supposed to revisit the issue by year's end. The Visegrád foreign ministers also endorsed Ukraine's bid to join the EU; Brussels can't bear the thought.

Meanwhile, also yesterday, Lithuania threatened to block the launch of EU-Russia trade talks. The Lithuanians are concerned about growing Russian pressure on Georgia. The veto threat serves as a useful reminder that Russia can pay a price for bad behavior.

The warning is apt, too. The go-slow-on-NATO decision in Bucharest, a blow to Georgia's pro-Western government, emboldened the Kremlin. President Vladimir Putin last week moved to upgrade ties with Georgia's two breakaway regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. This could be a prelude to Russian annexation, formal separation or possible war. Russia has similarly asserted its right to veto Ukraine's ambitions to leave its orbit for good.

German, French and Italian politicians have a sorry record of willingness to indulge the Putin Kremlin. Yet thanks to the post-Cold War enlargements of NATO, the U.S. isn't alone in championing the right of European democracies freely to choose which friends to keep and alliances to join.
25356  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ:Dems have a nominee; Karl Rove on: April 24, 2008, 07:51:48 AM
Like Karl Rove below, I'm not sure I agree that it is a lock, but the point about the implications of Nunn and Boren is worth noting.
==========

The Democrats Have a Nominee
April 24, 2008; Page A11
So what?

Other than ensuring the Greatest Show on Earth will continue, does it matter that Hillary Clinton defeated Barack Obama Tuesday in Pennsylvania by nine-plus points? Barack Obama is the nominee.

No matter how many kicks the rest of us find in such famously fun primary states as Indiana and South Dakota, it's going to be McCain versus Obama in 2008.

I believe the cement set around the Clinton coffin last Friday. The Obama campaign announced it had received the support of former Sens. Sam Nunn of North Carolina and David Boren of Oklahoma.

 
Wonder Land columnist Dan Henninger says despite her primary win in Pennsylvania, it's over for Hillary. (April 23)
Both are what some of us nostalgically call Serious Democrats. They represent what the party was, but is no more: sensible on national security, spending and middle-class values. Obama receiving their imprimatur is like hands reaching out from the graves of FDR, JFK and LBJ to announce: "Enough is enough. This man is your nominee. Go forth and fight with the Republicans." Make no mistake: Superdelegates with sway took notice.

Former Sen. Nunn is sometimes mentioned as a possible running mate for Sen. Obama. In a better world, Sam Nunn (or a David Boren) would have been the party's candidate for president. Such candidacies remain impossible under the iron law of Democratic primary politics: No centrist can secure the party's nomination in a primary system dominated by left-liberal activists. The iron law produces candidacies such as McGovern (1972), Mondale ('84), Dukakis ('88), Gore ('00) or Kerry ('04), who pay so many left-liberal obeisances to win in the primaries that they cannot attract sufficient moderates at the margins to win the general election.

Bill Clinton, who broke that law twice, knows all this. His 1996 triangulation campaign dangled welfare reform and spending restraint. It worked.

Hillary Clinton knows all this. In 2005, just after George W. Bush won re-election buoyed by "moral values" voters, Sen. Clinton reached out to them in a January speech: "the primary reason that teenage girls abstain [from sex] is because of their religious and moral values. We should embrace this." By "we" she meant that voters still wedded to middle-class respectability, say in Ohio, should embrace her.

 
AP 
Thanks for the memories. Democrats will opt for a new magician.
She has worked hard as a member of the Armed Services Committee to establish her bona fides with general officers, and some have endorsed her. As well, her hedged, equivocal vote "for" the Iraq War was mainly a centrist investment to cash in fall 2008. (The left won't allow it; see iron law above.)

The 2008 nomination was hers. There was no competition. She was a lock to run for the roses against the Republican nominee. Republicans must have had this conversation a hundred times back then: "It's Hillary. She's got it. Get over it."

Sam Nunn and David Boren by political temperament should be in her camp. Instead, they threw in with Obama, who calls his campaign "post-partisan," a ludicrous phrase. The blowback at ABC's debate makes clear that Obama is the left's man. So what did Messrs. Nunn and Boren see?

The biggest event was the Clinton Abandonment. In a campaign of surprises, none has been more breathtaking than the falling away of Clinton supporters, loyalists . . . and friends. Why?

Money. Barack Obama's mystical pull on people is nice, but nice in modern politics comes after money. Once Barack proved conclusively that he could raise big-time cash, the Clintons' strongest tie to their machine began to unravel. Today he's got $42 million banked. She's got a few million north of nothing.

But it's more than that. Barack Obama's Web-based fund-raising apparatus is, if one may say so, respectable. The Clintons' "donor base" has been something else.

It is hard to overstate how fatigued Democratic donors in Manhattan and L.A. got during the Clinton presidency to have Bill and Hillary fly in, repeatedly, to sweep checking accounts. The Lincoln Bedroom rental was cheesy. Bill's 60th birthday gala (tickets $60,000 to 500K) was a Clinton fund-raiser. The 1996 John Huang-Lippo-China fund-raising scandal pushed Clinton contributors toward a milieu most didn't need in their lives. Hillary's 2007 Norman Hsu fund-raising scandal was an unsettling rerun of what the donor base could expect from another Clinton presidency.

It was all kind of gross, but the Clintons never seemed to see that. When Obama proved he could perform this most basic function in politics, it was a get-out-of-jail-free card for many Democrats. For some, this may be personal. For others, it is likely a belief that the party's interests lie with finding an alternative to the Clinton saga. One guesses this is what Sam Nunn and David Boren concluded.

Ohio, Texas and Pennsylvania prove it won't be easy. Barack Obama himself said Tuesday night, "I'm not perfect." He heads to the nomination freighted with all the familiar Democratic tensions that keep a Sam Nunn off the ballot: race and gender obsessions, semipacifism and you bet, bitter white voters. So be it. For modern Democrats, winning the White House always requires some sort of magic to get near 50%. For the Clintons, that bag is empty. The Democrats have a new magician. It's Obama.
=========
Is Obama Ready for Prime Time?
By KARL ROVE
April 24, 2008; Page A13

After being pummeled 55% to 45% in the Pennsylvania primary, Barack Obama was at a loss for explanations. The best he could do was to compliment his supporters in an email saying, "you helped close the gap to a slimmer margin than most thought possible." Then he asked for money.

With $42 million in the bank, money is the least of Sen. Obama's problems. He needs a credible message that convinces Democrats he should be president. In recent days, he's spent too much time proclaiming his inevitable nomination. But they already know he's won more states, votes and delegates.

 
Chad Crowe 
His words wear especially thin when he was dealt a defeat like Tuesday's. Mr. Obama was routed despite outspending Hillary Clinton on television by almost 3-1. While polls in the final days showed a possible 4% or 5% Clinton win, she apparently took late-deciders by a big margin to clinch the landslide.

Where she cobbled together her victory should cause concern in the Obama HQ. She did better – and he worse – than expected in Philadelphia's suburbs. Mrs. Clinton won two of these four affluent suburban counties, home of the white-wine crowd Mr. Obama has depended on for victories before.

In the small town and rural "bitter" precincts, she clobbered him. Mr. Obama's state chair was Sen. Bob Casey, who hails from Lackawanna County in northeast Pennsylvania. She carried that county 74%-25%. In the state's 61 less-populous counties, she won 63% – and by 278,266 votes. Her margin of victory statewide was 208,024 votes.

Mrs. Clinton's problem remains that she's behind in the delegate count, with 1,589 to Mr. Obama's 1,714. Neither candidate will get to the 2,025 needed for nomination with elected delegates. But the Democratic Party's rules of proportionality mean it will be hard to close that margin among the 733 delegates yet to be elected or declared. Mrs. Clinton will need to take 58% of the remaining delegates. Thus far, she's been able to get that or better in just four of the 46 contests.

Her path gets rougher. While Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia and Puerto Rico are good territory for her, Oregon and Montana may not be. And Mrs. Clinton will be outspent badly. She entered April with $9.3 million in cash, but debts of $10.3 million. Mr. Obama had $42.5 million but only $663,000 in unpaid bills.

In Pennsylvania, Mr. Obama's money could only wipe out half a purported 20% deficit, but the Real Clear Politics average of recent polls shows Mr. Obama behind by 2% in Indiana and ahead in North Carolina by 16%. Those states will vote in two weeks. The financial throw weight he will have in the Hoosier State could more than erase Mrs. Clinton's lead there, while keeping North Carolina solidly in his column. His money could give him a double knockout on May 6, which would effectively end her bid for the presidency.

If she wins Indiana, however, she will surely go forward – and Democrats run the risk of a split decision in June. Mr. Obama could have more delegates, but she could have more popular votes. In fact, on Tuesday night she actually grabbed the popular vote lead: If you include the Michigan and Florida primary results, Mrs. Clinton now leads the popular vote by a slim 113,000 votes out of 29,914,356 cast.

Mr. Obama will argue he wasn't on the ballot in Michigan and didn't campaign in Florida. But don't Democrats want to count all the votes in all the contests? After all, Mr. Obama took his name off the Michigan ballot; it isn't something he was forced to do. And while he didn't campaign in Florida, neither did she.

And what about the Michigan and Florida delegates? By my calculations, she should pick up about 54 delegates on Mr. Obama if they are seated (this assumes the Michigan "uncommitted" delegates go for Mr. Obama). If he is ahead in June by a number similar to his lead today of 125, does he let the two delegations in and make the convention vote even closer? Or does he continue to act as if two states with 41 of the 270 electoral votes needed for the White House don't exist?

The Democratic Party has two weakened candidates. Mrs. Clinton started as a deeply flawed candidate: the palpable and unpleasant sense of entitlement, the absence of a clear and optimistic message, the grating personality impatient to be done with the little people and overly eager for a return to power, real power, the phoniness and the exaggerations. These problems have not diminished over the long months of the contest. They have grown. She started out with the highest negatives of any major candidate in an open race for the presidency and things have only gotten worse.

And what of the reborn Adlai Stevenson? Mr. Obama is befuddled and angry about the national reaction to what are clearly accepted, even commonplace truths in San Francisco and Hyde Park. How could anyone take offense at the observation that people in small-town and rural American are "bitter" and therefore "cling" to their guns and their faith, as well as their xenophobia? Why would anyone raise questions about a public figure who, for only 20 years, attended a church and developed a close personal relationship with its preacher who says AIDS was created by our government as a genocidal tool to be used against people of color, who declared America's chickens came home to roost on 9/11, and wants God to damn America? Mr. Obama has a weakness among blue-collar working class voters for a reason.

His inspiring rhetoric is a potent tool for energizing college students and previously uninvolved African-American voters. But his appeals are based on two aspirational pledges he is increasingly less credible in making.

Mr. Obama's call for postpartisanship looks unconvincing, when he is unable to point to a single important instance in his Senate career when he demonstrated bipartisanship. And his repeated calls to remember Dr. Martin Luther King's "fierce urgency of now" in tackling big issues falls flat as voters discover that he has not provided leadership on any major legislative battle.

Mr. Obama has not been a leader on big causes in Congress. He has been manifestly unwilling to expend his political capital on urgent issues. He has been only an observer, watching the action from a distance, thinking wry and sardonic and cynical thoughts to himself about his colleagues, mildly amused at their too-ing and fro-ing. He has held his energy and talent in reserve for the more important task of advancing his own political career, which means running for president.

But something happened along the way. Voters saw in the Philadelphia debate the responses of a vitamin-deficient Stevenson act-a-like. And in the closing days of the Pennsylvania primary, they saw him alternate between whining about his treatment by Mrs. Clinton and the press, and attacking Sen. John McCain by exaggerating and twisting his words. No one likes a whiner, and his old-style attacks undermine his appeals for postpartisanship.

Mr. Obama is near victory in the Democratic contest, but it is time for him to reset, freshen his message and say something new. His conduct in the last several weeks raises questions about whether, for all his talents, he is ready to be president.

Mr. Rove is the former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush.
25357  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Kidnappings on: April 24, 2008, 07:37:21 AM
http://news.yahoo.com/s/mcclatchy/20...latchy/2917333

By Franco Ordonez, McClatchy NewspapersTue Apr 22, 3:56 PM ET

JUAREZ, Mexico — Daniel Escobedo was driving to school when he stopped for what he thought was a security check at a roadblock in the Mexican city of Juarez , across the border from El Paso, Texas .
Worried about being late for class, he hurriedly handed his driver's license to the two uniformed men, who he thought were police officers.
Moments later, two dark SUVs screeched to a halt. Armed masked men jumped out and grabbed Escobedo, 21. He spent the next six weeks blindfolded, shuttled between safe houses while a drug-gang leader negotiated a ransom with his father, who's a lawyer. He was beaten, shocked and burned until his rescue April 1 by Mexican soldiers who'd been tipped that drug dealers were using the house.
"For a month and a half, I thought I was going to die," Escobedo said.
He's one of a growing number of kidnapping victims here as Mexico's drug gangs seek new business to replace lucrative drug smuggling, which has become more dangerous as Mexican authorities pursue the largest anti-drug-trafficking effort ever in the country.
Corporate security experts estimate that drug gangs are now responsible for 30 to 50 kidnappings a day in Mexico and that ransoms often run to $300,000 if the victim is returned alive. They often hold several victims at a time. Two other victims were being held with Escobedo.
"The narco-kidnappers are not looking for chump change," said Felix Batista , a Miami -based corporate-security and crisis-management consultant who's negotiated the releases of dozens of kidnapping victims throughout Mexico .
"It's a pretty darn good side business."
The phenomenon is spilling over into the United States . Phoenix police investigated more than 350 kidnappings last year, a 40 percent increase from the year before. Most are tied to crackdowns in Mexico , said Detective Reuben Gonzales of the Phoenix police department.
The rise in kidnapping helped prompt a recent warning from the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City about the dangers Americans might face as they travel in Mexico . "Dozens of U.S. citizens were kidnapped and/or murdered in Tijuana in 2007," across from San Diego , according to the advisory, which was issued April 15 . "Public shootouts have occurred during daylight hours near shopping areas."
Mexican officials say the wave of kidnappings is a sign that drug traffickers have been squeezed by President Felipe Calderon's yearlong offensive against smugglers. The president has dispatched 20,000 soldiers around the country to confront what had been growing drug violence that had pushed the number of kidnappings, murders and arms-smuggling cases to record levels.
"Drug trafficking is not producing for them as it did in the past," Mexican Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora said last month in Washington . "So they are moving into other crimes, such as extortion, kidnapping, car theft."
However, the rise in kidnappings also shows that Mexico's law enforcement problems go beyond narcotics. Distrust of the police, who may be involved in some of the abductions, and fear that victims will be harmed make kidnapping one of Mexico's most underreported crimes.
Mexican officials say that only a third of kidnappings are reported to police, but corporate experts say it's more like one in 10. A public opinion survey by the Center for Social and Public Opinion Studies , an arm of Mexico's Chamber of Deputies, found that only 52 percent of Mexican citizens "very probably" would report being crime victims.
"People perceive the justice system is not trustworthy," said Eduardo Rojas , the director of the center's public opinion department. "The failure to report is related to the perception of inefficiency, corruption and injustice that exists in the penal justice system."
That means that drug gangs can kidnap almost with impunity.
Escobedo's father, who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of concern that the kidnappers would target him next, never reported his son's abduction to police after the kidnappers used the young man's cell phone to contact his father. Via a text message, they demanded $100,000 for the student's release. One message, which Escobedo's father showed to McClatchy , read, "if you love your son a lot, find it in cash."
His father was collecting money from friends and relatives to pay the ransom when he received a call from the military at 5 a.m. on April 1 . The soldiers said they'd found his son, who showed his father scabs on his nose, legs, and arms that documented the torture.
"It was 40 days of suffering," his father recalled. "It was 40 days, believe me, that I couldn't sleep, waiting for the kidnappers to contact me again. . . . It was so many days of terror until my son was returned."
25358  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Demise of the Green Berets? on: April 24, 2008, 07:35:14 AM
http://www.military.com/forums/0,152...l?ESRC=army.nl

Demise of the Green Berets?
Soldier of Fortune | Maj. Gen. James Guest, USA | April 16, 2008
For a glimpse into the future of Special Forces, read the Capstone Concept for Special Operations on the USSOCOM web site. Read through it carefully. Can you find the words "Special Forces" anywhere? Or "Special Forces group?" Can you find "ODA" (operational detachment - alpha)? Or "ODB" (operational detachment - bravo)? Or "Special Forces battalion?"

You can't find these words. We can read that as a strong signal that you won't be able to find Special Forces anywhere before very long. Many other signals suggest that the senior leadership in both United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and Department of the Army (DA) are working to do away with the Green Berets. The generals at USSOCOM and in the Pentagon have been blurring the distinctions between Special Forces and special operations forces (SOF) units (Rangers, JSOC, SEALs, Delta, et al.) for some time. We now see references to "Air Force special forces," "Navy special forces," and "Marine special forces" but we rarely see the term "U. S. Army Special Forces." We do see "Army SOF," which only describes a grouping of forces, not a capability. We do see SF ODAs referred to as "special operations detachments," another sad precursor of the future.

The Capstone Concept for Special Operations being developed for USSOCOM includes the concept "global expeditionary forces," and all indications point to the intent to replace the SF groups with this new concept. The organizational charts are changing, too, and the plans are for these global expeditionary forces to work directly for USSOCOM worldwide in a Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC)-like configuration. Although the security assistance force (SAF) concept is a much more streamlined and effective mechanism for utilizing U. S. Army Special Forces-the SAF is regionally oriented and works directly for the combatant commander-it has been discarded. Is USA SF Being Eviscerated?

Is this a ploy to be able to take the ODAs and use them operationally without going through the group headquarters (HQ), including the group Special Forces operating bases (SFOB)? Since 1952, conventional force headquarters have attempted to neutralize Special Forces command and control by treating the group and battalion HQ as non-operational administrative units, the purpose of which is to maintain ODAs in order that conventional units, such as JSOC, can cherry-pick them to use as support for their own missions. Reportedly, SF troops are already under the operational control of JSOC. JSOC is using the Green Berets for JSOC's own ends, whether to gather intelligence for JSOC missions or to carry out "special missions" that, if successful, JSOC can take the credit for. You can imagine who will suck up the blame if such a "special mission" goes south.

How can Special Forces be neutralized in this way? If those who want to do away with the Green Berets are successful, they will need the full support of the senior leadership of the U. S. Army. Will they do away with the Special Forces officer branch? The Special Forces warrant officer branch? The Special Forces NCO career management fields (CMF)? To date, we merely have the unusual spectacle of a relatively small unit (USSOCOM)-however joint they may be-taking control of an entire United States Army branch.

The Army transferred control of the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center (SWC) and School from Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) to the United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) in 1990. USASOC has since taken the combat developments capability out of SWC and made it a staff section of USASOC HQ. Bear in mind that this office is the heartbeat (perhaps also the brain) of the force developments and requirements process, and therefore has a major, if not controlling voice in all future concept development, acquisitions, organization, and support doctrine for Special Forces. This, in turn, impacts recruitment, promotions, training, and equipping the force; doctrinal studies and publications; and concept developments to support Special Forces. This also impacts U. S. Army psychological operations and civil affairs concepts and developments. Since this power node was moved from SWC to USASOC, SWC is now a pygmy in the lineup of U.S. Army schools. A harbinger of the future is the recent cut of 13 million dollars from the SWC budget.
----------

Marine Specops Intrude
Another indication that SWC's leadership position in the unconventional warfare (UW) arena is disappearing is that on 27 June 2007, the USMC formally activated the Marine Special Operations School. The stated intent of the USMC senior leadership is that it will become "the premier FID [foreign internal defense] and Unconventional Warfare University in the entire SOF community."

Approval from USSOCOM was required for this duplication of effort, as well as for the above-quoted statement. There can be no true duplication for many years, if ever. The culture of the USMC will be even less amenable to the necessities of working with, through, and by indigenous people than the culture of the conventional Army. The Marines are a world-class service and a superb fighting force, but they are new to FID and new to unconventional warfare. Many a harsh lesson awaits them if they are going to try to replace the Green Berets. U. S. Army Special Forces has been increasing in proficiency and experience in counterinsurgency (COIN), FID, UW, and international security assistance missions for more than a half century.
Are the Marines willing to take the slots out of their own hide and form up more than 300 Special Forces-type operational detachments? Why would USSOCOM leaders be willing for the USMC to start this effort from scratch, when time is of the essence? Is USSOCOM willing to hand over U. S. Army Special Forces personnel authorizations to the USMC so they can become the premier FID and UW warriors of the future? Is somebody selling wolf tickets?

Specops Tactics Turned Upside Down
In the USSOCOM Capstone Concept, the TTP for conducting Special Forces operations are turned on their heads. This developing concept speaks in terms of pulling everything back to the continental United States (CONUS) and of deploying JSOC units in the same way as carrier battle groups (CBG) and Marine expeditionary units (MEU), instead of doing what has worked so well for so long for Special Forces. Look on pages 9 and 10 of the Capstone Concept, under "Global Expeditionary Force." While this concept would work for raids and other direct actions (such as JSOC, Rangers, SEALs, and USAF Special Tactics Teams are trained to conduct), if USSOCOM attempts to steal the mission of Special Forces by using this model, they will merely create a "roving gnome," who will soon be calling for backup. In short, the USSOCOM Capstone Concept totally ignores the demonstrated and historically successful Special Forces operational concept of working by, with, and through those we are helping.
As a result of more than fifty years of fine tuning, each Special Forces group now operates in its assigned region. Group HQ deploy joint combined exchange training (JCET) teams to enhance bilateral relations and interoperability with regional nations through military-to-military contact. These U. S. Special Forces JCET teams establish long-term relationships with indigenous personnel. They work to improve regional unit combat skills and observance of humanitarian requirements. They develop trust between host nations and the USA, with a program tailored to meet specific needs as identified by Green Berets on the ground. This capability will disappear with the Green Berets, and no SOF "shock-and awe" can replace it.

Armchair Specops
Compared to the lean organization of Special Forces, the USSOCOM model creates a bureaucracy with too many supervisors for too few workers, with the supervisors far away from the action. Money that would be better spent on the mission will be used for funding extra layers of chair-borne supervisors. Worse, an unwieldy organization will get in the way of accomplishing the mission. The men on the ground have a much better feel for what they need to do and how best to do it, while the top-down bureaucratic rigidity frustrates more than it facilitates.

Will these newly created bureaucratic slots be filled with Special Forces officers and NCOs? What do you think? The conventional officers who have risen to the highest ranks through their connections with JSOC, Delta, the Rangers, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, and the SEALs will be in charge. There is only one Special Forces officer (newly promoted) above the rank of major general, so, once again, Special Forces are being decapitated and will be under the ultimate command of those who have never gone through selection and assessment, never attended the SFOC, never served a tour on an ODA, and never served repeated assignments in a SFG(A).
The 2006 version of the USSOCOM Capstone Concept that we can access online does not show the new organizational charts that are presently proposed for the global expeditionary forces in the 2007 Capstone Concept. They are classified, but in the end there may be more than a dozen staff officers and NCOs for every soldier who will be assigned the mission on the ground. Reliable sources state that, even now, there are more than 130 (perhaps as many as 160) U. S. Army E-9s in Army special mission units assigned to JSOC. When that is compared with the 13 to15 E-9s in a Special Forces group, it does tend to raise eyebrows. What are they doing? According to the reports, thirteen of them are packing parachutes.
SOF DVD w/o SF
In April 2007, USSOCOM put out a 20-minute DVD celebrating its twentieth anniversary. Even though Special Forces personnel make up the greatest part of the USSOCOM forces, the U. S. Army Special Forces are never once mentioned in this DVD. Although Special Forces is the oldest force in USSOCOM and has been the USSOCOM workhorse since its inception, not one Green Beret is seen in the montage of photographs.

Colonel Banks is not mentioned in the historical overview, or General Yarborough, or General Healy. There is no reference to Colonel Bull Simons, to Colonel Charlie Beckwith, nor to General Joe Lutz. Yet without these men, the path to the present day in United States "special operations" would be difficult to imagine. Most amazingly, the DVD makes no reference to President John F. Kennedy, who supported the establishment of Special Forces in 1961.

Will Special Forces exist ten or twenty years down the road? What can we do to ensure the continuing existence and contribution of the Green Berets?
It is time to fight again, this time for the preservation of the force. If we do not protest the poor stewardship of the U. S. Army and USSOCOM leaders concerning U. S. Army Special Forces and its unique capability, we will certainly see this capability diminish.
__________________
25359  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Jefferson: Every citizen a soldier; Washington on: April 24, 2008, 07:23:56 AM

"Every citizen should be a soldier. This was the case with the Greeks and Romans, and must be that of every free state."
                                           
                               -Thomas Jefferson

"No country upon earth ever had it more in its power to attain
these blessings than United America.  Wondrously strange, then,
and much to be regretted indeed would it be, were we to neglect
the means and to depart from the road which Providence has pointed
us to so plainly; I cannot believe it will ever come to pass."

-- George Washington (letter to Benjamin Lincoln, 29 June 1788)

Reference: George Washington: A Collection, W.B. Allen, ed. (403)
25360  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / SCT: Po may search after invalid arrest !?! on: April 23, 2008, 05:22:14 PM
Supreme Court says police may search even if arrest invalid By PETE YOST, Associated Press Writer
Wed Apr 23, 12:02 PM ET
 
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080423/ap_on_go_su_co/scotus_search

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court affirmed Wednesday that police have the power to conduct searches and seize evidence, even when done during an arrest that turns out to have violated state law.

ADVERTISEMENT
 
The unanimous decision comes in a case from Portsmouth, Va., where city detectives seized crack cocaine from a motorist after arresting him for a traffic ticket offense.

David Lee Moore was pulled over for driving on a suspended license. The violation is a minor crime in Virginia and calls for police to issue a court summons and let the driver go.

Instead, city detectives arrested Moore and prosecutors say that drugs taken from him in a subsequent search can be used against him as evidence.

"We reaffirm against a novel challenge what we have signaled for half a century," Justice Antonin Scalia wrote.

Scalia said that when officers have probable cause to believe a person has committed a crime in their presence, the Fourth Amendment permits them to make an arrest and to search the suspect in order to safeguard evidence and ensure their own safety.

Moore was convicted on a drug charge and sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison.

The Virginia Supreme Court ruled that police should have released Moore and could not lawfully conduct a search.

State law, said the Virginia Supreme Court, restricted officers to issuing a ticket in exchange for a promise to appear later in court. Virginia courts dismissed the indictment against Moore.

Moore argued that the Fourth Amendment permits a search only following a lawful state arrest.

In a concurring opinion, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said she finds more support for Moore's position in previous court cases than the rest of the court does. But she said she agrees that the arrest and search of Moore was constitutional, even though it violated Virginia law.

The Bush administration and attorneys general from 18 states lined up in support of Virginia prosecutors.

The federal government said Moore's case had the potential to greatly increase the class of unconstitutional arrests, resulting in evidence seized during searches being excluded with increasing frequency.

Looking to state laws to provide the basis for searches would introduce uncertainty into the legal system, the 18 states said in court papers.

___
25361  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Survival issues outside the home on: April 23, 2008, 05:11:00 PM
I didn't know that about pine needles.  Good one.
25362  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / PD WSJ on: April 23, 2008, 12:13:58 PM


Keystone for McCain

Pennsylvania delivered a 10-point win for Hillary Clinton last night, the same margin by which she carried demographically similar Ohio last month. Since the two states together are vital to Democratic chances in the fall, their primary results provide an important window on how Mrs. Clinton and Barack Obama are faring with key voter groups after the events of the last seven weeks.

The circumstantial evidence is that Mr. Obama lost ground among those "bitter" rural voters he described in his infamous San Francisco comments as likely to "cling" to religion and guns.

Mr. Obama lost weekly churchgoers (who made up over a third of Pennsylvania voters) by a clear 58% to 42% margin. In Ohio last month, weekly churchgoers voted 51% to 49% for Mrs. Clinton. Catholics, a conservative social group in both states, gave Mr. Obama only 31% of their votes in Pennsylvania and only 37% in Ohio. No numbers are available for gun owners in Ohio, but in Pennsylvania gun owners turned thumbs down on Mr. Obama by 62% to 38%.

All in all, only 63% of Pennsylvania Democratic voters told exit pollsters they would be satisfied if Mr. Obama won the nomination, down from 66% who said the same thing in Ohio. This translates into an opportunity for John McCain. Ten percent of Democrats said they would sit on their hands in a McCain-Obama race, and 15% said they would vote for McCain over the Illinois senator. That's a significantly higher "grumble factor" than in a possible McCain-Clinton race, in which 6% of those voting said they would stay home and 11% said they would vote for Mr. McCain over Mrs. Clinton.

Given that Pennsylvania voted for John Kerry over George W. Bush by barely two points in 2004, the exit polls in last night's Democratic primary are an open invitation for Mr. McCain to spend lots of time and money in the state.

-- John Fund

Bubbas Off the Reservation?

In another sign that this November may be a rough one for Republican House candidates, the GOP came within a few hundred votes of losing one of its strongest districts in the Deep South in a special election yesterday.

Voters in Mississippi's 1st District, centered around Tupelo, almost committed the unlikely act of electing Democrat Travis Childers last night. He won 49% of the vote against 47% for Republican Greg Davis, who may have only been saved by a smattering of votes awarded to a handful of candidates who had dropped out or belong to minor parties. The two men will now face off in a May 13 runoff.

What worries Republicans is that based on the district's national voting patterns, the race shouldn't even have been close. The 1st District gave George W. Bush a crushing 62% of its votes in 2004, and GOP Governor Haley Barbour has carried it easily in two elections.

The Republican Congressional campaign committee has already spent $300,000 in a district that should have been a free win. Even more precious resources will now have to be poured in to try to prevent a Democratic runoff victory next month. All in all, Republicans are coming to realize just how dispirited their ranks are right now and how important it is for John McCain to gear up a strong campaign that will energize them.

-- John Fund

Quote of the Day

"'Why can't he close the deal?' Hillary taunted at a polling place on Tuesday. She's been running ads about it, suggesting [opponent Barack Obama] doesn't have 'what it takes' to run the country. Her message is unapologetically emasculating: If he does not have the gumption to put me in my place, when superdelegates are deserting me, money is drying up, he's outspending me 2-to-1 on TV ads, my husband's going crackers and party leaders are sick of me, how can he be trusted to totally obliterate Iran and stop Osama?" -- New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, on Hillary Clinton's Pennsylvania victory.

China Seeks Return to Maoist Isolation

HONG KONG -- There's a new fight brewing over the Olympics, but it has nothing to do with Darfur or Tibet. It has to do with easy visas for business-class visitors who are used to painless shuttling back and forth across the border from Hong Kong.

The latest Olympics-related kerfuffle is burning just as bright as the torch protests. Earlier this month -- with nary a warning -- China's foreign ministry stopped the long tradition of issuing multiple-entry visas to the mainland, which once made it convenient for the many thousands who routinely go back and forth. Anyone who wants a single entry visa now has to have a return ticket and a hotel voucher. The local Chinese visa agency suddenly has a daily "quota," and once that's filled, you're out of luck. The morning line outside the China visa office now stretches around the block.

Naturally the suspicion is that China wants to block activists from using Hong Kong to enter the country. "Businesspeople need stability to operate and the Hong Kong business community has been thrown into great turmoil as a result of the new and largely misunderstood visa policies," complained U.S. Chamber of Commerce chief Richard Vuylsteke in a letter to the Foreign Ministry. The Aussies were more Confucian, calling for "patience" and "negotiation." The Brits are just confused.

Beijing is playing dumb. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs claims there's "no change" to procedures, while its Web site is silent, too. Meanwhile, business across the world's busiest border is slowing down perceptibly. How ironic if the Olympic games -- meant to symbolize China's emergence -- lead to a paranoid lockdown of China's No. 1 window on the world.

25363  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Defame Islam? on: April 23, 2008, 11:05:11 AM

http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/020442.php
25364  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Dowd fusses on: April 23, 2008, 09:04:45 AM
Arch liberal cheesy Maureen Dowd fusses and fulminates cheesy

Wilting Over Waffles
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By MAUREEN DOWD
Published: April 23, 2008
He’s never going to shake her off.

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Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times
Maureen Dowd

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Go to Columnist Page »Not all by himself.

The very fact that he can’t shake her off has become her best argument against him. “Why can’t he close the deal?” Hillary taunted at a polling place on Tuesday.

She’s been running ads about it, suggesting he doesn’t have “what it takes” to run the country. Her message is unapologetically emasculating: If he does not have the gumption to put me in my place, when superdelegates are deserting me, money is drying up, he’s outspending me 2-to-1 on TV ads, my husband’s going crackers and party leaders are sick of me, how can he be trusted to totally obliterate Iran and stop Osama?

Now that Hillary has won Pennsylvania, it will take a village to help Obama escape from the suffocating embrace of his rival. Certainly Howard Dean will be of no use steering her to the exit. It’s like Micronesia telling Russia to denuke.

“You know, some people counted me out and said to drop out,” said a glowing Hillary at her Philadelphia victory party, with Bill and Chelsea by her side. “Well, the American people don’t quit. And they deserve a president who doesn’t quit, either.”

The Democrats are growing ever more desperate about the Attack of the 50 Foot Woman. With gas prices out of control, with the comically oblivious President Bush shimmying around New Orleans — the city he let drown — and Condi sneaking into Baghdad as rockets and mortars hail down on the Green Zone, beating the Republicans should be a cinch.

But the Democrats watch in horror as Hillary continues to scratch up the once silvery sheen on Obama, and as John McCain not only consolidates his own party but encroaches on theirs by boldly venturing into Selma, Ala., on Monday to woo black voters.

They also cringe as Bill continues his honey-crusted-nut-bar meltdown. With his usual exquisite timing, just as Pennsylvanians were about to vote, Hillary’s husband became the first person ever to play the Caucasian Card. First, he blurted out to a radio interviewer that the Obama camp had played the race card against him after he compared Obama’s strength in South Carolina to Jesse Jackson’s. And then, with a Brobdingnagian finger-wagging on the screen, he denied it to an NBC News reporter.

“You always follow me around and play these little games, and I’m not going to play your games today,” he said, accusing the reporter of looking for “another cheap story to divert the American people from the real urgent issues before us.”

If there’s one person who knows about crass diversions, it’s Bill. But even for him, it was an embarrassing explosion, capped with some blue language to an aide that was caught on air.

The Democrats are eager to move on to an Obama-McCain race. But they can’t because no one seems to be able to show Hillary the door. Despite all his incandescent gifts, Obama has missed several opportunities to smash the ball over the net and end the game. Again and again, he has seemed stuck at deuce. He complains about the politics of scoring points, but to win, you’ve got to score points.

He knew he tanked in the Philadelphia debate, but he was so irritated by the moderators — and by having to stand next to Hillary again — that he couldn’t summon a single merry dart.

Is he skittish around her because he knows that she detests him and he’s used to charming everyone? Or does he feel guilty that he cut in line ahead of her? As the husband of Michelle, does he know better than to defy the will of a strong woman? Or is he simply scared of Hillary because she’s scary?

He is frantic to get away from her because he can’t keep carbo-loading to relate to the common people.

In the final days in Pennsylvania, he dutifully logged time at diners and force-fed himself waffles, pancakes, sausage and a Philly cheese steak. He split the pancakes with Michelle, left some of the waffle and sausage behind, and gave away the French fries that came with the cheese steak.

But this is clearly a man who can’t wait to get back to his organic scrambled egg whites. That was made plain with his cri de coeur at the Glider Diner in Scranton when a reporter asked him about Jimmy Carter and Hamas.

“Why” he pleaded, sounding a bit, dare we say, bitter, “can’t I just eat my waffle?”

His subtext was obvious: Why can’t I just be president? Why do I have to keep eating these gooey waffles and answering these gotcha questions and debating this gonzo woman?

Before they devour themselves once more, perhaps the Democrats will take a cue from Dr. Seuss’s “Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now!” (The writer once mischievously redid it for his friend Art Buchwald as “Richard M. Nixon Will You Please Go Now!”) They could sing:

“The time has come. The time has come. The time is now. Just go. ... I don’t care how. You can go by foot. You can go by cow. Hillary R. Clinton, will you please go now! You can go on skates. You can go on skis. ... You can go in an old blue shoe.

Just go, go, GO!”
25365  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Afghanistan's Army on: April 23, 2008, 08:58:15 AM
By BRET STEPHENS   


 
 • Afghans Build an Army, and a Nation

ABOUT BRET STEPHENS

 
Bret Stephens is a member of The Wall Street Journal's editorial board. He joined the Journal in New York in 1998 as a features editor and moved to Brussels the following year to work as an editorial writer for the paper's European edition. In 2002, Mr. Stephens, then 28, became editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post, where he was responsible for its news, editorial, electronic and international divisions, and where he also wrote a weekly column. He returned to his present position in late 2004 and was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum the following year.

Mr. Stephens was raised in Mexico City and educated at the University of Chicago and the London School of Economics. He lives with his family in New York City. He invites comments to bstephens@wsj.com 
Afghans Build an Army, and a Nation
April 22, 2008; Page A23
Kabul, Afghanistan

From a hard and arid plain about a 30-minute drive out of downtown Kabul, a squad of Afghan soldiers is mounting an attack on a small rise to the south. Three soldiers lie flat on their stomachs, providing covering fire as four of their comrades rush forward, Kalashnikovs in hand. Shots are fired, startling a visiting columnist.

"Um, they're blanks," explains Lt. Col. Paul Fanning. "Live-fire exercises take place behind that hill over there," he adds, pointing north.

 
Lt. Col. Paul Fanning, US Army 
Afghan army recruits in basic training at the Kabul Military Training Center, April 21, 2008.
Lt. Col. Fanning, of the New York National Guard, has recently deployed to nearby Camp Alamo to help train the Afghan National Army. Adjacent to the camp is the rehabilitated Kabul Military Training Center (KMTC), whose principal ornament is a Soviet T-55 tank chassis mounted with a T-62 turret. In the past six years, more than 70,000 recruits have spent 10 weeks or more learning the basics of soldiering. Of that number, about a third trained here in the last year alone.

I came to Afghanistan with the idea that the key to building a nation is building its army. Militaries attract young men who otherwise would have remained strangers, if not enemies, and might well have joined militias or criminal gangs. Militaries instill discipline, purpose, patriotism, values and the brotherhood of the foxhole. Militaries create their own middle class: The salary of an Afghan private, at $1,300 a year, may seem minuscule but is twice the Afghan average. And militaries get soldiers to fight a common enemy, instead of each other.

That point is not lost at the KMTC, whose motto, "Unity Starts Here," is inscribed in large letters over the entrance gate. On the field, about 100 recruits sit on the clay earth waiting their turn to "take the hill." The faces are Uzbek, Hazara, Tajik, Pashtun; a mixture that is nearly as racially and ethnically diverse as what you'll find in the U.S. military. Dari and Pashto are spoken interchangeably, but the army being forged here is a genuinely national one.

 
Lt. Col. Paul Fanning, US Army 
It is also one that's willing to fight. "The Afghan soldiers are a lot tougher than the Iraqis," says Lt. James Harryman, one of the British trainers on site. "This is a warrior culture." Between March 1, 2007, and March 30, 2008, some 370 Afghan soldiers were killed in Afghanistan – by comparison, U.S. military fatalities in Afghanistan numbered 117; British fatalities, 43; Canadian fatalities, 36. Still, Afghan soldiers routinely express shame that foreigners are doing the work of dying for their country. That job, they insist, is one they want for themselves.

"I want to protect my country from terrorists who call themselves Taliban," says Said Ismail, a 21-year-old recruit from Mazar-i-Sharif. "These people call themselves Muslims but they are killing Muslims." Three of his buddies gather around, nodding agreement.

This isn't to say the Afghan Army is problem-free. Lt. Harryman complains about an ingrained culture of soldiers not wanting to "get into trouble" by taking responsibility for their decisions. Afghan officers and NCOs are in the habit of seeking the consent of their soldiers before undertaking operations. The army still lacks some of the most basic logistical and command-and-control skills.

But many of the Afghan army's problems are a function of NATO's neglect. France was supposed to have taken the lead in training the army – a role it abandoned in 2003. Ditto for the Germans and the Afghan police.

Nor has the U.S. been blameless. The Afghans are only now getting their first sizeable shipments of M-16 rifles and up-armored Humvees. There was no Afghan air force to speak of until this year. That's now being remedied by the acquisition of some Russian-made Mi-17 and Mi-35 cargo and attack helicopters, along with some medium-sized prop planes. None of the American officers I interviewed can offer a clear explanation for the delays, though the likely answer is that a sense of urgency about Afghanistan's security situation only came about after it became a news story early last year.

Then again, that precariousness has been somewhat exaggerated. "A year ago people were talking about the Taliban taking Kandahar and isolating Kabul," says Maj. Gen. Robert Cone. It didn't happen. Neither has the Taliban's fabled "spring offensive," which should be happening right around now but isn't.

How much of this can be attributed to the Afghan army, how much to NATO operations, how much to Taliban weakness, and how much to luck and circumstance is anyone's guess. What is clear is that Afghanistan really does have an army that's willing to stand up for its country – and, as a result, a country that is prepared to stand by their army. All this bodes well for Kabul. And once the dust settles in Basra, we might begin to say the same about Iraq and its army, too.

Write to bstephens@wsj.com
 
25366  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Stickfighting on ESPN TV April 22 on: April 23, 2008, 08:44:43 AM
Thank you!
25367  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Deputy Tased, Hogtied, Paraded Through Town on: April 23, 2008, 08:40:45 AM


http://www.policelink.com/news/18269-deputy-tased-hogtied-paraded-through-town?referral=pl_nlet

ROCKLAND, Maine — The Attorney General’s Office is investigating an incident in which a Knox County deputy sheriff was shocked with a Taser, hogtied and paraded around downtown Camden in the back of a pickup truck last summer.

“I can confirm that we are reviewing it for Sheriff [Donna] Dennison,” said Brian MacMaster, chief of the Investigation Division for the Office of Attorney General. “Beyond that, I can’t comment.

“We don’t comment on any of our investigations,” MacMaster added.

The weekly newspaper Village Soup obtained a video that shows approximately 10 men outdoors at what is believed to be a bachelor party when the Taser is used. The groom-to-be drops to the ground and the other men bind him before covering him with oil and feathers.

Dennison said the Taser didn’t come from the Sheriff’s Department. The agency doesn’t have any Tasers.

Interim County Administrator Jeffrey Northgraves said Monday that he, Dennison, Knox County Commissioners Mason Johnson and Anne Beebe-Center, jail administrator Maj. John Hinkley and Chief Deputy Ernest McIntosh were invited to the Village Soup office in Rockland on Thursday, April 10, to watch the video before it was released to the public.

“It was the first time any of us had seen it,” Northgraves said. “We didn’t think to ask how Village Soup acquired the video.”

Commissioner Johnson on Monday called the tape an “eye-opener.”

“The only comment I can make is that it was just a total surprise,” Johnson said. “I hardly even knew about the Taser in itself.

“I saw the film and saw how the fellow went down when they pulled the trigger,” he said. “It’s kind of scary. I don’t think it’s a device that would be used in any kind of formal party to celebrate any event with anybody.”

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Johnson said the Taser should be used only in an emergency “to catch somebody.”

“That’s not a plaything, in my opinion,” Johnson said of the Taser.

He added that the party was something officials would have to “frown at, for safety and other reasons.”

Johnson said he understood that the deputy who was involved in the bachelor party is now working as a Maine state trooper.

According to an earlier Bangor Daily News story, a Taser is a powerful weapon that can fire 50,000 volts of electricity into a criminal. The Taser, an acronym for “Thomas A. Swift’s Electric Rifle,” named after the fictional teenage inventor and adventure character Tom Swift, is aimed with a red laser beam that fires two probes a distance of up to 21 feet from a replaceable cartridge.

More than 60 public safety agencies in Maine have Tasers, but their use is somewhat controversial to some who think it is a violent overreaction.

Amnesty International, a worldwide human rights group, has reviewed the cases of 152 people who have died in the United States after being shocked by a Taser. The organization has called for suspension of the use of Tasers and urged further studies of their effectiveness.

(c) 2008 YellowBrix, Inc.
25368  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Hamilton on: April 23, 2008, 07:28:27 AM

"It seems to have been reserved to the people of this country,
by their conduct and example, to decide the important question,
whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing
good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are
forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on
accident and force. If there be any truth in the remark, the
crisis at which we are arrived may with propriety be regarded
as the era in which that decision is to be made; and a wrong
election of the part we shall act may, in this view, deserve to
be considered as the general misfortune of mankind."

-- Alexander Hamilton (Federalist No. 1, 27 October 1787)

Reference: Hamilton, Federalist No. 1.
25369  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Guro Crafty in Canton OH 7/12-13 on: April 22, 2008, 05:00:08 PM
Some paperwork is being processed and when it is we will have the contact info.  In the meantime I will notify Officer Clouse of your interest here.
25370  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / AQ feuds with Iran on: April 22, 2008, 01:48:33 PM
Al-Qaida No. 2 says 9/11 theory propagated by Iran

By MAGGIE MICHAEL, Associated Press Writer2 hours, 48 minutes ago


Osama bin Laden's chief deputy in an audiotape Tuesday accused Shiite Iran of trying to discredit the Sunni al-Qaida terror network by spreading the conspiracy theory that Israel was behind the Sept. 11 attacks.
The comments reflected al-Qaida's No. 2 leader Ayman al-Zawahri's increasing criticism of Iran. Al-Zawahri has accused Iran in recent messages of seeking to extend its power in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq and through its Hezbollah allies in Lebanon.

The authenticity of the two-hour audio recording posted on an Islamic Web site could not be independently confirmed. But the voice sounded like past audiotapes from the terror leader, and the posting where it was found bore the logo of Al-Sahab, al-Qaida's official media arm.
It was the second of two messages answering questions that were posted to Islamic militant Web sites earlier this year.

One of the questioners asked about the theory that has circulated in the Middle East and elsewhere that Israel was behind the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Al-Zawahri accused Hezbollah's Al-Manar television of starting the rumor.
"The purpose of this lie is clear — (to suggest) that there are no heroes among the Sunnis who can hurt America as no else did in history. Iranian media snapped up this lie and repeated it," he said.
"Iran's aim here is also clear — to cover up its involvement with America in invading the homes of Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq," he said.
Iran cooperated with the United States in the 2001 U.S. assault on Afghanistan that toppled al-Qaida's allies, the Taliban.
Answering questions about Iraq in Tuesday's tape, al-Zawahri said the insurgent umbrella group led by al-Qaida, called the Islamic State of Iraq, is "the primary force opposing the Crusaders and challenging Iranian ambitions" in Iraq, he said, referring to the Americans.
As he often does in his messages, al-Zawahri denounced the "Crusader invasion" of Iraq, but in Tuesday's tape he paired it with a mention of "Iranian complicity" or "Iranian agents."

In the latest tape, al-Zawahri was also asked if the terror group had further plans to attack Western countries that participated in the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and subsequent war.
"My answer is: Yes! We think that any country that has joined aggression on Muslims must be deterred," he replied.
In response to a question signed by the Japanese news agency Kyodo asking if Japan remains a target because it once had troops in Iraq, al-Zawahri said "Japan provided help under the banner of the crusader coalition ... therefore it participated in the Crusader campaign against the lands of Islam."
Japan deployed non-combat troops to southern Iraq in 2003 to carry out reconstruction work. It withdrew its troops from Iraq in 2006 and now conducts airlifts to help supply U.S.-led forces in that country.
Al-Zawahri spoke on a wide range of issues, even global warming, which he said reflected "how criminal, brutal and greedy the Western Crusader world is, with America at the top."
He predicted that global warming would "make the world more sympathetic to and understanding of the Muslims' jihad against the aggressor America."

Asked if there are any women in al-Qaida, the terror leader answered simply: "No." In a follow-up answer, he said: "There are no women in al-Qaida jihadi group, but the women of the mujahedeen are playing a heroic role in taking care of their houses and sons."
In several parts of Tuesday's audio message, Al-Zawahri claimed that the Taliban took over 95 percent of Afghanistan and is sweeping Pakistan as well.
"The Crusaders and their agents in Pakistan and Afghanistan are starting to fall," he said.
In another answer Tuesday, al-Zawahri said it was against Islamic religious law for any Muslim to live permanently in a Western country because in doing so they would "have permanent stay there under the laws of the infidels." Al-Qaida's media arm, Al-Sahab, announced in December that al-Zawahri would take questions from the public posted on Islamic militant Web sites and would respond "as soon as possible." Queries were submitted on the main Islamist Web site until the cutoff date of Jan. 16.
25371  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: April 22, 2008, 01:35:53 PM
By Drew Griffin and Kathleen Johnston
CNN Special Investigations Unit
SAN DIEGO, California (CNN) -- Their mission is to protect airline passengers from acts of terror on U.S. flights. But in a special investigation, former and current air marshals told CNN that the number of marshals assigned to police flights is so low that the federal agency overseeing them has drastically lowered its firearms and psychological testing standards just so it can qualify new hires.

More than a dozen current and former marshals said that so many federal air marshals have resigned and are not being replaced, airport screeners are being employed to fill the dwindling ranks.

But the TSA says that's not true and that the rate of those leaving has remained at 6.5 percent a year since 2001.

A former federal air marshal and weapons trainer who left the agency in 2006 after four years of service said the situation was so bad that managers at his office fudged the numbers by assigning marshals to short, no-risk flights.

The former marshal said that was done to make it appear that the percentage of manned flights was higher than it really was.

"I think it's a national disgrace,'' said the former marshal, who asked not to be identified because he still works in law enforcement.

The Federal Air Marshal Service was greatly expanded in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, when flights to "high-risk cities" such as New York were given special air marshal manpower priority.

Assignments are "intelligence-driven" and "risk-based," the Federal Air Marshal Service said in an e-mail. But many of the marshals interviewed said it had little to do with intelligence or risk and was more about a numbers game.

"We were questioning how these flights could be intelligence-driven when we were flying from San Diego to Phoenix on another leg to Las Vegas back to Phoenix back to San Diego," the former marshal said. "It's not a threat flying on Southwest Airlines to Las Vegas."

Faced with fewer qualified applicants, current air marshals said that recruiting standards have been lowered. Air marshals still patrolling flights also said the loss of so many experienced agents has led the TSA to hire airport screeners as air marshals.

Agency spokesman Greg Alter said in an e-mail that only "a very small number of air marshals started their careers as Transportation Security Officers [airport screeners]."

Alter added that all "candidates receive the best training available and enter the workforce with the skill and expertise needed to protect the traveling public."

In July 2006, the Federal Air Marshal Service sent out a memo saying that new hires would no longer face mandatory psychological testing, unless the recruit admits that he or she has been treated for a mental condition.

TSA said it revised but did not "degrade" the psychological testing of applicants using the application and interaction with others in the service to determine mental competency.

On firearms training, a former weapons instructor with air marshals said that when recruits could not pass the tough federal tactical pistol course, known as the TPC, it was replaced with a less rigorous shooting test the potential recruits could pass.

"The TPC went away very quickly because they couldn't get enough people through it to pass," the former air marshal trainer said. "So they dropped the tactical pistol course and went to the practical pistol course, which is a standard federal law enforcement course. It's not nearly as quick or as dynamic as TPC."

But the TSA disputes the claim, saying it altered the weapons training six years ago because marshals needed more of a police-type training program rather than military-style weapons instruction.

The TSA said in an e-mail that "the course of fire and minimum qualification score air marshal candidates must acquire is the same today as it has been for over six years."

To replace departing air marshals, the TSA hired internally, including some administrative staff who had no college, law enforcement or military backgrounds, one current marshal said.

"To me, it's more of an embarrassment to be a member of that agency that would allow that particular individual in the training program," one marshal said. "I wouldn't want them on my flight. ... I don't want them as my partner."

The revelations come in the wake of a CNN investigation, in which air marshals and pilots said that only about 1 percent of the nation's 28,000 daily domestic flights were protected by onboard, armed federal marshals.

The Federal Air Marshal Service disputes that figure.

CNN's report about the declining number of marshals on planes also got the attention of Congress.

In a congressional hearing this week, the head of the Transportation Security Administration, Kip Hawley, told members of Congress that what CNN heard from the air marshals is wrong.

"I have to just correct on the factual basis on the CNN report about air marshals covering 1 percent. That number is absolutely wrong by an order of magnitude, and it was a guess by the folks there, and I just have to say that number is completely false."

Hawley would not say what percentage of flights has air marshals. That's a national security secret.

The service hides behind national security to keep the public from knowing how thin coverage really is, air marshals said.

The Federal Air Marshal Service continues to refuse CNN's request for an interview.

This month, Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, who serves on the Homeland Security Committee, began holding closed-door meetings with the air marshal's service to determine whether congressional oversight committees are getting the truth.

"We will keep working and continuing to make sure that the airlines are served with the appropriate law enforcement that ensures the safety of the traveling public. We, too, are not interested in having funny numbers," Jackson Lee said.

Jackson Lee said that the committee has not finished its work and that she is convinced American air travel is safe for passengers. "It is important to restate and to re-emphasize: This is not an open opportunity for those who would attempt to do Americans harm. We are light years from where we were in 2000. We have trained personnel. They're being utilized, and we feel that we are steps ahead of where we were, but we want to get better. And that's what we intend to do."

After seeing CNN's initial report, Democratic Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts sent a letter to Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff asking for clarity on the number of air marshals protecting domestic flights and sought a response by April 11.

The senator is still waiting, Kerry's staff said.

Todd Schwarzschild also contributed to this report.

 
 

 
 
Find this article at:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/04/16/griffin.marshal.training/index.html 
25372  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Franklin: On borrowing on: April 22, 2008, 11:06:18 AM
"He that goes a borrowing goes a sorrowing."

-- Benjamin Franklin (from his writings, 1758)

Reference: Franklin: Writings, Lemay, ed., Library of America
(1300)
25373  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Brit pre-emptive dhimmitude on: April 22, 2008, 08:59:37 AM
http://gatewaypundit.blogspot.com/20...de-out-of.html


Quote:
In 2006 Church of England officials contemplated giving Saint George the boot from his perch as Patron Saint of England because he was too offensive for modern day Muslims.

Now, British officials have cancelled an annual St. George's Day Parade in Bradford in fear that Muslims will riot. Many of the youngsters had already made flags of St George to carry in the parade on April 23, which was designed to boost community cohesion. 

25374  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: ARMY T.O.P. Fighter on: April 22, 2008, 08:44:12 AM
Thank you for the heads up.  I will look to see if we receive it.
25375  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Geo Political matters on: April 22, 2008, 01:01:31 AM
Geopolitical Diary: Russia, the West and Azerbaijan
April 22, 2008
News broke in the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan on April 21 that on March 29 Azerbaijani authorities had halted a shipment of Russian equipment destined for Iran’s nuclear facility at Bushehr. The Azerbaijanis say the shipment was detained because the equipment may be in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions restricting international assistance in Iran’s nuclear program.

Details about the incident remain sketchy — everything from the nature of the equipment to the reason for the media blackout of the past 20 days remains unclear — but against the broader backdrop of geopolitical events, a few pieces of this puzzle reveal a pattern. The only question in Stratfor’s mind is this: What pattern has been highlighted by this revelation?

Russia is in the process of attempting to push back against steadily encroaching Western pressure across the length and breadth of its periphery. One of its most efficient means of doing this is contributing to instability in the Middle East as a means of occupying Western — and especially American — attention. And there are few means more effective at doing this than assisting Tehran with anything that involves the word “nuclear.”

But it is not as if the West sits idly by waiting for the Russians to produce a particularly well-crafted monkey wrench — and it is certainly not as if the West does not have its own options. This particular instance all comes down to Azerbaijan. Separated from NATO members by the politically unstable geography of the Caucasus, Baku is well aware that its very existence depends on its ability to tack between the winds of Russian assertiveness and Western power.

In the past, Baku has sought to engage the West — obliquely seeking membership in both the European Union and NATO — but it has also been willing to back track whenever it hears a growl from Moscow. Azerbaijan taking a firm stance against what has become a core Russian policy is tantamount to announcing to the world that it is applying to the United States for statehood — and that would not be done without some firm assurances out of NATO. As for potential Russian reactions, while Russia theoretically could still ship materials to Iran across the Caspian Sea or via an air bridge, putting Azerbaijan in the Western camp largely severs direct Russian influence into the Middle East.

The Bushehr events meld well into these processes. It is a very Russian move to play the Iranian nuclear card in the days leading up to NATO’s April 2-4 summit. It would similarly be a very Western move to use Western influence — Western companies are almost wholly responsible for the development of the Azerbaijani energy industry — to arrange for a stoppage of that shipment. And it would be very Azerbaijani to seek the strongest benefit from both sides for cooperation.

And there is yet another angle to this dance. Iran knows full well that the United States — not to mention Israel — would never allow Tehran to develop a nuclear weapon, and that crossing the red line risks turning Tehran into a crater. For Tehran, the nuclear card is just that — an asset to be traded away for something Iran wants and needs more: an Iraq that will never again seek to invade it. Only one power — the United States — holds the key to that desire, and playing poker with a country as powerful and as unpredictable as the United States tends to be a bit nerve-wracking. Ergo the nuclear “card.”

It is not clear if all this is about Russia, NATO, Azerbaijan, Iran or Iraq. It fits very neatly into all scenarios. But on one thing there is clarity: On an event like this, the world itself can turn.

Click Here to Send Stratfor Your Comments
25376  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: At UFC 83 in Montreal on: April 21, 2008, 09:33:12 PM
May I offer for consideration that you are comparing different gene pools?

People who go out for wrestling and make the team tend to be superior specimens, whereas anyone can go do BJJ.
25377  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Intel Guidance on: April 21, 2008, 04:04:33 PM
Intelligence Guidance: Week of April 20, 2008
Stratfor Today » April 18, 2008 | 2057 GMT

Jason Larkin/Getty Images
Customers compete to buy the next batch of fresh bread at a bakery in Cairo, Egypt.This is a document provided to Stratfor analysts. It is intended as a guide to areas and issues to be focused on during the coming week:

All guidance from last week remains in place. Supplemental guidance:

1. Global food shortages: The global situation in foodstuffs, particularly grains, is reaching the threshold of geopolitical significance. High prices are only part of the issue. Of greater significance are localized shortages occurring at a frequency that raises important questions. High prices alone do not appear to explain the absence of a good at any price. The reason for the shortages might be normal market operations, but we must now investigate whether the shortages are caused by disruptions of the market outside of normal operations, such as deliberate withholding of commodities from the market, governments acting to create reserves or some other, unknown process. It could well be that this is simply a normal cyclical process and we are experiencing a relatively routine shortage, but we must begin to consider whether some extraordinary circumstances are at play.

Regardless, food shortages, far more than energy shortages, can lead to rapid social unrest. Lack of food is fast-acting. Therefore we must focus on countries and regions where shortages are present and watch for social and political unrest. If this develops further, the possibility of international tensions and conflict must be considered. Following Stratfor’s rule that “first you get excited, and then you calm down after investigation,” it is time to get excited.

2. The Beijing Olympics: The public relations situation in China continues to be fluid. The Chinese are acting to contain the situation. However, it is increasingly clear that the Chinese will not achieve the unalloyed PR success they hoped for through the Olympics. A great deal of money and effort went into preparation for the Olympics, under the aegis of the government. If the PR situation is not contained, the credibility of the government will be open to question. This can rapidly turn into an internal political problem. We need to focus on whether conflicts emerge at the highest levels of the government if factions in the regime try to use the PR failure against President Hu Jintao or other individuals in the elite. There is the possibility that events will not only force personnel changes but policy changes.

3. U.S. carrier deployment: The deployment of U.S. carrier battle groups is becoming interesting. There are currently three deployed off the Chinese coast. One has paid a port call in Hong Kong, so we would assume that this is all being viewed as benign by the Chinese. Nevertheless, the deployment is interesting and we should try to find out if there is any political message being sent. Certainly we need to know how Beijing is reading this situation. It may be nothing, but worry about it anyway.

4. Iran and al-Sadr: Rumors abound about the Iranian government putting Muqtada al-Sadr on trial for an old murder. The sources of these rumors are dubious but numerous. It could be the Middle Eastern rumor mill, disinformation by some government or another, or it could be true. It was our view that the Iranians intervened in the fight between al-Sadr and the Iraqi government on behalf of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Others focused on the military aspects of the battle while our view was that the Iranian intervention against al-Sadr was a serious blow to his position. These rumors therefore fit into our own view, and therefore we have to be extremely suspicious of them. Our default setting should always be that we are wrong until we prove ourselves right. Therefore, let’s try to debunk these rumors. Certainly let’s see what we can find on Iranian thoughts on al-Sadr.

5. Brazilian oil: The rumors of oil finds off the Brazilian coast are endless, and constantly being knocked down by the government. It would be extremely useful if we could trace the origins of the rumors. The persistence of rumors that are dismissed by the government forces us to consider whether someone has a reason to plant these rumors, or whether the government has a reason to deny them.

6. Israeli-Arab relations: There appears to be little new in the Israeli-Arab situation. The information on the September 2007 attack on Syria has not been released. There have been no further developments of significance, and we continue to be confused. It will be interesting to see if the quiet continues through this week. Perhaps it was much ado about nothing.

EURASIA

April 24: Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat to meet with Turkish President Abdullah Gul at a time when negotiations seem to be moving again
April 25: Russia’s pro-Kremlin A Just Russia party to hold its congress in Moscow, where it expected to sign a coalition pact with United Russia
April 25: Russia’s Federation Council to consider an appeal by the North Ossetian parliament to recognize the independence of Georgia’s breakaway republic of South Ossetia
April 25-26: Russian Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov to lead a government delegation to Kiev to continue energy negotiations and discuss the Russian military’s lease in Crimea
April 25-27: Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda to visit Moscow to meet with outgoing President Vladimir Putin and President-elect Dmitri Medvedev to discuss a bilateral territorial dispute, energy deals and regional security
April 27: The first anniversary of the removal of a Soviet-era war memorial from central Tallinn to a war cemetery, which sparked rioting by mainly Russian-speaking youth; Estonia has already warned of fresh riots in Tallinn and new cyberattacks on the country’s Internet infrastructure
MIDDLE EAST/SOUTH ASIA

April 18-27: Israel to impose a full closure on the West Bank to last until after Passover; furthermore, the Israeli Counter-Terrorism Bureau in the prime minister’s office has issued a travel warning of an “imminent” attack against Israeli tourists in the Sinai Peninsula
April 20-23: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to visit France for talks on Middle Eastern peace, bilateral ties and economic cooperation
April 21: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to attend a meeting of foreign ministers from Egypt, Jordan and the Gulf Cooperation Council states (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Oman) held in Bahrain
April 21: Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Day in Iran
April 22: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to attend a meeting of ministers from Iraq’s neighbors in Kuwait
April 22: Lebanon’s parliament to attempt to elect a new president, for the 18th time in half a year
April 22: The U.S. administration to give the Senate Intelligence Committee an account of the nuclear ties between North Korea and Syria for the first time; the meeting is expected to be held behind closed doors at Israel’s insistence, but the Americans did not promise not to brief journalists afterward
April 25: The second round of Iranian parliamentary elections to take place, in order to fill the 56 out of the chamber’s 290 seats that were not decided on in the first round of elections March 14
EAST ASIA

April 18-19: South Korean President Lee Myung Bak to visit Camp David and meet with U.S. President George W. Bush
April 20: South Korean President Lee Myung Bak to leave the United States and stop in Japan to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda on April 21
April 24: The Olympic Torch to be in Canberra
April 25: Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda to visit Russia and meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and President-elect Dmitri Medvedev to address a range of bilateral and international issues, including a long-running territorial dispute
LATIN AMERICA

April 20: Paraguay to hold presidential and parliamentary elections
April 21-22: Mexican President Felipe Calderon to visit the United States, meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper
April 21 or 22: Argentina to lift total ban on meat exports to appease the agricultural sector
AFRICA

April 19: Zimbabwe’s Electoral Commission to hold a recount in 23 constituencies, as requested by the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front
April 19-24: U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon to visit Ghana, Liberia, Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire
April 20: Mauritius to host the Southern African Development Community Summit on Poverty and Development
April 22: Henry Okah’s treason trial to begin in Nigeria; Okah is a suspected arms smuggler for the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta militant group
SECURITY/COUNTERTERRORISM

April 19: Olympic Torch to be in Bangkok, Thailand
April 19:. Pro-Chinese demonstrations in London, Paris and Berlin to protest against the anti-Chinese demonstrations during Olympic torch relay
April 19: Anniversary of the end of the Branch Davidian Compound standoff in Waco, Texas, and the Oklahoma City bombing
April 20: Adolf Hitler’s birthday and anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings
April 20: Beginning of “World Laboratory Animal Liberation Week”
April 21: Olympic Torch to be in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
April 23: Olympic Torch to be in Jakarta, Indonesia
April 24: Olympic Torch to be in Canberra, Australia
25378  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Military Science on: April 21, 2008, 03:57:53 PM
Summary
The proliferation of a new generation of supersonic anti-ship missiles is on the rise, and questions remain about the U.S. Navy’s capability to confront the threat.

Analysis
The supersonic anti-ship missile was a product of the Soviet Union’s need to challenge the U.S. Navy at sea. That speed was a brute-force way to punch through more technologically sophisticated U.S. shipboard defenses. In the years since the collapse of the Soviet Union, a few of these missiles and their platforms — essentially holdouts from the Soviet days — have begun to turn up in China. But a new generation of supersonic anti-ship missiles has begun appearing on the market, and their proliferation is on the rise.

The Threat
Anti-ship missiles have repeatedly proven their value. The HMS Sheffield (D80) was hit by a French-built Argentine Exocet in 1982 during the Falkland Islands War and later sank. The USS Stark (FFG-31) was crippled by a pair of Iraqi Exocets in 1987. And in 2006, the Israeli INS Hanit was struck by a Chinese-built C-802 (a design similar to the Exocet) during the Israeli conflict with Hezbollah. Both the Stark and the Hanit survived, but the missiles achieved what is known as a “mission kill.” In each case, though the crew was able to keep the ship afloat and limp back to port, the ship’s ability to effectively execute its missions was lost.

Related Links
The Limitations and Necessity of Naval Power
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Related Special Topic Page
U.S. Military Dominance
Modern warships are no longer armored as they once were. In the cases above, the Exocet’s 360-pound warhead did not tear the ship apart. But it easily penetrated the steel hull and wreaked havoc on the ship’s internal spaces. Not all hits like this will be mission kills, but the odds of one are high — and increase if multiple missiles impact the hull.

This is where the new supersonics come in. Their capabilities vary, but they bring two things to this dynamic. First, by significantly reducing the reaction time for shipboard defenses, they increase the likelihood of a successful hit, especially in their sea-skimming variations. Second, their increased speed translates into increased kinetic destructiveness. Even if a missile is destroyed, its fragments can pepper the side of a ship.

The New Market
Three missiles in particular are poised to proliferate more widely:

The BrahMos: Taking its name from a combination of the names of India’s Brahmaputra River and Russia’s Moscow River, the BrahMos is the product of an Indian-Russian venture. Its design work can be traced to the Soviet Union’s fledgling SS-N-26. Begun in 1985, the design had already been through substantial testing by the time India joined the project. Probably neither the most technologically advanced nor the most maneuverable among the supersonic anti-ship missiles, the BrahMos is principally noteworthy for its availability. It is currently being inducted into service with the Indian military and could soon see a surge in proliferation, with Malaysia as the likely first export customer.
The AS-17 “Krypton”: A late-model air-launched missile with a number of air-to-air and air-to-surface roles, this ramjet-powered missile has already been copied by the Chinese, and the Kh-31A series is being used in an anti-ship role. Despite its significantly smaller warhead, the Krypton is noteworthy for its compact size. Su-30 “Flanker” fighter jets can carry four.
The SS-N-27 “Sizzler”: Another late Soviet design, the Sizzler family (known to the Russians as the “Club”) actually encompasses a series of anti-ship, ground attack and anti-submarine missiles. Occasionally known as the SS-N-27B, the anti-ship 3M54 version is of principal interest here, as it includes a sea-skimming supersonic terminal stage that travels at Mach 3 only some 20 feet above the ocean. It covers the last 10 miles of its flight in just over 20 seconds. The guidance systems of this particular missile may be more advanced, and it is thought to have considerable maneuverability in the terminal stage, making it harder to bring down. Its capability was highlighted by the Commander of U.S. Pacific Command, Adm. Timothy J. Keating, when he admitted in testimony before Congress on March 12 that this missile is “a very sophisticated piece of hardware and we are currently not as capable of defending against that missile as I would like.” Though it is not always clear that it is the supersonic variant being deployed, the Sizzler family of missiles has begun seeing significant levels of deployment aboard Russian-built Kilo-class submarines purchased by China and India and could be used on more of the Russian fleet as well. Rosoboronexport, the Russian arms-export monopoly, is increasingly marketing the missile as a package with these subs. Venezuela, Algeria and Libya could even find themselves in possession of this capability down the road.
The Defense
Armoring against this threat has not been a design choice for decades. In the 1960s and 1970s, the Soviets began to field supersonic anti-ship missiles with 2,050-pound warheads. This was not a problem to be solved with armor; in addition to the dramatic increase in shipbuilding costs, power plant capability requirements and fuel consumption involved, there was no way to harden a ship — including the superstructure — against such kinetic and explosive destructiveness.

Thus, the United States has long relied upon technology to prevent anti-ship missiles from impacting in the first place. The vaunted Aegis battle management system was designed to coordinate these defenses, which by all measures are quite good. But defenses must continually be cultivated, tested and refined.

For more than five years, voices in the Pentagon have been clamoring that this is not being done. The problem is targets. After the Soviet Union fell, a variation of the Krypton known as the MA-31 was sold to the United States as a supersonic target. However, the MA-31 never went into mass production, and the small inventory — which is almost depleted — is generally used in a high-altitude powered-dive role, rather than a sea-skimming role.

The GQM-163A “Coyote” supersonic sea-skimming target vehicle is currently in production, and the U.S. Navy plans to purchase nearly 40 of them by 2009. While the Coyote might be a near-term acquisition solution, it does not entirely approximate the Sizzler’s subsonic approach and supersonic terminal profile (the Defense Department calls this profile “Threat-D”), and the Pentagon has not had a good supersonic target for some time. Keating’s candor before Congress seems to reinforce the apparent fact that shipboard defenses are not being refined as highly as they could be.

The Problem
This is troubling on two fronts. First, the U.S. Navy’s shipbuilding plan, which calls for a 313-ship fleet, remains in serious near-term question. Ship numbers are dropping, and the next-generation DDG-1000 guided-missile destroyer and Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) are both over budget and behind schedule, while the number of attack submarines in the inventory continues to decline. This makes each individual hull more valuable.

But second, and more importantly, the U.S. Navy has long worked under the assumption that technologically advanced air defenses can provide sufficient protection from these threats. While it is clear that armor probably is not the solution for a navy already struggling to make ends meet in shipbuilding, the inability to prove upgraded shipboard defenses in representative live testing should be a matter of grave concern, especially since these threats may necessitate alterations to tracking software and engagement profiles.

The U.S. Navy retains its global maritime supremacy, and no other nation is in a position to even think about competing in the near term. But modern navies have repeatedly been stung by anti-ship missiles launched by lesser military powers. And this proliferation of a new generation of supersonic anti-ship missiles promises that technologically advanced shipboard defenses have not been tested for the last time.

stratfor
25379  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Indonesia on: April 21, 2008, 03:52:01 PM
Intolerance in Indonesia
By SADANAND DHUME
FROM TODAY'S WALL STREET JOURNAL ASIA
April 22, 2008

In the global debate about the compatibility between Islam and democracy, Indonesia is often held up as an example of the possible. Ten years after General Suharto's downfall, the world's most populous Muslim country has institutionalized free elections and the peaceful transfer of power, nurtured a lively press, and rolled back a panoply of racist laws that once targeted the country's ethnic Chinese minority. But the ongoing persecution of the Ahmadiyya, a small Muslim sect founded in late 19th century India, underscores Indonesia's – and the Muslim world's – trouble guaranteeing a bedrock democratic value: freedom of conscience. Without it, the country's proud claim to be the world's third-largest democracy will remain lacking.

The most recent assault on the Ahmadiyya comes from a government body that manages to sound Orwellian and Kafkaesque at the same time – the Coordinating Board for Monitoring Mystical Beliefs in Society. Last Wednesday this august grouping recommended a ban on Ahmadiyya in Indonesia. The reason: Though Ahmadiyya Muslims revere the prophet Muhammad and follow the Quran, they also contend that their founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908), was a prophet as well. This contradicts the mainstream Islamic assertion that all divine revelation ended with Muhammad, the so-called – and it might be noted, self-proclaimed – "seal of the prophets."

Since arriving in Indonesia in the 1920s, Indonesia's tiny Ahmadiyya community, a fraction of the country's 200 million Muslims, had lived peacefully. Ahmadiyyas tend to emphasize education and reject the idea of violent jihad. But in 2005, the Council of Indonesian Ulama, a collection of powerful mullahs, dusted off an obscure 25-year-old religious ruling, or fatwa, and declared the community to be "deviant and misled." Since then mobs have sacked Ahmadiyya mosques while police stood by, local governments have flouted federal laws and imposed bans on Ahmadiyya worship, and leaders of a thuggish vigilante group, the Islamic Defenders Front, have publicly called for the sect's followers to be murdered. Through all this, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has dithered, preferring not to stick out his political neck for an unpopular cause.

 
Mr. Yudhoyono ought to know better. What's at stake is not merely the safety and well-being of a somewhat offbeat religious group but a much more fundamental question: What kind of country does Indonesia want to be? Will it be, as its founding fathers envisioned, a land where people of all faiths live as equals, or one where non-Muslims and heterodox Muslims are effectively second-class citizens? Will it be a country that respects an individual's right to worship as he pleases, or indeed not to worship at all, or one where such matters are determined by safari-suited officials and bearded clerics? Will it be ruled by the law or by the mob?

For now the signs don't augur well, for ironically the deepening of Indonesian democracy has gone hand in hand with a darkening intolerance. As the country's famously easygoing brand of folk Islam gives way to a triple-distilled orthodoxy imported from the Middle East – among the more noxious side-effects of globalization – the live-and-let-live attitude that underpinned Indonesian pluralism has come under sustained assault. In 21st century Indonesia, non-Muslims and heterodox Muslims can find themselves jailed for such medieval-sounding offenses as "being heretical," "tarnishing the purity of Arabic," or "denigrating religion." Christians often bear the brunt of these new attitudes. Christian groups estimate that 110 churches were forcibly closed between 2004 and 2007 alone, and permission to build new ones is increasingly hard to come by.

Belligerence toward religious minorities at home has gone hand in hand with a heightened sensitivity to insults, real and imagined, to Islam abroad. As though to make up for lost time, Indonesia has propelled itself to the front rows of the global culture wars between Islam and the West. During the cartoon crisis of 2006 the Danish embassy in Jakarta was among the first attacked. The following year mobs converged upon the offices of a toned down (no nudity) local edition of Playboy and forced it to relocate to the Hindu island of Bali. Earlier this month, Indonesia briefly blocked the popular video sharing website YouTube and the social networking site MySpace for allowing users to watch the movie "Fitna," Dutch Member of Parliament Geert Wilders's much-derided anti-Islam screed.

As Indonesia mulls the fate of its Ahmadiyyas, its leaders ought to draw lessons from others' mistakes. In 1974 the charismatic Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto sought to appease Pakistan's strident Islamists by declaring the Ahmadiyyas to be non-Muslims. Bhutto's placing of petty politics above principle is now generally regarded as a turning point in his country's long slide toward obscurantism and lawlessness. If this isn't enough, those perpetually exercised about guarding Islam's "image" ought to consider the irony that it is in Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Washington, rather than among their co-religionists in Karachi, Riyadh or Jakarta, that Ahmadiyya Muslims can live with dignity and practice their faith without fear.

Mr. Dhume is a fellow at the Asia Society in Washington, D.C. His book about the rise of radical Islam in Indonesia, "My Friend the Fanatic: Travels with an Indonesian Islamist," will be published by Text Publishing in Australia in May.

See all of today's editorials and op-eds, plus video commentary, on Opinion Journal.
WSJ
25380  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: April 21, 2008, 03:42:54 PM
http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/0421zetas0421.html

Mexican soldiers recruited to be drug cartel's hit men

Chris Hawley
Mexico City Bureau
Apr. 21, 2008 12:00 AM
MEXICO CITY - One of Mexico's biggest drug cartels has launched a bizarre recruiting campaign, putting up fliers and banners promising good pay, free cars and better chow to army soldiers who join the cartel's elite band of hit men.

"We don't feed you Maruchan soups," said the banner in the border city of Nuevo Laredo, referring to a brand of ramen noodles.

The recruiting effort by the Gulf Cartel reflects how Mexico's fight against traffickers increasingly resembles a real war, 17 months after President Felipe Calderón ordered the army into drug hotspots. Smugglers are now training for battle in shooting ranges, using psychological warfare and fighting the army with machine guns and grenades. advertisementOAS_AD('ArticleFlex_1')

"Army and police-force conflicts with heavily armed narcotics cartels have escalated to levels equivalent to military small-unit combat," the U.S. Embassy said last week in a travel warning to Americans.

Earlier this month, fliers began appearing in the border city of Reynosa in Tamaulipas state urging soldiers to defect. They were pasted on telephone poles over government posters that offered rewards to drug informants.

Benefits for recruits



"Former soldiers sought to form armed group; good pay, 500 dollars," the fliers said.

On April 13, a 10-foot-long banner appeared on a pedestrian bridge over Nuevo Laredo's Reforma Avenue, urging soldiers to join the Zetas, the Gulf Cartel's hit squad.

"The Zetas operations group wants you, soldier or ex-soldier," the banner said. "We offer you a good salary, food and attention for your family. Don't suffer hunger and abuse any more."

It listed a cellular-telephone number, which had been disconnected a few days later. The banner was taken down a few hours after it was spotted.

Last Thursday, another banner appeared in the city of Tampico urging soldiers and federal agents to defect.

"Join the ranks of the Gulf Cartel," it said. "We offer benefits, life insurance, a house for your family and children. Stop living in the slums and riding the bus. A new car or truck, your choice.

"What more could you ask for? Tamaulipas, Mexico, the USA and the entire world is Gulf Cartel territory."

Authorities said the signs were probably an attempt to demoralize the soldiers and police, rather than a serious recruiting effort.

"They do these things in public places to create confusion among the authorities themselves," said Ruben Salinas, commander of the Reynosa police department's second division.

Still, recent arrests have shown that defections are a real danger. On Thursday, federal agents detained the Reynosa police commissioner himself, Juan José Muñiz, for questioning because of evidence he was protecting the Zetas, the Mexican Justice Department said. He has not been formally charged.

Military experts said the recruiting campaign, whether genuine or simply aimed at sowing discontent, shows the increasing sophistication of the cartels.

"This is combat between two forces, one regular and one irregular," said Jorge Luis Sierra, a military expert and author of a book about the Mexican special forces.

In recent months:


• Five former cartel recruits identified at least six military-style training sites in Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas states, the Dallas Morning News reported on March 30. It cited written testimony from the witnesses that was leaked from the Mexican Justice Department.


• On Jan. 19, police discovered a 50-foot-long target range, complete with soundproofing foam, a ventilation system for gun smoke and buckets for spent cartridges, hidden under a house in Tijuana. The house also had a machine shop for assembling and repairing weapons.


• Soldiers on March 17 seized a Jeep Grand Cherokee outfitted with a smoke-screen generator, bulletproofing and a device for spraying spikes onto the road. The vehicle was abandoned by gunmen following a shootout with the army in the northern state of Tamaulipas.


• On Wednesday, Mexican prosecutors formally charged five municipal police officers with being Zetas in the northern state of Coahuila.


• Former Mexican soldier Daniel "Cheeks" Pérez Rojas was captured in Guatemala on April 8 in connection with a shootout there that killed 11 people in Guatemala in March. The Mexican Justice Department says Pérez Rojas is a Zetas leader and that the shootout, some 900 miles from the Gulf Cartel's home turf, showed the international reach of the hit squad. Much of the cocaine smuggled by the Mexican cartels moves first through Central America.

Troop retention



Many of the Zetas are former members of the Mexican army's special forces, the U.S. Justice Department has said.

Some, like Pérez Rojas, came from the Special Forces Airborne Groups, or GAFES, which received U.S. training and surplus American "Huey" helicopters in the 1990s.

Most of the Vietnam War-era helicopters were eventually returned to the United States because of chronic mechanical problems, leaving the commandos frustrated and with few opportunities for advancement. A few decided to switch sides, Sierra said.

The Mexican military has long had a problem with desertion. Between January and September 2007 alone, some 4,956 army soldiers deserted,about 2.5 percent of the force,according to the National Defense Secretariat.

Soldiers are facing more incentive to switch sides because of Calderón's decision to use troops against the drug traffickers, said Arturo Alvarado, a sociologist who studies criminal-justice issues at the College of Mexico.

Calderón began dispatching troops to patrol Tijuana, Juarez, Michoacan state and other trafficking corridors shortly after taking office in December 2006.

Thousands of soldiers have spent months away from their families, patrolling border cities. An army private earns an average of $533 a month, the National Defense Secretariat said in response to a freedom-of-information request in February.

"I don't see why these supposed recruiting (signs) should be a particular worry to the government because the recruiting occurs in other ways," Alvarado said.

"But what's true is that there is enormous desertion in the Mexican army and police force. They should be worried about that and take action to offer better working conditions."
__________________
What use is it to speak of freedom, if people are afraid to make sacrifices for it?
25381  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Jefferson: Constitutional construction on: April 21, 2008, 09:34:15 AM
"My construction of the constitution is very different from that
you quote. It is that each department is truly independent of the
others, and has an equal right to decide for itself what is the
meaning of the constitution in the cases submitted to its action;
and especially, where it is to act ultimately and without appeal."

-- Thomas Jefferson (letter to Samuel Adams Wells, 12 May 1819)

Reference: Jefferson Writings, Peterson, ed., 1426
25382  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Middle East War on: April 21, 2008, 12:10:15 AM
Geopolitical Diary: Syria and Israel Consider a Deal
April 21, 2008
Rumors are circulating once again that Syria and Israel are engaged in serious peace talks. Syrian President Bashar al Assad announced April 19 that he had exchanged back-channel messages with Israel about possibility of resuming talks, adding that Israel knows well what Syria will and will not accept, Syria’s official news agency SANA reported on Sunday.

In a similar vein, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth on Thursday that the two countries have been engaged in talks, stating “They know what we want from them, and I know full well what they want from us.” Stratfor sources also say that an undercover meeting took place between April 17 between Syria and Israel.

The idea of the Syrians and Israelis conducting covert peace negotiations is nothing new. It is unusual, however, to see both sides actually acknowledging that meetings are taking place. Normally, each time a flurry of such talks makes its way into the press — usually propagated by the Israeli media — a flood of denials from both sides quickly follows. So perhaps talks are happening.

Each side will be asking for a high price. The framework for such peace talks would include Israel’s withdrawal from the Golan Heights to pre-1967 borders. Syria would also be expected to end its support for Hezbollah and Hamas, and distance itself from Iran.

These are not easy concessions for either side to make. The Israelis are loath to withdraw from the strategic 7,296-foot Mount Hermon, which is critical for Israel’s ability to defend its northeastern flank. In exchange for pulling back, Israel would want to retain control over the use of water from the Jordan River and Lake Kinneret — which provide roughly one-third the country’s water supply.

Syria, on the other hand, knows the risk of cutting ties with Iran and its militant proxies, who have the capacity to strike back at the al Assad regime. For all intents and purposes, Syria under the al Assad regime has made an ideal ally for the Iranians in the Arab world. Syria is ruled by Alawites, a minority sect of Shiite Islam, and the Alawite regime in Damascus has long been out of step with the regional Arab “consensus” on a host of issues. It sided with Iran during the Iran-Iraq war. It also helped establish and nurture Hezbollah in Lebanon in collaboration with the Arabs’ principal rival, Iran.

But the Syrians are in an uncomfortable spot right now. Syria’s relations with Hezbollah and Iran have been strained ever since the assassination of Hezbollah top commander Imad Mughniyah on Syrian soil in February. Meanwhile, thanks to the U.S.-backed Sunni regimes in Cairo and Riyadh, the Syrians are facing a wall of resistance preventing them from reconsolidating influence in neighboring Lebanon. And finally, Israel has made a number of moves in recent weeks to suggest that the next military confrontation it has with Hezbollah in Lebanon could very well drag the Syrians in, much to their peril.

Well aware of its inferior defenses, Damascus is in no mood for a war with Israel that could threaten the survival of the al Assad regime. Israel, too, is keen on preserving the stability of the Alawite regime, because from Israel’s perspective all the alternatives are worse. As a result, the war threats coming from Israel over the past couple of weeks have been carefully interlaced with offers of peace.

With these rumors of peace talks afloat, we will be watching closely to see what leaks come out of a meeting April 22 between the Bush administration and the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee over nuclear ties between North Korea and Syria. If peace negotiations between Israel and Syria have indeed reached a serious phase, the discussion on Syria’s alleged nuclear activity will likely be subdued (at Israel’s insistence). If, however, the United States and Israel plan to push Syria further, the coming week will be blazing with reports of a supposed Syrian nuclear threat.

At the very least, the buzz about peace talks between Israel and Syria allows the Israelis and the Americans to inject distrust into the Syria-Iran-Hezbollah coalition. We now need to see how serious the Israelis are in taking these talks a step further
stratfor
25383  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / More C on: April 20, 2008, 11:58:06 PM
In Defense of the Constitution

News & Analysis
005/08  April 20, 2008


CAIR: Non-Profit?

 
In an article carried by MyrtleBeachOnline.com, Rep. Sue Myrick says she wants America to "wake up" and do something about terrorism.

To that end, Rep. Myrick has introduced a ten-points plan apparently designed to both alert Americans to the threat of terrorism and also lay out a blue-print for taking action now to hopefully prevent incidents in future.
 
Among Myrick's points (Wake Up America") is a call for examining the tax exempt status of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) a Washington, D.C. based front group that supports Islamist terrorism and Islamist terrorists in North America .
 
When Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR spokesman, was asked about Myrick's plan, he attempted to tie in valid concerns about CAIR to "anti-Muslim hate sites" on the internet:


"It sounds like your usual laundry list of talking points you can see on anti-Muslim hate sites on the Internet"

 
Typical of Hoopers disingenuous attempt to paint CAIR as the innocent victim, he completely failed to explain why CAIR shouldn't be investigated. 

For instance, can Hooper:
 
     -  Deny that CAIR receives foreign funding?
     -  Refute accusations that CAIR actively supports Islamist terrorists and terrorist groups?
     -  Show that CAIR is not in America as part of a plan to overthrow the government and replace it with an Islamic theocracy?
     -  Explain just how CAIR should retain its tax exempt status in light of CAIR's dirty hands?
 
Hooper can't credibly defend CAIR from any of these accusations and he knows it. 

So, he does the next best thing which is to play the "woe is us" card.
 
It looks like Rep. Myrick is one of those few in the Congress who "gets it" when it comes to radical Islam. 

We wish her luck in her investigation of CAIR and we have no doubt that if she is able to fully investigate CAIR that not only will CAIR's tax exempt status be in jeopardy, perhaps the whole organization will be as well.

Additional reading:

http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/news/local/story/422373.html
http://cairhateandterror.blogspot.com/2008/04/doj-cair-conspired-to-support.html
http://www.frontpagemagazine.com/Articles/Read.aspx?GUID=B6744280-4203-4F79-8741-9DD581E15D93
http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Read.aspx?GUID=5509965B-87BE-4C20-83F4-88265DC72BD7
http://www.anti-cair-net.org/AhmadDenied
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=58885
http://www.thebulletin.us/site/printerFriendly.cfm?brd=2737&dept_id=576361&newsid=18257792
http://www.anti-cair-net.org/press_012_07.html
http://counterterrorismblog.org/2007/08/war_is_deception_1.php

Andrew Whitehead
Director
Anti-CAIR
ajwhitehead@anti-cair-net.org
www.anti-cair-net.org
25384  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: 4/20 Guro Crafty at Surf Dog's in Hemet, CA on: April 20, 2008, 11:41:17 PM
Woof All:

A highly enjoyable day for me as well.

Today's seminar was the first of a continuing series.  Surf and I anticipate the next one being in about three months.

The Adventure continues,
Guro Crafty

PS:  Guide Dog, what was the healing technique for your hands that Surf shared with you?
25385  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Not good , , , on: April 20, 2008, 11:21:53 PM
British Commanders: Iraqi Army's attempt to retake Basra was 'complete disaster'

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

Battle to retake Basra was 'complete disaster'

By Sean Rayment, Defence Correspondent
Last Updated: 2:41pm BST 20/04/2008

The British-trained Iraqi Army's attempt to retake Basra from militiamen was an "unmitigated disaster at every level", British commanders have disclosed.

Senior sources have said that the mission was undermined by incompetent officers and untrained troops who were sent into battle with inadequate supplies of food, water and ammunition.

They said the failure had delayed the British withdrawal by "many months".

Their comments came as the Iraqi army, this time directly supported by American and British forces, began a second operation in Basra in an attempt to find insurgent weapons caches.

The push, which was met with fierce resistance, took place in the Hayania district of the city, where there were clashes two weeks ago.

In the first operation, it is understood that one Iraqi brigade became a "busted flush" after 1,200 of its soldiers deserted.

At one stage during the battle, stories were circulating at the British headquarters that Iraqi troops were demanding food and water from coalition forces at gunpoint. "It was an unmitigated disaster at every level," an officer said.

Gen Mohan Furayji, the Iraqi commander who was in charge of troops during the operation, was described by a senior British staff officer as a "dangerous lunatic" who "ignored" advice.

The British officer, who is based at the coalition headquarters at Basra Air Station, said that the decision to allow Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister of Iraq, to run the operation had been a "disaster which felt as though an amateur was in charge".

More than 15,000 Iraqi troops were ordered to seize control of the city last month following an uprising by the Mehdi Army, the powerful militia group which is largely trained and financed by Iran.

President George W Bush described the battle for Basra as a "defining moment" for Iraq, while British officials at the time praised the professionalism of the Iraqi army.

However, the operation ended in a stalemate, with the Iraqi government agreeing to a ceasefire.

Criticism of Britain's involvement in Basra resurfaced last week during Gordon Brown's visit to America.

The New York Times reported, incorrectly, that British troops were refusing to help the Iraqi army, which the newspaper said was "deeply embarrassing for Britain".

In a devastating critique of the Iraqi military, British commanders have disclosed that "chaos ruled" the operation to retake Basra.

One officer said the Iraqi army's 14th Division had only 26 per cent of the equipment necessary to take part in combat operations.

He said: "There were literally thousands of troops arriving in Basra from all over Iraq. But they had no idea why they were there or what they were supposed to do. It was madness and to cap it all they had insufficient supplies of food, water and ammunition.

"One of the newly formed brigades was ordered into battle and suffered around 1,200 desertions within the first couple of hours - it was painful to watch.

"They had to be pulled out because they were a busted flush. The Iraqi police were next to useless. There were supposed to be 1,300 ready to deploy into the city, but they refused to do so. The situation deteriorated to the extent where we [the British Army] were forced to stage a major resupply operation in order to stave off disaster.

"The net effect of all of this is that the British Army will be forced to remain here for many months longer."

The Sunday Telegraph has also learnt that British commanders had devised a plan for Gen Mohan. The plan came with the caveat that it should not be started until mid-July because Iraqi troops were not ready. But the officer said that the Iraqi general had ignored the advice.

He said that a British liaison team was sent to the Iraqi army headquarters during the battle. "They were greeted by a group of Iraqi generals sitting around a large desk, shouting into their mobiles without a map in sight. Chaos ruled."

Basra was handed back to Iraqi control last year after the Army withdrew from its last military base in the city.

The Ministry of Defence had hoped to reduce the number of troops serving in southern Iraq to about 2,000 this spring, but that plan has been shelved and British troops are once again patrolling the city's streets.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main...-mostviewedbox
25386  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: A Secret Gathering: It was 20 years ago , , , on: April 19, 2008, 08:42:04 PM
Brought over from the DBMA Association Forum:
===============================================

My name is Imogen ( yes as in Imogen Heap) and I was at the three day gathering as a guest along with Matt Tucker ( time keeper) and my two boys,Jordan and Taylor who both had a ball....Jordan infact discovered a flair for photography during this time.....
I wanted to just let you all know my thoughts from an outsiders point of view.

When we arrived it was for me with slight trepidation, almost an intrusion to something I had only seen on DVD or glancing out the window at Matt in the garden, these feelings quickly dispersed as everyone was so welcoming and I soon had my eye on who I thought were the ones to watch.
My main priority was to keep my children occupied so they didn't disturb the focus but I still took it all in and it was very exciting to be part of the journey that took place at the ranch, there was a buzz all round as the corral was prepared for the days ahead ,I am sure everyone was thinking the same thing, what a wonderful opportunity this was and to make the most of it.
I cannot say that I know much about Dog Brothers but what I discovered was they are led by a unique man who had an amazing aura about him and that all the men were like minded, focused and disciplined which I can relate to very easily, as a trained dancer these traits are in me always and hopefully passed onto my children. Because of my background  and lack of knowledge I looked at the fighters and chose my favourites because of who I thought had the "X Factor"( charisma) but I also found it hard to watch Ben or Scotty Dog  get hurt as I had been to dinner with both of them!!!
I watched my husband in that corral timing the rounds and he looked like a little boy in his element almost skipping around...Some of you may know that he had a nasty accident a few years ago and nearly lost his hand which was devastating and then to see him involved in the gathering made me so proud.

After the three days were over and we  moved on with our holiday the experience still stayed with us and I realised it was something that none of us will ever forget. I have just read Red Dogs poem which actually made me cry, it probably woudn't have done had I not been there........but I was. As I said at the beginning I went to the gathering with trepedation but  came away from it refreshed
and with a spring in my step and a utmost respect for your art
25387  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: April 19, 2008, 10:12:21 AM
I thought Will did a very good job there of articulating and organizing certain points.  Good find.
25388  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: 4/20 Guro Crafty at Surf Dog's in Hemet, CA on: April 18, 2008, 03:07:23 PM
Surf Dog informs me:

The school's phone number is 951-654-0210 not 951-766-0702.
25389  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Dog Brothers Tribe on: April 18, 2008, 03:06:11 PM
To the Tribe:

The Dog Brothers Pack/Tribe page has been updated.  Please let me know of any missing or incorrect listings.

Crafty Dog
Guiding Force
25390  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / PD WSJ on: April 18, 2008, 01:21:19 PM
Oh Bomber

Bill Ayers, the former member of the anti-Vietnam War group the Weathermen, was unknown to most Americans until this week when ABC moderator George Stephanopoulos pressed Barack Obama about his association with the retired revolutionary. Now Mr. Ayers has piped up in his blog to introduce himself.

Mr. Ayers claims on his personal blog that he has been misinterpreted over his infamous remarks that appeared in the New York Times on September 11, 2001, in which he said about the 25 bombings that his group carried out against the Vietnam War: "I don't regret setting bombs; I feel we didn't do enough."

Mr. Ayers, now a professor of education at the University of Illinois, says that when it comes to "anything I did to oppose the war in Viet Nam... I say 'No, I don't regret anything I did to try to stop the slaughter of millions of human beings by my own government.'" But he also complains that his statements have been "elided" to mean "he has no regrets for setting bombs and thinks there should be more bombings."

That's a distinction without a difference in my book. He has never retracted his statement to the New York Times and to this day claims to "have never advocated terrorism, never participated in it, never defended it. The U.S. government, by contrast, does it routinely and defends the use of it in its own cause consistently."

All of this raises continued questions about why Mr. Obama refuses to discuss his relationship with Mr. Ayers, even though his campaign recently described them as "friendly." Bloomberg News reports the two men have crossed paths repeatedly starting in 1995, when Mr. Ayers held an organizing meeting for Mr. Obama's candidacy for the state legislature in his home and personally introduced him to friends.

In 1997, Mr. Obama cited Mr. Ayers' work on criminal justice in a Chicago Tribune article on what prominent Chicagoans were reading. For a year after the infamous comments in the New York Times, Mr. Obama served with Mr. Ayers on the board of the Woods Fund of Chicago.

No one suggests that Mr. Obama has ever endorsed any of the actions of the Weathermen, which occurred when he was still a child. But to this day he won't discuss how he came to know him, why he chose to associate with Mr. Ayers and what he thinks of his current opinions about the U.S. government. All that will continue to fuel questions about Mr. Obama's associations -- just as his continued relationship with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright has.

-- John Fund

School of Finance

One of the loudest promises made by Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats when they regained control of Congress was to make college "more affordable." Sure enough, a new Democrat-sponsored law aimed to do just that... and now student lenders are dropping out of the business like so many frat boys after the first round of finals. Millions of students are being left in the lurch just as they're seeking help with next fall's tuition.

By one count, some four-dozen student lenders have either curtailed loans to students in recent months or closed up shop entirely. Sallie Mae, the biggest, rolled out its Chief Executive Al Lord yesterday to warn of a "train wreck" in the $85 billion student loan market without a federal bailout.

The broader credit crunch is certainly playing a role, but Mr. Lord laid most of the blame on a Democrat-sponsored law that took effect in October. As part of her "First 100 Hours" agenda, Ms. Pelosi and Co. slashed interest rates banks can charge students in half to 3.4%, leaving Uncle Sam to make up the difference. Democrats also pushed through cuts to the fees the federal government pays to banks for underwriting student loans. "It's not even a matter of break-even. [The lenders] lose money on these loans if they originate them," one financial analyst told Dow Jones Newswires last month.

The Federal Family Education Loan Program likes to boast that it's now the dominant source of college loan funding, making "it possible for borrowers with no income, credit history, cosigner or collateral to get student loans at low interest rates." Talk about subprime. All this federal money is also a substantial reason for the rapid inflation in tuition costs. Every Congressionally-created problem must have a Congressional solution. Pelosi ally Rep. Mike Miller, chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee, is now pushing legislation through that will both lift the cap on federally subsidized student loans and expand Uncle Sam's direct loan program -- completing Washington's takeover of the business and no doubt setting the stage for bigger meltdowns ahead.

-- Brendan Miniter

Quote of the Day

"There is a dearth of talent on the business side of this industry that is shocking to me. No one goes to Wharton and says, 'I want to run circulation at Knight-Ridder.' The business side has let down the journalistic side of newspapers.... I've got some [unionized ad] salesmen who make $100,000 a year and have no interest in making $120,000" -- Brian Tierney, new owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer, quoted by former New York Times editor Howell Raines at Portfolio.com.

The Fiscal Consequences of Divorce

Families that stay together, save together. That's the conclusion of a new study indicating that U.S. taxpayers are forking out at least $112 billion annually, and over $1 trillion dollars per decade, on divorces and unwed childbearing. This estimate is based on federal, state, and local government programs and lost tax revenue.

Says the study's principal author, Ben Scafidi of Georgia State University: "These costs are due to increased taxpayer expenditures for anti-poverty, criminal justice and education programs, and through lower levels of taxes paid by individuals whose adult productivity has been negatively affected by increased childhood poverty caused by family fragmentation." Similar work by Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation has found that children who grow up in fatherless homes are far more likely to have behavior problems, drug abuse, high school drop out rates, and to be in poverty as adults.

What can government do? The Institute for American Values, which underwrote the Scafidi research, recommends modest taxpayer funds to support efforts to decrease divorce rates and unwed childbearing. That may be a waste of money, as these are the types of activities best undertaken by churches and private support networks. The best hope is that the lesson will be taken to heart by the media, politicians and educators, reversing some of the casualness with which divorces are sought and granted. In the 1970s and '80s, a school of thought maintained that breaking up troubled marriages was a win-win. Feminists argued it was a form of women's liberation, the children were better off, etc. But a steady drumbeat of research has shown that in most cases almost everyone is rendered worse off by divorce and separation. That includes taxpayers.

-- Stephen Moore and Tyler Grimm



25391  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Cyberwar on: April 18, 2008, 01:19:58 PM
Summary
One of the most mature instances of a cyberwarfare attack was an assault on Internet networks in Estonia in late April and early May of 2007. The Russian government was suspected of participating in — if not instigating — the attack, which featured some of the key characteristics of cyberwarfare, including decentralization and anonymity.

Analysis
Related Special Topic Page
Cyberwarfare
Related Links
Cyberspace as Battlespace: Evolving Threats
MEMBERS-ONLY PODCAST

Cyberwarfare: A Glossary of Useful Terms
Interactive Cyberwarfare Timeline
Cyberwarfare 101: The Internet Is Mightier Than the Sword
Cyberwarfare 101: Black Hats, White Hats, Crackers and Bots
Cyberwarfare 101: What Makes a Hacker Tick

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of analyses on the emergence of cyberspace as battlespace.

During the night of April 26-27, 2007, in downtown Tallinn, Estonia, government workers took down and moved a Soviet-era monument commemorating World War II called the Bronze Soldier, despite the protests of some 500 ethnic Russian Estonians. For the Kremlin — and Russians in general — such a move in a former Soviet republic was blasphemy.

It was also just the kind emotional flash point that could spark a “nationalistic” or “rally-around-the-flag” movement in cyberspace. By 10 p.m. local time on April 26, 2007, digital intruders began probing Estonian Internet networks, looking for weak points and marshaling resources for an all-out assault. Bursts of data were sent to important nodes and servers to determine their maximum capacity — a capacity that the attackers would later exceed with floods of data, crashing servers and clogging connections.

A concerted cyberwarfare attack on Estonia was under way, one that would eventually bring the functioning of government, banks, media and other institutions to a virtual standstill and ultimately involve more than a million computers from some 75 countries (including some of Estonia’s NATO allies). Estonia was a uniquely vulnerable target. Extremely wired, despite its recent status as a Soviet republic, Estonian society had grown dependent on the Internet for virtually all the administrative workings of everyday life — communications, financial transactions, news, shopping, restaurant reservations, theater tickets and bill paying. Even parliamentary votes were conducted online. When Estonia’s independence from the Soviet Union was restored in 1991, not even telephone connections were reliable or widely available. Today, more than 60 percent of the population owns a cell phone, and Internet usage is already on par with Western European nations. In 2000, Estonia’s parliament declared Internet access a basic human right.

Some of the first targets of the attack were the Estonian parliament’s e-mail servers and networks. A flood of junk e-mails, messages and data caused the servers to crash, along with several important Web sites. After disabling this primary line of communications among Estonian politicians, some of the hackers hijacked Web sites of the Reform Party, along with sites belonging to several other political groups. Once they gained control of the sites, hackers posted a fake letter from Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip apologizing for ordering the removal of the World War II monument.

By April 29, 2007, massive data surges were pressing the networks and rapidly approaching the limits of routers and switches across the country. Even though not all individual servers were taken completely offline, the entire Internet system in Estonia became so preoccupied with protecting itself that it could scarcely function.

During the first wave of the assault, network security specialists attempted to erect barriers and firewalls to protect primary targets. As the attacks increased in frequency and force, these barriers began to crumble.

Seeking reinforcements, Hillar Aarelaid, chief security officer for Estonia’s Computer Emergency Response Team, began calling on contacts from Finland, Germany, Slovenia and other countries to assemble a team of hackers and computer experts to defend the country. Over the next several days, many government ministry and political party Web sites were attacked, resulting either in misinformation being spread or the sites being made partially or completely inaccessible.

After hitting the government and political infrastructure, hackers took aim at other critical institutions. Several denial-of-service attacks forced two major banks to suspend operations and resulted in the loss of millions of dollars (90 percent of all banking transactions in Estonia occur via the Internet). To amplify the disruption caused by the initial operation, hackers turned toward media outlets and began denying reader and viewer access to roughly half the major news organizations in the country. This not only complicated life for Estonians but also denied information to the rest of the world about the ongoing cyberwar. By now, Aarelaid and his team had gradually managed to block access to many of the hackers’ targets and restored a degree of stability within the networks.

Then on May 9, the day Russia celebrates victory over Nazi Germany, the cyberwar on Estonia intensified. Many times the size of the previous days’ incursions, the attacks may have involved newly recruited cybermercenaries and their bot armies. More than 50 Web sites and servers may have been disabled at once, with a data stream crippling many other parts of the system. This continued until late in the evening of May 10, perhaps when the rented time on the botnets and cybermercenaries’ contracts expired. After May 10, the attacks slowly decreased as Aarelaid managed to take the botnets offline by working with phone companies and Internet service providers to trace back the IP addresses of attacking computers and shut down their Internet service connections.

During the defense of Estonia’s Internet system, many of the computers used in the attacks were traced back to computers in Russian government offices. What could not be determined was whether these computers were simply “zombies” hijacked by bots and were not under the control of the Russian government or whether they were actively being used by government personnel.

Although Estonia was uniquely vulnerable to a cyberwarfare attack, the campaign in April and May of 2007 should be understood more as a sign of things to come in the broader developed world. The lessons learned were significant and universal. Any country that relies on the Internet to support many critical, as well as mundane day-to-day, functions can be severely disrupted by a well-orchestrated attack. Estonia, for one, is unlikely ever to reduce its reliance on the Internet, but it will undoubtedly try to develop safeguards to better protect itself (such as filters that restrict internal traffic in a crisis and deny anyone in another country access to domestic servers). Meanwhile, the hacker community will work diligently to figure out a way around the safeguards.

One thing is certain: Cyberattacks like the 2007 assault on Estonia will become more common in an increasingly networked world, which will have to learn — no doubt the hard way — how to reduce vulnerability and more effectively respond to such attacks. Perhaps most significant is the reminder Estonia provides that cyberspace definitely favors offensive operations.
25392  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: 2-4 day DBMA Camp with Guro Crafty on: April 18, 2008, 12:12:46 PM
TTT with this.

One of the first decisions is whether this will be a two or a three day camp.  With Bruno coming in, I would love for it to be three days, but would like to get a sense of how many people would come for three days.

So, who is in for three days?

PS:  I've edited the name of this thread to include the dates in question to help clue people in.
25393  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: 4/20 Guro Crafty at Surf Dog's in Hemet, CA on: April 18, 2008, 11:55:18 AM
It looks like Iron Dog will be coming cool
25394  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: April 18, 2008, 10:47:08 AM
THE FOUNDATION
“Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities... With such persons, gullibility, which they call faith, takes the helm from the hand of reason and the mind becomes a wreck.” —Thomas Jefferson

PATRIOT PERSPECTIVE
No ObamaNation Part 2: Disciple of Hate
By Mark Alexander

(Part 2 of 3 on Barack Hussein Obama)

Part One of this series, “Barack who?”, provided insights into how Obama’s tragic childhood formed the pathological foundation for his narcissistic ambition.

This essay examines how Afrocentric Liberation Theology and its message of hate have wedded Obama’s anger and ambition and defined his worldview. This radical belief system is, after all, a hybrid of black supremacist doctrine and “social gospel” Marxism.

In advance of the Pennsylvania primary, Obama displayed his disdain for middle America’s faith and values at a closed-door San Francisco fundraiser: “You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest... it’s not surprising they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

In other words, according to Obama, their faith is a byproduct of bitterness. While this sentiment might have been a hit with the chardonnay-sipping elite of Marin County, it hasn’t played well in Peoria. Or in Pennsylvania, which holds its crucial presidential primary on 22 April.

In the parlance of psychology, this assessment would be classified as projection. Indeed, Obama’s “faith” does have bitter origins, and he assumes, errantly, that such bitterness is the root of all faith.

He also alluded to bitterness in mid-March: “We’ve got a tragic history when it comes to race in this country. We’ve got a lot of pent-up anger and bitterness... The anger is real. It is powerful, and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.”

To date, Obama has passed on charm alone, all fragrance, no substance. So little is known about Obama that when it was discovered that his mentor, the man he identifies as most influential in his life, has discipled him in Afrocentric Liberation Theology for more than 20 years, that presented an excellent opportunity to gain real insight into Barack Hussein Obama.

That mentor is Jeremiah Wright, just retired as head holy man of Trinity United Church (TUC) of radical black political theology. Wright officiated at Obama’s wedding, baptized their two daughters and is credited by Obama for the title of his book, The Audacity of Hope.

So who is this mentor, this chief spiritual advisor to Obama?

Here is a portrait of Wright in his own words from the pulpit: “The government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color. The government gives [black people] drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strikes law and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America.’ No, no, no, g*d d*** America, that’s in the Bible for killing innocent people. G*d d*** America for treating our citizens as less than human. G*d d*** America for as long as she acts like she is god and she is supreme.”

Wright calls America “the US-KKK-A” and says the nation is “controlled by and run by rich white people. Racism is how this country was founded and how this country is still run. We believe in white supremacy and black inferiority and believe it more than we believe in god. And. And-and! God! Has got! To be sick! Of this sh*t!”

“We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought back to our own front yards. America’s chickens are coming home to roost.”

Lest anyone mistake who he felt was to blame for 9/11, and who he felt deserved punishment, Wright elaborated in 2005: “White America got a wake-up call after 9/11. White America and the Western world came to realize that people of color had not gone away, faded into the woodwork or just disappeared as the great white West kept on its merry way of ignoring black concerns.”

How did Obama respond when asked about his pastor’s false and vicious tirade? “It sounds like he was trying to be provocative,” he said.

It worked.

On Israel, Wright claims: “The Israelis have illegally occupied Palestinian territories for over 40 years now. Divestment has now hit the table again as a strategy to wake the business community and wake up Americans concerning the injustice and the racism under which the Palestinians have lived because of Zionism.”

Perhaps that explains Hamas’ endorsement of Obama?

In December 2007, Wright presented the TUC’s “Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. Trumpeter Award” to a man who “truly epitomized greatness,” Louis Farrakhan, head of the Nation of Islam and a consummate anti-Semite. “When Minister Farrakhan speaks, Black America listens,” says Wright. “His depth on analysis when it comes to the racial ills of this nation is astounding and eye opening. He brings a perspective that is helpful and honest.”

Recently, Wright compared Obama to Jesus, saying, “Barack knows what it means to be a black man living in a country and a culture that is controlled by rich white people. Hillary can never know that. Hillary ain’t never been called a nigger.”

TUC’s mission statement, since removed from its website, noted the congregation’s “Commitment to the black values system,” or as Wright notes, “Similar to the Gospel movement in Nicaragua during the whole liberation theology movement.” The statement continues, “Commitment to the black community... black family... adherence to the black work ethic... supporting black institutions... pledging allegiance to all black leadership who have embraced the black values system.”

That is a very dark mission statement.

A current mission statement notes, “Our roots in the Black religious experience and tradition are deep, lasting and permanent. We are an African people, and remain ‘true to our native land,’ the mother continent, the cradle of civilization.”

Wright was, himself, a disciple of James Cone, one of the original champions of Black Liberation Theology, who wrote the following in his seminal work, Black Theology and Black Power: “Black theology refuses to accept a God who is not identified totally with the goals of the black community. If God is not for us and against white people, then he is a murderer, and we had better kill him. The task of black theology is to kill Gods who do not belong to the black community. Black theology will accept only the love of God which participates in the destruction of the white enemy. What we need is the divine love as expressed in Black Power, which is the power of black people to destroy their oppressors here and now by any means at their disposal. Unless God is participating in this holy activity, we must reject his love.”

Wright quotes Cone on TUC’s website: “The time has come for white America to be silent and listen to black people... All white men are responsible for white oppression... Theologically, Malcolm X was not far wrong when he called the white man ‘the devil’.”

When asked if he would leave TUC (as if that would make everything copacetic), Obama said, “This is somebody who I have known for 20 years [who] led me to Christ. He is a biblical scholar. He is a well regarded preacher and somebody who is known for talking about the social gospel.”

In other words, “No.”

But when pressed, Obama invoked his own version of Bill Clinton’s “I didn’t inhale” defense. Indeed, after 20 years of being fed the Wright stuff, Obama said, “I did not hear such incendiary language myself, personally, either in conversations with him or when I was in the pew.” Yeah, right.

Clinton’s disclaimer registers much higher on the truth meter.

A prominent member of Wright’s congregation says, “He has impacted the life of Barack Obama so much so that he wants to portray that feeling he got from Rev. Wright onto the country because we all need something positive.”

Wright himself told The New York Times a year ago, “If Barack gets past the primary, he might have to publicly distance himself from me. I said it to Barack personally, and he said ‘yeah, that might have to happen’.”

Translation: Any distance between Obama and Wright is contrived purely for political expedience. All the bitterness and hatred is seething right under the surface.

Now that Obama’s wafer-thin layer of shellac is peeling away, some moderate Demos, and more than a few superdelegates—who hitched their wagon to this most Leftwing of Lefties—are concerned that Obama is leading their party into a black hole. As they learn more, however late, about Obama’s black-nationalist and Marxist roots, they correctly see his election prospects growing dimmer.

At this point, Hillary Clinton is looking better to moderates, but her only chance to become the Demos’ nominee is to turn almost all of the superdelegates at convention, and her campaign can do that only with a bombshell.

(Next week—No Obamanation Part 3: Barack the Radical)

Quote of the week
“There is [a] class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs—partly because they want sympathy, and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs... There is a certain class of race-problem solvers who don’t want the patient to get well, because as long as the disease holds out they have not only an easy means of making a living, but also an easy medium through which to make themselves prominent before the public.”—Booker T. Washington in his 1911 book, My Larger Education

On cross-examination
“In Barack Obama’s America, rich people who vote on cultural issues rather than economic self-interest are principled and self-sacrificing. People of more modest means who do so are credulous and bitter... With Barack Obama’s ‘postracial’ appeal having proved illusory but Democrats likely to nominate him for president anyway, the party faces a difficult problem: how to persuade Americans to vote for the spiritual protégé of a man who espouses crackpot anti-American and antiwhite views.”—James Taranto

Open query
“Why did you give $22,500 just two years ago [and more than $26,000 in 2007] to a church run by a man of the past who infects the younger generation with precisely the racial attitudes and animus you say you have come unto us to transcend?... This contextual analysis of Wright’s venom, this extenuation of black hate speech as a product of white racism, is not new. It’s the Jesse Jackson politics of racial grievance, expressed in Ivy League diction and Harvard Law nuance. That’s why the speech made so many liberal commentators swoon: It bathed them in racial guilt while flattering their intellectual pretensions. An unbeatable combination.”—Charles Krauthammer


Patriot Post
25395  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / 3 days worth on: April 18, 2008, 10:32:37 AM

"'Tis done.  We have become a nation."

-- Benjamin Rush (on the ratification of the Constitution, letter
to Boudinot, 9 July 1788)

===========

"A dying man can do nothing easy."

-- Benjamin Franklin (after his daughter asked him to move,
17 April 1790)

Reference: The Life of Franklin, Sparks, vol. 1 (531)

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


"What a glorious morning this is!"

-- Samuel Adams (to John Hancock at the Battle of Lexington,
Massachusetts, 19 April 1775)

Reference: American Statesman: Samuel Adams, Hosmer (297)

25396  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Las Siete Distancias de DBMA on: April 18, 2008, 12:23:52 AM
Las siete distancias del combate real con palos
por Marc "Crafty Dog" Denny
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Ignorar las siete distancias es arriesgarse a sentir la ira del rattan"

Actualmente, en los Estados Unidos, la mayor parte de sistemas de artes Marciales Filipinas ense?an el concepto de distancia mediante la divisi?n en tres de ellas Larga, Media y Corta. Algunos sistemas prefieren una distancia en concreto otros otra y algunos prefieren trabajar en las tres por igual. Larga se define normalmente como la distancia que puedes golpear la mano armada de tu adversario. Media define la distancia en la que puedes golpear la cabeza o el cuerpo de tu oponente y en la que tu mano viva (?sea la mano que queda libre cuando se combate con un ?nico palo) puede atrapar cualquiera de las extremidades del oponente. Corta es la distancia en la que el pu?o del palo y la mano libre pueden golpear la cabeza o cuerpo del oponente.

Para la mayor?a de los m?todos de ense?anza en los Estados Unidos, esas distancias son suficientes. A?n as?, algunas escuelas en la Filipinas est?n organizadas en mas distancias que simplemente esas tres. En Estados Unidos se tiende a asumir que esas distancias "extra" son subdivisiones de las b?sicas y, como tales, probablemente muy espec?ficas y especializadas. Algunos de nosotros quiz?s los m?s antiguos en esto, puede que recordemos una historia de Kung -Fu relativa a Guro Dan Inosanto contada a principios de los a?os 80 referente a su capacidad como maestro de artes marciales filipinas. En el art?culo hay fotos suyas demostrando muchas mas que las tres distancias gen?ricas. Del mismo modo en mi breve pero valioso entrenamiento con Ramiro Estalilla gran maestro de eskrima Kabaroan, me vi expuesto a un concepto de distancia que es muy diferente a los de la teor?a de " Las tres distancias". Menciono estos ejemplos porque quiero que quede claro que a pesar de que el sistema Dog Brothers Martial Arts puede ser distintivo en el uso de las siete distancias, por eso no quiero decir que sea el ?nico estilo con mas de tres distancias o que es superior a dichos estilos.

En nuestra primera serie de videos (La segunda esta al salir) la cual protagonizo Eric "Top Dog" knaus nuestro mejor luchador (y el mejor que he llegado a ver), organice las cintas con la idea de mostrar t?cnicas con ejemplos de su aplicaci?n en combates reales.

Grabamos luchas durante muchos a?os antes del primer UFC ( Utimate Fighting Championship). En aquellos d?as la mayor parte de las artes marciales filipinas se hab?an desviado de lo "marcial" y se acercaban m?s al entorno del arte. Creo que este proceso hacia la faceta de arte propicio el arraigo en los Estados Unidos. Recuerdo como mi maestro nos dec?a muchas veces durante las clases que la mayor?a de los americanos no resistir?an mucho tiempo bajo los m?todos de ense?anza de los maestros nativos de Filipinas.

Cuando salieron nuestras cintas mucha gente pens? que no se ve?a un estilo bonito en nuestra forma de luchar y que todo el estilo de lucha tradicional que hab?an aprendido era falso. Muchos de aquellos que intentaron sin ?xito emplear sus m?todos y rutinas de lucha culparon a sus maestros. Mucha gente comprendi? entonces el mensaje de Los Dog Brothers. Todos los luchadores del m?s alto nivel de los Dog Brothers ( Top Dog , Salty Dog, Sled Dog y yo mismo) tenemos una considerable formaci?n tradicional bajo los mejores maestros de artes marciales filipinas en el mundo: Gran Tujon Leo Gaje, del sistema Pequiti Tirsia, el legendario Guro Dan Inosanto y el posterior Punong Guro Edgar Sulite en particular. El mensaje de nuestras primeras cintas fue que pens?bamos que muchos de los practicantes de artes marciales filipinas en Estados Unidos en 1.992 ten?an una uni?n muy d?bil: la falta de trabajo duro en las bases del entendimiento de lo que es un luchador. Este asunto del "entendimiento del luchador" tambi?n explica el por qu? la habilidad en la ense?anza no conlleva necesariamente la habilidad en la lucha. En las filipinas, la gente entiende el significado de su formaci?n porque al menos han visto luchas con palos - normalmente los viernes por la noche despu?s de la pelea de gallos. Al igual que alguien se puede beneficiar de la ense?anza de Muay Thai sin necesidad de subir al Rin, tambi?n el entrenamiento en el arte de la lucha filipina con palos beneficia a aquellos que no son luchadores.

En contraste, cuando este arte llega a los Estados Unidos virtualmente ning?n practicante hab?a visto anteriormente una lucha con palos ni se hab?a visto envuelto en una. Necesitamos recordar que los m?todos tradicionales de ense?anza fueron desarrollados en las filipinas por guerreros, que ya pose?an conocimientos y habilidades luchadoras. Aqu? en los Estados Unidos tratamos de usarlos para desarrollar estas habilidades desde cero. Lo cual es un asunto totalmente distinto y luego culpamos los m?todos en vez de a nosotros mismos cuando no somos capaces de luchar. Por lo tanto al organizar los primeros videos de Los Dog Brothers tome la decisi?n de organizar el material principalmente pensando en el entrenamiento en solitario, al mismo tiempo que trataba de comunicar la esencia b?sica de la lucha con palos. Esto no significa que todos los ejercicios de ense?anza basados en la practica para dos personas no sea importante, simplemente no lo mostramos en estos videos.

Todav?a me preocupaba el porque la gente pude ser buen maestro y no luchador. Me di cuenta que la mayor parte de la gente ense?a rutinas de entrenamiento para dos hombres, las cuales son principalmente en las distancias media o corta, a pesar de que la mayor parte de las luchas empiezan en la distancia larga. As? que mucha gente se esfuerza en ser mas r?pidos y m?s fuertes y no tienen ni idea de c?mo llegar a la distancia donde pueden emplear esa habilidad correctamente. Por lo tanto en muy pocas ocasiones o en casi ninguna son capaces de demostrar sus habilidades en la lucha. Y el entendimiento de esto nos condujo a la teor?a de las siete distancias.

Un an?lisis objetivo revela que dos de las siete distancias residen fuera de la larga, media y corta y dos est?n dentro de ellas. Esas distancias no se agolpan una encima de la otra como ladrillos, pero pueden sobreponerse como los eslabones de una cadena. Entiendan tambi?n que esto solo es una forma de hablar y no se debe tomar muy al pie de la letra. Usando una met?fora de Jeet Kune Do" Una vez que la barca te lleva al otro lado del r?o no necesitas acarrearla en tu espalda para continuar el viaje", las luchas son din?micas y en el combate las distancias se mezclan r?pida y flexiblemente.

Distancia de la serpiente

Como he estudiado y sido golpeado por Top Dog durante varios a?os he llegado a apreciar su forma ?nica de moverse antes de establecer el contacto, ambos palo y pie. Esto le distingue a ?l de todos los otros luchadores que he visto - algunos se formaron en el mismo sistema Pequiti Tirsia. Me gusta ponerle apodos a las cosas, as? que a la particular forma de mover su palo le puse el nombre de "el palo serpenteante".

En el Arte Marcial de Los Dog Brothers definimos "Serpiente" como la habilidad de mover tu palo para proteger tu mano, ocultar tu intenci?n, crear tu apertura, y enmascarar tu ataque. A pesar de que el punto de inicio se basa en lo que hace Top Dog tambi?n hacemos los movimientos de otros luchadores de alta calidad. No hay una estructura, incluida la de los mejores luchadores, que funcione perfectamente para todo el mundo por igual ni pueda solucionarnos todos los problemas.

Estudiando la distancia de la serpiente en nuestro sistema, incluye tambi?n como analizar y resolver la estructura de tu oponente. Si puedes reconocer r?pidamente la estructura de tu oponente y conocer sus puntos fuertes y d?biles tienes menos t?cnicas que elegir y por lo tanto puedes reaccionar m?s r?pida y eficazmente. Tambi?n es importante recordar que hay veces en una lucha controlada, del mismo modo que situaciones en la calle, en las quieres evitar el contacto y mantener al o a los oponentes a distancia. El desarrollo de esta habilidad es parte tambi?n del curr?culum de la distancia de la Serpiente.

Distancia de palo cuadrado

La distancia de palo cuadrado tambi?n esta m?s lejos que la distancia larga. Es la distancia donde las armas chocan una con otra. Puesto que luchamos principalmente con palos, es la distancia donde cada palo golpea al otro ( es el momento de la lucha palo a palo), de aqu? viene su nombre. Cuanto m?s corta sean las armas, por ejemplo, navajas, esta distancia pierde su importancia. Sin embargo, cuando las armas son m?s largas comienza a ser esencial. En una lucha b?sicamente con palos, dependiendo de su din?mica, esta distancia puede ser muy importante para un luchador que la entienda. Por ejemplo, cuando dos hombres de caracter?sticas similares se enfrentan con cualquier tipo de arma, es muy probable que las armas hagan contacto entre ellas antes de que se llegue al contacto cuerpo a cuerpo. Hay tres conceptos b?sicos de la lucha de palo cuadrado: Ir contra la fuerza, Unirse a la fuerza, Converger con la fuerza. La mayor parte de los luchadores de artes marciales, posiblemente entiendan " ir contra la fuerza" y algunos con experiencia con palos notaran que "seguir la fuerza" no es tan importante en el primer golpe de un intercambio de golpes, sin embargo muchos luchadores no est?n tan familiarizados con lo que llamamos " Converger con la fuerza". Mi apreciaci?n de este concepto me fue indicada por el gran maestro Ramiro Estalilla, cuyo sistema Kabaroan, es muy interesante, usa muchas armas largas. Simplemente, una Convergencia es, en la terminolog?a de Los Dog Brothers donde la fuerza de mi golpe en el arma de mi oponente esta aproximadamente en un ?ngulo de 90 ? de la l?nea de la fuerza de su golpe, por ejemplo a mitad de camino entre chocar contra su fuerza y acompa?ar a su fuerza. El prop?sito de la convergencia es golpear el arma de tu oponente, desviarla de su trayectoria y quitarle el control de tal modo que puedas crear una apertura para tu siguiente golpe. Hay una serie de ?ngulos en los que puedes lograr desarmar a tu oponente con un simple golpe en el arma. Comprender totalmente esta distancia puede darnos una considerable ventaja y abrirnos la puerta en una lucha compuesta solamente en las distancias larga ,media y corta.

Distancia de lucha cuerpo a cuerpo

Esta es la distancia en la que ambos luchadores se enzarzan mientras est?n de pie. Corta puede ser una distancia similar aunque normalmente es un poco m?s larga, y tiene una din?mica muy distinta. En distancia corta, aparte de la posibilidad de atrapar, los luchadores no est?n agarrandose el uno al otro; en la lucha cuerpo a cuerpo lo est?n por definici?n. Casi todas los ataque se realizan sobre una l?nea alta. Tratar de lanzar un golpe bajo desde una distancia larga es muy peligroso ya que expondr? la parte superior y posterior de la cabeza contra un golpe de plena fuerza de tu adversario. Debido a la necesidad de ir con la cabeza protegida, la posici?n de los brazos en el momento del enganche suele ser distinta a los habituales agarres de los ejercicios de manos vac?as. Del mismo modo hay diferencias importantes en su din?mica, cualquiera que haya sido golpeado en la cabeza con un punyo (El pu?o del palo), golpeado en el estomago, o le hayan dado un buen porrazo en el cuello o arrojado un palo, puede dar testimonio de esto. Adem?s, en una lucha cuerpo a cuerpo con palos es muy com?n abrirse posteriormente para ponerse en la distancia de golpeo. Esas diferencias, sin embargo no cambian el hecho de que para ser un buen luchador en el cuerpo a cuerpo tus conocimientos deben de estar sustentados sobre una buena base. - ignorarlas es tu propio riesgo.

Lucha en el suelo

La lucha de palos de los Dog Brothers es como el juego del Pinball (maquinas el?ctricas) en el que tres bolas se sueltan al mismo tiempo. Si prestas demasiada atenci?n a una sola bola, y no sigues a las otras, la maquina se las traga. Similarmente en la lucha con palos entran en juego simult?neamente las manos vac?as y la lucha con palos - y al igual que el juego del Pinball puedes alcanzar muchos puntos si prestas atenci?n a las tres bolas. Por ejemplo, Si el hombre al que estas vigilando y busca una posici?n como inicio para saltarse tu guardia como lo har?a con las manos vac?as, utiliza el palo y golp?ale en el codo con tu Punyo y tr?etelo hacia ti, donde podr?s utilizar la pelea con palos y darle con el. La posici?n de guardia en el suelo puede ser muy agresiva cuando se tiene un palo en la mano. En la lucha con palos en el suelo es muy com?n que uno o ambos luchadores sean desarmados o pierdan el palo y lo recuperen posteriormente. Por lo tanto, puede ser una situaci?n muy normal que solamente uno de los dos luchadores posea el palo. Ser ambidiestro es muy ventajoso. Y, como en la lucha de pie, la lucha en el suelo tambi?n se abre hacia atr?s creando huecos para las distancias de golpeo.

Como maestro al mismo tiempo que luchador, mi experiencia es que este concepto de las siete distancias es muy ?til. Un luchador entrenado en esas distancias adicionales ver? incrementada sus cualidades como peleador y alcanzar? una mayor comprensi?n de todas las t?cticas y situaciones. No estar? desconcertado en como moverse entre las distancias larga, media y corta. Y tendr? una mente m?s compuesta y un claro sentido de la misi?n respecto a como entrar t?cnicamente en esas distancias, con la compostura necesaria para hacer que su oponente sienta la "Ira del rattan". Del mismo modo, cuando se establezca la lucha, tendr? la destreza y el conocimiento para responder m?s r?pida y espont?neamente.
25397  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Stickgrappling en espanol on: April 18, 2008, 12:22:43 AM
Stick Grappling
Marc "Crafty Dog" Denny

El Kali se enfrenta al Jiu Jitsu Brasile?o.

Cuando las artes marciales salen de su pa?s, abandonan el ambiente en el que fueron creadas. Guardar su esencia tradicional mientras dan respuesta a nuevas condiciones, puede convertirse f?cilmente en un esfuerzo Sisyfiano.(Aqu? podr?amos sustituir esta palabra por algo mas sencillo) Las artes marciales filipinas (FMA) se enfrentan en Am?rica a un mundo muy diferente a la jungla en la que se desarrollaron. El extraordinario nivel de sofisticaci?n del entrenamiento de las artes marciales Filipinas, desarrollo sistemas mas seguros para practicar con armas y con las manos desnudas. El entrenamiento que te deja f?sicamente da?ado puede provocar serias lesiones o incluso la muerte en una situaci?n donde el enemigo puede aparecer en cualquier momento sin previo aviso.

Sin embargo cuando el arte lleg? a Am?rica se presento un nuevo problema. La gente que venia a las clases padec?a una falta del "Conocimiento del luchador" del arte. A pesar de que muchos pod?an aprender las t?cnicas y los m?todos de entrenamiento, no pod?an luchar. Es comprensible, en la practica, la mayor?a de ellos no hab?an visto nunca una lucha con palos. Imag?nense no haber visto nunca un partido de futbol y que le muestren un diagrama de una jugada en la pizarra y le digan: "Esto es lo que tienes que hacer". El primer juego seria una aut?ntica sorpresa.

En contraste, en muchos lugares tradicionales de las Filipinas ten?an lugar luchas con palos todos los viernes por la noche, despu?s de las peleas de gallos. Incluso los que nunca hab?an participado en una de estas luchas, ten?an conocimiento de ellas por haber visto a otros aplicar los entrenamientos a la vida real. Pero los practicantes fuera de las filipinas no han vivido esto. Todos ellos oyeron las historias de los "Combates a muerte" entre legendarios luchadores con palos como Floro Villabrile como relata en su libro " The Filipino Martial Arts" Dan Inosanto.Y eso no es precisamente la clase de cosas que anima a uno a probarlo. Ciertamente hubo algunos individuos que probaron sus habilidades en duelos, pero esos eran la excepci?n. En conjunto, cuando las extraordinariamente combativas y efectivas artes de las Filipinas abandonaron su hogar y enraizaron en USA corrieron el peligro de ser acaparadas principalmente por los que sus t?cnicas de lucha consist?an b?sicamente en girar los palos y desarmar.

Alrededor de 1986, en este vac?o llego una banda que se describ?a as? misma como "Sudorosos y mal olientes psic?patas con palos" que m?s tarde llegar?a a ser conocida como los Dog Brothers.
En el coraz?n de este grupo estaban Eric Knaus, Marc Denny y Arland Sanford; pronto se les conoci? como Top Dog, Crafty Dog y Salty Dog, respectivamente. Knaus era el mejor luchador del grupo. Sanford de Santa Fe, Nuevo M?xico, se encontr? con Denny y Knaus por primera vez en un torneo en 1988 en el que lucho durante su exitosa tercera carrera por el titulo nacional. Para Knaus y Denny los torneos eran solamente una manera de atraer gente para que pudieran ver m?s all? y en Sanford encontraron un ?vido y vigoroso practicante. "El me destrozo la u?a del dedo gordo la primera vez que luchamos" cuenta Denny.

Una de las cosas principales que los mantiene juntos es que ellos luchan pr?cticamente sin protecciones. Como Sanford dice: "Yo quer?a saber si lo que hab?a estado aprendiendo val?a de algo o estaba perdiendo el tiempo". El grupo creci? y sus luchas se desarrollaron. En 1988, justo antes de la revoluci?n del Brasilian Jiu-Jitsu, a propuesta de Denny se permitieron los agarres.
Esto llego a ser muy importante para el grupo de luchadores. Se dieron cuenta de que hab?a un enlace com?n entre todas las artes, quizas ocurrio cuando el sur de Filipinas, Indonesia y Malasia y el sudeste de Asia formaban parte del imperio Majapahit.

La realizaci?n de los videos del grupo con la Panther Productions en 1.992 - 93 hechas con la filosof?a "Si lo ves ense?ar, lo ves pelear" le abrio los ojos a mucha gente. Algunos cuestionaron las mascaras de esgrima y los guantes de hockey. Para la mayoria de los espectadores, sin embargo los enormes hematomas, K.O.S, huesos rotos y las salpicaduras de sangre hicieron que esas criticas parecieran rid?culas. Pero una de las partes mas controvertidas de la serie fuera la qinta cinta que mostraba luchas con agarres que conclu?an en el suelo. Dentro de la comunidad de las artes marciales filipinas algunos vieron los agarres como prueba de que las mascaras y los guantes precedian a que el "arte real" fuera conocido mayoritariamente . Los huesos rotos y los K.O.S no eran suficientes. Parec?a como si solamente un "combate a muerte" pudiera complacerles.
Pero desde la perspectiva del "Cafty Dog" estas quejas eran err?neas. ?Qu? es lo que quieren? En su ?poca de mayor vitalidad la organizaci?n de los UFC nos busco para luchar con armas en un evento especial entre las semifinales y las finales. Pero despu?s de que vieran lo que hac?amos, nos escribieron una carta comunic?ndonos que hab?an decidido suspender nuestro combate porque le parec?a "Demasiado extremo" para el UFC. Nosotros apostamos por la vida, no por la muerte. La intenci?n que perseguimos es crecer en el arte, no matar ni mutilar personas. Por supuesto que en algunos casos el agarre ocurre en virtud de un encadenamiento o t?cnica intermedia de los luchadores. Sabemos eso. Pero en 1988, justo antes de la revoluci?n del Jiu-Jitsu Brasile?o (BJJ), a sugerencias de Denny se permitieron los agarres."Consideramos que hacemos una lucha que empieza con palos, no una lucha de palos". El explica, "Habr?a sido artificial prohibir los agarres cuando la experiencia nos dec?a que se produc?an. No hay que darles mas vueltas al asunto, es as?. Sin embargo durante un par de a?os, excepto por el descubrimiento de Eric del agarre para estrangular, nosotros no sab?amos con claridad que lo est?bamos haciendo. Carl Franks, un estudiante de Ricson Gracie de Hawai, hab?a luchado con nosotros en 1.987 y 1.989 en la Academia de Inosanto, y yo hab?a visto una pel?cula pirata de Gracie de aquella ?poca. Chris Hanter me presento a los Machado (sobrinos de los Gracie) en el verano de 1990 y yo ya estaba listo para actuar. Siendo el m?s viejo y el m?s peque?o de los tres que form?bamos el coraz?n de la manada, me pareci? una buena idea.

Sin dec?rselo a los otros, Denny en aquel entonces conocido como el "Crafty Dog" empez? a entrenar con los Machado. En esta pre-era del Brasilian Jiu-Jitsu, el resultado fue electrizante. Eric Knaus el "Top Dog" quedo impresionado y empez? tambi?n a entrenar con los Machado. (El profesor de Crafty, el legendario Dan Inosanto, empez? a entrenar con los Machado un par de a?os m?s tarde ante la insistencia de Crafty y ahora entrena con ellos cinco d?as a la semana).Sanford el "Salty Dog" , fue perezoso en apuntarse. No habia BJJ en Santa Fe, Nuevo M?xico en 1.990. Asi que cuando se le acabo la meta del surfing le llego la ola del ahogarse, se convirti? en un instructor de May Thai bajo la direcci?n de Ajarn Chai Sirisute y se introdujo en el Krabi Krabong, el arte de las armas militares del cual deriva el deporte del May Thai.

Un hombre entrenado en el arte de aproximarse puede hacerlo sorpresivamente contra la mayoria de los oponentes sin golpearlos en absoluto. Si tu dominaras la distancia "larga" y has trabajado las t?cnicas de aproximaci?n, puedes hacerlo t?cnicamente.

Yo creo que la resistencia de algunas personas de las AMF en esta cuesti?n no es diferente de lo que supuso la revoluci?n de BJJ cuando mucha gente sufri? un ataque emocional y dijo que los agarres no se pod?an permitir, no importa que los hechos demostraran lo contrario. S?, por supuesto que esto es diferente porque se trata de un arma. Pero los hechos demuestran que los agarres se producen algunas veces. Si, hay gentes a las que no puedes acercarte, Salty Dog me viene a la mente. Pero aunque tengas la experiencia de ir contra un "aproximador" lo mas probable es que no seas uno de ellos. Y si no has desarrollado la habilidad para acercarte contra los palos lo mas probable es que recibas una buena paliza."

Otra critica que se les hace a los Dog Brothers es que todo ese "revolcarse por los suelos" como dec?a un descontento en la carta que env?o a una revista que lo que hac?amos no eran "autenticas" Artes Marciales Filipinas. Para Crafty Dog la respuesta tiene dos partes, "lo primero seria ?y qu?? Nuestro inter?s es autentico. En segundo lugar en las artes marciales filipinas existen los agarres, normalmente conocidos como Dumog y a veces como Buno. Continuamos buscando pero desgraciadamente se conoce muy poco de esto en los Estados Unidos. Cuando yo entrenaba con el Gran Tuno Leo Gaje (el maestro de Top Dog y Sled Dog) en las Filipinas el verano pasado, tuve mi primera experiencia en este tema. Pero la verdadera cuesti?n es, ?Qu? vamos a hacer al respecto?. Ignorar el JJB porque no es Filipino. ?D?nde estar?an hoy los Brasile?os si Carlos y Helio Gracie hubieran tenido la misma actitud hace 70 a?os porque el Jiu-Jitsu japones no era brasile?o? La gente de las artes marciales filipinas en Manila est?n trabajando BJJ ahora ?por qu? no ?bamos a hacerlo nosotros? ?Si alguien descubre la rueda, voy a seguir en con mi trineo voy a coger esa rueda, asimilarla y perfeccionarla?. Esto es lo que las artes marciales Filipinas han hecho siempre y esta es la raz?n por lo que son tan buenas. Las AMF siempre han estado abiertas a lo extranjero y a sus influencias. Por ejemplo la espada y daga tiene una fuerte influencia de los espa?oles. As? mientras yo reconozco la validez de la cuesti?n "?Es autentica las AMF incluyendo al BJJ?" . Pienso que lo es si trabajamos constructivamente sobre los supuestos del coraz?n del arte. "Si no lo hacemos as?, entonces los puritas tendr?n raz?n".

Desde la primeras series de videos la lucha ha seguido evolucionando hacia los agarres con palos con Crafty Dog al frente de los Dog Brothers. En mi opini?n el agarre con palos es una habilidad avanzada. Como prerrequisitos se necesita una gran habilidad para acercarse al contrario, as? como una buena habilidad a distancia media y corta en AMF, ser preferiblemente ambidiestro, y como m?nimo tener la habilidad de un cintur?n azul equivalentes en agarres. (Crafty es purpura con los hermanos Machado igual que Top Dog) " Es como el juego del pinball, cuando la maquina suelta tres bolas a la vez. Tienes que repartir tu atenci?n porque si te concentras demasiado en una sola bola, las otras se te colaran por el agujero. En el agarre con palos utilizamos el Kali para hacer que nuestro oponente cometa un error de jiu-jitsu para que podamos finalizar con un agarre con el palo. O por el contrario utilizamos el Jiu-Jitsu para hacer que cometa un error de Kali. Es muy emocionante y un buen juego para un luchador de mas de 49 a?os como yo disponer de estos trucos en la mochila.
25398  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues on: April 18, 2008, 12:10:52 AM
Amen to that -- and kudos to the officer.
25399  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Indonesia hoards bird flu virus samples on: April 17, 2008, 03:26:38 PM
Recipe for a Pandemic
April 18, 2008
Over nearly 60 years, the World Health Organization has developed sophisticated systems for monitoring the emergence of seasonal influenza and possible pandemics as well as arming scientists with the tools to develop vaccines. Now, one country is jeopardizing all that, putting itself and the rest of the world at risk.

The culprit: Indonesia. Its Health Ministry refuses to give the WHO avian flu virus samples taken from Indonesian victims. This matters because sample sharing allows experts around the world to track mutations of the virus and spot dangerous mutations. Even more important, sharing allows researchers to develop vaccines.

Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari asserts that Indonesian bird flu is a form of intellectual property, from which the country should benefit. Whether that means Indonesia simply wants to ensure affordable access to any vaccine developed from its samples – or whether Jakarta will demand a share in the profits – is unclear. Ms. Supari has complained in the past of labs using Indonesian samples for "commercial" reasons, raising the question of where she thinks vaccines come from, if not from private companies with a profit motive. Of almost 60 bird flu cases in the past year, Indonesia has given WHO all of two samples – but only for surveillance, not vaccine research. They were from high-profile cases in Bali, and Jakarta worried that tourists would stay away.

The dispute may partly be due to domestic politics. Ms. Supari evidently thinks this viral nationalism plays well in public opinion. She published a book earlier this year titled "It's Time To Change: Divine Hands Behind Bird Flu," in which she speculates the U.S. uses virus samples to conduct research on biological weapons. Next year is an election, and Ms. Supari is becoming a favorite of various Islamic groups, on which President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono could end up depending.

Whatever Jakarta's motivation, without the samples it's much harder for researchers to develop any vaccine. Viruses mutate constantly. That's especially true in Indonesia, which has the highest number of cumulative bird flu infections – 132 since 2003, compared with 106 in Vietnam. Without samples from those cases, researchers can't tackle the most up-to-date form.

The worst-case scenario would be for a virulent strain to evolve in Indonesia and catch researchers by surprise, because they have no experience working with its predecessors. Even if scientists do develop a vaccine based on samples from, say, Vietnam, they have no way of testing its efficacy against the Indonesian variety. All together, it's a recipe for a pandemic, particularly if other countries start following Jakarta's lead.

Indonesia's leaders now say they want a speedy resolution to the sample-sharing dispute. In a meeting this week with U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt, the Coordinating Minister for the People's Welfare, Aburizal Bakrie, promised to finalize an agreement within two months.

There's no time to waste. Of the 240 human bird flu deaths reported in 12 countries since 2003, 107 have been in Indonesia – 12 already this year. The next highest cumulative death toll is 52 in Vietnam. Better to share samples now and allow scientists to develop a vaccine than scramble to do so when a pandemic hits.

But the world will have vaccines to protect against the avian flu virus only if scientists are able to carry out research. By hoarding samples and trying to tinker with the financial incentives that drive pharmaceutical innovation, Indonesia is endangering everyone.

WSJ
25400  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hillary and BO on: April 17, 2008, 03:14:38 PM
The Democrats and Gun Control
By DAVID KOPEL
April 17, 2008; Page A19

Imagine an election race of Pat Robertson versus James Dobson, each of them appearing at organic grocery stores and Starbucks throughout Massachusetts, with each candidate insisting that he alone deserves the vote of gay-marriage advocates. An equally silly spectacle is taking place these days in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Indiana, West Virginia and Kentucky, as Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama compete for the pro-gun vote.

 
Mr. Obama supports the Second Amendment – or so his surrogates have been claiming all over Pennsylvania, the state with the highest per-capita membership in the National Rifle Association. The effort was set back last weekend with the publication of Mr. Obama's remarks claiming that people in small towns in Pennsylvania and other Midwestern states "cling" to guns because they are "bitter" that the government has not solved their economic problems.

Mrs. Clinton shot back with an excellent speech in Valparaiso, Ind., recounting that her father had taught her how to shoot when she was a little girl. "People enjoy hunting and shooting because it's an important part of who they are," she said. "Not because they are bitter."

 
Surely she is right. The shooting sports culture in Pennsylvania was thriving long before the domestic manufacture of steel began to decline. Indeed, that culture was thriving before steel was invented. Pennsylvania's 1776 state constitution declared "That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state . . ." A separate provision guaranteed "the liberty to fowl and hunt in seasonable times."

However, having the right to arms and the liberty to hunt is worthless if you can't buy a gun. In 1999, Mr. Obama urged enactment of a federal law prohibiting the operation of any gun store within five miles of a school or park. This would eliminate gun stores from almost the entire inhabited portion of the United States.

As a state senate candidate in 1996, Mr. Obama endorsed a complete ban on all handguns in a questionnaire. The Obama campaign has claimed he "never saw or approved the questionnaire," and that an aide filled it out incorrectly. But a few weeks ago, Politico.com found an amended version of the questionnaire. It included material added in Mr. Obama's handwriting.

When the U.S. Supreme Court voted last year to hear a case on the constitutionality of the Washington, D.C., handgun ban, Mr. Obama's campaign told the Chicago Tribune: "Obama believes the D.C. handgun law is constitutional" and that "local communities" should have the ability "to enact common sense laws." Other than Washington, D.C., the only American cities with handgun bans are Chicago and four of its suburbs. As a state senator, Mr. Obama voted against a 2004 bill (which passed overwhelmingly) to give citizens a legal defense against prosecution for violating a local handgun ban if they actually used the firearm for lawful self-defense on their own property.

Mr. Obama's campaign Web site touts his belief in the Second Amendment rights to have guns "for the purposes of hunting and target shooting." Conspicuously absent is the right to have firearms to defend one's self, home and family. In 2001, as a state senator, Mr. Obama voted against allowing the beneficiaries of domestic violence protective orders to carry handguns for protection.

Yet, as Mr. Obama has mockingly pointed out, Mrs. Clinton is not exactly a modern-day Annie Oakley wiling away weekends in a duck blind. As first lady, she helped organize the Million Mom March for "sensible gun laws" in 2000. It was led by the shrill gun prohibitionist Rosie O'Donnell.

Mrs. Clinton has repeatedly voted for antigun proposals, and co-sponsored many of them. After Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans and St. Tammany police confiscated guns from law-abiding citizens, violating an explicit Louisiana law. In some cases, the confiscation was carried out with the assistance of federal agents, and was perpetrated via warrantless break-ins into homes.

The next year, the U.S. Senate voted 84-16 for a homeland security appropriations rider stating: "None of the funds appropriated by this Act shall be used for the seizure of a firearm based on the existence of a declaration or state of emergency." Mrs. Clinton was one of the 16 who voted "no." Mr. Obama commendably voted with the majority.

Forty states currently allow most law-abiding adult citizens to carry concealed handguns for lawful protection, after a background check and (in almost all such states) a safety class. Of course those laws only apply to carrying within the relevant state. Mr. Obama told the Chicago Tribune in 2004 that he favored a national ban on concealed carry, to "prevent other states' laws from threatening the safety of Illinois residents." Mrs. Clinton campaigned against a licensed carry referendum in Missouri.

Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama voted against legislation to stop mayors from suing gun manufacturers and gun stores because of gun crime. That legislation banned lawsuits only if businesses had complied with all laws regarding firearms manufacture and sales.

A presidential candidate could of course swear devotion to the First Amendment, while declaring that the amendment's purpose is to protect sports reporting and book collecting. And that candidate could still support government lawsuits against publishers, local bans on newspapers, and draconian restrictions on political commentary.

Civil libertarians who supported such a candidate because of his alleged love for the First Amendment would be foolish. Civil libertarians who support Mr. Obama or Mrs. Clinton because of their purported fealty to the Second Amendment may be bitterly disappointed.

Mr. Kopel is research director of the Independence Institute and co-author of the law school textbook, "Gun Control and Gun Rights" (NYU Press, 2002).
WSJ
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