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25551  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / McCain on gun rights on: January 23, 2008, 10:00:49 AM
John McCain's Gun Control Problem
by John Velleco
Director of Federal Affairs

In 2000, Andrew McKelvey, the billionaire founder of, threw a sizable chunk of his fortune into the gun control debate.

It was shortly after the Columbine school shooting. Bill Clinton was in the White House and gun control was daily front-page news. McKelvey wanted in.

He started out contributing to Handgun Control Inc., which had since been renamed the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. But while he agreed with their gun banning goals, McKelvey thought the way they packaged their message was too polarizing.

"I told them that Handgun Control was the wrong name. I thought what they were doing was great but I thought it could be done differently," McKelvey said.

So McKelvey struck out on his own and formed Americans for Gun Safety. Although AGS shared almost identical public policy goals as other anti-gun groups, McKelvey portrayed the group as in the 'middle' on the issue and attempted to lure pro-gun advocates into his fold.

To pull it off, he needed a bipartisan coalition with credibility on both sides of the gun debate. On the anti-gun side, the task was easy. Most of the Democrats and a small but vocal minority of Republicans supported President Clinton's gun control agenda.

Finding someone who could stake a claim as a pro-gunner and yet be willing to join McKelvey was not so easy. Enter Senator John McCain.

McCain's star was already falling with conservatives. He had carved out a niche as a 'maverick' as the author of so-called Campaign Finance Reform (more aptly named the incumbent protection act), which was anathema to conservatives but made him a darling of the mainstream media.

Gun owners were outraged over CFR, but McCain still maintained some credibility on the gun issue.

Earlier in his career, McCain had voted against the Clinton crime bill (which contained a ban on so-called assault weapons), and he did not join the 16 Senate Republicans who voted for the Brady bill, which required a five-day waiting period for the purchase of a handgun.

But as he ramped up for his presidential run in 2000, McCain, expanding on the 'maverick' theme, staked out a position on guns far to the left of his primary opponent, George W. Bush.

McCain began speaking out against small, inexpensive handguns and he entertained the idea of supporting the 'assault weapons' ban. His flirtation with anti-Second Amendment legislation quickly led to a political marriage of convenience with McKelvey.

Within months of the formation of AGS, McCain was featured in radio and television ads in Colorado and Oregon supporting initiatives to severely regulate gun shows and register gun buyers. Anti-gunners were ecstatic to get McCain on board.

Political consultant Scott Reed, who managed Bob Dole's presidential campaign in 1996, hoped McCain would "bring a conservative perspective to the gun debate."

The ads not only pushed the anti-gun show measure in those two states, they also served to undermine the efforts of gun rights activists who were furiously lobbying against the same type of bill in Congress.

"I think that if the Congress won't act, the least I can do is support the initiative in states where it's on the ballot," McCain said in an interview.

At the time still a newcomer to the gun control debate, McCain said, "I do believe my view has evolved."

McCain continued to pursue his anti-gun agenda even after his presidential run ended, and the next year he and McKelvey made it to the big screen.

As moviegoers flocked to see Pearl Harbor, they were treated to an anti-gun trailer ad featuring McCain. This time the Senator was pushing legislation to force people to keep firearms locked up in the home.

"We owe it to our children to be responsible by keeping our guns locked up," McCain told viewers.

Economist and author John Lott, Jr., noted, "No mention was ever made by McCain about using guns for self-defense or that gunlocks might make it difficult to stop intruders who break into your home. And research indicates that McCain's push for gunlocks is far more likely to lead to more deaths than it saves."

Also in 2001, McCain went from being a supporter of anti-gun bills to being a lead sponsor.

Pro-gun allies in Congress who were holding off gun show legislation -- which would at best register gun owners and at worst close down the shows entirely -- were angered when McCain teamed up with Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) and introduced a "compromise" bill to give the issue momentum.

"There is a lot of frustration. He has got his own agenda," one Republican Senator told Roll Call.

After September 11, 2001, McKelvey and McCain, now joined by Lieberman, had a new angle to push gun control.

"Terrorists are exploiting the gun show loophole," AGS ads hyped. McCain and Lieberman hit the airwaves again in a series of radio and TV spots, thanks to McKelvey's multi-million dollar investment.

A Cox News Service article noted that, "The ads first focused on gun safety but switched to terrorism after Sept. 11. Americans for Gun Safety said the switch is legitimate."

However, Second Amendment expert Dave Kopel pointed out that, "the McCain-Lieberman bill is loaded with poison pills which would allow a single appointed official to prevent any gun show, anywhere in the United States from operating."

Ultimately, the anti-gun legislation was killed in the Congress and AGS fizzled out and disappeared altogether. The issues for which McKelvey spent over $10 million are still in play, however, and John McCain remains a supporter of those causes. In fact, as recently as 2004, McCain was able to force a vote on a gun show amendment.

In the post-Columbine and post-9/11 environments, the Second Amendment was under attack as never before. Pro-gun patriotic Americans who stood as a bulwark to keep the Congress from eviscerating the Constitution were dismayed to look across the battle lines only to see Senator McCain working with the enemy.

John McCain tried running for president in 2000 as an anti-gunner. This year it appears he is seeking to "come home" to the pro-gun community, but the wounds are deep and memories long.

25552  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Jan 20 on: January 22, 2008, 08:25:45 PM
Iran 1981: Remaining 52 US Embassy hostages seized in 11/79 released.  Thank you President Reagan.
25553  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Grannis & Rahn on: January 22, 2008, 08:22:55 PM

Global stock markets are down in large part because the world is concerned that the US economy is in a recession and our politicians and policymakers are clueless in the face of this predicament. The Bush administration and the presidential hopefuls are all talking about fiscal stimulus plans that mostly involve taking money from one person's pocket and putting it in another (e.g., tax rebates). You can't make an economy stronger by funding one man's extra spending with money taken by taxing or borrowing from another man. Policies oriented to increasing consumer demand have no ability to expand the economy, otherwise (as Jude Wanniski used to say) we could spend ourselves to prosperity. Meaningful stimulus has to involve a permanent change in the incentives to work and invest, since that expands the output/supply side of the economy; ultimately, only rising incomes can fuel rising spending. In the below article Richard Rahn talks about a simple fix to the tax code which could make a world of difference: indexing capital gains for inflation. What politician, even the die-hard Democrats who hate it that the rich are getting richer, would want to argue in an election year against tax reform that is fundamentally fair, would help everyone, and would boost the economy? Word is that the Bush administration is considering precisely this as part of a fiscal stimulus package. The idea first cropped up in the early 1990s, but was abandoned. Now would be a great time to revive it. With all the pessimism out there it's about time somebody did something positive.

This is especially timely because with the Fed's latest effort to boost the economy by lowering interest rates, inflation risk is rising. We've already seen inflation rise from a low of 1% in 2003 to 3-4% currently, thanks to Alan Greenspan's misguided decision to push interest rates down to 1% in 2003. That not only contributed to the housing price bubble, but also drove the dollar down and boosted commodity and gold prices. Since it became obvious last summer that the Fed would be forced to lower rates to stem the losses from subprime lending, the dollar is down over 5% and is now at an all-time low, and gold is up 35% to almost $900/oz. Lower interest rates may help fix the subprime crisis by slowing and limiting the decline in home prices, but only at the cost of higher inflation in the years to come. Without this inflation-adjustment fix, the effective rate on capital gains will be rising significantly, and that would place a big burden on the stock market and the economy. Let's keep our fingers crossed that someone back in Washington can figure this out before it's too late.

Inflation and the Tax Man
WSJ, January 17, 2008; Page A17

Rudy Giuliani's tax-reform proposal includes indexing capital-gains taxes for inflation -- that is, putting the original price of the asset in today's dollars. All of the Republican candidates have called for low or lower taxes on capital gains, while the Democrats favor higher capital-gains taxes. But inflation-indexing of capital gains should be part of every candidate's "economic stimulus" package, regardless of party affiliation.

Accounting for inflation in this way has the advantages of producing more short-term revenue to the Treasury as long-term gains are "unlocked." Furthermore, lowering the cost of capital would stimulate investment and the stock markets, and would increase the fairness of the tax system by not taxing phantom gains for people at all income levels. It would also square capital-gains taxation with the U.S. Constitution.

Assume you purchased a common stock in a company in 1984 for $100 a share and sold it in 2007 for $200 a share. Have you received any "income" from the sale of the shares of stock? The IRS would say "yes," but this is clearly wrong. The IRS will claim that you had a $100 per share capital gain on the stock in the above example, yet actually the increase was solely a result of inflation. Because you cannot buy more goods and services with $200 now than you could have with $100 in 1984, you have had no "income" or wealth accretion.

Over the years numerous economists, lawyers and others have tried to fix this problem and have gotten nowhere with Congress. But now, due to increased concerns about inflation, economic growth and judicial salaries, the time may be right to move forward.

Chief Justice John Roberts has just renewed his call for an increase in pay for federal judges. He, his predecessor William Rehnquist and other judges have complained about the "steady erosion" of judicial salaries over the past 20 years. According to Article III, Section I of the U.S. Constitution, compensation of federal judges "shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office."

As inflation has outstripped the increase in judicial salaries, the judges have clearly had "diminished compensation" in real terms. Chief Justice Roberts currently makes $212,000 per year, yet all but five of his predecessors in the past 200 years made more in inflation-adjusted dollars (Warren Burger's 1969-1986 income averaged about $250,000 per year in 2006 dollars).

The debate centers on the definition of income. The 16th Amendment to the Constitution states, "The Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes on incomes," and the Fifth Amendment clearly states, "No person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation."

If the portion of a capital gain due solely to inflation is not income, then taxation without inflation-indexing is an unconstitutional taking of property. Income is commonly defined as, "the amount of money or its equivalent received during a period of time in exchange for labor or services from the sale of goods or property, or as profit from financial investments."

To be money or its equivalent, the payment must have the power to command goods or services produced in the economy. Thus, if the money received from the sale of an asset cannot command more goods and services than the original capital invested, there clearly has been no income.

Too few judges and members of Congress have a basic understanding of economics. As a result, they do not readily see how small but steady losses in value over long periods (except when it comes to their own salaries) is damaging. Inflation of 2%, 3% or 4% per year may seem trivial, but over time it causes great distortions -- the U.S. dollar is now worth less than 1/20th of what it was worth in 1913 when the Fed was established. If the 12% inflation the U.S. experienced in 1979 had continued, the price level would have doubled every six years.

Congress, in order to prevent unlegislated tax-rate increases, has indexed the tax brackets and some other parts of the income-tax code for inflation, which recognizes that a dollar of income in 1998 is not the same as one in 2008. Yet they have failed to do this for capital gains or the AMT, which is now creating great heartache for them as well as for taxpayers. For the code to be logically consistent and to avoid an unconstitutional taking of property -- and for the word "income" to have the same meaning throughout the code -- any capital gain necessarily needs to be indexed for inflation.

The reasons capital gains have not been indexed for inflation (in addition to some members of Congress and judges who do not understand the proper definition of income) are that some argue it would be too complex, and that, since capital gains are taxed at a lower rate than regular income, the problem has already been addressed. Some claim it would result in a big revenue loss. But in the age of advanced tax software, indexing of capital gains is no more complex than many other provisions of the tax code. (The whole code needs to be simplified, but that is another issue.)

Taxing capital gains at a lower rate is done for a number of good economic reasons, and only offsets inflation for assets that have appreciated rapidly in a short time period. Adjusting capital gains for inflation would clearly increase revenues in the short run because of the "unlocking" effect, and probably over the long run because of the higher levels of investment it would stimulate. Over the past 30 years, the Joint Tax Committee, using largely static models, has consistently erred grossly -- at times even getting the direction of the plus or minus sign wrong -- in forecasting capital-gains tax revenues as a result of tax-rate changes.

The Bush administration ought to make inflation indexing part of its "stimulus package." If properly explained, considerable bipartisan congressional and judicial support should be obtained. A number of legal scholars have argued that the executive branch could unilaterally make the change by requiring the IRS to correctly define the words "cost" and "income," given that it was the IRS that originally incorrectly defined them.

It is not likely that many judges or members of Congress would find it in their personal, political, or the national interest to argue that phantom gains are "income." After all, most Americans do understand the meaning of income, even if some in Washington do not.

Mr. Rahn is the chairman of the Institute for Global Economic Growth and an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute.

25554  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Podhoretz 3 on: January 22, 2008, 08:01:55 PM

But I could not for the life of me believe that Mr. Bush intended to fly in the face of the solemn promise he had made in his 2002 State of the Union address:

We'll be deliberate, yet time is not on our side. I will not wait on events, while dangers gather. I will not stand by, as peril draws closer and closer. The United States of America will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons.
To which he had added shortly afterward in a speech at West Point: "If we wait for threats to fully materialize, we will have waited too long."

How, I wondered, could Mr. Bush not know that in the case of Iran he was running a very great risk of waiting too long? And if he was truly ready to run that risk, why, in a press conference the day after the new NIE came out, did he put himself in the historical dock yet again by repeating what he had said several times before about the judgment that would be passed on this generation in the future if Iran were to acquire a nuclear weapon?

If Iran shows up with a nuclear weapon at some point in time, the world is going to say, what happened to them in 2007? How come they couldn't see the impending danger? What caused them not to understand that a country that once had a weapons program could reconstitute the weapons program? How come they couldn't see that the important first step in developing a weapon is the capacity to be able to enrich uranium? How come they didn't know that with that capacity, that knowledge could be passed on to a covert program? What blinded them to the realities of the world? And it's not going to happen on my watch.
* * *

"It's not going to happen on my watch." What else could this mean if not that Mr. Bush was preparing to meet "the impending danger" in what he must by now have concluded was the only way it could be averted?

The only alternative that seemed even remotely plausible to me was that he might be fixing to outsource the job to the Israelis. After all, even if, by now, it might have become politically impossible for us to take military action, the Israelis could not afford to sit by while a regime pledged to wipe them off the map was equipping itself with nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them. For unless Iran could be stopped before acquiring a nuclear capability, the Israelis would be faced with only two choices: either strike first, or pray that the fear of retaliation would deter the Iranians from beating them to the punch. Yet a former president of Iran, Hashemi Rafsanjani, had served notice that his country would not be deterred by the fear of retaliation:

If a day comes when the world of Islam is duly equipped with the arms Israel has in its possession, . . . application of an atomic bomb would not leave anything in Israel, but the same thing would just produce damages in the Muslim world.
If this was the view of even a supposed moderate like Mr. Rafsanjani, how could the Israelis depend upon the mullahs to refrain from launching a first strike? The answer was that they could not. Bernard Lewis, the leading contemporary authority on the culture of the Islamic world, has explained why:

MAD, mutual assured destruction, [was effective] right through the cold war. Both sides had nuclear weapons. Neither side used them, because both sides knew the other would retaliate in kind. This will not work with a religious fanatic [like Mr. Ahmadinejad]. For him, mutual assured destruction is not a deterrent, it is an inducement. We know already that [the mullahs ruling Iran] do not give a damn about killing their own people in great numbers. We have seen it again and again. In the final scenario, and this applies all the more strongly if they kill large numbers of their own people, they are doing them a favor. They are giving them a quick free pass to heaven and all its delights.
Under the aegis of such an attitude, even in the less extreme variant that may have been held by some of Mr. Ahmadinejad's colleagues among the regime's rulers, mutual assured destruction would turn into a very weak reed. Understanding that, the Israelis would be presented with an irresistible incentive to preempt--and so, too, would the Iranians. Either way, a nuclear exchange would become inevitable.

What would happen then? In a recently released study, Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies argues that Mr. Rafsanjani had it wrong. In the grisly scenario Mr. Cordesman draws, tens of millions would indeed die, but Israel--despite the decimation of its civilian population and the destruction of its major cities--would survive, even if just barely, as a functioning society. Not so Iran, and not its "key Arab neighbors," particularly Egypt and Syria, which Mr. Cordesman thinks Israel would also have to target in order "to ensure that no other power can capitalize on an Iranian strike." Furthermore, Israel might be driven in desperation to go after the oil wells, refineries, and ports in the Gulf.

"Being contained within the region," writes Martin Walker of UPI in his summary of Mr. Cordesman's study, "such a nuclear exchange might not be Armageddon for the human race." To me it seems doubtful that it could be confined to the Middle East. But even if it were, the resulting horrors would still be far greater than even the direst consequences that might follow from bombing Iran before it reaches the point of no return.

In the worst case of this latter scenario, Iran would retaliate by increasing the trouble it is already making for us in Iraq and by attacking Israel with missiles armed with non-nuclear warheads but possibly containing biological and/or chemical weapons. There would also be a vast increase in the price of oil, with catastrophic consequences for every economy in the world, very much including our own. And there would be a deafening outcry from one end of the earth to the other against the inescapable civilian casualties. Yet, bad as all this would be, it does not begin to compare with the gruesome consequences of a nuclear exchange between Israel and Iran, even if those consequences were to be far less extensive than Mr. Cordesman anticipates.

Which is to say that, as between bombing Iran to prevent it from getting the bomb and letting Iran get the bomb, there is simply no contest.

* * *

But this still does not answer the question of who should do the bombing. Tempting as it must be for George Bush to sit back and let the Israelis do the job, there are considerations that should give him pause. One is that no matter what he would say, the whole world would regard the Israelis as a surrogate for the United States, and we would become as much the target of the ensuing recriminations both at home and abroad as we would if we had done the job ourselves.

To make matters worse, the indications are that it would be very hard for the Israeli air force, superb though it is, to pull the mission off. Thus, an analysis by two members of the Security Studies Program at MIT concluded that while "the Israeli air force now possesses the capability to destroy even well-hardened targets in Iran with some degree of confidence," the problem is that for the mission to succeed, all of the many contingencies involved would have to go right. Hence an Israeli attempt could end with the worst of all possible outcomes: retaliatory measures by the Iranians even as their nuclear program remained unscathed. We, on the other hand, would have a much bigger margin of error and a much better chance of setting their program back by a minimum of five or 10 years and at best wiping it out altogether.

The upshot is that if Iran is to be prevented from becoming a nuclear power, it is the United States that will have to do the preventing, to do it by means of a bombing campaign, and (because "if we wait for threats to fully materialize, we will have waited too long") to do it soon.

When I first predicted a year or so ago that Mr. Bush would bomb Iran's nuclear facilities once he had played out the futile diplomatic string, the obstacles that stood in his way were great but they did not strike me as insurmountable. Now, thanks in large part to the new NIE, they have grown so formidable that I can only stick by my prediction with what the NIE itself would describe as "low-to-moderate confidence." For Mr. Bush is right about the resemblance between 2008 and 1938. In 1938, as Winston Churchill later said, Hitler could still have been stopped at a relatively low price and many millions of lives could have been saved if England and France had not deceived themselves about the realities of their situation. Mutatis mutandis, it is the same in 2008, when Iran can still be stopped from getting the bomb and even more millions of lives can be saved--but only provided that we summon up the courage to see what is staring us in the face and then act on what we see.

Unless we do, the forces that are blindly working to ensure that Iran will get the bomb are likely to prevail even against the clear-sighted determination of George W. Bush, just as the forces of appeasement did against Churchill in 1938. In which case, we had all better pray that there will be enough time for the next President to discharge the responsibility that Mr. Bush will have been forced to pass on, and that this successor will also have the clarity and the courage to discharge it. If not--God help us all--the stage will have been set for the outbreak of a nuclear war that will become as inescapable then as it is avoidable now.

Mr. Podhoretz is the editor-at-large of Commentary and author of "World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism" (Doubleday, 2007).
25555  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Podhoretz-2 on: January 22, 2008, 08:00:51 PM
Two other experts, Valerie Lincy, the editor of, and Gary Milhollin, the director of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, followed up with an explanation of why the halt of 2003 was much less significant than a layman would inevitably be led to think:

The new report defines "nuclear-weapons program" in a ludicrously narrow way: it confines it to enriching uranium at secret sites or working on a nuclear-weapon design. But the halting of its secret enrichment and weapon-design efforts in 2003 proves only that Iran made a tactical move. It suspended work that, if discovered, would unambiguously reveal intent to build a weapon. It has continued other work, crucial to the ability to make a bomb, that it can pass off as having civilian applications.
Thus, as Ms. Lincy and Mr. Milhollin went on to write, the main point obfuscated by the footnote was that once Iran accumulated a stockpile of the kind of uranium fit for civilian use, it would "in a matter of months" be able "to convert that uranium . . . to weapons grade."

* * *

Yet, in spite of these efforts to demonstrate that the new NIE did not prove that Iran had given up its pursuit of nuclear weapons, just about everyone in the world immediately concluded otherwise, and further concluded that this meant the military option was off the table. George Bush may or may not have been planning to order air strikes before leaving office, but now that the justification for doing so had been discredited by his own intelligence agencies, it would be politically impossible for him to go on threatening military action, let alone to take it.

But what about sanctions? In the weeks and months before the new NIE was made public, Mr. Bush had been working very hard to get a third and tougher round of sanctions approved by the Security Council. In trying to persuade the Russians and the Chinese to sign on, Mr. Bush argued that the failure to enact such sanctions would leave war as the only alternative. Yet if war was now out of the question, and if in any case Iran had for all practical purposes given up its pursuit of nuclear weapons for the foreseeable future, what need was there of sanctions?

Anticipating that this objection would be raised, the White House desperately set out to interpret the new NIE as, precisely, offering "grounds for hope that the problem can be solved diplomatically--without the use of force." These words by Stephen Hadley, Mr. Bush's national security adviser, represented the very first comment on the new NIE to emanate from the White House, and some version of them would be endlessly repeated in the days to come.

Joining this campaign of damage control, Messrs. Sarkozy and Brown issued similar statements, and even Ms. Merkel (who had been very reluctant to go along with Mr. Bush's push for another round of sanctions) now declared that it was "dangerous and still grounds for great concern that Iran, in the face of the UN Security Council's resolutions, continues to refuse to suspend uranium enrichment. . . . The Iranian president's intolerable agitation against Israel also speaks volumes. . . . It remains a vital interest of the whole world community to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. "

As it happened, Mr. Hadley was right about the new NIE, which executed another 180-degree turn--this one, away from the judgment of the 2005 NIE concerning the ineffectiveness of international pressure. Flatly contradicting its "high confidence" in 2005 that Iran was forging ahead "despite its international obligations and international pressure," the new NIE concluded that the nuclear-weapons program had been halted in 2003 "primarily in response to international pressure." This indicated that "Tehran's decisions are guided by a cost-benefit approach rather than a rush to a weapon irrespective of the political, economic, and military costs."

Never mind that no international pressure to speak of was being exerted on Iran in 2003, and that at that point the mullahs were more likely acting out of fear that the Americans, having just invaded Iraq, might come after them next. Never mind, too, that religious and/or ideological passions, which the new NIE pointedly neglected to mention, have over and over again throughout history proved themselves a more powerful driving force than any "cost-benefit approach." Blithely sweeping aside such considerations, the new NIE was confident that just as the carrot-and-stick approach had allegedly sufficed in the past, so it would suffice in the future to "prompt Tehran to extend the current halt to its nuclear-weapons program."

The worldview implicit here has been described by Mr. Richelson (mainly with North Korea in mind) as the idea that "moral suasion and sustained bargaining are the proven mechanisms of nuclear restraint." Such a worldview "may be ill-equipped," he observes delicately, "to accept the idea that certain regimes are incorrigible and negotiate only as a stalling tactic until they have attained a nuclear capability against the United States and other nations that might act against their nuclear programs."

True, the new NIE did at least acknowledge that it would not be easy to induce Iran to extend the halt, "given the linkage many within the leadership probably see between nuclear-weapons development and Iran's key national-security and foreign-policy objectives." But it still put its money on a "combination of threats of intensified international scrutiny and pressures, along with opportunities for Iran to achieve its security, prestige, and goals for regional influence in other ways."

It was this pronouncement, and a few others like it, that gave Stephen Hadley "grounds for hope that the problem can be solved diplomatically." But that it was a false hope was demonstrated by the NIE itself. For if Iran was pursuing nuclear weapons in order to achieve its "key national-security and foreign-policy objectives," and if those objectives explicitly included (for a start) hegemony in the Middle East and the destruction of the state of Israel, what possible "opportunities" could Tehran be offered to achieve them "in other ways"?

* * *

So much for the carrot. As for the stick, it was no longer big enough to matter, what with the threat of military action ruled out, and what with the case for a third round of sanctions undermined by the impression stemming from the NIE's main finding that there was nothing left to worry about. Why worry when it was four years since Iran had done any work toward developing the bomb, when the moratorium remained in effect, and when there was no reason to believe that the program would be resumed in the near future?

What is more, in continuing to insist that the Iranians must be stopped from developing the bomb and that this could be done by nonmilitary means, the Bush administration and its European allies were lagging behind a new consensus within the American foreign-policy establishment that had already been forming even before the publication of the new NIE. Whereas the old consensus was based on the proposition that (in Sen. John McCain's pungent formulation) "the only thing worse than bombing Iran was letting Iran get the bomb," the emerging new consensus held the opposite--that the only thing worse than letting Iran get the bomb was bombing Iran.

What led to this reversal was a gradual loss of faith in the carrot-and-stick approach. As one who had long since rejected this faith and who had been excoriated for my apostasy by more than one member of the foreign-policy elites, I never thought I would live to see the day when these very elites would come to admit that diplomacy and sanctions had been given a fair chance and that they had accomplished nothing but to buy Iran more time. The lesson drawn from this new revelation was, however, a different matter.

It was in the course of a public debate with one of the younger members of the foreign-policy establishment that I first chanced upon the change in view. Knowing that he never deviated by so much as an inch from the conventional wisdom of the moment within places like the Council on Foreign Relations and the Brookings Institution, I had expected him to defend the carrot-and-stick approach and to attack me as a warmonger for contending that bombing was the only way to stop the mullahs from getting the bomb. Instead, to my great surprise, he took the position that there was really no need to stop them in the first place, since even if they had the bomb they could be deterred from using it, just as effectively as the Soviets and the Chinese had been deterred during the cold war.

Without saying so in so many words, then, my opponent was acknowledging that diplomacy and sanctions had proved to be a failure, and that there was no point in pursuing them any further. But so as to avoid drawing the logical conclusion--namely, that military action had now become necessary--he simply abandoned the old establishment assumption that Iran must at all costs be prevented from developing nuclear weapons, adopting in its place the complacent idea that we could learn to live with an Iranian bomb.

In response, I argued that deterrence could not be relied upon with a regime ruled by Islamo-fascist revolutionaries who not only were ready to die for their beliefs but cared less about protecting their people than about the spread of their ideology and their power. If the mullahs got the bomb, I said, it was not they who would be deterred, but we.

So little did any of this shake my opponent that I came away from our debate with the grim realization that the president's continued insistence on the dangers posed by an Iranian bomb would more and more fall on deaf ears--ears that would soon be made even deafer by the new NIE's assurance that Iran was no longer hell-bent on acquiring nuclear weapons after all. There might be two different ideas competing here--one, that we could live with an Iranian bomb; the other, that there would be no Iranian bomb to live with--but the widespread acceptance of either would not only preclude the military option but would sooner or later put an end even to the effort to stop the mullahs by nonmilitary means.

* * *

And yet there remained something else, or rather someone else, to factor into the equation: the perennially "misunderestimated" George W. Bush, a man who knew evil when he saw it and who had the courage and the determination to do battle against it. This was also a man who, far more than most politicians, said what he meant and meant what he said. And what he had said at least twice before was that if we permitted Iran to build a nuclear arsenal, people 50 years from now would look back and wonder how we of this generation could have allowed such a thing to happen, and they would rightly judge us as harshly as we today judge the British and the French for what they did at Munich in 1938. It was because I had found it hard to understand why Mr. Bush would put himself so squarely in the dock of history on this issue if he were resigned to an Iran in possession of nuclear weapons, or even of the ability to build them, that I predicted in the pages of Commentary, and went on predicting elsewhere, that he would not retire from office before resorting to the military option.
25556  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Podhoretz: Stopping Iran on: January 22, 2008, 07:57:05 PM
The political will here in the US for this would seem to be near zero, and if I read the tea leaves correctly, not a lot more than that in the US military , , ,  Still, what to do?

Stopping Iran
Why the case for military action still stands.
January 23, 2008

Up until a fairly short time ago, scarcely anyone dissented from the assessment offered with "high confidence" by the National Intelligence Estimate of 2005 that Iran was "determined to develop nuclear weapons." Correlatively, no one believed the protestations of the mullahs ruling Iran that their nuclear program was designed strictly for peaceful uses.

The reason for this near-universal consensus was that Iran, with its vast reserves of oil and natural gas, had no need for nuclear energy, and that in any case, the very nature of its program contradicted the protestations.

Here is how Time magazine put it as early as March 2003--long before, be it noted, the radical Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had replaced the putatively moderate Mohamed Khatami as president:

On a visit last month to Tehran, International Atomic Energy Agency director Mohamed ElBaradei announced he had discovered that Iran was constructing a facility to enrich uranium--a key component of advanced nuclear weapons--near Natanz. But diplomatic sources tell Time the plant is much further along than previously revealed. The sources say work on the plant is "extremely advanced" and involves "hundreds" of gas centrifuges ready to produce enriched uranium and "the parts for a thousand others ready to be assembled."
So, too, the Federation of American Scientists about a year later:

It is generally believed that Iran's efforts are focused on uranium enrichment, though there are some indications of work on a parallel plutonium effort. Iran claims it is trying to establish a complete nuclear-fuel cycle to support a civilian energy program, but this same fuel cycle would be applicable to a nuclear-weapons development program. Iran appears to have spread their nuclear activities around a number of sites to reduce the risk of detection or attack.
And just as everyone agreed with the American intelligence community that Iran was "determined to develop nuclear weapons," everyone also agreed with President Bush that it must not be permitted to succeed. Here, the reasons were many and various.

To begin with, Iran was (as certified even by the doves of the State Department) the leading sponsor of terrorism in the world, and it was therefore reasonable to fear that it would transfer nuclear technology to terrorists who would be only too happy to use it against us. Moreover, since Iran evidently aspired to become the hegemon of the Middle East, its drive for a nuclear capability could result (as, according to the New York Times, no fewer than 21 governments in and around the region were warning) in "a grave and destructive nuclear-arms race." This meant a nightmarish increase in the chances of a nuclear war. An even greater increase in those chances would result from the power that nuclear weapons--and the missiles capable of delivering them, which Iran was also developing and/or buying--would give the mullahs to realize their evil dream of (in the words of Mr. Ahmadinejad) "wiping Israel off the map."

Nor, as almost everyone also agreed, were the dangers of a nuclear Iran confined to the Middle East. Dedicated as the mullahs clearly were to furthering the transformation of Europe into a continent where Muslim law and practice would more and more prevail, they were bound to use nuclear intimidation and blackmail in pursuit of this goal as well. Beyond that, nuclear weapons would even serve the purposes of a far more ambitious aim: the creation of what Mr. Ahmadinejad called "a world without America." Although, to be sure, no one imagined that Iran would acquire the capability to destroy the United States, it was easy to imagine that the United States would be deterred from standing in Iran's way by the fear of triggering a nuclear war.

Running alongside the near-universal consensus on Iran's nuclear intentions was a commensurately broad agreement that the regime could be stopped from realizing those intentions by a judicious combination of carrots and sticks. The carrots, offered through diplomacy, consisted of promises that if Iran were (in the words of the Security Council) to "suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, to be verified by the IAEA," it would find itself on the receiving end of many benefits. If, however, Iran remained obdurate in refusing to comply with these demands, sticks would come into play in the form of sanctions.

And indeed, in response to continued Iranian defiance, a round of sanctions was approved by the Security Council in December 2006. When these (watered down to buy the support of the Russians and the Chinese) predictably failed to bite, a tougher round was unanimously authorized three months later, in March 2007. When these in turn failed, the United States, realizing that the Russians and the Chinese would veto stronger medicine, unilaterally imposed a new series of economic sanctions--which fared no better than the multilateral measures that had preceded them.

* * *

What then to do? President Bush kept declaring that Iran must not be permitted to get the bomb, and he kept warning that the "military option"--by which he meant air strikes, not an invasion on the ground--was still on the table as a last resort. On this issue our Western European allies were divided. To the surprise of many who had ceased thinking of France as an ally because of Jacques Chirac's relentless opposition to the policies of the Bush administration, Nicholas Sarkozy, Mr. Chirac's successor as president, echoed Mr. Bush's warning in equally unequivocal terms. If, Mr. Sarkozy announced, the Iranians pressed on with their nuclear program, the world would be left with a choice between "an Iranian bomb and bombing Iran"--and he left no doubt as to where his own choice would fall. On the other hand, Gordon Brown, who had followed Tony Blair as prime minister of the U.K., seemed less willing than Mr. Sarkozy to contemplate military action against Iran's nuclear installations, even as a last resort. Like the new chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, Mr. Brown remained--or professed to remain--persuaded that more diplomacy and tougher sanctions would eventually work.

This left a great question hanging in the air: when, if ever, would Mr. Bush (and/or Mr. Sarkozy) conclude that the time had come to resort to the last resort?

Obviously the answer to that question depended on how long it would take for Iran itself to reach the point of no return. According to the NIE of 2005, it was "unlikely . . . that Iran would be able to make a nuclear weapon . . . before early-to-mid next decade"--that is, between 2010 and 2015. If that assessment, offered with "moderate confidence," was correct, Mr. Bush would be off the hook, since he would be out of office for two years at the very least by the time the decision on whether or not to order air strikes would have to be made. That being the case, for the remainder of his term he could continue along the carrot-and-stick path, while striving to ratchet up the pressure on Iran with stronger and stronger measures that he could hope against hope might finally do the trick. If he could get these through the Security Council, so much the better; if not, the United States could try to assemble a coalition outside the U.N. that would be willing to impose really tough sanctions.

Under these circumstances, there would also be enough time to add another arrow to this nonmilitary quiver: a serious program of covert aid to dissident Iranians who dreamed of overthrowing the mullocracy and replacing it with a democratic regime. Those who had been urging Mr. Bush to launch such a program, and who were confident that it would succeed, pointed to polls showing great dissatisfaction with the mullocracy among the Iranian young, and to the demonstrations against it that kept breaking out all over the country. They also contended that even if a new democratic regime were to be as intent as the old one on developing nuclear weapons, neither it nor they would pose anything like the same kind of threat.

All well and good. The trouble was this: only by relying on the accuracy of the 2005 NIE would Mr. Bush be able in all good conscience to pass on to his successor the decision of whether or when to bomb the Iranian nuclear facilities. But that estimate, as he could hardly help knowing from the CIA's not exactly brilliant track record, might easily be too optimistic.

To start with the most spectacular recent instance, the CIA had failed to anticipate 9/11. It then turned out to be wrong in 2002 about Saddam Hussein's possession of weapons of mass destruction, very likely because it was bending over backward to compensate for having been wrong in exactly the opposite direction in 1991, when at the end of the first Gulf war the IAEA discovered that the Iraqi nuclear program was far more advanced than the CIA had estimated. Regarding that by now notorious lapse, Jeffrey T. Richelson, a leading (and devoutly nonpartisan) authority on the American intelligence community, writes in "Spying on the Bomb":

The extent that the United States and its allies underestimated and misunderstood the Iraqi program [before 1991] constituted a "colossal international intelligence failure," according to one Israeli expert. [IAEA's chief weapons inspector] Hans Blix acknowledged "that there was suspicion certainly," but "to see the enormity of it is a shock."
And these were only the most recent cases. Gabriel Schoenfeld, a close student of the intelligence community, offers a partial list of earlier mistakes and failures:

The CIA was established in 1947 in large measure to avoid another surprise attack like the one the U.S. had suffered on December 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor. But only three years after its founding, the fledgling agency missed the outbreak of the Korean war. It then failed to understand that the Chinese would come to the aid of the North Koreans if American forces crossed the Yalu river. It missed the outbreak of the Suez war in 1956. In September 1962, the CIA issued an NIE which stated that the "Soviets would not introduce offensive missiles in Cuba"; in short order, the USSR did precisely that. In 1968 it failed to foresee the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia. . . . It did not inform Jimmy Carter that the Soviet Union would invade Afghanistan in 1979.
Mr. Richelson adds a few more examples of hotly debated issues during the cold war that were wrongly resolved, including "the existence of a missile gap, the capabilities of the Soviet SS-9 intercontinental ballistic missile, [and] Soviet compliance with the test-ban and antiballistic missile treaties." This is not to mention perhaps the most notorious case of all: the fiasco, known as the Bay of Pigs, produced by the CIA's wildly misplaced confidence that an invasion of Cuba by the army of exiles it had assembled and trained would set off a popular uprising against the Castro regime.

On Mr. Bush's part, then, deep skepticism was warranted concerning the CIA's estimate of how much time we had before Iran reached the point of no return. As we have seen, Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the IAEA, had "discovered" in 2003 that the Iranians were constructing facilities to enrich uranium. Still, as late as April 2007 the same Mr. ElBaradei was pooh-poohing the claims made by Mr. Ahmadinejad that Iran already had 3,000 centrifuges in operation. A month later, we learn from Mr. Richelson, Mr. ElBaradei changed his mind after a few spot inspections. "We believe," Mr. ElBaradei now said, that the Iranians "pretty much have the knowledge about how to enrich. From now on, it is simply a question of perfecting that knowledge."

We also learn from Mr. Richelson that another expert, Matthew Bunn of Harvard's Center for Science and International Affairs, interpreted the new information the IAEA came up with in April 2007 as meaning that "whether they're six months or a year away, one can debate. But it's not 10 years." This chilling estimate of how little time we had to prevent Iran from getting the bomb was similar to the conclusion reached by several Israeli experts (though the official Israeli estimate put the point of no return in 2009).

* * *

Then, in a trice, everything changed. Even as Mr. Bush must surely have been wrestling with the question of whether it would be on his watch that the decision on bombing the Iranian nuclear facilities would have to be made, the world was hit with a different kind of bomb. This took the form of an unclassified summary of a new NIE, published early last December. Entitled "Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities," this new document was obviously designed to blow up the near-universal consensus that had flowed from the conclusions reached by the intelligence community in its 2005 NIE. In brief, whereas the NIE of 2005 had assessed "with high confidence that Iran currently is determined to develop nuclear weapons," the new NIE of 2007 did "not know whether [Iran] currently intends to develop nuclear weapons."

This startling 180-degree turn was arrived at from new intelligence, offered by the new NIE with "high confidence": namely, that "in fall 2003 Tehran halted its nuclear-weapons program." The new NIE was also confident--though only moderately so--that "Tehran had not restarted its nuclear-weapons program as of mid-2007." And in the most sweeping of its new conclusions, it was even "moderately confident" that "the halt to those activities represents a halt to Iran's entire nuclear-weapons program."

Whatever else one might say about the new NIE, one point can be made with "high confidence": that by leading with the sensational news that Iran had suspended its nuclear-weapons program in 2003, its authors ensured that their entire document would be interpreted as meaning that there was no longer anything to worry about. Of course, being experienced bureaucrats, they took care to protect themselves from this very accusation. For example, after dropping their own bomb on the fear that Iran was hell-bent on getting the bomb, they immediately added "with moderate-to-high confidence that Tehran at a minimum is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons." But as they must have expected, scarcely anyone paid attention to this caveat. And as they must also have expected, even less attention was paid to another self-protective caveat, which--making doubly sure it would pass unnoticed--they relegated to a footnote appended to the lead sentence about the halt:

For the purposes of this Estimate, by "nuclear-weapons program" we mean Iran's nuclear-weapon design and weaponization work and covert uranium conversion-related and uranium enrichment-related work; we do not mean Iran's declared civil work related to uranium conversion and enrichment.
Since only an expert could grasp the significance of this cunning little masterpiece of incomprehensible jargon, the damage had been done by the time its dishonesty was exposed.

The first such exposure came from John Bolton, who before becoming our ambassador to the U.N. had served as undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, with a special responsibility for preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Donning this hat once again, Mr. Bolton charged that the dishonesty of the footnote lay most egregiously in the sharp distinction it drew between military and civilian programs. For, he said, "the enrichment of uranium, which all agree Iran is continuing, is critical to civilian and military uses. Indeed, it has always been Iran's 'civilian' program that posed the main risk of a nuclear 'breakout.' "

Two other experts, Valerie Lincy, the editor of, and Gary Milhollin, the director of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, followed up with an explanation of why the halt of 2003 was much less significant than a layman would inevitably be led to think:

25557  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ needles NY Slimes on: January 22, 2008, 06:22:59 PM
Underwhelmingly Iraqi
One of our favorite sports is mocking the New York Times for the roundabout way in which it tries to avoid acknowledging that al Qaeda in Iraq is connected with al Qaeda everywhere else. Here's a particularly inviting example, from yesterday's paper:

Some critics contend that estimates of insurgents who actually belong to Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, which American officials say is overwhelmingly Iraqi but has foreign leadership, tend to be overstated. Many insurgents who are lumped into the group, they say, are Sunnis who simply need money or who are angered by the sectarian bias of Iraqi security forces, but who have no wider allegiance to al Qaeda.
If "many" insurgents who are Iraqi are wrongly "lumped into this group," isn't the obvious conclusion that al Qaeda in Meso-whatever is underwhelmingly Iraqi? The Washington Post adds this:

U.S. military officials in Iraq said they now think that nine out of 10 suicide bombers have been foreigners, compared with earlier estimates of 75 percent.
This is further evidence that the New York Times is right, inasmuch as the New York Times is saying the New York Times is wrong.
25558  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tough Calls, Good Calls on: January 22, 2008, 05:21:27 PM
Tough Calls, Good Calls
January 22, 2008; Page A19

One of the most difficult and consequential decisions of the Bush presidency took place in January of last year: the decision to fundamentally change our strategy by "surging" more U.S. forces to Iraq.

This decision was taken against the backdrop of escalating violence in Iraq, calls for immediate or "phased" withdrawal, prognostications of imminent defeat, and an abundance of political blame directed at the White House. The president's move was met with skepticism and outright vilification, except for a few principled politicians like John McCain and Joe Lieberman. Today, people are getting in line to claim credit for the "surge."

Mr. Bush's decision was guided by a clear strategic principle. The president wanted the U.S. to win, and refashioning our strategy was the best opportunity to succeed in this goal, as well as to leave Iraq policy on a sounder basis for his successor. Whoever wins the presidency in 2008 will be pleased that he did. What a difference a year makes.

The surge may turn out to be Mr. Bush's most important decision. But he has made other such decisions since 9/11, including to commit ground forces to Afghanistan, to eradicate the regime of Saddam Hussein, to use the CIA to conduct strategic interrogation of high-level terrorists, and to conduct strategic surveillance of terrorists communications.

Mr. Bush has faced so many tough choices over the last seven years that his decision to withdraw from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty has been at least partially forgotten. Yet this decision, announced in December 2001, was no less consequential. It also defied the critics who argued that it would lead to a new arms race, increase nuclear proliferation and ruin cooperation with Russia on nuclear arms control and terrorism.

None of these things have happened as a result of the ABM Treaty withdrawal. But the decision will enable us to counter a still-growing 21st century threat.

In the summer of 2006, when Kim Jong Il was again seeking to intimidate America and its allies with medium and long-range missiles, the president had no real options short of pre-emptive attack or retaliation. And yet here, as with the surge, our next president will have tools at his or her disposal because Mr. Bush did not hesitate to do what was necessary for U.S. security.

Mr. Bush has assigned direction of our missile-defense capabilities and their integration into our overall defense strategy to the United States Strategic Command, part of whose mission is the responsibility for defending the nation from strategic missile attack. A global command and control system is being built, and is already functioning, to network our existing sensors and weapons. This can exercise real forces against current and emerging threats.

Meanwhile, a test bed has been built in the Pacific that includes operational assets -- sensors and shooters -- from California to Alaska, from the Aleutian Islands to Hawaii. Despite critics' claims to the contrary, test after test of kinetic kill interceptors has demonstrated the effectiveness of our defenses.

The first strategic missile interceptors since 1975 are deployed in Fort Greely, Alaska and Vandenberg AFB, Calif. They stand guard against an attack on the entire country. Sea-based interceptors that have far greater capability than the Patriots of Iraq are being deployed, using the SM-3 missile and Aegis radars.

Cooperation with key allies on missile defense is at an all-time high, and we are finally able to cooperate in ways that protect both American and allied territory. In Japan, we have deployed a radar capable of providing data for protecting both Japanese and U.S. territory. We are also co-developing a new version of the SM-3 that will have greater capability against long-range threats.

None of this could have happened if President Bush had not decided to withdraw from the ABM Treaty. What are the next steps that the country should take to capitalize fully on this strategic choice?

First, the president's call for a third strategic missile defense site in Europe must be carried out. This site provides additional capability to protect the U.S., and to protect as well our European allies from a growing Iranian missile threat. The site would further cement the development of a global sensor-and-interceptor network necessary for effective missile defense. Failure to follow through would have implications for our alliances both inside and out of Europe.

Second, we can expect that rogue states such as North Korea and Iran are already looking at ways to counter our existing defenses. One way they might do this is to deploy decoys or other countermeasures on their existing offensive missiles that must be attacked, and could thus exhaust our limited supply of interceptors. Fortunately, we can now explore cost-effective solutions to this threat.

One solution is to develop interceptors with multiple kill vehicles -- something that was explicitly banned by the ABM Treaty. Another solution is to develop advanced discrimination techniques to tell the decoys from the real threats. These techniques include using radars, space-based sensors, or a new concept that uses dozens of miniature interceptors that can literally sweep away an entire threat cloud of decoys, allowing the missile interceptor to hone in on the real warhead.

None of these techniques is fully proven, but neither was the hit-to-kill technology begun by President Reagan and later successfully deployed by President Bush. We must focus investment in the discrimination problem and improve our existing systems with these new capabilities.

Third, we can do more to increase the capabilities of existing assets. We can, for example, improve our sea-based capabilities -- both our performance against long-range missiles and the number of assets deployed. Under the ABM Treaty, we had to "dumb down" our so-called theater systems to ensure that they could not be used to defend the U.S. from attack. Free from this restraint, as well as from the Treaty's prohibition on mobile-launch platforms, we can now do much more to integrate our defense with that of our allies and make the most of the assets we have deployed.

Finally, we must look again at space as a place to deploy interceptors.

There is no question that space provides the highest leverage against the missile threat: Targets are more visible, more accessible and more vulnerable when attacked from space. While there are concerns about "weaponizing space," these pale in comparison to the increasing vulnerability of U.S. space-based satellites by weapons from the ground traversing space. The recent Chinese anti-satellite test was a wake-up call.

Space-based interceptors, like those proposed by former President George H. W. Bush in 1991, have the potential to strengthen missile defense, and to provide protection for key intelligence and communications assets in space that are now vulnerable from ground-based attack.

The progress of the past six years stems from one tough decision. That very same decision will allow us to stay ahead of the 21st century ballistic-missile threat.

Messrs. Crouch and Joseph are senior scholars at the National Institute for Public Policy. Mr. Crouch was formerly deputy national security adviser and Mr. Joseph was formerly undersecretary of State in the George W. Bush administration.

25559  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: January 22, 2008, 05:11:19 PM
Not that I agree, but Fred Barnes makes the case for McCain.  I am intrigued though that he has gotten Jack Kemp and Phil Gramm on board.  Both of these men have my respect.

Now McCain Must Convince The Right
January 22, 2008; Page A19

John McCain has a problem. After winning South Carolina's primary last Saturday, he should be the overwhelming favorite to capture the Republican presidential nomination. He's not, at least not yet, and the reason is that he's alienated so many conservatives over the past eight years.

Mr. McCain may become the Republican nominee anyway -- in spite of thunderous opposition by conservatives including radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, former Sen. Rick Santorum, and American Conservative Union (ACU) head David Keene. Even then, to win the general election, he must find a way to reconcile with conservatives and unify the Republican Party.

Mr. McCain will have to take the initiative to repair the relationship, and he appears ready to do just that.

His victory speech in South Carolina marked a new step. Rather than dwell on the hardy perennials of his campaign message, national security and patriotism, Mr. McCain spoke more broadly about his conservative goals. "We want government to do its job, not your job," he said, "and to do it with less of your money." He praised "free markets, low taxes and small government."

Moreover, Mr. McCain intends to go beyond conservative boilerplate and actually campaign as a conservative. His congressional voting record is predominantly conservative (ACU rating 82.3%), qualifying him to do so. He's already stepped outside his comfort zone on taxes, endorsing a cut in the corporate tax rate to 25% from 35%.

If he echoes the talking points dispatched to his surrogates over the weekend, he'll be fine. Besides touting Mr. McCain's ability to step in as "commander in chief on Day One," they were urged to emphasize what an ally calls a "Kemp-Gramm mishmash" of tax and spending cuts. Another point to stress: "Winning in November" is crucial to putting conservative judges on the Supreme Court.

It's worth noting the presence of supply-sider Jack Kemp and spending foe Phil Gramm on the McCain team. In fact, the Arizona senator has attracted an impressive array of conservative supporters, including Republican Sens. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Trent Lott of Mississippi, former Gov. Frank Keating of Oklahoma, and ex-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

Still, Mr. McCain's ties to liberal Democratic senators, and his difficulty suppressing his maverick streak, are a problem. In a televised debate two weeks ago, he said pharmaceutical companies are "bad guys" and called for importing drugs from Canada. Mr. McCain also endorsed a bipartisan commission to reform Social Security, which many conservatives see as a scheme for raising taxes.

When Mr. McCain strays from conservative orthodoxy, it's often the result of impulse. Before running for president in 2000, he rarely jumped ship. But in his campaign against George W. Bush, he enthralled the media with his "straight talk," which consisted mostly of tweaking conservatives and Republicans.

Since then, he's joined with Democrats to enact campaign-finance reform, push for bills allowing illegal immigrants to stay in this country, and impose a national cap on greenhouse gas emissions. All this has estranged many conservatives. Mr. Limbaugh declared last week that the nomination of John McCain or Mike Huckabee would "destroy the Republican Party . . . change it forever, be the end of it." Former Sen. Santorum and ex-House majority leader Tom DeLay insist they won't vote for Mr. McCain, even if his Democratic opponent is Hillary Clinton.

The McCain campaign claims that it's only a handful of conservative luminaries who oppose him. Not true. Complaints about him are rife among grassroots Republicans, and exit polls from the two primaries he won provide unmistakable evidence. He split self-identified Republicans with Mr. Huckabee in South Carolina and Mitt Romney in New Hampshire. But he barely won "somewhat conservative" voters in those states, and lost lopsidedly with "very conservative" voters.

Mr. McCain won both primaries because of his appeal to moderates and independents, indicating that he'd be a strong general election candidate. But he's got to take the Republican nomination first. That means winning without independents in more states with Republican-only primaries.

Spotlighting his conservative positions is a start. A few gestures bound to gain national attention would help. Appearing at today's March for Life demonstration in Washington would underscore his anti-abortion voting record. As Mr. McCain campaigns in Florida before next Tuesday's primary, a visit to Rush Limbaugh's home in Palm Beach to discuss conservative issues makes sense.

Ultimately, Mr. McCain doesn't have to make conservatives adore him. But he'll never be president unless he persuades them he's the most conservative candidate available with a credible chance of winning the White House. That shouldn't be too hard a sell.

Mr. Barnes is executive editor of the Weekly Standard and co-host of "The Beltway Boys" on Fox News Channel.
25560  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Nat Geo Documentary on the Dog Brothers: Fight Club on: January 22, 2008, 04:46:50 PM

Here's another blog post.

Corey "C-Dog Pound" Davis


I keep getting older!  As a child, I looked forward to every birthday.
About the time I hit 40, I started fighting it every step of the way.  At
45, I decided I wanted to be stronger with every successive year.  That
goal was severely interrupted in 2005, when I blow a disc in my neck and
underwent spinal fusion (C5-C7).

Today, I?m a cheeseburger away from 300 lbs and my 50th year is getting
close, but I am stronger today than I was before my injury.  Last year, I
rode a bicycle 360 miles in six days.  Last October, I rode a century (100
miles in one day) and I am training for another century this May.  I've
had eight Dog Fights at the Gatherings last year.  I can hit harder, lift
more weight, and my cardio is better than a lot of younger (and lighter)

Am I bragging?  Sure, but I'm also very grateful.  I was blessed with a
supportive wife and kids, and some very good physical therapists and
conditioning coaches who have helped me met my goals.
25561  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Nat Geo Documentary on the Dog Brothers: Fight Club on: January 22, 2008, 01:33:43 PM

I am a Martialist Christian.
My understanding of what Christ expects of me as a Christian is found in
His words to love God with my whole being and love others as I love
myself.  There is nothing passive or small about practicing this kind of

I practice martial arts for many of the same reasons as other people - to
stay in shape and to hang out with friends.  However, I ride with a
bicycle club for those reasons.  If exercise and friends was all I am
after, I would stick to riding (less bruises).  I practice martial arts to
learn how to hurt people.  And yet I am unconflicted.

The Christian Warrior is not only allowed in my ethic, but it thrives.
What if I were being hurt?  What if it was my wife or my kid who was in
trouble?  I would want someone to help - to fight - and not just standby
and watch.  Christian love requires us to imagine ourselves in another's
place and to act.  On the other hand, bystanders keep their hands in their
pockets because they live in a fantasy where trouble always happens to
someone else.  In the New Testament parable of the Good Samaritan, the
Samaritan was good because upon finding the man after he was beaten and
robbed, he cared for him.  Would he have still been the hero of the story,
if he had stood by and watched while the man was beat down and then care
for him?  No!

Happily my life is not filled with bad guys who are constantly attacking
my family and friends.  However, it is satisfying to know that I can do a
lot as a Christian to help the people around me - including defend them.

25562  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Nat Geo Documentary on the Dog Brothers: Fight Club on: January 22, 2008, 01:04:24 PM
25563  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: January 22, 2008, 01:00:43 PM
English mosques are so extremist they'd be closed down in Baghdad, says IRAQ'S deputy prime minister

Certain English mosques are more radical than those found in Iraq and would be "illegal" in the war-torn country according to the Iraqi deputy prime minister.  The shocking remarks, made by Dr Barham Salih, related to mosques he visited in Blackburn and have angered Muslim leaders.  Dr Salih visited the east Lancashire town in 2005 as a guest of Jack Straw and made his remarks at a dinner party in Baghdad in November.

Shadow culture minister Tobias Ellwood, who attended the dinner, claimed the Iraqi politician said: "I am not surprised that you British are facing so many problems with extremists after what I saw in those mosques in Blackburn.  What I saw would not be allowed here in Iraq - it would be illegal."

The 41-year-old MP made the claims during a Westminster debate on terrorism.

He said: "I know Jack Straw well, but my eyebrows raise when you have a very senior Iraqi leader make comments like that.  I do not believe these comments can be dismissed out of hand. I was absolutely shocked.  He went inside the mosques, and said literature he saw would be illegal. He was quite clear.  The comments are only directed at a very small proportion of mosques in the UK - the vast majority of Muslims wouldn't want to be labelled."

Salim Mulla, chairman of the Lancashire Council of Mosques, reacted furiously to the comments. He said Dr Salih spoke positively about what he had seen in the town when they spoke during his visit.

He said: "We are going out of our way to bring the community together. Nobody is working harder than us at breaking down barriers.  For Dr Salih to make these sort of comments is not very helpful at all.  I don't know where he's coming from. He was very co-operative when he visited, and took lots of photographs. How many incidents have we had in Blackburn? He is talking a load of rubbish."

Dr Salih, a Sunni Muslim, was elected in January 2005 to Iraq's first democratically held elections in 50 years.  During his visit, in the run-up to the 2005 general election, he told voters to support Jack Straw, then Foreign Secretary, and not to turn against him because of the war in Iraq.  Salim Mulla said he could not recall which mosques, Dr Salih visited.
25564  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Evolutionary biology/psychology on: January 22, 2008, 09:16:22 AM
NY Times

As the candidates have shown us in the succulent telenovela that is the 2008 presidential race, there are many ways to parry for political power. You can go tough and steely in an orange hunter’s jacket, or touchy-feely with a Kleenex packet. You can ally yourself with an alpha male like Chuck Norris, befriend an alpha female like Oprah Winfrey or split the difference and campaign with your mother. You can seek the measured endorsement of the town elders or the restless energy of the young, showily handle strange infants or furtively slam your opponents.

Just as there are myriad strategies open to the human political animal with White House ambitions, so there are a number of nonhuman animals that behave like textbook politicians. Researchers who study highly gregarious and relatively brainy species like rhesus monkeys, baboons, dolphins, sperm whales, elephants and wolves have lately uncovered evidence that the creatures engage in extraordinarily sophisticated forms of politicking, often across large and far-flung social networks.

Male dolphins, for example, organize themselves into at least three nested tiers of friends and accomplices, said Richard C. Connor of the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, rather like the way human societies are constructed of small kin groups allied into larger tribes allied into still larger nation-states. The dolphins maintain their alliances through elaborately synchronized twists, leaps and spins like Blue Angel pilots blazing their acrobatic fraternity on high.

Among elephants, it is the females who are the born politicians, cultivating robust and lifelong social ties with at least 100 other elephants, a task made easier by their power to communicate infrasonically across miles of savanna floor. Wolves, it seems, leaven their otherwise strongly hierarchical society with occasional displays of populist umbrage, and if a pack leader proves a too-snappish tyrant, subordinate wolves will collude to overthrow the top cur.

Wherever animals must pool their talents and numbers into cohesive social groups, scientists said, the better to protect against predators, defend or enlarge choice real estate or acquire mates, the stage will be set for the appearance of political skills — the ability to please and placate, manipulate and intimidate, trade favors and scratch backs or, better yet, pluck those backs free of botflies and ticks.

Over time, the demands of a social animal’s social life may come to swamp all other selective pressures in the environment, possibly serving as the dominant spur for the evolution of ever-bigger vote-tracking brains. And though we humans may vaguely disapprove of our political impulses and harbor “Fountainhead” fantasies of pulling free in full glory from the nattering tribe, in fact for us and other highly social species there is no turning back. A lone wolf is a weak wolf, a failure, with no chance it will thrive.

Dario Maestripieri, a primatologist at the University of Chicago, has observed a similar dilemma in humans and the rhesus monkeys he studies.

“The paradox of a highly social species like rhesus monkeys and humans is that our complex sociality is the reason for our success, but it’s also the source of our greatest troubles,” he said. “Throughout human history, you see that the worst problems for people almost always come from other people, and it’s the same for the monkeys. You can put them anywhere, but their main problem is always going to be other rhesus monkeys.”

As Dr. Maestripieri sees it, rhesus monkeys embody the concept “Machiavellian” (and he accordingly named his recent popular book about the macaques “Macachiavellian Intelligence”).

“Individuals don’t fight for food, space or resources,” Dr. Maestripieri explained. “They fight for power.” With power and status, he added, “they’ll have control over everything else.”

Rhesus monkeys, midsize omnivores with ruddy brown fur, long bearded faces and disturbingly humanlike ears, are found throughout Asia, including in many cities, where they, like everybody else, enjoy harassing the tourists. The monkeys typically live in groups of 30 or so, a majority of them genetically related females and their dependent offspring.

A female monkey’s status is usually determined by her mother’s status. Male adults, as the ones who enter the group from the outside, must establish their social positions from scratch, bite, baring of canines and, most importantly, rallying their bases.
Page 2 of 2)

“Fighting is never something that occurs between two individuals,” Dr. Maestripieri said. “Others get involved all the time, and your chances of success depend on how many allies you have, how wide is your network of support.”

Monkeys cultivate relationships by sitting close to their friends, grooming them at every possible opportunity and going to their aid — at least, when the photo op is right. “Rhesus males are quintessential opportunists,” Dr. Maestripieri said. “They pretend they’re helping others, but they only help adults, not infants. They only help those who are higher in rank than they are, not lower. They intervene in fights where they know they’re going to win anyway and where the risk of being injured is small.”

In sum, he said, “they try to gain maximal benefits at minimal cost, and that’s a strategy that seems to work” in advancing status.

Not all male primates pursue power by appealing to the gents. Among olive baboons, for example, a young male adult who has left his natal home and seeks to be elected into a new baboon group begins by making friendly overtures toward a resident female who is not in estrous at the moment and hence not being contested by other males of the troop.

“If the male is successful in forming a friendship with a female, that gives him an opening with her relatives and allows him to work his way into the whole female network,” said Barbara Smuts, a biologist at the University of Michigan. “In olive baboons, friendships with females can be much more important than political alliances with other males.”

Because males are often the so-called dispersing sex, while females stay behind in the support network of their female kin, females form the political backbone among many social mammals; the longer-lived the species, the denser and more richly articulated that backbone is likely to be.

With life spans rivaling ours, elephants are proving to possess some of the most elaborate social networks yet observed, and their memories for far-flung friends and relations are well in line with the species’ reputation. Elephant society is organized as a matriarchy, said George Wittemyer, an elephant expert at the University of California, Berkeley, with a given core group of maybe 10 elephants led by the eldest resident female. That core group is together virtually all the time, traveling over considerable distances, stopping to dig water holes, looking for fresh foliage to uproot and devour.

“They’re constantly making decisions, debating among themselves, over food, water and security,” Dr. Wittemyer said. “You can see it in the field. You can hear them vocally disagree.” Typically, the matriarch has the final say, and the others abide by her decision. If a faction disagrees strongly enough and wants to try a different approach, “the group will split up and meet back again later,” said Dr. Wittemyer.

Age has its privileges, he said, and the older females, even if they are not the biggest, will often get the best spots to sleep and the best food to eat. But it also has its responsibilities, and a matriarch is often the one to lead the charge in the face of conflicts with other elephants or predatory threats, sometimes to lethal effect.

Hal Whitehead of Dalhousie University and his colleagues have found surprising parallels between the elephant and another mammoth mammal, the sperm whale, possessor of the largest brain, in absolute terms, that the world has ever known. As with elephants, sperm whale society is sexually segregated, the females clustering in oceanic neighborhoods 40 degrees north or south of the Equator, and the males preferring waters around the poles.

As with elephants, the core social unit is a clan of some 10 or 12 females and their offspring. Sperm whales also are highly vocal. They communicate with one another using a Morse code-like pattern of clicks. Each clan, Dr. Whitehead said, has a distinctive click dialect that the members use to identify one another and that adults pass to the young. In other words, he said, “It looks like they have a form of culture.”

Nobody knows what the whales may have to click and clack about, but it could be a form of voting — time to stop here and synchronously dive down in search of deep water squid, now time to resurface, move on, dive again. Clans also seem to caucus on which males they like and will mate with more or less as a group and which ones they will collectively spurn. By all appearances, female sperm whales are terrible size queens. Over the generations, they have consistently voted in favor of enhanced male mass. Their dream candidate nowadays is some fellow named Moby, and he’s three times their size.

25565  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Franklin: Children on: January 22, 2008, 08:27:30 AM
"And as to the Cares, they are chiefly what attend the bringing
up of Children; and I would ask any Man who has experienced it,
if they are not the most delightful Cares in the World; and if
from that Particular alone, he does not find the Bliss of a double
State much greater, instead of being less than he expected."

-- Benjamin Franklin (Reply to a Piece of Advice)

Reference: Franklin: Collected Works, Lemay, ed. (249)
25566  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Epidemics: Bird Flu, TB, etc on: January 22, 2008, 08:26:32 AM
KOLKATA, India : India's worst ever outbreak of bird flu could turn into a disaster, an official warned Tuesday, as five people were reportedly quarantined with symptoms of the virus.

Eight districts in the eastern state of West Bengal have been hit by the virus, and dead birds are being sold and locals said to be "feasting" on cheap chicken.

The state's animal resources minister, Anisur Rahaman, said authorities were "determined to cull all poultry in the districts in three or four days, otherwise the state will face a disaster."

More than 100,000 bird deaths have been reported, and teams are racing to cull two million chickens and ducks.

The Times of India reported five people in West Bengal have been quarantined with "clinical symptoms" of avian flu -- including fever, coughing, sore throat and muscle ache -- after handling affected poultry.

If the tests are positive, this will be the first case of human infection in India, home to 1.1 billion people and hit by bird flu among poultry three times since 2006.

Health officials in New Delhi said they were currently analysing blood samples from close to 150 people who have complained of fever.

On the ground, culling teams have been facing an uphill battle with villagers smuggling birds out of flu affected areas and selling them in open markets.

Thirty-year-old Sheikh Ali, a vendor in Birbhum's Gharisa market, 340 kilometres (192 miles) from the state capital Kolkata, said the sale of poultry had doubled in the past week.

"The prices of chicken have come down from 60 rupees to 20 rupees (1.5 dollars to 50 cents) per kilogramme (2.2 pounds).

"Poor villagers are feasting on chicken. At normal times, they cannot afford to buy as prices are so high. Now they are enjoying the meat," Ali said.

People typically catch the disease by coming into direct contact with infected poultry, but experts fear a flu pandemic if the H5N1 mutates into a form easily transmissible between humans.

Migratory birds have been largely blamed for the global spread of the disease, which has killed more than 200 people worldwide since 2003.

In Birbhum, police seized two trucks of smuggled poultry early Tuesday but culling teams were yet to arrive at the spot, an AFP correspondent said.

"Poultry owners are smuggling their birds out at night and transporting it to different places for fear of culling," said Shubhendu Mahato, a security guard at Arambagh Hatchery, one of the biggest in West Bengal.

Chicken shops had also sprung up along the main highways overnight with people crowding them, the AFP correspondent said.

Neighbouring Nepal, which has banned poultry imports from India since 2006, said its border posts were on high alert.

Bangladesh, which also borders West Bengal, was meanwhile battling its own serious outbreak -- with experts warning the situation was far worse than the government was letting on.

"Bird flu is now everywhere. Every day we have reports of birds dying in farms," said leading poultry expert and the treasurer of Bangladesh Poultry Association M.M Khan.

"Things are now very, very serious and public health is under danger. The government is trying to suppress the whole scenario," Khan said, adding that farmers were also holding back from reporting cases.


In a closely related vein

25567  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: January 22, 2008, 08:16:20 AM
New York Times

January 22, 2008

Mexico Hits Drug Gangs With Full Fury of War

RÍO BRAVO, Mexico —

These days, it is easy to form the impression that a war is going on in Mexico. Thousands of elite troops in battle gear stream toward border towns and snake through the streets in jeeps with .50-caliber machine guns mounted on top while fighter jets from the Mexican Navy fly reconnaissance missions overhead.

Gun battles between federal forces and drug-cartel members carrying rocket-propelled-grenade launchers have taken place over the past two weeks in border towns like Río Bravo and Tijuana, with deadly results.

Yet what is happening is less a war than a sustained federal intervention in states where for decades corrupt municipal police officers and drug gangs have worked together in relative peace, officials say. The federal forces are not only hunting cartel leaders, but also going after their crews of gunslingers, like Gulf Cartel guards known as the Zetas, who terrorize the towns they control.

The onslaught has broken up a longstanding system in which the local police looked the other way for a bribe and cartel leaders went about their business.

In Río Bravo, for instance, the state police station sits across the street from a walled compound that until recently was used as a safe house by Zeta gunmen. A deadly gunfight broke out when federal agents tried to arrest men carrying machine guns in a car.

As grenades exploded and gunfire ripped the air, Jesús Vasquez, 65, dived behind the dusty counter of his store. He hugged the concrete and prayed.

“It was ugly,” he recalled. “It’s the first time something like this has happened.”

President Felipe Calderón, who won office in 2006 on a promise to create jobs, has spent most of his first year in office trying to break up organized crime rings. To the consternation of some liberals here, he has mobilized the military to do it, sending 6,000 troops into Tamaulipas state alone.

As those troops, along with thousands of federal agents, have begun putting pressure on drug gangs, the midlevel mobsters and hit men have put up a surprising amount of resistance. Again and again, they have chosen to fight it out rather than surrender.

They have ambushed and killed more than 20 police officers this year. In the past two weeks, four federal agents and three Baja California police commanders have been assassinated, along with the wife and child of one of them, apparently in retaliation for arrests, law enforcement officials said.

That violence has spread to the United States. On Saturday morning, drug-smuggling suspects from Mexico killed an American border patrol agent, Luis Aguilar, 32, when he tried to stop their cars in sand dunes about 20 miles west of Yuma, Ariz., then fled back across the border. Michael Chertoff, the homeland security secretary, said the killing demonstrated how Mexican criminal organizations had responded to the crackdown on their operations with increasing brutality.

“The Zetas are defying the state,” said Jorge Chabat, an expert on narcotics trafficking and security at CIDE, a Mexican research group. “This operation in the north of Mexico in recent days has no precedent.”

It remains to be seen whether Mr. Calderón’s strategy will work in the long run. Many of the nation’s most-wanted drug kingpins continue to elude federal forces, often with the help of local police officers.

Some federal officers admit privately that they face an uphill battle as long as local police officers continue to tip off drug gangs about their movements. The threat became clear on Saturday when federal officials arrested four local policemen in Nuevo Laredo, along with seven civilians, and charged them with feeding the Zetas information over police radio frequencies.

“You cannot count on the local police,” said a veteran federal inspector in Reynosa, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of losing his job. “The problem lies in the state police. They are completely at the service of these guys.”

In Tamaulipas state, just south of eastern Texas, the government’s focus has been on strangling the Zetas. Founded by former Mexican commandos trained in the United States, the Zetas have long been the professional assassins of the Gulf Cartel, which controls the flow of drugs along the Gulf Coast and across the Texas border. The group is believed to have scores of members, though the exact number is unknown.

The gunmen remain a formidable force, the authorities say. Federal police commanders in the state must stay on the move and keep their location secret to avoid assassination attempts. The state federal attorney general’s office has been vacant for months; officials in Mexico City say they are having trouble filling the post.

Edgar Millán, a federal police commander who is in charge of tracking down the Zetas, said a contingent of 1,200 officers in Tamaulipas searched every day for members of the group, hitting specific targets believed to be safe houses and watching for cars carrying gunmen.

The federal police also run a system of 10 checkpoints on major highways in the eastern half of the state. Most of the time, they stop cars with tinted windows that carry two or more young men, hoping to make it harder for the gunmen to move.

But the Zetas have a sophisticated spy network as well, Commander Millán said in an interview. They employ taxi drivers, store clerks, street vendors and members of the local police to keep them apprised of the movements of federal officers.

Several times in the past four months, the police have been close to capturing the leader of the cartel, Heriberto Lazcano, only to have him slip away at the last moment, Commander Millán said. Two other important reputed cartel leaders, Jorge Eduardo Costilla and Miguel Ángel Treviño, have also eluded capture.

While the Gulf Cartel leaders remain at large, the government scored a success in Sinaloa on Monday when it captured Alfredo Beltrán Leyva, one of five brothers who are high-ranking lieutenants in the Culiacan-based cartel.

Though the big bosses have slipped through the dragnet — the offensive that was started against the Zetas in late November after a prominent local politician was murdered in Río Bravo — it has paid off in many respects, officials said. The police have arrested about 40 reputed members of the gang and seized dozens of machine guns, rifles, side arms, grenades and boxes of ammunition.

The federal police have also begun to submit local police officers to a battery of tests to determine who might be linked to organized crime. Among the tests are polygraphs, drug tests and the vetting of personal finances. The goal is to weed out collaborators.

Many people here say they welcome the federal intervention, even if it means having columns of troops patrol their streets. But others voice doubt that government forces can ever stamp out the cartel, given its infiltration of the local police. All the federal forces have accomplished, they say, is unleashing more violence.

“Living in Mexico has become very difficult,” said one man who had been searched at a roadblock near Matamoros. He spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of drug dealers. “Even Colombia is looking better.”

Others complain that the presence of soldiers and federal agents, along with the gun battles, has scared away American tourists, an important source of income. Last year, about six million fewer people visited border towns than in 2006; hotel bookings are down and sales of package tours have fallen steeply, according to the Association of Mexican Hotels and Motels.

“A lot of people used to come over the border to eat and buy things,” said Alfredo Tantu, 40, the owner of El Cazador Restaurant near Río Bravo, as the smell of roasting baby goat wafted from his kitchen. “Now, almost no one comes because of all this police action.”
25568  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Nat Geo Documentary on the Dog Brothers: Fight Club on: January 21, 2008, 04:58:16 PM
Guro Crafty -

I couldn't post to the "open" forum - probably need to set up a separate user name or something... Pls forgive laziness, but feel free to post this if you think it's useful...

Name: John
Occupation: Enterprise IT Management Consultant
Age: 45

"Higher Conciousness through Harder Contact"...(c)

I found the DogBrothers online a few days after my first serious fencing bout.  I lost the bout on points (I was a beginner) but an amazing thing happened in my mind as I got hit again and again...  And I was amazed and excited to find a group that had already discovered the magic I'd felt in that bout.  It didn't matter that I'd lost - the explosion in my mind at the moment of hard contact was the real win.

When I saw the reality in the Dog Brothers apprach, I focused on real contact fighting.  I've never looked back.  I've been studying seriously for about a year now -- which brings me to the second credo...

"Walk as a Warrior for All Your Days"

I'm no longer a young buck, and have family and professional obligations.  Dog Brothers give me a chance to keep on the Warrior path anyway.  The comradirie I experienced at the '06 gathering - as well as the EXCELLENCE of the training videos produced by Guro Crafty Dog give me the resources I need to continue on a Warrior's path.  I train for a gathering, not to win, but to face my own fears, give myself a target and a way to judge my progress.  Knowing the intensity I will face at a gathering motivates my training and changes how I train.

I train a number of "styles" because they suit my psychology, physiology, and geography.  To borrow a line from a Dog Brother shown in one of the training videos - "You have to train yourself".  This leads to the next Dog Brother credo:

"Smuggling Concepts Across the Frontiers of Style" (c)

The thing that excited me most about the Dog Brothers was that "anything goes".  If it's a good idea that really works in a fight - bring it to a gathering and try it out.  Don't say what "should" work in a fight unless you're willing to show up and bring your skills to a full-out trial against determined resistance.  Then we can talk about what does and doesn't work in a fight.

Dog Brothers is about "truth in combat" - not what looks good in a kata.  Distilled experience from hard-fought combat - as close to the edge as we can go...  That's my idea of reality.

...Of the Same Tribe...

Finally, the idea that our purpose is to support each other in being prepared to protect our partners, our children and even our country - is a goal that gives meaning to the quest.  To test each other without breaking each other - so that each member of the "tribe" can reach their potential - that's my idea of true brotherhood.

Even if I "lose" to younger stronger members of the tribe, I will have tested myself and know my abilities far better than I could by any other means.
25569  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Videos: Estudios en applicacion on: January 21, 2008, 04:52:04 PM
Continuando con el tema del clip de Holanda:

Pensando en soluciones, me parece muy importante la linea de mi ataque.  Aunque el asesino parece muy enfocado en su matanza, lo que me preocupa es la posibilidad de un movimiento spontaneo y riesgoso hacia mi si mi linea de ataque no lo tome en cuenta.

He aqui un ejemplo de lo que hablo:
El policia muestra corazon y huevos de hombre, pero por el proposito que pongo este clip aqui quiero que Uds presten su atencion a lo que hace SIN PENSAR la mano con el cuchillo-- el movimiento resulta estar muy cerca al sangre femoral/los partes sexuales.

Aplicando este concepto al caso en Holanda, pienso lo siguiente:

1) No hay tiempo.  Hay que actuar.  Cada golpe con el cuchillo puede ser el golpe que mate.
2) Si tengo mis propias armas, la solucion es distinta.  Si tengo pistola, una bala en la cabeza (con cuidado por donde vaya la bala) o si tengo cuchillo soluciones usando dicho herramiento.
3) Pues, es Holanda, entonces poco probable que la gente tenga pistola o cuchillo-- por lo cual la solucion tiene que ser de mano desnudo.  Aceptando eso, para quitar el asesino de su monte sobre la mujer, un patada "side kick" (estilo Jun Fan/Bruce Lee  cheesy) desde 0300 o 0900 me parece logico.  En cualquiera de las dos lineas que sea, hay que usar la pierna que no deje expuesta la sangre femoral.
4) Hay que gritar a los otros sacar de alli la mujer, mientras yo me mantenga listo para continuar la situacion con el asesino.

!Ojala que Uds entiendan mi espanol!
25570  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Islamismo radical y España on: January 21, 2008, 04:36:06 PM
Gracias por matenernos informados sobre acontecimientos de este indole.
25571  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mil-blogs: Michael Yon and others (support our troops) on: January 21, 2008, 09:17:34 AM
MY makes the NY Times!  Plus his most recent email letter:

Michael Yon covers the Iraq war intimately by staying with soldiers under fire.
Published: January 21, 2008
Michael Yon was not a journalist, and he wasn’t sure what a blogger was. He had been in uniform but not in combat, and he wanted to keep it that way. He went to Iraq thinking he would stay for a month, and maybe find a way to write about the war after he got home.

Enlarge This Image
© Michael P. Yon
Michael Yon, a former Special Forces fighter, writes dispatches and posts photographs from the front lines in Iraq.

Instead, he has spent most of the last three years in Iraq, writing prolifically and graphically, and racking up more time embedded with combat units than any other journalist, according to the United States military. He has been shot at, buffeted by explosions and seen more people maimed — fighters and civilians, adults and children — than he can count.

“The easiest thing in the world to write about is combat, because all the drama is there,” said Mr. Yon, a fit, ruddy-faced 43-year-old who was a Special Forces soldier more than two decades ago. He insists that he still does not really know the rules of journalism, but says he has recently, grudgingly, accepted that he has become a journalist.

His detailed, mostly admiring accounts of front-line soldiers’ daily work have won him a loyal following, especially among service members and journalists and bloggers who follow the war. One of his photographs showing an American soldier cradling an Iraqi girl injured in a car bombing (the girl later died) appeared on Time magazine’s Web site and was later voted one of top images of the year by visitors.

Mr. Yon, however, does not work for any organization; no news outlet pays him for the hundreds of dispatches and photos he has produced. He publishes his work on his own Web site, (some will appear again in a book set for release in April), and he also posts submissions from military people serving in Iraq. He says contributions from his readers have paid most of his costs, though he declines to say how much they have given.

Like most bloggers, Mr. Yon has an agenda, writing often that the United States’ mission to build a stable, democratic Iraq is succeeding and must continue. He rarely disparages those who disagree, though, and he does not shy away from describing the disturbing things he sees.

He sometimes criticizes United States forces, their Iraqi allies, and even decision makers in Washington; lately, he has warned that while the American focus is on Iraq, Afghanistan is being lost.

His upbeat outlook on the war has made Mr. Yon a favorite of the war’s supporters. But others in that camp have attacked him for insisting that Iraq is in a civil war, and for condemning American treatment of some detainees.

“His work has a remarkable, chin-out, unvarnished intimacy,” said Jackie Lyden, a National Public Radio reporter who has worked in Iraq. “He isn’t a guarded, diplomatically toned reporter; he can be very frank, and he questions his own assumptions.”

The Internet has fostered such citizen journalism, shaking up ideas about where news comes from, but few have taken on the expense and danger of working in a war zone. Mr. Yon’s daily expenses are small, but he has paid tens of thousands of dollars for computers, cameras, phones and body armor.

He went to Iraq believing that the mainstream news media were bungling the story, and he still often criticizes the media’s pessimism. But he has also praised particular reporters from major outlets, or defended the media in general, explaining how difficult and dangerous it is to cover the war.

Along the way, he created a niche outlet that is better reported than most blogs, and more opinionated than most news reporting, with enough first-hand observation, clarity and skepticism to put many professional journalists to shame.

“We saw the man lying face down, barefoot, in filthy, oily mud, human excrement all around him,” he wrote in 2005, describing the aftermath of a gun battle he had witnessed. “He had fallen in an open air toilet, where he lay, belly-shot,” Mr. Yon continued. “The man brought his hand to his head, and touched his forehead with his index finger, pointing right between his eyes. ‘Shoot me, shoot me,’ he said. ‘I want to die.’ ”

Col. Stephen Twitty, a brigade commander with whom Mr. Yon has spent time in Iraq, had high praise for his work, saying that he often takes the same risks as the soldiers he accompanies.


Frontline Blogger Covers War in Iraq With a Soldier’s Eyes
Published: January 21, 2008
(Page 2 of 2)

In his first year and a half of online writing, Mr. Yon carefully avoided a position on whether he thought the war should have been waged in the first place. He eventually said that he had supported it reluctantly because of claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

Mr. Yon aims some barbs at the military brass, but talking with him and reading his work, it becomes clear that he has also pulled punches, not wanting to undermine the war effort.

In an interview, he said that when he first went to Iraq, in December 2004, “I knew we were losing the war,” and that “it was worse than the news was portraying.”

He said that in the early going, the military mishandled both the fighting and the press, and that among field commanders, “I started finding quite a few that seemed to be dialed in and knew what they were doing, and I found quite a lot that were quite clueless.”

Little of that dark view made its way into his dispatches, especially in his first year.

Mr. Yon has spent much of his life traveling and immersing himself in new places. Along the way, he wrote and self-published a book about his childhood. He decided to see the Iraq war for himself after three of his friends were killed there in 2004, and the military decided that his book was credential enough to let him accompany a combat unit.

Since then, bloggers and independent journalists have grown in numbers in Iraq, while the mainstream media there has shrunk. Overall, the number of embedded reporters at a given time dropped from several hundred in the early going to a few dozen in recent months.

In 2005 and 2006, Mr. Yon went through a period of rocky relations with the military hierarchy, which at times tried to bar him from accompanying units. But since then, things have improved, and the military has generally become more conscious — and solicitous — of Internet journalists. To Mr. Yon, ever-hopeful about the war, that change is healthy for Iraq, as well as for him.

“If you have bad media relations, you don’t know how to run a counterinsurgency,” he said. “Now they’re very good at it.”

----- Original Message -----
From: Michael Yon
Sent: Monday, January 21, 2008 3:13 AM
Subject: Preparing for a return to Iraq

If you have trouble reading this email, go to the online version.

I am preparing to head back to Iraq at the end of this week.

We've added a lot of new material to the site in the past week, including updates on units I've embedded with and stories published during 2007, and links to news items, like a profile in the New York Times.

If you haven't been to the website recently, we have added new archive pages that can be accessed here.

News that my book, Moment of Truth in Iraq (which will be published in April 2008) is now available for special advance purchase has prompted renewed interest in my first book Danger Close, and we've republished the first chapter of that book here.

Also, at the suggestion of readers, my Dragon Skin body armor is up for auction on E-Bay. You can read why here, and follow the bidding here.

As always, reader support is greatly appreciated, especially as I organize and assemble the gear needed for this next embed. Without the generosity of readers, this mission could not go forward. And during this election year when important decisions will be made on Iraq, front line news will be critical for identifying political truth-tellers.

Thank you,



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25572  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Franklin: Religion & Morals; MLK on: January 21, 2008, 09:07:21 AM
"In such a performance you may lay the foundation of national
happiness only in religion, not by leaving it doubtful "whether
morals can exist without it," but by asserting that without
religion morals are the effects of causes as purely physical as
pleasant breezes and fruitful seasons."

-- Benjamin Rush (letter to John Adams, 20 August 1811)

Reference: Americanism, Gebhardt (12); original Letters, Rush,
Butterfield, ed., vol. 2 (1096-97)

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’... I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character... And if America is to be a great nation this must become true.” —Martin Luther King, Jr.
25573  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Monster Garage on: January 20, 2008, 06:04:59 PM
Good find!

For those who don't know, the past two Gatherings were held in the warehouse that was the set for the show "Monster Garage"
25574  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Subject Headings on: January 20, 2008, 09:51:28 AM
Woof All:

I'd like to remind everyone to please put in a subject heading for each post-- this greatly facilitates ease of the use of the search function and thus the value of this forum as a research resource. 

Thank you,
Crafty Dog
25575  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Terrorist Tort Travesty on: January 20, 2008, 08:58:33 AM
Terrorist Tort Travesty
January 19, 2008; Page A13

War is a continuation of politics by other means, the German strategist Carl von Clausewitz famously observed in his 19th-century treatise, "On War." Clausewitz surely could never have imagined that politics, pursued through our own courts, would be the continuation of war.

Last week, I (a former Bush administration official) was sued by José Padilla -- a 37-year-old al Qaeda operative convicted last summer of setting up a terrorist cell in Miami. Padilla wants a declaration that his detention by the U.S. government was unconstitutional, $1 in damages, and all of the fees charged by his own attorneys.

José Padilla
The lawsuit by Padilla and his Yale Law School lawyers is an effort to open another front against U.S. anti-terrorism policies. If he succeeds, it won't be long before opponents of the war on terror use the courtroom to reverse the wartime measures needed to defeat those responsible for killing 3,000 Americans on 9/11.

On Thursday, a federal judge moved closer to sentencing Padilla to life in prison. After being recruited by al Qaeda agents in the late 1990s, Padilla left for Egypt in 1998 and reached terrorist training camps in Afghanistan in 2000. American officials stopped him at Chicago O'Hare airport in 2002, based on intelligence gained from captured al Qaeda leaders that he was plotting a dirty bomb attack.

President Bush declared Padilla an enemy combatant and ordered him sent to a naval brig in South Carolina. After a federal appeals court rejected Padilla's plea for release, the government transferred him to Miami for trial for al Qaeda conspiracies unrelated to the dirty bomb plot. Federal prosecutors described Padilla as "a trained al-Qaeda killer," and a jury convicted him of conspiring to commit murder, kidnapping and maiming, and of providing material support to terrorists.

Now Padilla and his lawyers are trying to use our own courts to attack the government officials who stopped him. They claim that the government cannot detain Padilla as an enemy combatant, but instead can only hold and try him as a criminal. Padilla alleges that he was abused in military custody -- based primarily on his claim that he was held in isolation and not allowed to meet with lawyers.

But enemy prisoners in wartime never before received the right to counsel or a civilian trial because, as the Supreme Court observed in 2004, the purpose of detention is not to punish, but to prevent the enemy from returning to the fight.

Under Padilla's theory, the U.S. is not at war, so any citizen killed or captured by the CIA or the military can sue. In November 2002, according to press reports, a Predator drone killed two al Qaeda leaders driving in the Yemen desert. One was an American, Kamal Derwish, who was suspected of leading a terrorist cell near Buffalo. If Padilla's lawsuit were to prevail, Derwish's survivors could sue everyone up the chain of command -- from the agent who pressed the button, personally -- for damages.

Padilla's complaints mirror the left's campaign against the war. To them, the 9/11 attacks did not start a war, but instead were simply a catastrophe, like a crime or even a natural disaster. They would limit the U.S. response only to criminal law enforcement managed by courts, not the military. Every terrorist captured away from the Afghanistan battlefield would have the right to counsel, Miranda warnings, and a criminal trial that could force the government to reveal its vital intelligence secrets.

America used this approach in the 1990s with al Qaeda. It did not work. Both the executive and legislative branches rejected this failed strategy. In the first week after 9/11, Congress passed a law authorizing the use of military force against any person, group or nation connected to the attacks, and recognized the President's constitutional authority "to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the United States."

In the spring of 2002, I was a Justice Department lawyer asked about the legality of Padilla's detention. There is ample constitutional precedent to support the detention of a suspected al Qaeda agent, even an American citizen, who plans to carry out terrorist attacks on our soil. During World War II, eight Nazi saboteurs secretly landed in New York to attack factories and plants. Two of them were American citizens.

After their capture, FDR sent them to military detention, where they were tried and most of them executed. In Ex Parte Quirin, the Supreme Court upheld the detention and trial by military authorities of American citizens who "associate" with "the military arm of the enemy" and "enter this country bent on hostile acts." If FDR were president today, Padilla might have fared far worse than he has.

None of that matters to the anti-war left. They failed to beat President Bush in the 2004 elections. Their efforts in Congress to repeal the administration's policies have gone nowhere. They lost their court challenges to Padilla's detention. The American public did not buy their argument that the struggle against al Qaeda is not really a war.

So instead they have turned to the tort system to harass those who served their government in wartime. I am not the only target. The war's critics have sued personally Donald Rumsfeld, John Ashcroft, Robert Gates, Paul Wolfowitz and other top government officials for their decisions in the war on terrorism. Other lawsuits have resorted to the courts to attack the telecommunications companies that helped the government intercept suspected terrorist calls.

It is easy to understand why CIA agents, who are working on the front lines to protect the nation from attack, are so concerned about their legal liability that they have taken out insurance against lawsuits.

Worrying about personal liability will distort the thinking of federal officials, who should be focusing on the costs and benefits of their decisions to the nation as a whole, not to their own pockets. Even in the wake of Watergate, the Supreme Court recognized that government decisions should not be governed by the tort bar.

In a case about warrantless national security wiretaps ordered by Nixon's attorney general, John Mitchell, the court declared that executive branch officials should benefit from qualified immunity. Officials cannot be sued personally unless they had intentionally violated someone's clearly established constitutional rights.

The Padilla case shows that qualified immunity is not enough. Even though Supreme Court precedent clearly permitted Padilla's detention, he and his academic supporters can still file harassing lawsuits that promise high attorneys' fees. The legal system should not be used as a bludgeon against individuals targeted by political activists to impose policy preferences they have failed to implement via the ballot box.

The prospect of having to waste large sums of money on lawyers will deter talented people from entering public service, leading to more mediocrity in our bureaucracies. It will also lead to a risk-averse government that doesn't innovate or think creatively. Government by lawsuit is no way to run, or win, a war.

Mr. Yoo is a professor of law at the University of California at Berkeley and a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He is the author of "War By Other Means" (Grove/Atlantic 2006).

25576  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Nat Geo Documentary on the Dog Brothers: Fight Club on: January 19, 2008, 11:28:52 PM
25577  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Nat Geo Documentary on the Dog Brothers: Fight Club on: January 19, 2008, 08:02:29 PM
From Joe Cary-- I love that "Dog Quixote"  cool:

I've trained one-on-one with Guro Crafty Dog for two years. I first came to him as an informal student seeking to build my knowledge base for a character I was creating in a novel. I quickly recognized that DMBA was, in my opinion, the most efficient and effective martial art I had practiced or studied.  I thus continued my training to build on the character of me in real life. My early training mixed intensity and fascination with a dash of disturbing. Some things I learned I was hesitant to know, others I embraced with an artist's passion. As my training progressed, I came to respect and value what had first disturbed me, partially through recognition of the inherent value of survival skills, but primarily through the relationship that developed between Guro Crafty and me. My training went beyond the physical, and our conversations and shared stories offered constant insight into the "Tao of the Dog". The multi-disciplined way of DBMA renewed my atrophied instincts in many areas, the primary of which was a deeper sense of what it is to “Walk as a Warrior for all your Days”.
I've never participated in a Gathering of the Pack and don’t yet imagine I will (I've joked of lobbying for the Candidate-Dog name "Dog Quixote", as my eagerness often surpasses my skill). That said, my knowledge of, and respect for basic, primitive weapons (empty hand, sticks, knives and staff) has increased to a level I never imagined possible.  This comes in part from a newfound awareness and quiet confidence in the adrenal state, and an ability to recruit my entire body into action when push comes to shove, smack or slash. My time with Guro Crafty is an asset I will carry with me for all my days.

25578  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Survival issues outside the home on: January 19, 2008, 08:56:59 AM
3. New OSHA booklet is designed to protect first responders from chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear hazards. "Preparing and Protecting Security Personnel in Emergencies" is viewable at
25579  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: 4 Day DBMA Camp in Germany with Guro Lonely on: January 19, 2008, 08:46:54 AM
I'll need to check some things concerning my son's Cub Scouts etc, and this week we are extremely busy getting some new things ready for the website, so it may be a week before I get to this, but how does July look?
25580  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues on: January 19, 2008, 08:43:57 AM

Deputy did not act unreasonably in fatally shooting a man who had refused to submit to a pat down and then disarmed the deputy of his baton. Lewis v. County of Riverside, #06-55764, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 29148 (9th Cir.).$File/06-55764.PDF

City and its personnel were not liable for suicide of a man arrested for DUI and detained in a cell for intoxicated and combative prisoners.  The fact that he had fought with officers did not establish that he was suicidal. Branton v. City of Moss Point, #07-60653, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 76 (5th Cir.).
25581  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: January 19, 2008, 08:26:22 AM
I note that the level of  intel here from a retired Indian cabinet member, FAR exceeds just about anything that we read here.  Why is that?  If correct, and it reads to me like it is , , ,

Baitullah Mehsud Steps up Attacks in South Waziristan - International Terrorism Monitor---Paper No. 355

by B. Raman

The Mehsud followers of Baitullah Mehsud, assisted by some Uzbeks of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), have stepped up their attacks on the thinly-manned outposts of the Frontier Corps (FC) in different parts of South Waziristan. These outposts were withdrawn under a peace agreement signed by the Pakistani Army with Baitullah at the Sararogha fort in February, 2005. When President Pervez Musharraf ordered the commandoes of the Special Services Group (SSG) to raid the Lal Masjid of Islamabad in July, 2007, he also ordered the re-establishment of these outposts of the FC since he apprehended that the Mehsuds, many of whose children were studying in the two madrasas attached to the Lal Masjid, could retaliate for the commando action.

2.  Baitullah interpreted the re-establishment of these outposts as a bad breach of faith by Musharraf and announced that the Mehsuds would no longer be bound by the ceasefire agreement of February, 2005. Since then, the Mehsuds have unleashed a wave of suicide attacks not only in South Waziristan, but also in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), Punjab, Balochistan and Sindh. He had also resumed the guerilla attacks of his force on the para-military forces and captured nearly 300 of them. Under a fresh cease-fire agreement reached in November, 2007, Baitullah agreed to suspend his operations and release the captured personnel of the FC in return for the Government closing again the FC outposts re-established in South Waziristan, releasing all Mehsuds arrested in South Waziristan and the NWFP, and also Maulana Abdul Aziz Ghazi, the chief cleric of the Lal Masjid, and the students of the madrasas of the mosque arrested during the commando action.

3. Baitullah released all the FC personnel captured by his force. In return, Musharraf ordered the release of all but six of the Mehsuds arrested by his security agencies. He has not ordered the release of these six on the ground that they are under trial before the Anti-Terrorism courts and hence he has no powers to order their release. He has not agreed to release those arrested during the commando raid in the Lal Masjid. Nor has he agreed to withdraw the FC outposts re-established in the area. On the contrary, after the assassination of Mrs. Benazir Bhutto on December 27, 2007, allegedly at the instance of Baitullah, he has reinforced the FC posts in South Waziristan in an attempt to hunt for Baitullah.

4. This has provoked Baitullah to step up attacks on the FC posts. Though the FC consists largely of Pashtun tribals recruited in the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the NWFP, these Pashtuns are looked upon by Baitullah and Al Qaeda as apostate for allegedly collaborating with Musharraf, who has already been declared an apostate by Al Qaeda since 2003. The FC comes operationally under the General Headquarters (GHQ) of the Army and administratively under the Ministry of the Interior.

5.  Between 1878 and 1903, the British set up the various tribal agencies, which, after Pakistan's independence in 1947, were constituted into the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The British created in each agency para-military forces called militias recruited from amongst the various Pashtun sub-tribes in that agency. Thus came into existence militias such as  the Khyber Rifles (1878), the Zhob Militia (1883), the Kurram Militia (1892), the Tochi Scouts (1894), the Chagai Militia (1896), the  South Waziristan Scouts (1900) , the Chitral Scouts (1903) etc. Lord Curzon, who became the Viceroy in 1899, created the Frontier Corps to serve as the umbrella organisation of these militias and to co-ordinate their functioning in all the tribal agencies. This arrangement has continued till now. The Frontier Corps, whose General Headquarters are located in Peshawar, functions under the over-all supervision of the Corps Commander of the Pakistan Army at Peshawar.

6. As mentioned by me in my article of November 15, 2007, titled "The State of Jihadi Terrorism in Pakistan" (, a major blunder committed by Musharraf was the over-use of  para-military forces such as the Frontier Constabulary and the Frontier Corps in the operations against terrorists in the tribal areas. He wanted to avoid using the Punjabi-dominated Army for ground operations. While the Army is actively involved in the ground operations against the Baloch freedom-fighters in Balochistan, it was confining itself to the barracks in the FATA and in the Provincially-Administered Tribal Areas (PATA) of the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP). American officials and their counterparts in Pakistan often claim that Musharraf has deployed nearly 80,000 troops in the tribal areas. The Americans cite this as one of the reasons for their strong backing to the General despite his growing unpopularity.

7. What they do not mention is that many of these security personnel are the tribal members of the para-military forces, who come from that area, and not Pakistani military personnel recruited from other areas of the country. A large number of the Pakistani army personnel are used not for ground operations against the terrorists, but for providing physical security to American and other NATO military supplies to Afghanistan from the Karachi port after they are landed there. This has been creating resentment among the tribal personnel of the para-military forces, who feel that Musharraf, under US pressure, is making not only Muslims kill Muslims, but also Pashtuns kill Pashtuns, in the name of the so-called war on terrorism. The FM radio stations operated by pro-Al Qaeda jihadi leaders in the tribal areas have been repeatedly alleging in their broadcasts directed to the fellow-tribals in the para-military forces that innocent tribals are being killed in order to save American lives in the US homeland.

8. As a result of this, there has been a growing number of desertions of Pashtuns serving in the para-military forces.  Musharraf did use regular Army units to counter the supporters of Maulana Fazlullah in the Swat Valley, but afraid that the Pashtun soldiers of the Army too might start deserting their units like the Pashtun members of the para-military forces, he has been avoiding the use of the army in ground operations and has instead been relying increasingly on helicopter gunships. This has, on the one hand, resulted in an increase in the number of civilian casualties due to indiscriminate air-mounted actions and, on the other, further fuelled the resentment in the para-military forces, whose personnel are asking: Are the lives of the Army personnel more precious than those of the Frontier Constabulary and the Frontier Corps?

9. I had also written that Musharraf has so far not told his people and the international community that Al Qaeda and pro-Al Qaeda organisations in the tribal areas have been increasingly targeting Shias and Christians. Captured Shia members of the para-military forces are being treated with brutality and killed by beheading or by cutting their throats. Shia members of the civil society are also being targeted. The FM radio stations have been indulging in the most horrible anti-Shia broadcasts. Shias are being projected as American agents in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq. They are alleging that the majority of the prostitutes in Pakistan are Shias and projecting the Shias as the sect of the prostitutes in the Ummah. A highly reputed school for poor tribal girls run in the FATA by a Christian missionary organisation was targeted and forced to close through intimidation. There are no Buddhists in the tribal areas, but many historical Buddhist heritage sites are there. These too are systematically being attacked. Al Qaeda is trying to replicate Iraq in Pakistan by exacerbating the already existing divide between the Shias and the Sunnis in the civil society as well as in the Army.

10. In their renewed offensive in the wake of the assassination of Benazir, the Mehsuds and the Uzbeks of the IMU have been taking advantage of the low morale of the personnel of the FC. After overrunning the FC outpost in the Sararogha fort on January 15, 2008, they are reported to have overrun another post  of the FC located at a place called  Seplatoi in South Waziristan.  What is disquieting  is that whereas the FC personnel at   Sararogha put up a fight against the Mehsuds and Uzbeks and suffered fatalities before they were overrun, those ( 60 in number) at Seplatoi are alleged to have either run away or surrendered without even a semblance of a fight.

11. Of course, the Army has strongly denied this, but other reliable sources say this incident did happen. The declining morale of the Pashtun members of the Frontier Corps should be a matter of serious concern. Can it spread to the Pashtuns in the Pakistani Army? That is a question, which should worry not only Musharraf, but also the international community.

12. The time has come for Pakistan and the international community to review the physical security arrangements in Pakistan's nuclear establishments in order to look for signs of declining morale there. While Pakistan's principal nuclear establishments are located in Punjab and are guarded by carefully selected Punjabi soldiers, its nuclear waste dumps are located in the tribal areas of the NWFP such as Dera Ismail Khan and are guarded by the FC.

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail:
25582  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Nat Geo Documentary on the Dog Brothers: Fight Club on: January 18, 2008, 09:26:10 PM
The shame! The Shame! 

We have been mentioned in the NY Times
(towards the bottom)
25583  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Nat Geo Documentary on the Dog Brothers: Fight Club on: January 18, 2008, 08:34:09 PM
This email was sent to us and because it leaves me unsure as to the appropriateness of including the author's name here, I leave it out.  I do post it because I think it quite worthy of being included here.


Dear Dog Brothers,

Thanks for the message and the invite regarding the NatGeo blog. I feel
particularly unqualified to participate in this thing for NatGeo,
inasmuch as I want to. I have never been able to clear the time or money
to make a gathering or do any training aside from keeping what (few)
skills I have sharp on my own. My canine side is taken care of  in the
time I carve out for it, usually odd hours, and usually solo. I read
voraciously, I try out new things, and I have even been making some
sticks and practicing with improvised impact weapons or sharp pointed
things not normally considered for self-defense, but as far as formal or
organized, I am neither.

In pack terms, I am at best, a transient, and more than likely, an
outrider, or maybe even a fleacatcher. Definitely a mutt, with all the
best qualities of the breed.

If there was a qualification for being a "Spirit Dog," then I am there.
I get what you're all about and I applaud it. I refer friends and anyone
else who's interested not only to your site, but to dig deeper into what
you're doing and why. "Higher Consciousness Through Harder Contact" is
more than a motto on a T-shirt or sticker. It is an ethos, not so much
of overcoming fear or pain or anything as ephemeral as all that as it is
in becoming a better person by embracing those things and learning from
the experience. You sure as hell don't get that from movies or games or
TV. But physically? I am so far away from even what anyone might
consider proficient in sticks it is not funny. But that doesn't keep me
from wanting to come someday and join you all. I don't think we were put
on this planet to be spectators. I'll probably go to a nursing home
years from now going, "One of these days,....WOOF!"

People can take away your fun, your money, your job and your stuff. But
they can't take away the stuff that's packed between your ears and the
things that make your heart beat with purpose, and that is what I think
you folks are all about.

I'll be watching when this show comes on, or at least recording it for
when I get home.

Keep up the faith, keep up the great work.

Best regards,
25584  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Nat Geo Documentary on the Dog Brothers: Fight Club on: January 18, 2008, 07:06:55 PM
Poi Dog:
25585  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: January 18, 2008, 11:35:58 AM
Fred on the Bus
by Erick Erickson

Traveling through snowy South Carolina with Fred Thompson, I’m struck by the sense that finally, the man has arrived. The candidate so many conservatives were excited by early in 2007 is finally walking the land.

The Fred Thompson in South Carolina this week is the one America saw knock into Mike Huckabee as a pro-life liberal with “blame America first” beliefs whose economic policies would destroy the economy. And the crowds love it.

Though barely mentioned in the national media, Senator Fred Thompson has been on a barn storming tour crisscrossing South Carolina for more than a week. In a unique approach, he is not just going to major media markets, but to rural areas of South Carolina. On my first day on the trail with Senator Thompson, he drew a crowd of 180 people to a small Mennonite restaurant in Abbeville, South Carolina — population 26,000 with a median income of $15,370. He capped off the day at the Orangeburg-Calhoun County Technical College in Orangeburg, South Carolina with over 200 people braving a rare snow shower to hear him. The day before I joined him on the campaign trail, Senator Thompson’s campaign saw large capacity auditoriums overflowing with people standing outside the buildings waiting to get in.

The crowds are enthusiastic and relieved. Finally, the Fred Thompson they hoped for is on the campaign trail. “Saying the Reagan Coalition is dead is like saying the Constitution is dead,” Thompson began one speech, taking on Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee. “The Reagan Coalition was never about the man. It was and is about the principles and values we apply to issues.” He continued, “The issues may change, but the principles do not.” The crowd roared its enthusiasm.

Later in the day, an elderly gentleman asked Senator Thompson about immigration. Senator Thompson responded, “Securing the border is popular for a lot of candidates to talk about these days. They’ve changed their positions. I embrace change, but some of these guys are wearing out the road to Damascus.” The crowd ate it up. Thompson pointed out that he, unlike the other candidates, has been consistently supportive of increased border security and consistently opposed to lax enforcement.

It’s refreshing to hear Senator Thompson. He is not the candidate the media likes. He gives good sound bites, but he is plodding, methodical, and issue oriented. Senator Thompson’s is not a personality driven campaign. It is about issues, issues, issues. And it is conservative to the core. On the campaign trail, it seems Thompson has never met an issue he was ready to solve based on what he perceives as real conservative principles. Chief among them is that if government gets involved, it will probably make the situation worse. There is no pandering. John McCain may give straight talk, but Thompson gives no bull.

Since Mitt Romney’s call for a government plan to save the automotive industry, Senator Thompson has been on a tear blasting him as the candidate who tailors his message to whichever group he is talking to. Taking on Mike Huckabee, Senator Thompson points out that he likes Mike Huckabee, but his policies and agenda are full of empty rhetoric and policies anathema to the entrepreneurial spirit in the United States. He points out that he and John McCain are friends, but he has “strong disagreements” with John McCain on issues such as immigration and taxes.

Polling in South Carolina shows Fred Thompson gaining momentum in the state. The campaign staff has noticed the crowds growing since Fred Thompson took on Mike Huckabee in the Fox News Debate. The message is clear -- Thompson is the real conservative in the race.

There is an opening for Thompson. Mitt Romney has written off South Carolina, ceding the field to John McCain. Mike Huckabee is losing ground as voters learn more about his liberal record. Conservative rallying has begun to impact John McCain. There is a palpable sense in the crowds and among South Carolina reporters that the momentum is with Fred Thompson. And so the campaign soldiers on.

In Orangeburg, South Carolina, Fred Thompson fired up the crowds with humor and substance. After a long day of talking, he coughed and took a sip of water. “Yeah, I’m choked up,” Thompson said, “but I’m not getting emotional.” The crowd roared. Then Thompson went into his hallmark campaign routine -- questions from the crowd. Every event ends that way.

An attendee asked Thompson what he would do about Israel and the Palestinians. While complementary of the President, Thompson said, “Every President has thought he could solve the problem on the force of his personality, but he can’t.” He continued, “There are a lot of things that are possible in that situation, but one non-negotiable — the right of Israel to exist.” More applause. Another attendee asked about immigration. “A nation that cannot control its borders ceases to be a sovereign nation,” Thompson responded. The crowd drowned him out with applause. Then Thompson does what so many of the other candidates fail to do. He talks specifics and policies, mixed with humor and the recognition that what he is doing is rather unique.

It is a unique campaign. Like John McCain, who was written off for dead last June, Fred Thompson has begun a comeback. He has come back as the candidate everyone wanted to get in the race. In the process, he is owning the crowd.
25586  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Nat Geo Documentary on the Dog Brothers: Fight Club on: January 18, 2008, 11:18:22 AM
Posted on behalf of C-Scurvy Dog


I began my journey into martial arts in 1994 after watching a skinny Brazilian named Royce Gracie decimate his much larger opponents by using technique and leverage in what would later be called the start of the MMA movement that has since swept the country.  I was so impressed with this “new style” that I rushed down and began training with him the very next week.  After about a year of training in GJJ I also found my way into a school that taught muay thai kickboxing, JKD, shoot wrestling, freestyle BJJ and the Filipino martial arts as instructed by Dan Inosanto and his contemporaries. I was immediately drawn to incorporating these new techniques into my style which would later be the building blocks of many great mixed martial artists.


The only style I couldn’t seem to wrap my hands around at the time was the Filipino martial arts. I just didn’t see the practicality of the techniques being used in a real life environment. Enter the Dog Brothers. I witnessed my first Gathering of the Pack in 1996 when one of my training partners went down to test his skills against other like minded opponents. To say I was shocked by what I saw was an understatement. Here were guys fighting full contact just like I was used to watching yet they were doing it not only with various weapons but in a spirit of camaraderie that I had only previously witnessed with my time in the Army Scouts/Snipers. These guys were putting themselves on the line to see if their skills and techniques really worked under pressure and pulling it off with nothing but mutual respect and handshakes at the end of each fight regardless of the outcome. I had nothing but admiration for these guys but after watching several such events I thought to myself that I would never have the nerve to put myself into such a potentially dangerous environment even though I recognized the learning potential it entailed.


Ten years later and past what I considered to be my fighting prime due to age and a number of accumulative fighting injuries I again attended several more Gatherings of the Pack. This time I noticed that the fighters were not a bunch of young bucks in their primes but a broad range of guys who were actually from all walks of life and many of whom were not only my age but in many cases much older. Of course, this had always been the case but I had never been cognoscente of this fact. It was then that the realization of the Dog Brothers credo to “walk as a warrior for all your days” really sunk in. The next thing I know I found myself training with the North Hollywood Clan of Dog Brothers and three months later feeling the first solid strike to my body by a 1 ¼” rattan stick in a Gathering that instead of crippling me actually invigorated me and sent me into that adrenal state that I had previously only heard about. I have been hooked ever since and now as a candidate Dog Brother I have a different view on life and what it means to me to walk as a warrior for all of your days.


I know that I am by far not the toughest, youngest or strongest guy on the block. However I am fully aware of what I am and am not capable of through the intense testing and self enlightenment that the Gatherings provide. This gives me something that the tougher, younger and stronger guys may not necessarily have. Mind, Heart and Balls and the willingness to fight if need be regardless of the odds. I will carry this warrior mentality with me as I continue my journey through life and apply it not only to fighting but to any challenge that puts itself in my path. I have effectively found a higher consciousness through harder contact!

Tim “C-Scurvy Dog”
Landscape Architect
25587  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politically (In)correct on: January 18, 2008, 08:40:41 AM
Burglars have rights too, says
[British] Attorney General
by By Melissa Kite and Andrew AldersonA fresh row broke out last night about the rights of householders to fight back against intruders after the Government's most senior lawyer defended the rights of burglars.

Lord Goldsmith, the attorney-general, flew in the face of the Prime Minister's pledge to look again at the law with a view to giving homeowners more rights when he said that existing legislation was adequate.

He said that criminals must also have the right to protection from violence, prompting David Davis, the shadow home secretary, to accuse the government of being dangerously split on the issue.

Lord Goldsmith's intervention came as Sir John Stevens, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, dismissed fears that giving homeowners greater freedom when tackling burglars would lead to an "arms race" that would put them in greater danger.

He denied that a change in the law, which currently gives homeowners the right to use "reasonable force" when tackling intruders, would encourage burglars to become more aggressive.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Sir John - who last weekend came out in favour of the Right to Fight Back campaign, launched by this newspaper two months ago - said: "I am convinced that enabling householders to use whatever force is necessary will discourage burglars.

"The fact that a would-be intruder knows a householder can respond without the fear of being prosecuted will undoubtedly deter criminal acts." Sir John, who will step down next month after five years as commissioner, said fellow police officers were confident that it would act as a deterrent.

"We are on the ground," he said. "We smell it, we see it, we hear it. We know what we are talking about."

Last week, Tony Blair told the House of Commons that he would look at strengthening the law and a Tory MP has introduced a private member's bill to do so.

Lord Goldsmith, however, appeared to take issue with the Prime Minister's pledge to act. "We must protect victims and law abiding citizens," he said.

"But we have to recognize that others have some rights as well. They don't lose all rights because they're engaged in criminal conduct."

Mr Davis said: "They certainly do lose quite a lot of rights. The Government ought to make up its mind. The Prime Minister says one thing and the Attorney General says another.

"Of course all human beings have rights, but when somebody enters your home to commit a crime they give up a large portion of them."

Some critics of a change in the law have voiced concerns that burglars will feel they have to carry guns, knives and other weapons to protect themselves from householders.

Sir John, however, did not see this as a problem. "I have confidence in the good judgment and common sense of the public in knowing how far they should go."

He said that householders should be able to use whatever force is necessary even if - in exceptional circumstances - it involved killing the intruder.

He spoke of his regret about the repercussions over the verdict on Tony Martin, the farmer who shot dead one burglar and seriously injured another during a break-in at his farm in August 1999.

There was a public outcry when Martin was found guilty at Norwich Crown Court and sentenced to life in prison. The charge and sentence were later reduced to five years for manslaughter.

Sir John did not suggest that the jury had reached the wrong verdict, but added: "The Tony Martin case is unfortunate because it has skewed the debate [on the public's right to protect their home]. But it is a fact that burglars have acted with greater confidence since the Tony Martin verdict and that has to be a matter of regret."

Lord Goldsmith, however, warned of the dangers of using the Martin case to make bad law: "There are very few cases that have given rise to this problem. Besides Tony Martin, there's only one I know about.

"It's always possible to extrapolate from one case and think that something is happening across the country when it isn't."

Mr Blair's announcement of a review of the law came three days after the Conservative Party threw its weight behind a new parliamentary attempt to win more rights for householders to protect them from burglars.

The Telegraph revealed last weekend how Patrick Mercer, the Tory MP, would introduce a Private Member's Bill to change the law in favour of homeowners.

In an article in this newspaper today, Mr Mercer described Mr Blair's promise to consult before taking action as a "classic delaying tactic".

Michael Howard, the Tory leader, yesterday praised this newspaper's campaign. "I pay tribute to the highly effective campaign run over so many months by The Sunday Telegraph. It was the first newspaper to highlight this crucial issue and its persistence has been a key factor in winning this change to the law and in forcing Tony Blair's U-turn," he said. "We now need to ensure that Patrick Mercer's bill gets through parliament. The Sunday Telegraph's continued vigilance will be crucial in ensuring this."
25588  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / This day in Terrorism on: January 18, 2008, 07:46:42 AM
1982 Beirut, Lebanon:  Malcolm Kerr, President of American University, assassinated by Islamic Jihad.
25589  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Dog Brothers Tribe on: January 18, 2008, 07:13:06 AM
Woof Brothers:

Our webmaster is going to be taking care of updates this weekend.  Please check when he has done so to see if he has entered your name correctly.

Crafty Dog
25590  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / F. Ames: Licentiousness and Liberty on: January 18, 2008, 05:58:40 AM
"The known propensity of a democracy is to licentiousness which
the ambitious call, and ignorant believe to be liberty."

-- Fisher Ames (speech in the Massachusetts Ratifying Convention,
15 January 1788)

Reference: The Works of Fisher Ames, W.B. Allen, ed., vol. 1 (546)
25591  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Chess on: January 18, 2008, 05:56:10 AM
I've been having lots of fun playing with my children.

Anyway, saw this in the news:

Bobby Fischer, Former World Chess Champion, Is Dead

REYKJAVIK, Iceland (AP) -- Bobby Fischer, the reclusive chess
master who became a Cold War icon when he dethroned the
Soviet Union's Boris Spassky as world champion in 1972, has
died. He was 64.

Mr. Fischer died Thursday in a Reykjavik hospital, said his
spokesman, Gardar Sverrisson. There was no immediate word on
the cause of death.

Read More:
25592  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Movie Fights on: January 18, 2008, 05:52:12 AM
I liked that Donnie Yen fight. 

I almost went to see Eastern Promises when it was in the theaters, but as family man it can be hard to get out in the evenings-- so now I will wait for it to show up on sat-TV  smiley

Lucy Liu?  Maybe she got bit by the bug with the role in "Kill Bill".
25593  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Nat Geo Documentary on the Dog Brothers: Fight Club on: January 18, 2008, 05:48:57 AM
Here's Poi Dog's contribution:

It all started innocently enough.  One fine day in April 1995, a friend and training partner told me about a tape he'd just rented called 'Real Contact Stickfighting - Power'.  "Check it out, man, they fight for real," he said.

There's no way they were actually fighting, I thought.  They can't be.  I mean, I had already been training for several years in the Filipino martial arts and I knew how dangerous a stick strike could be.  A single stick hit to the wrist would break bones.  A hit to the knee would cripple.  A hit to the head would kill.  There's no way they were fighting for real.  I rented the tape, threw it in the VCR and hit play.

They were fighting for real.

The next day, I found an ad for the video series in a magazine and ordered the full set.  I immediately incorporated the drills into my training.  I nearly beat a palm tree to death in my backyard practicing full power strikes.  I told all my other training partners about these crazy guys who fought for real.  I tried to lend them the tapes.

I wanted to fight for real.

Problem was, no one else did.  I left Hawaii for college in New Mexico 2 years later.  In the summer of 2000, I found myself in Santa Fe, at the home of Arlan "Salty Dog" Sanford, one of the founding members of the Dog Brothers.  At a small park (one I recognized from the tape!), I stepped out for the first time against an actual Dog Brother.  I was sore for the next 3 days.  The welts disappeared after a week or so.  I couldn't wait to go back.

I was fighting for real.

I fought at my first Gathering in July 2002.  I've fought in 6 Gatherings so far.  I've trained with four of the clans - Santa Fe, Hawaii (I was there for the founding), North Hollywood and Hermosa Beach.  I made full Dog Brother July 2007.  I've been dropped from shots to the temple (through the mask) and to the back of the head (without the mask).  I've tapped to omoplatas and elbows to the face.  I was hit across the kidneys once so hard I had blood in my urine for a couple of days.  I have scars on my arms, thighs and shoulders from some of the stick hits I've taken.

Why the hell am I fighting for real?

It's not for the money, because we don't get paid.  It's not for the adulation from the legions of adoring fans, because there aren't any.  It's not for the crazy sex from hot anonymous groupies because there are none (I'm REALLY hoping this one will change).  There are no extrinsic rewards for doing this and I don't imagine that changing anytime soon.  I don't want it to change, ever (except for that groupie thing).

I fight for real because it grounds me in the essential qualities of being human.  I know great triumph and joy in successfully defending myself from a truly committed opponent.  I know the tragedy and pain of failing to do the same.  I know the fear and doubt that comes from standing alone against a man much bigger and stronger than I who is determined to test my courage and resolve.  I know the camaraderie and bond of the tribe, and know I will never actually have to stand alone.  In the chaos of struggle, I can give form to my inner demons, and exorcise them through the physical ritual of the fight.

Besides, it's fun as hell.
25594  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: 4 Day DBMA Camp in Germany with Guro Lonely on: January 17, 2008, 05:10:38 PM
Hmmmmmm , , , ,
25595  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Nat Geo's blog on: January 17, 2008, 04:01:38 PM
This from Peter Bouchard, who heads up the blog for Nat Geo on the show:


Greetings from the National Geographic Channel!  We want to hear from you about your experiences with Dog Brothers Inc.

What we are looking for is to hear about your experiences in this group and why you decided to join.  It doesn't have to be anything long, a short paragraph will do.  We'll pick the best ones and publish them on our channel's blog in a post leading up to the show and possibly as the show re-runs later through the year.

What we will need from you:

  - The short paragraph that was mentioned above

  - Your first name (We want to respect your privacy)

  - Your professional occupation

We can’t promise much, except an additional story that you will be able to brag to your friends about. We bet you all have some!

We look forward to hearing from you.

Peter Bouchard
NGC Blog

25596  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politically (In)correct on: January 17, 2008, 12:29:24 PM
Amateur dramatics group ordered by police to use plastic swords - and keep them under lock and key

An amateur dramatic group performing "Robinson Crusoe" has been ordered to lock up its PLASTIC swords - over health and safety fears.

Members of the Carnon Downs Drama Group are staging the pantomime which features several swashbuckling sword fights using toy cutlasses.

But the actors have been told the props - including a plastic spear and toy gun which fires a flag with the word 'bang' - are classed as "replica weapons".

Police have warned the troupe, based in Truro, Cornwall, the fake arms must be kept in a secure case in a "locked room" with restricted access.

As well as informing officers they had no "malicious intent" the group were told to notify the fire brigade and make adequate arrangements for security.

Organisers also had to appoint a named individual responsible for the prop weapons who must accompany them whenever they are moved.

The amateur players have been told all of the procedures form part a risk assessment in line with new legislation affecting film, stage and TV productions.

Director Linda Barker said: "In some scenes pirates are hitting each other with frying pans and sauce pan lids but there's no problem with them.

"We've got several wooden and plastic swords, two plastic spears and gun which cost £2 from a joke shop. But now we need to keep them locked away and fill out all sorts of forms.

"You can't have a play like this without a fight scene and you can't have a fight scene without a sword. It's ridiculous."

Co-director Elaine Gummow says she was told about the laws by the National Operatic and Dramatic Association.

She said: ""There was an article in a recent magazine about the use of weapons in productions.

"It told members that they had to carry out and follow new health and safety guidelines if any weapons, including replica weapons, are used on stage.

"It would be impossible to stage it without the use of a few swords and cutlasses, as well as a traditional pop-gun which emits nothing more than a flag which says 'bang'.

"It all seems a bit absurd but it is perhaps a sign of the times - health and safety is everywhere. All of us see there's a serious side to this, but I really don't think we pose a threat."

Cast member Steve Cleaver added: "It seems rather absurd and totally silly that pirates would not have weapons."

The Association advised members to contact local police and make them aware of their 'weapons' stash.

Devon and Cornwall police urged the Carnon Downs group to keep the props locked away.

PC Nigel Hyde, of Devon and Cornwall Police, said the props are classed as replica weapons and are considered dangerous.

He said: "I gather we've made a note and it seems a bit unusual. But other forms of replica weapons have been used to carry out crimes and the consequences have been serious."

The version of Robinson Crusoe is a traditional panto with a Cornish flavour and is set in Falmouth harbour.

It runs from January 22 and to January 26 at the Perran Ar Worthal Memorial Hall at Perranwell near Truro.
25597  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / DBMA DVD: "The Dos Triques Formula" on: January 17, 2008, 12:03:28 PM
Woof All:

Ron a.k.a "the Night Owl" and I are putting the final touches on the next
DBMA DVD "The Dos Triques Formula".

As many of you may remember, the term "Los Triques" is our neologism for
blending the initials "KKK".  For us, KKK are the initials of Kali-Krabi
Krabong, but of course the vile associations in America of these initials
made it necessary to develop another name for our blending of these two
arts-- hence "Los Triques" which, while sounding Filipino, simply means "The
Three Ks".

In "Dos Triques Formula" the "Dos" simply refers to the fact that this
material is for double stick.  As for the word "Formula", , ,  well, let me
see if I can explain.

As most of you know,  DBMA has as its mission statement "Walk as Warriors
for all our days" and in the real world this entails 360 degree awareness,
often with weapons involved.  It is my belief that the chance of success in
360 degree situations is greatly enhanced by the physical ability to operate
with either side forward.  To give a simple example, if I must operate in a
left lead (i.e. left foot forward) and I face one person coming from my
North, that is fine.  But if a friend of his approaches from my East and I
must fight him left lead I will be giving my back to the man to my North.
On the other hand, if I can shift to a right lead (probably while moving
Southeast), it will be much easier  for me to keep track of the man coming
from the North.

In DBMA the ability to fight with either side forward while moving in any
direction is developed in double stick.  Unlike single stick, we have a
weapon in front no matter which foot is forward.  Yes, very good fighting can
be done single stick in the off-lead (stick in rear hand) as we show in
"Krabi Krabong" by Ajarn Salty and in the "Los Triques" DVD, but in my
opinion this is less applicable to the requirements of 360 degrees.  And if
we don't care which foot is forward, we can use all the triangular footwork
which changes leads-- and if we can use all the triangles while moving and
striking (see "Combining Stick & Footwork DVD") we can manifest the
potential of the Art in real time.

In "Dos Triques Formula" I offer what I believe to be a formula of
tremendous simplicity and ferocity.  Pulling numbers out of the air wink
against what 95% of fighters do 95% of the time, you will have a clear and
simple way of seeing one of three basic structures and have three basic
combinations to use in conjunction with three basic triangles.

Mastering this material in training provides an underlying understanding of
footwork, zoning and striking that applies in all categories; not just
double stick, but single stick, staff, knife, Kali Tudo and streetfighting.

And because "It is Dog Brothers Martial Arts, if you see it taught, you see
it fought."(c)

As soon as we finish the edit, Cindy will design the box, Night Owl will put
together the promo clip, and we will send the master to the duplication
house.   We estimate we will begin shipping in two to three weeks.

The Adventure continues!
Guro Crafty

25598  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: January 17, 2008, 11:58:07 AM
I have zero tolerance with folks who praise Louis Farrakan.
WSJ Political Diary


When it came to illegal immigrants, Mike Huckabee spent his decade as governor of Arkansas as a compassionate conservative. He pushed for a bill allowing immigrant students in-state tuition rates if they went to state colleges, failed to complete an agreement to let state police enforce federal immigration law and criticized federal anti-immigration enforcement efforts. He dismissed as "racist" the motivations of sponsors of a bill that would have required state residents to show proof of citizenship to vote. He often said it was wrong to punish the children of parents who had entered the country illegally.

Well, that was then and now Mr. Huckabee is running for president. Competing in the hotly-contested South Carolina primary this week, he signed a pledge to support a plan that would send all illegal aliens home.

The pledge, sponsored by the advocacy group Numbers USA, commits Mr. Huckabee to oppose any path to citizenship for illegal aliens now in the country and to use law enforcement measures to deport them back to their countries of origin.

Numbers USA leader Roy Beck had previously been a critic of Mr. Huckabee's immigration record, calling it "poor" and "a disaster." But yesterday, he was all smiles at a news conference with Mr. Huckabee in South Carolina: "Probably, this is the strongest no-amnesty, attrition plan of any of the candidates," he told reporters.

But anti-immigration backers of the former Arkansas governor should be wary. He can and often does turn on a policy dime. Jim Gilchrist, founder of the border control group Minutemen, endorsed Mr. Huckabee in December when the candidate "looked me in the eye" and pledged to fight for a constitutional amendment to end birthright citizenship, which currently makes any child born inside the borders automatically a U.S. citizen. Now Mr. Huckabee says he doesn't support such an amendment and Mr. Gilchrist has been unavailable for comment to reporters asking how he now feels about his candidate.

-- John Fund
Has Romney Broken the Code?

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- One Republican who isn't changing his message after Michigan is Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts Governor finally hit pay dirt in an early primary by pounding away on jobs and the economy. His first campaign events here suggest he's sticking with the theme that won up north.

At the University of South Carolina yesterday, Mr. Romney launched into his now-honed stump speech about how "Washington is broken" and has failed to "secure the border," "fix Social Security" or "fight for every good job." Back in Michigan, Mr. Romney discovered that jittery voters responded strongly to promises to address the economy, especially those in the ailing auto sector who were quick to buy the argument that their problems begin in Washington. He continues to hammer away on that theme here, promising to cut taxes and reduce pork-barrel spending and insisting that "lobbyists" and "long-term politicians" are quaking "in their boots" after his Michigan win.

Can a weakening economy save Mitt Romney? It's too early to tell, since the South Carolina polls probably haven't caught up with the changing dynamics of the race yet -- they currently have him trailing John McCain and Mike Huckabee by ten points or more. But his crowd at the university was heaving -- so big that many couldn't fit in the main ballroom. And even if Grandpa Romney doesn't prevail in the end, attendees got an early view of another Romney politician in the making -- the governor's 20-month-old grandson, Parker, who delighted the masses by crawling into Mr. Romney's arms and burbling into the microphone.

-- Kim Strassel
Dr. Coburn Makes a House Call

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- This state was John McCain's Waterloo in 2000, in no small part because he struggled to gain traction with core Republican voters. The Arizona senator is now trying to avoid a repeat by shoring up his conservative credentials. One bulwark rolled out yesterday was an endorsement from conservative Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn.

Senator Lindsey Graham set the tone for a packed auditorium here in the religious Upcountry, introducing Senator Coburn as a "rock-solid fiscal, social and economic conservative," who represents "everything that was right about the Republican Party." Senator Coburn (just in case anybody was still missing the point) began his own talk by noting that his "credentials as a conservative are unquestioned" and explained that Mr. McCain was the only candidate who could be trusted on the crucial question of appointing conservative judges and protecting "innocent life." Senator McCain hopped in next, praising his own pro-life record and promising to "nominate the closest thing to a clone of [Supreme Court Justice] John Roberts." Only at the end did anyone mention what has been Mr. McCain's traditional selling point elsewhere, his qualifications to serve as commander-in-chief.

The Arizona senator needs all the help he can get from conservatives like Dr. Coburn. Parked outside the rally were a variety of protest groups, some waving signs about Mr. McCain's immigration positions, others waving confederate flags (the candidate's criticism of which earned him the ire of many residents in 2000). But unlike in his 2000 race against George W. Bush, several GOP candidates this year are seriously chasing the conservative vote -- including Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson. That may be Mr. McCain's salvation, and why he's currently the front-runner with support in the mid-20s.

-- Kim Strassel
The Biggest Loser

Michigan Democratic Senator Carl Levin fought tooth and nail to shake up the primary calendar this year and break what he called the "stranglehold" of Iowa and New Hampshire on the nominating process. But while the accelerated Michigan primary produced a contest of some significance on the Republican side, it was a complete flop on the Democratic side. The vote was virtually meaningless for the Democrats' presidential race, generating little local enthusiasm while producing a feud with the national party that has yet to be resolved.

Because most Democratic hopefuls acceded to the national party's request to keep their names off the Michigan ballot, Tuesday's turnout represented only 20% of the state's registered voting population and in real terms was only 4.8% larger than 2000, the last seriously contested primary. Compare that to the record-shattering Democratic turnout in both Iowa and New Hampshire this year.

Adding insult to injury, the Democratic National Committee voted earlier this year to strip Michigan of all 156 of its delegates to the national convention. While Mr. Levin remains confident the DNC won't make good on its threat and that Michigan's delegates will be seated in the end, the DNC took the unusual step of canceling the block of hotel rooms set aside for the Wolverine State delegation in Denver in August.

Florida Democrats, who casts their vote twelve days from now, are in a similar situation, having also been stripped of their delegates. But at least the Florida beauty contest will include all the candidates on the ballot, and the entire media universe will be watching the outcome, guaranteeing the Sunshine State a big impact on the presidential race as it hurtles toward a critical moment the following week on Tsunami Tuesday.

Not so Michigan. Even as Mr. Levin publicly urged Democrats to turn out Tuesday and register their choice between Hillary Clinton and "uncommitted," the eyes of his party were focused thousands of miles of away on the televised debate between the top contenders in Las Vegas. All in all, the outcome has not brought credit on Mr. Levin, who faces embarrassing question about whether the costs associated with his gamble were worth the unimpressive result.

-- Tom Bevan, executive editor

The Semi Natural

Sometimes it takes a well-connected journalist to articulate what a lot of people are feeling, but can't quite express in public.

Time columnist Joe Klein did just that when he used a Council on Foreign Relations meeting this week to suggest that "an element of unwitting sabotage" may be behind Bill Clinton's frequently unhelpful comments that have thrown his wife's campaign off-stride. According to the New York Observer, Mr. Klein suggested that Mr. Clinton may be "worrying" that "maybe she's going to be a better president" than he was. But Mr. Klein hastily added that Mr. Clinton is probably ambivalent about his wife's candidacy, because he also has been supportive in fundraising and other areas: "Consciously, I think that he sees her election as president as the final validation of his presidency."

Such amateur psychology would be meaningless if it were not for the fact that Mr. Klein knows the Clintons so well. He spent many long conversations with them during the 1992 campaign and afterwards. In 1997, he anonymously published the best-selling novel "Primary Colors," a thinly fictionalized retelling of Mr. Clinton's rise to the White House that later became a movie. In 2002, he wrote a largely positive non-fiction review of the Clinton presidency called "The Natural."

25599  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Emergency Tips and Emergency Medicine on: January 17, 2008, 08:45:19 AM
Sent to me by a friend at Border Protection:

STROKE: Remember The 1st Three Letters.... S.T.R.

My nurse friend sent this and encouraged me to post it and spread the word. I agree. If everyone can remember something this simple, we could save some folks. Seriously..

Please read:


During a BBQ, a friend stumbled and took a little fall - she assured everyone that she was fine (they offered to call paramedics) .....she said she had just tripped over a brick because of her new shoes.

They got her cleaned up and got her a new plate of food. While she appeared a bit shaken up, Ingrid went about enjoying herself the rest of the evening.

Ingrid's husband called later telling everyone that his wife had been taken to the hospital - (at 6:00 pm Ingrid passed away.) She had suffered a stroke at the BBQ. Had they known how to identify the signs of a stroke, perhaps Ingrid would be with us today. Some don't die.... they end up in a helpless, hopeless condition instead.

It only takes a minute to read this...

A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke... totally . He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough.

Thank God for the sense to remember the "3" steps, STR . Read and Learn!

Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke .

Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simp le questions:
S * Ask the individual to SMILE.
T * Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently)
(i.e. It is sunny out today)
R * Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.

If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE o f these tasks, call 999/911 immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

New Sign of a Stroke -------- Stick out Your Tongue

NOTE: Another 'sign' of a stroke is this: Ask the person to 'stick' out his tongue.. If the tongue is 'crooked', if it goes to one side or the other , that is also an indication of a stroke.

A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this e-mail sends it to 10 people; you can bet that at least one life will be saved.



25600  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Estudio: Ataque mientras esta' en coche on: January 17, 2008, 08:41:15 AM

Muchas errores obvias aqui, por ejemplo:

1) Estar alli'
2) No salir cuando se le da la oportunidad
3) Salir del coche

Pero tambien podemos

1) Ver en vivo un ataque por la ventana contra un persona sentada en su coche.  ?Como se puede defender este tipo de ataque?
2) Ver Jab-cruzada fuerte y agresivo
3) Ver ataque desde pie contra persona en el piso
4) Ver necesidad de pensar en 360 grados
5) estudiar el papel de los observadores-- ?que hacen?

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