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26001  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Free Speech vs. Islamic Fascism (formerly Buy DANISH!!!) on: November 12, 2007, 04:47:20 PM
This piece from the NY Times raises some points worth considering-- others are , , , very NY Times.

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Bring the Real World Home
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By ROGER COHEN
Published: November 12, 2007
In the gym at the NATO base in Kabul, U.S. soldiers hit the treadmills every morning and gaze at TV screens broadcasting Al Jazeera’s English news channel. When Osama bin Laden makes news, as he did recently with a statement about Iraq, America’s finest work out beneath the solemn gaze of their most wanted enemy.

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Blog: Passages
 This sounds like a scene from Donald Rumsfeld’s private hell. The former secretary of defense dismissed Al Jazeera as a “mouthpiece of Al Qaeda.” He once called the network, which is based in and owned by Qatar, “vicious, inaccurate and inexcusable.”

In an indication of what the Bush administration thinks of Al Jazeera journalism (and habeas corpus), it has locked up one of the network’s cameramen, Sami al-Hajj, in Guantánamo Bay for more than five years without charging him.

The choice of viewing at the NATO gym is a lot wiser than Rumsfeld’s choice of words or the terrible treatment of Hajj. America, and not just its front-line soldiers, needs to watch Al Jazeera to understand how the world has changed. Any other course amounts to self-destructive blindness.

The first change that must be grasped is America’s diminished ability to influence people. Global access to information now amounts to an immense à la carte menu. Networks escape control. To hundreds of millions of people accessing information for the first time, from central China to Kenya’s Rift Valley, the United States can easily look exclusive and less relevant to their future.

The second essential change is the erosion of American power. Samantha Power, the author and Harvard professor, calls this “the core fact of recent years.”

America’s hard power — its military — is compromised by intractable counterinsurgency wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Its economy is strained; witness the ever feebler dollar. Its soft power — the resonance of the American idea — has been hurt by a loss of legitimacy (Hajj languishing) and by incompetence (Iraq).

The third essential change is the solidification of anti-Americanism as a political idea. Jihadist Islamism is the most violent expression of this, but its agents benefit from swimming in a sea of less murderous resentments.

In response to all this, America can say to heck with an ungrateful world. It can mutter about third, even fourth, world wars. Therein lies a downward spiral. Or it can try to grasp the new, multinetworked world as it is.

To this world Al Jazeera English offers a useful primer. The network can be tendentious — bin Laden’s face up there for several minutes — in stomach-turning ways. But, over all, its striving for balanced reporting from a distinct perspective seems genuine.

A year after its launch, it reaches 100 million households worldwide. Its focus is on “reporting from the political south to the political north,” as Nigel Parsons, its managing director, put it. The world it presents, more from the impact than the launch point of U.S. missiles, is one that must be understood.

Yet, the network has been sidelined in the United States. Representative Jim Moran, a Democrat from Virginia, told me: “There’s definitely an attitude here that these guys are the enemy. But in the Mideast, Asia and Europe they have a credibility the U.S. desperately needs.”

Moran met recently with Al Jazeera English executives seeking to extend the service’s Lilliputian reach here. Right now, you can watch it in Toledo, Ohio, through Buckeye Cablesystem, which reaches 147,000 homes.

Or, if you’re in Burlington, Vt., a municipal cable service offers the network to about 1,000 homes. Washington Cable, in the capital, reaches half that. Better options are YouTube or GlobeCast satellite distribution.

These are slim pickings. Al Jazeera English is far more accessible in Israel. Allan Block, the chairman of Block Communications, which owns Buckeye, told me: “It’s a good channel. Sir David Frost and David Marash are not terrorists. The attempt to blackball it is neo-McCarthyism.”

Block, like other cable providers, got protest letters from Accuracy in Media, a conservative watchdog. Cliff Kincaid, its editor, cites the case of Tayseer Allouni, a former Afghanistan correspondent jailed in Spain for Al Qaeda links. This is evidence, he suggests, that “cable providers shouldn’t give them access.”

Most cable companies have bowed to the pressure while denying politics influenced their decisions. “It just comes down to channel capacity and other programming options,” Jenni Moyer, a Comcast spokeswoman, told me.

Nonsense, says Representative Moran, blaming “political winds plus a risk-averse corporate structure.”

These political winds hurt America. Counterinsurgency has been called armed social science. To win, you must understand the world you’re in.

Comparative courses in how Al Jazeera, CNN, the BBC and U.S. networks portray the Iraq war and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should be taught in all U.S. high schools and colleges. Al Jazeera English should be widely available.



You are invited to comment at my blog: www.iht.com/passages.
26002  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Free Speech vs. Islamic Fascism (formerly Buy DANISH!!!) on: November 12, 2007, 09:06:57 AM
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/ar...TICLE_ID=58595

LAW OF THE LAND
Students who 'desecrated' terrorist flags vindicated
Judge cancels university policies protecting Hezbollah, Hamas banners

Posted: November 9, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern


© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com


College Republican member argues with Palestinian supporter at Oct. 17 anti-terrorism rally at San Francisco State University (Photo: Golden Gate Xpress)
In a decision hailed as a victory for free speech, a federal judge ordered San Francisco State University and the California State University system to stop enforcing speech codes used to prosecute students for the "desecration" of flags used by terrorist groups.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Wayne Brazil issued a preliminary injunction to bar the schools from enforcing several policies challenged in a lawsuit. One required students to act in accordance with SFSU "goals, principles, and policies" and another, a CSU system-wide policy, called for students "to be civil to one another."

"This decision is a vital step in the fight against unconstitutional campus speech codes," said Greg Lukianoff, president of the non-profit advocacy group Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE. "The court's decision frees hundreds of thousands of students throughout the CSU system from unlawful restrictions on their expression."

The judge, who described himself at the hearing as a "friend of the First Amendment," also limited the CSU system's ability to enforce a policy prohibiting "intimidation" and "harassment," holding that the policy could only be applied to conduct that "reasonably is concluded to threaten or endanger the health or safety of any other person."

The Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund defended the SFSU College Republicans and two of the group's members in cooperation with FIRE.


San Francisco State University

As WND reported in March, the university decided – after months of pressure – not to punish College Republicans who had been accused of desecrating the name of Allah by stepping on makeshift Hezbollah and Hamas flags at an anti-terrorism rally.

The trouble began at an Oct. 17, 2006, anti-terrorism rally in which the students stepped on butcher paper painted to resemble the flags of the Middle East terrorist organizations Hamas and Hezbollah. The College Republicans say they simply copied the script from an image on the Internet and didn't know it bore the name of Allah in Arabic script.

A student who is not a member of the club had filed a complaint with university officials after the protest.

The student claimed that the Republican students engaged in "acts of incivility" and "intimidation" and created a "hostile environment" by publicly walking over the terrorist flags.

"I believe that the complaint is [about] the desecration of Allah," a university official told the San Francisco Chronicle.

SFSU President Robert A. Corrigan eventually wrote that the Student Organization Hearing Panel "unanimously concluded that the College Republicans organization had not violated the Student Code of Conduct and that there were no grounds to support the student complaint lodged against them."

But FIRE contended the speech codes led to a "burdensome, unnecessary investigation and five months of ridicule and harassment for these students," even though they did nothing but exercise their constitutional rights.

The ADF lawsuit asked the court to strike down the ill-defined speech code policies of SFSU and the entire California State University system at issue in the investigation.

ADF attorney David Hacker said Judge Brazil's decision this week "sends a clear message to administrators in California and nationwide that they are not above the Constitution."

The San Francisco State and California State University system case is the latest victory in FIRE's Speech Codes Litigation Project, which seeks to "dismantle unconstitutional speech codes on public university campuses." Other schools wher the group has seen success are Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania, Texas Tech University, the State University of New York at Brockport and California's Citrus College.

"FIRE's Speech Codes Litigation Project has ended virtually every code it has challenged," Lukianoff said. "At public universities, these vague and overbroad speech codes are unconstitutional, period. Courts have held this again and again, yet somehow the scandal of campus speech codes continues."
26003  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: November 12, 2007, 08:57:47 AM
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/ar...TICLE_ID=58616

GLOBAL JIHAD
D.C. imam declares Muslim takeover-plan
Washington-based cleric working toward 'Islamic State of North America' by 2050

posted: November 10, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern

By Art Moore
© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com


Logo of D.C. imam's movement* -- *picture on original site

A Washington, D.C., imam states explicitly on the website for his organization that he is part of a movement working toward replacement of the U.S. government with "the Islamic State of North America" by 2050.

With branches in Oakland, Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento and Philadelphia, the group As-Sabiqun – or the Vanguard – is under the leadership of Abdul Alim Musa in the nation's capital.

Musa's declaration of his intention to help lead a takeover of America was highlighted by noted Islam observer Robert Spencer on his website Jihad Watch.

Spencer told WND that figures such as Musa should not be ignored, "Not because they have the power to succeed, but because they may commit acts of violence to achieve their purpose."

Musa's website declares: "Those who engage in this great effort require a high level of commitment and determination. We are sending out a call to the believers: Join with us in this great struggle to change the world!"

Musa launched the group in the early 1990s at the Al-Islam mosque in Philadelphia. His group says it is influenced by the writings and life work of Muslim thinkers and leaders such as Muslim Brotherhood founder Hasan al-Banna, Sayyid Qutb and Iranian revolutionary Ayatollah Khomenei.

The writings of Al-Banna and Qutb figured prominently in al-Qaida's formation.

Musa's organization says its leadership "has delivered numerous speeches in the United States and abroad, contributing their analyses and efforts to solve contemporary problems in the Muslim world and in urban America."


Abdul Alim Musa

"The paramount goal of the movement is the establishment of Islam as a complete way of life in America," the group declares. "This ultimate goal is predicated on the belief – shared by many Muslims worldwide – that Islam is fully capable of producing a working and just social, political, economic order."

The groups says it does not "advocate participation in the American political process as an ideal method for advancing Islamic issues in the U.S.; instead, it believes in a strong and active outreach to the people of the U.S."

Spencer told WND he does not know of any direct influence Musa has on prominent Muslim leaders or on U.S. policymakers, but he says it's "unclear how much 'mainstream' Muslim leaders harbor similar hopes – because no one dares question them about it."

As WND reported, the founder of the leading Islamic lobby group CAIR, the Council on Islamic-American Relations, reportedly told a group of Muslims in California they are in America not to assimilate but to help assert Islam's rule over the country. CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper also has said, in a newspaper interview, he hopes to see an Islamic government over the U.S. some day, brought about not by violence but through "education."

In London last summer, as WND reported, Muslims gathered in front of the London Central Mosque to applaud fiery preachers prophesying the overthrow of the British government – a future vision that encompasses an Islamic takeover of the White House and the rule of the Quran over America.

Musa says he wants to avoid what he calls an "absolutist" outlook on "the advancement of Muslims."

His group's philosophy is to stress unity between the various streams of Islam "in the attainment of common goals."

Although As-Sabiqun is a Sunni movement, it has publicly voiced support for Shia movements and organizations such as the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran and the Iranian-backed group Hezbollah, which waged war on Israel in the summer of 2006.

Musa, the group says, repeatedly has "stressed that the tendency by some Muslims to focus on the differences between Sunni and Shia Islam at this juncture in history is counterproductive to the goals of the Islamic movement as a whole."

The group says it encourages social-political advancement concurrent with a program of spiritual and moral development according to the Quran and Sunnah, compilations of stories from the life of Islam's prophet Muhammad.

The group says it has a six-point plan of action which is implemented at each location where a branch of the movement is established.

Establishing a mosque "as a place to worship Allah in congregation and as a center of spiritual and moral training."
"Calling the general society" to embrace Islam.
Establishing a full-time school "that raises children with a strong Islamic identity so they can, as future Islamic leaders, effectively meet and deal with the challenges of growing up in the West."
Establishing businesses to "make the movement financially stable and independent."
Establishing "geographical integrity by encouraging Muslims of the community to live in close proximity" to the mosque.
Establishing "social welfare institutions to respond to the need for spiritual and material assistance within the community as well as the general society."
In addition to daily classes, each mosque in the movement "also provides youth mentorship, marriage counseling, a prison outreach program, and employment assistance for ex-convicts."

As-Sabiqun says its branch in Los Angeles "was instrumental in creating a free health clinic in cooperation with other Islamic groups. The headquarters branch in D.C. has developed scout programs for young members of the community."

The group says the inspiration for its name comes from Quran, 9:100:

"The vanguard (as-Sabiqun) of Islam – the first of those who forsook their homes, and of those who gave them aid, and also those who follow them in all good deeds – well-pleased is Allah with them, as are they with Him: For them hath He prepared Gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein forever: that is the supreme Felicity."
26004  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / George Washington on: November 11, 2007, 09:47:03 AM
  Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.
                        George Washington
26005  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Howl of Respect to our Soldiers/Veterans on: November 11, 2007, 09:38:14 AM
"WHAT IS A VET?"

Some veterans bear visible signs of their service: a missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye. Others may carry the evidence inside them: a pin holding a bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg - or perhaps another sort of inner steel: the soul's ally forged in the refinery of adversity.

Except in parades, however, the men and women who have kept America safe wear no badge or emblem. You can't tell a vet just by looking. What is a vet?

He is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didn't run out of fuel. He is the barroom loudmouth, dumber than five wooden planks, whose overgrown frat-boy behavior is outweighed a hundred times in the cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery near the 38th parallel.

She - or he - is the nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in Da Nang.

He is the POW who went away one person and came back another - or didn't come back AT ALL.

He is the Quantico drill instructor that has never seen combat - but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account rednecks and gang members into Marines, and teaching them to watch each other's backs.

He is the parade - riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand.

He is the career quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals pass him by.

He is the three anonymous heroes in The Tomb Of The Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all the anonymous heroes whose valor dies unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in the ocean's sunless deep.

He is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket - palsied now and aggravatingly slow - who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his wife were still alive to hold him when the nightmares come.

He is an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being - a person who offered some of his life's most vital years in the service of his country, and who sacrificed his ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice theirs.

He is a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness, and he is nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known.

So remember, each time you see someone who has served our country, just lean over and say Thank You. That's all most people need, and in most cases it will mean more than any medals they could have been awarded or were awarded.

Two little words that mean a lot, "THANK YOU."


Warner Anderson MD
Chief, Emergency Medicine
Gallup Indian Medical Center
U.S. Public Health Service and LTC, MC Group Surgeon
19 Special Forces Group Airborne
Wednesday, November 11th Veterans' Day
26006  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Knives for good on: November 10, 2007, 10:39:16 PM
Store owner who fought off robber with machete speaks outIt happened in the Woodhaven section of Queens
Eyewitness News
(New York - WABC, November 8, 2007) - A would-be robber remains hospitalized after a bodega owner fought him off with a machete in Woodhaven, Queens, Wednesday night.



Eyewitness News reporter Nina Pineda has his story.

It was hand-to-hand combat in an all-out, bloody brawl. We asked the store owner if he'd do anything differently. He said next time, he'd have two machetes.

"Whether it was to rob or to kill him, but then after he hit him with the machete, the robber said, 'Just call the cops, please just call the cops,'" Johann Marte said through his translator, Queens Assemblyman Jose Peralta.

Hiding his face for now, in case someone seeks revenge, the bodega owner justified reducing the robber to a bloody mess last night.

"He pulled his gun, I pulled my machete and we went to war," Marte said.

Marte, a father of four, said the alleged criminal walked in his Woodhaven corner store with guns blazing, then wound up begging him to call the police.

"He was aiming for the gun," Peralta said. "As soon as he saw the gun, he was aiming for the gun, and that's all he was aiming for. He started swinging away at the gun, and it was lucky for him he ended up hitting the hand."

Marte's machete slashed the gun-toting bandit's trigger finger off, along with part of his ear, in a battle witnesses believe the suspect deserved.

"He had to protect himself," one said. "You do what you can."

Local legislators warn store owners not to fight violence with violence. They're pushing for bodega safety measures, like panic buttons, connected to local precincts.

"He was very lucky to endure what he did, but we want to teach bodega owners not to do what he did," Peralta said. "Because unfortunately, nine times out of 10, they will end up dead."

Still, an eye-for-an-eye, says Marte, who was fired at four times before his machete beat the bullets.

"I came here to work, to work hard, and I work hard everyday," Marte said through Peralta. "And I had to defend myself, and that's what I did."

The store has been robbed three times in the past, and it seems the Queens district attorney will treat this as self-defense and not charge Marte with anything. The robber-turned-victim is still recovering. He faces a number of charges. 


http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?se...cal&id=5750763
26007  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: American Politics on: November 10, 2007, 10:31:56 PM
wsj

So in the end, the Senate voted to confirm Michael Mukasey as Attorney General on Thursday night, 53-40. What happened to the grave threats he posed to the republic?

Yes, Majority Leader Harry Reid took to the floor to explain that the judge was unfit to serve because he wouldn't declaim on the legality of "waterboarding," an interrogation technique that Congress itself hasn't banned. But notably missing in action were the Democrats running for President. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Chris Dodd had all declared their opposition but never showed for the vote. Their absence suggests that the entire Mukasey "fight" was a political charade. Democrats wanted to appease their antiwar base by raising a fuss, but without actually defeating him. As Dan Rather would say, "Courage."
26008  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: November 10, 2007, 08:52:11 PM
WEEKEND INTERVIEW

Consultant in Chief
What Mitt Romney seems to have in mind is a turnaround project for Washington.

BY BRIAN M. CARNEY
Saturday, November 10, 2007 12:01 a.m. EST

"I love data." Mitt Romney has been speaking for less than two minutes when he makes this profession.

The former Massachusetts governor is meeting with the editorial board of The Wall Street Journal to discuss his campaign for the presidency. And he starts not with the economy, "global jihad" or the country as a whole, but with himself.

While some have questioned Mr. Romney's authenticity, the immediate impression he gives is that he speaks straight from the heart. Especially where data are concerned. "I used to call it 'wallowing in the data,' " Mr. Romney continues. "Let me see the data. I want to see the client's data, the competitors' data. I want to see all the data."

This is not only a description of his approach to business. It sums up his political outlook: "You may ask me questions about topics that I haven't studied in depth. I'll be happy to give you my assessment of what I think at this point. But before I would actually make a decision on a very important topic, I would really study it in depth."

At one level, this is a caveat so obvious that most politicians wouldn't bother offering it. But Mr. Romney gives the impression that this is a methodological first principle so important to how he does things that he wants everyone he meets to understand it about him.





Having established his biography, he turns without pause to the question, which he asks himself, "Why am I running for president?"
The answer to this question is as abstract as his overture was personal. The "I" in the question seems to disappear: "I think what America faces now are extraordinary challenges, which, if we deal with appropriately, will allow us to remain the world's military and economic superpower for an indefinite period of time."

Mr. Romney does then introduce a personal element, but it's not his own person. "If we instead take the course that Hillary Clinton would prescribe," he warns, "it would lead to America becoming the France of this century--having started as a superpower, ending up as a second-tier power."

Those challenges include: "global jihad" and "the emergence of Asia as an economic challenge." On the domestic front, he lists: "entitlement-driven financial distress," "overuse of foreign oil" and "the inability of our school system to prepare our kids for the jobs of today, let alone tomorrow." To that, Mr. Romney adds, "the inability of the health-care system to rein in the explosive growth in costs." Needless to say, he thinks "we have a good prospect of solving all of them and remaining the world's power."

Those, then, are the problems that, in his word, "drive" him. And it's a pretty good list. But rather than explain why he is the person to solve them, Mr. Romney shifts gears to talk about himself in another sense.

Politicians don't like to describe themselves as ideological, but most have a core of political precepts. Mr. Romney describes his thus: "Obviously, I have--just like in the consulting world--I have 'concepts' that I believe. I believe the free market works and government doesn't--that when government takes over a function which can be effectively managed in the free market, we make a huge mistake. I think government is almost by necessity inefficient, inflexible, duplicative, wasteful, expensive and burdensome." This is fairly traditional small-government, free-market conservative talk--or would be, if it weren't framed as a "concept," like those used in consulting.

Which makes it seem at first a curious way to describe why one is running for president of the United States and leader of the free world. But it turns out to be a perfect encapsulation of the Romney campaign.

Mr. Romney spent a decade as a consultant, and later ran a private equity concern that grew out of that. For most of his adult life, then, Mr. Romney has been figuring out how to run businesses better. It is not much of a stretch to say that he views the federal government as just one more candidate for a data-driven makeover.

In fact, it may not be a stretch at all. When asked for details about how he would reduce the size of government if elected, he mentions two things: The organizational chart of the executive branch, and consultants. "There's no corporation in America that would have a CEO, no COO, just a CEO, with 30 direct reports."

Running a government organized like this is, he explains, impossible. "So I would probably have super-cabinet secretaries, or at least some structure that McKinsey would guide me to put in place." He seems to catch a note of surprise in his audience, but he presses on: "I'm not kidding, I probably would bring in McKinsey. . . . I would consult with the best and the brightest minds, whether it's McKinsey, Bain, BCG or Jack Welch."





This is not a new idea. The New Democrats too became enamored of the idea of "reinventing government," and Al Gore extolled the potential to making government work more like business as vice president. Except in that case, the larger goal was to show that government need not be sclerotic, bloated and inefficient. Mr. Romney seems to view it more as a turnaround project--trim the fat, reduce expenditure and shrink the organization.
Mr. Romney's data-driven world-view, however, really stands out when he starts talking foreign policy. In a debate last month, he responded to a question about the president's legal authority to attack Iran by saying, "You sit down with your attorneys" and figure out what authority you have.

But this was not merely a dodge--if it had been, it would have been a clumsy one at best. It was a glimpse into the workings of Mr. Romney's mind. At his meeting in our offices this week, he was asked how Candidate Romney would respond upon learning that President Bush had launched an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.

"I would hope that the president would have outlined a great deal of information," was Mr. Romney's response. "I have very little information, for instance, on: How many nuclear facilities are there? Where are they? Can we take them out? Can we not? What is the capacity of the Iranian military to respond? Are our 160,000 troops in Iraq safe, or are they going to get hit?" Coming from someone else, it might sound like evasion.

But given Mr. Romney's habits of mind, it sounded, instead, perfectly natural. He continued: "It's such a wide array of information I'd need to know whether something is a good idea or a bad idea. . . . So it depends."

He then proceeded to outline examples of good and bad scenarios for attacking before coming around, at last, to what passes for a traditional political assessment of the situation, to wit: He thinks sanctions could still work if we can get other nations on board, and if we can pressure Iran diplomatically and economically, "then I think we have a good shot of getting Iran to behave more responsibly."





The charge that Mr. Romney lacks "authenticity" emerges from the fact that he has flip-flopped over the years, especially on social issues. He famously tried to run to the left of Ted Kennedy on some of those issues in his unsuccessful 1994 Senate race. At that time, he also expressly disavowed being a "Reagan-Bush" Republican.
These days, of course, Mr. Romney is right with "the base" on abortion, same-sex marriage and the whole panoply of "social" issues, which has led to suspicions that Mr. Romney, the businessman, is simply tailoring the product, himself, to the customer--then, the Massachusetts electorate, and now, the national Republican Party.

The impression he gives in person is not, however, that of a salesman tailoring his message to his audience. It is, instead, precisely the person he described in the opening moments of our meeting: A man who goes first to the data, who refers to what some would call their "core beliefs" as "concepts."

At any rate, his response to a question about his former disdain for "Reagan-Bush" is consistent with that version of the man. "Reagan gets a lot smarter the older I get," he allows. He then explains what bothered him then: "I was concerned about what seemed to be looming deficits and inability to rein in spending in those days. And as time has gone on, I've recognized that he was brilliant and did the right thing for our economy. And so I may not have been entirely in sync with Reagan-Bush back at the time, but as time has gone on, I think what they proposed was smarter and smarter."

Framed in that way, what was a flip-flop becomes an openness to reconsider former positions. That may not do much to mollify those who worry about his ideological reliability--he's changed his views before, so what's to stop him from changing them again? But it is a kind of Romneyian consistency--belief in what works, belief in praxis over abstract theory or ideology.

This frame of mind seems to make politics both a befuddlement and a great challenge for the businessman in Mr. Romney. "My wife says," he explains, "that watching Washington is like watching two guys in a canoe on a fast-moving river headed to a waterfall and they're not paddling, they're just arguing. As they get closer to the waterfall, they'll finally start to paddle."

That's characteristically optimistic. But in business, most of the time, everyone agrees on the goal, or which way the waterfall is. The goal is profits at a minimum, and ideally growth too. In politics, the two men in the canoe are probably arguing because they can't agree which way to paddle. Mr. Romney encountered this while governor of Massachusetts, as he acknowledges when describing how he vetoed certain elements of the state's health-care reform law, only to have his vetoes overridden.





And then there is the fact that, in his words, "government is almost by necessity inefficient, inflexible, duplicative, wasteful, expensive and burdensome." And yet he speaks hopefully of whittling down the "342 economic-development programs in this country," the 13 teenage [pregnancy] prevention programs" and the like.
It probably takes a consultant to believe that we have 342 economic-development programs because no one ever hired a consultant to explain that maybe one, or five, or none, would do. And even Mr. Romney is not that naive. There is even something attractive about a politician who is driven by the facts of the case; an excess of ideology is never appealing, and in the worst cases leads to fanaticism of the ugliest sort.

The question for the electorate is whether Mitt Romney is the man of the hour. But when asked whether his "nuts-and-bolts" approach can possibly succeed in an ideological, divided age, he returns to the nuts and bolts.

"I think I'm the only guy who can win the general election," he explains. "That may seem strange, but I think it's going to take someone from outside Washington to win. I think it's going to take someone who's not a lifelong politician to win . . ." Then he goes tactical: "Of course we have to win Florida. And I think almost all of the leading contenders could win Florida with the right running mate and the right policies and the right effort.

"But we also have to win Michigan or Ohio. Winning both would be critical. I don't see how you get there without winning Michigan or Ohio. And I can win Michigan, and I may be able to win Ohio too . . ."

At this point, Mr. Romney may have started to worry that it sounded like he was bragging, because he abruptly shifted to a strange form of self-deprecation: "I can win those states--and by the way, not because of me, but because of my dad," he says. George Romney was governor of Michigan in the 1960s. "My dad's reputation is better than mine will ever be in Michigan. His reputation for integrity and can-do accomplishment is what I think helps me win Michigan. And that's what it takes to win the White House."

Mr. Carney is a member of The Wall Street Journal's editorial board.
26009  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Our Founding Fathers: on: November 10, 2007, 08:44:25 PM
No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government" -- Thomas Jefferson, 1 Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334
26010  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: November 10, 2007, 08:38:10 PM
Confusion reigns over U.S. rules on growth hormone even as crackdown is increased
By DAVID B. CARUSO (Associated Press Writer)
From Associated Press
November 10, 2007 8:35 PM EST
NEW YORK - Jeffrey George had no background in health care when he founded his business to sell human growth hormone on the Internet.

But even though most uses of the drug are illegal, he is absolutely certain that selling HGH is not against the law, as long as customers have a prescription.

"It's the same thing as getting antibiotics," the 26-year-old bodybuilder said in a recent interview.

His confidence is understandable. Seventeen years after Congress made it a felony to distribute synthetic HGH improperly, there is still confusion about who may legally get the drug.

Doctors, pharmacists and even law enforcement agents disagree about the meaning of the law that, at least on paper, appears to ban prescriptions for HGH for anything other than a handful of rare illnesses.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned that anyone who distributes HGH for athletic enhancement or as an anti-aging remedy faces up to five years in prison, but that threat is rarely enforced.

Web sites frequented by bodybuilders brazenly hawk mail-order growth hormone as a way of increasing strength and stamina.

George's company, South Beach Rejuvenation and Health, touts the drug as a "fountain of youth," capable of removing wrinkles and boosting sex drive.

"Rejuvenation" centers catering to aging Baby Boomers offer HGH injections as a remedy for everything from low energy to expanding waistlines.

Distributors, according to a recent FDA alert, have increasingly offered to fulfill demand by importing unapproved versions of the drug from China, even though all such shipments are flatly illegal.

After years of treating it as a minor problem, some law enforcement agencies have recently turned more attention to HGH.

In September, the founder of one of China's largest drug manufacturers, the GeneScience Pharmaceuticals Company, was indicted on federal charges that he smuggled huge amounts of HGH into the U.S.

Last month, state officials seized $7.5 million (euro5.1 million) in Chinese-made growth hormone from a New York City pharmacy that had been supplying anti-aging clinics in New York and Florida.

A St. Louis pharmacy company, Specialty Distribution Systems Inc., agreed to pay a $10.5 million (euro7.2 million) fine for distributing HGH to athletes, entertainers and others who did not qualify for treatment.

And since the spring, a long list of doctors, clinic owners and pharmacy operators from several states have faced charges in Albany, the New York state capital, that they distributed HGH and steroids to patients who had no medical need for the drugs.

However, authorities acknowledge that the crackdown has been limited.

Prosecutors have been especially reluctant to take on one of the largest sources of HGH: Doctors who prescribe the drug as part of an anti-aging regimen.

Under the law, physicians are allowed to prescribe HGH when a patient's pituitary gland stops producing normal amounts of hormone, usually because it has been damaged by a tumor or a cancer treatment like surgery or radiation therapy.

Since the early 1990s, however, a minority of doctors have claimed that millions of other adults also can be legitimately said to have a hormone deficiency because the pituitary gland naturally tapers off HGH production after a person reaches middle age.

The growth of that approach infuriates doctors like Thomas Perls, an aging expert at Boston University Medical School, who said that while HGH has legitimate benefits there is little evidence to back claims it can slow aging.

"It's the worst kind of quackery," he said.

It also may not be safe, he said. Some studies have suggested that people who take HGH supplements run a greater risk of getting cancer. HGH treatment can also have side effects like joint pain and diabetes.

Prosecuting doctors, however, is not easy. Just last week, one of the FDA's few efforts to crack down on a doctor ended in failure. A federal jury acquitted Reno, Nevada, physician James Forsythe, who was charged in 2005 with prescribing HGH to middle-aged patients who wanted to get into better shape. Forsythe denied doing anything wrong.

State medical boards also appear loath to discipline physicians.

New York's Board for Professional Medical Conduct has taken action against only a handful of doctors in the past two decades for writing unwarranted HGH prescriptions.

After Albany Country District Attorney P. David Soares complained last spring that legal loopholes had made it more difficult to target doctors selling the drug to bodybuilders, Sen. Charles Schumer proposed a bill that would put HGH in the same regulatory category as narcotics and steroids.

At least some people in the business agree that changes are needed.

"The industry is polluted with the wrong types of people," said Brian Cotugno, a Floridian who worked as a consultant to several hormone replacement clinics.

Like George, Cotugno's original background was not in medicine. As a young man, he served a 10-year prison sentence for cocaine trafficking.

After his release, he said, he became a consultant, telling clinics how to satisfy government regulations. But he said many of his clients ignored advice that might cut into their profits.

Cotugno said he recently stopped advising the clinics, and abandoned a small HGH marketing business of his own.

"It always ended with some sort of disastrous scenario," he said.
26011  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / !Fuego! on: November 10, 2007, 07:56:26 PM
http://www.noticias24.com/actualidad/?p=9647


Grave incidente diplomático entre Chávez, Ortega y el Rey de España
12:11 pm | 10 Nov 2007 | 622 comentarios | 81,697 views

En la reunión de hoy de la Cumbre, se ha producido un lamentable y fuerte altercado verbal entre Hugo Chávez y la delegación española, que respondió, con evidente molestia, los nuevos insultos del presidente venezolano a Aznar. El Rey Juan Carlos visiblemente indignado gritó a Chávez: “¿Por qué no te callas?”. Al seguir las ofensas por parte de Daniel Ortega, el Rey de España abandonó la reunión. Terminadas las palabras de Ortega, unos minutos después regresó para la Clausura.

Si por medio de la violencia o medios ilegítimos la oligarquía, los “pitiyanquis”, llegarán a cerrarle el camino a las revoluciones pacíficas el continente puedo explotar el violencia. Así lo acaba de decir Hugo Chávez en su participación en la Cumbre, que ha vuelto a repetir su amenaza de los Vietnams en el continente.

Chávez, en su intervención, ha reiterado su narración de los sucesos del 11 de abril de 2002, haciendo énfasis en que “estuvo a punto de morir una madrugada”. Igualmente reiteró sus críticas a España y EE.UU., lo que ha provocado la visible molestia de Zapatero, quien esta mañana insistió ante la prensa, en referencia a Hugo Chávez, la necesidad de dirigirse con respeto a los demás, incluso a los oponentes políticos.

El presidente Zapatero pidió la palabra y exigió a Hugo Chávez, con vehemencia, respeto a los gobernantes democráticos, “ahora y en el futuro”

El Rey Juan Carlos, muy molesto, le gritó “¿por qué no te callas?” a Hugo Chávez, ante las descalificaciones vertidas por éste contra el ex presidente del gobierno español, José María Aznar.

Hugo Chávez, también molesto volvió a hablar y le dijo a Zapatero que “con la verdad ni ofendo ni temo”.

El presidente de Nicaragua está criticando ahora a los “europeos y gringos” ante un Zapatero cuya cara de crispación es cada vez más evidente. Ortega está echando leña al fuego acusando a España de haber colaborado con EE.UU. en el ataque a Libia donde murió una hija de Gadaffi.

Las imágenes han mostrado la visible molestia del Rey Juan Carlos I ante la discusión que se está llevando a cabo.

Esta es la crónica completa de la Agencia Efe:

Tras una monumental bronca, protagonizada por Venezuela y España, en la que el Rey Juan Carlos abandonó el plenario, se clausuró la XVII Cumbre Iberoamericana.

Las descalificaciones del presidente de Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, al ex-presidente del gobierno español, Jose María Aznar, provocaron una respuesta del presidente Jose Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, en la que le recordó que “en una mesa en la que hay gobiernos democráticos, se tiene como principios esenciales el respeto”.

El presidente venezolano Hugo calificó de nuevo de fascista a Aznar y sostuvo que en una conversación privada le respondió “esos se jodieron (sic)” al aludir a los países más pobres del mundo.

Chávez reveló detalles de una conversación mantenida con Aznar durante la visita oficial a Caracas que el entonces presidente del Gobierno hizo en julio de 1999 para “invitarle” a incorporarse al “club del primer mundo”.

En la sesión de clausura de la Cumbre Iberoamericana, Chávez reiteró su acusación a Aznar de que éste apoyó el golpe que intentó derrocarle en 2002. “Sabía del golpe y lo apoyó”, dijo.

Chávez había pedido la palabra para replicar a la intervención del presidente del Gobierno español, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, centrada en subrayar que un país nunca podrá avanzar si busca justificaciones de que alguien desde fuera impide su progreso.

El presidente venezolano mostró su desacuerdo con los argumentos de Rodríguez Zapatero y dijo que “no se pueden minimizar” el impacto de los factores externos, paso previo a un largo discurso en el que volvió a atacar con dureza a Aznar.

En el momento en que Chávez interrumpió a Zapatero, el Rey Juan Carlos le espetó “¿por qué no te callas?”.

Ortega critica las empresas españolas y el Rey abandona la sala

El presidente de Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, lanzó duras críticas, en presencia del rey Juan Carlos y del jefe del Gobierno español, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, a la empresa eléctrica española Unión Fenosa, a la que dijo que en la actualidad no le hubieran dejado entrar en el país.

El 90 por ciento de la opinión de Nicaragua “está en contra de Unión Fenosa”, afirmó. “Esa empresa española llega a Nicaragua a ayudar, decía, a que la energía llegue a todo el país, se va a controlar el precio y todo lo demás. Llegó con los Gobiernos peleles, nosotros no le hubiéramos dejado entrar a Unión Fenosa, no le hubiéramos entregado la distribución“.

“Le entregaron la generación del 47 por ciento de la energía”, pero “los inversionistas no compraron las empresas generadoras que estaban en mal estado, compraron mediante actos de corrupción las empresas generadoras que estaban en buen estado donde podían sacarle utilidades y ganar lo que estaban dando por la empresa en un año”, señaló Ortega durante una intervención en la turbulenta sesión de clausura de la XVII Cumbre Iberoamericana.

El rey de España Juan Carlos I abandonó entonces el plenario de la Cumbre.

Resultados de la Cumbre que terminó en polémica

En la Cumbre se aprobó la “Declaración de Santiago” y un Plan de Acción, que incluye medidas destinadas a mejorar la cohesión social, lema del encuentro. También se aprobaron una serie de comunicados especiales sobre la lucha contra el terrorismo y la corrupción, la reclamación por Argentina de la soberanía en las Islas Malvinas, el rechazo del bloqueo de Estados Unidos a Cuba y la cooperación para el desarrollo con países de renta media.

Los Jefes de Estado y de Gobierno se comprometieron también a poner en marcha un Convenio Multilateral de Seguridad Social, con el se podrán beneficiar seis millones de inmigrantes latinoamericanos. La presidenta de Chile, Michelle Bachelet, el presidente de El Salvador, Elías Antonio Saca, y el Secretario General Iberoamericano, Enrique Iglesias, ofrecerán una rueda de prensa para informar de los resultados de la cumbre.
26012  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: November 10, 2007, 07:45:49 PM
GM:

Good to have you with us again.

Given the history of the border with India, this development seems quite significant.  Is it a sign that Mush fears the situation unravelling completely?  Or is he readying a genuinely aggressive move against to Whackostans?  Or?

We certainly live in interesting times , , ,
===============
WSJ

The Bush-Biden Doctrine
November 10, 2007; Page A10
Whatever Pervez Musharraf's failings in Islamabad, his impact in Washington has been nothing short of miraculous. With his declaration of emergency rule, the Pakistan President has single-handedly revived the Bush Doctrine. The same people who only days ago were deriding President Bush for naively promoting democracy are now denouncing him for not promoting it enough in Pakistan.

"We have to move from a Musharraf to a Pakistan policy," declared Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden on Thursday. "Pakistan has strong democratic traditions and a large, moderate majority. But that moderate majority must have a voice in the system and an outlet with elections. If not, moderates may find that they have no choice but to make common cause with extremists, just as the Shah's opponents did in Iran three decades ago."

HOT TOPIC

 
 
Pakistan Plunges Deeper Into ChaosJoe Biden, neocon.

The Senator's epiphany underscores that Pakistan has long been the playground not of democracy promoters but of the foreign-policy "realists." General Musharraf may have taken power in a coup, but when Colin Powell famously gave him the for-us-or-against-us choice after 9/11, the general chose "for." He is a U.S. ally in a rough neighborhood, his government captured such al Qaeda bigs as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and as an authoritarian he was of the moderate kind. The Bush Administration did push Mr. Musharraf to restore democratic legitimacy, but quietly and without great urgency. Brent Scowcroft would have approved.

We don't summarize this history to deride it the way Mr. Biden and many neocons-come-lately are. There are exceptions to every foreign policy rule, and sometimes democracy promotion must compete with other American interests, such as the need to pursue al Qaeda. In the Cold War, Americans often had little choice but to support authoritarian rulers who were allies in the larger struggle against Communism. Sometimes the alternatives are worse, and Pakistan is a hard case.

Clearly, however, this calculation has to change after Mr. Musharraf's "emergency" declaration. His arrest of lawyers, human-rights activists and political opponents shows that his main targets aren't Islamists. They are the pro-Western parts of Pakistan civil society that oppose Islamism more than the general does. He is making a heavy-handed play to avoid a Supreme Court ruling against his recent Presidential election, and he has undermined the talks he was having with opposition leader Benazir Bhutto on a transition to democracy. As a national leader, he has made himself even less legitimate.

So what should the U.S. do? To some, like Mr. Biden, the answer is to issue an ultimatum to restore elections by a date certain, and if Mr. Musharraf refuses, cut off the U.S. aid of $150 million a month and walk away. This has its virtues as a political threat, but it is less useful if you actually have to follow through.

The last time the U.S. tried to isolate Pakistan, after its nuclear test in the late 1990s, we lost contact with a generation of Pakistani military officers. Pakistan also got in bed with the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the U.S. had little or no influence. It was only after 9/11, with the resumption of U.S. aid, that Mr. Musharraf replaced some generals and intelligence officials who sympathized with the Taliban. There are benefits to staying engaged with the military and other parts of Pakistan society -- both to understand it better and to help deter the worse possible outcome, which would be an Islamist coup.

At the same time, however, the U.S. can't quietly acquiesce in the status quo. Mr. Musharraf's days are numbered, and his country's democrats need to know that the U.S. stands squarely for restoring the rule of law, freedom of the airwaves, and democratic legitimacy. President Bush already seems to be making some progress on this front, calling Mr. Musharraf this week and urging him both to resign his military commission and set a date for elections. The general has responded by saying elections will be held by February, a month after they had been scheduled before the "emergency" was declared.

Some of our neocon friends point to the Cold War precedent of the Philippines, where Ronald Reagan helped to push long-time ally Ferdinand Marcos from power. What they forget is that the Gipper's push came at the end of a long process of private engagement and public pressure, and only after Marcos had tried to steal a Presidential election. It also came in a country whose political culture we clearly understood, and one with close bilateral military ties. When Marcos ordered military leaders to arrest the opposition, they refused and a bloodbath was prevented.

Others point to the Iran example of 1979, but that too is an imperfect model. Jimmy Carter and Zbigniew Brzezinski abandoned the Shah with little understanding that the military as an institution would crumble, and none at all about the radical designs of the Ayatollah Khomeini. We have been living with the consequences of that blunder ever since.

Pakistan today is not Iran in 1979, but neither is it the Philippines in 1986. It requires its own unique U.S. engagement and diplomacy. The restoration of democracy should be one goal of that engagement, even if we have to call it the Bush-Biden Doctrine.

RELATED ARTICLES AND BLOGS
26013  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Seminar reviews on: November 10, 2007, 07:34:34 PM
Woof Shadowdancer:

Dino provided this clip of Porn Star Dog working the Attacking Blocks generator with Ashley

http://www.teamruthless.com/100_1435.MOV

Its a subtle one that many people have a hard time picking up--  so I am pleased with his teaching.

TAC,
CD

26014  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: November 18, 2007 Dog Bros Gathering of the Pack on: November 10, 2007, 08:05:38 AM
Dog Ryan: 

I have written Jeff Quail of Shocknife two times about since he first mentioned it but have not heard back from him yet.

Cat Linda:

I am in Temecula until Monday night.  When I return I will look up Gina's contact info.  In the meantime know that you may have all the knife fights you want.

All:

At the moment the drummer situation is still open.  Henrik now lives in Sacramento and is a maybe and I seemed to have misplaced the contact info for Charles Telerant.  I will try Edit Dog on Tuesday, but he often has a heavy schedule and I'm guessing the odds of him being available at the last minute are not strong.   So if you are or now someone, please let us know.

TAC,
CD
26015  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: MMA event in Manila on Dec 7 or 8 on: November 09, 2007, 08:43:17 PM
PLATINUM PRODUCTIONS, out of Las Vegas NV

Ring of Fire

26016  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / MMA event in Manila on Dec 7 or 8 on: November 09, 2007, 08:06:40 PM
Does anyone have any info about this event or the coordinator (promoter?) Dave Brock?

Please post here and/or email me at Craftydog@dogbrothers.com

Thank you!
26017  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: November 18, 2007 Dog Bros Gathering of the Pack on: November 09, 2007, 06:01:11 PM
BTW a great knife fight she had with a man and some stickfights of her with some other women appear in DLO 2  cool
26018  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: What does Kali Tudo 2 have in store for us?? on: November 09, 2007, 04:24:50 PM
Poz's granddaughter and mine play together regularly and I often take advantage of the opportunity to run things by him.
26019  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Howl of Respect to our Soldiers/Veterans on: November 09, 2007, 12:20:59 PM
Veterans Day Profile: Point Man, Roger Helle
“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

“I’m Sgt. Helle’s brother. How is he?” asked Roger’s twin brother, Ron, also an E-5, USMC. “I’m sorry son, but your brother is going to die,” the physician responded tersely. That was July 1970, China Beach, Vietnam.

My friend Roger Helle was 17 years old when he joined the Marine Corps. The product of a broken home, he was very insecure and hoped becoming a Marine would provide him the confidence he lacked.

In February 1966, five months into his first 13-month tour in Vietnam, Roger’s unit was searching for Viet Cong around Gia Le. Roger had walked point for patrols during the previous four months and had been shot once, so his intuition about the enemy’s presence was acutely tuned.

On a night mission to a small fishing village reportedly occupied by VC, Roger and 12 other Marines were moving down a trail lined with dense bamboo. His squad leader had taken Roger’s position as point man, and Roger’s instinct told him the squad was moving too fast along the trail. So urgent was his sense that something was wrong that he wanted to call out, but did not want to betray their position.

In an instant, gunfire erupted and a series of “daisy-chain” explosions propelled Roger and two other Marines over the vegetation into an adjacent rice paddy. As he slowly recovered from the shock of the concussion generated by the explosions, he could see green tracers from VC weapons cutting up and down the trail.

The ambush was over as quickly as it began, and more than 60 VC emerged like ghosts from the bamboo, killed the wounded Marines on the trail, collected their weapons and disappeared.

As Roger regained his senses, he pulled the other two Marines in the water to the edge of the rice paddy. He then pawed around in the muddy water for his M-14, and crawled back onto the trail to check for survivors among the ten remaining Marines—among his friends. The squad leader had taken 29 rounds. There were no survivors.

Roger recovered a radio under one of the dead, crawled back to the water’s edge with the wounded Marines, and called base camp with their coordinates. Within a half hour, Chinooks arrived with quick reaction squads to recover the injured and dead.

The two Marines Roger pulled from the water were evacuated to Da Nang, but died en route.

Roger was the sole survivor of that horrific ambush. There was no consolation for the “survivor’s guilt” he experienced—not the anger, not the nightmares—not for years.

In July 1970, two tours, two Purple Hearts and numerous other decorations later, Roger Helle, now a sergeant and platoon leader for a “killer team,” was walking point on a mission back to a village to destroy earthen tunnels used by the VC for escape and evasion.

Normally, a platoon leader would not take the point position in front of his men; if he was wounded or killed, it could threaten the continuity and survivability of the whole platoon. However, suffering four years of guilt after relinquishing his position on point and losing his entire squad, Roger was not about to ask one of his guys to walk point for what he considered a “mop-up” mission.

Their packs overloaded with C-4 explosives to destroy the VC tunnels, Roger’s platoon took frequent breaks. After one stop, he crossed a field about 50 yards ahead of his platoon to check for booby traps. While scanning the area, he sensed a glint of something in his peripheral vision, coming through the air. A grenade bounced off his leg—and a second later, exploded under his feet, violently impelling him backward and then to the ground.

Roger recounts that the detonation “felt like thousands of volts of electricity surging through my body.” After hitting the ground, he says, “My body would not respond to what my mind wanted it to do.”

Amazingly, he managed to stagger to his feet and wipe enough blood from his eyes to see an enemy soldier, about ten yards in front of him, point his weapon and fire. As the rifle recoiled, two rounds hit Roger, spinning him around and knocking him face down to the ground. As he rolled back toward the light of the sky, he could make out the silhouette of that NVA soldier standing above him. Their eyes met as the enemy thrust his bayonet into Roger’s abdomen.

Just a few seconds, and an eternity, had elapsed.

Roger’s platoon had instinctively hit the ground after the grenade detonated, but six of his men rose up in time to see the NVA soldier over their platoon leader. They fired on the enemy as he withdrew his bayonet, and he dropped a few feet from Roger.

Roger was riddled with shrapnel from the grenade, hit with two rifle rounds and bayoneted. Worse yet, the shrapnel had detonated one of the phosphorus grenades in his demolition bag. His clothing and body were on fire. He managed to get out of his burning flack jacket, but the pain racked his body.

At that moment, Roger says, “I was tired of the killing, tired of losing friends, tired of trying to make sense of the war and my life. I just wanted to die and have all this suffering be over.”

Roger was evacuated to the 95th EVAC Hospital, China Beach, where he underwent numerous surgeries. After six days at death’s door, he regained consciousness long enough to recognize a familiar voice on the ward—that of his brother Ron, asking a physician if Roger was there.

After telling Ron that his brother was going to die, a nurse led him to Roger’s bedside. Ron stood over Roger for a minute, trying to recognize what was left of his brother, and then started to sob, falling to the end of Roger’s bed in grief.

“Your brother is going to die.” The finality of those words were sinking in, as Ron wept, compelling Roger to pray, “God, if there really is a God... if you let me live, I’ll do anything you want.” With that, he fell unconscious again.

In the days that followed, Ron (who also had three Purple Hearts and later received the Navy Cross for jumping on a grenade to protect other Marines) never left the side of his brother. Roger saw many injured men brought into that ward and could only watch as life drained from their bodies. Miraculously, Roger’s condition improved. The road to recovery was long and hard, but 31 operations later, including four to reconstruct his face, recover he did.

Along the way, Roger met his Savior and fulfilled his promise to God—and he has served in full-time ministry since 1978. Indeed, in a war with no victors and replete with death, Roger found victory over death through Christ. He also met and married his wife and ministry partner, Shirley, and they now have two children and three grandchildren.

Today, some 37 years later, Roger appears as robust as a Patriot’s linebacker. He leads a challenging but successful discipleship to young people in the grip of life-controlling addictions. “Life is a gift from God,” says Roger. “What we do with it can be our gift to God.”

Roger’s ministry to others also includes 16 trips back to Vietnam since 1989, where he and “Vets with a Mission” have helped to build orphanages, clinics and hospitals for rural peasants ignored by their Communist government and they have supplied them with millions of dollars of donated medical supplies.

This Christian Soldier understands well the counsel of Ecclesiastes 3:1-3—“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal.” His third book, “A time to kill and a time to heal,” takes its inspiration from that passage, as does Roger.

Regarding Vietnam and the current war in Iraq and Afghanistan, Roger is characteristically candid: “I have never regretted a minute of my service in Vietnam. That’s because I did not see the war the way the media portrayed it. I saw it through the eyes of the people that I lived with, the people of Vietnam who wanted to live free in peace.”

He continues, “As The Patriot noted years ago in its analysis of the media’s Vietnam war coverage, ‘General Vo Nguyen Giap, Vietnam’s most decorated military leader, wrote in retrospect that if not for the disunity created by John Kerry, Jane Fonda and their ilk, and promoted by the U.S. media, Hanoi would have ultimately surrendered’.”

Roger adds, “Vietnam will not be a failure if we learn the lessons of that conflict. Politicians cannot run the war—the generals must lead and lead well. The majority of people in Iraq and Afghanistan want peace and freedom, but the media’s portrayal of that critical conflict is just as prejudiced as it was during Vietnam—maybe more so. The Left, with the media’s help, may force the same scenario in Iraq that they forced in Vietnam, with the same consequences for the entire region. The vast majority of our Armed Forces in the region both understand and support our mission.”

To Roger, and to all fellow Patriots who have served our nation with courage and great sacrifice, we offer our heartfelt gratitude. You have honored your oath to “support and defend... so help me God,” as do those on the front line in the war with Jihadistan today. You have kept the flame of liberty, lit by our Founders, burning bright for future generations.

In 1918, the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month marked the cessation of World War I hostilities. This date is now designated in honor of our veterans, and a focal point for national observance is the placing of a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.

Today, nearly 24 million (eight percent) of our countrymen are veterans. Of those, 33 percent served in Vietnam, 18 percent in the Gulf War, 14 percent in WWII and 13 percent in Korea. About three percent served in Iraq and Afghanistan and other counter-terrorism theaters. More than 25 percent of those veterans suffer some disability.

Please pause with us at 1100 EST this Sunday to pray for all our veterans.

PatriotPost.com
26020  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: November 09, 2007, 11:59:15 AM
Venezuela: Protests, Chavez and the Constitutional Referendum
Summary

Venezuelan college students continued their protests Nov. 8 despite armed attacks on protesters at various universities ahead of a controversial referendum Dec. 2. Though the protests show little sign of letting up and enjoy support from the Roman Catholic Church and at least some military elements, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is in a good position to deal with the threat to his rule.

Analysis

University students in Caracas protested Nov. 8 against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, just one day after masked gunmen attacked students in the Venezuelan capital returning from a demonstration, injuring at least eight people. The Central University of Venezuela (UCV) would not confirm whether anyone had died. Five students were also injured during protests by plainclothes gunmen in the northwestern city of Barquisimeto on Nov. 7. The Nov. 7 shootings were not the first of their kind. At least one female student died and two others were seriously injured at the University of Zulia on Nov. 2 when armed men fired from a moving vehicle upon a group of protesting students. A deadly shooting also occurred Nov. 2 at the University of Lara, according to an unconfirmed report.

Chavista elements aiming to quell student protests through intimidation tactics likely carried out these attacks. And though the protests probably will continue and could appeal to a wider audience, Chavez has had a long time to prepare for just this sort of situation.

The tactics have met with varying levels of success. While some major student groups like the Federation of Student Centers at UCV have called off protest marches in the interest of protecting students in the wake of the shootings, others have continued to hold marches and to face off with government troops.

Overall, the protests against Chavez still show little sign of easing as the country heads towards an extremely controversial Dec. 2 referendum. At stake are a slew of constitutional reforms that would reinforce Chavez's grip on power, including provisions for the elimination of presidential term limits, for curbs on press freedoms and for extraordinary arrests during emergency rule in the name of the "Bolivarian Revolution."

Though Chavez's constitutional reform campaign has galvanized the country's university students, prompting them to take to the streets despite threats of violence, the protest movement still lacks enough heft to challenge the Chavez regime seriously. For regime change to take place in Caracas, the student activists need the support of the Roman Catholic Church and the poor -- who comprise a majority in Venezuela -- to break through Chavez's lines of defense. The church has joined the students. But the impoverished masses still lack an incentive to join the opposition -- and with oil prices soaring, Chavez has enough cash to buy their political support.

That leaves the military's loyalties as the remaining question. Some sparks from the military establishment flew over Chavez's reforms Nov. 6 when retired Defense Minister Gen. Raul Isaias Baduel called on Venezuelans to vote "no" to the Dec. 2 referendum. Chavez subsequently branded Baduel a traitor. Baduel is an old friend of Chavez who helped restore the Venezuelan president to power after a brief coup in 2002. For a member of Chavez's inner circle to break so publicly with the Venezuelan leader is a worrying sign for Chavez's ability to hold things together. But Chavez has long prepared for such eventualities with the buildup of his personal militias, and so far it does not look as if Baduel has enough support within the military to turn the tide against Chavez.
stratfor
26021  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / George Washington on: November 09, 2007, 11:47:40 AM

"Gentlemen, you will permit me to put on my spectacles, for,
I have grown not only gray, but almost blind in the service of
my country."

-- George Washington (upon fumbling for his glasses before
delivering the Newburgh Address, 15 March 1783)

Reference: George Washington in the American Revolution, Flexner
(507)
26022  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: What does Kali Tudo 2 have in store for us?? on: November 09, 2007, 11:38:38 AM
Woof All:

I have gotten some emails asking about the status of this project.  My intended assistant, Cyborg Dog, is recovering from elbow surgery, Poi Dog is AWOL, and I have begun working with Dog Dan to be my assistant.

The Adventure continues,
Crafty Dog
26023  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Noonan on Hillary on: November 09, 2007, 09:26:54 AM
Things Are Tough All Over
But Mrs. Clinton is no Iron Lady.

Friday, November 9, 2007 12:01 a.m. EST

The story as I was told it is that in the early years of her prime ministership, Margaret Thatcher held a meeting with her aides and staff, all of whom were dominated by her, even awed. When it was over she invited her cabinet chiefs to join her at dinner in a nearby restaurant. They went, arrayed themselves around the table, jockeyed for her attention. A young waiter came and asked if they'd like to hear the specials. Mrs. Thatcher said, "I will have beef."

Yes, said the waiter. "And the vegetables?"

"They will have beef too."

Too good to check, as they say. It is certainly apocryphal, but I don't want it to be. It captured her singular leadership style, which might be characterized as "unafraid."

She was a leader.

Margaret Thatcher would no more have identified herself as a woman, or claimed special pleading that she was a mere frail girl, or asked you to sympathize with her because of her sex, than she would have called up the Kremlin and asked how quickly she could surrender.

She represented a movement. She was its head. She was great figure, a person in history, and she was a woman. She was in it for serious reasons, not to advance the claims of a gender but to reclaim for England its economic freedom, and return its political culture to common sense. Her rise wasn't symbolic but actual.

In fact, she wasn't so much a woman as a lady. I remember a gentleman who worked with her speaking of her allure, how she'd relax after a late-night meeting and you'd walk by and catch just the faintest whiff of perfume, smoke and scotch. She worked hard and was tough. One always imagined her lightly smacking some incompetent on the head with her purse, for she carried a purse, as a lady would. She is still tough. A Reagan aide told me that after she was incapacitated by a stroke she flew to Reagan's funeral in Washington, went through the ceremony, flew with Mrs. Reagan to California for the burial, and never once on the plane removed her heels. That is tough.

The point is the big ones, the real ones, the Thatchers and Indira Gandhis and Golda Meirs and Angela Merkels, never play the boo-hoo game. They are what they are, but they don't use what they are. They don't hold up their sex as a feint: Why, he's not criticizing me, he's criticizing all women! Let us rise and fight the sexist cur.

When Hillary Clinton suggested that debate criticism of her came under the heading of men bullying a defenseless lass, an interesting thing happened. First Kate Michelman, the former head of NARAL and an Edwards supporter, hit her hard. "When unchallenged, in a comfortable, controlled situation, Sen. Clinton embraces her elevation into the 'boys club.' " But when "legitimate questions" are asked, "she is quick to raise the white flag and look for a change in the rules."

Then Mrs. Clinton changed tack a little and told a group of women in West Burlington, Iowa, that they were going to clean up Washington together: "Bring your vacuum cleaners, bring your brushes, bring your brooms, bring your mops." It was all so incongruous--can anyone imagine the 20th century New Class professional Hillary Clinton picking up a vacuum cleaner? Isn't that what downtrodden pink collar workers abused by the patriarchy are for?





But even better, and more startling, people began to giggle. At Mrs. Clinton, a woman who has never inspired much mirth. Suddenly they were remembering the different accents she has spoken with when in different parts of the country, and the weird laugh she has used on talk shows. A few days ago new poll numbers came out--neck and neck with Barack Obama in Iowa, her lead slipping in New Hampshire. There is a sense that Sen. Obama is rising, a sense for the first time in this election cycle that Mrs. Clinton just may be in a fight, a real one, one she could actually lose.
It's all kind of wonderful, isn't it? Someone indulged in special pleading and America didn't buy it. It's as if the country this week made it official: We now formally declare that the woman who uses the fact of her sex to manipulate circumstances is a jerk.

This is a victory for true feminism, in its old-fashioned sense of a simple assertion of the equality of men and women. We might not have so resoundingly reached this moment without Mrs. Clinton's actions and statements. Thank you, Mrs. Clinton.

A word on toughness. Mrs. Clinton is certainly tough, to the point of hard. But toughness should have a purpose. In Mrs. Thatcher's case, its purpose was to push through a program she thought would make life better in her country. Mrs. Clinton's toughness seems to have no purpose beyond the personal accrual of power. What will she do with the power? Still unclear. It happens to be unclear in the case of several candidates, but with Mrs. Clinton there is a unique chasm between the ferocity and the purpose of the ferocity. There is something deeply unattractive in this, and it would be equally so if she were a man.





I wonder if Sen. Obama, as he makes his climb, understands the kind of quiet cheering he is beginning to garner from some Republicans, and from those not affiliated with either party. They see him as a Democrat who could cure the Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton sickness.
I call it that because it seems to me now less like a dynastic tug of war than a symptom of deterioration, a lazy, unserious and faintly corrupt turn to be taken by the oldest and greatest democracy in the history of man. And I say sickness because on some level I think it is driven by a delusion: "We will be safe with these ruling families, whom we know so well." But we won't. They have no special magic. Dynasticism brings with it a sense of deterioration. It is dispiriting.

I am not sure of the salience of Mr. Obama's new-generational approach. Mrs. Clinton's generation, he suggests, is caught in the 1960s, fighting old battles, clinging to old divisions, frozen in time, and the way to get past it is to get past her. Maybe this will resonate. But I don't think Mrs. Clinton is the exemplar of a generation, she is the exemplar of a quadrant within a generation, and it is the quadrant the rest of us of that generation do not like. They came from comfort and stability, visited poverty as part of a college program, fashionably disliked their country, and cultivated a bitterness that was wholly unearned. They went on to become investment bankers and politicians and enjoy wealth, power or both.

Mr. Obama should go after them, not a generation but a type, the smug and entitled. No one really likes them. They showed it this week.

Ms. Noonan is a contributing editor of The Wall Street Journal and author of "John Paul the Great: Remembering a Spiritual Father" (Penguin, 2005), which you can order from the OpinionJournal bookstore. Her column appears Fridays on OpinionJournal.com.
26024  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: November 18, 2007 Dog Bros Gathering of the Pack on: November 08, 2007, 09:37:15 PM
Tom:

No worries, you get the well-seasoned-well-regarded veteran's slack  cheesy

Yip!
CD
26025  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Booster Shots on: November 08, 2007, 12:47:06 PM
WSJ

Booster-Shot Frequency
Is Questioned in Study
By SUZANNE SATALINE
November 8, 2007; Page D3

Vaccines against measles, mumps and tetanus can fight off diseases for decades, says a study that questions whether Americans need booster shots with the frequency they currently are being given.

In the study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers at Oregon Health & Science University in Beaverton said they found surprisingly high levels of disease-resisting antibodies in the blood of patients who had been vaccinated years earlier. Vaccines prompt antibody creation by giving patients a small dose of the virus that creates the disease.

The persistence of the antibodies suggests that current recommendations for booster shots for some common conditions could be revised, the study said. For instance, Mark K. Slifka, one of the study's authors, said that tetanus shots could be given once approximately every 30 years instead of once every 10 years, as currently is recommended.

The study found that protection from conditions such as measles, mumps and rubella following exposure to the diseases were, in most cases, maintained for life.

Although it isn't dangerous to get booster shots, the study's authors said it may be unnecessary in some circumstances. "If we can continue to improve our vaccines, someday we might be able to give one shot and give lifelong immunity," said Mr. Slifka, associate professor at the Oregon university's Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute.

John Treanor, a physician specializing in infectious diseases at the University of Rochester in New York state, said that before the health-care system eliminates boosters, more study is needed on outbreaks of certain diseases and declining vaccine efficacy. "I think this is helpful and great to have," he said, referring to the study. "I don't know if this is so definitive."

The researchers said that the efficacy of vaccines doesn't apply across the board: children frequently need chickenpox booster shots after five years because the vaccine antibodies aren't as potent as the antibodies created by the disease itself, Mr. Slifka noted.

The researchers analyzed 630 stored blood samples from 45 patients. With each sample, the authors analyzed the decay rate for antibodies from vaccines for measles, mumps, rubella, varicella-zoster virus, and Epstein-Barr, the herpes virus that causes mononucleosis.

Write to Suzanne Sataline at suzanne.sataline@wsj.com

26026  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: November 08, 2007, 12:37:57 PM
Judges vs. Jihadis
By DAVID B. RIVKIN JR. and LEE A. CASEY
November 8, 2007; Page A23

Advocates of a "law enforcement" approach to fighting transnational terror claimed vindication last week when 21 of 28 accused terrorists were convicted in Madrid. Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero described the Oct. 31 verdicts as "justice" and urged Spain to "look to the future." It is, of course, the future that is at issue.

Spain has every right to celebrate the capture, trial and conviction of these 21 individuals either implicated in helping to organize the March 11, 2004, train bombings in Madrid that killed 191 people, or otherwise associated with terrorism. Yet there is little reason to believe that the verdicts will have any measurable deterrent effect on jihadists, who remain determined to strike at the West's civilian populations whenever opportunity allows. Prevention remains key to defeating this threat.

 
Here, the justice system will be of limited utility because -- whether organized under the Civil Law (like Spain and most of Europe) or the Common Law (like the U.S.) -- it is not designed to anticipate and stop criminal behavior before it takes place. At least since the Enlightenment, Western judicial institutions have focused on dealing with society's deviants, rather than on meeting the threat of foreign attack, and have sought to prevent criminal behavior by inculcating a dread -- in the form of an individual's respect for, rather than terror of, the law.

As the great Italian legal scholar and reformer Beccaria wrote in the 1760s, to prevent crime, "make sure that men fear the laws and only the laws." Where respect fails, of course, there also is fear of punishment under the law -- deterrence. The system breaks down, however, when the criminals neither have respect for the law nor fear its potential punishments.

This is exactly the situation in which the West now finds itself. The followers of violent jihad do not respect the laws of democratic governments, but claim a superior legitimacy in the form of their own interpretation of Islam's Quran and Shariah law. Many of them also do not fear punishment. If proof of this were needed, it can be found both in the very nature of al Qaeda's Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S. by suicidal operatives, and the self-immolation of the seven ringleaders who masterminded the 2004 attacks on Madrid. When Spanish police closed in on their safe house outside that city, these men blew up the house -- and themselves.

To be sure, since 9/11 a number of European countries -- some experienced in fighting home-grown terror movements such as the IRA in Britain and the ETA in Spain -- have made their judicial systems more capable of meeting the challenge. Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain have all adopted new or expanded counterterrorism legislation. They've all taken one or more of the following actions: establishing or broadening the offense of terrorism to include membership in a terrorist organization; approving sometimes long pretrial detention for terror suspects; banning organizations with terrorist connections; and legalizing the use of deportation and expulsion of suspected terrorist suspects in some cases.

However, although Europe has had some notable successes in preventing terror plots -- largely through the use of national intelligence agencies -- the record of convictions has been less promising. As the U.S. State Department diplomatically concluded in its 2006 "Country Reports on Terrorism" with respect to Germany: "German laws and traditional procedures, as well as the courts' longstanding and expansive view of civil liberties, sometimes limited the success of cases prosecutors brought to trial."

Even the successful Spanish prosecutions did not include one of the individuals -- now jailed on terror charges in Italy -- believed by the government to have orchestrated the Madrid attacks. Rabei Osman, an Egyptian, was acquitted. Many March 11 victims were not satisfied with the outcome.

This, ultimately, is the problem. The criminal justice system is not infinitely elastic. It can be changed only so much before it becomes unrecognizable. Although the Civil Law system is marginally better suited than the Common Law system for antiterror prosecutions -- permitting more closed proceedings and less technically demanding evidentiary standards -- both are built upon the assumption that it is better to let the guilty go free than to convict the innocent.

That is an appropriate balance when a society is dealing with its own reprobates. It is not so obviously correct when the threat is a foreign movement whose purpose is to cause death and destruction on a grand scale.

If further proof were needed of the judicial system's inability to bear the primary burden of meeting (and defeating) transnational terror, it could be found in the scenes last Wednesday in Madrid. When the judge's decisions were handed down, the courthouse was surrounded by security forces -- including helicopters buzzing protectively around the building. Courts do not make good fortresses.

It's likely that these very limitations, at least in part, prompted the Bush administration to eschew a policing response to the 9/11 attacks, and to declare a war against terror. The result has been one of the sharpest trans-Atlantic divisions in postwar history, a division that probably will not end anytime soon. Regardless of whether the next American president is a Democrat or Republican, he or she is likely to continue the war on terror in practice, if not in rhetoric.

Only the law of armed conflict permits the flexibility needed to disrupt al Qaeda's operations on an international level. Had the Bush administration followed a law-enforcement path, and sought the judicial assistance of Afghanistan's Taliban, Osama bin Laden would still be secure in his bases and training facilities, far more capable of planning and executing future attacks.

Al Qaeda and its allies believe that they are at war with the West and have acted on that belief. Even with the best intentions, the West cannot prevail by ignoring this stark and unbending fact.

Messrs. Rivkin and Casey served in the Justice Department under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and were members of the U.N. Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights from 2004-2006.

WSJ
26027  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: November 08, 2007, 12:34:57 PM
Pakistanis Say No
By HUSAIN HAQQANI
November 8, 2007; Page A23

When Gen. Pervez Musharraf suspended Pakistan's Constitution, declared a state of emergency and put the nation once again under martial law, he expected limited civilian resistance and only ritual international condemnation, in view of his role in the war against terrorism. On both counts, Mr. Musharraf appears to have badly miscalculated.

 
Police officers clash with lawyers outside the district courts in Multan, Pakistan, on Nov. 6, 2007.
Pakistan's burgeoning civil society, led by lawyers and encouraged by judges ousted from the Supreme Court, is refusing to be cowed. Protests are spreading despite thousands of arrests and the use of tear gas and batons against peaceful demonstrators. More than 1,700 attorneys have been jailed but still more are taking to the streets. University students have joined the lawyers, and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has vowed to violate a ban on public meetings by leading a rally on Friday.

There are a number of important reasons why Pakistan's attorneys are leading the protests against Mr. Musharraf. They have a long tradition of activism for rule of law and human-rights issues. In 1968-69, the lawyers started the campaign that resulted in the ouster of Pakistan's first military ruler, Field Marshal Ayub Khan. They also were at the forefront of the campaign against Mr. Zia-ul-Haq, whose 11-year military rule ended when he died in a 1988 plane crash.

The legal fraternity has another advantage, in that they can afford to confront the government without fearing starvation for their families. Some 65 million of Pakistan's 160 million people subsist on less than $1 a day, while another 65 million survive just above the poverty line. The poor are willing to participate in organized rallies, such as the one that welcomed Ms. Bhutto back to Pakistan on Oct. 18 (and was targeted by a suicide terrorist), but they generally avoid protest demonstrations where getting arrested and missing work is almost inevitable.

That could change in the days and weeks to come. Although Mr. Musharraf has taken all private and international television channels off the air, images of the protests are being seen all over Pakistan through the Internet and with satellite dishes. Middle-class Pakistanis, and increasingly the poor, are making it clear that they want political freedom, along with an improvement in their economic prospects, and do not consider prosperity and democracy to be mutually exclusive.

The international community has also responded more strongly than Mr. Musharraf expected. The Netherlands has suspended aid, and several donors are reviewing their policy on military and economic assistance. The Bush administration is hoping to defuse the situation through assertive diplomacy. But withdrawal of aid, supported by several congressional leaders, remains a possibility.

Since 9/11, Mr. Musharraf has positioned himself as the key Western ally in the global war against terrorism. But in recent months, he has been too distracted with domestic politics to play an effective role. The U.S., in particular, does not want anti-Musharraf sentiment to result in a fresh wave of anti-Americanism in Pakistan that further fuels terrorism. While some in the U.S. argue about America's limited options in dealing with the crisis in Pakistan, one could argue that Mr. Musharraf's options are even more limited.

The more he has to repress critics and political opponents, the less Pakistan will be able to fight terrorism. After all, when troops have to be deployed to detain Supreme Court judges, journalists, lawyers and politicians, there are fewer troops available to fight terrorists. Pakistan's intelligence services can either spy on dissenting Pakistani civilians or focus their energies on finding Osama bin Laden and his ever increasing number of deputies and operatives around Pakistan. But Pakistan needs to fight terrorism for Pakistan's sake. Mr. Musharraf cannot endlessly blackmail Washington by hinting that he would withdraw antiterror cooperation if the U.S. pressures him on other issues, including democracy and human-rights violations.

One thing is clear: Mr. Musharraf's authoritarianism is being challenged by diverse elements in Pakistani society. His self-cultivated image as a benign dictator is a thing of the past, and his recent harsh measures have failed to frighten Pakistan's civil society and political opposition into submission.

The defiance of the judiciary and the media might not immediately topple Mr. Musharraf, but it could render him ineffective to a point where the military rethinks its options. The army will soon recognize that the only thing keeping the general and his civilian cronies in power is the army's support. It risks further alienating the Pakistani people and losing their respect as long as it continues to act solely in the interests of Mr. Musharraf and his small band of political allies. At some point, the professional soldiers will wonder whether they should risk their institution's position to keep him in power.

The army is Mr. Musharraf's support base. It is a major beneficiary of U.S. security assistance, having received $17 billion since 1954 with equipment worth several hundred million dollars currently in the pipeline. Since 2002, the U.S. has subsidized the Pakistani army to the tune of $150 million per month. The army is also a stakeholder in Pakistan's growing economy, which benefits from international aid and investment. If Mr. Musharraf's autocratic policies threaten Pakistan's prosperity, the army is likely to be less unanimous in its support of its commander.

Already, there are signs of economic fallout from the political turmoil. Rumors of an anti-Musharraf military coup on Monday caused the biggest one-day decline in 16 months on the Karachi Stock Exchange, resulting in losses of an estimated $1.3 billion. Pakistan's credit rating has been revised downward in anticipation of further civic unrest and international sanctions.

Pakistanis are used to coups d'état where the army takes the helm of government. Things are different this time. In the past, generals have suspended the constitution to remove from power unpopular rulers, usually weakened civilians rightly or wrongly accused of corruption (as was the case when Mr. Musharraf ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in October 1999). This is the first time an unpopular military ruler has suspended the constitution to preserve his own rule. In doing so, Mr. Musharraf has clearly overplayed his hand.

Mr. Musharraf cannot blame a civilian predecessor for bringing the country to the brink. If there is internal chaos in Pakistan today, it is of the general's making. After all, it was his arbitrary decision to remove Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry in March that initiated the political crisis which has led to the current "state of emergency."

Justice Chaudhry, on the other hand, has become a symbol of resistance to arbitrary rule -- the man who refused to roll over and disappear, unlike earlier judges who cooperated with military rulers or simply went home when their conscience dictated otherwise. Justice Chaudhry's call upon the legal fraternity to "Go to every corner of Pakistan and give the message that this is the time to sacrifice" for the supremacy of Pakistan's Constitution has drawn elements disillusioned with existing political leaders to anti-Musharraf protests.

Among Pakistani political leaders, Ms. Bhutto has emerged as the viable civilian alternative to Mr. Musharraf, with public support at home and acceptance abroad. As the only politician in Pakistan to publicly describe Islamist extremism and terrorism as the principal threat to the nation, Ms. Bhutto was initially measured in her response to Mr. Musharraf's reckless actions. She demanded that he restore the constitution and call elections as scheduled. She hoped to change his attitude with the threat of putting hundreds of thousands of supporters in the streets, without actually doing so. But Mr. Musharraf's stubbornness is changing that position.

Like many in the U.S., Ms. Bhutto appears worried about directing attention away from fighting terrorism and destabilizing Pakistan further. But leaving the anti-Musharraf campaign leaderless is not an option. She has positioned herself as an opposition leader who represents the sentiment of the people, but is also willing to accept a negotiated settlement that restores the constitution, ends persecution, and results in free and fair elections leading to full civilian rule.

So far Mr. Musharraf has shown no inclination to negotiate in good faith with Ms. Bhutto or the international community. With each passing day, the Bush administration's hopes -- that with its help there could be a transition to democracy in Pakistan with a continuing role for Mr. Musharraf -- are diminishing. Unless Mr. Musharraf changes course quickly, the U.S. will be compelled to start looking beyond him to a more legitimate leader.

Mr. Musharraf seems determined to put his own political survival before the rule of law -- actions that warrant the label dictator. Pakistan's attorneys, and increasingly the rest of its citizenry, seem equally determined to prevent this from happening.

Mr. Haqqani is director of Boston University's Center for International Relations and the author of "Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military" (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2005). He also has served as adviser to several Pakistani prime ministers, including Ms. Bhutto.
WSJ
26028  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Our Founding Fathers: on: November 08, 2007, 12:04:40 PM
"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with
the blood of patriots and tyrants.  It is its natural manure."

-- Thomas Jefferson (letter to William Stephens Smith, 13
November 1787)

Reference: Jefferson: Writings, Peterson ed., Library of America
(911)
26029  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: November 08, 2007, 11:21:07 AM
WSJ

Jailed in Pakistan
November 8, 2007; Page A22
Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf says he imposed a state of emergency to limit terror attacks. Then why is he arresting so many nonterrorists?

Beginning Saturday, the main targets of police have been human rights workers and Mr. Musharraf's political opponents. While precise figures are hard to come by, more than 1,500 people -- mostly lawyers who participated in anti-Musharraf protests -- are thought to be incarcerated, either in their homes or in jails.

Topping the detainee list is Asma Jahangir, the Lahore-based head of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. Ms. Jahangir, a lawyer who is also a United Nations' special rapporteur on freedom of religion, agitated publicly for an independent judiciary and has represented the families of "disappeared" political dissidents. She was placed under a 90-day "preventative" house arrest on Saturday in Lahore.

Next comes Aitzaz Ahsan, president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, a member of Parliament and a former law minister. Mr. Ahsan, who defended former Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry earlier this year when Mr. Musharraf sacked him, stood up at a press conference Saturday and denounced the state of emergency. Mr. Ahsan is now in Adiala Jail near Rawalpindi.

Then there's Ali Ahmed Kurd, another lawyer for former Chief Justice Chaudhry, who human rights groups claim is now under the supervision of the Inter-Services Intelligence agency. Other lawyers in that case, including Munir Malik and Tariq Mahmood -- both former presidents of the Supreme Court Bar -- have also been arrested.

Other detainees include Javed Hashmi, the acting president of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's party; Imran Khan, a famous cricketer and leader of a new, small political party; and hundreds of workers for Jamaat-e-Islami, a large religious party. Mr. Khan managed to give the slip to his minders at his home and is now on the run.

If Mr. Musharraf wants to fight terrorism and move Pakistan toward democracy, arresting democrats and lawyers is an odd way of doing so. By targeting members of civil society, he's weakening the very forces that would have supported him had he moved forward with a power-sharing arrangement with Benazir Bhutto. Instead, he's angering the country's middle class and empowering militants.

26030  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: November 08, 2007, 11:19:49 AM
Inspiring!

http://www.michaelyon-online.com/wp/thanks-and-praise.htm
26031  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews on: November 08, 2007, 10:54:07 AM
Saving Civilization From Itself
Churchill understood that the Jews are the bedrock of Western tradition.

BY ARTHUR HERMAN
Thursday, November 8, 2007 12:01 a.m. EST

"Why should we Anglo-Saxons apologize for being superior?" Winston Churchill once growled in exasperation. "We are superior." Certainly Churchill's views of what he and other late Victorians called the "lesser races," such as blacks and East Indians, are very different from ours today. One might easily assume that a self-described reactionary like Churchill, holding such views, shared the anti-Semitism prevalent among Europe's ruling elites before the Holocaust.

But he did not, as Martin Gilbert vividly shows in "Churchill and the Jews." By chronicling Churchill's warm dealings with English and European Jews throughout his long career, and his heartfelt support of Zionism, Mr. Gilbert conveys Churchill's deep admiration for the Jewish people and captures his crucial role in creating the state of Israel. Churchill offers the powerful example of a Western statesman who--unlike other statesmen in his own time and ours--understood the malignant nature of anti-Semitism and did what he could to oppose its toxic effects.

His father, Lord Randolph Churchill, had been a close friend and ally to many wealthy British Jews, almost notoriously so, given the rancid snobbery of his circles. The son rarely failed to follow his father's inclinations, in this matter as in others. Jews like the Rothschilds and the banker Sir Ernest Cassel helped to advance Winston Churchill's early career (including watching over his finances after his father's death), and he repaid their support in part by publicly condemning the kind of anti-Semitism that was all too common in England's upper classes. But his actions were not merely an expression of personal thanks.





A student of history, Churchill came to feel that Judaism was the bedrock of traditional Western moral and political principles--and Churchill was of a generation that preferred to talk about principles instead of "values." For Europeans to turn against the Jew, he argued, was for them to strike at their own roots and reject an essential part of their civilization--"that corporate strength, that personal and special driving power" that Jews had brought for hundreds of years to Europe's arts, sciences and institutions.
To deny Jews a national homeland was therefore an act of ingratitude. Churchill became a keen backer of the Balfour Declaration of 1917, which broached the idea of creating a Jewish homeland in Palestine. As a friend to Zionist leader Chaim Weizman, and as colonial secretary after World War I, Churchill made establishing such a homeland a matter of urgency. "The hope of your race for so many centuries will be gradually realized here," Churchill told a Jewish audience in Jerusalem during his visit in March 1921, "not only for your own good, but for the good of all the world."

By "all the world" Churchill most pointedly meant to include Palestine's Arabs. As Mr. Gilbert recounts, Churchill was dismayed and disgusted by Arab resistance to Jewish immigration and settlement in Palestine. "The Jews have a far more difficult task than you," he told Arab representatives, since "you only have to enjoy your own possessions," while the Jewish emigrants from Europe and elsewhere would have to carve a society out of a barren wilderness.

Yet Churchill was convinced that Arab civilization would benefit from contact with an entrepreneurial and morally centered people. "Speaking entirely as a non-Jew," he wrote, "I look on the Jews as the natural importers of western leaven so necessary for countries in the Near East." At the same time, Churchill tried to ensure that Palestinian Arabs got their own national homeland. It was Churchill who, as colonial secretary, decided to separate Transjordan (modern-day Jordan) from the rest of Palestine, assuming that Transjordan would become the site of the Arabs' future state and that other parts of Palestine (including the West Bank of the Jordan River) would be open to Jewish settlement.

Churchill was to be disappointed by the results of his Middle Eastern efforts, as Arabs hunted down and murdered Jewish settlers by the hundreds in the 1920s and 1930s--just at the time when Adolf Hitler was building his own regime around the persecution of the Jews in Germany. As early as 1930 Churchill realized that the Nazis' anti-Jewish policies carried the stench of an ancient evil. "Tell your boss from me," he said to a Hitler acquaintance in the late summer of 1932, as the Nazi Party was on the verge of power, "that anti-Semitism may be a good starter but it is a bad finisher."

In December 1942, Churchill--now prime minister--learned from a Roman Catholic member of the Polish resistance, a man named Jan Karsky, that thousands of Jews were being rounded up and sent by cattle cars to what turned out to be the death camp at Belzec, in eastern Poland. Churchill used the Karsky report to compel the Allies, including the Russians, to condemn "a bestial policy of cold-blooded extermination" in Germany--although he understood that the best way to halt the slaughter would be the speedy destruction of Hitler's empire. The chief of Britain's air staff, Sir Charles Portal, warned that any air raids "avowedly conducted on account of the Jews would be an asset to enemy propaganda," and Churchill reluctantly bowed to his advice. Nonetheless, in 1943 he wanted a film that documented the atrocities committed against the Jews to be shown to every American serviceman before the invasion of Europe.





After the war, Churchill felt that the most fitting response to the Holocaust would be to punish those guilty of the most horrific crimes against the Jews and to fulfill the promise of a Jewish homeland that he and Britain had made almost 30 years earlier. When Ernest Bevin, Britain's Labour Party foreign minister, hesitated to recognize Israel nine months after its founding, for fear of inflaming Arab opinion, Churchill swung back hard: "Whether the Right Honorable Gentleman likes it or not, the coming into being of a Jewish State in Palestine is an event in world history to be viewed in the perspective, not of a generation or a century, but in the perspective of a thousand, two thousand, or even three thousand years." Israel was just recompense, Churchill felt, not only for what the Jews of Europe had lost but for what they had given to civilization over the centuries.
This view, of course, no longer prevails. Today the existence of Israel is apparently something to be regretted, even deplored, not only in Arab capitals but in European ones and on American university campuses. Paradoxically, such feelings intensified after 9/11, an event that should have made us all aware of who the friends of Western civilization really are--and who its enemies. Martin Gilbert's book reminds us that anti-Semitism is the dark turn of the modern mind against itself, and a form of cultural patricide.

Mr. Herman's "Gandhi & Churchill" will be published by Bantam in April. You can buy "Churchill and the Jews" from the OpinionJournal bookstore.

WSJ
26032  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Stock Market on: November 08, 2007, 10:42:29 AM
Bought more LNOP yesterday around 20.25, and slept through this morning's scary ride.  Rick says there is rumor a hedge fund dropped a large block, which is a thinly traded stock like LNOP which is already volatile every day can really move things around.  He says to buy more.
26033  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: November 07, 2007, 07:45:21 PM
Pakistan's nuclear history worries insiders
'Nuclear coup' in 1990 and bin Laden meeting offer two chilling precedents
ANALYSIS
By Robert Windrem
Senior investigative producer
NBC News

updated 5:04 p.m. PT, Tues., Nov. 6, 2007
It is the most disturbing element in the mix that makes Pakistan the most dangerous country in the world: its stockpile of at least 30 and perhaps as many as 45 nuclear weapons. And it is always the element that captures the most attention from US intelligence officials.

The United States has essentially let Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal grow over the past three decades, as succeeding governments in Islamabad have supported US policies in neighboring Afghanistan, first in thwarting the Soviet occupation and then in driving out the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

Still, the fear is that in the chaos that regularly afflicts Pakistan, al-Qaeda or other jihadis will somehow gain control of one of the weapons, some of the highly enriched uranium that forms the core of a bomb or the technology to make a bomb -- or even gain control of the government.

“It’s always been easier to steal a government in Pakistan than to steal a bomb,” said one former senior US intelligence official.

It is not an abstract concern, one driven by war game scenarios. There have been two incidents in the past 20 years that call into question who controls the weapons, controls the technology.

Indeed, the incidents offer chilling precedents to what could happen now in a chaotic Pakistan. One is what Benazir Bhutto called a “nuclear coup” in 1990, while the other is knowledge from intelligence that al-Qaeda’s top leaders, including Osama bin Laden, met with Pakistani nuclear scientists in Afghanistan just before September 11 and offered the terrorist group advice on how to build a crude nuclear device.

For better or worse, the US is confident that it knows where the Pakistani nuclear arsenal is located and that it is secure. And in 2003, the US secretly provided technology and training to Pakistani nuclear scientists so they could develop “permissive action links”—codes that prohibit unauthorized detonation. Prior to US intervention in this area, none of the Pakistani warheads were protected, say US and Pakistani officials.

Moreover, military and intelligence officials have told NBC News that should the need arise, the US is prepared to take out—or simply take—the weapons from Pakistani control. As Condoleezza Rice said at her confirmation hearings in January 2005, “We have noted this problem, and we are prepared to try to deal with it. I would prefer not in open session to talk about this particular issue.”

“There wasn’t much concern about physical security, but a high degree of angst that the government would fall into the hands of bad guys and they would be in charge,” said the former official, who added that there were “some in the nuclear program who are sympathetic to the radicals”.

As laid out in “Critical Mass: The Dangerous Race for Superweapons in a Fragmenting World," a 1994 book by Robert Windrem and William E. Burrows, the first incident unraveled in the summer of 1990 when India and Pakistan were in one of their seemingly innumerable crises. For the first time, the US had detected that Pakistan had actually put together a nuclear weapon without the knowledge of the country’s prime minister, Benazir Bhutto. And not long after Bhutto learned what her military had done, she was deposed by the same men who had kept the weaponization secret from her.

The CIA had determined that in May 1990 Pakistani scientists had succeeded in converting highly enriched uranium from a gas into a heavy metal. The uranium had undergone successive changes, going from gas to pellets to the mold and machined spheres—perfect spheres—that constituted the cores of atomic bombs. The CIA knew that the cores were then stored near the other components needed to make a complete weapon so the Pakistani bomb could be assembled in as little as three hours at Dalbandin, an airbase in the Baluchistan desert well out of reach of Indian jets. There was enough metal to make between six and eight nuclear weapons, each with the explosive capability equivalent to the bombs that devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The United States later learned the final number of cores was seven. Two cores had been machined in May, and five more were turned out by the end of July. The first two used about 40 pounds of uranium while the last used about 26 pounds each. Like most other things, a learning curve improves efficiency.

The Pakistanis had not only “crossed the line” as the saying went in Washington’s nuclear precincts. They had actually prepared bombs for delivery. More importantly, in relation to the current crisis, the whole scenario had been carried out without Bhutto even knowing what had happened.

“I think it is criminal that the Prime Minister, who is ultimately responsible in the eyes of the people and in the eyes of history, should not be taken into confidence on such a major issue.” She told NBC two years later. “I did not know.”

Bhutto in fact had not just been Prime Minister. She was Defense Minister and Atomic Energy Minister as well.

The decision had been taken by the Army chief of staff, Mirza Aslam Beg, and the country’s president, Ghulam Ishaq Khan. The presidency then, unlike now, was more of a ceremonial post. Both had been proponents of the Pakistani bomb program, which ironically had been started by Bhutto’s father when he had been prime minister. Khan in fact had run the program.

Bhutto also found out in a most unorthodox way. In late June, two long time American friends of hers had come to Islamabad to tell her what happened. Peter Galbraith, then the south Asia specialist on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Mark Siegel, her Washington lobbyist, took her to a garden outside her offices in the Pakistani capital to inform her.

The news Galbraith and Siegel had delivered took Bhutto by surprise, but she knew the consequences. The United States now had the proof it needed to cut off aid to Pakistan under a law called the Pressler Amendment, and ultimately the US did just that.

A few weeks later, the US ambassador delievered the news to her. Robert Oakley informed her that US law required a cutoff in aid to Pakistan if it possessed a “nuclear explosive device” and demanded that Pakistan reverse the process.

Around the same time, US officials flew to Islamabad while Bhutto was on a state visit to the Gulf States to warn Ishaq Khan and Beg there was no way Pakistan could win a war with India and that continued nuclear brinksmanship would risk a catastrophe.

Bhutto, unaware of the US meeting, contacted Ishaq Khan to relay Oakley’s warning and three times called for a meeting of the top-secret committee that ran the nuclear weapons program. Each time Ishaq Khan said he would get back to her. She also asked Beg for an explanation as well and he promised one would be forthcoming.

Neither happened, but on Aug. 6, less than three months after Pakistan had begun the process of building a bomb, Bhutto was deposed. With the world’s attention then focused on Saddam Hussein’s four-day old occupation of Kuwait, Ishaq Khan went on Pakistani television to denounce Bhutto’s government as corrupt and incompetent.

“I have no proof of this,” Bhutto later told NBC News, “but I feel that someone may have turned on the switch in the spring of 1990 to justify the dismissal of my government.” She called it a “nuclear coup.”

More troubling was what former CIA Director George J. Tenet wrote about in his memoir, “At the Center of the Storm” about al-Qaeda’s attempt to obtain nuclear know-how from Pakistani scientists.

In August 2001, just weeks before the 9/11 attacks, two officials of an ostensible Pakistani charity, both senior scientists in the country’s nuclear weapons program, met with Osama bin Ladin and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, in Afghanistan.

“There, around a campfire, they discussed how al-Qa’ida should go about building a nuclear device,” wrote Tenet.

The scientists were not ordinary scientists. Sultan Bashirrudan Mahmood, was the former director for nuclear power at Pakistan’s Atomic Energy Commission. Chaudiri Andul Majeed, a prominent nuclear engineer, had retired from the Pakistani Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology in 2000. Both institutes were part of the nuclear weapons establishment. Their charity, UTN, also included retired Pakistani nuclear scientists, military officers, engineers, and technicians.

The United States had already learned from Libyan intelligence that UTN scientists had approached Moammar Khaddafi’s government with an offer they thought the Libyans couldn’t refuse: “They tried to sell us a nuclear weapon,” Tenet quoted Musa Kusa, the head of Libyan intelligence, as saying. “Of course, we turned them down.” The CIA was able to confirm through other sources that indeed the offer had been made, according to Tenet.

“CIA passed our information on UTN to our Pakistani colleagues, who quickly hauled in seven board members for questioning,” Tenet wrote, adding with some exasperation, “The investigation was ill-fated from the get-go. The UTN officials all denied wrongdoing and were not properly isolated and questioned.

“In fact, they were allowed to return home after questioning each day. Pakistani intelligence interrogators treated the UTN officials deferentially, with respect befitting their status in Pakistani society. They were seen as men of science, men who had made significant contributions to Pakistan. Our officers read the question etched in the faces of their Pakistani liaison contacts: Surely, such men cannot be terrorists?”

Ultimately, after more intelligence came in, President Bush dispatched Tenet to Islamabad in November 2001 with a file of accusations and a less than subtle threat.

“After a few pleasantries, I explained to President Musharraf that I had been dispatched by the U.S. president to deliver some very serious information to him. I launched into a description of the campfire meeting between Usama bin Ladin, al-Zawahiri, and the UTN leaders. ‘Mr. President,' I said, ‘you cannot imagine the outrage there would be in my country if it were learned that Pakistan is coddling scientists who are helping Bin Ladin acquire a nuclear weapon. Should such a device ever be used, the full fury of the American people would be focused on whoever helped al-Qa’ida in its cause.'”

Musharraf was incredulous.

“But Mr. Tenet, we are talking about men hiding in caves,” Tenet quotes Musharraf as saying. “Perhaps they have dreams of owning such weapons, but my experts assure me that obtaining one is well beyond their reach. We know in Pakistan what is involved in such an achievement.”

“Mr. President, your experts are wrong,” Tenet said he responded.. “I told him that the current state of play between weapon design and construction and the availability of the needed materials made it possible for a few men hidden in a remote location—if they had enough persistence and money, and black enough hearts—to obtain and use a nuclear device.”

A second round of interrogations followed and the full story finally emerged. As Tenet recounts it, there was little doubt that bin Laden and Zawahiri saw Pakistan’s nuclear fraternity as its most likely source of help. Moreover, there was even less doubt of bin Laden’s interest in nuclear weapons.

“Mahmood confirmed all we had heard about the August 2001 meeting with Usama bin Ladin, and even provided a hand-drawn rough bomb design that he had shared with al-Qa’ida leaders. He told his interrogators that he had discussed the practicalities of building a weapon. ‘The most difficult part of the process,’ he told Bin Ladin, ‘is obtaining the necessary fissile material.’ ‘What if we already have the material?’ Bin Ladin replied. This surprised Mahmood. He said he did not know if this was a hypothetical question or if Bin Ladin was seeking a design to use with fissile material or components he had already obtained elsewhere.”

An unidentified senior al-Qaeda leader also present at the campfire displayed a canister for the visitors that may or may not have contained some kind of nuclear material or radioactive source. He also shared his ideas of building a simple firing system for a weapon using commercially available supplies, according to the interrogation quoted by Tenet.

Tenet says in spite of extensive efforts to learn whether bin Laden actually had HEU, the US intelligence and law enforcement community had no luck. Luck in fact may be what is needed more than anything else in dealing with Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

© 2007 MSNBC Interactive
URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21660667/
26034  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizen-Police interactions on: November 07, 2007, 05:40:20 PM
Cops Say the Darndest Things!


#16 "You know, stop lights don't come any redder that the one you just went through."


#15 "Relax, the handcuffs are tight because they're new. They'll stretch after you wear them a while."


#14 "If you take your hands off the car, I'll make your birth certificate a worthless document."


#13 "If you run, you'll only go to jail tired."


#12 "Can you run faster than 1200 feet per second? Because that's the speed of the bullet that'll be chasing you."


#11 "You don't know how fast you were going? I guess that means I can write anything I want to on the ticket, huh?"


#10 "Yes, sir, you can talk to the shift supervisor, but I don't think it will help. Oh, did I mention that I'm the shift supe! rvisor?"


#9 "Warning! You want a warning? O.K., I'm warning you not to do that again or I'll give you another ticket."


#8 "The answer to this last question will determine whether you are drunk or not. Was Mickey Mouse a cat or a dog?"


#7 "Fair? You want me to be fair? Listen, fair is a place where you go to ride on rides, eat cotton candy and corn dogs and step in monkey poop."


#6 "Yeah, we have a quota. Two more tickets and my wife gets a toaster oven."


#5 "In God we trust, all others we run through NCIC."


#4 "How big were those 'Just two beers' you say you had?"


#3 "No sir, we don't have quotas anymore. We used to, but now we're allowed to write as many tickets as we can."


#2 "I'm glad to hear that Chief (of Police) Hawker is a personal friend of yours. So you know someone who can post your bail."


#1 "You didn't think we give pretty women tickets? You're right, we don't. Sign here!
26035  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Wanted to teach Al Qaeda on: November 07, 2007, 03:18:21 PM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Musician in Terror Case Gets 15 Years

November 7, 2007 - 3:15pm

By LARRY NEUMEISTER
Associated Press Writer


NEW YORK (AP) - A New York jazz musician who pledged to teach martial arts to al-Qaida members was sentenced to 15 years in prison Wednesday by a judge who said it didn't matter that no one from the terrorist group was actually involved in the case.

Tarik Shah, a martial arts expert, pleaded guilty in the spring to conspiracy to provide material support to al-Qaida. He was the third of four defendants to be sentenced for his role in a conspiracy to aid terrorist groups abroad.

Shah's lawyers had said he should get leniency because the plot originated when a government informant enlisted him to help al-Qaida, taking him away from an otherwise law-abiding life.

U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska, however, gave him the maximum sentence, noting that Shah was recorded embracing a chance to teach martial arts to al-Qaida operatives, and even boasting that he knew how to fashion prayer beads into a strangulation tool.

Before he was sentenced, Shah, 44, asked the judge for mercy.
"I guarantee you will never see me again, judge, unless it's on the television playing (music) with someone," said Shah, who plays bass.
Tapes played at the trial of a co-defendant, Dr. Rafiq Abdus Sabir, showed that Shah met with an undercover FBI agent he thought was an al-Qaida recruiter in May 2005.

During the meeting, he pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida and agreed to provide martial arts expertise to al-Qaida fighters, according to the tape.

Prosecutors also said Shah met multiple times from 2003 through May 2005 with a confidential source and an FBI undercover agent, expressing the desire to help al-Qaida by recruiting others.

Sabir, of Boca Raton, Fla., is to be sentenced next week. He was convicted in May of providing material support to terrorists by agreeing to treat injured al-Qaida fighters so they could return to Iraq to fight Americans.

Previously in the case, a Brooklyn bookstore owner who pleaded guilty to money laundering and lying to federal agents was sentenced to 13 years in prison, and a Washington, D.C., cab driver who pleaded guilty to conspiring to help a terrorist organization was sentenced to 15 years.

(Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
26036  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: November 07, 2007, 12:30:30 PM
A long and thoughtful piece from Col. Ralph Peters
http://armedforcesjournal.com/2007/10/3026423
26037  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Hearts & Minds myth on: November 07, 2007, 11:32:45 AM

The hearts-and-minds myth
Sorry, but winning means killing
By Ralph Peters
Mastering the languages, cultural nuances, beliefs and taboos that prevail in a theater of war, area of operations or tactical environment is vital to military success. It's much easier to kill people you understand.
Beyond that, cultural insights ease routine operations and negotiations, the training of local forces and the development of intelligence. Environmental mastery helps us avoid making unnecessary enemies. But that is where the advantages end in conflicts of blood and faith: No amount of cultural sensitivity inculcated in U.S. troops will persuade fanatic believers to discard their religion, nor can any amount of American empathy change a foreign thug's ethnic identity.

Frustrated with the difficulties facing us in Iraq after being denied both adequate troop strength and the authority to impose the rule of law in the initial days of our occupation, U.S. military commanders responded with a variety of improvisations, from skillful "kinetic ops" to patient dialogue. Nothing achieved enduring results — because we never had the resources or the fortitude to follow any effort through to the end, and our enemies had no incentive to quit, surrender or cooperate. We pacified cities with force but lacked the forces to keep them pacified. We rebuilt schools, but our enemies taught us how easy it was to kill teachers. Accepting that it was politically impossible on the home front, we never conducted the essential first step in fighting terrorists and insurgents: We failed to forge a long-term plan based on a long-term commitment. Instead, we sought to dissuade fanatics and undo ancient rivalries with stopgap measures, intermittent drizzles of money and rules of engagement tailored to suit the media, not military necessity.
 

It is astonishing that our efforts have gone as well as they have.
Yet no honest soldier or Marine would argue that we could not have done better — and should have done better. Setting aside, for now, the inept leadership from the Rumsfeld Pentagon and the fateful, if not fatal, lack of adequate troop strength, we're left with one crippling deficiency on the part of our leadership: The unwillingness to recognize the nature of the various conflicts underway simultaneously in Iraq.
With an obtuseness worthy of the left's caricatures of military officers, we drew the wrong lessons from the wrong historical examples, then did exactly the wrong things. Enmeshed in bitter conflicts over religion and ethnicity resurgent after decades of suppression, senior officers ignored myriad relevant historical examples and focused instead on the counterinsurgency campaigns with which they were comfortable — and that were as instructive as dismantling a toaster to learn how to fix a computer.

Reality's delete key
Officers looked to operations in Malaya, Vietnam, Northern Ireland and, occasionally, Algeria for positive and negative examples. Yet not one of those political struggles is relevant to the situation in Iraq (or Afghanistan). As for the pertinent examples of insurgencies rooted in religious or ethnic fanaticism, such as the Moro Insurrection, Bloody Kansas, the Sepoy Mutiny, the Mahdist Wars, the various European Anabaptist risings, the Thirty Years' War, the Armenian Genocide, Nagorno-Karabagh, the destruction of Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Kashmir, the Pueblo Revolt, the Ghost-Dance Rebellion, 1,300 years of uninterrupted warfare between the Islamic and Judeo-Christian civilizations, and several thousand other examples dating back to the savagery chronicled in the Old Testament; well, the lessons they suggest are, to say the least, politically incorrect. So we hit the delete key on reality.
Our civilian and uniformed leaders have engaged in comforting fantasies about the multilayered conflicts we're in, while speaking in numbing platitudes. Now we're back to "winning hearts and minds."
We can't do it. Not in the Islamic world. Arabs — Sunni or Shiite, in Iraq and elsewhere — are so battered psychologically that many need to blame the West, Israel, unbelievers, Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds and the ice-cream man for their failures. Any chance we had of winning the minds, if not the hearts, of the biddable minority in Iraq was thrown away when we failed to enforce the rule of law the moment Baghdad fell. Proclamations of American generosity fall short when you cannot walk your neighborhood streets without fear.

Even with the limited forces we had on hand three-and-a-half years ago, we could have done more. But the Bush administration and our military leaders had fallen into the politically correct trap that spares the murderer at the expense of his victims. We weren't ready to kill enough of the right people. As a result, our enemies have been able to spend more than three years killing the people we meant to liberate. Our reluctance to kill evil men proved murderous to innocent men, women and children, and our unwillingness to do what needed to be done leaves us at least partly responsible for the thousands of Iraqis killed and maimed by acts of terrorism — as well as for our own unnecessary losses.
The law of war is immutable: Those unwilling to pay the butcher's bill up front will pay it with compound interest in the end.
Mush, not rigor

The new counterinsurgency doctrine the Army and Marines are developing gets the language right initially, noting that no two insurgencies are identical and that each must be understood on its own terms. Then it veers into nonsense, typified by the insupportable claim that a defection is always better than a surrender, a surrender is always better than a capture and a capture is always better than a kill. That's intellectual mush. And it's just plain wrong.
It's Malaya again, with doughty Brits hacking through the jungle to pip-pip-wot-ho those wily communists. It's Kit Carson Scouts in Vietnam and faithful Montagnards. It's the PX at Tan Son Nhut air base (oops, almost wrote "Balad"). It's the nonveteran John Wayne starring in "The Green Berets" and proving beyond any doubt that all good Vietnamese instinctively loved Americans and dreamed of drinking Cokes in suburban freedom. It's Mel Gibson reprising Pickett's Charge in the Ia Drang valley — and winning this time!

The well-intentioned drafters of our counterinsurgency doctrine are mining what they've recently read without serious analysis. Do they really believe that a Sunni Arab insurgent in Kirkuk is going to see the light and declare that, from now on, he's a Kurd? Or that a Shiite militiaman in the Mahdi Army is going to wake up and decide, "Twelfth Imam, Shmim-mam! I'm going to become a Sunni and move to Ramadi!"? Does anyone outside the nuthouse political left really believe that friendly persuasion will disarm al-Qaida in Iraq? Isn't a crucial lesson of Guantanamo that irredeemable prisoners are a strategic liability?
Our doctrine writers are in danger of producing a tome on procreation that doesn't mention sex.
We are in the middle of a multilayered, multisided struggle for supremacy between intolerant religious factions and age-old ethnic rivals. And we pretend that it's just another political struggle amenable to a political solution — because it's more pleasant to think so, because we believe we know what to do in such circumstances, because facing reality would force us to drastically change the way we behave in combat, and because acknowledging the truth about the situation in Iraq would demand that we question every goofball cliché about the human preference for peace that we've bought into for the past half-century.
Yet, unless we accept the truth about the kind of wars we're in — and inevitably will face in the future — we're going to continue to make a botch of things.

Blood ties, bloody gods
The political insurgencies of the last century were easy problems compared to this century's renewed struggles of blood and belief. In political insurgencies, some of the actors can, indeed, be converted. A capture may be better than a kill. Compromise may be possible. Dialogue is sometimes a useful tool, although even political insurgencies are best resolved from a position of indisputable military strength. Men who believe, often hazily, in an ideology occasionally can be converted — or bought. The political beliefs of the masses are fickle. Defeats discourage those with mundane goals. And a political struggle within a population otherwise united by its history can end in reconciliation even after horrible bloodshed — as in the American Civil War, the Risorgimento, the gruesome Mexican revolutions of 1910-20 and the civil wars in Vietnam, Greece and many another gore-drenched, relatively homogeneous states.
Violence arising from differences of religious confession, race or ethnicity is profoundly different — and far more difficult to quell. Generally, such struggles are brought to an end only through a great deal of killing. One side — or all — must be bled out. Whether cast as divinely sanctioned liberation struggles or simply about one bloodline getting its own back from another, these conflicts over God's will and ancestral wrongs are never amenable to reason. Self-righteous journalists love to claim that the first casualty of war is truth, but that's a self-serving lie; the first casualty of any form of violence is reason, that weakest and most disappointing of learned human skills.
__________________
Our exclusive focus on recent political insurgencies misleads us, because wars over tribe and God are humankind's oldest legacy, while the conflicts we choose to study all fall within a brief historical interval that stands as an aberration — the twilight decades of the Age of Ideology, which ran from 1775 to 1991, a blink in historical terms. Now we have reverted to the human norm of killing one another over interpretations of the divine will and ancient blood ties. We don't have to like it — and we won't — but we must recognize the reality confronting us. We have returned to the historical mainstream. The tribes want tribute. The gods want blood. And the killers are ready to help.

The road to Srebrenica was paved with pious platitudes, the path to 9/11 with wishful thinking. Presidents and generals may declare endlessly that we're not engaged in a religious war or that ethnic factions can be reconciled, but the first claim is a lie and the second relies for its fulfillment on intrusive military power and a strength of will greater than that of the factions in question. We are, indeed, engaged in religious wars — because our enemies have determined that these are religious wars. Our own refusal to understand them as such is just one more debilitating asymmetry. As for ethnic reconciliation, call me when Kosovo's Muslims and Serb Christians reintegrate their communities, form joint neighborhood-watch committees and vote for each other's political candidates (and check the ingredients of the casserole that Ivo's wife brought to the potluck, nonetheless).

Blood and budget deficits
If we want achievements commensurate with the risks we undergo and the costs we pay in blood and budget deficits, we must overcome our revulsion at the truth. Saying nice things about war to please the media or to placate noisome academics is useless, anyway, because they'll always oppose what the U.S. government does — even when, as with a dictator's overthrow and a war of liberation, our government implements the left's long-standing agenda. We must stop belching out chipper slogans and fleeing to simplistic models for answers. We have to start thinking beyond our moral comfort zones. When generals lack intellectual integrity, privates die for nothing.
Above all, we must regain our perspective on what truly matters. We must get over our impossible dream of being loved as a nation, of winning hearts and minds in Iraq or elsewhere. If we can make ourselves liked through our successes, that's well and good. But the essential requirements for the security of the U.S. are that our nation is respected and our military is feared. Our lack of resolve and mental rigor has brought us close to sacrificing both of these advantages. And a nation that is not respected encourages foreign chicanery, while a military that is not feared invites attack.

The Marine Corps entered Iraq with a motto that captured the essence of what our efforts should have involved: "No better friend, no worse enemy." That restatement of the carrot-and-stick approach to military operations expressed in simple terms how to fight just about any kind of enemy — including insurgents and terrorists. The problem is that no American leader, in uniform or in a $3,000 suit, lived up to the maxim consistently. Instead, we applied it in fits and starts as we tried to make friends with our enemies. In the clinch, we defaulted to the carrot.
Consider how many potential turning points we missed: We failed to enforce the rule of law while all Iraq was terrified of us and anxious for clear orders. We failed to occupy the predictable trouble spots early on and in force. We failed to display sufficient imagination and courage to break up the artificial country we inherited from Saddam Hussein and a pack of Europeans at Versailles. With our typical dread of short-term costs, we passed up repeated and justified chances to kill Muqtada al-Sadr, inflating his image in the process — and paying a far higher price in the long term than we would have paid had we acted resolutely and promptly. We needed Henry V and got Hamlet. Our leaders fled from victory in the First Battle of Fallujah. Now an administration with a flagging will is determined to withdraw our troops prematurely — Mission Accomplished, Act II. And all the while our soldiers and Marines have paid the price — while re-enlisting to pay it again and again.
Our men and women in uniform deserve better. They're dying not only of roadside bombs but of phony morality imposed by those who face no risks themselves. Spare a terrorist, kill a soldier. Spare a terrorist leader, kill our soldiers by the hundreds.

We want to treat a country torn by rival visions of a punitive god and drenched in ethnic bloodshed as if it needs only a bit of political tinkering. We're not looking for exit strategies, just exit excuses.
The longer we wait to study and learn from the relevant conflicts of the past, the more American blood we'll squander. We have to be tough on ourselves, forcing each other to think beyond the deadly platitudes of the campus, the campaign trail and the press briefing. Begin by listing the number of religion-fueled uprisings throughout history that were quenched by reason and compromise — call me collect if you find a single one. Then list the ethnic civil wars that were solved by sensible treaties without significant bloodshed. Next, start asking the really ugly questions, such as: Hasn't ethnic cleansing led to more durable conditions of peace than any more humane approach to settling power relations between bloodlines? Monstrous as it appears, might not the current neighborhood-by-neighborhood ethnic and confessional cleansing in Iraq make that country more, rather than less, likely to survive as a confederation? Shouldn't we be glad when fanatics kill fanatics? Are all successes in the war on terrorism merely provisional? Is this a struggle that unquestionably must be fought by us but that began long before our country existed and will continue for centuries to come? Is there a historical precedent for coping with violent religious fanatics that does not include bloodshed to the point of extermination?

Even beyond these military and strategic issues, deeper questions about humanity — the individual and the mass — await serious minds. The one useful result of the coming generations of fanaticism will be to rid our own cultural bloodstream of the poison of political correctness, white lies that lead to black results. Why does humankind love war? And yes, the word is "love." Does religious competition have biological roots? Is the assertion of ethnic supremacy as natural as the changing of the seasons? Is genocide in our genes? We do not have to celebrate unpleasant answers, but, if humanity is ever to make the least progress in reducing mass violence, we need to face those answers honestly.
The American military knew how to deal with conflicts of blood and faith. But we do not study our own history when the lessons make us uneasy. During the Moro Insurrection, the U.S. Army lived up to the Marine Corps' motto for Operation Iraqi Freedom. For the peaceful inhabitants of the southern Philippines, our soldiers and administrators were benefactors. For the Moro warriors, they were the worst enemies those fanatics had ever faced. Of course, we didn't have CNN filming our Gatling guns at work, but, then, we may need to banish the media from future battlefields, anyway. Our brutal response to the brutality of Muslim fanatics kept the peace until the Japanese invasion four decades later. And no peace lasts forever — four decades qualifies as a big, big win.

The religious movement that fired the Boxer Rebellion could only be put down through massacre. The same need to rip the heart out of violent millenarian movements, enabling societies to regain their balance, applied from 1520s Germany and 1840s China through the 19th-century Yucatan and the Sudan, down to the Islamist counterrevolution today. Only massive killing brought peace. Only extensive killing will bring peace.
We need to grasp the basic truth that the path to winning the hearts and minds of the masses leads over the corpses of the violent minority. As for humanitarianism, the most humane thing we can do is to win our long struggle against fanaticism and terrorism. That means killing terrorists and fanatics.
__________________
26038  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: November 07, 2007, 10:17:39 AM
“Al Gore seems to have found a home at the peacock network. Both he and the network’s symbol like to strut a lot and frequently have their feathers ruffled. This week the peacock’s feathers are a solid green as NBC, among other activities, sends its ‘Today’ show stars, as the promo puts it, to ‘the ends of the earth’ to promote Gore’s agenda of saving the planet and repealing the Industrial Revolution... NBC began its Green Week with Sunday night’s Dallas Cowboys-Philadelphia Eagles football game. Bob Costas solemnly intoned: ‘As part of NBC Universal’s Green is Universal initiative, we have turned out the lights in the studio to kick off a week that will include more than 150 hours of programming designed to raise awareness about environmental issues.’ Actually, the studio lights were off for about a minute, during which time you could see the giant stadium screen over his right shoulder and glowing video monitors all over the set. At halftime, Costas tossed it to Matt Lauer standing before some sled dogs in the Arctic, bathed in bright lighting flown in for the occasion. The folks at Newsbusters.org have calculated that flying Lauer and two crew to the Arctic Circle in Greenland—from New York to Thule AFB, a 2,487-mile distance—produced six tons of carbon emissions. That’s one ton each way per person. They used the carbon calculator found on Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ Web site. [Al] Roker’s journey from New York to Quito, Ecuador... produced another six tons of carbon emissions. Ann Curry’s trip to Antarctica—11,686 miles in all—produced a total of 12.9 tons of carbon. That’s a grand total of 24.9 tons of CO2 produced for a momentary photo-op while most people were up getting a beer or making a pit stop. According to Gore’s Web site, the average person produces 7.5 tons of CO2 in a year.” —Investor’s Business Daily
26039  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: November 07, 2007, 10:17:05 AM

“For today’s Democrats, resistance to unilateral presidential war-making reflects not principled constitutionalism but petulance about the current president. Democrats were supine when President Bill Clinton launched a sustained air war against Serbia without congressional authorization. Instead, he cited NATO’s authorization   as though that were an adequate substitute for the collective judgment that the Constitution mandates.” —George Will

26040  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: November 07, 2007, 10:15:09 AM
“Despite her muddled comments [last] week, there’s no doubt where Mrs. Clinton stands on ballot integrity. She opposes photo ID laws, even though they enjoy over 80% support in the polls. She has also introduced a bill to force every state to offer no-excuse absentee voting as well as Election Day registration—easy avenues for election chicanery. The bill requires that every state restore voting rights to all criminals who have completed their prison terms, parole or probation.” —John Fund

“Senator Clinton is determined not to tell us where she stands on anything. Instead, she has come to believe, probably correctly, that if we knew what she really wants to do as president, we would never vote for her.” —Dick Morris

It’s all about Hillary: “I had a dream that before I died I would see a woman as President of the United States. I think you are the woman and I think this is the time.” —ABC’s Carole Simpson to Hillary Clinton  “When [Hillary] Clinton was asked why she wouldn’t release her White House records from the time she was First Lady, her answer was, ‘Well, that’s not my decision to make.’ Baloney, whose decision is it, the Easter Bunny’s? Come on.” —CNN’s Jack Cafferty  “The notion that there’s stuff that’s being restricted potentially opens the door to asking questions about, well, the travel office where the independent counsel said she had been factually false. How did her brothers get pardons for two felons after being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars? How did she raise $100,000 trading cattle futures? This stuff hasn’t come up in the campaign, but you could almost hear the opponents beginning to chomp at the bit, waiting to ask, ‘What is she hiding?”’ —CBS political correspondent Jeff Greenfield  “[Hillary Clinton] is in a bit of a conundrum, is she not, because she doesn’t want to stake out positions that may haunt her later on if, in fact, she gets the nomination, you know? And at the same time, she risks coming across as if she has no core values or beliefs.” —CBS’s Katie Couric **That’s because she has no core values or beliefs.
26041  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Stock Market on: November 07, 2007, 09:12:39 AM
Silver company PAAS is now a four bagger for me  grin

David Gordon thinks the market is headed for a rougher patch shocked
26042  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: November 07, 2007, 08:29:47 AM
For years health authorities have warned of the growing threat posed by drug-resistant bacteria, but most of us have been half-listening. Not anymore.
A virulent strain of bacteria that resists many antibiotics appears to be killing more people annually than AIDS, emphysema or homicide, taking an estimated 19,000 lives in 2005, according to a study published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The recent death of a 17-year-old high school football player in Virginia is a tragic reminder that methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, can prey on otherwise healthy people.
The best defense against the potentially deadly infection is common sense and cleanliness. “We need to reinvent hygiene for the 21st century,’’ said Dr. Charles Gerba, professor of environmental microbiology at the University of Arizona at Tucson. “You go to a grocery store, and hundreds of thousands of people have touched those surfaces every day. Microorganisms are evolving very rapidly.’’
Here are answers to common questions about community-acquired staph infections, or CA-MRSA.
What does CA-MRSA look like?
CA-MRSA is primarily a skin infection. It often resembles a pimple, boil or spider bite, but it quickly worsens into an abscess or pus-filled blister or sore. Patients who have sores that won’t heal or are filled with pus should see a doctor and ask to be tested for staph infection. They should not squeeze the sore or try to drain it — that can spread the infection to other parts of the skin or deeper into the body.
Who is at risk?
The vast majority of MRSA cases happen in hospital settings, but 10 percent to 15 percent occur in the community at large among otherwise healthy people. Infections often occur among people who are prone to cuts and scrapes, such as children and athletes. MRSA typically spreads by skin-to-skin contact, crowded conditions and the sharing of contaminated personal items. Others who should be watchful: people who have regular contact with health care workers, those who have recently taken such antibiotics as fluoroquinolones or cephalosporin, homosexual men, military recruits and prisoners. Clusters of infections have appeared in certain ethnic groups, including Pacific Islanders, Alaskan Natives and Native Americans.
What can I do to lower my risk of contracting MRSA?
Bathing regularly and washing hands before meals is just a start. Wash your hands often or use an antibacterial sanitizer after you’ve been in public places or have touched handrails and other highly trafficked surfaces. Make sure cuts and scrapes are bandaged until they heal. Wash towels and sheets regularly, preferably in hot water, and leave clothes in the dryer until they are completely dry. “Staph is a pretty hardy organism,’’ said Dr. Gerba.
Remind kids and teenagers that personal items shouldn’t be shared with their friends, he added. This includes brushes, combs, razors, towels, makeup and cell phones. A teenager in Dr. Gerba’s own family once contracted MRSA, he said, and he eventually traced the bacteria to her cell phone. She had shared it with a friend whose mother worked in a nursing home. Dr. Gerba went on to discover MRSA on the friend’s cell phone and makeup compact and on a countertop in her home.

Where does MRSA lurk?
Staph bacteria may be found on the skin and in the noses of nearly 30 percent of the population without causing harm. Experts believe it survives on surfaces in 2 percent to 3 percent of homes, cars and public places.
But the bacteria are evolving, and the statistics may already underestimate the prevalence of MRSA. Be especially vigilant in health clubs and gyms — staph grows rapidly in warm, moist environments. The risks of infection and necessary precautions should be explained to student athletes, particularly those in contact sports who often suffer cuts and spend time in locker rooms. When working out at the gym, make sure you wipe down equipment before you use it. Many people clean just the sweaty benches, but Dr. Gerba notes that MRSA also has been found on the grips of workout machines. And if you have a scrape or sore, keep it clean and bandaged until it heals. Minor cuts and scrapes are the way MRSA takes hold.
What is the single best thing I can do to protect myself from MRSA?
Without question, people need to show far more respect for antibiotics. Misuse of antibiotics allows bacteria to evolve and develop resistance to drugs. But parents often pressure pediatricians to prescribe antibiotics even when they don’t help the vast majority of childhood infections. When you do take an antibiotic, finish the dose. Antibiotic resistance is bad for everyone, but your body can also become particularly vulnerable to resistant bacteria if you are careless with the drugs.
How do I find out more?
One of the most useful Web sites is a MRSA primer from Mayoclinic.com. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers a useful Q&A about MRSA in schools. A patient website called MRSA Resources lists a few stories of patients affected by MSRA. Recent Stanford University grad Nick Yee chronicles his struggle with MRSA on his Web site, which includes graphic videos of his wound and treatment. (I couldn’t get through them.) And if you have the stomach for it, a number of people have — inexplicably — posted videos of their MRSA wounds on YouTube.


NY Times
26043  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Peru on: November 07, 2007, 08:20:02 AM
Pass the Peruvian F.T.A.
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Published: November 7, 2007
Congressional Democrats took their time, but more than a year after it was originally signed, the free trade agreement between the United States and Peru is finally due for a vote in the House of Representatives today.

Democrats should vote for it. While the agreement is expected to pass on the strength of a majority of Republican votes, it would be a pity if Democratic leaders were not able to muster a substantial number of votes in favor of a deal they played such a large role in making — one that is likely to boost American jobs and help relations with an ally in a challenging region of the world.

The Peruvian agreement has had a tortuous journey, entangled in the growing Democratic hostility toward trade. Peru had to amend the original deal to add commitments on labor rights and the environment. Charles Rangel, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, had to work hard to bring some of his colleagues on board.

Despite these efforts, some estimates put Democratic support at less than 100 votes.

Democrats are right to worry about the stagnation of workers’ wages and to be concerned about those who lose their jobs because of increased competition from cheaper labor overseas. But these problems should be addressed through better education and training, a more robust social safety network and more progressive taxation to mitigate the impact of stagnating wages. Throttling trade would hurt more people than it would help.

The Peruvian deal would help expand trade between Peru and the United States, which today stands at about $9 billion. It would give American businesses greater access to Peru’s markets in everything from grains to tractors and other machinery.

Perhaps more important, the agreement would strengthen an essential ally in the combat against illegal narcotics in the Andes and tighten relations with one of the United States’ few remaining friends in South America — where Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez is gaining allies by spreading oil wealth around. In an open letter, all eight living former secretaries of state urged Congress to approve the Peru deal.

There are other trade agreements waiting in the wings with South Korea and Panama, and Congress should approve them. The pending deal with Colombia should also pass once the government of Álvaro Uribe demonstrates progress in bringing to justice the paramilitary leaders guilty of human rights violations and their backers in the Colombian government.

A group of Democratic leaders from the Clinton administration and Congress recently sent a letter to Congressional Democrats pointing out that rejecting the trade agreements signed in Latin America “would set back regional U.S. interests for a generation.”

Their argument also works on a bigger map. It would be a folly for the United States to turn its back on trade. Democrats, who have taken control of Congress and might soon take the White House, should not lose sight of that fact.

NY Times
26044  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: November 07, 2007, 08:17:17 AM
Joel Hafvenstein returned to Afghanistan in late 2004 armed with nothing but good intentions. Employed by Chemonics, a private company with a contract from the United States Agency for International Development, he was part of a team trying to discourage cultivation of the opium poppy by providing an alternative income for poor farmers.

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OPIUM SEASON

A Year on the Afghan Frontier

By Joel Hafvenstein

The Lyons Press. 337 pages. $24.95.

Within months the mission was in disarray, its American workers huddled in a fortified bunker after eight of its Afghan employees had been murdered. The next year’s poppy harvest would be the largest on record.

The sobering dispatches in “Opium Season,” a wrenching account of lofty hopes and bitter disappointments, shed a dismal light on American efforts to improve the lot of ordinary Afghans. All over the country development projects are under way aimed at winning over the Afghan people, depriving the Taliban of popular support and propping up Hamid Karzai’s government. The obstacles are as steep as the surrounding mountains, as Mr. Hafvenstein discovered and ruefully recounts in this bitter but affectionate book about his three stints in Afghanistan from October 2003 to May 2005.

In Helmand Province, where Mr. Hafvenstein had his final tour of duty, the immediate plan was simple: hire local people for big public-works projects and put money in their pockets before the government started cutting down profitable poppy fields. This stopgap effort would be the prelude to large-scale infrastructure projects that would lift the local economy permanently. Easier said than done.

Getting a multimillion-dollar project up and running plunged Mr. Hafvenstein and his co-workers into a social, political and economic morass that eventually sucked them under. In a country with scant resources, every dollar shifted the local balance of power in unforeseen ways.

The influx of international development companies distorted the Afghan economy, driving up the cost of housing and drawing educated Afghans away from vital but poorly paid jobs in, for example, education. Local power brokers, whether government officials or tribal leaders, eyed the Americans askance, worried that their own influence might be diminished. Big landowners schemed to steer benefits in their direction.

Mr. Hafvenstein arrived eager but unprepared in a region known to the ancient Persians as “the land of the unruly.” Racing to set up a project office, he interviewed a long line of Afghans with spotty qualifications and modest expectations. One stated on his application that he looked forward to working in “a mullet-cultural environment.” Another, hesitant to accept a job that required him to travel with payroll money, said, “I would like a job where I will not be killed.”

The security situation was indeed tenuous. Early on Mr. Hafvenstein got a cold dose of reality when the company’s security officer rattled off a list of must-buy items for the offices. These included blast film for the windows, razor wires for the walls and a windowless safe room lined with sandbags “if things get ugly.” Nevertheless, before safes arrived, Mr. Hafvenstein carried around bricks of American, Afghan and Pakistani currency in the inside pockets of his waistcoat.

The cash-for-work program showed progress. Chemonics hired thousands of laborers to do roadwork or dig out the silt from canals in a huge irrigation system built in the 1940s by Morrison-Knudsen, the engineering company that built the Hoover Dam and the San Francisco Bay Bridge. Spurred on by an energetic, idealistic Afghan-American in the office, the company made every effort to extend its reach to remote valleys badly in need of development aid.

But the hard realities of the poppy economy quickly reasserted themselves. The local government would plow under the poppy fields belonging to poor farmers just enough to mollify the central government, while powerful landlords paid the police to pass them by. After a particularly heavy rain in Lashkargah, the provincial capital, Mr. Hafvenstein noticed a thriving poppy field directly across the street from the American military outpost, its existence revealed by a collapsed section of earthen wall.

Everyone in Helmand, directly or indirectly, depended on poppy income, including top officials. In June 2005 police raided the mansion of Helmand’s governor, Sher Muhammad Akhundzada, and found nine metric tons of opium. Mr. Akhundzada, who enjoys close family ties to Mr. Karzai, explained that he had seized the opium from traffickers and was merely waiting for the appropriate moment to dispose of it.

Mr. Hafvenstein and his team disturbed the status quo, although they were never clear precisely when or how. When several workers were victimized by a carjacking, informants blamed common thieves, but the act might have been retaliation for giving too many jobs to members of the wrong clan. Later, in the same area, two Afghan workers were ambushed and killed. A party that set out the following day to transport the dead bodies to a cemetery in Kabul was also ambushed and its members executed. One man, an ethnic Hazara (member of the Shiite minority) was shot through the eyes.

Local leaders blamed the Taliban. But the killings might have been ordered by poppy growers angry that the American project was depriving them of badly needed labor for the harvest. The police showed little enthusiasm for investigating the matter.

That was it for Mr. Hafvenstein and his American colleagues. They headed home, sadder and wiser. “We had come to Helmand thinking of opium as the local currency, and had tried to replace it with cash,” Mr. Hafvenstein writes. “But security was the real currency of Afghanistan. The traumatized population of Helmand would trade anything for it, follow anyone who could offer it.”

In a country where violence trumps money every time, the United States, Mr. Hafvenstein suggests, will have to work out a different equation.
26045  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / NY Times on Gay Muslims on: November 07, 2007, 08:12:14 AM
By NEIL MACFARQUHAR
Published: November 7, 2007
SAN FRANCISCO — About 15 people marched alongside the Muslim float in this city’s notoriously fleshy Gay Pride Parade earlier this year, with various men carrying the flags of Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine and Turkey and even Iran’s old imperial banner.

While other floats featured men dancing in leather Speedos or women with scant duct tape over their nipples, many Muslims were disguised behind big sunglasses, fezzes or kaffiyehs wrapped around their heads.

Even as they reveled in newfound freedom compared with the Muslim world, they remained closeted, worried about being ostracized at the mosque or at their local falafel stand.

“They’re afraid of the rest of the community here,” said Ayman, a stocky 31-year-old from Jordan, who won asylum in the United States last year on the basis of his sexuality. “It’s such a big wrong in the Koran that it is impossible to be accepted.”

For gay Muslims, change may come via a nascent body of scholarship in minority Muslim communities where the reassessment of sacred texts used to damn homosexuality is gaining momentum.

In traditional seats of Islamic learning, like Egypt and Iran, punishment against blatant homosexual activity, not to mention against trying to establish a gay rights movement, can be severe. These governments are prone to label homosexuality a Western phenomenon, as happened in September when Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, spoke at Columbia University. But far more leeway to dissect the topic exists in places where gay rights are more protected.

As a rule, gay Muslim activists lacked the scholarly grounding needed to scrutinize time-honored teachings. But that is changing, activists say, partly because no rigid clerical hierarchy exists in the West to bar such research.

Nonetheless, gaining acceptance remains such a hurdle that Muslims in the United States hesitate. Imam Daayiee Abdullah, 53, a black convert to Islam, was expelled from a Saudi-financed seminary in Virginia after the school found out he is gay. His effort to organize a gay masjid, or mosque, in Washington failed largely out of fear, he said.

“You have these individuals who say that they would blow up a masjid if it was a gay masjid,” he said. Mr. Abdullah and other scholars argue that there is no uncontested record of the Prophet Muhammad addressing homosexuality and that examples of punishment would surely exist had he been hostile.

Mirroring the feminist school of Islam, gay advocates pursue a holistic interpretation that emphasizes accepting everyone as equally God’s creation.

Most Koranic verses treating same-sex relations are ambiguous, said Omid Safi, an Islamic studies professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “They are talking about an ‘abomination,’” Professor Safi said, “but what an abomination is remains open to interpretation.”

Since the primary Koranic verses used to condemn homosexuality also suggest male rape, the progressive reading is that the verses revile using sex as domination, said Scott Kugle, an American convert and university professor who specializes in the topic. The arguments are not entirely modern; some are drawn from a medieval scholar in Andalusia, once a seat of enlightened Muslim governance, he said.

The classical attitude toward lesbians is even murkier, Mr. Kugle added, because sex was defined as penetration.

Hostility is rooted in the Koranic story of Lot, which parallels the biblical Sodom and Gomorrah. At Al-Tawhid Mosque in San Francisco, the imam, Hassan al-Jalal, a Yemeni with a short beard, printed a sheaf of Koranic verses that he said condemned homosexuals.

“This is the main sin in Islam,” Mr. Jalal said, describing how the town housing Lot’s tribe was lifted high into the sky and then dropped, killing all in the town before they were buried under what is now the Dead Sea. “He sent the flood to clean the earth from AIDS. There were no doctors at that time, but God knew they had a virus.”

All sects mandate capital punishment, he argued, although others differ. “Sunni, Shiite, they all agree that they have to be killed. But who does it? Not me or you, only by law.”

Muslim clerics reject being gay as biologically coded and advise anyone with homosexual stirrings to avoid temptation. They see America as rife with it given practices like open gym showers.

The hostility pushes some gay Muslims to interpret for themselves or to withdraw from the faith. For Rafique, a 56-year-old Southeast Asian Muslim in San Francisco, resolution came through a combination of medieval mystic poetry and individual spiritual efforts endorsed by Sufi Muslim traditions.

Renowned poets wrote odes glorifying handsome boys. Some were interpreted as metaphors about loving God, but some were paeans to gay sex. Rafique and others argue that homosexuality became criminalized only under European colonialism.
=======

“From the 10th to the 14th century, Muslim society used to be a far richer mix of the legal, the rational and the mystic,” said Rafique, an anthropologist. “They looked at sexuality as one aspect of life’s many possibilities, and they saw in it the hope for spiritual insight. I came across this stuff, and it helped me reconcile the two.”

Some mosques with a Sufi orientation extend a rare welcome to gay Muslims.

Ayman, the parade organizer, said his previous life in Jordan was marked by fear. Arrested at 17 after a sexual encounter in a public building, he said the police wrote “manyak,” a homosexual slur, into his file. He denied being gay, but the word resurfaced whenever the police stopped him. He worried that one day it would happen around a relative.

He is convinced that a 22-year-old gay friend who died after a fall from an apartment building was the victim of an “honor” killing meant to clean the family’s reputation. “I still feel like I’m a Muslim; I don’t accept that anyone insults the faith,” said Ayman, who avoids attending mosque. “When I read what it says in the Koran, then I fear Judgment Day.”

A 26-year-old from Saudi Arabia who took the first name Liam after rejecting his faith said that as a teenager he fought his homosexuality by becoming a religious zealot. He eventually accepted his sexuality while at college in Colorado, but moved to the Bay Area because gay life in the kingdom was too depressing.

But a 39-year-old burly, bearded computer consultant who left Saudi Arabia to live in the United States said the cosmopolitan city of Jidda had a thriving gay underground. In other Arab states, he said, it is rare to find men who are both religious and gay, but the high numbers in Jidda made them relax somewhat. “They don’t care about sex and alcohol, but they do avoid pork,” he said.

The consultant, trying to reconcile being gay and Muslim, divides his sins into the redeemable and those warranting hellfire. “Anal sex for either a man or woman is wrong, so when I really think about it, I tell myself not to have sex,” he said, describing a failed four-year experiment with celibacy. “I live with what I am doing, but I don’t want to live in a double standard, I don’t want to go through life unhappy.”
26046  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Our Founding Fathers: on: November 07, 2007, 08:03:51 AM
The Patriot Post
Founders' Quote Daily

"He [King George] has waged cruel war against human nature itself,
violating its most sacred right of life and liberty in the persons
of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying
them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable
death in their transportation thither."

-- Thomas Jefferson (deleted portion of a draft of the Declaration
of Independence, June 1776)

Reference: Jefferson: Writings, Peterson ed., Library of America
(22)
26047  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal issues on: November 07, 2007, 08:02:16 AM
Lobbyists or Spies?
By GABRIEL SCHOENFELD
November 6, 2007; Page A19

Government insiders who engage in unauthorized leaks of classified information are violating their oaths, breaking the law, damaging national security and deserving of punishment. Sometimes those outside government who receive secrets and pass them to others are also breaking the law and deserve punishment. The latter category includes enemy spies. But what about American lobbyists -- and journalists -- who receive secrets and pass them along?

In an important trial set to begin in January, the Justice Department has irresponsibly confused the distinction between spying and lobbying. Keith Weissman and Steven J. Rosen, two former employees of AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobbying organization, are charged with unlawfully receiving and transmitting classified national-defense information. The stakes are high. The Pentagon official, Lawrence Franklin, who illicitly furnished the two men with secrets, and then participated in an FBI sting operation against them, has pleaded guilty for his part in the affair and was sentenced by federal judge T.S. Ellis III to more than 12 years in federal prison.

This past Friday, the same judge decided a pivotal preliminary issue in the Weissman-Rosen case. The defense has subpoenaed 20 present and former administration officials to appear as witnesses for its side, including Elliott Abrams, Richard Armitage, Douglas Feith, Dennis Ross, Paul Wolfowitz, Stephen Hadley and Condoleezza Rice. The idea is to use their testimony to demonstrate that their clients had every reason to believe that what Mr. Franklin told them in conversation -- no classified documents ever changed hands in this case -- was part and parcel of the normal back-channel method by which the U.S. government sometimes conveys information to the media and/or to allied countries, in this case, to Israel.

Prosecutors have resisted this contention and moved to quash the subpoenas to almost all of the officials. On Friday, Judge Ellis ruled against the prosecutors. The defendants, he wrote in his opinion, "claim that AIPAC played an important role in U.S. foreign-policy development." If true, he continued, the "government's use of AIPAC for 'back channel' purposes may serve to exculpate defendants by negating the criminal states of mind the government must prove to convict defendants of the charged offenses."

Judge Ellis has cut to a core issue, pertinent to the broader issue of secrecy. Back in February 2006, the New York Times published classified information that compromised the NSA's terrorist-surveillance program aimed at intercepting the communications of al-Qaeda suspects around the world. While the Justice Department did not prosecute the paper, it was clear that the Times had run afoul of Section 798 of Title 18, which protects the ultra-sensitive category of communications intelligence. Under it, intent is irrelevant; the willful disclosure of classified information is itself the crime. Even observers sympathetic to the Times acknowledge that it broke black-letter law.

The Times repeated its reckless behavior in the spring of 2006, when it compromised another highly sensitive counterterrorism program aimed at tracking the movement of al-Qaeda funds. Here the Times' disclosure, while damaging and deplorable, was probably not a crime. Because communications intelligence was not involved, the only other applicable statute was the Espionage Act of 1917, the same law under which the two AIPAC men have been charged. That antiquated law, unlike Section 798, contains stringent criminal-intent requirements. However much one might disapprove of what the Times did, it would be nearly impossible to demonstrate that its editors and reporters acted with a criminal state of mind.

In the AIPAC case, an equal or even higher barrier to successful prosecution exists. In order to convict, Judge Ellis has ruled, the prosecutors must prove the defendants had a long laundry list of "mental states," indicative of culpability. They not only had to be acting in bad faith, but had to know that the information they received was classified and closely held.

The high-profile witnesses whom the defense can now bring into the courtroom will make it a tall order to demonstrate any of this. They are almost certain to attest that, at one or another juncture in the course of their careers, they were authorized, as a means of promoting the national interest, to disclose classified information to individuals outside of government, including, on some occasions, to officials at AIPAC itself.

When Lawrence Franklin passed on classified information to the two defendants, he lacked such authorization, which is why he is a felon. But given how routinely classified information is dispensed for legitimate purposes, how were Mr. Weissman and Mr. Rosen to know that Mr. Franklin was telling them things he was not allowed to tell them and involving them in his crime? The answer is: They could not know.

Under the circumstances, this is a case that should never have been brought. No fair-minded jury could conclude that Mr. Weissman and Mr. Rosen acted with criminal intent. Jurors will see only two lobbyists going about their jobs, interacting with government officials in an ordinary fashion as other lobbyists do all the time. Yes, protecting classified information is crucial to our national defense. But the law is narrowly and properly tailored to protect innocent people from becoming ensnared by it.

Mr. Schoenfeld, senior editor of Commentary, blogs for connectingthedots.us.com.

WSJ
26048  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Books on: November 07, 2007, 07:36:56 AM
Blunt Diplomacy
John Bolton's new memoir shows that he's no neocon.

BY BRENDAN SIMMS
Tuesday, November 6, 2007 12:01 a.m. EST
The British conservative Enoch Powell once famously said that all political careers end in failure. John Bolton's career, as we read in the opening pages of "Surrender Is Not an Option," began with the defeat of Barry Goldwater's 1964 presidential campaign, on which he had served as a teenage volunteer. It is a disarming start to the memoir of a man usually caricatured as a bombastic tub-thumper. In any case, history records that John Bolton bounced back from this disappointment, rose through the Republican ranks in the 1980s and, after loyal service interpreting Floridian chads during the 2000 election count, found himself propelled into high office. He tells the rest of the story with a focus, brutality and exasperation that will give pain and pleasure in all the right places.

Among Mr. Bolton's pungent chapter titles ("Sisyphus in the Twilight Zone," "Why Do I Want This Job?"), my favorite may be "Following the Yellow Cake Road on North Korea." Certainly "The Wizard of Oz" would have served as good preparation for Mr. Bolton's two Bush-era portfolios: undersecretary of state for arms control (2001-05) and U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations (2005-06). Mr. Bolton often finds himself in a fantasy-fueled Munchkinland in which all the problems of the Middle East are blamed on Israel and the Iranian quest for a nuclear bomb is either denied or ignored--or justified as a legitimate response to U.S. and Zionist hegemony.

The U.N. in particular, Mr. Bolton makes clear, was a place for Third World ax-grinding and waywardness. To be asked by a Congolese staffer during difficult Iran-related negotiations "Why do we care about nuclear weapons?" was par for the course, and to find many U.N. member states determined to revive the spirit of the long-repealed "Zionism is racism" resolution was almost routine. In that sense, Mr. Bolton's experience matched that of U.S. ambassadors to the U.N. going back to Jeane Kirkpatrick, Daniel Patrick Moynihan and perhaps beyond.
Much more worrying is Mr. Bolton's account of European policy on Tehran's nuclear program. The policy started as a well-meant attempt to avoid military confrontation by persuading the Iranians to abandon their plans peacefully. At almost every stage along the way, however, the French, British and German negotiators were hoodwinked by the Iranians, who later gloated over the deceptions they had been allowed to get away with. Far from holding all this against Iran, the Europeans--or "Euroids," as Mr. Bolton calls them--tended to vent their frustration on Mr. Bolton and America's supposed intransigence.

Thus the British representative to the Security Council is quoted as being "so tired of having to go out in front of those damned cameras and explain why we gave up on this or conceded on that." Far and away the most feeble performance is put in by the envoy from Berlin, who reflexively gives the Iranians the benefit of the doubt, crediting their claims of peaceful intentions. The Germans of all people should care about nuclear weapons in the hands of a maniac such as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has called for the destruction of Israel. Their diplomats at the U.N. should not be making excuses for an Iranian nuclear program that is plainly intended for military purposes.

Mr. Bolton, it should be said, does not proceed merely by assertion: He supplies dates, names names, cites documents, recounts conversations and gives a blow-by-blow record of his diplomatic dealings. His memoir is entirely without coyness and spares no one, not even George W. Bush himself, whom he accuses of dropping the ball on Iran in recent times.

Mr. Bolton is merciless with the senior and middling State Department officials who he felt tried to sabotage the campaign against Tehran. His criticism will no doubt send them back to their diaries to pen a rebuttal. For the moment, however, "Surrender Is Not an Option" serves as a first draft of history. Even for those who disagree with him, Mr. Bolton's account will be the first port of call for those seeking to understand U.S. policy on nuclear proliferation during President Bush's two administrations.

It will also lay to rest a tenacious misunderstanding about the author. Mr. Bolton has long been described, even by otherwise well-informed commentators, as a "neoconservative." In fact, his political roots in small-government Goldwater Republicanism could not be further removed from the big-government origins of the formerly Democratic neoconservatives. Moreover, Mr. Bolton is innocent--too much so, in my view--of any ambition to put the export of democracy at the center of U.S. foreign policy.

In fact, Mr. Bolton is, in many ways, a member of the same "realist" family as Colin Powell, Richard Armitage and Condoleezza Rice. But unlike them, he sees nothing realistic about appeasing Iran's nuclear ambitions. Mr. Bolton provides a depressing account of how, within the Bush administration itself, initial firmness gave way--in Mr. Powell's case to a concern for his "legacy" and in Ms. Rice's to a penchant for "carrots" over "sticks" in her dealings with Iran. He was so outraged over one of her capitulations that he pointedly ordered carrot soup at his next dinner with her.

In the end, history will record all this as a question of judgment. If Iran is peacefully persuaded to stop short of the final turn of the screwdriver--or even if Tehran uses a nuclear device it develops "responsibly"--then Ms. Rice, Mr. Powell and "the Euroids" will be vindicated. But if--as seems more likely--the Iranians develop a deliverable nuclear device and put it in the hands of the zealots currently running the country, then we shall rue the day that John Bolton stepped down. After all, to adapt Goldwater, restraint in the pursuit of durable solutions is no virtue, and robustness in pursuit of American interests is no vice.
Mr. Simms is the author, most recently, of "Three Victories and a Defeat: The Rise and Fall of the First British Empire, 1714-1789" (Penguin/Allen Lane). You can buy "Surrender Is Not an Option" from the OpinionJournal bookstore.
26049  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: November 18, 2007 Dog Bros Gathering of the Pack on: November 06, 2007, 10:44:25 PM
C-Irish Dog sends his regrets from Japan.
26050  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: November 06, 2007, 05:59:25 PM
Out With the Trans Fats,
In With a Whole Lot of Others
By JULIE JARGON
November 6, 2007; Page D1

Food companies are scrambling to replace trans fat in everything from french fries to cookies, but health experts worry that what's good for the nation's heart might be bad for its waistline.

 
Read more about different kinds of fats
Trans fat is created when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil. The resulting ingredient, known as partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, is what makes french fries crispy and croissants flaky. But trans fat's effect on cholesterol -- it raises the bad kind and lowers the good -- has made it a food-industry villain.

Ever since the Food and Drug Administration required food companies to disclose the amount of trans fat in their products last year, the industry has been searching for replacement ingredients. Kraft Foods Inc., the world's second-largest food manufacturer by revenue, has removed trans fat from numerous products, including Oreo cookies, Wheat Thins crackers and Jell-O pudding snacks. PepsiCo's Frito-Lay has eliminated trans fat from all of its chips.

So what's going in food instead of trans fat? Some food makers are going back to ingredients high in cholesterol-raising saturated fat, such as palm oil, palm kernel oil and coconut oil. In Kellogg's Eggo blueberry waffles, for example, trans fats have been replaced with palm oil and palm kernel oil, while Oreos now contain "palm oil and/or canola oil."

Kraft says that while the saturated fat content of Oreos is higher, the overall fat content is the same, at 7 grams per serving. "The effort wasn't just about removing trans fat, but about keeping the nutrition profile the same," says spokeswoman Laurie Guzzinati.

MORE


• A Look at Trans-Fat ReplacementsThuy-An Wilkins, a spokeswoman for Kellogg, says the company has removed the trans fat in most of its products without increasing the amount of saturated fat, but it's still "a work in progress."

Other products are achieving trans-fat-free status through interesterification, a process in which fatty acids are redistributed on a fat molecule to make liquid fats behave more like solid fats. Products made with interesterified fat include Promise Buttery Spread and Enova cooking oil. Unilever, the maker of Promise, conducted its own study 10 years ago that found no adverse effects from food made with interesterified fat, says Doug Balentine, Unilever's director of nutrition sciences for the Americas.

But other nutrition experts say not enough is known about the safety of interesterified fat. There was little interest in researching the ingredient until the recent push for trans-fat alternatives. David Baer, a research physiologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, says his own research has studied only blended fats, and offers no insights on interesterified fats specifically. "We're interested in trying to figure out the health effects," he says. "The nutrition community is puzzled by what might be the most healthful alternative to trans fat."

K.C. Hayes, director of the Foster Biomedical Research Lab at Brandeis University, says that while the ingredient is in relatively few products now, its use may grow before the health-care community fully understands its impact. Dr. Hayes, who conducted a small study funded by the palm-oil industry that did find negative health effects from interesterified fats, says, "The point is, we should know more before we go off trans fat and onto something else."

The American Heart Association recommends replacing trans fat with monounsaturated fats, which are found in olive, canola, peanut and sunflower oils, or with the polyunsaturated fats found in soybean, corn and safflower oils. For instance, a lot of the chicken sold at KFC is now fried in a type of soybean oil, and McDonald's in the U.S. is switching to a proprietary blend of canola, soybean and corn oils for its french fries.

The biggest danger of the trans-fat swap-out could be that consumers will eat more junk food because they think it's healthier. For one thing, zero doesn't necessarily mean zero. Products can still have up to half a gram of trans fat and carry a "zero trans fat per serving" label. So if someone eats more than a serving of cookies, they could still be consuming a few grams of trans fat.

• Email: healthjournal@wsj.com
 
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