Dog Brothers Public Forum

HOME | PUBLIC FORUM | MEMBERS FORUM | INSTRUCTORS FORUM | TRIBE FORUM

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
September 29, 2016, 10:16:05 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
Welcome to the Dog Brothers Public Forum.
97512 Posts in 2328 Topics by 1082 Members
Latest Member: James
* Home Help Search Login Register
  Show Posts
Pages: 1 ... 519 520 [521] 522 523 ... 755
26001  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India and India-afpakia on: November 28, 2009, 06:16:04 PM
Pakistan, India: Nuclear Rivalry on the Subcontinent
Stratfor Today » November 25, 2009 | 1516 GMT



ASIF HASSAN/AFP/Getty Images
Pakistani ballistic missiles on display in Karachi in November 2008Summary
Pakistan and India have been locked in a bitter regional rivalry since their partition into separate entities on the Indian subcontinent in 1947. Three wars and a nuclear arms race later, the two countries are miles apart in terms of strategic capability. India had a head start in developing nuclear weapons and thus has more confidence in their utility, while Pakistan remains geopolitically exposed and vulnerable — with a greater need for a nuclear deterrent.

Analysis
Related Links
The Geopolitics of India: A Shifting, Self-Contained World
Part 1: The Perils of Using Islamism to Protect the Core
Part 2: A Crisis in Indian-Pakistani Relations
Part 3: Making It on Its Own
Nuclear Weapons: Devices and Deliverable Warheads
Nuclear Weapons: The Question of Relevance in the 21st Century
Nuclear Weapons: Terrorism and the Nonstate Actor
The North Korean Nuclear Test and Geopolitical Reality
Debunking Myths About Nuclear Weapons and Terrorism
Related Special Topic Page
Special Series: Countries In Crisis
In August, a pair of independent U.S. nuclear experts estimated that Pakistan had 70 to 90 nuclear warheads in its arsenal, an increase over their 2007 estimate of 60 weapons. But it was only in a follow-on publication of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists released Nov. 10 that the latest figure appeared, along with the estimate of the size of India’s arsenal — a lower figure of 60 to 80 warheads (the last full assessment of India’s arsenal was published in 2008). The report was picked up a week later in the Indian press, on the heels of an article in the Nov. 16 issue of The New Yorker on Pakistani nuclear security.

These are only the most recent high points in the ongoing media clamor over Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, the status of nuclear forces on the subcontinent and a pending Bush-era civilian nuclear deal between India and the United States (Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived in Washington on Nov. 22 to discuss the deal). But the latest figures on the size of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal are only estimates and provide little perspective on the more complex underlying issues. While STRATFOR continues to examine and closely monitor Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, we thought it timely and appropriate to focus now on the realities of the nuclear rivalry on the subcontinent.

A Brief History
India tested its first nuclear device in 1974, but it began planning to construct the facility in which to reprocess the plutonium that would ultimately produce the fissile material for that test in 1964. By comparison, Pakistan’s program began in earnest in 1972, following the country’s devastating defeat by India in 1971 that resulted in the loss of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). But even though the program was initiated, much needed to be done to consolidate control over the country and reconstitute the military in the wake of that conflict. In other words, when Pakistan began its nuclear program, India was already nearing completion of its first full-scale nuclear device.

Nevertheless, then-Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto made it clear following India’s 1974 nuclear test that Pakistan would develop a nuclear weapon even if the Pakistani people had to eat grass. Perhaps no other statement better reflects Pakistan’s determination to develop and maintain a nuclear deterrent against India.

From its 1974 test until 1998, India had nearly a quarter century to learn from the data and experience that came from the test and to focus on refining the design of its warheads. By the time the two countries faced off with a spate of nuclear tests in 1998, India had a series of second-generation warheads — and what was reported to be a crude thermonuclear configuration — ready to go. The relative maturity of India’s program given its previous experience and the comparative wealth of intellectual, human and fiscal resources that New Delhi enjoyed meant that India was in a position to take a much greater leap forward in terms of nuclear weapons sophistication in 1998 than Pakistan was.

The Challenge of Nuclear Weapons
Despite this comparative advantage, however, India’s five 1998 tests saw only one or two clear, full-scale nuclear detonations. The larger detonation, estimated to have been in the 12-25 kiloton range (i.e., from just smaller than the Hiroshima bomb to just larger than the Nagasaki bomb), is thought to have been the crude thermonuclear design — experts suggest that the second stage may have failed to ignite. India claims a yield roughly three times that which was measured and that several of the remaining tests were intended to have subkiloton yields. The fact is, in the nearly half century since India began making plans to reprocess plutonium for weapons purposes, it has not demonstrated a full-scale weapons test indicative of destructive power beyond that of the basic implosion device used against Nagasaki in 1945.

No doubt India has deployed nuclear weapons that are considerably smaller in size and more efficient than those first American designs from 1945. And it has no doubt adjusted its weapons designs based on the 1998 test data. But India’s position today as a nuclear power serves as a reminder of the challenges of weaponization. Even relatively crude and simple nuclear warhead configurations are incredibly complex, involving highly sophisticated metallurgy, explosives, quality assurance and hardened and reliable circuitry. Having a high degree of confidence that these weapons will work as designed in a crisis when they reach their target is no small matter. After hasty assembly and dispersal, a warhead will experience a wide range of extremes in terms of acceleration, vibration and temperature during the delivery process.


PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images
India’s Agni II medium-range ballistic missileTo attain a high degree of confidence, engineers must have an experimental understanding of their warhead designs and configurations that is as close as possible to an understanding of the weapon in its operational environment. Much “subcritical” and other non-nuclear testing can be done, but until these complex and sophisticated designs are validated through actual testing, only relatively small and conservative tweaks are likely to make it into final production weapons.

As a point of comparison, the United States has carried out more than 1,000 nuclear tests over the years, the Soviet Union more than 700. It is on this basis and with this background that the world’s most modern and sophisticated nuclear weapons have been built. A modern and capable country hardly needs hundreds of nuclear tests to build a credible nuclear deterrent, but India’s dearth of testing experience and data is a pivotal constraint on the complexity and sophistication of its deployed arsenal.

And Pakistan suffers from even more profound constraints. The country is geopolitically fractious and fragile. It must expend a great deal of effort to control peripheral territories and dissident populations while mustering enormous resources to build and maintain a standing army to defend Punjab — the country’s core — from India’s qualitatively and quantitatively superior military. Meanwhile, its economy requires considerable capital investment merely to function. For a country like Pakistan to build and field a nuclear arsenal at all is an impressive achievement.

But the existence of a Pakistani nuclear arsenal must first be understood as a testament to the disadvantages Pakistan faces in its rivalry with India. The intensity of this rivalry, even in times of relative tranquility, is difficult to overstate. It is the omnipresence of India and the Pakistani fear of Indian aggression — perhaps the one thing that all the ethnic and religious groups in Pakistan can agree on — that has made the immense investment in the nuclear arsenal over the course of decades possible.

And at the end of the day, no matter what Pakistan does to further develop its nuclear program, as long as the fundamental dynamics that define the rivalry on the subcontinent persist, Pakistan is unlikely to ever catch up with India. India started its program earlier and enjoyed a considerable lead in terms of testing, and it continues to work diligently to maintain that lead. And this gap is one India has a strong incentive to maintain by continuing its own program development, which means that Pakistan must work frantically simply to prevent the gap from getting any wider.

Though Pakistan reportedly obtained some nuclear test data from China (which was probably old test data) and some designs (which also may have come from China) for the configuration of nuclear warheads, the real trick was the application of this data. Testing data is far more applicable to the arsenal of the country of origin and has only limited applicability to a foreign country independently developing its own arsenal. One country’s test data also does not validate another country’s manufacturing or quality assurance processes. Because of this, even if Pakistan received test data from a number of other countries, it would not give Pakistan the boost it needed to surpass India.

Similarly, blueprints for proven weapons designs are certainly helpful, but it is the testing of indigenously manufactured versions that really validates a country’s attempts to re-create or modify the designs. In the case of both outside weapons designs and testing data, it is the application of foreign data or other assistance and subsequent validation that really matters.

This application began with Pakistan’s six tests in 1998. Only two produced yields in the kiloton range, and neither reached even the low threshold of the roughly 16 kilotons of the Hiroshima bomb. (Pakistan claims that several were intended to be subkiloton tests.) Though Pakistan undoubtedly learned a great deal from these tests, it has not had the opportunity — as India has had — to subject lessons learned from those tests to a second round.

Correlation of Forces
This is not to say that the nuclear rivalry on the subcontinent is not the most dynamic and fast-paced in the world today. It is. And this certainly is not to say that the programs of both countries are not advancing at a considerable pace. They are. But while estimates of the size of their nuclear arsenals may spark some international concern or have some geopolitical significance, they tell us next to nothing about the strategic military balance on the subcontinent. This is because each country approaches the issue of maintaining its nuclear arsenal from a very different perspective.

India enjoys considerable strategic depth and holds the advantage in terms of the range of its delivery systems. Its qualitative and quantitative advantages extend to the conventional battlefield, and its core is not immediately vulnerable to conventional Pakistani aggression. In short, it has more time to react and can store some of its weapons outside of Pakistan’s reach, meaning that New Delhi can feel more secure with fewer weapons.

Every weapon in Pakistan, by comparison, is within range of India’s arsenal. Indian forces poised on the Pakistani border are also poised on the Punjabi core, the demographic, industrial, agricultural and geographic heartland of Pakistan. Pakistan must have more nuclear weapons to account for attrition of its arsenal and also to react on the battlefield to overwhelming conventional Indian force. Islamabad does not enjoy the luxury of time that New Delhi does. Similarly, Pakistan has far more reason to be concerned about the reliability and operational performance of its weapons in combat, which means that for each target or operational need it must dedicate additional bombs to account for that uncertainty.

Pakistan’s strategic disadvantages, in other words, present a substantial need for nuclear weapons. On the other hand, India enjoys considerably more room to maneuver, allowing it to rely less on its nuclear arsenal for its strategic security. Given (in all likelihood) India’s considerably higher degree of confidence in its weapons, its ideal nuclear strength may actually be less than Pakistan’s.

In any case, debating the precise status of the arsenals when the details of each are a matter of national security — and especially when estimates place them so close together — is largely academic. What is knowable about the strategic balance between India and Pakistan is defined by clear constraints and geopolitical realities. Despite progress in developing the Pakistani arsenal, nothing in the last decade has altered the fundamental realities of the nuclear rivalry on the subcontinent.
26002  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / E-bombs on: November 28, 2009, 10:59:55 AM
http://www.foxnews.com/printer_friendly_story/0,3566,513295,00.html
 
 


Portable 'E-Bombs' Could Take Down Jetliners
Wednesday, April 08, 2009

 
Weapons experts and techno-thriller fans are familiar with the concept of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) — a supermassive blast of electricity, usually from a nuclear blast high above ground, that fries electronic circuits for miles around, crippling computers, cars and most other modern gadgets.
Now comes word that a much smaller EMP device, or "e-bomb," could be carried in a car, or even on someone's person — and be used to take down an airliner.
"Once it is known that aircraft are vulnerable to particular types of disruption, it isn't too much of a leap to build a device that can produce that sort of disruption," Israeli counter-terrorism expert Yael Shahar tells New Scientist magazine. "And much of this could be built from off-the-shelf components or dual-use technologies."
Shahar says she's especially worried about two devices — one called a Marx generator, which beams an EMP at a target, and the other with the "Back to the Future"-like name of flux-compression generator.
The latter was developed by the Soviets during the 1950s when Marx generators proved too expensive. Basically, an explosive charge is set off at one end of a cylinder of charged copper coils, and the resulting shock wave sends out a powerful electric pulse as it travels down the tube.
It might take a big flux-compression generator to darken a city neighborhood. But a smaller one could take out the steering, navigation and communication systems of a jetliner, especially if pointed at the cockpit.
As for Marx generators, which are used by power companies, medical researchers and labs, you can buy the plans to build one online for $10, or a fully assembled commercial unit for several hundred dollars.
Shahar adds that as aircraft manufacturers switch to lighter, stronger composite materials in place of aluminum, they're actually making the planes more vulnerable.
"What is needed is extensive shielding of electronic components and the vast amount of cables running down the length of the aircraft," she tells New Scientist.
26003  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Nuclear War, WMD issues on: November 28, 2009, 09:28:46 AM
Stratfor had a recent piece about how a) sanctions don't work, and that therefore b) their function is to avoid acting.

This certainly makes sense.  OTOH, if we get Russia and China on board it does seem that sanctions (e.g. refined petroleum products) could generate substantial leverage.
26004  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / POTH: Jobs for the Taliban on: November 28, 2009, 09:10:11 AM
I bet President Bush would have appreciated such support from POTH when he was rallying the nation to back the Surge , , , but I digress , , ,

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

Afghans Offer Jobs to Taliban Rank and File if They Defect Recommend
DEXTER FILKINS
Published: November 27, 2009
JALALABAD, Afghanistan — The American-backed campaign to persuade legions of Taliban gunmen to stop fighting got under way here recently, in an ornate palace filled with Afghan tribal leaders and one very large former warlord leading the way.

“O.K., I want you guys to go out there and persuade the Taliban to sit down and talk,” Gul Agha Shirzai, the governor of Jalalabad, told a group of 25 tribal leaders from four eastern provinces. In a previous incarnation, Mr. Shirzai was the American-picked governor of Kandahar Province after the Taliban fell in 2001.

“Do whatever you have to do,” the rotund Mr. Shirzai told the assembled elders. “I’ll back you up.”

After about two hours of talking, Mr. Shirzai and the tribal elders rose, left for their respective provinces and promised to start turning the enemy.

The meeting is part of a battlefield push to lure local fighters and commanders away from the Taliban by offering them jobs in development projects that Afghan tribal leaders help select, paid by the American military and the Afghan government.

By enlisting the tribal leaders to help choose the development projects, the Americans also hope to help strengthen both the Afghan government and the Pashtun tribal networks.

These efforts are focusing on rank-and-file Taliban; while there are some efforts under way to negotiate with the leaders of the main insurgent groups, neither American nor Afghan officials have much faith that those talks will succeed soon.

Afghanistan has a long history of fighters switching sides — sometimes more than once. Still, efforts so far to persuade large numbers of Taliban fighters to give up have been less than a complete success. To date, about 9,000 insurgents have turned in their weapons and agreed to abide by the Afghan Constitution, said Muhammad Akram Khapalwak, the chief administrator for the Peace and Reconciliation Commission in Kabul.

But in an impoverished country ruined by 30 years of war, tribal leaders said that many more insurgents would happily put down their guns if there was something more worthwhile to do.

“Most of the Taliban in my area are young men who need jobs,” said Hajji Fazul Rahim, a leader of the Abdulrahimzai tribe, which spans three eastern provinces. “We just need to make them busy. If we give them work, we can weaken the Taliban.”

In the Jalalabad program, tribal elders would reach out to Taliban commanders to press them to change sides. The commanders and their fighters then would be offered jobs created by local development programs.

The Pashtuns, who form the core of the Taliban, make up a largely tribal society, with families connected to one another by kinship and led by groups of elders. Over the years, the Pashtun tribes have been substantially weakened, with elders singled out by three groups: Taliban fighters, the rebels who fought the former Soviet Union and the soldiers of the former Soviet Union itself. The decimation of the tribes has left Afghan society largely atomized.

Afghan and American officials hope that the plan to make peace with groups of Taliban fighters will complement an American-led effort to set up anti-Taliban militias in many parts of the country: the Pashtun tribes will help fight the Taliban, and they will make deals with the Taliban. And, by so doing, Afghan tribal society can be reinvigorated.

“We’re trying to put pressure on the leaders, and at the same time peel away their young fighters,” said an American military official in Kabul involved in the reconciliation effort. “This is not about handing bags of money to an insurgent.”

The Afghan reconciliation plan is intended to duplicate the Awakening movement in Iraq, where Sunni tribal leaders, many of them insurgents, agreed to stop fighting and in many cases were paid to do so. The Awakening contributed to the remarkable decline in violence in Iraq.

In the autumn of 2001, during the opening phase of the American-led war in Afghanistan, dozens of warlords fighting for the Taliban agreed to defect to the American-backed rebels. As in Iraq, the defectors were often enticed by cash, sometimes handed out by American Army Special Forces officers.

At a ceremony earlier this month in Kabul, about 70 insurgents laid down their guns before the commissioners and agreed to accept the Afghan Constitution. Some of the men had fought for the Taliban, some for Hezb-i-Islami, another insurgent group. The fighters’ motives ranged from disillusion to exhaustion.

“How long should we fight the government? How many more years?” said Molawi Fazullah, a Taliban lieutenant who surrendered with nine others. “Our leaders misled us, and we destroyed our country.”

Like many fighters who gave up at the ceremony, he shrouded his face with a scarf and sunglasses, for fear of being identified by his erstwhile comrades.

The Americans say they have no plans to give cash to local Taliban commanders. They say they would rather give them jobs.

In a defense appropriations bill recently approved by Congress, lawmakers set aside $1.3 billion for a program known by its acronym, CERP, a discretionary fund for American officers. Ordinarily, CERP money is used for development projects, but the language in the bill says officers can use the money to support the “reintegration into Afghan society” of those who have given up fighting.

For all the efforts under way to entice Taliban fighters to change sides, there will always be the old-fashioned approach: deadly force. American commanders also want to squeeze them; such is the rationale behind Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal’s request for tens of thousands of additional American troops.

Indeed, sometimes force alone does the trick. On Oct. 9, American Special Forces soldiers killed Ghulam Yahia, an insurgent commander believed responsible for, among other things, sending several suicide bombers into the western city of Herat. Mr. Yahia had changed sides himself in the past: earlier in the decade, he was Herat’s mayor.

When the Americans killed Mr. Yahia, in a mountain village called Bedak, 120 of his fighters defected to the Afghan government. Others went into hiding. Abdul Wahab, a former lieutenant of Mr. Yahia’s who led the defectors, said that the Afghan government had so far done nothing to protect them or offer them jobs. But he said he was glad he had made the jump anyway.

“We are tired of war,” he said. “We don’t want it anymore.”

Sangar Rahimi and Taimoor Shah contributed reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan.
26005  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Any significance on: November 28, 2009, 09:06:07 AM
Any signficance to the IAEA finally admitting that Iran is going for nukes?

Any significance to the Russians and, for the first time, the Chinese signing a resolution against the Iranian nuke program?
26006  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / WSJ: NY dunks property rights on: November 28, 2009, 09:03:22 AM
New York judges served up what basketball fans call a facial on Tuesday, when an appellate court ruled that the state may seize homes and small businesses in Brooklyn for the benefit of a private developer and the New Jersey Nets. The decision represents a backward step for the effort to protect property rights at the state level since the Supreme Court's 2005 decision in Kelo v. New London.

The case, Goldstein v. New York State Urban Development Corporation, dealt with plans by developer Forest City Ratner to build a new arena for the Nets as well as snazzy apartments and offices on land currently occupied by homes and businesses. To make way for the sports complex, the state declared the property "blighted" and used its power of eminent domain to hand it to the developer.

Such unabashed takings have an unfortunate history in New York state, where the political class has a habit of using its powers on behalf of well-connected private interests. Caught under the wheels are average citizens whose only recourse is to try to defend their property rights in court.

So much for that. In allowing the property seizure, the Court of Appeals dodged some of the central challenges to the condemnation, including whether the Empire State Development Corporation's designation of blight in the Atlantic Yards area was applied after the stadium project had already been planned, making it a "pretext." Nor did the court take on the question—at the heart of eminent domain law since Kelo—whether economic development may be considered a public use under the New York Constitution.

Instead, the majority argued that because the state had designated the area as blighted, the takings were therefore a "public use," and it was not the place of the court to interfere. Nevermind that the determination of blight was based largely on a study funded by . . . the aspiring developer.

Courts in New York have been famously hostile to eminent domain challenges, but 43 states have adjusted their laws since Kelo to provide stronger protections for property owners. The New York ruling vindicates Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's prediction in dissent in Kelo that "the fallout from this decision will not be random. The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms." Q.E.D.
26007  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Carly Fiorina on: November 28, 2009, 08:59:16 AM
WSJ

By JOHN FUND
Washington

When Carly Fiorina sat down to speak with me recently, I was briefly taken aback. The former CEO of Hewlett Packard and current candidate for U.S. Senate from California was sporting a close-cropped, salt-and-pepper hairdo. Having completed six months of treatment for breast cancer, the 55-year-old Ms. Fiorina has dispensed with the auburn wig she'd been wearing as her hair grows back.

She says her health is now fine, and that "after chemotherapy Barbara Boxer isn't that scary anymore," referring to the three-term Democratic incumbent she wants to unseat in 2010. She laughs when I suggest her new 'do may get her a hearing in precincts like Berkeley and San Francisco. On a more serious note, she says that "in these hard times, a lot of people across the spectrum will listen to my message—that California can only recover if we encourage economic growth and restrain spending and job-killing regulation."

With a 12.5% unemployment rate, the Golden State is certainly in trouble. In 2007 alone, 260,000 Californians moved to states with more opportunity. The nonpartisan Tax Foundation says only New York and New Jersey have worse business tax climates. And a new Los Angeles Times poll found that more than half of California residents think the state's major problems won't fade as the economy recovers.

Ms. Fiorina is not shy in pointing out what's to blame. "The high tax, big government, regulatory regime we see in California is the current course and speed for where the nation is headed," she warns. "California is a great test case, a factual demonstration that those programs don't work." She notes that while state spending has significantly outstripped inflation in recent years, every year government services perform more poorly and it becomes harder to open a business. "I very much doubt Hewlett Packard could be founded today as a manufacturing company in California," she adds soberly.

There are signs California voters have had enough. After the legislature passed a huge $12.5 billion tax increase last February to plug the state's budget gap, it put a measure on the ballot to extend the tax hikes for two years. The tax failed by an almost 2-to-1 margin.

View Full Image

Terry Shoffner
 .Voters may also be in the mood for new leadership. "I'm not a professional politician, I'm a problem solver," she emphasizes, contrasting her record with that of the 69-year-old Ms. Boxer. That record is fairly stark: By most measures, Ms. Boxer has been an unbending ideologue during her three terms, as illustrated by her 95% rating from the liberal Americans for Democratic Action in 2008.

Given the deep national recession and a state economy deep in the red, Ms. Fiorina is especially critical of Ms. Boxer's opposition to "virtually every trade agreement." Ms. Fiorina also chides Ms. Boxer for the latter's lockstep support for the public employee unions that she claims enjoy "outsized political influence" in California.

On the environment, Ms. Fiorina faults the senator for ignoring pleas from farmers to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to restore water flows to California's Central Valley, which have been restricted by two controversial biological assessments by the government that asserted the local delta smelt was endangered: "I've seen the devastation and massive unemployment that [the water restrictions have] caused."

California's other Democratic senator, Dianne Feinstein, has called for an immediate third-party review of the federal conclusions. Ms. Fiorina notes that Ms. Boxer came into the Senate in 1993 at the same time as her more moderate colleague. "Since then, Dianne Feinstein has been far more productive while Barbara Boxer has been singularly ineffective for the people of California."

On the legislative front, Ms. Boxer chairs the Senate Environment Committee. Her clumsy bobbling of the cap-and-trade bill designed to address global warming has even been criticized by some of her fellow Democrats. Ms. Fiorina has a different take: "Thank goodness she's failed to pass that job-killer, but it shows how little she gets across the finish line."

Ms. Fiorina makes clear she takes the issue of climate change seriously. But she argues that global warming is best addressed through more innovation, new technology and energy efficiency, areas in which California has excelled. The scientific debate on the extent of global warming should continue, she says. Meanwhile, cleaner technologies such as nuclear power should be encouraged.

"We must take advantage of every source of energy," she emphasizes, and forthrightly tackles a taboo subject in a state that has restricted off-shore drilling since the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill. "Technology has fundamentally changed the extraction of oil and natural gas," she says. That means California can protect the environment at the same time it opens up new areas of exploration.

Ms. Fiorina also is fascinated by the political potential of technology. "We need more transparency and accountability in government so that people know how their money is being spent," she says. "That means putting budgets online, putting legislation online." She's convinced that if citizens can play a greater watchdog role it will be easier to keep a check on higher spending and taxes.

In the midst of her enthusiastic comments about high-tech solutions to economic and political problems, Ms. Fiorina pauses to acknowledge that she's fully aware her six-year tenure as the head of HP will be used against her.

"Liberals will say I was let go by my board in 2005 and outsourced some jobs overseas," she says bluntly. "But I took the company through the worst technology recession in a generation and created jobs on a net basis. As for the outsourcing, the tax and regulatory climate made it almost impossible not to do that—which is why we have to change it." Ms. Fiorina claims subsequent revelations—that her successor and the board members who fired her were embroiled in an internal spying scandal—help vindicate her tenure as the first woman to head a Fortune 20 company.

But it's not just Democrats and liberals who will attack Ms. Fiorina. In a recent poll (with most voters undecided), she had only a narrow lead over Republican Chuck DeVore, a state assemblyman who criticizes her as the candidate of the party's establishment. He told reporters earlier this month that the fundamental issue is whether primary voters want "someone who epitomizes Reagan Republicanism or Rockefeller Republicanism."

To some that slam might seem a bit of a reach. Ms. Fiorina insists on her conservative bona fides. Her father was Joseph Sneed, a conservative law professor who served on the liberal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals from 1973 until his death last year. His daughter says she inherited both his ability to work with those he disagreed with and his "common sense" views on issues.

Ms. Fiorina adds that she learned the values of hard work and entrepreneurship after she left Stanford University with a degree in medieval history and philosophy and was "unemployable." She worked as a secretary at a real-estate firm until she joined a management training program at AT&T in 1980. She rose to oversee marketing and sales for the largest division of Lucent Technologies before taking over HP in 1999.

"I will not run away from [conservative] values," Ms. Fiorina says, noting that she has signed the Americans for Tax Reform pledge against higher taxes and voted for Proposition 8 last year, which banned same-sex marriage in the state. On abortion, Ms. Fiorina says she is "proudly pro-life" and a strong opponent of taxpayer funding of abortions.

But her views also carry some nuance. She notes she created a strong program of domestic partner benefits while at HP. As for changing existing laws on abortion, she acknowledges, "I know, as a realist, that not everyone agrees with me. So the common ground we can find is how to reduce abortions."

An issue that will give Mr. DeVore some traction in a primary is that Ms. Fiorina says she "probably" would have voted to confirm Sonia Sotomayor, because most presidential Supreme Court nominees who are qualified deserve a presumption of support. One can argue with that position on substantive grounds, but it's probably smart politics in a general election given that California is 37% Hispanic.

Mr. DeVore has won backing from Rep. Tom McClintock, a conservative California hero, along with South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint. But Ms. Fiorina is supported by stalwart Republican conservative Sens. Tom Coburn and James Inhofe from Oklahoma. She also has support from Maine's Republican moderate Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe.

Can a conservative win in California given the shellacking John McCain, for whom Ms. Fiorina was a top economic adviser, got in the state last year? Her crisp answer is yes, noting that "the timing is now against Boxer" because "Californians are worried about whether they will have a job along with ballooning federal spending and deficits." All recent polls show Ms. Boxer below the 50% support an incumbent should have. Last week's Rasmussen poll gave Ms. Boxer a 46% to 37% lead over Ms. Fiorina, with one in three voters holding a "very unfavorable" view of the Democratic incumbent.

Ms. Fiorina notes that ObamaCare is now supported by only half of the state's voters. This is a sign, she says, that voters increasingly recognize it will raise the cost of health-care premiums and fail to solve real problems in our health-care system.

She has also targeted the proposed federal guidelines restricting the frequency of mammograms on the basis of personal experience. Ms. Fiorina says she found her own breast cancer lump only two weeks after a clear mammogram, and if she had waited two years for another one her cancer might not have been detected. She said on CNN that the federal panel that approved the now-withdrawn recommendations had "no cancer specialists on it, and the panel was explicitly asked to consider cost, not simply science."

Ms. Fiorina recognizes she has a way to go to convince voters to elect a political newcomer, and she makes no excuses for her spotty voting record in recent years. But California has a long tradition of electing outsiders to statewide office—from Ronald Reagan to educator S.I. Hayakawa (to the U.S. Senate) to Arnold Schwarzenegger. In tough economic times, California may well be tempted to elect a former CEO who thinks the Congress needs common-sense people like herself.

Mr. Fund is a columnist for WSJ.com.
26008  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Spring 2010 DB Tribal Gathering on: November 28, 2009, 08:41:45 AM
Everyone:

Even if you have already done so, as Lonely Dog has just done.  Please state exactly which dates work for you.

Thank you,
CD
26009  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: MMA Thread on: November 27, 2009, 10:30:43 PM
Frankfurter:

None of those URLs are working for me.

Anyway, at this point, nevermind. smiley
26010  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Glen Beck on: November 27, 2009, 10:23:03 PM
My reaction is that even by the standards of a POTB columnist, this is a remarkable specious, and bigoted, piece.

The lack of specifics is striking, and the absence of any basis for for comparison to Father Coughlin is complete. 

What on earth does the ADL have to do with any of this?   What is the basis for smearing Beck with charges of bigotry? 
26011  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Glen Beck on: November 27, 2009, 06:36:03 PM
A liberal friend expressed surprise at my interest in GB-- "Why even the ADL thinks he's anti-semitic" and sent me a copy of this from , , , either Pravda on the Hudson (NYT) or Pravda on the Beach (LA Times). 

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

Opinion

Who's watching Glenn Beck?
Much like the Depression-era demagogue Father Charles Coughlin, the Fox News personality is promoting a mass movement. Should his bosses be pulling the plug?
By Tim Rutten
 
November 25, 2009
E-mail Print Share  Text Size For nearly a century, the Anti-Defamation League has stared unflinchingly into the dark corners of America's social psyche -- the places where combustible tendencies such as hatred and paranoia pool and, sometimes, burst into flame.

As a Jewish organization, the ADL's first preoccupation naturally is anti-Semitism, but in the last few decades it has extended its scrutiny to the whole range of bigoted malevolence -- white supremacy, the militia movement, neo-nativism and conspiratorial fantasies in all of their improbable permutations. These days, the organization's research is characterized by the sense of proportion and sobriety that long experience brings.

That makes its recent report on the extremist groups and propagandists that have emerged since President Obama's election -- "Rage Grows In America: Anti-Government Conspiracies" -- particularly notable. For the first time in living memory, the ADL is sounding the alarm about a mainstream media personality: Fox News' Glenn Beck, who also hosts a popular radio show.

The report notes that while "other conservative media hosts, such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, routinely attack Obama and his administration, typically on partisan grounds, they have usually dismissed or refused to give a platform to the conspiracy theorists and anti-government extremists." By contrast, "Beck and his guests have made a habit of demonizing President Obama and promoting conspiracy theories about his administration. ... Beck has even gone so far as to make comparisons between Hitler and Obama."

What gives all of this nonsense an ominous twist is Beck's announcement that he intends to use his TV and radio shows to promote a mass movement that will involve voter registration drives, training in community organizing and a series of regional conventions that will produce a "100-year plan" for America to be read from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to a mass rally Aug. 28.

As Beck wrote on his website, "I know that the bipartisan corruption in Washington that has brought us to this brink and it will not be defeated easily. It will require unconventional thinking and a radical plan to restore our nation to the maximum freedoms we were supposed to have been protecting. ... All of the above will culminate in The Plan, a book that will provide specific policies, principles and, most importantly, action steps that each of us can take to play a role in this Refounding."

Hard times predictably throw up their demagogues. Still, even allowing for the frenetic pace of our wired world's 24-hour news cycle, it's remarkable how quickly the arc of Beck's career has come to resemble that of the Great Depression's uber-demagogue, Father Charles Coughlin. In the months after the crash of '29, Coughlin turned what had been a conventionally religious weekly radio broadcast into a platform for championing the downtrodden working man. He was an early supporter of the New Deal, coining the slogan "Roosevelt or Ruin," but quickly turned on the president for a variety of complex ideological and personal reasons. Coughlin flirted with Huey Long, launched an unsuccessful political party, published a popular newspaper, Social Justice, and even inspired and supported a kind of militia, the Christian Front, some of whose members were arrested by the FBI and charged with plotting a fascist coup.

As the 1930s dragged on, Coughlin, a longtime admirer of Francisco Franco, became virulently anti-Semitic, isolationist and pro-German. He also was extraordinarily popular. At their height, his weekly broadcasts attracted more than 40 million listeners. Still, after he lashed out at German Jews in the wake of Kristallnacht, many major urban radio stations dropped his program. Influential American prelates, the Vatican and prominent Catholic New Dealers had worked for some time to persuade Coughlin's superior, the archbishop of Detroit, to silence him. Shortly before the U.S. entered World War II, a new bishop was installed, and Coughlin was ordered to cease broadcasting. He accepted the clerical discipline and retired into a long life of bitter silence.

It's hard to imagine any contemporary cable system dropping Fox News simply because Beck is an offensively dangerous demagogue -- not with his ratings at least. His new foray into politics, though, presents Rupert Murdoch's network with a profound challenge. Is it willing to become the platform for an extremist political campaign, or will it draw a line as even the authoritarian Catholic Church of the 1940s did? CNN recently parted ways with its resident ranter, Lou Dobbs -- who now confirms he's weighing a presidential bid.

Does Fox see a similar problem with Beck -- and, if not, why?

26012  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ on: November 27, 2009, 10:54:25 AM
Big Business can be amongst the most ardent players of fascism:

Big Pharma Sells Out

However the Senate's health-care debate pans out, we'll wager this prediction: The pharmaceutical executives who have endorsed this exercise will eventually be exposed as among the most shortsighted CEOs in the history of capitalism.

In June, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America sealed a deal with the White House and Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus promising to contribute $80 billion in lower drug costs over the next decade to ObamaCare, plus a multimillion-dollar TV ad campaign. In return they were to be spared from price controls and the reimportation of cheaper foreign drugs.

The loophole is that the deal didn't include the House, and now it may fall apart in the Senate. But even if it does somehow survive, by now it is obvious that the industry's political protection will last only as long as it takes to pass a bill, whereupon the same politicians who are trying to override this deal will get back to work.

"You've heard that as a consequence of our efforts at reform, the pharmaceutical industry has already said they're willing to put $80 billion on the table," President Obama said in July. "We might be able to get $100 billion out or more."

Led by Henry Waxman, the House saw that and raised: The bill that passed earlier this month extracts as much as $150 billion from the industry, including demands for a 23.1% "discount" when Medicare buys prescription drugs for some seniors (much like Medicaid imposes now) and gives the government the power to "negotiate" lower prices for everyone.

The pharma lobby was unfazed. "Despite the shortcomings in the House legislation, we remain completely committed to helping the President and Congress pass comprehensive health care reform this year," a senior vice president said in a statement. "This is a three-act play and a good critic doesn't write a review after the opening scenes."

But now the curtain is coming down. The Senate bill is only going to grow more expensive on the floor. Given that Harry Reid is even relying on a 5% "botax" on cosmetic surgery, the drug makers will become ever more appealing targets as the search for revenue to make ObamaCare appear to be deficit neutral grows more desperate.

Meanwhile, the AARP and its media stenographers are levelling allegations that drug makers are already jacking up prices for brand-name prescriptions. John McCain and Olympia Snowe are cosponsoring a bill with Byron Dorgan that would allow pharmacies and wholesalers to import medications from Canada and Europe.

So how has the industry responded? More or less as Lenin predicted. Big Pharma is now running ads against Joe Lieberman, saying his threat to torpedo the Senate bill could cause drug prices to rise by 20%. It is also funding a campaign that targets the fence-sitters Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu and Blanche Lincoln.

In other words, the industry is trashing the very Senators who stand the best chance to rescue it from government control. Instead, the drug CEOs are making themselves complicit with the Washington mentality of seeing only the costs of medications, not benefits like longer lives or fewer hospitalizations. They are ensuring that they will always be a political target and making the extortion easier in the bargain.

The shame is that there be will fewer resources for the research and development that drives innovation, particularly for the smaller biotech companies that are the future of cutting-edge medicine. When it takes about a decade and a billion dollars to bring a new drug to market, a CEO of a smaller drug company told us recently, most firms are "living on the edge of extinction."

View Full Image

Associated Press
 
Pfizer CEO Jeffrey Kindler
.But it is the biggest players who are engaged in political gamesmanship. At a speech in February at the Economic Club of Chicago, Pfizer CEO Jeffrey Kindler laid out what he called his company's "new approach to legislation and public policy." Rehearsing the health industry's role in stopping HillaryCare in 1994, he announced that the difference this time is that pharma will be "actively supporting appropriate reforms, rather than simply trying to stop things we don't agree with."

Mr. Kindler, a lawyer and former McDonald's executive, went on to endorse even such political inspirations as comparative effectiveness research, which while fine in theory will inevitably be used to "prove" that more expensive medications aren't worth the costs to government when ObamaCare's spending detonates. In England, these kinds of studies were used to try to ban Pfizer's Stutent, a treatment for kidney cancer. The Senate bill contains a Medicare commission with a mandate to go after drugs, though only about 10 cents of every U.S. health dollar goes toward prescriptions.

The irony is that if business began to educate the public about what the current bills will mean for U.S. health care, it might be able to defeat them and force a more modest, sensible reform. National Journal's composite of all health polling finds that 50.9% of the public now opposes health reform in general, up from about 15% in February. Only 43.9% are in favor. The most recent polls put support even lower: Just 35% from Quinnipiac, 38% from Rasmussen.

A Washington Post-ABC poll found that 52% of the public believes ObamaCare will increase their personal health costs and that 37% expect their quality of care will deteriorate. They're right. A survey of registered voters by Public Opinion Strategies found that the more people hear about the plan, the less they like it, and that voter hostility is higher now than it ever was for HillaryCare.

Yet now this son of HillaryCare is headed toward passage, and when shareholders start griping about lousy returns, Mr. Kindler and his fellow executives will be long gone. It's one more reminder that when it comes to protecting economic freedom, you can never trust big business. The biggest losers will be patients, who lack the millions to lobby Congress and in the future will have fewer innovative medicines.
26013  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DBMA DVD: "The Bolo Game" on: November 27, 2009, 10:38:25 AM
A Howl of Greeting to All:
 
The Bolo Game was originally was originally shot as an "DBMA Instructor Only Vid-Lesson". Given the very small volume of sales attendant to such a limited size "market", we kept the production budget down by shooting outside in back of "Boxing Works"-- so there is some street noise as part of the audio track.

Why have we kept this material "closed door" for all these years?
 
One reason is that one of the "games" shown in "The Bolo Game" used to set up a Bolo Game attack is one we call "the Kalimba" in homage to the man from whom I learned it.   When GT Gaje introduced me to Manong Kalimba in Bacolod in 1997 one of the conditions of the training was that I not publicly share the material until after his death.  GT Gaje informed me a couple of years ago that Manong Kalimba had passed and thus this reason was no longer in play.
 
So why did we continue to keep the material "closed door"?  The second reason is IMHO some really stellar material-- as the line from a TV western of my youth went "No brag, just fact"-- and I have wanted to keep it within the DBMA tribe to keep an advantage for us.

So what has changed?

I had only one glorious day with Manong Kalimba.  As we sat during a break eating coconuts, I offered to produce a DVD of him (actually back then it would have been a video).  He declined.  When I asked him why, he said he would not want anyone using his techniques against him or figuring out ways to counter them.
 
Here in America and elsewhere in the west people tend to have no idea just how seriously secrecy is part of the culture of the Filipino Martial Arts.  In the "look at me!" culture of youtube and the vast anonymity in which modern man so often lives, these ideas may seem quaint or deranged, but as time goes by I begin to appreciate just how extraordinary it has been of Top Dog to show what he personally does in our "Real Contract Stickfighting" series of so many years ago (1993 if I remember correctly) and to have remained the Top Dog with so many people studying him for all these years since then.  As I have pursued my life in martial arts, I begin to appreciate the risks I have taken by having allowed people to see a portion of what I do-- for unlike Top Dog my way has been one not of physical dominance, but of craftiness.
 
That said, as I have spent more years in the Art, I begin to understand more about what it takes to ensure the survival and transmission of the Art's understandings and techniques.  I see how much is being lost.  The Art has given so much to me that I have an increasing sense of having to do what I can to contribute to its survival. 
 
It is in this light that I worry that the current number of carriers of The Bolo Game is too small to ensure its survival and so I now let it out.  In return, (in addition to the cost of the DVD) I ask that people respect the work I have put into developing this distinctive body material and act in a way that the benefit accrues to me: in other words, no copying, pirating, ripping, teaching it in seminars or DVDs, etc.  Please tell me if you see someone doing any of this.  With my blessings, use if for yourself, in your school-- and please say where you got it.
 
Although the Bolo Game is a development of mine, it builds upon a Krabi Krabong based structure that in DBMA we call "The Salty Game" because it was brought to us by Salty Dog-- a key addition being the understanding of how to make the uppercut a high percentage move in the adrenal state.  This structure was then blended with the Kali triangles of the DBMA footwork matrix and the Trident Game and certain other DBMA understandings.  This DVD is perhaps the most nutritionally dense one I have ever put out.

What of the advantage held by the DBMA folks that now will be diluted?  Well, first of all, buying the DVD is one thing-- training it with me is another.  Furthermore, just as I developed the Bolo Game, I have developed other additional advantages for the DBMA tribe.  After all, I am the Crafty Dog.  It is what I do wink 

The Adventure continues!
Guro Crafty
26014  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tea Party, Glen Beck and related matters on: November 27, 2009, 10:09:56 AM
A post this morning on "The Way Forward for the American Creed" thread made the excellent point about the need to clearly and effectively say what the American Creed is all about-- to speak in positives.

Someone who has been doing that REALLY well in my opinion, is Glen Beck, whose show I watch most days.

Therefore, I'd like to open this thread for discussion of the points raised by GB.
26015  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: November 27, 2009, 10:07:16 AM
YES!!!
26016  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / POTH: Whoops! Too much ethanol on: November 27, 2009, 10:03:29 AM
U.S. Unlikely to Use the Ethanol Congress Ordered

MaTTHEW L. WALD
Published: November 26, 2009
WASHINGTON — Two years ago, Congress ordered the nation’s gasoline refiners to do something that is turning out to be mathematically impossible.

To please the farm lobby and to help wean the nation off oil, Congress mandated that refiners blend a rising volume of ethanol and other biofuels into gasoline. They are supposed to use at least 15 billion gallons of biofuels by 2012, up from less than seven billion gallons in 2007.
But nobody at the time counted on fuel demand falling in the United States, which is what has happened during the recession. And that decline could well continue, as cars become more efficient under other recent government mandates.

At the maximum allowable blend, in which gasoline at the pump contains 10 percent ethanol, updated projections suggest that the country is unlikely to be able to use all the ethanol that Congress has ordered up. So something has to give.

“The market is full,” said Jeff Broin, chief executive of Poet, a company in Sioux Falls, S.D., that produces ethanol.

In theory, the Environmental Protection Agency has the power to solve this problem by tweaking the mandates imposed by Congress, and it may act as early as next week.

Each potential solution would anger one interest group or another, so the agency has been subjected to fierce lobbying, including from members of Congress lining up behind various factions. One possibility is to raise the maximum proportion of ethanol in gasoline to 15 or 20 percent.

But that idea is opposed by some carmakers and pollution experts. They contend that high ethanol blends can cause damage to cars, including making catalytic converters run hotter.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers says it believes this could cause the converters, components that help control pollution, to fail at around 50,000 miles. They are supposed to last for 120,000 to 150,000 miles. “We are sensitive to the issues facing the ethanol industry, but the government must make decisions based on sound science,” said Dave McCurdy, president and chief executive of the alliance, in a letter to the E.P.A.

Another possibility is that the agency could waive the mandates requiring use of a large volume of biofuels. But that would anger farmers, who sell a great deal of corn to ethanol factories, and the members of Congress who represent them. It might also undermine the efforts of companies that are investing millions in factories to make ethanol from waste materials, like corncobs, straw and garbage.

“Ethanol is the only viable, competitive alternative to foreign oil,” said Tom Buis, chief executive of Growth Energy, the ethanol trade group that filed the petition with the E.P.A. to increase the blending percentage. “If we’re going to become less dependent on foreign oil, we’ve got to move forward.”

A third possibility is that the E.P.A. could announce that it is waiting for more data on how cars perform at higher blends, but that would merely put off the hard decision.

When Congress wrote the rules, in 2007, gasoline consumption had been growing for years, and it looked as if the nation would be able to use considerably more ethanol in the future. Gasoline consumption hit a peak of 3.4 billion barrels that year.

But gasoline demand fell in 2008, after soaring gas prices early in the year were followed by the economic crisis. Consumption was slightly less than 3.3 billion barrels last year, and it could end 2009 at about the same level.

With consumers buying more fuel-efficient cars these days, and carmakers rushing to bring even more of those to market, gasoline demand may not recover much in coming years, even as ethanol production soars.

As of yet, not all gasoline is blended with 10 percent ethanol, but that saturation point is rapidly approaching. Under the present rules, the nation could hit the upper limit of its ability to consume ethanol in 2011.

Mr. Buis and others argue that Congress or the E.P.A. must do something if the country is to move to a new generation of biofuels that do not compete with food crops. The possibilities include ethanol made from wood chips, waste paper or agricultural waste like straw and corncobs.

Congress has also passed mandates for the blending of this type of fuel, so that the nation’s total consumption of all renewable fuels, in vehicles and other equipment, is supposed to reach 36 billion gallons in 2022.

Perhaps the easiest way for the country to absorb all the excess ethanol would be to make wider use of an ethanol blend called E85, which contains 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. Most cars on the road cannot use it, but in recent years, millions of “flex-fuel” cars have been sold, especially by General Motors. (Any car with a yellow gasoline cap can use E85.)

The problem is that at current prices, E85 does not make economic sense for drivers, and most of them use regular gasoline in their flex-fuel cars. That means gasoline stations have little incentive to install pumps for E85. The fuel can be found in the Corn Belt but is not readily available elsewhere in the country.

Gasoline was selling on average Thursday for $2.63 a gallon, while E85 was selling for $2.23 a gallon. That might make E85 sound like a bargain, but cars go fewer miles on a gallon of ethanol than of gasoline. Adjusted for that factor, E85 on Thursday was effectively 31 cents a gallon more expensive than gasoline.

A return of $4 gasoline might change things, by making E85 a relative bargain and spurring wider use. So would an unexpected spurt in total fuel demand. Otherwise, it is not at all clear how the nation’s coming surplus of ethanol can be absorbed.

Gregory M. Scott, executive vice president of the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association, drives a flex-fuel car in the Washington area, but said he had never put E85 in it.

He said the amount of renewable fuel that Congress had mandated refiners to use, and the amount that can be blended for conventional automobiles, were on a collision course.

“At some point,” he said, “those two lines cross.”
26017  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / From Linda "Bitch" Matsumi on: November 27, 2009, 09:00:37 AM
Bay area, CA:
====================

http://www.hssv.org/adoption_pet-of-the-week.html

A friend of mine works at HSSV and sent this out. The dog's not 100% Akita, but she is apparently just completely awesome. So, I figured it couldn't hurt to send it your way on the off chance you guys would consider adopting her.
26018  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Armed American Report Issue 173 on: November 27, 2009, 08:35:07 AM
It Doesn't Have to Make Sense: It's Just the Law - Statements
"...Written statement: a VERY BAD idea! ...."
by K.L. Jamison
In 1996, an unhappy consumer attacked the City Marshal of Lancaster, Missouri with a hammer.(1) The Marshal defended himself and later vented his adrenaline to the responding Sheriff stating, "I hope the son-of-a-bitch is dead." This led to the Marshal's conviction for involuntary manslaughter and a sentence of seven years in prison.(2) The story had a happy ending, but a story four years and tens of thousands of dollars in the making, and not a story the Marshal enjoyed very much. The Marshal might have avoided the worst part of the story had he not confused his right to remain silent with the right of free speech.

In the movie, Under Pressure, a woman tried to explain the stalking and implied threats of a neighbor. After a disorganized and unconvincing recitation of ambiguous events she lamely concludes, "I'm not a very good story teller." Most people tell stories badly. In the aftermath of self-defense there can be a giddy stream of consciousness statement which has more to do with the effects of adrenaline than reality. The basic legal advice is "DON'T."

The first question is, "What is a statement?" In a nation which counts exotic dancing as freedom of speech, a statement is also broadly construed. In 1996, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that a suspect's refusal to uncross his legs during questioning could be taken as a statement when later charged with murder.(3) In a separate death penalty case, the court found that the defendant had purchased a used car which sported the bumper sticker, "I'm the person your mother warned you about." At trial the prosecution argued that the fact he did not remove this bumper sticker revealed something about his character. The Missouri Supreme Court ruled that it was perfectly acceptable for the state to kill this man, in part, because of his failure to remove the bumpersticker.(4) One can imagine the effect of bumper stickers bought in jest such as, "Keep Honking, I'm Reloading." If this case does not also inspire a re-evaluation of one's T-shirt collection, nothing will.

There is also the problem of nicknames. As of this writing, a rapper who rejoices in the stage name "C-Murder" is on trial for murder. If I were asked to defend a man named "Murder" or any variation thereof, I would charge more. Massad Ayoob testified in favor of a police officer who had killed a felon nicknamed "Snake." Captain Ayoob slipped the nickname into his testimony which seems to have had an effect on the jury.



Written statement, a VERY BAD idea!


There is a cynical defense attorney saying: "Anything you say will be misquoted and used against you." In the movie, My Cousin Vinnie, two, unfortunate Yankees are suspected of murder and during questioning are accused of shooting a clerk. One incredulously asked, "I shot the clerk?" This is taken down and read in court as a confession. Theater audiences laughed, defense attorneys smiled and nodded. There have even been cases where comments by other persons have been attributed to the defendant, and used against him; complete silence is the only bulwark against these mistakes.

The first statement is the 911 call. These calls are recorded and if the call sounds bad for the defendant, it will be played over and over again at trial. In one case, a man cocked his double-action revolver and went after a person who was shooting out windows. When he caught up with the threat he extended his revolver and in the process tripped the light single action trigger pull; arguably an accidental discharge. His 911 call records him saying that he thought he had just shot someone. The 911 operator, trained to keep him on the line and keep him talking, asked why he thought he had shot someone. The man replied, "Lady, I think I'm a pretty good shot." This callous-sounding statement took accident off the table and the man had to live or die with a self-defense case. This all important introduction to law enforcement must be planned in advance.

The first words out of the caller's mouth should be the location of the incident. If the battery then dies, or the minutes run out, or some other technological catastrophe occurs the authorities will know that something of interest is at that location, and the caller's cell phone records can prove that he or she made the call. The next statement is the caller's name. The core of the 911 call consists of three sentences:

"He tried to kill me."
"I was never so scared in my life."
"Send an ambulance."(5)

The first sentence serves to introduce the roles of the parties, the caller is the victim, the other person the attacker. Being in reasonable fear of life or limb is a prerequisite to acting in self-defense. The phrase "I was never so scared..." is to preclude the prosecutor from claiming that the citizen never said he was scared "until he talked to a lawyer."(6) The phrase "Send an ambulance" says that the caller does not want anyone to die.

When the police arrive, they will want a more elaborate statement; this should consist only of:

1. He attacked me.
2. I will sign a complaint.
3. There is the evidence.
4. I WANT A LAWYER.


Good Advice.


This restates part of the 911 call and points out critical evidence. One cannot expect the "CSI" team to be called out to pick up every fiber and hair. If a real forensic team routinely conducted the investigations shown on television, its budget would last about a week.

The demand for a lawyer is both the best thing one can do, and a damaging statement. Anyone who is questioned by police has the right to a lawyer; this includes victims. The problem is that the police, and potential jurors, take a demand for a lawyer as evidence of something to hide. To compound the problem, the victim's decision to remain silent and demand for a lawyer can be used again him or her in court. In the criminal system, one does not have rights, until arrested; it doesn't have to make sense, it's just the law. It is a left-handed fortune that people who act in self-defense are routinely arrested. It may be called something else such as "detained" or given the "Alice in Wonderland" explanation "You're being handcuffed for your own protection." Whenever a person is not allowed to leave, he is placed under arrest regardless of descriptive terms. If one is arrested, generations of TV shows advise us to remain silent.


Western Missouri Shooters Alliance President Sheila Stokes-Begley employs a cell phone and CZ75 compact.


If the circumstances are ambivalent, simply state a fear of being sued, and demand a lawyer to protect against frivolous litigation. Bernard Goetz was acquitted of criminal charges in the shooting of four thugs on the subway, but was sued for $43 million and lost. Police are frequently sued by criminals and the explanation is likely to ring a bell.

Self-defense cases bring out the curious, the media in the forefront. Comments to friends will be confused and used against you, comments to family will be mistaken and used against you. Both family and friends can be subpoenaed and forced to testify against you. Comments to the media will be sensationalized and this is never good. The New York City prosecutor's office had determined not to charge Bernard Goetz, until he made unwise remarks to the news media. At some point a statement must be made. The impression is that the earlier a statement is made, the more reliable it is. In reality, the earlier a statement is made, the less reliable it is. The effects of stress will confuse the statement and even cause temporary amnesia. Inaccuracies in the initial statement will convince authorities that the survivor is both a liar and a murderer. A lawyer must be immediately engaged to organize the statement.

A lawyer is a professional storyteller. He will not tell the client how to lie, he will tell him how to tell the truth, a more complicated process than most imagine. The statement must contain facts which track the elements of self-defense. In the case of defense of home or defense of other persons, there may be other elements as well. Knowledge of the assailant's reputation for violence would certainly be relevant. The most important element to include is fear. A police statement is no place for macho posturing. One cannot use violence against another person unless in fear of life or limb. The survivor must go over every detail of why he or she was terrified, weak-kneed, pants-pissing afraid. If one does foul one's pants, a not uncommon event, make sure that goes into the statement. No matter how ineffective a storyteller the survivor might be, the jury is sure to believe that.

(1)1 A City Marshal is a law enforcement officer position used in Third and Fourth Class towns in Missouri.
(2) State v Beeler, 12 S.W.3d 294 (Mo. 2000) at 296.
(3) State v Kinder, 942 S.W.2d 313 (Mo en banc 1996) at 325.
(4) State v Six, 805 S.W.2d 159 (Mo. Ban. 1991) at 167.
(5) Taken from the Western Missouri Shooters Alliance "Stay Out of Jail" card, see www.WMSA.net.
(6) A claim I have heard, even when false.

Kevin L. Jamison is an attorney in the Kansas City Missouri area concentrating in the area of weapons and self-defense.

This information is for legal information purposes and does not constitute legal advice. For specific questions you should consult a qualified attorney.
26019  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Virginia Bill of Rights 1776 on: November 27, 2009, 08:21:55 AM
"[R]eligion, or the duty which we owe to our creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and this is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other." --Virginia Bill of Rights, Article 16, 1776
26020  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Trash into homes on: November 26, 2009, 04:27:16 PM


http://www.happynews.com/news/11242009/one-man-trash-man-house.htm
26021  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: November 26, 2009, 04:15:36 PM
Boyo:

Just had a moment to watch that one-- nice find!
26022  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Daily Expression of Gratitude on: November 26, 2009, 10:26:50 AM
And here's one more-- this one has been running in the WSJ for 48 years now.

The Desolate Wilderness
A chronicle of the Pilgrims' arrival at Plymouth, as recorded by Nathaniel Morton

Here beginneth the chronicle of those memorable circumstances of the year 1620, as recorded by Nathaniel Morton, keeper of the records of Plymouth Colony, based on the account of William Bradford, sometime governor thereof:

So they left that goodly and pleasant city of Leyden, which had been their resting-place for above eleven years, but they knew that they were pilgrims and strangers here below, and looked not much on these things, but lifted up their eyes to Heaven, their dearest country, where God hath prepared for them a city (Heb. XI, 16), and therein quieted their spirits.

When they came to Delfs-Haven they found the ship and all things ready, and such of their friends as could not come with them followed after them, and sundry came from Amsterdam to see them shipt, and to take their leaves of them. One night was spent with little sleep with the most, but with friendly entertainment and Christian discourse, and other real expressions of true Christian love.

View Full Image
.The next day they went on board, and their friends with them, where truly doleful was the sight of that sad and mournful parting, to hear what sighs and sobs and prayers did sound amongst them; what tears did gush from every eye, and pithy speeches pierced each other's heart, that sundry of the Dutch strangers that stood on the Key as spectators could not refrain from tears. But the tide (which stays for no man) calling them away, that were thus loath to depart, their Reverend Pastor, falling down on his knees, and they all with him, with watery cheeks commended them with the most fervent prayers unto the Lord and His blessing; and then with mutual embraces and many tears they took their leaves one of another, which proved to be the last leave to many of them.

Being now passed the vast ocean, and a sea of troubles before them in expectations, they had now no friends to welcome them, no inns to entertain or refresh them, no houses, or much less towns, to repair unto to seek for succour; and for the season it was winter, and they that know the winters of the country know them to be sharp and violent, subject to cruel and fierce storms, dangerous to travel to known places, much more to search unknown coasts.

Besides, what could they see but a hideous and desolate wilderness, full of wilde beasts and wilde men? and what multitudes of them there were, they then knew not: for which way soever they turned their eyes (save upward to Heaven) they could have but little solace or content in respect of any outward object; for summer being ended, all things stand in appearance with a weatherbeaten face, and the whole country, full of woods and thickets, represented a wild and savage hew.

If they looked behind them, there was a mighty ocean which they had passed, and was now as a main bar or gulph to separate them from all the civil parts of the world.

These editorials have appeared annually since 1961.
26023  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / NYT on: November 26, 2009, 10:20:38 AM
By ALAN SCHWARZ
Published: November 25, 2009
Andre Waters, a former N.F.L. defensive back, put a pistol in his mouth, pulled the trigger and — however unknowingly — sounded an alarm on the seriousness of football brain injuries.

It was November 2006. A neuropathologist soon discovered extensive damage in Waters’s brain tissue. For the next three years, as similar cases came to light and the hideous effects of football brain trauma were examined in newspaper articles, television features and one heated Congressional hearing, the N.F.L. and its committee on concussions vehemently fought suggestions that their approach to the injury was at all improper.
The debate did not end on Tuesday, when the league announced several measures that most onlookers called long overdue. The embattled co-chairmen of the league committee resigned — “graciously,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a leaguewide memo, suggesting that they would have been fired otherwise. And the N.F.L. affirmed its plan to install independent experts to bring an uncompromised approach to handling players with concussions.

But the affair did reach a moment of reflection. Even the most hardened skeptics who had fought the league’s approach for years sensed that Tuesday was a moment for détente. Chris Nowinski, a former Harvard football player and the primary advocate for reform in the treatment of sports concussions, joined others involved with the issue in calling Tuesday’s events the most significant since Waters killed himself.

“It means that possibly the most public voice on this issue, the N.F.L., has decided to stop blocking progress and maybe become part of the solution,” Nowinski said.

“Not just the co-chairs resigning, but the message aimed at children, parents and coaches — saying that there’s a problem that needs to be addressed now — will go a long way to protecting kids and players in the future,” he said. “I think it refocuses what’s important, which is developing ways to prevent brain damage in current and future athletes, and treating people who have already been touched by the problem.”

Tempering some optimism was how the N.F.L. announcement — which included the consideration of changes to practice and game rules and the plan for a televised public-service announcement on concussions to make its debut next month — employed much of the same obfuscatory language as dozens of past league statements on the issue.

The release quoted Goodell as saying that the moves would “enhance the substantial progress we have made in recent years” and that “our goal remains to make our game as safe as possible, protect the health and safety of our players, and set the best possible example for players at all levels and in all sports.” The league spokesman Joe Browne wrote on Twitter, “Goodell again shows he’s serious re: concussions.”

This continued a pattern of the league requesting credit for improving conditions without accepting its role in preserving the conditions that required improvement. For example, when the N.F.L. decided in 2007 that players who were knocked unconscious during games could no longer return the same day, the league did not address how published research by its own committee doctors had declared the practice safe. And on the day that Goodell held a leaguewide concussion summit in June 2007 to show how serious the league was on the issue, he fought the suggestion that a player found with brain damage similar to Waters’s had developed it through football.

Goodell insisted that the player “may have had a concussion swimming,” adding, “A concussion happens in a variety of different activities.”

Industries with $8 billion in revenue generally do not court lawsuits, so few onlookers expected the N.F.L. to embrace the suggestion that its past or current practices were subpar. (For example, a player who was cleared to play after being knocked unconscious could attempt to prove he was knowingly mistreated.) But the league took a serious public-relations hit in the meantime, according to Marina Ein, a crisis management specialist based in Washington.

“They were dragged kicking and screaming, when we’re talking about people dying young and losing their cognitive lives,” Ein said. “The resistance to the problem and the cover-up always leads to tragedy and a crisis that ought never to happen. How many players have been submitted to potentially life-altering injuries in the last three years, since the issue was really raised prominently?”

Incongruously, a study that the league commissioned — but immediately discredited — led directly to Tuesday’s events. A University of Michigan phone survey, obtained by The New York Times in September, indicated that N.F.L. retirees were reporting diagnoses of dementia and other cognitive diseases at rates many times the national average.

The league and its doctors dismissed the findings, but news media coverage prompted the attention of Congress, whose hearing on Oct. 28 led to public comparisons between the N.F.L. and the tobacco industry. It took less than a month for Goodell to act more decisively than ever before.

If the league does follow through with meaningful independent care of player concussions, and does actually enact rule changes rather than merely discuss them, the burden of protecting players will continue to shift to the players. As the league has claimed that “all return-to-play decisions are made by physicians,” all involved know that is false; most players with concussions decide to keep playing without a physician’s even knowing, or even having reason to know.

Coaches and the news media will also share responsibility not to glorify “warriors” who get back on the field quickly, and independent research into what can help stem football’s high rates of dementia and other cognitive decline will need funding.

“We’ve failed as a nation to look at this very serious issue,” said Jim Kovach, a former N.F.L. linebacker who is president of the Buck Institute for Age Research near San Francisco. “It has to be all of us looking at this and saying that these could be our kids or friends getting hurt. It’s not just the N.F.L.”

But on Tuesday, as the N.F.L. shed some of its past and announced better care in the future, it was the N.F.L. giving all sides a chance to start a more cooperative era.

“There’s always the possibility of a fresh start,” said Ein, the crisis management specialist. “That’s the beauty of doing the right thing.”
26024  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: MMA Thread on: November 26, 2009, 10:06:39 AM
Anyone have the URL of that?
26025  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Daily Expression of Gratitude on: November 26, 2009, 10:05:11 AM
George Washington's 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to "recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789.
26026  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Count your blessings on: November 25, 2009, 02:09:16 PM


Count Your Blessings
"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman." --Thomas Paine
We call the primary gathering place in our home "the warm room" because at its center hearth is a woodstove. This room is where we gather in the evening after the day's tasks and our family dinner.

This past Sunday night, my family surrounded me in our warm room, each of us doing something that we enjoy. I was reading, my wife was checking e-mail, my older son was bantering with my daughter, and my youngest son was assembling his latest Lego creation.

It was the first day of Thanksgiving week, but giving thanks was not really on my mind. I was content just to relax with my family after a good meal.

Then my cell phone chimed brusquely. I was piqued by the interruption, mostly in anticipation that when that phone rings on a Sunday night, there's usually something seriously wrong somewhere that requires my attention.

To my pleasant surprise, when I answered, a familiar voice, although faint due to the satellite connection, was on the other end. It was an Air Force friend stationed in Bagram, in the Parwan province of Afghanistan, calling to say hello and provide an update on his status.

Needless to say, he is far away from his family, who will be without him for Thanksgiving and probably Christmas. And yes, his call prompted immediate gratitude on my part for the casual and cozy evening that I was enjoying, with my family, in the comfort of our home.

The next morning, I returned from a meeting to my SUV, parked on a city street, and found in the dust between the Navy Jack on the rear window and the "Support Our Troops" magnet on the bumper, someone had scrawled, "World Peace!" I am quite sure that the author was misguidedly implying some contradiction between pride in our military forces and achievement of world peace.

Undoubtedly, the poor soul who soiled his pinkie to leave that message has never taken an oath to support and defend our Constitution, much less undertaken any action to that end at risk of personal injury or death. Thus, what this anonymous peacenik fails to realize is that nobody wants world peace more than our front-line soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines -- the very warriors fighting for that peace.

I am grateful for our uniformed Patriots, who, like my friend in Bagram, are defending liberty in places far away, so that we may live in peace at home, and I am grateful for their families, who bear a great burden with their loved one's absence.

But, as I contemplate our national day of Thanksgiving, beyond gratitude for my immediate blessings, I am greatly concerned about the trials that we, as a people, now face in the wake of this unprecedented assault upon our Constitution. For I am certain that the resulting collectivist government policies, left unchecked, will smother our free market system and our legacy of liberty.

You know the story of our First Thanksgiving, the three-day Pilgrim feast of 1621, after nearly half their company had died during the preceding winter. (I have posted an Account of the First Harvest Feast and Thanksgiving for those of you might like to read it to your families before the Thanksgiving meal.)

What you may not know, however, is that, in an effort to improve production at Plymouth Plantation, a collectivist policy was implemented in 1622 which almost destroyed the remainder of the settlement.

Plymouth Colony's governor, William Bradford, recorded in his history of the Colony that, to forestall another failed crop season, he would allot each family a plot of land, and mandate that "all profits & benefits that are got by trade, working, fishing, or any other means" must be forfeited to a common storehouse in order that "all such persons as are of this colony, are to have their meat, drink, apparel, and all provisions out of the common stock."

In theory, Bradford believed that this would be good for the Colony since each family would receive equal share of produce without regard to their contribution.

Unfortunately, then as now, collectivism works only in theory.

Bradford wrote that his plan failed because it undermined the incentive to produce, noting that it "was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort."

After the abysmal results in 1622, Bradford wrote that the Colony leaders contemplated "how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop."

They then decided to trade their collectivist plan for a free market approach, and in 1623, Bradford wrote, "This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any other means the Governor or any other could use. ... Instead of famine now God gave them plenty and the face of things was changed, to the rejoicing of the hearts of many. ... Any general want or famine hath not been amongst them since to this day."

As a direct consequence, the Colony celebrated a much greater Day of Thanksgiving in 1623.

The conclusion was obvious. Given liberty and incentive to be industrious, their Colony thrived. Indeed, by 1624, production was so abundant that the Colony exported corn back to England.

And for generations since, to the extent that men have been set at perfect liberty to establish free markets, to produce goods and services without having profits seized for redistribution, our nation has thrived.

Yet once again, our governors are contemplating collectivist policies of the sort that failed in 1622 and have failed many times since, giving credence to the aphorism, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

My fellow Patriots, never in the history of our country has there been such an acute, coordinated and vicious assault upon our rights and upon the structures established to protect those rights. From individuals, to state governments, to federal institutions initiated at the dawn of our Constitution, nothing -- absolutely nothing -- is sacred to the leftists currently controlling our nation's capital.

But take heart, for as George Washington wrote in the darkest days of our American Revolution, "We should never despair, our Situation before has been unpromising and has changed for the better, so I trust, it will again. If new difficulties arise, we must only put forth new Exertions and proportion our Efforts to the exigency of the times."

Of such exertions, Washington wrote, "It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favors."

So it is that on Thanksgiving Day of this week, we are called upon to pause and take respite; to acknowledge the divine intervention of our Creator in the affairs of this great nation; to recommit ourselves to obeisance of His will; to express our gratitude and give Him all thanks and praise for the bounty which He has bestowed upon us.

We yet live in the land of the free, the home of the brave, that shining city on a hill, and for it, we humbly implore that He protect us and grant us much favor in our coming struggle to re-establish The Rule of Law over the rule of men.

For that and for each of you, fellow Patriots, I am grateful!

Have a blessed Thanksgiving.

Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!

Mark Alexander
Publisher, PatriotPost.US

26027  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: November 25, 2009, 10:29:53 AM
What do you make of this?

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

http://www.wired.com/beyond_the_beyond/2009/11/the-joy-of-intimidating-peacenik-troublemakers-through-their-license-plates/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+wiredbeyond+%28Blog+-+Beyond+the+Beyond%2FSterling%29
26028  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Music on: November 25, 2009, 10:28:40 AM
Good to have you with us again SD.
26029  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / BBC: Rising Sea Levels on: November 25, 2009, 09:47:32 AM


Rising sea levels: A tale of two cities
By Michael Hirst in Rotterdam and Kate McGeown in Maputo 


When people talk about the impact of rising sea levels, they often think of small island states that risk being submerged if global warming continues unchecked.  But it's not only those on low-lying islands who are in danger. Millions of people live by the sea - and are dependent on it for their livelihoods - and many of the world's largest cities are on the coast. By 2050 the number of people living in delta cities is set to increase by as much as 70%, experts suggest, vastly increasing the number of those at risk.

To shed light the impact of rising sea levels, we are taking a close look at two very different cities, Rotterdam and Maputo , and their varying responses to the problem.


 
Glaciers: If the world's mountain glaciers and icecaps melt, sea levels will rise by an estimated 0.5m
Thermal expansion: The expansion of warming oceans was the main factor contributing to sea level rise, in the 20th Century, and currently accounts for more than half of the observed rise in sea levels
Ice sheets: These vast reserves contain billions of tonnes of frozen water - if the largest of them (the East Antarctic Ice Sheet) melts, the global sea level will rise by an estimated 64m

Much of Rotterdam - Europe's busiest port city - lies several metres below sea level, and this vulnerable position has led it to develop some of the best flood protection in the world.

As the capital of Mozambique - one of the world's poorest countries, and one that is already feeling the effects of climate change - Maputo is struggling to provide cost-effective measures to mitigate the effects of the rising waters.

Authorities in both cities know urgent action is needed to protect their populations, and both are trying to rise to the challenge.

Weaker Gulf Stream


 
A rise in temperatures around the world due to carbon emissions since the industrial revolution means many icecaps and glaciers are steadily melting.

Rising temperatures have also caused ocean waters to expand - the main cause of sea level rise in the 20th Century.

The 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projected a likely sea level rise of 28-43cm this century, but it acknowledged that this was probably an underestimate, as not enough was known about how ice behaves.

"The fact that sea levels are rising is a major reason for concern and it's a combination of the global average rise together with the natural variability leading to larger regional rises," said Dr John Church, from Australia's government-funded science and research body, the CSIRO.

The weakening of the Gulf Stream coupled with the gravitational effects of being closer to the North Pole mean waters in the northern hemisphere are experiencing the biggest rise.


 
Rotterdam is promoting the use of green roofs to collect rain water
Off the Netherlands, for example, sea levels rose by some 20cm in the last 100 years. But the country's national Delta Commission predicts they will increase by up to 1.3m by 2100 and by as much as 4m by 2200.

"There is a problem and we have to find an answer," said Rotterdam's Vice-Mayor Lucas Bolsius.

"We need to invest. If we don't put money into this issue we'll have a problem surviving."

Cyclones

The Dutch drew this conclusion from a massive storm surge in 1953, which caused widespread flooding and killed nearly 2,000 people.

They set about defending populated areas with a massive network of dykes and dams, and experts now estimate the country is protected from all but a one-in-10,000-year event.

The story is very different in Mozambique.

Already buffeted by regular floods and cyclones, the problem of rising sea levels is one the authorities in Maputo could do without.

But Mozambique has been identified as one of the countries likely to be affected most by climate change, and the issue will not go away.


 
Much of what Mozambique would like to do is deemed too expensive

While scientists cannot give an exact figure of how much the sea has already risen in Mozambique, the effects are already obvious.

"I went to the beach a lot as a child, and I've noticed things are changing," said 34-year-old Jose, who lives in Maputo.

"The water is eating the land - little by little it's eating the land."

Mozambique has compiled an action plan, and has been offered help from the World Bank, UN agencies and a plethora of other aid agencies.

But so far little has been done, and much of what the country would like to do is beyond its budget.

"I think people are still at the stage of 'Oh my God - what are we going to do?'" as environmentalist Antonia Reina puts it.

Mozambique will be going to the Copenhagen summit as part of a united African delegation, to ask for help from richer countries - like the Netherlands.

Africa argues that climate change - including rising sea levels - is a global problem, and demands a global response.

While most would agree with that sentiment, the reality is that every country has its own battles to face - and in this series of articles we examine how our two cities are coping, both at an individual and a municipal level, as the waters rise.
 
26030  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Alejandro Ruiz on: November 25, 2009, 08:24:00 AM
Not that you would know it from reading the MSM, but as I safely type these words there are those who do for us what this man did so long ago:

==========
Soldier stormed Japanese machine gun bunker

By T. Rees Shapiro
Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Alejandro R. Ruiz Sr., 85, an Army infantryman in World War II who received the Medal of Honor for single-handedly storming a Japanese machine gun bunker -- twice -- during the Battle of Okinawa, died Nov. 23 at a hospital in Napa, Calif. He had congestive heart failure.

On April 28, 1945, in the last months of the war, Pfc. Ruiz deployed to Okinawa on a mission with his platoon, seeking remnants of a Japanese battalion hiding in fortified emplacements on steep ridges near the village of Gasukuma.

The soldiers were patrolling in a ravine when they were ambushed from a network of concealed pillboxes. Coming under heavy fire, every soldier except Pfc. Ruiz and his squad leader was dead or injured.

Realizing that his standard-issue M1 Garand -- with an eight round clip -- would be insufficient against the more powerful Japanese machine guns, Pfc. Ruiz picked up a Browning automatic rifle and began his solo assault. He calmly walked 35 yards to the bunker. He climbed on top and was prepared to fire into it, but a ruptured cartridge jammed the Browning, according to the Medal of Honor citation.

A Japanese soldier charged him, and Mr. Ruiz beat him down with the broken gun. Pfc. Ruiz tossed the rifle aside and ran back through the grenade explosions and gunfire to where his platoon was pinned down. He retrieved a second weapon, tested it and grabbed some extra cans of ammo before he dashed back.

All of the Japanese guns were now trained on Pfc. Ruiz as he raced back through a hail of gunfire. He was hit in the leg, but he managed to climb back on top of the pillboxes. He jumped from one bunker to the other, spraying bursts of gunfire into the apertures.

Pfc. Ruiz's Medal of Honor citation says that "in the face of overwhelming odds," he single-handedly killed 12 Japanese soldiers and silenced the machine gun nest, saving his fellow soldiers.

President Harry S. Truman gave him the Medal of Honor, the military's highest award for valor, during a ceremony at the White House in June 1946. He also received the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
Alejandro Renteria Ruiz was born April 26, 1924, in Loving, N.M., to Mexican immigrants. He spent his career in the Army. He also served in the Korean War and retired as a master sergeant in the mid-1960s. He lived for many years in Visalia, Calif., which named a park in his honor. Most recently, he had been living at the Veterans Home in Yountville, Calif., near Napa.

His marriages to Eliza Martinez and Lilia Flores ended in divorce. Survivors include two children from his first marriage, Celia Ruiz and Alejandro Ruiz Jr., both of Berkeley, Calif.; a sister; seven grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

Sgt. Ruiz often recounted the circumstances that led to his Army service. As a teenager working in odd jobs for a cattle farmer in Carlsbad, N.M., he had been tasked to drive a cow to another farm when he became distracted by thoughts of a girlfriend.

He drove, with the cow in tow, straight to Barstow, Tex., 122 miles away, to woo the young woman into marrying him. Sgt. Ruiz was detained, and a judge told him that he would either be sent to jail for kidnapping the cow, or he could enlist in the Army to stay out of trouble. He chose the Army.
26031  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / NYT on: November 25, 2009, 08:09:48 AM
NYT

By ALAN SCHWARZ
Published: November 24, 2009
In the latest indication that the National Football League will redirect its approach to players’ concussions, the co-chairmen of the league’s committee on brain injuries resigned from the group Tuesday, the league announced.

Dr. Ira Casson and Dr. David Viano, members of the committee since 1994 and co-chairmen since 2007, co-authored most of the group’s published research papers whose conclusions regarding head injuries were met with considerable criticism from medical peers. Casson has been the league’s primary voice discrediting all evidence linking football players with subsequent dementia or cognitive decline, drawing criticism from fellow scientists, players and ultimately Congress.
In a memo to all teams on Tuesday in which he outlined several measures regarding concussions, Commissioner Roger Goodell said that Casson and Viano would “continue to assist the committee,” but offered no details of any future relationship. A league spokesman confirmed that Casson and Viano would no longer be official members of the committee.

“The N.F.L. is currently identifying their replacements and additional members who will bring to the committee independent sources of expertise and experience in the field of head injuries,” Goodell said.

On Sunday, the league confirmed that it is collaborating with the players union to identify independent neurologists to work with team medical staffs to treat players with brain injuries.

This is the second time that the league has replaced leadership of its committee on concussions. In early 2007, the chairman, Dr. Elliot Pellman, resigned after strong criticism of his work and indications that he had exaggerated several aspects of his medical education and professional status in official biographical sketches and a résumé prepared for Congress. He was replaced by Casson and Viano.

Messages left for Casson, a neurologist at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, and Viano, an adjunct professor of engineering at Wayne State University in Detroit, were not immediately returned.

“This is a step in the right direction,” George Atallah, the players union’s assistant executive director for external affairs, said. “We look forward to working with the league to produce a more detailed and firm plan regarding the protection of players.”

As scientific and anecdotal evidence of football brain injuries’ long-term effects grew in prominence in recent years, Casson dismissed outside studies that identified links to dementia and other cognitive decline, citing only their limitations and never their significance. He contended that the league’s continuing study of retired players, which independent experts said had significant statistical limitations and in which he was conducting all neurological examinations, would deliver the first meaningful data on the issue.

In January, when experts at Boston University found that a sixth deceased N.F.L. veteran had developed extremely rare trauma-induced brain damage before the age of 50, Casson responded, “It’s very hard to know if there’s any significance until things are presented in the appropriate scientific manner.” He added, “They might be significant, they might not be.”

In September, when a league-sponsored telephone survey found that N.F.L. retirees were reporting diagnoses of dementia and other memory-related diseases at several times the rate of the national population, Casson said, “What I take from this report is there’s a need for further studies to see whether or not this finding is going to pan out.”

Reports of Casson’s views ultimately eroded outsiders’ confidence in the league’s approach to brain trauma.

“Dr. Casson already had his conclusions drawn before the study was concluded that there was no link between cognitive decline and concussions,” said Representative Linda Sanchez, Democrat of California, who highlighted Casson’s involvement at the Judiciary Committee hearing. “Whoever replaces him should be more apt to apply information from the other studies that are out there.”

The resignations of Casson and Viano cast doubt on the future of the league’s continuing study of retired players. Because Casson personally conducted the neurological examinations of the roughly 60 players (of ultimately 180) that were to be studied, that data will not have the proper integrity, Sanchez said.

“I would call for the N.F.L. to start from scratch, and to make changes to how they’re conducing the study to conform to other aspects of academic studies,” she said.

Viano, along with Casson, was at one point publicly criticized by his own colleagues. The two changed the conclusion of one of the papers they submitted to the journal Neurosurgery without alerting its other co-authors. In the altered section, Viano and Casson wrote that “it might be safe” for high schools to consider the N.F.L.’s practice of allowing players who sustain concussions to return to the same game.

That practice is known to court dangerous consequences in teenagers.

When informed of the change two years later and hearing how the paper had been said to impede proper care of players at the youth level, two of the co-authors were furious.

Casson and Viano stood by their decision. Casson responded: “This paper was aimed at scientists and physicians. If people who are not scientists or physicians are misunderstanding it, then that is not the responsibility of those of us who wrote it.”

Casson’s statements while representing the N.F.L. ultimately raised eyebrows in Congress. When Sanchez learned in September that Casson was overseeing the N.F.L.’s retired player study — and conducting all patient exams personally — she accused the league of conducting research like the tobacco industry.

Casson replied: “I assume that the Congresswoman was not a scientist and not a physician. She is not an expert.”

Sanchez responded by providing the most theatric moment of the Oct. 28 hearing, playing a videotape of an HBO reporter asking Casson whether football had any long-term effects on the brain. “In N.F.L. players? No,” Casson said flatly. As Sanchez noted that Casson was not present to testify himself, it became an indelible image of the hearing.

Casson appeared on CNN later that night, but has receded from public view since.

Most critics said that their primary concern with the N.F.L.’s handling of concussions and research into them was that it often misled the public about the seriousness of football brain injuries.

More than one million youngsters play high school football every fall, with hundreds seriously injured by concussions — often by either not understanding the risks or playing through pain like their N.F.L. heroes.

In the N.F.L.’s announcement Tuesday, Goodell identified other measures designed to improve player safety regarding brain injuries.

He said the independent doctors that the league and the players union were assembling to evaluate players with concussions would have to clear any player before he returned to a game or practice.

Goodell also said that on Dec. 10 the league would begin showing a public-service announcement on head injuries, a strong recommendation of several members of Congress a month ago.
26032  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / POTH: Lots of Smoke Signals on: November 25, 2009, 07:53:39 AM
Pravda on the Hudson struggles with articulating His Glibness's strategy.  There's so many references to "signaling" in the piece and so much blowing of smoke that for me it all blended into "smoke signals".
===========================================================

WASHINGTON—In declaring Tuesday that he would “finish the job” in Afghanistan, President Obama used a phrase clearly meant to imply that even as he deploys an additional 30,000 or so troops, he has finally figured out how to bring the eight-year-long conflict to an end.

But offering that reassuring if somewhat contradictory signal — that by adding troops he can speed the United States toward an exit — is just the first of a set of tricky messages Mr. Obama will have to deliver as he rolls out his strategy publicly.

Over the next week, he will deliver multiple messages to multiple audiences: voters at home, allies, the leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the extremists who are the enemy. And as Mr. Obama’s own aides concede, the messages directed at some may undercut the messages sent to others.

He must convince Democrats, especially the antiwar base that helped elect him, and the slim majority of the country that tells pollsters the conflict is no longer worth the sacrifice, that in sending more troops he is not escalating the war L.B.J.-style. In fact, some of those involved in the deliberations on an Afghanistan strategy say Mr. Obama will argue that providing the additional numbers is the fastest way to assure that the United States will be able to “finish the job,” because it will speed the training of the Afghan national army.

But at the same moment, he must persuade Republicans that he is giving the military what it needs to beat back the Taliban and keep Al Qaeda from threatening the United States.

That would be a difficult task even if Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal’s strategic assessments and troop requests had not been paraded across front pages, including his contention that the task will require 40,000 or more troops if Mr. Obama wants to create true security in the country’s major population centers.

At a time when Mr. Obama is vowing to reduce sky-high deficits, he must make the case that the price tag — roughly $1 million per soldier — is justified. He already faced pre-emptive resistance on Tuesday from the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi.

So it is no surprise that one of Mr. Obama’s senior aides, speaking on the condition of anonymity, acknowledged Tuesday that the forthcoming speech was a “potential minefield.” One of his national security strategists put Mr. Obama’s challenge this way: The trick, he said, will be “signaling resolve to the allies while not signaling open-ended commitment to the American people.”

Both sides of that equation are complicated.

Mr. Obama must signal resolve — and staying power — because the Dutch and the Canadians are both scheduled to be pulling their troops out of Afghanistan just as Mr. Obama is putting more forces in. In quiet meetings over the past month, American defense and national security officials have been trying to forestall those departures, while obtaining commitments of increasing numbers of troops from NATO allies.

So far, the administration has been successful only with the British, who have pledged an additional 500 troops. Germany, Italy and other NATO contributors have been silent, explaining to their American visitors that the war has become so unpopular at home that they can barely sustain the troop levels now in place.

“I think we’ll get there,” said an official who has been sent for those conversations. “But not in time for the president’s announcement.” Others said it may be early next year before Mr. Obama can extract any additional commitments.

Pakistan poses a particularly difficult problem. Mr. Obama has been highly attuned to the need to declare that the United States is not in what he recently called “an open-ended commitment” in Afghanistan.

But for years, throughout the Bush administration and into the Obama administration, American officials have been making trips to Pakistan to reassure its government that the United States has no intention of pulling out of Afghanistan as it did 20 years ago, after the Soviets retreated from the country. Inside the Pakistani Army and the intelligence service, which is known as the ISI, it is an article of faith among some officers that the United States is deceiving them, and that it will replay 1989.

If that happens, some Pakistanis argue, India will fill the void in southern Afghanistan, leaving Pakistan surrounded by its longtime enemy. So any talk of exit strategies is bound to reaffirm the belief of some Pakistani officials that they have to maintain their contacts with the Taliban — their hedge against Indian encroachment.

So the United States is stuck, one official said, between not wanting to suggest it will be a military presence in the region forever and showing enough commitment to encourage Pakistan to change its behavior.

Mr. Obama has a similar signaling problem with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan. A parade of Washington officials, most recently Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, have traveled to Kabul to warn that continuing American help is dependent on the Afghan government’s meeting benchmarks in tackling corruption and building up credible security forces. But Mr. Obama is not likely to say what will happen if Mr. Karzai fails to deliver, for fear of further alienating the mercurial Afghan president.

At home, the more urgent issues are troop numbers and the cost of the escalation. Here, Mr. Obama will have more room to maneuver. Over the past two weeks, military officials have been expecting a decision that will give them roughly 34,000 additional troops, not far from what was sought by General McChrystal, the commander in Afghanistan. At the White House and among the allies, the figure most commonly heard is just under 30,000.

Both figures, and anything in between, could prove right. Counting support troops and “trainers” is an art form in the military. The troops will be dispatched in phases, and Mr. Obama is likely to declare that he will review the deployment next year, to evaluate its progress.

That gives him the flexibility to tell the Democrats that his commitment is limited, and to tell the Republicans that he will do whatever it takes to win what, only three months ago, he called a “war of necessity.”
26033  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / How did Sex begin? on: November 25, 2009, 07:30:12 AM
Vive la différence! – but how did it begin?

Did Darwin forget to ask how sexual reproduction evolved?

We have published several articles this year to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Darwin, and the 150th anniversary of the publication of The Origin of the Species. MercatorNet has been presenting articles on both sides of the debate. Below, Dorothy Vining wonders if Darwin forgot to ask how sex evolved. Join the discussion on this topic on MercatorNet's Facebook group.  In my twenties, I was responsible for indexing Darwin's works for the Great Books Syntopicon under the direction of the well-known philosopher Mortimer Adler. At the time I swallowed the Darwinian "natural selection" scenario hook, line, and sinker. It was so beautiful, so overarching, so all-explanatory. But later on I came to realize that too much was left unexplained.

One question that has baffled me is the origin of sexual reproduction. As far as I can see, this is an unsolved puzzle amongst scientists.

Apparently Darwin did not wonder about it. Either it has not occurred to his followers that they have no explanation for the beginning of sexual differentiation into male and female, or they are deliberately ignoring it.

Evolutionists point out that sexual differentiation has both costs and benefits. They point out that reproducing sexually is costly in that time and energy have to be devoted to finding a suitable partner. There is a risk of remaining unmated. There is a risk of producing offspring less fit than the parent because of recombination. Other things being equal, asexual reproduction is quicker and easier. Asexual reproduction is more common in species little troubled by disease.

On the other hand, sexual reproduction increases diversity and the likelihood of survival in changing circumstances. It purges the species of damaging mutations so that they can evolve new defenses against infections. Some animals actually breed sexually and asexually at different times!

But as to how sexual reproduction originated there is little said. In Why Have Sex? The Population Genetics of Sex and Recombination, (2006) Otto and Gerstein mention some of the reasons for sex listed in the previous paragraph. But they offer no answer as to how it all got started.

Confronted with the fact that sexual differentiation actually does exist in most multicellular animals, we have to surmise that at some point throughout the millenia one of these creatures in the process of cell division just happened to develop a cell with only half the usual complement of genetic material. We might call this a rudimentary egg (oocyte or ovum). Whatever could be the advantage of producing an egg? An egg would be of absolutely no use unless there was a sperm to fertilize it. If this animal found no mate, it would, of course, have been the first and last of its kind!

Well, perhaps another creature of the same species accidentally produced a sperm, complete with a tail. Why do you suppose it would grow a tail when it didn’t have a clue that it would have to go swimming after an egg? And of course it would not be genetically preprogrammed to recognize an egg if it should chance to run into one!

If we accept evolutionary theory we are required to imagine that each animal that today reproduces sexually, in the distant past was going about its business of reproducing asexually, dividing and budding away, when all of a sudden it accidentally produced an egg and at the same time, in the same locale, another animal of the same species just happened to make a sperm cell. Also, simultaneously and independently they each accidentally acquired the apparatus to get the egg and sperm together so they could produce offspring with a full set of genes.

Are you buying this?

If ever there was a case of "irreducible complexity", we have one in the transition from asexual to sexual reproduction. Irreducible complexity means simply that the process cannot be reduced to a series of simple steps one after another. If a number of things do not happen and come together all at once, nothing works. Irreducible complexity has been defined in various ways but I prefer Darwin's own language: "If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find out no such case" (Origin of Species, Chapter VI).

But as far as I can see, sexual differentiation is such a case.

Asexual reproduction results in progeny identical to the parent, unless there is a genetic mutation which will produce some change in the DNA. For an organism to initiate sexual reproduction additional genetic information is required, not only added to one organism but added simultaneously to two organisms of the same type, at the same time, and differing so that the changes will be complementary. There is no point in having a genetically female animal if there is no matching male anywhere around.

Accidental genetic mutations are almost always deleterious and have never been shown to involve an increase in genetic information. Consider that the informational content of the DNA in a single human cell equals that of 30 volumes of the Encyclopedia Brittanica. Where did all the new additional information required for sexual differentiation come from?

I have never seen any even remotely plausible explanation of how sexual differentiation might have first evolved in the Darwinian scheme of things. To my mind, the very fact of sexual differentiation necessitates, yes, demands a plan. And a plan demands a planner. "Male and female He created them," not "Male and female they decided to become."

Dorothy Vining once worked for the philosopher Mortimer Adler on the Syntopicon, an index to the ideas in the 54 volume set of The Great Books of the Western World. As her field was the biological sciences, she was assigned to index the biological works of Aristotle, Hippocrates, Harvey, Galen, and Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species and The Descent of Man. An enthusiast then, she became increasingly critical of Darwin’s theories. She blogs at Musings at 85.
26034  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Mercator.net The Future of the News on: November 25, 2009, 07:21:56 AM
Although I disagree with this piece's conclusions, I find it intelligent and thoughtful:
===============
Natalie Fenton | Tuesday, 24 November 2009
tags : media, newsThe future of the news
The collapse of a viable business model for the mainstream media raises the question of what we want news for and how it can be delivered.

The production and circulation of independent, quality news is a hallmark of democratic societies with a complex history of commercial practices, regulatory controls and technological innovation. The demise of the existing business model of the local and regional press and of broadcast news in the regions together with the struggle for survival of many national newspapers demands a critical consideration of what we want news for and how it can be delivered.

A recent study by Goldsmiths Leverhulme Media ResearchCentre provides empirical evidence that challenges utopian visions of the internet as a brave new world with everyone connected to everyone else, a non-hierarchical network of voices with equal, open and global access. This latest ‘new’ world of ‘new’ media has not greatly expanded the news that we read or hear or changed mainstream news values and traditional news formats; neither has it connected a legion of bloggers to a mass audience. Rather, as the economic model for traditional news production stumbles and falls in the digital age, professional journalism has become the first casualty, the second, if we’re not careful, and pretty close behind will be the health of our democracy.

The research draws on over 170 interviews with a range of professionals from a cross section of mainstream news media, as well as news sources and new producers online including bloggers and people operating in the realm of alternative news; we added to this, 3 newsroom ethnographies and a content analysis of online news across mainstream news media, online alternative media, social networking sites and YouTube.

We looked at the role of structural factors such as commerce, finance and regulation along with the cultural complexities of journalism, journalistic subjectivities and working practices.

And we found an industry and a practice in trouble.

 

Newspaper circulation and readership levels are at an all time low; there has been a tremendous growth in the number of news outlets available including the advent of, and rapid increase in, free papers, the emergence of 24 hour news and the popularization of online and mobile platforms; a decline in advertising revenue alongside cuts in personnel. With regard to local and international news production, the lack of economies of scale means that it is increasingly commercially unviable.

The Newspaper Society notes that 101 local papers closed down between January and August 2009. In those that are surviving fewer people are doing more and more work. Now I know we may all say that about our jobs, but in journalism what we see is the perfect storm – a history of marketisation, deregulation and globalisation, throw new technologies in to the mix (bringing about yet more speed and space and more need to invest in technical infrastructure). These factors combined have had a negative impact on journalism for the public good and in the public interest.

The working context of news media has increased pressures in the newsroom to fill more space (through the expansion of online platforms), work at greater speed (to fill the requirements of 24 hour news and the immediacy of online communication) with fewer journalists in permanent positions and more job insecurity.

"In the old days you had to get up in the morning and read all the newspapers, listen to the Today Programme [.…] Now, in addition to all of that we also have to keep an eye on websites, blogs of others, just in case stories crop up [.…] As on the Internet what we have to contend with is hugely increased sources of information." (Political Newspaper Editor, National Mid-Market)

"... when you’re under those time constraints, the Internet is fabulous but it’s dangerous as well. And I think that, a lot of the time people get things wrong, particularly on 24-hour news channels, it’s because they’re relying on the Internet." (Political Editor, Commercial Broadcasting)

In this environment there is evidence of journalists being thrust into news production more akin to creative cannibalization than the craft of journalism – as they need to fill more space and to work at greater speed while also having improved access to stories and sources online – they talk less to their sources, are captured in desk-bound, cut and paste, administrative journalism. Ready-made fodder from tried and tested sources takes precedence over the sheer difficulty of dealing with the enormity of user generated content or the overload of online information leading to an homogenization of content as ever increasing commercial pressures add to the temptation to rely not just on news agencies but on all cheaper forms of news gathering.

Given the speed of work, and the sheer amount of traffic and noise that journalists are exposed to every day, it is less easy for ordinary citizens and non-elite sources to make direct contact with reporters in mainstream media. In order for journalists to pick out the important information from the ‘blizzard’ online they are forced to create systems of ‘filtration’ based on known hierarchies and established news values. With so little time at their disposal journalists tend to prioritise known, ‘safe’ sources. So mainstream news on-line has not expanded to include a broader diversity of voices or shifted focus according to information filtered through social media.

And even though there is now a plethora of media outlets, and citizens and civil society can publish media content more easily than ever, there still is a dominance of a limited number of players that control news, information content and public debate. In other words mainstream news matters, maybe more than it ever has done – and most people, most of the time get most of their news from it. Furthermore the organisation of web search tends to send more users to the most popular sites in a winners take all pattern. It seems ever likely that the voices on the web will be dominated by the larger, more established news providers in a manner that, yet again, limits possibilities for increased pluralism.

In some newspapers, the combination of staff reductions and speeded up production schedules mean that only the most established senior, journalists, with the highest level of personal autonomy, have the luxury of leaving the office to talk to people, phoning a number of different people to verify information, or probing for alternative views or contradictions. But its not just the young journalists whose working practices have been transformed:

"They [journalists] don’t even try to talk to you, they just watch breaking news upstairs. I pass them every day when I come in, I pass one of the rooms and I see them watching telly and they’re banging away on the typewriters, all of them [.…] When I first came here [.…] it would be rare for that Lobby not to include some journalists, and sometimes it could be as many as ten or a dozen or twenty. Now, the only people you see in the Lobby are the fellas in the fancy breeches looking after the place [.…] I think it’s the advent of 24 hours news." (Labour MP)

What we’re left with is a contradiction between the transforming potential of new technologies and the stifling constraints of the free market.

The material conditions of contemporary journalism (particularly unprotected commercial practice) do not offer optimum space and resources to practice independent journalism in the public interest. On the contrary, job insecurity and commercial priorities place increasing limitations on journalists’ ability to do the journalism most of them want to do – to question, analyse and scrutinize.

What is the relationship between news media and democracy? A news media that can be relied upon to monitor, hold to account, interrogate power and facilitate and maintain deliberation is critical to a functioning democracy. In a world of one click communication and information overload protecting and enhancing a news media that can aim for this ethical horizon has actually become more important rather than less important. Without it we are left scrambling through the blogosphere, drowning in opinion, with no known serious fact-checking, no requirement to put stories in context, no real way of holding the writer gatherers to account. Where the well resourced and the already powerful are able to shout the loudest, twitter their way to the top of the pile while everyone else whispers in the wind.

How do we preserve it and should government have a role in media structures and behaviour? Any government that truly believes in the basic principles of democracy should be prepared to provide the means by which it can function. This means regulating news media to provide the freedom to operate in the public interest rather than purely for commercial gain. To ignore this is to accept that the market can be relied upon to deliver the conditions for deliberative democracy to flourish. Markets do not have democratic intent at their core. When markets fail or come under threat, ethical practice is swept aside in pursuit of financial stability.

How do we do it? My view is that we need to move towards a system of post-corporate, low profit or not-for-profit news supported by government funding that comes not from the Licence fee but from practices that are popular elsewhere in Europe such as industry levies and the charging of news aggregators that exploit news content.

Natalie Fenton is Reader and Co-Director of the Goldsmiths Leverhulme Media Research Centre and Goldsmiths Centre for the Study of Global Media and Democracy at the University of London. This article has been republished from openDemocracy.net under a Creative Commons licence.
26035  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Forstyth: Are Dollar Bears too Bullish? on: November 25, 2009, 07:15:16 AM
Intriguing article:

Are Dollar Bears Too Bullish?
By RANDALL W. FORSYTH |

It would be so simple to follow the playbook of the inflationary 1970s. Today's deflationary threat is more dangerous, however.


GOLD SET ANOTHER RECORD MONDAY while the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1% to a 13-month high, supposedly based on the cheery thought that the U.S. dollar would inevitably collapse to zero.

Investors faced a barrage of bearish articles about America's fiscal plight, from the front page of the New York Times warning about "Wave of Debt Payments Facing U.S. Government" to the Economist's cover story, "Dealing with America's Fiscal Hole" to the Financial Times posing the question, "Is Sovereign Debt the New Subprime?"

No wonder they wanted to flee the dollar. As Dennis Gartman observed in his Monday morning missive: "It is almost as if one can hear capital saying aloud, 'Let me outta here; get me some gold; or get me some euros, at least get me some blue-chip stocks. Get me anything, but get me out.'"

With the U.S. Dollar Index falling another 0.7%, to 75.10, gold continued its seemingly unstoppable advance to another peak. The active December futures contract on the Comex settled up $17.90, at $1,164.70 an ounce after trading at almost $1,175.

And as if to underscore the public's interest in the latest gold rush, the five most-read stories on Marketwatch.com were all about gold. (Marketwatch is owned by News Corp., which also is the publisher of Barrons.com.)

There's no disputing that America's budget mess poses a long-term threat to the dollar, more so than the Federal Reserve's low-interest-rate policies. That was pointed out here just last week ("A Foolish View of America's Debt, Nov. 18.)

So far, however, there seems no shortage of buyers for the U.S. government's debt, including Monday's record auction of $44 billion of two-year notes, which will be followed $42 billion of five-year notes Wednesday and $32 billion of seven-year notes.

That would contradict the notion of an imminent rerun of That 'Seventies Show, featuring soaring interest rates and inflation. That is, after all, what sent gold to its then-record of $850 in January 1980, the final year of that benighted decade. (And by the way, notwithstanding all the recently published assessments of this decade, it doesn't end until Dec. 31, 2010.)

Would that we could have that rerun? We'd all have the playbook on how to deal with those travails. Don't buy any Pintos, avoid polyester and burn disco records. Just buy gold, dump bonds, borrow and borrow and buy the biggest house you can afford. Maybe the last one didn't turn out so well.

Indeed, Albert Edwards, Societe Generale's global strategist, sees the risks running quite the opposite of the consensus, which has a global recovery on track with a steadily falling dollar. Instead, he looks for a double-dip back into recession leading to a surging greenback, with a collapse of "the China economic bubble" resulting in a double whammy for commodity prices.

Writing in his latest Global Strategy Letter, Edwards points to signs of doubts about the U.S. economic recovery, from the labor market remaining "very sick" with the uptick in unemployment rate over 10% plus the Conference Board's consumer finding showing jobs getting still harder to get. Meanwhile, the ECRI Leading Indicator, which trumpeted recovery earlier in the year, has fallen for five straight weeks.

But what's way out of the consensus is the call for China's massive trade surplus to turn to deficit by Societe Generale's Asian economist, Glenn Maguire, who Edwards writes has been "very right on China this year."

"This is a mega-call and will have major implications for the global financial markets," Edwards declares. China no longer will be accumulating currency reserves at nearly the same pace, leaving less to recycle into U.S. Treasuries. The reduced capital inflow would also slow China's domestic monetary growth and real output, which track each other. Meanwhile, capital outflows from Japan, another source of global liquidity, could be hampered were there a sharp rise in its government bond yields.

A synchronized end to the Chinese and U.S. economic recoveries could play out in increased protectionist pressures, including competitive devaluations, Edwards continues. That could lead to a spike in the dollar as speculative carry trades are unwound, as happened to the yen in 2008. A rise in the dollar would pull up the renminbi, which "may be all too much for a beleaguered Chinese economy."

Then, Edwards says, the U.S. goal of delinking of the RMB from the dollar would be accomplished -- with China devaluing rather than revaluing its currency higher.

Edwards adds, "I am reassured that my views are not totally bananas when two of the deepest thinkers are also concerned about a Chinese economic crash."

Those include Edward Chancellor, who has written extensively about bubbles, including "The Devil Take the Hindmost: A History of Financial Speculation," and recently observed the Chinese economy shows symptoms of weakness similar to those after the Greenspan Fed reflated following the bursting of the tech bubble. Meanwhile, Jim Chanos, the famed short seller of Kynikos Associates, thinks he spies manipulated data about China's economy. Chanos, it should be remembered, sniffed out the phony accounting at Enron.

Indeed, there were hints the bubble in China was about to burst, or at least deflated, in the 3.5% plunge in the Shanghai Composite Tuesday. That came after on rumors that China's banks were ordered to raise more capital. Charles Dumas of Lombard Street Research writes in a note to clients this wasn't just a matter of an increased supply of shares, but a move almost certainly on orders of the government for banks to bolster their balance sheets following their lending spree earlier this year. Tightening of monetary policy is likely to follow as the boom produced by massive fiscal stimulus -- equal to 25% of gross domestic product--is generating inflation pressures.

The sort of deflationary crisis, resulting in competitive devaluations, protectionism and contracting world trade, recalls what happened in the 1930s, Edwards concludes. Despite politicians' solemn vows not repeat those blunders, "all I see are more and more protectionist measures being implemented, belying the soothing rhetoric."

The 1930s were indeed very different from the 1970s. In the latter decade, you could just buy gold (though that was more difficult before today's exchange-traded funds) and let your cash earn double-digit yields. The falling dollar battered stocks and especially bonds back then.

Now, cash yields absolute zero but stocks benefit from every drop in the dollar while global investors continue to buy Treasuries, seemingly undeterred by the greenback's steady slide.

But recall a year ago; the dollar soared like the yen with the unwinding of carry trades (which involve the borrowing in those low-yielding currencies) as stocks and other risk assets fell sharply.

Such a rerun seems to be the one potential risk that seems ignored as gold gets bid giddily higher -- a significantly more painful deflationary squeeze than the inflationary surge they see.

At the minimum, China's likely moves to cool its boom could portend outcomes quite different from the what the consensus expects. As Lombard Street's Dumas concludes, "With China's recovery as the leading force in the world recovery, this would mark the end of the stock market, and general risk asset, rebound from last winter's lows."
26036  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: November 25, 2009, 07:13:19 AM
That was VERY funny.

Here's this:

Investors Business Daily
The Day Global Warming Stood Still
Posted 11/20/2009 07:46 PM ET

Climate Change: As scientists confirm the earth has not warmed at all in the past decade, others wonder how this could be and what it means for Copenhagen. Maybe Al Gore can Photoshop something before December.

It will be a very cold winter of discontent for the warm-mongers. The climate show-and-tell in Copenhagen next month will be nothing more than a meaningless carbon-emitting jaunt, unable to decide just whom to blame or how to divvy up the profitable spoils of climate change hysteria.

The collapse of the talks coupled with the decision by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to put off the Kerry-Boxer cap-and-trade bill, the Senate's version of Waxman-Markey, until the spring thaw has led Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, the leading Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, to declare victory over Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and the triumph of observable fact over junk science.

"I proudly declare 2009 as the 'Year of the Skeptic,' the year in which scientists who question the so-called global warming consensus are being heard," Inhofe said to Boxer in a Senate speech. "Until this year, any scientist, reporter or politician who dared raise even the slightest suspicion about the science behind global warming was dismissed and repeatedly mocked."

Inhofe added: "Today I have been vindicated."

The Ada (Oklahoma) Evening News quotes Inhofe: "So when Barbara Boxer, John Kerry and all the left get up there and say, 'Yes. We're going to pass a global warming bill,' I will be able to stand up and say, 'No, it's over. Get a life. You lost. I won,'" Inhofe said.

Now we have the German publication Der Spiegel, which is rapidly becoming the house organ for climate hysteria, weighing in again with the sad news that the earth does not have a fever so we really don't have to throw out the baby with the rising bath water.

In an article titled, "Climatologists Baffled By Global Warming Time-Out," author Gerald Traufetter leads off with the observation: "Climatologists are baffled as to why average global temperatures have stopped rising over the last 10 years." They better figure it out, Der Spiegel warns, because "billions of euros are at stake in the negotiations."

We are told in sad tones that "not much is happening with global warming at the moment" and that "it even looks as though global warming could come to a standstill this year." But how can it be that the earth isn't following all those computer models? Is the earth goddess Gaia herself a climate change "denier"?
26037  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / The Chase on: November 25, 2009, 06:54:50 AM
The Chase
Print this Page

Based on the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe
 
And it was reported to Laban on the third day that Jacob had fled. And he took his kinsmen with him, and he chased after him a seven days' journey; and they overtook him at Mount Gilad....

And Jacob was angry and strove with Laban... And he said: "What is my crime and what is my sin, that you have so hotly pursued me? ...Twenty years I have been in your employ... In the day drought consumed me, and the frost at night; and my sleep departed from my eyes..."

And Laban said: "...Come, let us make a covenant, I and you." ... And they took stones and made a heap, and they ate there upon the heap... And Laban said to Jacob: "...This heap be witness, and this monument be witness, that I will not cross this heap to you, and you will not cross this heap and monument to me, for harm..." And they spent the night on the hill.

And Laban rose in the morning... and he returned to his place. And Jacob went on his way. (Genesis 31:4-32:2)

Each and every creation has at its heart a "spark of holiness"Why does a man who has spent his entire life in the "tents of study" in pursuit of wisdom and closeness to G‑d, leave the spiritual oasis of Be'er Sheva, home of Abraham and Isaac, and go to Charan in Paddan-Aram, the world's capital of idolatry and deceit, to spend twenty years as a shepherd in the employ of Laban the Deceiver?

He is hunting sparks.

Each and every creation, no matter how material and mundane, has at its heart a "spark of holiness." A spark that embodies G‑d's desire that it exist and its function within G‑d's overall purpose for creation. A spark that is the original instrument of its creation and which remains nestled within it to continually supply it with being and vitality. A spark of holiness that constitutes its "soul"—its spiritual content and design.

Entrenched in the physical reality, these holy sparks are virtual prisoners within their material encasements. The physical world, with its illusions of self-sufficiency and arbitrariness, suppresses all but the faintest glimmer of G‑dliness and purposefulness.

The soul of man descends into the trappings and trials of physical life in order to reclaim these sparks. By assuming a physical body that will eat, wear clothes, inhabit a home, and otherwise make use of the objects and forces of the physical existence, the soul can redeem the sparks of holiness they incorporate. For when a person utilizes something, directly or indirectly, to serve the Creator, he penetrates its shell of mundanity, revealing and realizing its divine essence and purpose.

"The deeds of the fathers are signposts for the children."1 The story of Jacob's journey to Charan, where he spent twenty years in the home and employ of the evil Laban, is the story of our own lives. The soul, too, leaves behind a spiritual and G‑dly existence to preoccupy itself with material needs, to become a shepherd and entrepreneur in the Charans of the world.2 The soul, too, must condescend to deal with the crassness, hostility and deceptions of an alien employer. It must struggle to extract the sparks of holiness from their mundane husks, to deliver the flocks of Laban into the domain of Jacob.

Unfinished Business
Among the "signposts" in Jacob's journey is the rather strange closing chapter in his dealings with Laban.

Jacob's mission in Charan seemed complete. As he tells Rachel and Leah, Laban's wealth has been "delivered"3 to him—the material resources of this alien land have been sublimated, their sparks of holiness redeemed through Jacob's exploitation of them for good and G‑dly ends. Indeed, the Almighty has communicated to him it is time he came home. Rachel and Leah, too, sense that all opportunities in Charan have been utilized, that there no longer remains "a portion or inheritance for us in our father's house." So Jacob "rose up and set his sons and his wives on the camels. And he led away all his cattle, and all his goods which he had acquired, the possessions of his purchase, which he had acquired in Paddan-Aram, to go to... the land of Canaan."4

But Laban pursues Jacob, and they have a final confrontation on Mount Gilad. Reconciled, they break bread together and camp for the night. Then, each goes his own way, having sealed a mutual non-aggression pact, to be attested to by a pile of stones which marks their respective domains.5

Obviously, there was still some unfinished business between them, some lingering sparks still languishing in Laban's camp. In the words of Rabbi DovBer of Mezeritch: "Jacob had left behind Torah letters (a kabbalistic term for the "sparks of holiness" imbedded in creation6) which he had not yet extracted from Laban. This is why Laban pursued him—to give him the letters which remained with him. An entire chapter was added to the Torah by these letters."7

To Pursue and to be Pursued
In other words, there are two types of "sparks" that we redeem in the course of our lives. The first type are those which we consciously pursue, having recognized the potential for sanctity and goodness in an object or event within our life's trajectory. Indeed, we human beings pride ourselves on the measure of control we have learned to exercise over our lives: we plan our education, decide whom to marry, choose a community, chart a career and save for retirement. We're constantly manipulating our environment, cultivating opportunities and maneuvering ourselves into the right place and time to properly take advantage of them.

...opportunities representing potentials so lofty that they cannot be identified by our humanly finite facultiesBut every so often, we are confronted with something that is neither of our making nor in our control. Something that seemed so readily in our grasp remains incomprehensibly elusive; something we've done everything in our power to avoid invades our lives. These are "sparks" of the second sort: opportunities which we would never have realized on our own, since they represent potentials so lofty that they cannot be identified and consciously developed by our humanly finite perception and faculties. So our redemption of these sparks can only come about unwittingly, when, by divine providence, our involvement with them is forced upon our by circumstances beyond his control.

Thus our lives are divided into "Charan" periods and "Mount Gilad" events. The bulk of our efforts are conscious and focused: goals are defined, opportunities recognized, endeavors planned and achieved. But then there are the situations we never desired, the encounters which pursue us even as we flee from them. These may aggravate and exasperate us; like Jacob on Mount Gilead we cry, "What more do you want of me? Are my decades scorching days and freezing nights not enough?" But we must never dismiss theses encounters and fail to extract the kernel of good that certainly lies buried within them. Indeed, they contain the most elusive, and most rewarding, achievements of our lives.8

FOOTNOTES
1.  Nachmanides' commentary on Genesis 12:6.
2.  See Or HaChaim commentary on Genesis 28:14.
3.  Thus the verb hatzalah, which means "save," "redeem" and "deliver," is used by the Torah to describe Jacob's success in exacting a profit from Laban's flocks (Genesis 31:9 and 16). The same word is used in connection with the "great riches" with which the Jews left Egypt, "leaving it as a silo emptied of its grain, as a pond emptied of its fish"—a reference to the "sparks of holiness" whose redemption was the purpose of their descent into Egyptian exile (Exodus 12:36; see Genesis 15:14 and Talmud, Berachot 9a-b).
4.  Genesis 31, verses 9, 3, 14 and 17-18 respectively.
5.  We find a similar phenomenon in the prohibition of a Jew to live in Egypt (Deuteronomy 17:16): having been utterly "emptied" of its sparks, there is no longer anything to be accomplished through one's involvement with the material resources in that corner of the world.
6.  The sparks of holiness are referred to in the teachings of Kabbalah and Chassidism as "letters", since it is the "letters" of the divine speech (e.g. "And G‑d said: 'Let there be light!' And there was light") which create and sustain each created entity and constitute its soul and essence (see Tanya, part II, ch. 1).
7.  Quoted by Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Lubavitch in Ohr HaTorah, vol. V, p. 869a.
8.  Based on a talk by the Rebbe, Tishrei 27, 5712 (October 27, 1951); Likkutei Sichot, vol. XV, pp. 260-264.
26038  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: November 25, 2009, 06:50:06 AM
Mexico Security Memo: Nov. 23, 2009
Stratfor Today » November 23, 2009 | 2323 GMT


Related Special Topic Page
Tracking Mexico’s Drug Cartels

La Familia Michoacana Cell Indicted in Chicago

U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Patrick Fitzgerald announced Nov. 18 that 15 defendants allegedly working for La Familia Michoacana (LFM) had been indicted in Chicago, Ill. The indictment stems from the joint U.S.-Mexican federal law enforcement operation that ended Oct. 22 known as Project Coronado, a 44-month-long operation that netted 1,186 individuals in 19 states along with 1,999 kilograms of cocaine and $33 million.

The indictment charged the individuals based in Chicago for conspiring with an unnamed commander based in Michoacan state, Mexico to distribute large quantities of cocaine and funnel proceeds from drug distribution back to Mexico. The operator in Michoacan formed a command-and-control group to oversee the distribution of drugs in Chicago and northern Illinois, made up of the six charged in the indictment as well as smaller-scale distributors personally approved by the commander. The Chicago cell maintained residential property where it clandestinely stored and transferred cocaine and cash proceeds to and from retail operations in Chicago and other towns in northern Illinois. The cell fronted cocaine to their distributors and were paid once the consumer sales were made — indicating a high level of trust and cooperation between the traffickers and the distributors. Members of the cell also maintained ledgers documenting transactions with their distributors and tracked inventory at the various stash houses. The commander, according to the indictment, required his associates in Chicago to report to him on the cell’s distribution activities and collection of cash proceeds.

The details revealed in the Nov. 18 indictment indicate that LFM has had a deeper involvement in the U.S. narcotics network than previously thought. It was known that LFM was trafficking cocaine through Mexico and even across the border into the United States, but the activities of the Chicago cell show that LFM was also heavily involved in the smaller-scale distribution of drugs far from the U.S.-Mexican border, in addition to their known large-scale, cross-border trafficking activities. This shows that LFM had a reach all the way to the neighborhood streets of Chicago and other U.S. cities, not just the highway networks and metropolitan hubs that facilitate the large-scale flow of drugs throughout the United States.


Unusual Arrests in Cancun

Police arrested 12 members of Los Pelones gang in Cancun Nov. 17 on charges that they were responsible for at least seven murders in the city in recent months. Los Pelones is the enforcement arm of the Sinaloa cartel, and was formed to counter the physical force of rival Los Zetas, whom Sinaloa has fought frequently over territory. Los Pelones has an established presence in western Mexico, where the Sinaloa has its main operations, but this is the first case that STRATFOR is aware of in which Los Pelones members were active in Quintana Roo state, in eastern Mexico.

The Yucatan Peninsula is known to be Los Zetas territory and so the presence of Los Pelones members indicates a challenge to Los Zetas for control over the region. Cancun has typically avoided the large-scale violence seen elsewhere in Mexico due to its importance to the tourism industry and, as a result, a strategic hub for money laundering. The presence of a competing enforcement cell in Cancun could raise the potential for more violence in the resort town but, in addition to facing resistance from Los Zetas, the gang will also contend with the local police, which, due to rampant corruption, may very well be cooperating with Los Zetas





(click here to enlarge image)

Nov. 16

Federal police arrested Pedro Cabadas Duran, a U.S. citizen, on the Mexico City-Nogales highway near the border of Nayarit and Sinaloa states (near Tecuala, Nayarit) on suspicion of transporting several firearms illegally. After a routine traffic stop, police discovered an AK-47, two AR-15s and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition in Cabadas’s vehicle.

Nov. 17

Soldiers dismantled a drug lab in Tlaquepaque, Jalisco state, seizing approximately 10 kilograms of a substance believed to be methamphetamine.

Nov. 18

The body of an unidentified man was found hanging from a footbridge over a highway in San Pedrito, Jalisco state. Police discovered his hands were bound with rope but did not find any identification documents on his body.
Unknown gunmen injured Sinaloa Public Security Director of Protection Services Rafael Gaxiola Penuelas in the Toledo Corro neighborhood of Culiacan, Sinaloa state.
Approximately 500 protesting farmers clashed with security forces near the governor’s offices in Pachuca, Hidalgo state. The protesters demanded the release of two persons and financial support for regional agriculture. Two federal agents were injured in the incident.
Soldiers discovered a drug lab in Chilpancingo, Guerrero state, and confiscated 260 grams of pure heroin, 4.5 kilograms of base heroin and 24 gallons of processing chemicals.

Nov. 19

Police arrested former public security chiefs Amador Medina Flores, Alejandro Esparza Contreras and Jose Santos Almaraz Ornelas in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state. The three men are suspected of links to drug trafficking organizations.

Nov. 20

Police arrested suspected La Familia Guanajuatense section leader Cristobal Altamirano Pinon in Leon, Guanajuato state. Pinon was arrested alongside suspected assassin Humberto Alvarez.
Soldiers detonated two grenades remaining from an attack on the state attorney general’s offices in Celaya, Guanajuato state. The attack was attributed to La Familia Guanajuatense.

Nov. 21

Police in Mexico City arrested an officer assigned to the Mexico City International Airport for suspected links to the Beltran Leyva Organization. The officer is suspected of links to several persons transporting drugs between Panama and Mexico.

Nov. 22

Five bodies were discovered in an abandoned truck in Culiacan, Sinaloa state. The bodies were not immediately identified and their state of decomposition made it difficult to determine a cause of death.
Police rescued four persons who were tortured and thrown into a sewer by unknown assailants in Acapulco, Guerrero state.
Three suspected drug traffickers injured Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state residents Sada Garza and Rodrigo Martinez Flores after opening fire at the intersection of Yucatan and Lago de Tamiahua Streets in the Independencia neighborhood.
26039  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Franklin; Madison; Pulaski on: November 25, 2009, 06:32:02 AM
"Wish not so much to live long as to live well." --Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack, 1746
===================
"It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage, and such only, as he believes to be acceptable to him. This duty is precedent both in order of time and degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society. Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe." --James Madison, A Memorial and Remonstrance, 1785
---------------

Revolutionary War hero becomes honorary US citizen
      
In this June 23, 2005, file photo a carving of Brig. Gen. Casimir Pulaski is shown on the 54-foot … .By WILLIAM C. MANN, Associated Press Writer William C. Mann, Associated Press Writer – Fri Nov 6, 9:48 pm ET

WASHINGTON – Finally, Gen. Casimir Pulaski became an American citizen on Friday, 230 years after the Polish nobleman died fighting for the as yet-unborn United States.

President Barack Obama signed a joint resolution of the Senate and the House that made Pulaski an honorary citizen.

Pulaski's contribution to the American colonies' effort to leave the British Empire began with a flourish. He wrote a letter to Gen. George Washington, the Revolution's leader, with the declaration: "I came here, where freedom is being defended, to serve it, and to live or die for it."

Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich, a Polish-American, had been pushing for the honorary citizenship since 2005. He lives in Cleveland, which has many other citizens of Polish extraction.

"Pulaski made the ultimate sacrifice for this country, and he deserves nothing but the highest honor and recognition for his service," Kucinich said then.

Washington had heard of the young Pole from Benjamin Franklin, an urbane traveler who had been Washington's first ambassador to France. Franklin told Washington of Pulaski's exploits that had made him "renowned throughout Europe for the courage and bravery he displayed in defense of his country's freedom."

The revolutionaries' top general let the young nobleman hire onto the brash fight against the European superpower, and Pulaski made a name for himself as a skilled horseman, eventually to be known as the "father of the American cavalry."

He died before the British were driven away. In October 1779, he led a cavalry assault to save the important Southern port of Savannah, Ga., was wounded and taken aboard the American ship USS Wasp. He died at sea two days later.

Americans have honored Pulaski throughout the last two centuries. Counties and streets are named for him.

In 1929 Congress declared Oct. 11 to be Pulaski Day in the United States, a largely forgotten holiday in much of the country. The Continental Congress suggested that a monument be erected in honor of Pulaski, and in 1825 it finally was erected in Savannah.
26040  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Spring 2010 DB Tribal Gathering on: November 24, 2009, 03:09:13 PM
OK, lets put April 24-25 on the table for consideration.  Lets hear the yays and nays.
26041  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: MMA Thread on: November 24, 2009, 03:08:02 PM
Thank you Dog Mark.  I notice they do not credit the clip they take without permission from our Staff DVD.
26042  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: November 24, 2009, 02:29:10 PM
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,576646,00.html

Navy SEALs have secretly captured one of the most wanted terrorists in Iraq — the alleged mastermind of the murder and mutilation of four Blackwater USA security guards in Fallujah in 2004. And for their trouble, three of the SEALs, members of the Navy's elite commando unit, are now facing criminal charges, sources told FoxNews.com.

The three have refused non-judicial punishment — called an admiral's mast — and requested a trial by court-martial.

Ahmed Hashim Abed, whom the military code-named "Objective Amber," told investigators he was punched by his captors — and he had the bloody lip to prove it.

Now, instead of being lauded for bringing to justice a high-value target, three of the SEAL commandos, all enlisted, face assault charges and have retained lawyers.

Matthew McCabe, a Special Operations Petty Officer Second Class (SO-2), is facing three charges: dereliction of performance of duty for willfully failing to safeguard a detainee, making a false official statement, and assault.

Petty Officer Jonathan Keefe, SO-2, is facing charges of dereliction of performance of duty and making a false official statement.

Petty Officer Julio Huertas, SO-1, faces those same charges and an additional charge of impediment of an investigation.The three SEALs will be arraigned separately on Dec. 7.

Another three SEALs — two officers and an enlisted sailor — have been identified by investigators as witnesses but have not been charged.

FoxNews.com obtained the official handwritten statement from one of the three witnesses given on Sept. 3, hours after Abed was captured and still being held at the SEAL base at Camp Baharia. He was later taken to a cell in the U.S.-operated Green Zone in Baghdad.

The SEAL told investigators he had showered after the mission, gone to the kitchen and then decided to look in on the detainee.

"I gave the detainee a glance over and then left," the SEAL wrote. "I did not notice anything wrong with the detainee and he appeared in good health."

Lt. Col. Holly Silkman, spokeswoman for the special operations component of U.S. Central Command, confirmed Tuesday to FoxNews.com that three SEALs have been charged in connection with the capture of a detainee. She said their court martial is scheduled for January.

United States Central Command declined to discuss the detainee, but a legal source told FoxNews.com that the detainee was turned over to Iraqi authorities, to whom he made the abuse complaints. He was then returned to American custody. The SEAL leader reported the charge up the chain of command, and an investigation ensued.

The source said intelligence briefings provided to the SEALs stated that "Objective Amber" planned the 2004 Fallujah ambush, and "they had been tracking this guy for some time."

The Fallujah atrocity came to symbolize the brutality of the enemy in Iraq and the degree to which a homegrown insurgency was extending its grip over Iraq.

The four Blackwater agents were transporting supplies for a catering company when they were ambushed and killed by gunfire and grenades. Insurgents burned the bodies and dragged them through the city. They hanged two of the bodies on a bridge over the Euphrates River for the world press to photograph.

Intelligence sources identified Abed as the ringleader, but he had evaded capture until September.

The military is sensitive to charges of detainee abuse highlighted in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. The Navy charged four SEALs with abuse in 2004 in connection with detainee treatment.
26043  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The Power of Word on: November 24, 2009, 04:43:18 AM
Rachel:

I needed your post #190.

Thank you,
Marc
26044  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: November 24, 2009, 04:35:19 AM
Do you see no problem with THE State having a permanent record of where everyone goes and has gone?

Would YOU want to run for office to challenge the powers that be if you knew they could look up everywhere you go and had gone? 

Have you ever heard of the politicis of personal destruction?

Would you want President Obama and his vast left wing conspiracy with this knowledge about you?
26045  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Legal issues on: November 24, 2009, 04:32:08 AM
I get the impression from the first of your two posts that

a) they were specifically watching his particular email, and
b) the email communication was international.
26046  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: November 24, 2009, 12:43:15 AM
Thanks for staying on top of this.

PS: Glenn Beck had a good time with all this today.
26047  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: November 24, 2009, 12:41:14 AM
Disagree that the bar is being raised in this case.  Here the question presented is whether surveillance capabilities can be vastly expanded and permanently accelerated by technology to where the State can keep track of all of us all the time.
26048  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: MMA Thread on: November 24, 2009, 12:35:29 AM
Thank you Francisco.
26049  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Spring 2010 DB Tribal Gathering on: November 23, 2009, 05:19:54 PM
Well, around here I'm thinking my wife thinks it is  cheesy shocked
26050  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: MMA Thread on: November 23, 2009, 05:18:25 PM
URL?
Pages: 1 ... 519 520 [521] 522 523 ... 755
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!