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26651  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Karambit Vs. straight blades on: May 22, 2008, 08:40:59 PM
Guide Dog:

I will answer you later.


The issue is whether your intent is for it to be a weapon.  IF IT IS, then X, Y, and Z follow.

26652  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: desperately seeking dogbrother on: May 22, 2008, 04:38:50 PM
I've posted on the DBMA Assn forum that this thread is here.
26653  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Hamilton: Citizen's discernment on: May 22, 2008, 09:32:10 AM
"The citizens of America have too much discernment to be argued
into anarchy. and I am much mistaken if experience has not wrought
a deep and solemn conviction in the public mind that greater
energy of government is essential to the welfare and prosperity
of the community."

-- Alexander Hamilton (Federalist No. 26)

Reference: Hamilton, Federalist No. 26.
26654  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: the New Big Dig on: May 21, 2008, 07:57:15 PM
The New Big Dig
May 21, 2008
Mitt Romney's presidential run is history, but it looks as if the taxpayers of Massachusetts will be paying for it for years to come. The former Governor had hoped to ride his grand state "universal" health-care reform of 2006 to the White House, but his state's residents are now having to live with what he and the state's Democratic Legislature passed. As the Boston press likes to say, it's "the new Big Dig."

The showpiece of RomneyCare was its individual mandate, a requirement that all Massachusetts residents obtain health insurance by July of last year or else pay penalties. The idea was that getting everyone into the insurance system would eliminate the "free-rider" problem of those who refuse to buy insurance but then go to emergency rooms when they're sick; thus costs would fall. "Will it work? I'm optimistic, but time will tell," Mr. Romney wrote in these pages in 2006.

Well, the returns are rolling in, and the critics look prescient. First, the plan isn't "universal" at all: About 350,000 more people are now insured in Massachusetts since the reform passed. Federal estimates put the prior number of uninsured at more than 657,000, so there was a reduction. But it was not secured through the market reforms that Governor Romney promised. Instead, Massachusetts also created a new state entitlement that is already trembling on the verge of bankruptcy inside of a year.

Some two-thirds of the growth in coverage owes to a low- or no-cost public insurance option. Called Commonwealth Care, it uses a sliding income scale to subsidize coverage for everyone under 300% of the federal poverty level, or about $63,000 for a family of four. Commonwealth Care also accounts for 60% of statewide growth in individual insurance over the last year, and the trend is expected to accelerate, perhaps double.

One lesson here is that while pledging "universal" coverage is easy, the harder problem is paying for it. This year's appropriation for Commonwealth Care was $472 million, but officials have asked for an add-on that will bring it to $625 million. For 2009, Governor Deval Patrick requested $869 million but has already conceded that even that huge figure is too low. Over the coming decade, the expected overruns float in as much as $4 billion over budget. It's too early to tell how much is new coverage or if state programs are displacing private insurance.

The "new Big Dig" moniker refers to the legendary cost overruns when Boston rebuilt its traffic system. Now state legislators are pushing new schemes to offset RomneyCare's runaway expenses, including reductions in state payments to doctors and hospitals, enlarged business penalties, an increase in the state tobacco tax, and more restrictions on drug companies and insurers.

Mr. Romney's fundamental mistake was focusing on making health insurance "universal" without first reforming the private insurance market. The "connector" that was supposed to link individuals to private insurance options has barely been used, as lower-income workers flood to the public option. Meanwhile, low-cost private insurers continue to avoid the state because it imposes multiple and costly mandates on all policies.

Hailed at first as a new national model, the Massachusetts nonmiracle ought to be a warning to Washington. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are both proposing versions of RomneyCare on a national scale, with similar promises that covering everyone under a government plan will reduce costs. Mr. Obama at least argues that more people would be covered were insurance more affordable. But his solution is Massachusetts on steroids – make insurance less expensive for policyholders by transferring the extra costs onto the government. Mrs. Clinton likes that but also wants the individual mandate, despite the mediocre results so far.

The real problem in health care is the way the tax code and third-party payment system distort incentives. That's where John McCain has been focusing his reform efforts – because that really does have the potential to reduce costs while covering more of the uninsured – and Republicans ought to follow his lead.

In this respect paradoxically, we can be thankful that Massachusetts ignored the cost problems that doomed other recent liberal health insurance overhauls in California, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Illinois. The Bay State is showing everyone how not to reform health care.

See all of today's editorials and op-eds, plus video commentary, on Opinion Journal.
26655  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tranny driving instructor on: May 21, 2008, 06:47:47 PM
This appeals to my deranged sense of humor.  I am not without sympathy for the man.

Muslim man threatens to sue driving school for sending transsexual instructor to teach his wife

By Chris Brooke
Last updated at 9:45 AM on 21st May 2008

For the past 12 months, she had proudly taken to the road as part of an all-female driving school.

But Emma Sherdley is not exactly all woman.
Until a few years ago she was a married father-of-two called Andrew.

She is, though, in the middle of treatment to change gender and has the legal paperwork to prove it.

But that wasn't enough to satisfy one client who claimed he had been shortchanged when he booked a female instructor to teach his wife how to drive.

He phoned the Laugh 'n' Pass driving school threatening to sue after Miss Sherdley, 42, turned up for the lesson.

'You have sent me a man. Send me a proper female. How dare you send a man with a deep voice,' he told Joanne Dixon, who runs the school in West Yorkshire.

The man, a Muslim from the Meadowhall district of Sheffield who has not been named, claimed the company deliberately sent a man disguised as a woman.

'His attitude and behaviour was outrageous and has upset me and Emma and everyone else who works here,' Miss Dixon said.

'We are not racist. We are not sexist-If anyone was being so it was that man.'

She said no other learners had complained about being taught by Miss Sherdley, an experienced instructor.

As for Miss Sherdley, she is trying to develop a thicker skin.

She said the man's comments had been 'hurtful, offensive and deeply upsetting' and had even made her think of quitting her job.

His wife had apparently cut their two-hour lesson short after an hour, claiming she had to go home to breastfeed her baby.

Miss Sherdley said: 'I always knew as a child that I was a woman stuck in a man's body.

'I tried hard to be a man, getting married and having children but it never worked and never would.

'For the past six years I have been what is correctly called "transitioned". I still have to undergo final surgery but legally I am a woman.

That is what my birth certificate says and that is what the gender recognition certificate proves. For that prejudiced and biased man to threaten to sue me and the driving school is totally and utterly wrong.'

There are currently 32 female pupils on the books at the school. Miss Dixon employs 20 female instructors who teach learners throughout Yorkshire.

The school, which has been running for ten years, boasts a high pass rate.

'We say each of our female instructors promise to be friendly, professional and patient - that is exactly what Emma is,' Miss Dixon said.

'For her to be subjected to abuse and threats is simply intolerable.'
26656  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Our Troops in Action on: May 21, 2008, 04:16:25 PM
Getting one's mind right heading out is a part of action too:
26657  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Nuke Plant targetted in Sweden? on: May 21, 2008, 11:20:26 AM
I find myself wondering what the ethnicity of these two men is?  Curious that they may have sought to use the same ingredient in an attempted Islamo Fascist attack in the UK , , ,

May 21, 2008

Swedish Police Hold Two Men Over Nuclear Scare

Filed at 11:42 a.m. ET

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Swedish police detained two men on suspicion of planning to sabotage a nuclear power station on Wednesday after one of them was discovered entering it with small amounts of a highly explosive material.

"Two men who were taken in for questioning this morning have now been detained on suspicion of preparing for sabotage," said Kalmar County Police spokesman Sven-Erik Karlsson.

Police were alerted shortly before 8 a.m. by the Oskarshamn nuclear power plant on the southeast coast of Sweden. Initially, police only said they were interrogating one man.

"They told us a welder who was going to perform a job there had been stopped in a random security check. He had been carrying small amounts of the highly explosive material TATP," Karlsson said.

TATP, or triacetone triperoxide, is extremely unstable, especially when subjected to heat, friction and shock.

The compound can be prepared in a home laboratory from easily available household chemicals. It has been used by suicide bombers in Israel and by Richard Reid, the thwarted British "shoebomber" who attempted to blow up a transatlantic airliner in 2001.

Police did not initially treat the men as criminal suspects.

"They were only being questioned in order to gather information," Karlsson said.

He said both were contract workers and one of them was previously known to police. He had no other details other than the years in which they were born, 1955 and 1962.


Police sealed off a 300-meter (330-yard) area around the substance and called in explosives technicians from Malmo, the nearest large city.

Oskarshamn, jointly owned by Germany's E.ON and Finland's Fortum, said in a statement on its Web site that it believed the reactor's safety was never threatened.

An E.ON spokesman said the material had been found on or inside the first man's bag. "What has happened is that a guy, a contractor, this morning came to the security check with a bag on which, or in which, there were traces of explosives," E.ON spokesman Johan Aspegren said.

An official at the plant said the men had been at one of the plant's three reactors, which had been shut for maintenance.

Professor Hans Michels, an explosives expert at Imperial College London, said TATP was mainly used as an initiator or "trigger explosive" to detonate a larger main charge.

He said four men who tried unsuccessfully to set off bombs on London transport in July 2005 had used detonators with 5-10 grams (0.18 to 0.35 oz) of TATP but failed to ignite the main charge of their devices.

Michels said TATP could also be used as a main charge, in which case he estimated that more than 100 grams (3.5 oz) of it would be needed to blow a hole in a heavy structure with an inch

or more of high-quality steel.

"Normal explosive experts shun (TATP) because it's very unstable, it's dangerous and it's not very pure. It tends to decompose," Michels said.

An experienced British investigator, who asked not to be named, said it was possible for small traces of household products such as hair bleach to trigger positive readings when picked up by explosive-screening devices. Hair bleach commonly contains hydrogen peroxide, an ingredient in TATP.

Oskarshamn is one of three nuclear plants in Sweden that meet half the country's power needs. Sweden's nuclear industry has been hit by a series of mishaps in recent years, prompting the United Nations nuclear watchdog to call for safety measures.

The Swedish nuclear regulator said there has never been an incident involving sabotage of a Swedish nuclear plant, although last year a bomb threat was received at one facility and turned out to be false.
26658  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / A case in Atlanta finally ends on: May 21, 2008, 11:04:59 AM

This case was the subject of a huge and often heated thread on the Warrior Talk forum.  One of the main strands concerned the merits and drawbacks of no-knock search warrants-- which in this case led to the death of 92 year old woman who shot at the men smashing through her door.

Atlanta officer convicted in coverup of shooting
Arthur Tesler didn't fire a shot, but he now faces five years in prison in the death of a 92-year-old woman killed during a botched drug raid.
By Jenny Jarvie, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
May 21, 2008
ATLANTA -- In a verdict that brought tears to both sides of an Atlanta courtroom Tuesday, a jury convicted a police officer of lying to cover up his role in the fatal shooting of a 92-year-old woman.

Arthur Bruce Tesler, 42, is the only officer to face trial in the death of Kathryn Johnston, felled by a hail of bullets after plainclothes narcotics officers burst into her home in November 2006. He faces as many as five years in prison.

After deliberating more than three days, the state court jury acquitted Tesler of violating his oath of office and of false imprisonment under color of legal process. If convicted of all three charges, he could have faced as many as 20 years in prison.

Unlike two officers who testified against him, he was on duty outside Johnston's house and never fired a shot.

The Rev. Markel Hutchins, a community activist who represents Johnston's family, described the verdict as "bittersweet."

"Juries typically don't convict police officers," he said. ". . . Nothing can bring back Kathryn Johnston, but to the extent that her life can be used to make sure that no more citizens are violated, we think it is a step in the right direction."

Others were more blunt.

"Justice has not been done," said State Rep. "Able" Mabel Thomas. "This officer lied, this officer was part of the coverup. Blood was on his hands."

Johnston's shooting stirred up a whirlwind of protest about aggressive policing in her predominantly African American neighborhood of southwest Atlanta and triggered a federal probe into corruption in the Atlanta Police Department.

Last year, state prosecutors dropped murder, burglary and assault charges against two officers in exchange for their cooperation with a federal investigation into what the U.S. attorney here has described as a "culture of misconduct." Jason R. Smith and Gregg Junnier pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and federal civil rights charges. Junnier faces 10 years behind bars and Smith faces 12, but they have yet to be sentenced. The federal probe continues.

The shooting occurred two days before Thanksgiving, when officers burst through Johnston's front door without knocking after an informant provided false information that drugs were being sold at her house. She fired a single shot from a .38-caliber revolver but did not hit anyone. The officers fired 39 shots, striking Johnston five or six times.

Prosecutors say the officers lied to a magistrate to get the no-knock warrant, claiming that a confidential informant had made a purchase at the address and that the house was fitted with electronic surveillance. Both claims were false.

According to testimony, officers handcuffed Johnston as she lay dying, planted three bags of marijuana in her basement, and asked an informant to pretend that the officers had sent him to her home earlier to purchase drugs.

In his testimony, Tesler, a junior detective who had worked on the narcotics unit for less than a year, admitted that he had lied to help cover up the botched raid. But he said he did not know that Smith had lied to a judge to obtain the no-knock warrant.

In closing statements Thursday, his attorney, William McKenney, argued that Tesler was just a rookie who went along with the coverup because he felt intimidated by his more experienced partners.

Since the shooting, the Atlanta Police Department has tried to address claims that narcotics officers routinely lied to obtain search warrants and planted drugs at crime scenes so they could make arrest quotas. Police Chief Richard J. Pennington disbanded the narcotics unit, then reformulated it and doubled its size. The department also introduced more stringent requirements for how officers can obtain search warrants.

Last year, the Atlanta City Council created a citizen review board to investigate allegations of police misconduct.

On Tuesday, Fulton County Dist. Atty. Paul Howard said he hoped the Tesler verdict would bring "some closure" to Johnston's family. With the three officers involved in the shooting incarcerated, he said, "as a community, we should be pleased."
26659  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / CA earthquake coming soon? on: May 21, 2008, 09:08:34 AM
Frogs Swarmed in China Before the Quake--Now It's California
Frogs Swarmed in China Before the Quake--Now It's California

In the days prior to the gigantic earthquake that devastated Sichuan province in China, odd swarms of frogs were seen in the streets of cities in the area, and have subsequently been identified as unusual animal behavior of the type that is thought by some geologists to precede earthquakes. Now it has developed that similar frog appearances have been taking place in Bakersfield, California for about two weeks, and nobody is sure why. Strange swarms of frogs also appeared before the 6.9 Loma Prieta Earthquake in October of 1989.

The frogs are emerging from a drainage ditch and are being observed in swarms of hundreds by local residents. Nobody can remember a frog swarm like this in the area. The animals appear to be emerging from a drainage ditch, and it is possible that a lack of natural predators in the water has allowed the overgrowth of frogs.

A more controversial earthquake sign is linear clouds, or clouds that appear arrayed in lines, such as those shown in this photograph, which was taken in Shandong Province, also on May 9, 2 days prior to the Sichuan quake. So far, such clouds have not been observed by correspondents in California, but should you see a similar formation, please photograph it and send the picture to us at .

If you live in California, do consider making preparations for an earthquake. If you have made such preparations, check your supplies, especially water supplies, and review your family emergency plan. However, there is no conclusive evidence that the Bakersfield toads represent more than a disturbing coincidence. There are far fewer of them than appeared in China, and they have been swarming for two weeks. The frogs in China appeared just two days before the quake took place, and in much greater numbers.
26660  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Entitlement Crisis on: May 21, 2008, 08:59:38 AM
Currently we are headed off a cliff.  Denial is not a solution. 
How to Tackle the Entitlement Crisis
May 21, 2008

While Congress will have a partisan debate over the federal budget this week, there is a growing, bipartisan consensus about the greatest threat to our nation's long-term economic prosperity: the explosion of entitlement spending. Unfortunately, Washington is not planning to address that problem this week, or any time soon. By doing nothing, we are shackling our future with unsustainable debt and taxes.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the rest of government will consume nearly 40% of the economy by the time my three young children reach my age (38). This will require more than doubling the average tax burden of the past 40 years just to keep the government afloat. Continuing down this path will eventually strangle our economy.

To meet this challenge and secure our fiscal future, I'm introducing a comprehensive legislative plan called "A Roadmap for America's Future." Here are its components:

- Health Insurance. The bill provides universal access to affordable health insurance, by shifting the ownership of health coverage from the government and employers to individuals. It provides a refundable tax credit – $2,500 for individuals and $5,000 for families – to purchase coverage. Individuals will be able to buy insurance offered by any provider in any state – not just the one where they live – and carry it with them if they move or change jobs.

This will encourage, and enable, people to shop for the coverage best suited to their needs and financial circumstances. Insurance companies will also have an incentive to diversify coverage at competitive prices. The active participation of individuals and families in a national, competitive market will restrain health-care costs.

The plan also establishes transparency in health-care price and quality data, so this critical information is readily available before someone needs health services. It also encourages the adoption of health information technology.

- Medicaid and Medicare. The bill modernizes Medicaid by giving states maximum flexibility to tailor their Medicaid programs to the specific needs of their populations. It also allows Medicaid recipients to avail themselves of the health-coverage options open to everyone else through the tax-credit option.

The bill secures the existing Medicare program for those over 55 – so Americans can receive the benefits they planned for throughout most of their working lives. Those 55 and younger will, when they retire, receive an annual payment of up to $9,500 to purchase health coverage – either from a list of Medicare-certified plans, or any plan in the individual market, in any state.

The payment is adjusted for inflation and based on income, with low-income individuals receiving greater support and a funded medical savings account.

- Social Security. Workers under 55 will have the option of investing over one-third of their current Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts. These personal accounts are likely to grow faster than the traditional benefit. They are also the property of the individual, and are thus fully inheritable. The bill includes a guarantee that no one's total Social Security benefits from the personal accounts will be less than if he had chosen to say in the current system.

Combined with a more realistic plan for growth in Social Security benefits, and an eventual increase in the retirement age, the Social Security program can thus become sustainable for the long term.

- Tax Reform. The current federal tax code is complex, burdensome and discourages economic growth. It cannot be fixed with incremental changes; it needs a complete overhaul.

To accomplish this goal, the bill first of all offers individuals a choice of how to pay their taxes – either through the existing law, or through a simplified code with a tax return that fits on a postcard, just two rates and virtually no special tax deductions, credits or exclusions (except the health-care tax credit). Taxpayers themselves choose which code serves them better.

The rates in the simplified code are 10% on income up to $100,000 for joint filers ($50,000 for single filers); and 25% on taxable income above these amounts. There is also a generous standard deduction and personal exemption totaling $39,000 for a family of four. The alternative minimum tax is eliminated. And to promote long-term investment in economic growth, taxes on capital gains, dividends and estates are also eliminated.

On the business side, the bill gets rid of our uncompetitive corporate tax – currently the second highest in the industrialized world – and replaces it with a business consumption tax of 8.5%, which is half the average industrialized world rate.

The roadmap I'm offering is a real plan, with real proposals, real numbers to back them, and real legislation to implement it. Based on the analysis of government actuaries, it is projected to make Social Security and Medicare permanently solvent, lift the growing debt burden on future generations, and hold Federal taxes to 18.5% of GDP.

Many will disagree with this approach. But it is my sincere hope that it will spur Congress to move beyond simply rehashing the problem – to the politically difficult, but critical task of debating, and implementing actual solutions.

Mr. Ryan, a Republican congressman from Wisconsin, is a member of the Budget Committee and the Ways and Means Committee.

See all of today's editorials and
26661  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Taliban convicted on: May 21, 2008, 08:39:33 AM
A friend who was involved with this case sent me the following:

Member of Afghan Taliban Convicted in
U.S. Court on Narco-Terrorism and Drug Charges
MAY 20 -- WASHINGTON – A member of an Afghan Taliban cell was convicted today by a jury in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on charges of narcotics distribution and narco-terrorism, Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division Alice S. Fisher announced. The conviction represents the first time a defendant has been convicted in U.S. federal court of narco-terrorism since the statute was enacted in March 2006.
Khan Mohammed, from the Nangarhar Province of Afghanistan, was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for weapons and narcotics offenses. The investigation revealed that Mohammed was part of a Taliban plan to obtain rockets to attack U.S. military and Afghan civilian personnel at Jalalabad Airfield in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. A cooperating witness working with the DEA met with Mohammed on several occasions to plan the rocket attack. Evidence presented at trial established that Mohammed had previously engaged in similar rocket attacks against other Afghan targets. During the investigation, Mohammed also sold opium and heroin that he knew was intended for importation into the United States.
“The Department of Justice will continue to use every available legal tool to bring to justice those who help fund terrorist activities by trafficking in illegal drugs,” said Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher. “I would like to thank the DEA, our law enforcement partners in Afghanistan and the federal prosecutors for their hard work on this case.”
“As an enemy of the United States, Khan Mohammed intended to ship heroin to the United States and use profits from that trade to assist the Taliban,” said DEA Acting Administrator Michele M. Leonhart. “ A dangerous double threat, Kahn Mohammed purchased rockets to attack American and coalition soldiers who were risking their lives to stabilize Afghanistan. The conviction of Kahn Mohammed puts an end to this source of poison and violence.”
A grand jury first returned an indictment against Mohammed on Dec. 13, 2006, charging him with distributing opium and heroin, knowing that it would be imported into the United States. A superseding indictment returned on Jan. 23, 2008, also charged Mohammed with engaging in drug trafficking knowing or intending to provide something of pecuniary value to a terrorist or terrorist organization. Mohammed was brought to the United States on Nov. 5, 2007. Mohammed faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years and a maximum of life in prison.
A sentencing hearing is scheduled before the Honorable Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on Oct. 10, 2008. The case was prosecuted by Deputy Chief of Litigation Julius Rothstein, Trial Attorney Matthew Stiglitz and paralegal Arianne Tice of the Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section. The investigation was led by the DEA’s Kabul Country Office and DEA’s FAST team in Afghanistan with support from DEA’s Special Operations Division in the United States and in close cooperation with Afghan law enforcement.
26662  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: May 21, 2008, 07:04:47 AM
It must pain the NY Times to write this  cheesy

Iraqi tanks and personnel carriers crossed into the militia-held section of Sadr City at dawn Tuesday, and met no opposition.

Published: May 21, 2008
BAGHDAD — Iraqi forces rolled unopposed through the huge Shiite enclave of Sadr City on Tuesday, a dramatic turnaround from the bitter fighting that has plagued the Baghdad neighborhood for two months, and a qualified success for Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki.

Targets of the Operation
 Back Story With The Times’s Stephen Farrell (mp3)
Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images, for The New York Times
Iraqi soldiers prepared Tuesday to enter northern Sadr City, which Shiite militias had used to fire rockets at the Green Zone.

As it did in the southern city of Basra last month, the Iraqi government advanced its goal of establishing sovereignty and curtailing the powers of the militias.

This was a hopeful accomplishment, but one that came with caveats: In both cities, the militias eventually melted away in the face of Iraqi troops backed by American firepower. Thus nobody can say just where the militias might re-emerge or when Iraqi and American forces might need to fight them again.

By late Tuesday, Iraqi troops had pushed deep into the district and set up positions around hospitals and police stations, which the Iraqi government was seeking to bring under its control.

The main military question now is whether Iraqi soldiers can solidify their hold over Sadr City in the coming days. And the main political one is whether the Maliki government will cement its gains by carrying out its long-promised, multimillion-dollar program of economic assistance and job creation to win over a still wary population and erode the militias’ base of support.

Sadr City has long been a simmering trouble spot, a haven for Shiite militias and a conduit for what American commanders say are Iranian-supplied arms, including explosively formed penetrators, a particularly lethal type of roadside bomb.

In the past two months, it has also become a test of the government’s ability to find its footing in the slippery terrain of Middle Eastern Shiite politics and internal divisions among Iraq’s governing Shiite parties.

The recent fighting flared up in late March after Mr. Maliki sent troops to gain control of the port city of Basra. Shiite militants responded by taking over Iraqi Army checkpoints on the outskirts of Sadr City and using the neighborhood as a launching pad to fire rockets at the Green Zone, the seat of the Iraqi government and site of the United States Embassy.

American and Iraqi forces had little choice but to fight their way in to suppress the rocket fire. They pushed their way to Al Quds Street, which gave them a measure of control over the southern quarter of Sadr City. A massive concrete wall was erected along the thoroughfare to try to keep the militants out.

But that still left most of Sadr City in the hands of Shiite militias, which continued to lob rockets at the Green Zone and attack the Iraqi and American troops in the neighborhood’s southern tier.

Mr. Maliki had responded to a challenge from Shiite militias in Basra by mounting a hasty operation. The military campaign caught American officials by surprise and appeared to sputter at the start as the Iraqi forces faced logistical problems and more than 1,000 desertions.

But as the Basra operation proceeded and Iraqi troops began to pour into the city, militia commanders drifted away. Mr. Maliki was strengthened politically in his drive to shape an image as a strong and decisive leader, the kind of leader many Iraqis, Sunni and Shiite, think is needed to control the country.

Emboldened by the outcome in Basra, the prime minister wanted to act quickly against the militias in Sadr City as well, according to American and Iraqi officials. He was inclined to see the struggle as a test of wills, which he could win by striking a decisive blow, the officials said.

Iraqi and Americans commanders, chastened by the stumbling first week of the Basra operation, favored a more deliberate approach. Sadr City is densely populated, with more than two million people, a bastion of support for Moktada al-Sadr, the radical cleric, and a neighborhood with a resilient collection of militia cells adept at hiding among the populace. With operations in Basra, Mosul and other parts of Iraq, the Iraqi military was stretched.

Additional forces were brought in, including the Third Brigade of the First Iraqi Army Division, a quick reaction force from Anbar Province. Lt. Gen. Abud Qanbar, the commander of Iraqi forces in Baghdad, developed a plan to advance north into the heart of Sadr City.

The military preparations appeared to be serious, a fact that loomed large for leaders of Mr. Sadr’s militia, the Mahdi Army, who told one reporter last week that the militia was convinced that military operations were imminent.

Maj. Gen. Mizher al-Azawi, the commander of the 11th Iraqi Army Division, said that the operation would be carried out by Iraqi ground forces with the support of American airpower.

But for all the talk by Iraqi government officials about breaking the back of the militias, and the militants’ bluster about defending their turf, it was clear that the two sides had much to lose if they were unable to reach an accommodation, however temporary or expedient.


Page 2 of 2)

Had it come to an urban battle in the Shiite enclave, the Iraqi government, backed by American force, would probably have prevailed. But Iraqi troops would have suffered casualties. Shiite civilians would have been caught in the cross-fire and further alienated from the government. And eventually the Shiite militias, which had already suffered considerable losses, would have been further depleted.

Certainly, a military offensive would not have been a simple operation. The militias had been significantly weakened over the previous two months of fighting. Col. John Hort, the commander of the Third Brigade Combat Team, Fourth Infantry Division, estimated that some 700 militia fighters had been killed by air and ground fire since fighting erupted in late March.
“It is pretty safe to say that we have killed the equivalent of a U.S. battalion,” he said in a recent interview.

Some Mahdi Army leaders put the death toll slightly higher. When a truce was first announced, they threatened to refuse Mr. Sadr’s order to stand down. “What about the martyrs?” a Mahdi battalion leader recently told a reporter. “A thousand martyrs, what did they die for?”

Still, the area directly north of Al Quds Street was believed to have had a heavy concentration of roadside bombs, presenting a substantial challenge for an Iraqi force. Combat engineers and explosive ordnance disposal teams are in short supply in the Iraqi military, which relies heavily on using sappers to cut the wires rigged to explosives.

A Sadr City battle would also have sent Iraqi forces into one of the most heavily populated sections of Baghdad, where there were ample opportunities for ambushes. Militia snipers have already taken a toll on Iraqi troops with powerful .50-caliber rifles.

There were other threats, as well. In one instance not previously disclosed, an American M1 tank was damaged by an RPG-29, an advanced anti-tank weapon. Even less powerful types of rocket-propelled grenades could pose a threat to some Iraqi vehicles, which are generally less heavily armored than those employed by the Americans.

While the planning continued, American military officials cited reports that Mahdi Army and Iranian-backed commanders were sneaking out of Sadr City and perhaps even Iraq. People close to Mahdi leaders in Sadr City said they knew some who were leaving for Lebanon by way of Iran.

“We have seen a lot of indications that some of the senior leaders within JAM and the special groups are preparing to leave or have already left Sadr City,” Colonel Hort said last week, referring to Jaysh al Mahdi, as the Mahdi Army is known, and the Iranian-backed militias the military refers to as special groups.

Iran, according to some Western analysts, was also focusing on developments in Lebanon, where it has been supporting the militant group Hezbollah, and seemed interested in an arrangement in which the groups it backed in Sadr City would withdraw to fight another day.

With the emergence of a political accord, the Iraqi military began to develop a new plan, which American officers learned about late last week. It assumed that Iraqi troops would be welcomed, or at least tolerated, by the residents. Instead of an assault through the roadside bombs, six battalions would drive in on parallel streets and set up checkpoints and search for weapons.

That plan was carried out on Tuesday and was uncontested.

So far, the Iraqi Army has been a winner. Iraqi commanders received, and sometimes rejected, advice from the American military. But in the end they were able to execute a plan that was very much their own.

Only two dozen or so roadside bombs were reported found, however, raising a question of whether others had been hidden by the militias for another day. Nor is it clear how energetic Iraqi soldiers will be in carrying out searches in a Mahdi Army stronghold.

Brig. Gen. Daniel B. Allyn, the chief of staff for the Multinational Corps in Iraq, said the Iraqi government had considered various factors.

“When you exert lethal actions against Sadr City, you are de facto going against a fairly poor sector of the Shia populace,” he said. “So that is a dynamic that the government of Iraq has to keep in their analysis about what is the right way to deal with this, and we believe a measured approach is appropriate.”
26663  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / The Texas Cult on: May 21, 2008, 06:53:22 AM
Civilization and the Texas Cult
May 21, 2008; Page A17

The desperate tragedy involving polygamous cultists in Texas has attracted a growing phalanx of lawyers, judges, law enforcers and assorted psychologists.

Those responsible for coping with this astonishing disaster would be well-advised to add a primatologist to the team. The fact is that, despite all the blather about faith and freedom of religion, the men operating the various compounds in question are behaving in virtually the same manner as countless dominant males in countless primate troops observed over the years.

The essence of the case is that the men who control the politics of the group (as well as the hapless women and children who live there) have used junk theology about heaven, hell, paradise and salvation to maintain their unquestioned access to all females of reproductive age (or younger).

That's the reproductive fantasy of any adult male primate.

In this blow to simple decency, the Texas polygamists are not pathfinders. Multiple wives are of course permitted in the Islamic religion, and co-wives are a feature of dozens of human groups in which powerful men control sufficient resources to be able to support more than one woman.

This is usually because the societies in which they live are sharply unequal. Sex and offspring flow to those with resources.

One of the triumphs of Western arrangements is the institution of monogamy, which has in principle made it possible for each male and female to enjoy a plausible shot at the reproductive outcome which all the apparatus of nature demands. Even Karl Marx did not fully appreciate the immense radicalism of this form of equity.

The Texans' faith-flaunting is morally disgraceful and crudely cynical. It also raises bewildering questions about human gullibility on one hand and the efficacy of the Big Lie on the other.

Can anyone really believe that the notorious communal bed to which senior men command 16-year-old girls is part of some holy temple apparatus? Apparently some people do, and the few escapees from the fetid zoo have testified to the power the ridiculous theory wields.

The victims are not only young women but young men too. They are reproductively and productively disenfranchised, and are in effect forced to leave the communities to become hopeless, ill-schooled misfits in the towns of normal life. No dignified lives as celibate monks with colorful costumes for them.

Again, the issue is cross-cultural. Osama bin Laden has at least five wives, which means that four young men of his tribe have no date on Saturday night and forever. They may become willing jihadists, or desperate suicides eager to soothe their god by killing infidels and Americans.

Elsewhere, preference for sons has meant a sharp shortage of women in China. It is known that raiding parties from there cross into bordering countries with more regular sex ratios to steal women.

The deranged cults have been operating in plain sight for years in Texan communities whose police forces have been earnestly writing parking tickets while ignoring what is obvious major criminality. Some 400 young children have been drastically separated from their mothers – who among other derogations of civil life are allegedly part of longstanding welfare fraud engineered by their sexual tyrants.

And now what? It will be intensely depressing but probably useful to acknowledge this is at bottom a natural matter, a product of our inner behavioral nature. Understanding the shadowy sources of this nightmare may help our community cope with its victims.

Mr. Tiger teaches anthropology at Rutgers and is the author of "The Decline of Males" (St. Martin's, 2000).

See all of today's editorials and op-eds, plus video commentary, on Opinion Journal.

And add your comments to the Opinion Journal forum.
26664  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Afghanistan-Pakistan-India on: May 21, 2008, 06:50:56 AM
Geopolitical Diary: The Pakistani-Indian Rivalry Intensifies
May 20, 2008
After much delay, India and Pakistan will hold foreign secretary-level talks in Islamabad on May 20 as part of the ongoing Indo-Pakistani peace process. Confidence-building measures will be discussed, including expanding trade and transit links across the border, but the political theater of the summit will still do little to cover up a growing security conflict between the two South Asian rivals.

The peace talks are taking place against a backdrop of heightened border tensions across the Line of Control (LoC) — the border that splits the highly disputed region of Kashmir between India and Pakistan. The past month, in particular, has witnessed a series of cease-fire violations across the LoC (ostensibly provoked by Pakistan) detailed below that have placed India on guard.

May 8: Indian border guards spotted a group of armed men cutting through a barbed wire fence to cross into Indian-held Kashmir in the Samba sector, prompting cross-border fire.
May 13: Islamist militants, likely backed by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, launched a bomb attack in the northern Indian city of Jaipur, killing 63 people. India’s ruling Congress party refrained from blaming Pakistan outright, but said a “foreign hand” was responsible for the attack
May 14: The Indian military accused Pakistani troops of firing at an Indian army post across the LoC in the Tangdhar region.
May 15: India announced its deployment of an additional 5,000 troops to Tangdhar, Keran, Macchal and Gurez along the LoC to prevent further militant infiltration. A few days later it was announced that another 1,000 troops were deployed to the Samba sector.
May 19: Pakistan rejected as baseless an Indian claim that Pakistani troops had fired on an Indian post across the LoC, killing an Indian soldier. Cross-border firing is typically used as cover for insurgents to cross the border into Indian-administered Kashmir.
The situation has not yet reached a critical point, but as we watch further developments along this geopolitically contentious border, we must keep in mind the competing interests of the three main players who have a stake in the conflict: the United States, India and Pakistan.

The current U.S. priority in South Asia is to sustain pressure on Islamabad to deliver on its counterterrorism commitments. With the U.S. military focus shifting more toward NATO operations in Afghanistan, Washington is not exactly thrilled with the Pakistani government’s preferred method of dealing with its insurgents — which usually entails a balancing act of backdoor deals with militants that do little to stem the insurgent tide across the Afghan-Pakistani border. One way for Washington to turn the screws on Pakistan is to try the old U.S. game of exploiting tensions between India and Pakistan and then swooping in to demand concessions from Islamabad in return for getting the Indians to stand down. It is not yet clear whether this is a strategy Washington wants to pursue, however.

India so far has given off a fairly muted response to the recent Pakistani actions. After the Jaipur attack, India was quick to reaffirm that it would not walk away from its scheduled peace talks with Pakistan, while taking care not to blame the Pakistani government outright. The troop build-up along certain sectors of the LoC was motivated primarily by the ruling government’s need to fend off domestic opposition for being “soft on terror.” With state and general elections looming, the ruling Congress party has to show it actually has the political muscle to deal with Pakistan, but it also is facing a slew of problems domestically over rising inflation, food and fuel prices. Starting things up with Pakistan could allow the Indian government to distract the people from their domestic ailments, but it’s highly questionable whether the government can deal effectively with an escalated military conflict across its Pakistani border while juggling these other issues.

Pakistan meanwhile appears to be pursuing a far more complex strategy. As mentioned, the Pakistanis are facing pressure from all sides to get a grip over their jihadist problem. While insurgent management is a tricky business, the Pakistani security apparatus has an old method of reshuffling its militant proxies back and forth between its border with India and Afghanistan depending on its geopolitical priority at the time. Since Pakistan can’t afford to employ a force-only method in dealing with the insurgents, it has instead given the green light to a number of Islamist militant groups to ramp up attacks in Kashmir to go along with its plan of gradually shifting the militant focus away from the Pakistani-Afghan theater.

Just as the United States has played the India card, Pakistan, too, appears to have learned the benefits of raising the specter of a military conflict with India to deal more effectively with Washington. Pakistan needs to get the United States off its back as it tries to figure out how to manage its militant problem, particularly as the United States is exhibiting a higher tolerance for incurring domestic instability in Pakistan. In light of the domestic political pressures India currently faces, if Pakistan can show it’s willing to go the extra step to provoke a military conflict with India, it can distract its populace from the insurgency problem and spur the United States to reconsider pushing Pakistan too far.

And there is yet another added benefit to this strategy for Pakistan: Since 2001, Islamabad has warily been eyeing Washington’s warming relationship with New Delhi. Islamabad thus will jump at any opportunity to throw a wrench into U.S.-Indian relations. As long as Pakistan can plant the idea in India that the United States is turning a blind eye to an uptick in Kashmiri militant traffic in return for Pakistan’s cooperation in stemming jihadist traffic along the Afghan border, the United States and India could be headed for a rough patch.
Pakistan’s government on May 21 reached a 15-point peace deal with Taliban militants in the country’s northern Swat valley, The Associated Press reported, citing Bashir Bilour, a senior minister in the North-West Frontier Province. The deal, which was signed in Peshawar, requires militants to recognize government authority, halt suicide and bomb attacks and turn over foreign militants in the region, Bilour said. In return, Bilour said the government must release prisoners and make certain concessions on the demands of pro-Taliban cleric Maulana Fazlullah for Islamic law in the region. The army also will gradually pull out of the Swat area, Bilour added, one of the militants’ key demands.
26665  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Activity after a concussion on: May 21, 2008, 06:32:29 AM

Student athletes who return to sports quickly after a concussion appear to have a slower brain recovery than teens who stay off the field longer, a new study shows.
The report, from The Journal of Athletic Training, suggests that athletes who suffer from even mild concussions should slow down their return to the sports field. In fact, students with less severe injuries appeared to be those who return to sports the fastest. But resuming intense physical activity appeared to slow their recovery and even exacerbated their symptoms.
“By continuing with high levels of activity, they began to exhibit similar symptoms to those who initially experienced a more severe concussion,” said Jason P. Mihalik, an athletic trainer from the University of North Carolina and an author of the study.
The researchers tracked the medical records and activity levels of 95 student athletes, including 15 girls, who had suffered concussions in school sports. The students were evaluated using cognitive tests immediately after the concussion and in follow-up visits. The data showed that athletes who engaged in the highest level of activity soon after the initial injury tended to demonstrate the worst neurocognitive scores and slowest reaction times. Students fared better if they didn’t return immediately to their sport but instead simply engaged in normal school and home activities.
The study data reflect a general trend showing lower visual memory and reaction scores during the month following the injury among athletes who returned to their sports quickly after a concussion. But the data can’t be used to make specific recommendations about how long students should stay off the field after a concussion, which depends on the extent of the individual injury. However, the study does show that when it comes to concussions, the more time off to heal, the better.
Every year there are more than 300,000 sports-related concussions in the United States, and more than 60,000 cases occur among high school students. The study authors said that the results highlight the notion that concussion management may need to include recommendations regarding return to all activities, including school, work and daily chores, and not just sport-specific activities.
“Given the health issues associated with concussion, which may last longer than once thought, the decision on when and how to return an athlete not only to the playing field, but also to normal day-to-day activity, has begun receiving attention as a national health issue,” Mr. Mihalik said.
Part of the problem is that the culture of student athletics tends to reward students who stay on the field after a head injury, as reported in this Times story. The story is accompanied by this interactive graphic detailing numerous high school sports injuries.
And I recommend watching both of the following videos about what can happen when students suffer concussions on the field.

26666  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Captain John Parker at Lexington on: May 21, 2008, 06:20:16 AM

"Don't fire unless fired upon. But if they want a war let it
begin here."

-- Captain John Parker (commander of the militiamen at Lexington,
Massachusetts, on siting British Troops (attributed), 19 April

Reference: The Spirit of 'Seventy-Six, Commanger and Morris (70)
26667  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Karambit Vs. straight blades on: May 21, 2008, 06:07:25 AM
The conversation is percolating nicely now.  Very good post Maija!

"Many of the known natural predators have natural Karambit hanging/popping out of their body's for a reason. What those reason are, I hope to never find out."

If I am not mistaken, the claws typically are used to hold the prey while the fangs are use to insert/thrust.  Sometimes the fangs insertion/thrust severes something important e.g. the spine, other times they are used to hold while vigrous shaking accomplishes snapping the neck(or spine?)

Continuing on a point Maija makes, I have read that often people do not know that they have been cut or stabbed. "I thought he was punching me, but after the fight was over I saw I had been stabbed/cut."  Does this not mean we need to think about the small knife from an impact POV as well?

26668  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DB Gathering of the Pack August 10th, 2008 on: May 21, 2008, 05:54:25 AM
Woof Dog Dean:

You have email.


I should mention that it needs to be in the LA area.

26669  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Location, location, location on: May 20, 2008, 10:02:38 PM
Woof All:

In today's episode of "As the Stick Twirls" we learned that we do not have a place for the Gathering yet.  shocked shocked tongue  Any ideas, suggestions, offers?

The Adventure continues!
Crafty Dog
26670  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Liner lock issues on: May 20, 2008, 09:54:29 PM
Where do you live? 
26671  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / News crew attacked on: May 20, 2008, 01:59:36 PM
TV news crew attacked by officials at tax-funded Muslim school
Posted at: 05/19/2008 02:54:48 PM

By: Nicole Muehlhausen, Web Producer

News crew confronted during report at TiZA charter school

In an attempt to report about the new findings from the Department of Education Monday, 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS went to Tarik ibn Zayad Academy in Inver Grove Heights.  While on school grounds, our crew was confronted by school officials. Our photographer was injured while wrestling with the two men over the camera.  Our photographer was examined by paramedics and suffered minor shoulder and back injuries.

The state education department on Monday directed the charter school to "correct" two areas related to religion at the school on Monday.

Tarik ibn Zayad Academy, which focuses on Middle Eastern culture and shares a mosque with the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, came under fire after a teacher alleged that the school was offering religious instruction in Islam to its students.

"The Minnesota Department of Education goes to great lengths to make clear to charter schools and their sponsors that, while schools should appropriately accomodate students' religious beliefs, they must be 'nonsectarian' under the state's charter school law," said the state's education Deputy Commissioner Chas Anderson.

The allegations first surfaced after an article by a columnist for the Star Tribune. The Education Department subsequently began a review of the south metro school and released its findings Monday.  The agency said it was concerned about the school, with about 300 students, accommodating communal prayer and providing transportation to an after-school religious program.

"We have directed the school to take appropriate corrective actions regarding these matters and will continue to provide oversight to ensure that the school is in compliance with state and federal law," Anderson said.

You can watch the attack on the news channel web site.

You Tube has it as well.

To avoid blurring the line between religion and public education, a Twin Cities charter school must undertake "corrective actions," the state Department of Education said Monday.
Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy, which teaches hundreds of Muslim students at its Inver Grove Heights and Blaine campuses, should modify its communal prayers on Fridays to make sure students aren't missing too much school, according to the state report.
The report also recommends the school provide after-school busing at different times for students who aren't participating in religious activities.
State officials did not have any concerns with the school's instruction or curriculum.
"With regard to the areas reviewed, most of TiZA's operations are in compliance with state and federal law," Deputy Commissioner Chas Anderson said in a statement.
The state's most important finding is that TiZA is not teaching Islam to students, said Asad Zaman, the school's executive director.
"When something is illegal, it's illegal," he said. "We have done nothing illegal."
He called the state's concerns minor but said the K-8 school will cooperate with the department to propose alternative schedules.
Many TiZA students take five minutes Monday through Thursday to pray, and this causes little interruption, according to the report. But on Fridays — the Muslim holy day — a 30-minute chunk of time is set aside for students to pray. The department is concerned that students
who pray that day may not fulfill the state's minimum hourly attendance requirement, that the prayer takes place in a public school building, and that younger students may not understand that teachers who decide to pray with them are not promoting Islam.
Zaman, who does not participate in the prayer time, said community volunteers run the Friday prayer in the school gymnasium. The state's other concern is with the school's transportation schedule: School is dismissed around 3:30 p.m.,

but no busing is provided until about 4:30 p.m. — when after-school activities end.
According to the report, some Inver Grove Heights students participate in a Muslim studies class that the adjacent Muslim American Society of Minnesota runs. The school said it does not track the number of students enrolled in the class.
Meanwhile, about 30 percent to 40 percent of the school's 400 or so students participate in the school's free program called CARE, which teaches students about empathy-building, problem-solving and anger management.
The school also offers Girl Scouts, Boys Scouts and community volunteer activities.
The bus arrives at the later hour to accommodate families, said Zaman, who added that it was preferred by 98 percent of parents.
It's also a financial move, because it is nearly $100,000 more expensive to bus students at 3:30 p.m., Zaman said.
The school already has discussed several scheduling solutions, Zaman said.
"We cannot solve everything right away," he said. "But this is not an unsolvable problem."
A columnist for the Star Tribune of Minneapolis, Katherine Kersten, sparked the investigation after she wrote that the school mixed the roles of religion and public education. Her column aired a substitute teacher's allegations that school officials promoted Islam in the classroom.
The school has received numerous threats and installed a new security system as a result of the column, Zaman said. State officials acknowledged that TiZA has received threatening messages and thanked school staff for cooperating at a time when students and employees were concerned for their safety.
The controversy has sparked national and local media attention, and on Monday, a KSTP-TV photographer had his camera briefly confiscated after he walked onto school property and began filming students as classes let out. Inver Grove Heights police officials said they were called to the scene, but as of Monday evening, no arrests had been made or citations handed out.
Joe Nathan, director for the Center for School Change at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute, said the controversy surrounding the school has diverted attention from the school's success in working with students from first-generation immigrant families.
Zaman agrees.
"We will continue to follow the law," he said. "It's in the best interest of the children and community." Bao Ong can be reached at 651-228-5435.

26672  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Obama and the Jews on: May 20, 2008, 08:55:45 AM
Obama and the Jews
May 20, 2008; Page A21
America's Jews account for a mere 2% of the U.S. population. But they have voted the Democratic ticket by margins averaging 78% over the past four election cycles, and their votes are potentially decisive in swing states like Florida and Pennsylvania. They also contribute an estimated half of all donations given to national Democratic candidates.

So whatever his actual convictions, it is a matter of ordinary political prudence that Barack Obama "get right with the Jews." Since Jews tend to be about as liberal as the Illinois senator on most domestic issues, what this really means is that he get right with Israel.

And so he has.

Over his campaign's port side have gone pastor Jeremiah Wright ("Every time you say 'Israel' Negroes get awfully quiet on you because they [sic] scared: Don't be scared; don't be scared"); former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski ("I think what the Israelis are doing today [2006] for example in Lebanon is in effect – maybe not in intent – the killing of hostages"); and former Clinton administration diplomat Robert Malley (an advocate and practitioner of talks with Hamas).

The campaign has also managed to clarify, or perhaps retool, Mr. Obama's much-quoted line that "nobody is suffering more than the Palestinian people." What the senator was actually saying, he now tells us, is that "nobody has suffered more than the Palestinian people from the failure of the Palestinian leadership to recognize Israel, to renounce violence, and to get serious about negotiating peace and security for the region."

Still more forthrightly, Mr. Obama recently told the Atlantic Monthly that "the idea of a secure Jewish state is a fundamentally just idea, and a necessary idea, given not only world history but the active existence of anti-Semitism, the potential vulnerability that the Jewish people could still experience."

I can think of no good reason to doubt the sincerity of Mr. Obama's comments. Nor, from the standpoint of American Jewry, is there anything to be gained from doing so: The fastest way to turn whatever dark suspicions Jews may have of Mr. Obama into a self-fulfilling prophecy is to spurn his attempts at outreach.

Yet the significant question isn't whether Mr. Obama is "pro-Israel," in the sense that his heart is in the right place and he isn't quite Jimmy Carter. What matters is whether his vision for U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East – and the broader world view that informs it – will have ancillary effects favorable to Israel's core interests.

Take Hamas and Hezbollah, which pose the nearest threats to Israel's security. Mr. Obama has insisted he opposes negotiating with Hamas "until they recognize Israel, renounce terrorism and abide by previous agreements." He also calls Hezbollah a "destabilizing organization."

But if Mr. Obama's litmus test for his choice of negotiating partners is their recognition of Israel and their renunciation of terrorism, then what is the sense in negotiating without preconditions with Iran and Syria?

Alternatively, if the problem with Hamas and Hezbollah is that neither holds the reins of government, what happens when they actually do? Hamas won the Palestinian parliamentary elections in January 2006; Hezbollah sits in the Lebanese cabinet. Would Mr. Obama be willing to parley if, in the course of his administration, either group should come to power?

Or take Iran, which Israelis universally see as their deadliest enemy. Yes, there are arguments to be made in favor of presidential-level negotiations between Washington and Tehran – perhaps as a last-ditch effort to avert military strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities. But does anyone seriously think Mr. Obama would authorize such strikes?

Instead, Mr. Obama says he favors "tough diplomacy," including tighter sanctions on Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps. Last fall, however, he was one of only 22 senators to oppose a Senate resolution calling for the IRGC to be designated as a terrorist organization, a vote that made him a dove even within the Democratic Party. Mr. Obama argued at the time the amendment would give the administration a pretext to go to war with Iran. It was an odd claim for a nonbinding resolution.

Or take Iraq. Israelis are now of two minds as to the wisdom of the invasion of Iraq, mainly because they fear it has weakened America's hand vis-à-vis Iran. Maybe. But is it so clear that a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq wouldn't further strengthen Iran's hand, and consolidate the so-called Shiite crescent stretching from southern Iraq to the hills overlooking northern Israel?

Finally, there is Israel itself. In the Atlantic interview, Mr. Obama declared that "my job in being a friend to Israel is partly to hold up a mirror and tell the truth," particularly in respect to the settlements. Yes, there are mirrors that need to be held up to those settlements, as there are to those Palestinians whose terrorism makes their dismantlement so problematic. Perhaps there is also a mirror to be held up to an American foreign-policy neophyte whose amazing conceit is that he understands Israel's dilemmas better than Israelis themselves.

Write to
26673  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Jefferson: Arms on: May 20, 2008, 08:35:50 AM
"One loves to possess arms, though they (sic) hope never to have occasion
for them."

-- Thomas Jefferson (letter to George Washington, 19 June 1796)

Reference: The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Library of Congress,
Mansucript Division, Microfilm Roll #51
26674  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Daily Expression of Gratitude on: May 20, 2008, 08:17:09 AM
Grateful for my son keeping me company during yesterday's KB workout and for our game of Scrabble afterwords.
26675  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Karambit Vs. straight blades on: May 20, 2008, 07:53:04 AM
Of course legal issues apply here.

The PD solution has much to recommend it technically, but apart from LEOs and military in the field, what jurisdiction allows civilians to legally carry one?
26676  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / From Russia with hate on: May 20, 2008, 12:50:49 AM
26677  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: The Lawyers' War on: May 19, 2008, 11:55:37 PM

The Lawyers War
May 20, 2008; Page A22
The war on terror is easily the most litigated war in history, and on the evidence so far the lawyers are winning. They may yet succeed in killing military commissions, despite their long U.S. history and a law duly passed by Congress and signed by the President.

The latest legal battle concerns the Pentagon's attempt to try the perpetrators of 9/11. You'd think this would be easy compared, say, to trying the eight Nazis who secretly landed on Long Island and Florida in June 1942. Those Nazis didn't kill any Americans. Yet they were captured within days and convicted by military commissions established by FDR; most were sentenced to hang within two months. The Supreme Court validated the action in Quirin. But today, nearly seven years after 9/11, the U.S. still hasn't tried the conspirators who planned the deaths of 3,000 Americans.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and five others have been referred for trial at Guantanamo Bay under the 2006 Military Commissions Act. Yet a guerrilla campaign by military attorneys and human-rights lawyers is throwing up obstacles at every turn. The latest is an attempt to discredit Brigadier General Thomas Hartmann, the legal adviser to the commissions who has been given the thankless task of getting the trials underway.

General Hartmann was disqualified this month from advising in the case of one terror defendant on the preposterous grounds that he had exerted "undue influence." How so? It seems he had told military prosecutors that they should get better training, and that the cases to try first should be the "sexy" ones that might "capture the imagination of the American people." Such as those involving the deaths of 3,000 Americans.

In his bizarre decision, Military Judge Keith Allred conceded this wouldn't disqualify the legal adviser in a normal military court-martial. But it was enough in this case because Congress wanted the military commissions to avoid even the "appearance of unlawful command influence." Congress didn't define such unlawful influence, however, so Judge Allred defined it himself. And his elastic definition included the fact that the antiwar Harper's magazine had published a screed against military commissions and General Hartmann. Seriously.

Keep in mind that the trial judge in each case, not General Hartmann, still makes the decision about admitting evidence and other trial conduct. All General Hartmann has been doing is providing some legal direction to the prosecutors trying the case, rather like a district attorney or U.S. Attorney. The logic of Judge Allred's ruling is that General Hartmann must defer more to prosecutors in al Qaeda cases than he would in courts-martial against American soldiers.

Meanwhile, the press has distorted another recent Guantanamo decision. Susan Crawford, the former civilian judge who is supervising the military tribunals, dismissed the capital charges last week against one of the six al Qaeda 9/11 conspirators. Mohammed al-Qahtani was allegedly going to be the 20th hijacker on 9/11 had he been admitted to the U.S. He was captured in late 2001.

Echoing defense attorneys, the press is calling Judge Crawford's decision a setback for the tribunals and is reporting the now-routine claim he was tortured under interrogation. But those attorneys haven't seen Judge Crawford's ruling, which is under seal. We're told the judge separated al-Qahtani on grounds that he was less central to the conspiracy than were the likes of KSM, and that being tried with the five others might have prejudiced the death-penalty case against him. In other words, her ruling shows how independent Judge Crawford and the tribunals are from Pentagon pressure.

The larger game here, among many lawyers and most of the press, is to give the impression that military commissions are unworkable. The critics want to delay the trials long enough to push them into the next Administration, which they hope will then abandon commissions. Their ultimate goal is to get terrorists tried like any other defendant in civilian courts or regular courts-martial – fully aware of how daunting the chance of convictions would be.

The critics are especially worried that KSM and friends might go on trial before the November election, because their testimony is likely to celebrate their murders and remind the world how much they want to kill Americans. They deserve to be tried as "enemy combatants" under military tribunals precisely because they have violated the rules of war. The case against them also involves classified intelligence that can't be heard in open court.

Congress and the executive branch have decided that military commissions are necessary to defend the country, and the Supreme Court decided in Hamdan in 2006 that they are legal when properly established by both branches. The obligation of military lawyers is to get on with the trials, and see that justice is done to those who killed innocent Americans.

See all of today's editorials and op-eds, plus video commentary, on Opinion Journal.
26678  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / WSJ A FARC fan's notes on: May 19, 2008, 11:43:30 PM
A FARC Fan's Notes
March 25, 2008; Page A22

A hard drive recovered from the computer of a killed Colombian guerrilla has offered more insights into the opposition of House Democrats to the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement.

A military strike three weeks ago killed Raúl Reyes, No. 2 in command of the FARC, Colombia's most notorious terrorist group. The Reyes hard drive reveals an ardent effort to do business directly with the FARC by Congressman James McGovern (D., Mass.), a leading opponent of the free-trade deal. Mr. McGovern has been working with an American go-between, who has been offering the rebels help in undermining Colombia's elected and popular government.

Mr. McGovern's press office says the Congressman is merely working at the behest of families whose relatives are held as FARC kidnap hostages. However, his go-between's letters reveal more than routine intervention.

The intervenor with the FARC is James C. Jones, who the Congressman's office says is a "development expert and a former consultant to the United Nations." Accounts of Mr. Jones's exchanges with the FARC appeared in Colombia's Semana magazine on March 15. This Mr. Jones should not be confused with the former Congressman and ambassador to Mexico of the same name from Oklahoma.

"Receive my warm greetings, as always, from Washington," Mr. Jones began in a letter to the rebels last fall. "The big news is that I spoke for several hours with the Democratic Congressman James McGovern. In the meeting we had the opportunity to exchange some ideas that will be, I believe, of interest to the FARC-EP [popular army]."

Mr. Jones added that "a fundamental problem is that the FARC does not have, strategically, a spokesman that can communicate directly with persons of influence in my country like Mr. McGovern." Semana reports that in the documents Mr. Jones "rules himself out as the spokesman but offers himself as a 'bridge' of communication between the FARC and the congressman." Semana says when it spoke with Mr. Jones, he verified the letter and explained that "he made the offer because the guerrillas need interlocutors if they want to achieve peace and that it is a mistake to isolate them."

But communications among FARC rebels suggest the goal was to isolate Colombia's government. A letter that Reyes wrote to top FARC commander Manuel Marulanda on October 26 reads: "According to [Jones's] viewpoint, [President Álvaro] Uribe is increasingly discredited in the U.S. . . He believes that the safe haven [for the rebels] in the counties can be had for reasons mentioned. Congressional Democrats have invited him to Washington to talk about the Colombian crisis in which the principal theme is the swap."

Semana reports that Mr. Jones made some proposals to the FARC, including a Caracas meeting with representatives of Venezuela, Colombia, the FARC, other South American countries, U.S. Congressmen and the Catholic Church. "It would be almost impossible for Uribe to reject such a meeting," Mr. Jones wrote, "without burning himself a lot, nationally and internationally. If he persists in being against it, I have understood that there are ways to pressure him from my country [the U.S.]."

In a letter to Semana, Mr. Jones said his words were taken out of context. He says he is not in favor of the "violent methods of the guerrilla" or "the military solutions" of the government. He had only a professional relationship with the FARC and had to address them as he did because he had to build trust. Mr. McGovern's office says it knew what Mr. Jones was doing and engaged with him because "we need to find an interlocutor who could discuss these things including the safe haven" for the guerrillas.

We think the documents reveal something else entirely: Some Democrats oppose the Colombia trade deal because they sympathize more with FARC's terrorists than with a U.S. antiterror ally.
26679  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Karambit Vs. straight blades on: May 19, 2008, 07:46:29 PM

Well, duh!  cheesy

More seriously now, the only one that can help you is one you can pull during the middle of a fight wherein fear of serious bodily injury or death is at risk. Is there a difference between the three categories in this regard?  What technique/grip is best for a FUT? etc etc.


26680  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Taser vs. Taser on: May 19, 2008, 07:39:52 PM
 rolleyes rolleyes rolleyes

May 19, 12:46 AM EDT

2 Colo. men exchange Taser shots over parked van

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) -- It wasn't exactly pistols at 30 paces, but police say a security company supervisor and a restaurateur shot each other with Tasers in a "bonehead" confrontation over parking.

Officers said neither man needed medical attention after the Saturday confrontation, but Harvey Epstein, co-owner of Mamacitas restaurant, was arrested on suspicion of felony menacing and using a stun gun.

A police report said Epstein and Casey M. Dane, a supervisor for Colorado Security Services Inc., were arguing over a metal boot that one of Dane's guards had clamped on a wheel of a van parked behind Mamacitas.

Dane told police he was afraid Epstein was going to hit him with a 2-foot-long pair of bolt cutters. Epstein told police he had only tried to remove the boot with the bolt cutters and hadn't threatened anyone with them.

Epstein told police Dane put his hand on a holstered pistol and threatened to shoot him. Dane told The Associated Press by telephone that he did put his hand on the holstered pistol but never threatened to shoot Epstein.

Both men drew Tasers.

"They shot each other," Police Sgt. Pat Wyton told the Camera newspaper. "It was just kind of a bonehead deal."

The guard claimed the van, owned by a Mamacitas employee, was on property he was hired to patrol. The van owner denied that.

Epstein, 36, told the AP in a phone interview Sunday he took out his Taser only after Dane pointed his at him and his mother, who was also outside. Epstein also said Dane repeatedly told him he was a police officer and that failing to comply with his orders was a federal offense, allegations that Dane denies.
26681  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: The Next American Frontier on: May 19, 2008, 02:26:28 PM

The Next American Frontier
May 19, 2008; Page A15

The entire world seems to be heading toward points of inflection. The developing world is embarking on the digital age. The developed world is entering the Internet era. And the United States, once again at the vanguard, is on the verge of becoming the world's first Entrepreneurial Nation.

At the Chicago World's Fair in 1893, Frederick Jackson Turner delivered a paper to the American Historical Association – the most famous ever by an American historian. In "The Significance of the Frontier in American History," he noted that, according to the most recent U.S. census, so much of the nation had been settled that there was no longer an identifiable western migration. The very notion of a "frontier" was obsolete.

Ryan Inzana 
For three centuries the frontier had defined us, tantalized us with the perpetual chance to "light out for the territories" and start our lives over. It was the foundation of those very American notions of "federalism" and "rugged individualism." But Americans had crossed an invisible line in history, entering a new world with a new set of rules.

What Turner couldn't guess was that the unexplored prairie would become the uninvented new product, the unexploited new market and the untried new business plan.

The great new American frontiers proved to be those of business, science and technology. In the course of the 20th century, Americans invented more milestone technologies and inventions, created more wealth and leisure time, and reorganized their institutions more times than any country had ever done before – despite a massive economic depression and two world wars. It all reached a crescendo in the magical year of 1969, with the creation of the Internet, the invention of the microprocessor and, most of all, a man walking on the moon.

Along with genetic engineering, we are still busily spinning out the implications of these marvels. Yet it is becoming increasingly apparent that the cultural underpinnings of these activities have changed in some fundamental way.

We still have schools, but a growing number of our children are studying at home or attending private schools – and those in public schools are doing ever more amounts of their class work on the Internet.

We still have companies and corporations, but now they are virtualized, with online work teams handing off assignments to each other 24/7 around the world. Men and women go to work, but the office is increasingly likely to be in the den. In 2005, an Intel survey of its employees found that nearly 20% of its professionals had never met their boss face-to-face. Half of them never expected to. Last summer, when the Media X institute at Stanford extended that survey to IBM, Sun, HP, Microsoft and Cisco, the percentages turned out to be even greater.

Newspapers are dying, networks are dying, and if teenage boys playing GTA 4 and World of Warcraft have any say about it, so is television. More than 200 million people now belong to just two social networks: MySpace and Facebook. And there are more than 80 million videos on YouTube, all put there by the same individual initiative.

The most compelling statistic of all? Half of all new college graduates now believe that self-employment is more secure than a full-time job. Today, 80% of the colleges and universities in the U.S. now offer courses on entrepreneurship; 60% of Gen Y business owners consider themselves to be serial entrepreneurs, according to Inc. magazine. Tellingly, 18 to 24-year-olds are starting companies at a faster rate than 35 to 44-year-olds. And 70% of today's high schoolers intend to start their own companies, according to a Gallup poll.

An upcoming wave of new workers in our society will never work for an established company if they can help it. To them, having a traditional job is one of the biggest career failures they can imagine.

Much of childhood today is spent, not in organized sports or organizations, but in ad hoc teams playing online games such as Half Life, or competing in robotics tournaments, or in constructing and decorating MySpace pages. Without knowing it, we have been training a whole generation of young entrepreneurs.

And who is going to dissuade them? Mom, who is a self-employed consultant working out of the spare bedroom? Or Dad, who is at Starbuck's working on the spreadsheet of his new business plan?

In the past there have been trading states like Venice, commercial regions like the Hanseatic League, and even so-called nations of shopkeepers. But there has never been a nation in which the dominant paradigm is entrepreneurship. Not just self-employment or sole proprietorship, but serial company-building, entire careers built on perpetual change, independence and the endless pursuit of the next opportunity.

Without noticing it, we have once again discovered, and then raced off to settle, a new frontier. Not land, not innovation, but ourselves and a growing control over our own lives and careers.

And why not? Each step in the development of American society has been towards an ever-greater level of independence, freedom and personal liberty. And as the rest of the world catches up to where we were, we've already moved on to the next epoch in the national story.

But liberty exacts its own demands. Entrepreneurial America is likely to become even more innovative than it is today. And that innovation is likely to spread across society, not just as products and inventions, but new ways of living and new types of organizations.

The economy will be much more volatile and much more competitive. In the continuous fervor to create new institutions, it will become increasingly difficult to sustain old ones. New political parties, new social groupings, thousands of new manias and movements and millions of new companies will pop up over the next few decades. Large corporations that don't figure out how to combine permanence with perpetual change will be swept away.

This higher level of anarchy will be exciting, but it will also sometimes be very painful. Entire industries will die almost overnight, laying off thousands, while others will just as suddenly appear, hungry for employees. Continuity and predictability will become the rarest of commodities. And if the entrepreneurial personality honors smart failures, by the same token it has little pity for weakness. That fraction of Americans – 10%, 20% – who still dream of the gold watch or the 30-year pin will suffer the most . . . and unless their needs are somehow met as well, they will remain a perpetually open wound in our society.

Scary, exciting, liberating, frustrating, infinitely ambitious and thoroughly amnesic. If you live in a high-tech community like Silicon Valley or Redmond or Austin, you already live in this world. It's hard to imagine more exciting places to be.

For all of our fears about privacy and security, for all the added pressures that will be created by heightened competition and clashing ambitions, America as an entrepreneurial nation will reward each of us with greater independence – and perhaps even greater happiness – than ever before. It waits out there for each of us. Being good entrepreneurs, it's time to look ahead, develop a good plan, and then bet everything on ourselves.

Mr. Malone's next book is "The Protean Corporation" (Random House). This essay was adapted from a recent speech at Santa Clara University.
26682  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Keegan on: May 19, 2008, 01:54:17 PM
I think John Keegan's "History of Warfare" sheds a lot of light on this subject.
26683  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / PS WSJ on: May 19, 2008, 01:02:48 PM
Six-Gun Salute

Proving that time heals some wounds, John McCain spoke Friday at the National Rifle Association, where he made nice with some of his tougher critics over the years. CEO Wayne LaPierre acknowledged that the group has had differences with the candidate, but emphasized the positive. "We're not foolish enough to ignore the vast areas of agreement in which John McCain has been a friend to gun owners," he told the Associated Press.

That may be news to NRA-ers who have not yet forgiven Mr. McCain for his campaign-finance reform. As the architect of McCain-Feingold, the Senator ticked off many NRA members who see the campaign-finance law as an infringement on their freedom to engage in the political process and defend Second Amendment rights. At the group's national convention in 2001, Mr. LaPierre noted that McCain-Feingold would all but kick the NRA out of politics by prohibiting the group's ability to run ads within 60 days of an election season. "Is it possible that John McCain thinks you have too much freedom?" the NRA chief asked at the time.

Mr. McCain has also ticked off gun owners for his support of mandatory background checks at gun shows, which he refers to "closing the gun show loophole"—a position he still takes. On other issues however, the Arizona Senator is seen as a strong supporter of Second Amendment rights. He voted against bans on assault rifles and against limitations on types of ammunition. According to his campaign's Web site, he has also opposed attempts to hold gun manufacturers liable for crimes committed with guns.

Mr. McCain is walking a delicate balance into the general election, letting traditional GOP groups know he cares about their issues while avoiding the kind of flip-flops that did in John Kerry. By declining to sugarcoat things for the NRA audience, Mr. McCain could also gain points with some swing voters, who may only need a few issues to be won over.

-- Collin Levy

The Sweetie Vote

As Hillary Clinton's campaign enters its final days or weeks, it's exposing new rifts within the feminist big tent. The head of Emily's List, Ellen Malcolm, recently attacked NARAL Pro-Choice America for its endorsement of Barack Obama. Though that endorsement came only when Mr. Obama's nomination was all but a fait accompli, Ms. Malcolm still saw betrayal. "I think it is tremendously disrespectful to Senator Clinton," she said, "and it certainly must be disconcerting for elected leaders who stand up for reproductive rights and expect the choice community will stand with them."

But that's not what it's really about, is it? Mr. Obama is also a pro-choice candidate. The real sting is that feminist groups are now abandoning a candidate who has been caught in the ultimate switchback — a woman with decades of career experience losing out to a charming male newcomer who can't equal her credentials but may beat her anyway.

During the campaign, NARAL acted as a frequent fact-checker on the abortion politics of both candidates. It showed some preference for Mr. Obama earlier on when it asked Mrs. Clinton not to go after Mr. Obama's "present" votes on abortion issues while in the Illinois State Senate-positions many of his critics see as an effort to fence sit on controversial issues.

The argument among feminists has been present throughout the primary as many of the most liberal women preferred the antiwar politics of Mr. Obama, even over the unity of the sisterhood. But the Clinton campaign has survived as long as it has largely because of the 60% of white women she has consistently drawn in the primaries. The feminists may give Mr. Obama their vote, but he won't get a free pass: They were out in force to critique him last week when he called a news reporter "sweetie." He apologized.

-- Collin Levy

Michiganders and Floridians Unite!

Hillary Clinton's campaign fired its latest salvo in the fight over Michigan's and Florida's delegates Friday. In an email blast, the former First Lady called on supporters to pressure the Rules Committee of the Democratic Convention to "count every vote."

"Count every vote" has been the mantra of the Democratic Party since Florida in 2000. But it's never made much sense. The goal should be to make every properly cast vote count. If someone shows up a day early or a day late to the polls, his vote doesn't—and shouldn't—count. Likewise, if a Democrat or Republican tries to cast a vote in the wrong party's primary (when that primary is not "open"), it doesn't—and shouldn't—count. (This happened to your correspondent in the New York state primary this year. He hadn't filed his party registration in a timely fashion, so his provisional ballot was rejected.)

In the case of Florida and Michigan, every ballot was cast in violation of party rules that were well known to everyone involved at the time. We'll never know how many Floridians and Michiganders chose not to vote because they understood what was going on. Changing the rules after the votes have been cast isn't democracy.

Knowing the rules before an election is run is essential to a fair ballot. If it were anyone else's delegates in jeopardy, you'd better believe that's the argument that Candidate Clinton would be making.

-- Brian M. Carney

Quote of the Day

Conservatism is alive and well in America; don't let anyone tell you differently. And by conservatism, I don't mean the warmed-over "raise your hand if you believe ..." kind of conservatism we see blooming every election cycle. No, I'm speaking of the conservatism grounded in principles based upon enduring truths: an understanding of the importance of human nature in the affairs of individuals and nations. Respect for the lessons of history, the importance of faith and tradition. The understanding that while man is prone to err, he is capable of great things when not subjugated by a too-powerful government -- Fred Thompson, writing at

Lobbyists Overboard

John McCain spent much of last week suffering self-inflicted wounds over his ties with Washington lobbyists.

Over the weekend, former Texas Congressman Tom Loeffler stepped down as a key McCain adviser after the campaign issued a stringent new hiring policy stipulating that no staffer could work for the campaign if he was also a registered lobbyist or did business on behalf of foreign interests. Mr. Loeffler was the fifth McCain aide to step aside over lobbying connections.

In February, the Arizona Senator easily weathered a New York Times story attempting to tie his official actions to his friendship with a female lobbyist.

Now the list of departing McCain lobbyists has unnecessarily revived the issue and allowed Barack Obama to piously claim that "John McCain is very much a creature of Washington." Mr. Obama can do this and get a media pass for it because he hasn't made a major issue of his lack of ties to lobbyists. While he will boast that he declines to take money from political action committees run by interest groups, he cheerfully has many lobbyists as part of his team and allows them to bundle contributions they've collected from other political players.

It was inevitable that Mr. McCain's occasional sanctimony on matters relating to money in politics would trip him up if he failed to meet an impossible standard for a practicing politician. He would have been better off to state simply that his career demonstrates his independence from special interest groups and disclose which of his advisers were working for outside interests. That would have been better than the parade of McCain officials who have left in the past week, creating the image of a campaign in disarray.

-- John Fund

26684  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Liner lock issues on: May 19, 2008, 12:55:43 PM
Apart from intent issues, there is also the simple fact that concealed fixed blades are a felony per se in many/most jurisdictions. 
26685  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Pre-emption and Sucker Punches on: May 19, 2008, 12:54:15 PM
I will be having dinner with Southnark this Thursday.  Apart from the pleasure of good conversation, there will be one business item discussed: DBMA will be carrying SN's "Managing Unknown Contact" DVD.  In my opinion this is an outstanding piece of work.  (PS:  I have a brief cameo in it as a Bad Guy cheesy )
26686  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Push Dagger on: May 19, 2008, 12:51:08 PM
Lets throw into the mix the consideration of the Push Dagger, which some people like as a solution for FUTs (A southnark term for "Fcuked UP Tangle").
26687  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Native American Fighting Systems on: May 19, 2008, 12:48:51 PM
I have no basis for an opinion.  A Navajo friend of mine writes:

Two perspectives on this topic;
First and foremost – old ways of fighting was banned on military Indian reservations [1885 to 1923].  By the time the musket and revolvers came around most of the old ways were put aside.  If any Indian was caught practicing martial art or any type of warfare activities you were put in a cell.  In some cases, even when the people danced to ask the great creator for guidance – it was thought that they were going up raise.  The result was massacres of elders, women and children. 
No one realizes that the prior American Indian generations were POW’s from about 1820’s to 1972-73.  The Indian Tribe - Nations were finally given sovereignty – self determination, self governance.  Yet there are still Bureau of Indian Affairs offices still alive and well on most Indian reservations.  The BIA used to be part of the Department of Indian Affairs under the Department of Interior – War Department.
Look at stories of Geronimo – who was caught by his own people [Scotts], imprisoned to Fort Sill, Virginia, Florida, and back to Fort Sill.  He was even taken to Europe for the World’s Fair.  Back home on the Military reservations – now Indian Reservations, all arms were taken away – tomahawks, spears, bows & arrows, knifes.  The people were given food, blankets, tents for shelter, etc.  No need for weapons to hunt and gather anymore.  The stories are sad – I have heard them oral stories and read some accounts in history.
I am very skeptical due to what history has stated.  In addition, I grew up on an Indian reservation – all I saw was some boxing, judo, some karate.  I never encountered anyone using Native American Indian martial arts of any type.  Once in while I saw a bunch of drunks fighting in town, social gatherings, etc.  Most of the best fighters were people who came back from the military. 
Second perspective – I heard of a few Native Fighting systems that were being promoted in martial arts magazines.  There was one from Oklahoma – Apaches, one from California – Pomo’s and one from Texas – Comanche.   On other forums, I have even heard that there was Navajo system that someone had learned in Northern Arizona from a police officer.  To me it’s Native fantasy or infatuation, half truths, off shoots of kenpo, shotokan, and kung fu.
I was asked and even talked about in some forums [World Modern Arnis Alliance, Dillman Karate International] regarding me being Navajo and that I would be the best person to talk to. 
The warrior path was is a part of the man’s rites of passage from childhood to adulthood.  Most of those rites of passage ceremonies are no longer practiced on the reservations.  Just in a few families that I am aware of still practice them. 
I met a man name Kurt Seanez while taking a Wing Chun seminar in Albuquerque with Phillip Romero.  He shared with me that there are dances which depict some martial arts movements.  Kurt was invited the Navajo Reservation to a ceremony.  There he witnessed the dances.  He told the host that there are martial arts movements in those dances.
26688  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / CA S Ct decision on: May 19, 2008, 10:40:44 AM
“In Thursday’s 4-3 decision legalizing same-sex marriage, the California Supreme Court stripped children of the right to be raised by a mother and a father. Most of the media coverage of the California Supreme Court’s decision has focused on the court’s declaration that there is a right to same-sex marriage. The ruling invalidated California’s Proposition 22, a state ballot initiative that passed with 61 percent of the vote in 2000, and which banned same-sex marriage in the state. But the California Supreme Court decision goes beyond simply giving same-sex couples the right to call their unions a ‘marriage.’ It also strips children of the right not to be artificially conceived or adopted by people other than a mother and a father. Indeed, the court does not recognize that children have any right whatsoever to a mother and a father. In the decision, the California court sees children primarily through the eyes of same-sex couples who want to secure custody and control of children. The court makes emphatically clear that it deems this to be a right of same-sex couples that is equal to—and identical to—the right of married mothers and fathers to adopt or conceive and raise their own children. In making this argument, the court addresses biological parenthood as an accident of nature that can be swept aside by the court in its pursuit of what the court understands to be justice.” —Terrence Jeffrey
26689  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: May 19, 2008, 10:27:06 AM
Well, I certainly have seen some humor at Teddy's expense about withdrawal symptoms  cheesy
26690  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Medicaid Money Laundering on: May 19, 2008, 09:59:00 AM
Medicaid Money Laundering
May 19, 2008; Page A14
Every politician moans that entitlement spending is out of control, so it ought to be easy at least to stop blatant fraud and abuse. Evidently not: Congress is currently resisting an attempt to rein in even a Big Con that everyone acknowledges.

The scene of this crime is Medicaid, the open-ended program that provides health coverage for about 59 million low-income people, with the rolls expanding every year. States determine eligibility and what services to cover, and the feds pick up at least half the tab, though the effective "matching rate" is as high as 83%. Now it turns out that states have been goosing their financing arrangements to maximize their federal payouts and dump more of their costs onto taxpayers nationwide.

The swindle works like this: A state overpays state-run health-care providers, such as county hospitals or nursing homes, for Medicaid benefits far in excess of its typical rates. Then the federal government reimburses the state for "half" of the inflated bills. Once the state bags the extra matching funds, the hospital is required to rebate the extra money it received at the scam's outset. Cash thus makes a round trip from states to providers and back to the states – all to dupe Washington.

The Government Accountability Office and other federal inspectors have copiously documented these "creative financing schemes" going back to the Clinton Administration. New York deposited its proceeds in a Medicaid account, recycling federal dollars to decrease its overall contribution. So did Michigan. States like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania fattened their political priorities. Oregon funded K-12 education during a budget shortfall.

The right word for this is fraud. A corporation caught in this kind of self-dealing – faking payments to extract billions, then laundering the money – would be indicted. In fact, a new industry of contingency-fee consultants has sprung up to help states find and exploit the "ambiguities" in Medicaid's regulatory wasteland. All the feds can do is notice loopholes when they get too expensive and close them, whereupon the cycle starts over.

The Bush Administration did just that. In 2003, it began audits that resulted in 29 states dialing back the practice. In 2007, officials tried to make the reforms permanent through formal rules changes, saying federal Medicaid dollars would only pay for Medicaid services received by Medicaid beneficiaries.

Naturally, the states were furious. All 50 Governors were (and are) opposed, while pressure groups like AARP and their media collaborators chime in with horror stories about "cuts" to the social safety net. Congress promptly forbade enforcement of the new regulations. That moratorium, which was slipped into last year's Iraq war funding bill, expires at the end of this month.

Now Congress wants to extend it until President Bush leaves office. The House passed a bill – 349-62 – but Harry Reid was unable to whisk it through the Senate unnoticed. Wavering GOP Senators are trying to strike a deal with the Bush Administration, which is threatening a veto, mostly with offers to beef up the $25 million allocated to "combat" Medicaid fraud and abuse. Of course, these antifraud troops only fight after state schemes have paid out. And should the moratorium stick around, states will merely revert to their con artistry, knowing they are no longer being watched.

A reform alternative would be for the government to distribute block grants, rather than a set fee for every Medicaid service. That would amputate Washington from state accounting and insulate taxpayers from these shakedowns. States would have an incentive to spend more responsibly, and also craft innovative policies without Beltway micromanagement. But we can dream.

In the short term, Congress could – but probably won't – allow the Administration to close this case. No one really knows how much the state grifters have already grabbed, though the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Administration remedies would save $17.8 billion over five years and $42.2 billion over 10.

We realize this is considered a mere gratuity in Washington, but Medicaid's money laundering is further evidence that Congress isn't serious about spending discipline.
26691  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Jefferson: Greeks and Romans on: May 19, 2008, 09:41:54 AM
"The Grecians and Romans were strongly possessed of the spirit of
liberty but not the principle, for at the time they were determined
not to be slaves themselves, they employed their power to enslave
the rest of mankind."

-- Thomas Paine (The American Crisis, No. 5, 21 March 1778)

Reference: Paine Writings, Foner, 169.
26692  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: May 18, 2008, 06:19:40 PM

Thank you for the great specificity of your answer.

Concerning the birth rate number of 4.0 for the Palestinians, this still is a HUGE number given the magic of compounding.  I remember in the university reading that Latin American rates of 3.5 were yielding populations that had a median age of 16  shocked  $.0 is much worse than that, and add in the biological dynamics of sexual segregation in the Arab cultures and you have large all male groups wandering around with no jobs, nothing to do, and informed only by religious fascists. 

In a completely unrelated vein, here is this interesting tranlation of a speech by Qaddaffy of Libya:
26693  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Pre-emption and Sucker Punches on: May 18, 2008, 06:06:48 PM
Extremely relevant in all this is the notion of "Prepare your witnesses".  Good verbalizations are both decisive and good at communicating to observers that your intention is defensive.  In contrast, if the first thing observers notice is a fight already under way and you are fortunate enough to win, they may describe you as the aggressor.
26694  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Self-Defense Law on: May 18, 2008, 05:54:38 PM
Thank you Foxmarten!
26695  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Bando on: May 18, 2008, 10:52:25 AM
Please give Mike warm greetings from me.
26696  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Daily Expression of Gratitude on: May 18, 2008, 10:51:22 AM
I am grateful that the edit for our "Dos Triques" DVD is finally done!!!
26697  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Miracle on: May 18, 2008, 10:46:14 AM
Thank you Doug.
26698  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Pre-emption and Sucker Punches on: May 17, 2008, 11:06:22 AM

The way each of us uses verbalizations will be and should be different.  With regards to where Thompson says "whereas shorter sentences, certainly single syllables, send the message that the conversation is coming to an end." (and that fight is about the start)"
that often I use very brief answers to make clear that there is not to be any further dialog.  For example to an ominous request for money, typically I simply answer "No."  I NEVER say "Sorry" which is something I see many people do.  The abruptness of the answer is intended to make clear, as Thompson notes, that I will not be intimidated and that any further harassment will not be tolerated.
26699  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: May 17, 2008, 10:46:02 AM
Woof Tom:

A number of the entries in the "Legal Issues presented , , ," thread address the legal aspect of answering this question.
26700  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: May 17, 2008, 01:00:40 AM

May 10, 2008
Jews can't vote for Obama and be pro-Israel at the same time

By Ted Belman

ted-4.jpgIn the poll of Jewish voters (conducted April 1-30), it showed
Obama getting 61% of the Jewish vote against John McCain (32%). Yet in the
same poll Hillary Clinton beat Obama among Jewish voters 62% - 38%. So
obviously Jews are lifelong democrats who will vote for Obama, whom they
rejected in the primaries, rather than vote for McCain. Thus, for them,
party loyalty is preferable to Israel loyalty.

Recently I posted two articles by Yarom Ettinger, former Israeli Ambassador
to the US, The Prospects of a Palestinian State and National Interests of
the United States and It's American interests, stupid, both of which clearly
demonstrate that keeping Israel strong is to keep America strong. Thus to be
pro-Israel is to be pro-America.

Now some would argue that most Jewish Americans are not one issue voters but
they must realize that to favour a basket of issues or the Democratic Party
above favouring Israel, makes them less pro-Israel and thus less
pro-American. This I am sure will get howls of protest from the J-Street
Lobby which represents progressive Jewry, who would have you believe that by
forcing Israel to capitulate, they are acting in the best interests of
Israel and the US. I hope you don't buy their thinking. These articles fly
in the face of such thinking. Consider them carefully it is important.

While most Jews favour Obama in a run off with McCain because he is a
Democrat, they ignore how pro-Palestinian and anti-American he is.

Let me list the ways.

      - Obama said "Nobody is suffering more than the Palestinian people,"

      - Obama said "If there is an Arab American family [in the US] being
rounded up without benefit of an attorney, those are my civil liberties!"

      - Everyone on Obama's foreign policy team, McPeak, Hamilton, Kurtzer,
Brezezinski, are anti- Israel and The Israel Lobby. Their policies are
closely aligned with Carter's and Baker's.

      - Obama has been in bed with Jew haters and Islamic jihad for years.
Farrakhan and his dear friend Reverend Wright, Obama's spiritual guru, is a
vile Jew hater.

      - Obama is the first Presidential candidate endorsed by Hamas. He is
the toast of the Islamic world. Obama's church posted a Hamas manifesto.

      - Obama has been endorsed by William Ayers (Weatherman Underground
bomber, unrepentant domestic terrorist) (Member Communist Party USA, Early
mentor to Obama) Jeremiah Wright (Black Liberation militant, racist, and
Pastor) Tony Rezko (Corrupt Financier, ties to Terror Financing) Louis
Farrakhan (Nation of Islam Leader, racist, anti-American) Hamas Terrorist
Organization (Islamic Terrorist Organization) Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades
(Islamic Terror Irganization) Raila Odinga (Fundamental Islamic Candidate,
Kenya, Obama's Cousin) Daniel Ortega (Marxist Sandinista Leader. Nicaragua
Raul Castro (Hard-line Communist Leader, Communist Party Illinois (US
Communist Political Party) Socialist Party USA (Marxist Socialist Political
Party) The New Black Panther Party (Black Militant Organization,
anti-American and racist Mosques are preaching for Obama (muslims vote

      - We know from this blog entry by the pro-Palestinian blogger Ali
Abunimah at The Electronic Intifadah, that Obama has moved to a move
pro-Israel position as his national aspirations developed. "The last time I
spoke to Obama was in the winter of 2004 at a gathering in Chicago's Hyde
Park neighborhood," Abunimah writes. "He was in the midst of a primary
campaign to secure the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate
seat he now occupies. But at that time polls showed him trailing. "As he
came in from the cold and took off his coat, I went up to greet him. He
responded warmly, and volunteered, "Hey, I'm sorry I haven't said more about
Palestine right now, but we are in a tough primary race. I'm hoping when
things calm down I can be more up front.' He referred to my activism,
including columns I was contributing to the The Chicago Tribune critical of
Israeli and US policy, 'Keep up the good work!"

      - Ralph Nader agrees."(Obama) has run a brilliant tactical campaign.
But his better instincts and his knowledge have been censored by himself..He
was pro-Palestinian when he was in Illinois before he ran for the state
Senate, during he ran-during the state Senate."

      - Obama served as a paid director on the board of a nonprofit
organization that granted funding to a controversial Arab group that mourns
the establishment of Israel as a "catastrophe." (Obama has also reportedly
spoken at fundraisers for Palestinians living in what the United Nations
terms refugee camps.). The co-founder of that Arab group, Columbia
University professor Rashid Khalidi, is a harsh critic of Israel who
reportedly worked on behalf of the Palestine Liberation Organization when it
was labeled a terror group by the State Department. Khalidi held a
fundraiser in 2000 for Obama's failed bid for a seat in the U.S. House of

      - Ten years ago Obama went to a pro-Palestinian dinner at which Edward
Said was the guest speaker and they sat at the same table.

      - Obama employed and continues to employ several Farrakhan acolytes in
high positions on his Illinois and U.S. Senate campaign and office staffs.

      - Obama very recently and previously referred to the "cycle of
violence" in the Middle East. He thereby equates Arab criminal violence with
legitimate Israeli self-defence.

      - Obama's Church reprinted the outrageous claim that Israel planned an
"ethnic bomb" to kill blacks and Arabs.

All items listed above cannot be characterized as a smear as they are all

How can Jews ignore all this or dismiss it as inconsequential? I don't get

ADDENDUM ( found this article after writing mine.)

A Curious Kind of Friendship; Barack Obama's dubious record on Israel


On April 21, Barack Obama found himself at a diner in Scranton, Pa. The
Illinois senator hadn't been available to the press in ten days, so a
reporter approached him.

Perhaps Obama was in a bad mood because he foresaw a drubbing - the next
day, Pennsylvanian primary voters went for Hillary. Or maybe he just didn't
like the reporter's question: "Senator, did you hear about Jimmy Carter's
trip? He said he could get Hamas to negotiate."

Looking down at his breakfast, the senator snapped back, "Why can't I just
eat my waffle?"

The week before, two important things had happened. One, Obama had declined
to condemn Carter's meeting with Hamas, though Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice had opposed the trip. Two, the Palestinian terrorist group
took the unusual step of endorsing him. When asked about the endorsement,
Obama's chief strategist, David Axelrod, was flattered that Hamas compared
his candidate to JFK: "We all agree that John Kennedy was a great president,
and it's flattering when anybody says that Barack Obama would follow in his

Republican nominee John McCain quickly took note. "We need change in
America, but not the kind of change that wins kind words from Hamas," he

The day following Wafflegate, Obama told the press it was a "bad idea" for
Carter to meet with Hamas, as it gave the group "a legitimacy that was

It's understandable that Obama would rather do just about anything than talk
about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Questions about Obama's support for
Israel have percolated in Jewish publications and elsewhere for more than a
year, and now they threaten to spill over into the mainstream media. In
March, speaking to reporters in Texas, Obama defended his record: "Nobody
has ever been able to point to statements that I made or positions that I've
taken that are contrary to the long-term security interests in Israel and in
any way diminish the special relationship we have with that country."
Trouble is, this claim is simply not true.

Obama has been battling the perception that he is insufficiently supportive
of Israel since last year, when he told the Des Moines Register, "Nobody is
suffering more than the Palestinian people." An Iowa Democrat and member of
the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), David Adelman, called
Obama's comments "deeply troubling." Obama claimed the remark was taken out
of context, but the Politico noted that talk of Obama's comment was one of
many reasons that a "real, if kind of inchoate, skepticism" dominated
discussions of Obama at AIPAC's annual policy conference in March of last

Whatever the context of that specific remark, many subsequent revelations
have given ample reason for skepticism: Obama has repeatedly claimed to
support Israel, but his record doesn't jibe with his rhetoric. Last year, he
announced he would vote against an amendment in the Senate declaring Iran's
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps - which has long supported Hezbollah
terrorists and otherwise abetted the murder of Israelis - a terrorist group.
The resolution passed 76-22, with the support of Hillary Clinton, Illinois
senator Dick Durbin, and a host of other reliable liberals. Obama missed the
vote while campaigning in New Hampshire, but he attacked Clinton on the
issue, saying the non-binding amendment might exacerbate tensions with Iran.

What's more, his life is marked by ties to anti-Israeli causes. A recent
report in the Los Angeles Times detailed Obama's close relationship with
Rashid Khalidi, a professor of Arab studies at Columbia University. In the
late 1970s Khalidi worked with WAFA, the official news agency of the
Palestinian Liberation Organization; during this period, the PLO and its
engaged in acts of terrorism. In 2005 Khalidi gained national attention when
he argued that, under international law, Palestinians have a right to
violently resist Israeli occupation.

While teaching at the University of Chicago, Khalidi co-founded the Arab
American Action Network (AAAN), an organization with a history of churning
out anti-Israeli propaganda. AAAN's current projects include "The Arab
American Oral History Project." The group's website asks, "Do you have
photos, letters or other memories you could share about Al-Nakba-1948?" "Al
Nakba" translates as "the catastrophe," and 1948 is the year in which Israel
became a

Khalidi held a fundraiser for Obama's failed congressional bid in 2000,
while Obama was a state senator representing the liberal Hyde Park area of
Chicago. In 2003, Obama attended a tribute dinner for Khalidi where,
according to the Los Angeles Times, a speaker likened "Zionist settlers on
the West Bank" to Osama bin Laden.

The largess flowed in both directions. From 1999 to 2002 Obama served on the
board of directors of the Woods Fund, a grant-making foundation with assets
of $68 million whose nominal goal is "to increase opportunities for less
advantaged people and communities in the [Chicago] metropolitan area."
According to tax forms and annual reports, in 2001 and 2002 the Woods Fund
gave AAAN a total of $75,000 in grants. Bill Ayers, a former (and
unrepentant) member of the left-wing terrorist group the Weather
Underground, sat on the board with

The aforementioned Politico article also noted "[anti-Israeli] sentiment .
.. circulating largely on private email lists and in chatter about a posting
on the pro-Palestinian blog Electronic Intifada, which claimed (with little
evidence) that Obama was once on the Palestinian side." For some time
Electronic Intifada co-founder Ali Abunimah has been saying that, in private
conversations, Obama expressed unequivocal pro-Palestinian views. Abunimah
is an activist in Chicago's Palestinian community, and is on the board of
AAAN, with which he has a long history of involvement. Given Obama's own
involvement with Khalidi and AAAN, Abunimah's claim to have had such
conversations with Obama seems plausible.

There have also been flaps over campaign advisers. Zbigniew Brzezinski,
Jimmy Carter's national security adviser, has recently endorsed and
campaigned with Obama. Brzezinski was singled out recently for defending The
Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, a book arguing that "the United States
has been willing to set aside its own security in order to advance the
interests of another state [Israel]." After a campaign press release
described Robert Malley, an adviser to the Clinton administration on the
Arab-Israeli conflict, as an Obama adviser, the campaign sought to distance
itself from Malley - whom New Republic editor-in-chief Marty Peretz has
called "a rabid hater of Israel."

When it comes to Israel, perhaps the most controversial member of Obama's
campaign is his chief military adviser and national-campaign co-chairman,
Gen. Merrill McPeak. In 1976, McPeak wrote an article for Foreign Affairs
criticizing Israel for not returning to its 1967 borders and handing the
Golan Heights back to Syria. McPeak accused Jewish and evangelical voters of
placing their interest in Israel above U.S. interests in a 2003 interview
with the
Oregonian. When asked what was holding back world peace, McPeak responded,
"New York City. Miami. We have a large vote . . . here in favor of Israel.
And no politician wants to run against it." Obama disavowed McPeak's stance
on Israel, but stands behind the campaign's relationship with the general.

Then there's Obama's pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright: "The Israelis have
illegally occupied Palestinian territories for over 40 years now. . . . [We
need to] wake Americans up concerning the injustice and the racism under
which the Palestinians have lived because of Zionism." Last year, the
bulletin at Wright 's church reprinted an article by a Hamas official.

Given Obama's past and current relationships, the Jewish community is taking
his rhetoric with hefty portions of sodium chloride. One well-known Jewish
Democratic strategist says that with Obama running, McCain could equal or
even surpass the 39 percent of the Jewish vote that Ronald Reagan captured
against Jimmy Carter in 1980. This could be a major factor in swing states
with significant Jewish populations, notably Florida and Pennsylvania.
According to Pennsylvania-primary exit polls, Jews went for Hillary, 62 to
38 percent.

There are two ways of looking at all this. Perhaps Obama is privately
hostile to Israel. Or perhaps he comes from a Hyde Park milieu so leftist
that he saw these relationships as normal political connections. In a sense
it doesn't matter: Regardless of why Obama tolerates terrorist sympathizers,
the fact that he has a history of doing so could destroy his candidacy. On
the national stage, and particularly in the Democratic party, Jews play a
prominent role.

"A normal liberal politician wouldn't get near this - the political instinct
would be, 'I don't want to touch this' - but none of it offended his
sensibilities," the Jewish Democratic strategist said. "He sat there in
rooms where Israel was likened to Osama bin Laden. He didn't walk out."
Posted by Ted Belman @ 12:07 pm |
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