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26751  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: July 10, 2008, 09:36:54 AM
In fairness to BO, I am under the impression that he touched on these themes in his speech at the 2004 Dem convention.

JJ is a demogogic race baiting extortionist.  That said, I agree-- no big deal here.   Indeed its fun to see someone being caught being themself.  cheesy
26752  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Why is NEST in China? on: July 10, 2008, 09:32:22 AM
Woof GM:

Fascinating thread you have started here.  What do you see as its central theme?
26753  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Rehabbing the DC Snipers on: July 10, 2008, 09:20:17 AM
Rehabbing The D.C. Snipers
By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Wednesday, October 17, 2007 4:30 PM PT

Media Bias: Why would two Muslim men travel 3,000 miles to kill random people in the nation's capital a year after 9/11? CNN investigated and found Islamic terror had nothing to do with it.


Related Topics: Media & Culture


In its special marking the fifth anniversary of the sniper attacks, the network downplays the religious angle to the story in a reprise of its original shameless coverage.

When news of the snipers' identity first broke, CNN anchors were so determined to avoid making the obvious connection to radical Islam that they called the lead sniper, a Muslim convert, by his old name. Police were looking for John Allen Muhammad, but CNN insisted on referring to him as John Allen Williams.

Jailhouse sketches, including this one containing references to 'jihad,' 'holy war' and 'infidels' were entered into evidence in the 2003 trial of convicted D.C. sniper Lee Boyd Malvo. His attorneys said they were evidence of indoctrination by Malvo's accomplice, John Allen Muhammad. But the only drawing shown in a new one-hour special on CNN shows Malvo shedding tears.
Now the network has completely scrubbed Islam from the picture, offering child abuse (boo-hoo) and spousal revenge as alternative motives for the snipers' bloody rampage.

Nowhere in its one-hour special — promoted as "The Minds of the D.C. Snipers" — is Islamist brainwashing even hinted as a motivating factor behind their serial assassinations. Yet the evidence is overwhelming that they were on a jihad.

In their own words, Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo traveled across the country to terrorize Washingtonians on the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks — first by picking off random people and then by blowing up school buses using plastic explosives loaded with ball bearings.

Their plan was to ramp up their shootings to 25 a day before moving on to explosives, killing scores of children. Thankfully, they were caught before they could put phase two into effect.

Muhammad and Malvo, now in prison in Virginia, still managed to kill 10 and wound three — including an elementary school kid shot in the back — while paralyzing the nation's capital for three full weeks.

The jailhouse drawings of the younger sniper, Malvo, tell it all:

• One sketch of Osama bin Laden exalts him as a "Servant of Allah."

• A self-portrait of him and Muhammad is captioned: "We will kill them all. Jihad . . . Allah Akbar!"

• A sketch of the burning Twin Towers has as its caption: "America did this. You were warned."

• A poem scribbled alongside an American flag and star of David drawn in cross hairs reads: "Our minarets are our bayonets, Our mosques are our baracks, Our believers are our soldiers."

• The Quran (Surah 2:190) is quoted as follows: "Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you and slay them wherever ye catch them." Also: "Islam the only true guidance."

• The White House is drawn in cross hairs, surrounded by missiles, with the warning: "Sep. 11 we will ensure will look like a picnic to you," and "you will bleed to death little by little."

• Another warning reads: "Islam. We will Resist. We will conquer. We will win."

Somehow CNN's "special investigations unit" managed to overlook this pile of courtroom evidence. It showed only one drawing — a self portrait of Malvo shedding tears.

CNN maintains that Malvo, an alleged victim of negligent parents, now has remorse for his victims — even though he wrote in one notebook: "They all died and they all deserved it. We will not stop. This war will not end until you are all destroyed utterly."

CNN also omitted the fact that while Muhammad and Malvo were in county jail awaiting trial, their lawyers insisted they be fed Islamic "halal" meals, such as veggie burgers, instead of ham sandwiches. They also got copies of the Quran.

According to Knight Ridder and others reporting at the time, the director of a shelter where the two men stayed for a spell in Washington state tipped off the FBI that Muhammad "might be a terrorist."

That incident mysteriously disappeared from an interview that CNN host Soledad O'Brien conducted with the same source for the special.

The revisionism and sanitization of Islam continued with O'Brien's interview with Muhammad's ex-wife, who insisted that jihad and hatred of America had nothing to do with her husband's cold-blooded killings.

Her head covered with a hijab, Mildred Muhammad claimed that she and she alone was the target of his attacks, and that the dozen-plus victims were an attempt to cover up the real target. CNN bought her story, even packaging it as an exclusive.

But a simple check of local news stories at the time would have revealed that neighbors reported seeing Muhammad visit with his former wife and children at their Maryland town house before and during the shootings. One neighbor said he even jogged with him.

Police even staked out her house in the hope he would visit again.

By leaving out all these facts — never even mentioning that the subjects of its investigation had converted to Islam — CNN committed professional malpractice.

Its "special investigation" is nothing more than a politically correct whitewashing of the truth aimed at pleasing Muslim groups like CAIR, which has argued that "there is no indication that this case is related to Islam or Muslims."

26754  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Russia takes a double hit on: July 10, 2008, 09:06:46 AM
Geopolitical Diary: Russia Takes A Double Hit
July 9, 2008
Tuesday was not the best of days for the Russians. Not only did the Serbian parliament usher in a new government — the most stable and pro-Western alignment the country has had since World War I — but also the United States and the Czech Republic signed a deal to install an X-band radar on Czech soil as part of an American ballistic missile defense (BMD) system.

Serbia, as a Slavic state surrounded by foes, has been a bastion of Russian influence for years. All of Serbia’s neighbors are now EU members, applicants or protectorates. And the change in Belgrade makes it likely that Serbia will firmly fall into the West and Russia will lose its last willing ally in Europe.

Serbia is surrounded by Europe, so the only means Moscow can use to seriously draw the country back into the Russian fold is to use lots of cold hard cash. The Russians may not even be too concerned about Serbia’s new government. In fact, the political shift could translate into good business for Russian investors if, through a western-oriented Serbia, they have access to the European Union. But business is hardly a substitute for the geopolitical influence that Russia previously enjoyed.

The BMD issue is a double hit. While the immediate reason for the project is to deter against a potential Iranian nuclear missile, it also sets up a scenario in which a BMD could be expanded, deepened and reconfigured to hold off a Russian deterrent 20 years from now. The Czech Republic is also now included in a lineup of European countries that stretches from Iceland to Turkey that host American military facilities. Poland will also join that lineup once its domestic politics facilitates the signing of a deal to house a U.S. BMD installation.

While the Russians have (loudly) promised reprisals for the U.S. expansion into Central Europe — specifically Poland and Czech Republic — they have little influence over this development. There is nothing that Russia can do to deter the distrust of Central Europeans. Steps such as, for example, returning offensive ballistic missiles to Kaliningrad or retargeting portions of its nuclear arsenal at BMD sites, would only solidify the Europeans’ willingness to collaborate with the Americans on security issues.

While Russia does not really have any options that constitute an obvious retaliatory step, what it will do can be broken into two categories.

First, Russia is making the Europeans — and especially Central Europeans — pay a price for their geopolitical alignment. Since 2000, Russia has steadily jacked up the price of natural gas sold to Europe fourfold, with another 25 percent hike slated for the next 12 months. In addition, alternate energy shipment routes starting to come online (specifically for oil) have been expressly intended to bypass Central European transit states. In the case of Poland this will leave several Cold War-era refineries without a source of crude.

Second, Russia is hardening its outer shell. Russia has no clear geographic barriers separating it from most of its neighbors. This is one of the reasons why Russians tend to be so distrustful of outsiders. From Napoleon to Wilhelm II to Hitler, outsiders tend to invade Russia. Therefore, the Kremlin is using its energy income, energy supply routes, weapons sales and intelligence services to subtly (and not so subtly) reshape the Russian near abroad rather than merely rage against things it cannot change in Belgrade, Prague and Warsaw.

Ultimately, Russia’s vital interest lies is in its borderlands. In recent months the Russians have adjusted the expectations of Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan Azerbaijan and Georgia, forcing them to see the world from a slightly more Russian point of view. This strategy is hardly foolproof. For every two steps it takes forward, Russia takes another step back. But what Russia really needs to feel secure are buffers. From the Russian point of view, it is better to tussle in the borderlands than on the home front. And while the U.S./Czech deal announced Tuesday and the move by Serbia to adopt a more pro-Western government do not advance Russia’s influence, the geopolitical giant is not without options.

26755  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Aerial Wolf Shooting. on: July 10, 2008, 08:46:31 AM
Woof John:

Interesting issue.

That said, each forum has its way of being and in that spirit I would like to draw your attention to Rule of the Road #5.   As a general but not absolute rule we look to open threads that have onging relevance.  Certainly your post could fit in the Science, Culture etc forum thread "Wolves, Dogs and Canines" but lurking in your post is such an issue of ongoing relevance, but the title of the thread I think of the sort to lilkely to lead to thread clutter.  Is there a different name you could put to the thread that would express the larger issue?  Or maybe just repost it in the Wolves etc thread on the Science Culture etc forum and delete it here?

26756  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Iran's Missile Threat on: July 10, 2008, 08:36:15 AM
Iran's Missile Threat
July 10, 2008; Page A14
Talk about timing, perhaps fortuitous. On Tuesday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was in Prague signing an agreement that's a first step toward protecting Europe from ballistic missile attack. As if on cue, Tehran yesterday tested nine missiles, including several capable of reaching southern Europe, as well as Israel and U.S. troops stationed in the Middle East. Remind us. Who says Iran isn't a threat?

The chief naysayer is Moscow, which continues to insist that the planned U.S.-led missile defense for Europe is aimed at defeating Russian missiles, not Iranian ones. This was Vladimir Putin's line, and the new Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, picked it up yesterday, saying that the antimissile system "deeply distresses" Russia and is a threat to its national security. The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement warning that if the system is deployed, "we will be forced to react not with diplomatic, but with military-technical methods." Good to see the Russians haven't lost their subtle touch.

No one in that neighborhood – least of all the Russians – actually believes Iran's missile program is anything but dangerous. Russians talk privately about the Iranian threat, and it's not hard to imagine a scenario whereby Tehran shares a missile – and perhaps a nuclear warhead – with its brother Muslims in Chechnya.

In any case, Washington's proposed antimissile system for Europe is designed to defend against one or two missiles launched from Iran, not against the thousands of missiles in the Russian arsenal. It would include a tracking radar in the Czech Republic and 10 interceptors in Poland (or perhaps Lithuania, if the Poles can't get their act together). Russia's claim that this highly limited defense poses a threat to its nuclear deterrence is absurd.

Yesterday's tests offered no big surprises about Iran's missile technology, but they are a useful reminder of just how real the Iranian threat is – and how rapidly it is growing. One of the missiles tested was the latest update of the Shahab-3, which has a range of about 1,250 miles.

Replace the payload with a lighter one – say, a nuclear warhead – and the range gains 1,000 miles. Add a booster and the range can be extended even farther. North Korea did just that with its Taepodong missile – technology that it passed along to Iran. U.S. intelligence estimates that Iran will have a ballistic missile capable of reaching New York or Washington by about 2015.

Iran may already have the capability to target the U.S. with a short-range missile by launching it from a freighter off the East Coast. A few years ago it was observed practicing the launch of Scuds from a barge in the Caspian Sea.

This would be especially troubling if Tehran is developing EMP – electromagnetic pulse – technology. A nuclear weapon detonated a hundred miles over U.S. territory would create an electromagnetic pulse that would virtually shut down the U.S. economy by destroying electronic circuits on the ground. William Graham, head of a Congressional commission to assess the EMP threat, testifies before the House Armed Services Committee this morning. We hope someone asks him about Iran.

The proposed "third site" in Europe is part of a rudimentary missile-defense system that the U.S. already has in place for the homeland. It's one of the unsung successes of the Bush Presidency, and the U.S. and its allies are safer for it. Yet few Democrats are willing to acknowledge it. That apparently includes Barack Obama, whose response to Iran's missile tests yesterday was to call for more direct diplomacy with Tehran, tougher threats of economic sanctions and bigger incentives to behave – all of which Tehran has sneered at numerous times.

Some 30 nations, including North Korea and Syria, have ballistic missiles and their proliferation is sure to continue. The European site is part of the Bush Administration's vision of missile defense with a global reach. Iran's latest missile tests show that Europe needs an antimissile system more than ever.

See all of today's editorials and op-eds, plus
26757  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Jefferson on: July 10, 2008, 07:28:33 AM
"People generally have more feeling for canals and roads than
education.  However, I hope we can advance them with equal pace."

-- Thomas Jefferson (letter to Joel Barlow, 10 December 1807)

Reference: The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Washington, ed.,
vol. 5 (521)
26758  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DB Gathering of the Pack August 10th, 2008 on: July 09, 2008, 09:37:04 PM

Your fighter registration came in today, but of course its not official until Cindy gets it posted  cheesy


It now looks like the insurance matter has been solved (actual paperwork must still be done) but things look solid enough for me to post the name of the presumptive site for the Gathering:

10950 Sherman Way
Suite 160
Burbank CA 91505

The Adventure continues!!!
Crafty Dog

26759  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Chess Boxing on: July 09, 2008, 07:25:59 PM

Chess boxers slug it out
By Arnaud Bouvier in Berlin
July 07, 2008 08:29am

Article from: Agence France-PresseFont size: + -

A RUSSIAN man has been crowned world champion in the novelty sport of chess boxing, a game that requires equal skill at moving pawns and throwing punches.

Mathematics student Nikolai Sazhin, 19, competing under the name "The President'' knocked out a 37-year-old German policeman Frank Stoldt, who served as a peacekeeper in Kosovo until recently.

The loser said he was simply too punch-drunk to fend off checkmate.

"I took a lot of body-blows in the fourth round and that affected my concentration. That's why I made a big mistake in the fifth round: I did not see him coming for my king,'' he said.

Berlin is home to the world's biggest chess boxing club with some 40 members and it is in an old freight station here that the two men settled the matter early yesterday.

The match began over a chess board set up on a low table in the middle of a boxing ring.

Stripped to the waist, wearing towels around their shoulders and headphones playing the lulling sound of a moving train to drown out the baying crowd, the men played for four minutes.
Then off came their reading glasses and on went the gloves and the mouthguards.

For three minutes they beat each other and then, when the bell went, the chess board was back in the ring and they picked up the gentlemanly game where they had left off.

"This is the hard part, you are out of breath but you have to keep your wits about you,'' said David Steppeler, a 33-year-old instructor at the local chess boxing club.

"It is especially hard for the one who has to play first. He can easily make a false move, and in chess this is fatal. So in training we toughen people by making them do push-ups between every two chess moves.''

A chess boxing match consists of six rounds of chess and five in the ring but it can also end suddenly in knockout or checkmate.

Alternatively one of the players can be disqualified for taking too long to make his move in the chess rounds or breaking the boxing rules.

The weekend saw two matches apart from the world title bout and some of the competitors might have felt equally at home in a MENSA club meeting. One had a doctorate in biochemistry, another held a degree in political science and two were teachers.

The best in the world of chess boxing score somewhere between 1700 and 2000 points on the ELO chess rating system - putting them on a par with those who perform well in the sport at club level.

Perhaps fittingly, the sport had its beginnings in a comic strip by the French author Enki Bilal, titled Equator Cold that hit shelves in 1992.

The last work in Bilal's The Nikipol Trilogy features a blood-stained chess boxing battle set in an apocalyptic city in 2034.

In 2003, the young Dutch artist Iepe Rubingh decided to bring it all to life, but with less brutality, and organised the first match.

"But the way we do it is not as dark as it was in the comic strip. For me the thing is to channel your violence, to control it. Hence the marriage between boxing and chess,'' said Rubingh, who is the president of the international federation of chess boxing.,23599,23979955-23109,00.html
26760  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Financial Times' timeline of Iran's nuke program on: July 09, 2008, 02:05:04 PM
Good to have the big picture timeline:
26761  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Boone Pickens's plan to escape foreign oil on: July 09, 2008, 12:13:40 PM
My Plan to Escape the Grip of Foreign Oil
July 9, 2008; Page A15

One of the benefits of being around a long time is that you get to know a lot about certain things. I'm 80 years old and I've been an oilman for almost 60 years. I've drilled more dry holes and also found more oil than just about anyone in the industry. With all my experience, I've never been as worried about our energy security as I am now. Like many of us, I ignored what was happening. Now our country faces what I believe is the most serious situation since World War II.

The problem, of course, is our growing dependence on foreign oil – it's extreme, it's dangerous, and it threatens the future of our nation.

Martin Kozlowski 
Let me share a few facts: Each year we import more and more oil. In 1973, the year of the infamous oil embargo, the United States imported about 24% of our oil. In 1990, at the start of the first Gulf War, this had climbed to 42%. Today, we import almost 70% of our oil.

This is a staggering number, particularly for a country that consumes oil the way we do. The U.S. uses nearly a quarter of the world's oil, with just 4% of the population and 3% of the world's reserves. This year, we will spend almost $700 billion on imported oil, which is more than four times the annual cost of our current war in Iraq.

In fact, if we don't do anything about this problem, over the next 10 years we will spend around $10 trillion importing foreign oil. That is $10 trillion leaving the U.S. and going to foreign nations, making it what I certainly believe will be the single largest transfer of wealth in human history.

Why do I believe that our dependence on foreign oil is such a danger to our country? Put simply, our economic engine is now 70% dependent on the energy resources of other countries, their good judgment, and most importantly, their good will toward us. Foreign oil is at the intersection of America's three most important issues: the economy, the environment and our national security. We need an energy plan that maps out how we're going to work our way out of this mess. I think I have such a plan.

Consider this: The world produces about 85 million barrels of oil a day, but global demand now tops 86 million barrels a day. And despite three years of record price increases, world oil production has declined every year since 2005. Meanwhile, the demand for oil will only increase as growing economies in countries like India and China gear up for enhanced oil consumption.

Add to this the fact that in many countries, including China, the government has a great deal of influence over its energy industry, allowing these countries to set strategic direction easily and pay whatever price is needed to secure oil. The U.S. has no similar policy, because we thankfully don't have state-controlled energy companies. But that doesn't mean we can't set goals and develop an energy policy that will overcome our addiction to foreign oil. I have a clear goal in mind with my plan. I want to reduce America's foreign oil imports by more than one-third in the next five to 10 years.

How will we do it? We'll start with wind power. Wind is 100% domestic, it is 100% renewable and it is 100% clean. Did you know that the midsection of this country, that stretch of land that starts in West Texas and reaches all the way up to the border with Canada, is called the "Saudi Arabia of the Wind"? It gets that name because we have the greatest wind reserves in the world. In 2008, the Department of Energy issued a study that stated that the U.S. has the capacity to generate 20% of its electricity supply from wind by 2030. I think we can do this or even more, but we must do it quicker.

My plan calls for taking the energy generated by wind and using it to replace a significant percentage of the natural gas that is now being used to fuel our power plants. Today, natural gas accounts for about 22% of our electricity generation in the U.S. We can use new wind capacity to free up the natural gas for use as a transportation fuel. That would displace more than one-third of our foreign oil imports. Natural gas is the only domestic energy of size that can be used to replace oil used for transportation, and it is abundant in the U.S. It is cheap and it is clean. With eight million natural-gas-powered vehicles on the road world-wide, the technology already exists to rapidly build out fleets of trucks, buses and even cars using natural gas as a fuel. Of these eight million vehicles, the U.S. has a paltry 150,000 right now. We can and should do so much more to build our fleet of natural-gas-powered vehicles.

I believe this plan will be the perfect bridge to the future, affording us the time to develop new technologies and a new perspective on our energy use. In addition to the plan I have proposed, I also want to see us explore all avenues and every energy alternative, from more R&D into batteries and fuel cells to development of solar, ethanol and biomass to more conservation. Drilling in the outer continental shelf should be considered as well, as we need to look at all options, recognizing that there is no silver bullet.

I believe my plan can be accomplished within 10 years if this country takes decisive and bold steps immediately. This plan dramatically reduces our dependence on foreign oil and lowers the cost of transportation. It invests in the heartland, creating thousands of new jobs. It substantially reduces America's carbon footprint and uses existing, proven technology. It will be accomplished solely through private investment with no new consumer or corporate taxes or government regulation. It will build a bridge to the future, giving us the time to develop new technologies.

The future begins as soon as Congress and the president act. The government must mandate the formation of wind and solar transmission corridors, and renew the subsidies for economic and alternative energy development in areas where the wind and sun are abundant. I am also calling for a monthly progress report on the reduction in foreign oil imports, as well as a monthly progress report on the state of development of natural gas vehicles in this country.

We have a golden opportunity in this election year to form bipartisan support for this plan. We have the grit and fortitude to shoulder the responsibility of change when our country's future is at stake, as Americans have proven repeatedly throughout this nation's history.

We need action. Now.

Mr. Pickens is CEO of BP Capital.
26762  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / PD WSJ on: July 09, 2008, 12:11:59 PM
Barack Obama is a slight favorite to win the presidential election, but John McCain can win if he gets his campaign focused and mounts a targeted attack on his opponent. That was the conclusion of Democratic pollster Doug Schoen, who has worked for both President Bill Clinton and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, when he presented the findings of a new survey he conducted for the Aspen Institute's Ideas Festival.

His overall survey put Mr. Obama ahead by 47% to 42%, but the head-to-head margin shrinks to dead even after voters are given both positive and negative information about the two men. Overall, both candidates have nearly identical favorability ratings (54% and 53%, respectively). That explains why Mr. McCain is making the race competitive, even though voters clearly show a general desire for change in control of the White House: 51% of voters want a Democrat to win the general election, while only 35% want a Republican.

"What's most surprising is how much potential there is for John McCain, but that potential has not yet been realized," Mr. Schoen told the Aspen attendees. "The Obama campaign has done a better job getting its message out." Thus, if Mr. Schoen had to bet on the result, he would plump for Mr. Obama, unless Mr. McCain's recent staff shakeup signals a new campaign approach. He says the old strategy wasn't working: "You can't have an attack du jour. You need to have an attack you stick to."

If he were designing campaign slogans for both candidates, Mr. Schoen says he would advise the Obama campaign to use: "Don't Vote For a Third Bush Term. Reject the Politics of the Past." For Mr. McCain he suggests: "Inexperience America Can't Afford."

"I think there is a desire for change, but there is some doubt about Barack Obama," Mr. Schoen concluded. "I think what swing voters are saying [is that] he's an attractive guy, a good guy, but we don't really know what he's about."

-- John Fund

Harry Reid's Position Paper on Drilling

Congressional Democrats are eager to turn the gas-price debate away from calls for more oil drilling, since the very idea sends its environmental lobby around the bend. Senate Democrats have tried everything from excoriating oil companies for allegedly sitting on federal leases to attacking "speculators" as the real reason for high gas prices. But none of these imaginative decoys has ranked anywhere near Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's convincing explanation for Democratic inaction on the energy crisis, now playing on endless loop on YouTube.

In an interview with Fox News Business Channel last week, Mr. Reid, who was evidently fed up with questions about drilling, suddenly exclaimed: "Coal makes us sick, oil makes us sick; it's global warming. It's ruining our country, it's ruining the world. We've got to stop using fossil fuel."

Mr. Reid's rant quickly became the No. 1 video on the Internet, approaching a half-million views. The pollster Rasmussen even took the unusual step of conducting a survey to see how many Americans agreed with the Nevadan's view. Let's just say he didn't win a majority.

But give Mr. Reid marks for honesty. To many liberal Democrats, cheap fossil fuels are the root cause of excessive materialism, suburban sprawl, a despoiled environment -- and they've been demanding for decades that government raise the price of energy to discourage Americans from driving big cars and living in large, well-heated homes. Democrats may never have had the political courage to impose such towering European-style gasoline taxes directly, but Mr. Reid's policy diatribe at least explains why Democrats have found it so easy to sit on their hands rather than take steps to increase domestic supply and bring down $4 gasoline.

-- Kim Strassel

Profiles in Name Recognition

John Kennedy for Senate? No, it's not Massachusetts in 1952, but Louisiana in 2008, where the state treasurer with a famous name -- middle name "Neely" -- is running against incumbent Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu. Mr. Kennedy, a Democrat himself until he switched parties last year, is no relation to the famous political Kennedys but he represents the GOP's best shot to pick up a Senate seat in a year when the GOP is looking down the barrel of major setbacks on Congress.

Recent polls show Ms. Landrieu, despite considerable support from the national party, leading by a mere four points. Financially, Mr. Kennedy's fund-raising is beginning to catch fire. Yesterday, he announced he raised nearly $1.5 million in the second quarter and now has $2.7 million in cash on hand. Asked by PD about the Republican troubles nationally, Mr. Kennedy laments, "I don't know what's going on," but says his own strong bid just proves that "politics really is local." "We're experiencing a wave of reform in Louisiana," he adds, noting the success of reformist GOP Gov. Bobby Jindal, who's now being touted as a John McCain veep possibility.

"Reform" could be Mr. Kennedy's middle name, since how he has reformed himself is unavoidably an issue in the campaign. In 2004, Mr. Kennedy was an unsuccessful Democratic candidate for Senate, coming in a distant third to Republican David Vitter. He ran on a distinctly liberal platform and endorsed John Kerry, who promptly lost the state by 15 points.

Apparently having gotten the message, Mr. Kennedy last August left the Democratic Party, ostensibly to run as a Republican for his third term as State Treasurer -- but mainly, it was rumored, so he could challenge Ms. Landrieu this fall. So how does he expect to beat her now? "By speaking bluntly about the out-of-control spending in Washington," says Mr. Kennedy. "The spending is outrageous. . . we need tax cuts."

And he expects to be on the right side of this year's presidential split: "Senator McCain will do very well in Louisiana because he is a fiscal conservative." Mr. McCain currently holds a 52%-36% percent lead over the Democratic nominee Barack Obama, whom Mr. Kennedy has described as "the embodiment of old Europe liberalism." Perhaps speaking from experience, he even tells this morning's New Orleans Times-Picayune that Ms. Landrieu made a "huge mistake" embracing Mr. Obama.

-- Robert Costa

The Prisoner Returns

No TV series -- not even "Star Trek" -- has quite achieved the quirky cult status of "The Prisoner," which first ran 40 years ago. Now the show is being revived by a joint partnership between Britain's ITV and America's AMC networks.

Jim Caviezel, who played Jesus in "Passion of the Christ," will play Prisoner No. 6, a former secret agent who is kidnapped and dumped in a strange seaside village where everyone is known only by a number. He is told that "by hook or by crook" the reasons for his mysterious resignation as an agent will be extracted from him. Sir Ian McKellen, who played Gandalf in "Lord of the Rings," will play the sinister Number Two, who runs the Village on behalf of unseen parties.

In the original 1960's Cold War version, series creator and star Patrick McGoohan explored issues of privacy, individualism and mind control. I always viewed the original series as Mr. McGoohan's take on George Orwell's novel "1984," but with a sense of humor. An AMC executive says the new series will pay homage in "winks and nods" to the original but will be "reinterpreted" to reflect "21st century concerns and anxieties, such as liberty, security and surveillance."

Sadly, the new "Prisoner" will be shot in Namibia, where the seaside resort of Swakopmund has preserved a quirky collection of colonial German buildings. The original was shot in the Welsh village of Portmeirion, a strange, planned community with eclectic Mediterranean architecture. Known simply as "The Village" in the original series, Portmeirion still attracts thousands of "Prisoner" fans a year who tour the grounds with the help of a guidebook. But in a clear sign of today's times, visitors are under constant surveillance. The resort recently installed CCTV security cameras throughout the complex. As the original Number Two in the "The Prisoner" used to say: "Be Seeing You."

26763  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor: New Era of Geopolitics? on: July 09, 2008, 11:52:23 AM
By Peter Zeihan

As students of geopolitics, we at Stratfor tend not to get overexcited when this or that plan for regional peace is tabled. Many of the world’s conflicts are geographic in nature, and changes in government or policy only rarely supersede the hard topography that we see as the dominant sculptor of the international system. Island states tend to exist in tension with their continental neighbors. Two countries linked by flat arable land will struggle until one emerges dominant. Land-based empires will clash with maritime cultures, and so on.

Petit vs. Grand Geopolitic
But the grand geopolitic — the framework which rules the interactions of regions with one another — is not the only rule in play. There is also the petit geopolitic that occurs among minor players within a region. Think of the grand geopolitic as the rise and fall of massive powers — the onslaught of the Golden Horde, the imperial clash between England and France, the U.S.-Soviet Cold War. By contrast, think of the petit geopolitic as the smaller powers that swim alongside or within the larger trends — Serbia versus Croatia, Vietnam versus Cambodia, Nicaragua versus Honduras. The same geographic rules apply, just on a smaller scale, with the added complexity of the grand geopolitic as backdrop.

The Middle East is a region rife with petit geopolitics. Since the failure of the Ottoman Empire, the region has not hosted an indigenous grand player. Instead, the region serves as a battleground for extra-regional grand powers, all attempting to grind down the local (petit) players to better achieve their own aims. Normally, Stratfor looks at the region in that light: an endless parade of small players and local noise in an environment where most trends worth watching are those implanted and shaped by outside forces. No peace deals are easy, but in the Middle East they require agreement not just from local powers, but also from those grand players beyond the region. The result is, well, the Middle East we all know.

All the more notable, then, that a peace deal — and a locally crafted one at that — has moved from the realm of the improbable to not merely the possible, but perhaps even the imminent.

Israel and Syria are looking to bury the hatchet, somewhere in the Golan Heights most likely, and they are doing so for their own reasons. Israel has secured deals with Egypt and Jordan already, and the Palestinians — by splitting internally — have defeated themselves as a strategic threat. A deal with Syria would make Israel the most secure it has been in millennia.

Syria, poor and ruled by its insecure Alawite minority, needs a basis of legitimacy that resonates with the dominant Sunni population better than its current game plan: issuing a shrill shriek whenever the name “Israel” is mentioned. The Alawites believe there is no guarantee of support better than cash, and their largest and most reliable source of cash is in Lebanon. Getting Lebanon requires an end to Damascus’ regional isolation, and the agreement of Israel.

The outline of the deal, then, is surprisingly simple: Israel gains military security from a peace deal in exchange for supporting Syrian primacy in Lebanon. The only local loser would be the entity that poses an economic challenge (in Lebanon) to Syria, and a military challenge (in Lebanon) to Israel — to wit, Hezbollah.

Hezbollah, understandably, is more than a little perturbed by the prospect of this tightening noose. Syria is redirecting the flow of Sunni militants from Iraq to Lebanon, likely for use against Hezbollah. Damascus also is working with the exiled leadership of the Palestinian group Hamas as a gesture of goodwill to Israel. The French — looking for a post-de Gaulle diplomatic victory — are re-engaging the Syrians and, to get Damascus on board, are dangling everything from aid and trade deals with Europe to that long-sought stamp of international approval. Oil-rich Sunni Arab states, sensing an opportunity to weaken Shiite Hezbollah, are flooding petrodollars in bribes — that is, investments — into Syria to underwrite a deal with Israel.

While the deal is not yet a fait accompli, the pieces are falling into place quite rapidly. Normally we would not be so optimistic, but the hard decisions — on Israel surrendering the Golan Heights and Syria laying preparations for cutting Hezbollah down to size — have already been made. On July 11 the leaders of Israel and Syria will be attending the same event in Paris, and if the French know anything about flair, a handshake may well be on the agenda.

It isn’t exactly pretty — and certainly isn’t tidy — but peace really does appear to be breaking out in the Middle East.

A Spoiler-Free Environment
Remember, the deal must please not just the petit players, but the grand ones as well. At this point, those with any interest in disrupting the flow of events normally would step in and do what they could to rock the boat. That, however, is not happening this time around. All of the normal cast members in the Middle Eastern drama are either unwilling to play that game at present, or are otherwise occupied.

The country with the most to lose is Iran. A Syria at formal peace with Israel is a Syria that has minimal need for an alliance with Iran, as well as a Syria that has every interest in destroying Hezbollah’s military capabilities. (Never forget that while Hezbollah is Syrian-operated, it is Iranian-founded and -funded.) But using Hezbollah to scupper the Israeli-Syrian talks would come with a cost, and we are not simply highlighting a possible military confrontation between Israel and Iran.

Iran is involved in negotiations far more complex and profound than anything that currently occupies Israel and Syria. Tehran and Washington are attempting to forge an understanding about the future of Iraq. The United States wants an Iraq sufficiently strong to restore the balance of power in the Persian Gulf and thus prevent any Iranian military incursion into the oil fields of the Arabian Peninsula. Iran wants an Iraq that is sufficiently weak that it will never again be able to launch an attack on Persia. Such unflinching national interests are proving difficult to reconcile, but do not confuse “difficult” with “impossible” — the positions are not mutually exclusive. After all, while both want influence, neither demands domination.

Remarkable progress has been made during the past six months. The two sides have cooperated in bringing down violence in Iraq, now at its lowest level since the aftermath of the 2003 invasion itself. Washington and Tehran also have attacked the problems of rogue Shiite militias from both ends, most notably with the neutering of Muqtada al-Sadr and his militia, the Medhi Army. Meanwhile, that ever-enlarging pot of Sunni Arab oil money has been just as active in Baghdad in drawing various groups to the table as it has been in Damascus. Thus, while the U.S.-Iranian understanding is not final, formal or imminent, it is taking shape with remarkable speed. There are many ways it still could be derailed, but none would be so effective as Iran using Hezbollah to launch another war with Israel.

China and Russia both would like to see the Middle East off balance — if not on fire in the case of Russia — although it is hardly because they enjoy the bloodshed. Currently, the United States has the bulk of its ground forces loaded down with Afghan and Iraqi operations. So long as that remains the case — so long as Iran and the United States do not have a meeting of the minds — the United States lacks the military capability to deploy any large-scale ground forces anywhere else in the world. In the past, Moscow and Beijing have used weapons sales or energy deals to bolster Iran’s position, thus delaying any embryonic deal with Washington.

But such impediments are not being seeded now.

Rising inflation in China has turned the traditional question of the country’s shaky financial system on its head. Mass employment in China is made possible not by a sound economic structure, but by de facto subsidization via ultra-cheap loans. But such massive availability of credit has artificially spiked demand, for 1.3 billion people no less, creating an inflation nightmare that is difficult to solve. Cut the loans to rein in demand and inflation, and you cut business and with it employment. Chinese governments have been toppled by less. Beijing is desperate to keep one step ahead of either an inflationary spiral or a credit meltdown — and wants nothing more than for the Olympics to go off as hitch-free as possible. Tinkering with the Middle East is the furthest thing from Beijing’s preoccupied mind.

Meanwhile, Russia is still growing through its leadership “transition,” with the Kremlin power clans still going for each other’s throats. Their war for control of the defense and energy industries still rages, their war for control of the justice and legal systems is only now beginning to rage, and their efforts to curtail the powers of some of Russia’s more independent-minded republics such as Tatarstan has not yet begun to rage. Between a much-needed resettling, and some smacking of out-of-control egos, Russia still needs weeks (or months?) to get its own house in order. The Kremlin can still make small gestures — Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin chatted briefly by phone July 7 with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on the topic of the nuclear power plant that Russia is building for Iran at Bushehr — but for the most part, the Middle East will have to wait for another day.

But by the time Beijing or Moscow have the freedom of movement to do anything, the Middle East may well be as “solved” as it can be.

The New Era
For those of us at Stratfor who have become rather inured to the agonies of the Middle East, such a sustained stream of constructive, positive news is somewhat unnerving. One gets the feeling that if the progress could hold up for just a touch longer, not only would there be an Israeli-Syrian deal and a U.S.-Iranian understanding, the world itself would change. Those of us here who are old enough to remember haven’t sensed such a fateful moment since the weeks before the tearing down of the Berlin Wall in 1989. And — odd though it may sound — we have been waiting for just such a moment for some time. Certainly since before 9/11.

Stratfor views the world as working in cycles. Powers or coalitions of powers form and do battle across the world. Their struggles define the eras through which humanity evolves, and those struggles tend to end in a military conflict that lays the groundwork for the next era. The Germans defeated Imperial France in the Franco-Prussian War in 1871, giving rise to the German era. That era lasted until a coalition of powers crushed Germany in World Wars I and II. That victorious coalition split into the two sides of the Cold War until the West triumphed in 1989.

New eras do not form spontaneously. There is a brief — historically speaking — period between the sweeping away of the rules of the old era and the installation of the rules of the new. These interregnums tend to be very dangerous affairs, as the victorious powers attempt to entrench their victory as new powers rise to the fore — and as many petit powers, suddenly out from under the thumb of any grand power, try to carve out a niche for themselves.

The post-World War I interregnum witnessed the complete upending of Asian and European security structures. The post-World War II interregnum brought about the Korean War as China’s rise slammed into America’s efforts to entrench its power. The post-Cold War interregnum produced Yugoslav wars, a variety of conflicts in the former Soviet Union (most notably in Chechnya), the rise of al Qaeda, the jihadist conflict and the Iraq war.

All these conflicts are now well past their critical phases, and in most cases are already sewn up. All of the pieces of Yugoslavia are on the road to EU membership. Russia’s borderlands — while hardly bastions of glee — have settled. Terrorism may be very much alive, but al Qaeda as a strategic threat is very much not. Even the Iraq war is winding to a conclusion. Put simply, the Cold War interregnum is coming to a close and a new era is dawning.

26764  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Maliki's Withdrawal Card on: July 09, 2008, 11:49:48 AM
Maliki's Withdrawal Card
July 9, 2008; Page A14
A year ago, the conventional Beltway wisdom had it that Iraq was a failed state. Today, the same wisdom holds that it is less chaotic but still fragile, dependent entirely on a U.S. presence to survive. But judging by recent comments from Nouri al-Maliki, even this view may be out of date.

Addressing Arab ambassadors in Abu Dhabi on Monday, the Iraqi prime minister made headlines by saying his government was "looking at the necessity of terminating the foreign presence on Iraqi lands and restoring full sovereignty." Mr. Maliki has also been playing hardball with the Bush Administration in concluding a status-of-forces agreement by the end of the year, when the current U.N. mandate authorizing the U.S. presence in Iraq expires.

Mr. Maliki's comments are an assertion of confidence in his country's stability – and not without cause. Fully nine of Iraq's 18 provinces are now under domestic security control. Al Qaeda is being smoked out of its last urban refuge in Mosul. The Iraqi army has performed with increasing skill and confidence against Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army, which has also been ousted from its urban strongholds. Iraq will take in some $70 billion in oil revenue this year. T. Boone Pickens, the Texas oil magnate, told us yesterday that Iraq could double its current production, to five million barrels a day, in coming years.

More important, Iraq seems to have been able to consolidate the security gains achieved by the surge, even as the last of the surge brigades deployed in 2007 are now returning to the U.S. That makes further reductions in U.S. force levels look increasingly plausible, a further validation of President Bush's "return on success" strategy.

Mr. Maliki's comments were also designed for domestic Iraqi political consumption – another sign of that country's robust democratic debate. With elections scheduled for the autumn, Mr. Maliki wants to show he's nobody's pawn, especially not America's. The Sadrists continue to play the nationalist card, even as they are themselves pawns of Iran. The rise of Iraqi nationalism is inevitable and largely welcome as a unifying national force. Remember all of those who said an Iraqi Shiite government would merely be a tool of Iran?

The Prime Minister is also making it clear to his Arab neighbors that his government is not about to collapse. Apparently, they believe him: Jordan, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have announced plans to break the Arab diplomatic embargo of Iraq and return their ambassadors to Baghdad; the UAE has also forgiven $7 billion of Iraqi debt. Perhaps Saudi Arabia and Egypt will follow.

The significant question now is the pace and extent of any U.S. withdrawal, and the nature of any long-term U.S. military presence. Despite Mr. Maliki's comments, Iraqi National Security Adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie was quick to add that the call for a timetable for U.S. withdrawal was "conditioned on the ability of Iraqi forces to provide security," according to the Associated Press. In other words, Mr. Maliki is not endorsing the Barack Obama agenda of immediate U.S. withdrawal starting on January 20.

Our view is that Iraq and Mr. Maliki would benefit from striking a security agreement this year while Mr. Bush is still in office. Despite Iraq's impressive security gains, Iran can still do plenty of mischief through its "special group" surrogates. The U.S. can help deter Iranian trouble, especially with Iraq elections scheduled for this year and next.

Inside Iraq, a significant long-term U.S. presence would also increase the confidence of Iraq's various factions to make political compromises. And outside, it would improve regional stability by giving the U.S. a presence in the heart of the Middle East that would deter foreign adventurism. This is the kind of strategic benefit that the next Administration should try to consolidate in Iraq after the hard-earned progress of the last year.

Our sense is that, with the exception of the Sadrists, all of Iraq's main political factions want the U.S. to remain in some significant force. Iraq is now a democracy, however, and perhaps as their confidence grows the Maliki government and Iraq public opinion will think differently. But that kind of withdrawal timetable should be mutual – and not imposed by a new U.S. President acting as if the Iraq he'll inherit in 2009 is the same as the Iraq of 2006. That would mean U.S. forces could be withdrawn with honor, and in victory.

See all of today's editorials and op-eds, plus video commentary, on Opinion Journal.
26765  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Iran says it will hit Tel Aviv and US ships if attacked. on: July 09, 2008, 05:25:01 AM
Its Reuters, so caveat lector:

July 8, 2008

Iran Says Will Hit Tel Aviv And U.S. Ships if Attacked

Filed at 1:43 p.m. ET

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran will hit Tel Aviv, U.S. shipping in the Gulf and American interests around the world if it is attacked over its disputed nuclear activities, an aide to Iran's Supreme Leader was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

"The first bullet fired by America at Iran will be followed by Iran burning down its vital interests around the globe," the students news agency ISNA quoted Ali Shirazi as saying in a speech to Revolutionary Guards.

The United States and its allies suspect Iran is trying to build nuclear bombs. Tehran says its program is peaceful.

Leaders of the Group of Eight rich countries expressed serious concern at the proliferation risks posed by Iran's nuclear program.

In a statement issued after G8 leaders met in Hokkaido, northern Japan, the grouping urged Tehran to suspend all enrichment-related activities.

"We also urge Iran to fully cooperate with the IAEA," the G8 said, referring to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said earlier that major world powers had decided to send European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana to Iran for talks on an incentives package they offered last month to induce Tehran to change its nuclear policy.

Sarkozy did not say when Solana would travel to Tehran. Iran formally replied on Friday to the offer by the United States, France, Britain, China, Russia and Germany.

France said Iran's response had ignored the world powers' demand for a suspension of uranium enrichment before talks on implementing the package -- a condition rejected on Monday as "illegitimate" by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.


In Prague, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said there were ways that Iran might wish to talk with Solana or others in order to get that suspension to take place.

"I did speak with Javier Solana yesterday. He is in contact with his Iranian counterpart and it's our great hope that the Iranians will avail themselves of this opportunity to get on the right side of the international community."

Shirazi's comments intensified a war of words that has raised fears of military confrontation and helped boost world oil prices to record highs in recent weeks.

"The Zionist regime is pressuring White House officials to attack Iran. If they commit such a stupidity, Tel Aviv and U.S. shipping in the Persian Gulf will be Iran's first targets and they will be burned," Shirazi was quoted as saying.

Shirazi, a mid-level cleric, is Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's representative to the Revolutionary Guards.

In Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's spokesman, Mark Regev, declined to comment on the threat to hit Tel Aviv, saying only: "Shirazi's words speak for themselves."

Israel, believed to be the Middle East's only nuclear-armed power, has vowed to prevent Iran from acquiring an atomic bomb. The United States says it wants to resolve the dispute by diplomacy but has not ruled out military action.

In April, Israel's Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, who is a former army general and defense minister, told Israeli media: "An Iranian attack will prompt a severe reaction from Israel, which will destroy the Iranian nation."


Tel Aviv is an Israeli coastal metropolis hit in 1991 by Scud missiles launched by former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein during a U.S.-led war with Baghdad.

"I think it is very scary what they are saying," said Roy Katalan, holding his infant daughter in his arms on a Tel Aviv beach. "I think we should take him (Shirazi) seriously."

The latest Iranian threats had little impact on financial markets in Israel. "This has no relevance on dollar-shekel trade. I assume if we see a strike, there will be a reaction," said Neil Corney, treasurer for Citigroup's office in Tel Aviv.

Oil tumbled to below $136 on Tuesday, dropping by about $10 this week on a stronger dollar and eased concern over an Atlantic hurricane. Oil had hit a record $145.85 last week on tensions over Tehran's nuclear ambitions and worries a brewing storm could hit oil fields in the Gulf of Mexico.

Iran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz if it comes under attack. About 40 percent of globally traded oil moves through the Gulf waterway.

In Washington, the U.S. Treasury designated four Iranian firms and four individuals on Tuesday for their ties to Iran's nuclear and missile programs, a move that bans U.S. companies from dealing with them and freezes any assets they may have under U.S. jurisdiction.

The Revolutionary Guards' commander of artillery and missile units, Mahmoud Chaharbaghi, said 50 brigades of his forces had been equipped with what he called smart cluster munitions.

"All our arms, bullets and rockets are on alert" to defend Iranian territory, Hemayet daily quoted him as saying.

U.S. and British naval forces wrapped up military exercises in the Gulf and said they were unrelated to tensions with Iran. The Bahrain-based U.S. Fifth Fleet said "Exercise Stake Net" took place in the central and southern Gulf and was part of training aimed at protecting the region's oil infrastructure.
26766  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Obama's anger on: July 08, 2008, 01:22:40 PM
The essay below was written by a Vietnamese immigrant, a fellow with a most unusual name. Kaitz currently teaches philosophy at the University of San Francisco.

Obama's Anger

By Ed Kaitz
"The anger is real. It is powerful, and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races."- Barack Obama

Back in the late 1980's I was on a plane flying out of New Orleans and sitting next to me was a rather interesting and, according to Barack Obama, unusual black man. Friendly, gregarious, and wise beyond his years, we immediately hit it off.  I had been working on Vietnamese commercial fishing boats for a few years based in southern Louisiana   the boats were owned by the recent wave of Vietnamese refugees who flooded into the familiar tropical environment after the war.  Floating in calm seas out in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico, I would hear tearful songs and tales from ex-paratroopers about losing brothers, sisters, parents, children, lovers, and beautiful Vietnam itself to the communists.

In Bayou country I lived on boats and in doublewide trailers, and like the rest of the Vietnamese refugees, I shopped at Wal-Mart and ate a lot of rice. When they arrived in Louisiana the refugees had no money (the money that they had was used to bribe their way out of Vietnam and into refugee camps in Thailand), few friends, and a mostly unfriendly and suspicious local population.

They did however have strong families, a strong work ethic, and the "Audacity of Hope. "Within a generation, with little or no knowledge of English, the Vietnamese had achieved dominance in the fishing industry there and their children were already achieving the top SAT scores in the state.

While I had been fishing my new black friend had been working as a prison psychologist in Missouri , and he was pursuing a higher degree in psychology. He was interested in my story, and after about an hour getting to know each other I asked him point blank why these Vietnamese refugees, with no money, friends, or knowledge of the language could be, within a generation, so successful. I also asked him why it was so difficult to convince young black men to abandon the streets and take advantage of the same kinds of opportunities that the Vietnamese had recently embraced.

His answer, only a few words, not only floored me but became sort of a razor that has allowed me ever since to slice through all of the rhetoric regarding race relations that Democrats shovel our way during election season: "We're owed and they aren't." In short, he concluded, "they're hungry and we think we're owed. It's crushing us, and as long as we think we're owed we're going nowhere."

A good test case for this theory is Katrina. Obama, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and assorted white apologists continue to express anger and outrage over the federal response to the Katrina disaster. But where were the Vietnamese "leaders" expressing their "anger?" The Vietnamese comprise a substantial part of the New Orleans population, and yet is absent any report claiming that the Vietnamese were "owed" anything. This is not to say that the federal response was an adequate one, but we need to take this as a sign that maybe the problem has very little to do with racism and a lot to with a mindset.
The mindset that one is "owed" something in life has not only affected black mobility in business but black mobility in education as well.  Remember Ward Churchill? About fifteen years ago he was my boss. After leaving the fishing boats, I attended graduate school at the University of Colorado at Boulder I managed to get a job on campus teaching expository writing to minority students who had been accepted provisionally into the university on an affirmative action program.  And although I never met him, Ward Churchill, in addition to teaching in the ethnic studies department, helped to develop and organize the minority writing program.

The job paid most of my bills, but what I witnessed there was absolutely horrifying. The students were encouraged to write essays attacking the white establishment from every conceivable angle and in addition to defend affirmative action and other government programs. Of the hundreds of papers that I read, there was not one original contribution to the problem of black mobility that strayed from the party line.

The irony of it all however is that the "white establishment" managed to get them into the college and pay their entire tuition. Instead of being encouraged to study international affairs, classical or modern languages, philosophy or art, most of these students became ethnic studies or sociology majors because it allowed them to remain in disciplines whose orientation justified their existence at the university. In short, it became a vicious cycle.

There was a student there I'll never forget. He was plucked out of the projects in Denver and given a free ride to the university. One day in my office he told me that his mother had said the following to him: "M. J., they owe you this. White people at that university owe you this." M. J's experience at the university was a glorious fulfillment of his mother's angst.

There were black student organizations and other clubs that "facilitated" the minority student's experience on the majority white and "racist" campus, in addition to a plethora of faculty members, both white and black, who encouraged the same animus toward the white establishment. While adding to their own bona fides as part of the trendy Left, these "facilitators" supplied M. J. with everything he needed to quench his and his mother's anger, but nothing in the way of advice about how to succeed in college. No one, in short, had told M. J. that he needed to study. But since he was "owed" everything, why put out any effort on his own?

In a fit of despair after failing most of his classes, M. J. wandered into my office one Friday afternoon in the middle of the semester and asked if I could help him out. I asked M. J. about his plans that evening, and he told me that he usually attended parties on Friday and Saturday nights. I told him that if he agreed to meet me in front of the university library at 6:00 PM I would buy him dinner. At 6PM M. J. showed up, and for the next twenty minutes we wandered silently through the stacks, lounges, and study areas of the library. When we arrived back at the entrance I asked M. J. if he noticed anything interesting. As we headed up the hill to a popular burger joint, M. J. turned to me and said:
"They were all Asian. Everyone in there was Asian, and it was Friday night."

Nothing I could do, say, or show him, however, could match the fire power of his support system favoring anger. I was sad to hear of M. J. dropping out of school the following semester.

During my time teaching in the writing program, I watched Asians get transformed via leftist doublespeak from "minorities" to "model minorities" to "they're not minorities" in precise rhythm to their fortunes in business and education. Asians were "minorities" when they were struggling in this country, but they became "model minorities" when they achieved success. Keep in mind "model minority" did not mean what most of us think it means, i.e., something to emulate. "Model minority" meant that Asians had certain cultural advantages, such as a strong family tradition and a culture of scholarship that the black community lacked.

To suggest that intact families and a philosophy of self-reliance could be the ticket to success would have undermined the entire angst establishment. Because of this, it was improper to use Asian success as a model. The contortions the left exercised in order to defend this ridiculous thesis helped to pave the way for the elimination of Asians altogether from the status of "minority."
This whole process took only a few years.

Eric Hoffer said:
" do not win the weak by sharing your wealth with them; it will but infect them with greed and resentment. You can win the weak only by sharing your pride, hope or hatred with them."

We now know that Barack Obama really has no interest in the "audacity of hope." With his race speech, Obama became a peddler of angst, resentment and despair. Too bad he doesn't direct that angst at the liberal establishment that has sold black people a bill of goods since the 1960's. What Obama seems angry about is America itself and what it stands for; the same America that has provided fabulous opportunities for what my black friend called "hungry" minorities. Strong families, self-reliance, and a spirit of entrepreneurship should be held up as ideals for all races to emulate.

In the end, we should be very suspicious about Obama's anger and the recent frothing's of his close friend Reverend Wright. Says Eric Hoffer:  "The fact seems to be that we are least open to precise knowledge concerning the things we are most vehement about. Vehemence is the expression of a blind effort to support and uphold something that can never stand on its own."

26767  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Estudio: Muchos vs. muchos con palos y un cuchillo on: July 08, 2008, 09:51:48 AM
Parece tener lugar un Rusia.

26768  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: $600 million baby on: July 08, 2008, 09:14:51 AM
$600 Million Baby
July 8, 2008; Page A20
As the Senate prepares to vote on its mortgage bailout this week, one part of Banking Chairman Chris Dodd's bill deserves more scrutiny. It's a section called "affordable housing allocations," and while it sounds innocuous, in practice it amounts to a new tax to create a permanent subsidy for state governments and political activists.

Like the bailout that has already passed the House, the Senate bill features a special new tax on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. We have long urged reform of the two mortgage giants, which operate with an implicit government guarantee and therefore a license to endanger the taxpayer if they take on too much risk. The shares of both plunged yesterday to new lows based on their credit risks. But as a price for allowing more oversight of the two companies, Mr. Dodd and House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank want to cut their allies in on even more of the action.

Mr. Dodd creates an annual tax of 4.2 basis points on the mortgages that Fan and Fred purchase each year. Initially this money will go to finance losses resulting from the bill's bailout of refinanced mortgages. But by 2012 most of the cash from this tax will be directed to the new "affordable housing" funds. Mr. Frank applies a 1.2 basis-point tax on the value of all the loans Fan and Fred hold or have guaranteed, to collect roughly the same amount of money. The annual windfall here could amount to more than $600 million at the start, growing to perhaps $1 billion or more, depending on how fast the companies grow.

Even better for the pols, this money won't end up in the Treasury's general fund. Instead, they've written the bill to steer the cash toward some of their favorite political allies. In the Senate bill, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development gets the largest pot to distribute, a full 65% of the "affordable housing" funds. Within guidelines established by the bill, the HUD chief has discretion to favor particular states while punishing others in creating a formula for doling out block grants.

Much of the political clout will be enjoyed by state politicians once they receive the checks from HUD. The state pols will be free to share the wealth with favored organizations, which will include both nonprofit and for-profit groups with an agenda.

Back at the federal level, the Treasury Secretary receives 35% of the affordable housing funds to distribute, but he doesn't have to ship it off to the states in the form of block grants. Treasury can make grants directly to nonprofits, and the one certainty is that most of this cash will be directed to the most powerful allies of the politicians in power. While Mr. Frank's version only authorizes this river of cash until 2012, the Senate would make it permanent and don't expect the House to object in conference.

Democrats claim the bill has ample protection against money going for electioneering and lobbying, but it will surely go to activists who promote ever-more taxes and spending. We see nothing in either the House or Senate bills to prevent money from flowing to Acorn, the left-wing activist outfit that was infamous for its bare-knuckle politics even before eight of its employees pleaded guilty in April to election fraud in St. Louis.

Acorn operates an "affordable housing" arm, so it is structured to immediately board the new federal gravy train. The Center for Responsible Lending, which lobbies and litigates against market rates in consumer banking, also should be able to tap these funds via its affiliated Center for Community Self-Help. If later investigations prove that taxpayer funds were misused, the bills provide that recipients can simply return the amount of the grant, with no further financial penalty.

The affordable housing funds also give Members of Congress an even larger stake in the growth of Fannie and Freddie. Heretofore, the companies have had to influence Congress through lobbying and campaign donations. But now Congress will get a direct percentage in how much new business the companies do.

This, in turn, will give the companies more incentive to take even greater financial risks. While the bill gives Fan and Fred's regulator more power to limit their business, good luck to the human regulator who tries to do so. The companies will go to Messrs. Dodd and Frank, who will quickly let the regulator know he's not supposed to cut into their share of the loot. A bill that allegedly reins in the companies after their multibillion-dollar accounting frauds will thus make Fannie and Freddie even more politically invulnerable.

With rare exceptions, Republicans seem happy to go along with all this in the name of "doing something" about housing before the election. We doubt it will stem their electoral losses this year, and in return they'll be funding their political opponents for decades to come. Genius.
26769  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Fox: Porn Dogs will not be killed on: July 08, 2008, 08:52:38 AM
TULSA, Okla. —  The sheriff's office has backed off its recommendation that three dogs that are part of a bestiality case should be destroyed.

Donald Roy Seigfried, 55, and Diane Whalen, 54, face felony charges of committing crimes against nature, the statute that deals with bestiality.

Sheriff's officials at first said the animals appeared aggressive and should be put down. Animal rights groups argued that the dogs should be spared.

"The undersheriff has rethought his position on the dogs involved in the pornography," said sheriff's Capt. John Bowman. "Because of their status as being victims in this whole thing, he decided they will not be euthanized.

"His intent is to maintain them until they can be rehabilitated and then to get them adopted by people or organizations who are aware of their background and get a good home for all of them."

The sheriff's office received evidence the dogs had been filmed dozens of times performing sex acts with a woman.

26770  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Watching the UFC on: July 08, 2008, 08:12:40 AM
26771  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / NYT: WSJ editor to take over at Wa Po. on: July 08, 2008, 08:11:00 AM
Signaling a generational change at one of the nation’s most influential newspapers, the new publisher of The Washington Post on Monday selected an outsider as the paper’s top editor.

Marcus W. Brauchli has spent most of his career as an editor and overseas correspondent at The Wall Street Journal.

Marcus W. Brauchli, a former top editor of The Wall Street Journal, will become the executive editor of The Post on Sept. 8, at a time of great upheaval in the industry. At age 47, he is young enough to remain in place for many years, working alongside the publisher, Katharine Weymouth, who is 42 and has been in her job for five months.

He will succeed Leonard Downie Jr., 66, who has led The Post’s newsroom for 17 years, guiding it to numerous accolades, including six Pulitzer Prizes this year, the most in its history.

But Mr. Brauchli (pronounced BROW-klee) and Ms. Weymouth take the helm at a time when The Post, like the newspaper industry as a whole, is buffeted by budget cuts, a shrinking newsroom, falling advertising revenue and declining circulation.

“I don’t think it’s a case of her wanting to shake the place up as much as her having to,” said Benjamin C. Bradlee, a former executive editor who is a vice president of the Washington Post Company. “She feels the urgency to change and adapt, and thank heaven.”

The Post is trying to meld its print and online news operations — something The Journal has already done — and that task is high on the priority list of Ms. Weymouth, the first Post publisher with direct control of its Web site. The two operations have been kept apart to a degree that is rare in the industry — the Web site even has a separate newsroom, in Virginia — which has bred duplication and turf wars.

In a statement, Ms. Weymouth said that Mr. Brauchli’s experience at The Journal would “help us navigate the new world of media.”

Her decision to pass over candidates within The Post and hire Mr. Brauchli comes shortly into a tenure that has already made clear that she intends to shake up the venerable but financially troubled paper. She is in the fourth generation of her family to head the paper that her great-grandfather, Eugene I. Meyer, bought in 1933, and is considered the likely successor to her uncle, Donald E. Graham, 63, as chairman and chief executive of the Post Company, which also owns Newsweek magazine and the Kaplan educational business.

But her choice of Mr. Brauchli is a surprising one at a paper best known for its political coverage and inside-the-Beltway savvy. Some editors and reporters at The Post say that changing the leadership in the midst of a hard-fought presidential campaign is an unorthodox and potentially disruptive move.

Mr. Brauchli has little experience in Washington, but at The Journal he helped oversee coverage of presidential campaigns and served as a foreign correspondent. Former colleagues say he has no trouble adapting to new territory.

“He has one of the quickest minds, and he has the ability to accumulate an enormous amount of information and very quickly become sophisticated on any topic,” said Stephen J. Adler, editor in chief of BusinessWeek and a former Journal editor.

It is not clear what role will be played by The Post’s second-ranking editor, Phillip Bennett, who has the title of managing editor and was a candidate for the top job. People who have discussed the matter with Post executives — and who insisted on anonymity to avoid upstaging those executives — said that an arrangement with multiple managing editors was under consideration.

The other serious contenders for executive editor were Jonathan Landman, the deputy managing editor of The New York Times; Jon Meacham, the editor of Newsweek; and David Ignatius, a Post columnist and former editor.

When Mr. Brauchli became the managing editor of The Journal, the top newsroom position there, in May 2007, he was a popular choice among his colleagues. Seven months later, the paper was taken over by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, and Mr. Murdoch and the publisher he installed, Robert Thomson, pressed for an array of changes in the content of The Journal and the way the newsroom was organized — changes that much of the newsroom opposed.

Mr. Brauchli resigned in April to become a consultant to the News Corporation, saying, “I have come to believe the new owners should have a managing editor of their choosing.” Mr. Thomson then took his place. Some of Mr. Brauchli’s former colleagues were bitter that he did not fight the changes made by The Journal’s new owners, but many others said his position was untenable from the start.

Mr. Brauchli left The Journal with a severance package that news reports valued at several million dollars; it is not clear whether joining The Post changes the terms of that package, if at all. He declined to comment for this article, as did Ms. Weymouth.


At The Post, he takes on a set of serious challenges. Since 2000, the paper’s weekday circulation has declined to 673,000, from about 800,000, but is still the seventh-highest among American newspapers. Its Web site draws more than nine million unique visitors monthly, according to Nielsen Online, making it the third-highest for a newspaper Web site.

 But like all newspapers, The Post has been unable to convert that heavy Web traffic into enough dollars to outweigh the loss of print advertising and circulation revenue. The Post has responded to the economic pressures by reducing its news staff from more than 900 people early in this decade to about 700, and executives there expect it to shrink further in the next few years.

The newspaper division of the Post Company, which consists mostly of The Post itself, reported an operating profit of just $1.2 million in the first quarter, on revenue of $206.1 million, down from $14.9 million in profit a year earlier.

On the whole, the Post Company is less threatened by the industry’s transformation than most of its newspaper brethren, because it is far less reliant on newspapers, bolstered by its Kaplan educational unit and its broadcast and cable television holdings. It reported earnings of $39.3 million in the first quarter, down 39 percent from a year earlier, despite an 8 percent increase in revenue, to $985.6 million.

The company’s stock is down 42 percent from its peak in 2004, reflecting a broad decline in the industry.

Ms. Weymouth is the granddaughter of Katharine Graham, the longtime Post publisher, and daughter of Lally Weymouth, a Newsweek editor and correspondent on foreign affairs. She practiced law for a number of years before joining the Post Company in 1996 as an in-house lawyer, and most of her experience with the company has been in advertising.

Several people she has worked or consulted with — most of them requested anonymity to avoid alienating her — describe Ms. Weymouth as very smart and determined to move quickly to adapt to the challenges posed by the Internet. And they say she is less deferential to some of The Post’s traditions than her predecessors were.

She talked for a time of getting an office in the newsroom, which would be seen at some papers as a breach of the traditional separation of the business and news operations, but company officials say that idea has been shelved.

Soon after taking over, Ms. Weymouth began conferring with a number of people inside and outside the company about possible editors. Casting a wide net quickly made it a fairly public process, at a time when Mr. Downie and the paper insisted publicly that there were no immediate plans for him to leave — and it was seen by some of his loyalists as putting pressure on him to go.

But those who have discussed the succession with her said that Ms. Weymouth recognized her lack of news experience and wisely sought the advice of a wide range of people.

“It was pretty un-Graham-like to be so public, but it was what she needed to do,” said one of the contenders who lost out to Mr. Brauchli. “She sees that the industry’s in crisis.”

26772  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor on: July 08, 2008, 07:37:17 AM
July 7, 2008
A suicide bombing Monday in a central part of the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, killed 19 people — 15 of whom were policemen — and wounded dozens of others. The bomber targeted a security detachment at an event organized by radical Islamists to mark the first anniversary of the storming of the city’s Red Mosque by elite Pakistani military units. The operation — ordered by then-military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf after Islamist militants occupied the mosque — ended July 11, 2007, with an official death toll of more than 100 and unofficial claims that several hundred were killed, including women and children.

Islamabad regained control of the mosque, but in the year since then it has lost control of large parts of the Pashtun-dominated northwestern areas along the border with Afghanistan to Taliban forces. Furthermore, the use of suicide bombings has allowed these forces to reach beyond their strongholds and strike with impunity at the core of Pakistan, including the country’s main urban centers. Accompanying the rapidly deteriorating security situation has been political instability, which has only grown after the Feb. 18 elections. As Stratfor predicted, the elections — which the country’s main opposition won by a landslide — failed to quell the political unrest that severely weakened not only Musharraf’s hold on power but also the army’s. Musharraf’s regime has been replaced by a civil-military hybrid which lacks the willingness and/or ability to take on the threat posed by Islamist extremism and militancy. The fact is that the civilian government and the country’s military establishment appear to be losing control of the situation.

By opting to negotiate with the jihadists from a position of weakness, the Pakistani authorities inadvertently are sending a message to every armed non-state actor of any worth in the country (of which there is no shortage) that all the jihadists have to do to make the government more pliable is use their weapons. This signal has led to the spread of the Taliban in Pakistan. Any pause in militancy is not because the state has succeeded in containing the insurgency; rather, it is because the jihadists have made a tactical decision to pause in keeping with their strategy. While the jihadists are brimming with confidence, judging from the way Islamabad is randomly oscillating between negotiations and military operations, the government does not appear to have a discernable policy for dealing with this situation.

Stratfor extensively has addressed Pakistan’s intelligence problem which enables militant activity and prevents the state from doing much about it. The problem is actually far larger than an intelligence failure: We are told that many of Pakistan’s senior and military officials are caught up in Pakistani society’s conspiracy theories about the causes of the growing chaos in the country. In other words, there is national lack of acknowledgement that the country is being torn apart by religious extremism.

What is even worse for Pakistan is that its jihadist problem is a geopolitical issue rather than a strictly political one. This means that the Pakistanis cannot deal with it at a time of their choosing. This would explain the United States’ increasingly aggressive attitude in dealing with the situation. U.S. airstrikes in the country’s tribal badlands have become an almost daily occurrence, and it is only a matter of time before Washington escalates its unilateral military operations deeper into Pakistani territory.

A key purpose of Stratfor’s diary is to try and look over the horizon at what can be expected. A year after Red Mosque operation, Pakistan appears to be spinning out of control. It is difficult to say with any clarity what will happen in another year, other than that there do not appear to be many arrestors to counter the current trend toward anarchy — even if the military steps in.
26773  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: HELP PLEASE! Event Insurance on: July 08, 2008, 07:35:57 AM
Woof Pappy et al:

The three day holiday weekend, combined with my not getting back from a family trip until yesterday afternoon has put this on hold until later today. (Its 0535 right now)  I look forward to putting this to rest today.  Thank you for the concern and help.

26774  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Yuck you! on: July 07, 2008, 11:43:13 PM

LONDON, July 7 (UPI) -- Toddlers who say "yuck" when given flavorful foreign food may be exhibiting racist behavior, a British government-sponsored organization says.

The London-based National Children's Bureau released a 366-page guide counseling adults on recognizing racist behavior in young children, The Telegraph reported Monday.

The guide, titled Young Children and Racial Justice, warns adults that babies must also be included in the effort to eliminate racism because they have the ability to "recognize different people in their lives."

The bureau says to be aware of children who "react negatively to a culinary tradition other than their own by saying "yuck."

"Racist incidents among children in early years settings tend to be around name-calling, casual thoughtless comments and peer group relationships," the guide says.

Staff members are advised not to ignore racist actions and to condemn them when they occur.
26775  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: July 07, 2008, 10:14:27 PM
Sadly, I agree. cry
26776  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DB Gathering of the Pack August 10th, 2008 on: July 06, 2008, 09:50:13 AM
It looks like the insurance matter is working out (should finalize by Tuesday) at which point we will have a firm commitment on location.   Thanks to all for the help with the insurance!
26777  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / UFC 86 on: July 06, 2008, 09:40:36 AM
Comments on last night's fights?
26778  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / US Aircraft Carriers on: July 06, 2008, 09:21:37 AM
U.S.: To Kill a Carrier
Stratfor Today » July 2, 2008 | 1951 GMT

Patrick M. Bonafede/U.S. Navy via Getty Images
The Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72)Summary
The Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is perhaps the greatest symbol of American military power. But this titan among ships possesses vulnerabilities.

Related Special Topic Pages
Tracking U.S. Naval Power
U.S. Military Dominance
Related Links
United States: The Supersonic Anti-Ship Missile Threat
The Limitations and Necessity of Naval Power
U.S.: Naval Dominance and the SSN
BAMS’ Role in Furthering U.S. Naval Dominance
Print Version
To download a PDF of this piece that was suggested by Stratfor Member Michael Kuzik, Click here.
If there is a single symbol of the military power of the United States and its global reach, it is the Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. Although capable of projecting immense striking power, these warships also possess inherent vulnerabilities.

The lead ship of the class, the USS Nimitz (CVN-68), was laid down in 1968. The 10th and last of its class, the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77), will not be commissioned until 2009, more than four decades after the USS Nimitz. Built around a massive 4.5-acre flight deck and displacing more than 100,000 tons, the class represents the largest warships ever constructed.

This size allows the Nimitz-class to embark an air wing with more than 60 combat aircraft, comparable to the number of such aircraft in a small NATO member state’s entire air force. Even today, refinements in the composition of the carrier air wing and the maturation of precision-guided munitions now allow a single carrier air wing to hit the same target set that would have required more than six such wings at the end of the Cold War. In more than three decades of operational service, they have proven themselves again and again an invaluable tool of U.S. foreign policy and military operations.

Yet part and parcel of this immense size and impressive strike capacity is the inherent vulnerability of the modern U.S. aircraft carrier.

The Problem
The much-vaunted battleship was eclipsed by carrier-based airpower during World War II. The battleship’s vulnerability was inextricably tied to its design, which incorporated immense armor and massive guns. Such battleship designs were excellent for tasks like sinking the HMS Hood, but were poorly tailored to the era of torpedo bombers.

It is not that the battleship was obsolete — the final Iowa-class battleships were only finally stricken from the U.S. Naval Vessel Register in 2006 — but rather, the apex and decline of one era crossing the emergence and rise of the next era. The proof of this transition was provided by the massive naval battles of World War II.

No similar opportunity to observe carriers taking on the latest anti-ship technologies has emerged, though one loomed for most of the latter half of the 20th century in the prospect of a massive naval competition for the North Atlantic if war broke out in Europe between NATO and the Warsaw Pact.

Nevertheless, the rise of the latest generation of supersonic anti-ship missiles is unmistakably under way. Since the advent of the first anti-ship missiles, the United States has fought to defend its carriers. This was the proximate motivation for Aegis — the battle control system of Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers and Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers. Designed to coordinate the defenses of a carrier battle group and defeat dozens and dozens of incoming Soviet anti-ship missiles (a mission for which it has never been tested in combat), Aegis is the embodiment of the fundamental vulnerability of the aircraft carrier.

One of the great technological achievements of the Cold War, Aegis symbolized the cutting edge of naval technology. To this day, it stands as perhaps the essential link in the U.S. Navy’s competitive technological advantage in battle. Nevertheless, it took this revolutionary development to attempt to defend against the already-extant threat of Soviet anti-ship missiles. Such technology has been around for decades now, and will only continue to proliferate and improve.

The Kill
More simply, the cost — both financial and technological — to defend the carrier from the threat is at least an order of magnitude more than the cost of threatening the carrier. This is particularly true in scenarios when numerous less-advanced anti-ship missiles are used in a bid to overwhelm qualitatively superior defenses.

The danger is not necessarily that enough missiles might get through to actually sink the carrier. Certainly, if just some of the 3,000 tons of aviation ordnance or the more than 2.5 million gallons of aviation fuel aboard a carrier were ignited, they might facilitate just that. Instead, the danger is that the missiles would achieve a “mission kill.” Sinking a warship and denying it the capacity to carry out its function — especially in wartime — is not the same thing. Good damage control may keep a crippled ship afloat, or even allow it to limp back to port. But this, by no means, suggests that the ship would be likely to stay in the fight. This is the mission kill.

In some ways, these considerations are especially critical in the case of an aircraft carrier. A carrier must be able to steer into the wind and maintain a steady course and speed to launch — and especially to recover — aircraft. A list to port or starboard that would be an annoyance to a surface combatant could quickly pose a much more significant problem for flight operations. The hangar deck and flight deck can be incredibly crowded with a full air wing embarked and flight operations under way. Taking any portion of the flight deck or even a single elevator out of commission could have a very real impact on the efficiency of those operations. Certain systems, such as the catapults and arresting gear, are absolute necessities. A strike that disables either of these systems makes the carrier a very expensive parking lot with a handful of helicopters able to enter the fight.

The Threat
A fully alert carrier strike group (CSG) with airborne early warning, combat air patrols and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) surveillance under way has the highest situational awareness one could hope to achieve on the high seas today, possessing an immense defensive capability at its highest state of readiness. It would be extremely difficult for a flight of aircraft armed with anti-ship missiles to penetrate that air cover, and even surface formations should be monitored from a great distance. (Indeed, in the open ocean, a CSG is not necessarily even easy to find in the first place, given the maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities of most nations in the world.)

And yet this is not a posture that can be sustained efficiently or indefinitely. U.S. CSGs rarely are surrounded by open water in operations in the 21st century. Transiting the world’s narrow shipping lanes — from the straits of Malacca and Hormuz to the Suez Canal — and supporting missions from the comparatively cramped waters of the Persian Gulf or off the coast of Pakistan, the CSG necessarily opens itself to challenges for which it was not designed.

There is little room for these ships to maneuver in some of these choke points, and exercises have reportedly shown that swarming by large numbers of small craft might prove an effective means of overwhelming and penetrating shipboard defenses. Mining also is a potential concern. Meanwhile, the clutter of air and littoral traffic along the shore vastly complicates the security the open ocean affords, opening up opportunities for the use of shore-based anti-ship missiles or aircraft operating — until the last moment — inside foreign airspace. But even more important, these choke points and the complexities of anti-submarine warfare in the littoral environment open up opportunities for conventional diesel-electric submarines.

Such submarines do not have the endurance to hunt down a CSG in the open ocean, nor the ability to keep up if the CSG moves at speed. But they can be exceptionally quiet at a few knots while running on battery power and can loiter around sea lanes and choke points. Methods of attack available to them range from traditional mines and torpedoes to some of the most advanced anti-ship missiles in the world, all capable of being launched from below the surface. In October 2006, just such a submarine — in this case a Chinese People’s Liberation Army-Navy Song class (Type 039) — surfaced within 5 miles of the USS Kitty Hawk, well within range of both anti-ship missiles and torpedoes.

The utility of the carrier as an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) platform was once meaningful, although defending the carrier itself necessitated most of the ASW assets it carried. But the S-3 Viking, the last carrier-based fixed-wing ASW platform, was then “upgraded” to the S-3B — from which mission-specific ASW equipment was stripped at the turn of the century — and is being withdrawn from service. The MH-60R Seahawk is slated to become the only ship-based airborne ASW asset in the fleet, and it will count ASW among half a dozen other primary missions.

The U.S. Navy’s ASW capability has deteriorated in the face of more pressing missions relevant to the U.S.-jihadist war. Today, a P-3 Orion maritime surveillance aircraft crew can deploy to the 5th Fleet and conduct few if any ASW exercises or patrols, focusing instead on supporting operations ashore in Iraq. Whether that was the right choice or not is irrelevant to this discussion. The fact of the matter is that ASW is a particularly delicate art that requires careful drilling — drilling that is not happening anywhere close to the scale of that during the Cold War years.

Meanwhile, China is reportedly refining an anti-ship ballistic missile especially tailored to target carriers off its coast. This change of aspect could present new challenges for shipboard defenses.

The claim that because a military asset is at risk, it is therefore obsolete is obviously false, and is certainly not the claim we are making here. One cannot argue that because the world’s surface warships can be shot at, they are obsolete. The immense power projection capability that the aircraft carrier brings to bear is undeniable. As a tool of global military dominance, it is invaluable. Like the battleship, its utility will extend far into the future beyond the apex of its era. However, its offensive value must be weighed against defensive requirements. What we are asking, instead, is this: In the age of proliferating supersonic anti-ship missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles and broad area maritime surveillance, has the long, slow decline of the age of the aircraft carrier already begun?
26779  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / 11 Good foods on: July 06, 2008, 08:35:00 AM
Nutritionist and author Jonny Bowden has created several lists of healthful foods people should be eating but aren’t. But some of his favorites, like purslane, guava and goji berries, aren’t always available at regular grocery stores. I asked Dr. Bowden, author of “The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth,” to update his list with some favorite foods that are easy to find but don’t always find their way into our shopping carts. Here’s his advice.
Beets: Think of beets as red spinach, Dr. Bowden said, because they are a rich source of folate as well as natural red pigments that may be cancer fighters.
How to eat: Fresh, raw and grated to make a salad. Heating decreases the antioxidant power.
Cabbage: Loaded with nutrients like sulforaphane, a chemical said to boost cancer-fighting enzymes.
How to eat: Asian-style slaw or as a crunchy topping on burgers and sandwiches.
Swiss chard: A leafy green vegetable packed with carotenoids that protect aging eyes.
How to eat it: Chop and saute in olive oil.
Cinnamon: May help control blood sugar and cholesterol.
How to eat it: Sprinkle on coffee or oatmeal.
Pomegranate juice: Appears to lower blood pressure and loaded with antioxidants.
How to eat: Just drink it.
Dried plums: Okay, so they are really prunes, but they are packed with antioxidants.
How to eat: Wrapped in prosciutto and baked.
Pumpkin seeds: The most nutritious part of the pumpkin and packed with magnesium; high levels of the mineral are associated with lower risk for early death.
How to eat: Roasted as a snack, or sprinkled on salad.
Sardines: Dr. Bowden calls them “health food in a can.'’ They are high in omega-3’s, contain virtually no mercury and are loaded with calcium. They also contain iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and manganese as well as a full complement of B vitamins.
How to eat: Choose sardines packed in olive or sardine oil. Eat plain, mixed with salad, on toast, or mashed with dijon mustard and onions as a spread.
Turmeric: The “superstar of spices,'’ it may have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.
How to eat: Mix with scrambled eggs or in any vegetable dish.
Frozen blueberries: Even though freezing can degrade some of the nutrients in fruits and vegetables, frozen blueberries are available year-round and don’t spoil; associated with better memory in animal studies.
How to eat: Blended with yogurt or chocolate soy milk and sprinkled with crushed almonds.
Canned pumpkin: A low-calorie vegetable that is high in fiber and immune-stimulating vitamin A; fills you up on very few calories.
How to eat: Mix with a little butter, cinnamon and nutmeg.
26780  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Noonan: A day at at the beach on: July 05, 2008, 04:28:04 PM

Peggy Noonan is a contributing editor of The Wall Street Journal and a weekly columnist for the Journal's Weekend Edition and She is the author of seven books on politics and culture, most recently "John Paul the Great" (Viking, 2005) and "A Heart, A Cross, And A Flag: America Today," (Wall Street Journal Books), a collection of her essays. Ms. Noonan is a member of the board of the Manhattan Institute. She was a special assistant to President Reagan from 1984 through 1988. In 1988 she was chief speechwriter for Vice President George Bush as he ran for the presidency. Her first book, the best seller "What I Saw at the Revolution: A Political Life in the Reagan Era," was published in 1990. She is also author of "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness" (1994), "On Speaking Well" (1998), and "The Case Against Hillary Clinton" (2000) and "When Character Was King" (2001). Ms. Noonan is an Emmy Award nominee for her work on the first all-network special following 9/11, "America, a Tribute to Heroes," and for her work on the television show "The West Wing."
Before entering the Reagan White House, she was a producer at CBS News in New York, where she wrote and produced hourly reports on CBS Radio and Dan Rather's daily radio commentary. She also wrote television news specials for CBS News. In 1978 and 1979 she was an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. She holds honorary doctorates from her alma mater, Fairleigh Dickinson University, and from St. John Fisher College, Adelphi University, Saint Francis College and Miami University. Ms. Noonan lives in New York.

A Day at the Beach
July 5, 2008; Page A11
It was May 1944, and 22-year-old John Whitehead of Montclair, N.J., an ensign on the USS Thomas Jefferson, was placed in charge of five of the landing craft for the invasion of Europe. Each would ferry 25 soldiers from the TJ, as they called it, onto the shore of France. John's landing site was to be a 50-yard stretch of shoreline dubbed Dog Red Beach. It fell near the middle of the sector called Omaha Beach, which in turn fell in the middle of the entire assault.

Americans land at Normandy, June 6, 1944
The TJ sailed to Portsmouth Harbor, which was jam-packed with ships. On June 1 the Army troops arrived, coming up the gangway one by one. "They were very quiet," John said this week. Word came on June 4 that they'd leave that night, but they were ordered back in a storm. The next morning, June 5, the rain was still coming down, but the seas were calmer. Around 8 that night, they cast off to cross the channel. The skies were dark, rain lashed the deck, and the TJ rolled in the sea. At midnight they dropped anchor nine miles off the French coast. They ate a big breakfast of eggs and bacon. At 2 a.m. the crew began lowering the Higgins boats—"a kind of floating boxcar, rectangular, with high walls"—over the side by crane. The soldiers had to climb down big nets to get aboard. "They had practiced, but as Eisenhower always said, 'In wartime, plans are only good until the moment you try to execute them.' "

The Higgins boats pitched in the choppy water. The soldiers, loaded down "like mountaineers" with rifles, flame throwers, radio equipment, artillery parts, tarps, food, water, "70 pounds in all"—had trouble getting from the nets to the boats. "I saw a poor soul slip from the net into the water. He sank like a stone. He just disappeared in the depths of the sea. There was nothing we could do." So they boarded the boats on the deck and hoisted them into the sea.

It took John's five little boats four hours to cover the nine miles to the beach. "They were the worst hours of our lives. It was pitch black, cold, and the rain was coming down in sheets, drenching us. The boats were being tossed in the waves, making all of us violently sick. We'd all been given the big breakfast. Hardly anyone could hold it down. Packed in like that, with the boat's high walls. A cry went up: 'For Christ's sake, do it in your helmet!' "

"Around 4 a.m. the dawn broke and a pale light spread across the sea, and now we could see that we were in the middle of an armada—every kind of boat, destroyers, probably the greatest array of sea power ever gathered."

Now they heard the sound, the deep boom of the shells from the battleships farther out at sea, shelling the beach to clear a path. Above, barely visible through clouds, they saw the transport planes pushing through to drop paratroopers from the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions. "Those were brave men."

At 5 a.m. they were close enough to shore to see landmarks—a spit of land, a slight rise of a bluff. In front of them they saw some faster, sleeker British boats trying desperately to stay afloat in the choppy water. As the Americans watched, three of the boats flipped over and sank, drowning all the men. A British navigator went by in a different kind of boat. "He was standing up and he called out to my friend in a very jaunty British accent, 'I say, fellows, which way is it to Pointe du Hoc?' That was one of the landmarks, and the toughest beach of all. My friend yelled out that it was up to our right. 'Very good!' he cried out, and then went on by with a little wave of his hand."

Closer to shore, a furious din—"It was like a Fourth of July celebration multiplied by a thousand." By 6 a.m. they were 800 yards from shore. All five boats of the squadron had stayed together. The light had brightened enough that John could see his wristwatch. "At 6:20 I waved them in with a hard chop of my arm: Go!"

* * *

They faced a barrier, made a sharp left, ran parallel to the shore looking for an opening, got one, turned again toward the beach. They hit it, were in a foot or two of water. The impact jarred loose the landing ramps to release the soldiers as planned. But on John's boat, it didn't work. He scrambled to the bow, got a hammer, pounded the stuck bolt. The ramp crashed down and the soldiers lunged forth. Some were hit with shrapnel as they struggled through to the beach. Others made it to land only to be hit as they crossed it. The stuck ramp probably saved John's life. After he'd rushed forward to grab the hammer, he turned and saw the coxswain he'd been standing next to had been hit and killed by an incoming shell.

The troops of Omaha Beach took terrible fire. Half the soldiers from John's five boats were killed or wounded. "It was a horrible sight. But I had to concentrate on doing my job." To make room for the next wave of landings, they raised the ramp, backed out, turned around and sped back to the TJ. "I remember waving hello to the soldiers in the incoming boats, as if we were all on launches for a pleasure cruise. I remember thinking how odd that such gestures of civility would persist amid such horror."

Back at the TJ, he was told to take a second breakfast in the wardroom—white tablecloths, steward's mates asking if he'd like more. He thought it unreal: "from Dog Red Beach to the Ritz." He heard in the background the quiet boom of the liberation of Europe. Then back to a Higgins boat for another run at the beach. This time the ramp lowered, and he got off. Dog Red Beach was secure. The bodies of the dead and wounded had been carried up onto a rise below a bluff. He felt thankful he had survived. "Then I took a few breaths and felt elated, proud to have played a part in maybe the biggest battle in history."

* * *

John went on to landings in Marseilles, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. After he came home, he went on to chair Goldman Sachs, work in Ronald Reagan's State Department, and head great organizations such as the International Rescue Committee. He is, in that beautiful old phrase, a public citizen.

But if you asked him today his greatest moment, he'd say that day on the beach, when he was alive and grateful for it. "At that moment, dead tired, soaked to the skin, I would not have wanted to be anywhere else in the world."

It is silly to think one generation is "better" than another. No one born in 1920 is, by virtue of that fact, better than someone born in 1960. But it is true that each era has a certain mood, certain assumptions—in John's era, sacrifice—and each generation distinguishes itself in time, or doesn't. John's did. He himself did. And what better day than today to say: Thanks, John.
26781  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Hamilton's Capital ' on: July 05, 2008, 04:21:20 PM
Alexander Hamilton's Capital Compromise
July 5, 2008; Page A11

Last month, workmen jacked up a 206-year-old yellow clapboard house, levered it onto a set of remote-controlled dollies, and trundled it two blocks to a new site in St. Nicholas Park, overlooking East Harlem in New York City.

The Grange, as it is called, was the home of Alexander Hamilton, best known as co-author of the Federalist papers and America's first secretary of the Treasury. But this founding father also had an extraordinary role in the infant nation's attempt to come to grips with the curse of slavery.

Born in the West Indies, Hamilton was one of the most ardent abolitionists of his generation. Rare among white men of his time, he grasped the basic psychology of racism and rejected the notion of black inferiority. "The contempt we have been taught to entertain for the blacks," he wrote to fellow founding father John Jay during the Revolutionary War, "makes us fancy many things that are founded in neither reason nor experience."

He even proposed recruiting slaves to fight in return for their freedom. Arming them, he said, would "secure their fidelity, animate their courage and I believe have a good influence upon those who remain [in slavery], by opening a door to their emancipation." Hamilton was a driving force behind the New York Manumission Society, and in 1785 issued a then-radical proposal for gradual emancipation.

When he took office as secretary of the Treasury in 1789, the United States of America was in financial crisis. The federal government and the states together owed a staggering $79 million, or more than $2 trillion in present-day money, with an annual interest bill of $4.5 million – triple the foreseeable national income.

Hamilton came up with an audacious plan to consolidate the states' debts, and to create a system of credit for the national government which would enable it to recover the trust of the foreign bankers upon whom it depended for future loans. Anti-Federalists, many of them Southerners, fiercely opposed the plan, predicting that it would lead to overbearing centralization and tyranny by New York and Philadelphia money men.

Meanwhile, Congress was also at loggerheads over the site for a permanent national capital. More than 30 sites had been proposed, from Kingston, N.Y., to the frontier port of Marietta, in the future state of Ohio.

In the spring of 1790, the leading candidate was centrally located Pennsylvania, where with the assistance of local Quakers, emancipated slaves were creating the first autonomous black communities in the U.S. This was a prospect that Southern slave owners deemed horrifyingly subversive.

Snarled Rep. Aedanus Burke: "I would as soon pitch my tent beneath a tree in which was a hornet's nest, as I would, as a delegate from South Carolina, vote for placing the government in a settlement of Quakers." Northerners just as ferociously opposed the scheming of Potomac Valley planters and other Southern interests to plant the nation's permanent capital in the slave-holding South.

The result was a Congress paralyzed. Southerners were threatening secession. Hamilton was desperate: With reason, he believed that the stability of his new country depended on passage of his stalled financial package.

One day Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson found the Treasury secretary, "a pathetic picture" of despair, trudging back and forth in front of President George Washington's residence in New York City, the nation's temporary capital. That chance encounter led to the grand-daddy of all political backroom deals.

On the afternoon of June 20, 1790, Hamilton, Jefferson and James Madison met over dinner in Jefferson's rented quarters at 57 Maiden Lane in what is now New York's financial district. On the question of the new capital, Hamilton controlled enough Northern votes to sway the decision toward either Pennsylvania or the Potomac. He had already offered his support to the Pennsylvanians. But they were fatally split between advocates for Philadelphia and for a site on the Susquehannah River.

The Virginians were willing to deal. They agreed, albeit "with a revulsion of stomach almost convulsive," as Jefferson later put it, to trade enough votes to pass Hamilton's financial plan in return for his support for a capital on the Potomac, far from Philadelphia's free blacks and those worrisome Quakers.

The decision was a fateful one for the financial stability of the young nation – and for the future of 700,000 Americans held as slaves.

Had the capital been rooted in the free soil of Pennsylvania, Northerners rather than pro-slavery Southerners would have filled the ranks of government service. Southern congressmen would have witnessed the success of Pennsylvania's policy of emancipation, easing the nation toward a peaceful solution of its most divisive issue. Instead, Hamilton traded away a free national capital for one that would within a few years become one of the country's busiest slave markets, and that protected the institution of slavery from serious political challenge for another 70 years.

While the Grange is a national landmark, Hamilton's house has rarely been visited except by local school groups. Its dramatic new location at the park's steep crest will, after its restoration, doubtless draw an increasing number of pilgrims hoping to commune, in some fashion, with the spirit of the man who did more than any other to set the U.S. on a firm financial foundation. These visitors should also reflect upon the inspired idealism of a man who grappled early and daringly with the problem of race and slavery – yet who, in a twist of history, betrayed enslaved Americans in the most important decision he ever made that affected their fate.

Although Alexander Hamilton's contribution to the politics of emancipation was far greater than that of any other founding father, it was also more tragic. Fittingly, when his home reopens to the public next year, it will gaze out from its perch in St. Nicholas Park over one of the most vibrant black neighborhoods in America.

The restored Grange should be more than a hagiographic "house beautiful" monument to a marble-bust version of a founding father. Both Hamilton and black Americans deserve a memorial that squarely faces his racial idealism – as well as the noble intentions that collided with cruel political reality over Jefferson's dinner table that day in June 1790.

Mr. Bordewich is author of "Washington: The Making of the American Capital," published in May by Amistad.
26782  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / FBI Profiling on: July 05, 2008, 04:04:25 PM

FBI may begin racial profiling to fight terror
Related article: Ariz. cops ask suspects about immigration status
By Lara Jakes
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Justice Department is considering letting the FBI investigate Americans without any evidence of wrongdoing, relying instead on a terrorist profile that could single out Muslims, Arabs or other racial and ethnic groups.

Law-enforcement officials say the proposed policy would help them do exactly what Congress demanded after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks: root out terrorists before they strike.
Although President Bush has disavowed targeting suspects based on their race or ethnicity, the new rules would allow the FBI to consider those factors among a number of traits that could trigger a national-security investigation.

Currently, FBI agents need specific reasons, like evidence or allegations that a law probably has been violated, to investigate U.S. citizens and legal residents. The new policy, officials said, would let agents open preliminary investigations after mining public records and intelligence to build a profile of traits that were deemed suspicious.

Among the factors that could make someone subject of an investigation is travel to regions of the world known for terrorist activity, access to weapons or military training, along with the person's race or ethnicity.

More than a half-dozen senior FBI, Justice Department and other U.S. intelligence officials familiar with the new policy agreed to discuss it only on condition of anonymity, either because they were not allowed to speak publicly or because the change is not yet final.
The change, which is expected later this summer, is part of an update of Justice Department policies known as the attorney general guidelines. They are being overhauled amid the FBI's transition from a traditional crime-fighting agency to one whose top mission is to protect America from terrorist attacks.

"We don't know what we don't know. And the object is to cut down on that," said one FBI official, who defended the plans.

Another official, while also defending the proposed guidelines, raised concerns about criticism during the presidential-election year over what he called "the P word": profiling.
Critics say the presumption of innocence is lost in the proposal. The FBI will be allowed to begin investigations simply "by assuming that everyone's a suspect, and then you weed out the innocent," said Caroline Fredrickson of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Attorney General Michael Mukasey acknowledged the overhaul was under way in early June, saying the guidelines sought to ensure that regulations for FBI terror investigations don't conflict with ones governing criminal inquiries. He would not give any details.
"It's necessary to put in place regulations that will allow the FBI to transform itself ... into an intelligence-gathering organization in addition to just a crime-solving organization," Mukasey told reporters.

The changes would allow FBI agents to ask open-ended questions about activities of Muslim- or Arab-Americans, or investigate them if their jobs and backgrounds matched trends that analysts deemed suspect.

FBI agents would not be allowed to eavesdrop on phone calls or dig deeply into personal data, such as the content of phone or e-mail records or bank statements, until a full investigation was opened.

The guidelines focus on the FBI's domestic operations and run about 40 pages long, several officials said.

One senior Justice Department official said agents have been allowed since 2003 to build "threat assessments" of Americans based on public records and information from informants. Assessments could be used to open a preliminary investigation, the official said.
However, another official said the authorities are limited, tightly monitored by FBI headquarters in Washington and, overall, confused about how or when assessments can be used.
Justice spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said the guidelines governing when to open a national-security investigation are part of a "harmonizing" process that will not give the FBI any more authority than it already has. He declined to comment further, but he would not deny the changes as they were described by others familiar with the guidelines.
"Any review and change to the guidelines will reflect our traditional concerns for civil liberties and First Amendment liberties," Roehrkasse said.

Although the guidelines do not require congressional approval, House members recently sought to limit such profiling by rejecting an $11 million request for the FBI's security-assessment center. Lawmakers wrote that it was unclear how the FBI could compile suspect profiles "in such a way as to avoid needless intrusions into the privacy of innocent citizens" and without wasting time and money chasing down false leads.

The denial of funding could limit the FBI's use of profiles, or "predictive models and patterns of behavior" as the government prefers to describe the data-mining results, but would not change the guidelines authorizing them. The guidelines would remain until a new attorney general changed them.

Courts across the country have overturned criminal convictions when defendants showed they were targeted based on race. Racial profiling generally is considered a civil-rights violation, and former Attorney General John Ashcroft condemned it in March 2001 as an "unconstitutional deprivation of equal protection under our Constitution."

President Bush also has condemned racial profiling as "wrong in America" and, in a December 2001 interview, had harsh words for an airline that refused to let an Arab-American Secret Service agent board a commercial flight.

Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
26783  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Schoolboys punished for refusing to kneel to Allah on: July 04, 2008, 04:55:26 PM
Second post of the day:

Schoolboys punished with detention for refusing to kneel in class and pray to Allah

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 11:30 AM on 04th July 2008

Two schoolboys were given detention after refusing to kneel down and 'pray to Allah' during a religious education lesson.

Parents were outraged that the two boys from year seven (11 to 12-year-olds) were punished for not wanting to take part in the practical demonstration of how Allah is worshipped. They said forcing their children to take part in the exercise at Alsager High School, near Stoke-on-Trent - which included wearing Muslim headgear - was a breach of their human rights.

One parent, Sharon Luinen, said: "This isn't right, it's taking things too far.  I understand that they have to learn about other religions. I can live with that but it is taking it a step too far to be punished because they wouldn't join in Muslim prayer.  Making them pray to Allah, who isn't who they worship, is wrong and what got me is that they were told they were being disrespectful.  I don't want this to look as if I have a problem with the school because I am generally very happy with it."

Another parent Karen Williams said: "I am absolutely furious my daughter was made to take part in it and I don't find it acceptable. I haven't got a problem with them teaching my child other religions and a small amount of information doesn't do any harm.  But not only did they have to pray, the teacher had gone into the class and made them watch a short film and then said 'we are now going out to pray to Allah'.

"Then two boys got detention and all the other children missed their refreshment break because of the teacher. Not only was it forced upon them, my daughter was told off for not doing it right. They'd never done it before and they were supposed to do it in another language."

"My child has been forced to pray to Allah in a school lesson." The grandfather of one of the pupils in the class said: "It's absolutely disgusting, there's no other way of putting it. My daughter and a lot of other mothers are furious about their children being made to kneel on the floor and pray to Islam. If they didn't do it they were given detention. I am not racist, I've been friendly with an Indian for 30 years. I've also been to a Muslim wedding where it was explained to me that alcohol would not be served and I respected that.  But if Muslims were asked to go to church on Sunday and take Holy Communion there would be war."

Parents said that their children were made to bend down on their knees on prayer mats which the RE teacher had got out of her cupboard and they were also told to wear Islamic headgear during the lesson on Tuesday afternoon.

Deputy headmaster Keith Plant said: "It's difficult to know at the moment whether this was part of the curriculum or not. I am not an RE teacher, I am an English teacher. At the moment it is our enterprise week and many of our members of staff are away. The particular member of staff you need to speak to isn't around. I think that it is a shame that so many parents have got in touch with the Press before coming to me.  I have spoken to the teacher and she has articulately given me her version of events, but that is all I can give you at the moment."

A statement from Cheshire County Council on behalf of the school read: "The headteacher David Black contacted this authority immediately complaints were received. Enquiries are being made into the circumstances as a matter of urgency and all parents will be informed accordingly.  Educating children in the beliefs of different faith is part of the diversity curriculum on the basis that knowledge is essential to understanding. We accept that such teaching is to be conducted with some sense of sensitivity."

Find this story at

26784  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Preguntas sobre Kali y DBMA on: July 04, 2008, 03:26:24 PM
Hola mi nombre es Mario y quiero hacer una preguntas sobre Kali y DBMA, para que Guro Marc o alguien mas pueda darme respuesta:

GM:  Bienvenidos a nuestro foro  smiley

1. En DBMA solo existe el concepto del palo o también se entrena en espada, espada y daga?

GM:  En nuestro sistema se considera el largo y corto (lo que llamas espada y daga) un sub-categoia de la categoria solo palo/espada.  Aunque en la mayoria de nuestro materia enfocamos en palo, tambien hay para espada-- basada principalmente en Lameco (Ilustrisimo) y Krabi Krabong.    En nuestro materia para solo palo (espada) enfocamos mucho en la integracion de los movimientos y golpes de la mano vacio.   Poner cuchillo en ello no resulta en mucho cambio.

2. Que significan literalmente las palabras: Pekiti Tisia y Karabi Krabong? 

GM:  En ingles PT significa algo como "to cut into little pieces up close".  La traduccion de KK , , , no lo se'.  embarassed embarassed embarassed

3. Tengo entendido que en DBMA existen técnicas de Bando, podrían explicarme como trabaja este sistema?

GM:  La influencia de Bando en DBMA se ve mas en materia de "healing" (curarse?), yoga con palo y palo largo, cuchillo y en grappling-- especialmente grappling con palo (Bando Python)

4. He visto algunos de sus videos y Guro Marc menciona que los ejercicios de sombrada y hubut son para identificar estructuras, pero cuánto de este material puede aplicarse en combate?

GM:  TODO EL TIEMPO.  Esos son metodos de entrenamiento-- !lo que se ve en el combate son las tecnicas entrenadas!  Menciono este pensamiento en mi comentario "voice over" sobre una pelea entre palo largo y palo largo en nuestro DVD "Dog Brothers Gathering of the Pack".  A pesar de pesar 32 kilos menos del otro, el ganador de la pelea dominaba completamente (hasta danar el oido del otro) por su entramiento en sombraba.  El otro no lo habia entrenado (fue de sistema que no usaba sombrada) y el ganador si' -- y su fluidez, continuacion de moviemiento, variadad de angulos, y fluidez mental fueron muy superior.

Muchas gracias. Este foro me fue recomendado por el maestro Mauricio Sánchez al que tuve el gusto de conocer en una conferencia que impartio sobre DBMA y las artes marciales filipinas en un foro del edo. de México en que se hablaba de diferentes sistemas.

También quiero felicitar al maestro Mauricio ya que tengo entendido que participará en las peleas de los Dog Brothers, he visto esas peleas y huauuu   creo que para eso en serio que se necesita tener agallas y un excelente nivel. Le deseo la mejor de las suertes y que ponga en alto el nombre de México.

GM: Estamos esperando la llegada de Mauricio con muchas ganas.  Le deseo y estoy seguro que tendra' un dia de "Higher consciousness through harder contact" (c)

Guro Marc/Crafty Dog
26785  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: En Espanol: Trapping on: July 04, 2008, 03:03:30 PM
Guau Mario: 

Gracias por tu pregunta.  Lo que dices sobre la falla de resistencia contra los trapes en los videos de Vunak es cierto y la pregunta que planteas sobre trapping en el UFC va a grano.

Si lees inlges, sugiero mi articulo sobre "Kali Tudo" en nuestro foro "Martial Arts".

En mi opinion, si la aplicacion de una tecnica requiere abilidades de alta nivel, la tecnica es baja  cheesy  osea lo mas facil es aplicar la tecnica, tanto mejor.   

En mi opinion, el trapping si' se puede aplicar en MMA y la aplicacion que no se ve tiene otra explicacion.  Disculpa por favor la evasion temporarea, pero te voy a decir que vea mi DVD "Kali Tudo 2" en la seccion "Running Dog Game",  cheesy  rolleyes cheesy lo cual vamos a filmar al comienzo de Agosto. 

La Aventura continua,
Crafty Dog
26786  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Aptos residents on: July 04, 2008, 02:51:08 PM
Aptos residents pay $500,000 for their water supply
Shanna McCord - Sentinel staff writer
Article Launched: 07/04/2008 01:32:41 AM PDT

Nearly 200 Aptos homeowners paid a total of $500,000 this week for purchase and repairs of the water supply and to prevent the possible takeover of the system by California American Water Co., a corporation eyeing the community's waterworks.

The Mar Vista Water District, previously owned by area resident Jimmy Smith , is now called Trout Gulch Mutual Water Co.

Initiated in early 2007, the deal became final this week.

"This is exciting," Skyward Drive resident Jim Brownson said. "All of the customers are equal share owners. It's like a club."

Brownson and others say owning their water means having more say over improvements, better customer service and more control over costs.

Under Smith's ownership, the system had fallen into disarray and is in need of repairs.

The homeowners have a 20-year loan for $500,000 from Santa Cruz Community Credit Union that includes the $290,000 purchase price, money for improvements and a cushion of cash for unexpected expenses. Customers will pay an initial $350 each -- a sort of membership fee.

Monthly water rates are expected to go up 26 percent to help pay off the loan, Brownson said. For him, that means paying $162 every two months instead of $120.

Brownson helped lead the way for the community to buy the water after he learned in 2006 that the system was up for sale and Cal Am had considered adding it to its multitude of connections statewide.

Brownson had called the California Public Utility Commission to inquire about the excessive levels of manganese -- a metal that leaves beige silt in toilets and bathtubs -- in the Mar Vista water supply.

The commissioner told Brownson that Smith had been quietly discussing a sale to Cal Am since at least 2006.

"That was the flag," Brownson said. "It was total luck we bumped into this information."

The residents worked with county Supervisor Ellen Pirie and the Soquel Creek Water District to make the deal a reality.

The Aptos residents are the second in Santa Cruz County to gain control of their own water supply. In May, Felton residents struck a deal with Cal Am to buy their waterworks for $10.5 million -- the conclusion of a six-year-long battle between the company and the local community.

"Owning our water is more affordable in the long run," said Jim Graham, a member of Felton's Friends of Locally Owned Water. "We don't have to pay profits for executive management. In smaller communities, it can be a more effective way of doing business."

Contact Shanna McCord at 429-2401 or

26787  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / LA Times: Ban on religious images in election sought on: July 04, 2008, 12:39:47 PM
Iraq seeks ban on religious imagery in elections
Ammar Awad / Reuters
POPULAR: A street vendor in Najaf sells posters of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani in 2004. His image was used widely by Shiite parties in the 2005 vote. This year he has prohibited them from doing so.
The government calls for parties to avoid using images of religious leaders. The proposed election law changes also include allowing voters to choose individuals rather than entire lists.
By Doug Smith and Saif Hameed, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
July 4, 2008
BAGHDAD -- In a move to separate mosque and state, the Iraqi government said Thursday that Islamic houses of worship should be off limits for campaigning in provincial elections scheduled for the fall.

Government spokesman Ali Dabbagh also said that photos of anyone but the candidates would be banned from campaign advertising.

Prime Minister Nouri Maliki's administration issued the recommendations in the hope of preventing a repetition of the use made of the country's revered religious figures in the 2005 election campaign.

Shiite Muslim political slates plastered their campaign literature with images of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, Iraq's most influential religious leader, and some mosques sent out cars with loudspeakers promoting candidates.

Dabbagh announced several other recommendations Thursday, including the use of an open slate that would allow voters to pick individual candidates, rather than vote for entire slates as in 2005.

To deflect concerns that the measure would reduce the chances of women being elected, Dabbagh said, there should be at least one woman in the first three spots on each slate.

The open slate was proposed as an improvement over the unpopular system used in 2005, but it also has critics who say it will be so confusing that the votes won't be counted properly.

Parliament may try to draft a hybrid when it takes up the election law. However, there appears to be a majority in favor of banning the use of religious images, said Usama Najafi, a lawmaker from the secular Iraqi National List slate headed by former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.

"Referring to religious symbols in campaigning is against the constitution," Najafi said. "It is deceiving people that the religious figure supports a given slate, and this is not right."

Even before the announcement, Iraq's religious leaders appeared to be voluntarily backing away from the practice. Sistani this week prohibited the use of his name or image by any groups.

A spokesman for anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada Sadr, whose larger-than-life image is routinely posted in heavily Shiite areas, said his group would not use religious imagery. Sadr's image will not be used in campaigning because "it would decrease the majesty and eminence of such religious symbols," Salah Ubaidi said.

The Sadr movement isn't fielding its own slate but will support individuals, said Ghufran Saidi, a pro-Sadr lawmaker.

Dabbagh, the government spokesman, also said Thursday that Jordan's King Abdullah would soon visit Iraq to meet with Maliki.

Meanwhile, a car bomb went off near Yarmouk Hospital in west Baghdad, killing five people and injuring 10, police said. In Hillah, 60 miles south of Baghdad, a bomb exploded in a cafe late Wednesday, killing four, police said.

Times staff writer Saif Rasheed in Baghdad and a special correspondent in Najaf contributed to this report.
26788  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2d terror suspect released in Britain on: July 04, 2008, 10:26:12 AM
2nd Terror Suspect Released in Britain
NY" Times
Published: July 4, 2008
LONDON — A 45-year-old Algerian described by American prosecutors as the mastermind of an abortive plot to bomb Los Angeles International Airport during millennium celebrations in 1999 has been released on tight bail conditions after seven years in British jails, court officials said Thursday.

The release of the unnamed Algerian is the second time in a little more than two weeks that a suspect named by prosecutors as having close ties to Osama bin Laden, but not charged, has been let out on bail in Britain pending a final court ruling on government deportation proceedings.

In June, a 47-year-old Palestinian with Jordanian citizenship, described as having had a major ideological influence within Al Qaeda’s European ranks, was released after seven years in jail. That suspect, known by the alias Abu Qatada, was placed under house arrest for 22 hours a day.

British officials said the bail conditions for the Algerian would be similar. In addition to being allowed to leave his home for only two hours a day, mainly for mosque visits, Abu Qatada is required to wear electronic monitoring devices, and barred from having guests, access to the Internet or a mobile phone. He is also forbidden to receive guests or to meet with people outside his home.

In some instances, terrorist suspects held in Britain without being charged have the right not to be named publicly. In the Algerian’s case, this has meant that he has been identified by court officials only by a code name, “U.”

But American prosecutors previously identified him in court papers by an alias, Abu Doha. British newspapers have said he was born in Algeria in 1963 and captured in 2001 at Heathrow Airport in London while trying to board a flight to Saudi Arabia with a false passport.

The release of the two men has highlighted the problems the British authorities face as they try to curb what they have acknowledged as a large and growing Islamist terrorist underground in Britain. Despite volumes of intelligence information implicating the Algerian and Abu Qatada amassed by British and American investigators, and by the authorities in their own countries, British officials say that attempts to build indictments against them have been frustrated by a lack of detailed evidence that would stand up in court.

The other option, seeking to deport the two men to their homelands, has been blocked by British judges on the grounds that the men may be subjected to torture at home, or to prosecution based on evidence obtained by torture, in violation of Europe’s human rights charter.

In both cases, appeal court judges also ruled that their rights were being violated by indefinite detention, and ordered their release.

In a ruling last year, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission in Britain described the Algerian suspect as having had “direct links” with Mr. bin Laden and of having held a “senior position” at a Qaeda camp for Islamic extremists in Afghanistan in the late 1990s. In their bid to deport the Algerian, the British authorities described him as the leader of an abortive plot to attack a Christmas market in the French city of Strasbourg in 2000, in addition to the role he is alleged to have played in the planned Los Angeles attack.

The protections afforded the Algerian and Abu Qatada, including the decision to release them while lawyers battle the government over their deportation, have caused growing dismay on both sides of the Atlantic. Bush administration officials have pressed Britain to adopt tighter antiterrorism laws that reduce the courts’ discretion in terrorism cases, and opinion polls have shown increasing concern among British voters about the scope of the terrorism threat.

The frustration was mirrored in a commentary published after Abu Qatada’s release in The Sun, the hell-raising tabloid that is Britain’s most widely sold newspaper.

“Poor old Osama bin Laden, scuttling around the war-torn Afghan mountains to avoid death or capture,” the newspaper said. “But hope is on the horizon for the world’s most wanted terrorist. There’s one place on Earth where he would be perfectly safe. Britain. Here, we throw nobody out. Bin Laden has every chance of ending his days among peace and plenty.”

British newspapers have chronicled the steep costs of years of court proceedings against those suspected of being terrorist leaders, and what British commentators have described as overly generous welfare payments to them and their families. After Abu Qatada was released, the newspapers said, he was granted a $300-a-week disability payment because a bad back made it impossible for him to work, even though the release order prevented him from seeking employment.

Officials have estimated the cost of maintaining surveillance on Abu Qatada in the four-bedroom Edwardian house in west London where he is confined with his wife and five children at $2 million a year. Welfare payments to his family amount to an additional $90,000 a year, according to news accounts. Similar figures have been calculated for the family of a man with the alias of Abu Hamza al-Masri, a 51-year-old Egyptian-born cleric with steel prosthetics for hands who once ran the main Qaeda Web site in Britain, now serving a seven-year prison term for incitement to murder.

The Hamza case is cited by British officials as one in which the legal system here has effectively stifled an Islamic extremist leader. The British government has agreed to his extradition to the United States, where he faces a possible life sentence on charges that involve being part of a global conspiracy to wage holy war against the United States, and trying to set up a Qaeda training camp in Oregon.

Last month, the Court of Appeal in London upheld the extradition order, and officials have said he could be flown to the United States within a month unless the country’s highest court, the Law Lords, agrees to review the appeal court ruling.
26789  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Islamic Countries: on: July 04, 2008, 10:18:24 AM
The trend recently in Indonesia has not been good, but nice to see the government arresting bad guys:

9 Terrorism Suspects Detained in Indonesia After a Raid Uncovers Bombs
 Achmad Ibrahim/Associated Press
An Indonesian police officer with one of the nine terrorism suspects arrested on Thursday in Sumatra. An antiterrorism official said the men were planning an attack on Westerners in Jakarta.

Yahoo! Buzz

Published: July 4, 2008
JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesian police transferred nine terrorism suspects, bound and wearing black hoods, to the capital, Jakarta, on Thursday after their arrest in southern Sumatra.

According to the police, a raid on Wednesday in the Sumatran port city of Palembang by an elite Indonesian counterterrorism team turned up more than a dozen homemade bombs and a cache of ammunition. A police spokesman refused to give further details, saying that the prisoners were being interrogated about the nature of their plan and their roles within the Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist network.

Indonesian news outlets quoted an antiterrorism official as saying that the men were planning an attack on Westerners in Jakarta, but no details were given.

Jemaah Islamiyah is believed to have a vast network throughout the island of Sumatra.

The police confirmed that at least one of the suspects was Singaporean, but experts dismissed rumors that he might be Mas Selamat Kastari, who is suspected of being the leader of Jemaah Islamiyah. He escaped from a Singapore prison in March.

Sidney Jones, a terrorism expert who is the director of International Crisis Group in Jakarta, however, said the escapee was not among those caught in the Wednesday raids. “They are all certainly members of Jemaah Islamiyah,” Ms. Jones said. “And at least one is Singaporean, but he is definitely not Mas Selamat.”

The authorities suspected that Noordin Top, a Jemaah Islamiyah militant from Malaysia, was hiding in Palembang in early 2007, and some analysts have said that he may have started a splinter terrorist group. He is believed to be responsible for several major bombings in Indonesia.

Jemaah Islamiyah has been blamed for most of the major attacks in Indonesia in recent years, including the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings that killed more than 200 people.

The militant wing of Jemaah Islamiyah, however, has been seriously weakened in recent years after the loss of several important leaders, including the group’s master bomb maker, Azhari Husin, who was killed in a shootout in 2005.

Indonesia’s success in fighting terrorism prompted the Bush administration to renew military ties with the country. And the State Department lifted a travel advisory last month that had warned Americans of possible terrorist attacks.

Australia, which has worked closely with Indonesia in its fight against the militant network, has refused to lift its travel warning for Indonesia, however, saying there is still evidence that terrorists are planning attacks.

Despite its setbacks, Jemaah Islamiyah has proven resilient. The group relies on a grassroots recruiting effort focused heavily on Indonesia’s many Islamic boarding schools. One of the suspects arrested Wednesday, Ms. Jones said, was the director of an Islamic school in Palembang.

26790  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Our Founding Fathers: on: July 04, 2008, 09:38:57 AM
The Unanimous Declaration
of the Thirteen United States of America
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. -- That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, -- That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. -- Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. -- And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

-- John Hancock

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton


26791  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Daily Expression of Gratitude on: July 04, 2008, 09:35:43 AM
Woof All:

I am profoundly grateful for the men who wrote this, and all those who made it real.

The Adventure continues,
Crafty Dog

The Unanimous Declaration
of the Thirteen United States of America
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. -- That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, -- That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. -- Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. -- And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

-- John Hancock

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton


26792  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Daily Expression of Gratitude on: July 03, 2008, 09:28:26 PM
I am grateful that a secret project with the potential to be huge for the Dog Brother mission took an important step forward today.

I am grateful for the time over at the local HS track/football field with my 6 year old daughter on her first day out and about with her new bicycle.  Happy dad.
26793  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Guro Crafty in Canton OH 7/12-13 on: July 03, 2008, 09:26:06 PM
Tres cool  cool
26794  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Sharia OK in UK says top judge on: July 03, 2008, 05:22:33 PM
Sharia law SHOULD be used in Britain, says UK's top judge

By Steve Doughty
Last updated at 8:07 PM on 03rd July 2008

The most senior judge in England tonight gave his blessing to the use of sharia law to resolve disputes among Muslims.

Lord Chief Justice Lord Phillips said that Islamic legal principles could be employed to deal with family and marital arguments and to regulate finance.

He declared: 'It is possible in this country for those who are entering into a contractual agreement to agree that the agreement shall be governed by a law other than English law.'

In his speech in an East London mosque Lord Phillips signalled approval of sharia principles as a means of settling disputes so long as no punishments that conflict with the established law are involved, and as long as divorces are made to comply with the civil law.

But his remarks - which give the green light from the highest judicial office to the informal sharia courts already operated by numerous mosques - provoked a storm of criticism.

Lawyers warned that family and marital disputes settled by sharia could leave women or vulnerable people at a serious disadvantage.

Tories said that equality under the law must be respected and warned that outcomes incompatible with English law should never be enforceable.

Lord Phillips spoke five months after Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams surrounded himself in controversy with a lecture in which he suggested Islamic law could have official status and that it could govern marital law, financial transactions and arbitration in disputes.

The Lord Chief Justice said today of the Archbishop's views: 'It was not very radical to advocate embracing sharia law in the context of family disputes.'

He added that there was 'widespread misunderstanding as to the nature of sharia law'.

Lord Phillips said: 'Those who in this country are in dispute as to their respective rights are free to subject that dispute to the mediation of a chosen person, or to agree that the dispute shall be resolved by a chosen arbitrator.

'There is no reason why principles of sharia law or any other religious code should not be the basis for mediation or other forms of alternative dispute resolution.'

Lord Phillips said that any sanctions must be 'drawn from the laws of England and Wales'. Severe physical punishment - he mentioned stoning, flogging or the cutting off of hands - was 'out of the question' in Britain, he said.

'So far as aspects of matrimonial law are concerned, there is a limited precedent for English law to recognise aspects of religious laws, although when it comes to divorce this can only be effected in accordance with the civil law of this country,' he said

The signal of approval for voluntary sharia tribunals brought protests from lawyers who fear that in some Islamic communities women do not have a full and equal say and that they could be disadvantaged in supposedly voluntary sharia arrangements.

Barrister and human rights specialist John Cooper said: 'There should be one law by which everyone is held to account.

'I have considerable concerns that well-crafted and carefully designed laws in this country, drawn up to protect both parties including the weak and vulnerable party in matrimonial break-ups could be compromised.

'I have concerns over a system of law that may cause one party to be disadvantaged.'

Resolution, the organisation of family law solicitors, said people should govern their lives in accordance with religious principles 'provided that those beliefs and traditions do not contradict the fundamental principle of equality on which this country’s laws are based.'

Spokesman Teresa Richardson said religious law 'must be used to find solutions which are consistent with the basic principles of family law in this country and people must always have redress to the civil courts where they so choose.'

Robert Whelan of the Civitas think tank said: 'Everybody is governed by English law and it is not possible to sign away your legal rights.

That is why guarantees on consumer products always have to tell customers their statutory rights are not affected.

'There is not much doubt that in traditional Islamic communities women do not enjoy the freedoms that women in this country have had for 100 years or more.

'It is very easy to put pressure on young women in a male-dominated household.

'The English law stands to protect people from intimidation in such circumstances.'

Tories warned that principles of equality under the law must be respected.

Shadow Home Secretary Dominic Grieve said: 'The Lord Chief Justice correctly points out that there is a tradition in this country of allowing mediation to take place subject to other legal principles as long as it is voluntary and not subject to coercion, and with outcomes which are not fundamentally incompatible with our own legal principles.

'Any that are incompatible cannot and should never be enforceable.

'One of the key aspects of our free society in Britain is equality under our own laws. It is important that this should be understood and respected by all in our country.'

A spokesman for Jack Straw's Ministry of Justice said: 'English law, which is based on our shared values of equality and a respect for the rule of law, takes precedence over any other legal system.

'The Government has no intention of changing this position. Alongside this it is possible for other dispute resolution systems on matters of civil law to be accommodated, so long as they are not in conflict with the laws of England and Wales and are abided by on a voluntary basis.'


* Sharia law is based on the Koran, on associated teaching about the life of the Prophet Mohammed, and on the judgements of Islamic clerics and lawyers down the centuries.
* It is in essence a set of religious principles by which Muslims are required to live. Sharia is interpreted and enforced differently in different countries across the Islamic world.
* Islamic law is often regarded as having four parts: how Muslims should worship; commerce; crime and punishment; and marriage and divorce.
* Sharia says forbidden behaviour, like drinking alcohol and taking drugs, or adultery, should be punished. Islamic scholars say the Koran sets down punishments such as lashes or stoning for adultery.
* Sharia law also permits behaviour not allowed by English law, for examply polygamy, which in some jurisdictions says men may have up to four wives.
* In Britain, sharia courts are often operated by mosques. Muslim families come to sharia courts for justice and agree to be bound by their rulings.
* They have no formal legal status.
* There are around 1.6 million British Muslims, most of whom are of Pakistani origin. The strongest Muslim communities are in London, especially in the East London borough of Tower Hamlets where Lord Phillips spoke yesterday, Birmingham, Yorkshire and Lancashire.
* Orthodox Jews operate Beth Din courts which are subordinate to the civil law and which decide issues among 180,000 people according to ancient Jewish law. They are regulated by the Chief Rabbi. A divorcing Jewish couple first divorce in the civil courts, then come to the Beth Din tribunals for religious judgement.
* The only religious courts in England with full and official legal status are the consistory courts and tribunals which decide disputes and disciplinary matters in the Church of England.
26795  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Conviction upheld on: July 03, 2008, 05:16:26 PM
U.S. conviction upheld in FBI sting of NY Muslims
Wed Jul 2, 2008 3:45pm EDT

By Christine Kearney
NEW YORK (Reuters) - An Iraqi Kurdish imam and a Bangladeshi-American pizzeria owner on Wednesday lost an appeal of their convictions for plotting to kill a Pakistani diplomat in what turned out to be an FBI sting operation.
The U.S Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the convictions of Yassin Aref, 37, and Mohammed Hossain, 53, who were sentenced last year to 15 years each in prison for their roles in a fake plot to attack the Pakistani ambassador to the United Nations in New York with a missile.
Both appealed their convictions of money-laundering and conspiring to provide material support to the Pakistan-based Islamic militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed, which is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. government.
The federal appeals court rejected all the defense's arguments, including that the men did not know missiles were involved.
"The evidence sufficed for a jury to conclude that Aref intended to aid in preparing a missile attack on American soil," the ruling said, concluding the same for Hossain.
During the 2006 trial, the two were found to have laundered $50,000 from an FBI informant who said he worked for the militant group.
Aref, who came to the United States as a refugee, was the imam of an Albany mosque when he was arrested in August 2004. Hossain is a naturalized U.S. citizen.
In a separate ruling, the appeals court dismissed arguments from defense lawyers and the New York Civil Liberties Union that the lower court had improperly denied it access to classified information and sealed court papers and orders.

The NYCLU's request for the wiretapping evidence followed a New York Times report citing the case as an example of the National Security Agency's warrantless surveillance program.
During the trial, Aref alleged Muslims were unfairly branded as terrorists in the United States. Defense lawyers argued the men were victims of post-September 11 racial profiling.
26796  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Rove says on: July 03, 2008, 06:33:13 AM
Can Barack Buy the Presidency?
July 3, 2008

On the money front, how do Sens. Obama and McCain stack up? No contest, it seems. Since the campaign began, Mr. Obama has raised a staggering $295-plus million, versus Mr. McCain's almost $122 million. But that's misleading.

Mr. Obama spent a lot to win the nomination. So how much cash did he and his rival have when the general election effectively began in June? As of May 31, Mr. Obama had $43.1 million on hand while Mr. McCain had $31.6 million – a significant but not overwhelming advantage.

Barack Obama
There is also the cash raised by the Republican and Democratic National Committees. Each candidate depends on the party committees for certain expenditures – registration, voter identification and get-out-the-vote drives, materials distributed by volunteers, even some advertising. Here, the Republicans had $53.5 million in hand on May 31, versus the Democrats' paltry $4 million. Thus Mr. McCain and the RNC have $38 million more than Mr. Obama and the DNC.

If Mr. Obama maintains his prodigious fund-raising pace, he could overtake Mr. McCain and the RNC. But that's not guaranteed. In May, Mr. Obama raised $23.3 million and the DNC $4.8 million; but Mr. McCain raised $21.5 million and the RNC $24.4 million. Mr. Obama's Internet-driven fund raising may require a renewed sense of urgency, crisis and energy that may be hard to gin up until the race heats up with the conventions in late August.

The savvy Obama team believes they can raise considerably more than the $84 million Mr. McCain will receive by taking public financing in September for the general election. They realize this is likely to be a close, hard-fought contest and they want every advantage – their candidate's previous pledges to take public funds and criticism of money in politics notwithstanding.

Then, too, unions will give Mr. Obama an edge. The AFL-CIO has committed $53.4 million for the Democratic nominee, up $6 million from 2004. Other unions will chip in. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employee has pledged $50 million.

There are other third-party groups. While the GOP may be seen as the party of Big Money, recent presidential contests have shown that – taking unions, George Soros's wealth, and organizations like MoveOn.Org into consideration – Democrats have a large financial advantage. In 2004, when each side's spending by candidates, national committees and third-party groups was totaled up, Democrats outspent Republicans in the presidential race by $119.4 million.

Mr. Obama has used his money advantage to launch the air war. Starting June 20, Mr. Obama spent $4.3 million for 10 days of a televised, biographical ad covering 18 states. Mr. McCain countered on Monday with roughly $2.1 million for a week of ads in 11 states. Mr. Obama has now volleyed back, expanding his buy to 21 states for two additional weeks at a cost of $15 million – half for his original bio ad and half for a new ad on welfare reform.

But early television may not be as smart as it appears. Is it wise for Mr. Obama to spend almost as much on ads in three weeks in July as he raised in May? His fund raising peaked in February. June's fund-raising numbers, due in mid-July, will show whether his current pace of spending can be sustained. And TV becomes less effective in a general election, since so much free media attention is focused on the presidential candidates, whose actions have a larger impact than ads.

Mr. Obama's ads show he's aware of his vulnerability on two fronts: his liberal values and his meager achievements. Yet he should be more cautious with these weaknesses. His bio ad says he was raised with "values straight from the Kansas heartland," though he grew up in Hawaii. He claims to have passed three bills, but fails to mention that two were in the Illinois state Senate and that he didn't vote on the third in the U.S. Senate. His new ad praises welfare reform, yet he opposed the legislation when a Republican Congress passed and President Clinton signed it.

Mr. Obama may be overreaching by running ads in North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina, Indiana, Nebraska, Montana, Alaska and North Dakota – states Republicans won by comfortable margins in recent years. It would require a shift of between one-sixth and over one-quarter of the vote to win any of them. Shifts that large rarely happen.

Big shifts do occur – witness West Virginia in 2000, which swung more than 20 points between 1996 (when Bill Clinton carried the state) and 2000 (when George W. Bush did) – but these require sharp contrasts on big issues, not just money. Money may be the mother's milk of politics, in Jesse Unruh's famous phrase, but when running for president, money alone can't buy a candidate love. Cash matters, but being a good candidate and right on the issues matters even more.

Mr. Rove is the former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush.

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26797  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: The Enemy Detainee Mess on: July 03, 2008, 06:09:18 AM
The Enemy Detainee Mess
July 3, 2008; Page A10
Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has departed for summer vacation, but what a mess he's left behind, especially for the U.S. military. His 5-4 decision requiring habeas corpus review for foreign terrorists is already creating confusion and problems about how to handle these dangerous enemies.

The Bush Administration is currently debating how to respond to Mr. Kennedy's war-fighting ukase in Boumediene v. Bush, with President Bush set to make a decision soon. Some in the Administration want Mr. Bush to abolish not merely Guantanamo but even military commissions, the special tribunals set up to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and others for their war crimes. This would compound the mistake of Boumediene, and do away with what has long been a useful tool of military justice.

It is already clear to nearly everyone in the Administration that it will be impossible for the U.S. to hold most detainees from now on. That's true not merely at Gitmo, but even in Afghanistan, Iraq and other foreign battlefields. Earlier this month, lawyers filed a lawsuit on behalf of a detainee held at the U.S. military prison at Bagram air base near Kabul. It's only a matter of time before suits are filed demanding habeas writs for anyone captured and held by GIs for any length of time anywhere in the world.

Regrettably, the Administration will now have to let most enemy fighters go. The burden of gathering enough evidence to meet the habeas standards of U.S. federal courts is simply too great under battlefield conditions – and in any case is far too dangerous. This week a panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the enemy combatant status of a Gitmo detainee captured after training in al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan. The press has reported this as if the Bush Administration had invented a case against an innocent shepherd. But the truth is that in the fog of battle it is impossible to gather evidence the way a Manhattan cop can. There's no "CSI: Kandahar."

While GIs gathered shell casings or interviewed witnesses to meet a U.S. judge's habeas standard, they would leave themselves open to counterattack or sniper fire. No commander – and no Commander in Chief – can ask his troops to put themselves in danger to satisfy Justice Kennedy's legal afflatus. This is what Justice Antonin Scalia meant when he wrote that Americans will die as a result of Boumediene.

Justice Kennedy won't want to hear this, but this means that some enemy combatants will be shot on the battlefield rather than captured. Most who are captured will be interrogated for a brief time and released. Some will be set free entirely, while others will be handed over to the tender mercies of our allies on the ground in Iraq or Afghanistan.

The U.S. will still require some kind of detention for the worst combatants – such as KSM, and others we will want to put on trial. But if Gitmo is no longer a prison, some U.S. domestic prison will have to house these men while they await a habeas hearing and trial. If a habeas court finds the evidence against them unpersuasive, they can then be held only for six months under immigration law before they are deported. If no country will accept them, the possibility exists that they will be released here. It will be fascinating to watch the Congressfolk who cheered Boumediene now saying "not in my backyard." What does Pat Leahy think about a Vermont destination?

That still leaves the issue of trials for those who are found to be enemy combatants. The State Department is arguing that Mr. Bush should now cashier the entire post-9/11 system, including Gitmo and military commissions. The argument is that the U.S. will get no diplomatic benefit from refusing to hold future detainees as long as the commissions continue. In any case, State's legal sages say, the Supreme Court will eventually declare military commissions unconstitutional too.

But we doubt even Justice Kennedy would disallow commissions, which have existed throughout American history. After the Civil War, they were even used against the KKK's attempts to defeat Reconstruction of the South. After six long years, about 20 enemy combatants (including KSM) are now set for the tribunals, and multiple trials are under way. If Mr. Bush shuts down the commissions at this late date, the military justice process would have to start over.

It would insult the 9/11 families if justice for KSM and the others who planned those attacks is delayed once again. Assuming they are convicted, they will have the right of appeal. But would five Supreme Court Justices really set free the men who plotted the murders of 3,000 Americans? As for diplomacy, those who dislike America won't bother to distinguish between military commissions and courts martial. They'll find any military trials unfair.

The killers of 9/11 need to be put on trial, and soon. Americans need to hear them revel in their jihad, boasting that they would kill again if they get the chance. Justice Kennedy needs to hear it too.

See all of today's editorials and op-eds, plus video commentary,
26798  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / T. Paine: on: July 03, 2008, 05:52:25 AM
"The Sun never shined on a cause of greater worth."

-- Thomas Paine (Common Sense, 1776)

Reference: Paine: Collected Writings, Foner ed., Library of America
26799  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Defecate or get off the pot on: July 03, 2008, 04:58:57 AM
Geopolitical Diary: The Economic and Political Effects of an Iranian Threat
July 2, 2008
The rumors and denial of rumors continue to swirl around Iran. Endless leaks of decisions made by the United States and/or Israel to strike at Iran’s nuclear facilities continue. In the latest variants, Americans warned that Israel might already have decided to attack Iran, with the date set sometime between the U.S. election and Inauguration Day. Or it might be the Americans attacking. It is not clear what effect this is having on Iran, but it is certainly making others players nervous, not the least of which are the oil markets.

There is an important interaction going on between two geopolitical elements. One is the attempt by Israel and the United States to force the Iranians to capitulate on the nuclear issue by convincing them that an attack is inevitable if they don’t. The other is the impact of oil prices on the global economy and thereby on international power relations. An attack on Iranian nuclear facilities would obviously spike oil prices. The real question would be whether that spike in prices would last and how high it would go. The answer to that question rests in what the Iranians would do in response. The Iranians have now been duly warned that an attack is coming. One would think that they have considered their response.

The obvious response, if the Iranians are capable of it, would be to block the Strait of Hormuz, through which Saudi and Kuwaiti oil flows to the world markets. The obvious means for this, as we discussed in an analysis Tuesday, would be to mine the Strait. That might not be as easy as it appears, since the U.S. Navy could deploy in the Strait en masse and block any Iranian ship that might try to approach the channel. But the Iranians would likely retain the ability to mine parts of the Persian Gulf itself. Iran has a long coast and a lot of small boats. It wouldn’t take much to scatter mines.

Most importantly, it would not have to be effective. The mere possibility of mines — the uncertainty factor — would not only slow down the movement of tankers in the Gulf, but also spike insurance rates. Tankers cost a lot of money and their cargoes these days are incredibly expensive. Risking both ship and cargo is not something tanker owners like to do. They buy insurance. If the possibility of mines in the Gulf existed, insurance rates would not only rise, but might become altogether unavailable. Insurance and re-insurance companies these days do not have enormous appetites for unpredictable risk involving large amounts of money. And without insurance, as we saw during the tanker wars in the 1980s, owners won’t take the risk themselves.

Iran’s counter could be to increase the potential risk to the point where insurers back off. At that point, governments would have the option of insuring tankers themselves. Given how quickly governments move, particularly in what would have to be an international undertaking, oil supplies could be disrupted for days or even weeks. At this point, speculators and psychology aside, prices would spike dramatically. The creaking sound would turn into a cracking sound for the world economy.

Herein lies the fear for markets. The longer the psychological warfare goes on, the more nervous they will become and the more pressure there will be on the global economy. The thought of this going on until after the November election may or may not panic the Iranians. But it is certainly worrying the markets at a time when the markets should be calmed. It is hard to figure out whether months of uncertainty or rapid action would have more soothing results.

Conducting an extended psychological campaign against Iran makes complete politico-military sense. It does not make politico-economic sense. It creates a massive unknown in a situation where no action may actually be taken. Here is the problem. It is clear that Israel and the United States don’t really want to attack Iran. If they wanted that, they would shut up and do it. But that’s a guess. So the markets must take into account a possible attack and an Iranian counter. Hitting Iran fast, taking the hit and then calming the markets by showing that the Iranians can’t disrupt tanker traffic makes more sense from an economic standpoint than constantly creating unknowns.

The problem is that neither Israel nor the United States is certain that Iran can’t disrupt tanker traffic. And they don’t want Iran to have nuclear weapons. Some decisions have to be made. Attack, don’t attack — but stop threatening to attack.
26800  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor: The Fallout from Phoenix on: July 02, 2008, 06:00:47 PM
Mexican Cartels and the Fallout From Phoenix
July 2, 2008

By Fred Burton and Scott Stewart

Late on the night of June 22, a residence in Phoenix was approached by a heavily armed tactical team preparing to serve a warrant. The members of the team were wearing the typical gear for members of their profession: black boots, black BDU pants, Kevlar helmets and Phoenix Police Department (PPD) raid shirts pulled over their body armor. The team members carried AR-15 rifles equipped with Aimpoint sights to help them during the low-light operation and, like most cops on a tactical team, in addition to their long guns, the members of this team carried secondary weapons — pistols strapped to their thighs.

But the raid took a strange turn when one element of the team began directing suppressive fire on the residence windows while the second element entered — a tactic not normally employed by the PPD. This breach of departmental protocol did not stem from a mistake on the part of the team’s commander. It occurred because the eight men on the assault team were not from the PPD at all. These men were not cops serving a legal search or arrest warrant signed by a judge; they were cartel hit men serving a death warrant signed by a Mexican drug lord.

The tactical team struck hard and fast. They quickly killed a man in the house and then fled the scene in two vehicles, a red Chevy Tahoe and a gray Honda sedan. Their aggressive tactics did have consequences, however. The fury the attackers unleashed on the home — firing over 100 rounds during the operation — drew the attention of a nearby Special Assignments Unit (SAU) team, the PPD’s real tactical team, which responded to the scene with other officers. An SAU officer noticed the Tahoe fleeing the scene and followed it until it entered an alley. Sensing a potential ambush, the SAU officer chose to establish a perimeter and wait for reinforcements rather than charge down the alley after the suspects. This was fortunate, because after three of the suspects from the Tahoe were arrested, they confessed that they had indeed planned to ambush the police officers chasing them.

The assailants who fled in the Honda have not yet been found, but police did recover the vehicle in a church parking lot. They reportedly found four sets of body armor in the vehicle and also recovered an assault rifle abandoned in a field adjacent to the church.

This Phoenix home invasion and murder is a vivid reminder of the threat to U.S. law enforcement officers that stems from the cartel wars in Mexico.

Violence Crosses the Border
The fact that the Mexican men involved in the Phoenix case were heavily armed and dressed as police comes as no surprise to anyone who has followed security events in Mexico. Teams of cartel enforcers frequently impersonate police or military personnel, often wearing matching tactical gear and carrying standardized weapons. In fact, it is rare to see a shootout or cartel-related arms seizure in Mexico where tactical gear and clothing bearing police or military insignia is not found.

One reason for the prevalent use of this type of equipment is that many cartel enforcers come from military or police backgrounds. By training and habit, they prefer to operate as a team composed of members equipped with standardized gear so that items such as ammunition and magazines can be interchanged during a firefight. This also gives a team member the ability to pick up the familiar weapon of a fallen comrade and immediately bring it into action. This is of course the same reason military units and police forces use standardized equipment in most places.

Police clothing, such as hats, patches and raid jackets, is surprisingly easy to come by. Authentic articles can be stolen or purchased through uniform vendors or cop shops. Knockoff uniform items can easily be manufactured in silk screen or embroidery shops by duplicating authentic designs. Even badges are easy to obtain if one knows where to look.

While it now appears that the three men arrested in Phoenix were not former or active members of the Mexican military or police, it is not surprising that they employed military- and police-style tactics. Enforcers of various cartel groups such as Los Zetas, La Gente Nueva or the Kaibiles who have received advanced tactical training often pass on that training to younger enforcers (many of whom are former street thugs) at makeshift training camps located on ranches in northern Mexico. There are also reports of Israeli mercenaries visiting these camps to provide tactical training. In this way, the cartel enforcers are transforming ordinary street thugs into highly-trained cartel tactical teams.

Though cartel enforcers have almost always had ready access to guns, including military weapons such as assault rifles and grenade launchers, groups such as Los Zetas, the Kaibiles and their young disciples bring an added level of threat to the equation. They are highly trained men with soldiers’ mindsets who operate as a unit capable of using their weapons with deadly effectiveness. Assault rifles in the hands of untrained thugs are dangerous, but when those same weapons are placed in the hands of men who can shoot accurately and operate tactically as a fire team, they can be overwhelmingly powerful — not only when used against enemies and other intended targets, but also when used against law enforcement officers who attempt to interfere with the team’s operations.

Although the victim in the Phoenix killing, Andrew Williams, was reportedly a Jamaican drug dealer who crossed a Mexican cartel, there are many other targets in the United States that the cartels would like to eliminate. These targets include Mexican cartel members who have fled to the United States due to several different factors. The first factor is the violent cartel war that has raged in Mexico for the past few years over control of important smuggling routes and strategic locations along those routes. The second factor is the Calderon administration’s crackdown, first on the Gulf cartel and now on the Sinaloa cartel. Pressure from rival cartels and the government has forced many cartel leaders into hiding, and some of them have left Mexico for Central America or the United States.

Traditionally, when violence has spiked in Mexico, cartel figures have used U.S. cities such as Laredo, El Paso and San Diego as rest and recreation spots, reasoning that the general umbrella of safety provided by U.S. law enforcement to those residing in the United States would protect them from assassination by their enemies. As bolder Mexican cartel hit men have begun to carry out assassinations on the U.S. side of the border in places such as Laredo, Rio Bravo, and even Dallas, the cartel figures have begun to seek sanctuary deeper in the United States, thereby bringing the threat with them.

While many cartel leaders are wanted in the United States, many have family members not being sought by U.S. law enforcement. (Many of them even have relatives who are U.S. citizens.) Some family members have also settled comfortably inside the United States, using the country as a haven from violence in Mexico. These families might become targets, however, as the cartels look for creative ways to hurt their rivals.

Other cartel targets in the United States include Drug Enforcement Administration and other law enforcement officers responsible for operations against the cartels, and informants who have cooperated with U.S. or Mexican authorities and been relocated stateside for safety. There are also many police officers who have quit their jobs in Mexico and fled to the United States to escape threats from the cartels, as well as Mexican businessmen who are targeted by cartels and have moved to the United States for safety.

To date, the cartels for the most part have refrained from targeting innocent civilians. In the type of environment they operate under inside Mexico, cartels cannot afford to have the local population, a group they use as camouflage, turn against them. It is not uncommon for cartel leaders to undertake public relations events (they have even held carnivals for children) in order to build goodwill with the general population. As seen with al Qaeda in Iraq, losing the support of the local population is deadly for a militant group attempting to hide within that population.

Cartels have also attempted to minimize civilian casualties in their operations inside the United States, though for a different operational consideration. The cartels believe that if a U.S. drug dealer or a member of a rival Mexican cartel is killed in a place like Dallas or Phoenix, nobody really cares. Many people see such a killing as a public service, and there will not be much public outcry about it, nor much real effort on the part of law enforcement agencies to identify and catch the killers. The death of a civilian, on the other hand, brings far more public condemnation and law enforcement attention.

However, the aggressiveness of cartel enforcers and their brutal lack of regard for human life means that while they do not intentionally target civilians, they are bound to create collateral casualties along the way. This is especially true as they continue to conduct operations like the Phoenix killing, where they fired over 100 rounds of 5.56 mm ball ammunition at a home in a residential neighborhood.

Tactical Implications
Judging from the operations of the cartel enforcers in Mexico, they have absolutely no hesitation about firing at police officers who interfere with their operations or who dare to chase them. Indeed, the Phoenix case nearly ended in an ambush of the police. It must be noted, however, that this ambush was not really intentional, but rather the natural reaction of these Mexican cartel enforcers to police pursuit. They were accustomed to shooting at police and military south of the border and have very little regard for them. In many instances, this aggression convinces the poorly armed and trained police to leave the cartel gunmen alone.

The problem such teams pose for the average U.S. cop on patrol is that the average cop is neither trained nor armed to confront a heavily armed fire team. In fact, a PPD source advised Stratfor that, had the SAU officer not been the first to arrive on the scene, it could have been a disaster for the department. This is not a criticism of the Phoenix cops. The vast majority of police officers and federal agents in the United States simply are not prepared or equipped to deal with a highly trained fire team using insurgent tactics. That is a task suited more for the U.S. military forces currently deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

These cartel gunmen also have the advantage of being camouflaged as cops. This might not only cause considerable confusion during a firefight (who do backup officers shoot at if both parties in the fight are dressed like cops?) but also means that responding officers might hesitate to fire on the criminals dressed as cops. Such hesitation could provide the criminals with an important tactical advantage — an advantage that could prove fatal for the officers.

Mexican cartel enforcers have also demonstrated a history of using sophisticated scanners to listen to police radio traffic, and in some cases they have even employed police radios to confuse and misdirect the police responding to an armed confrontation with cartel enforcers.

We anticipate that as the Mexican cartels begin to go after more targets inside the United States, the spread of cartel violence and these dangerous tactics beyond the border region will catch some law enforcement officers by surprise. A patrol officer conducting a traffic stop on a group of cartel members who are preparing to conduct an assassination in, say, Los Angeles, Chicago or northern Virginia could quickly find himself heavily outgunned and under fire. With that said, cops in the United States are far more capable than their Mexican counterparts of dealing with this threat.

In addition to being far better trained, U.S. law enforcement officers also have access to far better command, control and communication networks than their Mexican counterparts. Like we saw in the Phoenix example, this communication network provides cops with the ability to quickly summon reinforcements, air support and tactical teams to deal with heavily armed criminals — but this communication system only helps if it can be used. That means cops need to recognize the danger before they are attacked and prevented from calling for help. As with many other threats, the key to protecting oneself against this threat is situational awareness, and cops far from the border need to become aware of this trend.

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