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26751  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Water- part two on: October 25, 2007, 05:07:57 AM
Page 4 of 10)

Another practice, sometimes used in Europe, is to drill wells alongside a
river and pull river water up though them, using the gravel of the riverbank
as a natural filter - sort of like digging a hole in the sand near the ocean's
edge as it fills from below. Half of Aurora's water rights were on the South
Platte already; the city also pours its treated wastewater back into the
river, as do other cities in the Denver metro area. This gives the South
Platte a steady, dependable flow. Binney and the township reasoned that they
could conceivably, and legally, go some 20 or 30 miles downstream on the
South Platte, buy agricultural land near the river, install wells there and
retrieve their wastewater. Thus they could create a system whereby Aurora
would use South Platte water; send it to a treatment plant that would
discharge it back into the river; go downstream to recapture water from the
same river; then pump it back to the city for purification and further use.
The process would repeat, ad infinitum. Aurora would use its share of South
Platte water "to extinction," in the argot of water managers. A drop of the
South Platte used by an Aurora resident would find its way back to the city's
taps as a half-drop in 45 to 60 days, a quarter-drop 45 to 60 days after
that and so on. For every drop the town used from the South Platte, over
time it would almost - as all the fractional drops added up - get another.


Many towns have a supply that includes previously treated water. The water
from the Mississippi River, for instance, is reused many times by
municipalities as it flows southward. But as far as Binney knew, no
municipality in the United States had built the kind of closed loop that
Aurora envisioned. Water from wells in the South Platte would taste
different, because of its mineral and organic content, so Binney's engineers
would have to make it mimic mountain snowmelt. More delicate challenges
involved selling local taxpayers on authorizing a project, marketed to them
as "Prairie Waters," that would capitalize on their own wastewater. The
system, which meant building a 34-mile-long pipeline from the downstream
South Platte riverbanks to a treatment facility in Aurora, would cost
three-quarters of a billion dollars, making it one of the most expensive
municipal infrastructure projects in the country.

When Binney and I chatted at the reservoir outside Dillon, he had already
finished discussions with Moody's and Fitch, the bond-rating agencies whose
evaluations would help the town finance the project. Groundbreaking, which
would be the next occasion we would see each other, was still a month away.
"What we're doing now is trading high levels of treatment and purification
for building tunnels and chasing whatever remaining snowmelt there is in the
hills, which I think isn't a wise investment for the city," he told me. "I
would expect that what we're going to do is the blueprint for a lot of
cities in California, Arizona, Nevada - even the Carolinas and the Gulf
states. They're all going to be doing this in the future."

Water managers in the West tend to think in terms of "acre-feet." One
acre-foot, equal to about 326,000 gallons, is enough to serve two typical
Colorado families for one year. When measurements of the Colorado River
began near Lee's Ferry in the early 1920s, the region happened to be in the
midst of an extremely wet series of years, and the river was famously
misjudged to have an average flow of 17 million acre-feet per year - when in
fact its average flow would often prove to be significantly less. Part of
the legacy of that misjudgment is that the seven states that divided the
water in the 1920s entered into a legal partnership that created unrealistic
expectations about the river's capacity. But there is another, lesser-known
legacy too. As the 20th century progressed, many water managers came to
believe that the 1950s, which included the most severe drought years since
measurement of the river began, were the marker for a worst-case situation.

===========
Page 5 of 10)

But recent studies of tree rings, in which academics drill core samples from
the oldest Ponderosa pines or Douglas firs they can find in order to
determine moisture levels hundreds of years ago, indicate that the dry times
of the 1950s were mild and brief compared with other historical droughts.
The latest research effort, published in the journal Geophysical Research
Letters in late May, identified the existence of an epochal Southwestern
megadrought that, if it recurred, would prove calamitous.

When Binney and I met at Dillon Reservoir, he brought graphs of Colorado
River flows that go back nearly a thousand years. "There was this one in the
1150s," he said, tracing a jagged line downward with his finger. "They think
that's when the Anasazi Indians were forced out. We see drought cycles here
that can go up to 60 years of below-average precipitation." What that would
mean today, he said, is that states would have to make a sudden choice
between agriculture and people, which would lead to bruising political
debates and an unavoidable blow to the former. Binney says that as much as
he believes that some farmers' water is ultimately destined for the cities
anyway, a big jolt like this would be tragic. "You hope you never get to
that point," he told me, "where you force those kinds of discussions,
because they will change for hundreds of years the way that people live in
the Western U.S. If you have to switch off agriculture, it's not like you
can get back into it readily. It took decades for the agricultural industry
to establish itself. It may never come back."
An even darker possibility is that a Western drought caused by climatic
variation and a drought caused by global warming could arrive at the same
time. Or perhaps they already have. This coming spring, the United Nations'
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will issue a report identifying
areas of the world most at risk of droughts and floods as the earth warms.
Fresh-water shortages are already a global concern, especially in China,
India and Africa. But the I.P.C.C., which along with Al Gore received the
2007 Nobel Peace Prize earlier this month for its work on global-warming
issues, will note that many problem zones are located within the United
States, including California (where the Sierra Nevada snowpack is
threatened) and the Colorado River basin. These assessments follow on the
heels of a number of recent studies that analyze mountain snowpack and
future Colorado River flows. Almost without exception, recent climate models
envision reductions that range from the modest to the catastrophic by the
second half of this century. One study in particular, by Martin Hoerling and
Jon Eischeid, suggests the region is already "past peak water," a milestone
that means the river's water supply will now forever trend downward.

Climatologists seem to agree that global warming means the earth will, on
average, get wetter. According to Richard Seager, a scientist at Columbia
University's Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory who published a study on the
Southwest last spring, more rain and snow will fall in those regions closer
to the poles and more precipitation is likely to fall during sporadic,
intense storms rather than from smaller, more frequent storms. But many
subtropical regions closer to the equator will dry out. The models analyzed
by Seager, which focus on regional climate rather than Colorado River flows,
show that the Southwest will ultimately be subject to significant
atmospheric and weather alterations. More alarming, perhaps, is that the
models do not only concern the coming decades; they also address the
present. "You know, it's like, O.K., there's trouble in the future, but how
near in the future does it set in?" he told me. "In this case, it appears
that it's happening right now." When I asked if the drought in his models
would be permanent, he pondered the question for a moment, then replied:
"You can't call it a drought anymore, because it's going over to a drier
climate. No one says the Sahara is in drought."

Climate models tend to be more accurate at predicting temperature than
precipitation. Still, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that "something is
happening," as Peter Binney gently puts it. Everyone I spoke with in the
West has noticed - less snow, earlier spring melts, warmer nights. Los
Angeles this year went 150 days without a measurable rainfall. One afternoon
in Boulder, I spent some time with Roger Pulwarty, a highly regarded
climatologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Pulwarty, who has spent the past few years assessing adaptive solutions to a
long drought, has a light sense of humor and an air of optimism about him,
but he acknowledged that the big picture is worrisome. Even if the
precipitation in the West does not decrease, higher temperatures by
themselves create huge complications. Snowmelt runoff decreases. The immense
reservoirs lose far more water to evaporation. Meanwhile, demand increases
because crops are thirstier. Yet importing water from other river basins
becomes more difficult, because those basins may face shortages, too.

=========
Page 6 of 10)

"You don't need to know all the numbers of the future exactly," Pulwarty
told me over lunch in a local Vietnamese restaurant. "You just need to know
that we're drying. And so the argument over whether it's 15 percent drier or
20 percent drier? It's irrelevant. Because in the long run, that decrease,
accumulated over time, is going to dry out the system." Pulwarty asked if I
knew the projections for what it would take to refill Lake Powell, which is
at about 50 percent of capacity. Twenty years of average flow on the
Colorado River, he told me. "Good luck," he said. "Even in normal conditions
we don't get 20 years of average flow. People are calling for more storage
on the system, but if you can't fill the reservoirs you have, I don't know
how more storage, or more dams, is going to help you. One has to ask if the
normal strategies that we have are actually viable anymore."


Pulwarty is convinced that the economic impacts could be profound. The worst
outcome, he suggested, would be mass migrations out of the region, along
with bitter interstate court battles over the dwindling water supplies. But
well before that, if too much water is siphoned from agriculture, farm towns
and ranch towns will wither. Meanwhile, Colorado's largest industry,
tourism, might collapse if river flows became a trickle during summertime.
Already, warmer temperatures have brought on an outbreak of pine beetles
that are destroying pine forests; Pulwarty wonders how many tourists will
want to visit a state full of dead trees. "A crisis is an interesting
 thing," he said. In his view, a crisis is a point in a story, a moment in a
narrative, that presents an opportunity for characters to think their way
through a problem. A catastrophe, on the other hand, is something different:
it is one of several possible outcomes that follow from a crisis. "We're at
the point of crisis on the Colorado," Pulwarty concluded. "And it's at this
point that we decide, O.K., which way are we going to go?"

It is all but imposible to look into the future of the Western states
without calling on Pat Mulroy, the head of the Southern Nevada Water
Authority. Mulroy has no real counterpart on the East Coast; her nearest
analog might be Robert Moses, the notorious New York City planner who built
massive infrastructure projects and who almost always found a way around
institutional obstructions and financing constraints. She is arguably the
most influential and outspoken water manager in the country - a "woman
without fear," as Pulwarty describes her. Pulwarty and Peter Binney respect
her willingness to challenge historical water-sharing agreements that, in
Mulroy's view, no longer suit the modern West (meaning they don't suit Las
Vegas). According to Binney, however, Nevada's scant resources give Mulroy
little choice. She has to keep her city from drying out. That makes hers the
most difficult job in the water business, he told me.

Las Vegas is almost certainly more vulnerable to water shortages than any
metro area in the country. Partly that's a result of the city's explosive
growth. But the state of Nevada has the historical misfortune of receiving a
smaller share of Colorado River water (300,000 acre-feet annually) than the
other six states with which it signed a water-sharing compact in the 1920s.
That modest share, stored in Lake Mead along with water destined for
Southern California, Arizona and northern Mexico, now means everything to
Las Vegas. I traveled to Lake Mead on a 99-degree day last June. The narrow,
110-mile-long lake, which at full capacity holds 28 million acre-feet of
water (making it the largest reservoir in the United States), was at 49
percent of capacity. When riding into the valley and glimpsing it from
afar - an astonishing slash of blue in the desert - my guide for the day,
Bronson Mack of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, remarked that he had
never seen it so low. The white bathtub ring on the sides of the canyon that
marks the level of full capacity was visible about 100 feet above the water.
"I have a photograph of my mother on her honeymoon, standing in front of the
lake," Mack, a Las Vegas native, said. That was in 1970. "It was almost that
low, but not quite."

Over the past year, it has become conceivable that the lake could eventually
drop below the level of the water authority's intake pipes, the straws that
suck the water out for the Las Vegas Valley. The authority recently hired an
engineering firm to drill through several miles of rock and create a deeper
intake pipe near the bottom of the lake. To say the project is being
fast-tracked is an understatement. The day after visiting Lake Mead, I met
with Mulroy in her Las Vegas office. "We have everything in line to get it
running by 2012," she said of the new intake. But she added that she is
looking to cut as much time off construction as possible. Building the new
intake is a race against the clock, or rather a race against a lake that
keeps going down, down, down.
26752  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Stock Market on: October 25, 2007, 05:06:18 AM
David Gordon is back in town and has several posts in recent days up on his blog.  His call for ISRG is up quite nicely for me!  Speaking of David, it was he who first brought my attention to the fundamentals of water as an investment hypothesis.  Here is a recent article that speaks to this theme.

==========

By JON GERTNER
Published: October 21, 2007
Scientists sometimes refer to the effect a hotter world will have on this
country's fresh water as the other water problem, because global warming
more commonly evokes the specter of rising oceans submerging our great
coastal cities. By comparison, the steady decrease in mountain snowpack -
the loss of the deep accumulation of high-altitude winter snow that melts
each spring to provide the American West with most of its water - seems to
be a more modest worry. But not all researchers agree with this ranking of
dangers. Last May, for instance, Steven Chu, a Nobel laureate and the
director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, one of the United
States government's pre-eminent research facilities, remarked that
diminished supplies of fresh water might prove a far more serious problem
than slowly rising seas. When I met with Chu last summer in Berkeley, the
snowpack in the Sierra Nevada, which provides most of the water for Northern
California, was at its lowest level in 20 years. Chu noted that even the
most optimistic climate models for the second half of this century suggest
that 30 to 70 percent of the snowpack will disappear. "There's a two-thirds
chance there will be a disaster," Chu said, "and that's in the best
scenario."



In the Southwest this past summer, the outlook was equally sobering. A
catastrophic reduction in the flow of the Colorado River - which mostly
consists of snowmelt from the Rocky Mountains - has always served as a kind
of thought experiment for water engineers, a risk situation from the outer
edge of their practical imaginations. Some 30 million people depend on that
water. A greatly reduced river would wreak chaos in seven states: Colorado,
Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California. An almost
unfathomable legal morass might well result, with farmers suing the federal
government; cities suing cities; states suing states; Indian nations suing
state officials; and foreign nations (by treaty, Mexico has a small claim on
the river) bringing international law to bear on the United States
government. In addition, a lesser Colorado River would almost certainly lead
to a considerable amount of economic havoc, as the future water supplies for
the West's industries, agriculture and growing municipalities are
threatened. As one prominent Western water official described the possible
future to me, if some of the Southwest's largest reservoirs empty out, the
region would experience an apocalypse, "an Armageddon."

One day last June, an environmental engineer named Bradley Udall appeared
before a Senate subcommittee that was seeking to understand how severe the
country's fresh-water problems might become in an era of global warming. As
far as Washington hearings go, the testimony was an obscure affair, which
was perhaps fitting: Udall is the head of an obscure organization, the
Western Water Assessment. The bureau is located in the Boulder, Colo.,
offices of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the
government agency that collects obscure data about the sky and seas. Still,
Udall has a name that commands some attention, at least within the Beltway.
His father was Morris Udall, the congressman and onetime presidential
candidate, and his uncle was Stewart Udall, the secretary of the interior
under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. Bradley Udall's
great-great-grandfather, John D. Lee, moreover, was the founder of Lee's
Ferry, a flyspeck spot in northern Arizona that means nothing to most
Americans but holds near-mythic status to those who work with water for a
living. Near Lee's Ferry is where the annual flow of the Colorado River is
measured in order to divvy up its water among the seven states that depend
on it. To many politicians, economists and climatologists, there are few
things more important than what has happened at Lee's Ferry in the past,
just as there are few things more important than what will happen at Lee's
Ferry in the future.

The importance of the water there was essentially what Udall came to talk
about. A report by the National Academies on the Colorado River basin had
recently concluded that the combination of limited Colorado River water
supplies, increasing demands, warmer temperatures and the prospect of
recurrent droughts "point to a future in which the potential for conflict"
among those who use the river will be ever-present. Over the past few
decades, the driest states in the United States have become some of our
fastest-growing; meanwhile, an ongoing drought has brought the flow of the
Colorado to its lowest levels since measurements at Lee's Ferry began 85
years ago. At the Senate hearing, Udall stated that the Colorado River basin
is already two degrees warmer than it was in 1976 and that it is foolhardy
to imagine that the next 50 years will resemble the last 50. Lake Mead, the
enormous reservoir in Arizona and Nevada that supplies nearly all the water
for Las Vegas, is half-empty, and statistical models indicate that it will
never be full again. "As we move forward," Udall told his audience, "all
water-management actions based on 'normal' as defined by the 20th century
will increasingly turn out to be bad bets."

========



Page 2 of 10)



A few weeks after his testimony, I flew to Boulder to meet with Udall, and
we spent a day driving switchback roads high in the Rockies in his old
Subaru. It had been a wet season on the east slope of the Rockies, but the
farther west we went, the drier it became. Udall wanted to show me some of
the local reservoirs and water systems that were built over the past
century, so I could get a sense of their complexity as well as their
vulnerability. As he put it, he wants to connect the disparate members of
the water economy in a way that has never really been done before, so that
utility executives, scientists, environmentalists, business leaders, farmers
and politicians can begin discussing how to cope with the inevitable
shortages of fresh water. In the American West, whose huge economy and
political power derive from the ability of 20th-century engineers to conquer
rivers like the Colorado and establish a reliable water supply, the prospect
that there will be less water in the future, rather than the same amount, is
unnerving. "We have a very short period of time here to get people educated
on what this means," Udall told me as we drove through the mountains. "Then
once that occurs, perhaps we can start talking about how do we deal with
 it."

Skip to next paragraph

Udall suggested that I meet a water manager named Peter Binney, who works
for Aurora, Colo., a city - the 60th-largest in the United States - that
sprawls over an enormous swath of flat, postagricultural land south of the
Denver airport. It may be difficult for residents of the East Coast to
understand the political celebrity of some Western water managers, but in a
place like Aurora, where water, not available land, limits economic growth,
Binney has enormous responsibilities. In effect, the city's viability
depends on his wherewithal to conjure new sources of water or increase the
output of old ones. As Binney told me when we first spoke, "We have to find
a new way of meeting the needs of all this population that's turning up and
still satisfy all of our recreational and environmental demands." Aurora has
a population of 310,000 now, Binney said, but that figure is projected to
surpass 500,000 by 2035.

I asked if he had enough water for that many people. "Oh, no," he replied.
He seemed surprised that someone could even presume that he might. In fact,
he explained, his job is to figure out how to find more water in a region
where every drop is already spoken for and at a moment when there is little
possibility that any more will ever be discovered.

Binney and I got together outside Dillon, a village in the Colorado Rockies
75 miles from Aurora and just a few miles west of the Continental Divide. We
met in a small parking lot beside Dillon Reservoir, which sits at the bottom
of a bowl of snow-capped mountains. Binney, a thickset 54-year-old with dark
red hair and a fair complexion, had driven up in a large S.U.V. He still
carries a strong accent from his native New Zealand, and in conversation he
comes across as less a utility manager than a polymath with the combined
savvy of an engineer, an economist and a politician. As we moved to a picnic
table, Binney told me that we were looking at Denver's water, not Aurora's,
and that it would eventually travel 70 miles through tunnels under the
mountains to Denver's taps. He admitted that he would love to have this
water, which is pure snowmelt. To people in his job, snowmelt is the best
source of water because it requires little chemical treatment to bring it up
to federal drinking standards. But this water wasn't available. Denver got
here before him. And in Colorado, like most Western states, the rights to
water follow a bloodline back to whoever got to it first.

One way to view the history of the American West is as a series of important
moments in exploration or migration; another is to consider it, as Binney
does, in terms of its water. In the 20th century, for example, all of our
great dams and reservoirs were built - "heroic man-over-nature"
achievements, in Binney's words, that control floods, store water for
droughts, generate vast amounts of hydroelectric power and enable
agriculture to flourish in a region where the low annual rainfall otherwise
makes it difficult. And in constructing projects like the Glen Canyon Dam -
which backs up water to create Lake Powell, the vast reservoir in Arizona
and Utah that feeds Lake Mead - the builders went beyond the needs of the
moment. "They gave us about 40 to 50 years of excess capacity," Binney says.
"Now we've gotten to the end of that era." At this point, every available
gallon of the Colorado River has been appropriated by farmers, industries
and municipalities. And yet, he pointed out, the region's population is
expected to keep booming. California's Department of Finance recently
predicted that there will be 60 million Californians by midcentury, up from
36 million today. "In Colorado, we're sitting at a little under five million
people now, on our way to eight million people," Binney said. Western
settlers, who apportioned the region's water long ago, never could have
foreseen the thirst of its cities. Nor, he said, could they have anticipated
our environmental mandates to keep water "in stream" for the benefit of fish
and wildlife, as well as for rafters and kayakers

==========



Page 3 of 10)



The West's predicament, though, isn't just a matter of limited capacity,
bigger populations and environmental regulations. It's also a distributional
one. Seventy-five years ago, cities like Denver made claims on - and from
the state of Colorado received rights to - water in the mountains; those
cities in turn built reservoirs for their water. As a result, older cities
have access to more surface water (that is, water that comes from rivers and
streams) than newer cities like Aurora, which have been forced to purchase
existing water rights from farmers and mining companies. Towns that rely on
groundwater (water pumped from deep underground) face an even bigger
disadvantage. Water tables all over the United States have been dropping,
sometimes drastically, from overuse. In the Denver area, some cities that
use only groundwater will almost certainly exhaust their accessible supplies
by 2050.


The biggest issue is that agriculture consumes most of the water, as much as
90 percent of it, in a state like Colorado. "The West has gone from a
fur-trapping, to a mining, to an agricultural, to a manufacturing, to an
urban-centric economy," Binney explained. As the region evolved, however,
its water ownership for the most part did not. "There's no magical locked
box of water that we can turn to," Binney says of cities like Aurora, "so it's
going to have to come from an existing use." Because the supply of water in
the West can't really change, water managers spend their time looking for
ways to adjust its allocation in their favor.

Binney knew all this back in 2002, when he took the job in Aurora after a
long career at an engineering firm. Over the course of a century, the city
had established a reasonable water supply. About a quarter of its water is
piped in from the Colorado River basin about 70 miles away; another quarter
is taken from reservoirs in the Arkansas River basin far to the south. The
rest comes from the South Platte, a lazy, meandering river that runs north
through Aurora on its way toward Nebraska. Binney says he believes that a
city like his needs at least five years of water in storage in case of
drought; his first year there turned out to be one of the worst years for
water managers in recorded history, and the town's reservoirs dropped to 26
percent of capacity, meaning Aurora had at most nine months of reserves and
could not endure another dry spring. During the summer and fall, Binney
focused on both supply and demand. He negotiated with neighboring towns to
buy water and accelerated a program to pay local farmers to fallow their
fields so the city could lease their water rights. Meanwhile, the town asked
residents to limit their showers and had water cops enforce new rules
against lawn sprinklers. ("It's interesting how many people were watering
lawns in the middle of the night," Binney said.)

Water use in the United States varies widely by region, influenced by
climate, neighborhood density and landscaping, among other things. In the
West, Los Angelenos use about 125 gallons per person per day in their homes,
compared with 114 for Tucson residents. Binney's customers generally use
about 160 gallons per person per day. "In the depths of the drought," he
said, "we got down to about 123 gallons."

Part of the cruelty of a Western drought is that a water manager never knows
if it will last 1 year or 10. In 2002, Binney was at the earliest stages of
what has since become a nearly continuous dry spell. Though he couldn't see
that at the time, he realized Aurora faced a permanent state of emergency if
it didn't boost its water supplies. But how? One option was to try to buy
water rights in the mountains (most likely from farmers who were looking to
quit agriculture), then build a new reservoir and a long supply line to
Aurora. Obvious hurdles included environmental and political resistance, as
well as an engineering difficulty: water is heavy, far heavier than oil, and
incompressible; a system to move it long distances (especially if it
involves tunneling through mountains or pumping water over them) can cost
billions. Binney figured that without the help of the federal government,
which has largely gotten out of the Western dam-and-reservoir-building
business, Aurora would be unwise to pursue such a project. Even if the money
could be raised, building a system would take decades. Aurora needed a
solution within five years.
26753  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Part Two- Turks in Germany on: October 25, 2007, 04:49:23 AM
Parallel Societies

(Page 4 of 7)



The topic of marriage comes up often among Turks in places like Duisburg. It
is not a side issue. Of the roughly 25,000 foreigners who immigrate to
Germany every year to marry, about a thousand go to Duisburg, and the great
majority of those are Turks. The city's Marxloh neighborhood is the
Continental capital of Turkish wedding caterers and bridal shops.

Duisburg, where the Rhine and the Ruhr meet, and where mining and industry
link up to the biggest inland port in Europe, is a kind of European
Pittsburgh. In decades past, tens of thousands of Turks came to work in the
city's three big steel plants, which together employed 64,000 people in the
'70s, and in its archipelago of coal mines. But today there are only 20,000
industrial jobs left in the whole city. Duisburg's population, 608,000 in
the 1970s, has fallen to under half a million. The older German-born natives
(who had jobs) die, their children (who want jobs) move and the absolute
number of Turks living there continues to grow. According to the mayor's
office, there are 41,900 Turks in Duisburg, and another 24,000 of Turkish
background who have acquired German citizenship. Together they account for
more than half of Duisburg's minority population - and for much of the city's
dynamism as well. In Marxloh, where half of the 18,000 residents are
immigrants or children of immigrants, the largest mosque in Germany is
nearing completion. At the same time, the local Catholic bishop has
announced he must reduce the number of parishes in Duisburg from 32 to 4.
The Evangelical Church of Germany, a Protestant umbrella organization,
recently published a controversial document in which it laid out some ground
rules for turning Christian houses of worship into Muslim ones. Duisburg is
changing from a "typical" postwar German city into a heavily - and, in
parts, predominantly - Turkish one, through a kind of distillation.

In the neighborhood of Hochfeld, which has lost one-third of its population
in the past three decades, this distillation is at its extreme. Rauf Ceylan,
a sociologist whose parents settled as guest workers nearby in Wanheim, has
spent years studying the coffeehouses and mosques that are the central
community institutions for men. What Ceylan has found is a parallel society
growing increasingly elaborate and increasingly entrenched. He calls
Hochfeld an "ethnic colony," rather than just a "ghetto" or "community."
That is, Hochfeld is more than a place where a homesick Turk can find a
little corner of Turkey, the way a Japanese immigrant might gravitate to a
sushi restaurant in New Hampshire. It is turning into a fully articulated
Turkish society, where a Turk has the institutions to lead any kind of
Turkish life he chooses. And the life that most Hochfeld residents choose is
becoming steadily more traditional. The first generation of guest workers
were not particularly traditionalist, Ceylan says. They were mostly single
men, with the easy-come, easy-go lifestyle that being single implies. But
once they acquired wives from Turkey and formed families, their role changed
from hired worker to paterfamilias, and their priorities changed, too. They
built institutions that mimicked those of the villages they hailed from.

Many Germans held out hope that younger generations, those born here, would
have different priorities. Exposed to German society through television and
schools, they would lose interest in the ways of coffeehouse and mosque. The
old assumption that living in the middle of Western prosperity creates an
almost automatic loyalty has been shaken in recent years. German residents,
of course, played a leading role in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Said
Bahaji, a German citizen of Moroccan descent who served in the German Army,
provided important logistical support for the Hamburg-based cell led by the
Egyptian Mohamed Atta. The Lebanese-born 9/11 terrorist Ziad Jarrah did part
of the planning in Duisburg, and had a romantic involvement with a seemingly
well-assimilated Turkish-German woman who studied dentistry nearby in
Bochum.

The way immigrants marry is a key factor in the way they assimilate, or don't.
In 2000, the German Youth Institute reported that 53 percent of Turkish
women ages 16 to 29 would not consider marrying a German "under any
circumstances." Indeed, the big gap that separates young Turks from German
youth culture is an important theme of "Head-On," Fatih Akin's
Turkish-German film of 2005. Perhaps Turks' preference for Turkish mates
reflects, in some cases, the desire for a religious life. But a survey taken
in the late 1990s found similar discomfort on the part of Germans, for whom
religious considerations are presumably less of a factor. Fifteen percent of
western Germans and just 7 percent of eastern ones said it would be
"pleasant" (angenehm) to have a Turkish relative. Majorities in both places
agreed it would be "unpleasant."

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

Page 5 of 7)

Where such attitudes prevail, self-segregation is inevitable, mystifying
those immigrants most inclined to assimilate. "There is a big change that
comes at puberty, a divergence of interests," says Osman Apaydin, who runs a
development program around the corner from the wedding shops in Marxloh.
Sitting in his office in February, he described how his grown daughter,
modern-minded, open to the world, much more comfortable speaking German than
Turkish, who went to majority-German schools, now finds herself unmarried,
with an increasingly Turkish circle of friends. To hear Apaydin describe it,
the difficulty of modern Turkish women in finding husbands resembles the
predicament of highly educated black women in the United States.

Where traditional young women start families and assimilated ones have
trouble finding their social footing, the next generation is brought up -
almost by definition - by those who are least assimilated themselves. You
can blame Turkish attitudes if you want, but they arise from a certain
objective truth: The closer one gets to German culture, the farther one gets
from family. There are a lot of ways to measure this. In North
Rhine-Westphalia, Germany's most populous state and the one where Duisburg
is located, 80 percent of Turks ages 25 to 34 are married; their average
marriage age is 21 for women and 24 for men. Among non-Turks, only 32
percent of 25- to 34-year-olds are married; the average marriage age is 29
for women and 32 for men. Germans have one of the lowest fertility rates in
the history of the world - 1.36 children per woman, according to 2004
figures. While it is hard to find precise figures for Turks in Germany, the
rate is widely agreed to be higher. The rate in Turkey itself is almost
twice as high, at 2.4 children per woman. If a good chance of childlessness
and middle-aged solitude is the price of assimilation, it is for many Turks
an exorbitant one. According to a study done by the Center for Turkey
Studies in Essen, young Turkish women and men brought up in Germany view
their fellow Turkish-Germans of the opposite sex as "distant from their own
culture, or 'degenerate.' "

You seldom meet young Turkish women of marriage age who describe themselves
as either unambiguously traditional or unambiguously modern. Take Yasemin
Yadigaroglu, for instance. A tight, traditional head scarf covers every last
strand of her hair. But there is something bold and dashing about her, as
well as conservative. At 26, she leads a campaign supported by the Duisburg
city government to dissuade Turks from marrying their cousins. A German
citizen born in Duisburg, she studied social science at the University of
Duisburg-Essen.

Unlike Kelek, Yadigaroglu is an observant Muslim. She says that cousin
marriage is "a misrepresentation of Islam." Yet despite her religious bent,
Yadigaroglu's preoccupations and even conclusions about the family overlap
with Kelek's. Yadigaroglu claims that marriage between cousins retards
assimilation, that it contributes to parallel societies like the ones Ceylan
describes in Hochfeld and that it is responsible for birth defects. In an
academic paper, she even hints at a feminist critique of the traditional
Turkish family. "Through marriage to a cousin," she writes, "a new role
orientation gets established within the family. The aunt and uncle become
in-laws. The new daughter-in-law sinks to the lowest level of the family
hierarchy, in marked contrast to her previous role as niece."

One Friday afternoon just before evening prayers, I traveled to
Wanheimerort, a dockside area just south of Hochfeld, to see four young
women between 17 and 20 who meet there every week. All were born in Turkey
but have spent much of their lives in Wanheimerort. At least two are German
citizens. Esra is studying mathematics at a university nearby, Fatma and
Meltem are on their way there and Guler studies dental hygiene. Esra, at
least, spoke terrific English but wouldn't use it, perhaps out of
consideration for the several non-English speakers in the room. The Ditib
mosque they attend is among the more liberal in the area, but all the girls
except Fatma were wearing head scarves. I thought of Yadigaroglu, with her
mix of tradition and eagerness to assimilate and decided to ask whether -
given their career tracks - any of them might consider themselves feminists,
if only in an unconventional way. Their answers were: Nein, nein, nein and
nein. "Women think this word makes them more and more free," one said
scornfully.

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



Page 6 of 7)



Young men I met were often more sour and defensive in such discussions. It
was as if they wanted to be clear about just who was rejecting whom in this
battle between their egos and the wider society's values. In the Duisburg
neighborhood of Meiderich, I visited a German-literature class at the local
high school and asked a room full of 18-year-olds to talk about marriage.
Three-quarters had a Turkish background. One, Husayn, spoke of how he had
already been betrothed to a cousin at a family celebration in Bielefeld and
was looking forward to standing on his own two feet. Several said that
brothers and sisters had married cousins from Turkey, yet each one of them
presented that as a special case, an exception.

But one student, a sharp-tongued fellow named Yavuz, had noticed the erosion
of the Turkish family model in Germany. It struck him as a catastrophe.
"Father and son are no longer father and son," he complained. "They're
buddies to one another. Your father becomes someone to go out and have a
beer with." And Turks' tendency to marry their cousins did not look so bad,
Yavuz said, with the air of one repeating something heard over a dinner
table, when you consider that "one out of six Germans commits incest."

I had heard similar things elsewhere in Germany. In the Comenius Garden in
Neukolln, a particularly tough part of Berlin, Murat, Ali and Hakan, all in
their late teens, were passing a freezing cold afternoon chatting and making
up rap verses. Ali, whose family comes from the Black Sea port of Rize, is
the son of a local Neukölln imam. He is training to be a plumber but is not
employed yet. He is betrothed to a "friend" in Turkey. The person who
introduced me to Ali said Ali's other friends had spoken of the woman as his
cousin. So I started by asking him why he had looked for his wife in Turkey.
"German girls are Schlampen," he replied. They're sluts.

These may be dangerous attitudes. They may also be just the ordinary
sour-grapes insecurities that are the lot of immigrants' children at all
times and all places. Turks often complain that Germans see only the
repressive side to Turkish traditions and not the protective side.

Even Seyran Ates sometimes sounds uncertain that German ideals are
sufficient to protect women. At the end of last summer, two months after she
was attacked on the Mockernbrucke subway platform, she gave up her law
practice. She now says she would be willing to continue work in a law firm,
provided it was large enough to guarantee her security. People have
organized events for her and proclaimed their solidarity. Her alma mater,
the Free University of Berlin, awarded her a prize for defense of human
rights last March. "Socially, there has been a lot of support," she says.
But the way the incident itself occurred, particularly the way men looked on
while she and her client were assaulted - that clearly still upsets her.

"It brought me to despair," she said over tea. "It showed a lack of civic
courage."

But would it have been any different in Turkey if a man had begun to beat up
a woman like that on a subway platform?

"Oh, yes," she said calmly. "They'd have lynched him."

The Same Pillow

Wolfgang Schauble, Germany's interior minister, is in an awkward position. A
European interior minister is usually referred to as his country's "top
 cop." That was the job description the last time Schauble held the post,
under Helmut Kohl, between 1989 and 1991. But since he returned to the
ministry in the autumn of 2005, as the highest-ranking Christian Democrat
(behind Chancellor Angela Merkel) in a new coalition government, Schauble
has devoted much of his effort to the Islamkonferenz. At times he seems less
a top cop than a top marriage counselor.

Seated near his desk at the top of an office tower north of Berlin's
Tiergarten in February, Schauble admitted that the tendency of Turks to
bring spouses from abroad is a "main reason why integration isn't improving
with the passing generations." He agrees with Kelek and Ates that what he
calls the "freedom-constraining effects of the family" can stand between a
woman from a non-German culture and the rights to which she is entitled as a
German resident. But as a churchgoing Protestant, he is disinclined to
fiddle with marriage itself. "You have to distinguish between arranged
marriages and forced marriages," he told me. "Forced marriages are illegal.
They're assaults on human rights. They don't meet the minimum demands of a
free society. But arranged marriage - that's a complicated area. There have
always been cases where people have chosen not to meet as just man and woman
but with the intercession of some kind of third party."

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



Page 7 of 7)



So Schauble seems to be trying to influence behaviors that he says are
neither illegal nor, in most cases, even wrong. He has been pragmatic. When
he started the Islamkonferenz last September, he praised Islam for
reinforcing aspects of German tradition that Germans themselves had
neglected: "the importance of family, respect for elders, a consciousness
and pride in one's own history, culture, religion, tradition and the
day-to-day life of one's faith." Yet he has also spoken favorably about a
controversial video that the government of the Netherlands has been showing
to prospective immigrants. It is supposed to acclimate them to the relative
tolerance of Western societies. Images of women at a topless beach and of
two men kissing are meant to squelch any expectation that those who inhabit
traditionalist cultures can bring those cultures with them to Holland. But
isn't this inconsistent? Don't the social benefits that Schäuble praises
come from a traditional moralism - about, for instance, baring ones breasts
in public - that the video repudiates? "Breasts," Schauble replied, "are not
the main theme."

Certain countries in Europe have placed sharp restrictions on those who
marry foreigners. The Netherlands is one of them. In Denmark, citizens under
the age of 24 are not even allowed to reside in the country with their
non-E.U. spouses. Germany is unlikely to try anything so restrictive. But in
March, the German cabinet approved a reform of immigration laws that would
raise the minimum age of foreign-born spouses to 18. (Studies show that the
lower the age of marriage, the greater the tendency to have an arranged
marriage.)

Schauble also intends to require a minimum basic language proficiency for a
spouse before he or she comes to Germany. "Let's say a young woman, from
some remote part of Turkey, is brought together with her husband while he is
on summer vacation," Schauble suggested. "If she doesn't know a single word
of German when she comes - well, she has little chance to escape the total
control of his family. If she knows a little bit of German, her chances are
better." Long a pet enthusiasm of Schauble's, the idea was taken up by the
incoming French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, during the French campaign this
spring. Schäuble insists that when he says "a little bit" of the native
language, he means a bare minimum, the kind of German you can learn from a
few weeks of listening to audiotapes.

Nonetheless, this little bit means a big change. For perhaps the first time
since the war, German institutions and public opinion are taking a stand in
favor of German culture as they understand it, and implicitly against the
culture of a foreign minority. After a decade in which the Social Democratic
government of Gerhard Schroder focused on the qualifications for German
citizenship (since 1999, all children born in Germany, of whatever
parentage, are eligible for it), the Merkel coalition, following Schäuble,
is stressing the content of citizenship. Germany is beginning to insist on
citizens' responsibilities as well as citizens' rights.

"We are facing the same problems, whether we are practicing Muslims or not,"
Oguz Ucuncu told me one night in Cologne, over a Turkish barbecue in the
heavily immigrant neighborhood of Mulheim. Ucuncu, a quick-witted and
decidedly modern spokesman for the conservative Turkish Muslim group Milli
Gorus, serves on one of the committees of the Islamkonferenz. He pointed out
that Internet "flirt exchanges" and "singles exchanges" are increasingly
popular in Germany. What are those, he asked, if not high-tech means of
"arranging" marriages? (Not to mention considerably less binding romantic
encounters.) What of those native Germans who marry abroad, he asked,
especially the thousands who have married women from East Asia? Shouldn't
they, too, stand accused of wishing to "secede" from Western European
feminism, just as those Turks who marry in Turkey stand accused? "The first
point of any government program now," Ucuncu said, "should be to promote
solidity of family. The idea we should promote is: May you sleep on the same
pillow to the end of your life. This is a Muslim value we should not give
away."
26754  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: October 25, 2007, 04:46:40 AM
Its the NYTimes, so the flavoring is to be expected, but a very interesting piece nonetheless.  As the date of the piece indicates, I've been meaning to get around to posting this one for quite some time.
============

NY Times
Where Every Generation Is First-Generation
By CHRISTOPHER CALDWELL
Published: May 27, 2007
Last June, Seyran Ates, a lawyer, was waiting for a U-Bahn train in Berlin's
Mockernbrucke subway station with a client for whom she had secured a
divorce when the client's husband stormed onto the platform. He began
beating up his ex-wife. Then he turned on Ates. Ates recalls seeing a number
of men standing around, watching it all happen, as she danced from side to
side with her attach case, trying to fend off his heavy punches and kicks.
It was not the first time she had been attacked in the line of duty.

A Turk of partly Kurdish descent, Ates arrived with her parents in the West
Berlin neighborhood of Wedding in the late 1960s, when she was 6. Her
parents were loving, but it was a traditional kind of love that involved
much scolding, grounding and disciplinary slapping. School was Ates's only
escape from the house, and she excelled at it. She knew she wanted to be a
lawyer. Just before her 18th birthday, as her mother and aunt were beginning
to make plans to marry her off, she ran away. This flight was not a simple
abandonment of her family, to whom Ates remains close. Nor was it an
abandonment of her ancestral culture. True, Ates has built her career in law
around a German - and to many Turks, idiosyncratic and hostile - conception
of women's rights. Yet she speaks to her young daughter in Turkish because,
she says, "I want her to understand why I cry when I hear my favorite
Turkish songs."
Ates (pronounced AH-tesh) went to Kreuzberg, a run-down, part-Turkish,
part-hippie neighborhood backed up against the Berlin Wall. By the early
1980s she was working part time as a counselor in a women's center while she
finished her studies. In September 1984, a Turkish nationalist, his exact
motives unclear even today, burst in. Mumbling that "this won't take long,"
he pulled out a gun and fired a bullet into Ates's neck. He then shot the
client Ates was counseling, mortally wounding her. Ates's 2003
autobiography, "Journey Into the Fire," centered on that incident, on her
long, touch-and-go recovery from it and on the preoccupation to which she
has devoted her intellectual and professional energies ever since. Namely,
the inability of women of Turkish background to claim the rights to which
they are entitled as German residents and even as German citizens.

Ates's preoccupation is now Germany's. Since last fall, the Islamkonferenz,
a 30-member panel set up by Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, has
devoted much of its time and energy to the way ethnic minorities meet, mate
and marry - particularly the almost three million German residents of
Turkish descent, more than one-third of whom have German citizenship. The
panel, intended to create a "German Islam," differs from analogous
government bodies set up in France and Italy. In those countries, religious
hierarchs and political activists have dominated. Emerging government
structures have been staffed by people who view religion sympathetically.
The Islamkonferenz, by contrast, includes a wide variety of voices,
religious and not. There is the largely Arab and conservative Central Muslim
Council. There is the Turkish Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (known by
its Turkish acronym, Ditib), a 25-year-old body established in Germany by
the Turkish government to aid with mosque-building, burials and other
religious arrangements. But there are also 10 independent members appointed
without regard to their religious views or affiliations. That is how Ates
wound up pronouncing on some of the most stubborn problems that have arisen
from the mass immigration that began decades ago.

Marriage is not just an aspect of the immigration problem in Germany; to a
growing extent, it is the immigration problem. Starting in the 1960s,
millions of Turkish "guest workers" were imported to provide manpower for
the German economic boom. The guest-worker program was ended in 1973, the
year of the first oil crisis, but large-scale immigration from Turkey has
scarcely abated since. For years, political asylum was relatively easy for
Turks to obtain, owing to political assassinations, military coups and the
violent Kurdish nationalist movement in eastern Anatolia. But since the
Balkan wars of the 1990s, Germany, like most European countries, has
steadily tightened its criteria for political asylum.

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



Page 2 of 7)



This leaves open only one avenue for non-European men and women who want to
enter Germany legally: marriage to someone with legal residency in the
country. Fortunately for would-be immigrants, young ethnic Turks in Germany
have a strong tendency to marry people from the home country. Exact
statistics are hard to come by, but it is possible that as many as 50
percent of Turks (a word that in common parlance often includes even those
with German citizenship) seek their spouses abroad, according to Schäuble,
the interior minister. For most of the past decade, according to the
ministry, between 21,000 and 27,000 people a year have successfully applied
at German consulates in Turkey to form families in Germany. (Just under
two-thirds of the newcomers are women.) That means roughly half a million
spouses since the mid-1980s, which in turn means hundreds of thousands of
new families in which the children's first language is as likely to be
Turkish as German.

Binational marriage alarms many Germans for two reasons. First, it allows
the Turkish community to grow fast at a time when support for immigration is
low. The Turkish population in Germany multiplies not once in a life cycle
but twice - at childbirth and at marriage. Second, such marriages retard
assimilation even for those Turks long established in Germany. You
frequently hear stories from schoolteachers about a child of guest workers
who was a star pupil three decades ago but whose own children, although born
in Germany, struggle to learn German in grade school. After half a century
of immigration, every new generation of Turks is still, to a large extent, a
first generation.

Turkish marriages are seldom Western-style love matches. They are often
arranged by parents. A 2003 study by the Federal Ministry of Family found
that a quarter of Turkish women in Germany hadn't even known their partners
before they married. The rural Anatolian practice of marrying relatives,
usually first cousins, is frequent. It accounts, according to the Center for
Turkey Studies at the University of Duisburg-Essen, for between a sixth and
a quarter of binational pairings. These marriages bring certain Anatolian
problems into the heart of Germany. Domestic violence is high. The causes of
wife-beating among families of immigrant background can be debated, but not
the numbers. Gulgun Teyhani, who works at a battered-women's shelter in
Duisburg, reckoned that of the 86 women her house took in last year, 60 had
a migrant background, and 51 of them spoke Turkish. Last year, the Federal
Criminal Investigation Agency found that in the preceding five years, 45
"honor killings" were carried out by Turkish or Kurdish families in Germany
against women deemed to have "strayed," generally by dating Europeans or
adopting Western fashions.

It probably doesn't take more than a few such incidents to intimidate young
Turkish women who watch the news or read the papers. Seyran Ates admits that
even divorce lawyers feel this way. "It is a dangerous line of work," she
says. "The men are often aggressive. Their idea is, I'm taking their women
away from them."

Watch Out!

The tragedy of imported brides, Necla Kelek writes, is that they "will live
in Germany but never arrive there." Like Ates, Kelek is a Turkish-German
woman with intense passions on either side of the hyphen. She is another
independent member of the Islamkonferenz. Kelek was born in Istanbul and
came to Germany as a young girl in the 1960s. She, too, climbed into the
middle of mainstream German society through the school system. She earned a
doctorate in sociology but has since turned to a more literary kind of
writing. Her best-selling book, "The Foreign Bride," is a memoir - although
it might be better described as a polemic - about Turkish women imported as
wives. It relies on Kelek's own family anecdotes, on dozens of interviews
conducted in mosques in Hamburg and Lower Saxony and on government studies.
It is in large part a result of her books that some Germans who once viewed
Turkish marriage practices as none of their business now see it as a
pressing crisis.

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

3 of 7

The German reading public has a powerful appetite for what might be called
noble-savage memoirs - books that span the genres between ethnology, erotica
and bildungsroman. Corinne Hofmann's "White Masai" series, which describes
her romantic life with an East African tribesman, has sold millions of
copies. Even given such a standing fascination, there is something
extraordinary about the appeal, over the last half-decade, of
autobiographies by Muslim women who have either triumphed over or been
beaten down by traditionalist understandings of the family. Although Ates's
and Kelek's books stand out, there are literally dozens of other, lesser
books - with titles like "Choking on Your Lies," "No One Asked My
 Permission" and so on - covering entire dinner-table-size displays in
bookstores.

Just why Germans are consuming these books in such numbers is unclear. This
has always been a culture with an insatiable interest in other cultures, as
the role of Germans in founding the modern social sciences and the thick
concentration of museums in the center of Berlin both attest. It may also be
that Germans have so deeply internalized the ethics of repentance for World
War II that they lack the confidence, or the inclination, to make sweeping
and critical value judgments about other cultures. They now require
non-Germans or semi-Germans or new Germans to say such things. "I have a
special role in this debate," Kelek says over dinner in the East Berlin
neighborhood where she lives. "It is to say, 'Watch out!' "

Few deny that Kelek has put her finger on a genuine problem. A 2002 Berlin
Senate report (cited in her book) documented hundreds of complaints of
forced marriage. But there is controversy over what "forced" means. In
Turkish culture, people tend to discuss liberty in terms of the family
rather than in terms of the individual. If you look at things this way, then
Turkish-style betrothals are just the kind of consultation you would expect
in a close family. After all, they don't involve matchmakers or
extrafamilial institutions. But if you consider individuals first, as
Germans tend to, the intense involvement of parents in the child's marriage
decision looks like a severe constraint on personal freedom - particularly
in a structure as patriarchal as the traditional Turkish family. Kelek
embraces this German way of looking at things. "For me there is no essential
difference between arranged marriage and forced marriage," she writes. "The
outcome is the same."

Many Turks call this a simplistic view. It blurs the distinction between
parental persuasion and heartless coercion, they say. Almost all Turks would
grant that, at some point, threats of ostracism or violence would constitute
unacceptable force. But Kelek, who is a staunch, and to some ears strident,
defender of European values, is impatient with what she sees as
multiculturalist cant. (She is given to tossing off remarks like "Europeans
built America, not Indians," as she did over dinner in Berlin last winter.)

Like Ayaan Hirsi Ali in the Netherlands, Kelek has been accused of
"Enlightenment fundamentalism," a tendency to defend secular values too
dogmatically. Last year, a group of 60 "migration researchers" wrote an open
letter to the weekly paper Die Zeit attacking Kelek's writing as
"unserious" - an odd criticism to level at a memoirist, even one trained in
sociology. Others say she has made Islam too central to her explanation of
violence against women.

Marriage among Turks has become a cause clèbre partly because of Turks'
resistance to German ways. But Turks' acceptance of German ways,
particularly by this first generation of Turkish-German feminist writers and
intellectuals, plays a role too. "I think a lot of Germans are positively
embarrassed by how patriotic these women are," writes Jorg Lau, an admirer
of both Kelek and Ates who often writes about Muslim issues for Die Zeit.
For the first time, negative verdicts on the Turkish model of relations
between the sexes are coming out of the Turkish community itself.

26755  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: VIDEO CLIPS OF INTEREST on: October 25, 2007, 04:24:47 AM
Guro Inosanto and John Machado

http://youtube.com/watch?v=8ZKNlYBCkO0

From 1992, from a demo reel I assembled for the Machados:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=8ZKNlYBCkO0
26756  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: October 25, 2007, 03:02:39 AM
Terror vs.
Democracy
In Pakistan
By HUSAIN HAQQANI
October 25, 2007; Page A23

After more than a decade in exile, Benazir Bhutto, a former prime minister of Pakistan, returned home to Karachi last week to throngs of cheering supporters. Her triumphal arrival was marred by a terrorist bombing that killed more than 130 people, and underscored this fact: Terrorism is a threat to Pakistan and its people, and not merely a response to the foreign policy of a distant superpower.

For too many Pakistanis, this is a hard fact to accept. Many seem to believe that the war on terrorism is America's war and that if it did not stand with the U.S., then Pakistan would be safe from attack. This is not true. Pakistan has been a terrorist target since the 1980s, when its security services got involved in proxy wars in Afghanistan and Kashmir.

A compilation of published figures shows the trends. In 2006, 1,471 people were killed in terrorist attacks in Pakistan. Of these, 608 were civilians, 325 were security personnel and 538 were terrorists. That's an increase over 2005, when the number of fatalities was much lower: 430 civilians, 137 terrorists and 81 security personnel.

This year terrorists stepped up their attacks even before Ms. Bhutto's return. In the first 10 months of the year, a reported 2,037 people were killed. The number of suicide bombings in Pakistan is also up compared to previous years.

Pakistan clearly has a terrorist problem and needs to fight the organizations that carry out these attacks for the sake of its own people.

The willingness of the United States to provide economic and military aid for fighting terrorism is incidental. Those who punish men for not growing a beard, or who wish to subjugate women, or who behead human beings like animals are not open to persuasion. They will not stop if Pakistan were to distance itself from the U.S.

The attack against Ms. Bhutto reflects a deep-seated anger among global jihadis who shake at the thought of a woman leading the world's only nuclear-armed, majority-Muslim country. It's not the first time this anger has been directed at Ms. Bhutto. When she was elected prime minister for the first time in 1988, fatwas were issued by radical clerics condemning her and the decision to elect her. Ramzi Yousef, mastermind of the 1993 attack on New York's World Trade Center, has also admitted to plotting an attack on Ms. Bhutto in 1989.

Ms. Bhutto is clearly a brave and courageous woman who cannot and will not be deterred easily by either the threats of terrorists, or the machinations of those within Pakistan's covert security services who have consistently conspired against her. Even after the attacks, Ms. Bhutto did not change her stance against terror, nor did she back away from her demand for restoration of democracy and free and fair elections.

Ms. Bhutto's suspicion is that certain elements within Pakistan's ruling establishment might be behind the bid to kill her. These fears should not be disregarded, even though it is difficult for Gen. Pervez Musharraf to accept that some of his close friends and associates may be complicit or tolerant of mass murder. Ms. Bhutto's fears come from almost two decades of being hounded by jihadis and their allies in Pakistan's security establishment. It's crucial for Pakistan to address her concerns.

Mr. Musharraf needs to open his heart to genuine democracy. And that must include listening to the complaints lodged by the people's representatives against his friends and allies in the establishment. In any case, Mr. Musharraf has wasted six critical years in the war against terrorism by failing to purge the government and intelligence services of hard-liners who supported jihadis in the past, and who have maneuvered behind the scenes to stop true democrats from gaining power.

The massive demonstration of support for Ms. Bhutto and her Pakistan Peoples Party last Thursday confirms that her popularity remains undiminished by the political developments of the past two decades.

Before Ms. Bhutto's return, the conventional wisdom offered by many pundits and some politicians was this: Ms. Bhutto is seen to be too pro-American and too pro-Musharraf to be popular in Pakistan. But neither of these suggestions, nor the charges of corruption and misrule that have been repeatedly lodged against her over the past 19 years, seemed to carry much weight with the millions of people enthused about Ms. Bhutto's return.

From America's point of view, the good news is that the people who were cheering in the streets of Pakistan for Ms. Bhutto will likely cheer against terrorism under a government run by her. Pakistan's war against terrorism will likely make better progress with the support of the people than it has in recent years under an embattled military dictator.

Mr. Haqqani is director of Boston University's Center for International Relations and author of "Pakistan Between Mosque and Military" (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2005). He has also served as an adviser to several Pakistani prime ministers, including Ms. Bhutto.
26757  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: October 25, 2007, 02:54:38 AM
WSJ

Oh, the Humanity!
A report from the Integrated Regional Information Networks of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs brings what sounds like good news from Baghdad:

Iraqis are breathing a sigh of relief as violence in their war-torn country is ebbing and the number of violence-related victims has dropped sharply since the beginning of this year, according to statistics compiled by the country's interior, defence and health ministries.

"Violence-related deaths in September dropped remarkably to levels not seen in more than a year as the number [of violence-related deaths] stood at 290 while in September 2006 the number was about 1,400," Adel Muhsin, the health ministry's inspector-general, told IRIN in a phone interview.

But relief from violence is not without cost, IRIN notes:

Taxi driver Ahmed Khalil Baqir used to station himself outside Baghdad's main morgue, waiting for grieving families who went there to claim their relatives' dead bodies.

"I was totally dependent on them for my living," Baqir, a 44-year-old father of four, said." I never thought about picking up people in the street as I was being hired five to eight times a day by these families. But now it is a waste of time to wait there and these days I wait only for about three hours in the morning and I continue my work picking up passengers in the street."

And to make matters worse, he has to face competition from all those out-of-work hearse drivers.

Translate This
From NBC News:

In a development experts call a significant shift, Iraqi insurgent groups are speaking out against al-Qaida and its brutally violent tactics.

Last week, two groups, Asaeb al-Iraq al-Jihadiya (aka "the Iraqi Jihad Union") and a splinter faction of the 1920 Revolution Brigades called "Hamas in Iraq" issued statements accusing al-Qaida's Iraq wing, al-Qaida in Iraq, of brutally killing their fighters and commanders, as well as women and children.

We'd love to see what the New York Times's editors would do to that second paragraph.

It's About the Children!
26758  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: October 25, 2007, 02:49:30 AM
Rudy?
Giuliani and religious right meet on the road to political adulthood.

BY DANIEL HENNINGER
Thursday, October 25, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

One school of thought on the religious right holds that if Rudy Giuliani would commit to an unequivocal anti-abortion position, they could vote for him. A second school of thought, articulated by Richard Land, a leading figure in the politically important Southern Baptist Convention, is that he won't vote for any pro-choice candidate "as a matter of personal moral conscience," though Mr. Land says other evangelicals might find a way to vote for Mr. Giuliani.

Among the reasons politicians such as Mr. Giuliani are sensitive to this issue was the revelation, from exit polls after the 2004 election, that values and morals ranked high among voters' concerns. Thus this past weekend the very conservative Family Research Council pointedly named its Washington convocation the "Values Voter Summit."

Into this den of reproach stepped Rudy Giuliani on Saturday, dragging various balls and chains--liberal "social" beliefs, three marriages, alienated children, New York City. No matter that Ronald Reagan had two marriages, alienated children, Hollywood pals and live-and let-live social views. A straw poll taken after the candidates' speeches put Mr. Giuliani next to dead last, before John McCain but well behind the attendees' top choice, former Baptist minister and future talk-show star Mike Huckabee.

The focus here is on the speech Mr. Giuliani delivered to the values summit. He's the front-runner. He's the candidate who somehow has to get people like these evangelicals to decide whether votes in a presidential election ought to be cast for one or two issues or for a governing philosophy. Then there's the little matter of the candidate's character.





Call me old-fashioned, but I think governing philosophy is more important than the endless Chinese puzzle of moving this or that issue forward and back. American politics, right and left, has become obsessive about nailing where candidates "stand" on standalone issues--abortion, gay marriage, immigration, the North Pole melting or pulling out of Iraq. Trying to pin politicians down is honest work. But last time I looked, the thing you win was still called a "government." That means it matters if the candidate is able to govern, which has proven a challenge the past 16 years or so, in part because proliferating factions refuse to be governed.
In the '60s, the left introduced the "non-negotiable demand" into our politics. It's still with us. It's political infantilism. In real life, the non-negotiable "demand" usually ends about age six.

Of necessity, Mr. Giuliani has to get voters on the right past this narrowed focus. Adult politics, though, runs in both directions. Rudy has to move toward them, too, and believably.

Mr. Giuliani didn't mention abortion--and adoption--until deep into the talk. He began by laying down a personal marker: "I can't be all things to all people. I'm just not like that. I can't do that." This opened the door a crack on the man behind the grand smile. He needs to do more of that (why in a moment). But his case against issues pandering is one of the better I've heard: "For me to twist myself all up to try to figure out exactly what you want to hear, and today say one thing and the next day another thing--if you do that too long, you lose the sense of what leadership is all about."

Then came the admission of their political legitimacy, and in a way they'd get. He told them that people of faith "should not be marginalized" in public debates. The "religious right" knows exactly what this means. This is what was at issue when this movement erupted at the GOP convention in Houston back in 1992. The no-apologies belligerence of the Christian right began then because they were marginalized, even mocked by the national press corps in Houston.

Mr. Giuliani, however, didn't exploit their enduring sense of alienation from the media. Instead, he argued with some force that their ideas deserved a seat at the national table. He didn't promise triumph, but he offered respect.

The speech's big set-up theme was "responsibility." Every right carries a duty, and every benefit brings an obligation. His argument to them was a "culture of personal responsibility" enhances both accountability and self-respect, and these in turn will result in less of the things that drive the evangelicals nuts. To the extent any politician can make it sound as if he actually believes this stuff, Mr. Giuliani does.

Still, there's a problem. "Responsibility" was a main theme of Bill Clinton's 1993 inaugural speech. We believed him. A Wall Street Journal editorial, "Responsibility's Return," commented the next day: "It is good to hear any President, or anyone in a position of leadership in this country, talking about personal responsibility. Mr. Clinton is talking about it because in our recent history, there hasn't been enough of it." Then came the presidency.





Mr. Giuliani has a remarkable gift for political empathy. But I think he is acutely aware that no one talked this kind of talk better than Bill Clinton, and that the show-stopper ever after for charismatic presidential candidates will have to do with questions about character once in office.
So to the values voters he added: "We lose trust in political leaders not because they are imperfect; after all, they're human. We lose trust with them when they're not honest with us." A woman in the audience said, "That's right."

That's right. But twice in the speech, Mr. Giuliani tried to explain that his faith and his personal failings were difficult to discuss "because of the way I was brought up, or for other reasons." Other reasons? The way he was brought up--in the pre-Vatican II grade schools and high schools of New York City-- many of us understand. But he'll need to find a way to talk about "the other reasons."

It was a remarkable, effective and important speech. And more useful still if Mr. Giuliani and the religious right can reach some shared understanding of political and personal adulthood.

Mr. Henninger is deputy editor of The Wall Street Journal's editorial page. His column appears Thursdays in the Journal and on OpinionJournal.com.
26759  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: October 24, 2007, 07:56:02 PM
Iraq: The Latest Turkish Incursion
Reports of a Turkish military operation in northern Iraq emerged Oct. 24. Supposedly, between Oct. 21 and Oct. 23, some 300 Turkish troops moved as far as six miles into Iraq before withdrawing while artillery and airstrikes were conducted. Sources in Turkey have said that more than 30 Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) fighters were killed.


For weeks, Turkey has been positioning itself for a major incursion into northern Iraq to confront the PKK, which has been using the area as a safe-haven from which to operate. Indeed, Turkish special forces already operate extensively in northern Iraq, and cross-border shelling is hardly uncommon. But the last several days appear to have included overt strikes inside Iraq by F-16s (reportedly flying out of Diyarbakir, a major eastern Turkish air base) and AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters, as well as at least one incident of "hot pursuit" by uniformed Turkish forces following PKK fighters across the border.

Tensions spiked Oct. 21, when the PKK killed 12 Turkish soldiers in an attack inside Turkey; the PKK reportedly has captured more Turkish troops since. The recent operation could have been a reprisal for that attack or an attempt to rescue captured soldiers. But the operation Ankara is preparing for is far larger in scale and scope. Historically, these operations have involved as many as 50,000 troops and lasted more than a month. (Though past major operations were concluded by this time of year; winter is fast approaching in the mountainous border region, and the optimal weather for an extensive incursion has passed.)

Meanwhile, the public revelation of this most recent incursion was quickly followed by an official statement from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) requesting restraint from both Ankara and the PKK. KRG President Massoud Barzani for the first time called on the PKK to end its rebellion, and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani indicated he is willing to hand over PKK fighters to Turkey. Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan visited Baghdad at the same time Washington implied that it might be willing to strike at the PKK militarily -- a noteworthy confluence of events.

The KRG has its own issues with Ankara, as well as with Baghdad, where the fate of Kirkuk and the oil issue still hang in the balance. Ongoing internal Kurdish rivalries will rage. Turkish military positioning, including the expansion of buffer zones -- at least inside Turkey proper -- will continue.

For Turkey especially, a momentary resolution on the PKK issue does not solve the underlying issue of the strongest Kurdish presence it has ever seen -- one with an autonomy Ankara opposes not only in Turkey (where half the Kurdish population lives) but also in Iraq, Iran or elsewhere. The PKK offers the proximate cause and the justification, but Turkey is likely also now repositioning its forces to confront the long-term reality of a semiautonomous Kurdish state on its border.

stratfor
26760  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Bin Laden is bummed on: October 24, 2007, 07:47:49 PM
Note that Bill Roggio's The Fourth Rail is now found at this site. And it's always chuck full of news from multiple theaters of the Long War.

http://www.longwarjournal.org/archiv...ss_has_bec.php

The Long War Journal: "The darkness has become pitch black" - Osama bin Laden on Iraq situation

Written by Bill Roggio on October 24, 2007 6:19 PM to The Long War Journal
Available online at: http://www.longwarjournal.org/archiv...ss_has_bec.php


Recent report from US commanders in Iraq have stated al Qaeda in Iraq has been set back by a combination of the latest offensive and the willingness of local Iraqis to turn on the terror group. Based Osama bin Laden's latest audiotape, al Qaeda central command agrees that the fight against the US and the Iraqi government is not going well.
A clearer picture of Osama bin Laden's view on the state of jihad in Iraq emerges after the release of the full transcript of Osama bin Laden's latest audiotape, Not only does bin Laden admit errors in the Iraqi leader's ability to unite the tribes and Sunni insurgent groups, he views the situation in Iraq as dire for al Qaeda. Bin Laden accuses his foot soldier of "negligence" for failing to properly employ IEDs, laments the unwillingness of Iraqis who do not wish to attack their brothers in the police and army, and closes his statement by saying "the darkness [in Iraq] has become pitch black."
Al Qaeda, IEDs, and "negligence"

Bin Laden addresses a tactical failure of al Qaeda in Iraq's IED cells. He clearly is unhappy with their performance, and indicated the failure to employ IEDs efficiently against U.S. forces is due to "negligence." He is also concerned about the infiltration of Iraqi and American spies.
I tell my brothers: beware of your enemies, especially the hypocrites who infiltrate your ranks to stir up strife among the Mujahid groups, and refer such people to the judiciary. And you must check and verify, and avert the Hudood through doubts. You must protect your secrets and excel in your actions, for among the things which sadden the Muslims and the delight the unbelievers is the hindering of some combat operations against the enemy because of negligence in any of the stages of preparation for the operation, whether it be reconnaissance of the target, training, integrity, and suitability of weapons and ammunition, quality of the explosive device or other such arrangements. And when you lay a mine, do it right, and don't leave so much as one wounded American soldier or spy.
US and Iraqi Security Forces have specifically focused on targeting IED and suicide bomb cells over the course of the summer. In some cases, IED cells have been captured wholesale by conventional and special forces and in other cases IED emplacers have been killed in groups of five to 15 while attempting to plant their weapons by Coalition aircraft. In Anbar province, al Qaeda in Iraq has failed to kill a single US serviceman by IED since September 10. It seems bin Laden is acutely aware of this.
Osama bin Laden is often portrayed as a spiritual leader and figurehead detached from day-to-day operations, but this recent speech merely reinforces what we already know about him. An engineer by training, bin Laden is very interested in the planning and execution of attacks and operations. The 9/11 Commission Report stated bin Laden was personally involved in reviewing the operational attack plans for the embassy bombings, the Cole, and 9/11. He immerses himself in the technical details and the tactics used by his operators, and keeps apprised of the situation on the battlefields.
A split with the insurgency over attacking the Iraqi Security Forces
While bin Laden repeatedly admonishes his leaders for failing to build the relationships with Sunni tribal groups and allied insurgent groups, he continues to push attacks on Iraqi police and soldiers. This attitude has pitted some of the more nationalist Sunni groups away from al Qaeda, as they loath to attack their own countrymen, instead viewing the US and Coalition forces as the enemy.
Bin Laden tells the Iraqi people to "beware of ... those in the land of the Two Sanctuaries in particular, who forbid the Mujahideen from fighting the army and police of the traitors like al-Alawi, al-Jafari and al-Maliki - although they know that they are tools of the American occupation helping it to kill the people of Islam which is obvious apostasy on the part of the soldiers."
The violent attacks against the Iraqi Security Forces, particularly in Anbar province during the winter and spring of 2007, were accompanied by strikes against the families and tribes which supported the establishment police and army units. Mishan al-Jabouri, a leader in the Islamic Army in Iraq and the proprietor of Al Zawraa, an insurgent TV channel, attacked al Qaeda in Iraq for intentionally targeting members of the Iraqi Army and police forces. Al-Jabouri and other Sunni insurgents believed those joining the security forces were acting in the best interest of Iraqis.
Contempt for the Saudi king

In the next paragraph, bin Laden shows his contempt for Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, who he describes as "the idol-king of Riyadh" and "the biggest promoter of the American-Zionist project in the region."
And worst of all is that these men of knowledge consider the idol-king of Riyadh to be guardian of the Muslims' affair, and call on the Muslims to rally around him, although they know that he is the biggest promoter of the American-Zionist project in the region, and is one of those who called on it to invade Iraq. These, "they are the enemies, so beware of them. Allah curse them, how they lie!" (63:4)
Earlier in the speech, bin Laden chastises Abdullah for backing the deployment of African peacekeepers to Darfur in Sudan. He refer to Abdullah as "the governor of Riyadh" who "again sought to convince the Sudanese president, this time to implement the demands of the United Atheist Nations to allow the entrance of Crusader forces to Darfur." Bin Laden described the Darfur peacekeeping mission as "a brazen occupation" and stated "only an infidel apostate seeks it or agrees to it."
Darkness. Where are the mujahideen?

While bin Laden clearly sees the situation in Iraq as dire -- he said "the darkness has become pitch black" -- he holds out hope that the vanguard fighters of al Qaeda can hold the line until reinforcements arrive.
In closing, I tell our people in Iraq, the patient ones garrisoned on the first line of the religion and sanctities of the Muslims: the malice has increased and the darkness has become pitch black, and with the likes of you, nations reinforce themselves and climb summits.
He calls on Muslims of the Middle East to rejoin the fight, challenging their honor and willingness to fight when they are needed.
So where are those who prefer the religion to the lives of themselves and their children? Where are the people of Tawheed and those who topple the banner of unbelief and polytheism? Where are those who find torture to be pleasant and don't fear the blows? Where are those who find difficulty to be easy and bitterness to be sweet, because they are certain that the fire of Hell is much hotter? Where are those who go out to fight the Romans, as on the day of Tabuk? Where are those who pledge to fight to the death, as on the day of Yarmuk? Where are the soldiers of the Levant and the reinforcements of Yemen? Where are the knights of the Quiver (Egypt) and the lions of the Hijaz (western Saudi Arabia) and al-Yamamah (central Saudi Arabia)? Come and aid your brothers in Mesopotamia and relieve them by coordinating with them by way of dependable guides.

An outside view
Al Qaeda, via As Sahab Media, its propaganda arm, resists the interpretation of bin Laden's speech. As Sahab attacked Al Jazeera for "counterfeiting" the facts of his speech. As Sahab posted the video online at the Ekhlaas forum, along with the following note in English: "Note: We are publishing the whole speech of Shiekh Osama Bin Laden After the tremendous amount of Counterfeiting of the facts and altering the purposes and objectives of the Speech by AL-Jazeerah Satellite channel which ignored all the pillars of honor professional media."
Abdel Bari Atwan, the editor of al-Quds al-Arabi who interviewed bin Laden in 1996, disagrees. Atwan stated in a published editorial that this is the first time al Qaeda admitted errors and was seeking to rectify the situation in Iraq. He noted al Qaeda's zeal in enforcing its radical ideology on Sunni Iraqis turned the majority of Sunnis against the terror group.
"Launching diatribes against others and imposing a particular theological school of thought on everyone, has allowed al-Qaeda's enemies to gain an advantage," Atwan said. "In particular, it's helped the Americans to win the trust of certain tribal leaders. In this way, for the Iraqis the enemy has become al-Qaeda and not the occupying forces."
In Ramadi, "the city that al Qaeda leaders once declared the seat of a new Islamic caliphate and capital of the Iraqi insurgency," the Anbar Awakening held a march honoring Sheik Sattar Abu Risha, the leader of the movement who was slain by al Qaeda 40 days ago. The parade lasted four two hours and Iraqi government officials were in attendance. There were no attacks on the procession.
"Al-Qaeda never wanted to see the sons of Anbar to unite and form security forces. Now I think we have broken their back by building the police and security force," said Sheik Ahmed Abu Risha, the brother of Sattar who succeeded him as the leader of the Anbar Awakening. "Let them come forward and show their faces.... Let them come out, we will fight them."
26761  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Casting call on: October 24, 2007, 07:29:14 PM
Hi

My name is Sean De Simone and I am casting a new show for the Discovery
Channel and am in search of Martial Artists and other forms of combat
fighters.

Please take a look at the information below.  Please feel free to pass onto
any one else you think might be appropriate.

Thanks
Sean


Casting Fighters / Host

Do you love the art of fighting?

Are you ready to push yourself to the limit?

Do you want to travel the world learning the history and culture of various
fight styles?

NorthSouth Productions is looking for a male martial arts fighter, age
25-40, with an outgoing, charismatic, engaging, smart, and inquisitive
personality to co-host a new martial arts television series. Skill level can
range from beginner to expert. Should have a genuine love of the sport and
interest in learning about other traditional fighting styles.

This show will have you push your physical and emotional limits so you must
be up to the challenge. If you would like to see a clip/description of the
show go to www.northsouth.tv <http://www.northsouth.tv> and click on Fight
Quest.

Must be willing to travel. Must be willing to take a kick to the face and
then some. This is a real fighting show- possibility of injury.

We are searching for a backup host, someone to substitute for our current
hosts if they get hurt. You will need to be prepared to travel with just 2
weeks notice and be gone for 10 days at a time through March 2008.

If you are interested in being considered and fit the description, please
send a fight bio,a photo of yourself, professional resume and reason why you
would be interested in the show to Sean De Simone at fightcasting@gmail.com.
If you are not in the NYC area you will also need to send a reel or put
yourself on tape..

Questions and tape guide lines (3 to 5 minutes long)

Tell your camera-operator that this should be shot from the waist up. Don't
shoot toward a light or sun (puts you in silhouette).
Be natural, be brief. Have fun with this! Show us your personality. We're
looking for brains, charisma, and fighting ability.



Name

Education

Fighting Experience
-

Media Experience (if any)


Have you traveled overseas? Where? For what?

Have you ever trained in martial arts overseas?

What interests you about hosting this show?

What fighting style would you be most interested in learning?

What would make you most interested in traveling?

Whats the strangest experience youve ever had?



Materials must be received by Oct 30th, 2007 to be considered.

VHS, DVD or mini-DV formats are accepted.  Materials will not be returned.


Please Send Tape to:

North South Production
1140 Broadway
Suite 1201
New York, NY 10001

Attn: Sean De Simone - Fight Quest Casting
26762  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: November 18, 2007 Dog Bros Gathering of the Pack on: October 24, 2007, 04:15:29 PM
A Howl of Greeting:

The rhythm of the seasons is with us and its time for the "Fall Dog Brothers Gathering of the Pack". On behalf of the Council of Elders of the Dog Brothers, Dog Brothers Inc. hereby cordially invites all people of good spirit to its "Dog Brothers Fall Gathering of the Pack" at 11:00 AM on Sunday, November 18, 2007 and are pleased to announce that thanks to the graciousness of Original Productions it will be held at the same location as the June DB Gathering and set up in similar manner (including lights and cameras): 

Original Productions warehouse (a.k.a. the set for Monster Garage)
2435 N. Naomi Street
Burbank. CA 91504-3232

The Magic Words:

The MAGIC WORDS: "No judges, no referees, no trophies. One rule only: Be friends at the end of the day. This means our goal is that no one spends the night in the hospital. Our goal is that everyone leaves with the IQ with which they came. No suing no one for no reason for nothing no how no way!Real Contact Stickfighting is Dangerous and only you are responsible for you, so protect yourself at all times. All copyright belongs to Dog Brothers Inc. CA law applies."

THIS MATTER OF ACCEPTING ALL RISK APPLIES TO THOSE OF YOU OBSERVING AS WELL!!!

For example, sticks, and fights for that matter, may go flying into the crowd. Parents should consider things like this in deciding whether a child is old enough to bring along and/or deciding on from where to observe the event. If a stick or a fight comes careening your way know that the fight has right of way-- it is on you to get out of the way!  If you are sitting in or near the front row, we will not make fun of you if you wear protective headgear!

As always, NO VIDEO CAMERAS and NO DUAL PURPOSE CAMERAS WILL BE ALLOWED. In God we trust, everyone else, NO DUAL PURPOSE CAMERAS.  If you see someone cheating, please let us know.

We will continue starting the knife fights with a handshake and the knives undrawn and analogous ideas. Concerning the knife fighting, there is a relevant thread at http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=1296.0 "Shocknife" has promised us a couple of its newest model electric knives and so it looks like we will be able to have electric knife vs. electric knife fights. Perhaps this will help induce more realistic behavior during the knife fights!

Again we encourage you to fight knife versus stick-- the stick versus electric knife is always exciting. Stick vs. knife has been one of perennial questions of the FMA, so let's continue the research! Also, please feel free to hide a knife on your person and surprise your opponent with it during the stickfights.  Remember that you may fight with weapons other than a stick if you can find someone willing to go against you. Please consider staff, double stick, and anything else. In order to more deeply explore certain variables, fighters may agree to "no grappling" rules. In staff fights, the fighters may wear wrestling type ear guards under the fencing masks. 

Last time many fighters misssed watching many of the fights as they were waiting their turn and so we are going to try an innovation from the Swiss Gathering last month-- the Dance Card.  This will allow each fighter to sign up and see how many fights are ahead of his (her) fight so he watch fights until it is time for him to gear up and be ready when called.

There is a thread for fighters at http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=1372.0  and one for more general Gathering related matters at: http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=1372.0

As always, there is no charge for fighters but FIGHTERS MUST PRE-REGISTER, even if they have fought before. WE WILL BE RUTHLESS ON THIS! The Fighter's Registration form can be found on the website and MUST be filled out whether you have fought before or not. For all Fighter Registration matters, please contact Cindy at info@dogbrothers.com 310-540-6853. You are not registered until your name appears on the list of registered fighters on the website!!!

The Adventure continues!!!

"Higher Consciousness through Harder Contact" (c)

Crafty Dog
Guiding Force of the Dog Brothers
President/Dog Brothers Inc. Martial Arts
info@dogbrothers.com
26763  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Armas illegales (en ingles) on: October 24, 2007, 03:20:20 PM


Mexico: Dynamics of the Gun Trade
By Fred Burton and Scott Stewart

The number of drug-related killings in Mexico in 2007 already has surpassed 2,000, an increase of 300 over the same period last year, according to statistics reported by Mexican media outlets. Moreover, sources familiar with the issue say police officials in some jurisdictions have been purposely underreporting drug-related homicides, suggesting that the real body count is even higher.

In addition to the Mexican drug cartels that engage in torture and killings (at times involving beheadings), armed criminal gangs are notorious kidnappers -- prompting some to call Mexico the "kidnapping capital of the world." This has resulted in a boom for armored car manufacturers and security companies, given that most wealthy people living in the country own armored vehicles, and many employ executive protection teams to provide security for themselves, their families and their homes. Additionally, heavily armed criminal gangs regularly commit armed robberies, muggings and express kidnappings.

The one constant in these violent crimes is guns. Mexico's robust gun culture stretches back to revolutions, counterrevolutions and revolutionary bandits such as Pancho Villa. Because of this culture, guns are common in Mexico -- despite strict gun-control laws and licensing procedures. This demand for guns has created an illicit market that not only is intimately related to the U.S. market for illegal narcotics but also, in many ways, mirrors the dynamics of that market. Drugs flow north and guns flow south -- resulting in handsome profits for those willing to run the risks.

Mexican Laws

Similar to the U.S. Constitution, the 1917 Mexican Constitution guarantees Mexico's inhabitants the right to have "arms of any kind in their possession for their protection and legitimate defense." However, the constitution includes many caveats on private citizens' ownership of guns, prohibiting those "expressly forbidden by law" and those "the nation may reserve for the exclusive use of the army, navy or national guard." Furthermore, Mexican law calls for long prison terms for violators.

Mexico, then, has some of the world's strictest gun-control laws -- making guns difficult to obtain legally. Average citizens who want to purchase guns for self-defense or recreational purposes must first get approval from the government. Then, because there are no private-sector gun stores in the country, they must buy weapons through the Defense Department's Arms and Ammunition Marketing Division (UCAM). In accordance with Mexican law, the UCAM carefully limits the calibers of guns it sells. For example, it does not sell handguns larger than a .380 or .38 Special. Also, under Mexican law, popular handguns such as .357 magnum revolvers and 9 mm pistols are exclusively reserved for the armed forces.

Regardless of these efforts, the illicit arms market has been thriving for decades -- not only because firearm laws are not evenly enforced but also because criminals have found a way to circumvent efforts to stem the flow of guns. Moreover, not all illegal guns are in the hands of cartel members and street criminals. A healthy percentage of them are purchased by affluent Mexicans who are not satisfied with the selection of calibers available through the UCAM. Sources say it is not at all unusual to find Mexicans who own prohibited .357 magnum revolvers or .45 caliber pistols for self-defense against kidnappers and armed robbers. In addition to ballistic considerations, Latin machismo is also a factor -- some Mexican men want to own and carry powerful, large-caliber pistols.  (!Que estupido este comentario!  Esta' escrito obviamente por un p---d-jo quien vive en su oficina.  No se le ocurre que pueda haber razones muy logicas p.e. poner un fin a un problema grave de pronto)

The Mechanics of the Gun Trade

This mixture of the historical Mexican gun culture, machismo, strong desire for guns, lax enforcement of gun laws, official corruption and a raging cartel war has created a high demand for illegal guns. Guns sold on the black market in Mexico can fetch as much as 300 percent of their normal market value -- a profit margin similar to that of the cocaine trafficked by the cartels. The laws of economics dictate that where there is a strong demand -- and a considerable profit margin -- entrepreneurs will devise ways to meet that demand. Of course, the illicit markets are no different from the legitimate economy in this respect, and a number of players have emerged to help supply Mexico's appetite for illicit weaponry.

Millions of Mexicans reside (legally and otherwise) in the United States, and the two countries conduct a staggering amount of commerce (legal and otherwise) across the border. In this context, then, when one considers that there are more gun stores in a typical small town in Texas than there are in all of Mexico City, it should come as no surprise that a large number of the weapons found on the illicit arms market in Mexico originated in the United States. In fact, Mexican officials say that as much as 90 percent of the illegal weapons they seize are of U.S. origin.

The most obvious players in the gun trade are the cartels themselves, which not only have the financial resources to buy guns in the United States but also are in a position to receive guns in trade for narcotics from their distribution contacts north of the border. The traditional pattern for cartel operations over the past few decades has been to smuggle drugs north over the border and return with money and guns -- many times over the same routes and by the same conveyances. In addition to the problem of the notoriously corrupt Mexican customs officials, efforts to stem the flow of guns into Mexico also have been hampered by technological limitations. For example, until recently, Mexican authorities lacked X-ray equipment to inspect vehicles entering the country, and this inspection capacity still remains limited.

The cartels also obtain weapons from contacts along their supply networks in South and Central America, where substantial quantities of military ordnance have been shipped over decades to supply insurgencies and counterinsurgencies. Explosives from domestic Mexican sources also are widely available and are generally less expensive than guns.

Aside from the cartels, other criminal syndicates are dedicated to the arms trade. These groups can range from small mom-and-pop operations involving a few individuals who obtain weapons from family members residing in the United States or Central America to large organizations with complex networks that buy dozens or hundreds of weapons at a time.

As in other criminal enterprises in Mexico, such as drug smuggling or kidnapping, it is not unusual to find police officers and military personnel involved in the illegal arms trade. On Sept. 12, three high-ranking police commanders from Baja California and Baja California Sur states were arrested by U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) agents in Phoenix for illegally purchasing weapons at a gun show. (U.S. law prohibits foreigners from buying weapons.) Over the past few years, several Mexican government officials have been arrested on both sides of the border for participating in the arms trade.

Although it is illegal for Mexican nationals to buy guns in the United States and for Americans to haul guns to Mexico, entrepreneurs have found a variety of ways to skirt such laws. Perhaps one of the least recognized ploys is plain old document fraud. Fake documents -- which are easily obtained along the border -- range in quality (and price) from poorly rendered counterfeits to genuine documents obtained with the assistance of corrupt government officials. Using such documents, a Mexican citizen can pose as a U.S. citizen and pass the required background checks to buy guns -- unless, that is, the prospective gun buyer was foolish enough to assume the identity of an American with a criminal record.

Perhaps the most common way to purchase guns is by using a "straw-man" buyer (sometimes in combination with document fraud). That is, paying a person with a clean record who has legal standing to buy the gun. This also is a tried-and-true tactic used by criminals in the United States who are ineligible to purchase guns due to prior convictions. The "straw man" in these cases often is a girlfriend or other associate who is paid to buy a gun for them. Also, with so many family relations spanning the border, it is easy for a Mexican citizen to ask an American relative to purchase a gun or guns on their behalf.

While document fraud and straw-man purchases can be used to bypass the law and fool respectable gun dealers, not all gun dealers are respectable. Some will falsify their sales records in order to sell guns to people they know are not legally permitted to have them -- especially if the guns are being sold at a premium price. ATF does conduct audits of gun dealers, but even after a steep decline in the number of federal firearms dealers over the past decade, there still are not enough inspectors to regularly audit the records of the more than 50,000 federal firearms license holders. This lack of oversight and the temptation of easy money cause some dealers to break the law knowingly.

Guns also can be obtained for the Mexican black market through theft. The cartels traditionally have tasked groups of young street thugs in the United States with stealing items (such as pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles) for the cartels to use or resell in Mexico. Now, intelligence reports suggest that these thugs have begun to rob gun stores in towns along the border. One such group is the Gulf cartel-related "Zetitas" (little Zetas), which is active in the Texas cities of Houston, Laredo and San Antonio, as well as other places.

A cartel connection is suspected when the weapons and ammunition stolen are popular with the cartels, such as assault rifles and FN Five-Seven pistols. The FN Five-Seven and the FN P-90 personal defense weapon shoot a 5.7 x 28 mm round that has been shown to penetrate body armor, as well as vehicle doors and windows. Because of this, they recently have become very popular with cartel enforcers, who have begun to call the weapons matapolicias -- police killers. Several police officials have been killed with these guns this year -- though officers also have been killed with .357 magnum revolvers, .45-caliber pistols and AK-47- or M-16-style assault rifles. Still, due to the rising popularity of the 5.7 x 28 mm weapons among cartel gunmen, many of these somewhat esoteric (and excellently manufactured) weapons are acquired in the United States and end up south of the border. Any time one of these weapons is connected to a crime on either side of the border, a cartel link should be considered.

The gun problem in Mexico is similar to the drug problem in the United States in that it is extremely difficult to reduce the supply of the illicit items without first reducing the demand. Any small reduction in the supply leads to an increase in price, which further stimulates efforts to provide a supply. Therefore, as long as the demand for such weapons persists, people will continue to find creative ways to meet that demand and make a profit. With that demand being fed, at least in part, by drug cartels that are warring for control of drug trafficking routes into the United States, the two problems of drugs and guns will continue to be deeply intertwined.

stratfor
26764  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: October 24, 2007, 03:06:40 PM
Mexico: Dynamics of the Gun Trade
By Fred Burton and Scott Stewart

The number of drug-related killings in Mexico in 2007 already has surpassed 2,000, an increase of 300 over the same period last year, according to statistics reported by Mexican media outlets. Moreover, sources familiar with the issue say police officials in some jurisdictions have been purposely underreporting drug-related homicides, suggesting that the real body count is even higher.

In addition to the Mexican drug cartels that engage in torture and killings (at times involving beheadings), armed criminal gangs are notorious kidnappers -- prompting some to call Mexico the "kidnapping capital of the world." This has resulted in a boom for armored car manufacturers and security companies, given that most wealthy people living in the country own armored vehicles, and many employ executive protection teams to provide security for themselves, their families and their homes. Additionally, heavily armed criminal gangs regularly commit armed robberies, muggings and express kidnappings.

The one constant in these violent crimes is guns. Mexico's robust gun culture stretches back to revolutions, counterrevolutions and revolutionary bandits such as Pancho Villa. Because of this culture, guns are common in Mexico -- despite strict gun-control laws and licensing procedures. This demand for guns has created an illicit market that not only is intimately related to the U.S. market for illegal narcotics but also, in many ways, mirrors the dynamics of that market. Drugs flow north and guns flow south -- resulting in handsome profits for those willing to run the risks.

Mexican Laws

Similar to the U.S. Constitution, the 1917 Mexican Constitution guarantees Mexico's inhabitants the right to have "arms of any kind in their possession for their protection and legitimate defense." However, the constitution includes many caveats on private citizens' ownership of guns, prohibiting those "expressly forbidden by law" and those "the nation may reserve for the exclusive use of the army, navy or national guard." Furthermore, Mexican law calls for long prison terms for violators.

Mexico, then, has some of the world's strictest gun-control laws -- making guns difficult to obtain legally. Average citizens who want to purchase guns for self-defense or recreational purposes must first get approval from the government. Then, because there are no private-sector gun stores in the country, they must buy weapons through the Defense Department's Arms and Ammunition Marketing Division (UCAM). In accordance with Mexican law, the UCAM carefully limits the calibers of guns it sells. For example, it does not sell handguns larger than a .380 or .38 Special. Also, under Mexican law, popular handguns such as .357 magnum revolvers and 9 mm pistols are exclusively reserved for the armed forces.

Regardless of these efforts, the illicit arms market has been thriving for decades -- not only because firearm laws are not evenly enforced but also because criminals have found a way to circumvent efforts to stem the flow of guns. Moreover, not all illegal guns are in the hands of cartel members and street criminals. A healthy percentage of them are purchased by affluent Mexicans who are not satisfied with the selection of calibers available through the UCAM. Sources say it is not at all unusual to find Mexicans who own prohibited .357 magnum revolvers or .45 caliber pistols for self-defense against kidnappers and armed robbers. In addition to ballistic considerations, Latin machismo is also a factor -- some Mexican men want to own and carry powerful, large-caliber pistols.

The Mechanics of the Gun Trade

This mixture of the historical Mexican gun culture, machismo, strong desire for guns, lax enforcement of gun laws, official corruption and a raging cartel war has created a high demand for illegal guns. Guns sold on the black market in Mexico can fetch as much as 300 percent of their normal market value -- a profit margin similar to that of the cocaine trafficked by the cartels. The laws of economics dictate that where there is a strong demand -- and a considerable profit margin -- entrepreneurs will devise ways to meet that demand. Of course, the illicit markets are no different from the legitimate economy in this respect, and a number of players have emerged to help supply Mexico's appetite for illicit weaponry.

Millions of Mexicans reside (legally and otherwise) in the United States, and the two countries conduct a staggering amount of commerce (legal and otherwise) across the border. In this context, then, when one considers that there are more gun stores in a typical small town in Texas than there are in all of Mexico City, it should come as no surprise that a large number of the weapons found on the illicit arms market in Mexico originated in the United States. In fact, Mexican officials say that as much as 90 percent of the illegal weapons they seize are of U.S. origin.

The most obvious players in the gun trade are the cartels themselves, which not only have the financial resources to buy guns in the United States but also are in a position to receive guns in trade for narcotics from their distribution contacts north of the border. The traditional pattern for cartel operations over the past few decades has been to smuggle drugs north over the border and return with money and guns -- many times over the same routes and by the same conveyances. In addition to the problem of the notoriously corrupt Mexican customs officials, efforts to stem the flow of guns into Mexico also have been hampered by technological limitations. For example, until recently, Mexican authorities lacked X-ray equipment to inspect vehicles entering the country, and this inspection capacity still remains limited.

The cartels also obtain weapons from contacts along their supply networks in South and Central America, where substantial quantities of military ordnance have been shipped over decades to supply insurgencies and counterinsurgencies. Explosives from domestic Mexican sources also are widely available and are generally less expensive than guns.

Aside from the cartels, other criminal syndicates are dedicated to the arms trade. These groups can range from small mom-and-pop operations involving a few individuals who obtain weapons from family members residing in the United States or Central America to large organizations with complex networks that buy dozens or hundreds of weapons at a time.

As in other criminal enterprises in Mexico, such as drug smuggling or kidnapping, it is not unusual to find police officers and military personnel involved in the illegal arms trade. On Sept. 12, three high-ranking police commanders from Baja California and Baja California Sur states were arrested by U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) agents in Phoenix for illegally purchasing weapons at a gun show. (U.S. law prohibits foreigners from buying weapons.) Over the past few years, several Mexican government officials have been arrested on both sides of the border for participating in the arms trade.

Although it is illegal for Mexican nationals to buy guns in the United States and for Americans to haul guns to Mexico, entrepreneurs have found a variety of ways to skirt such laws. Perhaps one of the least recognized ploys is plain old document fraud. Fake documents -- which are easily obtained along the border -- range in quality (and price) from poorly rendered counterfeits to genuine documents obtained with the assistance of corrupt government officials. Using such documents, a Mexican citizen can pose as a U.S. citizen and pass the required background checks to buy guns -- unless, that is, the prospective gun buyer was foolish enough to assume the identity of an American with a criminal record.

Perhaps the most common way to purchase guns is by using a "straw-man" buyer (sometimes in combination with document fraud). That is, paying a person with a clean record who has legal standing to buy the gun. This also is a tried-and-true tactic used by criminals in the United States who are ineligible to purchase guns due to prior convictions. The "straw man" in these cases often is a girlfriend or other associate who is paid to buy a gun for them. Also, with so many family relations spanning the border, it is easy for a Mexican citizen to ask an American relative to purchase a gun or guns on their behalf.

While document fraud and straw-man purchases can be used to bypass the law and fool respectable gun dealers, not all gun dealers are respectable. Some will falsify their sales records in order to sell guns to people they know are not legally permitted to have them -- especially if the guns are being sold at a premium price. ATF does conduct audits of gun dealers, but even after a steep decline in the number of federal firearms dealers over the past decade, there still are not enough inspectors to regularly audit the records of the more than 50,000 federal firearms license holders. This lack of oversight and the temptation of easy money cause some dealers to break the law knowingly.

Guns also can be obtained for the Mexican black market through theft. The cartels traditionally have tasked groups of young street thugs in the United States with stealing items (such as pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles) for the cartels to use or resell in Mexico. Now, intelligence reports suggest that these thugs have begun to rob gun stores in towns along the border. One such group is the Gulf cartel-related "Zetitas" (little Zetas), which is active in the Texas cities of Houston, Laredo and San Antonio, as well as other places.

A cartel connection is suspected when the weapons and ammunition stolen are popular with the cartels, such as assault rifles and FN Five-Seven pistols. The FN Five-Seven and the FN P-90 personal defense weapon shoot a 5.7 x 28 mm round that has been shown to penetrate body armor, as well as vehicle doors and windows. Because of this, they recently have become very popular with cartel enforcers, who have begun to call the weapons matapolicias -- police killers. Several police officials have been killed with these guns this year -- though officers also have been killed with .357 magnum revolvers, .45-caliber pistols and AK-47- or M-16-style assault rifles. Still, due to the rising popularity of the 5.7 x 28 mm weapons among cartel gunmen, many of these somewhat esoteric (and excellently manufactured) weapons are acquired in the United States and end up south of the border. Any time one of these weapons is connected to a crime on either side of the border, a cartel link should be considered.

The gun problem in Mexico is similar to the drug problem in the United States in that it is extremely difficult to reduce the supply of the illicit items without first reducing the demand. Any small reduction in the supply leads to an increase in price, which further stimulates efforts to provide a supply. Therefore, as long as the demand for such weapons persists, people will continue to find creative ways to meet that demand and make a profit. With that demand being fed, at least in part, by drug cartels that are warring for control of drug trafficking routes into the United States, the two problems of drugs and guns will continue to be deeply intertwined.

stratfor
26765  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: October 24, 2007, 12:37:12 PM
Wash Your Hands, and Don't Shave
Your Legs: Advice to Avoid Infection
By LAURA LANDRO
October 23, 2007; Page D1

As a virulent strain of antibiotic-resistant bacteria spreads beyond hospital walls, some communities are taking extreme measures such as closing schools for disinfection. But getting adults and children to pay better attention to a few simple personal-hygiene rules, and taking precautionary measures such as getting a flu shot, may be a far more effective weapon against the bugs.

New reports of deaths and infections across the country coincided with a report last week from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicating that about 94,000 people annually are infected with methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, a form of the common staph bacteria that has become resistant to penicillin and related antibiotics. While the CDC estimated that the majority of such infections occur in health-care settings, nearly 14% were so-called community-acquired, meaning that they struck otherwise healthy people who weren't in a hospital. Indeed, a number of the staph infections reported in recent weeks involved outbreaks among student athletes.

Staph bacteria frequently live on the skin and in the nose without causing any health problems, and at any time about a third of people are already "colonized." But if the bacteria enter the skin or bloodstream through a cut or lesion, or a person's immune system is weakened by flu or other causes, a staph infection can set in. Although the organism can be spread by patients who are colonized but not infected through casual contact or through contaminated objects, such spread can occur more quickly from patients with active skin infections unless the appropriate precautions are taken.

Staph infections can often be treated by simply cleaning and draining a wound. Even if the strain turns out to be MRSA, antibiotics may not be necessary, and severe cases may be treated with antibiotics such as vancomycin. But such cases can also progress to severe invasive disease and death.

CDC officials stress that the number of such infections is still relatively low, and children ages 5 to 17 years have the lowest rate of MRSA infection of any age group. The overall physical environment, moreover, hasn't played a significant role in the transmission of MRSA. Transmission occurs with direct contact with an infected person or contaminated items, such as sporting equipment or clothing. So scrubbing down locker-room walls as if they were a biohazard hot zone isn't going to protect kids as well as making sure that they keep their hands clean, cover open wounds with clean, dry bandages, and avoid sharing personal items such as towels, razors or uniforms. Says John Jernigan, an MRSA expert at the CDC: "If we can hammer that message home, we will go a long way towards preventing infections."

In team sports it is also important to exclude players who have potentially infected skin lesions if their wounds can't be covered. Other measures include washing clothes, especially uniforms and exercise gear, in hot water and laundry detergent and drying them in a hot dryer. (For more information on infection prevention techniques, check cdc.gov.)

Such common-sense measures apply to protecting yourself and your children from other kinds of infections as well. In most places where people share facilities or water, bacteria can spread. That resort hot tub may look inviting, but there is always a risk that the others sharing it don't have pristine personal hygiene; so-called recreational water illnesses can cause skin, ear, respiratory, eye, neurologic and wound infections. If you are getting a salon pedicure, don't shave your legs beforehand, because any bacteria in a salon's foot baths, including MRSA, can enter the skin or bloodstream through minor nicks. Ensure that the foot bath basin is thoroughly sanitized, and bring your own equipment, such as clippers.

 
Proper hand-washing techniques are critical, says Jason Newland, an infectious-disease expert at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., because bacteria often are transmitted when people touch their mouth or nose. The quick pass of the hands under a lukewarm or cool faucet many of us rely on won't do the trick; it is important to wash hands for at least 15 seconds in hot water and rub soap vigorously to create enough friction to rub off contaminants. If using an antibacterial gel, it is also important to create friction through rubbing -- and to make sure the gel dries completely. With flu season at hand, Dr. Newland says a flu shot is advisable because the fever and symptoms like congestion, runny nose and cough disrupt the area in the back of the throat and windpipe, allowing bacteria such as MRSA to enter the bloodstream or lungs, which could cause pneumonia.

Infectious-disease experts warn that the longer-term danger is that MRSA bacteria from the community will come back into the hospital in an even more-resistant form. Because overuse of antibiotics is the main culprit in antibiotic resistance, consumers can help by adhering to the CDC's guidelines for antibiotic use, which caution people to use the drugs only for bacterial infections, not viruses such as cold or flu. Ask health-care providers to wash their hands, and lobby local and state authorities to monitor and enforce infection control in health-care facilities.

WSJ
26766  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: October 24, 2007, 11:31:05 AM
Second post of the morning, caveat lector its the NYTimes:

News Analysis
Mistrial Is Latest Terror Prosecution Misstep for U.S.
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By ADAM LIPTAK and LESLIE EATON
Published: October 24, 2007
There was a time when federal prosecutors would consistently win terrorism prosecutions.

Skip to next paragraph
 
Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times
Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, the blind cleric found guilty in 1995 of conspiring to wage war against the United States.

Related
U.S. Prosecution of Muslim Group Ends in Mistrial (October 23, 2007) From 1993 to 2001, prosecutors in Manhattan convicted some three dozen terrorists through guilty pleas and in six major trials.

Since the Sept. 11 attacks, the governments track record has been decidedly spottier, and its failure to obtain a single conviction on Monday in its terrorism-financing prosecution of what was once the nations largest Islamic charity was another in a series of missteps and setbacks.

The comparisons are in some ways unfair, as the earlier prosecutions were for completed acts of violence like the first World Trade Center attack or the 1998 bombings of American embassies in Africa or for conspiracies that were relatively close to fruition.

The recent ones have often relied on the less colorful charge that the defendants had given material support to a terrorist organization. That shift is itself reflective of a conscious change in Washingtons law enforcement strategy, to prevention from punishment.

But some scholars and former prosecutors say the government should have known better than to bring some of its recent failed cases and that a lack of selectivity and judgment, along with a reliance on stale evidence and links to groups not at the core of the current threat, may be harming the effort to combat terrorism.

The pre-9/11 cases brought in Manhattan, said Peter S. Margulies, a law professor at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island, reflected U.S. attorneys and federal prosecutors at their best, using their discretion, bringing cases when they had strong cases and declining to bring them when they were weak.

How successful the more recent prosecutions have been depends on what is being counted. In cases trying to prove material support for terrorism, the governments success rate is pretty reasonable, said Robert M. Chesney, a law professor at Wake Forest University.

From the Sept. 11 attacks to last July, the government started 108 material-support prosecutions and completed 62, according to an article by Professor Chesney that is to appear in The Lewis & Clark Law Review. Juries convicted 9 defendants, 30 defendants pleaded guilty, and 11 pleaded guilty to other charges. There were eight acquittals and four dismissals.

They do lose sometimes, Professor Chesney said. But they win more often than they lose. Its not one loss after another.

Material-support cases are just a small fraction of what the Justice Department counts as terrorism prosecutions, and in the larger picture the government is not doing nearly as well. According to the Center on Law and Security at the New York University School of Law, the government has a 29 percent conviction rate in terrorism prosecutions overall, compared with 92 percent for felonies generally.

In the trial that ended on Monday with a mix of acquittals and deadlocks, the Holy Land Foundation and several of its officials were charged with giving money to Hamas, the militant Palestinian organization designated a terrorist group by the United States in 1995. The Federal Bureau of Investigation started looking into Holy Land in 1993.

Legal experts said it could be hard to prosecute cases in which some of the evidence was quite old. Indeed, much of the evidence had been available to prosecutors in the Clinton Justice Department, and the material support law was enacted in 1996. But those prosecutors did not pursue the matter.

There are some of these cases that we did not push certainly aggressively, sometimes not at all because we were in a different mindset before 9/11, said Andrew C. McCarthy, who led the 1995 prosecution of Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, the blind cleric convicted of conspiring to wage war against the United States.

William Neal, a juror in the Holy Land case, complained that the governments evidence was pieced together over the course of a decade a phone call this year, a message another year.

Instead of trying to prove that the defendants knew they were supporting terrorists, Mr. Neal said, prosecutors danced around the wire transfers by showing us videos of little kids in bomb belts and people singing about Hamas, things that didnt directly relate to the case.

Mr. McCarthy said he did not envy the Holy Land prosecutors. Its very hard, he said, even if your evidence is not ambiguous, to sell to a jury that they need to do something that you failed to do something about for years.

The case was, moreover, about support for Hamas, which jurors are not likely to think poses the sort of direct threat to American security that groups like Al Qaeda do, Mr. McCarthy said.

Civil liberties groups said the Holy Land case was one in a line of misguided prosecutions. They pointed to the collapse of a case against men once accused of being part of a terrorism sleeper cell in Detroit, to the combination of acquittals and deadlocks in the trials of a Saudi student in Idaho and a Palestinian professor in Florida and to the convictions of two men on relatively minor charges in February after a three-month terrorism trial.

You would think that juries would be eager to convict given the way these guys were painted, said Jules Lobel, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh and an author, with David Cole, of Less Safe, Less Free: Why America Is Losing the War on Terror.

Juries are demanding strict proof these days, said Thomas M. Melsheimer, a former federal prosecutor.

The Holy Land case, which prosecutors have promised to retry, is a particularly curious one, as the government had long ago put the group out of business, said Matthew D. Orwig, a lawyer in Dallas who was until recently United States attorney for the Eastern District of Texas.

I think the government won when it froze the assets and shut down the organization, Mr. Orwig said. Then it piled a loss on top of a win because it lost the prosecution, in an arguably superfluous action.

Leslie Eaton reported from Dallas.

26767  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Military Science on: October 24, 2007, 10:45:54 AM
CHINA, ISRAEL, RUSSIA: China will sell Iran 24 J-10 fighters that are based on Israeli technology, RIA Novosti reported Oct. 23. The aircraft have Russian-made engines and are based on components and technology Israel gave China after the cancellation of the Lavi project in the mid-1980s. The total cost of the planes, which are expected to be delivered between 2008 and 2010, is an estimated $1 billion.
========

Geopolitical Diary: The Russo-Japanese NMD Dispute

For several months, the Russian government has focused its propaganda machine on combating U.S. efforts to develop an anti-ballistic missile network around the Russian periphery. Moscow views such systems at their core as an effort by Washington to nullify the Russian nuclear deterrent and therefore to sweep Russia to the very edge of strategic relevance.

In the past few days, however, Russia's attention has come to rest on Japan -- the state that is most consistent in its effort to participate in national missile defense (NMD) -- and on Tuesday, the Japanese government flatly, officially and firmly rebuffed Russian calls to abandon the system. The core Russian concern is that the system ultimately will be fine-tuned and expanded so that it can hedge in Moscow -- something that may well be lurking about in the depths of U.S. strategic planning. But Japan wants NMD for its own reasons.

While Japan's imperial past gives the country some influence throughout East Asia, it mostly has earned Japan enmity. Particularly vitriolic is the contempt in which Japan is held by the Koreans -- who resent Japanese cultural influence, economic domination and attempts to forcibly redefine Korean identity during the Japanese occupation. North Korea launched a ballistic missile over Japan in 1998 in a show of force, and in 2006, Pyongyang tested a nuclear device. Marry those two technologies and Japan clearly has a pressing need for NMD -- and this is even before the economic might of South Korea is combined with North Korean military technology in a reunification that is crawling ever closer.

China, of course, offers a more direct and immediate challenge. As big as Asia is, it probably does not have room for both a land-based and a sea-based regional superpower. Japan's technological edge combined with China's existing nuclear arsenal leaves Japan pushing for NMD, no matter what the Russians do.

But even without the more pressing concern of Asia pushing Japan toward NMD cooperation with the United States, Russia is on Tokyo's radar. The two hardly have a friendly history: Japan has served as Washington's proxy in East Asia, blocking Soviet access to the Pacific. Russia still has not reached a peace accord with Japan -- for World War II. And before that, Japan defeated Moscow in the 1904-1905 Russo-Japanese War, becoming the only Asian state to defeat a European power and inflicting the geopolitical equivalent of a root canal.

The Kremlin is attempting to put pins in a number of potential conflicts in order to focus on its own immediate concerns. But so far as Japan is concerned, Russia remains firmly on the "future trouble" list.

Situation Reports


stratfor.com
26768  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Our Founding Fathers: on: October 24, 2007, 10:44:54 AM
It should be your care, therefore, and mine, to elevate the minds of our children and exalt their courage; to accelerate and animate their industry and activity; to excite in them an habitual contempt of meanness, abhorrence of injustice and inhumanity, and an ambition to excel in every capacity, faculty, and virtue. John Adams

"The right of freely examining public characters and measures, and
of free communication among the people thereon . . . has ever been
justly deemed the only effectual guardian of every other right."

-- James Madison (Virginia Resolutions, 24 December 1798)

Reference: Documents of American History, Commager, vol. 1 (182)
26769  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Cuba on: October 24, 2007, 09:21:53 AM
Bush Touting Cuban Life After Castro

By BEN FELLER 38 minutes ago

WASHINGTON (AP) President Bush, ever pushing for a Cuba without Fidel Castro, wants allies around the world to offer money and political support so the island can be ready to transform itself.
It is Bush's vision for Cuban regime change: providing help on the outside, prodding change on the inside.

Seizing on Castro's fading health as a rare opening, Bush was to ask other nations Wednesday to help Cuba become a free society.
In remarks prepared for delivery at the State Department his first standalone address on Cuba in four years Bush looks to the day when Castro is gone. Bush describes a nation in which Cuban people choose a representative government and enjoy basic freedoms, with support from a broad international coalition.

For now, though, Castro is still the island's unchallenged leader, as he has been for almost 50 years. And he remains a nemesis to Bush, whom he accuses of being obsessed with Cuba and of threatening humanity with nuclear war. At the age of 81, Castro is ailing and rarely seen in public. But life has changed little on the island under the authority of his brother, 76-year-old Raul Castro, who has been his elder brother's hand-picked successor for decades.

Bush was expected to tout peaceful, pro-democracy movements in Cuba and call on other countries to get behind them. In a direct appeal to ordinary citizens in Cuba, he was to tell them they have the power to change their country, but the White House says that is not meant to be a call for armed rebellion.

Bush proposes at least three initiatives: the creation of an international "freedom fund" to help Cuba's potential rebuilding of its country one day; a U.S. licensing of private groups to provide Internet access to Cuban students, and an invitation to Cuban youth to join a scholarship program.

The latter two offerings help the Bush administration underscore the kind of real-life limitations that Cubans now face, from blocked Internet access to restricted information about their leaders to denial of legal protections. The creation of the international fund is meant to speed up societal transformation.

"We all know that Cuba is going to face very significant requirements to rebuild itself," said a senior administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid pre-empting the president. "There's a whole set of challenges that Cuba is going to face. The United States will clearly want to help the Cubans as they define what it is they need, but we think the international community should be thinking that way as well."

Washington's decades-old economic embargo on Cuba prohibits U.S. tourists from visiting the island and chokes off nearly all trade between both countries. Bush will ask Congress to maintain the embargo, which has come under scrutiny and calls for reassessment from some lawmakers.

Cuba staged municipal elections on Sunday, the first step in a process that will determine whether Fidel Castro is re-elected or replaced next year. The Communist Party is the only one allowed, and while candidates do not have to be members, critics claim they are the only ones who ever win.

Bush, increasingly, is speaking of a Castro-free Cuba. As he put it earlier this month: "In Havana, the long rule of a cruel dictator is nearing an end."
__________________
26770  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Surveillance Law on: October 24, 2007, 09:14:48 AM
The Surveillance Law That Matters
The president is bound by the Constitution, not the whims of Congress.
WSJ
BY ROBERT F. TURNER
Wednesday, October 24, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

I have never met Judge Michael Mukasey, and I have no strong feelings on who should be our next attorney general. But after four decades studying and writing about national security aspects of our Constitution, I believe Congress and the American people must understand that some of the issues raised in Mr. Mukasey's confirmation hearings are far more complex than they may initially appear.

Take, for example, Sen. Pat Leahy's question to Mr. Mukasey about whether the president has the power to violate the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). I know that statute well, having worked in the Senate when it was enacted in 1978, and later serving as the senior White House lawyer under President Reagan charged with overseeing the implementation of FISA and other intelligence laws.

The real issue here is not whether the president is "above the law," but rather which "law" he must see "faithfully executed" when there is a conflict between the Constitution and an inconsistent statute. His highest duty, I submit, is to the Constitution itself.

In 1803, Chief Justice John Marshall declared in Marbury v. Madison: "an act of the legislature repugnant to the Constitution is void." From the earliest days of our history until FISA was enacted, it was understood by all three branches that the Constitution had left the president (to quote Federalist No. 64) "able to manage the business of intelligence as prudence might suggest."

When Congress passed the first wiretap statute in 1968, it expressly declared that nothing in it would limit "the Constitutional power of the President" to collect foreign-intelligence information. Every administration from FDR to (and including) Jimmy Carter engaged in warrantless foreign-intelligence wiretapping in the belief that this was one of the "exceptions" to the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement. Others include border searches and searches of commercial airline passengers and their luggage (not to mention the requirement, imposed by Congress, that citizens entering a congressional office building to exercise their constitutional right to petition their government for redress of grievances must submit to a warrantless search absent the slightest probable cause).

In 1978, Carter administration Attorney General Griffin Bell told the Senate that FISA "does not take away the power of the President under the Constitution"; but he explained that the statute could nevertheless work because President Carter was "agreeing to follow the statutory procedure." That was Mr. Carter's prerogative as it is President Bush's--but neither they nor Congress may take away the constitutional power of future presidents.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review (composed of federal appeals court judges) noted, in a unanimous 2002 opinion, that every federal court to decide the issue held the president has constitutional power to authorize warrantless foreign-intelligence electronic surveillance. The opinion added: "FISA could not encroach on the President's constitutional power."





The Supreme Court has had at least six opportunities to limit presidential power in this area. In the 1967 Katz case that first required a warrant for wiretaps, the Court expressly exempted "national security" wiretaps from its holding. When it required a warrant for national security wiretaps of purely domestic targets in 1972, it exempted electronic surveillance of the "activities of foreign powers and their agents" in this country. On four other occasions it declined to hear cases on appeal where it had the opportunity to impose a warrant requirement on foreign-intelligence electronic surveillance.
Much contemporary debate over presidential claims of power to ignore "laws" fails to appreciate the modern congressional practice of enacting flagrantly unconstitutional statutes. This helps explain the increased use of presidential "signing statements" in recent decades. On June 11, 1976, Sen. Robert P. Griffin (R., Mich.) inserted a lengthy statement I'd drafted into the Congressional Record explaining why "legislative vetoes" of executive agency actions were unconstitutional. Seven years later, the Supreme Court echoed those arguments in reaching the same conclusion in the Chadha case. The congressional response? It has since enacted more than 500 new unconstitutional legislative vetoes.

Mr. Mukasey rightly promised to resign rather than violate his oath of office if the "president proposed to undertake a course of conduct that was in violation of the Constitution" and could not be dissuaded. For precisely the same reason, he was also right to refuse to be bound by unconstitutional acts of Congress like FISA that usurp presidential power. Any senator who elects to vote against him because of this issue has a duty to explain to the American people by what theory an unconstitutional statute has suddenly taken on a superior position to the Constitution itself.

Mr. Turner holds both professional and academic doctorates from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he cofounded the Center for National Security Law in 1981. He is a former three-term chairman of the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Law and National Security.

26771  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / NK nuke facility in Syria? on: October 24, 2007, 08:51:18 AM
1144 GMT -- SYRIA -- A U.S. research group that tracks nuclear weapons and stockpiles has satellite imagery of what the experts believe to be a Syrian nuclear site targeted in a Sept. 6 Israeli airstrike, The Washington Post reported Oct. 24. The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) said the photographs taken before the strike show buildings under construction similar in design to a North Korean reactor. They also show what could have been a pumping station used to supply cooling water for a reactor, the Post reported, citing experts David Albright and Paul Brannan of ISIS.

stratfor.com
26772  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Home Security Issues on: October 23, 2007, 07:55:27 PM
This thread is for discussion of matters pertaining to keeping our homes safe. 

Kicking it off with a most-certainly-not-for-homes-with-children caution, here's this:

http://www.the-backup.com/buy/commercial.php
26773  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: More or less technical? on: October 23, 2007, 07:48:38 PM
"So.... How do you enter? How do you keep your power contained and your feet underneath you?"

EXACTLY SO Maija.

In the context of DBMA, this material is taught using our footwork matrix, "The 7 Ranges and Triangle from the Third Dimension" theory.  Given our roots, our material has more emphasis on stick than blade.

What can you tell us about how Corto Cadena goes about it?
26774  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Russia on: October 23, 2007, 07:40:54 PM
Russia: Stepping into the Ukrainian-Tatar Energy Scuffle
Summary
The battle between Ukraine and Tatarstan over some important energy assets has put Russia in the peculiar position of having to choose which of the two strategic regions it is more interested in controlling.

Analysis

Ukraine and the government of Russia's Tatarstan region have been battling for control of an unusual company called UkrTatNafta for more than a year. The company, created in 1994, controls Ukraine's largest refinery -- Kremenchug -- and accounts for one-third of Ukraine's oil production. Ownership of the company is split; Ukrainian state energy company Naftogaz Ukrainy holds 43 percent, Tatarstan holds 38 percent and a handful of small companies have miniscule shares.

Kiev's -- and Moscow's -- problem was that the Tatars controlled UkrTatNafta's operations. Tatarstan is Russia's largest autonomous region, with a population of 1 million Muslim Tatars. It also is fiercely independent and oil-rich. The region is somewhat contained because the Kremlin leaves it alone and it is geographically surrounded by Russia proper. But Russia loathes Tatarstan's receiving funds from projects outside Russia.

In May, Ukraine's then-prime minister, Viktor Yanukovich, attempted to usurp the Tatar government's influence and placed Naftogaz Ukrainy's 43 percent of UkrTatNafta directly under the premiership's control. Afterward, he banned all Ukrainian administrators from meetings and began "reorganizing" UkrTatNafta to favor the pro-Russian premier and his faction's interests. He named a Russian, Vladimir Fedotov, as UkrTatNafta's director. Naturally, Yanukovich's moves incensed the Tatar shareholders, who have also faced fraud cases that started popping up in recent months.

But things have changed in Ukraine; Yanukovich and his faction lost the Sept. 30 elections and the pro-Western Orange Coalition returned to power -- and control over UkrTatNafta now is up in the air. It is not known whether ownership of the crucial company falls to the outgoing Yanukovich, the incoming premier Yulia Timoshenko or the original consortium of Naftogaz Ukrainy and Tatarstan. Moreover, on Oct. 19, armed men seized the refinery -- though it is unclear whether they belong to Timoshenko or Yanukovich.

What is clear is that Yanukovich's changes mean that the office of Ukraine's prime minister will have the most say, and the anti-Russian Timoshenko will almost certainly hold that office.

Though this seems like a mere property squabble, it has put Russia in a unique position. Russia has geopolitically significant interest in making sure that neither Tatarstan nor Ukraine under Timoshenko holds UkrTatNafta and its assets.

Yanukovich's moves against Tatarstan most likely were spurred by the Russians, who have a strategic interest in denying Tatarstan access to money -- especially from energy -- from outside Russia. Moscow planned on preventing the situation by using the pro-Russian Ukrainian government to usurp control of UkrTatNafta.

However, Russia now has a strategic interest in not allowing Ukraine's pro-Western Orange Coalition to control large energy assets that also give Ukraine more independence from Russian energy.

In the midst of Russia's internal consolidation and international resurgence, it must choose whether to aid Ukraine or Tatarstan in the squabble. Moscow will have to choose between allowing one of its most self-determining regions (and a Muslim one at that) access to funds from outside Russia and allowing its most vital periphery states access to further energy independence.

stratfor
26775  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Holland, Belgium on: October 23, 2007, 03:20:05 PM
Europes no-go zones or SUAs (sensitive urban areas) are multiplying. These are areas where the police no longer dares to venture and where Islamists hold sway. Every night since the beginning of last week, immigrant youths have been torching cars and clashing with police in Amsterdams Slotervaart district. The incidents started on Oct. 14 when a policewoman shot dead Bilal Bajaka, a 22-year old ethnic Moroccan, whilst he was stabbing her and a colleague with a knife. The officers were stabbed in the breast, face, neck and back. Surgeons could only narrowly save their lives.
Since the incident, Slotervaart has seen rioting almost every night. The Amsterdam Moroccans are shocked because one of them has been killed by an infidel woman. According to his family, Bilal Bajaka was mentally deranged and had a suicide obsession. Ahmed Marcouch, the Moroccan-born Socialist mayor of Slotervaart, criticized the Dutch authorities for failing to provide adequate health care for Bajakas mental problems.
Bilal Bajaka was, however, a personal friend of Mohammed Bouyeri, the Jihadist who ritually slaughtered the Dutch film maker Theo van Gogh in 2004. Bilals attack on the two police officers came exactly two years after the arrest of his brother, Abdullah Bajaka, the leader of an alleged plot to blow up an El-Al Boeing at Amsterdam airport. Bilals family background is not at all deprived. One of his sisters is a medical doctor, another sister is a Dutch judge.
For ten days now, the situation in Amsterdams immigrant neighbourhoods has been tense. Senior police officers compare the current situation in Amsterdam to the 2005 Ramadan riots in Paris. Media outside the Netherlands, however, hardly mention the riots, which aim to drive the police from Slotervaart and turn the neighborhood into a new no-go area yet another pocket of Eurabia on Europes soil.
Similar events are currently taking place in Brussels, the capital of neighbouring Belgium and of the EU. Last Sunday, demonstrating Turkish youths ransacked an Armenian restaurant in the Sint-Joost-ten-Node borough. According to the owner the police was present at the scene but did not interfere while his establishment was being demolished. The Armenian had to flee for his life.
Another man who had to run for his life was the Belgian journalist Mehmet Koksal, an ethnic Turk. He was attacked around 11 pm on Sunday evening by a group of some twenty Turkish youths in front of the American embassy in Brussels, a few yards from the Belgian parliament building. The Parliament and the US Embassy are less than one kilometer from Sint-Joost-ten-Node. Koksal fled to a nearby police car, but a female police officer refused to let him into the car, whereupon the youths savagely beat him up. Fearing that they were about to lynch him, the police officer changed her attitude and allowed the journalist to seek refuge in the police car.
Koksal told the press today that he is not going to press charges against the police for failing to help him. The police woman was more afraid than I was and ultimately the police came to my rescue, he said.

http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/2584

26776  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mil-blogs: Michael Yon and others (support our troops) on: October 23, 2007, 02:37:26 PM
http://www.michaelyon-online.com/wp/resistance-is-futile.htm

As always, a fine piece of work from MY. 

Here is his accompanying email:

It is clear that Iraq is turning a corner.  Not only are Sunni and Shia talking here in Baghdad, but the fighting definitely is abating.  I'll be out in Sunni and Shia neighborhoods all day Tuesday and Wednesday.  Petraeus' ideas are starting to work.

 I've been watching for days as LTC Patrick Frank pulls neighborhoods together here in the Rashid district of Baghdad.  We've been swamped going to reconciliation meetings. ( Spent hours in meetings today. )  LTC Frank is one of many battalion commanders I have seen who are winning in their zones.  A Washington Post writer was here for several days  and his observations were similar.
Again, I suggest to media to get in touch with Infantry battalion commanders around Iraq.  They are the sweet-spot on the ups and downs in Iraq.   

 I am working with the National Newspaper Association to get the increasingly good news about Iraq to a wider audience. This is described in the latest dispatch, Resistance is Futile. With reader support, this effort can get current news from the ground in Iraq in to 2700 daily and weekly newspapers in the US. 
 
Michael
Baghdad
26777  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Crime and Punishment on: October 23, 2007, 02:11:32 PM
Attacker of elderly man sentenced 
 
Mr Chaudhry walks with the aid of two walking sticks
A man who left a 96-year-old war veteran blind in one eye after attacking him on a packed tram has been given a three-year supervision order. Stephen Gordon, 44, launched his unprovoked attack on Shah Chaudhry in Croydon, south London, in December. Gordon, from Croydon, was found guilty of grievous bodily harm after the attack was caught on CCTV, Croydon Crown Court heard. The British Transport Police said they were "disappointed" with the sentence.

Walking sticks

"The blow to the victim's head caused serious injury, which has resulted in the victim losing sight in one eye," said Det Sgt Darren Stenning.

"And unfortunately since this assault, the victim's health has deteriorated and he now resides in a care home."

The attack took place on a tram travelling between Sandilands and East Croydon on December 14 last year. Gordon had tried to push past the victim, who was standing in the aisle leaning on his walking sticks. As he squeezed under the pensioner's arms his hat was knocked off and he swore at the man and punched him in the face. Police said two school children who were on the tram chased Gordon. They later gave evidence against him.
 
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/1/hi/england/london/7056325.stm
26778  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Our Founding Fathers: on: October 23, 2007, 01:57:10 PM
A Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever. John Adams

-----------------

"The members of the legislative department...are numerous.
They are distributed and dwell among the people at large.
Their connections of blood, of friendship, and of acquaintance
embrace a great proportion of the most influential part of the
society...they are more immediately the confidential guardians
of their rights and liberties."

-- James Madison (Federalist No. 50, 5 February 1788)

Reference: Madison, Federalist No. 50 (316)
--------------------

Arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of liberty abused to licentiousness. George Washington

---------------------

"f you speak of solid information and sound judgement, Colonel
Washington is, unquestionably the greatest man on that floor."

-- Patrick Henry (on George Washington, October 1775)

Reference: The Life and Character of Patrick Henry, Writ (132)
26779  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: November 18, 2007 Dog Bros Gathering of the Pack on: October 23, 2007, 01:48:38 PM
Fighters:

PLEASE GET YOUR REGISTRATION FORMS IN!!!

Crafty Dog
26780  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Sleep on: October 23, 2007, 01:09:26 PM
 CARL ZIMMER
Published: October 23, 2007
Last month, a bird known as a bar-tailed godwit took flight from Alaska and headed south. A day later, it was still flapping its way over the Pacific. An airplane pilot would have a hard time staying awake after 24 hours of flight (the Federal Aviation Administration allows pilots to fly just eight hours in a row). But the godwit kept flying for an additional week. After eight days and 7,200 miles, it landed in New Zealand, setting a record for nonstop flight.

If they spend so many hours flying, said Ruth M. Benca of the University of Wisconsin, where do they find the time to sleep?

Bird sleep is so mysterious that scientists are considering several answers, all intriguing. The godwit may have managed to stay awake for the entire journey. Or it may have been able to sleep while flying. Or, as Dr. Benca and other scientists suspect, its brain may have been in a bizarre state of semilimbo that they do not understand.

Bird brains produce patterns of electrical activity that look strikingly like human brains during sleep, a remarkable similarity considering that birds and their brains have been on a separate evolutionary course from mammals for 300 million years. But similarities reach just so far.

The amount of sleep birds need can change drastically through the year. Birds may be able to put parts of their brains to sleep while keeping others awake. They may be able to adjust sleep in the course of minutes, even seconds. By figuring out the mysteries of bird sleep, scientists hope to understand some universal rules of sleep.

Like humans, birds typically get some sleep every day. A pigeon usually sleeps through the night, for example, and has a few naps during the day. Why birds and mammals should sleep so much has long puzzled scientists. Some researchers have even argued that sleep is something that animals do when they have nothing else on their agendas.

Many sleep experts disagree. Something about sleep is essential to human well-being. It is possible that certain types of sleep are particularly important. In the course of a nights sleep, humans pass through distinct stages. In one stage, the eyes move rapidly behind closed lids while the brain produces electrical signals with a pattern much like that of a waking brain. It is during this so-called REM sleep that people experience dreams.

In other parts of sleep, however, many neurons produce electric signals with a nearly identical rhythm. The neurons also fire more slowly than in REM sleep, from 40 to 400 times a second. This dream-free sleep is so deep that it is hard to rouse people from it.

Several experiments suggest that slow-wave sleep, in particular, has a crucial role in human well-being. As neurons fire in synchrony, their connections change, consolidating the memories formed in the previous day. One sign of the importance of slow-wave sleep is that if people do not have enough of it, they catch up when they can, producing stronger waves.

If you pull an all-nighter, Dr. Benca said, the next night your slow waves will be much larger.

Other mammals experience REM sleep and slow-wave sleep, as well, indicating that humanlike sleep patterns existed early in the history of mammals. But beyond mammals, scientists have had a hard time finding humanlike sleep patterns. So far, they have been seen just in birds. The fact that the closest relatives of birds, like alligators and turtles, do not have our kind of REM sleep and slow-wave sleep suggests that birds, or their dinosaur ancestors, evolved humanlike sleep independently.

This parallel evolution has given scientists the opportunity to test the hypothesis that slow-wave sleep is essential. If slow-wave sleep is a fundamental building block of sleep, then it should be true in birds as well as in mammals, Dr. Benca said.

Niels Rattenborg of the Max Planck Institute of Ornithology in Germany tested this hypothesis by depriving pigeons of some slow-wave sleep. We kept pigeons from taking their daytime naps, he said. All we did was tap their cage or move the cage floor or give them things to play with for eight hours before we turned the lights off.
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After the lights went dark, the pigeons had slow waves 27 percent stronger than on undisturbed nights. What we found was that they actually showed response very much like that observed in mammals, Dr. Rattenborg said. Theres something in common in being a bird and being a mammal that results in sleeping this way.

Asleep but Active Dr. Rattenborg contends that birds and mammals have similar kinds of sleep because birds and mammals have much larger and more complex brains for their size than other vertebrates. In mammals, much of that expansion occurred in the front of the brain, in the neocortex. The neocortex endows mammals with sophisticated, flexible learning and decision making.

Only in recent years have scientists realized that birds have a brain region similar to the mammal neocortex. Known as the pallium, it arises from the same population of embryonic cells that produces the neocortex in mammals.

The pallium is made up of clumps of neurons, while the neocortex is organized in layers. Despite the differences, the pallium also lets birds carry out many impressive mental tasks. Some birds can remember thousands of locations where they hide food. Others fashion tools like sticks, to obtain food. Others can learn many bird songs. Pigeons can learn how to distinguish between Cubist and Impressionist paintings.

Dr. Rattenborg proposes that big, powerful brains need the same kind of slow-wave sleep to work properly, whether those brains are in birds or mammals.

If we didnt have birds, he said, people might say, Well a neocortex is absolutely necessary. But here we have birds doing the same thing. So clearly, its not having the neocortex thats essential.

Although the parallels between sleep in birds and humans is striking, they extend just so far. A bout of slow-wave sleep in a human may last for hours. In birds, a normal period may last a few minutes, even a few seconds. You and I cant sleep in 10-second bouts, Dr. Benca said.

Dr. Rattenborg has found that birds can also keep one side of their brain awake while the other sleeps. He suspects that the awake half can keep a lookout for predators while the other half sleeps.

Dr. Benca suspects that birds may be able to make smaller parts of their brains go to sleep or wake up.

Maybe, she said, we need to get away from thinking of sleep as something you have to do for so many minutes, and if the whole brain isnt doing something that looks like sleep, then sleep isnt happening. I think their brains are doing something else.

Part of Dr. Bencas hunch comes from her difficulty in keeping birds awake. Working with Dr. Rattenborg and other colleagues, she tried to deprive pigeons of sleep. The researchers put pigeons on a circular platform over a tank of water. When the pigeons produced slow waves for four seconds or more, the platform began to turn slowly, so that they had to walk.

In humans and other mammals, sleep deprivation eventually causes weight loss, hunger and other symptoms. It can even lead to serious illnesses. But pigeons showed none of those changes, as Dr. Benca and her colleagues will report in a paper to be published in Physiology and Behavior.

Birds have apparently evolved an ability that many humans would envy.

We could deprive the pigeons for weeks, Dr. Benca said, and they seemed to be doing fine.

26781  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Sleep on: October 23, 2007, 01:06:03 PM
By TARA PARKER-POPE
Published: October 23, 2007
A few years ago, my daughter told me about a dream involving a giant bag of Doritos. The crinkles in the package had formed a sort of ladder, and she had climbed them to reach the giant chips inside. It was such a good dream, Mom, she told me.


The Doritos dream is just one of the countless parent-child memories that I have experienced in the middle of the night. Since she was an infant, my daughter, now in the third grade, has shared my bed and my sleep. I certainly never expected to be a co-sleeping parent, but sharing a bed was simply easier when she was a baby still breast-feeding, and getting her out of the bed as she got older has been next to impossible.

In most of the world, sleeping next to your child is a necessity: families of limited means live in cramped quarters. But in the affluent West, the practice is widely frowned on, not just by grandparents and friends, but by the medical community at large.

Still, it is far more common than many people think. Nearly 13 percent of parents in the United States slept with their infants in 2000, up from 5.5 percent in 1993, according to a report last month in the journal Infant and Child Development. Countless children start the night in their own beds, only to wake up a few hours later and pad into their parents bedrooms, crawling into the bed or curling up nearby on the floor.

Ask parents if they sleep with their kids, and most will say no. But there is evidence that the prevalence of bed sharing is far greater than reported. Many parents are closet co-sleepers, fearful of disapproval if anyone finds out, notes James J. McKenna, professor of anthropology and director of the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory at the University of Notre Dame.

Theyre tired of being censured or criticized, Dr. McKenna said. Its not just that their babies are being judged negatively for not being a good baby compared to the baby who sleeps by himself, but theyre being judged badly for having these babies and being needy.

In fact, research shows that parents often talk about their childrens sleep habits in terms of where the child starts off the night or where the child is supposed to sleep not necessarily where the child usually ends up sleeping.

In a series of studies in Britain, scientists interviewed parents about their childrens sleep habits, but also used infrared cameras to monitor the parents bedroom. The children often spent part of the night in the adults bed, but in about half those cases, the parents did not reveal that unless they were specifically asked. As a result, many experts say most of the data in the United States vastly understates how common the practice really is.

One reason may be that adults feel guilty because pediatricians frown on co-sleeping. The American Academy of Pediatrics has said babies should sleep close to their parents but not in the same bed. The concern is that a sleeping parent could trap a baby in bed covers or in the space between the bed and the wall.

Although some studies suggest bed sharing puts children at higher risk for sudden infant death syndrome, the data are not conclusive. And some researchers say the risk is higher only if parents smoke, drink too much alcohol and fail to take proper precautions to make sure the bed is safe.

One common concern is whether the practice interferes with the development of healthy sleep habits. For example, studies in Italy, China, the United States and elsewhere have consistently found links between co-sleeping and frequent night wakings.

But the studies are generally based on reports from the parents themselves, and some researchers question whether such data are all that meaningful. Kathleen Dyer, an assistant professor of child, family and consumer sciences at California State University, Fresno, says this measurement bias may lead scientists to overstate the problems associated with bed sharing.

In one study, for example, 139 parents were asked about the sleep habits of their young children. Parents who slept with their children reported a much higher frequency of nighttime wakings than parents who did not.

Of course, Dr. Dyer says. When youre sleeping with your kid and he wakes up once during the night, you know about it because youre there, she said. If hes in the next room, hes still waking up at night, but you just dont see it. The more important question, she says, is whether the parents regard nighttime wakings as a problem. What the researcher thinks is a problem, she said, is often not what the family thinks is a problem.

Another fear is that bed sharing will take a heavy toll on a marriage. That is certainly likely if the parents disagree about where a child should sleep. But in cases where both parents agree on the sleeping arrangement, parents who sleep with their children are typically as happy as parents of solitary sleepers.

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In a paper last month in Infant and Child Development, Dr. Dyer proposed that co-sleeping families fall into three distinct categories. There are intentional co-sleepers those who sleep with their children because they want to breast-feed for a long stretch and believe bed sharing is good for a childs well-being and emotional development. Another group is reactive co-sleepers, those parents who dont really want to sleep with their kids, but do so because they cant get their children to sleep any other way or because financial hardship requires them to share a room with a child.


And then there is a third group that she tentatively calls circumstantial co-sleepers parents who sleep with their children occasionally because of circumstances like sharing a bed on a family vacation, during a thunderstorm or because the child is sick.

Bed sharing is most likely of greatest concern among reactive co-sleepers, Dr. Dyer says, because the practice is essentially forced on parents. In those cases, the practice is likely to be stressful for both parent and child.

I think its possible to sleep next to a baby and not be responsive to their tender needs, Dr. Dyer said. She recalled a story of a mother who was temporarily living with her in-laws and sharing a room with her child. I think she was resentful of the fact that they were crammed into this room, she went on. Where a person sleeps is not what its about. Its about the quality of the emotional relationship.

When my daughter was born, I certainly didnt want her in my bed. (I was recovering from a Caesarean section.) But the nurses insisted that I hold her in my hospital bed because her cries were disturbing the other babies. I didnt have the fortitude to let her cry it out, so with the encouragement of my pediatrician, I made my peace with the situation.

You just have one of those babies who needs to be held, he said.

It hasnt always been easy. A friend of mine correctly notes that sleeping with a child is much like sleeping inside a washing machine. But today, my daughter is far more independent about sleep, venturing to sleepovers at friends houses, staying overnight at camp and sleeping some nights in her own bed.

And while there are still many nights when she crawls into bed next to me, my pediatrician assures me its nothing to worry about.

I can tell you with certainty, he says, that one day you will wake up, and she wont be there.
26782  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Sleep on: October 23, 2007, 12:49:09 PM

By NATALIE ANGIER
Published: October 23, 2007
The patient was a 37-year-old man who had been physically abused as a boy by his schizophrenic mother, often while he lay in bed trying to fall asleep. Nevertheless, he had grown into a reasonably normal, gainfully employed adult, and he thought that the worst was behind him, until one night he awoke to find an intruder rummaging through his dresser drawers. After that, his nightmares began terrifying, recurrent dreams in which the intruder was a middle-age woman and a knife dangled with Damoclesian contempt from the ceiling fan over his head.

Skip to next paragraph
Night Life
A special issue of Science Times examines a cascade of research into the science of sleep.

Times Health Guide: Nightmares
VideoMore Video The old fear memories had not gone away, said Dr. Ross Levin, a psychologist and sleep researcher at Yeshiva University in New York. They were easily reactivated by the recent trauma, and just as readily twisted into the basis of a repetitive nightmare. Dr. Levin urged the patient to reframe the dream and rehearse alternatives to swinging blades and frozen fear, until finally the nightmares abated and the man could regain his footing.

Few of us suffer from nightmares crippling and persistent enough to demand treatment. Yet we all know how bad a nightmare feels, how it surrounds you and surges up to drown you and makes your teeth fall out in chunks and gives you leukemia and look, your 6-year-old daughter is running back and forth through traffic, and oh no, this train is headed the wrong way and its past midnight, and there you are a cowardly third-grader back on Creston Avenue in the Bronx, no, please, not the Bronx! And you scream and you thrash and you want to wake up.

By all evidence, outrageously bad dreams are a universal human experience. Sometimes the dreams are scary enough to jolt the slumberer awake, in which case they meet the formal definition of nightmares bad dreams that wake you up. At other times, they are even worse. The sleeper thinks the nightmare is over, only to step into Your Nested Nightmare, Chapter II. Whatever the particulars of the plot, researchers say, nightmares and dreadful dreams offer potentially telling clues into the larger mystery of why we dream in the first place, how our dreaming and waking lives may intersect and cross-infect each other, and, most baffling of all, how we manage to construct a virtual reality in our skull, a seemingly life-size, multidimensional, sensorily rich nocturnal roundhouse staffed with characters so persuasive you want to ... strangle them, before they can strangle you.

A big reason bad dreams offer insight into the architecture of dreams generally is that, as a host of studies have shown, most of our dreams are bad. Whether research subjects keep dream journals at home or sleep in research labs and are periodically awoken out of rapid eye movement, or REM, sleep the stage most often associated with dreaming the results are the same: about three-quarters of the emotions described are negative.

Moreover, said Robert Stickgold, a sleep researcher at the Harvard Medical School, we are ridiculously industrious dreamers, spending 60 to 70 percent of somnolence dreaming or in a dreamlike state called sleep mentation, which works out to three hours nightly spent in a state of anxiety or frustration as we show up late for tests or walk barefoot over broken glass because our shoes have melted.

Even bona fide nightmares are more common than most of us realize. Ask people to recall spontaneously how many nightmares they had in the last year, and they might say one or two, said Mark Blagrove, a dream researcher at the University of Wales in Swansea. Ask them to keep a dream diary, and they will report nightmares once or twice a month.

Survey and diary studies have shown that nightmare frequency varies by age and sex. Preschoolers are relatively immune to the bogeyman fetish, but not so their elder siblings. Roughly 25 percent of children ages 5 to 12 report being awakened by bad dreams at least once a week.

Nightmare rates climb through adolescence, peak in young adulthood, and then, like so much else in life, begin to drop. The average 55-year-old has one-third the number of nightmares as the average 25-year-old. At nearly every age, girls and women report having significantly more nightmares than do boys and men, a fact that some researchers say may be related to womens comparatively higher rates of anxiety and mood disorders.

Nightmare content also shifts over time and across cultures. A young man in 21st-century America might not mind the occasional bawdy dream, but for St. Augustine, the fourth-century Christian philosopher, sexual dreams were nightmares, said Kelly Bulkeley, a dream researcher and visiting scholar at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, Calif. He considered them threats to his faith.

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Cultural specifics can also tweak universal themes. Dr. Bulkeley and his colleagues have found that nightmares about falling through the air are common among women in Arab nations, perhaps for metaphorical reasons. Theres such a premium in these countries on women remaining chaste, and the dangers of becoming a fallen woman are so intense, he said, that the naturally high baseline of falling dreams is amped up even more.

Using brain imaging devices that are noisy and uncomfortable and less than conducive to a good nights sleep, scientists have nonetheless begun identifying which regions of the brain are active during sleep and which are largely off-line. The brain proceeds through four stages of sleep at night, each characterized by its own pattern of brainwaves and neurochemical activity. REM sleep, when the eyes are flitting behind closed lids, is rightly renowned as the dreaming stage, with at least 90 percent of it spent dreaming. But dreams occur in parts of non-REM sleep, as well.

When slipping into REM sleep, Dr. Levin said, the whole brain changes. Neurochemically, its like the Fourth of July, as cortical precincts shift colors in scanning images to indicate arousal or quiescence, he said, adding, The limbic system becomes incredibly active, much more so than when youre awake, which is why youre emotionally on edge in dreams.

Blazing with particularly patriotic fervor in the limbic system are the amygdala and anterior cingulate cortex, constituting what Steven H. Woodward, a psychologist at the V.A. hospital in Menlo Park, Calif., terms the brains axis of fear. At the same time, the prefrontal cortex, seat of rational thought and critical reasoning, is on lunch break, Dr. Levin said, which is why you can have a dream where something has 4 heads and 12 legs, and you think, No problem, whats next?

Also relatively tranquilized is the primary visual cortex, recipient of visual signals from the outside world. The secondary visual cortex, however, which helps process and interpret those signals, remains alert. It is here that the fabulous imagery of dreams probably arises, said Tore Nielsen of the University of Montreal, as the secondary visual cortex strives to decipher the signals ricocheting through it, many of them internally generated, and to splice them into some approximation of a coherent whole.

Other sensory and motor systems remain active in REM, including those that would normally control the arms and legs, which is why motion figures prominently in many dreams. But if you often feel frustrated, as though you can never get to where youre going, well, you cant.

As it happens, one vigilant player in dreaming is a small region of the brainstem that paralyzes most of the body, preventing you from physically acting out your dream. People with neurogenerative diseases that disable this brainstem disabler can end up injuring themselves during extreme dream-driven actions. Most cases of sleepwalking occur in non-REM sleep, when the body is not paralyzed.

With so much of the sleeping body and brain apparently colluding to allow us to wander safely through an ominous dreamscape of extravagant characters, most sleep scientists are convinced that dreaming serves an essential, possibly evolutionarily adaptive, purpose.

In a recent paper in Psychological Bulletin, Dr. Nielsen and Dr. Levin proposed that dreaming served to create what they call fear extinction memories, the brains way of scrambling, detoxifying and finally discarding old fearful memories, the better to move on and make synaptic space for any novel threats that may show up at the door. The brain learns quickly what to be afraid of, Dr. Nielsen said. But if there isnt a check on the process, wed fear things in adulthood we feared in childhood.

Ordinary bad dreams rarely recapitulate unpleasant events from real life but instead cannibalize them for props and spare parts, and through that reinvention, Dr. Nielsen explained, the fears are defanged. A bad dream that doesnt lead to awakening is successful in dealing with intense emotion, he said. Its disturbing, but there is some kind of resolution to the extent we dont wake up.

By this scenario, nightmares, in allowing you to escape prematurely, represent a failure of the fear extinction system. Bad dreams are functional, nightmares dysfunctional, he said.

If you feel yourself falling, spread your arms out and learn how to fly.

26783  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Sleep on: October 23, 2007, 12:47:10 PM
As every sleep researcher knows, the surest way to hear complaints about sleep is to ask the elderly.

Older people complain more about their sleep; they just do, said Dr. Michael Vitiello, a sleep researcher who is a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington.

And for years, sleep scientists thought they knew what was going on: sleep starts to deteriorate in late middle age and steadily erodes from then on. It seemed so obvious that few thought to question the prevailing wisdom.

Now, though, new research is leading many to change their minds. To researchers great surprise, it turns out that sleep does not change much from age 60 on. And poor sleep, it turns out, is not because of aging itself, but mostly because of illnesses or the medications used to treat them.

The more disorders older adults have, the worse they sleep, said Sonia Ancoli-Israel, a professor of psychiatry and a sleep researcher at the University of California, San Diego. If you look at older adults who are very healthy, they rarely have sleep problems.

And new studies are indicating that poor sleep may circle back to cause poor health. At least when it comes to pain, a common cause of disrupted sleep, a restless night can make pain worse the next day. Then with worse pain, sleep may become even more difficult a vicious cycle common in people with conditions that tend to afflict the elderly, like back pain and arthritis.

The new view of sleep emerged from two parallel lines of research. The first asked what happened to sleep patterns when healthy people grew old. The second sought to uncover the relationship between sleep and pain.

To find out what happens with aging, some investigators, including Dr. Vitiello, studied older people who reported no sleep problems. They actually make up a large group nearly half of people over 65. Were these people somehow spared age-related changes in sleep?

They were not. Their sleep turned out to be different from sleep in young people: it was lighter, more often disrupted by brief awakenings, and shorter by a half hour to an hour. Dr. Vitiello reasoned that the age-related changes in sleep patterns might not be an issue in themselves. Something else was making people complain about their sleep.

Dr. Vitiello and his colleagues also asked what normally happened to sleep over the life span. It had long been known that sleep changes, but no one had systematically studied when those changes occurred or how pronounced they were in healthy people.

With analysis of 65 sleep studies, which included 3,577 healthy subjects ages 5 to 102, the investigators had their next surprise. Most of the changes in sleep patterns occurred when people were between the ages of 20 and 60. Compared with teenagers and young adults, healthy middle-aged and older people slept a half hour to an hour less each night, they woke up a bit more often during the night, and their sleep was lighter. But after age 60, there was little change in sleep, at least in people who were healthy.

And even though sleep changed during adulthood, many of the changes were subtle. Middle-aged and older people, for example, did not have more difficulty falling asleep. The only change in sleep latency, as it is called, emerged when the investigators compared latency at the two extremes, in 20- and 80-year-olds. The 80-year-olds took an average of 10 more minutes to fall asleep.

Contrary to their expectations, the investigators found no increase in daytime drowsiness in healthy older people. Nor did aging affect the time it took for people to start dreaming after they fell asleep.

Instead, the biggest change was the number of times people woke after having fallen asleep.

Healthy young adults sleep 95 percent of the night, said Dr. Donald Bliwise, a sleep researcher at Emory University. They fall asleep, he said, and dont wake up until the alarm goes off.

By age 60, healthy people are asleep 85 percent of the night. Their sleep is disrupted by brief wakeful moments typically lasting about 3 to 10 seconds. There is some aspect of sleep that isnt going to be as good as when you were 20, Dr. Bliwise said. But he added, When that crosses the threshold and becomes a significant complaint is difficult to say.

The real sleep problems, he and others say, arise when people have any of a number of conditions that make them wake up in the night, like sleep apnea, chronic pain, restless leg syndrome or urinary problems. That, of course, describes many older people.

The sheer number of challenges to maintaining solid sleep in old age is just huge, Dr. Bliwise said. You come out with the question, Well, what is normal? What should I expect?

The new frontier of what to expect, and what to do about it, involves studies of the relationship of sleep to pain. Its no surprise that pain can disrupt sleep. But what is new is that a lack of sleep can apparently increase the sensation of pain.

Michael T. Smith, the research and training director of the behavioral sleep medicine program at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, reached that conclusion with a study of healthy young people. One group slept normally for eight hours in the hospital. Another was awakened every hour by a nurse and kept up for 20 minutes. Their sleep pattern was meant to mimic the fragmented sleep of elderly people. A third group was allowed four hours of solid sleep.

Comparing the second and third groups allowed Dr. Smith to tease apart the causes of the problems that arise from fragmented sleep: were they because of the short total sleep time, or because of the disrupted nature of the sleep?

Fragmented sleep, he found, led to severe impairments the next day in pain pathways. The subjects felt pain more easily, were less able to inhibit pain, and even developed spontaneous pain, like mild backaches and headaches.

Timothy Roehrs, director of the sleep disorders research center at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, also found that healthy young people became exquisitely sensitive to pain after a night of fragmented sleep.

And getting more sleep, Dr. Roehrs found, had the opposite effect. His subjects were young healthy people who said they were chronically sleepy, just not getting enough time to sleep at night. Dr. Roehrs had them stay in bed 10 hours a night. The extra sleep, he said, reduced their sensitivity to pain to the same degree as a tablet of codeine.

Now, Dr. Smith says, he and others have markedly changed their attitude about sleep problems and aging.

Of course, he said, sleep is different in 20-year-olds and 70-year-olds. But he added, Its not normal to get a clinical sleep disorder when you get old.

26784  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Sleep on: October 23, 2007, 12:44:11 PM
This certainly could fit within the Health thread, but I'm going to give it one of its own:

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NY Times

By BENEDICT CAREY
Published: October 23, 2007
The task looks as simple as a Sesame Street exercise. Study pairs of Easter eggs on a computer screen and memorize how the computer has arranged them: the aqua egg over the rainbow one, the paisley over the coral one and there are just six eggs in all.

Most people can study these pairs for about 20 minutes and ace a test on them, even a day later. But theyre much less accurate in choosing between two eggs that have not been directly compared: Aqua trumped rainbow but does that mean it trumps paisley? Its hazy.

Its hazy, that is, until you sleep on it.

In a study published in May, researchers at Harvard and McGill Universities reported that participants who slept after playing this game scored significantly higher on a retest than those who did not sleep. While asleep they apparently figured out what they didnt while awake: the structure of the simple hierarchy that linked the pairs, paisley over aqua over rainbow, and so on.

We think whats happening during sleep is that you open the aperture of memory and are able to see this bigger picture, said the studys senior author, Matthew Walker, a neuroscientist who is now at the University of California, Berkeley. He added that many such insights occurred only when you enter this wonder-world of sleep.

Scientists have been trying to determine why people need sleep for more than 100 years. They have not learned much more than what every new parent quickly finds out: sleep loss makes you more reckless, more emotionally fragile, less able to concentrate and almost certainly more vulnerable to infection. They know, too, that some people get by on as few as three hours a night, even less, and that there are hearty souls who have stayed up for more than week without significant health problems.

Now, a small group of neuroscientists is arguing that at least one vital function of sleep is bound up with learning and memory. A cascade of new findings, in animals and humans, suggest that sleep plays a critical role in flagging and storing important memories, both intellectual and physical, and perhaps in seeing subtle connections that were invisible during waking a new way to solve a math or Easter egg problem, even an unseen pattern causing stress in a marriage.

The theory is controversial, and some scientists insist that its still far from clear whether the sleeping brain can do anything with memories that the waking brain doesnt also do, in moments of quiet contemplation.

Yet the new research underscores a vast transformation in the way scientists have come to understand the sleeping brain. Once seen as a blank screen, a metaphor for death, it has emerged as an active, purposeful machine, a secretive intelligence that comes out at night to play and to work during periods of dreaming and during the netherworld chasms known as deep sleep.

To do science you have to have an idea, and for years no one had one; they saw sleep as nothing but an annihilation of consciousness, said Dr. J. Allan Hobson, a psychiatry professor at Harvard. Now we know different, and weve got some very good ideas about whats going on.

The evidence was there all along. Infants make sucking motions when asleep, and their closed eyelids quiver, as if the eyeballs beneath had a life of their own. But it wasnt until the early 1950s, in a lab at the University of Chicago, that scientists recorded and identified what was happening.

Eugene Aserinsky, then a graduate student in physiology, reportedly was monitoring sleep and waking in his 8-year-old son, using electronic leads stuck to the boys head, connected to a brain-wave detecting machine. He had attached two leads to the boys eyelids as well, so he could tell whether his son woke up. One night he noticed percolating wave patterns that showed the boy had awoken. But he hadnt.

Dr. Aserinsky confirmed the activity in others, and in 1953 he and his adviser, Nathaniel Kleitman, published the finding in a now-famous paper in Science. They later called the odd, unconscious state rapid eye movement, or REM, sleep.

This was really the beginning of modern sleep research, though you wouldnt have known it at the time, said Dr. William Dement, then a medical student in Dr. Kleitmans lab and now a professor of psychiatry and sleep medicine at Stanford University. It took years for people to realize what we had.

Dr. Dement, infatuated with Freuds theories about dreams, quickly threw himself into the study of REM. He found that it was universal and occurred periodically through the night, alternating with other states. He gave them names: Stages 3 and 4, or deep sleep, when electrical waves roll as slow as mid-ocean swells; Stage 2, an intermediate stage between REM and deep sleep; and Stage 1, light sleep.

He also confirmed the link between REM and dreaming, and for a time hopes for sleep research and money for it soared.

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Yet Drs. Dement, Hobson and others found in their studies scant evidence to confirm that dreams were the disguised, forbidden wishes described by Freud. They found instead a tangle of apparent anxieties, fantasy and vivid, often nonsensical replays of events that showed few verifiable patterns or measurable function.

They had hit a wall, and sleep research, like its nocturnal subjects, dropped from REM excitement back into a void. You had this great excitement, basically followed by 40 years of nothing; it was just horrible, said Robert Stickgold, a cognitive neuroscientist at Harvard. Just a period of darkness.

The sun came up in 1994, in Rehovot, Israel. There, a research team led by Avi Karni found that depriving people of REM sleep undermined memory of patterns they had learned the day before, while depriving them of deep sleep did not.

This result raised more questions than it answered Were the participants simply sleepy, or stressed? Why just REM? What was the purpose of the other sleep states? but it was an invitation to researchers interested in sleep.

I called Karni immediately, and he sent me all his protocols, everything, Dr. Stickgold said.

Others called, too. The field was waking up, and now turning its focus to a long-neglected area: learning and memory.

Since then the study findings have come almost too fast to digest, and they suggest that the sleeping brain works on learned information the way a change sorter does on coins. It seems first to distill the days memories before separating them vocabulary, historical facts and dimes here; cello scales, jump shots and quarters over there. It then bundles them into readable chunks, at different times of the night. In effect, the stages of sleep seem to be specialized to handle specific types of information, the studies suggest.

On a recent Monday afternoon in Dr. Stickgolds lab at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, a postdoctoral student, Matthew Tucker, was running a study of the effect of naps on memorized words. In a neighboring room, a Boston University student was cramming on a list of 48 word-pairs; in another, a stubbly University of Massachusetts student had finished studying and was reclining for a nap, his face covered with electrode patches, like leeches sprouting antenna.

College students are always ready for nap; we have no problems there, Dr. Tucker was saying, as he moved back and forth, checking his watch, timing one students nap and the others study period.

He sat down for a moment. We are finding that if a person takes a nap that contains slow-wave sleep deep sleep that performance on declarative memory tasks, which require the memorization of fact-based information like word-pairs, is enhanced compared to a person who doesnt take a nap, Dr. Tucker said.

Previous studies of nocturnal sleep have found the same thing. Memory of learned facts, whether they are names, places, numbers or Farsi verbs, seems to benefit in part from deep sleep. Healthy sleepers usually fall into deep sleep about 20 minutes or so after head meets pillow. They might spend an hour or more in those lolling depths early in the night, and typically less time later on. When cramming on facts, in short, it may be wiser to crash early at night and arise early, than to burn the candle until 2 a.m., the research suggests.

REM sleep, the bulk of which comes later in the night, seems important for pattern recognition for learning grammar, for example, or to bird-watch, or play chess.

In one 2003 study, Sara Mednick, then at Harvard and now at the University of California, San Diego, led a team that had 73 people come into the lab at 9 a.m. and learn to discriminate between a variety of textured patterns. Some of the participants then took a nap of about an hour at 2 p.m. and the others did not.

When retested at 7 p.m. the rested group did slightly better. When tested again the next morning, after everyone had slept the night, the napping group scored much higher. The naps included both REM and deep sleep.

We think that a nap that contains both these states does about the same for memory consolidation as a nights sleep, when it comes to pattern recognition learning, Dr. Mednick said.

Not that Stage 2 is an empty corridor between destinations. In series of experiments that he began in the early 1990s, Dr. Carlyle Smith of Trent University in Canada has found a strong association between the amount of Stage 2 sleep a person gets and the improvement in learning motor tasks. Mastering a guitar, a hockey stick or a keyboard are all motor tasks.

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Musicians, among others, have sensed this for ages. A piece that frustrates the fingers during evening practice often flows in the morning. But only in recent years has the science caught up and given their instincts a practical shape.

For instance, Dr. Smith said that people typically got most of their Stage 2 sleep in the second half of the night. The implication of this is that if you are preparing for a performance, a music recital, say, or skating performance, its better to stay up late than get up really early, he said in an interview. These coaches that have athletes or other performers up at 5 oclock in the morning, I think thats just crazy.

For all these nighttime fireworks, memory researchers have yet to work out a complete picture of how all the pieces fit together. Each has a theory, but they differ: Dr. Smith focuses on Stage 2, others on deep sleep, still others on REM or a combination of REM and deep sleep. And no one knows how individual differences, between night owls and early birds, for instance, affect nighttime learning.

In addition, said Jerome Siegel, a professor of psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles, millions of people have taken drugs that suppress REM without reporting serious memory problems. I wouldnt rule out the possibility that sleep contributes to learning and memory consolidation, but the claim is that its essential, that its doing something the waking brain wont, and the research hasnt shown that, Dr. Siegel said.

Even the college all-nighter provides evidence that some consolidation occurs during waking, he said. College students know that the best way to learn stuff isnt to stay up all night because its going to impair your judgment, Dr. Siegel said, but it doesnt matter how good your judgment is if the information isnt in there. And students know from experience that a lot of it is.


One reason some neuroscientists are confident that the sleeping brain is actively working on the days streaming video of information is because they have seen it with their own eyes or heard it, at least.

In his lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Matthew Wilson has been studying rats and mice wearing what look like Carmen Miranda hats. These are ultralight implants through which researchers thread hairlike wires to record the activity of single cells deep in the brain, in the left and right hippocampus, where the days memories are recorded.

Past research has shown that the hippocampus is spatially sensitive: it seems literally to pair the firing of individual neurons with locations outside the body. These systems are thought to function in similar ways in humans and rodents.

Computers record the cells firing in real time and can broadcast it over speakers. I would listen to this background music of the brain sometime when the animals were asleep, and I started hearing this section that sounded very much like the pattern when the animals were in the maze, Dr. Wilson said in an interview. I recognized the firing pattern.

The maze route is an important memory for these animals; its about all they know. In a paper published last December, Dr. Wilson and Daoyun Ji reported that in sleeping animals they had recorded chatter in neurons in the visual center of the neocortex, followed by an apparent response in the hippocampus and not just any response, but a replay of the activity in the hippocampus that occurred during a maze task.

Dr. Wilson thinks of this as a kind of off-line conversation between the neocortex, which is involved in conscious learning during waking, and the hippocampus. What we notice is that the light goes on in the neocortex a fraction of a second before it goes on in the hippocampus, as if the cortex is asking for information, he said.

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He said that this process was probably similar to what goes on when people take a moment to reflect, without distractions, sifting through the experiences of the day, also flagging important details, replaying events. The question is not whether this is an essential process; it is, Dr. Wilson said. The question is whether there is something going on during this process that is unique to sleep.

Subimal Datta, a neuroscientist across the river at Boston University School of Medicine, thinks so. In his studies of animals, he has documented that during sleep the brain is awash in a chemical bath unlike any during waking. Levels of inhibitory transmitters increase sharply, and levels of many activating messengers drop, or shut down entirely.

Even before REM is detectable, Dr. Datta said, a small pocket of cells in the brainstem spurs a surge in glutamate an activating chemical which leads to protein synthesis and other changes that support long-term memory storage.

During waking we have a thousand things happening at once, the library is filling up, and we cant possibly process it all, Dr. Datta said. While awake the brain is also gathering lots of valuable information subconsciously, he said, without the persons ever being aware of it.

Its during sleep that we have this special condition to clear away this overload, and these REM processes then help store whats important, Dr. Datta said.

In the jargon of the field, the signal to noise ratio becomes much stronger. The neural trace of the trivia has weakened, and crucial details are replayed and reinforced.


Dreams still defy scientific measurement but they, too, have a place in the evolving theory of sleep-dependent learning.

It is likely during REM, some scientists argue, that the brain proceeds to mix, match and juggle the memory traces it has preserved, looking for hidden connections that help make sense of the world. Life experience is cut up and reordered, sifted and shuffled again. This process could account for the cockeyed, disjointed scenes that occur during dreams: the kaleidoscope of distilled experience is being turned.

It also might account for that golden gift often attributed to a nights sleep: inspiration.

To hear some people tell it, a nights sleep changed their world. It was reportedly during sleep that the Russian scientist Dmitri Mendeleevs periodic table of the elements tumbled into place. Friedrich August Kekule, a 19th-century chemist, said he worked out the chemical structure of the benzine ring an important discovery when he dreamed of a snake biting its tail. Athletes, including the golfer Jack Nicklaus, have also talked about insight coming during sleep.

Slight corrections in technique are revealed; sand traps are averted; mountains move.

It does make sense these insights come during REM, Dr. Walker said. I mean, what better time to play out all these different scenarios and solutions and ideas than in dreams, where there are no consequences?

The problem, he and others say, is how to study it. That, most neuroscientists agree, will take some very creative thinking both of the daytime and nighttime kind.
26785  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: October 23, 2007, 12:23:22 PM
Putting Superbugs on the Defensive
Hospitals Begin to Tout
Ability to Control Infection;
Mining the Available Data
By THEO FRANCIS
October 23, 2007; Page D1

Hospitals are prime breeding grounds for antibiotic-resistant "superbugs" that kill tens of thousands of Americans each year. But most people have had no way of knowing how well their hospital keeps these bacteria -- and infections in general -- under control.

 
Concern over the spread of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus has prompted renewed calls for preventive measures such as handwashing and the cleaning of facilities and schools where cases have been found.
That is starting to change. Nineteen states have adopted laws in recent years requiring hospitals to report overall infection rates publicly, with more likely to follow suit. And Thursday, nearly two dozen federal lawmakers, headed by Pennsylvania Rep. Tim Murphy, proposed legislation requiring nationwide public reporting.

So far, just four states have published some infection rates for individual hospitals, and only one state, Pennsylvania, breaks out different types of infections. But even where patients can't find state-mandated infection reports, they can increasingly get information from their local hospital about practices to prevent superbugs and other infections. Some hospitals have found a marketing opportunity in infection prevention: They are pushing overall infection rates toward zero -- and advertising it. They are trumpeting prevention efforts, such as campaigns to improve hand washing. And some are tracking patients who have been infected with superbugs such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, and monitoring them to prevent the spread.

"This is one of those cases where quality is also the best business case," says Jonathan Perlin, chief medical officer at hospital chain HCA Inc., which has enlisted staffers and visitors alike in its own campaign to keep germs away from patients.

While antibiotic-resistant infections have gotten the attention of late, hospitals have long struggled with infections of all kinds. Common bacteria including Staphylococcus aureus can infect the bloodstream, urinary tract, lungs or surgical incisions of patients whose immune systems are already compromised. Over time, some strains of these bacteria have developed powerful defenses against antibiotics, leaving them harder to kill.

Hospitals have long attempted to keep infection rates low, but the spread of resistant strains has made the fight that much more urgent in recent years. Last week, concerns came to a head with a new study showing that antibiotic-resistant infections are probably far more extensive than previously thought. The study published in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, concluded that MRSA causes 94,000 infections a year. The study estimated that MRSA, one of the biggest infection concerns in hospitals, contributes to nearly 19,000 deaths. The vast majority were linked to health care, including hospitals, nursing homes, dialysis and others.

At the same time, recent student illnesses and deaths have prompted school closings in some states. (Please see related article.) And starting next year, Medicare will no longer reimburse hospitals for some infections acquired after admission, in an effort both to encourage vigilance and to save money.

BUG OFF

 
Hospital chain HCA has taken its campaign against antibiotic-resistant infections to the public as well as its medical staff. Below, links to a handout for visitors to HCA hospitals, and a poster aimed at employees.
Handout: Stopping Infections Is In Your Hands
Poster: Stopping MRSA Is In Your HandsAmong the four states that have published infection rates, Missouri and Vermont let consumers learn the number of blood infections related to central lines -- tubes inserted into or near the heart, often to give medications or fluids -- and how that compares with state or national averages. Pennsylvania provides multiple reports on different kinds of infections, and lets consumers look up infection-related mortality, length-of-stay and cost data for several kinds of infections. A Web site from Consumers Union, www.stophospitalinfections.org, has links to reports from each state, including Florida, according to Lisa McGiffert, director of the Stop Hospital Infections Campaign.

'Ahead of the Curve'

Information from Florida is nearly two years old, and Missouri's dates to December 2006. But the information released so far is an important start, say public-health experts, since most of the hospital-infection reports mandated by the new state laws won't be available before about 2009. "Those states that have already released data are ahead of the curve," says John Jernigan, a medical epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

So far, infection reports available to the public aren't consistent enough to allow consumers to compare hospitals across state lines, and even comparing facilities within a state can be tricky. Some facilities may treat sicker patients, for example, who are more likely to become infected when exposed to MRSA or other resistant bugs.

Indeed, the data are probably too technical for most consumers, says Carlene Muto, medical director of infection control at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Still, she is a strong supporter of the reporting requirements as a way to push hospitals to improve. "Clearly, it's a good idea just to measure adverse events," she says. "You can't change what you do not measure, because you won't know that it's broken."

In areas where patients can't learn actual infection rates, they can watch for key signs that a hospital is on top of preventing both superbugs and infections generally. National studies suggest, for example, that hospital personnel don't wash their hands nearly as often as they should.

Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA has been putting up posters exhorting doctors to wash their hands, and is even distributing a card to visitors that explains the importance of hand washing when coming in contact with patients. The company says its purchases of hand-sanitizing alcohol gel -- available from dispensers throughout its hospitals -- have risen 600% since early this year. (Company officials say they didn't measure infection rates at the start of the campaign and so don't know how much infections have fallen.)

Other hospitals say they have pushed antibiotic-resistant-infection rates down sharply through a combination of techniques. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, for example, has cut MRSA infection rates in half at its main hospital since 2001 in part by screening all intensive-care patients to see if they are carrying the bug; it is now expanding use of the tests.

To reduce certain kinds of bloodstream infections, the 19-hospital system bundles sterile material needed to insert central lines and has stepped up training; central-line associated blood-infection rates have fallen by 80% since 2002, to fewer than one per thousand such procedures.

It also has taken steps to deal with the emergence of a different strain of bacteria that can cause potentially fatal diarrhea. The hospital lets nurses order tests for the bug; requires longer isolation periods for those infected with it; gives their rooms an additional cleaning with bleach; and requires physicians to get approval from an antibiotic-management team when using certain high-powered antimicrobials that could affect the body's natural defenses against the bacteria. UPMC's infection rates for the organism, Clostridium difficile, have fallen two-thirds since a spike in 2000.

Intermountain Healthcare, a Salt Lake City-based chain of 21 hospitals, keeps a database of every patient who has been infected with MRSA. Those who return to the hospital for some other reason are immediately monitored by an infection-control nurse and tested to see if they are carrying the bacteria.

"Those patients are at higher risk of potentially getting it again, and at higher risk of spreading it to other patients," says the hospital's chief medical officer, Brent Wallace. Together with a concerted campaign to improve hand-washing, the database has helped stop an increase in the number of MRSA infections at the hospital over the past year, he says.

Broader Testing

Some states are also beginning to mandate broader testing specifically for MRSA, since patients can carry the bug and spread it without showing signs of infection. Pennsylvania will soon require hospitals to test high-risk patients, including those admitted from nursing homes. In August, New Jersey and Illinois adopted legislation requiring hospitals to identify patients carrying MRSA and isolate them, among other provisions.

Don Goldmann, senior vice president of the Institute for Health Care Improvement and a Harvard Medical School pediatrics professor, says that factors beyond infection rates should play into picking a hospital. "There may be a lot of information to weigh."

On their own, some hospitals have been turning to a variety of new technologies to try to cut down on infections, particularly superbugs, ranging from antibiotic-coated catheters to work surfaces made of copper, which has antimicrobial properties, as well as software. For several years, many hospitals have also participated in federally sponsored programs to reduce surgical complications, including infections acquired in the hospital.

Write to Theo Francis at theo.francis@wsj.com
WSJ
26786  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Holy Land Foundation trial on: October 23, 2007, 12:20:07 PM
Here's the NYTimes' version:

DALLAS, Oct. 22 A federal judge declared a mistrial on Monday in what was widely seen as the governments flagship terrorism-financing case after prosecutors failed to persuade a jury to convict five leaders of a Muslim charity on any charges, or even to reach a verdict on many of the 197 counts.

Noor Elashi, daughter of one of the defendants, Ghassan Elashi, said after the trial ended that she considered him a hero.
The case, involving the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development and five of its backers, is the governments largest and most complex legal effort to shut down what it contends is American financing for terrorist organizations in the Middle East.

President Bush announced he was freezing the charitys assets in December 2001, saying that the radical Islamic group Hamas had obtained much of the money it pays for murder abroad right here in the United States.

But at the trial, the government did not accuse the foundation, which was based in a Dallas suburb, of paying directly for suicide bombings. Instead, the prosecution said, the foundation supported terrorism by sending more than $12 million to charitable groups, known as zakat committees, which build hospitals and feed the poor.

Prosecutors said the committees were controlled by Hamas and contributed to terrorism by helping Hamas spread its ideology and recruit supporters. The government relied on Israeli intelligence agents, using pseudonyms, to testify in support of this theory.

But prosecutors appeared to have made little headway in convincing the jury.

The case involved 197 counts, including providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization. It also involved years of investigation and preparation, almost two months of testimony and more than 1,000 exhibits, including documents, wiretaps, transcripts and videotapes dug up in a backyard in Virginia.

After 19 days of deliberations, the jury acquitted one of the five individual defendants on all but one charge, on which it deadlocked. A majority of the jurors also appeared ready to acquit two other defendants of most charges, and could not reach a verdict on charges against the two principal organizers and the foundation itself, which had been the largest Muslim charity in the United States until the government froze its assets in late 2001.

James T. Jacks, the first assistant United States attorney, said in court that the government would retry the case. Both prosecutors and defense lawyers have been barred from discussing the case in the press, and Chief Judge A. Joe Fish said that order continued in force.

The decision is a stunning setback for the government, theres no other way of looking at it, said Matthew D. Orwig, a partner at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal here who was, until recently, United States attorney for the Eastern District of Texas.

This is a message, a two-by-four in the middle of the forehead, said Mr. Orwig, who was appointed by President Bush and served on the United States attorney generals advisory subcommittee on terrorism and national security. If this doesnt get their attention, they are just in complete denial, he said of Justice Department officials, who he said might not have recognized how difficult such cases are to prosecute.

David D. Cole, a professor of constitutional law at Georgetown University, said the jurys verdict called into question the governments tactics in freezing the assets of charities using secret evidence that the charities cannot see, much less rebut. When, at trial, prosecutors have to put their evidence on the table, they cant convict anyone of anything, he said. It suggests the government is really pushing beyond where the law justifies them going.

And Jimmy Gurul, who was an under secretary of the Treasury when that agency froze Holy Lands assets, described the outcome as the continuation of what I now see as a trend of disappointing legal defeats in terror-financing cases. Two previous cases, in Illinois and in Florida, ended with hung juries and relatively minor plea deals, he said.

In the Holy Land case, defense lawyers told the jury that their clients did not support terrorism but were humanitarians trying to lessen suffering among impoverished Palestinians. Though their clients may have expressed support for Hamas, the defense argued, that was before the United States government designated it as a terrorist organization in 1995.

The outcome of the trial emerged during a morning of confusion for jurors and those on both sides of the case, who had been waiting to hear the verdict since the jury returned it on Oct. 18. It was sealed until Monday because Chief Judge Fish had been out of town.

In the verdict, the jury said it failed to reach a decision on any of the charges against the charity and two of its main organizers, but acquitted three defendants on almost all counts.
------------

But in a highly unusual development, when the judge polled the jurors on Monday, three members said that verdict did not represent their views. He sent them off to deliberate again; after about 40 minutes, they said they could not continue.  In the end, one defendant, Mohammed El-Mezain, was acquitted on all but one charge, involving conspiracy, on which the jury failed to reach a verdict. A mistrial was declared on that count, and on all the other counts involving the other defendants.

The exact nature of the jurors disputes, and their reasoning in the cases, remained unclear after the verdict. Chief Judge Fish barred reporters from trying to contact the jurors, although he said he would provide jurors with reporters telephone numbers if they wanted to discuss the case.

One juror said the panel had found little evidence against three defendants and was evenly split on charges against Shukri Abu Baker, the former charitys president, and Ghassan Elashi, its chairman.

I understand theres no magical mystery check with Hamas written on it, but over all the case was pretty weak, said the juror, William Neal, 33, an art director from Dallas. There really was nothing there for me, no concrete evidence. Mr. Neal said the government should not retry the case a call picked up by Holy Lands supporters, who packed the courtroom during the trial, and who carried some defendants around on their shoulders outside the courthouse chanting Praise God in Arabic.

The government spent 13 years and came back empty-handed, said Khalil Meek, who is president of the Muslim Legal Fund of America and spokesman for an alliance called Hungry for Justice. I would call that a victory an overwhelming defeat for the government.

Lawyers for some defendants said their clients were being prosecuted because of their family ties to Hamas leaders. One defendant, Mufid Abdulqader, is the half-brother of Khalid Mishal, a Hamas leader who has been designated as a terrorist by the United States government.

Another Hamas official and designated terrorist, Mousa abu Marzook, is married to a cousin of Mr. Elashi, who was sentenced last year to almost seven years in prison for having financial dealings with Mr. Marzook and for violating export laws.

Mr. Elashis daughter Noor, who was in the courtroom every day during the trial, said she considered her father a hero. He was singled out for feeding and clothing and educating the children of Palestine, she said. Giving charity to the Palestinian people has become a crime in this country.

26787  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Holy Land Foundation trial on: October 23, 2007, 12:16:24 PM
WSJ
Mistrial Hurts Bid to Thwart Funding of Extremists
By GLENN R. SIMPSON and EVAN PEREZ
October 23, 2007; Page A8

In a setback for the government's efforts to cut off fund raising for Islamic extremists, a federal judge in Dallas declared a mistrial on most charges in the largest U.S. terror-financing case.

Prosecutors are expected to retry the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development and five of its leaders after an unusual courtroom dispute when three jurors disagreed with some of the acquittals being read by a jury foreman.

U.S. District Judge A. Joe Fish sent the jurors back to resolve their differences, but after about an hour the jurors told him 11 of the 12 felt that a unanimous decision couldn't be reached on most of the charges. The jury had agreed on some acquittals. But on the others the judge declared a mistrial.

The Justice Department, citing a gag order by the judge, declined to comment. Defense lawyers said the mistrial showed the government's case is fatally flawed.

It isn't clear whether the collapse of the case will affect how the Justice Department handles other pending cases involving alleged terror actions. One such case involves the Islamic American/African Relief Agency, which, along with five of its employees, was indicted earlier this year on charges including money laundering and violating sanctions against Iraq, prior to the U.S. invasion. The Treasury Department designated the charity as a terror group.

The Holy Land foundation was one of the biggest Islamic charities in the U.S. before it was raided and shut down by the Treasury Department in December 2001. It said that it focused on disaster relief, and aiding Muslim children and families left homeless or poor by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

FBI agents and Israeli officials, however, testified in the two-month trial that Holy Land funneled millions of dollars to Hamas, which has carried out suicide bombings in Israel. The U.S. government designated Hamas a terrorist group in 1995, making financial transactions with it illegal. President Bush announced the seizure of Holy Land's assets in December 2001, calling the action "another step in the war on terrorism."

Prosecutors put on a lengthy, complex case alleging a wide-ranging conspiracy by Islamic militants stretching back to the 1980s. Charges included material support for a terrorist organization, money laundering, racketeering and tax violations.

Defense lawyers said the activists were seeking to provide humanitarian aid to their distressed brethren in Gaza and the West Bank, and emphasized the lack of any direct connection between money raised in the U.S. and suicide bombings in Israel.

The case was closely followed by other Islamic groups in the U.S. and the greater Islamic community, which says Muslims in this country have come under unfair scrutiny since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

"It seems clear that the majority of the jury agreed with many observers of the trial who believe the charges were built on fear, not facts, " said Parvez Ahmed, chairman of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "This is a stunning defeat for prosecutors and a victory for America's legal system."

Prosecutors believe they may have relied too heavily on witnesses and evidence from Israel that was discounted by the jury, and that the prosecution was unnecessarily complex when the laws are written broadly enough to present various acts as clear and simple violations, according to a person familiar with their thinking.

"Conspiracy theories just don't go over well in jury cases," counterterrorism analyst Douglas Farah said.

Write to Glenn R. Simpson at glenn.simpson@wsj.com and Evan Perez at evan.perez@wsj.com
26788  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Fred hits 'em in the fire in the belly on: October 23, 2007, 12:08:23 PM
Fred Thompson met the media yesterday, a day after the GOP debate in Orlando, and continued to be peppered by questions about whether he has the "fire in the belly" to run for president.

Mr. Thompson clearly showed his disdain for the question. "I'm glad we're dealing again with matters of real important national security and real important matters to our economy," he responded in a sarcastic tone. He proceeded to lecture the assembled press corps: "To hear some of these comments, you would not recognize the fact that I'm apparently second in all the national polls, that I've got over 100,000 contributors and I've been in the race for about eight weeks."

As for critics who cite his scant campaign schedule and short speeches as signs his bid for the nomination is troubled, he offered a simple response: "I'm going to do it the way I want to do it."

Evidence for that attitude soon arrived when he took a question about the Terri Schiavo controversy. Mr. Thompson had made headlines last month during a visit to Florida when asked if Congress had overstepped its bounds in 2005 over the court-ordered removal of Ms. Schiavo's feeding tube. He said at the time: "Local matters, generally speaking, should be left to the locals," adding, "I don't remember the details of the case." His response left many to wonder, as ABC News put it, "if he had slept through what was a national frenzy."

Mr. Thompson pointed out yesterday that he was far from indifferent to the Schiavo case, having been intimately involved in a decision to end the life of his own daughter in 2002, after she entered the hospital due to an accidental drug overdose. "I had to make those decisions with the rest of my family," an emotional Mr. Thompson told reporters. "And I will assure you one thing: No matter which decision you make, you will never know whether or not you made exactly the right decision." He also decried those who would turn life-and-death medical decisions into a "political football," saying the federal government "should stay out of these matters."

As an unconventional candidate, Mr. Thompson can expect more questions about his work habits and speaking style. But I suspect questions about his knowledge of the Terri Schiavo case will now stop.

Political Journal WSJ
26789  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Middle East War on: October 23, 2007, 11:55:37 AM
Geopolitical Diary: Iran's Debate Over Risk
October 23, 2007 02 17  GMT



While intense diplomacy swirled around the possible intervention of Turkey into Iraq, the internal political situation in Iran became even murkier this weekend than it usually is. Iran's lead negotiator on nuclear issues, Ali Larijani, resigned his position as head of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) on Oct. 20. He was replaced by a fairly junior official, Saeed Jalili, who is deputy foreign minister for European and American affairs, but also is being described as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's right-hand man.

Negotiators get replaced routinely, and in general this would be no more interesting than a similar replacement in the United States. But this case is different, given the critical importance of nuclear negotiations to Iran, the fact that a major summit just occurred between Ahmadinejad and Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the fact that the replacement has kicked off some interesting dissent in Iran. A key aide to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei -- who ultimately holds decisive power in Iran -- criticized the resignation, saying it was the wrong time for a change. Later the government announced that Larijani (who was reappointed to the SNSC as Khamenei's special representative) would accompany his replacement to a meeting with the EU foreign policy chief, Javier Solana. Then reports surfaced to the effect that Khamenei himself had relieved Larijani.

All of this seems to pivot around Putin's visit to Iran. That visit produced two results. The first was that the Russians made it clear that they opposed any American attack on Iran, and implied that they might take some action in the event of such an attack. Russia cannot do anything militarily in Iran, but there are several vulnerable points that are of interest to the United States where the Russians could act. The second outcome of the summit was that Putin not only made no clear commitment on continuing to aid Iran's nuclear development, but in fact appears to have asked the Iranians to halt development on their own. In other words, in return for Russian strategic support, the Iranians would have to put their nuclear program on ice. The offer makes perfect sense from the Russian point of view: Iran remains a thorn in the side of the United States while the justification for an American attack is removed.

The offer might be attractive from the Iranian point of view as well. In the long run, a strategic partnership with Russia could be of more value to Iran than a few nuclear weapons (which probably would be destroyed by the Americans or Israelis anyway). Clearly the Iranians find this possibility attractive: The Iranian press is filled with stories praising Putin and his statesmanship.

But the offer appears to have kicked off an internal debate. The conventional view is that Ahmadinejad wants to build nuclear weapons under any circumstances, while others such as Larijani want to negotiate away the program -- and Khamenei is balancing between the two factions. Our view is a bit more complicated than this.

The issue in the Iranian leadership is not whether to negotiate away the nuclear program, but what the price should be. The offer of a Russian strategic relationship is attractive, but it hardly addresses all of Iran's needs and aspirations. Trading the nuclear program for that alone seems to put too low a value on it.

Larijani's personal views are unclear, but it is always assumed that the negotiator wants the negotiation to succeed, which would make him a moderate in the sense of being prepared to bargain away the program. That's possible, but it is not certain. In any case, the debate does not appear to us to be between hard-liners and moderates. That implies an ideological twist to it. Rather, the debate is between those who are prepared to incur some risk and those who want to minimize it.

Iran is a country of enormous bellicosity. Interestingly, when you look at its foreign policy, it tends to take few overt risks, preferring covert and deniable operations, and gestures like the nuclear program. Iran gets invaded more often than it invades. Accepting the Russian proposal might be attractive to much of the leadership because it reduces risk, including the risk of having a nuclear program. (This option is not entirely without risk, however -- the Soviets occupied northern Iran during World War II and were reluctant to leave.)

For Ahmadinejad, on the other hand, now is precisely the moment when risks should be taken. The Americans are weak, Iraq is fragmented, the Turks are up in arms. Ahmadinejad seems to be saying that alignment with the Russians is nice, but the Russians will have to bring more to the table to end the nuclear program. Specifically, they will have to bring the Americans to the table. The faction supporting Larijani seems to be saying that alignment with Russia is quite enough and it is time to reduce the risks. And given the confusion we are seeing, Khamenei seems to be waffling.

stratfor
26790  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Emergency Tips and Emergency Medicine on: October 23, 2007, 11:47:06 AM

Army Ranger Handbook (2006) Ranger Medic Handbook (2007)



http://www.fas.org/irp/doddir/army/ranger.pdf


http://www.specopsadvantage.com/news/2007rangmedhb.pdf
26791  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: October 23, 2007, 11:41:45 AM
Second post of the AM-- in a closely related vein:

Bush proposes massive policing plan for Mxico, isthmus

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services
and staff reports

President George Bush Monday asked Congress to approve $550 million in aid to Mexico and Central American states to help them deal with cross-border crime, drug-trafficking and terrorism. The request is part of the administration's nearly $200 billion supplemental funding request for U.S. operations in Iraq and the broader war on terrorism.

The money being sought for Mexico and Central America is only a small fraction of the administration budget request.

But it would be a major increase in U.S. security aid to the region and it is the subject of some controversy in Mexico, which has been traditionally sensitive about security relations with its northern neighbor.

The vast majority of the funding, $500 million, would go to Mexico and is aimed at bolstering what U.S. officials say have been promising efforts by Mexican President Felipe Calderon's government to disrupt drug trafficking gangs and organized crime.

The remaining $50 million would be devoted to similar regional efforts by Central American states. And most of that probably would be directed to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras where the international gang problem is the most serious. The initiative includes all the Central American states and Panam.

In a telephone conference call with reporters, Thomas Shannon, assistant secretary of State for Western Hemisphere affairs, said he hopes Monday's request will only be a down payment on a three-year U.S. aid effort of nearly $1.5 billion.

Shannon said the United States would provide Mxico with helicopters and surveillance aircraft to support drug interdiction and rapid-response operations by Mexican law enforcement agencies, as well as advanced drug detection and communications equipment.


But questioned about Mexican political concerns, Shannon said the aid package would not involve any U.S. military presence in that country and would not require any change in agreements limiting the number of U.S. law enforcement officials currently involved in liaison work in Mxico.

The aid package, under discussion by the two governments since President Bush met President Caldern in Mexico last March, has been described as Plan Mxico in Mexican press accounts a reference to the multi-billion-dollar U.S. anti-insurgency aid program for the Bogota government known as Plan Colombia begun in 1999.

However, Shannon dismissed the comparison, stressing that the Mexican government does not face the multiple insurgencies that confronted Colombia at the time, and that the title of the new program has always been the Merida Initiative, named for the site of this year's Bush-Caldern meeting.

Shannon said the proposed U.S. aid effort is small in comparison to the $3 billion committed in recent months by the Caldern government itself.

Mexico has deployed some 20,000 troops and federal police to combat drug cartels, which have been battling among themselves for dominance in gangland violence that has killed hundreds of people this year.

The State Department said that the program is to provide:

Non-intrusive inspection equipment, ion scanners, canine units for Mexican customs, for the new federal police and for the military to interdict trafficked drugs, arms, cash and persons.

Technologies to improve and secure communications systems to support collecting information as well as ensuring that vital information is accessible for criminal law enforcement.

Technical advice and training to strengthen the institutions of justice vetting for the new police force, case management software to track investigations through the system to trial, new offices of citizen complaints and professional responsibility, and establishing witness protection programs.

Helicopters and surveillance aircraft to support interdiction activities and rapid operational response of law enforcement agencies in Mexico.

Initial funding for security cooperation with Central America that responds directly to Central American leaders concerns over gangs, drugs, and arms articulated during a July security strategies meeting.

Includes equipment and assets to support counterpart security agencies inspecting and interdicting drugs, trafficked goods, people and other contraband as well as equipment, training and community action programs in Central American countries to implement anti-gang measures and expand the reach of these measures.
26792  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Mex soldiers aiding drug smugglers on the border? on: October 23, 2007, 11:37:25 AM
Are Mexican Soldiers Aiding Drug Smugglers on the Border?
Allan Wall - PVNN




Among the many problems on the US-Mexico border is that of reported Mexican military incursions onto the US side of the border. These incidents raise disturbing questions about US-Mexican relations and the two nations' wars on the drug cartels.

The evidence indicates that elements of the Mexican military are aiding drug smugglers on the border.

Such incursions have been reported for years by US law enforcement offices and by Mexican illegal aliens.

Both governments would prefer not to acknowledge the problem. When pressured, the US downplays it, while Mexican officials deny the incidents, or attribute them to accidental crossings or drug smugglers dressed as Mexican soldiers.

Much of the US-Mexican border is unguarded, trackless desert. So it's not surprising that from time to time a Mexican army vehicle or patrol might take a wrong turn and wind up north of the border.

Doubtless there have been some accidental crossings. But they wouldn't account for the bulk of the incidents, especially considering the reported behavior of these soldiers, which is sometimes aggressive.

As for the "smugglers disguised as soldiers" argument, there may be some cases of that too. But if that were the principal explanation, it could imply that (a) the Mexican Army can't secure its materiel stores, or (b) it can't control the border area, which is hardly reassuring.

A US Department of Homeland Security document in 2006 reported 216 such incursions from 1996-2006. There may be many more.

To begin with, why are there so many Mexican soldiers on the border, anyway? Is the border being militarized?

If the US put a Boy Scout with a water gun on the border, Mexican politicians would decry the "militarization of the border." Nevertheless, the Mexican side of the border is already militarized.

There are 11 Mexican military garrisons on the Mexican side of the US-Mexican border. Moving from west to east, these garrisons are located at Tecate, San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonoyta, Agua Prieta, Ciudad Juarez, Ojinaga, Palomas, Ciudad Acuna, Piedras Negras, Nuevo Laredo and Matamoros.

By the canons of international law, there's nothing wrong with it either. According to the treaties of Guadalupe-Hidalgo (1848) and the Gadsden Purchase Treaty (1853), which established the current US-Mexico border, each country reserves the right to fortify any part of its side of the border.

Nature abhors a vacuum. Both governments have allowed their common border to become a rather lawless place. I was almost attacked on the border (in an urban area) and literally made a run for the border to escape. Robbery, rape and murder are standard fare on the border, along with the drug smuggling, illegal immigration, and the hundreds of illegal aliens who perish each year on the border.

Add to the mix corrupt Mexican soldiers aiding drug smugglers and you have a real prescription for disaster.

Traditionally, the Mexican military has been regarded as less corrupt as local Mexican police. That's why President Calderon is using the military as the spearhead in his war on the cartels, and many young soldiers have died fighting drug cartels.

Nevertheless, the military has its corruption too. Plenty of military officers, including generals, have been busted for drug corruption over the years. And that's only the ones who've been caught.

The most high-profile case was that of Mexico's anti-cartel czar General Gutierrez Rebollo, who seemed to be doing such an effective job of nabbing drug traffickers. It turned out though, that he was going after one drug cartel while in the service of another. The general was arrested, convicted and sentenced to 71 years in the hoosegow. (That was back in 1997.)

It's also a known fact that deserters from the underpaid ranks of the Mexican military (which has a high desertion rate) have joined the cartels, including some crack troops trained by the USA.

So it's not at all farfetched to assert that Mexican military elements on the border are working for the cartels in smuggling operations. In fact, it would be surprising if such things weren't going on.

Unsurprisingly, ugly and dangerous incidents involving intruding Mexican soldiers and US border patrol (and other law enforcement) agents have already occurred. Border Patrol agents have already been fired upon in such incidents (and they are usually out gunned by Mexican soldiers crossing the border.)

It's not a good situation. Yet neither government seems to want to do anything about it.

PS:  Here's an older story in this vein:  http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,182650,00.html

26793  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: October 23, 2007, 11:18:53 AM
Campaigning
In the Face
Of Terror
By BENAZIR BHUTTO
October 23, 2007; Page A19

I survived an assassination attempt last week, but 140 of my supporters and security didn't.

This mass murder was particularly sinister, since it targeted not just me and my party leadership, but the hundreds of thousands (some estimate up to three million) of our citizens who came out to welcome me and demonstrate their support for democracy and the democratic process. Their deaths weigh heavily on my heart.

Oct. 18 underscores the critical situation we confront in Pakistan today -- trying to campaign for free, fair and transparent elections under the threat of terrorism. It demonstrates the logistical, strategic and moral challenge before us. How do we bring the election campaign to the people under the very real threat of assassination and mass casualties of the innocent?

The attack on me was not totally unexpected. I had received credible information that I was being targeted by elements that wanted to disrupt the democratic process -- specifically that Baitul Masood (an Afghan who leads the Taliban forces in North Waziristan), Hamza bin Laden (an Arab), and a Red Mosque militant had been sent to kill me. I also feared that they were being used by their sympathizers, who have infiltrated the security and administration of my country, and who now fear that the return of democracy will thwart their plans.

We had tried to take precautions. We requested permission to import a bulletproof vehicle. We asked to be provided technology that would detect and disarm IEDs. We had demanded that I receive the level of security to which I'm entitled as a former prime minister.

Now, after the carnage, the fact that the street lights around the assassination site -- Shahra e Faisal -- had been turned off, allowing the suicide bombers to gain access near to my truck, is very suspicious. I am so discomfited that the bomb investigation has been assigned to Deputy Inspector General Manzoor Mughal, who was present when my husband was almost murdered under torture some years back.

Obviously I knew the risks. I had been targeted twice before by al Qaeda assassins, including the infamous Ramzi Yousef. Knowing the modus operandi of these terrorists, coming back to the same target again (i.e. the World Trade Center), certainly underscored the danger.

Some in the Pakistani government criticized my return to Pakistan, and my plan to visit the mausoleum of the tomb of the founder of my country, Mohammed Ali Jinnah. But here was my dilemma. I had been in exile for eight painful years. Pakistan is a country of mass, grassroots, people-to-people politics. It is not California or New York, where candidates can campaign through paid media and targeted direct mail. That technology is not only logistically impossible, but it is inconsistent with our political culture.

The people of Pakistan -- whatever political party they may belong to -- want and expect to see and hear their party leaders, and be directly part of the political process. They expect mass rallies and caravans, and to hear directly from their leaders through bullhorns and loud speakers. Under normal conditions it is challenging. Under the terrorist threat, it is extraordinarily difficult. My task is to make sure that it is not impossible.

We are consulting with top political strategists on the problem. We want to be sensitive to the political culture of our nation, give people the opportunity to participate in the democratic process after eight long years of dictatorship, and educate the 100 million voters of Pakistan on the issues of the day.

But we do not want to be reckless. We do not want to endanger our leadership unnecessarily, and we certainly don't want to risk potential mass murder of my supporters. If we don't campaign, the terrorists have won and democracy is set back further. If we do campaign, we risk violence. It is an extraordinary dilemma.

We are now focusing on hybrid techniques that combine individual and mass voter contact with sharp security constraints. Where people have telephones, we can experiment with taped voice messages from me describing my issue positions and urging them to vote. In rural areas we are contemplating taped messages from me played regularly on boom boxes set up in village centers. Instead of the traditional mass caravans of Pakistani politics, we are discussing the feasibility of "virtual caravans" and "virtual mass rallies" where I would deliver important campaign addresses to large audiences all over the four provinces of Pakistan. We are thinking of new voter education and get-out-the-vote techniques that minimize my vulnerability, and minimize the opportunity for successful terrorist attacks over the next critical weeks leading to our parliamentary elections.

The sanctity of the political process must not be allowed to be destroyed by the terrorists. Democracy and moderation must be restored to Pakistan, and the way to do that is through free and fair elections establishing a legitimate government with a popular mandate -- leaders supported by the people. Intimidation by murdering cowards will not be allowed to derail Pakistan's transition to democracy.

Ms. Bhutto was prime minister of Pakistan from 1988-1990 and 1993-1996.

WSJ
26794  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Our Troops in Action on: October 23, 2007, 11:17:12 AM
A Medal of Honor
October 23, 2007; Page A18
Yesterday President Bush presented the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military honor for valor in combat, to the family of Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, a Navy SEAL who was killed in Afghanistan in 2005. It is the third Medal of Honor bestowed in the war on terror, and all have been awarded posthumously.

 
Lt. Murphy, of Patchogue on Long Island in New York, was the 29-year-old officer-in-charge of a four-man SEAL reconnaissance team tasked with capturing or killing a high-ranking Taliban leader in the Hindu Kush mountains, east of Asadabad behind enemy lines. A group of goat herders betrayed their position to the Taliban, and the team came under a heavy coordinated assault by dozens of insurgents, perhaps as many as 100.

The SEALs were at a tactical disadvantage and became pinned down in a ravine. Lt. Murphy, already wounded, moved out from behind cover, seeking open air for a radio signal to place a rescue call. He was shot several more times in the back. He dropped the transmitter, picked it back up and completed the call, and then rejoined the fight.

The battle, the last stage of Operation Redwing, was the worst single day of casualties for Naval Special Warfare since World War II. Only one man from the SEAL team would survive. A Chinook helicopter, carrying 16 soldiers for the rescue mission, was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. military is almost spoiled for choice when it comes to such instances of heroism and sacrifice. It is regrettable that these volunteers are too often rewarded with indifference by the U.S. political culture, where "supporting the troops" becomes nothing more than a slogan when there is a score to settle. The representative men in this war are soldiers like Lt. Murphy.

WSJ
26795  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Corporate Welfare on: October 23, 2007, 11:15:17 AM
The Corporate Welfare Congress
October 23, 2007; Page A18
Perhaps you've heard that this is the Congress for "the little guy," the "forgotten" middle class, the working stiff. If that was the plan, it isn't working. On present trends, the 110th Congress will go down as one of the biggest blowouts in corporate welfare history.

That's saying something, considering that the last GOP Congress gave big business some $92 billion a year in subsidies, according to the Cato Institute. Cato's latest analysis indicates that if all the pending spending bills pass, corporate welfare will exceed $100 billion in direct outlays in 2008.

The handouts for the rich that have a good chance of passing include the most expensive farm bill ever; a rise in the mortgage limits on loans that can be securitized by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (see related article); some $2 billion in loan guarantees to ethanol producers; and expansions in flood and terrorism insurance to benefit home builders, mortgage banks, and real estate developers.

Many of the 40 largest existing corporate welfare are set to get a raise, including the Commerce Department's $116 million manufacturing extension program, the $100 million Advanced Technology Program (which funds R&D for the likes of IBM, General Electric and Xerox), and the $200 million Agriculture Market Access Program, which underwrites foreign advertising for the likes of Pillsbury and Dole. We'd call all of this the "K Street" project, but even Tom DeLay never thought this big:

Big agribusiness. The House has already passed a five-year farm bill with a cost of $286 billion. The USDA calculates that two-thirds of these subsidies are directed to the richest 10% of farmers. The huge cooperatives that grow rice, cotton, corn, wheat and soybeans will get $7.5 billion a year. These handouts will come despite record crop prices, and farm land selling at an average of 18% above a year ago. The USDA estimates that farm net income will reach $87 billion this year, nearly 50% higher than in 2006.

Ethanol. On top of the 51 cent per gallon tax credit for this inefficient fuel, the Senate energy bill requires a doubling of ethanol production from corn, $500 million in new direct payments to ethanol producers, and $2 billion more for loan guarantees for new ethanol refineries.

Big Sugar. The farm bill requires the USDA to buy up domestic sugar equal to the amount that is imported from Mexico under Nafta, which is a disguised form of trade protection. This sweet deal is like requiring the Transportation Department to purchase a Ford and GM car for every Nissan and Toyota imported into the U.S. The taxpayer cost: $1.4 billion.

Flood insurance. The House has passed a bill that replenishes a fund drained by Hurricane Katrina. But along the way it also raises the maximum coverage limits, and for the first time covers wind damage for commercial properties. The National Taxpayers Union calculates that taxpayers could be on the hook for $100 billion of future losses.

Terror insurance. On September 19, the House approved a new federal terrorism backstop for developers at an estimated 10-year cost of $10.4 billion. The original terrorism insurance bill, passed in the wake of 9/11, was supposed to be temporary. But under pressure from business lobbies and insurers, industry won a 15-year extension covering up to 90% of terrorism-related losses.

"Renewable" fuels. Energy bills moving through Congress tax oil companies and pass most of the $25 billion or so in expected revenue to wind, solar and Midwestern biofuels companies, even though private venture capital for such fuels hit new peaks in 2005 and 2006. For 20 years, the feds have poured more than $10 billion into this industry with little reduction in U.S. oil dependence.

Corporate pork. There are 13,000 earmarks in this year's appropriations bills, including hundreds that benefit narrow business groups. Such as: $500,000 to build a baseball stadium for the Cincinnati Reds minor league team in Billings, Montana; $150,000 for the Troy, Michigan Chamber of Commerce; $500,000 for the Arkansas World Trade Center; $4 million for a rail bridge for CSX railroad.

If you want to know how good liberals can tolerate such largesse for the rich, keep in mind that in Washington quids often come with a quo. The latest FEC fundraising reports indicate that industry lobbyists have shifted their allegiance from Republicans and are now funneling cash to Democrats they expect to hold their majority. Roll Call newspaper, which covers Congress, reports that in the first half of 2007 business lobbyists gave "all or most of their cash to Democratic candidates and party committees."

They're getting their money's worth.

WSJ
26796  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The War for the Constitution on: October 23, 2007, 11:11:54 AM
For the record, I opposed Bork's nominatin because of his interpretation that there is no right to Privacy in the Constitution.  In my opinion, this theory would make the Ninth Amendment meaningless.  That said, the vicious and scurrilous personal attacks on a fine man and a quality legal mind were an important and precedent setting step downwards in American political culture.

=====
AT LAW

The War for the Constitution
The anniversary of Robert Bork's failed nomination reminds us what's at stake in the coming election.

BY GARY L. MCDOWELL
Tuesday, October 23, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

Twenty years ago today the United States Senate voted to reject President Reagan's nomination of Judge Robert H. Bork to the Supreme Court. The senators may have had every reason to believe that was the end of the story. However ugly it had been, however much time it had taken, Mr. Bork's defeat was only one more routine sacrifice to partisan politics. But time would prove wrong anyone who actually thought that. The battle over Mr. Bork was politically transformative, its constitutional lessons enduring.

To many at the time (and still today) it was inconceivable that a man of Mr. Bork's professional accomplishments and personal character could be found unacceptable for a seat on the Court. Warren Burger summed it up for many when he described Mr. Bork as simply the best qualified nominee in the former chief justice's own professional lifetime--a span of years that included the appointments of such judicial luminaries as Benjamin Cardozo, Hugo Black and Felix Frankfurter. Such praise was no empty exaggeration.

A former Yale law professor and U.S. Solicitor General, Mr. Bork was, at the time of his nomination, a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. When he was a circuit court judge, Mr. Bork's opinions not only were never overruled on appeal, but on several occasions his dissents were adopted by the Supreme Court as its majority view.

In an earlier day such an appointment would have been celebrated as adding breadth, depth and luster to the highest bench. Instead, the nominee faced a mauling by those who set out not only to destroy him personally but to discredit all that he stood for as a jurist.

It was immediately clear that the unprecedented vote of 58-42 against his confirmation reflected something far more historic and fundamental than an ordinary partisan standoff. The confrontation in fact had been one of the most cataclysmic and divisive events in American domestic politics during the second half of the 20th century. The reason was that Mr. Bork's opponents succeeded in making the fight over his nomination into a contest over the future of the Constitution.

The issue that united the judge's critics in their fiery, scorched-earth opposition was never his ability or reputation but rather his theory of judging. Mr. Bork's belief was that judges and justices in their interpretations of the Constitution must be bound to the original intentions of its framers. In his sober constitutional jurisprudence there was no room for any airy talk about a general right of privacy, allegedly unwritten constitutions, vague notions of unenumerated rights, or what the progressive Justice Black once derided as "any mysterious and uncertain natural law concept." For Mr. Bork, the framers said what they meant, and meant what they said.

Mr. Bork's approach had its roots in hundreds of years of common law history as well as in the political philosophy of those whose works serve as the foundation of American constitutionalism. Chief Justice John Marshall had summed up that received tradition when he proclaimed that recourse to a lawgiver's original intention is "the most sacred rule of interpretation." In Marshall's view, it is always "the great duty of a judge who construes an instrument . . . to find the intention of its makers." As with Marshall, so also with Mr. Bork.





At its deepest level, Mr. Bork's defeat was the result of the very public affirmation by the Senate of a dangerous theory of ideological judging that had been developing for quite some time. It was the idea of a so-called "living" Constitution, one that various scholars have said means there need be "no theoretical gulf between law and morality," and that ordinary judges are empowered to interpret the fundamental law in light of their own "fresh moral insight" in order to effect a judicially mandated "moral evolution" of the nation.
The aim of this new approach to judging that was used to pillory Mr. Bork was not a matter of mere metaphysical speculation. It was the concrete political reality of Roe v. Wade and its judicially created right to abortion--and behind that, Griswold v. Connecticut and its even more amorphous right to privacy. Mr. Bork's originalism denied the constitutional legitimacy of such contrived decisions and would have left such issues to be resolved by the people in their legislatures.

Thus, his nomination threatened not only all that had been gained by judicial fiat, such as abortion rights, but all that might be gained, such as constitutional protections for same-sex marriages. That was why, to his critics, he had to be stopped at all costs.

The price paid has proved high, indeed. The defeat heralded a fundamental transformation in the process surrounding judicial appointments and thereby radically politicized the public's view of the nature and extent of judicial power under the Constitution. Confirmation battles from Mr. Bork to Clarence Thomas to Samuel Alito have taken on the trappings of ordinary political campaigns, from instant polling to rallies and protests and attack ads. Sadly, the courts are no longer above the fray.

The Supreme Court has continued to give voice to the rhetoric of a morally evolving or living Constitution, along the way upholding Roe in 1992 and striking down state sodomy laws in 2003. Moreover, the Court has decreed that it is "invested with the authority to speak . . . before all others for [the people's] constitutional ideals."

And Judge Bork's replacement as a nominee, Justice Anthony Kennedy, has insisted that the concept of liberty has both "spatial" and "transcendent dimensions," the boundaries of which "are not susceptible of expression as a simple rule." Thus constitutional meaning, even for some Republican appointees, is no longer a matter of the framers' intention but only the judges' intuition.

Recalling Mr. Bork's experience serves to remind us of how precarious the judiciary's balance is at any given time, and how today's highly politicized process prevents even the most gifted and prominent jurists from expecting to be confirmed (or perhaps even desiring the chance to undergo the ordeal).





But more important, it is a reminder that presidents must be willing to undertake what they know will be a horrific fight in order to see the bench filled not with liberals or conservatives or partisans, but with constitutionalists.
In this sense, the Bork vote is not just a matter of quaint historical interest, but the first great battle in the contemporary war for the Constitution--a continuing war that must be won if true self-government is to prevail.

Time has shown that Mr. Bork's theory of constitutional interpretation remains very much alive; he was defeated but his central idea was never discredited. That theory of interpretation and its implicit belief in restrained judging should continue to guide anyone who believes that the inherent arbitrariness of government by judiciary is not the same thing as the rule of law.

Mr. McDowell, currently a recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities, is a professor at the Jepson School of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond.

WSJ
26797  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Turkey ignites Kurdish Rivalry on: October 23, 2007, 11:05:42 AM
Second post of the AM:

Iraq, Turkey: Igniting the Kurdish Rivalry
Summary

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said Oct. 21 that the rebel Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) will announce a cease-fire on the evening of Oct. 22. With no love lost between the PKK and Iraq's Kurdish parties, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq has every reason to use its leverage with the PKK to keep the Turks at bay, thereby safeguarding KRG interests and remaining the darling of energy investors. But the motivation behind Turkey's troop buildup along its border with Iraq extends far beyond the PKK issue: Ankara is keen on reigniting an intra-Kurdish rivalry in order to keep Iraqi Kurdistan in check.

Analysis

After saying that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) would not even hand over a Kurdish cat to Ankara if Turkey did not back off, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani hinted Oct. 22 that Iraqi Kurdish forces already have moved against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) when he announced an end to PKK activities against Turkish troops scheduled to start the same evening. Talabani's statement comes against the backdrop of 100,000 Turkish troops stationed along the Turkish-Iraqi border in preparation for a large-scale offensive against PKK elements in northern Iraq. This situation became even tenser after a provocative attack Oct. 21 by Kurdish rebels that killed at least 17 Turkish soldiers.

The KRG might be able to rein in the PKK and stave off a Turkish incursion in the short term. But its ability to prevent an incursion in the long run is doubtful, especially in light of the underlying reasons for a Turkish move into Iraq.

The KRG is well aware that the conflict with Ankara extends far beyond the PKK issue. Turkey has every interest in putting a stranglehold on Iraqi Kurdish aspirations for greater autonomy. In an effort to do so, Turkey has approved a yearlong military operation that will involve building up its forces on the border, moving into Iraq and creating a buffer zone for rooting out the PKK and keeping the Iraqi Kurds in check. An integral part of Ankara's long-term plan for containing Iraqi Kurdistan involves reigniting the conflict between Iraq's two main Kurdish parties: Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), which controls the southeastern Iraqi Kurdish region, and Massoud Barzani's Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), which controls the Northwest.

The Kurds occupy the mountainous territory where Syria, Turkey, Iran and Iraq come together. But the mountains that have provided them a refuge also have given birth to deep-seated tribal rivalries that are regularly exploited by neighboring powers. The worst infighting in recent years occurred in 1994, when the PUK and KDP were engaged in a full-blown civil war. The fighting became so intense that Barzani called on Saddam Hussein for help battling the PUK. Moreover, the KDP worked alongside Turkey during the 1997 Turkish invasion of Iraq aimed at fighting the PKK, with the PKK and the PUK working together against the KDP. The PUK also received some help from Iran in reclaiming territory from KDP forces during the Kurdish civil war. These events demonstrate that more often than not, intra-Kurdish rivalries will take precedence -- even in the face of a common enemy (be it Turkey or Hussein).




The current unity between Iraqi Kurdish leaders is highly anomalous. Barzani and Talabani set aside their differences in 2003, just prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, in order to maximize Kurdish benefits in post-Hussein Iraq. This united Kurdish front allowed the Kurdish region to develop into the country's oasis, with energy investors worldwide hungrily eyeing its vast oil fields -- much to Turkey's displeasure. But Turkey also is well aware that the Barzani-Talabani truce is extremely fragile. Everything from telecom companies to peshmerga units still are clearly divided between the PUK and KDP in Iraqi Kurdish territory. The fate of Kirkuk also has caused friction between the two parties as they compete to claim the legacy of having gotten the city officially designated Kurdish territory.

Turkey has every reason to exacerbate intra-Kurdish tensions through military action in an effort to break the KRG apart. Should Turkish troops move deep into Kurdish territory -- to Dohuk and beyond -- clashes between peshmerga and Turkish forces are highly likely. This could further strain the PUK-KDP alliance. Turkey also could drive a wedge between the parties by attempting to align with Talabani, whom Ankara views as a more pragmatic leader, over Barzani, whom the Turks see as a belligerent tribal warlord. And 74-year-old Talabani's worsening health itself could very well ignite another intra-Kurdish power struggle. Should Talabani feel threatened by Barzani's political ambitions, Ankara could find another opening to intervene and keep the Kurdish parties split.

stratfor
26798  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics on: October 23, 2007, 11:04:21 AM
Exactly the sort of swill that one expects from the NYT tongue
26799  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues on: October 23, 2007, 10:59:56 AM
Another in a similar vein, this from the WSJ

Global Warming Delusions
The popular imagination has been captured by beliefs that have little scientific basis.

BY DANIEL B. BOTKIN
Sunday, October 21, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

Global warming doesn't matter except to the extent that it will affect life--ours and that of all living things on Earth. And contrary to the latest news, the evidence that global warming will have serious effects on life is thin. Most evidence suggests the contrary.

Case in point: This year's United Nations report on climate change and other documents say that 20% to 30% of plant and animal species will be threatened with extinction in this century due to global warming--a truly terrifying thought. Yet, during the past 2.5 million years, a period that scientists now know experienced climatic changes as rapid and as warm as modern climatological models suggest will happen to us, almost none of the millions of species on Earth went extinct. The exceptions were about 20 species of large mammals (the famous megafauna of the last ice age--saber-tooth tigers, hairy mammoths and the like), which went extinct about 10,000 to 5,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age, and many dominant trees and shrubs of northwestern Europe. But elsewhere, including North America, few plant species went extinct, and few mammals.

We're also warned that tropical diseases are going to spread, and that we can expect malaria and encephalitis epidemics. But scientific papers by Prof. Sarah Randolph of Oxford University show that temperature changes do not correlate well with changes in the distribution or frequency of these diseases; warming has not broadened their distribution and is highly unlikely to do so in the future, global warming or not.

The key point here is that living things respond to many factors in addition to temperature and rainfall. In most cases, however, climate-modeling-based forecasts look primarily at temperature alone, or temperature and precipitation only. You might ask, "Isn't this enough to forecast changes in the distribution of species?" Ask a mockingbird. The New York Times recently published an answer to a query about why mockingbirds were becoming common in Manhattan. The expert answer was: food--an exotic plant species that mockingbirds like to eat had spread to New York City. It was this, not temperature or rainfall, the expert said, that caused the change in mockingbird geography.





You might think I must be one of those know-nothing naysayers who believes global warming is a liberal plot. On the contrary, I am a biologist and ecologist who has worked on global warming, and been concerned about its effects, since 1968. I've developed the computer model of forest growth that has been used widely to forecast possible effects of global warming on life--I've used the model for that purpose myself, and to forecast likely effects on specific endangered species.
I'm not a naysayer. I'm a scientist who believes in the scientific method and in what facts tell us. I have worked for 40 years to try to improve our environment and improve human life as well. I believe we can do this only from a basis in reality, and that is not what I see happening now. Instead, like fashions that took hold in the past and are eloquently analyzed in the classic 19th century book "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds," the popular imagination today appears to have been captured by beliefs that have little scientific basis.

Some colleagues who share some of my doubts argue that the only way to get our society to change is to frighten people with the possibility of a catastrophe, and that therefore it is all right and even necessary for scientists to exaggerate. They tell me that my belief in open and honest assessment is nave. "Wolves deceive their prey, don't they?" one said to me recently. Therefore, biologically, he said, we are justified in exaggerating to get society to change.

The climate modelers who developed the computer programs that are being used to forecast climate change used to readily admit that the models were crude and not very realistic, but were the best that could be done with available computers and programming methods. They said our options were to either believe those crude models or believe the opinions of experienced, data-focused scientists. Having done a great deal of computer modeling myself, I appreciated their acknowledgment of the limits of their methods. But I hear no such statements today. Oddly, the forecasts of computer models have become our new reality, while facts such as the few extinctions of the past 2.5 million years are pushed aside, as if they were not our reality.

A recent article in the well-respected journal American Scientist explained why the glacier on Mt. Kilimanjaro could not be melting from global warming. Simply from an intellectual point of view it was fascinating--especially the author's Sherlock Holmes approach to figuring out what was causing the glacier to melt. That it couldn't be global warming directly (i.e., the result of air around the glacier warming) was made clear by the fact that the air temperature at the altitude of the glacier is below freezing. This means that only direct radiant heat from sunlight could be warming and melting the glacier. The author also studied the shape of the glacier and deduced that its melting pattern was consistent with radiant heat but not air temperature. Although acknowledged by many scientists, the paper is scorned by the true believers in global warming.

We are told that the melting of the arctic ice will be a disaster. But during the famous medieval warming period--A.D. 750 to 1230 or so--the Vikings found the warmer northern climate to their advantage. Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie addressed this in his book "Times of Feast, Times of Famine: A History of Climate Since the Year 1000," perhaps the greatest book about climate change before the onset of modern concerns with global warming. He wrote that Erik the Red "took advantage of a sea relatively free of ice to sail due west from Iceland to reach Greenland. . . . Two and a half centuries later, at the height of the climatic and demographic fortunes of the northern settlers, a bishopric of Greenland was founded at Gardar in 1126."

Ladurie pointed out that "it is reasonable to think of the Vikings as unconsciously taking advantage of this [referring to the warming of the Middle Ages] to colonize the most northern and inclement of their conquests, Iceland and Greenland." Good thing that Erik the Red didn't have Al Gore or his climatologists as his advisers.





Should we therefore dismiss global warming? Of course not. But we should make a realistic assessment, as rationally as possible, about its cultural, economic and environmental effects. As Erik the Red might have told you, not everything due to a climatic warming is bad, nor is everything that is bad due to a climatic warming.
We should approach the problem the way we decide whether to buy insurance and take precautions against other catastrophes--wildfires, hurricanes, earthquakes. And as I have written elsewhere, many of the actions we would take to reduce greenhouse-gas production and mitigate global-warming effects are beneficial anyway, most particularly a movement away from fossil fuels to alternative solar and wind energy.

My concern is that we may be moving away from an irrational lack of concern about climate change to an equally irrational panic about it.

Many of my colleagues ask, "What's the problem? Hasn't it been a good thing to raise public concern?" The problem is that in this panic we are going to spend our money unwisely, we will take actions that are counterproductive, and we will fail to do many of those things that will benefit the environment and ourselves.

For example, right now the clearest threat to many species is habitat destruction. Take the orangutans, for instance, one of those charismatic species that people are often fascinated by and concerned about. They are endangered because of deforestation. In our fear of global warming, it would be sad if we fail to find funds to purchase those forests before they are destroyed, and thus let this species go extinct.

At the heart of the matter is how much faith we decide to put in science--even how much faith scientists put in science. Our times have benefited from clear-thinking, science-based rationality. I hope this prevails as we try to deal with our changing climate.

Mr. Botkin, president of the Center for the Study of the Environment and professor emeritus in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, is the author of "Discordant Harmonies: A New Ecology for the Twenty-First Century" (Replica Books, 2001).
26800  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Turkey on: October 23, 2007, 09:16:46 AM


WSJ

A Kurdish Lesson
Terrorist groups often have nine lives.

BY BRET STEPHENS
Tuesday, October 23, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

A debate among U.S. military brass over whether to declare victory over al Qaeda in Iraq coincides with threats by Turkey to strike terrorist camps in northern Iraq belonging to the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK. Note the irony: The PKK, which in recent days has killed scores of Turkish soldiers, was itself declared dead as a terrorist group in 1999.

There are excellent reasons to avoid pronouncements concerning AQI's defeat. One is to deny the group the chance to offer testaments in blood to its own resilience. A second is to avoid another political embarrassment of the "Mission Accomplished" kind. But the main reason is that the experience of terrorist organizations world-wide shows that even in defeat they are rarely truly finished. Like Douglas MacArthur's old soldiers, terrorist groups never die. At best they just fade away.

Some examples: In its heyday in the 1980s, Peru's Maoist Shining Path was every bit as brutal as al Qaeda. The 1992 capture of its charismatic leader, former philosophy professor Abimael Guzmn, was supposed to have dealt a fatal blow to the group's capacity to operate, as was the capture seven years later of his successor, scar Ramrez. Yet as recently as last year, the Peruvian government was forced to declare a state of emergency in the Hunuco region to deal with terrorist activities by the group.

Or take the Taliban. In April 2005, American Gen. David Barno told reporters he believed that, with the exception of a few bitter-enders, the Taliban would be a memory within two years. The opposite happened. In 2006, the rate of terrorist attacks in Afghanistan soared, and the Bush administration was forced to deploy 6,000 additional troops to recover territory lost to the Taliban and turn back their anticipated spring offensive.





What about the PKK? Late in 1998 Turkey massed troops on its border with Syria, with the declared intention of expelling the PKK and its leader Abdullah calan from Damascus if the Syrians didn't do so themselves. (A banner headline in the Turkish paper Hurriyet declared "We're going to say 'shalom' to the Israelis on the Golan Heights.") The late Syrian strongman Hafez Assad got the message, and sent calan packing. He was eventually captured by Turkish intelligence in Nairobi, and sentenced to death by a Turkish court (commuted to a life sentence when Turkey abolished the death penalty in 2002). calan has since apologized to the Turkish people for the 37,000 deaths he caused in the 1980s and '90s and called for a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue. The PKK itself declared a ceasefire.
That should have been the end of it. As Turkish analyst Soner Cagaptay of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy observes, calan was a cult-of-personality figure in an organization that, unlike the cellular structure of al Qaeda, was run along strictly hierarchical lines.

For the next few years the Turkish government made real, if limited, strides in accommodating peaceful ethnic Kurdish cultural demands in education and broadcasting. What remained of the PKK--5,000 or so fighters--mainly retreated to northern Iraq, where their bases were attacked by Turkish forces no fewer than 24 times.

So might things have remained had the U.S. invasion of Iraq not rearranged the strategic chessboard. The Turks did not help themselves by failing to support the war, which caused strains with Washington and prevented them from carrying out further cross-border raids. That, in turn, created an opening for Iran, which until then had been the PKK's sole remaining state sponsor. Concerned about its isolation in the region, and sensing an opportunity to make common cause with the moderately Islamist government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Tehran abruptly switched sides, going so far as to shell PKK positions in northern Iraq. Not surprisingly, the Turks began to take a more favorable view of Iran.

The U.S. role is scarcely more creditable. The Ankara government has been pressing the Bush administration to hit PKK bases for at least four years. The administration has responded with a combination of empty promises of future action and excuses that U.S. forces are already overstretched in Iraq. For the Turks, who contribute more than 1,000 troops to NATO's mission in Afghanistan, U.S. nonfeasance is a mystery, if not an outright conspiracy. "How is it that Turkey fights America's terrorists, but America does not fight Turkey's terrorists?" is how Mr. Cagaptay sums up the prevailing mood.





Yet the real mystery isn't U.S. behavior, which was mainly dictated by a desire not to rock the boat in what was (at least until this month), the only relatively stable region of Iraq. It is the forbearance shown to the PKK by Massoud Barzani, Kurdistan's president, who has otherwise sought to cultivate better relations with Ankara and Kurdish moderates in Turkey, and who would have much to lose if an invading Turkish army turned his province into a free-fire zone. One theory is that Mr. Barzani wants to use the PKK as a diplomatic card, to be exchanged for Turkish concessions in some future negotiation. But all that depends on his ability to rein in the PKK at the last minute and avert a Turkish invasion. Yesterday's kidnapping (or killing) of another eight Turkish troops puts that in doubt.
Meanwhile, the PKK has fully reconstituted itself as an effective fighting force under the leadership of Murat Karayilan, who was canny enough to see Congress's Armenian genocide resolution as an opportunity to take scissors to the already frayed U.S.-Turkish relationship. The resolution was turned back at the 11th hour, but it remains to be seen whether it has already done its damage.

All the more reason, then, for the U.S. to pre-empt the Turks by taking the decisive action against the PKK it has promised for too long. But the story of the PKK's resurgence should also remind us of the dangers of premature declarations of victory against terrorist groups, especially when such declarations foster the illusion that you can finally come home. Against this kind of enemy, there are no final victories, and no true homecomings, and no real alternatives other than to keep on fighting.

Mr. Stephens is a member of The Wall Street Journal's editorial board. His column appears in the Journal Tuesdays.

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