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26851  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mil-blogs: Michael Yon and others (support our troops) on: August 23, 2007, 10:52:01 AM

http://michaelyon-online.com/wp/the-ghosts-of-anbar-part-1-of-4.htm
26852  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: August 23, 2007, 09:50:56 AM
This woman has been getting a lot of press over her most recent deportation.  Here she is back in Mexico.  The "logic" is quite special.  angry  http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=d69_1187877604&p=1  Oy vey!  rolleyes
26853  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues on: August 23, 2007, 08:53:42 AM
Mig:

Interesting piece on the French and nuke power, thanks for rounding things out.

All:

I have a strong bias towards pricing mechanisms as a policy tool for pollution.  This piece from the WSJ addresses two possible variations.

Marc
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A Carbon Tax Would Be Cleaner
By NICOLE GELINAS
August 23, 2007; Page A11

Though skeptics may still grumble that the science isn't settled, some 84% of Americans think humans are contributing to climate change, with 78% (and 60% of Republicans) saying we should do something about it "right away," according to a recent poll.

 
The political answer to all this anxiety has arrived. Prominent politicians -- including first-tier Democratic and Republican candidates -- are embracing a national "cap and trade" program to cut greenhouse-gas emissions. Powerful corporate leaders are right behind them; and even the Bush administration, led by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, is reportedly considering the costs and benefits of various cap and trade proposals after years of opposition.

The mechanics of such regulation are complex, but one result is certain: It will exact a toll on our economy.

Cap and trade enjoys support from many free marketers and moderate politicians because it seems, at first glance, market-friendly. If the perceived problem is power plants and factories heating up the planet by spewing too much carbon dioxide and other such gases into the air, why not impose a cost on them for those emissions?

But before one accepts such reasoning and rejects alternatives, such as perhaps a carbon-emissions tax, it's important to look under the hood. Here's how a cap and trade system would likely work, assuming that the feds start with electricity generation and heavy industry, two energy-hungry sectors of the economy:

To avoid shock, the government sets a generous cap in the program's first year. It asks every factory and power plant how many tons of greenhouse gases it released into the atmosphere during the previous year, and then makes the cumulative total -- say four billion tons -- the initial cap. Each plant or factory can emit the same tonnage as in the previous year.

Since the government wants to cut these emissions by as much as half over the next half-century, however, the feds reduce the cap by, say, 5% overall to 3.8 billion tons in five years; and each company's cap will decline by the same proportion. After another five years, the government will cut the cap again, and so on. Because the companies know that the cap will keep tightening, the theory goes, they'll make their operations more energy-efficient.

But what if a factory can't reduce emissions? Maybe it was efficient already, and its orders are up. That's where the "trade" part of cap and trade comes in.

Suppose that a power plant elsewhere does have room to cut waste by replacing its 30-year-old generator with a cleaner model. Now that the plant can produce the same power with fewer emissions, it has extra greenhouse-gas permits and can -- under the new regime -- sell them to the humming factory, which needs to push past its own limit.

What happens if all the firms can't cut emissions enough to stay below the cap? That's where the system goes global. A Chinese factory coughs up 10 million tons of greenhouse gases each year, but an upgrade would cut emissions to eight million. The Chinese plant can sell those two million tons' worth of emissions "savings" to American firms for cash -- and use the money to pay for the upgrade.

Lawmakers have introduced nearly a half-dozen bills this year to create a version of the above scenario, including a bill sponsored by Sens. Jeff Bingaman and Arlen Specter, and another bill sponsored by Sens. John McCain, Barack Obama and Joe Lieberman. Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Rudy Giuliani have expressed interest.

Some of the nation's largest electricity generators support a national program, including American Electric power, North Carolina's Duke Energy, and Pacific Gas and Electric. They figure the faster they sign on, the more opportunities they'll have to shape it.

As in Europe's two-and-a-half-year-old cap and trade system, American power-company executives would like a generous initial cap and want to pass on to customers the cost of upgrading their equipment and of buying emissions allowances on the market. Financial firms also favor a national program, anticipating the opportunity to trade a new asset class worth $50 billion to $300 billion annually, depending on economists' estimates of the eventual price-per-ton of carbon. And companies ranging from start-ups to GE recognize the profit potential of emissions-credits projects in developing countries.

Executives and politicians certainly prefer a cap-and-trade program to a carbon tax: With a tax, power companies and industrial energy consumers fear that they would suddenly face a huge, non-negotiable cost to doing business. Under cap and trade, at least a plant operator unable to spend tens of millions to upgrade his plant might buy carbon credits from a company that can slash emission more readily.

As for the politicians, a cap-and-trade program is a no-brainer. Most people don't understand how it would work, or the costs it would impose on them or their standard of living. And it doesn't carry the same electoral risk as suggesting a new tax.

But the reality is that any program strict enough to cut emissions growth -- never mind slashing emissions! -- will raise power prices in America. In fact, hiking power prices is the point of cap and trade. Because burning coal -- the cheapest way to make power -- creates so much carbon, coal-fired power plants would have to pay far more than cleaner competitors to continue business as usual as the government tightened the cap.

The Energy Information Administration estimates cutting expected emissions growth by half by 2030 would mean a real price of electricity higher than it would otherwise be by 4%-6% in 2020 and by 11%-13% in 2030. Power companies would spend money both upgrading power plants and buying the emissions credits they'd need if they choose not to upgrade.

Carbon cap and trade has pushed wholesale power prices in Europe up 5%-10% just since 2005, says Phil Hare, director of U.K.-based Pöyry Energy Consulting. If Europe lowers its initially generous cap enough to encourage companies to switch permanently from coal to gas power plants, prices there could rise 20%-40% over a decade or so.

Power prices under cap and trade would depend on political decisions. The first is how generous the government would be with its total carbon cap. Another involves determining which emissions-reduction projects in the developing world investors could fund to get carbon credits.

Europe has allowed the United Nations to make some of those decisions. The U.N. carbon-credits program has already proven wildly inefficient.

In an article in February's Nature, Stanford University's Michael Wara noted that the U.N. initiative is spending billions in Western carbon-credits money to do work that should cost much less. Upgrading refrigerant plants, a popular way of winning carbon credits to sell in the European market, is so cheap and easy that many Third World firms were doing it voluntarily until the cap-and-trade West started paying them to do it. Now there's evidence that some firms may be purposely increasing emissions so they can win Western money to decrease them.

Back in the U.S., the Energy Information Administration assumes that power producers in the U.S. would respond to the new cost of carbon by switching from coal to cleaner technologies. It predicts that the nation's power generators would boost nuclear generation by 50% over the next 23 years -- five times the growth expected without a cap -- and increase natural gas-fired power generation 20% above the expected level.

This scenario, however, requires politicians to let American power companies build new nuclear plants and natural-gas import terminals to feed new natural gas plants. Both of these measures politicians, often heeding not- in-my-backyard concerns, regularly oppose on a bipartisan basis.

If America caps emissions and encourages power companies to build cleaner plants and natural-gas terminals, power prices will go up to pay for their construction. But if America caps emissions and caps new generation through political obstacles, prices will go way up.

What about switching to new-fangled "clean" coal instead? This is surely a possibility -- but the technology of "clean" coal is as yet unproven on a commercial scale and the costs are substantial. So are the potential political hurdles.

One promising technology, for example, involves sequestering CO2 emissions from coal plants. This could require power-plant operators to lay underground pipelines to depleted natural-gas fields where the CO2 could be stored -- triggering local opposition, property-rights disputes at now-dormant gas fields and investor worries about liability.

And then there is the collision between cap and trade and global competition. In the real world, small changes in certain prices can determine, say, whether a businessman keeps his manufacturing plant in upstate New York or places his orders instead with a factory in China.

At the end of the day, a strict cap-and-trade program would have the same effect as a carbon tax, one that's high enough, eventually, to encourage switching to cleaner generation, but that's gradually imposed over a decade so that companies have plenty of time to plan.

Such a tax would make emissions more expensive; discourage carbon-intensive power generation; and it would allow the market to decide which environmentally more-friendly technologies would be competitive enough to take its place. A tax per ton of carbon would mean higher power prices, too, but without direct subsidies to developing nations by paying for their power-plant upgrades.

Nor would a carbon tax create a new multibillion-dollar global commodity whose value would depend on political manipulation. The feds could use the revenues from such a levy to reduce other taxes -- including dividend and capital-gains taxes further to spur the massive private investment needed to build the next generation of power generators -- while ensuring that they're also creating a political and regulatory climate to encourage such mass-scale construction.

If it's true that a global warming consensus really exists -- and not just in press releases and speeches -- politicians and business leaders wouldn't be afraid to suggest such a tax. They would insist on it.

Ms. Gelinas is a contributing editor to City Journal, from whose Summer issue this piece was adapted
 
26854  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Russia on: August 23, 2007, 08:12:46 AM
Geopolitical Diary: Russia Rewrites the Post-Cold War Rule Book

Georgia has accused Russia of violating its airspace again. According to Georgia, its radar recently tracked a Russian aircraft penetrating Georgian airspace near Abkhazia -- a pro-Russian breakaway region and an area of substantial Georgian-Russian tension. The first incursion allegedly took place Aug. 6 and involved a missile fired at a Georgian village. Whether intentional or not, the missile didn't explode. That incursion occurred near another Georgian breakaway region, South Ossetia.

The Russians have denied both incidents, claiming the first was a Georgian provocation. Ignoring the fact that parts of the missile could be identified, Georgia has little reason to create a crisis. It is fully aware that U.S. intervention against Russia is unlikely at this point, and that anything more than rhetorical support from European countries is equally unlikely. At least for now, a crisis would leave Georgia alone. Therefore, antagonizing the Russians at this point really doesn't make a great deal of sense.

But increasing Georgian insecurity does make sense for Russia. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Moscow withdrew from most of the Caucasus region, leaving behind Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan -- all former Soviet republics that are now independent states. It also left behind a series of dispute fragments in a region where ethnic and religious strife is endemic. Russia lost its secure frontier with Turkey, replacing it with an unstable and frequently violent border.

The direct threat to Russia was the part of the Northern Caucasus that it continued to control, which included Chechnya. If Russia had abandoned Chechnya, it would have lost its foothold in the Caucasus and, along with it, any natural defensive position. But the Russians decided disintegration stopped there and fought to hold their position.

The Russians believed, with substantial reason, that arms were reaching the Chechen guerrillas via Georgia through the Pankisi Gorge. The minimal Russian charge was that the Georgians, closely aligned with the United States, were not doing enough to stop the flow of weapons. The maximum Russian claim was that the Georgian government was facilitating arms smuggling, supported by the United States, which wanted to see the Russian Federation disintegrate.

The Russians therefore have historically viewed Georgia, allied as it is with Washington, as a direct threat to their national security. First, there was the Chechen issue. Second -- and far more important in the long run -- was the entire matter of the Russian frontier in the Caucasus. The old Soviet-Turkish frontier allowed Russia to secure the Caucasus and limit insurgencies among ethnic groups. The current frontier is an invitation to insurgency and constantly threatens to draw Russia into conflicts in the region.

Russia is aligned with Armenia, which is afraid of the Turks. It has good relations with Azerbaijan, having military facilities there, as well as trade relations. Georgia is Moscow's problem. It destabilizes Russia's southern frontier and is seen as facilitating instability in Russia itself. Georgia's close relationship with the United States has in the past made it immune to Russian pressure, but close relationships with the United States are not worth what they used to be, or what they might be in the future.

We have spoken before of Russia's current window of opportunity. The two incursions into Georgia -- both of which we believe were intended to be noticed -- put the Georgians on notice that, in Russia's mind, Georgian autonomy is no longer a settled matter. Russia might not be planning to occupy Georgia, but it is letting the Georgians know that it believes they have freedom of action. The moves were designed to make the Georgians extremely concerned -- and it is working.

The Russians want to see an evolution in Georgia in which Tbilisi acknowledges that it is within the Russian sphere of influence and, as such, retains its independence to the extent that it is prepared to accommodate Russian interests. Those obviously include collaboration on the issue of Chechen weapons -- now a bit of a dated subject. But this specifically means Georgia should shift its relationship with the United States. The Russians do not want to see Washington using Georgia as a foothold in the Caucasus.

Russia is rewriting the post-Cold War rule book. Georgia is one of the places that matter to Russia, and Russia is signaling the Georgians to reconsider their national security interests. It will be interesting to see what the Georgians do, and -- assuming they maintain their current stance -- what the Russians do next. Moscow did not carry out these incursions without a plan. The Russians have started small. We would be surprised if they restrained themselves in the face of a continuation of Georgian policies toward the United States and the region.
stratfor.com
26855  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews on: August 23, 2007, 08:04:05 AM
Max:

Yes of course there were other groups that were hit hard as well.  That said, the title of this thread means that the focus will tend to be on Anti-semitism.

Marc
=======================

Fearing the Nazis again
Rachel Kane is among the aging Holocaust survivors whose postwar resilience is crumbling under the weight of long-buried memories.
By Maria L. La Ganga, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
August 23, 2007


 
 Photo Gallery
Nazi memories return
For more than half a century, Rachel Kane kept the memories at bay.

There were her daughters to think of, twins born in a displaced persons camp in the aftermath of the second World War. Kane didn't want to burden them with tales of the Holocaust, of a husband shot to death by the Nazis, a baby who starved to death in the forest, an extended family wiped out in a mass execution.

She didn't explain the nightmares that woke her, screaming, in the long string of cramped apartments the family called home after resettling in Detroit and then Los Angeles.

Instead, the university-educated Hebrew teacher who spoke seven languages regaled her daughters with stories about her "beautiful life" before Hitler's armies stormed Poland, successfully locking the war years away until 1998.

That was when her second husband died. When she began to lose her battle with dementia. When she became convinced that the soldiers were coming for her, as they'd done so many years before.

Lying in her room at the Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aging in Reseda, the elderly woman with the soft white hair and bright blue eyes "was seeing Nazis," recounted daughter Esther Kane Meyers. "She was hearing things. I came and sat with her every day. It was the most painful thing I'd ever seen. It was all happening, right there."

Watching 50 years of strength crumble under the weight of a long-buried trauma made Kane's family sad and angry. What they did not know at the time was that her experience was not uncommon among aging victims of Nazi brutality.

In recent years, a body of research has sprung from the lives of Holocaust survivors like Kane as caregivers and mental health professionals work to understand and alleviate the pain of old age and remembered trauma. But when she first began to relive her past, the territory was largely uncharted.

"There has never been a group of genocide survivors live to this age in history," said Paula David, editor of the manual "Caring for Aging Holocaust Survivors." Their experiences offer a rare window into the confluence of trauma and aging.

One clear lesson from this shrinking group, whose median age is more than 70, is that "resilience ages, too," David said, "and diminishes along with hearing and vision."

The Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aging has the largest population of Holocaust survivors in the West, according to nursing home officials. There were 63 such patients at latest count, although that number could rise to nearly 90 when a new building opens later this summer.

Although every Holocaust survivor is different, Kane's end-of-life experiences are a good illustration of the kinds of things they can go through, said Chaya Berci, the Jewish Home's executive director of nursing.

As people age and their grasp on the present weakens, events from the distant past can seem as real as anything unfolding today. For those who lived through severe early trauma, the memories that come rushing back are often of their most harrowing experiences.

Mental health professionals debate whether the symptoms they see in some aging Holocaust survivors stem from classic trauma or other conditions, such as an incomplete mourning process, said Allen Glicksman, director of research at the Philadelphia Corp. for Aging, who has studied the experiences of Nazi victims in long-term care.

Psychologist Marla Martin met with Kane regularly over the course of nearly three years as the woman's depression and anxiety bloomed into a psychotic break fraught with paranoia and auditory hallucinations.

Even pleasant events sometimes took on dark overtones for Kane, as the voices in her head reminded her of all she had witnessed and lost.

In October 1998, Martin wrote in her case notes that Kane's "daughter Esther gave her two nice blankets, and this started a problem for her. She was feeling guilt because of the Holocaust and the voices telling her to share the blankets. How could she have two nice blankets?"

Martin has been treating Holocaust survivors at the Los Angeles Jewish Home for 15 years. By the time she started seeing Kane, she had already observed that a "sizable minority" of the strongest survivors dwelt daily on past horrors.

And a psychotic break like Kane's is "not unusual," she said. "People who have had really acute trauma can re-experience it, feel that they're there."

Kane's first husband was shot to death after Germany invaded Poland in September 1939. Pregnant and alone in an occupied city, she fled to her family's home in the small town of Byten. But the soldiers soon reached there, too, and forced Jews into a cramped ghetto.

After Kane gave birth, her father, a respected rabbi, begged her to leave. It was the only way, he told her, to avert disaster. So she took her infant daughter into the nearby forest and joined the resistance fighters.

The partisans were constantly on the run, sabotaging Nazi efforts, helping Jews escape from the ghettos, scavenging for food. Kane survived, but the baby died of starvation. Her name was Freidele, "joy" in Yiddish.

More than half a century later, as Kane's dementia worsened along with her health, Martin said, the elderly woman became increasingly focused on controlling her environment.

The shades on her window had to be just so. The leg supports on her wheelchair were never quite right. The more panicky and paranoid she felt, the tighter her clothes seemed to be.

"This was beyond the normal kind of reactions that people have adjusting to aging," Martin said. "All of the loss of control she would have had in the Holocaust and what she had lost, that was reawakened."

Kane's failing vision meant much more than not being able to read, Martin said; it robbed her of an important bridge to prewar happiness, "to her loving father, a rabbi, who shared his wall of books with her." A large-print prayer book helped.

She had trouble eating because of denture problems and depended on pureed foods. She felt that she was starving -- a common trigger for Holocaust memories -- and began to lose weight. Voices in her head reminded her of her first daughter's death by starvation.

When Kane's psychotic break began, there was no manual to help guide nursing homes and family members as they cared for aging Holocaust survivors.

Early on in Kane's breakdown, her caregivers recommended that she be transferred to a psychiatric unit at UCLA. But Meyers fought hard to keep her elderly mother in her own room -- and succeeded.

It was a critical lesson for administrators at the Jewish Home about the importance of familiar surroundings for Holocaust survivors and other dementia patients; the result is a psychiatric unit that is scheduled to open in the home's new building.

Kane's experiences point out a conundrum: Though nursing homes are often the best choice for emotionally and physically frail Holocaust survivors, institutional life -- even in the most caring facilities -- can be a constant reminder of wartime horror.

Mundane experiences -- showers, doctor visits, hunger pangs, lack of privacy -- can trigger memories of concentration camps.

"Caring for Aging Holocaust Survivors: A Practice Manual" lists nearly 40 such emotional catalysts.

The manual was published three years ago; it could have gone to press much earlier, said editor David, but "every time we talked to anyone, the list kept growing."

Lack of privacy is one reminder of life in concentration camps or in hiding, when "there was no privacy for the Jews," the manual notes, "and at any given moment the world as they knew it could be turned inside out."

Standing in line for treatment or service also can cause extreme anxiety in survivors who were forced to line up for food rations, roll calls, deportations -- even death.

As much as possible at the Los Angeles Jewish Home, Holocaust survivors are given private accommodations. Starting in 2006, residents ate restaurant-style meals in bright dining rooms, where the food comes out one course at a time and is tailored for individual health needs.

Personal hygiene is another trigger for many camp survivors, who watched as loved ones were promised showers but herded into gas chambers instead.

Caregivers can offer baths as an option, but that, too, can be an imperfect solution, because some of the Nazis' victims were placed in tubs of dry ice for hypothermia experiments.

One major point in "Caring for Aging Holocaust Survivors" is that what can cause distress in one person may be perfectly innocuous to another. It's a lesson David learned firsthand at the Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System in Toronto, where she is senior social worker and coordinates the Holocaust resource program.

"We have one gentleman who watched his entire family marched into a gas chamber. He was held back so he could pick up their corpses in a wheelbarrow and take them to the oven," she recounted. "But his family arranged for him to have a daily shower. He feels thoroughly refreshed by it."

Certain realities of nursing home life simply cannot be avoided, David said. For some, "like the impaired person who we cannot convince that they are safe and we are not the enemy," institutional life means ongoing trauma, and individual attention is the only salve.

That is why the international organization that spearheads reparations to Nazi victims worldwide allocates millions of dollars annually for home care and is pushing the German government for more funding.

In a 2005 opinion piece in the Jewish newspaper the Forward, Roman Kent, an Auschwitz survivor and senior officer with the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, called home care "one of our most pressing needs."

"We survivors are adamant about remaining in our own homes rather than entering a nursing home," Kent wrote. "To someone who endured incarceration by the Nazis, the prospect of institutionalization is frightening. It triggers memories and even induces panic."

So far, the German government has allocated only about $50 million for home care services, an amount nowhere near enough to assist the nearly 700,000 surviving Nazi victims around the world, more than 120,000 of whom live in the United States.

And some of the frailest survivors are simply better cared for in a nursing home, said Susie Forer-Dehrey, associate executive director of Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles. "For some people, including Holocaust survivors. . . with a psychotic break or Alzheimer's," she said, "it probably is the best place to be."

Today, Kane is 96 and one of the oldest surviving Nazi victims in the U.S. She has end-stage Alzheimer's disease. She no longer speaks and is severely hard of hearing. Still, her caregivers try hard to keep her comfortable, secure and free of reminders of her painful past.

Every morning she is carefully dressed and helped into her wheelchair. Caregivers at the Jewish Home roll her to meals in a second-floor dining room, where pureed food is gently spooned into her mouth. She can neither chew well nor feed herself. She naps a lot.

Exercise classes are held in the same dining room, after the breakfast dishes have been cleared and the tables pushed to the walls. Frank Sinatra croons from the stereo. Kane squeezes a soft yellow ball in her weathered hands. The instructor slowly counts to nine: "One more, Rachel. Very good."

And every Friday afternoon, there is Shabbat, the service that has shaped Kane's life for the better part of a century, giving her strength and solace in the darkest times.

Meyers wheels her mother down to the multipurpose room, where two electric candles are lighted to signal the Sabbath's official start. Wine is poured into plastic medicine cups. The challah is broken and passed around by hands sheathed in protective gloves. Prayers are intoned.

Meyers repeats the sacred words into a small black apparatus she holds in her hand like a deck of cards. It amplifies the prayer and sends it through a headset directly into her mother's ears.

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam. Praised are You, Lord our God, King of the universe.

maria.laganga@latimes.com
 
http://www.latimes.com/la-me-rachel23aug23,0,3005247,full.story?coll=la-home-center
26856  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: August 22, 2007, 04:41:00 PM
Christiane Amanpour would be an example of a reporter I do not trust.
26857  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Russia on: August 22, 2007, 08:42:19 AM
stratfor.com

Window of Opportunity; Window of Vulnerability
August 21, 2007 18 54  GMT



All U.S. presidents eventually become lame ducks, though the lameness of any particular duck depends on the amount of power he has left to wield. It not only is an issue of the president's popularity, but also of the opposition's unity and clarity. In the international context, the power of a lame duck president depends on the options he has militarily. Foreign powers do not mess with American presidents, no matter how lame one might be, as long as the president retains military options.

The core of the American presidency is in its role as commander in chief. With all of the other presidential powers deeply intersecting with those of Congress and the courts, the president has the greatest autonomous power when he is acting as supreme commander of the armed forces. There is a remarkable lot he can do if he wishes to, and relatively little Congress can do to stop him -- unless it is uniquely united. Therefore, foreign nations remain wary of the American president's military power long after they have stopped taking him seriously in other aspects of foreign relations.

There is a school of thought that argues that President George W. Bush is likely to strike at Iran before he leaves office. The sense is that Bush is uniquely indifferent to either Congress or public opinion and that he therefore is likely to use his military powers in some decisive fashion, under the expectation and hope that history will vindicate him. In that sense, Bush is very much not a lame duck, because if he wanted to strike, there is nothing legally preventing him from doing so. The endless debates over presidential powers -- which have roiled both Republican and Democratic administrations -- have left one thing clear: The courts will not intervene against an American president's use of his power as commander in chief. Congress may cut off money after the fact, but as we have seen, that is not a power that is normally put to use.

The problem for Bush, of course, is that he is fighting two simultaneous wars, one in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. These wars have sucked up the resources of the U.S. Army to a remarkable degree. Units are either engaged in these theaters of operation, recovering from deployment or preparing for deployment. To an extraordinary degree, the United States does not have a real strategic reserve in its ground forces, the Army and the Marines. A force could probably be scraped up to deal with a limited crisis, but U.S. forces are committed and there are no more troops to scatter around.

The United States faces another potential theater of operations in Iran. Fighting there might not necessarily be something initiated by the United States. The Iranians might choose to create a crisis the United States couldn’t avoid. That would suck up not only what little ground reserves are available, but also a good part of U.S. air and naval forces. The United States would be throwing all of its chips on the table, with few reserves left. With all U.S. forces engaged in a line from the Euphrates to the Hindu Kush, the rest of the world would be wide open to second-tier powers.

This is Bush's strategic problem -- the one that shapes his role as commander in chief. He has committed virtually all of his land forces to two wars. His only reserves are the Air Force and Navy. If they were sucked into a war in Iran, it would limit U.S. reserves for other contingencies. The United States alone does not get to choose whether there is a crisis with Iran. Iran gets to vote too. We don’t believe there will be a military confrontation with Iran, but the United States must do its contingency planning as if there will be.

Thus, Bush is a lame-duck commander in chief as well. Even if he completely disregards the politics of his position, which he can do, he still lacks the sheer military resources to achieve any meaningful goal without the use of nuclear weapons. But his problem goes beyond the Iran scenario. Lacking ground forces, the president's ability to influence events throughout the world is severely impaired. Moreover, if he were to throw his air forces into a non-Iranian crisis, all pressure on Iran would be lifted. The United States is strategically tapped out. There is no land force available and the use of air and naval forces without land forces, while able to achieve some important goals, would not be decisive.

The United States has entered a place where it has almost no room to maneuver. The president is becoming a lame duck in the fullest sense of the term. This opens a window of opportunity for powers, particularly second-tier powers, that would not be prepared to challenge the United States while its forces had flexibility. One power in particular has begun to use this window of opportunity -- Russia.

Russia is not the country it was 10 years ago. Its economy, fueled by rising energy and mineral prices, is financially solvent. The state has moved from being a smashed relic of the Soviet era to becoming a more traditional Russian state: authoritarian, repressive, accepting private property but only under terms it finds acceptable. It also is redefining its sphere of influence in the former Soviet Union and reviving its military.

For example, a Russian aircraft recently fired a missile at a Georgian village. Intentionally or not, the missile was a dud, though it clearly was meant to signal to the Georgians -- close allies of the United States and unfriendly to Russian interests in the region -- that not only is Russia unhappy, it is prepared to take military action if it chooses. It also clearly told the Georgians that the Russians are unconcerned about the United States and its possible response. It must have given the Georgians a chill.

The Russians planted their flag under the sea at the North Pole after the Canadians announced plans to construct armed icebreakers and establish a deepwater port from which to operate in the Far North. The Russians announced the construction of a new air defense system by 2015 -- not a very long time as these things go. They also announced plans to create a new command and control system in the same time frame. Russian long-range aircraft flew east in the Pacific to the region of Guam, an important U.S. air base, causing the United States to scramble fighter planes. They also flew into what used to be the GIUK gap (Greenland-Iceland-United Kingdom) probing air defenses along the Norwegian coast and in Scotland.

Most interestingly, they announced the resumption of patrols in the Atlantic, along the U.S. coast, using Blackjack strategic bombers and the old workhorse of the Russian fleet, the Bear. (The balance does remain in U.S. favor along the East Coast). During the Cold War, patrols such as these were designed to carry out electronic and signal intelligence. They were designed to map out U.S. facilities along the Eastern seaboard and observe response time and procedures. During the Cold War they would land in Cuba for refueling before retracing their steps. It will be interesting to see whether Russia will ask Cuba for landing privileges and whether the Cubans will permit it. As interesting, Russian and Chinese troops conducted military exercises recently in the context of regional talks. It is not something to take too seriously, but then they are not trivial.

Many of these are older planes. The Bear, for example, dates back to the 1950s -- but so does the B-52, which remains important to the U.S. strategic bomber fleet. The age of the airframe doesn't matter nearly as much as maintenance, refits, upgrades to weapons and avionics and so on. Nothing can be assumed from the mere age of the aircraft.

The rather remarkable flurry of Russian air operations -- as well as plans for naval development -- is partly a political gesture. The Russians are tired of the United States pressing into their sphere of influence, and they see a real window of opportunity to press back with limited risk of American response. But the Russians appear to be doing more than making a gesture.

The Russians are trying to redefine the global balance. They are absolutely under no illusion that they can match American military power in any sphere. But they are clearly asserting their right to operate as a second-tier global power and are systematically demonstrating their global reach. They may be old and they may be slow, but when American aircraft on the East Coast start to scramble routinely to intercept and escort Russian aircraft, two things happen. First, U.S. military planning has to shift to take Russia into account. Second, the United States loses even more flexibility. It can't just ignore the Russians. It now needs to devote scarce dollars to upgrading systems along the East Coast -- systems that have been quite neglected since the end of the Cold War.

There is a core assumption in the U.S. government that Russia no longer is a significant power. It is true that its vast army has disintegrated. But the Russians do not need a vast army modeled on World War II. They need, and have begun to develop, a fairly effective military built around special forces and airborne troops. They also have appeared to pursue their research and development, particularly in the area of air defense and air-launched missiles -- areas in which they have traditionally been strong. The tendency to underestimate the Russian military -- something even Russians do -- is misplaced. Russia's military is capable and improving.

The increased Russian tempo of operations in areas that the United States has been able to ignore for many years further pins the United States. It can be assumed that the Russians mean no harm -- but assumption is not a luxury national security planners can permit themselves, at least not good ones. It takes years to develop and deploy new systems. If the Russians are probing the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic again, it is not the current threat that matters, but the threat that might evolve. That diverts budget dollars from heavily armored trucks that can survive improvised explosive device attacks, and cuts into the Air Force and Navy.

The Russians are using the window of opportunity to redefine, in a modest way, the global balance and gain some room to maneuver in their region. As a result of their more assertive posture, American thoughts of unilateral interventions must decline. For example, getting involved in Georgia once was a low-risk activity. The risk just went up. Taking that risk while U.S. ground forces are completely absorbed in Iraq and Afghanistan is hard for the Americans to justify -- but rather easy for the Russians.

This brings us back to the discussion of the commander in chief's options in the Middle East. The United States already has limited options against Iran. The more the Russians maneuver, the more the United States must hold what forces it has left -- Air Force and Navy -- in reserve. Launching an Iranian adventure becomes that much more risky. If it is launched, Russia has an even greater window of opportunity. Every further involvement in the region makes the United States that much less of a factor in the immediate global equation.

All wars end, and these will too. The Russians are trying to rearrange the furniture a bit before anyone comes home and forces them out. They are dealing with a lame duck president with fewer options than most lame ducks. Before there is a new president and before the war in Iraq ends, the Russians want to redefine the situation a bit.
26858  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: August 22, 2007, 08:32:46 AM
Following up on the previous post, this from Stratfor:

Mexico Security Memo: Aug. 20, 2007
August 20, 2007 19 46  GMT



Violence Revisits Nuevo Leon, Baja California States

Violence returned to Nuevo Leon state this week with the Aug. 17 discovery near Monterrey of the bodies of two federal law enforcement agents who had been kidnapped the night before. Far to the west, Baja California state also stood out this week as an area to monitor as the commanders of joint local, state and federal security forces confirmed they would continue security operations in the state. Their announcement came in response to claims by a business group that organized crime in the state was reaching record levels, especially kidnapping. It is likely that additional federal resources will be sent to the state as security operations are expanded. As an indication of the level of violence throughout the country, 677 known cartel-related killings took place in Mexico in the first quarter of 2007, according to U.S. counterterrorism sources.

Operation Puma

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration announced this week the culmination of Operation Puma, an investigation targeting the Gulf cartel's money laundering and distribution networks in Mexico and the United States. The arrest near Dallas of a Gulf "gatekeeper" (a senior cartel member who controls the flow of drugs and revenue in a given locale), along with gatekeepers in the border cities of McAllen and Laredo, illustrates the extent of the cartel's distribution network within the United States.

It is still unclear what impact the arrests will have on the Gulf cartel's operations; new gatekeepers will undoubtedly be brought in and drugs will continue to enter the United States. However, the investigation, which took approximately two and half years and involved multiple agencies and jurisdictions, also demonstrates that U.S. law enforcement is capable of patiently penetrating and investigating drug-trafficking organizations, going after high-ranking leaders and producing results. These kinds of results could lead cartel leaders to implement additional operational security measures to prevent future vulnerability.






Aug. 13

A group of gunmen fired on the municipal police station in Las Vigas, Veracruz state, in the early morning hours. No one was reported injured in the attack.

Media reports were released confirming six drug-related killings in Sinaloa state over the previous two days.

The commander of a joint counternarcotics unit in San Luis Potosi was killed by gunmen armed with AR-15 assault rifles.


Aug. 14

A federal law enforcement agent in Ocosingo, Chiapas state, died after she was shot by gunmen traveling in a vehicle. The agent investigated organized crime.

Three bodies were discovered in a vehicle in Naucalpan, Mexico state, bound at the hands and feet and with visible signs of torture. Two were identified as taxi drivers, who often work with drug dealers to transport narcotics.


Aug. 15

The body of a man was found in Michoacan state bound at the hands and with a note pinned to his chest that read, "For being a thief."

Two armed men kidnapped and held a journalist in Morelos state for several hours and beat him during the ordeal.

Colombian law enforcement detained John Alex Marroquin, a suspected principal figure linking the Tijuana cartel with Colombia's Norte del Valle cartel.

Authorities in Tijuana, Baja California state, began an investigation to determine if the body of a woman found shot to death was related to the recent kidnapping of seven prostitutes in the city.


Aug. 16

A restaurant owner in Tijuana, Baja California state, died after being shot four times by a gunmen who entered his restaurant.

The bodies of two men were found in a vehicle in Mexico City. Both men had been shot several times, and one had been placed in the trunk.

Two men were shot dead in Culiacan, Sinaloa state, in apparently separate incidents during the day.


Aug. 17

Two federal law enforcement agents were found shot to death in Santa Catarina, Nuevo Leon state. Investigators said the agents had been abducted by armed men Aug. 16.

A federal law enforcement agent died after being shot eight times in Morelia, Michoacan state, apparently while leaving his home.

Authorities in Mexico state discovered the body of a man in a vehicle who had been tortured, strangled and blindfolded.


Aug. 19

Authorities in Michoacan state reported the killing of five people in separate incidents, two in the port city of Lazaro Cardenas, two around Uruapan and one in Ziracuaretiro.

A group of gunmen in a moving vehicle shot and wounded three individuals in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas state.
26859  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: August 22, 2007, 06:46:24 AM
 
 
   
     
   
 
 

 
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Jose Padilla Makes Bad Law
By MICHAEL B. MUKASEY
August 22, 2007; Page A15

The apparently conventional ending to Jose Padilla's trial last week -- conviction on charges of conspiring to commit violence abroad and providing material assistance to a terrorist organization -- gives only the coldest of comfort to anyone concerned about how our legal system deals with the threat he and his co-conspirators represent.

 
Jose Padilla, in an undated driver's license photo
He will be sentenced -- likely to a long if not a life-long term of imprisonment. He will appeal. By the time his appeals run out he will have engaged the attention of three federal district courts, three courts of appeal and on at least one occasion the Supreme Court of the United States.

It may be claimed that Padilla's odyssey is a triumph for due process and the rule of law in wartime. Instead, when it is examined closely, this case shows why current institutions and statutes are not well suited to even the limited task of supplementing what became, after Sept. 11, 2001, principally a military effort to combat Islamic terrorism.

Padilla's current journey through the legal system began on May 8, 2002, when a federal district court in New York issued, and FBI agents in Chicago executed, a warrant to arrest him when he landed at O'Hare Airport after a trip that started in Pakistan. His prior history included a murder charge in Chicago before his 18th birthday, and a firearms possession offense in Florida shortly after his release on the murder charge.

Padilla then journeyed to Egypt, where, as a convert to Islam, he took the name Abdullah al Muhajir, and traveled to Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Pakistan. He eventually came to the attention of Abu Zubaydeh, a lieutenant of Osama bin Laden. The information underlying the warrant issued for Padilla indicated that he had returned to America to explore the possibility of locating radioactive material that could be dispersed with a conventional explosive -- a device known as a dirty bomb.

However, Padilla was not detained on a criminal charge. Rather, he was arrested on a material witness warrant, issued under a statute (more than a century old) that authorizes the arrest of someone who has information likely to be of interest to a grand jury investigating a crime, but whose presence to testify cannot be assured. A federal grand jury in New York was then investigating the activities of al Qaeda.

The statute was used frequently after 9/11, when the government tried to investigate numerous leads and people to determine whether follow-on attacks were planned -- but found itself without a statute that authorized investigative detention on reasonable suspicion, of the sort available to authorities in Britain and France, among other countries. And so, the U.S. government subpoenaed and arrested on a material witness warrant those like Padilla who seemed likely to have information.

Next the government took one of several courses: it released the person whose detention appeared on a second look to have been a mistake; or obtained the information he was thought to have, and his cooperation, and released him; or placed him before a grand jury with a grant of immunity under a compulsion to testify truthfully and, if he testified falsely, charge him with perjury; or developed independent evidence of criminality sufficiently reliable and admissible to warrant charging him.

Each individual so arrested was brought immediately before a federal judge where he was assigned counsel, had a bail hearing, and was permitted to challenge the basis for his detention, just as a criminal defendant would be.

The material witness statute has its perils. Because the law does not authorize investigative detention, the government had only a limited time in which to let Padilla testify, prosecute him or let him go. As that limited time drew to a close, the government changed course. It withdrew the grand jury subpoena that had triggered his designation as a material witness, designated Padilla instead as an unlawful combatant, and transferred him to military custody.

The reason? Perhaps it was because the initial claim, that Padilla was involved in a dirty bomb plot, could not be proved with evidence admissible in an ordinary criminal trial. Perhaps it was because to try him in open court potentially would compromise sources and methods of intelligence gathering. Or perhaps it was because Padilla's apparent contact with higher-ups in al Qaeda made him more valuable as a potential intelligence source than as a defendant.

The government's quandary here was real. The evidence that brought Padilla to the government's attention may have been compelling, but inadmissible. Hearsay is the most obvious reason why that could be so; or the source may have been such that to disclose it in a criminal trial could harm the government's overall effort.

In fact, terrorism prosecutions in this country have unintentionally provided terrorists with a rich source of intelligence. For example, in the course of prosecuting Omar Abdel Rahman (the so-called "blind sheik") and others for their role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and other crimes, the government was compelled -- as it is in all cases that charge conspiracy -- to turn over a list of unindicted co-conspirators to the defendants.

That list included the name of Osama bin Laden. As was learned later, within 10 days a copy of that list reached bin Laden in Khartoum, letting him know that his connection to that case had been discovered.

Again, during the trial of Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, an apparently innocuous bit of testimony in a public courtroom about delivery of a cell phone battery was enough to tip off terrorists still at large that one of their communication links had been compromised. That link, which in fact had been monitored by the government and had provided enormously valuable intelligence, was immediately shut down, and further information lost.

The unlawful combatant designation affixed to Padilla certainly was not unprecedented. In June 1942, German saboteurs landed from submarines off the coasts of Florida and Long Island and were eventually apprehended. Because they were not acting as ordinary soldiers fighting in uniform and carrying arms openly, they were in violation of the laws of war and not entitled to Geneva Conventions protections.

Indeed, at the direction of President Roosevelt they were not only not held as prisoners of war but were tried before a military court in Washington, D.C., convicted, and -- except for two who had cooperated -- executed, notwithstanding the contention by one of them that he was an American citizen, as is Padilla, and thus entitled to constitutional protections. The Supreme Court dismissed that contention as irrelevant.

In any event, Padilla was transferred to a brig in South Carolina, and the Supreme Court eventually held that he had the right to file a habeas corpus petition. His case wound its way back up the appellate chain, and after the government secured a favorable ruling from the Fourth Circuit, it changed course again.

Now, Padilla was transferred back to the civilian justice system. Although he reportedly confessed to the dirty bomb plot while in military custody, that statement -- made without benefit of legal counsel -- could not be used. He was instead indicted on other charges in the Florida case that took three months to try and ended with last week's convictions.

The history of Padilla's case helps illustrate in miniature the inadequacy of the current approach to terrorism prosecutions.

First, consider the overall record. Despite the growing threat from al Qaeda and its affiliates -- beginning with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and continuing through later plots including inter alia the conspiracy to blow up airliners over the Pacific in 1994, the attack on the American barracks at Khobar Towers in 1996, the bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, the bombing of the Cole in Aden in 2000, and the attack on Sept. 11, 2001 -- criminal prosecutions have yielded about three dozen convictions, and even those have strained the financial and security resources of the federal courts near to the limit.

Second, consider that such prosecutions risk disclosure to our enemies of methods and sources of intelligence that can then be neutralized. Disclosure not only puts our secrets at risk, but also discourages allies abroad from sharing information with us lest it wind up in hostile hands.

And third, consider the distortions that arise from applying to national security cases generally the rules that apply to ordinary criminal cases.

On one end of the spectrum, the rules that apply to routine criminals who pursue finite goals are skewed, and properly so, to assure that only the highest level of proof will result in a conviction. But those rules do not protect a society that must gather information about, and at least incapacitate, people who have cosmic goals that they are intent on achieving by cataclysmic means.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, is said to have told his American captors that he wanted a lawyer and would see them in court. If the Supreme Court rules -- in a case it has agreed to hear relating to Guantanamo detainees -- that foreigners in U.S. custody enjoy the protection of our Constitution regardless of the place or circumstances of their apprehension, this bold joke could become a reality.

The director of an organization purporting to protect constitutional rights has announced that his goal is to unleash a flood of lawyers on Guantanamo so as to paralyze interrogation of detainees. Perhaps it bears mention that one unintended outcome of a Supreme Court ruling exercising jurisdiction over Guantanamo detainees may be that, in the future, capture of terrorism suspects will be forgone in favor of killing them. Or they may be put in the custody of other countries like Egypt or Pakistan that are famously not squeamish in their approach to interrogation -- a practice, known as rendition, followed during the Clinton administration.

At the other end of the spectrum, if conventional legal rules are adapted to deal with a terrorist threat, whether by relaxed standards for conviction, searches, the admissibility of evidence or otherwise, those adaptations will infect and change the standards in ordinary cases with ordinary defendants in ordinary courts of law.

What is to be done? The Military Commissions Act of 2006 and the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 appear to address principally the detainees at Guantanamo. In any event, the Supreme Court's recently announced determination to review cases involving the Guantanamo detainees may end up making commissions, which the administration delayed in convening, no longer possible.

There have been several proposals for a new adjudicatory framework, notably by Andrew C. McCarthy and Alykhan Velshi of the Center for Law & Counterterrorism, and by former Deputy Attorney General George J. Terwilliger. Messrs. McCarthy and Velshi have urged the creation of a separate national security court staffed by independent, life-tenured judges to deal with the full gamut of national security issues, from intelligence gathering to prosecution. Mr. Terwilliger's more limited proposals address principally the need to incapacitate dangerous people, by using legal standards akin to those developed to handle civil commitment of the mentally ill.

These proposals deserve careful scrutiny by the public, and particularly by the U.S. Congress. It is Congress that authorized the use of armed force after Sept. 11 -- and it is Congress that has the constitutional authority to establish additional inferior courts as the need may be, or even to modify the Supreme Court's appellate jurisdiction.

Perhaps the world's greatest deliberative body (the Senate) and the people's house (the House of Representatives) could, while we still have the leisure, turn their considerable talents to deliberating how to fix a strained and mismatched legal system, before another cataclysm calls forth from the people demands for hastier and harsher results.

Mr. Mukasey was the district judge who signed the material witness warrant authorizing Jose Padilla's arrest in 2002, and who handled the case while it remained in the Southern District of New York. He was also the trial judge in United States v. Abdel Rahman et al. Retired from the bench, he is now a partner at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler in New York.

 
WSJ
26860  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: August 22, 2007, 06:45:40 AM
Border Violence Pushes North (LAT)
The Los Angeles Times
<http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-border19aug19,1,46
30356.story> , August 19, 2007
Drug cartels extend their reach into Texas and Arizona. Citizens and
immigrants alike are victimized.
Violent crime along the U.S.-Mexico border, which has long plagued the
scrubby, often desolate stretch, is increasingly spilling northward into
the cities of the American Southwest.
In Phoenix, deputies are working the unsolved case of 13 border crossers
who were kidnapped and executed in the desert. In Dallas, nearly two
dozen high school students have died in the last two years from
overdoses of a $2-a-hit Mexican fad drug called "cheese heroin."
The crime surge, most acute in Texas and Arizona, is fueled by a gritty
drug war in Mexico that includes hostages being held in stash houses,
daylight gun battles claiming innocent lives, and teenage hit men for
the Mexican cartels. Shipments of narcotics and vans carrying illegal
workers on U.S. highways are being hijacked by rival cartels fighting
over the lucrative smuggling routes. Fires are being set in national
forests to divert police.
In Laredo, Texas, a teenager who had been driving around the United
States in a $70,000 luxury sedan confessed to becoming a Mexican cartel
hitman when he was just 13. In Nogales, Ariz., an 82-year-old man was
caught with 79 kilograms of cocaine in his Chevrolet Impala. The youth
was sentenced to 40 years in prison in one slaying case and is awaiting
trial in another; the old man received 10 years.
In Southern California, Border Patrol agents routinely encounter
smugglers driving immigrant-laden cars who try to escape by driving the
wrong way on busy freeways. And stash houses packed with dozens of
illegal immigrants have been discovered in Los Angeles.
But a huge U.S. law enforcement buildup along the border that started a
decade ago has helped stabilize border-related crime rates on the
California side; a recent wave of kidnappings in Tijuana has been
largely contained south of the border.
The sprawling border has been crisscrossed for years by the poor seeking
work and by drug dealers in the hunt for U.S. dollars. For decades
neither the United States nor Mexico has managed to halt the immigrants
and narcotics pushing north. But with the Mexican government's newly
pledged war on the cartels, and an explosion of violence among rival
networks, a new crime dynamic is emerging: The violence that has hit
Mexican border towns is spreading deeper into the United States.
U.S. officials are promising more Border Patrol and federal firearms
officers, more fences and more surveillance towers along the desert
stretches where the two nations meet.
But law enforcement officials are wary of how this new burst in violence
will play out, especially because the enemy is better armed and more
sophisticated than ever. Among their concerns are budget cutbacks in
some agencies -- including a hiring freeze in the Drug Enforcement
Administration -- and community opposition to the surveillance towers.
Johnny Sutton, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Texas, said he
would need at least 20,000 new Border Patrol agents in El Paso alone to
hold back the tide. But that is the total number of agents that
Washington hopes to have along the whole border by the end of 2009.
In six years, Sutton's office has tried 33,000 defendants, about 90% of
them on drug and immigration violations. "We're body-slamming them the
best we can," he said.
In Phoenix, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said there were 10,000
inmates in his jail and overflow tents; 2,000 of them are "criminal
aliens" from the border, he said. His deputies are investigating the
deaths of 13 people executed in the desert.
Jennifer Allen, director of Border Action Network, a Tucson nonprofit
that supports immigrants' rights, said Washington and Mexico City need
fresh approaches. "The smugglers are no longer mom-and-pop
organizations. Now it's an industry," she said. "So the violence
increases. That's incredibly predictable."
Raul Benitez, an international relations professor in Mexico City who
also taught at American University in Washington, blames both countries
for the crime wave. As long as Americans crave drugs and the cartels
want money, Benitez said, "security in both directions is jeopardized."
Nestor Rodriguez, a University of Houston sociologist, said people on
both sides of the Rio Grande viewed themselves as one community.
"People say, 'The river doesn't divide us,; it unites us,' " he said.
"When you're at ground zero at the border, you see yourselves as one
community -- for good or bad."
Rodriguez knows. His first cousin, Juan Garza, born in the United States
but trained by criminals in Mexico, ran his own murder-and-drug
enterprise out of Brownsville, Texas. He was executed in 2001 by the
United States.
"Of course there is a spillover of violence into this country,"
Rodriguez said.
"It's pouring across our border, and anybody can get caught up in it."
The small town of Sierra Vista, Ariz., learned firsthand of the rising
violence in 2004, when police chased a pickup carrying 24 illegal
immigrants on the border town's main drag, Buffalo Soldier Trail. Speeds
reached up to 100 mph. The truck went airborne, hit half a dozen cars
and killed a recently married elderly couple waiting at a stoplight.
"It was just the worst kind of tragedy," said Cochise County Atty. Ed
Rheinheimer. "The coyotes [smugglers] are just more willing to either
shoot at the police, fight with the police, or to try to flee."
Even more brazen have been several kidnappings of 50 to 100 immigrants
by rival cartels, which hide them in stash houses in and around Phoenix
until families pay a ransom. One captive's face was burned with a
cigarette, another person nearly suffocated in a plastic bag. A woman
was raped. Fingers have been sliced off and sent back to families with
demands for money.
The border-crime issue became so urgent in Arizona that top officials
met in Tucson in June with their counterparts from Sonora, Mexico.
Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano agreed to help train Sonoran police to
track wire payments to smugglers. Sonoran Gov. Eduardo Bours agreed to
improve police communications with U.S. authorities.
In the first nine months of the fiscal year, Tucson officials have
surpassed last year's record of 4,559 arrests over migrant smuggling.
And so far this year, in tiny Douglas, Ariz., the Mexican consulate has
identified the bodies of five Mexican nationals who died under
suspicious circumstances while crossing into the United States, and he
is awaiting the identification of another five he presumes were Mexicans
as well. There were only seven such deaths last year.
Statewide the picture is equally bleak. Homicides of illegal crossers is
up 21% over last year.
Another visible effect of the cross-border crime wave is the flood of
drugs into the country.
Anthony J. Coulson, assistant special agent in charge of the DEA in
Arizona, said records indicated that cocaine and heroin seizures may end
up twice as high as last year. Marijuana seizures are increasing 25%.
Nine months into the current fiscal year, he said, his team had already
seized more pot than all of last year. "And 2006 was a record year," he
said.
In the Tucson sector alone there has been a 71% increase in marijuana
seizures over the last fiscal year, with the Border Patrol reporting
648,000 pounds confiscated since October.
In the Phoenix suburb of Scottsdale, Arpaio said, a cartel operative was
openly selling heroin to high school students. "He was getting 150 calls
a day on his cellphone," the sheriff said.
The DEA believes 80% of the methamphetamine in the United States is
coming from labs in Mexico, which were set up after police raids shut
down many of the labs in the U.S.
In Dallas, police are dealing with the deaths of 21 high school students
from "cheese heroin," a mixture of Mexican heroin and over-the-counter
cold medicine. A hit sells for $2 to $5. Several arrests of dealers have
been made; now officials are bracing for the coming school season.
"It's a small packet," said Lt. Tom Moorman of the Dallas Police
Department. "They can carry it in a pack of gum. Very, very small."
Antonio Oscar "Tony" Garza Jr., the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, has
issued repeated notes to the Mexican government. Last year he sent an
advisory to American tourists that "drug cartels, aided by corrupt
officials [in Mexico], reign unchecked in many towns along our common
border."
A House subcommittee on domestic security has investigated the "triple
threat" of drug smuggling, illegal border crossings and rising violence,
and it found that "very little" passes the border without the cartels'
knowledge.
The panel found that cartels send smugglers into the United States fully
armored with equipment -- much of it imported to Mexico from the United
States -- including high-powered binoculars and encrypted radios,
bazookas, military-style grenades, assault rifles and silencers, sniper
scopes and bulletproof vests. Some wear fake police uniforms to confuse
authorities as well as Mexican bandits who might ambush them.
The panel's report cited numerous recent crimes. In McAllen, Texas, "two
smuggled women from Central America were found on the side of a road
badly beaten and without clothing. Their captors intimidated the victims
by shooting weapons into the walls and ceiling as they were raped." In
Laredo, Texas, Webb County sheriff's deputies came upon 56 illegal
immigrants locked in a refrigerator trailer; 11 were women, two
children. After six hours, "many were near death by the time they were
rescued."
It was in Laredo last summer where police encountered Rosalio Reta, then
17, a Houston native who fell under the spell of the Gulf Cartel across
the river. Known as Bart, the youth was 13 when he started visiting
Mexico.
"They walk across the bridge," said Laredo Det. Robert Garcia, who
investigated a murder that involved Reta. "They see all the nightclubs
with no age limit. They see the guys their age spending money, throwing
money around, paying for everything. They like the lure, the women, the
fancy cars. They start moving weapons and guns and pretty soon they
start asking for money for hits."
Garcia said Reta told him how he helped break a cartel leader out of a
Mexican prison. From there he moved up to become a hit man and returned
to Texas behind the wheel of a $70,000 Mercedes Benz, Garcia said.
Then last year a Laredo man, Noe Flores, was killed in front of his
home, shot by mistake because the cartel thought Flores was his
half-brother.
In a written statement to police, Reta admitted to driving the car with
two accomplices. One of them, identified by Reta as Gabriel Cardona,
jumped out and "shot two rounds at first," he wrote.
"That was when he fell to the floor and then shot em 13 more rounds and
that was when Jesus Gonzales [the other alleged accomplice] started
shooting from the rear windows.
"Then we left the sene of the crime and we left the car like 3 blocks
away. The work was done for the Gulf Cartel of Mexico."
At trial last month, a witness said Reta and the accomplices were paid a
total of $15,000 for the hit. But the case ended abruptly when Reta
pleaded guilty in return for a 40-year sentence; he had faced 99 years.
Webb County Judge Joe Lopez told the youth: "It's a young life. Come to
terms with your God and your faith, or whatever it may be."
Cardona also pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 80 years. Gonzales was
arrested but made bail, and he disappeared back into Mexico.
Reta awaits trial in a second case, involving the ambush slaying in
December 2005 of Moises Garcia, shot in his car in a Laredo restaurant
parking lot as his pregnant wife and family watched helplessly.

26861  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: August 21, 2007, 09:54:12 AM
I certainly agree that there is a certain orientation around here-- this is a forum, not a news organization, but I think on the whole we are dedicated to a search for truth and there is far more fact and quality analysis to be found here than on the typical TV broadcast featuring some Barbie and Ken dolls.

I easily understand that some of the posts are long  and not everyone has time to read all of them BUT when someone participates in the conversation, it makes sense to me that that someone should be reading the answers that people took the time to paste or write before posting again-- then you would know whether your point has been acknowledged or not. 

Once again, NO ONE here says everyone fighting us is an Islamofascist-- indeed I think most of the posts written here are quite aware that the situation is quite complex-- for example, try reading the posts by Stratfor that I make here analyzing the situation-- at the same time I think Michael Yon, who writes from the front lines as few do, persuasively makes the point that AQ stirs up a goodly percentage of the discord with which we are dealing.  I've brought his site and his reports specifically to your attention to answer your question on this point.  Have you read them?

Yes, OF COURSE some of the people fighting us do so out of some nationalistic impulse.  Forgive me, but I think the point rather obvious and frequently made in many of the posts here, so when you write as if it isn't, I'm left not sure what to say.  I also think that this nationalistic impulse on the part of the Sunnis has seen a change in strategy in Anbar, which last year had been written off by the conventional wisdom of the MSM.  However, the Sunnis who were so motivated, now seem to be working with us rather well-- now that they have gotten a taste of AQ!-- and now that they are getting a taste of Shiite hit squads!

That other person to whom you refer took the pretty special position of actually opposing American success.  Frankly, that message around here is going to receive a tough reception!

You made a post a few days ago that I thought represented a particularly clear example of an unsound thought process and at the time I answered that I was out of town on a keyboard that is tough to work with and that when I got home I would take a stab at explaining why I thought so.  I'm still here in Temecula with a laptop that is irritating to work with, so my response on this particular point will have to wait a bit more.
26862  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: August 21, 2007, 02:20:44 AM
Woof Tom:

I'm rather proud of this forum.  By and large I think the level of the material contributed here and the commentary thereon is quite a bit above the level of the generic six o'clock news report.

I really didn't know where you got this idea that anyone here thinks that everyone shooting at us is an Islamofascist or the idea that no one is articulating strategy , , , until I read your post of two posts ago.  The answer was so blindingly simple that it hadn't occurred to me-- you're not reading many of the posts that people are taking the time to make in response to what you ask and what you say. rolleyes

"As for the posts yea they are great......But your right I don't read all of them......I work for a living and don't have the time.......I'am much like main stream America and get most of my info from the 6oclock news....generally accurate to a certain extent and no more biased than any other.......depending on who you talk to."

If you think the typical evening TV news report is intelligent, informed and fairly accurate and its bias level is not worth noting, I'm not really sure what to say other than you might consider reading in depth around here if and when you have the time.  And if you don't have the time to read what people post in response to you, then why should I respond to what to me also appears to be pasta flinging?
26863  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Stock Market on: August 20, 2007, 10:00:02 AM
David Gordon comments (see previous post for URL)


17 August 2007
Back to the drawing board

I receive many messages this morning that read, in part, "Praise be the FRB! Today's discount rate cut kick starts the markets' rally..." -- which could not be farther from the truth.

Today's action by the FRB does not, by itself, cause a reversal (up), but does exacerbate the short term up trend that kicked into gear yesterday.

Please recall that traders had their signals, purchased yesterday at varying points based on each trader's objectives, and would likely purchase more shares today based upon tick by tick data. Today's news reverses the previous trend: the sellers suddenly stand aside, as the buyers crush the doors attempting to get into this (new) market trend. Its duration, however, remains to be determined.

So, to reiterate, today's FRB action merely exacerbates what was to occur anyway.
-- David M Gordon / The Deipnosophist
26864  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Can someone tell me if these look real to you on: August 19, 2007, 11:12:42 PM
They look realer than half the breasts in Los Angeles, , ,
26865  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Losing Weight and Protein Shakes on: August 19, 2007, 11:11:11 PM
Protein shakes give me the drizzlies.   shocked Therefore they are a violation of Crafty Dog's Principles of Diet "Food is the origin of the feces.  Eat so you defecate well." (c) DBI

26866  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: When the Excrement hits the Fan on: August 19, 2007, 11:08:55 PM
OK Sarge, for those of us who are acronyminally challenged, WTF is that? cheesy

Also, I've heard about these smoke hoods.  Any one have any useful intel? URLs?
26867  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Umpad Corto-Kadena on: August 19, 2007, 10:26:27 AM
Hat tip to Terry Crutcher of the DBMAA for his post on our forum for the following:
==================

The computer I am on at the moment does not allow me to see the following, but I suspect it will be of interest here:

http://inosanto.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=325&Itemid=64

Tinikling:

http://www.likha.org/galleries/tinikling.asp


Fonzie for President


The dance from the Lanao province uses twelve bamboo poles arranged in a double criss-cross fashion. While dancing, the Princess carries two jeweled fans called, "apir" which she moves in a stylized fashion. ...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8R_EWyqu_ck



In the Muslim area in the Philippines the dance is usually performed by the lady-in-waiting to the daughter of the Sultan ...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSlitlXM588&mode=related&search=


The ordabis and sword and shield movement are intresting in this one.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxxNT7BsRLg&NR

26868  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Huckabee in WSJ on: August 19, 2007, 09:21:26 AM
Contender?
Arkansas's former governor offers a strange brew of populism and environmentalism.

BY BRIAN M. CARNEY
Saturday, August 18, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

NEW YORK--"Are you with Mike?"

The question is not a political one. Your correspondent has arrived at NPR's studios in midtown Manhattan, there to squeeze in an interview with former Arkansas governor and current presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. Mr. Huckabee is in the studio, but he arrived alone, and the slightly flummoxed receptionist asks everyone who comes through the door if he's one of Mike's people. None of them are.

Mr. Huckabee arrived late for the radio taping--he couldn't find a taxi at Penn Station--so I settle into a chair to wait for the candidate to emerge.

A week ago, Mike Huckabee was having trouble getting potential donors to return his calls. But after coming in a surprise second in the Iowa straw poll last weekend, the former Arkansas governor is on a media and fund-raising blitz. The man who greets me, with a firm handshake and a warm smile, is physically unassuming and seems slightly too small for the suit he's wearing--which he may be, having famously lost more than 100 pounds after being diagnosed with Type II diabetes a few years back.

Mr. Huckabee settles into a chair in NPR's 19th-floor conference room as I ask him why he's running for president. He offers some preliminaries about his executive experience in Arkansas and his ability in that state to work across the aisle to get things done with a Democratic state Assembly. Then he goes for the heart of the matter as he sees it:

"If the Republicans have a chance next year," Mr. Huckabee says, "the criteria are: No. 1, someone who can communicate our message to the people of our country and win them back, because we've lost a lot of them.

"No. 2, it's someone who has consistency on the principles and the core values that have caused people to be Republican. That includes the sanctity of life, it includes fiscal conservativism. It certainly includes an adherence to the traditional concept of marriage. It means respect for the Second Amendment. Those are issues that caused a lot of middle America and the South to go Republican." In other words, in line with the media sound bite about Mr. Huckabee, he represents the Republican wing of the Republican Party, the so-called social conservatives that the front-runners are said to have a hard time rallying to their cause.

But Mr. Huckabee doesn't stop there. Instead, he outlines, in broad strokes, a quite different, and somewhat surprising, vision of the Republican Party of the future. Rallying the base to the old standard, Mr. Huckabee says, isn't enough anymore. "A new Republican generation has also got to speak to issues of the environment, education, health care." We'll get back to that. But now Mr. Huckabee is on a roll, and he shifts seamlessly into a critique of his party that seems, oddly, to accept much of his political opposition's criticism of the GOP, and the Bush administration in particular:

"We have to show that we are also problem-solvers, not just ideologues. People are not going to tolerate a government that just is led by people who just believe something. They want a government that is led by people who can do something. And all the beliefs in the world don't change the dynamics if we're unable to function and function effectively." This is Mr. Huckabee-as-triangulator, as pragmatist.





One central theme of Mr. Huckabee's campaign that he hasn't mentioned yet is his support for the Fair Tax, a proposal to replace the federal income tax with a sales tax of either 23% or 30%, depending on how you count. So I ask him if he really expects the repeal of the 16th Amendment, the one that granted the federal government the authority to levy income taxes in the first place. "I hope we would [repeal it]. That's the whole point." But hope, of course, is not a plan. Does he have one? "I'd go directly to the people, sell it to them, and then ask them to sell it to Congress."
So much for taxes. Since he brought up the environment, what is his view on climate change? "My view is that we have allowed it to become a political issue rather than an issue about being responsible inhabitants of earth. . . . The one thing that's, to me, indisputable, is that we have a responsibility to be better stewards of the environment. So why we have any problems is to me of less importance than that we clearly need cleaner air, clean water, good soil. Anything we do that does in fact curb and contain CO2 emissions is a good thing. Because it simply means that there's a cleaner, fresher, more sustainable environment."

So Mr. Huckabee is in favor of curbing carbon-dioxide emissions. Does he have a preferred policy tool to accomplish the goal? "My first thought is that a tax is not the ideal way to try to change behaviors." No carbon tax, then. What about a cap-and-trade system, in which industries are given emissions credits that they can either use or sell? "I sometimes think that this whole idea of carbon credits, it seems to me a bit like buying indulgences from the ancient church. I find that just almost bizarre--that that's the answer, that I can waste all the energy I want and then justify it by writing a check and saying, 'Oh, I bought up some credits.' "

With a carbon tax off the table and cap-and-trade theologically unsound, what's left? "I think every citizen can take some steps. I drive a flex-fuel car. We've replaced most of our light fixtures with fluorescents. . . . I didn't have to do that. The government didn't tell me to do that. It just seems to me a better use of energy and my money." That may be virtuous, but it falls somewhat short of an environmental platform for the new Republican generation. So I ask the former governor whether he approves of the current legislative fad of requiring more ethanol in our gasoline. "I'm from an agricultural state, so I tend to like biofuels and think that they're a very important part of the future of energy."

But the production of ethanol for fuel is itself energy-intensive; at best it offers modest improvements to our current energy dependence. Right?

"It's not as efficient [as gas] right now. But as the technology evolves, it's already far more efficient than it was a few years ago. But I think the answer's going to be a combination of many sources: solar; nuclear; hydrogen, hydrogen cells, which are different than ammonia-based hydrogen; I think wind."





That may be what Mr. Huckabee thinks. But what should the government be doing, if anything, to bring this future about? "The best thing the government could do," Mr. Huckabee replies, "is eliminate any type of penalties on productivity and innovation. One of the reasons that I support the Fair Tax is that it turns all sectors of the economy loose." With Mr. Huckabee, I was beginning to suspect, most roads lead to the Fair Tax.
But he'd mentioned the economy, so I asked what he made of the recent turmoil in the markets. The answer surprised with its populist fervor. "You know, a lot of the folks that are worried now are experiencing maybe a little bit of what the average American worries about every day when they go to work and they're not sure whether any of these hedge-fund managers and their $100 million bonuses are going to sell off the jobs of the people out there in middle America to China, and they're going to lose their paychecks and their pensions."

Is our trade deficit with China something we should be worried about then? "I think we've got to be worried about the trade deficit." Why? "If they were to devalue the dollar through their actions, it would have a dramatically negative impact on our economy." I want to point out that devaluing the dollar relative to the Chinese yuan is precisely what those decrying the trade deficit would like to see happen, but he presses on: "I've also said we don't have free trade if you don't have fair trade and it's not fair trade if they're not abiding by the same rules and regulations that we are."

Fair trade is a hobbyhorse of the left more often than the right, not least because unions view imposing our labor and environmental standards on poor countries as a way of making them less cost-competitive. But Mr. Huckabee isn't done. "We can't even trust toothpaste [from China]. We have contaminated food and now contaminated toys that are coming here because they're so just adamant about making profits and producing enormous levels of goods and getting them into our marketplace that they haven't been as careful, making sure those products have the same level of safety that they would if they were manufactured here."

We should all be able to trust our toothpaste and our baby toys, to be sure. To that end, Senator Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) wants to inspect every container from China for lead-painted children's toys. Is this the sort of thing Mr. Huckabee has in mind?

"I think the Dick Durbin idea is a little bit extreme . . . but there needs to be a greater level of scrutiny." That sounds safe enough, if somewhat vague, but suddenly Mr. Huckabee veers off-target. "I think we ought to know where our food comes from. I'm particularly concerned about the growing incidence of imported food. And part of it is I believe there are three things a country has got to do to be free: It's got to feed itself; it has to be able to fuel itself and it's got to be able to fight for itself. And if it can't do those things, then it's only as free as the nations who provide those things will allow it to be. So if we're dependent on anyone, whether it's the Chinese or the Europeans, for our food, the day they decide to cut off our food supply is the day we cease to have the freedom we currently enjoy."

Food independence was, it is true, long considered a strategic asset, but it seems a quaint goal, at best, in a globalizing world. And our current fixation on plowing under food crops to grow "biofuels" is already driving up food prices in this country. How, then, do we achieve energy and food independence simultaneously? Is it even possible?

Not at the moment, Mr. Huckabee says. "But I believe we can get there." How? "The same way that we developed an atom bomb in really a relatively small period of three years, when science was not nearly as advanced as it is now. The same way we went to the moon eight years from the time John F. Kennedy said we would go."

Is the candidate proposing a federally funded Manhattan Project to achieve food and energy independence from the world? "It doesn't even have to be federally funded as much as it has to be a federally turned-loose innovation in the private sector. Imagine the potential profits out there for those who can develop the clean, sustainable and replaceable domestically produced energy sources." That is code, I take it, for the Fair Tax again.





Until recently, Mr. Huckabee has been mostly an unknown quantity, despite his months-long presence in the race. His second-place finish in Iowa last weekend has brought him a new degree of media attention and scrutiny. The question for Republicans and for his campaign is, now that Mr. Huckabee is getting a closer look, will GOP voters like what they see?
Mr. Carney is a member of the editorial board of The Wall Street Journal.

 
26869  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Nature on: August 19, 2007, 09:04:53 AM
Lions and human friends:

http://clipaday.com/videos/lion-reunited-with-humans-after-years

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/femail/article.html?in_article_id=452820&in_page_id=1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2y90H77aPt0
26870  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues on: August 19, 2007, 08:52:38 AM
Buz:

Glad to see you hammering with the Sheppard piece-- this story is one that needs to be saved from being sent down the memory whole.

Concerning nuclear power:

1) I confess to being someone who is deeply uneasy about nuke power.  I remember the case of the Diablo Canyon reactor here in CA.  The idiots, excuse me the "experts" built it on an earthquake fault.  I gotta say that this strikes me as rather fcuking foolish and my gut reaction to litigation preventing it from being put on line is one of relief. 

2) The subject of waste: Are you saying that new plants will not produce ANY waste?  I'm not impressed yet with "the experts" plan for that mountain in Nevada.

3)  I wonder if Flight 93 was headed for the plant at Three Mile Island in PA on 911?

TAC,
Marc
26871  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Boxing Thread on: August 18, 2007, 05:31:56 PM
Marquez vs. Vasquez:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sw9Hntr9M7g
26872  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Help our troops/our cause: on: August 18, 2007, 09:30:41 AM
Is anyone familiar with this group? http://www.woundedwarriors.org/ Do they make effective use of the monies the receive?  Any other recommended groups?
26873  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: August 18, 2007, 09:19:53 AM
I always find it interesting to get the perspective of Indians on the situation in Afg/Pak.  Due to their long history of problems between Pak and them, they tend to be quite informed and thoughtful.
=============

Pakistan Tribal Unrest Intensifies- International Terrorism Monitor- Paper No. 267

By B. Raman.

Anti-Musharraf and anti-US anger continues to run high in the Pashtun tribal areas of the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan.
 

2.The fresh wave of anger, which initially started after the raid of the Pakistani Army commandoes on the Lal Masjid in Islamabad between July 10 and 13,2007, has further intensified after the death of Abdullah Mehsud, a pro-Taliban tribal leader of South Waziristan and a former detenu at the Guantanamo Bay detention centre in Cuba, at Zhob in Balochistan on July 23,2007 . According to the Pakistan Army, he blew himself up when he was surrounded by the security forces. But, his supporters allege that he was shot dead at point-blank range by the security forces.

3. The intensified anger has not only led to many more clashes between the tribals and the security forces, but also to a boycott of the celebration of Pakistan's 60th Independence Day anniversary in many tribal villages.

4.The "Daily Times" of Lahore reported as follows on August 15,2007: " Many people in the tribal areas marked August 14 as a "black day", in protest at the stepped up military presence in the region near the Pak-Afghan border. Many tribesmen in Khyber Agency and 25 disputed villages adjacent to Mohmand Agency observed the 60th Independence Day by hoisting black flags on their homes. Similarly, tribesmen in South Waziristan, North Waziristan and Bajaur
agencies did not observe Independence Day due to the military's operations in the tribal areas. "For the first time in the country's history, numerous tribesmen did not celebrate Independence Day. There were no selling and buying of national flags and other relevant things in North Waziristan," Haji Gul Noor from Miranshah told Daily Times. "This could be a reaction to military operations and the Taliban may have forbidden tribesmen to celebrate the day," he added."

5.On August 17,2007, seven soldiers and 15 tribals were reportedly killed in clashes in Chackmalai and adjacent areas of North Waziristan. Eleven soldiers were also injured. The clashes occurred when a military convoy came under attack and the security forces retaliated. On August 16,2007, 10 tribals were killed and many injured when Pakistan Army gunship helicopters retaliated after an attack on a military convoy near the same area. In the attack on the convoy, three soldiers were killed and six others injured. On August 14, 2007, the beheaded body of one of the 16 paramilitary Frontier Corps soldiers, kidnapped by militants in the South Waziristan agency a week ago, was found on the Tank-Jandola road. A note left on the body warned that the remaining soldiers would be punished in the same fashion if the tribals' demand for the release of 10 tribal detenus (reportedly Mehsuds) was not met by the Army.
 

6.Is Pakistan a jihadi volcano waiting to erupt?

7.That is the question which has been worrying the minds of many intelligence analysts, Congressmen and policy-makers in the US.

8.They may differ in their assessment of the ground situation in Iraq.

9.But they are all agreed that the ground situation in the Pakistan-Afghanistan region does not bode well for the success of the so-called war on global jihadi terrorism.

10.Recent testimonies by senior intelligence and military officers and non-governmental analysts before Congressional committees and recent debates among aspirants for the Presidential race next year have revealed a convergence of views on both sides of the political spectrum that there has been a worrisome resurgence of Al Qaeda from new sanctuaries in the Pakistani territory.

11.According to them, its command and control, which was badly disrupted by the post-9/11 US military operations in Afghanistan, has been repaired and revamped. It has set up a new jihadi training infrastructure in the North Waziristan area in replacement of its previous infrastructure in Afghan territory, which was destroyed by the US security forces. New recruits have started flowing in---- Arabs as well as non-Arabs. Recruits from the Pakistani diaspora in the West have been in the forefront of the flow of new non-Arab volunteers.

12.The determination and motivation of Al Qaeda and its mix of leaders of old vintage such as Osama bin Laden and his No.2, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and the crop of new post-9/11 recruits remain as strong as ever despite the losses in leadership, cadre strength and resources suffered by it in 2002 and 2003.

13.There is an apparent realization----not yet openly expressed---- that Pakistan's President Gen.Pervez Musharraf has not been such a sincere front-line ally in the war against jihadi terrorism as he was projected to be. He made brave statements on his determination to act against jihadi extremists and terrorists, but his actions on the ground belied his statements.

14.He promised action against the madrasas producing terrorists, but refrained from action against them. He was reluctant to act even against the Lal Masjid, which had set up a jihadi GHQ right under his nose in Islamabad. He was forced to act not by US threats, but by Chinese unhappiness over the kidnapping of six Chinese women by the girl students of the Masjid's madrasa for girls, who accused them of loose morals.

15.He claimed to have effectively sealed the Pakistan-Afghanistan border by deploying thousands of extra troops in the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) to prevent the ingress of the Neo Al Qaeda and Neo Taliban elements from Afghanistan to set up new bases in Pakistani territory. These troops, instead of fighting the terrorists, made peace with them---initially in South Waziristan in 2005 and then in North Waziristan in 2006.

16.He assured the international community that his peace agreements were meant to encourage the local people to rise against the Neo Al Qaeda and the Neo Taliban. Instead of doing so, they joined hands with them and helped them set up new training bases in North Waziristan.

17.The realization is slowly dawning on US intelligence analysts and policy-makers that Musharraf is either unable to act or insincere or both.

18.All this has been taking place at a time when Musharraf's authority has been weakening due to his ill-advised confrontation with the judiciary and the lawyers' fraternity, which ended in an embarrassing loss of face for him when the Supreme Court unanimously ordered the reinstatement of the suspended Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhury. The public rallies in support of the wronged Chief Justice demonstrated the extent of the growing alienation against the General.

19.Balochistan continues to burn. There is a growing clamour for his discarding the post of the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) to which he continues to cling due to fears that he may not be able to control the Army effectively if he ceased to be the COAS. His uniform gives him the power to intimidate his people and opponents. Once he discards it, he may lose his power of intimidation. So he apprehends.

20.He does not have the confidence that his political supporters in the Pakistan Muslim League (Qaide Azam), who are in a majority in the present National Assembly, may be able to retain their majority in the new Assembly to be elected later this year. If his detractors secure a majority, his hopes of continuing as the President for a second term may be belied. Hence, his desperate anxiety to have himself re-elected by the present National Assembly before it is dissolved.

21.The Supreme Court, headed by a Chief Justice who was sought to be humiliated by the General, may come in the way. Nawaz Sharif, the former Prime Minister, has already challenged the various executive orders passed by Musharraf against him. If the Supreme Court upholds Nawaz's petition, it might severely weaken the legal basis of Musharraf's rule.

22.Musharraf has for the present given up the idea of imposing a State of Emergency in order to escape the consequences of his sins of commission and omission. But, he may still use that sword. If he does, there may be violent street protests against him.

23.Public disenchantment on the one side and the spreading Talibanisation and jihadi anger on the other. That is the situation facing Musharraf today. The US is not yet prepared to write him off, but is already considering fall-back options if it has to. Inducting Benazir Bhutto as the Prime Minister to soften the arbitrary image of Musharraf is unlikely to work. She is not very popular among the Mohajirs, the Balochs and even large sections of the Sindhis, despite her being from Sindh. Large sections of senior Army officers do not feel comfortable with her. Moreover, it is doubtful how effective a woman Prime Minister will be against the jihadis, who would look upon her as apostate.

24.Pakistan is not Iran. An Islamic revolution of the Iranian model of 1979 is unlikely. But its FATA and the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) are no different from Afghanistan. The Pashtun tribes, who inhabit these areas, are strongly anti-US and anti-Musharraf. The 9/11 terrorist strikes came from the Pashtun areas of Southern and Eastern Afghanistan. If there is a repeat of 9/11, it would have originated in the Pashtun areas of Pakistan.

25.The anger against both Musharraf and the US is so intense in the Pashtun belt on both sides of the Durand Line that no precise human intelligence has been forthcoming from the people of the area. The communications security of the Neo Al Qaeda is so strong that the available technical intelligence is weak. Despite nearly four years of its operations, the US' intelligence agencies have not been able to establish wherefrom As-Sahab, the Neo Al Qaeda's Psychological Warfare unit, has been operating and silence it.

26.The US is thus in a dilemma. It is not in a position to act on its own due to inadequate intelligence. Nor is it in a position to depend on Musharraf due to his insincerity and ineffectiveness.

27.This dilemma is likely to continue for some time till the capability of the US for the collection of precise intelligence improves. Fears of instability in Pakistan due to political factors and insecurity due to the uncontrolled activities of the Neo Al Qaeda and the Neo Taliban would continue to confront the US policy-makers. Their bold statements of their intention to act are just whistling in the dark in the absence of precise intelligence.

28.There is no end in sight to the US military operations against the Neo Al Qaeda and the Neo Taliban even almost six years after the operations started. This is nothing to be surprised about. Victory in the war is not for tomorrow or the day after. There is no doubt that the US will one day ultimately prevail over the jihadi terrorists. It has to in order to protect its homeland. But that day is still far off.

29.The time has come for the US to have a revamped policy on Pakistan and to make it clear to Musharraf that the days of lollipops are over. That is what the recently passed Congressional Resolution seeking to tie future military and economic assistance to his actions against the jihadis does. This is a good beginning. This has to be followed by pressing him to hold free and fair elections and seek a new mandate from a new Assembly and not from the present one in which his followers have an engineered majority. The lollipops should be withheld if he does not do so.

30.India cannot remain unaffected by these developments. Some of the associates of Al Qaeda in the International Islamic Front (IIF) such as the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM), the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) and the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) are active in India for many years. The developing Indian relations with the US and the increasing US presence in India are a cause for provocation for Al Qaeda. Its intention to target India is already being reflected increasingly in the statements of its leaders. Al Qaeda as an Arab terrorist organization has not yet carried out a terrorist strike in Indian territory. But it is wanting to do so. India should take Al Qaeda's threats seriously and avoid an Al Qaeda orchestrated Pearl Harbour in its territory.


(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com)
26874  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: August 18, 2007, 09:16:45 AM
Tom:

My apologies for not having time at the moment to offer a full reply.  Perhaps tomorrow or Monday.

Marc
26875  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: August 17, 2007, 05:17:15 PM
"We made Iraq the war zone it is today.....I'am willing to admit that are you?"

ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!  IMHO the thought process that comes up with that conclusion is quite unsound.
26876  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Emergency in Peru on: August 17, 2007, 02:19:02 PM
All:

Some of you may know that my mom for the last five years my mom has lived in southern Peru helping the village of Humay, population about  200.  Humay is about 18 miles east of Pisco, pictures of which have figured prominently in the fotos in the news reports the last few days about the huge 8.0 earthquake in Peru.  Humay is about 10 miles from the epicenter of that 8.0 earthquake.  Since then there have been 14 follow-up quakes above 5.0, with most of those being above 5.5.  The devastation is extensive.

On a personal note, my mom, who is a post-youthful 75 years old, with the help of the cook had to smash her way through her living room window as debris rained down blocking the door.  There is a substantial breach in the adobe wall around her property and most of Humay is leveled.  People are sleeping in the streets and are hungry.  Water supplies are rapidly exhausting and people are thirsty.  The two small stores are closed for fear of looting.  There is no electricity and the road to the main road is out of commission.   Social order hangs in the balance.

What about the government?  Well, the Peruvian Army briefly landed a helicopter on the soccer field, unloaded four boxes of shampoo and left.

My mom is carefully husbanding what remains of her gasoline for the generator.  A wall to the prison up the road collapsed during the earthquake and 680 hardened criminals, a number of whom mom put in there, have escaped.  Newspapers are reporting 500 deaths already and the number is sure to climb substantially from there.  In short, the situation is bad.

Some friends of mom in Lima are buying the supplies that they can and are going to see if they can get through.

Which brings me to the purpose of this post-- what you can do:  I am asking each and every person here to donate as generously as they can.  Rarely in this life will you get a chance to get as much bang for the buck as here.  THERE IS NO ORGANIZATIONAL OVERHEAD.  The money will go 100% to my mom, who will spend 100% of it helping the people of Humay.  Five years ago she left her life in the USA behind to go help this village and is perfectly positioned to know what needs to be done, and who should be doing it.

Please make checks out to the "Judy H Foundation" and send them to
Judy H Foundation
c/o Arista Investment Advisors, Ltd
255 Washington Ave. Ext. #106
Albany, NY 12205

If the funds are to be wired, please use the following information:
Citibank NA
111 Wall Street
New York, NY   10043
ABA #:  021000089
FBO:  Charles Schwab & Co. Inc.
A/C #:  40553953
For the benefit of:  Judy H Foundation
Account: # 7107-3796

For tax receipt purposes, please ask those wiring funds to let us know who they are and how much they wired.  They can email my mother's financial advisor Jerry Schwartz at (gnfps@aol.com) or Chris in Albany (aristaadv1@aol.com) or call 518-464-0319 and leave the information.  The identities do not come through with the wire, only the amounts received.

For any who want to check out the Foundation, please go to
www.guidestar.org and search under "Judy H Foundation."
Thanks for all you can do.

Marc
26877  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Spike TV, the Dog Brothers Gathering Webisodes; National Geographic on: August 17, 2007, 02:16:57 PM
No, this kitty BS cheesy has been rejected cheesy Fights are 2 minutes minimum.  They run longer when the ringmaster (usually me) thinks its a good fight.
26878  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Emergency in Peru on: August 17, 2007, 02:14:44 PM
All:

Some of you may know that my mom for the last five years my mom has lived in southern Peru helping the village of Humay, population about  200.  Humay is about 18 miles east of Pisco, pictures of which have figured prominently in the fotos in the news reports the last few days about the huge 8.0 earthquake in Peru.  Humay is about 10 miles from the epicenter of that 8.0 earthquake.  Since then there have been 14 follow-up quakes above 5.0, with most of those being above 5.5.  The devastation is extensive.

On a personal note, my mom, who is a post-youthful 75 years old, with the help of the cook had to smash her way through her living room window as debris rained down blocking the door.  There is a substantial breach in the adobe wall around her property and most of Humay is leveled.  People are sleeping in the streets and are hungry.  Water supplies are rapidly exhausting and people are thirsty.  The two small stores are closed for fear of looting.  There is no electricity and the road to the main road is out of commission.   Social order hangs in the balance.

What about the government?  Well, the Peruvian Army briefly landed a helicopter on the soccer field, unloaded four boxes of shampoo and left.

My mom is carefully husbanding what remains of her gasoline for the generator.  A wall to the prison up the road collapsed during the earthquake and 680 hardened criminals, a number of whom mom put in there, have escaped.  Newspapers are reporting 500 deaths already and the number is sure to climb substantially from there.  In short, the situation is bad.

Some friends of mom in Lima are buying the supplies that they can and are going to see if they can get through.

Which brings me to the purpose of this post-- what you can do:  I am asking each and every person here to donate as generously as they can.  Rarely in this life will you get a chance to get as much bang for the buck as here.  THERE IS NO ORGANIZATIONAL OVERHEAD.  The money will go 100% to my mom, who will spend 100% of it helping the people of Humay.  Five years ago she left her life in the USA behind to go help this village and is perfectly positioned to know what needs to be done, and who should be doing it.

Please make checks out to the "Judy H Foundation" and send them to
Judy H Foundation
c/o Arista Investment Advisors, Ltd
255 Washington Ave. Ext. #106
Albany, NY 12205

If the funds are to be wired, please use the following information:
Citibank NA
111 Wall Street
New York, NY   10043
ABA #:  021000089
FBO:  Charles Schwab & Co. Inc.
A/C #:  40553953
For the benefit of:  Judy H Foundation
Account: # 7107-3796

For tax receipt purposes, please ask those wiring funds to let us know who they are and how much they wired.  They can email my mother's financial advisor Jerry Schwartz at (gnfps@aol.com) or Chris in Albany (aristaadv1@aol.com) or call 518-464-0319 and leave the information.  The identities do not come through with the wire, only the amounts received.

For any who want to check out the Foundation, please go to
www.guidestar.org and search under "Judy H Foundation."
Thanks for all you can do.

Marc
26879  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Peru on: August 17, 2007, 02:13:37 PM


All:

Some of you may know that my mom for the last five years my mom has lived in southern Peru helping the village of Humay, population about  200.  Humay is about 18 miles east of Pisco, pictures of which have figured prominently in the fotos in the news reports the last few days about the huge 8.0 earthquake in Peru.  Humay is about 10 miles from the epicenter of that 8.0 earthquake.  Since then there have been 14 follow-up quakes above 5.0, with most of those being above 5.5.  The devastation is extensive.

On a personal note, my mom, who is a post-youthful 75 years old, with the help of the cook had to smash her way through her living room window as debris rained down blocking the door.  There is a substantial breach in the adobe wall around her property and most of Humay is leveled.  People are sleeping in the streets and are hungry.  Water supplies are rapidly exhausting and people are thirsty.  The two small stores are closed for fear of looting.  There is no electricity and the road to the main road is out of commission.   Social order hangs in the balance.

What about the government?  Well, the Peruvian Army briefly landed a helicopter on the soccer field, unloaded four boxes of shampoo and left.

My mom is carefully husbanding what remains of her gasoline for the generator.  A wall to the prison up the road collapsed during the earthquake and 680 hardened criminals, a number of whom mom put in there, have escaped.  Newspapers are reporting 500 deaths already and the number is sure to climb substantially from there.  In short, the situation is bad.

Some friends of mom in Lima are buying the supplies that they can and are going to see if they can get through.

Which brings me to the purpose of this post-- what you can do:  I am asking each and every person here to donate as generously as they can.  Rarely in this life will you get a chance to get as much bang for the buck as here.  THERE IS NO ORGANIZATIONAL OVERHEAD.  The money will go 100% to my mom, who will spend 100% of it helping the people of Humay.  Five years ago she left her life in the USA behind to go help this village and is perfectly positioned to know what needs to be done, and who should be doing it.

Please make checks out to the "Judy H Foundation" and send them to
Judy H Foundation
c/o Arista Investment Advisors, Ltd
255 Washington Ave. Ext. #106
Albany, NY 12205

If the funds are to be wired, please use the following information:
Citibank NA
111 Wall Street
New York, NY   10043
ABA #:  021000089
FBO:  Charles Schwab & Co. Inc.
A/C #:  40553953
For the benefit of:  Judy H Foundation
Account: # 7107-3796

For tax receipt purposes, please ask those wiring funds to let us know who they are and how much they wired.  They can email my mother's financial advisor Jerry Schwartz at (gnfps@aol.com) or Chris in Albany (aristaadv1@aol.com) or call 518-464-0319 and leave the information.  The identities do not come through with the wire, only the amounts received.

For any who want to check out the Foundation, please go to
www.guidestar.org and search under "Judy H Foundation."
Thanks for all you can do.

Marc
26880  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Emergency Request: on: August 17, 2007, 02:11:56 PM
All:

Some of you may know that my mom for the last five years my mom has lived in southern Peru helping the village of Humay, population about  200.  Humay is about 18 miles east of Pisco, pictures of which have figured prominently in the fotos in the news reports the last few days about the huge 8.0 earthquake in Peru.  Humay is about 10 miles from the epicenter of that 8.0 earthquake.  Since then there have been 14 follow-up quakes above 5.0, with most of those being above 5.5.  The devastation is extensive.

On a personal note, my mom, who is a post-youthful 75 years old, with the help of the cook had to smash her way through her living room window as debris rained down blocking the door.  There is a substantial breach in the adobe wall around her property and most of Humay is leveled.  People are sleeping in the streets and are hungry.  Water supplies are rapidly exhausting and people are thirsty.  The two small stores are closed for fear of looting.  There is no electricity and the road to the main road is out of commission.   Social order hangs in the balance.

What about the government?  Well, the Peruvian Army briefly landed a helicopter on the soccer field, unloaded four boxes of shampoo and left.

My mom is carefully husbanding what remains of her gasoline for the generator.  A wall to the prison up the road collapsed during the earthquake and 680 hardened criminals, a number of whom mom put in there, have escaped.  Newspapers are reporting 500 deaths already and the number is sure to climb substantially from there.  In short, the situation is bad.

Some friends of mom in Lima are buying the supplies that they can and are going to see if they can get through.

Which brings me to the purpose of this post-- what you can do:  I am asking each and every person here to donate as generously as they can.  Rarely in this life will you get a chance to get as much bang for the buck as here.  THERE IS NO ORGANIZATIONAL OVERHEAD.  The money will go 100% to my mom, who will spend 100% of it helping the people of Humay.  Five years ago she left her life in the USA behind to go help this village and is perfectly positioned to know what needs to be done, and who should be doing it.

Please make checks out to the "Judy H Foundation" and send them to
Judy H Foundation
c/o Arista Investment Advisors, Ltd
255 Washington Ave. Ext. #106
Albany, NY 12205

If the funds are to be wired, please use the following information:
Citibank NA
111 Wall Street
New York, NY   10043
ABA #:  021000089
FBO:  Charles Schwab & Co. Inc.
A/C #:  40553953
For the benefit of:  Judy H Foundation
Account: # 7107-3796

For tax receipt purposes, please ask those wiring funds to let us know who they are and how much they wired.  They can email my mother's financial advisor Jerry Schwartz at (gnfps@aol.com) or Chris in Albany (aristaadv1@aol.com) or call 518-464-0319 and leave the information.  The identities do not come through with the wire, only the amounts received.

For any who want to check out the Foundation, please go to
www.guidestar.org and search under "Judy H Foundation."
Thanks for all you can do.

Marc
26881  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hez's Dark Genius on: August 17, 2007, 10:11:05 AM
A year after the 2006 Lebanon War, recognizing Hezbollah’s dark genius
By Jonathan Kay (bio)

This week marks the one-year anniversary of the end of the 2006 Lebanon War. In strictly numerical terms, it was a tiny conflict. Fewer than 2,000 people died, a tiny fraction of the number killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nor did the war result in any territory changing hands, or the regional balance of power shifting permanently in a significant way. But the battle will nonetheless be remembered as an important milestone in the Long War between the West and militant Islam. While the Taliban and al-Qaeda are alienating their would-be followers with nihilistic violence, Hezbollah has developed a far more complex strategy that combines terrorism with sophisticated guerilla warfare, state-of-the-art weaponry, savvy public relations, charismatic leadership and state sponsorship. In fact, the group’s surprisingly strong effort a year ago highlighted at least a half-dozen important innovations in Islamist war-making:

Public relations. Al-Qaeda and the Taliban are shadowy organizations that occasionally emit videos full of rambling apocalyptic speechifying. Hezbollah, on the other hand, operates a full-function satellite channel, Al-Manar Television, that the Israeli air force was never able to put out of commission. Throughout the 2006 Lebanon War, Hezbollah’s charismatic chairman, Hassan Nasrallah, kept up his media profile from undisclosed locations. When Israeli bombs went astray and killed civilians — as they did, most tragically, in the town of Qana on July 30 — Hezbollah media handlers quickly descended on the scene to manage the way the story was reported. Thus was Hezbollah — which had started the war by kidnapping two Israeli soldiers — able to turn world opinion against Israel by the end of the conflict.
Massive state sponsorship. Since its creation in the early 1980s, Hezbollah has been armed, trained and financed by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). Even during the war itself, IRGC officers assisted Hezbollah, and ensured that supply routes through Syria remained open for the group’s fighters. At the United Nations, Iran exerted pressures on its veto-wielding trade partners, China and Russia, to water down any action against Hezbollah. Damascus and Tehran also constrained Israel’s strategy by threatening to bring the Jewish state into a wider regional war.
Missiles. Hezbollah’s use of thousands of Iranian-supplied missiles to bombard northern Israel during the 2006 Lebanon War represented an unprecedented tactic: Until this time, no guerrilla force had made use of such long-range weapons in waging a sustained campaign against enemy population centers. While the missiles had little military effect, they had enormous psychological impact, sending hundreds of thousands of Israelis fleeing southward.
Battlefield weaponry. Iran supplied Hezbollah with not only missiles, but state-of-the-art tactical weapons. Especially effective were guided, shoulder-fired anti-tank weapons, which Hezbollah ambush crews used to attack Israeli vehicles and troop concentrations. Hezbollah fighters were also equipped with modern night-vision equipment, erasing the night-time advantage that Western armies have come to take for granted.
The creation of a wholesale terrorist mini-state in southern Lebanon. This innovation permitted Hezbollah fighters to act entirely unconstrained by Lebanon’s army and government. It also complicated Israel’s response by turning the conflict into a three-way affair, in which Lebanon itself was cast as an innocent bystander being made to suffer for Hezbollah’s actions. By separating its jihadi cause from any particular sovereign, geographical entity, Hezbollah enjoyed the benefit of territorial control without the obligations and vulnerabilities that go with governance.
Cleverly concocted righteous fury. Hezbollah has always styled itself as a Lebanese “resistance” group.” When Israel evacuated its forces from Lebanon in 2000, this raison d’être was eliminated. But Hezbollah managed to keep its “resistance” campaign alive by insisting that the uninhabited Israeli-controlled Shebaa Farms border region is actually Lebanese territory. Unlike Islamist fanatics in other countries, moreover, Hezbollah has paid proper attention to domestic Muslim politics. From the beginning, the group has presented itself as the champion of Lebanon’s long-suffering Shiites. In the aftermath of last year’s war, Hezbollah turned the local destruction to its own advantage by funnelling Iranian cash into distressed Shiite areas.
Terrorists may be evil, but they aren’t stupid. As the migration of suicide bombers from Iraq to Afghanistan shows, they copy what works. And so in coming years, we should expect to see terrorists trying to import these Hezbollah innovations to Pakistan, the horn of Africa, Kashmir, Gaza, the West Bank and other parts of the Muslim world. As tiny as the 2006 Lebanon War was, it may have a gigantic impact on the defining struggle of our times.
26882  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: August 17, 2007, 09:56:31 AM
NY Times:

Liberties Advocates Fear Abuse of Satellite Images
 
By ERIC SCHMITT
Published: August 17, 2007
WASHINGTON, Aug. 16 — For years, a handful of civilian agencies have used limited images from the nation’s constellation of spy satellites to track hurricane damage, monitor climate change and create topographical maps.

But a new plan to allow emergency response, border control and, eventually, law enforcement agencies greater access to sophisticated satellites and other sensors that monitor American territory has drawn sharp criticism from civil liberties advocates who say the government is overstepping the use of military technology for domestic surveillance.

“It potentially marks a transformation of American political culture toward a surveillance state in which the entire public domain is subject to official monitoring,” said Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy for the Federation of American Scientists.

At issue is a newly disclosed plan that Mike McConnell, director of national intelligence, approved in May in a memorandum to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, which puts some of the nation’s most powerful intelligence-gathering tools at the disposal of domestic security officials as early as this fall.

The uses include enhancing seaport and land-border security, improving planning to mitigate natural disasters, and determining how best to secure major events, like the Super Bowl or national political conventions. Eventually, state and local law enforcement officials could be allowed to tap into the technology on a case-by-case basis, once legal guidelines are worked out, administration officials said.

Spy satellites, which provide higher-resolution photographs than commercial satellite imagery, and in real time, have traditionally been used overseas to monitor terrorist movements and nuclear tests. Their expanded use in domestic surveillance marks a new era in intelligence gathering, conjures up images of “Big Brother in the sky,” and raises civil liberties concerns.

“This touches so many Americans, it can’t be allowed to be discussed behind closed doors,” said Caroline Fredrickson, director of the Washington legislative office of the American Civil Liberties Union.

The new data sharing comes as Congress passed legislation this month that broadened the Bush administration’s authority to eavesdrop without warrants on some Americans’ international communications.

Administration officials say that in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, the government has been looking for ways to use spy satellites and other sensors to strengthen the nation’s defenses against terrorism.

“The view after Sept. 11 was that we ought to move this to homeland security and broaden the domain,” Charles E. Allen, the Department of Homeland Security’s top intelligence officer, said Thursday in a telephone interview. “We obviously believe this is a good expansion.”

The new plan largely follows recommendations included in a 2005 independent study group led by Keith R. Hall, a former head of the National Reconnaissance Office who is a vice president of the consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton.

“Today, policies and practices governing the use of I.C. capabilities, many of which predate 9/11, discourage rather than encourage use by domestic users especially law enforcement,” the report said. The abbreviation I.C. refers to the intelligence community.

“The ultimate effect is missed opportunities to collect, exploit and disseminate domestic information critical to fighting the war on terrorism, preparing for, responding to, and recovering from disasters natural and man-made,” the report said.

The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 prohibits the active-duty military forces from conducting law enforcement missions on American soil, and Mr. Allen underscored that the new information-sharing would not violate that ban.

Mr. Allen said that the new program would be especially useful for disaster planning, and for policing land and seaports. He said the effort might eventually share information with domestic law enforcement officials but only after a careful review that would take several months.

“We are not going to be penetrating buildings, bunkers or people’s homes with this,” Mr. Allen said. “I view that as absurd. My view is that no American should be concerned.”

A new office within the Homeland Security Department, called the National Applications Office, will be responsible beginning in October for coordinating requests from civilian agencies for spy satellite information.

The Homeland Security Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence would be responsible for overseeing the program. Reviews would be conducted by agency lawyers, inspectors general and privacy officers.

Civil liberties advocates complained that the agencies could not be trusted to supervise themselves, and that Congress needed to play a larger oversight role.

An official with the House Intelligence Committee said the panel had been notified of the program last spring but had not been given details of the data-sharing, and would ask for a full briefing when lawmakers returned in September from their summer recess.

“Crystal-clear rules on the use of such information are needed to protect the privacy of the American people,” said Representative Jane Harman, a California Democrat who heads the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing and Terrorism Risk Assessment.
26883  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Peru on: August 17, 2007, 09:49:15 AM
NY Times

LIMA, Peru, Aug. 16 — A day after a powerful earthquake devastated cities along Peru’s southern coast, government officials put the death toll at 437, with at least 17,000 people displaced and with wide areas without power, telephone service or road access on Thursday night.


 
Mariana Bazo/Reuters
A coffin being carried through debris on Thursday in Pisco, a port city where at least 300 victims of Wednesday’s earthquake died. More Photos »


A boy offered comfort at a makeshift hospital opened in Pisco. The quake was one of the worst ever recorded in Peru. More Photos >
At least 300 of the dead were in Pisco, a port city about 125 miles south of Lima, and more were thought to be buried in rubble, local officials said. Dozens were inside the San Clemente cathedral, which was full for Mass when the quake caused it to cave in around 6:40 p.m. on Wednesday. Witnesses said the spire bell clanged horribly in the seconds before it tumbled down.

“I am a real man, but last night I was scared,” said Luis Chávez, 31, who was in the main square when the cathedral collapsed. “There was so much dust that all I could think of was the World Trade Center pictures.”

The mayor of Pisco, Juan Mendoza Uribe, said the quake had destroyed as much as 70 percent of the city. “So much effort and our city is destroyed,” he said, crying audibly, in comments broadcast on the radio station RPP in Lima.

Power and water service were still out in Pisco on Thursday night, and many residents said they would sleep outside again, afraid that aftershocks could topple more structures. In the city center, the wreckage of dozens of old adobe homes lay in the streets. Rescuers, working well into the night, were often forced to walk far out of their way as they carried bodies, sometimes in shouldered coffins, toward a makeshift morgue at the hospital.

In nearby Chincha Alta, a wall collapsed at the Tambo de Mora prison, and about 680 prisoners escaped, according to Manuel Aguilar, vice president of the National Institute of Penitentiaries. About 29 were recaptured and sent to another jail, he said. An Associated Press Television News cameraman in Chincha Alta reported seeing at least 30 bodies laid out on a hospital balcony.

Judith Luna Victoria, a spokeswoman for the National Civil Defense Institute, said that the number of confirmed dead was 437 and the number of injured was more than 800, but the toll was expected to rise.

Officials with the United States Geological Survey on Thursday raised their initial estimate of the strength of the earthquake to a magnitude of 8.0, making it one of the biggest quakes to strike Peru in decades. Throughout the day Thursday, dozens of aftershocks kept rolling through the area, with at least 14 rated at a magnitude of 5 or larger.

Across the region, neighboring governments rushed to offer aid to Peru, including Chile, which on Monday had recalled its ambassador from Peru over a continuing maritime territorial dispute. President Bush offered his condolences, and his spokesman, Gordon D. Johndroe, said a team from the Agency for International Development was in Lima.

President Alan García declared a state of emergency and flew in to visit Pisco and Ica, another hard-hit city to the south. “There has been a good international response even without Peru asking for it, and they’ve been very generous,” he told The Associated Press in Pisco.

The president of the Peruvian Congress, Luis Gonzales Posada, called on large companies to donate water, food, blankets and even coffins to aid in the rescue and reconstruction efforts.

It was one of the worst earthquake tolls recorded in Peru, which is no stranger to the disasters given the major fault line running off its coast. In 2001, a magnitude 8.4 quake struck at Arequipa, killing 138 people. In 1868, a magnitude 9 quake struck and was followed by a tsunami that killed several thousand more people, creating the worst disaster in Peru’s history.

In Lima, the capital, witnesses described the main earthquake as having come in two main waves. Some houses collapsed in the middle of the city, and the quake collapsed many power lines and broke windows across the capital. One person was reported killed on Wednesday.

Fernando Calderon, an American in Lima, said he was in his hotel when the quake struck. In a telephone interview with CNN, he described seeing buildings swaying from right to left as the ground shook.

“Finally we started hearing glass breaking and things falling out of the building, and that’s when everybody started screaming, praying, children crying,” he said. “It was just awful.”

In Ica, dozens of buildings collapsed in the earthquake and aftershocks. The local morgue had received at least 57 bodies as of Thursday, The Associated Press reported.

The quake cracked roads and brought down rocks and soil. The main road through the area, the Pan-American Highway, had only one usable lane over a stretch of more than 20 miles, and traffic was backed up for miles past.

To visit the worst-hit towns, officials, including President García, had to use helicopters.

In Pisco, many of the survivors were in shock, wandering the streets and crowding around the overwhelmed hospital, desperate for reports about loved ones or distraught after receiving the worst kind of news.

“There are corpses all over the place,” Luis García, a reporter for the Lima newspaper El Comercio, said in a telephone interview from Pisco. “The bodies are thrown everywhere and every family is mourning over the loss of a loved one, friend, neighbor or family member.”

He added: “The people need help to remove the rubble. They need tents, water and food, because there is nothing; everything is blocked off, destroyed.”

Reporting was contributed by Ana Cecilia Gonzales Vigil from Pisco, Peru; Jenny Carolina Gonzales from Bogotá, Colombia; Laura Puertas from Lima; and Daniel Cancel from Caracas, Venezuela.
26884  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: August 17, 2007, 09:34:12 AM
Tom:

What is the basis for your claim that we are flattening Iraq?

As for what our strategy is, what did you think of the content of my previous post?
26885  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: August 17, 2007, 09:29:55 AM
The Padilla Verdict
August 17, 2007; Page A12
It took a Miami jury merely a day and a half to convict Jose Padilla, alias Abdullah al-Muhajir, and two co-defendants of terrorism charges that carry a sentence of life imprisonment.

The quick verdict yesterday suggests that the prosecution's evidence in the three-month trial was overwhelming and unambiguous. It ought to quiet opponents of the war on terror who claimed that the reason Padilla was originally held as an enemy combatant -- because he was believed to have been involved in a plot to set off a radioactive "dirty bomb" in a U.S. city -- was a figment of President Bush's or John Ashcroft's imagination.

Of course, it won't. Watch instead as they cite Padilla's conviction as evidence for another favorite claim: that the civilian criminal-justice system is adequate to the task of preventing terrorism, and thus the military shouldn't be holding enemy combatants at all.

In fact, Padilla's case demonstrates the opposite. Before yesterday's verdict, war foes were sneering that prosecutors weren't even charging him in the dirty-bomb plot. That is true, but the reason he wasn't charged for that crime is that the case was procedurally deficient: The military didn't read Padilla his Miranda rights or provide him a lawyer when it interrogated him. Padilla was convicted instead of conspiracy to murder, kidnap and maim people overseas. That means that if war opponents had their way, and if Padilla had been guilty only of planning to kill Americans on U.S. soil, he would walk free today.

This problem may be remediable in a similar future case. No doubt the next time a terrorist is picked up at O'Hare International Airport, FBI agents will read him his rights and make sure to honor them. But it is unreasonable to expect soldiers, Marines and intelligence officers on foreign battlefields to follow police procedures at the same time they're dodging bullets and trying to extract information to prevent attacks on Americans back home. The Padilla decision is reassuring in many respects, but it is not a model for the future handling of enemy combatants.

WSJ
26886  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews on: August 17, 2007, 09:22:36 AM
http://www.aish.com/literacy/jewishhistory/Napoleon_And_The_Jews.asp

Some interesting history about Napoleon and the Jews.
26887  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Geo Political matters on: August 17, 2007, 08:13:05 AM
Indeed. In this regard I am often reminded of Orwell's analysis in 1984.
26888  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The intent of the Founding Fathers on: August 17, 2007, 08:10:59 AM
"The whole of that Bill [of Rights] is a declaration of the
right of the people at large or considered as individuals...t
establishes some rights of the individual as unalienable and
which consequently, no majority has a right to deprive them of."

-- Albert Gallatin (letter to Alexander Addison, 7 October 1789)

Reference: That Every Man Be Armed: The Evolution
of a Constitutional Right, Halbrook; original MS. in
N.Y. Hist. Soc.-A.G. Papers, 2
26889  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Spike TV, the Dog Brothers Gathering Webisodes; National Geographic on: August 17, 2007, 08:09:11 AM
Woof All:

It was Baltic Dog that brought us to the attention of Original Productions/Nat Geo.

TAC,
CD
======================================================

National Geographic Channel (also on their HD (High Definition) channel)
Taboo Season IV: "Proving Ground"
Wednesday, August 22, 2007, 10pm
Thursday, August 23, 1am
Saturday, August 25, 3pm

In some cultures men prove their manhood by enduring pain. Get a pass into
an American Fight Club, where some successful, educated males engage in
physical combat to test their manhood, using anything to attack - blunt
knives, sticks, chairs, even soda cans. On the remote Indonesian island of
Sumba, hundreds of men take part in a time-honored event known as the
Pasola. Facing off in two teams on horseback, they charge toward each other
hurling spears.

Schedule:
http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/ET/daily/20070822.html

26890  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Russia on: August 17, 2007, 08:00:04 AM
Geopolitical Diary: The Limits of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization

The annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) broke in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on Thursday after several hours of photo-ops and grandstanding. On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Hu Jintao will attend military exercises in the Chelyabinsk region in Russia's Ural Mountains. Some 6,000 Russian and Chinese troops, dozens of aircraft and hundreds of armored vehicles and other heavy weapons will participate -- the first such joint drills on Russian soil.

Moscow is most certainly on the move. In the past few months, Russia has pushed against the Baltics and the Caucasus, and it is spinning up for a major effort to bring Ukraine firmly back into its orbit. The United States is distracted by Iraq and unable to act as a check on Russian ambition. The political battle lines along Russia's western frontier are hardening; the question there is, will the United States will be too distracted to push back? And will anyone in Europe dare move against Russia without the Americans at their back?

But looking eastward, as the cities of Europe give way to the steppes of Asia, the grand geopolitic of the Russian resurgence becomes less clearly defined. Unlike Europe, Russia's other border regions are not made up of relatively hostile alliances and economic groupings. The players are more opaque and resistance to Russia's whims is mushy.

Enter the SCO. The grouping was originally formed between China, Russia and a handful of former-Soviet Central Asian autocracies in order to manage the tangle of new borders resulting from the Soviet Union's demise. That the SCO achieved peacefully and successfully. Since then, the organization has groped about for a reason to exist. At times it seems a step away from becoming a framework for a Central Asian alliance; at other times it seems doomed to be reduced to a talk shop.

Thursday's summit -- at which bland promises about law enforcement cooperation and forming a common university were the main takeaways -- seems to fall into the latter category. About the only thing that the SCO can reliably agree on -- and this has become the SCO's perennial anchor point -- is that it does not want the United States mucking around in Central Asia.

Russia's problem in harnessing organizations such as the SCO to its needs are simple: There is another major power poking around in the region. That power, of course, is China. And as Moscow and Washington settle into dangerously familiar patterns, the question inevitably will be: which side is China on?

Russia and China are hardly hostile to one another, but there is certainly an inbuilt tension. The Chinese consider part of the Russian Far East to be their territory, and many of the native Central Asian and Siberian cultures are far more closely tied to Beijing than to Moscow. China needs masses of resources in order to continue developing -- resources that lie just across the border with Russia.

It is in Central Asia -- specifically under the aegis of the SCO -- where these two Asian giants meet and compete. While Russia is clearly the more aggressive power, it has been coasting on its imperial and Soviet links to maintain influence in the region, while the Chinese have been steadily and unobtrusively asserting their influence in subtle but effective ways. Nearly all of the Central Asian road, rail and energy infrastructure built before 1991 accesses the outside world via Russia -- nearly all built since then accesses the world via China.

The Russia-China disconnect is more than "simple" competition, and is both geopolitical and strategic in nature. Russia wants to push out and re-establish its empire; China wants to keep its head down and deal with its internal problems quietly.

But ultimately, the two cannot form a functional alliance because of a fundamental difference in mindset: Russia feels it is destined for a conflict with the United States, while China wants to avoid one at all costs. So long as that remains the case, the United States maintains the freedom to play the two powers against each other as the politics of the day demand -- just as it did for the last generation of the Cold War -- and the SCO will remain a place where Russian and Chinese differences are peaceably compared, but never really resolved.
26891  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: August 17, 2007, 12:08:56 AM
U.S.: Upping the Ante with Iran
August 15, 2007 14 08  GMT



Summary

The United States has just significantly upped the ante in negotiations with Iran over Iraq by threatening to designate Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization. The thought of designating the IRGC as a terrorist organization has been floating in the U.S. Congress for some time now, but Washington has a clear purpose in sending strong hints to Iran that the decision is imminent at this stage of the Iraq negotiations.

Analysis

The United States has just significantly upped the ante in negotiations with Iran over Iraq by threatening to designate Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization. The threat, leaked by anonymous U.S. officials to The Washington Post, is an intentional message to Iran.

The message is this: We are not content with your negotiating position, and if you think you are the only side that can ratchet up the level of pain in this situation, you are wrong.

Stratfor has long contended that the negotiations between Washington and Tehran are the key to any possible settlement on the Iraq issue, and that if a deal is to be reached, things will look like they are descending into chaos immediately prior. This is standard bargaining. Each side has to appear as though it is willing to walk away from the table, to the detriment of the other side.

The flip side to this gambit is that if a deal is not reached, Washington has just added much more fuel to the fire.

Sanctions are at best an imprecise tool, but Washington's heavy leaning on Europe has made them much more effective of late. The thought of designating the IRGC as a terrorist organization has been floating in the U.S. Congress for some time now, but Washington has a clear purpose in sending strong hints to Iran that the decision is imminent at this stage of the Iraq negotiations.

There are two implications to this designation. The first and most important right now is money. The United States has long grappled with the challenge of pressuring the international community -- which includes many of Tehran's major energy clients -- to enforce harmful sanctions against Iran. Instead of going through the formal U.N. Security Council sanctions process, Washington has focused instead on a financial strangulation policy that basically involves targeting a number of financial institutions worldwide. The message to these foreign businesses and banks is plain: Continue doing business with Iran and risk losing your business in the United States. Without major international banks' willingness to facilitate Iran's transactions, Tehran will have fewer and fewer options for making purchases without using actual cash. It simply is not possible to operate millions of dollars in transactions daily with suitcases full of cash.

Iran is genuinely suffering from the financial sanctions, which are generating significant domestic pressure on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. By designating the IRGC a terrorist organization, the United States has many more tools at its disposal to cut off funding to an international network that not only fights for Iran, but also finances its fighting through a number of business ventures, ranging from pipeline construction to pharmaceuticals. The current sanctions regime has been increasingly effective, and this new set of tools could put Iran's finances in lockdown. Labeling the IRGC as a terrorist entity, rather than an official state security apparatus, also could significantly hamper Iran's defense deals. By homing in on the wealthiest and most senior IRGC commanders, the United States is threatening the stability of the Islamic Republic and Ahmadinejad's support network.

There also is the symbolic aspect of further isolating Iran and making it appear as less of a legitimate player in the international community. Iran wants to be recognized as a legitimate regional power -- and it cannot be that when its Revolutionary Guard Corps is considered a terrorist organization.

The ball is in Iran's court now.
stratfor.com
26892  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Peru on: August 16, 2007, 10:31:27 PM
Un amigo en Lima escribe:

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

Hola Marc

los hechos actuales (21 00, un día despúes):
Mas de 500 muertos (siguen encontrando cadáveres)
Mas de 1300 heridos.
Ica y Pisco colabsaron (falta de agua, electricidad etc...)
La panamericana esta en algunas partes afectada y destrozada.
El gobierno reaccionó solo con llevar los 400 heridos mas graves vía aerea a
Lima. Ya pasó un día y no hubo ayuda directa del gobierno. No existe un plan
de emergencia. Se necesita agua, alimento, medicina, frazadas, carpas,
atención médica etc...
En Tambo de mora (Chincha) se fugaron 630 de 650 prisioneros despues de la
caída del muro de la carcel.
Se estan mobilisando y organisando muchas empresas y personas para
solidaridarse y dar fines materiales y tambien para ir personalmente a
apoyar a una institución o a defensa civil.
Hubo maretazos y en toda la costa entre Lima y Pisco hubo daño. Evacuaron la
noche pasada a mucha gente que vive cerca de la costa en Lima(Chorrillos,
Lima). Hasta ahora van mas de 700 replicas (movimientos sismicos).
La cosa esta fea en Pisco, Ica. Juntaron los cadáveres en la plaza de armas.
Se requiere de ayuda inmediata. Hay que trasladar los cadáveres, hay que
buscar por sobrevivientes etc...
No hay agua y no hay electricidad. Esperemos que mañana ya se vean avanzes
en la ayuda  gobernal  y apoyo de voluntarios.
En mi trabajo la gente ya se organizo para apoyar donando o siendo
voluntario.
Te mantengo al tanto...
26893  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / An excerpt from a very good read on: August 16, 2007, 06:30:39 PM
Tom:

I think this exposition of the why of our strategy is sound.

==========

The World in a nutshell

This is a presentation by Herbert Meyer. He was the first senior U.S. Government official to forecast the Soviet Union's collapse. For this, he awarded the U.S. National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, the highest honor that can be received from within intelligence community. This presentation was made to a symposium of Chief Executive Officers of several large international corporations, and as such, is directed at questions and answers for business. However, the points he makes are very much in tune with the points being made in many other discussions in the international political arena, and has some impact on the Shaping and IW issues. The business and demographic sections are pretty good.

U.S. Joint Forces Command, Joint Futures Lab

Subject: Four Major Transformations

"Currently, there are four major transformations that are shaping political, economic and world events. These transformations have profound implications for American business owners, our culture and our way of LIFE. "

1. The War in Iraq

There are three major monotheistic religions in the world: Christianity, Judaism and Islam. In the 16th century, Judaism and Christianity reconciled with the modern world. The rabbis, priests and scholars found a way to settle up and pave the way forward. Religion remained at the center of life, church and state became separate. Rule of law, idea of economic liberty, individual rights, human rights all these are defining points of modern Western civilization. These concepts started with the Greeks but didn't take off until the 15th and 16th century when Judaism and Christianity found a way to reconcile with the modern world. When that happened, it unleashed the scientific revolution and the greatest outpouring of art, literature and music the world has ever known.

Islam, which developed in the 7th century, counts millions of Moslems around the world who are normal people. However, there is a radical streak within Islam. When the radicals are in charge, Islam attacks Western civilization. Islam first attacked Western civilization in the 7th century, and later in the 16th and 17th centuries.

By 1683, the Moslems (Turks from the Ottoman Empire) were literally at the gates of Vienna. It was in Vienna that the climatic battle between Islam and Western civilization took place. The West won and went forward. Islam lost and went backward. Interestingly, the date of that battle was September 11. Since them, Islam has not found a way to reconcile with the modern world.

Today, terrorism is the third attack on Western civilization by radical Islam. To deal with terrorism, the U.S. is doing two things. First, units of our armed forces are in 30 countries around the world hunting down terrorist groups and dealing with them. This gets very little publicity. Second we are taking military action in Afghanistan and Iraq. These are covered relentlessly by the media. People can argue about whether the war in Iraq country-region is right or wrong.

However, the underlying strategy behind the war is to use our military to remove the radicals from power and give the moderates a chance. Our hope is that, over time, the moderates will find a way to bring Islam forward into the 21st century. That's what our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan i all about.

The lesson of 9/11 is that we live in a world where a small number of people can kill a large number of people very quickly. They can use airplanes, bombs, anthrax, chemical weapons or dirty bombs. Even with a first-rate intelligence service (which the U.S. does not have), you can't stop every attack. That means our tolerance for political horseplay has dropped to zero. No longer will we play games with terrorists or weapons of mass destruction.

Most of the instability and horseplay is coming from the Middle East. That's why we have thought that if we could knock out the radicals and give the moderates a chance to hold power; they might find a way to reconcile Islam with the modern world. So when looking at Afghanistan or Iraq, it's important to look for any signs that they are modernizing. For example, women being brought into the workforce and colleges in Afghanistan is good. The Iraqis stumbling toward a constitution is good. People can argue about what the U.S. is doing and how we're doing it, but anything that suggests Islam is finding its way forward is good.
, , ,

Implications Of The Four Transformations:

1. The War in Iraq

In some ways, the war is going very well. Afghanistan and Iraq have the ' start' of a modern government, which is a huge step forward. The Saudis are starting to talk about some good things, while Egypt and Lebanon are beginning to move in a good direction.

A series of revolutions have taken place in countries like Ukraine and Georgia. There will be more of these revolutions for an interesting reason. In every revolution, there comes a point where the dictator turns to the general and says, "Fire into the crowd." If the general fires into the crowd, it stops the revolution. If the general says "No," the revolution is over. Increasingly, the generals are saying "No" because their kids are in the crowd.

Thanks to TV and the Internet, the average 18-year old outside the U.S. is very savvy about what is going on in the world, especially in terms of popular culture. There is a huge global consciousness, and young people around the world want to be a part of it. It is increasingly apparent to them that the miserable government where they live is the only thing standing in their way. More and more, it is the well-educated kids, the children of the generals and the elite, who are leading the revolutions.

At the same time, not all is well with the war. The level of violence in Iraq is much worse and doesn't appear to be improving. It's possible that we're asking too much of Islam all at one time. We're trying to jolt them from the 7th century to the 21st century all at once, which may be further than they can go. They might make it and they might not. Nobody knows for sure. The point is, we don't know how the war will turn out. Anyone who says they know is just guessing.

The real place to watch is Iran. If they actually obtain nuclear weapons it will be a terrible situation. There are two ways to deal with it. The first is a military strike, which will be very difficult. The Iranians have dispersed their nuclear development facilities and put them underground. The U.S. has nuclear weapons that can go under the earth and take out those facilities, but we don't want to do that.

The other way is to separate the radical mullahs from the government, which is the most likely course of action.

Seventy percent of the Iranian population is under 30. They are Moslem but not Arab. They are mostly pro-Western. Many experts think the U.S. should have dealt with Iran before going to war with Iraq. The problem isn't so much the weapons; it's the people who control them. If Iran has a moderate government, the weapons become less of a concern.

We don't know if we will win the war in Iraq. We could lose or win. What we are looking for is any indicator that Islam is moving into the 21st century and stabilizing.

26894  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: August 16, 2007, 06:20:17 PM
The Windsor Hezbollah Billboard:CBS Violates Federal Law
2007-08-12 11:16am PT | Total Score: 67 points | Average Rating: 4.19 out of 5 | Post History | Visit Debbie Schlussel

By Debbie Schlussel
Thanks to the many readers who sent me the Windsor Star article about the Hezbollah CBS billboard in downtown Windsor, Ontario, Canada (right over the river from us here in Detroit). The Star is an excellent paper and used to be edited by a friend of mine. I read it regularly, as the same Sharia that is beginning to be instituted here and the same Islamicization we see is magnified ten-fold just a few miles away in another country.
 
CBS' Hezbollah Billboard in Canad

An unidentified party paid to post a pro-Hezbollah billboard, featuring photos of Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, as well as other Hezbollah officials. While that is disturbing, it really is not surprising if you've ever been to Windsor, especially lately. Hezbollah and HAMAS supporters who can't get in here, live freely over there. And others who can't get in here, regularly are smuggled through in car trunks from over there to here. And Hezbollah supporters here have training camps over there.
The billboard may be against the law in Canada, where free speech laws are less absolute, but it's definitely illegal under U.S. law for other reasons.

What's disturbing is that CBS owns the billboard and allowed it to be posted. This is a violation of federal law here in America. It makes no difference that the billboard is in Canada. Federal law prohibits providing material support, including communications (such as a billboard), to terrorist groups. Hezbollah is not only on the State Department Terrorist List, it is also a Specially Designated Global Terrorist Entity by the U.S. Department of Treasury.
Therefore, with the posting of this billboard supporting Hezbollah, CBS has gone beyond the bounds of free speech and entered the boundaries of illegality.
Unfortunately, nothing will likely happen to CBS for doing so. Who enforces the laws? Well, our spineless, wimpy, partial-to-Muslims Justice Department does. They will never pursue CBS for doing so. So, CBS will get away with it.

Conceivably, a victim of Hezbollah terrorism and his/her relatives could try to sue CBS over this material support, but it's a stretch. Such a suit, though, would be interesting because it would force CBS, through discovery, to disclose exactly who paid for the billboard, and let us know exactly who is working for Hezbollah in North America--at least, in connection with the billboard.
For now, you can contact CBS and protest this billboard. Ask CBS why they will allow their billboards (and who knows what other media outlets--CBS radio? CBS television network?) to be used as vessels for a terrorist group's propaganda . . . a terrorist group that murdered over 300 U.S. Marines and civilians in barracks and an embassy in Beirut, almost 100 people in the Buenos Aires Jewish Community Center and Israeli Embassy, and countless U.S. soldiers in Iraq against whom Hezbollah is producing IEDs.

And there is another thing not specified in the article. Windsor's Mayor, Eddie Francis, is a Lebanese Maronite Christian. He is generally a good guy, but he is under pressure from the Muslim community in Detroit, with whom he has broken bread. I'm glad to see he denounced the billboard. For him--a pro-Western Christian Arab in a city with a geometrically-growing Muslim Arab population--that was courageous and laudable. Compared to spineless politicians here, like Michael Chertoff--who regularly visits the open agents and supporters of Iran and Hezbollah--that is a breath of fresh air.

Another positive development: The Windsor Jewish community--to whom I once spoke and with whom I have a good relationship--is, unlike most Jewish communities here in America, especially in Detroitistan. They are a small community that fights against the pan-Islamist winds (in Detroit, the Jewish "leadership" embraces and bows down to those winds). They are less liberal and more proud to be Jews and Canadians. They've spoken out harshly against the billboard, whereas here in Detroit, the Jews would embrace it as a great thing (so-called Detroit Jewish "leaders," like Sharona Shapiro, regularly kiss the butts of Hezbollah's and Iran's agents and full-fledged supporters here).
And for those who keep telling me that most Muslims are against terrorism, please tell me why every Muslim intervied by The Windsor Star praised Hezbollah. Most Muslims may not be involved in terrorism. But most Muslims actively cheer it on. Wake up, Dhummis (not you the readers of this site).
More from The Windsor Star:
Members of the Jewish and Lebanese Christian communities in Windsor are outraged by the appearance of a billboard that appears to promote Hezbollah -- an organization the Canadian government considers terrorist.
"That organization is banned in Canada," said Harvey Kessler, executive director of the Windsor Jewish Community Centre. "How can that billboard be up in Windsor when it represents a terrorist organization which is banned under the laws of Canada?"
Located at the southwest corner of Marion Avenue and Wyandotte Street East, the billboard does not mention Hezbollah by name, but features a central image of Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the controversial political and military group. . . .
Kessler said he feels Nasrallah represents "the opposite of peace. It should be offensive to all people living in Windsor. It should be offensive not only to the Jewish community, but to any Canadian."
Emile Nabbout, president of the Windsor branch of the Lebanese Christian political group Kataeb, said he also thinks Hezbollah is a terrorist organization, and he feels the billboard creates a misconception of the views of Windsor's Lebanese community.
"We really are not in support or in favour of that billboard and it should be removed ASAP," Nabbout said. . . . "By just analyzing the picture, there is no doubt in my mind this is a Hezbollah activity," he added.
Printed in English on the left side of the billboard are the words: "Lebanese and Arab communities in Windsor city congratulate the Lebanese people for their steadfastness and endeavor to establish peace in Lebanon."
But Nabbout said that Arabic writing which appears on the right side of the billboard does not match the English translation. According to Nabbout, the Arabic writing makes a reference to fighting.
"What they mean by 'fight' is basically 'guerrilla' -- using arms and weapons," Nabbout said. "Basically, there is a very specific word... That is a definite difference between the Arabic and the English."
Contacted on Friday night, Mayor Eddie Francis said he was made aware of the billboard earlier in the day. Asked if he is concerned about its presence, Francis said: "The politics of Lebanon belong in Lebanon, not on the streets of Windsor."
Francis said he has no idea who was responsible for the billboard, but the city is now looking into whether its content violates any rules. . . .
According to [Muslim Windsor resident Sam] Ali, the accusations that Hezbollah is terrorist are untrue. "Hezbollah is freedom fighting. Whoever calls them terrorist is a liar," he said. . . .
Fellow Lebanese native and Muslim Ghina Maawie said she doesn't understand why anyone would be offended by the billboard. "When I saw it, I felt so happy and so proud of it," she said.
=====================

26895  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: August 16, 2007, 05:11:53 PM
David S. Broder: Shaking up presidential race
Sacramento Bee, Opinion


David S. Broder

When Fred Thompson makes his long-delayed entrance into the Republican presidential race, he will not tiptoe quietly.

Instead, he will try to shake up the establishment candidates of both parties by depicting a nation in peril from fiscal and security threats -- and prescribing tough cures he says others shrink from offering.

In a two-hour conversation over coffee at a restaurant near his Virginia headquarters, the former senator from Tennessee said that when he joins the battle next month, he "will take some risks that others are not willing to take, in terms of forcing a dialogue on our entitlement situation, our military situation and what it's going to cost" to assure the nation's future.

After spending most of the last few years on TV's "Law and Order," and starting a new family with two children under 4, the 65-year-old lawyer says he finds himself motivated for the first time to seek the White House.

"There's no reason for me to run just to be president," he said.

"I don't desire the emoluments of the office. I don't want to live a lie and clever my way to the nomination or election. But if you can put your ideas out there -- different, more far-reaching ideas -- that is worth doing." Thompson, like many of the others running, has caught a strong whiff of the public disillusionment with both parties in Washington -- and the partisanship that has infected Congress, helping to speed his own departure from the Senate.

But he says he thinks that the public is looking for a different kind of leadership. "I think a president could go to the American people and say, 'Here's what we need to be doing. and I'm willing to go half-way.' Now you have to make them (the opposition) go half-way." The approach Thompson says he's contemplating is one that will step on many sensitive political toes. When he says "we're getting a free ride" fighting a necessary war in Iraq with an undersized military establishment, "wearing out our people and equipment," it sounds like a criticism of the president and the Pentagon.

When he says he would have opposed adding the prescription drug benefit to Medicare, "a $17 trillion add-on to a program that's going bankrupt," he is fighting the bipartisan judgment of the last Congress.

When he says the FBI is perhaps incapable of morphing itself into the smart domestic security agency the country needs, he is attacking another sacred cow.

Thompson repeatedly cites two texts as fueling his concern about the country's future. One is "Government at the Brink," a two-volume report he issued as chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee at the start of the Bush administration in 2001 and handed to the new president's budget director as a checklist of urgent management problems in Washington.

The difficulties outlined in federal procurement, personnel, finances and information technology remain today, Thompson said, and increasingly "threaten national security." His second sourcebook contains the scary reports from Comptroller General David Walker, the head of the Governmental Accountability Office, on the long-term fiscal crisis spawned by the aging of the American population and the runaway costs of health care. Walker labels the current patterns of federal spending "unsustainable," and warns that unless action is taken soon to improve both sides of the government's fiscal ledger -- spending and revenues -- the next generation will suffer.

"Nobody in Congress or on either side in the presidential race wants to deal with it," Thompson said. "So we just rock along and try to maintain the status quo. Republicans say keep the tax cuts; Democrats say keep the entitlements. And we become a less unified country in the process, with a tax code that has become an unholy mess, and all we do is tinker around the edges." Thompson readily concedes that he does not know "where all those chips are going to fall" when he starts challenging members of various interest groups to look beyond their individual agendas and weigh the sacrifices that could assure a better future for their children.

But these issues -- national security and the fiscal crisis of an aging society with runaway heath care costs -- "are worth a portion of a man's life. If I can't get elected talking that way, I probably don't deserve to be elected."

Thompson says "I feel free to do it" his own way, and that freedom may just be enough to shake up the presidential race.
26896  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Peru on: August 16, 2007, 04:39:06 PM
Un email de un amigo en Lima:

felizmente en Lima no hubo tanta destrucción. El terremoto era de 8.0 scala
Richter. La peor parte
se llevó la region Pisco/Ica. En Lima se sintio y se veia como se movia la
calle, era una sensacion como
estar surfeando, el piso se movia en todas direcciones. En la región de Ica
hasta ahora hay 430 muertos y muchisima gente se quedo sin vivienda. 
Desgraciadamente van a haber aun mas muertos ya que falta regiones y puebles
alejados como Lunahuana etc...Despues del primer terrremoto hubo un segundo
menos fuerte, pero el primero fue de 2 minutos que nos pareció como media
hora. Despues hubieron 120 replicas que apenas se sentian. Se cayó tambien
toda comunicación, eso fue feo, porque nadie se pudo comunicar con sus
familias y casas y la gente en la calle llorando de la desesperación.
En Chincha (cerca de Ica) se escaparon 600 prisioneros de la carcel durante
el terremoto (agarraron recien a 3o).
Hay saqueos (robos), pero tambien mucha gente se esta yendo al Sur a ayudar
con víveres etc...
26897  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Stock Market on: August 16, 2007, 01:52:00 PM
Another red day for most, but LNOP is up nicely.
26898  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Particular Stocks on: August 16, 2007, 01:21:43 PM
David Gordon's comments are always worth careful consideration:

http://eutrapelia.blogspot.com/
26899  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Peru on: August 16, 2007, 12:30:42 PM
Acabo de recibir noticias.  Mi madre estaba en la sala cuando el grande terromoto (ahora se dice que fue 8.0) pego'.  El techo parcialmente se cayo' y con ello la puerta al exterior.  Fortunadamente una amiga estaba visitando y ella se le ayudo' a mi madre (quien tiene 75 anos) salir por una ventana.  Ellas se durmieron en el van con los perros (dos Rotts). 
26900  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Peru on: August 16, 2007, 12:09:09 PM
http://earthquake.usgs.gov/eqcenter/recenteqsww/Quakes/quakes_all.php
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