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27501  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Media Issues on: November 16, 2006, 07:35:13 PM
Like it says.  We open with a Time Magazine editor apparently getting caught changing the facts.

http://www.honestreporting.com/articles/45884734/critiques/Time_Magazine_Gets_Caught_Lying.asp
27502  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Plan B part two on: November 16, 2006, 10:43:03 AM
As for Iraq's other interested neighbor, Turkey, we should make it explicitly clear that our air power, advisers, special operations forces and, if need be, regulars will stand by the Kurds if Turkish forces cross the border ? but we should do so behind closed doors to avoid a public humiliation for Ankara. As a sop, we should give the Turks a free hand to engage in contiguous regions of Arab Iraq to "protect" the Turkoman minority. (Turkish ambitions will thus prevent any rapprochement with Ankara's Arab neighbors.) We might even offer open support for Turkish efforts and, since Turkey is oil-poor, we should consider a compact that allows Ankara to occupy part of Iraq's oil fields in return for accepting the Kurdish claim to Kirkuk. With their own new oil fields under development, the Kurds can and must be persuaded to share a portion of the Kirkuk area's oil with the Turks in return for security, open trade and pipeline access.

By offering Turkey a free drink of oil, we might be able to protect the Kurds without fighting. As an insurance plan, we should arm and train the Kurds ? who will fight for their freedom ? to include applying lessons learned from Hezbollah's strategy against the Israel Defense Forces. Anyway, a Turkish military incursion into Kurdistan might explode the conventional wisdom by failing miserably in the difficult, canalized terrain of northern Iraq. The free Kurds would be the toughest enemy Turks have faced since the Great War, and we might have to intervene with the Irbil government to persuade the Kurds to spare trapped and suffering Turkish units.

Another line of conventional wisdom holds that, should the Iraqi experiment fail, we will lose our influence throughout the region. That is exactly wrong. An Iraq embroiled in civil war would underscore the importance of American good will and military power to protect the effete sheikdoms of the Persian Gulf and the hollow Saudi monarchy. Each of these Sunni emirates and states dreads Persian hegemony.

The old Arab-Persian antipathy eventually will re-emerge in Iraq, as well. At present, Persian and Iraqi Shiites are religious brothers facing a traditional enemy. But Iran ultimately will insist on exercising too much authority and demand too much subservience. Persian arrogance and racism will undo Tehran's attempts at empire. An eventual Shiite victory in a civil war would lead inexorably to a future Arab-Persian conflict within the Shiite community.

As for securing oil supplies, we have a wide range of alternatives, from a rump occupation that concentrates on Iraq's southern oil fields, through a no-nonsense demand that the Saudis and gulf states maximize their production, to a surprise occupation of Venezuela's oil production sites (most of them conveniently located for military visitors).

We have done our best to help others. The time may be approaching to help ourselves.

Finally, contingency plans to strike Iran's nuclear facilities should be timed for the moment when Iraqi Shiites appear to be gaining the upper hand. With the Sunni Arabs pressed to the wall (which might happen quickly) and Iran pouring resources into the fight, we should blindside Tehran, breaking its nuclear weapons program and preventing an outright Shiite victory in Iraq. The goal would not be to deliver victory to the Sunni Arabs, who could not win a civil war, but to prevent them from losing and keep the confrontation alive. Al-Qaida's Vietnam could also become Iran's Vietnam.

Plan C

Make common cause with Iran. Upend the chess board, approach Iran and offer Tehran hegemony over central and southeastern Iraq in return for halting its nuclear-weapons development program and a commitment to defend Kurdistan's independence against all aggressors. Propose an alliance based on noninterference in Iranian affairs (save the nuclear-arsenal issue) and recognition of Shiite ascendancy in the northern gulf.

What if, instead of weakening Iran, we helped it become stronger? Of course, our views on Israel are in direct conflict, but the attempt to assert local hegemony would occupy Tehran and drain its resources for years to come. And, as noted above, the deep conflict in the region isn't between Muslims and Americans or even between Muslims and Israelis, but between Muslims and Muslims. Given the chance to lord it over Sunni Arabs, Tehran might forget about Israel except for intermittent bursts of token rhetoric. And, in the end, an attempt to build a greater Iran will inevitably result in a lesser Iran. Iran's ambitions will be self-defeating, so why not encourage them?

The only way to win in the Middle East is to choose a side and continue to back that side no matter how badly it misbehaves. Our attempts to play the honest broker have failed, preventing resolution and making many a bad situation worse. Sunni Arab culture is in freefall and we have to accept the fact. We have bound ourselves to the dead and dying. Perhaps it's time to put our anger over yesteryear's hostages and name-calling behind us ? and to ask the Iranians to abandon their own old grudges against us.

As for the benefits of choosing Shiites over Sunnis, we should remember that the worst anti-Western terrorists by far have been Sunnis. Anyway, the odds are better if we back the region's oldest surviving civilization ? Persia ? over a collection of tribal cultures that do not reach the standard of a civilization.

The formula, in short, would be: Embrace Iran and kill it with kindness; terrify (but continue to embrace) the gulf oil states; isolate Syria and destroy the Assad regime; protect the Kurds, but placate Turkey; and create so obsessive a regional focus on local problems that we can concentrate on future opportunities elsewhere.

Of course, the Iranians would cheat like mad on any such agreement. That's part of the equation. But the loss of the U.S. as a galvanizing bogeyman would foster the conditions for internally driven regime change. Rob the Tehran regimes of its excuses. By making Iran stronger in the short term, we might do more to change its political nature than by striving endlessly ? and ineffectually ? to weaken it.

Perhaps it's time for the Great Satan to do what devils do best: Seduce.

Plan D

A variation on Plan C: Cut a deal with Iran to allow it unrestricted influence over the Shiite provinces of Iraq in return for a mutual-support pact that frees American forces to invade Syria (an indirect withdrawal); to provide guarantees for the Kurds; and to raise joint Iranian-Iraqi oil production in return for an American purchasing shift away from Saudi Arabia. The goal would be to lower world oil prices sufficiently (and just long enough) to create a financial crisis in Saudi Arabia, the primary source of anti-Western Islam, of destabilizing policies in the Muslim world, and of terrorists.

By driving Saudi Arabia into a government breakdown, we might dry up the funding for Wahhabi missionary efforts that wreak havoc on states from Pakistan to Nigeria, while diverting Sunni Arab resources and energies to internal struggles in place of the export of fanaticism. At an opportune time, we might occupy key Saudi oil fields, holding profits in trust for a future constitutional state. Let Sunni Arabs fight over Mecca the way Christians once warred over the Papal States.

As for the invasion of Syria, it would be easy militarily and we would not make the mistake of trying to occupy the country; rather, our goal would be to create "constructive turmoil" that weakened Iraq's Sunni Arabs by depriving them of dependable strategic depth, while embroiling al-Qaida and its affiliates in yet another Muslim-versus-Muslim struggle that bleeds the movement out. We should never forget that, while we can afford to "lose" Iraq, al-Qaida can't. Expand al-Qaida's struggle to Syria and we create a situation where Arabs do our killing for us. And if al-Qaida ever achieved unexpected success, we could prevent it from governing: We may have difficulty with post-modern terrorist organizations, but we can take down states with ease (we only have to avoid trying to rebuild them in our own image).

We sought to foster peace in the Middle East. Perhaps it's time to let the Middle East fight itself out. And the best way to protect Israel is to involve Arabs and Persians in resource-draining struggles within the Muslim world.

Plan E

Leave. Not just Iraq, but the entire region (except for expandable bases in Kurdistan). Apres nous, le deluge. Let the region burn, if that's what its populations choose. Put real fear into the lives of our Saudi enemies. Let civil war rage in Iraq and let it expand, if that's the conflagration's natural course. If necessary, intervene just sufficiently to preserve oil supplies. Otherwise, strictly refrain from military engagement in any form, until the various actors have bled themselves out. Let the world get one of its periodic and necessary lessons in the horror of sectarian wars.

Then return and pick up the pieces.

The best-laid plans?

Iraq still has a fighting chance. And if Iraqis will fight for their own freedom and a constitutional government, we should stand by them. But we need to think seriously and creatively about alternatives, in case the Iraqis let themselves down. The Bush administration's cross-your-fingers approach has served us poorly. For their part, the administration's detractors offer no alternatives beyond platitudes and their own brand of wishful thinking.

We cannot afford inane squabbling that elevates short-term political advantage over our strategic interests. It's always up to the incumbent administration to take the lead in pursuing alternatives ? simply because it has the power to do so. After actively preventing our military from planning for an unwanted-but-unavoidable occupation of Iraq, the Bush administration must not make the same ideology-driven mistake again. Our efforts in Iraq degenerated swiftly from a nebulous vision to a series of improvisations ? none of which convinced the intended audience.

After 3 years, we still don't have a genuine plan, only a loosely connected series of programs and a bucket of fading hopes.

None of the scenarios sketched above would be ideal. The purpose in summarizing them isn't to offer Pentagon planners a blueprint, but to provoke our leaders to think honestly and imaginatively about the wide range of potential outcomes ? not all of them necessarily bad for us ? should Iraqis lack the will to risk their lives for their elected government. We must smash the self-imposed barriers of political correctness. As we war-game the future, no strategy should be off-limits.

In the Middle East, the closest we can come to certainty is to accept that the one outcome we reject as unthinkable will come to pass.

Ralph Peters is a retired U.S. Army officer and the author, most recently, of "Never Quit The Fight."





http://www.armedforcesjournal.com/2006/11/2129512
27503  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Plan B on: November 16, 2006, 10:36:47 AM
Plan B for Iraq
Consider all options
By Ralph Peters
The odds of Iraq surviving as a constitutional democracy with its present borders intact are down to 50/50. While it's still too soon to give up on the effort to let free elections decide the future of one Arab-majority state, 2007 will be the year in which the Iraqis themselves determine whether our continued sacrifice is justified, or if Iraq is fated to become yet another catastrophic Arab failure.

We have given the people of Iraq an unprecedented opportunity. If they make a hash of it, it won't be our defeat, but theirs. We must make that clear to Iraqis and to the world.

Iraq is a grotesque labyrinth of ethnic and confessional rivalries, and of rivalries within those rivalries. While a minority of Iraqis would like to harm us, a majority would prefer to harm their neighbors. The deep loyalties, legacies of betrayal and layered relationships are so opaque to outsiders that we cannot be certain even of the leading figures in the Baghdad government. Yet, for all of the country's complexity, one thing is simple and straightforward: The test for the fundamental question (immortalized by The Clash), "Should I stay, or should I go?"

 If the people of Iraq are willing to fight for their own constitutionally elected government in decisive numbers, we should maintain a military presence in their country for a generation, if need be. If, however, Iraqi security forces fail to demonstrate a sufficient commitment ? by the closing months of 2007 ? to defeat their government's violent enemies, we must have the common sense to recognize that our dreams for Iraq are hopeless. The Sunni-Arab insurgents, Shiite-Arab militiamen and foreign terrorists are ready to give their lives for their beliefs and causes. If the remainder of Iraq's population cannot summon an equal will to fight for a unified, rule-of-law state, our troops should not continue to do their dying for them.

The stakes in Iraq are very high, indeed. Yet, an intelligently conducted U.S. withdrawal might be far from the disaster that all-or-nothing partisans predict. Skillfully managed, the removal of U.S. forces from Iraq ? except for elements redeployed to Kurdistan ? might result, not in catastrophe, but in long-term advantages for the U.S.

The key to making the most of an Iraqi failure to grasp the opportunity we provided is to think imaginatively and ruthlessly, setting aside our political prejudices and middle brow morality. We should exclude no scenario, however extreme, as we war-game alternatives in Iraq and the Middle East. As for realism, it begins with accepting the Law of Sunk Costs ("Don't throw away additional resources in attempts to recover irretrievable losses") and proceeds to an honest appraisal of the situation in Iraq ? something unpalatable to ideologues on both the right and left. Critically, we cannot afford another application of Point No. 1 of the Rumsfeld Doctrine: "Plan only for what you desire and forbid planning for any alternatives."

We require not only a Plan B, but Plans C, D, E and beyond, as well as constantly evolving variations of each. As former Army Chief of Staff Gen. Gordon Sullivan used to put it, "Hope is not a method." We must not only prepare for the worst, but calculate how to turn it to our advantage.

At present, our enemies ? and those of the Iraq we envisioned ? have only two advantages over us, but they're powerful ones: They display a greater strength of will, and they dare to think (then do) the unthinkable. Our self-flagellation over media-amplified "war crimes" has trapped us into the far-greater immorality of giving ground to implacable fanatics. We have limited our national imagination to courses of action we hope a global consensus will approve. That's suicidal nonsense. There is no morality ? none ? in being defeated, however politely we make our troops behave.

We know how to fight. But we must relearn the art of thinking.

We also must shake off the habit of interpreting all developments to our own disadvantage (a media addiction). The most obvious example is the inextinguishable nonsense about Iraq being "another Vietnam" for our military. It isn't. On the contrary, Iraq has turned into al-Qaida's Vietnam. We could leave tomorrow, lick our wounds and fight on elsewhere. But whether we stay or go, al-Qaida's resources will be devoured by Iraq for years to come. Far from profiting from a future Iraqi civil war, al-Qaida would be its victim.

We also need to recognize when it's time to stop shaking our fists at the sky and commanding the rain to stop. The Shiite-Sunni divide may be unbridgeable and interludes of peace no more than a temporary result of bloody exhaustion or one side's tyrannical supremacy. For all of the fashionable anti-Americanism on the political catwalk, the style of the region is Shiite-Sunni hatred unto death. And fashion is a transient phenomenon, but style endures. Human beings may hate a distant enemy in the abstract, but in practice they prefer to kill their neighbors.

Plan B

If the Iraqi military and, especially, the police cannot overcome their sectarian rivalries and rally to their government's defense by late 2007, we need to begin an orderly withdrawal of our forces. The decision cannot be based exclusively on the views of our military leaders in Baghdad, since few will see this particular issue with sufficient clarity. The U.S. officer's can-do spirit combines with a loyalty to those he's trained and with whom he's worked that blinds him to their irremediable deficiencies. The generals' line will be, "We can't abandon them now." But we can. And we should, if Iraqis in uniform will not show valor and determination equal to the enemies of their state.

We cannot accept pleas for "just one more year." 2007 should be the last chance. Senior officers will counter that developing a military from scratch takes time, that this is a massive, complex effort. That's true, but, to borrow from Gen.Vo Nguyen Giap, it is also irrelevant. The militiamen, insurgents and terrorists have not had billions of dollars and years of American military training lavished upon them. Yet they fight hard and often well (if not by our rules). If all of the human capital and material resources we've invested can't arouse an Iraqi will to win sufficient to defeat the elected government's numerically inferior opponents, there is no justification for wasting an additional American life.

Iraqis have to want to fight for their state ? and not just a valiant handful of Iraqis. They must be willing to fight in decisive numbers. Yes, those fighters would continue to need American support, from air missions to logistics, for years to come, and the support would be merited. But if Iraqis will not actively and relentlessly carry the fight to their enemies, foreign and domestic, nothing we can do will make up the difference.

If we do leave, we should go out shooting. All anti-government factions should suffer ? the gloves should come off at last. The one thing we cannot afford is a popular view that our troops have been defeated. They haven't been. We will have to make that clear. Our withdrawal should be conducted under conditions that push our enemies bloodily onto the defensive as we make our exit, and we should not worry about collateral damage. If we leave Iraq, we must leave the world with a perception of American strength ? and ruthlessness, when required. We can afford being seen as heavy-handed, but we can't afford being seen as weak.

We should leave sufficient forces in Kurdistan to deter foreign interference in that pro-American region, as well as to give us local leverage and emergency bases in periods of crisis. Even after we withdraw from the rest of Iraq, we should be ready and willing to intervene with air power to prolong the subsequent civil war, ensuring that neither Sunni Arabs nor Shiite Arabs gain the upper hand ? and that the designs of neighboring states are frustrated.

Civil war's profit

If we leave Iraq, there will be a civil war. We must accept that and make up our minds to profit from it. Not only would it be al-Qaida's Vietnam (its cadres hate and fear Shiites far more than they do us), but the strife would inevitably entangle our other regional enemies. Currently aligned against us, Iran and Syria would not be able to sustain their cooperation, but would be drawn into backing opposite sides. While we should be willing to use force to prevent the cross-border involvement of Iranian or Syrian regulars, we must accept that their support for rival factions with armaments and "volunteers" is inevitable. Let us turn it to our advantage by bleeding out our opponents and trapping them in a quagmire.

An Iraqi civil war would be a human tragedy. But it would be a tragedy that Iraqis, through factionalism and fecklessness, brought down on their own heads. Given that it cannot be prevented, we should avoid hand-wringing diplomacy in favor of placing no obstacles in the path of Sunni and Shiite extremists anxious to kill each other.

The region is due for another of its periodic bloodbaths and, paradoxically, the exhaustion in the wake of a sectarian war may be the only long-term hope for peace.
27504  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Mexico on: November 15, 2006, 10:23:21 AM
MEXICO: Defeated Mexican presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he supports the Popular People's Assembly of Oaxaca's demands for the resignation of Oaxacan Gov. Ulises Ruiz. Obrador said his party, the Democratic Revolutionary Party, will support the cause in the legislature.

stratfor.com
27505  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Interesting Knife Fight on: November 15, 2006, 07:13:39 AM
Tom-- why don't you start the conversation with your observations?
27506  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Cuchillo en el metro en Espana on: November 14, 2006, 06:46:02 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG8ew95_7K0&eurl=

Interesante en muchos niveles.  ?Comentarios?
27507  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: November Gathering 2006 on: November 14, 2006, 06:19:22 PM
ATTENTION ALL FIGHTERS and everyone else:

Spike has asked that you please avoid wearing t-shirts with corporate logos, basedball/football/basketball team logos and things of that sort.  Also, please be aware that the mat is black so wearing black can present difficult contrast issues for the camera.  If your want to wear your system's colors and the shirt is black, we can work with it, but other things being equal please minimize the black shirts. 

Also we suggest arriving a bit earlier than usual because of various matters pertaining to Spike's shoot of the day. 

I'm told that some of Spike's "big dogs" are coming out from NYC to check out what we're about.  Who knows where this could lead , , ,

The Adventure continues,
Crafty Dog
27508  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Multiple player situations on: November 14, 2006, 02:10:33 PM
Lots of interesting details in this e.g. Cop1 exposing himself to pre-emption by taking right lead to reach for PS with his left hand and his right hand down and across his body.

I'm guessing that these three cops think that they are required to use PS, but it such tight quarters is that really the policy? 
Anyone?
27509  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: November 14, 2006, 12:43:12 PM
 
IRAN SAYS NUKE PROGRAM IS NEAR COMPLETE: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday that Iran would soon celebrate completion of its nuclear fuel program and claimed the international community was ready to accept it as a nuclear state. Iran has been locked in a standoff with the West over its nuclear program. The United States and its European allies have been seeking a U.N. Security Council resolution imposing sanctions on Tehran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment.
 
 
Levine news
27510  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Multiple player situations on: November 14, 2006, 09:37:48 AM
Gints:

You need to login not with your username/login and password, but with the ones I give.
27511  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: November 13, 2006, 07:56:08 PM
U.S. must prove it's a staying power

November 12, 2006
BY MARK STEYN Sun-Times Columnist

On the radio a couple of weeks ago, Hugh Hewitt suggested to me the terrorists might try to pull a Spain on the U.S. elections. You'll recall (though evidently many Americans don't) that in 2004 hundreds of commuters were slaughtered in multiple train bombings in Madrid. The Spaniards responded with a huge street demonstration of supposed solidarity with the dead, all teary passivity and signs saying "Basta!" -- "Enough!" By which they meant not "enough!" of these murderers but "enough!" of the government of Prime Minister Aznar, and of Bush and Blair, and troops in Iraq. A couple of days later, they voted in a socialist government, which immediately withdrew Spanish forces from the Middle East. A profitable couple of hours' work for the jihad.
I said to Hugh I didn't think that would happen this time round. The enemy aren't a bunch of simpleton Pushtun yakherds, but relatively sophisticated at least in their understanding of us. We're all infidels, but not all infidels crack the same way. If they'd done a Spain -- blown up a bunch of subway cars in New York or vaporized the Empire State Building -- they'd have re-awoken the primal anger of September 2001. With another mound of corpses piled sky-high, the electorate would have stampeded into the Republican column and demanded the U.S. fly somewhere and bomb someone.

The jihad crowd know that. So instead they employed a craftier strategy. Their view of America is roughly that of the British historian Niall Ferguson -- that the Great Satan is the first superpower with ADHD. They reasoned that if you could subject Americans to the drip-drip-drip of remorseless water torture in the deserts of Mesopotamia -- a couple of deaths here, a market bombing there, cars burning, smoke over the city on the evening news, day after day after day, and ratcheted up a notch or two for the weeks before the election -- you could grind down enough of the electorate and persuade them to vote like Spaniards, without even realizing it. And it worked. You can rationalize what happened on Tuesday in the context of previous sixth-year elections -- 1986, 1958, 1938, yada yada -- but that's not how it was seen around the world, either in the chancelleries of Europe, where they're dancing conga lines, or in the caves of the Hindu Kush, where they would also be dancing conga lines if Mullah Omar hadn't made it a beheading offense. And, as if to confirm that Tuesday wasn't merely 1986 or 1938, the president responded to the results by firing the Cabinet officer most closely identified with the prosecution of the war and replacing him with a man associated with James Baker, Brent Scowcroft and the other "stability" fetishists of the unreal realpolitik crowd.

Whether or not Rumsfeld should have been tossed overboard long ago, he certainly shouldn't have been tossed on Wednesday morning. For one thing, it's a startlingly brazen confirmation of the politicization of the war, and a particularly unworthy one: It's difficult to conceive of any more public diminution of a noble cause than to make its leadership contingent on Lincoln Chafee's Senate seat. The president's firing of Rumsfeld was small and graceless.

Still, we are all Spaniards now. The incoming speaker says Iraq is not a war to be won but a problem to be solved. The incoming defense secretary belongs to a commission charged with doing just that. A nostalgic boomer columnist in the Boston Globe argues that honor requires the United States to "accept defeat," as it did in Vietnam. Didn't work out so swell for the natives, but to hell with them.

What does it mean when the world's hyperpower, responsible for 40 percent of the planet's military spending, decides that it cannot withstand a guerrilla war with historically low casualties against a ragbag of local insurgents and imported terrorists? You can call it "redeployment" or "exit strategy" or "peace with honor" but, by the time it's announced on al-Jazeera, you can pretty much bet that whatever official euphemism was agreed on back in Washington will have been lost in translation. Likewise, when it's announced on "Good Morning Pyongyang" and the Khartoum Network and, come to that, the BBC.

For the rest of the world, the Iraq war isn't about Iraq; it's about America, and American will. I'm told that deep in the bowels of the Pentagon there are strategists wargaming for the big showdown with China circa 2030/2040. Well, it's steady work, I guess. But, as things stand, by the time China's powerful enough to challenge the United States it won't need to. Meanwhile, the guys who are challenging us right now -- in Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea and elsewhere -- are regarded by the American electorate like a reality show we're bored with. Sorry, we don't want to stick around to see if we win; we'd rather vote ourselves off the island.

Two weeks ago, you may remember, I reported on a meeting with the president, in which I'd asked him the following: "You say you need to be on the offense all the time and stay on the offense. Isn't the problem that the American people were solidly behind this when you went in and you toppled the Taliban, when you go in and you topple Saddam. But when it just seems to be a kind of thankless semi-colonial policing defensive operation with no end . . . I mean, where is the offense in this?"

On Tuesday, the national security vote evaporated, and, without it, what's left for the GOP? Congressional Republicans wound up running on the worst of all worlds -- big bloated porked-up entitlements-a-go-go government at home and a fainthearted tentative policing operation abroad. As it happens, my new book argues for the opposite: small lean efficient government at home and muscular assertiveness abroad. It does a superb job, if I do say so myself, of connecting war and foreign policy with the domestic issues. Of course, it doesn't have to be that superb if the GOP's incoherent inversion is the only alternative on offer.

As it is, we're in a very dark place right now. It has been a long time since America unambiguously won a war, and to choose to lose Iraq would be an act of such parochial self-indulgence that the American moment would not endure, and would not deserve to. Europe is becoming semi-Muslim, Third World basket-case states are going nuclear, and, for all that 40 percent of planetary military spending, America can't muster the will to take on pipsqueak enemies. We think we can just call off the game early, and go back home and watch TV.

It doesn't work like that. Whatever it started out as, Iraq is a test of American seriousness. And, if the Great Satan can't win in Vietnam or Iraq, where can it win? That's how China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Venezuela and a whole lot of others look at it. "These Colors Don't Run" is a fine T-shirt slogan, but in reality these colors have spent 40 years running from the jungles of Southeast Asia, the helicopters in the Persian desert, the streets of Mogadishu. ... To add the sands of Mesopotamia to the list will be an act of weakness from which America will never recover.

?Mark Steyn, 2006

27512  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Thrust with a staff/ lack there of on: November 13, 2006, 05:45:14 PM
Is this due to a spear-based history of the method?
27513  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Thrust with a staff/ lack there of on: November 13, 2006, 05:03:35 PM
What length are you using?

Where do you place your hands?
27514  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Music on: November 13, 2006, 03:55:15 PM
Those of you old enough, know who promoter Bill Graham (Fillmore, Fillmore East) was and his pivotal role in pyschedelic music and much more. Recently it has come out that his massive vaults of concert tapes was sold by his estate and has been put up on the web!  See the major piece ono the front page of the business section of the LA Times on Sunday Nov. 12, 2006 for more ( LATimes.com )

http://concerts.wolfgangsvault.com

I am totally blissed out at the moment listening to old Jefferson Airplane concerts!

=========



27515  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Multiple player situations on: November 13, 2006, 02:44:16 PM
Woof All:

Like the titile says, this thread is for situations involving more than 1 vs. 1.

We begin with an early FMA example:

www.youtube.com
username:Lapu22
password: planetx
click on "my videos"

Lapu Lapu


TAC,
CD
27516  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Stun Guns/Cattle Prods-Realistic Training and Development on: November 13, 2006, 02:42:11 PM
Given the likely appearance of cattle prods at this Gathering TTT with this thread!
27517  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Grandfathers Speak Vol. 2: Sonny Umpad on: November 13, 2006, 02:22:59 PM
Woof All:

Here's a rough cut of Promo Clip for Grandfathers Two:

www.youtube.com
login: Grandfathers2
password: contain
Click on "my videos" etc

TAC,
CD
27518  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Pro Submission League on: November 13, 2006, 01:43:22 PM
Kron Gracie to debut at ?X-Mission?
 
The Gracie name simply put is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) and Kron Gracie is the next in line to represent the revered first family of BJJ. The newly crowned BJJ World Cup & Mundial Champion (submitting all 7 of 7 opponents) is set to make his Professional Submission League (PSL) debut at ?X-Mission?.
 
Kron, the youngest son of BJJ legend Rickson Gracie, is set to face Bill ?The Grill? Cooper a BJJ brown belt from Paragon BJJ in Santa Barbara, Ca. ?The Grill? is coming off a big win at the 2006 Grappler?s Quest US Trials and has been looking forward to this match since a controversial decision at the 2005 Copa Pacifica where Gracie was declared the victor. The slate will be wiped clean Friday, November 17, 2006 as both men fight for submission dominance at ?X-Mission???where the mission is submission?.
 
Please join us and the PSL crew,  Special musical guest Cris ?The Mouse? Shiflett of the Foo Fighters, ?The Voice of MMA? Bruce Buffer,  referee ?Big? John McCarthy along with expert  commentator Josh ?The Baby Faced Assassin? Barnett  at the Culver City Veterans Memorial for the Professional Submission League?s, ?X-Mission?. Doors open at 6pm and matches begin at 7:30pm.
 
For more info on the card, the LIVE PPV Webcast or the FREE LIVE Audiocast please go to www.prosubleague.com.
27519  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Book Reviews- political and religious on: November 13, 2006, 01:38:00 PM
Umm, forgive my ignorance-- Who is/was Walter Duranty?
27520  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Lameco Striking Angles on: November 13, 2006, 12:33:29 PM
Ta daa!  grin
27521  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Thrust with a staff/ lack there of on: November 13, 2006, 12:32:01 PM
Woof Jeff:

Thrusting certainly plays an important role in FMA staff in general and in DBMA staff in particular.

I agree that one fight, or even a couple of fights, is not a sufficient data base from which to draw a conclusion.  That said, in our fights where one or both men have a staff, there has not been much thrusting.  Generally, what seems to happen to thrusts is that the staff gets hit during the thurst, which knocks it badly off-course and momentarily out of control.  Indeed, in my first staff fight when my opponent tried thrusting me, my simultaneous counterstrike disarmed him completely.? (A very cool moment for me-- Just seconds before, a friend in the crowd had just called out "C'mon Marc Denny-- This is your house!" and then bam!)

I began staff fighting towards the end of my fighting days, but my sense of things is that with a bit more time I would have figured out to apply
thrusts on second or third motions of an exchange in fighting just as we do in DBMA training.? Right now I suspect the problem is that people trying for Single Direct Attacks with thrusts.

Staff fights are scary things because the staff is scary powerful and scary deceptive.  I am working on preparing DBMA fighters who will apply further the understandings that I started with. It can be tough finding opponents.

The WMA thing is very interesting.  Some of our Euro members have good background in this and I look forward to the contributions that they will bring to all of this.

Woof,
Guro Crafty

PS:  The thrusts in our aforementioned DBMA Staff DVD are shown more as part of a fighting self-defense structure "Keep the neighborhood Tank Abbot off of you" i.e. a big mean angry fcuk vs. ordinary citizen with a small light staff.
27522  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Book Reviews- political and religious on: November 12, 2006, 10:18:24 AM
Sense of Ummah
These books are essential to understanding Islam.

BY KAREN ELLIOTT HOUSE
Saturday, November 11, 2006 12:00 a.m. EST

1. "Islam" by Vartan Gregorian (Brookings, 2003).

Because the world is locked in a prolonged struggle with terrorists brandishing the banner of Islam, it behooves us all to know much more about the Islamic religion, with its 1.2 billion adherents, only 15% of whom are Arab. Vartan Gregorian, president of the Carnegie Foundation, has produced the perfect primer. At 135 pages, it is simple but not simplistic. Subtitled "A Mosaic, Not a Monolith," the book traces Islam's origins, when the Prophet Muhammad received the religion's tenets from Allah, the only God, and its long evolution since. As both spiritual leader and temporal warrior, Muhammad forced Arabia's polytheists to worship Allah instead. Over the next seven centuries, the religion spread rapidly, from the Middle East and North Africa to Spain and Russia. Islam's more recent history has been marked by deep divisions between modernists and traditionalists--rifts that are likely to remain, Mr. Gregorian argues, unless Muslims are prompted to unite by the West's misguided insistence on lumping them all together as "the enemy."

2. "Muhammad" by Karen Armstrong (HarperCollins, 1992).

To understand Islam, one needs to understand the central role played by the Prophet Muhammad in the religion's creation and propagation. Orphaned at a young age, he was a successful trader when the divine revelations began. In Karen Armstrong's sympathetic and sometimes academic profile, she argues that, unlike Jesus, who could be a pacifist because he lived during Pax Romana, Muhammad faced warring tribes across Arabia. She paints a portrait of a very human prophet who is expedient and clever, who loves women and--despite having multiple wives--even mends his own clothes. But at his death, divisions over succession lead to the murder of three of the first four caliphs, or leaders, who followed--setting in motion the Sunni/Shia struggles that continue today.

3. "What Went Wrong? by Bernard Lewis (Oxford, 2002).

How did a civilization, one that for centuries led the world in science, medicine and the arts, fall so low that it now lags in these areas while devoting its energies to fratricide, terrorism and despotism? In this slim volume Bernard Lewis, our foremost scholar of Islam, provides historical insight and nuanced answers. In sum, he says, the problem is that Islam mixes church and state, to the detriment of both. What is more, Islam has found itself--after its conquests were stopped in the 17th century--unable to live with and learn from those it cannot conquer. Instead of examining the religion itself for answers, all too many Muslim leaders blame outsiders, especially the West.

4. "The Koran Interpreted" translated by A.J. Arberry (Macmillan, 1955).

This translation is recommended by Bernard Lewis. Reared reading the Bible, I found much in the Koran that was familiar: Adam and Eve, Abraham, Moses and Jesus (as a messenger of God, not his son). Like the Bible, the Koran urges believers to do good or "fear the Fire, whose fuel is men and stones, prepared for unbelievers." But the Koran is repetitive, often contradictory and, most frustrating to those outside the faith, insufficient to an understanding of Islam. One must also study the sunna (a collection of Muhammad's words and deeds) and the hadith (thousands of examples of his teachings). Given all this, it becomes clear that--for good or ill--one can pretty much interpret Islam as one wishes.

5. "Wahhabi Islam" by Natana J. Delong-Bas (Oxford, 2004).

Ibn Abd al-Wahhab, the l8th-century jurist, preached a back-to-basics form of Islam: Live daily according to the precepts of the Koran and hadith or be damned to hell. This book is an excellent introduction for the serious reader to Wahhabi fundamentalism, which is flourishing in Saudi Arabia today. Natana J. Delong-Bas explains the Wahhabi views of women, marriage and jihad. Regarding jihad, she argues that Osama bin Laden has radically distorted the founder's teachings. One is left wondering why Wahhabis don't speak out against bin Laden and his barbaric brand of Islam.

Ms. House, a former publisher of The Wall Street Journal, won a Pulitzer Prize for reporting on the Middle East.
27523  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Lameco Striking Angles on: November 12, 2006, 08:40:45 AM
Although I am a Lameco man myself, I must confess that I do not remember the numbers of the angles. 

Is there no one out there who can help this man?
27524  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: MMA on: November 12, 2006, 08:22:36 AM
Couture?s ?Fighter, a documentary? moves on to the New York Independent Film and Video Festival
 
After taking ?Best Documentary? at the Foundation for the Advancement of Independent Film International Film Festival in Hollywood, CA. ?FIGHTER, a documentary? has been officially selected to New York International Independent Film and Video Festival (NYIIFVF).
The NYIIFVF is the largest film festival in the world and has been recognized by the film and entertainment industry as one of the leading film events on the independent festival circuit. The festival hosts film, music and art events in the two entertainment capitals of the United States: New York and Los Angeles. The NYIIFVF is known as 'the voice for independent film' and receives extensive media coverage. As indie guru Abel Ferrara famously quoted in an interview with Movie Maker, "This festival is the real deal; everybody else just talks about doing it and these guys just do it."
?FIGHTER, a documentary? has been quietly changing people?s perceptions about mixed martial arts fighting, its athletes and their motivation. Set in the late ?90 the film captures a slice of sports history as UFC Hall of Famer, Randy "The Natural" Couture transitions from US National team wrestler to MMA fighting legend. Shot by award winning filmmaker Pericles Lewnes, ?FIGHTER a documentary? provides a riveting myriad of perspectives from analysis by World Cup gold medalist turned MMA guru Rico Chiapparelli to a young mothers first experience inside the octagon , the film deftly captures the skill, dedication, rivalry, camaraderie, and tremendous mutual respect among these ?ultimate athletes?.
?Fighter, a documentary? is scheduled to screen Monday, November 13, 2006 at the Village East Cinema at 181 2nd Ave (& 12th St.) in NYC at 8pm. For free movie clips and more info on fighter please go to www.mmaclassics.com
 
27525  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Crazy Horse on: November 11, 2006, 06:55:44 PM
Woof All:

 A goodly number of books on my shelf have to do with Native Americans.  Here's something I ran across on Crazy Horse.

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

Crazy Horse

(Tashunka Witko)


(1842 ? 1877)


?Hoka Hey! It is a good time to die!

Chief Crazy Horse is known as the greatest warrior ever of the Oglala Sioux (Teton Lakota). He was born on Rapid Creek, Dakota Territory, about 1842. He died September 5, 1877 at Fort Robinson, Nebraska after being stabbed with a bayonet while struggling to keep from being placed inside a guard house when he thought he was going to a meeting with white leaders to correct a misunderstanding resulting from a deliberate misrepresentation of his words by an interpreter during an earlier conference. He was highly regarded by his people, jealously envied by some rival chiefs and would be leaders of the Lakota people and greatly feared by the soldiers. This combination of jealousy and fear led to his death.

There are no authenticated photographs of Crazy Horse and he was known to resist having his photograph taken. Several years after his death, two or three images have been presented as being photographs of him. One that is documented by Carroll Friswold as having been taken at Fort Robinson at the urging of a friend (Little Bat) seems to me to be the most likely to be an actual photograph of Crazy Horse. His appearance is described as: light skinned, long curly brown hair, not tall (about 5?8?), having sharp features, being more rounded of face with less pronounced cheek bones, with a scar on his left jaw near his mouth and nose from a bullet wound where No Water shot him for being with Black Buffalo Woman who had married No Water. He is said to have worn his hair long to his waist and while not in battle braided with beaver pelt covering and having two eagle feathers hanging down on the left of his face.

In battle, he wore his hair loose with a single red-tailed hawk feather, a stone behind his ear, his face painted with a lightening bolt and hail stones, no shirt only a breech cloth and leggings. He tied a single red-tailed hawk feather to his horse?s tail, dusted his horse?s mane and tail and himself with dirt from a mole hill, wore a battle necklace with a special mixture of the brain and heart of an eagle mixed with dried wild aster seed in a small deerskin bag and blew an eagle bone whistle just before going into battle.

These actions were taken and items worn as a result of his vision as a young boy.

The vision of Crazy Horse as a boy would direct his every action for the rest of his life. After witnessing the first of many battles between the Lakota and the soldiers where Chief Conquering Bear and several soldiers were killed, he went off to himself for three days where he sought to understand what had happened and what place he would fill in the coming years. On the third day he saw a horse and rider emerge from a body of water and float in the air. The horseman was dressed in breechcloth with leggings only and one feather in his hair. His hair was unbraided. He wore no war paint. A voice spoke to Crazy Horse saying, ?You are to help the people with what ever need they have. You are not to take anything for yourself. If you go to war, bullets and arrows will not harm you as long as you dress in plain clothes, wear your hear unbraided with only one feather on your head and carry a small stone behind your ear. Before you mount your horse you are to throw dust over yourself and your horse.? A crowd of people now appeared in the vision; they tried to hold the horseman back by grabbing onto his arms. He rode through the people and kept going. A thunderstorm appeared with hail and lightning all around, the horseman kept on riding. The storm faded, showing the horseman with hail spots on his body and a zigzag streak of lightning on his cheek. In the quiet after the storm, a red tail hawk appeared overhead, his scream echoing as he flew over the horseman. Now the people appeared again grabbing at the horseman?s arms, but he pulled away from them and rode off. (The above account of Crazy Horse?s vision is taken from Freedman, The Life and Death of Crazy Horse, pg 31-34 and repeated in Ehanamani, Crazy Horse, pg 7-8).

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

He did not seek notoriety, rather avoided recognition and did not brag of his exploits. His first thoughts continually were to provide for the welfare of his people. Even as a young boy he gave away game he killed to others and just before his death his decision to bring in his people as the soldiers demanded likely was caused by the failure of the buffalo food supply rather than any fear of fighting. He never lost a battle, was never injured by a bullet (only an arrow when he once took two scalps and from that point on never again took scalps) and was forever the first person to charge the enemy, often running his horse close to the enemy line over and over again. His chosen weapon was a battle club.

Crazy Horse was known as Curly when very young because of his long curly hair. He was given the name of his father (Crazy Horse) after having demonstrated his prowess in battle at an early age. He was fearless in battle, quiet and reserved in camp, kind to his people, always helping the needy and was chosen as a young man to be a shirt-wearer and chief. This event truly humbled Crazy Horse and he never ceased to think of the needs of his people but once and that one lapse caused the other rival chiefs to remove the shirt from him. They were looking for any opportunity to discredit him as he was so popular with the people. After No Water shot him in the face for being with his wife, Black Buffalo Woman, Crazy Horse?s ceremonial shirt was taken from him. Nevertheless he continued to be held in the highest regard by his followers, thus making the rival chiefs even more envious and jealous.

He was forever seeking to fulfill his vision and help his people through hunting for food, leading in battle and was never boastful or proud. He was often quiet and removed from tribal activities and ceremonies. He frequently meditated and sought spiritual guidance. During one such search for wisdom, a far-reaching vision was provided to him whereby he saw the end of his people?s traditional ways, the weakness caused by alcohol and the resulting destruction of his people?s strength and character. He further saw the time when all people would come together again and seek the light of understanding. Between these two images however, he saw great trouble and much hardship for his people. So Crazy Horse had foreknowledge of the manner in which his people would come to depend too heavily on the white man?s handouts and loose their way even as he fought to preserve the old ways. This knowledge that his people could not win in the long run and the loss of the buffalo may well have contributed to his eventual decision to bring his people in when he did.

Crazy Horse led the struggle against the overwhelming odds of the white soldiers. He continued to gain the respect of the people he led through courageous fighting and cunning leadership in battle. He changed the manner of fighting to take advantage of surprise attacks on the enemy?s flank and focused on killing the enemy rather than just counting coup as had been the way of battles with Indian foes. Crazy Horse fought many battles did not get shot even though he routinely was in the thickest of the fight and always rode ahead of his warriors nearest to the enemy where the firing was the heaviest. His most famous battle was that of the Little Big Horn where Crazy Horse along with Sitting Bull and other chiefs were able to outflank Custer?s soldiers and kill them. On the day of the battle, as he often said when going into battle, Crazy Horse encouraged his warriors by shouting ?Hoka Hey! It is a good time to die!? Yet, on this most furiously fought battle, he again did not receive a wound.

But even so great a victory could not turn the tide of the ever-increasing number of soldiers being brought to fight Crazy Horse. While others surrendered, Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse continued to fight. Crazy Horse is said to have stated his strong ties to his people and the land he loved by the quote: ?My lands are where my dead lie buried.? The battles were running skirmishes with the hard winter weather of as low as ?30 degrees also hampering Crazy Horse and his followers as they could not make permanent camp. Although Crazy Horse did not likely know of it, the very land he was fighting to retain was actually signed away by Red Cloud and others even while he continued to fight for it.

Ultimately Crazy Horse was forced to allow his followers to come in to Red Cloud Agency as food was unavailable and conditions were becoming unbearable for the women and children. He was promised much by the white soldiers that they never intended to deliver. The other chiefs became jealous of Crazy Horse?s standing and were afraid that the white government would make Crazy Horse chief of all the Sioux because of their fear of him. The soldiers were trying to convince Crazy Horse to go to Washington to see the President, but in fact were intending to send him to a prison off the cost of Florida.

Crazy Horse was convinced to come to Fort Robinson to explain to Colonel Bradley that he did not intend to fight anymore. When he arrived, however, Bradley would not see him. Rather the soldiers attempted to lock him in a stockade cell. When Crazy Horse realized what was happening he attempted to get away from those restraining him. His friend, Little Big Man, had a hold on his arms and just as Crazy Horse?s vision had shown him some twenty-three years earlier while he was being held by one of his own people his life was taken from him. A soldier plunged a bayonet into his side puncturing both kidneys. Crazy Horse realized immediately that death was inevitable. Touch-the-Clouds and Crazy Horse?s father, Worm - who had also been named Crazy Horse, stayed with him until he died just before midnight. The death of Crazy Horse marked the end of the struggle to retain the old ways and led to a resignation to reservation life that meant the end of a proud and noble people?s way of life.

Quotes attributed to Crazy Horse on the day of his death. ?Let me go my friends. You have got me hurt enough.? ?Father, I am bad hurt. Tell the people it is no use to depend on me any more.?

The man who was Crazy Horse and who followed his vision in battle and who saw the future of his people died an untimely death. He is remembered by his spirit and kindness to his people. A mountain in the Black Hills is being transformed into an image of his likeness. The spirit of Crazy Horse is even today a strong and abiding presence in all who know his history. He is larger than life and his influence is still felt by all who believe in the ultimate strength and goodness of the human race?regardless of the color of one?s skin. In addition to seeing the fall of his people in their struggle with the white invaders of their land, Crazy Horse also saw in his second vision a time when ultimately all people were one and were living together in peace. So the spirit of Crazy Horse who fought to hold on to the ways his people knew and understood also is a spirit that realized the inevitable conclusion of the struggle between peoples. He was a victim of his time, yet he saw beyond the limits of his physical life.
David Ray Smith
March 31, 2003

27526  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: A Post From Our Piazza member on: November 11, 2006, 06:51:45 PM
Well, the Adventure continues!  I'm glad to see this moving forward.  When you have the size of the database just let me know and I'll see what we can do.  Where webmaster swears we have laid the groundwork for massive capacity.

Also, lets start seeing some threads/conversations from you guys!  This is your chance to establish the vibration for those yet to come.  cool
27527  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Dems to AQ on: November 11, 2006, 06:45:01 PM
Dear Al Qaeda:

We the Democrats of the United States have won a major victory. The voice of the people has knocked the arrogant George Bush and his Republican Party, led by religious Christian fanatics on the Right Wing, to a historic defeat.

With this defeat, the imperialistic NeoCons?who are tools of Israel? have also been defeated. You probably have read how they have turned on President Bush and are retreating from their earlier aggressive ways. This is good, and we will welcome them back into the wide tent of the Democrat Party; where they once flourished.

You probably have also read how 87% of American Jews voted for change; change in our Iraq policy; change in our domestic policy; and change in the way we work with Islamic countries around the world. They understand the bias that concerns you. And they voted for change.

You see. It is not the Democrats in America who are against you. In fact, it is not even the Jews in America who are against you. We like you and can work with you. We accept that fact that America is evil. We are a wicked country who abuse the poor, give tax breaks to the rich and don?t speak French. We want to become more like Europe and it wasn?t our fault that you were forced to not like us.

But now the American people have issued us a mandate. The Christian Right will return to the closet and never come out again. And when the fanatic Christians among us get out of the political sphere...and there is no place for private religious beliefs in our system of government; we can finally become the progressive country we should be.

Therefore we beg you to stop your Jihad and let us all get along.

Please stop killing us?.and we know you are not doing it on purpose. Please forgive us our weaknesses. And please have patience with us. We will get out of Iraq and Afghanistan as quickly as we can. We will stop our illegal wiretaps of your fund raising efforts. We will make sure to not check Muslims at our airports. And we will release and reward all of our illegal detainees at Guantanamo. We will even turn Abu Grab into a modern Madras where you can teach the wisdom of the Prophet.

And most importantly; because we have the support of 87% of American Jews; and as most Jews in the world are a bit embarrassed by Israel; we will drop our support of Israel and insist that they restore the rights of all Palestinians. There is no need for a State of Israel because all Jews are safe within Europe and America. The holocaust is a thing of the past and we agree with you that Israel; or as our French colleague once said: ?that sh**ty little country? should be no more.

We hope that with all the above, that you will want to live in peace with us. And we wish you peace.

Love,

Nancy Polosi
Dick Durbin
Chuck Schummer
Carl Levin
Harry Reid
27528  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: A Post From Our Piazza member on: November 11, 2006, 05:17:17 PM
Just got this from Doug:

Crafty,  I am forwarding from my cellphone this very cooperative reply I
received from Eric.   I won't be in computer contact for awhile.  I was
intending to post this to the forum, since there are personal numbers
included it might be better to send a copy direct to those who expressed
an interest, especially Mark and Gene.

He makes a mention of chipping in on cost.  If the amounts are
reasonable and we can split it 3, 4 or more ways I will certainly pay a
share.

, , ,

    - Doug

--- begin forwarded text

Date: Fri, 10 Nov 2006 20:18:01 -0800
From: Eric Mack

Subject: Re: Our Piazza
To: Doug 
Cc:

Hello Doug,

Sorry for the delay in getting back with you. Lots going on around here.

I'm glad that I was able to keep OP going as long as I did. I realize
that I've been involved supporting the site one way or another since June of
2000. Six years. Wow!

The last post I saw on archiving (early October) was that someone (You?)
were going to screen scrape the site into something else. A tedious job
to be sure.  There are over 70,000 posts and the file is a few gigs (less
if you purge the index). I then saw the posts that DogBrothers had set up a
new forum and that folks had moved. I kept the site up through 10/31
just in case there were any stragglers. Given the lack of activity at OP, I'm
pretty sure that those who wanted to go to the new site are already
there.  I would imagine that the new site is better, too. The existing site
software was outdated and getting expensive to maintain. One of the
features I always wanted to ad to OP was RSS feeds. Hopefully, the new
DB site has that.

With regard to PDF creation, I offered to look into generating PDFs.
Apparently the new version of Acrobat 8 ($449) has a new "archive from
Lotus Notes:" feature that will generate searchable PDF documents. I
have no experience with this product as I do not have it. I did go to the web
site and the process seems straightforward. I wonder if Adobe's ever
archived a single file this large. In any case, I would be willing to
look into this again, if there is interest and if folks are willing to chip
in. Meanwhile, when I have time to drive down to the NOC to pick up the
server, I'll archive the databases to DVD for safe keeping.  I will not be able
to deal with this for a few weeks, probably not until early December.

Doug, I don't know what my plans are for the domain, however, I do not
plan to sell it at this time. I had prepaid the registration for many years
in anticipation of building up an on-line community. As we know, that never
materialized and I was unwilling to sell ad space to keep OP going. As
it is, I paid for the past 21 months of dedicated server hosting. At this
point, I cannot explore this further, though I may do something in the
future.

I'll try to stop by the new Dog Brothers forum though, practically
speaking, I probably won't do that either until December.

OP has been a fun "experiment," as someone once called it. I've met some
interesting people and it was a privilege to sit as a flay on the wall
and read some of the discussions.

I wish everyone the best.

Sincerely,
Eric Mack

PS. I tried to send an email update to Roger and Gene, however, the
email addresses I have no longer work (  deleted for the forum).
27529  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Pro Submission League on: November 11, 2006, 12:16:31 PM
Woof All:

My friend Rico Chiapparelli of R1 Gym heads this up.  Here's the info we have so far:

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

The PSL presents X-MISSION, Friday, November 17, 2006, 7PM (PST) Veterans Memorial Auditorium, 4117 Overland Ave., Culver City, Calif.
RANDY COUTURE vs RONALDO "JACARE" SOUZA

JAKE SHIELDS vs MARCELO GARCIA

VLADIMIR MATYUSHENKO vs VINICIUS MAGAHLAES

ALBERTO CRANE vs RANI YAHYRA

BILL COOPER vs KRON GRACIE

RAFAEL LOVATO JR vs ROBERT CAMARGO

JEFF GLOVER vs SHANE RICE

ANDY WANG vs ALLEN ZVBOROSKY

The National Anthem to be performed by Chris Shiflett (Foo Fighters guitarist)

Webcast PPV and free audiocast - Todd Baer and Josh "The Baby Faced Assasin" Barnett will provide the PBP and analysis

go to www.prosubleague.com for all of the details

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

draco - it ranges from $30 to $200. Go to this page to look and/or buy seats: http://www.tix.com/Schedule.asp?OrganizationNumber=1022

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Buy the Webcast PPV at $9.99 if you can't come to the show.

Listen to it for free on internet audiocast if you can't come up with a ticket or $$ for the PPV.

www.prosubleague.com

27530  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: November 10, 2006, 08:22:35 PM

PEGGY NOONAN

Concession Stands
Politicians are at their best when acknowledging defeat.

Friday, November 10, 2006 12:01 a.m. EST

In a way they never tell the truth until the concession speech. That's when nothing they say can hurt them anymore. They're worn to the bone and they've been in a struggle and it's over, and suddenly some basic, rock-solid, dumb knowledge of what they've been involved in--a great nation's life--comes loose and declares itself.

Rep. Harold Ford of Tennessee, who lost his Senate race, said he'd wanted to be in government since he was 4 years old, that people had taken a risk on him, that he was grateful. "I love my country," he said. "Don't lose faith in this great thing called America."

Sen. Lincoln Chafee up in Rhode Island said America is divided; "common ground is becoming scarce." He'd miss those in the Senate "who take their responsibility to govern more seriously than their personal ambitions."

From Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, a demonstration of patriotic civility. He praised his opponent as a human being--"a fine man, he'll do a fine job for the state."

Sen. George Allen, gentleman of Virginia, said, "We are placed here on earth to do something well." He vowed to do all he could to help Jim Webb come in and serve in the U.S. Capitol.

Oh, that the new ones would carry in what the old ones have finally learned, or finally meant, or said.





It was the first real post-9/11 election, in that it was shaped not by the trauma itself but by public response to decisions taken after the trauma. Turnout was high. America is awake, alive, bristles. In the races for Senate, 25 million said "stay with the Republicans," while 31 million said "no, move on."
We have divided government. Good, and for many reasons. One: It confuses our enemies. "Who do we hate now?" they ask in their caves, "the evil woman from San Francisco or the old infidel from Texas? Which do we hate more? And if we hate them both does that...unite them?"

We are in a 30-year war. It is no good for it to be led by, identified with, one party. It is no good for half the nation to feel estranged from its government's decisions. It's no good for us to be broken up more than a nation normally would be. And straight down the middle is a bad break, the kind that snaps.

We all have things we would say to the new Congress if we could. We are a country that makes as many speeches in the shower as it sings songs. I would say this: Focus on the age you live in. Know what it is. Know what's coming. The old way is over; the old days are over; the old facts and habits of mind do not pertain, or no longer fully pertain.

This is the age we live in: One day in the future either New York or Washington or both will be hit again, hard. It will be more deadly than 9/11. And on that day, those who experience it, who see the flash or hear the alarms, will try to help each other. They'll be good to each other. An elderly conservative congresswoman will be unable to make it down those big old Capitol steps, and a young liberal congressman will come by and pick her up in his arms and carry her. (I witnessed a moment somewhat like this during a Capitol alarm two years ago, when we were told to run for our lives.) I would say: Keep that picture in mind. Cut to the chase, be good to each other now.

Make believe it's already happened. That's the only attitude that will help us get through it when it does. I do not mean think like Rodney King. We can't all get along, not on this earth. But we can know what time it is. We can be serious, and humane. We can realize that we're all in this together and owe each other an assumption of good faith.

There are rogue states and rogue actors, there are forces and nations aligned against us, and they have nukes and other weapons of mass destruction, and some of them are mad. Know this. Walk to work each day knowing it, not in a pointlessly fearful way but in a spirit of "What can I do to make it better?"

What can you do in two years? The common wisdom says not much. But here's a governing attitude: First things first.

Do all you can to keep America as safe as possible as long as possible. Make sure she's able to take a bad blow, a bad series of them. Much flows from this first thing, many subsets. Here is only one: Strengthen and modernize our electrical grid. When the bad thing comes we will need to be able to make contact with each other to survive together. Congress has ignored this for years.

Make America in the world as safe as possible by tending to and building our friendships in the world, by causing no unnecessary friction, by adding whatever possible and necessary emollients. In your approach to foreign affairs, rewrite Teddy Roosevelt: Speak softly, walk softly, and carry a big stick.

Much flows from this, including Iraq. This involves a huge and so far unanswered question: How to leave and not make it all infinitely worse. America will never accept a long war whose successful end even its most passionate proponents cannot convincingly envision or articulate. And America will never allow a repeat of the pictures of 1975, with desperate people who'd thrown their lot with us clinging to the skids of helicopters fleeing the U.S. Embassy. We will never get over Vietnam. And it's to our credit that we won't.

Those to me are the two big things. Much follows them, and flows from them. But to make some progress on these two things in the next two years would be breathtaking.
27531  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Colombia on: November 10, 2006, 04:26:32 PM
Por favor los que tengan algo para contrubuir en espanol, haganlo:
=====================

Colombia's Multifaceted Security Problem
Colombia's Supreme Court issued arrest warrants Nov. 9 for three high-ranking lawmakers suspected of conspiring with right-wing paramilitary forces in the country. The suspects, Sens. Jairo Merlano and Alvaro Garcia, and Rep. Erik Morris, are believed to have logistically and financially assisted paramilitaries in Sucre province beginning as far back as 1997. The move comes close on the heels of the suspension of peace talks between the government of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and the leftist group Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Those events, along with recent attacks against military targets, are indicative not only of the ongoing unrest in Colombia, but also of the wide range of actors whose actions will prevent Colombia's violence-weary citizens from finding a measure of peace any time soon.

Peace talks between FARC and the Uribe government had been progressing smoothly in October. Then, a car bomb detonated outside the Nueva Granada military university in Bogota on Oct. 19, injuring 23 people. Another car bomb targeted the base of the Colombian army's 7th brigade Oct. 29, killing two people and wounding four. The Colombian government quickly blamed FARC for both the attacks -- a charge the group denies -- and suspended the peace talks. FARC then claimed responsibility for a Nov. 1 attack against a police station in Cordoba. In that attack, some 150 gunmen opened fire on police, killing 17 officers and two civilians.

It seems unlikely, given the optimistic outlook of both sides regarding the talks, that FARC would have conducted the two bombings, which took place while its demands were being negotiated. However, the list of other potential suspects is long. For example, rival drug cartels in direct competition with FARC could have felt threatened by the progress of the talks and sought to induce a government crackdown on the group by using car bombs against military targets -- a method of operation used by FARC many times in the past.

Dissident factions of the Colombian military might also have been responsible for the attacks. The military has been fighting this war for decades and has sustained heavy losses; there are sure to be some hard-liners who adamantly oppose any settlement and want to continue the fight. Military units upset with the progress being made in the negotiations with FARC could have perpetrated the attacks as a way to justify crackdowns on the group.

In the case of the military college bombing, the vehicle carrying the device managed to pass through security checkpoints without raising suspicions. Surveillance cameras showed a man in a naval uniform exiting the car and leaving it parked in the lot for several hours before it exploded. This suggests a large degree of military involvement in the attack.

Corrupt military officials also might have been a factor in the bombings. Similar to the drug cartels in Mexico, Colombian cartels have long had high-ranking military personnel on their payrolls, and military units have conducted operations on behalf of the cartels. In May, 10 narcotics police were ambushed and killed in Jamundi by elements of a Colombian army platoon. An investigation into the incident, which originally was considered a case of friendly fire, concluded that the platoon's commanding colonel and more than a dozen soldiers had ambushed the police unit on behalf of local drug traffickers. Not wanting their cartel kickbacks to run dry, corrupt military officers and corrupt government officials will likely interfere with any moves by FARC to shift the power balance in the country.

The lawmakers' arrests, meanwhile, put the spotlight on other actors who contribute to Colombia's ongoing turmoil. The paramilitaries are right-wing militant groups created and financed by wealthy landowners and drug cartels to counter attacks by the populist forces. Although not official forces of the state, their interests often converge and the paramilitaries are effective in enforcing state policies, particularly those that target leftist movements.

The arrests of the lawmakers, as well as the Jamundi incident, illustrate how the Colombian government can be influenced by forces such as drug cartels, paramilitary organizations and dissenting military factions. The problem for Colombians fed up with violence is that these forces have reasons to oppose any compromise with FARC that would result in a peaceful settlement.

There had been glimmer of hope in October that FARC and the Uribe government would reach some accord after decades of violence. Instead, following the attack against the police station, Uribe pledged to defeat the FARC and other guerrillas, and urged neighboring governments to aid Colombia in the fight. With that battle back on, and the ongoing actions of the paramilitaries, there seems little chance of a break in the violence.
Send questions or comments on this
27532  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: November 10, 2006, 04:14:27 PM


When we think of brave, thoughful and patriotic reporters, Michael Yon is amongst the first we should think of.  Here's his most recent entry.  He says if we don't change what we are doing in Afg-Pak, we are going to lose.


http://www.michaelyon-online.com/wp/the-perfect-evil-2.htm
27533  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Mexico on: November 10, 2006, 02:01:02 PM
MEXICO: Mexican Deputy Interior Secretary Arturo Chavez said federal police forces that have been occupying Oaxaca City will shift from a containment strategy to public safety tactics. Chavez said the change is part of an effort to prevent opportunistic groups from taking advantage of unrest to commit crimes and harm citizens.
www.stratfor.com
27534  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: November 10, 2006, 01:55:07 PM
 

Terrorist threat to UK - MI5 chief's full speech
Following is the full text of a speech delivered on November 9, 2006 by Eliza Manningham-Buller, Director-General of MI5, on the terrorist threat facing the UK:

The International Terrorist Threat to the UK

I have been Director General of the Security Service/M15 since 2002. Before that I was Deputy Director General for five years. During that time, and before, I have witnessed a steady increase in the terrorist threat to the UK. It has been the subject of much comment and controversy. I rarely speak in public. I prefer to avoid the limelight and get on with my job. But today, I want to set out my views on:

the realities of the terrorist threat facing the UK in 2006;
what motivates those who pose that threat
and what my Service is doing, with others, to counter it.
I speak not as a politician, nor as a pundit, but as someone who has been an intelligence professional for 32 years.

2. Five years on from 9/11, where are we? Speaking in August, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke, the head of the Anti-Terrorist Branch of the Metropolitan Police, described the threat to the UK from Al-Qaida-related terrorism as ?real, here, deadly and enduring?. Only last week the Home Secretary said the threat will be ?enduring ? the struggle will be long and wide and deep.? Let me describe more fully why I think they said that. We now know that the first Al-Qaida-related plot against the UK was the one we discovered and disrupted in November 2000 in Birmingham. A British citizen is currently serving a long prison sentence for plotting to detonate a large bomb in the UK. Let there be no doubt about this: the international terrorist threat to this country is not new. It began before Iraq, before Afghanistan, and before 9/11.

3. In the years after 9/11, with atrocities taking place in Madrid, Casablanca, Bali, Istanbul and elsewhere, terrorists plotted to mount a string of attacks in the UK, but were disrupted. This run of domestic success was interrupted tragically in London in July 2005. Since then, the combined efforts of my Service, the police, SIS and GCHQ have thwarted a further five major conspiracies in the UK, saving many hundreds (possibly even thousands) of lives. Last month the Lord Chancellor said that there were a total of 99 defendants awaiting trial in 34 cases. Of course the presumption of innocence applies and the law dictates that nothing must be said or done which might prejudice the right of a defendant to receive a fair trial. You will understand therefore that I can say no more on these matters.

4.  What I can say is that today, my officers and the police are working to contend with some 200 groupings or networks, totalling over 1600 identified individuals (and there will be many we don?t know) who are actively engaged in plotting, or facilitating, terrorist acts here and overseas. The extremists are motivated by a sense of grievance and injustice driven by their interpretation of the history between the West and the Muslim world. This view is shared, in some degree, by a far wider constituency. If the opinion polls conducted in the UK since July 2005 are only broadly accurate, over 100,000 of our citizens consider that the July 2005 attacks in London were justified.  What we see at the extreme end of the spectrum are resilient networks, some directed from Al-Qaida in Pakistan, some more loosely inspired by it, planning attacks including mass casualty suicide attacks in the UK. Today we see the use of home-made improvised explosive devices; tomorrow?s threat may include the use of chemicals, bacteriological agents, radioactive materials and even nuclear technology. More and more people are moving from passive sympathy towards active terrorism through being radicalised or indoctrinated by friends, families, in organised training events here and overseas, by images on television, through chat rooms and websites on the Internet.

5.  The propaganda machine is sophisticated and Al-Qaida itself says that 50% of its war is conducted through the media. In Iraq, attacks are regularly videoed and the footage downloaded onto the internet within 30 minutes. Virtual media teams then edit the result, translate it into English and many other languages, and package it for a worldwide audience. And, chillingly, we see the results here. Young teenagers are being groomed to be suicide bombers. We are aware of numerous plots to kill people and to damage our economy. What do I mean by numerous? Five? Ten? No, nearer??. thirty that we know of. These plots often have links back to Al-Qaida in Pakistan and through those links Al-Qaida gives guidance and training to its largely British foot soldiers here on an extensive and growing scale. And it is not just the UK of course. Other countries also face a new terrorist threat: from Spain to France to Canada and Germany.

6. A word on proportionality. My Service and the police have occasionally been accused of hype and lack of perspective or worse, of deliberately stirring up fear. It is difficult to argue that there are not worse problems facing us, for example climate change... and of course far more people are killed each year on the roads than die through terrorism. It is understandable that people are reluctant to accept assertions that do not always appear to be substantiated.  It is right to be sceptical about intelligence. I shall say more about that later. But just consider this. A terrorist spectacular would cost potentially thousands of lives and do major damage to the world economy. Imagine if a plot to bring down several passenger aircraft succeeded. Thousands dead, major economic damage, disruption across the globe. And Al-Qaida is an organisation without restraint.

7.  There has been much speculation about what motivates young men and women to carry out acts of terrorism in the UK. My Service needs to understand the motivations behind terrorism to succeed in countering it, as far as that is possible. Al-Qaida has developed an ideology which claims that Islam is under attack, and needs to be defended. This is a powerful narrative that weaves together conflicts from across the globe, presenting the West?s response to varied and complex issues, from long-standing disputes such as Israel/Palestine and Kashmir to more recent events as evidence of an across-the-board determination to undermine and humiliate Islam worldwide. Afghanistan, the Balkans, Chechnya, Iraq, Israel/Palestine, Kashmir and Lebanon are regularly cited by those who advocate terrorist violence as illustrating what they allege is Western hostility to Islam.

8.  The video wills of British suicide bombers make it clear that they are motivated by:

perceived worldwide and long-standing injustices against Muslims;
an extreme and minority interpretation of Islam promoted by some preachers and people of influence; 
 their interpretation as anti-Muslim of UK foreign policy, in particular the UK?s involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Killing oneself and others in response is an attractive option for some citizens of this country and others around the world.

What Intelligence can do
9.  As I said earlier, I have been an intelligence officer for some 32 years. And I want again to describe what intelligence is and is not. I wish life were like ?Spooks?, where everything is (a) knowable, and (b) soluble by six people. But those whose plans we wish to detect in advance are determined to conceal from us what they intend to do. And every day they learn. From the mistakes of others. From what they discover of our capabilities from evidence presented in court, and from leaks to the media. Moreover intelligence is usually bitty and needs piecing together, assessing, judging. It takes objectivity, integrity and a sceptical eye to make good use of intelligence: even the best of it never tells the whole story. On the basis of such incomplete information, my Service and the police make decisions on when and how to take action, to protect public safety. Wherever possible we seek to collect evidence sufficient to secure prosecutions, but it is not always possible to do so: admissible evidence is not always available and the courts, rightly, look for a high standard of certainty. Often to protect public safety the police need to disrupt plots on the basis of intelligence but before evidence sufficient to bring criminal charges has been collected. Moreover we are faced by acute and very difficult choices of prioritisation. We cannot focus on everything so we have to decide on a daily basis with the police and others where to focus our energies, whom to follow, whose telephone lines need listening to, which seized media needs to go to the top of the analytic pile. Because of the sheer scale of what we face (80% increase in casework since January), the task is daunting. We won?t always make the right choices. And we recognise we shall have scarce sympathy if we are unable to prevent one of our targets committing an atrocity.

And the Service?
10. As I speak my staff, roughly 2,800 of them, (an increase of almost 50% since 9/11, 25% under 30, over 6% from ethnic minorities, with 52 languages, with links to well over 100 services worldwide), are working very hard, at some cost to their private lives and in some cases their safety, to do their utmost to collect the intelligence we need. The first challenge is to find those who would cause us harm, among the 60 million or so people who live here and the hundreds of thousands who visit each year. That is no easy task, particularly given the scale and speed of radicalisation and the age of some being radicalised.  The next stage is to decide what action to take in response to that intelligence. Who are merely talking big, and who have real ambitions? Who have genuine aspirations to commit terrorism, but lack the know-how or materials? Who are the skilled and trained ones, who the amateurs? Where should we and the police focus our finite resources? It?s a hard grind but my staff are highly motivated: conscious of the risks they carry individually; and aware that they may not be able to do enough to stop the next attack. We owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude and I thank them. On July 8 last year I spoke to all my staff. I said that what we feared would happen had finally happened. I reminded them that we had warned that it was a matter of when, not if, and that they were trained to respond ? indeed many had been up all night, from the intelligence staff to the catering staff. I told them that we had received many messages of support from around the world, and that we, along with our colleagues in the police and emergency services, were in the privileged position of being able to make a difference. And we did. And we have done so since.

11.  My Service is growing very rapidly. By 2008 it will be twice the size it was at 9/11. We know much more than we did then. We have developed new techniques, new sources, new relationships. We understand much better the scale and nature of what we are tackling but much is still obscure and radicalisation continues. Moreover, even with such rapid growth, we shall not be able to investigate nearly enough of the problem, so the prioritisation I mentioned earlier will remain essential but risky. And new intelligence officers need to be trained. That takes time as does the acquisition of experience, the experience that helps one with those difficult choices and tough judgements.

What else can others do?

12.  That brings me on to my final point. None of this can be tackled by my Service alone. Others have to address the causes, counter the radicalisation, assist in the rehabilitation of those affected, and work to protect our way of life. We have key partners, the police being the main ones and I?d like today to applaud those police officers working alongside us on this huge challenge, those who collect intelligence beside us, help convert it into evidence for court, and face the dangers of arresting individuals who have no concern for their own lives or the lives of others. The scale and seriousness of the threat means that others play vital roles, SIS and GCHQ collecting key intelligence overseas, other services internationally who recognise the global nature of the problem, government departments, business and the public.

13.  Safety for us all means working together to protect those we care about, being alert to the danger without over-reacting, and reporting concerns. We need to be alert to attempts to radicalise and indoctrinate our youth and to seek to counter it. Radicalising elements within communities are trying to exploit grievances for terrorist purposes; it is the youth who are being actively targeted, groomed, radicalised and set on a path that frighteningly quickly could end in their involvement in mass murder of their fellow UK citizens, or their early death in a suicide attack or on a foreign battlefield.

14.  We also need to understand some of the differences between non-Western and Western life-styles; and not treat people with suspicion because of their religion, or indeed to confuse fundamentalism with terrorism. We must realise that there are significant differences between faiths and communities within our society, and most people, from whatever origin, condemn all acts of terror in the UK. And we must focus on those values that we all share in this country regardless of our background: Equality, Freedom, Justice and Tolerance. Many people are working for and with us to address the threat precisely for those reasons. Because: All of us, whatever our ethnicity and faith, are the targets of the terrorists.
 
15.  I have spoken as an intelligence professional, describing the reality of terrorism and counter-terrorism in the UK in 2006. My messages are sober ones. I do not speak in this way to alarm (nor as the cynics might claim to enhance the reputation of my organisation) but to give the most frank account I can of the Al-Qaida threat to the UK. That threat is serious, is growing and will, I believe, be with ? us for a generation. It is a sustained campaign, not a series of isolated incidents, It aims to wear down our will to resist.

16.  My Service is dedicated to tackling the deadly manifestations of terrorism. Tackling its roots is the work of us all.
27535  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politically (In)correct on: November 10, 2006, 01:08:33 PM
All:

There's a thread of the same name in the other forum, but at the moment I'm too durn lazy to bring it over.  That said, the following makes the need for this thread quite clear. evil

TAC,
Marc
==============================

http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=domesticNews&storyid=2006-11-10T021338Z_01_N09494500_RTRUKOC_0_US-LIFE-PLEDGE.xml&src=rss&rpc=22
By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Student leaders at a California college have touched off a furor by banning the Pledge of Allegiance at their meetings, saying they see no reason to publicly swear loyalty to God and the U.S. government.

The move by Orange Coast College student trustees, the latest clash over patriotism and religion in American schools, has infuriated some of their classmates -- prompting one young woman to loudly recite the pledge in front of the board on Wednesday night in defiance of the rule.

"America is the one thing I'm passionate about and I can't let them take that away from me," 18-year-old political science major Christine Zoldos told Reuters.



"The fact that they have enough power to ban one of the most valued traditions in America is just horrible," Zoldos said, adding she would attend every board meeting to salute the flag.

The move was lead by three recently elected student trustees, who ran for office wearing revolutionary-style berets and said they do not believe in publicly swearing an oath to the American flag and government at their school. One student trustee voted against the measure, which does not apply to other student groups or campus meetings.

The ban follows a 2002 ruling by a federal appeals court in San Francisco that said forcing school children to recite the pledge was unconstitutional because of the phrase "under God." The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the ruling on procedural grounds but left the door open for another challenge.

"That ('under God') part is sort of offensive to me," student trustee Jason Bell, who proposed the ban, told Reuters. "I am an atheist and a socialist, and if you know your history, you know that 'under God' was inserted during the McCarthy era and was directly designed to destroy my ideology."

Bell said the ban largely came about because the trustees didn't want to publicly vow loyalty to the American government before their meetings. "Loyalty ought to be something the government earns through performance, not through reciting a pledge," he said.

Martha Parham, a spokeswoman for the Coast Community College District, said her office had no standing on the student board and took no position on the flag salute ban.

"If their personal belief is that they don't want to say the Pledge of Allegiance, the district certainly isn't going to dictate what they do," she said.

More than 28,000 students attend the community college, located in conservative Orange County, California, south of Los Angeles.
27536  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: November 10, 2006, 12:59:03 PM
http://www.corruptionchronicles.com/2006/11/congress_gets_muslim.html

Congress Gets Muslim

The first Muslim elected to the United States Congress is a Democrat from Minneapolis with ties to an Islamic group that supports terrorism and a radical cult whose leader says God will destroy the entire white race and establish a paradise nation ruled by blacks.

Minnesota?s new Representative in the House, Keith Ellison, was endorsed and partly financed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a massive U.S.-based organization that avidly defends Osama bin Laden and other militant Islamic terrorists and considers U.S. action against terrorists anti-Islamic. In fact, the group demanded the removal of a Los Angeles billboard describing bin Laden as ?the sworn enemy? because it was ?offensive to Muslims.?

Ellison, who converted to Islam as a 19-year-old college student, also has strong ties to the Nation of Islam, the black cult led by renowned anti-Christian and anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan. The group?s doctrine states that black people created white people in a genetic experiment 6,000 years ago and that ?Judgment Day? means that the Gods will destroy the entire white race (devils) and establish a paradise nation ruled forever by blacks.

As if this weren?t enough to question the choice of Minnesota voters, as a state legislator Ellison supported and defended a convicted cop-killer and leader of a violent gang. Ellison used thug-like language to attack law enforcement officials as racists saying ?we don?t get no justice, you don?t get no peace.?. Ellison also supports and demands freedom for another convicted cop-killer named Assata Shakur, who lives in Cuba and remains on the FBI?s most wanted list.

Perhaps having Ellison in the House, represents a victory for violent criminals worldwide. Little Green Footballs says they?ll be celebrating in Gaza tomorrow.

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

Tuesday night Keith Ellison celbrated his victory in Minnesota's Fifth District congressional race before a crowd that chanted "Allahu Akbar." Watch a video clip of it here. Next week Ellison celebrates with CAIR and a few other of its Democratic friends at CAIR's annual banquet. Here is CAIR's press release:

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FIRST MUSLIM IN CONGRESS TO SPEAK AT CAIR EVENT IN VA
Keith Ellison will join other elected officials at annual banquet

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 11/9/06) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) announced today that Keith Ellison, the first Muslim in Congress, will join other elected officials as a keynote speaker November 18th at the Washington-based civil rights group's 12th Annual Banquet in Arlington, Va.

CAIR's dinner, which in past years had sold-out crowds of more than 1,000, will feature addresses by Representative-elect Ellison (D-MN) and Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) and Albert Wynn (D-MD).

Other speakers at the event include a representative of the FBI and Amy Goodman of Democracy Now. Attendees will include many Muslim and interfaith leaders, diplomats from Muslim nations and American Muslim community activists.

To learn more about CAIR's dinner, or to register online, go to:
https://www.cair.com/2006banquet/

Ellison won Tuesday's election in Minnesota's 5th Congressional District by a more than two-to-one margin. He will be the first American Muslim to hold elected office at the national level.

"We are honored to have the first American Muslim elected to Congress offer his first major address during our annual banquet," said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad.

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

For the full story that neither the local nor the national press bothered to dig up about Ellison, check out "Keith Ellison for dummies" and "Louis Farrakhan's first congressman."
27537  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Die Less Often: Interface of Gun, Knife and Emtpy Hand on: November 10, 2006, 12:52:55 PM
Woof All:

The diversity of people who come to what we do never ceases to amaze me.

The following is, of course, with permission.

TAC,
CD
----------------------------------------------------



(That) you actually replied to me ... sort of amazed me because to me you are a bit of a "star" and I really didn't expect to get any personal attention.
 
I got the "Die Less Often" DVDs.  I am taking my time going over them.  I think this is very high quality stuff- both in terms of quality of production and the information.  Seeing talented people struggle to learn and then do better at what is being taught is something extraordinary and incredibly useful.   Your efforts to bring reality to everything you teach is much appreciated and I've never seen it duplicated.  OK...you can see that I'm a fan.
 
I will look forward to the "palm stick" and "short impact weapons".  I think these may be the type of thing I'm looking for.  The staff DVD is great and fits into what I want. 
 
Basically, I'm a guy who has studied martial arts for several years (more than 10- 2nd degree BB in Tae Kwon Do plus some years in other styles) but who is 1) aging (53); and 2) busy with a career that doesn't leave a lot of time for training.   Therefore, I'm looking to concentrate my efforts on the most realistic, most useful self-defense training (that I can do solo).  Of course, I also like to have fun. 

, , ,
 
Again, I really enjoy and appreciate the Dog Brothers.


Craig D. Logsdon, Ph.D.
Lockton Distinguished Professor for Pancreatic Cancer Research
Departments of Cancer Biology and Medical Oncology
UT MD Anderson Cancer Center
27538  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Veteran's Day on: November 10, 2006, 12:33:01 PM
Woof All:

Just in case your Main Stream Media sources didn't mention it, you may wish to know that today is Veteran's Day.

TAC,
CD
27539  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: November 10, 2006, 12:29:39 PM
From the weekly Gilder Tech letter:
================================

The Week / Human Health in the Telecosm

Dr. Arthur Robinson, Founder, Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, speaking at Gilder/Forbes Telecosm 2006 last month in Lake Tahoe (transcribed excerpt):

Something needs to be done in medicine and the entrepreneurs and technologists of the telecosm are the exact people to do it.  It involves moving diagnostic medicine into the hands of the consumers?taking the diagnostic and technological tools of medicine and making computer peripherals out of them, as well as making on-person monitors and turning the Internet into an interpretive tool, so that the consumers of medicine can evaluate the product that they receive and medicine itself could be turned into a therapeutic industry competing on the basis of quality and price.

 

My youngest son Matthew has a dog named Rusty. When Matthew takes Rusty to the veterinarian, the vet can take a blood sample from Rusty, put it in a computer peripheral beside his PC, which costs $1,000, get the analysis in a few minutes, diagnose Rusty, and go on about his business. It measures the same couple of dozen things that would be measured if you went to a physician. Some veterinarians, in fact, send their samples to the local hospital and put them through the same medical devices used for humans.

 

In any case, the veterinarian can do this for Rusty, but he can?t do this for Matthew. If he measured Matthew?s sample, that would be unlawful. And, if a physician had this device in his office, he also couldn?t use it. That also would be unlawful. The only people allowed to use these devices are working in approved commercial clinical laboratories, and most of those laboratories would not measure a sample if Matthew asked them to do it. But, there is an out. Matthew can measure his own sample. If he does it himself, it is lawful.

 

Medicine is an odd industry. It is a monopoly that controls not only the product it produces but also the evaluation of its own product. This is a historical result. Initially medicine had very little technology. What was known about medicine resided in the minds of the physicians.


As technology developed for medicine, especially diagnostic technology, this technology involved very expensive machinery and evolved in a time when computers were very expensive. It was just not possible for the people being helped by medicine to handle their own diagnostic work. The industry grew up measuring samples commercially. (It is now about a $100 billion industry.) But, as the monopoly matured, these commercial laboratories disappeared behind the gatekeepers of medicine, so that the individual cannot use high technology or evaluate the product that he is using. Moreover, the technology advances at a slow rate?

 

The thing that holds back medicine is the quantitative measurement of health. It is necessary to be able to measure quantitatively to make an advance. And yet it is very difficult to do.

Why would you want to do this?

Suppose you could measure the percentage of life remaining to you or at least your physiological age, quantitatively. Things would change. Someone may tell you you?ll live longer if you eat more Vitamin E or exercise or eat your veggies. You can do those things and have the opportunity to go back and re-measure to see if these life style changes have changed your rate of aging either positively or negatively.

The second reason for measuring health quantitatively is the probability of illness. And the third is, if you do get sick, you need to be able to measure your sickness quantitatively.

If you develop cancer and your physician suggests three or four options. What do you do? You pick the one that looks the best and close your eyes and see if you die. It shouldn?t be that way. You should be able to pick a method, watch the rate of growth of the cancer as a function of time, see if it?s improved or made worse by what you are doing, and then modulate and adjust your method of battling the illness?


The greatest amount of information is held in the metabolites, the small molecules found in urine, blood, and saliva that are produced and consumed in the normal course of metabolism. They are where the action is and they are all interlocked in different bio-chemical pathways. You don?t have to measure any specific one. There may be 5,000 of them in there, but if you take a sample of 200, those 200 are carrying information about the other 4,800. For example, 30 percent of the substances in your urine are correlated with your physiological age.

 
You can obtain tremendous amounts of information by profiling these molecules it is not being done?

 
Find out how human suffering could be decreased and the human lifespan increased using the technologies of the telecosm. Listen to Dr. Robinson?s complete Telecosm 2006 talk by downloading the MP3 audio file available on: http://www.gildertech.com/public/Telecosm2006/Agenda.htm#health

27540  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Savate on: November 10, 2006, 12:27:42 PM
Woof All:

Ever since0 my days with Paul Vunak some 20 years ago, I have had high regard for Savate.  Indeed, Savate is one of the minor influences on DBMA.

I just saw a post on another forum that FitTV is going to be having a serious documentary on Nov. 22 which may also play on the History Channel. 

Does anyone have more specific information?

TIA,
CD
27541  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Mexico on: November 10, 2006, 10:21:22 AM
MEXICO: Members of Mexico's Oaxaca teachers union said they will return to classes Nov. 16 regardless of the ongoing conflict in the southern Mexican city. The teachers originally intended to return to classes Oct. 31 but were prevented from doing so by conflict between the Mexican federal police and the People's Popular Assembly of Oaxaca.

MEXICO: Members of the People's Popular Assembly of Oaxaca plan to march in Mexico City at 4 p.m. local time. The march will begin at the Independence Column and end at the office of the interior secretary.

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27542  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Big Picture WW3: Who, when, where, why on: November 10, 2006, 09:14:31 AM
I hadn't realized that the "axis of evil" speech came after Iran helped us in Afg.
----------------------------

Iran the key in US change on Iraq
By Trita Parsi

WASHINGTON - With the Democrats taking control of the US Congress and Donald Rumsfeld being replaced as defense secretary by Robert Gates, Washington has new avenues to resolve its many problems with Iran.

The key to the elections - and to Iran - is Iraq. In light of the soon-to-be published Iraq Study Group (ISG) report, it is increasingly clear that headway can be made neither on Iraq nor on the

 

nuclear standoff with Iran unless the two are linked.

The victory of the Democrats by taking both the House of Representatives and the Senate and the firing of Rumsfeld have shifted the balance between the pragmatists and the neo-conservatives in the administration of President George W Bush. Rumsfeld was closely allied with Vice President Dick Cheney in opposing every effort to open up diplomatic channels to Tehran.

According to Lawrence Wilkerson, former secretary of state Colin Powell's chief of staff, it was Cheney and Rumsfeld who made sure that Washington dismissed Iran's May 2003 offer to open up its nuclear program, rein in Hezbollah and cooperate against al-Qaeda. Rumsfeld was also a driving force behind using the Mujahideen-e Khalq, an Iranian terrorist organization opposed to the ruling clerics, to weaken Tehran.

Gates, however, belongs to a different school of Republican foreign-policy thinking. Gates' entrance and the Republican leadership's exit have created a precious opportunity to change the course on Iraq - and on Iran. For years, the Bush administration has pursued a maximalist policy based on rejecting any links between the Iranian nuclear program and the many other areas where the US and Iran clash. By refusing any linkages, the Bush White House has aimed to gain maximum concessions from Iran in all areas without ever having to reciprocate or offer any concessions in return.

This was clearly seen in Afghanistan, where Bush's envoy opened up talks with Iran to coordinate efforts to dispose the Taliban regime. Bush's intentions were purely tactical - accept Iranian help in Afghanistan without permitting the cooperation to lead to a shift in attitude toward Iran. The Iranians, on the other hand, were hoping that their assistance in Afghanistan would have strategic implications with an entire new relationship between Tehran and Washington as the ultimate outcome.

Once Iran's help in Afghanistan was no longer deemed necessary, Washington's approach to Tehran cooled significantly, much thanks to the influence of Rumsfeld. Only weeks after the Bonn Conference in December 2001 where Tehran's assistance was crucial in finding a compromise among Afghanistan's many warlords, Bush put Iran into the "axis of evil", along with Iraq and North Korea. Tehran's goodwill gestures were for naught.

"Iran made a mistake not to link its assistance in Afghanistan to American help in other areas and by just hoping that the US would reciprocate," said Javad Zarif, Iran's United Nations ambassador who was in charge of negotiations with Washington over Afghanistan.

The Bush administration's insistence on rejecting all forms of linkages has made a bad situation worse. On the one hand, the lesson of Afghanistan for Tehran has been to run a very hard bargain with the US where no help is offered for free. As a result, Washington has been left to deal with the deteriorating situation in Iraq by itself.

On the other hand, Washington's efforts to put a halt to Iran's nuclear program have run into a dead end. Washington has reduced US-Iran relations to a zero-sum game about enrichment. Either Iran has enrichment, or it doesn't. The Bush administration has not permitted any middle ground to exist in hopes that it could completely deprive Iran of all nuclear know-how.

But in this game of winner takes all, Iran has so far been winning. Washington has not even been able to get the UN Security Council to pass a resolution imposing travel restrictions on Iranian officials involved in Tehran's nuclear program.

Much indicates that the only way out of this dead end is to do what Bush and Rumsfeld have refused to do all along: link Iranian cooperation in Iraq to Washington's willingness to find a compromise on the nuclear issue, where enrichment will be seen as a continuous rather than a binary variable. The White House refused such linkages in the past, since it sought complete victories. Now, creating linkages is necessary to avoid complete defeats in both Iraq and in Iran.

James Baker's ISG has already paved the way for dealing with Iran over Iraq, though Bush is yet to sign off on the idea of linkage. Last month, Baker met with Javad Zarif at the Iranian ambassador's residence in New York. The meeting lasted three hours and was deemed very helpful by both sides. Baker was told that Iran would consider helping the US in Iraq if "Washington first changed its attitude towards Iran", a euphemism for the Bush administration's unwillingness to deal with Iran in a strategic manner.

While the political earthquakes in Washington have raised hope that a shift in both Iraq and Iran may be forthcoming, Bush is still the final decision-maker. Neither a Democratic Congress nor a pragmatist in charge of the Pentagon is likely to change the course on Iraq and Iran unless the president recognizes the reality on the ground - without Iran, the US cannot win in Iraq, and without linking Iraq to the nuclear issue, Tehran's services are not available.

Dr Trita Parsi is the author of Treacherous Triangle: The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran and the United States (Yale University Press, 2007).
27543  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Our Troops in Action on: November 09, 2006, 02:31:24 PM
Fellowship of Fighters With Tales of Sacrifice
Bill Crandall for The New York Times

Marine Museum A new center near Quantico, Va., devoted to the Marine Corps opens on Friday.
By EDWARD ROTHSTEIN

Published: November 9, 2006

TRIANGLE, Va., Nov. 6 ? I may not be alone in my reaction to the National Museum of the Marine Corps, which is opening on Friday adjacent to the Marine base in Quantico, outside Washington. In making my way through its 118,000 square feet of exhibitions, timelines, sound-and-light shows, historical videos, battle accounts and fighting machines, I felt a little like an alien visitor getting to know another culture. I am not among those for whom these packaged experiences (executed with great skill in the current museum mode) evoke reminiscences and platoon allegiances. I know this world only from news reports, movies and histories.

But many who will visit this impressive complex ? which will grow by another 80,000 square feet of exhibition, classroom and theater space in coming years ? will be intimately familiar with its account of Marine culture, beginning with basic training so intense it is intended to strip the recruit of any hint of the individualism so deeply cherished on the outside.

That experience is evoked here by a model of a bus bearing hopeful young men to a Marine training camp. ?Get off my bus,? the voice of a drill instructor would roar. ?Stand on the yellow footprints on the pavement. Now!?

Those footprints are here, at the bus?s side. Nearby are two soundproof booths into which the museumgoer ? having just begun this engaging, serpentine journey through recent Marine Corps history ? seals himself to hear the disorienting shouts of the drill sergeant.

Some visitors, who have memories of such shouts, may have flown, during World War II, an F4U Corsair much like the airplane suspended from the ceiling in the Leatherneck Gallery here. They may know that marines are called leathernecks because of a strap that protected their necks from sword slashes in the 18th century. They may gaze upward, toward the angled sweep of that gallery?s ceiling, which encloses a space that is at once atrium, lobby and arena for display of the land, sea and air equipment used in crucial battles, and recognize allusions to ship?s decks and portholes and even to the sea itself, from which the marines have traditionally emerged, their weapons raised.

While many such visitors would not know immediately that the thrusting bayonetlike rod that extends out of the skewed glass roof is part of an abstract representation of the famed flag-raising at Iwo Jima, the iconography, once identified, will have more associations for them than just the new Clint Eastwood movie. A reproduction of the sculpture of that scene is at the entrance of the nearby Marine base, and the two American flags raised that day are on display here. Amid the quotations praising marines inscribed in stone in this circular gallery is one that also has the potency of legend and the poignancy of truth, as if addressing those whose profession it is to fight our wars. It was cried out by First Sergeant Dan Daly as he led his men against German positions during the late days of World War I: ?Come on you sons of bitches, do you want to live forever??

One of the doctrines of this elite fighting fellowship, and one of the themes of this museum, is that the Marine affiliation does not break with the end of active service, let alone death: a sense of identification extends over centuries. Symbols ? like the Marine insignia of the eagle, globe and anchor ? take on a persistent significance, since every living marine who fought during wartime is also a surviving marine who has seen others fall. In that way too this museum, with all its symbols, is a place of pride and remembrance, a spirit emphasized in the atrium?s central space. (The building is designed by Fentress Bradburn Architects.)

It is also an attempt to remind others of the role marines have played. The museum evolved out of a partnership of the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, which raised $57 million in private money for construction, and the corps itself, which raised $30 million for the exhibitions, many designed by Christopher Chadbourne & Associates, a firm also involved in designing the new George Washington exhibitions at nearby Mount Vernon. (One gallery, devoted to combat art, is sponsored by Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, the chairman emeritus of the New York Times Company.) The museum is part of the Marine Corps Heritage Center, which features a memorial park and is eventually to include parade grounds, a chapel, a conference center and a hotel.

That project will require additional fund-raising. The museum itself, according to its director, Lin Ezell, plans to begin its Phase 2 in 2008. Now this historical survey of the corps, which was founded on Nov. 10, 1775 (the opening on Friday, which is reservation only, is a birthday celebration), is necessarily incomplete. The 18th- and 19th-century galleries have yet to be built. Recent history is represented by a single gallery of photographs from Iraq and Afghanistan that will eventually be replaced by a full-scale history of the Marines since the Vietnam War.

But what is being unveiled now is the heart of the story, at least for contemporary sensibilities: detailed accounts of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. These wars ? still in the realm of living memory ? are not only chronicled with photographs and wall panels, but also re-enacted in tableaus with life-size figures molded from the features of 75 active-duty marines. These figures are frozen in motion in tanks or jeeps, or appear in the midst of battles atmospherically evoked in what the museum is calling immersion galleries. The floors? molded sand and mud bear the footprints of the era?s boots, the lights and sounds imitate weather and weaponry, and history is turned into theater.

Such immersion of course is aimed less at veterans than at visitors who have not lived through the trauma, onlookers for whom the chill air of the gallery devoted to the battle at Toktong Pass during the Korean War or the humid haze of a siege on Hill 881 South in Vietnam (into which visitors descend from the thumping ramp of a real CH-46 helicopter fuselage) is a curious experience.

But there is so much information in the midst of the sensation that the result becomes thoroughly absorbing. I walked through these winding galleries ? where scenes, equipment and wall panels intermingle, and video screens can even appear on the undersides of planes ? feeling like an innocent abroad, astonished at the historical panorama.

For the most part these exhibitions do not give a whitewashed account. The display about boot camp even mentions the 1956 tragedy in which an overzealous drill instructor took his platoon on an unauthorized march through a swamp one night, leading to the deaths of six recruits. There is much defeat here; the heroism at the Toktong battle, for example, is the valor that leads to survival in the midst of retreat. The early Pacific battles of World War II in Guam and the Philippines were pageants of blood.

But the account of World War II, which focuses extensively on the Pacific because of the centrality of the Marines? involvement, is also a story of strategic lessons learned, in which air, land and water forces became tautly coordinated in fighting difficult battles against entrenched Japanese soldiers. The lessons are less clear in the accounts of the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Here the marines occasionally chafe at the role given them or celebrate their relationships with South Vietnamese villages, but an effort to make sense of the whole, with all its scars, is missing.

Given the unsatisfactory, painful winding down of both wars, there are hints of discontent here, signs of the ancient tension between the political and military authorities. Attention is drawn, for example, to the government?s disinclination to take risks after initial triumphs in Korea or to its confusion about strategy and ambition in Vietnam. An unstated lesson is that lack of clarity, determination and flexibility in either the political or the military realm can lead to calamity.

But here is the museum?s persistent point: The same sacrifice is demanded whatever mistakes are made. Whether in crucial battles ? in 36 days of fighting, 6,000 marines were killed at Iwo Jima ? or in more controversial extended wars, that sacrifice is subject to no second guesses. It presumes an allegiance that transcends individual judgment.

This is humbling for a civilian who has been drilled in just the opposite perspective. Yet in the best of such cases, it is through the sacrifices made by the military that we have the luxury of maintaining our proud individualism. The museum makes it possible to understand just what is demanded of those we have asked to fight for us, and how much more is so often given.

 
27544  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Mexico on: November 09, 2006, 12:49:26 PM
MEXICO: Mexico's People's Popular Assembly of Oaxaca (APPO) said that in order to return to a dialogue, the state must cease all violent action against the group, re-establish the signal to the university radio station, liberate 60 political prisoners and find 30 missing individuals. In the meantime, APPO members have been offered asylum within the Roman Catholic Church.
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27545  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DBMA Seminar: Kali Fence and the Dog Catcher on: November 09, 2006, 09:04:17 AM
The seminar is full.  No more registrations.  Thank you.
27546  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Middle East War on: November 09, 2006, 08:31:39 AM
1209 GMT -- FRANCE -- French troops almost fired on Israeli air force jets in southern Lebanon when a squadron of F-15s dived at a French peacekeeper position, French Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said in comments to parliament late Nov. 8.

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27547  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Military Science on: November 09, 2006, 08:14:19 AM
Geopolitical Diary: Rumsfeld's Legacy

U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld resigned on Wednesday after the Democrats succeeded in securing a majority hold on the U.S. House of Representatives in midterm elections.

Rumsfeld is perhaps among the most visionary defense secretaries who have served in the U.S. government, but that hardly has made him an effective one -- and it certainly has not stopped him from being a political liability.

Rumsfeld's primary goal, and the reason that U.S. President George W. Bush brought him into the government in the first place, was to bring about a seminal shift in the shape of the U.S. military. He sought to skip over an entire generation of military hardware -- such as the F-22, which is only now entering the military's toolkit -- and instead focus on the development of fundamentally new technologies, so that 20 years from now the United States would be fielding technology two generations ahead of any potential foes.

Part and parcel of this change would be a massive reduction in the size of the military, with the army suffering the largest cuts in manpower and resources. There would be a corresponding emphasis on light, highly mobile forces with high-tech capabilities such as long-range hypersonic cruise missiles, smart drones and the ability to insert small forces anywhere in the world at a moment's notice.

Rumsfeld's biggest failing was not his plan, or even his execution of it. It was that reality intervened, in the form of the 9/11 attacks and the Iraq war, and he refused to shift course in midstream. Rumsfeld was designing a military that could defeat state power by the precise applications of force while minimizing the exposure of U.S. forces; but the U.S.-jihadist war brought to the table a foe that thrived in chaotic regions where state control was weak or nonexistent. Rumsfeld's plan could overturn the Taliban or Saddam Hussein's government, but it could not muster the manpower necessary to impose order on the resulting chaos. Without sufficient "boots on the ground," the United States has proven unable to deny militants the environment in which they thrive.

The nature of the war the United States found itself fighting changed, and Rumsfeld demonstrated over and over that he lacked the ability to change with it.

His replacement, former CIA director Robert Gates, is in theory being brought in specifically to implement the very changes that Rumsfeld for the longest time refused to admit were necessary. Gates is part of the Iraq Study Group, a cadre of senior statesmen who have been out of government for over a decade -- he left government in 1993 -- recently tasked to come up with alternatives to the current Iraq strategy.

Their recommendations will be interesting to read, and Gates' efforts to implement them will be fascinating to watch. Congressional confirmation for Gates should come very easily and quickly -- he has no great political ambitions and is on the team that is supposed to come up with non-ideological recommendations for the way forward.

But what he will not be doing is prepping the United States for the next threat. Gates is a placeholder -- a competent placeholder for sure, but a placeholder nonetheless. Facing a hostile Congress, the Bush administration has sharp limitations on its actions and we will be seeing no revolutionary proposals from a defense secretary who will be in his job a maximum of two years.

The irony is that, instead of leaping ahead by a generation, U.S. forces have now been saddled with the worst of both worlds: an exhausted military that will take years to repair, and limited progress in the modernization that they will likely need a generation from now.
27548  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: November 08, 2006, 09:52:10 PM
Pakistan: Attacks and Retaliation in the NWFP
Summary

A suicide bombing killed more than 42 soldiers at a Pakistani army training base Nov. 8 in the town of Dargai, in the country's North-West Frontier Province (NWFP). This followed a Nov. 7 attack in which tribal militants fired rockets during NWFP Gov. Ali Mohammed Jan Orakzai's visit to the town of Wana, in the tribal belt. These attacks are retaliation for the Pakistani military's Oct. 30 strike against a religious school in the Bajaur area, which the army asserted was being used as a militant training facility. The Pakistani military will almost certainly respond aggressively to such a blatant provocation, especially considering the army's precedent for responding to militant attacks. Such a response will further destabilize the country's restive northwest.

Analysis

More than 42 Pakistani soldiers died in a Nov. 8 suicide bombing attack at an army training base in Dargai, a town in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province (NWFP). On the previous day, during NWFP Gov. Ali Mohammed Jan Orakzai's visit to the town of Wana -- the capital of South Waziristan, in the country's northwestern tribal areas -- tribal militants fired two rockets during the assembly and three more after the delegation had left the area. Security forces responded by firing mortar shells at the hills southeast of Wana.

It is hard to conclude that these attacks were anything other than retaliation for the Pakistani army's Oct. 30 strike against a madrassa in the Bajaur area. The army base targeted Nov. 8 is located about 30 miles southeast of the site of the Oct. 30 military strike. The town of Dargai is a stronghold of the banned pro-Taliban movement Tehreek-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-Mohammadi, and sentiment ran strongly against Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf there even before the madrassa attack. Furthermore, Dargai is located in the Malakand tribal region, a possible hideout for al Qaeda's top leaders.

Tribesmen had publicly promised to retaliate against the madrassa attack, so the Nov. 8 suicide bombing attack was hardly a surprise, even if the scale and audacity of the attack were substantial. The Pakistani military had shown a willingness to talk with the militants and strike a deal, but the deadly attack against the military base destroyed any chances for diplomacy between the two parties by practically guaranteeing a bloody retaliation.

Militant jihadists, who are very much in league with tribal pro-Taliban forces in Pakistan's restive northwest, are attempting to make it clear to Pakistan's security establishment that their strength has yet to be sapped. This is a major escalation on the militants' part, in that they now are striking at the country's top institution -- the military, whose leaders they see as agents of the United States. The use of suicide bombers draws comparisons with militant tactics in Iraq and, to a lesser extent, Afghanistan. Furthermore, the al Qaeda-linked jihadists sense that Musharraf's domestic standing -- especially within the military -- has deteriorated and they are exploiting that deterioration as a window of opportunity, narrow though it is.

However, the Pakistani army will not allow the Nov. 8 attack to go unpunished. The army thinks of itself as the steward of the nation and cannot accept an attack that demonstrates its vulnerability. The military has never been shy about hitting back when it is threatened or under attack; for example, the upswing in military operations in Balochistan in January followed the December 2005 attack against the helicopter of the army's Frontier Corps inspector-general, Maj. Gen. Shujaat Zamir Dar. The military also has conducted largely retributive operations in the wake of assassination attempts against Musharraf, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and Musharraf's military deputy, Gen. Ahsan Saleem Hayat.

Furthermore, considering that the United States was likely heavily involved in the Oct. 30 strike, it is highly possible that militants will seek to attack U.S. interests in Pakistan. Vulnerable targets include U.S. diplomats' residences, consulates in Lahore or Peshawar (as opposed to the more heavily guarded Karachi consulate) and five-star hotels frequented by Western nationals.

27549  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: November 08, 2006, 08:02:19 PM
Back to Iraq
By George Friedman

The midterm congressional elections have given the Democrats control of the U.S. House of Representatives. It is possible -- as of this writing, on Wednesday afternoon -- that the Senate could also go to the Democrats, depending on the outcome of one extremely close race in Virginia. However it finally turns out, it is quite certain that this midterm was a national election, in the sense that the dominant issue was not a matter of the local concerns in congressional districts, but the question of U.S. policy in Iraq. What is clear is that the U.S. electorate has shifted away from supporting the Bush administration's conduct of the war. What is not clear at all is what they have shifted toward. It is impossible to discern any consensus in the country as to what ought to be done.

Far more startling than the election outcome was the sudden resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld had become the lightning rod for critics of the war, including many people who had supported the war but opposed the way it was executed. Extraordinarily, President George W. Bush had said last week that Rumsfeld would stay on as secretary of defense until the end of his presidential term. It is possible that Rumsfeld surprised Bush by resigning in the immediate wake of the election -- but if that were the case, Bush would not have had a replacement already lined up by the afternoon of Nov. 8. The appointment of Robert Gates as secretary of defense means two things: One is that Rumsfeld's resignation was in the works for at least a while (which makes Bush's statement last week puzzling, to say the least); the other is that a shift is under way in White House policy on the war.

Gates is close to the foreign policy team that surrounded former President George H. W. Bush. Many of those people have been critical of, or at least uneasy with, the current president's Iraq policy. Moving a man like Gates into the secretary of defense position indicates that Bush is shifting away from his administration's original team and back toward an older cadre that was not always held in high esteem by this White House.

The appointment of Gates is of particular significance because he was a member of the Iraq Study Group (ISG). The ISG has been led by another member of the Bush 41 team, former Secretary of State James Baker. The current president created the ISG as a bipartisan group whose job was to come up with new Iraq policy options for the White House. The panel consisted of people who have deep experience in foreign policy and no pressing personal political ambitions. The members included former House Foreign Relations Committee chairman Lee Hamilton, a Democrat, who co-chairs the group with Baker; former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a Republican; former Clinton adviser Vernon Jordan; Leon Panetta, who served as White House chief of staff in the Clinton administration; former Clinton administration Defense Secretary William Perry; former Sen. Chuck Robb, a Democrat; Alan Simpson, a former Republican senator from Wyoming; and Edwin Meese, who served as attorney general under the Reagan administration.

Before Rumsfeld's resignation, it had not been entirely clear what significance the ISG report would have. For the Democrats -- controlling at least one chamber of Congress, and lacking any consensus themselves as to what to do about Iraq -- it had been expected that the ISG report would provide at least some platform from which to work, particularly if Bush did not embrace the panel's recommendations. And there had, in fact, been some indications from Bush that he would listen to the group's recommendations, but not necessarily implement them. Given the results of the Nov. 7 elections, it also could be surmised that the commission's report would become an internal issue for the Republican Party as well, as it looked ahead to the 2008 presidential campaign. With consensus that something must change, and no consensus as to what must change, the ISG report would be treated as a life raft for both Democrats and Republicans seeking a new strategy in the war. The resulting pressure would be difficult to resist, even for Bush. If he simply ignored the recommendations, he could lose a large part of his Republican base in Congress.

At this point, however, the question mark as to the president's response seems to have been erased, and the forthcoming ISG report soars in significance. For the administration, it would be politically unworkable to appoint a member of the panel as secretary of defense and then ignore the policies recommended.

Situation Review

It is, of course, not yet clear precisely what policy the administration will be adopting in Iraq. But to envision what sort of recommendations the ISG might deliver, we must first consider the current strategy.

Essentially, U.S. strategy in Iraq is to create an effective coalition government, consisting of all the major ethnic and sectarian groups. In order to do that, the United States has to create a security environment in which the government can function. Once this has been achieved, the Iraqi government would take over responsibility for security. The problem, however, is twofold. First, U.S. forces have not been able to create a sufficiently secure environment for the government to function. Second, there are significant elements within the coalition that the United States is trying to create who either do not want such a government to work -- and are allied with insurgents to bring about its failure -- or who want to improve their position within the coalition, using the insurgency as leverage. In other words, U.S. forces are trying to create a secure environment for a coalition whose members are actively working to undermine the effort.

The core issue is that no consensus exists among Iraqi factions as to what kind of country they want. This is not only a disagreement among Sunnis, Shia and Kurds, but also deep disagreements within these separate groups as to what a national government (or even a regional government, should Iraq be divided) should look like. It is not that the Iraqi government in Baghdad is not doing a good job, or that it is corrupt, or that it is not motivated. The problem is that there is no Iraqi government as we normally define the term: The "government" is an arena for political maneuvering by mutually incompatible groups.

Until the summer of 2006, the U.S. strategy had been to try to forge some sort of understanding among the Iraqi groups, using American military power as a goad and guarantor of any understandings. But the decision by the Shia, propelled by Iran, to intensify operations against the Sunnis represented a deliberate decision to abandon the political process. More precisely, in our view, the Iranians decided that the political weakness of George W. Bush, the military weakness of U.S. forces in Iraq, and the general international environment gave them room to reopen the question of the nature of the coalition, the type of regime that would be created and the role that Iran could play in Iraq. In other words, the balanced coalition government that the United States wanted was no longer attractive to the Iranians and Iraqi Shia. They wanted more.

The political foundation for U.S. military strategy dissolved. The possibility of creating an environment sufficiently stable for an Iraqi government to operate -- when elements of the Iraqi government were combined with Iranian influence to raise the level of instability -- obviously didn't work. The United States might have had enough force in place to support a coalition government that was actively seeking and engaged in stabilization. It did not have enough force to impose its will on multiple insurgencies that were supported by factions of the government the United States was trying to stabilize.

By the summer of 2006, the core strategy had ceased to function.

The Options

It is in this context that the ISG will issue its report. There have been hints as to what the group might recommend, but the broad options boil down to these:

1. Recommend that the United States continue with the current strategy: military operations designed to create a security environment in which an Iraqi government can function.

2. Recommend the immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces and allow the Iraqis to sort out their political problems.

3. Recommend a redeployment of forces in Iraq, based around a redefinition of the mission.

4. Recommend a redefinition of the political mission in Iraq.

We are confident that the ISG will not recommend a continuation of the first policy. James Baker has already hinted at the need for change, since it is self-evident at this point that the existing strategy isn't working. It is possible that the strategy could work eventually, but there is no logical reason to believe that this will happen anytime soon, particularly as the president has now been politically weakened. The Shia and Iranians, at this point, are even less likely to be concerned about Washington's military capability in Iraq than they were before the election. And at any rate, Baker and Hamilton didn't travel personally to Iraq only to come back and recommend the status quo.

Nor will they recommend an immediate withdrawal of troops. Apart from the personalities involved, the ISG participants are painfully aware that a unilateral withdrawal at this point, without a prior political settlement, would leave Iran as the dominant power in the region -- potentially capable of projecting military force throughout the Persian Gulf, as well as exerting political pressure through Shiite communities in Gulf states. Only the United States has enough force to limit the Iranians at this point, and an immediate withdrawal from Iraq would leave a huge power vacuum.

We do believe that the ISG will recommend a fundamental shift in the way U.S. forces are used. The troops currently are absorbing casualties without moving closer to their goal, and it is not clear that they can attain it. If U.S. forces remain in Iraq -- which will be recommended -- there will be a shift in their primary mission. Rather than trying to create a secure environment for the Iraqi government, their mission will shift to guaranteeing that Iran, and to a lesser extent Syria, do not gain further power and influence in Iraq. Nothing can be done about the influence they wield among Iraqi Shia, but the United States will oppose anything that would allow them to move from a covert to an overt presence in Iraq. U.S. forces will remain in-country but shift their focus to deterring overt foreign intrusion. That means a redeployment and a change in day-to-day responsibility. U.S. forces will be present in Iraq but not conducting continual security operations.

Two things follow from this. First, the Iraqis will be forced to reach a political accommodation with each other or engage in civil war. The United States will concede that it does not have the power to force them to agree or to prevent them from fighting. Second, the issue of Iran -- its enormous influence in Iraq -- will have to be faced directly, or else U.S. troops will be tied up there indefinitely.

It has been hinted that the ISG is thinking of recommending that Washington engage in negotiations with Iran over the future of Iraq. Tehran offered such negotiations last weekend, and this has been the Iranian position for a while. There have been numerous back-channel discussions, and some open conversations, between Washington and Tehran. The stumbling block has been that the United States has linked the possibility of these talks to discussions of Iran's nuclear policy; Iran has rejected that, always seeking talks on Iraq without linkages. If the rumors are true, and logic says they are, the ISG will suggest that Washington should delink the nuclear issue and hold talks with Iran about a political settlement over Iraq.

This is going to be the hard part for Bush. The last thing he wants is to enhance Iranian power. But the fact is that Iranian power already has been enhanced by the ability of Iraqi Shia to act with indifference to U.S. wishes. By complying with this recommendation, Washington would not be conceding much. It would be acknowledging reality. Of course, publicly acknowledging what has happened is difficult, but the alternative is a continuation of the current strategy -- also difficult. Bush has few painless choices.

What a settlement with Iran would look like is, of course, a major question. We have discussed that elsewhere. For the moment, the key issue is not what a settlement would look like but whether there can be a settlement at all with Iran -- or even direct discussions. In a sense, that is a more difficult problem than the final shape of an agreement.

We expect the ISG, therefore, to make a military and political recommendation. Militarily, the panel will argue for a halt in aggressive U.S. security operations and a redeployment of forces in Iraq, away from areas of unrest. Security will have to be worked out by the Iraqis -- or not. Politically, the ISG will argue that Washington will have to talk directly to the other major stakeholder, and power broker, in Iraq: Tehran.

In short, the group will recommend a radical change in the U.S. approach not only to Iraq, but to the Muslim world in general.
27550  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Farewell Marine on: November 08, 2006, 01:23:00 PM
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