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27751  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: October 04, 2007, 11:59:39 AM
“George McGovern, who parlayed his $1,000-in-every-pot proposal into a 49-state loss in 1972, should sue for copyright infringement after Sen. Clinton told the Congressional Black Caucus’ annual legislative conference that every baby born in America should be given a $5,000 ‘baby bond.’ Actually, Hillary’s $5,000 is just McGovern’s $1,000 adjusted for inflation. McGovern’s $1,000 was equivalent in 2006 to $4,808.90. By the time she is sworn in, she should be right on the mark. Hillary argued that wealthy people ‘get to have all kinds of tax incentives to save, but most people can’t afford to do that.’ So her ‘baby bond’ is designed to give the kids of people who can’t afford to save ‘a $5,000 account that will grow over time, so that when that person turns 18 if they have finished high school they will be able to access it to go to college or maybe they will be able to make that down payment on that first home.’ But to pay for that home they will have to go to work and pay taxes. Hillary doesn’t propose cutting their taxes or those of their parents. Nor does she propose increasing the dependent deduction on their federal tax form. What Clinton proposes is another brick in the cradle-to-grave wall envisioned by liberals—paid for by ever-rising taxes... In 2004 (the latest year for which official figures are available), there were 4,116,000 live births in the United States. That works out to a current price of $21 billion per year, every year. It is an amount that will get bigger, particularly if illegal immigration is allowed to increase unimpeded. Since we now have a budget deficit, this $21-billion-plus new entitlement will have to be funded by borrowing. So the $5,000 savings ‘gift’ in fact is a government loan to each new baby, payable in full through their taxes when they grow up. Happy Birthday!” —Investor’s Business Daily
27752  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / John Adams on: October 04, 2007, 11:54:47 AM
"It already appears, that there must be in every society of men
superiors and inferiors, because God has laid in the constitution
and course of nature the foundations of the distinction."

-- John Adams (Thoughts on Government, 1776)

Reference: The Works of John Adams, Charles Adams, ed., 427.
“[J]udges, therefore, should be always men of learning and experience in the laws, of exemplary morals, great patience, calmness, coolness, and attention. Their minds should not be distracted with jarring interests; they should not be dependent upon any man, or body of men.” —John Adams

Patriot Post

"In times of peace the people look most to their representatives;
but in war, to the executive solely."

-- Thomas Jefferson (letter to Caeser Rodney, 10 February 1810)

Reference: Jefferson: Writings, Peterson ed., Library of America
27753  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: October 04, 2007, 11:37:29 AM

"Bush veto's (sic) anything that comes to Poor children or Poor folk's (sic) in general."

This simply is factually wrong.  This is only the second veto of Bush's presidency.   Please forgive my bluntness, but the rest of your post is mostly at variance with the facts as well.  Spending under Bush has gone up massively across the board-- including to "the poor".  This is not to say he doesn't have especially soft places in his heart for certain corporate interests, but the mob has been feeding at the public trough with little restraint during his presidency.

27754  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: October 04, 2007, 11:31:45 AM

Now you are making a different point-- that the war had the effect of getting the economy going.  Your original assertion was different-- that a reason for entering the war was to get the economy going.

The latter point I do not find to be serious and the former, although widely held, I think less accurate than to say that the Depression, which was triggered by the fragmentation of the world wide economy from competitive currency devaluations and the likes of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, did not end until the re-unification of the world wide economy with the Bretton Woods Accords after WW2.
27755  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: October 04, 2007, 11:26:47 AM
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 3 — The studio distributing “The Kite Runner,” a tale of childhood betrayal, sexual predation and ethnic tension in Afghanistan, is delaying the film’s release to get its three schoolboy stars out of Kabul — perhaps permanently — in response to fears that they could be attacked for their enactment of a culturally inflammatory rape scene.

Skip to next paragraph
 Trailer: 'The Kite Runner'
Enlarge This Image
Musadeq Sadeq/Associated Press
Ahmad Jaan Mahmoodzada, father of Ahmad Khan Mahmoodzada, an actor in “Kite Runner.”
Executives at the distributor, Paramount Vantage, are contending with issues stemming from the rising lawlessness in Kabul in the year since the boys were cast.

The boys and their relatives are now accusing the filmmakers of mistreatment, and warnings have been relayed to the studio from Afghan and American officials and aid workers that the movie could aggravate simmering enmities between the politically dominant Pashtun and the long-oppressed Hazara.

In an effort to prevent not only a public-relations disaster but also possible violence, studio lawyers and marketing bosses have employed a stranger-than-fiction team of consultants. In August they sent a retired Central Intelligence Agency counterterrorism operative in the region to Kabul to assess the dangers facing the child actors. And on Sunday a Washington-based political adviser flew to the United Arab Emirates to arrange a safe haven for the boys and their relatives.

“If we’re being overly cautious, that’s O.K.,” Karen Magid, a lawyer for Paramount, said. “We’re in uncharted territory.”

In interviews, more than a dozen people involved in the studio’s response described grappling with vexing questions: testing the limits of corporate responsibility, wondering who was exploiting whom and pondering the price of on-screen authenticity.

“The Kite Runner,” like the best-selling 2003 novel by Khaled Hosseini on which it is based, spans three decades of Afghan strife, from before the Soviet invasion through the rise of the Taliban. At its heart is a friendship between Amir, a wealthy Pashtun boy played by Zekiria Ebrahimi, and Hassan, the Hazara son of Amir’s father’s servant. In a pivotal scene Hassan is raped in an alley by a Pashtun bully. Later, Sohrab, a Hazara boy played by Ali Danish Bakhty Ari, is preyed on by a corrupt Taliban official.

Though the book is admired in Afghanistan by many in the elite, its narrative remains unfamiliar to the broader population, for whom oral storytelling and rumor communication carry far greater weight.

The Taliban destroyed nearly all movie theaters in Afghanistan, but pirated DVDs often arrive soon after a major film’s release in the West. As a result, Paramount Vantage, the art-house and specialty label of Paramount Pictures, has pushed back the release of the $18 million movie by six weeks, to Dec. 14, when the young stars’ school year will have ended.

In January in Afghanistan, DVDs of “Kabul Express” — an Indian film in which a character hurls insults at Hazara — led to protests, government denunciations and calls for the execution of the offending actor, who fled the country.

Perhaps not coincidentally, the “Kite Runner” actor who plays Hassan, Ahmad Khan Mahmoodzada, 12, told reporters at that time that he feared for his life because his fellow Hazara might feel humiliated by his rape scene. His father said he himself was misled by the film’s producers, insisting that they never told him of the scene until it was about to be shot and that they had promised to cut it.

Hangama Anwari, the child-rights commissioner for the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, said on Monday that she had urged Paramount’s counterterrorism consultant to get Ahmad Khan out of the country, at least until after the movie is released. “They should not play around with the lives and security of people,” she said of the filmmakers. “The Hazara people will take it as an insult.”

The film’s director, Marc Forster, whose credits include “Finding Neverland” (2004), another film starring child actors, said he saw “The Kite Runner” as “giving a voice and a face to people who’ve been voiceless and faceless for the last 30 years.” Striving for authenticity, he said, he chose to make the film in Dari, an Afghan language, and his casting agent, Kate Dowd, held open calls in cities with sizable Afghan communities, including Fremont, Calif., Toronto and The Hague. But to no avail: Mr. Forster said he “just wasn’t connecting with anybody.”

Finally, when Ms. Dowd went to Kabul in May 2006, she discovered her stars. “There was such innocence to them, despite all they’d lived through,” she said.

Mr. Forster emphasized that casting Afghan boys did not seem risky at the time; local filmmakers even encouraged him, he said: “You really felt it was safe there, a democratic process was happening, and stability, and a new beginning.”

Page 2 of 2)

Ms. Dowd and E. Bennett Walsh, a producer, said they met in Kabul with Ahmad Khan’s father, Ahmad Jaan Mahmoodzada, and told him that his son’s character was the victim of a “vicious sexual assault.” Mr. Mahmoodzada seemed unmoved, they said, remarking that “bad things happen” in movies as in life. The boy, they continued, did not receive a script until a Dari translation was available on the set in western China. The rape scene was rehearsed twice, they said, once with the father present.

Skip to next paragraph
Musadeq Sadeq/Associated Press
Ahmad Khan Mahmoodzada, one of the film’s Afghan stars.

 Trailer: 'The Kite Runner'
Phil Bray/Paramount Vantage
Khaled Hosseini, in baseball cap, author of “The Kite Runner,” and Marc Forster, director of that novel’s film version.
On Tuesday the elder Mr. Mahmoodzada, reached by cellphone, rejected this account, and said he never learned the rape was a plot point until the scene was about to be shot. He also said his son never received a script.

Mr. Forster said that during rehearsals he considered including a shot of Hassan’s pants being pulled down, exposing his backside, and that neither Ahmad Khan nor his father objected. But the morning the scene was to be filmed, Mr. Forster found the boy in tears. Ahmad Khan said he did not want to be shown nude, Mr. Forster agreed to skip that shot, and the boy went ahead with the rape scene. Mr. Mahmoodzada confirmed this.

In the final version of the film, the rape is conveyed impressionistically, with the unstrapping of a belt, the victim’s cries and a drop of blood.

The filmmakers said they were surprised when Ahmad Khan and his father told The Sunday Times of London in January that they feared for their lives. Mr. Walsh and Rebecca Yeldham, another producer, flew to Kabul to learn more in February.

The producers dispelled one fear, that the filmmakers would use computer tricks to depict the boy’s genitals in the rape scene. But Ahmad Khan’s parents also pressed for more cash, the producers said.

On the advice of a Kabul television company, the boys had been paid $1,000 to $1,500 a week, far less than the Screen Actors Guild weekly scale of $2,557, but far more than what Afghan actors typically receive.

In late July, with violence worsening in Kabul, studio executives looked for experts who could help them chart a safe course. Aided by lobbyists for Viacom, Paramount’s parent company, they found John Kiriakou, the retired C.I.A. operative with experience in the region, and had him conduct interviews in Washington and Kabul.

“They wanted to do the right thing, but they wanted to understand what the right thing was,” Mr. Kiriakou said.

There was one absolute: “Nothing will be done if it puts any kid at risk,” Megan Colligan, head of marketing at Paramount Vantage, said.

Mr. Kiriakou’s briefing, which he reprised in a telephone interview, could make a pretty good movie by itself. A specialist on Islam at the State Department nearly wept envisioning a “Danish-cartoons situation,” Mr. Kiriakou said. An Afghan literature professor, he added, said Paramount was “willing to burn an already scorched nation for a fistful of dollars.” The head of an Afghan political party said the movie would energize the Taliban. Nearly everyone Mr. Kiriakou met said that the boys had to be removed from Afghanistan for their safety. And a Hazara member of Parliament warned that Pashtun and Hazara “would be killing each other every night” in response to the film’s depiction of them. None of the interviewees had seen the movie.

Another consultant, whom Paramount did not identify, gave a less bleak assessment, but Ms. Colligan said the studio was taking no chances. “The only thing you get people to agree on is that the place is getting messier every single day,” she said.

So on Sunday Rich Klein, a Middle East specialist at the consulting firm Kissinger McLarty Associates, flew to the United Arab Emirates to arrange visas, housing and schooling for the young actors and jobs for their guardians. (The United States is not an option, he said, because Afghans do not qualify for refugee status.)

Those involved say that the studio doesn’t want to be taken advantage of, but that it could accept responsibility for the boys’ living expenses until they reach adulthood, a cost some estimated at up to $500,000. The families, of course, must first agree to the plan.

“I think there was a moral obligation even before any of these things were an issue,” said Mr. Hosseini, the novel’s author, who got to know the boys on the set. “How long that obligation lasts? I don’t know that anybody has the answer to that.”

NY Times
27756  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: October 04, 2007, 08:21:14 AM
Hillary vs. Limbaugh

Liberals continue to step up their Hush Rush campaign. First, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid spent hours urging Clear Channel, Rush Limbaugh's syndicator, to repudiate him over what Mr. Reid claimed were comments that American soldiers who seek to end the war in Iraq were "phony soldiers."

That didn't work when Clear Channel pointed out Rush's long-standing support for and visits with U.S. troops and suggested that Mr. Reid's interpretation of his remarks was strained at best. Mr. Limbaugh notes that his broadcast referred to the specific case of an anti-war veteran whose exploits on the battlefield were found to have been fabricated.

Now liberals have deployed former General Wesley Clark, Bill Clinton's favorite man in uniform, to gnaw on Rush's ankles. Mr. Clark writes at "It's time to put real pressure on Rush Limbaugh" by getting him kicked off Armed Forces Radio. "It's time to tell Congress to act swiftly to hold Rush Limbaugh accountable."

The liberal attempt to divert attention from the infamous ad that twisted the name of General David Petraeus, the Iraq military commander, is driven by Media Matters, a left-wing media watchdog group. If anyone doubts that Media Matters isn't part of the Clinton attack machine, just consider that Hillary Clinton herself took credit for creating the group at last year's DailyKos blogger convention, when she was desperately trying to demonstrate her anti-war bona fides.

During her DailyKos speech, Senator Clinton proudly stated: "We are certainly better prepared and more focused on, you know, taking our arguments and making them effective and disseminating them widely and really putting together a network in the blogosphere and a lot of the new progressive infrastructure, institutions that I helped to start and support, like Media Matters and Center for American Progress."

The Center For American Progress is the liberal think tank run by former Clinton White House Chief of Staff John Podesta. Its most visible recent effort was a lengthy report urging Congress to revive the Fairness Doctrine, the discredited FCC policy that required all broadcasters to provide equal time for all points of view. The major target of those who would revive the Fairness Doctrine? Rush Limbaugh.

Hillary Clinton is running for president, but she also apparently finds time to use surrogates to limit and control the reach of one of her most persistent media critics.

Opinion Journal
27757  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The left's family values on: October 04, 2007, 08:13:14 AM
Getting lost here I think is the point behind GM's original post-- Two gay "dads" taking their toddler daughters to this event.
27758  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: October 04, 2007, 08:09:45 AM
I support President Bush's veto.

We need to read beyond the title of the bill.  It was not about "supporting poor children"-- it expanded coverage FAR beyond that.  This bill was simply another shot fired in the Democrats attack on the remaining vestiges of the private sector in our health care.

27759  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: October 04, 2007, 08:04:03 AM
I agree that we did not enter WW2 to help the Jews, though awareness on the part of some that Hitler was evil in part was due to his hatred for the Jews, but with this "We entered the war to kick start mass production from the war-machine", , ,  rolleyes
27760  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Modern Heroes on: October 04, 2007, 07:59:51 AM
Modern Heroes
Our soldiers like what they do. They want our respect, not pity.

Thursday, October 4, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

I'm weary of seeing news stories about wounded soldiers and assertions of "support" for the troops mixed with suggestions of the futility of our military efforts in Iraq. Why aren't there more accounts of what the troops actually do? How about narrations of individual battles and skirmishes, of their ever-evolving interactions with Iraqi troops and locals in Baghdad and Anbar province, and of increasingly resourceful "patterning" of terrorist networks that goes on daily in tactical operations centers?

The sad and often unspoken truth of the matter is this: Americans have been conditioned less to understand Iraq's complex military reality than to feel sorry for those who are part of it.

The media struggles in good faith to respect our troops, but too often it merely pities them. I am generalizing, of course. Indeed, there are regular, stellar exceptions, quite often in the most prominent liberal publications, from our best military correspondents. But exceptions don't quite cut it amidst the barrage of "news," which too often descends into therapy for those who are not fighting, rather than matter-of-fact stories related by those who are.

As one battalion commander complained to me, in words repeated by other soldiers and marines: "Has anyone noticed that we now have a volunteer Army? I'm a warrior. It's my job to fight." Every journalist has a different network of military contacts. Mine come at me with the following theme: We want to be admired for our technical proficiency--for what we do, not for what we suffer. We are not victims. We are privileged.

The cult of victimhood in American history first flourished in the aftermath of the 1960s youth rebellion, in which, as University of Chicago Prof. Peter Novick writes, women, blacks, Jews, Native Americans and others fortified their identities with public references to past oppressions. The process was tied to Vietnam, a war in which the photographs of civilian victims "displaced traditional images of heroism." It appears that our troops have been made into the latest victims.
Heroes, according to the ancients, are those who do great deeds that have a lasting claim to our respect. To suffer is not necessarily to be heroic. Obviously, we have such heroes, who are too often ignored. Witness the low-key coverage accorded to winners of the Medal of Honor and of lesser decorations.

The first Medal of Honor in the global war on terror was awarded posthumously to Army Sgt. First Class Paul Ray Smith of Tampa, Fla., who was killed under withering gunfire protecting his wounded comrades outside Baghdad airport in April 2003.

According to LexisNexis, by June 2005, two months after his posthumous award, his stirring story had drawn only 90 media mentions, compared with 4,677 for the supposed Quran abuse at Guantanamo Bay, and 5,159 for the court-martialed Abu Ghraib guard Lynndie England. While the exposure of wrongdoing by American troops is of the highest importance, it can become a tyranny of its own when taken to an extreme.

Media frenzies are ignited when American troops are either the perpetrators of acts resulting in victimhood, or are victims themselves. Meanwhile, individual soldiers daily performing complicated and heroic deeds barely fit within the strictures of news stories as they are presently defined. This is why the sporadic network and cable news features on heroic soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan comes across as so hokey. After all, the last time such reports were considered "news" was during World War II and the Korean War.

In particular, there is Fox News's occasional series on war heroes, whose apparent strangeness is a manifestation of the distance the media has traveled away from the nation-state in the intervening decades. Fox's war coverage is less right-wing than it is simply old-fashioned, antediluvian almost. Fox's commercial success may be less a factor of its ideological base than of something more primal: a yearning among a large segment of the public for a real national media once again--as opposed to an international one. Nationalism means patriotism, and patriotism requires heroes, not victims.

Let's review some recent history. From Sept. 11, 2001, until the middle of 2003, when events in Afghanistan and Iraq appeared to be going well, the media portrayed the troops in an uncomplicated, positive light. Young reporters who embedded early on became acquainted with men and women in uniform, by whom they were frankly impressed. But their older editors, children of the '60s often, were skeptical. Once these wars started going badly, skepticism turned to a feeling of having been duped, a sentiment amplified by the Abu Ghraib prison scandal.
That led to a different news cycle, this time with the troops as war criminals. But that cycle could not be sustained by the facts beyond the specific scandal. So by the end of 2004, yet another news cycle set in, the one that is still with us: the troops as victims of an incompetent and evil administration. The irony is that the daily actions of the troops now, living among Iraqis, applying the doctrines of counterinsurgency, and engaged regularly in close-quarters combat, are likely more heroic than in the period immediately following 9/11.

Objectively speaking, the troops can be both victims and heroes--that is, if the current phase of the war does indeed turn out to be futile. My point is only to note how the media has embraced the former theme and downplayed the latter. The LexisNexis statistics reveal the extent to which the media is uncomfortable with traditional heroism, of the kind celebrated from Herodotus through World War II. If that's not the case, then why don't we read more accounts about the battlefield actions of Silver Star winners, Bronze Star winners and the like?

Feeling comfortable with heroes requires a lack of cynicism toward the cause for which they fight. In the 1990s, when exporting democracy and militarily responding to ethnic and religious carnage were looked up upon, U.S. Army engineering units in Bosnia were lionized merely for laying bridges across rivers. Those soldiers did not need to risk their lives or win medals in order to be glorified by the media. Indeed, the media afforded them more stature than it does today's Medal of Honor winners. When a war becomes unpopular, the troops are in a sense deserted. In the eyes of professional warriors, pity can be a form of debasement.

Rather than hated, like during Vietnam, now the troops are "loved." But the best units don't want love; they want respect. The dilemma is that the safer the administration keeps us at home, the more disconnected the citizenry is from its own military posted abroad. An army at war and a nation at the mall do not encounter each other except through the refractive medium of news and entertainment.
That medium is refractive because while the U.S. still has a national military, it no longer has a national media to quite the same extent. The media is increasingly representative of an international society, whose loyalty to a particular territory is more and more diluted. That international society has ideas to defend--ideas of universal justice--but little actual ground. And without ground to defend, it has little need of heroes. Thus, future news cycles will also be dominated by victims.

The media is but one example of the slow crumbling of the nation-state at the upper layers of the social crust--a process that because it is so gradual, is also deniable by those in the midst of it. It will take another event on the order of 9/11 or greater to change the direction we are headed. Contrary to popular belief, the events of 9/11--which are perceived as an isolated incident--did not fundamentally change our nation. They merely interrupted an ongoing trend toward the decay of nationalism and the devaluation of heroism.

Mr. Kaplan, a correspondent for The Atlantic and a visiting professor at the U.S. Naval Academy, is the author of "Hog Pilots, Blue Water Grunts: The American Military in the Air, at Sea, and on the Ground," just published by Random House.


27761  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: October 02, 2007, 07:41:30 PM

Democrats on a Roll

Fundraising totals for presidential candidates during the summer months are coming
in, and most striking is what Rudy Giuliani concedes is the "phenomenal" ability of
Democratic candidates to outpace their GOP counterparts in the cash haul. Taken
together, Democratic candidates have raised some $225 million during the first nine
months of this year, eclipsing the estimated $145 million raised by Republican

Money isn't everything in politics, but it provides a clue as to which side is most
energized. The unpopular Iraq war, Democratic anger at President Bush and the
state-of-the-art fundraising machines assembled by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama
help explain the Democratic advantage. "They're on a roll," says Rep. Tom Cole of
Oklahoma, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee. "But
things can change quickly once there's a Republican nominee people can rally around
and issue contrasts between the parties are drawn."

That said, the GOP has reason to worry that the vast majority of new donors appear
to be giving to Democrats. Barack Obama brought in donations from a staggering
93,000 people in the third quarter, for a total of $19 million. Rudy Giuliani and
Mitt Romney have yet to report their final fundraising totals, though Fred Thompson
has brought in a respectable number of checks from 70,000 different donors, raising
a total of $8 million. John McCain stabilized his fund-raising operation, bringing
in $5 million, enough to ensure he can fight on till the Iowa caucuses. The big
surprise fundraising success on the GOP side was Rep. Ron Paul, the iconoclastic
libertarian from Texas, who managed to raise $3 million, almost all in small
donations over the Internet and through direct mail.

-- John Fund

Coming Home to Hillary

A recent issue of the Economist includes a joke New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson
cracked two years ago: The Democratic Party has a lot of good presidential
candidates, he said. "There's Governor Tom Vilsack of Iowa -- he'd bring back the
Midwest. There's Joe Biden -- he'd bring back the national-security voter. And
there's Hillary Clinton -- she'd bring back the White House furniture."

Mrs. Clinton may also bring back Ohio. With the latest fundraising numbers trickling
out, her campaign figures she raised somewhere between $17 million and $20 million,
giving her plenty of money to be competitive in the primaries. But beyond the bottom
line, Mrs. Clinton is also adding a few other valuable assets to her ledger -- she's
bringing back some Democrats who had drifted over to George W. Bush, including
notable donors in vote-rich Ohio.

One of them is venture capitalist James Gould, who helped Mr. Bush nail down the
Buckeye State three years ago. He's now backing Mrs. Clinton, telling a reporter
recently: "She's misunderstood." The Clinton campaign spent a considerable amount of
time courting the Cincinnati entrepreneur, even giving him several hours to talk to
Mrs. Clinton directly. He walked away thinking: "I liked her a lot more than I
thought I would. She's really smart. I was very impressed." He now plans to host a
fundraiser for her.

Rep. Ed Royce, a California Republican, dropped by the Journal?s offices this week
and told us the GOP had better make some cold calculations in coming months. Ohio is
slipping away, he says, thanks to various GOP scandals involving then-Gov Bob Taft
and Rep. Bob Ney, who pleaded guilty in the Jack Abramoff case. That means his party
must look anew at the electoral map and figure out which states a Republican
candidate has a real chance to carry. If Rudy Giuliani can carry New York, New
Jersey and Pennsylvania or put California in play, Mr. Royce tells us, that might
just replace the loss of Ohio.

-- Brendan Miniter
27762  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: October 02, 2007, 07:36:53 PM
 to Syria to upgrade the Syrian air-defense network, London daily The Times reported. The team reportedly was dispatched after Syrian airspace was penetrated by an alleged Israeli airstrike Sept. 6 near Dayr az-Zawr. The Times report also suggests that the Israeli air force successfully applied, for the first time, a sophisticated electronic warfare system that jammed Syria's Russian-made radar during the attack.

ISRAEL, SYRIA: The Israeli air force targeted an abandoned military building during its secret mission into Syria on Sept. 6, Syrian President Bashar al Assad said Oct. 1. In his first public comments about the event, al Assad said the raid demonstrated Israel's disregard for peace, but distanced himself from the possibility of war with Israel. He also said Syria will boycott the U.S.-hosted Middle East peace conference if the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights would not be discussed.

ISRAEL, SYRIA: Israel Defense Forces lifted a censorship measure preventing Israeli media from reporting that Israel carried out an airstrike on a Syrian target Sept. 6. The move comes after Syrian President Bashar al Assad on Oct. 1 confirmed the airstrike, which he said targeted an unused military facility. Israel is upholding censorship on any details about the strike.
27763  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Russia on: October 02, 2007, 07:31:19 PM

There has been extensive speculation about what will happen in Russia after next spring's presidential elections. It has long been assumed that Vladimir Putin, although constitutionally prevented from running for re-election, will somehow find a way to continue running Russia. Finding such a way would not be unpopular. Putin has a great deal of support in Russia, and there is serious concern about what would happen if he transferred power to someone else. This is a case in which an extra-constitutional solution would calm public fears rather than excite them.

Putin on Monday gave the first direct indication of how he is planning to cope with the problem. Rather than trying to hold power without having a formal position in the government, Putin suggested that he would become prime minister after leaving office. Putin said the idea "is quite a realistic proposal," though he added that it is too early to think about this option. Since it is but half a year from election time, it is hardly too early to think about these things -- and Putin is not a man given to idle speculation in public -- so it is reasonable to assume that Putin is letting the country know that he will be changing jobs but neither leaving government nor abandoning power.

The Russian Constitution has, like all constitutions, ambiguities; and being quite new, it has few legal precedents. There is minimal constitutional reason why effective power couldn't rest with the prime minister's office while the president serves as the head of state and ceremonial figurehead. The way this would work is relatively simple. United Russia, a leading Russian political party, nominated Putin for one of its leading positions. Until now Putin has not formally belonged to any party (although he is clearly part of United Russia), saying the president should be beyond politics.

At a party congress, party member Sergey Borisov pleaded with Putin to take a leadership position and lead the party, saying, "So long as the state is outside a party, our party system is bulky and, to be honest, a somewhat decorative institution with little influence. I believe that by participating in one of the parties, you, Vladimir Putin, would make a large contribution to a stronger democracy and a multiparty system." Putin replied, saying, "I thankfully accept your proposal that I should head the United Russia ticket." And so it was done.

In our opinion, Putin had both the authority and the informal levers to dominate Russian politics without holding any formal office, simply working in the background. However, this maneuver makes things simple. Whoever replaces Putin as president will be head of state; Putin will be head of government. Putin moves his desk, or he might not even bother, keeping it right where it is.

We would say this is the end of democracy in Russia, except for the fact that it is going to be a very popular move and it doesn't clearly violate the constitution in any way. What it does do is promise Russia long-term continuity in leadership by a popular leader. It also means that there will not be an extended period of uncertainty in Russia about the political future, and it will cut off speculation outside of Russia about whether a post-Putin Russia would be less assertive, or at least whether a transition would provide some breathing room.

The answer is now in, although it is not surprising. There will be no post-Putin Russia, at least for the foreseeable future. There will be no transitional period. There will be no breathing space. Russia will continue to assert itself without interruption.
27764  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The left's family values on: October 02, 2007, 07:19:02 PM

"No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can
any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffusd and Virtue is
preservd. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant,
and debauchd in their Manners, they will sink under their own
weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders."

-- Samuel Adams (letter to James Warren, 4 November 1775)
27765  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Dog Brothers Training Camp? on: October 02, 2007, 07:16:17 PM
Woof Marx:

We are in the process of organizing the Winter one (they are held twice a year) within the DBMA Association right now.

27766  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Samuel Adams on: October 02, 2007, 07:11:23 PM

"No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can
any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffusd and Virtue is
preservd. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant,
and debauchd in their Manners, they will sink under their own
weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders."

-- Samuel Adams (letter to James Warren, 4 November 1775)
27767  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: October 02, 2007, 09:30:56 AM

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Palestinian Propaganda Coup
October 2, 2007; Page A17

Last month, a French court heard an appeals case whose forthcoming verdict will have far-reaching ramifications for all who value truth and accuracy in Middle East news reporting. The case involves Philippe Karsenty, a French journalist and media commentator, who was found guilty of defamation after he called for the firing of two France 2 Television journalists responsible for the Sept. 30, 2000, news report on the alleged killing of a 12-year-old Palestinian boy, Mohammed al-Dura, by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

It has been seven years since France 2 Television broadcast the excruciating footage of Mohammed and his father Jamal crouching in terror behind a barrel in Gaza's Netzarim Junction while, according to the report, under relentless fire from IDF soldiers. The 59-second clip, which ends with the boy apparently shot dead, was presented around the world as an unambiguous case of Israeli savagery.

The tape fanned the flames of what became known as the second intifada. The boy Mohammed was the iconic martyr, his name and face gracing streets, parks and postage stamps across the Arab world. His memory was invoked by Osama bin Laden in a jihadist screed against America, and in the ghastly video of the beheading of American Jewish journalist, Daniel Pearl.

Shortly following the al-Dura incident, however, a series of inquiries cast grave doubt on the accuracy of the original France 2 report. The official IDF investigation concluded that, based on the position of IDF forces vis-à-vis the Duras, it was highly improbable, if not impossible, that an Israeli bullet hit the boy. Research by the Atlantic Monthly, the New Republic and Commentary magazine concurred. Then a German documentary revealed inconsistencies and probable manipulations in the account of France 2's lone journalist on the scene that day, Palestinian cameraman Talal Abu Rahmeh.

And yet France 2 refused to release Abu Rahmeh's full 27 minutes of raw footage. It did, however, agree to let three prominent French journalists view the footage. All three concluded that it comprised blatantly staged scenes of Palestinians being shot by Israeli forces, and that France 2's Jerusalem Bureau Chief Charles Enderlin had lied to conceal that fact.

Subsequently, alleging gross malfeasance, Mr. Karsenty called for the firings of Mr. Enderlin and France 2 News Director Arlette Chabot. But France 2 stood defiant, suing Mr. Karsenty for defamation.

The defamation trial passed almost unnoticed in Israel, to the apparent detriment of Mr. Karsenty's case. In his ruling in favor of France 2, judge Joël Boyer five times cited the absence of any official Israeli support for Mr. Karsenty's claims as indication of their speciousness.

Israel's decision to stay on the sidelines was unfortunate because the truth always matters. The al-Dura incident wasn't the only media report to inflame passions against Israel in recent years, but it was the one with the highest profile. Moreover, if, as Mr. Karsenty and others have claimed persuasively, the al-Dura incident is part of the insidious trend in which Western media outlets allow themselves to be manipulated by dishonest and politically motivated sources (recall the Jenin "massacre" that never was, or the doctored Reuters photos from Israel's war against Hezbollah in 2006), then France 2 must be held accountable.

It is important to note that the al-Dura news report profoundly influenced Western public opinion. When I served in the Israeli government as minister of Diaspora Affairs from 2003 to 2005, I traveled frequently to North American college campuses. I heard first hand how Mohammed al-Dura had shaped the perceptions of young people just beginning to follow events in the Middle East. For many Jewish students, the incident was a stain of dishonor that called into question their support for Israel. For anti-Israel students, the story reaffirmed their sense of Zionism's innately "racist" nature and became a tool for recruiting campus peers to the cause.

To its credit, Israel has come to recognize that it must play an active role in uncovering the truth. The IDF recently sent a letter to France 2 demanding the release of Talal Abu Rahmeh's 27 minutes of raw footage, asserting the implausibility of IDF guilt for the death of Mohammad al-Dura, and raising the possibility that the entire affair may have been staged.

Tragically, there is no way to repair the damage inflicted on Israel's international image by the France 2 report, much less restore the Israeli and Jewish victims whose lives were exacted as vengeance. It is possible, however, to deter slanderous news reporting -- and the violence that often accompanies it -- by setting a precedent for media accountability via the handover of Talal Abu Rahmeh's full 27 minutes of raw footage. Encouragingly, the judge presiding over Mr. Karsenty's appeal has now requested the tapes. France 2 must make a full public disclosure. If there is nothing to hide, why should it refuse?

Mr. Sharansky is chairman of the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem.


27768  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: October 02, 2007, 09:23:25 AM
There is quite a bit I disagree with in this piece, but it makes points which must be considered.


Immigration Losers
A new study shows the heavy price the GOP paid for "get-tough" border politics.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

Many conservatives believe that "enforcement first" of existing immigration law must precede any form of guest-worker or earned-legalization legislation to normalize the status of some 12 million undocumented workers. Iterations of this opinion fill the airwaves of talk radio, the speeches of Republican presidential contenders and the opinion pages of conservative publications.

The formula alleviates, or at least postpones, the antagonism between those who want to deport illegal workers, and those who want them to stay. The language of comprehensive immigration reform--a combination of strict border enforcement and a path to legalization--has been abandoned even by many who hope eventually to revive it.

This rhetorical consensus is unserious. Deportation advocates understand full well that existing civil penalties will not overcome the economic incentives that drive these immigrants and their employers. That is why Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, the primary sponsor of the Border Protection, Antiterrorism and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005, added criminal penalties to the common frauds perpetrated by illegal workers and those who employ them.

The illegals themselves--the group most directly affected--understand "enforcement first" for what it really is: a step toward mass deportation. That is why thousands of undocumented Brazilians exited Riverside, N.J., when the town council sanctioned their landlords and employers.

To these two groups that reject "enforcement first" as a rhetorical euphemism, we may now add a third: Hispanic citizens who vote.

Undocumented Latinos constitute 3.8% of the American work force. But these 5.6 million workers are a mere fraction of the 17.3 million Latino citizens 18 years or older. Of these, 4.4 million are themselves foreign born.

How does "enforcement first" or "enforcement only" play among these voters? Polling has offered rationales for conflicting projections. Some contend that Hispanics' strong support for border security signals a negligible partisan impact; others, citing Latino endorsement of guest-worker and earned-legalization programs, predict electoral disaster for the party that abandons a comprehensive framework.

In my recent study for the Americas Majority Foundation entitled "Border Wars: The Impact of Immigration on the Latino Vote," I document not what Hispanics opined, but how they actually voted, given a clear choice between advocates of "enforcement first" and comprehensive immigration reform. The results, based on returns from 145 heavily Hispanic precincts and over 100,000 tabulated votes, indicate this: Immigration policies that induce mass fear among illegal residents will induce mass anger among the legal residents who share their heritage.
The congressional election of 2006 provided a unique opportunity to gauge Hispanic voter behavior. In three congressional districts of the Southwest, two of them on the border, Republican candidates ran on an "enforcement-only" platform. In each case, this constituted a departure from previous congressional representation. And in each case, Hispanic support for the Republican candidate collapsed from 2004 levels.

Former Republican Rep. Jim Kolbe of Arizona was an architect of comprehensive immigration reform. His retirement in 2006 precipitated a five-way primary in which Randy Graff prevailed with 42% of the vote. Mr. Graff, supported by the deportationist Minutemen Civil Defense Corps PAC, lost to Democrat Gabrielle Giffords, 42%-54%. Ms. Giffords aligned herself with the comprehensive reform positions of Sens. Jon Kyl and John McCain. Among the heavily Hispanic precincts of Cochise County, Rep. Kolbe carried 43% of the vote in 2004. Mr. Graff's share of the vote in those precincts shrank to 18%.

In Texas, former Republican Rep. Henry Bonilla, chairman of the powerful House Agriculture Appropriations subcommittee, was the paradigm of Republican Hispanic success--until he voted for Rep. Sensenbrenner's "enforcement-only" bill. In the heavily Hispanic counties of Dimmit, Presidio, Val Verde, Maverick and Zavala, Mr. Bonilla's support dropped to 30% in 2006 from 59% in 2004. He lost the district to Democrat Ciro Rodriguez, 46%-54%.

In 2004, Republican Rep. J.D. Hayworth, the flamboyant incumbent of Arizona's Fifth District, defeated his Democratic rival 59%-38%. His 2006 book "By Any Means" described his conversion from advocacy of comprehensive immigration reform to a deportationist viewpoint. Campaigning on enforcement-only, Mr. Hayworth was defeated by his Democratic challenger, Tempe Mayor Harry Mitchell, 46%-50%. Mr. Hayworth's majority-white district provided a test of whether a deportationist platform would attract a strong backlash vote among non-Hispanic whites. It did not. In the Hispanic influenced, majority-white precincts of Maricopa County, Mr. Hayworth's vote share declined to 36% in 2006 from 48% in 2004.

In these three races, Republicans' vote share in heavily Latino precincts dropped 22 percentage points.

What does this mean nationwide? Republicans' presidential Hispanic vote share increased to 40% in 2004 from 21% in 1996. In 2004, Latinos comprised 6% of the electorate, but 8.1% of the voter-qualified citizenry. With the partisan margin shrinking, the incentive for major Hispanic registration efforts by either party was scant.

That changed in 2006, when the GOP's Hispanic vote share declined by 10%. And, as we have seen, the drop was twice as precipitous where Republicans disavowed comprehensive immigration reform. With the huge wedge in vote share that "enforcement-only" opened, the cost-effectiveness of voter-registration efforts improved dramatically--for Democrats.

In recent years, Democratic Party operatives have conducted registration drives in urban communities that boosted African-American turnout to 65% from 23%. Republicans, should their national ticket adopt "enforcement-only," can expect Democrats to wage similar Hispanic campaigns in the most hotly contested political real estate of 2008. Such standard political operations will more than erase Republican majorities in New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado, Florida and Iowa, and may endanger the GOP electoral hold on Arizona as well.

That is the short-term fallout Republicans may suffer from "enforcement-only." But the election of 2008 marks the beginning of the political attrition, not its end.

One-half of U.S. population growth this decade occurred among Latinos. Were the border hermetically sealed today, the children of Latino citizens will yet vote. Moreover, there are currently 3.1 million American-born minors with one or both parents who are illegal aliens. These young Americans share the same citizenship status as those seeking their parents' removal. It is folly to believe they will not remember who sought to deport their parents when they eventually go to the polls.
The pending catastrophe is not inevitable. Republicans have campaigned effectively among Hispanics on the basis of entrepreneurship, school choice, tax cuts and right-to-life. And, as the 2006 re-election of Republicans Heather Wilson and Steve Pearce of New Mexico and Jeff Flake of Arizona demonstrated, the GOP agenda can include national security as well. In 2006, Latinos helped re-elect candidates who advocated the border fence, electronic surveillance, expedited deportation of violent criminals, and biometric worker identification.

The next proposal for comprehensive immigration reform can contain all of this. To retain their Hispanic gains, Republicans need to repudiate only the immoral, uneconomical goal of mass deportation.

Mr. Nadler is the president of Americas Majority Foundation, a Midwest public-policy think tank.

27769  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: November 18, 2007 Dog Bros Gathering of the Pack on: October 02, 2007, 02:09:55 AM
Yes, email it to Cindy.
27770  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Middle East War on: October 02, 2007, 02:07:32 AM
Iran, Iraq: Upping the Ante with SAMs

Signs indicate that Iran is planning to supply its militant proxies in Iraq with shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles. The threat of SAM shipments into Iraq is a useful pressure tactic for Iran to use in its negotiations with the United States over Iraq, but should the threat materialize, Tehran will be crossing a huge redline with Washington.


Stratfor has seen indications that Iran is planning to up the ante in Iraq by supplying its militant proxies with shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles (SAMs). These man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS) are short range and are only able to shoot down helicopters and other low-flying aircraft. The U.S. military also announced Sept. 30 that it had seized Iranian-made surface-to-air missiles called Misagh-1s being used by insurgents in Iraq.

Iranian military and logistical support to Iraqi Shiite militants is nothing new. But adding SAMs to the weapons mix opens up a whole new can of worms.

U.S.-supplied Stinger missiles were eagerly and quite successfully employed by the Afghan mujahideen during the Soviet war in Afghanistan. These point-and-shoot, easily transportable, heat-seeking SAMs are an excellent tool, allowing insurgents to wage asymmetrical warfare. Sunni insurgents in Iraq employed SAMs, likely old SA-7s and SA-14s, to cause a surge of chopper crashes in early 2007, though most helicopter losses to hostile fire in Iraq have been attributed to small-arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire. Iran's Misagh-1s are a knockoff the Chinese QW-1 Vanguard, but still would do an extremely effective job of creating a worst-case scenario for U.S. forces in Iraq.

The Iranians have had plenty to think about since U.S. President George W. Bush announced that the United States essentially would be staying the course in Iraq by keeping enough U.S. troops in the country to appease the Sunnis and make Iran sweat. But even though the United States is standing firm on keeping the Iranians at bay and resisting calls to withdraw, Iran might not be entirely convinced that its chances of filling the power vacuum in Iraq are completely shot.

The Iranians face two options now that Bush has announced the U.S. policy for Iraq moving forward, and they may not have decided which strategy to pursue:

1. Accept that policy as a reality, continue with the usual military posturing and negotiate seriously with the Bush administration for a security agreement that recognizes Iranian influence in Iraq, or
2. Entertain the idea of negotiations, but focus its efforts on reversing U.S. policy under a new administration by raising the stakes further for U.S. forces in Iraq.

Bush's Iraq strategy can be defended so long as U.S. casualties do not shoot up to unacceptable levels. Chopper crashes in Iraq are attention-grabbing events that can take a heavy toll on U.S. public morale, and could create pressure on the U.S. administration to shift its strategy. Moreover, helicopters are absolutely integral to the conduct of U.S. operations in Iraq, and will only become more so as troops become spread more thinly in the coming year.

At this point, the Iranians cannot bet that the tide will turn enough in Congress for Republican senators to side with the Democrats and pressure Bush into a withdrawal. Time and again, Bush has defied the odds and battled off pressure in Congress knowing that no senator in his or her right mind would dare cut funding to troops. But if Iran is looking beyond the Bush presidency, it could be working toward bleeding U.S. forces in Iraq to the point at which any incoming U.S. president would be pressured into carrying out a withdrawal.

This strategy, of course, carries its fair share of consequences. With war threats looming, Iran has no guarantee that the United States would continue to be hamstrung in Iraq and refrain from attacking Iran, especially when it becomes widely apparent that the SAMs used to shoot down U.S. choppers are made in Iran. Iranian SAMs would be much more traceable than explosively formed projectiles, the deadliest form of IED, and it would not take much to make the connection to Tehran should Washington decide to make a case for war.

The Iranians probably are well aware that they would be heading for trouble if the SAM threat materializes. For now, the prospect of Iranian-supplied SAMs to Iraqi insurgents is enough to get Washington's attention. As long as this threat is used as a pressure tactic, negotiations between Washington and Tehran have a chance of going somewhere. But if U.S. choppers start going down, a shift in Iranian thinking will immediately be made apparent -- and it will be Washington's turn to make a decision on grand strategy in Iraq.

27771  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: October 02, 2007, 02:05:53 AM
Mexico Security Memo: Oct. 1, 2007
October 01, 2007 20 23  GMT

Targeting the Feds in Baja

After several assassinations targeting police in central and northern Mexico, the Baja peninsula stood out this past week as a hot spot of violence against federal authorities. Minutes after a police officer in Tijuana, Baja California state, was killed Sept. 24, a group of armed men opened fire on a federal police headquarters in the city, wounding several agents inside. The gunmen, who were armed with assault rifles and traveling in sport utility vehicles, escaped after a 10-minute exchange of gunfire with police. Farther south, in La Paz, Baja California Sur state, a police commander was gunned down outside his house as he was leaving for work. This was the first targeted killing of a police officer in the state this year.

These incidents demonstrate how Mexico's drug violence is reaching into every corner of the state, even typically tranquil places like Baja California Sur. They also suggest that the level of violence is getting worse. Information released by Mexico's attorney general shows that, by mid-September of this year, 2,308 drug killings had already occurred in the country -- more than the total for 2006. Cartel retaliation against increasingly aggressive government forces explains the increase. Higher casualty counts are not how President Felipe Calderon hoped to begin his first term, but they are likely to continue as long as his administration keeps up its campaign against the country's drug traffickers.

More Action in the Yucatan

A Gulfstream II jet loaded with more than 3 tons of cocaine crashed this past week in a remote part of Yucatan state. The flight reportedly originated in Colombia and was monitored by Mexican military aircraft after it entered Mexican airspace. It is still unclear what caused the plane to crash. The pilot, a Mexican, survived and had fled the crash site by the time authorities arrived, though he was later apprehended. Two other individuals were arrested after they attempted to bribe Mexican soldiers, who were securing the site, to allow them to remove the cargo from the plane.

The incident highlights one important way that drugs are being transported from South America to Mexico on their way to the United States. It also illustrates the Yucatan Peninsula's strategic value as a trans-shipment point for drug flights from Colombia and maritime shipments arriving in ports such as Cancun. Though drug violence has been less common in the Yucatan compared to other regions in Mexico, the peninsula is not immune. In addition to the plane crash this past week, a Cuban man suspected of working with drug cartels was found dead in an abandoned car in the heart of Cancun's hotel district. On the same day, several hundred soldiers and federal police arrived in the area. The small size of the force, and the fact that the federal police are part of the Federal Preventive Police and not the Federal Investigative Agency, suggests its mission is to set up highway checkpoints and generally enhance security, rather than serve arrest warrants to high-ranking cartel members.

27772  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues on: October 01, 2007, 04:37:58 PM
"As over 150 heads of state and government gather at UN headquarters in New York to
discuss climate change, former Vice President Al Gore, the most prominent proponent
of the theory of the human-induced, catastrophic global warming, continues to refuse
repeated challenges to debate the issue. Czech President Vaclav Klaus, who addressed
the General Assembly on climate change September 24, is but the latest global
warming skeptic to receive the cold shoulder from Gore. In ads appearing in the Wall
Street Journal, New York Times, and Washington Times, Klaus has called on Gore to
face him in a one-on-one debate on the proposition: 'Global Warming Is Not a
Crisis.' Earlier in the year, similar challenges to Gore were issued by Dennis
Avery, director of the Center for Global Food Issues and senior fellow at the Hudson
Institute, and Lord Monckton of Brenchley, a former adviser to British Prime
Minister Margaret Thatcher. All calls on the former vice president to face his
critics have fallen on deaf ears" -- Bonner Cohen, writing at

27773  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: October 01, 2007, 04:36:10 PM
Political Journal WSJ

Randy Evans, a close adviser to Newt Gingrich, had scheduled a media briefing today
to explain just how some $30 million in pledges could be raised in the next month in
order to convince the former House Speaker to run for president.

It was not to be. On Saturday, Mr. Gingrich announced he was definitely out of the
2008 presidential race, saying he had just received legal advice that any further
effort by him to explore a presidential bid would have jeopardized the non-profit
status of his American Solutions educational group. Mr. Gingrich said he was pleased
with the success of hundreds of issue workshops conducted by American Solutions over
this past weekend, and he did not want to be forced to leave the group to pursue a
presidential run.

It may simply be that Mr. Gingrich is bowing out after recognizing the difficulty of
securing enough money for a last-minute parachute jump into the presidential race.
But he's also a victim of the McCain-Feingold campaign law, which makes any mixing
of purely political work with educational political projects almost impossible.

This latest episode is a reminder of just how much McCain-Feingold has failed to
live up to its billing. Exactly how has the law, which restricts political speech,
creates endless bureaucracy and now has played a factor in blocking the
ever-interesting Mr. Gingrich from livening up the interminable 2008 campaign, been
a boon to our democracy?

-- John Fund
27774  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: October 01, 2007, 04:27:33 PM
“[T]he so-called ‘explosion’ of the uninsured has been driven entirely by wealthy households opting out of health insurance. In the decade after 1995—i.e., since the last round of coercive health reform—the proportion of the uninsured earning less than $25,000 has fallen by 20 percent, and the proportion earning more than 75 grand has increased by 155 percent. The story of the past decade is that the poor are getting sucked into the maw of ‘coverage,’ and the rich are fleeing it. And, given that the cost of health ‘insurance’ bears increasingly little relationship to either the cost of treatment or the actuarial reality of you ever getting any particular illness, it’s entirely rational to say: ‘You know what? I’ll worry about that when it happens. In the meantime, I want to start a business and send my kid to school.’ Freedom is the desire of my human heart even if my arteries get all clogged and hardened.” —Mark Steyn

“Governments are not empowered to grant rights; governments can only limit, or extinguish rights. Governments can, however, bestow gifts upon its citizens. But in order to do so, governments must first take resources from those who have earned them, and redistribute those resources to others. Hillary-care, Obama-care, Edwards-care, and every other form of socialized medicine, is inherently fraught with fraud, abuse, and corruption... If the federal government is to be involved in health care, it should be looking toward encouraging, and providing incentives for private medical care that is determined between the patient and provider. The problem is complex, and cannot be solved by any government program. Health care is certainly one of the primary areas where the principles of freedom should be observed and advanced. Any candidate, or politician, who thinks government can solve the problem better than a free market, should be rejected.” —Henry Lamb
27775  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: October 01, 2007, 04:24:42 PM
Geopolitical Diary: Israeli Politics and Geopolitics

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will meet Oct. 2 for the sixth summit in the current peace process, leading up to an international peace conference planned by the United States for November. Normally, such peace conferences either achieve nothing or culminate in disaster. In the first case, they are simply gestures by all sides toward a peace process, without anyone really expecting a resolution. They are PR moves.

Then there are summits that really tackle fundamental tensions, like then-U.S. President Bill Clinton's Camp David meeting in 2000 with Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat. At these kinds of meetings, core issues -- such as the status of Palestinian refugees, control of Jerusalem and recognition of Israel's right to exist -- are faced squarely. Either the meeting blows apart on the spot, or the two sides start making concessions, in which case there are explosions back home. Normally, neither side has the political authority to make concessions; so with the grand gestures over, everyone goes home after the photo-ops are completed and life goes on pretty much as it did before.

The great exception to this rule was the Camp David accords signed between Egypt and Israel 30 years ago. In spite of universal expectations to the contrary, that agreement has held for more than a generation. It is the foundation of Israeli national security -- since a serious conventional threat to Israel is impossible without Egypt's participation -- and it relieved Egypt of the burden of confronting Israel. It was an agreement rooted in geopolitical reality. Egypt did not wish to mortgage its future on behalf of the Palestinians and the Israelis did not need the Sinai desert. A buffer zone was created, with foreign troops symbolically enforcing the buffer -- and it worked.

For any Israeli-Palestinian agreement to have any chance of working, there has to be some geopolitical rationality to it. Up to now, no settlement has been possible because of geography. A Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza is a social and economic abortion. It would immediately fall into dependence on Israel. Yet, at the same time, it represents a long-term threat to Israeli security, creating a Palestinian state within artillery range of Tel Aviv. And this does not even begin to deal with the questions of the future of Jerusalem, the right of Palestinians to return to Israel, or compensation for Israelis who left Arab countries.

But there is an opening at the moment. The victory of Hamas in Gaza and the continuation of the Palestinian National Authority in the West Bank has, for the moment, effectively created two Palestinian entities. In many ways, they are more bitterly opposed to each other than they are to Israel, at least for the time being. The division of the Palestinians is obviously advantageous to the Israelis.

Now the Israelis have to make a strategic decision. The maintenance of a split among the Palestinians requires that Abbas be strengthened. Israel is releasing Fatah fighters from prisons to bolster Abbas' forces. But creating a political settlement with Abbas that leaves Hamas stranded and isolated in Gaza, while Abbas' West Bank entity emerges into as viable a state as possible, is more difficult and more important. It means that Israel must deal with the more intractable issues, making concessions not only to strengthen secular Palestinians against Islamists, but institutionalizing the split in the Palestinian community.

The kind of political settlement that has to be made to strengthen Abbas will run directly into Israeli domestic politics. Fatah was the sponsor of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, which was pivotal in the suicide bombing campaigns. Abbas has common interests with Israel for the moment, but he is no friend of Israel by any stretch of the imagination. For many Israelis, Abbas is the heir of Arafat, which means the heir of 40 years of terrorism.

Olmert hardly has the political base to make concessions to Abbas. At the same time, the deep division among the Palestinians, which has always been there in various ways, has now congealed into a geographical split. The more radical and intractable faction controls Gaza. Its enemy, the more secular movement, dominates the West Bank. The West Bank is far more important to Israel than Gaza. Maintaining that split and making a separate peace with Abbas should be tantalizing.

But the Israelis are likely to pass up the chance, for three reasons. First, they simply don't trust Abbas. Second, a Palestinian state along the 1948 borders poses a danger to Israel regardless of whether it includes Gaza. Finally, the Israelis are not prepared to make the kind of concessions that would make Abbas a Palestinian hero. However, from the Israeli point of view, the problem with inaction is that Hamas has been the rising tide among Palestinians -- if Israel passes on this moment, it could face Hamas in a pre-eminent position in the West Bank as well as in Gaza.

Splitting one's enemies is the pivot of geopolitics. The United States sided with Stalin against Hitler, with Mao against Brezhnev. The Palestinians have split themselves. Geopolitically, Israel has an obvious move, but politically it is an unsustainable one. Abbas is no friend of Israel and is playing his own game. His back is against the wall. But Abbas has a common enemy with Israel: Hamas.

It is Israel's move. If history is any guide, it will choose politics over geopolitics.
27776  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Older Warrior on: October 01, 2007, 04:08:58 PM
Woof Tom:

Bummer about the troubles.

Turning to cheerier things, pray tell what is the origen and theory of that diet?!?

27777  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DLO on: October 01, 2007, 04:05:31 PM
IIRC correctly his number is 909 (changed to 951?) 766-0702.

Also feel free to try 411 and ask for Griffin Martial Arts in Hemet.
27778  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: October 01, 2007, 04:00:44 PM
I post this article here because although it is not about media issues, it is responsive to the previous post on this thread about media coverage of Blackwater.

Blackwater has fired 122 personnel

By RICHARD LARDNER, Associated Press Writer1 hour, 5 minutes ago

Private security contractor Blackwater USA has had to fire 122 people over the past three years for problems ranging from misusing weapons, alcohol and drug violations, inappropriate conduct, and violent behavior, according to a report released Monday by a congressional committee.

That total is roughly one-seventh of the work force that Blackwater has in Iraq, a ratio that raises questions about the quality of the people working for the company.

The report, prepared by the majority staff of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, also says Blackwater has been involved in 195 shooting incidents since 2005, or roughly 1.4 per week.

In more than 80 percent of the incidents, called "escalation of force," Blackwater's guards fired the first shots even though the company's contract with the State Department calls for it to use defensive force only, it said.

"In the vast majority of instances in which Blackwater fired shots, Blackwater is firing from a moving vehicle and does not remain at the scene to determine if the shots resulted in casualties," according to the report.

The staff report paints Blackwater as a company that's made huge sums of money despite its questionable performance in Iraq, where Blackwater guards provide protective services for U.S. diplomatic personnel.

Blackwater has earned more than $1 billion from federal contracts since 2001, when it had less than $1 million in government work. Overall, the State Department paid Blackwater more than $832 million between 2004 and 2006 for security work, according to the report.

Blackwater, founded in 1997 and headquartered in Moyock, N.C., is the biggest of the State Department's three private security contractors. The others are Dyncorp and Triple Canopy, both based in Washington's northern Virginia suburbs.

According to the 15-page report, Blackwater has had more shooting incidents than the other two companies combined.

The report was distributed to committee members on the eve of a hearing on private security contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Blackwater's founder and chairman, Erik Prince, will be one of the witnesses.

Blackwater spokeswoman Anne Tyrrell had no comment on the specifics in the report.

"We look forward to setting the record straight on this issue and others tomorrow when Erik Prince testifies before the committee," she said.
On Friday seven of the oversight committee's 18 Republican members called on Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., the panel's chairman, to postpone the hearing until more is known about a recent incident in Iraq involving Blackwater guards.

On Sept. 16, 2007, 11 Iraqis were killed in a shoot-out involving Blackwater guards protecting a U.S. diplomatic convoy in Baghdad. Blackwater says its guards acted in self-defense after the convoy came under attack. Iraqi witnesses have said the shooting was unprovoked.
Several investigations are under way, including one by the State Department and another by a U.S.-Iraqi commission that is also examining the broader issue of how private security contractors in Iraq operate.

In a Sept. 28 letter, Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., and six other Republicans said the committee should wait until these investigations are complete.
"We feel it would be irresponsible for the committee to rush to judgment until all the facts are considered," the letter states.

Rep. Tom Davis or Virginia, the committee's top Republican, did not sign the letter.

Spokesman Brian McNicoll said Davis has no objection to the hearing taking place because several State Department representatives are scheduled to testify.

In addition to Prince, the witnesses include: David Satterfield, the department's Iraq coordinator, Richard Griffin, assistant secretary for diplomatic security, and William H. Moser, deputy assistant secretary for logistics management.
On the Net:
27779  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Our Founding Fathers: on: October 01, 2007, 06:00:04 AM
The Patriot Post
Founders' Quote Daily

"The great leading objects of the federal government, in which
revenue is concerned, are to maintain domestic peace, and provide
for the common defense. In these are comprehended the regulation
of commerce that is, the whole system of foreign intercourse;
the support of armies and navies, and of the civil administration."

-- Alexander Hamilton (remarks to the New York Ratifying
Convention, June 1788)

Reference: Selected Writings and Speeches of Alexander Hamilton,
Frisch, ed. (228-229)
27780  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: October 01, 2007, 04:46:45 AM
MIT finds cure for fear
Submitted by Vidura Panditaratne on Sun, 2007-07-15 19:37. MIT biochemists have identified a molecular mechanism behind fear, and successfully cured it in mice, according to an article in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

Researchers from MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory hope that their work could lead to the first drug to treat the millions of adults who suffer each year from persistent, debilitating fears - including hundreds of soldiers returning from conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Inhibiting a kinase, an enzyme that change proteins, called Cdk5 facilitates the extinction of fear learned in a particular context, Li-Huei Tsai, Picower Professor of Neuroscience in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, and colleagues showed.

Conversely, the learned fear persisted when the kinase's activity was increased in the hippocampus, the brain's center for storing memories, the scientists found.

Cdk5, paired with the protein p35, helps new brain cells, or neurons, form and migrate to their correct positions during early brain development, and the MIT researchers looked at how Cdk5 affects the ability to form and eliminate fear-related memories.

"Remarkably, inhibiting Cdk5 facilitated extinction of learned fear in mice," Tsai said. "This data points to a promising therapeutic avenue to treat emotional disorders and raises hope for patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or phobia."

Emotional disorders such as post-traumatic stress and panic attacks stem from the inability of the brain to stop experiencing the fear associated with a specific incident or series of incidents.

For some people, upsetting memories of traumatic events do not go away on their own, or may even get worse over time, severely affecting their lives.

A study conducted by the Army in 2004 found that one in eight soldiers returning from Iraq reported symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

According to the National Center for PTSD in the United States, around eight percent of the population will have PTSD symptoms at some point in their lives. Some 5.2 million adults have PTSD during a given year, the center reports.

In the current research, genetically engineered mice received mild foot shocks in a certain environment and were re-exposed to the same environment without the foot shock.

The team found that mice with increased levels of Cdk5 activity had more trouble letting go of the memory of the foot shock and continued to freeze in fear.

The reverse was also true: in mice whose Cdk5 activity was inhibited, the bad memory of the shocks disappeared when the mice learned that they no longer needed to fear the environment where the foot shocks had once occurred.

"In our study, we employ mice to show that extinction of learned fear depends on counteracting components of a molecular pathway involving the protein kinase Cdk5," Tsai concluded. "We found that Cdk5 activity prevents extinction, at least in part by negatively affecting the activity of another key kinase."
27781  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: October 01, 2007, 04:30:58 AM
Published: October 1, 2007

Skip to next paragraph
Anna Bhushan
ACCORDING to a recent report from the Census Bureau, poverty fell from about 12.6 percent in 2005 to about 12.3 percent last year. That’s about 500,000 fewer people living in poverty, the first statistically significant decline since 2000. (In 2006, the poverty line was $20,614 for a family of four.)

As usual, there was much commentary in the news media about poverty’s intractability: today’s poverty rate is hardly lower than it was in 1968, when it was about 12.8 percent.

But a closer look at the experience of one group, Hispanics, tells a very different story. As a group, Hispanics are enjoying substantial economic progress. Their poverty rate has dropped by a third from its high 12 years ago, falling from 30.7 percent in 1994 to 20.6 percent in 2006.

These numbers come from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, widely used by pro- and anti-immigration groups alike as a reasonably reliable source of information about illegal as well as legal immigrants. They show that although Hispanics still have a long way to go to achieve the full promise of the American Dream, as a group they are clearly on the economic up escalator.

In the past 30 years, the United States has experienced a tremendous amount of immigration, predominantly Hispanic. In 1975, a little more than 11 million Hispanics made up just over 5 percent of the population. Today’s nearly 45 million Hispanics are now about 15 percent of the country.

This influx of Hispanics has resulted in a higher poverty rate in the United States, mainly because many immigrants are low-skilled workers and women with young children. If the proportion of Hispanics in the population in 2006 had been the same as it was in 1975, then the overall American poverty rate in 2006 would have been 7 percent lower (11.4 percent rather than 12.3 percent). That would be 2.4 million fewer people, all Hispanics, in poverty.

This rough calculation leaves out the indirect impact that Hispanics have had on the job prospects and earnings of other low-skilled workers, especially African-Americans, probably keeping more of them in poverty. Economists argue about the size of this effect, but we see evidence of it all around us.

Consider the Hispanic success in obtaining skilled, blue-collar jobs, as measured by the census category for precision production, craft and repair occupations. From 1994 to 2006, as the total number of these jobs grew, the percentage held by whites fell from 79 percent to 65 percent. The percentage held by blacks remained constant at about 8 percent, and the percentage held by Hispanics more than doubled, rising to 25 percent from 11 percent. As whites left these relatively well-paid jobs, Hispanics rather than blacks moved into them.

Between 1994, the high point for Hispanic poverty, and 2006, the last year with comprehensive data, median Hispanic household income rose 20 percent, from about $31,500 a year in 2006 dollars to about $37,800 a year. The median income of Hispanic individuals rose 32 percent, to about $20,500 from about $15,500.

These incomes do not make Hispanics wealthy, of course, but they did allow about 70 percent of them to send remittances home last year. According to the best estimate, the total sent was $45 billion — $4 billion more than the entire amount distributed to Americans by the Earned Income Tax Credit.

One explanation for this economic progress is increased education. From 1994 to 2005, the percentage of 18- to 24-year-old Hispanics who graduated from high school or obtained a general equivalency diploma rose to about 66 percent from about 56 percent. About 25 percent are now enrolled in college, up from about 19 percent in 1994. Hispanics are moving rapidly into many management, professional and other white-collar occupations.

Because of the large and continuing influx of usually low-skilled Hispanic immigrants, economists have expected the poverty rate among Hispanics to rise or at least to remain flat. Instead, it is falling. However one feels about immigration, the falling Hispanic poverty rate testifies to the ability of Hispanic immigrants to take advantage of the opportunities that they have found in this country.

Douglas J. Besharov is a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research and a professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy.

NY Times
27782  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Why we fight on: October 01, 2007, 04:25:12 AM

Article published Sep 28, 2007
Al Qaeda on the ropes?

September 28, 2007

Arnaud de Borchgrave - Osama bin Laden "is a man on the run, from a cave, who is virtually impotent other than the tapes" he releases from time to time. That was the mid-September assessment of Frances Fragos Townsend, top adviser to President Bush on Homeland Security, terrorism and counterterrorism.

Mrs. Townsend was a former Coast Guard assistant commandant for intelligence and a counsel to the attorney general for intelligence policy. The best and the brightest in the Bush White House, she was deputy national security adviser for combating terrorism before her rise to czar, or czarina, for transnational terrorism.

For a terrorist darting from cave to cave, the world's most wanted terrorist wasn't as impotent as he apparently appeared in top secret e-mails speeding into Mrs. Townsend's computers. The view from cyberspace told a different story about al Qaeda. For bin Laden, it is high noon on the electronic frontier.

As former Central Command chief Gen. John Abizaid said, "Al Qaeda's organizing ability in cyberspace is unprecedented." Cyberpower has emerged as a complex ether power in which digital grass roots are truly global. Al Qaeda's 6,000-plus Web sites supply the ability to liberate and dominate at the same time. Al Qaeda now operates in virtual space with impunity in recruiting, proselytizing, plotting and planning.

In the ether (not the anesthetic), thought is a reality. For millions of Muslim surfers, the global caliphate and Shariah law exist. They have superseded the nation-state, whether the kingdom of Saudi Arabia or the Netherlands, where Muhammad is the second most popular name for baby boys.

The Muslim world's extremists are roughly estimated at 1 percent of Islam's 1.3 billion adherents (or 13 million who see suicide bombers and other acts of terrorism as legitimate weapons of war against the U.S.-Zionist crusaders). The fundamentalists who approve of bin Laden, though not necessarily his MO, number about 130 million.

Extremist ranks include many well-educated, middle-class youngsters with computer skills. Some of the cells under surveillance in the United Kingdom include computer scientists and engineers. They travel online, meeting like-minded spirits in the virtual caliphate. Plotting has morphed from the mosque to the virtual global caliphate.

In Pakistan, where al Qaeda and Taliban training camps again operate with impunity, almost half the 160 million population gives Osama bin Laden high marks.

Similar percentages show up in other moderate Muslim states — e.g., Bangladesh, Jordan, Egypt and Morocco. New arrests and revelations about Muslim terrorist sleeper cells in European countries occur almost daily. In Algeria, the underground Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), which now includes deserters from the Algerian army, has sworn allegiance to al Qaeda.

Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda is not a hierarchical organization, but a network of like-minded Muslim fundamentalists with jihadi "spear carriers." Its expansion no longer depends on bin Laden and his deputy, the Egyptian doctor Ayman al-Zawahri (whose group assassinated Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1981). The Internet, with more than 1 billion people on line, and reckoned to double to 2 billion by 2010, does that job for them automatically.

Iraq, in al Qaeda's perspective, is a small subset of a broader campaign. For five years, Iraq has been a useful force multiplier for jihadi volunteers. Camp followers in cyberspace have busily posted videos of IED explosions that kill Americans in Iraq, along with beheadings of infidels.

Republican front-runner Rudolph Giuliani's foreign policy adviser Norman Podhoretz has a new book titled, "World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism." Last June, in an article in Commentary magazine (which he edited for almost four decades) Mr. Podhoretz "begged" President Bush to bomb Iran before Iran nukes Israel.

Daniel Pipes, also on Mr. Giuliani's team, agrees because the Islamists have "a potential access to weapons of mass destruction that could devastate Western life." That means Israel. Explains Newt Gingrich who is seriously considering a run for the presidency: "It makes no sense to have a Holocaust Museum in Washington and yet have no honest assessment of the threat of a 21st century Holocaust ... if the Iranians get nuclear weapons and use them against Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem."

Mr. Gingrich's alarm bell is the loudest: "The gap between where we are and where we should be is so large that it seems almost impossible to explain why the Petraeus Report, while important, will be a wholly inadequate explanation as to what is required to defeat our enemies and secure America and her allies."

America, says Mr. Gingrich, is "currently trapped between those who advocate 'staying the course' and those who would legislate surrender and defeat for America." The Petraeus Report is about a specific campaign, he explained, but Iraq is a campaign in a larger war just as Afghanistan is a campaign in a larger war. Context is missing. Like Gettysburg without the context of the larger Civil War still to be won; or Guadalcanal without the larger war still to be won, or President Reagan's Berlin Wall speech without any understanding about the Cold War and that the Soviet Union was a mortal threat to freedom.

Beyond Gen. Petraeus' testimony, says Mr. Gingrich, we need a report "on the larger war with the irreconcilable Wing of Islam. This enemy is irreconcilable with the modern civilized world... because it cannot tolerate other religions or other life styles... the Islamofascist approach to imposing its views on others and as such it is a mortal threat to our way of life, to freedom, and to the rule of law."

On Sept. 7, CIA Director Gen. Michael V. Hayden told the Council on Foreign Relations: "Our analysts assess with high confidence that al Qaeda's central leadership is planning high-impact plots against the U.S. homeland... we who study the enemy see a danger more real than anything our citizens at home have confronted since our Civil War."

Without an understanding of the virtual reality of Islam's global ummah in cyberspace, and a thorough reading of the bin Laden-Zawahri Islamist catechism, the warnings are likely to go unheeded in the Democratic scramble to bug out of Iraq.

Arnaud de Borchgrave is editor at large of The Washington Times and of United Press International.
27783  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: October 01, 2007, 04:15:07 AM
Trigger-Happy Journalists
Some of our finest special-op soldiers serve companies like Blackwater.

Monday, October 1, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

"They are immature shooters and have very quick trigger fingers," says an anonymous lieutenant colonel.

"Why are we creating new vulnerabilities by relying on what are essentially mercenary forces?" asks a nameless intelligence officer. "They often act like cowboys over here," says an unidentified commander.

Ever since a recent shootout in downtown Baghdad, newspapers have been ablaze with charges that private security contractors in Iraq are trigger-happy.

This rush to pass judgment is hardly surprising. Frequently derided as "mercenaries" and "rent-a-cops," security contractors make an easy target for war opponents.

As a former employee of a major Blackwater competitor, I find this categorical smearing of contractors to be starkly at odds with my experience. I served as an officer in the Navy SEALs for six years. After I left, I joined a private security firm and was promptly sent to Iraq.

Contrary to the popular belief that Blackwater contractors are "thugs for hire," most are highly professional and well trained. Blackwater operates the world's largest private military training facility. Its 1,000 contractors working in Iraq are drawn from the ranks of former military and law enforcement officials. Many of its workers are former SEALs or veterans of other special-operations units.
The risks these workers assume are underscored by the infamous 2004 ambush in Fallujah, in which four Blackwater contractors were murdered and mutilated. To date, Blackwater has lost 30 contractors. For all anyone knows, last month's incident could have turned into another Fallujah had Blackwater's contractors reacted differently. The details are still terribly unclear.

The contractors--and the U.S. diplomats they were escorting--claim they were ambushed. Yet Iraq's Ministry of Interior almost immediately issued a report declaring that the contractors were "100% guilty." Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has charged that the operators killed "in cold blood."

With conflicting reports, condemnations should not be made until the joint Iraqi-U.S. investigation is completed. The media, however, has accepted the Ministry of Interior's version of events, all but writing off the accounts of both Blackwater and the State Department.

This follows a long-established pattern of unfounded claims in the press about security contractors. For instance, numerous reports reference contractors making over $1,000 a day--far more than active-duty soldiers. Some point to the more than $700 million Blackwater has received in State Department contracts in order to denounce security firms as war profiteers.

The truth, however, is that contractors are cost-effective. Blackwater contractors, for example, are generally paid $450-$650 a day. More important, unlike U.S. servicemen, they usually receive no benefits and are paid only for the days they work. Security contractors at the better firms have typically retired from active duty or left the military on their own accord after extended service. They are honorable veterans who have chosen to risk their lives to protect American diplomats in a war zone.

Instead of depleting our armed forces, security contractors allow the government to recapture its investment in these men during wartime and avoid the extraordinary expense of training new recruits. In short, they're already trained and experienced--and cost money only when they're needed.

Another common myth is that contractors are above the law. True, the June 2004 Coalition Provisional Authority Order 17 exempts contractors (and other diplomatic personnel) from local prosecution. But that doesn't mean that contractors have been granted blanket immunity from prosecution. In fact, the order clearly states that this immunity is limited only to acts necessary to fulfill contracts. Indiscriminate attacks on civilians--as alleged in last month's incident--are not covered.
Contractors are also subject to numerous U.S. statutes and regulations, as well as international treaties. Just last year, Congress amended the Uniform Code of Military Justice to include contractors. Contractors can also be prosecuted under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act of 2000, which permits charges to be brought in federal court for crimes abroad.

Like soldiers, security contractors are sometimes forced to make split-second decisions with enormous consequences. They must be--and are--accountable to our government for their actions. But the people I worked with in Iraq, including veterans working for Blackwater, were hardly rogue cowboys. I did, however, meet some trigger-happy journalists over there.

Mr. Ryan is a former U.S. Navy SEAL officer who spent time in Iraq as an employee of Triple Canopy, a private security firm.
27784  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Knives for good on: October 01, 2007, 04:05:26 AM
Last updated September 29, 2007 5:29 p.m. PT
Teens attack older man, end up running for safety


The man at the back of the Metro bus was older, wore glasses and apparently drew the attention of a group of alleged gang members who reportedly began harassing him.
But when one of them tried to take the man's glasses, he pulled a knife and fought back, Seattle police said.

"He began swinging at his attackers in self-defense," spokeswoman Renee Witt said.
When the melee was over, four of the teens had cuts, including some with superficial cuts to their buttocks, and one had a dislocated shoulder. The man was not hurt.

The incident began about 11:15 p.m. on a northbound bus traveling along Rainier Avenue South, Witt said. The five teens boarded near Rainer Beach High School, having attended a football game there, she said.
Police reports described the teens as known to officers and active members of a local gang.

Officers called to the bus after the fight initially believed the wounded teenagers were the victims, until other passengers aboard the bus told officers that it was the teens who started the disturbance.
All were treated at the scene by Seattle Fire Department medics and released to their parents, Witt said. The man was interviewed and released; his knife taken as evidence.

Detectives on Monday expect to review videotape of the fight captured on cameras mounted in the bus, Witt said.
Charges are likely to be filed against at least some of the teens, Witt said, but that decision rests with the King County Prosecutors Office.
27785  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DLO on: September 30, 2007, 05:11:35 PM
Woof Craig:

Tail wags for the kind words.  Surf Dog/Lester called me last week to tell me that he is moving his school to a bigger location and wants me to come out on a regular basis.  I am delighted for his success and for the opportunity to continue working with you guys.

The Adventure continues!
27786  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: What does Kali Tudo Groundwork have in store for us?? on: September 30, 2007, 05:08:32 PM
Woof All:

Just a quick yip to report the bummer news that my intended training partner on this project, Cyborg Dog, suffered a bad elbow injury  cry in an amateur MMA fight that will necessitate surgery in the next week or so.  Naturally, this is setting this project back  cry  We are working on alternatives.

Guro Crafty
27787  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Brain damage in boxing, kickboxing, football, etc: on: September 30, 2007, 04:03:42 AM

SNELLVILLE, Ga. (AP) — An armless artist has turned himself in
to face a misdemeanor charge in a fight with a man who later died.

Police say William Russell Redfern, who has won recognition for
drawings he does with his feet, head-butted and kicked Charles
Keith Teer during a Sept. 17 fight over a woman. Teer complained of
dizziness and collapsed.

A medical examiner determined last week that Teer likely died of
a heart attack.

Police Chief Roy Whitehead said investigators decided against
felony charges but felt Redfern should be punished for the fight.

Redfern, who was born with no right arm and a stump below his
left shoulder, turned himself in Tuesday on a charge of affray. He
was released Wednesday on $1,213 bond, a jail official said.

The misdemeanor charge is likely the only legal action Redfern
will face, Whitehead said.

“We reviewed (the case), talked with everyone involved and felt
like that was an appropriate charge,” he said.

Known by the nickname “Rusty,” Redfern made a name for himself
in the late 1980s for pen and ink drawings he does using his foot.
27788  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Older Warrior on: September 30, 2007, 12:33:38 AM
I am in Bern Switzerland at the moment for the Euro DB Gathering yesterday, a seminar today in a few hours, and a couple of days of teaching privates.

The time difference is 8 or 9 hours.  In the past few years, this really kicked my butt, but this time it seems to be much better.  This I attribute to massive doses of melatonin to fascilitate sleep cheesy  Also helping is that Bemji set up a computer in my room so that when I do wake up a weird hours when everyone else is asleep I can putter along with my emails, posting here, etc.

27789  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: September 2007 Euro Gathering on: September 29, 2007, 05:22:57 PM
Woof All:

An outstanding day today.

Tomorrow I teach.

To bed.

The Adventure continues,
Crafty Dog
27790  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: September 29, 2007, 05:12:53 PM
Woof All:

I am deeply disappointed to read that Newt Gingrich will not be running for President.

Apparently one of the factors contributing to his decision was that the perfidious and insidious McCain-Feingold Campaign Reform rolleyes cheesy angry Act means he could no longer head his foundation if he were to run.  Some fcuking reform!

This leaves me with Fred, whose positions on many things are close to mine, but whom I doubt as having the fire in the belly, the communication skills, the breadth of appeal, and the political killer instinct necessary to beat Hillary Evita Clinton.

Rudy has the fire, the communications skills, broader appeal, and political killer instinct but is very suspect on two issues which matter to me greatly: gun rights and control of our borders.

McCain I respect on the Iraq war, but not only does he seem too old, but he is terrible on immigration and border control and is responsible for unAmerican anti-Constitutional disasters like McCain Feingold.

Romney says some things I like a lot e.g. supply side economics, but seems to me like a Ken doll who will say whatever he thinks will get him elected, but actually lacks conviction.
27791  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: September 29, 2007, 01:26:09 AM
Immigration front: U.S. v. Illinois
The Bush administration may—finally—be getting embarrassed over the flouting of immigration laws. They are suing Illinois over a new state law barring employers from voluntarily accessing a national database to verify that workers are legally present within the U.S. Ever notice how most of those favoring unfettered illegal entry across our nation’s borders will resort to any “heads we win, tails you lose” rationale? These defenders of the border-breaking “culture of lawlessness” contend that immigration is a matter for the federal government and that states and localities may not enforce any immigration laws at all, but then they turn around and claim that states and localities may legitimately enact laws protecting illegal aliens against enforcement of immigration laws.

as quoted in Patriot Post
27792  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant on: September 29, 2007, 01:18:25 AM
A quick yip just to say that at the moment I am in Bern, Switzerland with Lonely Dog.  In a few hours will be the S
second DB Euro Gathering and then a few days of teaching.  I return on Wednesday.
27793  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Our Troops in Action on: September 29, 2007, 01:13:43 AM
On 8 August 2006, in Ebrahimkhel, Afghanistan, just north of Kandahar, Air Force Senior Airman Phillip King was leading a convoy to help the Afghan National Police (ANP) and Afghan National Army (ANA) when a rocket-propelled grenade landed within five yards of his Humvee. A full-scale insurgent attack came right on its tail.

Returning fire, King positioned his Humvee to shield the convoy against the incoming barrage. When a second RPG blast gave him a concussion, King persisted, exposing himself to intense enemy fire to direct defensive fire by Afghan soldiers. This allowed an ANA soldier to neutralize the enemy site using a hand grenade.

As King led his team out of danger amid continued sniper fire, he discovered a second ambush site where Taliban forces had entrapped five Afghan soldiers with gunfire. King maneuvered his vehicle, freed the soldiers, then led the ANP and ANA troops to establish a perimeter.

Still taking heavy fire from machine guns, small arms, and RPGs, King’s team called in air support. Just before it arrived, King again exposed himself to intense fire to mark the targets for the bombers, which effectively took out the Taliban position. Airman King’s actions saved the lives of more than a dozen Afghans and helped eliminate 20-25 Taliban militants. His team suffered no casualties.

King, who volunteered for the 365-day Afghanistan deployment, called it “another day on the job.” The U.S. military called it heroism in ground combat. For his actions, Airman King was awarded the Bronze Star with Combat “V” for Valor.
27794  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Our Founding Fathers: on: September 29, 2007, 01:04:32 AM
"A Man may, if he know not how to save, keep his Nose to the
Grindstone, and die not wirth a Groat at last."

-- Benjamin Franklin (Poor Richard's Almanack, 1742)

Reference: Poor Richard: The Almanacks for the Years, 1733-1758,
intro by Van Wyck Brooks (94)
27795  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: September 28, 2007, 07:20:45 PM
Why We're Winning Now in Iraq
Anbar's citizens needed protection before they would give their "hearts and minds."

Friday, September 28, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

Many politicians and pundits in Washington have ignored perhaps the most important point made by Gen. David Petraeus in his recent congressional testimony: The defeat of al Qaeda in Iraq requires a combination of conventional forces, special forces and local forces. This realization has profound implications not only for American strategy in Iraq, but also for the future of the war on terror.

As Gen. Petraeus made clear, the adoption of a true counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq in January 2007 has led to unprecedented progress in the struggle against al Qaeda in Iraq, by protecting Sunni Arabs who reject the terrorists among them from the vicious retribution of those terrorists. In his address to the United Nations General Assembly Wednesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki also touted the effectiveness of this strategy while at the same time warning of al Qaeda in Iraq's continued threat to his government and indeed the entire region.

Yet despite the undeniable successes the new strategy has achieved against al Qaeda in Iraq, many in Congress are still pushing to change the mission of U.S. forces back to a counterterrorism role relying on special forces and precision munitions to conduct targeted attacks on terrorist leaders. This change would bring us back to the traditional, consensus strategy for dealing with cellular terrorist groups like al Qaeda--a strategy that has consistently failed in Iraq.

Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the consensus of American strategists has been that the best way to fight a cellular terrorist organization like al Qaeda is through a combination of targeted strikes against key leaders and efforts to discredit al Qaeda's takfiri ideology in the Muslim community. Precision-guided munitions and special forces have been touted as the ideal weapons against this sort of group, because they require a minimal presence on the ground and therefore do not create the image of American invasion or occupation of a Muslim country.
A correlative assumption has often been that the visible presence of Western troops in Muslim lands creates more terrorists than it eliminates. The American attack on the Taliban in 2001 is often held up now--as it was at the time--as an exemplar of the right way to do things in this war: Small numbers of special forces worked with indigenous Afghan resistance fighters to defeat the Taliban and drive out al Qaeda without the infusion of large numbers of American ground forces. For many, Afghanistan is the virtuous war (contrasting with Iraq) not only because it was fought against the group that planned the 9/11 attacks, but also because it was fought in accord with accepted theories of fighting cellular terrorist organizations.

This strategy failed in Iraq for four years--skilled U.S. special-forces teams killed a succession of al Qaeda in Iraq leaders, but the organization was able to replace them faster than we could kill them. A counterterrorism strategy that did not secure the population from terrorist attacks led to consistent increases in terrorist violence and exposed Sunni leaders disenchanted with the terrorists to brutal death whenever they tried to resist. It emerged that "winning the hearts and minds" of the local population is not enough when the terrorists are able to torture and kill anyone who tries to stand up against them.

Despite an extremely aggressive counterterrorism campaign, by the end of 2006, al Qaeda in Iraq had heavily fortified strongholds equipped with media centers, torture chambers, weapons depots and training areas throughout Anbar province; in Baghdad; in Baqubah and other parts of Diyala province; in Arab Jabour and other villages south of Baghdad; and in various parts of Salah-ad-Din province north of the capital. Al Qaeda in Iraq was blending with the Sunni Arab insurgency in a relationship of mutual support. It was able to conduct scores of devastating, spectacular attacks against Shiite and other targets. Killing al Qaeda leaders in targeted raids had failed utterly either to prevent al Qaeda in Iraq from establishing safe havens throughout Iraq or to control the terrorist violence.

The Sunni Arabs in Iraq lost their enthusiasm for al Qaeda very quickly after their initial embrace of the movement. By 2005, currents of resistance had begun to flow in Anbar, expanding in 2006. Al Qaeda responded to this rising resistance with unspeakable brutality--beheading young children, executing Sunni leaders and preventing their bodies from being buried within the time required by Muslim law, torturing resisters by gouging out their eyes, electrocuting them, crushing their heads in vices, and so on. This brutality naturally inflamed the desire to resist in the Sunni Arab community--but actual resistance in 2006 remained fitful and ineffective. There was no power in Anbar or anywhere that could protect the resisters against al Qaeda retribution, and so al Qaeda continued to maintain its position by force among a population that had initially welcomed it willingly.

The proof? In all of 2006, there were only 1,000 volunteers to join the Iraqi Security Forces in Anbar, despite rising resentment against al Qaeda. Voluntarism was kept down by al Qaeda attacks against ISF recruiting stations and targeted attacks on the families of volunteers. Although tribal leaders had begun to turn against the terrorists, American forces remained under siege in the provincial capital of Ramadi--they ultimately had to level all of the buildings around their headquarters to secure it from constant attack. An initial clearing operation conducted by Col. Sean MacFarland established forward positions in Ramadi with tremendous difficulty and at great cost, but the city was not cleared; attacks on American forces remained extremely high; and the terrorist safe-havens in the province were largely intact.

This year has been a different story in Anbar, and elsewhere in Iraq. The influx of American forces in support of a counterinsurgency strategy--more than 4,000 went into Anbar--allowed U.S. commanders to take hold of the local resentment against al Qaeda by promising to protect those who resisted the terrorists. When American forces entered al Qaeda strongholds like Arab Jabour, the first question the locals asked is: Are you going to stay this time? They wanted to know if the U.S. would commit to protecting them against al Qaeda retribution. U.S. soldiers have done so, in Anbar, Baghdad, Baqubah, Arab Jabour and elsewhere. They have established joint security stations with Iraqi soldiers and police throughout urban areas and in villages. They have worked with former insurgents and local people to form "concerned citizens" groups to protect their own neighborhoods. Their presence among the people has generated confidence that al Qaeda will be defeated, resulting in increased information about the movements of al Qaeda operatives and local support for capturing or killing them.
The result was a dramatic turnabout in Anbar itself--in contrast to the 1,000 recruits of last year, there have already been more than 12,000 this year. Insurgent groups like the 1920s Revolution Brigades that had been fighting alongside al Qaeda in 2006 have fractured, with many coming over to fight with the coalition against the terrorists--more than 30,000 Iraq-wide, by some estimates. The tribal movement in Anbar both solidified and spread--there are now counter-al Qaeda movements throughout Central Iraq, including Diyala, Baghdad, Salah-ad-Din, Babil and Ninewah. Only recently an "awakening council" was formed in Mosul, Ninewah's capital, modeled on the Anbar pattern.

A targeted raid killed Abu Musaab al Zarqawi, founder of al Qaeda in Iraq, near Baqubah in June 2006. After that raid, al Qaeda's grip on Baqubah and throughout Diyala only grew stronger. But skillful clearing operations conducted by American forces, augmented by the surge, have driven al Qaeda out of Baqubah almost entirely. The "Baqubah Guardians" now protect that provincial capital against al Qaeda fighters who previously used it as a major base of operations. The old strategy of targeted raids failed in Diyala, as in Anbar and elsewhere throughout Iraq. The new strategy of protecting the population, in combination with targeted raids, has succeeded so well that al Qaeda in Iraq now holds no major urban sanctuary.

This turnabout coincided with an increase in American forces in Iraq and a change in their mission to securing the population. Not only were more American troops moving about the country, but they were much more visible as they established positions spread out among urban populations. According to all the principles of the consensus counterterrorism strategy, the effect of this surge should have been to generate more terrorists and more terrorism. Instead, it enabled the Iraqi people to throw off the terrorists whose ideas they had already rejected, confident that they would be protected from horrible reprisals. It proved that, at least in this case, conventional forces in significant numbers conducting a traditional counterinsurgency mission were absolutely essential to defeating this cellular terrorist group.

What lessons does this example hold for future fights in the War on Terror? First, defeating al Qaeda in Iraq requires continuing an effective counterinsurgency strategy that involves American conventional forces helping Iraqi Security Forces to protect the population in conjunction with targeted strikes. Reverting to a strategy relying only on targeted raids will allow al Qaeda to re-establish itself in Iraq and begin once again to gain strength. In the longer term, we must fundamentally re-evaluate the consensus strategy for fighting the war on terror. Success against al Qaeda in Iraq obviously does not show that the solution to problems in Waziristan, Baluchistan or elsewhere lies in an American-led invasion. Each situation is unique, each al-Qaeda franchise is unique, and responses must be tailored appropriately.
But one thing is clear from the Iraqi experience. It is not enough to persuade a Muslim population to reject al Qaeda's ideology and practice. Someone must also be willing and able to protect that population against the terrorists they had been harboring, something that special forces and long-range missiles alone can't do.

Mr. Kagan is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and the author most recently of "No Middle Way: The Challenge of Exit Strategies from Iraq." (AEI, 2007).
27796  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: September 28, 2007, 07:02:45 PM
IRAN, ISRAEL, SYRIA: Informed sources have confirmed that retired Iranian Gen. Ali Reza Asghari, who defected in February, gave Israel the intelligence on Syria's missile program needed for the Syrian airstrike Sept. 6. Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jeerada reported earlier that Asghari was the source of information for the airstrike. Asghari is a former aide to the Iranian defense minister and a retired general who served for a long time in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
27797  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: September 28, 2007, 06:29:07 PM
Democrats and Iran
Hillary outsmarts her dovish competition.

Friday, September 28, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

Kudos to Hillary Clinton--yes, you read that right--for her Senate vote this week urging the U.S. to designate Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a foreign terrorist organization. That's more than can be said for her primary competition of Barack Obama, Chris Dodd, Bill Richardson and John Edwards, who assailed her on this score at Wednesday's Democratic Presidential candidates debate at Dartmouth. These are men who seem to fear the Netroots more than the mullahs.

Mrs. Clinton's vote was on a symbolic amendment offered by Connecticut maverick Joe Lieberman and Republicans Jon Kyl and Norm Coleman. After marshaling the evidence of Iran's terrorist activities in Iraq, the amendment stated that "it is a critical national interest of the United States to prevent [Iran] from turning Shi'a militia into a Hezbollah-like force that could serve its interests inside Iraq." Twenty-one Democrats, including Joe Biden and John Kerry, apparently found this too shocking to support and voted nay, as did Republicans Chuck Hagel and Dick Lugar.

We probably shouldn't complain when 76 Senators, including a majority of Democrats, show some foreign-policy sense. Still, it's telling that the Democrats only agreed to the amendment after demanding that its language be edited to remove a statement that "it should be the policy of the United States to stop inside Iraq the violent activities and destabilizing influence" of Iran. Also left on the cutting-room floor, under Democratic duress, was a call "to support the prudent and calibrated use of all instruments of United States national power in Iraq" with respect to Iran and its proxies.

The mullahs are supplying the shaped-explosive charges to Shiite militias that are killing or maiming Americas in Iraq. But these Senators are afraid even to suggest that the U.S. might use some kind of military force to save the lives of American soldiers. And they want to be Commander in Chief?

At Dartmouth, Mrs. Clinton defended her vote by noting that it "gives us the options to be able to impose sanctions on the primary leaders to try to begin to put some teeth into all this talk about dealing with Iran." That's right. With Americans having just had a Close Encounter of the Third Kind with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, it's no surprise that her relative hawkishness is only widening her primary lead.

27798  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: September 28, 2007, 05:31:18 PM

Phil's rant probably would have been better posted on the immigration thread.  Although I certainly agree with the general gist of many of the points made, I found the general tone and some of the phrasing in particular to be over the top with undertones that I didn't really care for.

It is quite possible to be for our defending our borders, our laws, etc. without hating Mexicans.  My own in experience in Mexico is rather extensive and overwhelmingly quite favorable.

27799  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: September 28, 2007, 04:49:53 PM
While opposing the Israeli invasion of Lebanon last year is within the range of reasonable points of view (for the record, as recorded elsewhere on this forum I supported the invasion as being forced by the attacks on Israel), the comment about Jihad here in America is not.  Another moderate Muslim turns out not to be as billed.

Kaine Appointee Advocates 'the Jihad Way'

September 27, 2007 - 2:58pm

Editor's Note: This story contains video from YouTube. Please click on the link in the story or in the left-hand column to watch.
Associated Press Writer

RICHMOND, Va. - A member of the state's Commission of Immigration resigned Thursday, a few hours after Gov. Timothy M. Kaine was told about online videos showing the appointee condemning Israel and advocating "the jihad way."

Kaine learned of the videos from a caller to his live monthly radio program and accepted the resignation of Dr. Esam S. Omeish about three hours later.

"Dr. Omeish is a respected physician and community leader, yet I have been made aware of certain statements he has made which concern me," Kaine said in a press statement announcing the resignation.

Kaine said Omeish resigned because he did not want the controversy to distract from the work of the 20-member commission appointed to study the effects of immigration and federal immigration policies on Virginia.
Omeish, the president of the Muslim American Society, is shown in a video on YouTube denouncing the invasion of Lebanon during that time by the "Israeli war machine" during an Aug. 12, 2006, rally in Washington.
Omeish, chief of the division of general surgery at INOVA Alexandria Hospital, also accused Israel of genocide and massacres against Palestinians and said the "Israeli agenda" controls Congress.

In a separate, undated video made, Omeish tells a crowd of Washington-area Muslims, " have learned the way, that you have known that the jihad way is the way to liberate your land."

That video was credited to Investigative Project, a Washington-based organization that investigates radical Islamic organizations.
Omeish did not immediately respond to a request for comment. (Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
27800  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Water drying up in China on: September 28, 2007, 04:43:28 PM
The ecology situation in China seems to be quite grim on many fronts.  That was a good piece, thank you.  Please refresh my memory as to what WTS does- itis down to 30 from a high of 40 in the last five months.

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