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27951  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Outer Space issues on: February 13, 2009, 12:39:02 PM
U.S, Russia: The Implications of a Collision in Space
Stratfor Today » February 12, 2009 | 2155 GMT

USAF/Getty Images
A Delta-II rocket carrying Iridium satellites


An operational Iridium communications satellite and an old Russian communications relay satellite (widely reported as decommissioned) collided Feb. 10 over northern Siberia, destroying both spacecraft. Though details are still emerging, such an incident is extraordinarily unlikely. This unlikelihood itself may help shed light on the event and its implications.

Reports of the collision of two satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO) on Feb. 10 hit the world presses the morning of Feb. 12. One of the crafts involved was an operational Iridium Satellite LLC communications satellite (part of the U.S. company’s extensive constellation); the other was an old Russian communications relay satellite that has been widely reported as nonoperational for roughly a decade. Stratfor is patently unconcerned with the collision’s effects on Iridium’s global coverage, even though that coverage is commonly thought to include extensive service to the U.S. military. (The company says that any impact was minimal.) Nor is Stratfor particularly troubled by the potential danger to the International Space Station (ISS), which also was reported to be minimal — the ISS orbits well below the altitude of the collision.

What is disconcerting is that the collision happened at all. Everything that has followed so far — the statements from NASA, U.S. Strategic Command and Iridium and the questions about debris danger (especially to the ISS) — is all par for the course.

The operational Iridium 33 (NORAD ID 24946) communications satellite and the reportedly long-decommissioned Cosmos 2251 (NORAD ID 22675) collided over northern Siberia just before 1700 GMT on Feb. 10. At an altitude of 491 miles, the incident took place well within the most heavily used band of LEO. Nevertheless, this is the first time in history that two satellites have collided. The statistical likelihood of this happening — despite how “crowded” that particular band of LEO is — is extraordinarily low, as the distances and vast empty spaces involved are enormous. In addition, the U.S. military cooperates with other agencies and entities that operate satellites in order to predict and prevent potential collisions. If these two satellites’ orbits were indeed stable, any collision should have been foreseen (though even the U.S. military cannot constantly track every object in the sky).

This is therefore an anomalous event. And there are essentially two ways to look at it.

First is the skeptical view — that because the statistical likelihood is so low, something more is at play here. While more details will always shed more light on an event, this point of view is based on the idea that if the odds against an accidental event are in effect astronomical, then what might appear to be incidental might have been deliberate.

In short, any object in space can be an anti-satellite weapon. The speed of orbital velocity (thousands to tens of thousands of miles per hour) makes the impact of even a screw or a bolt potentially catastrophic. The problem is one of guidance.

Related Links
United States: The Weaponization of Space
U.S.: Satellites and Fractionalized Space
Space and the U.S. Military: Operationally Responsive Space
Space and the U.S. Military: From Strategic to Tactical Exploitation
U.S.: The Real Reason Behind Ballistic Missile Defense
Old Russian satellites might not be completely out of commission even after they cease to be useful for their original purpose. They might retain some maneuvering propellant, for example. But while an old satellite could be nudged into another’s path — in the case of Iridium 33, an established, stable orbit — the matter is a bit more complicated. While two 1,000- to 2,000-pound satellites are not small, they are not large, either. Actually achieving a collision requires more refined maneuvering capability and guidance, something not necessarily resident in the average early 1990s communications relay satellite (if that was all Cosmos 2251 really was).

Stratfor is not asserting that a long-dormant communications relay satellite was directed to hit another satellite. There is currently no evidence of it, and such an event has extremely long odds. But in an event that appears to be so improbable, some foul play is a potential explanation — especially in the year after the United States unequivocally demonstrated its anti-satellite capability in response to the 2007 Chinese anti-satellite demonstration. Russia is historically the only other player in the anti-satellite game, and at the moment, Moscow is seeking to convince Washington in as many ways as possible that Russia should be treated with deference and respect.

The alternative explanation is that reality no longer conforms to the conventional wisdom on the utter improbability of such a collision. Obviously, statistical probability is rooted in mathematical calculations, and there is no doubt that this event is both extraordinary and improbable. But the alternative to the deliberate cause theory is that the unlikely nevertheless took place.

Statistical realities remain, and even the most unlikely event can happen. Either way, satellites are not about to start dropping out of the sky. But a completely accidental collision could imply that what has traditionally been completely improbable is becoming, increasingly, merely unlikely — that the traffic in LEO has begun to approach a threshold where a new traffic management scheme is becoming necessary. The traffic management and debris problems in LEO have become increasingly prominent in recent years — there is no air traffic control in space — and the Pentagon has been clamoring for more money to protect its space-based assets and track debris.

In short, the Feb. 10 collision reportedly took place at orbital velocities of 17,500 miles per hour. Such energetic events create particularly large amounts of debris. Early estimates suggest some 600 pieces will be added to the list of some 18,000 objects currently cataloged and tracked orbiting the earth. Collisions like this increase the danger for satellites and manned spaceflight alike in those orbits and thus degrade the usability of whole swaths of LEO. This comes just as more and more countries (most recently Iran) are recognizing the economic and military benefits of satellites and are moving to become spacefaring. Though they are unlikely to occur through accident and coincidence, too many of these collisions and energetic events would considerably increase the debris problem. Such a development would begin to dramatically alter the landscape of LEO.
27952  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Our Troops in Action on: February 13, 2009, 12:09:44 PM
United States Army Sgt. Hernandez

 Hernandez United States Army Sgt. Omar Hernandez came to America from Mexico with his family when he was six months old. He joined the Army Reserve when he was 19, deploying to Iraq in 2003. He changed to the regular Army in 2004 and returned to Iraq as an infantryman, earning his citizenship after his second tour. On 6 June 2007, during his third tour in Iraq as part of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Hernandez, three other American soldiers and nine Iraqis left Joint Security Station "Maverick" in Ghazaliya on a census patrol.

Just outside the station, however, the team was ambushed. Two Iraqi police were immediately shot. Hernandez returned fire, but was soon shot in the thigh himself. He later said it was "like Forrest Gump -- where he goes, 'Somethin' jumped up and bit me.'" Indeed -- the bullet entered the back and exited the front, just missing his femoral artery, but taking a third of his quadriceps with it. Despite his wound, Hernandez made it to the intersection where the two Iraqi police officers were down, dragging one 15 feet to safety. He then went back for the second, picking him up and carrying him on his shoulder. Hernandez made sure first aid was administered and then resumed firing on the enemy, only later accepting treatment himself. His actions saved the lives of the two Iraqis that day. "I couldn't let anyone die out there," he said. For his heroism, Hernandez received the Silver Star.

27953  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Kill the Corp Tax on: February 13, 2009, 12:06:19 PM
"If lawmakers really want to trigger a recovery, they'll shelve their massive 'stimulus' bill -- a trillion-dollar debt plan that would actually weaken the economy. They'd do much better to take a simple but powerful step: reduce the corporate income tax rate to zero. Our nation's convoluted tax code (so confusing that even a high percentage of President Barack Obama's nominees apparently can't understand it) keeps a small army of accountants and tax lawyers employed. A simplified code might put them out of work. But that would be a small price to pay for a fairer system, one that helps create many more jobs for ordinary Americans. And creating jobs is what a federal stimulus is supposed to be all about. Lawmakers should think carefully before they borrow hundreds of billions of dollars, digging a deeper debt hole and expanding the size and scope of government. Far better to eliminate corporate taxes -- and unleash the job-creation power of our nation's entrepreneurs." --Heritage Foundation President Edwin Feulner, free enterprise economist
27954  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Ammo tracking by govt. on: February 13, 2009, 11:54:33 AM
It has already started…
Ammunition Accountability Legislation
Remember that criminals, by definition, do not obey the law.  Therefore anti-freedom (anti-gun) legislation does not one damn thing to limit criminals.  It only affects those who abide by the law.
Obama said that he wasn't going to take your guns!  Well, it seems that he and his allies in the anti-gun world have no problem with taking your ammo!
The bill that is currently being pushed in 18 states requires all ammunition to be coded by the manufacture and a database maintained of all ammunition sales.  They will know how much you buy and what calibers.
Nobody can sell any ammunition after June 30, 2009 unless the ammunition is coded.
Any privately held uncoded ammunition must be destroyed by July 1, 2011.  (Including hand loaded ammo.) 
They will also charge a .05 cent tax on every round so every box of ammo you buy will go up at least $2.50 or more!
If they can deprive you of ammo they do not need to take your gun!
This legislation is currently pending in 18 states:  Alabama, Arizona,  California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington.
Send to your friends in these states AND fight to dissolve this BILL!!
To find more about the anti-gun group that is sponsoring this legislation and the specific legislation for each state, go to:
27955  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / T. Paine; Washington; Jefferson: on: February 13, 2009, 11:49:01 AM
"This new world hath been the asylum for the persecuted lovers of civil and religious liberty from every part of Europe. Hither have they fled, not from the tender embraces of the mother, but from the cruelty of the monster; and it is so far true of England, that the same tyranny which drove the first emigrants from home, pursues their descendants still."

--Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776

"A people ... who are possessed of the spirit of commerce, who see and who will pursue their advantages may achieve almost anything." --George Washington
"If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it." --Thomas Jefferson

Lincoln's legacy at 200
By Mark Alexander

February 12 marked the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln.

During his inauguration, Barack Hussein Obama insisted on using Lincoln's Bible as he took his oath of office. Those who know their history might understand why Obama then proceeded to choke on that oath.

Obama, the nation's first half-African American president, was playing on Lincoln's status as "The Great Emancipator," though Obama himself is certainly not the descendant of slaves. His ancestors may well have been slaveholders, though -- and I am not talking about his maternal line. Tens of millions of Africans have been enslaved by other Africans in centuries past. Even though Chattel (house and field) and Pawnship (debt and ransom) slavery was legally abolished in most African nations by the 1930s, millions of African men, women and children remain enslaved today, at least those who escape the slaughter of tribal rivalry.

Not to be outdone by the Obama inaugural, Republican organizations are issuing accolades in honor of their party's patriarch, on this template: "The (name of state) Republican Party salutes and honors Abraham Lincoln on the celebration of his 200th birthday. An extraordinary leader in extraordinary times, Abraham Lincoln's greatness was rooted in his principled leadership and defense of the Constitution."


If the Republican Party would spend more energy linking its birthright to our Constitution rather than Lincoln, it might still enjoy the popular support it had under Ronald Reagan.

Though Lincoln has already been canonized by those who settle for partial histories, in the words of John Adams, "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclination, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence."

In our steadfast adherence to The Patriot Post's motto, Veritas Vos Liberabit ("the truth shall set you free"), and our mission to advocate for the restoration of constitutional limits on government, I am compelled to challenge our 16th president's iconic standing.

Lincoln is credited with being the greatest constitutional leader in history, having "preserved the Union," but his popular persona does not reconcile with the historical record. The constitutional federalism envisioned by our Founders and outlined by our Constitution's Bill of Rights was grossly violated by Abraham Lincoln. Arguably, he is responsible for the most grievous constitutional contravention in American history.

Needless to say, when one dares tread upon the record of such a divine figure as Lincoln, one risks all manner of ridicule, even hostility. That notwithstanding, we as Patriots should be willing to look at Lincoln's whole record, even though it may not please our sentiments or comport with the common folklore of most history books. Of course, challenging Lincoln's record is NOT tantamount to suggesting that he believed slavery was anything but an evil, abominable practice. Nor does this challenge suggest that Lincoln himself was not in possession of admirable qualities. It merely suggests, contrary to the popular record, that Lincoln was far from perfect.

It is fitting, then, in this week when the nation recognizes the anniversary of his birth, that we answer this question -- albeit at great peril to the sensibilities of some of our friends and colleagues.

Liberator of the oppressed...

The first of Lincoln's two most oft-noted achievements was ending the abomination of slavery. There is little doubt that Lincoln abhorred slavery, but likewise little doubt that he held racist views toward blacks. His own words undermine his hallowed status as the Great Emancipator.

For example, in his fourth debate with Stephen Douglas, Lincoln argued: "I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races -- that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race."

Lincoln declared, "What I would most desire would be the separation of the white and black races..."

In 1860, Lincoln racial views were explicit in these words: "They say that between the nigger and the crocodile they go for the nigger. The proportion, therefore, is, that as the crocodile to the nigger so is the nigger to the white man."

As for delivering slaves from bondage, it was two years after the commencement of hostilities that Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation -- to protests from free laborers in the North, who didn't want emancipated slaves migrating north and competing for their jobs. He did so only as a means to an end, victory in the bloody War Between the States -- "to do more to help the cause."

"My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery," said Lincoln in regard to the Proclamation. "If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union."

In truth, not a single slave was emancipated by the stroke of Lincoln's pen. The Proclamation freed only "slaves within any State ... the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States." In other words, Lincoln declared slaves were "free" in Confederate states, where his proclamation had no power, but excluded slaves in states that were not in rebellion, or areas controlled by the Union army. Slaves in Kentucky, Missouri, Delaware and Maryland were left in bondage.

His own secretary of state, William Seward, lamented, "We show our sympathy with slavery by emancipating slaves where we cannot reach them and holding them in bondage where we can set them free."

The great abolitionist Frederick Douglass was so angry with Lincoln for delaying the liberation of some slaves that he scarcely contacted him before 1863, noting that Lincoln was loyal only "to the welfare of the white race..." Ten years after Lincoln's death, Douglass wrote that Lincoln was "preeminently the white man's President" and American blacks were "at best only his step-children."

With his Proclamation, Lincoln succeeded in politicizing the issue and short-circuiting the moral solution to slavery, thus leaving the scourge of racial inequality to fester to this day -- in every state of the Union.

Many historians argue that Southern states would likely have reunited with Northern states before the end of the 19th century had Lincoln allowed for a peaceful and constitutionally accorded secession. Slavery would have been supplanted by moral imperative and technological advances in cotton production. Furthermore, under this reunification model, the constitutional order of the republic would have remained largely intact.

In fact, while the so-called "Civil War" (which by definition, the Union attack on the South was not) eradicated slavery, it also short-circuited the moral imperative regarding racism, leaving the nation with racial tensions that persist today. Ironically, there is now more evidence of ethnic tension in Boston than in Birmingham, in Los Angeles than in Atlanta, and in Chicago than in Charleston.

Preserve the Union...

Of course, the second of Lincoln's most famous achievements was the preservation of the Union.

Despite common folklore, northern aggression was not predicated upon freeing slaves, but, according to Lincoln, "preserving the Union." In his First Inaugural Address Lincoln declared, "I hold that in contemplation of universal law and of the Constitution the Union of these States is perpetual. Perpetuity is implied, if not expressed, in the fundamental law of all national governments."

"Implied, if not expressed"?

This is the first colossal example of errant constitutional interpretation, the advent of the so-called "Living Constitution."

Lincoln also threatened the use of force to maintain the Union when he said, "In [preserving the Union] there needs to be no bloodshed or violence ... unless it be forced upon the national authority."

On the other hand, according to the Confederacy, the War Between the States had as its sole objective the preservation of the constitutional sovereignty of the several states.

The Founding Fathers established the constitutional Union as a voluntary agreement among the several states, subordinate to the Declaration of Independence, which never mentions the nation as a singular entity, but instead repeatedly references the states as sovereign bodies, unanimously asserting their independence. To that end, our Constitution's author, James Madison, in an 1825 letter to our Declaration of Independence's author, Thomas Jefferson, asserted, "On the distinctive principles of the Government ... of the U. States, the best guides are to be found in ... The Declaration of Independence, as the fundamental Act of Union of these States."

The states, in ratifying the Constitution, established the federal government as their agent -- not the other way around. At Virginia's ratification convention, for example, the delegates affirmed "that the powers granted under the Constitution being derived from the People of the United States may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to injury or oppression." Were this not true, the federal government would not have been established as federal, but instead a national, unitary and unlimited authority. In large measure as a consequence of the War Between the States, the "federal" government has grown to become an all-but unitary and unlimited authority.

Our Founders upheld the individual sovereignty of the states, even though the wisdom of secessionist movements was a source of debate from the day the Constitution was ratified. Tellingly, Alexander Hamilton, the utmost proponent of centralization among the Founders, noted in Federalist No. 81 that waging war against the states "would be altogether forced and unwarrantable." At the Constitutional Convention, Hamilton argued, "Can any reasonable man be well disposed toward a government which makes war and carnage the only means of supporting itself?"

To provide some context, three decades before the occupation of Fort Sumter, former secretary of war and then South Carolina Senator John C. Calhoun argued, "Stripped of all its covering, the naked question is, whether ours is a federal or consolidated government; a constitutional or absolute one; a government resting solidly on the basis of the sovereignty of the states, or on the unrestrained will of a majority; a form of government, as in all other unlimited ones, in which injustice, violence, and force must ultimately prevail."

Two decades before the commencement of hostilities between the states, John Quincy Adams wrote, "If the day should ever come (may Heaven avert it!) when the affections of the people of these States shall be alienated from each other ... far better will it be for the people of the disunited States to part in friendship with each other than to be held together by constraint. Then will be the time for reverting to the precedents which occurred at the formation and adoption of the Constitution, to form again a more perfect Union. ... I hold that it is no perjury, that it is no high-treason, but the exercise of a sacred right to offer such a petition."

But the causal case for states' rights is most aptly demonstrated by the words and actions of Gen. Robert E. Lee, who detested slavery and opposed secession. In 1860, however, Gen. Lee declined Lincoln's request that he take command of the Army of the Potomac, saying that his first allegiance was to his home state of Virginia: "I have, therefore, resigned my commission in the army, and save in defense of my native state ... I hope I may never be called on to draw my sword." He would, soon thereafter, take command of the Army of Northern Virginia, rallying his officers with these words: "Let each man resolve to be victorious, and that the right of self-government, liberty and peace shall find him a defender."

In his Gettysburg Address, Lincoln employed lofty rhetoric to conceal the truth of our nation's most costly war -- a war that resulted in the deaths of some 600,000 Americans and the severe disabling of more than 400,000 others. He claimed to be fighting so that "this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth." In fact, Lincoln was ensuring just the opposite by waging an appallingly bloody war while ignoring calls for negotiated peace. It was the "rebels" who were intent on self-government, and it was Lincoln who rejected their right to that end, despite our Founders' clear admonition to the contrary in the Declaration.

Moreover, had Lincoln's actions been subjected to the terms of the Fourth Geneva Convention (the first being codified in 1864), he and his principal military commanders, with Gen. William T. Sherman heading the list, would have been tried for war crimes. This included waging "total war" against not just combatants, but the entire civilian population. It is estimated that Sherman's march to the sea was responsible for the rape and murder of tens of thousands of civilians.

Further solidifying their wartime legacy, Sherman, Gen. Philip Sheridan, and young Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer (whose division blocked Gen. Lee's retreat from Appomattox), spent the next ten years waging unprecedented racial genocide against the Plains Indians.)

Lincoln's war may have preserved the Union geographically (at great cost to the Constitution), but politically and philosophically, the constitutional foundation for a voluntary union was shredded by sword, rifle and cannon.

"Reconstruction" followed the war, and with it an additional period of Southern probation, plunder and misery, leading Robert E. Lee to conclude, "If I had foreseen the use those people designed to make of their victory, there would have been no surrender at Appomattox Courthouse; no sir, not by me. Had I foreseen these results of subjugation, I would have preferred to die at Appomattox with my brave men, my sword in my right hand."

Little reported and lightly regarded in our history books is the way Lincoln abused and discarded the individual rights of Northern citizens. Tens of thousands of citizens were imprisoned (most without trial) for political opposition, or "treason," and their property confiscated. Habeas corpus and, in effect, the entire Bill of Rights was suspended. Newspapers were shut down and legislators detained so they could not offer any vote unfavorable to Lincoln's conquest.

In fact, the Declaration of Independence details remarkably similar abuses by King George to those committed by Lincoln: the "Military [became] independent of and superior to the Civil power"; he imposed taxes without consent; citizens were deprived "in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury"; state legislatures were suspended in order to prevent more secessions; he "plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people ... scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation."

The final analysis...

Chief among the spoils of victory is the privilege of writing the history.

Lincoln said, "Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing."

Lincoln's enduring reputation is the result of his martyrdom. He was murdered on Good Friday and the metaphorical comparisons between Lincoln and Jesus were numerous.

Typical is this observation three days after his death by Parke Godwin, editor of the New York Evening Post: "No loss has been comparable to his. Never in human history has there been so universal, so spontaneous, so profound an expression of a nation's bereavement. [He was] our supremest leader -- our safest counselor -- our wisest friend -- our dear father."

A more thorough and dispassionate reading of history, however, reveals a substantial expanse between his reputation and his character.

"America will never be destroyed from the outside," Lincoln declared. "If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves." Never were truer words spoken.

While the War Between the States concluded in 1865, the battle for states' rights -- the struggle to restore constitutional federalism -- remains spirited, particularly among the ranks of our Patriot readers.

In his inaugural speech, Barack Obama quoted Lincoln: "We are not enemies, but friends.... Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection."

Let us hope that he pays more heed to those words than did Lincoln.

27956  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: BO lends legitimacy to Bush on: February 13, 2009, 11:33:26 AM
President Obama has done a masterful job disguising his Administration's growing antiterror maturity, but this week produced further evidence that he is erring on the side of keeping the country safe rather than appeasing the political left. The Justice Department filed to dismiss a federal appeals case involving rendition, embracing an argument developed by . . . the Bush Administration.

APIn other words, the anti-antiterror lobby is being exposed as more radical than its putative banner carrier. As Mr. Obama is learning, the left's exertions to disarm the country's counterterrorism arsenal are as dangerous now as they were prior to his election.

In this closely watched case, the American Civil Liberties Union sued the flight-logistics outfit Jeppesen DataPlan in 2007 on behalf of Binyam Mohamed and four other Guantanamo detainees. The argument was that the Boeing subsidiary was complicit in arranging flights for rendition, a policy that transfers certain terror prisoners seized abroad to other countries for interrogation. Mohamed and his compatriots claim they are the victims of torture overseas.

The Bush Administration argued the case should be dismissed because open proceedings could damage national security by disclosing state secrets. A lower court agreed. Most everyone expected the Obama Justice Department to dump the secrecy line when the case came up for review before the left-leaning Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday, apparently including the Ninth Circuit.

Judge Mary Schroeder asked leadingly, "Is there anything that might have happened" to cause Justice to shift its views? "No, your honor," the Justice attorney, Douglas Letter, replied. A startled Judge Schroeder tried again. "The change in Administration has no bearing?" Mr. Letter reiterated that his positions had been "authorized" and "thoroughly vetted with the appropriate officials within the new Administration."

The Obama Administration says it will invoke the state secrets privilege more sparingly than its predecessor. But it is really admitting that lifting the hood on classified intelligence-gathering would let terrorists know what to expect, and to shift their operations to avoid detection. Perhaps the Obama team has also stumbled upon the larger game behind lawsuits like the one against Jeppesen -- which is to intimidate private companies into refusing to cooperate with the government on national security.

The left has failed to achieve its policy ambitions through Congress or by directly challenging the government in court. So the latest tactic is suing third parties such as Jeppesen -- note that the ACLU is not suing here to win Mohamed's release -- to hamstring the executive branch via the courts. These companies thought they were doing their patriotic duty by lending a hand.

But the anti-antiterror trial bar uses lawsuits to raise the costs for these private actors of cooperating with the intelligence community, and the legal exposure makes it that much more difficult for the feds to gain private cooperation. Sometimes the suits shut down such cooperation altogether. The telecom companies, faced with multibillion-dollar civil complaints over warrantless wiretapping, refused to proceed without legal immunity, and the 2007-2008 political dispute nearly ended the program. The FISA appeals court revealed last month that one (still anonymous) telecom even sued the government to opt out.

The larger story here is that the anti-antiterror lobby is losing the man it thought was its strongest ally. During his campaign, Mr. Obama talked as if he really believed that the Bush Administration was uniquely wicked on national security. Joe Biden cosponsored Senate legislation that would have prevented the executive branch from making state-secrets claims to shelve lawsuits, rather than shielding individual evidence from judicial (and public) scrutiny.

Now it seems that the Bush Administration's antiterror architecture is gaining new legitimacy, just as Eisenhower validated Truman's Cold War framework. Mr. Obama claims to have banned coercive interrogation techniques, except in those cases where more extreme measures are necessary to save lives. He says he'll shut down Gitmo in a year or so, but his subordinates -- including Elena Kagan during her confirmation hearings for Solicitor General this week -- admit that indefinite detention will still be necessary for some terrorists. He walked back his wiretap absolutism even before he was elected. Now the Administration has endorsed the same secrecy posture that he once found so offensive, merely saying that it will be used less frequently. We'll see.

These are all laudable signs of Mr. Obama's antiterror progress. Perhaps some day he'll acknowledge his debt to his predecessor.


27957  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Chicago case on: February 13, 2009, 10:56:59 AM
'I had no choice,' says Ill. cop who shot unarmed, naked suspect
By Steve Schmadeke
Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — Inside an ambulance moments after fatally shooting a naked Glen Ellyn college student, Officer Jason Bradley began to cry, telling the deputy police chief: "I had to do it -- I had no choice."

Bradley, now 27 and a state trooper, was responding to a domestic battery call in 2006 at the Iron Gate apartments that he says escalated into a fistfight in which Benjamin Uwumarogie straddled him and repeatedly struck him in the face. The officer drew his weapon and shot the father of two once in the head.

Tuesday marked the second day of a civil trial in the federal wrongful-death lawsuit brought by Uwumarogie's father, Sunday, principal of Eugene Field Elementary School in Chicago. The family's attorneys argue the shooting was unjustified.

Bradley said he first tried to restrain Uwumarogie, eventually spraying him five times in the face with pepper spray after the College of DuPage football player, 22, refused to stop.

"He was almost looking right through me. ... I had a gut instinct that something was wrong," Bradley testified.

Iron Gate property manager Rick Olsen watched through the apartment's open front door as the two grappled in a narrow hallway.

"He lunged at the police officer, grabbed him by the arms and pushed him back to the bedroom," he said. "A few seconds later, I heard a shot."

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27958  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hillary gets fcukt LOL on: February 13, 2009, 10:50:01 AM
Hillary's Incredible Shrinking Cabinet Role

Tuesday, February 10, 2009 11:56 AM

By: Dick Morris and Eileen McGann

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is finding that her job description is dissolving under her feet, leaving her with only a vestige of the power she must have thought she acquired when she signed on to be President Obama’s chief Cabinet officer.

Since her designation:

Vice President Joe Biden has moved vigorously to stake out foreign policy as his turf. His visit to Afghanistan, right before the inauguration, could not but send a signal to Clinton that he would conduct foreign policy in the new administration, leaving her in a backup role.

Richard Holbrooke, the former Balkan negotiator and U.N. ambassador, has been named special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan. He insisted on direct access to the president, a privilege he was denied during much of the Clinton years.

Former Sen. George Mitchell, D-Maine, negotiator of the Irish Peace Accords, was appointed to be the administration’s point man on Arab-Israeli negotiations.

Samantha Powers, Obama’s former campaign aide, who once called Hillary Clinton a “monster,” has been appointed to the National Security Council as director of “multilateral affairs.”

Gen. James L. Jones, Obama’s new national security adviser, has announced an expansion of the membership and role of the security council. He pledges to eliminate “back channels” to the president and wants to grow the council’s role to accommodate the “dramatically different” challenges of the current world situation.

Susan Rice, Obama’s new United Nations ambassador, insisted upon and got Cabinet rank for her portfolio, and she presumably also will have the same kind of access to Obama that she had as his chief foreign policy adviser during the campaign.

So where does all this leave Secretary of State Clinton?

While sympathy for Mrs. Clinton is outside the normal fare of these columns, one cannot help but feel that she is surrounded by people who are, at best, strangers and, at worst, enemies. The competition that historically has occupied secretaries of State and national security advisers seems poised to ratchet up to a new level in this administration.

Hillary’s essential problem is that she is an outsider in the current mix. She was the adversary in the campaign, and Rice and Powers — at the very least — know it well, having helped to run the campaign that dethroned her. Can they — and she — be devoid of bitterness or at least of normal human trepidation? Not very likely.

The fact is that the power of the secretary of State is not statutory, nor does it flow from the prestige of the post’s occupant. Former Gen. Al Haig, once supreme commander of NATO and chief of staff to President Nixon, found that out when he was undercut as secretary by the White House troika of Mike Deaver, James Baker, and Ed Meese.
Bill Rogers, Eisenhower’s attorney general and Nixon’s California confidant, found himself on the outs from the moment he became secretary of State, with Henry Kissinger soaking up all the power through his direct access to Nixon as national security adviser.

The power of the secretary of State flows directly from the president. But Hillary does not have the inside track with Obama. Rice and Powers, close advisers in the campaign, and Gen. Jones, whose office is in the White House all may have superior access. Holbrooke and Mitchell will have more immediate information about the world’s trouble spots.

So what is Hillary’s mandate? Of what is she secretary of State? If you take the Middle East, Afghanistan, and Pakistan out of the equation, what is left? One would have to assume that the old North Korea hands in the government would monopolize that theater of action. What, precisely, is it that Hillary is to do? The question lingers.

And for this she gave up a Senate seat?

© 2009 Dick Morris and Eileen McGann
27959  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: February 13, 2009, 01:42:37 AM
Subject: Entertaining Iraqi prisoner release story....

A military officer (O-6) who heads up ________________ told us there was a  time when they used to release prisoners from the detention facility in their jumpsuits.  With a brand new $20. bill.
The prisoners would get about 1 block before they would have their money roughed from them (imagine the battering your ego must take when you think you are a big, bad al-Qa'ida terrorist and you cannot even walk one block without being mugged).
So they started releasing  them in civilian clothes.  And the prisoners would get about 1 block before they had that $20 bill roughed from them.
So now they drive them in a non-descript local minivan to either a bus station or train station.  Nobody knows what is//is not happening there.
27960  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: February 13, 2009, 01:41:13 AM,2933,491964,00.html

Thursday , February 12, 2009
By Joshua Rhett Miller

As drug cartels continue to terrorize Mexico, Texas officials are planning for the worst-case scenario: how to respond if the violence spills over the border, and what to do if thousands of Mexicans seek refuge in the United States.  Katherine Cesinger, a spokeswoman for Texas Gov. Rick Perry, said a multi-agency contingency plan is being developed, and it will focus primarily on law enforcement issues, including how to handle an influx of Mexicans fleeing violence.

"At this point, what we're focusing on is spillover violence," Cesinger told Thursday. "The immediate concern, if any, would be that."

More than 5,300 people were killed in Mexico last year in connection to criminal activity, and some experts predict things will get worse. Along with Pakistan, Mexico was identified in a Department of Defense report last year as a country that could destabilize rapidly.  If that were to happen, officials are concerned that the drug violence could cross the Rio Grande into southern Texas.
Cesinger said the plan currently does not address a potential flood of refugees, though "It may be something that comes into consideration.  "Worst-case scenario, Mexico becomes the Western hemisphere's equivalent of Somalia, with mass violence, mass chaos," said Ted Galen Carpenter, vice president for defense and foreign policy at the Cato Institute, a Washington-based think tank. "That would clearly require a military response from the United States."

Carpenter, who recently authored a study entitled "Troubled Neighbor: Mexico's Drug Violence Poses a Threat to the United States," said Mexican government could collapse, although it's unlikely.

"That's still a relative longshot, but it's not out of the question," Carpenter said. "It's obviously prudent for all of the states along the U.S.-Mexican border and the military to consider that possibility and not get blindsided should it happen."

Some lawmakers in Texas have begun questioning how to deal with a potentially massive influx of Mexican citizens.

"Do you strengthen the borders so people cannot get in by the thousands every day, or do you create detention centers where people are held until their status is determined?" asked state Sen. Dan Patrick. "This is a potential refugee problem..."

"Let's pray that this does not develop in Mexico," Patrick told "However, when you hear the president of the United States cast dire warnings on our country, that even our financial system could collapse, it makes you think. If the United States can face catastrophe, obviously Mexico could as well.

"We have to seriously consider that as a remote possibility, so therefore, we need to have a plan."

Patrick called upon Texas Homeland Security Director Steve McGraw to present a comprehensive plan to the state's Legislature.
McGraw, who reportedly told lawmakers at a recent border security meeting that fears of Mexico's collapse were "well-grounded," was unavailable to comment Thursday, Cesinger said.

Former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff indicated last month that the continuing violence has prompted plans for civilian and military law enforcement should it spread into the United States.

Chertoff said the plan calls for armored vehicles, aircraft and teams of personnel along border hotspots. Military forces, however, would be summoned only if civilian agencies like the Border Patrol were unable to control the violence, the New York Times reported.
DHS spokeswoman Amy Kudwa said the department began developing the plan last summer to address a "broad spectrum of contingencies that could occur" if the violence escalates.

"This violence is happening because the [Felipe] Calderon administration is doing the right thing by cracking down on powerful drug cartels," Kudwa said in a statement. "The cartels are, predictably, fighting back to protect their lucrative criminal livelihood. This plan doesn’t change or otherwise supersede existing authorities; it plans for how a number of government organizations would respond and coordinate if local resources were to be overwhelmed."

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is "continuing to develop that plan," Kudwa said Thursday.

Meanwhile, Tim Irwin, spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, said he was unaware of any plans in Texas to prepare for an influx of Mexicans seeking refuge. Theoretically, Irwin said, a Mexican citizen could go to a border crossing and seek asylum based on fears of returning home amid the ongoing drug wars.

"It's a valid claim to make, but you'd need to back that up," Irwin said. "That would start the process."

Irwin said the individual would be initially detained and given a "credible fear interview" to determine if his or her concerns are valid. If
so, they could be eventually be released into the United States.   But Carpenter said the worst-case scenario — a "sudden surge" of up to 1 million refugees in addition to the hundreds of thousands who enter illegally each year — would be daunting.

"That would be very difficult to handle," Carpenter told "I suspect what'd you see fairly soon is an attempt to seal the border as much as possible. That would probably be the initial response, along with the building of additional facilities [to detain the Mexican refugees]. But nobody wants to see that happen."
27961  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DLO 3 on: February 13, 2009, 01:06:55 AM
We finalize KT2: The Running Dog Game tomorrow, then it will be time to turn to this one.
27962  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: KALI TUDO (tm) Article on: February 13, 2009, 01:03:59 AM
Woof All:

It occurs to me to bring something out that I may not have yet communicated effectively.


The conceptual starting point for our Kali Tudo subsystem is this the article that begins this thread.  Its a rather long article, but everything that follows from the "KT Intro" double disc is within the context of the framework this piece lays out.

Here's where things go from here:

a) The Running Dog Game will be out in the next few weeks (pre-orders being taken now);

b) We finish the third disc in the "DBMA Die Less Often Reality Series" titled "DLO 3: The Kali Fence for Civilians and LEOs", this will include footage shot at the Dayton OH PD training facility-- a hearty woof of thanks for permission to use!  Know that there will be additional info for LEOs, either on a separate disc or secure web-clips.  This should not take long, the edit is about 80% done already--estimated time: one month;

c) Then we return to "KT-3: The Arf-ful Dodger and the Dracula: Angular striking crashes against Joe Generic MMA Guy"
The Arrful Dodger disc is about 80% shot already (including great footage with the Hawaii Clan of the DBs) and should be finished in fairly steady progression from there.

d) Unshot so far, but conceptually mostly worked out and in the pipeline is "KT for the Clinch".

In short, DBMA's "Kali Tudo(tm)" is a substantial sub-system of DBMA that accepts the challenge of the Cage, as measured by the Street.  It is your unarmed expression of our training together.  The idea is precisely that the movements of the empty hands ARE like the movements of the weapons.  IT WORKS, but only if you are trained with the understanding of people who have hit people in weapons fight. 

Without the wisdom of the adrenal experience of weapons, where is the understanding to impart to the EH expression?

To be perfectly clear, I am NOT saying that KT will help ONLY weapons fighters.  NO!  Just as was seen in DLO-1, there is plenty here for MMA players looking for something sharp and off-center.  That said, maximal value will be obtained by those with weapons skills.

Why is this significant?  Because it yields a practitioner in the street who should not be surprised by a weapon because his idiom of movement IS the same whether he has weapons or not.

The Adventure continues!
Guro Crafty

27963  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Big Picture WW3: Who, when, where, why on: February 13, 2009, 12:23:33 AM
While in great sympathy with the larger point, I found this passage rather unpersuasive:

"And according to the [7] British Telegraph, early in 2009, a Pakistani Muslim cleric blinded a young boy with acid because he spurned the cleric’s sexual advances."

Let us remember too the vast history of the vast pediophile conspiracy within the Catholic Church.  The pattern is, quite obviously, systemic.  To speak frankly, this vile disgrace has been enabled at the highest levels of the Church.
27964  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Well, that did not take long , , , on: February 13, 2009, 12:18:32 AM

The latest case in point is Kirsten Gillibrand. Remember how, when she was appointed to Hillary Clinton's Senate seat, she was widely described as a "conservative Democrat?" In particular, her 100% rating by the National Rifle Association was widely touted. But that was then, and this is now: Gillibrand is a convert to the cause of gun control. She has met with the parents of a 17-year-old girl who was killed by a stray bullet fired by a gang member and undergone a conversion:
It clearly touched her. "I care deeply. I am very upset about the horror and the tragedies that so many families experience," Gillibrand said. ...
On Monday she said Nyasia's story convinced her to introduce gun trafficking legislation. "I will be a fighter to make sure we keep these illegal guns off the streets," Gillibrand said.
Gillibrand is so intent on changing her image on gun violence that she's even asking for a meeting with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, one of the leading anti-gun advocates in the nation.
Gillibrand on Monday established two internships in her New York and Washington offices in honor of Nyasia.

Apparently Ms. Gillibrand had never realized, until now, that it is possible to use a firearm to commit a crime. Be that as it may, now that she will be running for re-election statewide she has no more need for an endorsement from the NRA; on the contrary, such an endorsement would be a liability--a liability that Ms. Gillibrand lost no time in jettisoning.
27965  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Chinagate led to 9/11 on: February 12, 2009, 09:57:12 PM
GM's post moved to here:

**Ah, thank god the dems are in control again. Nothing to worry about.**

How Chinagate Led to 9/11   
By Jean Pearce | Tuesday, May 25, 2004

As the 9/11 Commission tries to uncover what kept intelligence agencies from preventing September 11, it has overlooked two vital factors: Jamie Gorelick and Bill Clinton. Gorelick, who has browbeaten the current administration, helped erect the walls between the FBI, CIA and local investigators that made 9/11 inevitable. However, she was merely expanding the policy Bill Clinton established with Presidential Decision Directive 24. What has been underreported is why the policy came about: to thwart investigations into the Chinese funding of Clinton’s re-election campaign, and the favors he bestowed on them in return.
In April, staff writer Scott Wheeler reported that a senior U.S. government official and three other sources claimed that the 1995 memo written by Jamie Gorelick, who served as the Clinton Justice Department’s deputy attorney general from 1994 to 1997, created "a roadblock" to the investigation of illegal Chinese donations to the Democratic National Committee. But the picture is much bigger than that. The Gorelick memo, which blocked intelligence agents from sharing information that could have halted the September 11 hijacking plot, was only the mortar in a much larger maze of bureaucratic walls whose creation Gorelick personally oversaw.
It’s a story the 9/11 Commission may not want to hear, and one that Gorelick – now incredibly a member of that commission – has so far refused to tell. But it is perhaps the most crucial one to understanding the intentional breakdown of intelligence that led to the September 11 disaster.
Nearly from the moment Gorelick took office in the Clinton Justice Department, she began acting as the point woman for a large-scale bureaucratic reorganization of intelligence agencies that ultimately placed the gathering of intelligence, and decisions about what – if anything – would be done with it under near-direct control of the White House. In the process, more than a dozen CIA and FBI investigations underway at the time got caught beneath the heel of the presidential boot, investigations that would ultimately reveal massive Chinese espionage as millions in illegal Chinese donations filled Democratic Party campaign coffers.
When Gorelick took office in 1994, the CIA was reeling from the news that a Russian spy had been found in CIA ranks, and Congress was hungry for a quick fix. A month after Gorelick was sworn in, Bill Clinton issued Presidential Decision Directive 24. PDD 24 put intelligence gathering under the direct control of the president’s National Security Council, and ultimately the White House, through a four-level, top-down chain of command set up to govern (that is, stifle) intelligence sharing and cooperation between intelligence agencies. From the moment the directive was implemented, intelligence sharing became a bureaucratic nightmare that required negotiating a befuddling bureaucracy that stopped directly at the President’s office.
First, the directive effectively neutered the CIA by creating a National Counterintelligence Center (NCI) to oversee the Agency. NCI was staffed by an FBI agent appointed by the Clinton administration. It also brought multiple international investigations underway at the time under direct administrative control. The job of the NCI was to “implement counterintelligence activities,” which meant that virtually everything the CIA did, from a foreign intelligence agent’s report to polygraph test results, now passed through the intelligence center that PDD 24 created.
NCI reported to an administration-appointed National Counterintelligence Operations Board (NCOB) charged with “discussing counterintelligence matters.” The NCOB in turn reported to a National Intelligence Policy Board, which coordinated activities between intelligence agencies attempting to work together. The policy board reported “directly” to the president through the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs.
The result was a massive bureaucratic roadblock for the CIA – which at the time had a vast lead on the FBI in foreign intelligence – and for the FBI itself, which was also forced to report to the NCOB. This hampered cooperation between the two entities. All this occurred at a time when both agencies were working separate ends of investigations that would eventually implicate China in technology transfers and the Democratic Party in a Chinese campaign cash grab.
And the woman charged with selling this plan to Congress, convincing the media and ultimately implementing much of it? Jamie Gorelick.
Many in Congress, including some Democrats, found the changes PDD 24 put in place baffling: they seemed to do nothing to insulate the CIA from infiltration while devastating the agency’s ability to collect information. At the time, Democrat House Intelligence Chairman Dan Glickman referred to the plan as “regulatory gobbledygook." Others questioned how FBI control of CIA intelligence would foster greater communication between the lower levels of the CIA and FBI, now that all information would have to be run through a multi-tier bureaucratic maze that only went upward.
Despite their doubts, Gorelick helped the administration sell the plan on Capitol Hill. The Directive stood.
But that wasn’t good enough for the Clinton administration, which wanted control over every criminal and intelligence investigation, domestic and foreign, for reasons that would become apparent in a few years. For the first time in Justice Department history, a political appointee, Richard Scruggs – an old crony or Attorney General Janet Reno’s from Florida – was put in charge of the Office of Intelligence and Policy Review (OIPR). OIPR is the Justice Department agency in charge of requesting wiretap and surveillance authority for criminal and intelligence investigations on behalf of investigative agencies from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court. The court’s activities are kept secret from the public.
A year after PDD 24, with the new bureaucratic structure loaded with administration appointees, Gorelick drafted the 1995 memo Attorney General John Ashcroft mentioned while testifying before the 9/11 Commission. The Gorelick memo, and other supporting memos released in recent weeks, not only created walls within the intelligence agencies that prevented information sharing among their own agents, but effectively walled these agencies off from each other and from outside contact with the U.S. prosecutors instrumental in helping them gather the evidence needed to make the case for criminal charges.
The only place left to go with intelligence information – particularly for efforts to share intelligence information or obtain search warrants – was straight up Clinton and Gorelick’s multi-tiered chain of command. Instead, information lethal to the Democratic Party languished inside the Justice Department, trapped behind Gorelick’s walls.
The implications were enormous. In her letter of protest to Attorney General Reno over Gorelick’s memo, United States Attorney Mary Jo White spelled them out: “These instructions leave entirely to OIPR and the (Justice Department) Criminal Division when, if ever, to contact affected U.S. attorneys on investigations including terrorism and espionage,” White wrote. (Like OIPR, the Criminal Division is also part of the Justice Department.)
Without an enforcer, the walls Gorelick’s memo put in place might not have held. But Scruggs acted as that enforcer, and he excelled at it. Scruggs maintained Gorelick’s walls between the FBI and Justice's Criminal Division by threatening to automatically reject any FBI request for a wiretap or search warrant if the Bureau contacted the Justice Department's Criminal Division without permission. This deprived the FBI, and ultimately the CIA, of gathering advice and assistance from the Criminal Division that was critical in espionage and terrorist cases.
It is no coincidence that this occurred at the same time both the FBI and the CIA were churning up evidence damaging to the Democratic Party, its fundraisers, the Chinese and ultimately the Clinton administration itself. Between 1994 and the 1996 election, as Chinese dollars poured into Democratic coffers, Clinton struggled to reopen high-tech trade to China. Had agents confirmed Chinese theft of weapons technology or its transfer of weapons technology to nations like Pakistan, Iran and Syria, Clinton would have been forced by law and international treaty to react.
Gorelick’s appointment to the job at Justice in 1994 occurred during a period in which the FBI had begun to systematically investigate technology theft by foreign powers. For the first time, these investigations singled out the U.S. chemical, telecommunications, aircraft and aerospace industries for intelligence collection.
By the time Gorelick wrote the March 1995 memo that sealed off American intelligence agencies from each other and the outside world, all of the most critical Chinagate investigations by American intelligence agencies were already underway. Some of their findings were damning:
In an investigation originally instigated by the CIA, the FBI was beginning its search for the source of the leak of W-88 nuclear warhead technology to China among the more than 1,000 people who had access to the secrets. Despite Justice Department stonewalling and the Department’s refusal to seek wiretap authority in 1997, the investigation eventually led to Wen Ho Lee and the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
The FBI first collected extensive evidence in 1995 linking illegal Democratic Party donations to China, according to the Congressional Record. But Congress and the Director of the CIA didn’t find out about the Justice Department’s failure to act upon that evidence until 1997, safely after the 1996 election.
According to classified CIA documents leaked to the Washington Times, between 1994 and 1997, the CIA learned that China sold Iran missile technology, a nuclear fission reactor, advanced air-defense radar and chemical agents. The Chinese also provided 5,000 ring magnets to Pakistan, used in producing weapons-grade uranium. The Chinese also provided uranium fuel for India's reactors.
In many cases the CIA resorted to leaking classified information to the media, in an effort to bypass the administration’s blackout.
Gorelick knew these facts well. While Clinton may have refused to meet with top CIA officials, Gorelick didn’t. According to a 1996 report by the legal news service American Lawyer Media, Gorelick and then-Deputy Director of the CIA George Tenet met every other week to discuss intelligence and intelligence sharing.
But those in the Clinton administration weren’t the only ones to gain from the secrecy. In 1994, the McDonnell Douglas Corporation transferred military-use machine tools to the China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corporation that ended up in the hands of the Chinese army. The sale occurred despite Defense Department objections. McDonnell Douglas was a client of the Miller Cassidy Larroca & Lewin, L.L.P. (now called Baker Botts), the Washington, D.C., law firm where Gorelick worked for 17 years and was a partner. Ray Larroca, another partner in the firm, represented McDonnell in the Justice Department’s investigation of the technology transfer.

In 1995, General Electric, a former client of Gorelick’s, also had much to lose if the damaging information the CIA and the FBI had reached Congress. At the time, GE was publicly lobbying for a lucrative permit to assist the Chinese in replacing coal-fired power stations with nuclear plants. A 1990 law required that the president certify to Congress that China was not aiding in nuclear proliferation before U.S. companies could execute the business agreement.
Moreover, in 1995, Michael Armstrong, then the CEO of Hughes Electronics – a division of General Electric and another client of Miller Cassidy Larroca & Lewin – was publicly lobbying Clinton to switch satellite export controls from the State Department to the Commerce Department. After the controls were lifted, Hughes and another company gave sensitive data to the Chinese, equipment a Pentagon study later concluded would allow China to develop intercontinental and submarine-launched ballistic missiles aimed at American targets. Miller Cassidy Larroca & Lewin partner Randall Turk represented Hughes in the Congressional, State Department, and Justice Department investigations that resulted.
The Cox Report, which detailed Chinese espionage for Congress during the period, revealed that FBI surveillance caught Chinese officials frantically trying to keep Democratic donor Johnny Chung from divulging any information that would be damaging to Hughes Electronics. Chung funneled $300,000 in illegal contributions from the Chinese military to the DNC between 1994 and 1996.
It was this web of investigations that led Gorelick and Bill Clinton to erect the wall between intelligence agencies that resulted in the toppling of the Twin Towers. The connections go on and on, but they all lead back to Gorelick, the one person who could best explain how the Clinton administration neutered the American intelligence agencies that could have stopped the September 11 plot. Yet another high crime will have been committed if the September 11 Commission doesn’t demand testimony from her.
27966  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / BO does not believe NIE either on: February 12, 2009, 09:52:30 PM
Moving GM's post to this thread:


Just a reminder: Obama doesn’t believe the sham NIE on Iran either
posted at 5:59 pm on February 12, 2009 by Allahpundit   

Remember that? The one that assured us, preposterously, that Iran gave up its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and was instantly celebrated by idiot liberals as proof that there’s no threat and therefore no cause for Chimpy to keep rattling his saber? Never mind that classified portions of the same document acknowledged the possibility of more than a dozen covert nuke sites closed to inspectors, and never mind that actually building a bomb isn’t the critical step in weaponization. Figuring out enrichment — what Iran’s doing right now — is.

And now that Bush is gone and the left has to govern, they’re finally free/forced to admit it.

In his news conference this week, President Obama went so far as to describe Iran’s “development of a nuclear weapon” before correcting himself to refer to its “pursuit” of weapons capability.

Obama’s nominee to serve as CIA director, Leon E. Panetta, left little doubt about his view last week when he testified on Capitol Hill. “From all the information I’ve seen,” Panetta said, “I think there is no question that they are seeking that capability.”

The language reflects the extent to which senior U.S. officials now discount a National Intelligence Estimate issued in November 2007 that was instrumental in derailing U.S. and European efforts to pressure Iran to shut down its nuclear program…

U.S. officials said that although no new evidence had surfaced to undercut the findings of the 2007 estimate, there was growing consensus that it provided a misleading picture and that the country was poised to reach crucial bomb-making milestones this year.

Omri Ceren’s entertaining himself by digging through the archives of nutroots blogs for gloating statements at the time about neocon fearmongering having been debunked anew. He gives them more credit than I do by assuming they really were as cretinously gullible as they seemed. I think they knew, or most of them knew, that fanatics fond of by-proxy expansionism aren’t going to risk round after round of economic sanctions just to have their very own little nuclear reactor. And so they used the NIE, in bad faith, for the purpose with which it was intended — as a political tool, to make sure Bush couldn’t take any drastic action to stop the program (which was unlikely anyway). And now, lo and behold, it’s their problem to deal with, except Iran’s that much closer to their goal. Be careful what you wish for, etc.
27967  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / White House grabs census power! on: February 12, 2009, 09:42:01 PM
White House grabs 2010 census power
GOP warns Democrats attempting unconstitutional vote manipulation
Posted: February 07, 2009
11:15 pm Eastern

By Drew Zahn
© 2009 WorldNetDaily
In a move with major political implications for voting, districting and representation in future elections, the Obama administration has demanded oversight of the 2010 U.S. census.

The move has Republicans crying foul, alleging that transferring the power of census-taking from the Commerce Department, which normally oversees the U.S. Census Bureau, to the White House is an attempt to manipulate redistricting of congressional seats.

"This action appears to be motivated by politics, rather than the interests of our country," House Minority Leader John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a statement. "The United States Census should remain independent of politics; it should not be directed by political operatives working out of the White House."

The Washington Post's Mary Ann Akers reports a senior Republican aide telling her that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has no business overseeing the headcount that will shape the future of U.S. elections.

"With all of its political implications," the aide reportedly said, "hijacking the census from the Commerce Department and letting it be run out of Rahm's office is like putting PETA in charge of issuing hunting permits."

Discover how we can break the hammerlock of statism and reestablish our freedom in Joseph Farah's "Taking America Back" from WND Books!

Congressional Quarterly reports that Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the top Republican on the House Government Reform Committee, said the proposed move may even be in violation of federal law.

"Any attempt by the Obama administration to circumvent the census process for their political benefit will be met with fierce opposition," said Issa. "This ill-conceived proposal undermines a constitutionally obligated process that speaks to the very heart of our democracy."

Bruce Chapman, director of the U.S. Census Bureau under President Reagan, explains the Republican objection and why the census is so important in his Discovery blog:

"Everyone knows that it is possible to organize a decennial census in a way that benefits one party or another politically," Chapman writes. "One way to effectuate this otherwise unpalatable departure from the Census Bureau's 200-year history of non-partisanship is to put the Bureau administratively under direction of the politicos in the White House. In reality, that would be a sure invitation to cook the books on the highly consequential count of Americans."

Chapman also claims, "The only reason the White House would want to be involved is in figuring out how to add more voting power to certain states and groups within states."

The decennial census, taken every 10 years, generates maps and numbers then used to draw congressional districts. Ideally the census director conducts the count in a non-partisan manner under the authority granted by U.S. code to the secretary of Commerce.

Congressional Quarterly, however, announced earlier this week that a senior White House official reported the director of the Census Bureau will now report directly to the White House and not the secretary of Commerce.

CQ later updated its report, stating that the White House "took a small step back from what the senior official told CQ" by announcing that the director of the Census Bureau would "work with the high-level officials rather than report directly to them."

Secretary of Commerce nominee, Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H.

Several news outlets speculated that the White House power play was prompted by objections from minority group leaders over Obama's nomination of Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., to be secretary of Commerce, the office responsible for the census. Many of the groups are concerned about how particularly Hispanics will be counted in the next census, since the numbers affect both redistricting and federal funding based on demographic changes over the past decade.

Several minority leaders have expressed dismay over Obama's nomination of a Republican with a questionable track record on the census.

Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Barbara Lee, D-Calif., said in a statement, "Sen. Gregg's record of previously voting to abolish the Commerce Department and his attempts to block President Bill Clinton's efforts to secure adequate funding for the 2000 census raise troubling concerns."

A National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials spokesman told Politico, "Secretary of Commerce-designate Judd Gregg's record raises serious questions about his willingness to ensure that the 2010 census produces the most accurate possible count of the nation's population."

An editorial in the Hispanic newspaper La Opinion went further, emphasizing a fear that Gregg may not place a high enough priority on getting an accurate count.

"We cannot afford this risk," the paper opined.

At a White House briefing, however, spokesman Robert Gibbs denied that the change was linked to worries over Gregg's nomination.

MSNBC reports a White House spokesman further arguing that Obama's action actually has historical precedent.

"From the first days of the transition the census has been a priority for the president, and a process he wanted to reevaluate," the spokesman reportedly said. "There is historic precedent for the director of the census, who works for the Commerce Secretary and the president, to work closely with White House senior management – given the number of decisions that will have to be put before the president. We plan to return to that model in this administration."

Former Census Bureau Chief Chapman, however, disagrees.

"Simply put, there is no excuse for this idea," Chapman writes. "It is not true that the Census Bureau has ever been under the direct management of the White House, and for good reason. Even if angels were in charge of the executive mansion, if the nation's premier statistical agency were placed under White House direction, the danger to public trust would be enormous. The Decennial count is one of the few federal functions specifically described in the Constitution itself and must be operated above suspicion of politics."

Chapman added, "Power flows from an accurate census count. Everyone involved for years has seen the count therefore as a sacred trust. It must not be polluted with even a semblance of presidential meddling."

27968  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: February 12, 2009, 06:00:48 PM

Although GB occassionally says things with which I agree, mostly I find him not to be worth the time it takes to listen to him.

As for the credibility and respect that should be given someone simply because they are a Dem Congressman?  Surely you jest , , ,

27969  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: February 12, 2009, 03:04:42 PM

How did you find out about this site?  What is its track record?
27970  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: LA Panel challenges WOD on: February 12, 2009, 02:42:16 PM
MEXICO CITY -- As drug violence spirals out of control in Mexico, a commission led by three former Latin American heads of state blasted the U.S.-led drug war as a failure that is pushing Latin American societies to the breaking point.

"The available evidence indicates that the war on drugs is a failed war," said former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, in a conference call with reporters from Rio de Janeiro. "We have to move from this approach to another one."

The commission, headed by Mr. Cardoso and former presidents Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico and César Gaviria of Colombia, says Latin American governments as well as the U.S. must break what they say is a policy "taboo" and re-examine U.S.-inspired antidrugs efforts. The panel recommends that governments consider measures including decriminalizing the use of marijuana.

View Slideshow

Associated Press
Mexico has been besieged by drug violence amid a two-year government crackdown.
The report, by the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy, is the latest to question the U.S.'s emphasis on punitive measures to deal with illegal drug use and the criminal violence that accompanies it. A recent Brookings Institution study concluded that despite interdiction and eradication efforts, the world's governments haven't been able to significantly decrease the supply of drugs, while punitive methods haven't succeeded in lowering drug use.

John Walters, former director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, said, "It's not true that we've lost or can't do anything about the drug problem," and cited security improvements in Colombia.

President Barack Obama has yet to appoint a successor to Mr. Walters. A spokesman for the Office of National Drug Control Policy said he couldn't comment on speculation over the appointment of a new director.

According to a Democratic official familiar with the process, Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske is under consideration for an administration job, most likely to head the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

The three former presidents who head the commission are political conservatives who have confronted in their home countries the violence and corruption that accompany drug trafficking.

The report warned that the U.S.-style antidrug strategy was putting the region's fragile democratic institutions at risk and corrupting "judicial systems, governments, the political system and especially the police forces."

The report comes as drug violence is engulfing Mexico, which has become the key transit point for cocaine traffic to the U.S. Decapitation of rival drug traffickers has become common as cartels try to intimidate one another.

Mr. Walters said increased violence in border areas of Mexico was partly a result of criminal organizations compensating for reduced income from the supply of drugs by turning to other activities, such as people-smuggling, and continuing to fight over turf.

U.S. law-enforcement officials -- as well as some of their counterparts in Mexico -- say the explosion in violence indicates progress in the war on drugs as organizations under pressure are clashing.

"If the drug effort were failing there would be no violence," a senior U.S. official said Wednesday. There is violence "because these guys are flailing. We're taking these guys out. The worst thing you could do is stop now."

Latin American governments have largely followed U.S. advice in trying to stop the flow of drugs from the point of origin. The policy has had little effect.

In Colombia, billions of dollars in U.S. aid have helped the military regain control from the hands of drug-financed communist guerrillas and lower crime, but the help hasn't dented the amount of drugs flowing from Colombia.

In the conference call, Mr. Gaviria said the U.S. approach to narcotics -- based on treating drug consumption as a crime -- had failed. Latin America, he said, should adapt a more European approach, based on treating drug addiction as a health problem.

—David Luhnow, Louise Radnofsky and Evan Perez contributed to this article.
Write to José de Córdoba at
27971  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: February 12, 2009, 12:25:22 PM
As always, sound, pithy, and penetrating analysis from Scott Grannis:
27972  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Round 2 with Crafty in Toronto on: February 12, 2009, 12:20:17 PM
Oh yes, I had forgotten about that.  We looked at "breaking the mirror": 

a) the J pattern matching Heaven 6
b) then we worked Lameco combos 1-5 with an eye to working "mett, merge, follow" with Lameco 5 against Standard 6 but I could see that I was losing just about everyone and so simply abandoned the mission and moved on the Kali Tudo.

Glad to hear of the synergy for you of the Dos Triques DVD with the seminar.  That was/is part of the idea  smiley
27973  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: February 12, 2009, 11:51:58 AM
Also, I gather that all the increased farming to produce the ethanol uses fertilizers which run down the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico where a very large and growing oxygen void "dead zone" is killing pretty much everything in to , , ,  cry
27974  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: February 12, 2009, 11:46:21 AM
Whoa!  shocked

and here's this:

FBI may shift counterterror agents to anti-fraud

The Associated Press
Wednesday, February 11, 2009; 6:05 PM

WASHINGTON -- With thousands of fraud investigations under way, the FBI is considering shifting agents away from counterterrorism work to help sort through the wreckage of the financial meltdown.

FBI Deputy Director John Pistole told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that the bureau may reassign some of the positions that were reallocated to anti-terrorism work after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Such a move would be a further sign of the government breaking with the Bush administration's priorities, which pledged to assign every available resource to averting another terrorist attack.  Pistole told Congress his investigators have 530 active corporate fraud investigations, and 38 of them involve some of the biggest names in corporate finance _ cases directly related to the current crisis.
In addition, FBI investigators are tackling an even bigger mountain of mortgage fraud cases in which hundreds of millions of dollars may have been swindled from the system, he told lawmakers.  The FBI now has more than 1,800 open mortgage fraud investigations, more than double the number of such cases just two years ago.  There are so many mortgage fraud cases to investigate, he said, that the bureau is not focusing on individual purchasers, but industry professionals generating fraud schemes that could total as much as hundreds of millions of dollars.

"It is a matter of lawyers, brokers or real estate professionals that are systematically trying to defraud the system," Pistole said.
Agents have even seen some instances of organized crime getting involved in mortgage fraud, he said.

Also appearing before the committee was Neil Barofsky, the watchdog of the government's $700 billion Wall Street rescue package passed last year.

Senate Democrats are urging more spending to expand the ranks of the FBI's financial fraud investigators.  After the 2001 terror attacks, about 2,000 FBI agents were moved to counterterrorism work, and Pistole said they are considering moving some of them back to beef up anti-fraud efforts.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., urged the FBI and the Justice Department to put people who have committed mortgage fraud behind bars.

"Most people are honest," Leahy said. "The ones who are not honest in this field are creating economic havoc and I want to make sure that we're able to go after them. I want to see people prosecuted.... Frankly, I want to see them go to jail".

Barofsky, who was appointed the inspector general of the ongoing financial bailout plan, suggested the best way to clean up mortgage fraud is to pursue licensed professionals in the industry, and make examples of them.

"They have the most to lose, they're the most likely to flip, and they make the best examples," said Barofsky, a former federal prosecutor in New York.
27975  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Epidemics: Bird Flu, TB, etc on: February 12, 2009, 11:42:32 AM
That is fascinating!

I wonder if this sort of thing will meet the approval of the O-bot bureaucrats?  tongue
27976  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Jefferson: The tree of Liberty on: February 12, 2009, 11:40:41 AM
"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure."

--Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Stephens Smith, 13 November 1787
27977  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Torture by fellatio on: February 12, 2009, 11:35:51 AM
Female FBI officer " Tortured Mumbai terror attacks suspect with sex "


Female FBI officer 'tortured Mumbai terror attacks suspect with sex'

A female FBI officer tortured a suspect in the Mumbai terrorist attacks by performing a sex act on him during interrogation, it has been claimed.

By Ben Leach
Last Updated: 10:29PM GMT 11 Feb 2009

Fahim Ansari is accused of helping to plan the attacks in which 173 people were killed in November.

His lawyer, Ejaz Naqvi, has filed legal papers with Mumbai magistrate's court, claiming the "white woman" removed all his clothes and showed him pornographic films.  In the papers, he claims that three foreigners, including the woman, sexually abused him, causing him "severe itching and wounds" on his body, including his genitals.  Mr Ansari, a devout Muslim, claims this amounts to torture because it is against his religion, The Sun newspaper has reported.

A court in the Indian city ordered medical checks on "wounds on his private parts and all over his body."

Mr Ansari was arrested with five other suspects last year.  Police have said that he is a trained member of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the terrorist organisation responsible for the Mumbai attacks.  He was detained in February last year in connection with an attack on a police camp in Rampur that left seven paramilitaries and one civilian dead.

Police have said Mr Ansari had hand-drawn maps of key Mumbai landmarks, some of which were hit in the attacks that started on 26 November.
27978  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DBMA Kali Tudo (tm): The Running Dog Game on: February 11, 2009, 08:59:50 PM
Sorry for the delay in following up.  I am informed the error was inadvertent and that all has been taken care of.

Moving forward now:


We have gotten feedback (very positive btw) and are finalizing the edit on Friday.
27979  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / DLO 3 on: February 11, 2009, 08:57:18 PM
Bringing is to the top because this is going to be front and center real soon.
27980  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: February 11, 2009, 07:04:59 PM
Most of the points are good, but this simply is silly:

"Second, Obama states: “It’s not acceptable for Pakistan or for us to have folks who, with impunity, will kill innocent men, women and children.” For us? Perhaps by this bizarre statement Obama meant not only Pakistan but any country assisting terrorists must be opposed by U.S. policy, but it came out sounding as if the U.S. was somehow itself fostering terrorism."

No, you moron, his obvious intended meaning is that it is unacceptable both to Pakistan and the US to have terrorists.  While I doubt the veracity of the statement with regard to Pak, the meaning taken by this piece concerning his language with regard to the US is childish.
27981  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Stockton, CA memories on: February 11, 2009, 03:31:36 PM
Stockton hits jackpot: named America's most miserable city has ranked America's most miserable cities.. and the winner is ... Stockton!

No small feat, the magazine says.

It compiled its findings by looking at the 150 largest metropolitan statistical areas in the U.S., and ranking them on nine factors: commute times, corruption -- the criminal conviction of government officials in the area -- as well as ''pro sports teams, Superfund sites, taxes (both income and sales), unemployment, violent crime and weather.''

And voila!

''Stockton was ground zero for the housing boom and now the subsequent bust. Home prices more than tripled between 1998 and 2005 and then came crashing down last year. Stockton had the country's highest foreclosure rate last year at 9.5%, according to RealtyTrac, an online marketer of foreclosed property.''

''Things are not looking much brighter in 2009 as housing prices are expected to fall another 36% on the heels of a 39% drop in 2008. Also, unemployment is expected to jump to 13.3% from 10.4%, according to economic research firm Moody's''

But have no fear, California wasn't shorted. Modesto came out No. 5 on the list, with other such notable friends as Chicago, Miami, Flint, Mich., and Detroit.

Why? "Unemployment has skyrocketed in Modesto with further pain to come. It is expected to average 16.7% in 2009, up from 11.4% last year. Another drawback: It has the highest car theft rate in the U.S."

So did Stockton and Modesto take an unfair hit? Or were there some other California nominees -- we can think of a few -- that were overlooked?

27982  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: February 11, 2009, 03:03:18 PM
About half-way through President Obama's press conference Monday night, he had an unscripted question of his own. "All, Chuck Todd," the President said, referring to NBC's White House correspondent. "Where's Chuck?" He had the same strange question about Fox News's Major Garrett: "Where's Major?"

The problem wasn't the lighting in the East Room. The President was running down a list of reporters preselected to ask questions. The White House had decided in advance who would be allowed to question the President and who was left out.

Presidents are free to conduct press conferences however they like, but the decision to preselect questioners is an odd one, especially for a White House famously pledged to openness. We doubt that President Bush, who was notorious for being parsimonious with follow-ups, would have gotten away with prescreening his interlocutors. Mr. Obama can more than handle his own, so our guess is that this is an attempt to discipline reporters who aren't White House favorites.

Few accounts of Monday night's event even mentioned the curious fact that the White House had picked its speakers in advance. We hope that omission wasn't out of fear of being left off the list the next time.
27983  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Yet another Trojan horse on: February 11, 2009, 02:36:47 PM
The "stimulus" is the bill that keeps on giving, not least for journalists. Health-care providers and patients may have a different reaction, however, when they learn that Democrats are using the bill to create a health information monopoly that will help centralize government control of the health-care market.

In theory, electronic medical records are among the few stimulus ideas that might do some actual good. Democrats and Republicans agree that exchanging the paper files we mostly use now for digital versions will lower costs, cut down on medical errors, and maybe cure the common cold.

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Both the House and Senate stimulus bills include about $20 billion in incentive payments (mainly through Medicare and Medicaid) to encourage the digitization of medical records. Fair enough. But one of the reasons only an estimated 17% to 29% of doctors use health IT is because there are still many technical issues to work out. Different systems must be compatible so doctors can communicate with each other, coordinate care and share information -- and they don't want to invest in a platform that could become as obsolete as HD-DVD.

Democrats have decided that the way to jump this gap is for government simply to pick the next Blu-Ray. Instead of building on a voluntary public-private standard-setting body created by the Bush Administration, the stimulus bill codifies it as a federal office and gives it broad new powers if private companies are not "substantially and adequately" meeting the needs of doctors and hospitals. The health IT outfit will soon be deciding which platforms are up to code and shutting down competitors.

This will certainly muffle innovation, given that high-school dropouts have been known to scam U.S. health bureaucrats out of millions of dollars that should be preventable with off-the-shelf auditing software. Anyway, what's the rush? Democrats give the game away by mandating that most medical providers who aren't linked into the government-approved health information network after 2016 will start to be penalized. Their real political goal is to make a down payment on national health care.

The stimulus actually makes it harder for doctors, hospitals and pharmacies to use health IT, under the guise of "privacy." This is especially dishonest. Insurers already know the health condition of millions of Americans from claims information, which list diagnoses, prescriptions, procedures, etc. The government does too, because it pays so many medical bills through the entitlement programs.

In its pure form, the primary purpose of health IT is to organize all this data in a useful way, so we can get a better sense of health trends and outcomes. Large insurers like Kaiser Permanente and others are starting to do just that on their own, as well as creating the data-based tools that could give consumers a better value for their health dollars. The plug could get pulled from such efforts because the faux privacy provisions are so onerous.

The true political goal is cost control. For the Pete Stark Democrats whose ambition is Medicare for all -- no exceptions -- giving government exclusive control over electronic health information and reporting is a step toward "comparative effectiveness" research. That in turn will be used to impose price controls and deny some types of medical treatment and drugs. And because government is able to skew the whole health system through Medicare and Medicaid, comparative effectiveness could end up micromanaging the practice of medicine.

If three Republican Senators are going to help pass this stimulus, the least they can do is demand that this stalking horse for government-run health care is out. We need to debate this in the open, not slip it into legislation under false cover.

27984  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Czech POV on missile defense on: February 11, 2009, 01:07:39 PM
Russia Shouldn't Have a Veto on Missile Defense
European leaders relied on U.S. commitments.Article
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If the United States builds a radar system in the Czech Republic as part of the missile defense program developed by the Bush administration, it's likely that the Russians will target the Czech Republic with their tactical nuclear missiles. But many Czechs are fearful of an even greater danger than Russia: The possibility that the U.S. may decide not to deploy the defense system. Unfortunately, Vice President Joseph Biden suggested this prospect last week in Munich when he said, "We will wait for what the experts say and then we will see."

Czech politicians and their Polish counterparts have invested a lot of political capital in the missile defense project. If the Obama administration doesn't follow through, supporters of the missile shield would feel abandoned by the U.S.

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What's worse, Czech and Polish leaders would lose credibility among their opponents and, most importantly, Russia. Moscow would see the failure to build the radar system as proof of its influence over Central Europe, and as recognition of its veto power over European security policy.

Mr. Biden doesn't seem to appreciate that the missile defense project isn't just about American interests. It's about the Czechs and the Poles, too.

The Americans wanted the radar and the interceptors, and they wanted them within the borders of our countries. Our leaders went to great lengths to meet Washington's requests. They stood firm in the face of passionate protests at home and intimidation from Russia. Recently, Moscow backed down from its threat to deploy Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad, but it stands ready to follow through if missile defense becomes a reality.

It's beginning to look as though the Americans were taking us for a ride. Now that there's a new driver in the White House, they think they can just drop us off at the curb.

Even if the Obama administration wants to backtrack on missile defense, doing so won't return relations with Russia to the status quo ante. This is because Russia has transformed the issue of the missile defense system in the Czech Republic and Poland into evidence of its growing influence. Russia has turned this into a question of its power beyond its borders.

If it weren't for Russia, there would be little difficulty in Washington's change of heart. Yet Russia's involvement makes the game a different one entirely. While several interceptors in Poland can stop individual missiles, they can't prevent a massive strike by a nuclear power like Russia. This is because the system is aimed at Iran, not Russia.

Moscow's rigid position has hardened the resolve of Prague and Warsaw, which fear that the Kremlin is attempting to dictate the limits of Czech and Polish sovereignty and foreign policy. We have experienced this before.

This, at least, is how the situation appears from the Czech point of view. I can already anticipate the Obama administration's conclusion: that missile defense is an expensive diversion with uncertain benefits and unpleasant side effects. Such an outcome is all the more likely given the global economic crisis and the difficult fiscal situation in the U.S.

There's no doubt that Russia would profit from a scenario in which the U.S. put the missile defense project on hold. Just consider the situation in Georgia last summer.

During the conflict in South Ossetia, it was alarming how many observers in the U.S. press implied that NATO enlargement was a mistake. The tone of these articles strongly suggested that expansion of the Atlantic alliance only caused the U.S. more trouble with Russia. They also implied that the U.S. and other Western powers were less than fully committed to their new eastern partners.

In this light, it's clear that American retreat on the missile defense program would hand Moscow a huge victory. Washington can't afford to leave the Czechs out in the cold.

Mr. Vodicka is senior writer for the Czech newspaper Mladá Fronta Dnes.

27985  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / MY: Enemy tactics on: February 11, 2009, 01:03:05 PM
27986  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: February 11, 2009, 01:02:31 PM
Another slice of real life report from our man on the ground in Baghdad:
I was interviewing an Iraqi Judicial Police officer this morning.  I asked him "so have there been any attacks by prisoners inside the courtroom against judges, police, whoever?"
He responds "well there was the one time the 1-legged Afghani prisoner jumped a U.S. Army soldier trying to get his firearm."  (That would mean his M-9 Beretta pistol).  These are all terrorists, insurgents, kidnappers, murderers, show throwers, etc. 
The attack didn't go to well for the Afghani.  For the most part these attacks work better when you are operating from a 2-leg platform.  And I gather the Afghani got pounced on and subdued pretty...hmmm...overwhelmingly.
But overall that took some cojones.


As you may know, one of the things our team really took notice of at CCCI and made major efforts to address, was the cavalier manner in which the Iraqis moved and watched prisoners in the courthouse.
I went back to CCCI today for the first time in about two weeks.  Man the folks couldn't wait to give me the scoop on the goings on.
Yesterday an Iraqi prisoner at CCCI, who had just been sentenced to hang (remember if you are at CCCI you are in the major big leagues), walked away from his guards and walked up to a GI at C3 (the courthouse front entrance) begging for help in English and Arabic.  "Meester, meester.  Help me,  help me."  He was blindfolded yet could clearly still see where he was going.  Freaked out the soldier, who felt a bump against his shoulder, and turned to see this guy blindfolded.  The soldier pushed him away.  A couple of seconds later the Iraqis tackled the prisoner and dragged him down the stairs.
Seems the Iraqis were each moving different prisoners when they bumped into each other at the top of the stairs...less than 10 meters from the courthouse front door exit.  They were like "hey bro, ain't seen you in a while."  "Yeah dude, I been busy."  Kiss, kiss (the kiss each other on the cheek thing).  And I guess the bandit was like "man I need help real bad because today has been a real bad day so far."

It took me a while to get this photo. 
If you look in the sky between the two trees you can see one of Baghdad's other quirks.  What I call the mortar blimps.  They probably have a more official name.
Essentially they are part of an indirect fire detection system.   And they are tied into an audible alert system on the ground that warns of "incoming."  In theory, and it has had its value in practice, indirect fire (e.g. mortars, artillery, and I believe to a lesser detectable degree rockets) have a signature to them.  The rounds move at a certain speed.  They have a certain angulation to their trajectory.  They have a certain mass.  This combination of factors is what the equipment in this blimp is abble to detect and immediately forward as part of an early warning system.  Additionally, the network of them, if I am not mistaken, can also help in determining with pretty good precision, where the round was fired from.
Anyway on any given day if you look up in the sky you can usually see a couple of these lazily floating in the air.

Iraqi government ceases arrests among Sadrists in Diwaniya
February 10, 2009 - 04:12:29

DIWANIYA / Aswat al-Iraq: The federal government has ordered to cease arresting Sadrists in Diwaniya, the commander of the emergency brigade said on Tuesday.


“There are verbal orders issued to the emergency police by the federal government to cease arrests among Sadrists in Diwaniya,” Colonel Ghassan Mohamed Hassan told Aswat al-Iraq news agency, noting that this comes within the national reconciliation project.


He criticized statements made by some lawmakers, who said that “the emergency police’s arrest campaign against Sadrists in Diwaniya comes within political clearance, asserting that the police implement the judicial orders.


Diwaniya is 180 km south of Baghdad.

27987  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / An oldie but goodie on: February 11, 2009, 12:46:06 PM
Israeli Sense of Humor at UN

An ingenious example of speech and politics occurred recently in the United Nations Assembly which made the world community smile.

A representative from Israel began: 'Before beginning my talk I want to tell you something about Moses. When he struck the rock and it brought forth water, he thought, 'What a good opportunity to have a bath!'

He removed his clothes, put them aside on the rock and entered the water.

When he got out and wanted to dress, his clothes had vanished. A Palestinian had stolen them.'

The Palestinian representative jumped up furiously and shouted, 'What are you talking about? The Palestinians weren't there then.'

The Israeli representative smiled and said, 'And now that we have made that clear, I will begin my speech

stolen from:
27988  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Washington; Madison; Adams; Jefferson; S. Adams on: February 11, 2009, 12:45:06 PM
"Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience."

--George Washington, The Rules of Civility, Circa 1748


"If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one...." --James Madison

Fear is the foundation of most governments; but it is so sordid and brutal a passion, and renders men in whose breasts it predominates so stupid and miserable, that Americans will not be likely to approve of any political institution which is founded on it." --John Adams
"It is of great importance to set a resolution, not to be shaken, never to tell an untruth. There is no vice so mean, so pitiful, so contemptible; and he who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and a third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he tells lies without attending to it, and truths without the world's believing him. This falsehood of the tongue leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all its good disposition."

--Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, 19 August 1785

 "I hope our country will never see the time, when either riches or the want of them will be the leading consideration in the choice of public officers."
                      Samuel Adams, Jan 2, 1776

 "No People will tamely surrender their liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffused and virtue is preserved. On the contrary, when people are universally ignorant and debauched in their manners, they will sink under their own weight without the aid of foreign invaders."
                      Samuel Adams, 1775

 "I have long been convinced that our enemies have made it an object, to eradicate from the minds of the People in general a sense of true religion and virtue, in hopes thereby the more easily to carry their point of enslaving them. Indeed my friend, this is a subject so important in my mind, that I know not how to leave it. Revelation assures us that righteousness exalts a Nation; communities are dealt with in this world by the wise and just ruler of the universe. He rewards or punishes them according to their general character. The diminution of public liberty will not long survive the total extinction of morals."
                       Samuel Adams, April 30, 1776

27989  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Round 2 with Crafty in Toronto on: February 11, 2009, 12:02:05 PM
Woof All:

Another fine time in Toronto.  Once again a particularly enjoyable group to work with, and a great pleasure to see my good friend Sled Dog.

Due to my struggling with a lingering case of the cooties, we passed on working our Kali Tudo Running Dog Game (I did demo it for about 20 minutes on Sunday though) and focused mostly on various aspects of stickwork.

Due to a smaller room at the first seminar, I had not gone into Dos Triques (our double stick blend of Kali and Krabi Krabong of Thailand) which is one of the primary building blocks of the system.    This time around though we had a bigger room (thank you once again Cross Fit) and so we were able to get some good work done.   I speak of DT consisting of "mathemaniacal formulaes" -- and I suppose I could say that the stages that people go through in learning the material is a mathematical progression of its own.

Step One:  Oh, that looks really easy.
Step Two:  Ummm, , , uhhhh, , , show me that again please?
Step Three: OK, got it.
Step Four:  Ummm , , , no I don't.  I (or DT  cheesy ) must really suck.
Step Five:  OHHHH!!! I get it , , , No I don't , , , Yes I do , , ,  Light bulbs begin to light up everywhere.
Step Six:  As the rules of the formulae are understood, the practitionere begins to self-correct.
Step Seven:  Additional details are brought out
Step Eight:  Additional combinations are introduced, deepening the understanding of the formulae.

Then we see how the footwork matrix and its formulae apply in different weapon categories.

In this case we went to single stick:

1) Salt & Pepper:  "a triangle from the third dimension" (TF3D) combination series against the forehanded counter attacker
2) the Kalimba Dodger: again TF3D, this time against the forehanded "Mongo Smash" fighter
3) Outside sweep, Inside Diamond:  TF3D against the backhander

We finished on Sunday with Kali Tudo Trig 101 into outside diamond triangle angular crash-strike combination:  "Stepping throught the portal to the magical dimension where martial arts and crafts actually work" (c)

Monday morning worked with Rene and two good friends of his (Gordon, Andre) on some closed door material.

I am delighted to announce that Rene is now a DBMA Group Leader.

Walk as a Warrior for all our days,
Guro Crafty

27990  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DBMA now on Facebook on: February 11, 2009, 01:34:12 AM
Trying to get the hang of this thing, but so far it is eluding me.  It seems to take up an incredible amount of time looking up who people are and then accepting or rejecting them.  huh huh huh
27991  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Quotes, quips, and sayings on: February 11, 2009, 01:02:32 AM
Mom and dad say I should make my life an example of the principles I believe in. But every time I do, they tell me to stop it. Calvin
27992  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Daily Expression of Gratitude on: February 10, 2009, 10:13:28 PM
"Looking to reframe"  , , , I like that. cool
27993  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: States Rights on: February 10, 2009, 08:05:18 PM
WND is not my idea of a relible site, so caveat lector, but FWIW:

 8 States Introduced Resolutions Declaring State Sovereignty


8 States Introduced Resolutions Declaring State Sovereignty, 20 more States may do the same

Posted: February 06, 2009
11:50 pm Eastern

By Jerome R. Corsi
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

NEW YORK – As the Obama administration attempts to push through Congress a nearly $1 trillion deficit spending plan that is weighted heavily toward advancing typically Democratic-supported social welfare programs, a rebellion against the growing dominance of federal control is beginning to spread at the state level.

So far, eight states have introduced resolutions declaring state sovereignty under the Ninth and Tenth Amendment to the Constitution, including Arizona, Hawaii, Montana, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oklahoma and Washington.

Analysts expect that in addition, another 20 states may see similar measures introduced this year, including Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Nevada, Maine and Pennsylvania.

"What we are trying to do is to get the U.S. Congress out of the state's business," Oklahoma Republican state Sen. Randy Brogdon told WND.  "Congress is completely out of line spending trillions of dollars over the last 10 years putting the nation into a debt crisis like we've never seen before," Brogdon said, arguing that the Obama stimulus plan is the last straw taxing state patience in the brewing sov ereignty dispute "This particular 111th Congress is the biggest bunch of over-reachers and underachievers we've ever had in Congress. A sixth-grader should realize you can't borrow money to pay off your debt, and that is the Obama administration's answer for a stimulus package," he added.

The Ninth Amendment reads, "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

The Tenth Amendment specifically provides, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Brogdon, the lead sponsor of the Oklahoma state senate version of the sovereignty bill, has been a strong opponent of extending the plan to build a four-football-fields-wide Trans-Texas Corridor parallel to Interstate-35 to Oklahoma, as WND reported.

Rollback federal authority

The various sovereignty measures moving through state legislatures are designed to reassert state authority through a rollback of federal authority under the powers enumerated in the Constitution, with the states assuming the governance of the non-enumerated powers, as required by the Tenth Amendment.

The state sovereignty measures, aimed largely at the perceived fiscal irresponsibility of Congress in the administrations of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, have gained momentum with the $1 trillion deficit-spending economic stimulus package the Obama administration is currently pushing through Congress.

Particularly disturbing to many state legislators are the increasing number of "unfunded mandates" that have proliferated in social welfare programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, in which bills passed by Congress dictate policy to the states without providing funding.

In addition, the various state resolutions include discussion of a wide range of policy areas, including the regulation of firearms sales (Montana) and the demand to issue drivers licenses with technology to embed personal information under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative and the Real ID Act (Michigan).

Hawaii's measure calls for a new state constitutional convention to return self-governance, a complaint that traces back to the days it was a U.S. territory, prior to achieving statehood in 1959.

"We are trying to send a message to the federal government that the states are trying to reclaim their sovereignty," Republican Rep. Matt Shea, the lead sponsor of Washington's sovereignty resolution told WND.

"State sovereignty has been eroded in so many areas, it's hard to know where to start," he said. "There are a ton of federal mandates imposed on states, for instance, on education spending and welfare spending."

Shea said the Obama administration's economic stimulus package moving through Congress is a "perfect example."

"In the state of Washington, we have increased state spending 33 percent in the last three years and hired 6,000 new state employees, often using federal mandates as an excuse to grow state government," he said. "We need to return government back down to the people, to keep government as close to the local people as possible."

Shea is a private attorney who serves with the Alliance Defense Fund, a nationwide network of about 1,000 attorneys who work pro-bono. As a counter to the ACLU, the alliance seeks to protect and defend religious liberty, the sanctity of life and traditional family values.

Republican state Rep. Judy Burges, the primary sponsor of the sovereignty resolution in the Arizona House, told WND the federal government "has been trouncing on our constitutional rights. The real turning point for me was the Real ID act, which involved both a violation of the Fourth Amendments rights against the illegal searches and seizures and the Tenth Amendment," she said.

Burges told WND she is concerned that the overreaching of federal powers could lead to new legislation aimed at confiscating weapons from citizens or encoding ammunition.

"The Real ID Act was so broadly written that we are afraid that it involves the potential for "mission-creep," that could easily involve confiscation of firearms and violations of the Second Amendment," she said.

Burges said she has been surprised at the number of e-mails she has received in support of the sovereignty measure.

"We are a sovereign state in Arizona, not a branch of the federal government, and we need to be treated as such, she insisted.

27994  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Looking for fighters for stickfighting TV series on: February 10, 2009, 06:22:47 PM
Honesty compels me to mention that I think it originally was Woody Allen.  Not one of my favorite people (indeed as the epitome of the whiny neurotic cowardly little d*cked jew I loathe him) but with this one he nailed it. 

BTW, you have PM.
27995  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Justice Dept appointments on: February 10, 2009, 06:18:35 PM
President Obama has learned that choosing a Cabinet without proper vetting can produce painful headaches. The same may be said of some sub-cabinet officials at the Justice Department, now being rushed through the confirmation process. Today the Senate Judiciary Committee holds hearings on Elena Kagan to be Solicitor General and Thomas Perrelli to be Associate Attorney General. Their consideration should not come at the expense of a thorough airing of their records.

Much government policy gets made at the sub-cabinet level. Attorney General Eric Holder may be on the front pages, but it is the subalterns whose work will leave a mark on the country's laws and legal policy. Last week's hearing for Deputy Attorney General David Ogden raised issues involving his work on abortion, the death penalty and obscenity cases while in private practice. Mr. Ogden told the committee he did not always share the controversial views of those he represented.

At the confirmation, Senator Jon Kyl said Mr. Ogden had "talked about the need to employ human compassion and described a tension between the rule of law and human compassion in judging cases." This resembles former Senator Obama's comment on the campaign trail that "empathy" was an important qualification for a judge. Pressed by Senator Kyl, Mr. Ogden said, "I think it's important, as I think the President does, that judges understand the circumstances of the people who are in front of them and understand the consequences of their rulings. I think that's quite important. But in the end, the law has to guide legal judgment."

In an op-ed in the Legal Times earlier in his career, Mr. Ogden wrote that "Constitutional interpretation cannot be limited to ascertain the way a particular law would have been viewed by the Framers." We'll see.

As a dean of Harvard Law School, Ms. Kagan has a thinner paper trail, though there are areas of her record the Senators should explore today, including her opposition to the Solomon Amendment. This law makes it possible to deny federal money to colleges and universities that ban military recruiters on campus -- an action Harvard Law School took under her guidance in 2004. In 2006 the Supreme Court ruled the Solomon Amendment constitutional with an 8-0 decision. Mr. Perrelli was known for his work with the Florida ACLU in defense of Terry Schiavo's husband in the hard-fought case over whether to take the Florida woman off life support.

None of these positions may trump the appropriate deference President Obama deserves in choosing those who serve him, but they qualify as legitimate information to be shared with the voters. While Mr. Obama has staked moderate positions on many issues, appointing sub-cabinet officials with more radical views amounts to a kind of back-door activism, out of view of the voters. Shortened timelines for confirmation leaves the Senate with little time to consider the thousands of pages of documents that were submitted for consideration prior to these hearings.

Complicit in this haste has been Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, who arranged the Justice hearings at lightning speed, a sharp turn from the endless stalling that marked his treatment of Bush nominees. Ms. Kagan's hearing comes only 36 days after her nomination -- a sprint compared to the average 56 days for Solicitor General nominees since 1980 or the 74 days since September 11, 2001. Similar fast reviews apply to Messrs. Perrelli and Ogden.

Elections have consequences and no one should be surprised that Mr. Obama is picking people who represent the left of the political spectrum. But Senate confirmation exists for a reason. The point is less to give Senators a veto than it is to inform the public. These people will govern in their name.
27996  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: The Return of Welfare as we knew it. on: February 10, 2009, 06:13:36 PM
Twelve years ago, President Bill Clinton signed a law that he correctly proclaimed would end "welfare as we know it." That sweeping legislation, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, eliminated the open-ended entitlement that had existed since 1965, replacing it with a finite, block grant approach called the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program.

TANF has been a remarkable success. Welfare caseloads nationally fell from 12.6 million in 1997 to fewer than five million in 2007. And yet despite this achievement, House Democrats are seeking to undo Mr. Clinton's reforms under the cover of the stimulus bill.

Currently, welfare recipients are limited to a total of five years of federal benefits over a lifetime. They're also required to begin working after two years of government support. States are accountable for helping their needy citizens transition from handouts to self-sufficiency. Critically, the funds provided to states are fixed appropriations by the federal government.

Through a little noticed provision of the stimulus package that has passed the House of Representatives, the bill creates a fund for TANF that is open-ended -- the same way Medicare and Social Security are.

In the section of the House bill dealing with cash assistance to low-income families, the authors inserted the bombshell phrase: "such sums as are necessary." This is a profound departure from the current statutory scheme, despite the fact that, in this particular bill, state TANF spending would be capped. The "such sums" appropriation language is deliberately obscure. It is a camel's nose provision intended to reverse Clinton-era legislation and create a new template for future TANF reauthorizations.

Most liberals have always disliked welfare reform; critics of TANF believed Mr. Clinton supported it only to get re-elected. Some asserted it was racist or intended to punish the poor. Others claimed that the funds to assist single mothers with child care, transportation and job training were never as generous as were allegedly promised. Today, the fact that disqualification from the program is based on failing to secure a job within two years seems especially harsh given this economic crisis.

There are legitimate objections to the program that are worth debating. But this is not an open debate: It is a near secret provision buried deep in a more than 600-page piece of legislation.

The TANF provisions of the stimulus bill, like the nearly $100 billion Medicaid provisions, are less about stimulating the economy, and more about the federal government absorbing the states' budget problems. State budgets may be swamped with those needing temporary relief, and a contingency fund could help. But it should be a definite amount, not a precedent-setting, open-ended amount. (If the initial TANF allocation is not sufficient, Congress could appropriate another definite amount.)

The offending language is not in yesterday's Senate version of the bill, but that provides little comfort. The attempt to undo welfare reform has not been transparent, and the conference committee provides the perfect closed-door environment for slipping in "such sums" language into the final bill without public scrutiny.

Welfare reform was arguably the most important legislative development of the mid-1990s. It is bad policy to jettison it with five words during an economic crisis.

All who are concerned about our nation's unfunded obligations should be on guard against attempts to slip "such sums" language into any conference committee bill. Welfare policy is too important to change with a stealth maneuver.

Mr. Sasse, former U.S. assistant secretary of Health and Human services, teaches policy at the University of Texas. Mr. Weems, former vice chairman of the American Health Information Community, held the position of administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services until last month.
27997  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Evolutionary biology/psychology on: February 10, 2009, 06:04:03 PM
James Q. Wilson
The DNA of Politics
Genes shape our beliefs, our values, and even our votes.

Radek Pietruszka/epa/Corbis

Studies of identical twins, like Polish president Lech Kaczyński, right, and former prime minister Jaroslaw, show that 40 percent of our political views have a genetic component.Children differ, as any parent of two or more knows. Some babies sleep through the night, others are always awake; some are calm, others are fussy; some walk at an early age, others after a long wait. Scientists have proved that genes are responsible for these early differences. But people assume that as children get older and spend more time under their parents’ influence, the effect of genes declines. They are wrong.

For a century or more, we have understood that intelligence is largely inherited, though even today some mistakenly rail against the idea and say that nurture, not nature, is all. Now we know that much of our personality, too, is inherited and that many social attitudes have some degree of genetic basis, including our involvement in crime and some psychiatric illnesses. Some things do result entirely from environmental influences, such as whether you follow the Red Sox or the Yankees (though I suspect that Yankee fans have a genetic defect). But beyond routine tastes, almost everything has some genetic basis. And that includes politics.

When scholars say that a trait is “inherited,” they don’t mean that they can tell what role nature and nurture have played in any given individual. Rather, they mean that in a population—say, a group of adults or children—genes explain a lot of the differences among individuals.

There are two common ways of reaching this conclusion. One is to compare adopted children’s traits with those of their biological parents, on the one hand, and with those of their adoptive parents, on the other. If a closer correlation exists with the biological parents’ traits, then we say that the trait is to that degree inherited.

The other method is to compare identical twins’ similarity, with respect to some trait, with the similarity of fraternal twins, or even of two ordinary siblings. Identical twins are genetic duplicates, while fraternal twins share only about half their genes and are no more genetically alike than ordinary siblings are. If identical twins are more alike than fraternal twins, therefore, we conclude that the trait under consideration is to some degree inherited.

Three political science professors—John Alford, Carolyn Funk, and John Hibbing—have studied political attitudes among a large number of twins in America and Australia. They measured the attitudes with something called the Wilson-Patterson Scale (I am not the Wilson after whom it was named), which asks whether a respondent agrees or disagrees with 28 words or phrases, such as “death penalty,” “school prayer,” “pacifism,” or “gay rights.” They then compared the similarity of the responses among identical twins with the similarity among fraternal twins. They found that, for all 28 taken together, the identical twins did indeed agree with each other more often than the fraternal ones did—and that genes accounted for about 40 percent of the difference between the two groups. On the other hand, the answers these people gave to the words “Democrat” or “Republican” had a very weak genetic basis. In politics, genes help us understand fundamental attitudes—that is, whether we are liberal or conservative—but do not explain what party we choose to join.

Genes also influence how frequently we vote. Voting has always puzzled scholars: How is it rational to wait in line on a cold November afternoon when there is almost no chance that your ballot will make any difference? Apparently, people who vote often feel a strong sense of civic duty or like to express themselves. But who are these people? James Fowler, Laura Baker, and Christopher Dawes studied political participation in Los Angeles by comparing voting among identical and fraternal twins. Their conclusion: among registered voters, genetic factors explain about 60 percent of the difference between those who vote and those who do not.

A few scholars, determined to hang on to the belief that environment explains everything, argue that such similarities occur because the parents of identical twins—as opposed to the parents of fraternal twins—encourage them to be as alike as possible as they grow up. This is doubtful. First, we know that many parents make bad guesses about their children’s genetic connection—thinking that fraternal twins are actually identical ones, or vice versa. When we take twins’ accurate genetic relationships into account, we find that identical twins whom parents wrongly thought to be fraternal are very similar, while fraternal twins wrongly thought to be identical are no more alike than ordinary siblings.

Moreover, studying identical twins reared apart by different families, even in different countries, effectively shows that their similar traits cannot be the result of similar upbringing. The University of Minnesota’s Thomas Bouchard has done research on many identical twins reared apart (some in different countries) and has found that though they never knew each other or their parents, they proved remarkably alike, especially in personality—whether they were extroverted, agreeable, neurotic, or conscientious, for example.

Some critics complain that the fact that identical twins live together with their birth parents, at least for a time, ruins Bouchard’s findings: during this early period, they say, parenting must influence the children’s attitudes. But the average age at which the identical twins in Bouchard’s study became separated from their parents was five months. It is hard to imagine parents teaching five-month-old babies much about politics or religion.

The gene-driven ideological split that Alford and his colleagues found may, in fact, be an underestimate, because men and women tend to marry people with whom they agree on big issues—assortative mating, as social scientists call it. Assortative mating means that the children of parents who agree on issues will be more likely to share whatever genes influence those beliefs. Thus, even children who are not identical twins will have a larger genetic basis for their views than if their parents married someone with whom they disagreed. Since we measure heritability by subtracting the similarity among fraternal twins from the similarity among identical ones, this difference may neglect genetic influences that already exist on fraternal twins. And if it does, it means that we are underestimating genetic influences on attitudes.

When we step back and look at American politics generally, genes may help us understand why, for countless decades, about 40 percent of all voters have supported conservative causes, about 40 percent have backed liberal ones, and the 20 percent in the middle have decided the elections. On a few occasions, the winning presidential candidate has won about 60 percent of the vote. But these days we call a 55 percent victory a “landslide.” It is hard to imagine a purely environmental force that would rule out a presidential election in which one candidate got 80 percent of the vote and his rival only 20 percent. Something deeper must be going on.

All of this leaves open the question: Which genes help create which political attitudes? Right now, we don’t know. To discover the links will require lengthy studies of the DNA of people with different political views. Scientists are having a hard time locating the specific genes that cause diseases; it will probably be much harder to find the complex array of genes that affects politics.

There are problems with the observed link between genes and politics. One is that it is fairly crude so far. Liberals and conservatives come in many varieties: one can be an economic liberal and a social conservative, say, favoring a large state but opposing abortion; or an economic conservative and a social liberal, favoring the free market but supporting abortion and gay rights. If we add attitudes about foreign policy to the mix, the combinations double. Most tests used in genetic studies of political views do not allow us to make these important distinctions. As a result, though we know that genes affect ideology, that knowledge is clumsy. In time, I suspect, we will learn more about these subtleties.

Further, it’s important to emphasize that biology is not destiny. Genetic influences rarely operate independently of environmental factors. Take the case of serotonin. People who have little of this neurotransmitter are at risk for some psychological problems, but for many of them, no such problems occur unless they experience some personal crisis. Then the combined effect of genetic influences and disruptive experiences will trigger a deep state of depression, something that does not happen to people who either do not lack serotonin or who do lack it but encounter no crisis. Recently, in the first study to find the exact genes that affect political participation, Fowler and Dawes found two genes that help explain voting behavior. One of the genes, influencing serotonin levels, boosts turnout by 10 percent—if the person also attends church frequently. Nature and nurture interact.

The same is probably true of political ideology. When campus protests and attacks on university administrators began in the late 1960s, it was not because a biological upheaval had increased the number of radicals; it was because such people encountered events (the war in Vietnam, the struggle over civil rights) and group pressures that induced them to take strong actions. By the same token, lynchings in the South did not become common because there were suddenly more ultra-racists around. Rather, mob scenes, media frenzies, and the shock of criminal events motivated people already skeptical of civil rights to do terrible things.

Another challenge is politicized assessment of the genetic evidence. Ever since 1950, when Theodor Adorno and his colleagues published The Authoritarian Personality, scholars have studied right-wing authoritarianism but neglected its counterpart on the left. In his study of identical twins reared apart, Bouchard concludes that right-wing authoritarianism is, to a large degree, inherited—but he says nothing about the Left. This omission is puzzling, since as Bouchard was studying twins at the University of Minnesota, he was regularly attacked by left-wing students outraged by the idea that any traits might be inherited. A few students even threatened to kill him. When I pointed this out to him, he suggested, in good humor, that I was a troublemaker.

Yet if you ask who in this country has prevented people from speaking on college campuses, it is overwhelmingly leftists. If you ask who storms the streets and shatters the windows of Starbucks coffee shops to protest the World Trade Organization, it is overwhelmingly leftists. If you ask who produces campus codes that infringe on free speech, it is overwhelmingly leftists. If you ask who invaded the classroom of my late colleague Richard Herrnstein and tried to prevent him from teaching, it was overwhelmingly leftists.

A better way to determine if authoritarianism is genetic would be to ask people what the country’s biggest problems are. Liberals might say the inequality of income or the danger of global warming; conservatives might indicate the tolerance of abortion or the abundance of pornography. You would then ask each group what they thought should be done to solve these problems. An authoritarian liberal might say that we should tax high incomes out of existence and close down factories that emit greenhouse gases. A conservative authoritarian might suggest that we put abortion doctors in jail and censor books and television programs. This approach would give us a true measure of authoritarianism, left and right, and we would know how many of each kind existed and something about their backgrounds. Then, if they had twins, we would be able to estimate the heritability of authoritarianism. Doing all this is a hard job, which may explain why no scholars have done it.

Genes shape, to varying degrees, almost every aspect of human behavior. The struggle by some activists to deny or downplay that fact is worrisome. The anti-gene claim is ultimately an ill-starred effort to preserve the myth that, since the environment can explain everything, political causes that attempt to alter the environment can bring about whatever their leaders desire.

The truth is that though biology is not destiny, neither is it an easily changed path to utopia.

James Q. Wilson, formerly a professor at Harvard and at UCLA, now lectures at Pepperdine University. In 2003, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
27998  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Job offer from State Dept on: February 10, 2009, 05:24:41 PM
State Department Seeks Shooters for Iraq, A'stan


The State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security is looking to bolster its ranks with more bodyguards to serve in high-threat areas like Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Bureau yesterday posted a job ad for a new position, Security Protective Specialist. According to the help-wanted listing, these specialists will work at high-threat posts overseas, augmenting the force of Diplomatic Security special agents in protective details and motorcades.

Vacancies are available at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad; Iraq Regional Embassy Offices in Erbil, Al Hillah, Tallil and Basra; at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul; and at Consulate General in Jerusalem.

Diplomatic Security Special Agents are what's known as "Foreign Service specialists," and a job with the bureau is a career appointment. Security Protective Specialists will work on renewable one-year contracts; their positions will be "limited non-career appointments" that they can hold for a maximum of five years.

In effect, it looks like the State Department is supplementing its force of career security agents with a new crop of internal hires. The Bureau of Diplomatic Security is a relatively small force that is stretched thin; in Iraq alone, they must oversee security for nearly 1,000 personnel involved in reconstruction efforts. Diplomatic security in high-threat areas has become heavily outsourced: In July 2005, State selected three companies - Blackwater, DynCorp and Triple Canopy -- to compete for task orders under the Worldwide Personal Protective Service (WPPS) II contract, worth a potential USD1.2 billion to each contractor over a period of five years; the main WPPS II task orders are in Iraq, Afghanistan and Israel.
Outsourcing security has had serious consequences. Blackwater shooters escorting a diplomatic convoy in Baghdad were involved in the 2007 Nisour Square shootings; the company is now supposed to be barred from further work in Iraq. In many respects, the backlash against contractors was a mess of State Department's making. The military often grumbled that the zealous efforts of contracted security firms to "protect the principal" were at odds with sound counterinsurgency practice (i.e., not pissing off the local population); further complicating matters, State's convoys often did not coordinate their movements with the military's operations center in Baghdad.

After the Nisour Square incident, State moved to tighten oversight of its contractors, and ordered diplomatic security agents to ride along with Blackwater convoys. These new security specialists will fill a similar role. According to the job annnouncement, the new specialists "will work in tandem with DS Special Agents (SA) to ensure that a DS supervisor is always present and involved with every protective motorcade element. The SPS or SA may act as the Detail Leader and may supervise other DS or contractor personnel."

The job offer also opens the door to ex-contractors. The announcement states: "Persons with current or recent experience in PSD [personal security detail] operations, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan, are encouraged to apply."

Base pay for a Security Protective Specialist would be $52,221 per year -- much less than the six-figure pay a U.S. operator for a company like Triple Canopy, DynCorp or Blackwater would expect, but that salary figure would not include overseas allowances and pay differentials. More importantly, a federal officer would presumably the full legal protection -- something that contractors in Iraq can no longer count on.

Apply here:
27999  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Looking for fighters for stickfighting TV series on: February 10, 2009, 04:53:14 PM

Please stop asking when the deadline is.  There isn't one.   90% of life is showing up.  The sooner you get it in, the better for you.

In case you hadn't noticed, I'm in a snarky mood today!
28000  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Daily Expression of Gratitude on: February 10, 2009, 04:40:02 PM
Grateful to be home from a good time doing a seminar in Toronto.
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