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28601  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / The pumpkin on: August 09, 2009, 08:06:22 AM
Best Come Back Line???


Police arrested Patrick Lawrence, 22-year-old white male, in a pumpkin patch, at 11:38 p.m. on Friday night.

On Monday, at the Gwinnet County (GA) courthouse,  Lawrence  was charged with lewd and lascivious behavior, public indecency, and public intoxication.

The suspect explained that as he was passing a pumpkin patch on his way home from a heavy drinking session when he decided to stop. 'You know how a pumpkin is soft and squishy inside, and there was no one around for miles or at least I thought there wasn't anyone around,' he stated in a telephone interview.

Lawrence went on to say that he pulled over to the side of the road, picked out a pumpkin that he felt was appropriate to his purpose, cut a hole in it, and proceeded to satisfy his alleged need.  'Guess I was really into it, you know?' he commented with evident embarrassment. In the process of doing the deed,  Lawrence  failed to notice an approaching police car and was unaware of his audience until Officer Brenda Taylor approached him.

'It was an unusual situation, that's for sure,' said Officer Taylor. 'I walked up to  Lawrence  and he's just banging away at this pumpkin.' Officer Taylor went on to describe what happened when she approached  Lawrence.  'I said, 'Excuse me sir, but do you realize that you're having sex with a pumpkin? '

'He froze and was clearly very surprised that I was there, and then he looked me straight in the face and said...
"A pumpkin?  S*it .... is it midnight already?"'
28602  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: August 09, 2009, 12:10:42 AM
Michael Yon, to whom I have given his own thread on this nearby, comes to a similar conclusion.
28603  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Knife for Self Defense on: August 09, 2009, 12:04:28 AM
Exactly so.
28604  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Emergency Tips and Emergency Medicine on: August 09, 2009, 12:03:54 AM

We have been in conversations with someone about providing blow out kits for us to offer here and today we forwarded to you what they sent to us for your evaluation.  Please let me know when it arrives.

28605  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Daily Expression of Gratitude on: August 09, 2009, 12:00:41 AM
A very enjoyable training session today.  Today I had my Art.
28606  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: September 20, 2009 Gathering on: August 08, 2009, 11:58:36 PM
I like it!!!

Coincidentally enough I did a bit of hitting the tires with a sledgehammer today.
28607  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The market and monetary disorder on: August 08, 2009, 07:37:59 PM
Interesting piece, followed by a friend's comments:


The Stock Market and Monetary Disorder:
I’ll restate my thesis as concisely as I can (not my strong suit):  The deeply maladjusted U.S. “Bubble” economy requires $2.5 Trillion or so of net new Credit creation to stem systemic (Credit and economic Bubbles) implosion.  Only “government” (Treasury, agency debt, and GSE MBS) debt can, today, fill the gigantic void created with the bursting of the Wall Street/mortgage finance Bubble.  The private sector Credit system is severely impaired, and there is as well the reality that the market largely lost trust (loss of “moneyness”) in Wall Street obligations (private-label MBS, CDOs, ABS, auction-rate securities, etc.).  The $2.0 Trillion of U.S. “government” Credit creation coupled with the Trillion-plus expansion of Federal Reserve Credit over the past year has stabilized U.S. financial and economic systems. 

The synchronized global expansion of government deficits, state obligations, and central bank Credit amounts to an historic government finance Bubble.  Markets have thus far embraced the surge of debt issuance.  This U.S. and global reflation will have decidedly different characteristics when contrasted to previous Fed and Wall Street-induced reflations. 
First off all, the most robust inflationary biases are today domiciled in China, Asia and the emerging markets generally.  The debased dollar has provided China and the “developing” world Credit systems unprecedented capacity to inflate (expand Credit/financial claims without fear of spurring a run on their currencies).  Asian and emerging markets are outperforming, exacerbating speculative inflows.  Things that the “developing” world need (energy/commodities) and want (gold, silver, sugar, etc.) should demonstrate increasingly strong inflationary pressures.  Their overflow of dollars provides them, for now, the power to buy whatever they desire. 
Here at home, the post-Wall Street Bubble financial landscape ensures the old days of the Fed slashing rates and almost instantaneously stoking mortgage Credit, home price inflation and consumption have run their course.  Accordingly, the unfolding reflation will be of a different variety than those of the past – and, importantly, largely bypass U.S. housing.  This sets the stage for a lackluster recovery in consumption and economic revival generally.  Household sector headwinds will likely be exacerbated by higher-than-expected inflation (especially in energy and globally-traded commodities), higher taxes and rising interest rates.
There is a confluence of factors that expose the market to an upside surprised in yields.  The bond market has been overly sanguine, emboldened by the prospect of the Bernanke Fed maintaining ultra-loose monetary policy indefinitely.  Bond bulls have been further comforted by the deep structural issues overhanging both the U.S. financial system and economy.  However, massive government Credit creation has, for now, put systemic issues on hold.  Especially in Asia, unfettered Credit expansion creates the backdrop for a surprisingly speedy economic upsurge.  The weak dollar plays a major reflationary role globally, while also raising the prospect for inflationary pressures here at home.  Massive issuance, global economic resurgence, heightened inflation and a weak currency are offering increasingly tough competition to the bullish “forever loose policy” view.
Meanwhile, fixed income must gaze at the feverish equities market with disbelief – and rising trepidation.  The bond market discerns incessant economic impairment, a historic debt overhang, 9.4% unemployment, and begrudging recovery.  An intoxicated stock market ganders something altogether different, with the Morgan Stanley Retail Index up 61% y-t-d, the Morgan Stanley High Tech Index up 47%, the Morgan Stanley Cyclical Index up 52%, and the Broker/Dealers up 45%.  The bond market has been content to laugh off the silly equities game.  The chuckles may have ended today.
My secular bearish thesis rests upon a major assumption:  The U.S. economy is sustained by $2.5 Trillion (or so) of new Credit.  Only this amount will stem a downward spiral of asset prices, Credit, incomes, corporate cash flows and government finances.  On the other hand, if forthcoming, the $2.5 Trillion of additional – chiefly government-directed and non-productive - Credit will foment problematic Monetary Disorder.  In simplest terms, another bout of Credit inflation leads further down the path of unhinged market prices, destabilizing speculation, and unwieldy flows of finance.
The stock market has become illustrative of what we might experience in the way of Monetary Disorder.  Speculation has returned with a vengeance, galloping blindly ahead of fledgling little greenish shoots.  Those of the bullish persuasion contend that the marketplace is, as it should, simply discounting a rosy future.  I would counter that problematic market dynamics have taken over, with prices increasingly disconnected from reality.  In short, the market is in the midst of one major short squeeze.
There are myriad risks associated with the government’s unprecedented market interventions.  Likely not well appreciated, policymaker actions have forced the destabilizing unwind of huge positions created to hedge against systemic risk (as well as to profit from bearish bets).  This reversal of various bear positions has created enormous buying power, especially in the securities of companies (and sectors) most exposed to the Credit downturn.  The reversal of bets in the Credit default swap (and bond) market has certainly played a role.  Surging junk bond and stock prices have fed one another, as the highly leveraged and vulnerable companies provide phenomenal market returns.  The markets are today throwing "money" at the weak and leveraged.
The resulting outperformance of fundamentally weak companies spurred short covering more generally, creating a dynamic whereby heavily shorted stocks became about the best performing sector in the equities market.  This dynamic put significant pressure on so-called market neutral strategies that have proliferated over the past few years.  The strategy of attempting to own the good companies and short bad ones is faltering, likely causing a flow out of these strategies - and a self-reinforcing unwind of positions.  The “bad” stock soar and the “good” ones languish.

There’s nothing like a short squeeze panic to get the markets’ speculative juices flowing.  Many will say all’s just fine and dandy – let the fun and games continue!  My retort is that the stock market is indicative of the current dysfunctional financial backdrop.  At the end of the day, the financial system must be capable of effectively allocating finance and real resources throughout the economy.  I would argue that this is not possible for a system that congenitally misprices risk and distorts financial asset prices.  Today’s stock market will inherently finance mainly speculative Bubbles and fragility. And the core systemic problem, the maladjusted "Bubble economy," well, the financial backdrop only worsens the situation.
I have great confidence that government finance Bubble dynamics ensure ongoing distortions in the markets’ pricing of risk and, as well, a continued misallocation of resources (financial and real).  And it is increasingly clear that the stock market is embroiled in this problematic dynamic.  But that is a dilemma for another day, as surging stocks fan optimism and risk embracement – not to mention forcing many into the stock market with both nostrils plugged.  And speculative equities and Credit markets will spur increased economic output in the short-run.

Everything has been extraordinary; the boom, the bust, policymaker interventions, and now the bear market rally.  I wish I could see some mechanism in the works that will help kick our system’s addiction to easy Credit and commence the inevitable process of economic adjustment and restructuring.  Instead, I see confirmation everywhere that policy and market dynamics are working in concert to sustain the existing financial and economic structure.  I have huge doubts it will work and no doubt about the risks of failure.


The point is that massive injections of liquidity around the world have created conditions which distort the pricing mechanisms to such an extent that we can expect resource allocations to be increasingly screwed up. With artificially lowered interest rates maintained by almost all central banks, people everywhere are becoming leveraged speculators. If you can borrow money at 1 or 2% and invest it for higher returns, the amount you make is limited only by the amount of leverage you are willing to accept. With governments accepting all losses by banks and investment banks, very few constraints remain -- if any at all. Worse than that: if the central banks stop the flood of liquidity, most of these leveraged bets will quickly be revealed as uneconomic malinvestments and the world will be plunged back into crisis. Noland expects that the US government will have to continue running a $2 + trillion dollar deficit indefinitely to hold back the forces of sanity -- and prevent another crisis from breaking out. I would add that the amount of credit unleashed will actually have to grow at an accelerating rate to keep the economy from breaking, again. As Noland said "I have huge doubts it will work and no doubt about the risks of failure."
Needless to say, the government cannot continue to run a $2+ trillion dollar deficit forever without significant consequences. As I have argued in my recent blog posts, the specific nature of the next crisis will depend on decisions not yet made -- so, IMO, nobody can know what form it will take. But it will happen. Don't believe our moronic Fed Chairman -- the one who was telling us everything was great right up until he panicked and said the world would come to an end if he didn't spend a few trillion dollars to bailout his banking cronies. I think even John Maynard Keynes himself would be aghast to see the practices his "theories" have unleashed.
28608  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Candidate Ashraf Ghani on: August 08, 2009, 08:22:23 AM
Afghanistan’s upcoming presidential election represents a critical test for our young democracy. It is a referendum on the lawlessness of the current regime and the future stability of our country.

Over the past five years President Hamid Karzai has turned Afghanistan into one of the world’s most failed and corrupt states. Instead of leading our country toward democracy, he has formed alliances with criminals. He has appointed governors and police chiefs who openly flout the rule of law. And he has turned a blind eye to a multibillion-dollar drug trade that has crippled growth and enabled the insurgency to flourish.

To reverse the insurgency’s gains and begin to rebuild the country, we must elect a more capable and accountable government—one that creates jobs, builds houses, and delivers on basic services like education, electricity and water. This is why I’m running for president. I believe that clear vision, dedicated leadership, careful management, and the creation of an environment of trust are the best ways to restore peace and security to Afghanistan. Mr. Karzai’s government is fiercely divided along ethnic and tribal lines. We need a system based on merit, in which every Afghan could see himself as part of the government.

My vision of an inclusive, stable, and prosperous Afghanistan is based on my experience as finance minister from 2002-04 when I worked with other Afghans to achieve real reform. In just two years we completely modernized communications. Partnering with the minister of communications, I refused to offer sweetheart deals to private companies. Instead, we insisted that private telecoms gain access to the Afghan market by paying real taxes through a transparent process. The number of mobile phones in the country jumped to over a million at the end of 2005 from just 100 in July 2002. There are now 7.5 million phones, and private investment exceeds $1 billion. Private telecom is now the second-highest generator of revenue for the government.

We can follow the model of telecom reform to boost public revenue and create as many as one million new jobs in agriculture, construction, services, mining, communication and transportation industries. We can create model economic zones by targeting provinces with the best potential for growth and increasing budget authority on the local level. And we can use the wealth we generate to build one million new housing units for families. Both my employment and housing plans will focus specifically on creating economic opportunities for our youth, our poor and women. Currently marginalized, these three groups can bring economic growth to their communities.

Women’s rights have been grossly violated in Afghanistan during the past decades. In addition to promoting women-run industries like animal husbandry and food processing, I will fight for women’s property rights, increase female participation in government, and improve women’s access to essential reproductive health care by collaborating with successful midwife programs. Investing in women’s education is a fundamental building block for any developing society and needs to be a top priority. I intend to create a women’s-only university to meet the unique needs of female students for leadership and management skills.

My experience as chancellor of Kabul University from 2005-06 convinced me of the urgency of educational reform. The most talented among our youth are taught on the basis of obsolete curricula that were current thinking at the time of their grandparents. We need to update our national curriculum to reflect contemporary science, engineering, economics, arts and law. And we must aggressively recruit from poor and rural provinces.

More than half of Afghanistan’s 33 million people live in small towns and rural communities. Developing these areas presents a formidable challenge but holds enormous potential. In 2002 I designed the comprehensive Afghan National Development Framework. This included the National Solidarity Program, which allocates block grants to local communities. Today this program has reached more than 23,000 villages in 359 of Afghanistan’s 465 districts, enabling individuals to identify, plan, manage and monitor their own development projects. It promotes good governance, empowers rural Afghans, and supports even the poorest in the community. Today the success of the this model has been recognized globally, and it is being adopted by other developing countries around the world.

It is time to get Afghanistan back on the path to peace and development that we were on from 2002-05. The current crisis was not inevitable. Mr. Karzai abandoned his responsibility to the Afghan people.

Afghanistan’s painful quest for a national consensus has led to the realization that we must both build upon and overcome our past. As inheritors of the classic civilization of Islam, we must embrace the values of tolerance, accountability, transparency, justice, the rule of law, scientific inquiry, and active engagement with other civilizations. Simultaneously, we must overcome the divisions and factions that have brought death and destruction. We appreciate the assistance of our international partners but never forget that we are responsible for our future. This election is our chance to chart that future.

Mr. Ghani is a presidential candidate in Afghanistan.
28609  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for Reps/Conservatives/the American Creed on: August 08, 2009, 07:49:27 AM
Various clips of people challenging their Congressman at town hall meetings
28610  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor: Putin goes to Turkey on: August 08, 2009, 07:36:13 AM
Geopolitical Diary: Putin Goes to Turkey
August 7, 2009
After baring his chest for the cameras in the Siberian wilderness, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin shirted up and made his way to Ankara on Thursday for a long-anticipated visit with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Putin has a close relationship with Erdogan. They meet regularly at Putin’s holiday getaway in Sochi, on the Black Sea coast, to privately discuss many topics in which any foreign intelligence agency would take considerable interest. There was much for them to discuss in Ankara, but unlike previous Putin-Erdogan summits, this meeting was meant to be in the media spotlight.

Russia and Turkey are both at critical junctures. Russia — where Putin will mark a decade in power on Sunday — is moving to lock down its influence in the former Soviet region, while the United States remains preoccupied with its wars in the Islamic world. Turkey, emerging from the 90-year geopolitical slumber that followed the Ottoman period, is in the process of rediscovering its old areas of influence in the Middle East, the Caucasus, the Balkans and Central Asia.

With overlapping spheres of influence, Russia and Turkey must be extremely careful not to step on each other’s toes. The two have battled each other multiple times throughout history, but circumstances require them to cooperate for now. The Russians realize they have limited time to implement their agenda for Eurasia, with the United States tied up elsewhere, and they don’t need Turkey — a NATO member and critical ally for the Americans — to get in the way. The Turks, still heavily dependent on Russia for a steady energy supply, are still feeling out old stomping grounds and prioritizing expansion plans, which leaves them with little compulsion to draw Moscow’s anger.

Therefore, Putin and Erdogan have staged a high-profile meeting to show the world — Europe and the United States, in particular — that relations are progressing smoothly.

Energy deals announced Thursday were part of this show. Less than a month after Turkey signed onto the exorbitant Nabucco pipeline project (designed to ship Central Asian natural gas through the Caucasus and Turkey, bypassing Russia on the way to European markets), Erdogan — joined by Putin and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi — made a display of signing the equally ambitious South Stream pipeline deal. South Stream is designed to ship Russian natural gas through Turkey’s territorial waters in the Black Sea to Bulgaria, for distribution to Europe. The politics of the day, the technical impediments and the skyrocketing costs of both projects make both Nabucco and South Stream unfeasible for the moment.

Still, there are plenty of political implications when such hollow energy deals are announced. The Russians, who were kept informed by Erdogan that the Nabucco announcement would be made in mid-July, get to remind Western powers that their friends in Ankara won’t help them evade Russia when it comes to European energy security. Turkey gets to assert itself as an indispensable player to both the East and West — saying yes to every project, while buying time to lay the groundwork for its own geopolitical expansion. Most of all, these bilateral visits allow the Turks to demonstrate that the days when Turkey was simply a western outpost along the Russian periphery are gone, and that the country is now an independent global player in its own right.

But beneath these political atmospherics, Putin and Erdogan also had very serious matters to discuss in Ankara. War drums are beating over both Georgia and Iran: Russia is contemplating another show of force in Georgia, and the United States is pressuring Iran to come to the negotiating table over its nuclear program before September ends. These are two areas where Putin and Erdogan are likely to bump heads.

Russia, extremely irked by Washington’s seemingly flippant attitude toward its demands, is drawing attention to the levers it holds in Iran — reminding U.S. President Barack Obama of the implications of failing to take Moscow seriously. The Turks, however, have no interest in seeing a U.S.-Russian showdown over Iran that would bring further turmoil to the Middle East — especially as Ankara is charting out a course to consolidate Turkish influence in its Muslim backyard. Erdogan will continue to cooperate with Putin, but he also might be reminding him of certain levers Turkey possesses that could complicate life for the Russians if they push the envelope on Iran. The options include everything from Turkey — the gatekeeper of Black Sea access — allowing a major NATO build-up that threatens Russia, to boosting defense support for Georgia with major weapons transfers.

The Russians are still contemplating exactly how to maneuver against Washington, but at the same time, Putin is keeping Turkey in sight while determining the costs and benefits of Russia’s next move in this geopolitical chess match.
28611  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Liberal Fascism on: August 07, 2009, 11:29:44 AM
Good thing we have His Glibness rolling back the Bush era angry angry angry

This is fascism.

 angry angry angry angry angry angry angry angry angry
28612  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Corruption on: August 07, 2009, 09:49:23 AM

Reuters) – A leading Democrat in the House of Representatives who has rebuffed Republican efforts to subpoena records of a mortgage program for favored borrowers at Countrywide Financial Corp got home loans from that lender, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

Representative Edolphus Towns, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, obtained two loans from Countrywide, which was bought last year by Bank of America, the newspaper said, citing information from the lawmaker's mortgage documents.

Towns has turned down calls from the committee's ranking Republican, Darrell Issa, for the panel to subpoena mortgage records showing who received loans through Countrywide's VIP program, the journal said.

The program offered loans to politically influential figures and other favored borrowers at more attractive terms than were available to the general public.

The mortgage documents on the loans to Towns contain a Countrywide address and branch number that correspond to the VIP program, the Journal reported.

Towns told the paper through a spokeswoman that his decision not to subpoena the VIP records "has nothing to do with his mortgages" and that if the mortgages came through the VIP program "it was without his knowledge."

Towns was not immediately available for comment outside regular U.S. office hours.

In June, Issa wrote to Bank of America asking it to disclose any special mortgage terms the bank's Countrywide unit gave to politically influential customers over an eight-year period. Bank of America bought Countrywide last year after the mortgage lender collapsed under the weight of bad mortgages and defaults.

Countrywide's VIP program of preferential mortgage rates was also known as the "Friends of Angelo" program, after Countrywide founder Angelo Mozilo.

In February, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd, a Democrat, said he would refinance two mortgages that he took out in 2003 under Countrywide's VIP program. (Reporting by Santosh Nadgir in Bangalore, editing by Vicki Allen)
28613  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Fisher Ames; Hamilton on curing heresies on: August 07, 2009, 09:14:12 AM
Freki:  Jefferson was one wise man!

"I am commonly opposed to those who modestly assume the rank of champions of liberty, and make a very patriotic noise about the people. It is the stale artifice which has duped the world a thousand times, and yet, though detected, it is still successful. I love liberty as well as anybody. I am proud of it, as the true title of our people to distinction above others; but ... I would guard it by making the laws strong enough to protect it." --Fisher Ames, letter to George Richard Minot, 1789

"In politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword. Heresies in either can rarely be cured by persecution." --Alexander Hamilton
28614  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Both ways on: August 07, 2009, 09:12:48 AM
Another gem Rachel- thank you. 
Both Ways

One who loves must learn fear. One who fears must learn love.

The thinker must do. The doer must think. The pacifist must fight, the fighter must find peace.

If you flow as a river, burn as a fire. If you burn as a furnace, flow as a river.

If you fly as a bird, sit firm as a rock. If you sit firmly, then fly as a bird.

Be a fire that flows. A rock that flies. Love with fear and fear with love.

For we are not fire, not water, not air, not rocks, not thoughts, not deeds, not fear, not love. We are G-dly beings.
28615  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politically (In)correct on: August 06, 2009, 03:46:55 PM
Our family enjoys the products (but not the prices!!!) at the neighborhood Whole Foods supermarket.

Often there are petitioners/fundraisers of various left-liberal-new agey causes there. 

My wife reports that today there was someone a little different.   cheesy  A couple of Lyndon LaRouchers with a giant sign with a picture of His Glibness with a Hitler mustache and a caption about impeaching him over his "Nazi health plan".  My wife tells me there was quite an uproar from the clientele.   cheesy The police were called!  cheesy They were entering the store as it was time for my wife to leave.   I will look into this tomorrow  cheesy

PS:  For the record LR is fascist scum incarnate and I strongly suspect him of being a front for nefarious interests.  Still, quite a chuckle to hear of the sheeple getting in a snit over free speech.
28616  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: August 06, 2009, 12:54:00 PM
Ultimately the survival and flourishing of the American Creed is up to us:     
28617  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / You might have missed this on: August 06, 2009, 12:51:56 PM
amongst the coverage of Michael Jackson:
28618  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Respect! A hero returns home on: August 06, 2009, 12:48:15 PM     
28619  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for Reps/Conservatives/the American Creed on: August 06, 2009, 12:12:25 PM

Although you make good points, my realities simply do not permit.


Exactly so.
28620  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Russia-Georgia, Turkey, Caucasus on: August 06, 2009, 12:07:12 PM
Indications of War Preparations
Stratfor Today » August 5, 2009 | 2139 GMT

Aug. 5, 2009, is looking eerily similar to Aug. 5, 2008, in the Caucasus as the first anniversary of the Russo-Georgian war creeps closer. Just like last year, STRATFOR is closely watching the region for any signs that another war could break out.

In August 2008, war broke out between Russia and Georgia. Though the two countries had been rattling sabers for years, several key geopolitical and technical indicators convinced STRATFOR that war would indeed break out between Georgia and Russia in the summer of 2008.

Geopolitical Diary: Shades of a Second War

Aug. 5, three days before the anniversary of the start of that war, similar activity is evident. Another fracas in the Caucasus is far from inevitable, but the geopolitical conditions are ripe for Russia to make another move against Georgia. Thus, several triggers need to be monitored in the days and weeks ahead.

What follows is a list of indicators STRATFOR has been following in the Caucasus that could mean preparations for war are under way. We have also listed a few key indicators that we saw in 2008 but have yet to see this year. STRATFOR will follow up with a more analytical examination of Russia’s deeper motives for creating another crisis in the Caucasus.

In place since the August 2008 war:

Russian troops have remained inside Georgia’s secessionist regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia since August 2008. Russia has established facilities and a military presence consisting of roughly 1,000 troops (though the actual numbers are disputed) in each breakaway province. With these troops stationed inside Georgia, within striking distance of the country’s major east-west road and rail infrastructure and the capital city, Moscow has established a military reality in Georgia that not even the United States is currently disposed to alter. In 2008, a military exercise in North Ossetia (in Russia proper) preceded the invasion of Georgia, with the units involved in the initial thrust in a heightened state of readiness when hostilities began. Depending on the current disposition of Russian troops and their military objectives, some mobilization might be necessary for an invasion of Georgia. However, given the proximity of Russian troops to Georgia proper and the dearth of firm intelligence out of the region, such mobilization might not be detected or recognized until hostilities have already broken out.

In the last month:

STRATFOR has received unconfirmed reports that possibly 10,000 troops from Chechnya loyal to the Kremlin are in the republic of Ingushetia, which borders Chechnya, following a separate security situation in the region. Though this is not directly related to Georgia, the troops are conveniently located just 31 miles from the Roki Tunnel, which is where Russia began its operations — including funneling soldiers and tanks into South Ossetia, and later Georgia — in 2008.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden visited Georgia in late July in what was overall an embarrassment for the Georgians, since the United States did not give any noticeable meaningful support for Georgia and said it refused to sell weapons to or provide monitors for Tbilisi. However, after this trip, Biden gave an interview in which he came out verbally swinging against Moscow, stating that Russia is on a demographic and economic decline and will ultimately have to face its withering geopolitical position. This did not go unnoticed by Moscow.
While Biden was in Georgia, key Russian security and defense officials, including First Deputy Chief of Staff Vladislav Surkov and Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev, were in South Ossetia to meet with the breakaway republic’s leadership. Several military intelligence officials also attended the meeting.

The past two weeks have seen the most noise on the South Ossetian-Georgian border since the August 2008 war. Though tensions never fully ended — gunfire has been traded sporadically across the border — there have been reports recently of mortar fire from both sides, something rarely seen since 2008.
The Georgians allegedly have planned a civilian march from Tbilisi to the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali, rumored to coincide with the Aug. 8 anniversary of the war. However, it should be mentioned that plans for such a march have been made several times in previous months but failed to materialize. The South Ossetians have said any such march would be seen as an “attempted invasion.” The secessionist region has closed its border.
Russia said July 29 that this week, it could deploy unmanned aircraft in Georgia that could carry out attacks 6-15 miles inside the country. Russia also said it could send Antonov An-2 and An-3 aircraft, which are capable of carrying people and supplies to small, primitive airstrips.

Upcoming indicators and potential triggers:

Aug. 6: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will travel to Turkey to meet with his counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. These two leaders — well aware of each other’s resurgent position — must thoroughly discuss any possible moves that either will make in the region, including moves in Georgia.
Aug. 8: The anniversary of the start of the 2008 Russo-Georgian war.
Aug. 9: The 10-year anniversary of Putin’s coming into power.
While the above indicators are firmly in place and eerily reminiscent of the lead-up to the 2008 war, there are two crucial indicators from 2008 that STRATFOR has yet to see this year:

Before hostilities erupted into full-scale war last year, the Russians dropped leaflets by air into South Ossetia and Abkhazia warning of “Georgian aggressions.” This, in effect, led to the second indicator:
There was a mass movement of civilians from South Ossetia and Abkhazia into Russia, mainly into the republic of North Ossetia. While Russia could be warning the breakaway provinces’ populations of impending conflict by other means (considering Russia now maintains a significant troop presence in both regions), STRATFOR sources in Abkhazia have yet to witness such developments on the ground.
28621  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: August 06, 2009, 10:33:08 AM
Michael Yon throws his weight behind a search for SF soldiers to fight habeas corpus in Afpakia.
28622  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Guro Crafty 8/1-2 Fort Hood, TX on: August 06, 2009, 07:23:53 AM
FWIW here's a local article on the seminar.  As is often the case, there are some errors of fact and understanding.
28623  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: VIDEO CLIPS OF INTEREST on: August 06, 2009, 07:11:36 AM
Wish I was young enough to develop this , , ,
28624  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The American Creed: Our Founding Fathers: on: August 06, 2009, 06:10:28 AM
"[T]he government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. It is not like the state governments, whose powers are more general. Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government." --James Madison

"The ordaining of laws in favor of one part of the nation, to the prejudice and oppression of another, is certainly the most erroneous and mistaken policy. An equal dispensation of protection, rights, privileges, and advantages, is what every part is entitled to, and ought to enjoy." --Benjamin Franklin, Emblematical Representations, 1774

"With respect to the two words 'general welfare,' I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators." --James Madison

"Our struggle for nationhood, our unrelenting fight for freedom, our very existence -- these have all rested on the assurance that you must be free to shape your life as you are best able to, that no one can stop you from reaching higher or take from you the creativity that has made America the envy of mankind." --Ronald Reagan

"We lay it down as a fundamental, that laws, to be just, must give a reciprocation of right; that, without this, they are mere arbitrary rules of conduct, founded in force, and not in conscience." --Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the state of Virginia, 1782

"[W]here there is no law, there is no liberty; and nothing deserves the name of law but that which is certain and universal in its operation upon all the members of the community." --Benjamin Rush, letter to David Ramsay, circa April 1788

"An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy; because there is a limit beyond which no institution and no property can bear taxation." --John Marshall

28625  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: August 06, 2009, 06:04:10 AM
"[R]espected economists like Donald Marron, Keith Hennessey, Bruce Bartlett and Kevin Hassett have all carefully chronicled the fact that the Obama stimulus package does not feature any real fiscal multipliers. They say the bulk of the package consists of transfer payments to individuals and states, along with tax credits that will produce no real incentive effects to spur economic growth. But the fact remains that numerous signs are now pointing to economic recovery. And the GOP needs to craft a smart political response to this. Obama and Biden will surely take credit for the better economic news, just as any White House would. It's the way the political game is played. But Republicans have to play the game, too. A tremendous summer rally is going on in stocks, and it's being driven by better corporate profits and improved leading indicators -- including a possible upturn in housing starts and sales, and a major downward spike in weekly initial jobless claims. So you have to believe the stock market is calling the tune for recovery. And while politics is not everything, I do believe that the shrinking prospects for Obamacare have been a big contributor to the stock market's recent surge. This sweeping new government insurance plan would lead to high-tax-and-spend-and-borrow-and-regulate nationalized health care, a big economic negative. Ditto for nationalizing energy through cap-and-trade-and-tax. If these initiatives fail, it is very bullish for stocks and the economy. ... But the White House is going to take credit for economic recovery anyway, and that's the newest political challenge for the GOP." --economist Lawrence Kudlow
28626  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for Reps/Conservatives/the American Creed on: August 06, 2009, 05:36:38 AM
I am deeply honored by your offer of support.  I think I would like very much to mount a serious campaign to win. 

Unfortunately, I am reminded of a nearly two hour conversation I had (in 1985 IIRC) with then Congressman Dan Lungren of the district (the 42d?) now held by Dana Rohrabacker (sp?).  Lungren had just helped his brother run in the neighboring district against long-time pork barrel Dem Congressman Glenn Anderson who headed the "Public Works Committee".  In my run as a Libertarian in 1984 against Anderson I caught the eye of his top aide, retired Col. Mike Gravel.  Col. Gravel set up the meeting with Lungren.

Long story short-- if I had $100,000 of my own money to kick off my campaign (and the ability to support myself while campaigning), Lungren would support my candidacy.   This was in the context of a House of Representatives that at the time had an imcumbency rate of over 98%  shocked and a district that was so outrageously gerrymandered that its silhouette was regularly featured in WSJ editorials (this when the editorial page of the WSJ was still a genuine intellectual heavyweight and not like it is now that Murdoch bought it out) on the subject of gerrymandering and the Congress's shockingly low rate of turnover.   

In short, I would have to cough up $100,000 of my own money (remember, this was in 1985 dollars) in order to surely lose-- and support my single self.  Now, I am a family man and I still don't have a spare $100k (or probably a spare million at this point).

28627  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: August 05, 2009, 06:53:23 PM
To quote my mocking description of the demogogues philosophy during my most recent run for Congress (in 1992)

"We had a vote.  You're paying."
28628  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Interesting legal article on: August 05, 2009, 03:21:00 PM
28629  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Another report is in on: August 05, 2009, 12:41:26 PM

Another great report from MY
28630  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Guro Crafty 8/1-2 Fort Hood, TX on: August 05, 2009, 10:58:22 AM
Pasted from the thread at "Warrior Talk":


 We just finished a great weekend of Dog Brothers Martial Arts training here in Central Texas y'all.

Crafty was, as usual, at his very best.
To all who attended, thank you so much for making this such a fantastic training event.

I honestly cannot remember attending any previous seminars where so much laughter and camaraderie was shared by all.
It was definitely great seeing some familiar faces and making new friends in the process too.

Although there's much that I could say about what we trained on I will excuse now myself and leave this open for the other attendees, especially those fortunate enough to have trained this material for the first time, to post their impressions.
 It was a great weekend!

It's only to be expected, though, when an outstanding presenter (Marc Denny) is hosted for his seminar by top notch people (Gus and Steve). All of whom, in turn, draw the kind of attendees you really do want to train with!   From guys that knew a lot, to guys that knew little (me), they were all there to learn, with good humor and no attitude, that I could see. Thanks to all for making it what it was.
If you haven't trained with Marc, and you get to in the future, you are in for a treat. Not only is he knowledgeable and able to convey that knowledge, but he is entertaining as all get out. It really keeps your interest to hear the stories and listen for perhaps the thousandth time to "Oh, I'm sorry....did I step on your foot??" as another classmate hits the floor. Strange how little sorry Marc looked......
 And when he pulled out the electroshock knife , did any of you other guys notice how often there was collateral damage to innocent bystanders??

 Big thanks to those who volunteered for Demonstration Dummy, especially John, who took more abuse than most, I think. It's a class with hitting....and John happily took some hits for the team.   How's the jaw, John?

 Gus, what can I say? You're the driving force, making us all welcome and motivated. Have you always had this much energy??

Steve, the night vision lecture "after hours" was a lot of fun, and informative. The extra time you put in to present it to us was above and beyond. And to Frankdude72 for the "extras" he brought for us to look at, as well. Even Twodogstyx, who couldn't attend the regular class, came and shared his stuff with us that night....Like I said, guys you want to train with.
 Not only interested and knowledgeable, but with toys!!


> --------------------------------------------------------------------------

The important takeaway from this seminar is the importance of using footwork to develop angles that will give you the advantage and allow you to keep it.
Thanks to Gus and Steve for putting this on and doing all the HARD work to make it successful.

      I'm at work now, so I'll keep this short. But it was a great weekend of training and meeting new friends and seeing old ones. Crafty has given me a ton of information to work on. My brain was information overloaded a  couple of times. But it will come back to me.
     I noticed that egos were not present, everyone got along, Crafty was patient, and no one got injured that Motrin and relaxation won't take care of.
I only wish that I spoke Spanish, as I really would have liked to conversed with the three gentlemen from Columbia. I could tell that they all knew their stuff!
 Greg gets my tip of the hat. Everyone in attendance knows what I'm talking about.
It was a diverse group from all walks of life and "day jobs". That's what I like about private sector training.
I'd like to thank Marc for coming to Texas and, once again, Gus and Steve for putting this all together and giving me the weekly training so I was prepared for this.

      "Walk as a Warrior for all of your days"!


Great time training, and I only thought I was sore yesterday! This morning was a full blown case of, "Where did THAT bruise come from?"
There is nothing like being the training dummy to show you what NOT to do!!
 Hey John I hear ya. I found hondo1911's shoestring/laces imprinted in a beautiful shade of blue/black on my left leg, along with a silver dollar size "owie" on my chest/heart But that means it was great training!

 Thanks to all you gentlemen for your kind words and patience.    (And to those I physically trained with, I know I'm quite clumsy on a  good day. So many kudos for putting up with me.)

 Thanks of course to Guro Crafty for sharing his knowledge,  perspectives, and immense skill.
 Steve and Gus, many thanks for all the time, effort and money you contributed.

Steve, the night vision class had some superb pieces within. I learned a lot.  (Oh and Gus, when next we meet, I'll make sure to have a book handy. Thanks for all your encouragement.)
 I'm so very glad I attended.

 Guro Crafty did a fantastic job both articulating and executing his art.  Was so cool to see all the principles like:

      *proper angles within footwork,
      *consistent movement across weapons categories,
      *not putting yourself in a worse position if your technique doesn't work,
      *not getting too tied up with your opponent when on the ground (due to him possibly having friends),
      *Always being covered (via physical position and hand/weapon orientation) against the follow up strike as you move in,
     *Maintaining 360 awareness,
      *How correct foot/muscles/hand/hip/back/etc. alignment eases efficiency of motion
      *Working towards methods that allow "martial arts and crafts" techniques to function in "the adrenal state"
These are principles I've been often directed to value before, and it  was a treat to not only see them so proficiently employed, but to see it  done so with techniques and movement almost totally foreign to the way I've seen such a mindset emerge as a fighting style in the past.

Absolute treat, gentlemen.
Gregford, the offer is always on the table to train. I'm only a PM away, sir.   I have a great group of talented martial arts guys to beat on me but only one or two can seem to metabolize the mindset WT-ers seem have been bestowed by the grace of God.
It'd be awesome to regularly meet with a guy who also understands the need to work within "the adrenal state".
 Hope to see (and train with) all of y'all soon.
An Awesome weekend of training. I want to say thanks to Steve and Gus for all the work they did in putting this weekend together and bringing Crafty to Central Texas. I know that the two of you put in alot of your time to make this happen.
      Watching Crafty demonstrate the various techniques was great. Like John I too suffered from information overload (I have become a slow learner it seems) but I came away form this weekend with alot of good useful information and techniques to practice on. Thanks Crafty for coming to Texas.
 Everyone who attended was great, a great bunch of warriors.  Hey John sorry for the shoe bruise on your leg, I guess that is
 payback for the stick to my head, and the finger in my eye.

 Guys, hopefully I can drag one or 2 of my compatriots down to Killeen to train with y'all some time.
 The more I think about this weekend, the more methods of changing the methodology of my training arise.
Thanks so much.

 Wow, what a weekend. First off, I have to say thanks to all the CenTex WTers who joined us for this seminar, and to Crafty Dog for delivering on the training.
 Also thanks to Jeff who, despite his recent back surgery, joined us to take over two-thousand pictures during the seminar. I will now show the pictures that best summarize the weekend's training:
Shdwdncr being lifted to higher conciousnes:
 John a moment before his first concussion of the weekend:
And yours truly after being knocked head-over-heels by the "Dodger-Dracula":
I really had a great time. For me, the highlight was the Kali Tudo material. Crafty has obviously put alot of good effort into developing this material and it is both truly unique and potent.
 The Saturday evening class was so "WT". I hadn't asked anyone to bring their rifles, yet sneaky bags started opening and AKs began being passed around before the class even began. And we had more night vision devices in that class than most infantry squads. I didn't realize so many of us are running around with PVS-14s, I need to get with the program. Also got to
check out one local Wer's impressive carry rig which I detailed in this thread: ____________________
Tonight at our Central Texas Combatives Training Group meeting we went over alot of the stickfighting material fom the seminar. My observation is that it's in the post-seminar review and practice that material is really learned. Again, any Wter is welcome to train with us. In fact we just had Avenger2616 join us in class for the first time tonight.
      "The adventure continues..."
28631  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: August 05, 2009, 10:22:58 AM

What do your know about the author of that piece?
28632  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-Russia on: August 05, 2009, 10:16:18 AM
Well, what DO you think he/we should do?
28633  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Set my criminals free! on: August 05, 2009, 10:13:55 AM
August 5, 2009
My suggegstion, first to be released should be those for pot "crimes".  Indeed criminalizing drug use is a great foolishness IMHO.

California Prisons Must Cut Inmate Population

LOS ANGELES — A panel of federal judges ordered the California prison system on Tuesday to reduce its inmate population of 150,000 by 40,000 — roughly 27 percent — within two years.

The judges said that reducing prison crowding in California was the only way to change what they called an unconstitutional prison health care system that causes one unnecessary death a week.

In a scathing 184-page order, the judges said state officials had failed to comply with previous orders to fix the prison health care system and reduce crowding.

The judges left it to state officials to come up with a specific plan within 45 days, saying there was “no need for the state to release presently incarcerated inmates indiscriminately in order to comply with our order.” They recommended remedies including imprisoning fewer nonviolent criminals and reducing the number of technical parole violators.

The order is the largest state prison reduction ever imposed by a federal court over the objection of state officials, legal experts said.

It comes as the state has emerged from a long battle to close a $26 billion budget gap. The latest budget includes severe cuts to social welfare programs, schools and health care. The governor planned to slash spending by reducing the prison population by 27,000 inmates, but law enforcement and victims’ rights groups stopped that.

Attorney General Jerry Brown said in a telephone interview Tuesday that he intended to appeal the ruling. “Eventually, we’re going to have to go to the Supreme Court because I think the California prisons are spending about $14,000 per year per inmate,” Mr. Brown said, adding that the changes the judges ordered would cost more money, which the state does not have.

The special three-judge panel described a chaotic system where prisoners were stacked in triple bunk beds in gymnasiums, hallways and day rooms; where single guards were often forced to monitor scores of inmates at a time; and where ill inmates died for lack of treatment.

“In these overcrowded conditions, inmate-on-inmate violence is almost impossible to prevent, infectious diseases spread more easily, and lockdowns are sometimes the only means by which to maintain control,” the panel wrote. “In short, California’s prisons are bursting at the seams and are impossible to manage.”

Mr. Brown, who is raising money for a possible run for governor, said that some sort of settlement might be negotiated, but he added that he did not believe the court has the authority to cap the state’s prison system.

“California is facing real financial challenges and at the same time the court is ordering standards of care that exceed the standard required under the Constitution,” he said.

The case began as the result of class action lawsuits addressing inadequate medical and mental health care in the prison system. Those lawsuits were resolved years ago. The medical care case ended up with a federal receiver overseeing the system, and the mental health care case with a special master.

“It’s an extraordinary form of federal involvement,” Kara P. Dansky, the executive director of the Stanford University Criminal Justice Center, said of the ruling. “I’m not aware of any other case in which a federal court has entered a prison release of this magnitude over the objection of a state defendant.”

Such federal interventions have become increasingly rare under the Prison Litigation Reform Act, which restricts inmates’ access to courts and prohibits federal courts from imposing population caps on prisons except as a last resort.

Prison reform advocates said Tuesday that the state would probably lose any appeal of the reduction order.

“These are cases that have been going on for more than 15 years,” said David Fathi, the director of the United States program for Human Rights Watch. Mr. Fathi added, “The record in regard to constitutional violations is massive, and the judges have tried other less intrusive remedies before.”

Although the state spent millions of dollars on court-ordered changes, the judges ruled Tuesday that the system still violates the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has shifted between supporting the court-ordered changes and, as state deficits grew and political pressures intensified, fighting them. In June, Mr. Schwarzenegger reneged on a deal with the federal receiver that would have provided $3 billion to build two prison hospitals and renovate other facilities to create 5,000 beds for ill inmates. An earlier plan was for the state to pay $8 billion for 10,000 prison hospital beds.

The governor has also pushed his own prison construction plan and a parole overhaul as ways to reduce prison crowding and to fix inmate health care services without federal intrusion.

But the court pointed out on Tuesday that the state had not committed enough money toward the governor’s prison construction plan and that even if that money was provided, it would take years for the state to build its way out of the overpopulation crisis.

The judges on the panel were Stephen Reinhardt of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and two Federal District Court judges from California, Lawrence K. Karlton and Thelton E. Henderson.
28634  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Astronomy on: August 04, 2009, 12:59:56 AM

The diversity of your reading impresses.
28635  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Guro Crafty 8/1-2 Fort Hood, TX on: August 04, 2009, 12:13:05 AM
Warrior Talk-- Gabe Suarez's forum.

Had a blast this weekend.  Lots of military (one from Fort Carson CO and two from Fort Polk LA) various LEOs and a goodly number of quasi-normal citizens. wink    I was invited to the Army's Combatives tournament that began today on the base-- 250 fighters or so and was asked to do a demo.  Good times.   Good to see the good work that DBMA Group Leader SFC Gus Reina is doing and looking forward to the next time.

28636  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Knife for Self Defense on: August 04, 2009, 12:02:43 AM
Just a quick yip from Texas:

Very interesting conversation and thanks to Maxx for sharing.

Concerning not accessing his knife:  Why would he?  He was not aware that the man had accessed a weapon and was using it.
28637  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Daily Expression of Gratitude on: August 03, 2009, 11:53:10 PM
And profoundly grateful for your brotherly friendship and what you bring to our Tribe.

Grateful for the trip to Killeen, Texas this past weekend and for the Combatives tournament at Fort Hood today and all the fine soldiers I have met these past few days.  America is in your debt.
28638  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant on: July 31, 2009, 06:35:22 AM
Out of town for a seminar until Tuesday night.  Don't know how much posting I will be doing in the meantime.

28639  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Guro Crafty 8/1-2 Fort Hood, TX on: July 31, 2009, 05:25:27 AM
Leaving in a few hours-- really pysched to see Gus, his crew, all the WTers, and meet new friends.
28640  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Federalist 57 on: July 31, 2009, 05:11:53 AM
"If it be asked what is to restrain the House of Representatives from making legal discriminations in favor of themselves and a particular class of the society? I answer, the genius of the whole system, the nature of just and constitutional laws, and above all the vigilant and manly spirit which actuates the people of America, a spirit which nourishes freedom, and in return is nourished by it." --Federalist No. 57, February 19, 1788
28641  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: July 31, 2009, 03:41:24 AM

Good to have a thorough piece on that subject.  Thanks.
28642  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Lonely Dog's Report on: July 30, 2009, 09:25:29 PM
Posted on behalf of Lonely Dog:


Hi Marc

I'm sitting here on the floor in our new and empty apartment.  We just moved in yesterday.  Today we clean the old apartment and I will unplug my computer in the next minutes.  I will have no internet access for the next days. so I took the opportunity to write a short Gathering report...

Please post it for me on the forum.



Gathering 2009 in Bern

This year we had like last year 2 days of fighting. The “Tribal Gathering” on Friday and the “Regular Gathering” on Saturday. On Friday we had 40 fighters, and on Saturday even some more. The fighters came from various countries (Switzerland, Germany, England, Scotland, Italy, Spain, France, Greece, Poland and USA).

Unfortunately this year Guro could not be with us  so I had to host the event by myself.   I have to admit that I was quite nervous… I would like to thank Guro Marc for the trust in me.

After I open the day with the magic words, I continued with reading a letter that Guro Marc sent me. While reading the letter I wore Marc’s famous jeans jacket, which he gave me after he promoted me to Guro. With wearing that jacket I wanted to underline that in spirit he is here with us all.
“A Howl of Greeting to All:
Due to the change of date of the Euro Gathering to a date which conflicts with family commitments, I am not able to be there with you this time.

It certainly feels very strange and unsettling to not be at a Gathering, but upon reflection I realize that the fact that my vision of the Dog Brothers which began so long ago has gotten to a point where I CAN miss a day is really a sign of tremendous progress towards the birth of a tribe which will outlive us all.  For this, I am deeply happy.”

While reading the last 2 sentences I really had goose bumps… the letter continued with:
”For those of you fighting for the first time and are worried about whether you will fight well, allow me to ask you a three part question:
Remember the first time you had sex?  Were you any good at it?  Have you gotten better since then?

What matters is that you keep on being here in this space-- for these are days in which you will create and install in your spirit the place where you are forever young so that you will walk as a warrior for all your days.

As you step out into the magical space, feel the gift of your aliveness and be present in the moment.

The Learning that takes place in the adrenal state is some of the deepest and highest that there is.  The greater the adrenal state, the profounder the Learning. The greater the state of Play, the better the result. The more that one can move in both directions simultaneously, the better. "The greater the dichotomy, the profounder the transformation. Higher consciousness through harder contact." (c)

See you all next time.
Crafty Dog
Guiding Force of the Dog Brothers.”

Now everybody was very motivated to start the day.

As last year we decided go without the warm up knife rounds, so it was again a almost stick only day. As usual most fights were done with single sticks or double stick. Although we had also some nice fights with some exotic weapons. “Dog” Andy Hommel who trained and explored the last years a lot with flexible weapons had some great fights with: Nunchaku, Flail, and 3 sectional staff.

On both days, we had a lot of great fights. It was amazing to see the progress that many fighters did since the last year. Most fights were very technical and ones could recognize that the fighters followed game plans and strategies. We saw many fights on a high level and with great spirit. Although the fights were though we had only a few injuries.

Both days I organized a barbeque for the fighters, so we could sit around the Campfire and chat about the this adventure and that it will continued…

After I had a council of elders meeting through phone call with Marc, I had the permission to do the “Dog Dubbing” on Sunday during the seminar.

The “Council of Elders” is proud to announce the new members of the Tribe.

Marcus "Giri Dog" Schillinger

Andy "C-Flexi Dog" Hommel
Jerome “C-Frisbee Dog” Challon
Peter "C-Grumpy Dog" Fray
Thomas "C-Sword Dog" Rickert
Torben "C-Old Dog" Lorenian
Chris “C-Rogue Dog” Smith
Martin “C-? Dog” Blatter (Tinu asked me to give him a name, still need some time to find a good one)

Lynn "C-Psycho Bitch " Brown
"Cat" Heather Kerr

"Dog" Davide Musi
"Dog" Heiko Zauske
"Dog" Manfred Schilka
"Dog" Shanu Singh
"Dog" Stefan Ramsauer
"Dog" Thorsten Picker
"Dog" Thomas Britschgi
"Dog" Simon Godsland

All in all it was a very exciting and successful event. And we all are looking forward with anticipation to the next Euro Gathering in July 2010.

Guro Benjamin “Lonely Dog” Rittiner
28643  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Denial of a Taliban truce on: July 30, 2009, 08:22:35 AM
I found this piece by Stratfor particularly fascinating-- are we actually beginning to have the semblance of a strategy?

Geopolitical Diary: Denial of a Taliban Truce
July 28, 2009
An official spokesman for the Afghan Taliban movement has denied a claim by President Hamid Karzai that the Afghan government negotiated a truce with the insurgent movement in western Badghis province.

The denial on Monday came only hours after a presidential spokesman announced the truce: Siamak Herawi had claimed that 20 days of talks with local tribal elders had concluded on July 25 with the signing of a cease-fire agreement, which led to militants pulling out of three areas in Bala Murghab district and the withdrawal of Afghan National Army units from compounds captured from militants in the region. The subsequent Taliban denial was accompanied by violence: Two militants were killed and two police wounded during an insurgent ambush of a police patrol in Bala Murghab district.

The details suggest that the Karzai government might have reached some form of agreement with local Taliban leaders somewhere in Badghis province. If so, it would be the first such deal between Kabul and the Pashtun jihadists since the insurgency began in late 2001. Truces are indeed part of the overall U.S. counterinsurgency strategy, which is why Herawi described the alleged July 25 agreement as “a model that other provinces and areas are also trying to use.”

But even if an actual truce was achieved, it certainly didn’t last long, and it was reported to have been in effect in only one of seven districts in the province, which itself is a remote Taliban outpost on the border with Turkmenistan, in a region dominated by the Hazara and Aimak ethnic minorities. A backwater in the war, Badghis province has seen little in the way of Taliban activity compared to areas in southern, eastern and northern Afghanistan.

While there might have been a short-lived truce — and such deals are part of the U.S. counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan — a great many obstacles remain before Washington or Kabul will be able to engage in any meaningful dialogue with the Taliban.

Any truce in Bala Murghab district was likely the work of local insurgents who were promptly overruled by the central Taliban leadership, which is most concerned about insulating local Taliban elements from U.S. and NATO efforts to co-opt the insurgency.

This could be one reason why Mullah Mohammad Omar issued a Taliban code-of-conduct manual, as reported by Al Jazeera on Monday. The manual quotes Mullah Omar as forbidding the creation of new jihadist units, and it calls upon his commanders to disband unofficial factions that refuse to subordinate to the central Taliban leadership.

Mullah Omar is clearly trying to consolidate his hold over the various commanders across Afghanistan, who have enjoyed a great degree of autonomy in almost eight years of war. Along with the central shura, Mullah Omar has been in hiding for years. The Taliban, who have the upper hand in Afghanistan’s conflict, have no need at present to negotiate for a slice of the political pie: They can create a new one after, as they expect, they force Western troops out of Afghanistan. But at the same time, the Taliban realize that the United States and NATO are not about to leave the country as long as it remains a sanctuary for al Qaeda-led transnational jihadists who dream of striking at the West.

STRATFOR has learned that Mullah Omar is actually open to the idea of disassociating from al Qaeda as part of a negotiated settlement that would result in Western forces leaving Afghanistan. The collapse of the Badghis truce, if there was one, does not mean the Taliban are not interested in negotiations or cease-fires. They are — but only under certain circumstances. While the government in Kabul and its Western backers see cease-fire deals with local militants as a means of weakening the Taliban (by bypassing the central leadership), Mullah Omar wants any cease-fire talks to be held with the central leadership. He has outlined certain conditions that would make that possible.

These include the Taliban’s removal from the international terrorist list, the release of Taliban prisoners and the freedom of the Taliban to function as a legal political movement. The leaders want to be able to see progress on these demands before they move forward on other issues. For the United States, however, these are unacceptable demands, especially while the insurgents have the upper hand in the fighting and as the United States struggles to develop the intelligence needed to distinguish between reconcilable and irreconcilable elements among the Taliban.

Even the Taliban are not exactly in a condition to come quickly to the table. They have a host of internal issues that must be sorted out, including challenges from hard-line factions allied with al Qaeda — especially the one led by Haji Mansour Dadullah (brother of Mullah Dadullah, who was killed in a U.S. air strike). There is also the matter of dealing with Taliban factions across the border, whose war against the Pakistani state is seen by the Afghan Taliban as undermining the insurgency in Afghanistan.

The idea of a truce with the Taliban is not an improbable notion, but it is not likely to be meaningful if negotiated only on a local level. And given the problems facing both sides in the Afghan war, a real truce or even meaningful talks are unlikely anytime soon.
28644  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Gathering Report from Lonely Dog on: July 30, 2009, 07:12:48 AM
Euro Gathering report inadvertently posted here.  Deleted.
28645  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Vaccine for dogs for snake bite on: July 30, 2009, 06:59:22 AM

Is there a snake bite vaccine for dogs?

There is a vaccine against rattlesnakes for dogs. For more information, see
28646  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Snake and other venomous bites on: July 30, 2009, 06:55:52 AM
28647  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Paine: taxation on: July 30, 2009, 06:32:47 AM
"If, from the more wretched parts of the old world, we look at those which are in an advanced stage of improvement, we still find the greedy hand of government thrusting itself into every corner and crevice of industry, and grasping the spoil of the multitude. Invention is continually exercised, to furnish new pretenses for revenues and taxation. It watches prosperity as its prey and permits none to escape without tribute." --Thomas Paine, Rights of Man, 1791
28648  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california on: July 29, 2009, 08:31:42 PM
A year or so from now I may well be a Californian no longer, but nonetheless, here's this:,0,757702.story
Putting California back together
The state's Constitution needs a rewrite -- and the federal Constitution should be the model.
By Tom Karako
July 26, 2009
If this year's budget quagmire in Sacramento has you thinking there must be a better way, there is. To the extent that California is ungovernable today, it is partly because its legislative and executive branches are too weak and dysfunctional to resist entrenched special interests and non-elected bureaucracies. Fixing these problems requires constitutional change. It won't be easy, but the time has come to do it.

Over the last 130 years, California's Constitution has assumed the size of a textbook. The ease of amendment by initiative and referendum has produced endless gimmicks that diffuse accountability, confuse the public and produce thoroughly dysfunctional governance. People from across the political spectrum are calling for a constitutional convention.

If Californians do rewrite the Constitution, it should be revised to resemble more closely the concise federal Constitution: more responsible legislators and executives, stronger control of the bureaucracy and less direct democracy.

Of the many reforms being circulated, the Founding Fathers might approve these six.

Part-time Legislature: Forty-three states have part-time legislative sessions, and California should too. Freed from a yearlong legislative cycle, legislators would spend less time conspiring to make government increasingly complicated and intrusive, and more time in their districts meeting constituents. A part-time Legislature does not mean a part-time government. The execution of laws is constant, but the making of those laws can be done in advance.

A part-time Legislature should not be a "citizen legislature" resembling jurors who legislate as a kind of hobby. With the economy and geography of a small nation, California merits professional legislators to master the job we hire them to do. Salaries should remain the same, lest legislators be limited to the affluent, the corrupt and the amateur.

Hard spending cap: In 1979, voters passed the so-called Gann Amendment by a wide margin, imposing a severe formula of fiscal restraint tied to increases in population, inflation and economic growth. Unfortunately, Gann was eviscerated in 1988 when teachers unions pushed through Proposition 98 by a razor-thin margin, mandating huge increases in education spending.

A spending cap similar to Gann would again be prudent. If it resulted in a surplus, extra revenue could be returned to taxpayers or saved in a rainy-day fund, provided it could not be too easily raided by legislators.

Two-year budgeting cycle: The Legislature should be restricted to figuring out a budget one year, and only in the second year could it consider other legislation.

Eliminate the two-thirds supermajority requirement for budgets: A more controversial but necessary reform would be to reduce the two-thirds supermajority vote to pass state budgets, while retaining that requirement for tax increases. The current system, requiring two-thirds for both, has diffused responsibility without protecting the state from excessive spending. If voters want to give a clear majority of their representation to one party, let the majority prevail -- and let the people judge the consequences. Only three other states require a supermajority for budgets, but 15 require a supermajority to raise taxes.

Unified executive branch: When Americans elected Barack Obama, he got to fill his Cabinet not with a hodgepodge of John McCain and Obama appointees working at cross purposes but with nominees who would implement the president's policies. Similar unity would improve government in a state as large as California.

It is dysfunctional to have executive officers separately elected and in competition with one another, as are many executive officers in California.

The governor should also have greater latitude in firing and controlling non-elected bureaucrats and public employee unions that pursue their own agendas at taxpayer expense.

Repeal ballot-box budgeting: Budget-making is a complicated process that involves priorities and trade-offs. It is not well-suited to direct democracy, when the people can only register an up-or-down vote.

California's decades of ballot-box budgeting has helped to produce a monstrous Constitution, with mandates for specific amounts of spending that inevitably tie the hands of the Legislature and limit flexibility.

The need for flexibility was seen when Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) offered up two of his favored programs, in Propositions 1D and 1E on the May ballot, redirecting their surplus billions to pay bills from the general fund. That would have saved the state $1 billion this year alone. But voters' anger at Proposition 1A's tax increases understandably doomed 1D and 1E, precluding nuance.

A better system would be to repeal all past ballot-box budgeting and put the programs under the general fund. Legislators would be able to set priorities, and the people would judge the results.

The genius of representative government, James Madison wrote, is excluding the people in their collective capacity from the direct business of governing. Hand the task of budgets back to our elected representatives, the ones we hired to make these hard decisions.

California needs constitutional reform before we can expect sustained fiscal reform. Whether that comes from a package of initiatives or a constitutional convention, it should focus on strong, responsible political institutions and draw on the wisdom of the U.S. Constitution.

Tom Karako directs the Claremont Institute's Golden State Center.
28649  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Humor/WTF on: July 29, 2009, 08:20:20 PM
An elderly man in Louisiana had owned a large farm for several years. He
had a large pond in the back. It was properly shaped for swimming, so he
fixed it up nice with picnic tables, horseshoe courts, and some apple, and
peach trees.

One evening the old farmer decided to go down to the pond, as he hadn't
been there for a while, and look it over. He grabbed a five-gallon bucket
to bring back some fruit.
As he neared the pond, he heard voices shouting and laughing with glee. As
he came closer, he saw it was a bunch of young women skinny-dipping in his
pond. He made the women aware of his presence and they all went to the
deep end. One of the women shouted to him, 'we're not coming out until you

The old man frowned, 'I didn't come down here to watch you ladies swim naked
or make you get out of the pond naked.'

Holding the bucket up he said, 'I'm here to feed the alligator.'

Some old men can still think fast.
28650  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DBMA Lacrosse Staff on: July 29, 2009, 04:16:38 PM
"© Barbara K. Adamski"

Lacrosse (excerpt) by Barb Adamski. The Canadian Encyclopedia. © 2009 Historica Foundation of Canada <>

Men's Field Lacrosse

Men's field lacrosse is played by two teams of 10 on an outdoor field. The most noticeable difference between field lacrosse and other forms is the use of much longer sticks by the three defencemen on each team. The World
Lacrosse Championships take place every four years. In 2006, Canada won its first championship in nearly three decades when it defeated the United States of America 15-10. Many players on Canada's national field lacrosse
team play box lacrosse as well.

Women's Field Lacrosse

Women's field lacrosse is a non-contact sport played with 12 players per team. Ball movement and effective stick handling are key elements of the sport, and the shallowness of the stick's pocket makes catching and maintaining control of the ball more challenging. The first game of women's field lacrosse took place in Scotland in 1890.

Box Lacrosse

Box lacrosse was developed in the 1930s as a way to take advantage of hockey arenas left vacant during the summer months. Boxla (as it is also known) is sometimes referred to as the fastest sport on two feet. Rebounds and checks off the boards make the game exciting to watch, and a 30-second shot clock that requires a team to either score in half a minute or relinquish the ball to their opponent leads to a high-scoring game. Box lacrosse is usually played on a cement surface.

Professional indoor lacrosse is similar to box lacrosse in many ways, including the number of players per side (6), its use of the 30-second clock and the existence of boards surrounding the playing surface. Professional indoor lacrosse is played on a turf carpet.


Inter-crosse, the newest form of lacrosse, is a low-risk activity, designed for schools and recreation programs. The easy-to-play indoor game uses molded plastic sticks and a soft, lightweight ball, and teaches participants
the fundamentals of lacrosse: scooping, carrying, passing, and catching the ball.
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