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29551  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Emergency Tips and Emergency Medicine on: November 09, 2008, 05:08:17 PM
Just noticed this in C-Kaju's post of last year concerning tourniquets:

"No matter whether applying an ACE bandage, Pressure dressing or Tourniquet...  Always, check "PMS" (Pulse, Motor skills - ie. can you wiggle your fingers/toes and Sensation - ie "can you tell me what finger/toe I am touching?") distal to the wound site."

If I feel a pulse does is that a good thing, or does it mean that the Tourniquet is not tight enough?  huh 
29552  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Emergency Tips and Emergency Medicine on: November 09, 2008, 04:19:15 PM
Second post of the day:

Austere and survival medicine


Where there is no doctor


Where there is no dentist

Resouce listings:

First Aid Manual


Aprehospital spinal care manual from australia. 235 pages PDF.

This manual has been produced for training and educational purposes only and is not for sale. It
can be downloaded for printing (at no charge) at PSC

29553  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Sugar as an anti-biotic on: November 09, 2008, 02:54:48 PM

The use of antibiotics by the PHCP in the field has the inherent dangers of improper dosing and allergic reactions. The associated activities of preparing the N/antibiotic infusion and monitoring the N drip rates can be difficult during patient transport. Given these drawbacks, the use of granulated sugar for the treatment of infected wounds offers a practical, proven approach for wound care. The use of granulated sugar for treatment of infected wounds is recommended by some as a treatment of first choice. Sugar has been called a nonspecific universal antimicrobial agent. 8 Based on its safety, ease of use, and availability, sugar therapy for the treatment of infected wounds is very applicable to the needs of the PHCP.

Sugar and honey were used to treat the wounds of combatants thousands of years ago. Battlefield wounds in ancient Egypt were treated with a mixture of honey and lard packed daily into the wound and covered with muslin. Modern sugar therapy uses a combination of granulated sugar (sucrose) and povidone-iodine (PI) solution to enhance wound healing.

As with any traumatic wound, the wound is first irrigated and debrided. Hemostasis is obtained prior to the application of the sugar (PI) dressing since sugar can promote bleeding in a fresh wound. A wait of 24 to 48 hours before the application of sugar is not unusual. During this delay, a simple PI dressing is applied to the wound. Once bleeding is under control, deep wounds are treated by pouring granulated sugar into the wound, making sure to fill all cavities. The wound is then covered with a gauze sponge soaked in povidone-iodine solution.

Superficial wounds are dressed with PI-soaked gauze sponges coated with approximately 0.65 cm thickness of sugar. In a few hours, the granulated sugar is dissolved into a "syrup" by body fluid drawn into the wound site. Since the effect of granulated sugar upon bacteria is based upon osmotic shock and withdrawal of water that is necessary for bacterial growth and reproduction, this diluted syrup has little antibacterial capacity and may aid rather than inhibit bacterial growth.

So to continually inhibit bacterial growth, the wound is cleaned with water and repacked at least one to four times daily (or as soon as the granular sugar becomes diluted) with more solute (sugar) to "reconcentrate" the aqueous solution in the environment of the bacteria.

A variety of case reports provide amazing data supporting the use of sugar in treating infected wounds. Dr. Leon Herszage treated 120 cases of infected wounds and other superficial lesions with ordinary granulated sugar purchased in a supermarket. The sugar was not mixed with any anti-septic, and no antibiotics were used concurrently. Of these 120 cases, there was a 99.2 percent cure rate, with a time of cure varying between 9 days to 17 weeks. Odor and secretions from the wound usually diminished within 24 hours and disappeared in 72 to 96 hours from onset of treatment.

Photo 23: Sugardyne is a commercially available sugar/povidone-iodine com- pound. Its proven antimicrobial properties make it particularly useful for infected wounds encountered in the field. (Sugardyne donated by Dr. RichardA. Knutson; distributed by Sugardyne Pharmaceuticals, INC.,Greenville, MS 38701.)

Like Dr. Herszage, Dr. Richard A. Knutson has had very successful results from the use of sugar in wounds. One of Dr. Knutson's most unique cases is recounted as follows.
A 93-year-old man was treated at Delta Medical Center for a fracture of his right hip. Concurrently, he received treatment for an old injury to his left leg, sustained 43 years earlier in 1936, when a tree had fallen on the leg while he was chopping wood. He had sustained an open fracture of the tibia and soft tissue loss to the leg anteriorly. Although the fracture had healed, bone remained exposed, surrounded by a chronic draining ulcer 20 cm x 8 cm overall. The patient was able to recall the various treatments used in attempts to heal the ulcer-iodoform, scarlet red, zinc oxide, nitrofurazone, sulfa, and a long list of antibiotics-all to no avail. He said that he had outlived six of the surgeons who had advised amputation. He was started on sugar/pI dressings, and then changed to treatment with sugar/PI compound as an inpatient. After hip surgery, the ulcer healed completely in 13 weeks. The ulcer defect filled completely, and skin grafting was not necessary.
29554  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Looking for fighters for stickfighting TV series on: November 09, 2008, 01:42:01 PM
Hmmm, , , how about this:  You put together your resume and the rest of your demo reel, send it in, and if I think you have a shot at it and you are willing to pay my editor for the time it takes him to find your fight, then the answer is yes.
29555  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sharia 101 on: November 09, 2008, 10:31:09 AM
At my request, a couple of days ago GM posted some very interesting articles on the Bush administration's proposals regarding SCF (Sharia Compliant Finance) in the Political Economy thread, but now I am thinking that the subject really belongs here, and so I incorporate those posts by reference here and apologize for the inconvenience of having to look them up there  embarassed

Following up, here's this on Sharia Finance:
29556  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: November 09, 2008, 10:15:05 AM
This guy is very smart and very funny.  I hope he goes bigtime:
29557  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Looking for fighters for stickfighting TV series on: November 08, 2008, 10:49:40 PM

Woof All:

My name is Marc "Crafty Dog" Denny.  Some of you may know me as "the Guiding
Force" of "the Dog Brothers" and/or the Head Instructor of Dog Brothers
Martial Arts. .  Today I speak as Dog Brothers Inc.

I have been asked by a well established Producer with a good track record in
doing athletically oriented television series for major networks to help
develop a television show based upon stick and other weaponry fights, so I
am looking for fighters.  For the right men, this could be a very special
opportunity to build a career doing something you love.

For now I need to leave out the actual concept for the show.  Know that it
will be interesting and quite distinctive from shows like The Ultimate
Fighter, Fight Quest, and others of their ilk.  Trust me-- we will be
outside the box in many ways!

Although much of the fighting will be similar to our "Dog Brother Real
Contact Stickfighting" (see the fight clips at to get an idea) because
these fights will be professional there will be some important differences.

If you would like to be considered, we need to see the following-- all
submissions become the property of Dog Brothers Inc.:

1) a one page resume.  The resume should include the following:
    a) age, height, weight, citizenship, languages, website/mypage/etc. if
    b) martial arts background: systems, styles, teachers, fighting
experience, competitive athletic background etc.
    c) contact info

2) Photos:  a) Head Shot
                 b) Full Body shot.  Not to worry if you are not body

3) The ideal candidate will be capable in as many of the following areas as
possible, but it is understood that no one will be capable in all areas.
Demonstrate as many or as few of the following as you wish.  Know that if
you suck at it, you are better leaving it out altogether!

   a) Double stick
   b) Single stick
   c) Staff
   d) knife
   e) emptyhand skills: MMA or otherwise
   f) gun skills (pistol, rifle, paintball)
   g) other (e.g. sword and shield, whip, nunchaku, fencing, etc)
   h) footage that indicates your strength and conditioning level.

These skills should be presented both solo and against a partner/opponent.
If you have fight footage please include it. MAKE CLEAR WHICH FIGHTER IS YOU
(e.g. title on screen "I am fighter in blue shorts")

ATTENTION:  It is easy to develop a bit of diarrhea of the ego in assembling
such a demo disc.  KNOW THAT the people who will be watching this (e.g. me)
are well seasoned in these things and do not need to see a lot to size up
your movement and skills.  While some flash is fine (indeed it helps sell on
TV) remember that we are looking for fighters.

Know that if you run on too long, you run the chance of the viewer just
deciding to click on to the next candidate.   Remember, we will be looking
at a lot of these.  While the footage need not be shot professionally, it
should be easy to watch and hear.

4) Talk to the camera:  head/upper body shot, with good clear audio.   We
want to get a sense of why you do martial arts,  what your philosophy is,
why you want to do this, something interesting about yourself etc.  We want
to get a sense of your personality, so JUST BE YOURSELF.
Unconventional/colorful is OK.  So too is conventional/serious.  JUST BE

Please send your resume and Demo Reel/Disc to

Marc "Crafty Dog" Denny
Attention: TV Project
703 Pier Ave #664
Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

The Adventure begins!
Marc "Crafty Dog" Denny
29558  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues on: November 08, 2008, 06:30:16 PM
Just because he thinks Michele Malkin is?  cheesy  Anyway, I don't think he would do that with me smiley  I think he's a very nice person.  A bit confused on some of the issues perhaps, thinks with his heart perhaps, finds it hard to back down when overextended perhaps  but it is not as if he is the only one here with that quirk  wink  A bit more seriously, I'd like to give a gentle tug on the leash in request of moving on from further reference to JDN's failure to back up his accusations of MM.
29559  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: November 08, 2008, 06:09:54 PM

Good posts.
29560  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for Reps/Conservatives on: November 08, 2008, 09:56:13 AM
These words bear re-reading-- especially with BO about to give driver licences to illegals, and the vote to anyone with a driver's license:

"As for your point about the immigration thing there is probably a small *majority* of Americans (not only those on the "far right") who want the illegal immigration flood stopped.  And I agree with this stance.  I want to dispose of old laws that make it ok for people to come here illegally and utilize our hospitals to have babies who are thus legal citizens automatically.  Or for those who come here be able to bring 12 or what is it 18 relatives over to live here.  I bet more than 50% of Americans would still agree with this. 

"But!!!  I question if it is not *too late* for this because the voting power of the immigrants and particularly the Latino immigrants is now so huge they can make or break national candidates.  Look at California, New Mexico, Colorado, and possibly NY and NJ etc.
These states have huge Latino voters. 

"I feel we must be realists.  Some including Rove have felt if we get too strict with the Latinos we "will lose them for generations."
After seeing the Latino voting polls he appears to be right and that was even after W and McCain taking leniency.

"Rove was pointing out how Latinos have conservative values with regards to work ethic and family and religion.  While that may be true I see them wanting government sponsored health care and many government programs.  If they loved Repub. ideals so much they would vote for that party.  But many love the big government the Dems offer." 
29561  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for Reps/Conservatives on: November 08, 2008, 09:34:21 AM
Occasionally Coulter is still funny, but mostly I wouldn't even let her perform fellatio on me. cheesy

OTOH IMHO President Reagan remains profoundly relevant on many levels, not least of which is the , , , audacity of believing in free minds, free markets, freedom of choice, freedom of worship, the pursuit of happiness, and America.

Here's this from today's WSJ:

After the shellacking it received at the polls Tuesday, the Republican Party faces a choice. It can put the loss down to the country's fatigue with the Bush Administration and the bad luck of running amid a financial panic and shrug it off. Or it can choose a new direction, with new leadership, and retake the high ground it once occupied, especially on the economy.

Paul Ryan
These columns are devoted to ideas, not party, and ordinarily we would not insert ourselves into the internal debate over party leadership. But in the current political and economic climate, it is important that somebody offer an effective argument against the interventionist, antigrowth conventional wisdom that dominates the majority party in Congress. And if the Republican Party would offer that counterargument, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan seems to be the right man to make the case.

Mr. Ryan was first elected in 1998, and he has always won re-election comfortably in a state and a district that are not particularly safe territory for Republicans. Racine County, which represents the biggest piece of Mr. Ryan's district in southeastern Wisconsin, voted for Barack Obama, 53%-46%, but still voted to re-elect Mr. Ryan 62%-37%. He is, in other words, a politician practiced in speaking to and winning over voters who are not necessarily die-hard Republicans.

But the most important reason that Mr. Ryan is the right man at the current moment has nothing to do with electoral calculation. The 38-year-old Mr. Ryan cares about free markets and economic growth and can talk about those subjects in a way that makes sense without falling back on ideology, bromides or oversimplification. He engages these subjects with a vigor that befits his age, and while he has been in Congress for nearly a decade, his is a fresh face on the national scene, one not associated with the bipartisan failures of Congress.

Mr. Ryan is also an effective communicator on television, which will be an important outlet for reaching the American people and presenting an alternative to the economic ideas of Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi and Charlie Rangel. This summer, with a Presidential election well underway and his party in the minority, Mr. Ryan unveiled a far-sighted "Road Map for America's Future."

It is a remarkable document: Other politicians, including Presidential candidates, boldly declare their intentions to push any hard or painful choices off to blue-ribbon commissions. Mr. Ryan's Road Map puts into legislative language not mere general principles, but a plan to pay for all the promises we've made to seniors while preventing government spending from achieving French proportions. "I want to be the Paul Revere of fiscal policy," he said at the time, raising the alarm on our long-term liabilities even while President-elect Obama and others insist that there's nothing to see when it comes to the long-term insolvency of Medicare and Social Security.

More generally, the Republican Party needs a prominent figure who can discuss the full range of economic issues -- growth, the dollar, global trade and monetary policy included. The economy was the top issue on voter minds in this election, and Republicans lost. The party needs someone who can put these issues into a context that voters can understand and relate to. And looking at the national field, there seem precious few candidates for the job.

Mr. Ryan did not solicit our support, and we should note that he said Thursday that he isn't seeking the leadership job. John Boehner, the current leader, wasn't the cause of this year's GOP losses and is the favorite to retain his position. If that's what House Republicans want to do, so be it. Our job is to say what we think in any case. And Mr. Ryan's economic knowledge and youthful energy make him the best choice to pull his party in a more promising direction.
29562  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues on: November 08, 2008, 08:36:49 AM
I'm shocked, absolutely schocked, to discover that this wonderful news is not being reported in the MSM!  rolleyes cheesy
29563  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: November 08, 2008, 08:30:42 AM
  #1       Yesterday, 09:48 PM 
Senior Member   Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: San Francisco, TX. I mean Austin...
Posts: 222 
 Mexico Seizes Hundreds of Drug-Cartel Weapons in Record Raid


ok, so who is thinking about responding with "they better not check out my basement"? you should go to this link and check out the extra photos. i like the gold plated desert eagle.,2933,449045,00.html

Friday, November 07, 2008


Nov. 7, 2008; Soldiers stand guard around a presentation of arms captured in an operation against the Gulf cartel in Mexico City.

MEXICO CITY — The Mexican army on Friday announced that it has made the largest seizure of drug-cartel weapons in Mexico's history.

The cache of 540 rifles, 165 grenades, 500,000 rounds of ammunition and 14 sticks of TNT were seized on Thursday at a house in the city of Reynosa, across the border from McAllen, Texas, Mexican Assistant Attorney General Marisela Morales said.
"The seizure ... is the largest in the history of Mexico involving organized crime," Morales told reporters at Defense Department headquarters, where the army displayed hundreds of rifles, pistols, and shotguns, and laid out rows of grenades and crates of ammunition.

Morales said the largest previous bust involved a cache of 280 weapons found in 1984.

The weapons in this latest seizure belonged to the Gulf drug cartel, an official said after Morales made her statement. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the news media.
Soldiers detected the cache when they chased suspects into the home after the men refused orders to stop, Morales said. Three suspects were detained.

It was unclear whether the raid was related to an FBI intelligence report obtained by a Texas newspaper in October that warned the Gulf cartel was stockpiling high-powered weapons in Reynosa to prepare for possible confrontations with U.S. law enforcement. Morales did not take questions from reporters.

The man who allegedly leads the cartel's hit squad in the area, Jaime Gonzalez Duran, was mentioned in the FBI report as having ordered dozens of hit men to the Reynosa area as part of those plans.

Gonzalez Duran was arrested in Reynosa on Friday.
29564  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Reshaping the bioethical landscape on: November 08, 2008, 07:56:27 AM
Reshaping the bioethical landscape
Nov 08, 2008 | Comments| Email to friend | Print
The electoral tidal wave which swept Democrat Barack Obama into the White House and Democrat majorities into the Senate and the House of Representatives could reshape the bioethical landscape in the United States.

The most obvious issue isabortion. Mr Obama is a strong supporter of a woman's right to abortion. The leading abortion action group, Planned Parenthood, gave him "100%" on its electoral scorecard. After reviewing Obama's legislative record, Professor Robert P. George, of Princeton University, wrote a scathing analysis of his views on pro-life issues. His conclusion: "Barack Obama is the most extreme pro-abortion candidate ever to seek the office of President of the United States. He is the most extreme pro-abortion member of the United States Senate. Indeed, he is the most extreme pro-abortion legislator ever to serve in either house of the United States Congress."

Under George W. Bush, a relatively pro-life president, abortion activists felt threatened. On his first day in office he had blocked federal aid to foreign groups that promoted abortion. He appointed two justices to the Supreme Court who apparently took a dim view of Roe v. Wade, John Roberts and Samuel Alito. He signed a ban on partial-birth abortion. His appointees in the Federal bureaucracy tried to thwart sales of emergency contraception to minors and promoted abstinence-only sex education. In Planned Parenthood's eyes, Bush had declared war on women.

Nor, before the election, was the situation in all of the 50 states altogether favourable for abortion supporters. The 1973 Roe v. Wade decision by the Supreme Court effectively guaranteed abortion on demand. However, opponents have managed to restrict this in a number of small ways on a state-by-state basis - banning late-term abortions, requiring parental notification, mandatory counselling, restricting health insurance payouts and so on. These form a patchwork of regulation throughout the 50 states.

But with the election of Obama and a Congressional majority which is broadly favourable to abortion rights, all restrictions could vanish. In 2007, as both sides of the abortion divide remember well, Obama promised Planned Parenthood that "the first thing I'd do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act" (FOCA). This act has been kicking around Congress since 2004, but Obama became a co-sponsor of the Senate version in 2007. The purpose of FOCA is to codify Roe v. Wade, invalidating every restriction on abortion at least up to the stage of viability.

The website of the new administration's transition team does not mention FOCA. But it does reassure abortion activists that Obama "has been a consistent champion of reproductive choice and will make preserving women's rights under Roe v. Wade a priority as President. He opposes any constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court's decision in that case." It also declares that he will support the Prevention First Act, which will increase funding for family planning and comprehensive sex education and promote emergency contraception.

Obama still has not taken office, so many details remain to be worked out. Will hospitals which currently refuse to do abortions be threatened with loss of funding? Will health care workers effectively lose the right to conscientious objection in abortion and emergency contraception?

Stem cell research is another area which will be affected by the Democrats' victory. Obama supports "research of human embryonic stem cells derived from embryos donated (with consent) from in vitro fertilization clinics". Restrictions on Federal funding for existing stem cell lines are likely to be lifted.

The result is unlikely to be a rapid proliferation of embryonic stem cell research. Few scientists are placing their hopes for cures in ESCs. First of all, after ten years, no one has yet derived a flourishing stem cell line from cloned human embryos. And second, reprogrammed cells, which are uncontroversial ethically, are currently the best hope for useful therapies. Federal funding in the Obama Administration is likely to be directed towards them.

But what will happen when Obama is asked to fund innovative fertility technologies - as he surely will be? The Parliament in the United Kingdom recently approved a thorough-going revision of its fertility act. Apart from authorising saviour siblings, making abortion easier, and doing away with the need for a father in IVF treatment, it also gave a green light to hybrid embryos and cloning embryos with tissue harvested without consent from incapacitated adults or children. The rapid advance of stem cell technologies guarantees that scientists will be creating new dilemmas for law-makers. Artificial sperm and eggs are on the horizon, for example. These would make it possible for gays to create their own children without resorting to donors. Genetic engineering could be used to manufacture children who are free of genetic diseases or who have high IQs. Given his permissive views on abortion, would Obama resist pressure to allow these techniques to proliferate? 

Another important issue which may emerge while Obama occupies the White House isphysician-assisted suicide. Voters in the state of Washington followed the lead of neighbouring Oregon on Tuesday and approved Initiative 1000, which allows doctors to prescribe legal drugs for terminally ill patients. The measure sailed through by a margin of 58% to 42%. This will embolden euthanasia activists in other states, especially California.

His attitudes on bioethical issues like these will show whether Obama is a vote-hungry pragmatist, a progressive ideologue, or basically a Christian social democrat. Any of these interpretations can be supported - although the last of these is increasingly unlikely. A few months ago, fundamentalist pastor Rick Warren organised a forum in which he tried to draw out both McCain and Obama on when life begins. McCain immediately blurted out, "At the moment of conception.". Obama wriggled: "whether you're looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade."

Bush also faced the thorny bioethical issue of stem cell research early in his first term. To give him advice he created a President's Council on Bioethics. This body was split down the middle on the issue between "progressives" and "conservatives", but under the leadership of Dr Leon Kass it produced some of the most thoughtful, well-reasoned, and eloquent discussion papers ever to emerge from a government department. Since bioethical questions are above his pay grade, Obama will no doubt appoint his own panel of bioethics experts. Which advisors he chooses will provide the best clues about the future of bioethics in the United States -- and possibly the world.
29565  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People on: November 07, 2008, 03:42:38 PM
Putting the toothpaste back in the tube is difficult:
29566  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / SFC part 3 on: November 07, 2008, 03:05:44 PM
She stated that:

"The Islamist government in Sudan was finally forced into a peace agreement in 2005 that stopped its genocidal jihad against the Christians, followers of traditional religions, and Muslims who resisted Shariah. Immediately they began a financial jihad, backed by the same Arab governments who backed the genocide. They are currently seducing Southern Sudanese desperate for education, healthcare, employment, and infrastructure with Islamic-financed schools, hospitals, roads, and mosques. Those who have been paying with their lives to resist the jihad of bombs and bullets are in danger of succumbing to the jihad of money."
She called for "those responsible within the United States government to examine the evidence that if they submit to Shariah-Compliant Finance at any level, they are putting the United States in far greater danger than an economic crisis."

Kyle Scheindler of the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) also spoke against Sharia-Compliant Finance, opposing "this act of dhimmitude by the U.S. Treasury Department that is represented by the Islamic Finance 101 meeting," and due to the recent bailouts and acquisitions, "the U.S. Treasury has a responsibility to U.S. taxpayers greater than it has possessed at any time prior to Alexander Hamilton."

He stated that "it is supremely ironic that the Treasury Department government agency responsible for prosecuting charities which fund Islamic terrorism is now considering a financial system which will mandate banks and investment products donate to those charities. Those donations will be directed by Sharia advisory boards brimming with individuals who belong to organizations that are unindicted co-conspirators" in the Holy Land Foundation terror finance retrial.

Jim Boulet of English First also joined in the condemnation of Shariah-Compliant Finance, issuing a written statement that read "in multicultural America, no one wishes to draw lines between reasoned dissent and what is effectively an effort to overthrow the American way of life." He referenced the "The Basics of the Political System in Islam" as stating that "Islam is a 'total way of life.'" Mr. Boulet stated that this ideology recognized "no separation of church and state," and "once America's financial systems is intertwined with the Islamic system of finance, other demands can be expected, demands which will transform American society." He also challenged those supporting Sharia Compliant-Finance to consider the impacts on single women seeking to have financial independence.
Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America also shared her concerns regarding Sharia-Compliant Finance. She stated that Sharia law's "intention is to control society," and expressed concerns that "accommodating Sharia through our financial system legitimizes a world view and life style that promotes the subjugation of women, the killing of infidels, the denial of human dignity, and the imposition of cruel and inhumane practices."

She challenged the representatives of the U.S. Treasury Department sponsoring the Sharia finance training to clarify what aspects of Sharia they seek to encourage in America society: "that husbands can use physical force against their wives, the early forced marriage of a girl as young as nine, that men can have multiple marriages and multiple wives, that men can have the right of custody of children and mothers have no rights of custody, that homosexuals should be stoned to death, that women accused of bringing dishonor to male relatives should be killed."

Wendy Wright stated that the "intellectuals at the Treasury Department need a shot of common sense. You can't play with fire and not get burned, and you can't accommodate Sharia without affecting society with its inhumane practices."

Warren Mendelson of the Unity Coalition for Israel also spoke to indicate his organization's support for the Coalition to Stop Shariah. He indicated that America's financial challenges leaves it vulnerable to "schemes being advanced to put our financial house in order with SCF which has the potential for far-reaching consequences more dangerous than we face today. We would make a grave mistake to adopt SCF. It is incumbent on all of us to gain a clear understanding of exactly what Sharia law means and how it will impact not only financial state of affairs but also the consequences that conflict with our Constitutional rights."

He further stated that Sharia "requries non-Muslims to live as dhimmis, second-class citizens... and be treated in a brutal and demeaning way... it mandates discrimination against women and non-Muslims, demands the murder of homosexuals, adulterers, and apostates, and requires violent jihad against all infidels, including Christians, Jews, Buddhists, and others." He continued that "Sharia law is seditious because it calls for the violent overthrow of governments like the United States and the replacement of democratic Constitutional law with its own bureaucratic code." He indicated that the nations practicing Sharia law today are "some of the most oppressive regimes in the world."

He pointed out that Sharia Compliant-Finance works by "returns on investments from companies that must be purified partially by donating a portion of their profits to charity. Charities that receive these donations are selected by Sharia experts who are members of an oversight board. There are allegations that some of the profits support major Muslim organizations suspected of having ties to terrorism." He further referenced the ongoing Holy Land Foundation retrial, as well as the Benevolence International Foundation "was closed in 2001 for allegedly supporting Islamic terrorism." He indicated that "some analysts are concerned that Islamic banking will open Western financial institutions to help further the broader Islamic agenda.. and pour in the billions and billions of petrodollars into the financial systems of the Western world."

Frank Gaffney also read a statement from coalition partner, Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy.

This statement included the following comments:
"Make no mistake, Sharia-Compliant Finance is neither about religion nor about God. It is about Islamist control and collectivization of Muslims against the West and free markets. SCF systems are nothing more than a ruse to give transnational Islamist movements and their controlling Muslim theocrats an economic power base. Attempts to appease requests by Islamists to provide so-called SCF are misguided. SCF provides sanction of a dangerous separatist economic system which incubates Islamist ideology among Muslims and keeps them apart from the general population. Islamist theocrats exploit Western deference to religious freedom in order to lay the foundations of a system which feigns religion in order to control the economic decisions of Muslims and non-Muslims alike. SCF allows governments and banks to empower Islamist theocrats who really only want to control Muslim economics rather than actually stimulate the open economic freedom of Muslims. This is the difference between theocracy and liberty, instead of lay citizens controlling their own economic transactions, the invisible hand becomes the hand of the Islamist cleric."

The Coalition to Stop Shariah also provided an expanded list of organizations that support their cause, which to date includes leaders of 25 organizations:

1. ACT for America - Brigitte Gabriel, President
2. American Center for Democracy - Rachel Ehrenfeld, President
3. American Islamic Forum for Democracy - Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, President
4. Center for Security Policy - Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., President
5. Christian Solidarity International - Father Keith Rodderick, Washington Representative
6. Committee on the Present Danger - Chet Nagle
7. Concerned Women for America - Wendy Wright, President
8. Endowment for Middle East Truth - Sarah Stern, President
9. English First - Jim Boulet, Jr. Executive Director
10. Family Security Matters - Carol Taber, founder
11. Florida Security Council - Tom Trento, President
12. Geostrategic Analysis - Peter Huessy
13. High Frontier - Hank Cooper, Chairman
14. Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity - Patrick Sookhdeo, Director and Marshall Sana, Director of Communications
15. Institute on Religion & Democracy, Religious Liberty Program - Faith J. H. McDonnell, Director
16. Jewish Action Alliance
17., a project of the David Horowitz Freedom Center - Robert Spencer, renowned author and expert on Shariah law, Director
18. Let Freedom Ring - Colin Hanna, President
19. Society of Americans for National Existence - David Yerushalmi, President
20. Tradition, Property and Family - C. Preston Noelle III
21. Traditional Values Coalition - Andrea Lafferty, Executive Director
22. United American Committee
23. Unity Coalition for Israel - Esther Levens, President
24. Women United - Beth Gilinsky, President
25. Zionist Organization of America - Morton Klein, National President

In addition, the Anti-Jihad League of America supports the cause of this group in fighting Sharia and Islamic supremacism.
29567  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / SCF part 2 on: November 07, 2008, 03:04:27 PM

To date, only SEC Chairman Cox and Fed Chairman Bernanke have responded, but Frank Gaffney stated that "it is instructive that neither Chairman Cox nor Chairman Bernanke has addressed the fundamental question which is what is Sharia and why is it a problem that we have people who are promoting Sharia which is a seditious conspiracy to bring about the overthrow of the United States government and for that matter those of other secular democracies around the world in favor of a global theocracy under Sharia."

Mr. Gaffney also recommended a publication distributed at the press conference entitled "Shariah, Law and 'Financial Jihad': How Should America Respond?" that was co-sponsored by The McCormick Foundation and The Center for Security Policy.

Regarding the U.S. Treasury Sharia-Compliant Finance training course, Frank Gaffney stated that "its purpose seems unmistakable in the complexion of the speakers all of whom it appears support Sharia-Compliant Finance, none of whom it appears is prepared to talk to these government official about what Sharia is and what constitutes as a result - the problems with a financial program designed to advance this seditious conspiracy." Mr. Gaffney also referenced comments by the United Kingdom's Archbishop of Canterbury stating that Sharia would need to be tolerated in the UK, which were based on existing support for Sharia-Compliant Finance in the UK.

Mr. Gaffney stated that "we are determined not to let that happen here, and we are challenging the Treasury Department in its efforts to promote Sharia and Sharia-Compliant Finance." He also noted that the Treasury trainers include advocates of Sharia-Compliant Finance and are benefiting from that industry. He called for the Department of Treasury to have another course on Sharia "where people are allowed to talk about what Sharia is, why it is seditious, and why its manifestations in the form of Sharia-Compliant Finance must be opposed, not supported, not abetted, not implemented, especially as seems entirely possible the purpose of the Treasury Department is to use its new found leverage in the financial markets to do that kind of promotion inside our financial industry which is now owned by the Federal Government or is being influenced by the $700 billion being dangled in front of the industry."

Robert Spencer, author of Stealth Jihad and leader of, told the press conference that there has been a history of those who have sought to integrate Sharia into America's political policies. He provided the example of Harvard University's Noah Feldman as "one of the leading proponents of Sharia finance and of the spread of Sharia norms in framing of the Iraqi constitution as well as the spread of the idea of the acceptability of Sharia in the west." Mr. Spencer pointed to Feldman's New York Times magazine column on Sharia, which has been widely distributed and reprinted around the world. Mr. Spencer points out that Noah Feldman never addresses how Sharia "treats women and non-Muslims and that is getting to the heart of what is problematic about it and indeed seditious about it in many ways."
Robert Spencer pointed out "the accommodation to the norms of Islamic law that goes under the name of Sharia cannot be separated from the accommodation of Islamic law in general. Sharia financial provisions are not in any sense within Islam juridically or in any other sense separate from or separable from the larger aggregate of Islamic laws." He continued "according to authoritative Islamic jurisprudence, the entirety of the provisions of Sharia that have been dictated by the Islamic holy book (the Qur'an), and Islamic traditions (the Sunna) and agreed upon by the principal scholars of all of the principal schools of Islamic law are all considered the laws of God himself, are not negotiable, are not subject to compromise or to mitigation." "Therefore in accepting the principle that Islamic law must be the subject of special accommodation in the financial sector, the Treasury Department has set a precedent that will allow for the assertion and the acceptance of the principle that Islamic law must be the subject of special accommodation in other sectors of American society as well. This is an extremely dangerous precedent to set for a large number of reasons. In its classic and authoritative formulations, formulations that have never been seriously challenged by modernist reforms and are extremely unlikely to be so challenged given the nature of their authority within Islamic theology and law, Sharia is at variance with numerous core principles of American society, including the principles of freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the equality of rights of all people before the law. Sharia institutionalizes discrimination against women and non-Muslims. It denies the right of the human person to make the choice to hear to what he has come to believe in good conscience is the truth. It muzzles its own critics and the critics of the Islamic religion and even forbids dispassionate analysis of how Islamic texts and teachings are being used by Islamic Jihadists to justify violence and Islamic supremacism, and to gain recruits for violent and supremacist Islamic groups."

Robert Spencer then referenced 20th century writer Sayyid Abul A'la Maududi (aka Mawdudi), whose writings have been collected in "Jihad in Islam". Mr. Spencer then quoted Maududi's comments that:

"Islam wishes to destroy all States and Governments anywhere on the face of the earth which are opposed to the ideology and programme of Islam regardless of the country or the Nation which rules it. The purpose of Islam is to set up a State on the basis of its own ideology and programme, regardless of which Nation assumes the role of the standard bearer of Islam or the rule of which nation is undermined in the process of the establishment of an ideological Islamic State."
"Islam does not intend to confine this revolution to a single State or a few countries; the aim of Islam is to bring about a universal revolution."

Robert Spencer indicated that such Sharia revolutionary thinking "strikes directly and explicitly, and not apologetically, against secular government or the idea of government where there is not establishment of a religion." He further addressed Sharia activist Maududi's commentary on the Qur'an that called for subjugation of Jews and Christians under Islamic law, and added that Maududi demanded that non-Muslims have absolutely no right to wield "the reins of power in any part of God's earth," and if they do then according to Maududi, "the believers" are responsible for dislodging them from such power using any means possible.

Robert Spencer stated that "this revolution has also come to the United States and is advancing here." He referenced the objective of International Muslim Brotherhood in undermining the United States, as has been previously stated in a Muslim Brotherhood memorandum, admitted in evidence during the first Holy Land Foundation terror finance trial, where the Muslim Brotherhood calls for "eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and 'sabotaging' its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and Allah's religion is made victorious over all other religions." Robert Spencer also pointed out that this same Muslim Brotherhood memorandum also lists numerous Islamic groups, many of which are active in America today and viewed by many as "moderate," were to be involved in such infiltration of America. Many of these groups also support Sharia finance.

As an example of the challenge to America with such Islamic supremacist thinking, Robert Spencer also referenced ISNA Board member Ihsan Bagby who has stated: "we [Muslims] can never be full citizens of this country... because there is no way we can be fully committed to the institutions and ideologies of this country." Mr. Spencer stated that this type of thinking will only continue to grow with the accommodation to Sharia finance and Sharia norms. He views this as "the assumption that Islamic law is superior to American law and must one day supplant it." Mr. Spencer views that the U.S. Treasury Department's Sharia finance training, without providing the ideological background on what Sharia is and the threat it poses to human rights, will only "provide support for this kind of assumption." He stated that "Americans, both Muslim and non-Muslim, deserve better," and referenced that many Muslims came to America to escape the same Sharia that it now is finding once again America. He concluded that "Americans, Muslims and non-Muslims, who saw our nation brutally and gratuitously attacked on September 11, 2001 by adherence of the idea that Islamic law must be imposed over the entire world, they deserve better. Women deserve better. All free people deserve better." Mr. Spencer also called for the U.S Treasury to open an investigation into what Sharia means and intends to do, to provide full understanding to those being trained regarding Sharia Compliant-Finance. He also called for the U.S. Treasury to curb the spread of Sharia Compliant-Finance in our nation's financial institutions.

Dan Pollak of the Zionist Organization of America stated that his organization joins the coalition "to oppose the imposition of Sharia-Compliant financing on the American financial system." He stated that Sharia scholars "who determine where investments can be made in Sharia financing" have been united in condemning Israel and "all interactions with Israelis and Jews." Mr. Pollak pointed out that the U.S. Treasury Department should speak to the U.S. Department of Justice as it is "against U.S. law for any company to participate in the Arab-sponsored boycott of Israel." He further stated that the "division of a world where only Sharia is the guiding principle is actually the root of Arab-Israeli conflict," condemning the "intolerance of Sharia and the hatred it breeds."

Mr. Pollak implored that "our Constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion does not and should not allow for imposing Sharia on the U.S. financial system... the American people must become aware of the strategies of our enemies as well as their tactics." He further stated that "they mean to fundamentally change the paradigm of the West as a tolerant and liberal place to observe any religion without compulsion."

Faith McDonnell of The Institute on Religion & Democracy (IRD) also spoke out against Sharia-Compliant Finance. Within her organization, Ms. McDonnell is the Director, Religious Liberty Program and Church Alliance for a New Sudan. Faith McDonnell stated that "the Center for Security Policy has defined Shariah as 'authoritative Islam's theo-political-religious program for establishing a global theocracy.'" She indicated concerns that "such a theocracy does not come about through the use violent jihad alone. Islamists also use the less obvious forms of jihad, such as the economic jihad of Shariah-Compliant Finance."
From her organization's experience as advocates for religious liberty around the world, she stated that "the IRD has seen the devastating effects of Shariah on Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Particularly egregious has been the imposition of Shariah as well as the brutal backlash against those who resist, on Christians in Sudan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Egypt, Iraq, Somalia, and elsewhere. And we have seen the use of stealth jihad in these nations, as well." Ms. McDonnell stated that "we fear that Shariah-Compliant Finance is only an entry level course in a much broader program of Shariah, the end goal of which is to supplant modern constitutionalism with archaic and undemocratic Islamic theocracy."

Regarding her experience in the challenges in Sudan, Mr. McDonnell pointed to Sharia finance representing a new form of Jihad against freedom.

29568  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Sharia Finance coming to US? on: November 07, 2008, 02:59:18 PM
Here's more on this: The U.S. Should Ban Shari’a Finance

By Rachel Ehrenfeld

The U.S. financial crisis is attributable, in part, to a lack of transparency. If the government adopts Shari’a-based financing, our financial system will be rendered even more opaque. Such a policy also entangles American finance with Islamic law in violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause which mandates separation of State from Church or Mosque.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) created by the Saudis in 1969 for the purpose of “liberating Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa from Zionist occupation” is leading the charge for global expansion of Shari’a-based financing. The OIC High Commissioner for the Boycott of Israel coordinates the efforts of OIC’s fifty-seven member states to economically isolate the Jewish state, a blacklisting policy first declared by the Arab League Council on December 2, 1945. The boycott is enforced via the Damascus-based Central Boycott Office.

Congress unanimously condemned Saudi Arabia on April 5, 2006, (H.Con.Res.370) for its continued enforcement of the boycott in violation of commitments it made to the World Trade Organization in 2005. The U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security reported a 20% increase in Arab boycott requests in 2006 from the previous year. In June 2006, the Saudi ambassador admitted his country still enforced the boycott, and the Saudis participated in the 2007 boycott conference in Syria.

Adopting Shari’a-based financing violates U.S. law which makes it illegal for American individuals or companies to cooperate with the Arab boycott, mandates reporting of boycott requests, and imposes civil and criminal penalties against violators.

Therefore, the American Center for Democracy and Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld protest the Treasury Department's plan to subject America’s citizens and its financial industry to Islamic rule in violation of the Constitution and U.S. law.

Washington DC: Coalition to Stop Shariah Press Conference

By Jeffrey Immon November 6, 2008 TrackBacks (0)

November 6, 2008 - Washington DC: The Coalition to Stop Shariah held a press conference at the National Press Club to oppose actions by the U.S. Treasury Department today to hold a course titled "Islamic Finance 101" to "train" government employees on Sharia-Compliant Finance (SCF). The coalition, consisting of diverse groups with a shared interest in fighting Islamic supremacism, called for the U.S. Treasury Department to either cancel the training course this afternoon or to provide education on the full Islamic supremacist nature of Sharia.

Representative speakers for the coalition at the press conference included Frank Gaffney - Center for Security Policy, Robert Spencer -, Dan Pollak - Zionist Organization of America, Wendy Wright - Concerned Women for America, Faith J.H. McDonnell - The Institute on Research and Democracy, Kyle Scheindler of the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET), Jim Boulet of English First, and Warren Mendelson of the Unity Coalition for Israel.

Frank Gaffney described the Coalition to Stop Shariah as a group, assembled in just the past several days in reaction to the Treasury SCF training and other events, as an "interfaith, non-partisan group of individuals and organizations that have decided that this is the time to begin contesting seriously a seditious program that authoritative Islam describes as Sharia. We have come together to call attention to and to counter the insinuation of Sharia into our society and those of other freedom loving people through various means, both stealthy and nonviolent and through the use or threat of the use of force."

Frank Gaffney described the efforts to expand Sharia-Compliant Finance as a threat "aimed at the very heart of the American economy." He noted as efforts to combat Sharia have gained ground that the proponents of Sharia have renamed Sharia-Compliant Finance as "Islamic finance," "ethical finance," or "structured finance." Mr. Gaffney pointed to the efforts by the Center for Security Policy in studying Sharia-Compliant Finance that has resulted in a legal memorandum by David Yerushalmi titled "Shari'ah's Black Box: Civil Liability and Criminal: Exposure Surrounding Shari'ah-Compliant Finance." Senator Jon Kyl reviewed David Yerushalmi's report and Senator Kyl wrote SEC Chairman Chris Cox, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, and Attorney General Michael Mukasey asking them to respond to this report.
29569  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sharia 101 on: November 07, 2008, 12:53:29 PM

As a matter of more than comparitive theology, would you please post that piece on the Political Economics thread too please?

29570  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for Reps/Conservatives on: November 07, 2008, 12:30:42 PM

That clip from Zo was awesome!  I don't agree on Huckabee, but Zo's mindset and delivery are great.
29571  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: VIDEO CLIPS OF INTEREST on: November 07, 2008, 12:28:15 PM
Being in the wrong place at the right time  cheesy
29572  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Study: Multiple on One, Samaritan on: November 07, 2008, 12:26:59 PM

We don't get to see how the fight starts, but we do get to see classical tactics against the lone individual.  Then a good samaritan enters.


29573  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-Russia on: November 07, 2008, 10:32:49 AM
U.S., Russia: The Future of START
Stratfor Today » November 6, 2008 | 2139 GMT

Topol-M mobile intercontinental ballistic missilesSummary
The bilateral strategic arms control regime between the United States and Russia — essentially static for many years — could be revitalized in 2009. In December of next year, the so-called START I treaty between the United and Russia will expire, and both sides have a keen interest in its extension and ultimate replacement.

The Russian Resurgence

“The Treaty between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms” (known colloquially as START I) will expire on Dec. 5, 2009. Though real substantive action is unlikely before President-elect Barack Obama enters office, some meaningful action on a bilateral strategic arms agreement between the United States and Russia may be on the horizon.

The expiration of START has been anticipated for years now, but Washington has shown little interest in moving forward on strategic arms control. Even before the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. national security establishment was struggling with a deep uncertainty about the need for nuclear deterrence in the post-Cold War world and no longer wanted to be locked into a highly structured and inflexible treaty governing force structure.

START I, crafted just before the Soviet collapse, is characteristic of Cold War-era treaties — complex, detailed and entailing a rigorous declaration, inspection and verification regime. By comparison, the Strategic Offensive Reduction Treaty (SORT, also known as the Moscow Treaty), signed in 2002, is an astonishingly short document, amounting to a single page. This brevity was possible (and, more important, the treaty was verifiable) because SORT was underpinned by the START I regime. SORT will not endure much beyond the expiration of START I, requiring only that on the last day of 2012 the United States and Russia shall have an aggregate number of deployed strategic warheads of between 1,700 and 2,200 apiece.

This specific range of aggregate warhead totals — 1,700 to 2,200 — actually came from a Pentagon study on post-Cold War requirements for an effective nuclear deterrent. Essentially, the White House took what the Pentagon wanted to do anyway and crafted a treaty asking Russia to do the same thing.

Related Links
Geopolitical Diary: New Questions About Nuclear Sustainability
Nuclear Weapons: Devices and Deliverable Warheads
Nuclear Weapons: The Question of Relevance in the 21st Century
Nuclear Weapons: Terrorism and the Nonstate Actor
But both Washington and Moscow want something here. The United States — despite its strong desire for maximizing flexibility — does recognize the value of a long-term, verifiable and stable nuclear balance with Russia. With a properly tailored regime of regular declarations and inspections, the Pentagon can establish, with an acceptable degree of confidence, the status of Russia’s nuclear forces and significantly reduce the burden on operational forces to monitor and hedge against the unknowns. Despite the fact that it won the Cold War, the United States has no interest in going back to the days of nuclear brinkmanship. It has become accustomed to and welcomes the ongoing stability of the post-Cold War nuclear balance, so long as it retains enough flexibility to have options for dealing with other nuclear powers.

Thus, while the United States seems interested only in something loose like SORT, a somewhat longer document (though significantly shorter than START I, if Washington has its way) will almost certainly be necessary to establish declaration, inspection and verification regimes that will ensure an acceptable degree of confidence in the fidelity of both sides. Washington considers this an opportunity to set aside START I and tailor a regime for the 21st century. But if that agreement cannot be crafted quickly, an extension of START I may be considered — if only to bridge the gap.

For Russia, there is a strong desire for a long-term cap on the size of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Moscow remembers all too well how U.S. defense spending during the Reagan years helped drive the Soviet Union into the ground. Russia is well aware that it cannot hope to compete in another arms race with the resources and raw economic power of the United States.

Meanwhile, old age is wreaking havoc on Moscow’s nuclear arsenal, where delivery systems are becoming increasingly archaic and nowhere near enough replacements are being produced fast enough to sustain the arsenal. Thus, the further Russia can convince the United States to reduce its own arsenal, the more obtainable a long-term arsenal quantitatively comparable to Washington’s can be.

But while the Kremlin signed SORT from a position of weakness, Moscow today sees an opportunity to approach the United States from a position of strength. In 2009, Russia will come to the table having consolidated its political, economic and military power under the tenure of President (now Prime Minister) Vladimir Putin and having essentially annexed two secessionist territories from Georgia. Russian President Dmitri Medvedev’s Nov. 5 State of the State address was filled with defiance — not the least because, from the Kremlin’s point of view, not only is Obama amenable to such an agreement but he also will be weak in dealing with Russia and peripheral states of the former Soviet Union. (Whether this proves to be the case is another question.)

At the end of the day, the Kremlin will want a new agreement. But it will not be rubber-stamping any numbers brought directly from the Pentagon this time around. It will push for a more rigorous treaty that keeps the scale of the U.S. arsenal down and constrains Washington’s flexibility. And it will push hard — or use concessions as a lever — to challenge the proposed U.S. ballistic missile defense installations slated for Poland and the Czech Republic.
29574  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Iran & the BO administration on: November 07, 2008, 10:27:44 AM
Geopolitical Diary: Iran and an Obama Administration
November 7, 2008 | 0256 GMT

A number of senior Iranian officials on Thursday issued positive statements toward the United States. One of those was Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who, in a rare move, congratulated U.S. President-elect Barack Obama on his electoral victory. Then the Islamic Republic’s Prosecutor-General, Ayatollah Qorban-Ali Dori-Najafabadi, called on Obama to demonstrate goodwill and end sanctions against Tehran. Elsewhere, Iranian Ambassador to Kuwait Ali Jannati said his country was ready to normalize relations with the United States and expressed hope that, under an Obama administration, Washington would change its policies toward Tehran.

Important to note in these various remarks is that they were made by prominent hard-liners as opposed to the more pragmatic conservative elements in the clerical regime. The most noteworthy of these was the Iranian envoy to Kuwait, who is the son of a very senior and powerful radical cleric, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, chairman of the Guardian Council — the body that vets candidates for public office and has the power of legislative oversight. So, the question is, why is the Ahmadinejad administration, which would normally be lambasting the United States, now acting all warm and fuzzy?

For starters, the Iranians, like many other international actors, expect an Obama administration — in a sharp departure from the attitude of its predecessor — would invest heavily in some bold diplomacy. From Tehran’s point of view, this potentially could provide the perfect opening for it to move ahead and consolidate its position vis-a-vis Iraq and the nuclear issue. The Iranians feel that they are well placed to negotiate with a new White House from a position of relative strength, especially given Obama’s need to make good on his electoral promise to disengage militarily from Iraq.

The interest of a geopolitically emergent Iran, however, is not the only factor informing Ahmadinejad’s calculus. Before it can truly improve its position, Tehran desperately needs to get ahead of a burgeoning economic crisis. Just two days ago, Iran’s deputy central bank governor for economic affairs, Ramin Pashaei, said that Tehran needs the price of oil to average a little over $60 a barrel until March 2009 (the end of the current Iranian year) to avoid “big problems.” It should be noted that on Thursday oil prices were barely able to stay at the $60 mark.

The faltering state of the Iranian economy is the sore point for Ahmadinejad, who is up for re-election in June 2009. He, therefore, desperately needs to show some sort of victory in order to secure his re-election. The president and his ultraconservative faction also realize that Tehran must bury the hatchet with the United States in order to achieve its objective of being a global player — and Ahmadinejad wants to be able to claim this success.

On the U.S. side of this equation, an Obama administration also will want to engage diplomatically with the clerical regime — but the million-dollar question is, how does it go about doing that without creating problems for itself both at home and internationally. The Bush administration, which was not bogged down with public doubts about its commitment to national security, has been unable to make much progress on this front.

Even in its fading moments, the Bush administration is struggling between the need to deal with Iran and the need to contain it. On Thursday, the Treasury Department imposed additional restrictions against Iran’s banks — a move that comes amid reports that the administration could announce the opening of a “U.S. interests section” in Iran before the end of November. The Bush administration has also had a hard time balancing its need to engage Iran with its commitment to its Arab allies and Israel.

For an Obama administration, this could create an even bigger problem, with the Israelis and the Arabs very uncomfortable with the new U.S. government reaching out to Iran. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who is hoping to be prime minister in the aftermath of the Israeli election slated for February, expressed opposition to any move on the part of an Obama administration to talk to Iran. Similarly, Saudi King Abdullah, who is due to arrive in New York next week for an interfaith gathering at the United Nations, will reportedly be putting out feelers to Obama in an effort to gauge how the balance of power in the Persian Gulf will be affected by the moves to engage Iran.

Striking a balance between the need to reach a settlement with Iran (on Iraq, at least) and the need to maintain existing relationships with Israel and the Arab states could very well prove to be the most challenging foreign policy issue that the Obama administration will find itself struggling with very early on in its term.
29575  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: November 07, 2008, 08:49:24 AM
Chris Matthews, being honest
29576  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Pope's Engagement with Islam on: November 07, 2008, 07:18:09 AM
Its the NYTimes: Caveat Lector:

BTW, did the Church just sign on to opposing the Danish cartoons?

Catholics and Muslims Pledge to Improve Links
Yahoo! Buzz

Published: November 6, 2008
VATICAN CITY — Catholic and Muslim leaders worked on Thursday to deflate suspicion between their two faiths, pledging at a high-level seminar here to work together to condemn terrorism, protect religious freedom and fight poverty.

The meeting came a year after 138 Muslim leaders wrote a letter to Pope Benedict XVI after he offended many Muslims by quoting a Byzantine emperor who called some teachings of the Prophet Muhammad “evil and inhuman.” In turn, top Vatican officials have worried about freedom of worship in majority-Muslim countries, as well as immigration that is turning Europe, which they define as a Christian continent, increasingly Muslim.

But on Thursday both sides said they hoped that the seminar would open a new and much-improved chapter in Catholic-Muslim relations, as the two groups said they might establish a committee that could ease tensions in any future crisis between the two religions.

“Let us resolve to overcome past prejudices and to correct the often distorted images of the other, which even today can create difficulties in our relations,” Benedict told the Muslim delegation. He called the gathering “a clear sign of our mutual esteem and our desire to listen respectfully to one another.”

Addressing the pope on behalf of the Muslim delegation, Seyyed Hossein Nasr of Iran, a professor of Islamic studies at George Washington University in Washington, said that throughout history, “various political forces” of both Christians and Muslims had carried out violence.

“Certainly we cannot claim that violence is the monopoly of only one religion,” he said.

The three-day forum brought together nearly 30 Catholic clerics and scholars, led by Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the head of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue; and as many Muslim clerics and scholars, led by Mustafa Ceric, the Grand Mufti of Bosnia and Herzegovina based in Sarajevo.

The meeting “exceeded our expectations,” said Ingrid Mary Mattson, the director of the Islamic Society of North America and a professor of Islamic studies at the Hartford Seminary.

“The atmosphere was very good, very frank,” said Tariq Ramadan, a professor of Islamic Studies at Oxford University. A celebrated intellectual in Europe, Mr. Ramadan in 2004 was denied a visa to the United States on the grounds that he had donated to two European charities that the State Department later said gave money to Hamas.

Mr. Ramadan said the thorniest questions the group tackled were “apostasy” and “freedom of worship in a minority situation.” Some Muslims believe it is apostasy to convert out of Islam.

The 15-point declaration the group issued on Thursday did not address issues of conversion.

It called on Catholics and Muslims to renounce “oppression, aggressive violence and terrorism, especially that committed in the name of religion.”

And it said religious minorities should be “entitled to their own places of worship, and their founding figures and symbols they consider sacred should not be subjected to any form of mockery or ridicule.”

In 2006, Muslims around the world protested, some violently, after a Danish newspaper printed cartoons of Muhammad.

One participant, Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk in northern Iraq, called the meeting “a first step” but said he hoped that the declaration would “bear fruit.”

In recent years, Islamic militants in Kirkuk have killed, kidnapped or forced Iraqi Christians to convert. Archbishop Sako noted that in their homilies, “many imams are preaching against infidels and crusaders,” and that “some simple people” believed that this referred to all Christians.

He called on Muslim leaders to publicize the declaration, with its assertion of shared Christian-Muslim values. “This should be clarified, stated, given to the media to teach people about it,” he said. “For us Christians living in Muslim countries, that would be very, very helpful.”

The Muslim delegation included representatives of Sunni and Shiite Islam, as well as several converts and participants from North Africa, Indonesia, the Philippines and Uganda.

It notably did not include any participants from Saudi Arabia, where non-Muslim worship is not tolerated and with which the Vatican has had strained ties. Two Saudis were expected to attend, but had to cancel at the last minute for health reasons, said Ibrahim Kalin of Turkey, a spokesman for the Muslim delegation and a professor of Islamic Studies at Georgetown University in Washington.

Yet in July, Cardinal Tauran and other Vatican officials attended an interfaith dialogue organized by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in Spain.

Participants in this week’s conference pledged to hold another dialogue in a Muslim country in 2010.
29577  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Russia-Georgia, Turkey, Caucasus on: November 07, 2008, 07:11:13 AM
The NY Times is frequently a dishonest newspaper and IMHO the subject matter of this article precisely of the sort wherein the NYT is motivated to lie, mislead, misrepresent, and distort.

Caveat lector:

TBILISI, Georgia — Newly available accounts by independent military observers of the beginning of the war between Georgia and Russia this summer call into question the longstanding Georgian assertion that it was acting defensively against separatist and Russian aggression.

Georgia moved forces toward the border of the breakaway region of South Ossetia on Aug. 7, at the start of what it called a defensive war with separatists there and with Russian forces.

Instead, the accounts suggest that Georgia’s inexperienced military attacked the isolated separatist capital of Tskhinvali on Aug. 7 with indiscriminate artillery and rocket fire, exposing civilians, Russian peacekeepers and unarmed monitors to harm.
The accounts are neither fully conclusive nor broad enough to settle the many lingering disputes over blame in a war that hardened relations between the Kremlin and the West. But they raise questions about the accuracy and honesty of Georgia’s insistence that its shelling of Tskhinvali, the capital of the breakaway region of South Ossetia, was a precise operation. Georgia has variously defended the shelling as necessary to stop heavy Ossetian shelling of Georgian villages, bring order to the region or counter a Russian invasion.

President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia has characterized the attack as a precise and defensive act. But according to observations of the monitors, documented Aug. 7 and Aug. 8, Georgian artillery rounds and rockets were falling throughout the city at intervals of 15 to 20 seconds between explosions, and within the first hour of the bombardment at least 48 rounds landed in a civilian area. The monitors have also said they were unable to verify that ethnic Georgian villages were under heavy bombardment that evening, calling to question one of Mr. Saakashvili’s main justifications for the attack.

Senior Georgian officials contest these accounts, and have urged Western governments to discount them. “That information, I don’t know what it is and how it is confirmed,” said Giga Bokeria, Georgia’s deputy foreign minister. “There is such an amount of evidence of continuous attacks on Georgian-controlled villages and so much evidence of Russian military buildup, it doesn’t change in any case the general picture of events.”

He added: “Who was counting those explosions? It sounds a bit peculiar.”

The Kremlin has embraced the monitors’ observations, which, according to a written statement from Grigory Karasin, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, reflect “the actual course of events prior to Georgia’s aggression.” He added that the accounts “refute” allegations by Tbilisi of bombardments that he called mythical.

The monitors were members of an international team working under the mandate of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or O.S.C.E. A multilateral organization with 56 member states, the group has monitored the conflict since a previous cease-fire agreement in the 1990s.

The observations by the monitors, including a Finnish major, a Belorussian airborne captain and a Polish civilian, have been the subject of two confidential briefings to diplomats in Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, one in August and the other in October. Summaries were shared with The New York Times by people in attendance at both.

Details were then confirmed by three Western diplomats and a Russian, and were not disputed by the O.S.C.E.’s mission in Tbilisi, which was provided with a written summary of the observations.

Mr. Saakashvili, who has compared Russia’s incursion into Georgia to the Nazi annexations in Europe in 1938 and the Soviet suppression of Prague in 1968, faces domestic unease with his leadership and skepticism about his judgment from Western governments.

The brief war was a disaster for Georgia. The attack backfired. Georgia’s army was humiliated as Russian forces overwhelmed its brigades, seized and looted their bases, captured their equipment and roamed the country’s roads at will. Villages that Georgia vowed to save were ransacked and cleared of their populations by irregular Ossetian, Chechen and Cossack forces, and several were burned to the ground.

Massing of Weapons

According to the monitors, an O.S.C.E. patrol at 3 p.m. on Aug. 7 saw large numbers of Georgian artillery and grad rocket launchers massing on roads north of Gori, just south of the enclave.

Page 2 of 3)

At 6:10 p.m., the monitors were told by Russian peacekeepers of suspected Georgian artillery fire on Khetagurovo, an Ossetian village; this report was not independently confirmed, and Georgia declared a unilateral cease-fire shortly thereafter, about 7 p.m.

During a news broadcast that began at 11 p.m., Georgia announced that Georgian villages were being shelled, and declared an operation “to restore constitutional order” in South Ossetia. The bombardment of Tskhinvali started soon after the broadcast.
According to the monitors, however, no shelling of Georgian villages could be heard in the hours before the Georgian bombardment. At least two of the four villages that Georgia has since said were under fire were near the observers’ office in Tskhinvali, and the monitors there likely would have heard artillery fire nearby.

Moreover, the observers made a record of the rounds exploding after Georgia’s bombardment began at 11:35 p.m. At 11:45 p.m., rounds were exploding at intervals of 15 to 20 seconds between impacts, they noted.

At 12:15 a.m. on Aug. 8, Gen. Maj. Marat M. Kulakhmetov, commander of Russian peacekeepers in the enclave, reported to the monitors that his unit had casualties, indicating that Russian soldiers had come under fire.

By 12:35 a.m. the observers had recorded at least 100 heavy rounds exploding across Tskhinvali, including 48 close to the observers’ office, which is in a civilian area and was damaged.

Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn, a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, said that by morning on Aug. 8 two Russian soldiers had been killed and five wounded. Two senior Western military officers stationed in Georgia, speaking on condition of anonymity because they work with Georgia’s military, said that whatever Russia’s behavior in or intentions for the enclave, once Georgia’s artillery or rockets struck Russian positions, conflict with Russia was all but inevitable. This clear risk, they said, made Georgia’s attack dangerous and unwise.

Senior Georgia officials, a group with scant military experience and personal loyalties to Mr. Saakashvili, have said that much of the damage to Tskhinvali was caused in combat between its soldiers and separatists, or by Russian airstrikes and bombardments in its counterattack the next day. As for its broader shelling of the city, Georgia has told Western diplomats that Ossetians hid weapons in civilian buildings, making them legitimate targets.

“The Georgians have been quite clear that they were shelling targets — the mayor’s office, police headquarters — that had been used for military purposes,” said Matthew J. Bryza, a deputy assistant secretary of state and one of Mr. Saakashvili’s vocal supporters in Washington.

Those claims have not been independently verified, and Georgia’s account was disputed by Ryan Grist, a former British Army captain who was the senior O.S.C.E. representative in Georgia when the war broke out. Mr. Grist said that he was in constant contact that night with all sides, with the office in Tskhinvali and with Wing Commander Stephen Young, the retired British military officer who leads the monitoring team.

“It was clear to me that the attack was completely indiscriminate and disproportionate to any, if indeed there had been any, provocation,” Mr. Grist said. “The attack was clearly, in my mind, an indiscriminate attack on the town, as a town.”

Mr. Grist has served as a military officer or diplomat in Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Kosovo and Yugoslavia. In August, after the Georgian foreign minister, Eka Tkeshelashvili, who has no military experience, assured diplomats in Tbilisi that the attack was measured and discriminate, Mr. Grist gave a briefing to diplomats from the European Union that drew from the monitors’ observations and included his assessments. He then soon resigned under unclear circumstances.

A second briefing was led by Commander Young in October for military attachés visiting Georgia. At the meeting, according to a person in attendance, Commander Young stood by the monitors’ assessment that Georgian villages had not been extensively shelled on the evening or night of Aug. 7. “If there had been heavy shelling in areas that Georgia claimed were shelled, then our people would have heard it, and they didn’t,” Commander Young said, according to the person who attended. “They heard only occasional small-arms fire.”

The O.S.C.E turned down a request by The Times to interview Commander Young and the monitors, saying they worked in sensitive jobs and would not be publicly engaged in this disagreement.

Grievances and Exaggeration


Page 3 of 3)

Disentangling the Russian and Georgian accounts has been complicated. The violence along the enclave’s boundaries that had occurred in recent summers was more widespread this year, and in the days before Aug. 7 there had been shelling of Georgian villages. Tensions had been soaring.

Each side has fresh lists of grievances about the other, which they insist are decisive. But both sides also have a record of misstatement and exaggeration, which includes circulating casualty estimates that have not withstood independent examination. With the international standing of both Russia and Georgia damaged, the public relations battle has been intensive.
Russian military units have been implicated in destruction of civilian property and accused by Georgia of participating with Ossetian militias in a campaign of ethnic cleansing. Russia and South Ossetia have accused Georgia of attacking Ossetian civilians.

But a critical and as yet unanswered question has been what changed for Georgia between 7 p.m. on Aug 7, when Mr. Saakashvili declared a cease-fire, and 11:30 p.m., when he says he ordered the attack. The Russian and Ossetian governments have said the cease-fire was a ruse used to position rockets and artillery for the assault.

That view is widely held by Ossetians. Civilians repeatedly reported resting at home after the cease-fire broadcast by Mr. Saakashvili. Emeliya B. Dzhoyeva, 68, was home with her husband, Felix, 70, when the bombardment began. He lost his left arm below the elbow and suffered burns to his right arm and torso. “Saakashvili told us that nothing would happen,” she said. “So we all just went to bed.”

Neither Georgia nor its Western allies have as yet provided conclusive evidence that Russia was invading the country or that the situation for Georgians in the Ossetian zone was so dire that a large-scale military attack was necessary, as Mr. Saakashvili insists.

Georgia has released telephone intercepts indicating that a Russian armored column apparently entered the enclave from Russia early on the Aug. 7, which would be a violation of the peacekeeping rules. Georgia said the column marked the beginning of an invasion. But the intercepts did not show the column’s size, composition or mission, and there has not been evidence that it was engaged with Georgian forces until many hours after the Georgian bombardment; Russia insists it was simply a routine logistics train or troop rotation.

Unclear Accounts of Shelling

Interviews by The Times have found a mixed picture on the question of whether Georgian villages were shelled after Mr. Saakashvili declared the cease-fire. Residents of the village of Zemo Nigozi, one of the villages that Georgia has said was under heavy fire, said they were shelled from 6 p.m. on, supporting Georgian statements.

In two other villages, interviews did not support Georgian claims. In Avnevi, several residents said the shelling stopped before the cease-fire and did not resume until roughly the same time as the Georgian bombardment. In Tamarasheni, some residents said they were lightly shelled on the evening of Aug. 7, but felt safe enough not to retreat to their basements. Others said they were not shelled until Aug 9.

With a paucity of reliable and unbiased information available, the O.S.C.E. observations put the United States in a potentially difficult position. The United States, Mr. Saakashvili’s principal source of international support, has for years accepted the organization’s conclusions and praised its professionalism. Mr. Bryza refrained from passing judgment on the conflicting accounts.

“I wasn’t there,” he said, referring to the battle. “We didn’t have people there. But the O.S.C.E. really has been our benchmark on many things over the years.”

The O.S.C.E. itself, while refusing to discuss its internal findings, stood by the accuracy of its work but urged caution in interpreting it too broadly. “We are confident that all O.S.C.E. observations are expert, accurate and unbiased,” Martha Freeman, a spokeswoman, said in an e-mail message. “However, monitoring activities in certain areas at certain times cannot be taken in isolation to provide a comprehensive account.”

29578  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Quotes of note: on: November 07, 2008, 07:03:03 AM
"It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder."
-- Frederic Bastiat, "The Law," 1850
29579  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: GRAPPLING Y CUCHILLOS... on: November 07, 2008, 07:01:29 AM
Guau a todos:

Me gustan los comentarios aqui.

A los aqui quienes leen ingles, sugiero ver el hilo

Si alguien tiene un programa que puede traducirlo para llevarlo aqui, so lo agradeceria muchisimo.

La Aventura continua,
Crafty Dog
29580  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Argentina on: November 07, 2008, 06:51:31 AM
Disfrute muchisimo mi reciente viaje a Argentina y espero poder repitirlo lo mas pronto posible.

Comparato con Uds ahora un articulo, desafortunadamente en ingles, escrito sobre la situacion actual alli desde un punto de vista de aqui'.  ?Que opinan Uds?



"It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder."
-- Frederic Bastiat, "The Law," 1850

Our subject today is not Barack Obama's "change" plan to "share the wealth." But readers who want to know what happens to a nation that legalizes plunder -- as the 19th century French economist termed the taking of private property for socialist ends -- will want to pay attention just the same.

Argentines protest the nationalization of their pension funds, Oct. 28.
Argentina is a constitutional republic with many historical similarities to the U.S. It has a rich immigrant heritage and an abundance of natural resources. But the U.S. is a rich, advanced country and Argentina is poor.

How did the breadbasket of South America fall so far behind? One explanation goes back some 90 years, when the Argentine Supreme Court began chipping away at property rights as a way of addressing economic inequality. Argentine politicians quickly learned that lawful plunder was their path to power.

This history is still being written, and the latest chapter ought to frighten Americans.

Buenos Aires as an example of "sharing the wealth." (Nov. 3)
After seven straight years of driving up government spending and hammering every capitalist in sight, the Argentine government, which went bust in 2001, is running out of money -- again.

No surprise there. For more than a few years, analysts have warned that inflation, trade protectionism, disregard for contracts and confiscatory tax rates were having a deleterious effect on capital flows.

Suboptimal investment rates, the same analysts warned, would mean economic trouble when global growth began to slow and the commodity boom came to an end. But former President Nestór Kirchner (2003-2007) and his wife, current President Cristina Kirchner, had promised to bring change to Argentina and didn't want to hear it. They thought they saw better returns to their own bottom lines by stoking class warfare while increasing government spending.

That revenues would, at some point, fail to meet the rising expenses of the welfare state was predictable. The only mystery was when the wall would be hit and how the further plunder to make up the difference would be carried out.

On Oct. 21, Mrs. Kirchner ended the suspense by announcing that the nation's private pension system -- with a stock of $30 billion and a flow of $5 billion annually -- would become government property. To put that in words that Americans can more clearly comprehend, it would be as if the assets of all 401(k)s were suddenly swept out of owners' accounts and into a single government account.

The Americas in the News
Get the latest information in Spanish from The Wall Street Journal's Americas page.
Mrs. Kirchner defended her decision to seize the pension assets by asserting that the market is too risky for retirement savings, and that the returns earned by private-sector fund managers are not adequate.

That's quite a claim considering that the average annual return of Argentina's private-sector pension managers over the past 14 years is 13.9%. But it is even more absurd if one compares the private-sector returns to those of the government's pay-as-you-go social security system over four decades.

Last week La Nacion columnist Adrián Ventura reminded his compatriots of this "history of state fraud." In the 1960s, "the law guaranteed retirees 82% of their salaries," Mr. Ventura writes. But, he says, "it became impossible to calculate." How come? Because the government did not publish the true rates of inflation and, more broadly, because politicians had zero interest in protecting the assets. "The government did little to maintain its promise to pay good pensions to workers," Mr. Ventura explains, "and it did a lot to make use, for itself, of their savings."

The columnist was not just teaching a history lesson. He was reminding change advocates that plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. Today, the Argentine central bank stands accused of manipulating official inflation data and, because politicians have been spending like mad, between now and the end of 2009 the government will encounter a $10 billion financing gap.

By law half of the privately managed pension assets are already allocated to government debt. But it is not unreasonable to suspect -- as more than 70% of respondents in a Buenos Aires poll said last week -- that Mrs. Kirchner is acting not to achieve better returns, but to get her hands on the rest of the money ahead of midterm elections next year.

Mr. Ventura echoes the fears of many when he writes that her legislation "puts almost no limits on how the money can be used, and if it did, nothing would stop the government from modifying it or ignoring it."

Long-suffering Argentines know well that once converted into "an instrument of plunder" there is no limit to the pain the law can inflict. Americans might note that even when government is already highly interventionist, things can get worse.
29581  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Legal issues on Prop 8 on: November 07, 2008, 06:44:41 AM
California voters on Tuesday approved Proposition 8, which adds to the state constitution the following sentence: "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."

While the wording is simple, the situation quickly became complicated. For example, what happens to those same-sex couples who married before the ruling? Legal challenges filed Wednesday raised other questions: Was the referendum process itself lawful? Does the new language conflict with other parts of the state constitution? Separately, should Proposition 8 opponents have filed challenges saying the proposition violated the U.S. Constitution?

David Cruz, a constitutional-law expert at the University of Southern California, has some answers.

WSJ: Please explain the grounds upon which Proposition 8 is being challenged in court.

Mr. Cruz: The lawsuits challenge the procedure by which the referendum was passed. Under California law, there are two categories of changes that can be made to the state constitution: amendments and revisions. Amendments are more minor changes; revisions are larger in effect. This is important because each has its own process for taking effect, essentially different ways they go before the voters. An amendment can go in the form of a ballot initiative, which requires a certain number of signatures to make its way on. Constitutional revisions, however, have to have a two-thirds blessing from each house of the state legislature to make the ballot.

Now, the problem, at least from the point of view of Proposition 8 supporters, is that the legislature had previously indicated a willingness to support same-sex marriage. So the proposition's supporters were unwilling to treat this bill as a revision and send it to the legislature, opting instead to treat it as an amendment. So the Proposition 8 opponents are arguing that this change actually constitutes a revision, not an amendment, and therefore needed to go through the legislature.

WSJ: Were any other issues raised in the suits?

Mr. Cruz: Yes. A same-sex couple that was married before the election made another argument. Remember, the California Supreme Court in May ruled that bans on same-sex marriage were not allowed under the state's constitution. (That ruling prompted Proposition 8.) Now, in that ruling, the Supreme Court essentially said two things: that same-sex couples had a fundamental right to marry and that the underlying law violated the state's equal protection clause.

The suit filed Wednesday argues that while Proposition 8 squarely addressed the marriage half of the Supreme Court's ruling, it didn't address the equal-protection half. In other words, the couple argues that the state constitution is now in conflict with itself -- part of it says that same-sex marriage is flatly illegal, and the Supreme Court has interpreted another part to say that a ban on same-sex marriage violates the state's equal protection clause.

WSJ: And a constitution can't be in conflict with itself?

Mr. Cruz: Right. There's a common principle in constitutional jurisprudence called "harmonization," which says that no part of a constitution can conflict with any other.

WSJ: Provided that the state Supreme Court rejects all these arguments and the constitutional amendment is allowed, you still have this issue as to what happens to the marriages that took place before Proposition 8 was passed, right?

Mr. Cruz: On that question the state Supreme Court would likely look at what the intent of the voters was in passing the law.

WSJ: How would the court determine that? By asking voters?

Mr. Cruz: It would likely look at the language of the proposition itself, in addition to the title, official ballot literature, and to the advertisements that were run during the campaign. Supporters of Proposition 8 point to language on the ballot that explained that voters would be defining marriage as between a man and woman, "regardless of when or where performed." That seems to argue for invalidating the earlier marriages. But the attorney general, Jerry Brown, will likely raise the official title of the proposition, which mentions the elimination of the "right of same-sex couples to marry." Here, there's no mention of the earlier marriages, and it seems to indicate that it's the right to get married going forward that's being taken away.
29582  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Way Forward for the American Creed on: November 07, 2008, 06:30:52 AM
'Compassionate' Conservatism Was a Mistake

The liberal pundits who embraced the candidacy of Barack Obama are also eager to issue a death certificate for free market capitalism. They're wrong, and they remind me of what the great Willie Nelson once said: "I'm ragged but I'm right."

To be sure, the American people have handed power over to the Democrats. But today there is a categorical difference between what Republicans stand for and the principles of individual freedom. Parties are all about getting people elected to political office; and the practice of politics too often takes the form of professional juvenile delinquency: short-sighted and self-centered.

This was certainly true of the Bush presidency. Too often the policy agenda was determined by short-sighted political considerations and an abiding fear that the public simply would not understand limited government and expanded individual freedoms. How else do we explain "compassionate conservatism," No Child Left Behind, the Medicare drug benefit and the most dramatic growth in federal spending since LBJ's Great Society?

John McCain has long suffered from philosophical confusions about free markets, and his presidential campaign reflected as much. Most striking was his inability to explain his own health-care proposal, or to defend his tax cuts and tax reform. Ultimately, it took a plumber from Ohio to identify the real nature of Barack Obama's plan to "spread the wealth."

Mr. McCain did find his message on taxes in the last few weeks, but it was too late. A Rasmussen poll of Oct. 30 reported that 31% of likely voters believed that "taxes will go down" under an Obama administration versus just 11% under a McCain administration. Shockingly, 19% of self-described conservatives believed Mr. Obama would cut taxes; only 12% thought Mr. McCain would.

The response by Mr. McCain to the financial crisis on Wall Street was the defining moment of the campaign. In what looked like a tailor-made opportunity to "clean up Washington," the Republican nominee could have challenged the increasingly politicized nature of Federal Reserve policies, and the inherently corrupt relationships between Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and various Democratic committee chairmen. Instead, his reaction was visceral and insecure: He "suspended" his campaign and promised "to put an end to the reckless conduct, corruption, and unbridled greed that have caused a crisis on Wall Street."

In the process, he squandered his political standing with the investor class, a core Republican voting bloc. An October 26-30 Reuters/C-Span/Zogby poll of likely voters showed Mr. McCain barely beating the Democratic nominee among self-identified "investors," 50.4% to 43.8% -- a dramatic drop from the 15-point lead he held in a similar poll a month earlier.

The modern Republican Party has risen above its insecurities to achieve political success. Ronald Reagan, for example, held an unshakably positive vision of American capitalism. He didn't feel a need to qualify the meaning of his conservatism. He understood that big government was cruel and uncaring of individual aspirations. Small government conservatism was, by definition, compassionate -- offering every American a way up to self-determination and economic prosperity.

Republicans lost control of Congress in 2006 because voters no longer saw Republicans as the party of limited government. They have since rejected virtually every opportunity to recapture this identity. But their failure to do so must not be misconstrued as a rejection of principles of individual liberty by the American people. The evidence suggests we are still a nation of pocketbook conservatives most happy when government has enough respect to leave us alone and to mind its own business. The worrisome question is whether either political party understands this.

What will be the fate of free market capitalism in America? Will the 2008 election look more like 1932 -- or 1992?

On both occasions, Republican presidents had abandoned their party's principles for bigger government policies that exacerbated difficult economic times. On both occasions, Democrats took control, largely hijacking the small-government, fiscally responsible rhetoric of their opponents. Of course, FDR's election ushered in the New Deal, the most dramatic expansion of government power in American history, together with policy changes and economic uncertainty that inhibited investment and growth and locked in massive unemployment for nearly a generation.

The official agenda of the incoming administration is not so different from FDR's. Whatever doubts remain about Mr. Obama's governing principles can be cleared up by looking at the governing philosophy of the Democrats in Congress he will be crafting legislation with or the liberal constituencies he is indebted to support. Democrats will not be ambiguous. They have every right to be energized, and will attempt sweeping changes to our economy and the very nature of the relationship between individual American citizens and the federal government.

Their wish list is long. Charlie Rangel, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, has said he would like to redistribute a trillion dollars through the tax code, including massive tax hikes on capital accumulation and individual entrepreneurship. Labor unions want to take away the right of a worker to a secret ballot in organizing elections. Radical environmentalists demand strict curbs on energy production and use. Hillary Clinton may have lost the primary, but expect Democrats to push her favorite idea: government-run heath care.

Will Democratic overreach give the small-government movement the opportunity to reassert itself in the GOP? Former Congressman Dick Gephardt has warned President-elect Obama and the new Democratic majorities to be humble and measured. But with a legislative agenda driven by Nancy Pelosi, George Miller and Mr. Rangel, the temptations may be too great.

In 1992, Republican backbenchers including Newt Gingrich, myself, Bob Walker and John Boehner rose up to challenge the Clinton administration's agenda on taxes, spending and government-run health care. But before we could beat the Democrats, we had to beat the old bulls of our own party who had forgotten their principles and had become very comfortable as a complacent minority. We captured control of Congress in 1994 because we had confidence in our principles, and in the American people's willingness to understand and reward a national vision based on lower taxes, less government and more freedom.

That can happen again today -- but it will require a new generation of leadership, the sooner the better. Rest assured that the American people will show up for the fight.

Mr. Armey, U.S. House majority leader from 1995 to 2002, is chairman of FreedomWorks Foundation.
29583  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Coming Clusterfcuk on: November 07, 2008, 06:25:51 AM
I too think GM has it right.

Gov. P-whipped has done the opposite what he promised to do to get elected.  No spending cuts- instead MASSIVE increases.  If he simply had frozen spending we would be fine right now.  Instead Gov. Global Warming has been galvanting around sucking up and selling out to his wife's friends and family.

Tom McClintock was very good and very knowledgeable on these issues when he was in the State Legislature.  He just ran for US Congress.  Does anyone know if he won?

Changing subjects, BO does not have to be a Clusterfcuk , , ,

If Barack Obama ran for president by calling for a heavier hand of government, he also won by running one of the most entrepreneurial campaigns in history.

Will he now grasp the lesson his campaign offers as he crafts policies aimed at reigniting the national economy? Amid a recession, two wars, and a global financial crisis, will he come to see that unleashing the entrepreneur is the best way to raise the revenue he needs for his lofty priorities?

Like every entrepreneur, Mr. Obama's rise was improbable. An unusually-named, African-American first-term senator defeated two of the most powerful incumbent political brands, the Clintons and John McCain. Like many upstarts, he won by changing the rules of the game.

Mr. Obama, following FDR's mastery of radio and JFK's success on TV, is the first candidate to fully exploit the Web. The community organizer seemed to realize that new social networking and video technologies were perfect for politics. It didn't hurt that Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes worked for the campaign. "What ultimately transformed the presidential race," Joshua Green of The Atlantic wrote in June, "was not the money that poured in from Silicon Valley but the technology and the ethos."

The results of Mr. Obama's decentralized Web effort were staggering: 8,000 Web-based affinity groups, 50,000 local events, 1.5 million Web volunteers, and 3.1 million donors who contributed almost $700 million. Republicans, Charlie Cook reported on Nov. 3, believe their large but impersonal centralized databases could not match the tacit knowledge, individual initiative and agility of Mr. Obama's diffuse social networks.

Such creativity could bubble up because Mr. Obama was stable at the top. Not just anyone could recruit an army of volunteers and let them run free, establishing their own networks, offices and events. Because Mr. McCain lurched from one message and tactic to the next with dramatic frequency, his supporters froze. They spent more time defending or deciphering his shifting policies and tactics than they did organizing and persuading. Mr. Obama's even temper and relentlessly consistent message, on the other hand, encouraged supporters to take risks without the worry of being blindsided.

The key question now is how will Mr. Obama govern? Will he stick with the policies he ran on or adopt the approach that he won with?

The only way a president can maximize economic growth is to unleash diffuse networks of entrepreneurs. As economist Bob Litan of the Kauffman Foundation says, "Government can't compel growth." But Mr. Obama's plans -- "card check" legislation to allow workers to unionize a workplace without a secret ballot election; curbing free trade; a government-led "green economy"; and higher tax rates on capital and entrepreneurs -- do not reflect his campaign's deep trust in individuals.

A thought experiment, Mr. President-elect: What if as your campaign raised more and more money it was taxed away and given to Mr. McCain to level the field? Or think of this: What if you were not allowed to opt out of the public financing scheme that left Mr. McCain with a paltry $84 million, about a quarter of your autumn total?

Opting out of monopolistic, closed or centralized systems is often the path to innovation. Sometimes we opt out through the relaxation of regulations. More often, technology allows us to leap, obliterate or ignore the obstacles altogether.

So on education, why doesn't Mr. Obama take Charles Murray's advice? Instead of spending ever more billions to send ever more students to get often-meaningless, four-year college degrees, we should disaggregate the higher education market using the Web and skill-specific short courses and accreditation exams.

Clayton Christensen of Harvard Business School makes a similar argument for K-12 education, where we mindlessly follow a century-old way of doing business. Get rid of this manufacturing era, "value chain" model -- where we take inputs (students), add value (sometimes), and spit them out the other end -- in favor of a "user network" model where unique students with distinct learning styles plug in to smart software and tutoring tools that deliver a customized education.

On health care, let's face facts. We are not going to "solve" the entitlements crisis by gouging American producers to pay for the current Medicare/Medicaid abomination. Much better to transcend the issue with medical innovations and an entrepreneurial, consumer-driven market where more physicians go into medical technology, more nurses replace doctors, more technologies replace doctor visits, and, with properly-aligned incentives and real prices, more citizens take better care of their own health and thus their pocket books. The only way to escape current predictions of scarcity is the unforeseen abundance that entrepreneurship can bring.

Finally, Mr. President-elect, here's a secret: Insist on a strong and stable dollar. It worked wonders for presidents Reagan and Clinton. A weak dollar killed Messrs. Nixon, Ford, Carter and Bush 43. In the same way that Mr. Obama's millions of entrepreneurial volunteers took comfort in their leader's calm, steady, disciplined approach, entrepreneurs need the predictability and discipline of a stable currency to unleash their unpredictable innovations.

Mr. Obama should throw away his tax-regulate-and-centralize white papers. Instead, he should follow his campaign playbook and trust the networked masses. The best way to harness their power is to undo the reins.

Mr. Swanson is a senior fellow and director of the Center for Global Innovation at The Progress & Freedom Foundation.
29584  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: November 07, 2008, 06:16:27 AM
GM:  That is very funny in a wicked, deranged sort of way.

Rachel:  I disagree that loss was inevitable for McCain.  I agree strongly that McCain failed to speak in positives-- indeed I think a large part of BO's appeal was and is his ability to speak in positives-- as vapid and internally incosistent as they may be.  The American people were, and are, tired of the Hatfields and McCoy's routine out of the Patricians and Demogogues of Washington.
29585  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-Russia on: November 07, 2008, 06:10:18 AM
The decline of oil prices and continuing Russian demographic weakness suggest that we need not run for the hills just yet  wink

Here's this from today's WSJ:

Obama's Russia Test Article
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'Mark my words. It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama. . . . I guarantee you it's gonna happen." Joe Biden's famous campaign gaffe-as-prophecy was off by six months. How Mr. Obama responds to the Kremlin's provocation this week will offer an important glimpse of his Administration's approach to foreign policy.

In the yearly state of the nation address on Wednesday, President Dmitry Medvedev blamed the Georgia war, Russia's tanking markets and declining bilateral relations on a "selfish" and "mistaken, egotistical and sometimes simply dangerous" America. Presumably for effect, the national address was moved from last month to Wednesday, and started and ended with anti-U.S. tirades.

The Russian President also announced plans to deploy missiles in the Kaliningrad enclave between NATO members Poland and Lithuania unless America drops plans to deploy missile defenses in Europe. He added that Russia would jam U.S. radar. This would be an act of war if an Iranian missile, the intended target of the defenses, slipped through the net and hit America or its allies.

The U.S. struck agreements with Poland and the Czech Republic to put missile interceptors and radar on their territory after long negotiations. The countries agreed at some political risk, and clearly the Kremlin is hoping it can intimidate the new Administration into disavowing that commitment. It bears repeating that the system in no way diminishes Russia's own nuclear deterrent.

The State Department responded with its typical thunder, calling the speech "disappointing." President Bush, the U.S. head of state for another two-plus months, has said nothing. Mr. Obama's aides say the President-elect doesn't want to undermine Mr. Bush during the transition, and is focused on building his Administration.

That's fine. But he could help U.S. interests and himself merely by putting on record that an Obama-led America won't be intimidated by threatening outbursts from Russian leaders and will be a reliable partner to its allies in Europe. Any hint of doubt from the next Administration on this point will send shivers through our NATO allies and encourage more bad behavior by Russia and others. The Kremlin is doing Mr. Obama a favor by testing him so early.

All the more because Congressional Democrats have given the impression that U.S. support for Poland or NATO aspirants Ukraine and Georgia is negotiable. Money for the missile defense program was struck in May by Democrats who claimed the threat from Iran wasn't materializing quickly and a deal with Poland hadn't been signed. Some funding was restored after Poland agreed to host 10 missile-defense interceptors in August. We also hear from liberal quarters that America really is to blame for the deteriorating relationship with Moscow. The Kremlin has heard that too.

No matter who's in charge at the White House, the U.S. won't easily get along with a Russia that chokes off political freedoms at home and threatens neighboring democracies. Fortunately, America has built up strong alliances with free European countries that are, in turn, now willing to help defend the U.S. and Europe against a rogue missile threat. It'd be nice to hear from the next President that he stands by these alliances.
29586  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ on Saracuda on: November 07, 2008, 05:56:53 AM
I think this from the WSJ gets it right:

Palin and the GOP
Love Sarah Palin or hate her -- and there seems to be little in between -- the Alaska Governor has become a national political figure. She could have a big political future, assuming she and the many Republicans now trashing her learn something from their recent misadventures.

Last August we advised John McCain not to select a relative unknown like Mrs. Palin, in part because we remember the way Dan Quayle was treated. The media haze GOP candidates in a way they never do Democrats. (See Joe Biden, unreported gaffes of.) Any national-campaign novice was bound to be chewed up. Mr. McCain nonetheless decided to take one of his celebrated leaps off the high bar. (Our track record this campaign was perfect: If we proposed it, Mr. McCain did the opposite.)

 Associated Press
In the event, Mrs. Palin's contribution to the McCain ticket was mixed. Her bravura convention speech defied the early media mockery and made her an instant hero among rank-and-file Republicans. Her reform credentials and social conservatism inspired a GOP base that was angry with its wayward party and wary of Mr. McCain. The exit polls show that conservative turnout was strong, and Mrs. Palin deserves some credit for that.

Yet Mrs. Palin was clearly thrust into the spotlight before she was prepared for the rigors of a national campaign. The McCain camp also did her no favors, initially keeping her under a quarantine that raised the stakes for any media interview she did do. When it finally handed her over to Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric, Mrs. Palin was set up to fail with ground rules that let CBS dribble out her uncertain answers night after night.

The nasty leaks and gossip about Mrs. Palin that are now emerging from sources inside the McCain campaign have the ring of score-settling. Staff aides who mishandled her, or set her up for the Couric embarrassment, are now saying she refused coaching. Perhaps these were the same advisers who told her to cite Alaska's proximity to Russia as a foreign-policy credential.

No one really cares by now who did what to whom. The important point is that Mrs. Palin isn't responsible for Tuesday's defeat. The sages who urged Mr. McCain to "suspend" his campaign and throw himself in the middle of bailout talks on Capitol Hill can take far more credit for the loss.

Mrs. Palin is of course responsible for her own campaign performance, and this was uneven at best. A generation ago, a candidate might have been able to get away with the missteps in the Couric interview, but not in the age of YouTube. On the day she was chosen, the Governor wasn't conversant enough with many of the biggest national security and economic debates. Amid the financial panic, all she could offer were populist bromides about "greed and corruption." Voters who heard those answers were no doubt among the 60% who told exit pollsters on Tuesday that they didn't feel she was ready to be Commander in Chief.

Only 44 years old, and now with a loyal conservative following, Mrs. Palin is nonetheless well-positioned to help shape the Republican future. Her grasp of energy policy suggests she's capable of mastering subjects when she wants to, and if she wants a national future she's going to have to do the same on national issues.

Our advice would be that she also broaden her appeal beyond the politics of cultural division. One unfortunate campaign decision was to turn Mrs. Palin's initial response to press criticism into a consistent theme. The Governor's stump speech took on an us-versus-them cast, framing the election as a battle between the "real America" and blue-state elites. Hard as it may be to believe, New Jersey is part of America too.

This was an odd turn for Mrs. Palin, given her reputation in Alaska of taking on her own party and reaching across the aisle. Her commitment to a set of principles -- cleaning up government, taking on crony capitalism -- is what earned her 90% job approval. Her decision to jettison that appeal in favor of a base-rallying cultural pitch turned off many independents and suburbanites. Mrs. Palin will need those Americans if she wants to rebuild a party that must win in places like suburban Philadelphia, Orlando and New Hampshire to retake the White House.

As for Mrs. Palin's Republican critics, they might consider if they can afford to write off a young leader with such natural political talent. We don't see a large constellation of other GOP stars on the horizon. Mr. McCain was right to understand that his party needs a new generation of leaders who haven't grown comfortable with the perks of Washington. Especially as Democrats once again grow the Beltway, the next GOP leaders will need to make a better case for entrepreneurship and limited government. Mrs. Palin deserves a chance to see if she has the skill and work ethic to become that kind of leader.
29587  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / What would you like to see from DBMA? on: November 07, 2008, 05:48:35 AM
Woof All:

This thread is for requests and suggestions for how we can best help you.

The Adventure continues,
Guro Crafty
29588  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Starting up with FMA (training options) on: November 07, 2008, 05:47:24 AM
Great.   smiley

I hope you will continue to post here.
29589  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Medvedev's carefully timed address on: November 07, 2008, 05:41:24 AM
Geopolitical Diary: Medvedev's Carefully Timed Address
November 6, 2008
On Wednesday, as the entire world took in the idea of having Barack Obama as the next U.S. president, one of the greatest challengers to American power, Russia, decided to make itself immediately clear on its views of the current U.S. administration, Obama’s election and the global U.S. agenda.

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev gave his long-awaited first State of the State address (the equivalent of the U.S. president’s State of the Union address) on Nov. 5. The speech was much more than a nationalist appeal liberally sprinkled with Soviet-era rhetoric; it was a declaration of Russia’s return to the ranks of the world’s great powers. In effect, Medvedev not only tossed the gauntlet for Russia’s rivals in the West, but he also is not waiting around to see how they respond.

It must be understood that Medvedev — while he is certainly coming into his own under the sponsorship of his mentor, former president and current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin –- did not write this speech himself. The author is the Kremlin’s gray cardinal, Vladislav Surkov, who has played the role of backroom dealer, enforcer, planner and puppet master for Putin for most of the past eight years. Surkov does not control Putin — far from it -– but in many ways is the brains behind much of what happens in the Kremlin these days.

It was Surkov who recommended that Medvedev’s speech, originally scheduled for Oct. 23, be postponed. Ostensibly, the delay was meant to allow Russia more time to deal with its deepening financial crisis, but in reality, Surkov wanted to know which presidential candidate the Americans were going to elect. The speech was already written. In fact, according to Stratfor sources, two speeches had been written — one for each possible outcome of the U.S. election. In waiting for a clear picture on whom Moscow would be dealing with in Washington, Russia underscored the central role the United States plays in the international system, and that Moscow views Washington as its main counterweight.

Unlike many previous State of the State addresses, Medvedev’s Nov. 5 speech contained few veiled threats or simple proclamations. Instead, it announced hard actions, including the following statements:

Russia will deploy Iskander short-range ballistic missiles to Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave sandwiched between NATO and EU states Lithuania and Poland, in order to directly target the fledgling U.S. ballistic missile defense installations slated for Poland and the Czech Republic. (The Iskanders’ limited range will allow them to put only the Polish site at risk.)
Russia will return to a more Soviet-style system of term limits in order to more firmly entrench the power of the Putin team.
Moscow will not even consider negotiations with the lame-duck administration of President George W. Bush, preferring instead to wait for President-elect Barack Obama’s team, which Moscow thinks will be easier to manipulate (whether or not this proves true).
The United States is to blame not only for Russia’s war with Georgia, but also for the global financial crisis.
Russia will not make any concessions on its international position; the United States can take it or leave it.
All in all, these statements bear a degree of boldness that has long been present in Russian propaganda, though not necessarily backed up by any particular actions. Russia’s goal is simple: Use the three-month U.S. presidential transition period to impose a reality on the regions Moscow considers of core interest, presenting soon-to-be President Obama with a fait accompli. Most of Russia’s efforts will focus on Ukraine, but attention also will be spread throughout the Caucasus and Central Asia, as well as the Baltics, Belarus, Poland and the Czech Republic.

These states are already nervous about Obama’s ability to stand up to Russia’s new swagger, especially since he has never outlined a firm stance against Moscow and will be embroiled in other critical affairs, like Iraq and Iran. Now, Medvedev has told these states outright that Russia is about to act while the Americans can’t. He is playing on the states’ fears to push them into making a choice: Continue to depend on the United States (whether its support comes through or not), work with Moscow, or get crushed in the process.

29590  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The Power of Word on: November 07, 2008, 05:17:11 AM

Ignorant Jew that I am I somehow have found my path to be one of focusing on the Ten "Sayings"  wink  (I wonder if anyone other that you and similarly educated people will undertand the intending meaning here)-- and so I find your post quite interesting and pertinent to my personal path.  If you have the time and inclination to post further on the themes of the Ten Sayings and the 613 Mitzvots I would be very glad of it.

Thank you,
29591  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Starting up with FMA (training options) on: November 07, 2008, 05:07:49 AM
Greetings Barna:

And welcome to our Forum.

It sounds to me you like have three fine options.    I am guessing (though you should probably verify with the Inosanto Academy) that the Katipunan school is certified by my teacher, Guro Dan Inosanto.  I love Guro Inosanto and would be nothing without him.  Inosanto Blend is the dominant influence on DBMA and knowledge and training in it will serve you very well in DBMA.

Pekiti Tirisia is also a fine system.  I am a member of the PT family and have trained with GT Gaje both in the US and at his home in the Philippines.  The best fighter in the Dog Brothers, Eric "Top Dog" Knaus, was PT trained and PT is one of the three main FMA influences on DBMA.  Because PT is an important influence on DBMA, a goodly portion of whatever PT you do learn will serve you well in DBMA.

Obviously I like DBMA too  wink 

As you may know, I was just in Buenos Aires for 4 days of training and was very pleased to see the work that Nicolas has been doing in person.  Nico regularly sends me discs with footage of him teaching and his students training so I was not surprised in the slightest.
Also, while I was there Nico showed me some footage of him sparring in the Philippines with people of good level and doing quite well.  His fighting movement showed fluidity, good technique, and very good results-- I was very pleased.  During my time there I was able to do some good work with Nico and give him the next block of things for him to work on.  I am confident he will continue to work well the material I give him.  Nico is now authorized to start Training Groups throughout Argentina, Chile (we had some people from Chile at the seminar), and Uruguay.

Concerning sparring/fighting:  The mission statement of DBMA is to "Walk as a warrior for all your days".  The primary laboratory for the system is "Dog Brothers Real Contact Stickfighting" BUT MOST PEOPLE IN DBMA ARE "PRACTITIONERS", NOT FIGHTERS.  There is no sense of someone being a "kitty" if they do not spar or fight.  How far someone goes into that (from Action Flex sitcks, heavier protetive gear and various limiting rules all the way to DB type fighting) is simply a matter of what makes sense to each individual for himself.  I would add that IMHO those who do not spar or fight benefit greatly from being around those who do-- it gives a valuable understanding of what the training is designed to do, especially when taught by a teacher with some experience such as Nicolas. 

Does this help?
Guro Crafty Dog
29592  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: November 06, 2008, 10:22:43 PM
Good post from SBMig.

I too liked Manzi's comments in particular but found all of them assaying to be thoughtful and not just chattering class chatter.
29593  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: November 06, 2008, 10:18:33 PM
I had a similar reaction to Romney's concession speech, except that this one was so much more.
29594  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Coming Clusterfcuk on: November 06, 2008, 10:15:59 PM
If I have my datum correct, spending has increased over 40% under Gov P-whipped.

My wife just mentioned this to me a little while ago, and this article is the first I have read on it.  Something like this (imposing sales tax on my teaching income) could be the straw that breaks the camel's back and drives us out of CA.

29595  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: November 06, 2008, 04:03:46 PM
Bush was a Patrician and was rejected for it. 

The problem with McCain is that the man is inarticulate, and lacks comprehension of economics.  Much of what he sincerely is, is a Democrat, not a Maverick.
29596  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Palin phenomenon on: November 06, 2008, 03:57:29 PM
If Stevens wins and then has to resign, can she appoint herself Senator?
29597  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-Russia on: November 06, 2008, 12:34:22 PM
In the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Empire, I think it understandable for the US (not just Clinton) to have relaxed mentally.  OTOH Bush, with alleged Russian expert Condi Rice at his elbow, chose to pursue a very particular policy and signs were there to see e.g. Kosovo.  If we weren't busy elsewhere it may well have been a valid approach, but we WERE busy elsewhere and IMHO he badly overplayed our hand.    It IS an ugly situation that BO has inherited and I fear he will make it uglier.

I hated what the Dems did to Bush over Iraq and I AM A BETTER AMERICAN THAN THE DESTRUCTIVE ONES WERE-- so for me the frame of referenceis what is good for America.

Specifically WHAT should we do in response to the Russian actions?
29598  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: November 06, 2008, 12:24:42 PM
Woof TE:

I am about to OD on forum matters so I will be a bit briefer than your question deserves:

No one is talking about letting someone without money die from car accidents etc.

I would draw attention to your apparent notion that it is morally superior to turn people away for overcrowding as versus turning people away for insufficient money.   What is your reasoning here?

Denial of service due to overcrowding--due to virtually unlimited demand and diminished supply-- is precisely what happens when a good such as health is made "free"-- which in part is what is meant when we say "If you think health care is expensive now, just wait until the government makes it free." (PJ O'Rourke)  At the moment, in Canada you do not suffer the full consequences of your course of action precisely because you live next door to us.

Let me tell you a story of an experience of mine:

In 1992 I had a freak BJJ accident wherein the ACL, PCL, and Lateral Collateral Ligaments of my left knee were snapped in half.  Thanks to the wonders of modern medicine, what 5 to 10 years previous to that would have left me seriously gimp for life was fixed during the course of three surgeries which replaced the snapped ligaments with tendons from cadavers.  INCREDIBLE!   The cost was nearly $50,000 (remember this was 1992-93 dollars)  Because I bought health insurance, I was out of pocket $5,000 and the insurance company paid the other $45,000. 


OTOH, if Hillary Clinton and her health care program had been in charge, they probably would have decreed that there were too many specialists making too much money (this was a favorite point of hers) and there probably would not have been the specialists and the technology capable of saving my knee--- and my life in martial arts.


Furthermore, I used to be a lawyer in Washington DC, so I have a very visceral sense of the human beings who would be the bureaucrats deciding whether I was allowed to get a particular treatment are.  They are slow, vapid, and basically don't give a fcuk.  As a free man in a free country, giving such people control over how I pursue my health is a bitter anathema.

IMHO it is important to understand that the clusterfcuk we have now is NOT the free market and most of its undesirable features can be traced rather directly to government intervention.

That's all I have time for right now.  I hope it helps explain my perspective.


29599  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / PD WSJ on: November 06, 2008, 12:04:08 PM
Temporary Ted

People are scratching their heads that Alaska Senator Ted Stevens appears to have won re-election despite being convicted on seven felony counts of concealing improper gifts received from an oil services company executive. He clings to a 4,000-vote lead over Democrat Mark Begich, Anchorage's mayor, with several thousand absentee ballots not yet counted.

That Alaska is a Republican state and turnout was high due to the presence of Governor Sarah Palin on the GOP ticket isn't enough to explain how the 84-year-old Stevens appears to have become a political Lazarus. For one thing, turnout wasn't up very much, if at all. Certainly loyalty to Mr. Stevens, whose control over the levers of the federal budget has allowed him to play the state's Santa Claus for four decades, was a factor.

But the real reason for his survival appears to be tactical voting on the part of the state's voters. GOP sources tell me word was spread that the only way to keep the seat in the Republican column and prevent a possible 60-seat filibuster-proof Democratic majority was for voters to hold their noses and re-elect Mr. Stevens. Mr. Stevens himself implied as much in the race's only debate, held after his conviction.

The drama is now likely to play out as follows: Should Mr. Stevens be certified the winner, he will likely be told he won't be seated when the new Senate convenes in January. Governor Palin then would fill the vacancy for a period not to exceed 90 days, when a special election would have to be held. Mrs. Palin is likely to appoint her lieutenant governor, Sean Parnell, to the seat. Mr. Parnell, in turn, would likely face Mr. Begich early next year. Watch for a great deal of money to be poured into the race by Democrats, who hope that the absence of the legendary Mr. Stevens from the ballot will finally give them a chance to win.

-- John Fund

Obama v. Pelosi

Barack Obama obviously has thought carefully about mistakes made by previous Democratic presidential winners who wrongly believed a Congress controlled by their own party would help make them a success.

Pollster Doug Schoen, who helped Bill Clinton win re-election in 1996 over overwhelming odds after the 1994 Democratic debacle, recently warned in a Journal op-ed: "If the Democrats govern as if there is no Republican Party, they are likely headed to the kind of reaction that Bill Clinton faced when he made the same misjudgment after the 1992 election victory." Mr. Schoen cites specifically a meeting in Little Rock after the election with Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell and House Speaker Tom Foley, when Mr. Clinton agreed to defer to Congress on key elements of his legislative agenda. The subsequent lurch to the left did incalculable damage to his presidency.

That may be one reason why Mr. Obama has chosen Rahm Emanuel, a respected member of the Congressional leadership, to become his new White House Chief of Staff. Mr. Emanuel has a reputation as a tough partisan, but he has also exhibited impatience with left-wing members of his party who have overly ambitious ideological agendas. A likely first assignment for Mr. Emanuel will be reminding House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that, after only two years of Democratic control, Congress already has a lower approval rating than even President Bush's.

To the extent Mr. Obama becomes a successful president, it will be because he remains his own man and trusts the brilliant political instincts that have gotten him this far, this fast.

-- John Fund

Throw the Bums In

For an idea of just how ugly the anti-GOP tide was in this election, and how powerful was Barack Obama's influence on the ticket, consider the Democrats who survived. Not even earmark scandals or constituent insults were enough to dislodge Pennsylvania's Paul Kanjorski and Jack Murtha.

Mr. Kanjorski was considered the Democratic Party's most vulnerable member this year, and for reasons of his own making. The twelve-termer from Northeast Pennsylvania's 11th District landed in the soup after directing millions in defense funding to a research company owned by his relatives that ultimately went bankrupt. Mr. Kanjorski was widely expected to lose to his well-known Republican challenger, Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta. Instead, a flood of newly registered voters came out to support Mr. Obama and brought Mr. Kanjorski along for the ride.

That was also the case in Western Pennsylvania, where 17-term Rep. Murtha had managed to offend most of his district by claiming his constituents were "rednecks" who might be too "racist" to vote for Mr. Obama. That got voters thinking about Mr. Murtha's long and checkered past, and wondering if they wouldn't like something new in the person of retired Army lieutenant colonel William Russell. Closing polls showed the race surprisingly tight, yet Mr. Murtha, after an emergency visit by Bill Clinton to the district, pulled 58% of the vote. "You keep sending me back regardless of what I say," Mr. Murtha chortled afterward.

True, if unfortunate.

-- Kim Strassel

Quote of the Day

"[John] McCain deserves credit for a respectable showing and dodging the full-on disaster his party could have faced. How did he achieve that? One word: 'Maverick.' While Obama made a strong case tying McCain to President Bush, McCain was able to cut loose some of that dead weight by distancing himself from Bush over the campaign's final weeks. McCain won a striking 31 percent of voters who said they disapprove of Bush, including 16 percent of voters who said they 'strongly disapprove' of Bush. In 2000, by way of comparison, Al Gore carried just 9 percent of voters who disapproved of Bill Clinton" -- National Journal's John Mercurio.

Leading With Ideas

With the election results pouring in early Tuesday night, Florida Rep. Adam Putnam announced he was resigning from his post as the No. 3 Republican in the House, saying: "It is time to step off the leadership ladder and return my focus to crafting public policy solutions for America's generational challenges -- the very reason I ran for Congress in the first place."

Mr. Putnam is one of his party's most promising young leaders -- smart, principled and gifted politically. He also is living evidence that at least some Republicans understand why their party has so quickly become irrelevant.

Potentially another is GOP House Minority Leader John Boehner. He didn't step down to take responsibility for Tuesday's outcome, but he did send a letter to his members spelling out the party's need to win back credibility "issue by issue" by showing voters that Republicans have better solutions to the problems facing the country.

History will show the GOP's slide from power began earlier but became precipitous with Hurricane Katrina. Remember, in the weeks before the storm hit, Republicans were talking about votes on tax cuts and Social Security reform. But between President George W. Bush's slow response to the devastation and Congress's giddy rush to spend billions indiscriminately to "rebuild" from the storm, the small-government, low-taxes agenda that had animated the GOP since Ronald Reagan was swept away.

Majority Leader Tom DeLay went so far as to pooh-pooh concerns by saying the budget had already been stripped of wasteful spending. Mr. DeLay unceremoniously refused to support efforts by Rep. Mike Pence and other conservatives to offset any Katrina spending with corresponding cuts. The Bridge to Nowhere only became the most visible sign of the utter collapse of GOP credibility on bread-and-butter issues.

After Tuesday, there will no longer be a Republican in the House from New England. Republicans already have taken a pounding in recent years in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Michigan and Iowa -- regions hit hard by the loss of manufacturing jobs but also suffering under a burden of taxes and regulation that have driven businesses and households to friendlier climes. These are states where the GOP agenda, if enacted, might actually do some visible good. Instead Republicans themselves are an endangered species.

The path back to power is to do what Rep. Putnam is suggesting. The GOP has to show itself to be relevant again in the upper Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and New England. Writing off much of this territory has left the party with a shrinking base. If the GOP's hold on the South is now in jeopardy -- as the results from Virginia suggest -- that's all the more reason to start back at the grass-roots level. How long Republicans will remain in the political wilderness depends on what they start doing today.

-- Brendan Miniter

29600  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / from PD WSJ on: November 06, 2008, 12:02:32 PM
Temporary Ted

People are scratching their heads that Alaska Senator Ted Stevens appears to have won re-election despite being convicted on seven felony counts of concealing improper gifts received from an oil services company executive. He clings to a 4,000-vote lead over Democrat Mark Begich, Anchorage's mayor, with several thousand absentee ballots not yet counted.

That Alaska is a Republican state and turnout was high due to the presence of Governor Sarah Palin on the GOP ticket isn't enough to explain how the 84-year-old Stevens appears to have become a political Lazarus. For one thing, turnout wasn't up very much, if at all. Certainly loyalty to Mr. Stevens, whose control over the levers of the federal budget has allowed him to play the state's Santa Claus for four decades, was a factor.

But the real reason for his survival appears to be tactical voting on the part of the state's voters. GOP sources tell me word was spread that the only way to keep the seat in the Republican column and prevent a possible 60-seat filibuster-proof Democratic majority was for voters to hold their noses and re-elect Mr. Stevens. Mr. Stevens himself implied as much in the race's only debate, held after his conviction.

The drama is now likely to play out as follows: Should Mr. Stevens be certified the winner, he will likely be told he won't be seated when the new Senate convenes in January. Governor Palin then would fill the vacancy for a period not to exceed 90 days, when a special election would have to be held. Mrs. Palin is likely to appoint her lieutenant governor, Sean Parnell, to the seat. Mr. Parnell, in turn, would likely face Mr. Begich early next year. Watch for a great deal of money to be poured into the race by Democrats, who hope that the absence of the legendary Mr. Stevens from the ballot will finally give them a chance to win.

-- John Fund
What if Saracuda appoints herself to Stevens seat?!? Can she do that?!?

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