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29801  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / New on DVD! on: March 30, 2005, 08:24:15 PM
Woof All:

Allow me to underline that point about additional footage.  wink

In this vein. our conversion of "The Grandfathers Speak" to DVD, which was just been completed (but for the box cover), will include nearly 30 minutes of additional footage based principally around an interview I did with GM Leo Giron of Bahala Na Arnis/Eskrima about his CQC jungle experiences in WW2.  Editor "Night Owl" has put a lot of really good work intot this one.  We hope people are really going to like it.

Additional DVDs coming soon:

"Kali Tudo"(tm)  Kali-Silat for the Cage.  This is about 95% done.

"Single Stick Los Triques":  Big stick integration of Kali and Krabi Krabongd (The Three Ks, Los Tri-ques, get it?)

"Double Stick Los Triqques"  The core DVD for the footwork matrix that applies to all weapons categories as well as double stick fighting.

"Staff".  Our first assembly edit reveals something that need to be re-shot.

Woof,
Crafty Dog
29802  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Dog Brother Ranking System on: March 29, 2005, 09:21:54 AM
Woof Dustin:

Myke Willis is a Group Leader.  He is an active member of the DBMA Assn and is organizing a seminar hosting me, probably to be held at Darrian Whittaker's school (DW being the top student of the late and still missed Terry Gibson, who took over the school upon Terry's death)

Woof,
Guro Crafty
29803  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Dog Brother Ranking System on: March 28, 2005, 11:43:49 PM
Woof Dustin:

Thank you for your question.

Following the example of Guro Inosanto, in DBMA the instructor rankings are very simple.  They go like:

1) Group Leader:  A GL leads a "Training Group".  

2) Trainer:  The first level of acknowledgement of ability to teach some material.  This gives me a chance to give someone some leash to run with so I can see what they can do and how they do it without putting too much of our credibility on the line.

3) Apprentice Instructor

4) Senior Apprentice Instructor

5) Instructor:  

If an instructor is also a member of the Dog Brothers Tribe, he gets his ranking in Tagolog-- apprentice instructor being Lakan Guro for example.

Standards are pretty high-- this is not a paper mill!  Thus far only two men have received the rank of Guro/Instructor:  Benjamin "Lonely Dog" Rittiner, who heads our organization in Europe, and Guro Chris "True Dog" Clifton.

If would be fun to hand out big titles, but it would be ridiculous of me to have a bigger title than that of my teacher Guro Inosanto cheesy  and so Guro/Instructor is the maximum title.

As for student rankings, in that my preference is not to have them and I am blessed to live in an environment where as best as I can tell they do not seem to be important to our students, but for those instructors who do live in an environment where the students enjoy these things, then on the Instructors' pages of our DBMA Assn website they can find one designed by Guro Lonely that they may use.

Also, we have just begun an "Affiliate School" program.

In all these areas, (students, instructors, affiliates) there is to be a real relationship.  A primary vehicle for this relationship is the DBMA Assn and its website, vid-lessons, etc.  EVERYONE has continuous direct access to me via the Assn's forum.  All Instructors participate in the Forum as well.

Does this answer your question?

Woof,
Guro Crafty
29804  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: March 25, 2005, 01:45:36 PM
Woof All:

The classy Peggy Noonan was a speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan (e.g. his 40th Anniversary of Normandy speech and many others) and the author of "When Character was King" (stellar biography of Reagan) and other works.  IMHO a great writer.

Crafty
==========================


PEGGY NOONAN

In Love With Death
The bizarre passion of the pull-the-tube people.

Thursday, March 24, 2005 12:01 a.m. EST

God made the world or he didn't.

God made you or he didn't.

If he did, your little human life is, and has been, touched by the divine. If this is true, it would be true of all humans, not only some. And so--again, if it is true--each human life is precious, of infinite value, worthy of great respect.

Most--not all, but probably most--of those who support Terri Schiavo's right to live believe the above. This explains their passion and emotionalism. They believe they are fighting for an invaluable and irreplaceable human life. They are like the mother who is famously said to have lifted the back of a small car off the ground to save a child caught under a tire. You're desperate to save a life, you're shot through with adrenaline, your strength is for half a second superhuman, you do the impossible.

That is what they are trying to do.

They do not want an innocent human life ended for what appear to be primarily practical and worldly reasons--e.g., Mrs. Schiavo's quality of life is low, her life is pointless. They say: Who is to say it is pointless? And what does pointless even mean? Maybe life itself is the point.


I do not understand the emotionalism of the pull-the-tube people. What is driving their engagement? Is it because they are compassionate, and their hearts bleed at the thought that Mrs. Schiavo suffers? But throughout this case no one has testified that she is in persistent pain, as those with terminal cancer are.

If they care so much about her pain, why are they unconcerned at the suffering caused her by the denial of food and water? And why do those who argue for Mrs. Schiavo's death employ language and imagery that is so violent and aggressive? The chairman of the Democratic National Committee calls Republicans "brain dead." Michael Schiavo, the husband, calls House Majority Leader Tom DeLay "a slithering snake."

Everyone who has written in defense of Mrs. Schiavo's right to live has received e-mail blasts full of attacks that appear to have been dictated by the unstable and typed by the unhinged. On Democratic Underground they crowed about having "kicked the sh-- out of the fascists." On Tuesday James Carville's face was swept with a sneer so convulsive you could see his gums as he damned the Republicans trying to help Mrs. Schiavo. It would have seemed demonic if he weren't a buffoon.

Why are they so committed to this woman's death?

They seem to have fallen half in love with death.

What does Terri Schiavo's life symbolize to them? What does the idea that she might continue to live suggest to them?

Why does this prospect so unnerve them? Again, if you think Terri Schiavo is a precious human gift of God, your passion is explicable. The passion of the pull-the-tube people is not.

I do not understand their certainty. I don't "know" that any degree of progress or healing is possible for Terri Schiavo; I only hope they are. We can't know, but we can "err on the side of life." How do the pro-death forces "know" there is no possibility of progress, healing, miracles? They seem to think they know. They seem to love the phrases they bandy about: "vegetative state," "brain dead," "liquefied cortex."


I do not understand why people who want to save the whales (so do I) find campaigns to save humans so much less arresting. I do not understand their lack of passion. But the save-the-whales people are somehow rarely the stop-abortion-please people.

The PETA people, who say they are committed to ending cruelty to animals, seem disinterested in the fact of late-term abortion, which is a cruel procedure performed on a human.

I do not understand why the don't-drill-in-Alaska-and-destroy-its-prime-beauty people do not join forces with the don't-end-a-life-that-holds-within-it-beauty people.

I do not understand why those who want a freeze on all death penalty cases in order to review each of them in light of DNA testing--an act of justice and compassion toward those who have been found guilty of crimes in a court of law--are uninterested in giving every last chance and every last test to a woman whom no one has ever accused of anything.

There are passionate groups of women in America who decry spousal abuse, give beaten wives shelter, insist that a woman is not a husband's chattel. This is good work. Why are they not taking part in the fight for Terri Schiavo? Again, what explains their lack of passion on this? If Mrs. Schiavo dies, it will be because her husband, and only her husband, insists she wanted to, or would want to, or said she wanted to in a hypothetical conversation long ago. A thin reed on which to base the killing of a human being.

The pull-the-tube people say, "She must hate being brain-damaged." Well, yes, she must. (This line of argument presumes she is to some degree or in some way thinking or experiencing emotions.) Who wouldn't feel extreme sadness at being extremely disabled? I'd weep every day, wouldn't you? But consider your life. Are there not facets of it, or facts of it, that make you feel extremely sad, pained, frustrated, angry? But you're still glad you're alive, aren't you? Me too. No one enjoys a deathbed. Very few want to leave.

Terri Schiavo may well die. No good will come of it. Those who are half in love with death will only become more red-fanged and ravenous.
And those who are still learning--our children--oh, what terrible lessons they're learning. What terrible stories are shaping them. They're witnessing the Schiavo drama on television and hearing it on radio. They are seeing a society--their society, their people--on the verge of famously accepting, even embracing, the idea that a damaged life is a throwaway life.

Our children have been reared in the age of abortion, and are coming of age in a time when seemingly respectable people are enthusiastic for euthanasia. It cannot be good for our children, and the world they will make, that they are given this new lesson that human life is not precious, not touched by the divine, not of infinite value.

Once you "know" that--that human life is not so special after all--then everything is possible, and none of it is good. When a society comes to believe that human life is not inherently worth living, it is a slippery slope to the gas chamber. You wind up on a low road that twists past Columbine and leads toward Auschwitz. Today that road runs through Pinellas Park, Fla.

Ms. Noonan is a contributing editor of The Wall Street Journal and author of "A Heart, a Cross, and a Flag" (Wall Street Journal Books/Simon & Schuster), a collection of post-Sept. 11 columns, which you can buy from the OpinionJournal bookstore. Her column appears Thursdays.
29805  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Well-armed People on: March 25, 2005, 01:40:19 PM
Woof All:

FC, would you care to flesh out Bolton's role at the Small Arms Conference?

And now, here's this:

Crafty Dog
============================


"The great object is that every man be armed. ... Everyone who is able may have a gun." Patrick Henry during Virginia's ratification convention (1788) in "The Debates of the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution" at 386, Jonathan Elliot (New York, Burt Franklin: 1888).

Could Patrick Henry be more specific? After all, he was directly involved in the process of adopting the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.

"That the said Constitution shall never be construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms." Samuel Adams during Massachusetts' U.S. Constitution ratification convention (1788), "Debates and Proceedings in the Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts," at 86-87 (Pierce & Hale, eds., Boston, 1850).

Could Samuel Adams, an American Revolutionary leader who was actually there during the process, as was Patrick Henry, have been more clear about an individual's right to private gun ownership?

"The Constitution preserves the advantage of being armed, which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation ... (where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms." ? The Federalist, No. 46 ? James Madison, America's fourth president, known as the father and author of the U.S. Constitution.

"The people are not to be disarmed of their weapons. They are left in full possession of them." Zachariah Johnson Elliot's Debates, vol. 3, "The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution."

"? the people are confirmed by the next article in their right to keep and bear their private arms." Philadelphia Federal Gazette June 18, 1789, page 2, column 2, article on the Bill of Rights.

"Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence. ? From the hour the Pilgrims landed to the present day, events, occurrences and tendencies prove that to ensure peace security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable. ? The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere restrains evil interference ? they deserve a place of honor with all that's good." George Washington, America's first president, known as the father of our nation.

"The constitutions of most of our states assert that all power is inherent in the people; that ? it is their right and duty to be at all times armed. ? " Thomas Jefferson, America's third president in a letter to Justice John Cartwright, June 5, 1824. ME 16:45.

"The best we can help for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed." Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers at 184-8. Hamilton was a lawyer and delegate to the Continental Congress.
29806  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Help our troops/our cause: on: March 24, 2005, 01:57:43 PM
Military.com launched a new online employment and education resource last week in support of the Department of Defense Military Severely Injured Joint Support Operations Center (24/7 Family Support). The new Career Center, located online at www.Military.com/support and accessible via 1-888-774-1361, builds on efforts by the Military Severely Injured Joint Support Operations Center to ensure that Servicemembers with severe injuries have easy access to all available resources to assist with their recovery and rehabilitation. The Career Center offers an extensive job board powered by Monster, the leading global online careers property, as well as employment assistance, education options and benefits information for severely injured Servicemembers and their families. The Career Center also enables employers to express their interest in hiring people from this exceptional talent pool. Resources are drawn from the Office of Military Community and Family Policy as well as from every branch of military service, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Labor and private organizations. Go to the new Career Center at www.Military.com/support
29807  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: March 24, 2005, 08:29:25 AM
www.stratfor.com

Iran: The Military Force 'On The Table'
March 16, 2005 21 28  GMT



Summary

U.S. President George W. Bush said January he would not rule out the use of military force against Iran if Tehran refuses to cooperate regarding its nuclear program. The military option is unlikely to be executed while talks between Tehran, Washington and the EU on the subject exist. Although not likely any time soon, if talks lead nowhere, the United States could set Iran's nuclear program back years -- or possibly even eliminate it -- via airstrikes. Potential Iranian responses will naturally factor in any U.S. decision to attack.

Analysis

While the Bush administration insists that a political solution to the issues surrounding Iran's nuclear program will be sought first and foremost, U.S. President George W. Bush said Jan. 17 that all options -- presumably including the military one -- remain "on the table."

So far, the United States remains committed to a nonmilitary solution. However, if the crisis drags on and no political settlement is reached, the United States possesses the means to inflict severe damage on Tehran's nuclear program. With U.S. forces spread thin around the world, should Washington decide to exercise the military option against Iran's nuclear program, such an action would consist of a limited campaign of airstrikes lasting a few days. The scope would probably be similar to the Desert Fox operation in 1998, when the United States attacked Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program, and would not consist of an invasion like 2003's Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).





One of the most likely Iranian targets will be the uranium enrichment facility at Natanz. This facility is critical to the Iranian nuclear program because enriching uranium is the final step before production of nuclear weapons is possible. Despite being buried underground, the facility is still vulnerable to the types of "bunker buster" munitions that U.S. forces found effective in OIF. The loss of the enrichment facility would be the decisive, crippling blow to Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions. Additionally, the heavy water plant and plutonium reactor at Arak could be targeted. The reactor at Bushehr is not as critical to the nuclear program, but it is the most vulnerable facility, so it could be attacked for good measure.

In addition to hitting critical sites associated with nuclear weapons development, Iran's capacity to resist and retaliate after the attacks must also be targeted. This would entail strikes against air defense sites, Silkworm anti-missile sites along the coast, commando units capable of attacking oil terminals and shipping in the Persian Gulf, Revolutionary Guard Pasdaran units and missile units.

Iran reportedly has the Russian-made S-300 missile -- a capable surface-to-air missile system that will complicate U.S. air operations over Iran. If the United States is to conduct airstrikes against Iran, this threat must be dealt with initially. The United States can identify these missiles' locations with electronic intelligence and jam their radar, or target them using Stealth aircraft. Once this threat is neutralized, non-stealth aircraft such as the U.S. Air Force's F-15E and U.S. Navy's F/A-18 would be able to deliver their own precision-guided munitions.

U.S. assets used in an attack against Iran likely will include the strike group from the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman, which is currently supporting operations in Iraq. The Truman is about to be joined in the Persian Gulf by the USS Carl Vinson , which will add an additional 85 aircrafts to the U.S. order of battle. The United States can use cruise missiles launched from submarines, as well as F-117s flying out of Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, and B-1 and B-2 bombers flying out of Diego Garcia and possibly Thumrait Air Base in Oman. The United States also operates aircraft from bases in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan that could be used to stage airstrikes into northern Iran. It is unlikely those Central Asian countries would give permission for the United States to attack Iran from their territory, so if necessary, the United States can operate out of Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.

Before attacking Iran's nuclear program, more U.S. strike aircraft would have to be moved into the region to deliver an overwhelming blow. Since the end of major combat in OIF, the United States has redeployed much of its airpower, leaving relatively few strike and support aircraft in the region compared to 2003. Sufficient supplies already exist at several logistics hubs in the region to sustain the attack. Patriot batteries also will have to be in place to protect airbases, logistic hubs and -- possibly -- Iraqi cities from retaliatory Iranian missile strikes.

An Iranian response to a U.S. attack could include attacking Iraq with Scud missiles, Silkworm launches against shipping in the Persian Gulf and terrorist attacks against U.S. interests worldwide. Efforts should be made to mitigate these prior to any attack against Iran. Iran also could retaliate against U.S. allies in the region, notably Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Kuwait's significant U.S. troop presence means it can rely on the United States to augment Kuwait's own Patriot batteries used to defend Kuwaiti population centers and oil exporting facilities. Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, will have to use its own Patriot batteries to protect its oil terminals and cities. British forces headquartered in Basra would, at the very least, provide a deterrent to any Iranian attempt to move across the Shatt al Arab into southern Iraq.

Much must happen between Tehran, the EU and Washington before the military option becomes more likely; but should the need arise, the United States can draw on a powerful arsenal to cause catastrophic damage to Iran's nuclear program.
29808  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Well-armed People on: March 23, 2005, 11:08:45 AM
March 23, 2005, 7:44 a.m.
Disarming Facts
The road to bad laws is paved with good intentions.

By John R. Lott Jr.

The last ten days have seen three horrific multiple-victim public shootings: the Atlanta courthouse attack that left four murdered; the Wisconsin church shooting, where seven were murdered, and Monday's high-school shooting in Minnesota, where nine were murdered. What can be learned from these attacks? Some take the attacks as confirmation that guns should be completely banned from even courthouses, let alone schools and churches.

The lessons from the courthouse shooting are likely to be different from the other two attacks in that there were armed sheriff's deputies present. Even if civilian gun possession were banned at the courthouse, the officers still had guns. Not only did they fail to stop the attack, they even facilitated it, because the 200-pound former football linebacker who was facing trial for rape was able to take the gun.

Guns are most useful in stopping criminals at a distance. The threat of using the gun against a criminal can allow one to capture him, or at least can cause the criminal to break off his attack. Police have a much more difficult job than civilians. While civilians can use a gun to maximize the distance between themselves and criminals, police can be satisfied with simply brandishing a gun and watching the criminal run away. Their job requires physical contact, and when that happens, things can go badly wrong.

My own published research on criminals assaulting police shows that the more likely that an assault will be successful, the more likely criminals will be to make it. The major factor determining success is the relative strengths and sizes of the criminal and officer. In particular, when officer strength and size requirements are reduced because of affirmative action, each one-percent increase in the number of female officers increases the number of assaults on police by 15 to 19 percent. The Atlanta-courthouse shooting simply arose from such a case.

There is a broader lesson to learn from these attacks. All three attacks took place in areas where gun possession by those who did the attack as well as civilians generally was already banned ? so-called "gun-free safe zones." Suppose you or your family are being stalked by a criminal who intends on harming you. Would you feel safer putting a sign in front of your home saying "This Home is a Gun-Free Zone"?

It is pretty obvious why we don't put these signs up. As with many other gun laws, law-abiding citizens, not would-be criminals, would obey the sign. Instead of creating a safe zone for victims, it leaves victims defenseless and creates a safe zone for those intent on causing harm.

A three-year prison term for violating a gun-free zone represents a real penalty for a law-abiding citizen. Adding three years to a criminal?s sentence when he is probably already going to face multiple death penalties or life sentences for a murderous rampage is probably not going to be the penalty that stops the criminal from committing his crime.

Many Americans have learned this lesson the hard way. In 1985, just eight states had the most liberal right-to-carry laws ? laws that automatically grant permits once applicants pass a criminal background check, pay their fees and, when required, complete a training class. Today the total is 37 states. Bill Landes and I have examined all the multiple-victim public shootings with two or more victims in the United States from 1977 to 1999 and found that when states passed right-to-carry laws, these attacks fell by 60 percent. Deaths and injuries from multiple-victim public shootings fell on average by 78 percent.

No other gun-control law had any beneficial effect. Indeed, right-to-carry laws were the only policy that consistently reduced these attacks.

To the extent attacks still occurred in right-to-carry states, they overwhelmingly happened in the special places within those states where concealed handguns were banned. The impact of right-to-carry laws on multiple-victim public shootings is much larger than on other crimes, for a simple reason. Increasing the probability that someone will be able to protect themselves, increases deterrence. Even when any single person might have a small probability of having a concealed handgun, the probability that at least someone will is very high.

Unfortunately, the restrictive concealed-handgun law now in effect in Minnesota bans concealed handguns around schools and Wisconsin is one of four states that completely ban concealed handguns, let alone not allowing them in churches. (There was a guard at the Minnesota school and he was apparently the first person killed, but he was also apparently unarmed.) While permitted concealed handguns by civilians are banned in Georgia courthouses, it is not clear that the benefit is anywhere near as large as other places simply because you usually have armed law enforcement nearby. One possibility is to encourage prosecutors and others to carry concealed guns around courthouses.

These restrictions on guns in schools weren't always in place. Prior to the end of 1995 when the Safe School Zone Act was enacted, virtually all the states that allowed citizens, whether they be teacher or principles or parents, to carry concealed handguns let them carry them on school grounds. Even Minnesota used to allow this.

Some have expressed fears over letting concealed permit holders carry guns on school campuses, but over all the years that permitted guns were allowed on school property there is no evidence that these guns were used improperly or caused any accidents.

People's reaction to the horrific events displayed on TV such as the Minnesota attack are understandable, but the more than two million times each year that Americans use guns defensively are never discussed ? even though this is five times as often as the 450,000 times that guns are used to commit crimes over the last couple of years. Seldom do cases make the news where public shootings are stopped or mothers use guns to prevent their children from being kidnapped. Few would know that a third of the public-school shootings were stopped by citizens with guns before uniformed police could arrive.

In an analysis that I did during 2001 of media coverage of guns, the morning and evening national-news broadcasts on the three main television networks carried almost 200,000 words on contemporaneous gun-crime stories. By comparison, not one segment featured a civilian using a gun to stop a crime. Newspapers are not much better.

Police are extremely important in deterring crime, but they almost always arrive after the crime has been committed. Annual surveys of crime victims in the United States continually show that, when confronted by a criminal, people are safest if they have a gun. Just as the threat of arrest and prison can deter criminals from committing a crime, so can the fact that victims can defend themselves.

Gun-control advocates conveniently ignore that the nations with the highest homicide rates have gun bans. Studies, such as one conducted recently by Jeff Miron at Boston University, which examined 44 countries, find that stricter gun-control laws tend to lead to higher homicide rates. Russia, which has banned guns since the Communist revolution, has had murder rates several times higher than that of the United States; even under the Communists, the Soviet Union's rate was much higher.

Good intentions don't necessarily make good laws. What counts is whether the laws ultimately save lives. Unfortunately, too many gun laws primarily disarm law-abiding citizens, not criminals.

? John Lott, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, is the author of The Bias Against Guns and More Guns, Less Crime.

http://www.nationalreview.com/comme...00503230744.asp
29809  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Howl of Respect to our Soldiers/Veterans on: March 23, 2005, 10:39:41 AM
Subject: Report from Iraq
From: John Bell [mailto:bellj@ramincorp.com]
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2005 11:28 AM

Went to an AUSA dinner last night at the Ft. Hood Officers' Club to
hear a speech by MG Pete Chiarelli, CG of the 1st Cav Div. He and most
of the Div. have just returned from Iraq. Very informative and,
surprise, the Mainstream Media (MSM) isn't telling the story. I was not
there as a reporter, didn't take notes but I'll make some the points I
remember that were interesting, suprising or generally stuff I had not
heard before.

It was not a speech per se. He just walked and talked, showed some
slides  and answered questions. Very impressive guy.

1. While units of the Cav served all over Iraq, he spoke mostly of
Baghdad and more specifically Sadr City, the big slum on the eastern
side of theTigeris River. He pointed out that Baghdad is, in geography,
is about the size of Austin. Austin has 600,000 to 700,000 people.
Baghdad has 6 to7 million people.

2. The Cav lost 28 main battle tanks. He said one of the big lessons
learned is that, contrary to docterine going in, M1-A2s and Bradleys
are needed, preferred and devastating in urban combat and he is going
to make that point to the JCS next week while they are considering
downsizing armor.

3. He showed a graph of attacks in Sadr City by month. Last Aug-Sep
they were getting up to 160 attacks per week. During the last three
months, the graph had flatlined at below 5 to zero per week.

4. His big point was not that they were "winning battles" to do this
but that cleaning the place up, electricity, sewage, water were the key
factors. He said yes they fought but after they started delivering
services that the Iraqis in Sadr City had never had, the terrorist
recruiting of 15 and 16 year olds came up empty.

5. The electrical "grid" is a bad, deadly joke. Said that driving down
the street in a Hummv with an antenna would short out a whole block of
apt. buildings. People do their own wiring and it was not uncommon for
early morning patrols would find one or two people lying dead in the
street,  having been electrocuted trying to re-wire their own homes.

6. Said that not tending to a dead body in the Muslum culture never
happens. On election day, after suicide bombers blew themselves up
trying to take out polling places, voters would step up to the body
lying there,  spit on it, and move up in the line to vote.

7. Pointed out that we all heard from the media about the 100 Iraqis
killed as they were lined up to enlist in the police and security
service. What the media didn't point out was that the next day there
300 lined up in the same place.

8. Said bin Laden and Zarqawi made a HUGE mistake when bin laden went
public with naming Zarqawi the "prince" of al Quaeda in Iraq. Said that
what the Iraqis saw and heard was a Saudi telling a Jordainan that his
job was to kill Iraqis. HUGE mistake. It was one of the biggest factors
in getting Iraqis who were on the "fence" to jump off on the side of
the coalition and the new gov't.

9. Said the MSM was making a big, and wrong, deal out of the religious
sects. Said Iraqis are incredibly nationalistic. They are Iraqis first
and then say they are Muslum but the Shi'a - Sunni thing is just not
that big a deal to them.

10. After the election the Mayor of Baghdad told him that the people of
the region (Middle East) are joyous and the governments are nervous.

11. Said that he did not lose a single tanker truck carrying oil and
gas over the roads of Iraq. Think about that. All the attacks we saw on
TV with IEDs hitting trucks but he didn't lose one. Why? Army Aviation.
Praised his air units and said they made the decision early on that
every convoy would have helicopter air cover. Said aviators in that
unit were hitting the 1,000 hour mark (sound familiar?). Said a covoy
was supposed to head out but stopped at the gates of a compound on the
command of an E6. He asked the SSG what the hold up was. E6 said, "Air
, sir." He wondered what was wrong with the air, not realizing what the
kid was talking about. Then the AH-64s showed up and the E6 said, "That
air sir." And then moved out.

12. Said one of the biggest problems was money and regs. There was a
$77 million gap between the supplemental budget and what he needed in
cash on the ground to get projects started. Said he spent most of his
time trying to get money. Said he didn't do much as a "combat
commander" because the the war he was fighting was a war at the squad
and platoon level. Said that his NCOs were winning the war and it was a
sight to behold.

13. Said that of all the money appropriated for Iraq, not a cent was
earmarked for agriculture. Said that Iraq could feed itself completely
and still have food for export but no one thought about it. Said the
Cav started working with Texas A&M on ag projects and had special
hybrid seeds sent to them through Jordan. TAM analyzed soil samples and
worked out how and what to plant. Said he had an E7 from Belton, TX
(just down the road from Ft. Hood) who was almost single-handedly
rebuilding the ag industry in the Baghdad area.

14. Said he could hire hundreds of Iraqis daily for $7 to $10 a day to
work on sewer, electric, water projects, etc. but that the contracting
rules from CONUS applied so he had to have $500,000 insurance policies
in place in case the workers got hurt. Not kidding. The CONUS peacetime
regs slowed everything down, even if they could eventually get waivers
for the regs.

There was more, lots more, but the idea is that you haven't heard any
of this from anyone, at least I hadn't and I pay more attention than
most.

Great stuff. We should be proud. Said the Cav troops said it was ALL
worth it on Jan. 30 when they saw how the Iraqis handled election day.
Made them very proud of their service and what they had accomplished.

John Bell
Research Analysis & Maintenance, Inc.  ( RAM, Inc.)
1525 Perimeter Parkway, Suite 110
Huntsville, AL 35806
Phone: 256-895-8402
Fax: 256-895-8452
29810  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / An Untold Triumph on: March 23, 2005, 10:33:56 AM
Hi everyone:

Sonny Izon just e mailed me to update the PBS showing of ?An Untold Triumph?.  The date is now May 30, 2005.  Please pass the word.

Regards,
Tony Somera

=======

Woof All:  

The preceding was forwarded to me by John Spezzano.  Tony Somera is the heir/GM of Leo Giron's Bahala Na Arnis/Eskrima.  GM Giron appears in "Untold Triumph"

BTW, we have finished editing the DVD conversion of "The Grandfathers Speak" and there will be nearly 30 minutes of additional footage which principally consists of an interview I did with GM Giron in his Training Hall/basement in 1991 wherein he discusses his experiences in CQC in detail.  As usual, fine work from Editor Ron "Night Owl" Gabriel.

The Adventure continues,
Crafty Dog
29811  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Howl of Respect to our Soldiers/Veterans on: March 22, 2005, 06:11:58 PM
Laws Must Protect the Rights of Military Dads
By Jeffery M. Leving and Glenn Sacks
 


When the Iraq war began two years ago, tens of thousands of fathers who serve in the Armed Forces expected hardship and sacrifice. However, they never expected that their children might be taken from them while they were deployed, or that their own government might jail them upon their return.

Military service sometimes costs men their children.  The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act provides that if a parent moves a child to a new state, that new state becomes the child's presumptive residence after six months. With the long deployments necessitated by the war, a military spouse can move to another state while her spouse is deployed, divorce him, and then be virtually certain to gain custody through the divorce proceedings in the new state.

Given service personnel?s limited ability to travel, the high cost of legal representation and travel, and the financial hardships created by child support and spousal support obligations, it is extremely difficult for fathers to fight for their parental rights in the new state. For many, their participation and meaningful role in their children?s lives ends?often permanently--the day they were deployed.

In one highly-publicized case, Gary S., a San Diego-based US Navy SEAL, had his child permanently moved from California to the Middle East against his will while he was deployed in Afghanistan after the September 11 terrorist attacks. The 18-year Navy veteran with an unblemished military record has seen his son only three times since he returned from Afghanistan in April, 2002. Meanwhile he is nearly bankrupt from child support, spousal support, travel costs, and legal fees.

To solve the problem, the federal government must amend the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act of 2003 (SCRA) (formerly known as the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act) to specifically prohibit the spouses of active duty military personnel from permanently moving children to another state without the permission of the active duty military spouse or of a court. In addition, the UCCJEA needs to be modified to state that the presumption of new residence does not apply if the children are taken in this wrongful fashion.

Also, states must do more to prevent custodial parents from moving children out of the lives of noncustodial parents, except in cases of abuse or dire economic need. For example, last year the California Supreme Court decided in LaMusga that courts should restrain moves that harm children by damaging the loving bonds they share with their noncustodial parents.

While some military fathers face the loss of their children, others face prosecution and jail for child support obligations which their service has rendered them unable to pay.

Support orders are based on civilian pay, which is generally higher than active duty pay. When reservists are called up to active duty they sometimes pay an impossibly high percentage of their income in child support.

For example, a California naval reservist who has three children and who takes home $4,000 a month in his civilian job would have a child support obligation of about $1,600 a month. If this father is a petty officer second class (E5) who has been in the reserves for six or seven years--a middle-ranked reservist--his active-duty pay would only be $2,205 before taxes, in addition to a housing allowance.  Under current California child support guidelines, the reservist?s child support obligation should be $550 a month, not $1,600.

A reasonable reader unfamiliar with the wonders of the child support system would probably think ?OK, but the courts would just straighten it out when the reservist gets back?certainly they wouldn?t punish him for something that happened because he was serving.? However, the federal Bradley Amendment prohibits judges from retroactively modifying child support beyond the date which an obligor has applied for a modification.  Reservists can be mobilized with as little as one day?s notice. If a reservist didn?t have time or didn?t know he had to file for a downward modification, the arrearages stay, along with the interest and penalties charged on them.

When the arrearage reaches $5,000?a common occurrence during long deployments?the father can become a felon who can be incarcerated or subject to a barrage of harsh civil penalties, including seizure of driver's licenses, business licenses and passports.

In addition, reservists who return from long-deployments often find that their civilian earning capacity is now diminished. This is particularly true for the 6% of reservists who are self-employed, and whose businesses are often destroyed by their absence. Family law courts are notoriously unforgiving of fathers who suffer wage drops. Many if not most will have their former incomes imputed to them, meaning that their child support will not change despite their drop in income. Saddled with mounting arrearages, some reservists will return to fight a long battle to stay out of jail.

Some reservists have their child support deducted automatically from their pay.  Once deployed these fathers may lose 60% or 70% of their income and incur huge debts or face home foreclosures.  

To date Missouri is the only state to adequately address the issue. During the first Gulf War it passed a law requiring that reservists? support obligations be automatically modified when they are called up for active duty. Other states, including California and Illinois, are currently considering legislation that would help reservists. However, tens of thousands of reservists were deployed before they could file for downward modifications. Only a repeal of the Bradley amendment?already widely seen as bad law within family law circles?can prevent them from facing years of debt, harassment, legal woes or even incarceration upon their return from active service.

Like many veterans, Gary says he was very na?ve about the troubles military fathers face in family law.

?The failure of our leaders in Washington to protect military fathers is a national disgrace,? he says. ?Reservist fathers shouldn?t be turned into deadbeats. And no father should ever, ever lose his son or daughter simply because he served his country.?


This column was first published in the Army Times and Marine Corps Times (3/28/05).

Jeffery M. Leving is one of America's most prominent family law attorneys. He is the author of the book Fathers' Rights: Hard-hitting and Fair Advice for Every Father Involved in a Custody Dispute. His website is www.dadsrights.com.

Glenn Sacks is a men's and fathers' issues columnist and a nationally-syndicated radio talk show host. His columns have appeared in dozens of America's largest newspapers.

Glenn can be reached via his website at www.GlennSacks.com or via email at Glenn@GlennSacks.com.
29812  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Howl of Respect to our Soldiers/Veterans on: March 22, 2005, 11:44:30 AM
From Reuters: Army raises enlistment age for reservists to 39
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- The U.S. Army, stung by recruiting shortfalls caused by the Iraq war, has raised the maximum age for new recruits for the part-time Army Reserve and National Guard by five years to 39, officials said Monday.

The Army said the move, a three-year experiment, will add about 22 million people to the pool of those eligible to serve, from about 60 million now. Physical standards will not be relaxed for older recruits, who the Army said were valued for their maturity and patriotism.

The Pentagon has relied heavily on part-time Army Reserve and Army National Guard soldiers summoned from civilian life to maintain troop levels in Iraq and Afghanistan. Roughly 45 percent of U.S. troops currently deployed for those wars are reservists.

At home, the all-volunteer Army has labored to coax potential recruits to volunteer for the Guard and Reserve as well as for active-duty, and to persuade current soldiers to re-enlist when their volunteer commitment ends.

Maj. Elizabeth Robbins, an Army spokeswoman, said the maximum enlistment age for the regular Army will remain 34. While congressional action was not needed to raise the age for the Guard and Reserve, Robbins said, Congress must approve any change for the active-duty force.

"Raising the maximum age for non-prior service enlistment expands the recruiting pool, provides motivated individuals an opportunity to serve, and strengthens the readiness of Reserve units," the Army said in a statement.

Air Force Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said it was possible after the three-year test ends in September 2008 that the Pentagon may consider an enlistment age for Army reservists even older than 39.

Recruiting goals

Recruiters say the Iraq war is making military service a harder sell, and the Army has added recruiters and financial incentives for enlistment.

The Army National Guard missed its recruiting goal for the 2004 fiscal year and trails its year-to-date 2005 targets. The Army Reserve missed January and February goals and is lagging its target for 2005. The regular Army missed its target for February and trails its annual goal.

"Obviously, this decision is being made partly in response to the personnel shortfalls caused by the war in Iraq," said defense analyst Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute.

But he said U.S. life expectancy increased by 40 percent in the 20th century, adding, "The pressure of wartime has pushed the Army to make a change that may have been overdue anyway."

"Anecdotally, our recruiters have been telling us for years that we've had people who are otherwise qualified but over the age limit who have attempted to enlist," Robbins said. "There are physically fit, health-conscious individuals who can make a positive contribution to our national defense."

The Army said the policy applies to men and women, and older recruits must meet the same physical standards and pass the same medical examination as everyone else.

"Experience has shown that older recruits who can meet the physical demands of military service generally make excellent soldiers based on their maturity, motivation, loyalty and patriotism," the Army said.

Krenke said the the change was first considered last fall and approved by the Pentagon last week. She said the Marines, Navy and Air Force had not requested a similar change.

The Army Reserve is made up of federal soldiers who can be mobilized from civilian life for active duty. National Guard soldiers also serve under the control of state governors for roles like disaster relief in their home states.
__________________
29813  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / "Kali" player on trial for killing bouncer on: March 21, 2005, 11:38:14 AM
Woof JDN:

I am sorry that I cannot lay my hands on it at the moment, but I remember reading a fairly serious legal piece some years back which formed the basis of my understanding of CA law.  I am unaware of any changes in it.

Do you have any citations supporting your statement?

Woof,
Crafty Dog
29814  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Well-armed People on: March 20, 2005, 07:39:44 PM
Fighting Crime the 11th Century Way....


By Peter Apps

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Tighter gun ownership laws are pushing South Africans to buy crossbows, spears, swords, knives and pepper sprays to protect themselves from violent crime.



"We've had to build an entirely new shop because the demand from people is so great," Justin Willmers, owner of Durban Guns and Ammo, told Reuters. "It can be anything from a Zulu fighting spear, battle axes, swords, crossbows."

New gun controls came into force last year under South Africa's Firearms Control Act, but some weapons shop owners say high crime rates are pushing law abiding citizens to look for alternative means of defending themselves.

Despite official figures showing the murder rate falling 10 percent in the year to March 2004, South Africa's Arms and Ammunition Dealers Association says individuals face a one in 60 chance of being the victim of a violent crime in any given year.

Many houses are surrounded by razor wire and electric fences, but with police turning down 80 percent of firearms license requests after an 18-month application process, Association spokesman Alex Holmes said people were forced to look at other options.

"It's not really a matter of choice," Holmes said. "Licensed firearms are not used in crime at any great rate."

Estimates of the number of illegal firearms in South Africa vary between 1 and 4 million, he said, but the real problem is from some 30-40,000 hardcore criminals using a small number of illegal guns.

SILENT CROSSBOW

South Africa began a firearms amnesty on Jan. 1 that to date has netted some 13,000 weapons, officials told Reuters, but critics say most of the weapons handed in are old and would never have been used for crime.

"It's mostly been grannies and grandpas that are handing in weapons that are probably unusable anyhow," Willmers said. In the meantime, people from all walks of life are acquiring weapons not restricted by law.

"The guys have just had enough," Willmers said.

Men are buying machetes to fight off hijackers or crossbows to shoot people breaking into their property, while women are more likely to buy a pepper spray, he said.

One customer successfully fought off three hijackers with a machete, slashing one, he said. A beggar had bought a pepper spray so he could fight off those who tried to steal his shoes as he slept on the street.

With some homeowners worried about prosecution if they kill intruders, the crossbow is particularly popular because of its silence and the difficulty of tracing the firer from forensic evidence, he said.

With no legal restrictions on sales, weapons shop staff had to exercise judgment in who they sold to, Willmers said.

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=sto...ca_crossbows_dc
29815  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Humor on: March 20, 2005, 06:43:42 AM
(it's OK to laugh at this, even if you're not Jewish)


Six retired Floridians are playing poker in the condo clubhouse when Meyerwitz, who just lost $500 on a single hand, suddenly turns white, clutches his chest -- and drops dead right on the table.

Showing respect for their fallen comrade, the other five continued to play while standing up. Finklestein eventually looks around and asks, "So, who's gonna tell his wife?"

They draw cards, and Goldberg draws the high card.

They caution Goldberg to be discreet, be gentle, don't make a bad situation any worse.

"Discreet? I'm the most discreet mensch you will ever meet. Discretion is my middle name, leave it to me."

Goldberg goes over to the Meyerwitz apartment and knocks on the door. The wife answers and asks hin what he wants. In a low voice, Goldberg says, "Your husband just lost $500 and now he's afraid to come home."

The wife shouts, "Tell him to drop dead!"

Goldberg says, "I'll go tell him."
29816  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Weird and/or silly on: March 18, 2005, 11:09:44 AM
Former Dentist Accused Of Squirting Semen Into Mouths Of Patients

POSTED: 7:02 am EST March 15, 2005
UPDATED: 11:43 am EST March 15, 2005

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A former North Carolina dentist accused of using syringes to squirt semen into the mouths of female patients was charged Monday with multiple misdemeanor counts of assault on a female.

A Mecklenburg County grand jury indicted Dr. John Hall on seven counts of assault on a female. He was charged with assaulting six patients, including one of them twice, over an eight-month period in 2003.

Hall, 44, who practiced in nearby Cornelius, is expected to turn himself in at the Mecklenburg County jail on Wednesday. He faces up to 120 days in jail if convicted on all the charges.

Hall could not be reached for comment. In the past, he has denied the allegations, calling them "bizarre and sensational."

Assistant District Attorney David Maloney, who sought Monday's indictments against Hall, would not comment on the charges.

"We knew these indictments were coming," said defense attorney George Laughrun. "This is just the first step in the process. My client is anxious for the process to get started and get this behind him for himself and his family."

The North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners revoked Hall's license in August after six former patients testified in Raleigh that the dentist made them swallow what they now believe was his semen.

In testimony before the dental board last summer, Hall denied the allegations.

"I have never injected semen in any patient's mouth," he said. "I never would. I've got a 10-year-old daughter. That whole concept is so beyond me."

Police searched Hall's office and confiscated syringes after several employees said they were suspicious of the dentist's behavior. DNA tests on the syringes later showed they contained Hall's semen.



Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
29817  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Gender issues thread on: March 18, 2005, 10:48:24 AM
Freeze! I just had my
nails done!



Posted: March 16, 2005
6:32 p.m. Eastern

By Ann Coulter

Atlanta court officials dispensed with any spending issues the next time Nichols entered the courtroom when he was escorted by 17 guards and two police helicopters. He looked like P. Diddy showing up for a casual dinner party.

I think I have an idea that would save money and lives: Have large men escort violent criminals. Admittedly, this approach would risk another wave of nausea and vomiting by female professors at Harvard. But there are also advantages to not pretending women are as strong as men, such as fewer dead people. Even a female math professor at Harvard should be able to run the numbers on this one.

Of course, it's suspiciously difficult to find any hard data about the performance of female cops. Not as hard as finding the study showing New Jersey state troopers aren't racist, but still pretty hard to find.
Mostly what you find on Lexis-Nexis are news stories quoting police chiefs who have been browbeaten into submission, all uttering the identical mantra after every public-safety disaster involving a girl cop. It seems that female officers compensate for a lack of strength with "other" abilities, such as cooperation, empathy and intuition.

There are lots of passing references to "studies" of uncertain provenance, but which always sound uncannily like a press release from the Feminist Majority Foundation. (Or maybe it was The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, which recently released a study claiming that despite Memogate, "Fahrenheit 9/11," the Richard Clarke show and the jihad against the Swift Boat Veterans, the press is being soft on Bush.)

The anonymous "studies" about female officers invariably demonstrate that women make excellent cops - even better cops than men! One such study cited an episode of "She's the Sheriff," starring Suzanne Somers.
A 1993 news article in the Los Angeles Times, for example, referred to a "study" - cited by an ACLU attorney - allegedly proving that "female officers are more effective at making arrests without employing force because they are better at de-escalating confrontations with suspects." No, you can't see the study or have the name of the organization that performed it, and why would you ask?

There are roughly 118 million men in this country who would take exception to that notion. I wonder if women officers "de-escalate" by mentioning how much more money their last suspect made.
These aren't unascertainable facts, like Pinch Sulzberger's SAT scores. The U.S. Department of Justice regularly performs comprehensive surveys of state and local law enforcement agencies, collected in volumes called "Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics."

The inestimable economist John Lott has looked at the actual data. (And I'll give you the citation! John R. Lott Jr., "Does a Helping Hand Put Others at Risk? Affirmative Action, Police Departments and Crime," Economic Inquiry, April 1, 2000.)

It turns out that, far from "de-escalating force" through their superior listening skills, female law enforcement officers vastly are more likely to shoot civilians than their male counterparts. (Especially when perps won't reveal where they bought a particularly darling pair of shoes.)
Unable to use intermediate force, like a bop on the nose, female officers quickly go to fatal force. According to Lott's analysis, each 1 percent increase in the number of white female officers in a police force increases the number of shootings of civilians by 2.7 percent.
Adding males to a police force decreases the number of civilians accidentally shot by police. Adding black males decreases civilian shootings by police even more. By contrast, adding white female officers increases accidental shootings. (And for my Handgun Control Inc. readers: Private citizens are much less likely to accidentally shoot someone than are the police, presumably because they do not have to approach the suspect and make an arrest.)

In addition to accidentally shooting people, female law enforcement officers are also more likely to be assaulted than male officers - as the whole country saw in Atlanta last week. Lott says: "Increasing the number of female officers by 1 percentage point appears to increase the number of assaults on police by 15 percent to 19 percent."
In addition to the obvious explanations for why female cops are more likely to be assaulted and to accidentally shoot people - such as that our society encourages girls to play with dolls - there is also the fact that women are smaller and weaker than men.

In a study of public-safety officers - not even the general population - female officers were found to have 32 percent to 56 percent less upper body strength and 18 percent to 45 percent less lower body strength than male officers - although their outfits were 43 percent more coordinated. (Here's the cite! Frank J. Landy, "Alternatives to Chronological Age in Determining Standards of Suitability for Public Safety Jobs," Technical Report, Vol. 1, Jan. 31, 1992.)

Another study I've devised involves asking a woman to open a jar of pickles.

There is also the telling fact that feminists demand that strength tests be watered down so that women can pass them. Feminists simultaneously demand that no one suggest women are not as strong as men and then turn around and demand that all the strength tests be changed. It's one thing to waste everyone's time by allowing women to try out for police and fire departments under the same tests given to men. It's quite another to demand that the tests be brawned-down so no one ever has to tell female Harvard professors that women aren't as strong as men.
Acknowledging reality wouldn't be all bad for women. For one thing, they won't have to confront violent felons on methamphetamine. So that's good. Also, while a sane world would not employ 5-foot-tall grandmothers as law enforcement officers, a sane world would also not give full body-cavity searches to 5-foot-tall grandmothers at airports.
29818  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Attention East Coast on: March 16, 2005, 12:01:54 AM
Woof PSJ:

Lets move forward from QJJ please.

TIA,
Crafty Dog
29819  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hezbollah on: March 15, 2005, 11:58:10 PM
Hezbollah, The Party of God
March 15, 2005 23 12  GMT



By George Friedman

The "Cedar Revolution" in Lebanon has encountered its antithesis, Hezbollah.

Comparisons have been drawn between what is happening in Lebanon and the anti-Communist revolutions in Eastern Europe or in Ukraine. These are poor analogies, however, since none of those revolutions encountered a force that was as hardened, as dedicated and as idealistic as they were -- nor one as well-armed. The closest one can come is the Romanian Revolution with its confrontation between demonstrators and the Securitate, the regime's secret police. The Securitate were fearsome, but in the end, isolated and hopeless. Not so Hezbollah.

Hezbollah originated in the Islamic revolution of Iran in the late 1970s. Until then, militant anti-Western forces in the Middle East were primarily Arabist and socialist. Their dream was not of a revival of Islamic religiosity, but rather the creation of a socialist, pan-Arab regime. Operationally, these Arabist militants were heavily dependent on secular Arab regimes such as Egypt, Syria or Libya, and on the support of Soviet-bloc intelligence services. In fact, apart from Israel, their primary targets were the religious Sunni monarchies of the Persian Gulf. The Saudis spent a great deal of money and collaborated closely with the United States to contain and defeat these movements.

Hezbollah, a militant successor of the secular Shiite political movement Amal, represented the international wing of Iran's Islamic Revolution. To some extent -- and this must not be overstated -- it was a creation of Iran's intelligence services. Certainly, Hezbollah members worked in close collaboration with Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) and did not stray far from Iran's national goals. In the sense that the Iranian revolution was the institutionalization of Shiite Islam, Hezbollah was both an Iranian and a Shiite organization.

For Iran, Hezbollah was intended to serve four purposes:

1. To challenge the secular Arabist movements by providing a powerful Islamist alternative to Nasserism.
2. To provide Tehran with a tool to challenge American interests in the Middle East and, potentially, globally.
3. To pose a threat to conservative Sunni monarchies: Hezbollah could not be dismissed as a secular force, yet it challenged the legitimacy of Sunni regimes that were complicit with the United States.
4. To provide a challenge to Israel emanating from outside the Nasserite mode of thinking.

These were more than sufficient reasons for the Iranians to have helped create Hezbollah, but there was also a fifth. When Iraq invaded Iran in 1980, it had the implicit support of the United States and the Arabian monarchies. Iran was strategically isolated. Its only potential ally was a dangerous one -- the Soviet Union. Officials in Tehran knew that dependency on the Soviets would, fairly quickly, lead to Soviet domination of Iran; thus, while they flirted with the Soviets, they were not prepared to go too far.

The only other regional power that shared Iran's anti-Iraqi interests was Syria. Though both Syria and Iraq were governed by Baathist parties, the bad blood between Damascus and Baghdad ran deep. The Syrians did not want to see Iran defeated in the war; Damascus feared a triumphant Iraq as much as it feared Israel. Geopolitically, there was a natural affinity between Syria and Iran.

There also was an ideological issue at work in the creation of Hezbollah. Because it viewed itself as the true heir to the old Ottoman province of Syria (which had encompassed Lebanon, Israel, Palestine and Jordan), Syria was highly ambivalent about the creation of a Palestinian state. Accepting the idea of such a state would have meant the repudiation of Damascus' dream of reclaiming for Syria what had been stolen from it in the Sykes-Picot Treaty, which divided the Ottoman Empire between France and Britain at the end of World War I, tearing the province of Syria in half.

Because Damascus viewed the Palestine Liberation Organization as an enemy, it sponsored its own Palestinian groups in opposition to Yasser Arafat and his Fatah movement. Syria's own Palestinian movements supported the destruction of Israel, but saw Palestine as part of Syria. Hence, there was a great deal of bloodshed between Fatah and pro-Syrian Palestinian groups. It is essential to recall that when Syria first invaded Lebanon in the mid-1970s, it was to crush Fatah in southern Lebanon and support Christian and Shiite allies against that movement. One of the reasons Israel was so comfortable with the initial intervention was its interests in Lebanon and those of Syria coincided.

For Syria, Lebanon was the key. In the 1970s, it was the most successful, Westernized country in the region, and Beirut -- with its banks -- was a financial center. The reclamation of Lebanon was not only the fulfillment of an ideological dream, but a critical pillar of Syria's economic development. In order to dominate the state, Damascus depended on the complex relationships between the Alawites -- a religious minority in the region -- and other groups: Christian, Druze, Sunni and Shia. Like Sicily, Syria-Lebanon was a kaleidoscope of alliances, double-crosses and accommodations. The Syrians had an advantage in this -- their army -- and a patron, the Soviet Union. But in the clan politics of Lebanon, Syrian dominance was far from preordained.

The alignment between Damascus and Tehran over Iraq, then, along with Syria's own attempt to reabsorb Lebanon, generated a mutual interest in the creation of a force in Lebanon that could work toward Iran's goals while also serving Syrian interests in the unfolding Lebanese civil war. Hezbollah became that interest. It served Iran by challenging Israel and the United States, while also threatening the Arabian monarchies. It served Syrian interests by challenging Palestinian secularists while retaining sterling anti-Israeli credentials. And for both Syria and Iran, Hezbollah became a tool for projecting power through terrorist attacks in the region.

Given that this was the Middle East -- and especially given that it was Lebanon -- ideology quickly mixed with business. Throughout the civil war and thereafter, Hezbollah became enmeshed in the complex business arrangements that were the foundation of the al Assad family's power and wealth, and in which senior Iranian officials and clerics also were involved.

Two areas were of particular importance to them all. The first was Beirut itself, where the real estate boom in the 1990s generated billions for all concerned. The second was the Bekaa Valley, a traditional smuggling route where drugs had been processed and staged for movement, first to Sicily and later to the Balkans, for resale in Europe. There were more billions at stake here.

Like the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, Hezbollah became the guarantor for Iranian and Syrian -- and its own -- commercial interests in the region. The group's interest in drugs took it to Latin America and to Europe, where its ideology also could be practiced. The 1994 attack against a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for example, was ideological. Hezbollah's presence in Latin America had commercial drivers as well. It all fit neatly.

As the situation in Lebanon stands today, then, the withdrawal of the Syrian army is the least interesting aspect. Two much more interesting problems exist.

First, private Syrian and Iranian economic interests in Lebanon define and control that country's economy. The alliances exist both beneath and above ideology -- and run beyond the region. You will find money that eventually traces back to Russia, Germany, the United States and even Israel deeply entangled with Syrian and Iranian money, as well as local funds, throughout the Lebanese economy. On the drug side, everyone who deals in drugs -- and these are big players indeed -- has a stake in the Bekaa Valley. The Syrian army can leave, but Syria will always be there.

Second, Hezbollah is the guarantor of much of the drug trade and is a player in the more legitimate enterprises as well. The group is a military power, and it has nowhere to go. Hezbollah is also very good at what it does, having practiced its craft for a quarter-century. The Israelis show little appetite for tangling with Hezbollah. The United States might have more of an appetite, but it should be remembered that fighting a well-armed, well-trained, experienced force on its own turf, when it has nowhere to retreat, can be done -- but it will cost.

This is why the Bush administration floated a plan that would allow a disarmed Hezbollah to play a role in Lebanon. Put differently, the Bush administration has told Hezbollah it can keep its commercial interests so long as it ceases to be an independent military force. Hezbollah can't buy that for two reasons: First, everyone has independent militias in Lebanon because no one trusts the central government to protect their rights; and second, the most lucrative segment of Hezbollah's interests involves things that most central governments won't protect.

Ultimately, Hezbollah's fate lies in the hands of Syria and, even more, Iran. Hezbollah is wealthy and strong, but unlike al Qaeda, it is dependent on the will of nation-states. The problem is that Iran in particular views Hezbollah -- even more than its nuclear program -- as a tool for controlling the United States. It is precisely the global nature of Hezbollah that makes it so effective. For Iran, Hezbollah keeps the United States honest and also reminds the Sunnis that they are not the only ones with suicide bombers -- an important point in internal politics.

In other words, the United States has hit the hard place in its follow-on strategy. The withdrawal of Syrian forces from Lebanon doesn't begin to deal with the reality of al Assad family power in the country, nor does it deal with the foundation of Iranian power there. Hezbollah is the center of gravity of the problem. The United States can choose to fight the militants -- and we note aircraft carriers heading to the region -- or it can find a modus vivendi.

It is rare to point to Israel as a moderating principle, but the Israelis tried to fight Hezbollah and did withdraw from Lebanon. If the United States now feels emboldened enough to pick up where the Israelis left off, then, it seems that things are indeed going well in the region and the anti-terrorism war.

A thought now comes to mind: "Easy does it."
29820  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Stand-up Unarmed Video? on: March 13, 2005, 09:33:01 AM
Woof Ryan:

I'll go check in a few minutes.

Guro Crafty
29821  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politically (In)correct on: March 13, 2005, 12:18:44 AM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Florida boy accused of assault with rubber band

13-year-old suspended 10 days after confrontation with teacher

WKMG Local 6

A 13-year-old student in Orange County, Fla., was suspended for 10 days and could be banned from school over an alleged assault with a rubber band, according to a WKMG Local 6 News report.

Robert Gomez, a seventh-grader at Liberty Middle School, said he picked up a rubber band at school and slipped it on his wrist.  Gomez said when his science teacher demanded the rubber band, the student said he tossed it on her desk.

After the incident, Gomez received a 10-day suspension for threatening his teacher with what administrators say was a weapon, Local 6 News reported.

"They said if he would have aimed it a little more and he would have gotten it closer to her face he would have hit her in the eye," mother Jenette Rojas said.

Rojas said she was shocked to learn that her son was being punished for a Level 4 offense -- the highest Level at the school. Other violations that also receive level 4 punishment include arson, assault and battery, bomb threats and explosives, according to the Code of Student Conduct.

The district said a Level 4 offense includes the use of any object or instrument used to make a threat or inflict harm, including a rubber band.

Rojas plans to fight the ruling but her son still faces expulsion.

"It's ridiculous, it's a rubber band," Rojas said.

The school's principal could not comment because the case is still under investigation.  A district spokesman said there is still a series of meetings the district will have before Gomez is officially expelled.
__________________
29822  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Stand-up Unarmed Video? on: March 13, 2005, 12:14:35 AM
Woof All:

Just a quick update:

We are about 80% done editing the DVD of "Kali Tudo"(tm)

The stick/palm stick vs Empty Hand material is evolving at a very high rate and we should be shooting a DVD on it in the next couple of months.

Woof,
Crafty Dog
29823  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / DB in the media on: March 13, 2005, 12:07:06 AM
Woof All:

The editor's column in the April issue of Black Belt (Tony Blauer on cover)
has some very kind words about me.

yip!
Crafty Dog
29824  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Howl of Respect to our Soldiers/Veterans on: March 13, 2005, 12:04:23 AM
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tm...t_pe/iraq_armor



Quote:
WASHINGTON - The Defense Department hasn't developed a plan to reimburse soldiers for equipment they've bought to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan despite requirements in a law passed last year, a senator says.


In a letter sent Wednesday to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., asked details on the Pentagon's progress setting up the reimbursement program and questioned why it was not in place yet.


"Very simply, this is either negligence on their part, because they were not happy with this when it passed, or it's incompetence," Dodd said. "It's pretty outrageous when you have all their rhetoric about how much we care about our people in uniform."


The Pentagon had no immediate comment.


Soldiers serving in Iraq and their families have reported buying everything from higher-quality protective gear to armor for their Humvees, medical supplies and even global positioning devices.


In response to the complaints, Congress last year passed Dodd's amendment requiring the Pentagon to reimburse members of the Armed Services for the cost of any safety or health equipment that they bought or someone else bought on their behalf.


Under the law, the Defense Department had until Feb. 25 to develop regulations on the reimbursement, which is limited to $1,100 per item.


Dodd asked that Rumsfeld provide details on the department's progress. But he also said it was unclear what recourse he has, other than public embarrassment, to force the Defense Department to act.


Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who repeatedly decried the lack of equipment during his unsuccessful presidential campaign, said the Pentagon needs to move quickly to give the troops their reimbursement and armored Humvees.


"They should be living up to the letter of the law," Kerry said.


The latest emergency spending proposal for the war totals $81.9 billion, including $74.9 billion for the Defense Department. It includes $3.3 billion for extra armor for trucks and other protective gear ? underscoring a sensitivity to earlier complaints by troops.
29825  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Humor on: March 12, 2005, 01:32:58 PM
From: Division of Game Fish and Parks
      State of South Dakota


Due to the rising frequency of human-mountain lion encounters, the State of South Dakota, Division of Game Fish and Parks, is advising hikers, hunters, fishermen and any motorcyclists that use the out-of-doors in a recreational or work-related function to take extra precautions while in the Black Hills.

We advise outdoorsmen to wear little noisy bells on clothing so as to give advanced warning to any lions that might be close by so you don't take them by surprise.

We also advise anyone using the out-of-doors to carry "Pepper Spray" in case of an encounter with a lion.

Outdoorsmen should also be on the watch for fresh lion activity, and be able to tell the difference between lion cub droppings and adult lion droppings.

Lion cub droppings are smaller and contain lots of berries and rabbit fur.  Adult lion droppings usually have bells in it, and smell like pepper.

Enjoy your stay in the beautiful Black Hills of S.D.
29826  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / "Kali" player on trial for killing bouncer on: March 11, 2005, 08:53:42 AM
Tiny:

Thank you for your reply which triggered some writing on my part on Wednesday.  I was rather proud of it actually-- but managed to vaporize it trying to post it   angry  cry  (don't ask how).

Anyway, I will try to get back to it when my juices on the subject recharge a bit.

Crafty
29827  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Weird and/or silly on: March 11, 2005, 12:57:00 AM
'Bush Rage' Driver Charged in Florida
Thursday, March 10, 2005
 
 STORIES
?Man Charged in Rep. Harris Camp Assault?Man Charged With Trying to Mow Down Katherine Harris
TAMPA, Fla. ? A man apparently enraged by a Bush-Cheney sticker (search) on a woman's sport utility vehicle chased her for miles and tried to run her off the road while holding up an anti-Bush sign, police said.

"He told our officers that he just got mad at her, so he went after her," said police spokesman Joe Durkin.

Nathan Alan Winkler (search), 31, was freed on $2,000 bail early Wednesday on a charge of aggravated stalking (search), which carries up to five years in prison.

No one answered the telephone Thursday at Winkler's home, but his father, John Winkler, said: "I know that he's very anti-Bush. But I don't see him doing anything like that. He's the least aggressive person I know."

Winkler told police he got upset with the woman, 35-year-old Michelle Fernandez, after she made an obscene gesture, Durkin said. Fernandez was taking her 10-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter to a ball field Tuesday when the incident occurred.

"Whatever gestures I made, I made them because I was trying to figure out why he was honking at me and pointing at his sign," Fernandez said.


Police said that as Winkler chased the woman's vehicle, he held up a small sign that read: "Never Forget Bush's Illegal War Murdered Thousands in Iraq."

Fernandez found a police officer and described the car and license number. Within an hour, police arrested Winkler at his home.

Fernandez said she is a registered Democrat who voted for President Bush in 2004.
29828  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Well-armed People on: March 11, 2005, 12:52:29 AM
http://www.ogrish.com/archives/cop_accidently_shoots_himself_in_foot_during_safety_lecture_Mar_09_2005.html
29829  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Well-armed People on: March 10, 2005, 12:11:56 AM
WOW!  DOJ says right to bear arms is individual, not group!

http://www.usdoj.gov/olc/secondamendment2.htm
29830  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Greetings on: March 10, 2005, 12:08:36 AM
Woof Wilson:

Welcome!

Crafty Dog
29831  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: March 09, 2005, 12:19:14 AM
www.stratfor.com
=================

Iran: Coming Clean and Buying Time
March 08, 2005   2359 GMT

Summary

Several Iranian officials have acknowledged for the first time that Iran has had a secret nuclear program and has concealed nuclear facilities in the country. Iran is signaling to the United States that, short of an all-out assault against its nuclear sites, there is no way that it can be deterred from enriching uranium. Seemingly confident that Washington will not immediately exercise the military option, Tehran is trying to avoid having to backpedal on its declared right to enrich uranium and to buy time to deal with the situations in Iraq and the Levant.

Analysis

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, on Croatian television March 8, threatened to break off talks with the EU3 if Iran was pressured to give up its right to "master nuclear technology." Khatami's remark comes a day after Ali Akbar Salehi, nuclear affairs adviser to Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi, acknowledged the existence of an underground nuclear facility that contained centrifuges used for the enrichment of uranium. The facility, at Natanz in central Iran, was constructed below the surface to protect against U.S. or Israeli airstrikes. This admission followed another by Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a two-time former president and the current head of the Expediency Council, Iran's highest political arbitration body, that Iran had a secret but peaceful nuclear program prior to 2002. He said the program was necessary because of sanctions against Iran that prevented the Islamic republic from acquiring equipment needed for developing a nuclear program.

These statements, which validate U.S. concerns that Iran has secretly been trying to develop nuclear weapons, are Iran's way of trying to counter international pressure to stop enriching uranium. By coming forth and admitting it has had a clandestine program with underground facilities -- although insisting that it was civilian in nature -- and that it is not ready to accept a permanent freeze on nuclear activities, Iran is signaling that, short of a full-scale attack against its nuclear facilities, there is no way it can be thwarted from enriching uranium. Tehran hopes to reach a settlement whereby it can openly carry out its nuclear activities under the legitimacy of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and additional protocols it has signed since October 2003 (the NPT allows member states to pursue nonmilitary nuclear activities).

On the surface it appears that the statements from Tehran are an admission of guilt, which could strengthen the hand of the Bush administration as it pushes for tougher action against the clerical regime. Given that the ayatollahs, despite their ideological proclivities, are not irrational geopolitical actors, these statements likely were issued for a specific purpose. Negotiations with the EU3 are slowly moving to a point where Iran has to decide whether to accept economic incentives in exchange for a complete cessation of all activities related to uranium enrichment. This quid pro quo is not acceptable to the Iranians, and they have made this clear on several recent occasions.

Iran also can choose to pull out of the talks, though such a move would make it more vulnerable to international action. More important, it also would prevent Iran from gaining the recognition and security guarantees it is seeking from the United States. Iranians have threatened several times to pull out of the talks, moves that have been dismissed as mere posturing. In reality, Tehran wants to remain engaged with the international community -- it just does not want to be handicapped by this desire and forced to accept harsh conditions.

Therefore, the way out for the Iranians is to try and steer the negotiations in such a way that Iran is not boxed in and the opposing side has to choose between two difficult options.

Iran is signaling the West that it can either cut a deal allowing Tehran to openly carry out its nuclear activities after assuring the world of their peaceful purposes or it will have to wage a full-scale war against the regime to deny it the ability to enrich uranium.

This is where Tehran is displaying a great degree of confidence that, considering the situation in the Middle East, the United States and Israel are not in a position to launch an attack against Tehran's nuclear assets. Contributing to this confidence are recent statements by Bush administration officials that the West has just embarked on the diplomatic route to dealing with Iran and that military action -- though not off the table -- is not imminent. The Iranians also are not worried about the probability of U.N. Security Council sanctions; many major states have bilateral economic relations with Iran, which would complicate the passage of any resolution. While this may not be part of the Iranian perception of the situation, surgical strikes against its key facilities to push back its nuclear program a few years is a real possibility.

It remains to be seen whether the Iranians truly have been successful in tying the hands of the West. What is clear, though, is that they have bought time to focus on the new political dynamics of Iraq and the Levant, dynamics that seem to be working against the interests of Tehran. Or at least they think they have.
29832  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / "Kali" player on trial for killing bouncer on: March 08, 2005, 11:01:39 PM
Woof Tiny:

Did you know that "Tiny" was the nickname of the 6'5" 350lb bouncer?

Anyway:

"No kidding. I hate statements like this because they're misleading by stating the obvious as though it is covert. Personal protection knives are designed to injure and kill. That's it. That's the way it goes. So, to say that this blade has the appearance of a formidable weapon is a statement on the obvious intended only to make the defendent appear guilty of something."

Um, I may be wrong, but if NY law is anything like CA law, the carrying of a knife as a weapon is illegal, but it is OK to carry it as a tool.  Seen in this light, the judge's comments make perfect sense.  He is saying that the appearance of the knife negates any pretense of it being carried as a tool.

Furthermore, guilt was determined by a jury IIRC -- not the judge.

"So, basically, it's not a crime in the court of public opinion to own a deadly-looking knife, but if you actually use it, you run the risk of indictment as well as castigation by a judge? "

No, killing people (and no one contests that Umali killed Tiny) is what runs the risk of indictment , , , and conviction.  And if the law says that carrying knives as tools is OK, but not as weapons, well then don't be surprised in appearance weighs in the equation at sentencing time.  

We may wish the law to be different, (I do) but it is the judge's responsibility to apply the law.

"Now, do I think it wise to cart around a 6-in. serrated blade? Not really, but I'm sure some of the Sayoc people would agree that use and possession of a subjectively stated "deadly-looking" knife should not equal crime and conviction, especially if used appropriately -- heaven knows they all carry a variety of blades  . Now, it may/may not have been used appropriately in this case...I wouldn't know, I wasn't there, but such portrayals of martial arts practitioners and weapons of protection can do very little to help those of us who do carry and use them honorably. Perhaps we should carry knives with cute little flowers on them so that they look less lethal? Or little, tiny, pink ones that we'd have to get r-e-a-l-l-y close to an assailant to use?"

I'm not sure of the relevance of the Sayoc reference here-- Umali was not their student-- and I have heard Tuhon Chris tell seminars more than once that he does not carry knives.

As to whether the knife was used appropriately in this case, that's what we have trials and juries for, and the defendant, after surviving his suicide attempt, was found guilty.  The basic facts are not really in dispute here.   What basis do you have for doubting the jury's verdict?

"I'm sorry, but all this nonsense about appearances and knives from individuals so unfamiliar with weapons and martial arts as to virtually make one or the other immediately criminal in public opinion makes me a tad peevish..."

I'm sorry too.  I find your thoughts here very off-base.  With a 6" serrated blade Umali killed a man by targeting his femoral artery.  And for what?  That his friends refused to put out cigarettes in a bar where the law prohibited smoking?!?  

Why is it hard for you to say that this is profoundly wrong?

Crafty Dog
29833  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Help our troops/our cause: on: March 08, 2005, 02:27:08 PM
In the last two years, nearly one million U.S. service-members have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Regardless of how you may feel about the war, most of us agree that those service-members deserve the best possible care and treatment our country can provide.

Unfortunately, in some cases, things haven't worked out so well.  Some of our service-members have fallen through the cracks, with reports of homelessness, trauma and suicide. According to the NEJM, as many as 15% of returning service-members from Iraq will suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.  Thousands have been wounded, and those who were killed left families behind who must bear the trauma of losing a loved one. Further, despite the dramatically increased demands on the VA healthcare system, the VA is slated for cuts of up to 15% over the next ten years.

Veterans for Common Sense has made available on the internet, and soon in print, a guide for returning veterans to help them navigate the available benefits and assistance available.  Our goal is to make it as comprehensive as possible, to let returning veterans know of where they can get assistance if there are any issues with readjustment on their return home.

The guide also contains a section for people who are looking for ways to support the troops, with links to organizations who are directly supporting the troops in the field.

We're trying to let as many people as possible know about the guide, and so we're sending you this note in the hope that, if you are a veteran, you will find it useful, and if not, that you will pass it on.

The guide is available here:

http://www.veteransforcommonsense.org/files/vcs/guide.cfm

Or on our home page at http://www.veteransforcommonsense.org

We hope you'll visit, and pass this on to friends, family, and others in your community. In particular, please pass it on to anyone you know who is a veteran or works with veterans in the community.

Thank you,

Veterans for Common Sense

P.S. Unless you actually subscribe to one of our mailing lists, you have been permanently unsubscribed and will never receive another email from us again.  You can contact us directly at contact@veteransforcommonsense.org or at 202-558-4553.

P.P.S. If you know of resources which should be in the guide, and aren't, please feel free to suggest them by clicking on the "add resource" link.

Veterans for Common Sense
1101 Pennsylvania Ave SE
Washington, DC 20003

ABOUT VETERANS FOR COMMON SENSE

Veterans for Common Sense seeks to inject the element of Common Sense into debates over war and national security. In an age when the majority of public servants have never served in uniform, the perspective of war veterans must play a key role in the public debate over national security issues in order to preserve the liberty veterans have fought and died preserving.

Veterans for Common Sense (VCS) was formed in 2002 by war veterans who believe that we, the people of the United States of America, are most secure when our country is strong and responsibly engaged with the world. Two years later, our organization has over 12,000 members throughout the United States.

HOW TO UNSUBSCRIBE

Your email has automatically been placed on our DO NOT SEND list, and you will never receive another message from us again. If you wish to receive updates or information from VCS, you can subscribe at:
http://www.veteransforcommonsense.org/?page=join
29834  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / What kind of dog are you? on: March 07, 2005, 05:44:01 PM
Borzoi Russian Wolfhound
29835  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Gender issues thread on: March 07, 2005, 08:30:48 AM
?Sperm Theft? Ruling a Step Forward for
Men?s Reproductive Rights
By Jeffery M. Leving and Glenn Sacks
 


All?s fair in love, war, and paternity cases. When child support is sought, there is scarcely any deceit that courts won?t push aside under the ?best interests of the child? test.  

Courts have ruled that boys who were statutorily raped by older women must pay child support. Courts have ruled that when a woman has taken the semen from a condom a man used for sex with a different woman and has inserted it in herself, the man must still pay child support. Courts have ruled that when a woman has concealed her pregnancy (denying the man the right to be a father) and then sued for child support a decade later, the man must still pay child support. Courts have ruled that when a woman has deceived her husband into believing that her baby is his child, he must still pay child support. Few if any men are relieved of child support obligations due to the circumstances of the pregnancy, no matter how bizarre or unjust.

Recently, however, the Illinois Appellate Court took a step towards fairness by ruling that an Illinois man can sue his former lover for emotional distress over her pregnancy. Dr. Richard O. Phillips alleges that six years ago Dr. Sharon Irons secretly kept his semen after the two had oral sex, and then impregnated herself with it. Phillips claims he didn?t learn of the child?s existence until two years later, when Irons went to court to get child support. Irons now receives $800 a month in tax-free child support from Phillips.

In yesterday?s ruling the court stated that, if Phillips? story is true, Irons ?deceitfully engaged in sexual acts, which no reasonable person would expect could result in pregnancy." The court reinstated Phillips? lawsuit against Irons, which had been thrown out by the Cook County Circuit Court in 2003.

Unfortunately, the court couldn?t bring itself to properly uphold Phillips? reproductive rights, instead ruling that he must continue to pay child support because ?when plaintiff 'delivered' his sperm, it was a gift?There was no agreement that the original deposit would be returned upon request.? Of course, in Phillips? version of events, there was also no agreement that Irons would use his sperm to make a baby.

Research shows that men are often deceived into paternity. A recent poll of 5,000 women conducted for That?s Life! magazine in the United Kingdom found that 42% of women say they would lie about contraception in order to get pregnant, regardless of the wishes of their partners. According to research conducted by Joyce Abma of the National Center for Health Statistics and Linda Piccinino of Cornell University, over a million American births each year are the result of pregnancies which men did not intend. Jo Checkley, the editor of That?s Life!, notes:

?To deliberately get pregnant when your partner doesn?t want a baby is playing Russian roulette with other people?s lives."

Phillips says he feels as if he?s ?being trapped in a nightmare,? and has had headaches and trouble sleeping and eating.

If Phillips? story is true, Irons has committed one of the most damaging acts a woman can do: knowingly create a child with an unwilling father. The Appellate Court acted correctly in allowing Phillips to take legal action against the person he claims deceived him in such an important, intimate, and emotional matter.


This column was first published in the Houston Chronicle (3/6/05).

Jeffery M. Leving is one of America's most prominent family law attorneys. He is the author of the book Fathers' Rights: Hard-hitting and Fair Advice for Every Father Involved in a Custody Dispute. His website is www.dadsrights.com.

Glenn Sacks is a men's and fathers' issues columnist and a nationally-syndicated radio talk show host. His columns have appeared in dozens of America's largest newspapers.

Glenn can be reached via his website at www.GlennSacks.com or via email at Glenn@GlennSacks.com.
29836  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / stickgrappling on: March 07, 2005, 12:12:25 AM
Sean:

I've been ignoring you, but the hint has not worked and so here we are.  

The Dog Brothers don't do style vs style, never have and never will.  

What we fight in ain't armor, but it does allow for serious shots to the head with serious consequence in play.

As far as the Sayocs go, not only is Tom one of my Sayoc knife teachers, but he had a great fight with Top Dog observed by hundreds of people at one of our Gatherings a couple of days after teaching at our summer Camp.  I told him that if he came back enough times I would put his name up to be a Dog Brother and that his name would be "Runt" because he is the smallest of 4 (or is it 5?) brothers.  I am flattered that my words of praise for Sayoc appear on their website amidst far more illustrious names than mine.

As for me, after about 140 fights over 12 years (including two in recovery from a triple knee ligaments transplants) , I retired at the age of 48.  I am 52 now and am married with a 5 year old boy and a 2 year old girl.  During the 12 years I fought, I was always there against all comers as a "name" fighter for the Dog Brothers, sometimes as the only "name" fighter present (Top Dog on sabbatical and Salty attending to family matters)-- this while I was running the event and coaching my students who were fighting.

No one ever had to look for me.

Crafty Dog
29837  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / What kind of dog are you? on: March 06, 2005, 08:00:24 AM
http://www.gone2thedogs.com/index.html

It may take a moment to spot where on the page to click for the quiz , , ,
29838  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / training in chicago on: March 06, 2005, 07:59:13 AM
Woof Tulisan:

An excellent idea to "just watch" the first time.

Crafty Dog
29839  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Well-armed People on: March 03, 2005, 08:12:11 PM
Buz et al:

Lott is always excellent.

In a lighter vein, here's this:

Crafty
===============



DOCTORS
      A) The number of physicians in the U.S. is 700,000.
      B) Accidental deaths caused by Physicians per year are 120,000.
      C) Accidental deaths per physician is 0.171.
      Statistics courtesy of U.S. Dept of Health Human services and is a
      conservative number.

      Now think about this:

      GUNS:
      A) The number of gun owners in the U.S. is 80,000,000.
         Yes, that is 80 million.
      B) The number of accidental gun deaths per year, all age groups is
      1,500.
      C) The number of accidental deaths per gun owner is 0.0000188.

      Statistically, doctors are approximately 9,000 times more
      dangerous than gun owners.

      Remember, "Guns don't kill people, doctors do."

      FACT: NOT EVERYONE HAS A GUN, BUT ALMOST EVERYONE HAS AT LEAST ONE
      DOCTOR.

      Please alert your friends to this alarming threat.
      We must ban doctors before this gets completely out of hand!!!!!

      Out of concern for the public at large, I have withheld the
      statistics on lawyers for fear the shock would cause people to
      panic and seek medical attention.
29840  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Woof from Mexico City on: February 27, 2005, 06:41:56 PM
Woof All:

A fine seminar.  It was held at a government environmental agency forest in the mountains above the city-- probable altitude of 8000" which definitely affected my endurance!

Tomorrow I train my host and DBMA Apprentice Instructor Maurici and his group and on Tuesday Mauricio has arranged a private tour of a federal prison.  What fun!  Some people go to museums, some , , , well what can I say? cheesy

The Advemture continues,
Crafty Dog
29841  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Woof from Mexico City on: February 25, 2005, 11:13:08 PM
Woof All:

Just a quick yip from Mexico City where I will be teaching through Tuesday.

Guro Crafty
29842  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Well-armed People on: February 24, 2005, 11:29:33 PM
MAN SHOOTS EX-WIFE, BYSTANDER AT
COURTHOUSE, KILLED BY POLICE AFTER CHASE
 
By: MARK COLLETTE, JACQUE HILBURN & KENNETH DEAN, Staff Writers February 24, 2005
 
 
 
BYSTANDER KILLED: Tyler police investigate the scene of a gunshot victim on Spring Street in Tyler, Texas Thursday. (Staff Photo By Herb Nygren Jr.)
 
 
A Tyler man embroiled in a bitter child support dispute opened fire Thursday on his ex-wife and son with a high-powered rifle, killing the woman and a bystander who attempted to intervene. Several people, including three lawmen, were wounded in the exchange, which began about 1:25 p.m. outside the Smith County Courthouse. Police ultimately shot and killed David Hernandez Arroyo Sr. after he fired repeatedly at officers during a two-mile chase that ended off U.S. Highway 271.

The 43-year-old suspect, who was wearing multiple layers of body armor, died in a hail of police gunfire after authorities rammed his pickup and he emerged, gun raised and firing.

The scene around the normally quiet courthouse turned into chaos as people dove for cover to escape the gunman. Office workers scrambled to lock doors and crawl to safety.

 
Authorities said it was the bloodiest day in recent memory.

The dead, both of Tyler, have been identified as Maribel Estrada, 41, and Mark Allen Wilson, 52, a personal trainer and gun enthusiast. The wounded include David Arroyo Jr., 23, the suspect's son, five law enforcement officers and two bystanders.

Authorities surmised afterward the deceased never had a chance.

Details continue to emerge, but preliminary evidence suggests Arroyo planned the ambush to the minutest detail.  He was armed with an AK-47, two types of body armor and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, said Tyler Police Chief Gary Swindle. Authorities were still trying to determine how Arroyo obtained the weapon and body armor, and officers were searching his home in Tyler Thursday evening.

Within a span of about two minutes, the downtown square in Tyler was transformed to a landscape of shell casings, broken glass and stunned witnesses.

"I saw people lying everywhere that had been shot," said a dazed Nathan Hoffman, an attorney working directly across the street from the courthouse when shots rang out.

"I saw a guy walking down the street with a high-powered rifle shooting at the courthouse," Hoffman said. "I said, 'Everyone move to the back of the office!'" By then, the scene erupted in chaos.

The gunman, Hoffman said, was "just running down the street shooting."

Witnesses said Arroyo ambushed his ex-wife and son outside the courthouse and started firing.  Ms. Estrada was struck multiple times and died on the lower steps on the east side of the courthouse, officials said.
Smith County Sheriff's Deputy Sherman Dollison, 28, who was serving as a substitute bailiff for the day, was shot multiple times while standing on the landing of the courthouse steps.

He is listed in critical condition at East Texas Medical Center with injuries to the lungs and liver.  SCSO Lt. Marlin Suell, 38, and Tyler Police Det. Clay Perrett, 54, were injured by stray gunfire - Suell in the back of the neck and Perrett to the side of the face.

Repeated shots fired by the suspect shattered glass and sent bystanders scurrying for cover, behind benches, bushes and vehicles.  Several people were wounded by flying glass and one man fell unconscious after suffering a seizure, a hospital spokeswoman said.

The noise prompted Mark Wilson, a gun enthusiast, to intervene as Arroyo continued to fire on his wounded son.

"They traded shots, missing each other, and then the gunman hit Wilson and Wilson went down," said Nelson Clyde III, publisher of the Tyler Morning Telegraph, recalling the shooting as he watched from Don Juan's.

"The gunman walked up to Wilson and shot him while he was on the ground," Clyde said. "I couldn't believe what I was seeing ... it was sickening."

"He was either wounded or dead, but the guy (Arroyo) shot him again to make sure he wouldn't get up," said witness Brandon Malone, a Tyler builder who was lunching inside Don Juan's.

Witnesses said Arroyo calmly walked to his truck, still trading shots with an unidentified man lying beside a Chevrolet, and climbed inside.

"He slowly backed up a bit, and drove away at normal speed, right past a patrol car," Clyde said.

Wilson approached the suspect and fired several times, but the shots appeared useless due to the multiple layers of body armor, witnesses said.  He was wearing both a bulletproof vest and a military flak jacket.

Arroyo turned and fired on Wilson, killing him just a few feet outside the front door of Levine's clothing store. The suspect climbed into his maroon Chevrolet stepside pickup and sped away.

Witness Ron Martell, a military veteran who watched the killing spree, trailed the fleeing suspect and pointed him out to police.

"At first, I couldn't believe it," he said. "I watched the suspect shoot that guy at least seven times. Then he got into his truck and casually drove away. I followed him."

City, county, state and federal law enforcement officers rushed to chase down the suspect and tend to the wounded.

Sirens wailing, authorities began chasing Arroyo, who fired at officers and the courthouse as he sped away from the killing scene.

The caravan of officers pursued the suspect to North Spring Avenue and onto East Gentry Parkway, trailing him to the area of U.S. 271 and Duncan Street.

Witnesses up and down the corridor rushed for cover from stray gunfire as Arroyo continued firing at officers.

"When they came through, there were a lot of shots flying around," said Henry Lee, manager of Rayson Automotive, 2021 E. Gentry Parkway. "I ducked."

A deputy rammed the man's vehicle, prompting him to emerge firing.
Officers returned fire, striking the man several times, at least once in the head. Sobbing relatives rushed to the location, but were held at bay by authorities. Authorities spent hours searching the highway for spent casings. Dozens of tiny markers documented the number of shots fired.

"Obviously he came prepared because he came with a bulletproof flak jacket," said Chief Swindle. "Witnesses reported seeing him reload."

Swindle said of the law officers on the scene, "They were simply outgunned. They were armed with handguns and he (Arroyo) was armed with an AK-47."

Arroyo had previously told his wife he would kill her if she pressed the issue of child support, authorities said.

"He came here with one thing in mind," Swindle said. "He had the act set in his mind to murder his ex-wife. He has a history of assaulting his ex-wife and several weapons offenses."

Authorities credited Wilson with possibly saving the life of Arroyo's son, who was reported to be in fair condition.

Swindle said the armor worn by Arroyo was designed to withstand not just bullets, but also landmine explosions.


Staff writers Patrick Butler and Roy Maynard contributed to this report.



Mark Collette covers Smith County. He can be reached
29843  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cowardice in action on: February 22, 2005, 08:06:28 PM
http://wm.gannett.speedera.net/wm.gannett/wkyc/050219pizzaassault.wmv
29844  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: February 21, 2005, 09:58:10 AM
Unsung Victories
The effects of American policy throughout the Middle East are gradually being felt.



Last week, Mr. Abbas ordered the ruins of Yasir Arafat's Gaza headquarters cleared away. The Israelis had destroyed the building in 2002, and Mr. Arafat had kept the ruins as a kind of memorial. Suddenly, in a day, it was gone." ? New York Times, Sunday, February 13, 2005.

In the war against the Islamic fascists and their supporters there have been a number of unheralded victories that have played some role in changing the landscape of the Middle East and eroding the power of the Islamists.

     
The first bold move was to censure and then ignore Yasser Arafat for his complicity in unleashing suicide bombers, his rampant corruption, and his stifling of Palestinian dissidents. At the time of the change in American policy, other members of the quartet ? the Russians, the Europeans, and the U.N. ? were aghast. The "moderate" Arab world protested vehemently. Pundits here alleged Texas recklessness and clung to the silly idea of the Arafat/Sharon moral equivalence, as if a freely elected democratic leader, subject to an open press and a free opposition, was the same as a thug who ordered lynchings and jailed or murdered dissidents.

Review press accounts from the summer of 2002: Neither ally nor neutral approved of Bush's act of ostracism and instead warned of disaster. Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller, whose country then held the EU's rotating presidency, lectured that without dialogue with Arafat "Israel could not stop Palestinian violence through force." A circumspect Colin Powell visited the region often to smooth over hurt feelings and in the process to soften Bush's bold action. Dennis Ross, remember, had met with the American-subsidized Arafat almost 500 times, and it was said that the latter visited the Clinton White House more than any other foreign leader ? a fact apparently lost on the Palestinian street, which still spontaneously cheered on news of September 11.

Lost in all the controversy was the simple fact that Arafat had come to power through a rigged vote. He proceeded to corrupt the state, censure the media, and let thugs terrorize Palestinian reformers while he systematically looted public monies. His legacy was a ruined economy, murder, and systematic theft.

All knew this; few would say it publicly; none would do anything about it.

Calumny followed as the Israelis unilaterally went on to start their fence, take out the terrorist elite of Hamas, plan to abandon Gaza, and, pace Mr. Moeller, precisely through force crush the intifada. In those bleak months of suicide murdering, Arafat courted the world's sycophantic press as he railed against Sharon from his pathetic bunker at Ramallah.

Then something unexpected happened. Almost imperceptibly in his last two years, he devolved from a feared dictator to a defrocked terrorist to finally an irrelevant functionary. That metamorphosis proved critical as a prerequisite to his demise, as Arafat slowly lost his four-decade-acquired capital of intimidation ? critical for any Middle East autocrat ? and with it his grip on the popular imagination of the West Bank. In the Middle East a tyrant can look murderous or even psychopathic, but not impotent ? and especially not ridiculous.

Thus when he died, far from being sanctified as a mythical strongman, he was almost immediately forgotten and his legacy is currently undergoing a sort of Trotsky-like erasure. Postmortem stories almost immediately spread about absconded funds, tawdry fights broke out over his estate, and, mirabile dictu, a few signs of freedom emerged on the West Bank as elections mysteriously followed and with them renewed discussions of peace. The American ostracism did not ensure that we would see a settlement, only the chance that we could ? and that is some progress in the Middle East.

Later in April 2003, the United States withdrew its troops from Saudi Arabia ? most pilots and crews in the desert. The ostensible reason for their original deployment ? protection from Saddam Hussein's army in Kuwait and monitoring the no-fly zones ? was no longer valid. But many strategists thought Americans were still needed in the kingdom to ensure the free flow of the world's oil supply and perhaps to secure the royal family from the very terrorists that many in the clan had subsidized and abetted. Were we "abandoning" an "old and trusted" ally, or finally coming to our senses that the subsidized protection of a near-criminal state had to cease under the changed conditions of the post-Cold War Middle East?

In reality, Americans in uniform were subject to humiliating conditions, such as female military personnel being forced to veil when leaving bases, while helping to ready planes to protect a country where a great many were privately happy that 15 of their jihadists had murdered 3,000 Americans. Our presence among the "holy shrines" only played into bin Laden's hands, as his 1998 fatwa revealed. The Saudi state media often blamed the Americans or the Zionists for most of their own self-inflicted pathologies, hoping that such smears and billions in bribes to terrorists and Wahhabi fanatics might deflect popular outrage onto us.

But by withdrawing, the United States took the first steps in a long overdue disengagement from an autocratic dynasty that will either change under a consensual government into a titular and ceremonial royalty ? like the British crown heads ? or, as in the case of Iran's shah, be driven out by theocratic fundamentalists. Finally, the United States at last is beginning to cut loose from an octopus whose petroleum tentacles have wrapped deeply around banks, lobbyists, defense contractors, and lawyers in Washington and New York, both Republicans and Democrats, oilmen and multiculturalists alike. It is neither a wise nor a moral thing to have much to do with 7,000 royal cousins who have siphoned $700 billion from their country while unemployment there reaches 40 percent and while women, laborers from the third world, Christians, and assorted others are treated as undesirables.

Now in hindsight, few seem to object to the ostracism of Arafat or estrangement from Saudi Arabia. The moral?

As a rule of thumb in matters of the Middle East, be very skeptical of anything that Europe (fearful of terrorists, eager for profits, tired of Jews, scared of their own growing Islamic minorities) and the Arab League (a synonym for the autocratic rule of Sunni Muslim grandees and secular despots) cook up together. If a EU president, a Saudi royal, and a Middle East specialist in the State Department or a professor in an endowed Middle Eastern Studies chair agree that the United States is "woefully na?ve," "unnecessarily provocative" or "acting unilaterally," then assume that we are pretty much on the right side of history and promoting democratic reform. "Sobriety" and "working with Arab moderates" is diplo-speak for supporting or abetting an illiberal hierarchy.

There are other key decisions to be made that will go mostly unnoticed by the world's media. We should decide now to distance ourselves from the Mubarak regime, and to be ready for a dynastic squabble with the passing of the present strongman. We have over the years given $50 billion to that "moderate" dictatorship not to attack Israel ? as if it would really start a fifth war it would surely lose. It didn't.

But Egypt did unleash venom against us and become the intellectual nexus of Arab anti-Americanism. In the Arab world, a change in American policies to promote democracy was publicized as "anti-Arab" by state-run media ? in almost the identical manner that former support for the corrupt status quo was once condemned as "anti-Arab" by Middle East intellectuals. No matter: Despite the short-term lose-lose proposition, no one ever went wrong in the long-term by standing on the side of freedom.

No longer should we remain in thrall to any Arab government that with its left hand rounds up over-the-top terrorists, while with its right gives others less violent a pass to unleash virulent hatred of America. The Rubicon has been crossed in Iraq, and we can no longer watch Americans die for democracy in the Sunni Triangle while giving billions to a regime that kills off consensual government in Cairo. Diplomats can work out the details without sounding either moralistic or naive, smiling and assuring the Egyptians that our friendship will be only strengthened from a new understanding, as the money dries up and we part without acrimony ? even as in desperation Mubarak readjusts to his "helpful" role as a third-party interlocutor in Iraq and Palestine.

The American effort to democratize postwar Afghanistan and Iraq has placed a heavy burden on the United States to develop a coherent and consistent policy of supporting reformers throughout the Middle East. We should continue with demands for elections in a Lebanon free of a tyrannical Syria, elevate dissidents in Iran onto the world stage, pressure for change in the Gulf, and say goodbye to Wahhabi Saudi Arabia. If Western elites are really worried about the legitimacy of past elections in Iraq, let them go instead to Lebanon where they can worry first about having any at all, and then later complain about the proper degree of voter participation. The forces of history have been unleashed and we should cease apologizing for the deluge and instead steer the waves in the right direction.

Americans understandably focus on the hot wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet just as important are the unsung successes that received little praise, and then have a weird tendency to drift off into the collective global amnesia as if they arose from natural, not American-induced, reform.

? Victor Davis Hanson is a military historian and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. His website is victorhanson.com.


*   *   *
29845  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Howl of Respect to our Soldiers/Veterans on: February 20, 2005, 07:01:24 PM
http://www.sptimes.com/2004/webspecials04/medalofhonor/default.shtml
29846  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: February 20, 2005, 03:41:54 PM
Middle East: A New Coalition Forms?
By George Friedman
www.stratfor.com

It has been an eventful week in the Middle East, beginning with the massive Valentine's Day explosion that killed a former Lebanese prime minister in Beirut, continuing with the recall of the U.S. ambassador to Syria and feints over Iran's nuclear program, and culminating in the Feb. 16 announcement -- by Iran and Syria -- of a "common front" against the United States.

The renewal of this alliance, which dates back to the 1980s, appears on the surface to be a Coalition of the Trapped. The Syrians are surrounded by three enemies: Israel, Turkey and the United States. The Iranians are in a better position, but they also are fairly isolated militarily as well -- and of course, the U.S. presence in Iraq, squarely in the middle of the region, is a cause for discomfort at best. Forming an alliance, then, is the best move available to each, assuming they don't want to capitulate to the United States.

Syria's main interest, apart from regime survival, is to maintain its enormous influence in Lebanon. This is a financial as well as strategic issue: The Syrians make a load of money doing business in Lebanon, and they don't want to be replaced by foreign businessmen. To our minds, this might have been a significant factor in the Feb. 14 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri. The universal suspicion is that the Syrians were behind the killing: They feared that al-Hariri, whose wealth made him one of the most powerful men in the nation, was trying to pry Lebanon loose from Syrian control. The thinking is that the Syrians took him out, possibly using the Iranian-controlled Hezbollah. We regard this as fairly sound thinking.

Iran also faces a fundamental challenge -- in this case, to its interests in Iraq. A neutral Iraq is important to Iran. The Iranians hate the Sunnis, but the regime is growing uneasy about the relationship between the Iraqi Shia and the United States. Like Damascus with Lebanon, Tehran has tried to pull Iraq into its orbit -- and like Damascus, it is beginning to wonder whether it will succeed. Quite apart from the issue of nuclear facilities, the Iranians are beginning to feel that the outcome of the Iraq war might leave them in worse shape than they imagined two years ago -- then at least, they faced a distinct and identifiable enemy on their frontier and were viewed as an important counterbalance by the United States.

Syria and Iran therefore are sensing the same force coming at them. As the United States starts getting traction in Iraq, it is moving in various ways to undermine the power of regimes it distrusts. The means here isn't military, it is covert and political. Washington is using its influence to wean Lebanon from Syria. It is doing the same to split the Iraqi and Iranian Shia. As a result, Syria and Iran are seeing their national interests start to evaporate.

Now, perceiving this and doing something about it are two very different things. Al-Hariri's killing could be read as a signal to the Lebanese that Syrian patience has its limits. Iran has not yet made a definitive move in Iraq, but it will have to do something pretty soon or bow out of the game. Both countries are under pressure to preserve core interests in the face of a common threat: the United States.

Militarily, there is little they can do. The Iranians are not only some time away from being nuclear-capable, but they can expect any capabilities to be destroyed by the Americans or the Israelis before they become operational. Iran will not go nuclear without a great deal of luck -- and even then, it will have just enough weapons to get into very deep trouble.

The American weak spot is not nuclear weapons. It is terrorism. The United States is simply not good at coping with sparse, global, covert networks. It has focused its attention on al Qaeda and has gotten somewhere, but it has been a long, hard, uncertain road.

Al Qaeda, a Sunni Wahhabi organization, is not the only competent covert force in the world. The other is Hezbollah -- al Qaeda's Shiite equivalent. Hezbollah rose to prominence in the 1980s as an Iranian-sponsored, Syrian-supported force operating out of Lebanon. It took part in Lebanon's civil war and has been active in campaigns against Israel. Hezbollah has been relatively quiet on a global scale, but it continues to exist and continues to operate in Lebanon.

Al-Hariri's murder and the resurrection of the Syrian-Iranian alliance have meaning only if Damascus and Tehran plan to unleash Hezbollah. At the very least, they are threatening to do so, in the hope of using it as a bargaining chip with the United States. However, if Washington bargains on those grounds, it will get rolled on a range of issues. The United States cannot afford to negotiate on those terms, and Hezbollah is the only card Syria and Iran can play effectively.

In other words, it may well be that another trained, experienced and dedicated organization is now being ramped up -- and it isn't al Qaeda. Hezbollah is a capable and deadly force. It is to be taken very seriously.
29847  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Marine Charged With Murder in Iraq Deaths on: February 20, 2005, 10:55:58 AM
This is what I found on the Warriortalk forum:
=========
 
AmericanWarrior  
Senior Member   Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 592  
 
 Marine charged killing of bad guys/Support him Link inside

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

He is the kind of Marine officer who seems to come off the assembly line, so patriotic that he rejoined the Corps after September 11 and went to Iraq to kill terrorists.
That is why it is so hard for 2nd Lt. Ilario Pantano and his family to understand how the Marine Corps could call the platoon leader a murderer. He escaped death in Iraq despite daily patrols and raids in the notorious Sunni Triangle.

Back home at Camp Lejeune, N.C., Lt. Pantano, 33, found out the Corps has filed two premeditated murder charges for shooting two Iraqi insurgents in a dusty, terrorist-infested town near Baghdad. If convicted at a court-martial, he would face the death penalty.
"He is a young, intelligent, charismatic Marine officer and all that that entails," states his mother, Merry K. Gregory Pantano, a New York literary agent, on a Web site she created to raise defense funds. "And yet he is incomprehensibly charged with heinous crimes related to a dangerous military operation that took place in 'the triangle of death.' "
To Lt. Pantano, the two Iraqis who came toward him despite his order in Arabic to stop were mortal enemies. Booby-trapped suicide bombers are killing Iraqis by the score and some have even feigned surrender in order to get close to U.S. soldiers. But the Corps views it as murder and filed charges against him Feb. 1.
The case, announced at Camp Lejeune last week, is already driving passions among Marines who know that a split-second delay in defending oneself can result in death.

"Let's stand together and tell our government that it cannot send our boys to the depths of hell and not expect them to see fire and brimstone," said an e-mailer to Mrs. Pantano's site, DefendtheDefenders.org. "It's called war. Sad, dark, horrible, tragic and, in death, permanent."
Lt. Pantano has retained Charles Gittins, a Marine reserve officer and one of the country's most prominent military defense attorneys.
Mr. Gittins said his client reported the shootings to superiors and remained in combat for weeks afterward. It was not until an enlisted man, whom Mr. Gittins described as "disgruntled" after being relieved from two jobs, complained to commanders that an investigation began.

"Lt. Pantano told everyone who needed to know," Mr. Gittins said. "He told them what he did and why he did it. After that, he served three months in combat. Nobody had any problem with it."
The Corps has presented Lt. Pantano with a document known as a "charge sheet" that officially charges him with two counts of murder.
Despite this, a Marine spokesman at Camp Lejeune said the officer had not yet been accused.  Mr. Gittins on Saturday sent a letter to the base's commanding general demanding that he fire the public affairs officer for putting out erroneous information.

Lt. Pantano, raised in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan, had already served his country as an enlisted Marine when al Qaeda struck the World Trade Center. He eventually rejoined, graduating from officer training at Quantico, Va., and earning a commission.
The married father of two sons took a hefty pay cut, going from the $100,000 salary of a New York stock broker and TV producer, to the pay of a Marine second lieutenant.
"If he has a fault," says his mother on the site, "it is that he is too idealistic and puts moral responsibility and duty to his country and his men before anything else."
Lt. Pantano arrived in Iraq in March 2004, leading a quick-reaction platoon, the kind of unit that is crucial to the U.S. military in its battle against insurgents. Such units receive intelligence reports on hide-outs and arms caches, and must move quickly before the enemy can escape.

"He was in combat every day," Mr. Gittins said. "They were taking serious casualties. In the three weeks before [the shootings] happened, there were over 1,000 [dead and wounded] in his area of operation."
On April 15, commanders dispatched Lt. Pantano's men to a house believed to hold insurgents and weapons. The Marines found bomb-making equipment and were removing it when two Iraqis tried to speed away in a sport utility vehicle, according to Lt. Pantano's account.
The Marines stopped the SUV by shooting out the tires, apprehended the two and placed them in flexible handcuffs. After setting up a security perimeter, Lt. Pantano took off the cuffs and had the two search the vehicle as he supervised. If it was booby-trapped, the Iraqis, not Marines, would pay the price.

It was at this point that the Iraqis stopped searching and moved quickly toward Lt. Pantano.
"They start talking in Arabic and turn toward him as if they are going to rush him," Mr. Gittins said. "He says, 'stop.' They don't stop and he kills them. He didn't know what they were doing but they weren't listening to him. He was in fear of his life and he killed them."
The lawyer said it turned out that the men were unarmed and there were no weapons in the SUV.
"They were from a town that was really bad in terms of the insurgency," he said.

Marine Corps prosecutors added two other charges that seem to Lt. Pantano's supporters to be piling on. The Corps charged him with destruction of property for slashing the vehicle tires so they could not be repaired.
And, Mr. Gittins said, he was charged with desecration for posting a sign in English on the SUV that said, "No better friend. No worse enemy" ? the slogan for the Iraq war of the 1st Marine Division's commander, Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis.
Gen. Mattis got in hot water earlier this month when he said at a conference that "it's fun to shoot some people," referring to Islamic militants.

From

This is bullshit!!

You can support him here:

http://www.defendthedefenders.org/
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Timbers  
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The Pantano case is "the Big One" for US forces in Iraq.

Neither Lt Pantano nor the Navy Department are backing down and both sides are rallying supporters.

Lt Pantano is going to testify under oath that he shot to death two hostiles in a combat zone and did so in immediate fear for his life and the lives of the men under his command. The facts that the two Iraqis were found in a compound deemed to be in hostile hands and found to house bomb-making equipement are not in dispute. The fact that the two Iraqis were found later to be unarmed and carrying no weapons in their vehicle is also established. The sole point of legal contention is the reasonable nature of Lt Pantano's belief that the two Iraqis were charging him and presenting a clear and present danger. The court martial, if there is one, will be purely a matter of second guessing an officer's actions in battle. The second guessing will be done by the jury based on conflicting testimony of Lt Pantano's subordinates.

The case, which ever way it goes, will have a major impact on how company-grade officers handle orders to secure areas after full-scale combat has ceased. If Pantano wins, Marine NCO's and junior officers will continue to act aggressively in defending their troops' lives while also acting aggressively to interdict suspected hostiles. If Pantano loses, the ripple effect is going to spread out to all the US forces, except (maybe) SOCOM. Officers and NCO's will begin to "pull back" from confrontations, emphasizing placing their men behind protective barriers and luring potential hostiles to shoot first to establish a definite threat from deadly force. The US military will withdraw from the behavior of an occupying military force and advance to the behavior of a police or gendarmie force.

Battalion commanders will start hearing, "With all due respect, sir, your present orders to 'shoot first and act questions later' appear unlawful under the Uniform Code of Military Justice and International Conventions of Warfare as tested in the Pantano case. I regret that I cannot follow your orders as they appear unlawful. If you still feel that your orders are lawful, it will be necessary for you to put them in writing and sign them." Marine Lt Col's just love to hear that from their company officers and top sergeants.

Again, Pantano is a huge case. The outcome of this case will decide whether the US Marine Corps is a ground combat force or a police force in Iraq.
29848  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Geo Political matters on: February 19, 2005, 08:54:27 PM
From Barron's:
====================  
 
World of Worry

Problems abound around the globe, but Stratfor thinks we fret over the wrong ones
By JONATHAN R. LAING

INVESTORS HAVE A WORLD OF WORRY to fret about these days, from the Middle East to Korea. But they're mostly worrying about the wrong things, contends George Friedman, who heads the private intelligence-service Stratfor. The Austin, Texas firm has prospered since we first publicized it just weeks after the

Sept. 11 attacks. Collecting real-time information from the Internet and from informants around the world, Stratfor forecasts and geopolitical analyses have become staples in stories on the war on terror. Likewise, Friedman's commentary is sought by news shows and Fortune 500 clients -- including some of the largest financial institutions. His views are frequently provocative and idiosyncratic, but always stimulating.

His forecast for 2005, conveyed via telephone, proved to be no exception. Our talk spanned the globe, building from progress in the Middle East -- despite new violence in Lebanon -- through North Korea's rumblings, on to why investors should be cautious on China and Russia.


Mapping Danger: From nukes to new separatist movements: Headed by George Friedman, Stratfor produces geopolitical analyses valued by investors and leaders across the planet.

 
As a political scientist and admirer of realpolitik, Friedman feels that the U.S.'s aggressive action and military presence in Iraq has inestimably helped the war on terror by, among other things, motivating reluctant allies like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan and erstwhile enemies like Syria and Iran to help the U.S. by cutting off their support of al Qaeda and serving up better intelligence to Western governments.

"I call it the coalition of the coerced, but the tempo of timely arrests of al Qaeda operatives around the world, and the fact that the U.S. suffered no terrorist attacks running up to last year's election, can in good part be attributed to better intelligence from the Islamic world," Friedman avers. "Our victory in Afghanistan was insufficient. We had to show the Islamic world that we meant business by putting large numbers of troops into the Mideast, into harm's way, rather than cutting and running such as the U.S. had done previously in its rapid pull-out from Beirut in the 1980s and Somalia in the '1990s."

In this context, Friedman sees Syria's and Iran's recent announcement of their united front and the assassination of former Lebanese leader Rafik Hariri as an attempt by the two nations to strengthen their bargaining position with the U.S. He claims that the bombing that killed Hariri was likely contracted out to Syria's and Iran's favorite terrorist organization, Hezbollah. He adds, "Syrian intelligence doesn't do suicide bombings like we think the Hariri assassination was, but Hezbollah most certainly does. The two countries, by killing someone the U.S. really likes, seem to be sending a message that if pushed too hard by the U.S., they will react."


China's economic and social horizons are brimming with trouble.

 
While Friedman cautions against excessive euphoria over the recent elections in Iraq, he contends that the situation there is beginning to stabilize. Moreover, he expects that the war will begin to recede from the headlines. The virulence of the Iraq insurgency took Stratfor somewhat by surprise. But, he adds, the violence has been largely confined to the Sunni Triangle. (See "Winning in Iraq" in the June 14, 2004 Barron's on the strategic reasons Friedman supported invading Iraq.)

Moreover, the training of the Iraqi security force is starting to bear fruit, particularly since the number of Sunni recruits has been cut back, due to their dubious loyalties [Saddam is Sunni]. Friedman also expects to see more involvement by Iranian-trained Shiite militia units in patrolling some of the hot combat zones now that the Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani slate appears to have won a victory. He expects U.S. casualties and troop levels to start trending lower in the months ahead; among other things, U.S. forces will likely be shifted to larger, well-protected bases more remote from Sunni cities.

As for Iran, Friedman is not as concerned as many other observers about its nuclear-weapons program. Iran has actually been quietly helpful to the U.S. both in the war on terror and in Iraq, and has a major stake in creating a dependable ally on its western border in the form of a Shiite-dominated united Iraq.

Iran is largely using its nuclear ambitions as a bargaining ploy with both the U.S. and the European Union. Negotiators from Germany, France and Great Britain are attempting to play the good cop with Iran, while the U.S. remains the bad cop. In the latter role, according to Friedman, the Bush Administration may well have covertly planted the expos? in the New Yorker last fall by Seymour Hersh -- which claimed that U.S. and Israeli special-operations teams operating inside Iran had already catalogued numerous special nuclear facilities for eventual attack. "Iran's nuclear program isn't really all that viable, and the country has to know that if she continues to enrich uranium in defiance of Western desires, then the U.S., or perhaps Israel, will hit them with the big stick," he insists. "Iran isn't that stupid."


Iran has helped in the war on terror, although Pres. Mohammed Khatami may not brag about it.

 
Likewise, Friedman contends that the North Korean nuclear standoff has been much overhyped by the world media. "It's merely a beautiful bargaining strategy on the part of a country with the economic importance of Chad to make itself into a centerpiece of world diplomacy," he observes. "None of the weapons are usable, since North Korea would be turned into glass within minutes should the country lob a missile at somebody."

The bizarre economic policies of Kim Jong Il have, in fact, bolstered rather than threatened the survival of his regime, despite the existence of widespread malnutrition and grinding totalitarian mind-control in North Korea. Neither China nor South Korea is particularly anxious to assume the economic burden of this failed state, Friedman believes. Kim is hoping to use the nuclear wild card to win a peace treaty (only an armistice was signed between the U.S. and North Korea after the Korean War) and full diplomatic relations with the U.S.

Then, he continues, North Korea might be able to attract more foreign investment and economic aid, all while keeping the zany Kim dynasty in power.

Friedman sees more peril in 2005 from developments in quarters of the globe that have received less media attention. China, for example, this year could see significant deceleration in its torrid economic growth rate and may well be on the cusp of a meltdown, he says. Moreover, Friedman contends that China is likely to become more bellicose and nationalistic as its economic malaise swells, because foreign aggression has been a tried and true method for deflecting people's attention from problems on the home front.

To be sure, Friedman's pessimism about China's prospects places him at odds with the conventional wisdom pushed by virtually every U.S. corporate chieftain and by scores of news commentators.


Dear Leader as paper tiger: North Korea would be "turned into glass" if Kim acts out.

 
"Today's China boom can only be compared to the dot-com frenzy of the late '90s in the hype and conviction that China will somehow defy all the rules of normal economic cycles," he avers. Yet many observers are still agog over China's low labor costs, the gleaming office buildings of Shanghai, the state-of-the art plants rimming its eastern cities, huge currency reserves and surging trade surpluses.

Friedman sees growing imbalances, seething social discontent and a rotting financial structure. In fact, to Friedman, the current China exhibits unsettling similarities to Japan in the late '80s, just before the sun set on the latter economy.

China, like Japan of yore, is experiencing an insensate real-estate boom and looming overcapacity in its industrial base.

The financial structures of both countries suffer from the rot of loan misallocation, a shaky banking system and a huge overhang of bad debts, Friedman notes. Likewise, much of today's economic growth in China is profitless, due to both the weight of moribund state-owned enterprises in the economy and a mania for market-share growth at the expense of economic returns.

Finally, Friedman claims that many China enthusiasts are ignoring the demographic time bomb of an aging population as a result of China's one-child-per-family crackdown. The more rapidly advanced graying of Japan has already put a damper on Japan's consumer spending.

Signs of trouble in China are beginning to accumulate just below the surface of glossy economic growth, Friedman asserts. The economy continues highballing along, despite all government attempts to rein in growth by a small interest-rate hike and restraints on lending to some key industrial sectors. China can't afford too much monetary restraint; any large increase in interest rates could trigger a cascade of loan defaults and pop the credit bubble.

Stratfor has also noted a dramatic jump in riots, strikes, bombings and the like throughout China that have largely gone unnoted or unreported by the bedazzled world news media. Social tensions only figure to grow as a result of increasing layoffs at the state-owned enterprises and yawning disparities in wealth between China's populous agrarian hinterlands and the thriving coastal cities.


U.S. troop casualties in Iraq should drop this year as soldiers move to better-protected bases.

 
He claims that paranoia on the part of party authorities seems to be growing apace, as evidenced by their increasing resort to security sweeps against dissidents. The government's fear of riots following the recent death of Zhao Ziyang, the disgraced former general secretary of the Communist party and a hero of the democratic movement, was just one example of this new attitude, says Friedman.

Friedman also expects Chinese authorities to increasingly fan nationalistic fervor in an attempt to defuse growing tensions at home. The recent spate of saber-rattling with Taiwan is just one example. China's dispute with Japan over exclusive economic control of a large swath of ocean waters south of Japan must be seen in the same light. "The Japanese are widely disliked in China, so the Chinese authorities can always use Japan as a potent symbol of why the Chinese people must remain unified," Friedman claims.

At present, capital inflows into China remain enormous from the nation's positive trade balance, foreign direct investment chasing the Chinese dream and currency speculators betting on a revaluation of the yuan. But Friedman points out that capital flows can turn on a dime -- as witness the capital flight suffered by other East Asian nations in 1997 and 1998.

In recent months, Chinese companies and other entities have begun to make substantial investments in overseas natural resources, land and tech companies. Most observers see this as an indication of China's growing economic might. Still, Friedman wonders if this foreign direct investment might be an incipient sign of capital flight by Chinese businessmen looking for a safer and more profitable home for their money.

"Just like the controversial Japanese acquisitions of Pebble Beach and Rockefeller Center in the late '80s, might the recent deal Chinese computer maker Lenovo reached to buy IBM's personal-computer business be a sign of trouble at home rather than self-assertion of a growing economic powerhouse?" he asks.


Watch Putin's actions against Russian companies -- not his lips.

 
Likewise, Friedman thinks Vladimir Putin's Russia may be a growing problem for the West -- after more than a decade of grudging Russian acquiescence to U.S. great-power supremacy and fumbled attempts to "Westernize" its economy and political systems. Russian authorities today see market capitalism as something of sham that brought riches mostly to the oligarchs and Western financial interests.

Even worse for Putin, Western political influence is growing in states that made up much of the former Soviet Union. The Baltic States of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania recently joined both NATO and the EU. Pro-Western governments are in place in the former Soviet republics of Georgia and, most ominously from Russia's standpoint, Ukraine. Elections this year could push other former Soviet states Moldova, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan into the Western camp. Meanwhile, Americans now are stationed in former Russian bases in Central Asia as a result of the U.S. war in Afghanistan.

Putin has fought back by increasing centralized control of the Russian economy -- the recent state expropriation of key assets of Yukos must be seen in this light -- and re-establishing Kremlin control of regional governments. But Putin may not be able to keep the centrifugal forces at work inside Russia at bay, Friedman claims.

Stratfor has picked up indications from Russian intelligence sources that Chechen separatists may be planning to take over a strategic missile base or nuclear power plant to force a Russian withdrawal from Chechnya. Other Muslim areas in the Russian federation are becoming more defiant, says Friedman.

Facing a desperate, disintegrating situation, the Kremlin will, at a minimum, try to overthrow the Georgian government and block the Ukraine from joining NATO, Friedman says. He also expects Putin to try to re-establish state control over such corporations as Unified Energy Systems (Russia's power monopoly); Transneft (the oil transport monopoly); and private oil companies Sibneft and Surgutneftegaz. In addition, Putin has defied the U.S. by threatening to sell various strategic weapons systems to Syria and China, Friedman claims.

Let it never be said that we don't live in interesting times.
29849  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Weird and/or silly on: February 12, 2005, 05:24:16 PM
POSTED: 5:35 pm EST February 7, 2005

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Four sniper rifles, scopes and ammunition were stolen from an FBI SWAT van parked outside a Baymeadows Road hotel before dawn Sunday.

The FBI said the guns belonged to a team from Atlanta in Jacksonville to provide extra security for the Super Bowl.

A spokesman for the FBI said authorities are concerned these weapons are out on the street and are doing everything possible to try and find whoever took them.

Four high-powered rifles with scopes and 80 rounds of 308 ammunition were taken from the unmarked, locked van parked outside the Holiday Inn at Baymeadows and Interstate 95. An agent parked the van at 3:45 a.m. and discovered a few hours later the padlock cut and van burglarized.

An internal investigation is under way.

The FBI asks anyone with information that could help recover the rifles to call their Jacksonville office at (904) 721-1211.  


http://www.news4jax.com/news/4173456/detail.html
29850  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Weird and/or silly on: February 12, 2005, 08:59:40 AM
Thu Feb 10, 9:56 AM ET

LONDON (Reuters) - A British woman was sentenced to two and a half years in jail Thursday for ripping off her ex-lover's testicle with her bare hands during a drunken brawl after he refused her sex.

Amanda Monti, 24, flew into a rage in May last year after Geoffrey Jones, 37, who had ended their long-term relationship, rejected her advances.

She grabbed him by the genitals, tearing off his left testicle, then hid it in her mouth before a friend of Jones handed it back to him saying "that's yours."

Monti, of Birkenhead, near Liverpool, pleaded guilty to unlawful wounding at an earlier hearing.
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