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30401  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics on: January 17, 2007, 03:01:10 PM
Surging Revenues
January 17, 2007; Page A18
The myth persists in some media circles that the federal budget deficit is "surging" or ballooning or something terrible -- all of which is served up as ammunition for those in Congress who want a tax increase. At the risk of being drummed out of the guild, we thought you'd rather have the real story.

The deficit has in fact declined by some $165 billion over the past two fiscal years, and according to the most recent data has continued to fall in the first quarter of fiscal 2007. The latest Treasury estimates for January show that tax receipts in December were $18 billion higher than a year earlier, helping to boost the budget surplus for the month to $40 billion, up from $11 billion a year ago. December is typically a good month for revenues due to year-end tax payments.

Meanwhile, for the first three months of fiscal 2007 through December, revenues climbed 8.1%, building on double-digit revenue increases in the previous two years. Corporate income taxes were up a remarkable 22.2% in the first fiscal quarter, showing that the government continues to grab a nice chunk of the rising business profits that so many of our politicians like to deplore. Individual income taxes rose 8.8%, thanks to strong wage and salary growth. Much of this revenue comes from "the rich," believe it or not.

In the most surprising budget news, federal spending was nearly flat in the first fiscal quarter. This was despite a 22.1% increase in Medicare spending due largely to the new prescription drug benefit, and a 10.7% increase in defense. Those increases were offset by lower spending for flood insurance and disaster assistance compared with the peak of post-Katrina payments a year ago. So the first quarter deficit was $85 billion, down sharply from $119 billion a year earlier.

All in all, despite huge outlays for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the nation's fiscal picture is brightening. We hate to ruin the press corps's day with such cheerful news, but there it is.
30402  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Politica-Economia en Latino America on: January 17, 2007, 02:57:31 PM
Pues, faltando participacion en espanol, he aqui algo en ingles:

Hugo and Mahmoud
January 17, 2007; Page A18
We've known for some time that Hugo Chávez is a menace to the economic well-being of his own people. But the question that seems increasingly urgent is whether he's becoming a threat to U.S. security interests -- both in the Western Hemisphere and beyond.

Specifically, we'd like to know what Senator Chris Dodd and Congressman Bill Delahunt make of Mr. Chávez's weekend summit with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Iranian President stopped by Caracas on Saturday as part of a four-day engagement with Latin America's new leftist governments. On Sunday, the Iranian communed with Nicaragua's new boss, Daniel Ortega, and then on Monday he hit the inauguration of Ecuador's new pro-Chávez President Rafael Correa.

The Caracas visit was Mr. Ahmadinejad's second in four months. "This is just a prelude of what we will do," declared Mr. Chávez, in a televised speech announcing the creation of a joint $2 billion fund to finance development and other projects. "This large and strategic fund, brother, is going to be converted into a mechanism of liberation," he added, saying their goal is to build "a network of alliances."

In Managua, the Iranian also signed a "broad cooperation accord" with Mr. Ortega. Mr. Chávez openly funded the Sandinista's Presidential campaign last year, and he earlier supported Evo Morales in Bolivia. Venezuelan soldiers have reported that they are under orders to give Colombian rebels safe haven, and Mr. Chávez signed contracts last year to buy Russian MiGs and open a Kalishnakov factory at home.

Meanwhile, the Venezuelan is using his recent election victory to consolidate his grip on the economy. A week ago, he announced he would nationalize the country's electricity and telephone companies; he already controls the oil business. His goal here is to redistribute income but especially to shrink the private economy in order to reduce the space in which any political opposition can operate.

The Caracas Stock Exchange Index fell 16% last week, but that didn't phase Señor Chávez. He's moving to withdraw the license of a prominent independent television network, and he has asked Congress to grant him temporary executive power to rule by decree. "The world should know: Our revolution is not turning back," he said. "This is the path our boat is on: socialism. Country, socialism, or death."

The world should have known this a long time ago but too many people chose to ignore it. Mr. Chávez took office in 1999 on a promise to end corruption and injustice. By 2000, human rights groups warned of a deterioration in constitutional protections, and Mr. Chávez began importing Cuban security agents along with Cuban doctors and teachers to spread propaganda.

Each time Mr. Chávez has faced resistance, he has tightened the screws. Price and capital controls and property seizures became state policy. Employees of the state-owned oil company and its contractors were fired if they opposed the government; political opponents were jailed.

All the while, Mr. Chávez has had American enablers who excused his growing repression, or blamed it on a reaction to U.S. policy. Foremost among them has been Mr. Dodd, who has defended Mr. Chávez as "democratically elected" despite his clear trend toward authoritarianism. In 2004, the circumstances surrounding a recall referendum were so anti-democratic that the European Union refused to act as an observer. Jimmy Carter nonetheless blessed the outcome amid heavy irregularities, and the U.S. State Department endorsed the process. Other politicians, such as Mr. Delahunt, embraced and flattered Mr. Chávez for his PR stunt of offering cut-rate oil to poor Americans.

Perhaps it's time these Americans paid attention to the kind of "socialism" and "revolution" that their support is helping Mr. Chávez to build in Venezuela.

30403  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: January 17, 2007, 08:11:54 AM

Geopolitical Diary: Back-Channel Negotiations Between Israel and Syria

Israeli daily Haaretz reported on Tuesday that Syria and Israel held secret meetings in Europe between September 2004 and July 2006, and that the two have developed a framework for a peace agreement. Highlights of the deal include Israel's withdrawal from the Golan Heights to pre-1967 borders -- in exchange for retaining control over the use of water from the Jordan River and Lake Kinneret -- and an end to Syrian support for Hezbollah and Hamas, as well as Syrian moves to distance the country from Iran. The report said the meetings were conducted primarily by academics, with the full knowledge of senior Israeli and Syrian authorities. A few hours after the story was released, officials from both countries issued denials, labeling the report "absolute nonsense," a "bluff" and "completely false."

That Syria and Israel have been holding back-channel talks should hardly come as a surprise. Lacking the strategic depth to sufficiently ensure its national security, Israel has long been in the business of quiet diplomacy with its Arab neighbors. Jordan and Egypt both engaged in secret meetings with Israel well before their respective peace agreements were made public. An Israeli-Syrian deal, however, is still far off in the distance.

Ruled by Alawites -- who practice an offshoot of Shiite Islam -- Syria is a minority-based regime in the Sunni Arab world. The Syrian government has a history of keeping its distance from its Arab neighbors, despite its calls for Arab nationalism, seeking instead a closer relationship with its Shiite allies in Tehran. The Syrians have developed a strong alliance with Iran through Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, which serves Syrian interests by keeping pressure on Israel as well as keeping the Lebanese political, security and intelligence apparatus under Syrian control. Hezbollah's ability to gridlock the Lebanese government through mass protests and block any moves to hold Syrian leadership accountable for the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri is a current case in point.

Syria's insurance policy against Israel comes through its support for nonstate militant assets in the region, namely Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Palestinian territories. Syria's sponsorship of these groups also allows it to maintain leverage in the region by making itself an integral part of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and any flare-ups in Lebanon. Without a sufficient deterrent capability, Syria is unwilling to surrender this leverage -- and the Israelis know this.

At the same time, Israel is not ready to let go of the Golan Heights, a 15-by-32-mile territory seized by Israeli troops during the 1967 Six Day War. The Golan is of enormous strategic value to Israeli defenses, as its boundaries encompass the 7,296-foot Mount Hermon. Prior to Israel's creation in 1948, Syrian forces used this highland to attack northern Jewish villages. After Israel seized the Golan in 1967, Mount Hermon became a key observation post for Israel to use to point its guns at any hostile invader approaching the country's northeastern border. Apart from its military importance, the Golan Heights also provides Israel with roughly one-third of its water supply.

Syrian President Bashar al Assad inherited his foreign policy agenda from his father, Hafez al Assad. It stipulates that Syria must consolidate its control over Lebanon, maintain its influence over the Arab-Israeli conflict, preserve its regional status and regain the Golan Heights from Israel. Carefully managing Syria's relations with the United States to avoid provoking regime change also was a key part of al Assad's strategy to ensure Syrian national security. Though Syria is keenly interested in retaking the Golan, it will not sacrifice its militant assets without sufficient security guarantees from the United States and Israel.

The atmosphere of distrust between Syria and Israel has been exacerbated by the intensifying U.S.-Iranian standoff over Iraq. With Iran well on its way to joining the nuclear club and consolidating its gains in Iraq, the Syrians see Iran as an attractive ally in the region. Tehran is just as eager to develop Syria into an Iranian satellite, and has greatly expanded its military and economic assistance for the country in an effort to earn the Syrians' trust.

But the ruling clerics in Tehran are well aware that Syria's loyalties are flexible, and that the al Assad regime will look after its own interests before sticking its neck out for Iran. This was exemplified in the summer conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, during which Syria was extremely careful to avoid getting caught in the crossfire. Iran's distrust of the al Assad regime will become particularly critical as Iran moves deeper into hot water with its plans for Iraq and its nuclear program. The Iranians fear that, should it face a serious threat to the survival of the al Assad regime, Syria could switch loyalties down the road and join the fold of Arab states making peace with Israel.

It is this weakness in the Syrian-Iranian alliance that Western governments will try to exploit, and the Haaretz report on the Syrian-Israeli peace negotiations appears to work toward that objective. In conjunction with the revised U.S. strategy on Iraq, the Israelis have carefully timed a series of leaks about Israeli military plans to strike at Iran's nuclear facilities as part of a psychological warfare strategy to undermine Iranian confidence. In order to beef up this campaign, Israel can fuel distrust between Iran and Syria by publicizing its back-channel dealings with the al Assad regime. These leaks will be met with a downpour of denials, but the intended damage already will have been done; Iran and Syria will continue to second-guess each other as the risk of pursuing an increasingly belligerent policy reaches dangerous levels.
30404  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: January 17, 2007, 06:26:20 AM
Disagree.  He is very young, and has very little experience at the national level.  He has only one statewide race-- the one two years ago which put him in the Senate.  Even this is much less than it seems.  The original Republican candidate, whose name slips my mind, dropped out of the race when his divorcing wife made apparently founded accusations about him in strip clubs or something like that.  So at the last minute, bomb thrower and carpetbagger Alan Keyes stepped in.  Don't get me wrong: I love AK (don't agree with everything he says, but possibly one of the most principled and articulate men in American politics today) but for him to step in very late, very underfunded, and being his very uncompormising self did not make for much of a challenge for Osama.

I caught Osama on , , , the Jay Leno show I think it was.  On a personal level a very appealing fellow, and he seems to manifest well the desire of many American people to proceed without personal rancor towards the opposition, but his actual positions are quite the standard liberal democratic fare. 

My prediction, he will run a while, be well liked by the Dem faithful, do surprisingly well against Lady Evita, and then, due in part to the fact that he will not have been personally nasty towards her, will be swept up in grand unity ticket with him as VP candidate.

President Bush's many unprincipled domestic policies and his perceived incompetence in leading the Iraqi front of the Islamo Fascist war combined with the unprincipled Republican Congress have left the Republicans in array.

RINO Guiliani?

Tax and regulate McCain?

I had strong hopes for Newt Gingrich, but some recent moves of his (e.g. a special on FOX saying he was dedicating himself to the return of God to the American political sphere or some comletely unsound strategy--politically speaking-- like that) read to me like he has decided not to run.

There is a good chance that Reps will seek the equivalent of "Dem-lite" RINO Gov. Schwarzenegger of CA.
30405  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Dog Brothers East Cost Seminar featuring Guro Marc “Crafty Dog” Denny on: January 16, 2007, 10:50:47 PM
30406  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: January 16, 2007, 09:13:21 PM


Rhetoric and Reality: The View from Iran

By George Friedman

The Iraq war has turned into a duel between the United States and Iran. For the United States, the goal has been the creation of a generally pro-American coalition government in Baghdad -- representing Iraq's three major ethnic communities. For Iran, the goal has been the creation of either a pro-Iranian government in Baghdad or, alternatively, the division of Iraq into three regions, with Iran dominating the Shiite south.

The United States has encountered serious problems in creating the coalition government. The Iranians have been primarily responsible for that. With the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in June, when it appeared that the Sunnis would enter the political process fully, the Iranians used their influence with various Iraqi Shiite factions to disrupt that process by launching attacks on Sunnis and generally destabilizing the situation. Certainly, Sunnis contributed to this, but for much of the past year, it has been the Shia, supported by Iran, that have been the primary destabilizing force.

So long as the Iranians continue to follow this policy, the U.S. strategy cannot succeed. The difficulty of the American plan is that it requires the political participation of three main ethnic groups that are themselves politically fragmented. Virtually any substantial group can block the success of the strategy by undermining the political process. The Iranians, however, appear to be in a more powerful position than the Americans. So long as they continue to support Shiite groups within Iraq, they will be able to block the U.S. plan. Over time, the theory goes, the Americans will recognize the hopelessness of the undertaking and withdraw, leaving Iran to pick up the pieces. In the meantime, the Iranians will increasingly be able to dominate the Shiite community and consolidate their hold over southern Iraq. The game appears to go to Iran.

Americans are extremely sensitive to the difficulties the United States faces in Iraq. Every nation-state has a defining characteristic, and that of the United States is manic-depression, cycling between insanely optimistic plans and total despair. This national characteristic tends to blind Americans to the situation on the other side of the hill. Certainly, the Bush administration vastly underestimated the difficulties of occupying Iraq -- that was the manic phase. But at this point, it could be argued that the administration again is not looking over the other side of the hill at the difficulties the Iranians might be having. And it is useful to consider the world from the Iranian point of view.

The Foundation of Foreign Policy

It is important to distinguish between the rhetoric and the reality of Iranian foreign policy. As a general principle, this should be done with all countries. As in business, rhetoric is used to shape perceptions and attempt to control the behavior of others. It does not necessarily reveal one's true intentions or, more important, one's capabilities. In the classic case of U.S. foreign policy, Franklin Roosevelt publicly insisted that the United States did not intend to get into World War II while U.S. and British officials were planning to do just that. On the other side of the equation, the United States, during the 1950s, kept asserting that its goal was to liberate Eastern Europe from the Soviet Union, when in fact it had no plans, capabilities or expectations of doing so. This does not mean the claims were made frivolously -- both Roosevelt and John Foster Dulles had good reasons for posturing as they did -- but it does mean that rhetoric is not a reliable indicator of actions. Thus, the purple prose of the Iranian leadership cannot be taken at face value.

To get past the rhetoric, let's begin by considering Iran's objective geopolitical position.

Historically, Iran has faced three enemies. Its oldest enemy was to the west: the Arab/Sunni threat, against which it has struggled for millennia. Russia, to the north, emerged as a threat in the late 19th century, occupying northern Iran during and after World War II. The third enemy has worn different faces but has been a recurring threat since the time of Alexander the Great: a distant power that has intruded into Persian affairs. This distant foreign power -- which has at times been embodied by both the British and the Americans -- has posed the greatest threat to Iran. And when the element of a distant power is combined with one of the other two traditional enemies, the result is a great global or regional power whose orbit or influence Iran cannot escape. To put that into real terms, Iran can manage, for example, the chaos called Afghanistan, but it cannot manage a global power that is active in Iraq and Afghanistan simultaneously.

For the moment, Russia is contained. There is a buffer zone of states between Iran and Russia that, at present, prevents Russian probes. But what Iran fears is a united Iraq under the influence or control of a global power like the United States. In 1980, the long western border of Iran was attacked by Iraq, with only marginal support from other states, and the effect on Iran was devastating. Iran harbors a rational fear of attack from that direction, which -- if coupled with American power -- could threaten Iranian survival.

Therefore, Iran sees the American plan to create a pro-U.S. government in Baghdad as a direct threat to its national interests. Now, the Iranians supported the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003; they wanted to see their archenemy, former President Saddam Hussein, deposed. But they did not want to see him replaced by a pro-American regime. Rather, the Iranians wanted one of two outcomes: the creation of a pro-Iranian government dominated by Iraqi Shia (under Iran's control), or the fragmentation of Iraq. A fragmented Iraq would have two virtues. It would prove no danger to Iran, and Iran likely would control or heavily influence southern Iraq, thus projecting its power from there throughout the Persian Gulf.

Viewed this way, Iran's behavior in Iraq is understandable. A stable Iraq under U.S. influence represents a direct threat to Iran, while a fragmented or pro-Iranian Iraq does not. Therefore, the Iranians will do whatever they can to undermine U.S. attempts to create a government in Baghdad. Tehran can use its influence to block a government, but it cannot -- on its own -- create a pro-Iranian one. Therefore, Iran's strategy is to play spoiler and wait for the United States to tire of the unending conflict. Once the Americans leave, the Iranians can pick up the chips on the table. Whether it takes 10 years or 30, the Iranians assume that, in the end, they will win. None of the Arab countries in the region has the power to withstand Iran, and the Turks are unlikely to get into the game.

The Unknown Variables

Logic would seem to favor the Iranians. But in the past, the Iranians have tried to be clever with great powers and, rather than trapping them, have wound up being trapped themselves. Sometimes they have simply missed other dimensions of the situation. For example, when the revolutionaries overthrew the Shah and created the Islamic Republic, the Iranians focused on the threat from the Americans, and another threat from the Soviets and their covert allies in Iran. But they took their eyes off Iraq -- and that miscalculation not only cost them huge casualties and a decade of economic decay, but broke the self-confidence of the Iranian regime.

The Iranians also have miscalculated on the United States. When the Islamic Revolution occurred, the governing assumption -- not only in Iran but also in many parts of the world, including the United States -- was that the United States was a declining power. It had, after all, been defeated in Vietnam and was experiencing declining U.S. military power and severe economic problems. But the Iranians massively miscalculated with regard to the U.S. position: In the end, the United States surged and it was the Soviets who collapsed.

The Iranians do not have a sterling record in managing great powers, and especially in predicting the behavior of the United States. In large and small ways, they have miscalculated on what the United States would do and how it would do it. Therefore, like the Americans, the Iranians are deeply divided. There are those who regard the United States as a bumbling fool, all set to fail in Iraq. There are others who remember equally confident forecasts about other American disasters, and who see the United States as ruthless, cunning and utterly dangerous.

These sentiments, then, divide into two policy factions. On the one side, there are those who see Bush's surge strategy as an empty bluff. They point out that there is no surge, only a gradual buildup of troops, and that the number of troops being added is insignificant. They point to political divisions in Washington and argue that the time is ripe for Iran to go for it all. They want to force a civil war in Iraq, to at least dominate the southern region and take advantage of American weakness to project power in the Persian Gulf.

The other side wonders whether the Americans are as weak as they appear, and also argues that exploiting a success in Iraq would be more dangerous and difficult than it appears. The United States has substantial forces in Iraq, and the response to Shiite uprisings along the western shore of the Persian Gulf would be difficult to predict. The response to any probe into Saudi Arabia certainly would be violent.

We are not referring here to ideological factions, nor to radicals and moderates. Rather, these are two competing visions of the United States. One side wants to exploit American weakness; the other side argues that experience shows that American weakness can reverse itself unexpectedly and trap Iran in a difficult and painful position. It is not a debate about ends or internal dissatisfaction with the regime. Rather, it is a contest between audacity and caution.

The Historical View

Over time -- and this is not apparent from Iranian rhetoric -- caution has tended to prevail. Except during the 1980s, when they supported an aggressive Hezbollah, the Iranians have been quite measured in their international actions. Following the war with Iraq, they avoided overt moves -- and they even were circumspect after the fall of the Soviet Union, when opportunities presented themselves to Iran's north. After 9/11, the Iranians were careful not to provoke the United States: They offered landing rights for damaged U.S. aircraft and helped recruit Shiite tribes for the American effort against the Taliban. The rhetoric alternated between intense and vitriolic; the actions were more cautious. Even with the Iranian nuclear project, the rhetoric has been far more intense than the level of development seems to warrant.

Rhetoric influences perceptions, and perceptions can drive responses. Therefore, the rhetoric should not be discounted as a driving factor in the geopolitical system. But the real debate in Iran is over what to do about Iraq. No one in Iran wants a pro-U.S. government in Baghdad, and blocking the emergence of such a government has a general consensus. But how far to go in trying to divide Iraq, creating a pro-Iranian government in Baghdad and projecting power in the region is a matter of intense debate. In fact, cautious behavior combined with extreme rhetoric still appears to be the default position in Tehran, with more adventurous arguments struggling to gain acceptance.

The United States, for its part, is divided between the desire to try one more turn at the table to win it all and the fear that it is becoming hopelessly trapped. Iran is divided between a belief that the time to strike is now and a fear that counting the United States out is always premature. This is an engine that can, in due course, drive negotiations. Iran might be "evil" and the United States might be "Satan," but at the end of the day, international affairs involving major powers are governed not by rhetoric but by national interest. The common ground between the United States and Iran is that neither is certain it can achieve its real strategic interests. The Americans doubt they can create a pro-U.S. government in Baghdad, and Iran is not certain the United States is as weak as it appears to be.

Fear and uncertainty are the foundations of international agreement, while hope and confidence fuel war. In the end, a fractured Iraq -- an entity incapable of harming Iran, but still providing an effective buffer between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula -- is emerging as the most viable available option.


© Copyright 2006 Strategic Forecasting Inc. All rights reserved.
30407  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: January 16, 2007, 08:58:35 PM
My prediction is that he's running to be Hillary Evita Clinton's running mate.
30408  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: January 16, 2007, 04:15:35 PM
A pleasant fellow with some very liberal views:
30409  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Interrogation methods on: January 16, 2007, 03:42:12 PM
From the Early Bird:

Washington Post
January 16, 2007
Pg. 15

Interrogation Research Is Lacking, Report Says

Few Studies Have Examined U.S. Methods

By Josh White, Washington Post Staff Writer

There is almost no scientific evidence to back up the U.S. intelligence community's use of controversial interrogation techniques in the fight against terrorism, and experts believe some painful and coercive approaches could hinder the ability to get good information, according to a new report from an intelligence advisory group.

The 374-page report from the Intelligence Science Board examines several aspects of broad interrogation methods and approaches, and it finds that no significant scientific research has been conducted in more than four decades about the effectiveness of many techniques the U.S. military and intelligence groups use regularly. Intelligence experts wrote that a lack of research could explain why abuse has been alleged at U.S. facilities in Afghanistan, Cuba and Iraq.

"Since there had been little or no development of sustained capacity for interrogation practice, training, or research within intelligence or military communities in the post-Soviet period, many interrogators were forced to 'make it up' on the fly," wrote Robert A. Fein, chairman of the study, published by the National Defense Intelligence College. "This shortfall in advanced, research-based interrogation methods at a time of intense pressure from operational commanders to produce actionable intelligence from high-value targets may have contributed significantly to the unfortunate cases of abuse that have recently come to light."

The report explores scientific knowledge on interrogation in the wake of reported abuse around the globe. The study, sponsored by the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon's Counterintelligence Field Activity, was posted yesterday on the Federation of American Scientists' Web site, at

In it, experts find that popular culture and ad hoc experimentation have fueled the use of aggressive and sometimes physical interrogation techniques to get those captured on the battlefields to talk, even if there is no evidence to support the tactics' effectiveness. The board, which advises the director of national intelligence, recommends studying the matter.

"There is little systematic knowledge available to tell us 'what works' in interrogation," wrote Robert Coulam, a research professor at the Simmons School for Health Studies in Boston. Coulam also wrote that interrogation practices that offend ethical concerns and "skirt the rule of law" may be narrowly useful, if at all, because such practices could undermine the legitimacy of government action and support for the fight against terrorism.

The Bush administration has long advocated the ability to use aggressive interrogation tactics on terrorism suspects. After abuse came to light at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison and the Navy's prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Congress forced the government to limit its approaches to long-standing military doctrine but allowed a loophole that lets the CIA continue such techniques.

The Army's new field manual on intelligence, approved in September, specifically bans some of the most aggressive techniques -- such as "waterboarding," beatings, sensory deprivation and depriving a detainee of food -- and draws clear boundaries for all military personnel who participate in interrogations. Army officials abandoned more coercive techniques because of the abuse scandals and evidence that Army and contract interrogators had developed approaches in the field based on vague guidance.

The new study finds that there may be no value to coercive techniques.

"The scientific community has never established that coercive interrogation methods are an effective means of obtaining reliable intelligence information," wrote Col. Steven M. Kleinman, who has served as the Pentagon's senior intelligence officer for special survival training.

Kleinman wrote that intelligence gathered with coercion is sometimes inaccurate or false, noting that isolation, a tactic U.S. officials have used regularly, causes "profound emotional, psychological, and physical discomfort" and can "significantly and negatively impact the ability of the source to recall information accurately."
30410  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: January 16, 2007, 11:32:54 AM
RUSSIA/IRAN: Russia has completed transfers of the Tor-M1 anti-aircraft missile system to Iran, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said. The Tor-M1 is a high-accuracy missile designed to intercept cruise missiles as well as both manned and unmanned aircraft. Despite U.N. sanctions on Iran, Russia insists that the contract was in line with international law and that the system is for defensive purposes only.
30411  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Jacksonian Warfare: Part Five on: January 16, 2007, 01:15:00 AM
In the case of the Cold War, the failure of the Soviet Union to make a formal surrender, or for the conflict to end in any way that could be marked as V-USSR Day, has greatly complicated American policy toward post-Cold War Russia. The Soviet Union lost the Cold War absolutely and unconditionally, and Russia has suffered economic and social devastation comparable to that sustained by any losing power in the great wars of the century. But because it never surrendered, Jacksonian opinion never quite shifted into magnanimity mode. Wilsonians, Hamiltonians and Jeffersonians all favored reconstruction support and aid; but without Jacksonian concurrence the American effort was sharply limited. Advice was doled out with a free and generous hand, but aid was extended more grudgingly.

This is far from a complete account of Jacksonian values and beliefs as they affect the United States. In economic as well as defense policy, for example, Jacksonian ideas are both influential and unique. Convinced that the prime purpose of government is to defend the living standards of the middle class, Jacksonian opinion is instinctively protectionist, seeking trade privileges for U.S. goods abroad and hoping to withhold those privileges from foreign exports. Jacksonians were once farmers; today they tend to be service and industrial workers. They see the preservation of American jobs, even at the cost of some unspecified degree of "economic efficiency", as the natural and obvious task of the federal government’s trade policy. Jacksonians can be convinced that a particular trade agreement operates to the benefit of American workers, but they need to be convinced over and over again. They are also skeptical, on both cultural and economic grounds, of the benefits of immigration, which is seen as endangering the cohesion of the folk community and introducing new, low-wage competition for jobs. Neither result strikes Jacksonian opinion as a suitable outcome for a desirable government policy.

The Indispensable Element

Jacksonian influence in American history has been—and remains—enormous. The United States cannot wage a major international war without Jacksonian support; once engaged, politicians cannot safely end the war except on Jacksonian terms. From the perspective of members of other schools and many foreign observers, when Jacksonian sentiment favors a given course of action, the United States will move too far, too fast and too unilaterally in pursuit of its goals. When Jacksonian sentiment is strongly opposed, the United States will be seen to move too slowly or not at all. For anyone wishing to anticipate the course of American policy, an understanding of the structure of Jacksonian beliefs and values is essential.

It would be an understatement to say that the Jacksonian approach to foreign policy is controversial. It is an approach that has certainly contributed its share to the headaches of American policymakers throughout history. It has also played a role in creating a constituency abroad for the idea that the United States is addicted to a crude cowboy diplomacy—an idea that, by reducing international faith in the judgment and predictability of the United States, represents a real liability for American foreign policy.

Despite its undoubted limitations and liabilities, however, Jacksonian policy and politics are indispensable elements of American strength. Although Wilsonians, Jeffersonians and the more delicately constructed Hamiltonians do not like to admit it, every American school needs Jacksonians to get what it wants. If the American people had exhibited the fighting qualities of, say, the French in World War II, neither Hamiltonians, nor Jeffersonians nor Wilsonians would have had the opportunity to have much to do with shaping the postwar international order.

Moreover, as folk cultures go, Jacksonian America is actually open and liberal. Non-Jacksonians at home and abroad are fond of sneering at what must be acknowledged to be the deeply regrettable Jacksonian record of racism, or its commitment to forms of Christian belief that strike many as both unorthodox and bigoted. Certainly, Jacksonian America has not been in the forefront of the fight for minority rights, nor is it necessarily the place to go searching for avant garde artistic styles or cutting-edge philosophical reflections on the death of God.

But folk cultural change is measured in decades and generations, not electoral cycles, and on this clock, Jacksonian America is moving very rapidly. The military institutions have moved from strict segregation to a concerted attack on racism in fifty years. In civilian life, the belief that color is no bar to membership in the Jacksonian community of honor is rapidly replacing earlier beliefs. Just as Southerners whose grandfathers burned crosses against the Catholic Church now work very well with Catholics on all kinds of social, cultural and even religious endeavors, so we are seeing a steady erosion of the racial barriers. Even on issues of modernist art, Jacksonian America is moving. The Vietnam Memorial in Washington, once widely denounced by Jacksonians for its failure to include figurative sculptures, has now become one of the most visited and revered sites in the capital. On Memorial Day, thousands of leather-clad representatives of the Jacksonian culture visit it on their Harley-Davidsons, many of them accompanied by their wives riding pillion.

Jacksonian America performs an additional service: it makes a major, if unheralded, contribution to America’s vaunted "soft power." It is not simply the Jeffersonian commitment to liberty and equality, the Wilsonian record of benevolence, anti-colonialism and support for democracy, or even the commercial success resulting from Hamiltonian policies that attracts people to the United States. Perhaps beyond all these it is the spectacle of a country that is good for average people to live in: where ordinary people can and do express themselves culturally, economically and spiritually without any inhibition. The consumer lifestyle of the United States—and the consequences of federal policy to enrich the middle class and make it a class of homeowners and automobile drivers—wins the country many admirers abroad. For the first time in human history, millions of ordinary people have enough money in their pockets and time on their hands to support a popular culture that has more resources than the high culture of the aristocracy and elite. This culture is what hundreds of millions of foreigners love most about the United States, and its dissemination makes scores of millions of foreigners feel somehow connected to or even part of the United States. The cultural, social and religious vibrancy and unorthodoxy of Jacksonian America—not excluding such pastimes as professional wrestling—are among the country’s most important foreign policy assets.

It may also be worth noting that the images of American propensities to violence, and of the capabilities of American military forces and intelligence operatives, are so widely distributed in the media that they may actually heighten international respect for American strength and discourage attempts to test it.

This basically positive assessment would be incomplete without a description of the two most serious problems that the Jacksonian school perennially poses for American policymakers. Both of them spring from the wide ideological and cultural differences that divide the Jacksonian outlook from the other schools.

The first problem is the gap between Hamiltonian and Wilsonian promises and Jacksonian performance. The globally oriented, order-building schools of thought see American power as a resource to be expended in pursuit of their far-reaching goals. Many of the commitments they wish to make, the institutions they wish to build, and the social and economic policies they wish to promote do not enjoy Jacksonian support; in some cases, they elicit violent Jacksonian disagreement. This puts Hamiltonians and Wilsonians over and over again in an awkward position. At best they are trying to push treaties, laws and appropriations through a sulky and reluctant Congress. At worst they find themselves committed to military confrontations without Jacksonian support. More often than not, the military activities they wish to pursue are multilateral, limited warfare or peacekeeping operations. These are often unpopular both inside the military and in the country at large. Caught between their commitments (and the well-organized Hamiltonian or Wilsonian lobbies and pressure groups whose political clout is often at least partially responsible for these commitments) and the manifest unpopularity of the actions required to fulfill them, American policymakers dither, tack from side to side, and generally make an unimpressive show. This is one of the structural problems of American foreign policy, and it is exacerbated by the divided structure of the American government and Senate customs and rules that give a determined opposition many opportunities to block action of which it disapproves.

The second problem has a similar origin, but a different structure. Jacksonian opinion is slow to focus on a particular foreign policy issue, and slower still to make a commitment to pursue an end vigorously and for the long term. Once that commitment has been made, it is even harder to build Jacksonian sentiment for a change. This is particularly true when change involves overcoming one of the ingrained preferences in Jacksonian culture; it is, for example, much harder to shift a settled hawkish consensus in a dovish direction than vice versa. The hardest task of all is to maintain support for a policy that eschews oversimplification in favor of complexity. Having gotten Jacksonian opinion into a war in Vietnam or the Persian Gulf, it was very hard to get it out again without achieving total victory. Once China or Vietnam has been established as an enemy nation, it is very difficult to build support for normalizing relations or, worse still, extending foreign aid.

These problems, which are responsible for many of the recurring system crashes and unhappy stalemates in American foreign policy, can never be fully solved. They reflect profound differences in outlook and interest in American society, and it is the job of our institutions to adjudicate these disputes and force compromise rather than to eliminate them.

Efforts by policymakers to finesse these disputes often exacerbate the basic problem, which is the cultural, political and class distance between Jacksonian America and the representatives of the other schools. Attempts to mask Hamiltonian or Wilsonian policies in Jacksonian rhetoric, or to otherwise misrepresent or hide unpopular policies, may succeed in the short run, but ultimately they can lead to a collapse of popular confidence and the stiffening of resistance to any and all policies deemed suspect. When misguided political advisers persuaded the distinctively unmilitary Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis to put on a helmet and get in a tank for a television commercial, they only advertised how far out of touch with Jacksonian America they were.

From The National Interest No. 58, Winter 1999/2000.

30412  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Jacksonian Warfare: Part Four on: January 16, 2007, 01:14:03 AM
The Japanese, another people with a highly developed war code based on personal honor, had the misfortune to create the same kind of impression on American Jacksonians. The sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, the gross mistreatment of American pows (the Bataan Death March), and Japanese fighting tactics all served to enrage American Jacksonians and led them to see the Pacific enemy as ruthless, dishonorable and inhuman. All contributed to the vitriolic intensity of combat in the Pacific theater. By the summer of 1945, American popular opinion was fully prepared to countenance invasion of the Japanese home islands, even if they were defended with the tenacity (and indifference to civilian lives) that marked the fighting on Okinawa.

Given this background, the Americans who decided to use the atomic bomb may have been correct that the use of the weapon saved lives, and not only of American soldiers. In any case, Jacksonians had no compunction about using the bomb. General Curtis LeMay (subsequently the 1968 running mate of Jacksonian populist third-party candidate George Wallace) succinctly summed up this attitude toward fighting a dishonorable opponent: "I’ll tell you what war is about", said Lemay in an interview, "You’ve got to kill people, and when you’ve killed enough they stop fighting."

By contrast, although the Germans committed bestial crimes against civilians and pows (especially Soviet pows), their behavior toward the armed forces of the United States was more in accordance with American ideas about military honor. Indeed, General Erwin Rommel is considered something of a military hero among American Jacksonians: an honorable enemy. Still, if the Germans avoided exposure to the utmost fury of an aroused American people at war, they were nevertheless subjected to the full, ferocious scope of the violence that a fully aroused American public opinion will sustain—and even insist upon.

For the first Jacksonian rule of war is that wars must be fought with all available force. The use of limited force is deeply repugnant. Jacksonians see war as a switch that is either "on" or "off." They do not like the idea of violence on a dimmer switch. Either the stakes are important enough to fight for—in which case you should fight with everything you have—or they are not, in which case you should mind your own business and stay home. To engage in a limited war is one of the costliest political decisions an American president can make—neither Truman nor Johnson survived it.

The second key concept in Jacksonian thought about war is that the strategic and tactical objective of American forces is to impose our will on the enemy with as few American casualties as possible. The Jacksonian code of military honor does not turn war into sport. It is a deadly and earnest business. This is not the chivalry of a medieval joust, or of the orderly battlefields of eighteenth-century Europe. One does not take risks with soldiers’ lives to give a "fair fight." Some sectors of opinion in the United States and abroad were both shocked and appalled during the Gulf and Kosovo wars over the way in which American forces attacked the enemy from the air without engaging in much ground combat. The "turkey shoot" quality of the closing moments of the war against Iraq created a particularly painful impression. Jacksonians dismiss such thoughts out of hand. It is the obvious duty of American leaders to crush the forces arrayed against us as quickly, thoroughly and professionally as possible.

Jacksonian opinion takes a broad view of the permissible targets in war. Again reflecting a very old cultural heritage, Jacksonians believe that the enemy’s will to fight is a legitimate target of war, even if this involves American forces in attacks on civilian lives, establishments and property. The colonial wars, the Revolution and the Indian wars all give ample evidence of this view, and General William Tecumseh Sherman’s March to the Sea showed the degree to which the targeting of civilian morale through systematic violence and destruction could, to widespread popular applause, become an acknowledged warfighting strategy, even when fighting one’s own rebellious kindred.

Probably as a result of frontier warfare, Jacksonian opinion came to believe that it was breaking the spirit of the enemy nation, rather than the fighting power of the enemy’s armies, that was the chief object of warfare. It was not enough to defeat a tribe in battle; one had to "pacify" the tribe, to convince it utterly that resistance was and always would be futile and destructive. For this to happen, the war had to go to the enemy’s home. The villages had to be burned, food supplies destroyed, civilians had to be killed. From the tiniest child to the most revered of the elderly sages, everyone in the enemy nation had to understand that further armed resistance to the will of the American people—whatever that might be—was simply not an option.

With the development of air power and, later, of nuclear weapons, this long-standing cultural acceptance of civilian targeting assumed new importance. Wilsonians and Jeffersonians protested even at the time against the deliberate terror bombing of civilian targets in the Second World War. Since 1945 there has been much agonized review of the American decision to use atomic bombs against Hiroshima and Nagasaki. None of this hand wringing has made the slightest impression on the Jacksonian view that the bombings were self-evidently justified and right. During both the Vietnam and Korean conflicts, there were serious proposals in Jacksonian quarters to use nuclear weapons—why else have them? The only reason Jacksonian opinion has ever accepted not to use nuclear weapons is the prospect of retaliation.

Jacksonians also have strong ideas about how wars should end. "There is no substitute for victory", as General MacArthur said, and the only sure sign of victory is the "unconditional surrender" of enemy forces. Just as Jacksonian opinion resents limits on American weapons and tactics, it also resents stopping short of victory. Unconditional surrender is not always a literal and absolute demand. The Confederate surrenders in 1865 included generous provisions for the losing armies. The Japanese were assured after the Potsdam Declaration that, while the United States insisted on unconditional surrender and acceptance of the terms, they could keep the "emperor system" after the war. However, there is only so much give in the idea: all resistance must cease; U.S. forces must make an unopposed entry into and occupation of the surrendering country; the political objectives of the war must be conceded in toto.

When in the later stages of World War II the Joint Chiefs of Staff discussed the prospect of an invasion of Kyushu, the southernmost of the major Japanese home islands, Admiral William Leahy projected 268,000 Americans would be killed or wounded out of an invasion force of 766,000. The invasion of the chief island of Honshu, tentatively planned for the spring of 1946, would have been significantly worse. While projected casualty figures like these led a number of American officials to argue for modification of the unconditional surrender formula, Secretary of State James M. Byrnes told Truman that he would be "crucified" if he retreated from this formula—one that received a standing ovation when Truman repeated it to Congress in his first address as president. Truman agreed—wisely. His efforts to wage limited war in Korea cost him re-election in 1952. Similarly, Lyndon Johnson’s inability to fight unlimited war for unconditional surrender in Vietnam cost him the presidency in 1968; Jimmy Carter’s inability to resolve the Iranian hostage crisis with a clear-cut victory destroyed any hope he had of winning the 1980 election; and George Bush’s refusal to insist on an unconditional surrender in Iraq may have contributed to his defeat in the 1992 presidential election. For American presidents, MacArthur is right: there is no substitute for victory.

In Victory, Magnanimity

Once the enemy has made an unconditional surrender, the honor code demands that he be treated magnanimously. Grant fed Lee’s men from his army supplies, while Sherman’s initial agreement with General Johnston was so generous that it was overruled in Washington. American occupation troops in both Germany and Japan very quickly lost their rancor against the defeated foes. Not always disinterestedly, GIs in Europe were passing out chocolate bars, cigarettes and nylon stockings before the guns fell silent. The bitter racial antagonism that colored the Pacific War rapidly faded after it. Neither in Japan nor in Germany did American occupiers behave like the Soviet occupation forces in eastern Germany, where looting, rape and murder were still widespread months after the surrender.

In both Germany and Japan, the United States had originally envisioned a harsh occupation strategy with masses of war crimes trials and strict economic controls—somewhat akin to the original Radical Republican program in the post-Civil War South. But in all three cases, the victorious Americans quickly lost the appetite for vengeance against all but the most egregious offenders against the code. Whatever was said in the heat of battle, even the most Radical Reconstructionists envisioned the South’s ultimate return to its old political status and rights. In the same way, soon after the shooting stopped in World War II, American public opinion simply assumed that the ultimate goal was for Germany and Japan to resume their places in the community of nations.

Not everybody qualifies for such lenient treatment under the code. In particular, repeat offenders will suffer increasingly severe penalties. Although many Americans were revolted by the harsh and greedy peace forced on Mexico (Grant felt that the Civil War was in part God’s punishment for American crimes against Mexico), Santa Anna’s long record of perfidy and cruelty built popular support both for the Mexican War and the peace. The pattern of frontier warfare, in which factions in a particular tribe might renew hostilities in violation of an agreement, helped solidify the Jacksonian belief that there was no point in making or keeping treaties with "savages."

In the international conflicts of the twentieth century, it is noteworthy that there have been no major populist backlashes calling for harsher treatment of defeated enemies. But when foreign enemies lack the good taste to surrender, Jacksonian opinion carries grudges that last for decades. Some of the roots of anti-China feeling in the United States today date back to mistreatment of American prisoners during the Korean War. U.S. food and energy aid to North Korea, indeed any engagement at all with that defiant regime, remains profoundly unpopular for the same reason. The mullahs of Iran, the assassins of Libya and Fidel Castro have never been forgiven by Jacksonian opinion for their crimes against and defiance of the United States. Neither will they be, until they acknowledge their sins.
30413  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Jacksonian Warfare: Part Three on: January 16, 2007, 01:11:26 AM
Instinct, Not Ideology

Those who like to cast American foreign policy as an unhealthy mix of ignorance, isolationism and trigger-happy cowboy diplomacy are often thinking about the Jacksonian populist tradition. That tradition is stronger among the mass of ordinary people than it is among the elite. It is more strongly entrenched in the heartland than on either of the two coasts. It has been historically associated with white Protestant males of the lower and middle classes—today the least fashionable element in the American political mix.

Although there are many learned and thoughtful Jacksonians, including those who have made distinguished careers in public service, it is certainly true that the Jacksonian philosophy is embraced by many people who know very little about the wider world. With them it is an instinct rather than an ideology—a culturally shaped set of beliefs and emotions rather than a set of ideas. But ideas and policy proposals that resonate with Jacksonian core values and instincts enjoy wide support and can usually find influential supporters in the policy process.

So influential is Jacksonian opinion in the formation of American foreign policy that anyone lacking a feel for it will find much of American foreign policy baffling and opaque. Foreigners in particular have alternately overestimated and underestimated American determination because they failed to grasp the structure of Jacksonian opinion and influence. Yet Jacksonian views on foreign affairs are relatively straightforward, and once they are understood, American foreign policy becomes much less mysterious.

To begin with, although the other schools often congratulate themselves on their superior sophistication and appreciation for complexity, Jacksonianism provides the basis in American life for what many scholars and practitioners would consider the most sophisticated of all approaches to foreign affairs: realism. In this it stands with Jeffersonianism, while being deeply suspicious of the "global meliorist" elements found, in different forms, in both Wilsonian and Hamiltonian foreign policy ideas. Often, Jeffersonians and Jacksonians will stand together in opposition to humanitarian interventions, or interventions made in support of Wilsonian or Hamiltonian world order initiatives. However, while Jeffersonians espouse a minimalist realism under which the United States seeks to define its interests as narrowly as possible and to defend those interests with an absolute minimum of force, Jacksonians approach foreign policy in a very different spirit—one in which honor, concern for reputation, and faith in military institutions play a much greater role.

Jacksonian realism is based on the very sharp distinction in popular feeling between the inside of the folk community and the dark world without. Jacksonian patriotism is not a doctrine but an emotion, like love of one’s family. The nation is an extension of the family. Members of the American folk are bound together by history, culture and a common morality. At a very basic level, a feeling of kinship exists among Americans: we have one set of rules for dealing with each other and a very different set for the outside world. Unlike Wilsonians, who hope ultimately to convert the Hobbesian world of international relations into a Lockean political community, Jacksonians believe that it is natural and inevitable that national politics and national life will work on different principles from international affairs. For Jacksonians, the world community Wilsonians want to build is not merely a moral impossibility but a monstrosity. An American foreign policy that, for example, takes tax money from middle-class Americans to give to a corrupt and incompetent dictatorship overseas is nonsense; it hurts Americans and does little for Borrioboola-Gha. Countries, like families, should take care of their own; if everybody did that we would all be better off. Charity, meanwhile, should be left to private initiatives and private funds; Jacksonian America is not ungenerous but it lacks all confidence in the government’s ability to administer charity, either at home or abroad.

Given the moral gap between the folk community and the rest of the world—and given that other countries are believed to have patriotic and communal feelings of their own, feelings that similarly harden once the boundary of the folk community is reached—Jacksonians believe that international life is and will remain both anarchic and violent. The United States must be vigilant and strongly armed. Our diplomacy must be cunning, forceful and no more scrupulous than anybody else’s. At times, we must fight pre-emptive wars. There is absolutely nothing wrong with subverting foreign governments or assassinating foreign leaders whose bad intentions are clear. Thus, Jacksonians are more likely to tax political leaders with a failure to employ vigorous measures than to worry about the niceties of international law.

Indeed, of all the major currents in American society, Jacksonians have the least regard for international law and international institutions. They prefer the rule of custom to the written law, and that is as true in the international sphere as it is in personal relations at home. Jacksonians believe that there is an honor code in international life—as there was in clan warfare in the borderlands of England—and those who live by the code will be treated under it. But those who violate the code—who commit terrorist acts in peacetime, for example—forfeit its protection and deserve no consideration.

Many students of American foreign policy, both here and abroad, dismiss Jacksonians as ignorant isolationists and vulgar patriots, but, again, the reality is more complex, and their approach to the world and to war is more closely grounded in classical realism than many recognize. Jacksonians do not believe that the United States must have an unambiguously moral reason for fighting. In fact, they tend to separate the issues of morality and war more clearly than many members of the foreign policy establishment.

The Gulf War was a popular war in Jacksonian circles because the defense of the nation’s oil supply struck a chord with Jacksonian opinion. That opinion—which has not forgotten the oil shortages and price hikes of the 1970s—clearly considers stability of the oil supply a vital national interest and is prepared to fight to defend it. The atrocity propaganda about alleged Iraqi barbarisms in Kuwait did not inspire Jacksonians to war, and neither did legalistic arguments about U.S. obligations under the UN Charter to defend a member state from aggression. Those are useful arguments to screw Wilsonian courage to the sticking place, but they mean little for Jacksonians. Had there been no UN Charter and had Kuwait been even more corrupt and repressive that it is, Jacksonian opinion would still have supported the Gulf War. It would have supported a full-scale war with Iran over the 1980 hostage crisis, and it will take an equally hawkish stance toward any future threat to perceived U.S. interests in the Persian Gulf region.

In the absence of a clearly defined threat to the national interest, Jacksonian opinion is much less aggressive. It has not, for example, been enthusiastic about the U.S. intervention in the case of Bosnia. There the evidence of unspeakable atrocities was much greater than in Kuwait, and the legal case for intervention was as strong. Yet Jacksonian opinion saw no threat to the interests, as it understood them, of the United States, and Wilsonians were the only segment of the population that was actively eager for war.

In World War I it took the Zimmermann Telegram and the repeated sinking of American ships to convince Jacksonian opinion that war was necessary. In World War II, neither the Rape of Nanking nor the atrocities of Nazi rule in Europe drew the United States into the war. The attack on Pearl Harbor did.

To engage Jacksonians in support of the Cold War it was necessary to convince them that Moscow was engaged in a far-reaching and systematic campaign for world domination, and that this campaign would succeed unless the United States engaged in a long-term defensive effort with the help of allies around the world. That involved a certain overstatement of both Soviet intentions and capabilities, but that is beside the present point. Once Jacksonian opinion was convinced that the Soviet threat was real and that the Cold War was necessary, it stayed convinced. Populist American opinion accepted the burdens it imposed and worried only that the government would fail to prosecute the Cold War with the necessary vigor. No one should mistake the importance of this strong and constant support. Despite the frequent complaints by commentators and policymakers that the American people are "isolationist" and "uninterested in foreign affairs", they have made and will make enormous financial and personal sacrifices if convinced that these are in the nation’s vital interests.

This mass popular patriotism, and the martial spirit behind it, gives the United States immense advantages in international affairs. After two world wars, no European nation has shown the same willingness to pay the price in blood and treasure for a global presence. Most of the "developed" nations find it difficult to maintain large, high-quality fighting forces. Not all of the martial patriotism in the United States comes out of the world of Jacksonian populism, but without that tradition, the United States would be hard pressed to maintain the kind of international military presence it now has.


While in many respects Jacksonian Americans have an optimistic outlook, there is a large and important sense in which they are pessimistic. Whatever the theological views of individual Jacksonians may be, Jacksonian culture believes in Original Sin and does not accept the Enlightenment’s belief in the perfectibility of human nature. As a corollary, Jacksonians are pre-millennialist: they do not believe that utopia is just around the corner. In fact, they tend to believe the reverse—the anti-Christ will get here before Jesus does, and human history will end in catastrophe and flames, followed by the Day of Judgment.

This is no idle theological concept. Belief in the approach of the "End Times" and the "Great Tribulation"—concepts rooted in certain interpretations of Jewish and Christian prophetic texts—has been a powerful force in American life from colonial times. Jacksonians believe that neither Wilsonians nor Hamiltonians nor anybody else will ever succeed in building a peaceful world order, and that the only world order we are likely to get will be a bad one. No matter how much money we ship overseas, and no matter how cleverly the development bureaucrats spend it, it will not create peace on earth. Plans for universal disarmament and world courts of justice founder on the same rock of historical skepticism. Jacksonians just tend not to believe that any of these things will do much good.

In fact, they think they may do harm. Linked to the skepticism about man-made imitations of the Kingdom of God is a deep apprehension about the rise of an evil world order. In theological terms, this is a reference to the fear of the anti-Christ, who, many commentators affirm, is predicted in Scripture to come with the appearance of an angel of light—a charismatic political figure who offers what looks like a plan for world peace and order, but which is actually a Satanic snare intended to deceive.

For most of its history, Jacksonian America believed that the Roman Catholic Church was the chief emissary of Satan on earth, a belief that had accompanied the first Americans on their journey from Britain. Fear of Catholicism gradually subsided, but during the Cold War the Kremlin replaced the Vatican as the center for American popular fears about the forces of evil in the world. The international communist conspiracy captured the old stock American popular imagination because it fit cultural templates established in the days of the Long Parliament and the English Civil War. Descendants of immigrants from Eastern Europe had their own cultural dispositions toward conspiracy thinking, plus, in many cases, a deep hatred and fear of Russia.

The fear of a ruthless, formidable enemy abroad who enjoys a powerful fifth column in the United States—including high-ranking officials who serve it either for greed or out of misguided ideological zeal—is older than the Republic. During the Cold War, this "paranoid tradition" in American life stayed mostly focused on the Kremlin—though organizations like the John Birch Society saw ominous links between the Kremlin and the American Establishment. The paranoid streak was, if anything, helpful in sustaining popular support for Cold War strategy. After the Cold War, it is proving more difficult to integrate into effective American policy. To some degree, the chief object of popular concern in post-Cold War America is the Hamiltonian dream of a fully integrated global economy, combined with the Wilsonian dream of global political order that ends the nightmare of warring nation-states. George Bush’s call for a "New World Order" had a distinctly Orwellian connotation to the Jacksonian ear. Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson, in his book The New World Order (1991), traces the call for that Order to a Satanic conspiracy consciously implemented by the pillars of the American Establishment.

The fear that the Establishment, linked to its counterpart in Britain and, through Britain, to all the corrupt movements and elites of the Old World, is relentlessly plotting to destroy American liberty is an old but still potent one. The Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Bilderbergers, the Bavarian Illuminati, the Rothschilds, the Rockefellers: these names and others echo through a large and shadowy world of conspiracy theories and class resentment. Should seriously bad economic times come, there is always the potential that, with effective leadership, the paranoid element in the Jacksonian world could ride popular anger and panic into power.


Another aspect of Jacksonian foreign policy is the aforementioned deep sense of national honor and a corresponding need to live up to—in actuality and in the eyes of others—the demands of an honor code. The political importance of this code should not be underestimated; Americans are capable of going to war over issues of national honor. The War of 1812 is an example of Jacksonian sentiment forcing a war out of resentment over continual national humiliations at the hand of Britain. (Those who suffered directly from British interference with American shipping, the merchants, were totally against the war.) At the end of the twentieth century, it is national honor, more than any vital strategic interest, that would require the United States to fulfill its promises to protect Taiwan from invasion.

The perception of national honor as a vital interest has always been a wedge issue driving Jacksonians and Jeffersonians apart. The Jeffersonian peace policy in the Napoleonic Wars became impossible as the War Hawks grew stronger. The same pattern recurred in the Carter administration, during which gathering Jacksonian fury and impatience at Carter’s Jeffersonian approaches to the Soviet Union, Panama, Iran and Nicaragua ignited a reaction that forced the President to reverse his basic policy orientation and ended by driving him from office. What Jeffersonian diplomacy welcomes as measures to head off war often look to Jacksonians like pusillanimous weakness.

Once the United States extends a security guarantee or makes a promise, we are required to honor that promise come what may. Jacksonian opinion, which in the nature of things had little faith that South Vietnam could build democracy or that there was anything concrete there of interest to the average American, was steadfast in support of the war—though not of the strategy—because we had given our word to defend South Vietnam. During this year’s war in Kosovo, Jacksonian opinion was resolutely against it to begin with. However, once U.S. honor was engaged, Jacksonians began to urge a stronger warfighting strategy including the use of ground troops. It is a bad thing to fight an unnecessary war, but it is inexcusable and dishonorable to lose one once it has begun.

Reputation is as important in international life as it is to the individual honor of Jacksonians. Honor in the Jacksonian imagination is not simply what one feels oneself to be on the inside; it is also a question of the respect and dignity one commands in the world at large. Jacksonian opinion is sympathetic to the idea that our reputation—whether for fair dealing or cheating, toughness or weakness—will shape the way that others treat us. Therefore, at stake in a given crisis is not simply whether we satisfy our own ideas of what is due our honor. Our behavior and the resolution that we obtain must enhance our reputation—our prestige—in the world at large.


Jacksonian America has clear ideas about how wars should be fought, how enemies should be treated, and what should happen when the wars are over. It recognizes two kinds of enemies and two kinds of fighting: honorable enemies fight a clean fight and are entitled to be opposed in the same way; dishonorable enemies fight dirty wars and in that case all rules are off.

An honorable enemy is one who declares war before beginning combat; fights according to recognized rules of war, honoring such traditions as the flag of truce; treats civilians in occupied territory with due consideration; and—a crucial point—refrains from the mistreatment of prisoners of war. Those who surrender should be treated with generosity. Adversaries who honor the code will benefit from its protections, while those who want a dirty fight will get one.

This pattern was very clearly illustrated in the Civil War. The Army of the Potomac and the Army of Northern Virginia faced one another throughout the war, and fought some of the bloodiest battles of the nineteenth century, including long bouts of trench warfare. Yet Robert E. Lee and his men were permitted an honorable surrender and returned unmolested to their homes with their horses and personal side arms. One Confederate, however, was executed after the war: Captain Henry Wirz, who was convicted of mistreating Union prisoners of war at Camp Sumter, Georgia.

Although American Indians often won respect for their extraordinary personal courage, Jacksonian opinion generally considered Indians to be dishonorable opponents. American-Indian warrior codes (also honor based) permitted surprise attacks on civilians and the torture of prisoners of war. This was all part of a complex system of limited warfare among the tribal nations, but Jacksonian frontier dwellers were not students of multicultural diversity. In their view, Indian war tactics were the sign of a dishonorable, unscrupulous and cowardly form of war. Anger at such tactics led Jacksonians to abandon the restraints imposed by their own war codes, and the ugly skirmishes along the frontier spiraled into a series of genocidal conflicts in which each side felt the other was violating every standard of humane conduct.
30414  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Jacksonian Warfare: Part Two on: January 16, 2007, 01:09:02 AM
As Hiram W. Evans, the surprisingly articulate Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, wrote in 1926, the old stock American of his time had become

a stranger in large parts of the land his fathers gave him. Moreover, he is a most unwelcome stranger, one much spit upon, and one to whom even the right to have his own opinions and to work for his own interests is now denied with jeers and revilings. ‘We must Americanize the Americans,’ a distinguished immigrant said recently.

Protestantism itself was losing its edge. The modernist critique of traditional Biblical readings found acceptance in one mainline denomination after another; Episcopal, Presbyterian, Methodist and Lutheran seminaries accepted critical, post-Darwinian readings of Scripture; self-described "fundamentalists" fought a slow, but apparently losing, rearguard action against the modernist forces. The new mainline Protestantism was a tolerant, even a namby-pamby, religion.

The old nativist spirit, anti-immigrant, anti-modern art and apparently anti-twentieth century, still had some bite—Ku Klux crosses flamed across the Midwest as well as the South during the 1920s—but it all looked like the death throes of an outdated idea. There weren’t many mourners: much of H.L. Mencken’s career was based on exposing the limitations and mocking the death of what we are calling Jacksonian America.

Most progressive, right thinking intellectuals in mid-century America believed that the future of American populism lay in a social democratic movement based on urban immigrants. Social activists like Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger consciously sought to use cultural forms like folk songs to ease the transition from the old individualistic folk world to the collective new one that they believed was the wave of the future; they celebrated unions and other strange, European ideas in down home country twangs so that, in the bitter words of Hiram Evans, "There is a steady flood of alien ideas being spread over the country, always carefully disguised as American."

What came next surprised almost everyone. The tables turned, and Evans’ Americans "americanized" the immigrants rather than the other way around. In what is still a largely unheralded triumph of the melting pot, Northern immigrants gradually assimilated the values of Jacksonian individualism. Each generation of new Americans was less "social" and more individualistic than the preceding one. American Catholics, once among the world’s most orthodox, remained Catholic in religious allegiance but were increasingly individualistic in terms of psychology and behavior ("I respect the Pope, but I have to follow my own conscience"). Ties to the countries of emigration steadily weakened, and the tendency to marry outside the group strengthened.

Outwardly, most immigrant groups completed an apparent assimilation to American material culture within a couple of generations of their arrival. A second type of assimilation—an inward assimilation to and adaptation of the core cultural and psychological structure of the native population—took longer, but as third, fourth and fifth-generation immigrant families were exposed to the economic and social realities of American life, they were increasingly "americanized" on the inside as well as without.

This immense and complex process was accelerated by social changes that took place after 1945. Physically, the old neighborhoods broke up, and the Northern industrial working class, along with the refugees from the dying American family farm, moved into the suburbs to form a new populist mix. As increasing numbers of the descendants of immigrants moved into the Jacksonian Sunbelt, the pace of assimilation grew. The suburban homeowner with his or her federally subsidized mortgage replaced the homesteading farmer (on free federal land) as the central pillar of American populism. Richard Nixon, with his two-pronged appeal to white Southerners and the "Joe Six-pack" voters of the North, was the first national politician to recognize the power of this newly energized current in American life.

Urban, immigrant America may have softened some of the rough edges of Jacksonian America, but the descendants of the great wave of European immigration sound more like Andrew Jackson from decade to decade. Rugged frontier individualism has proven to be contagious; each successive generation has been more Jacksonian than its predecessor. The social and economic solidarity rooted in European peasant communities has been overmastered by the individualism of the frontier. The descendants of European working-class Marxists now quote Adam Smith; Joe Six-pack thinks of the welfare state as an expensive burden, not part of the natural moral order. Intellectuals have made this transition as thoroughly as anyone else. The children and grandchildren of trade unionists and Trotskyites now talk about the importance of liberal society and free markets; in the intellectual pilgrimage of Irving Kristol, what is usually a multigenerational process has been compressed into a single, brilliant career.

The new Jacksonianism is no longer rural and exclusively nativist. Frontier Jacksonianism may have taken the homesteading farmer and the log cabin as its emblems, but today’s Crabgrass Jacksonianism sees the homeowner on his modest suburban lawn as the hero of the American story. The Crabgrass Jacksonian may wear green on St. Patrick’s Day; he or she might go to a Catholic Church and never listen to country music (though, increasingly, he or she probably does); but the Crabgrass Jacksonian doesn’t just believe, she knows that she is as good an American as anybody else, that she is entitled to her rights from Church and State, that she pulls her own weight and expects others to do the same. That homeowner will be heard from: Ronald Reagan owed much of his popularity and success to his ability to connect with Jacksonian values. Ross Perot and Pat Buchanan in different ways have managed to tap into the power of the populist energy that Old Hickory rode into the White House. In both domestic and foreign policy, the twenty-first century will be profoundly influenced by the values and concerns of Jacksonian America.

The Jacksonian Code

To understand how Crabgrass Jacksonianism is shaping and will continue to shape American foreign policy, we must begin with another unfashionable concept: Honor. Although few Americans today use this anachronistic word, honor remains a core value for tens of millions of middle-class Americans, women as well as men. The unacknowledged code of honor that shapes so much of American behavior and aspiration today is a recognizable descendent of the frontier codes of honor of early Jacksonian America. The appeal of this code is one of the reasons that Jacksonian values have spread to so many people outside the original ethnic and social nexus in which Jacksonian America was formed.

The first principle of this code is self-reliance. Real Americans, many Americans feel, are people who make their own way in the world. They may get a helping hand from friends and family, but they hold their places in the world through honest work. They don’t slide by on welfare, and they don’t rely on inherited wealth or connections. Those who won’t work and are therefore poor, or those who don’t need to work due to family money, are viewed with suspicion. Those who meet the economic and moral tests belong to the broad Middle Class, the folk community of working people that Jacksonians believe to be the heart, soul and spine of the American nation. Earning and keeping a place in this community on the basis of honest work is the first principle of Jacksonian honor, and it remains a serious insult even to imply that a member of the American middle class is not pulling his or her weight in the world.

Jacksonian honor must be acknowledged by the outside world. One is entitled to, and demands, the appropriate respect: recognition of rights and just claims, acknowledgment of one’s personal dignity. Many Americans will still fight, sometimes with weapons, when they feel they have not been treated with the proper respect. But even among the less violent, Americans stand on their dignity and rights. Respect is also due age. Those who know Jacksonian America only through its very inexact representations in the media think of the United States as a youth-obsessed, age-neglecting society. In fact, Jacksonian America honors age. Andrew Jackson was sixty-one when he was elected president for the first time; Ronald Reagan was seventy. Most movie stars lose their appeal with age; those whose appeal stems from their ability to portray and embody Jacksonian values—like John Wayne—only become more revered.

The second principle of the code is equality. Among those members of the folk community who do pull their weight, there is an absolute equality of dignity and right. No one has a right to tell the self-reliant Jacksonian what to say, do or think. Any infringement on equality will be met with defiance and resistance. Male or female, the Jacksonian is, and insists on remaining, independent of church, state, social hierarchy, political parties and labor unions. Jacksonians may choose to accept the authority of a leader or movement or faith, but will never yield to an imposed authority. The young are independent of the old: "free, white and twenty-one" is an old Jacksonian expression; the color line has softened, but otherwise the sentiment is as true as it ever was.

Mrs. Fanny Trollope (mother of novelist Anthony Trollope) had the misfortune to leave her native Britain to spend two years in the United States. Next to her revulsion at the twin American habits of chewing tobacco in public places and missing spittoons with the finished product, she most despised the passion for equality she found everywhere she looked. "The theory of equality", Mrs. Trollope observed,

may be very daintily discussed by English gentlemen in a London dining-room, when the servant, having placed a fresh bottle of cool wine on the table, respectfully shuts the door, and leaves them to their walnuts and their wisdom; but it will be found less palatable when it presents itself in the shape of a hard, greasy paw, and is claimed in accents that breathe less of freedom than of onions and whiskey. Strong, indeed, must be the love of equality in an English breast if it can survive a tour through the Union.

The third principle is individualism. The Jacksonian does not just have the right to self-fulfillment—he or she has a duty to seek it. In Jacksonian America, everyone must find his or her way: each individual must choose a faith, or no faith, and code of conduct based on conscience and reason. The Jacksonian feels perfectly free to strike off in an entirely new religious direction. "I sincerely believe", wrote poor Mrs. Trollope, "that if a fire-worshiper, or an Indian Brahmin, were to come to the United States, prepared to preach and pray in English, he would not be long without a ‘very respectable congregation.’" She didn’t know the half of it.

Despite this individualism, the Jacksonian code also mandates acceptance of certain social mores and principles. Loyalty to family, raising children "right", sexual decency (heterosexual monogamy—which can be serial) and honesty within the community are virtues that commend themselves to the Jacksonian spirit. Children of both sexes can be wild, but both women and men must be strong. Corporal punishment is customary and common; Jacksonians find objections to this time-honored and (they feel) effective method of discipline outlandish and absurd. Although women should be more discreet, both sexes can sow wild oats before marriage. After it, to enjoy the esteem of their community a couple must be seen to put their children’s welfare ahead of personal gratification.
The fourth pillar in the Jacksonian honor code struck Mrs. Trollope and others as more dishonorable than honorable, yet it persists nevertheless. Let us call it financial esprit. While the Jacksonian believes in hard work, he or she also believes that credit is a right and that money, especially borrowed money, is less a sacred trust than a means for self-discovery and expression. Although previous generations lacked the faculties for consumer credit that Americans enjoy at the end of the twentieth century, many Americans have always assumed that they have a right to spend money on their appearance, on purchases that affirm their status. The strict Jacksonian code of honor does not enjoin what others see as financial probity. What it demands, rather, is a daring and entrepreneurial spirit. Credit is seen less as an obligation than as an opportunity. Jacksonians have always supported loose monetary policy and looser bankruptcy laws.

Finally, courage is the crowning and indispensable part of the code. Jacksonians must be ready to defend their honor in great things and small. Americans ought to stick up for what they believe. In the nineteenth century, Jacksonian Americans fought duels long after aristocrats in Europe had given them up, and Americans today remain far more likely than Europeans to settle personal quarrels with extreme and even deadly violence.

Jacksonian America’s love affair with weapons is, of course, the despair of the rest of the country. Jacksonian culture values firearms, and the freedom to own and use them. The right to bear arms is a mark of civic and social equality, and knowing how to care for firearms is an important part of life. Jacksonians are armed for defense: of the home and person against robbers; against usurpations of the federal government; and of the United States against its enemies. In one war after another, Jacksonians have flocked to the colors. Independent and difficult to discipline, they have nevertheless demonstrated magnificent fighting qualities in every corner of the world. Jacksonian America views military service as a sacred duty. When Hamiltonians, Wilsonians and Jeffersonians dodged the draft in Vietnam or purchased exemptions and substitutes in earlier wars, Jacksonians soldiered on, if sometimes bitterly and resentfully. An honorable person is ready to kill or to die for family and flag.

Jacksonian society draws an important distinction between those who belong to the folk community and those who do not. Within that community, among those bound by the code and capable of discharging their responsibilities under it, Jacksonians are united in a social compact. Outside that compact is chaos and darkness. The criminal who commits what, in the Jacksonian code, constitute unforgivable sins (cold-blooded murder, rape, the murder or sexual abuse of a child, murder or attempted murder of a peace officer) can justly be killed by the victims’ families, colleagues or by society at large—with or without the formalities of law. In many parts of the United States, juries will not convict police on almost any charge, nor will they condemn revenge killers in particularly outrageous cases. The right of the citizen to defend family and property with deadly force is a sacred one as well, a legacy from colonial and frontier times.

The absolute and even brutal distinction drawn between the members of the community and outsiders has had massive implications in American life. Throughout most of American history the Jacksonian community was one from which many Americans were automatically and absolutely excluded: Indians, Mexicans, Asians, African Americans, obvious sexual deviants and recent immigrants of non-Protestant heritage have all felt the sting. Historically, the law has been helpless to protect such people against economic oppression, social discrimination and mob violence, including widespread lynchings. Legislators would not enact laws, and if they did, sheriffs would not arrest, prosecutors would not try, juries would not convict.

This tells us something very important: throughout most of American history and to a large extent even today, equal rights emerge from and depend on this popular culture of equality and honor rather than flow out of abstract principles or written documents. The many social and legal disabilities still suffered in practice by unpopular minorities demonstrate that the courts and the statute books still enjoy only a limited ability to protect equal rights in the teeth of popular feeling and culture.

Even so, Jacksonian values play a major role in African-American culture. If anything, that role has increased with the expanded presence of African Americans in all military ranks. The often blighted social landscape of the inner city has in some cases re-created the atmosphere and practices of American frontier life. In many ways the gang culture of some inner cities resembles the social atmosphere of the Jacksonian South, as well as the hard drinking, womanizing, violent male culture of the Mississippi in the days of Davy Crockett and Mark Twain. Bragging about one’s physical and sexual prowess, the willingness to avenge disrespect with deadly force, a touchy insistence that one is as good as anybody else: once over his shock at the urban landscape and the racial issue, Billy the Kid would find himself surprisingly at home in such an environment.

The degree to which African-American society resembles Jacksonian culture remains one of the crucial and largely overlooked elements in American life. Despite historical experiences that would have completely alienated many ethnic minorities around the world, American black popular culture remains profoundly—and, in times of danger, fiercely—patriotic. From the Revolution onward, African Americans have sought more to participate in America’s wars than to abstain from them, and the strength of personal and military honor codes in African-American culture today remains a critical factor in assuring the continued strength of American military forces into the twenty-first century.

The underlying cultural unity between African Americans and Anglo-Jacksonian America shaped the course and ensured the success of the modern civil rights movement. Martin Luther King and his followers exhibited exemplary personal courage, their rhetoric was deeply rooted in Protestant Christianity, and the rights they asked for were precisely those that Jacksonian America values most for itself. Further, they scrupulously avoided the violent tactics that would have triggered an unstoppable Jacksonian response.

Although cultures change slowly and many individuals lag behind, the bulk of American Jacksonian opinion has increasingly moved to recognize the right of code-honoring members of minority groups to receive the rights and protections due to members of the folk community. This new and, one hopes, growing feeling of respect and tolerance emphatically does not extend to those, minorities or not, who are not seen as code-honoring Americans. Those who violate or reject the code—criminals, irresponsible parents, drug addicts—have not benefited from the softening of the Jacksonian color line.

30415  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Jacksonian Warfare on: January 16, 2007, 01:05:32 AM
Woof All:

I suppose this piece could readily be placed in an already existing thread, but I think it worth both the prestige of its own thread and the time it takes to read it.



PS: Note that it was written before 911

The Jacksonian Tradition
by Walter Russell Mead

In the last five months of World War II, American bombing raids claimed the lives of more than 900,000 Japanese civilians—not counting the casualties from the atomic strikes against Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This is more than twice the total number of combat deaths that the United States has suffered in all its foreign wars combined.

On one night, that of March 9-10, 1945, 234 Superfortresses dropped 1,167 tons of incendiary bombs over downtown Tokyo; 83,793 Japanese bodies were found in the charred remains—a number greater than the 80,942 combat fatalities that the United States sustained in the Korean and Vietnam Wars combined.

Since the Second World War, the United States has continued to employ devastating force against both civilian and military targets. Out of a pre-war population of 9.49 million, an estimated 1 million North Korean civilians are believed to have died as a result of U.S. actions during the 1950-53 conflict. During the same war, 33,870 American soldiers died in combat, meaning that U.S. forces killed approximately thirty North Korean civilians for every American soldier who died in action. The United States dropped almost three times as much explosive tonnage in the Vietnam War as was used in the Second World War, and something on the order of 365,000 Vietnamese civilians are believed to have been killed during the period of American involvement.

Regardless of Clausewitz’s admonition that "casualty reports . . . are never accurate, seldom truthful, and in most cases deliberately falsified", these numbers are too striking to ignore. They do not, of course, suggest a moral parallel between the behavior of, say, German and Japanese aggressors and American forces seeking to defeat those aggressors in the shortest possible time. German and Japanese forces used the indiscriminate murder of civilians as a routine police tool in occupied territory, and wholesale massacres of civilians often accompanied German and Japanese advances into new territory. The behavior of the German Einsatzgruppen and of the Japanese army during the Rape of Nanking has no significant parallel on the American side.

In the Cold War, too, the evils the Americans fought were far worse than those they inflicted. Tens of millions more innocent civilians in communist nations were murdered by their own governments in peacetime than ever died as the result of American attempts to halt communism’s spread. War, even brutal war, was more merciful than communist rule.

Nevertheless, the American war record should make us think. An observer who thinks of American foreign policy only in terms of the commercial realism of the Hamiltonians, the crusading moralism of Wilsonian transcendentalists, and the supple pacifism of the principled but slippery Jeffersonians would be at a loss to account for American ruthlessness at war.

Those who prefer to believe that the present global hegemony of the United States emerged through a process of immaculate conception avert their eyes from many distressing moments in the American ascension. Yet students of American power cannot ignore one of the chief elements in American success. The United States over its history has consistently summoned the will and the means to compel its enemies to yield to its demands.

Through the long sweep of American history, there have been many occasions when public opinion, or at least an important part of it, got ahead of politicians in demanding war. Many of the Indian wars were caused less by Indian aggression than by movements of frontier populations willing to provoke and fight wars with Indian tribes that were nominally under Washington’s protection—and contrary both to the policy and the wishes of the national government. The War of 1812 came about largely because of a popular movement in the South and Midwest. Abraham Lincoln barely succeeded in preventing a war with Britain over the Trent Affair during the Civil War; public opinion made it difficult for him to find an acceptable, face-saving solution to the problem. More recently, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon were all haunted by fears that a pullout from the Vietnam War would trigger a popular backlash.

Once wars begin, a significant element of American public opinion supports waging them at the highest possible level of intensity. The devastating tactics of the wars against the Indians, General Sherman’s campaign of 1864-65, and the unprecedented aerial bombardments of World War II were all broadly popular in the United States. During both the Korean and Vietnam Wars, presidents came under intense pressure, not only from military leaders but also from public opinion, to hit the enemy with all available force in all available places. Throughout the Cold War the path of least resistance in American politics was generally the more hawkish stance. Politicians who advocated negotiated compromises with the Soviet enemy were labeled appeasers and paid a heavy political price. The Korean and Vietnam Wars lost public support in part because of political decisions not to risk the consequences of all-out war, not necessarily stopping short of the use of nuclear weapons. The most costly decision George Bush took in the Gulf War was not to send ground forces into Iraq, but to stop short of the occupation of Baghdad and the capture and trial of Saddam Hussein.

It is often remarked that the American people are more religious than their allies in Western Europe. But it is equally true that they are more military-minded. Currently, the American people support without complaint what is easily the highest military budget in the world. In 1998 the United States spent as much on defense as its NATO allies, South Korea, Japan, the Persian Gulf states, Russia and China combined. In response to widespread public concern about a decline in military preparedness, the Clinton administration and the Republican Congress are planning substantial increases in military spending in the years to come.

Americans do not merely pay for these forces, they use them. Since the end of the Vietnam War, taken by some as opening a new era of reluctance in the exercise of American power, the United States has deployed combat forces in, or used deadly force over, Cambodia, Iran, Grenada, Panama, Lebanon, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Turkey, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Sudan, Afghanistan, the South China Sea, Liberia, Macedonia, Albania and Yugoslavia. This is a record that no other country comes close to matching.

It is also generally conceded that, with the exception of a handful of elite units in such forces as the British Army, American troops have a stronger "warrior culture" than do the armies of other wealthy countries. Indeed, of all the nato countries other than Turkey and Greece, only Great Britain today has anything like the American "war lobby" that becomes active in times of national crisis—a political force that under certain circumstances demands war, supports the decisive use of force, and urges political leaders to stop wasting time with negotiations, sanctions and Security Council meetings in order to attack the enemy with all possible strength.

Why is it that U.S. public opinion is often so quick—though sometimes so slow—to support armed intervention abroad? What are the provocations that energize public opinion (at least some of it) for war—and how, if at all, is this "war lobby" related to the other elements of that opinion? The key to this warlike disposition, and to other important features of American foreign policy, is to be found in what I shall call its Jacksonian tradition, in honor of the sixth president of the United States.

The School of Andrew Jackson

It is a tribute to the general historical amnesia about American politics between the War of 1812 and the Civil War that Andrew Jackson is not more widely counted among the greatest of American presidents. Victor in the Battle of New Orleans—perhaps the most decisive battle in the shaping of the modern world between Trafalgar and Stalingrad—Andrew Jackson laid the foundation of American politics for most of the nineteenth century, and his influence is still felt today. With the ever ready help of the brilliant Martin Van Buren, he took American politics from the era of silk stockings into the smoke-filled room. Every political party since his presidency has drawn on the symbolism, the institutions and the instruments of power that Jackson pioneered.

More than that, he brought the American people into the political arena. Restricted state franchises with high property qualifications meant that in 1820 many American states had higher property qualifications for voters than did boroughs for the British House of Commons. With Jackson’s presidency, universal male suffrage became the basis of American politics and political values.

His political movement—or, more accurately, the community of political feeling that he wielded into an instrument of power—remains in many ways the most important in American politics. Solidly Democratic through the Truman administration (a tradition commemorated in the annual Jefferson-Jackson Day dinners that are still the high points on Democratic Party calendars in many cities and states), Jacksonian America shifted toward the Republican Party under Richard Nixon—the most important political change in American life since the Second World War. The future of Jacksonian political allegiance will be one of the keys to the politics of the twenty-first century.

Suspicious of untrammeled federal power (Waco), skeptical about the prospects for domestic and foreign do-gooding (welfare at home, foreign aid abroad), opposed to federal taxes but obstinately fond of federal programs seen as primarily helping the middle class (Social Security and Medicare, mortgage interest subsidies), Jacksonians constitute a large political interest.

In some ways Jacksonians resemble the Jeffersonians, with whom their political fortunes were linked for so many decades. Like Jeffersonians, Jacksonians are profoundly suspicious of elites. They generally prefer a loose federal structure with as much power as possible retained by states and local governments. But the differences between the two movements run very deep—so deep that during the Cold War they were on dead opposite sides of most important foreign policy questions. To use the language of the Vietnam era, a time when Jeffersonians and Jacksonians were fighting in the streets over foreign policy, the former were the most dovish current in mainstream political thought during the Cold War, while the latter were the most consistently hawkish.

One way to grasp the difference between the two schools is to see that both Jeffersonians and Jacksonians are civil libertarians, passionately attached to the Constitution and especially to the Bill of Rights, and deeply concerned to preserve the liberties of ordinary Americans. But while the Jeffersonians are most profoundly devoted to the First Amendment, protecting the freedom of speech and prohibiting a federal establishment of religion, Jacksonians see the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms, as the citadel of liberty. Jeffersonians join the American Civil Liberties Union; Jacksonians join the National Rifle Association. In so doing, both are convinced that they are standing at the barricades of freedom.

For foreigners and for some Americans, the Jacksonian tradition is the least impressive in American politics. It is the most deplored abroad, the most denounced at home. Jacksonian chairs of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee are the despair of high-minded people everywhere, as they hold up adhesion to the Kyoto Protocol, starve the UN and the IMF, cut foreign aid, and ban the use of U.S. funds for population control programs abroad. When spokesmen for other schools of thought speak about the "problems" of American foreign policy, the persistence and power of the Jacksonian school are high on their list. While some of this fashionable despair may be overdone, and is perhaps a reflection of different class interests and values, it is true that Jacksonians often figure as the most obstructionist of the schools, as the least likely to support Wilsonian initiatives for a better world, to understand Jeffersonian calls for patient diplomacy in difficult situations, or to accept Hamiltonian trade strategies. Yet without Jacksonians, the United States would be a much weaker power.

A principal explanation of why Jacksonian politics are so poorly understood is that Jacksonianism is less an intellectual or political movement than an expression of the social, cultural and religious values of a large portion of the American public. And it is doubly obscure because it happens to be rooted in one of the portions of the public least represented in the media and the professoriat. Jacksonian America is a folk community with a strong sense of common values and common destiny; though periodically led by intellectually brilliant men—like Andrew Jackson himself—it is neither an ideology nor a self-conscious movement with a clear historical direction or political table of organization. Nevertheless, Jacksonian America has produced—and looks set to continue to produce—one political leader and movement after another, and it is likely to continue to enjoy major influence over both foreign and domestic policy in the United States for the foreseeable future.

The Evolution of a Community

It is not fashionable today to think of the American nation as a folk community bound together by deep cultural and ethnic ties. Believers in a multicultural America attack this idea from one direction, but conservatives too have a tendency to talk about the United States as a nation based on ideology rather than ethnicity. Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, among others, has said that the United States is unlike other nations because it is based on an idea rather than on a community of national experience. The continuing and growing vitality of the Jacksonian tradition is, for better or worse, living proof that she is at least partly wrong.

If Jeffersonianism is the book-ideology of the United States, Jacksonian populism is its folk-ideology. Historically, American populism has been based less on the ideas of the Enlightenment than on the community values and sense of identity among the British colonizers who first settled this country. In particular, as David Hackett Fischer has shown, Jacksonian populism can be originally identified with a subgroup among these settlers, the so-called "Scots-Irish", who settled the back country regions of the Carolinas and Virginia, and who went on to settle much of the Old West—West Virginia, Kentucky, parts of Indiana and Illinois—and the southern and south central states of Tennessee, Missouri, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas. Jacksonian populism today has moved beyond its original ethnic and geographical limits. Like country music, another product of Jacksonian culture, Jacksonian politics and folk feeling has become a basic element in American consciousness that can be found from one end of the country to the other.

The Scots-Irish were a hardy and warlike people, with a culture and outlook formed by centuries of bitter warfare before they came to the United States. Fischer shows how, trapped on the frontiers between England and Scotland, or planted as Protestant colonies in the hostile soil of Ireland, this culture was shaped through centuries of constant, bloody war. The Revolutionary struggle and generations of savage frontier conflict in the United States reproduced these conditions in the New World; the Civil War—fought with particular ferocity in the border states—renewed the cultural heritage of war.

The role of what we are calling Jacksonian America in nineteenth-century America is clear, but many twentieth-century observers made what once seemed the reasonable assumption that Jacksonian values and politics were dying out. These observers were both surprised and discomfited when Ronald Reagan’s political success showed that Jacksonian America had done more than survive; it was, and is, thriving.

What has happened is that Jacksonian culture, values and self-identification have spread beyond their original ethnic limits. In the 1920s and 1930s the highland, border tradition in American life was widely thought to be dying out, ethnically, culturally and politically. Part of this was the economic and demographic collapse of the traditional home of Jacksonian America: the family farm. At the same time, mass immigration from southern and Eastern Europe tilted the ethnic balance of the American population ever farther from its colonial mix. New England Yankees were a vanishing species, limited to the hills of New Hampshire and Vermont, while the cities and plains of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island filled with Irishmen, Italians, Portuguese and Greeks. The great cities of the United States were increasingly filled with Catholics, members of the Orthodox churches and Jews—all professing in one way or another communitarian social values very much at odds with the individualism of traditional Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Celtic culture.
30416  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Savate on: January 16, 2007, 12:59:13 AM
Woof All:

Just a quick yip here to say that as time goes by I appreciate Savate more and more.  It is one of the systems upon which we draw for our kicking (Krabi Krabong and Panajakman/Sikaran being the two other main influences, with smatterings of Jun Fan Gung Fu).

Things I like about Savate:

1) the kicks are designed to take advantage of shoes.
2) properly done, the kicks are incredibly speeding, non-telegraphic and can change target mid-delivery-- lots of PIA
3) the kicks do not require a commitment of body mass the way Muay Thai does
4) the kicking concept includes a high level of understanding concerning where to put the foot down.

Although I am a certified "white glove" (roughly "advanced intermediate") my Savate comes principally from Paul Vunak, who got his from Daniel Duby.  My sense of things is that Paul had some distinctive approaches to his Savate--whether these were his development or from Duby I cannot say.

Regardless, this way of doing things interfaces very well with the other structures upon which we draw in our Kali Tudo.

Guro Crafty
30417  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: January 16, 2007, 12:28:57 AM,,1990069,00.html

Dublin imam takes on the fanatics

A Muslim cleric is taking a stand against those who preach Islamic extremism in Ireland and think that the cult of the suicide bomber is noble

Henry McDonald
Sunday January 14, 2007
The Observer

Beneath a basketball net in a freezing sports hall, a Muslim cleric is waging war on Islamic extremism.
Imam Shaheed Satardien is taking a stand against those Muslims in Ireland whom he claims are too sympathetic to Osama bin Laden and the cult of the suicide bomber. At Friday prayers in the sports hall in north-west Dublin, the South African-born former anti-apartheid activist warns his multinational congregation against blaming other religions and the West in general for all Muslims' ills.

Cast out by the majority Islamic community in Dublin for his outspokenness, the 50-year-old preacher says he has received death threats. 'I am standing firm in my beliefs,' Satardien says. 'The truth is more important than being popular or living a quiet life. Extremism has infected Islam in Ireland. It's time to get back to the spiritual aspect of my religion and stop it being used as a political weapon.'
The imam from Cape Town fled his native country following death threats, he says, from Islamic extremists in South Africa. His younger brother, Ibrahim, was shot dead in 1998 following a row with Islamic radicals in the city. When Satardien was told he would be next, he travelled to Ireland, the birthplace of his maternal grandmother, and pleaded for asylum.

'I never, ever, expected that Muslims would come under the influence of extremists in Ireland when I arrived here with my family. So I was shocked to find support for Osama bin Laden, to discover the presence of the Muslim Brotherhood and even al-Qaeda here in Dublin.'

Satardien fell out with the main Dublin mosque at Clonskeagh, singling out the influence of Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian born sheikh who has spoken openly in support of suicide bombers and issued fatwas on gays.

According to Satardien, al-Qaradawi's European headquarters is based at the Clonskeagh mosque in south Dublin. Its own website refers to al-Qaradawi and to Clonskeagh as the headquarters of the sheikh's European Council for Fatwa and Research. The authorities at the Clonskeagh mosque and at the South Circular Road mosque, the other main establishment in Dublin, angrily deny the extremist accusation. They point out that these mosques attract thousands of mainstream Muslims to their doors each week.

Satardien, however, is adamant that extremist Wahhabi sects have infiltrated the republic's 40,000-strong Muslim community, especially in Dublin. 'Young, impressionable Muslims in Ireland are being raised to think that suicide bombers are cool. I know for a fact that when the Americans killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi [al-Qaeda's leader in Iraq who died after an airstrike in June last year] there were prayers for him in this city. This was for a man who slaughtered other Muslims. What I am trying to do is convince the young people that such practices are un-Islamic, that there is another way,' he says.

Although his mosque is tiny, Satardien has attracted a loyal following from 20 nationalities of Muslims now living in Ireland. Haris Puskar, 19, fled from Bosnia to Ireland with his family while he was still at primary school. A victim of Serb ethnic cleansing in Banja Luka in the early 1990s, Puskar now speaks English with a Dublin accent and is an ardent Gaelic football fan.

'The imam preaches the same kind of tolerant Islam that my family grew up with back in Bosnia. He is a moderate voice against the extremists. I also like him because he preaches in English, which is the language I have grown up speaking since I came to Ireland at the age of eight,' he says.

Moshin Khan, a 35-year-old shopkeeper, originally from Lahore in Pakistan, agrees. 'I like the message this imam gives us. I don't like extremism - here, in this mosque, there is the teaching of true Islam.'

Satardien has applied to the local schools around Blanchardstown, which has the largest concentration of Muslims in the republic, to speak to students. 'I want to tell the kids from all faiths about true Islam, not the radicalised, false version they hear about in the media.'
30418  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam the religion on: January 15, 2007, 11:00:23 PM
I wasn't quite sure in which thread to put this one, so eenie meenie minie moe, here it goes:

I suppose depending on where one is starting, this is progress or regress , , ,
30419  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues on: January 15, 2007, 10:55:23 PM
A green Republican organization recommended by my friend John Spezzano.
30420  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: January 15, 2007, 10:54:46 PM
A green Republican organization recommended by my friend John Spezzano.
30421  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Islamic Countries: on: January 15, 2007, 08:12:24 PM
Saudis May Ban Letter ‘X’

A group of Islamic clergy in Saudi Arabia has condemned the letter "X” because of its similarity to a hated banned symbol – the cross.
The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, which has the ultimate say in all legal, civil and governance matters in the kingdom, issued a fatwa, or religious edict, against the "X.” It came in response to a Ministry of Trade query about whether a Saudi businessman could be granted trademark protection for a new service with the English name "Explorer.”

The request from the businessman, Amru Mohammad Faisal, was turned down. "Experts who examined the English word ‘explorer’ were struck by how suspicious that ‘X’ appeared,” Youssef Ibrahim writes in the New York Sun.

"In a kingdom where Friday preachers routinely refer to Christians as pigs and infidel crusaders, even a twisted cross ranks as an abomination.”

In response to the turndown, Faisal wrote an article that appeared on several Arabian Web sites, sarcastically suggesting that the authorities might consider banning the "plus” sign in mathematics because of its similarity to the cross. Among the commission’s earlier edicts is the 1974 fatwa declaring that the Earth is flat.
30422  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: January 15, 2007, 08:10:13 PM
30423  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Complex Insurgency on: January 15, 2007, 07:52:23 PM
Iranians in Iraq: Making a Complex Insurgency Even More So

The United States is in the process of interdicting the Iranian support network for Sunni insurgents in Iraq. And a strange network it is. Given that a significant portion of Sunni insurgents are Baathists and jihadists -- actors hostile to Iran -- Tehran has been careful to back only those Sunni militants who are not part of the jihadist alliance and has tried to create splinter groups by exploiting differences among jihadist factions and between jihadist and Iraqi Islamists. Iranian support of the Sunni insurgency is only making a complex insurgency even more so.


U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad said Jan. 15 that Washington plans to "go after" what it says are networks of Iranian and Syrian agents in Iraq.

Iran's primary militant assets in Iraq are Shiite militias and unaffiliated gunmen. But Iran's support for the Iraq insurgency is not limited to its Shiite allies. Tehran also has been providing support to segments of the Sunni insurgency. Though it might sound like a contradiction for Shiite Iran to support Sunni groups in Iraq, it is not unprecedented -- and there is a certain logic behind the groups the Iranians choose to support.

Reports of Iranian support for Sunni insurgents have percolated in the media for quite some time but, given the sectarian tensions in Iraq, Iran has managed to brush off such reports. The understanding has been that Iran is not in a position to support Sunni insurgents, given the deep theological differences and divergent political objectives between the two sects. Sunni insurgents have mostly been either Iran's archenemies the Baathists, or jihadists attacking Iraqi Shia. There are also Sunni nationalists in Iraq who are trying to protect Sunni interests following the downfall of Saddam Hussein and the resulting rise of the Shia. Iran has not been able to use any of these three groups to its advantage.

But Tehran also wants to avoid overusing Shiite militants in Iraq in order to prevent a rift between Iraqi Shia and the United States; it intends to use its Arab Shiite allies as an instrument in consolidating its interests in Iraq. At the same time, the Iranians need to ensure that the Sunni insurgency would keep the United States tied down in Iraq so that U.S. forces would not be in a position to threaten Iran.

To those ends, Iran has had to gain some influence within the complex universe of Iraq's Sunni insurgency. The Iranians have backed certain elements of the insurgency -- such as Kurdish Islamist militant organization Ansar al-Sunnah -- that are Sunni Islamists, are not part of the jihadist alliance and are opposed to the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Many elements of Ansar al-Sunnah reportedly have been operating from inside Iran.

Moreover, the proliferation of both jihadist and Sunni nationalist groups in Iraq has allowed Iran to take advantage of their differences. By offering support in the form of training, weapons and logistics to these groups, Iran has been able to influence Sunni militants and encourage attacks that suit its interests. Such groups are willing to accept assistance from wherever it may come in order to enhance their own positions within the insurgent movement, and are unlikely to become Iranian proxies. They have their own agendas, which they see as being served through cooperation with Iran. Some of these groups feel that the United States is a far greater threat than Iran, while others simply want access to the sophisticated technology the Iranians have to offer.

Iran actually has a long history of supporting Sunni groups under the guise of promoting pan-Islamist causes. Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and Hamas are two prime examples of Arab Sunni groups that have received Iranian assistance. In fact, PIJ's founders were heavily influenced by the 1979 Islamic revolution that brought the current Iranian regime to power.

In Iraq, Iranian support for Sunni militants will further complicate an already complex insurgency, making it all the more difficult for U.S. and Iraqi forces to contain it. It will also create suspicions and rifts among various Sunni groups that will cause intra-Sunni violence. On the other hand, the situation provides an opportunity for Washington to drive a wedge between the Iranians and their Iraqi Shiite allies by showing that Tehran has actually been backing their enemies. This is why Iran has tried to encourage the Sunni militants it supports to focus on U.S. and other non-Shiite targets.

Should the United States decide to adopt this strategy of trying to cultivate frictions between Iran and its Iraqi Shiite allies, its success will depend on how convincing the evidence is. Given the level of anti-U.S. sentiment in Iraq, Shiite acceptance of what the United States has to say will vary from group to group. But creating any rifts between Iran and the Iraqi Shia could weaken the degree of leverage Tehran seems to enjoy in the maelstrom of Iraq.
30424  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Knives for good on: January 15, 2007, 02:41:57 PM
Woof All:

The news freely covers the wrong use of knives.  This thread is for examples of the good use of knives.

Although the following story strikes me as having some odd details (why would a 200 pound bear attack a full grown man in the middle of summer?) I share it here:


CBC News

A man stabbed a black bear to death with a 15-cm hunting knife, saying he knew he would otherwise become "lunch" after it attacked him and his dog on a canoeing portage in northern Ontario.
Tom Tilley, a 55-year-old from Waterloo, Ont., said his American Staffordshire dog Sam growled a warning, then rushed to his defence as the bear came at them on a trail north of Wawa on Friday.

Tom Tilley and his dog, shown in an undated photo, escaped an attack by a black bear while portaging near Wawa, Ont.
(Waterloo Region Record/Canadian Press)

As Sam battled with the nearly 90-kilogram bear, Tilley jumped on its back and stabbed it with his knife.
"Love is a very powerful emotion and my thought right away was: 'You're not going to kill my dog,'" Tilley told the Waterloo Region Record.
"I really consider my dog a hero. Without that first warning, I would have had the bear clamping down on my neck."
30425  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Big Picture WW3: Who, when, where, why on: January 15, 2007, 01:22:42 PM
Geopolitical Diary: Iraq, Iran and a Question of Engagement

Editor's Note: An error in the Jan. 12 Geopolitical Diary as originally published has been corrected on our Web site to say the Israelis discussed using nuclear weapons against Iran.

Though the United States has opted not to engage Iran or Syria directly over the issue of Iraq, Iraqi leaders appear to be doing just that. On Sunday, President Jalal Talabani met with his Syrian counterpart, Bashar al Assad, in Damascus, and National Security Minister Wael Shirwan was in Tehran, seeking assistance on security matters.

Meanwhile, fallout from the arrests of five Iranian officials -- during a U.S. raid at an Iranian government office in Arbil on Jan. 11 -- continued, with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari calling for the prisoners' release.

That likely was enough to satisfy the Iranians, who have refrained from any aggressive reactions in response to the raid. In fact, Tehran reciprocated a signal from U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who said recently that she would be willing to meet "anytime, anywhere" with Iranian leaders (provided Tehran had suspended Iranian enrichment). On Sunday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told Al Arabiya television that Tehran is not opposed to talks with Washington, so long as conditions were appropriate and just.

Ahmadinejad went on to say that the states neighboring Iraq -- including Iran and Saudi Arabia, could be helpful in improving security there. Interestingly, that statement came on the same day that Iranian national security chief Ali Larijani was meeting in Saudi Arabia with King Abdullah, to whom he delivered a letter from Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

It is clear to the Iranians that pressure from the Arab states, especially Saudi Arabia, has been a major factor in Washington's decision not to engage Tehran directly with regard to the future of Iraq. It also is clear to Tehran that Riyadh would be willing to work toward a negotiated settlement with Iran on that issue, as long as Saudi and Sunni interests in Iraq are secured. Therefore, the thrust of Khamenei's missive could be guessed.

For its part, Riyadh -- fearing it would be sidelined in any diplomatic settlement over Iraq -- long has pressed the United States to prevent Iranian domination there. And with Washington now actively aligning itself with the Arab states against Iran, Saudi Arabia is positioned as a player in any future settlement.

Not that any of that should threaten Iran, given its influence over the Shiite-dominated Iraqi government. In fact, direct Saudi involvement in Iraqi affairs -- should that materialize -- would complicate matters for the United States and create another opening that Iran could attempt to exploit.

An excerpt from the Financial Times:

The contradiction at the heart of the US approach, however, is this: after casually overturning the Sunni order in Iraq and empowering the Shia in an Arab heartland country for the first time in nearly a millennium, Washington took fright at the way this had enlarged the power of the Shia Islamist regime in Iran. Now, while dependent on Tehran-aligned forces in Baghdad, and unable to dismantle the Sunni Jihadistan it has created in western Iraq, the US is trying to put together an Arab Sunni alliance against Iran. This is a fiasco with the fuel to combust into a region-wide conflagration.
30426  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Part Two on: January 15, 2007, 01:02:21 PM
The impact is pernicious. The reason why so few Britons can name a great Chinese brand or company, despite China's export success, is that there aren't any. China needs to build them, but doing that in a one-party authoritarian state, where the party second-guesses business strategy for ideological and political ends, is impossible. In any case, nearly three-fifths of its exports and nearly all its hi-tech exports are made by non-Chinese, foreign firms, another expression of China's weakness. The state still owns the lion's share of China's business and what it does not own, it reserves the right to direct politically.


Mark Kitto, a former Welsh Guardsman, has found at first-hand how difficult it is to sustain private ownership in China. He built up three Time Out equivalents in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou but, after seven years of successful magazine publishing, learnt last year that he was about to become a partner of the state. The only terms on which his licence to publish could be retained was if he were to accept a de facto takeover from China Intercontinental Press, controlled by China's State Information Council, the propaganda mouthpiece of the Communist party. It did not matter that he owned the shares, wanted to retain his independence and had been careful to stay within the party's publishing guidelines. The party now wanted control of his magazines and simply took it. It is an example repeated many times over.


China must become a more normal economy, but the party stands in the way. Chinese consumers need to save less and spend more, but consumers with no property rights or welfare system are highly cautious. To give them more confidence means taxing to fund a welfare system and conceding property rights. That will mean creating an empowered middle class who will ask how their tax renminbi are spent. Companies need to be subject to independent accountability if they are to become more efficient, but that means creating independent centres of power. The political implications are obvious.


China's future is shrouded in uncertainty. My belief is that what is unsustainable is not sustained. Change came in the Soviet Union with the fifth generation of leaders after the revolution; the fifth generation of China's leaders succeed today's President Hu Jintao in 2012. No political change will happen until after then, but my guess is that sometime in the mid to late 2010s, the growing Chinese middle class will want to hold Chinese officials and politicians to account for how they spend their taxes and for their political choices. What nobody can predict is whether that will produce another Tiananmen, repression and maybe war if China's communists pick a fight to sustain legitimacy at home or an Eastern European velvet revolution and political freedoms. Either way, China's route to becoming a world economic power is not going to proceed as a simple extrapolation of current trends.


This book has been something of a personal intellectual odyssey. My hypothesis when I began was that China was so different that it could carry on adapting its model, living without democracy or European enlightenment values. I have changed my mind and now see more clearly than ever the kinds of connection I identified in The State We're In between economic performance and so-called 'soft' institutions - how people are educated, how trust relations are established and how accountability is exercised (just to name a few) - are central. They are equally important to a good society and the chance for individual empowerment and self-betterment.


Early in my research, I tried out the still-emergent thesis at a small dinner in Lan Na Thai, one of the restaurants in Shanghai's Ruijin guest house, a complex of refurbished old mansions and traditional pavilions in the French quarter where communist leaders reputedly once ate and slept.


Over stir-fried curried chicken and crispy fried flying sea bass, the Chinese guests repeated politely and persuasively that China was making up new economic and political rules. Afterwards, I chanced to have a few words alone with one of the local rising government stars as we walked out of the complex. He kept his eyes on the ground. 'Don't allow yourself to be dissuaded, despite what you have heard. You are right that China is not different. I want my children to see a China with human rights and democratic institutions. And I am not alone.' He jumped into a taxi and was gone.


I have often thought about that chance exchange. Britain and the West take our enlightenment inheritance too easily for granted, and do not see how central it is to everything we are, whether technological advance, trust or well-being. We neither cherish it sufficiently nor live by its exacting standards. We share too quickly the criticism of non-Western societies that we are hypocrites. What China has taught me, paradoxically, is the value of the West, and how crucial it is that we practise what we preach. If we don't, the writing is on the wall - for us and China.


China's quest for oil


China's foreign policy is increasingly driven by the need to feed its growing appetite for oil. General Xiong Guangkai, deputy chief of the Chinese general staff, has said that China's energy problem needs to be taken 'seriously and dealt with strategically'.


That means less reliance on the Middle East; less transportation of oil via sea-lanes policed by the US navy; more capacity for the Chinese navy to protect Chinese tankers; and more oil brought overland by pipeline from central Asia.


Over the past two years, China has pulled off a string of strategic oil deals. In April 2005, Petro China and Canadian company Enbridge signed a memorandum to build a $2bn 'gateway' pipeline to move oil from Alberta to the Pacific Coast. In Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez is to build a Chinese-financed pipeline to the Pacific coast through Colombia, having given China oil and gas exploration rights in 2005. Saudi Arabia surrendered to Chinese courtship in 2004 and accorded exploration rights.


In Sudan, a major source of oil, China's blind eye to human rights and mass murder if it hinders its interests is demonstrated by Zhou Wenzhong's comment when Deputy Foreign Minister about the situation in Darfur where more than 250,000 have died.'Business is business,' he said. 'We try to separate politics from business and, in any case, the internal position of Sudan is an internal affair, and we are not in a position to influence them.'


Wrong: China has substantial influence on Sudan if it chose to exercise it. It does not, a commentary on China's approach to foreign policy and an awesome warning of the future if an unreconstructed China became yet more powerful.


Tiananmen: the legacy


The image of a single student halting a tank in Tiananmen Square is one of the most arresting in modern history. But the protests spread well beyond Beijing for six weeks in spring 1989 to encompass demonstrations in 181 cities.


The party and army were divided over how to respond; 150 officers openly declared that they would not fire on demonstrators after martial law was declared, and at least a third of the central committee wanted to reach a compromise with the protesters. The party's then general secretary, Zhao Ziyang, proposed a partial meeting of demands for reform. Nobody should be killed.


That was not the view of Deng and the party elders - the eight 'immortals', veterans of the Revolution. A 'counter-revolutionary' riot had to be suppressed. But before Deng could act, he had to leave Beijing to ensure that army groups 28 and 29, personally loyal to him, would provide the core of the force rather than the uncertain army groups based around the capital. Once in place, Zhao was then brutally deposed, remaining under house arrest until his death in 2005. Martial law was imposed on 19 May and a fortnight later the tanks rolled into Tiananmen Square. Official estimates were that 5,000 soldiers and police officers were wounded and 223 killed. Civilian losses - 2,000 wounded and 220 killed - were lower. Many still languish in prison.


Tiananmen is the event that cannot be discussed in China; websites mentioning it are blocked. It was no 'counter-revolutionary riot' but a demand for freedoms that infected all China and very nearly succeeded.


Current leader Hu Jintao and his successors know they are not Deng and cannot command the loyalty of key elements of the army in the same way. Their best strategy is to deliver growth and jobs while trying to keep the lid on China's growing but still disconnected social protests. Whether the policy will carry on working is the open question asked daily in Beijing's inner circles.


· An edited extract from The Writing on the Wall: China and the West in the 21st Century to be published by Little, Brown on 15 January, £20.

©Will Hutton 2007
30427  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / China on: January 15, 2007, 01:01:37 PM

Sunday January 7, 2007


New China. New crisis

In the last decade China has emerged as a powerful, resurgent economic force with the muscle to challenge America as the global superpower. But, in his controversial new book, Will Hutton argues that China's explosive economic reforms will create seismic tensions within the one-party authoritarian state and asks: can the centre hold?

For more than 2,000 years, China's conceit was that it was the celestial kingdom, the country whose standing was endowed by heaven itself and whose emperors tried to reproduce heavenly harmony on Earth. All China basked in the reflected glow; foreigners were barbarians beyond the gilded pale who should not be allowed even to learn the art of speaking and writing Chinese.


When I first visited China in the autumn of 2003, such articles of Confucian faith seemed very far away, submerged by the lost wars and the 26 humiliating treaties of the 19th century, subsequent communist revolution and now the economic growth to which Beijing's motorway rings and Shanghai's skyline are tribute. This was a new China that had plainly left behind obeisance to the canons of Confucianism and the later cruelties of Mao. More than three years and a book later, I am less convinced.


All societies are linked to their past by umbilical cords - some apparent, some hidden. China is no different. Imperial Confucian China and communist China alike depended - and depend - upon the notion of a vastly powerful, infallible centre: either because it was interpreting the will of heaven or, now, of the proletariat. In neither system have human rights, constitutional checks and balances or even forms of democracy figured very much. As a result, China has poor foundations on which to build the subtle network of institutions of accountability necessary to manage the complexities of a modern economy and society. Sooner or later, it is a failing that will have to be addressed.


China is both very confident about its recent success and very insecure about its past, a potent mix that breeds a deep-seated xenophobia and shallow arrogance. China's economy in 2007 will be nearly nine times larger than it was in 1978 when Deng Xiaoping won the power struggle with the Maoists and began his extraordinarily sinuous, gradualist but successful programme of market-based economic reforms, groping for stones to cross the river, as he called it. China is now the fourth largest economy in the world - after the United States, Japan, and Germany - and is set to become the second largest within a decade. More than 150 million workers have moved to China's booming cities and 400 million people have been removed from poverty. It is a head-spinning achievement.


China is the new factor in global politics and economics, and its rulers and people know it. It now has more than $1 trillion of foreign exchange reserves, the world's largest. It is the single most important financier of the United States' enormous trade deficit. It is the world's second largest importer of oil. Before 2010, it will be the world's largest exporter of goods. It is, comfortably, the world's second largest military power. Last year, the Pentagon's four-yearly defence review stated that China is the power most likely to 'field disruptive military technologies that could over time offset traditional US military advantages'. A new great power is in the making, but one whose pursuit of its self-interest takes the amorality of power to a new plane. It is not just the Chinese who should be concerned about its institutional and moral failings; all of us should be.


In China, you can almost smell the new self-confidence: it is in the skyscrapers built in months; it is in the brash and unashamed willingness to rip off and copy Western brands; it is in the well-groomed and inscrutable demeanour of the rich entrepreneurs, self-confident officials and assured academics.


I sat in a Beijing bar just over a year ago with a typical member of China's new class of rich businessmen who double up as members of the party, a combination of commercial and political power that China knew well as the old Confucian mandarinate, now strangely reproducing itself in a new guise after Mao tried to eliminate it forever in the Cultural Revolution.


In surprisingly fluent English and with his Mercedes waiting outside, he praised China's communist regime and its curious mix of capitalism and communism with all the enthusiasm of a Tory businessmen praising Thatcher. Chinese corruption? Think of Enron and party-funding scandals in London, he declaimed. Double standards between communist rhetoric and practice? What about the US and Britain's invasion of Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay? What I failed to realise, he insisted, betraying both assurance and insecurity, is that China will not surrender again the natural rank that it should never have lost. Western values, institutions and attitudes were being revealed for being straw men, blown away by resurgent China and the pragmatism of its communist leaders.


Yet Western values and institutions are not being blown away. The country has made progress to the extent that communism has given up ground and moved towards Western practices, but there are limits to how far the reformers can go without giving up the basis for the party's political control. Conservatives insist that much further and the capacity to control the country will become irretrievably damaged; that the limit, for example, is being reached in giving both trade unions more autonomy and shareholders more rights. It is the most urgent political debate in China.


The tension between reform and conservatism is all around. For example, the party's commitment now is no longer to building a planned communist economy but a 'socialist market' economy. The 26,000 communes in rural China, which were once the vanguard of communism, were swept away by the peasants themselves in just three years between 1979 and 1982, the largest bottom-up act of decollectivisation the world has ever witnessed. Hundreds of millions of peasants are, via long leases, again farming plots held by their ancestors for millenniums. China's state-owned enterprises no longer provide life-long employment and welfare for their workers as centrepieces of a new communist order; they are autonomous companies largely free to set prices as they choose in an open economy and progressively shedding their social obligations.


Equally amazing, China's communists have declared that the class war is over. The party now claims to represent not just the worker and peasant masses but entrepreneurs and business leaders, whom it welcomes into its ranks. The party refers to this metamorphosis as the 'three represents': meaning that the party today represents 'advanced productive forces' (capitalists); 'the overwhelming majority' of the Chinese (not just workers and peasants); and 'the orientation ... of China's advanced culture' (religious, political and philosophical traditions other than communism).


Party representatives say that the country is no longer pledged to fight capitalism to the death internationally, but, instead, wants to rise peacefully. China has joined the World Trade Organisation and is a judicious member of the United Nations Security Council, using its veto largely in matters that immediately concern it, such as Taiwan.


But for all that, it remains communist. The maxims of Marxist-Leninst-Maoist thought have to stand, however much the party tries to stretch the boundaries, because they are the basis for one-party rule. Yet the system so spawned is reaching its limits. For example, China's state-owned and directed banks cannot carry on channelling hundreds of billions of pounds of peasant savings into the financing of a frenzy of infrastructure and heavy industrial investment. The borrowers habitually pay interest only fitfully, and rarely repay the debt, even as the debt mountain explodes. The financial system is vulnerable to any economic setback.


Equally, China is reaching the limits of the capacity to increase its exports, which, in 2007, will surpass $1 trillion, by 25 per cent a year. At this rate of growth, they will reach $5 trillion by 2020 or sooner, representing more than half of today's world trade. Is that likely? Are there ships and ports on sufficient scale to move such volumes - and will Western markets stay uncomplainingly open? Every year, it is also acquiring $200bn of foreign exchange reserves as it rigs its currency to keep its exports competitive. Can even China insulate its domestic financial system from such fantastic growth in its reserves and stop inflation rising? Already, there are ominous signs that inflationary pressures are increasing.


These ills have communist roots. It is the lack of independent scrutiny and accountability that lie behind the massive waste of investment and China's destruction of its environment alike. The pace of desertification has doubled over 20 years, in a country where 25 per cent of the land area is already desert. Air pollution kills 400,000 people a year prematurely. A hacking cough in the Beijing smog or the stench when the wind comes from the north in Shanghai are reminders of just how far China still has to go.


Energy is wasted on an epic scale. But the worst problem is water. One-fifth of China's 660 cities face extreme water shortages and as many as 90 per cent have problems of water pollution; 500 million rural Chinese still do not have access to safe drinking water. Illegal and rampant polluting, a severe shortage of sewage treatment facilities, and chemical pollutants together continue to degrade China's waterways. In autumn 2005, two major cities - Harbin and Guangzhou - had their water supplies cut off for days because their river sources had suffered acute chemical spills from state-owned factories.


Enterprises are accountable to no one but the Communist party for their actions; there is no network of civil society, plural public institutions and independent media to create pressure for enterprises to become more environmentally efficient. Watchdogs, whistleblowers, independent judges and accountable government are not just good in themselves as custodians of justice; they also keep capitalism honest and efficient and would curb environmental costs that reach an amazing 12 per cent of GDP. As importantly, they are part of the institutional network that constitutes an independent public realm that includes free intellectual inquiry, free trade unions and independent audit. It is this 'enlightenment infrastructure' that I regard in both the West and East as the essential underpinning of a healthy society. The individual detained for years without a fair trial is part of the same malign system that prevents a company from expecting to be able to correct a commercial wrong in a court, or have a judgment in its favour implemented, if it were against the party interest.
30428  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Gay Parents on: January 15, 2007, 12:58:27 PM
Washington Post, Monday, January 15, 2007; B03


Woman Must Pay Child Support
A Vermont court has ordered a woman to pay child support to her former partner, who now lives in Winchester, Va. -- the latest twist in a continuing custody battle between Janet Jenkins and Lisa Miller over their daughter, Isabella, 4.
Jenkins said yesterday that she has obeyed the Rutland Family Court's order, sending a $240 check by certified mail, only to have it returned because Miller did not pick it up.
Miller gave birth to Isabella after the women were legally joined in a civil union in Vermont in 2002. About a year later, Miller renounced her homosexuality and returned to Virginia.
A Virginia court granted Miller sole parental rights because the state does not recognize same-sex unions, but a state appeals court ruled late last year that jurisdiction in the case belongs to Vermont, where state courts have granted visitation rights for Jenkins.
Jenkins, who lives in Fair Haven, Vt., said she plans to ask for full custody as part for the final order dissolving the civil union.

-- Associated Press
30429  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Wolves, Dogs and other canines on: January 15, 2007, 10:47:56 AM
Subject: Dog Philosophy

The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue.

Don't accept your dog's admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.
-Ann Landers

If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.
-Wil l Rogers

There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.
-Ben Williams

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.
-Josh Billings

The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.
-Andy Rooney

We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare and love we can spare. And in
return, dogs give us their all. It's the best deal man has ever made.
-M. Acklam

Dogs love their friends and bite their enemies, quite unlike people,
who are incapable of pure love and always have to mix love and hate.
-Sigmund Freud

I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird religious cult.
-Rita Rudner

A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before
lying down.
-Robert Benchley

Anybody who doesn't know what soap tastes like never washed a dog.
-Franklin P. Jones

If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have known will
go to heaven, and very, very few persons.
-James Thurber

If your dog is fat, you aren't getting enough exercise

My dog is worried about the economy because Alpo is up to $3.00 a can. That's almost
$21.00 in dog money.
-Joe Weinstein

Ever consider what our dogs must think of us? I mean, here we come from a grocery
with the most amazing haul, chicken, pork, half a cow. They must think we're the
greatest hunters on earth!
-Anne Tyler

Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to
the idea.
-Robert A. Heinlein

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you; that is
the principal difference between a dog and a man.
-Mark Twain

You can say any foolish thing to a dog, and the dog will give you a look that says,
'Wow, you're right! I never would've thought of that!'
- Dave Barry

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.
-Roger Caras

If you think dogs can't count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and
then give him only two of them.
-Phil Pastoret

My goal in life is to be as good a person as my dog thinks I am.
30430  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Islamo-fascismo en Latino America on: January 15, 2007, 10:27:23 AM
Argentina Pursues Iran in '94 Blast As Neighbors Court Ahmadinejad

By Monte Reel
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, January 14, 2007; Page A14

BUENOS AIRES -- As Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visits Latin America this weekend to strengthen economic and political ties with the region, Argentina's Néstor Kirchner will not be in the line of presidents turning out to greet him.

Kirchner's government has reinvigorated attempts to prosecute Iranian figures for their alleged role in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center here, recently issuing arrest warrants for nine former Iranian officials. Among those sought is former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, accused of ordering the attack that killed 85 people and injured more than 200.


A bomb exploded at a Jewish community center in downtown Buenos Aires on July 18, 1994, killing 85 people and wounding more than 200. Efforts to prosecute in the case, initially stalled by judicial corruption, have led to the indictments of nine former Iranian officials. (1994 Photo By Alejandro Pagni -- Associated Press)

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The pursuit of Iran has been frustrated over the years by blatant corruption in the Argentine judicial system and accusations of coverups. The latest efforts to resolve the case come as much of the region is expanding relations with Iran, and several of Argentina's regional allies are pledging support for Ahmadinejad's government.

The Iranian leader plans to meet this week with Venezuela's Hugo Chávez, Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega, Ecuador's Rafael Correa, Bolivia's Evo Morales and possibly others. They are expected to discuss broadening bilateral agreements, such as the technology-sharing deals that Chávez signed with Iran last year.

"Clearly the actors driving all of this are Chávez and Ahmadinejad," said Michael Shifter, an analyst with the Inter-American Dialogue, a policy forum in Washington. "Both of them see themselves as global players, and so it's nice for them to build these sorts of alliances and coalitions, which people like Correa and Morales are inclined to join in."

Although Argentina maintains friendly relations with each of those leaders, Kirchner's domestic agenda is driving him in a different direction. For example, he canceled plans to attend Correa's inauguration ceremony Monday after Ahmadinejad announced that he would attend.

The continuing U.S. conflict with Iran complicates matters further: Some critics contend that Kirchner's government has been manipulated by a regionally unpopular U.S. government that wants to use the Argentine court rulings to stir international outrage against Iran.

When one of Kirchner's most loyal and high-profile domestic allies -- former street activist Luis D'Elia -- recently suggested that U.S. and Israeli pressure was fueling Argentina's pursuit of Iran, he was forced to resign from his government post two days later.

For many people in Argentina, the indictments have been a bright spot in a case that has been marred for years by botched attempts to bring the bombers to justice.

"Now at least there is hope, a small light that can be seen in the darkness," said Luis Sergio Grynwald, president of the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association, the community organization targeted in the attack. "That light hasn't been reached yet, and we'd like it to be bigger, but it's still a light."

The bombing was the second attack on a Jewish target in Argentina. In 1992, a suicide bomber struck the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, killing 29.

Shortly after the community center blast, then-Argentine President Carlos Menem blamed the attack on Islamic extremists from Iran. Menem was eventually saddled with some of the blame for the derailed investigations that followed: In 2002, a former Iranian intelligence official alleged that Menem, by then out of office, had received $10 million to cover up Tehran's role in the attack. Menem vigorously denied the accusation, but it nonetheless damaged his standing.

The judge investigating the community center bombing -- Juan José Galeano -- was also criticized for undermining the case. He was impeached after being found guilty of misdeeds including paying a defendant $400,000 to testify. He also lost hundreds of hours of wiretap recordings and other evidence.

The only suspects to be tried in the case have been four Argentine police officers and a car thief who were charged as accessories for providing the van used in the bombing. They were acquitted for lack of proof.

Following the judicial missteps, prosecutor Alberto Nisman has been leading a team of investigators dedicated solely to the community center bombing. In late October, Nisman said that his team traced the bombing to a planning session held in 1993 in the Iranian city of Mashhad. He said the motive for the attack had been Argentina's decision to withdraw some of its support for Iran's nuclear ambitions and for its decision to strengthen relations with the United States and Israel.

In November, an Argentine judge said that Nisman's team had provided convincing evidence and issued arrest warrants for the nine former Iranian officials, including Rafsanjani, who was president from 1989 to 1997.

Iran has repeatedly proclaimed its officials had nothing to do with the bombing. In the weeks since Iran said it would ignore the extradition requests, Rafsanjani has maintained a high public profile in Iran, running for a seat in a council of clerics in December.

Even Nisman acknowledges that arresting the suspects is a long shot as long as they stay in Iran. But he insisted that people who criticize his request for the warrants -- particularly those who say he did it solely to bolster the U.S. political case against Iran -- are wrong.

"Unfortunately, there's an upside-down analysis that's happening here," Nisman said. "Instead of analyzing all of this in terms of the proof we have compiled, people are analyzing the case in terms of political convenience
30431  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: MMA on: January 14, 2007, 08:55:02 PM
I've heard that Randy Couture has come out of retirement to fight Tim Sylva for the UFC title?  Can someone confirm or deny?

Interesting match up!!! 

As always, RC has looked fit and strong during his recent commentating.  He competed in Rico Chiapparelli's PSL (Porfessional Submission League).  In short, he may still be sharp.  The question is one of strategy-- how does he solve Tim's size and structure?

I confess to routing for RC-- which is always bad for level-headed assessment.  That said, off the top of my head what occurs to me is that he uses a similar game to his first fight against Vitor Belfort:  High hands putting elbows in VB's striking trajectory, thus nullifying VB's blazing hand speed (at least at that point in his career)   Could this be a solution to Tim's reach, thus enabling a high line close to RC's strong suit in Greco-Roman structures instaed of getting sprawled as did , , , what was that thick guy's name that Tim just beat?

30432  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Fighting Crime on: January 14, 2007, 08:34:28 PM
Slain Convenience Store Clerk Would Fight Robbers, Patrons Say
Employee Described as Family Man

By Hamil R. Harris and Nelson Hernandez
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, January 14, 2007; C03

The patrons of the 7-Eleven in Forest Heights warned Bekuretsion K. Gebreamlak that he had to stop fighting the gunmen who robbed the store with depressing regularity. Just quietly hand over the cash, they told the 57-year-old clerk, and you'll be fine.
But the Suitland resident, who emigrated three years ago from Eritrea in eastern Africa, did not suffer such injustices lightly. He would often chase the robbers, and once he even locked one inside the convenience store.
Late Friday, when a man wearing dark sunglasses walked into the crowded store and shoved a gun in Gebreamlak's face, the part-time clerk talked back, a witness said. He was silenced with a shotgun blast, which killed him instantly, according to Prince George's County police.
"It was a very brazen crime, and we desperately want to get that guy off the street," Cpl. Clinton Copeland said of the assailant, who was wearing a long black coat, two-tone blue jeans, gloves and a black knit hat.
Copeland said the cash register had been moved, but it was unclear whether anything was taken. He said the gunman fled on foot. Police were analyzing the store's security camera footage for clues, Copeland said.
Jim Boyd, the owner of Critical Incident Clean-Up Inc. and a former Upper Marlboro police officer, spent yesterday cleaning up the scene, which was closed off from the public with dark curtains hanging over the windows.
"The circumstances are real tragic in this case," Boyd said. "They wanted money from the employee, and the employee either didn't react fast enough or did something that offended the bad guy, and the bad guy shot him."
Family members grieved yesterday in the Clinton home of the victim's brother, Wesen. Fessah Gebresilassie, Gebreamlak's brother- in-law, said the clerk's wife and three children -- two boys and a girl -- had come to the United States only eight months ago.
"This is really terrible," Gebresilassie said. "He was a nice, hard-working man. He was a family man. This is terrible. We don't deserve this."
Residents of the neighborhood near the 5500 block of Livingston Road said the 7-Eleven is a frequent target of violence. In the neighboring shops, a similar concern about crime is apparent: A Chinese and seafood takeout restaurant has a plexiglass window separating the servers from the customers, and at a nearby North Face jacket store, which is protected by burglar bars, customers have to be buzzed in to shop.
"It seems like that store gets robbed every three or four months," Larry Colbert, a longtime resident of the community, said of the 7-Eleven. "The police struggle to catch and bring the robbers in, and then they get out and are back on the loose."
Gebreamlak grew increasingly angry at the repeated robberies, store patrons said.
"He was a very opinionated person," said a 36-year-old man who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he feared retaliation. The man said Gebreamlak had given robbers money on other occasions but sometimes chased them as they fled the store. He said Gebreamlak had once locked a robber, as well as customers, inside the store in the hope of apprehending the criminal, but eventually he let everyone out.
"They all had a habit of trying to stop them, and grab them, and trying to fight," the man said of the store employees.
It is unclear what Gebreamlak did when the gunman entered his store about 9 p.m. Friday, but he apparently spoke to the robber, who brandished a shotgun and demanded money.
The 36-year-old man, who was seated outside the store as the robbery unfolded, said he didn't hear the gunshot but noticed people running out of the store about 20 yards away.
"The customers ran out of the store and said, 'They robbed him! He just got robbed!' " the man said. "I ran into the store, and there was one woman working with him. She said, 'They shot him.' I didn't want to look at him. His body was behind the counter on the floor."
A 7-Eleven official who supervised the cleanup said Gebreamlak was "a good employee who was liked by the customers." She said she had no idea when the store would open again.
30433  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: January 14, 2007, 08:24:03 PM

Rome, 10 Jan. (AKI) - Italian conservative MP Daniela Santanche has received death threats over her opposition to the Muslim veil, Italy's leading paper Corriere della Sera reported in a front-page article on Wednesday. Santanche reportedly received a letter in Arabic and English at her lower house office Tuesday night with pictures of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, murdered in 2004 by an Islamist fundamentalist for his movie Submission, which denounced violence on women in Muslim countries, and Dutch MP Hirsi Ali, the film's author, who has also received death threats.

"This is the hour of my liberation...your time has come," the note said. The message also carried a paragraph from the BBC World website on 23 October, describing Santanche as an MP who "has said the veil is not required by the Koran" and has been described as "an infidel by an imam."

Santanche, a leading member of the right-wing National Alliance Party in Italy's opposition, has been under police escort since late October last year, when her criticism of the Muslim veil led to threats which were considered serious by security officials, including those of Muslim cleric Aby Shwaima, the imam of the mosque of Segrate in Milan and one of the founders of Italy's largest Muslim group UCOII, who slammed her as an "infidel" during a television show on Sky Italia on 20 October.

Shwaima's outrage was sparked by two television interviews given by Santanche in which she had said that the Muslim veil "is not a religious symbol and it is not required by the Koran" and that "it is not a symbol of freedom." 993235&par
30434  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Politica-Economia en Latino America on: January 14, 2007, 08:10:31 PM

Iranian, Nicaraguan leaders meet, vow to work together

POSTED: 2352 GMT (0752 HKT), January 14, 2007

var clickExpire = "02/13/2007";Story Highlights

• Iran's president met with Nicaragua's president Sunday in Managua
• Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met with Venezuela's president Saturday
• Hugo Chavez, Ahmadinejad join for projects to combat U.S. influence
• Ahmadinejad said Latin American nations will work together against America
Adjust font size:

MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) -- Iran's hardline president expanded his courtship of allies in his standoff with Washington on Sunday.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad pledged deeper ties with Nicaragua's leftist leader through the opening of new embassies in each other's capitals.

Ahmadinejad was in Managua as part of a whirlwind series of meetings with Latin America's newly inaugurated leftist leaders.
He visited fellow OPEC member Venezuela on Saturday, vowing with President Hugo Chavez to spend billions of dollars financing projects in other countries to combat the global influence of their common enemy, the United States.
Ahmadinejad's tour comes as he faces rising criticism at home for his handling of the international debate over his country's nuclear program and its alleged meddling in Iraq.

Conservatives and reformists alike have blamed his provocative remarks for increasingly isolating Iran, which now faces sanctions for refusing to halt uranium enrichment.

President of a fundamentalist Shiite theocracy deeply hostile to Washington, Ahmadinejad met with Nicaragua's newly inaugurated leftist President Daniel Ortega.

Ortega's first government faced a U.S.-backed guerrilla insurgency during the 1980s.

The leaders announced they would open embassies in each other's capitals, strengthening ties between two countries that have had little interaction yet share long and troubled histories with the U.S.

Their paths crossed in the 1980s during the Iran-Contra affair during which the U.S. secretly sold arms to Iran to free American hostages. The U.S. then used some of the proceeds to back Contra rebels who fought Ortega's first, Soviet-backed government.
"Our two counties have common interests, enemies and goals," Ahmadinejad said. "We may be far apart, but we are close in heart."

Ortega, however, did not match Ahmadinejad's confrontational rhetoric in his remarks Sunday. The Nicaraguan president instead focused on how Iran and Nicaragua should work to help the developing world.

He spoke of "constructive agreements to combat hunger, unemployment and poverty."

While pledging close ties with Ahmadinejad, Ortega has tried to start his new government on a cordial note with the U.S. government.  His measured remarks also contrasted those of Chavez, who railed against America during Ahmadinejad's visit to Venezuela on Saturday. (Full story)  Later in his visit to Nicaragua, Ahmadinejad toured a poor, trash-strewn neighborhood in Managua, where barefoot children on their parents' shoulders waved flags from Ortega's Sandinista party.

"The imperialists don't like us to help you progress and develop. They don't like us to get rid of poverty and unite people," he said. "Iran, Nicaragua and Venezuela and other revolutionary countries are together and we will resist together."

Ortega and Ahmadinejad are expected to sign a cooperation agreement.  On Monday, the Iranian leader will attend the inauguration of Ecuador's new president, Rafael Correa, and meet with Bolivian President Evo Morales. Both are both outspoken critics of the Bush administration's policies in Latin America.  Venezuela and Iran, both oil-rich nations, had previously announced plans for a joint $2 billion fund to finance investments in their own countries.  But Chavez and Ahmadinejad said Saturday the money would also be used for projects in other countries. Chavez is a close ally of Cuban leader Fidel Castro whom Washington sees as a destabilizing influence. He has pledged billions of dollars to the region in foreign aid, bond buyouts and preferentially financed oil deals.

Iran, meanwhile, is accused of bankrolling militant groups in the Middle East like Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, as well as insurgents in Iraq.  On Saturday, the U.S. military said five Iranians arrested in northern Iraq last week were connected to an Iranian Revolutionary Guard faction that funds and arms insurgents in Iraq.  Ahmadinejad did not respond to those allegations while in Managua.

Iran's Foreign Ministry on Sunday denied reports that nuclear activities had stalled at one of its uranium enrichment plants and reiterated it would press ahead with its nuclear program.

The West fears that Iran could be using uranium to make atomic weapons.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
30435  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: January 14, 2007, 06:12:17 AM
Publication:The New York Sun; Date:Jun 30, 2004; Section:Front page; Page:1



By BENNY AVNI Special to the Sun

UNITED NATIONS — In the wake of growing rhetorical Iranian threats against America and recent disclosures of ties between Iran and Al Qaeda,Washington expelled two guards at the Iranian mission to the United Nations, it was disclosed yesterday.

The American U.N. envoy, Stuart Holliday, told reporters the Iranians were “asked to leave the country” after being caught casing New York sites. They left on Saturday.

The demand by Washington, the third such case involving suspicions against Iranians affiliated with the U.N. mission, came as tensions over Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program has led Tehran hard-liners to directly threaten the use of terrorism against America.

“We will map 29 sensitive sites in the United States, and give the information to all international terror organizations,” the head of an Iranian body known as Security Without Borders, Hassan Abassi, said two weeks ago.

Speaking in Tehran, he added, “We know where America’s Achilles’ heel is.”

Israel Radio’s Farsi service director, Menashe Amir, who closely monitors the Iranian press, told The New York Sun that Mr.Abassi is the top ideologue of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and is often being used as a mouthpiece for the hard-liners in Tehran. “The heads of the Revolutionary Guards have increased their anti-American rhetoric in the last few weeks,” he said.

Since the two spying suspects returned to Iran, Mr. Amir added, the Iranian press was divided among hardliners, who presented them as heroes, and the moderates, who criticized the circumstances that led to their return.

At the U.N.,Mr.Holliday said the two men, described as “security officials” but not identified by name, were seen “moving around New York City and essentially surveilling and taking photographs of a variety of New York landmarks and infrastructure and the rest. Obviously, this isn’t something that’s a part of protecting their mission here in New York.”

In a statement faxed to the Sun, a spokesman for Iran’s U.N. mission, Morteza Ramandi, said that the two security guards “curtailed their temporary assignments and left the United States,” stressing that they had done nothing wrong.

The men, who had no diplomatic immunity, left after Washington “invoked the shooting of a videotape and picture” in May, Mr. Ramandi said. He insisted they did not violate any law, and were merely taking pictures of “obvious popular tourist attractions in New York City.”

“We categorically deny that they ever took any photos of anything of security or sensitive nature,” he said.

American sources point to two previous incidents, in June 2002 and last November, when Iranians assigned to the U.N. mission were caught suspiciously photographing landmarks, infrastructure, and transportation sites and were asked to leave.

The latest one, involving videotaping by Iranians of a Woodside, Queens, subway station, was described by Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly in an interview with Fox News last December. “They were clearly focused on the train tracks for an inordinate period of time,” Mr. Kelly said. The pattern of Iranians, who temporarily come to New York on security assignments and then are either expelled or simply return to Iran and replaced by others, does not fit the normal flow of diplomatic activities, U.N. officials said.

“I understand that obviously the threshold is different for people that are assigned, in a sense, to activities here at the United Nations,” Mr. Holliday said. Countering Mr. Ramandi’s contention that the two were innocent tourists, he added,“We have great confidence in the ability of federal law enforcement to determine what actions and behavior is typical and what is atypical.”

In a little noticed detail of the interim staff report — of the congressional commission investigating the September 11 attacks, intelligence was cited, showing “far greater potential for collaboration between Hezbollah and Al Qaeda than many had previously thought.”

In particular, the report contended that Osama bin Laden played a role in the 1996 bombing of the Saudi Khobar Towers complex, which previously was thought to be solely conducted by Hezbollah, Iran’s terrorist proxy.

Tehran has long been suspected of using Hezbollah, particularly through its founder, Imad Moughniyeh, for overseas operations like the attacks on the Jewish Community Center and the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in the mid-1990s.

Recently, as America increased its pressure for tougher action by the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency against Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program, the ayatollahs have flexed muscles, threatening to use known terrorist ties and perhaps physically preparing for such an eventuality as well, terrorism experts say.

Iran also toughened its public nuclear stance. Over the weekend, it announced it would resume building centrifuges for its nuclear program, pledging to temporarily not use the devices to enrich uranium.

It also said that in addition to its midrange Shihab 3 missiles, which can reach 750 miles, it would resume building the Shihab 4, with a range of 1,500 miles,and the Shihab 5,which can reach as far as 3,000 miles and threaten major European and American targets.
(Marc:  Note that these ranges put Europe within the reach of Iranian nukes when they have them.)
“The Iranians are very thorough,” Israeli intelligence expert and journalist Yossi Melman told the Sun. “They are preparing themselves for the next battle with America.” One weapon in that battle, he added, might well be the collection of possible New York sites for a future “target bank.”
30436  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam the religion on: January 14, 2007, 06:04:39 AM
30437  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / In a similar vein, but more ominously on: January 13, 2007, 07:09:52 PM

*TERROR TOOL: Terrorists attacking British bases in Basra are using aerial footage displayed by the Google Earth internet tool to pinpoint their attacks, say Army intelligence sources. Documents seized during raids on the homes of insurgents last week uncovered print-outs from photographs taken from Google.
30438  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Cuba on: January 13, 2007, 09:00:58 AM
Lo siguiente es del WSJ Online de hoy 
Reach Out To Cuba's People
January 13, 2007; Page A13

With Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visiting Venezuela today, it might be a good time to consider another "change in course" for U.S. policy. The isolation of Cuba, a legacy of the Cold War, is pushing that country closer to America's most dangerous enemies.

In a recent open letter to President Bush, several major Cuban dissident groups called for an end to U.S. restrictions on travel and remittances to Cuba. Now joining their call is the Miami-based Cuban Consensus, a coalition of 20 pro-democracy groups including the "hard-line" Cuban-American National Foundation. The advocates for the current policy -- chiefly three intransigent Cuban-American representatives in Congress -- are increasingly alone.

If we don't lift the travel and remittance restrictions now, it is not just the Cuban people who stand to suffer. Allowing Cuba to slip further under the influence of Venezuela's newly reelected Hugo Chávez, the proud new ally of Iran, would be terrible for the U.S.

These restrictions are regulatory, which means that the president could eliminate them tomorrow. But the Helms-Burton law freezes the larger economic embargo in place until the communist regime dismantles its security apparatus and calls for free elections -- and until both Raúl and Fidel Castro are gone. With the changing of the guard in Havana, there will be opportunities for incremental reform. The new Congress must amend Helms-Burton to give the president the flexibility he will need to seize them.

Any major opening -- such as diplomatic talks or relaxation of the embargo -- should be conditioned on Cuba's release of political prisoners, economic reforms, freedom of speech and a dismantling of the neighborhood spy system that has driven Cuban society into such a heartbreaking state of paranoia. But Helms-Burton's rigid, all-or-nothing approach creates no incentive for Cuba's communists to undertake even the most minor reform.

For many supporters of the current policy, isolating Cuba has become almost an end in itself. Nothing could be more perverse. If Cuban culture is exposed to globalization, it will fuel yearning for the freedoms of modernity. If we expand diplomatic contact, we will begin to discover allies within the regime. Allowing Cuba to join the international trade and finance system (which U.S. law largely prevents) will multiply the incentives to liberalize. By isolating Cuba and driving it into the arms of Hugo Chávez, the only real beneficiaries are communist hard-liners -- and their patrons.

Cuba's communist regime has two conflicting needs -- isolation and money. Ending isolation will rebuild the bridges between Cubans and their most natural allies -- the American people. It would also likely expose Cubans to the political and commercial culture of one of the most spectacularly successful immigrant communities in the U.S. -- that of their exiled family members in Miami.

Relaxing the flow of funds from the U.S. would also turn a communist need to our advantage. The more Cuba depends financially on the U.S., the more leverage we will gain in pushing for economic and political reform. Cutting the regime off from sources of financing may have made sense after the fall of the Soviet Union, when Cuba had nowhere else to turn. But now it has Venezuela.

With Fidel Castro's removal from power and imminent demise, the key obstacle to reform within the regime has disappeared. A new generation of bureaucrats now has a chance to gain influence. Many of today's younger "communists" are less interested in the Revolution than in maintaining stability -- and much less interested in Venezuela's patronage than in normalizing relations with the U.S. For Cuba's proud armed forces, the prospect of becoming servants to Mr. Chávez is not attractive. Unfortunately, U.S. stubbornness leaves them little choice.

Cuba's increasing dependence on Mr. Chávez is dangerous for the U.S. Venezuela uses oil money to fuel a global campaign against America. Venezuelan intelligence services set up shop wherever they can in Latin America to eradicate government officials educated in the U.S. or suspected of pro-American sympathies. Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua are falling firmly into Venezuela's orbit. And throughout the Non-Aligned Movement, Mr. Chávez trades oil money for diplomatic support against the U.S. in a new kind of Cold War. Worse, after his recent election victory, Mr. Chávez seems to be claiming a mandate for an even more stridently Castroist and anti-American position -- all of which will influence the direction of the Cuban regime.

Looming on the horizon is an even greater threat. Iran's intelligence services -- perhaps the most prolific and sophisticated terrorist organization in the world -- use diplomatic channels to build their network. And there are clear indications of a renewed Hezbollah effort in South America. Thus Venezuela's new alliance with Iran represents a grave danger to the whole hemisphere. Venezuela is already putting enormous pressure on Cuba to expand its ties with Iran; an Iranian foothold just 90 miles from our own shores would be a catastrophic setback in the war on terror.

Relaxing Cuba's isolation would help diminish a gathering threat to national security, and bring hope to Cubans everywhere that the long tragedy of communism and exile may finally be coming to an end.

Mr. Loyola is a Fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

30439  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Dempsey in action on: January 13, 2007, 08:36:53 AM

vs Willard 1919:

vs Carpentier 1921:

vs Firpo 1923:

vs Sharkey 1927:

30440  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Particular Stocks on: January 12, 2007, 05:30:34 PM
Big move by KVHI today-- apparently the market liked what it heard this morning:

KVH Industries' CEO & CFO to Speak at 9th Annual Needham & Company Growth Conference
7:30 AM EST January 11, 2007
KVH Industries' (Nasdaq: KVHI) president and chief executive officer, Martin Kits van Heyningen, and chief financial officer, Patrick Spratt, will be speaking at the Ninth Annual Needham & Company Growth Conference in New York City on Friday, January 12, 2007. The presentation, which is scheduled for 9:30 a.m., will be simulcast on the Internet and can be accessed via KVH Industries' investor website, An audio archive of the presentation will also be available for replay later in the day at the same website address.

About KVH Industries, Inc.

KVH Industries, Inc., is a premier manufacturer of systems to provide access to live mobile media ranging from satellite TV to telephone and high-speed Internet for vehicles and vessels as well as a leading source of navigation, pointing, and guidance solutions for maritime, defense, and commercial applications. The company's products are based on its proprietary mobile satellite antenna and fiber optic technologies. An ISO 9001-certified company, KVH is based in Middletown, Rhode Island.

SOURCE: KVH Industries

 Chris Watson KVH Industries 401-845-8138 
30441  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics on: January 12, 2007, 11:57:59 AM
The hated alternative minimum tax will hit about 19 million taxpayers this year, up from 1.3 million who got socked by Uncle Sam's shadow tax system in 2000. We've noted many times that voters in Democratic states in the Northeast and California tend to be the most heavily impacted by the AMT and that if Congressional Democrats don't change this system, their own voters will soon be walloped with the biggest middle-income tax hike in American history. That's why we call the AMT the "Blue State" tax.

Now a new study by the Tax Foundation reveals the 20 Congressional districts with the highest percentage of voters who are impacted by the AMT. Guess what? This is also the "Blue District" tax as well. The study finds that nearly half of the top 20 districts are in New York -- which just happens to be Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel's home state. New Jersey and California are next in line in terms of having the highest percentage of AMT victims. Thirteen of the top 20 congressional districts with the highest percentage of AMT voters have a Democratic congressman -- including the top four. The award-winning district with the most AMT filers is that of Rep. Nita Lowey. In her suburban New York district, some 14% of all filers pay an AMT penalty averaging $5,885 a year.

One reason that so many New York, California and New Jersey taxpayers get kicked in the rear is that these are high-income (and high cost-of-living) states, with high state and local taxes. Under the AMT, these tax filers lose their write-off for their hefty state and local tax payments. What's more, because the AMT threshold wasn't indexed for inflation and wasn't adjusted for the Bush cuts in regular income tax rates, the AMT is set to clamp its fangs on a much larger section of the taxpaying public soon, reaching 20% of all filers by 2010. That means if Washington doesn't do anything to alleviate the coming avalanche, governors like Elliot Spitzer of New York and Jon Corzine of New Jersey will be under strong pressure to cut their own tax rates to cushion the blow or else risk a wholesale flight of their highest earners and most prosperous industries to other states.

-- Stephen Moore
Opinion Journal, WSJ

30442  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Particular Stocks on: January 12, 2007, 09:57:41 AM
I rode out MVIS's pullback from the 3.25 area and now it pulls back from 3.90 area (3.80 is a double for me in 10 weeks).


FWIW, here's a teaser on MVIS from the Gilder Report:

The Week / A New Vision for Microvision

Gilder Technology Report’s Charlie Burger: By combining its proprietary silicon micromirror with modulated light sources, Microvision (MVIS) enables higher-intensity, finer-grained imagers and displays using a fraction of the size and power of rival systems. Though it possesses the single most potent display technology in the industry, Microvision has for years been foundering in uncharted waters, steered by a Magellan management pursuing too many difficult applications too early.


Now, new management fresh out of General Electric (GE) appears to be steadying the ship. After a decade filling key marketing, operations, and product development roles at GE, Alexander Tokman jumped to Microvision a year ago July as operations chief. Quickly gaining the CEO spot last January, he brought in marketing and sales chief, Ian Brown, and R&D head, Sid Madhaven, with a combined 26 years of experience at GE.

Finally, Microvision becomes as focused as its photons

The key goal of the new team is development of an integrated photonics module (IPM) or microprojector to be used as a common display engine in its new products. Small enough to integrate into a cellphone or iPod, the microprojector will include the silicon micromirror (about a square millimeter in size) and light sources, electronics to wiggle the mirror and modulate the light, a controller, and memory.


Three separate beams of red, blue, and green light from either LEDs (light emitting diodes) or semiconductor lasers shine on the mirror. Gimballing on two axes, it flickers to project 30 million pixels a second onto a surface such as a wall. Even though the mirror reflects one pixel at time in raster fashion, it does it so quickly that our brains “see” a static image or continuous movie. To produce different colors during the scan, the light sources are modulated to emit beams at varying combinations of intensities.


In addition to functioning as a projector, Microvision’s display technology can be turned into a scanner or near-field camera that works well over distances that are about the same as those for a barcode reader. In this case, the light sources that bounce off the moving mirror are used to illuminate an object. A detector receives the scattered light energy and converts it to electrical signals stored in the appropriate memory locations based on the corresponding pixel position, thereby reproducing the object. Because the time the beam remains on any given spot is a very short 20 nanoseconds, there’s virtually no motion blur.


Tokman is focusing on three specific product areas: (1) miniprojectors, including embedded projectors inside cellphones and standalone models that will work with portable devices; (2) head-up displays (HUDs), now making their way into luxury cars, that shine an image directly in front of the driver, just above the steering wheel, displaying information about the engine, weather, navigation, and traffic; (3) eyewear that creates immersive experiences for gamers and movie buffs, giving them a virtual screen equivalent to an 80- to 100-inch display.


Management is focusing on potent markets. By 2008, some 80–90 percent of all cellphones—some 800 million shipped that year—are expected to have mega-pixel cameras and/or be capable of receiving broadband video. Nokia (NOK) is already looking at technologies to integrate projectors into mobile devices, and several large consumer electronics companies are reportedly developing microprojectors based on very small display technologies. And head-up displays are becoming popular in cars for safety, for convenience, and as a differentiator for luxury models. Automakers installed several hundred thousand units last year and could increase that to 4 million units a year by 2010.


But when the consumers and manufacturers arrive, will Tokman be there to meet them? …

Learn more, by reading Charlie Burger’s complete Microvision analysis. Logon with your GTR subscriber ID at now.


Hands-on With Microvision's Itty Bitty Projector

CES 2007: Microvision to Debut Miniature Projector
30443  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Law Enforcement on: January 12, 2007, 08:53:00 AM
We kick this thread off with a very ugly one:

Prison Talk Leads to Lawman's Arrest
Associated Press Writer

CHICAGO (AP) -- Reputed mob boss Michael Marcello apparently didn't watch crime shows on television - otherwise he might have known the FBI could listen in on his conversations in the visitors room at the federal penitentiary in Milan, Mich.
The unsuspecting Marcello dropped broad hints about his source inside the U.S. Marshals Service during conversations with his incarcerated brother in 2003. FBI agents heard every word about the man Marcello called "the babysitter."
Deputy marshal John Thomas Ambrose surrendered Thursday to FBI agents who say he was the source who spilled to Marcello secrets about a federally protected witness to organized crime.
"This defendant's conduct in revealing closely guarded and highly sensitive information ... constitutes an egregious breach of his law enforcement duties," First Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary S. Shapiro said.
Ambrose is accused in court papers of leaking information regarding the whereabouts of reputed mobster Nicholas Calabrese, a key witness in the government's Operation Family Secrets murder conspiracy case. Fourteen reputed mobsters and their associates are charged in the indictment alleging a conspiracy to commit at least 18 murders.
Ambrose appeared briefly before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael T. Mason, who released him on a $50,000 unsecured bond and scheduled a preliminary hearing for Jan. 30. He declined to comment as he left the courtroom, but defense attorney Francis C. Lipuma told reporters that his client denies the accusations.
"John Ambrose is not connected to the mob at all," Lipuma said.
Prosecutors said that between January and June 2003 they intercepted 11 conversations that took place when Michael Marcello visited his brother, James, at the Michigan prison. Both Marcello brothers are charged in the Operation Family Secrets indictment.
Prosecutors said the conversations showed that Michael Marcello had an inside source of information concerning Nicholas Calabrese. They said the conversations also indicated that the source was a federal lawman with access to the files of the Marshals Service witness program.
Michael Marcello might have given federal officials their best clue when he said that the source was the son of a defendant in the so-called "Marquette 10" police corruption case. Ambrose's father, Thomas Ambrose, died in prison while serving his bribery sentence stemming from the Marquette 10 case, prosecutors said.
Additionally, John Thomas Ambrose was a member of the Marshals Service's so-called Calabrese detail and would have had access to the information, prosecutors said. They said Ambrose's fingerprints were found on Calabrese documents.
Ambrose has been on leave since September. He is charged with theft of government property, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.
30444  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: January 12, 2007, 08:44:43 AM

Geopolitical Diary: Iran's View of the Surge

U.S. forces raided an Iranian consular office on Thursday in the Iraqi city of Arbil and captured several people. This is the second operation of this kind in a month against Iranians in Iraq, but this one took place shortly after the end of U.S. President George W. Bush's speech announcing a new "surge" of troops into the country. The Iranians, obviously, objected strenuously to the raid, which they argued was carried out without the approval of the Iraqi government -- diplomatically important since it was an office of the Iranian Consulate. The United States did not comment directly, but clearly couldn't care less.

We have been talking about the psychological and political dimension of Washington's new strategy. Obviously, the increase in troops, rather than the drawdown expected after the Democratic victory and the Iraq Study Group report, was a surprise to the Iranians. It seems that the Bush administration is now trying to increase the pressure. The Israeli discussion of using nuclear weapons against Iraq, the report that the CIA has been authorized to act against Hezbollah (which is Iran's asset in Lebanon), attacks on Iranian offices in Iraq, and statements by various Bush administration officials warning Tehran, taken together, point to a concerted effort to intimidate Iran.

The question, of course, is whether Iran finds itself intimidated. Certainly, the world has changed since November 2006, when the Iranians reasonably felt they were on the verge of the strategic triumph of dominating Iraq. Washington has now taken the game to extra innings. But extra innings do not mean victory. From the Iranian point of view, it would seem, the fundamentals have not changed much. The United States is still in the game with too little, and too late; Israeli nuclear strikes would create an interesting political dynamic for Iran, even more interesting than having nukes; Hezbollah can take care of itself against the CIA; and the U.S. raids in Iraq are pinpricks.

At the same time, the Iranians are also aware of American resiliency and American deviousness. They recall how the Iraqi invasion of Iran bogged down the revolution for a decade and how the United States quietly manipulated the situation. They watched the Soviet Union collapse after the United States seemed to be a declining power in the 1970s. There are leaders in Iran who remember that the Americans have enormous reserves of power and resources and a very unpredictable political process.

Things always look better on the other side of the hill. From the Iranian point of view -- as opposed to the gloomy American view -- the United States is resourceful and treacherous. As events diverge from the expected path, the Iranians, at least some of them, have to be wondering whether they have made another major miscalculation. So, just as the Americans are gloomily trying one last gambit, the Iranians are wondering if their strategic hopes are going to fade.

There are interesting developments in Iranian politics that have been discussed here before. With Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei apparently ill, and impeachment moves in the works against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, one wonders how much of this apparent instability is due to unease over the possibility that the Iranians are more vulnerable than they might appear. Iranian politics are opaque, and it is not clear whether any of this is serious; but still, it is there and has arisen at the same time that the United States has shifted policy and defied expectations.

Obviously, this is Bush's hope. He hopes that he can force Iran to re-evaluate its position in light of his unexpected moves. That might seem unlikely from an American point of view, but we have to wonder whether the Iranians see things as Americans do. Pessimism and exaggerated fears could well be endemic in this situation.
30445  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: WHERE IS THE FOOTWORK!?! on: January 11, 2007, 08:12:23 PM
IMHO many boxers have outstanding footwork for their sport, but that does not necessarily make boxing footwork the ideal for MMA.  I thought Hugh Jardine demonstrated some outstanding footwork in his fight with Forrest Griffin-- indeed in my opinion it explained everything.  I will expound further on the DBMA Association forum.
30446  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Forrest Griifin's emotional reaction postfight on: January 11, 2007, 07:55:19 PM
Woof All:

I got the idea for this thread from one of extraordinary immaturity on this topic on "The Underground" at  I was really struck by the juvenile tenor of many of the posts impugning FG's manhood despite the fact that he has been a fighter of remarkable courage, composure, and class.  So what happened this time that was different?  It is hard to think of so much emotion publicly shown in the world of boxing.

As I intuit my way on this subject, one thing that occurs to me is that unlike the business of boxing, full as it is of people from lives with little or no other options, MMA consists mostly of people who do it for reasons other than money.  I remember in the early days of the UFC when it was talking with us about fighting for them a conversation I had with Art Davie.  I suggested he pay the fighters more money.  "Why?" he asked, "They'd fight for free."

So what is the motive here?  And what are the consequences of losing to this motivation?

The Adventure continues,
Crafty Dog

30447  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: SEMINAR Die Less Often: Interface of Gun, Knife and Emtpy Hand on: January 11, 2007, 07:35:09 PM
Only three spaces left!
30448  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Nuclear Bomb stuff on: January 11, 2007, 07:34:17 PM
North Korea: Rumors of a Second Test

Reported activity at a suspected North Korean nuclear test site has triggered another round of speculation about whether Pyongyang intends to carry out a follow-up to its October 2006 nuclear test. While South Korea, Japan and the United States are stepping up surveillance of North Korea, it is unlikely there will be another test anytime soon. By carrying out intentionally suspicious activity in full view of foreign satellites and reconnaissance aircraft, Pyongyang is sending a message to Washington ahead of the upcoming talks over the sanctions against the hermit kingdom: Lift financial restrictions or risk another North Korean nuclear test.


Rumors and speculation surrounding a possible second North Korean nuclear test have been circulating for a week after reports indicated vehicle movements and other suspicious activities have been taking place around suspected North Korean nuclear test sites. The reports have triggered an increase in surveillance by the United States, Japan and South Korea, and prompted a series of statements from these and other states urging North Korea to refrain from another test and warning of consequences.

These warnings are exactly what Pyongyang wants to hear. North Korea is well aware that its nuclear sites are under near-constant surveillance by foreign satellites and reconnaissance aircraft, and it frequently has shuffled equipment to create a stir. This activity also creates a crying-wolf situation, in which warnings of imminent missile or nuclear tests become so frequent that when a test does occur, it comes almost as a surprise.

North Korea is looking to resume talks over U.S. action against foreign banks dealing with North Korean accounts. North Korea has cited these "sanctions," as Pyongyang calls them, as its justification for pulling out of the six-party talks and for testing its nuclear device. Pyongyang has said several times that it considered the sanctions a hostile act, and the nuclear test was its response.

North Korea's intense focus on the banking restrictions demonstrates just how significantly the country was impacted by the U.S. action, which cut money sources for the regime's elite. While the North Korean government could tolerate economic strictures on the nation and its people, it was not willing to accept similar action against the elite's own bank accounts and alternative financing methods.

The success of these U.S. financial actions makes it less likely that Washington will back down, as the United States has long sought a lever to shape North Korean actions and options. At the same time, the personal nature of the banking restrictions means the North Korean leadership cannot back down, since this would risk a fracturing of the elite -- triggering instability within the top ranks of the leadership.

By moving around trucks for the satellites to see, North Korea is sending a message to Washington. Pyongyang believes the United States does not want another North Korean nuclear test, but is currently unable to prevent one militarily. Thus, Pyongyang is warning that unless economic restrictions are loosened, North Korea will again embarrass the United States by conducting a test. Washington's failure to respond beyond new sanctions on wine and iPods will simply prove that the American emperor has no clothes. And this apparent impotence will affect U.S. efforts to block Iran's nuclear development.

For now, Washington is not backing down. If an agreement is not reached between Washington and Pyongyang, or if China decides not to rein in North Korea, a second test is likely -- but not for several months. Until then, North Korea will posture and exploit satellite imagery, seeking to shape the political dialogue but also to create a sense of alert fatigue, giving some room for surprise when a test finally is conducted.
30449  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam the religion on: January 11, 2007, 07:25:54 PM

Counterterrorism Blog

HS Future Terrorism Task Force findings: "Salafi Jihadism is the main threat"

By Walid Phares

The Task Force on Future Terrorism formed by the Homeland Security's Advisory Council (HSAC) released its findings today in Washington DC, in the presence of Secretary Chertoff, other US leaders and the media. In his remarks, Task Force chairman Lee Hamilton said the group expect al Qaeda and other Islamic radicals to continue to attempt to attack the US. He said motivations behind these potential attacks are "complex" and include extremist ideologies. He added that while it is impossible to predict with precisions, three elements are to be taken into consideration: Terrorists leadership, political and economic reform in the Muslim world and safe havens (as in Pakistan). Frank Cilluffo, the vice chairman of the Task Force said "home and prison radicalization is very important" in the growth of the threat. He mentioned that a "lexicon" has to be established to engage in the "battle of ideas."

The findings, as announced today, include a variety of assessments and recommendations. It is important that the community of counter terrorism experts review the findings and evaluate it, as they are now a basis for a policy discussion at the level of Government. Two CTB members were consulted during the research sessions: Steve Emerson and myself. Among the points raised by HSAC are the following issues related to the War of Ideas, along with my comments :

1) "There is every indication that the number and magnitude of attacks on the U.S., its interests and its allies will likely increase.".
Comment: It would be important for the CT community to begin working on the parameters of this projection: the almost certainty that the magnitude of attacks will increase.

2) The most significant terrorist threat to the homeland and to U.S. interests abroad today is a growing radical, extremist movement underpinned by a jihadist/Salafist ideology.
Comment: As projected by the majority of Terrorism experts, and against the views of the majority of academics in the field of Middle East Studies, the confirmation of the Jihadi-Salafi ideology as the root of "the most significant terrorist threat to the US" is a major statement. Experts and analysts should expand on this finding and establish the various programs to show the links between the ideology and Terror. Also, I advice those members in Congress who are now involved in national security, defense and homeland security to act in light of this important finding and expand legislative work to investigate this threat and respond to it.

3.) "The Internet enhances the full range of terrorist activities (training, target selection, planning, execution and other tradecraft), and is an especially powerful tool for spreading their message and recruiting and enlisting into the jihadists’ ranks."
Comment: Such a finding should be noted, especially by US courts dealing with Terrorism. Terrorism cases have crumbled in the past few years because of the incapacity of the judicial system in absorbing the real threat of Jihadism online.

4. American Muslims noted the report are, less alienated than Muslims living in Western Europe, where the "homegrown" threat is significant and rising.
Comment: This finding should be expanded and analysis should be directed to understand the tactics used by the Jihadists to exploit "alienation" in Europe and compare with the tactics used by radicals in this country to "create" alienation, so that it could be exploited inthe future.

5. "Countering "home-grown" radicalization must be one of the Department's top priorities by using the Department's Radicalization and Engagement Working Group (REWG) to better understand the process - from sympathizer to activist to terrorist.
Comment: In other words, the US Department of Homeland Security must develop a strategy to counter the process of formation of a terrorist from supporter of Jihadism to actual followers, and eventually become an executer of Jihadism terror. I would recommend a new area of research which I have initiated in my book Future Jihad in chapter "Mutant Jihad." In short: Establish a system that would intercept the Jihadist process at its early stages instead of meeting it at its last stages.

6. "The Department should work with subject matter experts to ensure that the lexicon used within public statements is clear, precise and does not play into the hands of the extremists."
Comment: This recommendation is the most delicate among all others. The Europeans have failed dramatically in producing an anti-Jihadi lexicon because they relied on the advice of academics and researchers who advocated the "innocence" of Jihadism and proposed a different linguistic direction for the lexicon. Results: Further radicalization in Europe. The US Homeland Security projection has been successful in projecting that "language" is an issue. The next step is to ensure that the "lexicon" will be in line with the general strategic findings of the report: that is to reject the Jihadi logic with the help of a democratic, secular and constitutional discourse, not by increasing the reference to religious concepts in response to religious Jihadism. We will develop soon a platform in this sense.

Find below the full text of the findings:

Homeland Security Advisory Council

Future of Terrorism Task Force

January 11, 2007

In June 2006, the Secretary directed the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) to create a Future of Terrorism Task Force (FOTTF) to accomplish the following:

- Assess future threats to the United States and U.S. interests abroad over the next five years

- Strategically fine-tune departmental structures and processes to meet those threats

- Recommend how to better engage and prepare the American public for present and future challenges


•There is every indication that the number and magnitude of attacks on the U.S., its interests and its allies will likely increase

•Globalization has changed the means and opportunities available to those who wish to "know-how" us harm, (increasingly mobile populations, technologies and know-how readily available)

•Terrorism is a tactic for any adversary, whether or not state sponsored, who chooses not to attack us peer-to-peer

•The most significant terrorist threat to the homeland and to U.S. interests abroad today is a growing radical, extremist movement underpinned by a jihadist/Salafist ideology


• Al-Qaeda, although diminished, is resilient and resurgent and remains a threat to the US

•Al-Qaeda has franchised itself across the globe and inspired groups that act locally and largely independently (increasingly leaderless and marked by self-enlistment)

•Although the war in Afghanistan was successful in destroying Al Qaeda s base of operations, our adversaries continue to feed on weak states and have witnessed the spread of safe havens globally, including northwest Pakistan, Iraq, and the Internet

•It is anticipated state-sponsored terrorism will continue


• In recent years, Muslims have born a substantial burden of terrorist attacks

•Our adversaries base their actions (targets and modus operandi) in part on our actions

•Factors that will influence the future of terrorism include: leadership of the terrorists, US counterterrorism efforts status of political reform in Muslim nations and the elimination of safe havens

•The Internet enhances the full range of terrorist activities (training, target selection, planning, execution and other tradecraft), and is an especially powerful tool for spreading their message and recruiting and enlisting into the jihadists’ ranks


• The evolving complexity of the enemy increases the requirement that protection of the homeland be done with seamless coordination between and among federal, state and local authorities and the private sector

•International partners provide valuable input and lessons learned

•Muslims living in the US are more integrated, more prosperous and therefore less alienated than Muslims living in Western Europe, where the "homegrown" threat is significant and rising

•Muslim culture and the Islamic faith are not widely understood within the Western world

•Our adversaries use terror tactics to target both the physical and psychological well-being of our populace


• The Secretary should establish an Office of Net Assessment to provide the Secretary with comprehensive analysis of future threats and US capabilities to meet those threats

•The Secretary should conduct a comprehensive, systematic, and regular examination - a Quadrennial Security Review - of all homeland security threats, assets, plans and strategies with a view toward long-term planning and modernization

•The Secretary should undertake, in conjunction with the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), a comprehensive National Intelligence Estimate to address threats to the homeland

- A permanent Deputy National Intelligence Officer (DNIO) should be assigned to the National Intelligence Council; the DNIO position should rotate between the Department and the FBI.

- State and local input must drive the domestic component of the assessment, and must be continually updated


• Countering "home-grown" radicalization must be one of the Department's top priorities by using the Department's Radicalization and Engagement Working Group (REWG) to better understand the process - from sympathizer to activist to terrorist

•The Department must place a renewed emphasis on recruiting professionals of all types with diverse perspectives, worldviews, skills, languages, and cultural backgrounds and expertise

•The Department should work with subject matter experts to ensure that the lexicon used within public statements is clear, precise and does not play into the hands of the extremists


• Broader avenues of dialogue with the Muslim community should be identified and pursued by the Department to foster mutual respect and understanding, and ultimately trust

•Local communities should take the lead on developing and implementing Muslim outreach programs. DHS should encourage such outreach efforts and facilitate the sharing of best practices

•The Secretary should work directly with state, local, and community leaders to educate them on the threat of radicalization, the necessity of taking preventative action at the local level, and to facilitate the sharing of other nation's and communities' best practices


• The Department should move immediately to implement the recommendations contained in earlier HSAC reports on information sharing, including:

- resolving issues such as classification of information; and

- ensuring that appropriate resources and standards are in place to ensure consistency and adequacy in analytical training and capabilities in fusion centers around the country

•The Department should develop and immediate implement, in concert with the Department of Justice and state and local corrections officials, a program to address prisoner radicalization and post-sentence reintegration


• The Department must use all avenues of international cooperation and instruments of statecraft to boost existing and form new partnerships to foster and maintain a global network that permits among other things, robust intelligence and info permits, information sharing

•The Department should partner with the media and educational institutions to engage the public in prevention and response efforts -developing consistent, accurate, realistic, persuasive and actionable messages as well as evidence-based strategies for communicating the same

•Consider naming the Secretary of Homeland Security to the National Security Council in order to fully integrate national security with homeland security

Task Force Members

• Lee Hamilton, Director, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (Task Force Chair)
•Frank Cilluffo, Associate Vice President for Homeland Security, GWU (Task Force Vice-Chair)
•Kathleen Bader, Textron Inc., Board Member
•Elliott Broidy, Chairman and CEO, Broidy Capital Management
•Dr. Roxy Cohen-Silver, Professor of Psychology, UC Irvine
•Dr. Ruth David, President and CEO, ANSER
•James Dunlap, President, Dunlap Consulting (Former OK State Senator)
•Thomas Foley, Partner, Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer, Feld LLP
•Steve Gross, President, BiNational Logistics LLC
•Glenda Hood, Chairman Glenda Hood Consulting (Former Secretary of State, State of Florida)
• Don Knabe, LA County Board of Supervisors
•John Magaw, Former under Secretary for Security, US DOT
•Patrick McCrory, Mayor, Charlotte, North Carolina
•Bill Parrish, Associate Professor, Homeland Security and Emergency Planning, VCU
•Mitt Romney, Former Governor, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
•Jack Skolds, President, Exelon Energy Delivery and Exelon Generation
•Dr. Lydia Thomas, President and CEO, Mitretek Systems Inc.
•Houston Williams, Chairman and CEO, Pacific Network Supply Inc.
•Allan Zenowitz, Former Executive Officer, FEMA
•Judge William Webster, Partner, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, LLP (HSAC Chair)
•James Schlesin er Chairman, Board of Trustees, The MITRE Corporation (HSgAd Vice-Chair)

Subject Matter Experts

• Javed Ali, Senior Intelligence Officer, DHS
•Sheriff Lee Baca, Los Angeles County, California
•Randy Beardsworth, Assistant Secretary for Strategic Plans
•Gina Bennett, Deputy National Intelligence Officer, Transnational Threats, Office of the Director of National Intelligence
•Chief William Bratton, Los Angeles Police Department
•Frank Buckley, Co-Anchor, KTLA Prime News, Los Angeles, California
•Sharon Cardash, Associate Director for Research and Education, Homeland Security Policy Institute, The George Washington University
•Sheriff Michael Carona, Orange County, California
•Joel Cohen Intelligence Liaison Officer, California, Department of Homeland Security
•Ambassador Henry Crumpton, Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Department of State
•Derek Dokter, Counselor, Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, Royal Embassy of the Netherlands
• Steven Emerson, Executive Director, The Investigative Project on Terrorism
•Eric Fagerholm, Acting Assistant Secretary for Strategic Plans, DHS
•Richard Gerding Counselor for Police and Judicial Affairs, Royal Embassy of the Netherlands
•Jim Guirard, TrueSpeak Institute
•Chris Hamilton, Senior Fellow Counterterrorism Studies, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
•Chief Jack Harris, Phoenix Policy Department
•Brian Michael Jenkins, Senior Advisory to the President, Rand Corporation
•Brigadier General Yosef Kuperwasser, CST International
•Dr. Harvey Kushner, Chairman, Department of Criminal Justice, Long Island University
•Jan Lane, Deputy Director, Homeland Security Policy Institute, The George Washington University
•Tony Lord, First Secretary, Justice and Home Affairs, British Embassy
• David Low, National Intelligence Officer, Transnational Threats, Office of the Director of National Intelligence
•Simon Mustard, Counter Terrorism and Strategic Threats, Foreign and Security Policy Group, British Embassy
•Dr. Walid Phares, Senior Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies
•Dennis Pluchinsky, George Mason University
•Peter Probst, Consultant
•Mark Randol, Director of Counterterrorism Plans, DHS
•Ambassador Dennis Richardson, Australian Embassy
•Dr. Joshua Sinai, Program Manager, The Analysis Corporation
•Robert Spencer, Director - Jihad Watch
•Dan Sutherland, Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, DHS
•Major General Israel Ziv, CST International

By Walid Phares on January 11, 2007 5:13 PM
30450  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Humor/WTF on: January 11, 2007, 05:21:40 PM
From correspondents in Johannesburg
January 09, 2007 10:29am
Article from: Agence France-PresseFont size: + -
Send this article: Print Email
A TRADITIONAL circumcision ceremony in South Africa went awry over the weekend when a policeman had his nose bitten off.

The policeman had tried to put paid to an argument between a man and his family during the ceremony in the Eastern Cape province, when the man attacked him, biting off his nose.

The aggrieved policeman then shot the 30-year-old man in the chest, the SAPA news agency reported.

Both are now recovering in hospital.

Circumcision is a rite of passage for some South African boys who go through a lengthy initiation before undergoing the procedure.

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