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30901  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Movies of interest on: April 21, 2005, 06:05:08 PM
A Review of ?Kung Fu Hustle?

Apr 21 2005

Memo To: Website Moviegoers
From: Matthew Wanniski
Re: A Supreme Martial-Arts Film

There?s a Chinese proverb that goes: ?A single spark can set a prairie on fire.? Hong Kong comedy/action star Stephen Chow knows this well. He used it as the moral of his latest film, ?Kung Fu Hustle,? the follow-up to last year?s state-side release of ?Shaolin Soccer? ? the most successful Hong Kong-made film ever made on its 2001 release (only to be surpassed by ?Kung Fu Hustle? in February 2005). Miramax acquired the film a few years ago along with ?Hero,? but by delaying their U.S. release, they unintentionally yet ultimately ensured very big prairie fires when they finally hit theaters here.

Chow, an extremely talented and creative individual with outstanding comic timing and bold physicality (think Jackie Chan meets Buster Keaton), wrote, produced, directed, and stars in ?Kung Fu Hustle,? a story about discovering your destiny by tapping into the inner strength of the heart and the spirit. Chow plays Sing (coincidentally, the same name of the character he played in ?Shaolin Soccer?), a mop-topped wannabe gangster in 1940s Shanghai. He desperately wants to join the infamous Axe Gang, a group of top-hat wearing, Michael Jackson-style dancing thugs who are so brutal even the police hide when they stroll past. Brother Sum, the dapper leader of the Gang (gleefully played by Kwok Kuen Chan), will only accept Sing as a new member if he kills someone.

Sing?s trouble is that despite his best intentions, he?s just not very good at being bad. He?s tried, but eventually decided that a life of crime pays better. His rotund sidekick, played with a childlike innocence by Lam Tze Chung, fails to provide him with the edginess and toughness he seeks, and he?s troubled by the childhood memory of the young girl he once tried to defend (unsuccessfully) from a bunch of bullies.

Sing?s career begins to take a new path after witnessing the residents of a slum known as ?Pig Sty Alley? take on the Axe Gang and beat them black and blue. The residents are aided by the Landlord, played by martial arts veteran and Bruce Lee stuntman Yuen Wah (?The Chinese Connection?) and the perpetually house-coated Landlady, who is very humorously played by veteran actress and former Bond Girl Yuen Qiu (?The Man With the Golden Gun?). Three others join in the fight against the Axe Gang, exhibiting remarkable and improbable martial arts skills. It would appear that Pig Sty Alley is a virtual retirement home for kung fu masters, reminiscent of ?The Incredibles? superhero relocation program.

When The Axe Gang calls in the most notorious killer of them all, a man known only as ?The Beast,? to settle things once and for all, Sing ? a practitioner of the questionable ?Open Palm? style of Kung Fu ? realizes that his true destiny literally lies in the palm of his hand. Played with exceptional humor and athleticism by the famous martial arts master and 1970s actor Leung Siu Lung, The Beast ?like the Landlady? lulls his opponents into letting down their guard with his decidedly non-threatening appearance.

Stephen Chow delivers a truly amazing performance. His film combines a wonderful blend of comedy and action, and he easily draws fantastic performances from the rest of the cast. The exceptionally choreographed fight scenes are jaw-dropping in their execution and mixed with remarkable special effects that reflect Chow?s extensive influences, which include all the martial arts films he grew up watching, such as Bruce Lee?s films, but also ?The Matrix? trilogy, and (my personal favorite) Bugs Bunny. The result is a truly over-the-top movie-going experience unlike anything else out there.

Pig Sty Alley and its hardscrabble residents, including an effeminate barber with a disturbing inability to keep his rear end adequately covered, are all lovingly portrayed by Chow, in homage to the Hong Kong neighborhood where he lived as a boy. A place, he says, where ?there was much that was unknown and hidden underneath the ordinary neighborhood life.? This mirrors the unknown and untapped resources hidden within Sing as he determines what direction his life will take.

In many ways, ?Kung Fu Hustle? is very similar to ?Sin City,? in that both films are cartoonishly violent (though with very little blood and gore) and amazing visual spectacles. Both utilize revolutionary filmmaking techniques to deliver a highly unique style. Both will likely spark massive prairie fires throughout the filmmaking industry. While in the end, ?Sin City? appears to be about the never-ending cycle of violence, ?Kung Fu Hustle? is more upbeat. Despite its ?R? rating, it?s not about violence for the sake of violence or pandering to audiences? perceived bloodlust. It?s about redemption and transcendence. Of course, it also presents a world where such things are possible. It?s a hopeful message that will resonate loudly with audiences, whether they are fans of martial arts films or not. It?s one of the best films of the year.

Rated ?R,? for sequences of strong stylized action and violence.
30902  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Kids and Stickfighting on: April 21, 2005, 02:57:04 PM
Woof Oracle:

Dog Greg has had some good training with me and has fought well at our Gatherings.  Whatever decisions and arrangements you may or may not make are up to you and him.


Woof,
Marc "Crafty Dog" Denny
Dog Brothers Inc Martial Arts.
30903  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / hello from france on: April 21, 2005, 02:50:36 PM
Woof Roger & Stephanie:

Glad you liked the Vid-lessons.  It will be my pleasure to see you here in Los Angeles AND to visit you in France.

Guro Lonely tells me your training is going very well.

Woof,
Guro Crafty
30904  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / An Untold Triumph on: April 21, 2005, 08:49:20 AM
http://www.capitalcentury.com/1918.html
http://www.strategypage.com/respect/articles/20020321.asp?target=20020321.ht
m&source=email
http://www.ngaus.org/ngmagazine/fightingontwofronts0205.asp
http://www.dcmilitary.com/army/standard/6_03/national_news/4792-1.html
30905  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Unorganized Militia on: April 20, 2005, 11:18:48 AM
Sparks store clerk hurt after battling robber
Staff Report RENO GAZETTE-JOURNAL
4/20/2005 12:23 am

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Related links & stories

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A store employee was injured Tuesday during what appeared to be an attempted robbery at the Dhaka Convenience Store in the 2100 block of Victorian Avenue, Sparks police said.

The employee suffered head injuries and was transported by REMSA to Washoe Medical Center, where he was in the intensive care unit, police said.

It?s unclear whether any cash or merchandise was taken during the incident that happened about noon, police said.

An investigation found that a man allegedly took an aluminum baseball bat into the store with the intent of robbing it, police said.

The store employee also had a bat behind the counter and the two began fighting, police said.

Police said an employee from a neighboring business chased the man to a getaway car parked around the corner and provided a license plate information to a police dispatcher.

A 19-year-old man was being sought, police said. A warrant had not been issued Tuesday night.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Sparks police at 353-2225 and reference case No. 05-4877 or Secret Witness, which is anonymous and translates most languages, at 322-4900.
30906  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Weird and/or silly on: April 20, 2005, 09:25:32 AM
Beware of flying frozen sausages.

An Englishman learned that the hard way Monday afternoon, according to British wire services.

"He was driving his car when the offending item came through his open window and hit him on the nose," an ambulance-service spokesman told reporters.

The unnamed man, 46, had left work and was heading home to South Woodham Ferrers, Essex (search), east of London, when the meat missile entered his vehicle.

Despite having broken his nose, and losing a lot of blood, the driver declined to be taken to the hospital.

"It must have been an incredibly lucky, or unlucky, shot to get the sausage through a moving car window," commented the spokesman. "I have never seen or heard of anything like this before."

Police said they were looking into the incident
30907  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Well-armed People on: April 19, 2005, 10:48:14 PM
On this day (April 19 ) , , ,
--------------------------------------

This morning in two small towns just outside of Boston government forces
attacked bands of gun owners in an attempt to disarm them and restore public safety. The citizen bands disobeyed lawful orders to surrender their weapons and go back to the safety of their own homes where the government could better protect them.

As expected with so many hotheaded gun owners in one place shots were fired and people were hurt and killed. All of this could have been avoided if the citizens had only surrendered their arms and allowed the government to protect them.

The date was April 19, 1775, and the two small towns were Lexington and
Concord.
====================


On this date in Warsaw, Poland, Nazi authorities decided to finish what they had started in the summer of 1942: the annihilation of all Jews in the
ghetto. Only about 37,000 of the Jewish population's almost 450,000
remained, the rest having been removed to Treblinka and other labor and
death camps. The diseased and starved out population decided that if they were going to die, it might as well be on their feet.

The resistance, armed at first with clubs and Molotov cocktails and small
arms purchased clandestinely from the Polish army, held off the destruction of the ghetto for almost a month. Even then, some of the Z.O.B. (the Jewish Fighting Organization) escaped through the sewers before the Nazis flooded them. They joined other partisan groups and continued their guerilla war.

Today, let's all take a moment to ponder and remember these brave men, women, and children. Imagine how much more effective they might have been if they had not waited until they were starved, diseased, and more than 90% exterminated to resist? Trapped within their prison, they still held the most modern and ruthless military in the world for almost a month.

We should never take the Second Amendment for granted. We must never give up our arms. Every time you see or hear anti self-defense propaganda, remember young Mordecai Anielewicz and his 750 brave fighters. Remember April 19, 1943.
30908  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / how to choose a good rattan stick? on: April 19, 2005, 10:45:19 PM
Please forgive the advertisement, but right here at www.dogbrothers.com we sell three models of rattan sticks (the Top Dog, the Salty Dog, and the Crafty Dog) and also the Actionflex sticks.
30909  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / "Energy" drills and real contact stick fighting on: April 19, 2005, 11:39:34 AM
DP is the derogatory name some have for certain training methods such as sombrada, hubud, and for learned technique sequences etc.

Those of us who believe these methods have good use in our training have proudly and sarcastically taken up the name as well.
30910  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: April 18, 2005, 11:07:49 PM
Geopolitical Intelligence Report:  From Islamism to Post Islamism
.................................................................

THE GEOPOLITICAL INTELLIGENCE REPORT

From Islamism to Post-Islamism
April 18, 2005   1424 GMT

By Kamran Bokhari

Amid continuing efforts to resolve its post-Sept. 11 security crisis, the
United States and European countries increasingly are dealing with what once
would have been an unlikely array of political partners in the Muslim and
Arab worlds: Islamist groups.

Because they advocate the imposition of Islamic law in national politics,
Islamists -- or what Westerners formerly have referred to as Islamic
fundamentalists -- might at first glance seem to have little, if any, role
in the Bush administration's second-term push for democratization throughout
the world. But they are, in fact, among the United States' most potent
potential partners as Washington and others seek to conclude the jihadist
war and lay a foundation for relations with the Muslim world.

These efforts, which mark a significant shift in Washington's own
approach -- particularly in the Middle East -- will impact what has been a
long-running competition within political Islam: the struggle of moderate
Islamists of many varieties, who make up the bulk of the Muslim world, to
attain power without sacrificing their religious ideals or credentials.

As a political ideology, Islamism achieved its first major victory with the
Iranian revolution in 1979. At that time, in the context of the Cold War, it
was not perceived as the next great challenge for the United States or the
West. That perception emerged only with the Sept. 11 attacks and ensuing
war. For the past three and a half years, media attention to the issue has
created a perception -- correctly or otherwise -- that Islamism is
proliferating and poses a growing security threat.

Islamists make up a significant portion of the Muslim political landscape --
supported by believers who are concerned about the fate of Islamic values
and culture in the modern age, when Western and particularly American ideals
and culture seem to permeate the globe. Nevertheless, Islamist groups have
had little success in translating their popularity into votes and actual
political power.

But that is slowly beginning to change.

Mechanics of Moderation

Though logic dictates that some forms of radical and militant beliefs will
persist, Islamism on the whole increasingly is moving toward moderation.
This is evident in many areas -- including Lebanon and the Palestinian
territories, where groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas are bidding to play a
part in mainstream politics.

This shift has little to do with any external factors. Instead, it is part
of a natural evolution for groups that thus far have been unable to capture
the imagination of the masses sufficiently to take political power. Turkey
is the only Muslim state in which an Islamist group of sorts -- the Justice
and Development Party (AK) -- controls the government, but even the AK can
be considered an "Islamist-lite" party, since it is a more pragmatic and
increasingly moderate version of its predecessors, the Virtue, Welfare,
National Salvation, and National Order parties going as far back as 1970.

As democracies around the world have shown before, ideology is important to
voters, but not more important than the material interests of the people.
Politically, ideology is a medium that allows a people to secure their
interests; if it does not succeed in doing that, it will remain a peripheral
concern.

For example, in the Middle East, Fatah has become an acceptable partner for
the United States and Israel at the peace talks table, but support among the
Palestinians is splintered because the government has not been able to build
sufficient infrastructure. Conversely, Hamas commands a great deal of local
support because of the social services it provides; but in order to achieve
power within the mainstream, the militant group ultimately will have to
compromise its ideological stance on the existence of a Jewish state.

Defining Islamist Movements

Though its intellectual roots stretch back to the social, economic and
political upheavals of the late 19th century, Islamism emerged as a
political movement in 1928, when the Ikhwan al Muslimeen (Muslim
Brotherhood) was founded in Egypt, and spread from there to British India,
where Jamiat-i-Islami (Islamic Group/Association) was launched in 1941. By
the 1950s and 1960s, when most of the Muslim countries had gained
independence from their European colonial rulers, these organizations and
their counterparts in other states became serious political entities.

Islamist groups distinguished themselves from others -- which included
secular, nationalist and Marxist Muslim groups, to name a few -- by seeking
to establish or re-establish what they argued was an Islamic state in their
home countries. In other words, they wanted the state to implement Islamic
law. Beyond that, however, there is no agreement even today on exactly what
an Islamic state is or should be.

Not only are the reasons for this disagreement too vast to be explored here,
they also are less important than the means by which the various brands of
Islamists seek to achieve their goals. Though it is their attitudes toward
their religion and modernity that makes Islamists "moderate," "radical" or
"militant," it is their approach toward establishing their political goals
that defines their relationships with other Muslim and non-Muslim entities.

A vast majority of Islamists in almost all Muslim states are moderates: They
pursue the establishment of an Islamic polity through democratic means. At
the other end of the Islamist spectrum are the militant groups who want to
fight the incumbent regimes to attain power. During the 1990s, the militants
went transnational and began fighting the United States -- the main support
behind the existing Muslim regimes -- as a tactic toward this end goal. Al
Qaeda and its allies around the world represent the transnational jihadists.

In the middle are several groups that can be viewed as nonviolent but that
espouse a radical agenda. For example, Hizb al-Tahrir -- founded in 1952 by
Palestinians living in Jordan and now present in many parts of the world --
rejects the use of armed struggle but seeks to overturn the political
nation-state structure in order to re-establish the caliphate.

Intra-Islamist Contention

While the moderate, radical and militant labels refer to political
attitudes, the behavior of various Islamist groups can be classified as
either "integrationist," "isolationist" or "interactionist."

Moderate Islamists are integrationists, in the sense that they embrace the
existing structure and function of the state -- they are willing to work
within constitutional bounds to establish their Islamic government.
Moreover, they engage society by organizing themselves into various civil
society groups and reaching out to the public. The Muslim Brotherhood,
Jamiat-i-Islami and its counterparts in South Asia are key examples.

Radical Islamists are interactionists -- they interact with society to
foment popular revolution that would destroy the state power structure they
reject as illegitimate. They also seek out sympathetic elements within
existing state structures to support their efforts to oust those regimes.
But most radical groups reject both democratic and the existing autocratic
forms of government as un-Islamic, because they are secular systems. They
seek instead to restore the old caliphal/emiratic forms of governance --
though with some modifications to fit current realities. However, they also
reject the use of violence to further their political interests.

Militant Islamists -- most of whom are jihadists -- are isolationists. Not
only do they want to fight the state, but their operational needs for
secrecy preclude them from engaging the masses. Moreover, militant Islamists
subscribe to a top-down approach: The idea is to capture power and then
Islamize the state and society, Taliban-style.

Now, there are some exceptions to these rules. For example, both the
Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas and the Lebanese Shiite movement
Hezbollah maintain large militias and engage in violence, but they do not
direct their strikes at the Muslim state. Nor do they fit neatly into the
"jihadist" mold cast by al Qaeda, for various ideological, religious and
political reasons.

Their militant wings notwithstanding, neither Hamas nor Hezbollah seek to
establish an Islamic authority through armed struggle. They have routinely
acted as spoilers in the context of political developments from which they
were marginalized or excluded -- and as is now evident in the Middle East,
they seek to advance their position through electoral means.

Moderation Leading to Interface

Now, with the United States actively searching for political as well as
military solutions to its post-Sept.-11 security problems, the odds of
success for Islamists are greater than ever before. By adopting a more
democratic approach, it becomes possible for the Islamists not only to begin
working with other domestic groups, but to open up a channel of
communication with the United States as well. This already is occurring in
Turkey, Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.

The Bush administration's declarations that its war on terrorism does not
constitute a war against Islam or Muslims are much more than rhetoric.
Military action has been focused against transnational and local or regional
jihadists that have directly targeted the United States or its interests.
There is nothing in Bush doctrine per se that precludes Washington from
working with moderate Islamists -- but there are fears and uncertainty about
how to deal with nonviolent radical groups, which have evaded the spotlight
amid the manhunts for militants and political negotiations with others. The
fact that these radicals eschew violence but espouse revolutions that might
run counter to U.S. interests will complicate policymaking in this area for
some time.

Meanwhile, it is the moderate Islamists who present Washington's best option
for the future. As history has shown, non-Islamist moderates with whom the
United States initially thought to partner -- for example, Pakistani
President Gen. Pervez Musharraf and the Saudi monarchy -- do not necessarily
enjoy the support of the masses. Now, the strategy is to engage certain
types of Islamists in political dialogue, as Washington looks to use the
weight of the majority to counter the radical and militant fringes.

Toward a Post-Islamist Era?

Islamists always represented a small fraction of the more than 1 billion
Muslims worldwide, and militants are an even smaller subset. This situation
has been impacted, however, by the Sept. 11 attacks and subsequent events.

Now, militant Islamists are on the run, and the search for viable
alternatives -- as well as democracy movements -- is lending itself to
dialogue between moderate Islamist actors and Washington.

At the intellectual and ideological level, integrationists, interactionists
and isolationists are all locked in a struggle for supremacy. The
integrationists have the upper hand, since the militants are busy trying to
save their skins and the radicals -- though heavy on diagnosis and dogma --
offer no tangible solutions to existing political problems.

However, the outcome of the struggle will depend, to a great extent, on
Washington, which is fast moving away from an emphasis on military
operations to one on calibrated negotiations. The U.S. contact with the
moderates does risk delegitimizing them, but concrete political results and
social improvements in the Arab/Muslim world would be the antidote.

The marginalization of the isolationists and the interactionists will allow
the integrationists to gain the upper hand within the Islamist camp. But
that does not necessarily mean that in the end the Islamist agenda will win
the day. Once they have made the transition from opposition to dominance,
these groups -- as we are seeing in Iraq -- likely will not be able to push
their religious agendas too far.

As a practical matter, Islamists now are undergoing an ideological
transformation. The heretofore heavy and rigid emphasis on doctrine is
giving way under concerns about how best to turn doctrine into action.

When the dust settles, the Islamists likely will come to terms with the fact
that the Quran and the Sunnah merely provide broad normative principles,
which are applicable only through broad-based discussions, debates and
negotiations -- a process facilitated by a democratic framework.

As belief in a specific and timeless Islamic polity crumbles, an age of
post-Islamism likely will emerge. In other words, the Muslim world is on the
verge of embracing a version of modernity that is in keeping with its
Islamic ethos. This would differ markedly from the periods of secularism and
Islamism that followed the death of the caliphal age.

In this post-Islamist age, Islamist and non-Islamist Muslim powerbrokers
will mingle. And in this environment, pragmatism will temper ideology.

(c) 2005 Strategic Forecasting, Inc. All rights reserved.

http://www.stratfor.com
30911  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Well-armed People on: April 16, 2005, 06:51:59 AM
French Cat:

Thank you for that post-- and all the best to you!  Happy & healthy hunting.

Crafty Dog
30912  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Unbreakable walking stick / umbrella??? on: April 15, 2005, 10:46:26 AM
They have been kind enough to supply me with a sample and I will be testing it soon.  If I like it and if we come to terms on price, we will carry it here in our catalog.
30913  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Nutrition, Diet Thread on: April 15, 2005, 10:44:49 AM
Too Much Water Gets Runners in Trouble
Dangerously low blood salt levels found in many marathoners

By Ed Edelson
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, April 12 (HealthDay News) -- Marathon runners who gulp down too much water during a tough race are doing their bodies no favors, researchers report.

A new study of competitors in the 2002 Boston Marathon found too many drank excessive amounts of water during the grueling 26-mile race, causing their blood salt levels to dip to potentially dangerous levels in a condition called hyponatremia.

In fact, one runner in that marathon, a 28-year-old woman, died from hyponatremia after finishing the race.

Although runners usually cited a fear of dehydration as the reason for their excessive water intake, the study "showed that there is a point where drinking too much can be critical," said lead researcher Dr. Christopher S.D. Almond, a pediatric cardiology fellow at Children's Hospital Boston. His team report their findings in the April 14 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Almond and his colleagues enrolled 766 marathoners in their trial and got blood samples from 488 of them at the finish line. Of those, 62 had abnormally low blood salt levels -- three of them low enough to be called "critical."

Abnormally low salt levels were more common in women (37 of 166, or 22 percent) than men (25 of 322, or 8 percent). Many of the affected runners drank more than three liters of water during the race, enough to raise their body weight despite the more than 26 miles they ran.

Based on that sample, 1,900 of the nearly 15,000 Boston Marathon runners that year had hyponatremia, Almond estimated.

Thinner runners -- those with a body mass index of about 20 -- were more likely to end up with low salt levels, the study found. That might help explain the higher incidence among women, Almond said, since it's believed women runners tend to drink as much water as men, even though their average weight is lower.

A racing time of more than four hours was also associated with abnormally low blood salt levels, the researchers reported.

Hyponatremics were not the champion runners, who completed the course in about two hours, noted Dr. Benjamin D. Levine, a professor of medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, and co-author of an accompanying editorial.

"Really fast people don't have time to drink water," Levine said. "The slower the athlete, the greater the risk, and the predominant reason for that behavior is that you have more time to drink."

Up to a point, drinking water during a race makes sense, Levine said. "These people are not idiots," he said. "They are following rules that say you have to drink a lot of water to stay ahead of your thirst. But athletes lose water at different rates and lose salt at different rates, so the general rule may not apply to an individual."

Detailed guidelines about water intake during long-distance races have been issued by USA Track & Field, an organization that covers the subject in depth, Levine said. Serious runners who build their lives around racing tend to be aware of those guidelines, he said.

For less devoted racers, "using your thirst as a guideline may be the best way to handle it," Levine said. "Don't worry about getting a little dehydrated. Drink if you are thirsty, but don't drink for the sake of drinking."

Almond said his study was not designed to produce recommendations about avoiding problems caused by excess water intake, but simply to make runners aware that those problems exist.

"If I could say one thing over and over, it would be safety, safety, safety," Almond said.

More information

Water intake guidelines for athletes are set out by USA Track & Field.



SOURCES: Christopher S.D. Almond, M.D., pediatric cardiology fellow, Children's Hospital Boston; Benjamin D. Levine, M.D., professor, medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Presbyterian Hospital, Dallas; April 14, 2005, New England Journal of Medicine

Copyright ? 2005 ScoutNews LLC. All rights reserved.
30914  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Kids and Stickfighting on: April 15, 2005, 10:43:30 AM
Who is the rep?  Where is he/are you located?
30915  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Nutrition, Diet Thread on: April 14, 2005, 09:23:01 PM
That is funny.
30916  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Well-armed People on: April 14, 2005, 09:19:04 PM
Great, Great Grandmother Shoots Robbery Suspect

POSTED: 1:32 pm EDT April 14, 2005
UPDATED: 5:47 pm EDT April 14, 2005

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A 64-year-old great, great grandmother behind the counter at a Westside convenience store knew when to do when an masked robber came in Thursday afternoon and fired two shots: she grabbed her gun and shot back.

"It scared the hell out of me. It really did," Janet Grammar said. "He shot twice at the back, past behind my head and he was getting ready to shoot me in my head. I had a gun under the counter, and I pulled it out and shot him in the chest."

Grammar told investigators she was pretty sure she hit him twice, and police found a blood trail and a gun in the Apple Gate Food Store. The suspect managed to run from the scene, prompting an intense search that included a helicopter and K-9 units and caused a brief lockdown of Wesconnett Elementary School, just across the street.

The search was cancelled with the suspect showed up less than an hour later at the emergency room of Orange Park Medical Center, police said. The suspect, who police have not named, was stabilized and flown by air ambulance to Shands-Jacksonville Medical Center.

The Apple Gate's owner said the store has been robbed three time in the last two weeks, and he think this suspect is the same man who's robbed him before.

"She was just defending herself, that was all," customer Charles Schoff said. "I'd probably do the same thing."

Grammar's twin sister, Denise Overstreet, told Channel 4's Dan Leveton she's not surprised her sister wasn't intimidated by an armed, masked man.

"She's not scared of her own shadow, let's put it that way," Overstreet said. "Maybe this will wake people up and maybe not come to this little store -- a mean lady works there."

There's no word on the condition of the suspect or what charges he'll be facing.  


http://www.news4jax.com/news/4379897/detail.html
30917  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Los Triques Clip on: April 14, 2005, 02:28:30 PM
Woof Tom:

We are in the process of converting ALL videos to DVD. (POWER from the RCSFg series is almost done) but this comes second to our new material DBMA DVDs (which have been described elsewhere on this Forum).

And yes, there WILL be a "GREATEST HITS of the DOG BROTHERS" which will be done after our new DBMA DVDs.

Woof,
Guro Crafty

PS:  You like that shot of you in Los Triques? smiley
30918  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / DBMA Camp 5/14-15: Short Impact Weapons on: April 11, 2005, 01:24:46 AM
Dog Brothers Martial Arts Spring 2005 Camp.
What: Short Impact Weapons vs. the Big Bad Guy.
When: May 14-15
How much: $200 (10% discount for LEOs and Vets)
Where: Hermosa Beach, CA (9 miles south of Los Angeles LAX airport.
To apply, write to Cindy Denny info@dogbrothers.com
310-540-6853
If you are from out of town, she will be glad to help with practical matters like hotel suggestions and such.
------------------------------------------------------------

A Howl of Greeting to All:

The main theme of this camp will be ?Short impact weapons against the Big Bully?.

Examples of ?short impact weapons?: short sticks, small tire irons, ASPs, flashlights, rolled up magazines, large and small screwdrivers, closed folder knives, palm sticks/kubotans, silverware, pens, and the like-- items that give you answer to that perennial and annoying wink question "What do you do if you don't have your stick with you?"

The structure taught is highly applicable to the gun retention issues of LEOs. As always, our LEO and Military! discount applies.

At first glance, the idea of looking at SIWs from the point of view of the SIW man may seem odd? typically we look to solve the issue from the perspective of the less armed/unarmed man. Yet as we have seen repeatedly in ?Dog Brothers Gatherings of the Pack? it is VERY common, indeed probable, that when one man loses his stick, he succeeds in closing to clinch ad smothering the other man's stick.

When we look at things from our DBMA ?Walk as a Warrior for all your Days? Practitioner?s perspective, certain things become apparent:

1) Typically the ?problem? is younger, bigger, stronger, and meaner than we are-- the Big Bully. The less we have studied and trained for it, the more getting bum rushed and our SIW getting smothered is a very real possibility.

2) Because we avoid fights, if we are in one it is because it is being imposed upon us?and so "cheating" is entirely appropriate.

3) As a practical matter, it can be difficult to have large sticks, clubs, etc with you all the time, but it can be easy to carry various SIWs. Furthermore, the environment often offers various SIWs-- but you won't recognize them if you don't know how to use them.

4) Most SIWs do not trigger legal issues.

5) DAs and juries can be very unsympathetic to the use of guns and/or knives, even when they are legal.

I confess to being pretty tickled with myself with this block of material. We should have a real good time.

Woof,
Guro Marc "Crafty Dog" Denny
Dog Brothers Inc. Martial Arts
Craftydog@dogbrothers.com (use info@dogbrothers.com for applications, help finding hotels etc)
310-543-7521 This is a call anytime number.
30919  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Nutrition, Diet Thread on: April 09, 2005, 08:40:11 AM
Internet folklore?

Did you see my second post?  Tongue  wink
30920  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Los Triques Clip on: April 09, 2005, 08:03:21 AM
Woof Edward:

Ron "Night Owl" Gabriel.  I agree!  He is responsible for all the clips except the first one (Hart Fisher there).

He did the conversions to DVD from video that we have already done, and is working on the remaining conversions.

Wait until you see the work he did on the additional 30 minutes in the conversion of "The Grandfathers Speak" which will be released as soon as we do the box for it!  Truly awesome.

He and I are working together closely on all our upcoming DVDs as well.

We are very pleased with his contribution to our efforts.

Woof,
Crafty Dog
30921  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Los Triques Clip on: April 08, 2005, 09:01:48 PM
Woof All:

There is a new clip on the opening page of the site: "Los Triques"  

It is the opening to our upcoming DVD (summer 2005) of the same name.

The Adventure continues,
Crafty Dog
30922  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Help our troops/our cause: on: April 08, 2005, 08:58:50 PM
Woof:

The number of reads for this thread has been dead for a while, probably due to it alwyays being in the same Announcement spot on the Forum and additional posts to it being infrequent.  

Thus, to break the pattern, I am removing the "announcement" feature for now.  Any one with some to post to this thread should please do so and I will be glad to restore it to Announcement status.

Woof,
Crafty Dog
30923  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Resources and Helpful Links on: April 08, 2005, 04:06:07 PM
a  friend writes
-------
If you thought the Google Maps were rather interesting, check these out (as it takes it in for a deeper picture imo).

http://terraserver.microsoft.com - Can view aerial pictures of properties where you can zoom in to see the neighborhood.

http://yp.a9.com - Can view business addresses / commercial properties from the front along with viewing what the other businesses around the area look like.
30924  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Weird and/or silly on: April 08, 2005, 02:28:45 PM
Well, this feels weird in a good way to me , , ,

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=6955331422&ssPageName=ADME:B:SS:US:1
30925  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Nutrition, Diet Thread on: April 08, 2005, 10:54:04 AM
http://www.snopes.com/cokelore/acid.asp
30926  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Nutrition, Diet Thread on: April 08, 2005, 01:51:21 AM
Subject: Coca-Cola vs Water
Date: Thursday, April 07, 2005 3:16 AM

WATER

* 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated.

* In 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is
often mistaken for hunger.

* Even mild dehydration will slow down one's metabolism as much as 3%.

* One glass of water will shut down midnight hunger pangs for almost
100% of the dieters studied in a University of Washington study.

* Lack of water is the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue.

* Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day
could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.

* A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory,
trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or
on a  printed page.

* Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer
by 45%, plus it can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79%, and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer.

Coca-Cola:


* In many states (in the USA), the highway patrol carries two gallons
of coke in the truck to remove blood from the highway after a car accident.

* You can put a T-bone steak in a bowl of Coke and it will be gone in
two days.

* To clean a toilet: Pour a can of Coca-Cola into the toilet bowl and
let the "real thing" sit for one hour, then flush clean. The citric acid in
Coke removes stains from vitreous China.

* To remove rust spots from chrome car bumpers: Rub the bumper with a
rumpled-up piece of Reynolds Wrap aluminum foil dipped in Coca-Cola.

* To clean corrosion from car battery terminals: Pour a can of
Coca-Cola over the terminals to bubble away the corrosion.

* To loosen a rusted bolt: Applying a cloth soaked in Coca-Cola to the
rusted bolt for several minutes.

* To bake a moist ham: Empty a can of Coca-Cola into the baking pan,
wrap the ham in aluminum foil, and bake. Thirty minutes before the ham is finished, remove the foil, allowing the drippings to mix with the Coke for a sumptuous brown gravy.

* To remove grease from clothes: Empty a can of coke into a load of
greasy clothes, add detergent, and run through a regular cycle. The
Coca-Cola will help loosen grease stains.

* It will also clean road haze from your windshield.

 

For Your Info:

* The active ingredient in Coke is phosphoric acid. Its pH is 2.8. It will dissolve a nail in about 4days. Phosphoric acid also leaches calcium from bones and is a major contributor to the rising increase in
osteoporosis.

* To carry Coca-Cola syrup (the concentrate) the commercial truck must
use the Hazardous material place cards reserved for Highly corrosive
materials.

* The distributors of Coke have been using it to clean the engines of
their trucks for about 20 years!
30927  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Women fighters at DB Gathering on: April 08, 2005, 01:46:50 AM
TTT:  We already have two women fighters registered , , ,
30928  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: April 08, 2005, 01:28:43 AM
NOONAN

'We Want God'
When John Paul II went to Poland, communism didn't have a prayer.

Thursday, April 7, 2005 12:01 a.m. EDT

Everyone has spoken this past week of John Paul II's role in the defeat of Soviet communism and the liberation of Eastern Europe. We don't know everything, or even a lot, about the quiet diplomatic moves--what happened in private, what kind of communications the pope had with the other great lions of the 1980s, Reagan and Thatcher. And others, including Bill Casey, the tough old fox of the CIA, and Lech Walesa of Solidarity.

But I think I know the moment Soviet communism began its fall. It happened in public. Anyone could see it. It was one of the great spiritual moments of the 20th century, maybe the greatest.

It was the first week in June 1979. Europe was split in two between east and west, the democracies and the communist bloc--police states controlled by the Soviet Union and run by local communist parties and secret police.

John Paul was a new pope, raised to the papacy just eight months before. The day after he became pope he made it clear he would like to return as pope to his native Poland to see his people.

The communists who ran the Polish regime faced a quandary. If they didn't allow the new Pope to return to his homeland, they would look defensive and frightened, as if they feared that he had more power than they. To rebuff him would seem an admission of their weakness. On the other hand, if they let him return, the people might rise up against the government, which might in turn trigger an invasion by the Soviet Union.

The Polish government decided that it would be too great an embarrassment to refuse the pope. So they invited him, gambling that John Paul--whom they knew when he was cardinal of Krakow, who they were sure would not want his presence to inspire bloodshed--would be prudent. They wagered that he would understand he was fortunate to be given permission to come, and understand what he owed the government in turn was deportment that would not threaten the reigning reality. They announced the pope would be welcome to come home on a "religious pilgrimage."

John Paul quickly accepted the invitation. He went to Poland.

And from the day he arrived, the boundaries of the world began to shift.

Two months before the pope's arrival, the Polish communist apparatus took steps to restrain the enthusiasm of the people. They sent a secret directive to schoolteachers explaining how they should understand and explain the pope's visit. "The pope is our enemy," it said. "Due to his uncommon skills and great sense of humor he is dangerous, because he charms everyone, especially journalists. Besides, he goes for cheap gestures in his relations with the crowd, for instance, puts on a highlander's hat, shakes all hands, kisses children. . . . It is modeled on American presidential campaigns. . .  Because of the activation of the Church in Poland our activities designed to atheize the youth not only cannot diminish but must intensely develop. . .  In this respect all means are allowed and we cannot afford any sentiments."
The government also issued instructions to Polish media to censor and limit the pope's comments and appearances.

On June 2, 1979, the pope arrived in Poland. What followed will never be forgotten by those who witnessed it.

He knelt and kissed the ground, the dull gray tarmac of the airport outside Warsaw. The silent churches of Poland at that moment began to ring their bells. The pope traveled by motorcade from the airport to the Old City of Warsaw.

The government had feared hundreds or thousands or even tens of thousands would line the streets and highways.

By the end of the day, with the people lining the streets and highways plus the people massed outside Warsaw and then inside it--all of them cheering and throwing flowers and applauding and singing--more than a million had come.

In Victory Square in the Old City the pope gave a mass. Communist officials watched from the windows of nearby hotels. The pope gave what papal biographer George Weigel called the greatest sermon of John Paul's life.

Why, the pope asked, had God lifted a Pole to the papacy? Perhaps it was because of how Poland had suffered for centuries, and through the 20th century had become "the land of a particularly responsible witness" to God. The people of Poland, he suggested, had been chosen for a great role, to understand, humbly but surely, that they were the repository of a special "witness of His cross and His resurrection." He asked then if the people of Poland accepted the obligations of such a role in history.
The crowd responded with thunder.

"We want God!" they shouted, together. "We want God!"

What a moment in modern history: We want God. From the mouths of modern men and women living in a modern atheistic dictatorship.

The pope was speaking on the Vigil of Pentecost, that moment in the New Testament when the Holy Spirit came down to Christ's apostles, who had been hiding in fear after his crucifixion, filling them with courage and joy. John Paul picked up this theme. What was the greatest of the works of God? Man. Who redeemed man? Christ. Therefore, he declared, "Christ cannot be kept out of the history of man in any part of the globe, at any longitude or latitude. . . . The exclusion of Christ from the history of man is an act against man! Without Christ it is impossible to understand the history of Poland." Those who oppose Christ, he said, still live within the Christian context of history.

Christ, the pope declared, was not only the past of Poland--he was "the future . . . our Polish future."

The massed crowd thundered its response. "We want God!" it roared.

That is what the communist apparatchiks watching the mass from the hotels that rimmed Victory Square heard. Perhaps at this point they understood that they had made a strategic mistake. Perhaps as John Paul spoke they heard the sound careen off the hard buildings that ringed the square; perhaps the echo sounded like a wall falling.
The pope had not directly challenged the government. He had not called for an uprising. He had not told the people of Catholic Poland to push back against their atheist masters. He simply stated the obvious. In Mr. Weigel's words: "Poland was not a communist country; Poland was a Catholic nation saddled with a communist state."

The next day, June 3, 1979, John Paul stood outside the cathedral in Gniezno, a small city with a population of 50,000 or so. Again there was an outdoor mass, and again he said an amazing thing.

He did not speak of what governments want, nor directly of what a growing freedom movement wants, nor of what the struggling Polish worker's union, Solidarity, wanted.

He spokeof what God wants.

"Does not Christ want, does not the Holy Spirit demand, that the pope, himself a Pole, the pope, himself a Slav, here and now should bring out into the open the spiritual unity of Christian Europe . . .?" Yes, he said, Christ wants that. "The Holy Spirit demands that it be said aloud, here, now. . . . Your countryman comes to you, the pope, so as to speak before the whole Church, Europe and the world. . . . He comes to cry out with a mighty cry."

What John Paul was saying was remarkable. He was telling Poland: See the reality around you differently. See your situation in a new way. Do not see the division of Europe; see the wholeness that exists and that not even communism can take away. Rhetorically his approach was not to declare or assert but merely, again, to point out the obvious: We are Christians, we are here, we are united, no matter what the communists and their map-makers say.

It was startling. It was as if he were talking about a way of seeing the secret order of the world.

That day at the cathedral the communist authorities could not stop the applause. They could not stop everyone who applauded and cheered. There weren't enough jail cells.


But it was in the Blonie Field, in Krakow--the Blonia Krakowskie, the fields just beyond the city--that the great transcendent moment of the pope's trip took place. It was the moment when, for those looking back, the new world opened. It was the moment, some said later, that Soviet communism's fall became inevitable.
It was a week into the trip, June 10, 1979. It was a sunny day. The pope was to hold a public mass. The communist government had not allowed it to be publicized, but Poles had spread the word.

Government officials braced themselves, because now they knew a lot of people might come, as they had to John Paul's first mass. But that was a week before. Since then, maybe people had seen enough of him. Maybe they were tiring of his message. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad.

But something happened in the Blonie field.

They started coming early, and by the time the mass began it was the biggest gathering of humanity in the entire history of Poland. Two million or three million people came, no one is sure, maybe more. For a mass.

And it was there, at the end of his trip, in the Blonie field, that John Paul took on communism directly, by focusing on communism's attempt to kill the religious heritage of a country that had for a thousand years believed in Christ.

This is what he said:


Is it possible to dismiss Christ and everything which he brought into the annals of the human being? Of course it is possible. The human being is free. The human being can say to God, "No." The human being can say to Christ, "No." But the critical question is: Should he? And in the name of what "should" he? With what argument, what reasoning, what value held by the will or the heart does one bring oneself, one's loved ones, one's countrymen and nation to reject, to say "no" to Him with whom we have all lived for one thousand years? He who formed the basis of our identity and has Himself remained its basis ever since. . . .
As a bishop does in the sacrament of Confirmation so do I today extend my hands in that apostolic gesture over all who are gathered here today, my compatriots. And so I speak for Christ himself: "Receive the Holy Spirit!"

I speak too for St. Paul: "Do not quench the Spirit!"

I speak again for St. Paul: "Do not grieve the Spirit of God!"

You must be strong, my brothers and sisters! You must be strong with the strength that faith gives! You must be strong with the strength of faith! You must be faithful! You need this strength today more than any other period of our history. . . .

You must be strong with love, which is stronger than death. . . . When we are strong with the Spirit of God, we are also strong with the faith of man. . . . There is therefore no need to fear. . . . So . . . I beg you: Never lose your trust, do not be defeated, do not be discouraged. . . . Always seek spiritual power from Him from whom countless generations of our fathers and mothers have found it. Never detach yourselves from Him. Never lose your spiritual freedom.

They went home from that field a changed country. After that mass they would never be the same.


What John Paul did in the Blonie field was both a departure from his original comments in Poland and an extension of them.
In his first comments he said: God sees one unity of Europe, he does not see East and West divided by a gash in the soil.

In this way he "divided the dividers" from God's view of history.

But in the Blonie field he extended his message. He called down the Holy Spirit--as the Vicar of Christ and successor to Peter, he called down God--to fill the people of Poland, to "confirm" their place in history and their ancient choice of Christ, to confirm as it were that their history was real and right and unchangeable--even unchangeable by communists.

So it was a redeclaration of the Polish spirit, which is a free spirit. And those who were there went home a different people, a people who saw themselves differently, not as victims of history but as strugglers for Christ.

Another crucial thing happened, after the mass was over. Everyone who was there went home and turned on the news that night to see the pictures of the incredible crowd and the incredible pope. But state-controlled TV did not show the crowds. They did a brief report that showed a shot of the pope standing and speaking for a second or two. State television did not acknowledge or admit what a phenomenon John Paul's visit was, or what it had unleashed.

The people who had been at the mass could compare the reality they had witnessed with their own eyes with the propaganda their media reported. They could see the discrepancy. This left the people of Poland able to say at once and together, definitively, with no room for argument: It's all lies. Everything this government says is a lie. Everything it is is a lie.

Whatever legitimacy the government could pretend to, it began to lose. One by one the people of Poland said to themselves, or for themselves within themselves: It is over.

And when 10 million Poles said that to themselves, it was over in Poland. And when it was over in Poland, it was over in Eastern Europe. And when it was over in Eastern Europe, it was over in the Soviet Union. And when it was over in the Soviet Union, well, it was over.


All of this was summed up by a Polish publisher and intellectual named Jerzy Turowicz, who had known Karol Wojtyla when they were young men together, and who had gone on to be a supporter of Solidarity and member of Poland's first postcommunist government. Mr. Turowicz, remembering the Blonie field and the Pope's visit, told Ray Flynn, at the time U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, "Historians say World War II ended in 1945. Maybe in the rest of the world, but not in Poland. They say communism fell in 1989. Not in Poland. World War II and communism both ended in Poland at the same time--in 1979, when John Paul II came home."
And now he is dead. It is fitting and not at all surprising that Rome, to its shock, has been overwhelmed with millions of people come to see him for the last time. The line to view his body in St. Peter's stretched more than a mile. His funeral tomorrow will be witnessed by an expected two billion people, the biggest television event in history. And no one, in Poland or elsewhere, will be able to edit the tape to hide what is happening.

John Paul gave us what may be the transcendent public spiritual moment of the 20th century. "We want God." The greatest and most authentic cry of the human heart.

They say he asked that his heart be removed from his body and buried in Poland. That sounds right, and I hope it's true. They'd better get a big box.
30929  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: April 08, 2005, 01:26:36 AM
THE GEOPOLITICAL INTELLIGENCE REPORT

The Push for Democracy: Ending the 'Karzai Effect'
April 06, 2005  1411 GMT

By Kamran Bokhari

As we recently noted, Washington has moved beyond the military stage of the U.S.-jihadist war and is now in the phase of negotiated settlements. Historically, there has been a problem with such accommodations --  particularly where Islamist forces are involved. This is something we often refer to as "the Karzai effect."

However, the second Bush administration, in its push for democracy around the world, appears to have found a way to achieve its ends without necessarily undermining its Arab/Muslim counterpart. Not only is Washington willing to gamble on the outcome of "messy" democratization, but it also is willing to go where it consciously has avoided going before -- facilitating the rise of Islamist (albeit relatively moderate) forces to power in Muslim states.

It should be remembered that during the first of the Bush administrations, in June 1992, an assistant secretary of state, Edward Djerejian, caveated Washington's support for the spread of democracy, noting somewhat ironically that the United States opposed systems characterized by "one man, one vote, one time." Djerejian was, of course, not referring to the time-honored "one man, one vote" tradition of the United States, but to the landslide victory of Algeria's Front Islamique du Salut (Islamic Salvation Front) in first-round elections there. His remark -- which expressed U.S. fears that an Islamist group would use legitimate elections to take power and then slam and lock the door shut behind it -- came to be viewed as the cornerstone of U.S. policy toward Islamism.

Like so many other notions, that was shattered by the events of Sept. 11,
2001. The transnational threat posed by militant Islamists prompted the
search for moderate voices within the Muslim world. Of those that emerged --  from secularists, regimes and traditionalists -- it is the Islamists the Bush administration has chosen to work with.

This can be seen in several examples from the Middle East: First, Islamist
(Shiite) forces in Iraq and in Iran were the United States' principal allies
in facilitating the ouster of Saddam Hussein. Second, Washington needed
political partners in Iraq who could deliver on a deal -- not secular
leaders who had no control over the street. Third, U.S. policymakers have begun to understand the factionalization within the Islamist movement and how to exploit it to advantage.

In stark contrast to the position voiced during his father's presidency,
President George W. Bush's administration is issuing bold statements. In
April 2003, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said the Bush administration wanted to see an Islamic democracy emerge in Iraq -- pointing to Turkey's quasi-Islamist Justice and Development Party regime as a model. And in October 2004, Bush said that though it wasn't his first choice, Washington would accept an Islamic government, if democratically elected.

In Afghanistan, outgoing U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad has been
overseeing the integration of "moderate" Taliban forces into the political
process to boost President Hamid Karzai's standing within his own majority Pushtun community.

Now, the Bush administration has upped the ante. Not only has Bush set the spread of democracy as the cornerstone of his second-term foreign policy agenda, but the president in the State of the Union address called directly for Egypt and Saudi Arabia -- two of the United States' closest allies in the Middle East -- to democratize their authoritarian governments.

There is no doubt that the U.S. preference for democratic political systems, at least as applied in the West, is motivated by philosophy and ideology, but the push for democracy in other regions is thwarted by a host of structural and functional problems. Moreover, as with any country, national interest trumps altruism. Thus, the U.S. push for greater democratization in the world in general and in Arab/Muslim countries in particular is motivated primarily by the need and desire to safeguard U.S. national interests and its superpower status around the globe.

Over the long term, democratic processes conceivably could bring order to chaos. Autocratic structures breed social, political and economic
instability, especially in times of political transition. Because of this,
it is also more difficult to predict political turnovers and successions,
since any cracks in the structure can give hidden opposition forces a chance to explode onto the scene. As the world's sole superpower, the United States finds this problematic, since these situations can force it to intervene politically, economically and, of course, militarily.

In the longer term, democracies provide much greater stability, while
authoritarian systems are far superior at controlling disruptions in the
short term. By pushing for democracy -- even in the Middle East -- the
United States is tacitly signaling that the security crisis touched off by
the Sept. 11 attacks is over and that Washington feels sufficiently secure
and in control to weather short-term disruptions in political systems
abroad.

In the case of the greater Middle East region, whose modern history is
replete with conflicts, Washington appears no longer interested in
short-term, patchwork solutions involving a strongman or proxy group. This is not to say the United States will be pulling its support from the
incumbent authoritarian regimes forthwith. Far from it. Washington is trying to strike a balance by pressuring current rulers to gradually open up the system and, meanwhile, to develop mechanisms whereby alternative and viable leadership can emerge as the autocrats depart the scene, avoiding chaos scenarios in which the United States must intervene on some level.

That explains the logic -- but what about the timing of this initiative? The
answer sheds important light on the future direction of the Middle East. We already have noted that the success in Afghanistan and even more so in Iraq has prompted the Bush administration to extend the democratic experiment to the entire region. Meanwhile, natural forces -- read, old age -- are making regime change inevitable in a number of Middle Eastern states in the near term.

This is most obvious in Egypt, where the failing health of President Hosni
Mubarak will force him to appoint a successor. Saudi King Fahd is monarch in name only; his half-brother, Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdel-Aziz, runs affairs in Riyadh. But between them, the crown prince and three immediate princes -- Defense Minister Sultan, Interior Minister Nayef and Riyadh Gov. Salman, who are full brothers of the king and the elite of the Sudairi Seven -- range in age from 69 to 75. It is likely that they, along with Abdullah, could die in quick succession, opening up a power contest between other factions of the House of Saud.

While democratization in the Saudi kingdom is at best a very long-term hope, given the conservative Wahhabist culture and the deeply entrenched monarchical system, other areas, such as Jordan, Syria, Libya and the Persian Gulf states, are in similar situations: The existing autocratic system could be swept away should a wave of democratic fervor strike the region -- as it did in Eastern Central Europe and select areas of the former Soviet Union in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and more recently in the last year in the Caucuses and Central Asia.

Meanwhile, Washington faces the prospect that it could be forced to have
dealings with Islamist militant groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. As the Palestinian state begins to take shape -- with the Israeli withdrawals and Palestinian Legislative Council elections in July -- Hamas will be playing a greater role in daily life. In fact, it is expected to make a significant showing in the summer elections.

Officials in Washington understand that at some point -- sooner rather than later -- the Palestinian authority and eventually the state will be based on a power-sharing arrangement between the secular Fatah and the Islamists. Nonetheless, Washington continues to push for democratization of the Palestinian political landscape. In Lebanon, the Bush administration has dropped hints that it is willing to deal with the Shiite militant Islamist movement Hezbollah.

These cases are both a bit complicated, since neither Hamas nor Hezbollah has yet made the shift from being an armed resistance organization to a fully respectable political group. But the very fact that the Bush administration is willing to give these Islamist actors some space on the political stage is quite significant.

It is not just that Washington needs to work with political groups who
command grassroots support; Hamas and Hezbollah exist by default and must be dealt with somehow. The theory is that those who demonstrate some semblance of willingness to play by the rules of democratic politics can be given a stake in the system, which will eventually moderate and temper their radicalism -- which is fueled by exclusion and the need to engage in the politics of protest from the outside.

If successful, this shift on Washington's part could be highly effective in
establishing a bulwark against al Qaeda or other transnational Islamist
militants. In other words, it is Islamist -- not secular -- forces that not
only can stem the tide of the al Qaeda phenomenon but act as a buffer
against a possible jihadist resurgence. Of course, the Bush administration
would not have dared the attempt if it was clear that democratization would bring jihadist groups into power -- Djerejian's principle still stands. It was only after realizing that al Qaeda has been unable to topple any Muslim regimes, and that it is growing increasingly weak, that Washington could safely announce the democracy initiative.

Even with the moderate Islamists, Washington is moving cautiously -- making sure Islamists do not end up dominating the system. In Iraq, this was apparent with the tinkering of the electoral laws and the Transitional
Administrative Law -- the country's interim constitution -- by U.S. civilian
administrator Paul Bremer to make a mixed government unavoidable.

On a final note, it is interesting that democratization could, in a
significant way, stem the tide of anti-American sentiments in other parts of the world. If political forces backed by the masses come to power as a
result of the Bush administration's push for democracy, this will over time
improve the U.S. image in foreign eyes.

For this to happen, the Bush administration knows it needs to extend olive branches, which it has done by appointing new officials at the Pentagon and State Department -- and most obviously by removing some of the most hawkish neoconservatives from policymaking positions. The reshuffle is Washington's way of trying to prepare the ground for the growth of democracy, without making any new governments appear to be puppets or otherwise engineered pro-U.S. regimes. The appointment of Bush confidante Karen Hughes to lead the public diplomacy drive in the Middle East/Muslim world further exemplifies this trend.

In essence, Washington understands that if deals are going to be cut, the
United States first must create an environment conducive to deal making.
This means U.S. proposals must not be viewed as immediate threats to the survival of Arab or Muslim regimes that have assisted its war against al Qaeda, and that anti-Americanism within the region must be contained within acceptable levels.

If democratization and engaging moderate Islamists works, Washington just might be able to rid itself, for good, of the Karzai effect.

(c) 2005 Strategic Forecasting, Inc. All rights reserved.

http://www.stratfor.com
30930  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Krabi Krabong dvd on: April 08, 2005, 12:55:54 AM
Woof Adam:

Its late after a busy day, so please excuse the brevity in my answer for now.

1)  http://dogbrothers.com/product_info.php?cPath=31&products_id=73

2) Single stick, double stick, with reference to the others in the system.

3) Some brief amateur footage of Ajarn Salty training in Thailand; the great majority of the DVD (which contains footage additional to the video btw) is about instruction and fights.  

4) At present this is the only volume we have out, but there will be more in the future.  Guro Lonely Dog, (certified under Ajarn Salty who is certified by Buddaiswain Inst of Thailand) teaches KK in the first half of our Los Triques video for BUDO.  There may well be another, but right now our emphasis in on our Kali-Krabi Krabong blend (Los Tri Ques, the Three K's, get it?).

5)  No.

6)  Dog Brothers Martial Arts "If you see it taught, you see it fought."  You betcha.  Btw we prefer the term "real contact stickfighting" in order to distinguish our fighting from the "full contact' tournaments.

7)   The KK with Ajarn Salty.  The Budo "Los Triques" video does not have fights.

Cool  Our philosophy is to avoid comparisons-- it is too easy for bad feelings to arise and invariably there are too many other variables anyway.   The fact that in DBMA we have major areas of the system which blend the two should tell you something though.

9-10)  

  As asked, 9) leads to comparisons.  Each has its place, and the fighters I train and I seem to be having good results with our blend of the two but each man should use what works best for him.  I am unaware of a knife portion to KK.

We have shot and are fairly advanced in editing our upcoming DVDs (release this summer) of:

1) Big Single Stick Los Triques
2) Siniwali Los Triques

These will come after the release of

a) "Kali Tudo"(tm) Volume 1:  DBMA Kali-silat for cagefighting.  This volume will be the first of 2-4 this area of our system.  The material is organized not by skill level (i.e. beginning, intermediate, advanced) but by facets of the fight.  This volume focuses principally upon angular striking crashes.  Subsequent volumes will deal with using Kali in the clinch, against the guard, from the guard, etc

KT (tm) Volume one may turn into a double disc-- we are already at 90 pretty tightly edited minutes and have some more good things to add.

We hope to release KT Vol 1 by the end of April.

b) Staff: for DB Gathering and for the Street

c) Conversion of Real Contact Stickfighting Vol 1: POWER to DVD with additional footage.
-----------
30931  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / le trique-marc denny kali and krabi krabong tape on: April 08, 2005, 12:26:51 AM
Woof Adam:

May I assume you are referring to the video we did for Europe's "Budo Magazine"?  IF NOT, PLEASE LET ME KNOW!!!

We have the DVD master from BUDO (very gracious of them) but I am behind in running off copies and so my wife Cindy, a.k.a. our VP in Charge of Reality, in order to save herself from hearing from cranky customers, has retaliated by taking it off the site until I get my excrement together-- which I shall do in the coming days.

I appreciate everyone interested in this video/DVD giving us their business-- we make a lot more money if your do!

Woof,
Crafty Dog
30932  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Well-armed People on: April 06, 2005, 03:21:46 PM
http://news.tbo.com/news/MGBJH2L177E.html
House Passes Public Self-Defense Legislation
 
By DAVID ROYSE The Associated Press
Published: Apr 6, 2005

TALLAHASSEE - Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Tuesday he intends to sign a bill that would allow people who feel threatened on the street, in a bar, at a ball game - or just about anywhere - to ``meet force with force'' to defend themselves without fear of being prosecuted. The measure, the top priority of the National Rifle Association in Florida this year, passed 94-20 in the House. It had already passed the Senate.

The bill essentially extends and codifies a right Floridians already have in their homes or cars, saying that there's no need to retreat before fighting back. People attacked in their homes generally don't have to back off. But in public spaces, deadly force can only be used after trying to retreat.

``I'm sorry people, but if I'm attacked I shouldn't have a duty to retreat,'' said the bill's sponsor, Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala. ``That's a good way to get shot in the back.''

Baxley said that if people have the clear right to defend themselves without having to worry about the legal consequences, criminals will think twice.

``Some violent rape will not occur because somebody will feel empowered by this bill,'' Baxley said. ``Somebody's child will not be abducted ... you're going to prevent a murder.''

Opponents said the idea will legalize shootouts in the streets.

``This bill creates a wild, wild west out there,'' said Rep. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood.

Bush, who has championed tougher penalties for people convicted of using guns in crimes, said he believed the measure was a good idea.

``I'm comfortable that the bill is a bill that relates to self- defense,'' Bush said. ``It's a good, commonsense, anti- crime issue.''

The measure makes it clear in state law what courts have generally ruled in Florida - that there's no duty to retreat before fighting back if you're in your home, workplace or car.

But it also extends the right outside the home, saying that ``a person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be, has no duty to retreat.''

The bill says that person has ``the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so, to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another.''

The sponsor, Baxley, also led the failed legislative effort to keep Terri Schiavo alive by blocking the removal of her feeding tube - and decried a growing ``culture of death.''

``For a House that talks about the culture of life, it's ironic that we would be devaluing life in this bill,'' said Rep. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach. ``You are telling people when they are in the midst of an emotional moment ... you can stand your ground until death happens.''

Baxley and other supporters, however, said the measure brings Florida in line with the law of much of the land. Alan Korwin, an author of several books on gun laws and papers defending gun ownership, said the right to use a gun for self-defense in most situations is ``longstanding law that's well established.''
30933  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Wolves & Dogs on: April 06, 2005, 12:22:02 PM
This boy is of a different breed!

IANS[ WEDNESDAY, APRIL 06, 2005 02:58:07 PM ]



PATNA, INDIA: An 11-year-old boy in Bihar bites and kills dogs according to an unbelievable, but true, stomach-churning report.

Mohammed Hashib, a resident of Nawada, too has been bitten by dogs. But nothing ever happens to him.

His parents - Mohammed Serajuddin, a local musician, and Noorjahan Khatoon - say Hashib spent most of his life with dogs - playing, sleeping and even eating in their company.

"In fact, some dogs die when Hashib bites them. Some lose their senses for four to five hours but survive," Serajuddin says.

His mother accepts that Hashib, who had started literally living with dogs
since he was five, had never been vaccinated against rabies.

"We are poor people. We cannot afford rabies injections from time to time," she said, accepting that her son preferred to eat and drink with the local dogs like one among them.

He had even been fed milk by a bitch as a child, she said.

Since Hashib does not go to school, the dogs reportedly linger outside his
house every morning waiting for him to come and play.

The dogs love him and start barking if he is delayed, Serajuddin says.
30934  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Wolves & Dogs on: April 04, 2005, 12:01:04 PM
Pit Bull Rehab:
Rio Woman Teaches
Tough Dogs New Tricks

Retired From Fighting, They
Try Swimming, Sprints;
Training With 'Stallone'
By MATT MOFFETT
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
April 4, 2005; Page A1

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Renata Bitencourt says the problem with "Bin Laden" was that he'd been fighting since a very tender age. "Capone," she says, wasn't loved by the family that raised him. "Hitler" suffered from toothaches.

 
They are among 150 pit bulls Ms. Bitencourt has rescued from Rio's illegal dog-fighting rings and retrained as competitors in the canine olympic games she organizes. Instead of fighting to the death for the entertainment of drug traffickers and other high rollers, the pit bulls now soar 12 feet in high-jump competitions or haul half a ton of concrete in weight-pulling contests.

Ms. Bitencourt, 32 years old and barely 5 feet tall, has won awards from animal activists, but also raised the ire of some Rio politicians who want to restrict pit bulls. In the favelas, slums set on the hills above the city's glittering condos and hotels, the woman fondly known as "Renata Pit Bull" is something of a legend.

"The guys with dogs pay attention to her because they know that little woman isn't afraid of anything," says pit-bull owner Gilberto Moreira de Oliveira.

Before he met Ms. Bitencourt, Mr. Moreira had managed his dog, Saddam, to an undefeated record in eight fights. The fights, which took place in a pit or enclosure, would last until one dog was dead or incapacitated. Sometimes it would take an hour or longer before a dog was beaten. Spectators included local gang members, as well as visitors from outside the slum looking for a little adventure. Crowd members laid down thousands of dollars in bets.

Though the dog gave him status in the favela, Mr. Moreira, a 26-year-old truck driver, says he never had much money to wager. And he would get stuck with the veterinary bills for treating Saddam's battle wounds.

Mr. Moreira had a change of heart after he watched the owner of a dog that had been mauled by Saddam dump the injured animal off a highway overpass. "Sometimes it takes a shock to make people see the light," says Ms. Bitencourt.

Mr. Moreira says he and Ms. Bitencourt had to "brain wash" Saddam to perform in nonviolent sports after he abandoned the fighting ring. They trained the pit bull for the high jump by slipping a motorcycle tire on the end of a broom stick and raising it higher and higher above his head.

"Now, Saddam is much calmer and even kids love him," Mr. Moreira says, pointing to a clutch of youths surrounding the golden-haired pit bull. Up to a point. The kids, who aren't much bigger than the dog, keep a safe distance while staring transfixed as Saddam shreds a coconut with his iron jaws.


Renata Bitencourt teaches the high jump to a pit bull she rescued from the dog-fighting rings.

 
Ms. Bitencourt, a tour operator by day, bought her first pit bull 10 years ago after she'd been robbed several times in her middle-class neighborhood. Partly due to rising crime, the number of the macho dogs in Rio has exploded to about 20,000 from 1,000 since the mid-1990s, says Ms. Bitencourt, who is president of the Pit Bull Club of Brazil. Dog-fighting grew along with the pit-bull population. To offer dog owners an alternative to fighting, Ms. Bitencourt launched her olympics about five years ago.

She holds four or five major athletic meets per year in favelas, each drawing about 70 dogs and as many as 400 spectators. The price of admission is a bag of rice or beans for a local food bank.

Pit-bull owners vie for several trophies. In the long jump, dogs make a running start, bound off a wooden platform and fly more than 20 feet, trying to snare a tire dangled in front of them. Dogs also compete in 10-meter sprints while pulling a man on roller skates. There are pit-bull beauty contests and swim meets. "Dogs, Animals & Co.," a magazine in Rio, gave Ms. Bitencourt its highest award a few years ago, citing her work for "advancement of the breed."

But Carlos Minc, a Rio de Janeiro state legislator, says pit-bull enthusiasts aren't focusing enough on protecting humans from vicious pit bulls. He receives about 10 complaints a month from people who have been attacked or menaced by pit bulls. In one 2003 case, in which a pit bull killed a 72-year-old woman, Rio police had to pump nine bullets into the dog to bring it down. Mr. Minc says Ms. Bitencourt exaggerates her capacity to curb pit bulls' violent instincts.

"Let's say that a child tugs the ear of a supposedly docile pit bull," says Mr. Minc. "Who can guarantee that he'll react peacefully?"

Other Brazilian officials consider Ms. Bitencourt an ally. When authorities in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul seized 19 pit bulls in a dog-fighting bust last year, they asked for her help in finding homes for the animals. It was a delicate task because police expected the previous owners to come looking for the confiscated dogs once they got out of jail. Ms. Bitencourt had to sign a confidentiality agreement, vowing not to reveal identities of the dogs' new owners. "It was kind of like a witness protection program for pit bulls," she says.

Before Ms. Bitencourt can enter a Rio favela, she has to have an intermediary seek authorization from the dono do morro, or "owner of the hill," invariably a criminal. That doesn't eliminate danger. Once, while on a visit to train dogs, she got pinned down for seven hours in a gun battle between police and traffickers. Another time, police with weapons drawn broke up one of her competitions, she says, mistaking it for a dog fight. Maj. Milton Fernandes, of Rio's military police, is unaware of that incident, but praises Ms. Bitencourt for "discouraging dog fighting and introducing healthy recreational activities to poor communities."

On a recent visit to a favela to recruit dogs for her competitions, Ms. Bitencourt found traffickers had put up tall metal stakes on both sides of the roadway, to keep out wide-bodied police vehicles. While she was working out a dog named "Stallone," a motorcyclist pulled up, making no effort to conceal a pistol on his lap. The rider watched wordlessly, then rode away.

Much of Ms. Bitencourt's work involves reaching out to young men whose fight dogs have made them figures of respect in the Darwinian favela culture. Sandro Pereira, 23, says his father used to organize cockfights. So he felt he was carrying on a family tradition when, at age 12, he bought his fighting pit bull, "Bruce," named for Bruce Lee. By pricking Mr. Pereira's conscience about the pain Bruce was enduring, Ms. Bitencourt persuaded him to end the dog's fighting days. "Renata changed my point of view," he says.

Well, sort of. Though he's sworn off dog-fighting, Mr. Pereira says he continues to lay bets on fights involving vicious Asian betta fish.

Ms. Bitencourt applied some tough love to another of her prot?g?s, 21-year-old Giovanni Barbosa. She once took back the pit bull she had given Mr. Barbosa after discovering the dog had been fighting. But she also raced Mr. Barbosa to the hospital when he was struck by a stray bullet from a gang shootout.

Mr. Barbosa's dog, "Braddock," named for a Chuck Norris character, is such a legend in the favelas that there are T-shirts honoring him. The 60-pound Braddock can pull a four-door car a city block.

What finally turned Mr. Barbosa away from fighting was finding out that women, including the one he eventually married, were attracted to men whose dogs had prowess in nonviolent events. "A dog that talented gets you noticed," he says. But Mr. Barbosa's habit of sleeping with Braddock nearly nipped the romance in the bud. "I told him that at bedtime he would have to choose between me or Braddock," says his wife, Luciene, who eventually got her way.

Write to Matt Moffett at matthew.moffett@wsj.com
30935  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Help our troops/our cause: on: April 02, 2005, 01:02:02 PM
Military Amputees Find Camaraderie
Associated Press
March 29, 2005

FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas - Cpl. Isaiah Ramirez endured the rigors of Marine Corps basic training and two tours of high-risk duty in Iraq.

But since his lower right leg was shot off in January, Ramirez says he'll be happy just to walk again.

Ramirez, 21, took his first steps toward that goal this month at Brooke Army Medical Center, where two dozen amputees wounded in the Iraq war have become a tightly knit group as they adjust together to life-altering injuries.

The medical center's amputee center, which opened this year, is the second such facility created by the Defense Department to treat service members wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I love being around here - it makes you feel more normal," said Ramirez, who grew up in Long Beach, Calif.

Ramirez was on foot patrol in Ramadi on Jan. 11 when he was hit above his right ankle by an anti-tank round. He said he was alert while a combat medic quickly performed a crude amputation on the city street.




 
"I've learned that I've got to stop thinking about the things I could have done," said Ramirez, who had planned to be a career Marine. "I'm just glad to be here."

Army Spc. Albert Ross sat with Ramirez recently to answer his questions while the Marine was fitted for a prosthesis. Ross is a good role model for Ramirez: He lost the same part of his right leg to a rocket-propelled grenade in Baghdad last summer and has recovered well enough to run a quarter-mile on a treadmill.

In turn, Ross, from Baker, La., takes inspiration from Sgt. Chris Leverkuhn, an Army reservist from Logansport, Ind.

Leverkuhn, 21, had his right leg amputated just above the knee after an improvised bomb exploded under the floorboard of the fuel tanker he was riding in. The truck's driver was killed in the Jan. 2, 2004, attack outside Ramadi.

Leverkuhn has endured three dozen surgeries with more to come. He has progressed from bed to wheelchair to walker to crutches to cane. Now he can jump foot-high hurdles and dribble a basketball around small cones on the floor.

"Half the time when I'm wearing pants, people don't know that I'm an amputee," Leverkuhn said.

The workout room is the amputee center's social hub, where patients pump out a steady stream of wisecracks and PG-rated insults between sets on the weightlifting machines.

"We all give each other a hard time, but we don't do any of that until we know a person and know how they'll take it," said Leverkuhn, who has laminated a picture of a chopper-style motorcycle to his prosthesis.

Col. Robert Granville, an orthopedic surgeon who performs amputations and subsequent operations, is constantly awed by the casual, can-do atmosphere.

"I can't imagine being a 19, 20-year-old guy and facing the life challenges they have to face," said Granville. "We attempt to empathize, but we can't."

Army 1st Sgt. Daniel Seefeldt, a 22-year veteran, said the camaraderie at the amputee center got him past the nightmares he had after losing his lower left leg to a homemade bomb in Baghdad in September.

"A lot of the reason I'm not thinking about it is being with the other amputees," said Seefeldt, 41, of Manitowoc, Wis. "We're all close, like a family. If you're depressed, you have people here to lift your spirits."

During weekend visits to see his wife and two children, Seefeldt does laundry and straightens up around the house. In late November, barely six weeks after his amputation, he cooked Thanksgiving dinner.

"I do it every year," Seefeldt said matter-of-factly, "and this year was no different."

Ramirez, whose wife gave birth to the couple's first child in late February, is months away from rattling any pots and pans. He first needs to learn how to balance himself and re-establish the rhythm of his gait.

The support he's getting at the amputee center will shore him up on his upcoming return to Southern California to see family and his old surfing buddies.

"I worried when I saw them that they would have pity for me," Ramirez said. "I want them to see me and think, 'He's doing pretty good.'"
30936  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: April 01, 2005, 09:36:04 PM
www.stratfor.com
An End to War?
March 31, 2005 23 59  GMT



By Kamran Bokhari

Although it is a very unconventional war, the U.S. war against al Qaeda -- like any other war -- eventually must come to an end. But because of its very nature, questions that have been posed since the Sept. 11 attacks have revolved around how to gauge the United States' military progress against a non-state actor, how we will know when the war actually has ended and what peace and security will mean in the post-9/11 age.

These are not easy questions to answer. The dynamics of this war are unlike any other, and Washington cannot gauge its progress (or lack thereof) by territories held or other conventional means. Nor can the means of ending the war shape future relations between the main actors.

However, there is now a real and growing sense that the Bush administration is working to bring closure to this war by directly targeting al Qaeda's core leadership -- Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi -- and that Washington is beginning to turn its attention to other matters, while acknowledging that the battle against militant Islamism likely will continue at some level for a long time.

Unlike most other observers, we believe the war is going in the United States' favor. Other than the Madrid train bombings a year ago, al Qaeda has not been able to stage significant attacks in the West, and none at all in the United States, since Sept. 11, 2001. It has confined its actions largely to the Muslim world -- its home region, where operations are easiest to mount -- but even there we see a weakening of militancy. The frequency of attacks in Iraq and other areas should not be mistaken for a surge in militancy, particularly if the attacks do not cause much damage and do not manage to alter the flow of political events.

Al Qaeda leaders, seeking to lay low in southwest Asia, have seen their offensive capabilities reduced to issuing communiques via audio and videotapes and press releases. The counterterrorism offensives launched by Southeast Asian states have prevented any major strikes from taking place, and militant activity in the former Soviet republics of Central Asia is negligible, even though many members of jihadist groups remain in this area.

Even in the Arab Middle East, transnational Islamist militants do not seem to be operating very effectively. This trend is particularly noteworthy in Saudi Arabia, where -- despite al Qaeda's shift toward striking government targets late last year -- the group's ability to stage attacks has declined markedly. The Saudi intelligence and security apparatus not only appears to have contained the militant phenomenon, but recently has taken the offensive.

Moreover, the kingdom's religious establishment -- long viewed as having divided loyalties and some sympathies for al Qaeda -- recently has spoken out vocally against the "jihadist" movement. This has forced al Qaeda's Saudi branch to attempt strikes in Kuwait and Qatar instead. It is possible that the militants could pull off small- to medium-sized attacks in the United Arab Emirates or Oman, and a surge in activity could even take place in al Qaeda's former stomping ground, Yemen. All the same, widening the sphere of operations will not, by itself, compensate for a decline in the effectiveness of attacks.

The only place where al Qaeda has been able to act with relative success has been Iraq -- though even that has required co-opting an existing group, al-Zarqawi's organization, which established itself in the mayhem following the ouster of the Hussein regime. Signaling a growing sense of the original al Qaeda's impotence, bin Laden is believed to have recently called on al-Zarqawi to concentrate on expanding beyond Iraq -- and if possible, to attempt strikes in the continental United States. The message, intercepted by U.S. intelligence, indicates that al Qaeda prime considers Iraq to be a lost cause.

Even al-Zarqawi has acknowledged that he faces a crisis: In one of his initial communiques to bin Laden, early last year, he warned that his fighters were in a race against time. The Sunnis' nationalist insurgency may linger on for some time after the consolidation of the new Shiite-led government in Baghdad, but transnational militants -- who have contributed only a small fraction of the overall daily attacks -- will probably not last long once a new Iraqi Constitution is drafted and a democratically elected government is in power. Therefore, if the most robust of all its units now sees the clock ticking for its eventual annihilation, we feel it is safe to view al Qaeda as a largely spent force.

This view is strengthened by the fact that Muslim regimes -- in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and now Iraq -- are finding it necessary to combat suicide bombers and other jihadist operations, prompted not only by U.S. pressure but also the threat to the regimes' own survival. Ultimately, the physical space in which the jihadists can sustain their movement, plan operations and execute strikes is shrinking -- and the likelihood of their own deaths or captures is growing.

For instance, the new government in Iraq has accelerated its efforts to arrest al-Zarqawi, having already captured a number of his key aides, and Pakistani forces have released information that indicates they are making progress in attempts to locate bin Laden and his deputy, al-Zawahiri. These include a March 25 statement by Lt. Gen. Safdar Hussain, head of the XI Corps in Peshawar and commander of counterterrorism operations in the northwestern tribal regions, who said that bin Laden's security detail consists of nearly 50 men, arranged in concentric circles of security, for which Pakistani forces now are on the lookout.

There also are signs that the U.S. military is preparing to carry out a (possibly final) offensive against the al Qaeda leaders, who are believed to be hiding in northwestern Pakistan. Among these is Washington's long-awaited decision March 25 to sell F-16 fighter aircraft to Islamabad -- a move that will give President Gen. Pervez Musharraf the political capital he needs to launch a joint offensive with the United States on Pakistani soil. U.S. forces also have relocated from western Afghanistan to areas along its border with Pakistan.

The capture or death of any of the three militant leaders would pose a significant setback for lower echelons of the jihadist movement, which would lose direction and a source of morale. Jihadist operatives are fueled not only by constant doses of ideology, but also by tangible proof of their own progress or success. With tempos of operations at their lowest ebb since the Sept. 11 strikes, the elimination of all or even one of the top three leaders could erode al Qaeda's capabilities to the point that attacks are regarded as mere nuisances -- a level that, though undesirable, is manageable.

Another point to consider is that a certain combination of circumstances gave rise to al Qaeda and created an environment that allowed it to nourish and grow -- domestic conditions within Muslim nation-states; regional forces within the Middle East and South Asia; and the international situation within the context of the Cold War. Even within that environment, however, it took bin Laden and his followers some 15 to 20 years to establish al Qaeda as a significant geopolitical threat.

The conditions that fostered al Qaeda's growth no longer exist, and the current global fight against Islamist militant movements will make it nearly impossible for the next generation of jihadists -- which potentially could emerge, though it would likely take more than 15 to 20 years -- to replace al Qaeda on an equal scale, once the group has been squelched out. In short, we do not believe the world faces a long-term threat from current jihadist elements -- and we might in fact be entering another cycle of relative security, until another generation of Islamist extremists can revive transnational militancy.

Essentially, we are entering another age in which global relationships are defined by alliances and tensions between nation-states.

Now, some have suggested that the war in Iraq, like the Soviet conflict in Afghanistan, has become a breeding ground for the next generation of Islamist militants. Though there certainly are similarities -- both situations involve warfare, a convergence of Arab and Muslim fighters and the presence of Islamist extremists -- there are significant differences as well. Perhaps the most important is that in Afghanistan, the majority of the populace opposed Soviet efforts to prop up an Afghan Marxist regime, which came to be viewed as a godless oppressor and legitimate target of jihad. In Baghdad, the new, U.S.-backed government -- made up of Shia and Kurds -- actually has the support of most Iraqi voters. Furthermore, the political process in Iraq is undercutting the insurgency by co-opting many of its leaders -- and there is no rival foreign power with its own proxies, seeking to contain U.S. efforts.

Among the Sunni elements, there also are differences: The Iraq conflict has not attracted nearly as many foreign Muslim fighters as did the war in Afghanistan, nor do the majority of Iraqi Sunnis subscribe to al Qaeda's extremist Wahhabi ideology.

It could be further argued that the Bush administration's push for democratization -- especially in the Arab Middle East and wider Muslim world -- is another factor that will reduce the attractiveness of militantism in the long term. Because the people of the region have no love for the existing authoritarian political structures, external demands for democracy will mesh with internal desires for greater freedoms and self-determination.

However, fears linger in the West that a truly democratic protest could allow radical anti-U.S. groups to gain power in the Middle East.

These apprehensions bear examination. At least in Iraq and Afghanistan, where political liberalization already is under way, there is empirical evidence to the contrary: We see conservative and even Islamist forces, which wield much greater influence than the militants, moderating their stances as nation-building efforts take root. Similar phenomena have occurred in Turkey, Iran and Pakistan -- states where democratic politics exist, to varying degrees.

In other words, democratization in states where significant Islamist movements make respectable showings in elections has had a moderating effect on Islamist ideologues -- albeit most of these forces are relatively moderate to begin with, compared to those with extremist transnational agendas. It is important to note, as well, that radical and militant Islamists oppose democracy; therefore, notions that radicalism and militancy will only spread with the collapse of autocracies and the onset of democracy carry no water.

The wild card that could sustain jihadism lies in the Chechen situation, where the militants' ethnic makeup makes it hard to detect them. Moreover, they are not facing a dragnet of the same intensity as that directed against al Qaeda. A weakening Russia could provide the circumstances under which the Chechen militants go transnational. But for this to occur, one of two conditions must exist. Either remnants of al Qaeda will have to move to the Caucasus, or the Chechen militants will have to subscribe to an anti-American and pan-Islamist enterprise.

Since the chances of either are slim, the current jihadist movement seems to have passed its peak as a serious geopolitical force -- at least for the next generation.
30937  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / New on DVD! on: April 01, 2005, 11:02:48 AM
Woof Myke:

The current "Kali Tudo" (tm) is already about to run over 90 minutes, so we are thinking of dividing it into a Double DVD set.

The material in it is dedicated to angular striking crashes.

Probable future KT (tm) DVDs will cover KT for the ground-- against guard, from guard, from side control.  With the number of DVD projects currently in the pipeline in may be a while before we get to it though.

Woof,
Guro Crafty
30938  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / New on DVD! on: March 30, 2005, 08:24:15 PM
Woof All:

Allow me to underline that point about additional footage.  wink

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

Additional DVDs coming soon:

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

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

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

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

Woof,
Crafty Dog
30939  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Dog Brother Ranking System on: March 29, 2005, 09:21:54 AM
Woof Dustin:

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

Woof,
Guro Crafty
30940  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Dog Brother Ranking System on: March 28, 2005, 11:43:49 PM
Woof Dustin:

Thank you for your question.

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

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

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

3) Apprentice Instructor

4) Senior Apprentice Instructor

5) Instructor:  

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

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

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

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

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

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

Does this answer your question?

Woof,
Guro Crafty
30941  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: March 25, 2005, 01:45:36 PM
Woof All:

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

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


PEGGY NOONAN

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

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

God made the world or he didn't.

God made you or he didn't.

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

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

That is what they are trying to do.

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


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

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

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

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

They seem to have fallen half in love with death.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ms. Noonan is a contributing editor of The Wall Street Journal and author of "A Heart, a Cross, and a Flag" (Wall Street Journal Books/Simon & Schuster), a collection of post-Sept. 11 columns, which you can buy from the OpinionJournal bookstore. Her column appears Thursdays.
30942  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Well-armed People on: March 25, 2005, 01:40:19 PM
Woof All:

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

And now, here's this:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"The best we can help for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed." Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers at 184-8. Hamilton was a lawyer and delegate to the Continental Congress.
30943  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Help our troops/our cause: on: March 24, 2005, 01:57:43 PM
Military.com launched a new online employment and education resource last week in support of the Department of Defense Military Severely Injured Joint Support Operations Center (24/7 Family Support). The new Career Center, located online at www.Military.com/support and accessible via 1-888-774-1361, builds on efforts by the Military Severely Injured Joint Support Operations Center to ensure that Servicemembers with severe injuries have easy access to all available resources to assist with their recovery and rehabilitation. The Career Center offers an extensive job board powered by Monster, the leading global online careers property, as well as employment assistance, education options and benefits information for severely injured Servicemembers and their families. The Career Center also enables employers to express their interest in hiring people from this exceptional talent pool. Resources are drawn from the Office of Military Community and Family Policy as well as from every branch of military service, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Labor and private organizations. Go to the new Career Center at www.Military.com/support
30944  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: March 24, 2005, 08:29:25 AM
www.stratfor.com

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



Summary

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

Analysis

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

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





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

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

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

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

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

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

Much must happen between Tehran, the EU and Washington before the military option becomes more likely; but should the need arise, the United States can draw on a powerful arsenal to cause catastrophic damage to Iran's nuclear program.
30945  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Well-armed People on: March 23, 2005, 11:08:45 AM
March 23, 2005, 7:44 a.m.
Disarming Facts
The road to bad laws is paved with good intentions.

By John R. Lott Jr.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://www.nationalreview.com/comme...00503230744.asp
30946  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Howl of Respect to our Soldiers/Veterans on: March 23, 2005, 10:39:41 AM
Subject: Report from Iraq
From: John Bell [mailto:bellj@ramincorp.com]
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2005 11:28 AM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John Bell
Research Analysis & Maintenance, Inc.  ( RAM, Inc.)
1525 Perimeter Parkway, Suite 110
Huntsville, AL 35806
Phone: 256-895-8402
Fax: 256-895-8452
30947  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / An Untold Triumph on: March 23, 2005, 10:33:56 AM
Hi everyone:

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

Regards,
Tony Somera

=======

Woof All:  

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

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

The Adventure continues,
Crafty Dog
30948  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Howl of Respect to our Soldiers/Veterans on: March 22, 2005, 06:11:58 PM
Laws Must Protect the Rights of Military Dads
By Jeffery M. Leving and Glenn Sacks
 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Glenn can be reached via his website at www.GlennSacks.com or via email at Glenn@GlennSacks.com.
30949  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Howl of Respect to our Soldiers/Veterans on: March 22, 2005, 11:44:30 AM
From Reuters: Army raises enlistment age for reservists to 39
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- The U.S. Army, stung by recruiting shortfalls caused by the Iraq war, has raised the maximum age for new recruits for the part-time Army Reserve and National Guard by five years to 39, officials said Monday.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recruiting goals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Army Reserve is made up of federal soldiers who can be mobilized from civilian life for active duty. National Guard soldiers also serve under the control of state governors for roles like disaster relief in their home states.
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30950  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / "Kali" player on trial for killing bouncer on: March 21, 2005, 11:38:14 AM
Woof JDN:

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

Do you have any citations supporting your statement?

Woof,
Crafty Dog
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