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51  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / The New DBMA Association! on: August 29, 2014, 06:10:20 PM

Woof!

I would like to announce the beginning of a new era for the Dog Brothers Martial Arts Association and the creation of the DBMA Instructors Association.  Under my supervision, the new DBMAA and DBMA IA will be run by a Board of Directors:
 
DBMA:
*Guro Ryan "Guard Dog" Gruhn-- Director of Business Affairs
*Guro Mark "Fu Dog" O'Dell-- Director of Curriculum
* Guro Mark "Beowulf" Houston-- Director of Curriculum

(Because there are three of us named "Marc/Mark" we tend to use our Dog Brother names to avoid confusion)
 
As you can see, all three are full Dog Brothers and DBMA Guros.  Guros Fu and Beo are long time private students of mine who together run a school in Moreno Valley, CA.  Guro Ryan/Guard Dog, based in Central PA, has trained with me for over eleven years and brings the knowledge, experience, and wisdom that running a school of some 450+ students has taught him.  What he will be doing for us he has already done for the other prominent Associations such as the Thai Boxing Association of the U.S.A. and the Youth Martial Arts Association.
 
With this new era I believe we have in place a program that will serve you well, be your interest in any or all of the three basic martial areas of DBMA: Weaponry/Real Contact Stick Fighting; "Kali Tudo" ™;  and/or "Die Less Often" whether you are a backyard group or a school.

I feel myself to be of an age where the focus is on building those that follow, and as a system, I feel DBMA is now ready.  Do note that given that I have been teaching for nearly 20 years, the number I have certified as Guro is rather small—ten so far—but I am rather “old school” in these things.  The DBMAA and the DBMA IA are now my central focus.  If you like my work, this is where you want to be.  (To read more on Guro Crafty’s life in martial arts click here (insert link here))
 
I now leave it to Guro Ryan/Guard Dog to handle the reality of it all.

Me?  I'm in charge of everything else :0D
 
The Adventure continues!
Guro Crafty/Marc
 
==============================================
 
 
Woof! 
 
We are excited to announce the all new Dog Brothers Martial Arts Association, which builds upon the Association that began twelve years ago.  Thanks to the evolutions in DBMA as a system and in technology, the new DBMAA will offer all that it always has and much more. 

BENEFITS:

1) Online Video Library:  Inside the new DBMAA you will find numerous Dog Brothers DVDs which have been broken down by technique and carefully labeled for easy navigation.  Every month there will be new DBMAA-only clips from various seminars, private lessons and other various Dog Brothers Martial Arts related events that will be posted every month.  Some will be from Guro Crafty, some will be from DBMA Guros and Instructors, and some will be from guest instructors.   It might be Guro Crafty sharing the latest wrinkle on the Time Machine Game or one of the Guros sharing an interesting tangent on which he has some distinct expertise.  Or it might be a guest instructor; for example, you will see Guro Crafty’s friend and noted twelve year UFC veteran Tony Fryklyn demonstrating his explorations based upon Guro Crafty’s trailblazing innovations with the use of shot puts as a training tool.  Tony, assisted by his friend “Jase” (Jason Stratham’s stunt double) will show you his expression of using the shot puts to develop his MMA clinch game.

2)   Footage from Guro Crafty’s extensive library!  Guro Crafty has compiled over twenty five years of fighting and training footage which he will share with the Association.  Where permission is obtained, the shared footage will include some of the finest teachers and fighters on the planet.

3)  The DBMAA forum like none you have ever seen.  It puts a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips.  As a member you will have to the largest repository of knowledge ever compiled on DBMA.  Having already been in existence for twelve years, the older lower tech Association is already a living, breathing entity ready, willing, and able to support this new step.  Every new user will have twelve years of content already there waiting for him—plus plenty of material of the sort enabled by the new technology.   In addition to the subject matter of the sort you might expect, there are threads on Evolutionary Psychology/Biology,  Konrad Lorenz, Carl Jung, Historical Battles.   After all, DBMA is not just about the fighting, but the contexts in which it occurs.

Navigating on the forum is surprisingly easy.  Great emphasis has been put on “thread coherency”—meaning that if you want to research a particular subject (e.g. anti-knife, head butts, improvised weapons, security measures, guns, etc.) you will be able to go to that thread and find years of accumulated contributions on the subject in question thus making navigating twelve years of posts easier than ever.

Unlike other forums where the “name instructor” rarely shows up and interacts even less, Guro Crafty is there most days to engage and to interact with you.

Guro Crafty has always made it clear that DBMA is not “the Marc Denny style” – rather it is “A system of many styles dedicated to smuggling concepts across the frontiers of style.”  The membership of the Association is broad and deep and brings much to the conversation.  As a member of our organization you will be part of a community, creating an environment of support and growth.

WHERE DO I BEGIN?

One of the most asked questions we get is, “Where do I start?  Is there a road map?”  The answer is - HERE! 

http://dogbrothers.com/join-dbmaa/

While many people who come to us prefer to follow their doggy nose as they explore DBMA, many others prefer a more defined progression.  As far we are concerned, both of these paths are correct--  our Curriculum Directors, Guro Fu Dog and Guro Beowulf, and I are there to help whichever way you prefer to go.

If you do ask for us to help you with a defined progression, with your progress noted along the way, we will share with a clear systemic and sequential path to genuine competence in DBMA, dignified along the way by a discrete "dog tag" with a silencer of the appropriate color.  Know that we are "old school" in this, recognition will be earned!

Our Instructor section will be for current Instructors and Group Leaders. For those who have aspirations to become an Instructor, the "dog tag progression" of the Association will form your base and continue from there.  For further details contact me (Guro Ryan).

MONEY:

We have kept costs to a minimum so you get the most out of your experience with us.  Here is how it breaks down.

If you are already an active member, we appreciate your loyalty. Your membership remains active at the current rate until it is up for renewal. For new members the cost will be $25 a month or $200 per year if you sign up before Sept 30, 2014. New members, if you get in before September 30, 2014, you will be locked into this special discounted rate for as long as you are a current member under the DBMA Association; after that it becomes $30 a month or $300 per year.
 
To register http://dogbrothers.com/join-dbmaa/

DBMA Instructor Association:  If you are interested in your school carrying the DBMA flag and what the program offers you please contact me directly.

Fit, Fun & Functional!

Ryan “Guard Dog” Gruhn
Guro / DBMAA Business Director
“Walking as warriors for all our days”
ryan@dogbrothers.com | www.dogbrothers.com
52  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: 9/21/2014 Dog Brothers Open Gathering of the Pack on: August 29, 2014, 05:42:10 PM
8: "Dog" Dirk Eichstaedt
53  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 911 on: August 29, 2014, 04:57:10 PM
Woof All:

http://dogbrothers.com/saved-by-the-militia/

As we approach the anniversaries of 911 and Benghazi, regardless of what we may think about how the state of the world got to be as it is, it sure looks like islamo-fascism could be a real threat to the American homeland.

ISIL is incredibly well funded and has at least many hundreds of passports that get them into the US without visa (I.e. US and Euro ). In short, unlike before, the hatred is but a plane ticket away and the people with those passports are both in a messianic rage and experienced in combat.

Mumbai-type attacks are well within their present skill sets and operational capabilities.

It is important to remember that the Russians specifically warned us about those two brothers who went on to bomb the Boston Marathon-- and still Big Brother could not get it right. (It may worth wondering what we got for the devil's bargain of surrendering the freedom of privacy in return for promises of security?

It is important to remember that the only thing that did work on the first 911 was We The People on Flight 93.

It is important to remember that this is exactly what our divinely inspired Founding Fathers had in mind-- the ultimate defense of the nation rested in the hands of a well-armed people.

Precisely because of our Declaration of Independence and Constitution we are a rather well armed people.

As we seek to walk as warriors for all our days, we do not complain of our troubles. God only gives us troubles we can handle and therefore he must think we are some real badasses.

Are you ready to be on a Flight 93 today? Are you ready for cyberwar, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, epidemics, etc?

Tomorrow is promised to no one. Are you ready?

Mangling the words of the poet, take this hour to perform your art and perfect your Life.

The Adventure continues!
Marc/Crafty Dog
54  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / When you are down and , , , on: August 29, 2014, 04:50:02 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=438sGy9IE58#t=33
55  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Christian farmers give up hosting all weddings on: August 29, 2014, 03:23:51 PM
http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/08/29/after-being-fined-and-forced-to-host-gay-weddings-christian-farm-owners-make-drastic-decision-that-will-likely-hurt-their-business/
56  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Romney on: August 29, 2014, 12:04:02 PM
Romeny-Ryan on Kelly Files

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=139j-HAWiL0
57  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues and LE in action on: August 29, 2014, 11:55:01 AM
I have not followed the bunny trail to its end, but assuming GM's sourcing research is correct, still there is the matter of the human dimension here GM.  BD was communicating in a gracious manner with you.  Snark was not necessary in the response.  The same point could have been made with "You may not realize it but actually the two pieces in question are not by ML.  The way it goes down is this , , , etc."   Same point, different tone.

58  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Environmental issues on: August 29, 2014, 11:45:13 AM
Well, if the US were to ban plastic bags for groceries I DO think it would make a difference and encourage others to make a difference.  As for the logical points raised, fair enough-- perhaps a mesh bag would answer the objections raised to the other alternatives?

If not, what about those cartons instead of plastic bottles for drinking water, juice, sport drinks, etc?

The larger point I am making is that we cannot ALWAYS be against every proffered solution.  We need to OFFER solutions.  

I offer that the ED model of analysis gives us a principled way of doing so -- and does not give ground to watermelon foolishness.

If not grocery bags, then something else, but dammit! SOMETHING!

PS:  Have you ever seen a serious documentary showing the gyres of plastic in the ocean?  If not, you need to! 

Forgive me, but our Creator gave us this planet and put us in the Garden of Eden.  Made in his image, it is the responsibility of our dominion over this planet to beware the by-products of the apple of Knowledge (science and technology) and to work towards restoring the Garden of Eden everywhere insofar as is plausible.
59  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces on: August 29, 2014, 11:34:22 AM
My secrets revealed!   cheesy
60  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Drones/UAV/UAS/Bots on: August 29, 2014, 11:32:28 AM
Much better  grin
61  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Dry run and/or business as usual? on: August 29, 2014, 11:31:48 AM


http://www.tpnn.com/2014/08/29/video-illegals-have-taken-their-invasion-of-our-border-to-a-whole-new-level/
62  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Worthy of our consideration on: August 29, 2014, 10:17:50 AM
http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/08/27/Exclusive-Rand-Paul-Hillary-Clinton-s-War-Hawk-Style-Policies-Destabilized-Libya-Syria-Leading-To-Benghazi-Terrorist-Attack-Rise-Of-ISIS

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) certainly has a knack for boldness. On Sunday's Meet the Press, he dubbed U.S. military engagement in Libya “Hillary’s war” and stated the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) is not a result of President Obama's inaction in the Middle East but the unintended consequence of the U.S. military engagement in Libya.

The comments predictably caused heads in the GOP's foreign policy establishment to explode. The Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin called the rhetorical gambit “ludicrous” and said Paul holds the same views as his father, the libertarian former-Rep. Ron Paul. In an email to me, John Yoo, the former top Justice Department official in the Bush administration, said Paul is the Republicans' “own version of George McGovern.”

In a phone interview, Paul expanded on his remarks and offered a detailed rendering of his views on foreign policy that, regardless of their merits, are undoubtedly innovative for a man likely to seek the GOP's presidential nomination in 2016. Paul told Breitbart News:

    I would say the objective evidence shows that Libya is a less safe place and less secure place, a more chaotic place with more jihadist groups—and really, we’ve had two really bad things happen because of Hillary’s push for this war. One is that our ambassador was killed as a consequence of not having adequate security and really as a consequence of having a really unstable situation there because of the Libyan war, and then most recently our embassy having to flee by land because they couldn’t leave via the airport because of such a disaster in Libya. So I think it’s hard to argue that the Libyan war was a success in any way. From my perspective, the first mistake they made was not asking the American people and Congress for authority to go to war.

While Muammar Gaddafi, or Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad, or Iraq’s Saddam Hussein—deposed during the George W. Bush administration—were certainly bad actors, Paul wants to know: who takes their place?

    Sometimes people are trying to say I don’t have enough concern for this. Well, actually, I have a great deal of concern—and not thinking through the consequences of intervention has caused Islamism and radical jihadist groups to proliferate. So I think Qaddafi and Saddam Hussein were both secular dictators who were awful, and did terrible things to their people, but at the same time were also enemies of the jihadists. Assad is the same way. What we’ve done in Libya, and now what we’re doing in Syria, is we have armed groups that are commingled with jihadists.

For instance, in Syria, Paul says, by arming the “rebels” against Assad, America “degraded Assad’s capacity to wipe out the rebel groups in his country.”

A year ago, Obama sought approval from Congress to engage militarily in Syria, as Paul urges, but Congress balked. Facing stiff resistance from lawmakers of both parties, the matter never even came up for a vote.

According to Paul, that's how the system is supposed to work.

“Think what would have happened had we seriously degraded Assad to the point where he was overrun, think who would be in charge of Syria right now?” Paul asked before answering his own rhetorical question: ”ISIS.” In conclusion, Paul said:

    So we are very lucky that the American people are much wiser than Hillary Clinton, and much wiser than the president. We got the president and Hillary Clinton to slow down, but Hillary Clinton was widely reported to be the chief person proposing that we get involved in Syria. But really the only person directly involved in bombing ISIS’s bases right now is the Syrian government—so for all their wrongs, we’re actually quite lucky we didn’t have regime change, because I think it is a very realistic prediction that, had we had that happen, that ISIS would be in charge of Syria. Really, Syria, with Assad and all this war, is somewhat of a counter to the power of ISIS.

Paul's critics in the GOP are increasingly agitated by his stances, especially what they see as him positioning himself to the left of Clinton on foreign policy, even while the Middle East is becoming ever more volatile.

“The last thing the Republican Party needs is its own version of George McGovern,” Yoo told me. “More than 50 percent of the American people now disapprove of Obama's isolationist foreign policy, whose disastrous effects we now see in the Middle East, Ukraine, and Asia. Paul's views will have the same bad consequences, both for the Republican Party, the United States, and the world.”

On a panel on Meet The Press that followed Paul's interview, Michael Gerson, the former Geroge W. Bush speechwriter and one of the architects of “compassionate conservatism,” criticized Paul for opposing foreign aid.

“He’s called for the gradual elimination of all foreign aid,” Gerson said. “I’ve seen its effect in sub-Saharan Africa and other places. This would cause misery for millions of people on AIDS treatment. It would betray hundreds of thousands of children receiving malaria treatment. These are things you can’t ignore in a presidential candidate. This is a perfect case of how a person can have good intentions, but how an ideology can cause terrible misery. He will need to explain that.”

However, James Carafano, a generally hawkish foreign policy expert at the Heritage Foundation, said Paul is tapping into real currents of discontent with the American public.

Paul is “onto something,” in that “in a sense that people are looking for something other than reflexively send in the bombs or reflexively do nothing,” Carafano told this reporter.

“It’s not just Sen. Paul, but I’ve heard several of the people who might be Republican candidates offer different versions of the same thing,” Carafano said. “Rick Perry was here the other day and was a little more aggressive on Iraq than Paul, but in their own way, what everybody is trying to say is we need to be prudent as opposed to somebody who just says we’re going to go do this.”

Paul describes himself as “a foreign policy realist like the first George Bush, like Reagan, like Eisenhower.” He elaborates:

    They did intervene on occasion. It was not their first choice—but they did intervene when there were American interests involved, and I think really it’s not one extreme or the other. I often tell people in speeches one extreme goes nowhere all the time and that’s isolationism. The other extreme goes everywhere all the time. Many of the foreign policy sort of establishment in Washington, they're so used to being everywhere all of the time, that anyone who backs away from everywhere all of the time is considered to be an isolationist.

Paul said that in many cases, “there is no good alternative”—and that much of the time, each foreign policy choice by a president has negative consequences and positive ones. But the best decision, he said, is the one that acts in the best interest of America and her allies like Israel—even if that means a bad dictator remains in power.

“I think one of the biggest threats to our country is radical Islam and these radical Islamist groups—they are a threat,” Paul said.

Paul is currently leading the GOP field in 2016 GOP primary polls a few months out from the 2014 midterm elections. He said Americans are looking for someone they can trust to do the right thing when a foreign policy crisis arises. Paul went on:

    When people are looking at choosing someone to be commander-in-chief, I think first and foremost they’re looking at whether that person has the wisdom and judgment to defend the country and make those decisions—when that 3 a.m. phone call came for Hillary, she didn’t bother to pick up the phone. In Libya, they were calling—they needed reinforcements for six months. It wasn’t just the night of the attack; for six months leading up to the attack there were repeated calls for reinforcements, for security teams, for a DC-3 to fly people on a plane to be able to leave the country. So I think the compilation of mistakes leading up to Benghazi really do preclude her from consideration to become commander-in-chief.

Regarding ISIS, the Islamic State terrorist organization that has grown a foothold in Syria and Iraq, Paul said he supports airstrikes. But if he were the president in this situation, unlike Obama, he would have called Congress back from recess to sell both chambers on action—and seek authorization before using America’s armed forces there. Paul said of ISIS:

    We need to do what it takes to make sure they’re not strong enough to attack us. That means sometimes perhaps continuing the alliance with the new Iraqi government. Perhaps it means armaments, or perhaps it means air support, but frankly if I were in President Obama’s shoes at this time, I would have called Congress back, I would have had a joint session of Congress, and I would have said ‘this is why ISIS is a threat to the United States, to the stability of the region, to our embassy, to our diplomats, and this is why I’m asking you today to authorize air attacks.’ I’m betting if he would have done that to a joint session of Congress, he would have gotten approval. When you don’t do it through Congress, and you do it yourself, then you really have not galvanized the will of the nation. As a true leader, what I think we need to do is galvanize the nation when we go to war.

But since Clinton and Obama have “a disregard for the rule of law,” which generally requires congressional authorization for such military action while giving the president considerable latitude for short-term action, the administration did not seek congressional authorization for action in Libya—and probably won’t for action against ISIS, if it’s taken. Paul concluded:

    Americans do want strong leadership from the president. They do think that President Obama is not being a strong leader. They do want a strong leader, something more akin to the public persona of Reagan. But they also don’t want somebody who is reckless in engaging in war; they don’t want somebody to put troops back in the Middle East. That was my point with Hillary Clinton—her eagerness to be involved in Libya and to be involved in Syria, in Libya led to very bad, probably unintended consequences and in Syria unintended consequences also. But I think you have less unintended consequences if you come to the American people through Congress and have a full-throated debate. It’s frankly difficult to convince Congress to do things—and that way, if you do it that way, you’re unlikely to go to war unless there is a consensus among the American people.

63  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Drones/UAV/UAS/Bots on: August 29, 2014, 10:09:16 AM
Why not engage on the merits?
64  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces on: August 29, 2014, 10:07:17 AM
Actually Top Dog could do some AMAZING reads (first time he met my then girlfriend he turned and looked at me and said "She must drive your crazy interrupting you when you are reading".  There was NO way he could have known that!

I too had many a read where the woman was surprised at how I could have known that.  If you break down the analytical framework, the variables assessed followed a lot of Jungian pyschology (thinking, feeling, sensation, intuition, introverted, extroverted, etc) and a lot of it simply made sense; a hard thick stubby muscular hand would tend to correlate to a personality that was more impulsive than a hand that was long, slender, and delicate.

 
65  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / AQ vs Assad in Golan Heights on: August 29, 2014, 09:51:12 AM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLqkjksKM1o
66  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: August 29, 2014, 09:41:54 AM
As is usually the case with this source, some of the expression is a bit over the top, but the essence of the point is there:

http://www.capoliticalreview.com/capoliticalnewsandviews/mexican-president-claims-to-be-co-governor-of-california/
67  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen. Rand Paul on: August 29, 2014, 09:13:59 AM
So, you are agreeing with Rand?
68  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces on: August 29, 2014, 09:13:00 AM
Hand reading was an AWESOME way of meeting women for me.  You hold their hand and talk about their favorite subject--themselves.  When I would do this at a bar sometimes I had a number of others competing to be next to be read.
69  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The word treason comes to mind , , , on: August 29, 2014, 09:07:22 AM


Not the most reliable of sources.  Any confirmation out there?

===================================

http://www.tpnn.com/2014/08/28/woah-obama-pushes-unilateral-policy-changes-to-let-hawaii-secede-from-union/

WOAH! Obama Pushes to Let Hawaii Secede from Union

August 28, 2014 By Greg Campbell
 
Apparently seething with authoritarian hubris, President Obama is seeking to wave his magic “pen and a phone” once more to undo legislatively-passed laws and set the stage for allowing Hawaii to secede as a state.
 
For decades, the State of Hawaii has vied for the right to return to being a sovereign kingdom. The chain of islands has a fascinating and rich history as a kingdom, but was adopted as a state in 1959. Multiple attempts by Hawaiian lawmakers to return Hawaii to a kingdom have failed and in recent years, Former Senator Daniel Inouye and Senator Daniel Akaka, Democrats senators from Hawaii, have pushed the Native Hawaiian Recognition Act- an act that would restore Hawaii to a kingdom run by ethnically native Hawaiians.
 
As one might expect, Congress has routinely defeated this legislation. A 2007 DOJ statement to the Senate highlighted the absurdity of the proposed law and noted,

“Moreover, S. 310 effectively seeks to undo the political bargain through which Hawaii secured its admission into the Union in 1959. On November 7, 1950, all citizens of the Hawaiian Territory – including native Hawaiians – voted to seek admission to the United States. See, e.g., Pub. L. No. 86-3, 73 Stat. 4. By a decisive 2-1 margin, native Hawaiians themselves voted for statehood, thus voluntarily and democratically relinquishing any residual sovereignty to the United States.”

Obama, who grew up in Hawaii (amongst many other places), appears sympathetic to this plight and his Department of the Interior has issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to overrule the will of Congress.
 
What the notice proposes is enacting a “government-to-government relationship between the United State and the Native Hawaiian community,” allowing the government of Hawaii to run as a kingdom dominated by a racial hierarchy, with native Hawaiians being in charge.
 
Obama’s crusade, however, is fraught with legal complications. Aside from the obvious fact that such decisions are not the domain of the president, but rather the legislative body, Obama’s actions would likely violate 15th Amendment protections as well as establish a precedent that states can secede in the pursuit of instituting a government centered on racial hierarchy- an obvious violation of innumerable tenets of our government and society.
 
In late May, TPNN reported:

    The policy proposal, an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, states:
     
    “The Secretary of the Interior is considering whether to propose an administrative rule that would facilitate the reestablishment of a government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community.”
     
    The document claims that the goal is “to more effectively implement the special political and trust relationship that Congress has established between that [Hawaiian] community and the United States.”
     
    What this does is essentially create a two-tier system based on race in Hawaii. It will afford separate taxes and law enforcement to one race and another set of policies will govern another race.

Since then, the Department of the Interior has endured a barrage of push-back from legislators and other assorted bureaucrats who have maintained that not only is this a terrible idea, but one that is inherently unconstitutional. Under Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, Congress, not the president, has the authority to recognize tribes.
 
In fact, Obama’s head of Indian Affairs at the Interior Department, Assistant Secretary Kevin K. Washburn, testified before a House subcommittee that this administration did not “have the authority to recognize Native Hawaiians.” Washburn claimed that “we would need legislation to be able to proceed down that road.”
 
Still, despite having no Constitutional authority, the Obama administration is continuing to push the policy change that could have far-reaching effects. It is unclear if even the Congress has the authority to allow such policies; it is, however, certain that the executive branch possesses no such powers.
 
While it is far from certain that Hawaii will be granted the right to secede, what such policy shifts are aimed at is creating a wider divide between races and unapologetically implementing a racial hierarchy with native Hawaiians at the top.
 
At a time when the most divisive president in history pretends to be interested in equality and egalitarian beliefs, it’s nauseating to see his administration stoke the flames of racial prejudice and seek to codify racial supremacy in law.
70  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / The word treason comes to mind , , , on: August 29, 2014, 09:05:32 AM
Not the most reliable of sources.  Any confirmation out there?

===================================

http://www.tpnn.com/2014/08/28/woah-obama-pushes-unilateral-policy-changes-to-let-hawaii-secede-from-union/

WOAH! Obama Pushes to Let Hawaii Secede from Union

August 28, 2014 By Greg Campbell
 
14471 SHARES
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ZObamaApparently seething with authoritarian hubris, President Obama is seeking to wave his magic “pen and a phone” once more to undo legislatively-passed laws and set the stage for allowing Hawaii to secede as a state.
 
For decades, the State of Hawaii has vied for the right to return to being a sovereign kingdom. The chain of islands has a fascinating and rich history as a kingdom, but was adopted as a state in 1959. Multiple attempts by Hawaiian lawmakers to return Hawaii to a kingdom have failed and in recent years, Former Senator Daniel Inouye and Senator Daniel Akaka, Democrats senators from Hawaii, have pushed the Native Hawaiian Recognition Act- an act that would restore Hawaii to a kingdom run by ethnically native Hawaiians.
 
As one might expect, Congress has routinely defeated this legislation. A 2007 DOJ statement to the Senate highlighted the absurdity of the proposed law and noted,

    “Moreover, S. 310 effectively seeks to undo the political bargain through which Hawaii secured its admission into the Union in 1959. On November 7, 1950, all citizens of the Hawaiian Territory – including native Hawaiians – voted to seek admission to the United States. See, e.g., Pub. L. No. 86-3, 73 Stat. 4. By a decisive 2-1 margin, native Hawaiians themselves voted for statehood, thus voluntarily and democratically relinquishing any residual sovereignty to the United States.”

Obama, who grew up in Hawaii (amongst many other places), appears sympathetic to this plight and his Department of the Interior has issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to overrule the will of Congress.
 
What the notice proposes is enacting a “government-to-government relationship between the United State and the Native Hawaiian community,” allowing the government of Hawaii to run as a kingdom dominated by a racial hierarchy, with native Hawaiians being in charge.
 
Obama’s crusade, however, is fraught with legal complications. Aside from the obvious fact that such decisions are not the domain of the president, but rather the legislative body, Obama’s actions would likely violate 15th Amendment protections as well as establish a precedent that states can secede in the pursuit of instituting a government centered on racial hierarchy- an obvious violation of innumerable tenets of our government and society.
 
In late May, TPNN reported:

    The policy proposal, an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, states:
     
    “The Secretary of the Interior is considering whether to propose an administrative rule that would facilitate the reestablishment of a government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community.”
     
    The document claims that the goal is “to more effectively implement the special political and trust relationship that Congress has established between that [Hawaiian] community and the United States.”
     
    What this does is essentially create a two-tier system based on race in Hawaii. It will afford separate taxes and law enforcement to one race and another set of policies will govern another race.

Since then, the Department of the Interior has endured a barrage of push-back from legislators and other assorted bureaucrats who have maintained that not only is this a terrible idea, but one that is inherently unconstitutional. Under Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, Congress, not the president, has the authority to recognize tribes.
 
In fact, Obama’s head of Indian Affairs at the Interior Department, Assistant Secretary Kevin K. Washburn, testified before a House subcommittee that this administration did not “have the authority to recognize Native Hawaiians.” Washburn claimed that “we would need legislation to be able to proceed down that road.”
 
Still, despite having no Constitutional authority, the Obama administration is continuing to push the policy change that could have far-reaching effects. It is unclear if even the Congress has the authority to allow such policies; it is, however, certain that the executive branch possesses no such powers.
 
While it is far from certain that Hawaii will be granted the right to secede, what such policy shifts are aimed at is creating a wider divide between races and unapologetically implementing a racial hierarchy with native Hawaiians at the top.
 
At a time when the most divisive president in history pretends to be interested in equality and egalitarian beliefs, it’s nauseating to see his administration stoke the flames of racial prejudice and seek to codify racial supremacy in law.
71  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Environmental issues on: August 29, 2014, 01:55:09 AM
"There is no reasonable room I have seen for the right to take the lead.  You would have to be very, very quick to beat the left to the punch."

I disagree.  First you have to be emotionally available.  For example, I see no reason that a Rep could not seize upon the plastic bag issue, using the ED analytical framework I describe.  Yes the left has yapped about PBs first, but with no discernable limiting principle.  Lots of people intuitively understand the lack of cost-benefit in watermelon thinking and the lack of limiting principle and here we have a great chance to establish the principle while simultaneously allaying concerns that Reps are always going to find the analog the of the definition of gyres to quibble about.

The Rep who gets on our front with this, and similar problems will be seen as a uniter, the kind of leader that we need, blah blah.


 
72  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen. Rand Paul on: August 29, 2014, 01:47:31 AM
What do we think of Rand's article?
73  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WMD plans found in ISIL computer on: August 29, 2014, 01:44:35 AM


http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/08/28/found_the_islamic_state_terror_laptop_of_doom_bubonic_plague_weapons_of_mass_destruction_exclusive
74  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Spain: Allah, kill the Jews! on: August 28, 2014, 04:59:00 PM
http://www.israelvideonetwork.com/spanish-imam-allah-destroy-every-single-jew?omhide=true&utm_source=MadMimi&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Israel+Breaking+News+Video%3A+Spanish+Imam+-+Allah%2C+Destroy+Every+Single+Jew&utm_campaign=20140828_m121903061_8%2F28+Israel+Breaking+News+Video%3A+Spanish+Imam+-+Allah%2C+Destroy+Every+Single+Jew&utm_term=Spanish+Imam_3A+Allah_2C+Destroy+Every+Single+Jew
75  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / HufPo dhimmitude on: August 28, 2014, 04:50:26 PM
http://www.clarionproject.org/analysis/huffington-post-lists-known-terrorists-opponents-terror#
76  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor: The difficulty of choosing sides in Libya on: August 28, 2014, 04:07:25 PM
 The Difficulty of Choosing Sides in Libya
Analysis
August 28, 2014 | 0415 Print Text Size

Fighters from the Fajr Libya (Libyan Dawn) coalition guard the entrance to the Tripoli International Airport on Aug. 24. (MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/Getty Images)
Summary

Weeks of fighting to the south of the Libyan capital have resulted in an uneasy stalemate. The lull came after Islamist fighters backed by the powerful coastal city of Misrata successfully ousted the Zentan-based al-Qaaqaa and al-Sawaaq militias from Tripoli International Airport. Misrata is Libya's third-largest city and has maintained a remarkable degree of localized stability and security, while the larger cities of Tripoli and Benghazi have grappled with repeated bouts of violence, militant activity and cuts in water and power supplies. The renewed presence and authority of the Misrata-backed brigades in Tripoli after their ouster in November 2013 will have broader political and security implications for Libya's post-revolutionary transition.

Early champions in the fight against former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, Misrata's political and militia leaders are attempting to leverage their strong presence in the capital to achieve broader national authority, a move that has sparked a violent and chaotic competition for power in the process. Neighboring countries and international observers are uneasy with the growing instability within Libya's borders, but calls for international intervention to prop up Libya's struggling transitional government will continue to be confounded by the difficulty of establishing who legitimately represents the fragmented and chaotic post-Gadhafi state.

Analysis

On Aug. 27, the U.N. Security Council passed resolution 2174 authorizing sanctions against individuals and groups that undermine Libya's political transition, as well as those who attack ports, diplomatic offices and key infrastructure. Libya has also been under an arms embargo since the 2011 revolution, though it has done little to halt the proliferation and transfer of weapons across its vast deserts and into neighboring states. Even though Libya's newly installed transitional government, the House of Representatives, issued multiple requests for foreign intervention to help stabilize the country, outside observers, including the United Nations, the United States and NATO, balked at the idea of placing troops on the ground to help limit violence and support Libya's political transition.

There are multiple conflicts spanning the Libyan political space. Competition between advocates of either a centralized or federal model of governance brought much of Libya's oil exports offline for over a year. Meanwhile, regional, sectarian, ethnic and tribal disputes regularly erupt in armed clashes that affect urban centers and target key infrastructure installations. The return of groups from Misrata to Tripoli is itself part of a larger battle that has turned Benghazi and the region south of Tripoli into battlefields, pitting foreign-backed forces organized under retired Libyan Gen. Khalifa Hifter's Operation Dignity campaign against alliances of jihadist and Islamist forces. In Benghazi, Islamist militias that are rumored to be supported by states such as Qatar and Turkey have partnered with jihadist groups like Ansar al-Sharia to fight Hifter's forces, while in western Libya -- and specifically the area around Tripoli -- Misrata-backed regional fighters allied with Islamist forces under Operation Dawn have banded against Hifter's Zentan-based allies, the al-Qaaqaa and al-Sawaaq brigades.
Libya's Urban and Rural Power Centers
Click to Enlarge

Hifter's rumored foreign backing, demonstrated by alleged Egyptian and Emirati coordinated airstrikes against Operation Dawn targets in Tripoli and claims of his cooperation with the CIA, has left much of Libya's powerful network of nationalistic tribes and militias apprehensive of directly engaging in fighting against other forces on his behalf, despite many regional centers' growing fear of the rising regional clout of Misrata and its Islamist allies. Herein lies the challenge for outside observers, including the United States and NATO: The international community is concerned about the geographic space Libya's post-revolutionary chaos has made available to regional militants, but fighters within the current battlefield spectrum -- from Misrata-backed forces, to Islamist fighters, to the divided national army -- do not always fit neatly into the category of ally or foe. There are serious fears that a foreign intervention launched to tackle jihadists or renegade militias could quickly turn into a broader conflict between foreign forces and the very revolutionaries that they trained and armed to fight Gadhafi.

The United States' and Libya's primary partners in NATO -- the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy -- have all publicly decried the alleged Emirati airstrikes in Libya, warning against adding violence to the country's already volatile security situation. Western states, the United Nations and neighboring Algeria and Tunisia are calling for a "political process" to solve Libya's problems. Since early August, Libya's struggling national parliament, the House of Representatives, has convened in Tobruk instead of Benghazi as originally planned because of security concerns. Some 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) away from the nation's capital, the internationally recognized parliament has struggled to make its voice heard in the power centers of Tripoli, Misrata, Zentan and Benghazi.

In response to the most recent ouster of the Hifter-aligned Zentan militias in Tripoli, members of the defunct General National Congress have reconvened in the capital, leaving Libya with two competing parliaments, a divided army and an uncertain political future. Clashes and violence are inevitable, and covert involvement by states -- particularly Egypt and its primary Gulf backers, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates -- is likely. The competition for legitimacy between the two parliaments will also likely extend into a fight for control of the country's sizable oil revenues and the right to receive revenues from export cargos -- a dispute that will probably cause production and exports to falter yet again. Additionally, the decision by Libya's more moderate Islamists to reject their erstwhile jihadist partners after their gains against the Zentan militias may reflect a desire to portray a more moderate disposition but also risks pushing the jihadists to target the more moderate Islamist militias as well as the Operation Dignity forces lead by Hifter.

Libya's democratic transition will remain stagnant until Libyans themselves can coalesce across tribal and regional lines to form a majority body that external governments can more effectively support. Even then, Libya will likely face a broader conflict than the ongoing localized fighting between regional competitors as the national government attempts to bring opposition forces -- of which Libya has many -- under a single national authority through either coercion or force. Outside powers such as the United States are still unwilling to designate who is "good" or "bad" within Libya's divided landscape, and even power centers such as Misrata remain too fundamentally weak to extend authority beyond their immediate geography, leaving Libya without any force that can operate on a national scale. A foreign intervention in Libya still seems unlikely, and there are few indigenous solutions to keep the country from moving closer to an eventual de facto fragmentation along its internal fissures. Meanwhile, Libya remains without a permanent government, national Cabinet or expectations of a constitution or national elections before the end of 2014 -- in short, without an effective domestic entity that is capable of working with outside governments.

Read more: The Difficulty of Choosing Sides in Libya | Stratfor
77  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor: ISIL's growth has its limits on: August 28, 2014, 04:05:34 PM
 The Islamic State's Growth Has Limits
Security Weekly
Thursday, August 28, 2014 - 03:00 Print Text Size
Stratfor

By Scott Stewart

Since the Islamic State declared the establishment of the caliphate June 29, I have been asked frequently about the group's appeal outside of its immediate area of operations and its ability to attract other jihadists. When we see crises flare up such as the current one in Yemen, people ask: Is there an Islamic State affiliate that can take advantage of this?

Because of such concerns, it seemed appropriate to take some time to examine the Islamic State's ability to spread.
Factors in the Rise of the Islamic State

When considering the Islamic State's ability to metastasize beyond its core area, we must first look at its ideology, its methodology and the environment that produced it. The Islamic State (like its predecessor organizations) is rooted in the Iraq conflict and is a product of that conflict. Although Abu Musab al-Zarqawi founded the organization Jamaat al-Tawhid and Jihad in Afghanistan, the group never amounted to much there. It was only when he relocated to Iraq following the 2001 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan that the group really found success in recruiting and on the battlefield.

Unlike the educated men from wealthy families who formed al Qaeda, al-Zarqawi is a former Jordanian street thug who was radicalized while in prison. His group's hubris, brutality and embrace of sectarianism all trace their roots back to his influence and guidance.

This brutal sectarianism was well suited for Iraq (and later for Syria) and took root in the de-Baathification programs following the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. It was also fostered by the atrocities that Shiite militias committed against innocent Sunnis. De-Baathification helped Jamaat al-Tawhid and Jihad, and later al Qaeda in Iraq, attract many Sunni fighters who were former Iraqi officers and gain support from Iraq's powerful Sunni tribes.

The Evolution of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant

While the tribal support was diminished during the Anbar Awakening, the Sunni sheikhs always maintained a healthy fear and skepticism of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki's sectarian bent. Because of this, the Sunni tribal sheikhs permitted a weakened Islamic State in Iraq to survive in case it was ever needed again as a tool with which to confront the al-Maliki government.

Even during the U.S. occupation of Iraq, Shiite militias committed numerous atrocities against Sunnis, who were often abducted, tortured and murdered. But following the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, the Shiite militias' violence was joined by the sectarian policies of the al-Maliki government intended to marginalize Sunnis and undercut their power in Iraq. For example, Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, a very influential Sunni politician, was charged with murder and forced to flee Baghdad for Iraqi Kurdistan and eventually Turkey. The al-Maliki government also stopped its payments to the Sunni Awakening Forces and reneged on agreements to integrate thousands of its members into the Iraqi armed forces, leaving many of these men unemployed with no means of supporting their families. Such measures helped what was then the Islamic State in Iraq in its efforts to regain power and momentum.

The highly sectarian Syrian civil war also proved fortunate for the resurgent Islamic State in Iraq. A good number of Syrian Sunnis had been involved with the Islamic State in Iraq since the beginning, and the many years of experience they gained fighting coalition forces in Iraq permitted the group's Syrian surrogate, Jabhat al-Nusra, to emerge as an effective fighting force. Jabhat al-Nusra's professionalism, sectarian rhetoric and brutality allowed it to quickly attract not only Syrian rebels but also a substantial portion of the foreign fighters flocking to Syria. The Syrian-led Jabhat al-Nusra later split with the Islamic State of Iraq when the Iraqi leaders of the latter group attempted to directly integrate the Syrian fighters in their renamed group the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. When al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri sided with Jabhat al Nusra in the dispute, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant ignored his admonishment and split with al Qaeda.
Frictions and Limited Cooperation

The spectacle of al-Zawahiri's criticism of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant was nothing new. The group's ideology was never all that closely aligned with al Qaeda's, and there is documentation from as far back as 2005 that al-Zawahiri criticized al-Zarqawi because his group was highly sectarian and exceedingly brutal. Al-Zawahiri noted that al-Zarqawi's policies were alienating many Muslims against the group. The degree of this alienation became readily apparent in the 2007 Anbar Awakening.

The group has gained some traction among Lebanese Sunnis, with many Sunnis in Tripoli openly supporting the Islamic State. However, outside of the highly sectarian environment in the Levant, the group's attempts to assume leadership of the global jihad since its declaration of the caliphate in June have failed. Not only have al Qaeda-linked jihadist groups such as al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula refused to swear an oath of loyalty to the Islamic State's leadership, but prominent jihadist ideologues like Yusuf al-Qaradawi and Abu Mohammed al-Maqdisi have publicly criticized the group.

One reason for this lack of support is that the leaders of jihadist groups in places like Yemen, Pakistan and Algeria view the Islamic State as a threat -- to their leadership of the global jihad and in the competition for limited resources such as men, funding and weapons. Many jihadist leaders are jealous of the way that geography has permitted their counterparts in Iraq and Syria to monopolize the financial largesse of wealthy Muslim donors in the Gulf and elsewhere. Iraq and Syria were the seats of previous Islamic caliphates and are seen as being at the heart of the Muslim world -- places like Pakistan and Yemen are not.

Even current al Qaeda leader al-Zawahiri, who is sheltering in the area along the Afghan-Pakistani border, recognized this when he laid out his vision for the global progression of the jihadist movement. In a 2005 letter to al-Zarqawi, he wrote: "It has always been my belief that the victory of Islam will never take place until a Muslim state is established in the manner of the Prophet in the heart of the Islamic world." He wrote that the first step in such a plan was to expel the Americans from Iraq. The second stage was to establish an emirate and expand it into a larger caliphate. The third stage was to attack the countries surrounding Iraq, mainly Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Syria and Jordan, bringing them into the caliphate. The fourth step was to use the combined power of the caliphate to attack Israel. Although the Islamic State has split with al-Zawahiri's al Qaeda core leadership, they are progressing along the trajectory he laid out.

A second factor keeping the leaders of other jihadist groups from joining the Islamic State is the group's sectarian focus and its propensity to attack other jihadist groups, such as Jabhat al-Nusra, the Islamic Front and other rebel groups in Syria. Multiple jihadist groups operate in places like Pakistan and the Sahel region of Africa, but they have been far less combative than the Islamic State.

Third, most other jihadist leaders are repulsed by the Islamic State's brutal imposition of Sharia and believe that they have a more sophisticated view of Islamic governance than the Islamic State. This difference was clear in al-Zawahiri's letter to al-Zarqawi and in more recent letters from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula leader Nasir al-Wahayshi to Abdelmalek Droukdel, the leader of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. Other letters from Droukdel to his subordinates in Mali after they had taken control of a large portion of northern Mali also urged tolerance and warned against the type of strict and sudden enforcement of Sharia the Islamic State is known for.
The Islamic State's Appeal

Grassroots jihadists have been the Islamic State's main source of public support since before the declaration of the caliphate. Individual grassroots jihadists from around the world have flocked to Iraq and Syria to fight, and grassroots networks have been set up in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East to send men, funds and weapons to support the Islamic State. Jihadists in Libya and Tunisia have been especially active in these support networks in terms of sending men (and weapons from Libya), but they have not yet overtly declared loyalty to the Islamic State.

In Indonesia, Abu Bakar Bashir, the former leader of the now-defunct Jemaah Islamiyah, declared allegiance to the Islamic State, but Bashir is in prison and marginalized. Even his own sons have repudiated him (and by extension the Islamic State) and have broken off to form a new radical Islamist group in Indonesia. There have also been reports of a grassroots group in Malaysia that allegedly was discussing the launch of terrorist activity there, but this group appears to have been more aspirational than operational at the time of its members' arrests.

Given the well-publicized battlefield successes that the Islamic State achieved in July, it is quite remarkable that the group did not garner more support from other jihadist groups. We believe that with the United States and other outside countries taking action against the Islamic State in Iraq (perhaps to be followed by attacks against their infrastructure in Syria), the group is due to suffer setbacks on the battlefield. This will diminish the Islamic State's appeal to other jihadist groups whose interest might have been piqued by its successes.

Read more: The Islamic State's Growth Has Limits | Stratfor

78  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: China testing US resolve on: August 28, 2014, 03:54:04 PM
China's Reckless Military
Beijing is testing the U.S. resolve to remain a Pacific power.
Updated Aug. 26, 2014 6:18 p.m. ET

'Very, very close. Very dangerous." That's how Pentagon spokesman Admiral John Kirby describes last week's encounter in which a Chinese fighter jet maneuvered, much like Tom Cruise's character in "Top Gun," within 20 feet of a U.S. Navy reconnaissance plane over the South China Sea. The Pentagon also revealed that China has flown at least three other provocative missions against U.S. aircraft since March. Such persistent Chinese military recklessness helps explain why China's neighbors increasingly fear for regional security.


China naturally is pushing its own version of last week's events. A military spokesman says that U.S. accusations are "totally unfounded" because "the Chinese pilot's maneuvers were professional, and maintained a safe distance from the U.S. aircraft." The real security risk, says People's Liberation Army Colonel Yang Yujun, comes from U.S. surveillance flights, which would be "the root cause behind any accidents."

Yet such claims don't hold up against China's record of courting danger up and down the Western Pacific. Chinese air and sea incursions into Japanese territory caused Japan's air force to scramble fighter jets a record 415 times in the year that ended in March, up 36% from the year before.

In May and June, Chinese fighters buzzed within 100 feet of Japanese reconnaissance planes near the Japan-controlled Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea—the closest Chinese flyby ever, according to Tokyo. This follows the January 2013 incident in which Chinese ships locked fire-control radar onto a Japanese destroyer and helicopter.

In the South China Sea, China's aggressive behavior more often targets the U.S., as when a Chinese warship cut within 100 meters of the U.S. destroyer Cowpens last December. In 2009 five Chinese vessels forced the unarmed maritime surveillance ship USNS Impeccable to withdraw from waters off China's Hainan Island. The worst case was in 2001 when a Chinese fighter jet collided with a U.S. EP-3 surveillance plane, forcing it to land on Hainan, where its 24 crew members were held for 10 days. The Chinese pilot died.

These South China Sea incidents—and last week's close call—all happened in international waters or airspace, far outside the area of Chinese sovereignty that extends 12 miles from the coast. China's international legal obligations require it to honor other countries' freedom of movement outside that 12-mile zone, but Beijing has tried to ban foreign militaries from conducting surveillance within its 200-mile exclusive economic zone as well.

Beijing last year declared an air-defense identification zone over the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea and will likely do the same soon for the South China Sea. Its claims to "historical waters" are particularly troubling because they are not dependent on land claims. Since this has no basis in international law, it's impossible to predict how Beijing might restrict navigation.

While Beijing is ratcheting up the tension, the Pentagon leaked speculation that last week's intercept was only the work of a rogue pilot or maybe a rogue squadron commander. One official told the Journal that "something's out of whack" with Chinese military behavior in the South China Sea. If that's the case, President Xi Jinping —who exerts significant control over the military and has purged several senior generals tied to corruption—now has the opportunity to send a message by disciplining the commander responsible.

But we're not counting on it. More likely, China's military provocations will continue until Washington pushes back.

One possible response would be to stop extending coveted invitations to U.S.-led military exchanges such as the Rim of the Pacific Exercise in the waters off Hawaii, which China joined this summer for the first time. Washington has already offered China a spot in Rimpac 2016, but that can be rescinded. While joint training can be valuable for teaching professionalism and building reliable lines of communication, the upside is limited if China's military remains dedicated to confrontation and intimidation.

At a minimum, continued surveillance flights through the Western Pacific are necessary to convey that the U.S. won't back down to Chinese bullying. U.S. friends in Japan, the Philippines, Australia, Vietnam and beyond will be watching for such public signals of resolve. Privately, meanwhile, U.S. officials could warn China that if its military keeps threatening routine reconnaissance operations in international airspace, U.S. forces will have little choice but to deploy F-15s or F-22s as defensive escorts.
79  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / I disagree with a lot/most of this, but it presents some challenging questions on: August 28, 2014, 03:37:04 PM

http://www.funker530.com/losing-the-war-on-terror-is-winning-us-the-world/

Losing the War On Terror Is Winning Us The World
Will

Recently I drew a lot of flak for a blog I wrote in which I called our allied nations of GWOT, the “Western Empire,” and mentioned that our imminent action on Syria to deal with the Islamic State threat may be one of our own successfully developed and executed plans. I said that we would take what is ours.

I’m going to use just one of the examples of the messages I got, but please don’t anybody think I am berating or disrespecting this man’s opinion, and don’t let it deter you from further commenting. This is for the sake of discussion, so feel free to share your ideas as well.

murphySo this commentor failed to realize that I am not ignorant of the history of western colonialism, I was actually referring to it in the present tense. You’re fooling yourself if you think that colonialism is nothing more than a history subject, which I hope to touch on in this rant.

Also, he mentions that ISIS needs to be destroyed, and the thought of people cheering on Western colonialism is stupid and disappointing. What he’s not understanding is that ISIS, or whatever the name will continue evolving to, is an ideology that will never be wiped out. What’s more, is that the Islamic State’s continued existence of horribleness benefits us by legitimizing our perpetual war. Why wipe them out and leave the resource rich battlefield when we can practice containment? Why create a cure when the money is in the treatment?

If you’re a combat veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq, you’ve probably battled with the question, “WTF are we doing here?” I know I have. I started off as a hard charging young Republican off to fight for Toby Kieth’s idea of a free America. Well balls-deep into my second extended deployment, I sat high on the side of a bare rocky mountain staring across the waddi at another bare hillside in the tribal areas of Eastern Afghanistan. I repeatedly asked myself how it could be possible that the key to keeping the free world free was me sitting in a such a desolate part of the world where the local villagers don’t care what’s going on two miles down the river, let alone the goings-on in America. I still killed with the same ferocity because I was born a warrior, and whether the wars were justified or not, the people we were targeting were terrible human beings. However, my belief in the cause had changed.

Then I got out and went to college, and those feelings of betrayal and disenfranchisement grew. No longer was I just living in my little microcosm of just trying to keep my guys alive. I could afford to look at the bigger picture, and I didn’t like what I saw. “Did we really lose the war?” I asked myself. Was I really just a puppet being manipulated for a corrupt, corporation controlled government? Was I the real terrorist? I battled these doubts for years, and when someone would thank me for my service, I would respond graciously, but I wanted to say, “For what? Ruining the economy? Making us more enemies?”

Like many veterans, I was lost. I had no closure, and I just wanted to know what it was all for. I researched for years. Reading the Long War Journal on a daily basis and watching and reading between the lines of anything I could get my hands on concerning GWOT. At first it didn’t make sense. Why would we be giving Pakistan billions of dollars if we know that the ISI is directly funding the Haqqani Network and other terror groups that are fighting us in Afghanistan and attacking India? Why would we be arming and funding al-Qaeda in Libya when they were our sworn enemies in Iraq? Well it’s because we’ve wanted strongman Gaddafi gone, and now he is.

Currently, Libya is an extremist war zone shaping up to be the next Syria. Egypt and UAE just launched airstrikes against Islamist militias in the region in the name of their own security without notifying the US, and Washington is pissed. That’s our pot, and we need it to boil a little longer before we step in to stabilize it. You know, the freedom we keep fighting for.

Look at Syria. The same thing was attempted. A strongman we branded as a dictator and wanted removed, Assad, and coincidentally a hoard (Marc: sic ) of savage Salafists trying to destroy him in the name of Islam and Sharia law. Unlike Libya however, Assad is hanging in there. Watching repeated combat videos, I can’t help but cheer for the man. He represents the least terrible armed entity in the nation. Unfortunately for him, his reign is scheduled for termination by the West, and he will be removed. So as much as I love to see him continuing to hold out, I support his ouster and our guaranteed follow-on mission of battling the Islamist militias in the name of Syrian freedom and security. We will have Syria.

I don’t want to get into too many conspiracy theories, but have you heard the one about al Qaeda being created by the West? I don’t know if that’s true or not, I don’t have the evidence, and if I did I might think it’s just as likely to be misinformation. That’s the world we live in. However, humor that idea for a minute. I think it would be impossible for the CIA to directly control al-Qaeda. If anything, I picture it more like when African villagers make a bunch of large plains animals stampede through a mine field to clear it. Although the people are not directly in control of the escaping animals, they are still using them to achieve their desired effect, all while the animals think they are operating on their own accord.

Considering these Islamists are so extreme in their beliefs that they are willing to execute children, it’s not hard to believe that they’re also not the most skeptical, critical thinkers concerning where their orders are coming from, especially when your leader claims to be a direct descendant of Muhammad, and the word of God. Additionally, these groups need funding and supplies, which makes them susceptible to owed favors and outside influence.

Even if this were true, it doesn’t change the fact that they do pose a serious threat to everybody. Even if they were a creation of the West, it doesn’t change the fact that tens of thousands of Muslims are joining their ranks to be martyred or kill for the ideals of the group. They are very very real, and they are very very bad people. So I guess it’s lucky for us that we have the perfect enemy. A foe so vile, that everyone in the world supports their demise, and therefore gives us justification to be in these resource rich areas all while keeping any other entities that may want the resources far from them. It’s like having a vicious dog to guard your yard. He will attack everyone, including you, but you know how to manipulate and operate around it by throwing the occasional bone, creating a diversion, or kicking its ass. Everyone else just keeps their distance. The region becomes a no-man’s land unless you are the powerful American military or that of her allies.

So back to the commentor. He called my piece “stupid and disappointing coming from a journalistic blog.” Is everyone aware of the current state of so-called journalism? The news media is a propaganda mill fighting over table scraps that are nothing more than generic, sterilized talking points. As far as “disappointing” goes… I think what’s truly disappointing is that nobody seems to be catching on to what our foreign policy is really about. It’s not coincidence that the same thing is happening across the world. We’re not fighting terrorists for the sake of other nations’ freedom. We didn’t fail in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Nigeria, etc… We are the most powerful nation on Earth. The destabilization of the region was the intended consequence, and we (US backed Western nations) are the benefactors that are now allowed further influence and occupation in the region. As much as you and others want world peace (like that’s a thing or even a possibility), the world has just gotten too small, populations too large, while the resources are finite. We are not at war with Islam or terrorism… we are in an ongoing and rapidly escalating proxy war for resources with China and Russia. There is no way we can afford not to control as much as we can for the sake of appeasing ignorant hypocrites that think the world can be all hugs and rainbows, a notion they learned during a privileged lifetime of opportunity afforded to them by our underhanded neo-colonialistc ways.

The reality of it, is that the world is a cold place, and human beings are inherently violent conquerors. We are a superpower that must take equally super and often ruthless measures to maintain our “super” status, all while allowing clueless, morally superior pacifists to bad mouth the institution that has ensured that the biggest obstacles they face in life are cellular contracts and road construction delays. They have no clue, and therefore no appreciation, that their government and its allies are slitting throats for them to maintain their comfortable way of life.

I’m not a sociopath, and I’m not a shill for the government. In fact, I think the erosion of the Constitution and its amendments here at home is appalling. However, if you think our foreign policy has been a failure, then you’re not seeing it for what it really is… an ingenious masterpiece.

Colonialism is as alive and well as it has ever been, it is just done in the dark. Powerful nations will take what they need, that is what keeps them in power.

So call me delusional, a war-monger, or whatever you want, but for my brothers and sisters in arms, from every nation that has fought side by side with us in the Global War On Terror, I am claiming victory for the Western Empire.

~Will
80  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / YAPTA for cheaper air fare on: August 28, 2014, 02:00:09 PM
WSJ

Yapta Alerts You to a Cheaper Airfare in Time to Rebook Your Flight
Even After Cancellation Fees, Travelers Say They Save by Buying a New Ticket at a Lower Price
By Scott McCartney
Aug. 27, 2014 7:23 p.m. ET

One corporate travel executive saved about $12,000 on a business-class fare to Shanghai, above, from Tampa, Fla., using the Yapta fare-searching tool. Getty Images

Searching for a Labor Day weekend plane ticket home for my daughter, I saw an attractive $432 fare on American Airlines. I sent her the details and she responded within 90 minutes.

It was too late: The price had jumped to $597. But by the end of the day, it was back down to $432.

Airfares yo-yo with more volatility than commodity prices and blood-pressure readings. But you can beat the bounces. It turns out many corporations are doing it daily for their business travelers, and consumers can, too.

Airfares bounce up and down, often frustrating and angering travelers. But can you get a better price after you buy? WSJ's 'Middle Seat' columnist Scott McCartney joins Lunch Break with Tanya Rivero with the answer. Photo: Getty

Yapta, which began tracking airfares in 2007, has turned its fare-searching technology into a corporate tool to hunt for lower fares and hotel room rates after trips are booked. It's available to consumers at yapta.com.

Whenever a price drops in the first 24 hours after purchase, or when it drops more than the cost of the airline's change fee, Yapta sends you an alert and you rebook at the lower price, paying the change fee and pocketing what's left.

Airlines, having created so much volatility in their own pricing, are offering ways to beat the bounces, too. Last week, British Airways IAG.MC -1.01% announced it would offer a 72-hour price hold for a flat fee of $10—useful if you see a good price but aren't ready to commit to a nonrefundable ticket. That's similar to United Airlines's "FareLock," where you pay $5 to $20 and lock in a price for either 72 hours or seven days.

You could combine the two in a strategy to make sure you are getting the best price possible. Put a fare on hold and put Yapta to work. If the price drops during the hold period, you'll get an alert and you can jump on it.

Yapta does what consumers or travel managers could do manually: It periodically rechecks the price of a ticket. Airlines don't embrace the idea, and their pricy penalties for changing nonrefundable tickets limits how often travelers rebook. But neither have airlines put up a fight against Yapta. After all, they are the ones bouncing prices up and down.

When you search for an airline ticket, you usually see one price for a particular trip on specific dates. Airlines, though, actually load as many as two dozen different prices into reservation systems. A number of seats are offered at the lowest price in each class of service, and when those seats sell, reservation computers automatically display the next higher price as the best available.

Several times a day, airline pricing analysts and their computers can change the number of seats available at each price point, and they can change the prices themselves.

Mix in actual purchases and you get a rapidly changing pricing vortex that can anger and frustrate shoppers. One minute you see a good price; the next minute it's a whole lot higher.

"A lot happens between the time you buy and the time you fly,'' says James Filsinger, Yapta's chief executive of the Seattle-based company.

Yapta says its research shows some cities are a lot more volatile for airline prices than others. Tickets leaving from San Francisco were the most volatile of 15 major airports for business travel, Yapta found, and departures from New York's LaGuardia Airport were the least volatile. San Francisco is a hub for both United Airlines and Virgin America, providing lots of pricing competition. La Guardia, with limited takeoff and landing slots, historically has lacked low-fare competition.

Started by a former airline pricing executive, Yapta now is run by Mr. Filsinger, a former executive at the reservation technology firm Sabre Group. Yapta takes fare data published by airlines and periodically tracks the lowest price available for a trip it is monitoring. So far working only on tickets sold in the U.S., Yapta says there are savings opportunities on 11.2% of all itineraries, after airline change fees.

Most of the chances to get money back come within the "void window'' of the first 24 hours after purchase. Corporate travel departments typically get a full business day.

When there were savings to be had, the average in a Yapta study of 150,000 itineraries booked from July through December 2013 was $306 after fees on tickets above $500, and $58 after fees on tickets under $500.

The Transportation Department requires at least a 24-hour cancellation window for tickets sold in the U.S., as long as the reservation is more than seven days before departure.

Most airlines charge the full price up front at the time of booking, but must give a full refund if canceled within 24 hours. (They don't advertise that fact much.) American does offer a 24-hour hold without payment.

With corporate customers, Yapta loads its software into travel department booking systems. It doesn't charge for the service but takes a cut of the savings, usually about 35%, Mr. Filsinger said. With consumers, use of the tracking tool is free. Companies, like consumers, can set a threshold on minimum savings before an alert is sent, to take into account change fees and other expenses. The company recently launched a similar system to check for falling hotel room prices, but so far that's offered only to corporate travel departments and not consumers.

The bigger the fare, the bigger the potential savings, so travel managers say they have seen their most eye-popping results on international business-class tickets.

One Friday, Al Mazzola, director of travel services at Sykes Enterprises Inc., a Florida technology-consulting company, booked a $19,000 business-class ticket from Tampa to Shanghai and back, only to see it fall to $7,000 over the weekend. With the Yapta alert, the company grabbed the new price. "I was stunned. I've never seen savings like that,'' Mr. Mazzola said.

Mr. Mazzola has been using Yapta for more than a year and said he has saved more than $125,000, even after Yapta's percentage and airline change fees. He said probably 90% of the savings comes in the void period, the first full business day after purchase.

Most of the price changes happen in the middle of the night, Mr. Mazzola says, and the new fares are usually still there when he gets to work around 7 a.m. on the East Coast.

Travel agents can rebook via computer when an alert comes in. The traveler keeps the same seat and the same reservation code. Mr. Mazzola sends an email to company travelers saying, "Congratulations, we found a lower fare for you.''

Still, savings are too sporadic to justify booking a high-price ticket in the expectation that it will come down. The company tries always to book the lowest fare, he said.

Similar to United's "FareLock," which Continental Airlines first offered in 2010 shortly before its merger with United, is British Airways's 72-hour hold option. It can help you hang on to a price if it turns out to be the lowest offered. British Airways said it refunds the deposit—$10 for flights from the U.S., €10 from Europe and £10 from the United Kingdom—if the ticket purchase is made. Seats can only be held 21 days or longer before departure.

The hold fee is offered through ba.com and includes code-sharing flights on partner airlines. A few destinations, including some in the Caribbean as well as Buenos Aires, Cairo, Lagos and some cities in India, aren't available because of "complex fluctuating tax calculations," British Airways said.

United said FareLock fees are nonrefundable even if you buy the ticket and can be used only with United and United Express flights, not Star Alliance partners. FareLock can be used to hold frequent-flier award tickets.

Write to Scott McCartney at middleseat@wsj.com
81  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Book review of "Unmanned" on: August 28, 2014, 01:57:37 PM



Book Review: 'Unmanned' by Dan Fesperman
When a drone operator follows a strike order that kills 13 Afghans, he comes undone. Sounds like a plot from 'Homeland' or '24.'
By Howard Gordon
WSJ
Aug. 27, 2014 6:28 p.m. ET

Since antiquity, storytellers have cautioned us about the hazards of men using technology to trespass into realms where only the gods are allowed. For giving man fire, Zeus condemned Prometheus to an eternity chained to a rock with an eagle pecking at his liver. Daedalus's clever wings melted when his son Icarus flew too close to the sun.

Dan Fesperman's excellent and timely ninth thriller, "Unmanned," isn't quite so archetypal, but it does explore the ethical conundrums of the most potent new weapon in the American arsenal: the unmanned aerial drone. Watching our enemy from the sky is one thing, but what if those same eyes are looking down at us? And who is watching the watchers? "Unmanned" is a smart and thoughtful exploration of the unintended consequences of waging war by remote control.

While the technical details of this exhaustively researched book certainly contribute to its authenticity—the author is a former reporter for the Baltimore Sun—it is his sharply drawn characters that make the novel tick. Capt. Darwin Cole's transition from F-16 fighter jock to Predator drone operator is going smoothly: He conducts missions against terrorists thousands of miles away from behind a screen in the Nevada desert. "Each twitch of his hand," Mr. Fesperman writes of Cole's work, "flings a signal of war across the nation's night owls as they make love, make a sandwich, make a mess of things, or click the remote."

Everything changes when Cole receives a command via Internet chat from his mysterious J-TAC, or joint terminal attack controller, whom he has never met, to fire at a target in Afghanistan. The result is 13 civilian deaths, among them several children that he has become familiar with while monitoring the village of Sandar Khosh. Cole is especially haunted by the pixilated image of a young girl whose arm is severed at the shoulder yet who manages to survive the strike. She is, in the grim vernacular of drone warfare, a "squirter," a person who has escaped the strike and is "so called because on infrared they display as squibs of light, streaming from the action like raindrops across a windshield."

Cole is undone—or, if you like, unmanned. After being dishonorably discharged, his wife leaves him, taking their two children with her, and Cole becomes a recluse. His "memories, circling like buzzards," are his only company in his rundown trailer, except for Jeremiah Weed, which Mr. Fesperman tells us is the bourbon of choice among pilots, though the brand reference feels more like product placement.


Cole's chance at redemption comes when he is tracked down by a trio of journalists— Keira Lyttle, Steve Merritt and Barb Holtzman —who suspect that the faulty intelligence Cole received that day may have been intentionally disseminated. His unseen commanding officer, it turns out, was running a shadow operation on behalf of private military contractors and has now gone missing. Cole agrees to give them information—but only on the condition that they make him a full partner in the investigation, like "one of those embedded correspondents, tagging along with a combat unit." He discovers that Lyttle, too, is haunted by guilt (hers is over the death of her married boyfriend, who died in a plane crash). Yet Cole nearly destroys their incipient romance when he spies on her with a homemade drone.

As Cole investigates the mystery, he encounters Nelson Sharpe, a brilliant, half-mad designer of drones. Once a proselytizer, Sharpe is now a Cassandra about the hazards of a technology run amok. Contractors, he tells Cole, are using theaters of war in Iraq and Afghanistan as "glorified test labs, proving grounds, marketplaces for the barter of influence, and, most important of all, state-of-the-art technology. Those women and children at Sandar Khosh were guinea pigs in somebody's ill-advised experiment."

Sharpe introduces Cole to a group of amateurs who've built their own state-of-the-art drones for a few hundred dollars. They are mostly hobbyists, oblivious to the terrifying implications of the fact that this lethal technology is no longer the exclusive provenance of governments. "You could fly these things just about anyplace, right past security checkpoints and every metal detector known to man . . . a nightmare waiting to happen."

I have a particular appreciation for those nightmares—and for the unique challenge Mr. Fesperman is taking on by trying to dramatize a subject as topical and morally ambiguous as drones. On the last season of "24," a homegrown terrorist hijacked several American drones and turned them against innocent people in London. And in the first season of "Homeland," drones were crucial to the plot of the show. Why did the show's protagonist, Sgt. Nicholas Brody, a Marine held captive for eight years in Iraq, turn against his country? Spoiler alert for those who have yet to watch it on iTunes: It was all because of a drone. During his captivity, Brody became close to his captor's young son. One day at school, that child was killed in a U.S. drone strike—an attack the U.S. government covered up.

People accused "Homeland" of being morally squishy for the way we portrayed American drone usage and even more for the idea that such an attack could really make an American soldier sympathetic to the bad guys. I suspect some readers will accuse "Unmanned" of the same. But what Mr. Fesperman understands is that in the brave new world of modern warfare, there are complicated questions with no neat answers. The drone is a remarkable invention, much like Daedalus's wings. But what price will we pay for soaring so high?

Mr. Gordon is a television writer and producer whose shows include "24," "Homeland," "Tyrant"
and "Legends."
82  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / US Interventionists abetted the rise of ISIS on: August 28, 2014, 01:52:25 PM


How U.S. Interventionists Abetted the Rise of ISIS
Our Middle Eastern policy is unhinged, flailing about to see who to act against next, with little regard to consequences.
By Rand Paul
WSJ
Aug. 27, 2014 6:35 p.m. ET

As the murderous, terrorist Islamic State continues to threaten Iraq, the region and potentially the United States, it is vitally important that we examine how this problem arose. Any actions we take today must be informed by what we've already done in the past, and how effective our actions have been.

Shooting first and asking questions later has never been a good foreign policy. The past year has been a perfect example.

In September President Obama and many in Washington were eager for a U.S. intervention in Syria to assist the rebel groups fighting President Bashar Assad's government. Arguing against military strikes, I wrote that "Bashar Assad is clearly not an American ally. But does his ouster encourage stability in the Middle East, or would his ouster actually encourage instability?"

The administration's goal has been to degrade Assad's power, forcing him to negotiate with the rebels. But degrading Assad's military capacity also degrades his ability to fend off the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham. Assad's government recently bombed the self-proclaimed capital of ISIS in Raqqa, Syria.

To interventionists like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, we would caution that arming the Islamic rebels in Syria created a haven for the Islamic State. We are lucky Mrs. Clinton didn't get her way and the Obama administration did not bring about regime change in Syria. That new regime might well be ISIS.

This is not to say the U.S. should ally with Assad. But we should recognize how regime change in Syria could have helped and emboldened the Islamic State, and recognize that those now calling for war against ISIS are still calling for arms to factions allied with ISIS in the Syrian civil war. We should realize that the interventionists are calling for Islamic rebels to win in Syria and for the same Islamic rebels to lose in Iraq. While no one in the West supports Assad, replacing him with ISIS would be a disaster.

Our Middle Eastern policy is unhinged, flailing about to see who to act against next, with little thought to the consequences. This is not a foreign policy.

Those who say we should have done more to arm the Syrian rebel groups have it backward. Mrs. Clinton was also eager to shoot first in Syria before asking some important questions. Her successor John Kerry was no better, calling the failure to strike Syria a "Munich moment."

Some now speculate Mr. Kerry and the administration might have to walk back or at least mute their critiques of Assad in the interest of defeating the Islamic State.

A reasonable degree of foresight should be a prerequisite for holding high office. So should basic hindsight. This administration has neither.

But the same is true of hawkish members of my own party. Some said it would be "catastrophic" if we failed to strike Syria. What they were advocating for then—striking down Assad's regime—would have made our current situation even worse, as it would have eliminated the only regional counterweight to the ISIS threat.

Our so-called foreign policy experts are failing us miserably. The Obama administration's feckless veering is making it worse. It seems the only thing both sides of this flawed debate agree on is that "something" must be done. It is the only thing they ever agree on.

But the problem is, we did do something. We aided those who've contributed to the rise of the Islamic State. The CIA delivered arms and other equipment to Syrian rebels, strengthening the side of the ISIS jihadists. Some even traveled to Syria from America to give moral and material support to these rebels even though there had been multiple reports some were allied with al Qaeda.

Patrick Cockburn, Middle East correspondent for the London newspaper, the Independent, recently reported something disturbing about these rebel groups in Syria. In his new book, "The Jihadis Return: ISIS and the New Sunni Uprising," Mr. Cockburn writes that he traveled to southeast Turkey earlier in the year where "a source told me that 'without exception' they all expressed enthusiasm for the 9/11 attacks and hoped the same thing would happen in Europe as well as the U.S." It's safe to say these rebels are probably not friends of the United States.

"If American interests are at stake," I said in September, "then it is incumbent upon those advocating for military action to convince Congress and the American people of that threat. Too often, the debate begins and ends with an assertion that our national interest is at stake without any evidence of that assertion. The burden of proof lies with those who wish to engage in war."

Those wanting a U.S. war in Syria could not clearly show a U.S. national interest then, and they have been proven foolish now. A more realistic foreign policy would recognize that there are evil people and tyrannical regimes in this world, but also that America cannot police or solve every problem across the globe. Only after recognizing the practical limits of our foreign policy can we pursue policies that are in the best interest of the U.S.

The Islamic State represents a threat that should be taken seriously. But we should also recall how recent foreign-policy decisions have helped these extremists so that we don't make the same mistake of potentially aiding our enemies again.

Mr. Paul, a Republican, is a U.S. senator from Kentucky.
83  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Intervention Abetted the Rise of ISIS on: August 28, 2014, 01:51:04 PM
There are some fairly made points in here IMHO.

=========================================

How U.S. Interventionists Abetted the Rise of ISIS
Our Middle Eastern policy is unhinged, flailing about to see who to act against next, with little regard to consequences.
By Rand Paul
connect
Aug. 27, 2014 6:35 p.m. ET

As the murderous, terrorist Islamic State continues to threaten Iraq, the region and potentially the United States, it is vitally important that we examine how this problem arose. Any actions we take today must be informed by what we've already done in the past, and how effective our actions have been.

Shooting first and asking questions later has never been a good foreign policy. The past year has been a perfect example.

In September President Obama and many in Washington were eager for a U.S. intervention in Syria to assist the rebel groups fighting President Bashar Assad's government. Arguing against military strikes, I wrote that "Bashar Assad is clearly not an American ally. But does his ouster encourage stability in the Middle East, or would his ouster actually encourage instability?"

The administration's goal has been to degrade Assad's power, forcing him to negotiate with the rebels. But degrading Assad's military capacity also degrades his ability to fend off the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham. Assad's government recently bombed the self-proclaimed capital of ISIS in Raqqa, Syria.

U.S. President Barack Obama Getty Images

To interventionists like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, we would caution that arming the Islamic rebels in Syria created a haven for the Islamic State. We are lucky Mrs. Clinton didn't get her way and the Obama administration did not bring about regime change in Syria. That new regime might well be ISIS.

This is not to say the U.S. should ally with Assad. But we should recognize how regime change in Syria could have helped and emboldened the Islamic State, and recognize that those now calling for war against ISIS are still calling for arms to factions allied with ISIS in the Syrian civil war. We should realize that the interventionists are calling for Islamic rebels to win in Syria and for the same Islamic rebels to lose in Iraq. While no one in the West supports Assad, replacing him with ISIS would be a disaster.

Our Middle Eastern policy is unhinged, flailing about to see who to act against next, with little thought to the consequences. This is not a foreign policy.

Those who say we should have done more to arm the Syrian rebel groups have it backward. Mrs. Clinton was also eager to shoot first in Syria before asking some important questions. Her successor John Kerry was no better, calling the failure to strike Syria a "Munich moment."

Some now speculate Mr. Kerry and the administration might have to walk back or at least mute their critiques of Assad in the interest of defeating the Islamic State.

A reasonable degree of foresight should be a prerequisite for holding high office. So should basic hindsight. This administration has neither.

But the same is true of hawkish members of my own party. Some said it would be "catastrophic" if we failed to strike Syria. What they were advocating for then—striking down Assad's regime—would have made our current situation even worse, as it would have eliminated the only regional counterweight to the ISIS threat.

Our so-called foreign policy experts are failing us miserably. The Obama administration's feckless veering is making it worse. It seems the only thing both sides of this flawed debate agree on is that "something" must be done. It is the only thing they ever agree on.

But the problem is, we did do something. We aided those who've contributed to the rise of the Islamic State. The CIA delivered arms and other equipment to Syrian rebels, strengthening the side of the ISIS jihadists. Some even traveled to Syria from America to give moral and material support to these rebels even though there had been multiple reports some were allied with al Qaeda.

Patrick Cockburn, Middle East correspondent for the London newspaper, the Independent, recently reported something disturbing about these rebel groups in Syria. In his new book, "The Jihadis Return: ISIS and the New Sunni Uprising," Mr. Cockburn writes that he traveled to southeast Turkey earlier in the year where "a source told me that 'without exception' they all expressed enthusiasm for the 9/11 attacks and hoped the same thing would happen in Europe as well as the U.S." It's safe to say these rebels are probably not friends of the United States.

"If American interests are at stake," I said in September, "then it is incumbent upon those advocating for military action to convince Congress and the American people of that threat. Too often, the debate begins and ends with an assertion that our national interest is at stake without any evidence of that assertion. The burden of proof lies with those who wish to engage in war."

Those wanting a U.S. war in Syria could not clearly show a U.S. national interest then, and they have been proven foolish now. A more realistic foreign policy would recognize that there are evil people and tyrannical regimes in this world, but also that America cannot police or solve every problem across the globe. Only after recognizing the practical limits of our foreign policy can we pursue policies that are in the best interest of the U.S.

The Islamic State represents a threat that should be taken seriously. But we should also recall how recent foreign-policy decisions have helped these extremists so that we don't make the same mistake of potentially aiding our enemies again.

Mr. Paul, a Republican, is a U.S. senator from Kentucky.
84  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / John Adams, Property Rights 1776 on: August 28, 2014, 01:49:29 PM
THE FOUNDATION
"[N]o part of the property of any individual can, with justice, be taken from him, or applied to public uses, without his own consent, or that of the representative body of the people. In fine, the people of this commonwealth are not controllable by any other laws than those to which their constitutional representative body have given their consent." --John Adams, Thoughts on Government, 1776
85  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces on: August 28, 2014, 12:16:26 PM
Again, gypsy palmistry and hand reading (note, NOT palm reading) are NOT the same thing at all.
86  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces on: August 28, 2014, 12:15:17 PM
Therefore the theory, or my diagnosis of you as an introvert, is wrong in your case.  In introverts the lines are supposed to come together.
87  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces on: August 28, 2014, 10:33:12 AM
1)  There are two methods "palmistry" and "hand reading".  The two are quite distinct.  I learned a fair amount of the latter from Top Dog.  It was, and presumably still is, wonderful for picking up girls. 

2) It also presents itself as an empirical method, hence my as of yet unanswered question to Obj.

3) I'd say we are plenty serious around here and that a moment of levity is a good thing.
88  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Newt Gingrich channels President Reagan on: August 28, 2014, 02:34:04 AM
Text of Reagan address

My fellow Americans:

We have all been saddened and outraged by the vicious videotape of Islamic State terrorists beheading an American journalist. Our hearts go out to James Foley's family.
However, anger and sympathy are not solutions.

We, the American people, must come together in a righteous determination to defend freedom and civilization from barbarism, savagery and terrorism.  We must calmly, methodically and with the same grim determination we brought to winning World War II, implement strategies that eliminate the growing worldwide threat of radical Islamists prepared to kill us as individuals and our values as a civilization.

Some will suggest this exaggerates the threat from the Islamic State.  Let me remind them of some hard facts.

There are now an estimated 12,000 terrorists from over 50 countries in Islamic State-controlled parts of Iraq and Syria. Great Britain estimates more than 500 British citizens have joined the Islamic State. Our government estimates roughly 100 Americans are now engaged in enemy activities.

When we remember the death and destruction 19 terrorists achieved on 9/11, we have to take very seriously the threat from more than 12,000 terrorists.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, has warned that the Islamic State "has an apocalyptic end of days strategic vision that will eventually have to be defeated."  He has expanded on the danger, saying their vision of a fundamentalist caliphate could "fundamentally alter the face of the Middle East and create a security environment that would certainly threaten us in many ways."  Furthermore, Gen. Dempsey has warned that the Islamic State cannot be defeated only in Iraq. He asserted, "Can they be defeated without addressing that part of the organization that resides in Syria? The answer is no."

In fact the very existence of terrorists from over 50 countries means that we must be thinking in terms of a global campaign to eradicate the virus of Islamic Extremism and the spirit of terrorism and barbarism that it is fostering. This is fully as grave a threat to our survival as was Nazism or communism. With appropriate strategies and consistent policies executed energetically we can defeat and eliminate the Islamic State and its various allied factions.

The Islamic State and its worldwide terrorist allies have become the focus of evil in the modern world.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel warned that we must take the Islamic State seriously when he said, "They are tremendously well funded. This is beyond anything we have seen. ...They marry ideology and a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess."

They must be defeated.

Yet defeating terrorists and blackmailers is nothing new in American history.

In the very first years of the new American Republic, then-Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson sent Thomas Barclay, American consul to Morocco, on May 13, 1791, a letter of instructions for a new treaty with Morocco that noted it is "lastly our determination to prefer war in all cases to tribute under any form, and to any people whatever."

Jefferson hated war and loved peace. He also understood that there were times when vicious opponents give peace-loving people no choice but to engage in just war. As president, he sent the Navy and the Marine Corps in 1801 to the shores of Tripoli to reject blackmail, defeat piracy and establish that even a young America could project power in defense of principle and its citizens.

We were saddened but not surprised by the vicious, barbaric video of the killing of James Foley. Back in January we noted that the Islamic State leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, gave a speech in which he warned America, "Soon we'll be in direct confrontation, so watch out for us, for we are with you, watching." They have promised to raise their black flag over the White House.

Because I take very seriously the security of the United States and believe that my highest obligation as president is to protect America, I responded to this direct challenge with a series of quiet steps.

We moved intelligence assets and began monitoring potential Islamic State targets throughout Iraq and Syria.

We began re-establishing ties with both the Sunni tribes in Western Iraq and the Kurdish allies with whom America has worked for decades.

We created an anti--Islamic-State intelligence network working with Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

We informed the weak, chaotic government in Baghdad that defeating the Islamic State is our highest priority and we will arm, train and coordinate with them and with any effective group prepared to help defeat the Islamic State.

We moved strategic assets including B-1 and B-2 bombers into position to be prepared to respond decisively to any Islamic State outrage.

In response to the deliberately vicious and barbaric killing of James Foley, we began hitting Islamic State targets in both Syria and Iraq. In the last hour over 200 targets have been hit.

The air campaign in coordination with Kurdish, Sunni Arab and Iraqi ground forces will continue until the Islamic State disintegrates and is incapable of holding territory.
The 12,000 terrorists from over 50 countries should understand that they can surrender or we will hunt them down. Terrorists who videotape beheadings operate outside the rule of law and in the tradition of eliminating piracy they will be dealt with as outlaws.

We will coordinate with Great Britain, Egypt, Jordan and every willing partner to develop a strategy and a set of operating principles for the destruction of extremist terrorism.

When Congress returns, I will work directly with its leaders in a bipartisan effort to establish rules for protecting America and defeating this growing cancer of barbarism.
With the bipartisan help of Congress and our allies, we will pursue our campaign to destroy the Islamic State with the four principles I outlined immediately after Beirut. We will have a clear plan to win. We will develop overwhelming forces among the combined civilized world. We will report to you regularly and work every day to keep the support of the American people for the campaign to destroy terrorism. We will define clearly who the enemy is and they will have no sanctuaries.
In confronting an evil that seeks to kill us and destroy our civilization, our goal must be complete and decisive victory.

The Foley family needs your prayers in this difficult time.

America and the forces of freedom need your prayers in this daunting campaign.

Together, civilization will prevail and barbarism will return to the dustbin of history.

Thank you and good night.

Your Friend,
Newt
89  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: 9/21/2014 Dog Brothers Open Gathering of the Pack on: August 28, 2014, 02:25:10 AM
7: Dog Vinsent Franke
90  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces on: August 27, 2014, 11:16:27 PM
Amongst Carl Jung's various theories was one which said the people have four basic functions of which one is dominant:  Thinking (about 10% of the population IIRC) feeling (about 60%?) sensation, and intuition and are either introverted or extroverted.  This makes for 8 basic personality types, and as the theory is fleshed out it becomes 16 or 32.  (The Briggs-Meyer personality test and various others are based upon this work)

From the sound of your description, you are an introvert.

(Tangent:  In our hands, usually there are three major lines.  Do the bottom and middle line come together or not?)



91  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Defeciti over $500B this year, future looks worse on: August 27, 2014, 09:38:59 PM


http://dailysignal.com/2014/08/27/new-report-shows-u-s-deficit-just-year-huge/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social
92  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / We are fuct on: August 27, 2014, 07:07:13 PM
My son's school's new grading system:

A = 92-100
A-=88-91
B+=84-878
B =75-83
B-=71-74
C+=67-70
C =56-66
C-=52-55
D+=48-51
D =37-47
D-=30-36
F =29 and below

We are fuct , , ,

ALEXANDER'S COLUMN
ObamaCore: 'Why Johnny [Still] Can't Read'
The Systemic Dumbing-Down of America
By Mark Alexander • August 27, 2014     
"If a nation expects to be ignorant -- and free -- in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." --Thomas Jefferson (1816)
 

In William Shakespeare's "Tempest," Act V, Miranda observes, "O wonder! How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, That has such people in't."

It is those words from which Aldous Huxley drew the title of his 1932 novel, "Brave New World."

In that celebrated work, Huxley describes a utopian future in which a central authority maintains totalitarian rule and obedience by re-education -- replacing historical comprehension with a common core of indoctrination, utilizing sleep-learning, psychological manipulation and classical conditioning.

Huxley's utopian apparition compares with that of George Orwell's 1949 dystopian narrative, "Nineteen Eighty-Four," and that of Ayn Rand in her 1957 work, "Atlas Shrugged," but all three were, and remain, significant expositions of the loss of Liberty and its inevitable terminus in tyranny.

Each reflects the outcome of a worldview advanced by the architects of statist totalitarianism -- Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin -- both of whom fully understood that state-controlled "education" was essential to the fundamental transformation from Liberty to tyranny.

According to Marx's "Communist Manifesto," "The education of all children, from the moment that they can get along without a mother's care, shall be in state institutions at state expense."

Lenin followed with this chilling demand: "Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted."

The modern instruction manual for implementation of Marx's Manifesto is Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals," considered the holy book of so-called "community organizers" like Barack Hussein Obama. It is the contemporary outline of how to restructure institutions in order to achieve a totalitarian state.

Indeed, Alinsky dedicated the book to the patron saint of community organizers: "Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins -- or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom -- Lucifer."

 

The current caucus of Socialist Democrats occupying the executive, legislative and judicial branches of our central government subscribe to the following Marxist/Alinsky maxim: "Democracy is the road to socialism," and for four decades have used the educational indoctrination of youth to pave that road.

In 1955, Time magazine published a cover story, "Why Johnny Can't Read," an early indictment of post-war centralized government education institutions, which were graduating students who couldn't make the grade. 

Of course, statists claimed the problem could be solved with more money and centralization of academic standards.  In 1950, federal spending on K-12 was about $400,000. Since then, it has climbed to $71.2 billion. Spending for higher education has risen from $250 million in 1958 to $60 billion in 2013. Since the 1970s, spending per pupil has increased 138% while student enrollment has increased only 7.8%. Spending per student by state ranges from $6,000 to a whopping $29,000 in Washington, DC, where the graduation rate is a dismal 58%, and most who do actually graduate are unprepared for meaningful employment.

Obama insisted on an additional $60 billion last year “to keep hundreds of thousands of teachers on the job.” Since 1970, the number of teachers grew by 60% and non-teaching employees by 84%, while student enrollment increased, as noted above, by only 7.8%.

And what has all that centralization and spending achieved? Could it be that the problem is not the need for uniform curriculums and more spending? Arguably, federal government diktats regulating state and local government schools have resulted in a progressive and systemic dumbing-down of generations of young Americans. Indeed, Johnny still can't read.

Jimmy Carter codified this systemic progression by creating a cabinet-level secretary for the U.S. Department of Education. Ronald Reagan vowed to dismantle it, but as with most government programs once created, the union funding machines supporting Democrat majorities in the House and Senate created an insurmountable obstacle to that objective.

Now statists insist the solution to endemic academic decline is a uniform plan of indoctrination under the name "Common Core" -- a series of academic standards set by a horde of bureaucrats known as the Council of Chief School Officers. While some might argue that such standards could implement a degree of accountability, in reality what Common Core does is something far more perilous: It further centralizes the ability to craft and implement educational curriculums -- with the potential outcome of, well, I refer you back to Huxley and Orwell.

Forty-five states plus DC have embraced Common Core, although as conservative columnist George Will notes, they have done so in exchange for stimulus funds or waivers from federal regulations -- federal arm-twisting at its best. Even worse, some states adopted Common Core almost immediately after the June 2, 2010, release of the standards, leaving little to no time to evaluate their efficacy. Another Pelosian example of “passing” something to find out what’s in it.

According to Will, “The advocates of the Common Core say, ‘If you like local control of your school you can keep it, period. If you like your local curriculum you can keep it, period.’ And people don’t believe them for very good reasons. This is the thin end of an enormous wedge of federal power that will be wielded for the constant progressive purpose of concentrating power in Washington so that it can impose continental solutions to problems nationwide.”
 

Indeed, the ObamaCore mandates are the Department of Education's version of the Department of Health's ObamaCare mandates -- and the outcomes will be similar.
At a high school convocation speech to a youthful corps of what he hopes will one day become loyal Leftist sycophants, Obama claimed, “My administration has been working hard to make sure that we ... encourage the kind of change that’s led not by Washington, DC, but by teachers and principals and parents...”

Note the order in which he lists the agents of change: "teachers and principals and parents." And "the kind of change" led by teachers' unions and government school administrators across the nation is already in lock-step with what “Washington, DC” dictates. They’re both bent upon churning out, perhaps unwittingly, legions of "useful idiots" -- the necessary ingredients for ensuring the future envisioned by Huxley, Orwell and Rand.

For the record, there are tens of thousands of teachers across the nation who do not subscribe to these statist curriculums and the PC pacification of their students. They remain steadfast in their commitment to teach, not indoctrinate, and however few and far between they may be, in many communities they are the last defense against the socialist tide in classrooms. But the federal mandates are multiplying, and the net effect will further undermine any real educational opportunity for this and the next generations of young people.

Concern for the adulteration of educational curriculums to comport with the ideological objectives of the state, in effect asserting that ignorance is a virtue, has a long history.

Nineteenth century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli wrote, “Wherever is found what is called a paternal government, there is found state education. It has been discovered that the best way to insure implicit obedience is to commence tyranny in the nursery.”

His contemporary, John Stuart Mill, warned, “A general State education is a mere contrivance for molding people to be exactly like one another; and as the mold in which it casts them is that which pleases the dominant power in the government, whether this be a monarch, an aristocracy, or a majority of the existing generation; in proportion as it is efficient and successful, it establishes a despotism over the mind, leading by a natural tendency to one over the body.”

A clear example of such "despotism over the mind" would be the Common Core complicit revised Advanced Placement U.S. History exam, which reflects a radically revisionist perspective on our nation's genuine history. The College Board, which sets the curriculum-testing bar, makes only two references to George Washington, one to Thomas Jefferson, and nowhere to be found are Benjamin Franklin and James Madison, among others.

To that end, here is the advice the College Board provided for the practice AP essay:

"[A good essay] might note, for example, that the outcome of the American Revolution saw no broad change in the composition of those who dominated the social, political, and economic structure of the former colonies. Those individuals who were wealthy, powerful, and influential before the event continued to possess wealth, power, and influence later. George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson could serve as examples."


For the benefit of those whose understanding of American history is limited by Common Core and AP curriculums, I offer a few quotes from our nation's Founders --which appear nowhere in their syllabus.

"Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day. ... Knowledge is power." --Thomas Jefferson
"Law and liberty cannot rationally become the objects of our love, unless they first become the objects of our knowledge." --James Wilson

"A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives." --James Madison

"For no people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffused and Virtue is preserved. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauched in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders." --Samuel Adams

"Genius without education is like silver in the mine." --Benjamin Franklin

"In vain are Schools, Academies, and Universities instituted, if loose Principles and licentious habits are impressed upon Children in their earliest years..." --John Adams

"[W]e ought to deprecate the hazard attending ardent and susceptible minds, from being too strongly, and too early prepossessed in favor of other political systems, before they are capable of appreciating their own. ... Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle." --George Washington

And again, let me reiterate these timeless words from Thomas Jefferson...

"If a nation expects to be ignorant -- and free -- in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."
 

Pro Deo et Constitutione -- Libertas aut Mors
Semper Fortis Vigilate Paratus et Fidelis
93  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Continuous partial attention on: August 27, 2014, 06:40:58 PM
Farnam Street: The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We’ve Lost in a World of Constant Connection

<https://ci5.googleusercontent.com/proxy/WitcZkBT49Nt1fd-bS0DAC51Y7zqveAR99K0NtzERzvUgHWWa4QM_5dXPtJnh8UvUCSmz-KYaZu958XuNt9h1xfwo9hTUnAfWbCvZXbDnUMnz2Ya=s0-d-e1-ft#http://farnamstreetblog.com/images/FarnamStreet_Icon_10093.png>
________________________________

The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We’ve Lost in a World of Constant Connection

Posted: 26 Aug 2014 05:00 AM PDT

Technology is neither good nor bad, nor is it neutral. — Melvin Kranzberg

It won’t be long before people fail to remember a world without the internet. Michael Harris explores what that means in his new book The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We’ve Lost in a World of Constant Connection.

For those billions who come next, of course, it won’t mean anything very obvious. Our online technologies, taken as a whole, will have become a kind of foundational myth —a story people are barely conscious of, something natural and, therefore, unnoticed. Just as previous generations were charmed by televisions until their sets were left always on, murmuring as consolingly as the radios before them, future generations will be so immersed in the Internet that questions about its basic purpose or meaning will have faded from notice. Something tremendous will be missing from their lives— a mind-set that their ancestors took entirely for granted— but they will hardly be able to notice its disappearance. Nor can we blame them.

However, we have in this brief historical moment, this moment in between two modes of being, a very rare opportunity. For those of us who have lived both with and without the vast, crowded connectivity the Internet provides, these are the few days when we can still notice the difference between Before and After.

This is the moment. Our awareness of this singular position pops up every now and again. We catch ourselves idly reaching for our phones at the bus stop. Or we notice how, midconversation, a fumbling friend dives into the perfect recall of Google.



I think that within the mess of changes we’re experiencing, there’s a single difference that we feel most keenly; and it’s also the difference that future generations will find hardest to grasp. That is the end of absence— the loss of lack. The daydreaming silences in our lives are filled; the burning solitudes are extinguished.

Before all memory of those absences is shuttered, though, there is this brief time when we might record what came before. We might do something with those small, barely noticeable instances when we’re reminded of our love for absence. They flash at us amid the rush of our experience and seem to signal: Wait, wasn’t there something . . . ?

***

In 1998, the writer Linda Stone coined the phrase that perfectly describes the state of most people: “continuous partial attention.” More than welcoming this impoverished state, most of us run toward it.

We are constantly distracted. Pings. Texts. Emails. We’re becoming slaves to devices and perpetual connectivity.

Dr. Gary Small, a researcher at UCLA, writes that “once people get used to this state, they tend to thrive on the perpetual connectivity. It feeds their egos and sense of self-worth, and it becomes irresistible.” We feel needed. We’re weaving our self-identity with our devices. We think that if they are not constantly buzzing we’re not “needed, necessary, crucial.” This “atmosphere of manic disruption makes (our) adrenal glands pump up production of cortisol and adrenaline.”

Dr. Small points out:

In the short run, these stress hormones boost energy levels and augment memory, but over time they actually impair cognition, lead to depression, and alter the neural circuitry in the hippocampus, amygdala, and prefrontal cortex— the brain regions that control mood and thought. Chronic and prolonged techno-brain burnout can even reshape the underlying brain structure.

***

Harris argues that there was a moment weirdly similar to this one: the year 1450. That’s the year when Johannes Gutenberg managed to invent a printing press.

Like the Internet, Gutenberg’s machine made certain jobs either ridiculous or redundant (so long, scriptoria). But much more was dismantled by Gutenberg’s invention than the employment of a few recalcitrant scribes. As the fidelity and speed of copying was ratcheted way up, there was a boom in what we’d now call data transfer: A great sermon delivered in Paris might be perfectly replicated in Lyon. (Branding improved, too: for the first time subjects knew what their king looked like.) Such uniformity laid the groundwork for massive leaps in knowledge and scientific understanding as a scholastic world that was initially scattered began to cohere into a consistent international conversation, one where academics and authorities could build on one another’s work rather than repeat it. As its influence unfurled across Europe, the press would flatten entire monopolies of knowledge, even enabling Martin Luther to shake the foundations of the Catholic Church; next it jump -started the Enlightenment. And the printing press had its victims; its cheap and plentiful product undid whole swaths of life, from the recitation of epic poetry to the authority of those few who could afford handmade manuscripts.

[...]

For any single human to live through such a change is extraordinary. After all, the original Gutenberg shift in 1450 was not a moment that one person could have witnessed, but a slow-blooming era that took centuries before it was fully unpacked. Literacy in England was not common until the nineteenth century, so most folk until then had little direct contact with the printed book. And the printing machine itself was not fundamentally improved upon for the first 350 years of its existence.

But today is different.

How quickly, how irrevocably, this kills that. Since ours is truly a single moment and not an era, scholars who specialize in fifteenth-century history may be able to make only partial comparisons with the landscape we’re trekking through. While writing this book, I found it necessary to consult also with neuroscientists, psychiatrists, psychologists, technology gurus, literature professors, librarians, computer scientists, and more than a few random acquaintances who were willing to share their war stories. And all these folk, moving down their various roads, at last crossed paths— in that place called Absence. It was an idea of absence that seemed to come up time and again. Every expert, every scientist, and every friend I spoke with had a device in his or her pocket that could funnel a planet’s worth of unabridged, incomprehensible clamor. Yet it was absence that unified the elegies I heard.

***

The change with Gutenberg was so total that it became a lens through which we view the world. “The gains the press yielded,” Harris writes, “are mammoth and essential to our lives.” Yet each new technology — from the written word to Twitter — is both an opportunity for something new and an opportunity to give something up.

In Understanding Media, Marshall McLuhan wrote that: “a new medium is never an addition to an old one, nor does it leave the old one in peace.”

New mediums that become successful subjugate the older ones. It “never ceases to oppress the older media until it finds new shapes and positions for them.”

Harris challenges us: “As we embrace a technology’s gifts, we usually fail to consider what they ask from us in return—the subtle, hardly noticeable payments we make in exchange for their marvellous service.”

We don’t notice, for example , that the gaps in our schedules have disappeared because we’re too busy delighting in the amusements that fill them. We forget the games that childhood boredom forged because boredom itself has been outlawed. Why would we bother to register the end of solitude, of ignorance, of lack? Why would we care that an absence has disappeared?

The more I thought about this seismic shift in our lives— our rapid movement toward online experience and away from rarer, concrete things— the more I wanted to understand the nature of the experience itself. How does it feel to live through our own Gutenberg moment? How does it feel to be the only people in history to know life with and without the Internet?

After a month long break from the Internet, Harris emerges without an epiphany. “But it’s the break itself that’s the thing. It’s the break—that is, the questioning—that snaps us out of the spell, that can convince us that it was a spell in the first place,” he writes. While he doesn’t propose taking a month off, he does propose the occasional break: “I think what you get is a richer interior light and the ability to see yourself in a critical light, living online. Because if you’re in the middle of something you can never see it properly.”

The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We’ve Lost in a World of Constant Connection urges us to remain aware of what came before and “to again take pleasure in absence.”


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94  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: 9/21/2014 Dog Brothers Open Gathering of the Pack on: August 27, 2014, 06:12:42 PM
6: Seeing Eye Dog

95  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Middle East: War, Peace, and SNAFU, TARFU, and FUBAR on: August 27, 2014, 06:08:11 PM
Probably right.

I continue to hone/simplify my offering of a strategy:

a) Independence, alliance, and bases with the Kurds;
b) Use the bases to pressure Iran on nukes, re-establish the sanctions;
c) let the Sunnis, Shias, Assad, et al kill each other and let God sort it out;
d) Back Israel, Egypt, Jordan against the various permutations of AQ-ISIL (e.g. Hamas)
e) Fracking-- the less the planet has to count on this crazy region the better.
f) Control ingress into the US and monitor egress i.e. track and stop jihadis with US and Euro passports
g) control the borders
96  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / IL judge blocks vote on term limits on: August 27, 2014, 04:13:32 PM
https://termlimits.org/illinois-judges-blocks-citizens-voting-term-limits/ 
97  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Middle East: War, Peace, and SNAFU, TARFU, and FUBAR on: August 27, 2014, 03:55:58 PM
I agree. 

IMHO the American people correctly assess that we are led by fools; a coherent strategy led by a capable leader might well be a different thing though-- I do think ISIL's recent efforts have clarified a lot of people's thinking.

98  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Russian invades on new front! on: August 27, 2014, 03:53:52 PM


Russia Opens 3rd Front With a New Offensive, Ukrainian and Western Officials Say

Tanks, artillery and infantry have crossed from Russia into an unbreached part of eastern Ukraine in recent days, attacking Ukrainian forces and causing panic and wholesale retreat not only in the small border town of Novoazovsk but a wide swath of territory, in what Ukrainian and Western military officials are calling a stealth invasion.

The attacks outside Novoazovsk and in an area to the north essentially have opened a new, third front in the war in eastern Ukraine between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists, along with the fighting outside the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk.

READ MORE »
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/28/world/europe/ukraine-russia-novoazovsk-crimea.html?emc=edit_na_20140827

99  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Hamilton, 1791 on: August 27, 2014, 11:52:27 AM
"Experience teaches, that men are often so much governed by what they are accustomed to see and practice, that the simplest and most obvious improvements ... are adopted with hesitation, reluctance, and slow gradations. The spontaneous transition to new pursuits, in a community long habituated to different ones, may be expected to be attended with proportionably greater difficulty." --Alexander Hamilton, Report on Manufactures, 1791
100  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Yemen divides could lead to Shiite power gains on: August 27, 2014, 10:49:59 AM

Yemen's Divides Could Lead to Shiite Power Gains
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August 26, 2014 | 1137 Print Text Size
Yemen's Divides Could Lead to Shiite Power Gains
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Yemen's al-Houthi rebels, who are affiliated with the Zaidi sect of Shi'ism found in northern Yemen, have capitalized on their recent territorial gains and are now using their position to pressure the capital by threatening to topple the Sunni-led government. Yemen's military is demoralized after suffering repeated defeat at the hands of rebels led by Abdul-Malik al-Houthi and Yemeni President Abd Rabboh Mansour Hadi has proved unable to manage the country's competing interests.

Aware of the potential domestic and foreign repercussions that would result from such a move, the al-Houthis and their armed tribal allies do not seem likely to try to occupy the capital by force. Rather, Abdul-Malik al-Houthi will use the rebel threat to force Hadi's government to make political concessions. Perhaps more importantly, political unrest will force Hadi to shift more of his limited military forces toward the capital, giving actors such as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and southern secessionist forces an opportunity to expand their areas of influence.

Eventually, Hadi likely will be forced to capitulate to al-Houthi pressure. Hadi will probably remain in power, as the al-Houthis have avoided criticizing him directly and are aware that there are few alternative candidates. However, at a minimum, Hadi will likely be forced to dissolve his Cabinet, demand Prime Minister Mohammed Basindwa's resignation and overturn controversial fuel subsidy cuts. Key areas of negotiation, and probable concession, will probably include the formation of a national unity government that would include the al-Houthis and adjustments to the federalization plan. In fact, Stratfor's sources within Yemen have indicated that al-Houthi will settle for regional autonomy and greater representation within the central government.
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