Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Afghanistan: Bad Bad People, and thats the ones we support. Forget about the rest.

Generally, my view of anyone who 'harms' a child is they do not deserve the chance to rot in prison.  'Harm' is subjective, and I would define it very loosely as anything that causes physical harm to a child, and extreme emotional or mental harm.  However, to cross into the area of no rotting in prison because they don't deserve it, one must cross a threshold that is more than spanking a child once in their life or yelling at a child once in their life.  It does include any act of sex or sexual content. Nambla should pay attention.  Tolerating the abuse for any reason is tolerating an evil that should not be tolerated.

I have heard of the issue that follows, and been aware of it for some time, and perhaps I have not thought too much about it to avoid the conclusion I must reach - we should leave and let them slaughter each other.  Less of them.  But, what of the children harmed by this evil practice.  The disdain for them, their culture, their 'religion', their .... we die so they can sodomize little boys.  Wrong on so many levels and worth crying over.

Afghanistan's dirty little secret

Joel Brinkley
Sunday, August 29, 2010

Western forces fighting in southern Afghanistan had a problem. Too often, soldiers on patrol passed an older man walking hand-in-hand with a pretty young boy. Their behavior suggested he was not the boy's father. Then, British soldiers found that young Afghan men were actually trying to "touch and fondle them," military investigator AnnaMaria Cardinalli told me. "The soldiers didn't understand."

All of this was so disconcerting that the Defense Department hired Cardinalli, a social scientist, to examine this mystery. Her report, "Pashtun Sexuality," startled not even one Afghan. But Western forces were shocked - and repulsed.

For centuries, Afghan men have taken boys, roughly 9 to 15 years old, as lovers. Some research suggests that half the Pashtun tribal members in Kandahar and other southern towns are bacha baz, the term for an older man with a boy lover. Literally it means "boy player." The men like to boast about it.

"Having a boy has become a custom for us," Enayatullah, a 42-year-old in Baghlan province, told a Reuters reporter. "Whoever wants to show off should have a boy."

Baghlan province is in the northeast, but Afghans say pedophilia is most prevalent among Pashtun men in the south. The Pashtun are Afghanistan's most important tribe. For centuries, the nation's leaders have been Pashtun.

President Hamid Karzai is Pashtun, from a village near Kandahar, and he has six brothers. So the natural question arises: Has anyone in the Karzai family been bacha baz? Two Afghans with close connections to the Karzai family told me they know that at least one family member and perhaps two were bacha baz. Afraid of retribution, both declined to be identified and would not be more specific for publication.

As for Karzai, an American who worked in and around his palace in an official capacity for many months told me that homosexual behavior "was rampant" among "soldiers and guys on the security detail. They talked about boys all the time."

He added, "I didn't see Karzai with anyone. He was in his palace most of the time." He, too, declined to be identified.

In Kandahar, population about 500,000, and other towns, dance parties are a popular, often weekly, pastime. Young boys dress up as girls, wearing makeup and bells on their feet, and dance for a dozen or more leering middle-aged men who throw money at them and then take them home. A recent State Department report called "dancing boys" a "widespread, culturally sanctioned form of male rape."

So, why are American and NATO forces fighting and dying to defend tens of thousands of proud pedophiles, certainly more per capita than any other place on Earth? And how did Afghanistan become the pedophilia capital of Asia?

Sociologists and anthropologists say the problem results from perverse interpretation of Islamic law. Women are simply unapproachable. Afghan men cannot talk to an unrelated woman until after proposing marriage. Before then, they can't even look at a woman, except perhaps her feet. Otherwise she is covered, head to ankle.

"How can you fall in love if you can't see her face," 29-year-old Mohammed Daud told reporters. "We can see the boys, so we can tell which are beautiful."

Even after marriage, many men keep their boys, suggesting a loveless life at home. A favored Afghan expression goes: "Women are for children, boys are for pleasure." Fundamentalist imams, exaggerating a biblical passage on menstruation, teach that women are "unclean" and therefore distasteful. One married man even asked Cardinalli's team "how his wife could become pregnant," her report said. When that was explained, he "reacted with disgust" and asked, "How could one feel desire to be with a woman, who God has made unclean?"

That helps explain why women are hidden away - and stoned to death if they are perceived to have misbehaved. Islamic law also forbids homosexuality. But the pedophiles explain that away. It's not homosexuality, they aver, because they aren't in love with their boys.

Addressing the loathsome mistreatment of Afghan women remains a primary goal for coalition governments, as it should be.

But what about the boys, thousands upon thousands of little boys who are victims of serial rape over many years, destroying their lives - and Afghan society.

"There's no issue more horrifying and more deserving of our attention than this," Cardinalli said. "I'm continually haunted by what I saw."

As one boy, in tow of a man he called "my lord," told the Reuters reporter: "Once I grow up, I will be an owner, and I will have my own boys."

It is more than a dirty secret.  We may all have little secrets - like we drank too much in college, or we used a little too much of a drug, or we like to gamble or drive fast ... but this, is not a secret nor is it little - it is purely wrong on every level.

It is also not a matter of shrugging your shoulders, shaking your head and dismissing the issue as something done by the equivalent of Manbla in the West.  No.

Not when generals and commanders, detectives and police officers, all the way up to their president and his family, and back down again to some really disturbing questions.

PBS has a program, about 54 minutes.


In it, so many questions.  One I find very difficult, is when the police chief of this 'town' or 'city' is answering a few questions from the investigator / reporter for Frontline.  On his desk / wall are two photos - one of Hamid Karzai and one of Massoud, the now dead Lion of Panjshir.  Massoud led the Northern Alliance, and all the commanders in the Frontline were of the Northern Alliance.  A man I respected, once - now a problem for me to reconcile given he is dead ...

For someone on the far left, the response would be - but there are paedophile priests in your churches, and scout troops, and ... everywhere.  Yes, true - there were some.  Of the total number of priests, the highest number estimated is 1-2%, so ok, it was possible, and same with scouts and ... the point is, we find them and we sort them out, even if we do not do enough - their culture protects it, their culture endorses it, their laws are ignored, their religion sanctifies it, for it surely does not oppose it when everyone knows it occurs and they do not act.

The next link- found by clicking HERE is interesting, especially one paragraph.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Federal Government Reports Arizona to the UN

Brewer condemns report to UN mentioning Ariz. law

Jonathan J. Cooper, Associated Press Writer – Fri Aug 27, 10:57 pm ET

PHOENIX – Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer demanded Friday that a reference to the state's controversial immigration law be removed from a State Department report to the United Nations' human rights commissioner.

The U.S. included its legal challenge to the law on a list of ways the federal government is protecting human rights.

In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Brewer says it is "downright offensive" that a state law would be included in the report, which was drafted as part of a UN review of human rights in all member nations every four years.

"The idea of our own American government submitting the duly enacted laws of a state of the United States to 'review' by the United Nations is internationalism run amok and unconstitutional," Brewer wrote.

Arizona's law generally requires police officer enforcing other laws to investigate the immigration status of people they suspect are illegal immigrants.

Critics say it would lead officers to target Hispanics. Supporters, including Brewer, say the law prohibits racial profiling and other human rights abuses.

The U.S. Justice Department sued to block the measure, arguing federal law trumps the state's authority to enforce immigration laws.

A federal judge in July sided with the Justice Department and blocked enforcement of the law's most controversial provisions a day before it was scheduled to take effect.

In its report, the State Department does not specifically allege that Arizona's law would lead to racial profiling.

"A recent Arizona law, S.B. 1070, has generated significant attention and debate at home and around the world," the report says. "The issue is being addressed in a court action that argues that the federal government has the authority to set and enforce immigration law. That action is ongoing; parts of the law are currently enjoined."

A State Department spokesman had no immediate comment on Brewer's letter.

Brewer, a Republican, is running for election in November. Her popularity in Arizona and her national profile have soared since she signed the immigration measure in April.


Obama Doubles Down on his Support for the Mosque at Ground Zero

Obama doubled down on his support for a mosque and community center planned for a site two blocks north of ground zero in lower Manhattan – and denied reports that he tried to back away from backing the controversial project.

“I didn’t walk it back it all,” he said. “I was very specific with my team… The core value and principle that every American is treated the same doesn’t change… At [a White House Ramadan celebration], I had Muslim Americans who had been in uniform fighting in Iraq… How can you say to them that their religious faith is less worthy of respect?... That’s something that I feel very strongly about.”


Dems: The Rules Apply, Just Not to Us ... it's all Bush's fault

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson violated rules, steered scholarships to relatives

12:35 AM CDT on Sunday, August 29, 2010
By TODD J. GILLMAN and CHRISTY HOPPE / The Dallas Morning News

Longtime Dallas congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson has awarded thousands of dollars in college scholarships to four relatives and a top aide's two children since 2005, using foundation funds set aside for black lawmakers' causes.

The recipients were ineligible under anti-nepotism rules of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, which provided the money. And all of the awards violated a foundation requirement that scholarship winners live or study in a caucus member's district.

Johnson, a Democrat, denied any favoritism when asked about the scholarships last week. Two days later, she acknowledged in a statement released by her office that she had violated the rules but said she had done so "unknowingly" and would work with the foundation to "rectify the financial situation."

[It is amazing what they unknowingly do - whether Republican or Democrat.  Our money, our laws - they serve us, not the other way around.]

Initially, she said, "I recognized the names when I saw them. And I knew that they had a need just like any other kid that would apply for one." Had there been more "very worthy applicants in my district," she added, "then I probably wouldn't have given it" to the relatives.

Her handling of the scholarships puts a rare spotlight on the program and how it is overseen. Caucus members have great leeway in how they pick winners and how aggressively they publicize the awards. Some lawmakers promote the program online, for instance, while Johnson does not.

Philanthropy experts said such lax oversight of scholarship money doesn't match the standards for charities.

The foundation – which is supported by private and corporate donations, not taxpayer money – provides $10,000 annually for each member of the Congressional Black Caucus to award in scholarships. Each gets to decide how many ways to split the money and whether to create a judging panel, choose personally or delegate the task.

Johnson, a former chairwoman of the caucus who has served on the board that oversees the foundation, said she wasn't fully aware of the program rules and emphasized that she didn't "personally benefit."

In her interview with The Dallas Morning News, on Wednesday, Johnson said "hundreds of kids got scholarships since I have been here." Her district covers much of southern Dallas County, including many of the area's less affluent precincts.

"The most that any kid normally gets is from $1,000 to $1,200. ... If it was a secret or if I was trying to hide it, I wouldn't have done it," she said.

The foundation's general counsel, Amy Goldson, said Saturday that the scholarships Johnson awarded violated eligibility rules regarding relatives and residency and are "of great concern."

The program "operates on an honor system," so the foundation hadn't known that money went to Johnson's relatives, she said. But when a recipient fails to meet eligibility requirements or "misrepresents their eligibility, the scholarship funds must be returned."

Further, Goldson said, the failure of a lawmaker or aides to follow eligibility rules "is a violation of the letter and spirit of [the Foundation's] requirements."

"It is inappropriate for a lawmaker to certify the award of a scholarship to a relative in a situation where the lawmaker or their staff is involved in the selection of the recipient," she said.

Apart from the residency requirements, the scholarship rules state that students must have a 2.5-grade-point average, but there are no explicit judging criteria.

Johnson awarded nine to 11 scholarships a year from 2005 to 2008, the most recent years for which information was available. Each of those years, three or four winners were related to her or her district director, Rod Givens. Johnson said she divided the available funds equally among recipients, and every qualified applicant got a scholarship.

The foundation asks applicants to certify that they aren't related to those associated with the caucus or the foundation, but it does not specify which relationships that includes.

Scholarships have gone to two of the congresswoman's grandsons, Kirk and David Johnson; to two of her great-nephews, Gregory and Preston Moore; and to Givens' son and daughter. Givens did not respond to requests for comment, and none of the scholarship recipients could be reached.

'Not ... proper'

Daniel Borochoff, president of the American Institute of Philanthropy, said that, ideally, scholarship and grant decisions should be made by disinterested arbiters, preferably on the basis of excellence or need.

Johnson's system "is not an appropriate or proper way to distribute scholarship funds," he said.

"It's totally fine if the congressman or -woman wants to reach inside their own pocket and give, but to use money that people got tax deductions on to then benefit their family – it would just be setting up nonprofit organizations to get tax benefits to put their kids through college. It would wreck the whole system if that kind of thing were allowed," Borochoff said.

He said a scholarship with so few criteria for recipients would normally attract dozens if not hundreds of applicants if it were well publicized.

"There should be outrage because there are probably students who are more deserving and more needy of the funds," Borochoff said.

The combined scholarship total for the six students over four years was less than $20,000, based on Johnson's accounting of the scholarships. That appears to be less than half the total Johnson awarded over that time. Of 43 scholarships her office awarded between 2005 and 2008, 15 went to relatives of Johnson or Givens, according to foundation annual reports.

Johnson, in the interview Wednesday, dismissed concerns about the propriety of giving to her relatives or her staffers.

"We look at the kids that apply, look at their qualifications, and if they have the application there with all the ingredients, we try to help," she said. "I doubt if there is anybody in my district going to question me giving $1,000 to a kid to help him with college."

The congresswoman, 74, who is expected to handily win a 10th term this fall over a relatively unknown Republican, said flatly that there was no favoritism for her aide's children or for her grandsons or great-nephews.

"Same application. Same requirements," she said.

Rules clear, lawyer says

The Congressional Black Caucus consists of one U.S. senator and 41 House members – among them Johnson and two other Texans, Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee and Al Green, both of Houston. All are Democrats.

The foundation is a separate, nonprofit charitable organization whose board at any time includes only a few caucus members.

The foundation, which awarded $716,000 to 556 students last year, has been criticized for spending less on scholarships than on galas and conferences that allow lobbyists to rub elbows with influential lawmakers. Fundraising for the caucus itself and its members is tightly regulated, but the closely related foundation faces few restrictions.

In 2002, Johnson chaired the caucus and served on its board.

She continued to serve on the foundation board through 2005 – a year when both great-nephews and grandson Kirk Johnson received scholarships through her office, despite a rule explicitly forbidding awards to relatives of foundation board members.

Goldson, the foundation attorney, said the rules make clear that applicants cannot be related to any member of the black caucus, the foundation's staff, directors, members of its corporate advisory council or any sponsor, a list that includes scores of major companies. "Any misrepresentation will result in disqualification of the application," she said.

Each caucus member who participates in the foundation's scholarship program is responsible for publicizing the competition locally. Some do so more aggressively than others. Many list the opportunity on their official U.S. House websites, often under a tab dedicated to "students."

Johnson's website makes no mention of the scholarships.

"This has been going on long before there was any websites," she said. "We send information to the high schools. I haven't known anybody who didn't know about it, to tell you the truth."

Counselors at four southern Dallas high schools didn't return calls last week to discuss the matter.

Selection process varies

The foundation raises the funds, sets requirements and provides application forms. But the process for picking winners varies among lawmakers.

Apart from the GPA of at least 2.5, students must submit personal and financial information, a transcript, letters of recommendation, an essay on goals, and a copy of their federal student aid report to their local member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Johnson said aides in Dallas – where Givens is her senior aide – review applications and forward to her all those that qualify.

"When they come to this office, there's hardly much decision to be made. We find out how many applicants, how much money, divide it up, send it in," she said. "I've not given any money where there was no need. And I don't think a $1,000 scholarship's going to do too much, but it helps when you need it."

Johnson's assets – not counting a blind trust that owns a newsstand concession at Dallas Love Field – amounted to less than $97,000 in 2008. Her wealth puts her in the bottom quarter of House members, according to Center for Responsive Politics data. Apart from her $174,000-a-year congressional salary, she reported a $35,000 pension for her previous service in the state Legislature, and $22,000 from Social Security last year.

In doling out their scholarship money, some lawmakers pick one winner, others as many as 18.

Johnson gave out nine scholarships in 2005, 11 in 2006 and 10 in 2007. Every qualified applicant got a piece of the pie, she said, though her office did not provide details on the number of applications submitted each year.

Johnson said she never asked the foundation or anyone else if it was acceptable for her to award scholarships to relatives.

"It's never come up with me," she said. "But let me just say this: None of these people are my immediate family. Immediate family doesn't include grandchildren."

'As best I could'

But the Johnsons, Moores and Givenses weren't eligible under other foundation rules requiring recipients to reside or go to school in a congressional district represented by a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

None of the six lived or attended school in Johnson's district. They lived in districts represented by white Republicans.

The Johnsons lived in Plano, in a district represented by Rep. Sam Johnson (no relation). The Moores lived in Manor, near Austin, Rep. Michael McCaul's district. The Givenses, who live in Mesquite, are represented by Rep. Jeb Hensarling.

The recipients' colleges – Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Baylor in Waco, Texas Christian in Fort Worth, Texas State in San Marcos and Sam Houston State in Huntsville – also fall outside any district held by a caucus member.

"I haven't seen those rules," Johnson said, "but let me just say this: I take the responsibility for as many kids as I can help in the North Texas area."

Even though her grandchildren grew up near Austin, she added, there was nothing untoward about giving scholarships to students outside her district.

"There have been many others," she said, including a student from Oklahoma , whom she helped at the request of Sen. James Inhofe, a conservative Republican.

District residency, Johnson said, has never been a critical factor in her selection process.

"I've tried to use it as best I could, but when there's a needy kid living outside my district, and somebody recommends or calls and asks for help, I try to give it if I can, and I've been doing it 18 years," she said.

"If there had been very worthy applicants in my district, then I probably wouldn't have given it" to relatives, she added. "But, when you have enough money to give one additional scholarship and that person's well-qualified, I have never considered it a violation of anything to give a little help."

James Ferris, director of the Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy at the University of Southern California, said most nonprofits seek to avoid even the perception of conflicts of interest by establishing review boards to help make selections on scholarships or grants.

They avoid sole decision makers.

"In this case, it sounds like the power to make those grants rests in one person," he said. "The member can allocate it without any kind of oversight or checks and balances. That's sort of the nub of the problem."

Ferris said the system invites skepticism.

"Basically, it's whether you're using money that was raised in the public interest for private gain," he said.

dems in charge

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Dinner: What's For Dinner? Cats and Dogs

I suppose, to each his own, whatever they eat, culture and all that jazz.  Except, as the following points out, there are some questions about the need to eat the cats and dogs.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

How many dogs and cats are eaten in Asia?

The absence of dogs and cats from the agricultural statistics of almost every dog or cat eating nation tends to confirm that they are eaten not primarily for food value, but rather as a vice, believed to enhance sexual attraction and potency. Some of the Asian nations in which dogs and cats are eaten are descended from some of the first civilizations to keep written records. Statistics on grain production and animal husbandry in many ancient Asian empires are still accessible to scholars who can read the scripts.

Yet quantifying dog and cat consumption, either historically or today, remains more mysterious than estimating the numbers of children born out of wedlock, the truth of which is emerging through genetic research that seeks to trace the descendants of Genghis Khan and other legendary rulers. Polled by ANIMAL PEOPLE publisher Kim Bartlett, animal advocates in all parts of Asia confirmed from direct knowledge that dogs and cats are consumed in relatively small numbers by ethnic minorities, and are eaten in large numbers in parts of China and in North and South Korea. Few, however, could estimate how many dogs and cats are consumed.

Those who are trying to develop numbers are mostly still in the early stages of collecting data. The importance of becoming able to quantify dog and cat eating goes beyond just estimating the extent of it. As petkeeping becomes more popular relative to eating dogs and cats, and the pet supply industry becomes more prosperous and infuential within Asian national economies, petkeepers might be mobilized to influence poiticians to finally halt dog and cat eating.

Accurately assessing the economic strength of the dog and cat meat industry is critical, however --and it is especially important to discourage pet food manufacturers from perceiving dog and cat meat producers as a potential growth market, to be encouraged as some American pet food producers have encouraged puppy mills, in an alliance that has often obstructed humane legislation.

Vice is distinguished from other commerce by occurring out of sight of most of the public, in neighborhoods rarely frequented by decent people. Official records on vice are not kept by the agencies that normally track commerce because to keep records would be to admit the existence of a traffic of which many citizens disapprove. There are ways, nonetheless, to document the extent of vices.

Perhaps the best way is direct surveillance. For example, a discreet observer could count the dogs and cats sold and offered for sale on representative days at major markets. Alternatively, photographic mosaics could be assembled of entire markets, as Kim Bartlett did at the Moran Market near Seoul, South Korea, in May 2001, so that the numbers of animals in cages could be counted later. After this is done in a systematic manner, throughout the dog and cat eating regions, more precise estimates of the traffic can be made than are presently possible.

Meanwhile, from the limited available information, ANIMAL PEOPLE projects that Asia curently consumes about 13 to 16 million dogs per year, plus four million cats. Nation-by-nation:


There seems to be no evidence of either dog or cat eating. "My family came from Bangladesh to India," commented Visahka SPCA founder Pradeep Kumar Nath. "I have not heard of Bangladeshis eating dogs or cats."


"When my wife and I were in Cambodia last year," wrote Blue Cross of India chair Chinny Krishna, "we specifically enquired of many people about dog-eating and were told by almost all of them that dogs are eaten by some Cambodians, including the Cham, who are Muslims. Dogs are supposed to be haram or unclean in Islam, but obviously they are considered clean enough to be eaten in Cambodia. There are a lot of Thai and Vietnamese visitors to Cambodia who also eat dog meat. "Nobody mentioned cats. I have no idea as to the number of dogs eaten," Krishna acknowledged, "but obviously it would run into the thousands."

The Dorling Kindersley World Reference Atlas estimates that 4% of Cambodians are ethnic Chinese, 1% are ethnic Vietnamese, and the Cham are under 1%. Most Cambodian dog eating is probably by members of these three minority communities.

Most other Cambodians are ethnic Khmer. Historically, the Khmer were Buddhists, who ate fish and crustaceans but not many land animals. Most Khmer Buddhist teachers and traditions were exterminated and eradicated by the Khmer Rouge dictatorship of 1975-1979, however, and after decades of poverty, hunger, and ignorance, there may no longer be any cultural obstacle to eating any kind of meat. Historically, cats had a high status in Cambodia, as in Burma, but whether this view survived the Khmer Rouge is unclear.


Royal SPCA Asian regional representative Paul Littlefair estimates from direct observations and news reports that from six to eight million dogs per year are eaten in CHINA--a low total for a species consumed primarily for meat value, but a number that would be consistent with the perception of dog-eating as an occasional vice mostly engaged in by older men. The extent of dog eating in China appears to vary by region, appearing to be most prevalent in Guangdong, the neighboring southern provinces of Yunnan and Guangxi, and in Heilongjiang, Jilin, and Liaoning provinces, adjoining North Korea. Commercial dog meat ranching is known to occur in Henan, Anhui, Jiangsu, Shandong, and Hebei provinces.

North Korean immigrants reputedly introduced or re-introduced dog meat restaurants to Beijing in recent years, after keeping dogs for any purpose had been discouraged for decades. Guangdong is the only province known for eating cats. The Yangcheng Evening News in early December 2002 tried to quantify Guangdong cat consumption. "A cat stall in the game-meat market can easily sell 500 kilograms of cat meat a day in winter," the editors estimated. "There are about 80 stalls selling cats in the three [game meat] markets. If each sells about 300 to 400 kilograms of cat meat per day, then the conservative estimate is that they sell about 10,000 cats a day," the paper said.

The Yangcheng Evening News asserted that almost all the cats sold to restaurants were domestic animals, and that many were stolen or caught on the streets.


Both dogs and cats are reputedly eaten by gypsies in various parts of India, but dogs are eaten openly only in Nagaland and cats are not openly eaten anywhere. "Nagaland has no dogs at all because they have all been eaten and there is huge trafficking in sending them dogs from other states. Imphal, Manipur has no dogs either," charged People for Animals founder Maneka Gandhi.

Confirmed Pradeep Kumar Nath, "When I was in Assam two years ago dog eating came up, and it was evident that dogs were eaten mostly in Nagaland. Stray dogs are supplied from nearby states like West Bengal, Meghalaya, and Sikkim, and also from Burma.

There are now very few dogs in those areas unless they are bred for this purpose," Nath asserted. Visakha SPCA hospital manager Swathi Buddhiraju tried to obtain numbers through networking. "I have contacted a few people," she e-mailed, "but info is scanty. There are 16 tribes in Nagaland. A faction within each tribe slaughters dogs for food, The rough estimate given by one person is around 10,000 for the year," but Buddhiraju said she could not confirm this.

"The militant tribes of both Nagaland and Assam," resistingt Indian central authority, "are also consumers," Buddhiraju said. "In areas like Khamakhya there might be dog and cat sacrifices also. Dog slaughter is less in Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya."

"Cats are eaten by some members of lower castes as well as by the gypsy tribes throughout India and by some people from Kerala," Nath said. "Thus cat eating is not just in one area, whereas dog eating is concentrated in the northeast."

"The narikorvas, a South Indian gypsy tribe, eat cats," confirmed Chinny Krishna. "My estimate is that five or six thousand cats per year are eaten."


Spokespersons for the organization ProFauna told ANIMAL PEOPLE that dogs are often eaten by the Dayaks of Kalimantan and the Bataks of North Sumatra. Dayak dog-eating, a ProFauna representative named Dedi indicated, may have a ritualistic and menacing context.

While surveying the Kali-mantan sunbear population, she wrote, "We were staying in one of the Dayaks' house, and a neighbor of his caught their home dog, who usually accompanied them to go to the jungle and guarded their house, and killed and ate it." Added Hardi, of ProFauna Jarkata: "There are many, many restaurants that serve dog meat."


"Dogs and cats disappeared in Japan during World War II, but usually Japanese don't eat dogs or cats," observed animal Refuge Kansai founder Elizabeth Oliver. "However there is a large Korean population in Japan, especially in the Kansai district," Oliver added, "and I have heard that they eat dog meat which is mostly imported from China."

Oliver also mentioned rumors she has heard about a covert traffic in dog meat operating from one regional hokensho, as Japanese animal control facilities are called.

The hokensho, Oliver explained in a November 2002 ANIMAL PEOPLE guest column, are typically staffed "by workers who belong to the Burakumin class, equivalent to the 'untouchables' of India, who in medieval times lived in separate villages, could not marry other Japanese, and could only work in 'unclean' trades such as butchering, prostitution, sewage disposal, and undertaking."


Reports from visitors indicate that dog eating appears common in Laos, but quantification is possible only by projecting the crudely estimated rates of consumption in nearby nations to the Laotian population, with huge potential for error.


"Cats have never been eaten in Malaysia," said Pei Ling of the Sarawak SPCA. "Dog eating is dying out." Added Dr. G.S. Gill of the SPCA Penang, "In the 1960s, there were rumored to be three places where dog meat was sold in Penang. This is now a thing of the past. Some exotic breeds of dog and cat are eaten by sick individuals, but this is not done openly. The Wildlife Deptartment maintains a strict check on any such parties."


In Myanmar (Burma), said Pradeep Kumar Nath, "It is mainly tribal people who eat dogs." No other reports were received.


Dr. Durga Dutt Joshi, director of the National Zoonoses & Food Hygiene Research Center in Kathmandu, Nepal, told ANIMAL PEOPLE that "Dogs and cats are never eaten in Nepal, and it is illegal to slaughter dogs and cats."


"Based on numerous inquiries made to various sources nationwide," said anti-corruption crusader Freddie Farres of Linis Gobyerno, "it would appear that cat eating is not big here. Although we have heard of some personal consumption," Farres said, "there is no commercial traffic in cats for meat, unlike with the dog trade. Some 25 years ago a rumor was spread that a well known Chinese restaurant in the Philippines was caught unloading a truckload of dead cats who were supposedly to be used as ingredients for their siopao. There was a strong backlash against the restaurant, a nd their siopao sales collapsed. The incident is remembered to this day. "As to dog consumption," Farres continued, "we have researched the parts of the country which we believe account for 90% or more of the dog meat traffic. Our actual survey of the number of stores and restaurants selling dog meat, including wholesale vendors, indicates that in the Baguio City and Cordillera region about 24,166 dogs per month are killed for meat, or about 289,992 dogs per year."


"We do not allow slaughter of dogs and cats here. I have not heard of consumption of dog and cat meat in Singapore," Singapore Centre for Animal Welfare chief Madhavan Kannan asserted.

Louis Ng of ACRES shared a more formal response to a similar inquiry that his organization made to Dr. Yap Him Hoo, head of the Animal, Meat & Seafood Regulatory Branch of the Agrifood and Veterinary Authority of Singapore.

Under the Singapore Wholesome Meat and Fish Act, Dr. Yap Him Hoo explained, "meat can only be imported from AVA-approved sources which have met AVA standards. Similarly AVA also ensures that the local slaughter houses meet AVA standards. Although the Act primarily addresses food safety, welfare is a major consideration during the treatment and handling of live animals. In the case of slaughter, AVA accepts only internationally acceptable humane methods.

AVA is not aware of any humane methods of slaughtering dogs and cats for human consumption. AVA is of the view that eating dogs and cats is socially unacceptable in Singapore. To date," he added, "AVA has not received any requests to import dog or cat meat.

Recalled Deirdre Moss of SPCA Singapore, "We did have a case many years ago involving construction workers who killed a stray dog, possibly for consumption. A witness called the police, and the perpetrators were jailed." Other sources indicated that the offenders were Thais. Similar accounts of "Thai" workers killing and eating dogs and sometimes cats have reached ANIMAL PEOPLE from Israel, but the "Thais" usually turn out to be ethnic Chinese refugees originally from Vietnam, who fled to Thailand after the Vietnam War.

Parallel cases involving South Korean construction workers have occurred in Japan.

South Korea

Evaluating the limited available official statistics, plus the photographic documentation of the Moran Market obtained in May 2001, ANIMAL PEOPLE has estimated that from 1.1 to 1.3 million dogs are eaten in South Korea each year, along with 100,000 cats. "I think your figures may be about right," opined Royal SPCA representative Paul Littlefair. "I met with the head of the dog meat traders association in November 1999.

He told me that consumption had halved over the decade since 1990, and I don't think there were ever more than 2-3 million dogs a year killed for food. For cats the figure also seems reasonable or maybe a little high, given that there are only a handful of cats offered for sale alongside the dogs at markets like Moran, Chung Ang, etc. "Although Korean traditional medicine follows Chinese practice fairly closely," Littlefair added, "the Chinese eat dog in the winter for its purported warming properties, whereas in Korea dogs are eaten at the height of summer. This underlines the spurious nature of the claims of the dealers that dog meat has health benefits. The Korean minority in China must get very confused!"

Sri Lanka

ANIMAL PEOPLE was told of occasional incidents in Sri Lanka in which butchers and restauranteurs illegally sold dog and cat meat, usually disguised as other kinds of meat, but neither dogs nor cats are openly eaten there.


Dogs are reportedly eaten in parts of the Russian Far East adjacent to China, where there is also said to be an active traffic in stolen dogs for export to China both for meat and as pets (depending on breed), but no one has specified how many dogs are involved.


Wrote Environment and Animal Society of Taiwan chair Wu Hung, "There is no official estimate of the number of dogs eaten every year before the dog meat trade was banned in January 2001.However, the government did figure out that there were 54 dog meat restaurants on the island. If each restaurant sold an average of one or two dogs per day, they would have been butchering 20,000 to 50,000 dogs per year.

"After the trade was outlawed," Wu Hung continued, "the volume may have been reduced to about a tenth of what it was, which would mean four or five dog meat restaurants still exist, killing about 5,000 dogs each year.

"Cat meat is not popular in Taiwan," Wu Hung added. Confirmed Paul Littlefair, "I have never heard of cats being killed for food in Taiwan."


About 52,000 dogs per year are eaten in Thailand, according to Roger Lohanan of Thai Animal Guardians. News accounts indicate that dog eating and cat eating were virtually unknown in Thailand before the U.S.-sponsored influx of ethnic Chinese refugees from Vietnam during the 1970s and 1980s.

Settled mostly in northeastern Thailand, the refugees introduced a growing and increasingly controversial commerce in both dog meat and dog leather.

Consumption of dogs is considered offensive by the Buddhist Thai majority, and has been discouraged to some extent by the Thai government, but has not actually been suppressed, to avoid heightening the already considerable ethnic tension between native Thais and the immigrants. (See page 14.)


The only statistics ANIMAL PEOPLE found pertaining to dog and cat eating in Vietnam were from news accounts of individual restaurant sales in Hanoi during Tet, a seven-day holiday during which dog consumption peaks.

There was also a mention that dogs are usually eaten only during the second half of each lunar month, and even then at a relatively low level compared to Tet.

Some analysis can be done from this data, crude as it is.

If 300 dog meat restaurants in Hanoi sell 120 dogs per day during Tet, as the news coverage indicates, Hanoi consumption during Tet would be 252,000.

If the Hanoi restaurants sell five dogs per day during the second half of each lunar month the rest of the year, total annual Hanoi restaurant consumption of dogs would be 503,250.

If home consumption of dogs is as high, about a million dogs might be eaten in Hanoi per year.

Hanoi has about four million people, Saigon has 4.6 million, and Haiphong, the third largest city in Vietnam, has 1.7 million. If dogs are eaten at the same rate in Saigon, where dog-eating was not prominent during the Vietnam War, and in Haiphong, total urban consumption would be about 2.6 million a year.

Vietnam has 81 million human residents, but the rural majority probably cannot afford to eat dogs as often as city dwellers. Among the many Vietnamese ethnic groups, only the Montegnard were well-known for dog-eating during the war years.

This may not mean anything currently relevant, however, since the U.S. military presence in Vietnam ended 28 years ago. If all of Vietnam eats dogs at the projected Hanoi rate, total consumption would be 20 million per year. More likely, since Hanoi is the center of government and fairly affluent by Vietnamese standards, without the westernization that occurred in Saigon, Hanoi may account for from half to a third of all the dog-eating in the country.

Projecting all urban dog-eating at the Hanoi level and rural dog-eating at 10% as high produces an estimate of total consumption at four to five million dogs per year. That might be credible--although the actual balance of consumption by region may be quite different.

Cat-eating is illegal in Vietnam, since a healthy cat population is officially deemed essential to control rice-eating rodents, but sporadic accounts of raids on cat-meat restaurants indicate that cat-eating continues--like most vices--at a usually inconspicuous level.

cats and dogs

FOX NEWS = Republican Depository. Just be Fair and Admit it.

Fair minded individuals on the left have been saying for some time that FOX News is the depository for all things conservative.  Last week more indications of this truth - the parent organization for FOX donated $1 million to the Republican Governor's Association.

When a media source donates millions (whether it is this donation or the scores of donations between each presidential election) you have to wonder.  Any reasonable person would.  Most reasonable people would walk away thinking - FOX = Republican party, and would naturally dismiss many comments emanating from FOX News about Democrats or liberals.  And I think that is reasonable.

So is the following -

Obama, Democrats got 88 percent of 2008 contributions by TV network execs, writers, reporters

By: Mark Tapscott
Editorial Page Editor
08/27/10 3:45 PM EDT
Washington Examiner

Senior executives, on-air personalities, producers, reporters, editors, writers and other self-identifying employees of ABC, CBS and NBC contributed more than $1 million to Democratic candidates and campaign committees in 2008, according to an analysis by The Examiner of data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.

The Democratic total of $1,020,816 was given by 1,160 employees of the three major broadcast television networks, with an average contribution of $880.

By contrast, only 193 of the employees contributed to Republican candidates and campaign committees, for a total of $142,863. The average Republican contribution was $744.

Disclosure of the heavily Democratic contributions by influential employees of the three major broadcast networks follows on the heels of controversy last week when it was learned that media baron Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. contributed $1 million to the Republican Governors Association.

The News Corp. donation prompted Nathan Daschle, executive director of the Democratic Governors Association and son of former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, to demand in a letter to Fox News chairman Roger Ailes that the cable news outlet include a disclaimer in its coverage of gubernatorial campaigns. Fox News is owned by News Corp., which also owns The Wall Street Journal.

The data on contributions by broadcast network employees was compiled by CRP at the request of The Examiner and included all 2008 contributions by individuals who identified their employer as one of the three networks or subsidiaries. The data does not include contributions by employees of the three networks who did not identify their employer.

The CRP is the organization behind OpenSecrets.org, the web site that for more than a decade has put campaign finance data within reach of anybody with an Internet connection.

President Obama received 710 such contributions worth a total of $461,898, for an average contribution of $651 from the network employees. Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain received only 39 contributions totaling $26,926, for an average donation of $709.

Ninety-six contributions by broadcast network employees to the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Senate and House campaign committees totaled $217,881.

Thirty-eight contributions by broadcast network employees to the Republican National Committee and the Republican Senate and House campaign committees totaled $23,805.

Among the individuals in the data are ABC News president Lloyd Braun, who contributed $1,000 to the Our Common Values PAC, which is associated with White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, and ABC Radio Networks president Jim Robinson, who gave $250 to GOP presidential candidate Fred Thompson.

Other individual givers found in the data include ABC reporters Sarah Amos, who gave $1,285 to Democratic presidential aspirant Bill Richardson, Clarisa Ward, who gave $500 to President Obama, and Kristina Wong, who gave $400 to the Democratic Party of Virginia.

Notable contributors found in the CBS data include "journalist" Seth Davis, who gave $2,750 to Obama, CBS Corporation vice president and editor-in-chief Jane Goldman, who contributed $250 to Obama, CBS Radio "host" Mike Omeara, who gave $1,471 to Obama, and "journalist" Beverly Williams, who donated $200 to Obama.

Among NBC contributors were Saturday Night Live producer Jeffrey Ross, who contributed $500 to Sen. Chris Dodd, D-CN, former NBC Today Show weatherman Willard Scott. who gave $500 to the Republican National Committee, NBC Universal CFO Jennifer Cabalquinto, whose donations to Obama totaled $1,200, and NBC Universal "editor" David Mack, with $250 to Obama and $2,300 McCain


Death in Mexico: The Numbers Keep on Climbing

This time, 14 murders in Acapulco.  The safe sanctuary for visitors - a murder haven.  The Mexican government helpless.

It seems the Mexican government only asserts powers and shows stength when dealing with US immigration issues.

The man investigating the massacre of 72 Mexicans attempting to sneak into the US murdered by the cartel - himself a victim.  He was found dead, along a roadway near where the 72 bodies were found.

The Cartels are winning.  Mexico is losing.  Mexicans are losing.  The people are helpless. 


Friday, August 27, 2010

Sell your Soul for Silver: The Corporate World Deserves Scorn

There are moments when I have no words for the foolishness of the corporate world.  In the interest of making money, they will sell their soul, and once they have no soul, all they will have is their wealth, which will be tied to the back of a political system that devastates the environment and controls human beings like cattle.  When the time comes that this government cuts the wealth strings, where will you run?  And don't say that by then you will control the economy of China, for the economy of China is controlled, not by outsiders, but by the PRC - almost exclusively.

They are in so many ways, much worse than traitors.

Banks back switch to renminbi for trade

By Robert Cookson in Hong Kong

Published: August 26 2010 17:55
Last updated: August 26 2010 17:55

A number of the world’s biggest banks have launched international roadshows promoting the use of the renminbi to corporate customers instead of the dollar for trade deals with China.

HSBC, which recently moved its chief executive from London to Hong Kong, and Standard Chartered, are offering discounted transaction fees and other financial incentives to companies that choose to settle trade in the Chinese currency.

“We’re now capable of doing renminbi settlement in many parts of the world,” said Chris Lewis, HSBC’s head of trade for greater China. “All the other major international banks are frantically trying to do the same thing.”

HSBC and StanChart are among a slew of global banks – including Citigroup and JPMorgan – holding roadshows across Asia, Europe and the US to promote the renminbi to companies.

The move aligns the banks favourably with Beijing’s policy priorities and positions them to profit from what is expected to be a rapidly growing line of business in the future.

The phenomenon will accelerate Beijing’s drive to transform the renminbi from a domestic currency into a global medium of exchange like the dollar and euro.

Chinese central bank officials accompanied StanChart bankers on a roadshow to Korea and Japan in June. The bank held similar events in London, Frankfurt and Paris.

Lisa Robins, JPMorgan’s head of treasury and securities services for China, said there had been a “spike in interest” from international clients.

An increasing number of Chinese companies have been asking foreign trading partners to accept renminbi as payment, said Carmen Ling, Hong Kong head of global transaction services at Citi.

BBVA, Spain’s second-biggest bank, is also drawing up plans for a global marketing campaign that will focus on Latin American companies that export to China.

Banks started establishing renminbi trade settlement operations in mid-2009, when Beijing introduced a pilot scheme allowing companies to use the renminbi for trade outside China.

The scramble has intensified in recent months as Beijing has substantially expanded the scheme – from a handful of Asian countries to the whole world – and introduced other liberalisations to its currency regime.

Cross-border trade in renminbi totalled Rmb70.6bn ($10bn) in the first half of the year – about 20 times the Rmb3.6bn recorded in the second half of 2009.

But those figures remain tiny compared to the $2,800bn worth of goods and services that were traded across China’s borders last year, most of which was settled in dollars or euros.

With renminbi trade settlement volumes expected to increase rapidly, banks are under pressure to establish a foothold in the nascent market and demonstrate to Chinese officials that they are committed to the scheme.

China has taken several steps in recent months to boost the international use of its currency and to establish Hong Kong, the special administrative region, as the global centre for offshore renminbi business.

McDonald’s, the US burger chain and icon of globalisation, took advantage of the new rules this month when it became the first foreign multinational to issue renminbi-denominated bonds in Hong Kong.


Death in Mexico: The Numbers are Staggering

Dear Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund,

For years you have worked to aid those who had no voice, who were rejected and oppressed by the system, who sought freedom and hope, and instead were faced with uncivil and unjust actions.

You are in large part response for the murder of these 72.

You will be held responsible for their deaths when you meet your Creator.

Those voiceless and rejected many you aided, you did so for your own benefit and to pepetuate a steady stream of clients who would flood into the US despite Mexican laws and US laws and international laws ... and as a result of your work, you contributed to the deaths of these 72 human beings.

The number of deaths each year is reaching upwards of about 200 - the number who die trying to enter the US illegally.

In one night, nearly half that number are murdered in Mexico.

All the paper, all the publicity, all the speeches and all the crying - at the very least 1/2 that should be devoted to those murdered who never even get to the starting line - yet the usual suspects are quiet.  Perhaps reserving their energy for those who die in the desert.  Easier to blame Americans than to look in the mirror.

In both cases, groups like the Mexican Defense League bear some responsibility for the needless deaths.

The country of Mexico is not controlled by a government, it is run by cartels.  Mexico could very well lose its legitimacy as a republic - the entire country is controlled by various factions, with the government controlling strips of land in between.

Wave your flags, but becareful - you have no idea what it is you are waving at.

Mexican Military Finds 72 Bodies Near Border

AUGUST 26, 2010
Wall Street Journal

MEXICO CITY—Gunmen from a drug cartel appear to have massacred 72 migrants from Central and South America who were on their way to the U.S., a grisly event that marks the single biggest killing in Mexico's war on organized crime.

Mexican marines discovered the 72 bodies—58 men and 14 women —on Tuesday after the lone survivor of the massacre, a wounded migrant from Ecuador, stumbled into a Navy checkpoint the previous day and told of being shot on Monday at a nearby ranch, Mexican officials said on Wednesday.

When the marines went to investigate, they were met with a hail of gunfire from cartel gunmen holed up at the ranch, which sits 90 miles from the U.S. border. One marine and three alleged gunmen died during a two-hour battle, which ended when the gunmen fled in a fleet of SUVs, leaving behind a cache of weapons.

The Ecuadorean migrant told investigators that his captors identified themselves as members of the Zetas drug gang, said Vice Adm. Jose Luis Vergara, a spokesman for the Mexican navy.

An Ecuadorean citizen escaped from a remote ranch in eastern Mexico and stumbled wounded to a highway checkpoint, where he alerted Mexican Navy marines. One marine was killed in a firefight after marines went to investigate the ranch.

"This illustrates that organized crime has no limits or moral qualms about what they are prepared to do," Alejandro Poire, head of the government's national-security council, told a news conference.

The incident highlights the extent to which Mexican drug gangs, which used to focus exclusively on ferrying narcotics such as cocaine to the U.S., have diversified into other lucrative criminal activities such as human smuggling and extortion.

At the going rate of $5,000 to $7,000 charged by smugglers to cross the U.S. border, the 72 people represented about $500,000 to the drug gang, said Alberto Islas, a Mexico City-based security consultant. The gang may have simply killed the migrants after they refused to give them more money than they had already given them, he said.

Mexican officials said they didn't know why the migrants—believed to be from El Salvador, Honduras, Ecuador and Brazil—were killed. Mexican newspapers, citing an unnamed federal official, speculated that the migrants were killed for either refusing to give the drug gang more money to cross the border, or for declining to join the gang's criminal activities as drug couriers, gunmen or prostitutes.

Nearly 23,000 people have died in drug-related violence since 2006, according to the government, with northern border states experiencing the worst of the violence.

A study by Mexico's National Human Rights Commission published last year found that 9,758 migrants from Central and South America had been kidnapped by presumed drug gangs between September, 2008 and February, 2009. The commission found that in many cases, government officials and police worked with criminal gangs in carrying out the abductions.

The commission said that the number of migrant kidnappings could be as high as 18,000 a year. It estimated the average ransom at $2,500—making the business worth an estimated $50 million a year..

Some 28,000 people have died in Mexico's war on organized crime since President Felipe Calderón took power in December 2006 and declared an all-out battle against powerful drug-trafficking gangs that were gaining immense power and challenging the Mexican state.

The death toll is rising fast, including more frequent discoveries of mass graves. In May, authorities discovered 55 bodies in an abandoned mine near Taxco, a colonial-era city south of Mexico City known for its silver. Last month, another 51 bodies were found near a trash dump outside the northern city of Monterrey.

Both of those mass graves were sites where drug gangs disposed of rivals killed during a period of weeks or months. This latest incident could be the single biggest instance of bloodshed from a Mexican cartel to date, experts said.

Tamaulipas has become one of Mexico's bloodiest states since the dominant local cartel, the Gulf cartel, split with its former enforcers, the Zetas. Mexican officials say that they believe the Zetas, initially formed by Mexican army forces who defected to the other side, are responsible both for the June assassination of a leading gubernatorial candidate in Tamaulipas and the recent killing of a local mayor in neighboring Nuevo Leon state.

The Zetas thrive on the publicity from their killings, said George Grayson, a Mexico expert at the College of William and Mary. "This kind of thing helps them burnish their image as the meanest, most sadistic, cruelest organization—not only in Mexico but in the whole of the Americas. That helps them raise money from targets of extortion, who are terrified of them," he said.

Despite the dangers faced by migrants, desperate people from poor countries will continue to try to cross into the U.S., providing more opportunities for exploitation by gangs such as the Zetas, according to Williams Murillo, Ecuador's former minister for migrant affairs.

Mr. Murillo, who now gives legal advice to Ecuadorean migrants, said he recently came across an Ecuadorean woman who crossed into Mexico with her young child. The child was taken by the Zetas who are now demanding a ransom, according to Mr. Murillo.

"Sadly, stories like this don't stop people from risking their lives to try to get to the U.S. They just don't see enough opportunity here in Ecuador," Mr. Murillo said.

At least four of the bodies discovered were those of Brazilians, according to a spokeswoman at Brazil's foreign ministry in Brasilia.

Brazilian consular officials in Mexico, she said, would soon travel to the site where the bodies were found to help try to identify the victims and determine whether any more of the bodies were those of Brazilians.

- picture taken from Stratfor.com


Solar Flares in 2012 will Create Massive Disruptions

Massive solar storm to hit Earth in 2012 with 'force of 100m bombs'

Thu, Aug 26 12:50 PM

Melbourne, Aug 26 (ANI): Astronomers are predicting that a massive solar storm, much bigger in potential than the one that caused spectacular light shows on Earth earlier this month, is to strike our planet in 2012 with a force of 100 million hydrogen bombs.

Several US media outlets have reported that NASA was warning the massive flare this month was just a precursor to a massive solar storm building that had the potential to wipe out the entire planet's power grid.

Despite its rebuttal, NASA's been watching out for this storm since 2006 and reports from the US this week claim the storms could hit on that most Hollywood of disaster dates - 2012.

Similar storms back in 1859 and 1921 caused worldwide chaos, wiping out telegraph wires on a massive scale. The 2012 storm has the potential to be even more disruptive.

"The general consensus among general astronomers (and certainly solar astronomers) is that this coming Solar maximum (2012 but possibly later into 2013) will be the most violent in 100 years," News.com.au quoted astronomy lecturer and columnist Dave Reneke as saying.

"A bold statement and one taken seriously by those it will affect most, namely airline companies, communications companies and anyone working with modern GPS systems.

"They can even trip circuit breakers and knock out orbiting satellites, as has already been done this year," added Reneke.

No one really knows what effect the 2012-2013 Solar Max will have on today's digital-reliant society.

Dr Richard Fisher, director of NASA's Heliophysics division, told Reneke the super storm would hit like "a bolt of lightning", causing catastrophic consequences for the world's health, emergency services and national security unless precautions are taken.

NASA said that a recent report by the National Academy of Sciences found that if a similar storm occurred today, it could cause "1 to 2 trillion dollars in damages to society's high-tech infrastructure and require four to 10 years for complete recovery".

The reason for the concern comes as the sun enters a phase known as Solar Cycle 24.

Most experts agree, although those who put the date of Solar Max in 2012 are getting the most press.

They claim satellites will be aged by 50 years, rendering GPS even more useless than ever, and the blast will have the equivalent energy of 100 million hydrogen bombs.

"We know it is coming but we don't know how bad it is going to be," Fisher told Reneke.

"Systems will just not work. The flares change the magnetic field on the Earth and it's rapid, just like a lightning bolt. That's the solar effect," he added.

The findings are published in the most recent issue of Australasian Science. (ANI)


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Of illegal immigration, laws, and lawsuits

There are so many problems with this story and I would like to highlight a few.

16 illegals sue Arizona rancher

By Jerry Seper
Washington Times
Monday, February 9, 2009

An Arizona man who has waged a 10-year campaign to stop a flood of illegal immigrants from crossing his property is being sued by 16 Mexican nationals who accuse him of conspiring to violate their civil rights when he stopped them at gunpoint on his ranch on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Roger Barnett, 64, began rounding up illegal immigrants in 1998 and turning them over to the U.S. Border Patrol, he said, after they destroyed his property, killed his calves and broke into his home.

His Cross Rail Ranch near Douglas, Ariz., is known by federal and county law enforcement authorities as "the avenue of choice" for immigrants seeking to enter the United States illegally.

Trial continues Monday in the federal lawsuit, which seeks $32 million in actual and punitive damages for civil rights violations, the infliction of emotional distress and other crimes. Also named are Mr. Barnett's wife, Barbara, his brother, Donald, and Larry Dever, sheriff in Cochise County, Ariz., where the Barnetts live. The civil trial is expected to continue until Friday.

The lawsuit is based on a March 7, 2004, incident in a dry wash on the 22,000-acre ranch, when he approached a group of illegal immigrants while carrying a gun and accompanied by a large dog.

Attorneys for the immigrants - five women and 11 men who were trying to cross illegally into the United States - have accused Mr. Barnett of holding the group captive at gunpoint, threatening to turn his dog loose on them and saying he would shoot anyone who tried to escape.

The immigrants are represented at trial by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), which also charged that Sheriff Dever did nothing to prevent Mr. Barnett from holding their clients at "gunpoint, yelling obscenities at them and kicking one of the women."

In the lawsuit, MALDEF said Mr. Barnett approached the group as the immigrants moved through his property, and that he was carrying a pistol and threatening them in English and Spanish. At one point, it said, Mr. Barnett's dog barked at several of the women and he yelled at them in Spanish, "My dog is hungry and he's hungry for buttocks."

The lawsuit said he then called his wife and two Border Patrol agents arrived at the site. It also said Mr. Barnett acknowledged that he had turned over 12,000 illegal immigrants to the Border Patrol since 1998.

In March, U.S. District Judge John Roll rejected a motion by Mr. Barnett to have the charges dropped, ruling there was sufficient evidence to allow the matter to be presented to a jury. Mr. Barnett's attorney, David Hardy, had argued that illegal immigrants did not have the same rights as U.S. citizens.

Mr. Barnett told The Washington Times in a 2002 interview that he began rounding up illegal immigrants after they started to vandalize his property, northeast of Douglas along Arizona Highway 80. He said the immigrants tore up water pumps, killed calves, destroyed fences and gates, stole trucks and broke into his home.

[Destruction of property - something the Founding Fathers Frowned Upon More than Almost Anything Else - for it is nothing less than theft, stealing someone elses property when it is destroyed.  Stealing trucks - in the 19th century you would be hung for stealing a horse or taking someones property.  If you snuck into Barnett's home at night and he shot you, he would be justified under all the laws of the US (at present).  Yet thousands of illegals, who are violating federal laws, state laws, county laws - they get to do these deeds without fear of punishment, for if they are found, they are deported, not tried for the destruction of property.]

Some of his cattle died from ingesting the plastic bottles left behind by the immigrants, he said, adding that he installed a faucet on an 8,000-gallon water tank so the immigrants would stop damaging the tank to get water.

Mr. Barnett said some of the ranch´s established immigrant trails were littered with trash 10 inches deep, including human waste, used toilet paper, soiled diapers, cigarette packs, clothes, backpacks, empty 1-gallon water bottles, chewing-gum wrappers and aluminum foil - which supposedly is used to pack the drugs the immigrant smugglers give their "clients" to keep them running.

He said he carried a pistol during his searches for the immigrants and had a rifle in his truck "for protection" against immigrant and drug smugglers, who often are armed.

A former Cochise County sheriff´s deputy who later was successful in the towing and propane business, Mr. Barnett spent $30,000 on electronic sensors, which he has hidden along established trails on his ranch. He searches the ranch for illegal immigrants in a pickup truck, dressed in a green shirt and camouflage hat, with his handgun and rifle, high-powered binoculars and a walkie-talkie.

His sprawling ranch became an illegal-immigration highway when the Border Patrol diverted its attention to several border towns in an effort to take control of the established ports of entry. That effort moved the illegal immigrants to the remote areas of the border, including the Cross Rail Ranch.

"This is my land. I´m the victim here," Mr. Barnett said. "When someone´s home and loved ones are in jeopardy and the government seemingly can´t do anything about it, I feel justified in taking matters into my own hands. And I always watch my back."

[From this article, and it is only this article I can go by - he saw a group of 16 individuals who had just broken federal, state, and county laws - he stopped them, showed them a badge of some sort, which they didn't understand because they didn't understand English, brandished a shotgun/rifle and a handgun, he told them his dog was hungry for buttocks (in English and Spanish) which they understood and feared he would unleash the dog, cowering on the ground in fear, and he kicked a woman, and held them at gunpoint so they could not run away into the US (which would, I would think be a violation of federal, state, and county law if he did) by threatening to shoot them if they fled.

They went on his property in violation of county and state laws, violated federal law by entering the US illegally, violated several county laws during the crossing of the property, threatened the safety of Barnett and his family by their continued crossing, threatened the well-being of his business with their continued crossing, fully aware that Mexican drug cartels aided illegals in crossing, and occasionally used armed coyotes or armed soldiers to get them across the border, aware that many stories have circulated, some taken seriously by the Department of Homeland Security of males of Middle Eastern background crossing into the US from Mexico, with the 2001 attack on the US always on his mind, never sure who may be part of the group he stops on any given day - he did what he did.]

So, what was the conclusion of this case ....

Mixed verdict for Roger Barnett Trial

Immigration Clearinghouse

The website owners have the following to say about who and what they are:
Immigration Clearinghouse is a Pro-Reform Action Group working for logical immigration reform and pushing back and countering the hateful rhetoric of the radical right

Roger Barnett of Arizona, the border vigilante, must pay $78,000 to four immigrants after holding them at gunpoint, a jury found, but he was cleared of violating their civil rights.

This is about right coming from a state where a small majority of the population, think they speak for the majority, and any crime against a hispanic is viewed as perfectly acceptable by juries in this State.

[The article was written by someone who, unlikely an American, doesn't write well at all, nor do they think logically - which is a problem given their mission statement.  

A small majority of the population think they speak for the majority - is a confusing statement, but a better way to express this is, a MAJORITY of the state does not support illegal Mexicans or anyone illegal crossing into Arizona nor does the MAJORITY support the federal government on legalizing the illegals.  You cannot count all the illegals in Arizona as a component of the population when considering electoral issues.  If you have 2 million illegals in Arizona and 3 million legals, of which 40% of the 3 million are Mexican by birth or heritage and 80% of those side with the 2 million, which would take the number to at least 800,000 plus 2 million = A MAJORITY.  Except this majority does not get to dictate to the LEGAL majority what the laws should be nor what should be allowed.  You do not get to overwhelm a population by sheer number and then claim a majority.  That is not how this country has worked, NOR is it how Mexico has ever worked (not that Mexico works but)].

This is one example. Roger Barnett has a long history of confronting trespassers on his ranch property in Southern Arizona, something he is perfectly within his rights to do.

However, those rights do not include kicking defenseless women cowering on the ground in front of him while being forced to listen to the tirade of racist filth spewing from his lips.

[No, no law permits kicking women.  The law however does not prohibit anyone from saying anything to anyone else - so he can sit there all day and spew out hateful slogans and the law does not have any say in whether it is legal or not.  You were not paying attention to the decision.  You were paying attention to the defense argument, but that again is irrelevant once the decision is reach and then what is important is not all the exaggerated claims, but how they reached the decision.  Given that they had consorted with coyotes, paid upwards of $7,000 US to cross into the US illegally, crossed a hot and desolate land where they could easily have died with their diapers on - a man cussing at them doesn't seem so serious.  When you look at everything objectively.]

Nor do he have the right to threaten to turn lose trained attack surs on those he apprehends.

[No, the law does not give you the right to threaten that either.  Bad, and he should be punished for that.  Scaring people.  Versus violations of county, state, and federal laws going UNPUNISHED.]

Arizona law does not give him the rights to flash a phony badge at those detained, a badge that looks suspiciously like an official Arizona law enforcement badge, especially at those who are ignorant of it’s value.

[Again, true - if he implied or otherwise held himself out to be a law enforcement officer, he should be held for this and be punished to the fullest extent possible - a criminal offense, not civil.  However, if these 16 people are ignorant of the badge and its value, and they didn't know what it looked like, yet they saw it close enough to notice it looked like an Arizona law enforcement badge ... you just have to say this really smells.  if you saw a badge from a distance of 15-20 feet, could you identify it - a large dog foaming at the mouth, tired, a gun pointed at you by a man cussing and kicking women, you would take the time to notice in that brief moment some indication it was an Arizona badge - and  yet you had no problem breaking the laws of the US and Arizona. There are 16 of you and 1 of him and he should not have pointed his weapon at you, nor should he have brought his large dog with him.  YOU just paid a coyote upwards of $7000 to cross, a coyote who works for a drug cartel that has kidnapped thousands of illegals each year, murdered hundreds more, crossed a desert and beat the elements of nature and you are afraid of a dog.  You should not be too surprised I simply do not believe you.]
In interviews after the verdict, Barnett claims he was merely “discussing calmly” the breach of the law by those caught trespassing, and seeing a woman who appeared non responsive, he touched her with his toe.

However, testimony in Court suggested, Barnett kicked this woman hard enough to break a religious figurine she had in her rucksack.

[He was informing the 16 individuals who had violated County, State, and Federal laws what they had done and what he was about to do, when one of the women, unable to understand him speaking English found something else to stare at (other than the terrifying dog they were all fearful of - I know when I see a terrifying dog I turn my back to it), he kicked her, not like you'd kick a door in, but probably like you'd boot or kick or push a rock over to see what was under it.  As for that broken figurine of the Holy Mother, she paid a coyote $7000, traversed land controlled by a drug cartel that randomly murders people, crossed a desert through gullies, ditches, hills ... and in that process she broke her figurine.  But hey, why not blame Barnett.]

Barnett claims he “holstered his weapon” upon seeing the group was unarmed. Again, testimony suggested that contrary to this, Barnett continued to wave his weapons, pointing them randomly at the group while calmly ranting about “Fucking Mexicans” and “how he was going to sic his dogs on their ass if they moved”.

[His dogs?  or his dog.  We have already been told he had a handgun and a rifle/shotgun.  He would not - a reasonable person would  not, keep a handgun and a rifle in each hand - it simply does not work well.  Perhaps in Mexico they do this when they are executing large numbers of people so hey can shoot the ones who are running away, but typically this doesn't work well.  He noticed they were unarmed, and shouldered his rifle while holding the handgun.  As for waving it about ... if your safety is on and your finger is not on the trigger - waving it or painting with it wouldn't make much difference.]

Sheriff’s deputies confirmed the latter version of events.

So once again, in Arizona, crimes against Hispanics flourish and rights are routinely violated under color of law.

[And once again Mexicans routinly violate state and federal laws placing private homeowners in jeopardy for their lives.]

We all remember the case of Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Corbett who murdered in cold blood, a migrant who was on his knees before the agent surrendering, when Corbett shot him in the side, killing him instantly, in front of three witnesses.

Despite eyewitness testimony, forensic and ballistic evidence proving the prosecutions case, Corbett walked not once, but twice, due to mistrials. The result of Arizona jurors not doing their sworn duty, as was the case in this trial.

[The problems began with the Mexicans paying a drug cartel thousands of dollars.  Fortunately they were not slaughtered as was the case for 72 illegals who were discovered in a mass grave - killed by a coyotes or the drug cartel or one and the same.]

I would suggest your indignation be focused where it should be or you forfeit teh right to be indignant and become an accomplice to the murder ot the 72 and so many more.]

Morgan Stanley Says Government Defaults Inevitable

By Matthew Brown
Aug 25, 2010

Investors face defaults on government bonds given the burden of aging populations and the difficulty of increasing tax revenue, according to a Morgan Stanley executive director.

“Governments will impose a loss on some of their stakeholders,” Arnaud Mares in the firm’s London office wrote in a research report today. “The question is not whether they will renege on their promises, but rather upon which of their promises they will renege, and what form this default will take.” The sovereign-debt crisis is global “and it is not over,” he wrote.

Rather than miss principal and interest payments, governments may choose a “soft” default in which they pay back debts with devalued currencies resulting from faster inflation or force creditors to take lower returns, Mares said in an interview.

Borrowing costs for so-called peripheral euro-region nations from Greece to Ireland surged today, resuming their ascent on concern that governments won’t be able to cut their budget deficits. Standard & Poor’s lowered Ireland’s credit rating yesterday on the rising cost of supporting nationalized banks.

Population trends may be a better predictor of the ability to meet obligations rather than debt as a percentage of gross domestic product, which doesn’t reflect governments’ available revenue and is “backward-looking,” Mares wrote.

While the U.S. government’s debt is 53 percent of GDP, one of the lowest ratios among developed nations, its debt as a percentage of revenue is 358 percent, one of the highest, the report said. Italy has one of the highest debt-to-GDP ratios, at 116 percent, yet has a debt-to-revenue ratio of 188, Mares said.

Double Dip

“Outright sovereign default in large advanced economies remains an extremely unlikely outcome, in our view,” the report said. “But current yields and break-even inflation rates provide very little protection against the credible threat of financial oppression in any form it might take.”

Mares, who didn’t identify which nations may default, once worked at the U.K.’s Debt Management Office and is a former senior vice-president at credit-rating company Moody’s Investors Service.

“Note that a double-dip recession would not invalidate this conclusion,” Mares’ report said. “It would cause yet further damage to the governments’ power to tax, pushing them further in negative equity and therefore increasing the risks that debt holders suffer a larger loss eventually.”

Investor concern that the U.S. may fall back into recession has grown in recent weeks as data missed economists’ estimates. A Citigroup Inc. index of U.S. economic data surprises fell to minus 59 last week, the least since January 2009.

Credit-Default Swaps

A report from the Commerce Department today showed U.S. durable goods orders increased 0.3 percent, compared with the 3 percent median estimate of 75 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News, figures showed today in Washington. The number of unemployment claims unexpectedly shot up by 12,000 to 500,000 in the week ended Aug 14, Labor Department figures showed Aug. 19.

Yields on German and U.S. benchmark securities sank today as investors sought the safest assets. U.S. two-year Treasury yields, at a four-month high 1.18 percent on April 5, fell to a record low 0.4542 percent yesterday.

Greek Debt Yields

The yield on Greek debt rose to more than 900 basis points above that of Germany today, the most since the European Union and International Monetary Fund created a 750 billion-euro ($948 billion) bailout package in May. Greece’s so-called yield spread over German debt was at 932 basis points as of 2:18 p.m. in London, short of the 973 basis-point record set on May 7. The Irish-German yield spread rose to a record 347 basis points, from 318 points yesterday.

Credit-default swaps that insure Irish government bonds against non-payment for five years rose 21 basis points to 331 today, the most since March 2009, according to data provider CMA. Greek swaps jumped to 921.5, the most since June, from 896.

“The conflict that opposes bondholders to other government stakeholders is more intense than ever, and their interests are no longer sufficiently well-aligned with those of influential political constituencies,” such as elderly voters and their claims on pensions and health insurance, Mares wrote.


The Government can .... do anything it wants.

Some times I wonder.  Liberals have always made it clear, unlike the foolish right, what Bush was doing to our civil liberties and to us ... unlike the left who were passionately opposed to such infringements. 

I can only imagine what it would have been like if Bush was still in charge, given how quickly the left is erasing all our civil liberties (not erased by Bush).

The Government's New Right to Track Your Every Move With GPS

August 25, 2010

Government agents can sneak onto your property in the middle of the night, put a GPS device on the bottom of your car and keep track of everywhere you go. This doesn't violate your Fourth Amendment rights, because you do not have any reasonable expectation of privacy in your own driveway - and no reasonable expectation that the government isn't tracking your movements.

That is the bizarre - and scary - rule that now applies in California and eight other Western states. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which covers this vast jurisdiction, recently decided the government can monitor you in this way virtually anytime it wants - with no need for a search warrant. (Read about one man's efforts to escape the surveillance state.)

It is a dangerous decision - one that, as the dissenting judges warned, could turn America into the sort of totalitarian state imagined by George Orwell. It is particularly offensive because the judges added insult to injury with some shocking class bias: the little personal privacy that still exists, the court suggested, should belong mainly to the rich.

This case began in 2007, when Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents decided to monitor Juan Pineda-Moreno, an Oregon resident who they suspected was growing marijuana. They snuck onto his property in the middle of the night and found his Jeep in his driveway, a few feet from his trailer home. Then they attached a GPS tracking device to the vehicle's underside.

After Pineda-Moreno challenged the DEA's actions, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit ruled in January that it was all perfectly legal. More disturbingly, a larger group of judges on the circuit, who were subsequently asked to reconsider the ruling, decided this month to let it stand. (Pineda-Moreno has pleaded guilty conditionally to conspiracy to manufacture marijuana and manufacturing marijuana while appealing the denial of his motion to suppress evidence obtained with the help of GPS.)

In fact, the government violated Pineda-Moreno's privacy rights in two different ways. For starters, the invasion of his driveway was wrong. The courts have long held that people have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their homes and in the "curtilage," a fancy legal term for the area around the home. The government's intrusion on property just a few feet away was clearly in this zone of privacy.

The judges veered into offensiveness when they explained why Pineda-Moreno's driveway was not private. It was open to strangers, they said, such as delivery people and neighborhood children, who could wander across it uninvited. (See the misadventures of the CIA.)

Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, who dissented from this month's decision refusing to reconsider the case, pointed out whose homes are not open to strangers: rich people's. The court's ruling, he said, means that people who protect their homes with electric gates, fences and security booths have a large protected zone of privacy around their homes. People who cannot afford such barriers have to put up with the government sneaking around at night.

Judge Kozinski is a leading conservative, appointed by President Ronald Reagan, but in his dissent he came across as a raging liberal. "There's been much talk about diversity on the bench, but there's one kind of diversity that doesn't exist," he wrote. "No truly poor people are appointed as federal judges, or as state judges for that matter." The judges in the majority, he charged, were guilty of "cultural elitism."

The court went on to make a second terrible decision about privacy: that once a GPS device has been planted, the government is free to use it to track people without getting a warrant. There is a major battle under way in the federal and state courts over this issue, and the stakes are high. After all, if government agents can track people with secretly planted GPS devices virtually anytime they want, without having to go to a court for a warrant, we are one step closer to a classic police state - with technology taking on the role of the KGB or the East German Stasi.

Fortunately, other courts are coming to a different conclusion from the Ninth Circuit's - including the influential U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. That court ruled, also this month, that tracking for an extended period of time with GPS is an invasion of privacy that requires a warrant. The issue is likely to end up in the Supreme Court.

In these highly partisan times, GPS monitoring is a subject that has both conservatives and liberals worried. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit's pro-privacy ruling was unanimous - decided by judges appointed by Presidents Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

Plenty of liberals have objected to this kind of spying, but it is the conservative Chief Judge Kozinski who has done so most passionately. "1984 may have come a bit later than predicted, but it's here at last," he lamented in his dissent. And invoking Orwell's totalitarian dystopia where privacy is essentially nonexistent, he warned: "Some day, soon, we may wake up and find we're living in Oceania."

game up

Make Mine Freedom - 1948

American Form of Government

Who's on First? Certainly isn't the Euro.