Monday, January 31, 2011


While this STRATFOR report is somewhat long, it does give us some excellent information that we are not getting from our media and government.


STRAFOR Global Intelligence
January 29, 2011

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak remains the lifeblood of the demonstrators, who still number in the tens of thousands in downtown Cairo and in other major cities, albeit on a lesser scale. After being overwhelmed in the Jan. 28 Day of Rage protests, Egypt’s internal security forces — with the anti-riot paramilitaries of the Central Security Forces (CSF) at the forefront — were glaringly absent from the streets Jan. 29. They were replaced with rows of tanks and armored personnel carriers carrying regular army soldiers. Unlike their CSF counterparts, the demonstrators demanding Mubarak’s exit from the political scene largely welcomed the soldiers. Despite Mubarak’s refusal to step down Jan. 28, the public’s positive perception of the military, seen as the only real gateway to a post-Mubarak Egypt, remained. It is unclear how long this perception will hold, especially as Egyptians are growing frustrated with the rising level of insecurity in the country and the army’s limits in patrolling the streets.

There is more to these demonstrations than meets the eye. The media will focus on the concept of reformers staging a revolution in the name of democracy and human rights. These may well have brought numerous demonstrators into the streets, but revolutions, including this one, are made up of many more actors than the liberal voices on Facebook and Twitter.

After three decades of Mubarak rule, a window of opportunity has opened for various political forces — from the moderate to the extreme — that preferred to keep the spotlight on the liberal face of the demonstrations while they maneuver from behind. As the Iranian Revolution of 1979 taught, the ideology and composition of protesters can wind up having very little to do with the political forces that end up in power. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood (MB) understands well the concerns the United States, Israel and others share over a political vacuum in Cairo being filled by Islamists. The MB so far is proceeding cautiously, taking care to help sustain the demonstrations by relying on the MB’s well-established social services to provide food and aid to the protesters. It simultaneously is calling for elections that would politically enable the MB. With Egypt in a state of crisis and the armed forces stepping in to manage that crisis, however, elections are nowhere near assured. What is now in question is what groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and others are considering should they fear that their historic opportunity could be slipping.

One thing that has become clear in the past several hours is a trend that STRATFOR has been following for some time in Egypt, namely, the military’s growing clout in the political affairs of the state. Former air force chief and outgoing civil aviation minister Ahmed Shafiq, who worked under Mubarak’s command in the air force (the most privileged military branch in Egypt), has been appointed prime minister and tasked with forming the new government. Outgoing Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman, who has long stood by Mubarak, is now vice president, a spot that has been vacant for the past 30 years. Meanwhile, Defense Minister Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi (who oversees the Republican Guard) and Egypt’s chief of staff of the armed forces, Lt. Gen. Sami Annan — who returned to Cairo Jan. 29 after a week of intense discussions with senior U.S. officials — are likely managing the political process behind the scenes. More political shuffles are expected, and the military appears willing for now to give Mubarak the time to arrange his political exit. Until Mubarak finally does leave, the unrest in the streets is unlikely to subside, raising the question of just how much more delay from Mubarak the armed forces will tolerate.

The important thing to remember is that the Egyptian military, since the founding of the modern republic in 1952, has been the guarantor of regime stability. Over the past several decades, the military has allowed former military commanders to form civilian institutions to take the lead in matters of political governance but never has relinquished its rights to the state.

Now that the political structure of the state is crumbling, the army must directly shoulder the responsibility of security and contain the unrest on the streets. This will not be easy, especially given the historical animosity between the military and the police in Egypt. For now, the demonstrators view the military as an ally, and therefore (whether consciously or not) are facilitating a de facto military takeover of the state. But one misfire in the demonstrations, and a bloodbath in the streets could quickly foil the military’s plans and give way to a scenario that groups like the MB quickly could exploit. Here again, we question the military’s tolerance for Mubarak as long as he is the source fueling the demonstrations.

Considerable strain is building on the only force within the country that stands between order and chaos as radical forces rise. The standing theory is that the military, as the guarantor of the state, will manage the current crisis. But the military is not a monolithic entity. It cannot shake its history, and thus cannot dismiss the threat of a colonel’s coup in this shaky transition.

The current regime is a continuation of the political order, which was established when midranking officers and commanders under the leadership of Gamal Abdel Nasser, a mere colonel in the armed forces, overthrew the British-backed monarchy in 1952. Islamist sympathizers in the junior ranks of the military assassinated his successor, Anwar Sadat, in 1981, an event that led to Mubarak’s presidency.

The history of the modern Egyptian republic haunts Egypt’s generals today. Though long suppressed, an Islamist strand exists amongst the junior ranks of Egypt’s modern military. The Egyptian military is, after all, a subset of the wider society, where there is a significant cross- section that is religiously conservative and/or Islamist. These elements are not politically active, otherwise those at the top would have purged them.

But there remains a deep-seated fear among the military elite that the historic opening could well include a cabal of colonels looking to address a long-subdued grievance against the state, particularly its foreign policy vis-à-vis the United States and Israel. The midranking officers have the benefit of having the most direct interaction — and thus the strongest links — with their military subordinates, unlike the generals who command and observe from a politically dangerous distance. With enough support behind them, midranking officers could see their superiors as one and the same as Mubarak and his regime, and could use the current state of turmoil to steer Egypt’s future.

Signs of such a coup scenario have not yet surfaced. The army is still a disciplined institution with chain of command, and many likely fear the utter chaos that would ensue should the military establishment rupture. Still, those trying to manage the crisis from the top cannot forget that they are presiding over a country with a strong precedent of junior officers leading successful coups. That precedent becomes all the more worrying when the regime itself is in a state of collapse following three decades of iron-fisted rule.

The United States, Israel and others will thus be doing what they can behind the scenes to shape the new order in Cairo, but they face limitations in trying to preserve a regional stability that has existed since 1978. The fate of Egypt lies in the ability of the military to not only manage the streets and the politicians, but also itself.


Sunday’s ‘This Week With Christiane Amanpour’ on ABC-TV was broadcast from Egypt and, of course, dealt with the protests against the Mubarak government. One of Amanpour’s guests was Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter’s national security advisor.

During the interview, Brzezinski mentioned that there were three great nations in the Middle East. He named Egypt, Iran and Turkey.

It comes as not surprise that Brzezinski did not include Israel as a great nation. He has always hated Israel and tries to undermine the Jewish state whenever he can. Last September, Brzezinski even recommended that the U.S. military shoot down Israeli jets if they headed to Iran to bomb their nuclear reactors.

Brzezinski spent his first ten years growing up in Poland, long a hotbed of virulent anti-Semitism. Many Poles eagerly helped the Nazis find and round up Jews for shipment to extermination camps, ALL of which were built in Poland. I suspect that his hatred of Israel likely stems from an exposure to Polish anti-Semitism during his formative years.

Brzezinski was one of Obama’s leading foreign policy advisors during the 2008 presidential election campaign. His omission of Israel from the list of great nations in the Middle East was no oversight. As far as Brzezinski is concerned, Israel should not exist.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Be careful what you wish for in the Muslim world! Just look at Iran, Gaza and Lebanon.

Jimmy Carter promoted democracy for the Iranians and the Ayatollahs took over. George W. Bush promoted democracy for the Palestinians and Hamas won the election, then took control of Gaza. All our presidents promoted democracy for the Lebanese and Hezbollah has just taken over their government. Now Obama and Hillary are promoting democracy for the Egyptians. Who is going to end up governing Egypt?


STRATFOR Global Intelligence
January 29, 2011

The following is a report from a STRATFOR source in Hamas. Hamas, which formed in Gaza as an outgrowth of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood (MB), has an interest in exaggerating its role and coordination with the MB in this crisis. The following information has not been confirmed. Nonetheless, there is a great deal of concern building in Israel and the United States in particular over the role of the MB in the demonstrations and whether a political opening will be made for the Islamist organization in Egypt.

The Egyptian police are no longer patrolling the Rafah border crossing into Gaza. Hamas armed men are entering into Egypt and are closely collaborating with the MB. The MB has fully engaged itself in the demonstrations, and they are unsatisfied with the dismissal of the Cabinet. They are insisting on a new Cabinet that does not include members of the ruling National Democratic Party.

Security forces in plainclothes are engaged in destroying public property in order to give the impression that many protesters represent a public menace. The MB is meanwhile forming people’s committees to protect public property and also to coordinate demonstrators’ activities, including supplying them with food, beverages and first aid.


Egypt’s former air force chief and minister for civil aviation, Ahmed Shafiq, has been designated the new prime minister by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and tasked to form the next Cabinet, Al Jazeera reported Jan. 29. The announcement comes shortly after Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman was appointed vice president, a position that has been vacant for the past 30 years.

Mubarak is essentially accelerating a succession plan that has been in the works for some time. STRATFOR noted in December 2010 that a conflict was building between the president on one side and the old guard in the army and the ruling party on the other over Mubarak’s attempt to create a path for his son Gamal to eventually succeed him. The interim plan Mubarak had proposed was for Suleiman to become vice president, succeed Mubarak and then pass the reins to Gamal after some time. The stalwart members of the old guard, however, refused this plan. Though they approved of Suleiman, they knew his tenure would be short-lived given his advanced age. Instead, they demanded that Shafiq, who comes from the air force — the most privileged branch of the military from which Mubarak himself also came — be designated the successor. Shafiq is close to Mubarak and worked under his command in the air force. Shafiq also has the benefit of having held a civilian role as minister of civil aviation since 2002, making him more palatable to the public.

Mubarak may be nominally dissolving the Cabinet, ordering an army curfew and now asking Shafiq to form the next government, but the embattled president is not the one in charge. Instead, the military appears to be managing Mubarak’s exit, taking care not to engage in a confrontation with the demonstrators while the political details are being sorted out.


Now if Congress would only pass a similar bill for the President of the United States, then maybe we would not get those eleventh-hour pardons for the likes of fugitive Mark Rich who evaded more than $48 million in taxes and was charged with 51 counts of tax fraud, a pardon granted because Denise Rich, his socialite ex-wife, had donated an estimated $1 million to Democratic causes, including $70,000 to Hillary Clinton's successful Senate campaign and $450,000 to the Clinton presidential library fund.

From the January 28 issue of LAPPL NewsWatch:

A Southern California lawmaker proposed legislation this week to prohibit any California governor from pardoning an offender or commuting a prison sentence in the final 30 days of the officeholder's term. The measure comes three weeks after outgoing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger used executive power on his final day in office to reduce the sentence of Esteban Núñez, son of former Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez, from 16 to seven years in prison.


Thanks to Cecil Arnold for forwarding this poem. I can’t credit the poet because I have no idea who he is.


The sun was hot already - it was only 8 o'clock
The cocky took off in his Ute, to go and check his stock.
He drove around the paddocks checking wethers, ewes and lambs,
The float valves in the water troughs, the windmills on the dams

He stopped and turned a windmill on to fill a water tank
And saw a ewe down in the dam, a few yards from the bank.
"Typical bloody sheep," he thought, "they've got no common sense,
"They won't go through a gateway but they'll jump a bloody fence."

The ewe was stuck down in the mud, he knew without a doubt
She'd stay there 'til she carked it if he didn't get her out.
But when he reached the water's edge, the startled ewe broke free
And in her haste to get away, began a swimming spree.
He reckoned once her fleece was wet, the weight would drag her down
If he didn't rescue her, the stupid sod would drown.
Her style was unimpressive, her survival chances slim
He saw no other option, he would have to take a swim.

He peeled his shirt and singlet off, his trousers, boots and socks
And as he couldn't stand wet clothes, he also shed his jocks.
He jumped into the water and away that cocky swam
He caught up with her, somewhere near the middle of the dam

The ewe was quite evasive, she kept giving him the slip
He tried to grab her sodden fleece but couldn't get a grip.
At last he got her to the bank and stopped to catch his breath
She showed him little gratitude for saving her from death.

She took off like a Bondi tram around the other side
He swore next time he caught that ewe he'd hang her bloody hide.
Then round and round the dam they ran, although he felt quite puffed
He still thought he could run her down, she must be nearly stuffed.

The local stock rep came along, to pay a call that day.
He knew this bloke was on his own, his wife had gone away,
He didn't really think he'd get fresh scones for morning tea
But neither was he ready for what he was soon to see.

He rubbed his eyes in disbelief at what came into view
For running down the catchment came this frantic-looking ewe.
And on her heels in hot pursuit and wearing not a stitch
The farmer yelling wildly "Come back here, you lousy bitch!"

The stock rep didn't hang around, he took off in his car
The cocky's reputation has been damaged near and far
So bear in mind the Work Safe rule when next you check your flocks
Spot the hazard, assess the risk, and always wear your jocks!


The other day, a man went to a Dentist's office to have a tooth pulled.

The Dentist takes out a syringe and needle to administer an anesthetic.

"No way! No needles! I hate needles," the man said.

The Dentist starts to hook up the laughing gas and the man immediately objected.

"I can't do the gas thing either; the thought of having the gas mask on is suffocating me!”

The Dentist then asks the man if he has any objection to taking a pill.

"No objection," the man said. "I'm fine with pills."

The Dentist then returns and says, "Here, take this Viagra tablet."

The man, almost at a loss for words, said in amazement, "WOW! I didn't know Viagra worked as a pain killer."

"It doesn't," said the Dentist. "But it will give you something to hold on to when I pull your tooth."

Saturday, January 29, 2011


The Chinese, they are a coming!


The Straits Times
January 28, 2011

CHINA - CHINA is ranked as the fourth-most innovative country in the world, only after the US, Germany and Japan, according to a 'Global Innovation Barometer' report released by General Electric Co (GE) on Jan 27, Beijing News reported on Friday.

Based on a survey of 1,000 business executives in 12 countries, the report found that 35 per cent of executives think China has strong abilities for innovation, while the top-ranking United States took in 67 per cent of the vote, the newspaper said.

Germany and Japan each won more than 40 per cent of the votes, it reported.

Meanwhile, 95 per cent of respondents believe innovation is the key factor for a more competitive economy.

Also, 88 per cent of the executives think that innovation is the best way to provide job opportunities to a country, the report said. -- CHINA DAILY/ANN


It looks like the Imam was not too fond of the living conditions in his native Tunisia. America Akbar!


Mail Online
January 28, 2011

U.S. border guards got a surprise when they searched a Mexican BMW and found a hardline Muslim cleric - banned from France and Canada - curled up in the boot [trunk].

Said Jaziri, who called for the death of a Danish cartoonist that drew pictures of the prophet Mohammed, was being smuggled into California when he was arrested, along with his driver Kenneth Robert Lawler.

The 43-year-old was deported from Canada to his homeland Tunisia in 2007 after it emerged he had lied on his refugee application about having served jail time in France.

His fire and brimstone sermons and rabble-rousing antics catapulted him into the public eye during his short tenure as imam at a Montreal mosque.

He branded homosexuality a disease and led protests over cartoonist Kurt Westergaard's illustrations poked fun at Islam and were published in a Danish newspaper in 2006.

He also caused anger when he campaigned for a bigger mosque to accommodate Montreal's burgeoning Muslim population.

But after his deportation he complained that he had been physically and mentally tortured during the 13-hour flight repatriating him to Tunisia, a claim Canadian authorities deny.

He was being held as a material witness in the criminal case against Mr Lawler, who has been charged with immigrant smuggling.

Jaziri had allegedly paid a Tijuana-based smuggling cartel $5,000 to take him across the border near Tecate, saying he wanted to be taken to a 'safe place anywhere in the U.S.'

According to the court documents, a Mexican guide led Jaziri and a Mexican immigrant over the border fence near Tecate.

They then trekked across the rugged terrain under cover of darkness to a spot popular for drivers who pick up immigrants for smuggling runs into San Diego.

He allegedly told officials he had flown from Africa to Europe, then to Central America and Chetumal, Mexico, on the Mexico-Belize border, where he took a bus to Tijuana.

Lise Garon, a professor of communications at Laval University in Quebec City, told the Los Angeles Times: 'His nickname in Quebec was the controversial imam.

'I think he was deported because people hated his ideas.'

His case drew support from the Muslim community as well as Amnesty International after he claimed he would be tortured if sent back to Tunisia.


Could Charlie be an older male version of Lindsay Lohan?

By Craig Hlavaty

Houston Press Hair Balls
January 28, 2011

Actor Charlie Sheen is either a true American hero or a drug-addicted, porn-obsessed monster, depending on who you ask. The Two and a Half Men star and one-time Oliver Stone muse was admitted to the hospital with extreme stomach pains in his most recent incident.

That all came on the heels of what witnesses are claiming was a Gonzo-esque 36-hour binge full of multiple porn stars, booze and cocaine, which, according to party pal porn star Kacey Jordan, meant smoking the cocaine. Does life get any better? We conclude it does not.

Sheen's people are saying that he was actually being treated for a hiatal hernia from laughing too hard at the television, or, you know, having group sex for 12 straight hours with porn stars half your age while freebasing. Either way, you may get a hernia.

Aside from the random Denise Richards, Sheen (born Carlos Irwin Estevez) has a taste for Texas, including Jordan, who hails from Austin. If he likes cocaine and girls with loose morals, he could just move to Houston or Dallas and be in heaven.

6. Bree Olson (Born in Houston)
His last porno conquest, at the AVN Awards in Las Vegas, was Bree Olson, who was born in Houston in 1986 but got to Fort Wayne, Indiana, as fast as she could. She is easily the most famous pal so far, and has one of the most filthy Twitter accounts known to man.

5. Kacey Jordan
This Austin native has not only gone on record saying that Sheen was smoking cocaine, but one of her websites has changed to capitalize on her Sheen exploits. A group of pictures are now captioned with various celebrity-baiting lines like "Kacey Jordan is a $2 million dollar babe who could give anyone abdominal pains!" and "Kacey Jordan loves jewelry that has such a bright sheen!" She's gleefully retweeted all her mentions from her Twitter account, too.

4. Capri Anderson
Last fall, Sheen and Anderson had a wild night in New York City which concluded with the adult actress and producer being choked, lamps being thrown, cocaine being snorted and eventually the police being called to the hotel they were staying at. Yesterday she tweeted a message on Twitter saying, "Pray for the children of suffering addicts- that they may never completely loose their parents and God Bless the ones who already have," which could be a veiled warning for Sheen.

3. Michelle "Bombshell" McGee
McGee was the woman who broke up Jesse James and Sandra Bullock's marriage last year. You remember her with the extensive white-power tattoos? She admitted to being with Sheen at a party in early January around the AVN Awards where Olson also was present. No one has said on either side whether or not they were intimate or how they possibly ingested their cocaine.

2. Melanie Rios
Oh, and this girl, Melanie Rios, was also with Sheen during his 36-hour binge this week along with Jordan. She likes to make out with her sister sometimes. She was on Twitter complaining of a hangover just two days ago. Was that from the Sheen throwdown?

1. Chloe Jones (Houston)
The late Chloe Jones was born and raised here in Houston, and is actually buried at Woodlawn Cemetery off Antoine. She was active in the adult industry from 2001 up until 2004. She passed away in 2005 after liver failure, which was attributed to drug and alcohol abuse. Some even claimed that it was Sheen who contributed to her death, an accidental overdose, at least partly. She was a paramour of Sheen's, and went public about their relationship a year before she died.

Friday, January 28, 2011


Dorina Lisson’s use of the term ‘caged human beings’ suggests that she not only opposes the death penalty, but that she’s against the concept of imprisoning criminals as well.

This is the kind of nonsense put out by anti-death penalty zealots:

@ Centurion: In my opinion, people like yourself who support the brutality of state-sanctioned killing should not be employed in any capacity with caged human beings, just as people who dislike animals would never be granted employment caring for caged animals. Many correctional officers' predatory animalistic behavior towards prisoners makes some prisoners behave like predators. It's called Karma! BTW ... The USA is the only western nation that legally kills its citizens - hardly a deterrent - the USA continues to have the highest crime rates per capita, and the highest incarceration rates per capita, than any other country in the world. It's called Shame!

That’s a comment from Dorina Lisson, an anti-death penalty zealot, submitted just now to my December 8, 2010 BarkGrowlBite post, TAKE YOUR ‘AUSTRALIAN COALITION AGAINST DEATH PENALTY’ BACK DOWN UNDER.

Here, from my Decmber 8 blog, is what the Aussie said:

__The death penalty is rotten piece of law - the political stence behind the death penalty law is sickening. This flawed, capricious, discriminative, racist and politically corrupt barbaric punishment of death, which has been proven time and time again to be riddled with legal errors, is a government's ultimate power of control and terror over society. You don't have to be a scholar to understand this fact - history shows the truth.

__Being opposed to the death penalty is not about disregarding the actions of offenders, it is about governments legally killing people. The death penalty is all about politics and vengeance. A civilized government should have no right to "pick and choose" nor to "select" the people they want to kill. Governments do not give nor grant us human life and they should have no right to take away a human life.

What set the Aussie off with her 'caged human beings' tirade was this comment submitted by Centurion on December 8:

__Legally killing people is...."Legally Killing People." In this country...they're not just people, but people who have been proven beyond a reasonable be a serious threat to others in our society.

__Do you think they stop killing, maiming, and otherwise preying on others simply because they are sent to prison? Twenty three years as a correctional officer have shown me otherwise. These people continue their predatory behavior behind bars...while liberals tout their worth to society.

__Our death penalty is rarely carried out, but it's legal. Get over it.

(Lisson, a resident of Endeavour Hills, Australia, declares that, ‘I am an activist for universal human rights. I became interested and involved in the anti-death penalty movement more than ten years ago. I do research on all issues surrounding the use of capital punishment around the world and share educational information with worldwide human rights activists. I fight for my beliefs in human ethics, morals and values.’ In addition to her membership in ACADP, this radical-leftist has affiliated herself with Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, CARE, ACLU, and Amnesty International.)


Lots of luck with those community involvement and violence-prevention programs. Where is that cop when you need him?

Police Officials Say Cutbacks Jeopardize Gains in Fighting Crime, While Some City Leaders Put Focus on Other Approaches

By Bobby White

The Wall Street Journal / San Francisco Bay Area
January 27, 2011

OAKLAND—The Oakland Police Department is down to 650 officers from 800 a year ago. With the cutbacks, the department says it is struggling to maintain law and order in high-crime neighborhoods like East Oakland.

A year ago, about eight officers patrolled the area near the eastern border of the city, a roughly 10-square-mile zone. Today, during most shifts, just three officers walk the beat in the neighborhood, which is known for its drug problems and prostitution. On some days, there are so few officers that none visits some beats in East Oakland at all, says the police department.

The department laid off about 80 officers, or around 10% of the total force, last year in response to the city's budget shortfall. More officers have been lost through attrition, the OPD says.

"We don't have the numbers to be a proactive police force," says Anthony Batts, Oakland's police chief. Cities of a size like Oakland, he says, should have more than 900 police officers.

But other city and community leaders, led by the newly elected mayor, Jean Quan, say more cops on the streets won't necessarily solve the crime problems in this city of 400,000. Instead, she says, the city has been ramping up efforts such as conflict-resolution programs as part of a broader approach to crime-fighting.

"I would like more police, but the city is facing a really difficult economic environment," says Ms. Quan. "For the short term, we will have to pay attention to how police are deployed and rely on intervention and prevention programs."

Cities around the U.S. have grappled with similar problems to varying degrees, as municipal budgets hard hit by the weaker economy have led to law-enforcement cutbacks. In the Bay Area, towns such as San Carlos have outsourced their policing to the San Mateo County Sheriff Department, saving an estimated $2 million a year, because they had no funds to pay their own police force.

In Oakland, police officials say the cuts have hurt the department's ability to stop crime before it happens. To fill understaffed car patrol units, the department has scaled down gang and drug task-force units, as well other specialized crime units. The department also says it has pushed high-ranking managing officers and administrative officers away from desk jobs to the street to help with car patrols, among other moves.

The predicament is acute in Oakland because it ranks as one of California's most violent towns. The city had the state's highest homicide rate among big cities last year, with 21.9 murders per 100,000 people, according to Federal Bureau of Investigation figures.

But Oakland's crime rate has been going down overall. Last year's homicide rate was down from 24.5 per 100,000 residents in 2009. Since 2008, the city has seen a near 20% drop in so-called Part 1 crimes, a category that includes the most prevalent violent and property crimes such as murder, shootings and burglaries. The reduction included a 54% drop in auto thefts and 30% drop in carjackings.

Still, some of the gains appear to be slipping away, especially in crime categories such as aggravated assaults. Last year, aggravated assaults using firearms jumped 22% to 900 incidents from 700 in 2009, according to a year-end report published by the police department. Home invasions increased 43% to 183 incidents from 128 in 2009.

"The criminals know we're packing it in," says John McDonell, a former Oakland patrol officer laid off last year, who until recently was a member of the city's reserve force. "When you talk to the prostitutes [and] the dope pushers, they see the lack of presence on the streets."

Before his layoff, Mr. McDonell worked on police units that tackled drugs and prostitution along International Boulevard, a main thoroughfare crossing some of Oakland's most violent neighborhoods. He says violence-suppression units operating near High Street and 55th Avenue, a major crime corridor, had cleared prostitution and drugs, but that it has now returned. The city didn't provide any crime data broken down by neighborhood.

Mr. Batts, who is currently under consideration for the police chief job in San Jose, says the layoffs caused the department's morale to suffer, accelerating other departures and retirements.

When Mr. Batts arrived in Oakland in November 2009, he hoped to turn the police department around. He relied on strategies such as "hot-spot policing"—saturating violent neighborhoods with police units focused on specific crimes—that he had honed in Long Beach, Calif., where he served for nearly 30 years, including as chief. He also organized monthly meetings with police chiefs in Alameda, San Francisco, East Palo Alto and other neighboring cities to share intelligence and strategize on regional policing, a first for the Bay Area. The layoffs, he says, brought that activity to a halt.

Voters so far have rejected the department's pleas for more resources, most recently defeating a November ballot measure that would have boosted taxes to pay for more policing.

Jakada Imani, executive director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, a community improvement nonprofit, and a member of Mayor Quan's transition team, says Oakland residents made their preference known for more community involvement and violence-prevention programs, instead of singular focus on police suppression.

"You could have a police officer on every single corner to lower the crime rate," he says, "but that's just not what Oakland wants."


What deadly weapon is used against cops more than any other weapon? Is it guns? Knives? Clubs, tire irons, crow bars or other blunt instruments? If you read the newspapers, listen to radio news reports or watch the news on TV, you would have to conclude it was none of those – you would have to think it was automobiles. Not a week goes by without an officer somewhere in this country shooting at a subject trying to run him down with a car. And every one of those officers, no matter where, go by the name of Stu Pido.

Now there are occasions when a crook will deliberately try to run down an officer, but such cases are actually far and few between. In almost every instance, instead of taking a deliberate run at a cop, the driver was just trying to get away when Officer Pido jumped in front of the car trying to get the fleeing driver to stop. As the cop jumps aside he instinctively shoots at the guy that was trying to ‘run him down.’ The problem with Stu is that he doesn’t have enough sense to realize that jumping in front of a moving car is a really bad idea.

On Monday, Humble (a town just north of Houston) officer Stu Pido got out of the way of a stolen truck occupied by two men that officers said was backing at them as they tried to get away after burglarizing several cars at a Sears parking lot. Stu used his gun to smash in the window of the truck and – a big oops – the weapon accidentally discharged, killing one of the burglars. Imagine that – using his personal gun as a club, a gun that must have cost him anywhere between 500 and 900 bucks.

Years ago Stu, a California cop, did one even better than jumping in front of a car. He jumped in front of a moving train and tried to wave it to a stop. Good old Stu was able to jump aside but his patrol car did not fare as well. Stu had parked it across the railroad tracks with its emergency lights flashing when he got out to flag down the train. What was left of the patrol car, and there wasn’t that much left, ended up a half mile down the tracks.

On another occasion Stu, a Houston cop, struck a youth over the head with his gun after a car chase ended and –another big oops – the weapon discharged blowing half the young man’s head away. Stu, who did not intend to kill the youth, was pissed off because the victim and his girlfriend, who had been spotted stealing a toolbox, had the audacity to flee in his truck with over a dozen police cars in pursuit.

And now we have Stu Pido, a Los Angeles school district cop, who accidentally shot himself in the chest while ‘mishandling’ his gun. He was arrested after it was determined he fabricated a story that he had been shot by a burglary suspect as he was patrolling a street near a school. His lies caused nine schools to be locked down and seven square miles of residential neighborhoods to be blocked off while more than 350 officers from five agencies searched for the ‘gunman.’

All these cops named Stu Pido seem to think that by jumping in front of a moving vehicle driven by some jerk trying to flee, they can get it to stop. Other Stus apparently don’t know that a gun that was meant to shoot can go off accidentally when used as a club to break a window or to strum some jerk’s head. And then you have all those Stus who keep using their guns as sex toys, getting their rocks off fondling them all the time.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Today is our 57th Anniversary. Are my wife and I going to celebrate? Nah. It’s no big deal any more. After all these years, an anniversary just makes you wonder how in the hell this lasted so long.

In a month, I’ll be 84. My son, his wife and our two granddaughters will probably bring me a cheesecake, as if I needed that artery-clogging dessert. For you younger folks out there, it will not be too long before you begin to realize that the real significance of your birthday is that it brings you one day closer to meeting the grim reaper.


Whenever the president or a foreign leader addresses a joint session of Congress, you will see the Vice President (the titular head of the Senate) and the Speaker of the House seated directly behind and above the presenter during his speech.

If you watched Obama’s first State of the Union address two years ago, you couldn’t help but notice that every time there was the slightest applause, Nancy Pelosi would pop-up out of her seat to join in the applause, thus forcing Joe Biden to do the same. A number of times Democrats applauded Obama at the end of each sentence so that Pelosi and Biden were bouncing up and down like ping pong balls.

During Tuesday’s State of the Union address, John Boehner was seated in the Speaker’s chair instead of Pelosi. While both stood up to applaud several times, there was none of that incessant popping up and down by Boehner and Biden during Obama's speech. The Vice President seemed much relieved.

I, for one, did not miss Pelosi’s shit-eating grin every time she popped up to applaud Obama.


Further proof that pot is NOT less dangerous than alcohol.

By Bob Walsh

PACOVILLA Corrections blog
January 26, 2011

I know that, generally speaking, parents love their children. Mothers typically love their sons. But still…..

At about 9:15 p.m. Saturday the Oakland school district cops stopped at a parked car near a dance at a school. The car had the emergency flashers operating. When the cops came up to the car it became obvious that the occupants were smoking weed. They could smell it. As it turned out the car was stolen and there was a gun in the car.

Raheim Brown, 20, was in the front passenger seat of the Honda. When the cops (both Sergeants) got up to the car, Brown stabbed one of them in the arm with a screwdriver. The other Sergeant shot Brown through the windshield, killing him.

According to his mother, Brown was not a violent person (except for occasionally stabbing cops I guess), was very sweet, and always tried to help people (except when he was in possession of a stolen car and an illegal gun while stoned). She is absolutely positive the gun wasn’t his, though she admits not knowing who the gun belonged to. (Maybe the cops planted it.) The mother speculated her son may have been trying to start the (stolen) car with the screwdriver. I guess he was so stoned he didn’t realize the cops arm was not the ignition switch, and the cop was on his right, outside of the car while the ignition switch was on his left, on the inside of the car. The Sergeant should have KNOWN the punk (I am sorry, 20-year old child) wasn’t really trying to hurt anybody but was merely trying to start his stolen car and drive peacefully away.

Mom says, “The police murdered my son.” I know she is his mother, but I respectfully suggest this woman needs to get her head out of her ass, and maybe if she had done so 10 years ago her son would still be alive today.



He grasped me firmly but gently just above my elbow and guided me into a room, his room. Then he quietly shut the door and we were alone.

He approached me soundlessly, from behind, and spoke in a low, reassuring voice close to my ear. "Just relax."

Without warning, he reached down and I felt his strong hands start at my ankles, gently probing, and moving upward along my calves slowly but steadily. My breath caught in my throat. I knew I should be afraid, but somehow I didn't care.

His touch was so experienced, so sure.

When his hands moved up onto my thighs, I gave a slight shudder, and partly closed my eyes. My pulse was pounding. I felt his knowing fingers caress my abdomen, my ribcage. And then, as he cupped my firm, full breasts in his hands, I inhaled sharply. Probing, searching, knowing what he wanted, he brought his hands to my shoulders, slid them down my tingling spine and into my now moist panties.

Although I knew nothing about this man, I felt oddly trusting and expectant. This is a real man, I thought. A man used to taking charge. A man not used to taking `no' for an answer. A man who would tell me what he wanted. A man who would look into my soul and say…..

"Okay, ma'am," said a voice. "All done."

My eyes snapped open and he was standing in front of me, smiling, holding out my purse.

"You can board your flight now."

EDITOR’S NOTE: A daydream that went POOF! And that’s also why for the first and last time a male airport security screener conducted a pat-down search of a woman about to board an airliner.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Our plans to withdraw from Afghanistan and Iraq do not bode well for America’s foreign policy. Here, from STRATFOR Global Intelligence, is George Friedman’s assessment of Obama’s Afghanistan and Iraq policies:


The United States remains the most powerful nation in the world, both in the size of its economy and the size of its military. Nevertheless, it continues to have a singular focus on the region from Iraq to Pakistan. Obama argued during his campaign that President George W. Bush had committed the United States to the wrong war in Iraq and had neglected the important war in Afghanistan. After being elected, Obama continued the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq that began under the Bush administration while increasing troop levels in Afghanistan. He has also committed himself to concluding the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq by the end of this year. Now, it may be that the withdrawal will not be completed on that schedule, but the United States already has insufficient forces in Iraq to shape events very much, and a further drawdown will further degrade this ability. In war, force is not symbolic.

This poses a series of serious problems for the United States. First, the strategic goal of the United States in Afghanistan is to build an Afghan military and security force that can take over from the United States in the coming years, allowing the United States to withdraw from the country. In other words, as in Vietnam, the United States wants to create a pro-American regime with a loyal army to protect American interests in Afghanistan without the presence of U.S. forces. I mention Vietnam because, in essence, this is Richard Nixon’s Vietnamization program applied to Afghanistan. The task is to win the hearts and minds of the people, isolate the guerrillas and use the pro-American segments of the population to buttress the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai and provide recruits for the military and security forces.

The essential problem with this strategy is that it wants to control the outcome of the war while simultaneously withdrawing from it. For that to happen, the United States must persuade the Afghan people (who are hardly a single, united entity) that committing to the United States is a rational choice when the U.S. goal is to leave. The Afghans must first find the Americans more attractive than the Taliban. Second, they must be prepared to shoulder the substantial risks and burdens the Americans want to abandon. And third, the Afghans must be prepared to engage the Taliban and defeat them or endure the consequences of their own defeat.

Given that there is minimal evidence that the United States is winning hearts and minds in meaningful numbers, the rest of the analysis becomes relatively unimportant. But the point is that NATO has nearly 150,000 troops fighting in Afghanistan, the U.S. president has pledged to begin withdrawals this year, beginning in July, and all the Taliban have to do is not lose in order to win. There does not have to be a defining, critical moment for the United States to face defeat. Rather, the defeat lurks in the extended inability to force the Taliban to halt operations and in the limits on the amount of force available to the United States to throw into the war. The United States can fight as long as it chooses. It has that much power. What it seems to lack is the power to force the enemy to capitulate.


In the meantime, the wrong war, Iraq, shows signs of crisis or, more precisely, crisis in the context of Iran. The United States is committed to withdrawing its forces from Iraq by the end of 2011. This has two immediate consequences. First, it increases Iranian influence in Iraq simply by creating a vacuum the Iraqis themselves cannot fill. Second, it escalates Iranian regional power. The withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq without a strong Iraqi government and military will create a crisis of confidence on the Arabian Peninsula. The Saudis, in particular, unable to match Iranian power and doubtful of American will to resist Iran, will be increasingly pressured, out of necessity, to find a political accommodation with Iran. The Iranians do not have to invade anyone to change the regional balance of power decisively.

In the extreme, but not unimaginable, case that Iran turns Iraq into a satellite, Iranian power would be brought to the borders of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria and would extend Iran’s border with Turkey. Certainly, the United States could deal with Iran, but having completed its withdrawal from Iraq, it is difficult to imagine the United States rushing forces back in. Given the U.S. commitment to Afghanistan, it is difficult to see what ground forces would be available.

The withdrawal from Iraq creates a major crisis in 2011. If it is completed, Iran’s power will be enhanced. If it is aborted, the United States will have roughly 50,000 troops, most in training and support modes and few deployed in a combat mode, and the decision of whether to resume combat will be in the hands of the Iranians and their Iraqi surrogates. Since 170,000 troops were insufficient to pacify Iraq in the first place, sending in more troops makes little sense. As in Afghanistan, the U.S. has limited ground forces in reserve. It can build a force that blocks Iran militarily, but it will also be a force vulnerable to insurgent tactics — a force deployed without a terminal date, possibly absorbing casualties from Iranian-backed forces.


Back in 1983, I spent three weeks travelling in China. The only motor vehicles I saw on the roadways of Beijing and Shanghai were large trucks, buses and a few passenger cars, mostly taxicabs. The streets were jammed with a huge horde of bicyclists and the downtown sidewalks and esplanades were packed with parked bicycles. Today, the streets and modern highways of Beijing and Shanghai are experiencing motor vehicle traffic jams equaling, if not surpassing, t hose in Los Angles, New York, Houston and other major American cities.

GM’s good fortune is evidence that the Chines economic steamroller is not that far from overtaking the United States as the world’s strongest economic power.


Mail Online
January 25, 2011

General Motors sold more cars and trucks in China last year than it did in America for the first time in the company's 102-year history.

But despite GM's gains in China, Toyota Motor Corporation managed to hold on to the title of world's largest carmaker.

The Japanese company reported 8.42 million sales worldwide last year - 30,000 more than GM's 8.39 million global sales for 2010.

GM expects its sales growth to continue, and industry analysts say it may dethrone Toyota as the global sales leader this year.

The news came the same day that GM announced it was adding a shift and workers to a plant in Flint, Michigan, which makes popular pickup trucks.

GM and Toyota tied for the global sales lead in 2007, ending GM's 76-year string of dominance. Toyota took the title in 2008 and has held it ever since, but last year's string of embarrassing safety recalls and a resurgent GM combined to make the race close again.

'General Motors is going strong, and it's a sure sign of its re-emergence,' said Yasuaki Iwamoto, auto analyst with Okasan Securities Co in Tokyo.

GM spokesman Tom Henderson said the company is not focusing on the race with Toyota.

'A financially healthy and sustainable business that benefits our customers, stakeholders and employees takes precedence over any ranking.

'Our motivation is to be the best global company and let the numbers speak for themselves,' he said.

GM's global sales figure for 2010 was a dramatic 12 percent increase from 2009, a year in which it closed factories and was forced to take aid from the US government to survive. Its sales in the US, including heavy-duty vehicles, rose 6.3 percent.

But it did even better in China, selling 2.35 million vehicles there, up 29 percent as an expanding middle class gained wealth, making it the world's largest car market.

The showing in China was about 136,000 more than the amount GM sold in the US Toyota, meanwhile, sold just 846,000 vehicles in China.

GM said it achieved double-digit jumps in five of its top 10 markets last year, including China. GM marked a 12.4 percent sales rise in Russia and a 10.4 percent rise in Brazil.


As I previously stated: The use of deadly force is not dependent on whether a person is armed or unarmed, naked or clothed, drunk or sober, high on drugs or not, or mentally ill or of sound mind. When officers are forced to fight with someone who is overpowering them to the extent that he is about to inflict serious bodily injury or kill them, they have every right to protect themselves by resorting to deadly force. And when any person tries to take a cop’s gun, the officer has every right to believe that his own weapon will be used to kill him right then and there.

The following statement from the directors of the Los Angeles Police Protective League clearly shows that trying to arrest an unarmed man can be just as dangerous and life-threatening as trying to arrest someone who is armed with a deadly weapon.

By LAPPL Board of Directors

January 24, 2011

Why do otherwise reasonable individuals – despite evidence to the contrary before them – become reflexively critical of police, jumping to the twisted conclusion that an officer’s life faces less danger from an unarmed suspect than when the officer is staring down the barrel of a gun? Why do these same people immediately assume all officer-involved shootings – while always tragic – are "bad" shootings? Those making snap judgments about officer-involved shootings often cherry-pick the facts and do a disservice to the communities police officers serve.

So it was in the case of Reggie Doucet Jr., an unarmed, yet violent six-foot, 190-pound bodybuilder and college defensive-back. Last week, after initially fleeing from police officers, Doucet engaged them in violent, hand-to-hand combat, attempting to disarm at least one of two officers in what the officers described as a "fight for their lives." When he grabbed for the officer's gun after fighting with them, Doucet predetermined the tragic outcome of events.

In November 2010, Riverside police officer Ryan Bonaminio was reportedly killed with his own weapon. And only a few weeks ago, Rainier, Oregon Chief of Police Ralph Painter struggled with an “unarmed” suspect who used Painter’s own gun to kill him. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, from 1999-2008, no fewer than 44 police officers were killed with their own weapons; and another two in 2009. 2010 numbers are not yet in.

The “armed” vs. “unarmed” argument is the worst kind of willful blindness. The assumption that a gun or a knife are the only ways to threaten a life is false, irresponsible and has to stop.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


The Police News did not identify the author, but I suspect he is a street cop.

People have the ability to kill in a fraction of a second

By Scott Westerman

The Police News
January 23, 2011

After most police shootings, members of the public often criticize that the officer could have or should have handled the situation differently or better. What almost every one of these critics fails to offer, though, is a viable alternative the officers involved could have used instead.

I was recently talking with two officers about a local shooting of a violently aggressive mentally unstable woman, and that's when it dawned on me - we should be grateful that the citizens of the area feel that the officer should have handled the situation differently.

We, the officers who protect and serve our area with the utmost professionalism, should take comfort in the notion that the people we serve really don't have a true understanding of what it is like to deal with a person who is trying to kill them. I realize that this is a drastically different approach in perspective. Typically, when a person makes a comment like, "I think the officer should have done something different," or "why did the officer have to kill him/her when they could have just shot them in the leg," we dismiss them as being unfamiliar with the dark side of the world. But it is this very unfamiliarity that we should take comfort in.

They are unfamiliar with the dark side of society, in part, because of us. The general public typically doesn't have to deal first-hand with the aggressive, violent element within our community, in part, because the police are doing an outstanding job!

Consider this - The vast majority of people in this community have never had someone shoot the person standing right next to them. They have never had someone charge at them in a full run with a big knife in both hands over their head intent on plunging the knife into their heart. They don't know that a person who is mentally unbalanced can be as dangerous as a person high on methamphetamine. They have never had a person track them with a shotgun. They have likely never had someone casually walk up to them and pound on their head until they were unconscious.

They have never been the lone obstacle that stands between a criminal and his freedom or a lifetime of incarceration. They don't even know what a "tweaker" is. All of this causes me to think that we should be glad that they don't.

Most people have had very minimal experience with mentally ill people. It might be a cousin who was never "quite right," or the guy they saw on the side of the street with tin foil on his head. But even those with more experience still may not know what it is like to deal with a violent, mentally ill person, but they do still exist in our community.

Should it bother us these critics are unfamiliar with the violent part of the community around them? I know some of you are thinking, "But these are the people who are trying to influence what happens to me after a critical incident." To me, the answer is no. It shouldn't bother us that they are unfamiliar or unaware, it should give you pride that we have so successfully shielded them from a frightening part of reality. On the other hand, it does bother me a little, and it should bother them, that they are speaking publicly about something they know very little about. That is the nature of our society.

I once asked why we don't have an information unit, either through the Public Information Officer or District Attorney's office that helps educate the public about these types of things. I was given several reasons: one being money, the other being lack of interest on the public's part. The Citizen's Academy is a good start. I think it should be expanded to show those who are actively involved in our community the realities of the environment in which we work.

One of the few places the general public can learn about the situations we face every day is when they serve on a jury. The city attorney's office and district attorney's office take the time to educate the juries about procedure, policy, law, and most importantly, reality. This is done before any other testimony is presented.

The jury is placed in an unfortunate situation because they have to have their sense of reality and safety shattered in order to know what it really is like on the street. When they are in the jury box, they learn that on the street, things are different than in an office building or hospital. Things are actually quite different from what they had previously thought.

They learn that people have the ability to kill in a fraction of a second. They learn that most of the less lethal items the police are authorized to carry have absolutely no effect on a subject who is so out of their mind - be it from drugs, criminal intent, or mental impairment - that they are completely detached from reality. They learn that when an officer has to react, the officer has to react immediately and that social experimentation is not an option. They learn that if an officer chooses one of the less lethal options, and it doesn't work, the officer could end up dead. They also learn that the image of police work that movies and TV create on such issues as reaction times, placement of shots, use of alternative tactics, simply aren't realistic. In the academy and in field training, officers learn how things work in the real world of policing.

This is our reality, and unfortunately for those on the juries, it becomes theirs too and they may never feel as safe again.

So, when you hear a person commenting about how the police should have done it differently, take pride in the fact that they are unaware of the harsh realities of our community, in part, because of the work you are doing in a world they don't even know exists.


It is a dark secret that, in order to maintain their cover, ‘deep’ undercover officers may have to engage in sexual intercourse with those they are investigating. I knew two outstanding women narcotic officers from New York who worked deep undercover and ‘slept’ with some big-time drug dealers, thereby negating any suspicion they might be cops.

That is NOT the case with undercover officers working prostitution cases. They should never, under any circumstances, have sex with a prostitute. As a matter of fact, they should not even take their clothes off. Their credibility in court would take a big hit if it were revealed they had sex with the defendant.

Former agents used sex in infiltrating anarchist organizations

Press Association (UK)
January 24, 2011

UNITED KINGDOM - Police used sex as a tool during undercover operations - and tactical "promiscuity", sanctioned by senior commanders, was viewed as "part of the job", a former agent revealed today.

The officer, who worked in a secretive unit of the Metropolitan Police for four years, said sexual relationships with activists were common among those gathering intelligence from anarchist, left-wing and environmental groups.

His claims, made to The Observer, contradict comments made last week by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) which insisted the practice was forbidden.

But the former officer, once a member the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), a covert unit formed to prevent violent disorder on the streets of London, said sex helped to maintain cover. He is not named.

He has admitted to sleeping with at least two of his female targets for information.

"Everybody knew it was a very promiscuous lifestyle," he told the paper.

"You cannot not be promiscuous in those groups. Otherwise you'll stand out straight away."

Meanwhile, there was also no set of instructions dictating whether officers could or could not have sex with activists, he claimed.

"Among fellow undercover officers, there is not really any kudos in the fact that you are shagging other people while deployed," he added.

"Basically it's just regarded as part of the job. It'd be highly unlikely that you were not [having sex].

"When you are using the tool of sex to maintain your cover or maybe to glean more intelligence - because they certainly talk a lot more, pillow talk - you would be ready to move on if you felt an attachment growing."

However, the officer, who infiltrated anti-racist groups between 1993 and 1997, said falling in love could jeopardize an investigation and was regarded as unprofessional.

His revelations follow the controversy surrounding former Met officer Pc Mark Kennedy who monitored the actions of protesters across Europe under the guise of a long-haired, drop-out climber called Mark Stone.

The case against six demonstrators accused of conspiring to shut down Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station collapsed earlier this month after the officer offered to give evidence on their behalf.

In an interview with The Guardian, Jon Murphy, ACPO's spokesman on serious and organized crime, said sexual relationships for the purpose of intelligence gathering was "grossly unprofessional" and "absolutely not authorized".

"It is never acceptable for an undercover officer to behave in that way," he added.

Inspectors are now to review how the National Public Order Intelligence Unit, to which undercover officer Mark Kennedy belonged, is currently run by ACPO with plans to transfer control to Scotland Yard.

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary has launched its own investigation, saying it would look at "the operational accountability of undercover work" and "how intelligence activity is authorized in accordance with law, including consideration of the proportionality of covert tactics".

The Serious and Organized Crime Agency has also been asked to carry out an independent review of Mr Kennedy's deployment as an undercover officer.


The world-wide media stories on the reported Palestinian ‘concessions’ imply that Israel stood in the way of a peace agreement.

By Ryan Jones

Israel Today
January 24, 2011

The British newspaper The Guardian and the pan-Arab news network Al-Jazeera created an uproar in the region on Sunday when they published previously classified documents detailing peace negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian leaders over the past decade.

The published documents have been dubbed “The Palestine Papers,” and they reveal that the two sides appeared to be very close to concluding a peace agreement as recently as three years ago and that, at least in private, the Palestinians were prepared to make seemingly reasonable concessions.

During talks between former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni (current opposition leader) and top Palestinian negotiators in 2008, it was all but concluded that Israel would annex the large Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, would retain control over much of eastern Jerusalem, and would compensate the Palestinians by ceding 5.5 percent of Israeli territory in other areas.

“I am offering Israel the biggest Jerusalem in Jewish history,” chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat was quoted as telling US envoy David Hale last year in a rare Palestinian acknowledgement of the Jewish connection to Jerusalem.

Additionally, Israel would let a total of 5,000 so-called “Palestinian refugees” to move to Israel over a period of five years, but would not take responsibility for the refugee issue. This is also seemingly rare, as Erekat and his boss, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, have made it a cornerstone of their “struggle” to not “abandon” these “refugees.”

Abbas spoke to Al Jazeera on Sunday, and confirmed that a number of different swap ideas had been discussed with former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, and that he had agreed to an open Jerusalem with two municipalities working side-by-side.

Other Palestinian officials attacked the Al Jazeera report as a “pack of lies,” and said that the network had “declared war on the Palestinians” by revealing such humiliating details.

Jacob Galanti, former advisor to Olmert, also confirmed in an interview with Israel’s Army Radio that nearly every major issue had been wrapped up between Olmert and Abbas, and in a way that was acceptable to most Israelis.

So, why wasn’t an agreement signed? Galanti said he just doesn’t know.

The reality is that the concessions the Palestinians made behind closed doors would never have been accepted by the Palestinian public, and they knew that. As evidenced by the fact that Olmert and Abbas never sat down and actually signed an agreement, the Palestinians never intended to conclude the negotiations. It has served them too well to be the perpetual victims.

It is also a clever negotiating tactic. Today, Abbas openly calls on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to return to the negotiating table on the basis of what Olmert previously offered, while leaving out what the Palestinians offered. But if Olmert’s offer was sufficient, why didn’t Abbas conclude a deal with him?

Most Israelis are beginning to see through this ruse, as are most of the Western power brokers involved in the negotiations, even if they don’t admit as much in public.

During a meeting in Washington in 2009, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asked Erekat, “Why are the Palestinians always in a chapter of a Greek tragedy?”

Unfortunately, until people like Clinton, Olmert and Livni publicly call out the Palestinian leadership and insist on some honesty and integrity, the situation will continue to get worse, eventually resulting in unilateral action that will lead to war.


I seriously doubt that this jerk will be sent to prison. After all, he was still on the streets after having been convicted of 32 burglaries.

By Bob Walsh

PACOVILLA Corrections blog
January 24, 2011

Leon Ingram is a burglar. He is also 34 years old and 6-4″ tall. He is a prolific burglar with 32 convictions for burglary. He also recently had the crap knocked out of him by a 59-year-old woman and her 84-year-old mother in the United Kingdom.

Helen Thiele and her mother, Doris, became aware of Ingram in their house in New Milton, Hants. Helen jumped him and got him in a head lock while Doris wailed on him with her cane for what is estimated to be about 8 minutes. Ingram finally broke away and ran screaming through the (unopened) doors to the conservatory and fled into the night, leaving a blood trail for the cops to follow to his house.

Generally speaking the cops across the pond frown on violence, and have been known to arrest residents for physically attacking burglars. I guess they are willing to cut some slack under these circumstances.


If these sort of things are going on in American schools, the Chinese are going to end up taking us to the cleaners. Fortunately this took place in Kookfornia and it probably isn’t representative of the rest of the country.


Mail Online
January 24, 2011

A teacher at a California primary school has been suspended amid shocking claims that children engaged in oral sex and took off their clothes in class.

Pupils aged just seven or eight are believed to engaged in the acts at Markham Elementary School in Oakland last week.

The male second-grade teacher, whose name has not been released, told investigators he did not see any of the alleged incidents.

He has been barred from the campus until the investigation has been completed.

One incident is said to have involved several students who partially undressed and acted disruptively during class, while the other involved pupils who engaged in oral sex, district officials said.

Parents of students at the school have been informed of what has happened through a letter.

Troy Flint, a spokesman for Oakland Unified School District, said: 'We believe if the reports are true, there was a serious lapse of judgement or lack of supervision in the classroom.

'We're investigating how could this have happened. It seems unthinkable to us, just the same way it does to the public.'

Principal Pam Booker learned of the allegations last week after a pupil gave an account to a teacher's assistant, Mr Flint said.

The letter sent to parents said: 'Upon hearing these reports, we immediately launched an investigation which, to date, suggests that the reports have merit.

'We have interviewed all the student participants who were implicated, as well as their teacher, and we continue to investigate the matter aggressively.'

Ms Booker added in the letter: 'I apologise for this and assure that we are collaborating with counsellors and parents to provide support to those involved, address any concerns and take whatever actions are necessary to ensure that a similar act does not occur again.'

Counsellors were at the school to speak to the children.

Mr Flint stressed that none of the pupils was accused of wrongdoing.

'It's an incident of kids expressing their natural curiosity that went too far because an adult didn't step in,' he said.

Ane Musuva, who has two children at the school, said: 'It kind of scares me to know that the teachers aren't really watching them.

'I don't want my kids growing up in this type of environment.'

Monday, January 24, 2011


I don’t mean to belittle the heroism of our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, but combat in those two forlorn countries pales when compared to the brutal combat conditions faced by our troops in WWII, Korea and Viet Nam. Combat today, while still dangerous and deadly, is a lot safer because of technological advances that were not available before.

The Viet Nam veterans have been largely forgotten because today’s media personalities and pundits were the elites who avoided military service through college exemptions or by fleeing to Canada and Sweden, and who protested against the war in unruly demonstrations, burning American flags while spitting at and cursing our returning soldiers as ‘baby killers.’ Like Tom Brokaw, they sing the praises of the WWII ‘greatest generation’ but deliberately ignore those Viet Nam veterans.

James Webb, a former Secretary of the Navy who was awarded the Navy Cross, Silver Star and Bronze Star for valor as a Marine in Vietnam, has given a great tribute to the much maligned and forgotten heroes of that war. Wile rather long, you ought to read every one of the following words:

By James Webb

The rapidly disappearing cohort of Americans that endured the Great Depression and then fought World War II is receiving quite a send-off from the leading lights of the so-called 60's generation. Tom Brokaw has published two oral histories of "The Greatest Generation" that feature ordinary people doing their duty and suggest that such conduct was historically unique.

Chris Matthews of "Hardball" is fond of writing columns praising the Navy service of his father while castigating his own baby boomer generation for its alleged softness and lack of struggle. William Bennett gave a startling condescending speech at the Naval Academy a few years ago comparing the heroism of the "D-Day Generation" to the drugs-and-sex nihilism of the "Woodstock Generation." And Steven Spielberg, in promoting his film "Saving Private Ryan," was careful to justify his portrayals of soldiers in action based on the supposedly unique nature of World War II.

An irony is at work here. Lest we forget, the World War II generation now being lionized also brought us the Vietnam War, a conflict which today's most conspicuous voices by and large opposed, and in which few of them served. The "best and brightest" of the Vietnam age group once made headlines by castigating their parents for bringing about the war in which they would not fight, which has become the war they refuse to remember.

Pundits back then invented a term for this animus: the "generation gap." Long, plaintive articles and even books were written examining its manifestations. Campus leaders, who claimed precocious wisdom through the magical process of reading a few controversial books, urged fellow baby boomers not to trust anyone over 30. Their elders who had survived the Depression and fought the largest war in history were looked down upon as shallow, materialistic, and out of touch.

Those of us who grew up, on the other side of the picket line from that era's counter-culture can't help but feel a little leery of this sudden gush of appreciation for our elders from the leading lights of the old counter-culture. Then and now, the national conversation has proceeded from the dubious assumption that those who came of age during Vietnam are a unified generation in the same sense as their parents were, and thus are capable of being spoken for through these fickle elites.

In truth, the " Vietnam generation" is a misnomer. Those who came of age during that war are permanently divided by different reactions to a whole range of counter-cultural agendas, and nothing divides them more deeply than the personal ramifications of the war itself. The sizable portion of the Vietnam age group who declined to support the counter-cultural agenda, and especially the men and women who opted to serve in the military during the Vietnam War, are quite different from their peers who for decades have claimed to speak for them. In fact, they are much like the World War II generation itself. For them, Woodstock was a side show, college protestors were spoiled brats who would have benefited from having to work a few jobs in order to pay their tuition, and Vietnam represented not an intellectual exercise in draft avoidance, or protest marches but a battlefield that was just as brutal as those their fathers faced in World War II and Korea.

Few who served during Vietnam ever complained of a generation gap. The men who fought World War II were their heroes and role models. They honored their father's service by emulating it, and largely agreed with their father's wisdom in attempting to stop Communism's reach in Southeast Asia .

The most accurate poll of their attitudes (Harris, 1980) showed that 91 percent were glad they'd served their country, 74 percent enjoyed their time in the service, and 89 percent agreed with the statement that "our troops were asked to fight in a war which our political leaders in Washington would not let them win." And most importantly, the castigation they received upon returning home was not from the World War II generation, but from the very elites in their age group who supposedly spoke for them.

Nine million men served in the military during Vietnam War, three million of whom went to the Vietnam Theater. Contrary to popular mythology, two-thirds of these were volunteers, and 73 percent of those who died were volunteers. While some attention has been paid recently to the plight of our prisoners of war, most of whom were pilots; there has been little recognition of how brutal the war was for those who fought it on the ground.

Dropped onto the enemy's terrain 12,000 miles away from home, America 's citizen-soldiers performed with a tenacity and quality that may never be truly understood. Those who believe the war was fought incompletely on a tactical level should consider Hanoi's recent admission that 1.4 million of its soldiers died on the battlefield, compared to 58,000 total U.S. dead.

*** Those who believe that it was a "dirty little war" where the bombs did all the work might contemplate that is was the most costly war the U.S. Marine Corps has ever fought - five times as many dead as World War I, three times as many dead as in Korea, and more total killed and wounded than in all of World War II. ***

Significantly, these sacrifices were being made at a time the United States was deeply divided over our effort in Vietnam . The baby-boom generation had cracked apart along class lines as America 's young men were making difficult, life-or-death choices about serving. The better academic institutions became focal points for vitriolic protest against the war, with few of their graduates going into the military. Harvard College , which had lost 691 alumni in World War II, lost a total of 12 men in Vietnam from the classes of 1962 through 1972 combined. Those classes at Princeton lost six, at MIT two. The media turned ever more hostile. And frequently the reward for a young man's having gone through the trauma of combat was to be greeted by his peers with studied indifference of outright hostility.

What is a hero? My heroes are the young men who faced the issues of war and possible death, and then weighed those concerns against obligations to their country. Citizen-soldiers who interrupted their personal and professional lives at their most formative stage, in the timeless phrase of the Confederate Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery , "not for fame of reward, not for place or for rank, but in simple obedience to duty, as they understood it." Who suffered loneliness, disease, and wounds with an often-contagious elan. And who deserve a far better place in history than that now offered them by the so-called spokesman of our so-called generation.

Mr. Brokaw, Mr. Matthews, Mr. Bennett, Mr. Spielberg, meet my Marines. 1969 was an odd year to be in Vietnam . Second only to 1968 in terms of American casualties, it was the year made famous by Hamburger Hill, as well as the gut-wrenching Life cover story showing pictures of 242 Americans who had been killed in one average week of fighting. Back home, it was the year of Woodstock , and of numerous anti-war rallies that culminated in the Moratorium March on Washington . The My Lai massacre hit the papers and was seized upon by the anti-war movement as the emblematic moment of the war. Lyndon Johnson left Washington in utter humiliation.

Richard Nixon entered the scene, destined for an even worse fate. In the An Hoa Basin southwest of Danang, the Fifth Marine Regiment was in its third year of continuous combat operations. Combat is an unpredictable and inexact environment, but we were well led. As a rifle platoon and company commander, I served under a succession of three regimental commanders who had cut their teeth in World War II, and four different battalion commanders, three of whom had seen combat in Korea. The company commanders were typically captains on their second combat tour in Vietnam , or young first lieutenants like myself who were given companies after many months of "bush time" as platoon commanders in the Basin's tough and unforgiving environs.

The Basin was one of the most heavily contested areas in Vietnam , its torn, cratered earth offering every sort of wartime possibility. In the mountains just to the west, not far from the Ho Chi Minh Trail, the North Vietnamese Army operated an infantry division from an area called Base Area 112. In the valleys of the Basin, main-force Viet Cong battalions whose ranks were 80 percent North Vietnamese Army regulars moved against the Americans every day. Local Viet Cong units sniped and harassed. Ridgelines and paddy dikes were laced with sophisticated booby traps of every size, from a hand grenade to a 250-pound bomb. The villages sat in the rice paddies and tree lines like individual fortresses, crisscrossed with the trenches and spider holes, their homes sporting bunkers capable of surviving direct hits from large-caliber artillery shells. The Viet Cong infrastructure was intricate and permeating. Except for the old and the very young, villagers who did not side with the Communists had either been killed or driven out to the government controlled enclaves near Danang.

In the rifle companies, we spent the endless months patrolling ridgelines and villages and mountains, far away from any notion of tents, barbed wire, hot food, or electricity. Luxuries were limited to what would fit inside one's pack, which after a few "humps" usually boiled down to letter -writing material, towel, soap, toothbrush, poncho liner, and a small transistor radio.

We moved through the boiling heat with 60 pounds of weapons and gear, causing a typical Marine to drop 20 percent of his body weight while in the bush. When we stopped we dug chest-deep fighting holes and slit trenches for toilets. We slept on the ground under makeshift poncho hootches, and when it rained we usually took our hootches down because wet ponchos shined under illumination flares, making great targets. Sleep itself was fitful, never more than an hour or two at a stretch for months at a time as we mixed daytime patrolling with night-time ambushes, listening posts, foxhole duty, and radio watches. Ringworm, hookworm, malaria, and dysentery were common, as was trench foot when the monsoons came. Respite was rotating back to the mud-filled regimental combat base at An Hoa for four or five days, where rocket and mortar attacks were frequent and our troops manned defensive bunkers at night. Which makes it kind of hard to get excited about tales of Woodstock , or camping at the Vineyard during summer break.

We had been told while training that Marine officers in the rifle companies had an 85 percent probability of being killed or wounded, and the experience of "Dying Delta," as our company was known, bore that out. Of the officers in the bush when I arrived, our company commander was wounded, the weapons platoon commander wounded, the first platoon commander was killed, the second platoon commander was wounded twice, and I, commanding the third platoons fared no better. Two of my original three-squad leaders were killed, and the third shot in the stomach. My platoon sergeant was severely wounded, as was my right guide. By the time I left, my platoon I had gone through six radio operators, five of them casualties.

These figures were hardly unique; in fact, they were typical. Many other units; for instance, those who fought the hill battles around Khe Sanh, or were with the famed Walking Dead of the Ninth Marine Regiment, or were in the battle of Hue City or at Dai Do, had it far worse.

When I remember those days and the very young men who spent them with me, I am continually amazed, for these were mostly recent civilians barely out of high school, called up from the cities and the farms to do their year in hell and then return. Visions haunt me every day, not of the nightmares of war but of the steady consistency with which my Marines faced their responsibilities, and of how uncomplaining most of them were in the face of constant danger. The salty, battle-hardened 20-year-olds teaching green 19-year-olds the intricate lessons of the hostile battlefield. The unerring skill of the young squad leaders as we moved through unfamiliar villages and weed-choked trails in the black of night. The quick certainty when a fellow Marine was wounded and needed help. Their willingness to risk their lives to save other Marines in peril. To this day it stuns me that their own countrymen have so completely missed the story of their service, lost in the bitter confusion of the war itself.

Like every military unit throughout history we had occasional laggards, cowards, and complainers. But in the aggregate, these Marines were the finest people I have ever been around. It has been my privilege to keep up with many of them over the years since we all came home. One finds in them very little bitterness about the war in which they fought. The most common regret, almost to a man, is that they were not able to do more for each other and for the people they came to help.

It would be redundant to say that I would trust my life to these men. Because I already have, in more ways than I can ever recount. I am alive today because of their quiet, unaffected heroism. Such valor epitomizes the conduct of Americans at war from the first days of our existence. That the boomer elites can canonize this sort of conduct in our fathers' generation while ignoring it in our own is more than simple oversight. It is a conscious, continuing travesty.


The US has been carrying out a deeply hostile policy against Israel under both the Bush and Obama administrations

By Caroline B. Glick

Jewish World Review
January 21, 2011

Two documents reported on this week shed a troubling light on the US government's attitude toward Israel. The first is a 27-page FBI search warrant affidavit from 2004 targeting then senior AIPAC lobbyist Steve Rosen, published Wednesday in the Washington Times. The second is WikiLeaks leaked secret State Department cable from October 2008 signed by then secretary of state Condoleezza Rice directing US officials to spy on Israel. Both indicate that in certain quarters of the American government Israel is viewed as at best a banana republic and at worst an enemy of the US.

The text of the FBI affidavit directed against Rosen makes clear that the FBI had no particular reason to suspect that he was an Israeli agent or was harming US national security. Rosen's activities during his tenure as AIPAC's senior lobbyist as described in the affidavit -- meeting with government officials, journalists and Israeli diplomats -- were precisely the type of activities that lobbyists in Washington routinely engage in. Despite this the FBI followed Rosen for five years and indicted him and his AIPAC colleague Keith Weissman on felony charges under the all but forgotten 1917 Espionage Act. The FBI probe and subsequent trial harmed AIPAC's reputation, destroyed both men's careers, and did untold damage to the reputation of both the State of Israel and its American Jewish supporters. That it took five years for the Justice Department to drop these outrageous charges is a testament to the strength of the FBI's commitment to criminalizing American Jewish advocates of a strong US-Israel alliance.

And then there is Rice's secret cable. Just days before the 2008 presidential elections, the Secretary of State instructed US diplomats in Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia as well as the DIA and the CIA to conduct a massive espionage operation against Israel. The sought for information covered all aspects of Israel's political system, society, communications infrastructures and the IDF.

Regarding the IDF for instance, among other things, diplomats and spies were asked to gather intelligence on planned Israeli military operations against the Palestinians, Lebanon, and Syria and probe the attitudes of military commanders. They were also told to gather information on "IDF units, equipment, maintenance levels, training, morale, and operational readiness[;] IDF tactics, techniques and procedures for conducting conventional and unconventional counterinsurgency and counterterrorist operations[; and] Israeli assessment of the impact of reserve duty in the territories on IDF readiness." As for political leaders, among other things, Rice instructed diplomats and spies to provide detailed information about government plans; influences on politicians; how politicians decide to launch military strikes; what Israel's leaders think about the US and much more.

Rice expressed deep interest as well in all details related to Israel's military and non-military communications infrastructure. For instance, she directed US officials to gather information on "Current specifications, vulnerabilities, capabilities, and planned upgrades to national telecommunications infrastructure, networks, and technologies used by government and military authorities, intelligence and security services, and the public sector."

Finally, Rice wanted personal data on Israeli leaders. She asked for "official and personal phone numbers, fax numbers, and email addresses of principal civilian and military leaders."

Taken side by side, the first striking aspect of the US's fabricated Israeli spy scandal on the one hand and its massive espionage operation against Israel on the other hand is the shocking hypocrisy of it all.

But hypocrisy isn't the real issue. The real issue exposed by the documents is that the US is carrying out a deeply hostile policy against Israel in the face of massive public support for Israel in the US. That is, whereas two thirds of Americans support Israel, a minority constituency in the US government treats Israel with scorn, hatred and the contempt due to a banana republic. .


It has been said that no matter how bad things get, something good happens at least once a day. Something really, really good happened Friday when Keith Olbermann, the Roach Limburger of the far-left, and MSNBC parted company.

I used to watch Olbermann’s Countdown show, but it did not take me long to get sick and tired of his daily bad-mouthing of Bill O’Reilly and other personalities on the right. After all, if I want to listen to that kind of crap all I have to do is get in my truck and listen to Roach do the same thing with President Obama and other personalities on the left.

I don’t know whether Keith left MSNBC on his own or whether he was fired. Because it’s hard for me to fathom that someone would walk out in the middle of a $30 million four-year contract, I suspect Olbermann got canned.

It wouldn’t bother me one bit if Roach were given the heave-ho too, but that is not about to happen, what with a multitude of dodo heads hanging onto each and every one of his words.

Unfortunately, it won’t be long before Olbermann pops up on another TV network. Meanwhile, as for his departure from MSNBC, I have this to say to Keith: Adios, good riddance, and I hope the door hit you in the ass on the way out!


I f you ever feel a little bit stupid, just dig this up and read it again. Then you'll begin to think you're right up there in a league with Al Gore and Lee Iacocca ..

Question: If you could live forever, would you and why? Answer: "I would not live forever, because we should not live forever, because if we were supposed to live forever, then we would live forever, but we cannot live forever, which is why I would not live forever,"
--Heather Whitestone, Miss Alabama in the 1994 Miss USA contest.

"Whenever I watch TV and see those poor starving kids all over the world, I can't help but cry. I mean I'd love to be skinny like that, but not with all those flies and death and stuff."
--Mariah Carey

"Smoking kills. If you're killed, you've lost a very important part of your life,"
--Brooke Shields, during an interview to become spokesperson for federal anti-smoking campaign.

"Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
--Washington , DC mayor Marion Barry

"Half this game is ninety percent mental."
--Philadelphia Phillies manager, Danny Ozark

"It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it.."
--Al Gore

"I love California . I practically grew up in Phoenix ."
--Dan Quayle

"We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
--Lee Iacocca

"Your food stamps will be stopped effective March 1992 because we received notice that you passed away. May God bless you. You may reapply if there is a change in your circumstances."
--Department of Social Services, Greenville , South Carolina

"If somebody has a bad heart, they can plug this jack in at night as they go to bed and it will monitor their heart throughout the night. And the next morning, when they wake up dead, there'll be a record."
--Mark S. Fowler, FCC Chairman

Sunday, January 23, 2011


I will forever be grateful to this great country of ours for taking my parents and me in as refugees from Nazi Germany. We were able to come to the United States in 1936 ONLY because we had an American sponsor who had pledged to look after our needs.

Of 907 Jewish refugees, all but 22 were not as fortunate as my family was. They were aboard a ship that was turned away by Cuba after only 22 Jews were allowed to leave the vessel. The ship then proceeded, first to the U.S. and then to Canada, but unfortunately for the Jews aboard, both countries refused to accept any of the refugees. The ship then returned its human cargo to Belgium. 254 of the refugees that had been aboard the ship were eventually exterminated in Nazi death camps.

While I am proud of my country, I believe that America’s refusal to accept any Jews who did not have a sponsor was a shameful chapter in our history. It is ironic that Argentina, a nation that maintained close ties to Nazi Germany, took in far more Jewish refugees than the U.S.

That was back in 1939. Nowadays Jews are still persecuted in many parts of the world. If given the opportunity to leave, where can they go? That is why it is of the utmost importance for Israel to exist within borders that will allow it to defend itself from enemies that have vowed time after time to destroy the tiny Jewish state. And that is why, contrary to the demands of the international community that it gives them up, Israel must keep the permanent settlements that have been established on lands the Palestinians want for their own state.

By Kathryn Blaze Carlson

National Post
January 17, 2011

Sol Messinger was just six years old when, as one of 907 German Jews aboard the M.S. St. Louis seeking a place to escape persecution, the ship was shunned first by Cuba and then by America. He remembers sailing along the Florida coast as Miami’s city lights disappeared into the dusky distance.

Canada did not want the refugees traveling on the vessel either — “none is too many,” an immigration agent would say of Jews such as those aboard the ship in May, 1939. The St. Louis was within two days of Halifax Harbour when Ottawa, under pressure from high-ranking politicians within, refused to grant the Jewish families a home.

“Nobody wanted us,” Dr. Messinger, now 78 and a retired physician in Buffalo, N.Y., said in an interview with the National Post. “We were Jews, we were expendable … It was terrible — terrible, terrible — of Canada and the United States, of all countries, to not let us in.”

Turned away thrice, the ship had no choice but to journey toward an uncertain fate in Belgium. Dr. Messinger, then just a boy, would celebrate his seventh birthday en route back to the very land his parents feared spelled disaster for their only son.

Dr. Messinger said the German crew had treated the passengers “as human beings,” even offering them “big breakfasts, and ice cream with mini umbrellas pegged in the scoop.” Canada, though, would offer the family nothing.

He and his parents managed to survive the Holocaust — thanks to a “series of miracles,” he said — but 254 of the Jews turned away by the Mackenzie King government would not.

On Thursday, more than 70 years later, at Halifax’s Pier 21 — the very place where the ship would have docked had Canada welcomed it — a memorial designed by renowned architect Daniel Libeskind will be unveiled.


Huge seizures of drugs barely put a dent in the operations of Mexican drug cartels. And at best, the capture or deaths of cartel bosses only slows down those operations until a chosen or upstart successor steps in to assume command.


Borderland Beat
January 21, 2011

Mexican army soldiers confiscated 245 kilos (540 pounds) of opium gum, the country’s largest-ever seizure of that substance, the Defense Secretariat said.

The operation, in which two people were arrested, was carried out at a home in the capital of the southern state of Guerrero, Chilpancingo, the scene of a bloody turf war among drug cartels in 2010.

The 245 kilos had a street value of 148.2 million pesos (some $12.1 million) and could have been processed to make 612,500 doses of heroin.

The army, given a leading role in the fight against drug trafficking in December 2006 by newly inaugurated President Felipe Calderon, did not indicate when the seizure was made nor how it learned of the consignment.

The strategy has led to the elimination of several crime bosses and record drug seizures over the past four years, including the confiscation of 23 tons of cocaine in a single operation in November 2007.

Yet the amount of seized drugs represents a small percentage of the estimated total that originates in or is smuggled through Mexico.

Some 400 tons of cocaine from South America are smuggled into Mexico annually. Much of that total is taken across the border to the United States, although in recent years a sizable portion has remained in Mexico to meet local demand.

More than 34,000 people have died in drug-related violence since Calderon took office.