Monday, January 26, 2009
All this means is that they will want your pocket knives year 2. This is the s ole s that has been practiced in Western nations the past 20 years. We know that law enforcement is not the reasoning behind disarming people. It is to weaken the will or ability to resist. Especially in a nation which faces long term economic meltdown, the crime it generates and the political idiocy that will surely only deepen the gloom. The shepherds are forcing the sheep in a "new" direction. Socialized this and gov controlled that. And whose finger is on the switch, saying yay or nay to who gets what?
Too fat? Smoker? Does your gene map dictate sickness later down the line? etc........
Tyranny always comes in the form of "something for the children" or some other hogwash.
Damn, and I just bought that SPX too.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
MEXICO CITY — President Felipe Calderon’s war on drug trafficking has led to his own doorstep, with the arrest of a dozen high-ranking officials with alleged ties to Mexico’s most powerful drug gang, the Sinaloa Cartel.
The U.S. praises Calderon for rooting out corruption at the top. But critics say the arrests reveal nothing more than a timeworn government tactic of protecting one cartel and cracking down on others.
Operation Clean House comes just as the U.S. is giving Mexico its first installment of $400 million in equipment and technology to fight drugs. Most will go to a beefed-up federal police agency run by the same people whose top aides have been arrested as alleged Sinaloa spies.
“If there is anything worse than a corrupt and ill-equipped cop, it is a corrupt and well-equipped cop,” said criminal justice expert Jorge Chabat, who studies the drug trade.
U.S. drug enforcement agents say they have no qualms about sending support to Mexico.
“We’ve been working with the Mexican government for decades at the DEA,” said Garrison Courtney, spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration. “Obviously, we ensure that the individuals we work with are vetted.”
Agents who conduct raids have long suspected Mexican government ties to Sinaloa, and rival drug gangs have advertised the alleged connection in banners hung from freeways. While raids against the rival Gulf cartel have netted suspects, those against Sinaloa almost always came up empty — or worse, said Agent Oscar Granados Salero of the Federal Investigative Agency, Mexico’s equivalent of the FBI.
“Whenever we were trying to serve arrest warrants, they were already waiting for us, and a lot of colleagues lost their lives that way,” Salero said.
The U.S. government estimates that the cartels smuggle $15 billion to $20 billion in drug money across the border each year.
Over the last five months, officials from the Mexican Attorney General’s office, the federal police and even Mexico’s representatives to Interpol have been detained on suspicion of acting as spies for Sinaloa or its one-time ally, the Beltran Leyva gang. An officer who served in Calderon’s presidential guard was detained in December on suspicion of spying for Beltran Leyva.
Gerardo Garay, formerly the acting federal police chief, is accused of protecting the Beltran Leyva brothers and stealing money from a mansion during an October drug raid. Former drug czar Noe Ramirez, who was supposed to serve as point man in Calderon’s anti-drug fight, is accused of taking $450,000 from Sinaloa.
Most of such tips are coming from a Mexican federal agent who infiltrated the U.S. embassy for the Beltran Leyva drug cartel. No such infiltrators have been found for the Gulf cartel, which controls most drug shipments in eastern Mexico and Central America. Sinaloa controls Pacific and western routes.
The DEA’s Courtney agrees that there has been a greater crackdown on the Gulf Cartel in both the U.S. and Mexico, with more than 600 members of the gang arrested in September. But he declined to answer questions about Mexico favoring Sinaloa.
Calderon has long acknowledged corruption as an obstacle to his offensive, which involved sending more than 20,000 soldiers to battle drug trafficking throughout the country. The U.S. aid plan includes technology aimed at improving the way Mexico vets and supervises police.
The president vows to create a “new generation of police,” consolidating agencies under Public Safety Secretary Genaro Garcia Luna, who heads all federal law enforcement.
That’s what worries Granados Salero and other agents. So many of Garcia Luna’s associates are under suspicion of Sinaloa ties that many wonder how he could not have known.
Calderon has publicly backed Garcia Luna, calling him “a man of great capacity.”
“Obviously, if there was any doubt about his honesty, or any evidence that would call into question his honesty, he would certainly no longer be the secretary of public safety,” the president said recently.
But some see the alleged Sinaloa ties with Garcia Luna’s lieutenants as an old tactic used widely under the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which ruled Mexico for 71 years with a tight fist. Officials in the past preferred to deal with one strong cartel rather than many warring gangs — what Calderon faces now. More than 5,300 people died in drug-related slayings in 2008.
“I fear that Secretary Garcia Luna ... is working on the idea that once one cartel consolidates itself as the winner, that is, Sinaloa, the violence is going to drop,” said organized crime expert Edgardo Buscaglia, who tracks federal police arrests and has studied law enforcement agencies’ written reports.
Garcia Luna has denied being involved in corruption. He has acknowledged that authorities in the past chose the path of managing cartels. But in an interview with the newspaper El Sol, he said that approach only strengthens the gangs in the long run.
Others say the high number of Sinaloa infiltrators is a reflection of the two cartels’ very different styles.
The Gulf cartel is led by military-trained hit men so violent that they reportedly planned to attack even U.S. law enforcement agencies.
“They don’t necessarily try to build networks of corruption. They prefer networks of intimidation,” said Monte Alejandro Rubido, who leads Mexico’s multi-agency National Security System.
Sinaloa, on the other hand, appears to use bribery and infiltration at least as much as its gunmen. Cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman bribed his way out of a Mexican prison in 2001, provoking suspicions the government was on his side.
Many Mexicans worry about giving so much money and power to a still corrupt force. Of more than 56,000 local and state police officers evaluated between January and October last year, fewer than half met the recommended qualifications, Calderon reported to Congress in early December. No similar numbers are available for federal police.
Agents like Granados Salero wonder who is in charge of police integrity.
“We agents find out about a lot of things,” he said, “but who can we turn to?”
Friday, January 23, 2009
The strike was the first on Pakistani territory since the inauguration of President Barrack Obama.
Pakistani leaders had expressed hope Obama would halt the attacks, more than 30 of which have been launched since the middle of last year, reportedly killing several senior militants.
The pro-U.S. government routinely protests them as a violation of the country's sovereignty, but most observers speculate it has an unwritten agreement allowing them to take place.
One drone fired three missiles into the village of Zharki in North Waziristan, hitting two buildings, the intelligence officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
At least seven people were killed, but there identities were not immediately known.
John Willis, an oceanographer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, published his first report about the warming oceans. The article Correcting Ocean Cooling (see below) published on NASA’s Earth Observatory page this week discussed his and other results. willis used data from1993-2003 that showed the warm-up and followed the Global Warming Theory. In 2006, he co-piloted a follow-up study led by John Lyman at Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle that updated the time series for 2003-2005. Surprisingly, the ocean seemed to have cooled. He was surprised, and called it a ’speed bump’ on the way to global warming.
A second, independent study was conducted. Takmeng Wong and his colleagues at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia came up with the same results. Wong studies net flux of solar energy at the top of our atmosphere. From the 1980s to 1990s his team noticed increased amounts net energy when comparing incoming solar energy to what Earth radiates and reflects. Since then, the solar flux has remained the same. Other studies have suggested that the sun’s output has decreased in the past few years.
As Barack Obama takes office, the public’s focus is overwhelmingly on domestic policy concerns – particularly the economy. Strengthening the nation’s economy and improving the job situation stand at the top of the public’s list of domestic priorities for 2009. Meanwhile, the priority placed on issues such as the environment, crime, illegal immigration and even reducing health care costs has fallen off from a year ago.
While it is not unusual for the public to prioritize domestic over foreign policy, the balance of opinion today is particularly one-sided. Roughly seven-in-ten Americans (71%) say that President Obama should focus on domestic policy, while just 11% prioritize foreign policy. By comparison, last January, 56% cited domestic policy as most important while 31% said Bush should focus on foreign policy.
The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Jan. 7-11 among 1,503 adults on cell phones and landlines, finds that strengthening the economy and improving the job situation are higher priorities today than they have been at any point over the past decade, and the recent upward trend has been steep. The share of Americans saying that strengthening the nation’s economy should be a top priority has risen from 68% two years ago to 75% last January to 85% today. Concern about jobs has risen even more sharply. The 82% who rate improving the job situation as a top priority represents a 21-point jump from 61% a year ago.
Of the 20 issues people were asked to rate in both January 2008 and January 2009, five have slipped significantly in importance as attention to the economy has surged. Protecting the environment fell the most precipitously – just 41% rate this as a top priority today, down from 56% a year ago. The percentage rating illegal immigration as a top priority has fallen from 51% to 41% over the past year, and reducing crime has fallen by a similar amount (from 54% to 46%). And while reducing health care costs remains a top priority to 59% of Americans, this is down 10-points from 69% one year ago.
The public’s interest in many other policy areas remains relatively stable, by comparison. Roughly three-quarters (76%) say that defending the country from future terrorist attacks should be a top priority, making it the third highest priority among the 20 issues tested in the survey. As recently as two years ago, terrorism ranked at the top of the list of policy priorities. The share of Americans who rate terrorism as a top priority has not changed substantially in recent years; the issue has simply been leapfrogged by the economy and jobs at the top of the list.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Because most trash cans had been removed for security reasons and a record-breaking crowd gathered downtown, the mountain of rubbish left behind was of historic proportions.
"More than any Fourth of July, more than any event we've seen," Park Service spokesman William Line said.
The detritus included handwarmer packets, bottles, food, newspapers, blankets, gloves, coolers and a table or two, in addition to items bought from street vendors.
"They left behind Obama hats, Obama bags, Obama socks," said Mafara Hobson, spokeswoman for Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D). "People left behind a lot of trash. A lot of it was the vendors along the parade route, too."
About 110 city workers were assembled downtown at 6 p.m. Tuesday, ready to begin their all-night cleanup. But with crowds still thick in the streets, the hardest work had to wait, said Nancee Lyons, a Department of Public Works spokeswoman who watched some of the overnight cleanup.
"There was so much trash left behind. Piles and piles," Lyons said. "When all those people were there, you didn't realize how bad it was. But once they left, we saw the work ahead."
- From various National Newspapers