Archive for July 1st, 2009
Fisnik Abrashi and Lara Jakes / Associated Press – July 1, 2009
Thousands of U.S. Marines and hundreds of Afghan troops moved into Taliban-infested villages with armor and helicopters early Thursday in the first major operation under President Barack Obama’s revamped strategy to stabilize Afghanistan.
The offensive in the once-forgotten war was launched shortly after 1 a.m. Thursday local time in Helmand province, a Taliban stronghold in the southern part of the country and the world’s largest opium poppy producing area. The goal is to clear insurgents from the hotly contested Helmand River Valley before the nation’s Aug. 20 presidential election.
Dubbed Operation Khanjar, or “Strike of the Sword,” the military push was described by officials as the largest and fastest-moving of the war’s new phase. British forces last week led similar, but smaller, missions to fight and clear out insurgents in Helmand and neighboring Kandahar provinces.
“Where we go we will stay, and where we stay, we will hold, build and work toward transition of all security responsibilities to Afghan forces,” Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Larry Nicholson said in a statement.
Southern Afghanistan is a Taliban stronghold but also a region where Afghan President Hamid Karzai is seeking votes from fellow Pashtun tribesmen. The Pentagon is deploying 21,000 additional troops to Afghanistan in time for the elections and expects the total number of U.S. forces there to reach 68,000 by year’s end. That is double the number of troops in Afghanistan in 2008, but still half of much as are now in Iraq.
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The Sydney Morning Herald / June 29, 2009
Russia has mobilised thousands of troops in the North Caucasus in sweeping war games aimed at warning foes that its military remains alert since fighting a war with Georgia in the area last year. Georgia swiftly condemned the exercises as “dangerous” and accused Moscow of seeking to stoke tensions in the region.
“Holding such large-scale exercises in this region… is dangerous and is playing with fire. This is aimed at further increasing tensions in the region,” Georgia’s deputy foreign minister, Alexander Nalbandov, told AFP on Monday.
Dubbed Caucasus 2009, the week-long exercises are just north of where Russia and Georgia fought over the pro-Moscow rebel region of South Ossetia. The war games are seen as Moscow’s response to recent NATO exercises in Georgia and experts say they are meant as an admonishment to Georgia, which Russia says is rearming its military. About 8,500 troops are participating in the exercises and up to 200 tanks, 450 armoured cars and 250 artillery pieces of various types, according to the Russian defence ministry.
The war game focus on counter-terrorism and the defence of strategic targets, the ministry said, and will run until July 6 – the day US President Barack Obama arrives for a much anticipated summit in Moscow.
“The aim of the exercises is to establish the actual state of battle readiness and troop mobilisation deployed in Russia’s southwest region,” local military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Andrei Bobrun told Russian news agencies.
The exercises will involve more troops than the Caucasus 2008 war games and include units from Russia’s Black Sea Fleet and its airforce. Some 8,000 soldiers took part in last year’s manoeuvres, which wrapped up shortly before the Russia-Georgia war broke.
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The Great Global Warming Swindle
Alastair Jamieson / Telegraph – July 1, 2009
The Turin Shroud was faked by Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci using pioneering photographic techniques and a sculpture of his own head, a television documentary claims.
A study of facial features suggests the image on the relic is actually da Vinci’s own face which could have been projected into the cloth.
The artefact has been regarded by generations of believers as the face of the crucified Jesus who was wrapped in it, but carbon-dating by scientists points to its creation in the Middle Ages.
American artist Lillian Schwartz, a graphic consultant at the School of Visual Arts in New York who came to prominence in the 1980s when she matched the face of the Mona Lisa to a Leonardo self-portrait, used computer scans to show that the face on the Shroud has the same dimensions to that of da Vinci.
“It matched. I’m excited about this,” she said. “There is no doubt in my mind that the proportions that Leonardo wrote about were used in creating this Shroud’s face.”
The claim is made in a Channel Five documentary, to be shown on Wednesday night, that describes how da Vinci could have scorched his facial features on to the linen of the Shroud using a sculpture of his face and a camera obscura – an early photographic device.
The programme says the fabric could have been hung over a frame in a blacked-out room and coated it with silver sulphate, a substance readily available in 15th century Italy which would have made it light-sensitive.
When the sun’s rays passed through a lens in one of the walls, da Vinci’s facial shape would have been projected on to the material, creating a permanent image.
Lynn Picknett, a Shroud researcher and author, said: “The faker of the shroud had to be a heretic, someone with no fear of faking Jesus’ holy redemptive blood. He had to have a grasp of anatomy and he had to have at his fingertips a technology which would completely fool everyone until the 20th century.
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Butler Shaffer / The LRC Blog – July 1, 2009
The political establishment’s response to the global warming doubts raised by EPA researcher, Alan Carlin, is remarkable. The mantra chanted by one EPA official – and dutifully echoed across the media – is that Mr. Carlin “is not a scientist.” This fact, of course, has not kept Al Gore from becoming the patron saint of the environmental religion. (Gore received his PhD in which of the recognized sciences?)
An assertion of this sort is evidence of the anti-intellectualism that has metastasized across academia and spread to other venues of expression. Universities have become so dominated by an insistence upon the inviolability of the “turfs” of various disciplines as to make one unworthy to speak on matters of which he or she has not been certified to utter opinions by fellow academics. There was once a time – many decades ago – when a “liberal arts” education was regarded as a means of introducing people to a wide range of subject areas that would permit them to think and speak intelligently on various matters affecting their lives. Collective thinking – which now permeates college campuses – rejects such an idea, conferring subject matter monopolies according to one’s acknowledged “expertise.”
When my “In Restraint of Trade” book was first published twelve years ago, an academic reviewer from a respected history department spent most of his time acquainting his readers with the fact that I taught in a law school and not a history department. The review ended up being little more than a strident defense of turf, and a condemnation of my efforts to focus attention on matters unfamiliar to historians.
I enjoy watching Jonathan Hoenig every Saturday morning on Fox News’ “Cashin’ In” program on investment analysis. He is a consistent advocate of free-markets, individual liberty, and private property. He recently stated that humans “must think in order to survive,” but that we have recently been “outsourcing” this function to others. Such a practice now prevails on university campuses, and helps to explain why academia is a source of so little original and meaningful thinking. Don’t wonder about what anything means: the “experts” whose jobs are dependent upon advancing the agendas of the political establishment will explain it all to you!
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Gerald Celente Speaks On Cap And Trade
Glenn Beck With Scientist Whose Report Was Supressed
Robert Bridge / Global Research – June 30, 2009
As global leaders struggle to rescue their nations from economic breakdown, the legitimacy of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency is under attack. Perhaps the problem lies with the Fed.
A large part of the “super” in the American superpower is based on the modern creed of liberal democracy, which serves as the motor of free-market capitalism. And the lubricant that keeps this colossal machine humming at full speed 24/7 is the US dollar. So before we risk any conjectures on the future prospects of America’s versatile banknote, which presently serves as the ‘world’s reserve currency,’ perhaps we should know more about who controls it.
In The Fed We Trust
It usually comes as a shock to people – especially diehard Americans who place infinite trust in their sacred Constitution – when they discover that the US dollar is not a product of the American government. That’s right, fellow consumers, that crumpled wad of dollars in your pocket is the product of the U.S. Federal Reserve, and despite the very official title, is about as “federal” as Federal Express. The reality is that the U.S. Federal Reserve is a profit-making venture just like Wal-Mart, General Motors or McDonald’s.
Yet the US Constitution clearly states that one of the many functions of government is to “coin money, regulate the value thereof.” Indeed, this task was deemed so important that the Founding Fathers mentioned it ahead of the obligation to “raise and support armies.” The Constitution says absolutely nothing about outside parties being responsible for printing money or regulating interest rates.
To quote Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, “The privilege of creating and issuing money is… the supreme prerogative of government.”
Today, a handful of blue-blooded American politicians (a very rare breed these days, it seems) are beginning to echo ol’ Abe on the very same issue.
Ron Paul, the congressman from Texas who made an unsuccessful bid for the 2008 Republican Party presidential nomination, represents a growing number of Americans who want to see the Fed severely tamed, or put out of business altogether.
“Congress created the Fed although it had no constitutional authority to do so,” Paul told his peers during a recent House investigative meeting. “We forget that those powers not explicitly granted to Congress by the Constitution are inherently denied to the Congress and thus the authority to establish a central bank was never given.
“Congress… has essentially given up its oversight responsibilities over the Fed: there are no true audits; Congress knows nothing of the conversations, the plans, and the action-taking in concert with other central banks. We get less and less information regarding the money supply each year,” Paul continued.
Incidentally, but certainly not insignificantly, Paul, despite his huge grassroots popularity, was deliberately snubbed by the American media on numerous occasions, including during a primetime debate on Fox News.
“Despite his $20 million and 10% showing in new Hampshire polls, Fox News excluded Paul from its Sunday night republican debate,” wrote Andrew Malcolm in his Los Angeles blog. “So Paul gets 10% in Iowa and gets excluded, but Rudy (Giuliani) gets 4% and sits on the left end of the Fox Box desk. Hmmm.” (To see why CNN probably won’t be hosting another ‘College Week’ political program in the near future, click here ).
How does the US media justify the outright snub of a proven politician (Paul has served 10 consecutive terms in the House of Representatives)? The answer is simple: Ron Paul is one of the few men who poses a threat to the powers that be: The U.S. Federal Reserve System.
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Pink Floyd: Another Brick In The Wall