"I traced the start of the legislative stalemate crippling Obama's agenda to Limbaugh's now infamous statement, "I hope he fails." It was a criticism. Rush took it as a compliment.
That's exactly what's wrong in America right now." - John Avlon
al-Qaeda has been hurt by the global financial crisis and that it is no longer a major fount of terrorism. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that AIG and Goldman Sachs had sold financial instruments to al-Qaeda like they did to the governments of Greece, Portugal, and Spain. In the real world, that translates as: "No more extensive militant training camps, travel and lodging costs reimbursed, operations planned years in advance, pricey pilot classes in the United States for would-be suicide pilots."
Not only are the small donations from sympathetic Muslims drying up, but sanctions on businesses, charitable organizations, and religious donations have all come under tighter scrutiny due to the financial crisis. More attention is being paid, and more areas are opening up to find out where money has been flowing. For example, many Swiss banks that previously touted their privacy have opened their files under pressure of supporting terrorists and drug money laundering.
"If you're found to be giving money to al-Qaeda, then you suffer considerably, because your reputation, your business, all goes down the drain"As for Osama and his band of merry men, they have retreated into survival mode, hiding out from an international manhunt, and not able to make any plans against the Great Satans of the world. According to financial terrorist expert Laura Napoleoni: "Osama bin Laden and (his deputy Ayman) Al-Zawahiri maintain a high profile, they project an image of threat. They are iconic figures, but they don't do anything, except survive. They don't plan attacks, they are icons hiding in Waziristan and that's it. They don't need a lot of money for that."
So, if the war on terror has succeeded against al-Qaeda, do you feel that the world is a safer place? Or has the US gone stumbling around the world like a bull in a China shop, knocking expensive stuff off of the shelves that it can never pay for? With President Obama extending parts of the Patriot Act, do you feel any safer at home, any less paranoid about big brother and federal law enforcement?
"We do not need to conquer one another, but we do need to live together"
Even though the latest offensive in Afghanistan was a military success for the NATO forces of good and light, it cost innocent lives in the recent bombings in Kabul. Unfortunately: "United States government agencies are asking why, after US$7 billion has been spent on training and salaries, Afghan police are still widely considered corrupt and inefficient. In particular, the State Department is accused of failing to oversee private contractors involved in training, and there are questions as to why there is a severe shortage of equipment." - Pratap Chatterjee
The government of Hamid Karzai has not gotten any less corrupt or interested in stability and welfare of the Afghan citizens. As soon as the Western forces leave, the place will fall apart like a house of cards, the Pashtuns being the joker waiting in the wings. Pakistan knows this, and that is why they didn't allow extradition to US custody of Mullah Abdul Baradar, the #2 Taliban head honcho. Also, the US envoy Richard Holbrooke made the rounds to the surrounding countries of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, letting them know that they still have a friend...
revenge of the coyote people...
It's been pretty difficult for many Mexican illegal immigrants, who risked life and limb to get into the US, only to wait outside of the Home Depot for hours every day hoping that some contractor would hire them for dollars paid under the table. At least until they could afford to buy a Puerto Rican birth certificate... My younger brother was notorious for hiring guys to work for him. He'd buy them some lunch and beer, then drop them back off without paying them, moving on to the next group of men waiting at the next Home Depot...
taken over our National Forests and Park Lands: "Pot has been grown on public lands for decades, but Mexican traffickers have taken it to a whole new level: using armed guards and trip wires to safeguard sprawling plots that in some cases contain tens of thousands of plants offering a potential yield of more than 30 tons of pot a year.
Mexican traffickers have "supersized" the marijuana trade... All of the sites are far from the eyes of law enforcement, where growers can take the time needed to grow far more potent marijuana. Farmers of these fields use illegal fertilizers to help the plants along, and use cloned female plants to reduce the amount of seed in the bud that is dried and eventually sold... Many of the plots are encircled with crude explosives and are patrolled by guards armed with AK-47s who survey the perimeter from the ground and from perches high in the trees."
I've written about this before, about a year ago, and seen documentaries on it on the History Channel. Due to budget constraints, lack of knowledgeable personnel, and the difficulty of getting to these farms, maybe about half of them are found and eradicated every year. So, next time you go hiking or camping in your favorite neck of the woods, take along two things: a friend who speaks Spanish and your medical marijuana card... now we know why you can legally carry a gun into the park...
Here in Colorado Springs we've been bitching because we cannot afford to water the parks, and everything will eventually die off, costing us much more when we can finally afford to replant. The solution is right before our eyes: let our local Mexican gangs take over the maintenance of our parks. If they will keep them green and looking nice for the public, we will give them designated areas off limits to the public for their special farms. Heck, the city could even go into business with them, distributing to all of the local dispensaries. A win/win situation, I think. It would solve our financial problems, maybe enough so that we wouldn't need local taxes, and we could adopt a sister city in Michoacan for cultural stimulation...