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A thoughtful compilation and analysis of some important, but underreported and under-researched news stories, with particular focus on keeping the People informed about all Enemies, Foreign and Domestic.

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BY ALFRED WEST

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    Sunday, April 15, 2007

    Some in Congress Still Recognize the Second Amendment

    In February, unnoticed by me and the news wires, Representative (and now Presidential candidate) Ron Paul has introduced a bill "to restore the second amendment rights of all Americans" (H.R. 1022). To be brief, this bill would repeal all laws that infringe on the right of the People to keep and bear arms. As of this date, it has no cosponsors and has been referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, where it will likely die an ignoble death.(1)

    It's sad that we need a law to guarantee us our natural rights as enshrined in the Constitution. The fact is, no law that infringes on the second amendment should be able to survive a court challenge. The Second Amendment says in no uncertain terms that our right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.(2) What part of this is hard to understand?
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    (1) H.R. 1096 I.H.; S. 850 I.S. 110th Cong. (2007)
    (2) U.S. Const. amend. II



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    Wednesday, April 04, 2007

    Horde of Bicycling Ruffians called Critical Mass Assaults Family of Seven

    I had never heard about this group before, but apparently, it takes place in more than one city. The short version of the story is that a horde of ruffians on bicycles, calling themselves "Critical Mass" surrounded and attacked a family of seven. The parents had taken their five children for an outing that, in America, should have been terror free. In San Francisco, thanks to some members of Critical Mass, it wasn't.
    Susan Ferrando, her husband, their two children and three preteens had come to San Francisco . . . to celebrate the birthday of Ferrando's 11-year-old daughter. They went to Japantown, where they enjoyed shopping and taking in the blooming cherry blossoms.

    [T]he family [left] Japantown . . . just as the party of about 3,000 bikers was winding down its monthly red-lights-be-damned ride through the city.

    Suddenly, Ferrando said, her car was surrounded by hundreds of cyclists.

    Not being from San Francisco, Ferrando thought she might have inadvertently crossed paths with a bicycle race and couldn't figure out why the police, who she had just passed, hadn't warned her.

    Confusion, however, quickly turned to terror, she said, when the swarming cyclists began wildly circling around and then running into the sides of her Toyota van.

    Filled with panic, Ferrando said, she started inching forward until coming to a stop at Post and Gough streets, where she was surrounded by bikers on all sides.

    A biker in front blocked her as another biker began pounding on the windshield. Another was pounding on her window. Another pounded the other side.

    "It seemed like they were using their bikes as weapons," Ferrando said. One of the bikers then threw his bike -- shattering the rear window and terrifying the young girls inside.(1)

    There were cops on the scene and they declined to arrest Mrs. Ferrando despite the bike hooligans' demands that she be charged with a crime (they claim that she tapped one of the bikes with the her car; which could be considered at least a tort if these ruffians hadn't assumed the risk by surrounding the van and riding in very close quarters)(2)
    Bicycle advocates . . . said . . . that Ferrando did more than tap the bicyclist, and that the incident occurred toward the end of the ride, when there were dozens -- not thousands -- of bicyclists in the area, as Ferrando claims. Bicycle Coalition executive director Leah Shahum said witnesses told her that Ferrando "recklessly accelerated" into a crowd and hit the bicyclist so hard the bike was lodged under her vehicle.(3)

    I would be interested to hear how many bicycling belligerents the police counted. And when they're surrounding your car, dozens can look like scores, or even hundreds.

    Personally, I am skeptical of any claim made by a group of Critical Mass' nature. They are known for blocking traffic, running red lights(4), and other lawless behavior, such as vandalism.(5) I think that New York has the right idea; they've begun arresting outlaw bicyclists who think that the rules of the road do not apply to them.(6)

    San Fransisco Mayor Newsom has said, "[i]t does the bicycle-advocacy community no good to have people that are aggressive and dispirit the entire movement. I would encourage the bicycle coalition to say, 'Look, we don't put up with this, enough is enough.'"(7)

    I think the mayor has some good advice. If Critical Mass isn't careful, they will see a new critical mass of people who are fed up with their lawless conduct and they will demand that their government do something about it. In states where people are actually allowed to defend themselves from attacks, these hooligans might find motorists retaliating, and when that happens, I predict they will scatter like cockroaches do when exposed to light.
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    (1) Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross. "Minivan's rude introduction to Critical Smash," San Francisco Chronicle, 2007 April 04, paras. 4-11, http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2007/04/04/BAGF7P12RN23.DTL.
    (2) Ibid. paras. 16-18.
    (3) Cecilia Vega and Marisa Lagos. "Mayor vows 'a good look' at Critical Mass
    Redwood City family's van damaged after being caught up in ride," San Francisco Chronicle, 2007 April 04, para. 4, http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/04/04/BAGLRP2LEI8.DTL.
    (4) Hannah Sutherland. "Cycling community celebrated Saturday," The Surrey Leader, 2007 March 23, para. 6, http://www.surreyleader.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=73&cat=23&id=859367&more=.
    (5) Matier and Ross. para. 22.
    (6) T.W. Farnam. "Critical Mass ride interrupted," Newsday, 2007 March 30, http://www.newsday.com/news/local/newyork/ny-nybike-0331,0,449624.story?coll=ny-top-headlines.
    (7) Alexandria Rocha. "Newsom to Critical Mass: Police yourself," The Examiner, 2007 April 05, para. 3, http://www.examiner.com/a-657770~Newsom_to_Critical_Mass__Police_yourself.html.

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    Monday, April 02, 2007

    China Eyes Moon for Nuclear-Powered Rover Mission

    China is working to build up their space program. The latest example is a proposed mission to the moon which would involve an unmanned rover.(1)

    Ignoring for the time being the fact that the Chinese Space program is actually controlled by their so-called "People's Liberation" Army, (which is actually noted by the Associated Press),(2) there is a bit of media bias to point out in this report.

    The proposed exploration vehicle is to be nuclear powered.(3) And I have yet to see any reports of protests against China for putting a nuclear reactor in space. This is at odds with the coverage of the 1997 launch of the Nuclear powered Cassini probe. There was a highly reported protest against the United States and NASA (though, curiously not the ESA) based around the idea that nuclear reactors are dangerous and NASA could kill "thousands, and perhaps millions, of people" if this launch went wrong.(4) So I find myself asking a question I have asked before (though with different actors). Why is it that if the United States wants to launch a nuclear powered space vehicle, protesters come out and say that America is evil and wants to kill us all, but they don't utter a peep when China proposes to do the same thing? Or, if such protesters are in fact extant, why has the news media decided not to cover them?

    In a further note of interest, the Chinese military hopes to put one of their people on the Moon sometime after 2017.(5) Should we be concerned? I think so. I don't think this new space race is something we can afford to lose, because loss would mean Chinese military superiority in space.



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    (1) Christopher Bodeen. "China Developing Lunar Rover for Mission," The Disbatch, 2007 April 02, http://www.the-dispatch.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070402/API/704021433&cachetime=5.
    (2) Ibid., para. 9.
    (3) Ibid., paras. 1 & 5.
    (4) John Zarrella. "Much ado about Cassini's plutonium -- Critics say launch could result in deadly disaster," CNN, 1997 October 10, http://www.cnn.com/TECH/9710/10/cassini.advancer/.
    (5) William Atkins. "Shanghai scientists in China hope lunar rover will go to Moon," iTWire, 2007 April 02, para. 5, http://www.itwire.com.au/content/view/11030/1066/.


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    Sunday, April 01, 2007

    China Increases Military Threat Profile

    The Chinese military has, according to Marine Corps Gen. James Cartwright "undertaken what we would call a very disciplined and comprehensive continuum of capability against ... our space capabilities,"(1)

    Senator Bill Nelson of Florida is on the record saying "that China is expected to have enough ASAT [anti-satellite] weapons by 2010 to 'basically knock out most of our satellites in low-earth orbit.'"(2)

    As if the new threat to our satellites isn't enough, Beijing is beginning to challenge the U.S. navy.

    Dozens of hunter-killers [submarines], armed with missiles and intelligence-gathering equipment, are being built, fanning fears of potential conflict in a volatile corner of the world and threatening to alter the global balance of military power. . . China and India - the two emergent superpowers of the Asia-Pacific region - are now planning a new generation of nuclear-powered boats that, in China's case, could fire nuclear missiles capable of hitting the US mainland.(3)

    Make no mistake, China is a military threat to the United States, and its history of aggressive acts toward other powers(4) make this even more obvious.
    The potential for conflict became a reality last October. The USS Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier, at 82,000 tons, is the embodiment of US naval superiority in the Pacific, which has gone unchallenged since the Battle of Midway in 1942.

    Supported by an attack submarine and anti-submarine helicopters, it was conducting routine exercises around the island of Okinawa when its crew was startled - and embarrassed - by the sudden appearance of a Chinese Song-class submarine.

    The boat, apparently practising anti-carrier warfare, had gone undetected until it surfaced five miles away - putting the American vessel within range of its Russian-made, wake-homing torpedoes and anti-ship cruise missiles.(5)

    Since 1996, China's leaders have increased investment "in weapons to boost its naval power. President Hu Jintao told Communist Party delegates last year he wants a navy prepared "at any time" for military action [against the United States]."(6)

    With our military tied up in numerous overseas operations we would be extremely vulnerable to an attack by China. And such an attack could easily come given the United States' promise to defend Taiwan from invasion and China's promise to conquer Taiwan through military invasion if necessary.(7)


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    (1) Bill Gertz. "China has gained and tested array of space weapons," The Washington Times, 2007 March 30, para. 2, http://washingtontimes.com/national/20070329-114710-9929r.htm.
    (2) Ibid., para. 6.
    (3) Tim Shipman and Chad Bouchard. "China is accused of fuelling Pacific arms race," The Telegraph, 2007 January 04, paras. 2 & 4 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/04/01/warms01.xml.
    (4) In 2004, China violated Japan's sovereignty when one of their nuclear submarines entered Japanese waters and remained there for two hours. J. Sean Curtin. "Submarine puts Japan-China ties into a dive," Asia Times Online, 2004 November 17, http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Japan/FK17Dh01.html.
    (5) Shipman and Bouchard, paras. 10-12.
    (6)Ibid., para. 23
    (7) "Chinese military to crush any attempt to split Taiwan from China: white paper," People's Daily Online, 2004 December 27, http://english.people.com.cn/200412/27/eng20041227_168785.html.


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