Krypt3ia

(Greek: κρυπτεία / krupteía, from κρυπτός / kruptós, “hidden, secret things”)

Archive for December 1st, 2008

Learn Chinese…

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Growth projections for Brazil, Russia, India, and China (the BRICs) indicate they will
collectively match the original G-7’s share of global GDP by 2040-2050. China is poised to
have more impact on the world over the next 20 years than any other country. If current trends
persist, by 2025 China will have the world’s second largest economy and will be a leading
military power. It also could be the largest importer of natural resources and the biggest polluter.

India probably will continue to enjoy relatively rapid economic growth and will strive for a
multipolar world in which New Delhi is one of the poles. China and India must decide the extent
to which they are willing and capable of playing increasing global roles and how each will relate
to the other. Russia has the potential to be richer, more powerful, and more self-assured in 2025
if it invests in human capital, expands and diversifies its economy, and integrates with global
markets.

On the other hand, Russia could experience a significant decline if it fails to take these steps and oil and gas prices remain in the $50-70 per barrel range. No other countries are
projected to rise to the level of China, India, or Russia, and none is likely to match their
individual global clout. We expect, however, to see the political and economic power of other
countries—such as Indonesia, Iran, and Turkey—increase

2025 Global Trends Final Report

Written by Krypt3ia

2008/12/01 at 20:13

Posted in Uncategorized

Learn Chinese…

leave a comment »

Growth projections for Brazil, Russia, India, and China (the BRICs) indicate they will
collectively match the original G-7’s share of global GDP by 2040-2050. China is poised to
have more impact on the world over the next 20 years than any other country. If current trends
persist, by 2025 China will have the world’s second largest economy and will be a leading
military power. It also could be the largest importer of natural resources and the biggest polluter.

India probably will continue to enjoy relatively rapid economic growth and will strive for a
multipolar world in which New Delhi is one of the poles. China and India must decide the extent
to which they are willing and capable of playing increasing global roles and how each will relate
to the other. Russia has the potential to be richer, more powerful, and more self-assured in 2025
if it invests in human capital, expands and diversifies its economy, and integrates with global
markets.

On the other hand, Russia could experience a significant decline if it fails to take these steps and oil and gas prices remain in the $50-70 per barrel range. No other countries are
projected to rise to the level of China, India, or Russia, and none is likely to match their
individual global clout. We expect, however, to see the political and economic power of other
countries—such as Indonesia, Iran, and Turkey—increase

2025 Global Trends Final Report

Written by Krypt3ia

2008/12/01 at 20:13

Posted in Uncategorized

Fool Me Once.. Fool Me… Ya Can’t Fool Me…

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WHITE HOUSE (CNN) – Whoops! A picture of a Christmas tree is not the first thing you would expect to see on an invitation to an event celebrating Hanukkah, but that is exactly what recipients of invitations to this year’s White House Hanukkah reception initially got in the mail.

The invitation sent to American Jewish leaders on behalf of the President and First Lady, requesting “the pleasure of your company at a Hanukkah reception,” bore an image of a Clydesdale horse-drawn cart, carrying the White House Christmas tree, with a Christmas wreath-adorned White House in the background.

Mrs. Bush’s press secretary, Sally McDonough, attributed the snafu to a “staff mistake” in not printing separate cards for the different White House holiday events, as has been the custom in years past. “Mrs. Bush is apologetic, It is just something that fell through the cracks,” she said, referring to the role of the First Lady’s office in sending out the invitations.

The card as originally intended featured a menorah given to the White House during Harry Truman’s presidency. That mailing was to have gone out today, according to Mrs. McDonough.
McDonough added that the White House had received “dozens” of calls of support from members of the Jewish community to express their appreciation for what President and Mrs. Bush had done for them through the course of Mr. Bush’s presidency.

Written by Krypt3ia

2008/12/01 at 19:59

Posted in Uncategorized

Crumbling South Bronx as a Muse

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By RANDY KENNEDY
Published: November 30, 2008

When Ray Mortenson first started taking his cameras through the most wasted of the wastelands that made up parts of the South Bronx in the early 1980s, he devised a helpful subway mantra: Take the 5, stay alive. Take the 4, dead for sure.

This was only because the No. 5 line led through a handful of neighborhoods — East Tremont, Mott Haven, Morrisania — that had been so gutted and burned out during the 1970s that whole blocks were almost completely abandoned, meaning fewer chances of stumbling into a mugger or drug deal.

As a sculptor and photographer, Mr. Mortenson began making these Bronx trips because he was interested in the purely physical and visual characteristics of a once dense, elegant urban landscape that had come to look like excavated Pompeii or Dresden after the firebombs. Not that he would have ever wanted part of his city to endure the kind of devastation it did, but once the South Bronx reached that state he approached it aesthetically, as a “hard-art project.”

“I like being here,” he wrote. “I like the way it looks.”

Mr. Mortenson’s rarely exhibited black-and-white photographs, made between 1982 and 1984, are such powerful artifacts of their era that they have always struggled against being pulled into the documentary realm. And now, in a show of the pictures at the Museum of the City of New York called “Broken Glass” — the title is a line borrowed from the lyrics of the Grandmaster Flash classic “The Message” — the pictures have the added resonance of appearing as the nation confronts its most serious economic crisis since the Great Depression, making them feel like a kind of augury.

“You hear about this happening now in suburban places hit by foreclosures — empty houses, windows going broken, swimming pools filling up with trash,” Mr. Mortenson said in a recent interview at the museum.

When he began taking the pictures, he was working as an electrician and engaged by the ideas of artists like Robert Smithson and Gordon Matta-Clark, whose explorations of urban decay and entropy had made America’s crumbling infrastructure into a new canvas for art.

In the late 1960s Smithson photographed the industrial ruins around his birthplace, Passaic, N.J., christening them as monuments. In the early 1970s Matta-Clark staged illegal “interventions” in some of the same Bronx neighborhoods that Mr. Mortenson was to visit, slicing whole sculpturelike sections from the floors and walls of abandoned tenements.

Mr. Mortenson’s first photographic explorations of this sort took him to the Meadowlands in New Jersey, where nature and industrial decay met in epic combat. Toward the end of the years he spent exploring the swamps he began taking the elevated subway lines through the Bronx and looking out at the rubble that many neighborhoods had been reduced to. As a child growing up in Delaware, he loved spending time alone walking through forests and fields, and he said he thought of the Meadowlands and then the Bronx in the same way.

“I could spend hours walking around some blocks without seeing anyone,” he said. He would wander around Charlotte Street, one of the South Bronx’s bleakest, which President Jimmy Carter had made infamous in a 1977 visit. (It is now in a suburblike neighborhood of neat single-family homes built not many years after Mr. Mortenson’s photographs were taken.)

He would walk through dozens of buildings that seemed to have been abandoned overnight, with coats still hanging on closet doors and furniture still in the living rooms. But the elements had begun to creep in through the broken windows, peeling the paint and causing ceiling plaster to rain down on the floors.

Mr. Mortenson, now 64, began shooting inconspicuously, wearing a beaten-up Army jacket, with a rolled-up New York Post under his arm and a 35-millimeter camera in his pocket. But as he began to learn the neighborhoods, spending sometimes 12 hours a day there during long summer days, he started to lug around a big, boxy view camera. He would set it up on the streets or inside abandoned apartments on a tripod to make exposures sometimes lasting as long as 10 minutes.

“I’d set up the shot and open the lens and then just walk around the building, exploring, until it was done,” he said.

Occasionally he ran into other human beings. Once he was surrounded by drug dealers, who demanded his film, and in the darkness of some buildings he would almost stumble over scavengers ripping out copper wiring and pipes. “You really had a heart attack when that happened,” he said, “and I’m sure those guys were having a heart attack too.”

In contrast to the work of photographers who have concentrated on urban decay from a more sociological perspective, like Camilo José Vergara, or even from an activist standpoint, like Mel Rosenthal, who was shooting the South Bronx at the same time, Mr. Mortenson’s pictures are devoid of people or even cars. Other than notations of the day they were shot, there is no information accompanying them. “I wasn’t carrying a notebook or even a map,” he said. “I was just going where my eye took me.”

Sean Corcoran, the curator of prints and photographs at the Museum of the City of New York, said he was drawn to the images in part because of the tension in them between art and history. “The act of framing and capturing an image from the world is inherently transformative,” he wrote in the catalog for the show, which runs through March 8. “Yet the pictures also provide an important record of a moment in time.”

Mr. Corcoran writes that they insistently ask the question: “How could things get to this point? What political, economic and cultural shifts could lead to such a collapse?”

Mr. Mortenson said he had not returned to those blocks since he stopped taking photographs in the Bronx in 1984. “I’m ambivalent about it,” he said. “There was something about being there alone, about that time, that I guess I want to keep.”

“It was kind of like being in a horror movie,” he added. “But that was all part of it.”

I swear, though this guy is 24 years my senior and alive, I have been channeling him. Back in the late 80’s-early 90’s I began to shoot the abandoned places near me. Much of the way he feels and the approach he has taken are mine as well. I plan on taking a trip to the museum to see more of his work. Good stuff.

Written by Krypt3ia

2008/12/01 at 19:45

Posted in Uncategorized

Uncle Lew: No Free Lunch

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Written by Krypt3ia

2008/12/01 at 07:42

Posted in Uncategorized

Uncle Lew: No Free Lunch

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Written by Krypt3ia

2008/12/01 at 07:42

Posted in Uncategorized

Pentagon to detail plan to bolster security Plan would dedicate 20,000 uniformed troops inside U.S.

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Pentagon to detail plan to bolster security
Plan would dedicate 20,000 uniformed troops inside U.S. by 2011
By Spencer S. Hsu and Ann Scott Tyson
The Washington Post
updated 11:46 p.m. ET, Sun., Nov. 30, 2008

The U.S. military expects to have 20,000 uniformed troops inside the United States by 2011 trained to help state and local officials respond to a nuclear terrorist attack or other domestic catastrophe, according to Pentagon officials.

The long-planned shift in the Defense Department’s role in homeland security was recently backed with funding and troop commitments after years of prodding by Congress and outside experts, defense analysts said.

There are critics of the change, in the military and among civil liberties groups and libertarians who express concern that the new homeland emphasis threatens to strain the military and possibly undermine the Posse Comitatus Act, a 130-year-old federal law restricting the military’s role in domestic law enforcement.

But the Bush administration and some in Congress have pushed for a heightened homeland military role since the middle of this decade, saying the greatest domestic threat is terrorists exploiting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, dedicating 20,000 troops to domestic response — a nearly sevenfold increase in five years — “would have been extraordinary to the point of unbelievable,” Paul McHale, assistant defense secretary for homeland defense, said in remarks last month at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. But the realization that civilian authorities may be overwhelmed in a catastrophe prompted “a fundamental change in military culture,” he said.

The Pentagon’s plan calls for three rapid-reaction forces to be ready for emergency response by September 2011. The first 4,700-person unit, built around an active-duty combat brigade based at Fort Stewart, Ga., was available as of Oct. 1, said Gen. Victor E. Renuart Jr., commander of the U.S. Northern Command.

If funding continues, two additional teams will join nearly 80 smaller National Guard and reserve units made up of about 6,000 troops in supporting local and state officials nationwide. All would be trained to respond to a domestic chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or high-yield explosive attack, or CBRNE event, as the military calls it.

Military preparations for a domestic weapon-of-mass-destruction attack have been underway since at least 1996, when the Marine Corps activated a 350-member chemical and biological incident response force and later based it in Indian Head, Md., a Washington suburb. Such efforts accelerated after the Sept. 11 attacks, and at the time Iraq was invaded in 2003, a Pentagon joint task force drew on 3,000 civil support personnel across the United States.

In 2005, a new Pentagon homeland defense strategy emphasized “preparing for multiple, simultaneous mass casualty incidents.” National security threats were not limited to adversaries who seek to grind down U.S. combat forces abroad, McHale said, but also include those who “want to inflict such brutality on our society that we give up the fight,” such as by detonating a nuclear bomb in a U.S. city.

In late 2007, Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England signed a directive approving more than $556 million over five years to set up the three response teams, known as CBRNE Consequence Management Response Forces. Planners assume an incident could lead to thousands of casualties, more than 1 million evacuees and contamination of as many as 3,000 square miles, about the scope of damage Hurricane Katrina caused in 2005.

Last month, McHale said, authorities agreed to begin a $1.8 million pilot project funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency through which civilian authorities in five states could tap military planners to develop disaster response plans. Hawaii, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Washington and West Virginia will each focus on a particular threat — pandemic flu, a terrorist attack, hurricane, earthquake and catastrophic chemical release, respectively — speeding up federal and state emergency planning begun in 2003.

Last Monday, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates ordered defense officials to review whether the military, Guard and reserves can respond adequately to domestic disasters.

Gates gave commanders 25 days to propose changes and cost estimates. He cited the work of a congressionally chartered commission, which concluded in January that the Guard and reserve forces are not ready and that they lack equipment and training.

Bert B. Tussing, director of homeland defense and security issues at the U.S. Army War College’s Center for Strategic Leadership, said the new Pentagon approach “breaks the mold” by assigning an active-duty combat brigade to the Northern Command for the first time. Until now, the military required the command to rely on troops requested from other sources.

“This is a genuine recognition that this [job] isn’t something that you want to have a pickup team responsible for,” said Tussing, who has assessed the military’s homeland security strategies.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the libertarian Cato Institute are troubled by what they consider an expansion of executive authority.

Domestic emergency deployment may be “just the first example of a series of expansions in presidential and military authority,” or even an increase in domestic surveillance, said Anna Christensen of the ACLU’s National Security Project. And Cato Vice President Gene Healy warned of “a creeping militarization” of homeland security.

“There’s a notion that whenever there’s an important problem, that the thing to do is to call in the boys in green,” Healy said, “and that’s at odds with our long-standing tradition of being wary of the use of standing armies to keep the peace.”

McHale stressed that the response units will be subject to the act, that only 8 percent of their personnel will be responsible for security and that their duties will be to protect the force, not other law enforcement. For decades, the military has assigned larger units to respond to civil disturbances, such as during the Los Angeles riot in 1992.

U.S. forces are already under heavy strain, however. The first reaction force is built around the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team, which returned in April after 15 months in Iraq. The team includes operations, aviation and medical task forces that are to be ready to deploy at home or overseas within 48 hours, with units specializing in chemical decontamination, bomb disposal, emergency care and logistics.

The one-year domestic mission, however, does not replace the brigade’s next scheduled combat deployment in 2010. The brigade may get additional time in the United States to rest and regroup, compared with other combat units, but it may also face more training and operational requirements depending on its homeland security assignments.

Renuart said the Pentagon is accounting for the strain of fighting two wars, and the need for troops to spend time with their families. “We want to make sure the parameters are right for Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said. The 1st Brigade’s soldiers “will have some very aggressive training, but will also be home for much of that.”

Although some Pentagon leaders initially expected to build the next two response units around combat teams, they are likely to be drawn mainly from reserves and the National Guard, such as the 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade from South Carolina, which returned in May after more than a year in Afghanistan.

Now that Pentagon strategy gives new priority to homeland security and calls for heavier reliance on the Guard and reserves, McHale said, Washington has to figure out how to pay for it.

“It’s one thing to decide upon a course of action, and it’s something else to make it happen,” he said. “It’s time to put our money where our mouth is.”

Well, posse comitatus is dead… We’ll see just how much of a role these guys have. I say perhaps we should instead oh, train the guard properly instead?

Written by Krypt3ia

2008/12/01 at 06:30

Posted in Uncategorized

Pentagon to detail plan to bolster security Plan would dedicate 20,000 uniformed troops inside U.S.

with one comment

Pentagon to detail plan to bolster security
Plan would dedicate 20,000 uniformed troops inside U.S. by 2011
By Spencer S. Hsu and Ann Scott Tyson
The Washington Post
updated 11:46 p.m. ET, Sun., Nov. 30, 2008

The U.S. military expects to have 20,000 uniformed troops inside the United States by 2011 trained to help state and local officials respond to a nuclear terrorist attack or other domestic catastrophe, according to Pentagon officials.

The long-planned shift in the Defense Department’s role in homeland security was recently backed with funding and troop commitments after years of prodding by Congress and outside experts, defense analysts said.

There are critics of the change, in the military and among civil liberties groups and libertarians who express concern that the new homeland emphasis threatens to strain the military and possibly undermine the Posse Comitatus Act, a 130-year-old federal law restricting the military’s role in domestic law enforcement.

But the Bush administration and some in Congress have pushed for a heightened homeland military role since the middle of this decade, saying the greatest domestic threat is terrorists exploiting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, dedicating 20,000 troops to domestic response — a nearly sevenfold increase in five years — “would have been extraordinary to the point of unbelievable,” Paul McHale, assistant defense secretary for homeland defense, said in remarks last month at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. But the realization that civilian authorities may be overwhelmed in a catastrophe prompted “a fundamental change in military culture,” he said.

The Pentagon’s plan calls for three rapid-reaction forces to be ready for emergency response by September 2011. The first 4,700-person unit, built around an active-duty combat brigade based at Fort Stewart, Ga., was available as of Oct. 1, said Gen. Victor E. Renuart Jr., commander of the U.S. Northern Command.

If funding continues, two additional teams will join nearly 80 smaller National Guard and reserve units made up of about 6,000 troops in supporting local and state officials nationwide. All would be trained to respond to a domestic chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or high-yield explosive attack, or CBRNE event, as the military calls it.

Military preparations for a domestic weapon-of-mass-destruction attack have been underway since at least 1996, when the Marine Corps activated a 350-member chemical and biological incident response force and later based it in Indian Head, Md., a Washington suburb. Such efforts accelerated after the Sept. 11 attacks, and at the time Iraq was invaded in 2003, a Pentagon joint task force drew on 3,000 civil support personnel across the United States.

In 2005, a new Pentagon homeland defense strategy emphasized “preparing for multiple, simultaneous mass casualty incidents.” National security threats were not limited to adversaries who seek to grind down U.S. combat forces abroad, McHale said, but also include those who “want to inflict such brutality on our society that we give up the fight,” such as by detonating a nuclear bomb in a U.S. city.

In late 2007, Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England signed a directive approving more than $556 million over five years to set up the three response teams, known as CBRNE Consequence Management Response Forces. Planners assume an incident could lead to thousands of casualties, more than 1 million evacuees and contamination of as many as 3,000 square miles, about the scope of damage Hurricane Katrina caused in 2005.

Last month, McHale said, authorities agreed to begin a $1.8 million pilot project funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency through which civilian authorities in five states could tap military planners to develop disaster response plans. Hawaii, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Washington and West Virginia will each focus on a particular threat — pandemic flu, a terrorist attack, hurricane, earthquake and catastrophic chemical release, respectively — speeding up federal and state emergency planning begun in 2003.

Last Monday, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates ordered defense officials to review whether the military, Guard and reserves can respond adequately to domestic disasters.

Gates gave commanders 25 days to propose changes and cost estimates. He cited the work of a congressionally chartered commission, which concluded in January that the Guard and reserve forces are not ready and that they lack equipment and training.

Bert B. Tussing, director of homeland defense and security issues at the U.S. Army War College’s Center for Strategic Leadership, said the new Pentagon approach “breaks the mold” by assigning an active-duty combat brigade to the Northern Command for the first time. Until now, the military required the command to rely on troops requested from other sources.

“This is a genuine recognition that this [job] isn’t something that you want to have a pickup team responsible for,” said Tussing, who has assessed the military’s homeland security strategies.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the libertarian Cato Institute are troubled by what they consider an expansion of executive authority.

Domestic emergency deployment may be “just the first example of a series of expansions in presidential and military authority,” or even an increase in domestic surveillance, said Anna Christensen of the ACLU’s National Security Project. And Cato Vice President Gene Healy warned of “a creeping militarization” of homeland security.

“There’s a notion that whenever there’s an important problem, that the thing to do is to call in the boys in green,” Healy said, “and that’s at odds with our long-standing tradition of being wary of the use of standing armies to keep the peace.”

McHale stressed that the response units will be subject to the act, that only 8 percent of their personnel will be responsible for security and that their duties will be to protect the force, not other law enforcement. For decades, the military has assigned larger units to respond to civil disturbances, such as during the Los Angeles riot in 1992.

U.S. forces are already under heavy strain, however. The first reaction force is built around the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team, which returned in April after 15 months in Iraq. The team includes operations, aviation and medical task forces that are to be ready to deploy at home or overseas within 48 hours, with units specializing in chemical decontamination, bomb disposal, emergency care and logistics.

The one-year domestic mission, however, does not replace the brigade’s next scheduled combat deployment in 2010. The brigade may get additional time in the United States to rest and regroup, compared with other combat units, but it may also face more training and operational requirements depending on its homeland security assignments.

Renuart said the Pentagon is accounting for the strain of fighting two wars, and the need for troops to spend time with their families. “We want to make sure the parameters are right for Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said. The 1st Brigade’s soldiers “will have some very aggressive training, but will also be home for much of that.”

Although some Pentagon leaders initially expected to build the next two response units around combat teams, they are likely to be drawn mainly from reserves and the National Guard, such as the 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade from South Carolina, which returned in May after more than a year in Afghanistan.

Now that Pentagon strategy gives new priority to homeland security and calls for heavier reliance on the Guard and reserves, McHale said, Washington has to figure out how to pay for it.

“It’s one thing to decide upon a course of action, and it’s something else to make it happen,” he said. “It’s time to put our money where our mouth is.”

Well, posse comitatus is dead… We’ll see just how much of a role these guys have. I say perhaps we should instead oh, train the guard properly instead?

Written by Krypt3ia

2008/12/01 at 06:30

Posted in Uncategorized