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Kuwaiti activists targeted under GCC security pact

The Saudi-backed Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Internal Security Pact signed by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait is now in full swing. It has truly ushered a new era of Pax Saudiana across the Gulf. The agreement was proposed in 1982 but remained under discussion until all GCC countries accepted its terms. The last country to ratify the pact was Kuwait. Ironically, the first casualties of this controversial agreement that took almost three decades to be ratified are Kuwaiti activists. Since January, at least three Kuwaiti opposition figures, social media activists and heads of political movements have been detained at the request of the Saudi authorities. Meant to enhance security for economic development and stability of GCC countries, the pact has now tuned into creating cross-border controls, evacuating the Arab Gulf of dissent and eliminating safe havens for dissidents of one country in another one.

The first casualty was Hakim al-Mutairi, an Islamist graduate in religious studies at Birmingham University and founder of the Umma Party in 2008, a Salafist transnational movement seeking political change by elections. His party aspires to create a Muslim society, implement Sharia and free the Gulf from the presence of foreign troops. Although the party remained unlicensed in Kuwait, it was tolerated up to a certain extent. In several books, Mutairi — who belongs to a large tribe in both Saudi Arabia and Kuwait — critically scrutinized the texts of Saudi Salafists, reprimanding them for rejecting elections and pluralism. He warned in "Liberty or Deluge," one of his most popular books, of the perils of the subjugation of religion by kings and princes, restrictions on freedoms and criminalization of opposition. In another book, he offered a reinterpretation of Gulf history, depicting the kingdom and emirates as foreign creations serving the interests of an ongoing colonialism. He described Gulf citizens as “slaves without chains.”

Mutairi’s ideas and activism echoed across the Gulf. In 2011, and under the euphoria of the Arab uprisings, a group of professors, activists and lawyers announced the formation of a Saudi Umma party. Needless to say all founders were immediately imprisoned. The spokesman of the party, Muhammad al-Mufrih, was outside Saudi Arabia at the time and continued to issue statements from Istanbul where he took refuge and passed away in 2014. In December 2014, in an interview with TV station Al-Shorouk, Mutairi accused Saudi Arabia of poisoning Mufrih. When he returned to Kuwait, he found that the Saudi authorities had filed a case against him, and thanks to the GCC Internal Security Pact the Kuwaiti authorities detained him. He was released on bail after paying a large sum.

On March 15, Tariq al-Mutairi, a Kuwaiti opposition activist and head of the Civil Democratic Movement, was detained also at the request of the Saudi Foreign Ministry, according to the Kuwaiti Ministry of Interior. According to his lawyer, the charges include “acts of aggression against a foreign country — i.e., Saudi Arabia — undermining the reputation of Kuwait, openly calling for overthrowing the regime and misusing his phone.” Tariq's and Hakim's recent activism in participating in a demonstration in support of famous Kuwaiti opposition figure Musallam al-Barrak, currently serving a two-year prison sentence, must have angered the Kuwaiti government. Tariq created a Twitter hashtag to free Barrak and more than 2,000 Kuwaitis joined the demonstration.

Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/03/saudi-gcc-security-dissident-activism-detention-opposition.html#ixzz3VtHAHiLh

A lot of what Blackwater does is subcontracted or operating under different names

Academi is an American private military company, founded in 1997 by Erik Prince.[2][3] Formerly known as Blackwater,[4] the company was renamed Xe Services in 2009, and "Academi" in 2011.[5] The company was purchased in late 2010 by a group of private investors who changed the name to Academi and instituted a board of directors and new senior management. Prince retained the rights to the name Blackwater and has no affiliation with Academi. The company received widespread publicity in 2007, when a group of its employees killed 17 Iraqi civilians and injured 20 in Nisour Square, Baghdad.[6][7]

Academi continues to provide security services to the United States federal government on a contractual basis. The Obama administration contracted the group to provide services for the CIA for $250 million.[8] In 2013, Academi subsidiary International Development Solutions received an approximately $92 million contract for State Department security guards.[9]

In 2014, the company became a division of Constellis Holdings along with Triple Canopy and other security companies that were part of the Constellis Group as the result of an acquisition.[10][11]

Board of directors

Red McCombs (chairman)[56]
John Ashcroft[56]
Dean Bosacki[56]
Jason DeYonker[56]
Bobby Ray Inman[56]
Jack Quinn[56]
Russ Robinson[56]

Halliburton & KBR are responsible for numerous human slavery & trafficking violations

Long-running debates over military privatization overlook one important fact: The U.S.
military’s post-2001 contractor workforce is composed largely of migrants imported
from impoverished countries. This Article argues that these Third Country National
(TCN) workers—so called because they are neither American nor local—are bereft of
the effective protections of American law, local regimes, or their home governments;
moreover, their vulnerability is a feature, not a flaw, in how the U.S. projects global
power today. TCN workers are an offshore captive labor force whose use allows the
government to keep politically sensitive troop numbers and casualty figures artificially
low while reducing dependence on local populations with suspect loyalties. Legislation
to combat human trafficking has done little to remedy exploitation and abuse of TCN
workers because of jurisdictional hurdles and the lack of robust labor rights protections.
Substantive reform efforts should address the deeper issue at stake, namely that the
government uses TCN workers to carry out a core state function—namely, the use of
force—without a clear relationship of responsibility to them. Unlike with soldiers, the
labor of TCN workers is not valorized as sacrifice and unlike mercenaries selling their
services to the highest bidder, they are frequently indebted to the point of indenture.


(After reading the A B C on part 1 of 3 I 100x recommend reading the entire study)

Most I have personally talked to came from India, Nepal, countries in Africa (I can't remember which specific ones), Phillipines.

Corp Watch & Al-Jazeera have the best reporting I've found regarding this

Blood, Sweat & Tears:
Asia’s Poor Build U.S. Bases in Iraq

But Soliman wouldn’t be making anything near the salaries starting at $80,000 a year and often topping more than $100,000 paid to truck drivers, construction workers, office workers and other laborers recruited in the United States by Halliburton’s subsidiary, KBR. Instead, the 35-year-old father of two looked forward to earning $615 a month – including overtime. For a 40-hour work week, that’s just over $3 an hour, but Soliman made even less. He says the standard work week was 12-hour days, seven days a week, so he was actually earning $1.56 an hour.

For a year’s work, Soliman would receive $7,380. He planned to send most of his paychecks home to his family, where the combined unemployment rate tops 28 percent and the average annual income in Manila is $4,384. Nearly half of the nation's 84 million people live on less than $2 a day, according to the World Bank.

Invisible and Indispensable Army of Low-Paid Workers

This mostly invisible, but indispensable army of low-paid workers has helped set new records for the largest civilian workforce ever hired in support of a U.S. war. They may be the most significant factor to the Pentagon’s argument that privatizing military support services is far more cost-efficient for the U.S. taxpayer than using its own troops to maintain camps and feed its ranks.

But American contractors returning home frequently share horrible tales of the working and living conditions that these TCNs endure on a daily basis.

TCNs frequently sleep in crowded trailers, wait outside in line in 100 degree heat to eat “slop,” lack adequate medical care and work almost every waking hour seven days a week for little or no overtime pay. Frequently, the workers lack proper safety equipment for hard labor

And when insurgents fire incoming mortars and rockets at the sprawling military camps, American contractors slip on helmets and bulletproof vests, but TCNs are frequently shielded by only the shirts on their backs and the flimsy trailers they sleep in.


IRAQ: Indian Contract Workers in Iraq Complain of Exploitation

For an $1,800 fee, the recruiter promised to get the two young south Indian men jobs as butchers on a military base in Kuwait for two years, they said. With salaries of $385 a month, a small fortune by Indian standards, they would join more than three million Indians already working in the Persian Gulf and enriching their families back home.

They mortgaged a relative's house and land, paid the fee and flew to Kuwait in August with two of their friends. What they say they encountered when they got there landed on the front pages of Indian newspapers this week, with one headline declaring "Indians Abused in Iraq" in "U.S. Slave Camps."

Within days, the brothers said, they and their friends found themselves on an American military base in northern Iraq working for a Saudi subcontractor of Kellogg, Brown & Root, or KBR, a subsidiary of Halliburton. They said their supervisor, who had taken their passports in Kuwait, told them they were obligated to work on the base for six months and could not leave.

Working alongside 200 other laborers, from India, the Philippines and Sri Lanka, they first cleaned American latrines and then washed American dishes, the brothers said. Their pay was roughly $150 a month, they said, less than half of what the recruiter had promised.


I post that article to post this was one, 12 years after the start of the Iraq war.

South Asian workers are at the bottom of the social hierarchy on U.S. bases. They earn far less than American or European contractors, work 12-hour days with little or no time off and, on some bases, aren’t allowed to use cellphones or speak to military personnel. On the base we visited, Camp Marmal, most were surprised and nervous when we approached them, concerned that talking to journalists could get them in trouble. One young man’s face contorted in terror when asked whether he had paid a recruiting fee. He shook his head no, fearful of any reprisals. “To come here, you have to use an agent,” another worker told us. “There is no other way. So we pay money to come.”

An agent is a person from a recruitment agency hired to find laborers for a company — in this case, the subcontractor. Sindhu Kavinamannil, a certified fraud examiner who has investigated labor networks between India and the Middle East, says there are tens of thousands of recruitment agencies in India and Nepal, the majority of them unregistered. They might be headquartered in large cities, she adds, but they each have hundreds of agents and subagents spread out across small towns and villages.


Why would a company outsource hiring when it receives direct applications? “Employees at the subcontractor are taking kickbacks from these agents,” the former manager told us. “They tell the workers to apply through the agent, and the agent gets money from (the workers). The agent splits some of that fee with the people in human resources.”

In other words, because taking fees from applicants is illegal, subcontractors outsource hiring to recruiters who are willing to pass a portion of their fees up the chain. As a result, applicants who pay recruiting fees are often indirectly paying their employer — the subcontractor — simply for the opportunity to work.


The reason why it is illegal because of this executive order but the "zero tolerance" claims in it are laughable.

(i) using misleading or fraudulent recruitment practices during the recruitment of employees, such as failing to disclose basic information or making material misrepresentations regarding the key terms and conditions of employment, including wages and fringe benefits, the location of work, living conditions and housing (if employer provided or arranged), any significant costs to be charged to the employee, and, if applicable, the hazardous nature of the work;

(ii) charging employees recruitment fees;


Al-Jazeera has reports on that, usually there is a "screening question" but if a TCN answers the did they pay recruitment fee honestly the contractor terminates them so many lie because they need that year's salary to make back what they paid to "bait & switch" recruiters.

On edit -- The "butcher" listing is obviously false given that dining facilities have a short order line & main course, that varies. For some reason Lobster is served once a week. CSC Scania had "Fajita Tuesdays", most of the food is stored/heated. TCNs I had the pleasure of "supervising" (Military was tasked keeping tabs on the cooking temperatures but we actually only used the gauge maybe once every 10 (Dinner - Midnight - Breakfast --worked the night shift here though I hear lunch is notoriously difficult) in the Zone 2 DFAC in Camp Arif Jan, Kuwait. TCNs prepared & ate curry during the down times. I tried it once, incredibly spicy. They did all the cleaning, refiling & mixing of beverage dispensers all without ever being directed or ordered too, got along with them great which is far more than I can say about Civilian contractors & enforcing DFAC rules which were very strict (couldn't allow people take ice cream outside with them during the summer time--likely an explanation in how it relates to germs is the logical explanation given that we had to watch people coming in & order those to return to the hand washing station to those who skipped it. I'll never forget the "GS-7" I told to wash his hands. No one took offense over my regulations enforcement nearly as much as he did and that includes a WO 3 who gave me props for having the courage to tell him he is taking far too many Gatorade packets.

Out of curiousity I decided to look up his "GS-7 is the equivalent of Colonel" claims

The GS-1 through GS-7 range generally marks entry-level positions

Given that Colonels in the US Army routinely outrank Battalion Commanders I wonder a little more about him who asked my NCOIC "what if a Colonel walked in here?" "He would tell the Colonel to go back & wash his hands" These DFAC rules applied to everyone though no one fucked with the 3 Star Marine General who left his soft cap on the table at breakfast every morning.

How in the hell?

I swear I didn't enter Ukraine into the search box. I tried to search supply nuclear arms Iraq and come across a well sourced article asking is United States trying to start a nuclear war with Russia.

A link of that led to me a link of this.

The U.S. ‘News’ Media Show How to Do Propaganda About Ukraine’s Civil War

The New York Review of Books is a leading intellectual publication in the United States, and it (like all of the major U.S. “news” media) has “reported” on the Ukrainian civil war as having been incited by Russia’s Vladimir Putin — a simple-minded explanation, which also happens to be deeply false. The reality is that the residents of southern Ukraine, the part of Ukraine adjoining Russia, were overwhelmingly opposed to the overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically elected President, Viktor Yanukovych, though they are portrayed in NYRB (and other “news” media) as being mere stooges of Russian propaganda for their opposing the coup that overthrew the President for whom they had voted overwhelmingly. (The only thing that America’s “news” media had previously reported about Yanukovych is that he was corrupt; but so were all of his predecessors, and U.S. media ignored this crucial fact. Selective reporting is basic to propaganda, and the U.S. major media are trained masters at it. Without a person’s knowing that Ukraine is by far the most corrupt country in the former Soviet Union, and the one with the worst economic performance of them all, Ukraine’s politics just can’t be understood at all: it has long been an extreme kleptocracy, ruled by psychopathic politicians, for the benefit of psychopathic oligarchs, who have robbed the country blind. That’s the deeper truth — and it’s key to understanding the current situation there.)

So: by digging into an example, the rot in U.S. “news” media will be dissected here, and the truth in Ukraine will be exposed here.

On 28 April 2014, NYRB’s reporter Tim Judah headlined from Donetsk in the south, “Ukraine: Hate in Progress.” He (falsely) analogized the opponents against that coup as being similar to the separatists in Yugoslavia whose ethnocentrism had produced the atrocities during the civil war that broke up Yugoslavia. Judah wrote:

“Talk to people manning the anti-government barricades and taking part in the demonstrations against Kiev [in the north] here, … and one thing in particular is scary. After a day or two you realize that they all say more or less the same thing. ‘We want to be listened to,’ people say. The government in Kiev, which took power after the pro-European revolution there, is a ‘fascist junta’ backed by Europe and the US. It is as though the Russian media—which is widely watched and read here—has somehow embedded these messages into the heads of people and they have lost the ability to think for themselves. … All that seems to be registering right now is a nationalist and hysterical drumbeat from Russia about the new Nazis of Kiev and their NATO masters. [Judah’s article provides no evidence against that ‘Nazis of Kiev’ viewpont; he simply ignores it, as if it’s not even worth checking out — and he’s supposed to be a ‘reporter.’ Instead, he goes immediately into his mere assumption that the rejectionists of the coup are the source of his alleged ‘Hate in Progress.’] This is ominously reminiscent of what the Serbian media and other bits of the former Yugoslav media did when Yugoslavia collapsed. Then, Serbs were subjected to endless documentaries about Croatia’s wartime fascists, whom they were told were coming back. Now the Russian media says the fascists have returned.”


The "most corrupt former" government links to http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GlobalCompetitivenessReport_2013-14.pdf

I also have reported on “Why Ukraine’s Civil War Is of Global Historical Importance.” The article argued that “This civil war is of massive historical importance, because it re-starts the global Cold War, this time no longer under the fig-leaf rationalization of an ideological battle between ‘capitalism’ versus ‘communism,’ but instead more raw, as a struggle between, on the one hand, the U.S. and West European aristocracies; and, on the other hand, the newly emerging aristocracies of Russia and of China.” The conflict’s origin, as recounted there, was told in its highest detail in an article in the scholarly journal Diplomatic History, about how U.S. President George H.W. Bush in 1990 fooled the Soviet Union’s leader Mikhail Gorbachev into Gorbachev’s allowing the Cold War to be ended without any assurance being given to the remaining rump country, his own Russia, that NATO and its missiles and bombers won’t expand right up to Russia’s doorstep and surround Russia with a first-strike ability to destroy Russia before Russia will even have a chance to get its own nuclear weapons into the air in order to destroy the U.S. right back in retaliation.

That old system — “Mutually Assured Destruction” or MAD, but actually very rational from the public’s perspective on both sides — is gone. The U.S. increasingly is getting nuclear primacy. Russia, surrounded by NATO nations and U.S. nuclear weapons, would be able to be wiped out before its rusty and comparatively puny military force could be mustered to respond. Whereas we are not surrounded by their weapons, they are surrounded by ours. Whereas they don’t have the ability to wipe us out before we can respond, we have the ability to wipe them out before they’ll be able to respond. This is the reason why America’s aristocracy argue that MAD is dead. An article, “Environmental Consequences of Nuclear War” was published in the December 2008 Physics Today, and it concluded that, “the indirect effects [‘nuclear winter’] would likely eliminate the majority of the human population.” (It would be even worse, and far faster, than the expected harms from global warming.) However, aristocrats separate themselves from the public, and so their perspective is not necessarily the same as the public’s. The perspective that J.P. Morgan and Co. had in 1915 wasn’t the perspective that the U.S. public had back then, and it also wasn’t the perspective that our President, Woodrow Wilson, did back then, when we were a democracy. But it’s even less clear today that we are a democracy than it was in 1915. In that regard, things have only gotten worse in America.

So, President Obama is now trying to persuade EU leaders to join with him to complete this plan to replace MAD with a first-strike nuclear capability that will eliminate Russia altogether from the world stage.

As I also documented, the IMF is thoroughly supportive of this plan to remove Russia, and announced on May 1st, just a day prior to our massacre of independence-supporters in the south Ukrainian city of Odessa on May 2nd, that unless all of the independence supporters in south and eastern Ukraine can be defeated and/or killed, the IMF will pull the plug on Ukraine and force it into receivership.


Not One Inch Eastward? Bush, Baker, Kohl,Genscher, Gorbachev, and the Origin of RussianResentment toward NATO Enlargement

http://www.scribd.com/doc/166123009/Not-One-Inch-Eastward#download (PDF)

The Key Man Behind the May 2nd Odessa Ukraine Trade Unions Building Massacre: His Many Connections to the White House

The key person behind the May 2nd massacre inside Odessa’s Trade Unions Building appears to have been Ihor Kolomoyskyi

who was appointed to be the regional governor in that area by Yulia Tymoshenko, the Ukrainian Presidential candidate that the Obama Administration has apparently been hoping will win the May 25th election to take over the Ukrainian Government, from the junta that the Obama Administration imposed in Ukraine on February 22nd. Just weeks before this coup, on February 4th, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Asia, Victoria Nuland, chose Tymoshenko’s ally Arseni Yatsenyuk to head the post-coup interim government, which appointed Kolomoyskyi.

Only a few months before this coup, Nuland had asserted that U.S. taxpayers had already invested more than $5 billion, in order to bring “democracy” to Ukraine, by which she was referring to the U.S. effort to oust the Russian-oriented, democratically elected, leader of Ukraine, President Viktor Yanukovych, who had prosecuted and imprisoned Tymoshenko for embezzlement and abuse of governmental office. Tymoshenko was then on 11 October 2011 sentenced to seven years in prison, and was ordered to pay the government restitution of $188 million. She was released from prison less than three years later, two days after the coup, on 24 February 2014. The Ukrainian criminal code was immediately changed, in order to legalize the actions for which Tymoshenko had been imprisoned. This allowed Tymoshenko to run for the Ukrainian Presidency. She had been Prime Minister 2007-2010. Both she and her husband, Oleksandr Tymoshenko, and his father, all three of whom were on the board of United Energy Systems of Ukraine (and thus Ms. Tymoshenko was called “the gas princess”), have been legally prosecuted as embezzling state funds; but so have most of Ukraine’s oligarchs and political leaders (and there’s a lot of crossover between those two categories).

Kolomoyskyi, who lives in Geneva Switzerland, is generally regarded as the second-richest man in Ukraine, with a fortune estimated at about $6 billion. Tymoshenko used to be called “the Eleven Billion Dollar Woman,” but, like all of Ukraine’s oligarchs (including Kolomoyskyi), nobody really knows precisely how wealthy she is, nor even whether she is more, or perhaps less, wealthy than Kolomoyskyi. Almost all of the oligarchs’ money is hidden offshore; so, is invisible.


I don't know about Nuclear but you may be more right about World War III than you think, if that is possible.

I don't blame him for this since he had no idea in 1945

but can't help but wonder if Roosevelt choose to not do business with the 'House of Saud' who used their petro dollars to invest in ISIS/global terrorism. Saudi Arabia was taken over in much the same way ISIS is seizing land.

Their strategy — like that of ISIS today — was to bring the peoples whom they conquered into submission. They aimed to instill fear. In 1801, the Allies attacked the Holy City of Karbala in Iraq. They massacred thousands of Shiites, including women and children. Many Shiite shrines were destroyed, including the shrine of Imam Hussein, the murdered grandson of Prophet Muhammad.

A British official, Lieutenant Francis Warden, observing the situation at the time, wrote: “They pillaged the whole of it [Karbala], and plundered the Tomb of Hussein… slaying in the course of the day, with circumstances of peculiar cruelty, above five thousand of the inhabitants …”

Osman Ibn Bishr Najdi, the historian of the first Saudi state, wrote that Ibn Saud committed a massacre in Karbala in 1801. He proudly documented that massacre saying, “we took Karbala and slaughtered and took its people (as slaves), then praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, and we do not apologize for that and say: ‘And to the unbelievers: the same treatment.’”

In 1803, Abdul Aziz then entered the Holy City of Mecca, which surrendered under the impact of terror and panic (the same fate was to befall Medina, too). Abd al-Wahhab’s followers demolished historical monuments and all the tombs and shrines in their midst. By the end, they had destroyed centuries of Islamic architecture near the Grand Mosque.


With the advent of the oil bonanza — as the French scholar, Giles Kepel writes, Saudi goals were to “reach out and spread Wahhabism across the Muslim world … to “Wahhabise” Islam, thereby reducing the “multitude of voices within the religion” to a “single creed” — a movement which would transcend national divisions. Billions of dollars were — and continue to be — invested in this manifestation of soft power.


Wikileaks: Saudis 'chief funders of al-Qaeda'

Private individuals in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states friendly to the United States are the chief source of funding for al-Qaeda, the Taliban and other terrorist groups, according to leaked US diplomatic cables.

Despite extensive efforts to limit the distribution of funds to extremists from the Middle East, the documents show deep frustration in Washington with the level of co-operation from governments in the region.

"It has been an ongoing challenge to persuade Saudi officials to treat terrorist financing emanating from Saudi Arabia as a strategic priority," read a cable from Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, dated Dec 30, 2009.

"Donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide," added the document.

The Saudis have recognised that they have trouble policing the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, when it is estimated that millions of dollars are raised for militants who send agents into the oil-rich kingdom under the cover of Muslim pilgrims.


For some reason the Telegraph is incredibly friendly to Saudi Arabia but I refuse to believe the government is that dumb.

Wahhabism is named after an eighteenth century preacher and scholar, Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703–1792).[16] He started a revivalist movement in the remote, sparsely populated region of Najd,[17] advocating a purging of practices such as the popular cult of saints, and shrine and tomb visitation, widespread among Muslims, but which he considered idolatry, impurities and innovations in Islam.[5][18] Eventually he formed a pact with a local leader Muhammad bin Saud offering political obedience and promising that protection and propagation of the Wahhabi movement(Jihad), would mean "power and glory" and rule of "lands and men."[19] The movement is centered on the principle of Tawhid,[20] or the "uniqueness" and "unity" of God.[18]

Do I have to mention their human rights violations & just like ISIS have a Hisbah as well.

difficulty policing the pilgrimage my ass. They regulate the shit out of it.

Saudi Arabia, Burma, North Korea,

President Karzai, Bashar al-Assad... this list goes on and on when it comes to human rights violators.

I'd stop with the (speaking from US foreign policy POV) hypocrisy, stop giving money to financiers of the Wahabbi global terrorist organization. All these bombs, CIA installing Al-Maliki as Prime Minister (and that's just Iraq), and Al-Assad himself for Syria is why they're there.

I disagree why Obama continues to use "tensions" to block torture photos & other crimes committed by the US government but he is right they certainly will use it for propaganda for recruiting (my position is NOT to do these things in the first place)


After the 9/11 attacks, the United States quickly declared a "war on terror." In the conduct of that war, the United States invaded Afghanistan and then Iraq, imprisoned hundreds of captured "enemy combatants" without trial, tortured suspected terrorists, drastically ratcheted up homeland security, conducted drone strikes and/or targeted assassinations in several countries, and conducted a vast campaign of electronic surveillance at home and abroad.

Virtually all these actions were designed to detect or eliminate actual terrorists or prevent them from carrying out deliberate attacks. In other words, whether offensive or defensive in nature, they were actions designed to win the war by thwarting or eliminating existing terrorist organizations.

But what about the parallel problem of terrorist recruitment? The other way to defeat terrorism is to make it harder for movements employing terrorist methods to recruit new followers, and to gradually marginalize the radicals within the societies in which they were trying to grow. There was a lot of talk about trying to do this immediately after 9/11: The State Department commissioned a task force report on public diplomacy toward the Arab/Islamic world, George W. Bush’s administration hired a series of public diplomacy czarinas, and various experts offered advice on how the United States could undercut Osama bin Laden’s message and rebuild the country’s dubious image in that part of the world. This goal also underlay Barack Obama’s initial outreach to the region and especially his infamous Cairo speech in June 2009.


Austin, Texas — The Islamic State terrorists who have emerged in Iraq and Syria are neither new nor unfamiliar. Many of them spent years in detention centers run by the United States and its coalition partners in Iraq after 2003. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State, spent nearly five years imprisoned at Camp Bucca in southern Iraq. A majority of the other top Islamic State leaders were also former prisoners, including: Abu Muslim al-Turkmani, Abu Louay, Abu Kassem, Abu Jurnas, Abu Shema and Abu Suja.

Before their detention, Mr. al-Baghdadi and others were violent radicals, intent on attacking America. Their time in prison deepened their extremism and gave them opportunities to broaden their following. At Camp Bucca, for example, the most radical figures were held alongside less threatening individuals, some of whom were not guilty of any violent crime. Coalition prisons became recruitment centers and training grounds for the terrorists the United States is now fighting.

This process began when coalition forces arrived in Iraq in 2003 and detained alleged terrorists with little preparation or oversight. Although soldiers tried to document the circumstances behind the detentions of Iraqis and foreign fighters, the process broke down under the pressure of fighting, the shortage of trained Arabic speakers, and the fog of war.

Simply being a “suspicious looking” military-aged male in the vicinity of an attack was enough to land one behind bars. There were 26,000 detainees at the height of the war, and over 100,000 individuals passed through the gates of Camps Bucca, Cropper and Taji. Quite a few were dangerous insurgents; many others were innocent.


Election of Krysten Synema and Democratic mid term strategy

Arizona's 9th district has a liberal stronghold Arizona State campus, to the north rich conservative area Camelback and Paradise Valley where McCain dominated in '08 and to the east a heavy Republican middle class population with a high Mormon turnout with the same background & policies as most conservatives you'll rarely see Democratic candidates at the city level. Probably about equal to the south, Hispanic population is larger than the areas I mention. The district is the fastest growing population-wise in a metropolitan area that is the largest municipality Republican Presidential candidates. 34% of registered voters are Republican. 31% Democratic. About 30% Independent (there are actually more registered Independents statewide than any other party but they don't turn out as high). They have a partisan index of R+1 and Obama won 51% to 47% in a newly created district. It was also the only district Obama won in Maricopa county.

In the 2012 primary I voted for her because she appeared to be the most liberal or supported the same issues I did. I always will no matter where I live. However, when she did end up winning the primary Republicans were confident she would be easiest one to defeat. She is openly bisexual, first Representitive with "none" officially declared religious affiliation, she was a former Mormon, she worked on Ralph Nader's 2000 Presidential campaign, ran for state house as a Green. She is also one of the 10 "poorest" reps, and joked that she was "a Prada socialist" which campaign ads constantly reminded us of her use of the S word. Parker ran campaign ads that accused Sinema of being an "anti-American hippie" who practiced "Pagan rituals".[35] The Republican-aligned outside group American Future Fund spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on attack ads against Sinema.[36] When Sinema's religious views were raised as an issue, her campaign stated that she simply believes in a secular approach to government.[5] - wiki

Election results were at a dead heat on election day with her opponent Vernon Parker who is a Paradise Valley area politician but she had a 2-1 advantage on the early mail ballot count and ended up winning by 4%. Early mailing ballots should probably be a consideration to future midterm strategy.

During her term she joined the Blue Dog coalition and sits near the center when it comes to voting record -- https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/kyrsten_sinema/412509. Veterans issues made up almost all of bills she introduced and sponsored. She also was the 88th highest Democrat in most bills cosponsored by someone other than a Democrat. Her most controversial votes deal with an no vote against voted against an amendment to a defense appropriations bill to prohibit "from monitoring and recording details of US citizens' telecommunications without a warrant". Also was an original sponsor which limits electronic data serveilance to only suspects of an investigation.

The other was in favor of a 1-year delay of the mandate which was my least favorite part of the bill but all aspects of ACA she voted in favor of and clearly implied she wants universal health care where I will elaborate on earlier.

She did go towards the middle but also established a record of bipartisanship that stands to scrutiny. While there is a possibility that the taking up veterans issues were politically motivating considering Veterans Issues was the primary focus of her 2014 campaign which earlier record benefits in light of recent Phoenix VA issues. On the wedge issues state Republicans target Democrats with she supports the Dream ACT, defends and supports ACA, and supports gay marriage. Guns are a hardly a political issue but he support of closing the gun show loophole, increasing background checks, and concealed carry made it one of the main points of contention in the campaign which were immigration, ACA, and her votes in allowing defendants at Guantanamo to use habeas corpus to challenge their detention (portrayed as "voted to give rights to terrorists" in attack ads).

Her campaign website is very limited when it comes to where she stands on the issues. Pretty much just Veterans, jobs including raising the minimum wage, equal pay, and extending child-care tax credit. Seniors is also mentioned which is an area she actually scores pretty high based on voting record. -- http://kyrstensinema.com/issues/

However, a full list of where she stands on the issues can easily be found and to and I can't find much I disagree with on the important issues --http://www.ontheissues.org/house/Kyrsten_Sinema.htm

-------------------------------------------Here is the key stuff I wanted to mention

The 9th district was forecasted to be very tough but it is very important to to point out her opponent made several screw ups. The first in the soft on terror approach used football of the Foley beheading which backfired politically where she removed it. She hid from the press, rarely engaging in debate. The nail in the coffin was when she skipped out on the only televised debate leaving Sinema & the Libertarian candidate 30 minutes explaining their positions in which the Libertarian killed his own chances on the topic of Veterans with ""I would basically toss 'em on their own," he said. "I don't believe in stealing people's money (through taxes) and spending it on veterans. I don't believe we owe this to them."

There was a highly unusual move here part of elect Sinema team.

Democrats are mailing campaign fliers featuring a Libertarian candidate to conservative voters in a competitive Phoenix congressional race.

The effort could help U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., stay in office. Libertarian Powell Gammill assisted Sinema to victory last election by siphoning votes from her Republican challenger.

The mailers are part of the Democrats' political strategy, said DJ Quinlan, executive director of the Arizona Democratic Party. But he says the mailers don't ask voters to support Gammill, they simply point out his positions.

"It might be unconventional, sure, but deceptive it's surely not," Quinlan said. "It says right there: 'Paid for by the Arizona Democratic Party.'"


(I'm curious on thoughts if you feel Democrats should do this kind of thing as it approaches the level of "dirty tricks" but not quite as unethical and dishonest as McConnell's mailers about election violations and doubt there was a "paid for by the McConnell campaign disclosure"

I want to wrap this up as I nearly had a crash issue. I choose to focus here aside from the familiarity of it being my district is it features similar political realities and is an even district. While you have a larger than average young voter population, it is countered by the similar nationally politically Republican strong hold with also 1% rich conservatives to the north and working class higher Hispanic to the southwest which the area leans Democratic. The candidate in question also has a very liberal background as Ralph Nader campaign worker.

I'm still waiting to find more detailed information on turnout and who but the pitfalls helped what turned out to be an easy victory where forecasts declared an uphill battle based on trends of lower voter turnout while the white conservatives have a strong presence as well.

Obviously even then, there are major differences and unique situations here where her background would kill her chances which is kinda the point and Senate races have different realities than congressional ones do. Candidates do have to deal with the reality of likely turnout so they have to deal with the balance of targeting their campaign to those voters while also not wanting to take positions that would decrease the turnout they need.

While Sinema did go towards the middle, her way of doing it was unique to others. She didn't make distancing a focus of her campaign but on her strengths and vague considering the lack of info available where she stood on the DREAM Act, ACA, and counters to "making Arizona vulnerable" which she actually was very high levels of support from police based on her voting record and a local police political group or union endorsement in her first congressional district shocked the local press. However, in public statements and answers to questions she expressed support of those issues. And the limit issues she did focus on in campaign websites & ads, gave specific policies that she supports however limited. It is interesting that if she choose to pander which she very well could have, it is interesting what she choose not to pander on and that includes religious affiliation.

I want to emphasize on aspects that could be used in any tight race rather than the entire thing and one is she has high marks in her interview and public speaking, conversations with people, and use of humor in support of policies.

She also has a good understanding of how messages come across based on this

I've become a huge fan of research. It's helped me as a candidate learn to talk in ways that voters can understand. For example, I used to say that I wanted universal health-care coverage in Arizona, which went over like a ton of bricks. Turns out, Arizonans hear the word "universal" and think "socialism"--or "pinko commie." But when I say that I want all Arizonans to have access to affordable, quality health care, Arizonans agree wholeheartedly. Same basic idea, different language. Research is what teaches us these differences so that we can relate to voters in ways that are authentic and meaningful for them.


That is why I said it is heavily implied she supports universal health care but avoids using language that says the she does. I said awhile ago that if you're going to play middle you better be good at because if you come across as someone with no convictions as badly as Mitt Romney(perfect example of where playing the middle goes wrong) was and actually is. You also don't want come across as evasive and dishonest either.

I think you get my general drift so I'll close by saying I don't endorse everything here especially NSA vote, but when it comes policy positions she is my favorite relevant Arizona politician next to Raul Grijalva and consider myself a pretty left wing guy.

Understanding the psychology of police misconduct

By Brian D. Fitch, PhD, Lieutenant, Los Angeles, California, Sheriff’s Department

Law enforcement is a unique profession, with officers experiencing a host of freedoms not available to the general public, including the application of deadly force, high-speed driving, and seizing personal property. While these liberties may be necessary, they also can create opportunities for wrongdoing, especially if such behavior is likely to go undetected because of poor supervision. The embarrassment caused by misconduct can damage the public trust, undermine officer morale, and expose agencies to unnecessary—and, in many cases, costly—litigation.1 Consequently, a clear understanding of the psychology underlying unethical behavior is critical to every law enforcement supervisor and manager at every level of an organization, regardless of one’s agency or mission.

Law enforcement agencies go to great lengths to recruit, hire, and train only the most qualified applicants—candidates who have already demonstrated a track record of good moral values and ethical conduct. Similarly, most officers support the agency, its values, and its mission, performing their duties ethically while avoiding any misconduct or abuse of authority. Yet despite the best efforts of organizations everywhere, it seems that one does not have to look very far these days to find examples of police misconduct, particularly in the popular press.2 Even more disturbing, however, is that many of the officers engaged in immoral or unethical behavior previously demonstrated good service records, absent any of the “evil” typically associated with corruption or abuse.

While it is probably true that at least some of the officers who engage in illicit activities managed somehow to slip through the cracks in the hiring process and simply continued their unethical ways, this account fails to explain how otherwise good officers become involved in misconduct. The purpose of this article is to familiarize law enforcement managers and supervisors with the cognitive rationalizations that can contribute to unethical behavior. The article also offers strategies and suggestions intended to mitigate misconduct, before it actually occurs, by developing a culture of ethics.


Decades of empirical research have supported the idea that whenever a person’s behaviors are inconsistent with their attitudes or beliefs, the individual will experience a state of psychological tension—a phenomenon referred to as cognitive dissonance. 4 Because this tension is uncomfortable, people will modify any contradictory beliefs or behaviors in ways intended to reduce or eliminate discomfort. Officers can reduce psychological tension by changing one or more of their cognitions—that is, by modifying how they think about their actions and the consequences of those behaviors—or by adjusting their activities, attitudes, or beliefs in ways that are consistent with their values and self-image. Generally speaking, an officer will modify the cognition that is least resistant to change, which, in most cases, tends to be the officer’s attitudes, not behaviors.


Fair article that addresses the reality of the situation, explains how the rationalization process snowballs to where you see misconduct widespread across the force. That site is also an excellent resource with countless links to studies in the archives.

Adam "Pac Man" Jones legal troubles

I actually wasn't too familiar with him. Only knew about the year-long suspension and just had an overall impression that it was one thing after another. Just had no idea regarding the details and how truly extensive it is. Surprised to find out he is an active NFL player and actually a pretty good one.

Most recent than I'll go chronological

Adam Jones is charged with assault after allegedly “punching” woman

As broken first by the defendant on his Twitter page, Bengals cornerback Adam Jones (who no longer wants to be called Pacman but whose Twitter handle is @RealPacman24) has been arrested, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Jones, according to prosecutors, has been charged with one count of assault after allegedly “punching” a woman outside a Cincinnati bar.

Agent Peter Schaffer previously told PFT that Jones “slapped” the woman after she threw a bottle at his head from point-blank range.


When drafted, Jones was on probation for a fight in West Virginia. He encountered more legal trouble before playing a down for the Titans. On July 14, 2005 Jones was arrested on charges of assault and felony vandalism stemming from a nightclub altercation in Nashville. On September 5, 2005, Jones was a guest at the annual Nashville Sports Council Kickoff Luncheon. After a loud verbal tantrum in which he was told to wait in line for his vehicle, Jones was counseled by the police. He refused to pay for any valet services used that evening, because he did not have money. Subsequently, the State of West Virginia filed a petition alleging that Jones had not made regular and sufficient contact with his probation office or reported his July arrest in a timely fashion. The court ordered the probation extended for 90 days, although the state requested it to be extended one year.

In February 2006, Jones was arrested in Fayetteville, Georgia after an incident outside a home. Charges of marijuana possession were quickly dismissed, but the state pressed charges for felony and misdemeanor counts of obstruction of justice.[4]

A Cadillac with Jones' nickname "Pacman" stitched in the headrests was seized during an April 2006 cocaine bust. The car was not registered to Jones then, but Jones told a local TV reporter that it was his car and that he had loaned it to Darryl Jerome Moore(He comes up later for a music video. Police sources confirmed that Moore was the main target of their investigation. Jones later bought the car at a police auction.[5]

On August 25, 2006, during training camp, Jones was arrested in Murfreesboro, Tennessee for disorderly conduct and public intoxication at a nightclub after he spat on a woman he accused of stealing his wallet. Police said they ordered Jones to leave several times, but he refused, continuing to shout profanities at the woman. A judge granted him six months' probation on the conditions that he stayed out of further trouble and away from the nightclub.[6] On October 26, 2006, Jones was cited for misdemeanor assault for allegedly spitting in the face of a female Tennessee State University student during a private party at Club Mystic, a Nashville nightclub. He was suspended by the Titans for one game.

Las Vegas shooting case & subsequent suspension

On the morning of February 19, 2007, during the 2007 NBA All-Star Game weekend in Las Vegas, Jones was allegedly involved in an altercation with an exotic dancer at Minxx, a local strip club. Jones and American rap artist Nelly patronized the club that evening. Nelly, along with someone known as Richard Rich, showered the stage with hundreds of one-dollar bills; an act known as "making it rain." Jones then joined Nelly by throwing his own money for "visual effect." Club promoter Chris Mitchell then directed his dancers to collect the money. According to the club's co-owner, Jones became enraged when a dancer began taking the money without his permission. He allegedly grabbed her by her hair and slammed her head on the stage. A security guard intervened and scuffled with members of Jones' entourage of half a dozen people. Jones then allegedly threatened the guard's life.[7] During this time, Mitchell and a male associate left the club with a garbage bag filled with $81,020 and two Breitling watches, which police later recovered.[8] After club patrons left following the original confrontation, the club owner claimed a person in Jones' entourage returned with a gun and fired into a crowd, damaging equipment and hitting three people, including the security guard involved in the earlier skirmish. The guard was shot twice, and one of the people hit—former professional wrestler Tommy Urbanski—was paralyzed from the waist down. Jones maintains that he did not know the shooter, although the club's owner insists that Jones did. On March 26, 2007, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department recommended to the city's district attorney that Jones be charged with one count of felony coercion, one misdemeanor count of battery and one misdemeanor count of threat to life.[9]

More trouble followed Jones after the altercation, when drug dealer Darryl Jerome Moore was arrested. After the arrest, Moore told the police about his phone conversations with Jones. "We gotta slow down, man. We gotta get him focused on football, man." Moore is alleged to have said. Wiretapped phone conversations between Moore and his friends revealed Moore talking about how Jones bet on college games to earn quick money. "You know, I was talkin' to him the other day about smokin', and he was like 'man, if I didn't smoke I couldn't take all the stress that I'm dealing with right now,'" Moore said.[10] Jones has not been connected to the Moore drug arrests or convicted for the Vegas stripper incident.

On April 21, a document revealed that Jones paid $15,000 to various people involved in the Las Vegas shooting.[11] (A threat on his life that he felt was serious enough to pay the money)

On May 7, 2007, Jones was stopped at 12:45 a.m. on Interstate 65 heading into downtown Nashville after an officer clocked him on radar at 79 mph (127 km/h) in a 55 mph (89 km/h) zone. Jones was driving the red 2004 Cadillac XLR Roadster which had been seized in the April 2006 cocaine bust, and which he had bought back from the police at auction.[5]

On June 18, 2007, Jones was sought by police for questioning after a shooting at an Atlanta strip club allegedly involving members of his entourage. According to police at the scene, Jones was not present during the shooting, and was not being charged.[17]

On June 20, 2007, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and Clark County District Attorney's office announced that Jones would face two felony charges stemming from the February strip club melee.[18] But on November 13, 2007, Jones accepted a plea deal;[19] on Dec. 6, Jones pleaded no contest to one charge of conspiracy to commit disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor. He was given a suspended prison sentence of one year, probation, and ordered to perform 200 hours of community service.[20]

On June 25, 2007, Tommy Urbanski and his wife Kathy sued Jones in civil court, claiming that Jones had bitten his left ankle, and was responsible for the shooting.[21] The lawsuit also named the Tennessee Titans franchise and the NFL as defendants, on the grounds that Jones' employers knew of his erratic behavior prior to the Minxx incident, but did not suspend him until afterwards. Had the Titans suspended Jones prior to the NBA All-Star game, the suit argues, he would not have been invited to the Las Vegas events, and the incident would not have taken place.[22]

On August 13, 2007, regarding the February Las Vegas strip club incident, Jones told Bryant Gumbel of HBO Sports' Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel that he was innocent and had never hit the stripper or told anyone he was going to kill them. When asked about friend and convicted drug dealer Darryl Moore, Jones said that he did not know Moore was a drug dealer and felt surprised and betrayed. Jones also said he did not think he got a fair say in his April meeting with Goodell.[23]

On April 23, 2008, Jones was traded to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for a fourth-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. If Jones was reinstated for the 2008-2009 season, the Cowboys would also give their sixth-round pick to Tennessee in 2009; if not, the Titans would have to send their fourth-round pick to the Cowboys in 2009. Furthermore, if Jones was to be suspended again, the Titans would have to give their fifth-round pick to the Cowboys in 2009 and return the sixth-round pick to Dallas. Although the conditions clearly appeared to favor the Cowboys, the Titans organization made it clear that it would do whatever was needed to get him away from their team.

On October 8, Jones was involved in an altercation with his bodyguard in a Dallas hotel.[40] According to ESPN, there wasn't a police report, nor was anyone arrested and nobody was charged with anything in connection with the fight[40] Jones was suspended for a minimum of four games by the NFL due to the altercation, for violating the league's personal conduct policy.[41] The NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell would determine the final length of the suspension after the Cowboys' game against the Washington Redskins on November 16. On October 16, Jones entered an alcohol rehab center.[42] (Because of this Dallas got Tennessee's draft picks)

On January 7, 2009, the Cowboys announced they would release Jones. According to ESPN's Ed Werder, the move came after Cowboys officials learned that Jones was a suspect in a June 2007 shooting outside a strip club in Atlanta; Jones was alleged to have ordered the shooting after a dispute with one of the men. Due to NFL rules which bar major player transactions until after the Super Bowl, the Cowboys did not officially cut ties with Jones until February 9, 2009.[47]

On June 15, 2012, a jury ordered Jones to pay $11.6 million to Urbanski and Aaron Cudworth, a bouncer who was wounded, for Jones' role in the 2007 Las Vegas shooting. Jones' attorney said she planned to appeal the verdict.[61]


I noticed nothing as far as community outreach or any public service w/ the exception of the $500,000 he agreed to pay to a charity of their choosing as part of conditions to the trade to the Dallas Cowboys. I did a search through Google and the only thing I got was community service & Adam Jones - Outfielder for Baltimore's charitable contributions. Unless he is real low-key, he doesn't seem interested in the giving back not that it would at all absolve any of his wrong-doing.

I always admired Cincinnati Bengals as a second chance organization, such as giving players like Vontaze Burfict a chance and they were actually the first NFL team to offer Vick a contract but while the NFL and teams have a right to give players an opportunity. Aside from his ability, I don't see anything that indicates character improvement and the ad in the Tennessean and Gumbel interview was obviously phony. Not even good at pretending to self-improve.

WTF? Luckiest NFL player (how many shootings?) that definitely needs to stay away from strip clubs, night clubs, and women.

I'd like to recommend Distant Land of My Father

I believe this is Bo Caldwell's first novel and it is up there as the best fiction book I ever read.

It starts out at pre-World War II Shanghai. It is written from the perspective of the daughter and is first person - I'm not sure if that is the correct word. The narrator is the daughter rather than a story from one character's perspective but told through the lens of the narrator. If you didn't know it was fiction, you'd swear it was non-fiction. Anyways, this American father absolutely loves Shanghai and loves to tell his 7-year-old daughter about the city as often as he can.

Japan then moves into China, discusses the Marco Polo incident. He is a successful businessman who refuses to shut things down and leave before a war breaks out. He is certain Japan won't get far and Shanghai will pretty much be out of harm's way. When Japan does arrive in Shanghai he still refuses to leave even when wife and daughter move into the daughter's grandmother's house in LA.

Eventually he is imprisoned in harsh conditions, is released to the USA and he is anxious to return back. After the War he does but Shanghai isn't the same, nothing is the same. Then a civil war breaks out between the Nationalists and Communists. I won't give out any more than that.

I almost non-stop cried through that book. It reminds you of a time in your personal life when everything was perfect or better than ever and it reminds you that you can't go back to that time. I never really thought about World War II from China's perspective before but it made me so incredibly sad that the War changed this father-daughter relationship forever (tears are coming now as I type this) and the life that they had in a wonderful place that was never really the same as it was in the 1930's according to the book.

Even though this is her first novel, I don't believe I've read an author that is as skilled at using analogies as she is. She was very effective at writing the first part of the book from a child's perspective - how they took silly things literally (like when I was a kid, whenever my mom expressed worry that she was going to be fired, I thought her employer threw people in a fireplace). How the daughter looked at her parents, especially her father as Superheros and the first time she learned that they can be wrong.

After reading, I've been very interested in researching about Shanghai during the 1930's and two wars that followed and I found that that the book has things down to a T. That it was a huge international city where there was quite successful British and American businessmen. The locations. The streets and buildings are all there. The Bund is mentioned an awful lot in the book. Chinese City to the Southeast. The part of the city where foreigners lived. The road to the northeast where the father was imprisoned by the Japanese.

This looks really bad me writing this post

considering my avatar so what I say appears to be biased but I agree with your sentiment.

Your issue should be with the major sports leagues in the US and the political & economic realities(not referring to the BS excuses owners use) that exist that allow this to happen. If a team with the baseball history such as NY Yankees or Boston Rox moved and that caused anyone to quit supporting baseball, they should stop right now because it will happen and has happened. It would be a shock not because they choose to leave the city but because the city/state didn't approve a grossly unfair stadium construction/renovation deal with equally unfair lease agreements that often include escape clauses that allow teams to skip town before the stadium's costs are paid for so you don't have situations where the Jets/Giants are playing next door to a stadium the city is still paying for. Now the Yankees/Red Sox are safe short-term because the Yankees got theirs and Red Sox had some recent renovations I believe. Cubs are more likely but like I said, a shock if the city doesn't approve, Ricketts is currently in negotiations with Rahm for renovations. Immediately when he took over he threatened the city of Mesa, AZ a move to Florida to a successful vote for a new spring training ballpark that I foolishly and stupidly voted for but actually would of the made the problem worse which I'll explain.

One of the economic realities is that since leagues control entry of teams (often for honest reasons such as competitive balance, scheduling, etc) there is excessive demand for teams and little supply which gives teams/leagues unbelievable bargaining power over the city/state it plays for as there is always another city/state more than willing to meet the team's demands. Known as the all-or-nothing approach when it is presented as agree these set of demands that are great for us or you have no team. A higher profile example in sports is the Olympics or World Cup. Instead of purchasing an event or a couple World Cup games, it is presented as one package and these countries go absolutely crazy offering to incur all these costs and some countries end up having several Astrodomes w/ no use years after the event is gone. A city actually refusing to stadium construction/renovations ends up strengthening these threats because it sends messages to other cities legitimizing them. The Seattle Sonics were probably the best example in recent history to other cities legitimizing this threat as they had history, fan support, factors that normally generate support from general sports fans for teams to relocate. Also the city bent over backwards in that settlement primarily so that the NBA would be nice to them and hopefully in the future, consider the city for a team. A clear reason why Stern was so heavily involved in making it happen when the ownership group had no intention of keeping them in Seattle no whatsoever to keeping them. Why all the NBA owners (maybe except for a few that have a general belief to not get in the way of another franchise making their own decisions) but 2 approved of the move because it made their case strongly if they ever felt the need to pull the relocation card. Guess who one of the 2 was? Cuban is one of the most hated owners by sports fan but he is actually one of the very few that isn't completely trumped by maximizing profits, he was sued by a smaller partner Ross Perot Jr. for running deficits and general mismanagement. It wasn't a secret that Dallas incurred yearly losses and Cuban(I can't find quote) said something after one successful season with a playoff run that it was the "Best (whatever amount) I ever lost". The case was dismissed when Cuban filed a brief with Nowitzki holding a Finals trophy which led to the judge dismissing and stating that Perot Jr's claims were ridiculous. Interesting that unlike typical businesses, owners are not judged by profits, revenue generated but by the success of the team's play. That is another topic for different thread.

Long history of this and other strategies, NFL probably wants the city of Los Angeles to remain without a team so teams can continue using them as a threat until as many teams get a stadium and Goddell keeps using the Super Bowl extortion in Atlanta, San Diego, for bonus points. The Browns going to Baltimore probably has the greatest effect of increasing the value of the relocating threat of all time. Browns had history and fan support but ownership decided to move before their stadium demand was voted on and actually approved even after that lower than usual blow by the owner. Not long after Cardinals, Seahawks, Broncos, Steelers, Patriots, Colts, Lions, Bengals, Buccaneers, and Eagles received new stadiums. I did not look at each and every individual case but I guarantee every single of them used a threat of relocation(including implied ones such as all the options and don't want to be forced to make a option they have "no choice"--even the Steelers and Broncos. I believe the Gillette Stadium's construction was privately financed but usually there are tax breaks, sale of land for extremely low costs, etc that factor into in but need to look at them in-detail. There is a strong reason I believe that.

There is no sense in demanding a new stadium and publicly stating and without a hint otherwise that you have no desire to relocate the team. Wilf has done that for several years until recent years and in 2006 had a favorable proposal compared to vast majority of teams in terms of costs the owner is willing to put up (95%+ times it is a bad deal for the city). As far as stadiums go the Vikings have the best case of any team depending a stadium, they generate one of the lowest if not lowest incomes from the stadium and they sell out every game. It immediately gives the city more bargaining power because why offer to cover costs of construction when there is no threat of a team leaving? While overall this is pretty scummy behavior, the "nice guys" of asking governments to fund stadiums don't get rewarded. Yes, there are exceptions to this relocating thing, sometimes a team is really not viable to continue in the same city but there are also profit maximum strategies involved. Primary reason the Chicago Cardinals moved to St. Louis was stop a rapidly growing and increasingly popular AFL from placing a team there. The Dodgers in a larger media market moved to the second largest media market because then they would it have it to themselves. Next NFL team that moves to LA will likely have the reason of capturing that market before another team chooses to do so.

OK--political realities and I'll keep it shorter than I wanted to. Basically, there is nothing judiciously that can be done about this. Several rulings, one when the Raiders successfully sued the NFL on the basis of the Sherman Antitrust Act(long history of this affecting the impact of the top leagues and the way they operate today), which made it easier to relocate especially since the league rarely protested relocations(the one case LA Rams-STL was clearly for financial reasons for the league but backed down after lawsuit from Rams) . The Noerr-Pennington doctrine is what kills successful anti-trust challenges because you basically can't make anti-competitive challenges when a legislative body is involved in the transaction on First Amendment grounds using the term political injury. You could argue that it harms taxpayers but taxpayers are not legally considered consumers.

Also us. Knowing all this, I'd probably vote to keep a team if I liked the team, it wouldn't do anything to discourage(actually encourage) future threats or relocations. Often the city will spend even more money trying to attract a team further down the line (Kansas City actually built a state-of-the-art arena 5 years ago to attract a NBA/NHL team and there are increasing discussions with cities discussing building these facilities even though no one said we'll give you a team). The only thing that would discourage leaving is if every single backup plan voted no which would leave a no vote on a team staying up to highly unlikely certainty. Like arguing voting for a third party is wasted when they can't win based on mathematically probability.

The problem I stated is the way the league limits entry is what leads to these problems. The Premier League is far superior in avoiding this ridiculous skyrocketing requests for new buildings with relegation/promotion. The threat to leave is almost non-existed so teams are playing in stadiums far older than ours that are often renovated the by the club(which is the sensible thing to do instead of tearing it down and building another fucking stadium that is so stupid I can't comprehend). That isn't saying Europe is far superior in every way, just their soccer leagues compared to our sports leagues. As evidence by Murdoch scandal he himself had an extraordinary amount of control of British politics and had their hear which lead to rent control measures that enabled Murdoch to engage in this type of unethical largely undetected and increasingly more often with help from police.

It would take an act of Congress to force leagues to have relegation/promotion and it wouldn't be supported because, too much government involvement, plenty of people don't like when politics/sports mix but this is situation that is already out of control and won't stop until there is a crash and there will be a crash when majority of cities are paying for 2-3 venues for the same sport. There are already reasonable arguments to pay for a team such as civic pride, identity, but I believe the costs clearly outweigh benefits and this argument will get tired soon. Even people that hate supporting stadiums would hate this, people don't think logically. I remember one writer for the LA Times suggested that group of LA businessmen should ask the NFL to be like the Green Bay Packers. I couldn't but help laugh so hard that the author would believe they would even entertain the thought. One of the argument he used was the Packers have 12 Championships. One comment in the section to counter started countering with success of private franchises such as the 49ers & Steelers so like with anything, regular folks defend businesses that screw people over to death.

Plus with fans used to the way things are they would resist change like crazy and imagine very few if any sports forumites would support this but I believe it is the only way to stop this craziness and the leagues sure aren't going to do it themselves. Yes it would be hard at first, MLB should be easy to set-up at first but like a competitive market cities/teams will develop and attract talent and in the long run make things exciting. The teams facing relegation would generate exciting contests near the end of the season where the Colts playing their final 2 games don't generate any exciting(unless rooting hard for the other team to win to get best pick). But I'd bet it will never happen.

Sorry for the long rant, I hope I highlighted the true enemies and that almost all franchises are as guilty as teams that did in fact relocate because they would have if the city failed to comply and for taking advantage of teams that do, for their own benefit. About the dump the sport now, if you would if team a,b, or c moved and wonder why don't I. I long ago accepted the business realities as it is, I find it mind boggling it takes strikes (when they are true displays of how businesses should be run) for fans to quit supporting the game when the league and it's teams make decisions on eliminating competition, raising prices when there are no competitors, and employ all sorts of tactics that takes the fan support for granted when they agree irrationally as do I to what they ask for.

-source for many claims and where I developed some more opinions about this topic, while helping me with most of the opinions I already had.

League Structure & Stadium Rent Seeking
—the Role of Antitrust Revisited
David Haddock, Tonja Jacobi & Matthew Sag*

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