Thursday, June 23, 2011

America Today: The Real Reason We’re Leaving Afghanistan - “the tide of war is receding.”

Whatever President Obama may have thought he was doing in his June 22 speech on troop reductions in Afghanistan, his remarks will be remembered as the point at which America decided it was time to come home. Over the next 15 months or so, a third of the U.S. forces currently in the country will depart, resulting in a much-diminished pace of military activity. Even before the troop reductions were announced, the Pentagon was planning to cease U.S. participation in major combat operations during 2014. So the end of America’s longest war is fast approaching.

President Obama offered several reasons for why it is time to commence troop reductions. First, “the tide of war is receding.” Second, U.S. forces have made impressive progress in dismembering Al Qaeda. Third, overseas wars are costly and the U.S. must turn to its own economic recovery. The president’s critics see a different agenda driving the drawdown, starting with the fact that Mr. Obama is seeking reelection only months after the announced cuts are completed. They detect a lack of presidential leadership on the war that could squander hard-won gains, and hint the White House is simply responding to opinion polls that show deteriorating support for the military campaign.

Notice that these explanations, both pro and con, are mostly about us. The role that Afghans may have played in leading the president to decide on withdrawal barely gets mentioned. But the real reason Washington wants to depart is that its leaders now understand the limitations of the Afghans as allies and nation-builders. Most Americans have only the vaguest notion of who the Afghans are, just as they had little understanding of the Vietnamese, Somalis, Slavs and Iraqis who populated other recent battlefields where U.S. forces have fought. After ten years of counter-insurgency warfare, though, senior U.S. leaders know the Afghans all too well, and they have figured out that Afghanistan is not the kind of stuff from which happy endings can be fashioned.

A few salient facts about the country are in order. Afghanistan’s per capita GDP is about two-percent of America’s, and according to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 97 percent of economic activity is tied to the U.S. military presence or international aid. The country’s biggest export is opium. Its biggest import is weapons. Nearly half the population is under the age of 15, and among those who are 15 or older, three-quarters can’t read or write (including seven out of eight women). The polyglot culture is fractured among communities speaking three major languages and 30 minor ones.

Afghan society is characterized by extreme poverty and widespread criminality. The government is weak and corrupt. There are chronic shortages of housing, jobs, electricity and medical care. If you think this sounds too harsh, don’t blame me: I’m quoting from the CIA’s World Factbook entry on Afghanistan. It is very depressing reading, and proof that Afghanistan does not have what it takes to be a self-sustaining democracy.

In other words, there was a reason why Osama bin Laden sought sanctuary in Afghanistan in 1996, and it wasn’t the weather. He knew the country was so isolated, primitive and divided that a small amount of money could buy him all the protection he needed. Having now killed him and two-thirds of his lieutenants over the last two years, the Obama Administration realizes that’s probably the most it can hope for from such an inhospitable place. Economic growth and political stability are not feasible unless America sticks around forever, buying off the warlords and injecting billions of (borrowed) dollars into a backward economy.

The problem here isn’t lack of American resolve. U.S. forces have remained in places such as Germany and South Korea for generations, even when the number of American lives at risk was far greater than the losses incurred in Afghanistan. But there were major economic and security benefits to those commitments, and politicians on both sides of the aisle in Washington have begun to doubt the value of remaining in Afghanistan. Even the geography works against us.

So Washington is moving on. It has had enough of Mr. Karzai and the warlords and the opium growers and the ISI interlopers who have made our mission there even harder than it needed to be. The U.S. intelligence community and special operations forces will continue to wage a vigorous campaign against the remnants of Al Qaeda, but the period of large-scale U.S. military activity in Southwest Asia is coming to a close. A consensus is emerging that America has done what it needed to do in Afghanistan, and now it is time for the locals to start looking out for themselves.

LOREN THOMPSON
Business in The Beltway
MONEY & POLITICS

How to Buy Gold Safely: The Basic Elements Found in Every Gold Transaction (The Secret)

gold-edelmetalle-rohstoffe-commodities With the current interest in gold ownership seemingly at a historical level, the question is not if you should buy gold, but how to buy gold. As the price of gold hovers around $1200 an ounce, many newcomers to the gold market have been looking to get their hands on the precious metal. Whether you just want to diversify your portfolio, see gold as a hedge against inflation or feel the dollar and world currency are headed for disaster, you should know how to buy gold.

The easiest way to understand about buying gold is to take physical possession of it. You can go down to your local coin shop and hand over $1200 or so dollars and receive a one ounce American Eagle gold coin. If you have more money to invest, you can buy bullion from any number of reputable companies. Knowing how to buy gold will keep you from being "ripped off" by an unscrupulous seller. Basic rule - expect to pay a few dollars over spot price (the current market price for gold) and receive spot price when you sell.

When you don't want to take physical delivery of the commodity, there is a solution for buying gold. Most large, gold selling companies will hold your gold for you at their facility. Simply set up an account, purchase however many ounces of gold you desire and let them handle the rest. You'll receive a statement and an account number indicating the amount of gold you own and you can retrieve it (take physical possession) anytime you want or simple sell it back to the company and receive a check for the proceeds.

Deciding how to buy gold can be challenging. For some, ETF's (Electronically Traded Funds) designed to track the daily price of gold, are the perfect option. Basically, you purchase shares in the fund and if the price of gold rises, you make money. Conversely, when gold prices drop, the ETF declines in value. This option offers the convenience of very high liquidity as well as not having to worry about taking physical possession of the commodity.

If you know how to buy gold mining stocks, you may be able to earn a greater return on your investment than by simply buying the the pure asset. In addition to being correlated with the price of gold, the price of a gold mining stock is also affected by the overall performance of the company.

Click here to learn everything you need to know on how to buy gold safely... and secure your financial future by putting your money into gold the right way!

By Elaine Bixler

More information?

How Can a Private Individual Buy Gold? Here you find the best secret

I LOVE GOLD-BUY-GOLD-FOR-FUTUR-gold Gold has always been the most precious metal in the world. Although there have been other metals that are more expensive than gold like platinum, but the importance of gold has dwarfed their presence. The importance of gold is evident from the fact that the currency value of every country is determined through its gold reserves. Similarly, people buy gold as the safest form of investment. This immense value of gold is thus the fuel that runs the world economy.

Gold buying is nothing short of an art form. Although anyone can buy gold and millions do it on a daily basis, it is not a very easy process. You would say that anyone could go to a jeweler or gold market and buy gold, right? Yes, that is the simplest way of buying gold, but what about huge quantities of gold. A purchase of mere 10 grams of gold would not bring you to a profitable position. You will have to buy at least 100 grams to 200 grams to secure your investment for the future.

Private individuals regularly buy gold from the open market. They do so in a number of ways. As mentioned above, the easiest way is a purchase in the open market. However, this is not good in all situations.

The prices of gold change on a daily basis and gold dealers want to maximise their profits. If you buy a jewel set of gold and think that you have made a good investment, think again. The better option is to research a lot before buying gold. The biggest factor that can affect your decision is the current cost of gold in the global market.

The cost of gold depends on many things with the most important being the geo-political situation. During wars and tensions between countries, the prices of gold shoot up as people want to secure their assets. On the contrary, gold prices see a decline during peace times. Fluctuating gasoline prices also play an important role in the global prices of gold.

If you have made your mind to buy gold as a form of investment, do two things. First, try to survey the local rates of gold in your area. If they are affordable, then you can buy some as per your budget and future needs. Otherwise, it is recommendable to wait for some time until the prices come down.

That is necessary because buying gold at extremely high prices can have very severe consequences. People bought gold during the second Iraq war as they thought that it would last for many years. However, the prices of gold did not sustain the surge and came crashing down after a few months. Thousands of investors lost billions of pounds worth of gold during this episode.

There are of course risks in any investment and you have to be prepared for any losses. The best tip for gold investment is patience. If you can wait for a couple of years and have some extra money to spare, then gold is the best investment option.

Learn How to buy gold in the recession times.

Jack Wagon is a gold smith. You can know how to buy gold bar and save money.

By Jack Wogan

Sunday, June 19, 2011

“Black Women Are Less Attractive” say japanese Satoshi Kanazawa

fuckin-man-satoshi-black-woman-les-beauty Psychology Today blogger Satoshi Kanazawa sparked a firestorm with his latest posting entitled, "A Look at the Hard Truths About Human Nature."

In it, the evolutionary psychologist at the London School of Economics argues that black women are less physically attractive than other women. The article was quickly removed from the site, but not before screenshots made their way onto BuzzFeed. Some excerpts:

What accounts for the markedly lower average level of physical attractiveness among black women? Black women are on average much heavier than nonblack women. The mean body-mass index (BMI) at Wave III is 28.5 among black women and 26.1 among nonblack women. (Black and nonblack men do not differ in BMI: 27.0 vs. 26.9) However, this is not the reason black women are less physically attractive than nonblack women. Black women have lower average level of physical attractiveness net of BMI. Nor can the race difference in intelligence (and the positive association between intelligence and physical attractiveness) account for the race difference in physical attractiveness among women. Black women are still less physically attractive than nonblack women net of BMI and intelligence. Net of intelligence, black men are significantlymore physically attractive than nonblack men.

[...]

The only thing I can think of that might potentially explain the lower average level of physical attractiveness among black women is testosterone. Africans on average have higher levels of testosterone than other races, and testosterone, being an androgen (male hormone), affects the physical attractiveness of men and women differently. Men with higher levels of testosterone have more masculine features and are therefore more physically attractive. In contrast, women with higher levels of testosterone also have more masculine features and are therefore less physically attractive. The race difference in the level of testosterone can therefore potentially explain why black women are less physically attractive than women of other races, while (net of intelligence) black men are more physically attractive than men of other races.

Kanazawa, whose prior, controversial works can be viewed in part here, was met with widespread backlash. Jenée Desmond-Harris at The Root wrote, "The blog's presentation of the allegedly scientific findings had a decidedly informal tone, especially given the highly contentious conclusions. It struck us as so outrageous that we almost thought it was a hoax of some sort, and we double-checked the URL to make sure it didn't include 'The Onion.'"

Latoya Peterson at Racialicious opined: "Justifying racism using 'science' isn't new, by any means. Every few years, it appears that someone needs to provide a rationale for bigotry, so they publish some sort of madness and hope most of the readers suffer from scientific illiteracy. The problem is that even with a thorough debunking, people latch on to articles like this to confirm their own biases."

Kaja Perina, Psychology Today's editor-in-chief, didn't explain why Kanazawa's piece was removed,however she told NPR, "Our bloggers are credential[ed] social scientists and for this reason they are invited to post to the site on topics of their choosing. We in turn reserve the right to remove posts for any number of reasons. Because the post was not commissioned or solicited by PT (in contrast to a magazine article), there was no editorial intent to address questions of race and physical attractiveness."

Kanazawa hasn't made any public statement, although, as NPR notes, his personal website does disclaim, "Prepare to be offended."

Abs Diet Commandments: AskMen has 5 other commandments for your abs diet.

You need carbs if you want ripped abs. AskMen has 5 other commandments for your abs diet.

By Shannon Clark, Health Correspondent

Page 1: Abs Diet Commandments

Ryan McVay/Thinkstock
If you're on a mission tin 2011 to get cut and achieve that ripped set of six-pack abs, there are some important abs diet commandments that you must follow. Failure to account for the foods you eat on a daily basis will quickly short circuit your results and leave you continually wondering when progress is going to take place.
If you really want to get results quickly, you must take control of your abs diet and only feed your body the foods that will prime it for fat burning.
Let's go over some of the top abs diet commandments that you must know.

1- Thou shalt not skip post-workout meals
Without question, the single most important meal that you must eat during the day is the post-workout meal. Many people make the mistake of skipping this meal, thinking that it will allow them to continue to burn off body fat after the workout.
The period after a workout is when that food will be used to stoke the metabolic rate and when it's going to get sucked right up into the muscle tissues.
If you want to really boost your ability to get lean, load up a higher percentage of your daily calorie intake right after the workout and keep the other meals during the day lower in overall calories.
2- Thou shall eat protein with each meal or snack
The second abs diet commandment to follow is to make sure you get some protein with each and every meal or snack you eat. When on a strict fat-loss diet, protein is the single macronutrient that will spare your lean muscle mass.
If it's a rock-solid physique you're after, this will be essential. Focus on proteins that are naturally leaner, such as chicken, fish, egg whites and extra-lean cuts of red meat.
3- Thou shall include at least one high-carb day a week
Third, don't forgo carbs altogether. Many people who are attempting to get a ripped stomach are quick to remove virtually all carbs from their diet except fibrous vegetables.
When all carbohydrates are removed like this, your metabolism is going to plummet, making fat loss extremely difficult -- if not impossible.
Having at least one high-carb day in the diet is going to prevent this and keep that metabolism running faster. If you can have two or three high-carb days on your hardest workout days, it will be all the better.
We have three more abs diet commandments for you to follow...

Page 2: Abs Diet

4- Thou shall include casein protein before bed
Having some casein protein right before bed is another key issue that you must make sure you're doing. This is the slowest form of protein available, so by placing it before you enter the long nightly fast, you ensure your muscles have a constant stream of amino acids to feed upon.
If you're currently in a calorie deficit and go to bed without protein, you will definitely be at a higher risk for muscle mass tissue loss.
5- Thou shall include 3 to 6 grams of fish oil
When it comes to fats on your abs diet plan, you do want to be limiting them. At nine calories per gram, they contain twice as much as either protein or carbohydrates do. But one particular type of fat that you should take in daily is fish oil.
Fish oil will improve your insulin sensitivity so that when you do decide to add carbohydrates to your diet, your body can handle them better and there is a reduced risk of turning them into body fat.
Aim to take three grams to six grams of fish oil caps per day, unless you're eating a larger serving of fatty fish in one of your particular meals. Salmon and mackerel are both great sources of essential fatty acids, so those are the types to focus on.
6- Thou shall limit sodium intake
Finally, the last abs diet commandment is that you must make sure that you're limiting your sodium intake. While sodium isn't going to play a role in actually gaining or losing body fat, if you take in too much, it's definitely going to play a role in how you look.
If you really want to get that shredded look, you must be avoiding water retention. Just a few hundred milligrams of sodium can easily throw off your leanness factor -- so definitely do keep tight reins on your sodium as you get leaner and leaner.
The less body fat you have, the more of a difference you'll notice on the impact of your sodium intake.

absolute abs

Don't mindlessly go about your diet any longer. If you want ripped abs, you must obey all six of these commandments to achieve success.

Askman – for mens!

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