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Topics - Tom!

Pages: 1 2 [3] 4 5 ... 9
31
Just passing this along as I came across it on another site.  Shark inlet and Deal, whereever that is.
http://www.stripersonline.com/surftalk/showthread.php?t=520268
http://www.stripersonline.com/surftalk/showthread.php?t=520252

32
Marioville! Sports, Politics, Humor and more... / Bush humor
« on: February 26, 2007, 03:29:50 PM »
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1921276117304287501

34
I mean, the Germans didnt bomb Pearl Harbor(unless you are Bluto,) so why get involved?

35
Anti-war protesters spray paint Capitol building steps
By Jackie Kucinich

Anti-war protesters were allowed to spray paint on part of the west front steps of the United States Capitol building after police were ordered to break their security line by their leadership, two sources told The Hill.

According to the sources, police officers were livid when they were told to fall back by U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) Chief Phillip Morse andDeputy Chief Daniel Nichols. "They were the commanders on the scene," one source said, who requested anonymity. "It was disgusting."

After police ceded the stairs, located on the lower west front of the Capitol, the building was locked down, the source added.

A second source who witnessed the incident said that the police had the crowd stopped at Third Street, but were told to bring the police line in front of the Capitol.

Approximately 300 protesters were allowed to take the steps and began to spray paint "anarchist symbols" and phrase such as "Our capitol building" and "you can’t stop us" around the area, the source said.

Morse responded to these claims in an e-mail Sunday afternoon explaining that the protesters were seeking confrontation with the police.

"While there were minor instances of spray painting of pavement by a splinter group of Anarchists who were seeking a confrontation with the police, their attempts to breach into secure areas and rush the doors of the Capitol were thwarted," Morse said. "The graffiti was easily removed by the dedicated [Architect of the Capitol] staff, some of whom responded on their day off to quickly clean the area."

He added, "It is the USCP's duty and responsibility to protect the Capitol complex, staff and public while allowing the public to exercise their First Amendment rights … at the end of the day, both occurred without injury to protestors or officers."

Yet, the sources who talked to The Hill were furious that protesters were not stopped before reaching the Capitol.

"To get that close to the Capitol building, that is ridiculous," the second source said. "[Police] were told not to arrest anyone."

The second source added that police had to stand by and watch as protesters posed in front of their graffiti.

Tens of thousands of people rallied on the Mall and the Capitol complex Saturday in protest of the increased troop deployments and the war in Iraq.




36
Marioville! Sports, Politics, Humor and more... / True American Patriot
« on: February 01, 2007, 10:49:25 AM »
what a scumbag

http://blog.washingtonpost.com/earlywarning/2007/01/the_troops_also_need_to_suppor.html

William M. Arkin on National and Homeland Security
The Troops Also Need to Support the American People

I've been mulling over an NBC Nightly News report from Iraq last Friday in which a number of soldiers expressed frustration with opposition to war in the United States.

I'm sure the soldiers were expressing a majority opinion common amongst the ranks - that's why it is news - and I'm also sure no one in the military leadership or the administration put the soldiers up to expressing their views, nor steered NBC reporter Richard Engel to the story.

I'm all for everyone expressing their opinion, even those who wear the uniform of the United States Army. But I also hope that military commanders took the soldiers aside after the story and explained to them why it wasn't for them to disapprove of the American people.

Friday's NBC Nightly News included a story from my colleague and friend Richard Engel, who was embedded with an active duty Army infantry battalion from Fort Lewis, Washington.

Engel relayed how "troops here say they are increasingly frustrated by American criticism of the war. Many take it personally, believing it is also criticism of what they've been fighting for."

First up was 21 year old junior enlisted man Tyler Johnson, whom Engel said was frustrated about war skepticism and thinks that critics "should come over and see what it's like firsthand before criticizing."

"You may support or say we support the troops, but, so you're not supporting what they do, what they're here sweating for, what we bleed for, what we die for. It just don't make sense to me," Johnson said.

Next up was Staff Sergeant Manuel Sahagun, who is on his second tour in Iraq. He complained that "one thing I don't like is when people back home say they support the troops, but they don't support the war. If they're going to support us, support us all the way."

Next was Specialist Peter Manna: "If they don't think we're doing a good job, everything that we've done here is all in vain," he said.

These soldiers should be grateful that the American public, which by all polls overwhelmingly disapproves of the Iraq war and the President's handling of it, do still offer their support to them, and their respect.

Through every Abu Ghraib and Haditha, through every rape and murder, the American public has indulged those in uniform, accepting that the incidents were the product of bad apples or even of some administration or command order.

Sure it is the junior enlisted men who go to jail, but even at anti-war protests, the focus is firmly on the White House and the policy. We just don't see very man "baby killer" epithets being thrown around these days, no one in uniform is being spit upon.

So, we pay the soldiers a decent wage, take care of their families, provide them with housing and medical care and vast social support systems and ship obscene amenities into the war zone for them, we support them in every possible way, and their attitude is that we should in addition roll over and play dead, defer to the military and the generals and let them fight their war, and give up our rights and responsibilities to speak up because they are above society?

I can imagine some post-9/11 moment, when the American people say enough already with the wars against terrorism and those in the national security establishment feel these same frustrations. In my little parable, those in leadership positions shake their heads that the people don't get it, that they don't understand that the threat from terrorism, while difficult to defeat, demands commitment and sacrifice and is very real because it is so shadowy, that the very survival of the United States is at stake. Those Hoover's and Nixon's will use these kids in uniform as their soldiers. If I weren't the United States, I'd say the story end with a military coup where those in the know, and those with fire in their bellies, save the nation from the people.

But it is the United States and instead this NBC report is just an ugly reminder of the price we pay for a mercenary - oops sorry, volunteer - force that thinks it is doing the dirty work.

The notion of dirty work is that, like laundry, it is something that has to be done but no one else wants to do it. But Iraq is not dirty work: it is not some necessary endeavor; the people just don't believe that anymore.

I'll accept that the soldiers, in order to soldier on, have to believe that they are manning the parapet, and that's where their frustrations come in. I'll accept as well that they are young and naïve and are frustrated with their own lack of progress and the never changing situation in Iraq. Cut off from society and constantly told that everyone supports them, no wonder the debate back home confuses them.

America needs to ponder what it is we really owe those in uniform. I don't believe America needs a draft though I imagine we'd be having a different discussion if we had one.

37
Anyone have a thule bar bike rack for sale?  Im looking for the one that attaches to my thule bars and does not require me to remove the front wheel of the bike.  I believe the model numbers that allow this are the thule 599 and the thule 598.
If you have one laying around that you have no use for let me know how much you want

thanks

38
Marioville! Sports, Politics, Humor and more... / Who do you shoot?
« on: January 22, 2007, 07:41:34 PM »
..

39
With the technology available today, the special effects part may be better. But as far as acting, script and cinematography are concerned, which ones do you think cant be improved?

my list

back to the future
The three "real" Star Wars
Magnificent Seven.
Any John Wayne movie
Forrest Gump.
Tombstone.
Dirty Harry.
The Godfather.
Scarface
Goodfellas
The usual suspects
Blazing saddles

40
the guy has just recently passed the two year mark in the senate.  why am i seeing all this hype about him for the next presidential election?  It doesnt make sense unless there is some underlying plan here.

41
outlining new strategy

42
We have some major shifting of key positions occurring at the senior levels.  I posted earlier http://www.nynjsurf.com/forum/index.php?topic=7960.0 but go no responses about John Negroponte leaving the Directorate of National Intelligence (DNI) to go to a Deputy Secretery of state position. 
We have Gen George Casey being replaced by Gen Petraeus as Multi National Force Iraq (MNFI) commander.  Casey was calling for a scale back of troops leading to a withdrawl, which I agree with, but now there is talk of 5 new Brigade Combat Teams being deployed to Iraq under Petraeus to quell new violence.  This is throwing a bandaid on a bleeding femoral artery.  It will not work in the long run.  Luckily congress still has to approve it and hopefully the new balance of power in congress will not back Bush on this one.
Also we have Gen Abizaid being replaced by Admiral Fallon as commander of Centcom.  This is a position usually held by an Army or Marine General and not a Naval flag officer.  Adm Fallon has a history in Naval Aviation and will the current naval presence to deter Syria and Iran being built up some more, one can not think that the addition of forces and this guy taking center stage can mean only one thing.  You would think we would have learned with the invasion of Iraq while Afghanistan and Horn of Africa were going on, that we need to clean up one major operation before starting another.  Anyway, Fallon's  assignment to CENTCOM as Chief makes it seem like, in spite of the ongoing ground wars in Iraq and A-stan, our national leadership has decided attacking Iran is likely or inevitable in our near future.  Purely idiotic in my opinion.  In light of past history regarding decision time lines, this does not bode well.
Now I have faith in Petraeus. Hes a "stud" compared to his peers and definitely knows his sh1t but more troops isn't the answer.  We need to keep handing more and more over to the Iraqi Security Forces.  Their accomplishments, regardless of how they compare to our ways of doing things, are the "better way" to get things done in their own country. 
Oh yeah, Israel released some plan to use nuclear bunker busters to take out the 3 Iranian nuclear weapon development areas.  Hopefully this is just a wargame scenario that leaked and not something in the 1st chapter of their play book.

=========================
January 5, 2007
Bush to Name a New General to Oversee Iraq
By MICHAEL R. GORDON and THOM SHANKER

WASHINGTON, Jan. 4 — President Bush has decided to name Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus as the top American military commander in Iraq, part of a broad revamping of the military team that will carry out the administration’s new Iraq strategy, administration officials said Thursday.

In addition to the promotion of General Petraeus, who will replace Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the choice to succeed Gen. John P. Abizaid as the head of the Central Command is expected to be Adm. William J. Fallon, who is the top American military officer in the Pacific, officials said.

The changes are being made as the White House is considering an option to increase American combat power in Baghdad by five brigades as well as adding two battalions of reinforcements to the volatile province of Anbar in western Iraq.

Mr. Bush, who said Thursday that he would present details of his overall strategy for Iraq next week, and several top aides held a video teleconference on Thursday, speaking with Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq and his top deputies about plans to add forces in the capital and other matters. The session lasted roughly an hour and 45 minutes.

“I said that ‘You show the will, we will help you,’ ” Mr. Bush told reporters.

Echoing the comments of both military and political advisers in recent weeks, he added, “One thing is for certain: I will want to make sure that the mission is clear and specific and can be accomplished.”

Senior administration officials said that the choice of General Petraeus was part of a broader effort to change almost all of the top American officials in Iraq as Mr. Bush changes his strategy there.

“The idea is to put the whole new team in at roughly the same time, and send some clear messages that we are trying a new approach,” a senior administration official said Thursday.

In addition to the military changes, Mr. Bush intends to appoint the ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, as the new United States ambassador to the United Nations, a senior administration official said Thursday.

“It was clearly time to move the players around on the field,” said the senior official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because Mr. Bush had yet to announce the changes. “This helps the president to make the case that this is a fresh start.”

Admiral Fallon would be the first Navy officer to serve as the senior officer of the Central Command, which is managing simultaneous ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Admiral Fallon is regarded within the military as one of its stronger regional combat commanders, and his possible appointment also reflects a greater emphasis on countering Iranian power, a mission that relies heavily on naval forces and combat airpower to project American influence in the Persian Gulf.

General Petraeus, who is now the head of the Army’s Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., helped oversee the drafting of the military’s comprehensive new manual on counterinsurgency. He has served two previous tours in Iraq, and some former officers say he sees the need for additional troops in Baghdad.

He will replace General Casey, whose plan for troop reductions in Iraq faltered last year in the face of escalating sectarian strife and who initially expressed public wariness about any short-term increase in troops in Iraq, a move that is now a leading option under consideration by the White House.

The departures of both General Casey and General Abizaid were expected, though in General Casey’s case it appears to have been moved up several months from the originally anticipated shift in spring or summer. General Abizaid’s tour had already been extended for a full year beyond the typical two-year stint, and he has announced that he will retire soon.

The troop increase option under discussion would focus on improving security in Baghdad. Under this approach, two Army combat brigades would be sent to the capital during the first phase of the operation. A combat brigade generally consists of about 3,500 soldiers. At the same time, a third brigade would be positioned in Kuwait as a reserve, and two more brigades would be on call in the United States.

The expectation is that these three brigades would eventually be sent to Baghdad as well, though the president would have the option to limit the reinforcements. Part of the increase could be achieved by holding some units past their currently scheduled return home.

Scaling up by five brigades would more than double the number of American combat troops involved in security operations in the Iraqi capital. The emphasis on Baghdad reflects the view that stability in the capital is a precondition for any broader effort to bring calm to the whole country. It is also a recognition that the administration sees sectarian violence as a greater threat to Iraq’s stability than the Sunni Arab insurgency.

While Baghdad is the principal focus, the option also provides for sending two battalions of reinforcements to Anbar, where overstretched Marine and Army forces have been battling Sunni Arab insurgents. A basic battalion generally consists of 1,200 troops.

One issue under discussion is how to mesh the emerging American strategy with the Iraqis’ capabilities. Bush administration officials say they want the increase in American troops to be paralleled by a considerable rise in the number of functional Iraqi troops. But the Iraqis failed in the summer to send all the reinforcements that had been requested, and some Iraqi security forces, particularly the police, have been infiltrated by militias.

Another point of contention is that some senior aides to Mr. Maliki have been notably unenthusiastic about an increase in American troops in Baghdad. During his meeting with Mr. Bush in Jordan in November, Mr. Maliki presented a plan that would shift most Americans to the periphery of Baghdad so they could concentrate on fighting Sunni insurgents while the Shiite-dominated Iraqi government asserted more control over the capital. That has left some American officials wondering whether the Maliki government was making a legitimate bid to exercise sovereignty or is committed to a sectarian Shiite agenda.

Bush administration officials believe that their new Iraqi strategy must involve political steps toward reconciliation and reconstruction programs to produce jobs.

In their teleconference, Mr. Bush and Mr. Maliki discussed the Iraqi government’s efforts at political reconciliation and the Iraqi prime minister’s vows to rein in militias, the pace of which American officials have found painfully slow. Discussing the execution of Saddam Hussein, Mr. Bush said the Maliki government was right to investigate the circumstances surrounding the hanging.

General Petraeus participated in the initial invasion of Iraq as the commander of the 101st Airborne Division. The division fought its way toward Baghdad and was later sent to Mosul in northern Iraq, where the general focused on political and economic reconstruction efforts.

“We are in a race to win over the people,” read a sign in his Mosul headquarters. “What have you and your element done today to contribute to victory?”

General Petraeus did a second tour in Iraq in which he oversaw the efforts to train the Iraqi Army. At his current post at Fort Leavenworth, he has been involved in the push to change the United States Army’s training and education to emphasize counterinsurgency operations.

Jack Keane, the retired Army general who served as vice chief of the Army, called General Petraeus an “imaginative commander who is experienced and knows how to deal with irregular warfare,” as the Army refers to insurgencies.

The Iraq commander post is considered a four-star general’s command, a promotion that would add a star to General Petraeus’s shoulder.

Officials also said Admiral Fallon received a persuasive recommendation from the Joint Chiefs as one of the military’s stronger commanders of a geographic theater, with his current command including the challenges of North Korea and China.

In that capacity, he also took the unusual and punitive move in December of canceling a large, annual field exercise with the Philippines over a local judge’s failure to honor the bilateral treaty governing protections for American military personnel. The judge refused to honor the agreement’s rule that American military personnel remain in American custody pending final appeal of all criminal proceedings against them, and ordered a marine convicted of rape held in a local jail even though the case was on appeal.

David E. Sanger and Jim Rutenberg contributed reporting.

================================================================

Two new steps taken by President Bush support the revised Iraq strategy under development in the White House

January 4, 2007, 9:01 AM (GMT+02:00)

The US president has decided to shift John Negroponte out of the job of National Intelligence Director after 20 months and appoint him deputy secretary of state, as weighty backup for Condoleezza Rice. The USS John C. Stennis strike group will this month join the USS Dwight Eisenhower aircraft carrier group and USS Boxer strike force in the Persian Gulf “as a warning to Syria and Iran” in face of acts seen as provocative, and to give commanders more flexibility in the region. Continuation of Iran’s banned nuclear activities would come under the heading of “provocative.”

This is the second buildup of US naval, air and marine strength in the strategic waterway in four months. Deployment of the Stennis group puts a total of 16,000 US sailors in the region as well as another nuclear carrier and 7 escort warships, 10 air squadrons, 2 submarines and helicopters to support amphibious landings on enemy soil.

DEBKAfile’s military experts see in the new deployment evidence that President George W. Bush has rejected the key Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group’s recommendation to engage Iran and Syria for an exit strategy on Iraq. He has instead come down finally behind his own fundamental conviction that the Iraq war is winnable and Iran can be simultaneously confronted.

Tuesday, Jan. 2, The New York Times reported that the commander of US forces in Iraq Gen. John Casey was on his way out, accused of placing a policy of withdrawal ahead of winning the war. This grave charge is tantamount to flouting the commander in chief’s directives. Reports of Casey’s coming dismissal are further evidence of Bush’s resolve to pursue a proactive policy on Iraq and Iran rather than accept defeat.



Now, let's add the NON-US but NATO floating assets off the coast of Lebanon for which I am linkless right now I'll hunt it up and add it in a bit if i can FIND the info...

Plus here is what the Navy says as of this morning:

http://www.navy.mil/navydata/navy_legacy.asp?id=146


Status: JAN 4, 2007


Deployable Battle Force Ships: 278


Ships Underway (away from homeport): 63 ships (22% of total)

On deployment: 80 ships (28% of total)


Attack submarines underway (away from homeport): 19 submarines (36%)

On deployment: 17 submarines (32%)


Carriers:

USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) - North Arabian Sea


Bataan Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG):

USS Bataan (LHD 5) - Atlantic Ocean
USS Shreveport (LPD 12) - Atlantic Ocean
USS Oak Hill (LSD 51) - Atlantic Ocean


Boxer Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG):

USS Boxer (LHD 4) - Persian Gulf
USS Dubuque (LPD 8) - Persian Gulf
USS Comstock (LSD 45) - Arabian Sea


Amphibious Warfare Ships:

USS Ashland (LSD 48) - Indian Ocean



Now there are a bunch of ANG and NG air assets that have been sent to the proverbial "Undisclosed location to support the GWOT" in the last few weeks.
===============================

The Sunday Times     January 07, 2007

Revealed: Israel plans nuclear strike on Iran
Uzi Mahnaimi, New York and Sarah Baxter, Washington

ISRAEL has drawn up secret plans to destroy Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities with tactical nuclear weapons.

Two Israeli air force squadrons are training to blow up an Iranian facility using low-yield nuclear “bunker-busters”, according to several Israeli military sources.

The attack would be the first with nuclear weapons since 1945, when the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Israeli weapons would each have a force equivalent to one-fifteenth of the Hiroshima bomb.

Under the plans, conventional laser-guided bombs would open “tunnels” into the targets. “Mini-nukes” would then immediately be fired into a plant at Natanz, exploding deep underground to reduce the risk of radioactive fallout.

“As soon as the green light is given, it will be one mission, one strike and the Iranian nuclear project will be demolished,” said one of the sources.

The plans, disclosed to The Sunday Times last week, have been prompted in part by the Israeli intelligence service Mossad’s assessment that Iran is on the verge of producing enough enriched uranium to make nuclear weapons within two years.

Israeli military commanders believe conventional strikes may no longer be enough to annihilate increasingly well-defended enrichment facilities. Several have been built beneath at least 70ft of concrete and ****. However, the nuclear-tipped bunker-busters would be used only if a conventional attack was ruled out and if the United States declined to intervene, senior sources said.

Israeli and American officials have met several times to consider military action. Military analysts said the disclosure of the plans could be intended to put pressure on Tehran to halt enrichment, cajole America into action or soften up world opinion in advance of an Israeli attack.

Some analysts warned that Iranian retaliation for such a strike could range from disruption of oil supplies to the West to terrorist attacks against Jewish targets around the world.

Israel has identified three prime targets south of Tehran which are believed to be involved in Iran’s nuclear programme:

# Natanz, where thousands of centrifuges are being installed for uranium enrichment

# A uranium conversion facility near Isfahan where, according to a statement by an Iranian vice-president last week, 250 tons of gas for the enrichment process have been stored in tunnels

# A heavy water reactor at Arak, which may in future produce enough plutonium for a bomb

Israeli officials believe that destroying all three sites would delay Iran’s nuclear programme indefinitely and prevent them from having to live in fear of a “second Holocaust”.

The Israeli government has warned repeatedly that it will never allow nuclear weapons to be made in Iran, whose president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has declared that “Israel must be wiped off the map”.

Robert Gates, the new US defence secretary, has described military action against Iran as a “last resort”, leading Israeli officials to conclude that it will be left to them to strike.

Israeli pilots have flown to Gibraltar in recent weeks to train for the 2,000-mile round trip to the Iranian targets. Three possible routes have been mapped out, including one over Turkey.

Air force squadrons based at Hatzerim in the Negev desert and Tel Nof, south of Tel Aviv, have trained to use Israel’s tactical nuclear weapons on the mission. The preparations have been overseen by Major General Eliezer Shkedi, commander of the Israeli air force.

Sources close to the Pentagon said the United States was highly unlikely to give approval for tactical nuclear weapons to be used. One source said Israel would have to seek approval “after the event”, as it did when it crippled Iraq’s nuclear reactor at Osirak with airstrikes in 1981.

Scientists have calculated that although contamination from the bunker-busters could be limited, tons of radioactive uranium compounds would be released.

The Israelis believe that Iran’s retaliation would be constrained by fear of a second strike if it were to launch its Shehab-3 ballistic missiles at Israel.

However, American experts warned of repercussions, including widespread protests that could destabilise parts of the Islamic world friendly to the West.

Colonel Sam Gardiner, a Pentagon adviser, said Iran could try to close the Strait of Hormuz, the route for 20% of the world’s oil.

Some sources in Washington said they doubted if Israel would have the nerve to attack Iran. However, Dr Ephraim Sneh, the deputy Israeli defence minister, said last month: “The time is approaching when Israel and the international community will have to decide whether to take military action against Iran.”


43
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,241897,00.html

Texas Man Stages Pig Races to Protest Islamic Neighbor's Plans to Build Mosque

Friday , January 05, 2007

KATY, Texas — When an Islamic group moved in next door and told Craig Baker the pigs on his family's 200-year-old Texas farm had to go, he and his swine decided to fight back.

In protest of being asked to move, Davis began staging elaborate pig races on Friday afternoons — one of the Islamic world's most holy days.

• Video: Oinkers Are Off to the Races

Craig's neighbors, the Katy Islamic Association, have plans to build a mosque and community compound on the 11 acres they purchased alongside his farm.

Baker, 46, a stone-shop owner whose family has owned the farm for two centuries, says the association knew about the pigs when they bought the property, and it's not fair for them to ask him to get rid of the animals.

"I am just defending my rights and my property," Baker said. "They totally disrespected me and my family."

Initially Baker and Kamel Fotouh, the president of the 500-member Islamic Association, were on good terms. But things turned sour at a town meeting, where Baker says Fotouh insulted him by asking him to move.

"That was the last straw for me ... calling me a liar, especially in front of three or four hundred people at that meeting," Baker said. "Mr. Fotouh said it would be a good idea if I considered packing up my stuff and moving out further to the country."

Fotouh says his group has to construct the mosque because the others in the Houston area don't provide the kind of environment they are looking for.

"We feel that these mosques are not fulfilling the needs of the community as they should. So, our vision is to have an integrated facility," said Fotouh.

He said the pig races no longer bother him or his members, and they're going ahead with their plans to construct the mosque.

Muslims do not hate pigs, he added, they just don't eat them.

Neighbors have been showing support for Baker's races, even coming in the pouring rain and giving donations ranging from $100 to $1000 to sponsor the events.

Last Friday, more than 100 attended the pig races, and many say they don't want the mosque either. Some fear it will appear out of place and hurt their property values.

FOXNews' Kim McIntyre contributed to this report.

44
Social Security for illegal aliens
By Stephen Dinan
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Published January 4, 2007

    An agreement the Bush administration reached with Mexico on Social Security benefits would allow illegal aliens granted amnesty in the future to claim credit for the time they worked illegally.
    The deal was reached in 2004 but never released publicly because it hasn't been submitted to Congress. The TREA Senior Citizens League, a Social Security advocacy group, recently obtained the document through a Freedom of Information Act, and said it confirms the group's worst fears.
    The document is a jumble of definitions and legal language, but a spokesman for the group said what's important is what's not in the text: It does nothing to prevent undocumented aliens who later get legal status from receiving benefits for the time they worked illegally. And that comes as the Social Security system's finances are about to be put under greater strain by the retirement of baby boomers.
    "If you open up the trust fund to people who have been working in the country illegally for many years, that bankruptcy date can only come sooner," spokesman Brad Phillips said. "People on the other side of this, people who have been arguing that of course illegal aliens can't get their hands on Social Security benefits, now can't make that argument easily anymore."
    But Mark Lassiter, a spokesman for the Social Security Administration, said the agreement doesn't change U.S. law. The law states that those who do not have authorization to work will not get benefits under a totalization agreement.
    "To get Social Security benefits, you do have to be legally in the United States. This agreement does not address in any way immigration, immigration laws or override current law," he said, adding that a 2004 law, the Social Security Protection Act, prevents illegal aliens from getting benefits.
    But the seniors group said the 2004 law also states that if those aliens later get legal status -- through an amnesty or some sort of legalization plan such as the one President Bush and the Senate tried to enact last year -- they would be able to collect the benefits based on their time as illegal workers.
    The deal has not taken effect because Mr. Bush has not signed it or submitted it to Congress. Once he does, Congress would have 60 days to vote against it or it automatically would become law.
    Congress has never defeated any of the 21 other totalization agreements the United States has reached. Most of those have been with European nations, with the financial effects known to be smaller.
    Some lawmakers say Mr. Bush has not submitted the agreement because it would get caught up in the debate over Social Security's poor fiscal health, which could doom the measure.
    Totalization agreements end double taxation, so workers have to pay only into one country's system, and allow a worker who didn't have enough credits in any one country to qualify for benefits to pool his or her credits. In the United States, it takes 10 years, or 40 quarters, to qualify.
    Mr. Lassiter said that's not to say Mexican workers who spent less time, such as the six quarters minimum needed to pool credits, would get benefits equal to someone who had worked his or her full life here.
    As for the document's status, he said the Social Security Administration hasn't submitted it to the State Department because officials are still waiting for the Mexican government to help reach a side agreement on how to treat illegal aliens. The United States sent a diplomatic note trying to clarify the situation but has not heard back from the Mexican government, he said.
    "At this point, there's no action that is planned or that will be taken until that process goes through," Mr. Lassiter said.
    Rafael Laveaga, a spokesman for the Mexican Embassy in Washington, said the agreement has to be ratified by the Mexican Congress as well, but beyond that he had no details to offer.
    The issue has been contentious for several years.
    A 2003 report by the General Accounting Office, Congress' investigative branch, said the agreement with Mexico was shoddy work that didn't investigate the reliability of Mexico's data, or take into account the millions of illegal aliens who would become eligible.
    The GAO also disputed the Social Security Administration's estimate that the agreement would cost $105 million a year for the first five years, saying the costs could be much higher given the uncertainty of who could benefit.
   

45
Im not really familiar with the terms but do they basically mean the same thing?  Vee being in the rear near the fin and belly being more forward on the board?

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