Archive for the ‘Terrorism’ Category

Prime Minister May talks tough…

June 5, 2017

Pre-election rhetoric or the real deal?

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Practically all of the news readers started by saying “There has been another …”

That alone speaks legions.

When the death toll stayed in single digits, I sensed a sign of relief among the newswers.

Almost like, “Whew. No big deal. Chicago probably had a worse weekend.”

Then while working out, PM May came on the telly live with her morning after remarks.

She was all business.

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I was impressed by the sharpness of her well-honed remarks … especially some (not all) of her prescriptions.

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Will President Trump get a Nobel Peace Prize?

May 22, 2017

That’s the thought that was running through my mind.

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It must have been an unbearable weekend for Trump-haters.

He got an enthusiastic, lavish red carpet welcome in Saudi Arabia.

He wasn’t boorish, crude, moronic, Islamophobic … or worse.

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He delivered a powerful speech to the leaders of 50 Muslim countries emphasizing:

  • There’s a fundamental difference between good and evil
  • Terrorists are evil and need to be eradicated from the earth.
  • Iran represents ground zero in the fight against terrorism.
  • Muslim-majority nations need to step-up and lead the fight.
  • America will help and will be dependable, because it’s in our self-interest.

Then, he participated in the ceremonial opening of a center intended to monitor and counter-act extremist ideologies.

Seriously, how can anybody think that those are bad ideas?

So, back to the opening question: will Trump get a Nobel Peace Prize … just like Obama did 8 years ago?

Obviously, he’s got a few things working against him….

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Reuters: Plurality favors the travel ban …

February 1, 2017

But, you have to read beneath the headline !

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Reuters issued one of the 1st polls on attitudes towards Trump’s travel ban on people from President Obama’s list of 7 terrorist hotspots: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, and Yemen.

The headline:

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Of course, we hate to get picky, but if you add together “make you safer” and “keep you safe”, the headline would read “majority think travel plan keeps America safe (or safer)”

But, that doesn’t fit the narrative, I guess.

Here’s the bigger story (that should have been in the headline).

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It’s time to get serious …

July 15, 2016

The horrific attack in Nice yesterday was hardly an isolated event.

So far, during 2016, there have been 1,268 Islamic terror attacks in 50 countries, in which 11,664 people were killed and 14087 injured.

And, that’s only counting attacks for which ISIS and other Islamic terrorist groups have claimed credit.

Below are the most recent … click the chart to see the full list for 2016 and other post 9/11 years.

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click to see full list

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Howard Stern’s rant … a turning point in the gun control debate?

June 17, 2016

Let the sheep defend themselves from the wolves …

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Talk about contrasts.

Yesterday, President Obama gave an uninspiring blah-blah speech to Orlando survivors and their families.

His focus wasn’t on the terrorist threat or Islamic homophobia.

Nope, he flashed his favorite shiny object: gun control.

Suffice it to say that I was unconvinced by his rhetoric.

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In contrast, Howard Stern went off on gun control with a compelling riff that has started to go viral.

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Here’s the essence of Stern’s commentary  …

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Ebola contained … What if terrorism were treated like a disease?

March 31, 2016

The following headline caught my eye:

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More specifically, the WHO said:

“Ebola transmission … no longer constitutes an extraordinary event, the risk of international spread is now low, and countries currently have the capacity to respond rapidly to new emergences.”

Hmmm.

Now, re-read the WHO statement, substituting the words “radical Islamic terrorism” for “Ebola transmission”.

Let’s connect a couple of more dots …

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So, did Apple win or lose?

March 30, 2016

In case you haven’t been paying attention …

The FBI snagged the government-owned cell phone that was being used by one of the San Bernardino killer-terrorists … but, couldn’t get at the data because of Apple’s security and encryption technology … which vaporizes the data if you enter a wrong password 10 times.

So, the FBI asked Apple to to provide a custom-cobbled hack to get at the data.

Apple said “no”, ostensibly to protect the privacy and security of its users.

So, the FBI sued Apple, and the case was working its way through the courts.

That is, until yesterday when the FBI withdrew its law suit.

Victory to Apple, right?

 

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Not so fast.

Here’s why the FBI withdrew its law suit ….

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If it hadn’t been such a tragic week, this stuff would be (damn) funny …

March 28, 2016

The Brussels terrorists’ attacks were were an immense tragedy … to be taken seriously.

You wouldn’t know it, given some of the past week’s noteworthy dumb & dumber happenings.

Let’s start with the UK’s response to the bombings.

Did the Brits make any notable raids to crack the terrorists’ network of killer cells.

Nope, instead of going for the jugular, UK authorities went for the capillaries and arrested some dude for for making an inappropriate, potentially anti-Islamic tweet:

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The charges were eventually dropped, but please tell me, how does law enforcement prioritize chasing insensitive tweeters over cold-blooded killers?

Maybe it has to do with the UK police patrolling with 1 bullet less than Barney Fife.

Tweeters are probably “safe stops” … cold-blooded killers, not so easy.

Or, maybe the world is just going completely wacky.  A couple of more examples …

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Pascal’s Wager … applied to the ISIS threat.

March 25, 2016

One of the few things I remember from Philosophy 101 is Pascal’s Wager.

In a nutshell, it says that God may or may not exist … and we all have the choice to live righteously or sinfully.

Naturally, that creates a 2 X 2 matrix …

If you choose to live on the wild side and God exists … uh oh.

If you choose to live a clean life, you score big if God exists … and don’t have much downside if she doesn’t.

I often find Pascal’s Wager to be a practical decision-making prop.

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Let’s apply Pascal’s Wager to the current ISIS mess?

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Why don’t Europeans want to protect themselves more?

March 24, 2016

Once the horror of Brussels sank in, some pundits observed how unprepared Belgium seemed to be … and some pointed to Europeans minimal spending on intelligence, defense, and homeland security (their homelands not our’s).

That prompted me to finally read the Atlantic article on the “Obama Doctrine”.

I thought the article would just make me chuckle …  turned out that I found myself agreeing with some of Obama’s basic tenets …. and it helped explain why Europeans don’t want to protect themselves more.

Obama complains privately to friends and advisers that America’s allies in the Middle East are frustrating, high-maintenance countries,  that seek to exploit American “muscle” for their own narrow and sectarian ends.

“Free riders aggravate me. Europeans and the Arab states want to hold our coats while we do all the fighting.”

Recently, Obama warned that Great Britain would no longer be able to claim a “special relationship” with the United States if it did not commit to spending at least 2 percent of its GDP on defense. “You have to pay your fair share,” Obama told David Cameron.

Given its proximity to Libya, Obama expected the UK to step-up and take a lead role there. But, in a stunning development, the British Parliament denied David Cameron its blessing for an attack. John Kerry’s reaction: “Oops.”

Let’s look at some numbers ….

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True, the UK is only spending about 2% on defense (after all, it has to support its universal healthcare system) … but, it’s looks downright militaristic when compared to its European cronies.  Look down the list to find Belgium.

Let’s cut the numbers a couple of more ways …

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The most outrageous things said about the San Bernadino terrorist massacre …

December 7, 2015

The terrorist murders in California last week were a horrendous tragedy.

Can you imagine being one of the family or friends of the innocent victims?

 

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For me, it evokes the feelings I had when attending the funeral wake of one of my former students who was killed on 9-11.

I will never forget the look on his mother’s face as she tried to stay strong while standing in front of her dear son’s coffin.

That scene permanently framed my reaction to terrorists and their cold-blooded murderous actions.

With that as a backdrop, I was stunned by some of the outrageous (and dumb) things that were said following the killings ….

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An IRS agent, an FBI agent and a gardener ….

April 22, 2013

No, this isn’t the lead line of a bad joke.

It’s a question of priorities.

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Let’s start with the gardener …

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Obama gets the goal, Bush gets the assist, Seals get the win …

May 2, 2011

My take on the UBL situation

First, is there anybody who doesn’t have respect for the Navy Seals and job they did? I feel safer knowing that they and the rest of the U.S. military are on our side. They get a win on this one, for sure.

Second, even I have to hat-tip Obama on this one.  It was a gutsy decision to send the Seals in instead of just bombing the mansion.  Obvious reasons: no collateral damage and ability to positively identify the bastard.  More ‘subtle’: a bomb would have been instantaneous — there’s a certain “just dues” that UBL’s last couple minutes were frightful — and a  bullet between the eyes seems like the right punishments.

Third, imagine if Bush was a wuss and didn’t authorize waterboarding KSM … UBL would still be kicking back in his $ million pad.

Amazing.

Question: What do you imagine that Quadaffi is thinking today …. tick, tick, tick.

The lighter side of Friday’s bomb threats …

November 1, 2010

First, the serious part: we’re all thankful that the bomb packages didn’t do any harm.

Now, the lighter side of a very serious situation:

  • This makes 3 recent incidents in the past few months where terrorist bombs didn’t detonate: the underwear bomber, Times Square, and UPS packages … Wouldn’t you like to be a fly on the wall when Bin Laden calls in the guy running Al-Qaida’s bomb training program? … Let’s hope the moron keeps his job and the string of failures continues.
  • Lots of press praise for the sleuthing done by our intelligence forces … hmmm … the Saudis reportedly sent US officials the UPS tracking numbers … from that point, how hard was it to find the packages?
  • Does anybody think that a Chicago rabbi would carelessly open an anonymous package postmarked from Yemin?  I’m thinking ‘no’.

Again, thankful that nothing bad happened …

Things change: Terrorist "renditions" – bad by Bush, ok by Obama

February 6, 2009

Ken’s Take: Under Bush, terrorist renditioning was dirtier than dirt.  A clear violation of terrorists rights.  Now, it’s ok.  Hmmmm.

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Excerpted from LA Times, “Obama preserves renditions as counter-terrorism tool”, February 1, 2009 

The CIA’s secret prisons are being shuttered. Harsh interrogation techniques are off-limits. And Guantanamo Bay will eventually go back to being a wind-swept naval base on the southeastern corner of Cuba.

But even while dismantling these programs, President Obama left intact an equally controversial counter-terrorism tool.

Under executive orders issued by Obama recently, the CIA still has authority to carry out what are known as renditions, secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to countries that cooperate with the United States.

Current and former U.S. intelligence officials said that the rendition program might be poised to play an expanded role going forward because it was the main remaining mechanism — aside from Predator missile strikes — for taking suspected terrorists off the street.

The Obama administration appears to have determined that the rendition program was one component of the Bush administration’s war on terrorism that it could not afford to discard.

The decision underscores the fact that the battle with Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups is far from over and that even if the United States is shutting down”

“In some ways, [rendition] is the worst option,” the former official said. “If they are in U.S. hands, you have a lot of checks and balances, medics and lawyers. Once you turn them over to another service, you lose control.” the prisons, it is not done taking prisoners.

The decision to preserve the program did not draw major protests, even among human rights groups. Leaders of such organizations attribute that to a sense that nations need certain tools to combat terrorism.

Full article:
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/washingtondc/la-na-rendition1-2009feb01,0,1822531,full.story 

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