Posts Tagged ‘9-11’

 

Never Forget

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Though it feels as if we have at times…

Source.

On the ten year anniversary I wrote that we lost. With today’s NSA and DEA domestic spying regulations, coupled with the IRS abuse of political opponents, I think there can be little doubt that real freedom is gone in this country. I suppose it could be turned around, but I’m not optimistic.

I have more to say on the IRS thing, hopefully I’ll get to it this week.

 
 

Never Forget

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

what we lost, who we lost, or that we lost

UPDATE:

I don’t mean to gloat, but some of my words from last year seem awfully prescient now:

I’m going to go ahead and predict that iran will roll up influence across the Arab world after each of these Arab countries disposes of their dictator. While the Iranians have the good sense not to attack the US directly, they don’t have the good sense not to try and start WW3 by nuking israel. The result of this will not be good. Particularly since we’re broke. We don’t have the money to rectify this mistake, even if we had the will, which we most certainly do not have. The best we can hope for here is that the Iranian roll-up of the Middle East doesn’t start WW3, and that we have enough new energy sources to bring online within the US and Canada that we will be able to safely ignore the middle east for some time.

 
 

We Lost

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

I don’t think there’s any other conclusion to come to at this juncture in time. I don’t mean to say that we lost to Al Qaeda; that organization is clearly defunct. But we have most certainly lost the war, and our way. Consider the following:

  • Patriot Act: In the immediate aftermath of 9-11, we passed a piece of legislation known as the Patriot Act. It passed by overwhelming majorities in the House and Senate. The legislation was designed to do things like allow law enforcement to snoop in on business records without notifying the user that they were so doing. These so called “sneek and peek” powers have been used 1755 times since 2006, less than 1% of these were related to terrorism. And that’s just one example. By and large, Patriot Act powers have been used for drug related crimes, not to stop terrorism. Sen. Ron Wyden has said that the American people would be appalled if they understood how the Patriot Act was being used. I’m appalled without knowing everything he does.

    What is perhaps most appalling is that in the ensuing decade since its passage, congress never paused to sort through what they’d passed and decide to throw some things out and keep other things. There has never been any attempt to determine which of these powers yielded results and which haven’t. Instead, debate regarding the Patriot Act has mostly consisted of demagoguery, the result of which is that the government is now assuming war time police powers as a permanent feature of American life. In other words, we’re becoming a police state.

  • TSA/DHS: In response to the fact that some planes were hijacked in the United States, the federal government decided to nationalize airport security, creating what has become known as the Transportation Security Agency, or TSA, better known as blueshirts. Today, the TSA is party of a gargantuan agency called the Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, which is building a Taj Mahal like structure to house itself in Washington DC. Apparently, 9-11 happened because we had too little bureaucracy at work. Today, the TSA is, to put it mildly, completely out of control, and the among the foremost violators of individual rights in the United States. They have, without authorization from congress, purchased x-ray machines that can take nude photographs of people, and stationed them at airports around the country. Refusal to have a nude photograph taken of you results in you being personally groped by TSA agents who, at some airports, make every effort to create a loud disturbance and embarrass you (this recently happened to me at Chicago O’Hare). To add injury to insult, these machines have not been tested for safety, and are not regularly checked for safety as are medical x-ray machines in hospitals.

    There is no legitimate purpose for a free society to have its police using nude photograph machines. If you have probable cause to believe somebody intends to commit an act of terrorism, then you should arrest him and directly relieve him of his belongings. The only purpose of nude photograph machines is to conduct mass dragnet searches on the populace at large. Free societies do not conduct mass dragnet searches on their citizenry.

    Moreover, the TSA is taking the mission implied by its name literally. They are not settling for harassing travelers at airports. Rather, they are experimenting with putting the nude x-ray machines on vans, and scanning passers by without their knowledge or consent. They have randomly shown up at some train stations. And they are discussing setting up road checkpoints. The TSA, more than any other agency in the Federal Government, is turning the United States into an out in out police state.

    And the DHS is making every effort to direct the activities of that state towards the American citizenry at large. When Janet Napolitano took over at DHS, one of her first acts was to warn the American people that right wing groups were set to engage in terrorism around the country. It was made up bullshit, but no matter. The purpose of a police state is to keep its citizens in line. And Napolitano’s warning wasn’t to the citizens to be on the lookout for right wingers; it was to right wingers not to get out of line. Again, not hallmark of a free society.

  • Violence and Political Correctness: Of course, since 9-11 there have been two attempts at Islamist inspired violence in the United States worth noting: the Times Square bomber and the Ft Hood shooter. When the Times Square bomber’s car was first discovered, Mayor Bloomberg speculated that it was planted by somebody upset over Obamacare. And the Ft. Hood shooter was apparently screaming to all within earshot about how much he hated America, but the Army had become so politically correct, nobody acted to remove him from his station until it was too late.

    Meanwhile, there have been no fictional attempts to depict the war against islamist extremists in a positive light. There was only one movie about 9-11 itself, Flight 93. And another one set to be released about the assassination of Osama Bin laden, set to be released in October of 2012 so as to aid Obama’s chances of re-election. I believe that this is as much due to fear of being seen as politically incorrect as it is due to Hollywood’s desire to not aid Republican presidents and to aid Democratic ones instead. Neither of these motives speaks well of the United States or its ability to emerge victorious in a sustained conflict with a people or culture unlike our own.

  • Financial War: While the financial crisis had its roots in the housing market, it was most certainly exacerbated by the existence of naked short selling. Naked short selling is when someone sells shares short without first borrowing them. It’s illegal, but the SEC has more or less refused to enforce the law for many years. The result is that some hedge funds have been killing small companies by naked short selling their stock out of existence. It’s a recipe whereby hedge funds counterfeit stock shares and sell them on the open market until the company they’re targeting ceases to exist. The SEC refuses to do anything about it because the average SEC regulator hopes to get jobs with these very hedge funds when they leave the agency. This phenomenon is known as deep capture, and the blog by that name, DeepCapture.com, has done an excellent job at documenting the phenomenon.

    So what does this have to do with 9-11? Well, Osama Bin Laden said in one of his tapes that his plan to take down the United States was by means of bankrupting it, by directly attacking the American financial system. He would do this by means of a physical attack on New York, and further drain American resources by dragging us out into a long war. But that’s not the only way he attacked the American financial system. If Deep Capture is to be believed, Al Qaeda set up a brokerage firm whose explicit purpose would be to attack American financial institutions by naked short selling them.

    The story itself is incredible. You should read the whole 21 part serial starting here. But even if Deep Capture is wrong, even if Al Qaeda isn’t behind the naked short selling of Lehman and Bear Stearns, someone was. And our financial police are incapable of doing anything about it. Instead of attacking the problem directly, by investigating and uncovering who had been naked short selling and prosecuting them, we got Dodd-Frank, a pile of financial regulation that has nothing to do with the proximate cause of out financial problems. Our government cannot handle the real problems before it, even when it’s plainly obvious what they are. It’s difficult to feel support for such a government, to want it to not collapse as seems possible as of late.

  • The War Itself: I’m not sure this war could have been fought more idiotically. I’ve probably said this before, but it bears repeating. We started off fighting in Afghanistan, refusing to show our flags, under rules of combat that valued civilian Afghani lives more than those of our soldiers, even going so far as to drop sandwiches on some villages while we bombed others. The result has been that the Afghanis, a primitive people (to the extent that they can even be called a people), don’t see the US as the strong man, and thus don’t feel a need to side with or emulate us. And so they side with the Taliban, or whatever warlord does appear to be the strong man wherever they happen to be. And so the war drags on, ad infinitum.

    Then we decide that it would be a good idea to invade Iraq. Not that Saddam was a good guy or that his government didn’t deserve to be toppled, it most certainly did. But Saddam’s Iraq was not a focal point for islamic terror in the world. Islamic terror revolves elliptically around two focus points, Iran and Saudi Arabia. But those two powers are opposites. Iran has a government that supports Islamic terror and is hostile to the United States, but its people are not supportive of Islamic terror and are supportive of the United States. Saudi Arabia is the complete opposite. The fact that Saudi terror was financed by Saudi citizens matters little. And the fact that Iran is Shia and Saudi is Sunni matters little. Both support Islamic terror and work to place other Islamic countries into their orbit. By going after Iraq we essentially went after a Saudi satellite. But the satellite isn’t the issue. And in fact, the all the arab satellites are satellites for a reason: they don’t have the mass to exert gravitational pull over other countries. So they will be satellites no matter what. The question is whether or not they will become satellites of the United States.

    To continue with our physics analogy, the United States exerts a weaker pull that local powers because of our distance, both geographic and cultural. So what’s needed is to knock out one or both of the foci around which Islamic terror orbits. Turn one or both to our side, and the the local satellites have someone to emulate.

    That’s not what we did.

    So now we have an Iraq which is rapidly becoming a satellite of Iran, mostly because they’re both Shia and the Iraqis rightly assume that we’ll abandon them at some point anyhow, so best to start paying fealty to the regional power sooner rather than later. Egypt has fallen, and now Libya, and the early results do not show that they are becoming satellites to either us or the country where we expended so much blood and treasure, Iraq. In Egypt, local mobs are attacking the Israeli embassy. And in Libya, the rebels who we supported are apparently slaughtering the black inhabitants of that country. Wow, what westernization.

    I’m going to go ahead and predict that iran will roll up influence across the Arab world after each of these Arab countries disposes of their dictator. While the Iranians have the good sense not to attack the US directly, they don’t have the good sense not to try and start WW3 by nuking israel. The result of this will not be good. Particularly since we’re broke. We don’t have the money to rectify this mistake, even if we had the will, which we most certainly do not have. The best we can hope for here is that the Iranian roll-up of the Middle East doesn’t start WW3, and that we have enough new energy sources to bring online within the US and Canada that we will be able to safely ignore the middle east for some time.

    Let’s hope.

So what to do? Frankly, I have no idea. But I don’t expect good things from our government any more. The only guy I can envision enthusiastically supporting is Gary Johnson, because he’s the only guy who seems to want to restore our civil liberties and fix the economy. But he doesn’t seem to have a chance. The other Republicans may have some hope at fixing the economy, but none seem to have a fire in the belly to fix the domestic threat, namely to dismantle the TSA, the DHS, and walk back the domestic war against our own citizenry. Certainly only Johnson wants to end the drug war (and Paul who is half-nuts and way too old to be President). The Democrats talk a good game about civil liberties, but at root they are the worst statists. Obama revealed a lot about himself when he felt the need to deny being a Bolshevik. Democrats view civil liberties issues as campaign points, but they have zero interest in reducing government power in any form. They are true totalitarians.

I would say that as totalitarians, they are to be opposed at all costs, Except that left in their hands, the US government will go bankrupt. There is no two ways about it. So I’m honestly torn. Do I vote to in such a way as to hasten the demise of the federal government? Or do I vote Republican, so as to prolong the agony. I don’t know that I can bring myself to vote so cynically as to vote for the totalitarians. But I don’t feel so great voting for the Republicans either. They’ll manage the finances a lot better, but they aren’t going to dismantle the Federal police powers either.

So here we are. Islamism marches on, while we destroy our freedoms from within. Al Qaeda may not be ascendant, but freedom is certainly on the wane. I don’t say “they won”, but I do say “we lost”. We lost our freedoms, our economy, and our ability to even debate these things rationally, without descending into politically correct nonsense. And I don’t see much hope for things to turn around.

Your thoughts are certainly welcome. I’m looking for disagreements, as I would love to be proved wrong.

 
 

Sputnik Misfire

Friday, January 28th, 2011

So I didn’t watch the SOTU speech, but everyone has been commenting on the Sputnik reference in it. So I thought I’d so a word search on the speech and read the reference:

Half a century ago, when the Soviets beat us into space with the launch of a satellite called Sputnik, we had no idea how we would beat them to the moon. The science wasn’t even there yet. NASA didn’t exist. But after investing in better research and education, we didn’t just surpass the Soviets; we unleashed a wave of innovation that created new industries and millions of new jobs.

This is our generation’s Sputnik moment. Two years ago, I said that we needed to reach a level of research and development we haven’t seen since the height of the Space Race. And in a few weeks, I will be sending a budget to Congress that helps us meet that goal. We’ll invest in biomedical research, information technology, and especially clean energy technology -– (applause) — an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people.

Already, we’re seeing the promise of renewable energy…

When Sputnik was launched, the American populace said, in 1950′s parlance, “Holy fucking shit, we need to do something!” And they launched the space program in response, culminating in a man on the moon. The president at the time, Dwight Eisenhower, thought little of the launch initially, and so it was his successor president who took action to assuage the fears of the populace.

Obama seems to take the Sputnik idea a bit too literally. Nobody is having a pant-shitting moment over the fact that China makes more windmills or solar panels or high-speed trains than we currently do. In fact, there were only two Sputnik like moments within my lifetime. The first was over 9-11, and the sense of urgency about Islamic terrorism has faded since then, to put it mildly.

The second such moment was the financial collapse that started in 2007. In particular, the fact that the facade was ripped off of our economy, wherein it was revealed that the United States economy much more closely resembles that of a South American basket case crony capitalist economy than the free-market meritocracy that we like to believe our economy has always been. That shock was doubled down upon by the massive spending programs in the stimulus and Obamacare, plus the arrival of the day of reckoning with the first of the Baby Boomers receiving Social Security and Medicare. That pant-shitting moment continues unabated, as the recession plods along and the federal government showing no interest in cutting back on its spending binge.

The fact that Obama couldn’t can’t see this, and instead thought that people were shitting their pants over solar panels and windmills indicates to me that he is almost certain to be replaced in 2012 by somebody who does see it, or at least claims to. No guarantee of course that said person will deliver us from calamity, but whoever it is, he/she will be sure to talk a good game at a minimum.

 
 

Never Forget

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

9 years ago today…

 
 

Another 9-11 Type Dry Run

Friday, December 4th, 2009

Just go read the whole thing. Basically the passengers and crew refused to fly the plane with 11 crazy muslims on board watching porno on their iPhones and acting belligerently and the like. My blood was boiling reading it.

More here.

(via Maggie’s Farm)

 
 

8 years ago…

Friday, September 11th, 2009

Hard to believe it was that long ago…

Also check out this September 11 slideshow. (via joan)

UPDATE: More from The Big Picture.

 
 

CONSPIRACY!

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

Asteroid writes about conspiracy theories today. I have one of my own.

It has puzzled me these last seven years why we never took out the Saudis. There can be no doubt that Al Qaeda was a movement that was basically fueled by Saudi religious extremism and petro-dollars. And the political will was certainly there in 2001-2 time frame. I certainly remember the Saudis running television ads showing quotes from prominent politicians saying what good friends the Saudis were. Surely they weren’t running those ads without reason, without poll numbers showing them that a majority of Americans would be happy with war against Saudi Arabia right about then.

So why didn’t we? The simplistic answer is that Bush and his clan are personally close with the Saudi Royal Family, and weren’t going to depose them. But surely we could have found safe haven for them in the United States somewhere.

Another objection I’d heard was that taking over Mecca and Medina would engender worldwide rage from the Muslim community. But isn’t the point to not be afraid of such irrational rage, and to put it down? Moreover, there’s no reason why attacking Saudi Arabia would require us taking over holy sites. Up until the 1930′s, those sites were run by the moderate Hashemite dynasty, and there’s no reason today why you couldn’t just extend the border of Jordan southward today and thus place the holy sites back into the hands of the moderates who until recently (by historical standards) were their stewards anyway.

And of course, a final objection was that we could never really rule over a people so extreme as the Wahabbi Saudis. But we did manage to rule over the Shinto Japanese, and even managed to wean most of them off of their extremism over time. If we really wanted to we could bring moderate clerics into Saudi Arabia and kill off all the Wahabbi clerics, destroy their institutions and seize their funds, which surely would change the Saudi people over time.

The real reason why we didn’t do any of those things [conspiracy] is that it very easy to wring concessions out of a party who has been marginally bad, so easy in fact that it is difficult to pass up the opportunity. In this case, we’re not only talking about Saudi money flooding the halls of congress, buying favors and handing out high-paying post-government jobs to anyone who will do their bidding, which in this case is to calm down the American people and discourage them from attacking Saudi Arabia. But more specifically, we’re talking about the periodic lowering of gas prices.

It has been noted that the single biggest determining cause of re-election for the Presidency is the price of gas. If gas prices are rising during election season, then the incumbent loses. And if they are falling, then the incumbent (or incumbent party) wins. And with that I note that the price of oil has just dropped to $92/barrel. This, after a major hurricane just ravaged the Gulf of Mexico. Coincidence? I think not. Hard to imagine a politician turning down the opportunity to manipulate the price of gas around election season and engaging in a hard and bloody war instead.[/conspiracy]

Let’s just hope that our next president, whether he’s a straight talker who puts country first or a change we can believe in, takes a harder line toward the Saudis than the current administration has.

 
 

7 Years Ago Today…

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

Let’s never forget…

I haven’t always been consistent in remembering the day, but some past years’ entries:

2006
2004
2003