It’s all in two posts, each with lots of links — and implications. It has to do with intelligence, surveillance and constitutional rights, with a hefty dose of protecting the nation against another Word Trade Center-Pentagon-United 93 catastrophe thrown in. Then there’s a glimpse of the special universe in which Obama is permitted to dwell.
First post: explaining the intelligence/surveillance story.
Second post: here they come — hypocrites on parade.
So the truth is available, but once again all that really matters is how the press reports it. Olbermann and his ilk have no worries, while the Bush team is permanently stigmatized in front of a public that’s been deliberately kept ignorant. Justice is hardly possible at all when the news media are this bent.
Puzzled? Click on the links and read carefully.
Luminaries In The Gloom
Even as the disgrace and decline of mainstream journalism continue, there are stellar individuals who do the occupation proud. Two of this newsletter’s favorites continue making admirable contributions to the craft: Annie Jacobsen and Claudia Rosett deserve high praise and a very wide readership for their work.
Rosett long ago earned a right to a Pulitzer for her exposes of the biggest financial swindle in human history, but because that was a UN scam, political correctness denies her journalism’s highest honor. That’s the price the honest pay. Claudia is fearless and insightful; read whatever she writes, and you will benefit. The PenPo considers her simply the best investigative reporter and columnist in the world.
Jacobsen burst on the scene with her riveting reports on the security of air travel — the story of Northwest 327 is a classic — and carried on with professional aplomb that puts her in the first rank of reporters. (She was lionized by the PenPo’s predecessor, The Terrapin Gazette, for her superb work.) She is now widening her view, as the link below demonstrates, and news consumers have reason to celebrate that event. She’s wonderful!
Both of these exemplary journalists are part of the Pajamas Media organization, a fact that testifies to the good judgment of the decision-makers there.
Jacobsen’s PJM piece on the Somali pirates demands your attention. This situation is turning nasty in unexpected ways. Consider, for example, the words of Osama bin Laden (emphasis added):
We will continue, God willing, to fight you and your allies everywhere, in Iraq and Afghanistan and in Somalia and Sudan until we waste all your money and kill your men and you will return to your country in defeat as we defeated you before in Somalia.
This highlights one of this newsletter’s oft-repeated refrains: any defeat by the jihadis (or, in this case, by Muslims who are not, strictly speaking, jihadis) demonstrates to bin Laden and his hundreds of millions of well-wishers that the West can eventually be defeated…because it will retire from the field rather than bleed.
If the defense of the West is to succeed, two things will have to be recognized. First, fanatics like bin Laden do not distinguish between their organization, Al Qaeda, and Muslims in general. A victory by any Muslims over the “crusaders” is a victory for jihadis, and and when jihadis triumph, all Muslims everywhere benefit from the defeat of the Western force. A scholar would distinguish between Islam and jihadis, but the jihadis — and some Muslims, especially many in Pakistan — do not. That’s important, yet no one seems to have noticed it.
Second, Islam will always try to fight in environments that produce high levels of “collateral damage.” As Jacobsen makes clear, Somalia is a trap because there are so many people who will be in the way if the USA decides to go back in. That’s very clever of the jihadis. Clearly, the Obama administration will face scathing international criticism if it cannot come up with some new ways to fight in densely populated areas. There are two developments that show promise, one using sound and the other a type of (non-nuclear) radiation that causes intense discomfort on the skin. Either can disperse a crowd harmlessly. Perhaps more reliance on technology will trump the jihadis’ ace.
Or perhaps The One will go to Somalia and talk unconditionally to the USA’s blood enemies. That should settle their hash.
That speculation brings us back to the domestic situation, on which Claudia Rosett has a few trenchant comments. She provides both perspective and a reminder that New York state deserves better than it is accustomed to getting — or probably about to get. Pity.
All of the above is interesting and cautionary, but if you really, really want to get to the root of things and be ready for tomorrow, you have to get serious. Accordingly, in pursuit of valuable insight, PenPo staff only days ago spent a quarter hour in the salon of a genuine psychic. The gifted Madame Zelda sees the future clearly in her crystal ball. Unlike the phonies, she refuses to take money for her revelations.
The PenPo’s readers want to know whether the president-elect will be assassinated, how soon the economy will recover, and what will happen between Israel and Iran. In response, the lady bent over her sphere, trembled slightly, and mumbled. Then her speech became intelligible:
All is clear. You ask the questions about the Obama, and I see only one thing…the face of the Jimmy Carter. Wait…he talk about, about, something about juice. He say juice bad. Juice no like palace teen ‘ns. Something like that. I feel bad. Ooh….
With those words, poor Madame Zelda succumbed to an attack of the vapors.
War On Terror: Misnamed. War On Drugs: Goofy Mistake
It happened over a decade ago in Colombia. The cops raided a building run by a cocaine operation:
The central feature of the facility was a $1.5 million IBM AS400 mainframe, the kind once used by banks, networked with half a dozen terminals and monitors.
What came to be known as the Santacruz computer provided insight into the security of the gang.
…the cartel had assembled a database that contained both the office and residential telephone numbers of U.S. diplomats and agents based in Colombia, along with the entire call log for the phone company in Cali, which was leaked by employees of the utility. The mainframe was loaded with custom-written data-mining software. It cross-referenced the Cali phone exchange’s traffic with the phone numbers of American personnel and Colombian intelligence and law enforcement officials. The computer was essentially conducting a perpetual internal mole-hunt of the cartel’s organizational chart.
…the system fingered at least a dozen informants — …(who) were swiftly assassinated by the cartel.
Since the discovery of the Santacruz system in 1994, the cartels’ technological mastery has only grown. And it is enabling them to smuggle more dope than ever before.
To many in the USA, the police are both a laughingstock and an enemy, and the drug smugglers are heroes or at least respected figures. Cocaine is widely considered a boon to mankind, and the illegality of all recreational drugs is believed due to the stupidity of fascists like George Bush.
That’s why it is difficult for some people to admit that the “war on drugs” is doing far more harm than the drugs ever could — if they were legal. After all, who wants to agree with weaklings, losers, inveterate scofflaws, morons and self-destructive freaks?
Not this newsletter, which has little respect for dopers — a group that includes those who smoke tobacco and use immoderate amounts of alcohol.
Well, facts trump feelings. There is in the human population a significant number of folks who insist on trying to transform their deficiencies by resorting to psychotropic chemicals. They are idiots, but they are pathetic idiots. They are numerous and they do matter. Persecuting them is inhumane.
The only rational drug policy is harm reduction.
That said, one must face the fact that legalization of all drugs will prove laced with problems. The list of all the likely negative consequences of allowing adults to pollute their brains as they wish is extensive. Unfortunately there is no alternative that comes close to being as decent, positive and helpful as legalization.
At present, the Fallacy of the Unavailable Utopia prevents the world from ending its tragically deleterious prohibition program. Because no policy can eliminate all the ravages of drug abuse, the electorate rejects huge improvements in the law. This is, of course, madness.
It just proves that druggies are not the only crazy people in the world.
Links. Some Are Not Safe For Work If You Work For A Newspaper, Some Are Not Safe For Your Sanity If You Are Naive
Rogues’ Gallery: cocksure, incompetent ideologue Barney Frank. He is one of a tiny number of people who directly caused the current economic disaster. Don’t expect him to admit that, for, as we learned years ago, this mountebank knows no shame.
Improper connections between meddlesome Bartelsmann and The One. Scroll down to “Elsewhere” on the web page, and see also PenPo 42.
The Los Angeles Times. Not nearly enough said.
Photos of the Greek madness. The comments show that this rioting inspires people to curse the things that most irritate them about public life, relevant or not. The pictures are a kind of Rorschach test. Conclusion: people everywhere are plenty pissed off, you betcha, and they are looking for scapegoats. True justice has nothing to do with it. Interesting times.
Know some tree-hugging pests who get smug with you about their superior enviro-spirituality? Sick of the “greener-than-thou” condescension? Want to tell ’em you know who has endorsed their ideas, and thereby give the creepy cultists What For? Check this out. It will prepare you to rub their noses in a few very embarrassing historical facts — and call the mean greenies fascists without having to use the word.
There’s a dynamite package of information on the anthropogenic global warming hoax here. Tons of facts, lots of quotes…powerful stuff. If you were ever in doubt, have a leisurely look.