The Humanity Paradox

Sometimes, lessons are learned from the most unexpected places. This is one of those times.

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Via FOX News) –  Traditional hunters armed with homemade guns, poisoned spears and amulets have gathered in their hundreds, eager to use their skills and what they believe to be supernatural powers to help find nearly 300 schoolgirls abducted by Islamic extremists.

Some 500 hunters, some as young as 18 and some in their 80s, say they have been specially selected by their peers for their spiritual hunting skills and have been waiting for two weeks in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital and the birthplace of Boko Haram, to get backing from the military and get moving.

With Nigeria’s military accused by many citizens of not doing enough to rescue the girls, the hunters demonstrated their skills to an Associated Press reporter on Sunday. With cow horn trumpets echoing eerie war cries from the screaming and chanting men who twirled knives and swords with dexterity, occasionally stabbing and cutting themselves with no apparent harm.  The hunters claimed their magic charms prevented any blood being drawn. They also trust amulets of herbs and other substances wrapped in leather pouches as well as cowrie shells, animal teeth and leather bracelets to protect them from bullets.

The appearance of the hunters from three northeastern states underscores how deeply the April 15 mass kidnapping — and the government’s apparent lack of action — has affected Nigerian society. It has spawned demonstrations and a tidal wave of commentary in media including social sites like Twitter and Facebook.

A spokesman for the hunters stopped short of actually criticizing the military.

“We’re not saying we are better than the soldiers, but we know the bush better than the soldiers,” said Sarkin Baka. The hunters said they gathered here at the suggestion of a state legislator.

A military spokesman did not immediately respond to an emailed question from AP on whether it would take advantage of the hunters’ local knowledge.

These men came to help, uninvited and unfunded, out of a sense of humanity and they’ve been sitting idle for two weeks as the help given by the world’s superpowers turns up nothing in their search.

Nigeria’s military insists that it is diligently searching for the girls and says near-daily aerial bombardments of the forest that began in mid-January were stopped to avoid accidentally hitting the girls.

“Our troops are out there combing the forests and all other possible locations searching for our fellow citizens. International support is also there assisting the process,” Mike Omeri, a government spokesman, said Friday.

Some parents of the abducted girls say villagers in the Sambisa Forest tell them they haven’t seen a uniformed soldier in the forest.

The girls of Chibok were kidnapped six weeks ago, on April 14, and because of the denseness of the forest in the region where Boko Harum is known to operate, no trace of them has yet to be found.

So then, why not use trained forest hunters to help locate traces of the girls and their kidnappers?

In fact, why aren’t we pushing for the hunters to be allowed to go find the girls?

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Continue reading The Humanity Paradox at The Last Wire

Eternal Sunshine of the Intolerant Mind

I am an intolerant man.

Ask anyone who has ever exchanged anything beyond social pleasantries with me, and they’ll confirm it.

I am an intolerant man, and this is my manifesto.

Once, caught up in the “liberal at 20” portion of the well-known (wrongly attributed) quote about the impact of aging on one’s political ideology, I would have agreed with the generally-accepted opinion which painted intolerance as a bad thing. All you have to do is to Google “quotes about intolerance” and you can see what I mean.

“Intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit.” – Mahatma Ghandi

“When you discriminate against anyone, you discriminate against everyone. It’s a display of terrible intolerance.” – Alan Dershowitz

“Intolerance is evidence of impotence.” – Alistair Crowley

Intolerance is violence.

Intolerance is discrimination.

Intolerance is impotence.

One would have to assume then that if intolerance means all of those things, then the opposite of intolerance must mean… well, the exact opposite, and that a world totally devoid of intolerance would be a world where peace, inclusiveness and potency abounded.

Think again.

Continue reading at The Last Wire

Boston Bombing Fallout

In the two weeks plus after the Boston Marathon bombings, we have learned quite a bit about the terrorists and their family. One scandalous fact is that these cretins had received welfare benefits.

  Imagine that, immigrants that are welcomed into the best country on earth, provided with security and an education and even public assistance, repay it by attacking it. Someting so absurd that it  prompted president Obama to ask “…why did young men who grew up and studied here, as art of our communities and our country, resort to such violence? (perhaps he should just ask that “guy from the neighborhood,” Bill Ayres, but that’s another post…) 

Others are saying never mind they were on welfare , why are we letting these people in the country in the first place? In fact, in the minds of some, the Boston Bombings have negatively impacted the chances of bi-partisan immigration reform.

 The murderous religious fanatics that perpetrated these crimes were here because, like us Cubans, they had been granted political asylum. Like me and many of you, they were refugees which entitled them to all the rights and privileges bestowed on those lucky enough to be American citizens.

 Before this, there had been little if any talk of incorporating major changes to the asylum process into immigration reform. In fact, the proposed tweaks to asylum seekers  would have made it easier for them.

 But now,  people, like Bill O’Rielly and Charles Krauthammer, are asking how it can be that a person who is allowed to settle in the United States because they are being politically persecuted in their country, can return to said country to vacation, invest, attend cultural events or even “schooling” without any repercussions. Such was the case with the dead bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev who returned to Russia where he was allegedly under danger of persecution because he was an Islamic ethnic Chechen.

 And that’s a hell of a question. Specially when you’re granted refugee status from a country that’s on the State Department’s list of State Sponsors of Terrorism, who trains and harbors terrorists, engages in and traffics espionage,conducts cyber and economic  attacks and  even once urged the USSR to attack the US with nuclear weapons: Cuba.

 The risks of refugees returning to Cuba being “radicalized” and trained to harm the United States are the same, if not greater, than any other group. The Cuban regime aggressively recruits sympathizers, agents and even uses blackmail and hostage taking to advance its cause and sphere of influence.

 Now that the United States’ political asylum policy has become part of the immigration reform debate, it’s only logical some legislators will begin to question the legitimacy of  some refugees and reach the conclusion that if a person  who was granted political asylum can return to the country where they claim they were in danger without any consequences, they did not deserve to be granted “political refugee” status and are just common immigrants who must follow the same immigration rules as everybody else.

The fallout from those bombs that went off in Boston may very well hit Miami soon…

Liberal utopia fall down go boom

From The American Spectator, if you read one thing today, read “Jihad Blows Up the Liberal Utopia.”

Jihad has blown up The Liberal Utopia.

The visionary liberal land of political and social perfection.

President Obama is not happy — and he isn’t alone.

You know the place.

  • The Liberal Utopia is a land where gun background checks prevent mass murder.
  • The Liberal Utopia is a land where Islamic fundamentalists have changed their perception of America because the President travels to Muslim nations to give lovely speeches, believes that the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and elsewhere is a wonderful sign of an Arab Spring, and refuses to use the word “terrorist” whether his administration is investigating Ft. Hood, Boston, or Benghazi.
  • The Liberal Utopia is a land where a 2009 presidential video proclaiming a “new beginning” in American relations with Iran will halt the effort to build a nuclear bomb.
  • The Liberal Utopia is a land where the good intentions of Social Security will never bankrupt the Social Security Trust Fund.
  • The Liberal Utopia is a land where the good intentions of Medicare could not possibility result in trillions of unfunded liability.
  • The Liberal Utopia is a land where the War on Poverty was supposed to end poverty — and instead winds up sending violent crime skyrocketing, and, in the words of Thomas Sowell, setting up the American black family for rapid disintegration in the liberal welfare state “that subsidized unwed pregnancy and changed welfare from an emergency rescue to a way of life.”

One could go on …and on and on….spotting those will-o-the-wisp glimpses of The Liberal Utopia (Obamacare here, the Obama stimulus over there, the promise to close Guantanamo way back there) with example after example of this miserably failed attempt to find or create a Liberal Utopia.

Or what our friend Mark Levin deftly calls Ameritopia.

The search for this Liberal Utopia has been going on in this country since at least 1932 and in fact before that when one keeps going on back to Woodrow Wilson’s progressives and beyond to the late 19th century when the progressive movement began to gain political steam with the likes of William Jennings Bryan and a whole host of other if lesser known figures.

The idea is always the same. To quote Levin: “Utopianism is the ideological and doctrinal foundation for statism.”

Or, to simplify: if only Americans are made to do X, The Perfect Society will manifest. […]

More on the Boston Bombers from Hansen and Hinderaker

Two excellent dissections about the inability of many to come to grips with the reality of Islamism in our society.

First, Victor Davis Hansen: “The Paradoxes of the Boston Bombings”:

A certain American (or for that matter Westernized) resident or citizen — usually male, almost always young, born a Muslim, prone to guilt over temporary secularization or Westernization, as often (or more so) from Pakistan, a Russian Islamic province, the Balkans, Iran, the Philippines, or Africa as from the Arab Middle East, usually failing in American society, always absorbed within American popular culture and guilty over such absorption — at some moment channels his own sense of failure into radical Islam. He seeks some sort of cosmic resonance and redemption for his own personal inadequacies. Presto, a pathetic loser becomes a wannabe bin Laden jihadist, as murder becomes cause for publicity.

The would-be Times Square bomber, Major Hasan, those who killed Jews in Los Angeles and Seattle, and the Salt Lake City shopping-center killer find empowerment in the laxity and tolerance of American culture that seems to grant unlimited rights to the newcomer or second-generation without commensurate responsibilities about learning — and learning to love — the culture and history of their adopted country. We don’t call these killers “terrorists.” We claim that they have nothing to do with al-Qaeda. And yet they give proof that a post-9/11 Islamism energizes their violence — and sometimes enables it by contacts and training.

[…]

Like it or not, two  half-educated and young killers, at the expense of a few hundred dollars and one dead, with very little capital, shut down an entire city, committed mass mayhem, ruined the lives of hundreds, destroyed the Boston Marathon, and cost the city billions of dollars. But for the chance scans of video cameras, the Tsarnaevs might well have let off more bombs and turned their terror of a day into far greater mayhem of a week. That lesson is not lost on jihadists. To the degree they can enthuse another Tamerlan Tsarnaev in Chechnya or reach a Major Hasan at a mosque or on the Internet, they will continue. I expect more al-Qaedism. […]

Next, John Hinderaker in Powerline: “Why Does Evil Make Liberals Stupid?”:

In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, we are suffering through the inevitable period of liberal hand-wringing. Liberals can’t help themselves: while normal people are reviling the bombers, celebrating their capture or death, and debating measures that can be taken to prevent future atrocities, liberals’ thinking (if you can call it that) goes in a different direction. Liberals call for understanding; tell the rest of us we don’t realize how complex mass murder is; recommend introspection (But why? I didn’t do it.); and warn against various forms of overreaction to the latest terrorist outrage. The reality of evil, a constant in human affairs for millennia, renders liberals not speechless–that would be too much to hope for–but incoherent.

These days there are more such outpourings of liberal feelings than one can count, but let’s note just two, for now. First, Governor Deval Patrick, who appeared on Face the Nation this morning:

The governor of Massachusetts said Sunday that he has no idea what motivated the brothers accused of exploding two bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

Really? Hmm. Check out the Boston Globe, Governor. They think Islam might have played a secondary role.

Speaking on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Gov. Deval Patrick said it’s hard to imagine why someone would deliberately harm “innocent men, women and children in the way that these two fellows did.”

It is, indeed, hard to imagine if you aren’t evil. But this is a banal and singularly unhelpful observation. Experience tells us that some people do indeed want to harm innocent men, women and children in this fashion. Muslims alone carry out, on the average, several terrorist attacks a day for the purpose of harming innocent men, women and children, and they are by no means the only source of evil in the world. So our public officials should stop expressing amazement at the existence of evil and start figuring out how to protect the rest of us from it. […]

If you want to learn about Chechen jihad…

Read this book:

20130419-101437.jpg

These folks have been fighting the Soviets and Russians for generations. Very, very dangerous. You do not fuck around with these guys.

P.S., This book was published in 2007.

P.P.S., Bodansky was one of the analysts who very presciently wrote about bin Laden’s intentions towards the United States well before the horrible events of 9/11.

February 26, 1993 (Updated)

Twenty years ago today, I happened to be in New York City on the last day of a consulting gig with a large international bank. As I left the offices of the bank to walk to my hotel to checkout, I decided to stop for a bite to eat on the way to LaGuardia for my flight. It was a little after noon as I was sitting finishing my meal when I heard all hell break out on the street, the most sirens I had ever heard in my trips to NYC — and that’s saying a lot. Dozens of police,  fire trucks, and fire rescue were heading in one direction: downtown. I asked around but nobody seemed to know what was going on; in those pre-internet days the only way to get news was print, radio or TV — and I had a dearth of all three heading to the airport and boarding my flight.

As soon as I was able to, I used a new-fangled toy aboard my flight: an AirFone (remember those?). I called home to find out everybody was worried sick about me and the terrorist attack in New York. Needless to say I was more than a bit shocked and surprised. That terrorist attack was the first attempt to destroy the World Trade Center towers by the blind Sheikh Abdul Rahman and Ramzi Yousef, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s nephew. I don’t remember visiting New York City after that for a long time. It turned out that that day was my last opportunity to see the Twin Towers in all their glory.

I regret it to this day.

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Two stories about Iranian cyber-attackers

Panetta says cyber attackers accessed controls for critical US infrastructure:

In a blunt admission designed to prod action, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta Thursday night told business executives there has been a sudden escalation of cyber terrorism and that attackers have managed to gain access to control systems for critical infrastructure.

In a speech in New York City, Panetta said the recent activities have raised concerns inside the U.S. intelligence community that cyber terrorism might be combined with other attacks to create massive panic and destruction on par with the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

“These attacks mark a significant escalation of the cyber threat. And they have renewed concerns about still more destructive scenarios that could unfold,” he said. “For example, we know that foreign cyber actors are probing America’s critical infrastructure networks.

“They are targeting the computer control systems that operate chemical, electricity and water plants, and those that guide transportation throughout the country,” he added. “We know of specific instances where intruders have successfully gained access to these control systems. We also know they are seeking to create advanced tools to attack these systems and cause panic, destruction, and even the loss of life.”

Current and former U.S. officials tell the Washington Guardian that U.S. investigators have growing evidence that Iran was behind a recent wave of cyber attacks, particularly those that temporarily paralyzed energy interests in two Middle East countries that are key U.S. allies.

Panetta stopped short in his speech of formally accusing Iran but left no doubt America has strong suspicions about Tehran. “Iran has also undertaken a concerted effort to use cyberspace to its advantage,” he declared. […]

US: Hackers in Iran responsible for cyberattacks:

U.S. authorities believe that Iranian-based hackers were responsible for cyberattacks that devastated Persian Gulf oil and gas companies, a former U.S. government official said. Just hours later, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the cyberthreat from Iran has grown, and he declared that the Pentagon is prepared to take action if American is threatened by a computer-based assault.

The former official, who is familiar with the investigation, said U.S. authorities believe the cyberattacks were likely supported by the Tehran government and came in retaliation for the latest round of American sanctions against Iran.

Before Panetta’s remarks on Thursday, U.S. officials had said nothing publicly about the Gulf attacks or the investigation. But Panetta described them in a speech to business leaders in New York City, saying they were probably the most destructive cyber assault the private sector has seen to date.

Panetta did not directly link Iran to the Gulf attacks, but he said Tehran has “undertaken a concerted effort to use cyberspace to its advantage.” And, he said the Pentagon has poured billions into beefing up its ability to identify the origin of a cyberattacks, block them and respond when needed.

“Potential aggressors should be aware that the United States has the capacity to locate them and hold them accountable for actions that harm America or its interests,” said Panetta in a speech to the Business Executives for National Security.

A current U.S. official acknowledged Thursday that the Obama administration knows who launched the cyberattacks against the Gulf companies and that it was a state actor.

U.S. agencies have been assisting in the Gulf investigation and concluded that the level of resources needed to conduct the attack showed there was some degree of involvement by a nation state, said the former official. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is classified as secret.

While Panetta chose his words carefully, one cybersecurity expert said the Pentagon chief’s message to Iran in the speech was evident. […]

Makes you wish the act of war they committed in 1979 had been acted upon, doesn’t it?

Must watch video: Lara Logan 2012 BGA Annual Luncheon Keynote Speech

South African television and radio journalist, and war correspondent, Lara Logan, has blown the lid off the official position on the war against radical Islam, and the campaign in Afghanistan.

“We think we’ve won the campaign when they haven’t begun to fight.” Former ambassador Ryan Crocker.

From Diana West: ‘The Anti-Blasphemy, Anti-First-Amendment President’

Superb essay: “The Anti-Blasphemy, Anti-First-Amendment President.”

Who said the following: “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”

Iran’s Ahmadinejad? Egypt’s Morsi? Some little-known, fatwa-flinging cleric increasing the bounty on Salman Rushdie’s head?

None of the above. The words are President Obama’s, and he spoke them this week to the U.N. General Assembly.

No Big Media outlet reported this stunning pronouncement. It’s as if Ronald Reagan addressed the National Association of Evangelicals in 1983 and the media failed to report that he used the phrase “evil empire.” To make the comparison more direct, imagine if a Republican president declared that “the future must not belong to those who slander the messiah of Christianity” – or, for that matter, the prophet of Latter-day Saints. We would have heard all about it, and for the rest of our lives.

Of course, the Islam-Christianity comparison isn’t a perfect match, given the peculiar definition of “slander” under Islamic law (Shariah). According to such authoritative sources as “Reliance of the Traveller,” a standard Sunni law book approved by Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, “slander” in Islam includes anything Muslims perceive to reflect badly on Islam and its prophet, including the truth. In other words, any negative fact about Islam and Muhammad is, under Islamic law, deemed “slander.”

Does the president, son of a Muslim father and raised for four years as a Muslim by his stepfather in Indonesia, understand this? Shouldn’t someone in the White House press corps bother to ask?

Whether the president is ignorant or knowing, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Islamic bloc of 56 nations and the Palestinian Authority, certainly understood the Islamic meaning as its representatives sat in the General Assembly. They heard the U.S. president declare that the future “must not belong” to those who analytically or critically approach Muhammad and, by natural extension, Muhammad’s totalitarian religious/legal system of governance. According to this understanding, We the People who prize the First Amendment are out. Those who enforce and follow Shariah are in. I can’t think of another instance in which an American president has publicly uttered such a rank betrayal of American principles. And the media censored it! […]

Read it all.