Posts Tagged ‘Washington Times’

Thank You Edward Snowden

September 5, 2014

According to the Washington Times, the information provided by Edward Snowden on the working of the NSA has proven to be of immense value to the Islamic State, those fanatics who have been chopping off reporters’ heads.

A former top official at the National Security Agency says the Islamic State terrorist group has “clearly” capitalized on the voluminous leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and is exploiting the top-secret disclosures to evade U.S. intelligence.

Bottom line: Islamic State killers are harder to find because they know how to avoid detection.

Chris Inglis was the NSA’s deputy director during Mr. Snowden’s flood of documents to the news media last year. Mr. Snowden disclosed how the agency eavesdrops, including spying on Internet communications such as emails and on the Web’s ubiquitous social media.

Asked by The Washington Times if the Islamic State has studied Mr. Snowden’s documents and taken action, Mr. Inglis answered, “Clearly.”

 

The top-secret spill has proven ready-made for the Islamic State (also referred to as ISIL or ISIS). It relies heavily on Internet channels to communicate internally and to spread propaganda.

Mr. Snowden “went way beyond disclosing things that bore on privacy concerns,” said Mr. Inglis, who retired in January. “‘Sources and methods’ is what we say inside the intelligence community — the means and methods we use to hold our adversaries at risk, and ISIL is clearly one of those.

“Having disclosed all of those methods, or at least some degree of those methods, it would be impossible to imagine that, as intelligent as they are in the use of technology, in the employment of communications for their own purposes, it’s impossible to imagine that they wouldn’t understand how they might be at risk to intelligence services around the world, not the least of which is the U.S. And they necessarily do what they think is in their best interest to defend themselves,” he said.

Another former official also bemoans the damage Mr. Snowden has done.

Retired Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden ran the NSA when al Qaeda struck on Sept. 11, 2001. He moved to modernize technology and methodology in an agency that some internal critics said “had gone deaf” in the 1990s.

“The changed communications practices and patterns of terrorist groups following the Snowden revelations have impacted our ability to track and monitor these groups,” said Mr. Hayden, who writes a bimonthly column for The Times.

Matthew G. Olsen, who directs the National Counterterrorism Center, supports Mr. Hayden’s assessment.

“Following the disclosure of the stolen NSA documents, terrorists are changing how they communicate to avoid surveillance. They are moving to more secure communications platforms, using encryption and avoiding electronic communications altogether,” Mr. Olsen, a former NSA general counsel, said Wednesday at the Brookings Institution. “This is a problem for us in many areas where we have limited human collection and depend on intercepted communications to identify and disrupt plots.”

Thank you Mr. Snowden for making it a whole lot harder to prevent a recurrence of 9/11. If you still think Edward Snowden is a hero, please consider that whatever his motivations and whatever wrongdoings by the US government he has exposed, his actions have not advanced the cause of peace and freedom in the world. He has only made it easier for the bad guys to harm the innocent.

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Moloch

May 8, 2014

In ancient times, one of the practices that distinguished the Jews, and later the Christians, from their pagan neighbors was that they did not expose infants. This practice, which was accepted among the Greeks and the Romans, was the placing of a deformed, sickly, or simply unwanted infant in a deserted place so that it would die of hunger or exposure. The most common deformity which required getting rid of a baby was the lack of a penis, and girls were exposed far more often than boys.  The people that practiced infant exposure were not monsters. They believed that exposing infants was a sad necessity in a world in which you could not be sure there would be enough food to go around. In times of hunger, it was better to discard another hungry mouth than have the baby’s older siblings starve. The parents who exposed their baby could at least take some solace in the idea that their child might be found by a shepherd or goat herder and go on to live a happier life.

The ancient Canaanites and Carthaginians were said to sacrifice children to their gods, particularly the god Moloch. There is some question whether this was true or simply Hebrew and Roman propaganda, but child sacrifice has been attested in many cultures. Again, the people who performed such sacrifices were not necessarily monsters. They doubtless loved their children as much as anyone, but they believed their gods demanded sacrifices, and the ultimate sacrifice was the thing they loved most. I imagine that such sacrifices were normally performed in times of great trouble.

We would like to think that we are more civilized than the people who lived centuries ago. Surely, we have made a lot of progress. We have abolished slavery. We no longer burn witches or heretics at the stake. We believe in equality and justice for all. Surely, we are a lot more civilized than the barbarians of long ago who murdered their own children.  Maybe. Maybe not.

In the news lately, is the story of an abortion councilor who decided to film her own abortion in order to show that having an abortion is not at all a negative experience. The story is all over the place but here is an account in the Washington Times.

Emily Letts, an abortion counselor in New Jersey, said she wasn’t ready to have a baby, even though she was pregnant, and decided that the best solution for her would be to have an abortion — and film it.

“I found out I am pregnant,” the 25-year-old said in the video she uploaded onto YouTube. “I’m not ready to have children.”

So why the video of the procedure?

“[I want to] show women that there is such thing as a positive abortion story,” The Blaze reported.

The video does show her going through the procedure, but minus the graphic details. The camera predominately focuses on her face, The Blaze reported.

Her conclusion at the end of the video: “I feel in awe of the fact that I can make a baby. I can make a life. I knew what I was going to do was right, because it was right for me and no one else. I just want to tell my story.”

The video is titled “Emily’s Abortion Video.” In a followup story published on Cosmopolitan.com, Ms. Letts writes: “We talk about abortion so much and yet no one really knows what it actually looks like. A first trimester abortion takes three to five minutes. It is safer than giving birth.”

It wasn’t safer for the baby nor was it likely to find being killed a positive experience.

Consider the reason this woman decided to have an abortion. She wasn’t ready for a baby. She lives in the most  prosperous nation in history. No matter what her financial situation might be, there is virtually no chance that that child would have starved nor would any other child have to do without food because of it. The poor souls in ancient Greece and Rome had to make decisions about life and death that most people in the developed world never will. They could be said to have a good reason to kill an infant in order for there to be enough for others. She cannot say that.

I do not know what this woman’s religious beliefs are, but I am certain that she is not a worshiper of Moloch. The people who sacrificed their children believed that they were doing a good thing that pleased the gods. If the sacrifice of a child was what it took to turn away their god’s wrath in a national emergency, then the sacrifice of the child saved the lives of everyone else in the kingdom. She was only having the abortion because she didn’t happen to want a baby.  To her, this baby was no more than an old tissue to be thrown away. It was not a human being to her. It wasn’t even alive to her. I doubt very much if she would kill an animal so casually.

No, we are not more civilized than the people who lived in ancient times. I think that most of the people who felt they had to expose or sacrifice their children would have preferred for those children to be alive. If the people who lived centuries ago could see how prosperous the our lives are in the twenty-first century and could learn how we have defeated most of the diseases which killed their children, they would wonder that we didn’t value our children more highly. They wouldn’t understand why we would want to kill any of our children. I doubt even the Romans, who enjoyed their gory gladiatorial contests would want to film a baby being murdered for the amusement of viewers.

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Too Much Diversity

March 14, 2014

It has become more or less universally accepted opinion in our national discourse that diversity is always a good thing and the more diversity the better. I do not think that there is a single Human Resources Department of any large company in the United States that hasn’t made the statement that their company policy is one of inclusion and diversity. College campuses often have events devoted to promoting diversity. Sometimes, it seems as though some kinds of diversity are not especially welcome, as the Washington Times reports.

An event meant to celebrate diversity and combat racism at a Washington state community college has been cancelled after a flier emailed to guests said white people weren’t invited.

A group of employees, under the name “Staff, Faculty and Administrators of Color,” at South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia sent an invitation to all 300 staffers to attend a diversity “happy hour,” a local news station reported.

School officials were asked to reply to the invitation to find out the confidential date and time of when the event would be held. According to the station, the invite made it clear white people were not invited.

“If you want to create space for white folks to meet and work on racism, white supremacy, and white privilege to better our campus community and yourselves, please feel free to do just that,” the email read.

Diversity and Equity Center staffer Karama Blackhorn helped write the invitation and said she stands by her opinion that staff members of color would have a more honest discussion about race without white people there.

“When trying to explicitly talk about race it can be a really difficult conversation for a lot of people,” she told the station.

“That space is not for white people. That space is for people of color,” she said of the center.

But the school disagreed and canceled the event, issuing an apology on its Facebook page.

“[T]he campus community immediately responded to the lack of inclusion,” the apology read. “Within minutes, the Center apologized, the event was cancelled, and if rescheduled, will of course be open to anyone who wants to come. It was simply a mistake by someone new to our community.”

“It was obviously a mistake,” SPSCC’s Dean of College Relations, Kellie Purce Braseth, told the station. “If you want to come you should be able to come, that just makes a richer conversation.”

I guess having White people at the event would be too much diversity. Or, maybe it is slightly awkward to hold discussions on how Whites are all racists when there are Whites present. I begin to wonder if all this talk about diversity is not meant to bring people together but to drive them apart.

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Shameless Vultures

September 17, 2013

There has been another terrible crime committed and once again the vultures are circling overhead to take advantage of this crime to further their political objectives. I am referring to this article in the Washington Times which highlights the disgraceful push for gun control by President Obama and Senator Feinstein measures not twenty-four hours after the event occurred. It is as if they were waiting for some tragedy or crisis to take advantage of.

Just hours after the deadly shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard, gun control advocates tried to reignite the national debate over gun laws that had only just subsided.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat and a longtime gun control advocate, denounced “the litany of massacres” over the past few years and asked rhetorically, “When will enough be enough?”

Mrs. Feinstein, who was first thrust into the national spotlight as president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors announcing the shooting deaths of Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk, said, “Congress must stop shirking its responsibility and resume a thoughtful debate on gun violence in this country. We must do more to stop this endless loss of life.”

President Obama was one of the first to link Monday’s incident to the larger issue of gun violence and the legislative effort to curb it, though he did so without explicitly calling, as he has done repeatedly, for gun control measures.

“So we are confronting yet another mass shooting, and today it happened on a military installation in our nation’s capital,” Mr. Obama said as he opened an economic speech at the White House.

“Obviously, we’re going to be investigating thoroughly what happened, as we do so many of these shootings, sadly, that have happened, and do everything that we can to prevent them,” the president said.

The National Rifle Association had no comment on Monday, and pro-gun groups generally take the stance that days of particularly shocking crimes are not the time to discuss policy. Popular conservative blogger and former CNN commentator Erick Erickson admonished the rush to politicize the shooting, saying “seriously people, grow up.”

“I would not dare step in the way of America’s national pastime of bitching about the politics of everything on Twitter, but there has to be a better time for it than as the temperature of bodies on the ground in the Navy Yard are not even yet cold,” he said. “If you don’t have the judgment and good sense to understand that now is not the time to say it, you have no capacity to understand why.”

I compared these people to vultures but that is really not fair to vultures. After all, vultures play an important role in the environment. I cannot say the same for the likes of Obama and Feinstein.

 

 

Sun Myung Moon Dead

September 3, 2012

The Reverend Sun Myung Moon, founder and leader of the Unification Church, or the “Moonies”  died yesterday. The odd thing is that just last week I wondered if he was still alive and looked him up. I wonder what is going to happen with his church. Did the Moonies expect their Messiah to die of old age? Perhaps of more immediate concern to his family is the disposal of the billions of dollars his church is reputed to be worth.

Ascended to a higher plane

Condolences to North Korea

December 22, 2011

All over North Korea, the people and even nature itself is mourning the loss of their Dear Leader Kim Jong Il. It is hard to know how sincere the expressions of grief that North Korean television has been showing actually are. It is possible that many North Koreans, living in an isolated country and knowing only what official propaganda has been telling them really do feel a great loss. If you hear that the Dear Leader is the most wonderful person in the world every waking moment, you might come to believe it. Then too, North Korea is a country in which the insufficient display of grief might well get a North Korean and his entire family sent to a prison camp.

With all that in mind, I can hardly blame the North Korean for their displays. I would be doing the same if I lived in North Korea. I would like to ask, however, what Jimmy Carter’s excuse is. This article from the Washington Times tells the story.

Former President Jimmy Carter has sent North Korea a message of condolence over the death of Kim Jong-il and wished “every success” to the man expected to take over as dictator, according to the communist country’s state-run news agency.

A dispatch from the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said Mr. Carter sent the message to Kim Jong-un, Kim Jong-il’s son and heir apparent.

“In the message Jimmy Carter extended condolences to Kim Jong Un and the Korean people over the demise of leader Kim Jong Il. He wished Kim Jong Un every success as he assumes his new responsibility of leadership, looking forward to another visit to [North Korea] in the future,” the KCNA dispatch read.

When contacted by The Washington Times for comment, the Carter Center provided an email contact to a spokeswoman who is out of the office until the New Year.

North Korea is routinely labeled as one of the world’s most oppressive governments under an eccentric personality cult surrounding the Kim family. Harrowing reports from defectors describe North Korea as a dirt-poor nation filled with concentration camps and Communist propaganda. Kim Jong-il ran the reclusive country according to a “military first” policy since the mid-1990s, after a famine that may have killed as many as 2 million people.

Mr. Carter has visited North Korea twice — including a 1994 visit for talks on nuclear issues that led to a deal in which North Korea agreed to dismantle its nuclear-weapons program in exchange for oil deliveries and the construction of two nuclear reactors. That deal collapsed in 2002.

The former U.S. president also downplayed a 2010 North Korean attack on a South Korean island and disclosure of a uranium enrichment facility, saying the acts were merely “designed to remind the world that they deserve respect in negotiations that will shape their future.”

I honestly don’t know if Jimmy Carter is really that stupid or if he is simply evil. He has spent the bulk of his post-Presidential career befriending every anti-American dictator in the world while opposing our allies,especially Israel, which he considers to bear the entire blame for the lack of peace in the Middle East. He discredited himself with his awful presidency and I don’t know why anyone would care what he has to say on any subject.

Uncle Omar

August 29, 2011

One of the disadvantages of being the president is that you have to put up with relatives who do not always behave appropriately  Bad behavior that be overlooked in “normal” people becomes a national scandal or embarrassment if you happen to be the brother, or son or daughter of the President We had Billy Carter, Ron Reagan, Neil Bush, and Roger Clinton. You wouldn’t think that President Obama would have much of a problem with this, since his daughters are young and well behaved. He has a half-sister who is an educator and writer but who lives a relatively private life. But, then there is Uncle Omar. It seems that he in an illegal immigrant and a drunk driver.

The arrest ends a mystery over the fate of a relative that the US President wrote in his memoir had moved to America from Kenya in the 1960s, although the circumstances of his discovery may now prove to be an embarrassment for the White House.

Official records say Onyango Obama, 67, was picked up outside the Chicken Bone Saloon in Framingham, Massachusetts, at 7.10pm on August 24. Police say he nearly crashed his Mitsubishi 4×4 into a patrol car, and then insisted that the officer should have given way to him. A report filed with the Framingham District Court said that a breathalyser at the police station registered his blood alcohol at 0.14mg/100ml of blood, above the state limit of 0.08mg.

According to a local newspaper, Mr Obama was charged with driving under the influence and driving to endanger, as well as failing to use a turn signal. He was detained as an illegal immigrant because the US Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement has an outstanding warrant for him because he was previously ordered to be deported to Kenya.

The Times has established from his birthdate that Mr Obama is the Uncle Omar mentioned in President Obama’s best-selling memoir Dreams from My Father. In the 1995 book, President Obama writes of “the uncle who had left for America 25 years ago and had never come back”.

I am going to guess that they are not going to have a reunion at the White House.

It’s interesting that the link Drudge provided for this leads to The Australian.  I wonder if very many US newspapers have picked this story up.

It’s in the Washington Times where they include the detail that he tried to call the White House. I would love to be able to listen to a recording of that conversation.

Indiana Has One of the Largest State Budget Surpluses

July 20, 2011
The Great Seal of the State of Indiana

Image via Wikipedia

Yay Indiana!!. The story is here at the Washington Times.

As Washington stares at rising national debt and projected deficits for years to come, many states are faced with the opposite problem: whether to spend their budget surpluses and, if so, on what.

At least a dozen states ended fiscal 2011 with surpluses. Indiana reported one of the largest, with an extra $1.2 billion in its accounts. Gov. Mitch Daniels, a Republican, on Friday authorized bonus payments of up to $1,000 for state employees. An employee who “meets expectations” will get $500, those who “exceed expectations” will receive $750 and “outstanding workers” will see an extra $1,000 in their August paychecks.

“No state anywhere comes close to Indiana’s record of spending tax dollars carefully, with total savings over the last six years in the billions. Your spending efficiency has enabled us to stay in the black even as revenues plummeted,” said Mr. Daniels, who recently flirted with a run for the White House but ultimately stayed out of the race.

While Indiana decided to reward its employees, other states are redirecting surplus funds into cash-strapped areas such as education. Idaho ended the year with an $85 million surplus, the majority of which will be funneled to public schools and colleges, Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, a Republican, said in a statement last week.

I thought I read somewhere that we actually had largest surplus but I can’t find that anywhere. I must say though, that I do not really approve of Governor Daniel’s decision to give out bonuses to state workers. I would rather the money be put away somewhere for a rainy day, like when the federal government goes bankrupt and can’t give out money to the states anymore.

Grief Counseling for Muggles, Good Grief

July 15, 2011

From the Washington Times. I liked the Harry Potter books well enough. Perhaps they are not quite in the same league as Shakespeare, but they are entertaining. I liked the movies too and have seen all of them at least once. Somehow, though, I don’t think I will require the services of a grief counselor after the last movie is released.

Fear not, Hogwarts junkies.

Yes, the release of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2” marks the end of a cinematic era — eight films, 10 years, $6 billion and counting in worldwide ticket sales.

But that doesn’t mean your fantasy fix is about to vanish like an invisibility cloak.

Take it from the Trekkies and the ‘Star Wars’ nerds; they’ve been there.

The writer of the article provides several ways to cope with the impending loss, including conventions, fanfic, and generally following the examples of Star Trek and Star Wars fans.

Case in point? In “Potter,” the fictional students of the fictional Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry play a fictional game called quidditch, in which wizards fly around on broomsticks and toss balls through hoops. On actual American college campuses, actual students play a version of the game in which they toss balls through hoops and run around with broomsticks between their legs. Alas, nobody flies. All of which would seem stranger if “Star Wars” hadn’t already inspired a real-life Jedi religion, the way the Klingons of “Star Trek,” a race of warrior aliens, have inspired the creation of a viable language.

“They spoke Klingon on the show ‘Frasier,’” Mr. Frazetti said. “Shakespeare and the Bible have been translated into it. There’s an actual Klingon language institute in Pennsylvania.”

Or, we could act like grown-ups for a change. I mean, come on people, there is a real world out there.

 

By the way, Laura Ingraham has this gem from her new book, “Of Thee I Zing

Unless you’ve been contacted by the film’s casting director, there is no reason for you ever to come to a movie in costume. We don’t think you’re cute. We don’t think you’re artistic. We do think you’re a nerd. And the moment you leave the protective company of the other crazy people at the cineplex, you look like a complete idiot. The robe and the wand are not working for you.

Oh, and the last time I checked, Harry Potter was not 300 pounds, 40, or balding.

Quite so.

Carter’s Second Term

July 13, 2011

Speaking of Jimmy Carter, here is an interesting analysis from the Washington Times comparing Obama with Carter. The similarities are striking, and not just the bad economy and weak foreign policy.

One of the most unpleasant things about Mr. Carter was the condescending disdain he could barely disguise for struggling Americans and their irritating malaise.

Increasingly, Jimmy Jr. is having difficulty concealing that very same disdain for us as the political winds around him turn hostile and all of his bright ideas lie fallow as nothing more than socialist hocus-pocus.

But even Mr. Carter never laid bare so baldly and plainly as Mr. Obama did earlier this week his deep-seated contempt for this whole annoying process we call “democracy.”

 

The problem with reaching a deal to raise the debt ceiling, he explained in a long sermon, is that there is this huge wave of Republicans who won control of the House in the last election by promising not to raise any more taxes and to cut the absurd overspending that has driven this town for decades.

He bemoaned – in public – that these Republicans are more concerned about the “next election” rather than doing “what’s right for the country.” In other words, he is saying the honorable thing would be for these Republicans to ignore the expressed wishes of voters, break their campaign promises and raise taxes. Wow.

As if the whole problem of Washington spending us into oblivion is the fault of stingy taxpayers and stupid voters. And what we really need is Jimmy Jr., who knows what is best for us despite what we may think.

Continuing his lecture, Mr. Obama then complained about America’s “political process, where folks are rewarded for saying irresponsible things to win elections.”

How did this man get past sixth-grade social studies, much less Iowa?

When Mr. Obama finished his sermon about the contemptible Republicans keeping faith with their voters like a bunch of chumps, he then turned to his own intentions – and revealed even more of his contempt for us.

This contempt and disdain for ordinary Americans can be found in many on the Left, including politicians, who one might expect to at least pretend to like the voters.

Al Gore was another example that I can think of right away. He has the most irritating habit of speaking to people as though he were addressing a class of not very bright third-graders. It’s actually a wonder he managed to get highest popular vote in 2000, and as far as I am concerned, the best reason imaginable for keeping the Electoral College.

But back to Carter II. I wonder when he is going to give a speech blaming the American people for their malaise, or get chased around a lake by a killer rabbit.


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