Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Issue of Obama's Intelligence

Is President Obama a smart guy? Any smarter than George W. Bush? Clinton? GHW Bush? Reagan?

If we are to believe the mainstream media, Obama is a genius whose intellect towers above all before him. Yet, the evidence to the contrary continues to mount.

His approval numbers continue to drop as voters realize he is not the great leader they thought (or hoped) they had elected. He continues to break campaign promises, betrays an inappropriate arrogant mentality, runs away from responsibility by claiming decisions are in the hands of others, chooses a clearly incapable vice president, undermines his own presidency by allowing such things as a probe of CIA interrogation methods of terrorists which can only backfire in the eyes of the public, holds a spellbound belief in the historically-discredited theory of socialism (not exactly the hallmark of a great mind, is it?), and already seems nothing more than a prisoner of his own psychological demons which are the source of his anger at traditional American values--capitalism, for one.

But look at these quotes from a new Washington Post story ostensibly written about a "new dynamic" between the White House and the Justice Department. The real point of the story in the liberal DC newspaper is to portray Obama as a great intellect. The authors quote members of Obama's staff and a Democratic Member of Congress, as if their opinion of Obama's intelligence is gospel:

official accounts did not mention Holder's conversations with the White House, nor Obama's deep, if cautious, engagement with the issues.

For his part, Obama appears determined to enter relationships with his Cabinet members as a strategic participant. People who brief him say he is able to game out scenarios before the experts in the room, even on foreign policy, national security and other issues in which he had relatively little expertise before running for president.

Obama is approaching the issues as a game of "three-dimensional chess," said John O. Brennan, an assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism. "It's not kinetic checkers. And I think the approach in the past was kinetic checkers. There are moves that are made on the chess board that really have implications, so the president is always looking at those dimensions of it."


"The president is a very sophisticated thinker and understands the implications of these decisions and events, and wants to make sure that he is aware of what those repercussions might be on the workforce, and on the reputation and image of the United States," Brennan said in an interview.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said Obama has "put a lot of thought" into how to balance security and civil liberties.

"I think he is very much aware that this area has been something of a constitutional teeter-totter," said Wyden, a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

You get the point. But as noted above and as I've written here before, Obama shows signs of troubling psychological weaknesses, both in his decision-making and in his public utterances. That does not bode well for the American people over the next several years. How bad is he? We're about to find out.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Hemingway's A Moveable Feast New Edition Book Review

This book is Ernest Hemingway's reminisce about his life in Paris in the 1920s and the literary figures he knew, such as Gertrude Stein, Ford Maddox Ford, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. It was left unfinished at the time of Hemingway's death in 1961 and originally published in 1964, edited by his fourth and last wife, Mary. This new "restored" version presents the same book as re-edited by Hemingway's grandson Sean.

The original book is a highly-regarded literary work of art, leaving open the question of why the world needs a new version. The one and only advantage is the inclusion of new, previously unpublished chapters included after the main text, called "Additional Paris Sketches." Anything new written by Hemingway is always welcome.

The problem is Sean Hemingway's editing and the motivation behind it. In his Introduction, he would have us believe Mary somehow wrecked Hemingway's vision of the book and he has now reshuffled the chapters to reflect what his grandfather would have really wanted. Forty-five years after the original publication, Sean writes with what seems to me unusually strong venom at Mary and what he sees as her agenda in making her edits: "The extensive edits Mary Hemingway made to this text seem to have served her own personal relationship with the writer as his fourth and final wife, rather than the interests of the book, or of the author, who comes across in the posthumous first edition as something of an unknowing victim, which he clearly was not." Sean needed to provide some sort of rationale for the new edition, and this is what he would have us believe: the original book reflected Mary's wishes, not Ernest's.

But since the manuscript was left unfinished when Hemingway died, no one knows what he really would have wanted. There is no "definitive" edition and never can one be. Even worse, Sean can well be accused of the same sin as he asserts for Mary: his edits are designed specifically to paint his grandmother Pauline Pfeiffer, Hemingway's second wife and his own grandmother, in a far more favorable light. Readers and scholars can compare the two editions and judge for themselves: is Sean protecting his grandfather's true wishes--whatever they were--or is he doing a favor for his own grandmother at the expense of Hemingway's conception? Sean dug around in the archives and found some things that look good for his grandmother, included them, and rejiggered the original contents in her favor as well.

The good news surely must be that the various heirs of Hemingway can't destroy his work, no matter what their motivations. The text is still the work of one of the 20th century's greatest and most influential writers. Most readers won't need the new edition, as the original, as literature, hasn't really been improved upon. Scholars and Hemingway fans will want to see the new sketches. Probably 45 years into the future, a "scholar's" edition will be published, sans any input from the various heirs of Hemingway, in an attempt to "set the record straight."

Friday, July 03, 2009

The Clockmaker by Georges Simenon (Review)

Dave Galloway is a watch repairman in the mythical city of Everton, New York. His life is one of familiar routine—he goes through the same motions every day at work and at home. But this comfortable existence is unexpectedly thrown into chaos when Dave’s 16-year-old son Ben runs away from home. We learn that Ben has left with 15-year-old Lillian Hawkins and they plan to get married in Illinois, which recognizes marriage between young teenagers.

While Dave reflects that Ben has abandoned him, we learn that Dave’s wife had abandoned him as well, when Ben was just one year old. The story takes an uglier turn when police break the news that Ben has shot and killed someone and taken his car. While the police chase Ben, the news media interview Dave and he agrees to pose for pictures and answer all their prying questions.

Soon, Ben is captured by the police after a shootout and is taken to Indianapolis. Dave travels there only to suffer more embarrassment when Ben refuses to see him and the police tell him they are moving Ben back to New York and he traveled to Indiana for nothing.

Dave hires an expensive lawyer for Ben, who since his capture has expressed no remorse for his crime, seems proud of what he has done, and acts as if he wants to sit in the electric chair. A psychiatrist evaluates Ben and determines he is sane and can stand trial.

While these events transpire, Dave examines his own mind to try to discover some sense to Ben’s crime, which seems completely pointless and unnecessary. Much of the novel has Dave retracing the signal nerve points of his own life in an attempt to extract meaning from Ben’s actions—his own father’s one night of cheating on his mother; his own decision to marry the cheapest woman in town who had already slept with all his friends; and now Ben’s murder of a stranger for his car and a few dollars. All three of these events were solitary acts of “rebellion” by three men of the same genetic line who otherwise spent all their lives getting ”whipped” in life. Unsatisfied, they needed to temporarily revolt against their own nature. The question is left at the end whether this cycle would turn in the other direction in the future.

The Clockmaker, also published in English as The Watchmaker (first published as L’horloger d’Everton in French in 1954), is a psychological thriller written without Simenon’s most famous character, Inspector Maigret. Only 124 pages, it can be read in a few sittings. Simenon forces the reader to consider if Ben’s actions were already somehow foreordained; the culpability, if any, of his father; and if the similar psychology of Dave, his father, and his son, will change or remain the same in future generations. The New York Review of Books has reissued a number of Simenon’s novels in recent years and this would make a fine addition.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

My Twitter Account

Here is my Twitter account.
http://twitter.com/stephenleary

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Kreskin Confidential (Book Review)

The chance to meet Kreskin recently came up and we spoke for a minute or two. I recounted my story of first seeing his TV show on visits to Toronto in the early 1970s when I was a kid. He inscribed a copy of his book to me and gave me his business card. He's a friendly man and it was a delight to meet him in person.

Kreskin's narrative takes us back to his childhood when he was inspired to a career in mentalism by the Mandrake the Magician comic books. He somehow found a hidden penny as a kid without help, and performed several times for his classmates.

Houdini, Kreskin tells us, was the greatest escape artist, but merely a second- or third-rate magician. Magic as seen on TV nowadays is mostly illegitimate, as it involves scripting, editing, trick photography, and paid or volunteer "people on the street" who have been coached by the producers how to act for best effect. This is more theater than magic, and is dishonest with the viewers.

His first late night TV appearance was on the Steve Allen Show, March 30, 1964 (billed as "George Kreskin"). As Kreskin tells it, this is the show where he stumbled during his entrance because he was blinded by the studio lights. He claims this inspired Johnny Carson to create the "Carnac the Magnificent" character (who always stumbles upon his entrance) from seeing him on the Allen show.

A severe chapter on Orson Welles recounts his blundering attempts at mentalism on Johnny Carson's show. He exposes some chicanery surrounding Jean Dixon's "predictions" as well.

There is no such thing as a hypnotic trance, he reminds us again, and Kreskin offers a reward for anyone who can contradict him. Hypnotism involves the power of suggestion, not an altered state.

Kreskin's trademark stunt is finding his own paycheck hidden by the audience. Over his career, he has failed to find it 9 times, and if he fails again, he will retire that part of his show. Considering how many times he has searched for his check, it seems remarkable he has failed (whether legitimately or didn't want to find it) only 9 times--especially when one realizes he isn't cheating.

A major point of the book is to drive home Kreskin's belief that there is a legitimate way to perform mentalism and an illegitimate method. The dishonest way involves the use of audience plants or secret electronic devices and other types of chicanery. Legitimate mentalism uses only those techniques and skills possessed by the performer himself, along with his props. Kreskin isn't talking about psychic mind reading, as if a person could really tune into the thought broadcasts of another person like turning on a radio, but rather the traditional performing skills related to stage magic. Playing "fair" with the audience using these guidelines means a lot to him and I can't see him violating this code of trust.

Kreskin has always said he uses no electronic devices or confederates in his show, and like the great pioneering mentalist Joseph Dunninger (1892-1975) before him, offers large rewards for anyone who can prove that he does. It's wonderful marketing and no one has any hope of collecting.

After explaining several mentalism stunts the reader can perform on his own, Kreskin then tells the story of meeting the respected magician Dr. Stanley Jaks (1903-1960) and unexpectedly receiving his library after his death. He is now interested in selling those books, listing the sales price at no less than $4 million, after turning down an offer of over $1 million. Kreskin issues a startling threat: if he doesn't find a buyer who will pay the price and properly care for the books, he may well burn them.

He mentions some problems at the Library of Congress, where Houdini's library and other valuable collections were mishandled. As someone who once worked there, I think there would be quite a number of reasons for that. And as someone who worked in an academic library special collections department, I think it would be imperative for a valuable collection to be placed where the staff and institution have a long-term interest in the person or subject matter, as well as the desire and ability to maintain the books and papers. How often is that the case? It makes me wonder what Kreskin's plans are for his own extensive library and manuscripts.

Kreskin has managed to keep himself in the public eye for over 40 years. In the 1960s, he marketed an ESP game that eventually morphed into an aid to accessing the subconscious called "Kreskin's Krystal & Pendulum." He hosted his own TV show in the 1970s and has made hundreds of guest appearances on popular talk shows over the years, such as Merv Griffin, Tom Snyder, Mike Douglas, and the Tonight Show. Kreskin challenged chess champions Anatoly Karpov, Victor Korchnoi, and Bobby Fischer, although they didn't respond. He makes annual predictions and claims he predicted 9/11 (the transcript from CNN, January 1, 2001, begins: "by September or October there will be two major plane crashes....") He backtracked after that, insisting he didn't really mean airplane crashes, but forgetting what he said later, it's a noteworthy prediction if you stop there. Kreskin still keeps a heavy personal appearance schedule.

From what I've seen, most professional mentalists like and respect Kreskin but there are some that don't, and they charge him with not coming entirely clean with the fact that his act is a variant of stage magic and he has no psychic or legitimate mind-reading abilities. But I keep reading statements by Kreskin, in this book and elsewhere, that he claims no special skills, and his abilities are "perceiving and influencing people's thoughts, both mentally and through suggestion." That is not uncommon for anyone inside or outside this profession.

Professional mentalists are in a position where "having it both ways" is good for business. Apparently Dunninger thought so. While professing no special skills for himself, he also wrote books like What's on Your Mind? and The Art of Thought Reading--the sole apparent point of which was to impress upon the American public that he possessed nothing less than genuine psychic thought-reading abilities.

Critics have cited the first edition of the book The Psychology of the Psychic (1980) in which Kreskin was lumped in with the likes of Uri Geller as someone claiming paranormal powers. However, in the second edition published in 2000, the authors removed the chapters on Kreskin, as they admitted he makes no claims to unusual abilities and therefore he didn't belong in their book.

Kreskin Confidential provides a good overview of the professional life of Kreskin from his beginnings up to recent days. He mentions the movie The Great Buck Howard (2008, based on his own life) a number of times. It's not anything approaching a thorough autobiography and can be read in a few sittings. For anyone wanting to know what Kreskin is all about, including his recent activities as well, this book is probably as good as any available right now.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Obama, Biden Served Undercooked Ratburgers at Ray's Hell-Burger?

President Obama and veep Joe Biden strolled over to Arlington for lunch at Ray's Hell-Burger today. It's likely their staffs didn't vet the place, given its latest restaurant inspection report by the Arlington Health District (listed under "Butcher Burger" which is apparently the true name of the joint).

Among the violations listed in the most recent inspection (dated Dec. 18, 2008):

1. Insect, rodent, and/or other pest harborage conditions exist on the premises [mouse droppings were observed on the floor of the storage room].

2. CRITICAL: The food establishment serves hamburgers [cooked-to-order] undercooked without informing consumers of the significantly increased risk consuming such food by way of a disclosure and reminder using brochures, deli case or menu advisories, label statements, table tents, placards, or other effective written means.

So we have the President of the United States and the Vice President tagging along for a meal at an establishment where mouse droppings were seen during the latest inspection, and the joint serves up hamburgers that are "undercooked without informing consumers of the...risk."

Well, I have to wonder if any employees at Ray's informed Obama, Biden or their security details about any of this. Have the problems been corrected or not? I would have wanted to know. And I wouldn't knowingly eat at a place with a report like that.

We'll have to watch Obama and Biden carefully over the next several days to see if they suffer any ill effects. Is it wise for people in important positions to just go and eat anywhere without checking? What else are they doing without proper forethought? Rhetorical question, of course.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Shootdown of a North Korean Missile

North Korea's expected launch of a missile or satellite has drawn comments from various quarters about the possibility of shooting it down, if it should pose a threat to the US or Japan.

Since the US says it wants "dialog" with North Korea, the terms under which we would shoot down their missile should be made clear to them, either publicly or privately. But "dialog" has been ongoing for years. Kim Jong Il lied to Madeleine Albright about their nukes and missiles in 2000. And if anyone is going to get out-talked in any discussions, I think I know who that would be. Dialog is a two-edged sword and doesn't necessarily help your own cause. And as John Bolton has pointed out, North Korea will not be talked out of its nuclear program. And beware of "North Korea experts" bearing appeasement.

Hillary Clinton wants dialog with the North. Stephen Bosworth, special rep to North Korea says he wants to do some talking as well, yet he has no current plans to travel to North Korea. Some other time, perhaps. Hillary said he "wasn't invited," raising the question of how you dialog when all you have is a monologue.

North Korea's nukes are for deterrence, international prestige and coercive diplomacy rather than for warfighting--so says Clinton and the latest annual threat assessment of the intelligence community. So then why is Japan so fearful of the impending missile launch? Why are we threatening to shoot it down?

Meanwhile, North Korea counseled against anyone invading "even 0.001mm into our territory" lest they face retaliation. Perhaps this leaves an opening for dialog: can someone invade 0.0001 of their territory with impunity?

The North Koreans view Obama as an "articulate Jimmy Carter," which must be the most terrible insult to be hurled at any president. Pleas for "dialog" and responding to the North's belligerent rhetoric with the use of the laconic mantra "unhelpful" can't possibly change that assessment in their minds.

Barnes & Noble Can't Escape the Ebook Revolution

Barnes & Noble has entered the ebook market once again, joining Amazon and Sony. Ebook sales have jumped recently while print book sales are flat. Apparently B&N will offer its own reader, just as Amazon and Sony have their own. Kindle sales have been on fire lately, even with a steep price tag.

It still boggles how so many librarians, in particular, are naysayers to the ebook future, and American Libraries, the flagship publication of the American Library Association, promotes and fuels this attitude.

Surely it should be clear to all by now that ebooks aren't going away and some of its detractors (not to mention any names) should be publicly eating their words.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Push the Reset Button on the State Department

Hillary Clinton's short tenure as Secretary of State has been remarkable for its uninterrupted string of gaffes--the latest is the mistranslation of the word "reset" into Russian--and Romanized Russian at that. Luckily whoever made that reset button didn't attempt to print the word in the Cyrillic alphabet or we'd probably be exchanging nukes with Russia right now.

Every interaction with a foreign government reveals the lack of thought and seriousness of the policies of this administration.

Hillary's "reset" button is really a "panic" button, but it won't remove her or us from the problems we face with Putin and the Russians.

Wouldn't it be lovely if we could just press a button and erase all our problems? Would the American public like to use such a button right now?

Obama's Psychological Demons

President Obama this week finally had something to say about the stock market that has been crashing since he was sworn into office. He gave the country an investment tip: now is the time to buy stocks, since they have become so cheap lately.

Already, just one month into his presidency, it is painfully clear that Obama knows little about the market and doesn't like the people of Wall Street. He seems completely detached from the economic crisis around him, refusing, or unable to do anything serious to calm the market. The equivalent of voting Present?

One can only wonder who gave him that investment tidbit he offered as a tonic for our troubles: his friend Warren Buffet, or perhaps the CIA, since we know the intelligence agency is providing Obama with a daily economic intelligence document about the economic crisis around the world.

Obama's behavior is causing concern not just at home but around the globe, particularly in Europe. Are Obama's psychological demons greater than Nixon's or Clinton's?

Saturday, February 28, 2009

How Dangerous Are Our Leaders?

The economy is on its sickbed and the market continues to submerge to the bottom of the financial sea, eliminating the traditional act of self-defenestration as an inadequate and ultimately pointless reactionary response. It's not a window we need but a mirror.

Yet Congress, with the country in flames all around them, spend hundreds of billions on non-stimulus projects that are remarkable for their lack of relevance to the state of the economy.

And President Obama, not to be outdone or upstaged, addresses the nation on TV with the firm intention not of calming the markets and reassuring the people, but of declaring war on capitalism and excoriating his personal enemies--Wall Street executives and businessmen in general--with an angry tirade promising wealth redistribution that will bring them all to their knees. The stock market has reacted predictably, with Obama oblivious to the damage to all. Mirroring Lincoln, Obama steers the nation toward a new kind of civil war.

Is the public unable to elect responsible leaders? I would sooner be governed by a random selection of 435 people on MySpace instead of the current members of the House of Representatives. I would rather be governed by 100 random members of Facebook than the current members of the Senate. And I would would accept one member of LinkedIn selected at random as President of the United States instead of Barack Obama. Those individuals, I am confident, would do less damage to our country than those who hold power in Washington.

But what do we do about the voters? Leave them alone to elect any charlatan with a talent for conning them? Elections to high public office are nothing more than exercises in who can snow the voters better than his opponent. Do we raise the voting age to 30? Or lower it to 5? Would that help? Maybe it's time to try?

Monday, February 23, 2009

DHS: The FBI Is Full of Beans

FBI Director Robert Mueller spoke today to the Council on Foreign Relations about the possibility of terrorists, homegrown or otherwise, attacking the US and what is being done to stop or mitigate these potential attacks.

But a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Michael Keegan, said today that the odds of homegrown terrorists attacking the US "are very low."

So who is right--the FBI or DHS? Should we be "particularly concerned" about homegrown terror or is its likelihood "very low" and therefore we don't need to concern ourselves too much about it?

In the recent Annual Threat Assessment of the Intelligence Community, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair wrote:
We remain concerned about the potential for homegrown extremists inspired by al-Qa’ida’s militant ideology to plan attacks inside the United States, Europe, and elsewhere without operational direction from the group itself. In this regard, over the next year we will remain focused on identifying any ties between US-based individuals and extremist networks overseas....Signs that self-generating cells in the US identify with Bin Ladin’s violent objectives all point to the likelihood that a small but violent number of cells may develop here.

So we know 2 things: The FBI Director is concerned about homegrown terrorism. And the Director of National Intelligence is also concerned about homegrown terrorism.

Yet, a spokesman for DHS says it's not likely. He was apparently interviewed specifically for the Fox News story, and said "the latest intelligence" indicates a homegrown attack isn't likely "anytime soon." I'd like to know what intelligence he's talking about and what is his definition, with respect to time, of the word "soon."

This is another unfortunate example of different national security agencies saying different things and giving the American public conflicting signals. I have to go with the FBI and DNI on this one, not the DHS. Homegrown terrorism is a concern to everyone in the country--with the apparent exception of DHS. And does anyone seriously doubt an attack could come at any time? DHS should explain to the public why it feels the need to downplay the likelihood of homegrown terror.

Hopefully the story as written doesn't accurately reflect the true views of the spokesman or DHS, although given the countless well-documented problems of that particular department, nothing would surprise me.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Robot Armies of the Future

Future wars will be fought between robots rather than humans. He who builds the better robot will achieve military superiority. But the future is almost now, because the use of military robots is increasing dramatically.

A new report "Autonomous Military Robotics" focuses on the question of ethics: how do you program a robot to behave in an ethical manner, so that it will not just randomly kill people or turn on its own makers?

Robots are currently used to find IEDs in Iraq and target terrorists in Pakistan, among other things. Ideally, the military would want human-like robots to replace warfighters on the battlefield to reduce human casualties.

Human soldiers turning on their own fellow troops happens occasionally, but it seems the possibility of robots being "hacked" by an enemy to rewrite their programming and make them fight against their own army would be a significant problem to be overcome.

Aside from hacking, robots and their networked command structures could be subjected to jamming, rendering them harmless. Could the Future Combat Systems be taken out by jamming a satellite? Could the Pentagon's robots be disabled by an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP)? How easily can our electronic army be defeated by cyber attacks?

An army with advanced technology doesn't necessarily mean an unbeatable force. We know how difficult it has been to destroy al Qaeda, operating with their own far less sophisticated technology, and Arthur C. Clarke's short story "Superiority" served as a warning as well. What studies have been done to consider the vulnerabilities of an electronic army by an adversary using a much lower level of technology and what are the advantages of such a strategy? That will be the only option available for most or all of our enemies in the future.

Will robot armies make wars more or less likely in the future, if human lives are no longer on the line? The world community (the United Nations and the like) may deem it "unfair" for a country with a robot army to fight a country with human soldiers--basically making robot versus human wars illegal in the eyes of the world.

These are all questions no longer reserved for science fiction but are coming soon to a battlefield near you.

Hillary Gives Human Rights Abusers Green Light

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signaled to China, and by implication other regimes infamous for their human rights abuses, the green light to not worry about offending the US, because there are more important issues for the US, such as the economy.

Human rights groups expressed shock at her comments. Despite Hillary's half-hearted attempt to claim the Obama administration will still bring up these issues when meeting foreign leaders, it is abundantly clear to all that human rights in countries like China is not considered a pressing problem and Hillary will raise the issue in a perfunctory, unserious way.

The Chinese communist government must surely have been thrilled to hear this. And so other rogue regimes will take notice that this is the kind of "change" the world can expect from Obama.

It's been a dismal first month for the Obama administration as foreign policy missteps and conflicting signals are the rule, rather than the exception. Meanwhile Wall Street continues to give Obama a no confidence vote on a daily basis.

Since no one ever really thought Obama was more qualified to be president than his main rival, John McCain, and since more people didn't cast a vote on that basis, it should be no surprise that we are stuck with a president in over his head and lacking any leadership qualities useful for all the things that matter. Look out below.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Welcome Mat Out for Gitmo Terrorists in Europe

European governments have been crying for the US to close the Guantanamo Bay prison for years and soon they will get their wish, due to President Obama's recent decision.

And it's good to see several European countries show a willingness to accept some of the terrorists. Here is a list of the countries favorably disposed to providing a new home for the terrorists:

Germany
France
Portugal
Switzerland
Finland


Statements by many other EU countries display a certain lack of alacrity at the prospect of taking in any prisoners at all because, after all, they are terrorists and they want to kill people.

Over 60 Gitmo detainees who were previously released went back to terrorism, so those who have been portraying them as innocents in the wrong place at the wrong time are contradicted by their recent behavior after being given their freedom.

EU leaders will meet Monday to decide their response to the Guantanamo question. France has suggested the EU take in 60 prisoners, which seems a paltry figure considering there are about 245 inmates left. Why so few? Why not more? You wanted Gitmo closed, so now is the time to help out.

For those countries willing to take some prisoners, I have a proposal for integrating them into European society. Create "Terrortowns" on the model of "Chinatowns." Provide housing for the prisoners in one small geographic area within large cities. Force them to live there and stay there. Assist the terrorists with starting up businesses designed to attract tourists. This would include bookstores selling jihadist literature and manuals on making explosives.

A blind eye would be turned on black market sales in the backrooms of such things as IEDs, rocket-propelled grenades, etc. Tourists would pay to hear terrorists tell stories of their capture and how they were innocent of all charges all along, that all they ever wanted to do was to be good citizens, that they were wrongfully jailed, that every human being is their brother, and that they deserve reparations.

I thank those European countries willing to help out the US with the problem of what to do with the jihadists. We don't want them, so if someone has to take them, it may as well be you.