Friday, January 30, 2015

Spies Are All Around You

In the old days, spies hid themselves and you never saw them. Today, they are everywhere all around you, often in plain sight.

Former spies are writing their memoirs, appearing as expert commentators on TV news shows, and writing opinion pieces in newspapers. It's hard not to notice them these days.



Secret spillers such as Edward Snowden and Julian Assange are household names.

Some spies, stuck in the old days, don't really want to be noticed but they are anyway, like the 3 Russians in the recently-uncovered New York City Spy Ring.

Another is Colombia's former intelligence chief Maria del Pilar Hurtado, who went missing but is surrendering to face charges of spying on journalists and politicians.

I should mention as well the US scientist Pedro Mascheroni, formerly employed at Los Alamos National Lab, jailed for trying to pass nuclear secrets to Venezuela.

I'll pause here to remark that in the old days, spies would often steal secrets and pass them to the communists in Russia. But ideology as a reason for espionage has waned as it's tough for any rational person to get all hyped up over communism anymore, although some still do. But more common is "racial" espionage, where the traitor and the receiver of stolen goods share the same ethnic and racial background. In this case, the Argentine Mascheroni and the receiver "Venezuela" are both in the Hispanic world. Many more examples.

As we know, the NSA is always spying on phone calls and such, even though you can't see them. German leader Angela Merkel is figuring out ways to prevent the NSA from snooping on her, including the use of typewriters. And Brazil is building its own undersea cable across the Atlantic in similar hopes of keeping the NSA's prying eyes away.

We've always seen spies on TV going back to a 1960s TV show like "Get Smart" and the James Bond movies with Sean Connery. But that was nothing like today, where it seems you can always find a spy show on a cable channel at any time. Some current TV shows:
  • Homeland
  • The Americans
  • State of Affairs
  • Covert Affairs (now cancelled after 5 seasons)
  • Allegiance (stars next week)
  • 24 (a revival soon to appear)
Spy novels remain popular, led by current authors like Brad Thor and Daniel Silva, and classic authors like Robert Ludlum and Ian Fleming.

Honoring Evil Monsters Like Saudi King Abdullah

Another monster in human guise is dead. As the demons of Hell jab deceased Saudi King Abdullah with their pitchforks into his new living quarters, Obama and other world leaders “honor” his memory.

For example, British Prime Minister David Cameron applauded Abdullah for his "commitment to peace."

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, announced an essay contest honoring the fallen king who was "a man of remarkable character and courage." I should note here that this says far more about the current leaders of the US military than it says about the personal qualities of the ex-king.

The news media contends Abdullah was a "reformer." President Obama infamously bowed to King Abdullah early in his presidency in 2009. It makes me wonder if North Korea owned all the world's oil, would Obama bow to Kim Jong-un as well?

Let's examine the record of King Abdullah:

Saudi Arabia's punishments for what they consider crimes is almost identical to that of the terrorists of Islamic State. Perhaps we will see Obama bowing to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi?

  • Abdullah oversaw the public flogging of a blogger.
  • Women in Saudi Arabia are basically the property of men
  • Saudi Arabia has one of the world's worst human rights records
  • Saudi Arabia has exported Islamic extremism around the world
  • Oil revenue paid for mosques and radical preachers who pull the western world down into the same sewer as the Saudi model
  • No democracy
  • Arbitrary arrests and torture
  • In 2006, a rape victim was sentenced to 90 lashes for being in a car with a man who wasn't her relation

The damage King Abdullah visited upon the world can’t be measured in dollars, but in the diminished spiritual and psychological health of the world--not to mention the physical health of those on the wrong side of his laws. Even burning in Hell for eternity seems not enough of a punishment.

The record of the influence of Abdullah and the Saudis on human civilization is a horrific one. If bad guys are a necessity of the universe, then the Saudis have played that role admirably.

Yet, world leaders praise him at the moment of his demise and journey to somewhere south of Heaven.

The bad news is his replacement King Salman plans to continue in his footsteps.

What is the danger of honoring evil men such as King Abdullah? By lauding the man who champions everything you abhor, and who weakens every rung of your ladder of freedom and democracy, you engineer your own fall and the demise of your own power, your beliefs, and your civilization. 

It's alright, Obama and the others are saying to the rulers of Saudi Arabia. We really don't mind your ghastly human rights record. Because of oil. Because of the need for strategic partners in the Middle East. All is forgiven. The politicians of the west think it's a good deal. Even as the monster tramps one step at a time into their own nations to do as he will.


Thursday, January 29, 2015

5 Great People To Meet At Starbucks

I’ve remarked before about the wrong kind of people you might meet in Starbucks. Now, a list of the Top 5 individuals I would enjoy seeing and interacting with when I walk into a café.
  • A Good Barista
The staff behind the counter can set the tone for a café and influence it in one direction or the other, good or bad, independent of anything else inside or outside the room. Fun it is to walk into a café and the barista already has my drink ready because she knows what I always order. The good barista knows how to interact with customers and often has something funny or witty to say. Some baristas know their regular customers as well as they know the menu.



  • A Good Talker
Someone near you speaks, and after hearing only a few words, you want to overhear, and you want to hear more. He knows stuff you want to know, he has a way of stringing together the right words in the right way that only a good conversationalist can execute. Few people follow this advice but if you’re gonna run your mouth in Starbucks, make it good.
  • Attractive People
It’s a rare pleasure to see someone hot visit the café. After all, this is DC, not Hollywood. This is assuming you aren’t married, or attached, or anything like that, otherwise I’m sure you don’t notice. So when someone whose physical appearance is well above the norm arrives like an apparition inside the café, many inside notice. A typical member of the mangy mob, this isn’t.
  • Police
I like the security aspect of a group of police nearby. Public cafes and the people inside, as I’ve remarked previously, are vulnerable to attack by criminals and terrorists. If the cops are between me and the door, that’s a few guns separating me from the bad guys. I marvel at how a group of police sitting next to me can talk among each other without my understanding what they are saying, even though I can hear every word.
  • An Unexpected Friend
You weren’t expecting to see a friend show up but one does, so you sit together and chat for a while. It’s something like finding a twenty dollar bill in an old pair of pants. An unplanned and unexpected positive event that brightens your day. We’re being positive here today, so I’ll leave off when someone you don’t want to see walks through the door.

Too often, intriguing folks enter the cafe, stand in line, order their coffee, add milk, and then march right back outside and away to somewhere else. Interaction with the right people is fleeting, transitory, momentary, insufficient.

Buy my short story collection I mostly wrote in cafes: Queen of the Chess Cult and Other Stories


Buy my novel, written mostly in cafes: Murder at the Library Conference:

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Is the White House Ready for a Drone Attack?

This week a government employee flew a recreational drone "quadcopter" over the White House at 3am.

Reports suggest the drone crashed on its own and was seemingly not brought down by anti-drone technology, such as signal jamming.

As a side note, apparently there is nothing much for federal workers to do in DC at 3am. The only way to have any fun is to fly a recreational drone around the White House illegally and see if you get caught.

Apparently the drone operator has been identified as an employee of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, which explains the earlier reticence in identifying him. He had been drinking that night and lost control of the drone. Sounds like a DC federal worker to me.


This entire episode has engendered much comment on whether the President of the United States is in any danger of a drone attack by terrorists.

The Washington Post's Philip Bump wrote that the danger is "very, very small," and as evidence he interviewed someone from an aerial photography company!

A more sober assessment is found in the New York Times, where it is explained the small size of drones makes them difficult to detect, and security experts are concerned about the growing danger to the White House and the President, who will often hold news events on the South Lawn, where he could be targeted.

Patrick Tucker at Defense One asks whether the White House used drone-killing technology to bring down the 3am quadcopter. The question is left open as he discusses jamming techniques the White House might be employing.

It seems absurd to suggest the danger is small in a world of al Qaeda and ISIS. Concern seems to focus on a swarm of drones attacking an outdoor target and what steps need to be taken to defend against such scenarios.

Flying drones in DC may be illegal, but that won't stop terrorists or criminals or even over-enthusiastic hobbyists from flying them anyway.

The threat to world leaders such as the President is growing, as just this one example of a stray recreational quadcopter finding its way to the White House grounds has shown.

Monday, January 26, 2015

FBI Busts Russian Spy Ring in New York City

The FBI busted a Russian spy ring in New York City, charging 3 men with attempts to collect economic intelligence and to recruit New York City residents as intelligence sources.

The 3 men:

  • Evgeny Buryakov
  • Igor Sporyshev 
  • Victor Podobnyy
Buryakov was arrested without incident. The other 2 are no longer in the United States but had diplomatic immunity when they were here.

A copy of the FBI complaint is at the New York Post article.

The Justice Department issued a statement announcing charges against the spy ring.

The spy ring apparently emanated from a much larger operation called "The Illegals" that the FBI busted in 2010, which served as an inspiration for the FX TV show "The Americans."


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Martin Luther Snowden

What does Edward Snowden offer to the world beyond showing us what he stole?

He appears in the news whenever new pilfered documents are revealed to the world, as was the case this week with the German magazine Spiegel, or whenever he is receiving a prize and delivering his acceptance speech.

Edward Snowden's supporters see him as a sort of Martin Luther Snowden--a great civil rights figure blowing the whistle on government spying and its unseen encroachments on personal privacy.



Snowden's admirers have seen fit to bestow on him an ever-growing list of accolades, such as:


Snowden was nominated for, but didn't win, the Nobel Peace Prize.

The motivation of these prize-givers is to cheer on someone who dealt a blow to the United States' intelligence community, who they see an their enemy. Their prizes serve to enshroud Snowden in a cloak of protection by elevating him in the eyes of the public as something more than a common thief. He becomes someone with gravitas and his crime is forgivable given the favor he has done for the world community be exposing government intrusion in the lives of average citizens. Mass casualties at the hands of jihadists or mass surveillance? Take your pick.

Snowden the Prisoner

Suppose the US captured Snowden tomorrow. Imagine the demonstrations outside the jail and courthouse and in cities across the world. Imagine the threats from world leaders. Imagine the mainstream news media around the world rushing to Snowden's defense. How could any fair and substantial imprisonment be levied without a worldwide outcry?

Snowden the Patriot

If Snowden's point was to expose mass surveillance, he has surely by now accomplished that goal. Yet he continues to reveal his stolen goods. Why? He seems to harbor no qualms that he is helping rogue regimes such as Russia and China by exposing our secrets. Perhaps luring Putin into a false sense of security so he can expose Russia's secrets later? It's a funny thought.

Snowden the Thief

Can even Snowden's most ardent supporters believe he chose the correct method of whistle-blowing? There is no evidence he ever raised concerns with the NSA as he claimed. Having stolen everything he could, wasn't he after something else beyond just exposing mass surveillance? That could have been accomplished with just a few documents.

Snowden the Narcissist

Snowden is more narcissist than patriot. He now seeks to prove himself as someone above a mere thief. He wants gravitas. He wants to be seen as a deep thinker, a man of substance, someone worthy of the prominent position he holds on the world stage.

Snowden the Destroyer

Tech companies are reluctant to share with intelligence agencies, the alliance having been broken by Snowden. Apple and others talk about locking out the NSA from their products. ISIS and al Qaeda approve. Terrorists have changed their methods after revelations of intelligence gathering: "Parts of the radar have gone dark." Relations with usually friendly nations are now on shaky ground.

The problem isn't the NSA or the CIA. For the average citizen, the politicians in Washington, DC are the problem--President Obama and those in the House and the Senate. Politicians such as Obama abuse their power, and the intelligence gathered by the NSA and CIA for the purpose of waging war on their political opponents.

There was no public deliberation on NSA surveillance because Members of Congress haven't been doing their job. It should never have been up to someone like Snowden to precipitate a national debate. He emerged due to the failures of elected representatives.


Friday, January 23, 2015

No-Go Starbucks Cafes

The news media is filled with stories about "no-go" zones in France and England, and do they really exist, and who is exaggerating about them and who is denying what is plain as day to anyone who knows what is happening in today's world.

It dawned on me that every person has his or her own "no-go zones." Places you won't go for an entire host of reasons:

  • high crime
  • probability of violence
  • likelihood of encountering someone you want to avoid
  • stores are too expensive

For myself, I instantly thought of cafes and restaurants that I will or won't enter due to a number of factors. I mentioned before about the importance of a cafe's atmosphere and if it is wrong, then I have no interest in going there.


Some cafes I previously enjoyed returning to on a regular basis I won't enter anymore. They have become "no-go" cafes. And when I think of why they have turned into "no-go" cafes, the reason is almost unfailingly: A change in the furniture.

Sometimes it's the clientele, obnoxious characters who suddenly move into a cafe and thereby causing an exodus of all the right people who no longer feel comfortable there. But more often than not, it's the new furniture that transforms a cafe into a "no-go" zone.

I prize highly the small round individual tables that have been a hallmark of cafes such as Starbucks. I can think of 2 Starbucks cafes near me that recently changed their furniture by removing single tables and replacing them with larger "communal" tables or the "high chairs" that are placed at higher tables and counters.

I'm not a fan of "high chairs" for adults, or those larger tables that seat six or more people. I've heard Starbucks thinks that its customers, who are strangers to each other, should talk to each other, and be forced to share the same table, like it or not. Do most customers want large tables so they can sit next to strangers and get to know them? Was there a survey I missed?

Maybe I go to the wrong cafes but it's not often that I find myself sitting next to someone at a large table that proves a desirable neighbor, temporary or otherwise.

The removal of those single round tables turns a once acceptable cafe into a "no-go" zone. Such cafes are looking for a different type of customer than myself, no question. But I take comfort in knowing that each cafe's furniture is different. No two are the same.

But my worry is that Starbucks is slowly and inexorably removing its small round tables in favor of larger ones. No-go for me, an enticement for others.

Check out my short story collection I mostly wrote in cafes: Queen of the Chess Cult and Other Stories


Check out my novel, written mostly in cafes: Murder at the Library Conference:

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Drones: The Good and the Bad

Drones can be used for good or bad. The average person hears about them when their hellfire missiles blast a bunch of terrorists somewhere in the Middle East. It's good that the bad guys are zapped but the media will never fail to inform us of any innocent civilians who also perished in the attack.



Lately, commercial drones have become top sellers on Amazon, as the average person can now afford one and have some fun with it.


Terrorists have an interest in drones as well, and have a lot of ideas on how to use them to kill their countless enemies.

Good

  • Kill terrorists
  • Track the movements of terrorists & criminals from overhead
  • Secretly spy on bad guys with insect-sized drones
  • Follow criminals and see where they go, if unable to do so by car
  • Deliver medical supplies to remote areas
  • Take photos and videos from unusual viewpoints
  • Deliver merchandise to customers quickly
  • News gathering by media organizations
  • Rescue swimmers

Bad

  • Fly a drone at an airplane, possibly hitting it, creating an emergency
  • Transport drugs across the US-Mexican border
  • Load a drone with explosives and detonate it, causing civilian casualties
  • Attach a gun to a drone and shoot someone
  • Assassinate a world leader
  • Collateral damage of civilians killed alongside terrorists
  • A swarm of numerous mini UAVs equipped with explosives attacking a target--not all can be neutralized.

The good guys need anti-drone technology to thwart any ideas dreamed up by jihadists, such as those mentioned above. We haven't seen any sort of extraordinary tragedy involving the use of drones but obviously that day is coming soon.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Can Europe Laugh Off Its Muslim No-Go Problem?

Muslim no-go areas in England? In Paris? Why, it's such a wildly inaccurate suggestion. The guy on Fox News who said that has no clue. No one is afraid to walk in any Muslim area in England or France. Is it true?

Now the City of Paris wants to sue Fox News for damage to its "honor and image." This leads me to wonder: after news events in Paris in recent weeks, and the questions raised about Paris and France as a result, what kind of reputation does Paris currently enjoy?

Many news articles have been written over the years regarding the "seething" suburbs of Paris, which house primarily Muslim immigrants. They battle police. They firebomb Jewish synagogues.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo must think we around the world are fools. Who doesn't know that Paris has a serious problem with Muslims? French politicians have said so. The biggest mainstream media media have said so. Citizens who know have said so!

Wasn't the reputation of Paris damaged by its own politicians and what they have done to the city?

The ugly truth is in a report by the Gatestone Institute, "European No-Go Zones: Fact or Fiction? Part 1: France."

Robert Spencer writes about Muslim problems in England and France, "No No-Go Zones? Really?"

If Paris politicians want a spotlight on their Muslim problem and a focus on the fears of any person going near those Muslim areas, they will continue with their threat of a lawsuit. Of course they won't. The mayor of Paris knows the truth. And after the laughter over the Fox News comments die down, Paris still has those Muslim suburbs no one dares enter.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Can You Leave Heaven and Return to Earth?

A little boy who claimed a near-death experience in 2004 in which he went to heaven and met Jesus and wrote a book about it ("The Boy Who Cam Back From Heaven") has now recanted his story. The boy, Alex Malarkey, said he made it up just to get attention.

But another boy with a similar story stands by his assertions that he went to heaven and came back. Colton Burpo wrote  a book about his near-death experience ("Heaven Is For Real") and after the revelation of Malarkey's admission, he went online to affirm that he stands by his story.

The near-death experience caught my attention as a student years ago before there were many books or movies about it. Typically someone suffers a medical emergency, "dies," his spirit separates from his physical self, passage through a long tunnel with a light and the end, and a meeting with a spiritual being many associate with Jesus.

One aspect of Burpo's story, and others like it, always fascinates me: the assertion that the person was "in heaven" and subsequently returned to earth to resume his physical life.

I see nothing problematic with these aspects of the stories:
  • the existence of a spiritual self separate from the physical self
  • the existence of a spiritual being who is encountered at some "location"
  • the existence of heaven
  • the existence of Jesus

The one aspect of the stories that seems questionable to me is:
  • returning to earth after entering heaven

I don't see heaven as a place one can leave once having entered. Once you're there, you stay there regardless of what you want or what the doctors are doing with your physical body on earth. Heaven is a place of no return. If your body can be revived, you wouldn't have the ability to enter the gates of heaven.

The stories can still be honest however if the person was allowed a "vision" of heaven that appeared real to him. The vision would be given the person that makes him believe he was in heaven but not really.

All suppositions about heaven and who can come and go and who has been there and who hasn't and who will go there and who won't are of course speculation by all parties concerned.

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Great Wall of the United States

Saudi Arabia is building a 600-mile wall along its border with Iraq to keep out Islamic State militants who want to take over their country. The 10-year budget total is estimated at $20 Billion.

Israel operates its own 455-mile "separation barrier" costing $260 Million per year.

In comparison, a 670-mile fence along the southern border of the United States was mostly completed by 2009 and cost a grand total of $2.4 Billion. The actual length of the border with Mexico is 2,000 miles.

Supposedly a fence along another 700-mile fence will be built at the Mexican border. It's a simple matter to speculate the cost will be something similar $2.4 Billion.

Is this expensive? The point, in theory, is to keep out illegals and drug smugglers. What is the cost to the United States of illegals from Mexico and Central America?

According to the Federation for American Immigration Reform, the fiscal burden of illegal immigration on US taxpayers as of 2010 was $113 Billion per year. Therefore, it's absurd for the news media to claim the costs of the fences are high when the cost numbers of fences versus illegal immigrants are not comparable. $113 Billion per year versus about $5 Billion for the two fences.

According to a recent Rasmussen survey, the vast majority of Americans (legal) favor building a fence on the Mexican border.

The average citizen knows a fence is needed, otherwise there is no border in practice, just in theory. Terrorists and drug smugglers walking across the border is seen as a negative of an insecure border.

It's safe to say if illegal migrants from Mexico and further south were thought to be favorable to the Republican Party and conservatives, Democrats in Washington would have already built fences covering the entire border long ago.

Despite whatever fencework is down there at the border, illegals continue to pour across the border with little stopping them, since the Obama Administration wants them here. Not for any supposed humanitarian reasons, but because they are seen as future Democratic Party voters ensuring a permanent majority in Congress. At the expense of the best interests of legal citizens, and the legal immigration process and those who choose to go through it.

From an economic standpoint, there is not reason whatsoever not to build the fences. From a safety and security aspect, they are a necessity. Politically, they represent a problem for the Democrats, but with non-enforcement of immigration control, it doesn't matter if the fences are there or not. There must be some sort of political will backing them up or it's as if they aren't really there. See the latest statistics on illegal immigrants freely entering the United States.

The new Saudi fence is called "The Great Wall of Saudi Arabia" after "The Great Wall of China." It seems absurd to call the efforts on our southern border as "The Great Wall of the United States" as it clearly doesn't stop who and what it is supposed in theory to stop. It is full of contradictions, as in Franz Kafka's short story, "The Great Wall of China."

Citizens want the wall but politicians don't. Citizens want protection but politicians want electoral victories. And others want cheap labor. The desires of the citizenry are trumped several times over.

So far, the politicians are winning that battle of desires.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Move the US Capital from Washington DC

Washington DC has been the capital city of the United States since it was founded over 200 years ago. This city is where the politicians are--the President, the Senators and the Representatives.

Since this is where the politicians are, this is where the federal money is as well. Federal money, federal jobs, federal agencies, everything federal, you can find it here.


The problem is that too much of the nation's money accumulates around Washington DC, to the detriment of the other parts of the country. The result is massive waste--overpaid federal workers who do little work and are mediocre if not incompetent at their jobs. Bloated agencies finding absurd ways to throw away money that doesn't belong to them. Laughable multi-million-dollar projects are often highlighted in the news media.

My proposal is to rotate the location of the US capital city every several years among all 50 states. Keep it in a state for, say, 5 years. But it would take 250 years to give every state its chance. But packing the government's bags every 1 or 2 years seems burdensome. Something like members of Congress who must campaign  every 2 years to keep their jobs.

Here local workers for the federal government when it travels to each state. Make it something like public service, similar to military service but as federal workers.

With this proposal, it's easier to imagine the nation's money would be distributed more fairly among all states. Because remember, wherever the politicians are, the nation's money follows.

This proposal would necessitate many more American becoming intimately involved in the government's work. People in South Dakota, say, when the capital arrives there, would thereby learn much more about what goes on in the federal government than they do today. Same for Oregon and Florida. And voters would vote with more information and knowledge than they do today.

It would be a source of pride whenever the capital moved to a particular state, and all residents would surely want their tenure as the capital to be memorable in a positive manner. They would work harder and with a sense of patriotism because they know they will be judged against the accomplishments of the other states.

As things stand today in DC, few citizens across the nation think of the federal government's tenure there as something positive, do they? The average person in the street when asked about Washington DC or the machinations of its politicians would react negatively.

A rotating capital city would keep the nation on its toes, and would prove to be a more difficult target for our enemies. The next state chosen to be the capital would be determined at the last possible moment.

At any rate, Washington DC needs a good shake-up. The politicians more so than the city itself. A rotating capital city might be just the thing to improve the government for centuries to come.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Reason UFOs Avoid Earth

Recently the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) admitted that they were responsible for many of the UFO sightings from the 1950s and 1960s. Those were secret spy planes, not aliens.

The case against visitation by aliens from other planets grows stronger with each historical fact and new technological discovery. They're not here, they haven't been here, and it seems they aren't coming anytime soon.

Scientists have calculated that the probability of advanced life on other planets is extremely likely. For example, the Milky Way galaxy alone contains 8 billion earth-size habitable planets.

So the probability is that advanced alien life does exist even though we have never seen it and have no direct proof of it.

One of the leading theories explaining their absence here is the great distance between the galaxies and planets and traveling those distances in a reasonable period of time (the speed of light and all that) may be insurmountable. I'm not sure I believe that. I suspect there is a workaround. This isn't the reason aliens avoid the Earth.

I believe aliens know we are here on this Earth. They know about this planet and the people on it. Somehow, they have a way of knowing. And as a result of knowing something about us, they choose to avoid us.

The primary reason aliens avoid the Earth is because this planet is a ghetto.

We as advanced creatures have nothing to offer them in any positive way. And our planet has little if any of the natural resources they may crave, and what we do have that they may need they already can find in abundance locally to them.

Aliens don't respect our leaders or humans in general. They dismiss us as unworthy of interaction with them, not just because they may already know everything we know and more, but because we represent an intellectual path leading the wrong way, to disaster.

And surely they have calculated the dangers of communicating with us. They may be in a physical state where they are vulnerable to harm from us and our weapons. Therefore they need to be careful with whom they associate. And they are well aware of our propensity toward violence.

They don't need us, they don't want us, and we can't help them with anything. Not even as a rank member of some sort of inter-galactic federation, if there is one. We don't even qualify for that.

We haven't yet found direct evidence of other civilizations, and I suspect that is a deliberate attempt on their part to hide from our view. Having decided to avoid communicating with us, they want to limit our ability to detect and communicate with them. Such interaction can only lead to trouble, they surmise.

How much do we need to worry that we are considered persona non grata by alien civilizations? Hard to tell, not knowing the landscape of advanced life even in our own galaxy. A humiliating assessment or wear it like a badge of honor?

And their assessment of us as a ghetto filled with worthless creatures. Is it true? Are they correct in that judgment? What evidence could we provide to them to the contrary? How would we prove ourselves as a worthy partner for other advanced civilizations?


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Obama Still Runs Away from Criticizing Islam

I mentioned a couple days ago that Obama studiously avoids any hint of criticism aimed at Islam, even after the Paris tragedies.

The reasons for that can be conjectured: he is secretly a Muslim himself, his family ties to Islam, the large number of black converts, its reputation as a mostly "non-white" religion would appeal to him as well.

Obama's behavior demands pop psychology interpretations. As the entire world has seen this week, he is almost pathological in his efforts to ignore Islam's violent havoc on the world and pretend it isn't happening. Although in truth, the same could well be said of Europe's leaders.

Obama didn't attend the Paris march not only because it wasn't his show, but because it was an implied criticism of Islam, and that's the only way some of those leaders will ever raise their voices against Islam--silently by marching, not speaking.

On the heels of the Paris march no-show, the White House, through tortuous logic, has indicated that use of the phrase "radical Islam" is inaccurate and shouldn't be used. Without question, that opinion was handed down by Obama to his staff. But French President Hollande has used the phrase himself.

Political correctness isn't an Obama trademark. German Chancellor Angela Merkel continues castigating her own citizens who are marching in larger numbers against Islamic encroachment. Yet reports have surfaced of imminent Islamic threats against Germany. Can she make them vanish with her "we are the world" routine? Will the terrorists go away if she keeps saying Germany is for Muslims? Will anything be left of European democracy and freedom when the Muslims are in a majority?

And in addition to threats against Germany, new warnings in England have emerged and security services are on high alert for possible "beheading"attacks on soldiers and police. Political correctness anyone? Any Muslim terrorists seen at that Paris march shouting "Je Suis Charlie"?

UK politician Nigel Farage has pointed out that France already has many Muslim areas that are no-go for police and non-Muslims. It's as if Obama, Merkel and the rest think the Muslim terror will go away if they continue pretending Islam is a religion of peace, and the extremists aren't really Muslims. They are something else? Like what? There are no phrases in the Koran guiding their behavior?

Obama and Merkel might be interested to know that the President of Egypt has declared that Islamic ideology has driven terrorists to kill worldwide. Perhaps Obama wants to debate him and tell him where he's wrong?


Monday, January 12, 2015

News Media Quick with 'Muslims Fear Backlash' After Paris Muslim Terror

Right on cue, the news media was quick to portray Muslims as victims after the latest Islamic terror outrage in Paris.

After every Muslim attack, the mainstream media can be counted on to write fresh new "Muslims Fear Backlash" articles, as commentators have pointed out. It's strange since the Muslims are the ones doing all the killing and are the perpetrators, not the victims. Here are a few:

UK Telegraph: Imam: Muslims Fear Backlash Over Paris Massacre

Voice of America: Muslims Fear Backlash After Paris Shooting

UK Guardian: Muslims Fear Backlash After Charlie Hebdo Deaths As Islamic Sites Attacked

New York Times: After Terrorist Attacks, Many French Muslims Wonder, What Now?

This is just a sampling. I'm sure after the next Muslim terror attack, these same media outlets as well as many others will promptly write more "backlash" articles such as these.

The news media is quick to defend Muslims no matter what the circumstances. The entire world is under seize from Islamic attacks, yet when mass protests against Islamization hit the streets of Germany, the media, en masse, attacked the marchers and their supporters as "Nazis," rather than as millions of normal, concerned citizens tired of Muslim terror and the smashing down of their culture. Here is the latest from the BBC. There are many others.

The so-called "Unity" march in Paris left out the prominent politician Marine Le Pen. And the anti-Islam PEGIDA marches in Germany are still vilified by the leftist press. So, the question is still open whether Europe has reached a turning point in facing Islam or pretending the new Muslims (who by the way constantly attack European Jews, driving them out) all around them are just like any other immigrants.

I think it will take a lot for Europe to face reality. More than what happened in Paris this week.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Why Obama Snubbed the Paris March

Many are wondering why President Obama didn't attend the huge 1-million-plus Paris march against terror and in support of the victims of the recent Islamist murders.

Many world leaders made the trip, Jordan bringing its king. Obama, not busy today, declined to attend and instead sent his outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder. Yet apparently not even Holder chose to attend. Instead, US Ambassador to France Jane Hartley represented the US.

It was an event that demanded the attendance of the US president.

But here are the reasons Obama would not want to attend, and they say a lot about his personal failings.


  • Obama wouldn't have been the star of the show but a mere supporting player. The narcissist in him wouldn't allow him to place himself in that kind of situation where he isn't in control and isn't in charge but is "just another leader." It wouldn't surprise me if Obama demanded to be the "keynote speaker" but was rebuffed.
  • Obama never, ever, allows even the suggestion that he is criticizing Islam. And this rally, the direct result of Islamist terror, gives the hint of condemnation of Islam. Obama has studiously avoided mentioning Islam whenever discussing terrorism.
  • Tensions remain with some leaders over the revelations of NSA spying, especially with Germany's Angels Merkel, and Obama's handling of that affair. His relationship with some leaders is in disrepair and he is likely reluctant to face some of them.

It's very telling that while this march took place, Obama announced his own "global security summit," his own event with him and his administration in charge. Unlike the Paris march, Obama will call the shots. He will control the world's response to "extremism" and define who is an extremist and who is the problem. Obama is extremely nervous about the world community condemning Muslims and Islam. He will take steps to turn the criticism in another direction.


Obama's Upcoming Summit on Violent Extremism

President Obama has announced a global "security" summit aimed at preventing "violent extremism."

There was no mention of "Islamic" terror in the statement. Violent extremism around the entire world means only one thing: Muslim terror that currently plagues countless nations across the globe, such as France, England, Australia, Syria, China, Thailand, Philippines, India, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, to name just a few.

Political leaders need to stop hiding behind political correctness and say the name of "violent extremism" as it is: Islamist Terrorism. And the subject matter of this summit needs to be nothing except Islamist Terror. That is the problem that needs to be addressed. So far, Obama and the European leaders are running away from that.

President Obama has been running away from naming Islam as the source of worldwide terror since he took office. And this little news blurb indicates he still hasn't learned his lesson, not that that should surprise anyone at this point in his administration.

Are we seeing the end of the demonization of the anti-Islamization marchers in Germany? Are we seeing an end to pretending that worldwide terror is instigated by anyone other than Islamists? And are we still running away from calling the terrorists "Islamists" and pretending that isn't there religion?

Obama and the failed leaders of Europe don't give cause for optimism. They've already done plenty to damage and wreck their nations and their own citizens in favor of importing extremists and the social chaos resulting from those policies.

Obama's summit is likely to be nothing more than another exercise in the same political correctness that resulted in the Paris murders, as well as the terror preceding that in many nations around the earth.


Europe's Failed Politicians Leading Anti-Terror March in Paris

There's something grotesque about the sight of Europe's failed politicians--Hollande, Merkel, Cameron--leading a million people in a Paris march against Islamist terror.

Aren't they the ones who bear responsibility for the virtual unrestricted flow of radical Muslims into Europe's cities where they spend their time plotting more terror attacks while on state-sponsored welfare?

Isn't it the politicians who turn over sections of their own countries to Muslims and Sharia law, as is the current situation in France?

Even as the marchers gather, the response to calls for unity was met by an arson attack on a German newspaper that printed Charlie Hebdo cartoons on Mohammed.

And as for unity, French politician Marine Le Pen wasn't even invited to the politically-correct rally. And I wonder if any of the PEGIDA organizers were invited?

Am I supposed to believe that these large street marches accomplish something tangible, such as a decrease in terrorism? So far, it has had no effect (see the aforementioned arson attack) but it's still early.

Anytime you have politicians whose policies have served to destroy traditional western values and caused social chaos over an entire continent leading a huge rally, I think the point of it must be questioned.

It's the politically correct thing to do, that's why they're there, but will those leaders change their policies after they go home tonight? Will policemen in France have guns tonight? Will they enact new laws to stop ripping apart the social fabric of their nations?

No. I don't see that happening.

Friday, January 09, 2015

Europe, US Must Move to the Right After Charlie Hebdo Attack

The biggest danger Europe and the US faces is continuing to pretend Islam is not a terminal danger to democracy and all the values Western society holds dear.

Already, the mainstream media outlet Reuters has tried to portray the attack on the Paris newspaper office of Charlie Hebdo as nothing more than "criminal" unrelated to terrorism and a war between Islam and the West.

At least one of the terrorists has said he was following his orders from Al Qaeda. And at least one expert has said this is Al Qaeda's way of fighting for recruits in the face of competition from ISIS.

The killers were Muslims, and they acted out of their religious Islamic faith. Will you hear any political leader say that?

Political leaders in Europe, and their friends in the leftist news media, portray anti-Islamization marchers in Germany as "Nazis." Name-calling of those fighting against Islam's war isn't helping Europe's problems. Fighting against Islam's war on democracy and freedom isn't "Islamophobia" as they would have the world believe.

In the news media you will see fresh stories about the "danger" of Europe moving "right" and the dangers of the beliefs of the "far right." This is how they frame the debate: Good-hearted people against Nazis and bigots. Anyone who disagrees with the leftist media and politicians must be demonized. That's the daily drumbeat.

But the only hope of Europe is to move away from the leftist beliefs that took away the guns of the French police who were killed in Paris. And the neighborhoods across France that are now under Sharia law. And the beheading of  British soldier Lee Rigby on the streets of London. That's where the left's political correctness has taken us. Innocent people murdered, freedom stifled, and more to come.

What happened in Paris wasn't a criminal act. It was yet another battle in Islam's war on the West. And in lieu of gargantuan attacks such as 9/11, these smaller terrorist attacks in Europe and the US will continue.

French President Hollande: Terrorists "have nothing to do with the Muslim religion." That sounds like the same old dangerous thinking, the promotion of the same old fantasy at odds with reality. And that's Europe today.

Where has this pretending that Islam is the same as any other religion gotten anyone, especially the murdered cartoonists in Paris? The Obama Administration, ever politically correct, called Islam a "religion of peace" after the Paris attack, rather than the obvious "religion of war." And Obama refuses to call it "Islamic" terrorism. Running away from the truth is always the first response.

Who's next? Al Qaeda and ISIS will send more terrorists to shoot up restaurants, cafes, and other places in the west. Not if, but when. Will the fantasy the left has created around Islam fall away? How many more deaths will it take? A million?

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Imagine If US Police Were Unarmed As in France

The two policemen who were shot and killed by terrorists at the Paris office of the magazine Charlie Hebdo were unarmed.

Apparently French patrolmen by and large are unarmed and unable to defend themselves (and the public) when terrorists strike, as happened in Paris so recently.

Was there some unstated agreement with terrorists and criminals that if the police are unarmed, they must not carry guns and shoot anyone? No. I'm not seeing that.

Isn't it the job of the police to protect the public? Is it not a fact that it is impossible to keep guns out of the hands of terrorists and criminals? How then do police "protect the public" if they are unarmed but terrorists have guns?

Imagine if the New York police force were unarmed. Or the police of any major US city. Imagine the crime and the murders on top of what we have already. Imagine how many police across the country would be dead. Last year, that total was over 100 but without guns? At least a thousand cops would die every year. What would stop the criminals? Shame? Their personal code of ethics?

France has already ceded control of many neighborhoods in many cities to Islamists. So many concessions have already been made to Islamists is if they are somehow special and deserve special rights above and beyond anyone else.

When the North Korea Sony hack was analyzed, it was said a Cyber War is on and the West is losing it.

There is a war between Islam and the West as well, cyber or not. And the West is losing the war. And anyone who objects to the Islamization of any country in the West is accused of "Islamophobia" as if disagreeing with Islam is irrational.

The elected politicians of the West are leading the way into this cultural suicide. It's as if politicians believe that whoever is the most violent and fanatical should win the spoils of war and make the rules. Shouldn't it be the opposite? Is there any path back to sanity?


Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Paris Magazine Shooting a Wake Up Call for Europe's Leaders?

Islamists shot and killed at least 12 staffers of a French satirical magazine called Charlie Hebdo, which had previously included the Prophet Mohammed among its satirical targets.

Political leaders of Europe have been quick to "strongly condemn" the attack, as they always do after any tragedy requiring such words.

This Islamist attack occurs at the same time as the anti-Islamization marches in Germany. European leaders, especially German Chancellor Angela Merkel, have been quick to condemn those as well, suggesting the marchers are Nazis, even though a third of all Germans expressed support. The Cologne Cathedral shut off its lights in protest of the marchers. It makes one wonder if they will knock out their own lights again in protest of the Paris murders at the hands of pro-Islamizationists?

In recent years, political leaders in Europe and the US have facilitated not only the Islamization of their own countries, but an erasure of their traditional Christian values as well. Was that on a vote ballot in any of these countries--US, Germany, England, France? Did the citizens of those countries vote to destroy their own cultures and have them replaced by the foreign culture of Islam? Did citizens vote in favor of social chaos that these political leaders have overseen?

I think we are seeing the Worst Generation of political leaders when I think of the characters running the US and Western Europe. The incredible societal damage they have caused with their policies and continue with to this day, and all the while they seem oblivious, if not gleeful, of such as assessment of the fallout.

Will the murder of the Paris magazine staff change anything with the politicians? Will we see a change in tone in their absurd descriptions of the anti-Islamization marchers and supporters? I can't say I'm optimistic about that. The overriding agenda of the leaders is clear.

The other question is the response of the "public." The majority of citizens in Europe and the US. Are they fed up with leaders who have declared war on their own citizens in favor of cultures and values they don;t share and never voted on at the ballot box?

Will the Paris magazine murders light an enduring flame or is it just another lit match to be extinguished in a few seconds?


Monday, January 05, 2015

The Top Spy Trends of 2015

Crystal ball time. But these days the slick surface of a smartphone is the new accessory for seeing into the future.

After a year of newspaper headlines and TV shows filled with spying, espionage, cyber wars and intelligence escapades, what's in store for 2015?

More of the same. No, neither the CIA nor the NSA is going away, despite the deepest wishes of the crazed left and America's enemies. Surely the "Legion of Doom" (Russia, China, North Korea) would love that.

Some trends and story lines to watch for in the coming year:
  • Foreign nations continue seeking ways around NSA spying, such as Brazil's undersea cable to Europe, low-tech options such as typewriters, handwritten letters, couriers
  • The White House continues to repair damage to friendly countries upset over NSA spying
  • US Congress attempts improved oversight on intelligence matters
  • Dianne Feinstein and the Senate Democrats, now in the minority, face off versus the Republican majority on CIA/NSA refor
  • The increased use of intelligence data aimed at destroying political opponents rather than fighting terrorists
  • Cyber Wars continue with major adversaries (Legion of Doom: China, Russia, North Korea) 
  • Growing acceptance of a measured military response to cyber attacks, an idea bandied about by Pentagon officials for several years, although I don't see any planes bombing Beijing anytime soon
  • Tit-for-Tat hacking between adversarial nations
  • A concerted effort at improved guarding of US secrets from cyber attacks from enemy nations such as Russia and China
  • Smaller, insect-size spy drones make an impact and efforts made to guard against their use by terrorists
  • Israel continues to request the release of Jonathan Pollard 
  • Julian Assange leaves the Ecuador Embassy in London
  • Additional revelations of secret information causing shock waves across the globe
  • Edward Snowden likely stays in Russia, no pardon in US, no flight options elsewhere
  • The likelihood of the emergence of new spy leakers like Ed Snowden who are sympathetic to privacy issues, anti-Pentagon, anti-CIA, NSA and so on


The Top 10 Spy Stories of 2014

Intelligence news made as many headlines as just about anything else in 2014. The fallout of Edward Snowden's NSA leaks, the Senate Democrats' CIA 'Torture' Report, cyber hacking by North Korea, China and others, citizen privacy in the face of big brother government snooping, a new James Bond film announced, it seems espionage was never far away from the front pages of the news media.

Here are the Top 10 Spy Stories of 2014:

10. Regin Malware Infects Computers in Russia, Saudi Arabia and Others
  • The 'Cutting edge" malware program "Regin" monitored Russian and Saudi computer networks, among others, and it is suspected the US or Israel created it.
9. US Businesses Hurt by NSA Spying Fallout
  • Foreign countries expressed reluctance to hire US companies over fears of data security.
8. NSA Reform Bill Stalls in Congress
  • Internet heavyweights Google, Facebook, Twitter and others supported an NSA reform bill in Congress that was eventually voted down.
7. Cyber War Between Major World Powers
  • Military battles between superpowers isn't feasible but cyber wars are. North Korea, China, and Russia among others attacked computer systems in the US raising questions about how to respond.
6. US Charges 5 Chinese Military Officers With Spying
  • For the first time ever, the US leveled criminal charges against a foreign nation for cyber hacking trade secrets from companies.
5. Cyber Attacks on US Government Agencies by Hostile Nations
4. Tension Between US and Friendly Nations Over NSA Spying
3. Sony Hack by North Korea and/or Others
  • The Sony hack story, perpetrated probably by North Korea, prompted some to proclaim that the First Cyber War is now upon us.
2. Cuba Spy Swap
  • The Cuba spy swap precipitated a relative warming of relations between the US and Cuba.
1. Senate Democrats Release CIA Torture Report
  • Without question the biggest spy story of the year, the fallout of the release of this report affected virtually every country in the world.


Saturday, January 03, 2015

25 Million Nazis in Germany?

The anti-Islamization protests in Germany, which lately have drawn around 20,000 marchers, are drawing serious heat from Chancellor Angela Merkel, among others.

The marchers are vilified in the news media, by Merkel, and by Christian Church leaders who will shut out the lights at the Cologne Cathedral to protest the protesters.

If I am to believe the vilifiers, the marchers are "neo-Nazis." That's the drumbeat from those who hold a differing opinion.

Yet a new opinion poll says almost a third of Germans support the marchers. By my rough count, that means about 25 million Germans are therefore "Nazis."

Who believes that? Who believes there are 25 million Nazis in Germany, a third of the population, as Merkel, the leftist media, and the Cologne Church leaders would have us believe?

I suspect there are not nearly so many Nazis in Germany as that, or elsewhere. Germans, and large percentages of the populations of all Western nations are rebelling against the trampling of their traditional Christian heritage by the politicians leading the charge, their friends in the news media, and Muslim immigrants who make absurd demands that always blot out traditional Western values in favor of their own.

Western politicians lack respect for the values of their own populations, as if they are at war with their own citizens. President Obama is another good example of that.

Who voted for this cultural reengineering?

Merkel and the media frame the debate as good-hearted people versus Nazis. But those aren't the battle lines. The debate is between those who want to maintain their cultural heritage versus those who want to tear it apart if favor of someone else's heritage.

The motivation of Merkel, Obama and the others is a hatred of their own cultures.

I don't see so many Nazis in the world but I do see politicians at war with their citizens destroying traditional values and cultures for nefarious reasons.