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Mid-Summer Snowjob

Whatever the truth about the government’s latest claims that we may be under imminent threat of an attack by Islamic terrorists, the state-sponsored alarm rings false.

If, in fact, there is a serious, credible and specific threat, there’s no excuse not to stop it. That’s the government’s highest proper function (which it hasn’t performed in decades). If the supposed threat is unspecified – the State Department, which failed to anticipate, define and respond to the 9/11 attack on our consulate in Libya last year, declines to discuss details of the alleged threat – yet somehow may be reasonably believed to constitute a serious threat, there’s more evidence (besides Benghazi and Boston) that the Obama administration’s unchecked, mass monitoring of U.S. communications does not protect us from harm. The government’s mass scare campaign, which purports to warn but in fact does nothing but advertise what we do not know, merely serves the aims of our enemies.

How does sounding unspecified alarms and uprooting our entire embassy network, closing down embassies for days on end, notifying state and local police – but not the public – of purported details of some sort of vague, unspecified Islamic terrorist threat to the “homeland” protect Americans at home and abroad? Either the details are too vague to spread or they’re too specific not to spread and in either case they telegraph to the enemy, whom we refuse to name, confront and defeat, that we are more willing to destroy our freedom than we are to destroy our enemy. I suspect that is exactly the point of the government’s exercise: to further weaken our resolve to clearly identify the jihadist enemy and kill them before they kill us and to lull Americans into a false sense of security (via the TSA, the Homeland Security bureaucracy, the NSA, etc.) and insidiously drift the American people into silently accepting and dutifully obeying dubious commands in a state of fear, pain and confusion. Just like the government did in Boston, putting the city on lockdown, refusing to name the enemy – Moslems at war with the West – costing American lives, accomplishing nothing (one jihadist bomber was allowed to be killed by his comrade while another was discovered by an American released from curfew) and resulting in asinine, Big Brother boosterism such as “Boston Strong” which is the opposite of the truth (Boston has never been more weak; read my critique here).

I can’t predict whether there will be another major Islamic terrorist attack let alone where, when and under which dictatorship’s orders. But I can say with certainty that the United States of America has done nothing serious to stop it, everything serious to encourage it and that the actions of our government, which may already (or might as well) be infiltrated by jihadists, merit the highest levels of doubt, derision and alarm. The fact of the timing alone – coming as millions of Americans grow dubious of government spying on us – ought to make every American suspicious of the state.

An American in Russia

National security is government’s most important function and our government has failed time and again, fostering, allowing or not stopping Islamic terrorist attacks from Benghazi to Boston. Inversely, the government continues to violate individual rights in the name of protecting Americans, despite government lies, scandals and failures and unsolved mysteries and apparent conspiracies surrounding those infractions against what was once and is no longer a free republic. Today, according to press reports, the United States of America announced that it will close an unspecified number of embassies around the world this Sunday over security concerns. A State Department spokeswoman said the closures are “precautionary,” but she refused to identify the threat or why American embassies are being closed, which underscores that this administration demands total faith, duty and obedience in and to the state.

In this context, a young whistleblower, Edward Snowden, whose cause I was among the first to write favorably about, has exercised his freedom of speech, disclosed certain widespread, unethical applications of the U.S. government’s unconstitutional Patriot Act in spying on Americans, monitoring most or all communications, including social media correspondence and other proprietary content. Snowden took refuge in Hong Kong, granted an interview to the press, was stripped of his U.S. passport, presumed guilty, and fled the Obama administration’s U.S.A. for Moscow, Russia, apparently seeking asylum there. Today, asylum was granted for one year from yesterday.

As I wrote earlier this summer, the relevant issue with Edward Snowden’s asylum acceptance is not what’s wrong with Russia. It’s what’s wrong with America. Here, under the past several but especially the Bush and most especially the Obama administrations, we have near total government control of every aspect of our lives: land, energy, medicine, food, education, insurance, banking, automotive, travel, speech, press and increasingly every other part of life. What Snowden did, defying the U.S. government to disclose information that under normal circumstances in a free republic with government generally performing its proper functions would probably be inappropriate and illegal, is no different than what a policeman in Boston did in disclosing photographs from the investigation into the Islamic terrorist attack on the city’s annual marathon in response to a leftist publication’s cover photo of one of the Islamic terrorists. Yet the cop is seen by many as a hero for acting in defiance of the government while some see Snowden as some sort of traitor.

gty_eric_holder_obama_thg_120620_wgWhatever the flaws in Snowden’s position, and whatever the motives of Russia’s dictator Putin, the crucial issue is rising U.S. statism not Russia or even Snowden. If Russia’s thugocracy repels you, America’s lost liberty – including the right to communicate without being tracked without cause by the government – ought to horrify you. If Snowden’s comments, acts and ideas alarm you, America’s government’s comments, acts and ideas ought to make you want to scream in outrage. That a government worker – and those who tend to accept whatever the government says should take note of the fact that Snowden was hired by and worked for government – would flee the U.S. to a nation run by a former KGB agent with a corrupt government indicts the current U.S. government. We have no evidence that Snowden is guilty of treason or collaborating with other countries to compromise U.S. interests. We have plenty of evidence that our government, led to our knowledge in this context by two anti-American government officials pictured here, is guilty of both. Those moved by facts, evidence and reason should desist having what amounts to faith in the state and denounce the American government, not the whistleblower or the convenient nation that harbors him.

TV Review: TWA Flight 800

TWA 800 wreckageEver since I first wrote an essay about my experiences with TWA Flight 800 for the Wall Street Journal in 1997, which elicited a stern response in a letter to the editor from the chairman of the government’s national transportation bureaucracy, the NTSB, I have followed the various investigations, conspiracy theories and concerns about the nation’s greatest unsolved commercial aviation mystery, the crash of TWA 800, which happened 17 years ago today. A new television documentary adds to the body of evidence.

The 90-minute program, titled TWA Flight 800, airs tonight at 8 pm ET on an obscure cable TV channel called EPIX (co-owned by Paramount’s Viacom, Lionsgate and MGM). Having seen an advance preview, I can say that it’s not entirely objective, it’s not a good (let alone great) film or documentary and there are a few structural issues with the documentary, which is co-produced by an amateur sleuth with whom I was once acquainted named Tom Stalcup. Tom was a young physics student in Florida when we both participated in an independent investigative group years ago. I know him to be a serious investigator. His film, whatever its drawbacks, is more convincing than anything the government has claimed about the plane crash, in which 230 lives were lost.

I remember the day well, as I have written in numerous newspaper articles from the Journal essay to my recent remembrance in a suburban Chicago newspaper. The EPIX program does not reconstruct the day’s events or attempt any type of logical progression that would support a proper narrative structure, which is what prevents it from being a fully persuasive film for a general audience. Instead, Stalcup, who is never properly introduced, despite appearing on camera, presents numerous aviation and former government investigators, as well as dozens of eyewitnesses, in a cluster of firsthand accounts that seriously undermine the government’s investigation, cast doubt on the Clinton administration’s handling of the crash and raise several new and disturbing problems with the government’s version of the facts. TWA Flight 800 also simulates, quite convincingly, what really happened to the Boeing 747.

Stalcup and those who worked on the investigation postulate that the plane was brought down by a series of three projectiles, such as missiles, rockets or some sort of military ordnance, that exploded outside the aircraft.

From a nearby Olympic Airways pilot who witnessed the explosion, who says he saw a “light coming out of the sea”, to several whistleblowers, witnesses and forensics experts, the film is loaded with clear, logical presentations of facts, many in sequenced segments. Someone who worked on the investigation says the FBI was “almost abusive”. Other charges include tampering with evidence, deliberately re-tagging plane fragments to be identified as being found in a different part of the debris field, intimidation and threats by the government against eyewitnesses, and what this team regards as the “smoking gun” of evidence that the crash was caused by an exterior explosion near the plane that crippled its capacity to function; a radar track moving at a speed of Mach 4. If it all sounds complicated, it is, which is why TWA Flight 800 is best consumed by aviation, forensics, explosives, medical and metallurgy experts.

But the cable TV program is must viewing for an intelligent and informed general audience currently threatened by the rise of a government that inverts foreign and domestic Islamic enemy threats and increases total government control over our lives.

“Every time there was a problem, it was ignored [by leading government investigators]”, one whistleblower says in tonight’s documentary. “Objectivity went out the window,” says another. Their cumulative credentials appear to be impeccable; they represent nearly every aspect of the crash and subsequent investigation, which concluded very calculatedly, that an explosion originated in the center fuel tank, a finding which is not an identification of the cause of the crash.

Stalcup and company shoot down that assertion, too, showing why they believe that the evidence shows that the explosion originated outside the aircraft and could not possibly have originated in the center fuel tank. Time and again, this complex presentation of facts and abstractions results in raising doubt. The government’s claims that hundreds of witness testimonies to missile trajectories, streaks of light and plumes of smoke amount to “mass misperception” (seriously) are more preposterous in retrospect than they were in the 1990s. The CIA’s animation video is labeled by numerous experts as ludicrous; it is thoroughly discredited.

Why believe this bunch? It’s fine if after watching this program you don’t, according to Stalcup, whom I recall as a single-minded graduate student. Rejecting faith, he responds, when asked: “I don’t want people to believe me. I want them to look at everything and see what it says.” He proceeds to depict, present and display countless assertions – too many and without proper integration or contrasting information – about key government investigation discrepancies, splatter patterns on the wing, NASA testing wreckage for nitrates (with positive results) and media bias in favor of the government’s distorted version of the facts, especially by NBC News. Watching TWA Flight 800 can be a gruesome experience – photos of twisted cadavers are displayed – but the program is compelling.

“We will know what happened to that airplane,” the government’s lead investigator, James Kallstrom, who has publicly denounced the TV program, said after the crash. TWA Flight 800 proves beyond a reasonable doubt that, as of this writing, he was wrong and it strongly implies that he lied or was ordered to lie. Given everything that’s happened since July 17, 1996 – the worst attack in U.S. history, by religious fundamentalists on 9/11 using airplanes as weapons and widespread government dishonesty, conspiracy and corruption – it is impossible to ignore this new and potentially crucial part of the investigation.

On one hand we have a government that lies as it insidiously expands into a fascist state that was led at the time by a pathological liar whose vice-president, Al Gore, led a government commission on the TWA 800 disaster and is known for chronic and constant lies and distortions about the climate and the result is a $40 million, four-year investigation that failed to identify the cause of the worst plane crash in U.S. history. On the other hand we have experts in medicine, aviation, military ordnance, explosions, crashes, transportation safety and testing and engineering – besides eyewitnesses – who claim the government fouled up, failed, lied or covered up. The upshot of Stalcup’s theory and program, which observes that no witness was ever allowed to testify, is that he wants the government to re-open its investigation. Even incompetent Kallstrom accepts that proposition. But it is a mistake to keep taking the word of those who work in a government with no credibility at all on almost any subject.

As Stalcup puts it, in recapping the impetus for what turned a Sunshine state physics student into a crusader for truth, justice and what amounts to a more objective approach: “it seemed odd to me that [the government] was so focussed on what [the cause] was not – rather than what it was.”

Anyone who wants to know what caused the crash of TWA 800 should watch this program and decide for himself.

George W. Bush

America’s 43rd president, George W. Bush, spoke out today to denounce Edward Snowden in the name of national security.

The former president has no credibility on national defense or the nation’s self-interest; he opposes both on principle.

George W. Bush, an amicable person whom I met and interviewed in Los Angeles when he was running for president, holds the same fundamental ethics – self-sacrifice, the opposite of self-interest – as his father’s disastrous presidency and, as I’ve written, he is the logical predecessor to the current destroyer in the White House; Bush made Obama possible (which is why I endorsed John Kerry for president in 2004).

From the moment he took the oath of office, George W. Bush opposed in action every founding American ideal and every principle of secular republican government. In foreign policy alone, to leave aside his wicked welfare statist policies, which led to ObamaCare, Bush backed down when Communist China seized one of our spy planes and crew, proposed the creation of a Palestinian state and he failed to stop or avenge the worst attack in American history despite enormous evidence that an attack was imminent.

Once the religious fundamentalist enemy destroyed America’s financial, military and most meaningful symbols, he appeased and negotiated with state sponsors of Islamic terrorism (North Korea, Saudi Arabia and Iran), groveled before the United Nations for months, turning the other cheek and ordering our Marines to stand down in Iraq at Fallujah, refusing to bomb mosques in Najaf, dropping food packages not bombs in Afghanistan, chronically putting the lives of others before the lives of our own soldiers, and, ­ in each instance, acting explicitly for the sake of others, not in America’s self-interest.

That President Bush strongly defended the second Bush administration’s policy to spy on Americans and came out 100 percent in favor of the Obama administration should come as no surprise: his entire administration, intentionally or not, was single-tracked in taking the United States of America down. He is a disgrace to the nation. That he now stands with Barack Obama to lay a wreath where Islamic terrorists mass murdered Americans at the U.S. embassy in Tanzania in 1998 is the perfect concretization of the two presidents most morally responsible for America’s downfall. Bush and his protege Obama appearing there amounts to a ceremonial dance over the graves of dead Americans, the eleven murdered there, the hundreds that preceded them under Carter, Bush’s father and Clinton and the thousands – all unavenged – who have been mass murdered since.

But you don’t have to take my word for it that George W. Bush embodies selflessness in national security. Here are the words, spoken in defiance of Bush’s moral philosophy in 2004, of those Bush sacrificed:

“It seems as if [U.S. commanders] place more value on obeying the letter of the law and sacrificing our lives than following the spirit of the law and getting the job done.”

— Lance Corporal Devin Kelly, 20, Fairbanks, Alaska

“We feel [the U.S. government] cares more about Iraqi civilians than they do American soldiers.”

— Corporal Brandon Autin, 21, New Iberia, Louisiana

“Every day you read the articles in the States where it’s like, ‘Oh, it’s getting better and better. But when you’re here, you know it’s worse every day.”

— Lance Corporal Jonathan Snyder, 22, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

“[The enemy] don’t give us any leeway, they don’t give us any quarter. They catch people and cut their heads off. They know our limits, but they have no limits. We can’t compete with that.”

— Lance Corporal Jeremy Kyrk, 21, Chicago, Illinois

“We’re basically proving out that the government is wrong [that Iraq is making progress toward civilization],” he said. “We’re catching them in a lie.”

— Lance Corporal Alexander Jones, 20, Ball Ground, Georgia

“When we get called out, we’ll sit there staging there for an hour. By the time we’re ready to move, they’re up and gone. A few weeks ago, the Iskandariyah police station was under attack. We staged for damn near an hour before we went out. It’s stupid. You have to wait to get approval.”

— Private First Class Kyle Maio, 19, Bucks County, Pennsylvania

“[Asked if he was concerned that the Marines would be punished for speaking out, Autin responded:] We don’t give a crap. What are they going to do, send us to Iraq?”

— Corporal Brandon Autin, 21, New Iberia, Louisiana

These are the men of the great United States Marines Corps – among the best soldiers on earth – the branch of American military ordered by President Bush to stand down at Fallujah, Najaf and anywhere a mosque stood between America and defeating the enemy. Their lives were at stake in Iraq and their words are a stinging reproach to rationalistic and religious Americans who silently yet actively accepted the end of America that George W. Bush accelerated in earnest.

Government Threatens Use of Force in Texas

Texas Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst, a politician seeking to persuade conservatives that he wants to ban abortion after losing to conservative leader Ted Cruz, tells Michelle Malkin’s Web site that in the aftermath of the state senate gallery disruption that helped stop the recent abortion ban, he thinks journalists may have acted to incite what he calls a “riot”.

By what standard do we measure whether gallery expressions of free speech, which I think are part of the proper purpose of a legislative gallery in a free republic, constitute a riot?

Dewhurst goes further, however, in pledging to review senate security videotape to identify such individuals and that, on those grounds, he pledges to “take action against them.” So, in other words, he’s saying he’s going to arrest journalists for inciting a “riot” in the state senate. Promising Malkin’s Web site that he will bring a ban on abortion to the senate again, he also threatens to clear “the gallery with our state police.” (I wrote about an American heroine in the Texas anti-abortion craze when I posted about Wendy Davis).

If this Texas moderate, who reminds me of another lowly, no-good Texas politician who moderated his political position to snuggle up to conservatives for political gain – George H.W. Bush – cracks down on the press (are members of the media prohibited from expressing themselves when they accept a government pass?) we may have to dub the Lone Star state the Red Star state.