Posts Tagged ‘9/11’
September 11th, 2013 at 3:32 pm
Never Forget
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Michael Ramirez on 9/11

September 13th, 2012 at 12:21 pm
The Right Way to Remember 9/11

At the University of Mobile’s Center for Leadership, I reflect on 9/11 and its lessons.

I wrote the piece and handed it in just before news came about the uprisings in northern Africa. As it turned out, these sentences were apropos:

Worse, some of our national leaders seem to misunderstand, to this day, what 9/11 was all about. These leaders still push forward some sort of moral semi-equivalency, in which they quickly zip through boilerplate language about how America was wronged on that day but then start listing all the ways we need to be more “sensitive” to the concerns of the rest of the world – concerns as expressed by world leaders who were not fairly elected by their own people, who do not allow their people the basic freedoms or human dignity that Americans take for granted, and who have never done a single thing to earn any level of sympathy, empathy, or respect.

This, of course, is a false equivalency. Our nation is better than other nations, because we do guarantee freedom and limit the powers of the government and of individual leaders within that government.

June 26th, 2012 at 12:42 pm
Domestic Drones Turned Into Terrorist Missiles?

Previously, I’ve agreed with Charles Krauthammer’s concerns about unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones) being allowed into domestic airspace because of the threat to privacy from so-called “eyes in the sky.”

Now, Todd Humphreys, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin, is showing how tech savvy terrorists can, and very likely will, exploit a “gaping hole” in the government’s flight security structure.

Last Tuesday, in the barren desert of the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, officials from the FAA and Department of Homeland Security watched as Humphrey’s team repeatedly took control of a drone from a remote hilltop. The results were every bit as dramatic as the test at the UT stadium a few days earlier.

DHS is attempting to identify and mitigate GPS interference through its new “Patriot Watch” and “Patriot Shield” programs, but the effort is poorly funded, still in its infancy, and is mostly geared toward finding people using jammers, not spoofers.

According to Humphreys, “Spoofing [a drone’s GPS receiver] is just another way of hijacking a plane.”

For about $1,000 and with a little bit of technical training a terrorist could take control of any civilian-operated drone and wreck havoc.  Without a human pilot at the controls, the drone’s onboard computer will simply follow whatever commands it is given, regardless of where they originate.

And while some terrorists may be interested in taking over surveillance drones for intelligence gathering purposes, the real danger is if a drone as large as a cargo plane – which FedEx plans to use when domestic drones are approved – is overtaken and flown into planes carrying people or into crowded buildings.

As Humphreys says, “In 5 or 10 years you have 30,000 drones in the airspace.  Each one of these would be a potential missile used against us.”

So not only would a terrorist hacker not need to buy a drone in order to fly one, he wouldn’t even need to go through an invasive TSA screening to reenact the 9/11 tragedy.

Because of pressure from the military and drone manufacturers, Congress is requiring the Federal Aviation Administration to fast-track regulations as part of the FAA’s reauthorization act.  Significant rules that will impact every American are to be conceived, written, and finalized within weeks of each other, and an entire regulatory scheme is mandated to be implemented in less than a year.

If you think that kind of statutory mandate translates into greater bureaucratic efficiency, think again.

The time-crunch – and the deliberate lack of oversight from Congress by pushing the rule writing onto an agency – means that everyday Americans will not be privy to the decision making process that will dramatically impact their safety in the air and on the ground.

Congress needs to rein itself and this process in.  With arguably illegal waivers being given to certain groups to avoid provisions of ObamaCare and No Child Left Behind, we’ve seen how arbitrary and capricious federal regulators can be when it comes to expedited rulemaking.  There’s no reason to expect a more coherent approach from an FAA trying to balance competing interests like privacy, profit, and public safety on an irrational deadline.

We need open debate and deliberation from our elected officials about the costs and benefits of domestic drones.  If Congress won’t engage the issue because it’s too politically painful, then the American people shouldn’t suffer a lapse in safety and privacy because their representatives would rather pass the buck than take responsibility.

September 23rd, 2011 at 11:41 am
Podcast: “Confronting Terror: 9/11 and the Future of American National Security”
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In an interview with CFIF, John Yoo, law professor at the University of California Berkeley and former Justice Department official, discusses a new book that he co-edited: “Confronting Terror: 9/11 and the Future of American National Security.”  The book is a collection of essays by 22 nationally known legal and policy experts and scholars examining the law and policy of the War on Terror, including President Obama’s response to 9/11 and U.S. policy on interrogation methods. 

Listen to the interview here.

September 14th, 2011 at 9:41 pm
What 9/11 Was Really About
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Rush may have the bravado. Hannity may be able to move the polls. But when it comes to sheer depth of insight, few figures in conservative talk radio can match the great Dennis Prager. In his most recent column, available on National Review Online, he makes an important point about 9/11 in his trademark style: simple yet profound.

The United States of America is a flawed society. Composed of human beings, it must inevitably be flawed. But in terms of the goodness achieved inside its borders, and spread elsewhere in the world, it is the finest country that has ever existed. If you were to measure the moral gulf between America and those who despise it, the distance would have to be measured in light-years.

If the academic and opinion-forming classes of the world had any moral courage, they would instead have asked the most obvious question that the events of 9/11 provoked: Were the mass murderers who flew those airplanes into American buildings an aberration, or were they a product of their culture?

The further we get from that horrible day, the dimmer our view of the moral horizon tends to become. Here’s to Dennis Prager, for always being a source of illumination.

September 10th, 2011 at 12:01 am
Video – In Memoriam: 9-11-2001
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On the 10th anniversary of September 11, this week’s Freedom Minute honors those who lost their lives and the families they left behind. We shall never forget.

September 9th, 2011 at 11:40 am
Two Great 9/11-Themed Columns

Rich Lowry and Charles Krauthammer both hit home runs. Four years ago, I had a column (containing within it my 9/11 immediate-react editorial from the day itself) that I’d also like to share with y’all. For what it’s worth.

May 5th, 2011 at 6:59 pm
Total Media Dishonesty on W’s Ground Zero Absence
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The New York Daily News carries a shameless story today seeking to sow controversy over President Bush’s decision not to join President Obama for today’s ceremony at Ground Zero:

WASHINGTON – George W. Bush won’t be at Ground Zero with President Obama Thursday in part because he feels his team is getting short shrift in the decade-long manhunt for Osama Bin Laden.

“[Bush] viewed this as an Obama victory lap,” a highly-placed source told the Daily News Wednesday.

Bush’s visit to the rubble after the 9/11 attacks was the emotional high point of his presidency, but associates say the invitation to return with his successor was a non-starter.

Those of us who served President Bush know that the NYDN’s account has nothing to do with reality. The former president’s ethos, particularly in retirement, has always been to put the needs of the current president — and the nation — above his own. His decision not to attend the ceremony was a gesture of respect toward the president who caught Bin Laden, not a snub born of petulance. The Daily News’ anonymous source is unnamed for a reason: he or she is unreliable. The paper should be ashamed.

May 5th, 2011 at 12:22 pm
White House Stumbling Over Bin Laden Story

As President Barack Obama meets with family members of 9/11 victims in New York today, I hope his press operation back in Washington, D.C. is deciding how to get out of its own way.

Since news leaked of bin Laden’s death on Sunday, the White House communications shop has had to revise, rephrase, and walk back several details of the raid.

Was Osama using one of his wives as a human shield?  No, apparently she voluntarily rushed a Navy SEAL and was wounded.

Was Osama waving a gun at the SEALs?  No, he was unarmed.

Then, pictures of the dead Osama were promised to prove his demise.  Now, we’re told that no pictures will be released and to focus instead on “[t]he broader point…that a group of extraordinary US personnel flew into a foreign country in the dead of night and…flawlessly executed a mission…”

Had fumbling White House Press Secretary Jay Carney and the rest of the Obama Administration focused themselves on such a tight version of events, we probably wouldn’t be distracted with all the post-op corrections.

This kind of ineptitude not only makes Team Obama look incompetent; it makes them look like they can’t tell a good story without ham-handedly putting themselves in the middle of it.

May 2nd, 2011 at 6:14 pm
A Great Day to Be an American
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March 18th, 2011 at 1:48 pm
Precautionary Principle Applies to Government Assurances on Japan Radiation Levels

Environmentalists embrace the ‘precautionary principle’ in opposing human development of land.  In essence, the principle boils down to better-safe-than-sorry.

Though eco-crazies use the precautionary principle as a substitute for science that empowers government, Americans on the West Coast should put the teaching to another use: being skeptical of government assurances that radiation from Japan is too little to harm humans.

As one commentator puts it:

In addition, the radiation currently being measured does not take into account radiation emitted by pools of deadly spent nuclear rods, which only began to emit serious amounts of radiation a few days ago.

We will not know the true level of the threat until the radiation particles emitted as a result of the three explosions that devastated Fukushima hits the west coast over the weekend and into Monday.

The article goes on to recount similar guarantees that turned out to be fatally false.  The most recent example involved Ground Zero workers being told – erroneously – that the air on site was safe to breathe.  Tragically, hundreds of ground crew workers are suffering from crippling illnesses associated with inhaling toxic substances.

Now, we’re being told that buying over-the-counter potassium iodine pills verges on alarmism.  If the price of a helpful supplement puts one’s mind at ease, have at it.  After all, it’s not like the president and his party can boast a sterling track record when it comes to predicting outcomes in the economy, health care or job creation.

March 1st, 2011 at 7:51 pm
Gaddafi v. Sheen Quote Quiz

Britain’s The Guardian has a funny quiz listing statements made recently by Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi and Hollywood actor Charlie Sheen, and asking people to pick which comment belongs to which personality.  The top ten are:

(1)   I have defeated this earthworm with my words – imagine what I would have done with my fire-breathing fists.

(2)   Your face will melt off and your children will weep over your exploded body.

(3)   Life without dignity is worthless.

(4)   I’m extremely old-fashioned, I’m a nobleman, I’m chivalrous.

(5)   I am like the Queen of England.

(6)   I am much bigger than any rank, for those who are talking about rank, I am a fighter.

(7)   Every great movement begins with one man.

(8)   These resentments, they are the rocket fuel that lives in the tip of my sabre.

(9)   I woke up at 4am, before dawn.  You should be asleep.  You’re all tired after a sleepless night.

(10)  The US commission report on 9/11 was ‘an absolute fairytale, a complete work of fiction’

To take the quiz, click here.

H/T: Political Wire

October 16th, 2010 at 1:44 pm
Author of ‘Where Good Ideas Come From’ Explains How Networks & Hunches Lead to Big Discoveries

For anyone wondering how large organizations can put pieces of time-sensitive information into a coherent, real-time picture, author Steven Johnson provides an answer.  In his book, Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation, Johnson explains ‘the adjacent possible;’ i.e. alternative paths.  In the short video below, Johnson discusses the missed opportunity pre-9/11 to match up the FBI’s ‘Phoenix Memo‘ with the arrest of a would-be terrorist who said during flight school that he didn’t need to know how to land.

If our nation’s intelligence community is ever going to function efficiently, it’s going to need a way to match information in a fast, coherent way.  Maybe Johnson’s book could help.

September 13th, 2010 at 10:20 pm
9/11 Truther Plays Important Role in Ground Zero Mosque
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Over at the Investigate Project on Terrorism, an extensive investigative study has revealed that a close associate of Imam Faizal Abdul Rauf (the Muslim leader spearheading the Ground Zero Mosque project) has openly and aggressively claimed that the United States secretly perpetrated the 9/11 attacks on its own people.

Faiz Kahn, who helped found the American Society for Muslim Advancement (one of the groups pushing the mosque), and lead prayers at Imam Rauf’s mosque at least as recently as December, is a radical even by the exalted standards of the 9/11 truthers:

On June 3, 2006, Khan spoke at a 9/11 truth summit called “Revealing the Truth/Reclaiming our Future” in Chicago. In his remarks, he acknowledged that there is a militant Islamist movement, but “the most logical explanation” for 9/11 is that the hijackers were “working for us” in furtherance of a corporate-controlled schemes involving gigantic stock trades, billions of dollars in heroin sales and interest in Caspian Sea resources.

See the website for video that includes some of the most despicable lies you’ve yet heard about what really happened nine years ago.

September 10th, 2010 at 1:18 pm
Video: Remembering 9-11 from the Perspective of 9-12
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As Americans commemorate the anniversary 9-11, CFIF’s Renee Giachino stresses the need to remember more than the agony of that dreadful day nine years ago.  In this week’s Freedom Minute, Giachino expresses the need to remember the defiance and sense of purpose that we found on September 12.


August 27th, 2010 at 10:20 am
Liberal Hypocrisy: Eugene Robinson Praises NYC Mosque, But Beck Rally Is “In-Your-Face Provocation?”
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Are liberals becoming so desperate and deranged that they’re no longer intellectually capable of recognizing their comic hypocrisy?  Exhibit A:  The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson.

Opponents of the proposed Ground Zero mosque in New York accept proponents’ right to build there, but correctly point out that having a right to do something doesn’t make it the right thing to do.  According to Robinson, however, opponents are guilty of “lies, distortions, jingoism, xenophobia.”  Robinson also claims that “opportunistic” mosque opponents “obviously do not” understand that “we have a Bill of Rights that protects our freedoms against the whims of public opinion.”

That was Robinson on Tuesday, August 17 – just last week.

Fast forward one week, and Robinson is singing a different tune.  Perhaps what remained of his intellectual hard drive was wiped clean.  In his commentary today, Robinson labels Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally this weekend on the national mall in Washington, D.C. an “in-your-face” event, and says it “is obviously intended to be a provocation.”   And just like the mosque opponents he demonizes, he suddenly emphasizes the difference between having a right and doing what’s right:

Let me state clearly that Glenn Beck has every right to hold his absurdly titled ‘Restoring Honor’ rally on Saturday.  But the rest of us have every right to call the event what it is:  an exercise in self-aggrandizement on a Napoleonic scale.”

Obviously, Robinson’s substantive critique of the Restoring Honor rally is no more rational than his attacks on Ground Zero mosque opponents.  It’s remarkable, however, how quickly Robinson began to distinguish a right to do something versus doing what he considers to be the right thing.  It’s possible, of course, that Robinson suddenly saw the light and understood the folly of his attacks against Ground Zero mosque opponents.  Unfortunately, it’s more likely that he merely suffers from hypocrisy and severe intellectual vertigo.