Knowledge equals paranoia *UPDATED*

(iPad wiped all my hyperlinks, so if you’re interested in the security programs I mention, you’ll have to search then yourself.)

A friend’s email got hacked. This led to a discussion with a very knowledgeable person about the risks she now faces. Upon realizing she was hacked, she immediately changed her email password and assumed her troubles were over. He told her the contrary was true:  her troubles had just begun.

She told him she had run a full virus check and it came up clean, so she shouldn’t have troubles. He told her that virus checkers, no matter how good, are just a superficial panacea.

The real problem, he said, is keystroke logging malware that lodges deep in the operating system. This means that every time you log into a website, the logger tracks and records your user name and password, and then delivers the data to the hacker. The hacker can then process that information to access your accounts and — voila! — your identity is compromised.  He can also sell it far and wide. Everything is at risk, from bank accounts to your Facebook page.

There are some ways to protect yourself. When it comes to email security, the best thing is two-step verification. If you log onto a computer that you haven’t authorized as a trusted computer, the double verify system sends you a numerical text message. Even if a hacker has both your user name and password, if he doesn’t have your cell phone, he can’t get into your email.

To prevent problems in the first place, you should have a good anti-virus software. Recently, for Microsoft users, several computer gurus have recommended Microsoft Security Essentials to me, which they say is the best and, as an added bonus, is free. You can also keep your computer away from dangerous websites by having your router pass through OpenDNS, which blocks your computer from accessing dangerous sites.

But if you’ve already got a keystroke logger buried in your operating system, you’re out of luck. Most virus checkers can’t find this type of malware, because it’s buried too deeply in your operating system, not to mention that it can actually look innocuous at a code level. Serious computer security people have two computers, one of which is for fun, and one of which is dedicated solely to secure information. They keep their passwords on a flash drive. When they need a password, they plug in the flash drive and then cut-and-paste, so that there are never keystrokes.

With all this in mind, the knowledgeable person told my friend that, because she knows she’s been compromised, she should junk her computer entirely. He thinks that even reinstalling the operating system is insufficient.

Another party to the conversation said this was all overkill. He said that the likelihood of a hacker taking the time to ferret out your information from all the information he selects is minuscule. Further, if he does, most institutions will notice strange behavior and contact you immediately. Ultimately, he felt the risks from hacking were too small to justify the draconian solution of throwing away a computer and starting anew.

As for me, I got totally paranoid from this conversation. I know I don’t have a virus, but I have no way of knowing if I have caught keystroke logger malware. I’m going to change my passwords, but if there’s a keystroke logger, that’s a wasted effort. I’m in a perpetual loop of paranoia and vulnerability.

This paranoia loop — which was triggered by an information dump from someone with more information than I have — irresistibly brought to mind the way we deal with politics in America. Last night, at dinner, Democrat said that Obama, during the his first term, did the best job possible with the hand he’d been dealt. She did not know that Reagan had a rougher economic hand and achieved a better economic outcome. In her limited information universe, Obama was the best.

Fiscal cliff? Going over it may be a plunge from which the economy never recovers, or it may be an illusory line and we discover, once we’ve crossed, that nothing has changed. Since my understand of economics is simple — you cannot spend more than you have or borrow more than you can repay — I foresee catastrophe. Others say a national economy is not a household, and that my analysis isn’t just simple, it’s idiotic and stifles our country’s economic potential.

The same thing happens with the way Americans approach the risk from Islamism. Those of us steeped in information about Islamic doctrine, worldwide terrorist attacks, and Islamic rhetoric see a very high risk. Those who accept that Islam is a religion of peace and think that it’s just a coincidence that all terrorists and would-be terrorists happen to be Muslims, believe are risks are low, and that we are just paranoid, loony conspiracy theorists.

This paranoia runs the other way too. Progressives are convinced that we are cooking ourselves and that the world will melt. We think they’re overreacting to, and taking unreasonable responsibility for, a natural phenomenon that has happened repeatedly since earth’s creation.

Quite obviously, people’s perception of risk is going to affect the steps they take to protect against those perceived risks. The big question, then, is whether the paranoid informed people or the relaxed uninformed people had a better read of the situation. Have we over educated ourselves about risk to the point of dysfunction and overblown reactions? Or have they gone beyond a reasonable assessment of actual risk to a denial so overwhelming that they are incapable of defending against a genuine enemy? Do we change our passwords or junk the whole computer?

As for me, right now, I’m just going to change my passwords and put them onto LastPass, so as to minimize the keystrokes I enter. I’m also going to remind myself that a hacker who collects trillions of keystrokes from millions of computers can’t possibly process that info, and that the odds are I won’t be processed.

UPDATE: A friend who knows more about computers and programming than anyone I have ever met says that an excellent way to protect oneself is to use Google Chrome. He says that Adobe flash is now a primary vehicle for malware. Chrome doesn’t use flash, thereby avoiding that risk. I like Firefox, and don’t like Chrome, but I’m not so stubborn that I won’t recognize a reasonable trade off and learn to live with a different browser.

AP report on thwarted terrorist attacks within the United States downplays Islam’s central role in the planned attack

The headline in the San Francisco Chronicle was simple:  “FBI: 4 Calif. men charged in alleged terror plot.”

California men, huh?  Did they have names like Big Kahuna and look like this?

“Yo, dude, I’m like going to, you know, like, attack the man. It’ll be, like, totally tubular.”

No? Well maybe these California men rejoice in names like Butch and look like this:

“Hey, everyone! We’re going to have a little whip and dip party. We’ll start with some fun bondage stuff, and then move on to the crudités. I’ve got a divine dip.”

Somehow that doesn’t seem right either. Maybe that’s because, when you read the story, you discover that these guys weren’t just any old California men. Instead, they had a lot more in common with these guys than with surfer dudes or San Francisco’s Folsom Street brigade:

That’s right — these “California men” were (a) Muslims and (b) three of them came from places other than America, let alone other than California:

Four Southern California men have been charged with plotting to kill Americans and destroy U.S. targets overseas by joining al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan, federal officials said Monday.

The defendants, including a man who served in the U.S. Air Force, were arrested for plotting to bomb military bases and government facilities, and for planning to engage in “violent jihad,” FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said in a release.

A federal complaint unsealed Monday says 34-year-old Sohiel Omar Kabir of Pomona introduced two of the other men to the radical Islamist doctrine of Anwar al-Awlaki, a deceased al-Qaida leader. Kabir served in the Air Force from 2000 to 2001.

The other two — 23-year-old Ralph Deleon of Ontario and 21-year-old Miguel Alejandro Santana Vidriales of Upland — converted to Islam in 2010 and began engaging with Kabir and others online in discussions about jihad, including posting radical content to Facebook and expressing extremist views in comments.

They later recruited 21-year-old Arifeen David Gojali of Riverside.

[snip]

Kabir is a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Afghanistan. Santana was born in Mexico, while Deleon was born in the Philippines. Both are lawful, permanent U.S. residents. Gojali is a U.S. citizen.

In a sane, honest world, the AP headline would have said “FBI: 4 Muslim men in So. Cal. charged in alleged terror plot.” But we’ve already established that we don’t live in a sane, honest world, right? We live in a world dominated by a media that is determined to pretend that Islam, with its institutionalized jihad and antisemitism, is just a myth, and that it’s purely coincidental that these mythical Islamists keep trying to blow up Americans.

And what’s the guy’s citizenship have to do with the price of tea in China?

You’ve already heard about the horrible Southwest flight, during which Ali Reza Shahsauri screamed in Arabic: “Allahu Akbar… you’re all going to die.”

Don’t worry, though.  We’ve just been assured that it’s not terrorism (although it certainly managed to instill terror).  Why isn’t it terrorism?  Because:

A spokesman said: ‘The FBI continues to investigate, but initial indications are that there was no terrorist intent. This guy is a U.S. citizen.’ (Emphasis mine.)

Well, that’s a relief!  He’s a U.S. citizen.  All of know that no U.S. citizens have ever been involved in terrorist acts against fellow Americans:

Timothy McVeigh, Oklahoma City bomber

Mohamed Osman Mohamud, (attempted) Portland bomber

John Walker Lindh, Taliban fighter & CIA killer

Nidal Malik Hasan, Fort Hood Killer

Anwar al-Awlaki, al Qaeda leader

Creating myths about the myths of terrorism

The Washington Post has a piece that ostensibly educates WaPo readers about the true nature of today’s terrorists.  Interestingly (or do I mean typically) it tries to erase Islam from the equation:

3. Al-Qaeda is made up of religious zealots.

To the contrary, rank-and-file terrorists who claim to be motivated by religious ideology often turn out to be ignorant about Islam. The Saudi Interior Ministry has questioned thousands of terrorists in custody about why they turned to violence, and found that the majority did not have much formal religious instruction and had only a limited understanding of Islam. According to Saudi officials, one-quarter of the participants in a rehabilitation program for former jihadis had criminal histories, often for drug-related offenses, whereas only 5 percent had been prayer leaders or had other formal religious roles.

In the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe, second- and third-generation Muslim youths are rebelling against what they consider the culturally contaminated Islam that their parents practice and that is promoted in their local mosques, favoring instead the allegedly purer Islam that they discover online or via imams from the Middle East. But the form of Islam they turn to is often highly unorthodox. For example, the Hofstad group in the Netherlands — a network of radicalized young Muslims — practiced a sort of do-it-yourself Islam cobbled together from Web sites and the teachings of a self-taught Syrian imam who is also a former drug dealer.

And groups linked to al-Qaeda, including in Somalia, have been begun using anti-American hip-hop music or “jihad rap” in their recruitment videos, even though such music is considered counter to the extremist version of Islam promoted by the terror network. Rather than Islam leading young recruits toward al-Qaeda, it may be an ignorance of Islam that renders youths vulnerable to al-Qaeda’s violent ideology.

Maybe I’m reading the above text wrong, but it seems to say that, if you’re not deeply familiar with Islamic doctrine, at a scholarly level, then you’re not religiously motivated.  And if you’re not religiously motivated, of course, than you’re not really an Islamic terrorist.  Instead, you’re just one more piece of the “man-caused disasters” currently plaguing the West.

As far as I’m concerned, if you use Islam, no matter how limited your understanding, as the justification for slaughtering civilians all over the world, than you are by definition an Islamic terrorist.

Jessica Stern, who wrote the above, works for the Hoover Institution Task Force on National Security and Law.  As far as I know, the Hoover Institution is a somewhat conservative outlet.  On the other hand, she’s also a Harvard Law lecturer.  I think, though, that what one mostly sees in the above few paragraphs is the curse of the Ivory Tower.  In that rarefied little world, unless one has achieved the abstract professorial knowledge Stern and her colleagues enjoy, one is not the real thing.  Those men and women hollering “Ala Akbar” as the last words in their (and their victims) lives are just making it up as they go along.

Thursday quick picks *UPDATED*

I’m working on a post, but thought you all would find this interesting in the meantime:

From AJ Strata, something that’s not just interesting, but is also terrifying:  the terrorists are out there and, having gotten the measure of our new president and his administration, they are massing for war.

If you needed a reminder that today’s progressives are warmed over versions of yesterday’s fascists, Rhymes with Right traces the history of the despicable anti-free speech law Obama is now praising in his support for fascists.

Here’s another one of those matched sets I like so much:  An article about the violent and sordid history of yet another Chicago Democratic pol (h/t Danny Lemieux) and Michael Barone’s optimistic prediction for Republicans based upon the Illinois primaries. (Should I remind you here that Obama selected and emerged from this Chicago political cesspool?)

And lastly, an enjoyable 3 minute video about education and young minds.

Telling a lie with a straight face is an art.  Telling nine lies about George Bush in three paragraphs is a Democratic art.  Watch Randall Hoven destroy those lies.  The only sad thing is that most of the people who read the lies won’t be reading Hoven later.

UPDATED:  I love a good mystery, but what happened to Jim Treacher is too unpleasant to be counted as good.  He was cross a street on a “walk” light, got hit by a speeding SUV driver that then left him lying in the street, broke his knee, got a ticket from the D.C. cops for jaywalking, and got told by witnesses that the SUV looked like a Secret Service vehicle.  Just what is going on here?  To mangle Shakespeare, “Something is rotten in the District of Columbia.”  (Here’s Jim’s own account of what happened.)

American prisons may be incubating non-Arab Islamic terrorists

The New York Times reports that, according to a Senate report, some American ex-prisoners who converted to Islam are heading to (or have already arrived in Yemen) to be part of terrorist forces against the U.S.:

Some American former convicts who converted to Islam in prison have moved to Yemen and a few may have joined extremist groups there, according to a new Senate report.

The report, from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, says that as many as 36 American Muslims who were prisoners have moved to Yemen in recent months, ostensibly to study Arabic, and that several of them have “dropped off the radar” and may have connected to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

The report warns that Americans recruited in Yemen or Somalia may pose a particular threat, since they can operate freely inside the United States.

American intelligence and counterterrorism officials, though, said they thought the report’s claim about former prisoners was exaggerated. A law enforcement official confirmed that some of them had traveled to Yemen — perhaps one or two dozen over the past several years — intending to study Arabic or Islam. The official said the former convicts did not appear to be part of any organized recruitment effort, however, and few are known to have connections with extremists.

[snip]

The Senate report, written by the committee’s Democratic staff, said the government was “on heightened alert because of the potential threat from extremists carrying American passports and the related challenges involved in detecting and stopping homegrown operatives.”

[snip]

The possibility that American prisons could become an incubator for radical Islam has long been raised by experts on terrorism, and a few Muslim prison chaplains in United States prisons have been accused of having extremist views. To date, only a handful of alleged terrorist plots, none of them successful, have involved American Muslims who are former prisoners.

[snip]

A. J. Sabree, a corrections official in Georgia and a Muslim, who worked for years as a prison chaplain, said he had never heard of Muslim former prisoners moving to Yemen. Erik Kriss, a spokesman for the New York State prison system, which employs about 40 imams to counsel inmates, said officials there were not aware of the phenomenon.

Mr. Kriss cautioned against equating conversion in prison to Islam, which is relatively common, to radicalization.

“We do not have any evidence of anything resembling widespread terrorist-inspired radicalization or recruiting,” he said. “But we recognize the potential and therefore remain vigilant in guarding against it.”

Does it make you feel better that “only a handful of alleged terrorist plots” originated amongst Islamic converts in American prisons?  As even the Times concedes, these were not small scale plots.  All of them contemplated terrorist activities on a mass scale, with the military, the government and Jews as the intended targets:

Three American Muslims were convicted for a 2005 plot to attack Jewish institutions and military bases around Los Angeles that was said to have been concocted inside New Folsom Prison, near Sacramento. Michael Finton, who converted to Islam while imprisoned in Illinois from 1999 to 2005, was charged last year with trying to blow up the federal courthouse in Springfield, Ill.

And four former New York state prisoners, at least two of whom converted to Islam in prison, were accused last year of plotting to attack synagogues in the Bronx and shoot down military planes.

I’ve repeatedly quoted my cousin, the prison chaplain (Christian), on this subject, and I’ll quote him again:

It is not a contradiction to be a Muslim and a murderer, even a mass murderer. That is one reason why criminals “convert” to Islam in prison. They don’t convert at all; they similarly remain the angry judgmental vicious beings they always have been. They simply add “religious” diatribes to their personal invective. Islam does not inspire a crisis of conscience, just inspirations to outrage.

We, as a nation, are too PC, too kind, and too unaware to be appropriately worried about the problem of prison conversions. These are not treks to a redeeming faith; these are justifications for continued violence against an ever expanding number of people.

Hat tip:  Steve Schippert

When no one is an enemy, everyone is an enemy

Michael Yon, Joan Rivers and a little boy clutching the Play-Doh his grandparents gave him.  That looks like a peculiarly disparate list of people but, in fact, all three people are bound together by one thing:  the TSA Department of Homeland Security.

As you already know, on Monday, the TSA Customs detained and handcuffed Michael Yon because he refused to tell them his income.  (You can hear a detailed interview here.)  On Sunday, the TSA an airline booted Joan Rivers, famed comedienne and 76 year old grandmother, from a flight to Costa Rica.  And right before Christmas, the TSA, in full Grinch mode, confiscated a little boy’s Play-Doh, even though Play-Doh is not on the ever-lengthening list of forbidden items for flying.

The TSA Homeland Security, in its defense, would say that Yon’s passport, which shows him traveling to the world’s hot spots is suspicious; that Joan Rivers’ has too many names (Joan Rivers and her married name, Joan Rosenberg); and that Play-Doh is virtually indistinguishable from some types of plastic explosives.  (What the TSA no one will ever concede, of course, is that the attack on Yon may well have been a vendetta, triggered by an article Yon wrote describing the way in which Homeland Security forced a friend of his to reveal her email password so that they could read her emails with him.)

There is a peculiar kind of logic to this reasoning:  after all, everything has the potential to be a weapon. That thing over there, on the other side of the room, may look like a chair, but it can also be used to bash people over the head.  The pepper container on the table can, if thrown in someone’s eyes, easily disable them.  Indeed, we already know, from past experience with terrorists, that baby formula can actually be an explosive, underwear can blow up, shoes can detonate planes, and box cutters can cut throats, not just boxes.

The problem then, isn’t to identify the potential weapons, but to identify the potential weapon bearers.  Again, looks can be deceiving.  Everybody has the potential be dangerous.  I may be a 5 ft tall, middle-aged Mom, but I also know some nasty self-defense techniques, and am surprisingly strong.  That pretty blond woman in line at the airport could be a radical intent on destroying anything in her path — and wearing the explosive underwear to prove it.

The fact, though, is that suburban Jewish moms, pretty blonds, aged Jewish comediennes, famed war correspondents, and other people haven’t been wearing exploding shoes and underwear, using their babies as weapons of mass destruction, or cutting people’s throats with box cutters.  Only one demographic has been doing that:  Muslims.

Logic, then, would dictate that Homeland Security would expend its energies most efficiently if it would primarily target Muslims.  It shouldn’t solely target Muslims, of course.  It is always possible that the pretty blond, the suburban homemaker or the Jewish comedienne is a convert to Islam (otherwise, why would she commit mass murder?), and that she and her cohorts are relying on her apparent separation from Islam to make her a one woman weapon of mass destruction.  An efficient anti-terrorist enterprise would therefore profile Muslims on a regular basis , while keeping a weather eye on everyone else.

But as we all know, and have known since George Bush called Islam a religion of peace (or maybe he meant a religion of pieces, usually body parts) we’re not allowed to profile Muslims.  This is an enemy whose name we dare not speak.  Doing so, after all, might hurt someone’s feelings.  What’s so bizarre about all this is that, in the past, when cultures targeted a class within them, they did so based on propaganda and innuendo, not actual fact.  For example, the Nazi war against the Jews was based on a claim that Jews were (a) seeking world domination; (b) raping blond women and (c) eating Christian babies.  The problem for the Nazis, however, was that the only actual evidence of this was . . . non-existent.  Jews were good citizens wherever they lived and many places were miserably poor and completely isolated from the surrounding blond, Christian population.  To sustain their attack against the Jews, the Nazis had to invent facts and evidence like crazy.

The Muslims, however, unlike the Jews (or, indeed, the American blacks so often falsely accused of raping or even looking at white women) are doing something.  They are blowing things up; they are hijacking planes; they are beheading people; they are writing and preaching mass murder.  They are shining huge neon lights on themselves, loudly announcing their intention to destroy, in the most painful way possible, every mother’s son and daughter of us.  And we, in the name of political correctness, aggressively ignore them.  Has there ever before been a society that ignored the clarion call of its enemy the way we do ours?

Obama finally admitted that there was a “screw up” (and isn’t the great orator crude in his speech?), because we didn’t “connect the dots.”  What he implies is that we, as a society, want to connect the dots.  We don’t.  We dare not.  We’re more afraid of offending political sensibilities than we are of planes and buildings being immolated, with hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands, dead.

What happened to Michael Yon, Joan Rivers and one little boy is the inevitable result of our insane policy:  if we concede that there is some type of war going on, but we resolutely refuse to name the enemy, than everyone becomes the enemy.  Every chair and toy is a weapon, and every grandmother an aggressor.  In order to fight a war, you have to have an enemy.  During the Bush years, our enemy was a tactic (terrorism).  That was bad enough, but now things have degraded so much that our enemy is just a result (“violence”).  A culture cannot fight chimeras.  It cannot take a resolute stand against . . . nothing whatsoever but weasel words.

The one thing I can say with absolute certainly is that, if we go on at this rate, we are doomed, for we will implode without our enemy ever having to touch us again.

Jennifer Rubin sums up why the Obami face public mistrust on security

Jennifer Rubin riffs off of a Politico article which comments on Obama’s peculiar reaction to the Flaming Panties bomber, but professes bewilderment was to why the reaction was as strange as it was:

The Obami don’t believe in their heart of hearts that we are on a war footing. The president wouldn’t label Fort Hood, where thirteen died, as an act of jihadist terror. His administration has systematically worked to denigrate the sense of urgency that the Bush administration displayed and to propound policies that treat these instances as discrete, ho-hum, and unexceptional. The Bush administration was scorned for reacting with a sense of alarm or out of fear following a terrorist attack — one which killed 3,000. Not the Obami. They told us they’re above all that and have an entirely new approach.

Arrest him, book him, Mirandize him, call the FBI — what’s the big deal? It is not a mystery at all as to why Obama behaved as he did. This is his anti-terror policy on full display. What we now see (and what the “shocked, shocked to see there is cluelessness” crowd is reacting to) is what that bizarre stance toward the war on terror looks like up close and in real time when played out in the context of actual events. Think it’s odd for the president to call Farouk Abdulmutallab a “suspect”? Think it’s weird that the terrorist isn’t being interrogated but has lawyered up? Well, that’s the Obama anti-terror policy. It isn’t supposed to be a big deal when these events occur. For if it were, we wouldn’t be treating the terrorists like criminal suspects.

It turns out that the Obami’s approach is entirely off-putting and inappropriate to virtually everyone. That the media has finally clued in to just how politically untenable it is, tells us something about the media’s own willingness to ignore the implications of Obama’s declared policy and previous rhetoric. The solution is not to make sure after the next incident that the president puts on a tie, drops the grumpy-guy demeanor, and orders Janet Napolitano to stay off the air (although all that would be swell): it is to get a new policy on the war on terror – a policy that regards these incidents with the gravity they deserve and employs responses appropriate to the war in which we are engaged.

Right wing wackos misunderstand peaceful Muslims (I’m being sarcastic)

I got a letter from a good friend who not only linked me to this worth-reading Uncle Jimbo post, but who also added “Has anyone noticed that all of the airplane incidents since 9/11 have been perpetrated by muslims?”  Since I live with a liberal, and I know the score, my response to him was swift and assured.

Dear friend, you’ve been reading too many right wing wacko blogs.  These attacks haven’t been perpetrated by Muslims, who belong to a religion of peace (or do I mean pieces?).*  They’ve been committed by individual delusional men who just coincidentally happen to have misunderstood the profoundly peaceful (or do I mean pieceful?) doctrine that the Warlord . . . um, peace-bringer Muhammed created 1,400 years ago.  After all, in 1,400 years of Muslim history, organized Islam has consistently committed itself to peace.  Indeed, Islam’s peaceful tendencies strongly remind me of the lyrics in Tom Lehrer’s MLF (multi-lateral forces) Lullaby:

A considerable amount of commotion was stirred up during the past year over the prospect of a multi-lateral force, known to the headline writers as mlf. much of this discussion took place during Baseball season so the chronicle may not have covered it but it did get a certain amount of publicity, and the basic idea was that a bunch of us nations, the good guys, would get together on a Nuclear deterrent force including our current friends, like France, and our traditional friends, like Germany.   Here’s a song about that called the MLF Lullaby.

Sleep, baby, sleep, in peace may you slumber,
No danger lurks, your sleep to encumber,
We’ve got the missiles, peace to determine,
And one of the fingers on the button will be German.

Why shouldn’t they have nuclear warheads?
England says no, but they are all soreheads.
I say a bygone should be a bygone,
Let’s make peace the way we did in Stanleyville and Saigon.

Once all the Germans were warlike and mean,
But that couldn’t happen again.
We taught them a lesson in nineteen eighteen,
And they’ve hardly bothered us since then.

So sleep well, my darling, the sandman can linger,
We know our buddies won’t give us the finger.
Heil–hail–the Wehrmacht, I mean the Bundeswehr,
Hail to our loyal ally!
MLF
Will scare Brezhnev,
I hope he is half as scared as I.


____________________________

* Just as a “by the way,” the proprietor of The Religion of Peace, a website that documents Muslim-inspired acts of terrorism committed just since 9/11, recently received a very graphic death threat from some practitioners of that same peaceful religion.  I guess that little experience falls into the same category as “the most dangerous place to be is a peacenik, anti-war rally.”  Those people are scary.

Deconstructing Janet Napolitano’s fatuous statements *UPDATED*

By now, you’ve all heard that Janet Napolitano, the head of Obama’s Department of Homeland Security, is going around saying that the system worked perfectly when a guy on the US no-fly list, who had been turned in by his own father, boarded a plane and detonated a bomb, only to be foiled by a bad detonator and alert passengers.  I leave it to Jonah Goldberg to write the perfect obituary for the administration’s attempt to aggrandize itself on this one:

Understandably, the White House is trying very hard to get out in front of the would-be Christmas bomber story. The head of the Department of Homeland Security isn’t helping. I watched her on three shows and each time she was more annoying, maddening and absurd than the pevious appearance. It is her basic position that the “system worked” because the bureaucrats responded properly after the attack. That the attack was “foiled” by a bad detonator and some civilian passengers is proof, she claims, that her agency is doing everything right. That is just about the dumbest thing she could say, on the merits and politically. I would wager that not one percent of Americans think the system is “working” when terrorists successfully get bombs onto planes (and succeed in activating them). Probably even fewer think it’s fair that they have to take off their shoes, endure delays and madness while a known Islamic radical — turned in by his own father — can waltz onto a plane (and into the country). DHS had no role whatsoever in assuring that this bomb didn’t go off. By her logic if the bomb had gone off, the system would have “worked” since it has done everything right.

UPDATE: Wait! Wait! This just in: The system does in fact work. Known black Muslim security threats may be getting a pass, but our security forces are still targeting the real threat:  they’re going after rich blond women, just the way they should.