Thursday, October 24, 2002

Credit crunch

Was anyone else as disgusted as I was at the spectacle of the Montgomery County Sniper Task Force news conference, with half a dozen law enforcement agencies crowding into camera range to take credit for nabbing the sniper? What did they do except field a couple of phone calls? The idiot sniper practically gave himself up. "Check Montgomery" Oh, OK, Montgomery, Alabama. Hmm sniper-type murder, stolen credit card. "Wire ten million dollars to this credit card" Say, you don't think that might be the credit card stolen in Alabama?? What splendid police work! Moron sniper wants a stolen credit card (was it a debit card?) to show a balance of ten million dollars?? Right, he just marches into a bank and says, "Give me a cash advance. Oh, about nine million, nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand dollars. In cash, please. And, I'd appreciate it if you didn't remark on the fact that the credit card is on the list of stolen ones. I embarrass easily." And this is the kind of brains we had defending Kuwait in the Gulf War?


The police work seems to have been even more sloppy than I thought. This report has the police recording the license plate of the sniper car TEN TIMES! And nobody cross-checked, nobody thought it odd that the same car would be in the area of TEN of the shootings?!! The police in this case have been a net negative. They couldn't have done worse if they had been being paid by Al Qaeda. Disgusting.

Update with cheese

The FBI continues to come out looking bad. The article also shows how, like the Al Qaeda in Hamburg and Amsterdam and London, Muhammad in the USA lived off our freebie-laden social service system, not having to contribute to society, just assuming that people would let him live free in a homeless shelter while he was flashing wads of cash. What kind of system do we have when hard-working taxpayers making a lot less than Muhammad was flashing around have to pay for his room and board? Why were no questions asked? Why, even when he had been reported twice to the FBI, were no steps taken, no investigation opened? Too busy with the drug war, I guess.

I got some flak from an emailer who couldn't understand how I could criticize the wonderful police work done to solve this case. He called me a "joke" and said, "what is it about people like you?" I thought about whether I had blown a gasket, concluded I hadn't and fired back this response:

There's an easy explanation for my rant. Why would cops take down the license plate number of a car that had no logical connection to the crimes? How many cars showed up TEN TIMES on the cops' lists of vehicles, wherever they were? I don't know. Do you? How many cars' license plate numbers were taken down by cops? I don't know. Do you? My disgust was based on a feeling that no one even looked at the lists of numbers and correlated them. Maybe dozens, even hundreds of numbers showed up that many times. You think so? Is that what you believe? That seems even more unlikely than my conclusion. Even if dozens had shown up that many times, which I seriously doubt, they could and should all have been checked out. I'm not saying I could have done better. But I'm not a professional crime-solver with the entire resources of the richest country in the world behind me.

The FBI sought the Unabomber for eighteen years. They only caught him because his screed was published and his brother saw it and turned him in. The anthrax killer has never been caught. More and more evidence points to Tim McVeigh having had co-conspirators. As I said, the only reason Muhammad and Malvo were caught is because they directed the cops' attention to the Alabama murder. And Malvo was stupid enough to drop a magazine at the crime scene. And a disk jockey broadcast a license plate number the cops didn't even want to be out there. That's like having a fish jump into your boat when you don't even have bait on your hook. I am NOT going to congratulate anyone with a badge for that kind of resolution.

My frustration stems from the kind of police work I see happening, not the color of anyone's skin. I don't know whose fault it is and I don't blame Chief Moose particularly, any more than anyone else. My instincts tell me that the real problem was a lack of good coordination at the regional level, among the PD's and the Federal agencies. What was ATF even doing in this investigation?

I feel angry and ripped off. No one in this country can depend on the police to protect them from crime. And then the authoritarian utopians want to take guns away from the good guys, so they can chatter at cocktail parties about what great humanitarians they are. And Jimmy Carter gets a Nobel Prize for screwing up royally by trusting the North Koreans!! That press conference set me off. All these guys care about is their careers. It's all of a piece with Waco and Ruby Ridge and Elian Gonzalez. I thought things might improve with Clintoon gone, but not yet. My family is still at risk because of stupid bureaucrats and incompetent politicians.

I appreciate much that the government does to protect American interests overseas, at least since Bush got in. I appreciate much that our government, unlike most in the world, does NOT do to interfere with the economy, even though they still do way too much damage that way. I do not appreciate being told that I'm not supposed to criticize sloppy or non-existent police work.

Robert Speirs - oh, and just for your information, so you know the joke has a punch line, if I were king of the world, no one would even know my name.

What is this "people like you" stuff, anyway? How do you know what I'm like? That reminds me of the time in 1970 or so that I was at an anti-Nixon rally in Burlington, Vermont. It was the hippies vs. the locals. Then state troopers came in and pushed us apart and told me, who had long hair and a leather jacket, "get back with your people!" That shocked me. I didn't even like most of the hippies. They weren't "my" people. The trooper, like you, was jumping to conclusions.
Fondue, anyone?

Could it be that the French are really pushing for assimilation of their immigrant population? But, but, but, I thought the "melting pot" was an absurd reactionary Western oppressive idea calculated to destroy diversity and reinforce the hegemony of straight white male gunowners and Republicans!! Have the cheese-eaters discovered fondue is better without lumps? Or did they suddenly remember that "liberte, egalite et fraternite" are unaccountably absent from the Koran?
Penalty phase

Den Beste has a few thoughts on the sentence the sniper is likely to get. I have a terrible feeling, though, that he may get a Kunstler or Johnnie Cochran who will bring up his Gulf War service and invoke the "Gulf War Syndrome" defense, or at least some sort of post-traumatic stress defense. After all, he was a Muslim already when he was in the Army, I believe. And the Gulf War forced him to fight against fellow Muslims. What cognitive dissonance! I hope I 'm wrong.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Big Bad Europe?!

An article in the Atlantic(via Newsmax) warns that America had better watch out for Europe in the years to come, because it's really getting its act together and they're going to be totally strong and united and wealthy. The clear implication is that Europe must triumph over the nasty unilateral gun-totin' USA because it's on the right side of all the environmental and "social justice" issues. Where are these people getting their ideas? How could they possibly think that Europe poses any threat to anyone but themselves, with their maniacal mishandling of every issue from immigration to socialized medicine to workers' "rights" ? Now it appears even their beloved Euro, their shining symbol of togetherness, is imploding (via Instapundit). At least when the American colonies banded together, a Virginian didn't have to worry about speaking thirteen different languages to travel around the country and tolerating thirteen attitudes toward entrepreneurship, twelve of them bad, to start a business that operated in the whole country. What is it about a common culture that the Europhiles fail to understand? Besides, I don't want the Europeans to merge their cultures. I want them all to stay nice and distinct so when I visit they will all be interesting for different reasons. That's Europe's real future role: A museum for the edification of - and a horrible example to - Americans. Hey, don't worry, we'll pay mucho dinero for you to wear those stupid costumes and do your native dances.
Nukes away!

I had to make my position clear on Rachel Lucas' blog about the bombing of Hiroshima and the hypothetical bombing of Berlin. So, I left this comment:

Nuking Berlin, if we had had the bomb in time, would have been a splendid, close-up lesson to the Russians of the power of nuclear weapons. I am absolutely sure FDR or Truman would have authorized such a bombing. It would have saved hundreds of thousands of Allied soldiers, mostly Russian, if it could have been done in, say, March 1945. On the order of two hundred thousand Russian soldiers died taking Germany. Weirdly enough, most of those were killed by friendly fire, because three Russian armies converged on Berlin and spent days firing on each other, thinking they were the enemy. And the nuking of Berlin would have probably meant the capitulation of Japan as well, saving all the lives that an invasion of Japan would have cost, PLUS those killed in Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the firebomb raids on Tokyo and other Japanese cities, which killed even more than the nukes. Also, the nuking of Berlin would have made it much more difficult, if not impossible, for the Russians to overrun Eastern Europe. Don't think we wouldn't have taken that into account. So, tens of millions would have been saved from decades of bloody totalitarian autocracy.

Bah! It's ridiculous and offensive to say we wouldn't have nuked the Nazis because they were Aryans!!!

Hawaii news - all over the country

As I said before, to get news about a defacement of a synagogue in Florida, you have to go to Jerusalem. But if leaflets are merely left in a yard in a mosque in Hawaii, it's national news. Another Conundrum "you heard it here first". I could have said "I told you so" but that phrase was already taken by another media giant.

Monday, October 21, 2002

End of tolerance for terrorism in Indonesia?

Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri is finally getting the message. Not only have the terrorists trashed her country's economy, but now they're going after her personally, as reported in the Bangkok Post. So even though the Bali bombing killed mostly "infidels" no one is safe when fanatic Islam stalks the world. Her only safety lies in joining the War on Terror, with cheese!
Consensus Censorship
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler has an awesome post about censorship among the Democratic faithful and not-so-faithful. Is it a sign of desperation or a disturbing sign of strength that "mainstream" Dems are tightening up their "Democratic centralism" like the Bolsheviks just before the 1917 Russian Revolution? Next thing you know they'll be launching armed raids on Green Party concentrations and putting poison in the free-trade coffee of the loony left. Read it!
War weeks away?

Rees-Mogg thinks in the Times of London (via Realclearpolitics) that war is coming and soon. He seems to derive this feeling, however, from plumbing the attitudes of the average American coming to London. I'm not sure that's an accurate reflection of the Bush administration's policy. I have been struck over and over again by how determined and patient W has turned out to be. He will not attack before he's ready. I'm even drawn to thinking that he's got ideas about scaring Saddam right out of his regime. Maybe a plan is in the works. Would that be the biggest coup ever or what? The dictator flees to Libya and a popular democrat takes power, calling immediate elections and dissolving the Republican Guard. Hey, it could happen.


Looks like the New York Times is climbing on board my hypothesis. Is Saddam really losing his grip? (via Andrew Sullivan) Is there something going on behind the scenes, the equivalent of Reagan's "the bombing begins in five minutes", that stimulated Saddam to loosen the reins? Maybe Saddam has heard how luxurious American prisons can be. My conception of Middle Eastern dictators does not include the idea of "going down with the ship".

Another straw

The Straits Times, via NewsForum, has this interesting tidbit about Saddam putting his affairs in order. Hey, maybe he's going to strap on some dynamite and ask for an in-person negotiation with Dubya!