22 May 2010

Of free-floating angst

Yet more commentary.  As always, yesterday was the last day for complaints.


I do get letters, every so often (though rarely) and one correspondent had some worries about the victory of Rand Paul and how it seemed to him that the Tea Partiers were being self-destructive because they did not concentrate on foreign policy (ex. Iran's race for nukes) and President Obama's bending into a pretzel to try and satisfy Islamists.  Of the greatest worry was that the Tea Party was becoming nativist, isolationist, populist and lbertarian.


Basically that foreign policy was getting short-shrift by Tea Partiers, allowing threats abroad to multiply (which they are as seen by Iran and Syria, along with NoKo) while concentrating too much at home (which the Tea Partiers are also doing).  This there was a 'drift' to the fringe, leading to 'chasing after shadows'.

It was an e-mail of free-floating angst directed at the list of people the individual corresponds with.  I'm not a great believer in spreading free-floating angst around as it isn't productive, saps energy and willpower, and generally leads to frittering away of time worrying when one should be doing things.  Thus I'm not spreading my worries around as I've already done research in them in the past three years or so, which I've posted about, and have decided that since others are now discovering some of the things I've looked into, I can take time making sure I have disaster preparedness down pat.  Thus shopping, making sure I have the proper firearms and ammo, learning sewing to make goods that can't be readily bought (and that is a great way to spend time, even as an unskilled novice!) all give me not only the rational satisfaction of doing necessary things, but the emotional satisfaction that comes with doing them wisely.

I have already named my fears, know them, recognize them, and now address them within my limited capabilities of skills, funds and time.  As I have lots of time, I do things that can ensure it is relatively well spent when I am not in a formless gray gauze of lethargy given my physical condition.  Thus I don't read as much, which used to be a prime pleasure for me, and now get pleasure and satisfaction working with cloth, needles, thread, snaps, webbing, grommets, and firearms.  Putting together an easy maintenance canned food rotation system was simple, although time consuming while cost was moderate.  I post links to places I've shopped or purchased from on my side-bar so others can find good deals, too.

Here is the amount of time I have worried about Rand Paul: 0 minutes, 0.01 seconds.

I figure the good folks of Kentucky can figure out how to deal with him or not as they choose.  I trust them to choose representatives wisely, no matter what sort of people they have voted in over the past decades and century or so.  They actually seem to be figuring out that the Nation is having problems, unlike, say, California, New York, Michigan and a few other choice places going down the tubes faster than you can say 'over-taxed'.

If I were worried about the Tea Partiers ignoring foreign threats, I mean actually worried with free-floating angst, then I would do something concrete about it.  Thus my response to the correspondent was as follows with all spelling errors left intact along with syntax problems and logic dysfunctions:

There is, unfortunately, no easy answer to this.

Then this is not an easy problem we have gotten ourselves into, as a nation.

Thus the difficult way to go is the one that addresses the problem directly and the points need to be made thusly:

We must not stand by our friends and allies because it is cost effective.  It isn't.

We must not stand by our friends and allies because it is 'smart' to do so.  It actually is 'smart' but not in the modern form of internationalism, and it is that form which is a cancer upon us.

We must not stand by our friends and allies because it will save lives.  It won't and will cost us dearly to do so.

We must stand by our friends and allies as they are OUR friends and allies and trust us to help them and work with us to make our Nations safer togther, which is something we cannot do alone in this world.  As individuals we do not shun our friends when we hit hard times and we cannot, indeed, MUST NOT do so as a Nation.  That is the path to ruin for individuals, for families and for Nations.

The error we have made with this current Administration and our friends and allies cannot be addressed by worrying about the fringe or extremists but by addressing the heart of what it means to be an American and to have a Nation that is honorable so that you can have a reflection of YOUR honor writ large.  That message must be made clearly and without any exception: that what we do as a Nation reflects upon each and every one of us as individuals.

This message cannot be couched in the 20th century terms that have been debased by socialism/progressivism/liberalism.  That is the path to moral quandary and being led into verbal fights over the meanings of words... when the absolute meaning can be made crystal clear: together we are stronger with our friends and can address the vicissitudes of a harsh world brought upon us.  That goes from our personal life to the international arena without losing one bit of meaning between those scales as they are exactly the same thing.  Our Nation's honor is our own.  There is a high cost to one's honor and carrying through in helping one's friends in this world.  And it makes you a better person to suffer those losses just as it makes us a better Nation to help our suffering friends and allies once we have helped them over the suffering.  We protect them just as we protected our beloved friends.

If we can't do that we are worthless as a Nation and a people.

Do not run after the whispy fringe.

Go to the source and speak of the problem AND the solution.  Do not mince words.  Do not blunt or soften the blow.  Tell us we are on the path to becoming worthless to ourselves as individuals and a Nation, and will soon be pitiful creatures without honor, without hope and without a way out as our friends shun us for betrayal.

That is how you address isolationism.  It works for individuals and Nations, and is one of the hardest messages anyone can deliver.

But then, I am a simple man.

If you cannot speak of what it is that worries you, then you are in deep, deep, deep trouble.

Define your fears, enumerate their problems, outline their extent and then name them for all to hear and then offer the remedy to them.  The remedy is often self-evident because you have defined the problem, the solution comes to you self-defined.  I am a great believer in calling things as they are and doing my best to remain civil at all costs so I do not turn into a degenerating animal like those who would attack civil folks seeking civil discourse.

I vanquish my angst as quickly as I can and I do not, ever, spread it.

I have previously defined the broad outline of the confluence of politics, terrorism and organized crime on a global scale influencing decisions being made by 'pragmatic' and 'liberal' ideologues who think they ask for utopia while what they say is for enslavement of people and Nations to be liquidated and ruled by that horrendous leaders that have no good will towards any.  No matter what they say, it is what they do that tells their tale, and when I have problems placing myself less than four hops from some of the most notorious people on the planet, then I know they are getting far too close to me for comfort and that the civil society that should be stopping them is not doing so.

I uphold the Law of Nations from the lowest to the highest scale as it is one of the very few things mankind does universally, no matter the race, creed, culture, geography or time period.  Save those seeking Empire, of course.  We do very well until Empires appear, and then things tend to get very repressive, degenerate and lethal simultaneously and we look to the era before an Empire as a 'Golden Age'.  If you begin to think of the era before the 'Progressive' as a 'Golden Age' then that is self-defining the path of Empire trying to oppress us all, in all Nations, and remove civilization by creation of civil society to those who rule and those who are ruled.

That isn't 'nativist' as I do not want that for any of the people's of this planet.

I am no 'isolationist' but see that if we don't get our domestic house in order, and mend fences with our friends and allies, then we will fall into tyranny and be a help to no one.  Thus fixing things at home so we can extend the hand of friendship abroad comes first, and that also means withdrawing that hand from tyrants, despots, dictators, and would-be Empire builders of all sorts.

This is not 'populist' but an actual expression of the Law of Nations coming through us as human beings seeking to create our own, separate society and a Nation to uphold who and what we are as a people.  Those who attack Nation States with anti-assimilation ideology are trying to rip out the heart of civil society and destroy all societies by inflaming differences within societies between those that bring their old grievances WITH THEM and will not let them go.  I support the population to HAVE a common culture and uphold it so that we may come to terms with it in a civil fashion and seek greater harmony as a people and ensure that other cultures do not bring their baggage of distress and distrust with them.

As for libertarian?  I believe that my honor is tightly bound to that of my Nation and that it is necessary for all citizens to uphold their Nation, support it and then live under the fruits of liberty and prosperity that its protection provides.  You don't get that when 'civil liberties' removes the common function between all citizens to be free of the dangers of others from abroad.  They, too, have civil liberties within their Nations that they decide for themselves and it is different than OUR conception of civil liberties.  Our honor requires us to uphold ours, even when it is gonzo nuts to any single individual, and then address problems in a civil manner and NOT try to force your ideology or morals down the throats of others via law.  As we vest the negative liberty of punishment and withholding those who can harm society to government, that makes government the LAST place you want to go to CHANGE society in a POSITIVE manner: you do that by addressing and engaging your fellow citizens, not by trying to over-rule their laws that uphold their view of society as that is the last and least method to do that.  If that is the venue you are stuck with, then it is also your last chance to make a case for your views.  Winning in that venue does not necessarily make your views good or even right for the rest of society...and is, at best, a point to demonstrate that the values we hold as given in the law have limits to them.  I don't hear libertarians speaking like this, where honor comes first and dedicating yourself to being part of a more perfect Union is something that must be done by each individual to uphold our common values and society.

I do my best to speak plainly, openly, and succinctly on these things and usually fail at a few of those at a time because I do not have the soul of brevity within me.

If you have angst, deal with it by naming it properly.

Because only you can do that for yourself.

And once you know what to do, and do it, you will have the pleasure of working in accord with your reason, your wisdom and your emotions, and none will betray you when they work in concert with each other.

19 May 2010

The self-evident and you

The following is a pure opinion piece.

You have been warned.

Yesterday was the last day for complaints.


Of all things that our Founders have given us, the greatest of their gifts is a recognition of the place of mankind in the order of things.  In the Declaration of Independence the basis for the reasoning is given the terms 'self-evident' because they are, upon any spare moment of reflection, just that.  A self-evident truth is one that is available to anyone who is dealing with a full mental deck, and even many of those who don't have that can recognize the very most basic of all self-evident truths.  This truth is available no matter what your belief status is in regards to religion and requires only that you have some humility in its recognition.  That state of having a lack of such humility is a derangement and hubris as it is very simple to recognize.

What is this truth?

We live in a natural world.

The howls of protest begin, no doubt, with the protestations of what mankind does with nature, how we pollute, destroy and all sorts of other bad things.  Yet the bulk of mass of life on this planet is not human life, nor even insect life, but bacterial life.  Earth is a planet of, by and for bacteria.  If any life form rules this planet it is bacterial life, and they don't give a good hot damn about you.  Consider that there are but a few thousand, at best and I know it is a much, much, much smaller number, of bacteria species that can infest your human body.  You actually require a large number of them to get things done inside your body and most of them are benign to you.  A good fraction of your biomass as an individual is bacterial in nature.  Thusly you are part and parcel of the natural world, you are part of nature, suffused with nature and must abide by the activity of nature and how nature runs everything.

If you are a believer of some sort, and I don't care which religion, then nature is recognized as the process that runs everything on a daily basis.  It is the mechanism for higher powers to not have to be involved in everything, all the time, everywhere and gets to run on its own.  If that higher power does, indeed, spend equal time about each sparrow that falls from the sky, then it most assuredly will also do so with each and every single bacteria as they are the bulk of what makes things run.  You do, indeed, get equal time in this view of things.  Recognize that the Planck second or two you get is about all that can be afforded to you and that the entire amount of bacteria in you will get more consideration than you as it lives and dies at a far faster rate than you do.  And there are 10^42, that is a 1 with 42 zeros after it, Planck seconds in every single second we experience.  Because of the mass of life on this world and, assuredly, elsewhere in this universe, any being giving you more than a couple of those is spending way too much time on you and not on taking care of business.  Thus nature and the laws of nature are set in place so that any higher power can spend some time doing more important things.

If you don't believe in the great power mover of deific process and take just the more prosaic view that we are, indeed, creatures of nature, then the self-evident is true, also: we don't matter all that much in the process.  Even better is that by stepping outside, taking up a couple of tablespoons of dirt and getting all the bacteria in that amount will yield more diversity of bacterial organisms than are housed within you, and possibly come up with one or two 'undiscovered' ones that you can then name.  The scary part isn't that you can do that.  The scary part is that this can be done by every single human on this planet, name billions of new species of bacteria and we would not even have begun to scratch the diversity of bacterial life on this planet.  They outnumber us in mass, diversity, and habitat with bacteria being found in places that we cannot live in: hot springs, oil wells, and all the way out to motes of dust at the edge of our atmosphere.  The single, inescapable conclusion is self-evident that we aren't all that powerful compared to bacteria.

Both of these general paths lead to one conclusion and it is exactly the same no matter which general way you go: the unimportance of man, no matter what 'plan' it is we are supposed to be on, is self-evident and we must gain humility in order to survive as when we lack same and attempt to command the world around us we will find it unresponsive to our desires.  Even worse is that like all good laws, the Laws of Nature are applied equally in all circumstances.  Even if you are a believer and the deific can intercede, those intercessions have been more in the 'hey, wise up!' category than the grand gestures that every civilization can feel business.  Even after such intercessions then nature takes over to run things, so no matter how great and grand the gesture, nature takes care of the daily business.  If you aren't dealing with nature, you aren't dealing with the actual, physical reality around you.

Believe me, we have quite a few of those running around the planet, those folks elevating man all out of proportion to our actual position in things.  Millions of them.

I abbreviate the entire prior coding of the Laws of Nature as they are properly stated as: The Laws of Nature and Nature's God.  I will leave the arguing about the nature of Nature's God, or lack of same, to others better suited to think such deep thoughts and not look both ways before crossing the street.  No matter the origin of all this stuff, he said waving his hands around generally in the direction of the natural universe which is everywhere around him and within him, I , as an individual, have to deal with the self-evident fact it is here and can impact me.  Forget this 'I think, therefore, I am' business... I got a lot of other problems beyond that to deal with, like the state of my sinuses waking up in the morning.  That is my part of dealing with bacterial world and it begins each and every time I get up and it takes up some of my non-thinking moments if I'm not damned careful about it.  You, too, probably have similar things going on with you as, unfortunately, bacteria do get to vote.  They set the agenda.  You must deal with that so as to carve out a niche so that you can actually do other things than deal with, or die from, bacteria.

How do I know that mankind will not destroy nature via nuclear war/pollution/'global warming'/politically backed slogan of the day?  My sinuses make it abundantly and perfectly clear to me that we do not rule this place.  But if I can keep my mucus clear, then I'm doing a good job dealing with the bacteria.

The bacteria can do this wonderful stuff to us because the Laws of Nature are impartial in their application.  We cannot repeal them nor require that the circumference and radius of a circle be moderated by a number that is exactly 3.  Thus we must take the Laws of Nature which is all of physics, astrophysics, chemistry, biology and then the fall-out sciences dealing with relativity, quantum mechanics, universal structure, biochemistry, differential survival, and geology as they are.  We still  have a lot to figure out and unlike one or two or more famous scientists, I don't see an end to what we can find out any time soon.  Folks back in the 19th century thought they did and in a decade got disabused of that quaint, Marxist, notion.  I'm pretty sure that on the Natural side we've overlooked something and much of what we consider 'great ideas' will demonstrate themselves to be transitional in nature.  That is the nature of inquiry in the natural sciences which deal with the Laws of Nature as they manifest themselves.  And so far we haven't found one, single, instantiated exception to those laws dealing with us as individuals, a species, a planet, a solar system or a galaxy.  Thus we can bask in the radiance of equality under the law, and deal with all the bacteria that have the same equality under the law as we have.  They get the great and good benefit of numbers.  I'm stuck with the minor things we can do to help me get a say in the issue, but I do not doubt, for one second, that my say is in any way absolute against such numbers.

Neither is yours.

You either come to terms with this conception, or you find yourself in a padded room at some point in your life.  Or get elected to some high political office, which seems to be the other repository for this way of non-thinking.

Thus the first part of dealing with the Laws of Nature and the fact that we are creatures of Nature and that we are neither the rulers nor controllers of this planet is: Humility.

If you aren't humble in the minor and quite frivolous aspect mankind plays in the Natural Universe then you get the bifurcated path of padded cell or politician ahead of you.  Of the two I hold those in padded cells in higher regard as they are having to deal with their skewed outlooks, not subject others to them.

But that is just me, feel free to ignore me, but do realize the bacteria cannot and generally will not ignore you.  That latter is important.

A point on viruses: they are not living things, but hijackers of bacteria.  They are very particular and nearly every single bacteria has a virus that utilizes it for reproduction.  Viruses of a very specialized sort can also invade your cells.  To such viruses you are a specialized colony of bacteria, not a human being.  That is how your cells function, how they live and die, and viruses get specialized to specialized bacteria and environments.  Thusly our bodies are specialized bacteria colonies that have their own environments to which viruses can adapt to or otherwise become amenable to finding.  After bacteria, I would guess that the next largest chunk of semi-living matter that can impact life on this planet is viruses.  You are outnumbered.  Deal with it.  It isn't changing any time soon.

Lets step up from this most humiliating of venues, shall we?  That is to say it is a venue that induces humility, and if you are humiliated by it then you are, actually, dealing with it properly.  You are learning your place in the Natural world and it isn't a pretty place.

I'm going to skip over all the other fun stuff like fungi, colonies of single organisms like coral reefs and algal mats, and get into the multi-cellular and differentiated cell world.  At all other levels we are outnumbered by their masses on this planet and their diversity, and you have some large amount of fungus living on you and inside of you, so don't get cocky.  They get a say in things, too.  I'm going to skip over the rulers of the multi-cellular world, which are plants.  Sucks but we are outnumbered there, too.  In the actual self-motile multi-cellular agenda things like jellyfish get a say, but insects and their crustacean cousins outnumber us by billions and billions... Carl Saganesque amounts... to one, against.  We can chop down forests, yes.  We do not rule the plant world.  Everything we make can be broken down by plants, if they had time to get to it which they do.  We will never win the war against dandelions.  And trees rip up sidewalks and roads at a phenomenal rate, given that they don't move around much.  You can miss the forest, once its gone, but the trees stand ready to reinvent a new one if you let them get away with it.  Old parts of the Amazon rainforest clear-cut for farming and cattle work in the 1950's to 1970's, that then lost its topsoil is now being re-covered, that is actually covered over again, by tropical rain forest after we have left it for barren land.  Nature is on the move and the Laws of Nature trump our laws at every turn.

That is a bitter pill for many to swallow who think that mere man created laws can impose our will on Nature.  Knowing that this is otherwise removes the solidity of our works and requires us to address what Nature does to our works.  This is the concept we call: maintenance.  We've been ignoring a lot of that for decades, and we shall pay for it.

Stepping past all of that to get to us (you, me, mankind in general), requires that we acknowledge that the things we get from Nature are bound upon us from Nature and that Nature imbues all things with such gifts as are bestowed upon us as being within Nature.  The equality of availability is absolute as all things within Nature are ruled by Natural Law.  The foundation of all our conceptions of everything we can do rests upon this self-evident truth: we are creatures of Nature.

Every creature of Nature has the exact, same set of Laws upon them.  Within Nature those Laws are absolute and give all things within Nature the power to act in accordance with Natural Law.  That power to act we call Liberty and the ability to exercise that Liberty manifests itself in Rights.  We cannot create one, single Liberty or Right that is not already within us as individual creatures of Nature.  We can, however, discover that we have such Liberty and Rights, which is one of the few things we have that most of the rest of Nature's creatures do not have.  They can, and do, exercise such Liberty and their Rights to use them, but that is not the same thing as self-recognizing that one has them.  Thus every bacteria has the exact, same, set of Liberties and Rights that I have.  It can't utilize more than a few of them and can't truly be said to be cognizant of them as a matter of course.  The concept is, however, humbling and fraught with humiliation.  That nice lady Grace helps me out so that I can remember to recognize that these are self-evident Liberties and Rights and that I have the ability to plan so as to use them.  Bacteria aren't so hot at that.

Notice where 'collective rights' come in?

That is correct: they don't.

They do not exist.

Let us take that most primal of all Rights, the one that manifests it so we refer to Nature as being 'in red of tooth and claw', and that is the Liberty of Warfare.  If you are on the Left you try to espouse this as a 'collective right' that it does not exist outside of the State or Nation.  Yet it is part of nature and we are imbued with it, thusly it cannot come from the State or Nation.  Further, any attempt to posit the thesis that the State or Nation is the sole arbiter of force is refusing to recognize the Law of Nature and that we are creatures of the Natural world in which we are the arbiters of force.  Now, to backtrack, we can examine the Law of Nature in regards to the Rights and Liberty of War.

War is a multi-part Liberty in that it has negative and positive aspects.  Thus there are Negative Liberties of War and Positive Liberties of War.  These Liberties are generally differentiated between that of Offensive War, that is externally directed war against others, and Defensive War, that is war in one's own defense.  The Negative Liberty of War is harmful to others and harmful when inflicted upon us.  The Positive Liberty of War is protective in nature and extent and gives the subsequent Right and Liberty of counter-attack so as to enjoin those intent on doing harm to oneself and dissuade them that this is a good idea in any way, shape or form.  From that the Negative Liberty of War can be characterized as the Thrust, the Positive Liberty of War is the Parry which carries with it the absolute Right of the Ripost.  In modern terminology this is the Offensive, the Blocking or Blunting, and the Counter-Attack or Counter-Offensive.

War, as an activity, is 'scale-free' in its dimensions for Liberties and Rights.  That is to say it is the exact, same set of Liberties and Rights at all scales from the individual to the cosmic and it scales freely without adjustment.

The Laws of War are a fallout not of the Positive and Negative Liberties and Rights of War, however.  The source of the Laws of War are not from War, at all, and are only a synthetic part of warfare added in on top of our supreme Liberty and Rights of War that we have as individuals.  The exercise of War by larger groups, at all scales, is moderated by the affinity of those groups to recognize the Primary bond between individuals which we characterize as: marriage.

Marriage is the joining of two lives to sustain life and create an environment in which we moderate our Natural Rights and Liberties so as to bring forth and nurture young, and to provide safe haven for others that we know and abide by our rules within our marriage.  The Law of Nations is built not at the highest level of interaction, but at the lowest level and this is, also, self-evident with even a moment of reflection.  Our first place of succor, that place which is open to us because of who we are and because we are cherished is the family.  That then places the basis for all society within the family and then how families and individuals within families interact between families.

This is a Universal Application of the Law of Nature and adapting to that Law and is seen in all humans from the most primitive of tribes to the greatest of Nation States, and is done without respect to geography or time.  When we create the family we create the basis for Nations.  Other animals likewise create families and, if they had the ability to apply reason to their state within Nature then they, too, could form Nations and would do so as this is a universal application of that knowledge so that we can be in accord with each other in the State of Nature.  Every single custom, taboo, right of passage, socialization with others, morals, ethics, and law to govern these things comes not from government but from the family.

When the Liberty and Rights of War are taken into a family they are moderated by the family so that all members of that family agree to restrict their Negative Liberty of War, that is offensive and external war, so as to provide for common exercise of their Positive Liberty of War for defense of those they love.  That is why stepping into the line of fire to save one's children is so primal an activity: it is the absolute manifestation of the Positive Liberty of War applied by the Law of Nations to protect those you care for in the most intimate of ways.  If your throat chokes up upon consideration of this, then you know it to be true and that it is not only an emotional feeling but one backed fully, and completely, by reason.  There is no stronger nor greater manifestation of what it means to be a member of a family than in sacrificing yourself by it so as to save them when they are threatened by ANYTHING.  In doing that you have taken up the Natural Law to the defense of others and have become one of the most powerful persons on the planet, bar none.

You may not be successful, but that is War.

War is not fair.

There is nothing that man can do to make it so as it is an artifact of the Laws of Nature, not the Law of Nations or the petty laws of man.  This is how the universe works and you, as an individual, must deal with it.  When you ask others to do so, you seek tyranny for yourself and your loved ones, and have abdicated your responsibility to them in the rightful and lawful exercise of your Positive Liberty of War.  If you fear this right, then you are a slave to your own misplaced fear and seek to enslave all around you with that fear.  Thusly any espousal of a 'collective right' is one to enslave your fellow citizens to a tyrannical concept and subject them to tyranny based on fear OF the free exercise of the Positive Liberty of War and the outcome to that is always, without exception at any time for any human culture, negative and despotic in nature.  When your fear over-rules your good sense, you are enslaved to your fears.

Patrick McGoohan summarized this in one acronym.

POP - Protect Other People.

You must do that, no one else can do that for you, and is the greatest and paramount responsibility you have to those you love and you cannot hand it to anyone else to do.  We form up hunting bands, militia, vast armies so as to get strength in numbers, but the absolute strength comes from your will and determination to Protect Other People.

And when you stick your head outside the door, see the world going to hell with imminent threat and come back inside to warn those you love there is but one phrase to describe that: POP goes the weasel.

Better to be a cunning weasel than a voracious rat, at any rate.

Thus we can acknowledge these self-evident truths:

- We are within the bounds of Nature.

- We are imbued with the Laws of Nature.

- All things within Nature are imbued with these Laws.

- Those Laws create Liberty and Rights for all parts of Nature.

- All creatures have access to all Liberty and Rights of Nature, without exception.

- We recognize that we have such Liberty and Rights as Nature provides to us.

- Natural Liberty and Rights can be seen to have Positive and Negative attributes.

- Marriage, that is the joining of one person to another, is the basis of the family.

- By creating family we create the Law of Nations.

- In the creation of the Law of Nations we agree to not individually exercise our Negative Liberty of War.

- By being part of a family under the Law of Nations we agree to exercise our Positive Liberty of War to defend those we love.


One follows from the other, as day follows night.

You do not need to be a believer in any religion to understand these self-evident truths about where you are in Nature.

You are outnumbered.  You are miniscule.  You are feeble.  So am I and all individual humans upon this planet even taken as a whole we don't amount to very much.

And it is self-evident that a number of people are not dealing with this very well.

No good shall come of that.

05 May 2010

Working and success are not the same

When something 'works', that means that it is operating in a normal fashion.

When something is 'successful', that means it achieves its objective.

The backtracking of Janet Napolitano, who heads up DHS, in the previous Detroit attempted terrorist attack was telling in that regard, this from the Telegraph, 28 DEC 2009:

On Sunday, Miss Napolitano told CNN that "one thing I'd like to point out is that the system worked" and ABC News that "once the incident occurred, the system worked".

After widespread condemnation of her comments, she told NBC on Monday that she had been quoted "out of context", claiming that she was referring to the system of notifying other flights as well as law enforcement on the ground about the incident soon after it happened.

"Our system did not work in this instance,' she said. "No one is happy or satisfied with that. An extensive review is under way."

She moved from the categorical of the system working to the specific of it working after the incident to the categorical of the system not working. All of that in the space of a day.

Now we move to the current attempted terrorist attack, this from Politico on 02 MAY 2010:

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Sunday that the car bomb police found in New York's Times Square Saturday night could be a "one off," but that authorities are nonetheless treating the incident as a "potential terrorist attack."

“We’re taking this very seriously,” Napolitano said on CNN's "State of the Union." “We are treating it as if it could be a potential terrorist attack. The derivation of that we do not know and that’s what the investigation will tell us.”

She said they have not pinpointed particular suspects but a lot of forensic evidence investigators are working through, including a possible video.

“We view this very, very seriously,” she said.

“We have no evidence that it is anything other than a one-off,” Napolitano said on ABC’s “This Week,” adding that federal investigators are nonetheless alerting state and local authorities.

“Times Square,” she said, “I think is now safe.”

Times Square is just as safe, today, as the Twin Towers were at 8:00am on 11 SEPT 2001.

Of course so is every other place in the Nation so similarly 'safe'.

And the evidence of the attempted car bombing is that it would not have been a well made device and that it was found because of the premature way the system acted when it was being armed. Thus when President Obama says the following, from the White House blog at Fox News 04 MAY 2010:

On Tuesday the president credited "ordinary citizens" with the failure of Saturday's Times Square incident. Two street vendors alerted the NYPD to the suspicious Nissan Pathfinder packed with explosives in Manhattan's busy epicenter. "I've had the opportunity to personally thank the citizens and law enforcement officers whose quick thinking may have saved hundreds of lives." the president said before remarks to the Business Council.

and you know he has beaucoup experts in the CIA, FBI, NSA, BATFE and so on, he must certainly of known this sort of thing as pointed out at Threats Watch on 04 MAY 2005 by Steve Schippert:

The contents of the vehicle, a Nissan Pathfinder SUV, included two plastic five-gallon containers of gasoline, three metal propane tanks (the type commonly used for outdoor grills), dry fertilizer in a lock metal gun cabinet described as containing "eight bags (over 100 pounds) of an unknown, fertilizer-like substance and an inverted pot with a "bird's nest" of wires. There were two analog alarm clocks wired to arrangements of M-88 firecrackers. The bomber expected the M-88 firecrackers to go off and puncture the gasoline and propane tanks to spark the explosion. This clearly did not happen. Some of the M-88's ignited, as heard by nearby pedestrians and vendors, but failed to penetrate either the plastic gasoline containers or the propane tanks.

The fertilizer still in bags and clearly expected to explode or add to the impact is another sign of a bomb maker of low skill and knowledge perhaps following poor or unclear instructions. In order for an ammonium nitrate fertilizer to be transformed into an explosive, it must be combined with diesel fuel and stirred into a slurry. The fertilizer was reportedly not an ammonium nitrate based type to begin with, slurry or none.

It should be noted here that the crude, technically lacking bomb design itself should be no source of reassurance that the threat to New York City, its citizens, its tourists and its workers is minimal. It was a mistake for authorities and experts to publicly describe it as "amateurish." Americans taking in their information from news reports who see this written and hear it spoken will instinctively conclude that the threat is significantly less than feared. This is a mistake, because upwards of 80% of a successful attack comes from the motivation and desire of the attacker. This is far harder for terrorists to cultivate among recruits than skill levels and tactics. And the motivation and desire to kill innocents on New York City streets was clearly demonstrated Saturday.

While intending to make a bomb, the bomb maker, instead, had some fertilizer that doesn't add to an explosion, along with a couple of gas cans and propane tanks, plus some firecrackers. You might get something if you know what you are doing with that, but what was made was not going to kill anyone, unless the gasoline fire got out of control at the very worst of prospects. The will to kill does not bestow skill.

Thus the noting of the M-88s going off was the earliest warning sign of a potential terror attack in Times Square. There was no increase in 'chatter' from typical INTEL sources, a single posting from the Tahreek-e-Taliban that they were going to do many attacks in the US, but nothing directly about NYC until after the attack failed.

But after THAT the system 'worked', right?

This from Fox News 05 MAY 2010:

Shahzad had been under constant watch at his Bridgeport, Conn., home since 3 p.m. Monday and federal authorities had planned to arrest him there that evening, two people familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press. Authorities believe he decided to flee after being spooked by news reports that investigators were seeking a Pakistani suspect in Connecticut, one of the people said.

Shahzad somehow lost the investigators who were trailing him, the two people said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the incident.

The Obama administration played down that Shahzad had made it aboard the plane. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano would not talk about it, other than to say Customs officials prevented the plane from taking off. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the security system has fallback procedures in place for times like this, and they worked.

And Attorney General Eric Holder said he "was never in any fear that we were in danger of losing him."

So the Attorney General believes that the great power of those watching Shahzad meant that after losing track of him they could find him again. Brilliant!

And that great No-Fly List? Wasn't consulted.

So we have a terrorist who fails to construct a bomb, attempts to detonate that mass of materials which wasn't a bomb, a local vendor hears the firecrackers go off and calls the cops thus saving tens if not hundreds of people who weren't going to be killed, and then the ever prescient authorities find the man at his home, watch him to make sure he doesn't leave and then LOSE TRACK OF HIM and Shahzad is only stopped when his plane is on the damned tarmac ready to take off for Dubai due to the laxity in checking him out until his name popped up in the system.

And the only thing that 'worked'?

Well the system of National Intelligence (NSA, CIA, and a few other spook houses) failed in tagging the guy early on. And even if they did, no one paid attention to their tags and warnings.

The State Department failed in not doing a more thorough background check on him before he applied for US Citizenship, which he got a year ago.

There is no way on Earth to track all fertilizer, firecrackers and diesel so you can forget anything along those lines, as nothing can work on that score.

He bought a vehicle with cash in a private transaction, and even if he went to a dealer his name wouldn't have popped up for much of anything.

Whatever 'training' he got from Pakistan didn't work, though not for lack of trying.

The authorities on the police side that found him, lost him.

The TSA system that was supposed to prevent him from getting on a plane didn't work.

And only once his name was actually in the system, with him on-board the plane, did the system finally respond in the nick 'o time to stop the plane from taking off for Dubai with said terrorist on-board.

Thank heavens the Taliban are piss poor trainers, huh?

Otherwise we would now be talking about the blown in facade of the building Viacom is in, the folks who own Comedy Central that censored the South Park - Mohammad episode, and the dead due to shrapnel and debris in Times Square which would now be a massive 'crime scene' that would be, in actuality, an impromptu battlefield in the war with no fronts.

And the system that deprived the Taliban of good trainers and training facilities?

The US Armed Forces.

The fizzled attack in Times Square was stopped by the ineptitude that the Taliban now have in training because they have lost so many people in Afghanistan and Pakistan that their high value trainers are gone. Mostly dead.

DHS didn't work.

TSA didn't work.

The police didn't stop the device, and lost the suspect.

The DOJ with its firm belief in the ability to re-find said suspect shows that they don't understand that their system didn't work, either.

Out of all the official agencies, parts of the multiple governments both in the US (federal, State, local, municipal) and overseas (Pakistan and Afghanistan), the only part of this entire system that is working to deprive the terrorists of the skill, personnel and materials to attack the US successfully is the US Armed Forces.

For the attack did 'work'.

It was just not 'successful'.

And as we are reminded by KSM: they do revisit failed attack sites to carry out a successful one, just as they did at the Twin Towers.

There is no safety in our system, save for the part that works and it can't do everything for us.

I'm very glad that folks in Times Square weren't blown to smithereens, and that they noticed this failed almost-bomb attack and notified authorities.

They did their job because our soldiers can't be everywhere.

Save for one man who first noticed the event and called it in.

He is a vet, NY Daily News 04 MAY 2010:

"I'm overwhelmed," Lance Orton, 56, told the Daily News. "Do something good one day and you'll see."

The Vietnam veteran remains a reluctant hero. "I'm just an average guy," he insisted. "A glory hound seeks attention - that ain't me."