Tag Archives: terrorism

How FOX treats Christians vs. Muslims

Not the same.

Muslims must take the blame for all things done by anyone linked to an extreme Islamic group or ideology. Christians have nothing to do with anything, they were just standing there minding their own beeswax.

The video below was fixed by Media Matters for America thusly:

In a notably hypocritical segment on Fox & Friends, the hosts and their guest, David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network, attacked media outlets that called on Christian leaders to denounce white supremacy and the recent violence in Charlottesville, VA. Fox & Friends highlighted articles that noted that many white evangelical leaders have been silent since white supremacists in Charlottesville attacked counter-protesters on August 12 and that historically many Christians and Christian organizations have enabled systemic racism, from slavery to Jim Crow and into the current era. Co-host Pete Hegseth asked why the articles were “trying to make that link” and “rush[ing] to say” that “pastors or churches … are to blame.” Fellow co-host Abby Huntsman said that “people are pointing fingers” and “you have some journalists that are blaming white Christians.” And Brody claimed that “the fix is in, if you will, against evangelical Christians, white evangelical Christians in this country.”

Knife Attack in Saint Cloud: Terrorism, Racism, Guns

Update:

From WCCO:

An Islamic State-run news agency claims the man who stabbed and wounded eight people at a mall in Minnesota before being shot dead by an off-duty police officer was a “soldier of the Islamic State.”

Original Post:
We know nearly nothing about the Saint Cloud attack, but I’m going to offer some preliminary context-related thoughts anyway. Not conclusions or guesses, just context. (See below for some basic info on the attack.)

One thing you need to know is that Minnesota is a state with the least racist and most socially and culturally enlightened people in it. And, some of the most racist and anti-civilization people in it. Saint Cloud is, essentially, the capital of the latter subculture, a very racist place. This is Michele Bachmann territory.

This is one reason to be really careful about drawing conclusions about what happened there. When I hear “Saint Cloud,” “Stabbing Attack,” “Asked if Muslim,” and “Said Allah” all in the same report, my best guess is that a local Islamophobe tried to kill or injure recently immigrated Somalis (of which there are some) in Saint Cloud.

Gun nuts will point out that this is a case of a “good guy with a gun” doing some good. It is. But, the “good guy with a gun” was a cop. So, really, this is a cop stopping an attack. Meanwhile, apparently, the attacker did not do a lot of damage to others, because, it seems, he wasn’t using a gun. He was using a knife. So, no, “you could do the same thing (as some guy with a gun) with a knife or a piece of string therefore GUN FREEDOM!!!1!!” is not an argument.

If this does turn out to be an attack BY a Muslim on others in Saint Cloud, I suspect there will be white rage turned into violence soon in that community and nearby places such as Little Falls and Big Lake.

Report from the New York Times:

ST. CLOUD, Minn. — Eight people were injured during a stabbing attack at a Minnesota shopping mall that ended with the suspected attacker — who was dressed in a private security uniform and made references to Allah — shot dead by an off-duty police officer, authorities said.

…eight people were taken to St. Cloud Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries following the attack first reported about 8:15 p.m. Saturday at the Crossroads Center. One person was admitted. …

… an off-duty police officer… shot and killed the unidentified suspect, who was armed with a knife and wearing a private security firm uniform …

Local police had three previous encounters with the suspect, most for minor traffic violations…

Osama bin Laden 1; Railroads 0

The terrorists have defeated the railroads, and by extension, the people. Well, not totally defeated, but they won a small but important battle.

We have a problem with the wholesale removal of petroleum from the Bakken oil fields, and the shipping of that relatively dangerous liquid mainly to the east coast on trains, with hundreds of tanker cars rolling down a small selection of tracks every day. I see them all the time as they go through my neighborhood. These trains derail now and then, and sometimes those derailments are pretty messy, life threatening, and even fatal.

There has been some effort in Minnesota to get the train companies to upgrade their disaster plans, which is important because about 300,000 Minnesotans live in the larger (one half mile) disaster zone that flanks these track. A smaller number, but not insignificant, live int he blast zone, the place where if a couple of train cars actually exploded you would be within the blast area. For the last couple of years, my son was at a daycare right in that blast zone. I quickly add that the chance of being blasted by an oil train is very small, because the tracks are in total thousands of miles long, derailments are rare(ish), and the affected areas can be measured in city blocks. So a blast from a Bakken oil train may be thought of as roughly like a large air liner crash, or may be two or three times larger than that, in terms of damage on the ground.

But yes, the trains derail at a seemingly large rate.

Now, here is where the terrorists come in. And by terrorists I specifically mean Osama bin (no relation) Laden, or his ghost, and that gang of crazies that took down the world trade center in New York. When that happened, we became afraid of terrorism, and everyone who could use that fear for personal gain has since exploited it. I’m pretty sure that the rise of the police state in America has been because of, facilitated by, and hastened due to this event. For years the American people let the security forces and related government agencies do pretty much whatever they wanted. The Patriot Act, you may or may not know, is a version of a law that conservatives have been pushing in the US for decades, a draconian law that gives great power to investigative and police agencies. That law never got very far in Congress until 9/11. Then, thanks to Osama bin Laden, it seemed like everyone wanted it. Only now, years later, are we seriously considering rolling it back (and to some extent acting on that consideration).

So now, the railroads have been forced to come up with a disaster plan related to the oil shipments. And they did. But for the most part they won’t let anyone see it. Why? Because, according to one railroad official, “… to put it out in the public domain is like giving terrorists a road map on how to do something bad.”

What does he mean exactly? As far as I can tell, the disaster plan pinpoints specific scenarios that would be especially bad. These scenarios, if they fell into the hands of terrorists, would allow said terrorists to terrorize more effectively.

I’m sure this is true. But I’m also sure this is not a reason to keep the plans secret. There are three reasons, in my view, that the plans should be totally available for public review.

1) If you want to know what the worst case scenarios for a rail tanker disaster are, don’t read this report. It is easier to get out a map, maybe use some GIS software if you have it, and correlate localities where the train tracks cross over bridges, cross major water sources, and go through dense population areas. A high bridge through an urban area over an important river, for instance. This is not hard. Indeed, I call on all social studies teachers with an attitude (and most of the good ones have an attitude) to make this a regular project in one of your classes. Have the students try to think like terrorists and identify the best way to terrorize using oil trains. The reason to do this is to point out how dumb the railroads are being.

2) Secret plans are plans that can be exploited or misused by those who make them. We will see security measures taken that, for example, limit public access to information unrelated to oil trains, with the terroristic threat used as an excuse. I’m sure this has already happened. It will continue to happen. It is how the police state works.

3) The plans can be better. How do I know this? Because all plans can be better. That’s how plans work. How can you make the plans better? Scrutiny. How do you get scrutiny? Don’t make the plans secret.

MPR news has a pretty good writeup on this situation here. MPR is fairly annoyed at the secrecy, as they should be, but frankly I’d like to seem this and other news agencies, as well as the state legislators involved, and everyone else, more fired up. We should all be working harder against the police state.

I want to end with this: I like trains, and you should too. Trains are among the most efficient ways to move stuff across the landscape. Those of us concerned with things like climate change should be all for trains. Ultimately, I think we can increase the use of trains to move goods and people, and at the same time take the trains off fossil carbon. They are already mostly electric, using liquid fuel to run generators. That liquid fuel could be made, largely, from renewable biodiesel and a bit of grown biodiesel, and more of the trains can probably go all electric. But this secrecy thing is not OK.

Two encouraging polls about extremism

Islamic distain for Islamic extremism

Muslim people in the Middle East are getting fed up with Islamic extremism. This is indicated by a new poll from the Pew Research Center. Nigerians, regardless of religion, dislike Boko Haram. Ninety-two percent of Lebanese are concerned about extremism in their country (that’s the highest number in the poll) up from 81 percent last year.

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Majorities in most of the nations polled are concerned about extremism. And in most Middle Eastern countries, concern about extremism has increased in the past year.

In Lebanon, which shares a long border with conflict-ridden Syria, 92% of the public is worried about Islamic extremism, up 11 points from the already high figure of 81% in 2013. Lebanese Christians (95%), Shia Muslims (95%) and Sunni Muslims (86%) all share high levels of concern.

In the Palestinian territories, 65% worry about extremism, with much greater concern in the Gaza Strip (79%) than in the West Bank (57%).

You can see more of this poll here.

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h2>America says “Sara Palin should STFU” …

… more or less.

An NBC News/ Wall Streeet Journal/Annenberg poll indicates that a large number of Republicans and a very large number of Democrats, adding up to a majority of americans, are tired of Sarah Palin and wish she would stop.

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Fifty-one percent of voters say they’ve heard enough from former presidential candidate Jesse Jackson; 45 percent say they’ve heard enough from former Vice President Dick Cheney; 43 percent say they’ve heard enough from former House Speaker (and presidential candidate) Newt Gingrich; 40 percent say they’ve heard enough from former Vice President Al Gore; and 32 percent say they’ve heard enough from former President Bill Clinton.

The same poll also finds 36 percent of voters saying the U.S. economy has improved and President Obama deserves credit for it, 16 percent saying the economy has improved but he doesn’t deserve credit and 47 percent saying the economy hasn’t improved during his presidency.

The horror of this event …

We watch these events unfold through a veil of tears. And over time, it only gets worse as we learn the identities of some of the victims, and learn of the horrors of this particular kind of bomb attack. We wonder if the bomber knew that few would die but many would lose their legs, or if families of living vibrant people, standing together to watch other family members finish their run for some worthy cause, would be turned into a collection of news stories about the dead and the maimed. We also wonder why this target was chosen. Timothy McVeigh attacked a Federal office building to strike a blow against the government. The day care center he blew up was incidental to his goal. Seung-Hui Cho, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold slaughtered people in their classrooms, acts that are impossible to fathom but that at least fit the larger pattern of school shootings. Did this attack happen because it is April, when these things (such as all those just mentioned) tend to happen? Because it was Tax Day? Because it was Patriots’ Day? Was this bomber against runners? Was Boston the target? Was this merely a convenient gathering of Americans to use as targets to make some international terrorist statement? Was this angry white males from the woods of Michigan or the mountains of Idaho striking out against a liberal enclave?

Was it just some kid who thought this would be an outrageoius thing to do? Continue reading The horror of this event …

Remembering 9/11? No thank you, not at this cost.

A young woman was driving along the road, at night, and needed to focus her attention on a cell phone call, so she pulled into an open parking lot of a closed restaurant along side the road and visible to passing motorists. She pulled her car into a parking space, switched it off, and made the call. Continue reading Remembering 9/11? No thank you, not at this cost.