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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Fear Mongering vs Common Sense

In the mornings, I get up, get my coffee, do what needs to be done, then sit down and start going through the news. I like to see exactly what is going on, read quite a few articles and more often than not, I find head lines that in comparison are very conflicting, which in turn, shows me the differences in how things are reported, not by facts, but by opinion in most cases.

Memeorandum is a great source for being able to compare head lines and see the stark contrast between reporting and simple political agendas.

We see opinion, news analysis and every once in a while just simple and clear reporting, although the clear reporting is getting less and less frequent these days. Now the writers political agenda seems to color quite a bit of the coverage our MSM now offers us.

So, in going through todays head lines and doing comparisons, I see the same trend I have been seeing since the inception of this blog and I am going to show you my examples.

NYT head line and this is listed under the "news analysis" category "Bush Still Wields the Threat of Terrorism"

A couple of key paragraphs make it clear that the writer, as well as Democratic politicians, thinks that terrorism is a "game" played by the administration and if Democrats do not cave in, they will be portrayed as weak on terrorism. Hell the head line itself leads to that without even reading the actual article.

But the Congressional vote that authorized eavesdropping without warrants on international communications, including those involving Americans within the United States, has shown that there is at least one arena in which Mr. Bush can still hold the line: terrorism.


But while the Democrats had hoped to leave town for the August recess on an upbeat note, Mr. Bush and his party succeeded in outflanking them with veiled — and not so veiled — warnings that any failure to give the president the authority he sought would leave his rivals liable in the event of another terrorist attack.

For a president who has played defense most of the year, relying on veto threats and, in terms of Iraq, almost plaintive pleas for time, it was a rare, winning use of offense. The victory points up an enduring challenge for Democrats, even as they have gained other advantages over Mr. Bush and his fellow Republicans.

“Everybody was afraid they might be branded as soft on terrorism,” Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, a Democratic presidential candidate, said Monday while speaking to Iowa voters.


Like 27 other Senate Democrats, including his presidential rival Hillary Rodham Clinton, Mr. Obama voted against the eavesdropping provision, but found himself on a losing side of a Republican-led coalition, in which 16 Democrats joined 43 Republicans and one independent in approving the measure, 60 to 28. In an interview on Monday, Mr. Obama lamented that Democrats had “become comfortable with the rhetoric George Bush uses.”

In another piece, this one an "opinion" piece, again from the NYT, the head line reads "The Fear of Fear Itself"

The key paragraph here is this:

But the problem with Congress last week was that Democrats were afraid to explain to Americans why the White House bill was so bad and so unnecessary — despite what the White House was claiming. There are good answers, if Democrats are willing to address voters as adults. To start, they should explain that — even if it were a good idea, and it’s not — the government does not have the capability to sort through billions of bits of electronic communication. And the larger question: why, six years after 9/11, is this sort of fishing expedition the supposed first line of defense in the war on terrorism?

In the world of the NYT, whether it is their "news" articles, "news analysis" or their "opinion" pieces, terrorism and the real threat of it, comes second to the political games they wish to play.

Their "larger question" which I bolded above has been answered in many forms over the years, and we also addressed it here, yesterday.

One reason could possibly be told in an article from the New York Sun: (Via memeorandum)

WASHINGTON — As an American-born spokesman for Al Qaeda threatens to blow up American embassies abroad, intelligence gleaned from last month's British "doctors plot" of car bombers suggests that a Qaeda cell is on the loose in the American homeland.

E-mail addresses for American individuals were found on the same password-protected e-mail chains used by the United Kingdom plotters to communicate with Qaeda handlers in Europe, a counterterrorism official told The New York Sun yesterday. The American and German intelligence community now believe the secure e-mail chains used in the United Kingdom plot have provided a window into an operational Qaeda network in several countries.

"Because of the London and Glasgow plot, we now know communications have been made from Al Qaeda to operatives in the United States," the counterterrorism official said on condition of anonymity. "This plot helps to connect a lot of stuff. We have seen money moving a lot through hawala networks and other illicit finance as well." But this source was careful to say that at this point no specific information, such as names, targets or a timeline, was known about any particular plot on American soil. The e-mail addresses that are linked to Americans were pseudonyms.

Since the thwarted plot in London and Glasgow over the weekend of July 1, American intelligence officials have gone public with their concerns about a Qaeda presence in America. The secretary of homeland security, Michael Chertoff, said he had a "gut feeling" on an increased risk of attack. More recently, the commander for Northern Command, the American military operational region that includes North America, Air Force General Victor Renuart told the Associated Press in an interview on July 25, "I believe there are cells in the United States, or at least people who aspire to create cells in the United States." He added, "To assume that there are not those cells is naive and so we have to take that threat seriously."

The heightened threat environment also played a role in the passage of a law Saturday evening to give the National Security Agency temporary authority for the next six months to conduct warrantless wiretaps against suspected al Qaeda contacts on American soil. On Friday, as Congress was still wrangling over the specifics of the changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the director of national intelligence, Admiral Michael McConnell, was unusually blunt about the threat. Commenting on the Democratic proposal that the White House rejected, Admiral McConnell said, "I must have certainty in order to protect the nation from attacks that are being planned today to inflict mass casualties on the United States."

The opinion piece writer completely ignores, because it does not benefit his agenda, the crucial importance of being able to monitor communications, in any form, from America to terrorists groups or from the groups TO America.

Both pieces try to minimize the threat that terrorism presents to the U.S., because if they acknowledged the severity of that threat, they would have to acknowledge the President is right to high light it.

Not to make the Democrats appear weak on terrorism or National Security, they do that well enough on their own, but because terrorism is a threat to us. Period.

To deny that is to stick your head in the sand and simply act like if you do not acknowledge it, it cannot be there.

Which brings me to the next piece I see, via memeorandum.

ABC, in an interview with Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, telling us some of the non classified deatils of the 2006 Terror Airline Plot.

"I think that the plot, in terms of its intent, was looking at devastation on a scale that would have rivaled 9/11," Chertoff told ABC's Pierre Thomas. "If they had succeeded in bringing liquid explosives on seven or eight aircraft, there could have been thousands of lives lost and an enormous economic impact with devastating consequences for international air travel."

Sources tell ABC News that after studying the plot, government officials have concluded that without the tip to British authorities, the suspects could have likely smuggled the bomb components onboard using sports drinks.

The components of that explosives mixture can be bought at any drugstore or supermarket; however, there is some question whether the potential terrorists would have had the skill to properly mix and detonate their explosive cocktails in-flight.

But they can work — scientists at Sandia National Laboratory conducted a test using the formula, and when a small amount of liquid in a container was hit with a tiny burst of electrical current, a large explosion followed.

(If you go ahead and click the link leading to that interview, on the right side of the ABC URL, there is a video showing those results.)

The test results were reviewed today by ABC terrorism consultant Richard Clarke, who said that while frequent travelers are upset by the current limits on liquids in carry-on baggage, "when they see this film, they ought to know it's worth going through those problems."

One official who briefed ABC News said explosives and security experts who examined the plot were "stunned at the extent that the suspects had gamed the system to exploit its weaknesses."

Page #2 goes on to describe how things went down that night and what had to be done.

Page #3 goes on to deal with the current levels of the threat posed:

"Clearly, the effort to put explosives in sports bottles was a reaction to what we had done with respect to other kinds of explosives, and … we're going to be back and forth with terrorists on this kind of cat-and-mouse process for years to come," Chertoff said.

And while he is confronted by pieces of data daily as Homeland Security tries to assess credible threats and piece together information, Chertoff said he remains continually struck by the nature of the enemy.

"You know, we go about our business during the summer, other times of the year. People are going to ballgames or watching their children graduate from high school," he said, "and it chills me sometimes to think there are people a half a world away who are spending the same period of time in a cave, trying to figure out how to kill us."

That truly is the bottom line, people are constantly trying to figure out ways to kill us and papers and writers like the NYT constantly are trying to downplay those threats because it means our President is right and their political agenda will not allow for that option.

We have bloggers that, in reaction to this ABC article state very clearly:

Can't the Loyal Bushies cut this shit out? At least during the summer travel season?

So, in this person's mind, despite the video ABC has provided showing that the threat WAS real, despite the credentials of the researchers that conducted the tests and their words verifying the threat was and is real, if anyone acknowledges that we do face the threat of terrorism, they MUST be "Loyal Bushies".

How do people let the MSM influence them so badly that they cannot face up to the fact that people want to kill us, they turn off their brains because admitting that Bush is right about terrorism being a threat, somehow threatens THEIR philosophy.

Those that DO face up to that fact, simply blame Bush, of COURSE it has to be his fault in their minds, while they completely ignore the fact that Bush had done nothing before 9/11 and we were still hit as well as having had our interests abroad attacked well before Bush ever became President.

It is well past time for these people to recognize that terrorism is a threat, people do want to kill us and to the terrorist, it matters not, whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, they will kill you regardless.

[Update] After hitting publish, I see that Debbie from Right Truth has an important piece written that speaks directly to the issue of terrorism in the United States.

After conducting numerous case studies at the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, research has demonstrated a pattern for radicalization among Americans who embrace jihad, whether foreign or U.S. born. The cases of the Lackawanna Six, the Portland Seven, the Virginia Jihad Group, as well as John Walker Lindh, Adam Gadahn and others demonstrate the need to travel overseas to receive training.

Read the whole post and for those still in denial, try opening your eyes to the threats we face as a country.

[Update #2] I really should read all my favorite daily reads, blogwise, before hitting publish, because in additions to Debbie's piece, I see, via Snoopers comment, that he also has a piece directly relating to this issue of "fear mongering vs Common Sense, over at Take Our Country Back.

He asks some very good questions.