Knee Jerk Reactions

Warning: This post is going to generate a debate in the comments that will likely be upsetting. Don’t wander into them if you can’t tolerate strong opinions. That said, free speech and passionate debate is a cornerstone of the world the terrorists want to destroy and I am proud of the fact that it happens here daily.


I’ve held back on commenting on the horrible events in Paris last friday night, thinking that I don’t have much to add to the discussion. But as horrible as that night was, the knee jerk reactions that are now coming out of the mouths of supposedly rational people are even more horrible. As my partner Albert asserted this past weekend,

Turning against Muslims or against refugees is a terrible response as it only confirms the apocalyptic ideology of the attackers

The knee jerk reactions of politicians and governments to terror attacks over the past twenty years have not helped the situation and have likely fed necessary energy into the jihad movement. I am not a student of martial arts, but I do understand the principal of using your opponent’s energy against them. I believe the terrorists are doing a wonderful job of turning the energy of the free world against us. And we have to stop letting them do that.

So what should we do instead? Drink champagne. Go to a football match or a Knicks game. Sit at a cafe and have an espresso. Go see live music or perform live music. Have sex with someone you love no matter what their gender is.

And what should governments do? I am with Albert that we should continue use our considerable investment in data science to infiltrate and understand these terror networks. I want to print something he wrote in that post over the weekend because I agree with it completely and can’t say it any better:

But I am staunchly for collective intelligence. Collective intelligence in this case against terrorism, but also more broadly against crime and most importantly as a basis for improving education and healthcare. I cannot see how society could avail itself of the benefits of collective intelligence in any form of government other than a transparent democracy. And conversely it makes no sense for democracy to deny itself those benefits.

Insisting on privacy because we fear our own governments will continue to pit citizens against secrecy-seeking governments in a spy versus spy society. Many will protest that we are already there. Maybe so, but why double down on a mistake? Snowden’s revelations have given us a unique opportunity to start over. I would pardon Snowden on those grounds alone.

Governments can and should tell their citizens what information they are collecting and how they are using that information. And companies should disclose which of these programs they participate in. Any and all such programs should have oversight by elected politicians and transparent reporting on their scope and effectiveness.

As for the potential for collective intelligence to help, we see it all around us on the Internet. From the uncannily accurate do you know so-and-so suggestions on Facebook and LinkedIn to the related products on Amazon. I can also observe the effectiveness of collective intelligence from behind the scenes in many of our investments and in particular with Sift Science which does fraud detection. Combining a lot of data really does work.

Democracy, human rights and progress through critical dialog and collective intelligence. We need all of those more than ever.

That’s what I think we should be doing. I do not think we should be demonizing religions and people seeking refuge. Demonizing is the behavior the terrorists want to see from us. We should not let them have that victory.


Comments (Archived):

  1. jason wright

    “free speech and passionate debate is a cornerstone of the world”the Guardian newspaper didn’t get that memo. it ‘moderates’ any and all reader comments that do not agree with its journalists and columnists. it’s become a grotesque censor of free speech and passionate debate.I’m so very optimistic that new tech will eradicate centralised mass media autocracies.

    1. fredwilson

      i saw a great tweet the other day that if newspapers were invented today they would not be “top down” but “bottoms up” twitter is the new newspaper in my book

      1. andyswan

        Totally. Next evolution of Drudge is we all become Drudge

      2. Jess Bachman

        All headlines and opinion pages? No thanks.

        1. jacopogio

          what it is missing ?

          1. Jess Bachman

            A high signal to noise ratio.

      3. Michael Elling

        That thinking underlies Twitter’s uncertain outlook. Focus and certainty would come if it saw itself less as a newspaper and more as a platform (much like Albert’s view of Uber) from which significantly greater engagement and knowledge generation springs for the publishing world as a whole. Having built a messaging ASP in the late 1990s I see a lot of brilliant features. But key ingredients are missing, both strategically and tactically.In general the siloed model of social media, messaging networks and the app model is what’s limiting growth today everywhere in the informational stack. It’s reminiscent of the old portal model which search/google shredded. In full-duplex, broadband everywhere networks there are no “destinations”, simply unbounded pathways to newer and newer “origins”. The key is to open those pathways and make a small amount on the transit fees or resulting commercial events.

      4. jason wright

        ‘collective intelligence’ brings an end to the mass media’s ‘collective (un)consciousness’.”blockchain up” would be even more compelling.

    2. Anthony Di Iorio

      Interesting how you’re singling out one particular newspaper. Now I don’t read the Guardian, however moderating comment sections happens everywhere, whether for language, trolling, abuse etc.. Moderating is a tricky problem, yet to have a solution that pleases everyone.

      1. jason wright

        i’m familiar with the Guardian. it moderates (deletes) expression of opinion. that is unacceptable to me. i want to know what other people in my society think. i might not agree with their opinion, but i defend their right to express it.

  2. Scott Roberts

    Fred, thank you for putting voice to the reasonable approach. Sad state of affairs that you have to expect vitriol in the comments….

    1. fredwilson

      that’s comes with the territory. when i think of it as free speech, it feels a lot better to me

    2. pointsnfigures

      As long as people are reasonable, they can disagree. I find often with people I disagree with, we agree on outcomes but not necessarily the steps to get there.

  3. bsoist

    Thank you Fred.Dogma, in any flavor, can be extremely dangerous. We need to be aware of that, but we can’t lose sight of the fact that our own dogma fuels the fire.

  4. David Semeria

    “Governments can and should tell their citizens what information they are collecting and how they are using that information”But surely that would let terrorists know what communications to avoid?

    1. fredwilson

      what he means is “we are reading your emails and we won’t use it to stop you from having sex with another man”

  5. andyswan

    Nice post. Agree with most.I hope that in the future, people can take the same measured response to other tragedies as well– rather than following knee-jerk reactions that demonize the peaceful majority of gun owners.

    1. fredwilson

      i agree that demonizing gun owners is not the right approach on gun safety and it is done too much in this country. i think there is common ground between gun owners and folks in the gun safety movement and we ought to focus on that common ground

        1. Alex Murphy

          He is awesome! I love it.

      1. JaredMermey

        There is probably common ground on many issues but no one will be allowed to focus on it. The most troubling parts of the recent debates is listening to the candidates speak about the other party. Yes, it is totally fine to disagree. But the rhetoric is so strong that it makes it impossible to ever work with the other side of the aisle, less because the politicians’ feelings are hurt (for the most part they are adults with thickish skin willing to do work together if it means they get to stay in power) and more because the rhetoric riles up the constituents so much that if the politician is even seen with the other party they are immediately bashed in the local newspaper. We still hear about Christie greeting Obama after Sandy…The only guy who I can remember saying something positive that was not a generic “I worked with them in the past” was Kaisich.

    2. Gautam at inkl

      Agree that demonising anything is dumb, but if there’s even a chance that sacrificing one’s personal liberty to own guns COULD improve the record on gun-related crimes – don’t we all have a conscience vote to try it? Option 1 – I can keep my guns and people can keep dying. Option 2 – I can give up my guns and see if people stop dying. If they don’t I can always go get more guns afterwards anyway. Kinda different from demonising innocent muslims where the decision to demonise them or not has precisely ZERO impact on the likelihood of future terrorist attacks.

      1. Nia

        If there’s even a chance that sacrificing one’s ability to claim refugee status in a western country COULD improve the record on terrorism – don’t we all have a conscience vote to try it?

        1. Phil Chacko

          The United States has accepted 750,000 refugees from the Middle East since 9/11, none of whom have been arrested for terrorism-related charges. Seems like the US is doing just fine with its record on terrorism vis-a-vis refugees.Edit: Correction, 2 have been arrested on terrorism charges out of 750,000.

    3. Jess Bachman

      Peaceful majorities that do nothing and remain silent only enable their violent minorities. With guns, Muslims, and anything else.

    4. Alex Murphy

      It’s not the gun owners that are demonized. It’s the presence of guns. And more specifically, the high capacity, semi automated/automated guns. Not single shot low capacity rifles for hunting etc.

      1. JLM

        .Why? When 99% of all murders are committed with pistols?What is accomplished?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. John Revay

          Please try and explain that to the parents of the children that were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary.

          1. LE

            That’s part of the problem though. Letting groups of people with emotional reactions to something make this type of change is not the way to make policy which effects everyone. Even large groups who feel the same way and are very vocal. [1] Not rational and not common sense. Doesn’t allow you to weigh the true facts in the manner which our justice system is based on. The reason why officials excuse themselves from things they have a connection to or people do not sit on juries that may be biased.For the record I don’t own a gun and don’t plan to buy one so I am detached from this issue emotionally and still make this comment because I think it’s a fair approach.[1] Just because people get together and protest does not mean they should have more rights than those who don’t protest or can’t protest and be as visible. The ability to create noise does not make you right just good at wearing down others.

        2. Alex Murphy

          Kind of the point JLM. Hunting single shot rifles are okay as an example. High capacity, high power assault rifles & handguns, not so much.

          1. JLM

            .Pistols is where the majority of the killing is done. The 1992 Assault Weapons Ban did nothing measureable. Couldn’t even get renewed 10 years later. Automatic weapons have been banned since forever. Weapons that can easily be converted also.What exactly do propose that would conform with the 2nd Amendment?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          2. Alex Murphy

            The 2nd ammendment starts out with a “A well regulated Militia …” I think the current interpretation held by most gun owners is simply wrong. I am guessing we won’t find common ground on that one.Regardless of one’s opinion about the 2nd Amendment, I think it is time to exercise the option made available to us in Article 5 to create an amendment to clarify what it means to bear arms.To that end, I think that bows and arrows are okay, black powder guns are okay, single shot hunting rifles are okay, but handguns, pistols, and other “attack” oriented guns are not.

          3. JLM

            .The Constitution is designed to be amended.Amend it.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          4. ErikSchwartz

            This.Very few restrictions on long guns.Very strict regulation of handguns.The problem is not AR-15s and AK-47’s, it is Glock 17s.

          5. JLM

            .It is not really the guns. It is the gun owners.The Constitution provides for its wholesale amendment.Do it.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          6. Alex Murphy

            Its the guns, not the gun owners. This thread started with the point of not demonizing gun owners.Its the abundance and access to guns that causes gun violence and gun deaths.Look at the data for gun related deaths by state. The highest states are those that have the most guns per capita.…More guns = More problems.If a magic wand could sweep up all the guns, gun violence would go down to zero. That doesn’t mean bad things won’t happen, they will. Guns just make it so much easier. And that is the problem.

          7. JLM

            .Alex, I have several guns. Likely way more than the average citizen.One is a legitimate war souvenir. It was in three wars.All the others have never been involved in any illegal gun violence of any kind whatsoever. Neither have I nor any member of my family though I did have a Shih Tzu, now deceased, who was quite antisocial and bit someone on the nose down to the bone. The biting victim deserved it but that was a judgment call.Criminals are not going to give up their guns.There are several states in which guns are effectively banned to no noticeable benefit.Why not espouse something that has a likelihood of actually working?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          8. Alex Murphy

            To the point of actually working, Australia executed a Gun Buyback program after the mid 90s massacre and it has been a very large success.

          9. JLM

            .The Australian experiment is well flogged in this country. I have seen the August 2012 study several times before and it is not really a conclusive study in that it fails to even suggest the modification of criminal behavior.Were I limited to a single pistol — a dramatic reduction in the number of guns I personally own — I could certainly learn to live with that.But why?I am no danger to anyone. I know how to safely use a pistol. I practice regularly. I am of stable temperament — except for the occasional over-the-top comment on, there is is that 2nd Amendment matter.On the other hand, I am absolutely in favor of background investigations v the crazy list and closing the gun show loophole.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          10. Alex Murphy

            Assessing what to do about gun violence from a macro point of view vs what to do about your personal ownership of guns at a micro point of view is almost impossible. It is very easy to dismiss a macro solution because of what happens in micro oriented situations. That is true everywhere.The issue at hand really boils down to “what is the problem?” and then how do you address that problem to create a substantive improvement. It’s not good enough to get a 51% improvement against a 49% cost. This is obviously where the challenge is.I don’t have all the answers. But I do believe that too little is being done, and most of the suggestions simply pay lip service to the problems that exist in our country.In an average year, 584 people, 124 of which are kids, are killed by accident in the US by guns. We have gone to War over such loss of life. 18,000 people a year kill themselves using guns. And it is not as though all of those people owned the guns themselves.There is no question, much needs to be done related to the existing laws, to address loop holes, and to address mental health problems. But the problem isn’t going to be solved by just those items either. At its core, its access that enables gun violence.

          11. JLM

            .Micro v macro argument — fair play to you.As to gun ownership, it is CRIMINALS owning guns not guys like me. It is absolutely not access; it is access by criminals which is not going to be legislated away. They’re freakin’ criminals; they don’t obey the exiting laws.The steps I support are fair first steps but the opponents are not willing to take such steps as they want to “ban” guns which is not going to happen and which the US does not want.Amend the Constitution?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          12. Alex Murphy

            Yes, it probably does need to be amended to address the difference of opinions of how to interpret it today.Regarding criminals, I agree, they are already breaking the law.But, if there were no more guns being sold, at all, and no more bullets, at all, then access to guns and bullets would decline over time and gun violence would decline. You might say that is extreme, and perhaps it is, but the problem would eventually go away.

          13. JLM

            .Alex, would you be offended if I offered to underwrite a foot massage for you?The problem will not go away. It can be dampened when we do reasonable things that can really happen, can really get done.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          14. Alex Murphy

            One day, I may take you up on that. 🙂

          15. JLM

            .Not to belabor the obvious but you do realize that criminals do not comply with laws.Handgun purchase laws are actually quite strict and some of the strictest cities and states have the most horrific murder rates.It would be a huge step forward to enforce what we have.Then there is this — TEXAS highest rate of gun ownership and declining rate of murders, lowest ever.What really works?JLM http://www.themusingsofthebigredca...

          16. ErikSchwartz

            No argument.But most of the guns used in chicago crime are purchased in Indiana and Mississippi.Accidents and suicide seem as large a problem as murder.

          17. Alex Murphy

            60% of gun related deaths in the US are suicide.Suicide is the #2 cause of death for people between 15 and 34, #3 for kids 10 to 14, and #4 for adults 35 to 44.

          18. LE

            Just to put ass on table here white america doesn’t care that much about gun violence committed by criminals. They care about those outlier events where a mentally ill teen goes in and shoots up a school or a movie theater. People are killed everyday in cities near where we both live. However it’s not in anybodies backyard so it’s pretty much a non issue and not on their mind day to day. Unless it happens to someone they know which almost never happens.Publicity plays a big role in the nuts behavior. There is a middle school near my office and everyday kids are outside waiting for buses or parents. There is one cop there with a patrol car. Would be trivial for a weirdo to mow down kids with a car and quickly drive away (or maybe ditch the car if it was stolen and go on foot). And if that happened and was widely publicized (which it would be if enough kids were hurt) we’d see a bunch of copycat things like that happen most likely.

          19. sigmaalgebra

            > assault riflesJust a semi-automatic rifle except for style. Taking against “assault rifles” is just a back door way to ban semi-automatic rifles.

    5. Richard

      Fred is correct at least to the extent that we can not demonize debate

      1. Phil Chacko

        It’s kind of ironic that “conservatives” feel the need to interject into the free speech / safe space debate on college campuses for which they have little context.I haven’t been in college for quite a few years now and totally trust that this issue can be handled within colleges themselves. Generally, if you’re a student, a faculty member, or for whatever reason spend significant time on college campuses, by all means express your opinion, but otherwise, what do you really know?

        1. Richard

          Not sure where “conservatives” entered the conversation. Alan Deshowitz spent his life as a university professor and is as liberal as they come. You just made his point.

          1. Phil Chacko

            I understand that. What I’m saying is Dershowitz can fight his own battles at Harvard. I don’t think he should need help from the public at large.I say “conservative” because it’s conservative media that’s blowing this stuff out of proportion. I’m not taking sides.

          2. Richard

            Note sure wha your point is? The role of the intelligentia is to disemtinate what they know.

          3. Phil Chacko

            Fair enough. I’ve read a lot about this online but have yet to hear anyone complain firsthand. “Don’t believe everything you read on the internet,” was mostly my point, but I buy it coming from comedians.I think your original intent was to be pro-debate, so my bad if I missed the point. Agreed on that one.I’ll just caution people to be sure they have full context and enough data to form an opinion.

          4. JamesHRH

            Google Yale Safe Place and watch the video of a Don getting publicly shamed by an irrational young woman…….who could not believe that the Don’s wife had posted that the students should be accepting of ‘a little cultural appropriation and bad behaviour’ during Hallowe’en celebrations.

          5. Phil Chacko

            @jameshrh:disqusI’ve seen it, and it spurred some reading when I saw it. What’s lost in the snippet is that even if the letter was academically “correct” it was perceived as insensitive given recent events on campus. Specifically an alleged “white girls only” party at a frathouse. Not understanding those events leads to not appreciating the emotional context for that letter and how it was received.Not because I agree with it (again not enough data), but because it’s useful to understand an opposing perspective:

      2. LE

        And the problem is made much worse by social media.

    6. Shaun Dakin

      Then where are the “peaceful majority” of gun owners in standing up to the NRA and Gun lobby? Oh yeah, no where.

      1. andyswan

        Why would we stand up to the NRA when the NRA represents us?0% of NRA membership ,0% of NRA leadership promote members committing crimes with guns. 100% condemn violent aggression.Can you say the same of Islam leaders and members?

          1. andyswan

            thanks didn’t know that. so there is one…. now we get to decide if that one member’s actions should be used to determine policy or attitudes toward the 99.99% who are peaceful and denouncing the one

          2. Phil Chacko

            I agree. There are 1.6 billion Muslims on the planet. Perhaps 35k members of Daesh/ISIL/ISIS? Toss in another 15k “underground” jihadists and that brings you to perhaps 99.997% of Muslims being peaceful?

          3. andyswan

            No clue. The numbers I have seen suggest 15% of Muslims are supportive of ISIS.

  6. anonforthis

    > And what should governments do?Maybe govs should stop financing these organisations. Let’s not forget that Al-Qaeda and ISIS itself were created and financed by the USA to destabilize other regimes and countries.I think we should fix the government first.

    1. andyswan

      No question about it. Obama bet on rebels who turned into ISIS.Putin bet on Syrian leadership.Each had their own interests for doing so, but it’s becoming quite clear who is winning the leadership position in the region

      1. ErikSchwartz

        There would be a whole lot more dead radical Islamists if we had left Saddam in power.A secular dictator is by far the lesser evil.

  7. csertoglu

    i think of it as technology and data aided democracy, and agree with you and albert. one caveat is around access to technology, though. the same tools available to the civil security apparatus in democracies are also available as tools of oppression in authoritarian regimes.

  8. Tom Labus

    What I find most galling about the GOP political reaction to Paris/Iraq/Syria (The Mess) of bombs and empty gibberish is that it was their misguided military fantasies that got us into the Mess in the first place. Jeeeze

    1. pointsnfigures

      Okay, agree. But, it’s 2015 not 2001. The can of worms is open.

      1. Tom Labus

        No question, but at least we know what doesn’t work

        1. Jess Bachman

          A little history of the region would have told us what doesn’t work.

  9. LissIsMore

    The West has been mucking around in the region since post-WWI, and the US has stepped up the game post-WWII. What ISIS does is despicable, but these cockroaches thrive in the detritus that we have left behind from decades of ill-conceived adventures.What should governments do? I am reminded of the old joke: “Doctor – it hurts when I do this.””Then don’t do that.”

    1. marksmith1981

      The West has been mucking around in the region since the Middle Ages

      1. PerceiveToBeWise

        The region (being Muslim) has been attempting to overthrow and conquer the west since the middle ages. This is not a chicken and egg scenario. First blood and continued Jihadist terrorism and war started with Muhammad and it is documented in their Qu’ran and Hadiths. They (ISIS, Boko Harem, etc) all derive their legitimacy from claiming to follow the actions of Muhammad in the Qu’ran and Hadiths. We claim our legitimacy in the right to self defense.

  10. andrewparker

    Great post.You might be interested in reading Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother in this context. It’s mild sci-fi, mostly Young Adult (so, an easy read). It tackles all these questions of government limits on spying vs privacy, and what loss of Liberty is “acceptable” in response to terrorist actions. Plus, I’d bucket reading it with your Knicks game or Champagne; it’s just fun.

    1. fredwilson

      added to my kindle. i wish there was a left click for that!

    2. kellercl

      Great book.

  11. G

    Combining a lot of data really does work.Or not, the issue with terrorism is that you are looking for the 1 in a million case, and false positives are going to have a significant cost: investigators not tackling the case coming from old school intelligence on one side, and people having there live destroyed because they are now suspected of being a potential terrorist.The issue is not getting more data or more indiscriminate surveillance, the issue is properly monitoring the people we already know about. In all recent case of terrorism in France, at least some people involved in each operation had a “Fiche S”: they were known as potential terrorist, what was missing is enough people to properly investigate them and follow up on the intelligence.

  12. Dominique

    Unfortunately for us all knee jerk reactions lack root cause analysis and will not solve the real issues… The rhetoric around all this is narrow. It is wonderful to hear the French commentary which while seeking to stop the short term pain also understands the underlying issues. Tired of simplistic solutions.

  13. Scott Juranek

    I agree – we shouldn’t be demonizing religions. But I think if I was an official and I knew terrorists may exploit our refugee program to get in then I couldn’t ignore that. Also, if our country was being taken over by terrorists I’d hope that we would try to relocate the terrorists instead of find a new place for us. The root cause of the refugee crisis isn’t being addressed and was left to fester too long, it seems to me.

  14. Gautam at inkl

    Agree on not demonising muslims, and also on collective intelligence – i think part of the problem is that people want to feel like they’re part of the solution. So rather than lashing out at innocent people, what if we could take a twist on the collective intell. idea, and give Anonymous a hand in taking on ISIS? No clue whether projects like Seti@Home or Fold@home were successful, but if it would help I for one would gladly give Anonymous my spare CPU cycles to take down ISIS. Does anyone from Anonymous read AVC? 🙂

  15. Lorien Gabel

    Isn’t the first axiom of military tactics, avoid doing what the enemy wants you to do?Dan Carlin’s (of Hardcore history fame) latest podcast hits two themes in Freds post 1) rate of technological change 2) and in the second part terrorism and our response thereto.

  16. Mark Jackson

    Great post Fred – I’ve been equally horrified by some of the reactions and in trying to understand this situation I have found great context where the media are doing their job of reporting responsibly. On the point of those ‘knee-jerk’ reactions WaPo wrote a great article on the ISIS strategy called “destroying the Grayzones”: – which as many people should readOn the debate on collective intelligence, can this be applied not just in waging war against ISIS in the traditional intelligence gathering way but in cutting off their resource which is in the use (and manipulation) of media as well as the dark web? Again hoovering up information led me to this article on Anonymous playing a role there:

  17. LaMarEstaba

    “I do not think we should be demonizing religions and people seeking refuge. Demonizing is the behavior the terrorists want to see from us. We should not let them have that victory.”Perfect. I read an amazing article by Madeleine Albright about this very subject, since she ran from the ruin of Czechoslovakia and made a new life in the United States.…I’m the child of Vietnamese immigrants. If America hadn’t opened its arms, I wouldn’t be sitting here today. People have seemed to forget how it felt to look at young Aylan Kurdi’s dead body being taken from the shore, and that picture circulated not very long ago.I was talking to my sister about this last night. She posted on Facebook how proud she was to live in Colorado after the governor announced that he’d take in Syrian refugees. She said, “My parents were refugees, too.” I agreed in the comments, and then my aunt, who lives in Paris, wrote: “Refugees, not terrorists.”It’s harder for her. Her daughter, my cousin, has two young children, 2 and 6. They live in the 10eme arrondissement, not far at all from one of the attacks. On Friday night, around 11:30 PM her time, she got a text from my cousin saying, “We’re all okay.” Confused, she wrote back, “Why are you texting me so late at night that you’re okay?” My cousin told her what was going on.Can you imagine being awoken by a text late at night and learning that your grandchildren and daughter were that close to a terrorist attack? It’s easy for me to be calm, or mostly calm, an ocean away…but she’s obviously going to have a different perspective on permitting Syrian refugees to settle outside of Syria.

  18. Susan X

    If your kids were killed in one of those venues, you may have a different opinion. We’d be foolish to let more refugees in until we had much better controls in place. It’s too early to let the inflow continue. We need to stop and think. I’m all for it continuing it once we put these controls in place and have these data sharing capabilities working well. Until then, we’d be crazy. Anyone who has lived through the holocaust or who has family that survived it, or lived through any events such as what occurred in Bosnia, etc, etc. know there’s no limit to what these people are capable of doing. And as for guns, every citizen should have them. There may be a day in the future when everyone wishes they did. I hope it doesn’t come to it, but anyone that thinks that it could never happen here is naive. That’s what they said in every single place where genocide occurred in the past.

  19. Kurt Stangl

    Great post. I agree wholeheartedly.The challenge of curing terrorism is the challenge of making sure there aren’t human beings growing up in a world with violence (both personal and global), poverty, starvation and fear.Too much of any of those things breaks most humans beings in the same way abusers create abusers when they subject their victims to constants physical and mental stress.The sad truth is once we get our shit together as a species we still have a least one or two whole generations of living in peace before terrorism can ever be truly “cured”.

    1. Lawrence Brass

      I absolutely agree with you Kurt, terrorism is a disease of our global society. I just love the concept of curing it as a challenge, a global scale challenge, one that will require a lot of love and commitment from the people and generations involved, instead of more bombs.I would like to post a photo of a graffiti on a wall by the Highline promenade in NYC, but I haven’t available now. Its Einstein holding a sign that says: “Love is the Answer”.

  20. myasmine

    One of my earliest memories is sitting on the floor of a bomb shelter as they dropped around us, shaking the ground and rattling the windows. I remember how suffocating it was, the terror on my parents faces, the children screaming around us, my neighbors praying, people crying and I remember thinking I may die before I start living my life at eight years old.But I was one of the lucky ones. 2 men in dark suits walked in asking for my little brother. He had been born in the US a month prior. They told us we had an hour to pack 2 bags between the 8 of us and they whisked us away to Philadelphia. We are refugees of the Persian Gulf War.Something broke down in the immigration system because despite being brought here, we discovered we were illegal aliens when I tried applying for college. I put myself through school with two under the table jobs and couldn’t apply for scholarships despite my 3.8 GPA. It took me seven and a half years to graduate. That experience motivated me to want to be my own boss.The second was the discrimination we endured after 9/11. I walked into work the next day and my boss turned to me and said “yasmine, you don’t know how to fly planes do you?” I have been called a terrorist, told to go back to my country, shouted out that I don’t belong here. My brother had it worse – he was named Osama. He faced racial slurs, was jumped at work, and fired without question. He had to change his name to find another job.But being brought here gave me opportunities I never would have fathomed. My first startup was sold in late 2011. I’m on my second and we’ve raised nearly quarter of million dollars and employ 4 FT people and 7 contractors. I’ve dedicated my life to championing the under-privileged.We don’t choose our parents, where we’re born, the culture we grow up within, the color of our skin, the religion that’s bestowed upon us, our socioeconomic class, the education we receive…and they all have a direct impact on the opportunities and disadvantages we’ll have in life. Furthermore, we have zero influence on these when we’re most vulnerable.We are all the same deep inside – please don’t discriminate against factors that someone didn’t have any influence over. Some people fall on the advantageous side of the birth lottery and some get the short end of the stick. I wish more people thought about that.Edit: I wrote about how I’m living the american dream after I became a citizen 3 years ago:

    1. Alex Murphy

      Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for enduring the pain. Thank you for staying strong, for doing good work, for serving people that need to be served and for continuing to push forward.

      1. myasmine

        I don’t know what to say except thank you for the nice comment.

    2. JLM

      .From the American Dream –“You’re welcome, Yasmine. Pass it along.”The American Dream

      1. myasmine

        Thanks, I’ll never forget the day I finally became an American citizen. I remember the exact day and time because it was so significant – April 19, 2012 at 10:39am. I even wrote about it:

        1. JLM

          .Well played. You EARNED it, American entrepreneur. Thank you.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        2. Alex Murphy

          Just awesome.

        3. sigmaalgebra

          Welcome to the US! You are making it a better place. Thanks for coming!

        4. JamesHRH

          People forget that the American Dream exists because people like you have the hope and courage to pursue it.People also forget that the idea of America – rule of law, opportunity for all – is the greatest human invention ever, even if the execution of the American Dream has its ups and downs.

    3. fredwilson

      God bless youWhat a fantastic story for this comment thread to start on

      1. myasmine

        Thank you. I truly believe if more people contemplated the notion of the birth lottery, the world would be a better place. I did a TEDtalk on it that’s not out yet and this is a variation of it. I’ve learned that we don’t realize our privilege until we’ve lost it – or until we’ve gained it:

    4. James Ferguson @kWIQly

      As far as I can make out this is your first post on AVC – It is perhaps not for me but for @fredwilson to say (but I’m pretty sure he will approve ) – Welcome !With your lucid remarks, experience (as a woman in tech) and perhaps also some *other world* insights to enrich us – I look forward to reading more.

      1. fredwilson


      2. myasmine

        Long-time lurker 🙂

    5. Dan

      Yasmine, thanks for adding your story to this conversation – it’s an inspiring one.Since you didn’t mention it, it looks like you’re currently running an indiegogo campaign for a pretty cool product and mission – to help reduce assaults against women.For anyone that’s interested, there are 5 days left to add your support:…Best success with your new venture!

      1. Dana Hoffer

        Yasmine’s ROAR just won the AWE Business Plan competition in Philadelphia. I learned of Yasmine’s company from one of the judges, Jane Hoffer, who had many positive things to say about Yasmine and ROAR. Well done Yasmine!

        1. myasmine

          Hi Dana! I’m a fangirl of Jane – so glad I got to meet her on Monday! Thanks for adding to the thread.

      2. myasmine

        I’m terrible at self-promotion. Thanks for sharing it Dan!

    6. Drew Meyers

      Wow, what an incredible story. Thank you for sharing.I felt compelled to share it further:

    7. LissIsMore

      Thank you for sharing your story.

    8. ShanaC

      thank you for being so forthwright. I’ve been arguing exactly this point to people all week.

    9. matthughes

      I don’t know you but I am so glad you are here.Amazing story.

    10. TanyaMonteiro

      remarkable response! I’m going to learn all there is to learn about you Yasmine Mustafa, I too truly believe if more people contemplated the notion of the birth lottery, the world would be a better place. Thank you!

  21. marksmith1981

    Often read posts on here that I could not agree more with. This is yet another example

  22. laurie kalmanson

    Thank you. This, via Twitter

    1. Tom Labus

      so amazing that not much has changed at all

      1. laurie kalmanson

        when I learned about the holocaust, I believed that better communications technologies could prevent governments from committing crimes against people in the future; I still believe that now, and Twitter is the most immediate form of that.

        1. pointsnfigures

          To be fair, the question at the time didn’t contain the word “jewish” in it. It was simply asked by their country of origin. And, to your point, the general public in America didn’t have an inkling about the Holocaust until it was exposed to them. My friend’s father was a GI who liberated a camp-they had no idea what they were walking into. They had heard some rumors, but until you a faced with it-you don’t know. At the, there are plenty of oral histories from the GIs perspective. Today’s situation is very different, although ISIS is a totalitarian organization masquerading as religious.

          1. ShanaC

            Not everyone in the camps were Jewish…the largest chunk were, but other groups were also in the camps(Roma, Gay people, some political protesters)

          2. pointsnfigures

            True. But, when we think in terms of Nazi oppression, they didn’t do Kristallnacht against Gay, political or Roma businesses and meeting places. Christians were also among some killed. At the core though, The Final Solution was about Jews. They were the scapegoat for the troubles in the world-and people bought it. Scary. Looking forward to the movie Experimenter. Historians and vets talking about it today in NOLA:

          3. ShanaC

            I know, but I think it is important not to cover up the memory of the other people who died

        2. ShanaC

          yes and noIt also makes it way easier for insular groups to spread insular ideas among themselves and become more insular. EG: Why vaccines cause autism idea won’t die. AT ALL!!!!It makes other ideas easy to spread – eg: Gay marriage became normalized very quickly due to network effect from the first cases/legal vote in to the supreme court case this past year

      2. Thomas Paine

        xenophobia is ageless

    2. ShanaC

      That’s my grandmother….who I’m named for….

  23. jacopogio

    perhaps, from here in the West, what we could do is as suggested by the RAND Corporation => To Defeat the Islamic State, Follow the Money(…ISIS if is making ~$3 million per day then it makes slightly more than $1 billion per year- Oil is ISIS’s biggest source of revenue- ISIS smuggles this oil out in tanker trucks to buyers in Syria, Turkey, the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and possibly in Iran and even Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria,=> It would be counterproductive to destroy oil field infrastructure, since repairs would be expensive and legitimate governments will need those oil revenues when they reestablish control. But mobile refineries should be targeted, and roads and other pathways that tanker trucks use to transport oil to and from oil fields should be made impassable by military means. The refineries and roads can be easily repaired when the time comes, but for now, ISIL should find it very difficult to move oil from fields.But also- Iraq’s Shiite-dominated government accuses Saudi Arabia of supporting the ISIS jihadis.- The most important source of ISIS financing to date has been support coming out of the Gulf states, primarily Saudi Arabia but also Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates,”source: Deutsche Welle (DW) is Germany’s international broadcaster.

    1. marksmith1981

      Delve into this situation to any extent and it all starts to look very murky…

      1. jacopogio

        or perhaps too easy 😉

    1. Tom Labus

      Sergy Brin too

      1. jason wright

        the child of immigrants, but i don’t see his family as refugees.

        1. pointsnfigures

          He was adopted.

          1. jason wright

            Sergey Brin was adopted? not according to his Wiki entry.

          2. pointsnfigures

            Steve Jobs was adopted.

        2. Tom Labus

          That lines seems to be blurred at the moment

      2. LE

        Well so am I. But my father came here the legal way. And not only that a jewish family here had to sponsor him and give him room and board. And when my uncle came to this country a few years later he had to be sponsored by my father who had to guarantee to make sure that my uncle didn’t become a burden on the state. I have the letter that says that actually.

    2. kellercl

      I thought in the Steve Jobs Biography they said his biological father wanted nothing to do with him and that’s why he was given up for adoption. Maybe that shouldn’t be celebrated. On the other hand, it could lead to the next technological revolution!

      1. Rick Wingender

        True. They wanted nothing to do with each other. Jobs was raised by a stepfather who was a Coast Guard Veteran. Jobs never identified with Syrians at all.

        1. LE

          Yep. It’s very ridiculous and simpleton.

        2. kellercl

          That’s right. In the book the described his stepfather as a real handy man who used to fix up old cars and resell them. Jobs credited him with teaching him the value of using quality parts even when they were not visible.

  24. Matt A. Myers

    When I saw that the US was going to take in 100,000 refugees, I responded that it was good – that we need to show these people compassion that military action and destruction can’t show.If we bring people here and don’t take care of them then that’s another problem being created – or rather – perpetuating our own limited of compassion for others already in our society.

  25. Tom Evslin

    I agree with you on surveillance vs. privacy. The metadataIS needed for public safety. Being able to unravel webs of relationships is as importantto homeland security as it is to Linked In or Facebook.But I also think a harsh military reaction is needed. Thisis not a kneejerk reaction. I’ve advocated that since ISIS in all its horrorfirst occupied any identifiable territory. How many people would still be alivetoday if we’d destroyed them when they were still “the JV team”? Taking them onnow will be bloodier than it would’ve been then; but is even more necessary.The Presidential candidates haven’t answered the question ofhow many troops each of them would commit. The answer which would convince methat a candidate is ready to be Commander in Chief is:“I’d ask all my generals what troop level is required toaccomplish the mission of dislodging ISIS from every bit of territory itoccupies, killing or capturing the first three levels of leadership, and makingit so that would be ISIS recruit can’t find a place to report for butchery? Themission must be accomplished in four months. It can’t depend on allies but itmust accommodate them if they join“Then I’d take that number and double it. “Proportionateforce” is an invitation to stalemate and prolonged casualties. We are nottrying to be fair; we are going to win at the least possible cost to Americanlives. We have overwhelming power; we will use it.“I would not float the idea and advertise that I’m thinkingabout it. I will not pre-spin“The enemy will find out when they are first hit with whatChurchill calls sudden and overwhelming force. I will address the Americanpeople as the first wave of bombers and troop carriers come home. I willrequest an immediate vote by Congress a that time.“The troops will come home when the mission above isaccomplished. That will leave a failed state behind and a situation which mustbe resolved regionally. A failed state without ISIS is safer for us than a failedstate occupied by ISIS. We will be back at the first sign of a hostile trainingcamp; we will be credible when we make that claim.”

    1. JLM

      .Having been educated at a military academy and having been a professional soldier, I can say with some authority, it would not take much to defeat ISIS. Militarily, they are a grammar school team.See this:http://themusingsofthebigre…There is a simple troop order of battle that could have this over by the 4th of July.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. Jess Bachman

        “Defeat ISIS” militarily and as a byproduct, radicalize a new generation.The only way to effectively put them down for good is to 1, defund them. They pull in $3M a day from oil, donations, and human trafficking. And 2, defeat them culturally by getting local populations to actively rise up against them. They can only effectively operate in areas where they are tolerated. Not loved, but just tolerated. They need to be hated by local populations.Im not sure how number 2 is accomplished.

        1. JLM

          .You are grossly overstating the size of ISIS. They do not have 35K men in the Middle East. This is not a generation. This is a handful of shitheads, nothing more.The issue of defunding them is a simple military objective which current American ROE (rules of engagement) prevents.The second is relate to the social media phenomenon.When the content is dead jihadis, there will be fewer current and future jihadis.Mao had it right — the guerrilla fish must swim in a friendly sea.The locals are afraid of ISIS because they don’t believe anyone can protect them.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      2. ErikSchwartz

        Like I asked before similar things were said of beating Saddam…And then what?ISIS is the byproduct of not having an answer to that question in 2003.

        1. JLM

          .Fair play. We are bedeviled by the peace.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      3. Phil Chacko

        The problem is, as it was in Iraq and Afghanistan, what to do afterwards. That part is not military, it’s political. Leaving a power vacuum in our wake will not solve the root problem that a stable system does not exist there which offers peaceful hope.

      4. SubstrateUndertow

        Then what !Everyone in the region lives happily every after.Beating ISIS is not the real problem.

        1. JLM

          .Actually that is the first part of the solution — not faux containment, killing them and pissing on their graves.Sic semper tyrannis?Then, again, maybe doing nothing is a better strategy. A few “setbacks” each year?Not dead citizens, “setbacks.”JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          1. ErikSchwartz

            You are not solving the problem. The problem is that without ISIS (or Saddam) the shia majority oppress the sunni minority. You kill every ISIS member some one else in the sunni community will rise up to protect them. Maybe it will be a brutal secular leader (like Saddam). Maybe it will be religious fundies backed by Saudi Arabia (like ISIS).The problem that needs to be solved is the fucked up way that the Ottoman Empire was carved up 100 years ago.

          2. LE

            The problem is religion to me. That’s what allows them to control everyone as a result of the brainwashing they can do. [1]See this video was just on last night on PBS:…Of course that is not going to go anywhere. But it is the root of all evil money is 2nd to that.[1] I mean look on this thread at how people come out in support of our constitution (like religiously as if they are married to it in everything they do every single day) as iron clad as absolute as the sun rising in the morning. As opposed to maybe a little common sense when things get to ridiculous and fucked up around gun control.

          3. JLM

            .To state the obvious — three countries: Kurd, Sunni, Shia.But first, eliminate ISIS, AL Qaeda, the Caliph, and the Caliphate.Build pyramids of their skulls.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          4. ErikSchwartz

            That was obvious after 2003 but we chose not to do it.

          5. JLM

            .It isn’t Kansas anymore, Toto?

      5. LE

        (see above no way to delete this..)

      6. LE

        If you can watch this which was on PBS Yesterday and is now online:Inside footage by a brave (or maybe stupid) journalist:…Has to do with how they are brainwashing kids at an early age. What’s amazing to me (and what the fuck do I know about this) is what happened to the Al Queda brainwashies who are prime fighting age now? I think the video implies they have now defected to ISIS.

    2. fredwilson

      Pls notice that I made no mention of a military response in my post Tom. I mentioned demonizing religions and refugees.

      1. Tom Evslin

        I meant the “but” at the beginning of the second paragraph to mean that better surveillance is necessary but not sufficient. I didn’t comment on the other theme of your post.Dealing with ISIS will make Syrians safer, of course, not just from backlash but from some (but not all) of the people who’ve driven them from their homes. The majority of the victims of Islamist violence are Muslims, of course.I do think the Muslim community, for its own sake as well as everyone else, has to make a stronger and more successful effort to root out the Jihadis. I also think the security doesn’t work without some profiling and we have to be politically incorrect enough to acknowledge that. As a Mideastern male not readily distinguishable from an Arab even though I’m Jewish, that would include me and not my Irish wife, for example.

  26. markslater

    Why does this not spark a debate about the whole concept of organized religion? Is it not plainly obvious by now that this act is the latest manifestation of humanity’s greatest failing?

    1. B12N

      As if this debate isn’t already going on? It’s been going on for many many many years.

  27. Salt Shaker

    From 2004-2014 over 2000 guns were legally purchased by terror suspects in the U.S. Do gun advocates really think that is right?There certainly wasn’t a strong anti-govt movement post 9/11. The general feeling was do whatever you have to do to protect our safety. That has dissipated over time, fueled in part, and correctly so, by the Snowden revelations. No one should be comfortable being tracked surreptitiously. It builds a feeling of deceit, deception and a lack of trust.The lack of transparency by our gov’t was a huge mistake, but I’d accept a trade-off of privacy for safety any day, just to save a single life.

    1. JLM

      .Not 5% of the US population knows who Snowden is. He revealed means, methods which allowed terrorists and shitheads to tighten up their communications thereby making anti-terrorism more difficult.He deserves to be dead.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. Tom Labus

        Plus the 1.2 million military files he gave to the bloody Chinese

      2. JaredMermey

        What about apps like Telegram? What do they owe for allowing encrypted conversation amongst bad guys? Telegram CEO knows it is going on but feels protecting collective users’ privacy trumps the fact that terror communication happens on his network.My opinion is not fully formed here. I get his point. But at first glance it feels more academic than practical. Perhaps I am knee-jerking.

        1. JLM

          .Do you think there is the tiniest possibility that such apps might be CIA front companies or that a patriotic company might be letting the CIA take a look at its traffic?The NSA is on this like white on rice.We want the shitheads to be lulled to sleep and then kill them.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          1. JaredMermey

            Sure, a non-zero chance. And a bigger non-zero chance that the NSA can read all those messages.But until one can say anything definitively, the discussion about these apps and their roles/responsibilities is valid.

          2. LE

            Add a third/fourth possibility CIA/FBI etc plants an employee in the place and he takes care of the niggling details for them. Personally I think that’s much cleaner. Why? For one thing you are reducing the surface area for a fuck up. Or perhaps you get a key employee on board with some kind of blackmail.You find the nerd that controls the network. He is married. You get him at the bar one night with a honey pot. That’s off the top give me some more time and I will come up with other scenarios.

          3. panterosa,

            “reducing the surface area for a fuck up”great phrase LE

      3. LE

        And every time I see that smug face of his in some picture or some video it annoys me to no end.What do you think? We need a new system in this country. We let everyday people with no fucking idea of how things really are decide on what we should do to protect ourselves from terror.But much of the love of Snowden comes from people whose paranoia of the government stems from the irrational fear that the government will find out and arrest them for smoking pot or drug use. Maybe tax evasion things like that. [1] Remind me of when I was 16 and didn’t like radar guns and speed traps all I focused on was that I would get a ticket for speeding not the greater good to society.[1] As if the government has time to arrest everyone that they even uncover in some dragnet or by sucking up information. Yeah that’s what would happen for sure. Unlimited resources they don’t even do that with speeding tickets which are highly profitable.

    2. Thomas Paine

      “Do gun advocates really think that is right?” – Actually, no, this gun advocate does not think it is right but there is not much that can be done about that without curtailing the Constitutional Rights of the “suspects”.The problem is the FBI’s Watch List has two flaws to it, in your context.First, it is a suspect list and there is no certainty that anyone on that list is actually a terrorist. At this time, there are 7000,000 people on the list which includes relatives of the “suspects”. There is also quite a bit of name confusion and the like. The key is, they are suspects only, not charge and not adjudicated guilty. Many liberal watchers believe the list is overstated by several hundred thousand names.Second, irrespective of the above, the suspect list is NOT linked to the FBI’s own NICS background check system through which the vast majority of LEGAL gun sales have to pass muster. So, no matter the accuracy of the list, there is no way in real time to assess if any prospective gun buyer is a suspected person. That said, only 91% of those on the list who attempted to buy firearms were allowed to do so via a NICS check, showing that those 9% had other disqualifying issues.

  28. JLM

    .I doubt I have ever read as poorly written or reasoned analysis of what is going on in the Middle East and the export of terrorism to Europe and the US. It is emotional — fair play to that, no foul there but emotions do not drive good decisions — and irrational. Devoid of evidence or facts to support its specious suggestions and conclusions.People — folks on all sides — are tempted to suggest that the recent raid on Paris is a singular event which could have somehow been prevented in the past or the future by a simple set of actions — thereby agreeing with the notion that there are a lot of knees “jerking” but jerking knees are not always wrong.Maybe, not even usually wrong.There are those who suggest it was “well planned” or “sophisticated.” What total bullshit. It was a fifth grade level of planning — bomb vests, AK-47s, grenades — against very soft targets in a city in which their ethnic makeup was unremarkable.More planning goes into the average debutante party.[This morning the French conducted a raid and destroyed another terror cell getting ready to launch. How did they find out about it? Cell phone records from the first bunch of shitheads.]Worse, the locals knew of them and at least three had been through the justice system. If they had been deported more than half of the shitheads would have been eliminated. No problem finding shitheads, mind you.Let’s take a second to know our enemy. There are approximately 1.6 billion “Muslims” in the world of which we likely have something less than 100K active jihadis. Do the math, this is really not a problem with religions, this is a problem with shitheads. Nothing more.I am tempted to quote from the Qu’ran as to infidels and killing infidels but that is really not the issue here. The Qu’ran has more than enough to upset anyone with even minimal reading comprehension but who cares? These shitheads are not doing religious work and it is nonsense to suggest they are religious persons.I can live with the term “radical Islam” but it’s not really Islam though Islam could do a much, much better job of denouncing the terrorists and pitching in to eliminate them.The French today identified one of the dead raiders as a 31 year old, daily pot smoking, unemployed, twice jailed immigrant who had a wife (divorced) and an electrician’s certificate.Wife says he was apolitical, had no ambition, and they lived off unemployment and had for years and years. He never went to the mosque and he did not pray daily. Met the “mastermind” in prison.This was not a religious pilgrimage. This was just plain old fashioned discontent and shitheadedness.ISIS itself could not gather 35K “soldiers” if it had a week to do it. Militarily, it is an insignificant force and it wouldn’t provide a full month’s work for an American airborne division.Remember Saddam Hussein’s vaunted Republican Guard? Yeah, they ran when they met the Marines and the Army.These guys are not worth shit and the president’s unwillingness — perfectly understandable, mind you — to use real force is allowing ISIS to punch way above its weight class.Just for the record — Putin’s bunch flies more sorties in a single day than the US flies in a month. Tell me, again, how serious we are about this. Please.I belabor this point because this is not some deep clash of cultures. This is good v evil and if you want to flavor it with “religion” have at it but that is simply not correct. These are guys who would be shitheads if they were monks.It is American policy — past, present, future — that is responsible for much of this. Before you think I am blaming America first know that I personally blame Obama’s predecessors for attempting to do too much and Obama for doing too little.Albert’s comments on intelligence are pure gibberish and he conflates “intelligence” with law enforcement and privacy. They are not even remotely the same. Wildly different games played with substantially different rules.Divide the argument between foreign intel — the CIA’s purview — and domestic intel, domestic counter terrorism — the FBI’s area of expertise.They have in common support from the NSA and nobody really knows what the NSA is really up to. Check and see how long NSA heads serve for and you will understand the problem. They always outlast administrations.Obama destroyed our foreign intel when he pulled out of Iraq. We had daily battlefield (local) intel. We had CIA operatives with local cover who were running spies all throughout the Middle East. We had sovereign nation coordination intel — we bribed Iraqi official on a regular basis. We had intel from allies.Then we withdrew and lost all of that as well as putting Libya, Syria, Iraq into play while simultaneously letting Iran and Russia join forces against us with our former sources. If we had any stay behind spies, they all changed teams quickly.A truly amateurish mistake.As a historic footnote, this is tantamount to when Henry Kissinger got Egypt to come over to the US camp at the end of the Yom Kippur War in 1973 which initiated forty years of peace with Israel.We created ISIS — make no doubt about that. Our Syria policy and threats could not possibly have been handled more poorly. Red line that, y’all.The US has not had a success with training a foreign army or fighters in its history. Bay of Pigs, Viet Nam, Iraq — jug fucks. The Iraqis had 900K man army and ran when ISIS showe up with 3,000 men.As to domestic intel — the NSA has been reading and storing our communications for decades. What they have not done directly, they have the phone companies doing for them.This is totally illegal by any measure of the 4th Amendment. The gov’t doesn’t care. I do a little bit as it relates to use in ex-post facto criminal investigations. Otherwise? Not so much. Nonetheless, this all totally illegal and everyone involved knows it.The problem is subdividing the international v domestic take. The domestic is illegal. The international, perfectly legal. The NSA is doing both and nobody can control the NSA.You do know that the CIA breaks the laws of every country in which it operates, right? The CIA has a hard time, a very hard time not breaking the law in the US because it breaks all those foreign laws regularly.As to refugees, there have been refugee camps in that part of the world for decades. This is not something new. Many refugees have been assimilated into other Arab countries.It is not unfair to suggest that Saudi Arabia, Iran and others take in the lion’s share of refugees. These are wealthy, local countries.If I were a refugee, of course, I would rather come to the US. We have a program for that — including expedited consideration — it’s called “legal immigration.”Obama has screwed this because he has failed to enforce the current regimen of immigration laws thereby creating a predictable opposition and an unwillingness to trust him. This is his doing.If I were running ISIS, I can assure you I would be trying to inject as many operatives as I could into this flow. I would also be providing whatever cover stories and forged docs I could get. Why not?Know this — the quality of forgeries coming out of the Middle East in the last 30 years is almost perfect and with the destruction of entire countries, the paper stock is genuine. Oh, yeah, there will be ISIS operatives amongst the bunch coming.Downside?They get rejected and go home. Not a very bad outcome.Which is exactly why we should take a deep breath, try to get the Arabic countries to take more of them and why we should not admit young men of a certain age and profile.In the end we are left with –Until ISIS and its phony Caliph and Caliphate are eliminated, they will continue to try to export terrorism against soft targets. Fair fight? Not for those cowards.It keeps getting worse until the US makes a decision to lead and destroy ISIS militarily. I get how completely difficult this is for some folks on the heels of Iraq and A’stan but it’s like chemo — it sucks until you finally kill the fucking cancer.ISIS will continue until we make it so bad for them that social media is filled with pics of dead shitheads rather than beheadings, immolations, defenestrations, crucifixtions, drownings, live burials, and atrocities.The solution is not to go have sex with someone you love — particularly if you love Labradors. It is to be thoughtful, forceful, resilient, and to take action that will eliminate the threat.This is Hitler in 1940 when the French could have destroyed his army with a good champagne fart.This gets way worse if we don’t do something.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. RichardF

      I agree with you….(you know the rest ) but actually it’s not the US that needs to do it, although that’s what it will probably take, but Europe who should be mobilising now along with Turkey. The threat to Europe is far greater than for the US, from security and migrant flow perspectives. The migrant/refugee flow to Europe is completely unsustainable. However there also has to be a succession plan as to how to keep security once you have cleaned ISIS out because what is evident is that the countries in the area find it very difficult to form and maintain stable, democratic governments.I’m not surprised Putin wants to back Bashar al-Assad, a benign dictator he is not but he was providing a level of security in the area as far as Putin is concerned.

      1. JLM

        .Of course, Europe has more skin in the game but it is likely an Article 5 of the Atlantic Charter issue (NATO).Putin and Russia want back in the Middle East. Kissinger stole Egypt from the then USSR at the end of the 1973 Yom Kippur war. It was a brilliant bit of statescraft.Now, Russia will do anything to get back in. We have created the Russia, Syria, Iraq, Iran alliance. We will rue the day.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigrecar…

    2. LE

      Worse, the locals knew of them and at least three had been through the justice system. If they had been deported more than half of the shitheads would have been eliminated. No problem finding shitheads, mind you.Locals? Simply throw cash around [1] for information which leads to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in terrorist activities (or owning guns illegals, whatever those details can be worked out like a credit card rewards program). Maybe if the info is valuable enough some citizenships as well (witness protection program let’s call it).Dangle enough money and all of the sudden it would be near impossible to achieve goals when everyone stands to gain financially by stopping you (even your cousin and definitely your neighbor).[1] Of course Putin is full of shit when offering $50m as a reward. But he is in the right direction. Perhaps would be more believable if the sum wasn’t so damn high.

    3. ErikSchwartz

      The problem isn’t lack of surveillance or lack of data. The problem is we have so much data we can’t find the useful data in a reasonable amount of time.

    4. Alex Murphy

      I think the point about having sex with someone you love was a) a public service announcement b) generally a good idea and c) meant for humans, not dogs.

      1. JLM

        .Haha, fair play. Still,JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    5. fredwilson

      Insults accepted

      1. LE

        Now I am going to have to go back and read the entire epic comment instead of skimming it.

      2. JLM

        .Good sport of you, Fred, but then I know you wouldn’t want it any other way. I have lauded your genius sufficiently to allow a bit of ugly on an ape, no?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    6. Lawrence Brass

      “The problem is subdividing the international v domestic take. The domestic is illegal. The international, perfectly legal. The NSA is doing both and nobody can control the NSA.”International spying and tapping may be perfectly legal in the United States, but it is perfectly illegal under the laws of most of the target countries. I do understand the will and need to gather intel to get and maintain an advantageous geopolitical and military position, any developed country does the same independently of what their political actors say to the public, they just lie.It is hard to believe that these brutal events are a surprise for the intel community and its also hard to believe that the NSA runs on its own.

      1. JLM

        .Two points — the CIA is, of course, violating a bunch of laws. The NSA, arguably, is not even when they do the same things while headquartered in the US. No jurisdiction.Even when the CIA is up to mischief, they rarely operate directly in the home country of the target. They recruit Russians in London not Moscow.Take a look and see how long an NSA chieftain serves for — similar to the FBI chief — long enough to avoid undue administration pressure. It is a very good practice but it has some problems.Imagine you were a 28 year old with 1,000,000 SF of Cray computers at your disposal. What mischief could you get into?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. Lawrence Brass

          Certainly, the guys with those toys must have a lot of fun. The only hope common people have is that all that processing power plus all the public and private data stored is used responsibly and by people that can be held accountable for its use or misuse. Today it is a black box that you have to trust blindly. Breaking up with the dog might be a very good idea indeed.BTW: A field report. I saw a giant monkey paw at the Smithsonian Hirschhorn Museum of Modern Art in Washington DC. This was two weeks ago, I don’t know if it is still there. The paw was about a foot in diameter if not more, made of white (or painted) thick rope. It immediately reminded me about the Big Red Car story in which I learned about the monkey paw existence. Tried to take a photo but the guards told me that it was not allowed. Just in case you land in DC on your trip back.

          1. JLM

            .Haha, the Monkey’s Paw. Extra credit to Mr. Brass, please.At a cocktail party the other night — three Deep Eddy ruby red vodkas to the good side of the ledger — I tied one from memory.I untied it — which is harder and then did it again winning free drinks for a substantial period of time thereafter.You just never know when the basic skills of life will get you a free drink.Be safe and have a great weekend.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          2. Lawrence Brass

            Thanks for the extras, I hope you were using proper rope and not your tie for the trick. I commented to my wife while we were staring at ‘the thing’ – “That’s a monkey’s paw”, very sure of what I was saying. She shook her head and stared at me. “How do you know that?”How can I explain I am frequenting this bar at nights?Cheers.

    7. Cam MacRae

      We are in substantial agreement, however it is no longer possible for the US to take a decision to lead and destroy ISIS militarily. Putin’s ascent to global leadership and the burgeoning alliance of Russia, France, and Germany have entirely fulfilled Obama’s wish to follow. The humiliation seems all but complete.In the short term this is not a bad thing as the Russians appear not to be afflicted by the idealism and squeamishness that has taken root in the US, and so it’s entirely possible they’ll actually finish the job. (Your Republican Guard analogy doesn’t seem to hold here as it is not sufficient to simply run the bastards off, but rather to run the bastards through.).The long term geopolitical implications are mildly terrifying. I wish the highest office in your land a swift recovery from what seems to be a dire case of muppetry. And if you could possibly be back on deck before the next go around, well… that would be peachy.

      1. JLM

        .This is a brilliantly insightful and cutting edge comment. Things in the Middle East are re-shuffling the deck in real time. It would not be beyond the pale to see a Russia, France, Jordan, Iran, Iraq alliance emerge from this.These are the wages of incompetence at the Oval Office.We have to do better the next time around but it is unimaginable we could do worse, no?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  29. Erin

    To your point about not allowing the attacks to create a divide, I saw a great satirical article on some backlash directed toward the muslims here in Canada.

  30. kellercl

    Completely agree. This is exactly what ISIS and other terrorist organizations want. If we push these people away then they’ll have no other place to go.

  31. pointsnfigures

    I agree we should not be demonizing them. I was very chagrined at Mike Huckabee’s comment the other day. I wrote about it on my blog and remembered what FDR said, “unconditional surrender”. FDR also said, ” “we mean no harm to the common people of the Axis nations. But we do mean to impose punishment and retribution upon their guilty, barbaric leaders”. On the immigration question-it does no good to demonize anyone but I do think that you have to go into it with a clear eye. This is not like Jewish immigration in 1938-45. We can probably statistically profile likely terrorists pretty well. In the short term, what if we let mothers and their children into the country while we checked out the fathers? My gut is that with most people we can reach the same page without political hyperbole. I was chagrined to see Paul Graham tweet that startups know where to locate by the governors that weren’t allowing refugees in. We don’t need cheap shots now. We need to defeat ISIS completely, and give the people under their thumb hope.

  32. RayOne

    When the burkas drop and men with guns demand, it is too late.Charlie .

  33. William Mougayar

    I think it’s a multiple pronged strategy including continuing to live with our liberties, while redoubling the fight against all evil doers.Lots of grey in the middle, and we need to be smart about everything. At least, I don’t see why we can’t totally stall their online propaganda and recruitments. This war will not be won just by remote control.

  34. Oren Moravchik

    I’m Israeli, so unfortunately I’m familiar with many of the aspects. It’s surprising, but Israel is succeeding in its defensive war against terror, and its main weapon is intelligence. There are multiple atrocious attacks, but most are lone wolf or small scale operations such as stabbing and shooting. It feels as if any organized operation is discovered and neutralized in time. Bus bombings, which require organization, have almost stopped. So I completely agree re using collective information for that cause.However, I don’t think governments are the right agent in this case. The decision makers there have multiple different agendas, and as we see in the current knee jerk reactions, their resulting judgement is questionable.Why can’t a private company do it? Today most of the relevant data belongs to the companies themselves. If one of them, or a new one, leads this effort under the same principles you mentioned, Fred, it may be doable.

    1. LE

      The way that Israel differs from the US is very simple. Everyone has skin the game and everyone is touched by the terrorism and the conflict. (Military service for example). As a result the police or the military can (from what I am seeing correct me if I am wrong) shoot someone and apply force without the public rising up and questioning very closely (as is done in this country) whether they should have used that force. [1] Here people are pampered and far from things unless you include seeing it on the news most people feel pretty safe and that guides how liberal they act and they feel.[1] The talking heads on TV and simplistic social media pundits are always second guessing the police thinking that they should just spend unlimited time and resources to deal with someone who doesn’t listen to their very obvious commands. Not the way I was raised. Amazing that people can even think they would know what they would do if in the same position as the policeman was.

      1. Oren Moravchik

        It’s true that everyone has skin in the game, but one of its effects is that there is high awareness to the moral aspects of all the related questions – e.g. when and how to apply force. Here unfortunately one of main problems is media coverage. You won’t believe how easy it is for the media (incl. social media) to create impressions that are ridiculously far from the truth. I completely agree that you can’t judge one until you’re in his position.

  35. DJL

    Let’s use a business analogy: If your business has been going in the wrong direction for 7 years, and you suddenly realize a new market reality and pivot – that would be considered a “knee jerk reaction.” But it was necessary for your survival.People here need a major dose of reality. It is widely understood within the intelligence community that these rogue attacks are the number one threat to our security. They are committed 100% (not 80, not 90. but 100%) by young males who converted to Islam and then got radical. (They were already evil.) ISIS warned that they would use this refugee situation against targets – and they have. It look less than a few months.Now, to consciously bring in 100,000 people who mostly fit this profile into our country – claiming you will “vet” them is not only irrational – but dangerous. President Obama and John Kerry and his administration are putting our country at a grave risk. It is inexcusable. Spend all the money you want creating safe zones over there. (Oh yes, we did, it was called Iraq.) So thank God for the people who are standing up against this.So here is your Liberal thought-teaser for the day: If Islam is such a compassionate, loving religion – why are none of the other Muslim countries taking in their brothers? No, it’s up to the “evil” decadent West.PS – As for “big data” – Twitter and Facebook are the number one recruiting tools for these crazies. It’s not hard to write an algorithm to find them. Hello Big Brother.

    1. Phil Chacko

      The United States has let in 750,000 refugees since 9/11. Only 2 have been arrested on terrorism-related charges and zero attacks have been carried out.How do we destroy terrorism? There are two parts to the equation. 1. Destroy terrorists, or otherwise neutralize their danger. 2. Prevent new terrorists from emerging.Cancer is a reasonable analogy. To fight cancer, you actively root out and destroy malignant cells. Active terrorists in our case. But part 2 must involve reducing the risk of new cancer formation. For cancer, we reduce our exposure to carcinogens (smoking, etc.) and monitor areas where cancer might emerge (prostate exams, etc.). For terrorism we should monitor at-risk populations. Conservatives consistently fail to address the “carcinogen” aspect of the problem, which is a failure to accept and assimilate immigrant populations and offer pathways to peaceful success. We actually don’t have a big problem with this in the US and so refugees in the US are not really a risk. This is a huge problem in Europe, where immigrant populations are held at arms length and extensively discriminated against. Creating angry youth leads to violence. Daesh (ISIL’s) strategy is to create more angry youth by having us marginalize at-risk people.There are 1.6 billion Muslims on the planet. If we had a Muslim problem, the sheer size of that population would make fighting terrorism quite daunting. But we don’t have a Muslim problem. We have an asshole problem. Let’s not feed it.

      1. DJL

        How do we destroy cancer today? We kill the cells and many of the cells around it – even if they are innocent. That is the level of sophistication. So your analogy would suggest even more dramatic approaches. But this goes way beyond “ass-holes”…Islam is a necessary funnel to Radical Islam. So the Liberal argument of “you cannot blame Islam” is the hatchet used to destroy all meaningful discussion of the facts. Islamic Law (Sharia) and Democracy cannot co-exist. They are fundamentally incompatible. So you either want to bend America in the shape of Islam, or you resist Islam. I’ll take Option #2. If you have lived in a country that was once Christian and been taken over by Muslims – you would understand.

        1. Alex Murphy

          Terrorists have engaged in their acts of terror under the banner of many religions, including Christianity. While the Pope was the highest authority in the world, the Catholic church stole and more from people in many different cultures.The US works because we flatly reject that notion of the church, or any religion, holding power over government. There are many religions in the US that do not agree with that point of view, and that is okay. It is exactly that tolerance that makes the US so amazing and unique in the world.Our roots are from western Europe, where not so long ago people served their kings. It was not all that different than what you see today. Uprisings, skirmishes, terror.Take a more progressive point of view, lean on education, lean on empathy, lean on treating others the way you want to be treated, turn the other cheek … you know, all the things that Jesus would ask you to do.

          1. DJL

            Sorry – creating a moral equivalent between Christianity and ISIS is not supported by any facts. Show me one place in the world today where Christians (or Jews or Hindus) are killing people just because they are not of their same religion. This is a silly argument made by the PC crowd who are afraid to call out the enemy.Your last paragraph is a classic: All of the values you espouse are based on Christianity. Yet “progressive” thinking tries to push Christianity to the sidelines. Like it or not, the foundations of America came from Judaeo-Christian values. How do you think the US came to be the most giving, empathetic country in the world? When you take out the Christian principles you gut the very core. And you see the results of this every day.Unfortunately, Islam is a governing system. No “separation of church and state”. So Islam and the Democracy we cherish cannot co-exist. So there is no equivalency (in moral or practical terms).

  36. panterosa,

    Very interested to see what Anonymous can get shine light on and shut down.

    1. JaredMermey

      The very idea of anonymous and Isis going head on is an amazing event in history. Two organizations that are rooted in ideology, are not recognized countries and are not two groups staking claim for the same land/property/business (I.e. Cartels) feels like a consequence of the modern world.Is there precedent?

      1. Thomas Paine

        This is a clash of ideologies, classic liberalism vs a death cult seeking to bring about the appearance of The Mahdi through global conflagration. Except, the death cult steeped in questionable reading of 8th century hadiths has use of 21st century technology and military hardware. Meanwhile, the classic liberals have not military gear but a world of cyber talents. I am putting my money on the modernists.

  37. Shaun Dakin

    The real terror threat in America?Angry white men who own unlimited guns because of the NRA.Angry white men who shoot up schools, movie theaters and community centers.Angry white men given a pass by elected officials.Enough.

    1. pwrserge

      Sorry smart one, but guns are used to stop murders far more often then they are used to carry them out.

      1. Thomas Paine

        Bazinga!Even the most conservative study says there are 50,000+ successful self-defense events per year in the USA (the highest estimate suggests over 700,000). That low end number is nearly 5X the gun homicide rate in the USA.

        1. pwrserge

          Actually, the highest estimate is 2.3 million… But who’s counting?

          1. Thomas Paine

            serge – First, i low-balled so that any reader’s head would not explode reading 1mm+. Second, social scientists all have different definitions of DGU leading to me choosing a middle ground. Third, if you really want the high water mark, see the National Survey on Private Ownership and Use of Firearms study from 1994 which suggested 4.7mm DGUs per year. While they tried to adjust that survey for false positives, I still find that very high.Worth noting is that since 1994, the private stock of firearms in the USA has risen by 2X along with a rise of first-time gun ownership.On the very low end, I may have shot from the hip and should have used a real number, such as the one put out by the Violence Policy Center, a group more inline with Shaun’s thinking. Their 2013 study (covering 2007-2011 data) put the average at 67,740 per annum, or 6X+ the gun homicide rate. That study used data from the federal Bureau of Justice and only includes events reported to law enforcement, the minority of DGUs.

    2. Thomas Paine

      Shaun Dakin:The NRA represents 5% (~5mm) of the estimated legal gun owners in the USA (~100mm). It is far from the monolithic boogey man you would like to think it is.I guess you are not aware of the Asians, Middle Easterners and African-Americans who have been the perpetrators of rampage shootings in the past few years. I guess you would prefer to ban guns than figure out why you think so many “angry white men” are so angry. Ever wonder what it is about modern society that is causing young men of every race to become spree killers? Ever consider that in China, where guns are not available, such anger is articulated through knife attacks? No, none of that would be compatible with your hatred for white men and guns.As for angry white men getting a pass by elected officials – WTF?! Have you read anything about the plight of white males on college campuses today? Any clue about the meaning and basis of #waronmen? How about “the pass” that angry black men get in Chicago, Compton, Camden, Detroit, New Orleans or any other big city where young black men are killing each other every week. Where is the outrage about “plain ole street crime”?There are over 100mm law-abiding gun owners in the USA who DO NOT shoot anyone EVERY SINGLE DAY. There are 300mm+ firearms in the USA that ARE NOT used in gun violence EVERY SINGLE DAY. Yet, as noted, you ignore that there are angry black men in the USA who shoot other black men (and children) EVERY SINGLE DAY. More Americans are shot by black men every year than by white men, irrespective of anger level. And the vast majority of those guns are possessed illegally or are stolen.Your hysterical hoplophobia and self-loathing as an apparently angry white man is disheartening, and sad.

  38. Shaun Dakin

    A quote from the Paris attacks.Imagine if American leaders understood this.?

    1. pwrserge

      I hate to break it to you, but the durka durkas don’t care. Your flowers are useless against fanatics who are out to destroy you and everything you stand for.

    2. LE

      Ironically the brainwashed moonies in the airports used to have flowers as well. I quite frankly don’t fully understand people who spew useless sayings like that. To me they are so simplistic as to be laughable.

    3. Thomas Paine

      Shaun – maybe you can reach out to isobel bowdery on FB and ask her if a bouquet of flowers would have given her solace Friday night or saved the dead who were all around her.

  39. Rick Wingender

    Someone named “Kurt”, a friend of a friend, wroteon my friend’s Facebook timeline that, “there has to be a better way”,regarding the Syrian refugees. Below is what I wrote in my response to him:”Kurt, the key here is in your comment, ‘There has to be abetter way”. I agree. And I agree that we should not let innocent peopleget slaughtered. And I sure hope you are this vocal about what continues tohappen in the Sudan, atrocities committed by Muslims on the local non-Muslimpopulation.However – Bringing refugees here is not “The better way”. Wehave massive problems already in the U.S., and we’ve demonstrated an inabilityto solve our own problems. Bringing refugees here will only exacerbate theproblems we have now. The President of the United States and the US Congresshave a duty to American Citizens. They have no duty to non-Americans. Ourcurrent President is more interested in winning Nobel Peace Prizes than he isinterested in improving the lives of the poverty-stricken already here.Poverty: We have too much – and growing – poverty. Ourmiddle class is shrinking, and our homelessness problem is growing. One in 50children is homeless now. These refugees will not help this situation; theywill contribute to it. Abject poverty leads to other problems; read on:Unemployment: We already have a jobs crisis in this country.Adding thousands of refugees who speak little, if any, English will worsen theproblem. They are not bringing with them skills that we need, and it will benearly impossible for them to find jobs….not that we have any anyway. Theywill be competing with illegal immigrants, mostly Mexicans, for jobs.Crime: As a result of the lack of jobs, they won’t havemoney or homes. Bringing in thousands of refugees will increase crime – even ifthey are ALL good people, many will be forced to resort to crime. Shoplifting,burglary, armed robbery – I expect all of these issue to happen, because thisis what Europe is already experiencing. I don’t think I should be rewarded formy hospitality, humanity, and generosity by having a gun pointed in my face. Wealready have too much crime, and this will place a heavy burden on the criminaljustice system. Crimes will be committed against Americans; and that willcreate further conflict and ill-will. It will foment more hatred and distrust.Debt: We have too much – and growing – debt. We are abankrupt country. These people will need food, shelter, and medical care.California is nearly bankrupt, and a significantly contributing factor is thatCalifornia provides healthcare to its illegals – and California cannot affordit. When I lived in Tennessee, I saw a phenomenal event in Knoxville – a freedental clinic opened for a few days. The lines stretched for a mile –literally, a mile. They still couldn’t see everyone. There are too manyAmerican Citizens that can’t get healthcare already, and this would mean thateven fewer Tennesseans would have access to simple healthcare. So if it soundscruel, I’m sorry, but I believe in taking care of American Citizens first. So,when the refugees come, we will spend a lot of money on food, shelter, medicalcare, and increased criminal justice services that we cannot afford. Ourmilitary veterans are often homeless and don’t get the medical care THEY need.They come first!!!Decades ago, we had the ability to support this kind ofinflux. But even if we still did, I still would not support this influx. I donot doubt that 99% of the Syrians are victims and are generally decent people.But I also know that the 0.1% will take advantage of our generosity by blendingin with the good people, and they will expand their operations here. There isno “database” of information about these people. It’s folly to think that thesepeople can be effectively screened – they cannot. We know nothing about themother than what they tell us. It will suddenly become much more difficult forHomeland Security, the FBI, etc, etc, to weed out the bad characters. That willresult in a more fertile environment, making it easier for terrorists tooperate on American soil. I am not willing to risk this.So, you said, “there must be a better way”. I agree. Thebetter way is get Saudi Arabia and other rich middle eastern countries toparticipate and eradicate ISIS and Al Queda, AND, to get them to take in morerefugees themselves. To date, Saudi Arabia has taken in 100,000 refugees, whileGermany has taken in 800,000, and already causing political, social, criminal,and financial chaos. The Syrians should not have to leave their homes. Theworld should have taken out Assad a long time ago, and the world shouldbrutally and completely eradicate terror groups. We have been too conservative,too forgiving. The smartest people on the planet are those of Eastern Europe…they seem to see the situation most clearly, and understand what happens infive or ten years if they allow their countries to be overrun. They areprobably doing a better job of paying attention to what has happened in Swedenover the past several years than the liberal American media has. Untilrecently, I was clueless about the issues that Sweden is facing with regard toMuslim immigration. I’ve been reading a lot about it lately though. Theystarted taking in Muslims several years ago. Their reward? Their crime hasskyrocketed, and their women are now being raped at a rate higher than anyother in the world (with the exception of Lesotho in Africa). The Swedes arethe most politically correct people on earth, and apparently, they’d rather havetheir women raped than say anything negative publicly about Muslims. Americansare not far behind. It is important for you, Kurt, to understand that I don’tthink all these Muslims in Sweden are raping everyone. I do think that in arefugee situation, you get a higher proportion of bad characters. You also geta conflict of cultures. What is acceptable in Syria may not be acceptable inSweden or in the USA. The Muslims cannot comprehend why we allow our women tovote, to drive, to get college degrees. Christianity, Judaism, and Buddhism areall compatible because they all tolerate each other. Islam has a largepercentage that do not tolerate Christian or western values. Not all, butenough that it will cause conflict and crime that we do not need here.It’s being commonly reported that many Governors do notsupport the influx of refugees. Everyone should understand that this is nice,but they do not have the legal authority or physical ability to prevent therefugees from coming here. To stop that, it has to come from CONGRESS. So,write or call your Senators and your U.S. Congressmen. Governors cannot even stop refugees from crossing state lines.

  40. jerrycolonna

    God bless you and Albert.

  41. Semi Spy

    I am afraid how to get rid off. Amazing story

  42. ErikSchwartz

    Any alliance that defeats ISIS will, knowingly or not, be allied with Iran and opposed to the Wahhabi in Saudi Arabia. Until the United States becomes comfortable with that idea then all we are doing is agitating ISIS and making the situation worse.

    1. pwrserge

      Or we could just take out all three. There is a lot to be said for generous application of nuclear weapons. The middle east is overdue for a good old fashioned nuclear fumigation.

      1. ErikSchwartz

        Yeah, because the proper response to a wanna be genocidal maniac is for us to become an actual genocidal maniac. Enjoy your seat at the table next to Pol Pot and Stalin.

        1. pwrserge

          Sorry sonny, it’s not genocide, by definition. Islam is not a race.

          1. ErikSchwartz

            Neither is Judaism junior. That was genocide.

          2. pwrserge

            Actually, there is such a thing as a Jewish race. Try again.

          3. ErikSchwartz

            If you can covert to it then it is not a race.

          4. pwrserge

            Sorry, son. You’re conflating the religion and the race again. Two separate issues.Not all ethnic Jews are Jewish and not all Jews are ethnically Jewish. Just like not everybody from Russia is Russian.

          5. ErikSchwartz

            This is a lovely straw man. You realize the definition of genocide is not dependent on race?Keep digging junior, you genocidal lunatic.

          6. pwrserge

            Actually, it is. It’s part of the word smart one. Geno from the latin genus (a race or species) cide (to kill).Do you even Latin bro?

          7. ErikSchwartz

            I took several years of Latin but Latin is moot here.We’re talking legal definition not etymological. Go read article II

          8. pwrserge

            The UN doesn’t have standing here. Their definitions and treaties aren’t worth the paper they are printed on.

          9. ErikSchwartz

            I would expect someone who believes in genocide as a solution to think that.

          10. Thomas Paine

            Seriously! How about the genocide being visited upon Middle East Christians by Muslims? Can you guys stop throwing sand and consider that? I am pretty sure putting a priority on providing sanctuary to persecuted Christians from the region would be a safe bet. Last I heard, there are no bona fide Christians acting as ISIS sleeper agents.

          11. ErikSchwartz

            First of all how would one demonstrate “bona fide” Christianity?Second of all the VAST majority of the victims of ISIS are shia’s and secular sunnis (who they consider apostates).So are you supporting the let’s perpetrate a larger genocide solution to the problem?

          12. Thomas Paine

            Gee, let me see, how about doing what the UN is doing to “vet” refugees on the USA’s behalf – ask questions? Dear Christian-claiming refugee, can you recite “The Lord’s Prayer”? “The Creed”? When did you complete your sacraments? Can you tell us what church you worshiped in? Are there any other congregants of that church who can vouch for your membership?Any Christian can answer those questions without a moment’s hesitation? No Muslim would learn that information as Muslims can speak about a Christian god in any convincing way. Sure, there is the practice of Taqiyya but that would require quite a bit of preparation and advanced planning.Thus, if you, or anyone else believes “vetting” is possible, then you would have to agree that the vetting of Christians would be the easiest to do and the process that would lead to the least “false positives”.As for your second point, you are being childish.

          13. ErikSchwartz

            My second point was the vast majority of ISIS victims are fellow Muslims not Christians.I know lots of secular Christians who would not pass those tests. Never mind the whole “religious test” thing is pretty much the most un-American thing imaginable.

          14. Thomas Paine

            My point is there is a subset of these refugees who can be vetted more quickly than the others and would present a lower risk of someone slipping through who might prove to be a problem later.As for un-American, what “test” was there, it was a factual vetting. If the person can say “Our father, who art in Heaven…”, or “I believe in one God, Father almighty…” or mention a church in Syria or discuss when they were baptized then it is likely they are Christian and, therefor, not an ISIS member. It is a tool in the interview process. That’s all.Not everything has to be about religion in the religious context, unless you look for such “grievances”.

          15. pwrserge

            Again… Not genocide. You can’t commit genocide against a religion. Same way you can’t be racist against a religion. Take your liberal card and flash it to someone who cares.

          16. ErikSchwartz

            Like I said before. The bodies on this planet who have been tasked with defining genocide disagree with you. You are free not to recognize those bodies but they are what we have on this planet with the broadly agreed upon authority to define things like genocide so you’re really on your own.

          17. pwrserge

            The UN has no authority. It has no sovereignty and therefore is a joke.

          18. ErikSchwartz

            So says an anonymous troll on the internet who hides behind a pseudonym. The world community disagrees with you. But of course you anonymous troll is right and the rest of the world is wrong.

          19. pwrserge

            The “world community” has no power over the US. We’re the superpower. We decide what the law is or isn’t.

  43. pwrserge

    Or, you know, you can take the fight to them. Quit importing terrorists and nuke one of their population centers for every attack on our soil. Continue until the knock it off or we run out of middle east to glass.

  44. LE

    I would pardon Snowden on those grounds alone.Sorry Albert, slippery slope as well as moral hazard. Can’t have that happening. Can’t give people a pass for those circumstances. Ridiculous (I feel so strongly about this I will use that word..)What would you say if someone killed a man or woman and you later found out that that person was a serial killer or had a murder in play for someone else. Or a terrorist action to take it to an extreme?. Would you say “give him a pass because look at what was prevented from happening?” Or would you say “the ends don’t justify the means”.To me it’s very clear what should happen to Snowden. No pass at all not even close.

    1. sigmaalgebra

      Maybe the NSA was often wildly wrong. But that does not mean that Snowden is not a traitor.

      1. LE

        I agree he is a traitor and should be punished as such despite any of what people consider to be the upside of what he did. Shocked shocked that gambling was happening in the joint type of thing you know.

  45. LE

    Governments can and should tell their citizens what information they are collecting and how they are using that information. And companies should disclose which of these programs they participate in. Any and all such programs should have oversight by elected politicians and transparent reporting on their scope and effectiveness.So complete transparency? Maybe we can also let mafia targets know when we are bugging their phone lines or have wires planted? You do what you need to protect yourself from a bad situation, plain and simple to me. Oversight is fine and appropriate but trying to explain to simpletons (or even the media) why you are doing what you need to do is absurd.You have to have faith that Daddy knows best. You also have to understand that Daddy sometimes makes mistakes and that nobody is perfect. You also have to understand that Daddy is human and sometimes will do things that might make you not respect him in the morning. Maybe Daddy is even a bit corrupt. That’s ok as long as in the end he gives you a safe place to live.

  46. LE

    Demonizing is the behavior the terrorists want to see from us. We should not let them have that victory.Oh give it up. They love and lust for killing. They aren’t going to stop anything at all based on anything that we do (like that). A few comments here today actually sounded a bit like “show them some love and they will stop all of this”.One thing that might actually stop them is if there wasn’t so much fucking publicity each and everytime an event happened. That is what they high five to. Just like those school shooters are born from the publicity of the last school shooter and the lust to be someone important.

    1. sigmaalgebra

      > One thing that might actually stop them is if there wasn’t so much fucking publicity each and everytime an event happened.Not a chance. Instead, Ali Fatwa abu Jihad bin Boom Boom is all fired up, blood coming out of his eyes, nose, ears, wherever, screaming “Death to America”, “Jihad”, going for his magic carpet ride to Allah and 72 virgins, and, most importantly of all, having nothing else to do or understands to do, grabbing his rusty AK-47 and going off to kill. And he’d be thrilled to kill you, even if the effort killed him. He especially wants to pop off a nuke in NY harbor.Publicity affects him no more than it would a rabid dog. They’ve been screaming “Jihad” and killing all infidels for hundreds of years, long before any publicity. Besides, how many of them can even read English, French, German, whatever.You are wildly underestimating the drive of ISIS.

      1. LE

        Publicity helps with recruitment. Hard to deny that.Publicity also furthers their goal by creating anxiety and accomplishing the goal of terror. People are not afraid of things that they don’t know about or see.Did I ever mention the example of the twitching cat that was killed by a car one day?I was driving home and I saw a cat that had just been struck by a car. It was lying in the road twitching. I felt really bad after seeing that for a few hours. Then all the sudden I thought “well there are cats suffering all over the world that I don’t see what is so special about this cat other than I happen to see it?”.My point is that there is no question that exposure to all of this with the 24 hour news cycle helps achieve a goal of creating anxiety and fear in all of us that is, quite frankly, a bit irrational in the sense that the chance of it happening to any of us is actually quite small (people killed vs. people on this planet is what I mean of course it’s bad if you are one of them obviously). Does not mean we should not do something about it of course we should. But we don’t need to get everyone riled up in the way that is being done. Of course that is done solely because it sells advertising or furthers a particular politicians objective.I am also worried about the power grid which I am told is a nice juicy target that could create way more pain for many more people than a bunch of bombs or guns in Paris.I was at a synagogue affair a few weeks ago and there was a former state trooper who was making $20 per hour guarding the event. He had a gun. So I struck up a conversation with him (he liked the work). Anyway he walks around with the gun and a few people commented on how great that was in protecting us (we were all standing at the cocktail hour and then later at the desserts.) I thought “oh yeah for sure someone comes in with an automatic weapon or another gun and this guy will just happen to be able to take that guy out with his one small gun.”.

        1. sigmaalgebra

          > One thing that might actually stop themStopping publicity might slow their recruitment but it won’t “stop them”. They’ve been jihading for hundreds of years without publicity.For how to “stop them”, I outlined that, with section titles, here in…It’s time to stop them. Or you believe we should wait until they pop off a nuke in NY harbor?

  47. Stephen Voris

    Likely I’m biased because of my own homestay experiences, but I think it would make sense to handle this on a per-household basis: set up a way for individual American* households to volunteer to accept refugees (saying how many people they have room for), and conversely for the refugees to state their group size (i.e.: to avoid splitting families if possible), and then match the two.*Probably generalizable to other host countries as well

    1. Thomas Paine

      Glenn Beck (yes, the evil Glenn Beck) has set up an effort to relocate displaced Christians. He has raised, through he viewers, $12mm and has 11,000 viewers who have indicated they are willing to open their homes to refugees, either temporarily or longer term.So Christians have stepped up. How many advocating “more refugees” have made any efforts to support that effort? How many would sign up for your suggested “host family” program. As is often the case, I will value those demanding more when they are willing to invest in that effort.

      1. Stephen Voris

        Certainly that’s better than no one opening their homes – I applaud that effort.What I’m worried about is governmental hurdles at the moment – that is, the prospect of some of those viewers being unable to make good on their offers because, say, the governor of their state categorically ‘refused to accept refugees’.

        1. Thomas Paine

          Beck’s efforts are all being done in private, with sponsors, etc.

  48. Josh

    There are other ways we can be protecting these migrants than by offering refugee status. I think what is lost here is that the stated strategy of ISIS is to infiltrate countries using Syrian migrants as cover. They are very open about this. We have no reason not to believe them in light of all the recent attacks. If we truly wanted to help these people we would have done what was necessary a long time ago. Why is it that the day after the Paris attacks that France drop bombs on a known jihadist training camp? Why are we not turning each target into glass the second we confirm the target? The answer lies with our indecisive President who believes that ISIS is the “JV team” and that they have been contained–he could not be more wrong. It is the acceptance of the Syrian migrants that is the knee jerk response. To accept them now in light of all the attacks goes against reason. How can anyone honestly answer that we are more safe by inviting these ppl to the US? Because there better be a damn good reason why any President would make a decision that makes our country less safe. ISIS WANTS us to take them and knows that we are not united in seeing ISIS defeated. If we were, we wouldn’t need to have these conversations, the Syrian migrants would be in their homes, and ISIS would be pummeled. It is because of our inaction that we are in the situation that we are in and Obama doesn’t want to do anything to affect his already tarnished legacy.

    1. sigmaalgebra

      > The answer lies with our indecisive President who believes that ISIS is the “JV team”He’s not “indecisive” at all.

  49. kidmercury

    i wanted to use this post as an opportunity to make fun of the knicks but then i saw the highlights of porzingis from the game last night, and i wasn’t able to, unfortunately.

    1. LE

      Rome burns while Nero fiddles.

  50. sigmaalgebra

    For ISIS, Islam, Syria, etc., most of this thread makes no sense to me.I’m a native born US citizen living 70 miles north of Wall Street, and here is what does make sense to me for both the US and me:CultureThe US has a culture that grew up from various influences.The Mideast countries have a culture that is heavily from Islam.These cultures, that is, the US and Mideast Islam, are different, so different that, apparently from recent history, they can’t really mix peacefully in the same family, neighborhood, town, country, or even continent.Of course, this is not the first case in history of two cultures not being able to mix peacefully.ISIS and IslamNo sense in saying that ISIS is secular. Instead, clearly, ISIS is closely tied to Sunni Islam. Two points in support:(A) Their leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi certainly regards himself and his ISIS as essentially Sunni Islam.(B) In the ISIS areas, ISIS kills anyone, with the possible exception of sex slaves, who refuses to join their version of Sunni Islam.ISIS ThreatISIS in their public statements and actions is trying to take over the world, convert it all to their version of Sunni Islam and kill all infidels, that is, everyone else.In particular, ISIS has stated that they want to nuke the US. They might try to light off a nuke in NY harbor 70 miles from me. They have my full attention. In saying nuke, they said the wrong word.Fundamental ObstacleIn the Mideast Islamic areas, Islam runs everything — education, dress codes, diets, social norms, courtship and marriage, the media, architecture, the legal system, foreign policy, the government, etc.Except for oil, the Mideast Islam is still a desert culture, tents, flocks, and camels, 1000 years out of date.Mideast Islam comes in two versions, Sunni and Shiite, and they hate each other and have nothing they would rather do than kill each other. Also, they regard everyone else as an infidel they also want to kill.This interest in killing is 1000 years old and in no way caused by the US.The Mideast Islamic culture controls so much that nothing from outside and nothing less than 1000 years old has any influence. Net, Islam is ALL they know — this point is just crucial and needs our full attention.Again, Islam controls everything and is all the culture they have — they don’t have anything else. They can go to Sweden, Germany, France, the US, etc., but, still, for at least some generations, all the culture they will have will be just Mideast Islam — a melting pot won’t cause them to assimilate. Take away that Islam from such a person, and they will have no culture at all and will flounder around in all aspects of life.We very much need to recognize this point.E.g., at great cost in US blood and treasure, we set up in Iraq a secular constitutional parliamentary democracy and ran free elections. But as soon as we quit running Iraq, presto, bingo, slam, bam, it went right back to government by sectarian Sunni or Shiite Islam and reignited the 1000 year old Sunni-Shiite wars.Another example? Sure, Syria — Sunni-Shiite wars.Why? The Mideast is a desert country. Except for oil, they are an area of tents, flocks, and camels. So, they can have next to nothing in agriculture, education, manufacturing, science, technology, etc. — no one living in such a desert cooking food over burning camel dung could do more.The people in the Mideast deserts are not weak or stupid. Instead, the desert is a very unforgiving place, and a person has to be strong and smart to live there. But, still, in such a desert, the culture will be very limited; so, they have Mideast Islam, and that is ALL.Mideast culture going for Sunni-Shiite wars? Then, as soon as they can, going for wars with all infidels? Simple. Obvious. Totally predictable. For us to expect something is just totally brain-dead.Remember, No SurpriseOr, we should remember the many decades of the rivers of Europe running red with the blood of Catholic-Protestant wars. Or, it’s simple: Western culture is past religious wars, but Mideast culture still is not. No big surprise.Or, we should remember the many centuries of Europe’s wars between states. Bosnia? WWII? WWI? … Napoleon?The US? Remember the Civil War?What about the US Indian wars?Bring an old culture forward? How successful was the US with the native Americans?Net, there is no hope of changing Mideast Islam.ResponseAs Mideast Islam, now in particular ISIS, gets violent outside their borders and in particular threatens US interests or the US, the US must defend itself. Again, ISIS said the wrong word — nuke.Options:(A) Occupy the ISIS area and bring them forward to a culture that works in the present world? Have to bring a culture forward 1000 years, and we tried that in Iraq and totally failed. Any such effort would be an expensive long shot.(B) Negotiate a treaty with them? They are not interested, at all.(C) Attack them militarily and obtain an unconditional surrender? We got that in Iraq, and it didn’t do any good. Even if ISIS signed some deal, their signature would mean nothing.So, the goal has to be to make sure ISIS is unable to attack the US or any US interests. Here we are defending ourselves from clear threats from ISIS. With the ISIS culture, as long as they are still able to attack, they still will attack. So, our emphasis has to be on absolutely, literally unable.To slow us down in this goal, ISIS has only two means: First, ISIS has oil revenue. Second, ISIS has our reluctance to hurt their civilians.We have to cancel both of these means, that is, stop their oil revenue and be willing to hurt their civilians.With high relevance, ISIS has no reluctance to kill our civilians and even wants to nuke the US.In defending itself, the US killed many civilians in the past: Nuked Japan. Fire bombed Japan. Created fire storms in major German cities. But both Japan and Germany had already killed many civilians, and the US had to defend itself.Then there are two ways for us to achieve our goal, the nice way and the other way.The Nice Way. We bomb and kill their leaders, bomb and destroy their oil infrastructure, buildings, and vehicles. Send them back to tents, flocks, and camels. Wall off the area — we totally control what goes in or out. Take over the oil.We leave their culture intact, 1000 years out of date, and make no attempt to bring it forward. Their culture will be Islamic tribes in the desert with tents, flocks, and camels. And no guns.The Other Way. Bomb the ISIS leadership, oil infrastructure, buildings, vehicles, tents, flocks, and camels. Or in the words of an Indiana Jones move, we wipe the desert clean. We can to it all in about six weeks without nukes and without ever touching the ground. We should go for zero US casualties or deaths and minimal money expended. Done.I thought that the C. Rice We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud. was inappropriate then and still believe it was. But for ISIS, this C. Rice remark is on target. Paris is plenty for our Pearl Harbor wake up event.ISIS wants magic carpet rides to Allah, and to defend ourselves we have to give them what they want.Sorry ’bout that, but I live just 70 miles north of Wall Street.

  51. PerceiveToBeWise

    Though I tend to lean somewhat in agreement with the blog post, I also see there are no winners in this entire situation. Many in the West don’t have a clue as to the thinking of Islamists. Some,in the name of inclusion and multiculturalism, embrace and welcome those of other ethnicities not understanding Islam. Unfortunately, there are many especially on the left and that includes Obama who are Islamist apologists. I don’t know Obama’s reasoning as he should know better. But as to others, they didn’t grow up hearing the minuets calling to prayer nor have they studied the Qu’ran or Hadiths. They are easily fooled through deception by Islamists into thinking Islam is a religion of peace. It never was and never will be a religion of peace. It is a religion of submission to the will of Allah as spelled out in the Qu’ran and Hadiths. Peace is only achieved after victory over the world is achieved. This requires our submission for them to achieve their victory.There are lions and there are lambs as some have put it in going to war. The sheep will not move and huddle together where as others will leap into the fight. This occurs on both sides of the West and Islamist. The “moderates” we see are the sheep. The Jihadists are the lions. The majority of the sheep still support the lions silently and never publicly out of fear of retribution against them. Though they may condemn some actions or acts of Jihadists publicly for show, they do not do so in their hearts. How can I make such a claim with authority as if I “know”? Because it is specifically spelled out in the Qu’ran what to do and how to act in front of unbelievers and how to wage guerrilla Jihadist warfare. They are following the script. We are too unknowingly by falling into their hands believing they follow a peaceful religion.The word Islamophobia is a fake propaganda word. Its purpose is not to diagnose some disease but to ridicule and shame used primarily by Islamic apologists and the left. There is nothing to fear about the known but the unknown. Islam is known. Their ideology is known. Many may refuse to believe it and condemn others who do understand it in a brash display of ignorance on the subject never having read to discern for themselves the truth of the matter, but regardless of the argument, the reality is we are in a war of genocide. Our way of life must become extinct and all bow to Allah for them to win. They are willing to die trying to make this happen and have been doing so for 1400 years. We have no choice if we wish to play or not for we must defend ourselves. How we deal with them is what is up for debate. Their minds cannot be changed anymore than any who desire to please ‘god’ and have been so indoctrinated that they feel there is one and only one way to do so.Thus, “Turning against Muslims or against refugees is a terrible response as it only confirms the apocalyptic ideology of the attackers” is a complete false argument only displaying ignorance of the ideology, what is at stake, and how to respond to Islamists. Islam doesn’t have an ideology of an Apocalypse, that is Christendom. Islamic ideology is world conquest where all must bow to Allah. Perhaps one could view their forced servitude and obedience to Islam as an apocalyptic even in their lives but it is not an apocalypse.I can let much of the ignorance go especially from well educated people because the thinking of Islam is so foreign to the thinking of others in the west. It is hard to fathom that anyone can accept such ideology that willfully embraces genocide of others to the point there was cheering at the Greece – Turkey soccer game with calls of Allah Akbar while the rest of the stadium was observing a moment of silence for the victims of the Paris attack.But if one wishes to ask the Armenians, they will more than give you an earful as to the genocide that was perpetrated against them after WWI. We got into the war in Bosnia when there was backlash against the attacks from Islamists that occurred before our involvement. We did fight on the wrong side then and the turmoil there is far from over. Even the UN war tribunal that was setup has found mounting evidence of massive war crimes on the part of the Islamists. There were those who rose up to repel and give an eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth – life for a life – in retribution against the Islamists. We condemned them yet, here we are doing exactly what they were doing while we bomb their cities to rubble. Perhaps the only difference is we bury them from the air instead of in a trench. The result is the same. The terrorists and Islamists are the same. The Boston bombers are the same. The Fort Hood Jihadist (not work place violence) is the same. The Paris tragedy is the same. What we accept and what we condemn is different.It is the west that is inconsistent in our response. If the US was united against Islamic violence and terrorism then we as one people would be feared so as to repel any notion that they can conquer us. But even with so little and primitive means, unless we become of one mind to repel their ideology we will eventually be defeated. Their “game” of genocide is not a game of winning or losing – it is a matter of life or death for us or them. It is the only choice given to us and they will never change their thinking for they have been indoctrinated since childhood and will always be Islamists.

  52. RayOne

    Don’t blame Barry, his fingerprints are wiped away.

  53. Charles Paparelli

    I agree with your premise.I believe we are seeing these “all over the board” reactions from our leaders because our President is not providing us with a plan which makes sense. This is a new enemy with tactics which we aren’t sure we can match. We have a multi billion dollar defense, most of which is ineffective against this enemy.Our commander in chief appears befuddled. This leaves room for the nutty plans and planners. Paris has proven our “normal” in the United States has changed. Are we ready for our “new normal.” US citizens, our friends and neighbors, will be dying right before our eyes. All while drinking champaign, going to sporting events and coming home from work after a hard day.Which of our leaders or wannabe leaders should we be listening to? How should our defense money and intelligence be spent to give us/me some level of confidence that the losses of our citizens will be kept in check? What’s the plan?You presented a plan. Makes sense but you aren’t the Commander in Chief. You lack authority. Whose in charge here?charlie

  54. Ana Milicevic

    The Monocle team has some excellent, in-depth coverage of the Paris events as well as the larger challenges of a destabilized region, refugees, and countering decades of dubious knee-jerk policy decisions. It’s well worth a listen:

  55. SubstrateUndertow

    Exactly right !!!!And shame on the christian-only refugee simpletons.

  56. andrewmaguire

    Well said and bravely said Fred. Worth noting that our preferred approach to fighting ISIS (and others) via drone program, where 80-90% of killings are not the target, just continues to escalate conflict, hatred, and violence. We grow the ranks of groups like ISIS when we favor violence over education and it’s embarrassing to see our political rhetoric at a national and international level playing out just as ISIS wants.

  57. ThatOtherOtherGuy

    The “mastermind” of the attack in Paris rented two hotel rooms under his own name and used a credit card in his own name. He was also stopped by authorities and released.Authorities need to use the non-invasive, non-rights violating data to which they already have access along with better communication between countries and within security organizations. They do not need more data and the particularly don’t need more intrusive, rights violating data.They should embrace a “lean data collection” model, not a maximum data collection model. Just like the programming world has adopted lean development. Even marketers today are using the “lean” model. Organizations can see dramatic results when forced to accomplish more in a shorter time with fewer resources. Throwing budget dollars, private data, and bodies at the terrorist threat will not protect us.

    1. ErikSchwartz

      He was also a Belgian.

  58. Jeff Jones

    Making sense of the situation in Syria by author Daniel Gordis ‘If in case it was all too confusing for you, here’s a summary:President Assad (who is bad) is a nasty guy who got so nasty his people rebelled and the Rebels (who are good) started winning (hurrah!).But then some of the rebels turned a bit nasty and are now called Islamic State (who are definitely bad!) while some continued to support democracy (who are still good.)So the Americans (who are good ) started bombing Islamic State (who are bad ) and giving arms to the Syrian Rebels (who are good ) so they could fight Assad (who is still bad) which was good.There is a breakaway state in the north run by the Kurds who want to fight IS (which is good) but the Turkish authorities think they are bad, so the U.S. says they are bad while secretly thinking they’re good and giving them guns to fight IS (which is good) but that is another matter.Getting back to Syria.So President Putin (who is bad because he invaded Crimea and the Ukraine and killed lots of folks, including that nice Russian man in London with polonium poisoned sushi, has decided to back Assad (who is still bad) by attacking IS (who are also bad ) which is sort of a good thing (!?).But Putin (still bad) thinks the Syrian Rebels (who are good) are also bad, and so he bombs them too, much to the annoyance of the Americans (who are good) who are busy backing and arming the rebels (who are also good).Now Iran (who used to be bad, but now they have agreed not to build any nuclear weapons with which to bomb Israel are now good) are going to provide ground troops to support Assad (still bad) as are the Russians (bad) who now have ground troops and aircraft in Syria.So a Coalition of Assad (still bad) Putin (extra bad) and the Iranians (good, but in a bad sort of way) are going to attack IS (who are bad which is good, but also the Syrian Rebels (who are good) which is bad.Now the British (obviously good, except that silly anti-Semite who leads the Labor Party, Mr. Corbyn in the corduroy jacket, who is bad) and the Americans (also good) cannot attack Assad (still bad) for fear of upsetting Putin (bad) and Iran (good/bad) and now they have to accept that Assad might not be that bad after all compared to IS (super bad — see Paris, November 2015).So Assad (bad) is now probably good, being better than IS and, because Putin and Iran are also fighting IS, that may now make them good. America (still good) will find it hard to arm a group of rebels being attacked by the Russians for fear of upsetting Mr. Putin (now good) and that nice mad Ayatollah in Iran (also good?) and so they may be forced to say that the Rebels are now bad, or at the very least abandon them to their fate. This will lead most of them to flee to Turkey and on to Europe or join IS (still the only consistently bad).To Sunni Muslims an attack by Shia Muslims (Assad and Iran) backed by Russians will be seen as something of a Holy War. Therefore, the ranks of IS will now be seen by the Sunnis as the only Jihadis fighting in the Holy War and hence many Muslims will now see IS as good (duh).Sunni Muslims will also see the lack of action by Britain and America in support of their Sunni rebel brothers as something of a betrayal (might have a point?) and hence we will be seen as bad.So now we have America (now bad) and Britain (also bad) providing limited support to Sunni Rebels (bad ) many of whom are looking to IS (good/bad ) for support against Assad (now good) who, along with Iran (also good) and Putin (now, straining credulity, good ) are attempting to retake the country Assad used to run before all this started.Got it?’

  59. christopolis

    Do the refugees value individual rights? It seems like there needs to be some oath or declaration made on their part. We are entering into a partnership and the only party with any obligation seems to be the US.

  60. Douglas Crets

    I’m always perfectly aligned with albert’s views, and I am again here. I think collective awareness is actually the “job that gets done” by technology. In other words, I think that no matter why most people think they use technology these days, the ultimate reason for using technology is to bring a sense of awareness to problems, solutions, and opportunities. Most people in this comment string can probably relate to the fact that most of my career was created by having awareness of what other people were thinking. It taught me to adapt, and it taught me to grow. Terrorism thrives in security vacuums and diversity vacuums. Its major role is to narrow the thinking of anyone it touches. Narrow thinking allows incredibly damaging ideologies to thrive. That’s why many of the militants in this world hide out in islands, caves, and in deserts. That’s why their main recruiting targets are people who come from places that feel closed off to the complexity of the multi-cultural world.

    1. TechBeefcake

      Narrow thinking like, say, what is often spouted off here: technology is the salve to cure all things?

  61. Walker

    I quite agree with the post. The European country that has best resisted terrorism is Great Britain. During the IRA bombings 20+ years ago, and despite deaths and injuries on each occurrence, the Brits simply continued their daily business, without national “days of sorrow” and the like. Their reaction certainly did not provide any “return of energy” to the terrorists.There is an entire school of strategic thought on the use and effectiveness of terrorism. Essentially, that theory is that it is a rational approach to achieve a political goal, seeking to influence all of (1) the people the terrorists purport to represent, (2) the population that the terrorists define as their enemies, (3) and the actions of leaders of both groups. For example, a terrorist bombing can simultaneously energize the “oppressed” population, raising its awareness of its situation; encourage people in the “oppressor” population to consider whether or not the costs of fighting the terrorists is worth the effort, and perhaps convince them that the police or army is over-reacting; cause leaders of the oppressed group to take stronger steps, perhaps welcoming the terrorists into their leadership team; and cause leaders of the oppressor group to resort to stronger responses that will injure innocent bystanders and lead to a backlash against them. Examples of successful terrorist groups include the IRA, whose actions lead to Irish independence nearly 100 years ago, and the Stern Gang and Irgun, leading Zionist terrorist groups in the 1940’s, who played a key role in causing the British to abandon their protectorate in Palestine and permit partition and the creation of Israel. Two of the terrorist leaders later became Prime Ministers of Israel, Begun and Shamir.

  62. sachmo

    Fred, while I agree that we should avoid knee jerk reactions (a la Bush calling for 40k troops on the ground… what year is it again? ::sigh::), I completely disagree that the use of a massive dragnet over the US population is in any way acceptable.I actually think we’re in a wild west period of privacy and companies like facebook are grabbing as much as they can. I don’t think that’s any excuse for the government to trample on our 4th amendment rights.I think over the next 10 years, a whole host of ways in which individual people are tracked via the internet (IP address, cookies, browser / computer signature, ISP, etc) will be segmented and there will be solutions and perhaps regulations for each.I’m thinking like the equivalent of HIPAA except for internet privacy.Why on earth should we accept mass spying? I mean it’s all well and good now, but do you understand the long term implications of a government drag net?Imagine a world where for a minor infraction under the law, a local police officer could pull up every single internet website you’ve visited, ever. Where they know that your 2nd cousin underwent a sex change operation? And where through your cell phone they know pretty much where you are at all times?These tools are way to powerful for anyone to control. Imagine what a Chris Christie might do with such power against political opponents. Or what a government that is unsympathetic to muslims might do? Dude, Albert is wrong. The dragnet has to go. We need our 4th amendment back.

  63. Dave Pinsen

    Ah, another day with a spirited topic where I wait until late to read AVC. My loss.I agree that we shouldn’t demonize refugees. But, at the same time, I don’t think we should accept any refugees from the Muslim world now. There is no way to vet adult refugees from anarchic countries. It’s not as if our government can check with the Syrian FBI to see if the person claiming to be a refugee is a wanted criminal there. So, we conduct interviews, which are easily gamed. As an example, consider the hotel maid/hooker/drug dealer who accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of rape. She came here as a refugee, claiming to have been abused in her home country, but it later emerged that she lied to gain refugee status.As for accepting child refugees from the Muslim world, Europe is full of children of Muslim immigrants who grow up to be alienated from the countries they live in. Some of them end up committing terrorism. You could argue that Europe has done a poor job of assimilating them, and America would do better, but we have also had issues with Muslim immigrants and their children:There have been roughly 70 terrorist plots in the United States since 9/11 and scores of young people who are first or second generation refugees and immigrants who have become involved in some way with Islamist jihadists, either by undertaking attacks here or traveling overseas to join a terrorist group, or both

  64. Pete Griffiths

    And who shall guard the guardians?

    1. ShanaC

      socratic humor

  65. Simone Brunozzi

    Two provocations (for the readers, you (Fred), and Albert): one, Albert’s proposed basic income would be a huge factor in minimizing the number of people that can be brainwashed into terrorists. Two, using transparent currency worldwide would also be a way to stop bad capitalism, the financing of wars and terrorist acts, and other illegal matters.I don’t want to expand these two ideas, as this is just a comment… But think about them for a second – I believe that they could be small steps in the right direction.

  66. Xavier Faure

    What I find suffocating is this pressure to abide to an absolute position or the opposite.For instance, I don’t think “We should welcome refugees” and “Terrorists might hide within refugees” are mutually exclusive. Or that “the vast majority of muslims are peaceful people” and “Islam radicalism is specific” are incompatible. I think that both statements “Arabs suffer discrimination in France” and “the police no longer dare to enter some immigrant neighborhoods” are true. As well as “western intervention have destabilized Lybia and Iraq” and “those places were already badly screwed-up to begin with”I don’t think liberty must yield to ensure security. I don’t think we have to ally with Putin or Assad to fight ISIS.The whole startup movement is a proof that hugely better outcomes can be achieved by hard work, talent and open mindedness. I don’t think that there’s a simple, obvious easy solution to terror; no more than there’s a simple, obvious easy solution to any problem a startup proposes to solve. We’ll have to hack through the complexity of it, test hypotheses and iterate. Any “solution” involving abandoning our essential freedom is a quick and dirty workaround that doesn’t address the real issue.To conclude, I recommend anyone interested should follow @iyad_elbaghdadi on Twitter. He’s an arab spring activist now a refugee in Norway. Smart, moderate, informed… I learned a lot through him about the situation in the middle east and islam.

  67. wileythruster

    When the U.S. is hit again by Middle Eastern immigrants, radicalized disaffected young men socialized in cultures of violence or “refugees” lovingly brought to our shores I’ll remember this article and look for your take on those current affairs.

  68. JoeBaja

    The idea that books written prior to modern medicine and the invention of electricity are still so widely followed is astounding. America is based on the separation of church and state Churches here should be held more as a relic yet they are more powerful in the political and business realm. America is not Christian or Muslim for that matter. Churches should be taxed and heavily regulated. Government should do everything to promote Science and the advancement against Churches through education. I see churches similar to Circus’ who used animal acts as their main source of pull. Once the public began to see the ill effects on the poor animals for the betterment of a few circus owners. The Public through its government and wallets exposed and began to push Circus’s to extinction. Imagine the current Pope siting atop his cushy chair and proclaiminng “we are sorry, but their is nothing to see here folks…” This would free up 2.8 billion and 100 of billions of dollars for research and scientific expansion. Sitting back and picking one religion other another is the continuation of the game. I choose to stop the game and denounce anyone who tries to convince me that they use religion as their moral compass.

  69. Susan A

    “That said, free speech and passionate debate is a cornerstone of the world the terrorists want to destroy and I am proud of the fact that it happens here daily.”When the concept of free speech was enshrined in the psyche of the American people, specifically, and in other parts of the world around that time, generally – dueling was legal and shooting your mouth off to the wrong person could get it shot off.And presuming that all human beings can fit in your nice little box, was pretty much the stupidest thing you could do.Still is, as a matter of fact.

  70. rnottingham

    Great Post. My feelings exactly.

  71. Myth Creation Is Fun

    This is truly excellent Fred. Tell us how many Syrian families, or individuals, your family will be sponsoring in 2016 and beyond? Have a number? Will they live with you or will you just throw some money at it? Or, is this post just more of your myth-creating fluff?

  72. LipService

    That is great news: to hear you and Albert are for transparency. You often talk about your support of transparency. You also talk about the issues with gate keeping. Given that, can the AVC community assume you and your partners will be sharing who your funds LPs are and the source and origin of money you manage?

  73. disqus_demMJl6uTu

    Albert should run for President, his quotes are more reasonable than any of the current polititicians we have to choose from… Or maybe you should?

  74. Tom Labus

    good insight, thanks

  75. Alex Murphy

    In other words, if you are going to fight, fight to win, win, and make sure you actually won.(image in my head right now is Bush 43 on the carrier with the Mission Accomplished banner behind him)

  76. JLM

    .Post WWII, we occupied Germany and Japan who haven’t started a war since the last big one.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  77. Gautam at inkl

    Cloudflare could have probably pre-empted that by blocking the ISIS site themselves. Can’t see much logic / defense for doing anything that could be remotely helpful to those scumbags. Some things trump revenue growth I reckon. Then again, my own dogma is showing here.

  78. Alex Murphy

    Their software is used on 2 million sites. I’m thinking they didn’t know.

  79. LE

    Hmm. Well I see it differently. If they use cloudflare, twitter, kik, whatever to communicate at some point they will fuck up and at least we stand the chance of tracking them down through either cooperation or a backdoor or a plant.Better to have them communicating on Twitter than to have them using some homegrown method that we can’t as easily break into.And along the lines of my other comment you are also assuming we haven’t planted assets on those networks who are making headway into these things covertly. Also the reason why it’s good that many are located in a small area of Belgium rather than in 50 different places spread out. Makes total sense to me actually and it’s a good thing, not a bad thing (Unless you live in that neighborhood of course.) On first take it looks bad for Belgium until you peel away at the logic.

  80. andyswan

    That’s ridiculous logic.BAC/DWI laws prevent USING alcohol in a specific, dangerous manner. They do not prohibit its ownership or consumption.There are a myriad of gun laws that are similar in that they restrict how/when guns can be used–those laws have almost zero opposition.

  81. LissIsMore

    I believe there are two meta-level views of the situation:1. “You broke it, you own it.”2. “Stop breaking things.”If you subscribe to #1, then we need to ask “What comes after.” We will win the military conflict. That’s what we do. We have unprecedented power and skill in that area. Where we fall flat is on “What comes after”. Iraq. Afghanistan. Libya. We never commit to the long term, expensive slog that is “what comes after.”If you subscribe to #2, then we need to reassess how we engage. Maybe military action is not the best prescription. Blowback is real. The cycle of violence does not end well.

  82. pointsnfigures

    I wouldn’t say Obama bet on the rebels-I would agree that he was extremely passive and didn’t back up his words with action, and the administration’s pattern of behavior to combat terror has been mostly incorrect.

  83. pointsnfigures

    That was one of the dumbest things I ever saw. Especially because anyone in their right mind knew it was going to be a years long fight.

  84. pointsnfigures

    Simple, but taking on terror is different. The root of it isn’t necessarily the West, but intolerance of Israel’s right to exist. There are certainly tolerant Muslims. Some of them are enabled, and some live in fear. We need to figure out ways to enable everyone-and part of that solution is killing the bad guys.

  85. PerceiveToBeWise

    Depends upon what the objective is that defines “win”. If it is to conquer Iraq, depose Saddam, and pacify the country. It was a “win” in those terms. It was not a “win” in nation building, in establishing a democracy, or in changing the mindset or religion of the area or in teaching tolerance to an intolerant race of people whose ideology is anathema to tolerance. It is the later “not a win” that you see as a loss.But you are seeing what you want to see not what was or is. That shapes perceptions and shapes opinions. Expectation management and communication was poor but then the media is left biased and the messaging can never be enough to bring people to understand the mindset of Islamist as it is anathema to the west’s thinking. The Jihadists are playing a game of genocide against all that oppose them and thus it includes innocents, men, women, and children without a second thought. Whether we play their game or not is irrelevant. The game is afoot and they are all dying to play and so will we if we do not defend ourselves regardless of your or my thinking or opine.

  86. Matt Kruza

    Yep. As I pointed out the other day this is the key. We need a 50 YEAR solution for the region. Doesn’t need to entail that much fighting, but if we won’t put money and troops for a long-term, on similar scale to japan and grmany there is little hope it will be a peaceful region on its own in the next 50 years

  87. pointsnfigures

    I don’t think the Mission Accomplished thing was the correct move in any way shape or form. Not a big fan of nation building. I agree with your second point 100%. Even if we don’t want to play, they are playing and we have to stop them because they are the antithesis to a free society.

  88. pointsnfigures

    I find 50 year plans work as well as the 5-10 year projections I see on Excel spread sheets for startups! (jocularity)

  89. PerceiveToBeWise

    Can’t disagree with your position. “Mission Accomplished” is political posturing and opine more than fact. I wouldn’t disagree if you had of stated it was propaganda. If the Mission had been well publicized and defined then that would be different than “win” which is what people are reading into Mission Accomplished instead of our objective was reached. I’ve got more than anyone’s ear can take on Bush in blistering opine but also realize that many are still looking at the ME and Islam through their western lens and thinking. When one side has an ideology of genocide and the other that has thinking that is anathema to genocide, then you have the Islamists vs. the West and there are no winners because the game/contest/conflict/war is about genocide.

  90. andyswan

    No one opposes regulations that keep you from using your gun in an irresponsible manner. I’m totally fine that my freedom to practice shooting at targets is restricted in a public park. We all agree that laws protecting people from harm by those behaving irresponsibly are necessary. What the NRA and the vast majority of peaceful gun-owners oppose are regulations regarding ownership, which are the only things I ever see proposed by those who advocate for “common sense gun control” blah blah.

  91. Matt A. Myers

    If you make a reply that’s a little less anger-driven and less shallow, then I’ll respond. There’s a reason why all of those things you mention are in the state or state you perceive them to be in.Why isn’t there money? Who is holding onto it? Who has spent it? What did spending it result in? Where could have that money have been better spent that would of lead to the current situation being much different? Then once you have the answers, put action towards disincentivizing those behaviours and incentivize towards leading to the positive.

  92. andyswan

    There is a ton in there I disagree with but to keep it simple I will just say I’m glad the founders protected me from perspectives like yours.

  93. Stephen Voris

    That lack of trust in the state – to protect its citizens and also not to enslave them – is a sufficient reason why attempts by that same state to confiscate guns will fail.

  94. Stephen Voris

    “…particularly if they thought the Jesus believers might get a seat before they would” – is this not, then, an argument for taking in more refugees rather than less? The fact that not everyone can get in is part of what makes it so desirable to be “at the front of the line” in the first place.As for hypocrisy – I do wonder about those explicitly Christian values of, y’know, “turning the other cheek” and “love thy neighbor as thyself”…

  95. SubstrateUndertow

    So until it can be proven that no Muslims persecute any Christians we should discriminate against all Muslims in kind ????I don’t have the time to sniff out the particular logical fallacy being employed here but I can certainly smell it in the air.

  96. Tolu_Bu

    “with most Muslims supporting the acts or at least complicit in what is happening. “This is an insane and factually untrue statement. The vast majority of Muslims do not support or sympathize with acts of terrorism. The vast majority of the victims of terrorist factions are other Muslims (ISIS, in particular, is not particularly targeted with the application of violence). The majority of those fighting ISIS on the ground are also Muslims.”Yes, the Muslim people you are so willing to support would attack Christians in their midst, particularly if they thought the Jesus believers might get a seat before they would.”I don’t even know how to respond to this random piece of speculation. How exactly do you conclude that Christians in refugee camps are routinely being attacked by Muslims? I would imagine (because thats all I can do here) that people in refugee camps are busy trying to survive and not waging religious/ideological warfare.”Excepting, of course, self-hating Jews like George Soros who turned on his own co-religionists.” – Unrelated to anything, but repeating lies about George Soros further throws your credibility into doubt.I’m going to be direct and harsh because I think its dangerous that people are allowed to get away with your form of ignorant conspiracy-theory intolerance disguised as reason (cute pseudonym): your comment is idiotic.

  97. andyswan

    Would you apply that logic to the refugees as well?

  98. Thomas Paine

    I am amazed at the willingness to “take in more refugees rather than less”. Have you traveled the USA and seen the living conditions of our fellow, native-born Americans? The US Government is giving “refugees” about $1,000 in cash, situating them with an apartment to live in, providing a gift card so that they can buy furnishings for the apartment, lessons in English, and helping with job prospects. How many struggling Americans from our inner cities to Appalachia could benefit from similar largess?Yes, I have Christian values but feel that they are better applied at home, with our fellow citizens, than spent on military-aged men from Syria who are fleeing warfare just so we can send in American troops and airmen to fight a war they are fleeing.Your logic, and compassion, is tangled Stephen.

  99. Matt Kruza

    haha. taken in stride. Good point. To clarify i little, I basically mean an indefinite committment to the region, like we have done with Germany and Japan after World War II. So its been 70 years so far, and those two are now some of our biggest allies and the number 3 and 4 sized economies in the world. 🙂

  100. Stephen Voris

    Hardly all of it, but some, yes. Arguably we have lavished similar largesse on American citizens – to such a degree, and in such bewildering, bureaucratic complexity that it has become routine rather than refreshing, a force for stagnation instead of growth.

  101. JLM

    .As a vet — please treat vets like refugees?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  102. Jeff

    When I was in Sunday School as a kid, I never had Christian values taught to me that were qualified based on who they applied to. In fact, most American Christian sects I experienced advocating charitable and educational missions to help anyone in need.I am no longer a Christian, I am atheist, precisely because I can’t stand the unadulterated hypocrisy of American Christians. “I have Christian values, but they should only apply to MY PEOPLE.” Disgusting. All humanity is your people, and we Americans need to get that through our collective thick skulls.

  103. Thomas Paine

    I think what you smell is your own biases. I never advocated discriminating against all Muslims, just pointing out there are ways of “vetting” people through what they have done in the past, who they are, rather than what they say to the UN staffer at a camp.Christians are not ISIS and are not a terrorist threat, ipso facto, they can be vetted and admitted with little concern.Muslim widows and orphans can similarly be considered low risk, though their sympathies would need to be examined.Muslim males from mid-teens to 50 are a problem as they is the profile of those most at risk of being a threat. How we vet such men is a challenge and given no access to any records, it is based solely on their interviews. I know, such men would never lie, though something about their stories might smell.

  104. sigmaalgebra

    Ah, a polymorphic comment!

  105. dufas_duck

    Or insert “Christian”….

  106. Stephen Voris

    If the entire US government ever wants to do anything, that’ll be a first. These days, the cameras attached to smartphones are starting to take over the envisioned role of guns with regards to deterrence of state (and perhaps non-state) violence; they’re not done yet, though, and they also don’t have quite the same legal and cultural protections.

  107. Matt A. Myers

    Name-calling within the first sentence. Not even going to read the rest of your reply. Maybe learn some anger management skills.Warmest,Matt

  108. JLM

    .Because we fought a revolution against the largest, most powerful army, navy of its time and won?Because we were born at the tip of a bloody bayonet?JLM http://www.themusingsofthebigredca...

  109. Jeff

    Are you one of these people that has received American largess? My brother was in need of such largess after multiple heart attacks and no jobs were willing to accommodate his working needs. That bureaucratic process you mention ended up denying him any aid or assistance of any kind, after months and months of trying.I had to take him in and support him, with no benefit to myself, not even tax breaks from supporting a dependent, because “American largess” failed him utterly. To my experience with all this, any money we taxpayers pay into welfare programs appears to be eaten up by the bureaucracy, and largely does not make it to the people who need it, especially if you are “odd” or have the “wrong” skin color.You need to educate yourself on Welfare programs, because your statements are utterly divorced from reality. However, I do agree with the stagnation statement, we have stagnated into allowing the poor and those in need of help to keep on needing so long as we don’t have to see or experience their suffering.

  110. Stephen Voris

    That’s precisely the sort of “bureaucratic complexity” I’m talking about.And in the sense that I’ve received financial assistance from friends and family, yes, I’ve received American largesse. In the sense of receiving financial assistance from the United States federal, state, or local governments? Maybe, if you count a job at the Census in 2010 (strictly temporary), but nothing otherwise. In my mind it would, first, be a disservice to those who are actually at the end of their ropes, and second, an insult to my family to resort to it.My understanding is that the sheer number of welfare programs – with differing incentives and cutoffs, forms, waiting times, and so on – interact in such a way that vast swathes of its recipients ‘earn’ more money by working the system than what they could by working for others.And, as your story indicates, others receive nothing at all.

  111. redpillyogi

    Seems like welfare programs should be centered around “teaching a man how to fish” rather than simply just giving him a fish. The fact that they don’t just shows how power hungry our representatives are.

  112. Jeff

    Thanks for your honest and respectful answer!So, I think the euphemism you;’re looking for is “welfare queens.” Do you know those people never existed? It was made up to scare people about welfare abuse to engender constituencies to vote against the welfare programs.Full disclosure, I lived my first 20 years in poverty. I worked just like the rest of my family at the time at small-hour jobs paying next to nothing because there was nothing else. In all that time, I never met one of these “welfare queens” myself, which would be odd in 20 years, wouldn’t it? Obviously, once I lucked into an IT job and hence career, I would no longer meet them, so I am not conflating recent with past experience.You know who I have met, and who I believe is conflated with the “welfare queen” euphemism? Panhandlers. Individuals who pretend to be poor and begging, and then you follow them after they leave their panhandling spot and they get into a Mercedes or something. I met at least a dozen of these people, not living off gov welfare, but living off general charity, under false pretenses. I found it disgusting.I still want to meet one of these purported “welfare queens” so I can see whether they really exist or not.

  113. Stephen Voris

    Depends on the area; maybe I’m being elitist in my assumptions with regards to metaphors, but I tend to think of culture like traffic: some places, practically everyone’s polite and will let you merge, etc., and others spend all their time honking and cutting each other off (and still others, there’s no one around for miles)… and if you’re in either one of these places, the idea that the other culture exists is an alien one.But no, I’m not really looking for welfare queens. I’m thinking more along the lines of “people standing/sitting in line for hours at a welfare equivalent of the DMV… and then at another one, and another one, because that’s what they have to do to make ends meet”. That is the problem I’m thinking of, and it’s not a problem with the people doing the waiting. (website I just looked up, useful so far as I can tell:…(though to be fair to the DMV, my own experiences with them of late haven’t been that bad… just not something I’m inclined to repeat)

  114. Jeff

    Oh, boy howdy! Now I’m pretty sure I’m with you and we’re describing both sides of the same processes. You know the surprising thing I learned during my brother’s travails? There’s an element missing from your office complexity, and that’s the scheduling of appointments. Not only are there some steps in the process where you go from office to office waiting, there are those steps where they schedule an appointment with you. The surprise comes in when you need to reschedule that appointment, say for an interview(!), and find out you are now rescheduled 3-6 months in the future. That only had to happen once, and then he started passing on conflicting interview requests. When you’re going for low level service jobs due to no other choices, guess how often they have the patience or desire to reschedule an interview?It’s a frustrating reality, resulting in the assistance not really making it to those who need it most. To my eyes, most of what’s spent goes to the bureaucracy, not the people. I hope I’m wrong.EDIT: Given your analogy, one came to mind I wanted to share. In IT, what we’re talking about is called bloat. Budget bloat, schedule bloat, code bloat, etc. Part of the trick to accomplishing high performing, highly accurate systems, then, is to utilize development processes that work to minimize bloat. That minimizing of bloat seems to not exist as a thing within our various government bureaucracies. Again, I hope I’m wrong.

  115. Stephen Voris

    I suspect I’m missing more than just that one element (well, one less, now), and that’s what worries me; I agree though, I think we’re about on the same page now. I also suspect you’re not wrong on the percentage going to the bureaucracy. I’m reserving my hope for tech and organization changes actually happening to move that percentage down.

  116. Jeff

    What’s the saying? From your lips to God’s ears? :)On a hopeful note, there does appear to be a new technology group/office/agency within FedGov. Follow @18F on Twitter. They are putting out some really good material in regards to leaning down systems and processes. site: informative exchange, thank you very much.

  117. Give Me a Reasonable Argument

    “In 2015, it is the Christians who are being systematically persecuted by the Muslims, with most Muslims supporting the acts or at least complicit in what is happening.”As far as I understand Muslims allow Christians to leave or convert. The Nazis did not allow my fellow Jews to do either.”One could argue that this is as much a genocide as was the Nazi efforts.”Let me see if I understand your argument correctly. Let’s say I were to show you a typical backyard swimming pool containing water and lake containing water. Would you argue that the swimming pool is as much a body of water as the lake?The swimming pool is not a body of water and Muslims are not committing genocide like the Nazis. Many Muslims are persecuting Christians in the Middle East (just as, say, Catholics are persecuting Muslims in much of the Philippines) But these persecutions are fundamentally different than what the Nazis did to the Jews.Your arguments are ridiculous.

  118. LissIsMore

    I am not sure I agree that intolerance of Israel is a root cause – but if it is then this underscores my point because the State of Israel is a product of the West meddling in the region.

  119. Stephen Voris

    No, that underlines my point – those state laws are possible because surveillance does not have the same protection as the right to bear arms. Both serve the purpose (among others) of curbing abusive police behavior.And it’s not that citizens need to be armed, but rather that they have a right to be – I don’t speak for all of America, obviously, but from my perspective, we’re not special in this regard – self-defense should not require the state’s permission (though its forgiveness after the fact is another matter).But back to your first paragraph – let’s distinguish between federal, state, and local governments here. A local (county) government might, for instance, hire an untrustworthy police officer; maybe they were shorthanded, maybe it was a mistake, but this officer proceeds to start bullying citizens (or worse); with armed citizens (armed with guns or armed with cameras), the abuse can be stopped in the act, rather than after weeks of complaints to the local police office, or maybe months of escalation to the state office.

  120. JLM

    .Your argument dies with your cynical characterization of why gun owners become gun owners.Guns were a tool of the trade where I live. No cowboy would consider mounting his horse without checking his rifle, pistol, and knife. Tool of the trade.Whenever I go hunting, I carry a pistol for snakes and to kill a wounded animal.Those of us who served in the military or who grew up in military families have a similar connection to gun ownershipThen, there is the practical right of self-defense which may manifest itself in a CHL (concealed handgun license).I shoot regularly. I am proficient and could save my own or other’s lives in a pinch. I hope that never happens but I am not willing to give up that right.I am simultaneously an advocate of common sense gun regulation and have advocated for the creation of a nationwide “crazy person list” as called for in the 1994 Assault Rifle Ban. I also support closing the gun show loophole.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  121. JLM

    .Amend the Constitution?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  122. JLM

    .The Brits sent their best units, rented a bunch of Hessians, sent their best generals/admirals (the brothers Howe, Cornwallis), and their fleet.Their generals were, on average, 45 years old and had more than a quarter of a century of campaigning/soldiering under their belt. Still, G Washington out-generaled them.Your comparison with the French & Indian War (which ended in 1763 not 30 years earlier as you suggest) was a war which involved a lot of “indians” and not much in the way of British regulars.My point was limited to the Revolution. There is much to contemplate as to how the American Indian was treated — to this day.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  123. JLM

    .Let’s listen to the civilian rather than a guy who actually served in an Airborne Division?The notion that an Airborne Division is “light infantry” as compared to say, the 4th ID or the 2nd ID, is fair but that doesn’t have anything to do with the lethality it brings to the combined arms battle space wherein the ability to harness infantry (fire and maneuver), armor, artillery, and air power is the suite of firepower available to the commander of even an Airborne Division.The Iraqis ran because they were an inferior military force. Period. ISIS is an inferior military force. They may be Hell on wheels against women and children and unarmed men but they are not much when it comes to actually fighting with another army.You raise a fair point as it relates to the funding of ISIS and it is an avenue that should be explored and dealt with.As to the locals shouldering any responsibility for their Arab brethren, that is something that our government has to insist upon. When the Kuwaitis called for help, we responded and formed a coalition to deal with Saddam Hussein.That was presidential leadership then and this requires similar presidential leadership now. Alas.On this front, Trump gets a fair play for his constant rant that we don’t know how to make a deal. We should be pursuing complete energy independence of the Middle East as a coordinated energy and national security strategy.As to asymmetric warfare, that is the idea that sovereign nations find themselves confronting armed forces that are not affiliated with a nation/state. In the Middle East, ISIS and its puffery about the Caliphate and their seizure of terrain makes this easy.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  124. JLM

    .I suppose you are referring to Kunduz wherein a handful of Taliban ran off a numerically superior Afghan force. The Afghans ran in the face of an attack by a much smaller force.This is a provincial capital and it is a big deal.The US and others withdrew from Kunduz in 2013 and a couple of years later, this happens.There is going to be a lot more of this in the future as the US withdraws completely. Going to be just like Iraq.Why would it be different? Perfectly predictable and tragic.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  125. JLM

    .Even conceding all that you say is correct, the nation of Iraq was stable when GW Bush left office and the withdrawal by Obama destabilized it.The paen to American energy independence is perhaps the most important and undiscussed issue of the day.The sooner we become untethered to the ME, from an energy perspective, the better.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  126. JLM

    .”Many drink alcohol, don’t even know a single verse from the Koran and can’t remember the last time they set foot in a mosque.”So, what makes them Muslims?Just wondering. Because I fit that same description. Maybe I’m a Muslim?That tug you’re feeling? Me pulling your leg, sport.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  127. Tolu_Bu

    Assume this was meant as a response to “Thomas Paine”. I broadly concur, with the addition that of the 1B+ Muslims in the world, most are broadly tolerant (e.g. not requiring anyone to leave or convert).

  128. JLM

    .Not to be too fierce to you, Paul, but suggesting that one with a military history degree can speak with authority on the fighting capability of an American Airborne Division — particularly in contrast to someone who actually served in one — is like suggesting that studying a lot of anatomy charts is tantamount to being a surgeon.Still, I like your style and spunk.I cannot address all of your comments as I do not have sufficient time. Let me hit two.The 82nd Abn Div would make mincemeat of ISIS in less than a month. The 82nd is the tip of America’s spear. It has the best men, NCOs, and officers in the entire Army. It is the best assignment one could ask for.Pound for pound — man for man — ISIS could not stack up against the 82nd just like a kid’s Pop Warner team could not stack up against the Crimson Tide on game day. Roll Tide!The attached TOE (table of organization and equipment) shows the organic units — parachute infantry, cavalry, combat engineer, artillery, air lift, and support units. They would destroy the raghead ISIS rabble in a heartbeat.As part of the 18th Abn Corps, they would also have Corps level support to call upon.ISIS has no ability to fight an organized battle above the platoon level. They have no demonstrable tactical ability and no ability to control a combined arms battle space — infantry, armor, artillery, air power.No surprise here, really, as they are not professional soldiers and their “army” is not organized to fight in platoon, company, battalion, brigade, or division formations,The 82nd Abn Div, on the other hand, does this shit all the time. It is a fierce fighting machine. It has no equal in the world.Most of its company grade officers are Ranger qualified and many of its men are Rangers.Remember one other thing about paratroopers — they are used to fighting under very difficult situations, routinely surrounded as they jump into the enemy’s rear areas and set up shop.In the business of finding, fixing, and killing one’s adversaries, the 82nd would have no problem with locating the enemy, preventing maneuver by the enemy, and ultimately destroying them in place.I am not sure why you think that urban warfare would be some big deal for an American Abn Division. It is a type of warfare routinely trained and taught. When I went to Ranger School, the first phase is the City Phase and is focused exclusively on urban warfare.The infantry’s job is to find the enemy first. Urban warfare makes that a given.Then the infantry has to prevent the enemy from maneuvering which, again, urban warfare delivers on a platter to them. Once they are “fixed” then the fun really begins.Then, the infantry has the use of its own organic weapons to destroy the enemy in place. This is very simple fire and maneuver — the sweet spot for the Airborne.Elite American units, like any Airborne unit, can aim, shoot, and hit their targets routinely at 300 meters. I once encamped a company on the rifle range for a week until every swinging dick in the unit fired “expert.”All it takes is training and American divisions are training all the time. It is what they do.So, I am at a loss to understand why one would suggest that urban warfare would be some troubling aspect.The French Army fielded 99 divisions on the eve of WWII while the Germans had half that amount with many in Poland.The Germans invaded Poland in Sept 1939 while they invaded France in May of 1940. Half of the German army was gainfully occupied.Had the French and British launched a preemptory attack on the Germans, they would have prevented the Germans — who attacked through the Ardennes and achieved tactical surprise — from catching them off guard.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  129. Eamon Jubbawy

    Dumbest comment I’ve ever read

  130. Thomas Paine

    You know, you are almost right. It was dumb to think “widows and orphans” were a group that could be easily vetted due to an assumed low rate of radicalism – It appears that is now a faulty assumption: