Posts filed under 'Samuel’s Editorials'
George Soros is a bit of a worry. He’s clearly a smart (albeit wrong on many subjects) man, and the timing of many of his moves have been interesting, but today’s move is one of the most interesting and worrying ones I’ve seen in a while.
George Soros is taking an interest in the Nine network, and is set to become a shareholder of the network today, along with a few others. Nine needs new investors because it has a lot of debt. George Soros can certainly help to fix that…he is a billionaire after all, but when he gets involved, things are never quite as they seem, especially when he is involved in media.
To many Australians, I would imagine George Soros is not a name they recognise. Some would, but for many he would just be recognised as yet another rich foreigner. Alas George is not just any rich foreigner.
George has “progressive” (I’d put him firmly in the socialist bracket) views and isn’t afraid to use his wealth in intriguing ways to promote his views. Now, I don’t begrudge the man his views, and I don’t begrudge him the right to advocate his views or to spend his money how he sees fit…rather, I just think it’s important that Australians are brought up to speed on who and what he is before he gets his hooks in to the Australian media, especially given the timing of his announcement.
Over in the US, George funds many “progressive” groups. He funds some non-political things too, but in the category of politically-active groups, the ones he funds seem to all do three things:
1) Defend the Obama administration and any other “progressive” politician. This includes attempting to cover up the scandals and failures, or if that isn’t possible, excuse them.
2) Viciously and mostly-falsely smear anyone who opposes “progressives”. The play book for this is very long. They’ve gone as far as paying people to pursue fake sexual harassment claims against people until such people stop actively opposing them.
3) Deny vigorously that George Soros has any influence over their activities. This might be believable if they didn’t all do it.
The timing of George’s little entrance in to the Australian media is interesting. George tends not to be overtly involved in owning bits of the media as his non-media interests seem to do a good job, and by having a less-obvious stake in some media outlets he can have them maintain the appearance of impartiality when they side with this other groups, so I’m not entirely sure why he’s being so overt about this purchase, but I have a theory which I’ll get to in a moment.
But first, Nine and Britain’s Daily Mail recently announced that they plan on jointly launching an Australian online version of The Daily Mail to compete with The Guardian’s Australian website. From a political perspective, Nine is reasonably respectable brand and, overall, has seemingly balanced reporting even if a few reporters to lean one way or the other…there is no blatantly obvious institutional bias like there is with the ABC and Fairfax. The Daily Mail has, despite being in Britain, been ahead of the pack on many stories, and broken other stories, about problems and scandals within the Obama administration. It would probably be fair to say that, with The Guardian catering for the left-wing audience, the Australian version of the Daily Mail would (when not indulging in tabloid fluff and entertainment stories) cater to a centre-right audience given their UK history and Nine’s existing brand.
George Soros’ entry in to the Australian market is worrying from the perspective that we already have two overtly left-wing television broadcasters (ABC and SBS) and more left-wing newsish websites and papers (Fairfax, Guardian, The Conversation, Mamamia) than I care to count. The he could be trying to pull Nine out of a state of relative balance or prevent the Daily Mail from being the ideological opposition to The Guardian in Australia that it is in the UK is worrying.
And while I think that is probably part of the game plan from Soros, I think it might also be a warning shot across the bow of The Daily Mail’s British operations as well. At the moment, the Obama administration is in chaos, mainly due to Obamacare being a disaster, but for other reasons as well, and there is a good (not certain by any means, but certainly a better than average) chance that the Republicans…and not just Republicans but truly conservative Republicans could take the House and the Senate in next year’s mid-term elections, potentially giving them the power if they have enough numbers, to override Presidential vetoes and undo much of Obama’s mess. This would be bad for George Soros as Obama is doing a pretty good job from a progressive point of view, especially with Obamacare…it’s a system designed to fail so that progressives can swoop in with a single-payer (aka, entirely government run and taxpayer funded) health system, and all of the associated socialist programs and policies which that can bring with it in the name of “health”. It’s a gigantic socialist government power-grab, and it’s on its way to working, unless Conservatives can stop it soon.
I suspect that part of the reason George Soros is being so visible in his purchase of part of Nine, is that he wants to scare the executives at The Daily Mail, and make sure they know that he could probably buy them out if he wanted to, and if they want him and his groups to leave them alone, then perhaps they should just stop being so good at reporting stories before much of the mainstream US media notices them.
Regardless of the motive, his entry in to the market is a concern, and one which those of us on the conservative side of the aisle should keep an eye on.
December 5th, 2013 at 02:03pm
An email to 2UE’s George Moore and Paul B. Kidd
Good morning George and Paul,
Quentin Bryce’s comments about a republic shocked me a little bit. While she is personally entitled to her view and I agree with her to a point, I can’t see it being worth the expense with our relatively small population.
What shocked me though is that she said what she said while holding the office she holds. To have the Queen’s representative advocate replacing the Queen as head of state is untenable. Quentin Bryce should resign. She can not faithfully represent the Queen if she holds the view that Australia should be a republic.
November 23rd, 2013 at 09:19am
It is with much regret and sadness that I have to pass on the news that the voice of Deniliquin, Paul Dix, passed away this morning after a short illness. He was aged 80.
Samuel with Paul Dix on the 19th of December, 2008
Paul had been the breakfast host at 2QN Deniliquin for about 51-and-a-half years, and had worked for 3MA in Mildura before this. In recent years Paul had also pre-recorded an afternoon program for 3NE in Wangaratta after finishing his 2QN show.
In a statement, the General Manager of 2QN’s parent company, Frank Davidson, had the following to say:
To say Dixy will be missed is an understatement as he was and always will be an integral part of our team.
Paul’s many friends and listeners in our coverage area will miss waking up with Dixy each morning and at this sad time our thoughts and condolences are with his wife Margaret and the family.
Further details as they come to hand will be advised and once again our thoughts at this sad time are with the Dix family.
Paul will be very sorely missed in Deni and beyond. He was a very kind man who always had time for a chat and had a great sense of humour which made most things seem better. I will always fondly cherish the brief time I spent working with Paul, and will cherish his ongoing friendship even more. The memory of him appearing at the radio station’s back door in his tiny little car, as happy as could be, just before 5am each day, is an image which will stay with me forever.
Paul is a true gem of Australian history. It is a real shame that, due to the fact that he spent so long in a regional town, that he doesn’t have anywhere near as much name recognition in the wider community as people who have spent similar amounts of time in Sydney radio. To an extent though, I think Paul would have been happy about that…he was known and loved by a specific community, and he cared about that community.
My sincere condolences to Paul’s wife Margaret and family, to all of the staff at 2QN and 3NE, Paul’s friends, and the broader community of Deniliquin.
I would wish Paul and peaceful rest, but somehow I think he’ll be up at 3:30am every day to do the breakfast show on the great radio station in the sky, and heaven will be a much more interesting place because of it.
September 20th, 2013 at 02:29pm
In order to vote for a sensible and stable conservative government, I quite happily followed the Liberal Party’s “how to vote” card for the House Of Representatives, and would thoroughly recommend that people do the same for their local Liberal or National candidate.
I did, however, have to vote below the line for the Senate as I was not comfortable with the full set of preferences. I’m not keen on the Bullet Train Party getting the second set of preferences, so I replaced them with Bob Katter’s party which would be a much more sensible bunch, and I had to push the Voluntary Euthanasia Party as far down the list as possible while keeping Labor and The Greens last. As such, this is how I adjusted the Liberal Party’s senate preferences for my below-the-line vote.
The other benefit to voting below the line is that, due to the complexity of it, the counting is done by computer, not a human, which has some benefits when you consider how convoluted the Senate preferential voting system is.
September 7th, 2013 at 10:53am
An email to 2GB’s Ray Hadley, and I will be posting my personal voting intentions in full on this blog later this week
We’re lucky in the ACT to only have 27 senate candidates, so I will be voting below the line.
The AEC website has lists of the preference flows of each of the above-the-line options. I’m not entirely happy with the Liberal preference flow so I will be basing my vote on their preferences with a few alterations. I will be keeping The Greens absolute last though.
September 2nd, 2013 at 09:32am
An email to 2UE’s George Moore and Paul B. Kidd
Good morning George & Paul,
I’m just a little confused this morning. According to The Canberra Times today, a poll commissioned by The Greens says I’m in the minority (ACT says ‘yes’ to gay marriage http://m.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/act-yes-on-gay-marriage-20130831-2sxw8.html) but pretty much every other poll in the country (NewsPoll, Roy Morgan, Nielsen, ReachTel, etc) say I’m in the majority in wanting a Coalition government.
So, if I’m in the minority and the majority, does this mean I add the minority and majority together and represent all views, or that I divide the majority by the minority, or that Canberra is a strange place when The Greens poll it?
I also intend on putting in a pre-poll vote this week so that my name isn’t available on the roll on Saturday for people to perform dodgy votes, and also so I can spend an hour voting below the line in the senate without creating a giant queue out the door.
Won’t you be glad when this is all over next week?
And yes, I am aware the polls are of different people and different subjects. I’m just having some fun on a Sunday morning with a subject which needs a little bit of humour added to it occasionally.
September 1st, 2013 at 08:54am
An email to 2UE’s George Moore and Paul B. Kidd
Good morning George & Paul,
How utterly ridiculous for Kevin Rudd to consider suing News Ltd over a factual report about him flying to a cooking show.
Did Tony Abbott even respond to, let alone consider suing Fairfax over Mike Carlton’s defamatory satirical piece in last Saturday’s Sydney Morning Herald? No.
Not only does Kevin not shut up, he doesn’t grow up either.
August 25th, 2013 at 09:18am
Today’s Fairfax Radio News national 12pm eastern bulletin had an interesting story about how dogs can help people to de-stress at the end of a busy day. It featured a vet by the name of Dr. David Neck who was talking about how going to the park with your dog can be fun for both you and the dog.
No problems so far, and I have to admit that it wasn’t the content of the story which caught my attention as, seeing as I have dogs, the fact that it can be fun to play with dogs is not news to me. What caught my attention was the name of the vet. Dr. Neck? Really? For some reason there seem to be a lot of medical professionals with body parts in their name. Dr. Andrew Foote (not spelled “foot”, but it’s pronounced “foot”) is a prominent doctor here in Canberra who pops up in the media regularly, and there are others in various news reports around the world. This always seems to catch my attention for some reason and I wanted to check if I had misheard it.
It seems that I heard correctly. Dr. David Neck is a vet in Cottesloe in Western Australia. With that out of the way, I went in search of the story which I had heard in the news…but I couldn’t find it from a Google News search. That’s not uncommon, especially for press releases which are released to the media on a weekend when fewer staff are on-hand in most places and insignificant press releases are more likely to be ignored.
A general search for the story did lead me to something rather odd. It seems to have disappeared from the website recently, but Google cached the website of the Australian Veterinary Association on the 8th of July, which is just short of three weeks ago. At that time, the website carried a press release dated Wednesday, 25 July 2012 which is very familiar.
Furry friends help humans to de-stress
Wednesday, 25 July 2012
With Lifeline’s Stress Down Day coming up on 27 July, the Australian Veterinarian Association (AVA) is reminding people how important pets are in keeping us healthy and happy.
“Research shows that people who own pets are healthier and happier as they provide a sense of well-being and allow people to feel a part of their community said Dr David Neck, President of the Australian Small Animal Veterinary Association, a special interest group of the AVA.
“Those who live in cities and have stressful jobs can really benefit from having a four legged friend to come home to.
“A pet staring up at you when you come home asking for that pat of recognition can help to put everything in perspective.
“I get a real kick out of being greeted by my dog Fonti at the end of a hard day.
“Her affection is boundless. She offers love, companionship and a non-judgemental ear, all for a bit of food and attention.”
For many people one of the best ways to de-stress is through regular moderate exercise, which is exactly the sort of exercise you get interacting with your devoted companion.
“Walking your pet in your neighbourhood gives you a strong appreciation of your environment and gets you out talking to others who are doing the same thing.”
Dr Neck said that like humans, animals need to interact and communicate in order to remain healthy.
“This becomes a win win. Pets need regular exercise, socialisation, a healthy diet and love and attention and they’ll give back four-fold.
“It’s important to ensure you can provide all of these things before getting a pet and choose the right pet to suit your lifestyle.”
It continues after this with various links to websites of the Australian Veterinary Association, and phone numbers for media enquiries…but doesn’t that sound very much like the story which I heard on the radio this afternoon? It is effectively the same story. Dogs are nice. Exercise is beneficial for humans and dogs. Exercising with your dog will help you to de-stress. Dr. Neck has plenty of quotes. It’s the same story!
So, my question is, was the press release re-issued this year? Or did Fairfax Radio News recycle it with a grab of Dr. Neck from last year. I find the latter scenario highly unlikely, but then I also can’t see why roughly the same press release would be issued almost exactly a year after the original press release.
It has been a bit of an odd few days for news reports of insignificant things. Among other things:
The list goes on, but I can only take so many pointless studies at a time before I start to yearn for my tax dollars to be spent on more useful things…and besides which, if we give it a year, a whole new set of studies will tell us the opposite of these studies, and tell us the same things as these studies. I wonder if we will also hear about the benefits of going for a run with the dog in a year from now?
July 27th, 2013 at 01:15pm
An email to 2GB’s Andrew Moore who is filling in for Alan Jones today
Good morning Andrew,
You posed an interesting question at the top of the hour about whether supporters of a republic would take advantage of the Queen’s Birthday public holiday. I support the monarchy, but I’m working today…where’s the Republican to do my shift today (but I’ll keep my public holiday penalty rates).
As for Kevin Rudd, I agree with you that if he takes over the Labor leadership he will immediately call an election. But I don’t think the public will fall for it and it would result in an even bigger loss for Labor…perhaps that would be a good thing.
Happy Birthday! (that’s the greeting today isn’t it?),
June 10th, 2013 at 06:19am
As if the recent scandal surrounding the US Government’s Department Of Justice going judge shopping in order to find a judge who would agree to let them obtain the phone records of Associated Press and Fox News reporters with dubious reasoning wasn’t bad enough, now it turns out that the National Security Agency has been secretly obtaining the call records of millions of Verizon customers. Verizon is one of the largest telecommunication companies in the United States.
WASHINGTON (AP) – The National Security Agency has been collecting the telephone records of millions of U.S. customers of Verizon under a top secret court order, according to a report in Britain’s Guardian newspaper.
The order was granted by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on April 25 and is good until July 19, the newspaper reported Wednesday. The order requires Verizon, one of the nation’s largest telecommunications companies, on an “ongoing, daily basis” to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the U.S. and between the U.S. and other countries.
The newspaper said the document, a copy of which it had obtained, shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of U.S. citizens were being collected indiscriminately and in bulk, regardless of whether they were suspected of any wrongdoing.
(h/t Associated Press via MyWay.com)
It’s not surprising that a British newspaper broke this story as many of the stories of problems with ObamaCare and other Obama programs have been broken by British papers, particularly the Daily Mail. What is surprising is that The Guardian broke the story and this is having a follow-on effect. The Guardian, which has been fairly defensive of the Obama administration as part of a broader left-wing agenda, is respected greatly by a paper with a similar ideological bent, The New York Times and thus The New York Times has reported on The Guardian’s report. The New York Times is, for historical reasons, respected by a large section of the American media, possibly a majority, despite its blind spot for the Obama administration, and thus their report on this is being reported on by pretty much every news outlet in the country.
The New York Times has defended the Obama administration time and time again, but has gone to town on the Obama administration and, in particular, Attorney-General Eric Holder, on this story.
The order was sought by the Federal Bureau of Investigation under a section of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the 1978 law that regulates domestic surveillance for national security purposes, that allows the government to secretly obtain “tangible things” like a business’s customer records. The provision was expanded by Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which Congress enacted after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The order was marked “TOP SECRET//SI//NOFORN,” referring to communications-related intelligence information that may not be released to noncitizens. That would make it among the most closely held secrets in the federal government, and its disclosure comes amid a furor over the Obama administration’s aggressive tactics in its investigations of leaks.
For several years, two Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon and Senator Mark Udall of Colorado, have been cryptically warning that the government was interpreting its surveillance powers under that section of the Patriot Act in a way that would be alarming to the public if it knew about it.
“We believe most Americans would be stunned to learn the details of how these secret court opinions have interpreted Section 215 of the Patriot Act,” they wrote last year in a letter to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.
They added: “As we see it, there is now a significant gap between what most Americans think the law allows and what the government secretly claims the law allows. This is a problem, because it is impossible to have an informed public debate about what the law should say when the public doesn’t know what its government thinks the law says.”
The senators were angry because the Obama administration described Section 215 orders as being similar to a grand jury subpoena for obtaining business records, like a suspect’s hotel or credit card records, in the course of an ordinary criminal investigation. The senators said the secret interpretation of the law was nothing like that.
(h/t Charlie Savage and Edward Wyatt of The New York Times)
The New York Times also took the opportunity to give the previous Bush administration a whack for creating the provisions of the law under which this mass-collection of personal data has occurred, which is fair enough as there are many parts of the Patriot Act which are objectionable, but it’s interesting that the important part of the article where it is noted that the problem seems to rest with the way the law is being interpreted as opposed to the way in which it is written, is buried in the 2nd half of the article and not near the top where most people might notice it. None-the-less, it is there, and it’s good to see it there.
What I have to wonder is that, seeing as Eric Holder was involved deeply in obtaining the phone records of news reporters and lied to a House Judiciary Committee about it, and The New York Times is making it clear that he has had information about the NSA’s Verizon call records operation, is Eric Holder being set up to take the fall for these scandals and any other scandals which can be linked to him, so that the rest of the Obama administration doesn’t have to be held to account?
The rest of the administration has plenty of other problems at the moment, including the Internal Revenue Service deliberately targeting conservative groups so that it would be harder for them to operate prior to the 2012 election, and the ongoing issue of the altering of talking points about the deadly attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi so that it would seem less serious in the lead-up to the 2012 election, and the role Susan Rice had in the cover-up, a scandal which has been brought back in to the spotlight by Susan Rice’s appointment as National Security Advisor. Then there are the intermittent stories of healthcare costs going up and coverage being limited because of ObamaCare.
With these other scandals swirling, it wouldn’t surprise me if Eric Holder “steps down” soon so that as many scandals as can be tied to him can be swept away, and maybe it can act as a distraction from a few others.
Saying “I told you so” about the awfulness of the Obama administration doesn’t really cut it here because, yes, I was one of the people warning that he and his team were bad news right from the start, but “I told you so” doesn’t fit because I didn’t expect it to be this bad. It worries me that there is still three and a bit years to go until.
Until then, I have to wonder how much more data will be collected about innocent citizens, and for what purpose that information will be used. That shoe hasn’t dropped yet…but when it does, I doubt even I can imagine what awful purpose they have in mind for that information.
June 7th, 2013 at 05:51am
When I heard about this story yesterday it was as a one-line brief mention at the end of a radio news bulletin. My mind jumped to a different conclusion, and that conclusion still isn’t answered.
Almost 1.4 million voters are missing from Australia’s electoral roll, new figures show.
Since laws recently passed allowing the AEC to directly enrol voters through cross-checking other government data, 80,000 people have been added to the roll and 310,000 addresses updated.
The AEC expects to add about 150,000 names to the roll by this process before the election.
(h/t Yahoo News)
That leaves a lot of people missing from the rolls and I have to assume that it’s based on an estimate of the number of people who should be eligible based on population estimates from the Australian Bureau Of Statistics, as if they knew the exact number of people who should be on the roll based on actual personal information stored by other parts of the government, then the Electoral Commission would enrol them.
Still, there is a question which hasn’t been answered. The story which I heard yesterday simply noted that:
Almost 1.4 million voters are missing from Australia’s electoral roll
Which brought my mind back to an interview which 2UE’s Jason Morrison conducted with someone from the Electoral Commission a few months ago after he received calls from people who had checked their enrolment on the electoral roll and found that they had gone missing from the electoral roll. The person from the Electoral Commission denied that they had adjusted any details on the roll and blamed the voters for forgetting the details they had enrolled with. For some, he may have had a point, but not for most of the many many people who rang in.
At least now we know that the electoral roll data is being changed by the Australian Electoral Commission, althoughwe still do not have an answer as to why perfectly valid entries have been altered…I suspect an error in the process at the AEC whereby they have trusted data entered by other government departments even when the only difference between that data and what was on the electoral roll was a full middle name instead of an initial or vice-versa.
The good news I suppose is that you can check your enrolment on the AEC website at https://oevf.aec.gov.au/. It should be noted though that the form is very picky about what details you must enter correctly, so you might want to try a few variations of your name and address if you don’t find yourself immediately. Alternatively you can visit an AEC office and check the electoral roll there. You don’t need to know any details to see the list of voters on the electoral roll at an AEC office. Or you could just ring the AEC to correct your entry…but they’ll probably want you to fill out paperwork for that.
Going back to the job being undertaken by the AEC of adding people to the electoral roll based on data held by other government departments, I wonder two things:
1. How many incorrect entries will be added based on out-of-date data?
2. How many people who have avoided registering to vote will find themselves on the electoral roll? I know of some people who have never registered and would be very interested if they are caught in the net, so to speak.
May 22nd, 2013 at 06:33pm
I might be missing something here, but the news out of New South Wales that unimmunised children could soon be excluded from childcare centres because apparently they’re a threat to the safety of us all, has me wondering one thing.
Who is actually at risk here? Surely if immunisation protects us from diseases, then unimmunised people potentially spreading diseases is only a concern for the unimmunised people, as the immunised ones should be immune. So if unimmunised people are the only ones at risk, and the parents of unimmunised children have made the decision to not immunise their children for one reason or another, surely it is their choice and excluding these kids from childcare centres provides no societal benefit as unimmunised kids should provide no risk to immunised kids.
This would seem logical if immunisation provides, as the name implies, immunity from certain diseases…but then again, maybe I’m missing something.
Would anyone like to explain this to me?
May 21st, 2013 at 06:12pm
Thanks to the great efforts of the Boston police department, the FBI, the cooperation of the people of Boston who heeded a temporary curfew, and various other law enforcement and public safety agencies, we have witnessed a fantastic moment in history today.
The 2nd alleged Boston bomber was caught in a backyard today, and was taken alive. A resident saw something suspicious in a backyard when the suspect was on the run after authorities had flushed the suspect out, and authorities were then able to pinpoint the location of the suspect. According to what was heard on the Boston police scanner and reported by Mark Levin at the time, the FBI’s HRT (Hostage Rescue Team) which primarily provides SWAT-style assistance to the Critical Incident Response Group’s negotiation team, were the only people allowed in for the final stages of the capture…other tactical squads were told to keep out. In his book “Stalling For Time”, former FBI chief negotiator Gary Noesner, who in many ways was responsible for the building of the FBI’s hostage negotiation program, and for making the top brass take hostage negotiation seriously after the tactical errors which led to the infamous outcome of the Waco siege, wrote about how the negotiation tactics are often much more successful than an all-in tactical assault when you are faced with people who may be out to cause destruction, or believe they have nothing to lose. Gary’s work over the years has, undoubtedly in my mind, helped shape the procedures and training which have led to today’s fantastic outcome.
That’s not to say that armed response is not important. Of course it is important to have the ability to end a siege with armed means, and we should never lose sight of the fact that good guys with guns today stopped a bad guy with various weapons, but we should also acknowledge the careful and meticulous work of the tactical and negotiation teams, and all of the other people who kept the situation under control when an entire city was gripped with panic.
This really was an historic moment, and I have to give special credit to Fox News and their Boston affiliate WFXT for the excellent coverage they have provided of this whole event, ever since the awful events of the bombing. Fox News Radio, with their own coverage, have also done a fantastic job, and in my view news reporting does not get any better than what we heard at 9pm US Eastern Time (11am Canberra time) when mere minutes after the event, with rapidly changing and updating details flooding in, Fox’s Ron Flatter (who many Australians would know thanks to his work as a correspondent for Melbourne’s nationally-syndicated racing and sport station RSN 927) presented a clear, concise, and to quite frankly interesting, exciting, and urgent-feeling news bulletin.
For historical purposes, on this special occasion, I have saved a copy of the amazing work of Ron and the Fox News Radio team in presenting their 5 minute 9pm newscast.
(h/t Fox News Radio)
A great day…and to think there were people who were hoping, for political purposes, earlier this week that the bombers would be crazy right-wing white folk, rather than what we are learning now and what was always most likely, that we are dealing with Al Qaeda sympathisers with links to radical Islamic terrorism and a known radical hate-filled Australian Sheikh.
Well done to the law enforcement officials who worked so hard to secure this outcome, and equally to the great law enforcement officials who killed the other suspect. I will visit the US embassy to hopefully sign a book of thanks to you all, and also a book of condolence for the people who Boston and West in Texas for the tragic (and unrelated) events which have cost so many innocent lives this week.
I must also note how pleased I was to see and hear that people were cheering for and applauding the law enforcement officials after they caught this guy. It was a great moment.
April 20th, 2013 at 03:16pm
I’m in the middle of planning a trip (OK, closer to the start than the middle) to the US at the moment, and it occurs to me that my profile, plus my writings from earlier today, could just mean that a computer somewhere in the FBI or the CIA wants an agent to dig a little deeper.
From the perspective of a computer which has been programmed to look out for key words and phrases, this extract from my blog post about the postal system earlier today might seem a tad suspicious.
I would [..] embed some [..] devices in items I post
Yes, the statement was about tracking devices, and one would hope that an FBI agent would see that and dismiss the computer’s concerns, but I still think the computer would be worried about talk of posting devices and embedding things. The blog post also mentioned ricin, a poisonous substance which was mailed to the US President and a senator today, and so chatter about it would probably be high on the priority list for intelligence-gathering computers.
If I was putting together an automated system which looks out for suspicious activity of the terrorist kind, and was mainly basing it on key words and phrases, I would probably set it up so that after identifying something as potentially suspicious, it would then take another look over it for other, less immediately obvious, suspicious phrases which might indicate a plot or some sort of code. Looking back over that blog post, I listed my postal address in an unusual format:
a post office box at the Dickson post office (1272
And talked about the inside of government buildings:
They finally found it somewhere in the PO
parcels which are [..] stored in the post office’s back rooms
wandering back out to the back rooms
A drug inference could even be drawn from
Nattie did give the letter a good sniff
or possibly an explosives inference if the computer works out that Nattie is a dog.
Further examination of my blog brings up photos of phone towers, electricity substations, and a map of a powerline which feeds a government building.
Yes, an FBI computer would have good reason to think I’m suspicious. And a profiler might be concerned when they learn that my trip to the US is so that I can visit people, most of whom are conservatives (Terrorism center at West Point warns against danger of American limited-government activists and ‘far right’ – The Blaze, January 18), many are Christian, of which some are Catholic (Army training manual labeled Evangelicals and Catholics as religious extremists – Todd Starnes, Fox News Radio, April 5), and I intend on visiting many places in rapid succession, including some important building in Washington D.C. I have also made my disdain for President Obama clear on many occasions (although I think I’ve made it clear, and if I haven’t then I will now, that I do not want him to come to any harm…instead I wanted him to be voted out, and now want him to finish his term and be remembered for being a President with policies which ultimately failed and sparked a need for a serious return to conservative governing principles).
Obviously, this doesn’t add up to anything suspicious, but I can see how, at a time when security services are on edge, the combination of my profile and writings could be enough to make a computer suspicious, and perhaps make security services want to take a closer look at me. Dare I say it, I won’t be surprised if I get pulled aside at Customs in the US next year for a little chat…in fact, I’ll be a little disappointed if it doesn’t happen.
All of this reminds me of a story from the start of this year about the FBI scanning emails for certain words and phrases which apparently are common in messages about fraudulent activity. The words and phrases were “gray area”, “coverup”, “nobody will find out”, “do not volunteer information”, “write‑off”, “failed investment”, “off the books”, “they owe it to me”, “not ethical”, and “illegal”.
Glenn Beck had some fun with this on his radio show and jokingly suggested that they (Glenn or one of his co-hosts) should send an email containing all of those words just to confuse an FBI computer. Sure enough, co-host Pat Gray sent the message, and went to some lengths to make some of the phrases fit.
I’m sitting here gazing up at a cloudy grey area of the sky wondering how to cover up this blemish that I have on my nose. As a dermatologist, I thought you might have an idea of what I could use so nobody will find out that I’ve broken out again like a teenager. If you do not volunteer the information, I’ll probably have to see a specialist.
Up until yesterday, I’ve been using Clearasil on it but I realized that I can write off that failed investment of $4.99 because it didn’t work.
I wasn’t able to use the cream you prescribed for me last week because I put the jar on top of some books at my parents’ house and wouldn’t you know it, I bumped into the table that those books were sitting on and a jar fell off the books and onto the floor and broke.
My parents said that since I loaned them $20 last month, they would be happy to pay for a new prescription because they owe it to me. But I told them I wasn’t sure if it was not ethical to provide the medication again so soon.
Anyway, if you can call me on that, please call in the Walgreens at Fourth and Main as I have found that to get the one on 29th and Main, you have to make an illegal U‑turn at the light, and I don’t want to do that.
Thanks again. Whatever you can do, Dr. Ahmed.
I found it much more amusing when I heard it go to air. The video of it is embedded in the page of the above link, but it’s not working for me. Thankfully I have my own recording of it.
(Audio credit: Glenn Beck, Mercury Radio Arts, Premiere Radio Network)
April 18th, 2013 at 01:38pm
It saddens me deeply (but, I have to admit, does not surprise me) that the United States of America has once again fallen victim to a terrorist attack.
If any comfort can be taken from this despicable act, it is that it happened at a time of day when fewer people were in the location of the explosions than would have been the case had it happened a few hours earlier.
This, to my mind, highlights a critical flaw in some aspects of event security where security services seem to be almost entirely concerned about the busiest point in time, at the expense of less busy points in time. This could also be a testament to the security services in that they are protecting the busiest and most critical points in time successfully, and perhaps it may be time to re-evaluate how security is managed, and examine if there are ways to make it easier for existing resources to better manage security and some of the less-busy times which seem to be a more attractive target.
My condolences go to the families of those who have been killed and injured in this attack, and my absolute worst wishes go to the perpetrators, whoever they may be.
I should probably clarify why it does not surprise me that America has found itself in the crosshares again. It is simply that places which harbour and promote freedom, will always be the envy and target of those who oppose freedom. I have a few other thoughts, but they would be premature as we do not yet know exactly who was responsible for this atrocity.
April 16th, 2013 at 03:48pm