Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Come January, will US citizens see some action from the House?

Republicans need to focus on just three issues when the new Congress convenes in January; 10% more jobs, one third smaller government and a drastic cut in spending. That’s it. That’s all I would like to see them accomplish. I think many American feel the same way.

What do I think is actually going to happen? A larger and larger bureaucracy, continued out of control spending and a dismal job market. That will be the reality I’m afraid. Anyone wanting to make a bet I’m wrong, please reply.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The shootist

North Korean leadership: A study in pigheaded stupidity.


Every time I come across something in the news concerning North Korea the content seems to always fall into one of two categories; 1) how gut-wretchedly poor a people are who live under a dictatorship and 2) pointless saber rattling by Kim Jon Il shortly before he begins his trip to the great beyond. Now things seem to be ratcheting up again.

What’s disturbing about this occasion is twofold; 1) the successor appears to be even more of a slack-jawed idiot than his dad and 2) I have a sneaking suspicion that China is actually pulling the strings here. It’s possible that they have in mind an invasion of the south and, if true, it could be a blessing in disguise.

Here’s the situation. Right now the north is banking on America backing down and doing nothing. Intel has it that our president is a thinker-ponderer kind of man who would be completely ineffective in a fast moving military situation. Finally, Kim Jon Il (and getting iller) may feel this could be his last chance to make a big splash before going out. War is definitely a possibility in the near term.

But here is the good news. North Korea is actually more of a shell government. A quick and decisive strike by South Korea in conjunction with her Allies could quickly bring down the North and mark the beginning point of re-unification of both countries. A situation that would be good for the US and her allies and really bad news for China. It would also send a very clear message to the rest of the world that we stand by our friends through thick and thin.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Beware: If you opt out of screening process, you may be fined!

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says it can fine individuals up to $11,000 for walking away from the airport security process. But will it? People in government say the fine is mostly a deterrent so that terrorists cannot back out of a security check once it starts.
The TSA said it has yet to fine a traveler for not completing the screening process, though it has levied civil penalties against passengers who have brought dangerous items to the security checkpoint.
"While TSA has the legal authority to levy a civil penalty of up to $11,000 for individuals who choose not to complete the screening process, each case is determined on the individual circumstances of the situation," said Greg Soule, a spokesperson for the Transportation Security Administration. Congress transferred the enforcement of civil aviation security to the TSA from the Federal Aviation Administration in November 2001, after the September 11 attacks.
The TSA's current civil penalty monetary guidelines, which became effective on August 20 last year, say the security administration can impose "civil monetary penalties…up to $10,000 per violation for surface transportation modes [for breaches of highway, pipeline, freight rail and mass transit security policies] and up to $11,000 per violation for all other persons…"

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What's next? Cavity searches?

“Whenever an individual manages to circumvent the security system designed to protect our airports, airlines and the people who use them, we ask why our countermeasures failed. And yet the real problem lies in our determination to screen everybody in exactly the same way using technologies that are not fit for purpose.

 

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 23-year old alleged perpetrator of the Christmas Day attack, should have been identified as a potential threat to the flight both in Lagos and again in Amsterdam. Here was a passenger who had bought an expensive ticket in cash in a country different to that of his port of embarkation or his intended destination, was traveling without any checked luggage for a two-week trip over the Christmas period, and about whom some agencies, and his father, had security concerns. It’s not rocket science we need; it’s the deployment of common sense.

 

Regrettably, regulators are loath to implement international profiling standards that would screen different passengers in different ways, for fear of being branded politically incorrect. Profiling is a risk analysis of a person or situation carried out by a trained, streetwise workforce. In terms of passengers, the aim is to analyze their appearance and behavior, along with their travel documents, and determine to what extent they meet our expectations for international air travel. The key advantage of profiling is that it responds to future threats as well as to those of the past and enables us to then select the right technology to screen passengers with. We are not going to ask all passengers to undergo a through-body X-ray, however safe such technologies are, but we could use the technology to screen those we have concerns about.

 

Detractors of profiling claim that decisions will be racially motivated, that we will start picking on young Asian men and that all Muslim passengers will be treated unfairly. Yet, the best examples of profiling actually working have identified people who do not meet such a stereotype.  Anne-Marie Murphy, a pregnant Irish woman identified as a potential threat to an El Al flight in 1986, is the best example – and she certainly did not fit the terrorist stereotype. As a result the 1.5 kg Semtex-based device concealed in her bag was identified.

 

The limited degree of profiling that is currently done has been proven to work, when it is properly applied and enforced by trained staff. Richard Reid, the “shoe-bomber,” was identified as a possible threat on 21st December 2001 and refused boarding; he returned the next day and managed to board. The Chechen Black Widows responsible for the downing of two Russian airliners in 2004, each carrying explosive charges on (or possibly in) their bodies, were initially refused boarding. They paid bribes to be accepted, with tragic results.

 

It is up to  security trainers to ensure that profiling decisions are based on logic rather than race, religion or skin color. In any case, aviation security is about preventing perpetrators of all acts of unlawful interference with civil aviation, such as unruly passengers, criminals and asylum seekers, not only terrorists, from boarding aircraft. Employers, meanwhile, will have to ensure that the screeners they employ have the requisite skill-set with which to perform their duties.

Profiling is subjective and profilers are human beings subject to making errors of judgment. Indeed, Abdulmutallab had been through a degree of profiling in Amsterdam on Dec. 25; whoever failed to identify him must have been either in a Christmas frame of mind or incapable of identifying the most obvious of documentary signs. Accordingly, profiling is not a substitute for screening, rather a requisite addition to the security process.

 

With this in mind, we need a system whereby a human determines which screening methodology should be applied to each passenger. Most people who look and act the part, as most people do, of the ‘normal’ law-abiding traveler would be subjected to standard screening, ideally without even having to take off their shoes or belts or dispose of any liquids. Those passengers whose intent is indeterminate may face questioning or screening using millimeter wave-based solutions, whilst those who we have genuine concerns about could undergo passenger X-ray or even be denied boarding.

 

I despair when I read of the latest security measures implemented to supposedly safeguard aviation. Just because Abdulmutallab allegedly carried out his attack 20 minutes before landing (which I would say was incredibly poor planning and not the mark of a sophisticated terrorist), passengers on flights to the U.S. are no longer allowed to stand during the last hour of their flight; nor can they cover themselves with blankets or have access to their hand baggage in this period of the flight. Not only do these measures demonstrate that the authorities recognize that the current security system is incapable of detecting the 21st century terrorist on the ground, prior to departure, but they also provide the terrorist with yet another victory. What they want is to disrupt our daily lives and they are succeeding.

 

Now is the time for us to seize the opportunity and set about replacing our antiquated approach to aviation security. We must look to the future and start to consider the unthinkable – chemical or biological weapons attacks, internally-carried devices, and devices infiltrated onto aircraft by airport workers. To do this we must finally accept that profiling is the only solution that works.”

 

Philip Baum is the author of this piece and editor of Aviation Security International . He is also the managing director of Green Light Limited, an aviation security training and consultancy company based in London. The opinions expressed by him are fully supported by this blogger. The clock is ticking folks. It's time the US government got its head out of its ass. Or maybe you folks on Capitol Hill didn't get the recent message 'We the People' sent? Leadership by those who yell loudest will no longer cut it in America. We deserve and demand level headed, common sense approaches to the problems we face on this issue of terrorism. Put another way. We are just about out of tolerance for tolerance sake.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Random thoughts for November 8 2010

I have to assume Al-Awlaki is f’ing nuts!

I do know for a fact he is a dickless maggot. His only redeeming quality may be the price someone can get for the minerals in his body after it is cremated. While I love my fellow man, the key word is man. Al-Awlaki is not a man. He is so low on the evolutionary ladder that his kinship would be closer to that of mollusks. Other than that I have no problems with him. Hope they catch you soon you crawling snail.

Cold weather to let up for a few days!

So, I want everyone to run around outside like mad until it gets cold again. My garden is now completely decimated, but the good news is no more grass cutting for something like three or four months! Also, no bugs to worry about. That means I can get back out into the forest for a great hike without coming home covered in ticks. Nasty critters they are.

Obama is out of the country!

Is there anyway we can keep him out now that he’s gone? It’s not that I don’t love the dear man. He just seems to keep tripping over his own dick a little to often for my comfort. Perhaps he can help China the way he’s helped America. Now that would be fun to watch. While we’re at it let’s send over Reid and Pelosi. They could form the vanguard point team to bring free health care to 1.3 billion Chinese. Yeah, like that would work.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Valehdellaan - Katri Ylander with Let's Lie

Jenni Vartiainen - Ihmisten edessä w English Subtitles










OK, Jenni was a blast as I endeavored to learn the Finnish language, so very long ago.(Got to talk with her via Email - She thought I was orava (a total squirrel)! This video was filmed in Helsinki, (but not by me, I translated it)! The translation was aided by two fine ladies of that state, Valura and Visa, both living in Espoo, at the time! Please sample this. Breath the political air and get back to me.

 The Lord God shouts for many decades, at a man who is half deaf. And not even his one good ear hears the truth he speaks very well....

So, for a few who follow. A side excursion to Thai music as the rabbit hole goes downwards...

Roviolla

Välitunnilla - Katri Ylander

On Slippage

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

So, who won? Or actually, who cares?

Now that that the 2010 midterm elections will soon be history, the question becomes…what next? After millions of dollars have been spent by candidates on both sides… after they’ve invested a yearof campaigning and speech making… so what? I’ll make you a bet here and now that not a thing will have changed. I’ll also bet that during all those campaigns that ran for House, Senate and other seats promises were made and strings were attached. Thirty days from now you won’t even be able to tell there was an election as both sides will be right back a each others throats in the halls of congress while the Republic sinks ever further in a mire of debt and failed promises. Actually, that’s not a bet, it’s a fact.