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nellie On December - 26 - 2009

This is the news of the morning:

Jet passengers overpower would-be bomber

A Nigerian man on an Amsterdam-to-Detroit flight allegedly tried to blow up the airliner, which landed safely. The suspect is badly hurt. Authorities consider it a terrorism attempt.

Reporting from New York – In what was described as an act of terrorism, a Nigerian passenger attempted to ignite an incendiary device aboard a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Friday as the plane began its approach for landing, federal officials said. Other passengers overpowered the man and the plane landed safely.

The suspect, identified as Abdul Mutallab, 23, suffered severe burns as a result of the attempt, authorities said, and two of the other 277 passengers reported minor injuries.

It is the day after Christmas, and we are rudely shoved back into the realities of our modern world.

There are many angles to take on this story: security, the politics, the impact on our culture. What I’m wondering right now is if we will ever have a rational discussion about terrorism in this country. We seem to want to treat it as a kind of psychological disorder rather than a violent form of protest—which is what it is, in my view.

It’s such an emotional issue. People are afraid. There are real dangers. Our policies are a bad hangover from the punch drunk Bush Administration, which turned its back on Bin Laden to pursue war profiteering in Iraq. We need an intelligent terrorism policy, but we seem to be in the grips of political gamesmen who will not put our nation above their obsession with power, money, and the cynical joys of “winning.” I worry we will never get beyond politics so that we can address the problem more effectively.

Is it too soon to be jolted back to reality?

166 Responses so far.

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  1. PepeLepew says:

    *Another* incident on an Amsterdam-to-Detroit flight today!


    Turns out it was a guy with diarrhea in the bathroom, and got upset when told to come out.

    Damn you, mainstream media! It’s like they make money out of freaking people out … or something.

  2. PepeLepew says:

    For the record, I have been on the no-fly list. It was a real pain in the ass to get off it.

    It’s because I have the same name as a Haitian human rights activist.


  3. KevenSeven says:

    Gee willakers.

    Has the Homeland Security System designed by the vaunted BushCo crime family been revealed to be less than perfect?

    BushCo gave him a multiple entry visa?

    My. I am shocked.

    I wonder what Saint Joe, the Chair of the Senate HS Oversight Committee, has been doing with his time?

    I want an investigation. I want to know why BushCo gave him a visa. I want to know what Saint Joe has been doing the last two years. To make America more secure, I mean.

    • SueInCa says:

      And you should be outraged. The administration that focused so much on “the axis of evil” really had little luck in thwarting real threats. They, we now know, had plenty of conjured actions, but no real threats. You would think that the fundamentalist right which has been focused on this for so many years would have been experts.

      • PepeLepew says:

        The problem is they’re already all out braying that the Detroit incident was “all Obama’s fault!”

        • nellie says:

          They will say that about everything. The next light bulb that burns out is all Obama’s fault.

          We need to push back and push back hard. It’s too bad so many progressive commentators are currently on vacation. Or stuck in “I’ve been betrayed by Obama” mode. I’m sure Hal Sparks will have something sensible to say about this tomorrow morning.

          • Marion says:

            As I live in the UK and rely on the internet for my US news mostly, I’ve been avoiding, of late, the MSNBC site; but I guess I’ll have to go back there.

            What I want to know is if the US media are drumming this story to the hilt and, thereby, stoking fear and the ‘blame Obama’ mantra. I was in the States at the time of the Fort Hood shootings.

            One thing I do know -- and this is no surprise -- and that’s that this guy had a London connection. Really, they all do. They come here to the UK to study, and get radicalised, if not at the Finsbury mosque in North London, then in the Bradford area of Yorkshire.

            • PepeLepew says:

              MSNBC probably the least right-wing of the major news networks.

            • Emerald1943 says:

              With the exception of Joe in the morning! I absolutely get livid every time I hear him bashing the President!

              Now, I love me some Keith and Rachel, especially Keith’s over-the-top special comments!

        • SueInCa says:

          Remember that scene in Beverly Hills Cop? Murphy walking away from Jeffrey his hands over his ears? “Bla bla bla bla, I can’t hear you Jeffrey, I can’t hear Jeffrey but he is still talking”?

          That is how I look at the right wing…………

    • Emerald1943 says:

      Ditto, Keven! This would be comical if it weren’t so deadly serious! I just love it when they get caught! They were supposed to be the “only game in town” when it came to securing the homeland!

  4. javaz says:

    Thank heaven the terrorist was stopped in his attempt.
    But it does make me angry as to why this man was not on the ‘No-fly list’ when there were several warnings about him.

    “”The investigation stretched to London, where a government official said border agents blocked an attempt by Abdulmutallab to return to Britain earlier this year. The suspected bomber was refused a student visa in May because authorities suspected that the school he said he was studying with wasn’t genuine, the official said. He spoke anonymously because he wasn’t authorized to release the information on an official basis.

    The use of bogus schools to secure student visas has been identified as a weakness in Britain’s immigration system. In April, one of several suspected terrorists arrested in raids in northern England was found to have a visa issued with the help of a fake college, prompting opposition lawmakers to call for a crackdown. Some 2,000 schools have closed.””


    Is it a lack of communication between countries?
    The man was banned from returning to London because they knew he was a threat.
    Someone(s) dropped the ball on this one, and it is a wake-up call to our Homeland Security and security at airports in Amsterdam, at the very least.
    We dodged the bullet this time, and I hope that officials review the policies and close whatever gaps that exist that allowed this man to fly into the US with explosives attached to his body, or underwear.

    • SueInCa says:

      I worked in credit card fraud starting way back in 1983. Nigerians were a huge problem in the “identity theft” area. That was my speciality, not by choice, but because I dug so far I was able to stop alot of them. ICE is a major problem in this area and they would never take the initiative until Secret Service had charged the suspects even though illegals are supposed to be their area of control. The agencies do not talk to each other and the same people would come back in multiple times. I learned a great deal about immigration in those days and most of what I learned did not make me feel safe. We figured out early on their schemes and built a database that was very good at stopping them at the approval step but not before the bank had taken huge losses. They had schools in Nigeria that teach how to defraud the US banks and I would imagine there are similar schools now that helped this suspect.

      • Emerald1943 says:

        What ever do you mean, Sue? I’ve heard from this Nigerian Prince who is going to put millions into my bank account! LMAO

        • escribacat says:

          I can beat that, Emerald. I think I’ve been offered a total of about three trillion over the past few years.

          • Emerald1943 says:

            LOL! It’s hard to believe that anybody would buy into that line! My nutty son got one of those emails and played along with it. He had the “nigerian prince” convinced that the Mafia was after him! It was a riot!

          • SueInCa says:

            Exactly, you two. They get your names from some websites who sell your information. I know the State Farm Dr. Dave? website sold mine. I started getting those emails after I signed up for his weight loss program. I had to change my email id because I was deluged with scam emails. And now he is responsible for me being fat LOL. In reality, I dieted on my own and lost the weight.

    • nellie says:

      This man should definitely have been on the no-fly list. I imagine DHS will look into that pretty carefully. If he got through, others like him could have gotten through as well. I’m wondering, too, WHEN this would have been done if DHS had not been asleep at the wheel — and yes, I’m asking if this was another Bush administration foul up.

      • Emerald1943 says:

        The “no-fly” list thing is a joke at this point. They have put millions of people on it who should not be, and I hear it’s almost impossible to get yourself off of it!

  5. Kalima says:

    This father must must feeling so bad, I send him hugs, he didn’t deserve this.


    • Emerald1943 says:

      You’re right! It’s so sad when your children make the wrong decisions in life and you can do nothing to save them from themselves. I’m sure the father is devastated.

      • Kalima says:

        My father, a WW11 veteran, Gold Beach, Normandy, D-day, will be 87 tomorrow. He adopted me and gave his name, I am forever grateful.

        HAPPY BIRTHDAY DADDY, I love you.

        A Welsh guy by the way, gosh I’m so connected. :)

        • Emerald1943 says:

          That’s great, K! And a big Happy Birthday to your Dad from me!

          My dad was with the 8th Air Corps, stationed in England and flew bombing missions in a B-17 over Germany in ’44. He died this past year, but he would never really talk about his war experiences.

          • Kalima says:

            Thank you, I will talk to him on Skype tonight. No he never talked much about it either, decided to stop asking.

            Sorry to hear about your father.

            • Emerald1943 says:

              We were estranged. He left my mom when I was seven yrs. old and never contacted me. I only saw him a few times in my adult life, but thanks.

              Please give your Dad my best wishes! 87 is quite an accomplishment!!

  6. Kalima says:

    Funny day, bad news, good news, what is a day anyway?

    27th here, we have something in common, right?

  7. abby4ever says:

    “Is it too soon to be jolted back to reality?”

    ‘Morning, Nellie. A thoughtful article. I think just the fact that a terror attack was attempted should jolt us back to reality. And this one does show that terror can happen on anyone’s watch, not just GWB’s but Obama’s too.

    OT: A joyous Christmas holiday to you and yours…rather late. I tried to get by here sooner to wish everyone here a Merry Christmas, but it was non-stop company, non-stop cooking, non-stop everything! I still look (and feel) like something the cat dragged in, I’ve never had such an exhausting Christmas…but what fun it was!

    Hope everyone else’s was all they hoped it would be.


  8. Kalima says:

    Did I tell you how much I adore you?

  9. boomer1949 says:

    I am, at the very least, the least informed and most naive of this eloquent forum. On the other hand, sometimes we tend to beat and analyze news and opinions to death…absolutely to death..beyond death and into the next realm for that matter.

    Speaking only for myself, I live one day at a time. Some days are better than others. In my 60+ years on this planet, I have learned that yesterday is what it is…yesterday; I can neither live in nor change the past. However, I can make every effort to change the future. One never knows how important “excuse me,” “pardon me,” “I’m sorry,” “eye contact,” or “a smile” means to another person.

    One never knows, one never knows.

    To see beyond color, gender, religion, and nationality is what it means to be human, and to do the right thing…simply because it is the right thing to do. Not because someone told me to, but because I have a conscience and it feels right.

    OMG — I’m an ESFJ!!

  10. Kalima says:

    I just woke up to read it, so much hate. I’m really sad for your country.

    • Khirad says:

      This is the kind of thing that worries me more:

      ” height=”150″ width=”500″ alt=”doonesbury” />

      • Khirad says:

        This would have been better on Marion’s post, but, hey.

        Pssst, btw. Satire.

      • boomer1949 says:

        Gary Trudeau (aka Mrs. Jane Pauley) is idealistic and is no different from any other “Ultimate-Not-Tomorrow-But-Yesterday-Progressive.” Sorry, Trudeau/Pauley are my age, but don’t get it. My guess is neither has been without and are so out of touch with reality…well need I say more?


        Trudeau and Pauley should know better — both of them should know better. I’m so disappointed — And those of us who voted for Obama? If we saw the person, the character, the vision, the whole package? Then we should not be disappointed, but lifted up — I do not believe for one minute we have been sold out or up the river.

        • SueInCa says:

          People want instant gratification. The same ones who are so worried about Obama now, will all of a sudden be his biggest campaigner when he does something they wanted

          • Kalima says:

            Sue, I have been trying to say the same thing forever, on Huff, another blog which made me sad, and here.

            Yes they will love him if they get their way. I’m so disappointed, how fickle we are. We are the most important members of this world, no we are not!

      • escribacat says:

        This is also my biggest worry. The progressives eating their own because of that purity thing.

        • Marion says:

          Well, look at the people they describe as their opinionators: Ed Schulz, Markos Moulitsas and Huffington -- all so-called ex-Republicans, and not just Republicans, but neocon Republicans.

          As I’ve said, we’ve no need to hear from the teabaggers and the birthers, the Progressive base is doing their job for them. Funny, I remember people, early on in the year, talking about the Republicans eating their own. Well, someone needs look closer to home.

          I agree, Escribacat, these people are their own worst enemies, especially since the Republican party now can genuinely be identified by their wingnut base.

      • Kalima says:

        That is so untrue, the opposite in fact.
        I can’t tell you how many people are really sorry to have voted for Hatoyama, he is a crook, the new boss, the old same boss.

      • Chernynkaya says:

        Me too-- Very worried.

        • SueInCa says:

          Just keep lifting your voice up and don’t let them get you down. I think alot of people are just so tired of the difficult times. When Obama came in to office, it all hit him and became his problem right off the bat. There were bound to be screw ups along the way, look at the past 8 years, major screw ups then walking away and saying it is someone else’s problem now.

      • kesmarn says:

        Khirad, I saw that Doonesbury, too. As they say, “many a truth is spoken in jest.”

        And hello to Kalima! Hope your holiday was happy and peaceful!

        • Kalima says:

          I missed you, I’m sorry, what a year.

          Kesmarn, I send my best wishes for the rest of the year and of next year too. :)

          Take care and be safe.

          • kesmarn says:

            I hope 2010 is a wonderful year for you, Kalima.

            • Kalima says:

              I will, family and friends prevail. you bet you. I’m just so away from everyone, this Christmas was awfully sad. Don’t you dare take any notice of me. :)

            • Kalima says:

              Thank you, I will get through it somehow, don’t you dare worry about me, I’m fine, really.

            • boomer1949 says:

              Dear Kalima,

              I hear you, deeply know where you are and have been (believe me), and definitely feel your pain. As cryptic as it sounds to anyone else, I know you “get it.” If not, you have my email.

              Love you,

    • KevenSeven says:


      We’ll be alright.

    • javaz says:

      Good afternoon, Kalima!
      Hope you are well today and that you had a nice Christmas day.

      • Kalima says:

        A day or so late javaz, sorry, this time zone business, sometimes zonkes me out. I probably won’t get the New Year either. However ((( hugs and stuff to you)))

  11. Scheherazade says:

    From the BBC:

    Police search London flat in US plane bomb probe

    Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, from Nigeria, is alleged to have had an explosive device hidden in his clothes.
    He is said to have been an engineering student at University College London.
    The Metropolitan Police have been searching a flat at an apartment block in Mansfield Street, central London, and other properties in the capital.
    Police have cordoned off Mansfield Street in front of the apartment block.

    …continued on BBC’s website.

  12. KQuark says:

    I think there are three lessons to learn here.

    First even long wolf terrorists will not be able to repeat a 911 type attack because the crew and the passengers on planes have become more savvy.

    Second the law enforcement approach against terrorism is more effective than any other approach. Yes we have to clean up the messes Bush started but the law enforcement approach to terrorism is the only logical way to proceed.

    Third we have real enemies that want to kill us and the naive talk by some on the left that everyone will love us if we love them is Pollyanna nonsense. Sure if we have success brokering a two state solution for Palestine and Israel and disengage from nations that don’t want us there less people in the Mideast will want to attack us but we will always have enemies for what we represent.

    • Khirad says:

      I love the Pollyanna defense. My lord. It all hinges on the belief that if we were to halve our military that China would their’s, etc. I think we overspend on our military, but lord, I think some used lead based paint when making their tie-dye shirts.

      • whatsthatsound says:

        I’ve never met a single person who told me he or she believes that if we halve our military, then China would do the same. But I do know that the following countries all are “blessed” with American military bases.
        South Korea
        Take a quick guess as to how many of those countries are doubly blessed with a Chinese military base. On their land.
        It is not for me to opine whether this is excessive or not. The fact is I just don’t know enough about each individual situation. But it does seem that terrorist attacks would tend to follow from that, and maybe folks can stop asking themselves “why do they hate us?” or convincing ourselves it’s what we “represent”. Think of the angriest American you know, the Fox news watching type. Now imagine a foreign military base stationed just outside his hometown. Now imagine that some guy from the base, who doesn’t even speak English, stole his girlfriend. Presto! You just may have yourself a terrorist!

      • KQuark says:

        I don’t believe in American Imperialism but I don’t believe in American Isolationism either. We don’t have the resources to maintain our empire but withdrawing from the world like Ru Paul would want us to do is insane as well. I believe in pragmatic and smart foreign policy. Since WWII we have been too aggressive trying to police the world but on the other hand there have been no global conflicts and somehow we have averted nuclear war. If we do a full withdrawal from South Korea for example how does that stabilize the situation with North Korea? If we totally withdraw from the Mideast how does that make us and our interests safer? Through life I’ve found all the extremes are false choices.

        Since the end of WWI we have seen what power vacuums create and what a danger they are to the world.

  13. javaz says:

    Thank you, Keven!
    You are correct about the “War on Christmas.”
    Earliest on record in the colonies for the ‘War on Christmas’ is by the Puritans on May 11, 1659 in Massachusetts Bay Colony :

    • Khirad says:

      I was actually saying that I’ve seen articles on this before, and it would have made an interesting articel -- the whole history of Christmas and such. The sanctity of Christmas tradition is also a joke, if you go back more than a hundred years, as well.

    • Chernynkaya says:

      Thanks, Javez-- those links are great!

    • KevenSeven says:

      OK, that is way back from what I knew of.

      I know that Henry Ford blamed the Jews for destroying Christmas.

      • Chernynkaya says:

        He was an avowed anti-Semite, and re-published “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”-- a racist tract still in circulation. In fact, when you see a bunch of “Audit the Fed!” comments on some sites, you’ll find their justification has a lot to do with international Jewish bankers-- and little to do with the actual good reasoning for an audit.

        • PepeLepew says:

          Was it true Walt Disney was an anti-Semite? I keep hearing that rumour. Remember a really funny Family Guy episode that made fun of that?

          • javaz says:

            “”Walt Disney: Hollywood’s Dark Prince is a biography by Marc Eliot, presenting a darker picture of entertainer Walt Disney than his popular perception. Eliot purports to present evidence of life-long anti-Semitism (including a deleted scene from the 1933 Silly Symphony Three Little Pigs in which the Big Bad Wolf dresses as a Jewish peddler), covert employment by the House Un-American Activities Committee as a spy against Communists in Hollywood, and intense right-wing politics. For example, the book claims that Disney wore a Barry Goldwater badge when receiving the Medal of Freedom from President Lyndon Johnson just before the 1964 election and repeats urban legends such as Disney’s alleged refusal to lower the American flag[1] at Disneyland after the assassination of John F. Kennedy.””

            Many other authors dispute the claim, just as many others agree.
            It’s hard to say.


            • Khirad says:

              I totally believe the McCartyhite Bircher part. Who knows about the others. Urban legends work when there’s an air of credibility to them, after all. No one is sure about the Sparky thing, for example, but it makes a good story,

          • Khirad says:

            Like they say, he was not a pleasant man. The ASU mascot was designed by a former Disney employee. Resemblance?

            • javaz says:

              Have you ever heard the story about two cartoonists who worked for Walt, drew a very funny cartoon of Mickey banging Minnie for Disney’s birthday?
              Walt laughed and asked who it was that showed such artistic humor and when the 2 cartoonists took the credit, Disney fired them.

            • Khirad says:

              Apparently they started the tradition of adding naughty things in Disney movies?

              What a dick move by Walt, would sound in character. I want to see the cartoon now though… (yes, I’m that immature).

            • nellie says:

              I’ve heard people who work there call it Mousewitz.

            • Chernynkaya says:


          • Chernynkaya says:

            I’m not sure about Disney, but as Nellie says, he was a hater. I do believe he was a John Bircher. I hope they never thaw him out of cryo-sleep.

          • Khirad says:

            I think it is true. And yeah, I remember that Family Guy one too.

          • nellie says:

            I understand that he was not particularly fond of several groups of people.

            • PepeLepew says:

              My brother got thrown out of Disneyland because his hair was too long! This would’ve been about 1969, I think.

            • Khirad says:

              No way! And I thought the Goth Cruise was the height of irony!

              Well, at least it was at night, so they could leave the parasol at home.

            • Chernynkaya says:

              I remember those days! Entirely different today-- my daughter went to a Goth Night at Disneyland! That never would have been allowed in MY day, dagnabbit! ;~)

        • Khirad says:

          He re-published the Protocols? Wow, I knew he was an anti-Semite, but geeze, that’s hardcore. And yeah, totally noticed that about a lot of those audit people. -- the subject gets over my head, but I can sniff some of them out who really are more interested in the Bilderberg group and the NWO.

          • Chernynkaya says:

            From Wikipedia:

            The pioneer automobile manufacturer Henry Ford propagated antisemitic ideas in his newspaper The Dearborn Independent…

            A notable event was the temporary embracing of antisemitism by the American automobile manufacturer Henry Ford, who reprinted the discredited Protocols of the Elders of Zion in his newspaper, The Dearborn Independent. Condemned widely, Ford later apologized for this action.

  14. KevenSeven says:

    I can always count on you for a cogent sentence.

    “We seem to want to treat it as a kind of psychological disorder rather than a violent form of protest

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