Cyreenik Says

February 2016 issues

Guantanamo Bay: a still-festering Blunder Scar

Guantanamo Bay: putting terrorists there was done way back in 2002 to keep them outside America's legal system -- there wasn't enough legal evidence to convict them. This is was a mistake to start with, and it is one that continues to this day. (but the nature of rationalizing why to keep them there has evolved) It shows that irrational side of fear-of-terrorism is still very much alive and well in the US today.

This 24 Feb 16 WSJ editorial, Guantanamo at Bay Americans won’t close a terror prison when the terror threat is rising., talks about now necessary Gitmo still is... for helping some people sleep better at night.

From the article, "[Its closure] is not going to happen—at least not if Mr. Obama follows the law. Polls show the American people oppose closing Gitmo by about two to one, politicians in both parties oppose closing it, and the past seven years have taught that the camp plays an important role in keeping America safe.

One reason is because Americans have figured out that the alternative is bringing these terrorists to the mainland. It’s easy to call for Gitmo’s closure in the abstract. It’s harder to explain to voters why Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other killers may soon move into a prison near you."

Yeah... sleep better. ...A terrorist inside a supermax prison is still a threat? He is contagious in some magic way? And physical proximity matters? This editorial shows that keeping prisoners in that out-of-US location has evolved over the years from creating and exploiting a legal loophole into avoiding some kind of magically-created calamity.

This is truly spooky thinking. It shows how powerful the instinctive thinking still is surrounding terrorism, and the 9-11 incident in particular -- which makes this an archetypical example of a Blunder Scar. This is emotion topping reason in a big, decades-long, way.

Judge versus Apple: a whirlpool of instinctive thinking

Another whirlpool of instinctive thinking as emerged in the media and social media news. This time related to unlocking the data in smart phones.

This 18 Feb 16 WSJ article, U.S. Clash With Apple Was Months in the Making Dispute between Justice Department and Apple long predates tussle over iPhone related to San Bernardino attacks by Devlin Barrett in Washington and Daisuke Wakabayashi in San Francisco, is one of dozens of articles and thousands of social media comments on the business of unlocking the smart phone used by Syed Rizwan Farook, the husband part of the husband and wife terror team that shot up a company party in San Bernardino. What a media gossip storm this has become.

From the article, "Although few realized it at the time, Mr. Comey’s comments were a shot across the bow of Apple Inc. The company had been refusing for weeks to help the FBI unlock the phone used by Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the perpetrators of the attack, according to people familiar with matter."

The emotional issues involved are privacy, anti-terrorism and regulating high technology. The problem is: because this is all about emotion, the solutions that come out are unlikely to be good ones based on the criteria of being practical and cost effective.

The solutions will be good at helping fearful people sleep better at night, and giving government regulators more jobs, not at making our world a more comfortable, prosperous and ecologically efficient place to live.

The quick and quiet way to solve this crack-the-phone issue is to have a third party contractor take on the assignment. This 18 Feb 16 Business Insider article, JOHN MCAFEE: I'll decrypt the San Bernardino phone free of charge so Apple doesn't need to place a back door on its product by John McAfee, Contributor, is an example of writing about this alternative. (Although this article is also filled with all sorts of emotional heat, which makes it a bit off-topic.)

This 22 Feb 16 WSJ article, San Bernardino Had Software That Could Have Given FBI Access to Shooter’s iPhone County was testing MobileIron software, but department where Syed Rizwan Farook worked hadn’t signed up by Robert McMillan, has more to add about how this should not be an Apple issue.

Instead the government, Justice Department in particular, has chosen to make this a high profile issue, and one about how the basics of phone design should be handled, and the Big Media and social media are getting right in line behind their profile-raising effort.

Adding all this emotional heat is not how to debate this kind of issue and come up with good, practical solutions.

The Time of Nutcases grows stronger

The Time of Nutcases is growing stronger. Both Trump and Sanders won in the New Hampshire primaries, as described in this 9 Feb 16 WSJ editorial, The Left-Right Revolt Sanders and Trump ride very different populist uprisings in New Hampshire.

The American people are demonstrating vigorously that they are unhappy with the conventional solutions and politicians of the last few years. They are frustrated, and because of that frustration they are willing to seriously listen to aspiring leaders who in calmer times would be laughed at as crazy loons.

As I have stated before: This does not reflect much about the leaders. It reflects a whole lot about what people of the community are thinking. They are thinking, "The conventional leaders just aren't cutting it. I need to be looking for new and better leaders to solve the frustrations I'm feeling in my life." This is what The Time of Nutcases is signaling.

The odd part is that this current Time is happening when America is growing, not mired in a recession.

The spooky part is that a recession may be coming... Ouch!



-- The End --