On November 5, 2009, Maj. Nidal Hasan opened fire at a troop readiness center in Ft. Hood, Texas, killing 13 people. Within hours of the killings, the world knew that Hasan reportedly shouted “Allahu Akbar!” before he began shooting, visited websites associated with Islamist violence, wrote Internet postings justifying Muslim suicide bombings, considered U.S. forces his enemy, opposed American involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan as wars on Islam, and told a neighbor shortly before the shootings that he was going “to do good work for God.” There was ample evidence, in other words, that the Ft. Hood attack was an act of Islamist violence.
Nevertheless, public officials, journalists, and commentators were quick to caution that the public should not “jump to conclusions” about Hasan’s motive. CNN, in particular, became a forum for repeated warnings that the subject should be discussed with particular care.
A number of readers sent e-mails about a new initiative by the White House on the Internet, but it may be less than imagined in terms of government control. Both CBS and Fox report on the Commerce Department’s new Internet ID program that will allow users to create a “trusted identity” to avoid the dozens of logins and passwords that users need to maintain. The adoption of an ID would be strictly voluntary and handled by the private sector:
The Obama administration is currently drafting what it’s calling the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, which Locke said will be released by the president in the next few months. (An early version was publicly released last summer.)
“We are not talking about a national ID card,” Locke said at the Stanford event. “We are not talking about a government-controlled system. What we are talking about is enhancing online security and privacy and reducing and perhaps even eliminating the need to memorize a dozen passwords, through creation and use of more trusted digital identities.”
In the WSJ former AIG CEO Hank Greenberg recently posed a question:
The recently released list of businesses bailed out by the Federal Reserve was not as surprising to me as it was to many members of the general public.
What is clear from the list is that the notion of equal protection ensconced in the Constitution was missing in September 2008. Rather than trying to spread both the burden and benefit of the bailout evenly among members of the U.S. financial services industry, key decision makers at the Fed and Treasury arbitrarily determined which companies should become wards of the federal government (AIG) and which should be permitted to live on (Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley). Goldman Sachs was permitted to live by enjoying markedly lower interest rates and access to credit facilities amounting over time to approximately $600 billion.
Federal decision makers had six months following the Bear Stearns collapse in early 2008 to formulate an effective response to foreseeable liquidity difficulties in the U.S. financial-services industry. Instead, the bailout turned out to be a rush for funds that benefited some and punished others. Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and others were permitted to become bank holding companies and have access to cheap federal funds, while AIG was denied this opportunity for reasons never fully explained. It is important that an independent body is convened to seek reasons for these actions.
It took less than 24 hours for the political left to seize upon the attempted assassination of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the murder of six people on Saturday to blame the political right for the shooting.
Perhaps the most egregious example came from Paul Krugman of the New York Times,who wrote, “We don’t have proof yet that this was political, but the odds are that it was.” (The newspaper that published plagiarized and fabricated accounts of the “D.C. sniper” by affirmative-action hire Jayson Blair in 2003 is still publishing unsubstantiated suppositions without “proof,” eh?)