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Does Al Qaeda Care About Our Elections? (Part III)

October 22, 2008

Interesting.  A month after I posed the question in Part II, I think I saw the answer pop up today.  Here’s the WaPo via memeorandum: On Al-Qaeda Web Sites, Joy Over U.S. Crisis, Support for McCain

Al-Qaeda is watching the U.S. stock market’s downward slide with something akin to jubilation, with its leaders hailing the financial crisis as a vindication of its strategy of crippling America’s economy through endless, costly foreign wars against Islamist insurgents.

And at least some of its supporters think Sen. John McCain is the presidential candidate best suited to continue that trend.

“Al-Qaeda will have to support McCain in the coming election,” said a commentary posted Monday on the extremist Web site al-Hesbah, which is closely linked to the terrorist group. It said the Arizona Republican would continue the “failing march of his predecessor,” President Bush.

The Web commentary was one of several posted by Taliban or al-Qaeda-allied groups in recent days that trumpeted the global financial crisis and predicted further decline for the United States and other Western powers. In language that was by turns mocking and ominous, the newest posting credited al-Qaeda with having lured Washington into a trap that had “exhausted its resources and bankrupted its economy.” It further suggested that a terrorist strike might swing the election to McCain and guarantee an expansion of U.S. military commitments in the Islamic world.

Whether the current financial situation we find ourselves in is due to the expensive “War on Terror” is surely to be disputed, of course, but it’d be pretty hard to argue that it’s helped the situation (unless one wants to make the claim that the Iraq intervention has somehow prohibited another financially ruinous attack, thereby being a net plus).  It’s been 4 years since Osama released his “bankrupt the U.S.” October surprise, and it has been argued that the tape put Bush in the White House (as designed), so one may naturally wonder if AQ has something up their sleeve this time around.  And like I posted in Part II, there apparently have been warnings of another attack.   So, What would they do?  An attack, or maybe drag Osama out of the cave to release another taunting video?

Actually, the better question would be:  Would the American people fall for it again, whatever they did?

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Update: No signs of Qaeda election threat – U.S.

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34 comments

  1. There is conservative spin that this is reverse psychology on the part of Al Qaeda. They really want Obama to win.

    The most interesting line, however, came from former CIA Director Jim Woosley, who sought to frame the al-Qaeda blog posting as some sort of attempt at reverse political psychology

    “If one takes one individual Islamist blogger from one terrorist Islamist blog who has come up with this statement that it would be good to have McCain in the White House, I think one has to consider the motives,” he said. “This individual knows that the endorsement of people like him is a kiss of death, figuratively and literally. So it seems to be that it is pretty clear by making this statement it would be a good thing for McCain to be president. He wants to damage McCain. He’s not speaking from his heart.”


  2. It’s a bit of a stretch to link the crash of the stock markets to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The stock market crashed because it’s not a market, but a casino. No real values were traded, but the economical equivalent of chips. This gamble had to fail some time, regardless of the situation of the country.It’s pretty similiar to 1929. Greed has become a virtue and everyone thought, they could get rich overnight without considering, that values need some kind of backup in the real world. These backups weren’t there.

    The high debts of the USA certainly worsen the situation, but they haven’t made the situation. The real scandal is, that tax payers all over the world now have to take the risk, they have to pay the debts of the players while the players still are stuffing their pockets instead of ending up in court. That’s a travesty of the free market. It sends the message to the managers, that they can repeat their gamble anytime they like. For them it’s a win/win situation.

    So it’s a little bit rich for Al Quaeda to claim having influenced the economy. It’s home made. Wherever on this globe home of the bankers may be.


  3. Anybody think Biden’s recent tidbit about Obama being tested is relative to this discussion ?


  4. I’d also add that the Iranian MSM and mullahs had recently applauded that Wests suffering as a way to bolster support for their own economic policy.


  5. I doubt we need to worry in the short term if Obama wins about Al-Qaeda. Though rabid radicals, these jihadi types are pretty good at spotting useful idiots when they see them. Sitting down at the table with terrorists is a great start…buys time and a few modest tokens for their enjoyment courtesy of the American taxpayer.

    When all the chess pieces are in place, then Al-Qaeda will strike. If they are anything, they are patient.


  6. When one receives nothing but the constant barrage of bad news, sometimes one has to appreciate even the smallest of tasty nuggets.

    At the risk of going off topic and earning the General’s wrath and this time the deserved dubious Chamber award, it couldn’t happen to a bunch of better folks:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/technology-media-telco-SP/idUSN2339808720081023?feedType=RSS&feedName=technology-media-telco-SP&rpc=22&sp=true


  7. Concerning the New York Times’ misfortune, should any of us be surprised? Everyone knows people now turn to ChenZhen’s Chamber for their news fix. 🙂

    @ Alfie, I don’t think Al Qaeda is paying much attention to Joe Biden. Whether or not Biden’s dumb-ass remark influences voters is another matter. I’ll say this much, it turns out that both Biden and Palin share one thing in common. Neither one understands that the veep candidate has to keep his/her ego in check. (Actually, I seem to remember John Edwards having the same problem back in ’04.)


  8. “R”

    Concerning the New York Times’ misfortune, should any of us be surprised? Everyone knows people now turn to ChenZhen’s Chamber for their news fix.

    You know, I have to choke when I say this. You got me on that one. A toast to Chen’s Chamber! May the General suffer a more noble death than the NY Times.

    Right General? 😉


  9. “I only speak for myself, but if NY gets hit again, you better be lending your support, because I will offer no help and expect none in return if my place gets hit. Same holds for San Fran, Hollywood, Berkeley, and a host of other completely rotten towns.” -Tex

    Wow. Tex and “R” swirl lock stepped in a dance routine to one long and very concerning rhythm lacking any real perspective. Neither takes a step back and tries to hear the song. How does this ditty go? Well, let the Rabbit bust out his banjo, an instrument that is hip in both Appalachia and recently NYC.

    We are not so divided. Any trip through the American memory lane can attest to this. There is no Aaron Burr heading to Kentucky with the hope of creating an independent kingdom. There is no South Carolinian succession over tariffs, as much as NAFTA is debated. There is no militia warring in Kansas over the notion of slavery. There is obviously no Civil War. Detroit and Watts isn’t on fire. Many fathers listen to the same rock-n-roll as their sons. Thousands of soldiers aren’t being spit on, even in San Francisco.

    It aint happening folks. But here’s what is. The information revolution. We all have megaphones. Blogs and blow horns. Everybody holds court on a talk show now. This screaming of the masses makes it appear we are much more divided then we are. Tex IS a secular humanist for God’s sake. If he wasn’t, I think him to possess the testicular fortitude to join a separatist movement for a Calvinist theocracy. Chen and “R” don’t seriously want the proletariat rise up and kill their bosses. I honestly think Chen’s hands are too soft to even bowl. Tex wouldn’t barely care what was happening a thousand miles a way in NYC 50 years ago because, well, it was a 1,000 miles a way. Now a part of New York City is on his lap. Procrastinating on his homework, Tex now spends a good deal of his day debating recent college grads on the merits of the free market. His grandfather did not do this.

    Make no mistake about it, we all have clear cut disagreements. But I argue the odds of Chen grabbing a gun and shooting Tex are much slimmer these days then in the past. For shit’s sake, Tex can’t help but ending the night loving on Chen… just read the links.

    So, I too will now return to the forum, where we can pretend how close we are to civil war as we debate away and, on occasion, flame one another on internet message boards.

    Just remember, in 1863, brothers fought brothers, my brothers. The cultural war is no civil war, as much as we like to think it is, my fellow Classical Liberals.


  10. @all but especially @ R: My two comments are indeed a two’fer. I was trying to capture the thinking that others are pondering aspects of our crisis. I don’t think Al Qaeda gives a damn about Biden although I have my own interpretation of what he thinks his comment meant.
    Alfies thread recap:
    AlQaeda wins no matter who wins November. Whoever wins November will ultimately lose against AQ.
    Biden: Hopes any response will be law enforcement & mourning in nature and that we’re cool with that.
    NYT: Sell the Globe…I’m begging ya. Sell it to Conservatives hahaha


  11. interesting piece at the BBC that fits in with Chens question.


  12. We are not so divided. Any trip through the American memory lane can attest to this. There is no Aaron Burr heading to Kentucky with the hope of creating an independent kingdom.

    Rabbit, true enough, times have changed. Yet these times are still able to produce a Joe McCarthy in the form of Michele Bachmann. On the other hand, back in the 50’s McCarthy was allowed to act like a horses ass for some time while Bachmann was nipped in the bud faster than you can say “donate to Tinklenberg.” So maybe you’re right, if I understand your argument, that our irrationality has more rational limits than it once did. I do hope so.


  13. So Rutherford, what do you think of this proposed euphemism “The Fairness Doctrine”?

    You guys like to scream McCarthism a lot. But I guess squelching free enterprise and the 1st Amendment okay with you?

    Just asking…


  14. Rabbit, I love you man (well the manly kind of love anyway).

    And you are right about the world growing smaller. I think that is a partial reason for all of the thinking we face so many problems concerning health – epidemiology and bird flu, for instance or the reporting of autism. The reality is if we got all these problems concerning health and life, why are we living longer than ever before. Trust me, medicine hasn’t come that far. Proper sanitation and clean drinking water did more to extend life than any medical miracle. However…

    Brother Rabbit, if you happen to live where I lived and heard the talk I hear, you wouldn’t be singing Kumbaya just yet.

    I think for you guys more in the middle, it is more comfortable, more peaceful. Bliss and contentment…


  15. Alfie-

    interesting piece at the BBC that fits in with Chens question.

    That is interesting. It almost makes one wonder if it increases the likelihood of AQ shenanigans, if they are desperately on the proverbial ropes.


  16. Tex, I love it when you send me running for my Wikipedia. I’m not entirely sure I follow you when you say “proposed euphemism”, but as far as the Fairness Doctrine is concerned, if I understand it properly, I’m in favor of it and my research shows that it bit the dust during the Reagan/Bush administrations. Now isn’t it ironic that a Republican President would veto a rule that might keep the media a bit less left-wing biased?

    It’s funny that you bring it up because just the other night when I heard that Obama will buy 30 minutes of air time next week, I asked my wife how that was possible …. didn’t the networks have to give McCain “equal time”. My wife said she didn’t think that rule applied anymore and sure enough my Tex-inspired trip to Wikipedia confirmed her suspicion. I do believe that broadcast (not necessarily cable) networks should have an obligation to present multiple sides of an argument within the context of news reporting, not entertainment.

    Does that answer your question?


  17. “R”,

    You don’t really think that is going to simply apply to broadcast networks, do you? 🙂 I doubt it would apply to broadcast networks at all.

    It’s a sham under the guise of equal time because libs can’t compete in the free market of talk radio and Nanzi Pelosi is doing her best to shut up the conservative hosts.

    Now I know you can’t be that willingly blind.


  18. LOL … Ok Tex, now I see where you’re coming from. I think Greg Gutfeld of Fox Noise in the article I’ve hyperlinked represented your view and I’m really dumbfounded by it.

    On the one hand conservatives moan and groan about the left wing media and how they never get a fair break but they then oppose regulation to right things because it would impose upon their inner sanctum known as right-wing radio. So, if I understand the position correctly, you want to divide up the media thusly: Liberals get TV and Conservatives get radio. Is that it?


  19. Liberals get TV and Conservatives get radio. Is that it?

    Isn’t that kind of how it is now ? R let me fill you in using a real life example. There is a stroy here about how Mas. is under orders from the Feds and facing monitoring over voting and our citizens serving overseas. Our Secretary of State is in open and apparent proud defiance over previous orders. We are now facing federal oversight not unlike the South due to Jim Crow.
    Obviously this was the main course on the highest rated FM talk station 96.9fm wtkk. It was in the “B” section of the Globe and the local tv news ????
    The SoS has issued a complaint to the FCC over the talk host even though he was invited to call in to the show. Ironically the guy has done shows on the station.
    Bottom line the Fairness Doctrine is all about eliminating voices and any American should be against


  20. “R”,

    This is directed to everyone, but especially you Rutherford. If you have not read my previous post and you are the curious type, please do so before you read this article I linked to. I find it ironic, this is the first page I opened after I addressed my last comment to you. Count me in as one of those who do believe “in Signs.”

    Charles K. speaks for me. While I disagree with him about many social issues, I do believe him wonderfully bright. And since he is so much more eloquent than I am, I let him speak for me.

    This comment will make much more sense if you read my previous post first.

    Everyone have a good weekend! 🙂

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/23/AR2008102302867.html


  21. Rabbit-
    “Just remember, in 1863, brothers fought brothers, my brothers. The cultural war is no civil war, as much as we like to think it is, my fellow Classical Liberals.”

    Totally true. These folks who pine for the good ol’ days worry me a little.

    On topic-
    Who can stare into the soul of AQ? I don’t know anything about their strategic position. What weapons do they have at hand? How many good operatives, how much cash, and how much heat are they taking? How fast can they move from planning to execution? Are they confident in themselves? And so on. You’d probably have to understand their own self-image to understand what they wanted out of American presidential elections.


  22. “R”,

    I must have missed this tripe this morning. As usual, it requires the proverbial boot in the butt.

    Rutherford, I vacillate between thinking you relatively bright and reasonable, even if confused, and a raving loon.

    Liberals get TV and Conservatives get radio. Is that it?

    No blockhead, that is not it. My point is that talk radio is the one media that is predominantly conservative – mainly because they have a far superior to the marxist doctrine of your side and it’s the only mass voice the left doesn’t own. Every time your group enters the free market, they get hammered and go bankrupt.

    If Nanzi Pelosi, and Dirty Harry and all the rest of the bedwetters have their way, in essence they can shut the chatter from the other side down and silence the mass voice. First you privatize it; then you eliminate it. That leaves FOX News as the only remaining media that leans right…

    And man, if that happens, I would watch out. I know all you guys, Rabbit included, think I’m nuts about believing a very nasty war happening, but I’m telling all you knuckleheads your eyes are blurred.

    One spark, one match…


  23. A funny story I read. I hope you guys that work for tips and voted for Obama read this because it has become the Tex Doctrine:

    Today, on my way to lunch I passed a homeless guy with a sign that read “Vote Obama, I need the money.” I laughed.
    Once in the restaurant my server had on a “Obama 08” tie, again I laughed as he had given away his political preference–just imagine the coincidence.

    When the bill came I decided not to tip the server and explained to him that I was exploring the Obama redistribution of wealth concept. He stood there in disbelief while I told him that I was going to redistribute his tip to someone who I deemed more in need–the homeless guy outside. The server angrily stormed from my sight.

    I went outside, gave the homeless guy $10 and told him to thank the server inside as I’ve decided he could use the money more. The homeless guy was grateful.

    At the end of my rather unscientific redistribution experiment I realized the homeless guy was grateful for the money he did not earn, but the waiter was pretty angry that I gave away the money he did earn even though the actual recipient needed money more.

    I guess redistribution of wealth is an easier thing to swallow in concept than in practical application.


  24. LOL … it is a good story. Doesn’t change my opinion of progressive tax (which we currently have and Obama simply wants to tweak a bit).


  25. No blockhead, that is not it. My point is that talk radio is the one media that is predominantly conservative – mainly because they have a far superior to the marxist doctrine of your side and it’s the only mass voice the left doesn’t own. Every time your group enters the free market, they get hammered and go bankrupt.

    Ehhh, is the liberal TV market going bankrupt? I don’t think so. I still think I’ve accurately summarized your point. You want the radio (where you’ve excelled) to yourself and you want to leave TV to the bedwetters. What did I miss here?


  26. Ehhh, is the liberal TV market going bankrupt? I don’t think so. I still think I’ve accurately summarized your point.

    Oh, some in the TV market are doing well. Say, FOX News, for instance.

    Other than the specialty channels, can’t say the same for NBC, MSNBC, ABC, or CBS – can we now “R”? Let’s see NBC, CBS and ABC News have lost approximately 2/3 of their entire news market the last 30 years? Do you think that is good? Think CNN wouldn’t like to have FOX’s demographic market? And MSNBC has becoming a running financial joke.

    Being I still own 100 shares of GE stock (NBC, MSNBC) and it is without doubt my poorest performer (I keep it so I can vote because it certainly isn’t worth much now) of a dwindling portfolio, I think you would be real surprised at exactly how poorly your liberal TV stations are doing “R”.

    You don’t think they hate FOX so much for nothing, do you?


  27. One other thing Rutherford. I read this today in a comment and it helps make explain my point of view. I hate to steal people’s “stuff” but when it says it better than I say it…

    The MSM claims to be an unbiased news source. Conservative talk radio claims to be what it is.

    And there is no threat for a government ‘Fairness Doctrine’ to be imposed upon the MSM (which claims to be unbiased but certainly is).

    However, there is the threat of the return of the ‘Fairness Doctrine’ to radio, where programming actually states what it is.

    There will be civil unrest if the Democrats try to bring back the Fairness Doctrine.


  28. An article Chen and Rutherford should consider reading…

    http://pajamasmedia.com/edgelings/2008/10/24/editing-their-way-to-oblivion-journalism-sacraficed-for-power-and-pensions/#comment-772


  29. Tex … I had the distinct impression Rachel Maddow is kicking ass in the ratings right now. Still you’re probably right that Fox Noise is better at running its circus than MSNBC is.

    By the way, why the heck are you still in the market? Are you some kind of masochist? Unless it’s retirement savings you don’t plan to touch in the next five years, buy bonds man, buy bonds!


  30. Tex, your pajamas author Malone loses me at the Obama drug dealer reference. You see, one of the rare advantages that Obama has is two autobiographical books that air some of this dirty laundry up front. Granted, I haven’t read all of them, but I know he admits to the drug use. Now unless he grew the damn coca plant in his dorm room and refined it himself, he obviously had a dealer. So where is the novel story there for the main stream media to pursue?

    I’ve wondered why we haven’t seen Ayers interviewed. But again, where is the real story there? The dude was a violent political activist when Obama was 8 years old. What does interviewing Ayers now achieve?

    You might not like MSNBC but I’ll say this for them. They start the day with the conservative-on-the-verge-of-idiocy Joe Scarborough and end it with the liberal twins Olbermann/Maddow. Now THAT’S fair and balanced! 🙂


  31. By the way, why the heck are you still in the market? Are you some kind of masochist? Unless it’s retirement savings you don’t plan to touch in the next five years, buy bonds man, buy bonds!

    Rutherford, my dopey friend. Can you provide to me one reason that you would be more qualified than me in choosing the path of financial bliss? And part of the “market” is bonds! 🙂

    I take my lumps like everybody else “R”. Trust me, I’m diversified enough and don’t need the money the next five years. I have few expenses, a house that I owe nothing, and absolutely never carry a credit card balance. And if I didn’t have two college educations to pay for in addition to my medical school stuff, I wouldn’t sweat a bit. I still sleep fine at night.

    What bothers me is that all that junk they taught me in the MBA program is pretty much bunk. Here are but three examples:

    (1) The market is a predictor (baloney, it’s the most reactive entity I’ve ever witnessed short of a lib when confronted with truth they disagree).

    (2) Worry about trends, not peaks and valleys (then why the mass panic among money managers running off the cliff?)

    (3) Fundamentals are the barometer you should use to measure (more baloney – well run companies aren’t 60% of the company they were six weeks ago; their earnings are at worst stagnant).


  32. OK … you’ve got me on the bonds comment … but I’m sure you knew I was referring to the STOCK market. And I’m definitely not more qualified to advise you but I will say I recently moved money that I expect to need near term out of stocks. I’m just pissed I didn’t do it sooner.

    As for the 3 things your MBA program taught you, you get no argument from me. I always found that stock gurus were real good at diagnosing why a stock did what it did but never very good at telling you where it was going to go. And half the time I felt their diagnosis simply retrofitted into whatever investing theory they had.

    As for your current financial condition, shame you’re not a liberal … you could give me the bailout I need right now! 😉


  33. Shoot Rutherford,

    Unless I misread the other day, even a commodity like gold is down 15-20% the last few weeks. This is a complete meltdown in every capacity.

    My wife is the bond(s) holder and she’s losing her assets almost as fast as I’m losing mine.

    I think this is a case of mass panic, just like I told everyone a few months back the cause of crude prices rising was sheer speculation and many wouldn’t believe me.

    If I had cash now, I would be buying. Problem is, I have such little faith in the information I read anymore from the “experts”, I don’t know what is true and what is not.

    Guess Obammi’s impending win has exactly thrilled the stock market now either, has it?


  34. A real estate broker called me today and said the housing market will improve after the election. As much as I am “in the tank” for Obama, even I think that’s a load of crap. Economically, things are going to get worse before they get better no matter who gets elected.



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