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News Explosion in New York

  1. Sep 18, 2016 #1

    DrClaude

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  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 18, 2016 #2

    Drakkith

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    Thank god no one was killed!
     
  4. Sep 19, 2016 #3

    Astronuc

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    Initially, there was no clear indication of a 'terrorist' act, although the bombing was considered an intentional or deliberate act. This weekend, evidence suggested a link between the explosion in Chelsea and another in Seaside Park, New Jersey.

    On Sunday, five explosive devices were discovered at an Elizabeth, New Jersey train station. One of five devices found at the train station exploded while a bomb squad robot attempted to disarm it. No one was injured.

    FBI and police are now finding an apparent connection to foreign influence.

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/authorities-probe-ties-between-blasts-devices-two-states-060032685.html [Broken]

    Police and FBI are searching for Ahmad Khan Rahami, a 28-year old naturalized U.S. citizen from Afghanistan with an address in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Police consider him to be armed and dangerous.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2017
  5. Sep 19, 2016 #4

    berkeman

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  6. Sep 19, 2016 #5

    mheslep

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    How does a bombing have no indication as a terrorist act? Do you mean there was no initial indication of a foreign connection?
     
  7. Sep 19, 2016 #6

    russ_watters

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    While somewhat rare, it does happen; Columbine comes to mind. Not every [attempted] mass murder is terrorism.
     
  8. Sep 19, 2016 #7

    Astronuc

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    Yes - other than the conclusion that the act was deliberate, it was not initially clear that it was a terrorist act. It could have been an act of retaliation or an intentional act to maim or cause death for some unknown reason.

    Correct. It was not clear that the perpetrator was domestic or that there was foreign influence.

    A number of years ago, in Dutchess County, NY, there were several mailbox bombings. Eventually, a group of teenagers was identified. At the same time, a wooden cross was burned in the front yard of an African-American family, and there was a separate incident of Swastika symbols painted on at least one business reportedly owned by a Jewish family. They were not necessarily treated as acts of terrorism, although that's how the victims perceived it, and many of us in the community were alarmed that certain families/people were targeted. The teenagers behind the cross burning did it as a prank, and apparently indicated they did not understand the significance of their act, which is hard to fathom.

    Members of the community established a community roundtable comprised of civic leaders to address the matter.
     
  9. Sep 20, 2016 #8
    Anyone want to venture a guess as to how this affects the elections?

    Does Trump get a bump from terrorist-phobes?

    Does Hillary get a bump from showing a calm and cool head vs. Trump coming out and declaring stuff without all the facts in?
     
  10. Sep 21, 2016 #9

    nsaspook

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  11. Sep 22, 2016 #10

    StatGuy2000

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    The question of whether the bombing is a terrorist act or not hinges on what definition you are using for terrorism.

    The FBI defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.”

    Title 22 of the US Code, Section 2656f(d) defines terrorism as "premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.”

    Both definitions share the theme of the use of force intended to influence or instigate a course of action that furthers a political or social goal.

    http://www.nij.gov/topics/crime/terrorism/pages/welcome.aspx

    So the issue is the intent, rather than the method.

    That's why hate crimes of the sort that Astronuc described targeting African Americans and Jews can be considered as acts of terrorism, since the perpetrators were committing these actions to instigate a specific social goal (namely, the harassment or oppression of African Americans and Jews).

    Now investigators will need to determine whether the actions of Ahmad Khan Rahami were motivated to commit those bombings by specific political/social goals (e.g. whether he was motivated to commit those bombs by commitment to Islamic extremism and jihad, whether he had contacts/connections to ISIS or Al-Qaeda, etc.), or whether his motives were different. Certainly his actions are suggestive of an act of terrorism, but one should be careful of speculating without knowing more of the facts.
     
  12. Sep 26, 2016 #11

    mheslep

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    Clinton's pitch IMO is the *appearance* of calm and cool via the spin that there's nothing really going on in the US; that these attacks are just so much harmless noise, nothing is going to hurt you, which I think is what many people want one hear. Actual calm and cool would be to confront problems leading to violent attacks and address them, regardless of what people would like to think. Giuliani's press conferences immediately following 911 are the archetype.
     
  13. Sep 28, 2016 #12

    StatGuy2000

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    mheslep, I'm afraid you're expressing your right-wing bias here regarding Clinton. Since when has Clinton ever specifically said that there is nothing really going on in the US, that these attacks are harmless noise? The fact that (at least from the news reports I've been hearing) Clinton is not immediately jumping to conclusions should be viewed as a positive.

    (I do agree with you about Giuliani's press conferences immediately following 911, as well as his overall conduct as mayor during the immediate aftermath of the attack.)
     
  14. Sep 29, 2016 #13

    russ_watters

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    We're talking about perceptions here, not direct statements. Do you agree with kyphysics's statement that Hillary portrayed a "calm and cool head"? Do you agree that Trump overhypes problems? Do you agree that an incumbent party's representative would be shooting him/erself in the foot by overhyping problems that she/they should have already dealt with?

    Add those realities together and the calmness disparity works against her, not for her. I mean, this is the whole point of how Trump got here, right?!

    Hillary is doing a better job recently of addressing terrorism in her speeches than Obama in my opinion, but she is still trapped by her ties to him and her own past sins (Benghazi).
     
  15. Sep 29, 2016 #14

    StatGuy2000

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    Let me address each of these points as follows:

    1. Yes, I agree with kyphysics's statement that Hillary portrayed a "calm and cool head", a characteristic which isn't foreign to her.

    2. Yes, I broadly agree that Trump overhypes problems. However Trump he does far more than this -- he lies about problems that are either non-existent (e.g. the whole "birther" controversy regarding Obama's birth certificate, amongst many others) and generally resorts to scapegoating and demagoguery among a host of others.

    3. If we're talking about perceptions, then yes I agree that an incumbent party's representative would be hurting their own credibility by exaggerating problems that they should have supposedly dealt with (although I have seen plenty of politicians, both Democratic and Republican have done this over the decades that I've observed American politics).

    4. Clinton's problem, as far as I see it, has nothing to do with her calm and cool demeanor (which is actually a plus) but a perception that she is dishonest and untrustworthy, a perception which is somewhat unfair (as many of the accusations against Clinton are without factual basis, with Benghazi being the best example), but not entirely unwarranted (the controversies regarding the e-mail server and the Clinton Foundation feed into that perception).

    5. Trump's ability to win the Republican presidential nomination is due, in large part, to his ability to (a) tap into a sense of anger among a significant percentage of the electorate who feel that the American political system and the mainstream political parties (both Republican and Democrat) have failed to represent them, and (b) appeal to the darker forces of xenophobia and intolerance that exists within the American populace.
     
  16. Sep 29, 2016 #15

    mheslep

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    It is not the FBI "controversy" that creates the perception, it is the Clinton lie about absolution from the FBI.

    Politifac's
    "All False statements involving Hillary Clinton"
    http://www.politifact.com/personalities/hillary-clinton/statements/byruling/false/


    The bull about dodging sniper fire in Bosnia is not included on their list, but it's on mine.


    There's always anger born of dissatisfaction swirling around elections. IMO, Trump's success stems from persuading people that he can actually break up the establishment, an ability enabled by being an outsider, a non-politician, and a clear refusal to speak in the bland manner of establishment politicians.
     
  17. Sep 29, 2016 #16

    StatGuy2000

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    I said that the issues regarding the e-mail server feeds into the perception that Clinton is untrustworthy (i.e. it reinforces opinions people already have that Clinton is untrustworthy), not that the e-mail server issue creates the perception. Subtle difference. The bottom line is that Clinton there is some justification to some of the charges levelled against her. However, if I have to assess her qualifications in totality, she is still the best qualified candidate running, and I will be voting for her for this election (in fact, I've already filed my absentee ballot already).

    I think we're both stating the same thing -- that he's tapping into the anger that exists in the electorate and convince people that he can break up the "establishment" (which of course he can't, at least based on what he's promised).

    And you are right -- he doesn't speak like an "establishment" politician. He speaks like a populist demagogue, and populist demagogues have generally proved to be disasters (Silvio Berlusconi in Italy, of whom Trump resembles, is a great recent example).
     
  18. Sep 29, 2016 #17

    russ_watters

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    You just agreed with every step of the logic and then when you got to the conclusion, jumped to a completely different topic instead of finishing with the conclusion. Yes, Clinton's dishonesty perception is a problem, but it is a different problem from the one we were discussing. Back on topic: The logic we just went through demonstrates how/why "calmness" can be a problem for her. Right? If you still disagree, tell me where in the line of logic you need to change a "yest" to a "no"! (major caveat being that as @Vanadium50 said in another thread, the same message can have different effects on different audiences)

    Regarding Benghazi, it hasn't gotten a ton of press because it was swamped by email stuff, but Hillary's email scandal (which grew from the Benghazi investigation) did indeed demonstrate that the primary complaints of the Republicans were accurate, and both relate to the topic we were discussing:
    1. Hillary's state department ignored repeated requests for additional security and even reduced security not long before the attack. The security situation was an obvious problem that her department exacerbated. There is no other way to take that than she/her department didn't take the threat seriously enough.
    2. The Obama administration crafted and forwarded a narrative of a motive/events they knew to be false (again, downplaying the terrorism aspect). Hillary emails from while the attack was underway confirmed that she was clear that it was a self-contained terrorist attack and there never was any demonstration for the attack to grow from.

    The only explanation that makes any sense for why he/she did these things is that it was 2 months before his re-election and Obama needed to downplay the terrorism risk to boost his poll numbers. That is following Clinton here.
    http://nypost.com/2016/06/28/final-benghazi-report-blames-clinton-disregarding-witnesses/
     
  19. Sep 29, 2016 #18

    mheslep

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    The demagogue tally goes to Clinton if I'm counting, populist to Trump. Take another look at the some of the False cases in the Politifac list. I don't mean the deception but the demagoguery present in claims like "vast right wing conspiracy", and to announce in a debate that "Republicans" were the enemy she was most proud to have. Not Bin Laden. Not even Assad who she said "must go". Republicans.
     
  20. Sep 29, 2016 #19

    StatGuy2000

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    I don't disagree with the logic of why "calmness" can be a problem for some voters (while at the same time it could also be interpreted by other voters as a strength -- in essence following Vanadium 50's logic). What I'm asserting is that, from the reading I'm getting, that it isn't the main problem with Clinton as a candidate.

    Among the most extreme accusations levelled against Clinton allege that the death of diplomat Chris Stevens can be blamed on her as Secretary of State because (I have heard rhetoric stating that Clinton has "blood on her hands"). And it is troubling why mid-ranking officials at the State Department declined requests for more security, but it is always easy to look in retrospect on what should have been done, when at the time, these officials may well have assessed (wrongly, as it turns out) that the security situation in Libya was stable enough that security was sufficient. And there is no specific evidence that Clinton herself can be implicated in any way.

    Ultimately, does any of this ultimately matter? Probably not, since those who distrust Clinton will find reasons to do so irrespective of the reports of Benghazi. And her actions, IMHO there only indicate that she's fallible, not unqualified for higher office.

    At any rate, here is an article on the Economist discussing the House committee findings on Benghazi:

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2016/06/bitter-end
     
  21. Sep 29, 2016 #20

    Astronuc

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    I heard (on NPR's Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me, 5 minutes, 20 seconds into the program) that the bomber, Rahami, used his own personal smart (cell) phone as a triggering device for one of the bombs (the one in the pressure cooker that didn't explode). Police used it to quickly identify the suspect. The phone also include selfies and other evidence.

    The two men found a travel bag in Chelsea in which a bomb (unexploded one above) had been placed. They removed the bomb and took (stole?) the bag. In removing the bomb, they jostled it and apparently inadvertently disarmed it!
    Sept 28 - 2 Men Who Found Unexploded Bomb in Chelsea Are Identified
    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/29/n...-in-travel-bag-in-chelsea-are-identified.html
    Sept 23 - Hunt Continues for 2 Men Who Found Suitcase Containing Bomb in Chelsea
    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/24/n...ound-suitcase-containing-bomb-in-chelsea.html

    Pretty strange developments.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2016
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