The Thinker: Rich Galen


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Mullings by Rich Galen ®
An American Cyber-Column By Rich Galen
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NOT a Sharpie Column

Rich Galen

Monday September 9, 2019

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  • OK. A little about the Sharpie issue.

  • Here's everything I want to say about Donald Trump's using a Sharpie to include Alabama in the potential track of Hurricane Dorian: It was childish but that's the kind of behavior that got him packed off to military school when he was a teenager.

  • There is a lot going on. About Dorian, the level of destruction in the Bahamas is inconceivable. The terror of the survivors waiting for the storm to move on was unimaginable. The costs of recovery are incalculable.

  • CNN reporter Paula Newton and her crew got trapped on Abaco Island in the Bahamas. Locals, whose homes had largely been reduced to lean-tos, invited them in so they wouldn't have to sleep on the beach.

  • In one of her live stand-ups, Ms. Newton talked about a man who was drowning, but he was holding onto his son's hand. He told her he found the strength to survive "because I didn't want my son to watch me die."

  • She had to take a moment to compose herself. I sobbed.

  • The first advisory (not counting butterflies along the Namibian coast) was issued by the National Hurricane Center at 11:00 AM on Saturday August 24. It was an unnamed tropical depression with sustained winds of about 35 mile per hour.

  • As I write this on Sunday September 8, the U.K. Evening Standard reported on the remnants of Doran:
    "As the system travels across to the UK, Monday will see a band of rain moving eastwards across the country with possible thunderstorms and temperatures struggling to reach above 16 degrees [about 61 degrees f.]"

  • That's two full weeks. Go away, already.


  • Donald Trump announced over the weekend that he had cancelled a peace conference among the leadership of Afghanistan and representatives of the Taliban.


    We have spoken of this before, but for those who, like me, wonder about these things, the word Taliban means students in Arabic. "Talib" is the singular, student. The ending -an indicates the plural of some words, thus Taliban.


  • According to Fox News the secret meeting was cancelled,
    "after the Taliban claimed responsibility for a car bombing that killed a U.S. soldier, a Romanian soldier, and 10 civilians in Kabul earlier this week."

  • The New York Times, however is reporting that the negotiations had already broken down over the kinds of details that often derail these kinds of things.

  • The talks, according to the Times, "hit a wall over how the deal should be finalized and announced." In addition, the Taliban "refused to negotiate directly with the Afghan government until after the group had an agreement with the United States."

  • The Taliban didn't help the process when they said of the Afghan leaders "we do not recognize the stooge government."

  • I have been saying for years that if the Taliban would promise not to allow Afghanistan to once again become Band Camp for Terrorists, we would be out of there by Thursday.

  • As it is, we have been in Afghanistan since September 26, 2001 - fifteen days after the 9/11 attacks.

  • According to Wikipedia, on that day,
    The US covertly inserted seven or eight members of the CIA's Special Activities Division and Counter Terrorism Center (CTC) into the Panjshir Valley, north of Kabul.

    They formed the Northern Afghanistan Liaison Team, known by the call-sign "Jawbreaker," a team composed of former special operations, communication and linguistic experts.

  • About Two weeks shy of 18 years later, we're still there.

  • No matter what you think of Donald Trump, had he been able to broker an agreement it would have been a very good thing.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the earliest advisory about the disturbance that would become Hurricane Dorian, to the Fox News coverage of the Camp David meeting, and to the New York Times' reporting on the status of negotiations.

    The Mullfoto is of dawn over the Potomac.

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