How The Austin Bomber Was Located. The Panopticon State Works.

The Austin Bomber was traced using cameras and cell phone data. His every move was followed from FedEx stores to his hotel. This is the world we live in. Ger used to it. 

Austin bombing suspect dead, apparently tracked down by surveillance state

A 24-year-old “white male” suspect in the bombing spree afflicting Austin, Texas is dead after blowing himself up in his car while being fired upon by police.  Information is still very fragmentary, but according to reports on Fox News this morning, police were led to him through the blanket surveillance capabilities that have come characterize American society in the wake of the “war on terror.”

Specifically (and keep in mind that early information in huge media events often is subject to change), the suspect was photographed dropping off two packages at a FedEx office in Austin.  (Update: photos.)

Hat tip: Conservative Treeehouse (source link).

He was wearing a hat and wig, reportedly, so no facial identification was possible, but police were able to use cell phone tower data to identify everyone who was in the area with a cell phone turned on.  Evidently, the individual in question was already on some sort of police lists, and that identified him as a strong suspect.  From that point, getting to his location was inevitable.  Some reports indicate that police were able to trace his Google searches and identify the hotel where he was staying.  But if he had the same cell phone on his person, that could have led police to him also.

No doubt some of this information will prove mistaken, but the underlying point remains sound.  If you have a cell phone on your body with the battery in it, the police probably can know everywhere you have been and where you are now.  And with the proliferation of security cameras, they can see you and what you are wearing.

This is called the “panopticon” state that can see you everywhere.  China is spending a lot of money and devoting intellectual resources to becoming the most thoroughgoing panopticon state in human history.  But if you think you are not subject to constant surveillance and keep a cell phone with you, the police can find out where you’ve been and where you are now, in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

The demise of the presumptive perp in Austin is an upside of this situation.  The downside has yet to be fully plumbed here, but in China, it is clear that it is a foundational element of twenty-first-century tyranny.

Prepare yourself for further information on the suspect’s motivation.  Leftists are hoping he is some sort of rightist or racist, giving them moral bragging rights.  Conservatives are hoping he is a leftist for similar reasons.  If the leftist hopes are realized, expect a huge wave of accusation leveled at everyone to the right of Lindsey Graham dominating the mainstream media.  If he was a lefty, expect the mainstream media to change the subject.

Meanwhile, people in central Texas have to still worry about other packages that may be somewhere in the delivery systems of any provider of such services.

The Tariff Explained

In this article, the secretary of Commerce, explains the strategic need for this steel and aluminum tariff. The need is read and is intended to preserve strategic industries in the US.

President Trump announced Thursday that he is imposing tariffs of 25% on steel imports and 10% on aluminum imports, with exemptions for Canada and Mexico. The president acted because steel and aluminum imports have helped erode the domestic industry to the point that it threatens national security. Unfair trading practices from countries like China have distorted the global steel and aluminum markets. It is time to halt the damage.

Since 1998, countless steel mills and aluminum smelters have closed. More than 75,000 steel jobs alone have disappeared. Today the U.S. has only one steel mill that can produce the advanced alloys used in armored-vehicle plating; one aluminum smelter that makes the high-grade aluminum needed for defense aerospace applications; and one steel mill that makes the materials needed for infrastructure like electrical transformers.

These tariffs aim to reverse this sorry state of affairs. Companies that produce steel and aluminum have said these tariffs will allow them to reopen mills, expand operations, attract new workers, and maintain critical steel- and aluminum-making skills.

It is true that higher steel and aluminum costs could mean price increases for American consumers. But they should be small for individuals and families. Monthly payments for a typical mass-market car might increase by $4 because of the tariff, according to Commerce Department estimates. Is that a fair price to pay for protecting national security? We think so.

Will it start a trade war? It shouldn’t. The U.S. isn’t the only country that has expressed concern about the types of unfair trade practices that are prevalent in the steel and aluminum industries. Countries like China have provided massive subsidies to their companies, and this is harming markets world-wide.

The U.S. has tried to work with others to address these problems. Unfortunately, mechanisms like the Global Steel Forum have fallen woefully short of their aims, with other countries failing to adhere to even basic transparency commitments.

The president will not stand idle while unfair practices erode America’s steel and aluminum industries and threaten national security. Other countries understand that.

Further escalating this issue is counterproductive. Rather, countries should take responsibility for their unfair practices and work together to address the underlying problems facing these industries. The U.S. is ready and willing to engage in such efforts.

The president has the authority to adjust or exempt countries from these tariffs at any time based on circumstances and national security considerations. That is why he is exempting Canada and Mexico. We expect continuing negotiations to create more national-security benefits than the tariffs.

Meanwhile, we will not hesitate to continue standing up for American families, American businesses and American workers.

Mr. Ross is U.S. secretary of commerce.

The Al Franken/Roy Moore Connection

Al Franken is in his second term as a Democratic Senator from Minnesota. Roy Moore is running for his first term as a Republican Senator from Alabama. Both have been accused of bad conduct with women years ago. For Franken, six years ago; for Moore, as much as forty years ago.

The two cases are closely connected because Democrats are trying to block Moore’s election by smearing Moore and they think pushing Franken out of the Senate helps that claim.  The issue here is a Senate seat, not Franken’s behavior. A young woman asked me what the issue was as, in fact, that in her opinion, he’s done nothing seriously wrong.

The issue is that Franken will be replaced by a Democrat in Minnesota, probably a woman, maybe a minority woman. If Moore loses in Alabama, they gain a seat in the Senate and Democrats will go to any extreme to gain that seat. In short, the fury over Franken ends on December 12, whichever way the Alabama election turns out.

In the interim, Democrats, especially Democratic women, will be signaling virtue by battering Franken.  I hope he has the courage to withstand the onslaught that will only increase in ferocity as Roy Moore gains in the Alabama election polls.  After Tuesday, it will be all over. He can withstand six days.




From Paul Mirengoff at


I’m not on Facebook, but I was told that Cleta Mitchell’s page contains a brief discussion of the legal implications of the Hillary Clinton-DNC scandal. As many of our readers know, Cleta Mitchell is a star lawyer. She has played a leading role in defending conservatives targeted by the IRS under the Obama administration and in pushing to hold the IRS accountable for the targeting.

Here is Cleta’s take on the Clinton-DNC scandal as it appears on Facebook, according to what I was told (her first sentence is a quote from Donna Brazile):

“Money in the battleground states usually stayed in that state, but all the other states funneled that money directly to the DNC, which quickly transferred the money to Brooklyn.”

If this statement by Donna Brazile is true and if those transfers actually happened, then what she says the DNC and the Clinton campaign did was a massive violation of federal law, and triggers criminal penalties. It underscores what I’ve always said: the Democrats and left wing groups have no compunctions about demanding contribution limits and restrictions on the free speech rights of the American people because THEY have no intention of abiding by the rules and the laws they write for others.

Political Party committees such as the DNC have statutory limits on the amount of money the party can give (or transfer) to a candidate. A joint fundraising committee such as the one Donna Brazile describes cannot be used to circumvent the contribution limit for any donor. ANY DONOR. So IF the DNC transferred funds to the Clinton campaign as stated by Donna Brazile, it was a knowing and willful action involving amounts of $25,000 or more. Which triggers a criminal offense under the Federal campaign finance law.

John McCain: Where are you? This was in your bill in 2002. New York Times and Washington Post: where are you? This is the Law at whose altar you worship.

So, did the DNC actually transfer the proceeds from the joint fundraising committee – or ANY other source – to the Clinton campaign? Yes or no. Easy answer. But doubt they will answer. Time for a criminal investigation.

Trafalgar, 212 Years Ago Today, Nelson’s Genius and His Tragedy.

In October 1805, the British Fleet commanded by Admiral Horatio Nelson, finally found the French and Spanish fleets (Herenafter “French”) off the Spanish Coast near the Cape of Trafalgar south of the port of Cadiz. Nelson had been searching for this fleet all summer and that involved sailing into the Caribbean and back across the Atlantic.

The French were sailing south for Gibralter and the British approached from the west. Naval war was typically fought with both fleets parallel to each other as they pounded each other with heavy cannon.  Because of the alignment of the two fleets, and the fact the French outnumbered the British, Nelson introduced a new tactic. He divided his line into three parts and had each sail into the French line at different places, cutting the line into three segments.

The danger of this approach was the British would be exposed to the broadsides of the French ships on the approach and be subjected to potentially damaging fire.  Nelson, however, analyzed the situation and dismissed the danger. He did so for two reasons. First, the French were taking waves on the beam, or side of their ships, hence, rolling from side to side. It’s very hard to aim cannon is such a situation. Second, Nelson knew that the French cannons were fired with a slow match. This is a length of twine impregnated with pitch that burned slowly but allowed for the firing of a cannon when touched to the firing hole in the cannon. The firing did not take place instantly. Nelson knew that on a rolling deck with a slow match, the French gunners would be highly inaccurate with shots falling into the sea or flying high. He was right. British cannon was fired with flintlocks that cause immediate combustion and were easier to aim.

The British closed with the French in three points on the line. Nelson issued his most famous order as the lines closed, “England Expects Every Man Will Do His Duty.” They did. Passing through the French line, the British then had the advantage as their ships fired close broadsides into the bows and sterns of the French ships at close range. The destruction was catastrophic for the French.

When the battle ended, the French had lost 28 ships and the British 1.

Tragically, Nelson was shot by a French marine positioned in the mast. His descending shot went through Nelson’s body and severed his spine.  He was carried below and died soon thereafter. His body was packed in a barrel of rum and taken to England. He was aware of his great victory before he died.

The battle ended French maritime hopes of invading England.

Happy Columbus Day

Around this date in 1492, ships commanded by Christopher Columbus and flying the Spanish Flag landed Columbus and sailors on Watlings Island in the New World. He thought he was in India. Regardless of what you think of this holiday, the European development of the new world was inevitable. So lamenting the European influx and impact is fatuous. It was going to happen and did. The Indians never sailed to Europe and the only seafaring Asians were the Chinese who conducted extensive exploration of the Middle East, Africa both east and west. had reportedly failed to sail to Europe because as they reported, “We knew about England and saw it as a source of wool and bad wine. We had enough of that.” The Chinese also landed in the North American west coast but did not establish permanent settlements.

The point is that the 15th Century was the age of discovery and having Europeans or Chinese discover America was inevitable. The result was the introduction of European technology to the New World. This technology included the introduction of the wheel, unknown to indigenous peoples at the time.  The highest expression of indigenous technology north of the Rio Grande was the Clovis point. People in Mexico and Peru were advanced in math, astronomy, and agriculture.

The world of exploration explodes in the next century carrying  American crops to Europe and Asia. The potato came from Peru!  Let’s not get carried away by anti-Columbus hysteria, but the left needs a new hysteria on a regular basis. As to the notion that Europeans gave indigenous people diseases for which they weren’t resistant, it may have been the animals that came with Europeans who transmitted the diseases. This is often cited as a single sided issue and it is forgotten or overlooked that the indigenous people gave Europeans syphilis and tobacco. Some would say they won that long-term battle.

The NFL’s Glass House

This article is by Victor Davis Hanson and is very clear in describing the NFL’s current problems. I have added notes where appropriate.


The Glass House of the NFL

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File

The Glass House of the NFL

The National Football League is a glass house that was cracking well before Donald Trump’s criticism of players who refuse to stand during the national anthem.

The NFL earned an estimated $14 billion last year. But 500-channel television, internet live streaming, video games and all sorts of other televised sports have combined to threaten the league’s monopoly on weekend entertainment — even before recent controversies.

League broadcast revenues are threatened by the rush to cut the cable. These revenues ae based on cable systems charging each subscriber a fee for sports programming even though only a portion of the subscribers actually watches the programs. The cut the cable movement, which I have done, will reduce the revenue pot used to pay the enormous rights fees paid to eh NFL and other sports leagues.

It has become a fad for many players not to stand for the anthem. But it is also becoming a trend for irate fans not to watch the NFL at all.

Multimillionaire young players, mostly in their 20s, often cannot quite explain why they have become so furious at emblems of the country in which they are doing so well.

Their gripes at best seem episodic and are often without supporting data. Are they mad at supposedly inordinate police brutality toward black citizens, or racial disparity caused by bias, or the perceived vulgarity of President Donald Trump?

The result, fairly or not, is that a lot of viewers do not understand why so many young, rich players show such disrespect for their country — and, by extension, insult their far poorer fans, whose loyal support has helped pay their salaries.

ESPN talking heads and network TV analysts do not help. They often pose as social justice warriors, but they are ill-equipped to offer sermons to fans on their ethical shortcomings that have nothing to do with football.

In truth, the NFL’s hard-core fan base is not comprised of bicoastal hipsters. Rather, the league’s fan base is formed mostly by red-state Americans — and many of them are becoming increasingly turned off by the culture of professional football.

Professional athletes are frequently viewed as role models. Yet since 2000, more than 850 NFL players have been arrested, some of them convicted of heinous crimes and abuse against women.

The old idea of quiet sportsmanship — downplaying one’s own achievements while crediting the accomplishments of others — is being overshadowed by individual showboating.

Players are now bigger, faster and harder-hitting than in the past. Research has revealed a possible epidemic of traumatic brain injuries and other crippling injuries among NFL players. Such harm threatens to reduce the pool of future NFL players.

There is a growing public perception that the NFL is less a reflection of the kind of athleticism seen in basketball or baseball, and more a reflection of the violence of Mixed Martial Arts — or of gladiators in the ancient Roman Colosseum.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who has received more than $212 million in compensation since 2006, has been a big moneymaker for the owners. Yet otherwise, he has been a public relations disaster, due largely to his incompetent efforts to sound politically correct. Goodell often insists that trivial rules be observed to the letter. For instance, the league denied a request by Dallas Cowboys players to wear small decals honoring Dallas police officers killed in a 2016 shooting.

At other times, Goodell deliberately ignores widespread violations of important NFL regulations — like the requirement that all players show respect for the American flag by solemnly standing during the national anthem.

The average value of an NFL franchise is estimated at $2.5 billion. The average player salary is nearly $2 million a year. Some of the league’s superstars are making more than $20 million a year. Given such wealth, local governments are understandingly becoming miffed that they have to pony up public money to support new NFL stadiums. Over the last two decades, the American public has shelled out more than $7 billion to build or renovate NFL stadiums. Billionaire owners are able to blackmail the public to pay to keep a franchise or else lose it to a city that offers bigger stadium subsidies.

Meanwhile, the NFL has successfully lobbied for exemption from federal antitrust regulations. NFL owners are crony capitalists who want the state both to subsidize them and leave them alone.

The antitrust exemption is overstated. There is a general exemption for all sports leagues in the Sports Broadcasting Act that allows teams to pool resources to enter into league-wide broadcast agreements. Ther is also a general exemption for labor that all employers use. The NFL does not have an antitrust exemption like the baseball exemption. 

Racial politics in the NFL have become increasingly problematic. The mega-wealthy franchise owners are almost all white businesspeople. Their multimillionaire players are about 70 percent African-American. So there is little diversity among the players, but even less among the owners.

Politically correct orthodoxy dictates that even quasi-public entities like the NFL should “look like America.” But instead, the NFL apparently sees itself as an old-fashioned meritocracy where athletic skills and corporate success alone determine who plays and who owns.

The progressive notions of “proportional representation” and “disparate impact” that sometimes govern universities and government mysteriously do not apply to the NFL, where few Latinos or Asians are included.

But most importantly, the league has entirely forgotten the fundamental rule of business: Never ignore, insult or talk down to the loyal consumers who provide the leagues’ support and income.

The NFL will not disappear, but its national significance is rapidly diminishing.


Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. His latest book is The Savior Generals from BloomsburyBooks. You can reach him by e-mailing


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