The U.S. should brace for “economic jihad,” warns Gabriel Weimann, a terrorism analyst at the University of Haifa who says he has monitored public and encoded Web sites “run by Islamic terrorist organizations” for years. He cites dismal figures: the 9/11 perpetrators spent an estimated $500,000 staging the attacks on American soil, ultimately costing the U.S. $500 billion in losses. The nation’s fiscal circumstances and shifting foreign and domestic policies could set the stage for more of the same.
“For the Jihadists, the present economic crisis signifies an ideal opportunity and platform to leverage an economic terrorist campaign,” Mr. Weimann says.
What’s in store? He believes the jihad movement is considering “hitting international corporations directly,” assassinating “key personalities in the global economy” and that they could organize boycotts by up to 1.5 billion Muslims. A prolonged, costly U.S. military action in Iraq and Afghanistan “would help drain America’s financial resources and eventually critically damage the American economy,” Mr. Weimann says.
He also found that jihadists are bolstering their insight about potential economic weaknesses by following Western financial publications, industry and academic analyses, and the costs associated with natural disasters, oil prices, unemployment rates and the stock market.
“One might think that an ‘econo-jihad’ is less violent, but this is not the case,” Mr. Weimann adds. “Economic turns actually influence the terrorists’ targets, which have included oil-drilling infrastructures, tourism and international economic institutions. Indeed, Islamic terrorism’s future devices will focus on targets that will yield the most economic damage.”
Well, let’s just say it is a convoluted story.
It’s been three years since Larry Craig faced charges of lewd conduct in a Minneapolis airport men’s restroom, after a flirtatious foot found its way over into a neighboring stall occupied by a law enforcement officer. It’s also been three years since the former Idaho senator was last elected to the National Rifle Association’s board of directors, a position he’s held since 1983. Mr. Craig, who saw out his term and left office 14 months ago, is still on the ballot.
The NRA membership will cast its votes May 14, during the group’s annual meeting. It is a delicate situation, perhaps - and insiders expect that Mr. Craig, well, is not on target this time.
“As usual, the field includes a number of big names and celebrities, all of whom are certain to win. This category includes Bob Barr, Dave Butz, Richard Childress, Sandy Froman, Marion Hammer, Susan Howard, Karl Malone, Oliver North, Ted Nugent and Don Young,” says Jeff Knox, spokesman for the Virginia-based Firearms Coalition.
“Normally Joaquin Jackson and Larry Craig would have made the shoo-in list, but Senator Craig’s highly publicized personal issues and Ranger Jackson’s televised comments suggesting that ‘assault rifles’ should be restricted to five-round capacity place their re-election in doubt,” Mr. Knox adds. “While both of these men have served well on the board and I consider both to be personal friends, I would have preferred it if they had stepped aside to give someone else a chance to serve.”
THE BUNNING LEXICON
Oh dear. It’s not good. Sen. Jim Bunning is, as folks might say amongst the bluegrass, getting whomped in the press for holding up a lot of unemployment checks, among other things. Just a few of the choice words about the Kentucky Republican:
“Callous, bizarre, egocentric.” (Lexington Herald Leader).
“Ornery nature, ungovernable mouth.” (Associated Press).
“Grandstanding.” (Atlantic Journal Constitution).
“One-man roadblock.” (Reuters)
JUST SO YOU KNOW
Only in Washington, perhaps. On Wednesday, the Thunder Grill at Union Station plays host to the “Muckrakers’ Happy Hour,” a kind of cocktail time for pushy journalists sponsored by the Project On Government Oversight, a group that adores a good corruption probe more than anything else on the planet.
There’s free appetizers. And the drink of choice? Maybe a Dirty Martini, maybe not.
“There’s no particular featured cocktail, but with the happy-hour prices, numerous drinks come to mind that are still fiscally responsible. The Mudslide, Mississippi Mud and the Easy Money Cocktail,” spokesman Keith Rutter tells Inside the Beltway.
THE FOG CREEPS IN
A bill now pending before the South Dakota state Senate deems global warming a “controversial” topic, right alone with evolution and stem-cell research. “HCR 1009” would require public school teachers to present a “balanced and objective” presentation of global warming, allowing them to question alarmist claims that the planet is in peril, mostly due to manmade hazards.
But diehard scientists are striking back.
“The effect of the law will be chilling to teachers on the ground. Science is not and should not be resolved through the legislative process, and the details of what teachers present as science should not be dictated by legislators with no experience as scientists or teachers,” says Joshua Rosenau, public information project director at the National Center for Science Education.
Will teachers “bow to political pressure and misinform their students about global warming?” he asks, adding, “It may take a latter-day John Scopes to shoulder the burden of public ignominy, defend the integrity of science education, and show the South Dakota legislature the error of its ways.”
POLL DU JOUR
• 62 percent of U.S. voters say it’s “at least somewhat likely” the next president will be Republican.
• 69 percent of Republicans and 19 percent of Democrats say it’s “very likely.”
• 65 percent of voters overall say politics in Washington will become “more partisan in the next year.”
• 77 percent of Republicans and 57 percent of Democrats agree.
• 53 percent of voters overall say President Obama is “governing like a partisan Democrat.”
• 28 percent say Mr. Obama is governing on a “bipartisan basis.”
• 10 percent of Republicans and 49 percent of Democrats agree.
Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted Feb. 25 and 26.
• Gloomy predictions, ballyhoo, cheeky press releases to email@example.com.