Monday, January 12, 2015

The Face of Evil: Taking up the fight against Terrorism

In my book, Queen’s Gambit, one of the central themes is the threat that we face from terrorism. It is a topic that I dealt extensively with during my time with the NYPD. 

Back in the 90’s I was part of a unit that provided dignitary protection and conducted threat assessments, both for individual security as well as commercial and residential sites. It was a difficult task, one that was made ever harder when we encountered resistance from the people we were trying to protect.

A case in point was in 1997, after the Centennial Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta, Georgia. I was sent to a major sporting venue and asked to evaluate their security and make recommendations. I spent several days going through their facility assessing the risks and taking notes. On the last day, I sat down with the senior members of the organization, and made my recommendations.

I instructed them on tightening perimeter security, establishing designated areas where spectators and packages could be searched, etc. It was nothing that I would consider overly egregious. It took about five minutes before I realized that I was just wasting my breath. I vividly recall one of the execs commentating that they couldn’t search attendees because their event didn’t draw that type of person.

I closed up my folder and wished them luck.

Not long after that, an individual was apprehended inside the venue by officers assigned to the event. This person had a large carving knife in their possession, something which would have been picked up long before the individual had entered the facility. A tragedy was avoided only by sheer luck.

It is the way I feel about the times that we are living.

As we have seen in the recent terror attacks in Paris, France, coupled with those in Ottawa, Canada, and Sydney, Australia, terrorism is alive and well. The real problem is not that terrorism exists, but our unwillingness to properly address it.

To be certain, the outcome in Paris was a failure, not a success. The minute the terrorists began their killing spree inside Charlie Hebdo we lost. In essence, we became reactive to the situation, attempting to put an end to it, when in reality; we should have been proactive and kept it from happening in the first place.

My aim here is not to play Monday morning quarterback, but to instruct.

Think of terrorism as a tool, like a hammer. It is used to bring about a particular response; it is the reason why you hear it referred to by different names: political terrorism, narco-terrorism, biological terrorism, and even eco-terrorism. The real threat however is the person wielding that tool. In order to properly address the threat, you need to know the mindset of the person.

The immediate threat that we face today is one driven by a religious zealotry to the nth degree. That is a statement of fact which simply cannot be ignored. If you want to be politically correct, and bury your head in the sand, then you better pray that you are just as lucky as those sporting executives were and pray that law enforcement, or the intelligence communities, catch them before they do whatever it is they are planning.

Those who subscribe to the religious tenants of radical Islam have no desire to sit down and discuss their animus toward you. They believe in only two things: conversion or death.

Amazingly, there is a certain segment of society which believes that ‘we cannot be like them’. As if by simply doing nothing, we will somehow convince them to lay down their swords to join us in some utopian global citizen fairytale.

It sounds quite naïve to decry the use of non-lethal interrogation techniques, such as waterboarding and sleep deprivation, when your enemy is only interested in killing you. If you don’t understand this fundamental difference, you are part of the problem.

For starters, when it comes to the basics of Islam, most are woefully uneducated. The majority of folks couldn’t tell you what the difference was between Sunni or Shia, or the many other denominations of Islam. Not that I can blame them, as many struggle with defining their own religious beliefs let alone a complex religion like Islam. The issue I have is that, if you are uneducated, you shouldn’t be interjecting yourself into the conversation.

George Bush, and enhanced interrogation techniques, did not create the problem of Jihad, it has been around for over a thousand years. We are not in a traditional war, but a religious one. Our enemy cannot be appeased with money or land; they seek only to spread their brand of religion, opposition to which means death.

The French are going to have to come to terms with a monster that they helped create. In an attempt to be politically correct, they allowed their core principles to be modified. The first time they surrendered, they set in motion a practice that has brought them to the brink.

There are now an estimated 750 Zones Urbaines Sensibles, or No-Go Zones, across the nation of France. These are areas where the government has simply raised the white flag, allowing the local community to take over. As a result, these areas are not governed by the laws of France, but by Islamic Sharia law. In many instances the police or other public safety, such as fire and ambulance services, will not even go in to these areas.

This is not isolated to France; this is also seen in growing areas of the United Kingdom and Sweden. Even in the United States, there are burgeoning Muslim communities in places like Dearborn, Michigan, where locals are calling for the equivalent of No-Go Zones and the institution of Sharia courts.

What the French failed to realize is that terrorism is not a criminal problem. Islamic terrorists, like the Kouachi brothers and Amedy Coulibaly, are at war. Treating them as if they are a common criminal, who can be rehabilitate and returned back to society, is ludicrous. In fact, lax prison rules have allowed them to become a prime recruiting location.

Amedy Coulibaly converted to radical Islam while in prison in 2005. It was during that prison stint when he met Cherif Kouachi.  The two men became devoted followers of Djamel Beghal, a French-Algerian man with ties to al-Qaeda, who was convicted of plotting in 2001 to blow up the U.S. Embassy in Paris. Coulibaly tried to break another militant Islamist, Smain Ait Ali Belkacem, out of prison in 2013. Although he was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison, he served only several months before he was released early.

This is the mindset that believes that a terrorist is a criminal and a prison sentence administers the proper amount of justice. It is a mindset that we are seeing here in the United States as well. Western civilization seems loath to accept the fact that this is a war we are fighting; choosing to believe it is a criminal justice issue.

Imprisoning people like this serves only to keep them isolated for a finite amount of time until they are once again released to the battlefield, a fact we have seen replayed when Gitmo prisoners have been released. In their minds, they are prisoners of war and their duty does not end till they die or the war is won.

Whether you like it or not, this is the reality we now face.

Yesterday, over forty world leaders participated in a march in Paris denouncing terrorism. It was the largest assemblage since the Americans liberated that city during WWII. Unfortunately, absent from the scene were representatives of this administration. Yes, the American Ambassador was there, somewhere, but when you have the representative heads of France, Israel, England, Germany, and so many other nations, the least the administration could have done was send the vice-president.

However, this administration does not want to address the real threat posed by radical Islam. It wants to paint a narrative that terrorism is on the decline, not the upswing that we are witnessing with our own eyes.  They want to view it as a simple criminal justice problem and mete out sentences in civilian court. What could go wrong with that?

After all, we saw how well it worked out for France.

The photo at the top of this article is the enemy that we now face. It speaks to the contempt with which they view us. The glint of orange fabric at the bottom was just the latest victim, but, to be sure, they envision each and every one of us in that position. 

It's our choice to decide whether we try to reason with the devil or fight back.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Terror Attack at Charlie Hebdo: the lie of Je Suis Charlie

Newspaper headlines across the world repeat the motto: Je Suis Charlie, or I am Charlie, in an apparent show of solidarity with those lost during the terror attack at the publication, Charlie Hebdo

But is this really true?

I vaguely knew of the paper, because they were the subject of a bomb attack back in 2011. I tend to stay on top of terror related activities, an old occupational hazard that I haven't been able to shake. 

I have to admit that Charlie Hebdo is not my cup of tea, so I can't really offer much in terms of in-depth commentary on their content. From what I have heard / read it was pretty much a left-leaning and anti-religious satirical publication, which seemed to enjoy poking fun at just about everyone, from pope to prophet. 

I don't enjoy this type of boorish behavior. I've seen it too often in the form of pseudo-intellectuals who like to attack others simply because they choose to have a belief system. I tend to look at it this way: if they are right, and there is nothing after we die, then I don't lose anything. However, if I'm right,..... Well, that's not a very pleasant thought.

Don't get me wrong, as an American; I am a firm believer in the 1st Amendment. I don't have to like what you are saying, but I respect and will protect that right. It's why I wore a uniform for over two decades and allowed folks, who probably liked the type of satire found in Charlie Hebdo, to call me vile and disgusting names. I just wish those same folks would realize that it is a two-way street and accord me the same respect.

The bottom line is that I am not one of those people who get their kicks from picking on others, hiding behind the guise of satirical humor. It's not hard to tell what you are going to get from a paper whose official slogan was that they were 'dumb and nasty'. 

Some like that, which is why I guess Charlie Hebdo, had a modest circulation. I will say that the paper did one thing that the majority will not, and that was that they chose to mock everyone. The mistake they made, which cost several of them their lives, was that they didn't realize the principal of Newton's third law which states: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction

I don't say this trivially, but as a matter of fact. The left seems to believe that the war on terror is a joke. That somehow the real issue at the core of the unrest in the Middle East is about oil or 'nation building'. They have no clue as to the underlying politics or religious issues, and that is extremely dangerous. Unfortunately, for them, the folks at Charlie Hebdo found that out. 

To be sure, what happened in Paris was a tragedy, but one that was preventable. Even in the old world, the Court Jester sometimes paid with his life, for satire that failed to amuse the king.

Now, as I watch the aftermath, it appears to be Avant Garde to hold up a sign that reads Je Suis Charlie, as if the world is really one with them. 

That's naive. 

If you really wanted to be like Charlie Hebdo, then you would hold up signs mocking Islam and the Prophet Mohammed. That would show real solidarity, not some kitschy phrase that someone is probably looking to trademark and profit off of, even as I type this. 

That won't happen though. People like solidarity, when they can do it from relative safety. It reminds me of the recent police protests across the US. They act like fools, espousing criminals and calling for the retaliatory deaths of cops, because they know that they are relatively safe from harm. Yet, I never see them marching in places like Brownsville or Englewood because they know they'd get beaten or worse. It is something they do to make themselves feel good, but at the end of the day it is a contrived response. 

As for me, I'd rather show my solidarity with the men and women of the French Police Nationale who lost three of their brothers and sisters, allowing those at Charlie Hebdo to engage in their sophomoric behavior. 

Follow me on Twitter: @Andrew_G_Nelson

3rd Police Officer Killed in Paris, France

A female police officer was shot and killed, following the execution of two other officers yesterday during the terror attack at the Charlie Hebdo newspaper.

The officer, and a city employee who attempted to intervene, were shot just south of Paris by two men who fled from a motor vehicle accident involving a car that match the description of the one used by the terrorists.

Once again, we are reminded of just how  dangerous law enforcement can be.

Our hearts and prayers go out to the Police Nationale who must continue the hunt for the terrorists, while mourning the loss of their brothers and sisters.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Terrorist attack in Paris kills 2 police officers

My heart goes out to the Police Nationale in Paris who mourn the loss of two of their officers, executed during the terror attack that targeted the satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, where several members of the staff were also killed.

The brave men and women of Paris' police force cannot even stop to mourn their lost colleagues as the manhunt for the killers is on-going. 

An amateur video shows the moment when the terrorists execute one of the officers, as he is lying on the ground wounded, his hands up in the air. It is an act of utter ruthless brutality which shows the dangers that the men and women of law enforcement are exposed to each and every day.

In light of the recent killings of police officers here in the United States, it stands as a stark reminder that the thin blue line that protects the innocent, extends, not just nationally, but around the world. 

May God bless the men and women who risk their lives to protect ours.

NYPD activity slowdown praised by the left

I recently read an article by the Free Thought Project where the headline proclaimed: “The New York Police might have just solved the national community-policing controversy.”
The article surmised that “many people are now looking at the ‘work stoppage’ itself—which reportedly resulted in drastic reductions in arrests, citations, and even parking tickets, as rather positive evidence that a city with less arrests may be something to celebrate, not criticize.”

New York based journalist and radio host Allison Kilkenny took to Twitter and commented that “Arrests plummeted 66% but I just looked outside and nothing is on fire and the sun is still out and everything. Weird.”

I don’t mean to sound dismissive of the article or Ms. Kilkenny, but it is hard to wrap myself around their logic.

Now the FTP is admittedly anti-police, so I don’t expect too much, in the way of fair reporting, from them, but I am not well versed in Ms. Kilkenny, or her positions, so I opted to take a closer look.

She was born in 1983, just two years before I became an NYPD police officer, and describes herself as a social critic and blogger who covers “budget wars, activism, uprising, dissent and general rabble-rousing.

That’s Awesome!

Right off the bat that tells me a little bit about her.

It says that she most likely doesn’t recall the 161,489 violent crimes that were committed in New York State, the year she was born, driven largely in part by the crime in NYC. She probably also doesn’t remember when it spiked to 203,311 by the time she was 9 years old. The truth is, for the formative years of Ms. Kilkenny’s young life the New York State continually ranked either 1st or 2nd in the nation in violent crimes.

In her defense, I probably wouldn’t have remembered, or even cared to remember, such dark and brutal times. Unfortunately, while she was wondering what new Barbie that Santa was going to bring her for Christmas, I was actually working the mean streets of NYC, and it did affect me.

I recall the years where the annual murder count was in the 2k range. When robberies topped 100k and burglaries topped 200k. You see, soaring crime rates where part of my youth as well as my career, so I understand the significance of them. By the time she hit her teen years, crime in NYC was dropping rapidly, even as the population level was increasing.  All thanks to those much maligned, quality of life measures, instituted under then Mayor Rudoph Giuliani and continued under Michael Bloomberg.

I’m not saying this to trash Ms. Kilkenny, but to bring light to the misguided notion that the slow down by NYPD’s Finest is somehow going to show just how really ‘serene’ the city actually is.

No, Ms. Kilkenny, it’s not.

I, and the other members of the NYPD, fought long and hard to make NYC the place it is today. We literally poured our blood, sweat and tears on the street corners of this city, to bring order out of chaos. To make it safer for children in minority neighborhoods to play in the streets, instead of being huddled inside their apartments, for fear of getting caught up in a drug deal gone bad. That is a position based on real world experience and not some rainbows and unicorn utopian fairy tale.

I don’t think that the 66% reduction in non-violent quality of life crimes is anything Earth shattering, nor does it prove that the city is a truly peaceful place. Excuse me if I’m not ready to believe that a two week ‘snippet’ is going to disprove thirty years of actual hard work and supporting data.

You see, the way I look at it, addressing quality of life violations is akin to keeping the street lights burning. As long as the cops are out there enforcing those laws, the lights keep the bad guys away. Stop doing it, and it’s like the lights burn out. Once the light is gone, the criminal element will reappear, emboldened by the fact that they cannot be seen. Crime will increase which will only serve to embolden their activities again.

Think that it won’t happen? Then tell me why? Show me the empirical data to support your belief, or explain to me why, based on your extensive experience, that you believe that allowing minor crimes to take place won’t create an environment for more crime to thrive. That’s like going a doctor saying “oh, you have an infection, but there is no need to treat it. It won’t spread.”

Think you’d go get a 2nd opinion on that?

Once again the left wants you to believe that it is really all the cops fault. That somehow these evil civil servants are somehow responsible for all that ails the city. Why shouldn’t they? The mayor said as much when he was campaigning. If the police would just stop harassing the poor, economically depressed criminals, we would have a veritable paradise in NYC.

Good luck with that.

Somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind I secretly wish that the NYPD would keep this going. That they would throw in the proverbial towel and say ‘okay, you win’. I wonder just how long it would take for the numbers to begin creeping up. Would it take thirty years for the city to get back to the levels of the 70’s and 80’s?

Probably not. Crime is like losing weight, it takes a helluva lot longer to take it off then it does to put it on.

The city is a lot better off than it was in the 70’s and 80’s. One only has to look at the Times Square area to see just how big an improvement the city has witnessed. There are a lot more potential victims, ripe for the pickings, then there were back then. I’d venture to say that you could realistically see a 50% increase in crime if de Blasio were to get re-elected. This isn’t based on fiction, but a career spent in law enforcement.

Either way, it doesn’t matter to me. They say people get the government they deserve and, right now, it seems as if the folks back in NYC certainly have. They got too comfortable, taking the security that they enjoy, by way of the hard work of the NYPD, as some sort of sign that the police really aren’t needed.

I think they should embrace that concept. Let the ‘street lights’ go out. If folks like Ms. Kilkenny are correct then nothing will burn down and the sun will still be out shinning.

But, if she is wrong, then the men and women of the NYPD should not be asked to put their lives on the line for a society that doesn’t deserve it. We’ve already shed too much blood in this fight already.

They won’t do that though, because they understand that they are the last line of defense, between the wolves that wait at the door and the sheep who despise them.

Good luck NYC, you’re going to need it. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

The NYPD turns their back on NYC Mayor (Round III)

The NYPD turns their back on NYC Bill de Blasio for the third time.

That will be the headline, or at least a variation, which will replay on television and newspapers around the country. Most will vilify the men and women of law enforcement as performing some disgraceful display at the funeral of Police Officer Wenjian Liu.

Sadly, the issue will fade from the headlines in a few days, which brings us back to the original problem. The public display is only a response to the forgotten actions of the mayor. The mayor turned his back on the cops long ago, but the media seems to have forgotten that.

They provide the mayor a pulpit to speak from, whenever he chooses, a luxury that they do not afford to the members of the NYPD. Whether you agree or not, the officers of the NYPD are utilizing the only opportunity they have, a finite moment before the lights turn off and the cameras get packed away. I guess if they chose to engage in some form of civil unrest the media would cover that, but that is not who they are. They are the forgotten protectors, bound by an oath that often calls for them to lay down their lives.  

The fact is, Mayor Bill de Blasio is not a fan of the NYPD, or law enforcement in general, no matter what he says before the cameras.

He ran on a campaign that derided the police. He claimed that the relationship between the minority community and the police was ‘bitter’. De Blasio also accused the police of engaging in an ‘abusive practice’ of stop and frisk, which allegedly targeted minority communities, and vowed to put an end to it. It was a campaign that counted on voter ignorance and was fueled by racial overtones.

What you didn’t hear reported was that Stop and Frisk is a procedure, not a policy. One that has been in place since 1968 when the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case: Terry v.Ohio. It simply allows the police a brief opportunity to detain a person based on reasonable suspicion that a crime has been, or is about to be, committed. The way Mayor de Blasio spun it; you would think that the police were arbitrarily throwing people up against the wall for the fun of it.

He compounded the problem by stating that he and his wife had cautioned their bi-racial son on interactions with the police. He rebuked the grand jury decision on the Eric Garner case and said that the police needed to be retrained to deal with the minority community better. I find that a bit odd, considering that over 50% of the NYPD’s patrol officers, which includes the two officers who were assassinated, are actually minority.

Then, when protest erupted throughout the city, he made remarks about ‘alleged’ assaults on police officers by protesters. If that wasn’t bad enough, he brought anti-police rabble rouser, Al Sharpton, into the fold.

If the mayor truly was trying to repair his relationship with the police, I would have to say that he was the unluckiest man in the world.

He has continually surrounded himself with people who hold the same opinion as he does, which is fine when you are an individual. But when you are the mayor, of the nation’s largest and most diverse city, you need to be a mayor of everyone, not just the click that got you elected. By turning his back on his police force, he is now reaping what he has sown.

What the mayor does not talk about is that prior to his election, the NYPD enjoyed a 75% approval rating, including a 63% approval rating in minority communities. Hardly a number that one would say reflected a bitter relationship. But perhaps the seeds of discontent, which he cast during the campaign, have taken hold. That approval number has plummeted to below 50% since he came into office, a number that eerily matches hizzoner’s own numbers.

The landslide victory, that Mayor de Blasio’s supporters like to point to, was not. It is difficult to find the sweeping victory when the turnout amounted to only 25% of cities registered voters. The election was more about voter apathy and disconnect then it was about change.

He should learn a lesson from that.

If de Blasio intends on being re-elected mayor, he might want to consider the other 75% of the electorate that didn’t vote this time around. Otherwise, come Election Day 2017, it might not only be the police who are turning their backs on him.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Happy New Year 2015 !!!

Ok, so I am technically a day late, but you get the idea.

At least I got the date correct. Now if I could only manage to keep that in mind as I actually write it out !!

I wish everyone a safe, healthy and prosperous New Year. In light of what we had to contend with in 2014, it seems like we have set the bar fairly low.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The NY Times takes on the NYPD

Well, the spiraling decline of the 'Old Gray Lady' continues.

I have long held the belief that the NY Times had lost all of its credibility and journalistic integrity as it spun a narrative rather than report the facts. The latest piece by the paper’s editorial board, an attack on the Nation's Finest police department, shows once and for all their true colors.

It might sound cool, to their dwindling readership, to blast the police with their harsh advice: "1. Don't violate the Constitution. 2. Don't kill unarmed people. 3. Do your jobs.", but it only serves to highlight their ignorance of the issues at hand. They are like the provocative allegations of a court room attorney who, lacking a credible case, opts to malign his opponent to the jury through name calling and innuendo. I'm curious as to what violations of the Constitution the NYT is referring to? Not killing unarmed people? Not enforcing the law?

This salacious accusation highlights the disconnect between the media and the real world. Police officers do not begin their day salivating at the opportunity to go out and kill someone. Perhaps it is the weight of the responsibility which they carry with them, but the choice of using deadly physical force is one that no police officer takes lightly. The fact is many cops have paid the ultimate price because they were hesitant to pull the trigger.

Law enforcement is a serious business and one that often has deadly consequences, both for criminals as well as the police. A fact, that we were brutally reminded of when, on December 20th, a madman executed two of NY’s Finest.

Theoretically, in a perfect world all criminals, major and petty, would immediately submit to detainment and arrest when caught by the police. Unfortunately, it has been my experience, borne out of twenty-two years in law enforcement that, realistically, this ‘perfect world,’ does not exist.

Dr. Charles H. Webb said it best: "There is no nice way to arrest a potentially dangerous, combative suspect. The police are our bodyguards; our hired fists, batons and guns. We pay them to do the dirty work of protecting us. The work we're too afraid, too unskilled, or too civilized to do ourselves. We expect them to keep the bad guys out of our businesses, out of our cars, out of our houses, and out of our faces. We just don't want to see how it's done." 

The NYT would have you believe that, based on their superior understanding of all things police, that this is not the case. That unarmed people pose no threat. It’s very easy to write that from the comfort of your office cubicle. It’s an entirely different proposition when you are staring the threat in the face.

So here is my challenge to the media world. Obviously, by virtue of this article and the many others I have written, as well as three books, I feel that I can do YOUR job quite well. Since you seem to be adamant that you know so much of the job I performed for over two decades, I challenge you to do a week of 4x12’s in Brooklyn North. Take your pick. Any precinct that begins with a 7 and ends in an odd number. Heck, I know some of you might live in upstate New York so why don’t we expand it a bit. Perhaps you would like the Bronx, so check out the 41 or the 47.

Hell, I doubt you’d be able to survive a day in a ‘C’ house let alone an ‘A’ house.

I remember someone once telling me: “Those who can, do; those who can't, teach.” I guess the same holds true for reporters.

Then again, maybe I am being too harsh. Perhaps they were just referring to the recent drop in enforcement activity for traffic and minor offenses. You know, the quality of life issues such as public drinking, urination and parking violations. The Times reported that they have all dropped by more than 90% in the wake of the police shooting. What I got a chuckle out of was the fact that they did not mention the minor offense of sale of untaxed cigarettes, loosies to be exact, the very same criminal activity that that Eric Garner was engaged in prior to his death.  

I think it speaks volumes as to the hypocrisy of the left when they make a demand of ‘Do Your Jobs’ and then, a moment later, amend that to ‘but only the ones we WANT you to do……’

After the Garner death the left came unglued that the police were enforcing what they considered bad laws. At that time they claimed that certain misdemeanors or violations should be overlooked. You know, the ones that they don’t believe in. I guess what the Times believes is that the city needs to have two sets of laws. Then when the police arrive, those more intellectually astute folks, like the NYT Editorial Board, can tell them whether to enforce it or not.

Just like the millions of folks on FB, who, despite never having set foot into a police academy, seem to know exactly how to do it better than the police, the Times would have you believe that it is all the cops fault.

Maybe the city can take some advice from them and add a new course covering clairvoyance to the academy curriculum. It could be overseen by the NYT editorial board and the teaching staff could be comprised of folks from the Psychic Medium Network. This way, the next time the police respond to a call they can know whether something bad will happen.

Hey, here is an idea. Maybe we should train the dispatchers in this ability. This way, when the call comes in, they can make the determination as to whether the complainant really needs help.

On second thought, how about we lay the blame squarely at the feet of those responsible: The Criminals.

Every day the police make tens of thousands of arrests, taking people into custody without incident. Where are the politicians and pundits applauding the hard work of the nation’s law enforcement? Yet, when a criminal resists arrest and dies from their own actions, the police somehow become the embodiment of pure evil?

Recently, I’ve heard of a number of journalist folks engaging in highly questionable practices. From writing patently false stories, failing to fully investigate and vet other stories, or being coerced by their bosses into not reporting others because they do fit the outlets core principals or readership. I guess, going by the NYT belief, they should all be publicly admonished.

Instead of vilifying the protectors of the city, the NYT should turn their attention toward their declining readership numbers. Once the flagship of the newspaper industry, the Times’ decline illustrates a problem that seems rather obvious to everyone, other than the editorial board. Rather than being neutral reporters of facts, they have chosen lines and selectively use snippets to support their opinions. At one time the papers motto: "All the news that's fit to print" meant something. Now it would best be served to read: "All the news we see fit to print".

Theoretically, the Times should consider getting back to a non-biased agenda and reporting on the facts, not contrived or misleading opinion pieces. Realistically, they won’t.