St. Baldrick’s Shave Day is TOMORROW!

This might be the most hair I've ever had going into a St. Baldrick's Shave Day!  Be a part of making it disappear! Click the photo to donate!

This might be the most hair I’ve ever had going into a St. Baldrick’s Shave Day! Be a part of making it disappear! Click the photo to donate!

We’re just $100 away from our 2014 St. Baldrick’s Fundraising Goal!  And I’m just 1 day away from my St. Baldrick’s Shave Day!

That’s right, tomorrow afternoon, I am going 99.8% completely bald!  (I’m not shaving my eyebrows!)

This is the fourth year KTracy.com has gotten behind the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to help fund research for childhood cancers.  There’s a lot of money being spent on cancer research in this country and around the world, but the vast majority of this money goes to researching adult cancers.  Childhood cancers are completely unique in their challenges and require substantial amounts of research if we ever hope to find cures.

That’s what the St. Baldrick’s Foundation does.

They finance the research of CURES; which will eventually save millions of children’s lives around the world.

When I say that no donation is too small to make a difference, it’s because every dollar donated brings us that much closer to curing a devastating childhood cancer.  Every donation finances research that will unlock the secrets of these horrifying diseases.  Every bit you donate to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and to childhood cancer research, the sooner cures will be found and the more lives can be saved.  Every life you help us save is one less family that will be torn apart by grief.

No child should have to bear to burdens of cancer.  No family should have to endure that hardship.  The St. Baldrick’s Foundation has made it its goal that, one day, no child or family will.

St-Baldricks-Foundation1I am so immensely proud to fundraise and donate my time, money, and scalp for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

Thank you to everyone who donates to this awesome cause.

Pictures of my head shaving will be posted tomorrow night!

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Kevin Tracy

Kevin Tracy is an Air Force veteran, terrorism/counterterrorism expert, and jack of all trades. KTracy's day job is designing electrical systems for new fossil power plants and environmental solutions. On the side, he keeps a blog, fundraises for political candidates and the St. Baldrick's Foundation, writes and illustrates comic books, and studies foreign affairs in depth.

James Moran (D-VA): Congressmen Are Underpaid

Rep. James Moran (D-VA) thinks that at $174,000/yr. Congressmen don't get paid enough to live decently.

Rep. James Moran (D-VA) thinks that at $174,000/yr. Congressmen don’t get paid enough to live decently.

Yes, it’s true.  Representative James Moran, a Democrat from the state of Virginia is trying to get Congress a pay raise.  Apparently, their $174,000 a year salary isn’t enough for them to live decently in Washington, DC.  Okay, so explain to me how congressional staffers live on a salary of $24,000 a year in the same city?  WTF, James Moran. The people working for you make $150,000 or 86% less than your congressional salary.  And while I do hear them complain a lot about how little they’re getting paid, at $24,000 a year for the work they do, I can see why they’re disgruntled.

At $174,000 a year when you can’t balance a budget, protect our interests overseas, or create new jobs that don’t involve a drive-thru – excuse me if I’m wrong, but you aren’t underpaid.

I’m glad you’re resigning at the end of this term.

So saith the taxpayer.

If you want to meet someone who is underpaid, go talk to a US Soldier in Afghanistan.

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Kevin Tracy

Kevin Tracy is an Air Force veteran, terrorism/counterterrorism expert, and jack of all trades. KTracy's day job is designing electrical systems for new fossil power plants and environmental solutions. On the side, he keeps a blog, fundraises for political candidates and the St. Baldrick's Foundation, writes and illustrates comic books, and studies foreign affairs in depth.

Russian Ambassadors Joke About Invading US

Russian Nationalism is on the rise, probably stronger now than anytime since the Czarist era.

Russian Nationalism is on the rise, probably stronger now than anytime since the Czarist era.

Okay, I want to stress right now that Igor Nilokaevich Chubarov and Sergey Viktorovich Bakharev are joking around.  They don’t actually plan to invade “Californialand” or “Miamiland.”  Granted, we should still take the threat Russia poses to our NATO allies VERY seriously.

While I don’t think this phone call can be taken overly seriously, we can still pry some interesting information from it.

First of all, that Russian diplomats are exceptionally nationalistic.  This phone call should be seen as two American diplomats joking about invading Canada and Mexico, or the entire middle east.  It’s not to be taken seriously, but you don’t joke like that unless you’re a patriotic nationalist.  This would lead me to believe that any attempt to splinter the Russian government’s leadership to undermine President Vladimir Putin would be a long uphill battle.

Secondly, we are also witnessing how little of an impact Obama’s limited sanctions are having on the Russian government.  US and EU sanctions have utterly failed to make at least these diplomats think twice about Putin’s agenda in Ukraine and the rest of Europe.

Thirdly, we see how little respect Russia’s diplomats (and probably everyone in the Russian government) have for the United States and European Union.  Thanks to the European Union weakening its defense spending after the end of the Cold War and Obama’s decision to slowly withdraw from the world stage and cut back our military like his socialist European buddies, Russia has been emboldened.  This is evident in the phone conversation above.

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Kevin Tracy

Kevin Tracy is an Air Force veteran, terrorism/counterterrorism expert, and jack of all trades. KTracy's day job is designing electrical systems for new fossil power plants and environmental solutions. On the side, he keeps a blog, fundraises for political candidates and the St. Baldrick's Foundation, writes and illustrates comic books, and studies foreign affairs in depth.

Mozilla CEO Resigns, Open and Free Speech Only if You Agree With Liberals

Former Mozilla CEO and computer programmer Brendan Eich.

Former Mozilla CEO and computer programmer Brendan Eich.

On Wednesday, the new CEO of Mozilla, Brendan Eich, resigned after outcry from some of the open-source giant’s developers and gay rights activists over a $1,000 donation he made to support Proposition 8 in California in 2008.

In other words, Mozilla; whose open source software I use for most of my web browsing and e-mail reading; is an open community ONLY if you are socially progressive. Frankly, this sets a dangerous precedent.  I mean, Brendan Eich is a fully competent, skilled, and talented individual who was named CEO with the confidence of the board.  He was more than qualified to hold this position.  But a single political donation he made six years ago has forced him to resign.  Mozilla isn’t a political organization.  Brendan Eich’s political and social views had no impact on how he would have run Mozilla.  But he was still forced to resign.

Imagine being denied a job because of your political views.

That’s the precedent that has been set by Brendan Eich’s resignation.

Good luck reaching that corner office, my fellow conservatives.

As far as Mozilla and its developers are concerned, I still think they make the best browser out there.  I’m not going to “boycott” their software over their political or social views… and not just because they’re volunteers who don’t get paid.  You see, open-source software and the open-source environment should be open to all ideas, regardless of how progressive, conservative, or ridiculous they might seem.  I don’t care if Mozilla’s developers follow Ralph Nader’s cult, belong to the Westboro Baptists, or use Firefox to watch Rand Paul Porn.  It doesn’t matter.  They create software.  And it shouldn’t matter what they believe socially or politically.  Likewise, Mozilla software users shouldn’t be limited in what they can do with Firefox, Thunderbird, or anything else Mozilla develops.

I’m writing this post on Firefox to criticize the developers.  I use Firefox to get information on right-to-life events in my community.  I use Thunderbird to send e-mails about local Republican organizing activities.  I use Thunderbird to manage my Google Calender.  I use Firefox to post conservative sayings and ideas on my social media pages.

Would Mozilla’s developers really stop me from using their software if they could?

If so, what does that say about the true ideals of the open-source community?

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Kevin Tracy

Kevin Tracy is an Air Force veteran, terrorism/counterterrorism expert, and jack of all trades. KTracy's day job is designing electrical systems for new fossil power plants and environmental solutions. On the side, he keeps a blog, fundraises for political candidates and the St. Baldrick's Foundation, writes and illustrates comic books, and studies foreign affairs in depth.

John Thune: The Ideas Man

This is why I like John Thune so much.  Because Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his narrow Democrat majority aren’t allowing Republicans to offer amendments to legislation coming through the Senate, Senator Thune has been somewhat side-railed in how productive he can be.  However, that doesn’t stop him from trying.

In the video above, Senator Thune has proposed two very good amendments to how the EPA sets regulations.  They would force the EPA to either find cost-effective means of achieving their goals or get approval from Congress before implementing their most pricey regulations.

This should be common sense.

Essentially, it prevents the EPA from killing jobs and businesses without Congressional approval.  How is that not a good idea?

But instead, the Democrats’ won’t have it.  Their solution to all the problems in this country is to simply throw more money at it… unless it’s the military… in that case you take as much money as you can out of it.

wpid-johnthune2012.jpgNow, there are a lot of Republicans offering ideas right now.  Most of these ideas are somewhat extreme and are so radical that even some conservatives might think about taking a step back.  John Thune is unique in that the ideas he proposes could be bi-partisan if Harry Reid wasn’t being such an obstructionist.  They are common sense solutions that Americans of almost any political persuasion could get behind.

I don’t know if John Thune will run for President in 2016, but I really hope that he does.  America needs an articulate, common sense leader from our nation’s heartland.

UPDATE:

As one e-mailer so wisely observed…

… he can go into detail without using teleprompters.

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Kevin Tracy

Kevin Tracy is an Air Force veteran, terrorism/counterterrorism expert, and jack of all trades. KTracy's day job is designing electrical systems for new fossil power plants and environmental solutions. On the side, he keeps a blog, fundraises for political candidates and the St. Baldrick's Foundation, writes and illustrates comic books, and studies foreign affairs in depth.

Let’s Fight Childhood Cancers with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation

St-Baldricks-Foundation1It’s that time of year again!  The time of year where I ask you to help the St. Baldrick’s Foundation make a difference in the lives of children around the world inflicted with devastating childhood cancers.  It’s the time of year where I ask you to help us keep families together.  It’s the time of year where I ask you to make a real difference in millions of lives.

This year’s goal is to raise $300 for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

Click Here To Donate

KTracy.com’s readers have been exceptionally generous in the past giving a total of $2,575 over the past three years we have been supporting the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is one of the few (and increasingly rare) charities that don’t support Planned Parenthood, abortions, or embryonic stem cell research.  For most readers at KTracy.com; that means you have been able to generously support the St. Baldrick’s Foundation without sacrificing you conscience; and will continue to be able to do so.

Click Here to Donate

Thanks again for your past and continued support of this awesome cause.  We’re impossibly proud to support the St. Baldrick’s Foundation!

My “Shave Date” is April 12th at Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana!  Even if you’re not getting your head shaved, you’re still welcome to join us as the scores of activists have their heads shaved in support of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to raise awareness for the unique and underfunded diseases that make up childhood cancers.

Click here to support the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and help us find a cure for Childhood Cancers!

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Kevin Tracy

Kevin Tracy is an Air Force veteran, terrorism/counterterrorism expert, and jack of all trades. KTracy's day job is designing electrical systems for new fossil power plants and environmental solutions. On the side, he keeps a blog, fundraises for political candidates and the St. Baldrick's Foundation, writes and illustrates comic books, and studies foreign affairs in depth.

Edward Snowden Needs To Be Silenced

Edward Snowden is potentially more dangerous than Russia, China, Iran, or any other national security threat to the United States.

Edward Snowden is potentially more dangerous than Russia, China, Iran, or any other national security threat to the United States.

I haven’t been writing much (if anything) on Edward Snowden because of my background as an intelligence analyst in the Air Force and then later as a counterterrorism contractor for the Federal Government.  I make it a point not to write about issues relating to that field because I’ve taken an oath to protect sensitive information and some of my thoughts on these matters has undoubtedly been formed by the information I have seen over my years in that profession.  My shared thoughts and opinions could, at least in theory, be analyzed by foreign governments and, with other data they’ve collected, be extrapolated and allow conclusions to be drawn that were meant to stay classified.

Is it a stretch?  Yes.

Does it matter?  No.

The overwhelming, vast majority of Americans in the intelligence field take their responsibility to defend our information and intelligence from foreign and domestic enemies just as serious as I do.  And the reason we do that is because we love our country and what it stands for and we would NEVER want to do the kind of harm Edward Snowden has done to the United States or the security of our fellow citizens.

Yes, Snowden leaked a controversial program that involved the National Security Agency (NSA) collecting metadata on US citizens.  This isn’t spying, it’s information the CEO of any major phone company can pull out of his butt – BUT WHATEVER! Fine, say it’s spying.  Okay, you expose the NSA spying on US citizens.  Great, we lost our ability to keep tabs on terrorists, but the American people now know how we were keeping them safe and somehow that restores their liberty? Or something like that.

Whatever.

But that’s not all Snowden is releasing.

 

Every time Edward Snowden opens his mouth, US National Security is degraded even further.

Every time Edward Snowden opens his mouth, US National Security is degraded even further.

The New York Times is now reporting that another Edward Snowden leak shows the NSA is hacking into the networks of Chinese telecommunications companies (Huawei in particular) that pose a 100% REAL threat to not just our national security, but our banks, communications networks, power grid, and much more.  In other words, a long-term THREAT to our AMERICAN WAY OF LIFE.  How is exposing our collection efforts on one of the world’s most shameful human rights abusers and oppressors of free speech, free press, and free religion going to improve the cause of global liberty?

It’s not.

In fact, it’s contrary to everything this self-important piece of crap named Edward Snowden claims to have stood for when he stole sensitive information and decided he himself should be the judge of what should or should not be classified.

What he is doing now proves not only how selfish Snowden is for attention, but it also highlights how dangerous he is.  One man is holding America’s national security and interests hostage for no reason other than vanity at this point.

I don’t believe in the death penalty except in certain circumstances where the criminal would continue to pose a threat to innocent people if he were kept alive.  Snowden, given what he knows and how reckless he’s proven himself in sharing that information, meets that requirement and, in my opinion, should be executed for his crimes against the United States of America.  A punishment that is actually prescribed in the US Constitution for such crimes.

And likewise, anyone he’s working with should share a similar fate, including Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and Pierre Omidyar unless they immediately cooperate.

Unfortunately, the fact that Snowden is still breathing is evidence that the Barack Obama administration takes withholding politically damaging information (IRS, Benghazi, Fast and Furious, etc) from the US Congress more seriously than keeping our own nation’s sensitive security secrets from our most sinister and powerful adversaries.

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Kevin Tracy

Kevin Tracy is an Air Force veteran, terrorism/counterterrorism expert, and jack of all trades. KTracy's day job is designing electrical systems for new fossil power plants and environmental solutions. On the side, he keeps a blog, fundraises for political candidates and the St. Baldrick's Foundation, writes and illustrates comic books, and studies foreign affairs in depth.

Spring is in the… Basement

With Kevin “stuck” in Louisiana for work, it was up to me to get the seeds started for this year’s garden.  (Once again, he has created more work for me. This really is an impressive talent he has.) Before Kevin left though, he was nice enough to install two fluorescent grow lamps above a table in our basement, and since I’m vertically challenged, he made them easily adjustable using S hooks so I can raise and lower them as needed.

Since this winter has been the worst I can remember and seems to be keeping her frigid grip on us (I see more snow in the forecast for Monday and Tuesday, grr), I am in major need for a sign of spring.  So, I decided it would be a good day to cut open the bags of soil and get the seeds planted.

Schults vs Jiffy.  Which one will succeed??

Schults vs Jiffy. Which one will succeed??

Since we haven’t had much luck in the past two years with seeds, I set up a little experiment to see what will work the best for us.  We bought two different types of seed starter mix; Schultz brand “Seed Starter Plus”, and Jiffy brand “Organic Seed Starter Mix”.  I set up two greenhouse kits with 18- 2.5″ root pots, and one greenhouse kit came with 50- 1″ square root pots.  I filled one set of 18 root pots and 25 of the small root pots with the Schultz mix, and the other half with the Jiffy mix.  Then, with Kevin giving his input over Skype, I planted the seeds equally in each of the two different soil mixes and labeled them on a grid I had to draw out.  The original plan was to mark them with wooden stakes, but the marker stakes I bought are too big for the lid to fit on, so plan B will have to work until I can remove the lid from the greenhouse.

1" square root pots... because we're hopeful it will be soon.

1″ square root pots… because we’re hopeful it will be soon.

2.5" root pots... because we don't know when winter will actually end.

2.5″ root pots… because we don’t know when winter will actually end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now for the big question I’m sure everyone is wondering, exactly what are we growing this year??

Here’s the breakdown of what I have planted so far in each soil type (Which means there’s double of everything listed):

The purple glow means healthy food sprouting soon. :)

The purple glow means healthy food sprouting soon. :)

1 cucumber plant
2  sugar baby watermelons
1 crimson sweet watermelon
3 acorn squash
1 winter squash
3 egg plants
2 roma tomatoes
2 Jalapenos
3 orange pumpkins
1 white pumpkin
4 broccoli
3 Bloomsdale spinach
3 hybrid spinach
4 Buttercrunch lettuce
4 Romaine lettuce
4 Great Lakes lettuce
4 celery.

Now mind you not all of these, if any, will survive to be transplanted.  We want to better the chances of survival with the plants we really want, as well as experiment with different varieties of plants to see which will give us the best yield.  I have never successfully grown lettuce, so having three different kinds this year should hopefully produce at least one head.  Also, there are a few other seeds we picked up that are direct sow (not recommended for transplant).  So, we still have short carrots, half long carrots, White Lisbon onions, Northern Gold onions, and Buttergold sweet corn.  (I really have low expectations for the corn, but to make Mr. Tracy happy, I’m letting him experiment with that. Hey, it never hurts to try).

Kevin has to build a few more garden beds when he’s finally able to come back from Louisiana; which I suspect will be as soon as I finish planting everything outside.  I will be sure to take pictures of the process this time, since I’ve had several people ask how we built them.

I plan to keep everyone updated with the progress of my experiment, so check back often!

 

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Krista Tracy

Krista Tracy (formerly Arvidson) is a civil engineering student at Purdue University and the wife of famed awesome guy Kevin Tracy. She has worked on multiple Republican campaigns and has several years of management experience. She also is a talented graphic artist, painter, and seamstress. In warmer months, she tends a very healthy and expanding Freedom Garden.

IT’S NOT BREAKING NEWS!!!

cnn-breaking-news1Sean Hannity just started his program tonight saying, “BREAKING NEWS – We are going into day 14 of the missing Malaysian jetliner.”

NO!  NO!

IT’S NOT BREAKING NEWS!

IT’S NOT EVEN NEWS!

NBC is criticizing CNN for abusing the “Breaking News” alerts. But it’s not only CNN.  Every cable news network has been abusing the “Breaking News” alert and they’ve been doing it for YEARS!

Oh, we can’t find this idiot teenager who went missing after going to a bar and getting sloshed in Aruba dressed like a prostitute.  Is she blonde?  BREAKING NEWS!

No, it’s not breaking news!  It’s an irresponsible moron suffering the consequences of poor decision-making.

Oh, a child was kidnapped?  Was it a girl?  She’s not black, is she?  Great!  BREAKING NEWS!!!!

Seriously, when’s the last time a black child was kidnapped and it made national news?  That’s besides the point.  If a child is kidnapped, it’s not worthy of national news.  Children are kidnapped EVERY DAY in the United States.  The odds of a child being found randomly on the opposite side of the country are ridiculously slim.  This is breaking LOCAL news, but a waste of time for the rest of the country.

Allow me to provide some examples of breaking news and not breaking news.

Breaking News: There’s a plane missing!

Not Breaking News: Nobody knows where it is two weeks later.

This isn’t breaking news right now.  It’s just an obscene stunt to grab people’s attention at the start of a broadcast so the viewer doesn’t change the channel.

Breaking News: Terrorists kill hundreds of people.

Not Breaking News: Retired Intelligence Official and Fox News Contributor believes they used a bomb.

This actually happened a few weeks ago where former Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili went on CNN and started making outrageous claims about Russian military actions and numbers in Crimea.  It became breaking news for the next 48 hours, even though the man is a mass murderer and lunatic.

Breaking News: Vladimir Putin sends Russian troops into Crimea

Not Breaking News: Secretary of State John Kerry says that’s not okay.

The breaking news is the unexpected news.  Anything responding to that breaking news is not itself breaking news.  It’s developing news.  Nothing is breaking, just evolving.

Breaking News: First man lands on Mars.

Not Breaking News: His step mother is worried about his safety.

Breaking news doesn’t happen when you shove a camera in someone’s face.  Never.

Breaking News: We are ready to call the 2014 race for ______.

Not Breaking News: ________ is going to be sworn into office tomorrow.

If you can logically expect something to happen, it’s not breaking news.  This gets back to the idiot teenager point above.

Now, maybe you think I’m overreacting.  But at some point, we’re all going to become desensitized to the “Breaking News” alert.  This is why nobody is allowed to play the Emergency Alert System noise on television.  So, when there is important breaking news we need to be seriously concerned about, like Russia annexing Florida, people aren’t going to treat it with the seriousness it deserves.

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Kevin Tracy

Kevin Tracy is an Air Force veteran, terrorism/counterterrorism expert, and jack of all trades. KTracy's day job is designing electrical systems for new fossil power plants and environmental solutions. On the side, he keeps a blog, fundraises for political candidates and the St. Baldrick's Foundation, writes and illustrates comic books, and studies foreign affairs in depth.

Malaysian Airliner Almost Certainly not in Pakistan

So, I’m listening to Fox News as I work on The MSPaint Comic; and I’m shaking my head about the latest theory that the Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 landed safely in Pakistan or Iran.  This is absolutely freaking ridiculous.  First, here’s a map of the region with all the airfields Flight 370 could have landed.

runways

Notice, NONE of these airfields are in Pakistan.  Iran is so far away that Slate didn’t even bother labeling it.  The closest airfields to Pakistan are in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir; which has some of the toughest counterterrorism measures and experts in the world and is on high alert for another conflict with Pakistan.  There are also three airports in Chinese controlled Tibet and Xinjiang.  China has its own counter-insurgency concerns in these areas and considers India a potential adversary in the next 20 years.  No aircraft is entering either country without their knowing about it.  Period.

Flight_370_Plane_Range_Graphic_Wide

Even if Pakistan’s asshole intelligence service, the ISI (acronym for Inter-Services Intelligence), provided more fuel for the aircraft than would be customary for a flight to Beijing, the plane would still have to enter Indian airspace.  If Flight 370 did manage to take off with its maximum fuel capacity, the graphic to the right shows how far it could go… assuming they didn’t have to avoid Chinese or Indian radar.

Keep in mind that there were radical shifts in the plane’s altitude.  Now, I’m not going to join the millions of speculative theorists and try to explain why.  I just bring this up because climbing and descending radically like that is going to burn a lot of fuel and shorten the flight range.  Also potentially shortening range of the aircraft are reports that the aircraft was flying at a low altitude for distances to avoid radar.  Planes burn a lot more fuel at lower altitudes; where denser air creates significantly more drag.

Now, assuming that the altitude changes didn’t happen and the plane flew at an optimum altitude with maximum fuel, I used my MSPaint skills to show you how far the plane could have gone without showing up on Indian radar.

Flight_370_Plane_Range_Graphic_Wide

This is the furthest the plane could have flown without tipping off India or the United States Air Force in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and with optimum flying and fuel conditions.  The chances of this are very slim, in my opinion. There are several radar areas I don’t show on the above graphic, as well.  Not the least of which is the US Navy presence in the Arabian Sea fighting pirates based in Somalia.  There is also the US Military installation in Diego Garcia; which reported no unusual radar activity very early in the investigation.

There is nothing I would like more to find out I’m wrong and that the plane landed safely and the passengers are being held hostage.  That means the men, women, and children on MH370 would be alive.  However, it’s difficult for me to provide you with a reasonable scenario that enabled the Malaysian airliner landed safely.  The ISI is good, but they’re not good enough to secretly land a giant Boeing 777 in Maldives, refuel the plane, and then fly it to Pakistan; which is the only way I can see the plane actually making it to Pakistan.

Please, pray that I’m wrong.

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Kevin Tracy

Kevin Tracy is an Air Force veteran, terrorism/counterterrorism expert, and jack of all trades. KTracy's day job is designing electrical systems for new fossil power plants and environmental solutions. On the side, he keeps a blog, fundraises for political candidates and the St. Baldrick's Foundation, writes and illustrates comic books, and studies foreign affairs in depth.