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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Officer Down

Police Officer Wenjian Liu
New York City Police Department
End of Watch: Saturday, December 20, 2014
Age: 32
Tour: 7 years, 6 months

Police Officer Rafael Ramos
New York City Police Department
End of Watch: Saturday, December 20, 2014
Age: 40
Tour: 2 years
Incident Date: 12/20/2014

Officer Wenjian Liu and Police Officer Rafael Ramos were shot and killed from ambush while sitting in their patrol car at the intersection of Myrtle Avenue and Thompkins Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

Both officers were participating in an anti-terrorism drill when a subject walked up to their patrol car and opened fire with a handgun, striking them both in the head and upper body multiple times. Other officers immediately pursued the the subject into a nearby subway station where the man committed suicide.

The subject was a gang member from Baltimore, Maryland, who had traveled to New York City specifically to ambush police officers. The man had published his intentions on social media prior to the shooting.

Officer Liu had served with the New York City Police Department for 7-1/2 years and was assigned to the 84th Precinct. He is survived by his wife of two months.

Officer Ramos had served with the New York City Police Department for two years and was assigned to the 84th Precinct. He is survived by his wife and two sons.
Rest in Peace Gentlemen…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Another example of things so stupid they can only be federally funded.

A few weeks ago my friend Darren at Right on the Left Coast published the results of a US Department of Agriculture investigation on "Why Americans Eat Fast Food". Wait for it, because it's food we can eat quickly. Who would have thunk it? My comment was "Some things are so f!@#ing stupid they can only be federally funded.

Well here is another classic example of government waste, err critical government operations.

$466,642 Federal Study: Why Do Fat Girls Date Less and Risk More?

(CNSNews.com) – The National Institutes of Health has awarded $466,642 in taxpayer dollars to Magee-Women’s Research Institute and Foundation in Pittsburgh, Pa., to study and compare the intimate relationships of obese and non-obese girls.

“Mounting evidence demonstrates that weight influences intimate (i.e., dating and sexual) relationship formation and sexual negotiations among adolescent girls. Obese girls consistently report having fewer dating and sexual experiences, but more sexual risk behaviors (i.e., condom nonuse) once they are sexually active,” the grant abstract said.

“No studies have actually examined whether the interpersonal skills and intimate relationships of obese and non-obese girls differ,” it said.

The project will use information from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health, conducted between 1994 and 2008, and the Pittsburgh Girls Study, an ongoing study which began in 2000.

The goals of the project are “to (1) determine whether obese adolescent girls experience a delay in the development of peer and intimate relationship skills compared to non-obese adolescent girls; (2) compare the characteristics of intimate relationships among obese and non-obese adolescent girls; (3) use longitudinal growth curve modeling to determine whether trajectories of romantic and sexual relationship characteristics differ between obese and non-obese adolescent girls over time; (4) determine how peer and intimate relationship skills affect trajectories of intimate relationships among obese and non-obese adolescent girls over time; and (5) compare the development of interpersonal skills and intimate relationship characteristics between obese and non-obese African American and White adolescent girls.”

The overarching goal of the research is “to expand the conceptual framework linking weight to adolescent sexual risk-taking thereby providing critical information useful for tailoring adolescent sexual risk-reduction interventions and sexual negotiation skills building programs.”

CNSNews.com attempted to contact Aletha Akers, project leader for the grant, by email for comment, but no comment was provided before publication.

CBS News, if your name was associated with such stupidity would you want it publicly attached to it? What a waste of money.

Officer Down

Deputy Sheriff John Robert Street
George County Mississippi Sheriff's Office
End of Watch: Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Age: 24
Tour: 4 years

Deputy Sheriff John Street was killed in a single vehicle crash on Highway 57 while responding to an accident at approximately 2:00 am.

His patrol car left the roadway and struck a tree during his response. Other deputies were dispatched to locate him after he failed to respond to radio traffic.

Deputy Street had served as a part-time deputy with the George County Sheriff's Office for four years and also served as a full time police officer with the Lucedale Police Department. He is survived by his wife and two young children.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Security Weekly: The Islamic State Admits a Weakness, December 11, 2014

By Scott Stewart

On Dec. 7, the Islamic State released a video in which John Maguire, a Canadian citizen who uses the nom de guerre Abu Anwar al-Canadi, threatened more terrorist attacks in Canada in response to the Canadian government's continuing participation in the international coalition conducting airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. In the video, al-Canadi urged Canadian Muslims to either migrate to the Islamic State or conduct terrorist attacks in Canada, following the examples of Martin Rouleau, who ran over and killed a Canadian soldier with his vehicle on Oct. 20, and Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, who shot and killed a soldier at the Canadian National War Memorial before being shot and killed himself by the authorities inside the Canadian Parliament building on Oct. 22. In the video, al-Canadi said, "You either pack your bags, or you prepare your explosive devices. You either purchase your airline ticket, or you sharpen your knife." While the al-Canadi video is certain to create a stir in Canada, where people and authorities are still on edge following the two grassroots jihadist attacks in October, the fact that the Islamic State released such a video is actually more of an admission of weakness than a sign of strength.

Those Who Can, Do

The fact that al-Canadi asked Canadian Muslims to conduct additional attacks is an admission that the group does not have the ability to conduct such attacks itself. Now, some may argue that as the self-proclaimed leader of Muslims worldwide, Islamic State leader Caliph Ibrahim is within his rights to order Muslims living in the West to conduct attacks, but that is a cop-out. Groups that can conduct attacks do not ask outsiders for help — they just attack. When a group asks outsiders to attack on its behalf, it is a clear admission that it does not possess that capability on its own and is therefore a sign of weakness.

As we have previously noted, the Islamic State and its predecessor organizations have never conducted terrorist attacks outside of their region of operations, and even their efforts to launch attacks in neighboring Jordan have not been successful compared to their terrorist operations in Iraq and Syria. This lack of success stems from operating remotely in hostile territory, a far more difficult task than operating locally and using internal communication lines. Projection of terrorist capabilities at the transnational level requires different elements of terrorist tradecraft than attacking locally, and the Islamic State has not yet exhibited the capabilities required to do so.

If the Islamic State were working to develop the tradecraft capabilities required for transnational terrorist operations, we would expect to first see them display a greater ability to project force within their region before we would see them attempt to project force half a world away. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula exhibited such a progression in capabilities in 2009 when it attempted to assassinate Prince Mohammed bin Nayef in Saudi Arabia and then attempted to bomb a trans-Atlantic aircraft over Detroit.

Furthermore, if the group were actually in the process of planning and executing an attack on Canadian soil, it would be foolish to raise alert levels. There are few terrorist organizations that possess the skill and moxie required to attack during times of heightened alert. Most terrorist operatives prefer to have both strategic and tactical surprise on their side while executing the terrorist attack cycle. Groups already have a hard enough time carrying out attacks without increasing scrutiny on their operations.

This difficulty does not just go for operations conducted by the organization itself. If Islamic State leaders knew of pending plots inside Canada by grassroots jihadists, they would have held onto the message rather than release it. Therefore, this video is an indicator that the Islamic State not only lacks the capability to conduct attacks in Canada, but that it also does not know of any planned attacks.

In the past we have seen cases like that of Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan, where the lone wolf was in contact with a jihadist group — in his case, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula — and they knew he was planning an attack. Osama bin Laden and the al Qaeda core also reportedly squelched a terrorist attack in Asia in 2001 prior to the 9/11 attacks because they did not want to raise alert levels and jeopardize their operation, which was already underway inside the United States at that time.

Fizzled Out

The video was more than just an admission that the Islamic State does not have the capability to conduct attacks in Canada or the West. It is also an acknowledgement that the group's previous calls for grassroots jihadists to rise up have fallen flat after an initial burst of activity. After the two attacks in Canada and a hatchet attack against New York police officers — all which occurred within three days in October — we were forced to wonder whether the unprecedented rash of Islamic State-inspired grassroots attacks was a new trend or a temporary anomaly. After several weeks of silence, we can now see that the burst of attacks was anomalous and was not the beginning of a sustained period of high tempo grassroots attacks in the West.

Certainly, the danger of attacks by grassroots jihadists remains, and there is a higher probability of such an attack in the West than of an attack by the al Qaeda core or the Islamic State. Simple grassroots attacks are quite easy to conduct, especially if the assailant uses readily available weapons like in the October attacks rather than attempting more aspirational operations involving weapons beyond the attacker's immediate grasp. Such ambitious assaults have led to the arrests of a number of would-be grassroots attackers in sting operations. However, while simple attacks are quite easy to conduct, they tend to be far less deadly than those conducted by more sophisticated terrorist groups. Moreover, we have not seen a sustained wave of such attacks, despite their simplicity.

The Islamic State also noticed that the spark it attempted to light had not become a conflagration and that it needed to make another effort to start one with al-Canadi's videos. However, it continues to be clear that while the grassroots threat is a chronic problem, it is not an existential threat to the United States or the West.

The Islamic State Admits a Weakness is republished with permission of Stratfor.

Officer Down

Police Officer Richard Anthony Champion
Perryopolis Borough Pennsylvania Police Department
End of Watch: Sunday, December 14, 2014
Age: 36
Tour: 8 months

Police Officer Richard Champion was killed in a vehicle crash while pursing a vehicle on Pittsburgh Road, in Perry Township, at approximately 1:00 pm.

During the pursuit another vehicle turned in front of Officer Champion's patrol car, causing a collision. Officer Champion became trapped in the patrol car while it caught fire. Several citizens attempted to break the windows but were unable to free him from the wreckage. The driver of the other vehicle in the crash was transported to a hospital in critical condition.

The vehicle he was pursuing continued to flee the and the driver remains at large.

Officer Champion was a military veteran. He had served with the Perryopolis Borough Police Department for eight months and also worked part-time with the Derry Borough Police Department. He is survived by his wife and 16-month-old child.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Geopolitical Weekly: Seeking the Future of Europe in the Ancient Hanseatic League, December 9, 2014

By Mark Fleming-Williams

A bargain, forged in the fires of 2012's economic emergency, has defined the European Union for the past two years. It was an agreement made between two sides that can be defined in several terms — the center and the periphery, the north and the south, the producers and the consumers — but essentially one side, led by Germany, provided finance, while the other, fronted by Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Greece, promised change. In order to gauge this arrangement's chances of ultimately succeeding, it is important to understand what Germany was hoping to achieve with its conditional financing. The answer to that question lies in Germany's own history.

Last week, the Governing Council of the European Central Bank's monthly meeting left financial markets feeling frustrated. Instead of announcing the beginning of a highly anticipated bond-buying program known as quantitative easing, the European Central Bank, or ECB, only slightly changed the vocabulary it used to describe its plans: "We expect" became "we intend." Pulses did not race with excitement.

In fact, the most interesting news of the day was that seven of the 22 members of the council apparently voted against the change in vocabulary. Those opposed included four governors of national central banks and three of the EU executive board's six members, who, in theory, are responsible for shaping ECB policy. This ongoing debate over finances is deeply important to Europe's future because it touches on a key question at the heart of the European project: Is Germany willing to underwrite the whole venture? Germany gave a partial answer to this question in 2012 when it financed the EU rescues of several member states, but the conditions it attached have since created more problems.

The trouble began with 2008's economic crash and peaked four years later with a sovereign bond crisis. Germany reacted by creating various mechanisms and funds to bail out stricken countries, including Outright Monetary Transactions to safeguard sovereign bond prices. In return, the bailed-out nations had to enact painful changes to increase their competitiveness — at a lifestyle cost to their citizens. The rest of the union had to commit to financial reform by signing the European Fiscal Compact. With these conditions, Berlin hoped to bring the rest of Europe through a process Germany had already undergone.

The Makings of an Economic Miracle

After the Second World War, Germany found itself occupied and split in two. It was positioned in the middle of a continent that feared it, and its economy had been wrecked by 30 years of war and turmoil. Militarism had failed repeatedly and spectacularly. Germany needed a new ethos, so it returned to its roots.

Before the German unification of 1871 set the new nation on a course to its own demise, the great behemoth known as the Holy Roman Empire had stretched across Central Europe for over a thousand years, from 800 to 1806. It was a patchwork of states varying in size. Some were ruled by princes while some were independent cities, but all owed ultimate allegiance to the Holy Roman Emperor, whose real power over his vassals was paltry in comparison to that of the French kings or Russian tsars at his flanks. The Holy Roman Empire was a network of Germanic peoples, where no unit was powerful enough to militarily dominate its neighbors or to truly unify the region into a single state. The result was a competitive market where each princedom, duchy and city's survival was largely based on its own efficiency and resources, along with those of any peers with which alliances were formed. Local resources were leveraged, and skilled craftspeople trained through lengthy apprenticeships, forming guilds that created products recognized for their excellence across the Continent.

In the 13th century, a group of these states came together to create a trading federation centered on the northern cities of Lubeck and Hamburg. This federation, which originated in modern Germany and expanded to cities on the coasts of what is today Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Sweden and the Netherlands, came to be known as the Hanseatic League. The league dominated the North and Baltic seas in a manner reminiscent of the Romans in the Mediterranean a millennium before, but Hanseatic power was very much based on trade rather than force. The league's gigantic ships brought raw materials, including timber and grain, from its eastern members to ports in England and carried shipments of cloth and manufactured wool to Novgorod, Russia, on return voyages.

Meanwhile, German industry grew in the center of the web. Family connections and close relationships were used to create a reliable and efficient network that lowered transaction costs to great effect. "Made in Germany" became a trademark that carried great weight in 16th-century London. But ultimately, the discovery of the New World proved to be the Hanseatic League's death knell because the resulting shift in trade routes made having an Atlantic coast a requirement for success. The final meeting of the league took place in 1669.

Prussia rose in prominence during the industrialization period that followed the end of the Holy Roman Empire. The strong Prussian bureaucracy and its military power combined with the diplomatic genius of Otto von Bismarck to finally bring about a unified German state. But the economic strength of the new country and its precarious position on the North European Plain made war inevitable. The next 70 years saw this play out with great destruction.

When West Germany turned to competitiveness, trade and exports as the solutions to its woes in 1948, it was returning to ancient strengths. That year, future German Chancellor Ludwig Erhard led the drive to introduce a new currency because he felt there were far too many reichsmarks in the system and that this was harming the economy. He proposed the deutsche mark, a new currency that ultimately reduced the money supply by 93 percent. The deutsche mark propelled the economy forward and provided an early boost to exports, but the switch also caused a substantial reduction in the net wealth of many people.

The next thing Germany needed was a stable market, and in 1951, the European Coal and Steel Community — the European Union's predecessor — was formed. For France, Germany's primary partner in this venture, the attraction was obvious. By joining the European project, France, which had been invaded by Germany three times in 70 years, could shield itself from German attacks and position itself to take a leading role in Europe's development. Germany, meanwhile, obtained a tariff-free market for its products, and the close alliance with France allowed it an influential, yet less menacing voice. The new arrangement had immediate results. German exports as a percentage of output rose from 8.5 percent in 1950 to 14.6 percent in 1960 and even higher to 27.6 percent in 1985. If services are taken into account, exports today make up 50 percent of Germany's gross domestic product, one of the highest such percentages in the world. Moreover, German excellence in mechanical, electrical and chemical engineering, in addition to a strong automotive sector, turned the country into a trade juggernaut. Just as the Hanseatic League did, Germany found a target market in the rest of Europe and proceeded to outcompete it, becoming even more powerful after reunification in 1990.

The Euro Shakes Things Up

For a long time, Germany functioned well in its role, but trouble emerged with the creation of the euro in 2000. A common currency removed the only real defense the other European countries had against the German trade machine: the ability to devalue. Plus, the euro was cheaper than the deutsche mark had been, making German exports even more competitive on the global stage and contributing to further efficiency gains. The extent to which Germany outcompeted its neighbors in this period is reflected by current account balances — by 2008, Germany had a surplus of 5.8 percent of GDP while Ireland, Portugal and Spain had deficits of 9.4 percent, 12.1 percent and 9.6 percent, respectively. When periphery countries were forced to reconcile these current account deficits with the post-2008 economic realities, it led to debt explosions that contributed to the 2012 euro crisis.

Germany found itself in danger of being pulled under by its own market. Its response was simple and predictable: It would put its peers through the same process it had undergone. All of Europe would be reformed and brought into a modern day Hanseatic League, ready to export their products competitively, just as Germany did. It is no coincidence that around this time, talks began on a new trade agreement with the United States known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. A larger league would need a substantial external market with which to trade.

But the power that allowed Germany to impose these reforms was fleeting. Only the countries that had asked for bailout money — Portugal, Spain, Ireland and Greece — could be forced to take the medicine. France and Italy faced less pressure to reform because they had avoided bailouts, and they were harder to bully because of their relative size and importance.

Now, two years after the crisis, the divergent results are beginning to show. The bailout countries have suffered greatly from the austerity measures, but there are signs that wage decreases and spending cuts are increasing their competitiveness and beginning to turn them around. Spain celebrated a record month for employment gains in November (though with unemployment at 24 percent, there is clearly still a long way to go), and Ireland is forecast to grow by 3.6 percent next year, making it the fastest-growing country in Europe. France and Italy, by contrast, have not reformed, and their economies have stagnated as a result. Furthermore, the European Commission's failed attempts to enforce the Fiscal Compact and change French and Italian behavior have exposed the weaknesses in Europe's institutions.

Germany Cannot Do it Alone

In particular, France's shift from central power to problem case presents a huge issue for Europe. In a continent with a long history of central powers attempting total domination, there is a deep mistrust of allowing a single player too much control over the rest. The Franco-German alliance mitigated this danger, allowing their joint pronouncements to represent the voice of Europe in a non-threatening way. But now that France is diverting from the German course, Berlin finds itself having to make difficult decisions alone. The latent fear across the Continent, however, constrains Germany's ability to enforce its decisions.

France's shift away from Germany is particularly problematic going into 2015, when elections in Spain and possibly in Greece could empower Podemos and Syriza, two political parties with a close relationship that oppose German austerity policies. In Germany, the postwar shift toward competitive trade tapped into a residual cultural history, but neither Spain nor Greece has a history of supporting itself through exports. Spain's historical wealth was achieved not through competitiveness but by conquest and plunder of the New World. Throughout its history, Greece has invariably been subsidized by a larger patron. In addition, the Germany of 1948 had just lost a war, so its people met the hardship of rebirth with pragmatism. In Spain and Greece, by contrast, it is less clear who is to blame for their plight, so the hardship feels more like an injustice. This feeling has led to the rise of the populist parties. Managing the leaders of two anti-EU nations would be difficult if France and Germany were united, but for a Germany going it alone and acutely aware of its own international image, the task will surely be impossible.

The majority vote on Dec. 4 by the ECB was its latest rebellion against Germany's attempts to shape the Continent. It represents a push by the periphery side of the 2012 bargain: Quantitative easing would involve more spending from the European center without any additional structural reforms to increase competitiveness in the periphery. With this in mind, it is interesting to note which three central bankers chose to vote with Germany against the proposed change. The representatives who felt that Germany's position was worth upholding were from Estonia, Latvia and the Netherlands — the only other three members of the old Hanseatic League currently in the eurozone. It seems the league has lasted longer than anyone realized.

If it could be achieved, there are signs that Germany's dream just might work. Positive economic signals in the bailout countries suggest the reforms might be effective. In the United States, record job creation figures released Dec. 5 suggest the target market might be ready to begin receiving European exports. All the necessary pieces are clicking into place, but the dream is still doomed. The intransigence of France and Italy and the rising backlashes in the bailout countries betray the underlying truth. Germany is battling millennia of cultural history, and it does not have the power to change Europe on its own.

As a grouping of independent states rather than a nation, the Hanseatic League also found it difficult to make proactive decisions. When the king of Denmark threatened Visby, a strategic island for the league's trade network, 70 Hanseatic cities responded to the emergency by sending ships and men. The powerful force rampaged through Denmark, sacking Copenhagen and Helsingborg, which was then part of the Danish kingdom. In some ways, modern Europe functions in a similar manner. In a time of crisis, the states are able to gather together and combat the danger effectively, but the network is ill-equipped to cope with a slow decline. No single player has been able to galvanize its peers into action in the absence of a clear danger. Looking forward, Germany's ability to manage its peers is as constrained as Lubeck's was in the Hanseatic League. The force that must be gathered is no longer ships and men, but the underlying commitment and money needed is just as fleeting today.

Editor's Note: Writing in George Friedman's stead this week is Economy Analyst Mark Fleming-Williams.
Seeking the Future of Europe in the Ancient Hanseatic League is republished with permission of Stratfor.

Officer Down

Deputy Sheriff Grant William Whitaker
Ingham County Michigan Sheriff's Office
End of Watch: Sunday, December 7, 2014
Age: 25
Tour: 1 year, 6 months
Badge # 5497

Deputy Sheriff Grant Whitaker was killed in a vehicle crash during a pursuit on Dexter Trail, one mile east of Route 52, at approximately 2:00 am.

Deputy Whitaker's patrol car left the roadway and struck a tree during the pursuit, causing him to suffer fatal injuries. The vehicle he was pursuing continued to flee.

The driver of the vehicle was arrested several days later and charged with fleeing to elude causing death and operating a vehicle on a suspended license causing death.

Deputy Whitaker had served with the Ingham County Sheriff's Office for 1-1/2 years. He had previously served with the Stockbridge Police Department and Waterloo Township Police Department.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

This is an insult, even if they can't understand why

A point I made over the last few years about Anthony Weiner and his run for NY City mayor was of all the candidates, he still sucked the least. And having a photo sex addict as your best choice tells you something about how badly New York has fallen.

Now we come to the current HIZONOEDAMAER, Bill de Blasio. It's bad enough he's a out and out socialist and he's screwed up the assertive law enforcement of his two predecessors, he insulted the men of the NYPD. You can argue if the officers handed Eric Garner right or if the grand jury made a poor decision, but to come out and say:
“Chirlane and I have had to talk to Dante (the mayor's 17 year old bi-racial son) for years about the dangers that he may face – good young man, law abiding young man, never would think to do anything wrong, and yet because of the history that still hangs over us, the dangers he may face. We’ve had to literally train him, as families have all over this city for decades, in how to take special care in any encounter he has with the police officers who are there to protect him,”
The numbers are that there will be a cop funeral in de Blasio's term and this will be interesting if the fallen officer has completed this form.

Cops tell de Blasio: Stay away from our funerals

Not over their dead bodies.

Cops are warning Mayor de Blasio and Council Speaker Melissa ​Mark-​Viverito to stay away from their funerals should they be ​killed in the line of duty.

The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association distributed a flier to members, blaring: “DON’T LET THEM INSULT YOUR SACRIFICE!” Cops were encouraged to sign and submit the “Don’t Insult My Sacrifice” waiver to ban the cop-bashing pols from their funerals.

“I, as a New York City police officer, request that Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito refrain from attending my funeral services in the event that I am killed in the line of duty,” the waiver states.

“Due to Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Mark-Viverito’s consistent refusal to show police officers the support and respect they deserve, I believe that their attendance at the funeral of a fallen New York City police officer is an insult to that officer’s memory and sacrifice.”...

The mayor traditionally attends funerals for fallen officers.

“This is deeply disappointing,” the mayor and the council speaker said in a joint statement.

“Incendiary rhetoric like this serves only to divide the city, and New Yorkers reject these tactics.

“The mayor and the speaker both know better than to think this inappropriate stunt represents the views of the majority of police officers and their families.”

Sources say the revolt was sparked by the mayor’s lack of support for the NYPD following the grand jury’s decision not to indict the officer involved in the death of Staten Islander Eric Garner.

De Blasio added fuel to that fire in a press conference about the grand-jury vote where he said he had warned his 17-year-old, mixed-race son, Dante, to be careful around police officers.

“We’ve had to literally train him, as families have all over this city for decades, in how to take special care in any encounter he has with the police officers who are there to protect him,” the mayor said.

PBA President Patrick Lynch reacted to that by accusing the mayor of throwing cops “under the bus.”...

You know Bill (obviously you don't) you could have risen above the "community organizers" (excuse me while I snicker) and soothed the population of your city. Explained to them how the legal system works and called for calm, but that takes something you don't have and never will. You are not a leader, never have been. So you rubbed salt into the wound and now the cops are pushing back. You really don't care, we know that, but one thing you should be cognizant of. The officers you just insulted guard you and your family at Gracie Mansion. It's not nice to imply they are incompetent or worse. To use your words, "I’ve had to worry over the years. Chirlane’s had to worry. Is Dante safe each night? There are so many families in this city who feel that each and every night. Is my child safe?...Are they safe from the very people they want to have faith in as their protectors?”

Sleep well de Commio under the guard of men and women who on their worse days are better than you. NYPD, good move.

The real Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer! :<)

Update:  We've found more information on Yoda's previous life:

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

From the file of "You can't make this s%^& up!"

Is comment really needed? :<)
Florida woman arrested after fight with twin sister over vibrator, boyfriend

MANATEE -- A Bradenton woman was arrested Sunday afternoon after getting into a fight with her twin sister about a vibrator and her boyfriend, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office..

Heidi Creamer started fighting with her twin at 1:38 p.m...over "Heidi's boyfriend and a sexual toy (vibrator)," and the verbal argument soon turned to blows, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Creamer punched her sister in the face in the foyer of the apartment, knocking her to the floor, the report said.

The victim then started kicking Creamer away as Creamer punched, scratched and pulled her twin's hair.

Creamer stopped after a few minutes and began grabbing her personal belongings, stacking them outside the front door and stating that she wanted to leave, according to the affidavit.

When Creamer exited the front door to place some items outside, her twin slammed the door and locked Creamer outside.

When a deputy arrived on scene, the twin sister was on the balcony of her apartment with blood on her face, where she had been yelling to neighbors to call the police.

Creamer was banging on the front door, screaming obscenities and yelling at the officer, according to the report.

The deputy handcuffed Creamer, citing safety concerns about Creamer's aggressive behavior, and placed her in the back of a patrol vehicle, deputies said.

When the deputy read Creamer her Miranda rights, Creamer began screaming that "she was fighting with her sister over a vibrator and her boyfriend," the report said.

Creamer then refused to speak to the officer.

Creamer is being charged with domestic battery...

Another case where I'd love to read the report and charge statement.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Officer Down

Police Officer Ernest Montoya
Navajo Division of Public Safety, Tribal Police
End of Watch: Sunday, November 30, 2014
Age: 54
Tour: 19 years

Police Officer Ernest Montoya suffered a fatal heart attack while transporting a prisoner to the reservation's jail facility in Dilkon, Arizona.

He had just arrested the man and was driving to the jail when he suffered the heart attack, causing his vehicle to leave the roadway.

Officer Montoya had served with the Navajo Division of Public Safety for 19 years.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

I only got three words for this officer.....

Nice Shooting Tex!
Austin Cop Drops Man on a Rampage From 312 ft. with 40 cal S&W, Oh, and he was holding the reigns of 2 horses in the other hand

Holding the reins of two horses with one hand, Austin Police Sgt. Adam Johnson fired a bullseye into the target some 312 feet away.

Fox News reported:

Holding the reins of two horses with one hand, Austin Police Sgt. Adam Johnson raised his service pistol and fired a bullseye into the target some 312 feet away.

Down went Larry McQuilliams, and so ended his rampage through the streets of the Texas capital, where he’d fired more than 100 rounds from his AK-47 and .22-caliber rifles at buildings. The shot, from Johnson’s Smith & Wesson M&P .40 pistol, hit McQuilliams square in the chest and made the 15-year-veteran the toast of gun enthusiasts around the country.

“At a minimum, it was extraordinary shot,” said Army Maj. John Plaster, a retired Special Forces operator, long-range shooting expert and author of “The Ultimate Sniper: An Advanced Training Manual for Military and Police Snipers.”

It was not immediately clear if Johnson’s center-mass shot killed McQuilliams, or if the longtime criminal died from a self-inflicted shot a moment later. Results from an autopsy are pending, but there’s no disputing the improbably accurate bullet fired by Johnson brought a safe end to the Nov. 28 incident.

“It’s not impossible,” Plaster added. “Wild Bill Hickok shot bad guys from a hundred yards away with a handgun, but he was also a great shot.

“I would say what this officer did was phenomenal, especially if he didn’t brace his arm against anything.”

McQuilliams, 49, had multiple weapons, hundreds of rounds of ammunition and a map of 34 downtown buildings that likely were potential targets in his pre-dawn rampage the day after Thanksgiving, according to Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo. He’d already shot up the Mexican consulate, the federal courthouse and a downtown bank.

“For a guy to keep his composure and holding two horses with one hand and taking a one-hand shot with the other hand, it says a lot about the training and professionalism of our police department,” Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said to the Austin American-Statesman.

Johnson, who works with the Mounted Patrol Unit, was about to get off duty and stabling the horses when he heard shots and returned fire at 2:33 a.m.

On Friday, Johnson, who is on routine administrative leave following the incident, made his first public appearance at a holiday charity event.

The sharpshooter told a local radio host he thanked God for being at the “right place at the right time.”

Thank you Sergeant Johnson for doing what was needed at the time. People are safer because of men like you.

More on body cameras...

Last week I posted an excellent article on the use of body cameras and how they are not a panacea. Well looks like some of the mainstream press finally got the news. Good article all in all.
Experts: Body cameras for police are no cure-all

LOS ANGELES — Police body cameras have become a rallying cry in the wake of racially charged decisions by grand juries in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City, but experts caution that increased use of the devices may raise more questions than answers.

Often what is filmed may appear excessive to a person unfamiliar with police work, even though the conduct may be legal.

"There's this saying in policing: 'It's lawful, but awful.' It's technically legal to do that, but it's a terrible thing to do ... We have to work on the awful piece, that's what we need to focus on," said Jim Bueermann, who heads the nonprofit Police Foundation.

Officers in one of every six departments around the country now patrol with tiny cameras on their chests, lapels or sunglasses. And President Barack Obama wants to spend $74 million to equip another 50,000 with them around the country...
See the previous article on why is only a drop in the bucket.
...Many law enforcement officials support cameras' use and say they are effective.

The police department in Rialto, California, found after a yearlong University of Cambridge study last year that the cameras led to an 89 percent drop in complaints against officers, possibly reining in misbehavior on the part of the public and officers as well as ultimately limiting department liability.

I've been off the streets for a few months playing jail sergeant, but speaking with some guys on the street they all say once a person sees you've turned the camera on they calm down, knowing what they say will be recorded.
"If it were up to me, every officer walking around in a uniform would be wearing a body camera," said Martin J. Mayer, a California-based attorney who has defended law enforcement agencies for more than 40 years.

Most civil libertarians support their expansion despite concerns about the development of policies governing their use and their impact on privacy. Rank-and-file officers worry about being constantly under watch, or that an errant comment may be used by a supervisor to derail their careers.

Officers, however, generally have the law on their side.

A 1989 U.S. Supreme Court case concluded that claims an officer used excessive force must be judged by whether the officer's actions were " 'objectively reasonable' in light of the facts and circumstances confronting them" at the time.

With video evidence, "we're being forced to confront exactly what these legal standards mean," said Peter Bibring, a staff attorney for the ACLU of Southern California. "It provides the public a much better foundation to draw their own conclusions about what police are actually doing, and whether they believe it's appropriate."

Mayer said that in most states the penal code allows officers to use "the amount of force necessary to repel and overcome" force used by an individual. "It's not just to match. It's to overcome it," he said.

Camera footage provides an independent record from the officer's perspective and tangible evidence that cannot be changed, unlike often malleable and faulty eyewitness accounts, experts say. But video is limited, only showing what's in front of it after the camera is turned on.

That allows for interpretation and ambiguity that can inflame the public, regardless of what the law allows.

"At the end of the day, if people don't like the lack of an indictment, then they have to look at what the legal standard is in these cases. Sometimes that's the law," Bueermann said.

The first article was a good look at the technological limitations of the digital camera, this is a good look at the legal aspects. Nice writing, which we have had too little of with the Brown and Garner cases.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Officer Down

Agent Edwin O. Roman-Acevedo
San Juan Puerto Rico Police Department
End of Watch: Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Age: 36
Tour: 10 years
Badge # 1942

Agent Edwin Roman-Acevedo was shot and killed while off duty when he intervened in a robbery at a pharmacy on at the intersection of PR-850 and PR-846, in Trujillo Alto.

He was in the pharmacy's parking lot when he observed two armed subjects approaching the entrance. A struggle ensued for his service weapon when he identified himself as an officer. The second subject shot Officer Roman-Acevedo during the struggle. Despite the wound, Agent Roman-Acevedo was able to maintain control of his weapon and returned fire, wounding one of the men.

Agent Roman-Acevedo was transported to Rio Piedras Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

Both subjects fled but one was taken into custody at a nearby hospital after seeking treatment for the gunshot wound. The second subject was arrested by the FBI as a result of the ensuing investigation.

Agent had served in law enforcement for 10 years. He is survived by his wife and one child.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Another story that makes you say "You gotta be s$%^ing me"

Anyone who reads my blog or knows me personally knows I despise Holder.  I've been a cop for 16 years and the thought he dares call himself the "Senior Law Enforcement Agent in the Country" makes me want to puke.  But the Washington Post has an article that goes beyond the pale.  
Justice Department finds use of force problems in Cleveland Police Department 
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced Thursday that the Justice Department has found a pattern or practice of “unreasonable and unnecessary use of force” by the Cleveland Police Department, and it comes at a moment of heightened national scrutiny of police tactics, particularly in minority communities. 
His announcement of the findings of an investigation by the department’s civil rights division, launched in March 2013, follows the fatal shooting 16 days ago of a black 12-year-old, Tamir Rice, by Cleveland police officers. The findings also come the day after a grand jury in New York declined to bring charges in the death of Eric Garner, a black 43-year-old Staten Island man who died in July after a New York police officer placed him in an apparent chokehold during an arrest.
What does Garner have to do with Cleveland?  But I digress.  
In September, Holder opened a similar broad civil rights investigation into racial profiling and the use of force by the police department in Ferguson, Mo., where a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed black 18-year-old, Michael Brown, in August. 
“Accountability and legitimacy are essential for communities to trust their police departments and for there to be genuine collaboration between police and the citizens they serve,” said Holder, who traveled to Cleveland to make the announcement. “Although the issues in Cleveland are complex, and the problems long-standing, we have seen in city after city where we have been engaged that meaningful change is possible...”
Eric, who the hell says you can judge anyone?  Your "Just Us" department sold weapons to the Mexican gangs that were used in the murder of one of our Border Patrol agents.  Your Civil Rights section, and you , have no issue with Black Panthers intimidating voters.  You seem to have no issue with the IRS targeting citizens because they protest your president.  And you have the gall to say you know how police are supposed to do their work.  It would be funny if your actions haven't led to men loosing their lives.  

I can't wait till you leave office.  I only pray another Department of Justice goes after you with the vigor you went after good cops with.

Officer Down

Deputy Sheriff James "Bart" Hart
Elmore County Alabama Sheriff's Office
End of Watch: Sunday, November 23, 2014
Age: 50
Tour: 2 years, 6 months
Badge # Zebra 6

Deputy Sheriff Bart Hart was killed when his patrol car was struck head-on on Firetower Road, near Marshell Road in Wetumpka, at approximately 7:45 pm.

He had just cleared the scene of another accident and was traveling south when the other vehicle crossed the center line at a high rate of speed and struck his patrol car. Despite wearing his seatbelt, Deputy Hart suffered fatal injuries. Three of the four 16-year-old occupants of the other car, including the driver, were killed in the crash. The fourth occupant suffered life-threatening injuries.

Deputy Hart had served with the Elmore County Sheriff's Office for 2-1/2 years after retiring from the Montgomery Fire Department. He is survived by his wife and daughter.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Another picture that says it all....

In more than a few arguments on this blog (and other places) I've made this point with people who don't like cops much.  Again, this just says it all.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Security Weekly: Amid Mexico's Energy Reform, Fuel Theft Poses Risks, December 4, 2014

By Tristan Reed

Two years into Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto's six-year term, the president has already managed to pass contentious energy reform legislation that will allow foreign energy firms to operate independently inside the country. The government will award the first of these contracts in the first half of 2015, marking the beginning of an ambitious effort to revitalize Mexico's lagging energy sector.

For foreign companies, however, 2015 will also be an introduction to Mexico's complex security environment and its shifting constellation of transnational criminal groups, commonly referred to as cartels. Mexico's state-owned energy company, Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, and its various contractors are already keenly aware of the risks these groups pose. This risk has intensified in recent years as organized crime groups have sought to diversify their operations beyond trafficking and have expanded into fuel theft.

The past decade has seen tens of thousands of homicides in Mexico and a degradation of overall public security in many areas. The root cause of this violence has been increased competition over drug trafficking routes into the United States. Pena Nieto and his two predecessors made it a priority to reduce violence related to these turf wars by tasking Mexico’s military with leading a campaign to target the offenders. Criminal groups have reacted to this increased pressure and pressure from rival groups by expanding their revenue sources to both fund their wars and bribe officials. Expansion means diversification, and crime groups have increasingly turned to kidnapping, extortion, cargo theft, illegal gambling, money laundering and other operations. One especially lucrative enterprise has been the theft and resale of hydrocarbon products.

This diversification has led to major shifts. According to a 2013 Organization of American States report, revenue to maintain a crime group's operational costs can comprise 35 percent local funding — activities other than trafficking illicit drugs for sale on the global market. Since 2010, hydrocarbons' role in this revenue has expanded dramatically. While small local gangs and corrupt employees have long preyed on Pemex's infrastructure, large crime groups collectively receive more than a billion dollars in profit annually from hydrocarbon theft, primarily of gasoline and diesel. And while this diversification began as a way of safeguarding drug trafficking routes, it now provides billions of dollars in revenue in and of itself. What was once a means is now an end. Criminal organizations in Mexico now compete for the right to exploit local populations and businesses. This has proliferated into smaller turf wars not directly related to drug trafficking.

A Widespread Problem

As opposed to the smaller actors previously involved, crime groups have the capacity to organize hydrocarbon theft on a massive scale across multiple regions with a high level of efficiency. Many of these operations center on drilling into underground pipelines. Illegal tapping of Pemex pipelines has cost the company 15 billion pesos ($1.2 billion) over the past year according to September statements by Pemex chief Emilio Lozoya. From January to September of 2014, 7.5 million barrels of gasoline were stolen. The rate of theft is on the rise, according to a Pemex 2013 Sustainability Report. In 2013, officials discovered 3,052 illegal taps nationwide, up from 1,749 in 2012 and 1,334 in 2011. At the moment, $1.2 billion represents a minor share of Pemex’s gross income of roughly $108.3 billion in 2013, but the rate of expansion signals more losses in coming years unless Mexico clamps down on crime groups and wholesale buyers.

Although these fuel theft operations are ongoing along virtually every pipeline route, the territories in the east have seen the greatest uptick since 2010. This area is largely within the domain of the Tamaulipas-based organized crime groups, including Los Zetas and the various Gulf cartel gangs. In 2013, at least half the illegal pipeline taps discovered were inside this territory. The theft and resale of gasoline in Tamaulipas state serves as one example highlighting potential profits for organized crime. According to a June 2014 report by Milenio, organized crime now controls approximately 15 percent of gasoline sales in Tamaulipas state and earns roughly $268 million per year. Crime groups in Tamaulipas also receive revenue from other products, including crude oil. In September, police dismantled a Guanajuato-based crime ring that had been purchasing 25,000 barrels of oil per month from a Gulf cartel gang in Tamaulipas state and reselling it to companies in Guanajuato, Jalisco and San Luis Potosi states. This represents only a small portion of the nation's hydrocarbon theft problem.

Demand has stimulated organized crime’s expansion into hydrocarbon theft and crime groups have proven particularly adept. The technical skills needed to tap into Pemex pipelines are not sophisticated, but these groups command significant resources and have a greater capacity to corrupt Pemex staff and contractors. These employees can then allow criminal organizations to operate along pipelines and around installations without oversight. They can also provide intelligence about the precise locations of pipeline routes and their current status. They can even allow criminals to steal directly from refineries. The Mexican army and federal police forces in October 2013 arrested 39 employees and nine contractors at a Pemex refinery in Salamanca, Guanajuato, for fuel theft. The problem, however, is nationwide, and organized crime groups have made heavy use of corrupt employees in many states.

Fueling Turf Wars

The financial incentives behind fuel theft have led to violent competition over the territory needed for these operations. Summer 2014 saw a turf war between Los Zetas and a yet to be identified rival in southeastern Veracruz state. In August a firefight broke out between rival groups over the right to siphon from a Pemex pipeline in Cosoleacaque, Veracruz.

While the levels of criminal violence associated with turf wars over fuel theft are far lower than those from drug trafficking, employees in Mexico’s energy sector are particularly vulnerable. Expanding fuel theft operations requires collusion with Pemex officials and workers operating along pipelines. This means employees are often targeted for coercion or bribery, as well as extortion and kidnapping. In Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, in September authorities found the bodies of two former Pemex employees who had criminal records of fraud and hydrocarbon theft. An accompanying message indicated that the murders were related to a dispute between two crime groups. According to the Tabasco state attorney general, this violence has spread from Veracruz into the western part of that state.

The Impact of Energy Reform

Up to this point, Pemex and its contractors have been the bystanders caught in the crossfire of these turf wars. The advent of energy reform, however, means that foreign companies will be increasingly involved in tapping into Mexico’s energy resources. These new players will diversify the parties involved and will constitute more targets for organized crime to exploit.

The current level of insecurity in Mexico's energy sector will not significantly deter potential investors; multinational energy firms are accustomed to operating in far more hostile environments. On top of this, most foreign interest is centered primarily on the offshore blocks currently undergoing bidding. In time, though, foreign energy companies will move operations and employees to onshore projects and face the rising threat of hydrocarbon theft. This could not only bring about financial losses, but could also induce criminal groups to target staff with both violence and bribes. Moreover, any prospective partner organization could already have its own major corruption issues or itself be an extension of organized crime, as was the case for a Guanajuato-based crime ring operated by the owner of Petro Bajio, a company with Pemex contracts to transport hydrocarbons.

The Official Response

Homicides in Mexico have been gradually dropping since 2012. From January to October 2014, they fell to 13,129 compared to 18,337 during the same period in 2012. This is partly due to improved public safety institutions in violent hotspots but also to a shift in the internal dynamics of organized crime as a whole. This reduction has been not only a relief for the central government, but also for communities such as Ciudad Juarez, which has seen dramatic security improvements since the city’s peak drug-related violence in 2010. Criminal groups' diversification into fuel theft and other activities, however, has introduced a new challenge for authorities because it directly impacts the national economy and a sector the country is relying on for increased foreign investment.

The government's response has already started. In May the military deployed troops to Tamaulipas in response to rising criminal violence in the south. This ongoing push was designed to target the heads of the powerful Tamaulipas-based crime groups — groups that are the most active in exploiting hydrocarbon products nationwide. Thus far, a number of crime bosses have been captured or killed in these operations, including the leaders who likely had been providing stolen crude to the crime ring based in Guanajuato mentioned above. The six-month investigation that culminated in the dismantling of the crime ring, as well as the ongoing operations in Tamaulipas that are running parallel, highlight Mexico’s intent to combat both supply and demand. Meanwhile, Pemex announced in October that it would invest $228 million into improving its ability to detect illegal taps throughout its pipeline system.

Ending hydrocarbon theft is still an uphill battle for Mexico City. Mexico’s federal troops, still the primary tool in combatting organized crime, are already heavily committed to efforts at improving rule of law in multiple regions. Self-defense militias have formed in Michoacan and unrest has emerged from Mexico’s southwest over the Sept. 26 disappearances of 43 students in Guerrero. Although national levels of criminal violence have dropped, states in central and southwest Mexico have seen sharp rises over the past two years in both drug-related violence and criminal activities such as kidnapping and extortion. Mexico City, as a result, has had to balance these competing security priorities.

Fuel theft will not disappear in the coming years and will instead likely expand. Any slowing of this expansion will require effective intervention from Mexican authorities. Because of competing priorities, this will be difficult. As foreign companies enter the energy sector, they will risk exposure to organized crime's hydrocarbon theft. The extent of this exposure will depend on the extent of Mexico City's efforts.


A great look at the cop camera issue…

The usual suspects, after the Michael Brown incident, have screamed “Police should be required to wear body cameras…” Now there are some point reasons to do this but like many people, they see cameras as a simple panacea. The questions that cameras may not show all the critical parts of an incident, we need to know how to collect the data, who gets access, how long to retain it, etc, never seems to get into the debate.

Now the author here has a great article with some analysis of what it will require to store this data. I gotta say, I never thought it was this much.
Why Obama's bodycam initiative won't work

Police Tech & Gear with Tim Dees

Some projects can be funded on a one-and-done basis - providing agencies with body cameras is not one of them

On December 1, 2014, President Obama announced a new initiative to “strengthen community policing.” Part of it includes funding for local police agencies to purchase body cameras. At first examination, that might seem like a good idea, but it’s likely to fail for the same reason other well-intentioned federal funding programs have fizzled.

Well-Intentioned, Poorly Executed

Between 1998 and 2002, the Clinton administration funded its Community Oriented Police Services-Making Officer Redeployment Effective (COPS-MORE) with the claim that 100,000 more law enforcement officers would be on the street as a result. COPS-MORE never came close to funding 100K new officers, and of the ones it did pay for, some of them lost their jobs when the federal money ran out.

Some projects can be funded on a one-and-done basis. Radar and LIDAR units, tactical helmets, and portable radios have a decent service life, and when they do wear out or become obsolete, there may be budget money for replacements. Most of the president’s law enforcement advisors have no recent, if any, experience in the operation of a typical law enforcement agency. Those with this kind of experience and who have experimented with body cameras know an inconvenient truth (see what I did there?): the cost of the cameras is insignificant compared to the cost of the video storage.

A quality body camera can cost around $1000, once you’ve bought the charging/docking cradles, maybe an extra battery or two, and the hardware necessary to mate the camera to the officer/user’s shirt, shoulder, or head. They’re reasonably sturdy devices, and should be good for a few years.

The gift that keeps on giving here is the video those cameras produce. That video consumes a lot of disk space, and there will be more every day.

Adding it Up

Here’s a calculation based on a 50-officer agency: say 60% of your cops work on a typical day, and each produces an average of four hours of video. If the video is encoded at 640x480 VGA (the format stored by the TASER AXON system, one of the more popular models) it’s going to take up 15-20 MB of space per minute (TASER may compress the video better than that— this is just an estimation). That’s just over 1 GB per hour, times four hours, times 30 cops, times three shifts: 360 GB per day, more than a terabyte every three days, ten terabytes per month.

How long do you want to keep that video on file before you delete it? If you say “forever,” get ready to write an increasingly large check each month. If you can live with, say, three months, that’s about 30 terabytes worth of storage, plus whatever you keep around for open cases.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is one of the largest cloud storage services in the world. Netflix uses them for their trove of streaming video. There are a lot of variables, but the figure I got for keeping this volume of video online with AWS, creating a new volume at the end of each sift, is $6260.79. Apply whatever multiples you might need for more cops or a longer retention interval.

It’s easy to see that the cost of purchasing the body cameras is almost trivial compared to the price tag for maintaining the video archive.

Even though it was another federal project, perhaps they have forgotten The Skylab Principle : If You Can’t Keep It Up, Don’t Do It (this may be lost on millennials, so I included a reference).

The Solution

There is a workable solution here. If the federal government was to provide archiving services for bodycam-generated video, the storage costs for local agencies would disappear. The U.S. Government is also a user of Amazon Web Services, but the feds are not slackers in the data storage department. The newly-constructed Utah Data Center, a facility of the National Security Agency, has an estimated storage capacity of 3 to 12 exabytes (one exabyte = one million terabytes).

The government could reduce the cost of the body cameras even more by contracting directly with one or more manufacturers. A 50-cop police department has a little bargaining power, but the negotiating position improves considerably when the lot order goes to 60,000 units.

All we need now is a cool name for the program, to be coined by ACONGPA, the Agency for the Creation Of Nifty Government Project Acronyms.

Some of the comments put at the bottom of this article raise the legitimate issue of giving the federal government access to all this data. Maybe a compromise, a block grant to each state so each state's attorney general could handle the database. Also the question of how long do you hold the data comes to mind. What happens if Mayberry Sheriff's Office has a policy of holding video for only 90 days and B Hussein Obama's latest unknown son comes up saying "Barney Fife abused me, it's on the video....happened four months ago...." And the other usual suspects (Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Erick Holder, etc) are accusing Sheriff Taylor of racism, covering up for his deputy, etc. Just another issue to discuss.

Overall a great look at the issue Mr. Dees.

Officer Down

Deputy Sheriff Christopher Smith
Leon County Florida Sheriff's Office
End of Watch: Saturday, November 22, 2014
Age: 47
Tour: 25 years, 11 months

Deputy Sheriff Christopher Smith was shot from ambush when he responded to reports of a house fire at the end of Caracus Court. Deputy Smith was among the first to arrive on scene at approximately 10:22 a.m. and was immediately shot and killed by the subject, who had approached him from behind.

The subject then took Deputy Smith's firearm and continued to fire at other responders, including members of the Tallahassee Fire Department and Tallahassee Police Department. One other sheriff's deputy was shot and wounded before the subject was shot and killed by an off-duty Tallahassee police officer who lived nearby and had responded to the sound of gunfire.

It is believed that the subject intentionally set the house fire with the intention to kill as many first responders as possible.

Deputy Smith had previously served as a dispatcher and corrections officer. He served with the Leon County Sheriff's Office for almost six years and had served in law enforcement for almost 26 years. Deputy Smith is survived by his wife and children.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Associated Press shows a lack of English skills

A few weeks ago I posted on a WWL article on the Michael Brown shooting, where the writer describes Brown, "who was black". Not to be outdone, here is the latest from an article this morning on the National Guard drawing down in Ferguson.
In Ferguson, National Guard cutting back


ST. LOUIS — Police are investigating Michael Brown’s stepfather for angry comments on the streets of Ferguson after a grand jury decided not to indict the police officer who fatally shot his stepson, a spokesman said Tuesday...

...Brown, 18, who was black and unarmed, was killed Aug. 9 by Darren Wilson, who is white. Wilson, who resigned from the Ferguson department last weekend, had told the grand jury his life was being threatened, but some witnesses said Brown was trying to surrender...
Mr Salter, you are implying that Brown is not always black and that suggest you think he wasn't at some point in his life, just as you insinuate he could or could not be armed. However, you don't make the same assumption on the officer as you say "Darren Wilson, who is white." If Mr Brown can change his color, can't Mr Wilson? I think the English teachers you had would be disappointed.

I am not the greatest grammar man out there, but I'm also not making my money by typing articles. I would expect your editors or other checkers would see this and correct it. But seeing how AP's content is pretty much worthless, we should not expect competence from its writers in regards to the English language.

It's scary that we have to pass this kind of law....

And you wonder why the bureaucracy is despised like it is.
‘Pop-Tart gun’ bill protects kids’ play

AUSTIN — If you think it’s a half-baked idea to legally protect kids’ rights to play with their food, think again, says one Texas lawmaker.

Rep. Ryan Guillen, D-Rio Grande City, has filed a bill that would prohibit schools from punishing students who use their hands, playthings and, yes, even pastry items to mimic firearms. The proposed legislation also would protect students through the fifth grade who play with toy guns or draw or possess pictures of guns.

Guillen said he filed the bill after a second-grader in suburban Maryland was suspended for two days in March 2013 for chewing his Pop-Tart into the shape of a gun. A similar situation has not arisen in Texas.

“Texas students shouldn’t lose instruction time for holding gun-shaped Pop-Tart snacks at school,” said Guillen. “This bill will fix this.”

The story of Josh Welch, who finished out the year in his Anne Arundel County school, grabbed national headlines and even netted the now 9-year-old a lifetime membership to the National Rifle Association. His teacher said the suspension followed a history of problematic behavior, but Welch’s case became a rallying point for gun rights advocates after his parents said the punishment represented a gross overreaction.

The incident was soon followed by similar cases in Virginia and Florida, where students were punished for mimicking gunplay with their fingers or toys. State lawmakers reacted, some passing so-called “Pop-Tart gun” bills to protect students from this type of punishment...

...Guillen’s bill is likely to be popular with gun groups, which are making a concerted effort to pass legislation this coming year to legalize the open carrying of handguns in Texas. Education and Second Amendment issues also promise to overlap frequently this session, with campus carry at the forefront and other bills proposing to allow firearms at school sporting events and school board meetings.

I generally don't agree with Democrats, but this man is dead on here. Thank you Mr. Guillen. Too bad you needed to file this bill.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Geopolitical Weekly: Taking the Strategic Intelligence Model to Moscow, December 2, 2014

By George Friedman

I am going to visit Moscow next week. I was invited by the Moscow State Institute of International Relations to speak on strategic analysis, their term for what Stratfor calls strategic forecasting. Going to Moscow would give me pause under any circumstances. I am a product of the Cold War, and for me, at some level, Moscow is the city of the enemy. For my father, that city was Berlin. For my daughter, it was Fallujah. In every war there is an enemy and a city that embodies that enemy. I have spent too much of my life fixated on Moscow to lose the ingrained sense that it is a city of darkness and conspiracy.

My children don't have that sense of Moscow, and it is fading in me as well, like memories of old loves. It's there, but it's not there. Certainly, we are not on the verge of nuclear war, nor are we expecting Soviet divisions to pour into West Germany. But it is interesting to me that those I mentioned this trip to — people who are aware that I am constantly traveling and discussing such matters — have expressed concern for my safety. Some have asked whether I was afraid of being arrested or afraid for my life. Stratfor's security director even took a half hour of my time to remind me of the potential dangers. We both are of an age to have enjoyed the conversation mightily.

The events in Ukraine are not a surprise to us, and our readers know that we have covered them carefully. But the distance between then and now is as important as the conflict itself. There must be a sense of proportion. If I were to identify the major difference, it would be this: In the Soviet Union prior to 1980, there was an overarching ideology. Over time, people became cynical about it, but for a long time, it was either believed or feared. Today's Russia is many things, but it is not ideological. It is nationalist (what we call patriotic in other countries), it is an oligarchy, it is corrupt, it is authoritarian — but it is not a place of deeply held beliefs, or at least not a place of a single belief. The Soviet Union once thought of itself as the vanguard of humanity, giving it a strength and will that was daunting. Russia no longer has any such pretensions. It is simply another country. It makes no claims for more.

There are causes for conflict other than ideology. The United States has an interest in preventing the emergence of a new European hegemon. The Russians must maintain the buffers that sapped the strength of Napoleon and Hitler. Neither interest is frivolous, and it is difficult to imagine how both can be satisfied. Therefore, there is a divergence of interests between the United States and Russia, complicated by the European Peninsula's myriad nations. That this had to play out was inevitable. As the Europeans weakened, Russia strengthened relative to them. When Ukraine reversed its orientation from Russia to the West, Russia had to react. As Russia reacted, the United States had to react. Each side can portray the other as a monster, but neither is monstrous. Each simply behaves as it is forced to under circumstances.

That is the entire point of strategic forecasting and analysis. It does not depend on hidden secrets but on impersonal forces. It depends on things hidden in clear sight. The current dispute over Ukraine is an example. The Russians have an interest in Ukraine's fate, fair or unfair to Ukraine. So do the Americans. Several years ago I wrote about this crisis because it did not depend on policies but instead on the impersonal forces that shape national interest. Robert D. Kaplan has written on the realist view of foreign policy. I disagree in this sense: For me, realism is not a policy. It is a standpoint from which to observe the unfolding of reality. The subjective views of policymakers matter little. They are trapped in events. Regardless of what U.S. President Barack Obama wanted to do in the Middle East, ultimately predictable events have trapped him against his will. It is interesting to watch him try to resist the reality he finds himself in. There is little chance.

This is why I am going to Moscow. I want to talk to Russians who are looking at the world through a prism similar to my own and compare notes on how we see the world. We will be looking at the same realities using what I suspect are similar methods and will see how our visions differ. This is not a game of secrets. At this level, it matters little what Obama wants or what Russian President Vladimir Putin thinks. It is about forces far larger than individuals. I will tell them the following. I wonder what they will tell me.

The Nature of Strategic Forecasting

Strategic forecasting is that class of intelligence that is most alien to intelligence services: events that cannot be understood through sources and whose outcome was unintended and unanticipated by the actors involved. In addition, it does not enable decision-makers to decide whether the events will happen, but it lets them prepare for broad shifts. For most political leaders, immediate issues subject to control are more attractive, while strategic issues, which after all may be in error, require enormous effort with political costs. Careers in intelligence are not enhanced by broad and long-term thinking, even if completely correct. Given the frequent and radical shifts in history that challenge conventional thought, many strategic forecasts appear preposterous to the intelligence consumer. In this sense, it is a form of intelligence best practiced outside of government and state intelligence services.

Strategic intelligence is not source-driven; it is model-driven. This is not to say that strategic intelligence doesn't depend on the inflow of information, but the level of information it requires is not necessarily information that is hard and dangerous to discover (although it could be, in some cases). Nor does it consist of massive collections. The entire principle of strategic intelligence is to ruthlessly discard the subcritical noise that is being collected in order to identify the center of gravity of events. A tiny hint may sometimes draw attention to a major process, particularly in military affairs. Finding that tiny hint, however, requires huge amounts of time and effort, and little time is left to understand the meaning. Moreover, in many cases, the process is in plain sight. The trick is to see it, and the even harder trick is to believe it.

We have a saying at Stratfor: Be stupid. By this we mean do not be so sophisticated that you do not see what is before your eyes, and do not value the secret that is obtained at great expense over facts that everyone knows but fails to understand. Excessive sophistication and excessive love of the secret will hide the strategic processes underway. Thus, for example, the fragmentation of the European Union, which is of great importance today, is based on the fact that the value of Germany's exports is equivalent to 50 percent of its gross domestic product. This is a fact that everyone knows, but few understand the implications, which are enormous. The sophisticated deal with levels of abstraction far beyond this simple fact. The truth lies in the open.

There are two foundations to the model. The first is that there is no distinction between economic, political, military and technological affairs. They are convenient ways to organize departments, but in reality, they are simply a different and linked dimension of the nation-state and related socio-political activities. The relative importance of each differs from time to time and from place to place, but they are always present and always interacting. Strategic intelligence must view things from an integrated standpoint.

Second, decision-makers are trapped by a matrix of forces that will break them unless accommodated. Successful decision-makers are those who understand the circumstances in which they find themselves. They make history, but not as Karl Marx put it, as they will. On the surface this is connected to a Marxist mode of thinking. In fact, Marx himself was not the originator of this idea. Adam Smith and his notion of the invisible hand, in which men pursue private interests and unintentionally increase the wealth of nations in the course of these activities, preceded Marx. Smith himself was beholden to Machiavelli, who argued that a prince cannot lift his eyes from war but must focus on the things he is forced to do by circumstance. The virtue of the prince rested in ruthlessly doing what he must, not in dreaming of power he didn't have. Strategic forecasting and Marxism have similar views only in that they both believe the foundation of political life is necessity.

Necessity is predictable, particularly if you are dealing with rational actors, and successful politicians are extremely rational within the space they occupy. The actions required to rise and lead a million people, let alone hundreds of millions, necessitate extraordinary discipline and instinct. Few humans can even begin the climb, and only the most disciplined achieve the heights. It is fashionable among journalists and academics to hold politicians in contempt. They lack the politicians' learning and cleverness. Thus, journalists mistake a radically different mindset and soul for inferiority. This satisfies their need to not feel inferior, but it does little to guide us. Obama and Putin have far more in common with each other than either has with their general publics. Each rose to power in his milieu, where almost no one else did.

If you watch a chess grandmaster play another, you will note that the game is rather predictable. Each understands fully the circumstance and knows that the apparent options are illusory. Each move is met with an expected countermove. On rare occasions, a brilliant player finds a variation. Most games end in predictable draws. A grandmaster is predictable in his game precisely because his understanding is so acute. An amateur is liable to do anything, but of course, the amateur never gets the opportunity to play at the grandmaster's board. The same is true of politicians. The careless and random can't be predicted, but neither do they survive. It is the gifted and disciplined who survive and who can therefore be predicted.

The Strategic Intelligence Model

The task of strategic intelligence is to build a model that takes into account the wide range of constraints that limit the choices of a leader, identifying the imperatives that he must pursue if he is to survive as a leader and if his country is to be safe. The obvious constraint and imperative is geography. Germany's location on the Northern European Plain and its ability to produce efficiently and dominate markets to the east and southeast create an imperative to export and to maintain political domination in its markets. This has been true since the unification of Germany in 1871. At the same time, given its location and lack of natural barriers, it is an inherently insecure country. It must maintain its export markets while politically or militarily securing its physical safety. This simplistic model allows us to predict a number of things regardless of who is chancellor. First, to avoid domestic disruption, Germany will export regardless of circumstances. Second, Berlin will shape the political environment to facilitate this. Third, it will try to avoid military confrontation. Fourth, in extreme circumstances, it must initiate conflict rather than wait for its enemies to do so.

This model, which I provide only for the sake of understanding the concepts I've laid out, begins with the internal political constraints on a German leader. It follows to the only effective solution: exports. It then shifts to other concerns triggered intermittently by German success. Chancellor Angela Merkel must maintain exports or face unemployment and political opposition. Germany must export in part to the European Union, so it has shaped the European Union to facilitate this trade. Simultaneously, it must protect its national security by posing no strategic threat to anyone. Other options, such as cutting exports, allowing the European Union to function under other rules or moving Germany from the North European Plain are not available to her. Therefore, certain policies are imposed upon her.

The model involves imperatives that must be fulfilled, constraints that shape the solutions and decision-makers who respect these terms, with the variables extended into multiple domains and interacting with similar models for other countries. To manage this, the broad outlines of behavior can only be modeled, and the data that is used cannot be excessively granular; otherwise, it would overwhelm the analyst and obscure the point, which is to understand the broad patterns that are emerging. Without the existence of a prior model that controls the selection and flow of intelligence, the system collapses under the weight of random information. It is important to bear in mind that no attempt is made to engage in a psychological model of the decision-maker. This is not only because such a model is impossible to create but also because the psychology of power and powerful leaders tends to make them more similar than different. A psychology of power in general is more useful than a psychology of the individuals. There are two keys to strategic forecasting. First, focus on the community, nation and state rather than individuals. Second, do not confuse the subjective intent of the individual leader with the outcome.

My hosts should be comfortable with this theme, for it has elements of Marxism in it. The two differences are my focus on the state instead of the class and the fact that I regard this as the human condition, permanent and not evolving toward any "new humanity." Ultimately I owe more to Adam Smith's invisible hand and to Machiavelli's description of the dilemma of the prince, who is powerful only so long as he exercises his power as necessity dictates. His power has little choice.

I will be looking forward to seeing how the Russians do strategic intelligence and how they see Ukraine. The board and the pieces are for anyone to see. Espionage undoubtedly has its uses, but not at this level and not in this game. I will report on what I find in Moscow.

Taking the Strategic Intelligence Model to Moscow is republished with permission of Stratfor.