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Monday, May 31, 2010

Public Opinion and the Turkish boat raid

Geopolitical Weekly

Flotillas and the Wars of Public Opinion
May 31, 2010

By George Friedman

On Sunday, Israeli naval forces intercepted the ships of a Turkish nongovernmental organization (NGO) delivering humanitarian supplies to Gaza. Israel had demanded that the vessels not go directly to Gaza but instead dock in Israeli ports, where the supplies would be offloaded and delivered to Gaza. The Turkish NGO refused, insisting on going directly to Gaza. Gunfire ensued when Israeli naval personnel boarded one of the vessels, and a significant number of the passengers and crew on the ship were killed or wounded.

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon charged that the mission was simply an attempt to provoke the Israelis. That was certainly the case. The mission was designed to demonstrate that the Israelis were unreasonable and brutal. The hope was that Israel would be provoked to extreme action, further alienating Israel from the global community and possibly driving a wedge between Israel and the United States. The operation’s planners also hoped this would trigger a political crisis in Israel.
A logical Israeli response would have been avoiding falling into the provocation trap and suffering the political repercussions the Turkish NGO was trying to trigger. Instead, the Israelis decided to make a show of force. The Israelis appear to have reasoned that backing down would demonstrate weakness and encourage further flotillas to Gaza, unraveling the Israeli position vis--vis Hamas. In this thinking, a violent interception was a superior strategy to accommodation regardless of political consequences. Thus, the Israelis accepted the bait and were provoked.

The ‘Exodus’ Scenario

In the 1950s, an author named Leon Uris published a book called “Exodus.” Later made into a major motion picture, Exodus told the story of a Zionist provocation against the British. In the wake of World War II, the British — who controlled Palestine, as it was then known — maintained limits on Jewish immigration there. Would-be immigrants captured trying to run the blockade were detained in camps in Cyprus. In the book and movie, Zionists planned a propaganda exercise involving a breakout of Jews — mostly children — from the camp, who would then board a ship renamed the Exodus. When the Royal Navy intercepted the ship, the passengers would mount a hunger strike. The goal was to portray the British as brutes finishing the work of the Nazis. The image of children potentially dying of hunger would force the British to permit the ship to go to Palestine, to reconsider British policy on immigration, and ultimately to decide to abandon Palestine and turn the matter over to the United Nations.

There was in fact a ship called Exodus, but the affair did not play out precisely as portrayed by Uris, who used an amalgam of incidents to display the propaganda war waged by the Jews. Those carrying out this war had two goals. The first was to create sympathy in Britain and throughout the world for Jews who, just a couple of years after German concentration camps, were now being held in British camps. Second, they sought to portray their struggle as being against the British. The British were portrayed as continuing Nazi policies toward the Jews in order to maintain their empire. The Jews were portrayed as anti-imperialists, fighting the British much as the Americans had.

It was a brilliant strategy. By focusing on Jewish victimhood and on the British, the Zionists defined the battle as being against the British, with the Arabs playing the role of people trying to create the second phase of the Holocaust. The British were portrayed as pro-Arab for economic and imperial reasons, indifferent at best to the survivors of the Holocaust. Rather than restraining the Arabs, the British were arming them. The goal was not to vilify the Arabs but to villify the British, and to position the Jews with other nationalist groups whether in India or Egypt rising against the British.

The precise truth or falsehood of this portrayal didn’t particularly matter. For most of the world, the Palestine issue was poorly understood and not a matter of immediate concern. The Zionists intended to shape the perceptions of a global public with limited interest in or understanding of the issues, filling in the blanks with their own narrative. And they succeeded.

The success was rooted in a political reality. Where knowledge is limited, and the desire to learn the complex reality doesn’t exist, public opinion can be shaped by whoever generates the most powerful symbols. And on a matter of only tangential interest, governments tend to follow their publics’ wishes, however they originate. There is little to be gained for governments in resisting public opinion and much to be gained by giving in. By shaping the battlefield of public perception, it is thus possible to get governments to change positions.

In this way, the Zionists’ ability to shape global public perceptions of what was happening in Palestine — to demonize the British and turn the question of Palestine into a Jewish-British issue — shaped the political decisions of a range of governments. It was not the truth or falsehood of the narrative that mattered. What mattered was the ability to identify the victim and victimizer such that global opinion caused both London and governments not directly involved in the issue to adopt political stances advantageous to the Zionists. It is in this context that we need to view the Turkish flotilla.

The Turkish Flotilla to Gaza

The Palestinians have long argued that they are the victims of Israel, an invention of British and American imperialism. Since 1967, they have focused not so much on the existence of the state of Israel (at least in messages geared toward the West) as on the oppression of Palestinians in the occupied territories. Since the split between Hamas and Fatah and the Gaza War, the focus has been on the plight of the citizens of Gaza, who have been portrayed as the dispossessed victims of Israeli violence.

The bid to shape global perceptions by portraying the Palestinians as victims of Israel was the first prong of a longtime two-part campaign. The second part of this campaign involved armed resistance against the Israelis. The way this resistance was carried out, from airplane hijackings to stone-throwing children to suicide bombers, interfered with the first part of the campaign, however. The Israelis could point to suicide bombings or the use of children against soldiers as symbols of Palestinian inhumanity. This in turn was used to justify conditions in Gaza. While the Palestinians had made significant inroads in placing Israel on the defensive in global public opinion, they thus consistently gave the Israelis the opportunity to turn the tables. And this is where the flotilla comes in.

The Turkish flotilla aimed to replicate the Exodus story or, more precisely, to define the global image of Israel in the same way the Zionists defined the image that they wanted to project. As with the Zionist portrayal of the situation in 1947, the Gaza situation is far more complicated than as portrayed by the Palestinians. The moral question is also far more ambiguous. But as in 1947, when the Zionist portrayal was not intended to be a scholarly analysis of the situation but a political weapon designed to define perceptions, the Turkish flotilla was not designed to carry out a moral inquest.

Instead, the flotilla was designed to achieve two ends. The first is to divide Israel and Western governments by shifting public opinion against Israel. The second is to create a political crisis inside Israel between those who feel that Israel’s increasing isolation over the Gaza issue is dangerous versus those who think any weakening of resolve is dangerous.

The Geopolitical Fallout for Israel

It is vital that the Israelis succeed in portraying the flotilla as an extremist plot. Whether extremist or not, the plot has generated an image of Israel quite damaging to Israeli political interests. Israel is increasingly isolated internationally, with heavy pressure on its relationship with Europe and the United States.

In all of these countries, politicians are extremely sensitive to public opinion. It is difficult to imagine circumstances under which public opinion will see Israel as the victim. The general response in the Western public is likely to be that the Israelis probably should have allowed the ships to go to Gaza and offload rather than to precipitate bloodshed. Israel’s enemies will fan these flames by arguing that the Israelis prefer bloodshed to reasonable accommodation. And as Western public opinion shifts against Israel, Western political leaders will track with this shift.

The incident also wrecks Israeli relations with Turkey, historically an Israeli ally in the Muslim world with longstanding military cooperation with Israel. The Turkish government undoubtedly has wanted to move away from this relationship, but it faced resistance within the Turkish military and among secularists. The new Israeli action makes a break with Israel easy, and indeed almost necessary for Ankara.
With roughly the population of Houston, Texas, Israel is just not large enough to withstand extended isolation, meaning this event has profound geopolitical implications.

Public opinion matters where issues are not of fundamental interest to a nation. Israel is not a fundamental interest to other nations. The ability to generate public antipathy to Israel can therefore reshape Israeli relations with countries critical to Israel. For example, a redefinition of U.S.-Israeli relations will have much less effect on the United States than on Israel. The Obama administration, already irritated by the Israelis, might now see a shift in U.S. public opinion that will open the way to a new U.S.-Israeli relationship disadvantageous to Israel.
The Israelis will argue that this is all unfair, as they were provoked. Like the British, they seem to think that the issue is whose logic is correct. But the issue actually is, whose logic will be heard? As with a tank battle or an airstrike, this sort of warfare has nothing to do with fairness. It has to do with controlling public perception and using that public perception to shape foreign policy around the world. In this case, the issue will be whether the deaths were necessary. The Israeli argument of provocation will have limited traction.

Internationally, there is little doubt that the incident will generate a firestorm. Certainly, Turkey will break cooperation with Israel. Opinion in Europe will likely harden. And public opinion in the United States — by far the most important in the equation — might shift to a “plague-on-both-your-houses” position.

While the international reaction is predictable, the interesting question is whether this evolution will cause a political crisis in Israel. Those in Israel who feel that international isolation is preferable to accommodation with the Palestinians are in control now. Many in the opposition see Israel’s isolation as a strategic threat. Economically and militarily, they argue, Israel cannot survive in isolation. The current regime will respond that there will be no isolation. The flotilla aimed to generate what the government has said would not happen.

The tougher Israel is, the more the flotilla’s narrative takes hold. As the Zionists knew in 1947 and the Palestinians are learning, controlling public opinion requires subtlety, a selective narrative and cynicism. As they also knew, losing the battle can be catastrophic. It cost Britain the Mandate and allowed Israel to survive. Israel’s enemies are now turning the tables. This maneuver was far more effective than suicide bombings or the Intifada in challenging Israel’s public perception and therefore its geopolitical position (though if the Palestinians return to some of their more distasteful tactics like suicide bombing, the Turkish strategy of portraying Israel as the instigator of violence will be undermined).

Israel is now in uncharted waters. It does not know how to respond. It is not clear that the Palestinians know how to take full advantage of the situation, either. But even so, this places the battle on a new field, far more fluid and uncontrollable than what went before. The next steps will involve calls for sanctions against Israel. The Israeli threats against Iran will be seen in a different context, and Israeli portrayal of Iran will hold less sway over the world.

And this will cause a political crisis in Israel. If this government survives, then Israel is locked into a course that gives it freedom of action but international isolation. If the government falls, then Israel enters a period of domestic uncertainty. In either case, the flotilla achieved its strategic mission. It got Israel to take violent action against it. In doing so, Israel ran into its own fist.

This report is republished with permission of STRATFOR

P. J. O'Rourke has a great idea for a dead industry

Not Dead Yet

Introducing the pre-obituary: a few choice words before you go. BY P. J. O'Rourke

I have an idea for a brand new type of newspaper feature. And gosh do newspapers need one. No industry in living memory has collapsed faster than daily print journalism. You can still buy a buggy whip, which is more than can be said for a copy of the Rocky Mountain News, Cincinnati Post, or Seattle Post-Intelligencer. One would think that a business in such dire condition would be—for desperation’s sake—wildly innovative. But newspapers exhibit a fossilization of form and content that’s been preserved in sedimentary rock since the early 1970s when the “Women’s Pages” were converted to the “Leisure Section.”...

...What I propose is “Pre-Obituaries”—official notices that certain people aren’t dead yet accompanied by brief summaries of their lives indicating why we wish they were.

The main advantage of the Pre-Obit over the traditional obituary is the knowledge of reader and writer alike that the as-good-as-dead people are still around to have their feelings hurt. It was a travesty of literary justice that we waited until J. D. Salinger finally hit the delete key at 91 before admitting that Catcher in the Rye stinks. The book’s only virtue is that it captures, with annoying accuracy, the maunderings of a twerp. The book’s only pleasure is in slamming the cover shut—simpler than slamming the door shut on a real Holden Caulfield, if less satisfying. The rest of Salinger’s published oeuvre was precious or boring or both. But we felt constrained to delay saying so, perhaps because of an outdated Victorian hope for a death-bed flash of genius.

Let us wait no more. With the Pre-Obituary we can abandon pusillanimous constraint and false hope and say what we think about the lives of public nuisances when their lives are not yet a dead letter. And we won’t be stuck in the treacle of nostalgia and sentiment. We won’t find ourselves saying of some oaf, “His like will not pass this way again.” Or, if we do say it, we can comfortably add, “Thank God!” The precept of Diogenes isn’t “Do not speak ill of the living.”

Think of the opportunities we’ve missed already. Bea Arthur (1922-2009) performed a grievous disservice to popular culture by uniting two equally dreadful but previously discrete American types. In her portrayal of loud, Bolshie Maude, Arthur taught every angry feminist to be a common scold and every termagant housewife to be Emma Goldman. Once Arthur had become respectable by dying no one had the nerve to title her funeral notice “The Taming of the Shrew.”

Paul Newman (1925-2008) was not, in and of himself, a bad person. But he deserved to be damned to his face for lending charm to the smirk of liberalism. And after he’d become an immortal only a heartless writer would have pointed out that for an entire generation of young people, Paul Newman is, mainly, a salad dressing.

John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006) was, in and of himself, a bad person. He taught economics at Harvard, served in FDR’s Office of Price Administration, was chairman of Americans for Democratic Action, and, after 97 years of comfort and achievement in a free market society, still believed that a free market society is wrong. Maybe it is, if it provides comfort and achievement to John Kenneth Galbraiths. There’s a special stove-top perch in the kitchen corner of hell for witty, urbane, prosperous, and celebrated leftists. It would have been nice to tell John about it before he took his seat.

And then there’s that missed opportunity of all opportunities, Ted Kennedy (1932-2009). One Pre-Obituary hardly would have done the job. Teddy left us with 50 years of unperformed dances upon his future grave. There was the death of his self-respect in 1962 when he was given his brother’s Senate seat the way a child is given a toy to keep him occupied on a long trip. There was the death of his conscience in 1969 when he killed Mary Jo Kopechne. There was the death of his political fortunes in 1980 when he couldn’t wrestle the presidential nomination from even Jimmy Carter. And there was the long, slow death of what little sense he had as he became the Grand Old Moron of the Senate.

We mustn’t let these passings pass us by again. There are all sorts of knaves and fools ready to be put to bed with a shovel. Why should they sit at their ease in God’s waiting room reading old issues of the Nation?

Jimmy Carter is 85....Gore Vidal is 84. There’s no chance he’ll end up in the same place as Bill Buckley. We ought to take up Buckley’s gauntlet and slap Gore’s face here and now. Noam Chomsky is 81. Why should Satan have all the fun? We own pitchforks of fact aplenty with which to prod his living flesh. Norman Lear is 87 and will be married to Maude forever any minute now. (Although Lear may find himself forgiven. He never meant to make Archie Bunker a hero and a role model, but perhaps the road to heaven is paved with bad intentions.) Ed Asner is 80. Put him together with Ben Bradlee (88) and Alan J. Pakula, director of All the President’s Men (died in 1998, darn it), and you have the villains in the tragic tale of the American newspaper’s self-congratulatory ossification. Ross Perot also will be 80 soon. We owe him one Bill Clinton-sized philippic. Ralph Nader is 76. High time that someone, metaphorically, flipped him in a Corvair. And Paul Ehrlich is 78. In these days of the graying workforce, baby bust, and demographic decline, surely he needs a population bomb in his underpants.

The beauty of obituaries for the still-extant is that they needn’t be limited to those who are about to go home feet first. Preemptive necrology can be practiced on persons who are in the prime of life, especially if they’ve had their little turn in the limelight and will never do anything else of note if they live to be 1,000.

Maybe “prime of life” isn’t the right descriptive phrase for Ted Turner (71) and Jane Fonda (72), Barney Frank and Harry Reid (70), Bernie Sanders (68), Christopher Dodd (66), Bernadine Dohrn (68), and Bill Ayers (65). ...

... What a stink there is rising from the rotting corpse of the body of ideas held by Paul Krugman (57). And to Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield (both 59), late—as it were—of Ben & -Jerry’s, let us suggest the flavor “Grateful Deadly Nightshade.”

...Finally there is the Pre-Obituary of an individual that can be run as a regular feature: “______________ Mysteriously Not Shot by His Wife.” The item is as predictable as “Hints From Heloise,” but what newspaper reader will be able to resist a weekly—or even daily—peek into the ongoing living death of John Edwards, Mark Sanford, Eliot Spitzer, and Tiger Woods.

I think the man's got something here...makes more sense the crap they are putting on most of the time.

On Memorial Day, we should remember a man like this

I rarely sing the praises of the NY Times, but there is an article that should be published. Hopefully it's in many papers this weekend.

John Finn, Medal of Honor Winner, Dies at 100

John W. Finn, the last survivor of the 15 Navy men who received the Medal of Honor for heroism during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, died Thursday at a nursing home in Chula Vista, Calif. He was 100 and had been the oldest living recipient of the medal, the nation’s highest award for valor.

His death was announced by J. P. Tremblay, deputy secretary of the California Department of Veterans Affairs.

On the morning of Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941, when Japanese planes bombed the American battleships in Hawaii, plunging the nation into World War II, numerous acts of valor played out. Most of them took place aboard the stricken ships — in some cases efforts by the wounded and the dying to save their fellow sailors. Amid the death and destruction, Chief Finn, on an airfield runway, was waging a war of his own against the Japanese.

A few minutes before 8 o’clock, Japanese planes attacked the Kaneohe Bay Naval Air Station, about 12 miles from Battleship Row at Ford Island, hoping to knock out three dozen Navy aircraft before they could get aloft.

Mr. Finn, the chief petty officer in charge of munitions at the naval station and a veteran of 15 years in the Navy, was in bed in a nearby apartment with his wife, Alice. He heard the sound of aircraft, saw one plane flash past his window, then another, and he heard machine guns.

He dressed hurriedly, and drove to the naval station. At first, he observed the base’s 20 miles-per-hour speed limit. But then, “I heard a plane come roaring in from astern of me,” he recalled decades later in an interview with Larry Smith for “Beyond Glory,” an oral history of Medal of Honor recipients.

“As I glanced up, the guy made a wing-over, and I saw that big old red meatball, the rising sun insignia, on the underside of the wing. Well, I threw it into second and it’s a wonder I didn’t run over every sailor in the air station.”

When Chief Finn arrived at the hangars, many of the planes had already been hit. He recalled that he grabbed a .30-caliber machine gun on a makeshift tripod, carried it to an exposed area near a runway and began firing. For the next two and a half hours, he blazed away, although peppered by shrapnel as the Japanese planes strafed the runways with cannon fire.

As he remembered it: “I got shot in the left arm and shot in the left foot, broke the bone. I had shrapnel blows in my chest and belly and right elbow and right thumb. Some were just scratches. My scalp got cut, and everybody thought I was dying: Oh, Christ, the old chief had the top of his head knocked off! I had 28, 29 holes in me that were bleeding. I was walking around on one heel. I was barefooted on that coral dust. My left arm didn’t work. It was just a big ball hanging down.”

Chief Finn thought he had hit at least one plane, but he did not know whether he had brought it down. When the attack ended, he received first aid, then returned to await a possible second attack. He was hospitalized the following afternoon.

On Sept. 15, 1942, Chief Finn received the Medal of Honor from Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet, in a ceremony aboard the carrier Enterprise at Pearl Harbor. Admiral Nimitz cited Chief Finn for his “magnificent courage in the face of almost certain death.”

John William Finn was born on July 23, 1909, in Los Angeles County, the son of a plumber. He dropped out of school to join the Navy at age 17.

He served stateside after he recovered from his Pearl Harbor wounds, became a lieutenant in 1944 and remained in military service after the war. He had been living on a cattle ranch in Pine Valley, Calif., about 45 miles east of San Diego, before entering the nursing home where he died.

His survivors include a son, Joseph. His wife died in 1998.

Ten of the 15 servicemen who received the Medal of Honor for their actions at Pearl Harbor died in the attack. Among them were Rear Adm. Isaac C. Kidd, commander of Battleship Division 1, who was aboard the Arizona when it blew up and sank; Capt. Franklin Van Valkenburgh, commander of the Arizona; and Capt. Mervyn S. Bennion, commander of the battleship West Virginia.

Four of the Pearl Harbor medal recipients survived the war. Cmdr. Cassin Young, awarded the medal for reboarding and saving his repair ship, the Vestal, after being blown into the water, died in November 1942 in the battle for Guadalcanal.

In 1999, Mr. Finn was among Pearl Harbor veterans invited to Hawaii for the premiere of the Hollywood movie “Pearl Harbor.” “It was a damned good movie,” he told The Boston Herald in 2001. “It’s helped educate people who didn’t know about Pearl Harbor and what happened there.”

“I liked it especially,” he said, “because I got to kiss all those pretty little movie actresses.”

Rest in Peace Mr Finn...God will be with you now

Day is done, gone the sun,
From the lake, from the hills,
From the sky.
All is well, safely rest,
God is nigh.

Canada and Health Care

I've often said in debates on health care on multiple blogs, discussions, etc that when I hear B Hussein Obama and his supporters on the subject, I recall a great line from a movie who's title I can't remember. The power behind the throne looks at the figurehead and says "Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?!"

Often the guys who pushed this seizure of one sixth of the nation's economy said "Look at Canada!..."

OK, let's look at Canada.

Soaring costs force Canada to reassess health model

TORONTO (Reuters) – Pressured by an aging population and the need to rein in budget deficits, Canada's provinces are taking tough measures to curb healthcare costs, a trend that could erode the principles of the popular state-funded system.

Ontario, Canada's most populous province, kicked off a fierce battle with drug companies and pharmacies when it said earlier this year it would halve generic drug prices and eliminate "incentive fees" to generic drug manufacturers.

British Columbia is replacing block grants to hospitals with fee-for-procedure payments and Quebec has a new flat health tax and a proposal for payments on each medical visit -- an idea that critics say is an illegal user fee.

And a few provinces are also experimenting with private funding for procedures such as hip, knee and cataract surgery.

It's likely just a start as the provinces, responsible for delivering healthcare, cope with the demands of a retiring baby-boom generation. Official figures show that senior citizens will make up 25 percent of the population by 2036.

"There's got to be some change to the status quo whether it happens in three years or 10 years," said Derek Burleton, senior economist at Toronto-Dominion Bank.

"We can't continually see health spending growing above and beyond the growth rate in the economy because, at some point, it means crowding out of all the other government services.

"At some stage we're going to hit a breaking point."

No, I think you've already gone past that!


In some ways the Canadian debate is the mirror image of discussions going on in the United States.

Canada, fretting over budget strains, wants to prune its system, while the United States, worrying about an army of uninsured, aims to create a state-backed safety net.

Healthcare in Canada is delivered through a publicly funded system, which covers all "medically necessary" hospital and physician care and curbs the role of private medicine. It ate up about 40 percent of provincial budgets, or some C$183 billion ($174 billion) last year.

Spending has been rising 6 percent a year under a deal that added C$41.3billion of federal funding over 10 years...

Brian Golden, a professor at University of Toronto's Rotman School of Business, said provinces are weighing new sources of funding, including "means-testing" and moving toward evidence-based and pay-for-performance models.

"Why are we paying more or the same for cataract surgery when it costs substantially less today than it did 10 years ago? There's going to be a finer look at what we're paying for and, more importantly, what we're getting for it," he said.

Other problems include trying to control independently set salaries for top hospital executives and doctors and rein in spiraling costs for new medical technologies and drugs.

Ontario says healthcare could eat up 70 percent of its budget in 12 years, if all these costs are left unchecked.

"Our objective is to preserve the quality healthcare system we have and indeed to enhance it. But there are difficult decisions ahead and we will continue to make them," Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan told Reuters.

The province has introduced legislation that ties hospital chief executive pay with the quality of patient care and says it wants to put more physicians on salary to save money...

Funny, the only thing the bureaucrat Mr Duncan seems to think of is cutting back on services...using the free market to enhance medical service in Canada never seems to cross his mind. If it does, the report doesn't mention it.


The losers could be drug companies and pharmacies, both of which are getting increasingly nervous.

"Many of the advances in healthcare and life expectancy are due to the pharmaceutical industry so we should never demonize them," said U of T's Golden. "We need to ensure that they maintain a profitable business but our ability to make it very very profitable is constrained right now."

Scotia Capital's Webb said one cost-saving idea may be to make patients aware of how much it costs each time they visit a healthcare professional. "(The public) will use the services more wisely if they know how much it's costing," she said.

"If it's absolutely free with no information on the cost and the information of an alternative that would be have been more practical, then how can we expect the public to wisely use the service?"

But change may come slowly. Universal healthcare is central to Canada's national identity, and decisions are made as much on politics as economics.

"It's an area that Canadians don't want to see touched," said TD's Burleton. "Essentially it boils down the wishes of the population. But I think, from an economist's standpoint, we point to the fact that sometimes Canadians in the short term may not realize the cost."

I love this quote from Ms Webb,

,,,one cost-saving idea may be to make patients aware of how much it costs each time they visit a healthcare professional. "(The public) will use the services more wisely if they know how much it's costing,"

People will always spend more when they are not paying the bill, a fact that escapes her. It doesn't matter how much you tell them that. If you don't put the power of the market into the medical system it will crack of it's own weight.

I also love professor Golden talking about the profitable of pharmaceutical industry. What is the standared of "profitable" and "very very profitable"? And I wonder if he has any concept of what it takes to bring new medicine and procedures online. Probably not. That's why he is "an expert" in a news report.

Obama is a little sensitive....

Compare B Hussein Obama and Governor Chris Christi. Governor Christi takes little personal and wants to get things done, even if he gets into a fight. Obama is a little sensitive….

I got this column from a fellow cop and retired Army officer...

Obama, the Thin-Skinned President

Peter Wehner
In their book "The Battle for America 2008," Haynes Johnson and Dan Balz wrote this:

[Chief political aide David] Axelrod also warned that Obama's confessions of youthful drug use, described in his memoir, Dreams From My Father, would be used against him. "This is more than an unpleasant inconvenience," he wrote. "It goes to your willingness and ability to put up with something you have never experienced on a sustained basis: criticism. At the risk of triggering the very reaction that concerns me, I don't know if you are Muhammad Ali or Floyd Patterson when it comes to taking a punch. You care far too much what is written and said about you. You don't relish combat when it becomes personal and nasty. When the largely irrelevant Alan Keyes attacked you, you flinched," he said of Obama's 2004 U.S. Senate opponent.

I thought of this memo after reading the comment by Sen. Pat Roberts after he and other Senate Republicans had a contentious 80-minute meeting with the president on Tuesday. "He needs to take a Valium before he comes in and talks to Republicans," Roberts said. "He's pretty thin-skinned."

Sen. Roberts is being too generous. Obama is among the most thin-skinned presidents we have had, and we see evidence of it in every possible venue imaginable, from one-on-one interviews to press conferences, from extemporaneous remarks to set speeches.
The president is constantly complaining about what others are saying about him. He is upset at Fox News, and conservative talk radio, and Republicans, and people carrying unflattering posters of him. He gets upset when his avalanche of faulty facts are challenged, like on health care. He gets upset when he is called on his hypocrisy, on everything from breaking his promise not to hire lobbyists in the White House to broadcasting health care meetings on C-SPAN to not curtailing earmarks to failing in his promises of transparency and bipartisanship.
In Obama's eyes, he is always the aggrieved, always the violated, always the victim of some injustice. He is America's virtuous and valorous hero, a man of unusually pure motives and uncommon wisdom, under assault by the forces of darkness.
It is all so darn unfair.

Not surprisingly, Obama's thin skin leads to self pity. As Daniel Halper of The Weekly Standard pointed out, in a fundraising event for Sen. Barbara Boxer, Obama said,

Let's face it: this has been the toughest year and a half since any year and a half since the 1930s.

Really, now? Worse than the period surrounding December 7, 1941 and September 11, 2001? Worse than what Gerald Ford faced after the resignation of Richard Nixon and Watergate, which constituted the worse constitutional scandal in our history and tore the country apart? Worse than what Ronald Reagan faced after Jimmy Carter (when interest rates were 22 percent, inflation was more than 13 percent, and Reagan faced something entirely new under the sun, "stagflation")? Worse than 1968, when Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. were assassinated and there was rioting in our streets? Worse than what LBJ faced during Vietnam -- a war which eventually claimed more than 58,000 lives? Worse than what John Kennedy faced in the Bay of Pigs and in the Cuban Missile Crisis, when we and the Soviet Union edged up to the brink of nuclear war? Worse than what Franklin Roosevelt faced on the eve of the Normandy invasion? Worse than what Bush faced in Iraq in 2006, when that nation was on the edge of civil war, or when the financial system collapsed in the last months of his presidency? Worse than what Truman faced in defeating imperial Japan, in reconstructing post-war Europe, and in responding to North Korea's invasion of South Korea?...

With Obama there is also the compulsive need to admonish others, to point fingers, to say that the problems he faces are not of his doing. Oh, sure; on occasions there are the grudging concessions, like in Thursday's press conference devoted to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, where Obama says, "In case you're wondering who's responsible, I take responsibility" to ensure that "everything is done to shut this down." But those words are always pro forma, done reluctantly and for tactical political reasons, a rhetorical trick that is meant to get him off the hook. As recently as last week, Obama, in the Rose Garden, was implicitly blaming the previous occupant of the White House for the explosion of the offshore rig Deepwater Horizon.

The president's instincts are by now obvious to all: deflect blame, point fingers, and lash out at others, most especially his predecessor. We know from press reports (see here and here) that the strategy for the Democrats in 2010, two years after Obama was elected president, is to – you guessed it – blame George W. Bush...

President Obama's more unattractive personal qualities probably won't wear well with the electorate. Americans tend to tire of those who are look back rather than ahead and are always blaming others for the problems they face.

History also doesn’t have much tolerance for putting yourself in the center seat and then saying “oh poor me…” Then again a man who is so sensitive to his Dumbo like ears that he complains to Maureen Dowd about it is too unsure of himself he shouldn't be put in charge of anything:

On December 10th, 2006 Barack Obama told Maureen Dowd to stop making fun of his big ears. “After his speech was over he made a beeline for Maureen Dowd and the audience. The camera kept rolling…this is what he said to Maureen Dowd. OBAMA (off mic): “You talked about my ears, and I just want to put you on notice: I’m very sensitive about — What at I told them was, ”I was teased relentlessly when I was a kid about my big ears.’” DOWD: We’re trying to toughen you up.”

I do recall people saying in the late 70s the presidency had become a job too big for one man and we may need a Prime Minister to assist the president. With a man like Carter I can see why people thought that. But once Reagan became president, the office became much more manageable….may have something with having a competent man in the office.

Barack Obama -- a man who was as unprepared to be president as any man in our lifetime -- has over the last 16 months shown that he is overmatched by events. His poll numbers continue to drop, his health care proposal is becoming less rather than more popular, the oil spill in the Gulf is badly eroding his image for leadership and competence, and his party has been battered in election after election since November. We have now reached the point where Democrats are running against Obama and his agenda in order to survive (witness Mark Critz in Pennsylvania).

We can hope that Obama, an intelligent man, learns from the errors of his ways. But the great danger in all of this is that in the face of his troubles Obama and his aides become increasingly defensive, display a greater sense of entitlement and even a touch of paranoia. When arrogant men lose control of events it can easily lead to feelings of isolation, to striking out at critics, to bullying opponents, and to straying across lines that should not be crossed.

And so the president needs to surround himself with people who can tamp down on the uglier impulses within his administration, who are willing to tell Obama that the lore created by him, Axelrod, Plouffe, and Gibbs during the campaign has given way to reality, that cockiness is not the same as wisdom, and that spin is no substitute for substantive achievements. And Obama needs someone who has standing in his life to tell him that the presidency is a revered institution that should not be treated as if it were a ward in Chicago.

Can’t argue with his statement on Barry being unprepared for the presidency. I’ve often wondered if Obama ran in 08 to really set himself up for a later run but things just got going and the rest is history. But I doubt he will learn from his mistakes or surround himself by strong people who will tell them what he needs to hear, not what he wants to hear.

This would be funny if it he wasn't so pathetic.

Oliver Stone and the men he admires

Oliver Stone seems to like men who are really self centered criminals.

Stone: Film an intro to Chavez and his movement

CARACAS, Venezuela — American filmmaker Oliver Stone said Friday he deeply admires Hugo Chavez but suggested the Venezuelan president might consider talking a bit less on television.

Promoting his new documentary "South of the Border" in Caracas, Stone heaped praise on Chavez, saying he is leading a movement for "social transformation" in Latin American. The film features informal interviews by Stone with Chavez and six allied leftist presidents, from Bolivia's Evo Morales to Cuba's Raul Castro.

"I admire Hugo. I like him very much as a person. I can say one thing. ... He shouldn't be on television all the time," Stone said at a news conference. "As a director I say you don't want to be overpowering. And I think he is sometimes that way."

I wonder if that idiot Stone realizes if Chavez or a similar dictator would assume power in the US one of the first businesses he would control for the good of the people would be movie making…or does Stone think he’ll be exempt from control.

"He's a soldier and he speaks from his heart," Stone said. "His vision is huge. ... And he will go down in history."

To use the great words of Reagan, the ash heap of history.

The Oscar-winning director hopes his documentary will help people better understand a leader who Stone said is wrongly ridiculed "as a strongman, as a buffoon, as a clown."

"This is a positive portrayal of a man who Americans do not have access to," Stone said. "He is demonized in the American and European press as a monster."

Chavez, who joined Stone for the premiere of the film at last year's Venice Film Festival, hosted a screening Friday night at a Caracas theater and called the director a good friend.

"They demonize us is North America, in Europe, in a good part of the world. And Oliver dove is, so to speak, seeking the truth," Chavez said. He called the movie "a splinter in the eagle's talon" — a reference to the United States.

Gee Stone, you like making propaganda movies for leftist dictators....what a shock. And Chavez says you're telling the truth. Kinda makes one wonder how true your other films are....Platoon…Born on the Forth of July…Nixon…World Trade Center…W…

Stone said President Barack Obama's administration, in spite of initially inspiring hope, hasn't done anything to improve U.S. relations with Chavez or his Latin American allies.

What's bad is B Hussein Obama probably thinks "I've lost Oliver Stone, I've lost middle America."

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Hypocrisy, thy name is Clinton

I guess you're only not paying your fair share when your not a rich liberal and can afford a tax dodge like The Clinton Family Foundation.

Clinton: 'The rich are not paying their fair share'

"Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a rare foray into domestic politics today, offering her view that--given America's high unemployment--wealthy Americans don't pay enough taxes," reports Politico's Ben Smith:

"The rich are not paying their fair share in any nation that is facing the kind of employment issues [America currently does]--whether it's individual, corporate or whatever [form of] taxation forms," Clinton told an audience at the Brookings Institution, where she was discussing the Administration's new National Security Strategy.

Clinton said the comment was her personal opinion alone. "I'm not speaking for the administration, so I'll preface that with a very clear caveat," she said.
Clinton went on to cite Brazil as a model.

"Brazil has the highest tax-to-GDP rate in the Western Hemisphere and guess what--they're growing like crazy," Clinton said. "And the rich are getting richer, but they're pulling people out of poverty."...

Looking to Brazil for a model is also nuts. Let's go to the CIA World Factbook for some relevant comparisons between Brazil and the America (figures are from 2009, except as noted):

• GDP per capita: Brazil $10,200, U.S. $46,400

• GDP per capita, rank: Brazil 105th, U.S. 11th

• Unemployment rate: Brazil 7.4%, U.S. 9.3%

• Population below poverty line: Brazil 26% (2008), U.S. 12% (2004)

• Share of nationwide household income or consumption, lowest 10%: Brazil 1.1%, U.S. 2%

• Share of nationwide household income or consumption, highest 10%: Brazil 43%, U.S. 30%

The U.S. does better on all these measures except 2009 unemployment--and a year earlier, the U.S. rate (5.8%) was considerably better than Brazil's (7.9%). The average American is more than 4.5 times as productive as the average Brazilian, and a Brazilian is more than twice as likely to be impoverished by Brazilian standards than an American is to be impoverished by U.S. standards.

Brazil's GDP actually shrank last year, by 0.2%, though it grew 5.1% in 2008 and 6.1% in 2007. For America, the figures were a 2.4% decline in 2009, 0.4% growth in 2008 and 2.1% growth in 2007. But developed countries seldom grow at 5% or 6% a year; developing ones experience such growth because their economies are smaller to begin with. Even if Brazil is "growing like crazy," for America to emulate it would be nuts.

The point to remember from the Washington Post article:

The foundation has enabled the Clintons to write off more than $5 million from their taxable personal income since 2001, while dispensing $1.25 million in charitable contributions over that period.

And again to see a couple of rich liberals complain about the rich not paying their fair share when whey have used multiple tax dodges to avoid taxes is typical...and disgusting.

Small donations going to Republicans

Let us hope...let us pray...that they don't screw this up. They have the broad support of the American people...hopefully the Republicans don't blow it nominating McCain-Graham types who are the best examples of RINOs out there...

Small donors come up big for GOP candidates

For the first time in a decade, Republican candidates for Congress are raising more than Democrats from small donors.

GOP candidates for the House and Senate this year have raised $70 million from small donors, compared with $44 million brought in by Democratic candidates, according to a Washington Post analysis of campaign finance data.

The trend is another sign that Republicans have turned their political momentum into money. Reports covering the first quarter had shown that GOP candidates were closing the gap or exceeding Democrats in key races and that corporations have started to shift behind the party.

The giving also fits a pattern in which small contributors loyal to the opposition are more motivated to give while their party is out of power. The last time Republicans received more small donations than Democrats was during the 1998 midterms, when Democrat Bill Clinton held the presidency...

In his campaign for the White House two years ago, Barack Obama changed the way money was raised by relying on legions of small donors. Nearly half of his record-setting war chest of $750 million was raised from donors giving less than $200 at a time.

This year, it is Republican candidates who have ridden a wave of support from motivated contributors, including thousands of tea party members, financial reports show. GOP candidates have raised 16 percent of their money from small donors, compared with 10 percent among Democratic candidates.

Unlike individual candidates, the Republican National Committee and other party committees have used mail solicitations to consistently bring in more money from small donors than their Democratic counterparts. The RNC's reliance on small donors has increased this cycle, with many large donors choosing not to give to party headquarters after controversies over its leadership...

The surge in small donations also helped Republican Scott Brown in January in his victory in a Massachusetts senatorial special election, which spurred GOP momentum heading into the campaign year. Brown raised $8.3 million in small contributions, representing more than half of his total.

Now remember, this is an anti-incumbent tide, not anti-leftist tide....right....

The increase in small-dollar support is not all good news for the party: Candidates getting small contributions do not always deliver the same message as party leaders.

Tea party favorite Rand Paul, for example, who won the GOP Kentucky Senate primary last week, is an ideological libertarian who has drawn 59 percent of his money from donors giving less than $200 at a time. He soundly defeated the establishment candidate backed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.)...

In other words Washington Puke, the people of this country are supporting true conservatives, not RINOs who will make deals with the leftists and stab the people who put them there in the back.

Now this is interesting...one can only hope!

...One GOP candidate with grass-roots support, Californian Dana Walsh, is attempting something considered highly unlikely, unseating House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. That hasn't stopped Walsh from pulling in $1.3 million in small checks, 90 percent of her total fundraising...

Friday, May 28, 2010

Reflections on a beautiful day...and two great articles

Today I had off and I'm waiting for my fiancée to arrive for the weekend. To my delight the mail actually contained two interesting piece in it...the National Review and the Washington Times Weekly Edition. The cover story on both was on the Arizona immigration enforcement law.

I looked over the National Review commentary and it makes some excellent points on why this law is not the establishment of a police state in Arizona.

Defending Arizona
Its statute will withstand the inevitable — and already begun — challenges in court


A law that basically makes a few small, carefully considered changes in police procedure, Arizona’s S.B. 1070, has inspired a vastly disproportionate response. Few laws have ever been so grossly mischaracterized by so many leaders on the left. From President Obama on down, they rushed to the microphone after it was enacted to hyperventilate about an impending police state in Arizona. Excitable bloggers invoked Jim Crow, apartheid, and the Nuremberg laws of Nazi Germany.

Their charges are completely false. Most stem from misunderstandings, perhaps willful and perhaps merely ignorant, of what the law is about and how it works. The false charges have been numerous, but the three most common are the following.

First, and most outrageously, critics incorrectly claim that the law would promote racial profiling...More surprising was the commentary from the country’s top lawyer. Attorney General Eric Holder sternly warned the nation on Meet the Press that the law “has the possibility of leading to racial profiling.” A few days later, when pressed about his comments in a House of Representatives committee hearing, Holder admitted that he hadn’t actually read the law. Another S.B. 1070 opponent, secretary of homeland security Janet Napolitano, says she has not read the law either.

If they had read it, Holder and Napolitano would have seen that S.B. 1070 expressly prohibits racial profiling. In four different sections, the law reiterates that a law-enforcement official “may not consider race, color, or national origin” in making any stops or determining an alien’s immigration status...

Second, critics have declared that the law will require aliens to carry documentation that they weren’t otherwise required to possess. President Obama claimed, “Now, suddenly, if you don’t have your papers . . . you’re going to be harassed.” The president would do well to familiarize himself with current federal immigration laws. Since 1940, it has been a federal crime for aliens not to keep certain registration documents on their person or not to register with the federal government. The Arizona law prohibits aliens from violating these federal statutes (8 U.S.C. §§ 1304(a) and 1306(e)). In other words, the Arizona law simply adds a layer of state penalty to what was already a crime under federal law.

For legal permanent resident aliens, the relevant document is a green card. For short-term visitors from a visa-waiver country (one of 36 countries whose citizens may visit the United States for up to 90 days without a visa), the relevant document is an I-94 registration receipt, which is placed in their passport at the port of entry.

Third, critics have claimed that the law requires police officers to stop people in order to question them about their immigration status...The law operates in straightforward fashion. If a police officer, during a detention to investigate another offense, develops reasonable suspicion that the subject is an illegal alien, then the officer must take specific steps to verify or dispel that reasonable suspicion. And contrary to the claims of critics, “reasonable suspicion” is a well-defined concept.

In sum, the law does not make any radical changes. Rather, it gives Arizona police officers a few additional tools to use when they come into contact with illegal aliens during their normal law-enforcement duties. It also ensures that local cooperation with ICE will occur more regularly. Other provisions that have received less media hype prohibit Arizona cities from restricting enforcement of immigration laws (for example, by preventing their officers from contacting ICE), and make it a misdemeanor for an alien who lacks work authorization to solicit work in a public place.

A point of law should be injected now. Thanks in large parts to idiots on TV and the movies, people believe a cop needs probably cause to initiate a traffic stop, stop on the street, etc. No, a cop needs reasonable suspicion to start a stop. Probably cause is the standard for an arrest. I wonder if Eric Holder knows that. If he does or not I have faith he will join the ACLU and attempt to go after this law in court.

In the Washington Times, David A. Ridenour has a great column on how to react to the usual suspects calling on people to boycott Arizona. Boycott San Francisco, LA, Washington, etc. Hey, good enough for the goose.

RIDENOUR: Boycott the boycotters

In San Francisco and here in the nation's capital, liberal politicians are preparing economic boycotts against Arizona because it had the guts to crack down on the illegal aliens who violate federal laws with sneering impunity. The District of Columbia Council, incompetent beyond imagining in governing the 599,000 overtaxed souls who inhabit its 68.2 square miles, has the audacity to demand that Arizona ignore the drug-runners, human traffickers and murderers who have wreaked havoc in the Grand Canyon State for much of the past decade.

Such chutzpah from a city whose license plates whine about alleged "Taxation without Representation," when, if they reflected reality, they would read "Taxation without Services."

Arizona, it should be noted, covers 114,000 square miles, has a nearly 6.6 million population and has been a sought-after haven by conventioneers, tourists and retirees.

San Francisco, one of the nation's first sanctuary cities and a bastion of left-wing lunacy since the mid-1960s, already has barred city employees from official travel to Arizona. Its board of supervisors is moving to boycott all Arizona businesses.

All of this because Arizona's legislature - after years waiting for the federal government to secure the state's 370-mile long border with Mexico - voted to make it a state crime to be in the state in violation of federal law. Polls show 70 percent of Arizonans support the new law, as do nearly 60 percent of Americans.

The new law directs Arizona law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of persons with whom they come into contact in the course of some other law enforcement activity if the officers have a "reasonable suspicion" - a term well-defined in law - that the person is violating federal immigration laws. The law explicitly forbids checking a person's immigration status if a person's "race, color or national origin" is the only basis for suspicion...

So why all this handwringing by people on the left - people whose hearts apparently bleed copiously for those who break our laws, but not for the Americans who often end up as their victims? Isn't a sovereign state responsible for defending its borders, its economy, its social safety net and its people?

Not according to Washington Post columnist Robert McCartney, who urged Washington Nationals fans to boycott the Arizona Diamondbacks when they play. He's also suggested that Major League Baseball move the 2011 All-Star Game from Phoenix and relocate the spring training Cactus League.

I have a better idea. Let's encourage the 60 percent or so of Americans who, according to numerous polls, distrust the Obama administration and Congress, to shun both Washington and San Francisco this summer and travel to scenic Arizona instead.

After all, both cities are ridiculously expensive and often downright disdainful of people they consider to be yokels -that's the haughty urban code for "average Americans" - who swarm in from the Midwest, the South and the Rockies each summer to clog their streets and ogle their famous sites.

A couple of weeks ago my friend Darren posted on his blog on how San Diego is loosing convention business because the San Diego City Council passed a resolution condeming Arizona and stopping city business in the state...now the Zonies are going to schedule things in Arizona just to piss off the idiots in California, DC, etc. I am planning on sometime in the next few months riding my motorcycle to Arizona...

Things the San Diego embargo make me feel pround to be an American!

Happy Memorial Day!

Weather, climate and holidays

Some of you know that I have a crawfish boil every Memorial Day and I'm getting my stuff ready for the weekend. Now ten day ago I was checking www.weather.com and its long term forecast said 60% chance of rain over the Memorial Day weekend. Well, three days ago I checked again and now it's 10% for Saturday and 0% on Sunday.

As I've often said to the worshipers of the alter of Global Cooling, err Global Warming, err Climate Change or whatever it's called this week....

Can you tell me what will be the temperature in Houston on May 4, 2015?

But you can tell me we will be warmer now...excuse me if I'm not buying it....


I really miss Win Ben Stein's Money and I've always loved his commentary in The American Spectator. From todays's Spectator.org

Ben Stein's Diary
Oil of Today


I am so busy I cannot believe I am still alive. I feel as if this stress and fatigue should kill me if there were any sense in the world. Today, I had a recording of a commentary for CBS, then a mad rush out to Malibu for more photos for "Ben Stein's Los Angeles," a magazine feature I'm involved in. It was so beautiful in Malibu it was hard to believe. Just perfect. Really, truly perfect. Crisp, warm, breezy, rich blue sky. Just glorious.

But I had to rush right back to be on Larry King to talk about the oil spill with a Democrat congressman named Alan Grayson.

A few thoughts on the oil spill:

1. No one, obviously, is sorrier about it than the oil producer, BP, and the rig operator, Trans-Ocean. If the heads of those companies could go back in time and have it never happen, they would do anything to do so.

2. It was ambitious to operate in such deep water, with no safety net, but the world and the nation were clamoring for oil. The government said, "Go for it," and BP and Trans-Ocean went for it. Did they ignore warning signs that a giant event was bubbling below the surface? Maybe. If so, they will grievously answer for their ambition.

3. If mistakes were made, they were made by a few dozen people at BP and Trans-Ocean and a few bureaucrats. The energy business employs several million men and women. They have done nothing wrong at all. No point in blaming them for anything at all. They are just doing what we want them to do: getting us oil and gas. The stockholders of BP and Trans-Ocean have done nothing wrong. They had no clue what was going on under that drilling platform. It seems wrong to punish people who merely wanted to provide for their retirement for a seismic hydrocarbon event that may have been so drastic that it constitutes an act of God.

4. Finger pointing does no good whatsoever. No one wants to get this thing capped and stopped more than BP and Trans-Ocean. Let's encourage them and not distract and torment them. There will be plenty of time for lawsuits. What we need now is action on the seabed, and that is not a job for lawyers.

5. This is not Mr. Obama's fault. I am not a fan of his, but he isn't Superman. He cannot be expected to swim down to the leak and seal it with his Superpowers. If he's smart, he will be part of the effort to fix it, not part of the effort to drag out the tumbrils and guillotines.


Ben, agreed, it's not B Hussein Obama's fault. He didn't put in the regulations that force us to look for oil 60 plus miles out and over a mile deep as opposed to getting it in a simplier fashion on shore or closer to the shore. And yes, we have to find out what happened. That will not come from a "bipartisan commission" or Congressional hearings.

What is his fault is stopping our exploration when we are in desperate need for oil...and his claim that "the federal government has been in charge of the response effort..." The Commandant of the Coast Guard openly said BP was the leader in the efforts to stop the leak. And even after his first press conference in ten months, he cannot bring himself to thank the thousands of people who busted their asses on this problem. Don’t you just hate it when facts are so inconvenient?

But don't worry...they have their boot on BPs neck.

"He Was Supposed to Be Competent"....right

I don't know if I agree with Ms Noonan...Obama has never been held accountable for his failures his entire life or his during presidencey...but maybe for once people will finally see how incompetent he is...I've often said he cannot run the night shift at a McDonalds...hopefully enough people face that face in time to neuter his administration this fall and vote him out in 2012.

He Was Supposed to Be Competent.
The spill is a disaster for the president and his political philosophy.

I don't see how the president's position and popularity can survive the oil spill. This is his third political disaster in his first 18 months in office. And they were all, as they say, unforced errors, meaning they were shaped by the president's political judgment and instincts.

There was the tearing and unnecessary war over his health-care proposal and its cost. There was his day-to-day indifference to the views and hopes of the majority of voters regarding illegal immigration. And now the past almost 40 days of dodging and dithering in the face of an environmental calamity. I don't see how you politically survive this.

The president, in my view, continues to govern in a way that suggests he is chronically detached from the central and immediate concerns of his countrymen. This is a terrible thing to see in a political figure, and a startling thing in one who won so handily and shrewdly in 2008. But he has not, almost from the day he was inaugurated, been in sync with the center. The heart of the country is thinking each day about A, B and C, and he is thinking about X, Y and Z. They're in one reality, he's in another....

Peggy, a note of something...some people like to say Obama is cool. No, he's cold. He has no empathy, or concern that he is destroying people and their life's work...

In his news conference Thursday, President Obama made his position no better. He attempted to act out passionate engagement through the use of heightened language—"catastrophe," etc.—but repeatedly took refuge in factual minutiae. His staff probably thought this demonstrated his command of even the most obscure facts. Instead it made him seem like someone who won't see the big picture. The unspoken mantra in his head must have been, "I will not be defensive, I will not give them a resentful soundbite." But his strategic problem was that he'd already lost the battle. If the well was plugged tomorrow, the damage will already have been done.

Peggy, he showed real leadership...he said "Plug the hole" and it was plugged...

The original sin in my view is that as soon as the oil rig accident happened the president tried to maintain distance between the gusher and his presidency. He wanted people to associate the disaster with BP and not him. When your most creative thoughts in the middle of a disaster revolve around protecting your position, you are summoning trouble. When you try to dodge ownership of a problem, when you try to hide from responsibility, life will give you ownership and responsibility the hard way. In any case, the strategy was always a little mad. Americans would never think an international petroleum company based in London would worry as much about American shores and wildlife as, say, Americans would. They were never going to blame only BP, or trust it.

I wonder if the president knows what a disaster this is not only for him but for his political assumptions. His philosophy is that it is appropriate for the federal government to occupy a more burly, significant and powerful place in America—confronting its problems of need, injustice, inequality. But in a way, and inevitably, this is always boiled down to a promise: "Trust us here in Washington, we will prove worthy of your trust." Then the oil spill came and government could not do the job, could not meet need, in fact seemed faraway and incapable: "We pay so much for the government and it can't cap an undersea oil well!"

This is what happened with Katrina, and Katrina did at least two big things politically. The first was draw together everything people didn't like about the Bush administration, everything it didn't like about two wars and high spending and illegal immigration, and brought those strands into a heavy knot that just sat there, soggily, and came to symbolize Bushism. The second was illustrate that even though the federal government in our time has continually taken on new missions and responsibilities, the more it took on, the less it seemed capable of performing even its most essential jobs. Conservatives got this point—they know it without being told—but liberals and progressives did not. They thought Katrina was the result only of George W. Bush's incompetence and conservatives' failure to "believe in government." But Mr. Obama was supposed to be competent.

The scary thing is we need the oil and few people are asking "Why is it we're drilling miles out and over a mile deep when we have oil on shore and closer to the shore...and Obama, to no one's surprise, has ended all new drilling. He will inflict pain on this country and cost us thousands of jobs...and Obama counldn't care less.

But he is competent, right.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Security expert Fred Burton discusses methods and complexities of surveillance — an issue that has come into focus amid a probe of possible intelligence failures in the recent Times Square bombing attempt.

Source: www.stratfor.com

Security at large scale events

Analyst Fred Burton explains security for athletes and fans at large-scale sporting events ahead of the World Cup in South Africa.

Source: www.stratfor.com


Quick look at things going on in Hungary...

Analyst Marko Papic discusses the implications of a new citizenship law involving ethnic Hungarians living abroad and nationalism as a symptom of wider European concerns.

Use of force in arrest and other things...

I remember one thing a field trainer taught me...whatever happens, you go home!

Lessons Learned: The Power of History
with Andy Casavant

Totality of the circumstances: In the eye of the beholder

In a recent baton training class, I was amazed at the looks and lack of response I got when the group was asked if they could use a distracter technique such as a shin kick or a backhand or some other techniques against a resistive subject who was only verbally resisting. They looked at each other and no one would reply. I then asked if they could draw the baton at this stage and again no one wanted to answer.

I go on to explain that according to Florida Statutes, ANY force can be used to affect an arrest. I’ve always said that all force is necessary but is all force used reasonable? That’s the issue with use of force cases. Trying to determine if the force was reasonable.

What is meant by ‘reasonable?’ Is it simply saying that this is the way another officer or group of officers would act under the same criteria? Maybe not. I suspect — and in fact, I know firsthand — that officers in certain jurisdictions could reasonably draw their guns on traffic stops as a matter of course, while to do that in other locations would get a beef filed on you. What is reasonable in Chicago, or L.A. may not be (and often times is not) reasonable in most other places.

However, there is a way to determine reasonable that is universally accepted both outside and inside our profession. This test is based upon the four tiers of protection that all officers are required to work within. These are the United States Constitution, the State Statutes, agency policy and training. If you step outside these areas, your actions will most likely be deemed unreasonable. For example, when are you allowed to violate someone’s rights under the 4th Amendment? The answer is, “Never!” While there are exceptions to search and seizure laws, these do not allow you to violate a person’s rights under that Amendment. In fact, the law protects citizens from unreasonable search/seizure.

It is well known that State Statutes usually are more restrictive than the Federal ones, and that agency policy is usually more restrictive than both. Training reflects the application of all three provided through various means to those that have to work the streets. All of these must intertwine and no one area can stand alone. In other words, training must reflect the proper behaviors and knowledge related to the U.S. Constitution, State Statutes, and agency policy. To do otherwise would be unreasonable.

Comprehensive understanding of what can be done related to use of force is far more important than what can’t be done. If an officer is going to carry a baton, then they must know how, when, and where to use it. If all they know is what they can’t do, then I believe we’ve failed them as trainers. It’s relatively easy to figure out when and why to use firearms. Not so with batons (and DT in general). There are many reasons for this. I think that officers in general are not really taught these issues as much as they are taught techniques. The application of those techniques requires many variables especially at the lower ends of the force levels.

I also think that other issues cloud the use of batons and DT techniques such as the rise in use of TASER® electronic control devices (ECDs), carrying of the baton, the techniques themselves which, with the baton is basically to strike/hit someone. There is also some doubt that arises with the use of batons as there really is no training that replicates its use in a training environment. We can pepper spray and apply ECDs to each other to get the desired effect, however, we can’t hit someone the way they need to be hit with a baton in a training environment, so we really don’t know how hard and what is the real response of someone to a strike.

To understand the effectiveness of the baton, for example, means that we must understand when it is ineffective. Its advantage is that it is the only weapon in the police inventory that has the capability of transcending the entire length of the use of force spectrum. Its presence alone can stop aggressive behavior, it certainly fits into the intermediate class of weapons and if applied to certain areas can be used as deadly force if needed. No other weapon has that capability in my opinion.

So, as trainers and users of any and all police weapons, we need to understand that weapon in the totality of the circumstances when it is used. This term used in the Supreme Courts decision of Grahm V. Conner spells this out.

The recent Streamwood, Illinois video cam of the officer using various forms of force (including firearm, then ECDs, and then baton) certainly points this out. The public’s perception with the use of firearms and now with ECDs has somewhat solidified over the past years. Just like us, they kind of know what is going to happen if we shoot or deploy an ECD at someone and the public has come to accept this. What they do not see, because we do not use them vary often is the baton or in some cases various types of DT techniques.

That is why when one views a police officer using a baton which is essentially to hit someone to gain control, it often times looks more brutal that it is and since most officers are not sure if they can use it at the lower levels of force, guess what the public believes!! What the video and any camera will never show is the totality of the circumstances especially with the baton. The officer needs to only be able to justify his/her actions as it relates to that incident. The reasonableness of the use of any police weapon has nothing to do with the actual techniques being used but rather was the weapon used reasonable within the totality of the circumstances? All the officer-subject factors need to be taken into account and again, it’s not what a reasonable officer would do but was the actions of the officer covered by the Constitution, State laws, policy, and training?

I believe that we will be facing many more such challenges — it’s simply the nature of the society we live in. That’s why it is incumbent upon every officer to know what they can do (and when), and then be able to clearly articulate their actions based upon reasonableness within the context of the totality of the circumstances.

About the author

Andrew J. Casavant is currently the Training Coordinator/SRT Commander for the Walton County Sheriff’s Office and an adjunct professor at Northwest Florida State College. Prior to this he was the Bureau Chief for all Advanced/Specialized Training in Iraq while assigned to DOJ’s ICITAP program. He retired as a Lt. Colonel US Army Military Police Reserves. Andy has a Masters of Science Degree in Technology, Training/Development from Eastern Illinois University. He also served as the Chairman of the Board for ASLET and was a member of the Board of Directors for IALEFI.

Andy currently serves as an adjunct faculty member at Okaloosa/Walton College and was the recipient of the Silver Star for Bravery, Police Hall of Fame

Come on, Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon said that's what he did

Leave it to the New York Assembly to make things worse....

I wonder if those idiots think we're a combo of John Wayne, Mel Gibson and Jackie Chan...it's nice to think about and criticize what a cop did...while your sitting on your ass and enjoying yourself and not scared as hell you ain't gonna live.

If it passes, hopefully the governor can see how stupid this is....pun not intended.

PoliceOne Senior Editor Doug Wyllie
So-called 'no-kill' bill surfaces in NY

Ill-advised piece of legislation was drafted in the aftermath of the death of Sean Bell outside a Queens, New York strip club in November 2006

Lawmakers in New York are again contemplating the notion of “shoot-to-wound” legislation and cops in that state are understandably furious. The so-called ‘minimum force’ bill was drafted in the aftermath the death of Sean Bell outside a Queens, New York strip club on November 25, 2006. Similar legislation has been previously presented, and defeated, but the fact that it’s come around again indicates a particularly slow learning curve among law makers about what law enforcers actually do.

According to a newspaper report by Murray Weiss of the New York Post, the bill would “amend the state penal codes’ ‘justification’ clause that allows an officer the right to kill a thug if he feels his life or someone else's is in imminent danger.”

Weiss writes that the bill proposed bill “would force officers to use their weapons ‘with the intent to stop, rather than kill’ a suspect” and would mandate that cops ‘shoot a suspect in the arm or the leg’ as opposed to the present practice of aiming center-mass until the threat is stopped.

Here’s just one problem with this ill-advised piece of legislation: cops already shoot to stop — not kill — the threat.

Sure, there’s the one-in-a-million instance — usually when a hostile suspect is holding a hostage at gunpoint with imminent danger of death to said hostage — in which an immediate de-animation shot is required. But there are many, many more instances in which an officer — or multiple officers — have put rounds on a dangerous suspect, stopped them from being a threat, and then instantaneously rendered life-saving aid.

PoliceOne has obtained the advance draft of an upcoming position paper from our partners at Force Science Research Center, which counters — with ease and aplomb — the sideways thinking in this type of legislation. Check out that important paper here.

“When I encounter civilian response to officer-involved shootings, it’s very often ‘Why didn’t they just shoot him in the leg?’” Dr. Bill Lewinski, executive director of the Force Science Institute, told Force Science News in a 2006 interview centered on Paterson’s proposed legislation. “When civilians judge police shooting deaths–on juries, on review boards, in the media, in the community–this same argument is often brought forward. Shooting to wound is naively regarded as a reasonable means of stopping dangerous behavior.

“In reality, this thinking is a result of ‘training by Hollywood,’ in which movie and TV cops are able to do anything to control the outcomes of events that serve the director’s dramatic interests. It reflects a misconception of real-life dynamics and ends up imposing unrealistic expectations of skill on real-life officers.”

Vice President Joe Biden apparently agrees, according to the FSRC report. “When Michael Paladino, president of New York’s Detectives Endowment Association, showed him the bill he reportedly scoffed and suggested that it be called the ‘John Wayne Bill’ because of the unrealistic, movie-like sharpshooting skills it demands of officers,” reads the Force Science paper.

PoliceOne Firearms Columnist Ron Avery is quoted in the Force Science Research document as saying that shooting to wound “reflects a misapplication of police equipment. Less-lethal options should be attempted only with tools designed for that purpose.”

Avery says further that if you “deliberately use deadly force to bring people into custody without incapacitating them, you’re using the wrong tool for that job. Also, if you shoot them in the arm or leg and you destroy muscle tissue, shatter bone or destroy nerve function you have maimed that person for life. Now attorneys can play the argument of ‘cruel and unusual punishment’ and pursue punitive damages for destroying the capacity of your ‘victim’ to earn wages and so on. You don’t try to just wound people with a gun. Period.”

This legislation — and other such nonsense like it — was almost certainly drafted by a group of people who have never in their lives operated a firearm, much less done so in the life-or-death context that police officers face every day they pin on the badge. Avery has an idea on how we can help those folks get an idea. “Put them in a cage with a lion,” Avery suggests. “Then let’s see if they shoot to wound.”

About the author

Doug Wyllie is editor of PoliceOne, responsible for setting the editorial direction of the website and managing the planned editorial features by our roster of expert writers. In addition to his editorial and managerial responsibilities, Doug has authored more than 150 articles and tactical tips on a wide range of topics and trends that affect the law enforcement community. On a daily basis, Doug is in close personal contact with some of the top subject-matter experts in law enforcement, regularly tapping into the world-class knowledge of officers and trainers from around the United States, and working to help spread that information and insight to the hundreds of thousands of officers who visit PoliceOne every month. Even in his “spare” time, Doug is active in his support for the law enforcement community, contributing his time and talents toward police-related charitable events as well as participating in force-on-force training, search-and-rescue training, and other scenario-based training designed to prepare cops for the fight they face every day on the street.

Many of you have seen the video of how fast a man with a knife can get to an officer before he draws and fires his weapon....I wonder if these idiots in Assembly Land have every had someone come at them with a weapon....if this actually gets to the committee and floor, I hope they get shown that video so they get some idea of reality put in their skulls.

Hopefully it never comes to the floor...

PS: They are doing a Lethal Weapon 5...

Training, Fighting and Terrorism

The latest from STRATFOR:

From Failed Bombings to Armed Jihadist Assaults
May 27, 2010 | 0855 GMT

By Scott Stewart

One of the things we like to do in our Global Security and Intelligence Report from time to time is examine the convergence of a number of separate and unrelated developments and then analyze that convergence and craft a forecast. In recent months we have seen such a convergence occur.

The most recent development is the interview with the American-born Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki that was released to jihadist Internet chat rooms May 23 by al-Malahim Media, the public relations arm of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). In the interview, al-Awlaki encouraged strikes against American civilians. He also has been tied to Maj. Nidal Hasan, who was charged in the November 2009 Fort Hood shooting, and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the perpetrator of the failed Christmas Day 2009 airline bombing. And al-Awlaki reportedly helped inspire Faisal Shahzad, who was arrested in connection with the attempted Times Square attack in May.

The second link in our chain is the failed Christmas Day and Times Square bombings themselves. They are the latest in a long string of failed or foiled bombing attacks directed against the United States that date back to before the 9/11 attacks and include the thwarted 1997 suicide bomb plot against a subway in New York, the thwarted December 1999 Millennium Bomb plot and numerous post-9/11 attacks such as Richard Reid’s December 2001 shoe-bomb attempt, the August 2004 plot to bomb the New York subway system and the May 2009 plot to bomb two Jewish targets in the Bronx and shoot down a military aircraft. Indeed, jihadists have not conducted a successful bombing attack inside the United States since the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Getting a trained bombmaker into the United States has proved to be increasingly difficult for jihadist groups, and training a novice to make bombs has also been problematic as seen in the Shahzad and Najibullah Zazi cases.

The final link we’d like to consider are the calls in the past few months for jihadists to conduct simple attacks with readily available items. This call was first made by AQAP leader Nasir al-Wahayshi in October 2009 and then echoed by al Qaeda prime spokesman Adam Gadahn in March of 2010. In the Times Square case, Shahzad did use readily available items, but he lacked the ability to effectively fashion them into a viable explosive device.

When we look at all these links together, there is a very high probability that jihadists linked to, or inspired by, AQAP and the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) — and perhaps even al Shabaab — will attempt to conduct simple attacks with firearms in the near future.

Threats and Motives

In the May 23 al-Malahim interview (his first with AQAP), al-Awlaki not only said he was proud of the actions of Hasan and Abdulmutallab, whom he referred to as his students, but also encouraged other Muslims to follow the examples they set by their actions. When asked about the religious permissibility of an operation like Abdulmutallab’s, which could have killed innocent civilians, al-Awlaki told the interviewer that the term “civilian” was not really applicable to Islamic jurisprudence and that he preferred to use the terms combatants and non-combatants. He then continued by noting that “non-combatants are people who do not take part in the war” but that, in his opinion, “the American people in its entirety takes part in the war, because they elected this administration, and they finance this war.” In his final assessment, al-Awlaki said, “If the heroic mujahid brother Umar Farouk could have targeted hundreds of soldiers, that would have been wonderful. But we are talking about the realities of war,” meaning that in his final analysis, attacks against civilians were permissible under Islamic law. Indeed, he later noted, “Our unsettled account with America, in women and children alone, has exceeded one million. Those who would have been killed in the plane are a drop in the ocean.”

While this line of logic is nearly identical to that historically put forth by Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, the very significant difference is that al-Awlaki is a widely acknowledged Islamic scholar. He speaks with a religious authority that bin Laden and al-Zawahiri simply do not possess.

On May 2, the TTP released a video statement by Hakeemullah Mehsud in which Mehsud claimed credit for the failed Times Square attack. In the recording, which reportedly was taped in early April, Mehsud said that the time was approaching “when our fedayeen [suicide operatives] will attack the American states in their major cities.” He also said, “Our fedayeen have penetrated the terrorist America. We will give extremely painful blows to the fanatic America.”

While TTP leaders seem wont to brag and exaggerate (e.g., Baitullah Mehsud falsely claimed credit for the April 3, 2009, shooting at an immigration center in Binghamton, N.Y., which was actually committed by a mentally disturbed Vietnamese immigrant), there is ample reason to believe the claims made by the TTP regarding their contact with Shahzad. We can also deduce with some certainty that Mehsud and company have trained other men who have traveled (or returned) to the United States following that training. The same is likely true for AQAP, al Shabaab and other jihadist groups. In fact, the FBI is likely monitoring many such individuals inside the United States at this very moment — and in all likelihood is madly scrambling to find and investigate many others.

Fight Like You Train

There is an old military and law-enforcement training axiom that states, “You will fight like you train.” This concept has led to the development of training programs designed to help soldiers and agents not only learn skills but also practice and reinforce those skills until they become second nature. This way, when the student graduates and comes under incredible pressure in the real world — like during an armed ambush — their training will take over and they will react even before their mind can catch up to the rapidly unfolding situation. The behaviors needed to survive have been ingrained into them. This concept has been a problem for the jihadists when it comes to terrorist attacks.

It is important to understand that most of the thousands of men who attend training camps set up by al Qaeda and other jihadist groups are taught the basic military skills required to fight in an insurgency. This means they are provided basic physical training to help condition them, given some hand-to-hand combat training and then taught how to operate basic military hardware like assault rifles, hand grenades and, in some cases, crew-served weapons like machine guns and mortars. Only a very few students are then selected to attend the more advanced training that will teach them the skills required to become a trained terrorist operative.

In many ways, this process parallels the way that special operations forces operators are selected from the larger military population and then sent on for extensive training to transform them into elite warriors. Many people wash out during this type of intense training and only a few will make it all the way through to graduation. The problem for the jihadists is finding someone with the time and will to undergo the intensive training required to become a terrorist operative, the ability to complete the training and — critically — the ability to travel abroad to conduct terrorist attacks against the far enemy. Clearly the jihadist groups are able to train men to fight as insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq, and they have shown the ability to train terrorist operatives who can operate in the fairly permissive environments of places like the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area. They also have some excellent bombmakers and terrorist planners in Iraq and Pakistan.

What the jihadists seem to be having a problem doing is finding people who can master the terrorist tradecraft and who have the ability to travel into hostile areas to ply their craft. There seems to be a clear division between the men who can travel and the men who can master the advanced training. The physical and intelligence onslaught launched against al Qaeda and other jihadist groups following the 9/11 attacks has also created operational security concerns that complicate the ability to find and train effective terrorist operatives.

Of course, we’re not telling the jihadists anything they don’t already know. This phenomenon is exactly why you have major jihadist figures like al-Wahayshi and Gadahn telling the operatives who can travel to or are already in the West to stop trying to conduct attacks that are beyond their capabilities. Gadahn and al-Awlaki have heaped praise on Maj. Hasan as an example to follow — and this brings us back to armed assaults.

In the United States it is very easy to obtain firearms and it is legal to go to a range or private property to train with them. Armed assaults are also clearly within the skill set of jihadists who have made it only through basic insurgent training. As we’ve mentioned several times in the past, these grassroots individuals are far more likely to strike the United States and Europe than professional terrorist operatives dispatched from the al Qaeda core group. Such attacks will also allow these grassroots operatives to fight like they have been trained. When you combine all these elements with the fact that the United States is an open society with a lot of very vulnerable soft targets, it is not difficult to forecast that we will see more armed jihadist assaults in the United States in the near future.

Armed Assaults

Armed assaults employing small arms are not a new concept in terrorism by any means. They have proved to be a tried-and-true tactic since the beginning of the modern era of terrorism and have been employed in many famous attacks conducted by a variety of actors. A few examples are the Black September operation against the Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics; the December 1975 seizure of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries headquarters in Vienna, led by Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, aka “Carlos the Jackal”; the December 1985 simultaneous attacks against the airports in Rome and Vienna by the Abu Nidal Organization; and the September 2004 school seizure in Beslan, North Ossetia, by Chechen militants. More recently, the November 2008 armed assault in Mumbai demonstrated how deadly and spectacular such attacks can be.

In some instances — such as the December 1996 seizure of the Japanese ambassador’s residence in Lima, Peru, by the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement — the objective of the armed assault is to take and intentionally hold hostages for a long period of time. In other instances, such as the May 1972 assault on Lod Airport by members of the Japanese Red Army, the armed assault is planned as a suicide attack designed simply to kill as many people as possible before the assailants themselves are killed or incapacitated. Often attacks fall somewhere in the middle. For example, even though Mumbai became a protracted operation, its planning and execution indicated it was intended as an attack in which the attackers would inflict maximum damage and not be taken alive. It was only due to the good fortune of the attackers and the ineptitude of the Indian security forces that the operation lasted as long as it did.

We discussed above the long string of failed and foiled bombing attacks directed against the United States. During that same time, there have been several armed assaults that have killed people, such as the attack against the El Al ticket counter at the Los Angeles International Airport by Hesham Mohamed Hadayet in July 2002, the shooting attacks by John Muhammed and Lee Boyd Malvo in the Washington area in September and October 2002 and the June 2009 attack in which Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad allegedly shot and killed a U.S. soldier and wounded another outside a Little Rock, Ark., recruiting center. The most successful of these attacks was the November 2009 Fort Hood shooting, which resulted in 13 deaths. These attacks not only resulted in deaths but also received extensive media coverage.

Armed assaults are effective and they can kill people. However, as we have noted before, due to the proficiency of U.S. police agencies and the training their officers have received in active shooter scenarios following school shootings and incidents of workplace violence, the impact of armed assaults will be mitigated in the United States, and Europe as well. In fact, it was an ordinary police officer responding to the scene and instituting an active shooter protocol who shot and wounded Maj. Hasan and brought an end to his attack in the Soldier Readiness Center at Fort Hood. The number of people in the American public who are armed can also serve as a mitigating factor, though many past attacks have been planned at locations where personal weapons are prohibited, like the Los Angeles International Airport, Fort Hood and Fort Dix.

Of course, a Mumbai-like situation involving multiple trained shooters who can operate like a fire team will cause problems for first responders, but the police communication system in the United States and the availability of trained SWAT teams will allow authorities to quickly vector in sufficient resources to handle the threat in most locations — especially where such large coordinated attacks are most likely to happen, such as New York, Washington and Los Angeles. Therefore, even a major assault in the United States is unlikely to drag out for days as did the incident in Mumbai.

None of this is to say that the threats posed by suicide bombers against mass transit and aircraft will abruptly end. The jihadists have proven repeatedly that they have a fixation on both of these target sets and they will undoubtedly continue their attempts to attack them. Large bombings and airline attacks also carry with them a sense of drama that a shooting does not — especially in a country that has become somewhat accustomed to shooting incidents conducted by non-terrorist actors for other reasons. However, we believe we’re seeing a significant shift in the mindset of jihadist ideologues and that this shift will translate into a growing trend toward armed assaults.

This report is republished with permission of STRATFOR