Police Work, Politics and World Affairs, Football and the ongoing search for great Scotch Whiskey!

Friday, March 29, 2013

An example of how to make an economy run....

I grew up in Louisiana and after some time in the Army I wanted to settle there, but after applying with the State Police and being told I was nuts, I went to Houston. Seriousely, after taking a 750 question phych test they said I showed "signs of evasion" on the question, to paraphrase, "The meaning of life, yes or no?" Go into detail on that in another post.

Well, it just happened a lot of friends moved to the Houston area and in the late 90s and there was great economic opportunity. After moving to the area I would tell people "Guys, the Sunday want ads in the Houston Chronicle are larger than the entire Sunday Times Picayune."

With that being said, let's look at how Texas is doing in this sucking Obama economy. As of last month our unemployment rate is 6.2%, much below the 8% rate shown by the US DOL. And this is a major reason why.
‘Saudi Texas’ produces almost one-third of America’s crude oil, and as a separate country would rank #13 in the world

The Energy Information Administration released new data today for US oil production by state for the month of January, and its report showed that “Saudi Texas” produced an average of 2.26 million barrels per day (bpd) in January, the highest average daily output in the state in any month since May 1986, almost 27 years ago (see chart above). Texas oil production increased by 30% in January from a year earlier, and by 75% from two years ago.

Amazingly, oil production in the Lone Star State has more than doubled in only three years, from 1.10 million bpd in January 2010 to 2.26 million bpd in January 2013, which has to be one of the most significant increases in oil output ever recorded in the history of the US over such a short period. The exponential increase in Texas oil output over just the last three years has completely reversed the previous 23-year decline in the state’s oil production that took place from 1986 to 2009. Just a little more than three years ago, Texas was producing less than 20% of America’s domestic oil. The recent gusher of unconventional oil being produced in the Eagle Ford Shale area of Texas, thanks to breakthrough drilling technologies, has pushed the Lone Star State’s share of domestic crude oil above 30% in each of the last ten months, and up to 32.2% in January.

Further, Texas oil output in January at an average of 2.26 million bpd was 25.7% greater than the US oil imports that month from all of the Persian Gulf countries (Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait and Qatar) combined at 1.79 million bpd. In fact, Texas oil output has exceeded Persian Gulf imports in each of the last five months starting in September, and that has never happened before in the history of the monthly EIA data for Persian Gulf imports back to January 1993.

Remarkably, oil output has increased so significantly in Texas in recent years, that if it was considered as a separate country, Texas would have been the 13th largest oil-producing nation in the world for crude oil output in November (most recent month available for international oil production data). At the current rate of increase in oil output, Texas is on pace to possibly produce 2.74 million bpd by the end of this year, which could move the state all the way up to No. 9 in the world for oil output by December.

The exponential increase in Texas oil production is bringing jobs and economic prosperity to the state, here are a few examples:

1. During 2012, payrolls in the state of Texas increased by 260,800, which was a 2.45% increase in the state’s employment level from 2011, and almost 50% greater than the national increase in payroll employment of only 1.65% last year. Every business day last year, more than 1,000 new jobs were created in the Lone Star State, and many of those jobs were directly or indirectly related to the state’s booming oil and gas industry.

2. According to an economic impact study released today by the University of Texas San Antonio titled “Economic Impact of the Eagle Ford Shale,” the 20-county South Texas area of Eagle Ford Shale now ranks as the single largest oil and gas development in the world based on the planned capital expenditures of $28 billion this year. For 2012, the Eagle Ford Shale play will have a $61 billion impact on the Texas economy, supporting more than 116,000 full-time jobs, generating more than $2 billion in local and state tax revenues, and contributing $28.4 billion in Gross Regional Product to the Texas state economy. To put $28.4 billion of regional economic activity into perspective, that amount of economic output would place the Eagle Ford Shale area ahead of the entire Gross State Product of Vermont in 2011 of $25.9 billion. As a separate state, the 20-county Eagle Ford Shale would rank as America’s 50th largest state economy, ahead of Vermont!

It’s an amazing success story - just a few years ago, there was no oil or gas activity in the Eagle Ford Shale area of Texas, and now the explosion of oil and gas production over just the last few years has created enough new economic activity and jobs in South Texas that it’s like adding another state economy the size of Vermont to the US economy.

To paraphrase Forbes contributor David Blackmon, God Bless “Saudi Texas,” and God Bless the Eagle Ford Shale, America’s new “state.”

Now I'd like to make one point on this. Gulf of Mexico oil production has basically been shut down by the Obama regime and Texas has simply gone to exploiting it's natural resources on private lands (that the feds have limited ability to shut down) and brought oil on the market.

In comparison, oil production In California almost shut down in spite of massive reserves on land and shore. And we all know how an fiscal basket case the state is for only one reason: Economic suicide. The leadership of the state is choaking the productive class out of the state and dooming what was and should be the econimoc engine of the country.

Well California businesses, come in to Texas. Like Motel 6, we'll leave the light on for you.

Texas adds 80,600 jobs in February, its biggest monthly gain ever

Texas employment surged in February as employers added the most new jobs ever in a month.

The Texas Workforce Commission on Friday reported 80,600 new jobs across the state. That more than made up for a slow start in January, when an upwardly revised 13,800 jobs were added.

The job growth appears to be the highest monthly gain since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking such data in 1939.

Texas’ unemployment rate, however, inched up to 6.4 percent, though it was still well below the U.S. rate of 7.7 percent for February.

“The addition of over 80,000 jobs in a single month is remarkable,” said economist Ray Perryman of the Perryman Group in Waco. “While I don’t think that pace will continue, Texas is seeing ongoing expansion on several fronts.”

Texas’ employment gains last month also were the largest nationally. California was second with 41,200 jobs. Overall, employment increased in 42 states and decreased in eight states and Washington, D.C...

...The Dallas area added 14,500 jobs in February, but that figure is not adjusted for seasonal variations as the state total is.

Economists were encouraged that Texas’ job growth was spread across many different industries, whereas last year’s gains were driven mainly by housing and energy.

Employment grew in all of the state’s 11 major industries in February, led by 25,400 jobs in professional and business services. Construction added 15,700 jobs — the eighth straight month of job gains in that category.

Texas, open for business!

I've heard of using purchased urine to pass a test, but this is new...

This is too good to not be true!
Lake St. Louis Man Accused of Using Prosthetic Penis During Drug Test

He looks like he uses a fake...oh device!

ST. CHARLES. Mo. (KMOX) – A Lake St. Louis man accused of using a prosthetic penis to try to pass a drug test is facing criminal charges.

According to police, 34 year-old Sydney Levin was submitting a urine sample last week as part of his probation when an officer allegedly spotted him using a prosthetic penis, known as a Whizzinator.

The prosthetic is advertised as a discreet device way to use someone else’s urine.

Levin was charged with possessing a forging instrument. He was arrested and released after posting $25,000 bond. He pleaded not guilty Monday.

Levin was on probation for possession of a controlled substance and felony stealing in 2009.

In 2010, Gerald Willis of Los Angeles was sentenced to six months in federal prison for running a company that sold the Whizzinator to cheat on drug tests. Willis’ company disbanded, but the Whizzinator is still sold on the Web as a sex toy through a company called Alternative Lifestyle Systems of Long Beach, Calif. A message seeking comment from the company on Thursday was not returned.

You can look at the device if you want. Gotta say they met a demand in the market.

I'm still recovering from the Elton John concert last night but I had to post this. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Security Weekly: Mexico: The 'New Narco-Reality' Is Already Here, March 28, 2013

Mexico: The 'New Narco-Reality' Is Already Here

By Scott Stewart, Vice President of Analysis, and Tristan Reed

Last week we read an article discussing the idea that Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto was somehow going to be able to create a "new narco-reality" in Mexico. The article theorized that if the Mexican government were to soften its investigation of drug crimes, the administration could defuse the situation and thus violence would decrease. The author of the article is not alone in exploring this line of reasoning. In fact, the article expresses a theoretical shift in approach we have often heard while discussing the problem of violence in Mexico with both Mexicans and interested foreigners.

Unfortunately, reducing the levels of violence is not quite that simple. The nature and origins of violence in Mexico severely constrain the Mexican government. Because of these constraints, merely lessening the government's prosecution of drug crimes will have little impact on the level of violence. Therefore, the theoretical argument will remain just that.

Nature and History

When analyzing the violence in Mexico it is helpful to put the violent incidents into one of three distinct categories: incidents that result from government action against the criminals, incidents that result from one criminal group attacking another and incidents that are the result of criminals attacking innocent citizens.

By reducing the tempo at which it prosecutes the drug war, the Mexican government could influence the number of incidents in the first category -- government action against cartel figures. Clearly these incidents can and do provoke a considerable amount of violence.

Tristan recently visited the street corner in Matamoros were Antonio Cardenas Guillen, also known as "Tony Tormenta," was killed by government troops in November 2010. Even though the incident occurred more than two years ago, the neighborhood still shows significant damage from the ferocious firefight that erupted between the military and Cardenas Guillen's bodyguards. The scene was reminiscent of the damage Tristan saw while in Iraq and Afghanistan and not something normally associated with a law enforcement operation, especially one within small arms range of the United States (the firefight forced an evacuation of the University of Texas at Brownsville campus).

But, while quite dramatic, such operations are relatively rare. The government simply does not initiate the majority of violent incidents in Mexico and is not even involved in most of the violence. Many of the deadliest incidents in Mexico have no government involvement at all, such as the May 2011 ambush in Nayarit state in which 29 cartel gunmen were killed; the July 2010 ambush in Saric, Sonora, in which more than 20 cartel gunmen were killed; the August 2011 casino arson in Monterrey in which 52 people were killed; the killing of 72 migrants on a bus in Tamaulipas state in August 2010; and the hundreds of victims of the dueling displays of large body dumps by Los Zetas and the Sinaloa cartel in each other's territory in 2011 and 2012. Even in the prolonged firefights in Reynosa in March 2013, there are reports that the government allowed the two warring criminal groups to fight for hours before getting involved in the fray.

Indeed, while the popular narrative is to ascribe the beginning of Mexico's cartel war to a campaign launched by former Mexican President Felipe Calderon, this is simply not the case. The escalation began well before Calderon was elected, and it was not government actions but a change in narcotics smuggling routes to the United States and competition over those routes between Mexican criminal groups that really sparked the escalation of violence.

This dynamic first became visible in the early 1990s when Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera and his Sinaloa Federation partners sent forces from Sinaloa state into Tijuana, Baja California state -- controlled at the time by the Arellano Felix brothers -- to buy stash houses and construct tunnels for moving drugs across the border. In response, the brothers tortured and killed Sinaloa operatives in Tijuana and even tried to assassinate El Chapo. The war between Sinaloa and the Arellano Felix brothers sparked a prolonged season of violence in Tijuana that eventually led Mexico's president at the time, Ernesto Zedillo, to dispatch Mexican soldiers to the city in 2000 in an attempt to quell the violence.

A similar escalation occurred in Tamaulipas state in 2003, following the arrest of Gulf cartel leader Osiel Cardenas Guillen, when El Chapo and Sinaloa made an attempt to seize control of the lucrative Nuevo Laredo plaza. This incursion caused a powerful counterattack by Los Zetas, and a bloody, protracted struggle erupted in the city. By mid-2005 law and order had completely broken down in Nuevo Laredo, and then-President Vicente Fox deployed the army to the city to reassert government control.

Currently in Tamaulipas, the federal police and the military control security, and the local police have been disarmed in some cities, such as Reynosa. In such an environment it will be impossible for the federal government to disengage without first rebuilding local and state police forces to provide security.

The bottom line is that since the federal government has not initiated most of the violence in Mexico, a decision by the government not to pursue drug investigations would do little to quell the violence.


Beyond this general history of cartel-initiated and cartel-driven violence, there is the changing nature of the Mexican cartels themselves. Perhaps the most significant of these changes has been the fragmentation that has occurred among the cartels. After many years of relative stasis, where there were a handful of large cartel organizations that controlled relatively large areas, the cartel groups and the territory they control have entered a dynamic period. In 2006 and 2007 it was possible for us to do an annual report that explained the main dynamics of the Mexican cartels, but due to the rapid changes in 2010 we felt compelled to do a mid-year update in May. By 2011, the quickly changing cartel landscape demanded that we provide quarterly updates as older organizations splintered and newer organizations rose from them. This process has shown no sign of stopping.

The trend toward fragmentation is partly a result of the Mexican and U.S. governments' policy of seeking to decapitate the cartel groups, but it is too simplistic to suggest that Mexican policy is the sole cause of this fragmentation. In many cases, the reasons are much more complicated. For example, the largest of these new fragment groups, Los Zetas, split from the Gulf cartel nearly seven years after the capture of Gulf cartel leader Cardenas and almost a year before the death of his replacement -- and brother -- Antonio Cardenas Guillen.

Los Zetas split from the Gulf cartel after they staged what was essentially a failed hostile takeover of the organization and the other leaders resisted their attempt -- and resented their greed and arrogance. This resulted in friction between the traditional leadership of the Gulf cartel and Los Zetas that then led to all-out war between the two organizations when a Gulf cartel gunmen killed a Zetas member.

It is true that the killing of Antonio Cardenas Guillen led to additional splintering of the Gulf cartel and to a bitter struggle for control of the organization in 2011 and 2012, but the organization was arguably weakened far more by Los Zetas' insurrection than it was by his death. Currently, the Gulf cartel is very weak and appears to be not a unified organization but a scattered collection of smaller groups fighting to retain control of Matamoros and Reynosa.

The proliferation of these smaller organized crime groups has also resulted in increased friction, and the increase in violence we have seen in places like Acapulco and Guadalajara in recent years is a direct consequence of this. The violence is not just occurring in one or two border towns; it is stretching over a large portion of the country and encompasses several states.

There are also some who cling to the idea that Pena Nieto can forge some sort of agreement with the cartels and return to the way that his predecessors in the Institutional Revolutionary Party used to deal with and accommodate the cartels in the past. However, given the current cartel dynamics, the situation in Mexico is very different than it was under former presidents, such as Zedillo and Carlos Salinas de Gortari. There simply are too many moving parts and too many cartel groups with which to deal.

Beyond Trafficking

Another constraint that prevents the Mexican government from taking a hands-off approach to the criminal cartels is that they are no longer simply drug trafficking organizations. They have evolved into something else.

In the 1990s the cartels were mostly focused on trafficking Colombian cocaine to the United States and producing their own marijuana, black tar heroin and synthetic drugs that they then transported to the United States. However, over the past decade the costs of the protracted wars among the cartels and the impact that these wars have had on some groups' ability to produce or traffic drugs have led many groups to branch out into other crimes.

These other criminal endeavors include kidnapping, extortion, human smuggling and cargo theft. Los Zetas also make a considerable amount of money stealing oil from Mexico's state-run oil company and pirating CDs and DVDs. This other criminal behavior is what sparks many territorial fights in areas that are outside the traditional drug production areas and border crossings.

It is not necessary to entirely control a highway or transportation hub to push drugs through -- both U.S. and Mexican law enforcement struggle to even slightly interdict the overall drug flow, and a Mexican gang will not be any more successful. But when two opposing groups are using the same turf, and are selling drugs on the streets, extorting businesses or running kidnapping rings, then it's crucial that they keep competitors away so they do not harm profits. This increasing focus on local drug sales also means that drugs are becoming more of an acute Mexican problem rather than just a problem for the Americans.

This drift toward localized crime and drug distribution is one of the major causes of the current violence in states such as Morelos, Mexico, Jalisco, Guanajuato and Quintana Roo. This change has been reflected in law enforcement acronyms. The Mexican cartels are no longer referred to as DTOs, or drug trafficking organizations, but rather TCOs, or transnational criminal organizations, in recognition of the other crimes they are involved in.

A "new narco-reality" has already dawned in Mexico. The environment is vastly different from what it was in the 1990s, and there is no going back. The changes that have occurred to and among the Mexican cartels, and the amount of violence the organizations precipitate without government involvement, mean that it will be extremely difficult for the Pena Nieto administration to ignore the cartels' activities and adopt this theoretical hands-off approach.

Mexico: The New Narco-Reality Is Already Here is republished with permission of Stratfor.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

What's going on in the World Today 130327





Obstacles to Scottish Independence

The European Union's Fraying Ties


Xi Jinping's Symbolic Overseas Tour

Malaysia, Philippines: Ethnic Tensions Are at the Center of a Standoff

Reforming Hukou: China's Quest for Inland Urbanization, Part 1

North Korea: Military Hotline With Seoul Cut Off March 27, 2013

North Korea is cutting a military hotline with South Korea, meaning all direct contact between the two countries' militaries and governments has been severed, AFP reported March 27, citing North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency. A North Korean official said there was no need to continue military communications in a situation where war may break out at any moment. Pyongyang has effectively declared a return to open hostilities with a number of recent actions.


France: Troops In Violent Fighting In Mali, Minister Says February 26, 2013

French forces are involved in very violent fighting in the mountains of northern Mali, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Feb. 26, AP reported. It is too early to discuss a quick withdrawal from Mali, Le Drian said. The rough geography of the Tigharghar Mountains gives militants an easily defensible

Mali: France Confirms Al Qaeda-Linked Warlord's Death March 23, 2013

The office of French President Francois Hollande "definitively confirmed" the February death of al Qaeda-linked North African warlord Abdelhamid Abou Zeid, AP reported March 23. Abou Zeid was reported killed in combat with French troops in the Adrar des Ifoghas Mountains in northern Mali, though Chad's president claimed Chadian troops killed him. Militants are known to use Mali's mountains to stage a defensive guerrilla-style conflict or conduct illicit trade.


Russia, South Africa: Countries To Create Trading Bloc In Platinum Metals
March 27, 2013 | 1303 GMT
Russia and South Africa, which combined control about 80 percent of the world's reserves of platinum metals, plan to create a trading bloc to control the flow of exports, Bloomberg reported March 27, citing an interview with Russian Natural Resources Minister Sergei Donskoi. Other producers will be invited to join the bloc, which will resemble the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Donskoi said, adding that working groups are being formed to determine joint actions and mechanisms.



Iraq: Militants Attack Pipeline March 26, 2013

Insurgents blew up a major oil pipeline in northern Iraq late March 25, a police source said March 26, Xinhua reported. The attackers blew up the pipeline near the area of Tulool al-Baj, about 250 kilometers (155 miles) north of Baghdad, halting oil exports via Turkey.
Turkey: 100 PKK Fighters Withdraw To Iraq March 26, 2013

A group of 100 fighters for the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, withdrew from Turkey to Iraq on March 26 as part of ongoing peace talks, Milliyet reported. An accord reached between the Turkish government and the PKK calls for as many as 4,000 PKK fighters to eventually withdraw from Turkey.


Israel's Insightful Cynicism

Next Steps After Israel's Flotilla Apology

Israel: Deal With Turkey Does Not Call For End To Gaza Blockade, Official Says March 24, 2013

Israel's reconciliation with Turkey did not require an agreement to end Israel's blockade of Gaza, Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror said March 24, Reuters reported. Amidror added that Israel's clampdown on Gaza could even strengthen if regional security is threatened. Though there have been signs that ties between Israel and Turkey are warming, Ankara has indicated that it may need further convincing if more meaningful rapprochement is to take place


Afghanistan: President, Taliban To Discuss Peace Talks In Qatar March 24, 2013

Afghan President Hamid Karzai will discuss peace negotiations with Taliban officials in Qatar within the coming week, the Afghan Foreign Ministry said March 24, Reuters reported. Talks will include a discussion on opening a Taliban office in Doha. Karzai faces intense domestic pressure on the Taliban issue and has sought to ensure that negotiations involving the Taliban and the United States do not cut him and his allies out of power



Argentina Combats Black Market Currency Trading

Mexico Security Memo: Prevalent Propaganda and Promises to Fight Crime

Challenging the International Economic System

Except where noted courtesy STRATFOR.COM

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Injured K9 is life flighted and lives...

And the turd who shot him is sent in an ambulance and is no longer with us!

abc27 WHTM
Injured K-9 airlifted to animal hospital after shot by suspect

Air medical EMS crews pulled out all the stops after a K-9 was shot by flying her to an animal hospital to save him

HARRISBURG, Pa. — EMS crews have been speaking of their most unusual air medical transport — an injured police dog to an animal hospital.

Police made the unusual request after Zeke was shot by a fleeing suspect and was losing a lot of blood, according to The Patriot News.

A Life Lion helicopter transported the animal to Rossmoyne Animal Emergency Trauma Center, which is about 24 miles away by ground from the place where Zeke was shot, the article said.

The fleeing crime suspect, Skyler Stewart, was later shot by police, and was transported to the hospital by ambulance but later died.

Jason Campbell, the chief and CEO of South Central EMS, said Thursday that Stewart was transported by ambulance rather than helicopter as he was so close to the hospital when he was shot and because of his medical situation.

Life Lion administrator Lynn Doherty said her decision to transport Zeke by air medical helicopter March 15 was driven by awareness that K-9s are considered sworn law enforcement officers and have a substantial role in protecting the safety of the public and of police.

She said it was the first time she knew of medevac being used in such a way.

"I think it's always going to be on a case-by-case basis, because I really want to limit it to law enforcement and emergency service canines. I don't want to expand this to any other kind of animal," she said.

"I know if I had to make the same snap decision, with the same circumstances, I would do the same thing."

The Patriot News reported that Zeke, who lost about 15 percent of his blood, underwent two hours of surgery and is expected to fully recover.

"The helicopter made the difference here," veterinarian Mark Meyerhoff told the newspaper.

"Zeke’s our hero," Capt. Annette Oates of Harrisburg Police Department told The Patriot News. "He's one of us … We’re so happy he’s made a full recovery. He's a fighter — a crime fighter.”...

And the story ended well:
abc27 WHTM

Zeke, good to see ya back on your feet. Make sure to file your AFLAC and get keep on your IOD paperwork!

Geopolitical Weekly: Europe's Disturbing Precedent in the Cyprus Bailout, March 26, 2013

By George Friedman
Founder and Chairman

The European economic crisis has taken different forms in different places, and Cyprus is the latest country to face the prospect of financial ruin. Overextended banks in Cyprus are teetering on the brink of failure for issuing loans they cannot repay, which has prompted the tiny Mediterranean country, a member of the European Union, to turn to Brussels for help. Late Sunday, the European Union and Cypriot president announced new terms for a bailout that would provide the infusion of cash necessary to prevent bankruptcies in Cyprus' banking sector and, more important, prevent a banking panic from spreading to the rest of Europe.

What makes this crisis different from the previous bailouts for Greece, Ireland or elsewhere are the conditions Brussels has attached for its assistance. Due to circumstances unique to Cyprus, namely the questionable origin of a large chunk of the deposits in its now-stricken banking sector and that sector's small size relative to the overall European economy, the European Union, led by Germany, has taken a harder line with the country. Cyprus has few sources of capital besides its capacity as a banking shelter, so Brussels required that the country raise part of the necessary funds from its own banking sector -- possibly by seizing money from certain bank deposits and putting it toward the bailout fund. The proposal has not yet been approved, but if enacted it would undermine a formerly sacred principle of banking in most industrial nations -- the security of deposits -- setting a new and possibly destabilizing precedent in Europe.

Cyprus' Dilemma

For years before the crisis, Cyprus promoted itself as an offshore financial center by creating a tax structure and banking rules that made depositing money in the country attractive to foreigners. As a result, Cyprus' financial sector grew to dwarf the rest of the Cypriot economy, accounting for about eight times the country's annual gross domestic product and employing a substantial portion of the nation's work force. A side effect of this strategy, however, was that if the financial sector experienced problems, the rest of the domestic economy would not be big enough to stabilize the banks without outside help.

Europe's economic crisis spawned precisely those sorts of problems for the Cypriot banking sector. This was not just a concern for Cyprus, though. Even though Cyprus' banking sector is tiny relative to the rest of Europe's, one Cypriot bank defaulting on what it owed other banks could put the whole European banking system in question, and the last thing the European Union needs now is a crisis of confidence in its banks.

The Cypriots were facing chaos if their banks failed because the insurance system was insufficient to cover the claims of depositors. For its part, the European Union could not risk the financial contagion. But Brussels could not simply bail out the entire banking system, both because of the precedent it would set and because the political support for a total bailout wasn't there. This was particularly the case for Germany, which would coarry much of the financial burden and is preparing for elections in September 2013 before an electorate that is increasingly hostile to bailouts.

Even though the German public may oppose the bailouts, it benefits immensely from what those bailouts preserve. As I have pointed out many times, Germany is heavily dependent on exports and the European Union is critical to those exports as a free trade zone. Although Germany also imports a great deal from the rest of the bloc, a break in the free trade zone would be catastrophic for the German economy. If all imports were cut along with exports, Germany would still be devastated because what it produces and exports and what it imports are very different things. Germany could not absorb all its production and would experience massive unemployment.

Currently, Germany's unemployment rate is below 6 percent while Spain's is above 25 percent. An exploding financial crisis would cut into consumption, which would particularly hurt an export-dependent country like Germany. Berlin's posture through much of the European economic crisis has been to pretend it is about to stop providing assistance to other countries, but the fact is that doing so would inflict pain on Germany, too. Germany will make its threats and its voters will be upset, but in the end, the country would not be enjoying high employment if the crisis got out of hand. So the German game is to constantly threaten to let someone sink, while in the end doing whatever has to be done.

Cyprus was a place where Germany could show its willingness to get tough but didn't carry any of the risks that would arise in pushing a country such as Spain too hard, for example. Cyprus' economy was small enough and its problems unique enough that the rest of Europe could dismiss any measures taken against the country as a one-off. Here was a case where the German position appears enormously more powerful than usual. And in isolation, this is true -- if we ignore the question of what conclusion the rest of Europe, and the world, draws from the treatment of Cyprus.

A Firmer Line

Under German guidance, the European Union made an extraordinary demand on the Cypriots. It demanded that a tax be placed on deposits in the country's two largest banks. The tax would be about 10 percent and would, under the initial terms, be applied to all accounts, regardless of their size. This was an unprecedented solution. Since the global financial crisis of the 1920s, all advanced industrial countries -- and many others -- had been operating on a fundamental principle that deposits in banks were utterly secure. They were not regarded as bonds paying certain interest, whose value would disappear if the bank failed. Deposits were regarded as riskless placements of money, with the risk covered by deposit insurance for smaller deposits, but in practical terms, guaranteed by the national wealth.

This guarantee meant that individual savings would be safe and that working capital parked by corporations in a bank was safe as well. The alternative was not only uncertainty, but also people hoarding cash and preventing it from entering the financial system. It was necessary to have a secure place to put money so that it was available for lending. The runs on banks in the 1920s and 1930s drove home the need for total security for deposits.

Brussels demanded that the bailout for Cypriot banks be partly paid for by depositors in those banks. That demand essentially violated the social contract on the sanctity of bank deposits and did so in a country that was a member of the European Union -- one of the world's major economic blocs. Proponents of the measure pointed out that many of the depositors were not Cypriot nationals but rather foreigners, many of whom were Russian. Moreover, it was suggested that the only reason for a Russian to be putting money in a Cypriot bank was to get it out of Russia, and the only motive for that had to be nefarious. It followed that the confiscation was not targeted against ordinary people but against shady Russians.

There is no question that there are shady Russians putting money into Cyprus. But ordinary Cypriots had their money in the same banks and so did many Cypriot and foreign companies, including European companies, who were doing business in Cyprus and need money for payroll and so on. The proposal might look like an attempt to seize Russian money, but it would pinch the bank accounts of all Cypriots as well as a sizable amount of legitimate Russian money. Confiscating 10 percent of all deposits could devastate individuals and the overall economy and likely would prompt companies operating in Cyprus to move their cash elsewhere. The measure would have been devastating and the Cypriot parliament rejected it.

Another deal, the one currently up for approval, tried to mitigate the problem but still broke the social contract. Accounts smaller than 100,000 euros (about $128,000) would not be touched. However, accounts larger than 100,000 euros would be taxed at an uncertain rate, currently estimated at 20 percent, while bondholders would lose up to 40 percent. These numbers will likely shift again, but assuming they are close to the final figures, depositors putting money into banks beyond this amount are at risk depending on the financial condition of the bank.

The impact on Cyprus is more than Russian mafia money being taxed. All corporations doing business in Cyprus could have 20 percent of their operating cash seized. Regardless of precisely how the Cypriot banking system is restructured, the fact is that the European Union demanded that Cyprus seize portions of bank accounts from large depositors. From a business' perspective, 100,000 euros is not all that much when you are running a supermarket or a car dealership or a construction company, but this arbitrary level could easily be raised in the future and the mere existence of the measure will make attracting investment more difficult.

A New Precedent

The more significant development was the fact that the European Union has now made it official policy, under certain circumstances, to encourage member states to seize depositors' assets to pay for the stabilization of financial institutions. To put it simply, if you are a business, the safety of your money in a bank depends on the bank's financial condition and the political considerations of the European Union. What had been a haven -- no risk and minimal returns -- now has minimal returns and unknown risks. Brussels' emphasis that this was mostly Russian money is not assuring, either. More than just Russian money stands to be taken for the bailout fund if the new policy is approved. Moreover, the point of the global banking system is that money is safe wherever it is deposited. Europe has other money centers, like Luxembourg, where the financial system outstrips gross domestic product. There are no problems there right now, but as we have learned, the European Union is an uncertain place. If Russian deposits can be seized in Nicosia, why not American deposits in Luxembourg?

This was why it was so important to emphasize the potentially criminal nature of the Russian deposits and to downplay the effect on ordinary law-abiding Cypriots. Brussels has worked very hard to make the Cyprus case seem unique and non-replicable: Cyprus is small and its banking system attracted criminals, so the principle that deposits in banks are secure doesn't necessarily apply there. Another way to look at it is that an EU member, like some other members of the bloc, could not guarantee the solvency of its banks so Brussels forced the country to seize deposits in order to receive help stabilizing the system. Viewed that way, the European Union has established a new option for itself in dealing with depositors in troubled banks, and that principle now applies to all of Europe, particularly to those countries with financial institutions potentially facing similar problems.

The question, of course, is whether foreign depositors in European banks will accept that Cyprus was one of a kind. If they decide that it isn't obvious, then foreign corporations -- and even European corporations -- could start pulling at least part of their cash out of European banks and putting it elsewhere. They can minimize the amount of cash on hand in Europe by shifting to non-European banks and transferring as needed. Those withdrawals, if they occur, could create a massive liquidity crisis in Europe. At the very least, every reasonable CFO will now assume that the risk in Europe has risen and that an eye needs to be kept on the financial health of institutions where they have deposits. In Europe, depositing money in a bank is no longer a no-brainer.

Now we must ask ourselves why the Germans would have created this risk. One answer is that they were confident they could convince depositors that Cyprus was one of a kind and not to be repeated. The other answer was that they had no choice. The first explanation was undermined March 25, when Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem said that the model used in Cyprus could be used in future bank bailouts. Locked in by an electorate that does not fully understand Germany's vulnerability, the German government decided it had to take a hard line on Cyprus regardless of risk. Or Germany may be preparing a new strategy for the management of the European financial crisis. The banking system in Europe is too big to salvage if it comes to a serious crisis. Any solution will involve the loss of depositors' money. Contemplating that concept could lead to a run on banks that would trigger the crisis Europe fears. Solving a crisis and guaranteeing depositors may be seen as having impossible consequences. Setting the precedent in Cyprus has the advantage of not appearing to be a precedent.

It's not clear what the Germans or the EU negotiators are thinking, and all these theories are speculative. What is certain is that an EU country, facing a crisis in its financial system, is now weighing whether to pay for that crisis by seizing depositors' money. And with that, the Europeans have broken a barrier that has been in place since the 1930s. They didn't do that casually and they didn't do that because they wanted to. But they did it.
Europe's Disturbing Precedent in the Cyprus Bailout is republished with permission of Stratfor.

Officer Down

Executive Director Tom Clements
Colorado Department of Corrections
End of Watch: Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Age: 58
Tour: 33 years

Executive Director Tom Clements was assassinated at his home in Monument, Colorado, by a former inmate.

Two days earlier, the subject had murdered a pizza deliveryman in Denver, Colorado, and stole the man's uniform and pizza carrier. On the night that Director Clements was murdered, the subject had knocked on his door at approximately 8:30 pm. When Director Clements answered the door he was fatally shot and the subject fled the scene.

A deputy sheriff from the Montague County, Texas, Sheriff's Office attempted to stop the subject's car for a traffic violation two days later. The subject opened fire on the deputy, wounding him several times, before leading other officers on a chase into neighboring Wise County. During the ensuing shooting the subject was shot and fatally wounded. It was later determined that the subject was a member of a Colorado white supremacist gang.

Director Clements had served with the Colorado Department of Corrections for two years. He had previously served with the Missouri Department of Corrections for over 30 years, and had started his career as a probation officer. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

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

Monday, March 25, 2013

Security Weekly: Assessing Inspire Magazine's 10th Edition, March 20th, 2013

By Scott Stewart
Vice President of Analysis

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula released the 10th edition of its English-language magazine, Inspire, on March 1. After discussing its contents with our analytical team, initially I decided not to write about it. I concluded that Inspire 10 conformed closely to the previous nine editions and that our analysis of the magazine, from its inception to its re-emergence after the death of editor Samir Khan, was more than adequate.

Since making that decision, however, I have been very surprised at how the media and other analysts have received the magazine. Some have overhyped the magazine even as others have downplayed -- even ridiculed -- its content. I have heard others say the magazine revealed nothing about al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. All these reactions are misguided. So in response, I've endeavored to provide a more balanced assessment that can be placed in a more appropriate perspective.

A Balanced Assessment

I am certainly not among those who want to sensationalize the threat the magazine poses. Inspire 10 is not going to launch the grassroots jihadist apocalypse al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula seeks to foment any more successfully than the magazine's previous nine editions. The fact that a photograph of Austin, Texas, appears in the magazine does not mean that the city is somehow being secretly targeted for attack by jihadist sleeper cells.

But laughing at the magazine or dismissing it as irrelevant would be imprudent. The magazine has in fact inspired several terrorist plots. In some cases, the connections to the magazine have been obvious, as in cases where plotters have attempted to assemble improvised explosive devices using instructions provided in Inspire magazine's first edition. This happened in July 2011, when U.S. Army Pfc. Naser Jason Abdo was arrested as he attempted to assemble explosive devices he planned to use in an attack against a restaurant in Killeen, Texas, that was popular with soldiers from nearby Fort Hood.

In November 2011, the New York Police Department arrested Jose Pimentel, also known as Muhammad Yusuf, a 27-year-old Dominican-American. Pimentel was arrested at an apartment in Manhattan as he was allegedly constructing homemade improvised explosive devices, again following the instructions provided in Inspire.

Other cases have not been as blatant as those involving Abdo and Pimentel. However, they have involved individuals who were radicalized or motivated by Inspire. As recently as March 15, three men in the United Kingdom pleaded guilty to terrorism charges related to attending terrorism training camps in Pakistan. The men allegedly were motivated by Inspire. They had discussed attack ideas from the magazine, and the wife of one of the men was convicted in December 2012 on charges of possessing two digital copies of the magazine on a memory card.

There are several other recent and notable cases connected to Inspire magazine.

On Nov. 29, 2012, two brothers from Florida, Raees Alam Qazi and Sheheryar Alam Qazi, were arrested and charged with plotting attacks in New York. Prosecutors noted that the pair had been motivated by Inspire magazine.
On Oct. 17, 2012, Bangladeshi national Quazi Nafis was arrested as part of an FBI sting operation after he attempted to detonate a vehicle bomb outside New York's Federal Reserve Bank. Nafis reportedly was an avid reader of Inspire magazine.
On Sept. 15, 2012, Adel Daoud, another avid Inspire reader, was arrested after he parked a Jeep Cherokee outside a Chicago bar and attempted to detonate the bomb he thought it contained. His was also an FBI sting operation.
On April 25, 2012, four men were arrested in the British town of Luton and charged with plotting attacks against a British army base. The four were also charged with downloading and possessing six editions of Inspire magazine. They pleaded guilty March 1, 2013.
Target Audience

Some commentators have noted that most of the suspects arrested in connection with these plots were fairly hapless and clueless -- the type of individuals we have long referred to as "Kramer jihadists." Though partly incompetent, these grassroots operatives are exactly the demographic al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is targeting for radicalization and mobilization.

Inspire seeks to reach amateur terrorists living in the West; professional terrorists already know how to create pipe bombs. For this reason, the magazine urges amateurs to undertake simple attacks rather than the complex attacks. Too often they find assistance from an FBI informant.

It is a grave error to dismiss Kramer jihadists and assume they pose no threat. They can indeed kill people if they heed the advice of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and conduct simple attacks that are within their capability. That is what Maj. Nidal Hasan did in Fort Hood in November 2009 and what Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, also known as Carlos Bledsoe, did in June 2009. Both men were inspired to action by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Kramer jihadists can also be deadly if they actually find a real terrorist, rather than a government informant, to assist or equip them. It is very important to remember that amateur, committed jihadists such as shoe bomber Richard Reid and underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab nearly succeeded in destroying an airliner.

Twenty years ago last month, I witnessed firsthand the dangers of discounting Kramer jihadists when I peered into a massive crater in the floor of the World Trade Center parking garage. The FBI had deemed those responsible for the attack too hapless to do much more than assassinate the leader of the Jewish Defense League in a midtown Manhattan hotel. And they were -- until a trained terrorist operative traveled to New York and organized their efforts, enabling them to construct, deliver and detonate a massive 590-kilogram (1,300-pound) truck bomb.

I also take umbrage at those who snicker at the thought of grassroots jihadists lighting fires. As noted last month, I believe that fire is an underappreciated threat. Many people simply do not realize how deadly a weapon it can be, even though starting fires does not require sophisticated terrorist tradecraft.

Some Revelations

Despite claims to the contrary, Inspire 10 reveals much about al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Like all propaganda and political rhetoric, its assertions must not be taken at face value. But to claim that the magazine tells us nothing about al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is simply lazy analysis.

Clearly, the concept of reaching out and attempting to radicalize and equip English-speaking jihadists was not something promoted only by Anwar al-Awlaki and Khan. English-speaking outreach has continued after their deaths. The group maintains that traveling to places such as Yemen for training is too dangerous.

That al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula continues to publish Inspire, which takes time and resources to produce, is also revelatory. The group has been under increased pressure over the past 18 months. The jihadists have been pushed back to their desert hideouts from much of the territory they conquered in southern Yemen. Yet despite these setbacks, they continue to devote resources to publishing Inspire, they have people with access to computers and the Internet, and they remain in contact with jihadists in other parts of the world, such as Pakistan and Mali.

The copyediting in Inspire 10 was also cleaner than the previous edition, which had a major typo on the front cover. The new editor, who uses the nom de guerre Yahya Ibrahim, has worked with Khan since the first edition of the magazine. He is a native English speaker who is familiar with Western culture and idioms. Ibrahim was clearly influenced by Khan and has attempted to continue Khan's work, but he lacks Khan's acerbic wit and irreverence. In Inspire 10, for example, Ibrahim attempts to replicate the insulting one-page "advertisements" that Khan included in earlier editions of the magazine -- one in particular racially derided U.S. President Barack Obama -- but they lack the bite and general snark of Khan. Inspire seems to be more serious and less edgy than when Khan was in charge. This may dull its appeal to its targeted audience.

Another thing we can ascertain from Inspire 10 is that, despite al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's continued commitment to foment grassroots terrorism in the West, the group is clearly disappointed by the response it has gotten. The magazine has mobilized some jihadists but probably not as many as the group would like. Those who have been inspired have not been very successful in their attacks.

The Open Source Jihad section also continues to show the low view that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's professional terrorist cadre has for grassroots operatives. They see them as not-so-exceptional individuals incapable of much more than simple attacks. Yet, since al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula lacks the ability to attack the West, the group must depend on these less than ideal individuals to do so for them.

In addition to what it reveals about al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Inspire 10 can also tell us some important things about what tactics we can expect the group to use and what locations we can expect it to target. Clearly the magazine continues to focus on targets in the West that have insulted the Prophet Mohammed. It revives the "the dust has not settled" theme from the first edition of the magazine and provides an updated hit list of individuals who have insulted Mohammed, including Terry Jones, the controversial Koran-burning pastor; Morris Sadek, who made a controversial film that disparaged Islam; and Stephane Charbonnier of the French magazine Charlie Hebdo.

We have seen several attacks and thwarted plots directed against these individuals in the past. In fact, in November 2011, Charlie Hebdo's office was completely destroyed by fire, which was started by the very type of accelerant and match attack promoted in Inspire 10. We believe we will continue to see grassroots plots against these targets.

Despite the weakening of the al Qaeda core group and the serious blows that regional franchises such as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and al Shabaab have suffered in recent months, jihadism continues to attract new adherents. And Inspire hopes to motivate and equip them to conduct attacks in the West.

Assessing Inspire Magazine's 10th Edition is republished with permission of Stratfor.

The Republicans are finally shoving it back to the Democrats...

Saw this over the weekend and found it quite fascinating.
Obama court pick withdraws, thwarted by Republicans in Senate | McClatchy

By DAVID G. SAVAGE | Tribune Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — WASHINGTON-Former New York state attorney Caitlin Halligan, President Barack Obama's choice for the U.S. court of appeals here, withdrew her name Friday, defeated by the Republican minority in the Senate.

Halligan's withdrawal is the latest example of how the GOP has employed the filibuster rule not only to block major legislation, but routine presidential appointments as well.

The D.C. Circuit decides significant challenges to federal regulations, including those on environmental protection and worker's rights. Obama is the first president who has been unable to put a single judge on the court.

The Constitution says judges are to be nominated by the president and confirmed by a majority vote in the Senate. Halligan had the support of the Senate's Democratic majority, but minority Republicans blocked a vote to confirm her. Under the Senate's rules, it takes 60 votes to close debate and set a final vote.

Obama issued a statement saying he was "deeply disappointed that...a minority of senators continued to block a simple up-or-down vote on her nomination. The D.C. Circuit is considered the nation's second highest court, but it now has more vacancies than any other circuit court. This is unacceptable."...

...Liberal groups have been upset by the success of the GOP filibuster strategy. "The D.C. Circuit is far to important to be held hostage by Senate obstructionists," said Caroline Frederickson, president of the American Constitution Society.

"Senate Democrats need to revisit the Senate rules reform and stand up to the tyranny of the minority," said Nan Aron, president of the Alliance for Justice...

Funny, I don't recall these people screaming about the need to "revisit the Senate rules reform and stand up to the tyranny of the minority." when Democrats were using the rules to block Bush nominees to the courts.

A really good example of this:
...Halligan was first nominated in 2010 to fill a seat on the D.C. circuit that has been vacant since 2005 when then-Judge John Roberts became the chief justice of the United States.

President George W. Bush has two of his D.C. circuit nominees blocked by Democratic filibusters, but he also succeeded in winning confirmation for four appointees to the appeals court...

Why wasn't Mr Robert's seat filled? Wouldn't have anything to do with a filibuster would it?

But the comments below are great:
Bill Tobey
There is a core issue here. This would be true whether Republicans or Democrats block a nomination.

I read that the process was intended to have an opporutnity for the nominee to be questioned by the Senate in public. Key word is in public. This way the citizens have a sense of who the person is & their beliefs.

After thtn deference to our President's choice is appropriate this was true in the 1700s and should be now.

It isn't a matter of qualifications of a nominee or particularly beliefs, instead it is about respecting the right of the President to choose.


I have no problem with beating up Republican Senators who filibustered. They are at the bottom of the pond scum.


There is no civility which can be kept towards Republicans anymore: they are either extremists like the Tea Party or broke dicks who are afraid of standing up for true Republican values. Lose/Lose here.

Harry Reid, thank you very much for capitulating on the filibuster. You don't learn, do you?

I hope your private planet is a desert right next to its sun.


Yeah. Once again, those hard-nosed political pragmatists were wrong, and those silly impractical idealist hippies were right. The refusal of the Democratic party to listen to it's Liberal wing has gone past mere stupidity, and into the realm of perversity. Hey, all you DLC/Third Way types- if the R's won't even let you fill a Court of Appeals vacancy, imagine how things are going to go when it comes time to fill a Supreme Court vacancy? Another prediction from the idealist starry-eyed hippie dreamer wing of your party- the nanosecond, I mean, the picosecond that R's get control of the Senate, they are going to change those filibuster rules so that you won't be able to use their tricks back on them, should you have the guts to do so, which seems unlikely. The R's don't give a fig about the hallowed traditions of the Senate, or any silly gentleman's agreements you were silly enough to make with them.

kbcart , The Age of (T)Reason?

There are deadly consequences to the GOP's continual obstruction and failure to do the job they were elected to:

Does anyone remember a federal judge named John Roll?

"...He died because he went to talk with Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her staff about the "judicial emergency" that exists in the state today caused by the failure of the Senate and the White House to fill judicial vacancies in Arizona..."


I believe it is reasonable to suggest Judge Roll's tragic death is the direct result of the GOP's complete and utter failure to perform the duties of their positions as elected officials. His blood is on their hands. They - at the very least - are guilty of criminal negligence regarding Judge Roll's death.

This is beyond politics, bordering on treason and a direct attack on the institutions of America. Despicable.


Obama need to put all those republicans in jail.

But lambie, you just got out of jail. It's not a good place for anyone.

Da , good place for the fat cat greedy republican capitalist to learn how to be poor.

What jailhouse survival tips can you give to those fat cats if they hit stir?...

Hopefully the Republicans keep this up. We need something to slow down Obama and his reign of error.

Officer Down

Village Public Safety Officer Thomas O. Madole
Alaska State Troopers - Village Public Safety Officers
End of Watch: Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Age: 54
Tour: 1 year, 7 months

Village Public Safety Officer Thomas Madole was shot and killed in Manokotak, Alaska.

Officer Madole had radioed Alaska State Troopers at approximately 4:00 pm to report that he was going to speak with a subject regarding an earlier altercation the man had been involved in. Approximately one hour later a citizen called the troopers to report a shooting.

Because of the remote location of the village, four troopers had to fly to the location. They discovered Officer Madole's body outside of the subject's home. The man was later taken into custody.

Officer Madole had served as a VPSO in the village for 1-1/2 years. He is survived by his wife, son, and daughter.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

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

Guns, politicians, and life

Caught this a couple of days ago and it started the juices flowing. This came out about the same time the Colorado governor, in his infinite wisdom signed a law limiting magazines to 15 rounds. Magpul said more than once if the law was passed, they were out of there. They are starting their plans for the move, a local radio show host in Houston was asking his listeners to contact the company to move here and four hundred employees are going to make a decision. Should I stay or should I go?

Now we have this and I have to say I didn't know Magpul until last month. I posted on how some firearm companies and accessory manufacturers are are now refusing to sell to police agencies from states/cites that ban their products to civilians. Read New York. I mentioned how I didn't see a real big name other than Bartlett. But Colt is a very big name. And the politicians who run the Connecticut state legislature are playing with fire.
Colt to bolt? Gun maker's boss says company feels unwelcome in Connecticut

Colt's Manufacturing, the company that has made the iconic gun dubbed "The Peacemaker" for more than a century, could pull up its Connecticut stakes after coming under fire in the national debate over the Second Amendment.

President and CEO Dennis Veilleux said the pro-gun control climate that has taken hold in the wake of the Sandy Hook school massacre and other firearm attacks has left him feeling unwelcome in the state his company has called home for 175 years. Proposed laws being debated by the Legislature and pushed by Gov. Dannel Malloy include a new gun offender registry, an expanded assault weapons ban, ammunition restrictions and a ban on bulk purchases of handguns. Veilleux said those measures have put Colt and its nearly 700 employees in the crosshairs.

“At some point, if you can’t sell your products … then you can’t run your business," Veilleux told FoxNews.com. "You need customers to buy your products to stay in business.”

Veilleux, who wrote an op-ed that appeared in The Hartford Courant this week in which he raised the prospect of leaving the state, said the company doesn’t have any such “definite plans.” But if Malloy follows through on his promise to ban the purchase and sale of AR-15 rifles, the centerpiece of the company’s business, he said leaving could become an option.

Veilleux, 47, said Colt is “constantly approached” by other states to relocate. Several red state governors have made no secret of the fact they covet firearms makers, an industry that by some measures contributes $1.7 billion annually to Connecticut's economy.

The gun company boss acknowledged that even raising the possibility of a move could be troubling to workers, whose roots in Connecticut are in many cases as deep as Colt's.

“The employees are what the company is,” he said. “It’s not a building with a bunch of machines in it. The company is the employees. They’re proud of what they do, they represent their community – and I would say a lot more than some of the legislators do. They’re real people.”

Malloy spokesman Andrew Doba says the Democratic governor does not want Colt and its 670 employees to leave the state.

“The governor has been clear for some time that while he does not want manufacturers to leave the state, we need to move ahead with common sense gun violence prevention legislation that will improve public safety,” Doba wrote FoxNews.com in an email.

Veilleux made headlines last week when he closed down his factory and bused 400 workers to the state Capitol so they could personally urge lawmakers not to pass gun control legislation that they say could risk their livelihoods....

...Ron Pinciaro, executive director of Connecticut Against Gun Violence, defended the pieces of legislation currently under consideration.

"We feel that because of the enormity of the situation that happened on Dec. 14, that if we just put some Band-Aids on things, it's really not going to be enough," Pinciaro said...

Yes, Mr Pinciaro you want to use a crisis to get your agenda through. The fact you're using the bodies of children doesn't seem to offend you. Then again, you won't feel the pain that the employees of Colt will feel if they leave the state, but you will feed the sense of false accomplishment you need. If it's not false accomplishment, it's something else and not knowing you, I'll give your the benefit of the doubt it's not something more sinister.

Then we got the politicians. The leftist in the legislature are so hopeful they can get more abuse of law abiding citizens through while the passions are still hot. The fact this will do nothing to stop someone determined to kill another human is not reliant to the conversation.

But a more relevant point is why do we allow politicans, serving temporary positions of authority, to inflict us with permanent infringements on our rights and liberty? Because Americans have become cowed by expert opinion, propaganda, sloth and other factors. In 2010, with the spectre of Obamacare being rammed down the throat of Americans.

If ever there was an example for the need for term limits, this is is.

Hopefully the republic lives though B Hussein Obama.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Geopolitical Weekly: A New Reality in U.S.-Israeli Relations, March 18, 2013

By George Friedman
Founder and Chairman

U.S. President Barack Obama is making his first visit to Israel as president. The visit comes in the wake of his re-election and inauguration to a second term and the formation of a new Israeli government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Normally, summits between Israel and the United States are filled with foreign policy issues on both sides, and there will be many discussed at this meeting, including Iran, Syria and Egypt. But this summit takes place in an interesting climate, because both the Americans and Israelis are less interested in foreign and security matters than they are in their respective domestic issues.

In the United States, the political crisis over the federal budget and the struggle to grow the economy and reduce unemployment has dominated the president's and the country's attention. The Israeli elections turned on domestic issues, ranging from whether the ultra-Orthodox would be required to serve in Israel Defense Forces, as other citizens are, to a growing controversy over economic inequality in Israel.

Inwardness is a cyclic norm in most countries. Foreign policy does not always dominate the agenda and periodically it becomes less important. What is interesting is at this point, while Israelis continue to express concern about foreign policy, they are most passionate on divisive internal social issues. Similarly, although there continues to be a war in Afghanistan, the American public is heavily focused on economic issues. Under these circumstances the interesting question is not what Obama and Netanyahu will talk about but whether what they discuss will matter much.

Washington's New Strategy

For the United States, the focus on domestic affairs is compounded by an emerging strategic shift in how the United States deals with the world. After more than a decade of being focused on the Islamic world and moving aggressively to try to control threats in the region militarily, the United States is moving toward a different stance. The bar for military intervention has been raised. Therefore, the United States has, in spite of recent statements, not militarily committed itself to the Syrian crisis, and when the French intervened in Mali the United States played a supporting role. The intervention in Libya, where France and the United Kingdom drew the United States into the action, was the first manifestation of Washington's strategic re-evaluation. The desire to reduce military engagement in the region was not the result of Libya. That desire was there from the U.S. experience in Iraq and was the realization that the disposal of an unsavory regime does not necessarily -- or even very often -- result in a better regime. Even the relative success of the intervention in Libya drove home the point that every intervention has both unintended consequences and unanticipated costs.

The United States' new stance ought to frighten the Israelis. In Israel's grand strategy, the United States is the ultimate guarantor of its national security and underwrites a portion of its national defense. If the United States becomes less inclined to involve itself in regional adventures, the question is whether the guarantees implicit in the relationship still stand. The issue is not whether the United States would intervene to protect Israel's existence; save from a nuclear-armed Iran, there is no existential threat to Israel's national interest. Rather, the question is whether the United States is prepared to continue shaping the dynamics of the region in areas where Israel lacks political influence and is not able to exert military control. Israel wants a division of labor in the region, where it influences its immediate neighbors while the United States manages more distant issues. To put it differently, the Israelis' understanding of the American role is to control events that endanger Israel and American interests under the assumption that Israeli and American interests are identical. The idea that they are always identical has never been as true as politicians on both sides have claimed, but more important, the difficulties of controlling the environment have increased dramatically for both sides.

Israel's Difficulties

The problem for Israel at this point is that it is not able to do very much in the area that is its responsibility. For example, after the relationship with the United States, the second-most important strategic foundation for Israel is its relationship -- and peace treaty -- with Egypt. Following the fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the fear was that Egypt might abrogate the peace treaty, reopening at some distant point the possibility of conventional war. But the most shocking thing to Israel was how little control it actually had over events in Egypt and the future of its ties to Egypt. With good relations between Israel and the Egyptian military and with the military still powerful, the treaty has thus far survived. But the power of the military will not be the sole factor in the long-term sustainability of the treaty. Whether it survives or not ultimately is not a matter that Israel has much control over.

The Israelis have always assumed that the United States can control areas where they lack control. And some Israelis have condemned the United States for not doing more to manage events in Egypt. But the fact is that the United States also has few tools to control the evolution of Egypt, apart from some aid to Egypt and its own relationship with the Egyptian military. The first Israeli response is that the United States should do something about problems confronting Israel. It may or may not be in the American interest to do something in any particular case, but the problem in this case is that although a hostile Egypt is not in the Americans' interest, there is actually little the United States can do to control events in Egypt.

The Syrian situation is even more complex, with Israel not even certain what outcome is more desirable. Syrian President Bashar al Assad is a known quantity to Israel. He is by no means a friend, but his actions and his father's have always been in the pursuit of their own interest and therefore have been predictable. The opposition is an amorphous entity whose ability to govern is questionable and that is shot through with Islamists who are at least organized and know what they want. It is not clear that Israel wants al Assad to fall or to survive, and in any case Israel is limited in what it could do even if it had a preference. Both outcomes frighten the Israelis. Indeed, the hints of American weapons shipments to the rebels at some point concern Israel as much as no weapons shipments.

The Iranian situation is equally complex. It is clear that the Israelis, despite rhetoric to the contrary, will not act unilaterally against Iran's nuclear weapons. The risks of failure are too high, and the consequences of Iranian retaliation against fundamental American interests, such as the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz, are too substantial. The American view is that an Iranian nuclear weapon is not imminent and Iran's ultimate ability to build a deliverable weapon is questionable. Therefore, regardless of what Israel wants, and given the American doctrine of military involvement as a last resort when it significantly affects U.S. interests, the Israelis will not be able to move the United States to play its traditional role of assuming military burdens to shape the region.

The Changing Relationship

There has therefore been a very real if somewhat subtle shift in the U.S.-Israeli relationship. Israel has lost the ability, if it ever had it, to shape the behavior of countries on its frontier. Egypt and Syria will do what they will do. At the same time, the United States has lost the inclination to intervene militarily in the broader regional conflict and has limited political tools. Countries like Saudi Arabia, which might be inclined to align with U.S. strategy, find themselves in a position of creating their own strategy and assuming the risks.

For the United States, there are now more important issues than the Middle East, such as the domestic economy. The United States is looking inward both because it has to and because it has not done well in trying to shape the Islamic world. From the Israeli point of view, for the moment, its national security is not at risk, and its ability to control its security environment is limited, while its ability to shape American responses in the region has deteriorated due to the shifting American focus. It will continue to get aid that it no longer needs and will continue to have military relations with the United States, particularly in developing military technology. But for reasons having little to do with Israel, Washington's attention is not focused on the region or at least not as obsessively as it had been since 2001.

Therefore Israel has turned inward by default. Frightened by events on its border, it realizes that it has little control there and lacks clarity on what it wants. In the broader region, Israel's ability to rely on American control has declined. Like Israel, the United States has realized the limits and costs of such a strategy, and Israel will not talk the United States out of it, as the case of Iran shows. In addition, there is no immediate threat to Israel that it must respond to. It is, by default, in a position of watching and waiting without being clear as to what it wants to see. Therefore it should be no surprise that Israel, like the United States, is focused on domestic affairs.

It also puts Israel in a reactive position. The question of the Palestinians is always there. Israel's policy, like most of its strategic policy, is to watch and wait. It has no inclination to find a political solution because it cannot predict what the consequences of either a solution or an attempt to find one would be. Its policy is to cede the initiative to the Palestinians. Last month, there was speculation that increased demonstrations in the West Bank could spark a third intifada. There was not one. There might be another surge of rockets from Gaza, or there might not be. That is a decision that Hamas will make.

Israel has turned politically inward because its strategic environment has become not so much threatening as beyond its control. Enemies cannot overwhelm it, nor can it control what its enemies and potential enemies might do. Israel has lost the initiative and, more important, it now knows it has lost the initiative. It has looked to the United States to take the initiative, but on a much broader scale Washington faces the same reality as Israel with less at stake and therefore less urgency. Certainly, the Israelis would like to see the United States take more aggressive stands and more risks, but they fully understand that the price and dangers of aggressive stands in the region have grown out of control.

Therefore it is interesting to wonder what Obama and Netanyahu will discuss. Surely Iran will come up and Obama will say there is no present danger and no need to take risks. Netanyahu will try to find some way to convince him that the United States should undertake the burden at a time suitable to Israel. The United States will decline the invitation.

This is not a strain in the U.S.-Israeli relationship in the sense of anger and resentment, although those exist on both sides. Rather it is like a marriage that continues out of habit but whose foundation has withered. The foundation was the Israeli ability to control events in its region and the guarantee that where the Israelis fail, U.S. interests dictate that Washington will take action. Neither one has the ability, the appetite or the political basis to maintain that relationship on those terms. Obama has economics to worry about. Netanyahu has the conscription of the ultra-Orthodox on his mind. National security remains an issue for both, but their ability to manage it has declined dramatically.

In private I expect a sullen courtesy and in public an enthusiastic friendship, much as an old, bored married couple, not near a divorce, but far from where they were when they were young. Neither party is what it once was; each suspects that it is the other's fault. In the end, each has its own fate, linked by history to each other but no longer united.

A New Reality in U.S.-Israeli Relations is republished with permission of Stratfor.

Officer Down

Police Chief Randy Boykin
Enterprise Mississippi Police Department
End of Watch: Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Age: 51
Tour: 12 years

Police Chief Randy Boykin was struck and killed by a vehicle while directing school traffic at the town's main intersection.

He succumbed to his injuries while being flown University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Chief Boykins had served as chief for 12 years and also served as a part-time deputy with the Clarke County Sheriff's Office.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

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

Saturday, March 23, 2013

What pro choice really means..

From the good ladies at Chicks on the Right:

Something to lighten up the weekend

As I lay here in my bed with the flu, missing a ride with the Blue Knights, I found this and I needed a laugh. Northern Tool and Equipment has had some great radio adds for years and I hope your enjoy them. And I also hope you're enjoying your weekend more than I am mine right now!


Found this by accident and brought back some good memories. Billy Crystal's finest

Thursday, March 21, 2013

I hope the homeowner's association is not upset

If there is a more despicable organization outside of the Senate Democratic Caucus I have yet to find it. The Westboro Baptist Church is the insult to Christianity in general and our nation's veterans in particular. But it seems the LGBT community has come to a bit of a rescue.

Westboro Baptist Church's new neighbor is a rainbow-painted house

Aaron Jackson got his colorful idea while stalking the Westboro Baptist Church on Google.

The 31-year-old activist wanted to see what the notorious church looked like. For years, Topeka, Kan.-based Westboro protesters have been picketing soldiers' funerals with anti-gay messages. Jackson, who runs a global orphanage and antipoverty nonprofit, was seized by curiosity.

He panned the camera around on Google Earth to get a ground-level view of the neighborhood and saw a house for sale across the street. "Oh, no way," Jackson recalled in a phone interview with the Los Angeles Times. "That’s too good to be true.”

Jackson didn't end up buying that Topeka house. But after some haggling with a local owner, he bought the one next to it. And on Tuesday, he hired a Navy veteran to paint the house like a rainbow -- the symbol of gay pride and equality, and a thumb in the eye of the Westboro Baptist Church across the street.

With the rainbow paint and quite a bit of pluck, the "Equality House," which will help kickstart a new anti-bullying initiative, was born.

The home at 1200 Southwest Orleans St. appraised at $88,320, is an ordinary house in an extraordinary neighborhood. ("The ZIP code, believe it or not, is 6-6-6-0-4” Jackson said, delighting in the irony that the first three digits are a symbol of the devil.)

As the Equality House began its transformation from a home to a protest symbol, Topekans stopped to smile at the playful but resonant jab at the church whose protests have tested the limits of patience and free speech.

Mike McKessor of Kansas City, Mo., whom Jackson hired to paint the house, wondered if other painters were scared to take on a job that is more of a statement against a church known for its political statements.

"I’m a veteran too, and those guys mess with veterans, not just the gay people. They mess with everybody," said McKessor, who says he spent four years in the Navy in the 1980s.

But when the painting began on Tuesday, the neighborhood immediately brightened up, so to speak. Three women driving by stopped their car, got out and started to dance, McKessor said.

“Every neighbor that I encountered was so happy, and everybody was smiling when they go by," McKessor said, with a chuckle. "It was on a busy street, and everybody slowed down and took pictures. I’m not exaggerating. Dang near every car stopped and said, 'Good job! Good job!' ... I’ve never had people so happy for painting a house."

He also liked what Jackson planned to do with the place. "Anytime anybody’s going to help people, I’m willing to help, so I said, 'Sure, let’s do it,' " McKessor said.

Jackson, who hails from Destin, Fla., is a co-founder of Planting Peace, which undertakes a variety of initiatives around the world, including environmental projects. Planting Peace is registered as a nonprofit under the title Awake Inc.

Jackson said he's been living in the house for about three months and was waiting for the weather to get warmer before starting the paint job.

“I always wanted to get into equality [work] and just haven’t," Jackson said in a phone interview, citing statistics about high suicides among gay teens. "I knew when I saw that [the house was for sale], that would be perfect, that would be a great launching pad” for a new project. He set up a donation page on his website, www.plantingpeace.org.

Targeting the Westboro Baptist Church, at least symbolically, seemed like a good place to start, Jackson said.

"It’s not like they’re pumping millions of dollars into marriage campaigns, but they are the poster child of hate, you know, especially for the gay community," he said.

The Westboro Baptist Church responded to the new house with fervor.

"We thank God for the Sodomite Rainbow House!" the church said in a written statement. "Think about it! This is not a novel idea – there are hundreds of similarly painted houses around the world – the ONLY reason why this one is a story is because of WHERE it is!"

The church's theology holds that supporting homosexuality means damnation in Hell. Its most well-known slogan, "God Hates Fags," is also the name of the church's website.

"It’s not OK to be gay, it never was OK to be gay, and it never will be OK to be gay," the Westboro statement continued. "The Sodomite Rainbow house is another instance where someone has declared their sin as Sodom – and it shines a huge spotlight on our message - you can paint rainbows on every house in America, and homosexuality will still be an abominable sin in the eyes of God."

Because the home is in a residential neighborhood, Jackson said it can't serve as an office. But it gives equality-project volunteers a place to stay if needed...
Mr Jackson, thank you. If you need any assistance I believe the Patriot Guard will help in securing the Equality House!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A new method of traffic enforcement....

Tenn. Troopers Use Heavy Duty Truck To Catch Traffic Scofflaws

A group of Tennessee Highway Patrol troopers stationed in Chattanooga have been using an innovative approach to catch traffic scofflaws who text or drink while driving. They've been using a heavy-duty truck.

Troopers with a commercial truck license have been taking out the Highway Patrol's 18-wheel Peterbilt tractor-trailer so they can see down into vehicles and catch moving violations.

"The purpose of the truck is to educate drivers to safety drive with trucks," Jennifer Donnals, a Highway Patrol spokeswoman, told POLICE Magazine. "They're taking this truck and repurposing it for this campaign."

The Highway Patrol's Lt. John Harmon headed up the initiative as part of his "Stay Alive on 75," a program to raise awareness among motorists traveling Interstate 75 with heavy-duty trucks. The department operates what troopers call a "No Zone" truck so drivers can avoid entering a truck's blind spot.

Lt. Harmon was given approval to use the truck for highway interdiction. Of the 783 Tennessee troopers, 96 have a a commercial license. Many of those are Class A, which is required to operate an 18-wheel rig.

The agency seized the truck a decade ago from a marijuana trafficker and reformatted it for safety education work. The rig was painted to look like one of the patrol cars. A lightbar was affixed to the roof. And radio equipment has been installed in the cockpit.

"We were driving down the road and watching people text and drive," Lt. Harmon said. "We realized we could see everything up here."

The Highway Patrol doesn't make traffic stops with the truck. Instead, troopers radio ahead for a trooper in a patrol car to pull over the suspected violator. A second trooper rides in the truck's "jump" or passenger seat to operate the radio.

One world. Cool!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Geopolitical Weekly: Considering a Departure in North Korea's Strategy, March 12, 2013

By George Friedman
Founder and Chairman

On Jan. 29, I wrote a piece that described North Korea's strategy as a combination of ferocious, weak and crazy. In the weeks since then, three events have exemplified each facet of that strategy. Pyongyang showed its ferocity Feb. 12, when it detonated a nuclear device underground. The country's only significant ally, China, voted against Pyongyang in the U.N. Security Council on March 7, demonstrating North Korea's weakness. Finally, Pyongyang announced it would suspend the armistice that ended the Korean War in 1953, implying that that war would resume and that U.S. cities would be turned into "seas of fire." To me, that fulfills the crazy element.

My argument was that the three tenets -- ferocity, weakness and insanity -- form a coherent strategy. North Korea's primary goal is regime preservation. Demonstrating ferocity -- appearing to be close to being nuclear capable -- makes other countries cautious. Weakness, such as being completely isolated from the world generally and from China particularly, prevents other countries from taking drastic action if they believe North Korea will soon fall. The pretense of insanity -- threatening to attack the United States, for example -- makes North Korea appear completely unpredictable, forcing everyone to be cautious. The three work together to limit the actions of other nations.

Untested Assumptions

So far, North Korea is acting well within the parameters of this strategy. It has detonated nuclear devices before. It has appeared to disgust China before, and it has threatened to suspend the cease-fire. Even more severe past actions, such as sinking a South Korean ship in 2010, were not altogether inconsistent with its strategy. As provocative as that incident was, it did not change the strategic balance in any meaningful way.

Normally North Korea has a reason for instigating such a crisis. One reason for the current provocation is that it has a new leader, Kim Jong Un. The son of former leader Kim Jong Il and the grandson of North Korea's founder Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Un is only 30 years old, and many outside North Korea doubt his ability to lead (many inside North Korea may doubt his ability, too). One way to announce his presence with authority is to orchestrate an international crisis that draws the United States, Japan, China, Russia and South Korea into negotiations with North Korea -- especially negotiations that Pyongyang can walk away from.

The North Korean regime understands the limits of its strategy and has been very sure-footed in exercising it. Moreover, despite the fact that a 30-year-old formally rules the country, the regime is a complex collection of institutions and individuals -- the ruling party and the military -- that presumably has the ability to shape and control the leader's behavior.

It follows that little will change. U.S. analysts of North Korea will emphasize the potential ferocity and the need for extreme vigilance. The Chinese will understand that the North Koreans are weak and will signal, as their foreign minister did March 9, that in spite of their vote at the United Nations, they remain committed to North Korea's survival. And most people will disregard Pyongyang's threat to resume the Korean War.

Indeed, resuming the Korean War probably is not something that anyone really wants. But because there are some analysts who think that such a resumption is plausible, I think it is worth considering the possibility that Pyongyang does want to restart the war. It is always worth examining an analysis based on the assumption that a given framework will not hold. For the record, I think the framework will hold, but I am simply examining the following hypothetical: This time, North Korea is serious.

To assess Pyongyang's sincerity, let's begin with two untested assumptions. First, assume North Korea has determined that it is unable to develop a deliverable nuclear weapon within a meaningful time frame. Either there are problems with constructing the device or its missiles are unreliable. Alternatively, assume it has decided that any further development of weapons will likely lead to attacks by the United States against its nuclear facilities. In other words, assume it expects to lose its nuclear capability because it cannot move forward or because moving forward will invite attacks against nuclear facilities.

The second assumption, more likely accurate, is that North Korea has realized that the strategy it has followed since the 1990s is no longer working. The strategy has lost its effectiveness, and North Korean ferocity, weakness and insanity no longer impress anyone. Rather than generating financial and other concessions, the strategy has simply marginalized North Korea, so that apart from sanctions, there will be no talks, no frightened neighbors, no U.S. threats. Kim Jong Un would not announce himself with authority, but with a whimper.

An Unlikely Scenario

Taken together, these assumptions constitute a threat to regime survival. Unless its neighbors bought into the three premises of its strategy, North Korea could be susceptible to covert or overt foreign involvement, which would put the regime on the defensive and reveal its weakness. For the regime, this would be a direct threat, one that would require pre-emptive action.

It would be a worst-case scenario for Pyongyang. We consider it highly unlikely. But assume North Korea deems it more likely than we do, or assume that, despite the scenario's improbability, the consequences would be so devastating that the risk could not be borne.

It is a scenario that could take form if the North Korean nuclear threat were no longer effective in establishing the country's ferocity. It would also take form if North Korea's occasional and incomprehensible attacks were no longer unpredictable and thus were no longer effective in establishing the country's insanity. In this scenario, Pyongyang would have to re-establish credibility and unpredictability by taking concrete steps.

These concrete steps would represent a dramatic departure from the framework under which North Korea has long operated. They would obviously involve demands for a cease-fire from all players. There would have to be a cease-fire before major force could be brought to bear on North Korea. Last, they would have to involve the assumption that the United States would at least take the opportunity to bomb North Korean nuclear facilities -- which is why the assumptions on its nuclear capability are critical for this to work. Airstrikes against other targets in North Korea would be likely. Therefore, the key would be an action so severe that everyone would accept a rapid cease-fire and would limit counteraction against North Korea to targets that the North Koreans were prepared to sacrifice.

The obvious move by North Korea would be the one that has been historically regarded as the likeliest scenario: massive artillery fire on Seoul, the capital of South Korea. The assumption has always been that over a longer period of time, U.S. air power would devastate North Korean artillery. But Seoul would meanwhile be damaged severely, something South Korea would not tolerate. Therefore, North Korea would bet that South Korea would demand a cease-fire, thereby bringing the United States along in its demand, before U.S. airstrikes could inflict overwhelming damage on North Korea and silence its guns. This would take a few days.

Under this scenario, North Korea would be in a position to demand compensation that South Korea would be willing to pay in order to save its capital. It could rely on South Korea to restrain further retaliations by the United States, and China would be prepared to negotiate another armistice. North Korea would have re-established its credibility, redefined the terms of the North-South relationship and, perhaps having lost its dubious nuclear deterrent, gained a significant conventional deterrent that no one thought it would ever use.

I think the risks are too great for this scenario to play out. The North would have to assume that its plans were unknown by Western intelligence agencies. It would also have to assume that South Korea would rather risk severe damage to its capital as it dealt with North Korea once and for all than continue to live under the constant North Korean threat. Moreover, North Korea's artillery could prove ineffective, and it risks entering a war it couldn't win, resulting in total isolation.

The scenario laid out is therefore a consideration of what it might mean if the North Koreans were actually wild gamblers, rather than the careful manipulators they have been since 1991. It assumes that the new leader is able to override older and more cautious heads and that he would see this as serving both a strategic and domestic purpose. It would entail North Korea risking it all, and for that to happen, Pyongyang would have to believe that everything was already at risk. Because Pyongyang doesn't believe that, I think this scenario is unlikely.

It is, however, a necessary exercise for an analyst to find fault with his analysis by identifying alternative assumptions that lead to very different outcomes. At Stratfor, we normally keep those in-house, but in this case it appeared useful to think out loud, as it were.

We'd welcome well-thought-out alternatives. With so many emails, we can't promise to answer them all, but we make it a practice to read them all.

Considering a Departure in North Korea's Strategy is republished with permission of Stratfor.