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

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Our nation's symbol is growing...

I kinda want to put in a voice over of "Honey! I'm home!" as the male comes in and starts to work on the nest, but these love birds are taking care of their soon to be baby. Too cool to not post.

Friday, March 22, 2019

An easily listening Telephone Line weekend...

I saw ELO for the first time last May, and unfortunately it will likely be the only time. Jeff Lynne is on his final tour, getting ready for a well eared retirement. I don't disparage the man for that, and I've got no doubt he will make occasionally appearances, with a smaller group of singers and musicians. Or he make another "Final Farewell" tour, like Phil Collins!

I'm not a big fan of extras to a music act, e.g. 100 dancers. I don't care about that, I want to hear music live. However, ELO, with the laser light show, works. I don't know if it's Lynne or someone else who sets that up, but the effect is great. And this song, Telephone Line, with the images of desperation in the search of love, calling out to someone, and praying for an answer. Too awesome, because it's true.

Enjoy. And have a great weekend

Officer Down

Officer Marmolejo
Officer Gary
Police Officer Eduardo Marmolejo
Chicago Police Department, Illinois
End of Watch Monday, December 17, 2018
Age 36
Tour 2 years, 7 months
Badge 10101

Police Officer Conrad Charles Gary
Chicago Police Department, Illinois
End of Watch Monday, December 17, 2018
Age 31
Tour 1 year, 9 months
Badge 12003

Police Officer Conrad Gary and Police Officer Eduardo Marmolejo were struck and killed by a South Shore Line commuter train while investigating a shots-fired call in the area of 103rd Street and Dauphin Avenue at 6:20 pm.

They were investigating the sounds of gunfire that had been detected by a ShotSpotter sensor in the area. As they arrived at the scene they observed a suspect running up an embankment toward the railroad tracks. They were both struck by the outbound train while they pursued him across the tracks near the 103rd Street Rosemoor station.

A handgun and shell casings were recovered near the scene by other officers. The suspect they were chasing was apprehended a short time later.

Officer Gary had served with the Chicago Police Department for 18 months and was assigned to the 5th District - Calumet. He is survived by his wife and child. Officer Gary was a U.S Air Force veteran.
Rest in Peace Gentlemen…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

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

A look back at 20th Century teaching...

My friend Darren at Right on the Left Coast has mentioned occasionally that his smart board is not necessarily more efficient as a chalkboard for teaching math. Personally I think if the instructor, briefer, presenter, cannot keep the target of your efforts engaged, it won't matter if the words and images are on a smart board or not. With that in mind I found this article and it's fascinating. Lessons from a 1917 classroom, found on old chalkboards, during renovations.
School Stumbles Upon Chalkboards From 1917 During Renovation, Perfectly Preserved Lessons Provide Rare Look Into Past.

Classrooms at Emerson High School in Oklahoma City were getting a routine facelift when renovators accidentally uncovered an incredible glimpse into the history of American education.

Construction workers were removing chalkboards– taking them down to replace them with new Smart Boards– when they stumbled upon some older chalkboards underneath. Luckily, they stopped to examine the chalkboards before destroying them, and they quickly realized that the boards were from 1917… Nearly 100 years ago! Stuck underneath layers of other boards, these antique chalkboards had been preserved with the chalk still on them, providing an amazing view of life in a mid-20th-century classroom.

Dates on the board are from late November and early December 1917, with illustrations celebrating Thanksgiving in untouched chalk.


“It was so eerie because the colors were so vibrant, it looked like it was drawn the same day,” said English teacher Cinthea Comer. “To know that it was drawn 100 years ago… it’s like you’re going into a looking glass into the past.”

Principal Sherry Kishore says she loves the discovery, and she’s been amazed to see how the school taught basically the same lessons back then as it does today, but the teaching techniques are totally different.

The wheel above, for example, is an outdated method for teaching multiplication. “I have never seen that technique in my life,” Kishore said.
Another common lesson that looks different is the Pledge of Allegiance.

“I give my head, my heart, and my life to my God and One nation indivisible with justice for all.”

It’s unclear why this pledge differs from the early version of the Pledge of Allegiance that was established in 1892, but it clearly borrows some phraseology from that Pledge.

One lesson that is no longer taught in schools today is a lesson on hygiene. One section of the board– pictured below– lists “My Rules To Keep Clean” with tips like “Take my bath often” and “Wash my teeth.”

Principal Kishore showed her 85-year-old mother the board, and the familiar curriculum left her speechless. “She just stood there and cried,” said Kishore. “She said it was exactly like her classroom was when she was going to school.”

Kishore’s mother would have started school in the mid to late 1930’s, over a decade after the boards were drawn, but the rediscovered chalkboards are no doubt more familiar to her than the high-tech chalkboards used today!
Principal Kishore has called this discovery the highlight of her career. She is working with the school district and the city to preserve the boards.

Lessons in needed subjects (reading, writing, and arithmetic), not gender studies and global warming. And it was part of what was needed to produced functional citizens for the republic, and that is not an exaggeration. When education was done right! :<)

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Officer Down




Police Officer Jason Barton Quick
Lumberton Police Department, North Carolina
End of Watch Saturday, December 15, 2018
Age 31
Tour 1 year, 6 months

Police Officer Jason Quick was struck and killed by a vehicle while investigating another crash on I-95, near exit 22, at 6:50 am.

Rescue personnel and another officer who were already at the scene immediately rendered aid. He was transported to Southeastern Regional Medical Center where he succumbed to his injuries.

Officer Quick had served with the Lumberton Police Department for 18 months. He is survived by his wife and two young children.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

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

Monday, March 18, 2019

I guess this settles the debate over global cooling, err warming...

Officer Down


Police Officer Edgar Isidro Flores
DeKalb County Police Department, Georgia
End of Watch Thursday, December 13, 2018
Age 24
Tour 1 year, 6 months
Badge 3423

Police Officer Edgar Flores was shot and killed during a traffic stop on Candler Road, near I-20, at approximately 5:00 pm.

During the course of the traffic stop, the suspect fled on foot with Officer Flores in pursuit. The man opened fire on Officer Flores, fatally wounding him, as he continued to flee.

The man was later shot and killed after he shot a police canine that located him hiding behind a nearby business. The canine was critically wounded.

Officer Edgar had served with the DeKalb County Police Department for 18 months.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the

lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Been a long, strange week.....

So let's be Pink!

Yesterday, right after roll call, Armageddon happened. We had over 40 calls holding, and next thing you know two emergency calls drop, every unit was tied up or we didn't have cars for the other units. Had to ride like a mad dog to one emergency call after another for two hours. Was really fun....love days like that. :<) Well, today I'm working the desk and Armageddon again happened, all I could do it get units on the street. But things are quiet now. I get off in three hours, and I see a cigar and scotch in my very near future. So I'll leave you with a great version of a classic song from Jefferson Airplane. White Rabbit, performed by Pink.


Saw a great comment at the bottom of the video:

If Janis and Grace Slick had a lovechild, it'd be Pink!

Have a great weekend!

Officer Down


Sergeant Benton Hurley Bertram
Charlestown Police Department, Indiana
End of Watch Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Age 33
Tour 9 years
Badge 550

Sergeant Ben Bertram was killed in a vehicle crash while involved in a vehicle pursuit on State Road 3 at 10:30 pm.

He had attempted to stop a stolen vehicle but the driver refused to stop. As the pursuit neared State Road 56, in Scott County, Sergeant Bertram's vehicle left the roadway and struck a tree. Other officers in the pursuit immediately stopped and rendered aid but Sergeant Bertram succumbed to his injuries at the scene.

The driver continued to flee but was apprehended in Clark County. He was charged with resisting law enforcement resulting in death and auto theft.

Sergeant Bertram's canine partner survived the crash and was treated at a local veterinary hospital.

Sergeant Bertram had served with the Charlestown Police Department for nine years. He is survived by his parents.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

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


The real inventor of the Internet is a little put off by what his invention has become...


Two decades ago then Vice President Al Gore claimed to have invented the Internet on this CNN  interview. His exact words, at 00.52 of this video, is "...I took the initiative in inventing the Internet..." One of the many delusions this man has inflicted the American people with over the decades. To be more accurate, the Internet is the descendant of the ARPANet, a Department of Defense project to secure networks in case of a nuclear attack.

Time went on, the World Wide Web was invented 30 years ago Tuesday, and the inventiveness of mankind has been shown incredibly. Look at the changes in business, medicine, expanded education, etc. that have happened because of a free people took something and ran with it. The Internet, to a much greater degree of the space program, has revolutionized life in the modern world with spinoff technology, and the ingenuity of people literally around the world.

Before you say, "No kidding Sherlock," I was drawn to the statement of the real inventor of the Internet (the World Wide Web to be exact) on the Internet’s birthday, and how it shows bureaucratic-industrial complex thinking:
Tim Berners-Lee on the Internet’s 30th B-Day: ‘Whoops! The Web Is Not the Web We Wanted. The World Wide Web, now ubiquitously known as the internet, turns 30 today. And, just like most growing things, the technology infrastructure that powers almost every communication and work tool we use has changed beyond even its very inventor’s recognition. “Whoops! The web is not the web we wanted in every respect,” said British computer scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who built the first version of the World Wide Web in 1989, at the “Web@30” conference at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) on Tuesday. For the past decade, Berners-Lee has published an open letter every March 12, taking the WWW’s anniversary as an opportunity to voice his opinions and concerns on the emerging issues facing our increasingly internet-reliant society. His past talking points included the dominating power of supersize tech companies, misinformation and intrusion to privacy. This year, outside his regular annual writing, the 63-year-old scientist made an onstage appearance at his old employer, CERN, to reiterate the idea of the “Contract for the Web,” a framework to govern the use of the internet he first proposed in November 2018. “The Contract for the Web is about sitting down in working groups with other people who signed up, and to say, ‘OK, let’s work out what this really means,'” Berners-Lee said. The Contract for the Web seeks a collaboration among governments, companies and citizens. Under the framework, governments are tasked to ensure the internet’s availability to every one and its respect to privacy; on the premise of privacy protection, companies are to make sure that the internet is affordable and prioritize the public good over profit when developing new technology; and finally, citizens should respect “civil discourse” when using it..."

Government’s should be “tasked to ensure the internet’s availability to every one and its respect to privacy…”  Mr. Berners-Lee, were you concerned when the previous presidential administration had the National Security Administration commence saturation monitoring of both the Internet and phone communications in the United States? You do know the US government is building a facility to store this information in Utah, with a reported five zettabytes of storage capacity? In more understandable English, that is five trillion gigabytes of storage. And that is just the start.

One of the facts of digital voice communications is a computer can scan countless communications, looking for words, phrases, or specific voices, which is the purpose of this facility. Even if it is used for the War on Terror, or other “legitimate” functions, can you be sure it will not be used for other, less legitimate, efforts?. Do you recall the FBI used a false affidavit to secure a warrant from the FISA court to conduct monitoring on the now President of the United States? If a president can be targeted by the intelligence bureaucracy, how can Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public stand against them?

“…on the premise of privacy protection, companies are to make sure that the internet is affordable and prioritize the public good over profit when developing new technology…”

Sir, profit drives the public good, in case you haven’t noticed recorded history. At the beginning of the Internet era, few companies offered access to it, and the cost were prohibitive. Remember CompuServe and AOL? In 1990, CompuServe was charging five dollars an hour for dial up Internet service! AOL came in and challenged them, offering service at 2.95 an hour. AOL later acquired CompuServe, offering package deals of $20.00 a month for unlimited dial up service. Did the US government need to do that Mr. Berners-Lee? No, the bureaucracy needed to get the living hell out of the way. If the FCC was in charge of the Internet in the late 80s (Say a “Net Neutrality” in an earlier form) we would still have dial up modems for our service.

Exaggeration? Slightly, but there is no question the government has hindered the use of the digital spectrum over the decades. May I recommend you read The Political Spectrum: The Tumultuous Liberation of Wireless Technology, from Herbert Hoover to the Smartphone, by Thomas Winslow Hazlett. Question, when was the first mobile phone call made? Most people believe it was on April 3, 1973, when Motorola’s Marty Cooper called Bell Lab’s Joel Engle in New York. While it was the first time a handheld device was used, the first mobile call, or better put, car phone call, was made in 1946!

The General Mobile Telephone Service was an analog telecommunications system that would allow a person to make a call from inside an automobile, with a limited area to a tower. You needed to use an operator for any “long distance” call. Was this Verizon or ATT on an iPhone, no. But it was the first step. And it was killed largely by the lack of useable bandwidth being licensed by the FCC (Hazlett, 2017). Bag and hand held phones started to come into the limited use in the 1970s, more common use in the 1980s, but one can only speculate on how much sooner mobile phones would have come on the market without the great “assistance” of the Federal Communications Commission and other parts of the federal bureaucracy.

Finally sir, your comment on the content of the Internet is the most troubling, “…and finally, citizens should respect “civil discourse” when using it..." Mr. Berners-Lee, what is civil to you may be obscene to others. A member of the Black Lives Matter movement may accuses police officers of killing unarmed black males at an excessive rate compared to white males. Is it “uncivil” when another person points out most black males are murdered by other black males, and in a given year police shoot and kill 15-20 unarmed black males. While much social media is “civil,” some is a sewer of profanity and extremism (see Twitter). But I would never want to shut down the discussion. Sir, I suggest you remember the wisdom of Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis in Whitney v. California,1927, "If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence." The proponents of “Net-Neutrality” should remember that.


One of the many quotes from General George Patton, “Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.” The Internet is an incredible example of that. Mr. Berners-Lee, you are the legitimate inventor of it, if any man can make that claim. I suggest to use your considerable influence to insure it grows unmolested by the bureaucratic mindset that has hampered mankind’s progress for eternity. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Officer Down


Police Officer Jermaine Brown
Miami-Dade Police Department, Florida
End of Watch Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Age 46
Tour 15 years

Police Officer Jermaine Brown was killed in an ATV crash while conducting an enforcement detail as the result of community complaints of illegal activity along a canal path.

He was responding to assist other officers on the detail when the ATV he was driving struck a tree south of the intersection of South Dixie Highway and SW 211th Street.

Officer Brown had served with the Miami-Dade Police Department for 15 years. He is survived by his wife and three children. His wife also serves with the department.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

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

Monday, March 11, 2019

Officer Down


Sergeant Matthew Troy Moreno
Las Animas County Sheriff's Office, Colorado
End of Watch Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Age 37
Tour 5 years

Sergeant Matthew Moreno was killed in a vehicle crash on Highway 12, near Valdez while responding to a domestic incident at 8:00 pm.

Sergeant Moreno's patrol pickup and a second patrol vehicle both collided with a vehicle that was traveling in the opposite direction. Sergeant Moreno and the two occupants of the other vehicle, including an infant, all succumbed to their injuries. A deputy in Sergeant Moreno's vehicle and the deputy in the second patrol car were both injured.

The investigation revealed that the vehicle that struck them was driving 96 mph in a 45 mph zone and its driver had twice the legal limit of alcohol as well as oxycontin.

Sergeant Moreno had served with the Las Animas County Sheriff's Office for five years. He is survived by his wife, two daughters, and one stepson.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

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

Sunday, March 10, 2019

A very well deserved retirement...

When I started the police academy, I was 33. I thought I would be the oldest member of the class. Actually I was the 4th oldest. Even in the late 90s, police work was a second career for many people out there. I have a friend on the force who entered the academy at 38 (she retired after 20 years in the Army).

Well, we got a man in the largest police force in the county who beat all of them. From New York City.
'I wanted to protect the weak from the strong': NYPD's oldest cop, who joined the force at 48 after suing over age limit, retires

A rookie in 1999...at age 48!
Now at 68, the department's oldest cop,
ending a 20 year career.



When NYPD Detective Michael Cusumano’s partner was attacked by a drug suspect caught selling to an undercover, Cusumano jumped over a mailbox to knock the assailant to the ground.

His stunned 20-something partner turned to the perpetrator and said, “You just got knocked out by a 55-year-old.”

It wasn’t the first time Cusumano was underestimated because of his age.

After suing the NYPD, he entered their police academy at 48 — 13 years older than the NYPD’s age limit — and retired Thursday at 68 as the oldest cop on the force. The NYPD’s mandatory retirement age is 63.

"They say older people have no place in this job, it's for young people," Cusumano said. "But I was able to run after people until I was almost 60. I'd chase guys up four flights of stairs, no problem."

Cusumano ran his family’s kitchen and bath business for 30 years before he finally decided to pursue his lifelong dream of joining the NYPD.

“It’s the world’s greatest police force,” he said. “I wanted to protect the weak from the strong.”

He passed all the necessary written and physical tests only to be told he couldn’t enter the academy because he was too old. The city had long had an age limit of 35 for new recruits. The rule lapsed shortly before Cusumano’s application but by the time he was ready to enter the academy it was reinstated.

He fought back with a class action lawsuit along with 39 other older recruits. It took over two years before they reached a settlement allowing the recruits to join the academy. At 48, Cusumano was the oldest in the group. Since officers have to work 20 years to earn a pension, the settlement permitted him to work until age 68, five years beyond the department’s mandatory retirement age.

Cusumano was eager to work hard so he asked to be assigned to the 75th precinct in the high-crime area of Brooklyn’s East New York - an assignment colleagues told him he was out of his mind to request, he recalls.

After almost five years, he joined the narcotics squad, first in Brooklyn North and then back at the 75th. He made over 500 arrests, a third of which were felonies. In 20 years, he never took a sick day, he says.

“He was a hard worker with great ethics,” said retired NYPD Emergency Service Unit Detective Mike Rosato, 67, who once served with Cusumano in the 75th Precinct and was also part of the lawsuit by older recruits...

...But Cusumano said colleagues often gave him a good ribbing over his age.

“They’d say, ‘Oh let us do that for you, so you don’t have a heart attack,’” he recalled with a grin. “Meanwhile, guys younger than me went out with heart attacks and I was fine.”

When he got close to 60, he transitioned to less physical work, first at the Organized Crime Investigation Division and then with the Joint Federal Task Force on Homeland Security, the unit he is retiring from.

“There’s a lot older people can do with all the knowledge you learn on the job,” he said. “It’s not all about the physical stuff...”

...Cusumano plans to take on some projects in retirement, possibly helping out other law enforcement agencies in the city.

“I’ve still got a few good years left in me,” he said.
Detective Cusumano, I don't think you'll never fully "retire." Please don't. Keep motivating good men and women to work smart, and be coming home. A semi-retirement if you will. But please, take some time off. You have earned it, and more.

From the Deep South to the Brooklyn, happy trails.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

What's going on in the World Today 190311

HYPERLINKS MAY REQUIRE AN EMAIL:

USA

Kratos Steals Boeing’s Thunder With XQ-58A First Flight

A week after Boeing unveiled a loyal wingman mockup in Australia, U.S. drone manufacturer Kratos completed the first flight of the XQ-58A Valkyrie, an experimental design ordered by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) 30 months ago.

After launching by rail, the XQ-58A on March 6 completed the first of five planned flights for the overall program. The 76-min. flight concluded with a parachute recovery.

For Kratos, the launch of flight testing 2.5 years after contract award is a strategic coup, as the manufacturer of target drones hopes to expand into the market for large tactical unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).

The XQ-58A is designed to operate alongside manned fighters, performing a variety of strike and surveillance tasks during a mission. Credit: Air Force Research Laboratory.

“This will be the biggest strategic event for Kratos in our history,” CEO Eric DeMarco said on the eve of first flight. “In 30 months, to go from a white piece of paper to a 3,000-mi.[-range] strike drone—it’s unbelievable. I have a pretty good idea of what is going to happen when this goes, and, if you [could] see me, I’m smiling.”

The XQ-58A is the first flight demonstrator launched under the AFRL’s Low-Cost Attritable Aircraft Technology. The goal of the program is to “break the escalating cost trajectory of tactically relevant aircraft,” the AFRL said in a statement.

Kratos hopes to sell hundreds or thousands of the UAS at a price point of $2-3 million each, `allowing future fighters to distribute strike and surveillance tasks to unmanned wingmen. Although Boeing has similar objectives for the Airpower Teaming System unveiled in Australia, DeMarco says the XQ-58A is designed with a very different philosophy...

DARPA Awards Raytheon Contract For 2nd TBG Hypersonic Weapon

DARPA has awarded Raytheon a $63.3 million contract “to further develop the Tactical Boost Glide [TBG] hypersonic weapons program.”

The funding includes a critical design review for the joint DARPA/U.S. Air Force program.

Raytheon, now the second company on the TBG program, also has released a new artist’s impression of its concept that, while likely still notional, shows significant changes from its earlier design image.

TBG is developing technology for an air-launched, tactical-range, hypersonic weapon that sits in capability terms between the Air Force’s rocket-boosted Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon (HCSW) and DARPA’s scramjet-powered Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC).

Where the HCSW (pronounced Hacksaw) will have a conical glide body derived from the Army’s Advanced Hypersonic Weapon, and based on Sandia National Laboratory’s Swerve winged reentry vehicle, TBG is developing a wedge-shaped glide body with higher lift-to-drag ratio for increased range.

In competition with Raytheon, Lockheed Martin in 2016 was awarded a $147 million DARPA contract to develop and flight-test the 500-nm-range TBG. At the time, this was described as the sole contract for the demonstration phase...


AFRICA

U.S. Bombardments Are Driving Somalis From Their Homes

Airstrikes on al-Shabab have tripled under Trump.

MOGADISHU—A rise in U.S. airstrikes on parts of Somalia over the past two years has prompted increasing numbers of civilians to flee their homes and exacerbated a humanitarian crisis fueled by years of war and extreme weather.

Some 450,000 people have been displaced from al-Shabab strongholds in the Lower and Middle Shabelle regions that frame Mogadishu, the coastal capital, where the United States is responsible for air operations, according to nongovernmental organizations and United Nations agencies that operate in the area—with a noted increase in the numbers since 2017.

Overall 320,000 Somalis fled conflict and insecurity (an umbrella term that includes airstrikes) in 2018, the highest in four years, according to recently released figures from the U.N.’s Protection and Return Monitoring Network. The U.N. and aid agencies do not differentiate between airstrikes and other violent incidents when calculating displacement figures.

The U.S. Africa Command has been conducting airstrikes in Somalia since 2007, targeting the al Qaeda cell al-Shabab—Africa’s most effective fundamentalist group—which is fighting the internationally supported federal government. During Donald Trump’s presidency, the U.S. strikes have tripled, according to public figures confirmed by the Department of Defense.

Across the country, more than 2 million people have been displaced by violence that has lasted more than two decades.

Al-Shabab is said to be responsible for a 2017 attack that killed between 500 and 1,000 people at a busy traffic junction in Mogadishu, and, more recently, the deaths of at least 21 people at a hotel in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. It controls swaths of the Somali countryside, and has infiltrated Mogadishu, where it regularly carries out bombings in government buildings, crowded restaurants, and hotels. The group regularly claims responsibility for assassinating civil servants.

U.S. military officials maintain that no civilians have been killed in the airstrikes over the past 12 years, but Somalis say that is not the case...

...In March 2017, the New York Times reported that Trump signed a directive designating swaths of Somalia as “active hostilities” areas for at least 180 days. The declaration permitted U.S. forces to target anyone deemed to be affiliated with al-Shabab, whether or not they posed a direct threat to the United States. According to the report, decisions could be made with less interagency vetting. This move purportedly gave Africom greater autonomy and flexibility to attack al-Shabab quickly, which top officers had been requesting.

That same month, the Wall Street Journal reported that Trump had given the CIA permission to launch its own drone strikes. Previously the agency had gathered intelligence and shared it with the military, which conducted the actual strike. It is not known if the CIA has its own air program in Somalia.

The Pentagon reported conducting 45 so-called precision strikes in Somalia in 2018, an increase from 14 in 2016 and 35 in 2017. In 2019, Africom has announced more than a dozen strikes on its website...

ASIA

India’s Dogfight Loss Could Be a Win for U.S. Weapons-Makers

Boeing and Lockheed Martin are vying for India’s long-delayed fighter replacement program.

The pilot ejected safely into Pakistani territory and was captured by the Pakistan Army. Islamabad released the airman a couple days later in an effort to de-escalate a crisis that began when a Pakistan-based militant group killed more than 40 Indian security officers in a Feb. 14 suicide bombing in India-controlled Kashmir.

The loss of the jet shines a light on India’s aging military and may lend new urgency to New Delhi’s long-delayed fighter replacement program, analysts said. The renewed focus would be a boon for the U.S. aerospace giants Boeing and Lockheed Martin, which are eyeing the lucrative contract for more than 100 airplanes. In addition to the immediate cash value for whichever company wins the work, India’s fighter replacement also offers Boeing and Lockheed the opportunity to extend the production of legacy systems that are reaching the end of their service lives.

“It is hard to sell a front-line fighter to a country that isn’t threatened,” said Loren Thompson, an analyst with the Lexington Institute. “Boeing and Lockheed Martin both have a better chance of selling now because suddenly India feels threatened.”

Still, analysts noted India’s poor track record of moving quickly on defense acquisition programs. The shootdown may accelerate the recapitalization, said Byron Callan of Capital Alpha Partners, but “India must have known they have an aged fighter problem for a long time.”

The circumstances around the incident itself remain murky. India claims—and several news outlets have reported—that an aerial battle took place, an exceedingly rare event in modern warfare, during which the MiG-21 first shot down a U.S.-made Pakistani F-16, before itself taking a missile hit. Both nations have technologically diverse air forces, and the skirmish involved U.S.-, European-, Russian-, and Chinese-made jets. The Telegraph reported that India’s 1980s-era French-built Mirage 2000s and much newer Russian-made Su-30 MKIs, first flown in the early 2000s, were present, along with Pakistani F-16s, French-made Mirage IIIs, and Chinese-made JF-17s.

For its part, Pakistan denies that its jet was shot down or that it used F-16s at all. Other reports, citing unnamed sources, said a JF-17 scored the shootdown. Still, the remnants of an AIM-120 missile, which the Indian government displayed publicly, do seem to indicate that F-16s were involved, as that jet is the only one in the vicinity that can shoot that particular missile...

CENTRAL/ZOUTH AMERICA

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

EUROPE

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

AFGHANISTAN

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

CHINA

In China's Backyard, Charting the Course of Most Advantage

Highlights
- In the mounting great power competition between the United States and China, both countries will strive to build influence among the smaller powers of Southeast Asia.

- Southeast Asian nations, however, will not fall into neat Chinese or U.S. spheres, instead playing the middle to gain advantages from both.

- This fits the strategy many pursued during the Cold War and, in the new great power arena, they will find it easier to preserve greater autonomy.

The growing great power competition between the United States and China has assumed center stage in Asia, where the Chinese push to build out a buffer in the land and maritime domains in its near-abroad is running up against the U.S. desire to maintain its dominant role in the region. The smaller states along the rims of the Western Pacific and Indian oceans, in particular, have become arenas of competition between Washington and Beijing, and in Southeast Asia, long the maritime and terrestrial crossroads of empire in the Indo-Pacific, their contest has reached a robust and deep level. The U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy hinges on enlisting the support of these smaller powers. China has countered by using its Belt and Road Initiative to specifically target these middle players in hopes of forging deeper economic and strategic ties.

The Big Picture
Stratfor has long tracked the burgeoning great power competition between China and the United States, particularly as it plays out in China's backyard — Southeast Asia. As their competition mounts, the region's lesser powers will seek to avoid being co-opted by either side and instead pursue autonomy — and wring advantage from both.

But as much as the United States and China would prize a stable of stalwart Southeast Asian partners, countries in the region have other agendas, making a future bipolar world composed of unipolar U.S. and Chinese blocs unlikely. Instead, Southeast Asian countries will tactically align with the great powers only when it suits their needs. And in doing so, they will choose the available option with the fewest strings possible. As Indonesian founding father Sukarno said in 1965, explaining the perspective of the newly emerging Southeast Asian states: "We want to be free — completely free. Free to be free. We want to be left alone."

Of course, it's impossible to truly fulfill a country's desire to be left alone — particularly so for smaller powers always in need, to some degree, of the benefits of a relationship with a great power. Even during the seemingly zero-sum competition of the Cold War, most countries in Southeast Asia managed to find room to maneuver among the clashing titans from East and West. And, in the current configuration of global power, ambiguity, overlap and limited alignments will be the rule...



IRAN

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

IRAQ

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

ISRAEL

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

KOREAN PENINSULA
 
North Korea’s Sohae Satellite Launch Facility: Normal Operations May Have Resumed 
A 38 North exclusive with analysis by Jack Liu, Irv Buck and Jenny Town
Figure 1. Partially dismantled transfer structure
appears to be rebuilt and operational.

Commercial satellite imagery from March 6 of North Korea’s Sohae Satellite Launching Station (Tongchang-ri) indicates construction to rebuild the launch pad and engine test stand that began before the Hanoi Summit has continued at a rapid pace. Given that construction plus activity at other areas of the site, Sohae appears to have returned to normal operational status.

At the launch pad, work on the rail-mounted transfer structure appears to have been completed by March 6 and the structure may now be operational. The cranes have been removed from the pad and the overhead trusses that were being installed on the roof have been covered. The mobile structure is now situated at the far end of the launch pad adjacent to the checkout building.

Several vehicles are parked near the gantry tower and the exhaust pit and debris remains on the launch pad to be cleaned up.
 
Figure 2. Rebuilding continues at the engine test stand.

At the engine test stand, poor imagery resolution prevents a clear assessment. However, progress has been made on rebuilding the support structure for the stand, the materials that were there as of March 2 are now gone and debris remains littered across the service apron.

Figure 2. Rebuilding continues at the engine test stand.


Image Pleiades © CNES 2019, Distribution Airbus DS. For media options, please contact thirtyeightnorth@gmail.com.
At other areas of the site, activity has also picked up. Vehicles can be seen at the horizontal assembly building and the security administration building. There is also a vehicle parked near the observation building. It is not possible to determine the purpose of these vehicles.


A Snapshot of North Korea’s Supply Chain Coal Activity

The August 2017 UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2371 was the most recent resolution passed that placed a number of sanctions against North Korea, probably the most critical of which was against its coal export industry. Rich in a number of natural resources, coal and limestone yield the most in mining tonnage each year, but arguably, coal has provided the greatest source of currency to the economically struggling nation. What imagery reveals about the country’s coal production and distribution is an important piece to understanding the state and health of North Korea’s coal industry.

North Korea is heavily dependent on its natural resources for both its domestic energy production and trade for foreign currency. Of its many resources, mining plays a critical role, and coal is the dominant ore in terms of production. For many years, China has been the North’s largest foreign consumer, accounting for approximately 40% of the DPRK’s coal export market. However, now with a series of UNSC sanctions in place, the market dynamic for this resource has dramatically changed for North Korea.

Monitoring North Korea’s coal activity requires context and a timeline of key events to understand what is seen on imagery. In 2015, China stopped importing the North’s anthracite coal due to its high sulfur content. This was, in part, an effort to help reduce its air pollution levels. Within a few months, however, coal imports began to flow again, but with tighter quality inspections.T

RUSSIA

Don’t Believe the Russian Hype

Moscow’s missile capabilities in the Baltic Sea region are not nearly as dangerous as they seem.

Since the annexation of Crimea in 2014, Russia’s potential to seize territory in its near abroad and prevent NATO from reinforcing the victim of the aggression has become a source of alarm. If there is ever such a land-grab operation against one of the Baltic States, it is feared, Russia could use its military might and geographic position to create a “no-go zone” and keep NATO reinforcements from reaching the annexed territory in time by cordoning off the theater of operations. This could be done using a combination of long-range anti-air, anti-ship, and anti-land missile systems, known in military jargon as an anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) capability. After Russia’s attack on Ukraine in 2014, Western defense officials began to worry about their ability to operate within the reach of Russia’s missile systems

The possible implications of Russian A2/AD capabilities were felt most acutely in the Baltic Sea region, where NATO reinforcements to Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania could be stopped by missiles from the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad sandwiched between northern Poland and Lithuania. Similarly, Russia’s presence there could stymie the use of Western air power in the region. In Sweden, there are fears that Russia, in a crisis or war, might grab the island of Gotland—located about 120 miles from Stockholm and 220 miles north of Kaliningrad—and deploy missile systems there to seal off access to the Baltic States. Until 2016, the island was de facto demilitarized, whereas today there is a mechanized company of some 150 Swedish soldiers protecting the island...

SYRIA

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

MIDDLE EAST GENERAL

First phase of US missile system sale to Saudi Arabia moves forward
(CNN) — The first phase of Saudi Arabia's long awaited purchase of an advanced US missile defense system has been finalized with the formal awarding of a contract on Monday.

Lockheed Martin was awarded a contract for Phase I "long lead items" of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system, to include early engineering development, test equipment, key personnel and initial training development, according to a statement from the Pentagon.

The Defense Department said the first phase of the contract will cost $945,900,000.

The State Department had previously estimated the cost of the entire THAAD sale to be $15 billion.

President Donald Trump included the THAAD purchase in his list of proposed $110 billion in arm sales that he touted during his 2017 meeting with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

The list was a memorandum of intent to fulfill nearly $110 billion in arms sales over the next 10 years. What the Pentagon announced Monday is the first installment on the THAAD sale...

CYBER ISSUES

As Trump and Kim Met, North Korean Hackers Hit Over 100 Targets in U.S. and Ally Nations

North Korean hackers targeted banks, utilities and energy companies in the United States and Europe over the last 18 months, according to the security firm McAfee. New York, a financial hub, was a major target.Todd Heisler/The New York Times

North Korean hackers targeted banks, utilities and energy companies in the United States and Europe over the last 18 months, according to the security firm McAfee. New York, a financial hub, was a major target.Todd Heisler/The New York Times
SAN FRANCISCO — North Korean hackers who have targeted American and European businesses for 18 months kept up their attacks last week even as President Trump was meeting with North Korea’s leader in Hanoi.

The attacks, which include efforts to hack into banks, utilities and oil and gas companies, began in 2017, according to researchers at the cybersecurity company McAfee, a time when tensions between North Korea and the United States were flaring. But even though both sides have toned down their fiery threats and begun nuclear disarmament talks, the attacks persist.

In 2017, Mr. Trump mocked Kim Jong-un as “rocket man” in a speech at the United Nations, while North Korea tested missiles capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the United States. The attacks began soon after that. Though the two sides failed to reach an agreement last week, Mr. Trump struck a conciliatory tone toward his North Korean counterpart.

The revelation of North Korea’s most recent hacking activity adds new details to the tensions surrounding the summit meeting last week, which ended abruptly without any deals. After their first meeting, about eight months earlier, North Korea had agreed to stop test-firing its missiles.

“For 15 months, they haven’t tested weapons because of this negotiation but over those same 15 months they have not stopped their cyber activity,” said Victor Cha, the Korea chairman at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington...

INTEL GENERAL

To Woo a Skeptical Trump, Intelligence Chiefs Talk Economics Instead of Spies

WASHINGTON — Intelligence officials who brief the president have warned him about Chinese espionage in bottom-line business terms. They have used Black Sea shipping figures to demonstrate the effect of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. And they have filled the daily threat briefing with charts and graphs of economic data.

In an effort to accommodate President Trump, who has attacked them publicly as “na├»ve” and in need of going “back to school,” the nation’s intelligence agencies have revamped their presentations to focus on subjects their No. 1 customer wants to hear about — economics and trade.

Intelligence officers, steeped in how Mr. Trump views the world, now work to answer his repeated question: Who is winning? What the president wants to know, according to former officials, is what country is making more money or gaining a financial advantage.

While the professionals do not criticize Mr. Trump’s focus, they do question whether those interests are crowding out intelligence on threats like terrorism and the maneuvers of traditional adversaries, developments with foreign militaries or geopolitical events with international implications.

“If Trump tailors it to his needs, that is fine and his prerogative,” Douglas H. Wise, a career C.I.A. official and a former top deputy at the Defense Intelligence Agency, said of the daily briefing. “However, if he suppresses intelligence through that tailoring, that is not helpful. He is no longer making informed decisions because he is making decisions based on information he could have had but didn’t have...”

TERRORISM

Satellite images show buildings still standing at Indian bombing site

NEW DELHI/SINGAPORE (Reuters) - High-resolution satellite images reviewed by Reuters show that a religious school run by Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) in northeastern Pakistan appears to be still standing days after India claimed its warplanes had hit the Islamist group’s training camp on the site and killed a large number of militants.

The images produced by Planet Labs Inc, a San Francisco-based private satellite operator, show at least six buildings on the madrasa site on March 4, six days after the airstrike.
Until now, no high-resolution satellite images were publicly available. But the images from Planet Labs, which show details as small as 72 cm (28 inches), offer a clearer look at the structures the Indian government said it attacked.

The image is virtually unchanged from an April 2018 satellite photo of the facility. There are no discernible holes in the roofs of buildings, no signs of scorching, blown-out walls, displaced trees around the madrasa or other signs of an aerial attack.

The images cast further doubt on statements made over the last eight days by the Indian government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the raids, early on Feb. 26, had hit all the intended targets at the madrasa site near Jaba village and the town of Balakot in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

India’s foreign and defense ministries did not reply to emailed questions sent in the past few days seeking comment on what is shown in the satellite images and whether they undermine its official statements on the airstrikes...


MISC

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

Friday, March 8, 2019

Friday Nights in White Satin

Without question one of the top ten love songs of the rock era. Justin Hayward wrote it at 19 years old, as he was going though the pain of loosing one girlfriend, then going through the joy of finding a new one, the woman he would marry.

It brought tears to my eyes when I first heard it in the mid-80s, and it still moves me.

Have a great weekend!

Officer Down


Deputy U.S. Marshal Chase S. White
United States Department of Justice - United States Marshals Service, U.S. Government
End of Watch Thursday, November 29, 2018
Age 41
Tour 3 years
Badge 31134

Deputy U.S. Marshal Chase White was shot and killed at 5:30 pm while attempting to serve a warrant at a home on 15th Avenue, near Jacinto Street, in Tucson, Arizona.

He and other officers were attempting to arrest the man, who had been charged with stalking a law enforcement officer. The man opened fire, killing Deputy Marshal White before barricading himself in his home. He surrendered approximately one hour later.

Deputy Marshal White was a member of the U.S. Air Force Reserve and had served with the United States Marshals Service for three years. He is survived by his wife and four children.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

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

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Officer Down


Sergeant Larry Marrero
Miami Beach Police Department, Florida
End of Watch Wednesday, November 28, 2018
Age 58
Tour 28 years

Sergeant Larry Marrero suffered a fatal heart attack while participating in his department's physical fitness program at the police headquarters building at 1100 Washington Avenue.

He was transported to Mount Sinai Medical Center where he passed away.

Sergeant Marrero had served with the Miami Beach Police Department for 28 years and was posthumously promoted from the rank of Detective to Sergeant. He is survived by his wife and two children.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

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

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Property rights are personal rights...

Fellow Army officer, scotch and bourbon drinker, and charter member in good standing of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, Mike Ford, Colonel, Army of the United States (Retired), is a writer for Red State. And today he had an excellent post on property, as it is part of your life. Enjoy.

Your Property is YOUR Property


Barbie Bike, With Streamers and Everything Daddy! 
The other day, Susie Moore, my fellow RedState front pager, wrote a brilliant article about taxation and how Americans view tax refunds. Please take the time to read it if you haven’t. Her article got me thinking about income, and it’s relationship to property and personal,liberty. Here are my thoughts. 
The fundamental issue is that there is an unstated presumption; That there is an actual, substantive difference between property crimes and violent crimes, or as they are referred to in Law Enforcement, “persons” crimes. Closer examination shows that when it comes right down to it, there is little if any difference. Both categories bring harm to others, varying only by degree.
It took me a long time to get this. Like many people, I considered persons crimes more heinous than “mere” property crimes. After all, “stuff” isn’t nearly as important as a human being. A little over twenty years ago when I was working the street as Deputy Sheriff, I had a minor epiphany. Like most young law enforcement officers, I considered the routine bicycle or other minor theft as not too exciting. It was much more interesting to make a big drug bust or be involved in a vehicle pursuit with the lights and sirens going. A common bicycle theft required a lot of paperwork and most days resulted in no thief identified, much less going to jail; though there was this one group of young pre teen “entrepreneurs” we busted running a bicycle “chop shop.” But that’s a story for another day. 
Then came my epiphany. As a fairly junior member of the agency I worked for, it was a bit tough to feed a wife and two little girls on a Patrol Deputy’s salary. But it was doable, with some work and discipline. One year, my wife and I had made a personal commitment to not go into credit card debt to pay for Christmas. However, to make sure Santa Claus was adequately funded that year, I worked several overtime details in order to accomplish that goal. My oldest daughter wanted a bicycle, her first. With a bit of extra effort, I was able to get her one…the Barbie model with “pink streamers and everything, Daddy!” 
Not two weeks after Christmas in the middle of the day, someone came into my back yard and stole my daughter’s new bike. She was crushed. What else could I do, but go buy her another? As I had worked voluntary overtime to come up with the cash for a replacement, it struck me that what was stolen wasn’t just a $150.00 bicycle. What was stolen was the piece of my life I had to spend to earn the cash to buy it…twice. In that regard, this “petty” theft was really a crime of violence, a persons crime. 
Fast forward to these past few years and my habit of listening to Mark Levin discuss the Constitution, specifically, the Founders’ concern for not only personal, but also property rights and how integral the Founders believed those rights were to liberty. Levin points out four different amendments in the Constitution specifically give property equal regard as with liberty and people. 
3rd Amendment: No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.  
4th Amendment: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. 
5th Amendment: No person shall…be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” 
14th Amendment:…..nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;  
Why did the Founders believe this way? My experience with my daughter’s stolen bike got me halfway to the answer. I realized that, in a manner of speaking, property is a form of stored labor. Somebody, somehow had to work to get the money to purchase that property. In that regard, property represents so many hours of a person’s life. It follows naturally from there, that taking property could be considered taking a portion of someone’s life. John Locke’s idea that property is a natural right derived from labor, influenced our Founding Fathers and the base documents that established and continue to maintain our form of government.  
Before Locke, the common belief was that there was a “divine right of kings.” This divine right stated that all rights, liberties, and properties were held by the King. His subjects were permitted to use them only at his pleasure. Of course, the King could revoke such a right at any time. John Locke and a few of his contemporaries espoused a radically different paradigm–that certain rights resided in the individual. These rights were “natural rights” that were inherent long before, and regardless of, the existence of government.  
Our Founding Fathers took Locke’s philosophy regarding life, liberty, and property and sprinkled it liberally throughout the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. This equal billing of these three fundamental rights continued until the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal. After that point, personal and property liberties came to be treated differently and unequally.  
One recent and truly egregious example of this, is Civil Asset Forfeiture Laws, whereby a citizen merely suspected but not convicted of a crime may have his property confiscated and must prove innocence, at his own expense, to get it back. Another is the Kelo decision by the Supreme Court, whereby property can be taken from one citizen because the state (city, county, or state) can obtain more tax revenues from another, a clear violation of the intent of the takings clause of the Constitution. 
It’s time that we all as Americans understand that property is a significant part of liberty. It’s time we all demand the recognition of the fact that the possession of property, is a part of being a human being. Your property is your labor. Your property is you.
Mike Ford is a retired Infantry Officer who writes on Military, Foreign Affairs and occasionally dabbles in Political and Economic matters.


Excellent work Mike!

Monday, March 4, 2019

Officer Down




Trooper Robert E. Nagle
New Jersey State Police
End of Watch Monday, November 26, 2018
Age 67
Tour 34 years
Badge 5493
Military Veteran
Cause 9/11 related illness
Location New York
Incident Date Tuesday, September 11, 2001
Weapon Aircraft; Passenger jet

Trooper Robert Nagle died as the result of cancer that he developed following his assignment to the search and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center site following the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks.

Trooper Nagle was a New Jersey Air National Guard veteran. He had served with the New Jersey State Police and the former New Jersey Marine Police for a total of 34 years. He is survived by his wife, children, grandchildren, sister, and brother.

On the morning of September 11th, 2001, seventy-two officers from a total of eight local, state, and federal agencies were killed when terrorist hijackers working for the al Qaeda terrorist network, headed by Osama bin Laden, crashed four hijacked planes into the World Trade Center towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

After the impact of the first plane into the World Trade Center's North Tower, putting the safety of others before their own, law enforcement officers along with fire and EMS personnel, rushed to the burning Twin Towers of the World Trade Center to aid the victims and lead them to safety. Due to their quick actions, it is estimated that over 25,000 people were saved.

As the evacuation continued, the South Tower unexpectedly collapsed as a result of the intense fire caused by the impact. The North Tower collapsed a short time later. Seventy-one law enforcement officers, 343 members of the New York City Fire Department and over 2,800 civilians were killed at the World Trade Center site.

A third hijacked plane crashed into a field in rural Pennsylvania when the passengers attempted to re-take control of the plane. One law enforcement officer, who was a passenger on the plane, was killed in that crash.

The fourth hijacked plane was crashed into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, killing almost 200 military and civilian personnel. No law enforcement officers were killed at the Pentagon on 9/11.

The terrorist attacks resulted in the declaration of war against the Taliban regime, the illegal rulers of Afghanistan, and the al Qaeda terrorist network which also was based in Afghanistan.

On September 9th, 2005, all of the public safety officers killed on September 11th, 2001, were posthumously awarded the 9/11 Heroes Medal of Valor by President George W. Bush.

The contamination in the air at the World Trade Center site caused many rescue personnel to become extremely ill and eventually led to the death of several rescue workers.

On May 1st, 2011 members of the United States military conducted a raid on a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and killed Osama bin Laden.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

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

A New York official openly admits what's been obvious for decades...

New York is a business disaster.

Back in 1989, my brother, who worked sheet rock and construction, spent the better part of a year in New York City. A hotel needed a complete refurbishing. The hotel hired Bobby's company from New Orleans, moved them up to the Big Apple, housed them, fed them, and paid them a lot more than what they would make in Louisiana. And still the job was done faster and cheaper than with local labor, unionized or not.

Fast forward to current times, the state of New York managed to win the biggest business opportunity since shale oil. The second Amazon.com headquarters was won with a promise of three billion in tax credits. In exchange, Amazon would generate 25-40 thousand jobs, and 27-30 billion in tax revenue. Good bargain, a minimum of a nine to one return on investment. Not for the libtards who infect New York.

When a Democratic official from New York state says is was a cluster f%^& of the first order, you know it's bad. Congratulations Governor Cuomo, you're a bigger laughing stock of a governor than Jerry Brown, Christopher Christie, or Kathleen Blanco. The letter is as good as it gets from a politician. Emphasis mine.
Open Letter From New York State Budget Director Robert Mujica Regarding Amazon

"As just about everyone in this state, if not the country, knows by now, Amazon has terminated its plans to bring its second headquarters to New York State. It is a tremendous loss for New Yorkers and I hope that at a minimum, we understand the lessons learned.

"In my 23 years in the State Capitol, three as Budget Director, Amazon was the single greatest economic development opportunity we have had. Amazon chose New York and Virginia after a year-long national competition with 234 cities and states vying for the 25,000-40,000 jobs. For a sense of scale, the next largest economic development project the state has completed was for approximately 1,000 jobs. People have been asking me for the past week what killed the Amazon deal. There were several factors.

"First, some labor unions attempted to exploit Amazon's New York entry. The RWDSU Union was interested in organizing the Whole Foods grocery store workers, a subsidiary owned by Amazon, and they deployed several 'community based organizations' (which RWDSU funds) to oppose the Amazon transaction as negotiation leverage. It backfired. Initially, Whole Foods grocery stores had nothing to do with this transaction. It is a separate company. While Amazon is not a unionized workforce, Amazon had agreed to union construction and service worker jobs that would have provided 11,000 thousand union positions.

"New York State also has the most pro-worker legal protections of any state in the country. Organizing Amazon, or Whole Foods workers, or any company for that matter, is better pursued by allowing them to locate here and then making an effort to unionize the workers, rather than making unionization a bar to entrance. If New York only allows unionized companies to enter, our economy is unsustainable, and if one union becomes the enemy of other unions, the entire union movement - already in decline - is undermined and damaged.

"Second, some Queens politicians catered to minor, but vocal local political forces in opposition to the Amazon government incentives as 'corporate welfare.' Ironically, much of the visible 'local' opposition, which was happy to appear at press conferences and protest at City Council hearings during work hours, were actual organizers paid by one union: RWDSU. (If you are wondering if that is even legal, probably not). Even more ironic is these same elected officials all signed a letter of support for Amazon at the Long Island City location and in support of the application. They were all for it before Twitter convinced them to be against it.

"While there is always localized opposition, in this case it was taken to a new level. The State Senate transferred decision-making authority to a local Senator, who, after first supporting the Amazon project, is now vociferously opposed to it, and even recommended appointing him to a State panel charged with approving the project's financing. Amazon assumed that the hostile appointment doomed the project. Of course the Governor would never accept a Senate nomination of an opponent to the project and the Governor told that to Amazon directly. The relevant question for Amazon then became whether the Senate would appoint an alternative who would approve the project.

"As newspapers have reported, Amazon called the Senate Leader and asked if she would appoint an alternative appointee who would support the project. The Senate would not commit to an alternative appointee supporting Amazon. That was the death knell. No rational company, or person for that matter, would assume the Senate would flip flop from appointing a staunch opponent of the project to appointing a supporter of the project. It defies logic. However, if that was their plan, Amazon needed a direct representation to that effect from the Senate. It never came. Indeed, to this day, the Senate has never said they would appoint a member who would support the project. Companies assume rational, logical behavior and cannot spend months and millions of dollars on approvals if ultimately the road is a dead end.

"Furthermore, opposing Amazon was not even good politics, as the politicians have learned since Amazon pulled out. They are like the dog that caught the car. They are now desperately and incredibly trying to explain their actions. They cannot. They are trying to justify their flip-flopping on the issue with false accusations that it was a 'backroom deal.' Let's remember that as a condition of the competition, every bid was sealed to prevent governments from altering their bids to be more competitive. Empire State Development supported the numerous local applications in the state who wanted to bid for HQ2, but on the condition that the local elected officials and community supported it, and Long Island City was no exception.

"In working with New York City, we advanced Long Island City's application with the signed support of the area's local elected officials, including State Senator Mike Gianaris and New York City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. Both Gianaris and Van Bramer flip-flopped on this position after Long Island City was chosen, distorting the facts of the agreement and mischaracterizing the tax subsidies as 'a cash giveaway.' Now that Amazon has pulled out, local politicians are feeling the backlash from the project's previously silent supporters and are dissembling. Local senators' claims that their phone calls were not returned are particularly offensive, given that the local senator was the first person ESD President and CEO Howard Zemsky met with when we made the HQ2 announcement. I also remained in contact with him about the project as the State Budget Director, and he refused to sit on the community engagement board or even meet with Amazon representatives. Efforts were made to address legitimate concerns, all of which were ignored.

"Third, in retrospect, the State and the City could have done more to communicate the facts of the project and more aggressively correct the distortions. We assumed the benefits to be evident: 25,000-40,000 jobs located in a part of Queens that has not seen any significant commercial development in decades and a giant step forward in the tech sector, further diversifying our economy away from Wall Street and Real Estate. The polls showing seventy percent of New Yorkers supported Amazon provided false comfort that the political process would act responsibly and on behalf of all of their constituents, not just the vocal minority. We underestimated the effect of the opposition's distortions and overestimated the intelligence and integrity of local elected officials.

"Incredibly, I have heard city and state elected officials who were opponents of the project claim that Amazon was getting $3 billion in government subsidies that could have been better spent on housing or transportation. This is either a blatant untruth or fundamental ignorance of basic math by a group of elected officials. The city and state 'gave' Amazon nothing. Amazon was to build their headquarters with union jobs and pay the city and state $27 billion in revenues. The city, through existing as-of-right tax credits, and the state through Excelsior Tax credits - a program approved by the same legislators railing against it - would provide up to $3 billion in tax relief, IF Amazon created the 25,000-40,000 jobs and thus generated $27 billion in revenue. You don't need to be the State's Budget Director to know that a nine to one return on your investment is a winner.

"The seventy percent of New Yorkers who supported Amazon and now vent their anger also bear responsibility and must learn that the silent majority should not be silent because they can lose to the vocalminority and self-interested politicians.

"It was wrong to manage this issue as if it were a single legislator's political prerogative on a local matter. This was not a traffic signal or local zoning issue. Losing the Amazon project was not just a blow to Queens County, it hurt the whole State from Long Island to the Capitol Region's nanotechnology corridor to the emerging Panasonic plant in Buffalo, and it was a bad reflection on every single local elected official. Legislators must realize there is a difference between playing politics and responsibly governing.

"Progressive politics and policies have been the signature of Governor Cuomo's administration. No state in the nation has more progressive accomplishments, and being the most progressive state in the nation means having the most stringent and aggressive protections and policies in place. We are proud that our values create a stronger, healthier, fairer work environment, but we shouldn't kid ourselves about how they impact our competitiveness when businesses consider where to locate. We are also proud of the unprecedented investments we make in education, healthcare, infrastructure and housing, but in order to fund them, we need a sustained tax base.

"As the political debate rages in this country, the Governor reminds us of the fact that 'to be a progressive, there must be progress.' The creation of opportunity and jobs is the engine that pulls the train and, as he also often says, 'the best social program is still a job.' Without a tax base we are not financially able to achieve the laudable goals we seek.

"Make no mistake, at the end of the day we lost $27 billion, 25,000-40,000 jobs and a blow to our reputation of being 'open for business.' The union that opposed the project gained nothing and cost other union members 11,000 good, high-paying jobs. The local politicians that catered to the hyper-political opposition hurt their own government colleagues and the economic interest of every constituent in their district. The true local residents who actually supported the project and its benefits for their community are badly hurt. Nothing was gained and much was lost. This should never happen again."

The fact that idiot AOC is now saying we can "invest" (whenever a politician uses that word, watch out) the three billion in housing, teachers, etc, says enough. The woman with a honors degree in economics is too stupid to run a lemonade stand (she fits right in to the Democratic caucus in DC). Liberal politicians never seem to understand, business is in business for business. The extras (thousands of jobs, billions in tax revenue) are a fringe benefit. But work with business, they want to be in business.

But not where the the leadership is openly hostile to them.

Congrats New York. You are like California, a formerly great state for economic activity, now a albatross to America. You have no one to blame but your self, and from the people of this nation, we have only two words: DROP DEAD.