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Thursday, November 29, 2012

A real shootout...how it really happens

Take a look at this. An actual shootout. Notice the officer doesn't just a a couple and stop, take a look, etc. He shots until he thinks he's safe.

Video: Officer shoots armed suspect in cemetery 
Dash cam footage shows the officer fire several rounds toward a shed where the man is standing 
By PoliceOne Staff PINELLAS PARK, Fla. — 
Video of a highway patrol trooper opening fire in a cemetery after a man appeared with a gun has been released. Officer Daniel Cole is seen in the grainy footage aiming a rifle at a shed where Clifford Work appeared armed in the doorway. Cole fired several rounds, hitting Work — who turned out to be the cemetery owner — once in the leg, according to the Tampa Bay Times. 
Cole was tracking a signal from a LoJack theft recovery device on a stolen motorcycle, which was later found behind the shed Work had been sleeping in. 
The investigation of the shooting cleared Cole of any wrongdoing.
Good work Officer Cole. Glad your safe.

Officer Down

Trooper Kyle W. Deatherage
Illinois State Police
End of Watch: Monday, November 26, 2012
Age: 32
Tour: 3 years
Badge # 6128

Trooper Kyle Deatherage was struck and killed by a tractor trailer while making a traffic stop on I-55, at mile marker 62, near Litchfield.

He had parked his motorcycle on the shoulder and was speaking with the driver of the vehicle when he was struck.

Trooper Deatherage had served with the Illinois State Police for three years. He is survived by his wife, 4-year-old daughter, and 10-month-old son.
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.

Good overview on a good report

When I was in the Thibodaux Junior Police in the mid 70s one of the points made was how much time an officer spends writing out reports during his shift.  You really appreciate that fact on patrol. Here is a great overview on what to look at when composing an offense report.
Passion for the Job with Chief Joel F. Shults, Ed.D.

5 keys to great report writing

No recruiting brochure ever finds room for a picture of a bleary-eyed patrol officer in the station typing police-speak into a report for half her shift.

The cops on television don’t even take notes, much less write reports — unless, of course, the script calls for one of those chaotic stationhouse scenes where pimps and druggies are being jerked around in the background as our hero taps on the old manual typewriter one finger at a time (I’m an old school ‘Hill Street Blues’ fan).

Despite all of our digital technology, there is still no better way to tell the world what happened at three in the morning in the mud and the blood and the beer in that alley than by the written word. We have so many time-saving boxes to check that sometimes we fail to provide a healthy narrative in the press of time.

Here are a few reminders to keep motivated to make good reports.

Good Field Notes
Having a good, consistent shorthand is essential to fast note-taking. Jotting down questions (notes to self...) that come to mind during interviews and observations can keep follow-ups fresh and focused.

Clearly identifying who did and said what at a scene — officers as well as witness and suspects — should be a priority. Quick clothing descriptions (supplemented by cell phone pictures) of persons involved can be helpful.

Notes on sequence, time, and environmental conditions should be part of your written record.

Establish Elements of the Crime
Looking at the statute is the best way to establish an outline for your report. Remember that every element of the offense must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

It’s not about the big picture — it’s about the tiny details. Defense attorneys will attack the element that is least supported or the one that gives rise to the likeliest defense. Anticipating defenses is the opposite side of proving the elements.

Any of us who have watched a defense attorney take a pick axe to our case knows that crazy theories can come from left field. Contemplating their game can help us nail down loose ends in our report.

Include Exculpatory Evidence
Recent cases have crucified police officers who fail to identify and follow-up on suspects (no matter how unlikely) or who fail to include names of all officers at the scene, witnesses, and digital audio or video material.

Just as the CSI effect (jury expectations of fancy science applied to every crime scene) makes us document what we did as well as what we didn’t do in terms of evidence collection and processing, leads unchecked and persons not interviewed will be leveraged to attack the credibility of reporting officers.

Good Reports Will CYA
Covering your assets NEVER means falsifying or fudging on a report. Better to lose a case than your reputation, job, or ability to testify.

However, expect that your report will be used against you in a civil suit or on the stand to discredit you. Defense attorneys seldom have an innocent client, so they have to fabricate a guilty officer. Therefore, be diligent about describing your professional behavior as well as the behavior of others at the scene.

We all know that dash-cam video, for example, can fail to show to an uninformed viewer what is going on outside the camera lens. It can also fail to show the micro signs of pre-aggression, and it can certainly not show the reputation of the suspect or the information you know about him or her that dictated your conduct during the contact.

The same is true of a report. The reporting officer must give the reader a close-up view of the event from as many angles as possible. Don’t ever assume that readers of your report are going to give you the benefit of the doubt, ascribe good or heroic qualities to you, or even think independently in assessing your conduct.

Tell them what you need for them to know, and be as detailed as you truthfully can.

The Long Haul
It is eye-opening to chart the progress of your report as it winds through the system. You know your supervisor sees it, the prosecutor sees it, and the defense attorney sees it.

Do you think about the victim who sees it? The insurance company? The victim advocate? The defense investigator? The probation / parole officer reviewing for the pre-sentence investigation? The parole board in considering parole?

Researchers seeking data for planning, budgeting, grant funding, crime prevention, and a host of other academic pursuits may also see your report. Their conclusions then eventually become policy and legislation (academic research does affect you!).

Juries, reporters, treatment practitioners, attorneys on both sides of a civil suit, internal affairs investigators and the list could go on. This is the equivalent of your English paper being read in front of the whole class in high school... and again next year, and the year after that, and every year following for the foreseeable future.

In other words, it had better be good.

No doubt you’ll be pressured to “get back on patrol” or “let the detectives deal with it” but the long-term effects of a poor report are too substantial to ignore.

In the academy we covered offense reports about half way through the course. A month or so later we went through district court orientation and a few select cadets (e.g. Victims) had to testify based on their reports. I was one on the fortunate cadets who could watch and see our classmates get destined on cross exam. One man, after ten minutes of being cut up was apologizing to the court, the defendant, the attorneys and the class. We all laughed our asses off but the point was made. You need to write reports well. They can come back to haunt you.

Security Weekly: Mimicking Breivik in Poland, November 29, 2012

By Ben West

Poland's Internal Security Agency announced Nov. 20 that it had arrested "Brunon K," a chemistry professor at the Agricultural University in Krakow who allegedly planned to attack the lower house of the Polish parliament. The arrest came Nov. 9, just two days before Warsaw's annual Independence Day parade, which authorities believe could have been another target. During the arrest, authorities seized ammonium nitrate fertilizer, high-powered, military-grade explosive RDX and other bomb-making equipment. They also seized several hundred rounds of ammunition, a bulletproof vest and a pistol.

Presumably, the suspect in question is Dr. Brunon Kwiecien, who has published multiple chemistry papers at the Agricultural University in Krakow, according to a Polish academic directory. Kwiecien openly espoused anti-government views and accused the Polish government and the European Commission of tyranny. Specifically, he condemned the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, which has angered Internet freedom activists in Europe.

Kwiecien is also a self-proclaimed supporter of Norwegian ultranationalist terrorist Anders Breivik, who conducted a successful lone wolf attack in Oslo in 2011. Indeed, tactically Kwiecien's plot against the Polish government resembled Breivik's in many ways. But his was only the latest, certainly not the last, thwarted terrorist attack in Europe, where similar plots can be expected as the economic and political situation continues to worsen.

The Plot

Kwiecien allegedly considered Breivik's vehicle-borne improvised explosive device attack on Norway's parliament building a failure -- Breivik's killed only eight people and failed to inflict catastrophic structural damage on the building. Breivik used 1 metric ton of ammonium nitrate-based explosives, commonly called ANFO, or ammonium nitrate fuel oil, and parked his vehicle on the street, putting some distance between the VBIED and the building. Kwiecien intended to construct an explosive device using 4 metric tons of ANFO inside a tanker truck, crash through the gates of the parliament building and detonate the VBIED within the courtyard. Investigators believe that it would have been a suicide mission. Had he executed his attack successfully, he likely would have created a blast big enough to cause significant structural damage and loss of life, resulting in more damage and more deaths than Breivik's explosive device.

According to authorities, Kwiecien began planning for the attack between July and September. He apparently had traveled to Warsaw to surveil the area surrounding the building. The fact that there is fairly light security at the entrance to the parliament building may have encouraged Kwiecien to go forward with his plot.

What differentiates Kwiecien -- and Breivik before him -- from many other aspiring terrorists is his knowledge of how to make bombs. Most grassroots terrorists lack the requisite skillset and the wherewithal to build a viable explosive device. Reaching out for assistance in acquiring these skills exposes them to detection. For example, Adel Daoud was arrested Sept. 15 in Chicago by an undercover FBI agent, from whom Daoud had sought assistance to carry out his attack.

Kwiecien's Skillset

Kwiecien, a professional chemist, could have avoided Daoud's fate. He had the scientific background necessary to know how to make explosives. He also was an explosives enthusiast; allegedly he lost several of his fingers detonating a homemade bomb when he was a teenager. He had filmed his "experiments" over the past 10 years. Authorities also claim that Kwiecien had detonated a bomb containing as much as 250 kilograms (about 550 pounds) of explosives, though video footage shows explosive charges that were much smaller. 
Even if he had detonated a bomb of that size, there is no indication that he ever came close to experimenting with a bomb containing 4 metric tons of explosives. Thoroughly mixing 4 metric tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer and diesel, the typical fuel oil in ANFO, is very difficult, but the challenge in constructing bombs that large is detonation. Generally, the larger the main charge is, the harder it is to achieve a simultaneous detonation and thus cause maximum damage. 
Four metric tons of ANFO equates to more than 3,000 liters (800 gallons). Successfully igniting all that material requires the ignition of several smaller, high-powered detonation charges. Otherwise the device can fail or only partially detonate in what is referred to as a low-order explosion, where the ANFO is propelled away from the device rather than detonated. In 2010, Faisal Shahzad attempted to construct a device and detonate it in Times Square. But he was an amateur bombmaker. As such, he constructed a poorly made bomb, and the main charge failed to detonate accordingly. 
It appears that Kwiecien was planning to use RDX for the detonation charges. Acquiring ANFO is relatively easy; it is made from legitimate agricultural products, and Kwiecien worked at an agricultural university. Acquiring RDX is far more difficult; it's a military-grade explosive that is much more regulated than fertilizer. But again, Kwiecien's chemistry background would have given him the skills needed to make homemade RDX instead of having to source it externally. Making it alone would shield him from law enforcement officials who monitor the acquisition of such materials. 
Kwiecien's Mistakes It is unclear whether Kwiecien could have built the bomb he intended to, but he was much more likely to have done so than other would-be terrorists. However, just because Kwiecien appears to have had the skillset to make a bomb without alerting the authorities does not mean that he kept the plot only to himself. In fact, he made several serious mistakes in plotting his attack that made him vulnerable to authorities. 
Kwiecien brazenly advertised his anti-government ideology. He reportedly spoke openly with his students about bringing down the Polish government. He taught extracurricular classes on making explosives and claimed that officials had threatened to prosecute him if he didn't stop them. His wife, a biologist, alerted authorities when Kwiecien allegedly asked her how he could make a biological "dirty bomb." In addition, Kwiecien used his own email address and identity for his online activity, where he made anti-government comments, praised Breivik and openly recruited like-minded people to join his cause. Reports indicate that Polish authorities' investigations into Breivik's connections in Poland may have also led to Kwiecien. All of these actions tipped off authorities, who likely had a fairly thick file on him by the time he was arrested. Notably, none of his actions were necessarily grounds for prosecution. To gather more evidence, the Polish national police mounted an investigation that involved infiltrating his group. Excluding Kwiecien, the group comprised four members, two of whom were undercover agents. The other two were arrested. Once undercover, the two operatives were able to collect details on Kwiecien's weapons and explosives acquisition efforts. Moreover, they would have been able to provide evidence that ties Kwiecien to the materials meant to be used in the attack. 
The operatives also could have kept tabs on Kwiecien and alerted authorities when they believed he was moving closer to an attack. Kwiecien's motivations for expanding his group are unknown, but ultimately it was his desire for recruitment that compromised him.

Breivik's Influence Like Breivik, Kwiecien embodied the rare combination of ideological fervor and technical capability. But unlike Breivik, he did not strictly adhere to operational security standards. Breivik went to great lengths to maintain operational security, seeking help only when he absolutely needed it -- like when he traveled to purchase firearms. Kwiecien flaunted his capabilities and his ideology, making him a bigger target for authorities. 
Kwiecien was also a copycat who sought to conduct the same attack that Breivik did, only on a larger scale. European authorities -- indeed, law enforcement agencies around the world -- have studied the Breivik case for more than a year. Thus they probably became better at identifying attacks that employ the same tactics. 
Perhaps most important, Kwiecien's case also shows that Breivik's call to action has been heard. In his manifesto, Breivik appealed to other like-minded individuals to form cells and fight multiculturalism in Europe. Individuals like Breivik and Kwiecien, who combine capability and ideology, are rare. But Europe has a skilled workforce that could produce similarly capable extremists. Indeed, Breivik and Kwiecien are not alone in their ultranationalist ideals. On Nov. 23, Swedish extremist Peter Mangs was sentenced to life in prison for a series of killings targeting immigrants around Malmo, a city in southern Sweden. Mangs killed for several years before he was caught, indicating that he was well disciplined and practiced operational security. 
The conditions of Europe are conducive for extremism. As national economies worsen and European institutions weaken, there will be more cause, in the eyes of extremists, to lash out against the state and against Europe. Such threats are not found only among ultranationalists. Left-wing groups and anarchist cells also pose a threat, as evidenced in Greece and Italy. Kwiecien certainly will not be the last extremist to plot an attack in Europe, and the more like-minded individuals who take up the cause, the higher the chances are for more attacks.

Mimicking Breivik in Poland is republished with permission of Stratfor.

A good question on the usefulness of unions

From the Wall Street Journal, a look at what unions can accomplish. And it's not pretty.

Jenkins: The Media Choke on a Twinkie

Hardly any business in America is less consequential than Hostess, and yet Twinkies have garnered a ­disproportionate share of media focus and we are about to ­recommit the sin of over-attention here.

Our most fervent wish for the journalism profession for a long while has been that a new generation would come along trained to think. The world is adequately stocked with journalists who can write, who are careful and accurate ­reporters, and yet are helpless as babies when asked to punch their way through an obvious ­fallacy...

...Hostess’s problem, as the ­bakers point out in bankruptcy filings printed in legible English, and as Hostess management has pointed out in its own equally readable filings, is that Hostess’s valuable parts are held back by Hostess’s high-cost, Teamster-staffed system for moving Twinkies and other delights from production facility to store shelf.

This high-cost distribution system means the company doesn’t make money on many of its existing sales. It means it can’t profitably extend sales to new customers and new ­geographical markets that might keep Hostess factories busier than ever.

Now, as we said, a good bet is that people act rationally where their material interests are ­concerned. The bakers make a perfectly rational judgment, in rejecting further concessions and triggering the liquidation of Hostess, that their members would be better off if no longer wedded to Hostess’s Teamster-dominated delivery network.

The Teamsters, who swallowed hard and agreed to concessions in hopes of avoiding liquidation, are telling you something too. The Teamsters are telling you, quite rationally, that nothing of value would likely remain in the Hostess distribution system in a liquidation. Look at the ­buyers lining up for the Hostess brands, such as Tastykake owner Flower Foods and the investment fund that owns Pabst Blue Ribbon, who ­slaver after an opportunity to roll Twinkies and related indulgences into their own existing delivery networks. They slaver after Hostess’s distribution operations not at all.

Or turn on any business ­channel or any football game. Bombarding you will be ads from UPS, FedEx FDX +0.27% and the U.S. Postal Service aimed not at consumers but at business managers. These ads sing jingles about “logistics.” They show how over-caffeinated coffee warehouse managers can improve profits by outsourcing shipping to the professionals.

These commercials exist for a reason. Both the bakers and Teamsters judge their interests rightly. The Teamsters see little hope of survival if Hostess ­liquidates and the bakers see ­little hope of survival if it doesn’t. Sadly, Hostess’s outdated distribution business has all the entrepreneurial appeal these days of a tube-TV factory.

It’s even possible that ­management is right too, though some executives may wear suits, which makes them baddies: To invest more money in Hostess as currently structured would be to throw good money after bad...

Last month I posted on how Harley-Davidson had to "go nuclear" on its union to upgrade it's factory to the 21st Century. One thousand union workers lost their job through attrition but the factory was saved and more kept their jobs. Unfortunately the Teamsters haven't figured out this is no the 1950s and we can't keep our business models in that mindset.

An open secret is that much of the mail the USPS ships flys via UPS planes. The private sector does it much more efficiently. Hopefully someone picks up the pieces of Hostess, sets up a new factory in a right to work state and lets UPS, FEDEZ or DHL handle distribution.

But union guys, don't worry, you can have faith. For all the money you have sent the Teamsters, in the lyrics of Billy Joel's Allentown, "...And the union people crawled awaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah aaaaaaaaaaah aaaaaah."

Officer Down

Deputy Sheriff Scott Ward
Baldwin County Alabama Sheriff's Office
End of Watch: Friday, November 23, 2012
Age: 47
Tour: 15 years

Deputy Sheriff Scott Ward was shot and killed after he and two other deputies responded to a domestic disturbance call involving an emotionally disturbed person in the 11800 block of Mallard Lane shortly after 4:00 pm.

The man's mother called police after arriving at his home after she was unable to contact him by phone. Upon her arrival she was unable to calm the man down.

The deputies were speaking to the subject on the home's front porch when he suddenly produced a handgun and opened fire. Deputy Ward and one other deputy were shot before the subject was killed by return fire.

All three deputies were wearing their vests.

Both wounded deputies were flown to the University of South Alabama Medical Center in critical condition. Deputy Ward succumbed to his wounds.

Deputy Ward was a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve. He had served with the Baldwin County Sheriff's Office for 15 years and had previously served with the Prichard Police Department. He is survived by his wife.
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.

Officer Down

Deputy Sheriff Anthony Rakes
Marion County Kentucky Sheriff's Office
End of Watch: Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Age: 31
Tour: 6 years
Badge # 1204

Deputy Sheriff Anthony Rakes was shot and killed after stopping behind a vehicle that stopped in the middle of U.S. 68, near Lebanon, at approximately 2:00 am.

As the deputy was approaching the car the driver opened fire with a small caliber handgun, striking him.

The subject fled in his vehicle but was arrested a short time later by members of the Kentucky State Police and Campbellsville Police Department.

Deputy Rakes was transported to a local hospital where he succumbed to his wounds.

Deputy Rakes had served with the Marion County Sheriff's Office for six years and had previously served with the Lebanon Police Department.
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.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Geopolitical Weekly: Gaza, Catalonia and Romantic Nationalism, November 27, 2012

By George Friedman
Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Last week was spent obsessed with Gaza. In the end, nothing changed. A war was fought without an Israeli ground assault but with massive air and rocket attacks on both sides. Israel did not have the appetite and perhaps the power to crush Hamas. Hamas did not have the power to compel Israel to change its policies but wanted to achieve a symbolic victory against Israel. Both decided that continued fighting made little sense and allowed the Americans and Egyptians to bless a settlement. Everyone from Iran to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood played a role, and then the curtain on this act went down. It will come up again. It was not trivial for those who lived through the conflict, but in the end it changed little.

In this context, focusing on Catalonian elections would seem frivolous, but it is the nature of geopolitics that the quiet and odd may have more significance in the long run than the events that carry noisy headlines.

Catalonia is a region in northeastern Spain. Its capital, Barcelona, is the second-largest city in Spain and the country's industrial and commercial hub. Catalonia is also a region that for decades has had a substantial independence movement seeking to break away from the rest of Spain.

In a regional election held Sunday, the movement for independence remained strong but also became more complex. The regional president, Artur Mas, had called early elections as a way of measuring support for a referendum on secession. Mas' party actually lost 12 seats in the election, though another independence-oriented but more left-wing party doubled its seats. Together, the pro-independence parties increased their share by one seat and have the necessary two-thirds majority to force a non-binding referendum.

Without going too deeply into the morass of regional politics, the long-standing dispute between Catalonia and Madrid has been deepened by the financial crisis and the issue of how the burden will be shared. Originally, Mas had not supported independence but rather greater autonomy for Catalonia. However, he did want a deal with Madrid in which the austerity burden placed on Catalonia would be mitigated. Madrid rejected the deal, which drove Mas toward advocating independence and calling the early elections. With Sunday's election results, the independence movement has become more intense and more radical. The mainstream pro-independence party lost, but smaller and more left-wing parties made gains, a trend we expect to grow in Europe as the economic strains increase.

Europe's Border Imperative

Since World War II, there has been an underlying principle in Europe that borders are sacrosanct, that they will not be changed. The fear has been that once borders become an issue again in Europe, the tensions that tore Europe apart prior to World War II would re-emerge. This was not universally respected, of course. Serbia's borders were forcibly changed after the Kosovo war (and Spain is one of four EU countries that did not recognize Kosovo due to its own secessionist movement). But the idea of one state making territorial claims on another was contained.

What was not contained was the self-revision of national borders. The two most famous cases were the "velvet divorce" of Czechoslovakia, where two nations, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, emerged peacefully. Nor, obviously, did that principle preclude devolution, or the fragmentation of countries into smaller nationally based entities, in either Yugoslavia or the Soviet Union itself. A wave of countries buried in larger transnational entities emerged in Europe in the 1990s, sometimes peacefully and sometimes not.

This did not mean that tensions did not continue to exist. In Belgium, French-speaking Walloons and Dutch-speaking Flemings have been hostile to each other since Belgium was established in the 19th century. Slovakia and Romania have large Hungarian populations, separated from Hungary under the post-World War I redrawing of the internal borders of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Occasionally there are mild nationalist rumbles among the Hungarians in both countries seeking reunification. There is a Scottish secessionist movement in the United Kingdom. Northern Ireland is peaceful now but it retains a secessionist movement. There are a variety of such movements in Italy.

For the most part, these movements have not been something to take seriously. Even the Catalan movement is far from achieving independence. Still, we are in a period of European history in which borders are not redrawn primarily due to states seizing territory from each other; rather, the odds that increasingly prevalent secession movements could change the borders are moving from the realm of the preposterous to that of the almost conceivable. That is not a trivial evolution because in such matters the trajectory, rather than the credibility at any one moment, is most important. As pressures build in Europe, what was inconceivable could become surprisingly practical in a relatively short period of time.

The European Summit to discuss the EU budget last week was a demonstration of the degree to which national interest -- and nationalism -- defines the existing European states. The issue in Europe is who is going to bear the burden of austerity that the European political and economic system is imposing. Whatever the idea of Europe might be, the reality is that the political power rests in the nation-states, and the presidents and prime ministers are elected by nation-states. They respond to their constituents, and the constituents want to deflect costs.

The ongoing EU budget dispute is a convenient opportunity for any government that wants to demonstrate to its public that it is being vigilant in minimizing the costs of austerity. The degree of acrimony and indeed hostility among the states -- which formed and shifted coalitions over the budget while trying to shift the financial burden to other states -- was startling if you looked at it through the eyes of 2000. The structures of the European Union are rapidly devolving into its constituent nation-states.

The question of who will bear the burden within nation-states is emerging as an equally divisive issue. This in turn intersects with deep rivers of European history. Catalonia has long argued that it was a separate nation from Spain, based on history and culture, and historically it has had a degree of autonomy. The issue remained relatively quiet until it became clear that Spain's EU membership would have significant economic implications. The tradition of Catalan nationalism then turned from nostalgia to a vehicle to deflect economic pain by shifting it from Barcelona to Madrid.

Nationalism's Difficult Legacy

There is a profoundly important tradition in Europe of romantic nationalism. In its liberal form, it is the idea that every nation has the right to self-determination. The problem is defining what constitutes a nation, and for the romantics that was defined by language, distinct history, culture and so on. It is also defined by self-perception. A nation exists when its inhabitants see themselves as a distinct people. Implicit in romantic nationalism is a conflict. When one notion of romantic nationalism denies the legitimacy of competing claims by a nation's constituent parts, romantic nationalism can become oppressive rather than liberating. In response, the constituent parts sometimes invent national identities for a variety of reasons, destabilizing the whole. The European notion of nationalism can be quite destabilizing and in its most militant form can become brutal.

The hymn of the European Union is Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" from the 9th Symphony. It is a celebration of the French Revolution and the spirit of liberation that followed. The liberation was not only of the individual but also of the nation from dynasties. It was the combination of the notion of individual rights, national self-determination and national identity. The European Union was intended to embody these things. They are not lost but under strain, and the point of the strain is the nation, which, rather than forming a community, now forms competing parts in what is a zero-sum game. Where this ends is the problem, since the history of Europe after Beethoven was not what he would have hoped for.

Just as interesting is what happens to the Catalonias, the buried nationalisms within existing nation-states, that are now prepared to challenge the legitimacy of a country like Spain and demand liberation from it and the right to its own authentic nationalism. What began in the velvet divorce, peaceful and reasonable, now can become much less friendly under the pressure of severe economic pain. What other hidden nationalisms will emerge to use the shield of national self-determination to deflect economic pain? It is easy to dismiss this as an archaic sentiment and as something that cannot destabilize Europe now. But then there is little in European history to allow Europeans that kind of self-confidence.

It is important to benchmark this by the most extreme sort of consequence that we saw in Gaza. Zionism is a movement that grew out of European romantic nationalism. It drew on Jewish history, culture and religion to legitimize the right to a Jewish nation. Palestinian nationalism also grew out of European romantic nationalism. The idea of the nation-state, which took root in the Arab world in the late 19th century and was later promoted by Arab left-wing secularists in the 1950s, very much derived from the idea of nation-states' replacing European empires. The Palestinian national movement derived from this tradition, claiming the right of a Palestinian nation distinct from other nations.

Here we see the bitter side of the "Ode to Joy," rooted in geography. To have a nation, you must have a place that is its own. Ever since the French Revolution, nations have been fighting over their place in Europe. The occupation of Europe from 1945 to 1991 suspended the argument, and from 1991 -- the end of the Cold War and drafting of the EU-forming Maastricht Treaty -- until 2008, the suspension seemed eternal. Very slowly, the inconceivable is becoming far-fetched and the far-fetched merely unlikely.

Romantic nationalism can fulfill a people's dreams or nightmares and usually does both. Gaza gives us a sense of the nightmare, Catalonia a sense of the dreams. But in most places, and in Europe in particular, the distance between dreams and nightmares is not as great as people might like to think. Economic pain coupled with romantic nationalism, now bound together through a massive structure like the European Union that is incapable of understanding the forces that are lurking beneath the surface, have always had a way to generate nightmares in Europe.

It is all inconceivable now. But European history is the history of the inconceivable. I doubt that the founders of Zionism in the 19th century envisioned Gaza as their future.

Gaza, Catalonia and Romantic Nationalism is republished with permission of Stratfor.

Officer Down

Police Officer Elgin L. Daniel
Henry County Georgia Police Department
End of Watch: Monday, November 12, 2012
Age: 53
Tour: 28 years

Police Officer Elgin Daniel was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver while assisting a stranded motorist on North Henry Boulevard in Stockbridge.

The motorist had run out of gas and was being assisted by Officer Daniel and a roadside assistance worker. As the roadside assistance worker put gas into the car a pickup truck entered the area and struck him and Officer Daniel before fleeing the scene. Both men were transported to a local hospital where Officer Daniel succumbed to his injuries. The roadside assistance worker was seriously injured.

The driver who struck them was apprehended later that evening. He was charged with vehicular homicide, serious injury by vehicle, hit and run, and failure to maintain lane.

Officer Daniel had served with the Henry County Police Department for two years after retiring as a lieutenant with 26 years of service with the DeKalb County Police Department. He is survived by his wife, daughter, and two sons.
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. 

Security Weekly: Constraints Facing the Next Mexican President , November 22, 2012

By Scott Stewart
Vice President of Analysis

Enrique Pena Nieto will be sworn in as Mexico's next president Dec. 1. He will take office at a very interesting point in Mexican history. Mexico is experiencing an economic upturn that may become even more pronounced if Pena Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party administration is able to work with its rivals in the National Action Party to enact needed reforms to Mexico's labor, financial and energy laws.

Another arrestor to further expanding Mexico's economy has been the ongoing cartel violence in Mexico and the dampening effect it has had on outside investment and tourism. Pena Nieto realizes that Mexico's economy would be doing even better were it not for the chilling effect of the violence. During his campaign, he pledged to cut Mexico's murder rate in half by the end of his six-year term, to increase the number of federal police officers and to create a new gendarmerie to use in place of military troops to combat heavily armed criminals in Mexico's most violent locations.

According to Mexico's El Universal newspaper, Pena Nieto is also proposing to eliminate the Secretariat of Public Security and consolidate its functions, including the federal police, under the Secretariat of the Interior. This move is intended to increase coordination of federal efforts against the cartels and to fight corruption. The federal police are under heavy scrutiny for the involvement of 19 officers in the Aug. 24 attack against a U.S. diplomatic vehicle in Tres Marias, Morelos state. This incident has long faded from attention in the United States, but the investigation into the attack remains front-page news in Mexico.

Of course, there are also commentators who note that Pena Nieto's election is a return to power for the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which held power in Mexico for some 70 years prior to the election of Vicente Fox of the National Action Party in 2000, and Felipe Calderon in 2006. This narrative claims that Pena Nieto will quickly return to the Institutional Revolutionary Party policy of negotiating with and accommodating the cartel organizations, which will solve Mexico's violence problem.

Unfortunately for Mexico, neither law enforcement reforms nor a deal with the cartels will quickly end the violence. The nature of the Mexican drug cartels and the dynamic between them has changed considerably since Pena Nieto's party lost the presidency, and the same constraints that have faced his two most recent predecessors, Vicente Fox and Felipe Calderon, will also dictate his policy options as he attempts to reduce cartel violence.


As George Friedman noted about the U.S. presidential election, candidates frequently aspire to institute particular policies when elected, but once in office, presidents often find that their policy choices are heavily constrained by outside forces. This same concept holds true for the president of Mexico.

Fox and Calderon each came into office with plans to reform Mexico's law enforcement agencies, and yet each of those attempts has failed. Indeed, recent Mexican history is replete with police agencies dissolved or rolled into another agency due to charges of corruption. The Federal Investigative Agency, established in 2001 by the Fox administration, is a prime example of a "new" Mexican law enforcement agency that was established to fight -- and subsequently dissolved because of -- corruption. Pena Nieto's plans for law enforcement reform will be heavily constrained by this history -- and by Mexican culture. Institutions tend to reflect the culture that surrounds them, and it is very difficult to establish an institution that is resistant to corruption if the culture surrounding the institution is not supportive of such efforts.

Another important constraint on the Pena Nieto administration is that the flow of narcotics from South America to the United States has changed over the past two decades. Due to enforcement efforts by the U.S. government, the routes through the Caribbean have been largely curtailed, shifting the flow increasingly toward Mexico. At the same time, the Colombian and U.S. authorities have made considerable headway in their campaign to dismantle the largest of the Colombian cartels. This has resulted in the Mexican cartels becoming increasingly powerful. In fact, Mexican cartels have expanded their control over the global cocaine trade and now control a good deal of the cocaine trafficking to Europe and Australia.

While the Mexican cartels have always been involved in the smuggling of Marijuana to the United States, in recent years they have also increased their involvement in the manufacturing of methamphetamine and black-tar heroin for U.S. sale while increasing their involvement in the trafficking of prescription medications like oxycodone. While the cocaine market in the United States has declined slightly in recent years, use of these other drugs has increased, creating a lucrative profit pool for the Mexican cartels. Unlike cocaine, which the Mexicans have to buy from South American producers, the Mexican cartels can exact greater profit margins from the narcotics they produce themselves.

This change in drug routes and the type of drugs moved means that the smuggling routes through Mexico have become more lucrative then ever, and the increased value of these corridors has increased the competition to control them. This inter-cartel competition has translated into significant violence, not only in cities that directly border on the United States like Juarez or Nuevo Laredo but also in port cities like Veracruz and Acapulco and regional transportation hubs like Guadalajara and Monterrey.

Cartels Evolve

The nature of the Mexican cartels themselves has also changed. Gone are the days when a powerful individual such as Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo could preside over a single powerful organization like the Guadalajara cartel that could control most of the drug trafficking through Mexico and resolve disputes between subordinate trafficking organizations. The post-Guadalajara cartel climate in Mexico has been one of vicious competition between competing cartels -- competition that has become increasingly militarized as cartel groups recruited first former police officers and then former special operations soldiers into their enforcer units. Today's Mexican cartels commonly engage in armed confrontations with rival cartels and the government using military ordnance, such as automatic weapons, hand grenades and rocket-propelled grenades.

It is also important to realize that government operations are not the main cause of violence in Mexico today. Rather, the primary cause of the death and mayhem in Mexico is cartel-on-cartel violence. The Calderon administration has been criticized for its policy of decapitating the cartel groups, which has in recent years resulted in the fragmenting of some cartels such as the Beltran Leyva Organization, La Familia Michoacana and the Gulf cartel -- and thus an increase in intra-cartel violence. But such violence began in the 1990s, long before the decapitation strategy was implemented.

Because the struggle for control of lucrative smuggling routes is the primary driver for the violence, even if the Pena Nieto administration were to abandon the decapitation strategy and order the Mexican military and federal police to stand down in their operations against the cartels, the war between the cartels would continue to rage on in cities such as Monterrey, Nuevo Laredo, Guadalajara and Acapulco. Because of this, Pena Nieto will have little choice but to continue the use of the military against the cartels for the foreseeable future. The proposed gendarmerie will be able to shoulder some of that burden once it is created, but it will take years before enough paramilitary police officers are recruited and trained to replace the approximately 30,000 Mexican soldiers and marines currently dedicated to keeping the peace in Mexico's most violent areas.

One other way that the cartels have changed is that many of them are now allied with local street gangs and pay their gang allies with product -- meaning that street-level sales and drug abuse are increasing in Mexico. Narcotics are no longer commodities that merely pass through Mexico on their way to plague the Americans. This increase in local distribution has brought with it a second tier of violence as street gangs fight over retail distribution turf in Mexican cities.

Finally, most of the cartels have branched out into other criminal endeavors, such as kidnapping, extortion, alien smuggling and cargo theft, in addition to narcotics smuggling. Los Zetas, for example, make a considerable amount of money stealing oil from Mexico's state-run oil company and pirating CDs and DVDs. This change has been reflected in law enforcement acronyms. They are no longer referred to as DTOs -- drug trafficking organizations -- but rather TCOs -- transnational criminal organizations.

With the changes in Mexico since the 1990s in terms of smuggling patterns, the types of drugs smuggled and the organizations smuggling them, it will be extremely difficult for the incoming administration to ignore their activities and adopt a hands-off approach. This means that Pena Nieto will not have the latitude to deviate very far from the policies of the Calderon administration.

Constraints Facing the Next Mexican President is republished with permission of Stratfor.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Where do we get such men?

That is the line attributed to a general looking at the men moving to relive the 101st Airborne Division in Bastogne. Looking at this man, you again ask where do we get such men?

Wounded soldier: 'Send me back!' - Houston weather, traffic, news | FOX 26 | MyFoxHouston

To see Michael Caspers run is to witness a resolve every bit as sturdy as the replacement part that makes it possible.

The Army Ranger captain from Texas led combat troops in Afghanistan and doesn't wince when describing how his leg was lost, but you might.

"Right as I was taking a knee was when I just blew up right into the air and it was just instantaneously," said Caspers.

It was an improvised antipersonnel mine. The day was Aug. 24, 2011.

"My calf was hanging off my leg, but my tibia was sticking straight out. It looked like a tree branch that had been snapped off, just splayed. My foot was completely gone," recalled Caspers.

Michael Caspers never lost consciousness and even applied his own tourniquet. He was what the old timers call "one cool customer."

"Your bone marrow was just pouring out of your tibia and I had never seen that before. Doc and I were like looking at each other and going ‘Keep wrapping'!"

Choppered out in a matter of minutes, Caspers willed himself out of his hospital bed just two days later.

Stateside at San Antonio's Center for the Intrepid, Michael quickly found what he sought: warrior amputees working to return to action and the high-tech tools with which to do it.

"In January I was up and walking and I said, send me back to Afghanistan. My guys are still there, three more months," said Caspers.

Those who wonder why need look no further than Caspers' wrist.

There you will find a HeroBracelet bearing the name Andrew Tobin, a 24-year-old sergeant shot and killed the day Michael lost his leg.

"He could light up a room. He always had a joke in a time of need. There was just nothing the medic could do to stop the bleeding and they tried everything," said Caspers.

And so for Tobin and those who took his place, Michael Caspers is determined to again lead troops in combat.

For him, the cohesion, the camaraderie and the all-out commitment to country have left a powerful craving.

"Roger, I'm missing a leg but it doesn't mean I can't do what I want to do. It's not going to stop me," said Caspers.

A soldier, no less able with one than two.

You look at a man like this and you are astonished. This is what America produces. There is a reason only American's flag is on the moon, why people flock to come here.

CPT Caspers, God be with you in your recovery and hope to see you soon leading a company.

Monday, November 26, 2012

RIP Larry Hagman

He was great as MAJ Nelson, but some actors are just made for a part. Only George C Scott is Patton. Only Harrison Ford is Indiana Jones. And only Larry Hagman is John Ross Ewing, Jr better known as JR.

Beth and I started to watch the new generation of Dallas earlier this year and from episode one we were hooked. Originally the idea was for the original characters to be more in the background. But no one gets in front of JR.

This is a great article on it. I really love what Linda Gray said about meeting him on the set for the first time.

Larry Hagman as J.R.: A TV villain for all ages

NEW YORK — One reason “Dallas” became a cultural phenomenon like none other is that Larry Hagman never took its magnitude for granted.

During an interview last June, he spoke of returning to Dallas and the real-life Southfork Ranch some months earlier to resume his role of J.R. Ewing for the TNT network’s revival of the series. There at Southfork, now a major tourist attraction, he came upon a wall-size family tree diagramming the entanglement of “Dallas” characters.

“I looked at it and said ‘I didn’t know I was related to HER!”’ Hagman marveled. “And I didn’t know THAT!”

In its own way, the original “Dallas” — which aired on CBS from 1978 to 1991 — was unfathomably bigger than anything on TV before or since, while J.R. Ewing remains unrivaled not just as a video villain but as a towering mythical figure.

All this is largely thanks to Hagman and his epic portrayal of J.R., a Texas oilman and patriarch who, in Hagman’s hands, was in equal measures loathsome and lovable.
Hagman, who died Friday at 81, certainly had nothing more to prove a quarter-century ago when “Dallas” ended after 14 seasons...

...As J.R., Hagman could marshal piercing glances with his hawk-like eyes, and chill any onlooker with his wicked grin. There was no depth to which J.R. couldn’t sink, especially with the outrageous story lines the series blessed him with.

But his popularity exceeded that for even a notable bad guy. This, too, is a credit to Hagman’s portrayal. By all indications, the glorious rascalness that made J.R. such fun to watch was lifted intact from Hagman’s own lively personality.

During last June’s lunch interview with Hagman and Linda Gray (J.R.’s long-suffering onetime wife, Sue Ellen), Gray recalled the day the “Dallas” cast first met.

“He walks in, this man with a cowboy hat,” said Gray, “and I thought, ‘What’s this?’ To me, he was still the astronaut from ‘I Dream of Jeannie.’ Then he looked at me and he went, ‘Hello, darlin’.’ And that was it: I thought, Oh, darn, this is gonna be fun.”

“She THREW herself at me!” Hagman broke in. “She’d had a couple of glasses of champagne already, and she put her arms around me and said, ‘I’m your WIFE!”’

“Where do you come up with these stories?” Gray, laughing, fired back at the man she would describe at his passing months later as “my best friend for 35 years.”

What made J.R. irresistible, and always forgivable, was his high-spiritedness, his love of the game. Despite the legendary fortune of the Ewings, J.R. didn’t flaunt his wealth. (Southfork was comfortable all right, but not ostentatious....J.R. savored power, not things. He loved doing to others before they did it to him, and he usually succeeded.

Operating with such diabolical zest, J.R. appalled viewers, yet they always rooted for him. And relied on him to prevail. Back in 1980, they played an obsessive guessing game of Who Shot J.R.? But no one for a moment imagined he would die.

This makes Hagman’s passing difficult for fans to comprehend. And it raises an obvious question: During the new season of TNT’s “Dallas,” which begins Jan. 28, will J.R. have to die?

On some level, his fate seems unavoidable. But for viewers who have hate-loved J.R. for decades, there’s a different answer: Thanks to Larry Hagman, J.R. is forever.

A good friend of mine, when I asked if he watch the new Dallas, said dismissively "Mike, you're watching a soap opera." True, but it was a great one.

RIP Larry Hagman. Trust me, this is worth ten minutes of your time. The best one liners of JR Ewing.

What is Obamacare all about

I've often said the purpose of Obamacare has nothing to do with providing health care, lowering care cost, etc. It's a bridge to single payer health care. An interesting article on this issue. Worth the few minutes it take to read but here are the highlights:

The Democrats' Fallback Plan For When Obamacare Inevitably Fails

Will Single Payer Healthcare Emerge as the Next Battleground?

With the reelection of President Obama, the Affordability Care Act known as ObamaCare will begin its implementation. The voters have ensured that ObamaCare will now move forward, even though this election was really not a referendum on the unpopular law; only five percent of voters ultimately said the ACA was the biggest factor in determining their vote for president, and the electorate, although divided, still generally opposes the law. Predictably, since the election, the president’s favorability ratings have improved, and along with that, the unpopularity of ObamaCare among Americans has diminished, with the margin of “for repeal” over “against repeal” narrowing down to single digits. Perhaps Americans are beginning to accept what seems inevitable, or maybe they are experiencing some fatigue about the political battles on this issue. Time will tell, and sooner than most voters realize, the next congressional elections and the chance to express an opinion where it counts will be upon us...

...But there also seems to be a naïve misunderstanding by many about the consequences of the state-by-state resistance. Regardless of who sets up the health insurance exchanges, the federal government will now define the details of coverage for the majority of health insurance policies. Massive taxpayer money will now be funneled into subsidizing health insurance, while medical care access will diminish with the reductions in payments to doctors and hospitals. More Americans will be shifted to Medicaid, even though some states will reject its expansion. More employers will reduce their health benefits or shift away from scenarios where they are required to offer the coverage. More employees will be forced to change their coverage and, necessarily, their doctors too. Many private health insurance options, including some of the most popular lower cost plans, will be eliminated by the actuarial and benefits-design dictates of the law. Most policy experts on both sides of the aisle understand these realities.

Even if the actions by the states weaken ObamaCare and hasten its failure, the truth is that its failure will not open the door for reconsideration of alternative reforms advocated by the Republican opposition. The notion that refusal to advance the ObamaCare implementation at the state level will generate a sincere discussion of meaningful compromises by this Administration is naïve, given this president’s method of passing the bill in the first place, let alone his now characteristic pretense of repeating the hollow promise of “compromise” to a sycophantic press corps while failing to offer even a single concession. No, none of the predictable failures of ObamaCare in reducing health care expenditures, in providing meaningful access to quality health care beyond simply labeling someone as insured, in improving the economic prospects of individual Americans and their families, and eventually in maintaining the excellence of U.S. health care will provide major leverage for compromise.

Even focusing on the possibility that compromise is forthcoming misses the bigger, more important point. To the contrary, looming over health care but ignored by those whose arguments focus only on ObamaCare is the next step in President Obama’s plan for transforming America. The unspoken reality is that President Obama and the Democrats’ fallback plan for ObamaCare’s failure is fully nationalized, single payer health care.

As the evidence rolls in after ObamaCare takes hold, proving its failure to reduce health care expenditures, combined with the predictable decrease in access to care for those with government insurance and the non-viability of private insurance, Americans will understandably voice an increasing dislike of the reformed system. So, specifically, what might we expect during the next phase of this transformative presidency, either from this administration or more likely the next Democrat to profess expertise about health care reform?

First and foremost, watch out for the reemergence of a “public option” likely marketed by Democrats as “Medicare for all”, as Democrats revive their already stated original goal of forging a single payer, wholly government-controlled system. We know that President Obama wants it. In June 2003, Obama said “I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer health care program … a single-payer health care plan, a universal health care plan. And that’s what I’d like to see.” And we know that Senator Max Baucus, the chair of the Senate Finance Committee during crafting of the ACA and its ramming through Congress by Democrats, admitted in February 2009 that “There may come a time when we can push for single-payer. At this time, it’s not going to get to first base in Congress,” a sentiment echoed by then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who said “For 30 years I have supported a single payer plan, but our next best choice is to support an exchange and a public option.” There is no secret about the ultimate goal of the president and leading Democrats.

Congressional Democrats unmistakably anticipate the failure of ObamaCare, given they had already asked the CBO to price a formal public option for 2014. The proposal’s co-sponsor Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), now reelected to a sixth term, said “By reintroducing it, we make sure that people don’t forget this is a viable option…. as the health bill is implemented, more and more people are going to come to the realization that cost containment and competition aren’t as robust as they should be, because of the absence of the public option”. Later, John Conyers (D-Mich.) in 2011 re-introduced his nationalized single payer system called “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act” in his H.R. 676 bill to the House of Representatives, following President Obama’s State of the Union in which the president said that the ACA was open to change “if you have ideas about how to improve this law.” Conyers was quite direct when he unabashedly stated the Democrats’ end-game along with their standard canard: “Improved and Expanded Medicare for All is inevitable in America– it is just a matter of when it will happen. Single-payer health care systems have successfully contained health care costs and provided high quality health care in countries in Europe, Taiwan, Japan, and Canada.” And let’s not overlook proposed legislation aiming for total take-over of health care by Democrat-dominated state governments, such as in Vermont and Delaware.

Second, or perhaps in advance of single payer legislation, watch for the federal government to restrict doctors from practicing, or possibly even criminalize them, unless they accept all patients with insurance paying government-defined rates for medical tests and treatments. We know that ObamaCare and its Independent Payment Advisory Board, IPAB, will force prices for medical services lower and lower by direct design, so that by 2019, payments for Medicare will be even lower than Medicaid. While some doctors will swallow government-dictated low reimbursements, undoubtedly more and more physicians will refuse to see patients under such health plans – easy to foresee, since this has already happened to Medicaid and Medicare patients across the country. But this presumably will not be tolerated by HHS Secretary Sebelius and our President. It is not at all unimaginable that the federal government will soon tie all medical licensure to accepting the new edicts, as has already been contemplated in Massachusetts by state legislators...

The gutless wonder Speaker of the House John Boehner has said Obamacare will be part of any negotiations on the "fiscal cliff". If you believe that I have a bridge to sell you. There is a case coming up from the 4th District Court on the Individual and Employee mandates. That is a prayer that a man who made a massive mistake (saying something that is clearly unconstitutional constitutional) will get his head out of his ass. I am not hopeful.

Having to endure socialized medicine I am not hopeful for the country if this continues.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

College Assistant Deans for Diversity and other oxygen thieves

After reading this article I remembered the term my old brigade executive officer for useless bureaucrats, "oxygen thief". I can attest over the last quarter century the Army has added more of them and fewer fighters. It's scary to think fighting has become a government job with six people standing around a soldier with clipboards, telling how to hold it rifle, to not shoot too many minority females single mothers. But on to an interesting article on the expansion of the bureaucracy in higher learning.

Costs pit bureaucrats, professors

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Paul Robinson, chairman of Purdue University’s faculty senate, strode through the halls of a 10-story concrete-and glass administrative tower. “I have no idea what these people do,” said Robinson, waving his hand across a row of offices, his voice rising.

The professor of biomedical engineering is leading a faculty revolt against bureaucratic bloat at the Indiana public university. In the past decade, the number of administrative employees jumped 54 percent, almost eight times the growth of tenured and tenure-track faculty. Purdue has a $313,000-a-year acting provost and six vice and associate vice provosts, including a $198,000 chief diversity officer. It employs 16 deans and 11 vice presidents, among them a $253,000 marketing officer and a $433,000 business school chief.

Administrative costs on college campuses are soaring, crowding out instruction at a time of skyrocketing tuition and $1 trillion in outstanding student loans.

“We’re a public university,” said Robinson, 59. “We’re here to deliver a high-quality education at as low a price as possible. Why is it that we can’t find any money for more faculty, but there seems to be an almost unlimited budget for administrators?”
Not to mention they can always find a five or six figure speaking fee for a former president or veep (Democratic of course). I don't know if they have spoken at the university but schools that claim to be so broke are often able to pay higher staff such salaries and speaker fees for leftist politicians.
U.S. universities employed more than 230,000 administrators in 2009, up 60 percent from 1993, or 10 times the rate of growth of tenured faculty, those with permanent positions and job security, according to Education Department data. Spending on administration has been rising faster than funds for instruction and research at 198 leading U.S. research universities, according to a 2010 study by Jay Greene, an education professor at the University of Arkansas. “Administrative bloat is clearly contributing to the overall cost of higher education,” Greene said.

State funding blamed

State colleges have long been considered affordable havens for those of modest means, yet they have raised tuition faster than their costlier private peers. The cost of attending Purdue leaped about 60 percent over the past decade to $23,000 — out-of-state students, $42,000 — similar to other Mid-western public colleges.

Purdue says bureaucratic expansion hasn’t led to higher tuition. Rather, state funding, which makes up 13 percent of its budget, hasn’t kept pace with rising costs, said Timothy Sands, the school’s acting president. Purdue has beefed up its staff for fundraising and marketing, partly to attract full-paying students from other states and around the world, he said. To remain a top-ranked university, Purdue must also administer hundreds of millions of dollars in government and industry research grants, he said.

“This is a $2.2 billion operation. You’ve got to have some people involved in administering it, managing it, running it, leading it,” Sands said. “We’re about as lean as we can afford to be.”

Purdue officials acknowledge that as administration has expanded, spending on instruction has lagged. The university plans to hire more than 100 engineering professors, with the average full professor receiving a $125,000 salary.

Widespread issue

Trustees at the University of Connecticut’s flagship campus in Storrs said last year they were reviewing pay after a controversy over the then campus police chief, who received $256,000 annually — more than New York City’s police commissioner. UConn has a $312,000-a-year provost and 13 vice, deputy and associate vice provosts, including one overseeing “engagement” who makes almost $275,000 a year. The university has seven vice presidents and 13 deans. President Susan Herbst, who receives a $500,000 salary, has a $199,000 chief of staff.

I did a quick look over the area.

Houston Chief of Police: 211150

Harris County Texas Sheriff: 181202

New York City Police Commissioner: 215000

Chicago Police Superintendent: 310000

US Cabinet Secretary: 200000 (Granted, the limo etc are some serious perks)

Now look at the salary of a police chief who likely supervises less than 100 officers. The previous men oversee departments of tens of thousands.

Now I really love the office work going on with Mr Daniels down here:
At the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, the faculty senate studied the bureaucracy and found duplication among its eight vice presidents, most of whom had their own communications office, said Russell Luepker, a professor of public health. As part of an overhaul, the university eliminated a senior vice president’s position this month and will cut 5 administrative jobs, said Chuck Tombarge, a University of Minnesota spokesman.

Purdue’s faculty senate has taken its complaints to the trustees and President-Elect Mitch Daniels, Indiana’s governor, who says he’s sympathetic.

“When your spending goes up at a rocket rate, it’s pretty hard for state support to keep up,” said Daniels, who was horrified to learn that Purdue was renovating his 4,000-square-foot office in anticipation of his move.

The cost: $355,000.
4,000 square foot office. That is almost twice the size of my house. You think these people here need some reality therapy.

I recall a great speech Gordon Gekko made in Wall Street. The more (mis)quoted part of the speech is "Greed is good" (he actually said "Greed, for lack of a better work, is good"):

Gordon Gekko: [at the Teldar Paper stockholder's meeting] Well, I appreciate the opportunity you're giving me Mr. Cromwell as the single largest shareholder in Teldar Paper, to speak...The Carnegies, the Mellons, the men that built this great industrial empire, made sure of it because it was their money at stake. Today, management has no stake in the company! All together, these men sitting up here own less than three percent of the company. And where does Mr. Cromwell put his million-dollar salary? Not in Teldar stock; he owns less than one percent. You own the company. That's right, you, the stockholder. And you are all being royally screwed over by these, these bureaucrats, with their luncheons, their hunting and fishing trips, their corporate jets and golden parachutes.

Cromwell: This is an outrage! You're out of line Gekko!

Gordon Gekko: Teldar Paper, Mr. Cromwell, Teldar Paper has 33 different vice presidents each earning over 200 thousand dollars a year. Now, I have spent the last two months analyzing what all these guys do, and I still can't figure it out. One thing I do know is that our paper company lost 110 million dollars last year, and I'll bet that half of that was spent in all the paperwork going back and forth between all these vice presidents. The new law of evolution in corporate America seems to be survival of the unfittest...

A favorite quote of Ronald Reagan's is "The nearest thing to eternal life we will ever see on this earth is a government program." The point of all these looks into memory lane which the recent Blumberg article.

In the 80s and 90s, American industry went through a massive down sizing. Investing in technology, shedding unprofitable endeavors to make money with things that work, etc to survive in the era of completion from Japan, China and India, among others. But government doesn't' know competition. It only knows expansion. When I was in college I was once asked what is the primary purpose of a government agency and my response was "To insure it's own survival." Reality (the threat of elimination) forced corporate America to become more efficient. Government will not become more streamlined unless it's forced to from outside (people refused to pay for it) or the inside (this professor).

A first step perhaps. Or a man charing a windmill. Time will tell.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Professor, you heard about the politician that lied.

First of all, if you've got health insurance, you like your doctors, you like your plan , you can keep your doctor, you can keep your plan...

Now the question this reporter cannot answer: How many of these people voted for B Hussein Obama and are feeling stabbed in the back now? Welcome to the new United States boys and girls.

Pennsylvania's Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) is slashing the hours of 400 adjunct instructors, support staff, and part-time instructors to dodge paying for Obamacare.

"It's kind of a double whammy for us because we are facing a legal requirement [under the new law] to get health care and if the college is reducing our hours, we don't have the money to pay for it," said adjunct biology professor Adam Davis.

On Tuesday, CCAC employees were notified that Obamacare defines full-time employees as those working 30 hours or more per week and that on Dec. 31 temporary part-time employees will be cut back to 25 hours. The move will save an estimated $6 million.

"While it is of course the college’s preference to provide coverage to these positions, there simply are not funds available to do so," said CCAC spokesperson David Hoovler. "Several years of cuts or largely flat funding from our government supporters have led to significant cost reductions by CCAC, leaving little room to trim the college’s budget further."

Well Professor Davis your story is being replayed all across this great country. Why should you being any different. But you can tell your students you "feel their pain".
The solution, says United Steelworkers representative Jeff Cech, is that adjunct professors should unionize in an attempt to thwart schools seeking similar cost-savings efforts from avoiding Obamacare.

"They may be complying with the letter of the law, but the letter of law and the spirit of the law are two different things," said Mr. Cech. "If they are doing it at CCAC, it can't be long before they do it other places."...

No Mr Cech, it is already heaping all over the country. But you wanted it. And you got it. Congratulations.

Says it all about President Obama's work...

Peace, turkey pardoned by President Obama last Thanksgiving, euthanized

Washington -- Peace, one of two turkeys pardoned by President Obama last year, was euthanized Monday, according to an official who insisted the timing of the death - days before the Thanksgiving holiday - was not suspicious.

Rebecca Aloisi, vice president for marketing at the Mount Vernon Estate, confirmed that Peace had been dead after a weekend "illness." But Aloise knew neither the nature of the illness, the manner of death, nor what had been done with the remains of the large, edible bird.

"I appreciate where you're going with this," Aloisi told CNN. "But I assure you that these birds are extremely well cared for." The decision to euthanize the bird was made by a veterinarian in consultation with Mount Vernon's livestock department, she said.

Peace had served as the understudy for Liberty, another turkey, at the 2011 pardoning ceremony by President Obama. Obama chose to pardon both birds to spare them from the fate of the plate.

But pressed on details about Peace's death, and what was done with the carcass, Aloisi deferred. "Honestly, I work in marketing," she said, defensively. "We have a 500-acre facility."...

...But now Peace is dead.

And two new birds pardoned by President Obama will be put on public display until early January, and will then be retired to live out the rest of their natural lives, spared the feast.

If that's what you choose to believe.

RIP Peace. Your end came too soon for the turkey who pardoned you.

Monday, November 19, 2012

I can relate to these....

From Cop Humor, and as a 14 year patrolman and 4 year FTO I really relate to them.
-Immediately grow facial hair, tell everybody you were ordered to.
-Start wearing "Tap Out" t-shirts
-Start watching every episode of Monster Garage.
-Buy a biker wallet with a big chain.
-Practice the "Don't acknowledge me, even in the police station, look."
-Thinks even the Chief worships you.
-Make every case involve overtime $$$.
-Learn to play golf drunk.

-Wear team T-shirts (size small), Oakley sunglasses and boots everyday.
-Try to fit the word "breach" and "tactical" in to every conversation.
-Have a mirror handy to check hair, if you have hair.
-Never say hello to anyone who is not an operator, just practice your SWAT head nod.
-Subscribe to Soldier of Fortune, Guns and Ammo and Muscle and Fitness magazines.
-Learn to play golf wearing a gun, a tactical knife and a back-up gun (just in case)

Community Service Units
-Hate SWAT.
-Work to make everybody love you.
-Paint your office in pastel colors.
-Think Feng Shui.
-Subscribe to Psychology Today.
-Learn to play miniature golf.

Traffic units
-Write tickets to EVERYBODY.
-Spend every weekend cleaning your bike and polishing boots.
-Annoy the shit out of everyone on the radio by having complete disregard for anyone else's radio traffic.
-Talk about nothing but how many tickets you wrote in one day.
-Constantly ride by a building with big windows to see your reflection.
-Refer to the "other" law enforcement officers as "Car cops."
-"LBR" (Look Bitchin' Riding) is your mantra
-Golf is lame, motor rodeos are cool.

K-9 Units
-Become sadistic.
-Show pictures of your latest dog bite.
-Brag about your largest drug find.
-Smell like a dog.
-Workout 3 times a day.
-Show off your bruises.

Administrative Units
-Three-hour lunches everyday, tell everybody it's a "meeting."
-Upgrade department cell phone every month.
-Tell everybody you are published in a national law enforcement magazine.
-Update your revenge list on a weekly basis.
-Expert at PowerPoint, bar charts and graphs
-Golf Rules! Play LOTS of golf.

Patrol Units
-Has nerves of steel.
-In a terminal state of nausea from department politics.
-Inability to keep mouth shut.
-Has defining tastes in alcohol.
-Is respected by peers.
-Beats the crap out of his caddy on any bogeyed shot.

-Automatically grasps the door handle until knuckles turn white when car is put in gear.
-Considers a multiple-victim homicide in progress a "good training opportunity" and asks to take primary.
-Life long case of irrital bowel syndrome
-Considers less than three hours of OT to be a quiet day.

-Come in at 0800.
-"Breakfast" from 0815 to 1030.
-Work from 1030 to Noon.
-Noon to 1400 Work out and Lunch.
-1400-1700 Sit in CID and talk about how many girlfriends you have and how the wife doesn't know. Plan your next RV, fishing, motorcycle trip.

Patrol Sergeant
-Remembers very well "how we usta do do it."
-Always willing to tell his officers the above.
-Tries to fit the word "liability" in to every sentence.
-Talks about "what he's hearing from upstairs."

-Unable to grow facial hair.
-Watches every episode of Cops.
-Gets excited when the SWAT guys walk by.
-Arrives for work three hours early.
-Thinks the sergeant is thrilled to see him.
-Won't drink on the golf course because it violates the open container ordinance.

New Corrections Officers
- Show up for work 15 minutes early.
- Buy only the best ink pens (Pilot G-2).
- Wear T-Shirts of your "dream department" under your uniform.
- Wear a full duty belt of gear even though you have to remove everything when you arrive at the facility.
- Become friends with every local police officer.

Defensive Tactics Instructors
-Starts stretching before making arrest.
-Can spend hours debating the advantages of RCB vs. straight stick.
-Wears yoga pants off-duty
-Chuck Norris is GOD
-Has spent more than $50 on a wood baton.
-Giggles when a suspect starts to resist.

Firearms Instructor
- Responds to every question/statement with the word, 'huh?'
- Has a % lead/blood level higher than the current Chief's approval rating.
- Operates under the assumption that the more beer you drink, the more of that lead leaves your system.
- Thinks a new tactical handgun is a great Christmas gift for the wife/girlfriend.
- Has an image of a custom 1911-A1 for a screen-saver.
- Wears the latest high-tech electronic hearing protectors during normal conversation.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Why are we shooting pigs....

When have pedephiles to train on!

In all seriousness, the US Army had similar issues with Goat Lab, where they take wild goats and after injuring them (e.g. shot or stabbed, like the injuries you get on the battlefield.) having medics try to keep them alive for as long as possible. It all goes back to a simple concept leftist can't get: Human life is higher than animals. And using them for training to save human life is justifiable.
Britain defends shooting pigs for army medic training

AFP - Britain's Ministry of Defence on Sunday defended its practice of shooting pigs and giving the wounded animals to military surgeons to practice treating common battlefield injuries.

Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals spokesperson Klare Kennett said the training exercises, which take place twice a year in Denmark, were "abhorrent and shocking".

"Pigs are intelligent animals and most people would be appalled by this, especially as there is an alternative available which does not involve harming any animals," she said.

The ministry said the training gave surgeons "invaluable experience" and "helped save lives on operations".

The animals are heavily anaesthetised before being shot at close range "to damage organs but not kill the animals", and are then operated on before being killed humanely, the ministry said.

"This training provides invaluable experience, exposing our surgical teams to the specific challenges posed by the injuries of modern armed conflict," a spokesperson said.

"This training has helped save lives on operations and by participating in the Danish exercises we minimise the overall number of animals used."

Animal rights campaigners argue that life-like human simulator devices are more effective for medical training than live animals.

But the courses, which were suspended in 1998, were reinstated after a government-commissioned study found that "no equally effective alternative" existed.

Good work HM Army. And to the morons protesting, you're welcome to come down and get shot yourself if you want to save a pig.

Friday, November 16, 2012

My kinda woman!

And I'll bet it wasn't his brains she was gonna blow off!

Woman pulls gun on man who exposed himself at lake
A Longview woman who was walking at Lake Sacajawea with her 6-year-old son pulled a gun on a man who exposed his genitals to her Wednesday evening, according to police.

The 35-year-old woman was near Martin Dock around 8:10 p.m. when the man approached her “aggressively,” sat down and began performing a sex act, then suggested she should watch him, according to the woman and accounts from police. “I put the magazine in my gun. I cocked it,” the woman said in an interview Thursday night. “I said, ‘You need to leave or Ill shoot you. I’m going to blow your brains out.’ ”

“Oh, [expletive]!” the man declared, before running away. The woman, whose name is being withheld by the paper because she is the victim of a sex crime, said she has never before brought her gun, a Ruger .380, with her to the lake, but she grabbed it on her way out the door Wednesday because it was foggy and dark. “I just had a feeling,” she said....

...As the man fled, she said she sent her dog, a well-trained Norwegian Buhund Hound, after him. In time, the dog had the man cornered at the gate to Lions Island near Kessler Boulevard. She called her dog back, and the man disappeared into the darkness....

Good work Mom! Hopefully you scared him from doing this again

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Another thing to make you feel good, these are the guys paying my Social Security when I get old....

From PoliceMagazine.Com:
A suspect charged with attempted murder for nearly running down a San Juan (Texas) Police officer during a vehicle pursuit said the officer tried to run in front of his truck.

"He's the idiot that ran in front of the truck," Omar Garcia told a judge during a Nov. 7 court appearance.

Dash-cam video shows Garcia's truck, which was driven by Lori Casiano, veer toward the officer who had attempted to end the pursuit with stop sticks.

Bail has been set at $500,000 for Garcia and Casiano.

Hopefully they don't see the outside of prison till after they are too old to drive.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Some good news from the home state

I've recently put out a few post on morons back from my home town. Well, some good news about Louisiana.

While national eyes were on the presidential election on Nov. 6, citizens of Louisiana were voting on a state-constitutional amendment that made the right to keep and bear arms "a fundamental right," and put gun-grabbing judges on notice.

Titled the "Louisiana Right To Bear Arms, Amendment 2 (2012)," the amendment passed 73.45 percent to 26.55. It bolsters the exercise of 2nd Amendment rights within the state by eliminating "language within the Louisiana Constitution that would allow passage of laws prohibiting concealed weapons."

It also mandates that "any restriction of a [gun] right requires the highest standard of review by a court." In other words, it removes the ability of a judge to unilaterally implement his or her anti-gun agenda or diminish gun rights on a whim.

The passage of this amendment was a brilliant, preemptive strike for liberty on a day when liberalism seemed to win nationally.

Like the Texans who refused to give up their cannon at the Battle of Gonzales in 1835, our Louisiana brothers and sisters have hunkered down with their liberty intact via the "Right to Bear Arms Amendment."

Consequently, the message coming out of Louisiana is the same message that came out of Gonzales nearly two centuries ago, "Come and Take It."

This is a bit of a reaction to the abuse of gun owners after Katrina. HIZONORDAMORON Ray Nagin decided, in the middle of an absolute disaster when his city was wiped out he needed to send limited police forces to take the guns from law abiding citizens who stayed back. They would have been better used to go after the guns held by criminals.

Living in hurricane alley you know you will have to deal with the aftermath of major storms. Hopefully this will tell municipal officials to use cops for law enforcement, not harassment of law abiding citizens.

What's going on in the World Today 121114

Buford T. Justice: [shouting at a trucker that has sheered a door off of Justice's patrol car] I saw that, you sombitch! You did that on purpose! You're going away till you're gray! I got the evidence!

Buford T. Justice: [speaks to Junior] Put the evidence in the car.

Junior: But Daddy...

Buford T. Justice: Put the *evidence* in the *car*!
[shouting to trucker again]

Buford T. Justice: I'm gonna barbeque yo' ass in molasses!

Yes, I've been off the net with this for a while. Between the promotion test and a few other items things have been crazy. An early New Year's resolution is to keep up with this. And I'm starting a Master's Degree in Intelligence (no snickering please! :<) ) so this kinda ties into it. So here we go again:

Standard Orbit, Phasers on Stun, Kirk Out!



The Next U.S. Foreign Policy Team

U.S. Naval Update Map: Nov. 7, 2012


Hints of Disunity Among Greece's International Lenders

Italy's Political Fragmentation


Japan: Defense Talks With U.S. Wanted November 9, 2012

Japan wants talks with the United States to update mutual defense guidelines, Japanese Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto said Nov. 9. Morimoto cited China's expanding naval power, terrorism and cybercrime as concerns. Japan is not only Asia's second-largest economy, but it has arguably Asia's most capable military as well. In recent years, due to the military rise of China, Japan's leadership has felt emotionally the need to move closer to Washington

Japan: Taiwan Proposes Joint Maritime Area November 7, 2012

Taiwan has proposed to Japan the establishment of a jointly controlled area in the East China Sea that would allow both sides to fish in each other's overlapping exclusive economic zones, Taiwanese Foreign Minister David Lin said Nov. 7, Kyodo reported. Lin said he hopes a preparatory meeting could take place in November to discuss technical issues related to the proposal. Taiwan has taken a more assertive stance toward maritime territorial disputes.

The Middle East Distraction

Syria: Shipment Of Missile-Related Materials From North Korea Reportedly Stopped November 14, 2012

South Korean authorities at the port of Busan in May stopped a ship carrying graphite cylinders usable in a missile program and suspected to have come from North Korea and being en route to Syria, diplomats said Nov. 13, Reuters reported Nov. 14. The shipment appears to be a violation of U.N. sanctions, which Chinese authorities have said they will investigate, a diplomat said.


Mali: ECOWAS Agrees To Intervene In North November 12, 2012

The Economic Community of West African States will deploy 3,300 soldiers to Mali after leaders during a summit agreed to a six-month plan, the BBC reported Nov. 12. Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara said soldiers would be deployed when the United Nations approves the plan, which he hopes will happen by late November or early December. A preparatory phase will involve training and base establishment in Mali's south, followed by combat operations in the north. Jihadists in northern Mali have been preparing for such an intervention.

Mali: France Will Not Provide Air Support, Defense Minister Says November 13, 2012

France will not intervene militarily, even with air strikes, to fight Islamist militants in northern Mali, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Nov. 13, AP reported. France could gather intelligence or provide training for African forces set to begin a mission in the country's north, Le Drian said

Mali: Up To 400 European Troops To Help Intervention, Diplomats Say November 12, 2012

European armies expect to send between 200 and 400 special forces troops to Mali's north to support an African-led mission against Islamist militias, Nigerian newspaper Punch reported Nov. 12, citing diplomats. The soldiers would mostly train local forces and would not join in fighting, one diplomat said


Russia: Private Companies May Join Nuclear Production Chain November 12, 2012

Russia will expand the role of private companies in its defense sector, including the participation of up to 300 or 400 contractors in the production chain for strategic nuclear missiles, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin said, RIA Novosti reported Nov. 12. Private contractors could develop and produce electronics and materials for missiles, and should account for 30 to 35 percent of Russia's defense and related industrial sectors, Rogozin said. Russia is seeking to pursue privatization programs in various sectors.


Iran: Air Defense Drills To Begin Nov. 12 November 11, 2012

Iran's air defense forces will begin their annual air defense drills Nov. 12, Fars News Agency reported Nov. 11. An Iranian Air Defense official said that different units, including the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force and airborne units of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, Army Ground Force, the Iranian navy, volunteer forces and border guard units will participate. The official said that participating units will practice defending hypothetically sensitive sites. The drills come days after Iranian warplanes fired on a U.S. unmanned aerial vehicle.

Iran: New Air Defense System A Success, Officials Say November 13, 2012

Iranian military officials say Iran has successfully tested a new air defense system modeled after the U.S. Hawk system, AP reported Nov. 13. State television showed footage purportedly from a drill of the system in the eastern half of the country. In the footage, a Hawk missile was seen being launched and striking a mock aircraft. According to earlier reports, the new surface-to-air system is called "Mersad," or Ambush. Regardless of the reports' veracity, any airstrike on Iran would present a number of challenges.

Iraq: No U.S. Pressure On Russian Arms Deal November 13, 2012

Iraq was not pressured by the United States to suspend a $4.2 billion arms deal with Russia, a spokesman for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Nov. 13, RIA Novosti reported. The spokesman added that the deal, which was suspended Nov. 10 over the alleged corruption of the Russian officials negotiating it, would be continued with a new committee. Russia is looking to improve ties with Iraq to give Moscow more influence in the Middle East and allow it to build leverage against the United States


Iraq: Attacks Target Officials November 14, 2012

Vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices that detonated Nov. 14 in Kirkuk and Baghdad targeted officials, security sources said, Shafaq News reported. The Diyala governor survived an assassination attempt when an explosion targeted his convoy southwest of Kirkuk, a source in the Kirkuk police said. Nine people were wounded when a similar attack targeted the convoy of the commander of facilities protection for the municipality of Baghdad, a security source said

Iraq: Turkish Firm Excluded From Oil Exploration Deal November 7, 2012

Iraq has expelled Turkish energy firm TPAO from a potential exploration deal in Block 9 in Iraq's south, an Oil Ministry said Nov. 7, AFP reported. The block had been awarded in May to a consortium involving TPAO, Kuwait Energy and the United Arab Emirates' Dragon Oil. The move comes amid cooling relations between Ankara and Baghdad.

Iraq: ExxonMobil Wants To Sell Share In Oilfield November 7, 2012

ExxonMobil informed the Iraqi government that it wants to sell its share in the West Qurna-1 oilfield, Iraqi officials said Nov. 7, Reuters reported. Baghdad will reply to the request by Nov. 11, an official said. It is still unclear who could replace ExxonMobil in the oilfield, which pumps around 400,000 barrels per day of crude and is also worked by minority partner Royal Dutch/Shell. Iraq depends on international investment to develop its vast oil reserves.


Palestinian Territories: Abbas To Ask For U.N. Membership November 12, 2012

The Palestinian National Authority will request non-state U.N. member status on Nov. 29, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Nov. 12, AFP reported. Abbas made the statement after meeting with Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby in Cairo. He added that the Palestinians do not want any confrontations with the United States or Israel, and would like to open peace talks the day after the vote on non-state membership. In the past, the United States has threatened to use its U.N. Security Council veto to block Palestinian requests for statehood at the United Nations.

Egypt: Cairo Threatens To Recall Tel Aviv Ambassador November 13, 2012

Egypt threatened to recall its ambassador to Tel Aviv if Israel began a ground operation in Gaza, The Times of Israel reported Nov. 13, citing Maariv. The current round of cross-border violence in Gaza has ended, a member of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's inner forum of ministers said.


Afghanistan: Haqqani Network Could Join Talks With Washington, Commander Says November 13, 2012

The insurgent Haqqani network would join peace talks with the United States if the Taliban, headed by leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, decided to do so, an unidentified Haqqani commander said, Reuters reported Nov. 13. Still, the Haqqanis will continue attacking Western forces and pursuing their goal of establishing an Islamic state, the commander said. Anti-Taliban factions in Afghanistan have begun to take unilateral actions.

Afghanistan: Jihadist Group Illegally Distributing Weapons, Provincial Officials Say November 8, 2012

A group calling itself the Council of Jihadi Commanders has over the last few weeks begun to illegally distribute weapons in Herat province, a spokesman for the province's governor said, Tolo News reported Nov. 7. A spokesman for the group denied the allegations, saying that the serial numbers and cards on the weapons show they are not distributed by the group.

Afghanistan: Missiles Fired From Iran Land In Border Area, Officials Say November 7, 2012

Missiles fired from Iranian soil hit the border areas in the Chahar Borjak district of Afghanistan's Nimroz province on Nov. 7, the Afghan Islamic Press agency reported, citing senior provincial government officials. More than 10 missiles were fired from Iran overnight, an official said. Afghan officials discussed the issue with Iranian officials, who said a military exercise was ongoing in the area and a missile could have been fired toward Afghanistan by mistake.


Syria: New Opposition Group May Herald Change

Egypt: EU Approves Aid Package, Presidency Says November 14, 2012

The European Union has approved a 5 billion euro ($6.36 billion) aid package for Egypt, a statement from Egypt's presidency said Nov. 14 after a meeting between Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton, AFP reported. The European Investment Bank will contribute 2 billion euros, as will the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; EU countries will come up with 1 billion euros. Cairo needs help dealing with dueling fiscal and political pressures.

Syria: Opposition Creates New Coalition November 11, 2012

Syrian opposition groups have signed an initial deal to create a new coalition to fight against Syrian President Bashar al Assad, Reuters reported Nov. 11, citing delegates at talks held in Doha, Qatar. The new group will be called the Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces and comprises groups from inside and outside of Syria. A Muslim Brotherhood delegate to the Doha talks said the body's president and deputy will be elected in an evening session.

Syria: France Recognizes Opposition Coalition November 13, 2012

France officially recognized the Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people and the future government of a democratic Syria, French President Francois Hollande announced Nov. 13 at a news conference in Paris, BBC reported. France is the first European country to recognize the opposition coalition, which was created Nov. 11 and has been recognized by the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Syria: Gulf Cooperation Council Recognizes Opposition Coalition November 12, 2012

The Gulf Cooperation Council has officially recognized the Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces, created Nov. 11, as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people, GCC Secretary-General Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani said Nov. 12, Al Arabiya and AFP reported. If the Syrian opposition is successful in uniting and fulfilling the requirements outlined by the West, it is likely that the anti-Assad movement inside Syria will receive an increase in funding and weaponry necessary to accelerate the fall of Syrian President Bashar al Assad.

Syria: Army Targets Area Along Turkish Border November 11, 2012

Syrian helicopters fired rockets into the Ras al-Ain area near the Turkish border Nov. 11, Reuters reported, citing Syrian opposition activists. Shells reportedly hit a border crossing in Syria's Hasaka province, an oil-producing region and home to many of Syria's Kurds. Rounds fired from tanks appeared to hit western Ras al-Ain, and some artillery appeared to land just inside the Turkish border.

Kuwait: Two Members Of Ruling Family Arrested November 9, 2012

Two members of Kuwait's ruling Al-Sabah family have been arrested for posts to Twitter criticizing the government and supporting the opposition, AFP reported Nov. 9, citing the Kuwait Human Rights News Center and a lawyer. Sheikh Abdullah Salem Al-Sabah and Sheikh Nawaf Malek Al-Sabah were arrested for the political statements. Political tensions will continue ahead of the Dec. 1 parliamentary elections.
Saudi Arabia: Authorities Tell U.N. Iran Has Trespassed On Saudi Territory November 12, 2012

Saudi authorities in a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon accused Iran of trespassing on Saudi territory near oil and natural gas fields, Saudi Ambassador to the United Nations Abdallah Y. Al-Mouallimi said Nov. 12, Reuters reported, citing Okaz newspaper. Al-Mouallimi said the breaches included Iranian helicopters flying over a natural gas field as Hasba and Iranian navy boats intercepting a Saudi Arabian Oil Co. vessel. The ambassador added that Saudi Arabia is considering its response options. This incident, in addition to Iran's attack on a U.S. unmanned aerial vehicle Nov. 1, could indicate Tehran's growing unease following several geopolitical setbacks

Turkey: NATO Preparing To Deploy Missiles To Syrian Border - Foreign Minister November 7, 2012

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Nov. 7 that NATO is preparing to deploy Patriot missiles to Turkey's border with Syria, Today's Zaman reported. This could change the dynamic of the Syrian crisis, Davutoglu said. The conflict in Syria presents both a threat and an opportunity for Turkey.


Mexico: U.S. Marijuana Legalization Could Change Anti-Drug Strategies November 9, 2012

The decision by voters in Colorado and Washington state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana has left Mexican President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto and members of his incoming administration needing to reformulate their anti-drug strategies in light of what one senior aide said was a referendum that “changes the rules of the game,” The Washington Post reported Nov. 8. A top aide said Peña Nieto and his team will discuss the issue with U.S. President Barack Obama and congressional leaders in Washington this month. The legalization votes are expected to spark a debate in Mexico about the direction and costs of the U.S.-backed drug war there. During Mexico's presidential election, Pena Nieto pledged to reduce the drug cartel-related violence that has plagued Mexico for years.

Mexico Security Memo: Federal Police Under Attack in Coahuila

Mexico Security Memo: Tamaulipas Turf Wars

Colombia: Rebels Will Not Demobilize - Negotiators November 12, 2012

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known by its Spanish acronym, FARC, will not demobilize but will agree to surrender its weapons, senior FARC negotiators said Nov. 12, according to Colombia Reports, citing El Telegrafo newspaper. Demobilization has been a point of contention since peace talks began Oct. 18.



Except where noted courtesy STRATFOR.COM