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

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Respect for the constitutional separation of powers...what a quaint concept....

I've often said in the last election I didn't vote for Donald Trump, but against Mrs. Bill Clinton. That being said, I've been very pleased with many of his actions, chief of which was insuring a great jurist succeeded the late, great, Antonin Scalia. Neil Gorsuch has been a worthy successor to Justice Scalia, anchoring the court's conservative (should I say, constitution respecting) wing.

Yesterday the decision came down Epic Systems Corporations v. Lewis, a dispute on the ability of corporations, as a condition of employment, to require associates to settle disputes through binding arbitration, not in class action law suites. The court ruled, 5-4, that the law states if an employee agreed to this, it does prevent him from joining a class action law suit. Justice Gorsuch delivered the majority opinion, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote a decent she read openly in the court (The Notorious RBG was not happy).

Now I would like to point out this portion of the majority opinion:

These rules exist for good reasons. Respect for Congress as drafter counsels against too easily finding irreconcilable conflicts in its work. More than that, respect for the separation of powers counsels restraint. Allowing judges to pick and choose between statutes risks transforming them from expounders of what the law is into policymakers choosing what the law should be. Our rules aiming for harmony over conflict in statutory interpretation grow from an appreciation that it’s the job of Congress by legislation, not this Court by supposition, both to write the laws and to repeal them.

What a concept. Congress write law, the courts stick to interpreting if they are within the bounds of the constitution. Who would have thunk it?

The late Judge Robert Bork, nominee of Ronald Reagan. Bork had a brilliant legal mind and would have been a suburb justice, but Ted Kennedy and Joe Biden slandered the man. He responded truthfully, he would "defer the the legislature when the constitution is silent." Truthful and constitutional, but not the way Kennedy would have wanted it. Thankfully, a better way of thinking held up on this case. Well done SCOTUS.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Officer Down

Police Officer Phillip Lynn Meacham
Hopkinsville Police Department, Kentucky
End of Watch Thursday, March 29, 2018
Age 38
Tour 13 years
Badge 418

Police Officer Phillip Meacham was shot and killed while assisting another officer who was attempting to arrest an escapee on Paulette Court at approximately 5:10 pm.

Officer Meacham, who was off-duty, heard the officer call for assistance and responded to the scene. He was shot by the subject, who then stole a truck and fled to Clarksville, Tennessee. The man was located in Clarksville by local officers and United States Marshals. He was shot and killed as the officers attempted to take him into custody.

Officer Meacham had served with the Hopkinsville Police Department for one year and had previously served with the Christian County Sheriff's Office for 12 years. He is survived by his wife, daughter, and parents.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

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

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Officer Down

Trooper First Class Kevin M. Miller
Connecticut State Police, Connecticut
End of Watch Thursday, March 29, 2018
Age 49
Tour 19 years, 6 months
Badge 1015

Trooper Kevin Miller was killed in a vehicle crash on eastbound I-84, in Tolland, at approximately 12:30 pm.

His patrol car collided with the back of a tractor-trailer that was traveling slower than other traffic in the right lane of the interstate.

Trooper Miller was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. He had served with the Connecticut State Police for 19 years and was assigned to Troop C. He is survived by two children.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

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

The latest and greatest from the People's Democratic Republic of Kalifornia....

One of my friends from high school got hired by the Los Angeles Sheriff's Office, and I caught up with him years ago on Facebook and email. And he mentioned how much he loved California and had no plans to leave. Well, things like this have changed his way of thinking.

"Mike, as soon as I get my 25, I'm not sure where I'm going, but I'm out of here!"

Like what you ask? Well, getting second guessed when you're a street cop, to be expected. Now to get this...

Civilian panel: LAPD cops broke policy after shooting man who fired at LEOs

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles police’s rank-and-file officers’ union said it was baffled by a ruling this week that found a dozen officers acted outside of LAPD policy in using lethal force against a suspect who fired at officers and a police helicopter in Sunland...

...It was the first time the department used snipers in a helicopter to shoot a suspect though officers also shot at the suspect from the ground.

Craig Lally, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, said he was “kind of shocked” at the civilian panel’s split ruling.

“(The suspect) had a gun. He was shooting at officers. It was the ultimate safety risk,” Lally said Wednesday, adding that he had not yet seen the Inspector General’s report, which will be released in the coming days...

OK, we hear the usual suspects (BLM, DOJ, YouTube/Facebook experts, etc.) saying "he shot an unarmed man, that's wrong..." Now we have a suspect firing at officers and a police chopper, and it's still unjustified.

...Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck had argued that the 13 officers involved in the hours-long incident acted within policy. 
The Commission found that one police officer acted within policy in using lethal force. It was not clear Wednesday whether that officer acted from the helicopter or from the ground. 
Beck, echoing the findings of the department’s Use of Force Review Board, agreed “that an officer with similar training and experience (as the 13 officers involved) would reasonably believe Soderberg’s actions presented an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury and that the use of lethal force would be objectively reasonable,” according to his April 26 report to the Commission.
Lally noted that the officers tried to negotiate and used tear gas to diffuse the situation even after the attempts on their lives. The officers also operated with authorization from command staff... 
...The incident, which began on 9 a.m. that day, was prompted by a radio call at a home in Alethea Drive, LAPD previously said in a news release. A woman met Foothill Division officers outside the home after she awoke to find a man in the kitchen and then fled and called police. She told the officers there were firearms inside...
...Around 1 p.m., SWAT was on scene when the suspect began shooting in the direction of officers. Between 1 and 3 p.m., the suspect did not surrender and would intermittently shoot at officers, according to the department. During that same period, officers were involved in shootings with the suspect. In one instance, two officers shot at the suspect from a helicopter.
The suspect exited the residence around 3 p.m. and fell down a hillside, where he was determined to be dead. A handgun was recovered at the scene. 
The Commission found that officers and command staff acted within policy with regard to tactics, drawing and exhibiting a weapon, and less lethal use of force.
According to the Beck’s report to the Commission, a commander believed Soderberg was in a position where it would be “very dangerous for anybody to try to contain or engage him on foot.” 
The “aerial platform shooting” – or shooting from the helicopter – offered the ability to control the terrain from the air “and it was appropriate,” Beck wrote.
“It was essential to utilize the (aerial platform shooting) to prevent Soderberg from getting into the surrounding community,” thus prompting command staff to give approval to deploy it, he said.
Before he was shot, the suspect said he would “kill all those SWAT officers that are out there,” according to Beck’s report. 

OK. A turd is firing at officers and you're saying it's not right for us to return fire.  California cops, this is gonna be a serious gut check, going against what you believe, and have been trained to do. But if this is what will happen when your officers are clearly justified in using deadly force, what happens when it's a close call. And libtarded sacks of human excrement, days after the event, sitting on their asses in a comfortable chair, judge what you did as you were taking fire and wondering if you will make it home today. Pathetic.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Officer Down

Special Agent Melissa S. Morrow
United States Department of Justice - Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Government
End of Watch Thursday, March 22, 2018
Age 48
Tour 22 years
Badge 1108

Special Agent Melissa Morrow died as the result of brain cancer that she developed following her assignment to the search and recovery efforts at the Pentagon following the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks. She was assigned to FBI Washington Field Office's Evidence Response Team and spent 10 weeks recovering and processing evidence from the site in hazardous and contaminated conditions.

Special Agent Morrow had served with the FBI for 22 years and was assigned to the Kansas City Field Office at the time of her passing. She is survived by her parents and sister.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, seventy-two officers from a total of eight local, state, and federal agencies were killed when terrorist hijackers working for the al Qaeda terrorist network, headed by Osama bin Laden, crashed two of four hijacked planes into the World Trade Center towers in New York City. After the impact of the first plane, putting the safety of others before their own, law enforcement officers along with fire and EMS personnel, rushed to the burning Twin Towers of the World Trade Center to aid the victims and lead them to safety. Due to their quick actions, it is estimated that over 25,000 people were saved.

As the evacuation continued, the first tower unexpectedly collapsed due as a result of the intense fire caused by the impact. The second tower collapsed a short time later. 71 law enforcement officers, 343 members of the New York City Fire Department and over 2,800 civilians were killed at the World Trade Center site.

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

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

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

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

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

On May 1, 2011 members of the United States military conducted a raid on a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan where Osama bin Laden was hiding. During the raid, they shot and killed bin Laden.
Rest in Peace Sis…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

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

The Funeral of Sir Winston Churchill....

A couple of years ago I finished William Manchester's three volume biography of Sir Winston Churchill, The Last Lion. While I was checking out some things on YouTube, stumped onto this. He was the last non royal family member to get a state funeral, until Lady Margaret Thatcher passed in 2013.

A great man passed one week to the day after I was born. But again, it's not how you're buried. It's how you're remembered. And Mr. Churchill is still remembered well.

RIP Sir Winston.

A new verse on a cop's classic!

Cop's have a strange relationship with the Almighty. To say the least, we're not the most reverent. We have to deal with the worse society has, and that requires our actions, often times, to be "Un-Christian."

But this kinda puts it into context. A new prayer to St. Michael.

Police Officer's Prayer to St. Michael

Saint Michael, heaven's glorious commissioner of police,
who once so neatly and successfully cleared God's premises
of all its undesirables, look with kindly and professional
eyes on your earthly force.

Give us cool heads, stout hearts, and uncanny flair for
investigation and wise judgement.

Make us the terror of burglars, the friend of children and
law-abiding citizens, kind to strangers, polite to bores,
strict with law-breakers and impervious to temptations.

You know, Saint Michael, from your own experiences
with the devil that the police officer's lot on earth is not
always a happy one; but your sense of duty that so
pleased God, your hard knocks that so surprised the
devil, and your angelic self-control give us inspiration.

And when we lay down our night sticks, enroll us in your
heavenly force, where we will be as proud to guard the
throne of God as we have been to guard the city of all
the people. Amen.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Officer Down

Police Officer Andres Laza-Caraballo
Juncos Municipal Police Department, Puerto Rico
End of Watch: Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Age: 31
Tour: 10 years
Badge: 162

Police Officer Andres Laza-Caraballo was shot and killed while intervening in a shooting incident while off duty at approximately 1:30 pm.

He was patronizing a barber shop on Calle Emilia Príncipe when several men started smoking marijuana in front of it. When the shop owner asked the men to leave he was attacked. Officer Laza-Caraballo identified himself as an officer and attempted to intervene when several of the subjects entered with rifles and opened fire.

Officer Laza-Caraballo was able to return fire, killing one of the men and wounding a second one before being fatally shot. The remaining two subjects fled the scene and remain at large. Three of the men, including the two who Officer Laza-Caraballo shot, were brothers.

Officer Laza-Caraballo had served with the Juncos Municipal Police Department for 10 years. He is survived by his two children.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

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

Friday...I need a laugh

It has been one long ass week. Started with a very early morning on Monday, but it was well worth it. I attended the Texas Peace Officer's Memorial in Austin. Every year the State of Texas commemorates the members of the Thin Blue Line who have passed in the line of duty. Followed by two days of overtime, plus getting up early again on Wednesday for an extra job. I'm dead.

And I need a laugh. Here are six great videos from Ron White. I saw him back in 2008, and I learned it's better to see him at the late show. He's already drunk when he walks on the stage. And my Christmas present for last year was two tickets to Ron White in San Antonio. The wife laughed her ass off, and so did I.


With that said, enjoy!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Officer Down

Deputy Sheriff Ryan Douglas Zirkle
Marin County Sheriff's Office, California
End of Watch: Thursday, March 15, 2018
Age: 24
Tour: 2 years, 6 months
Badge: 1784

Deputy Sheriff Ryan Zirkle was killed in a single-vehicle crash on Highway 1, north of Point Reyes Station, while responding to a 911 hangup call shortly after 12:00 am.

His vehicle left the wet roadway as it entered a curve in the road, and struck a tree on the driver's side door. He was flown to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

Deputy Zirkle had served with the Marin County Sheriff's Office for 2-1/2 years. He is survived by his fiancée, parents, and two brothers.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

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

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

LBJ Bio...

I recenlty read the first volumn of Robert Caro's four (soon to be five) bio of Lyndon Johnson, The Path to Power. To be fully honest, LBJ, in my humble opinion, is the worse president in the history of the republic. When I am asked why, my answer always starts with, "I'll give you fifty-eight thousand reasons, their names are on a wall in Washington D.C."

That being said, this book is phenomenal. A very detailed story of the rise to national power of a desperately poor young man from the Texas Hill Country. The Path to Power reveals in extraordinary detail the genesis of the almost superhuman drive, energy, and ambition that set LBJ apart. It follows him from the Hill Country to New Deal Washington, from his boyhood through the years of the Depression to his debut as Congressman, his heartbreaking defeat in his first race for the Senate, and his attainment, nonetheless, at age 31, of the national power for which he hungered. In this book, one is brought as close as we have ever been to a true perception of political genius and the American political process.

The Path to Power is the first volumn, and it's been on my "to read" shelve for over 2 years. The next three (Means of Accent, The Passage of Power, and Master of the Senate) are on the shelf and will be read in the next year.

Now the good news. The fifth volumn is coming!

An epic biography is nearing its close. Slowly but surely.

Those waiting for the fifth and final planned installment of Robert A. Caro’s award-winning life of Lyndon B. Johnson might be both heartened and frustrated by the historian’s most recent update on his progress.

In an interview recorded in New York on May 18 with C-Span’s Brian Lamb (to air on the news channel sometime this summer), Mr. Caro said he had most of the research and 400 typed pages of the manuscript for the next book done. But “one more big thing” remains, he said: A trip to Vietnam.

Mr. Caro lived in the Texas Hill Country while writing and researching the first volume, which covered Johnson’s youth.

“I’m not going to change the way I do it just because I’m getting older,” Mr. Caro, 81, said of the process. “I don’t know what the point would be of that.”

He continued: “I want to go to the great battlefields of Hue. I want to describe — there are a number of good books on this, but I always want to go for myself — what it’s like to fight in the jungle, because that’s really something we hadn’t really encountered.” He added, “There’s a lot of stuff I want to do.”

I hope to hear of a publication date soon!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Officer Down

Police Officer Scotty Hamilton
Pikeville Police Department, Kentucky
End of Watch Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Age 35
Tour 12 years
Badge 111

Police Officer Scotty Hamilton was shot and killed at approximately 11:30 pm as he and a Kentucky State Police trooper conducted criminal patrol on Hurricane Road, in the Hurricane Creek area of Pike County.

The officers were in the area as a result of recent narcotics activity when they encountered a suspicious vehicle. As Officer Hamilton checked the area for the vehicle's occupants he encountered a man and was shot in the head.

One suspect was taken into custody at the scene. A second suspect fled the scene but apprehended several days later.

Officer Hamilton had served with the Pikeville Police Department for 12 years. He is survived by his wife and child.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

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

Sunday, May 6, 2018

A good look at “soverign citizens,” and the non-lethal threat they pose.

According to the FBI, soverign citizens are a group of American residents who are not subject to the laws of the United States:
...Today, we look at a third threat—the “sovereign citizen” extremist movement. Sovereign citizens are anti-government extremists who believe that even though they physically reside in this country, they are separate or “sovereign” from the United States. As a result, they believe they don’t have to answer to any government authority, including courts, taxing entities, motor vehicle departments, or law enforcement.

This causes all kinds of problems—and crimes. For example, Many sovereign citizens don’t pay their taxes. They hold illegal courts that issue warrants for judges and police officers. They clog up the court system with frivolous lawsuits and liens against public officials to harass them. And they use fake money orders, personal checks, and the like at government agencies, banks, and businesses.

While most of these people are little more than anoyances, a sizable piece are extremely violent. In 2016, a soverign citizen murdered three officers in Baton Rouge, LA, and two officers in Arkansas in 2010. If an officer of mine pulls one of these people over, we end backup immediately.

Last year PoliceOne looked at these common actions of these people. A quick summary of this enlightening article.
5 common crimes committed by sovereign citizens

Law enforcement must understand the sovereign citizen movement, and be able to identify specific components that make up the movement, in order to protect themselves.

By Chris Meyer, PoliceOne Contributor

In a study conducted by The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) in 2014, law enforcement agencies identified the sovereign citizen movement as the greatest threat to their communities. To put it in perspective, the same study in 2006 identified Islamic extremists as the greatest threat...

...The most common fraud crimes of sovereign citizens

1. Income tax evasion

A commonly described “benefit” of sovereignty is the nonessential need to pay federal or state taxes. According to the Redemption Theory, a sovereign citizen is not responsible for tax debts because they denounced the identity assigned to them by their so-called strawman birth certificate. Thus, taxes are the responsibility of the strawman and not the sovereign citizen.

And while income tax evasion itself may not directly endanger the safety of our communities, bringing the criminals to justice can lead to dangerous situations. One such instance occurred when Elaine and Edward Brown refused to show up in court for income tax evasion and stockpiled weapons while barricading themselves inside their home.

2. The redemption scheme

Proponents of this scheme claim that the U.S. government control bank accounts—often referred to as “U.S. Treasury Direct Accounts” — for all U.S. citizens. Sovereign citizens claim these accounts can be accessed by submitting paperwork with state and federal authorities.

This scheme predominately uses fraudulent financial documents that appear to be legitimate. These documents are frequently referred to as “bills of exchange,” “promissory bonds,” “indemnity bonds,” “offset bonds,” or “sight drafts.” Other official documents frequently used include IRS forms 1099, 1099-OID, and 8300.

Although it's most common for sovereign citizens to propagate their schemes, other scammers may only be looking for a quick profit. The redemption scheme promises its victims the ability to pay down their debts—mortgages, credit cards, student loans, and more, using government funds. When the process fails, the scammer blames the victim for missing a deadline or filing the wrong forms.

3. Selling fraudulent documents

Sovereign citizens commit financial crimes with the assistance of a wide range of fake documents. They forge financial documents to establish lines of credit, create fake businesses, and more.

According to the FBI, sovereign citizens forge and sell drivers’ licenses, passports, diplomatic identification, vehicle registrations, concealed firearms permits, law enforcement credentials, and insurance forms. In Kansas City, sovereign citizens were convicted of forging diplomatic immunity cards and selling them for up to $2000.

The number of fraudulent documents associated with sovereign citizens can be an investigative challenge, too. At traffic stops, law enforcement officers need to be aware of fraudulent documentation like birth certificates, drivers’ licenses or vehicle tags. When asked to provide a name, it’s common for a sovereign citizen to respond that they don’t have a name or they may identify themselves as “the representative of…(their legal name).” If you do receive a name, it may be a sovereign name, compounded with “El” or “Bey” and intended to denounce their association with the name provided them by a government entity.

Be sure to document all known aliases.

4. Financial fraud schemes

Sovereign citizens commit many types of fraud—mail, bank, insurance, mortgage, and wire fraud – and try to justify their actions through their beliefs.

Just a few months ago, a man was convicted of attempting to make the government of Denver pay his personal debts.

In 2009, two men involved in the sovereign-citizen movement in Las Vegas, Nevada were arrested and charged with laundering $1.3 million for undercover FBI agents posing as businessmen.

In 2010, two sovereign citizens in Sacramento, California were convicted of running a fraudulent insurance scheme. They were operating a company completely outside of state insurance regulatory authorities. The men sold “lifetime memberships” to customers and promised to pay any accident claims against members. The company collected millions of dollars, but paid only small auto insurance claims and ignored large ones.

5. Intimidation and obstruction of law enforcement

Sovereign citizens use their fraudulent methods to target officers. They often try to intimidate law enforcement officers and prevent them from fulfilling their duty.

Sovereign citizens use counterfeit entities to make themselves appear to be members of the Constitution Rangers, Republic of Texas Rangers, U.S. Marshals, Civil Rights Task Force, and more. Sovereigns who purport to represent such agencies often have identification cards, badges, and sometimes even accessories such as police raid jackets.

Using these props, sovereign citizens have attempted to get past courtroom security, issue warrants and indictments, extricate themselves from encounters with police, and even to intimidate or “interrogate” others.

Additionally, sovereign citizens may request an oath of office, proof of jurisdiction, film interactions with officers, and more. Sovereign citizens can also use legitimate federal documents, such as suspicious activity reports to target law enforcement officers’ reputations.

The belief that strawman birth certificates are used to create separate legal entities for every U.S. citizen serves as a gateway for a multitude of crimes. All levels of government, including law enforcement officers, are prime targets for sovereign citizens. If you educate yourself and stay aware of the warning signs, you can spot these schemes and protect yourself and your community.

I’m not really worried about this as them deciding other issues. Yes, some can be very dangerous. But these people are not stupid, they know how to use technology and will harass cops and their families. Good to know what type of threat they are, and how to handle them.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Another case of technology that doesn’t give me a warm and fuzzy...

Towards the end of the epic Patton, the general is asked about future arms:
Correspondent: General, we're told of wonder weapons the Germans were working on: Long-range rockets, push-button bombing weapons that don't need soldiers. What's your take on that?

Patton: "Wonder weapons?" My God, I don't see the wonder in them. Killing without heroics. Nothing is glorified? Nothing is reaffirmed? No heroes, no cowards, no troops, no generals. Only those who are left alive and those who are left... dead. I won't live to see it.
I thought of this after reading this article last week in the Houston Chronicle. But my concern is they actually find this rational.
Pentagon may win race over self-driving vehicles

The Pentagon may soon be competing with Tesla and its Model S P90D on self-driving vehicles.

Forget Uber, Waymo and Tesla: The next big name in self-driving vehicles could be the Pentagon.

“We’re going to have self-driving vehicles in theater for the Army before we’ll have self-driving cars on the streets,” Michael Griffin, the undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, told lawmakers this month at a hearing on Capitol Hill. “But the core technologies will be the same.”

The stakes for the military are high. Fifty-two percent of casualties in combat zones can been attributed to military personnel delivering food, fuel and other logistics, Griffin said. Removing people from that equation with systems run on artificial intelligence could reduce injuries and deaths significantly.

“You’re in a very vulnerable position when you’re doing that kind of activity,” Griffin said. “If that can be done by an automated unmanned vehicle with a relatively simple AI driving algorithm where I don’t have to worry about pedestrians and road signs and all of that, why wouldn’t I do that?”

The Pentagon has a long history of support that helped to develop or refine key technologies that become widespread later, including space flight and the internet.

With an annual budget of almost $700 billion, the Pentagon can afford to aggressively pursue autonomous vehicle technology well beyond fuel and food delivery trucks. The Army, for instance, is pushing forward with efforts to develop unmanned tanks and smarter vehicles for bomb disarmament, though many of those technologies will be remote-controlled, not autonomous.

Maj. Alan L. Stephens, an officer at the Mounted Requirements Division of the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence in Georgia, said in December that the Army wants to start testing light, fast remote-controlled tanks with the same firepower as the current 70-plus-ton manned M1 Abrams tank within the next five years.

Among critics’ concerns is the potential development of autonomous weapons that make their own life-and-death targeting decisions. Ash Carter, who was defense secretary under President Barack Obama, told a Silicon Valley audience in 2016 that “in the matter of the use of lethal force, there will always be — at least speaking for the United States — a human being involved in decision-making...”

The rest of the article has some comments on the legality of using this technology in combat. I question the wisdom of using it on a widespread basis, period. While using a form of this for logistics is very plausible, I have serious issue with the thought of AI replacing man in something as fast moving and complicated as battle. No form of artificial intelligence will replace the intellect, knowledge base, initiative, and intuition of a man on the battlefield. Can I see something like a “suicide submersible” being used to attach itself on a ship and detonate, yes. But a computer guided ship having to make a decision on planting an explosive on a hull, when it may be compromised, absolutely not. Also, the potential for compromised computers or communications would be a literal “war stopper.”

I am not a fantasy believer in automated cars. The technology is still decades away, man driven autos are going nowhere. And I will never see the end manned aircraft, armored vehicles, etc.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Officer Down

Reserve Officer Christopher Michael Lawton
Zachary Police Department, Louisiana
End of Watch Monday, March 12, 2018
Age 41
Tour 10 years
Badge Z-72

Reserve Officer Chris Lawton was killed after being intentionally struck by a vehicle as he attempted to serve a narcotics-related felony warrant.

He and another officer had spotted the wanted subject inside a U-Haul truck parked at the Walmart on Plank Road, in Baker, Louisiana. After observing the subject for several minutes the officers parked their patrol car behind the truck and began to approach it on foot. The subject saw them walking alongside the truck and started to drive away, pinning Officer Lawton between the truck and a shopping cart corral.

Officer Lawton's partner was able to broadcast a description of the vehicle, which was located approximately 20 minutes later. The driver was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, hit and run, and being a fugitive from justice. A second occupant of the vehicle was charged with obstruction of justice.

Officer Lawton served as a part-time, unpaid reserve officer with Zachary Police Department for 10 years and also served as a full-time firefighter with the Zachary Fire Department.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

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

It's the end of the week as we know it....

I feel fine!

I was searching for a video on YouTube and found this by accident. Often in life, when you don't look, you find. The first television appearance of R.E.M., on David Letterman.

Michael Stipe actually had hair!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Officer Down

Deputy Sheriff David Lee'Sean Manning
Edgecombe County Sheriff's Office, North Carolina
End of Watch Sunday, March 11, 2018
Age 24
Tour 4 months
Badge 839

Deputy Sheriff David Manning was killed in a vehicle crash as he pursued a car on Highway 111 halfway between Tarboro and Pinetops, at approximately 6:15 pm.

His patrol car collided with a pickup truck traveling the opposite direction. The vehicle he was pursuing crashed in a roadside ditch a short distance away. The driver fled on foot but was later apprehended. He was charged with leaving the scene of an accident and hit & run, ( property damage), and released after posting bond. The occupants of the truck, a man and his wife, sustained non-life threatening injuries.

On March 21, 2018, the 33-year-old driver was charged with DWI, after officials discovered that he drank several malt beverages at a local bar before the accident.

Deputy Manning had served with the Edgecombe County Sheriff's Office for four months. He is survived by his daughter, fiance, parents, three brothers, two grandmothers, and a grandfather.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

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

What's going on in the World Today 180502



Trump Administration relaxes policy on armed UAV exports

The Trump Administration loosened restrictions on the marketing and sale of armed unmanned air vehicles by US aerospace manufacturers to foreign nations on 19 April.

The new export rules allow US companies to sell and market armed military drones to US allies and partner under the direct commercial sales process, eliminating the need to go through the State Department via the foreign military sales system.

The change was billed by the State Department as a means to speed up the sale and delivery of US drones to foreign countries, many of which are also considering drones manufactured by Chinese and Russian companies.

“Providing our allies and partners with greater access to American arms will also reduce their reliance not just on Chinese knockoffs, but also on Russian systems, consistent with the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act,” says Peter Navarro, assistant to the president for trade and manufacturing policy. “For too long we have hamstrung ourselves and limited our ability to provide our allies and partners with the defensive capabilities they require, even when in the US interest...”

Chinese smartphones cited by intelligence as security risk sold on US bases

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Chinese-made smartphones that the heads of U.S. intelligence have urged Americans not to buy are being sold to servicemembers across Germany at on-base exchange facilities.

The Huawei phones, which are being sold by TKS, an Army and Air Force Exchange Service concessionary and subsidiary of Vodaphone, could be used to gather sensitive information, according to U.S. intelligence agencies. They are banned for official government use in most cases.

The Defense Department asked whether Huawei mobile phones were being sold at exchange facilities but has not offered any other direction, said AAFES senior spokesman Chris Ward.

“We responded ‘yes’ and have had no other inquiries,” Ward said in an email response. “Should there be an official determination made by law enforcement officials that these phones present a security risk, the Exchange will instruct its vendors to remove impacted products from their assortment...”


Why the GCC States Think Africa Is Worth Fighting Over


-Growing economic ties will remain the primary connection between the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and countries across Africa.

-Turkey's attempts to nurture its economic and political links with Africa, part of a campaign to broaden its global influence, will compete with those of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia in some areas.

-Rivalries among GCC members and with other regional powers will play out throughout Africa, complicating the Gulf bloc's efforts to forge deeper security ties with states on the continent.




Europe Accelerates Studies On Reusable Launchers

Apr 23, 2018 Thierry Dubois | Aviation Week & Space Technology
It is 5:00 p.m. local time on July 15, 2030, in Kourou, French Guiana, and the final countdown is underway for Ariane Next, Europe’s first reusable launcher. The last decade has brought an accelerated evolution of the launchers built by ArianeGroup under the leadership of the European Space Agency (ESA). Ariane 6 had a relatively brief career—almost three times shorter than its predecessor.

Rewind to 2018. The launch of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, although it was of limited significance on the satellite launch market, was the watershed event. Before it, European players were content with reusability demonstration programs, just as any other research and technology activity. After it, the debate moved to “when” from “if.” For the second time in four years, ArianeGroup, ESA and state agencies made a move in reaction to SpaceX’s prowess in reusable launchers.






China: The Dominican Republic Abandons Its Allegiance to Taiwan

China has plucked out another country from among Taiwan's steadily dwindling pool of diplomatic partners. The Dominican Republic announced May 1 that it had severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan and will establish them with China instead. This statement is the culmination of a long process; reports of Beijing reaching out to the Dominican Republic go back to late 2016. But the switch comes at a time when the U.S. administration appears intent on disrupting the status quo in cross-strait relations by expanding its official diplomatic interactions with Taiwan. In that sense, Taipei and Beijing's contest for diplomatic partners is just one small piece of the mounting great power competition between the United States and China...

What Beijing is Building in the South China Sea

Since China began its extensive land reclamation program in the South China Sea in 2013, Beijing has focused on improving its presence and infrastructure at seven locations in the Spratly Island chain: Cuarteron Reef, Fiery Cross, Gaven, Hughes, Johnson, Mischief and Subi reefs. Of the seven locations, the Fiery Cross, Mischief and Subi reefs received particular attention in the form of large-scale airfields built there. Over time, China has also added harbors, barracks, radar and other sensors. This is in addition to communications equipment, storage bunkers and general infrastructure installed across all seven islands. Stratfor partners at AllSource Analysis have provided imagery that confirms mobile electronic warfare (EW) equipment was recently deployed to Mischief Reef...


Iran Deals With the JCPOA

There are just 18 days left until Washington’s May 12 deadline for the United States and the European Union to reach an agreement about how to counter Iran’s regional activity and whether to tighten the straightjacket on its nuclear program. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has spent much of the last week in the United States on a media blitz, trying to push back against the United States, while French President Emmanuel Macron had Iran at the top of his agenda during his April 24 meeting with Trump. During the meeting, Macron presented the possibility of a new deal to complement — not replace — the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). He outlined four main concerns to address when countering Iran, which included the JCPOA’s short-term concerns but also long-term concerns about Iran’s nuclear program, its ballistic missile program and its regional activities in places such as Syria...

Iran Arrests Members of London-Backed Spying Cell

"Recently, members of a network affiliated to Britain have been arrested", who sought to launch espionage operations in Iran and had contacts with some main members of the group who led the 2009 unrests and other anti-Iran groups, the source told FNA.

Abbas Edalat was also among those arrested in Iran.

British sources said last night that Edalat is a British-Iranian citizen and a professor of computer sciences and mathematics at Imperial College in London.

Imperial College plays a special role in training spies in different disguises to launch espionage operations inside Iran.



Is the Syrian Stalemate Between Iran and Israel About to End?


-As uncertainty about future U.S. action against Iran increases, Iran and Israel will seek to deter each other along Israel's northern border.

-Iran will aim to prevent a direct Israeli attack against the Islamic republic by building up bases in Syria and Lebanon, while
Israel will seek to undermine this threat by pushing the United States to take action against Tehran.

-Israel will accept the dangers of a regional war so long as the United States provides direct cooperation against Iran.
Hundreds of kilometers of Syria and Iraq separate Israel and Iran, but the civil war in Syria has brought the two foes nose to nose.

Early on April 9, Israel struck the Tiyas (T4) air base northeast of Damascus. To some, it appeared that Israel was acting on behalf of the United States in retaliating against the Syrian government's alleged use of chemical weapons. In reality, Israel was in pursuit of other quarry: Iran and Hezbollah, which have redoubled their efforts to challenge Israel along its northern border...

Why Israel is Keeping Its Warplanes Close to Home

Instead of participating in a high-profile U.S. military air combat exercise in Alaska that starts April 30, the Israeli Defense Forces ordered a squadron of its fighter jets — likely the 69th Squadron, equipped with F-15I Ra'am strike fighters — to remain in Israel, while other of its air force assets have been allowed to proceed. Given that the U.S. Red Flag exercises require substantial preparation and confer valuable experience, Israel would not have made the decision to keep its fighters home lightly. The withdrawal, announced April 17, indicates a heightened probability that a cycle of escalation and confrontation between Iran (and, by extension, Hezbollah) and Israel lies ahead...

Israel Conferred With U.S. on Strike in Syria to Target Iranian War Gear

Israeli leaders have kept silent about the attack, but intelligence officials offered new details on the specific target, Israel’s goals and the discussions with Washington

WASHINGTON—With tacit American support, the Israeli military targeted an advanced Iranian air-defense system at a Syrian base last week, said intelligence officials and others briefed on the matter, the latest sign the Trump administration is working with Israel to blunt Tehran’s expanding influence in the Middle East...

Did Israel Just Kill the Iran Nuclear Deal?


-Israel claims that Tehran held onto research related to Iran's nuclear weapons program and has lied to the international community about its intentions.

-The announcement was timed to influence the United States and the European Union just days before the White House reaches a May 12 deadline to issue sanctions waivers in accordance with the terms of the Iran nuclear deal.

-Israel seeks stronger U.S. backing for its bold military moves against Iran in Syria by characterizing Tehran as unreliable and ill-intentioned...








North Korean Destructive Malware Is Back, Says DHS Report

Malware not seen since the 2014 attack on Sony has returned, raising the possibility of future destructive attacks.

American intelligence analysts have discovered a destructive strain of North Korean malware not seen since the 2014 attack on Sony that crippled the company’s computer systems, according to Department of Homeland Security documents obtained by Foreign Policy.

On Dec. 17, 2017, “advanced persistent threat actors” deployed “newly discovered destructive malware that shares a number of similarities to the destructive malware” used in the Sony attack, according to a restricted report issued late last year. “This is the the first known instance since 2014 that North Korea-tied destructive malware has been seen,” says the report, marked “For Official Use Only.”

The report does not state whether the malware, called “SMASHINGCOCONUT,” was deployed by North Korean hackers, but argues that the technical similarities “make it very likely” that it was developed by Pyongyang...


Why It Does -- yet Doesn't -- Matter That the Toronto Attacker Is a Terrorist
By Scott Stewart

VP of Tactical Analysis, Stratfor


-Because the recent Toronto vehicular attack was driven by a misogynistic ideology, it can be classified as an act of terrorism.

-Terrorist tactics transcend group or ideology and can be adopted by anyone, including nonterrorists.

-Because of this fact, mass public attacks will remain a persistent but limited threat, and people must be prepared to face them.

On April 23 in Toronto, Canada, 25-year-old Alek Minassian stomped on the gas pedal of a rented Ryder van, jumped a curb and steered the vehicle down a wide sidewalk running along Yonge Street. He charged down the sidewalk for over a mile, swerving to hit as many pedestrians as he could. He struck 24 of them, 10 fatally, before he turned the van down Poyntz Avenue, parked and exited it. When he was confronted by an armed police officer, Minassian repeatedly mimicked that he had a gun, eventually screaming for the officer to shoot him. Instead, the officer took him to the ground and handcuffed him, bringing an end to his bloody rampage...

...How to Prepare

Because of this reality, people need to be prepared to protect themselves against the simple tactics used in most mass public attacks. Protecting oneself begins with understanding the necessity, or as security experts like to say, by adopting the proper mindset. The next step is practicing the appropriate level of situational awareness and engaging all of one's senses. For example, it may be difficult to hear a vehicle speeding down the sidewalk behind you if you have headphones in your ears. Acknowledging the possibility of a threat and remaining aware can help anyone quickly recognize an unfolding attack and take immediate action to avoid becoming a victim.

People in attacks should also attempt to warn others, by screaming or otherwise signaling the danger. They should also be prepared to help the injured by attending first aid training classes and by carrying simple lifesaving items such as tourniquets, pressure bandages and chest seals.

Metal Tool 3D-Printed in Zero Gravity

The challenges of using additive manufacturing in space to print a wrench.

3D printed spanner in zero gravity

A spanner has been produced in zero gravity using 3D-printing of metal powder in a first for additive manufacturing. Parts are being printed in space, on the International Space Station, but using polymer materials. Printing high-strength parts in zero gravity using metal powers presents unique challenges.

"We used a completely new technology to print a wrench for the first time under zero gravity in our latest parabolic flight campaign in March," says Jens Günster, project manager and head of BAM’s Ceramic Processing and Biomaterials division.

To additively manufacture metal parts, metallic powder is laid down on a bed and locally melted by laser to build the part layer by layer. But metallic powders pose a challenge in zero gravity because they are potentially flammable and explosive.

To enable the process to work in space, the research group has developed a method that enables processing of metallic powders under a protective gas atmosphere. A process gas--in this case nitrogen--is drawn through the powder layers to stabilize the powder bed in the absence of gravity.

The technology has been developed by Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM), a research institute of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. It has been tested in two parabolic flight campaigns in cooperation with Clausthal University of Technology and German aerospace center DLR’s Institute for Composite Structures and Adaptive Systems in Braunschweig.

Nuclear Power Plants Have a 'Blind Spot' for Hackers. Here's How to Fix That.

Malware hunters, regulators, and plant employees are hunting further down the supply chain for vulnerabilities as hackers continue to target critical infrastructure.

Billy Rios likes to hack the machines that make modern society function. Take the Morpho Itemiser 3, a prototype of the device the Transportation Security Administration uses to screen airport travelers for explosives and narcotics.

Rios, a security researcher, decided one day in 2013 to probe the Itemiser 3, which TSA had tested in the lab but never deployed. He bought the device online, took it apart, and found that a password was hardcoded into the equipment. This shortcut allowed technicians easy access to the machine, but also potentially left it prey to hackers who could remotely commandeer it.

In August 2014, at the annual Black Hat Conference in Las Vegas, Rios presented his findings to the public. “Once someone else discovers the technician password, it [becomes] a backdoor,” Rios said at the time, calling the shortcut “dangerous” for the access it allows a hacker.

These days, companies in charge of some of the United States’ most critical infrastructure hire WhiteScope, Rios’s cybersecurity firm, to breach systems and then explain how they did it, all to prepare for the real thing. He and his team of researchers have picked apart the communication systems used by airplanes and cars. But sometimes Rios’s tests stray into unforeseen territory. It was only shortly after he presented his Itemiser findings four years ago, for example, that he learned how the device was used in the nuclear sector.

For all of the hardcore services WhiteScope offers, Rios, a veteran of the Iraq War and a former incident response leader at Google, has only begun scraping the surface of the complex supply chain that feeds the thousands of digital components that go into a nuclear facility.

A nuclear power plant’s critical systems are well fortified from run-of-the mill cyberattacks launched from outside a plant. That makes the supply chain, with its often far-flung production sites, a logical target for well-resourced hackers looking for a foothold into a facility. As a result, meticulous regulators, seasoned nuclear plant employees, and cunning penetration, or “pen” testers like Rios are all playing their part in the ceaseless effort to make the supply chain more cyber-secure.

The supply chain is “a huge blind spot right now,” Rios told me. “We can test the security of someone’s environment and we can test the security of someone’s devices in these environments. But testing an actual supply chain attack is really hard because it involves coordination between a lot of different players...”

On Hump Day, a really radical idea....