The Administration Implementation Of The Cloward-Piven Strategy

Herschel Smith · 29 Jun 2014 · 38 Comments

The setup for this has been occurring for quite a while.  The collectivists on the right have helped the leftists gain strength, but the rate and fury of activity that has been consequential in destabilizing the United States has increased almost beyond comprehension. The long term evolution of America to a position where such a strategy might stand a greater chance of success began long ago with the move towards urbanization.  The flight from rural America was helped along with family…… [read more]

Update On Open Carry Laws

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 4 months ago

The State of Utah is close to jettisoning bigotry and prejudice associated with firearms.

Utah residents may be one step closer to being able to carry their firearms with them wherever they go. Wednesday the Utah House of Representatives passed House Bill 49, an open-carry law that would make it legal for a resident to carry a gun in plain sight.

HB 49, sponsored by Rep. Paul Ray (R-Clearfield) says that in the absence of threatening behavior, the lawful possession of a firearm or dangerous weapon, whether visible or concealed, cannot be considered in violation of municipal ordinances and government entities cannot give citations for disorderly conduct or a enforce dangerous weapon laws.

But bigotry and hatred die hard.

Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds said that he is against the bill because it would complicate the job of his officers. According to Edmunds, it is unreasonable to allow someone to carry a weapon in plain view if they are not an officer.

“The world is becoming an increasingly violent place and firearms in plain view frighten people,” Edmunds said, adding that while he is against the bill, he is a big firearms proponent and a strong believer in the Second Amendment. “I have never had a problem with someone who holds a concealed weapons permit; in all my years as Sheriff I have never encountered a problem with those people. You should be allowed to carry a weapon in public but you need to go through the proper channels.”

Edmunds, who is president of the Utah Sheriff’s Association, said the group as a whole is against the bill.

Park City Police Chief Wade Carpenter said he is against the bill as it is currently drafted because it takes away law enforcement’s right to enforce disorderly conduct codes if a person carrying a weapon causes shock and alarm to citizens in a public place.

Some police officers are even more crass and bold about their bigotry.

… says Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank, a bad guy with a loaded weapon can do “a lot of damage very fast.”

He said that in his 20 years as a policeman, “we’ve had very few problems and concealed-weapons holders. It’s not a big issue.”

But open-carry is different, he adds. For example, a law enforcement officer openly carries a weapon for its “intimidation factor. In law enforcement, that’s the message you send.”

Civilians who openly carry weapons are another matter. “Is this person’s intent to do harm, or is he just carrying a gun? It puts police officers in a very awkward position,” he said.

You know, because only police officers can be trusted with weapons, and especially ones that can be seen by others.  It’s the “intimidation” factor.  And it causes me to wonder how many more LEOs think this way.

Except that this is fake … make believe … fantasy land.  The issue is a red herring.  I open carry, and as I have mentioned before, and women and children don’t run off screaming in fear, and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police, who are well-educated and comprehensively trained, simply wave and smile as they go past me while openly carrying my weapon.  The issue has to do with bigotry and prejudice, not concocted or fabricated problems that it causes.

And speaking of civil rights, I notice that South Carolina is pressing forward to show that they are a gun-friendly state.

Firearm enthusiasts might have something more to look forward to than sales at the mall this Black Friday if one Upstate lawmaker gets his way.

Rep. Mike Pitts (R-Laurens) put a proviso in this year’s budget that would reinstate a three-day gun tax holiday the weekend after Thanksgiving. The holiday, called “Second Amendment Weekend” was introduced at the start of the recession in 2008 to encourage buying but was cancelled last year because of the state’s shrinking budget.

This year revenues are higher than expected and Pitts said that the $13,000 of sales taxes the state won’t get from guns that weekend is really a drop in the bucket of a $22.5 billion budget.

Plus there’s a huge increase in the sale of other items like camouflage hunting gear, boots and ammunition that bring in more tax revenue and pump profits into small businesses.

Right.  A tax holiday.  How about Representative Pitts supporting  the same bill we discussed in Utah making it acceptable to open carry in S.C. (I have proposed this before).  South Carolina has the dubious distinction of being similar to California in prohibiting open carry.  Would Rep. Pitts move into the twenty first century in rejecting bigotry and supporting our civil rights?

Concerning Those Burned Qu’rans At Bagram Air Base

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 4 months ago

It is easy to lose count of the number of administration officials who have issued groveling, pitiful “apologies” over the burned Qu’rans at Bagram Air Base.  But take note that our apologies aren’t sufficient.  The protests are still active, they are spreading to Pakistan, and Iran wants more – a lot more.  It’s ironic how we see things through Western, secular eyes concerning issues pertaining to religious pre-commitments.  Our apologies are so serious, so heartfelt, so sincere, so sober – and so completely irrelevant to the Muslim world.

Iran wants the officers who made this decision to pay a hefty price.

In a move likely to irk tension between Iran and United States, a top Iranian military commander said on Saturday that nothing short of burning the White House and hanging American military commanders can compensate for the burning of Qurans at a U.S. military base in Afghanistan last week.

“The U.S. has committed such an ugly act and burnt Qurans because of the heavy slap it has been given by Islam,” commander of Iran’s Basij force, Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi told the semi-official Fars news agency.

So we punish the officers who made this decision according to Sharia law, we torch the White House, and we completely withdraw from Afghanistan, and then perhaps the Iranian generals will be appeased.

But also take careful note why the copies of the Qu’ran were burned in the first place.

As riots over the accidental improper disposal of the Koran led to seven deaths by Wednesday, two senior NATO military officials stressed that it was because of clandestine communications written into the Korans in the first place that a decision was made to have them destroyed by U.S. troops.

Afghan detainees at Bagram Air Base wrote inside Korans as a method for passing messages to fellow detainees, defacing the holy books in a manner considered blasphemous within Islam, the officials said, speaking to Fox News exclusively.

[ ... ]

A second official said that local religious leaders who came to look at the damaged material as part of an investigation into the incident were “shocked by what they saw.”

Pages of the Korans contained many handwritten messages and in some cases printed notes were found inside the books. This official described the messages as “extremist” in nature.

This entire incident has as its root cause the fact that rather than killing the insurgents on the field of battle, we imprisoned them in hopes of rehabilitating them and releasing them to return to productive lives in the service of greater Afghanistan.

Ah.  Those Western ideals at work again.  How sweet.  But in reality, prisons in counterinsurgency are opportunities for rest and relaxation, a chance to be fed and to receive good medical care, and a safe haven to recruit and radicalize other insurgents.

These copies of the Qu’ran should have been burned, but Afghans should never have been involved.  In fact, the prisons, which are currently full to overflowing with radicalized Islamists and criminals soon to be released when the U.S. exits Afghanistan (or sooner if the prisons are turned over to Afghan authorities), should completely go out of business.  We should have been killing these fighters rather than giving them the opportunity to concoct further plans for harm to U.S. troops.

All of this – and more – is why I have recommended that we withdraw from Afghanistan.  We simply don’t have a clue what it takes to win the campaign in this region of the world.  For future campaigns, we should take note yet again that prisons really, really don’t work in counterinsurgency.

As if all of this isn’t enough, we may yet sacrifice the careers of some of the officers in the service of Islam.

NATO officials promised to meet Afghan nation’s demand of bringing to justice, through an open trial, those responsible for the incident and it was agreed that the perpetrators of the crime be brought to justice as soon as possible.

Sad beyond belief.

UPDATE #1: Many thanks to Glenn Reynolds for his attention to this.

Prior:

Night Raids, Prisons, Politics and the Afghanistan Strategy

The Long Term Effects of Prisons in Counterinsurgency

The Great Escape – In Afghanistan!

Because Prisons Work So Well In Counterinsurgency

Afghan Prison An Insurgent Breeding Ground

Prisons Do Not Work In Counterinsurgency

The Ineffectiveness of Prisons in Counterinsurgency

Jirgas and Release of Taliban Prisoners

Prisons in Afghanistan

Prisons in Counterinsurgency

Presidential Apologies: A Contrast in Religious Sensitivities

BY Glen Tschirgi
2 years, 5 months ago

There is something strange about the uproar over the apparently accidental burning of Korans at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.

This article from the Associated Press is headlined for Newt Gingrich’s criticism of President Obama’s apologies to Hamid Karzai over the Koran burnings.   Whether you agree or disagree with Gingrich’s points, the defense offered up by White House is thought-provoking:

Even before Gingrich’s comments, White House spokesman Jay Carney sought to counter any criticism of the president’s apology.

“It is wholly appropriate, given the sensitivities to this issue, the understandable sensitivities,” Carney told reporters traveling to Miami with the president on Air Force One. “His primary concern as commander in chief is the safety of the American men and women in Afghanistan, of our military and civilian personnel there. And it was absolutely the right thing to do.”

There are at least two, underlying assumptions in the White House messaging on this.

Muslim Sensitivities

First, Obama’s apology to Karzai was “wholly appropriate” due to “the understandable sensitivities” of the Afghanis.   Presumably Carney is really referring to the Afghani’s muslim sensitivities.   In Obama’s view, then, Islamic “sensitivities” are to be given such respect that any offense– even an indisputably unintentional and accidental one– demands contrition and a grave apology from a United States President.

What is this sensitivity that requires an American President to bend the knee and humbly seek forgiveness?  It is the apparent veneration of a book by muslims that forbids any act of disrespect or dishonor.   This is medieval thinking and, while we can comprehend that Afghanis inhabit a culture and religion that is largely mired in the 7th Century, it is not incumbent on Americans or America’s President to cater to or endorse such magical thinking.

We feel no need, for instance, to apologize to muslims for the dogs that American soldiers often use for bomb detection or even companionship on bases in Afghanistan despite the fact that dogs offend many muslims’ “sensitivities.”    Admittedly, there is no need to go out of our way to unnecessarily offend, but it would seem that we give validity to magical thinking when we apologize for inadvertent offenses to that thinking to which we, ourselves do not subscribe and even hold, privately, in contempt.

Note, too, the contrast in the way Obama treats Islamic beliefs about a book and his treatment of the Roman Catholic beliefs about contraception.  He is frankly not concerned about the Catholic sensitivities when it conflicts with his agenda and, most disturbing, is willing to ride roughshod over important First Amendment rights in the process.

Rewarding Violence

The second rationale provided by the White House is that the apology emanated from the need to protect our military forces in Afghanistan (and probably elsewhere in the Middle East).  The underlying assumption is that muslims will resort to random and not-so-random violence against Americans if they are not placated and appeased.

Comparing the treatment accorded the Afghan government and the Roman Catholic Church, the lesson here seems to be that if you are a religious group that respects the law and addresses its grievances through debate and political action, then your sensitivities– even ones protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution— can be abused and violated by Obama and his myrmidons on the Left.   But if you happen to belong to a religious group that will readily and predictably resort to violence at any unintentional or even accidental slight to your sensitivities, then you are pursued like a wounded child, begged for forgiveness and placated.

This incident should be yet another clear marker for all of us that the West, so far, is on the losing side of the war with Militant Islam as we are willing cede our own cultural beliefs to them simply because they readily resort to violence.    This is like parents who defer and pander to their 17 year-old because they fear his violent temper and unpredictable tendency to violence.   Such a scenario never ends well.

It will not end well for America, either, if we persist in these behaviors.

UPDATE: An interesting contrast to the U.S. position on the accidental burning of the Koran and the intentional burning of the Bible by U.S. forces in 2009.   I do not subscribe to the notion that the Bible– as a collection of paper and ink bound with a cover of some sort is invested with mystical qualities that render the book itself as inviolate.   To do so would be to engage in the same sort of magical thinking that muslims have toward the Koran.   At the same time, the article makes good points about the perception of Afghans who see Americans falling over themselves to seek forgiveness for a few, mistakenly burned Korans while holding their own sacred book, the Bible, in apparent contempt.

If I Could Just Own 240 Handguns!

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 5 months ago

From LA Times Editorial.

Virginia is for lovers — of guns. Last week that state’s Senate, newly under Republican control after a GOP  election surge in November, overturned a 20-year-old law that barred residents from buying more than one handgun a month. Why? Apparently because in Virginia, deadly firearms are like Lay’s potato chips — you can’t stop at just one.

Virginia’s refusal to close the notorious “gun-show loophole” has long been criticized by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who frets that relatively tough regulations in his state are undermined when criminals can easily purchase firearms in other states and bring them into New York. In fact, similar worriesabout interstate gun-running were what prompted Virginia’s Legislature to restrict handgun purchases in 1993. But with Republican lawmakers and two Democrats from rural districts eager to make a statement about gun rights, the state Senate approved the repeal by a 21-19 vote, and Gov. Bob McDonnell is expected to sign it.

Backers say they’re just trying to bring Virginia’s laws in line with those in other states, pointing out that only California, Maryland and New Jersey have monthly limits on handgun purchases. Moreover, they say the ban isn’t effective because it doesn’t apply to groups such as police officers and holders of concealed weapons permits. But that’s a reason to strengthen the law, not to repeal it. And we have yet to hear a gun-rights advocate articulate why any law-abiding citizen has a compelling need to buy more than one gun a month. Criminals sometimes need to get their hands on a lot of guns at once to pull off a big job or to keep gangs well-armed; citizens who want to protect their homes from intruders have no such imperative.

A more colorful way of phrasing that point came from state Democratic Sen. Richard L. Saslaw, who noted to the Richmond Times-Dispatch that if a Virginian had bought one handgun a month from the time the ban was enacted until today, he would have 240 guns. “If you need more than 240 handguns, then I would submit something’s wrong with you. Something’s gone wrong in your life,” he said.

I’m sure that armies of criminals await this change in the law to run down to their local Sheriff, apply for a weapons permit, purchase hundreds of weapons, and then pull off the robbery of the century.  The only problem is that Saslaw’s hysterical objection has nothing to do with the real problem behind the the law.

The issue pertains to much more mundane things that tend to dominate the lives of real, law-abiding citizens.  For example, if someone gets a bonus check or tax refund once per year, and the surplus tends to get gone if it isn’t spent quickly (you know, on accoutrements- and odds and ends associated with home ownership), he might need to purchase more than a single weapon in one month.

Or perhaps someone finds a good deal on multiple weapons he has been watching for some time.  Waiting a month would mean watching the deal disappear.  Or perhaps someone wants to invest in something that isn’t losing its value and is actually fun to bequeath to his children and grandchildren.  Or perhaps he is simply a collector and aficionado, and happens to have the money to invest in weapons.

In any of theses examples (and many more), Mr. Saslaw has rudely impugned the character of the gun owner.  If I could only own 240 handguns (not to mention long guns), well, that would be awesome, and I would do it in a heartbeat if I had the money.  And according to the bill, it would be none of Saslaw’s business.

I like the idea of Mr. Saslaw having nothing to do with how I or his constituents spend money.  Oh, and as one of my colleagues at reddit.com/r/guns points out, Seung-Hui Cho bought both of his guns in a Virginia gun store and was subject to the 1 handgun a month law.  Perhaps Mr. Saslaw needs to worry himself with things other than how his constituents spend their money.  Perhaps being Enid Strict isn’t the real purpose of his office.

Now, I was thinking, as for those 240 handguns I want …

War With Iran Likely

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 5 months ago

The so-called “experts” are coming to the same conclusion I reached years ago.

Officials in key parts of the Obama administration are increasingly convinced that sanctions will not deter Tehran from pursuing its nuclear programme, and believe that the US will be left with no option but to launch an attack on Iran or watch Israel do so.

The president has made clear in public, and in private to Israel, that he is determined to give sufficient time for recent measures, such as the financial blockade and the looming European oil embargo, to bite deeper into Iran’s already battered economy before retreating from its principal strategy to pressure Tehran.

But there is a strong current of opinion within the administration – including in the Pentagon and the state department – that believes sanctions are doomed to fail, and that their principal use now is in delaying Israeli military action, as well as reassuring Europe that an attack will only come after other means have been tested.

“The White House wants to see sanctions work. This is not the Bush White House. It does not need another conflict,” said an official knowledgeable on Middle East policy. “Its problem is that the guys in Tehran are behaving like sanctions don’t matter, like their economy isn’t collapsing, like Israel isn’t going to do anything.

“Sanctions are all we’ve got to throw at the problem. If they fail then it’s hard to see how we don’t move to the ‘in extremis’ option.”

Shocked!  Shocked, they are, that sanctions aren’t working.  It’s as if the Obama administration sees things only through Western, secular eyes, and the Mullahs in Iran see things through religious, apocalyptic and eschatological eyes.  It’s as if the Mullahs don’t place the same importance on things that the “experts” in the administration do, you know, the issue of self preservation, survival of the nation-state, and so on.  It’s as if the Mullahs are willing to sacrifice Iran to bring about the global apocalypse necessary to usher in the Caliphate.

Sanction are all we’ve got to throw at the problem.  Good grief.  We’ve got many more things than that.  While the Obama administration may not need a war, as they said, Iran has been at war with the U.S. for thirty years.  Whether he knew it or not, Obama entered office while at war with Iran.  If his advisers didn’t explain that to him, well then, they aren’t the real experts at all.

As I have advocated, we should have engaged Iran in the covert war they are waging against us.  Recall that I have called for reversing executive order 12333 and assassinating general Suleimani.  I have called for supporting the Green movement, I have called for a program of targeted assassinations of high level Quds force commanders, and I have called for fomenting an insurgency inside of Iran.  Regime change is the order of the day.

But we chose to believe that negotiations, talks, letters, videos to the Iranian people, and everything else on earth would suffice for engagement of Iran as an enemy.  Now, we are out of time, and we (and/or Israel) will pay the price for it.  My way was easier and involved covert warfare.  We chose to ignore the easy way, and so now we will go it the hard way, with overt warfare.

Marine MEDEVAC

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 5 months ago

In Michael Yon Gets What’s Coming To Him, I discussed Yon’s latest concerning the issue of MEDEVAC in Afghanistan and whether airborne vehicles should be required to both (a) carry a red cross, and (b) be unarmed.  The reader can review what I said concerning this issue, but I pointed out that “The U.S. Marine Corps doesn’t do business this way.”

Now comes Matthew Burden at Blackfive to respond to Michael (and I guess, me too).  I won’t rehearse what he says about the issue, and if he feels like it, Michael Yon can respond to Matt’s problems with the issue.  But of me, Matt says the following.

The Army is the only Service that is dedicated to this essential mission. In fact, other uninformed bloggers claim that the Marines don’t do Medevac.  That part is correct.  However, to assume that’s because “The U.S. Marine Corps doesn’t do business this way” is incorrect.  That is because the Army provides that service for the Marines, Navy, and Air Force.  Just like the Marines don’t do CSAR – because the USAF has the lead on that.  Not because they don’t do business that way (bold his).

Well, goodness.  So now I don’t warrant a note (and Matt has my e-mail address), and my name doesn’t even deserve honorable mention.  I am now just an “uninformed blogger.”  This is extremely bad form.  I expect such things from some of the bloggers at Blackfive, but I had not expected this of Matt.

I never made the claim that the Marines don’t do MEDEVAC.  I just made the claim that they didn’t do it that way.  Matt has conflated two issues, i.e., MEDEVAC in Afghanistan with MEDEVAC generally.  I also never made the claim that the Marines do MEDEVAC in Afghanistan.  But the Marines did in fact do MEDEVAC in Iraq.

Let’s rehearse just a bit.  These are some of the things I already know.  I am just linking and pointing them out so that you do too.  Here is a Marine Corps CH-46 (Sea Knight) performing MEDEVAC in Fallujah, Iraq.

Did you see any red crosses?  Here is another MEDEVAC.

And as for my own personal knowledge of this issue?  Do you recall this picture?


This was when my own son had to be MEDEVAC’d out of Fallujah in 2007 (this turned out to be a leg injury that didn’t require his return to the States, and after a week or two of light duty, he was with his fire team again).  He is being carried out, the Marine on the far left is carrying his SAW.

The bird he caught out of there?  Why, it was a CH-46, Sea Knight.  By the way, I have strongly recommended delay in retirement of this magnificent aircraft, since it is the only platform from which the Marines can fast rope (the V-22 cannot fulfill that function).  But then, that may be beside the point, and oh well, I guess I am just being an “informed blogger” again.  Sorry to bore you with the facts.

This helicopter – you know – the one which evacuated my own son – didn’t have a red cross, and was armed.  But just to make sure that my memory doesn’t fail me and to remind you that I did my fact checking, I called this Marine yesterday to make sure.  He said, “All Marine MEDEVAC was done with armed helicopters, and none of them had red crosses on the side.  Of course, it isn’t that way Stateside, but that’s not what you’re asking.”

So there.  I guess that closes the case for me – again.  The Marine Corps and Army do MEDEVAC differently.  Like I said, I expected better of Matt than this.  But then, that’s not a mistake I’ll make again.  How sad.

Iranian Boats Shadow U.S. Aircraft Carrier

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 5 months ago

Currently in the Persian Gulf.

The American aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln has passed through the Strait of Hormuz, shadowed by Iranian patrol boats.

But there were no incidents on Tuesday as the Lincoln’s battle group crossed through the narrow strait, which Iran has threatened to close in retaliation for tighter Western sanctions.

Several U.S. choppers flanked the carrier group throughout the voyage from the Gulf. Radar operators also picked up an Iranian drone and surveillance helicopter in Iran’s airspace near the strait, which is jointly controlled by Iran and Oman.

Make no mistake about it.  These boats are a threat to U.S. sea craft.  And consider what I have reported before.

… consider what happened (I have reported this before) with the 26th MEU in 2008.  The USS Iwo Jima was in vicinity of the very subject of our discussion (somewhere in the Persian Gulf, or Strait of Hormuz), and an Iranian helicopter virtually landed aboard the ship.  The Marines at that time judged a threat and prepared to engage the enemy, but Navy officers, not wanting an incident, of course, ensured that the Marines didn’t respond.

An Iranian aircraft virtually landed on board the USS Iwo Jima, hovering above the deck for minutes.  The U.S. Navy did nothing.  And you can rest assured that the Navy will do nothing concerning Iranian sea-borne threats either.

Conservative Voters Will Re-Elect Obama (Or Not)

BY Glen Tschirgi
2 years, 5 months ago

According to this article by Nate Silver in The New York Times:

Among the Republicans that the polling firm classified as definite voters, Mr. Santorum’s lead was larger, 11 points over Mr. Romney. However, Mr. Romney led Mr. Santorum 33 to 22 among voters the pollsters classified as more marginal.

Ordinarily, a candidate should benefit from having the support of more definite voters — and most polling firms give them the bulk of the weight in their turnout models, which is why Mr. Santorum leads the poll over all.

The universe of indefinite voters is broader. But those votes don’t count for anything unless the candidate can get the voters to the polls.

That’s something Mr. Romney has had trouble doing so far. In states and counties that would appear to be strong for him, turnout is generally running below its 2008 pace. But in his weaker areas — say, most of the state of South Carolina — it has been steady or has improved some.

The discrepancy may help explain why Mr. Santorum has a larger lead, 15 points, in another poll of Michigan from Public Policy Polling. That firm projects Michigan’s electorate to be decidedly more conservative than it was in 2008. For instance, it projects 48 percent of the voters to be evangelical Christians, up from 39 percent in 2008, and 38 percent of voters to be “very conservative,” up from 24 percent.

One can debate whether these are realistic assumptions or not. The Republican electorate as a whole has become somewhat more conservative than in 2008, but the poll is projecting a more decisive shift.

Automated polling firms, like Public Policy Polling, often have low response rates, meaning that they tend to poll only the most enthusiastic supporters. At the same time, turnout in primaries and caucuses is normally quite low — so if a poll’s sample is biased in the direction of more enthusiastic voters, it may nevertheless have strong predictive power.

The thrust of the article is a warning to Mitt Romney to step up efforts to get more of “his people” to the polls in the upcoming primary contests.   The big takeaway for me from this article is the bit about an increasingly conservative electorate.   In Michigan of all places, too.   While Mr. Silver downplays this forecast by the polling company, Public Policy Polling, it would go a long way to explaining the electoral tidal wave that occurred in November 2010, something that the Leftist Media seem curiously silent about these days.

If the electorate has made a “decisive shift” to conservative values since 2008, it will be quite difficult for Obama to win reelection.   His election in 2008 was heavily dependent upon:  1) a significant backlash vote against George W. Bush and the Republicans in general;  2) a surge of voting by the college age demographic that traditionally has been quite small in past elections, and; 3) (the most significant factor in my opinion) a marked drop in turnout among conservative voters.

To distill this even further, the election of Obama resulted in large part from a fairly unique convergence of high disaffection with the outgoing President and that president’s party, a New Flavor Candidate that promised change and a moderate GOP candidate that could not stir conservatives to turn out and vote.

The first, two factors will be noticeably absent in 2012.   Obama’s unvetted “Hope and Change” circus is well known now and he will be the focus of blame and dissatisfaction for all the ills of the last 4 years.  The so-called Youth Vote is one of the groups suffering the most and unlikely to vote in anywhere near the numbers in 2008.

The last factor remains undecided and it is Obama’s last, best hope for reelection.

If Obama can secure high turnout from his Leftist base of voters (which amounts to approximately 20% of the voting population) and pick off another 25% of Independents that lean Left or Center Left, he only needs to discourage the conservative vote (which comes in at around 40% of the voting population according to Gallup).     This calculation perfectly explains the policies of Obama in the last months.    The XL Pipeline had to be canned to please his base.   He could not afford to approve it.   The stance on contraception funding in religious organizations was similarly intended to secure the base.   Occupy Wall Street has been organized to stir up the Youth Vote if possible.

The final piece has been Obama’s strategy of bashing every GOP candidate that rises in the polls in the hopes of dispiriting conservatives and depressing their turnout in November.    The Democrat Party and its allies in the media are in non-stop campaign mode to ensure that, no matter who the GOP nominates, conservatives will be dissatisfied and disillusioned.   And the Republican Party has seemingly cooperated in that strategy by launching vicious attacks against each and every candidate, leaving a haze of discouragement.

Given the conservative shift in voting patterns cited by PPP in Nate Silver’s article, the fight over turnout by conservative voters may be the decisive battle of 2012.

The TSA Likes Cute Figures

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 5 months ago

Some TSA employess are using body scanners to get their game on.

Female passengers say they are being targeted by TSA screeners for sexual harassment, with one Texas woman being forced to pass through a naked body scanner three times so chuckling male TSA workers in a back room could get a good look at her “cute” figure.

The incident occurred at DFW International Airport earlier this month. Wife and mother Ellen Terrell was asked by a female TSA screener “Do you play tennis?” When Terrell asked why, the screener responded, “You just have such a cute figure.”

Terrell was then told to go through the naked body scanner not once but a second time. She then heard the TSA screener talking into her microphone saying, “Come on guys, alright, alright, one more time.”

After Terrell was forced to undergo a third blast of radiation from the body scanner, the male TSA agents in the back room who were obviously enjoying the show tried to send her through yet again to see more images of her naked body.

“Guys, it is not blurry, I’m letting her go. Come on out,” the female TSA screener said, finally ending the ordeal.

“I feel like I was totally exposed,” Terrell told CBS 11. “They wanted a nice good look.”

So in addition to feeling up old women and groping the genitals of young children, some TSA employess use the body scanners to get their daily porn fix.  It is this way because the TSA is a jobs program, and nothing more – oftentimes for ignorant, incompetent goobers who cannot get a job any other way.

As I have pointed out before, if we really cared about security, we would install explosive trace detection portals, just like those in use at the access portals to nuclear power plants in the U.S.  This, combined with abolishing the TSA and sending the work to private contractors, would actually benefit security and save money to boot.

But we don’t want that.  We would rather have ignorant goobers gawk at cute figures and have random violations of our fourth amendment rights.  What a strange world.

Prior: Category TSA Ineptitude

Stability Operations In Mexico

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 5 months ago

The Mexican military has retooled, adapted and retrained to conduct stability operations within its own borders.

Woe is the diplomat who uses the wrong word, no matter its veracity. Over the past year, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Undersecretary of the Army Joseph Westphal separately have used the word “insurgency” to describe the Mexican government’s fight against indigenous criminal cartels.

Maybe it comes too easily after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but in Mexico the word stirs cultural memories of heroic freedom fighters-not exactly the message that the government wants to convey-and drew cries of outrage from Mexico City, resulting in diplomatic retractions from U.S. officials.

I have called the cartel and gang violence both warlord-ism and an insurgency.  But of course, I have no romantic notion of insurgents as freedom fighters.  The insurgents in South America throughout the last quarter of the last century were mainly communists.  They weren’t fighting for anyone’s freedom from anything.  But since South and Central America is steeped in Marxist thinking, and thus conflates freedom with revolution, Mexico City became outraged.  Mexico City might prefer to think of them only as criminals, but at least they seem to be reacting to the problem with the correct tools.

Still, insurgency or no, one thing is for certain: The cartels present a serious, multifaceted, and increasingly well-trained and well-armed challenge to the state, but Mexico is reconfiguring its armed forces to meet the challenge.

Frequently outgunned and sometimes corrupted, entire police forces have been sacked and their duties assumed by the Mexican military in recent years. In December 2011, the entire Veracruz police force was fired, with the 800 officers replaced by 2,400 marines. The military has taken over policing in other places, such as Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Leon and the border state of Tamaulipas.

At the same time, according to analysts, there also has been a real shift in the training and equipping of the military to meet the cartel threat. The army’s training doctrine has been realigned to address stability operations, doing things like setting up checkpoints and working to implement law and order in towns that have been overrun by violence. “They’re conducting stability operations in areas the size of Belgium,” says Inigo Guevara, a consultant on Mexican security and defense issues based in Washington. In one effort to rebuild its presence in the north, the armed service recently spent about $100 million to buy battalion- and company-sized “mobile headquarters” that can be easily constructed and taken down, in preparation for longer-term domestic stability operations, he adds.

Yet, these operations occur against an increasingly sophisticated enemy, with heavily armored “infantry” carriers dubbed “Los Monstruos” (the Monsters) by the Mexican media, as well as more professional infantry tactics refined at training camps in the barren spaces of northern Guatemala and southern Mexico. Cartel gangs are armed with everything from assault rifles and crew-served weapons, to military-grade explosives, .50 caliber rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, as well as using insurgent weapons like car bombs.

As a result, the army and marines have started to look for alternatives to the older, thin-skinned Humvees-Mexico has produced several thousand in local plants in a deal with AM General-and toward a variety of new armored vehicles like Oshkosh’s SandCat, of which 250 have been delivered so far. The navy also has conducted operational testing of Renault’s Sherpa light scout vehicle, most notably in operations in Veracruz late last year, but has not made a final decision on whether to buy it.

This is reminiscent of the need for MRAPs due to the IED threat in Iraq.  Note that Mexico isn’t relying on the police to curb the violence.  Mexico City has enlisted the assistance of the military in a big way, and the military is purchasing weapons and equipment needed for fighting large scale, violent, and highly effective insurgencies.

Aviation Week continues into the weeds concerning equipment, organization of the Mexican military, and various problems they sustain due to inefficiency in structure.  But continuing with this theme of warlord-ism, and insurgents, if we’ve learned nothing else from the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, we understand the need to control the borders, even if we didn’t effect that control.

The Arizona legislature might just act in lieu of the federal government to control their own section of the border.

The Republican-led Arizona Legislature is considering a bill to fund an armed, volunteer state militia to respond to emergencies and patrol the U.S.-Mexico border.

Gov. Jan Brewer could deploy the volunteers using $1.9 million included in the bill making its way through the state Senate. The militia itself was created by a law signed by Brewer last year.

The Arizona Republic reports the bill has a hearing Tuesday before the Senate Appropriations Committee. Senate Bill 1083 has already passed one committee along mostly party lines. It would provide $500,000 in one-time funding and $1.4 million a year from a gang task force fund.

The state is expecting a budget surplus this year, but lawmakers must deal with long-term debt and the May 2013 expiration of the 1-cent-per-dollar sales-tax increase, so it is unclear how much support this bill will receive.

“Something has to be done about the situation at the border — people are being terrorized,” Sen. Sylvia Allen, a Republican from Snowflake who is sponsoring the bill, told The Republic. “There are plenty of ex-law-enforcement officers who could do this. I don’t have any illusion that we can solve our border problem, but this would help.”

Former LEOs or not, they would be operating under rules that apply to everyone, i.e., deadly force can only be used in the case of imminent danger to life or sexual assault.  It isn’t clear that they would even have arrest authority.

What I have recommended is that the rules for the use of force be amended to move away from the Supreme Court decision in Tennessee versus Garner.  This has also been termed “exempting the Border Patrol from the rule of law,” but I have recommended that the U.S. Marines be used to patrol the Southern border.

The rules of warfare are clear.

The law pertaining to the conduct of hostilities (jus in bello), which has developed since antiquity and includes certain provisions of the modern Geneva and Hague conventions, permits the sanctioned killing of an opponent in an armed conflict, regardless of whether he is armed at the moment he is engaged. So long as the opponent meets the minimum criteria to be regarded as a combatant (even an unlawful combatant), he may be engaged with deadly force, even if he is separated from his weapon. He may be killed while sleeping, eating, taking a shower, cleaning his weapon, meditating, or standing on his head. It is his status as an enemy combatant, not his activity at the moment of engagement, which is dispositive.

So the following situation is posed to help the reader understand how serious he or she is concerning security on the border.  You are a border patrol officer, or a U.S. Marine, and you have charge of border security in your area of operations.  A string of what appears to be several dozen illegal immigrants is heading across the border (and is now on the U.S. side of the border), as you have ascertained using night vision.

In the front and bringing up the rear are two individuals, each toting what appears to be an AK-47, but what is most surely a weapon.  No one has fired any shots towards you at this point.  Is it morally justified to shoot and kill the individuals holding the weapons?  This is a different question that is it currently legal.


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