sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Muezzin's Call (Sunday Sermonette)


Today America (pandering to the aggrieved) is busy creating protected classes of people who enjoy certain exemptions from responsibility. Recently we've learned homosexuals have the entitled right to force others to pander to their sexual appetites, and 'preferences.' It has become the new normal - when it applies to Christians (only). 

Is being Muslim a choice or is it something you were born to be? The jury is (literally) out on that one and I will leave that decision to black robed mandarins to decide on my behalf.

However your conscience lets you slice it, right?

Is homosexuality/buggary, a choice or is the decision to sodomize or be sodomized a compulsion that is inborn? Every generation seems to redefine it and the generations don't  agree.

When homosexuals persecute Christians it's fine. 
But what about the 800 lbs. burka in the corner? 


What if you were born to be a Nazi and being a Nazi imparts a sense of "dignity" (to quote Justice Kennedy) to you? You're white, people kick you around - but once you've joined a group of like-minded jackbooted thugs, you feel more dignity. You find a woman that you love and want to marry and create little national socialists. And that sense of dignity requires that your Nazi wedding cake is made by Jews (who will certainly spit in the cake batter). Should the Jewish bakery be compelled to recognize and celebrate your union?

Tomorrow's blog will go into what the new right of dignity may mean to you.


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And as a side note, I have never seen so many Confederate flags being flown on Independence Day, as were in evidence yesterday. Keep in mind that I live in Southern California, not in the deep South. It seems that there were a lot of people who decided to express themselves. I don't live in a part of SoCal that has a lot of inner city people in residence, but there is a mosque across the street from the regional park.

It's a traditional Republican enclave with a Republican Congressman. Then again, the people flying the flags may have been Democrats just trying to relive the glory days? They were flown from pick-up trucks and were flying at the regional park where we gathered for a concert and fireworks (about 20,000 people).

There were at least double the number of Confederate Battle Flags of Northern Virginia to the number of American flags present. Business is good for flag companies, thanks to Barack and friends. They're doing the same thing to the Confederate flag business that they did for the firearms and ammunition manufacturing businesses.




Saturday, July 4, 2015

4th of July

Happy Independence Day

Light off something that explodes, burn a steak on the BBQ, and hang out where patriotic music is being played.

Enjoy a reflection of our national roots and what made us exceptional. Take a moment to consider where we started and our American journey that led us to where we are - and what we may be as a people fifty years from now.




All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible. - T. E. Lawrence



The government consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office. Their principal device to that end is to search out groups who pant and pine for something they can't get and to promise to give it to them. Nine times out of ten that promise is worth nothing. The tenth time is made good by looting A to satisfy B. In other words, government is a broker in pillage, and every election is sort of an advance auction sale of stolen goods. - H. L. Mencken



Friday, July 3, 2015

Is Donald Trump a Serious Candidate?

We've seen Donald Trump presidential candidacies before. They are best characterized as shameless self-promotion because "the Donald" likes the spotlight in much the same way as a cat loves catnip. He's a bombastic bully with a full New York City state of mind going. 

I suspect that if the media, Univision, Macy's, Serta, etc. left him alone, that he would have dwindled, but that's not what they're doing. If you look at the American public, it doesn't trust the mainstream media any more than it trusts Hillary Clinton (who could be said to practically control the MSM). Thus, the more that they attack, the higher Trump's polling numbers go.

If you ask who I'd rather have as the next president if it was between the Hillary, the Bitch of Benghazi and Donald Trump, I'd take Trump. I am sure that the readers of this blog would agree with me on that. I don't know that Donald Trump wants to be president (absent the spotlight) because it's a lot of work and requires focus on the job rather than being fabulous. 

The only thing that I would ask of Trump, should he ascend to the presidency, is that he get a haircut.

Cold War II - Is Greece a Domino?

There's chatter out there about a second cold war between the US and Russia and I don't buy the rhetoric. Some of it is being promoted by Bill Maher and the Vice News Network that he owns (in part). Naturally it's a heavily edited "progressive" news outlet. While there is friction between the US and the Russian Federation (and I can see both sides of the argument), nobody has his finger on the trigger. 
The Russians are Xenophobes, often with good historical reasons for being so. Never the less, they will remain true to their natures. Russia leads the world in chess masters and axe murders. Russians like to brood over matters. They do it endlessly and it can be said to be a cultural pastime.
Moving on to Greece and the present financial crisis:

On the night of 30 June, the Tsipras government attempted to divide the big three creditors – The European Union states, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund – by asking for a bailout from the European Stability Mechanism, which would bypass the International Monetary Fund. Greece requested a loan large enough to enable it to meet all its repayment obligations for the next two years. 

The last Greek request was a scam, like using a credit card to pay off the minimum payments of other credit cards.
The European Commission saw through the ruse and said it would think about Greece’s request. Meanwhile, German Chancellor Merkel said Greece would get no assistance until after its referendum on 5 July. Germany is the largest holder of Greek debt.
The Greek default was a set up. The creditors apparently decided months ago to use Greece as a lesson for other European debtors, such as Portugal and Spain, and were prepared for the ripple effects of a Greek default.

The Northern Europeans are punishing the Greeks for electing a leftist, anti-austerity government. This use of economic policy to punish a sovereign democracy is intellectually offensive, but lies well within the mainstream of the Europeanists’ ideology. Portugal, Spain and even Italy might experience similar “tough love” decisions.

Ironically, if Greece exits the European Union, Greece will re-acquire the tools that a sovereign nation needs to recover from its deep recession and to regain a measure of competitiveness outside the structured market of the European Union. Integration can frustrate innovation and creativity.

The Russian Card

Wealthy Russians seem to like Greece. There are a lot of Russians in Greece and they've been there in numbers since the First Cold War (Cold War I, ended by Reagan/Gorbachev). They used Greece's status as a bridge between Asia and the West and they liked to go on vacation there because it's warm and there are a number of nice beaches/resorts. They use it much the same way as they use the neighboring Black Sea resorts. The fact that it was outside the old Soviet Union meant that you could buy western goods that were unavailable in the Worker's Paradise.

There are a lot of Russian businesses in Greece. Historically some were top cover for espionage, but most are entrepreneurial.

Americans, wary of resurgent Russia (despite the Hillary Clinton reset with Russia that didn't work), are concerned that Russia sees Greece in the same way that the US saw Ukraine: a vulnerable territory that could be carved out from its traditional setting. 

This is the Scenario being put forward

An economic lifeline from Russia might tempt the leftist Syriza government to orient Greece more towards Russian views, out of gratitude or ideology. For Russia, stronger ties to Greece might be appropriate retaliation for Western meddling in Ukraine. While NATO is looking to defend the Baltic members of NATO from Russian poaching, Greece might be the more attractive Russian target for weakening NATO.

Analysis

While this argument appeals to some US officials, it flies in the face of the reality that Greeks fear Turkey more than they love Russia and NATO is their buffer against Turkish ambitions. If anyone who knows me cares, I have a funny anecdote for this that I'm willing to share privately.

Greece is a black hole for funding. Once the funds go in, they vanish and Greece will again go to the well to ask for more. The process is never-ending. The Kremlin knows this, and they are dangling the possibility of closer relations with Greece as an in-your-face move to the US and NATO.


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Saps and Truncheons

Modern policing began with Sir Robert Peel in London and morphed out from there. There are a number of early law enforcement tools that are still in use today. Some of the least recognized are saps and truncheons. Thus, I thought that it might be useful to explain them here on this blog.

Truncheons
15" of second growth hickory. Sometimes referred to as a police baton (British pattern).  The one pictured below was presented to the author by the Royal Hong Kong Police in a nice presentation box, but it's identical to those carried by police throughout the old British empire. 
Royal Hong Kong Police Truncheon
Police in the US took a different path with various lengths (about twice as long) of police batons, also made of hickory and later aluminum (PR-24) and plastic. Those were generally replaced by the telescoping ASP, also made of metal.

Police Batons

ASP (telescoping steel baton)


PR-24 (the unit pictured - with nomenclature - is constructed of plastic)



PR-24 (Aetco - aluminum)



The PR-24 is so named because it's twenty-four inches long. I have heard that PR stands for prosecutor, but I don't know that for a fact.

Saps/Blackjacks

Most police uniform trousers still have 'sap pockets' sewn into the garment between the front and rear pockets. These are generally used to hold longer barrel flashlights these days since the day and age of the sap would seem to have run its course...maybe.

Bob Gonzales made saps, arguably the very best, that were used primarily by law enforcement officers in Southern California. The 415 was the lightest model (pictured in the video below), the 245 was a mid-weight sap and the 187 was the heaviest and longest (possibly the most difficult to use).

415 Gonzales Sap (available here)



245 Gonzales Sap
26oz of lead has a flat rounded body; lead shot filled and is covered in black plain leather. Measures, 11 ¼”.  The original 245 Gonzales has a leather thong that is threaded through a hole in the laminated leather handle/body of the weapon. The current model available from Tex Shoemaker has a different retention strap. That strap runs parallel with the body of the sap, much like the old beaver tail saps did (see photo below).
Beavertail 'flat sap' (above) - usually carried 
in the back pocket. 245 Gonzales (below)

Gonzales Saps have a significant advantage because of the "snap" imparted by the swing as the lead is the striking surface. It spares the user potential wrist pain while imparting maximum damage.

187 Gonzales Sap
35 oz of lead, has a flat body; lead shot filled and is covered in plain black leather. Measures 18". 
Sap Gloves
Powdered shot is sewed into the glove opposite the knuckles. It was used to strengthen a punch in the same way as a roll of dimes or pennies may be used. The disadvantage of using sap gloves comes with the inability to effectively fire a handgun, wield a concussion weapon, operate a taser or even drive a car while wearing them. 
In this modern age, they are available after a fashion, with much of the functionality removed as with the Hatch Defender. I'm not criticizing the glove itself, but moving the shot to the knuckles, while allowing the user to operate guns, cars, etc. takes away the bulk of the raw striking power of a genuine sap glove.

Old School

Iron Claw (Argus Manufacturing Co.)
The Iron Claw was a pain compliance device that is placed around an individual's wrist and cinched tighter to encourage them to stop resisting. Sometimes referred to as a 'come along'. Often used in conjunction with handcuffs. 
Yes, if you don't double-lock handcuffs, they do get tighter, creating the same effect as an Iron Claw. That is the "poor man's iron claw". That works too and imparts pain without necessarily breaking the wrist of the detainee.
In the case of the Iron Claw, resistance or pulling away from the officer holding it usually meant that the subject would end up with a broken wrist. I think that it was for that reason that they fell into disuse. 


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Careers in Intelligence

Though I am a man of small experience in these matters, I'm well read, and for this reason, people chat with me on the topic.

Over the past couple of months, I've been asked by various and sundry people: "What research paper topics are important to the intelligence community? What classes should I take? I'm currently working in (or would like to work in) the intelligence community, in what program should I enroll for my next degree?" When it comes to this last question, students are often thrown through a loop when I respond with, "What do you want to do within the intelligence community?" It's almost as if we default to jobs like that of those of actors on the popular TV shows and feature films. While these roles are no doubt made salient by Hollywood, careers within the intelligence community are very diverse, and offer little resemblance. 

There appears to be a common misconception that people seeking intelligence community (IC) jobs, or to move their IC careers forward, should only be focused on studying political science or intelligence studies. In actuality, getting a degree in these areas is a good start, but it doesn't end there because you are showing interest in the topic. For students looking to work in IC, the first thing they should realize is that it's an extremely interdisciplinary career field with a lot of job variety. By interdisciplinary I mean that it pulls from a wide variety of subject areas, similar to jobs in international relations, or homeland security. To capitalize on this diversity, students should spend time contemplating what interests them, and examine how different degrees might make them more marketable, either in their current positions, or later should they ever want to change careers.

Everything comes down to money both in managing the bureaucracy and in evaluating events and governments in diverse places on the Earth. A background in accounting has universal application to many different career tracks both within and without the IC. Understanding money and how it works imparts an understanding of HOW THINGS WORK. I can't over emphasize that.

If I were a student completing a bachelor's in intelligence studies, it might make sense for me to continue to pursue a master's degree in the same area. But just because you get one degree in intelligence studies, doesn't mean you have to get a second. For example, think about a person that already has a bachelor's in intelligence studies. What kind of doors might open up if they were to pursue a master's in economics, finance or business? With such a degree combination, one could pursue a path focusing on illicit finance, business intelligence and corporate espionage, for example. Some of the more obvious degree pairings may include intelligence studies (either a bachelor's or master's) coupled with psychology, anthropology, history or ever-proliferating degrees in cybersecurity. 

I stress to everyone that military service helps. Having a current or even recent Top Secret/SCI clearance with polygraph helps push you to the top of the heap. Special Warfare experience (Army is better, Navy is OK) helps as well. If you were born outside of the US and have a legitimate foreign passport (while a US Citizen), there are other doors that open. Much depends on what you are interested in doing and the current needs of the service.  Language skills help and if you pick up languages easily, and have an aptitude and interest in that direction, you are also much more attractive. 

Reading current non-fiction and even fiction helps. For the clandestine service, I recommend the recent fiction books by Jason Matthews, "Red Sparrow" and "Palace of Treason". Both are well written, recently published and reflect concepts in tradecraft utilized by the clandestine service. Matthews is a retired case officer.

You can't swing a dead cat around your head at CIA HQ without hitting a lawyer and a psychiatrist. There are a lot of them in the IC, and neither career is particularly well compensated, nor are they engaged in the core business of intelligence. They're staff, not line. If you want to be a lawyer (or a police officer), you might find more fulfillment with the Justice Department: FBI, DEA or the unwanted stepchild, BATFE. If you want to be a shrink, I suspect that you can find more fulfilling work outside of the service.

Avoid the Defense HUMINT Service and the Department of Homeland Security. They are not well thought of -- not out of bigotry, but because they don't perform well. Working there pigeon holes you because you're thought to develop bad habits that nobody wants to take the time to break you of.



Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Greece - In the News


As some of this blog's readers know, I have spent time in Greece, working, and maintain an interest in Greek Politics. Some of the key players in Greece are friends of mine. It's a small country and don't take it that I'm important. I just moved in some of those circles because of work. For those of you (if any) actually care about what is going on in Greece and the full back story, I recommend this series of articles in the Globalist (Part I) Part II: The Political Culture of a ProtectoratePart III: Missed Opportunities: The Political Culture of Greece Since 1974 
In 1943, the head of the British Military Mission to the Greek partisans, Brigadier C. E. Myers, groaned in exasperation about Greek politics: “The Greeks are Asiatic. One cannot judge them by European standards.”

Despite the fact that this statement is factually wrong, it points to a difference between the political cultures of Greece and those of Western Europe.
After the Greek financial crisis broke out in late spring 2010, European leaders of today demonstrated that they did not have the slightest idea how the Greek political system functions.
This is what's going on there now:

Context and Precedence


Last Friday Greece asked its creditors, the European Union (EU) members, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for an extension of the 30 June deadline for defaulting on its debt payment. The big three creditors rejected the request.

Greek Prime Minister Tsipras then proposed that the Greek electorate vote on the settlement terms offered by the EU, ECB and IMF. The European creditors reacted negatively to this proposal because it would shift to the electorate the government’s responsibility for reaching an agreement with the creditors. 
News of these interactions apparently was responsible for starting a run on ATMs on Friday and Saturday. This was the first serious sign of panic.
Last Saturday the European creditors rejected a second request to extend the current bailout to cover the period leading to the referendum. 

Last Sunday, the Greek parliament authorized a bailout referendum on 5 July. Some of the key issues are concern about raising the VAT and taxes on the rich, increasing the age for retirement and reducing pensions and other entitlements. These are highly charged issues because Tsipras’ Syriza Party was elected in January on the strength of its promise to end Greece’s austerity programs.

Prime Minister Tsipras filed a renewed request for an extension of a few days for bailout. The Europeans creditors again rejected his request. 
Late on Sunday, banking officials said banks would be closed all week. ATM's are open and Greek Citizens can withdraw 60 Euros per day.
The Hellenic Republic of Greece is running out of other people's money to spend.
ATHENS, Greece - The bailout expires Today, the same day that Greece has to make a payment of 1.5-billion euros to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). It risks defaulting on that payment if agreement is not reached, which will impact global markets significantly.
Rather than take responsibility, the Greek government decided to seek a fresh mandate from the electorate, rather than agree to European terms. The European creditors have had enough of pledges of austerity and reform that Greece has not kept. The refusal to extend liquidity to the banks means the banks cannot cover their liabilities to their lenders.

A run on the banks seems almost unavoidable, barring compromise, but the Tsipras government has linked its fate to the 5 July referendum.

The first flash point is this week. The main threat is that people will attack the banks to get money. Crimes against persons also are likely to increase. Confrontations with police and security personnel can escalate without warning.

The second flash point will be after the referendum results become known. They might incite some parts of the population to agitate no matter the outcome. If Greeks vote to stay in the EU, they must accept austerity and cuts that they voted against when they elected Tsipras and his Socialist party. The left will feel betrayed and may be expected to act out.

If voters reject the new austerity program, the European creditors appear ready to let the Greek economy drift until the Greeks come to their senses. The government will have succeeded in blaming the creditors and the voters, but the economy, or additional parts of it, could devolve to barter for a time.

Based on discussions with friends on site, a lot of the older people who remember Greece before the Euro, are willing to accept a return to the Drachma (national currency). There have been many times in Greek history when a literal chest of million drachma notes were needed to buy groceries. The present crisis, isn't new in Greek history.
(Globalist) If there is a broader lesson to be learned, it is this: Formally, Greece is a democratic state with separation of powers, elections, free press, etc. That makes it look like many other European countries. 
However, the country’s underlying political culture is totally different from that of Western and Central Europe. The state is, in effect, an object of exploitation for all those who can tap into the money tools it can provide access to. 
In elections, a Greek voter does not vote for a party, but against that party which did not do him the expected favor during the previous term.

The two longtime ruling parties, the left PASOK and the conservative Nea Dimokratia, are clientelistic pyramids. Syriza is now demonstrating that, rather than representing a rupture from the past, it very much follows in its predecessors’ footsteps.
Socialism doesn't work, and in Greece, we are seeing a vast internal, national system of patronage and greed that operated on borrowed money come to an end as the patience of European bankers wears out.