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YOUR FRIENDS AT THE NRA: PART TWO (END)

In Bureaucracy, Business, History, Law, Law Enforcement, Military, Politics, Social commentary on February 21, 2018 at 12:03 am

Among the major accomplishments of the National Rifle Association:

  • The NRA has steadfastly defended the right to own Teflon-coated “cop killer” bullets,” whose only purpose is to penetrate bullet-resistant vests worn by law enforcement officers.

  • The NRA and its lobbying arm, the Institute for Legislative Action, is responsible for the “stand-your-ground” ordinances now in effect in more than half the states. These allow for the use of deadly force in self-defense, without any obligation to attempt to retreat first.
  • In 2012, the NRA rushed to the defense of accused murderer George Zimmerman, the self-appointed “community watchman” who  ignored police orders to stop following 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and ended up shooting him.
  • Police did not initially charge Zimmerman because of Florida’s “Stand-Your-Ground” law, which the NRA had rammed through the legislature.

George Zimmerman

  • On February 26, 2012, Zimmerman shot unarmed Trayvon Martin, who was wearing a “hoodie.” In March, the NRA issued its own version of a “hoodie”–the Concealed Carry Hooded Sweatshirt, designed to hide firearms.  Selling on the NRA’s website for $60 to $65, it is advertised thusly:
  • “Inside the sweatshirt you’ll find left and right concealment pockets. The included Velcro®-backed holster and double mag pouch can be repositioned inside the pockets for optimum draw. Ideal for carrying your favorite compact to mid-size pistol, the NRA Concealed Carry Hooded Sweatshirt gives you an extra tactical edge, because its unstructured, casual design appears incapable of concealing a heavy firearm—but it does so with ease!”
  • Anyone—including convicted criminals—can buy these “hide-a-gun” sweatshirts, putting both the public and law enforcers at deadly risk.
  • The NRA often claims that law-abiding citizens defend themselves with guns millions of times every year. But the FBI has determined that, of the approximately 11,000 gun homicides every year, fewer than 300 are justifiable self-defense killings.
  • The NRA supports loopholes that allow criminals to buy guns without background checks, or allow terrorists to buy all the AK-47s they desire.
  • The NRA’s executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre, tried to defeat Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. Yet the President meekly signed legislation allowing guns to be brought into national parks and onto Amtrak trains. Since becoming Chief Executive, he made no effort to curb gun violence.

  • High-capacity magazines were prohibited under the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban.  It expired in 2004. The NRA—aided by the Bush administration and Republicans generally—easily overcame efforts to renew the ban.
  • Political scientist Robert Spitzer, author of the book The Politics of Gun Control, notes that since the passage of the 1993 Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act and the assault weapons ban in 1994, state and national laws have been drifting toward more open gun access:
  • “In 1988, there were about 18 states that had state laws that made it pretty easy for civilians to carry concealed hand guns around in society. By 2011, that number is up to 39 or 40 states having liberalized laws, depending on how you count it, and the NRA has worked very diligently at the state level to win political victories there, and they’ve really been quite successful.”
  • On January 8, 2011, Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head while meeting with constituents outside a Tucson, Arizona, grocery store. Also killed was Arizona’s chief U.S. District judge, John Roll, who had just stopped by to see his friend Giffords after celebrating Mass. The total number of victims: six dead, 13 wounded. Severely brain-damaged, Giffords was forced to resign her Congressional seat.

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords after being shot

  • “The NRA’s response to the Tucson shootings has been to say as little as possible and to keep its head down,” said Spitzer.  “And their approach even more has been to say as little as possible and to simply issue a statement of condolence to the families of those who were injured or killed and to wait for the political storm to pass over and then to pick up politics as usual.” 
  • This has been the NRA’s reaction after every mass shooting.
  • In the spring of 2012, the House Oversight Committee prepared to vote on whether to hold U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for allegedly refusing to provide documents related to “Fast and Furious.” This was an undercover operation launched by the Bush administration to track firearms being sold to Mexican drug cartels.
  • The NRA notified Congressional members that how they voted would reflect how the NRA rated them in “candidate evaluations” for the November elections. This amounted to blatant extortion, since the NRA had long accused Holder of having an “anti-gun” agenda.

Summing up the current state of gun politics in America, the April 21, 2012 edition of The Economist noted:

“The debate about guns is no longer over whether assault rifles ought to be banned, but over whether guns should be allowed in bars, churches and colleges.”

That is precisely the aim of the NRA—an America where anyplace, anytime, can be turned into the gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

Gunfight at the O.K. Corral – October 26, 1881

And that is precisely what the United States is fast becoming.

Except, so far, the vast majority of victims have not been armed gunfighters but unarmed innocents. And it’s been the “gun rights” types whom the NRA supports who have done the killing.

YOUR FRIENDS AT THE NRA: PART ONE (OF TWO)

In Bureaucracy, Business, History, Law, Law Enforcement, Military, Politics, Social commentary on February 20, 2018 at 12:05 am

On September 11, 2001, Islamic terrorists snuffed out the lives of 3,000 Americans in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania.

World Trade Center – September 11, 2001

But within less than a month, American warplanes began carpet-bombing Afghanistan, whose rogue Islamic “government” refused to surrender Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the attacks.

By December, the power of the Taliban was broken—and bin Laden was driven into hiding in Pakistan.

For more than 16 years, the United States—through its global military and espionage networks—has relentlessly hunted down most of those responsible for that September carnage.

On May 1, 2011, U.S. Navy SEALS invaded bin Laden’s fortified mansion in Abbottabad, Pakistan—and shot him dead.

U.S. Navy SEALs

Now, consider these statistics of death, supplied by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence:

  • One in three people in the U.S. knows someone who has been shot.
  • On average, 31 Americans are murdered with guns every day and 151 are treated for a gun assault in an emergency room.
  • Every day on average, 55 people kill themselves with a firearm.
  • Another 46 people are shot or killed in an accident with a gun.
  • U.S. firearm homicide rates are 20 times higher than the combined rates of 22 countries that are our peers in wealth and population.
  • A gun in the home is 22 times more likely to be used to kill or injure in a domestic homicide, suicide, or unintentional shooting than to be used in self-defense.
  • More than one in five U.S. teenagers (ages 14 to 17) report having witnessed a shooting.
  • An average of seven children and teens under the age of 20 are killed by guns every day.
  • American children die by guns 11 times as often as children in other high-income countries.
  • Youth (ages 0 to 19) in the most rural U.S. counties are as likely to die from a gunshot as those living in the most urban counties.
  • Rural children die of more gun suicides and unintentional shooting deaths.
  • Urban children die more often of gun homicides.
  • Firearm homicide is the second-leading cause of death (after motor vehicle crashes) for young people ages 1-19 in the U.S.
  • Medical treatment, criminal justice proceedings, new security precautions, and reductions in quality of life are estimated to cost U.S. citizens $100 billion annually.
  • The lifetime medical cost for all gun violence victims in the United States is estimated at $2.3 billion, with almost half the costs borne by taxpayers.

In short, in one year on average:

  • More than 114,994 Americans are shot in murders, assault, suicides, suicide attempts, accidents or by police intervention.31,537 people die from gun violence.
  • 11,564 are murdered.
  • 21,037 people kill themselves.
  • 544 people are killed accidentally.
  • 468 are killed by police intervention.
  • 267 die but intent is not known.
  • 81,114 people survive gun injuries.

(These statistics are based on death certificates and estimates from emergency room admissions.)

And who, more than anyone (including the actual killers themselves) has made all this carnage possible?

Your friends at the National Rifle Association (NRA).

But unlike the leadership of Al Qaeda, that of the NRA is not simply known, but celebrated.

Its director, Wayne LaPierre, is courted as a rock star by both Democrats and Republicans seeking NRA political endorsements—and campaign contributions.

Wayne LaPierre

He frequently appears as an honored guest at testimonial dinners and political conventions.

The largest of the 13 national pro-gun groups, the NRA has nearly 4 million members, who focus most of their time lobbying Congress for unlimited “gun rights.”

The NRA claims that its mission is to “protect” the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, which states:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

NRA members conveniently ignore the first half of that sentence about “a well regulated Militia….”  They simply want everyone to own a gun—and contribute to the NRA.

For the NRA, the Second Amendment is the Constitution, and the rest of the document is a mere appendage.

When Congress ratified the Constitution in 1788, the United States was not a world power.

A mere 26 years later, the British seized and burned Washington, D.C., after repeatedly defeating American armies. On the frontier, settlers had to defend themselves against hostile Indians and marauding bandits.

Only after World War II did the country maintain a powerful standing army during peacetime.

But World War II ended 72 years ago, and today the United States is a far different country than it was in 1788:

  • Its nuclear arsenal can turn any country into thermonuclear ash—anytime an American President decides to do so.
  • Its Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps can target any enemy, anywhere in the world.
  • Its Special Forces—Green Berets, Delta Force and Navy SEALS—are rightly feared by international terrorists.
  • American Intelligence has greatly improved since 9/11. The FBI’s top priority is to prevent  terrorist attacks, not simply investigate them afterward.
  • And waging war on criminals generally are about 836,787 full-time sworn local/state/Federal law enforcement officers.
  • If a criminal flees or conducts business across state lines, powerful Federal law enforcement agencies—such as the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration—can put him out of business.

But apparently the NRA hasn’t gotten the word.

MORE SONGS IN THE KEY OF TREASON

In Bureaucracy, History, Humor, Law Enforcement, Military, Politics, Social commentary on February 9, 2018 at 12:28 am

President Donald Trump has accused Democrats of treason. Their crime? Not applauding him during his State of the Union message.

But Article Three of the United States Constitution defines treason as:

“Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.”

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United States Constitution

In short, actions such as colluding with a foreign power hostile to the United States (such as Russia) to subvert America’s democratic election process.

Example #1: The infamous June, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower starring Donald Trump’s son, Donald, Jr.; Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner; and Trump’s then-campaign manager, Paul Manafort. Its purpose: To obtain from Russian Intelligence agents “dirt” on Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton. 

Example #2: On May 9, Trump fired FBI Director James Comey for investigating Russia’s subversion of the 2016 Presidential race.

The next day, he met with Russian Foreign Minister  Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office. During that meeting, Trump shared highly classified Israeli Intelligence about an Islamic State plot to turn laptops into bombs.

TRAITORS ON THE RIGHT
(To be sung to the tune of “Strangers in the Night”)

Traitors on the Right
Exchanging glances
Plotting in the night.
What were the chances
They’d love the KGB
And strangle liberty?

Treason for the Right
Was so inviting.
Treason for the Right
Was so exciting.
Something in their hearts
Said, “We’re the G.O.P.”

Traitors on the Right—such evil people.
They were traitors on the Right
Up to the moment when the KGB stepped in
To start their reign of sin.

Bribes from Russia paved their way
To usher in a tyrant’s day.

And….

Ever since that year
They’ve been in power
Filling us with fear.
In love with Commies–
It offers such delight
For traitors on the Right.

* * * * *

WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY VLAD
(To be sung to the tune, “With a Little Help From My Friends”)

What would you think if I ripped off some kids?
Would you walk out and not vote for me?
Lend me your ears and I’ll feed you a line
And I’ll try not to laugh cynically.

Oh, I get by with a little help from my Vlad.
Mm, I can lie with a little help from my Vlad.
Mm, you’re gonna fry with a little help from my Vlad.

What do I do when the bank calls me in?
(Does it worry you to be in debt?)
How do I feel when I need rubles fast?
(Do you worry Vlad might say “Nyet”?)

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No, I get by with a little help from my Vlad.
Mm, I can lie with a little help from my Vlad.
Mm, you’re gonna fry with a little help from my Vlad.

(Do you need anybody?)
I just need someone named me.
(Could it be anybody?)
As long as it’s me–me–me–me!

(Would you believe in a love at first sight?)
Yes; it happens with a mirror all the time.
(What do you see when you turn out the light?)
It stays on so that my face can shine.

Oh, I get by with a little help from my Vlad.
Mm, I can lie with a little help from my Vlad.
Mm, you’re gonna die with a little help from my Vlad.

(Do you need anybody?)
I need a Gestapo that kills.
(Could it be anybody?)
As long as it kills I get thrills.

Oh, I get by with a little help from my Vlad.
With a little help from my Vlad.

* * * * *

COLLUSION
(To be sung to the tune of “Pollution”)

If you visit Washington D.C.
You will find it very pretty.
But two things will really make you jump:
One is the Russians and the other is Trump!

Collusion, collusion!
Red Donald’s passing out secrets with glee.
Pick up a rug
And out fall his pals KGB!

See the FBI busting Trump’s friends
As he worries where it all ends.
He says, “Mike Flynn was really quite a guy.
Till he sold me out to the FBI.”

Collusion, collusion!
There are traitors at work day and night.
Just watch them lie
As they sell us out left and right.

Robert Mueller cannot be bought
That’s why traitors are getting caught.
Fox News keeps churning out lie on lie—
While America waits for traitors to die.

Collusion, collusion!
It’s a “Sell Out America” sale.
But you can cheer
When Donald’s ass lands in jail!  

* * * * *

THE TRUMPY SKUNKY
(To be sung to the tune of “The Hokey Pokey”)
 
Trump lets the Russians in.
He kicks the press corps out.
He slips Vlad secret stuff
And he gives a “Treason!” shout.
He does the Trumpy Skunky
As he sells the U.S. out.
That’s what he’s all about.
 
Trump loves the KGB.
He hates the FBI.
He dares not tell the truth
‘Cause his whole life’s just a lie.
He does the Trumpy Skunky
As he sells the U.S. out.
That’s what he’s all about.

A LESSON FOR THE FBI

In Bureaucracy, History, Law, Law Enforcement, Politics, Social commentary on February 8, 2018 at 12:19 am

Since taking office as President, Donald Trump has openly waged war on his own Justice Department—and especially its chief investigative agency, the FBI.

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FBI headquarters

As a result, he has:

  • Fired James Comey, the FBI director pursuing an investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 Presidential race to ensure Trump’s election.
  • Threatened to fire Independent Counsel Robert Mueller, who continued that investigation after Trump fired Comey.
  • Repeatedly attacked—verbally and on Twitter—his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, for recusing himself from overseeing the Russia investigation.
  • (Sessions did so after the press revealed that, during the 2016 race, he twice met secretly with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak.)
  • Repeatedly attacked the integrity of the FBI, raising the possibility of his firing more of its senior leadership for pursuing the Russia investigation.
  • Pressured House Republicans to release a highly partisan memo falsely accusing the FBI of pursuing a vendetta against him.

But the FBI need not meekly accept such assaults.

A February 2 episode of the popular CBS police drama, “Blue Bloods,” offers a vivid lesson on bureaucratic self-defense against tyrants.

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A shootout erupts in a crowded pub between a gunman and NYPD officers. Results: One dead gunman and one wounded bystander.

Problem: The bystander is an aide to New York Governor Martin Mendez.

Mendez visits One Police Plaze, NYPD headquarters, for a private chat with Commissioner Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck). From the outset, he’s aggressive, rude and threatening.

MENDEZ:  I know you guys like to whitewash officer-involved shootings.

REAGAN: I do not.

MENDEZ: That’s not going to happen here. I want the cop who shot my guy fired and charged.

REAGAN: If the grand jury indicts, my officer could be terminated.

MENDEZ:  We all want to protect our people, but mine come first.

Governor Mendez leaves Commissioner Reagan’s office.  Later, he returns:

MENDEZ:  We’ve got a serious problem.

REAGAN:  Why? The grand jury declined to indict my officer.

MENDEZ: Your cop fired into a crowded room.

REAGAN: She returned fire, took out the shooter and likely saved lives.

MENDEZ: What are you going to do?

REAGAN: Our Internal Affairs investigation supports the grand jury’s finding, so the case is closed.

MENDEZ: Either you fire this cop, or I’ll order the Attorney General to investigate every questionable police shooting in the past 10 years and hold public hearings out loud and lights up.

REAGAN: Everybody loves a circus.

MENDEZ: Except the guy who’s got to shovel up afterwards.

At the end of the episode, a third—and final—meeting occurs in a restaurant between Reagan and Mendez.

MENDEZ: Have you dumped the cop who shot my guy?

REAGAN: No.

MENDEZ: Bad news.

REAGAN: Depends on what you compare it to. It turns out that your aide wasn’t drinking alone the night he was shot.

MENDEZ: So what? He’s single.

REAGAN: He was with a married woman.

MENDEZ: That’s on her, not on him.

REAGAN: Except she is married to his boss, your Chief of Staff.

MENDEZ: Sheesh!

REAGAN: Turns out this has been going on for over a year.

MENDEZ:  So what are we doing?

REAGAN:  If this gets out, the circus comes to Albany [where the governor has his office].

MENDEZ: Who else knows?

REAGAN:  Right now it’s safe in the notebook of my lead detective. Whether or not it finds its way into an arrest report that’s subject to a Freedom of Information Act request—that’s a judgment call.

MENDEZ: Your judgment?

REAGAN: Yes.

MENDEZ: And if my investigation goes away?

REAGAN: Neither of us is shoveling up after the circus.

MENDEZ: I have your word on that?

REAGAN: Yes.

MENDEZ: You have a good evening, Commissioner.

J. Edgar Hoover, the legendary FBI director, used Realpolitik to ensure his reign for 48 years.

As William C. Sullivan, the onetime director of the FBI’s Domestic Intelligence Division, revealed after Hoover’s death in 1972:

“The moment [Hoover] would get something on a senator, he’d send one of the errand boys up and advise the senator that ‘we’re in the course of an investigation, and we by chance happened to come up with this data on your daughter.

“‘But we wanted you to know this. We realize you’d want to know it.’ Well, Jesus, what does that tell the senator? From that time on, the senator’s right in his pocket.”

Donald Trump has long pursued a strategy of intimidation. But when people have refused to be cowed by his threats, he’s backed off.

During the 2016 Presidential campaign, more than a dozen women accused Trump of sexual misconduct, ranging from inappropriate comments to assault.

Trump responded: “The events never happened. Never. All of these liars will be sued after the election is over.”

Yet he hasn’t filed a single slander suit.

Similarly, when New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sued Trump for running a fraudulent university, Trump initially said he would fight the charge.

Instead, he settled the case by paying $25 million to compensate the 3,700 students Trump University had defrauded.

“You never have to frame anyone,” says Governor Willie Stark in Robert Penn Warren’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1946 novel, All the King’s Men. “Because the truth is always sufficient.”

It’s time the FBI learned—and applied—that same lesson.

HOW COPS PROTECT THEIR OWN: PART FOUR (END)

In Bureaucracy, History, Law Enforcement, Politics, Social commentary on February 7, 2018 at 12:24 am

The unprecedented manhunt for cop-killer Christopher Dorner has important—and brutal—lessons to teach.

First, above everyone else, police look out for each other.

Robert Daley bluntly revealed this truth in his 1971 bestseller, Target Blue: An Insider’s View of the N.Y.P.D. A police reporter for the New York Times, he served for one year as a deputy police commissioner.

“The murderers of all patrolmen almost invariably were identified at once and caught soon after,” wrote Daley. “Organized crime was too smart to get involved in the type of investigation that followed a cop killing.

“A great many solvable crimes in the city were never solved, because not enough men were assigned to the case, or because those assigned were lazy or hardly cared or got sidetracked.

“But when a cop got killed, no other cop got sidetracked. Detectives worked on the case night and day….Cops were all ears as far as murdered patrolmen were concerned; they heard details all over the city…and fed all this into the detectives who had the case.

“In effect, the citizen who murdered his wife’s lover was sought by a team of detectives, two men.  But he who killed a cop was sought by 32,000.”

Although Dorner targeted only local police officers, the Federal Government quickly poured resources into the manhunt. These included the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service and even unmanned military drones.

Second, don’t expect the police to do for you what they’ll do for one another.

The LAPD assigned security and surveillance details to at least 50 threatened officers and their families. A typical detail consists of two to five or more guards. And those guards must be changed every eight to 12 hours.

And those details stayed in place long after Dorner was killed in a firefight on February 12.

But if your bullying neighbor threatens to kill you, don’t expect the police to send a guard detail over. They’ll claim: “We can’t do anything until he does something. If he does, give us a call.”

And if your loved one is murdered, don’t expect the mayor’s office to offer a $1 million reward or the military to deploy drones to find the killer.

Third, the more status and wealth you command, the more likely the police are to address your complaint or solve your case.

Police claim to enforce the law impartially, “without fear or favor.” But that happens only in TV crime shows.

If you’re rich, your complaint will likely get top priority and the best service the agency can provide.

But if you’re poor or even middle-class without high-level political or police connections, your case will almost certainly wind up in “the round file” (a wastebasket).

And it works the other way, too. Anthony Bouza, former chief of the Minneapolis Police Department, notes in his 1990 book, The Police Mystique: “When cops deal with the poor (blacks, Hispanics, the homeless and the street people) the rubber of power meets the road of abuse.”

Fourth, don’t expect your police department to operate with the vigor or efficiency of TV police agencies.

“I want this rock [Hawaii] sealed off,” Steve McGarrett (Jack Lord) routinely ordered when pursuing criminals on “Hawaii Five-O.”

Jack Lord as Steve McGarrett

But in San Jose—a city close to bankruputpsy—residents can’t get police to respond to break-ins because the police department is dangerously understaffed.

And neighbors in Oakland, fed up with a slow police response—or none at all—are banding together to protect their properties by hiring private security officers.

In San Francisco, if you’re assaulted and can’t give police “a named suspect,” they won’t assign the case. As far as they’re concerned, the solvability rate is too low.

Fifth, the result of all this can only be increased disrespect for law enforcement from a deservedly–and increasingly–cynical public.

Surveys reveal that those who don’t need to call the police have a higher opinion of their integrity and efficiency than those who are the victims of crime.  Among those reasons:

  • Many police departments lack state-of-the-art crime labs to analyze evidence.
  • Files often get lost or accidentally destroyed.
  • Some officers are lazy, indifferent, incompetent—or corrupt.
  • Police are notoriously competitive, generally refusing to share information with other officers or other police departments—and thus making it easier for criminals to run amok.
  • Even when police “solve” a crime, that simply means making an arrest. The perpetrator may cop to a lesser offense and serve only a token sentence—or none at all. Or he might be found not guilty by a judge or jury.

But it is the witnessing of blatant inequities and hypocrisies such as those displayed in the Christopher Dorner manhunt that most damages public support for police at all levels.

When citizens believe police care only about themselves, and lack the ability—or even the willingness—to protect them or avenge their victimization by arresting the perpetrators, that is a deadly blow to law enforcement.

Police depend on citizens for more than crime tips. They depend upon them to support hiring more cops and  buying state-of-the-art police equipment. When public support vanishes, so does much of that public funding.

The result can only be a return to the days of the lawless West, where citizens looked only to themselves for protection.

HOW COPS PROTECT THEIR OWN: PART THREE (OF FOUR)

In Bureaucracy, History, Law Enforcement, Politics, Social commentary on February 6, 2018 at 1:20 am

Christopher Dorner—33, black, powerfully-built, standing six feet and weighing 270 pounds—seemed to have vanished from the face of the earth.

This despite an unprecedented manhunt by local and Federal law enforcement agencies and the lure of a $1 million reward for information leading to his arrest.

LAPD SWAT team

But Dorner made several major errors in his one-man crusade for vengeance against the agency he blamed for ending his “dream job” police career.

First, shortly before or after he began his murderous rampage, Dorner posted an 11-page “manifesto” of his intentions on his Facebook page.

In this, he spewed contempt for the LAPD and declared his intention to wage war against it.

I will bring unconventional and asymmetrical warfare to those in LAPD uniform whether on or off duty….You will now live the life of the prey….You have misjudged a sleeping giant.

Dorner’s online rant forewarned police that he intended to put them literally in the cross-hairs of his anger. As a result, his intended targets remained on hair-trigger alert for his attacks.

Second, in that “manifesto,” he specifically named many of the officers he intended to kill.

This allowed the LAPD to rush bodyguards to the homes of those he had threatened. The LAPD would have been at a great disadvantage if it hadn’t known where he might strike next.

Third, Dorner boasted of the weaponry he had available.

In my cache you will find several small arms. In the cache, Bushmaster firearms, Remington precision rifles, and AAC Suppressors (silencers)….As you know I also own Barrett .50′s so your APC are defunct and futile.

A Barrett .50 is a sniper’s rifle whose five-inch bullets can penetrate bulletproof vests, steel and concrete. An APC is military shorthand for Armored Personnel Carrier.

Dorner should have kept this information to himself—and allowed the LAPD to discover the truth only in a firefight. By bragging about it, he allowed his enemies to design strategies and deploy resources (such as unmanned drones) to neutralize his powerful weapons.

Fourth, he posted not simply his biography but his psychology for his enemies to exploit.

He sees himself as all-powerful:

I am here to change and make policy…I am here to correct and calibrate your morale compasses to true north….

I know your TTP’s, (techniques, tactics, and procedures). Any threat assessments you generate will be useless…. I will mitigate any of your attempts at preservation.

Besides assailing the LAPD, he plays political analyst—Wayne La Pierre is “a vile and inhumane piece of shit”—and even movie critic, calling Charlie Sheen “awesome.”

And fashion critic: Off the record, I love your new bangs, Mrs. Obama.

He clearly has a high opinion of himself:

I lived a good life and though not a religious man I always stuck to my own personal code of ethics, ethos and always stuck to my shoreline and true North. I didn’t need the US Navy to instill Honor, Courage, and Commitment in me but I thank them for re-enforcing it. It’s in my DNA.

And he reveals a clear history of anger at what he considers racial animosity directed against him, citing incidents as far back as high school.

No doubt psychologists who design behavioral profiles thoroughly analyzed Dorner’s self-portrait and advised police on the best ways to counter his threats.

Fifth, Dorner, sought refuge in a mountainous, snow-covered tourist resort.

This made it impossible for him—a black—to blend in against an almost totally white population. 

And once his truck broke down, he was at a severe disadvantage. He was temporarily stranded and forced to abandon many of the high-powered weapons and other supplies he had brought.  This gave him less firepower to use in his war on police.

He would have blended in with the majority black population had he fled to South Central Los Angeles. And he might well have found allies there to supply him with tips or equipment. 

More importantly, police would have been hard-pressed during a firefight with him in a congested urban setting: They would have had to worry about civilian casualties. 

And the proximity of the site to local TV stations would have meant far greater media scrutiny of police tactics.

Sixth, Dorner set fire to his Nissan Titan truck when it broke down near snow-covered Big Bear Lake, California, on February 7. 

This quickly attracted the attention of an army of lawmen who were searching for any clue to his whereabouts.

There was no need to burn the vehicle. If Dorner had covered the truck with snow it might well have stayed concealed for days or longer. This would have given him more time to evacuate the area.

Seventh, he took refuge in a cabin when police closed in.

Once he did this, the game was over. Dorner, of all people, should have known how “barricaded suspect” sieges always end: With the death or surrender of the besieged. 

His best bet for at least temporary safety was to stay in the open and on the move. 

If his skills as a marksman had kept police at a distance long enough, the coming of night could have allowed him to escape their dragnet—at least for the moment. 

In the end, however, his death or capture was certain. There were simply too many lawmen determined to hunt him down.

HOW COPS PROTECT THEIR OWN: PART TWO (OF FOUR)

In Bureaucracy, History, Law Enforcement, Politics, Social commentary on February 5, 2018 at 12:15 am

The LAPD’s leadership were terrified after they read Christopher Dorner’s 11-page “manifesto” published on his Facebook page.

Clearly, he intended to take revenge on the agency he blamed for the 2008 termination of his police career.

Christopher Dorner

As a result, the LAPD rushed to provide security and surveillance details to more than 50 endangered police officers and their families.

The agency also declared a “tactical alert,” forcing officers to remain on their shifts as long as needed.

Shortly after 1 a.m. on February 7, in Corona, California, Dorner fired at Los Angeles police officers who had been assigned to protect someone connected to threats he had posted in an online “manifesto.”

One officer was grazed in the head, but the wound was not life-threatening. The officers returned fire, and Dorner fled.

Then, at about 1:35 a.m., Dorner struck again, shooting two Riverside police officers who had stopped at a red light during a routine patrol. One officer was killed and the other wounded. The injured officer was taken to a hospital and was reported to be in stable condition.

Word instantly spread through the police grapevine about the shootings. And officers decided it was better to shoot first and ask questions later.

At 5:30 a.m. on February 7,  LAPD officers were patrolling a Torrance neighborhood to guard yet another target named in Dorner’s manifesto.

They spotted a car they thought was Dorner’s and opened fire, injuring two women.  One suffered a minor bullet wound, and the other was shot twice. Taken to a hospital, the latter was reported to be in stable condition.

Sometime after the Torrance shooting, a passer-by found a wallet with an LAPD badge and a picture ID of Dorner on a street near San Diego International Airport.

This was only a short distance from the naval base motel where he had reportedly checked in on February 7—but had never checked out.

Amid frantic TV news reports that Dorner was barricaded inside, police swarmed the hotel. But the soon learned that he hadn’t been there after all.

The FBI and U.S. Marshals Service, meanwhile, were seeking the public’s help in providing information about Dorner or his whereabouts.

At about noon on February 7, a burning truck was located in the snow-covered woods near Big Bear Lake, 80 miles east of Los Angeles.

The San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department later confirmed that the vehicle was Dorner’s Nissan Titan.  No one was in the truck.

SWAT teams from the LAPD, San Bernardino Sheriff’s deputies, FBI agents and deputy U.S. marshals flooded the area. All were heavily armed, carrying assault rifles or machine guns.

A SWAT team

Dorner, in his manifesto, had boasted of owning assault rifles and even a Barrett .50 caliber sniper rifle whose bullets can pierce bulletproof vests and even tanks, airplanes and concrete. A marksman with a Barrett could easily hit a target from a mile away.

Police initially searched 400 homes in the area, but found no trace of Dorner.

The manhunt was slowed down by a heavy snowfall, but police, determined to find Dorner, pressed on.

Meanwhile, FBI SWAT teams and local police served a search warrant at a Las Vegas home belonging to Dorner. The lawmen carried out boxes of his possessions. No weapons were found.

After issuing a search warrant, Irvine police combed through the La Pama house belonging to Christopher Dorner’s mother. Investigators removed from the home seven grocery bags of evidence and several electronic items.

On February 9, at a late afternoon press conference, authorities announced the creation of a joint task force to search for Dorner. The task force comprised the Los Angeles, Irvine and Riverside police departments, the FBI and U.S. Marshals, and other affiliated law enforcement agencies.

“We will look under every rock, around every corner, we will search mountain tops for him,” said Riverside Police Assistant Chief Chris Vicino at the press conference.

Underscoring this point, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said: “This is an act–and make no mistake about it–of domestic terrorism. This is a man who has targeted those that we entrust to protect the public. His actions cannot go unanswered.”

Besides manpower and technology, police employed psychology. That same day, the LAPD announced that it would reopen the investigation into Dorner’s firing.

“I do this not to appease a murderer,” LAPD Chief Beck said in a statement. “I do it to reassure the public that their police department is transparent and fair in all the things we do.”

Clearly police hoped this would lead Dorner to back off or even surrender.

On February 10, at 11:46 a.m., Los Angeles County Supervisors Michael D. Antonovich and Mark Ridley-Thomas announced they were offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Dorner.

Later that day, at 1 p.m., a joint task force offered a $1 million reward for information leading to Dorner’s arrest.

Federal authorities were also relentlessly hunting Dorner—and not only through the FBI and U.S. Marshals Service. The Bureau of Customs and Border Protection deployed unmanned drone aircrafts to find him.

As in The Day of the Jackal, despite a widespread dragnet and all-out search, law enforcement’s Number One fugitive had vanished.

HOW COPS PROTECT THEIR OWN: PART ONE (OF FOUR)

In Bureaucracy, History, Law Enforcement, Politics, Social commentary on February 2, 2018 at 12:04 am

The Day of the Jackal is a 1971 thriller by the English writer Frederick Forsyth. Its intricate plot centers on the efforts of a professional assassin to kill Charles de Gaulle, the President of France.

His motive: A reward of $500,000, paid by the OAS, a right-wing French paramilitary organization determined to that France should retain its Algerian colony.

The actual name of the assassin is never revealed. He is simply known by his code name: The Jackal.

But a great deal else about him is revealed before the novel reaches its shattering climax:

He is calculating, a crack shot, skilled in unarmed combat, quick-witted in emergencies and utterly ruthless in pursuing his goal of eliminating his chosen targets.

In 1973, director Fred Zinnemann (“High Noon”) brought Jackal to the big screen. Edward Fox starred as the assassin, and Michael Lonsdale played Claude Lebel, the police inspector who leads the hunt for him.

The book and movie proved commercial successes.

Then fate lifted the fictional Jackal into the world of real-life international terrorism.

In 1975, Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, the international terrorist now known as “Carlos,” gained notoriety by shooting two French detectives and an informer in Paris.

Barry Woodhams, an Englishman whose girlfriend had once dated Carlos, found a bag of weapons belonging to the terrorist in their London apartment. Not trusting the police, he called The Guardian newspaper, whose reporter Peter Niesewand quickly showed up.

Rummaging through the apartment, Niesewand found a copy of The Day Of The Jackal on a bookshelf, and assumed that Carlos had read it. The next day, in its front-page world scoop, the Guardian dubbed Carlos: “The Jackal.”

Only one thing was wrong: The book didn’t belong to Carlos at all; it belonged to Woodhams. “Carlos The Jackal” had probably never even read the book he was named after.

Nevertheless, the nickname stuck.

(In 1994, the government of Sudan betrayed Carlos—then seeking refuge there—to French intelligence agents. He was flown to France, tried for murder, and given a life sentence.)

But The Jackal was far from dead. In 2013, he took up residence in Los Angeles.

This time his name was known: Christopher Jordan Dorner.

And his target wasn’t the President of France or the leader of any other country. It was the officers of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).

It’s an organization Dorner knew well, since he had belonged to it from 2005 to 2008.

In July, 2007, he reported excessive force by a fellow police officer against a handcuffed prisoner.

The LAPD charged that he had slandered the accused policewoman in a falsified report and relieved him of his duties.

Dorner claimed he was the victim of police retaliation for breaking the “code of silence.”

Dorner tried to reclaim his job in 2008, but LAPD’s Board of Rights rejected his appeal. He took the case to court, but a judge ruled against his appeal in October, 2011.

Image result for Images of LAPD logo

That seemed to be the end of Dorner’s association with the LAPD.

Then, on February 3, 2013, Dorner’s long-suppressed rage exploded.

Monica Quan, 27, and her fiancee, Keith Lawrence, were shot dead in Irvine, California, while sitting in their white Kia in the parking lot of their new apartment building.

Quan was the daughter of former LAPD officer Randal Quan, who had represented Dorner at his termination appeal.

At the time, there seemed to be no motive for the murders. But on February 6, police named Dorner a suspect in the Irvine murders.

He had posted an 11-page “manifesto” on his Facebook page, implicating himself in the slayings. He accused  Randal Quan of bungling his termination appeal.

And he repeatedly complained about his treatment in the LAPD.

I lost my position as a Commanding Officer of a Naval Security Forces reserve unit at NAS Fallon because of the LAPD, wrote Dorner.

I’ve lost a relationship with my mother and sister because of the LAPD. I’ve lost a relationship with close friends because of the LAPD.

In essence, I’ve lost everything because the LAPD took my name and new [sic] I was INNOCENT!!!

And he vowed vengeance on those he believed had wronged him:

I will conduct DA operations to destroy, exploit and seize designated targets. If unsuccessful or unable to meet objectives in these initial small scale offensive actions, I will reassess my BDA and re-attack until objectives are met.

I have nothing to lose. My personal casualty means nothing….You can not prevail against an enemy combatant who has no fear of death.

An enemy who embraces death is a lose, lose situation for their enemy combatants.

It wasn’t enough for Dorner to attack police officers. He would target their families as well:

I know your significant others routine, your children’s best friends and recess. I know Your Sancha’s gym hours and routine.

For police generally, it was their worst nightmare come true.

A cop-killer was on the loose. Worse, he had once been one of their own.

He knew their tactics, and now threatened to use that knowledge to murder not only cops but even their families.

For the LAPD, it was a declaration of war. And the department responded accordingly.

BELLICOSE EVIL TRUMPS TIMID MORALITY: PART TWO (END)

In Bureaucracy, History, Law, Law Enforcement, Politics, Social commentary on February 1, 2018 at 12:03 am

When German President Paul von Hindenburg appointed Adolf Hitler Chancellor of Germany on January 30, 1933, not all Germans rejoiced.

Millions of them, in fact, hoped that the radical Fascist would be “boxed in” by “the establishment.”

President Hindenburg was known to despise Hitler. And a Hindenburg ally, Franz von Papen, was Vice Chancellor.

Yet it was Von Papen who was largely responsible for Hitler’s coming to power.

He believed that the longtime agitator could be controlled once he was in the government. The cabinet, after all, was not under Nazi domination. And so he convinced Hindenburg to appoint Hitler as Chancellor.

Almost immediately, Hitler began to outmaneuver those who sought to restrain him.

Adolf Hitler

As part of his deal with Papan, Hitler appointed his longtime supporter, Herman Goring, interior minister of Prussia—thus arming the Nazis with the largest police force in Germany.

On February 1, 1933, Hitler presented Article 48 to the cabinet. This allowed the police to take people into “protective custody” without charges. Hindenburg signed it into law on February 4 as the “Decree for the Protection of the German People.”

In March, the Reichstag (parliament) passed the Enabling Act, which allowed Hitler to rule by decree without interference from legislators. Germany, it was claimed, needed “an iron hand” because it was supposedly threatened by a Communist revolution.

The Enabling Act was authorized to last only four years. But it was renewed in 1937 and, in 1941, extended for the rest of Hitler’s lifetime.

On August 2, the aged Hindenburg died. Hitler immediately consolidated the positions of President and Chancellor—and ordered the German Armed Forces to swear an oath of personal loyalty to him.

Hitler’s mastery of Germany was now complete.

Fast forward 84 years from Adolf Hitler’s gaining total power in Germany to January 30, 2018.

President Donald Trump can say—as truthfully as Adolf Hitler: I am the destiny of America.

Donald Trump

Among his tumultuous actions during his first year as President, Trump:

  • Fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates after she notified him that National-Security Adviser Michael Flynn had misled the FBI.
  • Fired FBI Director James Comey for investigating the Trump Presidential campaign’s links to the Kremlin.
  • Attacked the integrity of the American Intelligence community—while praising Russian President Vladimir Putin.
  • Falsely claimed that former President Barack Obama had illegally wiretapped him during the 2016 Presidential campaign.
  • Tried to fire Independent Counsel Robert Mueller, but was talked out of it.

Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks appear every Friday on the PBS Newshour to review the week’s major political events.

On January 26, Brooks—a conservative, and Shields, a liberal—reached similar conclusions about the recent news that President Trump had tried to fire Independent Counsel Robert Mueller during the summer of 2017.

After Comey’s firing, Mueller had been assigned to oversee the previously-confirmed FBI investigation of Russian government efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election.

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David Brooks and Mark Shields

DAVID BROOKS: “First, it should be pointed out that White House staff has repeatedly said there was no effort to fire Mueller, when they clearly have been lying for months about that….

“I was in Dayton, Ohio, this morning. And a friend said, in this presidency, I’m just stunned every day. I’m stunned every hour. And at some point, you get out of stunned. There’s no more stun.

“And I found this when I saw our story. If I had seen that story seven or eight months ago, I would have been, ‘Oh, I can’t believe this is happening.’ Now I’m inured. I’m used to it. I have been numbed.

“And I came to think, even if he fired Mueller, maybe we’re all just—we’re like, we have been numbed to the things that happen and nobody gets upset anymore. I think people would get upset if he actually did try to fire Mueller, but we have defined deviancy down and gotten used to a set of behavior that would have been shocking to us a year ago.”

MARK SHIELDS: “I think there would be a firestorm at this point [if Trump fired Mueller]….

“How long and how intense, I don’t know, because I remain just perplexed at the limit of the finite limits of our outrage, or our sense of outrage….

“But I think it really comes down to, who’s going to stand with [Mueller]? And I look at the Republicans on the Hill and, you know, the lack, the tower of Jell-O that is the speaker of the House….”

JUDY WOODRUFF: “…Could this campaign…by some Republicans in the House and with support from the White House to undermine the FBI…have a long-lasting effect on the Justice Department in the end?”

DAVID BROOKS:  “Yes, I think so.

“And the FBI is filled with honest brokers….There are a lot of agencies that are filled with honest brokers, and the idea that everybody in this city is a politician is just not true.

“It’s always amazing to me that a lot of people in government, they are not actually that political. They believe in the public service and they try to do their jobs, but they’re not sort of super political people.”

BELLICOSE EVIL TRUMPS TIMID MORALITY: PART ONE (OF TWO)

In Bureaucracy, History, Law, Law Enforcement, Military, Politics, Social commentary on January 31, 2018 at 12:06 am

After Donald Trump won the 2016 election, many people feared he would embark on a radical Right-wing agenda. But others hoped that the Washington bureaucracy would “box him in.”

The same sentiments echoed throughout Germany after Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany on January 30, 1933.

The 1983 TV  mini-series, The Winds of War, offered a dramatic example of how honorable men can be overwhelmed by a ruthless dictator. 

Based on the bestselling 1971 historical novel by Herman Wouk, the mini-series factually re-created the major historical events of World War II.

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One of those events took place on November 5, 1939.

General Walther von Brauchitsch is summoned to the Chancellery in Berlin to meet with Adolf Hitler. He carries a memorandum signed by all the leaders of the German Wehrmacht asserting that Case Yellow—Hitler’s planned attack against France—is impossible.

Meanwhile, at the German army headquarters at Zossen, in Berlin, the Wehrmacht’s top command wait for word from von Brauchitsch.

CHANCELLERY:

Von Brauchitsch hands the memorandum to Hitler, who reads it.

ZOSSEN: 

Brigadier General Armin von Roon: I must confide in you on a very serious matter. I have been approached by certain army personages of the loftiest rank and prestige with a frightening proposal.

Chief of the General Staff Franz Halder:  What did you reply?

Von Roon: That they were talking high treason.

CHANCELLERY:

Adolf Hitler (slamming down the memorandum): So—what is new in all this?

Image result for Gunter Meisner as Adolf Hitler in The Winds of War

Gunter Meisner as Adolf Hitler in “The Winds of War”

Walther Von Brauchitsch:  Fuhrer, it is the army’s final position that Case Yellow cannot proceed.

Hitler: Why not?

Von Brauchitsch: Because of the military fundamentals as stated.

Hitler: Such as?

Von Brauchitsch: The meteorologists predict continuous soaking rains for weeks.

Hitler: It rains on the enemy, too.

ZOSSEN: 

Von Roon: The conspiracy has been going on that long—since Czechoslovakia [1938)?

Halder: If the British had not caved in at Munich [where France and Britain sold out their ally, Czechoslovakia]—perhaps. But they did. And ever then, ever since his big triumph, it has been hopeless. Hopeless.

Von Roon: Empty talk, talk, talk. I am staggered.

Halder: A hundred times I myself could have shot the man. I can still at any time. But what would be the result? Chaos. The people are for him. He has unified the country. We must stick to our posts and save him from making military mistakes.

Halder: But we really cannot proceed with Case Yellow.

Von Roon:  Brauchitsch will get a postponement.

Halder: And if he does not?

CHANCELLERY: 

Von Brauchitsch:  Fuhrer, even the supply of artillery shells is totally inadequate.

Image result for wolfgang preiss as Walther von Brauchitsch

Wolfgang Preiss as Walter von Brauchitsch in “The Winds of War”

Hitler: Who says so? 

Von Brauchitsch: General Thomas, my chief of economics and armament.

Hitler: Do you know how many artillery shells of all calibers we have in the staging areas—right this minute?

Von Brauchitsch: No.

Hitler: How many we have in the reserve dumps in the West?

Von Brauchitsch: No, it’s up to my staff—

Hitler:  What the monthly annual production of shells is? What the projected rise in production of the next six months is, month by month?

Von Brauchitsch: Who keeps such figures in his head?

Hitler: I do!  The supply is adequate. I tell you so. And I’m a field soldier who depended on artillery for four years to protect his life. [He hands von Brauchitsch a sheaf of armaments figures.] Check with your staff. if one of those figures is wrong, you can postpone Case Yellow. Otherwise—you march!  And next time you come to see me, know what you’re talking about!

Von Brauchitsch: If we march unprepared as we are, defeatism will run rampant. It will destroy the Wehrmacht and the Fatherland. The morale of the army was low, even in the Polish campaign.

Hitler: You question to me—to me—the courage of the German soldier?

Von Brauchitsch: I’m talking facts!

Hitler: What facts? Back up this monstrous assertion! In what units was morale low? What action was taken? How many death sentences were handed out for cowardice? Speak up! I’ll fly to the front and pass the death sentences myself. One specific instance.

Von Brauchitsch: It was common knowledge—

Hitler: Common knowledge? What is common knowledge is that army headquarters at Zossen crawls with cowards. You opposed me in rearming the Rhineland. You opposed me on the [union] with Austria. You opposed me on Czechoslovakia, until the British came crawling to me. You dirtied in your trousers, you heroes at Zossen, at the idea of marching into Poland. Well, have I once been wrong? Have you once been right? Answer me!

Von Brauchitsch: Mein Fuhrer

Hitler:  Tell everyone who signed this insubordinate Zossen rubbish to beware! I will ruthlessly crush everybody up to the rank of a Field Marshal who dares to oppose me. You don’t have to understand. You only have to obey. The German people understand me.  I am Germany.

Fast forward 79 years from Adolf Hitler’s stormy confrontation with Walter von Brauchitsch to January 26, 2018. 

President Donald Trump—having fired FBI Director James Comey, attacked the integrity of the American Intelligence community and tried to fire Independent Counsel Robert Mueller—can equally say: I am the destiny of America.

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