Wednesday, February 28, 2018

"Stand Down," Be it at Baltimore, Berkeley or Parkland is Not the Response in an Emergency

Police officers responding to the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland reported that they saw three Broward County Deputy Sheriffs standing outside the school during the shootings. That couldn’t be accurate! Law enforcement is trained after Columbine to rush in to minimize the carnage. Yet, it was true. The deputies were told not to enter unless their body cameras were turned on. These officers lacked body cameras. Or were they told to stand down? The high school’s campus security officer did not enter the school during the shootings. Only three reasons could explain his behavior: He was poorly trained; He was told to stand down; or He exercised damnably poor judgment. We also learn that the EMT’s on the scene were ordered to stand down pending the arrival of a SWAT Team. EMT’s are trained to go in right after the police. They weren’t allowed to do so. Lives are lost by delay! Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel’s days in office are numbered. The Sheriff Office needs a major revamping. Students and outside agitators at the University of California Berkeley, the cradle of the Free Speech Movement, on February 1, 2017.protested the appearance of Milos Yiannopoulos, a conservative speaker. They rioted, started fires, threw rocks at the campus police, who were ordered to stand down. Over $100,000 in property damages ensued with campus agitators becoming emboldened. Two months later on April 21, 2017 at Middlebury College in Vermont the same reaction occurred when Dr. Charles Murray, co-author of The Bell Curve, spoke. His host, Professor Alison Stanger, had her hair pulled and neck twisted by a protestor The University months afterwards imposed meaningless sanctions against the perpetrators. Americans were mesmerized by the Baltimore Riots on April 29, 2015. Viewers watched a CVS burning to the ground. The police stood in ranks as the rioters roamed. The Baltimore police were ordered to stand down, either by the Mayor or Police Commissioner. Neither admits to giving the order, relayed to the officers by police brass, but the result was that Baltimore burned while the Mayor fiddled. Millions in damages resulted while the police looked weak. Baltimore has become one of the homicide centers of America.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Not So Easy Solutions to School Shootings

Once again a crazed madman shot up a school. The teenager, whose name shall not be mentioned, killed 14 students and three adults at the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Once again the cries emotionally scream out “We have to do something.” They plead “Never Again.” The students justifiably exclaim “They want to be safe at school.” Let us though remember H.L. Mencken’s sage admonition: “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.” Here are the cries: 1 Ban Assault Weapons 2 Ban Semi-Assault Weapons 3 Ban Saturday Night Specials (in the past) 4 Ban Guns 5 Ban Bump Stocks 6 Repeal the Second Amendment 7 Boycott the NRA 8 Require Background Checks for all Gun Purchases 9 Improve the background checks 10 Raise the age to 21 for gun purchasers 11 Keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill If only if it were that simple! There’s almost one gun per person in the United States: an estimated 357 million guns for 327 million people. These guns are not going to disappear in the United States. None of these would have mattered in Parkland once it became clear the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, social service, mental health experts, and the FBI’s action failed to meaningfully act in light of dozens of specific warnings. The animus towards the NRA diverts attention from the real causes of the Parkland tragedy. Demonizing the NRA is a slogan, not a solution. The NRA did not fire the guns; nor did a NRA member. The NRA did not adopt a soft arrest and policing policy, but both Broward County and the school board did. The NRA did not ignore the warnings. The Broward County Sheriff originally said they had 23 calls about the assailant. The number is now up to 45. The NRA did not ignore the explicit phone call warning: “I know he’s going to explode.” He might slip “into a school and just shoot the place up,” The FBI took no action. The FBI also failed with San Bernardino, Pulse Nightclub, Fort Hood, the Boston Marathon bombers, and even 9/11. America must adapt to the new threat to our nation’s schools. The existing paradigm of open, safe schools needs to be reassessed. One clear safety step to protect students is to harden the target. K-12 schools often have one or two entrances, unlike the spread out college campuses with scores of facilities. Entrances can be guarded, although that is not a complete solution. The Red Lake Senior High School shootings on the Red Lake Indian Reservation are illustrative of the complexity of the security problems. The shooter killed his grandfather and his grandfather’s girlfriend one night. The slain grandfather was a tribal police officer. The shooter showed up at the school the next morning with his grandfather’s guns and shot to death an unarmed security officer at the metal detector. He then killed five students and a teacher and wounded seven victims before committing suicide. Red Lake School is not the only case of family guns being used in these shootings. The killer at Sandy Hook Elementary School killed his mother and then used her guns to kill 20 first graders and six adults before committing suicides. Other protective measures include bullet proofing the windows. Means should exist to lock classrooms against intruders. Teachers should have access to a panic button in their classrooms. Active shooter drills should be practiced, just like fire drills. Active Shooter Drills saved lives at Sandy Hook and Parkland. “Gun free zones” are a green light to potential shooters. Concealed-carry is not the complete solution, but it a partial solution with trained teachers and staff. Even if it cannot prevent an incident, it may reduce the carnage. Three or four or five undercover defenders are better odds than a campus security officer who might be nowhere near the attacker. Washington State Governor Jay Inslee said yesterday at a governors meeting on school security with President Trump: “I have listened to the first-grade teachers who don’t want to become pistol-packing first-grade teachers.” Governor Inslee seems to have forgotten that second graders were the primary victims at Dandy School Elementary School. Law enforcement and school authorities should engage in intensive social media searches. The potential assailants often post their thoughts in advance. One clear step is to not publish the shooter’s name or picture. Don’t give the warped demented souls the 15 minutes of notoriety (fame) they crave. The media wants to publish the name, picture and background of the shooter to help explain why this nutjob did it. Yet, with all the publicity on the Vegas shooter, we still don’t know why he shot up a concert. “Madmen” should not have guns, but psychotherapists lack the means to accurately determine who will become dangerous. It can’t simply be based on those receiving pyschotropics; that would include millions of Americans on these medications. Only rarely as with the shooters at Virginia Tech, Simon’s Rock College of the Bard, and Parkland do people immediately was the assailant before his identity is discovered or discovered. (One commonality in these incidents is that the assailant is usually a white male). We also cannot predict who will go off their meds, as did the shooter at Northern Illinois. Yet the Parkland shooter displayed many warning signs, including a cry for help, slitting his wrists, shooting animals, making threats, and having an ISIS flag, which apparently A major concern a few decades ago was teenage suicide. Now it seems that some of these suicides want to kill others before themselves. Protocols need to be developed and refined both to identify the threats and to respond. Law enforcement changed its response protocol after Columbine to immediately confront the shooter. Broward County held back. Its response should be an object lesson on how not to plan or respond for an active shooter. At least one, if not three other deputies, held back outside the school while the shootings continued. The police had no hesitancy went they arrived. The general rule after Columbine is that the first officers on the scene should engage immediately. That was not followed at Parkland. Why? One suggestion, anathema to the younger generation, is to ban violent video games, or age restrict them. Life is cheap in many of the games while extra lives are readily available. These games cheapen human life. Of course, these games will not be banned. Hollywood is very sanctimonious as it grinds out films extolling violence Guns are usually the weapon of choice for the attackers. Cars, as in Santa Barbara, and knives also show up as the instrumentalities of death. The Columbine and San Bernardino shooters were unsuccessful in detonating bombs In addition, many of the gun incidents do not involve automatic or semi-automatic guns, but involve hand guns. As to unpredictability, a milk truck driver on October 2, 2006 dropped his children off at the school bus, and then drove to the West Nickel Mines School, an Amish school. He killed five schoolgirls and wounded five before committing suicide. Universal background checks sounds good, but trying to apply that to parents passing on firearms to their children is unrealistic. Children in rural America often grow up as familiar with guns as tractors. Banning bump stocks seems easy, but the effect will be minimal. They haven’t been used in most shootings, and apparently anyone competent with a 3D printer can produce one. Students often are the key to stopping these shootings. Several students have warned the authorities of fellow students who have made threats. It’s tough being a “fink,” but it saves lives. However, those calls must be taken seriously and investigated. Students will have no incentive to warn if the authorities, such as the FBI and local law enforcement, flub the investigation. Bans on assault and semi-assault weapons have been unsuccessful. Congress enacted in 1994 a ten-year ban on the manufacture and sales of semi-automatic assault weapons. Studies have shown the ban was ineffective. “Never Again” is a great slogan. The students mean it. It won’t work!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

170 Political Scientists Rank President Obama the Nation's 8th Best President and President Trump the Worst! What duh????

Professors Brandon Rottinghaus of Houston and Justin S. Vaughn of Boise State released the results of their survey of members of the American Political Science Association’s Section of Presidents and Executive Politics. President Obama jumped to eighth place from 18th four years ago. President Trump came in dead last, beating out President James Buchanan. We understand that the political science professoriate will reflectively rank sitting Republican Presidents as the worst of the worst, but let’s see how President Obama earned the distinction of America’s 8th best President. Could it be he weaponized the IRS, FBI, and Justice Department in a war against conservatives? President Nixon wanted to do that, but failed. Is it because President Obama politicized the CIA and NSA? Is it because the Obama Administrative unmasked 200 political opponents? Is it because President Obama created a DACA rule when he said he lacked constitutional power to do so? Is it because President Obama first went AWOL during Benghazi and then lied about Benghazi? Is it because of Fast and Furious? Is it because he did nothing about Russian interference in the 2014 midterm elections and the 2016 Presidential Election? Is it because of his exemplary kowtowing to dictators in Iran and Russia? Is it because he returned the Churchill Bust to England and then denied it? Is it because he bypassed the Senate’s treaty ratification powers with the Paris Accords? Is it because he shipped $1.7 trillion in cash to Iran’s mullahs? Is it because he traded $400 million and five terrorists for the return of Bowe Bergdahl, a deserter? Is it because he let Russia buy 20% of the nation’s uranium supply? Is it because of his red line in Syria? Is it because he supplied the Ukrainian armed forces with MRE’s? Is he because he sent operatives and money to Israel in an attempt to defeat Prime Minister Netanyahu? Is it because of worsening race relations in the United States? Is it because of the poor medical care provided our veterans by the VA? Is it his consistent failure to call a Radical Islamic Terrorist a Radical Islamic Terrorist? Is it President Obama’s inability to use the word “ISIS”? Is it a consistently underperforming economy, never reaching a 3% growth rate? Is it the shrinking self-described 63% of the public as middle class at the beginning of his administration to 51% at the end of his administration? Is it in failing to provide benefits to the victims at Fort Hood? Is it letting foreign countries hack into the NSA, OPM, Postal Service, FBI, State Department, NOAA, and the Pentagon? Is it because he gave control of Congress and most statehouses to the Republicans? Is it by wiretapping a Fox News Reporter and labeling him a co-conspirator in a warrant signed by Attorney General Eric Holder? Is it the thousands of hours he spent golfing and vacationing? Is it because the “Hope and Change” of 2008 became the “Hope for Change” of 2016?

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Andrew Jackson and Donald Trump

The animus towards President Trump mirrors that directed at President Andrew Jackson almost two centuries ago. Our 7th President was viewed as a boob and hayseed. Presidents Washington, Adams and John Quincy Adams were from Massachusetts while Presidents Jefferson, Madison and Monroe hailed from Virginia. All six were “educated” by the standards of the time. President Jackson to them was the uneducated barbarian from Tennessee, the frontier of America. Yet, he was a lawyer and had served in Congress. His claim to the White House was based on defeating the British at the Battle of New Orleans. He did something Napoleon could never do – defeat Wellington’s regulars. The Duke of Wellington did not lead the British army at New Orleans, but they were his soldiers. General Jackson secured the future of the American Republic at New Orleans. None of the combatants knew at the time that the United Kingdom and the United States had earlier reached a peace treaty in the Treaty of Ghent. The British probably would have ignored it had they captured New Orleans, closing off much of the West to the United States. Andrew Jackson campaigned by attacking the Bank of the United States, beloved by the eastern establishment of the time. President Jackson opened the doors of the White House and let the people, his people, in after his inauguration. In short he opened the White House to the “deplorables” of those days. He opened America’s democracy to white males, a substantial increase from the 5% property owning white males at the creation of the country. Universal suffrage was still to come, but he started the progression. The Jackson Democrats became the worker backbone of the Democratic Party. Andrew Jackson found a way to connect with the people by enlisting reporters and editors to convey his message. He also demonized his opponents. He won the most votes in 1924, but no one won a majority of the electoral votes. Congress then elected John Quincy Adams as President. Andrew Jackson ranted about the “rigged” system. President Jackson was also attacked as an immoral adulterer. He was deeply in love with Rachel Robards, but it is unclear if she was divorced when she married the future President The fiery Jackson was also the only President to have killed a man in a duel (prior to the Presidency). Of course, there’s major differences, but doesn’t the story of Andrew Jackson presage that of Donald Trump? Immorality, adultery, fiery temper, rigged elections, deplorable voters, outsider crashing the party, trashing the establishment, demonizing opponents, messaging his supporters, and attacking the economic orthodoxy of the times. President Trump is as reviled by today’s Washington establishment as was President Jackson.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Lessons 48 Hours After the Parkland School Shooting

These horrific shooting tragedies bring out instant commentary in the fog of war. It’s time for gun control! It’s time to ban assault weapons and semi-assault weapons.! Ban the bump stocks! Students need to turn in their dangerous classmates We need psychological screenings Let’s ban gun sales to those with mental illness. Don’t let teenagers have guns. Our campuses need armed security guards. Blame it on the NRA Blame it on President Trump Here’s what we know. Two decades of school shootings have not brought solutions to ending the parade of tragedies. The Marjory Stoneham Douglas High School tragedy is one of the few shooting incidents when people immediately know who the shooter is before his identity is discovered. Nickolas Cruz at Parkland, like Cho Seung-Hoi at Virginia Tech, was a known risk. Yet they fell through the law enforcement cracks. 20 Sheriff calls to Cruz’s house over the past two years! The FBI twice failed to follow up or sufficiently investigate specific warnings about him. What good does it do to warn when the authorities don’t follow up? The FBI has a lot of explaining to do. The FBI Hotline averages 2,100 calls/day, but they have a protocol to respond to warnings like the January call about Cruz. It didn’t happen! Just a few weeks ago the Democrats were castigating the Republicans attacking the FBI leadership as an attack on the FBI. They are not springing today to the FBI’s defense. The best rules, protocols or procedures are ineffective in the face of human error, negligence, or incompetence. Psychology still cannot differentiate in advance most of those who pose a threat from those who don’t. “Red Flag” laws though can remove weapons from those who have acted dangerously in the past. Psychology will not tell us in advance which mentally ill patients have gone off their meds prior to shooting up schools or committing suicide. The high school had armed security, but security officers can’t be everywhere at once, especially at a high school with 3,000 students. “Gun-Free” schools are not a bar to shooters. Perhaps a number of teachers and staffers should be allowed to carry concealed weapons with the intent to use them against an armed intruder. The best defense against force is force in the active shooter scenario. Parkland and Sandy Hook show that active shooter drills and exercises save lives. Metal detectors and security would not have stopped Cruz as he mingled with the students who were leaving school. Why not take a look at violent video games which give “extra lives,” thereby cheapening the prices of human life and violence? How’s this for a radical thought for the media? DON’T PUBLISH THE ASSAILANT’S NAME. Strip them of the notoriety they so desperately crave

Monday, February 5, 2018

Yes, James Comey "That's It" - For now

James Comey’s response to the Nunes Memo was a simple “That’s It?” as if it were a nothing burger. The former FBI Director is very lucky in that the media is obsessed with destroying the Trump Presidency and touting the Democratic talking points. Had his conduct occurred during Nixon’s Watergate, he would have been indicted, as would Attorney General Roberta Lynch, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, FBI Special Agent Peter Stryck, FBI attorney Lisa Page, Assistant Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, and a host of others. The crime is simple: The Obama Administration politicized the Justice Department, FBI, and IRS to destroy the political opposition. They repeated violated the constitutional rights of conservatives. CIA Director John Brennen and National Security Advisor James Clapper, who lied to Congress and the American people, became facilitators The “Dossier” in question was prepared for by a company called FusionGPS, which had it prepared by Christopher Steele, a former British MI6 agent Christopher Steele. Mr. Steele sources were Russians for scurrilous information on Donald Trump. He never going to Russia. We found out today that Democratic operatives also provided information to Steele. The Dossier was paid for by the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton Campaign. It was simply a piece of trashy opposition research. You can find it online if you search. Cutting through the flak leaves us with a simple reality. The FBI used unverified opposition research, the false Steele Dossier, to spy on the campaign of the opposition party. The fake dossier in turn became the Strzok-Page “insurance policy” of Trump-Russia collusion. It’s all based on a fake dossier, which the FBI knew was bogus. They subsequently terminated Christopher Steele for revealing confidential information to Mother Jones Magazine. Christopher Steele was very talkative. He spun the Dossier information to Yahoo, New York Times, Washington Post, and the New Yorker and other sources. Yahoo published a report, which was used by the FBI and Department of Justice in serving as the second sources for the warrants. He continued to provide information to Bruce Ohr through Ohr’s wife, who worked for Fusion GPS to acquire information on Donald Trump. Then FBI Director Comey appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee in June. He testified that the Dossier contained “salacious and unverifiable” information. Yet he signed three applications for FISA warrants, which had to be based on verifiable information. Was James Comey lying before Congress or the FISA Court, or perhaps both? James Comey’s, et al, acts during the 2016 election year display either misusing the FBI to elect Hillary Clinton or gross incompetence. He drafted the letter exonerating Hillary Clinton before interviewing her, while granting immunity to her assistants. He proceeded to not prosecute her for multiple violations of the Espionage Act eventhough that is not the FBI’s prerogative. It is the decision of the Attorney General or United States Attorneys to prosecute. The Nunes Memo, which he minimizes, tells us the FBI proceeded to investigate the Republican Presidential Campaign based on a fake dossier funded by the Democratic Party while ignoring the violations of the Democratic Presidential candidate with national security messages on her private server. The first request for a FISA warrant was denied by the FISA court. The FBI returned to the FSA Court with a new request based on the Dossier. Deputy FBI Director McCabe said the FBI would have not sought the warrant without the Dossier. The warrant was dated October 21, 2016 and directed against Carter Page The first FISA warrant was a Title I warrant which allows the FBI to surveil anyone Carter Page talked to – in short, the Trump campaign and Trump Tower in an open-ended warrant. The FBI was technically surveilling Page, but clearly the Trump Campaign and appointees were surveilled. The warrant became the cover story to spy on the Trumps The Democrats, led by the chronic leaker Congressman Adam Schiff, and the mainstream media have waged a vitriolic attack on Congressman Nunes and the Committee Report, but do not point to any factual errors in it. 1) The Nunes Memo betrays secrets and national security If you read the Memo, you will not find any breaches of security 2) It contains omissions: The FBI had the opportunity to fill in the deletions and omissions prior to publication 3) It demoralizes the FBI and other security agencies; It only names the highly politicized upper levels of the FBI and Justice Department. 4) It breaks an unwritten rule of not criticizing the intelligence agencies There’s also an express rule that the agencies stay out of politics It is also illegal for these agencies to unmask 200 American citizens involved in the Trump Campaign and appointees 5) It is an attack to discredit the Mueller Investigation Why not? Special Prosecutor stacked his staff with Clinton and Obama loyalists? 6) It is a partisan attack: How ironic! The Democrats and mainstream media have been waging a vicious partisan attack on President Trump since his election. 7) There’s no proof; The Los Angeles Times headlines was: “GOP Memo Alleges, Doesn’t Prove FBI Abuses” How further ironic! The mainstream media and millions of Democrats are obsessed with the Russian Connection electing Donald Trump, who is also guilty of obstruction of justice. Neither of which has any proof. The reason for the bristling attacks on Nunes and the Memo is simple: They destroy the entire narrative of the Russian Connection with Donald Trump. In law anything that comes from the bogus, unlawful warrant is known as “The Fruit of the Poisonous Tree” and is inadmissible. James Comey knows there’s a lot more there!