Category Archives: Lord Love a Duck

Micromanagement, Media, and JADE HELM 15

New York TimesIn a post on military corruption on Strategy Page, which is, as usual on that site of wargamer geeks turned armchair experts, all over the place, there’s a little on micromanagement and the media. We’ll pick it up, then, in the middle:

Examples of micromanagement were abundant in the recent Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Washington often had to be consulted before sensitive attacks were made (like having a Predator UAV launch a Hellfire missile at some guy on the ground who might be Osama bin Laden, or some tall Afghan with a beard, a new SUV, and a commanding manner). The JCS Command Post was an attempt to deal with this problem. The JCS and the Secretary of Defense are the president’s senior, and most frequent, military advisors. Ultimately, the buck stops with the JCS. So by plugging the JCS into a world-wide command system, politically sensitive decisions can be resolved quickly (in minutes, or at least in less than an hour). The more frequent contact between the president, the Secretary of Defense, and the JSC with combat commanders might build up a degree of trust that would enable sensitive decisions to be made more quickly. This would happen, in a best case situation, because the JCS Command Post had developed confidence in the judgment of the commanders out there.

But the JCS Command Post has just become another layer of management that slows down decision making without improving the ability of the troops to get the job done. To solve this problem it’s proposed that the CINC be reduced to the status of a staff officer. The CINC and his people (several hundred staff officers and support troops) would be the repository of knowledge about the local situation and would take care of all those logistical and support details that enable the combat operations to happen. So far, the CINCs have successfully resisted this, but it’s happening anyway whenever the folks back in Washington want to throw their considerable weight around.

Speaking of staff work, one thing combat staffs are increasingly concerned with is how to deal with politically delicate situations that the media could run with (often in uncomfortable directions). This sort of thing has been seen frequently since September 11, 2001. For example, when sandstorms seemed to have “stalled” the American advance on Baghdad in 2003, the president, or at least the Secretary of Defense, had to be in touch with the commanders inside the sand storm and then say something to the press that would defuse the story and wouldn’t blow up later if it proved to be false. For those who didn’t catch the follow up on the stand storm, the troops were delayed by the need to resupply (especially fuel for their very thirsty M-1 tanks) and the storm actually helped because the Iraqis thought they could safely move Republican Guard divisions under cover of it. They couldn’t, as there were American satellites, UAVs, and sensors on the ground that could see right through the sand. Iraqi tanks and troops got shot up on a massive scale before they realized that the airborne sand blinded them more than the Americans.

via Leadership: Corruption In The American Military.

The media, of course, reported the sandstorm story completely differently. It’s important to remember that they’re not anti-war, exactly, they’re just on the other side. They seem to “go there” reflexively, whoever the “other” is: whether it’s the Sandinistas, the Syrians of ISIL, or the Symbionese Liberation Army, if it’s against America, newshounds are all for it.

Hell, they don’t even see ISIL as an enemy when it’s beheading their fellow journalists. (What do they think? “That really sucks for him, there goes his Pulitzer?”) They don’t seem to react to these things like normal human beings, these mole men of the media.

jh_logoAnd now the JADE HELM 15 “controversy,” which is only a controversy to the extent that the informed (including you, dear readers) find themselves at cross-purposes with the ignorant, penetrates the mainstream media.

The Washington Post’s Dan Lamothe, the sort of reporter who reads a couple of books and becomes the paper’s military expert (for heaven forfend they would pollute their newsroom with an actual, you know, veteran), is a latecomer to the JADE HELM 15 story, and doesn’t entirely get it, but unlike the conspiracy theorists he understands the difference between exercise/notional national entities remapped onto real terrain, and the real-world, non-exercise, persons and institutions on that terrain. Note his “for the purpose of training” below:

The mission is vast both geographically and strategically: Elite service members from all four branches of the U.S. military will launch an operation this summer in which they will operate covertly among the U.S. public and travel from state to state in military aircraft. Texas, Utah and a section of southern California are labeled as hostile territory, and New Mexico isn’t much friendlier.

…the military has routinely launched exercises in the past in which regions of the United States are identified as hostile for the purpose of training.

He then cites several other examples, including some we didn’t know about because they’re conventional exercises of the Sea Services off and onshore in the Southeast, and some we’ve mentioned already, like Robin Sage.

Lamothe has no higher levels of Vitamin Clue than you would expect to find behind a keyboard at the Post, but he’s trying, and that rare degree of effort sets him apart from his peers. He actually contacted a USASOC spokesman and got a quote from him.

What he seems to be missing is that the large areas and cross-jurisdiction operations are necessary to exercise, not special operations actions-on-the-objective, but special ops logistics, the true crux of a global SOF capability. While every SF, SEAL, MARSOC and AFSOC element on the ground will be exercising their thing, the command as a whole will be shaking down the ability to insert, communicate with, command & control, supply, reinforce, and extract special operations forces across realistic distances (1000 km — 1000 miles). Having trained guys who can train, lead, capture and destroy is a fine capability but as we have stressed before, it is no use at all if you can’t get it there. 

night tailgate

Night, tailgate. One way to get it there. Static safety officer on left.

 

We don’t know how many teams deploy in JADE HELM 15, but in a 1980s Flintlock, a deployed SFOB (today’s JSOTF forerunner) handled some 54 SF teams and a few foreign or combined teams and SEAL platoons directly, and another 6-18 SF teams through an FOB that was stood up by a Reserve or Guard SF unit. Every one of these had to be delivered and recovered, and in between, fed and supplied; plus there were other missions that required inter-service coordination, like Fulton STAR recoveries and F-111 beacon-bombing missions. To understand SOF, you really need to have experienced both the field, team environment, and the Support, Signal and Operations centers of the deployed SFOB or JSOTF. It’s much easier to train a team than it is to train a Group, let alone an entire joint-service theater special operations command. It’s like the difference between combat-training a rifle platoon and preparing the Invasion of Sicily.

Now deprecated: Fulton STAR system

Now deprecated: Fulton STAR system

As cool as the stories of the OSS Jeds and OGs and their SOE mates are — and believe us, they’re cool, and we have some more to share with you Real Soon Now™ — the real accomplishment was in the relatively unsung loggies of the “Shetland Bus,” the Carpetbaggers, the OSS Maritime Unit and the construction and development of communications site, staffs and procedures. (Indeed, SOE’s biggest failure came about because they expanded too fast and violated their own communications security procedures. But that is another story).

SunTrust Bank Celebrates Hitler’s Birthday with Choke Point

ssuntrust_logoMaybe it’s the snazzy, Hugo Boss uniforms, but SunTrust Bank is inviting Godwin to the party for Hitler’s Birthday, by sending letters to firearms businesses, punitively closing their accounts for dealing in Administration-disapproved goods and services. Effective on the day that was the highest holy day in National Socialism.

The cancellation comes with a 30-day deadline for some purposes, but with only 10 days before the business’s debit cards go tango uniform. It’s all part of a long-standing Administration plan to make lampshades out of the hides of America’s gun owners, and those businesses that dare to serve them.

American Gun and pawnThe Nashville-based bank has been a leader in sucking up to political overlords, perhaps in hopes that it too can grow to coveted Too Big to Fail (not to mention, Too Big to Be Indicted for Criminal Activity) status. Here’s an example of the form letter. This one was sent to Florida’s American Gun and Pawn over the computer signature of a minor bank (& The Party, no doubt) functionary, Quanisha Keel. Keel no more wrote the letter, which bears the stylistic imprints of SunTrust and possibly government lawyers and PR specialists, than you did, but her name is on one of the most blatant examples of banking corruption since the cell door closed on Carlo Ponzi.

suntrust hitlers birthday letter

It sounds like a one off letter, but when AG&P called, March 27…

…[T]hey said they are closing Gun stores accounts all over the country! We are a licensed and legal company!

OFA’s social media brigades are flooding the net with obfuscatory claims, including that (1) the letter is fake (it isn’t), the business must be crooked (so where’s the indictment?), and that maybe the account is being closed, but not because AG&P is a gun business, maybe because it’s a pawn shop (like that’s any better a reason?). To which the company’s Steve Champion replies:

You are wrong. Gun dealers are part of the account closings. I called and they specifically said it was because we are a gun dealer. I have the names of everyone I spoke with.

Even as these letters were going out, one of the great successes under the authority of Operation Choke Point, Administration Made Guy (FDIC Chairman) Martin J. Gruenberg was in front of Congress, mumbling non-sequiturs to avoid perjuring himself that Choke Point was not a thing, and if it was, it was over, and who were you going to believe, a Beltway and Wall Street Made Guy like Himself, or your lyin’ eyes?

Champion has gotten some small media play in outlets like Florida News Flash and local TV and radio, but this problem is not going away. If anything, it’s going to grow, because the Deep State bureaucrats haven’t backed away when exposed — instead, they’ve sought the cloak of secrecy. Not a good sign.

The NRA has a story with some of the industry’s (and other targeted industries’) responses to Choke Point. If you yourself have been a victim of SunTrust or another national socialist bank, the US Consumer Coalition wants to hear from you — also, if you’re an inside-banking whistleblower.

No one has been able to get a response from the Hitler’s Birthday celebrators at SunTrust. SunTrust has been one of the most aggressive participants in Choke Point, and has been evasive about its anti-gun policies and positions for at least two years. The participating banks have been threatened by the CFPB, the FDIC and the Department of Justice to keep the details of their participation secret.

Serial Number ID10T: Negligent Discharge Edition

There’s a show on TV somewhere called Doomsday Preppers. Based on the clips we’ve seen, It’s dedicated to the Hollywood proposition that anyone taking measures to be ready for natural or (to use that wonderful DHS locution) “man-made disasters” is (1) an inbred, mouth-breathing moron, and (2) an irresponsible “gun nut.” The actors on the show seem intent on proving these propositions, in the limited set of clips that we’ve seen. In this one, Tim, one of the on-camera “talent” in the show, grapples with the consequences of a negligent discharge:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qth1k962_9A

Unfortunately, the camera picks up the “writing” but is not on time to snag the ND. Still you can figure it out by parsing out the lame excuses: 

  1. 0:10: “Damn thing uh, just misfired on it.” Er, no it didn’t. Misfire is what happens when a gun that is commanded to fire does not.  In this case, the problem was where his left hand was when his right hand commanded the firearm to go bang. 
  2. 0:31: “As soon as Tim’s gun misfired and hit his thumb…” Er, no it didn’t. See above. Well, it did hit his thumb… that we’ll concede.
  3. 0:45: “It was one of those… malfunctions…” Er, not it wasn’t, Tim. Man up. The gun functioned perfectly and did what your trigger finger directed it to do, which was, in this case, blow out most of the bone between the first and second knuckles of his left thumb. Guns are stupid, but generally obedient to humans’ commands. Humans, conversely, are just stupid. Q.E.D.
  4. 047: “My thumb went in front of the barrel…” Gee, no idea how that happened! It just went. Er, no it didn’t. Thumbs generally respond to motor impulses generated deep inside the brain housing group. Yes, it was dumb to do, but you did it, and you’re gonna own it.
  5. 0:49: “…and, uh, it went off.” Funny how guns owned by bozos have this propensity for just going off like that.

Now, this is not mere entertainment TV, where we’re meant to jape at Tim’s buffoonery and chortle at his pain and suffering. (Although it would take a heart of stone not to do that, and we’re not in that much of a granite state that we won’t). This is also meant, by its Hollywood impresarios, to educate and uplift people away from taking care of themselves, and towards Letting George Do It, or, perhaps, these days, Letting Big G Do It. That’s an insidious message, and you would do well to reject it. It is never a bad idea to look out for you and yours.

There’s being prepared, and being a “prepper.”

You don’t need to define yourself as a “prepper” to see the sense in being prepared for interruptions in the just-in-time flow of food, water, fuel, and electricity to your home (not to mention interruptions in Rule of Law). Two nice young Mormons came by yesterday; they didn’t sign us up for Latter-Day Sainthood, but their visit did remind us that their neighborly faith asks its votaries to be prepared, much as the Scout’s Motto does; their people tend to be prepared to weather hard times, even though it’s been a long time since their opponents put their ancestors to the sword and drove the survivors to Utah.

On survival, the best is the enemy of the good. It’s easy to get started by laying in a weekend’s, then a week’s, then a month’s worth of water and food and fuel. You may never need it (a fine thing, yes?), so use things that you can rotate through your daily life, not bizarre “survival” stuff. Interruptions in any normal traffic tend to be short; long interruptions are vanishingly rare. Preparing for a short loss of supply availability (or rule of law) will get you past most probable risks. If we descend into Mad Max Universe, yes, you may need to be like Tim (except, we hope, less stupid — imagine what happens to a guy who shoots his thumb nearly off in a situation without an EMT on hand and an ambulance and hospital on call). But that catastrophic outcome is a highly improbable one. Fire, flood, and extreme weather events are all much more likely than nuclear war or any of the environmental extinction-porn causes that generate over-CGI’d propaganda from Hollywood.

Now for the Gun Safety lesson

ND-shot-in-footThere was a guy years ago who loaded a .45 and put a webcam on it for years, waiting for it to “just go off.” It never did. (I think his hosting company went out of business, which ended the experiment).

However, we bet if you gave an empty, clear and inspected firearm to “Tim” here or to his gang of Dumbsday Preppers, it would not be long before “kaBANG!” echoed across the land, as Tim almost literally realized the last line of Kipling’s brilliant The Gods of the Copybook Headings.

And the lesson there is: guns are machines. It is incumbent on you to master your machine, and not be dictated to by it. Lest you wind up on TV making lame excuses for your lack of opposable thumbs.

Benchwork with Bubba: Mosin Edition

On this lovely weekend day, as a light snow sprinkles on us in seacoast New Hampshire (Dear God, winter can end any time), we settle in to spend some quality time with our favorite (in entertainment terms)  gunsmith, Bubba. If you’re a habitué of Reddit’s /r/guns, you probably caught this beauty last week, but if not, here it is in all its… glory. It is stunning, for some values of “stunning.”

Tula bubbad Mosin 001Obviously, the guy who posted this bubba’d Mosin on Imgur is having some fun with it, as he carefully photographed it with the props of booze and cartridges. The booze? He explains, “Alcohol for scale and realism.” Gives you the full Bubba. (He is a Marine vet of Afghanistan and has another Imgur page with info about the weapons he used).

This gun seems to hit the high points of Bubbadom on several levels.

  • It started with a Finnish M39, a collector Mosin. The front sight was removed along with the last few inches of the barrel. We doan need no stankin’ sights. The rear sight, however, was left on, because removing that is Hard To Do.
  • The stock is hacked down and the Modern Art forearm tip grafted on.
  • The whole thing is painted OD. Can’t tell if it’s a brush job or rattle cans. When his phone doesn’t ring, it’s the Maaco Crappy Auto Body franchise not offering him a job in their DILLIGAFF Paint Shop.
  • That bolt handle… ugh. First, the workmanship looks like a reject from a Teach Yourself Welding class. Second, that bolt handle is extended and the weirdo industrial knob (which has more than a whiff of Harbor Freight about it)  is cleverly located forward and underneath the trigger entirely; believe it or not, the idea behind modifying rifle bolts, back in the days of Peak Sporterizing, was to make the bolt easier and faster to operate, as well as to clear a scope and mount. Tula bubbad Mosin 002
  • Given that this guy has the metal-shaping skills of Katy Perry, this Acme bolt handle didn’t clear the stock, so he chiseled a gouge in the stock for it to rest in. That part is left in the original bare birch or whatever for contrast. Scandinavian Design FTW!
  • Rather than apply his welding savoir-faire to the trigger, he took the coward’s way out and added a big wide trigger shoe. Because he who dies with the most mods on his gun, wins.
  • The Thalidomide bolt handle still didn’t clear the scope and mount, so you can see some crude saw (note toolmarks) has been used to chop off the after end of the scope.
  • The $10 bargain basement scope (he thinks, a Center Point) and mounts are guaranteed to last at least until the gun is fired. No, handled. Until the gun is handled.
  • The stilt-high see-through mounts are meant to be used with iron sights, by people who buy $10 scopes and therefore need to go to backup any time they hunt outdoors in weather (when was the last time you hunted indoors?). Therefore a cheek weld is impossible.
  • So a hunk of foam is Ace-bandaged on to the stock to make a sort of rustic cheekpiece.

Bubba Facit, as the Romans might have said.

There are actually two versions of the Imgur post, here and here, with very slight differences in the wording, but the same pictures.

Somewhere in Finland, a guy who spent a hunk of the last century turning Mosins into finely crafted moose and elk hunting rifles is weeping inconsolably.

Friday Federal Follies: VA, TSA, DEA, ATF: Fifty Ways to Fail your Nation

Rather than do a more general Friday Tour d’Horizon, we thought we’d zero in today on various ways that various federal agencies are screwing up.

Yes, it is shooting fish in a barrel.

The Department of Veterans Affairs

VA-veterans-affairsTo start with, we have the VA. When they banished some stumblebum named Diana Rubens from the Bureaucrats’ Right Hand of God®, a DC assignment, way out to the far provinces, to wit, Philadelphia, she exacted a payment by way of compensation.

The Department of Veterans Affairs confirmed Wednesday that it paid a senior manager $288,000 in “relocation payments” when it reassigned her from Washington last year to become director of the agency’s problem-riddled Philadelphia office.

The chairman of the House Veterans Affairs committee called the payment to Philadelphia Director Diana Rubens “outrageous.”

Ya think? He also said it “raises questions about VA’s commitment to fiscal responsibility.”  What questions? It perfectly illustrates VA’s fiscal responsiblity, about that of a two-year-old. Nevertheless, a mealy-mouthed spokesman, himself a worthless six-figure drain on the taxpayers, stepped up to defend the VA’s practices of fraud, waste and abuse:

A department spokesman told the Philadelphia Inquirer that federal regulations allow the payment of certain relocation expenses, including the costs of house-hunting, moving, terminating leases, and a per diem rate for meals and temporary housing.

Translation: “Shaddup, peasant, or we’ll give the next payroll patriot half a mil.”

What did your last move cost your employer (or, more likely, you?) The VA paid over $2,000 per mile to move Rubens. No matter how Rubenesque her lifetime swilling at the government trough has made her, that’s too much. Remember, when they say they don’t have enough money to treat sick vets, it’s not that they don’t have money. It’s just that spending it on their ostensible mission is a lower priority than six-figure bogus bonuses for underperformers.

Added VA Item: Exec Given Bonuses for Failing retires

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that “embattled” VA official Glenn Haggstrom, who was paid large bonuses — more in bonuses than a middle-class annual income — whilst overseeing $2 billion in cost overruns and blowing through deadline after deadline, has quietly retired . About the only difference this makes is that he can’t get more bonuses now. We paid him for not doing his job before, and now we’re going to pay him for not doing his job for the rest of his life.

Added VA Item: Legislators Introduce Bill requiring VA to fund hospitals over bonuses.

Naturally, the VA opposes the bill. Details here. Driving the bill is the VA’s budgetary incontinence on the cost of construction of a new hospital in Aurora, CO (eastern suburb of Denver), where the cost bill rocketed from $630 million to $1.73 billion, nearly triple, in about eight months, due to mismanagement by Coffman (in fact the original cost was $328 million, so mismanagement has amplified the cost more than fivefold since the beginning). Amid accusations and acrimony all round, the contractor has walked off the job and the hospital project is standing abandoned and vandalized at this writing. But what’s most important to VA managers got taken care of: Coffman got $64,000 in bonuses. We might not have a king, but it’s good to be Beltway nobility. (Silly colonists, thought they’d built a republic).

TSA: Expedited Pre-Check for Notorious Terrorist

Sarah Jane Olson TSAThe weirdo California terrorist gang, the Symbionese Liberation Army, was one of those bizarre ructions of the 70s. But another bizarre ruction of the 70s was giving terrorists short prison sentences, and one of the released SLA creeps was a woman who then went by the nom de guerre Kathy Soliah, but whose real name was Sara Jane Olson. Soliah/Olson showed up at Minneapolis-St. Paul airport recently, where the TSA’s vaunted pre-check system flagged her as a person needing only token screening.

No one good, decent, honest, intelligent, moral or ethical has ever been employed by TSA in any capacity whatsoever.

CBP: The Border Patrol Perv

Elsewhere in the morass that is DHS, it looks like a Border Patrol supervisor was, not to put too fine a point on it, a perv. Armando Gonzalez is charged with setting up hidden cameras to film women in a restroom at the Chula Vista CBP station.

If we’re not going to let the Border Patrol, you know, patrol the jeezly border, then we shouldn’t be shocked when the devil finds work for these idle hands.

The DEA: Hookers OK, So Long As the Drug Cartels Pay

You have to hand it to senior managers of the DEA who figured out how to avoid getting bad press for spending government money on sex parties with throngs of hookers. They just had their good buddies, the drug cartels, pay for the hookers. Hey, no conflict of interest there.

But the report says they really cracked down on the crooked agents who were partying with the drug traffickers: some of them got punitive suspensions of from two to ten days. (The longer suspensions went to Supervisory Special Agents who took bribes from the drug dealers in the form of “money, expensive gifts, and weapons,” according to the OIG report).

We guess now the drug cops and drug dealers go dutch on the whores, and that’s OK. You could say they’re consolidating agency purchases of hookers and hookahs.

Between the DEA hiring their hookers and the ATF shipping them guns, it’s only a matter of time before the Sinaloas and Los Zetas have their own SEIU local.

ATF: Banning Bullets, Buggering Buddies!

ATF-Molan LabeITEM: Speaking of the ATF, America’s Triggerhappy Favorites also got fired up a bit in the same OIG report that broke the story of the DEA’s drug-funded hooker mixers. In a case that’s been widely covered, for example at CleanUpATF.org, the ATF’s Director of Industry Operations was caught by police in New Orleans prostituting himself in a hotel room. He had replaced a bathroom door with one containing a “glory hole” (if you don’t know, count yourself lucky) and advertised his services on Craigslist in the “men seeking men” personals. His defense? He did this all the time while he was traveling. His punishment? None. After all, ATF senior managers don’t want to be biased against gays, prostitutes, and gay prostitutes, especially in senior ATF management where they’re probably pretty common.

ITEM: In addition, “ATF training” meant something different to two training instructors than to the rest of them. The wayward pair seduced new agents in a training class — for years. And the Program Manager covered for them — for years. Their punishment? Well, they’re still there, still screwing all the new hires, so apparently B. Todd Jones and Tom Brandon thought that was punishment enough.

ITEM: ATF’s drone program was crucified by another report. (That’s a news story; here’s the OIG report). The Bureau blew over $600k on six drones it then never used. Then, it threw another six-figure purchase order down, and bought five more of yet another type or kind. It appears to be driven by FBI envy, but the FBI has fixed wing aircraft as well as drones (the FBI also has 17 drones, but only two pilots. Soviet planning lives at the Hoover Building!). ATF lost its authority for fixed-wing capability when it was found to be acquiring OV-10 reconnaissance/strike aircraft after its fiascos at Waco and Ruby Ridge. In the fallout from the attempted attack-plane acquisition, the then-head of aviation services for ATF was found to be stealing from the agency, and went to prison.

It appears that in addition to its two sets of non-working drones, which produced only one failed attempt at flight, ATF has also had drone missions flown by DHS and FBI, although the record-keeping of all three agencies is too dodgy to count them.

It’s the bad managers at ATF that make things hard for the other percent. But now that they’ve blown over a million dollars on drones without anything to show for it, they’ve decided what they really need is a drone needs analysis.

So that they can justify buying moar dronez. Words fail.

ITEM: ATF Agent, AUSA Corruption & Affair sink cases

Last month, a Federal judge threw ATF agent Lou Valoze and AUSA Cameron Ippolito out of the Southern District of Georgia courts for a long-standing affair and related corruption that has tainted every prosecution to emerge from Valoze’s long string of “storefront stings” in the area. Some 332 cases are in jeopardy (200 involving the dynamic duo directly and 132 more involving Ippolito and Valoze’s subordinate agents), and it appears that the two lovers systematically and routinely lied to judges, which judges tend not to like (although you’d think they’d have gotten used to it). An OIG investigation continues, but so far, no consequences for the two crooked Feds. The defendants they lied into jail aren’t happy, and an interesting detail in that same story: Valoze and Ippolito are both married, just not to each other.

These guns, displayed as seized in a Pulaski, GA storefront sting, are some of the guns ATF keeps in Atlanta for press conferences.

These guns, displayed this time as fruits of a Pulaski, GA storefront sting, are some of the guns ATF keeps in Atlanta for press conferences.

It’s possible that some of the criminals Valoze and Ippolito teamed up to incarcerate will stay in, but if so, it will be despite their dishonest efforts.

It was defense attorney Amy Lee Copeland who exposed the Ippolito/Valoze affair, forcing US Attorney Ed Tarver, who had long known of and tolerated it, to admit it to the court.

ITEM: Another US Attorney in Love / Trouble

Amanda Marshall, US Attorney for Oregon, was involuntarily put on leave early this month after credible allegations emerged that she was stalking one of her subordinates.

And that’s not all….

…it looks like even Interpol is rotten to the core, as another tale of nepotism and corruption teaches us.  Which might be a good time to wrap this post up.

interpol

 

 

NOTE

This post has been edited since going live on 271800 Mar 2015. Two more examples have been added to the initial section on the Veterans Administration, thanks to tips in the comments and email.

OT: What Does it Take to Get Fired, if You’re a Professor?

Marco DorfsmanWell, you could ask Marco Dorfsman (amusingly called Draftsman in one place in the story — Damn You Autocorrect!), and he could tell you.

In December of 2012, Dorfsman altered the student evaluations of his colleague, French lecturer Emilie Taplin, by lowering her student evaluation scores. Court documents state that Dorfsman changed the average scores for every class Taplin taught that semester, as well as her overall average awarded by students. The tampering made it appear that her performance fell below acceptable limits for her department, court documents state.

Taplin’s contract for re-employment for the 2013 calendar year was still under consideration and had not been renewed as of the time Dorfsman altered her student evaluations. In January, Dorfsman said he came forward with what he had done.

“Last December I had what I can only say was an emotional breakdown and I did a terrible thing,” Dorfsman said in an email sent to colleagues on April 19, 2013. “I lost my judgment and in a moment of great stress I tampered with a colleague’s student evaluations.”
The Professional Standards Committee of the Faculty Senate terminated Dorfsman in May 2013 due to “moral turpitude” after an investigation.

But wait! If you were to, as we’re always saying, Read The Whole Thing™, you’d see that it’s not necessarily over. Dorfsman fought the firing, and an independent arbitrator let him stay — even while noting that his underhanded attack on Prof Taplin’s reputation (the reason for which attack is not stated, but we reckon we can guess) not only jeopardized her job (we can not find her listed as current UNH faculty) but also her work visa, which was contingent on the job.

A judge has, on appeal by the University, reinstated Prof Dorfsman’s firing, and rejected a motion for reconsideration. Dorfsman may now appeal to a higher court.

From time to time we encountered the guy in SF who had all the tools to excel in SF but instead displayed what our society once was not ashamed to call what the university has called it in this case — “moral turpitude” (a term that can be a legal term of art with a very narrow meaning, but we’re using it in its broadest and most general sense). Sometimes he had buddies and teammates and even leaders who would go to bat for him, but these cases never ended well (one such has just been an occasion for an enlightening backchannel discussion with a distinguished retired SF officer). The right answer always is the same: give the guy leave and impetus to go excel elsewhere.

Prof Dorfsman may feel terrible about what he did, and he may be bound and determined never to commit such a misdeed again. But there is a bell he can’t unring here; a change of horizons may give him a chance to rebuild his reputation, but UNH should not.

We note that even Michael A. Bellesiles, stripped of the Bancroft Prize when his book Arming America: Origins of a National Gun Culture was exposed as an academic fraud (Clayton Cramer played a major role in this exposure), has been rehabilitated, sort of: a college unconcerned with academic integrity has given him a job; his original, bogus book has been republished in all its fraudulent glory by a Communist publishing house; a new book published to glowing reviews (and nearly nil sales) by a New York house which loves his ideology enough to overlook his scholarship, and uncritical, slobbering tonguebaths in the New York Times and Chronicle of Higher Education. Even though Bellesiles has been exposed as a fraud againin an article he wrote for his friends at the Times. Even though some writers clearly no longer trust him and don’t accept his supporters’ claims that it’s all because of a “swiftboating campaign by the NRA” (which also forgets that the Swift Boat officers and men had the truth of it, and Secretary/Senator Kerry is the one who has been dishonest about his past).

So Dorfsman has a way forward: emulate Bellesiles by attacking what academics everywhere abjure (like gun owners, in Bellesiles’s case) and praising what they adore (like central government control of things like guns).  Will he do that?

Update

Before we could even take the post live, Dorfsman is activating that exact exit strategy. Here he is on twitter, seeing raaaaacism (with the obligatory 5 a’s) everywhere:

dorfus1

(note, we’re having a hard time getting images to load at the moment. Bear with us).

…and here he is, praising socialism.

dorfus2

Yeah, it just hasn’t been tried hard enough. You know, by all those sissies. Like Mao. And Stalin. No real surprise, that a guy who would falsify documents to injure another teacher at his own university thinks he’s entitled to Other People’s Money.

When Guns are Outlawed, only Outlaws will have Chef’s Knives

Deasia WatkinsBy every measure, Deasia Watkins was a known nut job. Bat-guano crazy. She heard voices and saw demons. She had a history of drug abuse, mental illness, violence, and threats of violence. And so, Great and Good Government did all it could to protect the person she’d most recently and credibly threatened — her own three-month-old baby.

Except, of course, lock Deasia up.

Silly baby. You trusted Government.

Sometime late Sunday or early Monday morning in a College Hill home, police say, Deasia Watkins broke Jayniah’s arm, stabbed her at least 15 times and cut off her head.

When she’d finished, prosecutors say, Watkins placed the large knife she’d used to kill Jayniah in the baby’s hand and went to bed.

Police found the baby on a kitchen counter Monday morning. They found Watkins in bed, covered in blood.

“This is one of the most disturbing cases I’ve ever seen,” said Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters.

Ah, yeah. Another victim of the easy availability of handguns (and chef’s knives), the craptacular welfare system, and our avert-eyes-until-homicide approach to mental illness, but mostly our approach to mental illness.

The injuries to the baby were so severe, they creeped out the medical examiner, and most of them are more cold-blooded than the killers who send them work projects.

Deters and others investigating the case blame Jayniah’s death on a lethal combination of severe mental illness, a difficult family situation and the inability of the social services system to provide around-the-clock supervision for every child with unstable or neglectful parents.

Watkins had been hospitalized, declared a danger to Jayniah and ordered to stay away from her. Hamilton County’s Job and Family Services took custody of the child and temporarily placed her with an aunt, on condition the mother not be allowed in the home.

Yeah, give a verbal order to a crazy person, and expect obedience. That sounds like the DMV rejects that populate state child-welfare bureaucracies across the nation.

Social workers saw the child at Job and Family Services’ Downtown office as recently as Friday.

Still, Jayniah is dead.

via Mom accused of baby’s beheading was ordered to stay away.

Read on for more mealy-mouthed sniveling from the prosecutor on behalf of his fellow payroll patriots:

When asked about the decision to place the child with the aunt, Deters said the investigation so far has found no red flags that would have warned social workers of a potential danger. “Whether this aunt was the right choice, obviously she wasn’t,” Deters said. “And this tragedy ensued.”

Ah, yes. “This tragedy ensued.” Make the tragedy the subject. Could it get any worse? Well, actually, it can.

Prosecutors say the body was discovered by a 5-year-old relative who had been dropped off at the house that morning before school.

Words fail.

Watkins, who remains under guard at Deaconess Hospital, has not spoken to investigators and appears to be suffering from severe mental illness. Deters said he is unlikely to seek the death penalty in the case because of her mental state.

All the more reason, if you ask us. Give Baby Momma of the Year® the needle, save the next victim from the next time some weak-as-water judge lets her go.

Court records show that Watkins was diagnosed with postpartum psychosis after a Jan. 25 incident at her apartment. Police responded to a 911 call complaining that Watkins was screaming and Jayniah was crying loudly.

This was not this incident; this was a previous incident where she threatened the baby less than two months ago.

Watkins, who police said smelled of marijuana, initially refused to open the door and, once police were inside, refused to hand over the baby. When they took the child, court records say, Watkins passed out with her eyes open.

Hey, drug use harms nobody. Well, except for collateral damage like baby Jaynieh. But that’s not really a consequence of anything. It’s just “this tragedy” that “ensued.”

According to court records, Brown, the child’s father, told them Watkins had been “acting crazy lately, speaking of demons.”

Watkins was supposed to take medication for her mental problems, but Brown later told authorities he had never seen her do so.

Naw, she had weed for that. Who you gonna trust, some punk-as doctor in a clinic, or your local dope dealer? That doctor was such a dork he didn’t even drop out of school; what could he know?

Watkins was taken to University of Cincinnati Medical Center following the Jan. 25 incident and given a psychological evaluation. After being diagnosed with postpartum psychosis, she was admitted to Deaconess Hospital for 72 hours.

Oddly enough, just about as long as Medicaid will pay Deaconess for “treating” this nut job. They probably just locked her in a room and ran out the clock — that’s “mental health treatment” these days.

At a March 6 juvenile court hearing, Magistrate Judge Elisa Murphy ordered Job and Family Services to take custody of the child because she could not be safely placed with the parents.

“Imminent risk of harm exists if the child returns to her surroundings,” Murphy wrote.

It’s great to be a judge and channel Yul Brynner as Ramses in Ben-Hur. “So let it be written; so let it be done!” The problem is, the Egyptian court was scared incontinent of Ramses. The careless, idle bums at child-services agencies know that they can’t be fired, and no matter what a crappy job they do — and in 50 states and 3 territories, they do a crappy job — no one will ever hold them to account.

“And this tragedy ensued.” The reporters won’t even have to write a new story; they’ll be able to reuse this one. Real soon now.

As Air Marshals Lay in Wait to Ambush Hijackers, a Department Exec Ambushed them to Get Laid

Welcome to the Federal Government, where being the kind of woman who boils rabbits is tolerated for years and years — and then, when you take it too far, gets you 15 months (and counting) paid vacation. Of course, the Federal Air Marshals Service is part of what legendarily inept agency?

At the center of the inquiry is Michelle D’Antonio, 48, who worked for the service for more than a decade until she was placed on administrative leave in December 2013. As a program specialist, she was responsible for coordinating delayed, missed or canceled flights and providing other logistical support, giving her access to sensitive government databases.

Instead, current and former employees say, she used her position to look up personnel files, identification photographs and flight schedules to pinpoint air marshals she was interested in meeting and possibly dating.

For some values of the word “dating.” NTTAWWT.

“She’s a ‘badge bunny’ – a woman who likes to date anybody with a badge,” said Lisa Duron, the newlywed wife of a San Diego-based air marshal, Roy B. Duron, who has acknowledged that he had a four-year affair with D’Antonio.

via Air marshals’ flight schedules rearranged for trysts, employees say | Reveal.

Oh, but it gets better. D’Antonio was a problem employee from Day 1, over a dozen years ago. Indeed, she was a litigious employee, suing to demand that she be appointed as an air marshal, even though she was over the Fed’s 37-year-old age cutoff for most armed agent jobs, including the FAMS. She lost that one, but department leadership learned to give her lots of room.  They also learned something about her integrity. The basis of her suit was a claim she was unfairly denied a job that she not only didn’t qualify for, but could not produce any evidence she had applied for. Ever.

Of course, FAMS is part of the TSA. No one good, decent, honest, competent, moral, ethical or intelligent has ever been employed at TSA in any capacity whatsoever. Q.E.D.

Juxtaposition: Who to Trust with Life and Liberty?

Well, with your life, liberty, and a big honkin’ knife?

In New York, a local pol, one Tony Avella, says: “Trust no one.” Avella wants to ban big knives and machetes, since the gun bans already imposed by guys like him have ended all firearms crime in the back alleys of Newburgh and Schenectady, or something.

tony-avella-bill-ban-weapons

So, really, why does he want to do this thing? The New York Daily News (which provides the hilarious picture of him vogueing with the two el cheapo machetes) says:

“The fact that anyone can easily purchase this potentially lethal tool is just crazy,” he said.

Under Avella’s proposed legislation, the mere possession of a machete could lead to a year behind bars.

OK. The ever popular, “Restore sanity by banning stuff I dislike.” We bet he’d have been strong for the Volstead Act. But, don’t let him see the statistics for baseball bats, or his constituents might just have to become fans of the Newark Yankees. But still, why?

… Avella’s push comes in response to an attack last summer on Long Island in which, according to authorities, a man hacked a teenager to death.

On his way to being arraigned, the suspect, David Sadler, 45, told reporters he’d bought the weapon on Craigslist.

Police say Sadler slashed Terrance Grier, 17, in the neck with the massive blade during an argument down the block from Sadler’s Hempstead home in July.

“I didn’t even know it was possible to buy a machete online,” Terrance’s mother, Greta Price, told the Daily News…. “He’d still be alive today if it wasn’t for a machete.”

Yeah, that’ll work. The next guy inclined to “hack a teenager to death” instead will think, “Oh, snap, better not do that! Possession of this-here machete is against the law. Why, I could get in trouble. I guess I’ll just have to give up my little scheme of murdering this kid that irritates me, or use some weapon it’s legal to murder him with.”

What percent of murderers were deterred by the fear of getting in trouble? Exactly, zero. That’s why they’re murderers, for the love of God.

Meanwhile, an old Ranger buddy (tab-Rangers, us, not regiment-Rangers who are the “real” Rangers in our book) sends the following under the title, Waiting for ISIS:

Ranger Ready for ISIL

 

From the inscription on his knife — which is decidedly NSFW if you’re Russian — looks like he’s ready for Little Green Men, too.

The knife is a Cold Steel repop of the OSS Smatchet. Sort of a gladius for the modern age.

So who’s safer, the people who trust their lives and liberty to Wielder #1, or the ones who rely on Wielder #2?

Science on the Army’s Failed UCP

Quick, spot the soldiers (One is in ACU. Two more in Ghillie suit over MultiCam).

Quick, spot the soldiers (One is in ACU. Two more in Ghillie suit over MultiCam).

Today, most US Army soldiers still wear the Army Combat Uniform in the spectacularly failed Uniform Camouflage Pattern, despite the fact that its poor performance across the board reduces soldier concealment and increases soldier exposure. The problems of concealment and exposure are why armies issue camouflage materials in the first place, and ineffective concealment, such as the day-glo UCP, is worse than no attempt at camouflage at all.

We’re currently reading Animal Weapons: The Evolution of Battle by University of Montana biologist Douglas J. Emlen. We were attracted to the book by its title and cover, which promises a lively read with illustrations of a saber-toothed cat and a knight on an armored and caparisoned horse. But a quick skim brought up two disturbing facts. First, it’s largely based on extrapolation from Emlen’s career as a ground-breaking student of dung beetles, somewhat the opposite end of the animal glamour scale from prehistoric tigers. Second, he concludes with a pointy-headed academic’s ambivalent condemnation of the US side of the Cold War and a feeble complaint that “weapons of mass destruction change the stakes… we’re not likely to survive another arms race,” without proposing an alternative. (The implication seems to be some kind of unilateral or negotiated disarmament. Yet he knows, from his studies, how that works out for humans as well as for animals. The conclusion has the feel of something pasted on to justify his crimethink to his academic peers).

Nonetheless, we are slogging our way through the book. (We’ve mentioned before the SF curse/blessing of persistence to the point of perseverance). And it turns out to be full of many insights, like this one:

Over and over, night after night, Donald [Kaufman] released dark mice and white mice into cages side-by-side. Each time the owl snatched one of the mice, Kaufman recorded which one died, and which survived. He showed that both soil color and mouse color mattered. When the mouse dashed across dark soil, the white mouse was most often taken. When the soil was pale, the pattern was reversed. Owls snatched the darker mouse.NOTE1

Obviously, blending in with backgrounds is essential for soldier survival for precisely the same reasons that it is in mice (imagine conducting a night operation wearing white winter camo). In fact, in 2003 the US Army used a process not unlike Kaufman’s experiment with owls to determine the most effective camouflage patterns for our troops. More than a dozen color and pattern types were assessed against urban, desert, and would want environments, to identify uniforms least likely to stand out.

Ideally, the uniform selection process should have unfolded just like owls selecting for mismatched mice, with the population – in this case the Army – evolving towards the best camouflage possible. Unfortunately, politics in the economics of mass production intervened. Rather than to several different types of uniforms, each the best available for a particular habitat, the army opted for a single Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP).

This may have solved logistical problems of production and distribution, but it also caused our troops to sometimes stand out when they were supposed to be blending in. After all, the solution with mice was two colors, not one, and the reality of diverse combat habitats is that no one pattern blends well in all places.

It didn’t take long for our troops to complain, and by 2009 it was obvious to everyone that the UCP was performing terribly in Afghanistan. The Army then rushed to develop a new pattern called “Operation Enduring Freedom Camouflage Pattern” (OCP) for soldiers deployed in Afghanistan, which it began issuing in 2010.

We’ve covered the UCP debacle to the death here, before, but it’s interesting to see our views validated, and to see the description of the Kaufman experiments, which we were unaware of (they date to the 1960s), and of more recent findings that confirm Kaufman’s, and that explain the genetic functioning of this natural-selection experiment at the genetic and even molecular level.