Monthly Archives: July 2013

The Original Source of Militia Law?

torah_scrollIn an online publication of the Denver University Law Review, Dave Kopel argues that Ancient Hebrew Militia Law, as described in the Book of Deuteronomy (a book considered canonical by Jews and Christians alike), is the forerunner of American militia concepts. He may be on to something. The Bible is the one book that Revolutionary-era citizens were likely to have in common, whether they were poor farmers who had no other book, better-off artisans who had a few volumes, or rich planters or merchants with densely-packed libraries.

Most interesting to us, was the book’s handling of exemptions and conscientious objectors.

The Book of Deuteronomy (the second law) is the last book of the Torah (also known as the Pentateuch). Deuteronomy provided generous exemptions from militia service: anyone who had built a new house but not yet dedicated it, or who had planted a vineyard but not eaten of it, or who was betrothed but who had not consummated his marriage, or who had been married for less than one year.[6]

A modern Conservative Jewish version of the Pentateuch with commentary, the Etz Hayim, observes that the exemptions protected anyone whose death in battle would be especially unfortunate. But why do they not rely on God to prevent tragic death? Although God may work miracles, protecting the righteous from harm, we may never force God’s hand by demanding a miracle—putting good people in danger and expecting God to protecting them. We cannot ignore our obligations to make the world a safer and more just place by depending on God to set things right.[7]

The “fearful and fainthearted” were also excused, lest they depress the morale of the willing.[8] This last exemption was militarily sound: a few faint-hearted people who fled might set off a panic causing the whole army to flee. A broken army, fleeing away in fear, would likely be slaughtered by its pursuing foes.

Henry V

Choose your Henry V: for us Branagh edges out Olivier.

Just goes to show you that some themes are of very great antiquity. And when you think one is of great antiquity indeed: consider Henry V’s 17th-Century plea:

[P]roclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host; that he which hath no stomach to this fight, let him depart; his passport shall be made and crowns for convoy put into his purse: we would not die in that man’s company that fears his fellowship to die with us.

Of course that speech is fictional, it’s Shakespeare’s, not really Henry’s. But allow for a minute the conceit that it was the warrior King’s; would he have known that the ancient Hebrews, too, declined to go to war in the company of “the fainthearted”?

via The online supplement to the Denver University Law Review – DULR Online Articles – Ancient Hebrew Militia Law.

When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have blunt instruments

Schumer Hammer 2In the gun-control Utopia of Japan, where even toy guns are tightly restricted, real guns have been banned since 1965, and the Kempei Tai police state of the former militaristic Empire was never really dismantled, they still have a problem with crazies. The Independent:

On Sunday night, the bodies of 71-year-old Makoto Sadamori and his wife Kiyoko, 72, were found in the smouldering remains of their home, in a mountain hamlet in the western Yamaguchi prefecture.

Around 80 metres away, police came across a third body, thought to be that of a 79-year-old woman, Miyako Yamamoto, whose house had begun to burn at around 9pm, approximately the same time as the Sadamori home.

The remote village is said to contain just 10 households, a temple and a community centre, so when two more bodies were found in other nearby homes on Monday, the dead amounted to a third of its population.

Like their fellow victims, 73-year-old Satoko Kawamura and Fumito Ishimura, 80, are believed to have been battered to death. All five reportedly died instantly after being struck on the head with a blunt instrument.

Criminologist Jinsuke Kageyama told the Japan Times: “All of the victims must have been asleep when they were attacked… Even elderly people resist. It would have been difficult to strike them repeatedly only on the head.”

Police have yet to find a murder weapon, but think they may have discovered a clue to the killer’s identity: a haiku poem, fixed to a window at the home of their chief suspect, Yamamoto’s 63-year-old neighbour, which reads: “Setting on fire/ Smoke gives delight/ To a country fellow.”

via Japan: Hunt on for serial killer who left a haiku clue – Asia – World – The Independent.

They have not named the sole suspect in the case, but he had previous run-ins with some of the neighbors, kept an intimidating dog, and “told neighbours that if he killed someone, he would be immune from prosecution because he is on medication.”

Japan has no legal guns, but you can’t control crazy. (Despite being an island nation with a high level of social order, a pervasive surveillance society and almost zero gun manufacturers, they can’t keep guns out of the hands of the Yakuza organized crime outfits, either). Japan also has a higher suicide rate than the USA, despite the lack of private arms; while most of the “gun deaths” cited by American civil-disarmament interests are suicides.

 

SF – Lao Meeting Coming Up in September

SF1CRESTDuring the war in Vietnam, there was a second, secret war in the mountain land of Laos. The US conducted a clandestine campaign against the North Vietnamese Army, which occupied large parts of that country as part of its Ho Chi Minh Trail logistics system. That once-secret war has since been declassified in large part, and it’s time for the participants to gather and discuss it with interested academics.

That’s going to happen in Wisconsin in September. All we have at the moment is a heads-up. We’ll have more details soon.

The nominal players were the People’s Army of Vietnam (who are not expected at the conference) on one side, and the marginally effective palace-guard Royal Lao Army on the other. (It was always US and Lao against North Vietnamese. The Pathet Lao communist group were never much more than a stalking horse for the NV). But the effective fighting on the anti-communist side was carried out by Hmong tribesmen, advised and guided by CIA officers under “Project 404.” Most of these CIA officers were former, or sheep-dipped, SF soldiers. Many of them were legends in SF, the Agency, and beyond. Unfortunately many of them are gone (Tony Poe, George Bacon III, many more).

The Hmong warriors and their American blood brothers had plenty of help in the form of aviation support, both from similarly sheep-dipped Air Force “Raven” FACs, and fast movers from South Vietnam and Yankee Station. This operation has been dismissed, especially by historians and journalists of the Left, but for many years it confounded the PAVN logistical elements charged with maintaining the Trail (Group 559), and bled the NVA in what was supposed to be a secure rear area for them. That it did not strategically defeat the North Vietnamese is true, but it was also never independently possible (any more that victory on the Burma Road would cause Tojo to surrender in World War II). It is, after forty to fifty years, an education in what special operations in general and UW/GW in particular can do strategically as a force multiplier — and what they can’t.

Like we said, we’ll have more on the event shortly. If you’re in or near Wisconsin, it will be worth your while; and if you’re interested in SF or Hmong history, it will be worth the travel. You may not only learn about that history, but meet the men that made it!

When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have bicycles

We’ve all seen a cyclist like Chris Bucchere. You know the type: dressed in faux Lance Armstrong spandex, displaying contemptuous disregard for everyone else on the road. Bucchere, a San Francisco computer geek, is America’s first cyclist convicted of vehicular homicide, after he blew through three lights, a crosswalk, and an elderly San Bruno man whom he maimed in front of his wife.

Bucchere then went to an online forum of fellow we-own-the-road bicycle weenies, and typed up pretty much the same kind of contempt for his victim. What did he learn from the incident? That he should always wear a helmet, or he might get hurt. After being told how bad that looked, he went back and added a lame: “hope he ends up OK.” He didn’t; he lingered for four days and died. Bucchere, hoist by his own heartless post, his own reckless riding, and offered a tempting plea deal, pled guilty to vehicular homicide and will be sentenced — the prosecution is asking only for probation — in August.

A cyclist has pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter after running down a 71-year-old pedestrian in what San Francisco’s top prosecutor said appeared to be the first conviction of its kind in the US.

Under the unusual plea deal last week, Chris Bucchere, 37, would not serve any jail time but would be sentenced to three years probation and 1,000 hours of community service….

Bucchere, a software engineer from San Francisco had been riding recklessly and had run three red lights when he struck Hui as he and his wife crossed a street in the Castro district of San Francisco on 29 March 2012, prosecutors said.

Hui died four days later from his injuries.

via San Francisco cyclist guilty of manslaughter in legal first | World news | guardian.co.uk.

Apart from the felony rap — which may yet be reduced to a misdemeanor by one of California’s weak-as-water judges — Buccere got off remarkably lightly, with probation and community service. (Given what we’ve seen of his character already, he’ll find some way to weasel out of that). He was going over 35 in a 25 zone, trying to beat his personal record for a commute to work, and made no effort to stop at stop signs or red lights, including the one he ran when he killed Hui. The prosecutors had him dead to rights via witnesses (including other bike riders), surveillance footage, and his own GPS.

A bicycle is a pleasant and fun way to travel, and done right, it’s healthy for everybody. We try to ride every day, in season. But some people who make a cult of it are a real problem. You can see both kinds of bike riders discussing this accident in this forum thread.

And human life is a remarkably fragile thing. The people who want to ban guns want to be safe, and they think (however mistakenly) that will do it. In fact, California has some ridiculously strict gun laws. What good did that do Sutchi Hui? None at all. Because California also has its share of self-centered, narcissistic and reckless bike riders. And since it also has incredibly permissive courts and prosecutors, neither that, nor the Golden State’s gun crime, have any prospect of changing.

Breaking (out): Hundreds of terrorists unass Abu Ghraib

The Abu Ghraib prison complex. These days, the bad guys are on both sides of the wall.

The Abu Ghraib prison complex. These days, the bad guys are on both sides of the wall, and the prison serves largely for settling sectarian scores.

Let’s see, we’re going to bug out on a pre-declared schedule, and leave a country divided roughly en partes tres between Sunnis that hate us and support Al-Qaida, Shias that hate us and support Iran, and Kurds that like us but can’t get our attention.

The Sunnis hate and want to exterminate the Shias, the Shias likewise vis-a-vis the Sunnis, and, to lift a line from Tom Lehrer and hammer to fit, “everybody hates the Kurds” (who just want to be left alone to do their own thing).

What could possibly go wrong? Well, how about this for starters?

This mess is the gate during the years of US control.

This mess is the gate during the years of US control.

Suicide bombers drove cars packed with explosives to the gates of the prison on the outskirts of Baghdad on Sunday night and blasted their way into the compound, while gunmen attacked guards with mortars and rocket-propelled grenades.

Other militants took up positions near the main road, fighting off security reinforcements sent from Baghdad as several militants wearing suicide vests entered the prison on foot to help free the inmates.

Ten policemen and four militants were killed in the ensuing clashes, which continued until Monday morning, when military helicopters arrived, helping to regain control.

By that time, hundreds of inmates had succeeded in fleeing Abu Ghraib, the prison made notorious a decade ago by photographs showing abuse of prisoners by U.S. soldiers.

“The number of escaped inmates has reached 500, most of them were convicted senior members of al Qaeda and had received death sentences,” Hakim Al-Zamili, a senior member of the security and defense committee in parliament, told Reuters.

“The security forces arrested some of them, but the rest are still free.”

One security official told Reuters on condition of anonymity: “It’s obviously a terrorist attack carried out by al Qaeda to free convicted terrorists with al Qaeda.”

A simultaneous attack on another prison, in Taji, around 20 km (12 miles) north of Baghdad, followed a similar pattern, but guards managed to prevent any inmates escaping. Sixteen soldiers and six militants were killed.

It appears to be a complex and well-coordinated attack. Any Sunnis on the guard force were tipped off and sicked-out or fired high, security forces place stop groups in the four corners of the perimeter to delay any QRF, the splodeydopes make a hole, the less expendable terrorist forces engage the guards. Note that more defenders were killed at Taji, suggesting that the much larger Abu Ghraib force wasn’t fighting all that hard.

We would quibble with Reuters about the source of Abu Ghraib’s notoriety. For 50 years it was the Ba’ath Party’s roach motel: dissidents checked in, but they didn’t check out.

 

This attack follows a series of tit-for-tat mass bombing campaigns: Shias blowing up a couple dozen Sunni mosques, and Sunnis repaying the debt at Shia places of worship (and, if you know anything about Islam, bomb-making instruction and weapons storage). Their basic point of disagreement is: who inherited the so-called prophet’s mantle after Mohammed kicked the bucket. There are other quibbles, too: Sunnis believe that the Shia veneration of holy men and “saints” crosses the line into polytheism, but they’re all enthusiastic murderers, and it’s no deeper or more important to an outsider than why Crips don’t like Bloods. The sensible place for both is where Iraq previously had the Sunni ones, at least: prison.

We have discovered previously, in Afghanistan, that the leaky, feeble, juvenile and legitimacy-challenged national government has little traction in the hearts and minds of Afghans, who have very close ethnic, tribal and racial ties that tend to trump any loyalty to distant abstractions. Likewise, Iraq, where the government has an even weaker claim on legitimacy than Afghanistan’s clown parliament.

In Afghanistan, we learned that prisons couldn’t hold creeps who had more juice than the entire government could bring to bear, any more than Colombia could really imprison Pablo Escobar, or, for that matter, than the US can arrest a fraudster connected to Goldman Sachs.

“Too big to jail” came to Abu Ghraib, with some 500 Al-Qaeda members being freed from Iraq’s large but very slow-moving Death Row.

If there’s a moral in this story, it’s the many social benefits to be found by applying a rocket docket in capital cases.

Rolling Stone’s new pop hero

The cover that should have been. Jake Tapper/CNN (! of all things. Good for them).

The cover that should have been. Jake Tapper/CNN (! of all things. Good for them; if there’s hope for CNN there’s hope for the media, however impossible that seems today — Ed.).

The biggest shock to us was that the senescent Baby Boomer pop magazine was still publishing, but Rolling Stone’s Janet Reitman has found a new pop idol to scream over, just like she and other Rolling Stone writers did over the Bay City Rollers in their bubble-gum days.

Reitman’s article is gushing, shrieking girl-crush fandom (“popular, promising… charming… bright future…”) with occasional words of criticism (“monster”) tossed in to cover her flanks. She interviews the terrorist’s friends and family, ignoring his actions, and certainly its victims.

 

Much of the controversy has addressed the cover alone and the words in the Rolling Stone press release. But the article was even more repellent in its transparent hero-worship. Here’s some of what Reitman says about Flashbang — her own words, not her quoting some friend of his:

  • “…beautiful, tousle-haired boy with a gentle demeanor, soulful brown eyes and the kind of shy, laid-back manner…”

  • “…a captain of the Cambridge Rindge and Latin wrestling team for two years and a promising student…”
  • “…who liked soccer, hip-hop, girls; obsessed over The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones; and smoked a copious amount of weed.”
  • “…he admitted he did not like killing innocent people.”
  • “…lived in America for a decade – and in Cambridge, a city so progressive it had its own “peace commission” to promote social justice and diversity.”
  • “…had earned a scholarship to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and was thinking about becoming an engineer, or a nurse, or maybe a dentist.”
  • “…a boy who glided through life, showing virtually no signs of anger, let alone radical political ideology or any kind of deeply felt religious beliefs.”

Each one of those quotes deserves a sarcastic comeback, but we’ll just let them stand on their own, and leave the sarc as an exercise for you, dear reader.

While Reitman’s article and the accompanying glam-shot cover appalled people all over — especially in Boston, where four died and hundreds were injured by her heartthrob — it’s playing well with the rest of Flashbang’s  fanclub in the media. For instance, rebarbative Rem Rieder, at USA Today, loved it. (He compares it to the magazine’s Charles Manson cover, fair comparison perhaps, but as an example of greatness. This may not make the point he thinks, but says a lot about his own moral bankruptcy). Jonathan Daniel Brown, responding on Twitter to CNN’s Jake Tapper (one of the few media drones who isn’t a Flashbang fanboy), admitted that “the media fetishizes and celebrates terrorists and murderers.” No $#!+, Jimmy Olsen. Some assclown named Mark Joseph Stern at Slate made it clear he liked the cover (“brilliant!”), the puff-piece story (“good journalism”), the photo (his word: “dreamy” — we are not making this up), and Flashbang himself. Some girl-crushing bleach-blonde bimbo at the Grauniad not only celebrated the Flashbang cover, but held up Dzhokar Tsarnayev as a model sort of celebrity, by which she means someone with criminal, violent “cred”. It was “chicks dig jerks” writ very large indeed: she specifically prefers Flashbang  to today’s “boring” stars. “The goody-goodies have such full-spectrum dominance of celebrity,” she complained, that — what? They’re not attempting mass murder, like her preferred hero? How ate-up is that?

Rolling Stone Fandom 40-odd years agoAnd people wonder where the airheaded chicks who joined the Manson Family and carried out his murders went. They went into the media. (And, as Rieder noted, the Rolling Stone crowd — the original crowd, who didn’t trust anyone over 30 until they left it 40 years behind themselves — were all asquee over Manson, back in the day — they even lightened his forehead swastika with literal airbrush).

None of these repulsive writers mentions the names of the people for whom Reitman and her editors have nothing but contempt: the victims. They’re not cool, stylish, hip or trendy: just dead, so to the Reitman media they’re non-persons. Not one is named in her story.

Martin Richard, killed by Dzhokar Tsarnayev’s pressure-cooker bomb, gets nothing but contempt from Rolling Stone and Janet Reitman: he deserved to die so they can celebrate their hero. Martin was 8. Lingzi Lu was a lively Chinese grad student, only 23. But she was nobody to Janet Reitman and her editors. Krystle Campbell, who can be seen trying and failing to cling to a section of fence, and her life, on surveillance footage in the first minutes after the blast, was 29. She gets contempt from Reitman and Rolling Stone, because if she was anybody, she’d be killing people, not being killed by them. In Reitman’s parallel universe, Sean Collier had it coming because he was a cop (what the Manson-era Stone writers, before their ponytails went grey or fell out, called “a pig”). Finally, the couple of hundred other people who were crippled, mangled, shorn of flesh and limbs or drained of lifeblood, and the thousands of intimates of the slain and wounded whose lives were  catastrophically disrupted by Reitman’s crush, well, you can’t manufacture a corporate pop icon without breaking a few nobodies.

A complete (at least “journalistically” complete) list of the casualties is hosted by the Boston Globe. If you take a look at it, you’re doing some of the research that Reitman and her editors couldn’t be bothered with, and learning about people who, according to Rolling Stone/Janet Reitman values, deserve only contempt, because they weren’t celebrities.

It’s a hell of a price to pay so that Reitman can name her vibrator “Jahar.” And so other Rolling Stone writers like Matt Taibbi can defend hers, and by extension their, terrorist fandom. Taibbi denies that his paycheck from the terror fans influences his thinking, proclaims he has “no love for Chechen terrorists,” but then goes on to say, “the lesson of this story is that there are no warning signs for terrorism, that even nice, polite, sweet-looking young kids can end up packing pressure-cookers full of shrapnel and tossing them into crowds of strangers.” This is arrant nonsense, of course. There are and were signs. For crying out loud, the Tsarnayevs were too radical for their Saudi-funded, terrorist-funding extremist mosque. “Nice, polite, sweet-looking young kids” that celebrity chasers like Reitman and Taibbi glamorize wouldn’t be committing mass murder if they weren’t radicalized Moslems in the first place. And they wouldn’t be  celebrated on the cover of the geriatric pop rag if they hadn’t committed mass murder. (Exercise for the reader: instead of committing mass murder, Dzhokar and Tamerlan Tsarnayev stood in a corner of Boston Common every Saturday all summer speaking to the public about what they saw as the plight of fundamentalist moslems in the former Soviet republics of Central Asia. Calculate the odds of their getting a Rolling Stone cover, let alone the swooning admiration of Reitman, Taibbi et al).

Because for Rolling Stone and its shallow celebrity groupies, like Janet Reitman, what matters is that you are a celebrity. Why you are a celebrity is of no consequence. They’re just fans of who their advertisers tell them to be fans of, and/or who’s in the news lately. That’s why they have no qualms about giving equal weight to, say, Jimi Hendrix or Celine Dion on one hand, and Che Guevara, Charles Manson, or, say, Dzhokar Tsarnayev.

God damn Rolling Stone. God damn Janet Reitman.

Update

Meanwhile, a Boston cop assigned as a photographer the night of Flashbang’s capture released a number of pictures to Boston magazine, putting his job in jeopardy, as a direct response to Reitman’s and Rolling Stone’s deification of Dzhokar. We think he looks way better with a red dot on his forehead:

dont_lase_me_bro_Flashbang_dzhokar

Go figure. The one time you need a Mass. cop to lose his trigger discipline, he doesn’t.

When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have concrete sidewalks

A gang of Latino punks thought it was amusing to key the private car of a police officer (and USMC Afghanistan/Iraq vet) Jonathan Molina, who lived in their neighborhood. When he confronted them, they assaulted him. One knocked him unconscious, and straddled him, beating his skull against the concrete. There’s a news story about the accused doer’s indictment.

Just like Trayvon Martin did to George Zimmerman. Just like Trayvon, the accused, Juan Gonzalez, was “an unarmed child” of 17. Unlike Zimmerman, Molina had more restraint, or perhaps he was already unconscious.

He suffered “a fractured skull, internal head injuries and multiple facial fractures.” He never regained consciousness and died nine days later.

Gonzalez’s fellow gang members ratted him out to save their own skins. Gonzalez’s skin is safe; despite being charged with capital murder of a police officer, he can’t be executed because of his calendar age, but if convicted he can expect life without parole.

These are only accusations at this point, filtered through the media, and who knows what will come out in court (a lesson we learned from the Zimmerman case, as well as from Popehat and TalkLeft,  two informative blogs by working defense attorneys).

Because Molina was a police officer, and because the homicide occurred in Texas, he’s quite unlikely to have been charged if he had shot Gonzalez.

Just a teen. A kid. An unarmed kid.

Who killed him stone cold dead.

You don’t need a weapon in your hand to commit murder. Not if you have murder in your heart.

Let’s have a tour d’horizon, shall we?

File all of these under, “things that make you say, ‘Lord love a duck.'”

Defense Furloughs Trigger Weaponized Sniveling

Which wasn’t really the headline the original reporter had in mind, but it seems to fit the article better. Basically, as the sequester-induced furloughs get underway, every group of soon-to-be-idled DOD workers is trying to wring out an exception for themselves.  The troops and their family members, many of whom work at low-paying DOD jobs as PX clerks or dependents’-school teachers at far-flung bases, are now feeling the squeeze of the recession that the Washington beltway Establishment remains both immune and blind to.

Meanwhile, tens of millions of defense dollars, in Air Force One and C-17s and C-130s, will soon be wasted expended flying the First Family to Martha’s Vineyard along with the retinue of clerks, cooks and bottle washers (not to mention golf coaches, tennis pros, and basketball buddies) that are absolutely necessary for the function of a representative democracy during a nine-day vacation.  It’s rather selfless of them to take some time off and experience a little touch of unemployment, just like millions of their constituents! Nothing says Man Of The People™ like summering at Martha’s Vineyard.

The hard-working first family hasn’t had any time off since their $100 million African vacation in June.

The Upside-Down World of Gun Bansters

Nobody is more intent on banning guns than the Chicongo Chicago Combine. Combine Dear Leader His Excellency Speaker of the House For Life Admiral General Aladeen Mike Madigan has been fingered in a jobs-for-contributions scandal. This is the same guys whose fully-owned-and-operated daughter, Lisa, is the figurehead Attorney General of the State and who, doing his bidding, fought, resisted, cajoled and foot-dragged to keep Illinois out of the Union with respect to the Second Amendment and the Heller and McDonald decisions. She;s never had an original idea or a personal opinion in a long life at the public trough, and was only his cat’s paw. So you could say, he fought the law, and the law won.

 

Mike Madigan will probably beat this rap too. After all, it’s not like the Illinois Attorney General, three-time Nepotism Today cover girl, investigates corruption cases.

We Can Always Rely on Law Enforcement!

At least, to lose stuff. This time it’s not guns, though, just a bunch of secret-squirrel encrypted two-way radios. They think they’ve lost about 2,000 of them, but their property accountability for sensitive items is so slapdashedly casual that they’ve actually lost track of the number they’ve lost, according to an eye-opener by Devlin Barrett in the Wall Street Journal. (Barnett’s scoop has also triggered reporting by other agencies, so if you get paywalled at WSJ, let us google that for you).

The radios are a typical government boondoggle, sole-sourced at $2k to $5k each. (If you think the price of electronics goes up every year, You Probably Work For The .Gov™). Here’s what a report from the the agency’s Office of Strategic Technology. quoted by Barret, told Marshals Service brass:

It is apparent that negligence and incompetence has resulted in a grievous mismanagement of millions of dollars of USMS property…. Simply put, the entire system is broken and drastic measures need to be taken to address the issues…The 800 pound elephant in the room needs to finally be acknowledged.

That was three years ago. What’s been done since? If you guessed nothing, you’d actually be wrong. Nope, since the 2011 report, they’ve lost more encrypted radios.

If your kid has a tree-house club with Johnny, the Federal Marshal’s kid, have him tell Johnny to give Dad back the neat-o walkie-talkies. Of course, if criminals have the radios, they could listen in on the Marshals’ and other LE nets; if a foreign power has them, it has a chance at breaking the cryptosystem entirely and gaining insight into other US cryptosystems. Well done, Marshals.

By the way, they also run the Witness Protection Program. If you’re a member of that particular corps d’elite, you might want to bend way over and kiss your snitching ass goodbye.

Who will be fired over this?

  1. The guy who set the system of accountability up?
  2. The Marshals who lost their radios?
  3. Nobody?
  4. The guy who leaked the news to reporter Barrett?

You know the answer.

The Upside-Down World of Gun Bansters, Part II

Remember the pictures from Trayvon Martin’s telephone? They would have been an interesting counterweight to the pictures of 12-year-old Trayvon that the prosecution and Martin family lawyers teamed up to release in the trial-by-press stage. So the prosecutors: Angela Corey, Bernie de la Rionda, John Guy, and Richard Mantei, conspired to conceal this and other evidence, and successfully did so until the trial was underway.

An IT evidence technician working for the prosecution was sufficiently alarmed by this to bring the evidence to the judge, a de facto fifth member of the prosecution team. He got fired and the jury (and most of America) never saw these insights into Martin’s real character: small-time dope dealer and assault enthusiast. George Zimmerman’s been crucified in the media, but he saved the State of Florida millions in incarceration costs throughout Martin’s lifetime.

“Justice for Trayvon?” He’s already had it. We’ll see him in Hell.

Meanwhile, Bernard Kruidbos is still fired, and Angela Corey and her Minions are still Officers of the Court. For the time being. We see more lawyers making lots more money before this case wraps up.

Celebrity SEAL Report

Old SF Joke. Q: why are there two more men in a SEAL Platoon than on an ODA?

A: Still and motion picture cameramen!

That hoary old chestnut is a little unfair, as the Frogs have their fair share of quiet professionals. A lawsuit between two of them, one a quiet professional who broke out with two books, and one a self-promoter who displayed marginal skills in political and Hollywood careers bought with his celebrity as a phony athlete, is shaping up.

In Chris Kyle’s American Sniper, he tells the story of “Scruff Face,” a former SEAL whose political opinions about the war, and marginal skills at self-control, brought him to an informal SEAL wake, where he expressed contempt for the combat-loss frogman for whom the ave atque vale was intended. And got a whack upside the glass jaw for his trouble.

Everyone in the community knew, even before Chris confirmed it on KFI Radio, that “Scruff Face” was Jesse Ventura, a peacetime SEAL who rode his self-promoted “authenticity” to successive careers in the phony worlds of WWE fake-wrestling, Hollywood acting, and politics. Ventura, who has politically idiosyncratic ideas, has often expressed contempt for the GWOT and, more problematically, the men serving in it. No one was surprised  by the story, and given the relative reputations of Kyle and Ventura, nobody believed Ventura’s desperate denials.

His biggest beef, apparently, is Kyle’s claim that he knocked Ventura down with a punch. (Chris wasn’t real proud of this, actually. Ventura is an old man, gone to seed. But if he said what Chris says he said, where he says he said it — and Ventura has expressed similar opinions all over the place — he had a belt coming).

In any event, the death of Kyle delayed Ventura’s lawsuit, with which the washed-up has-been is trying to get a piece of Kyle’s earnings. Last week, a judge allowed Ventura to substitute Chris’s widow, as executor of his estate, as the defendant.

Ventura must want that money really badly to continue damaging his reputation like this. What’s he going to do, erase ten years of history of non-support for the guys in the Teams on the pointy end?

Our prediction; the suit settles. Ventura takes some money to go away. And stays on SEAL shit lists forever.

The Upside-Down World of Gun Bansters, Part III

In gun-culture circles, one often hears something allong the lines of, “Massachusetts was the Cradle of Liberty, the birthplace of the glorious Revolution. Now, it’s Stalingrad-on-the-Charles. What the hell happened?”

Answer: schools like this character’s, where even the administrators are closer to jail than Yale. Naturally, no punishment for the plagiarizing principal, as the district hides behind the old “personnel confidentiality” dodge.

When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have swords!

Like this sphincter muscle in Illinois. A “homeless man” (plain Anglo-Saxon: “bum”) killed a guy with a sword, and burned his house down. This particular bum was only 19, but he was already on the frequent-flyer program with the justice system as a career burglar. One burglary, he found someone at home, so he strangled and slashed the guy, then stole his stuff and turned his crime
perfect” by burning the house down. He got busted when he sold his victim’s cell phone to his usual fence. He gets life in prison, but it’s a parole-eligible phony “life.”

Of course, the homeowner might have defended himself with a gun, except that this all happened in Illinois, where even now only criminals and the politically connected — same thing — are allowed to have guns. If the homeowner had shot the scumbag, we’d now be seeing “Justice for Jamil” rallies led by Jesse Sharpton and Al Jackson. And Nancy Grace would be explaining how it was the victim, Jay Rosio’s, civic duty to lie still and wait for the cops while Jamil Eason sawed his head off.

TSA: Evil, but Incompetent

tsa-bozoThe worst agency of the government? It was once a tough competition, but the TSA has all but retired the trophy: there is not one intelligent, good, decent, moral or ethical individual employed by the TSA or who has ever been employed by the TSA.

Employers, watch for that line on resumes. it is the mark of evil incompetence, and you don’t need ex-TSA problems in your work force. If one of these payroll patriots is seeking work in the Dreaded Private Sector™, it’s someone who was so bad as to get fired from an agency that has no standards whatsoever. Consider their recent achievements:

ITEM: Apparently not content with their massive, chronic and pervasive thefts from travelers’ baggage, they’ve decided they really ought to search their parked cars, too

(Does the TSA really steal from baggage? Let me Google that for you. Short answer: hell, yes, all the time). Of course, they’re having the parking valets do at least some of the car-searching, which is a good thing: in our experience, parking valets are much more trustworthy. They are more carefully selected, more thoroughly trained, and have much higher levels of integrity and accountability than TSA employees).

ITEM: Their “improved” security provisions at Kennedy Airport locked first responders out of the facility, so when a middle-aged man collapsed in Terminal 4, the ambulance crews couldn’t get through the doors or into the elevators. The security Nazis forgot to port their access cards over — too busy tossing citizens’ cars for resalable stuff, perhaps.

No doubt “Blogger Bob” Burns, the overpaid Goebbels to this horrid horde of half-assed Heydrichs, has some lame excuse and some fingers to point somewhere else. He always does. Doesn’t wash. Your guys own this, Bob.

Of course, as good economists, we must weigh the benefits against the costs. So let’s add up the benefits. Against the massive inconvenience and waste, the loss of privacy, and the occasional dead traveler, we can weigh:

  • Terrorists caught by TSA: 0.
  • Terror plots stopped by TSA: 0
  • Terrorists inconvenienced by TSA: 0

It’s zeroes all the way down… kind of like their employees. There is no intelligent, good, decent, moral, or ethical person at TSA. Never has been.

Want to be cheered up?

The TSA has some employees who are authorized to carry guns, and they want more. What could possibly go wrong?

Ever sell a gun you wish you didn’t?

Hit a nerve there, didn’t we?

In fact, we’re pack rats and still have all kinds of weird stuff. Bottle-green Army fatigues that we quit wearing when we got to SF and wore camouflage. A shelf full of 8-bit Atari computers. A car we’re going to finish restoring “some day.” And lots of guns that “seemed like a good idea at the time.”

So why do we hang on to them? Mostly, because of the experience of selling other guns over the years. We’re not generally down for navel-gazing introspection, especially when it’s going to hurt. And this story has some elements of The Dremel Guide to Home Dental Self-Surgery®. First, tie me Weapons Man down, sport….

WaltherP1

This Walther is a civilian alloy-framed P-38, and is in much nicer condition than our “barrel queen.” But it’s the same basic gun.

We actually made money on the Walther P1, a postwar, alloy-framed P-38. It was easy to do. Our teammate Lee bought it in the Rod and Gun club on a German base for $25. There was a barrel of them, quite literally a wooden barrel, pick any one, $25; they were ex-police or ex-Bundeswehr handguns and most had tons of holster wear and nearly untouched barrels. By the time Lee decided to unload his, the rod-and-bottle-barrel price was up to $50 so we gave him $50 for it. A year later, we sold it to a guy in one of the MI Company’s support sections (commo or analysis, we forget which) for $100. So two successive troopers made 100% profit on that same gun, and if the guy sold it on, he probably did, too. They’re going in the $400 and up range now.

We regret selling that P1. It was good enough as a representative P-38. We’ve been watching The Man From UNCLE on DVD in the exercise room these days, and bedamned if we don’t want a P-38, like the villains often carry, or better yet an UNCLE Special. If you don’t know what that is, you probably weren’t around in the sixties.

Valmet M76FS. Shouldn;t have sold it (file photo from the net, as are all of these).

Valmet M76FS. Shouldn;t have sold it (file photo from the net, as are all of these). The mag on this looks like a converted HK 33 mag, or something. 

Then, there was the Valmet M76FS, an interesting Finnish “assault rifle” that was imported in relatively small numbers. (All M76s, which are stamped-receiver guns, are rare; the folders are rarer than the fixed-stock guns; 7.62mm guns are rarer than 5l.56). The stock resembled the tube stock of the Finnish Army issue M62, but folded; the gun was chambered for 5.56. Galil mags fit, and so did the rare Galil M-16 mag adapter, and all that stuff went with it for $700, including a Fiskars bayonet. We don’t want to think about what it’s worth in 2013.

We regret selling that Valmet. But it was a period of civilian-side unemployment and no deployments or schools available in the soon-to-be-extinct USAR Special Forces. And we did hang on to the M62, so there is that.

Do you see a theme emerging here? We can’t exactly sing “Je ne regrette rien” along with Edith Piaf. With each sold gun sending us into Kubler-Ross’s five stages of grieving, we’ve gotten pretty, shall we say, gun-shy, at least about selling guns. Nowadays we Just Say No. If you want our guns, plan to outlive us and pick them up at the auction, assuming our heirs would rather have the money to invest in blow and hookers.

stoeger_22_luger

This is the fugly version of the Stoeger. We think it was the first version. This is a file photo, but it’s identical to the one we had.

Now, not every gun rated a full memorial service and extra boxes of tissues around the house. There was the dreadful Stoeger .22 Luger. It looked a little bit like a Luger, complete with a cosmetic toggle on its blowback action, but not really like a Luger. Kind of like the difference between a female impersonator and a real female.  It was about as reliable as a real female though — if the female you have in mind is Lindsay Lohan.

On the other other hand, Ms Lohan is rumored to swallow anything, and the Stoeger was a little picky about ammunition. It wouldn’t feed at all with some types, and it wouldn’t feed reliably with others. What would it feed with? At the time we disposed of it, we hadn’t found out, but had a pretty good list of experiments where the null hypothesis was sustained. (Example: “The Stoeger will not work with this crazy-expensive Eley Match, either.” It didn’t).

 

This is the better-looking, later version. No idea if it worked. As Stoeger was an importer it was probably made by a different European factory.

This is the better-looking, later version. No idea if it worked. As Stoeger was an importer it was probably made by a different European factory.

The Stoeger was made with a cheap, die-cast frame of aluminum or possibly Zamak or other Zinc alloy. The steel parts were almost all stampings, apart from the barrel. There was a completely different version of the Stoeger .22 Luger that more closely resembled the archetypal German service pistol. No idea if it is also unreliable, as the pot-metal-and-stamping version is.

In any event, the beastly Stoeger is not missed and does not stir pangs of regret at this address. In a strange coincidence, it went to the same fortunate fellow who scored the Walther P1, and for the same price: $50 including holster.

If he sold the Walther for what it’s worth now, he might be able to buy boxes of enough kinds of .22 to find one the Stoeger likes. Just goes to show you, good fortune has its limits.