Friday, September 30, 2011

And the doctor said, give him jug band music...

Chinese gambling drives stocks at 50% growth rate

Macau – Though casino stocks have shown a phenomenal run-up, key indicators of Chinese economic hypergrowth are showing signs of weakening.

But Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts are up 47% and 62% respectively in this former colony adjacent to Hong Kong, the only spot in mainland China where gambling is legal. Along with Hong Kong, Macau is now one of two special administrative regions of the People's Republic of China.

FedEx acknowledges air tonnage out of Hong Kong fell 9% during August. There has been a massive slowdown in Chinese consumption of iron ore, steel, copper and coal – something reflected in the 25% plunge in the Hang Seng, compared to an American decline in the S&P of only about 9%.

Meanwhile gambling topped the $3 billion mark for the month of August, up 57% from August, 2010. Macau is a hell town in the middle of a boom cycle that saw "pure play" on gambling growth in Las Vegas Sands' deriving more than 80% of its revenue from casinos in Macau and Singapore.

Targeted al-Qaeda Imam killed by drone airstrike

Khashef, Yemen – The government carried out a significant contract killing marking a milestone in the borderless war on terror in the pre-dawn hours today.

U.S. forces killed an Imam believed to have influenced at least 3 of the 9/11 highjackers as well as Ft. Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan and the Christmas Day Detroit airline underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmatallab in a drone aircraft strike on a convoy in which he was believed to be riding.

CIA operatives targeted Anwar al-Awlaki after President Barack Husein Obama signed an order for his death in April, 2010.

A dual citizen of both the U.S. and Yemen, Mr. al-Awlaki's father retained the ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights to represent his son in a lawsuit which sought to remove the sanction ordered by the President, but a federal judge dismissed the suit.

A spokesman for the ACLU, Jameel Jaffer, said, “...the United States is not at war in Yemen, and the government doesn't have a blank check to kill terrorism suspects wherever they are in the world. Among the arguments we'll be making is that, outside actual war zones, the authority to use lethal force is narrowly circumscribed, and preserving the rule of law depends on keeping this authority narrow.”

Major Hasan and other terrorists who have carried out lethal strikes against Americans on U.S. soil were known to have attended Mr. al-Awlaki's on-line lectures, diatribes filled with hateful talk about carrying a war to American shores over Islamic jihadist ideology.

Mr. President, Mr. President, what are you going to do?

Old A-hab the Ay-rab gives it the blues in b-flat with pronounced scat...

Analysts: “Days of Awe” will bring a 10-day slump

Plunge in High Holy Days before Yom Kippur

Similar to the "Sell in May and go away" maxim, the saying “Sell on Rosh Hashanah and buy on Yom Kippur" highlights the “days of awe” during which Jews traditionally concentrate on the wrongs they have done during the year, making amends to those they have harmed.

In the years since 1915, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has declined an average of 0.62% between Rosh Hashanah, the new year, and Yom Kippur, the day of atonement. That is a statistically significant weakness for a 10-day period.

Historically, the declines have been much worse during times of economic uncertainty, such as these days when investors tremble at the news coming out of Europe regarding currency devaluation and monetization of bonded debt.

A move to 1,100 or lower for the S&P index could signal a year's end rally, analysts predict.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Former prosecutor decries Gunwalker, Obamacare

“Fast and Furious” a ruse to "take our guns”

Austin – Michael Williams is no stranger to guns and all the things that can go wrong when they fall into the wrong hands.

He survived death threats from the KKK when he prosecuted thieves who stole military weapons and faced the charges in federal court.

Before that, he was an Assistant DA in his hometown of Midland, the el rancho deluxe oil town of them all in the boom town wildcat atmosphere of Texas, both east and west.

That's not the only mark of distinction he claims as a former chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission who resigned to run for Congress – first as a U.S. Senator, then as a representative from the newly-created District 25.

“I'm the only public official in this race who has ever cut a budget, and I did it without taking any of the pay raises,” he told a cheering crowd at the candidate's forum hosted by the Travis County Republican Party and the North Shore Republicans last Sunday.

The newly redrawn district will include the massive new gas play of Johnson County, something that he considers ultra important when it comes to America's need for energy independence. It's here, as the wildcatters always said. And that's the good news.

The bad news? It's nothing we can't fix, according to Mr. Williams.

Operation Fast and Furious is high on his list of complaints against a federal government he thinks is plotting to take away Americans' ability to protect and defend that all-important U.S. Constitution. He calls it without any double talk. The operation involves the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives encouraging gun sales to individuals who then smuggled them into Mexico.

When two of the weapons showed up at a crime scene where a Border Patrol Agent was shot down in cold blood by smugglers last December, Michael Williams recognized it as a threat to American citizens' basic civil rights – especially the right to keep and bear arms. So did other prominent Republicans, including Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, who made the snafu an object of investigation in the all-important Senate Judiciary Committee. Following the hearings and extensive national publicity, the acting director of the BATFE was replaced and the Obama Administration's first choice to take on the job as the permanent director was passed over.

He also decries the passage of the Affordable Health Care Act of 2010, something he says is a total abrogation of the enumerated powers of Congress outlined in Article One, Section 8 of that hallowed document.

They are trying to take the decision-making power as to how a man and woman will care for their families out of the family circle and put it in the hands of federal bureaucrats, according to Mike Williams, a constitutional scholar who has taught law at Texas Wesleyan School of Law and served as an adjunct professor at Texas Southern University's School of Public Affairs.

He holds those opinions about Constitutional law by virtue of his extensive experience using his law degree earned at the University of Southern California to serve as General Counsel to the Republican Party of Texas, his church, Most Blessed Sacrament Catholic in Arlington, where he makes his home, and his stint as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Law Enforcement at the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

There, as an appointee of President George H.W. Bush, he had oversight responsibility for the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Customs Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

As an appointee as the Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights at the Department of Education, he followed in the footsteps of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

He won Sunday's straw poll of about 500 voters with 27.2% of the ballots cast, edging USAA executive Dave Garrison's 26.8% showing.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fly the friendly skies of taxation in the nation...

"Last week, the White House proposed a new round of taxation on airlines to help reduce the deficit. The new plan would impose a $100 fee each time a commercial or private jet takes off. It would also raise the per-passenger security fee from $2.50 for each leg of a flight to $5. This fee would rise $0.50 per year from 2013 to 2017. The airline industry estimates taxes represent 20% of the cost of an airline ticket.

"This is going to hit the middle class right in the pocketbook," said Charles Leocha, the head of advocacy group Consumer Travel Alliance." - from the current number of a financial newsletter - The Legendary

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Wildfire threat assessment, prevention program

Government experts, local fire departments work to reduce threat of wildfire to homes in the Austin wildlife/urban interface

Leander – Could your home survive the threat of a wind-whipped, raging wilffire as it flings sparks and embers from burning brush at the most vulnerably flammable materials of your dwelling?

Roofs, fences, porches and decks are especially prone to take advantage of the other two legs of that deadly triangle called fire and become ready fuel for the intense heat and blast furnace conditions of the hot, dry winds that feed wildfire after the intial ignition.

Believe it or not, many have not only survived the onslaught of out-of-control wildfire, they did so without the intervention of fire departments.

Government loss prevention experts, fire control sawyers from the Bureau of Land Management, and U.S. Forest Service educators from the mountain states have gathered in the 5-county Capitol Council of Governments area surrounding Austin to demonstrate the planning and management methods used by property owners whose homes survived in fire-ravaged areas of the Rockies and the Sierras.

With the help of Fire Marshal Joshua Davis, they picked a residential location in a stylish hilltop planned unit development of custom Austin stone veneer homes with composite roofs.

Situated on a rolling prairie studded with cedar and stunted scrub oak trees, the development is an orderly and neat collection of very pleasant homes that could in the blink of an eye become fuel for a solid wall of flame consuming everything in its path.

On the other hand, with some forethought and best management practices, the area can and will be protected from the same threat.

The chosen home is liberally shaded on the south by a tall, spreading cedar that all but obscures the front entrance and hallway that opens to the great room and central corridor of the structure. Its boughs, redolent with the the pungent oils of the species, overhang the shingles and wood-paneled soffit of the roofline.

A deck and porch that surrounds the shady north side is much less than the recommended 30-foot perimeter recommended space from the tree line that insures privacy from neighboring properties. A low-impact lawn with beds of mulch and broom sedge surrounds the structure, which is bordered by a ring of shrubbery that is close and encompasses the stone walls and windows of the house.

All this is easy enough to manage. The government's best sawyers go to work with surgical skill, lopping off overhanging branches and trimming the trees that if engulfed with flame would send a roaring inferno of fire down the dwelling's central corridor and heat the attic from below a roof already threatened by blazes and heat from the overhanging tinder above.

In less than an hour, there are multiple neat piles of debris ready to be hauled away to the landfill or controlled burn pit where they will be disposed.

But the plan doesn't stop there. During fire season, valuable documents, jewelry, cash and heirlooms should be inventoried and stored, ready to be evacuated along with family and pets if and when an evacuation order comes – or before, if one wishes to forego the traffic jams and panic likely to ensue as a result and just leave voluntarily.

Looters won't spend much time going through a home that has already been picked clean by its own inhabitants, says Fire Marshal Davis.

A host of television news crews from media-saturated Austin hangs on his words, following him in a parade and interviewing educators from the government and other firemen in his wake.

To become a recognized Firewise community, cities in zones threatened by fire threat should visit the website,

There, fire departments and city inspectors can contact liaison staff and arrange a site visit by a wildlan/urban interface fire to assess the proposed site, one that is coordinated with local fire officials.

Firewise pamphlets illustrate the three-zone approach to clearing the materials most likely to erupt in flames within 30, 50 and 100 feet from the dwelling.

The plan stresses the notion that any structures attached to the house should be considered part of the house, including decks, porches, fences and outbuildings. They are known to act a fuel bridges that bring the heat and oxygen into the danger zone if not managed properly.

Literature may be obtained from Firewise Communities, 1 Batterymarch Park, Quincy, MA 02169.

Cosmik Debris - Frank Zappa and the Mothers...

With the oils of Aphrodite and the dust of the Grand Wazoo,
he said you might not believe this little fella but it'll cure your asthma, too...

The Legendary to file criminal complaint on DPS

Was the DPS staff attorney “negligent”?

Reporting by R.S. Gates
Story by The Legendary Jim Parks

“Print gave tribal man an eye for an ear.” - Dr. Marshal McLuhan, “Understanding Media”

Waco – In the wee, small hours of the morning of Sunday, September 5, Chris Braziel was cruising down the service road of Highway 6.

A Texas DPS Trooper pulled him over for a routine traffic stop and determined he may have been drinking alcoholic beverages.

The trooper arrested him and took him to the lockup, where he refused a “breath-a-lyzer” test. That gave the state the opportunity to obtain a search warrant to stick a needle in a vein and obtain a blood sample. The sample showed he was intoxicated by alcohol beyond the slim margin the law allows.

The trooper booked him for driving while under the influence of alcohol – a “B” misdemeanor of a serious nature that costs first offenders an estimated $8,000 in court fees, fines, counseling, probation and attorney's fees – plus whatever rehab, increased financial responsibility auto insurance coverage and resulting loss of employment may occur.

It's a misdemeanor offense, but a serious misdemeanor offense, to say the least.

No one was injured. There was no loss of property damaged. He committed no other moving violation offense, and there are no other complications - except one.

Chris Braziel is a veteran patrol sergeant with the McLennan County Sheriff's Department.

That item assured the arrest and offense report would make the news – but only in certain selected outlets such as the daily paper, “The Waco Tribune-Herald,” and television outlets such as KWTX, the local CBS affiliate.

To other forms of media, such as this blog, the official record is – so to speak – off the record.

Or is it?

The Texas Department of Public Safety has a policy that all requests for public information – such as the first page of the offense and arrest reports regarding the arrest of Sgt. Chris Braziel – must be made in writing to the public information office of the department's Austin headquarters where they are reviewed by a staff attorney in the office of the General Counsel.

Fee. Fi. Fo. Fum – etc.

But the law doesn't read that way. Section 552 of the Texas Local Government Code states in its preamble that public records are the property of the people, not of the state, which is the custodian of record, and access to public information must be made promptly.

That means now, not 10 days from now. There are other stipulations, such as the requirement that requestors may inspect the records at the location where they are stored, then pay reasonable copy fees for them, or make an electronic request by e-mail or fax.

That's how your insurance agent or broker can get the goods on your driving record so quickly – with the touch of a button.

If review is required by an attorney, it must not take any more than 10 days without a formal explanation of the reason why.

Police agencies and other custodians of public record such as local government officials have taken a new tack in the infowars. They have decided that it means they have 10 days to respond to a request for information. That is, they have 10 days in which to respond if you don't work for a big shot outfit like the daily paper or the television station.

What is involved in the “first page” offense and arrest report, a standard form promulgated throughout the state?

Nothing more or less than what is allowed by the holding in a lawsuit called Houston Chronicle Publishing Co. v. City of Houston, 531 S.W. 2D 177, 186-87, which was handed down by the 14th District Court of Appeals in Houston in 1975. That includes “police blotter” information as to crimes committed, “show up” sheets for those arrested and identified, and arrest reports. The holding was modified in 1984 as to certain information which must now be redacted, such as the Social Security number of the defendant and the names of complainants in sex offense cases. Identity theft is a total bummer, you know.

To withold this information is an equally serious Class B misdemeanor offense, a criminal matter which is punishable by the same penalties as the act of driving while intoxicated.

So, how did the newshounds at the paper and the television station get the information? Good question. There are phones, computers, e-mail boxes, and smoke signals. It doesn't much matter how you communicate because, as we have all learned here in the “global village” - you know, the one it takes to raise a child – the medium is either the message, or the massage, or...Never mind.

When Sgt. Cliff Federwisch of the Texas Highway Patrol referred Legendary Reporter R.S. Gates's request for information about the arrest of Sgt. Braziel, he was following the department's new policy, which is contrary to both the holding in case law and the requirements of the Texas Open Records Act, which is called Sect. 552 of the Local Government Code.

According to Mr. Gates, who is a former police officer and still holds a commission as a certified peace officer from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards, when the staff counsel of the DPS, a lady named Cohen, required his request to be placed in a certain form and directed to her department at Austin – all of which caused an undue delay – she committed the same level of offense through criminal negligence as Sgt. Braziel did through driving under the influence of alcohol.

He asked, “Did the Sgt. run down to Austin and arrest her? Nope!”

So, Mr. Gates has initiated a criminal complaint against Ms. Cohen through the office of the Criminal District Attorney of Travis County. He filed an information with a certain Ms. Lori Carter.

One must maintain a sense of humor about these matters, you know.

According to that ubiquitous interpreter of Dr. Marshal McLuhan's seminal work, “Understanding Media,” Tom Wolfe of “Esquire” magazine and other fine publications, “The new technologies, such as television, have become a new environment. They radically alter the entire way people use their five senses, the way they react to things, and therefore, their entire lives and the entire society. It doesn't matter what the content of a medium like TV is. It doesn't matter if the networks show twenty hours a day of sadistic cowboys caving in people's teeth or twenty hours of Pablo Casals droning away on his cello in a pure-culture white Spanish drawing room. It doesn't matter about the content. The most profound effect of television - its real "message," in McLuhan's terms - is the way it alters men's sensory patterns. The me dium is the message - that is the best- known McLuhanism. Television steps up the auditory sense and the sense of touch and depresses the visual sense. That seems like a paradox, but McLuhan is full of paradoxes. A whole generation in America has grown up in the TV environment, and already these millions of people, twenty-five and under, have the same kind of sensory reactions as African tribesmen. The same thing is happening all over the world. The world is growing into a huge tribe, a . . . global village, in a seamless web of electronics.”

His question in that now-famous “Esquire” article was simple enough.

“What if he's right?” That's what the merchandisers and packagers and marketing experts, the public relations whizzes and advertising account executives kept asking themselves in that long-ago year of 1965 long before Charles Whitman turned the university and the drag into one of the world's largest crime scenes, the year the Vietnam War started for millions of poor boys from working class America, the year when...whatever happened happened in the global village made of a seamless web of electronics.

(Cue the Dragnet audio - bom-ba-bom-bom - bom-ba-bom-bom...

No one knew then, but certainly, from our position on the electronic cloud, it turns out Dr. McLuhan was right.

After all, country editors and publishers all over Texas charge substantially higher rates for placement of advertisements near the columns on pages that carry reports of who got arrested for what over the weekend and precisely which offenders were indicted for what felony offenses during the latest term of the Grand Jury.

In fact, it's a weekly event for consumers of news. Kind of a memo from Boss Hawg, that mover and shaker in the big old cowboy hat.

What if we're right? Well, if Ms. Cohen should be convicted for a criminal offense rather than being enjoined by a civil action to reveal the information sought, she could be punished the same as Sgt. Braziel will surely be if convicted for driving drunk.

A conviction would expose her to “(1) a fine not to exceed $2,000;
(2)confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 180 days; or (3) both such fine and confinement,” according to Section 12.22 of the Texas Penal Code.

On the other hand, a judge could suspend her sentence and place her on community supervision – also known as probation – or deferred adjudication, a scheme by which successful completion of probation results in wiping the slate clean. One begs the question. How much does an item such as that go for in the palaces of justice? Eight grand? Wonder how that feels to those who live in the global village, have a tactile sense of the medium massage delivered by eye for an ear television - daily journalism Big Daddy system of truth, justice and the American way?

To wipe the slate clean, such a deal. Or should we call it the “police blotter?”

Still sounds right, no?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Austin GOP sharpens knives for Obama referendum

Lago Vista at Lake Travis – They call it the “North Shore,” this roller coaster stretch of FM 1431 that snakes west from I-35 at Round Rock.

Scrub oaks and cedar, rattlesnakes, and scorpions once ruled where McMansions and retirement villages, shopping malls and Kwik Kar Lubes now dot the hilly stretch overlooking the dammed Colorado.Link

To say it's a bastion of conservatism would be an understatement. The heart of the voting population in the new boundaries of Congressional District 25, it's the spiritual epicenter of a crusade against a tall chocolate-toned chap in pinstripes, a guy with huge ears, from the south side of Chicago, a man whose mama chose to give him birth at Honolulu, though most of these folks refuse to believe it. Birth certificate's got to be a fake, they say. Nice folks, huh? All heart. Got to talk about somebody's mama.

I ought to tell them about my mama. How she got her social security she signed up for in 1935 when she was just a kid keeping books at a cotton gin. How David Stockman would come on television and say there wasn't going to be any social security. How she would screech at him and the Gipper and Phil Gramm, like some little hysterical monkey while she sat there and died of cancer from the refineries and the pesticides and the herbicides and all the other goop that comes out of the pipelines. But it hurts too much to even think about it. So, g'head. Holler at me about my camera and my tripod. I bought them with my social security check so I could take pretty, pretty pictures of people like that, huh? Yeah. G'head.

More than one of the 8 GOP faithful vying for the new district said this:

“Obama is a Marxist.” They sneered, fairly spat out his name as they called it.


The mood is ugly. The mood is angry. The mood is hostile. The mood is belligerent.

It doesn't much sound like Texas on the hunt for the vote, pecan pie sweet, all oily and solicitous.

No. But it's not untypical. According to a New York Times poll, just 12% of Americans queried in mid-September approve of Congress' job performance, a match for the economic crisis of 2008. Only 16% of Republicans approve their Congressman's performance; 28% of Democrats are far more forgiving than their more conservative counterparts.

It's making political operatives mean and hard to talk with.

Consider the behavior of the Travis County Republican Chairwoman, Dr. Rosemary Edwards.

The Legendary parked in the loading zone, went to the front door of the Lago Vista Clubhouse at 700 Bar-K Road. I presented my business card to a functionary, was invited inside and introduced to a young Hispanic gentleman who said, yes, I could unload my video camera and tripod, put them in an out of the way place, and then move the pickup to a suitable parking place. Looked like everything was going to be a breeze.


I had done so, nearly made it out the door to move the pickup when this – ah – lady began to berate me for parking in the wrong place. I'm talking about a good old country shellacking, now. A wretched, spiteful tongue-lashing. The kind you kind of have to take because the hysterical woman giving it out might not be quite straight in the groove and swinging right, you dig?

I explained myself to her, gave her my card – something I paid for with my social security check, that business card, something she looked at as if I had handed her a dead puppy or a ball of fishing worms – then she began to shout at me at the top of her lungs. White letters reversed on fire engine red, it says, in copperplate type, "The Legendary Jim Parks"

I said, "Hang on to that. It just might one day be a collector's item." That's when she really started hollering, shouting.

She said we got started off on the wrong foot.

Who's we? I was doing fine until she showed up. On my way to move my pickup truck to the parking lot. Move it out the loading zone.

I behaved the best I know how and look what it got me. Hey, don't look at me. I do a lifetime of heavy lifting for these people and get two hernia operations for my trouble. The VA doctor told me next time I get a colostomy. I should walk with a heavy camera and tripod twice or three times as far as I have to walk? In hundred degree heat? So one of these – people – can get a $150,000 a year part time job with full benefits, liberal retirement, and perks out the wazoo?

I don't think so. Call me sensitive. Like, any schlepper driving a taxi gets to use the loading zone? Class act, this Dr. Edwards. Some piece of work, she is.

Moving right along.

I was forced to load my camera and tripod back in my pickup and leave.

Then I ran into Wes Riddle in the parking lot. He's a retired Colonel. He's a candidate. She was making him wait in the 100-degree heat of the parking lot, too.

He told me to come back inside. We waited. He waited in his pickup with Mrs. Riddle, the engine running and the A/C on. I waited on a park bench under the shade of the ramada in front of the building.

A little boy and girl got really interested in my video camera. I let them look through the viewfinder. They put on the ear phones and listened to the audio after asking what each control and gadget on the camera was used for.

The little boy said, “Why did that lady holler at you?”

They had seen me marginalized - humiliated - an unfaithful servant, rebuked and vilified. Naturally, they had see about me. Who knows? Maybe they could get over on me, too.

I said, “Well, she's probably somebody's mama or grandmother and she doesn't know any better by now. They get like that, you know.”

He nodded solemnly. Seven or eight years of male wisdom poured into his soulful expression as he nodded in agreement.

This is not how you get your candidate elected; this is a prelude to a putsch, a coup, a bloody insurrection. Who needs my vote when you got “true the vote” on your side?

This is not a campaign. This is a place to stay far, far away from if you value your freedom and your liberty – something these people mouth about from can until can't with depraved indifference to the concepts involved.

Border security. Balanced budget. Banking crisis. Hey, give me a break. My aching back. This schmuck was still working for old man Alinsky back of the yards, signing people up for Food Stamps, when the Party of Lincoln made all the hot shot decisions that led to the runaway monetization of the debt, the budget deficit, the housing bubble - all the trendy stuff the blame game lambastes upon his head. NAFTA. Most favored nation status for China. My aching back. My busted guts.

Why don't you holler at me over where I parked my car? G'head.

According to one of those clever computer presentation screens, the straw poll of about 500 in attendance came out like this:

Michael Williams – 27.2%
Dave Garrison – 26.8%
Brian Matthews – 19.2%
Wes Riddle – 12.8%
Dianne Costa - .08%
Bill Burch - .02%
Ralph Pruyn - .02%

Presumably, the rest were undecided. I was afraid to ask. Who knows what they will do next? You keep your mouth shut when you have a blonde society lady like Mrs. Mary Ellen Borgelt – a member of the Travis County Republican Party Finance Board - standing over your chair telling you it would be wise if you acted really sweet.

Yeah. Uh huh. Sweet. Then she asked me if I don't actually think I am an atheist.

“Lady, I would never reveal my secret heart to you, or anyone like you. There is a reason for that. It's because I don't have to do so.” She said she understands. She understands and it shows.

And how.

She's the one who actually stood over my chair and stared at me and said, “I'll bet you actually think you're an atheist.” Then she asked me if I had seen this hilarious movie called "The Help."

Yeah, right. What a totally hilarious remark. The help. I said, no, I don't go for chick flicks.

I do know one thing. To go back for more of this abuse would not show good sense.

I know something else. The noted Marxist Barack Hussein Obama has done nothing that does not benefit big business to, like, the max. I do know that. So who's kidding who?

Kudos to these three: Michael Williams, an ex-Texas Railroad Commission type who asked the rhetorical question, if candidates say they're going to cut spending, ask them what they ever cut. He said he cut the staff of the Railroad Commission by several hundred and never took a pay raise during his tenure. He also made prominent mention of the ATF's "Operation Fast and Furious," a scheme where gun merchants have been advised to sell guns to people who fit the profile of gun and drug smugglers, against their wishes.

Retired Army Colonel Wes Riddle told a joke about a barber giving free haircuts on community service and getting a dozen roses from a florist, a dozen doughnuts from a policeman, and a dozen more Congressmen waiting in line for a free haircut – to wild applause.

Dave Garrison, an executive at San Antonio's largest employer, USAA, a giant insurance underwriter that covers mortgages, told his listeners about a Fannie Mae executive who threatened the management with being labeled as racist and getting cut off from government guaranteed mortgage business if they refuse to write loans for unqualified minority applicants.

No name. No date. No way to corroborate it.

No nothing.Link
They ate it up.

I was afraid to ask. Don't want to go to some hell hole jail in an eastern European or mideastern nation with strong ties to the – ah – intelligence community. You don't ask too many questions over on the – uh – North Shore. After all, these are the people who put little targets on maps and other witty stuff like that.

“I told them we should tell Fannie Mae to stick it in its ear,” he said.

The punch line! Finally.

There followed thunderous applause for this remark. Just hilarious, huh? I almost died laughing. Reminded me of the time the female junkie put the cigarette out in her old man's ear in my taxi out on Harry Hines Boulevard in Dallas. Yeah. It was a whole lot like that. Just hilarious.Real class act. Just eat up with it.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

From hacking Times Square billboard to the big board

Cloud computing technology will surge to $600+ billion by 2016

New York – For a few hours last Thursday, the Cloud touched the ground and enveloped gaudy old Times Square in its foggy grasp.

NFC Bootcamp, a marketing outfit that trains retailers, merchants and marketers how to make use of the power of cloud marketing, enabled pedestrians to engage with an interactive, 38-foot high digital display in a demonstration of NFC - near field communications.

It's a new and sweeping technology that now claims a $32 billion share of the world's commercial revenue stream – a figure that is projected to jump to about $618 billion by the year 2016

What does it do?

Wave your SmartPhone, iPhone, Blackberry or other personal communications device at a toll plaza and get a ticket to exit whatever. Board the Washington, D.C. - LaGuardia shuttle and pay in the departure lounge by SmartPhone. Go through a subway turnstile in your favorite urban multiplexi-city, and you're good to go when you thumb that iPhone.

Send your passport information to a customs or immigration inspector in most places on the globe and get your visa stamped. Show your ID? The driver's license, medical card, and membership documents will be included in your phone's application files.

Thumb and forefinger your code into the keyboard and pay your mortgage, deposit a check, transfer funds or make reservations on a flight to paradise – two tickets, if you please.

When you deplane in Pango Pango, if an interactive hotel billboard catches your eye, wave that phone and get reservations for a poolside cabana, a complimentary sailboat ride and a trip to the spa for the lady fair.

Big players involved in the transition to the commercial cloud include eBay, , PayPal, and AT&T's Isis system, Verizon Wireless and Discover Financial Systems.

Rumor has it that the first target areas will be San Francisco and New York. Companies will receive a percentage or fee for each transaction.

The new teams include Google and MasterCard and Citigroup, with plans to embed technology on Android devices.

Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile are looking to team up on a venture called Isis which will enable users to pay for goods with their SmartPhones.

Apple is keeping mum, but industry players expect the iPhone giant will embed the technology in their devices. Research in Motion will equip future phones with NFC.

How prevalent is the contact-less reader revolution among merchants?

A Federal Reserve report cited an industrial estmate that there are 70 million of them already in the hands of service providers, including debit and credit cards, and 150,000 of the devices installed by merchants.

Who benefits? Stock analysts predict the patent holder, NXP Semiconductor (NXPI) will probably surf the crest of a 41% rise in revenues that will likely make it the next Google,, or Netflix on the block.

After its weak IPO at a price below the expected $18-20, the stock fell to a little below $10 before making a dramatic climb to a high of $35 and its present tag in the range of $27.

With a debt level of $4.6 billion and a market cap of $6.8 billion, it's an unleveraged entity in a market where the sky is – literally – the limit.

Court approves charging innocent traffic offenders

Innocent drivers can be charged $75 to fight a traffic ticket, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled.

Motorists issued a traffic ticket in Massachusetts will have to pay money to the state whether or not they committed the alleged crime. According to a state supreme court ruling handed down yesterday, fees are to be imposed even on those found completely innocent. The high court saw no injustice in collecting $70 from Ralph C. Sullivan after he successfully fought a $100 ticket for failure to stay within a marked lane.

Bay State drivers given speeding tickets and other moving violations have twenty days either to pay up or make a non-refundable $20 payment to appeal to a clerk-magistrate. After that, further challenge to a district court judge can be had for a non-refundable payment of $50. Sullivan argued that motorists were being forced to pay "fees" not assessed on other types of violations, including drug possession. He argued this was a violation of the Constitution's Equal Protection clause, but the high court justices found this to be reasonable.

"We conclude that there is a rational basis for requiring those cited for a noncriminal motor vehicle infraction alone to pay a filing fee and not requiring a filing fee for those contesting other types of civil violations," Justice Ralph D. Gants wrote for the court. "Where the legislature provides greater process that imposes greater demands on the resources of the District Court, it is rational for the legislature to impose filing fees, waivable where a litigant is indigent, to offset part of the additional cost of these judicial proceedings."

The court insisted that allowing a hearing before a clerk-magistrate instead of an assistant clerk, as well as allowing a de novo hearing before a judge constituted benefits that justified the cost. Last year, the fees for the clerk-magistrate hearings generated $3,678,620 in revenue for the courts. Although Sullivan raised the issue of due process during oral argument, the court would not rule on the merits of that issue.

"I am disappointed that the SJC did not consider my due process argument," Sullivan told TheNewspaper. "I suppose that some other driver who gets charged with a moving violation will need to consider doing that. At least this decision will give them a blueprint for a focused due process argument."

Sullivan, an attorney, is not planning on further appeal to the US Supreme Court.

"While the decision did not go my way, I am safe in the knowledge that I gave it my best shot," Sullivan said. "I took on this case because I felt that it was the right thing to do."

Source: Salem Police Department v. Sullivan (Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, 9/21/2011)

Allegation of jurisdiction – one for the books

Waco – The information wars proceed apace.

Consider the hassle over the replacement of the Jail Magistrate.

A public act of public officials, the information regarding that decision is easily obtainable to certain media such as the daily Waco newspaper. To social media reporters, the story is very different.

No Irish Need Apply, as it were.

As veteran Waco Tribune-Herald courthouse beat reporter Tommy Witherspoon often says, “I still have a job.”

The man is a total credit to his race. He has proven that by speaking harshly to The Legendary over being quoted in news accounts written by your humble correspondent in past decades. Shame of it all.

According to County Judge Jim Lewis' administrative assistant, information regarding the shakeup reached the desk of The Legendary because “the information you requested is not being provided with the understanding that it is subject to the Open Records Act, nor is it a formal opinion.

“It is being provided because Mr. Reyna has reviewed your open records request and indicated that he has no objection to your receiving a copy of the memo,” Ms. Lynne Lockwood wrote in response to an inquiry from Legendary reporter R.S. Gates.

She actually underlined her words. Imagine that.

As it turns, out Criminal District Attorney Abel Reyna had his Appellate Chief look into the matter of whether a public official can legally perform the duties of two offices of emolument simultaneously.

“In turn, the Appellate Chief sent Mr. Reyna a memo on the matter – which he shared with one of the District Judges – who apparently passed the memo along to everyone else.”

Everyone, that is, but The Legendary.

R.S. Gates and The Legendary Jim Parks had to make a formal request in writing. That way, we were sure to get the information many days past the news cycle, when it was no longer newsy news, salient fact, or even all that interesting to people who underline their words in memos to those who ask for public information.

There is a fine line between history and news, as a former administrative assistant to CIA Director Admiral Stansfield Turner was so fond of saying when he was an over-qualified public information officer to the Sheriff – the Lord High Sheriff – of Palm Beach County, Florida. That old boy was a licensed attorney in his own rite. Wore a fez. Had a ring – big old gaudy ring. Liked to get people fired. A power. A force. What a guy.

Yay-us! Palm Beach County. Oh, yes, that's the place where Dub-yah got elected President by a few hundred votes? Or was that the other courthouse, the one in D.C. You know, the Supreme Court. What were the results of that election? Five to Four? Ring a bell?

Emolument – the word just rolls off the tongue with a greasy inflection all its own – is the key to the dilemma presented by Judge Raymond Britten's serving as both a County Jail Magistrate and a municipal judge in three McLennan County jurisdictions – Moody, Bruceville-Eddy, and Riesel.

The three cities are noted speed traps located on arterial highways.

This rather unusual term – emolument - denotes the money paid to an officeholder who acts as an official who exercises “sovereign functions of the government largely independent of the control of others...” Aldine Ind. School Dist. v. Standley, 280 S.W. 2D 578, 583 (Tex. 1955)

According to case law, “Any payment or benefit incident to an office constitutes an emolument.” Willis v. Potts, 377 S.W. 2D 266 (Tex. 1964) Judges have held in numerous cases that “The position of Municipal Judge is an office of emolument.”

Judge Britten, who is not a licensed attorney, has in the past presided as a Justice of the Peace in a now defunct precinct. When the Commissioners' Court eliminated the precinct, they appointed him Jail Magistrate.

The position, which pays only $24,000 per year, involves charging alleged offenders and sometimes reviewing probable cause affidavits that support warrants of search or arrest.

Judge Britten has been especially active in the task of signing off on Personal Recognizance and Surety Bond releases of those unfortunate enough to have been accused of very serious and heinous felony offenses – offenses such as aggravated sexual assault of a child or felony DWI. These fortunate defendants had one thing common. They were not indicted during the 90 day period required by Texas law. The prosecutors declined prosecution, but let the charges stand.

The accused went free.

Of course, the releases were authorized by a District Judge, but Judge Britten, the $24,000 a year non-lawyer, signed the paperwork.

The job is performed through video conferencing. Judge Britten need never leave his office to inform a defendant of the charges lodged against him, or to sign off on legal process.

But there is a catch to which no one paid any attention over the period of 2009 until the present.

The Texas Constitution “prevents an individual from holding civil office of emolument at the same time,” according to Art. XVI, Sec. 40.

He will leave office as Jail Magistrate on January 1 in favor of the appointment of a licensed attorney following a recent act of the Legislature which requires that Jail Magistrates must be admitted to the bar and have privilege to practice law.

He could have been grandfathered and allowed to remain in office, but a committee of State District Judges with jurisdiction in McLennan County decided it would be best to replace him. He is of an age to retire.

The really interesting part of the non-opinion of Mr. Reyna and his Appellate Chief – one envisions a war bonnet and paint sported by a spear-chucking stone age aborigine – is that for the period of his – ah – emolument as a Jail Magistrate at $24,000 per annum, Judge Britten has been quituated from his multiple offices as a Municipal Judge within the confines of those Nutbush City Limits courts by the roadsides made out of rattlesnake hides.

Man, you could almost dance to that, hoss.

I'm on a roll.

What this means, no matter whether you have a card in your pocket that will allow you to file court papers, make promises or take money for legal representation, is that he effectively resigned his multiple positions as a Municipal Judge in the high speed world of misdemeanor adjudications at Moody on State Highway 317, Bruceville-Eddy on I-35, or Riesel on State Highway 6 on the day he accepted his new emolument as the Jail Magistrate.

Question: When offenders forfeited bond or entered pleas of guilt in those fair communities, to whom did they address their communications? According to the law, there was no one there – really. Certainly, there was no judge. He had resigned.

He was busy signing off on personal recognizance releases and bond forms when the pawn brokers and insurance cats went off all those players' bonds and the local gen d'armes had to rearrest them and haul their hides down to the hoosegow.

Such a deal. They call it life on the installment plan. Big money in the wind, many flags unfurled, etc.

I am thereby inspired.

Incidentally, according to cost-conscious Precinct 1 Commissioner Kelly Snell, each and every public information act request generated by Legendary Reporter R.S. Gates and The Legendary Jim Parks costs taxpayers an average of $50.

Oh, dear.

Mr. Snell is a noted efficiency expert.

- The Legendary

Friday, September 23, 2011

Weekend crash and burn expected...

The Upper Atmosphere Research Station is expected to come crashing down, scattering debris over a 500-mile path some time between 6 p.m. today and 4 a.m. Saturday morning. NASA officials say they believe the trajectory will not carry the satellite over North America at that time.

Solar activity affecting the density of Earth's atmosphere caused an unexpected acceleration in the descent of the satellite.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Baylor student, PTSD victim violates "informal norm"

In a world of steel-eyed death where men are fighting to be warm... - Bob Dylan

BULLETIN: Associate Dean of Judicial Affairs Bethany J. McCraw issued a summons for Mr. Oestheimer to appear at the Baylor University campus police department on Tuesday for an interview about his appearance at the Jones Library dressed only in a thong. The experiment is an assignement of Sociology Professor Kevin Dougherty for his students to violate an "informal norm" and write a paper about the resulting reactions of authorities and observers.

The YouTube segment of the event in question has received 1,500 views since it was posted late last week. - The Legendary

Waco – On the campus of Baylor University

In a sociological experiment assigned by his professor, Brian Oestheimer was given the task of “violating an informal norm” by Professor Kevin Dougherty, PhD.

Mr. Oestheimer is a native of Orange County, California, an army combat veteran of the Iraq War who saw action in the 2\7th Mechanized Cavalry of the 1st Cavalry. He received an honorable discharge at Killeen's sprawling Ft. Hood Army base in November, 2004.

His military occupational specialty code was “11B,” or Rifleman. As is typical of young warriors returning from the latest 10-year war – or is it 20 - his body is heavily tattoed in the centuries-old fashion of men in the profession of arms.

A senior at Baylor, Mr. Oestheimer will graduate soon.

When Dr. Dougherty assigned the class their experimental task, he reportedly stripped off his suit, tie, coat, shirt and trousers as he spoke, to stand before the class of about 250 in shorts and a wife beater t-shirt.

The professor has recently made the news probing similar attitudes and beliefs.

Dr. Dougherty recently released one of the most comprehensive surveys ever undertaken in America of peoples' attitudes toward work, religion, politics and mental health.

A total random sample of 1,714 adults answered a battery of 300 questions for the Gallup Organization in 2010.

"What we found most significant is that there's this belief that work consumes so much of people's time that they have nothing left over to participate in religion," he said. "That appears to be the opposite. If anything, we're showing even more participation."

While independent business owners have much the same attitudes about religion, entrepreneurs tend to pray more, according to the survey, which showed that 34% prayed at least several times a day and 32% practice meditation.

Paul Froese, as associate professor of sociology and a research fellow in the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor. He says some of the candidates are already ramping up their "God talk" to appeal to voters who want less government.

The survey took an extensive look at how faith in God sustains the American dream. The data showed that those who believe strongly in God's plan earn less and have less education, and they are most likely to believe that the government is intrusive, healthy people don't deserve unemployment benefits and anything is possible with hard work.

People from that set report far fewer mental health issues.

"When they talk about God, it's shorthand for conservative economic policy. They're embracing a free-market society like a religious faith," Froese said. "And religious language is going to be found on both sides of the aisle. We've already got (Michele) Bachman and (Rick) Perry holding prayer rallies, and President Obama quoting Scripture."

Two other comprehensive reports on these subjects were released in 2006 and 2008.

Dr. Dougherty's task for members of his sociology class: violate an informal norm, gauge the reaction of bystanders and those in authority, and document the resulting behavior of the major set in relation to society's expectations.

Mr. Oestheimer took him up on his challenge – with alacrity and military precision.

He stripped to a thong-style Speedo, blithely strolled through the Jones Library on campus at about 10 p.m. on September 15, then split for his home in California for the blessed event of the birth of a son.

That's where he was when he received an e-mail from the Associate Dean of Judicial Affairs, Bethany J. McCraw, who told him in no uncertain terms he has been reported by a university official for a possible violation of exactly the norms he voluntarily chose to violate – on assignment and for experimental purposes.

He must arrange a meeting with her to consider possible disciplinary action against him for “deliberate indecent and inappropriate conduct.”

Stong language.

A victim of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mr. Oestheimer said he is only now coming out of his shell, a barrier he built between himself and the world while fighting in Iraq.

“It took a lot for me to go to supermarkets, to go to libraries, to go places – because of PTSD,” he told The Legendary.

Those who suffer from the disorder report feelings of survivor guilt, anger and inexplicable fears and rage – all entirely inappropriate in the instant context, but, yet, as natural to them as any other emotional commitment.

It's a survival thing, something often described a “normal reaction to an abnormal situation.” It was a situation that persisted for years upon years.

A well-documented and compensible disorder that is a natural occurrence among men who have faced hostile fire when they go in harm's way, the malady is marked by exaggerated startle reaction, hypervigilantism and a tendency to overestimate the actions and attitudes of others.

On a beach in Southern California, his behavior would be considered neither indecent, nor inappropriate.

By becoming nearly nude in the palace of knowledge, a cornerstone of the ivory tower that is the paramount spot on the campus of the nation's largest private religious institution of higher learning, Mr. Oestheimer exposed his psyche and a tortured soul to the scrutiny of the greater world.

One may notice from the video that the men attempt to totally ignore Mr. Oestheimer, as difficult as that may be. Women, on the other hand, react with laughter, giddy, giggly titters and belly laughs interspersed with admiring comments. Only one woman is seen to react with disapproval, a female who was in a meeting with other students in an informal cubicle erected with temporary barriers in a study area of the library.

His YouTube video will be tracked through this site worldwide and daiy progress reports posted for use in his scholarly paper.

The Legendary salutes this warrior so triumphantly returned to American soil.

After all, we've all been supporting the troops for so long now – decades upon decades – that we should all be feeling like tired old jockey straps.

So mote it be.

Watch these columns for further developments. - The LegendaryLink

Let's you and him fight -

'New Generation' challenges Zetas in Veracruz

At the opening of a convention of prosecutors, vans pulled up in a crowded city street and masked men dumped the nude, tortured bodies of 35 men, women and kids.

Their number included twelve women and two minors.

It's believed to be the work of the “New Generation,” a challenger to the well-established Zetas enforcement wing of the Gulf Cartel of smugglers.

At least one top U.S. law enforcemnt official, who remained nameless for security reasons, speculated that the new band of thugs serve “El Chapo” Guzman, a strong man of the Sinaloa Cartel from across the nation in the Pacific coast state of that name.

Mr. Guzman is believed to be the world's wealthiest drug trafficker.

It is agreed that the banner found near the dump site identifies the Zetas as the target of the terrorist display. That group was originally formed by Mexican deserters of the Special Forces trained in American special ops schools and equipped by U.S. Army contracts.

Cutting through the Lone Wolf hype

Leaderless resistance operations secure, deadly, very effective, a sure sign of failure,

By Scott Stewart
Lone wolf. The mere mention of the phrase invokes a sense of fear and dread. It conjures up images of an unknown, malicious plotter working alone and silently to perpetrate an unpredictable, undetectable and unstoppable act of terror. This one phrase combines the persistent fear of terrorism in modern society with the primal fear of the unknown.

The phrase has been used a lot lately. Anyone who has been paying attention to the American press over the past few weeks has been bombarded with a steady stream of statements regarding lone-wolf militants. While many of these statements, such as those from President Barack Obama, Vice President Joseph Biden and Department of Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano, were made in the days leading up to the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, they did not stop when the threats surrounding the anniversary proved to be unfounded and the date passed without incident. Indeed, on Sept. 14, the Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Matthew Olsen, told CNN that one of the things that concerned him most was “finding that next lone-wolf terrorist before he strikes.”

Now, the focus on lone operatives and small independent cells is well founded. We have seen the jihadist threat devolve from one based primarily on the hierarchical al Qaeda core organization to a threat emanating from a broader array of grassroots actors operating alone or in small groups. Indeed, at present, there is a far greater likelihood of a successful jihadist attack being conducted in the West by a lone-wolf attacker or small cell inspired by al Qaeda than by a member of the al Qaeda core or one of the franchise groups. But the lone-wolf threat can be generated by a broad array of ideologies, not just jihadism. A recent reminder of this was the July 22 attack in Oslo, Norway, conducted by lone wolf Anders Breivik.

The lone-wolf threat is nothing new, but it has received a great deal of press coverage in recent months, and with that press coverage has come a certain degree of hype based on the threat’s mystique. However, when one looks closely at the history of solitary terrorists, it becomes apparent that there is a significant gap between lone-wolf theory and lone-wolf practice. An examination of this gap is very helpful in placing the lone-wolf threat in the proper context.

The Shift Toward Leaderless Resistance

While the threat of lone wolves conducting terrorist attacks is real, the first step in putting the threat into context is understanding how long it has existed. To say it is nothing new really means that it is an inherent part of human conflict, a way for a weaker entity — even a solitary one — to inflict pain upon and destabilize a much larger entity. Modern lone-wolf terrorism is widely considered to have emerged in the 1800s, when fanatical individuals bent on effecting political change demonstrated that a solitary actor could impact history. Leon Czolgosz, the anarchist who assassinated U.S. President William McKinley in 1901, was one such lone wolf.

The 1970s brought lone wolf terrorists like Joseph Paul Franklin and Ted Kaczynski, both of whom were able to operate for years without being identified and apprehended. Based on the success of these lone wolves and following the 1988 Fort Smith Sedition Trial, in which the U.S. government’s penetration of white hate groups was clearly revealed, some of the leaders of these penetrated groups began to advocate “leaderless resistance” as a way to avoid government pressure. They did not invent the concept, which is really quite old, but they readily embraced it and used their status in the white supremacist movement to advocate it.

In 1989, William Pierce, the leader of a neo-Nazi group called the National Alliance and one of the Fort Smith defendants, published a fictional book under the pseudonym Andrew Macdonald titled “Hunter,” which dealt with the exploits of a fictional lone wolf named Oscar Yeager. Pierce dedicated the book to Joseph Paul Franklin and he clearly intended it to serve as an inspiration and model for lone-wolf operatives. Pierce’s earlier book, “The Turner Diaries,” was based on a militant operational theory involving a clandestine organization, and “Hunter” represented a distinct break from that approach.

In 1990, Richard Kelly Hoskins, an influential “Christian Identity” ideologue, published a book titled “Vigilantes of Christendom” in which he introduced the concept of the “Phineas Priest.” According to Hoskins, a Phineas Priest is a lone-wolf militant chosen by God and set apart to be God’s “agent of vengeance” upon the earth. Phineas Priests also believe their attacks will serve to ignite a wider “racial holy war” that will ultimately lead to the salvation of the white race.

In 1992, another of the Fort Smith defendants, former Ku Klux Klan Leader Louis Beam, published an essay in his magazine “The Seditionist” that provided a detailed roadmap for moving the white hate movement toward the leaderless resistance model. This roadmap called for lone wolves and small “phantom” cells to engage in violent action to protect themselves from detection.

In the white-supremacist realm, the shift toward leaderless resistance — taken because of the government’s success in penetrating and disrupting group operations — was an admission of failure on the part of leaders like Pierce, Hoskins and Beam. It is important to note that in the two decades that have passed since the leaderless-resistance model rose to prominence in the white-supremacist movement there have been only a handful of successful lone-wolf attacks. The army of lone wolves envisioned by the proponents of leaderless resistance never materialized.

But the leaderless resistance model was advocated not only by the far right. Influenced by their anarchist roots, left-wing extremists also moved in that direction, and movements such as the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front actually adopted operational models that were very similar to the leaderless-resistance doctrine prescribed by Beam.

More recently, and for similar reasons, the jihadists have also come to adopt the leaderless-resistance theory. Perhaps the first to promote the concept in the jihadist realm was jihadist military theoretician Abu Musab al-Suri. Upon seeing the success the United States and its allies were having against the al Qaeda core and its wider network following 9/11, al-Suri began to promote the concept of individual jihad — leaderless resistance. As if to prove his own point about the dangers of belonging to a group, al-Suri was reportedly captured in November 2005 in Pakistan.

Al-Suri’s concept of leaderless resistance was embraced by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the al Qaeda franchise group in Yemen, in 2009. AQAP called for this type of strategy in both its Arabic-language media and its English language magazine, “Inspire,” which published long excerpts of al-Suri’s material on individual jihad. In 2010, the al Qaeda core also embraced the idea, with U.S.-born spokesman Adam Gadahn echoing AQAP’s calls for Muslims to adopt the leaderless resistance model.

However, in the jihadist realm, as in the white-supremacist realm before it, the shift to leaderless resistance was an admission of weakness rather than a sign of strength. Jihadists recognized that they have been extremely limited in their ability to successfully attack the West, and while jihadist groups welcomed recruits in the past, they are now telling them it is too dangerous because of the steps taken by the United States and its allies to combat the transnational terrorist threat.

Busting the Mystique

Having established that when a group promotes leaderless resistance as an operational model it is a sign of failure rather than strength, let’s take a look at how the theory translates into practice.

On its face, as described by strategists such as Beam and al-Suri, the leaderless-resistance theory is tactically sound. By operating as lone wolves or small, insulated cells, operatives can increase their operational security and make it more difficult for law enforcement and intelligence agencies to identify them. As seen by examples such as Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hassan and Roshonara Choudhry, who stabbed British lawmaker Stephen Timms with a kitchen knife in May 2010, such attacks can create a significant impact with very little cost.

Lone wolves and small cells do indeed present unique challenges, but history has shown that it is very difficult to put the lone-wolf theory into practice. For every Eric Rudolph, Nidal Hasan and Anders Breivik there are scores of half-baked lone-wolf wannabes who either botch their operations or are uncovered before they can launch an attack.

It is a rare individual who possesses the requisite combination of will, discipline, adaptability, resourcefulness and technical skill to make the leap from theory to practice and become a successful lone wolf. Immaturity, impatience and incompetence are frequently the bane of failed lone-wolf operators, who also frequently lack a realistic assessment of their capabilities and tend to attempt attacks that are far too complex. When they try to do something spectacular they frequently achieve little or nothing. By definition and operational necessity, lone-wolf operatives do not have the luxury of attending training camps where they can be taught effective terrorist tradecraft. Nasir al-Wahayshi has recognized this and has urged jihadist lone wolves to focus on simple, easily accomplished attacks that can be conducted with readily available items and that do not require advanced tradecraft to succeed.

It must also be recognized that attacks, even those conducted by lone wolves, do not simply materialize out of a vacuum. Lone wolf attacks must follow the same planning process as an attack conducted by a small cell or hierarchical group. This means that lone wolves are also vulnerable to detection during their planning and preparation for an attack — even more so, since a lone wolf must conduct each step of the process alone and therefore must expose himself to detection on multiple occasions rather than delegate risky tasks such as surveillance to someone else in order to reduce the risk of detection. A lone wolf must conduct all the preoperational surveillance, acquire all the weapons, assemble and test all the components of the improvised explosive device (if one is to be used) and then deploy everything required for the attack before launching it.

Certainly, there is far more effort in a truck bomb attack than a simple attack with a knife, and the planning process is shorter for the latter, but the lone wolf still must follow and complete all the steps. While this operational model offers security advantages regarding communications and makes it impossible for the authorities to plant an informant in a group, it also increases operational security risks by exposing the lone operator at multiple points of the planning process.

Operating alone also takes more time, does not allow the lone attacker to leverage the skills of others and requires that the lone attacker provide all the necessary resources for the attack. When we consider all the traits required for someone to bridge the gap between lone-wolf theory and practice, from will and discipline to self-sufficiency and tactical ability, there simply are not many people who have both the ability and the intent to conduct such attacks. This is why we have not seen more lone-wolf attacks despite the fact that the theory does offer some tactical advantages and has been around for so long.

The limits of working alone also mean that, for the most part, lone-wolf attacks tend to be smaller and less damaging than attacks conducted by independent cells or hierarchical organizations. Breivik’s attack in Norway and Hasan’s attack at Fort Hood are rare exceptions and not the rule.

When we set aside the mystique of the lone wolf and look at the reality of the phenomenon, we can see that the threat is often far less daunting in fact than in theory. One of the most vocal proponents of the theory in the white supremacist movement in the late 1990s was a young California neo-Nazi named Alex Curtis. After Curtis was arrested in 2000 and convicted of harassing Jewish figures in Southern California, it was said that when he made the jump from “keyboard commando” to conducting operations in the physical world he proved to be more of a “stray mutt” than a lone wolf.

Lone wolves — or stray mutts — do pose a threat, but that threat must be neither overstated nor ignored. Lone attackers are not mythical creatures that come out of nowhere to inflict harm. They follow a process and are vulnerable to detection at certain times during that process. Cutting through the hype is an important step in dispelling the mystique and addressing the problems posed by such individuals in a realistic and practical way.

Read more: Cutting Through the Lone-Wolf Hype | STRATFOR
Cutting Through the Lone-Wolf Hype is republished with permission of STRATFOR.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

After a brief reprieve, Troy Davis is executed

BULLETIN: The U.S. Supreme Court voted to lift the reprieve granted earlier in the scheduled execution of Troy Davis for the 1989 murder of Savannah Police Officer Mark MacPhail. Georgia prison authorities were authorized to proceed.

According to newsmen who were allowed to witness the execution, Mr. Davis told members of Officer MacPhail's family that he did not take the life of their kinsman. He also said that he did not have a gun.

Mr. Davis reportedly told his executioners that he wished God would have mercy on their souls; he proclaimed his innocence before he died.

Jackson, Georgia – A mighty roar of triumph erupted in the crowd that waited in the soft shadows of evening two miles from the Diagnostic Prison.

In the vigil over the final hours before the execution of Troy Davis, a 42-year-old Savannah man convicted in 1991 for the 1989 shooting death of an off duty police officer named Mark MacPhail, they had gathered in a rolling pasture in the piney woods, prohibited from approaching any closer. National figures wept openly on camera as word came of the stay of execution.

Almost as suddenly, they groaned and wept anew as word came that it was as yet unconfirmed that the U.S. Supreme Court had granted a stay of execution.

Pacifica hostess Amy Goodman of the daily news show "Democracy Now" and Larry Cox of Amnesty International wept as they conveyed their grief on live television. Speaking with a pronounced brogue, Mr. Cox choked on tears of rage as he denounced the "grotesque" practice of execution carried out in the United States.

At 19 minutes past the hour designated for his death, Mr. Davis' lawyers in Atlanta contacted Amnesty International and NAACP officials by cell phone to say that the court had granted a reprieve good for up to 7 days while they consider the evidence in the case.

As the time went by, Mr. Davis lay on the gurney, strapped down, the needle already inserted into a blood vessel in his arm.

It was the fourth time that the execution of Troy Davis had been carried out down to the time for the needle to go in his arm, only to be delayed by court orders.

A U.S. District Court in Atlanta reviewed the case on an order fom the Supreme Court to see if there was enough evidence to order a new trial, but concluded the attorneys for Mr. Davis had presented a case that is largely “smoke and mirrors” in denying a favorable judgment.

Earlier in the day, the Butts County Superior Court had denied an application for a stay of execution, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles had denied a plea for clemency, and the prison administration disallowed a polygraph examination Mr. Davis insisted would exonerate him in the case.

His lawyers immediately went to work faxing briefs to the Supreme Court at Washington, D.C., in an eleventh hour appeal while such luminaries as the Rev. Al Sharpton, Larry Cox of Amnesty International and Benjamin Jealous of the NAACP spoke of the “grotesque” aspect of the U.S. being one of 5 nations including Iran, China, and Saudi Arabia that routinely carries out executions of convicted felons.

The facts of the case have been assailed repeatedly in the years since the conviction was handed down by a jury. Seven of 9 eye witnesses who claimed in the trial to have personal knowledge that Mr. Davis shot officer MacPhail in the chest and face when he tried to come to the rescue of a homeless man in the parking lot of a Burger King have recanted their testimony in affidavits.

There is no weapon to present as evidence, but numerous bullets recovered at the scene of an earlier shooting matched those recovered from Officer MacPhail's body. There is no physical evidence to match Mr. Davis to the bullets.

Most importantly, the chief eye witness against him, an individual named Sylvester “Redd” Coles, who was originally one of the main suspects in the investigation, has been overheard saying that it was he who shot the policeman.

That evidence was rejected as hearsay because defense attorneys had not subpoenaed Mr. Coles to rebut the things he allegedly confessed to a third party.

The facts of the case are as grotesque as the prominent anti-death penalty protesters say the looming execution would be in the eyes of the world.

Offier MacPhail was working an off duty job as a security guard when he saw a homeless man under attack in the parking lot. Redd Coles had been arguing with him over a beer.

When Office MacPhail went to his rescue, an assailant shot him to death at point blank range. Officer MacPhail died with his sidearm still in its holster. A veteran of six years service in the Army Airborne Rangers, he left a widow and a 2-year-old daughter.

Earlier, Mr. Davis and another person had attended a party nearby and when they left, they were cursed and assailed by the occupants of a passing vehicle. A shooting injured a passenger who was shot in the face.

The Supreme Court could rule tonight or at any time in the next 7 days either to proceed with the execution, or issue a stay and reverse the case.

Jackson,, Georgia – A mighty roar of triumph erupted in the crowd that waited in the soft shadows of evening two miles from the Diagnostic Prison.

In the vigil over the final hours before the execution of Troy Davis, a 42-year-old Savannah man convicted in 1991 for the 1989 shooting death of an off duty police officer named Mark MacPhail, they had gathered in a rolling pasture in the piney woods, prohibited from approaching any closer. National figures wept openly on camera as word came of the stay of execution.

Almost as suddenly, they groaned and wept as word came that it was as yet uncomfirmed that the U.S. Supreme Court had granted a stay of execution.

At 19 minutes past the hour, Mr. Davis' lawyers in Atlanta contacted Amnesty International and NAACP officials by cell phone to say that the court had granted a reprieve good for up to 7 days while they consider the evidence in the case.

It was the fourth time that the execution of Troy Davis had been carried out down to the time for the needle to go in his arm, only to be delayed by court orders.

A U.S. District Court in Atlanta reviewed the case on an order fom the Supreme Court to see if there was enough evidence to order a new trial, but concluded the attorneys for Mr. Davis had presented a case that is largely “smoke and mirrors” in denying a favorable judgment.

Earlier in the day, the Butts County Superior Court had denied an application for a stay of execution, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles had denied a plea for clemency, and the prison administration disallowed a polygraph examination Mr. Davis insisted would exonerate him in the case.

His lawyers immediately went to work faxing briefs to the Supreme Court at Washington, D.C., in an eleventh hour appeal while such luminaries as the Rev. Al Sharpton, Larry Cox of Amnesty International and Benjamin Jealous of the NAACP spoke of the “grotesque” aspect of the U.S. being one of 5 nations including Iran, China, and Saudi Arabia that routinely carries out executions of convicted felons.

The facts of the case have been assailed repeatedly in the years since the conviction was handed down by a jury. Seven of 9 eye witnesses who claimed in the trial to have personal knowledge that Mr. Davis shot officer MacPhail in the chest and face when he tried to come to the rescue of a homeless man in the parking lot of a Burger King have recanted their testimony in affidavits.

There is no weapon to present as evidence, but numerous bullets recovered at the scene of an earlier shooting matched those recovered from Officer MacPhail's body. There is no physical evidence to match Mr. Davis to the bullets.

Most importantly, the chief eye witness against him, an individual named Sylvester “Redd” Coles, who was originally one of the main suspects in the investigation, has been overheard saying that it was he who shot the policeman.

That evidence was rejected as hearsay because defense attorneys had not subpoenaed Mr. Coles to rebut the things he allegedly confessed to a third party.

The facts of the case are as grotesque as the prominent anti-death penalty protesters say the looming execution would be in the eyes of the world.

Officer MacPhail was working an off duty job as a security guard when he saw a homeless man under attack in the parking lot. Redd Coles had been arguing with him over a beer.

When Office MacPhail went to his rescue, an assailant shot him to death at point blank range. Officer MacPhail died with his sidearm still in its holster. A veteran of six years service in the Army Airborne Rangers, he left a widow and a 2-year-old daughter.

Earlier, Mr. Davis and another person had attended a party nearby and when they left, they were cursed and assailed by the occupants of a passing vehicle. A shooting injured a passenger who was shot in the face.

The Supreme Court could rule tonight or at any time in the next 7 days either to proceed with the execution, or issue a stay and reverse the case.

Obama opposes Palestinian statehood over “deadlock”

New York – We've been here before. Though it wasn't a Wednesday forenoon, it was a Sunday afternoon at a rural golf course near Mr. George “Dub-yah” Bush's Western White House at Crawford.

The pack of telecasters caught he and the security detail on a tee box at the Bosque Valley Golf Club, a dusty track located on a farm to market road that leads from Clifton to the County seat at Meridian.

Dub-yah was on vacation at the ranch, clearing brush, punching cattle, playing a round of golf. "I'm not at home much, but when I am, I like to be around the cows," he told newsmen the day before when they visited him out on the spread near Crawford.

Someone asked the President about the prospects for the Arab-Israeli peace talks then convened in Jerusalem, New York, Washington, Camp David, and all points in between.

He gave the camera that shrug and smirk that soon became so familiar, and said, “Well, you know, you have to have some kind of incentive for peace before you can have peace.” Then, with a quizzical look on his face, he tried to turn back to his tee shot.

Unsatisfied, the newshounds pressed him and learned that, sometimes, no comment is a comment.

It was a moment.

That was Sunday afternoon.

Slightly before 9 a.m. On Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, the world was on fire and Dub-yah was reading to a group of elementary school kids in Florida.

He appeared very surprised when his aide de camp whispered some very disturbing news in his ear.

Trillions of deficit dollars later, his successor is caught in the same trap, no less disturbing.

There are four conditions precedent before the issue of the establishment of a Palestinian state may be settled:

1. ) the precise borders of the new Palestinian homeland;
2. ) security for Israel;
3. ) the status of Palestinian refugees who left or were forced to go;
4. ) and the fate of Jerusalem, which both sides claim as their capital.

No real solutions or answers to those questions are anywhere in sight.

There are some complications that have arisen in the ensuing 10 years. The Egyptian strongman dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak is no more. That coalition between Arab and Israeli is kaput, and it was an important element in holding off radical Arabic nations and fundamentalists from raiding Saudi Arabian and Gulf Emirate oil and gas fields.

Arab Spring is a far-ranging political phenomenon. Similar uprisings in Tunisia, Libya, Morocco, Bahrain, Yemen, Syria and other fundamentalist Islamic states have followed close behind. The once rock solid pax Americana is now in shreds.

There are no guarantees.

Said Barack Hussein Obama, president of he United States, in his address to the General Assembly of the United Nations today, “We saw in these protesters the moral force of non-violence that has lit the world form Delhi to Warsaw; from Selma to South Africa – and we knew that change had come Egypt and to the Arab world.”

Such a deal. What do we get out of it?

Nothing, at least, until the deadlock is broken. How?

“The deadlock will only be broken when each side learns to stand in each other's shoes.” Good luck, buddy. Didn't know you are a shoe salesman, too.

He called on the U.N., “founded, as it was, out of the ashes of war and genocide; dedicated, as it is, to the dignity of every person, must recognize the reality that is lived by both the Palestinians and the Israelis. We will only succeed in that effort if we can encourage the parties to sit down together, to listen to each other, and to understand each other's hopes and fears. That is the project to which America is committed...”

Uh, yeah.

The “New York Times,” which was there when the State of Israel was created by a U.N. Security Council resolution in 1948, looked on with less than amused skepticism:

“For Mr. Obama, the challenge in crafting the much-anticipated General Assembly speech on Wednesday was how to address the incongruities of the administration’s position: the president who committed himself to making peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians a priority from Day One, who still has not been able to even get peace negotiations going after two and a half years; the president who opened the door to Palestinian state membership at the United Nations last year ending up threatening to veto that very membership; the president who was determined to get on the right side of Arab history ending up, in the views of many on the Arab street, on the wrong side of it on the Palestinian issue.”

It took Barack Hussein Obama 47 minutes to tell the world to hurry up and wait.

For what?

For hell to freeze over, as U.N. Ambassador Adlai Stevenson told the Soviets. America would wait for their answer to his questions about strategic missiles in Cuba - the ones they lied to President Kennedy about having placed there, he told the Soviet Ambassador - on worldwide television.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas spent most of the 47 minutes with his forehead in the palm of his hand.
Arab negotiators said they found the speech “disappointing.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu termed it “a badge of honor.”

We will see. After all, the camera never blinks, as some old country boy from Texas used to say all the time when he was still on TV.